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Love Him in His Sleep (Love Him Always)

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“I’ll watch over you.”

Dean heard the words almost every night now, and he felt like he’d heard them a thousand times before. He knew the words off by heart before Cas even wandered into their lives, before all this started.

Mary used to say it. Angels are watching over you. The last words she ever said to Dean, in fact.

Dean couldn’t help but wonder sometimes, wonder if she knew.

He couldn’t help but wonder if he and Cas were meant to be.

“No freaking way,” Dean said. Those words were as ritual as Castiel’s. Every night. The phrase varied by degrees; a different cuss depending on how decaffeinated Dean’s bloodstream had become over the day. Tonight, he wasn’t irritable, but the sky outside the motel was brewing clouds, like the froth on the flat white Dean would never admit to ordering that morning. The changing weather made his hair stand on end, and his skin started to prickle. He wanted to sleep.

Castiel had accepted the words, and lowered his eyes. Dean almost fancied that Cas bowed by a few inches, offering an unsaid, “As you wish, your highness.”

Dean rolled his eyes as Castiel flapped his wings and exited the motel room. He reappeared beyond the lace privacy curtain on the window, his form now a silhouette against the watery cobalt light of the evening. His shoulders were tense as he looked to his right, muttering a few words. Dean was curious what he said and to whom he spoke, but then Sam came into view, and Dean turned away, slinging his towel down off his shoulder and onto the bed. It would have just been the usual, “Goodnight, Sam. Sleep well.”

Sam cracked open the door, and Dean tossed a greeting glance to his brother. “You get it?”

“Obviously,” Sam said, in a dull voice, like he couldn’t imagine having gone out to get toothpaste and not come back with toothpaste. (He’d done it before with pie, so Dean wasn’t letting him off the hook ever again.)

Dean took the toothpaste and went into the bathroom to use it.

It was routine; this was what they did almost every night. The same words, the same pattern. It was good, because this was the only normal thing about their lives. Dean brushed his teeth first, then sat in bed and flipped through John’s journal while Sam was in the bathroom.

Castiel stood guard outside. He didn’t sleep, but Dean wouldn’t let him stay in the room while he and Sam would sleep. Dean told him it was creepy.

That was what Dean said. It was a statement that was founded in truth, based on how Castiel’s presence actually made him feel. But it wasn’t the whole truth.

They hadn’t talked much since Cas joined them on the road. Given the chance, Sam would start talking about Kevin, and Dean couldn’t deal with hearing that. Castiel spoke when spoken to, and that suited Dean fine. Castiel was not the most uplifting of conversationalists, either. Ironic though it was, the silence gave Dean a lot of time to stew in his own thoughts; he couldn’t make himself smile, but he could straighten out the tangled, winding roads of his mind.

Tonight, he wasn’t reading John’s journal very intently. He was listening to the low thunder beyond the motel door, aware of Castiel’s presence there. Dean was thinking about him.

Dean did want him in the room. He wanted him to stay, because Dean always felt safer when Cas was close. Dean wanted to protect him, and he wanted to be protected by him. But he would always say no. Wait outside. Don’t watch me sleep, it’s creepy.

There were so many reasons why, but it always boiled down to a pocket of discontent in the pit of his stomach, and no real understanding. It just felt wrong. It felt wrong to let either of them have what they wanted. It was already so clear that Castiel wanted it.

Mary knew. Dean was more sure of it, every night he heard the same words - her words - from Castiel’s lips. Those words meant “I love you.”

Mary knew who he was meant to love.

That should have been enough.


Darkness had fallen.

Castiel breathed in the storm. His hands rested outwards on the barrier of the upper walkway, his fingers spread over chipped paint. The sound of every movement bristled hollow through the rusty pole, which ran the whole length of the motel, keeping anyone from falling to the parked cars below.

Before him was a storm, churning above the layer of clouds that were visible from Earth. There were mountains of clashing water droplets far above, towers of combination and destruction. It was cataclysmic, and so small. It was no more than a few miles across; infinitesimal. But still, every molecule had a path, every droplet found a partner. Everything grew.

Castiel stood and he reveled in his surroundings. Even with his eyes closed, he saw. He felt and he breathed; he lived in it, he became part of it.

He had been a storm, once. He had been more than molecules, certainly, but he had embodied the same harshness, the same slow, unyielding build.

He still had that power, but it wasn’t his own. It used to be Theo’s, but Castiel slit Theo’s throat and stole his glowing essence. Now, he owned it. The angel grace inside him was his.

Finders-keepers, losers... dead.

Dean would have laughed.

Castiel sighed, leaning forward and holding his own hands, resting his elbows on the barrier. His gaze landed on the roof of Dean’s beloved Impala, black and sleek, shining even through the dullness of an overcast night.

Castiel watched the first raindrop hit its roof, listening for the single thud of sound.

One raindrop was nothing. But then the others came, and the air began to smell of the humidity, of the lightning that had yet to break. Castiel watched the car rush over with movement, water guttering down its silver rims, across the gritty ground, gushing down a drain at the corner of the building.

Castiel breathed in again, tasting the flavour of the world.

Overwhelming, yes. But he knew what to sense, he knew what to enjoy about it.

When he’d been an angel - a complete angel, that was - everything had been basic. One smell was the Earth, one was Dean, one was Sam. While human, Castiel learned a hundred thousand new things. One smell was sand, one was dirt, one was rain. One was Dean’s clean skin, one was Dean’s sweat. There were sections and sub-sections of sensuality. Touch, taste, discomfort, pain, love.

Now, with a new grace, he could sense the current above the clouds, and saw light that humans would not be able to see; his spatial awareness was monumental. He was not human. But, he waited. He would not have very long to wait until everything was small again.

He almost looked forward to it.

Hours went by, and Castiel didn’t move from his post. He had nowhere to go and no reason to leave. This was where Dean wanted him, no closer than this.

But when Castiel heard Dean’s breathing hasten and his heartbeat begin to pound, he didn’t even take his hands off the railing before entering the room with a flap of his wings. The brothers lay in their beds, undisturbed by anyone else. Sam grumbled from the bed on the far side, a shape of blankets. He was waking up.

Castiel turned the bedside lamp on with the power of a thought, and went to Dean’s side. Dean was still asleep, writhing under his blankets, a sheen of sweat over his forehead.

“Cas, it’s okay,” Sam said, in a tired, untempered voice. “It’s just a nightmare. It’ll pass.”

Castiel loomed across Dean’s bed, one hand sunken into the mattress beside his head. “He’s distressed.”

Sam scoffed. “He’s always distressed.”

Castiel shot the younger Winchester a pale glare, then returned to watching Dean. Dean’s eyelids were flickering, eyes moving underneath. He was seeing things Castiel couldn’t see, things his own mind decided to torture him with.

“Cas, you really don’t need to...”

“Hush, Sam,” Castiel instructed, sitting at Dean’s side, dipping the bed, crumpling his trenchcoat beneath the weight of his thighs. Dean whimpered, thrashing tightly, messing up the covers.

Easing out a breath, Castiel cupped his hand around Dean’s cheek. His jaw was prickled with thick stubble, unshaven for a few days now. His skin was hot, his lips drawn into a snarl. He made a loud noise of unhappy sufferings, and Castiel experienced a moment of deep sympathy: he too had had nightmares, in his time as a human. Dean’s night terrors must have been worse, and more numerous. Castiel didn’t want to imagine.

Castiel blessed Dean with a soothing thought. Something beautiful and truly loving flowed through his hand, blanketing Dean’s nightmare with elegance and sweetness.

Castiel smiled as he watched Dean relax, jaw untensing into his hand. Castiel’s thumb lingered, even after his spell finished. He didn’t want to pull away. He stroked Dean’s cheek, feeling pores under the pad of his thumb.

“What did you do?” Sam asked, sitting on the edge of his bed.

Castiel glanced over, still smiling, still holding Dean’s face as he slept. “He won’t have nightmares any more. He’ll only dream about...” he looked back at Dean, awash with adoration for him. “pleasant things. I don’t know. Anything he wants.”

“Uh. Cool. That was... really nice, Cas.”

There was a pause, and then Sam cleared his throat carefully. “Not to sound greedy or anything, but... um, if some of that’s still going, mind if I...? It’s just - I mean... I get a lot of nightmares too, and―”

“Of course, Sam,” Castiel said, stroking Dean’s jaw again as he got to his feet. Leaving Dean in peace, Castiel went to Sam with his hand out, ready to cup his cheek too.

Sam grinned bashfully and ducked, letting Castiel press fingers to his forehead instead. Castiel nodded, understanding that such intimacies were only for Dean. Castiel had only attempted the first position since he didn’t want Sam to feel that Dean was being given preferential treatment. He loved them both, but in completely different ways.

Sam closed his eyes and relaxed as Castiel blessed him too. When he was done, Sam looked up and muttered, “Thanks, Cas,” before curling up between his blankets and sinking back to sleep within a moment.

Castiel chuckled to himself when he heard a simultaneous snore from both brothers.

Then he turned the lamp off again and went back outside, thinking he’d saved his friends unnecessary discomfort. He was pleased with what he’d done, and he hoped the blessings would last.

Little did he know what they would bring.


Light from the window came as a shaft of angel grace, not dangerous, but beautiful. Like a beam of sunlight on dust; hazy, floating in the empty aisle of a church. Dreamlike, perhaps.

(Yeah, that was it. Dreamlike.)

Dean nestled in the bed of sheets, fingers in delicate cotton, in satin, in silk. His head rested on a pillow that smelled of washing powder, and of the season beyond the motel room. The cloth case had been aired to dry in a summer field, he could taste the flowers.

His body was aching with something akin to exhaustion, but far more pleasant. He was soft and warm, bundled in on all sides by well-fluffed bedding. He felt like a newborn kitten, innocent and pure, totally relaxed, unaware of what horror meant. (Don’t think about it. Don’t think about it. This is real now.)

“Are you asleep, Dean?” came a voice, low and quiet. Castiel. His name was Castiel.

Dean rolled over as slowly as poured treacle, groaning in bliss as his limbs moved, allowing him a near-orgasmic stretch. He smiled lazily up at the half-undressed blue-eyed man who slunk closer to the motel bed, a finger slipping his tie undone. Dean tilted his head playfully, parting his lips in a loose grin. “Do I look like I’m asleep?”

Castiel set a bare knee on the edge of the bed, and Dean rested a hand on it without a thought. His thumb brushed Castiel’s leg hair, and the sensation made Dean tingle with a soft excitement. (It should have been out of place and weird, but it wasn’t. Easy, easy pleasure.)

Castiel still hadn’t answered Dean, which left Dean hungry for the sound of his voice. So Dean murmured, wanton, “Are you gonna join me?”

“Would you like a cuddle?”

Dean felt the first stir of arousal in reaction to those words. A coil of unwinding anticipation made its way through his body, starting from his hips. He purred under his breath, and gazed up at Castiel wearing his most seductive expression. But no matter how smooth he wanted to be (even in dreams), he was bashful. His reply came in the form of a shy nod, face nudged into his pillow, trying to hide his sudden blush. When Castiel undid another top button on his white shirt in preparation, Dean giggled and covered his face with both hands, burying his nose in the pillow.

“You always get so excited,” Castiel muttered, slipping under the blanket, gusting cooler air against Dean’s naked skin. Dean’s breath caught as he felt Castiel’s body slink in beside his own. “Why is that, Dean? It’s almost like you’ve never done this before...” A fingertip slid across Dean’s shoulder, causing a tremble to course down his entire body.

Dean could feel his semi-erection wetting the sheets, a sticky dot of pre-come smeared as he rolled over again, meeting Castiel’s eyes. Dean shrugged a shoulder, feeling his eyes stay wide, his cheeks still pink. “Maybe you always make me feel like I’ve never done it before. Or, maybe I haven’t.”

Castiel seemed so mature when Dean looked at him closely. He wasn’t old, not at all - but he seemed wisened, and intelligent, and silvered at the sides. His eyes were the same as Dean knew them, though. His Cas. His angelic guardian.

“What does that say about me, I wonder,” Castiel smiled, swimming through the sea of sheets to get close to Dean. Dean gasped as Castiel’s hands touched his hip (first time, first time ever), touched his cheek (oh, do it again―). “The experience of me isn’t memorable enough... Don’t you know what to do?”

“I know what to do,” Dean retorted, his body moulding itself to Castiel’s. His erection pressed to Castiel’s hip (inexpressible pleasure, please please please), his legs tangled around Castiel’s (you have leg hair too!), and Castiel chuckled deeply, hooded eyes lowering to Dean’s mouth.

Dean barely had a moment to register what was about to happen before Castiel’s lips were on his, mouth open, tongue slipping over his lower lip.

Dean knew what to do. He held Castiel’s hand, fingers between his. Kissed his fingertips, ran the tip of his nose into their backward curve as Castiel straightened them. Sucked a fingertip between his lips: tasted a storm, raindrops on dry sand.

Castiel dragged Dean close, arms around Dean’s lower back. (It didn’t matter that he hadn’t moved his hands to get there, this was a dream - that kind of thing didn’t happen unless it was important.)

Dean moaned and felt pleasure. Castiel was protection and warmth, a stubbled jaw nuzzled under Dean’s throat. Bristles and kisses―

Little kisses; tiny, little kisses.

(Hold me, hold me. Don’t say it aloud, you’re too scared - but tell him you want it.)

Castiel cradled the back of Dean’s head and sheltered his face from the light, his body warm, his body strong, his scent unknown and mysterious. Dean had never gotten close enough to know his scent.

(Tell him you want it―)


Dean woke in darkness, eyes wide open like a shot. He was out of breath.



He gulped, adjusting his legs under the blanket. He was definitely alone in the bed, and he was wearing a t-shirt and jeans, and nobody was kissing him. Sitting up, Dean found he was shaking slightly, limbs somehow weakened by too much relaxation.

He looked across to the window, checking that Castiel was still there.

He was still there, yes. Staring out at the falling rain, as unmoving as a statue.

Dean grabbed his phone from the nightstand, thumbing it unlocked so the screen lit up. It was four in the morning. He was about to get out of bed, but then he felt something between his legs, hot and wet. Concerned, he lay back down and tented the covers on his knee, ducking the phone underneath, along with his head. In the humid privacy below the motel blanket, he unzipped his jeans, parting the zipper and looking at the wet spot in his underwear.

He touched it with his fingers, and discovered that his cock was sensitive, like he’d just come.

...A wet dream?

Dean’s eyes searched the phone-lit cloth around him, startled and - if he was honest with himself - kinda worried. The last time he’d had a wet dream had to be, what, ten years ago? More?

Perhaps it wasn’t just the fact that it happened, but the subject of the dream itself. Dean had tried so hard not to think of Cas that way, and somehow...

No. Dean refused to work it through. He got out of bed with his phone in hand, and went to get fresh underwear out of his duffel bag. He shut himself in the bathroom without another look towards Sam, nor Castiel, then stripped down, his reflection coloured dull yellow by the light above the sink.

He paused when his lower half was naked. He had come on his cock, on his pubic hair. Everything was sticky. He looked at himself in the mirror, observing his own uneasy expression.

He didn’t understand how this could have happened. Every night for years, he’d dreamed of nothing but monsters and terror and loss and blood and torture, and then miraculously - it was a miracle, as far as he could see - he’d dreamed of pleasure. It wasn’t an obvious pleasure, granted, but pleasure nonetheless.

Still, he had nothing to complain about. He’d take a night of confusing relief over a night of pain.

He washed his underwear by hand in the sink, then left it to dry on the towel rail. He hoped he wouldn’t have to answer anyone’s questions later.

He went back to bed in a new pair of briefs and the same pair of jeans shucked over them. Sam still snored, and Castiel still stood guard. Castiel would have heard Dean wake up, but he hadn’t disturbed him, for which Dean was grateful.

Dean went back to sleep without further thought, and didn’t dream at all.


On the road, it was silent between the three of them again. The sound of the engine was usually enough to soothe Dean, but today, his mind was crowded.

He saw golden fields spread either side of the road, dark grey clouds opposite the sun. The denseness of the low sky was infecting the air in the car, making it stifling.

They passed a sign that said they were fifteen miles from the next gas station, and Dean thought about stopping for a while to get a snack and stretch his legs.

But he couldn’t help but drift back to his previous thoughts. That dream... it really had been something. It ought to have been strange to think about, but the gentle, sunny nature of his imaginings refused to be anything but peaceful. It should have creeped him out, but it simply didn’t. He smiled when he thought about holding Castiel’s hand, about his fingers slipping inside Dean’s mouth. He felt warm all over when he thought about how it felt to have his first cuddle for the sake of a cuddle.

Dean cleared his throat, eyes skipping to Sam, who was lounging in the passenger seat. Without looking back, Dean spoke to Castiel behind him, “Hey, uh... Cas? Can I ask you somethin’?”

Castiel replied in the same rumbling, patient tone that the engine ran with. “Of course, Dean.”

Dean took a few seconds to compose himself. “You― You’re still a virgin, right?”

He was thinking about how it felt to never have done it before, being a virgin in his dream. It had been so long since he’d had a new start like that.

“You’re asking if I have ever partaken in a penetrative mating ritual?” Castiel said, with a lilt of humour in his voice.

Dean shot Sam a cautious glance, but relaxed when he saw Sam was grinning out at the fields they passed. “Yeah,” Dean said. “Yeah, have you ever had sex? I mean - since my last attempt to fix that failed, and all...”

“I am a sex virgin, yes.” Castiel was smiling, Dean could hear it even if he couldn’t see it. “As completely as I am a pancake virgin or a Star Trek virgin,” he added, making Dean smirk. “I have been accused of being in possession of many different types of virginity.”

“Is there anything you have done?” Dean asked, before he could censor his bluntness.

“Hm... I am not a virgin of dying, or committing genocide, if that is what you mean,” Castiel said.

“No,” Dean said, heart sinking. He set his eyes straight on the road, smile all but gone. “No, that’s not what I meant.”

“Why do you ask?”

Dean swallowed before he answered. “No reason. Just... something weird I dreamed about, no biggie.”


Sam watched Dean disappear in through the glass door of the country gas station, sunlight rebounding in a rectangular flash across Sam’s face as he waited in the car.

Now Dean was absent, Sam had a chance to talk to Castiel. He turned around on the front seat, arm hooked over the leather. Castiel looked back with a single blink, saying nothing.

“I wanted to ask,” Sam said, taking a breath. “You aren’t going to tell Dean what you did for him, are you?”

“Would you recommend I don’t?”

“I’m not saying either way. It’s a question. Are you going to tell him?”

Castiel looked over at the gas station, eyes tracking Dean through the slogan-painted glass. He squinted, taking some time to consider his answer.

“Not yet,” Castiel said eventually. Sam wasn’t surprised. “If he asks, I’ll tell him. If not, then no.”

“He’ll ask,” Sam assured Castiel. “He already mentioned a weird dream, obviously he’s aware of a change.”

Castiel shrugged a single shoulder. “I’d like him to enjoy the lack of nightmares for as long as possible, have him take it for granted, if he can. I don’t think he would approve of my ‘poking around inside his brain’.” Castiel let his hands slump to his lap, having closed his air quotes.

“He specifically asked you not to poke around, didn’t he?” Sam said.

Castiel inclined his head in a nod. “Years ago, yes.”

Sam hummed a note, combing his long hair off his forehead with spread fingers. Castiel was nothing if not deceptive. It was sometimes a virtue, even if sometimes it led to disaster.

Together, they watched Dean travel the short aisles of the store, bundling packets of food into his arms.

“It’s funny though,” Sam started, as Dean went to the front desk to pay for what he’d gathered. “Him dreaming about your virginity, that is.”

“It’s not strange,” Castiel said. “I don’t think there are many nice things in the world that Dean is familiar with. I’m sure an aspect of me going uncorrupted is a source of reassurance for him. Similarly, he would probably assume your distaste of fried food is of benefit to you.”

“So - you’re saying he’d have happy dreams about me eating salad and living to eighty?” Sam was grinning ear-to-ear; Cas was hilarious when Dean wasn’t around.

Castiel smiled, sharing the joke. “Yes, I think he might.”

“Well then,” Sam sighed, as he noted the selection of hugely unhealthy snack foods Dean was carrying to the car, “obviously he doesn’t like that part of his dreams. Blocked arteries, here we come.”


They booked a motel room four hours down the road - they weren’t up to travelling any farther than that. Dean was zoning out when he stared at the road for too long, and Sam didn’t think it was worth driving through the night, not when they were still an extra day’s drive from the bunker.

Sam went out for a walk, since it was only eight in the evening and the weather in Ohio was fresh after local rainfall. He’d been cooped up in the car all day, so Dean didn’t bother to whine at him about being a total health nut. If he didn’t think Sam would over-praise him for it, Dean would have gone with him.

Instead, Dean plopped down onto his mattress, sinking into the middle where the dip was. He got out his laptop and searched for weird news reports in the area, which was his default search. He didn’t say a word to Castiel, who was flipping through TV channels at the end of the bed.

When Dean had noted down three potential cases to discuss with Sam later, he decided he was done with work for the night. He stared at the back of Castiel’s head, watching him watch something about farming in the middle ages.

Now his mind wasn’t otherwise occupied, Dean couldn’t veer away from the recollection of last night’s dream. He’d never felt a man’s stubble brushed so gently against his throat in real life, but somehow it had all seemed so vivid. Would it really feel like that, if it happened outside of a dream?

He flustered at the fantasy, and he begged that Castiel hadn’t overheard his thoughts somehow, or sensed his heart beating harder, blood rushing to his cheeks and his crotch. It was almost embarrassing, and he wasn’t sure how to deal with it.

Ah, but he did know.

He opened a tab on his laptop, and went straight to a bookmarked page of pornography. He cooled all over with relief, seeing women’s breasts and garish displays of parted legs. It didn’t matter that his blood didn’t pound more fiercely in reaction; what mattered what that he was channelling his arousal in an acceptable fashion.

No more flashes of heat took him over while he scrolled the page. He didn’t feel the need to click any links or open any videos, and besides, he wouldn’t, not while Castiel was here. This wasn’t an exercise to get Dean going, he had just needed to reassure himself.

He closed the laptop lid when his desires flattened: he was less in need of a sensual touch now. He didn’t really feel like he wanted anything any more. In short, he felt better.

He went in the shower with only a mutter to inform Castiel, and he took his clean clothes with him so he wouldn’t be stepping out in a towel. Castiel’s eyes tracked his path to the bathroom; Dean didn’t need to look back to know he was being watched. His gut fluttered with something exciting in response to the awareness, a sensation he couldn’t place as either good or bad.

While Dean was showering, he touched himself as he would normally do. Cleaning between his legs always got him a little randy, but even when he was hard, he was still thinking. It was difficult to focus.

If he got himself off now, that lowered his chances of another wet dream tonight.

That was it, that was what he was thinking about. It was a thought that kept him deliberating for some minutes, not bringing himself any closer or further from orgasm.

He kind of wanted another wet dream. The dream itself had been magical in a way, not least because it was his first good night in a decade-long swamp of nightmares. Dreaming of his best friend aside, he wanted it. He wanted it very much.

Experiencing a dream to climax was as confusing as it had been when he was a teenager. The perplexion of it apparently hadn’t waned over the years, but that didn’t stop him from harbouring a bubbly, hopeful feeling in his lower stomach when he considered that it might happen again.

Even if it was about Cas...

Dean suddenly smiled, and he turned his face down against the shower spray, covering his mouth with a hand. His cock had gotten very jumpy, and he squeezed it at the base, nibbling his lip as he tried to push himself down - to no avail, obviously.

He ran his fingers around his lips, imagining stubble, and a firm but gentle kiss. He shut his eyes, rushing all over with a hot pang of want, wildly abstract from the hot water that trickled across his shoulders.

...Well, that settled it. He wanted to dream about Cas again. It would be so much easier than resisting in daylight hours, because his constant repression was exhausting. Don’t think about him, don’t think about that, don’t enjoy it. At least if he were dreaming, it would be out of his control.

He shut off the water and grabbed his towel, dried himself down, then stood in the middle of the bathroom and kept his mind blank until his erection faded. Then he dressed himself, but didn’t put his jeans back on. He wore clean boxer-briefs and a t-shirt, and that was all. If he was going to come in his pants tonight, it would be easier to clean himself afterwards if he didn’t have to wash denim too.

He smiled as he passed Castiel, who was still at the end of the bed. Dean kept his dirty clothes in his hands in front of his crotch, but he had bare thighs, and bare feet. Cas could see his leg hair. Dean got under the covers quickly before his cock got the message.

“Sam is almost back,” Castiel said quietly, eyes fixed to the TV again. “Will you stay up?”

“Nah, I think I’ll, uh... get to sleep now,” Dean said, as casually as he could. He glanced to his duffel bag, which contained John’s journal. Perhaps it wouldn’t be right to look at that while he was still nursing a half-formed erection. The pressure and tightness of being almost aroused was mesmerising.

Dean’s toes were being squashed by the way Castiel’s weight held down the blanket. He cleared his throat when Castiel stayed where he was.

Castiel turned around at the waist, one hand on the bed. He looked inquiringly at Dean.

Dean did sometimes think it was endearing that Cas had to be told every single night. “So, where are you gonna sleep?” Dean said pointedly.

“I don’t sleep,” Castiel replied, like he was surprised Dean hadn’t already realised.

Dean rolled his eyes. “I know that, Cas. But I do. Four hours, remember?” He gave him another significant look.

Castiel sighed quietly, turning off the TV with the remote. He still didn’t move, but just stared at the blank screen. “I’ll watch over you.”

Dean was about to say what he usually said, but it didn’t come out right tonight. Funny how a single dream could change how he thought so greatly. “Not tonight, buddy.”

And there it was, words unsaid. Not tonight - but some night, maybe. This distance wasn’t going to be forever, trust in that.

Castiel lowered his head, fiddling with the remote. He stood up and put the remote beside the TV, then turned around. Dean smiled at him, hands in the blanket that was sagging in his lap.

Before Castiel flapped his wings, Dean took a fast breath. Castiel waited, sensing Dean was about to speak.

Dean didn’t know why he hesitated, when all he wanted to say was, “‘Night, Cas.”

Castiel actually smiled. “I hope you sleep well, Dean.”

“Thanks. You too.”

Castiel left before Dean realised how stupid his words were. Dean mouthed them again, appalled at himself. “‘You too’?!” Cas didn’t sleep. Idiot.

Rolling his eyes, Dean sank down into his bedding, snuggled up with his spare pillow, and hit the light. Sam came in not a minute later, greeted Dean in near-silence, then locked himself in the bathroom.

Dean pressed his half-erection into the mattress and waited for sleep, which came like a draping unawareness, blotting out the light from under the bathroom door, the sound of cars outside, the background chatter of people in the next rooms.

In the endless silence, he dreamed, thank God.


“What do you want to watch?” Dean asked, sprawled over a luxurious méridienne chaise lounge, which was made up of plush turquoise-green fabric with golden stitches as decoration. It was a funny thing to have in a motel room, but Dean thought it was cushy. It made him important.

Castiel approached as he had done last night (never, never before, this was new): white shirt undone to his stomach, bare below his waist. (Is he wearing underwear? Please look. I want to know...)

“I think we should watch a movie,” Castiel said, stroking fingers back through Dean’s hair.

“I watched a good one when I was a kid,” Dean said, looking up at his angel through eyelashes that shone in his angelic light. “Some motel room, me and Sammy watched it together. I still remember most of it.”

“Let’s you and I watch it together, then,” Castiel said. “Here, on your laptop.” He pulled out the laptop and sat down, then put the machine on his bare knees. Dean snuggled up beside him, thighs pressed against Castiel’s. Dean’s t-shirt rode up to expose his panties.

Dean looked carefully at the panties while Castiel was setting up the video. There were frills around his waist and thighs, and the fabric was a soft, soft lace - soft enough that when Dean wriggled in his seat, he barely felt it.

(But what colour are they? Can’t tell, you’re dreaming. You want them to be pink.)

“It’s ready,” Castiel said, sliding his arm around Dean’s lower back, taking his hand from behind and holding him. Dean made a pleased noise and nuzzled his cheek against Castiel’s shoulder, huffing tiny, embarrassed laughs. (Why are you embarrassed? Cas doesn’t mind that you’re wearing girls’ panties.) Castiel kissed Dean’s ear, hands stroking down his hair. (It was so real. Dean loved being petted like that.)

They watched The Lady and the Tramp. Dean used to adore this movie. He wasn’t sure if he still felt the same way about it now as he did when he was a kid, but Castiel helped Dean to watch. Held his hand so it was easier. Kissed his shoulders so it was easier. Put his hands between Dean’s bare thighs and touched him there, because firm, tender contact made Dean feel like everything was easy. The lace crinkled and caught on his pubic hair, making Dean whine under his breath, somehow taking pleasure from the twinge. Smiling, he curled over Castiel’s lap and licked his hand; it always gave him the nicest treats.

(Pretend you’ve laid your head in someone’s lap before. It’s not freakish or weird, it’s just something you like to do. Just go with it. It makes sense, it’s a dream, it makes sense in context.)

The movie got better as the end came. Dogs were better when they were in love, he wasn’t scared of them like this.

When it was finished, Dean sighed, closing his eyes and letting Castiel stroke his head, tickling his ears. The laptop was now absent.

“Would you like to play, Dean?”

Dean perked up off Castiel’s lap, kneeling on all fours on the couch, looking up at those patient blue eyes. “Play how?”

Castiel smiled knowingly. “Go over to the bed, and I’ll explain.”

Dean got off the couch and went to the bed, lying on his back with his knees dangling off the edge of the mattress. The sheets were cool against his back. He pulled up his t-shirt to his nipples, so Castiel could see his panties properly.

Castiel hummed, fingers drifting along the lace on Dean’s inner thigh. “Are you showing off?”

Dean cocked his head. “That depends if you’re impressed or not.”

Castiel sank down, hard hip bones atop Dean’s softer belly. (No, he wasn’t wearing underwear. He was semi-hard; he had a penis, like Dean. Oh, that felt beautiful. Dean had been waiting forever to feel that.) Dean sighed as Castiel’s weight pressed his breath away. A kiss took the rest.

“I’m easily impressed when it comes to you,” Castiel muttered, smirking as he separated their warm mouths. “Now―”

Dean laughed when Castiel flipped him onto his front, then patted him on the ass.

“Tell me about this lace,” Castiel said, intrigued.

“Yeah, all right,” Dean grinned, kneeling in the middle of the bed with his ass up, fingering the hem of his t-shirt so Castiel could see the lace frill underneath. “I kind of like how it feels. They’re soft ‘n pretty, which is awesome. And I was told to put them on, which made it way easier, you know? If someone tells me to do it, I can’t worry that they’re meant for girls. It wasn’t my fault; I just did what I was told. But, actually... I love wearing them.”

(The ease comes from knowing they’re not yours. But the power comes from knowing they are yours.)

“I won’t tell,” Castiel said seriously. It was a promise, and Dean was glad. Cas knew Dean didn’t want anyone to know, for reasons too numerous to list. “But you’re not a soldier here, Dean. You don’t have to take orders.”

Dean shook his head. “It’s easier.”

Castiel exhaled gently, stroking Dean’s thigh. “All right. One day. Maybe not today, but one day you’ll be free. You’ll choose for yourself.”

(Freedom just seems like another kind of chaos, doesn’t it?)

Dean licked his lips, rolling over onto his back. Now he wasn’t wearing a shirt, and he had an erection. Castiel was looking at him, looking at his pretty panties.

“So, uh,” Dean said, reaching for Castiel’s fingertips to touch them, “what was the game you wanted to play? You gonna play with me?”

Castiel nodded, lying beside Dean. “We can play like puppies.”

Dean blinked, mouth open. “What?”

Castiel’s gaze sank down Dean’s body, taking in his taut nipples, the perky bulge confined within his solitary item of clothing. “I know you’d like it. Puppies don’t worry about anything.”

“I don’t get it,” Dean lied.

Castiel accepted the prompt: he’d explain clearly. Slipping a thigh between Dean’s, he lay on top of him again, hands either side of Dean’s head, fingers spread through his hair.

Castiel smiled as he brought his face down, mouth open―

He licked Dean’s cheek, slow, hot... wet.

Dean let out an involuntary mewl of affection, his body churning with soft pleasures, joy. He shivered as Castiel exhaled on his cheek, then met his eyes. Dean saw love in his eyes.

“Like that,” Castiel said.

Dean lifted his head and rubbed his wet cheek on Castiel’s, making him laugh and duck away. Dean followed him, rubbing again and again until his cheek was dry. Castiel was now on his back, Dean curled over him. They were both grinning, and Dean was almost panting.

“Yes,” Castiel nodded. “Exactly like that. The way dogs play in the movie.” His fingers caressed the side of Dean’s jaw, a gradual, sweeping touch that made Dean’s facial hair tickle. “I’ll be your Lady,” Castiel said, with all the sweetness he usually reserved for words like ‘I’ll watch over you’. “You’re my wandering rogue, aren’t you. Tramp?”

Dean swayed downwards, pushing his cock against Castiel, making him grasp his hips. “I―” Dean swallowed, “I want to be Lady.”

Lady was a girl. Dean liked that. (―Shh! You already have too many secrets.)

Castiel squinted as he tried to discern why Dean said that, but when he spoke, it wasn’t right. “Lady has owners,” he said. “You want to belong?”

(Well, maybe it was a little bit right.) Dean nodded. “Mm-hm. I belong to you, right?”

Castiel laughed, wrinkling up the skin at the sides of his eyes. He nodded, pulling Dean down into a big hug, rolling him over in the messy sheets. Dean barked happily, and Castiel chuckled into the nook of his throat.

“But also,” Dean said, leaning into Castiel’s hand as he petted him, “I wanna be Lady because―”

“She’s female,” Castiel finished for him. He licked Dean’s lips, then kissed them. “I know. I won’t tell anyone your secret.”

Dean shut his eyes in relief. (It isn’t possible to love Castiel any more than you already do. But you will. It’s not difficult to love him more, he makes it so easy.)

Castiel snuggled around Dean like a protective puppy, nosing him, nudging him. Whispering to his ear; “Good girl.”

Dean stiffened, breath going short. That word didn’t feel good.

“Oh―” Castiel realised immediately. “No. Good boy?”

Dean shook his head. He whined unhappily, not knowing what human noise to make to explain.

“Oh, I know,” Castiel smiled, nuzzling Dean’s shoulder. “Good dog. You’re a very good dog.”

Dean felt brighter immediately. Castiel’s praise was so simple to accept; there was no agenda, no coercion for him; he didn’t want anything in return, he just wanted Dean to know he was good. Good dog.

Dean jumped up onto all fours, ass wiggling in the air. “Wuf!” he said, grinning. The pleasure of seeing Castiel’s eyes light up was monumental.

Castiel pounced at him, and Dean let Cas tackle him into the mattress, trying to make puppy noises rather than giggling. Castiel licked him and nipped his teeth gently wherever Dean showed him bare skin - and even when there was no skin to bite, as his panties were in the way, Castiel still made the effort to rub his face all over them, marking Dean with his scent. Dean lay with his legs apart and felt stubble through the lace, feeling his cock leaking to drench him under the fabric.

Castiel nuzzled all the way up Dean’s tummy, growling playfully. Dean accidentally giggled, then moaned when Castiel started licking a nipple. He couldn’t be a puppy when Cas was so good at making him human.

“You’re my favourite thing to play with, Dean.” Castiel’s voice was low in Dean’s stomach. Deep and tickly. Dean wanted him to sing. Hushed, Castiel instructed, “Roll over.”

Dean happily obliged, paws beside his chin, knees tucked up against his chest. He wiggled his butt to entice Cas into another game, and Castiel didn’t resist for a second.

This time the game was far naughtier than one little puppies played.

Castiel took the male role and he let Dean lie underneath, mating with him. Oh, it was the best kind of pretend... Just soft rolls of the hip, more canoodling than coupling.

Dean cried out on a breath and let Castiel rub on him, imaginary tail kept out of the way.

He couldn’t be afraid of dogs if he was a dog. (Learn something: don’t be afraid of yourself. Don’t be afraid of what you want. Don’t be scared.)

But no matter how fun it was to have Castiel’s cock rutting against his ass, it wasn’t really what Dean wanted. (Tell him what you want, tell him or he won’t know.)


“Dogs don’t talk, Dean.”

Dean murmured a blare of pleasure into the sheets. “I― Oh... They talk― They talk in the movie.”

Castiel chuckled, biting the scruff of Dean’s neck ever so gently. “What do you want to say?”

“I wanna cuddle now,” Dean said, panting.

(God, it was so easy this time. His previous dream erased all shame from those words, it seemed. Dean wanted a cuddle. He wanted to be held and loved, not caring how sappy or effeminate that desire was to the rest of the world. Castiel was not ashamed, so Dean wasn’t.)

“Okay, Dean,” Castiel said. “Roll over again. Good dog.”

(Dean was his dog, his little puppy. Kiss him to make sure, so he knows you love him.)

Dean squirmed and smiled up at the sun-washed ceiling, feeling sun-washed himself. He enjoyed all this playing far more when he could lie back in the big, big bed, nearly naked, completely trusting. Castiel kissed his heart with his wonderful lips, stubble on his chin. (Don’t forget the blue eyes when he glances up. You love those eyes, they make you feel like you’re drowning.)

Dean liked it best when Castiel stopped doing everything, just lay down and was quiet.

“Relax, Dean,” Castiel told him. “Let everything go. You won’t ever be alone, you’re safe with me.”

Dean could hear the sea. (That’s your breath. Stop breathing, you can’t hear Castiel’s heart.)

Dean liked it best (his cock was so hard; he was gonna come, he was gonna come in his panties) when Castiel held his hand. Kissed the scar on his arm. (Not the mark of Cain, but Castiel’s handprint. You’re not damned, Dean; you’re saved. You deserve to be saved.) Put his hands inside Dean’s panties so he could make it easier. Just touched, didn’t rub. Caught him as he came, so he didn’t fall completely.


Dean jerked awake, back arching as his eyelids flickered. It was dark, the middle of the night, and he was coming hard. Holy crap, it was so hot, and so fast. His heart was thudding like a drum, blood pulsing as loud as a train on a track in his head.

He shook until it ended, feeling his sweat begin to cool on his forehead. The blanket was stuck to him, maybe it hadn’t been a good idea to keep his jeans off.

Dean licked his dry lips with his dry tongue, reaching for his cellphone. The light let him check that Sam was asleep - and he was snoring, so that was okay. Castiel was probably outside, but there were no windows on that side of the room, so Dean couldn’t check.

Swallowing, Dean scrambled under the blanket so he could look at what his dream had done to him. In the blue light from his phone, he saw the very dark, slick smear on the grey fabric of his boxer-briefs. He liked that they were grey, it made it show up well.

He touched it, smiling to himself when he felt it was still hot and wet, and his cock was still slightly hard. He let the cloth chafe as he rubbed it, listening to the squishing sound, head falling back in revelry at the leftover pleasure.

He’d never, ever had a dream like that before. Before tonight he hadn’t even known he liked some of that stuff. He’d seen it in porn, but it had never been so... gentle.

Dean found certain things were so much easier to accept, now that his subconscious had already decided they were okay. He was in love with Cas. That was just a fact now. Dreams were amazing.

He kept touching his wet underwear until the pleasure turned to discomfort - but even then, he was still smiling. Oh, he was very pleased. His tummy felt like he’d been tickled―

There had been tickling in his dream. He’d forgotten until now, and it all came back as he focused on the happy feeling in his stomach. There had been lots of playful groping, too, but the cuddling was by far his favourite part.

He curled up in the bed, grinning at how awesome it was to feel the way he did right now.

He didn’t want to question why these dreams were happening. He liked them, it didn’t matter that they were going to be addictive for him. Better this than to drink. Better this, than to do it for real and ruin a solid friendship.

He slid out of bed on trembling legs, and beamed at his reflection as he washed his underwear in the sink. He put new boxers on, and went back to bed. He didn’t sleep, as he’d had his four hours - five, by the clock - but he lay awake, just thinking about how much he’d enjoyed his dream.

Without a doubt, the dreams were better than real life. If it weren’t for his past experience with alternative fantasy lives, he would have chosen his dreams over reality any day.

Still, it was a place to go back to tomorrow night. The real world didn’t seem so fearsome, now he knew there was a way to escape.


They didn’t get back to the bunker by nightfall. Dean detoured, and they checked out two of the three possible cases, but decided to turn in before they looked into the third one, since it couldn’t be dealt with until the morning. So they booked another motel room, this one only fifty miles down the road from the last one. They might not be home for another two days or more, if the next lead panned out.

Dean missed the bunker, but he also wouldn’t complain if they stayed away longer. Going back and walking into the library would just bring back memories he didn’t want to remember. Kevin, dead, lying there with his hollowed-out eyes.

No, don’t think about it.

Sam wanted Dean to go with him to see a movie, given that they were in town early and everything was sorted for the night, but Dean said no.

He didn’t know why he said no. Maybe it was the whole “we’re not brothers” thing, maybe it was the distance that grew between them after those words were said, but whatever it was, Dean regretted turning him down almost as soon as Sam had closed the door and left. He wanted to run after him, dragging Cas along too, but he didn’t. Dean didn’t even know what movies were showing, but he didn’t check, in case there was something he wanted to see and the dragging claws of regret tore at him even more.

Him being miserable meant Cas was miserable too. He was flipping through TV channels, same as last night. Dean was in bed with his boots on the blanket, staring at the back of Castiel’s head. Same as last night. Same as every night.

There could be such a thing as too much routine, Dean thought.

“Let’s watch something,” Dean suggested, kicking off his boots to the floor, then poking Cas in the back of his trenchcoat with a toe. “Something not on TV, there’s nothing on.”

Castiel showed Dean the TV schedule, which he’d somehow worked out how to display. “There’s an animated movie about dogs,” Castiel said.

Dean’s blood ran cold. How had he known last night? Was he psychic? But when Dean hurried to the TV screen, he read the listing, and was relieved to find it was something other than Lady and the Tramp. It was All Dogs Go to Heaven. Not psychic, just prone to coincidence.

“Nah,” Dean said, bumping his arm along Castiel’s side. “I don’t like dogs that much.” He’d been ripped to pieces by Hellhounds, so logically, a certain fear followed that.

“No. Apologies, I should’ve known.” Castiel said, in a very understanding voice. He turned the TV off, letting the motel room instead fill with the sound of rattling from the pipes, and the outside voices of two men arguing in Spanish. A siren coasted in through the closed front door. It was the usual ambience.

“Here, we’ll watch something on this,” Dean suggested, picking up his laptop and scooting to one side of the queen-size bed. This bed had a dip in the centre too, and he acted like he wasn’t falling into the middle of it. If Castiel sat beside him, they could lean together.

Castiel approached the bed slowly, cautiously. Dean caught his eye and frowned. “What’s up with you?”

Castiel’s lips parted, hands curling against the sides of his too-dark trenchcoat. “I thought we weren’t supposed to view pornography when others are in the room.”

Dean looked quickly at his screen, which had Youtube up, not porn. He looked at Castiel in confusion. “What? Why would we watch porn?”

Castiel had halted at the side of the bed, three fingers and a thumb rounding on a coat button. “You use that machine to look at pornography.”

Dean was taken aback by that. “Not all the time! Geez, where were you when we tracked down a whole bunch of security-camera ghosts on our last hunt?” Castiel had definitely been present, so Dean wasn’t sure why Cas was so shifty-eyed now.

“I―” Castiel gulped, turning his face away. He came over all sheepish, and Dean quickly became suspicious.

“Spit it out, Cas.”

Castiel sighed. “I thought I might entertain myself while you were in the bathroom last night. I opened it and―”

Dean hunched over his laptop protectively. “You―” his voice had gone weak, “You looked?”

“Sorry,” Castiel said, not meeting Dean’s eye. “I didn’t realise what would be there.”

Dean gulped, shutting his eyes and turning his face towards the laptop with its humming processors sitting idle. It was gross and weird that Cas had seen what he’d seen. Dean had never wanted Cas to see any of his porn.

A thought arose: even so many years later, Dean remained glad that Chastity and her feather-edged babydoll top had done nothing for Cas. But now―

“Did you like it?” Dean asked. There was no point dancing around the question. It was what he wanted to know, so he asked. “The porn on my laptop, did you like it?”

Castiel made a quiet sound that Dean couldn’t pin to any definite emotion. “It was very - uhm... indelicate,” Castiel said. He was choosing his words carefully. “I always imagined you prefered more tasteful subjects. Although I do know what you enjoy...”

Dean didn’t know what to say to that. Cas had previously wondered what kind of porn Dean liked. That was interesting.

“But no,” Castiel said. “I was not aroused by it. It was intriguing, though.”

Dean chuckled softly, running his fingertips across his forehead. “Uh. O- Okay. Cool.” He wet his lips, trying to move past the discomfort in his gut.

He didn’t want to tell Cas that he didn’t get aroused by it either, not any more. It was just something he fell back to as security, the same way it had been for years. Maybe Cas already knew, maybe he didn’t. He thought Dean liked more sophisticated things, and that was true. But sophistication cost money, and that type of porn wasn’t as instant as Dean needed it to be.

“If we’re not going to view pornography, then may I join you?” Castiel said gently, and Dean returned to awareness of himself and his current situation.

“Oh. Oh, right, yeah,” Dean nodded, moving his laptop from his thighs to the bed, because the base of it was getting quite warm. He patted the bed to his right, and Castiel climbed up, shoes off.

“Take your coat off, would you? We can just chill out.” Dean grinned. Castiel got back up and obliged, leaving the coat on the bed. “And the jacket, c’mon. You look like a freakin’ funeral director.” Cas took his suit jacket off too.

That was the first time he’d ever done that, dressed himself down to just a shirt and slacks because Dean asked him to.

Dean realised he had a power over his friend that he never knew he had until now. He didn’t need to ask him for big things only, he could ask for little things too. Take your coat off. Sit beside me. Spend some time with me, please, I miss you.

Castiel sat down beside Dean, and Dean relaxed. Their biceps were resting together, Dean could feel muscle against his own bare arm, t-shirt to crumpled dress shirt. Castiel was warm. Dean settled the laptop on top of both their thighs, and his heart caught on a beat when he remembered part of last night’s wet dream. This was what they’d done, he only remembered now. Laptop set between them.

What if his dreams were coming true? What if they were going to―

“May I type something?” Castiel asked, interrupting Dean’s thoughts. His breath almost touched Dean’s jaw - they were close, they were so close to each other. Dean didn’t think they’d ever been this close for as many seconds already. He should breathe in, he wanted to know what Cas smelled like - but he didn’t.

“Go ahead,” Dean smiled, angling the black keyboard towards Cas. Castiel’s wrists were poised as he typed. Dean watched his fingers. They were slim fingers - still masculine, but delicate enough to be called beautiful.

It occurred to Dean then and there that ‘masculine’ did not exclude ‘beautiful’ by default.

...Panties. Pretty lace panties.

Oh, dear God. Dean’s mind was a maelstrom of thought and realisation and chaos. How he was ever going to deal with this all was beyond him.

“Do you want to watch this?” Castiel asked, as a Youtube video started to play. Dean didn’t think he had much choice now that Castiel had already picked, but nodded, because he did want to watch whatever Castiel wanted. It wasn’t out of any desire to please him, but because Dean was curious. And because he loved him.

There were baby guinea pigs shuffling around their mother on the screen. Dean felt a warmth in his heart that surprised him. Holy crap, that was cute.

Dean looked at Castiel with total amazement curdling all his conscious thoughts. Castiel had a smile brightening him from inside, crinkles at the sides of his eyes. His attention was fixed on the screen, but Dean was just looking at him. Cas made him feel happy about baby animals, and Dean didn’t think he could ever forgive him for that.

They watched eighteen videos, and after then, Dean lost count. It was a sickening journey, which left Dean forgetting that he was human, thinking he was actually a guinea pig instead. He let Cas pick the videos, and once they ran out of guinea pigs, they moved on to kittens. There were about fifty million more search results, and Dean wasn’t even irritated to see that.

His tummy was doing that just-tickled flutter, his limbs were comfortable, and Cas smelt like Cas. Maybe it was what Jimmy smelled like, but Dean wasn’t in love with Jimmy, just his smell and his face and his hands, and the angel inside him. Dean couldn’t even describe that scent, because it turned out he already knew it well. It was already registered with its own section in Dean’s mind, and was not comparable.

Dean let his head slip onto Castiel’s shoulder, nose almost to his neck. His eyes blinked so slowly, watching kittens and guinea pigs snuggling together on the screen. Castiel was breathing with the calmness and rhythm of a tide on a shore. (That’s your breath. Shh, or you won’t hear his heart beating.) He was a metronome, paced slow. Gentle and relentless, holding Dean together.

(You’re dreaming now, Dean. Castiel loves you.)

Dean jolted awake when he felt bristles on his cheek. First, he thought Cas kissed him― But no, he only turned his head to ask, “Are you falling asleep?” Such a soft voice. This Castiel was nothing like the hurricane who rattled the roof that night they first met.

Dean sat upright and cleared his throat gruffly. “Uh. What. No, no, ‘m awake...”

Castiel gave him a knowing smile. Brilliant blue eyes. “Get to sleep, Dean. I’ll watch over you.”

Dean took a quick, shallow breath, almost startled to hear those words this time. Castiel was getting to his feet, carrying the laptop away.

“I’ll set this on charge for you. Where is your charger?”

Dean blinked a few times. “Wh... Oh, side pocket.” He gestured to his duffel bag. He let Castiel get on with it. Dean felt a bit out of sorts now, having been abruptly awoken from something soft and welcoming. Cas was right though, he should sleep. He glanced at his phone, and raised his eyebrows when he saw it was past eleven at night. Sam had been out for ages.


Dean looked up as he was pushing back the blankets, ready to tuck himself in. “Huh?”

Castiel was kneeling beside Dean’s bag, looking up at him. He turned away, shaking his head. “Nothing, never mind.”

“What, Cas? What is it?”

Castiel hesitated, then put a hand on top of the duffel bag. “There’s some wet underwear in here, I was going to ask if you meant to hang it out when we got here.”

Dean coloured quickly, like he’d been shot. He turned his face away, easing out a breath so Castiel didn’t see his sudden discomposure. When he felt more collected, he strode over to his friend and flashed him a careless grin, digging out the underwear. It had made the side of the bag damp, which was why Castiel had noticed. “Thanks. Yeah, I meant to air it.”

He went to the bathroom to hang the boxers on the towel rail, glaring at his reflection in the mirror when he realised he was still blushing. Damn his pale cheeks and his reactive blood.

He smiled flatly when he went back to the bed, seeing Castiel plug in the laptop on the other side of the room. “Think Sam’ll be back soon?”

“He’s only around the corner,” Castiel assured him. “He’ll be here in two minutes.”

So Dean only had two minutes to settle this weird, anxious feeling in him. He didn’t want Cas to wait outside tonight, but it was too difficult to ask him to stay. He could always not ask him to leave...

Dean stood helplessly beside his bed, four feet away from Cas, who also stood motionless.

“Goodnight... Cas,” Dean managed.

Castiel smiled. “Goodnight, Dean. Perhaps you should get into bed.”

“Yeah.” Dean licked his lips. Ah, screw wearing jeans, he wanted to feel it if - when he came. He undid his belt and unzipped in front of Cas, not caring that he was being watched. Castiel didn’t even turn away, but watched shamelessly. Dean figured he didn’t know he was supposed to look away - Dean had showed him, so Cas thought he was meant to see.

Dean tossed the jeans on the end of the bed, over Castiel’s coat and jacket. Castiel watched them land there, and while Dean thought he would leave his clothes where they were, Cas instead went forward and picked them up. He left the jeans, but put on his suit jacket and trenchcoat.

Dean didn’t really like seeing him wear that darker coat. It was the wrong coat, and it only reminded him that the angel grace inside Cas wasn’t his own, either. Something was going to give eventually, Dean was sure of it.

Ugh, he didn’t want to think about it. There was too much to think about.

Dean took off his wristwatch, but kept Mary’s ring and his bracelets where they were. He never took those off if he could help it.

Dean straightened, now down to his boxers and t-shirt. He and Cas were standing and staring at each other. Dean was waiting for Cas to leave or stay, Cas was waiting for Dean to get into bed.

Dean maybe had a minute left, or less; thirty seconds. Oh, so little time. Just tell him to stay. Just get into bed and pretend to be asleep, don’t say anything when Sam comes back and asks if Cas is staying tonight.

In a flurry of panic, Dean rushed at Cas and enveloped him in a hug. He squeezed for less than a second, then jumped away. “G’night,” he said in a breath. “Bye, guess I’ll see you tomorrow.”

He grabbed the covers and hid under them, eyes wide, terrified that he’d actually just done what he’d done. Hugged him. Told him to leave. Screwed up.

He shut his eyes and held off the need to weep when he heard the door shut as Castiel left. He’d walked this time, he hadn’t flapped away.

Dean heard voices outside, a pause, then Sam’s laugh. Then another draft came from the closing door, and Sam was inside.

“Dean, are you awake?” Sam asked.

“Yeah,” Dean muttered.

“Want me to turn the light off?”

Dean grunted. “Yeah.”

Sam went to the side of Dean’s bed, and with a click, the glow through the blanket darkened to nothing. Dean saw coloured spots at the back of his head.

Sam chuckled.

“What,” Dean asked, in a slurring, tired voice.

“Nothing.” Sam was quiet for a second. “Just, when I came back, Cas hugged me. Don’t know why, he just hugged me and said goodnight.”

Dean snorted into his pillow. “Hmph.”

Dean figured Cas had assumed a goodnight hug was what they were all doing now. But Dean believed that what Castiel had with Sam was different from what he and Dean had. A hug from Dean meant something very rare. It kind of hurt that Cas didn’t know that.


Clouds surrounded Dean’s spirit where his unclothed body lay back, resting against a background of perfect blue. (Heaven?) It wasn’t sunset, there didn’t seem to be a sun anywhere, but the stars were turning, and the sky was bright. It was day, or night, or both. Dean stretched out on his cloud and watched the universe blossom in a subtle palette of colour.

It was a fluffy cloud. Not warm, not cold. Soft. And it was so relaxing to lie on.

“May I join you?” came Castiel’s voice. Dean tilted his head back, hair sinking into the haze of grey-white below him. Castiel was approaching with a lazy step, toes dragging and bringing up steam that curled and dissipated around his ankles. His wings were huge and darkly feathered, sweeping elegantly from his back. Dean smiled.

“You really need to ask?” Dean grinned, reaching out a hand to take Castiel’s as he sat down beside him. His legs sank through the clouds, as if he were sitting on something that was not solid at all, but it still held him up.

“I feel like I ought to ask before doing anything,” Castiel replied.

“Oh - right, ‘cause angels are big on consent.” Dean rolled over to be closer to Castiel, hands crossing over Castiel’s bare thighs. “Don’t worry, you can do anything you want to me. You don’t need to ask.”

Castiel’s hand darted to Dean’s tummy, and he tickled him gently, first with his fingertips, then with his wings. (Oh!) Dean gasped and curled against Castiel’s thigh, giggling until Castiel eased off. Dean nuzzled Castiel’s lap, murmuring into his skin, “Dick.”

Chuckling, Castiel stroked his hair, allowing Dean to relax in that position, arms around Castiel’s naked waist, forehead pressed on his outer hip. He smelled like rainbows. Water, light, colour. Dazzling in every way.

“Dean, is there anything you want?”

Dean snorted, kissing Castiel’s hip, slowly closing his eyes. (Can still see everything, though.) “Why do you keep asking what I want?”

“You ought to be made happy. You should be comforted and... cherished,” Castiel said, fingers still combing through Dean’s hair. A wing made a shelter over Dean’s back (perfect bird feathers). “Tell me what you want, and I’ll give it to you.”

“What about what you want? Your sole purpose can’t be to make me happy.”

Castiel laughed under his breath, folding from his seated position to roll against Dean, body warm and heavy as he draped himself down and slotted against Dean. (Bliss. Total bliss. Yes, this is Heaven. You’re held, you’re safe, you’re being loved. You’re being loved!)

Castiel had such an enigmatic smile.

“What I want,” Castiel said, fingers brushing Dean’s hair from his forehead, “is to make you cry out in pleasure, tremble with happiness. I want to be the one who made you that way.” (Love when he’s possessive. Makes you feel like you belong, for once. No need to worry about anything else, this is the world now.) “Tell me what you want, Dean.”

(Should’ve told him earlier. Now Cas had to ask.)

(Glad that he asked, though.)

Dean’s fingers searched to find Castiel’s hand, then held on once their fingers met. There was a small cloud between their palms. “I just... I want a cuddle,” Dean said. (Ew. Did it have to be phrased like that?)

(Yes. You like it that way. It’s what you want. It’s to the point, and hey... it’s cute.)

(And it’s not like Cas is arguing―) Castiel curled his arms protectively over Dean’s shoulders, letting out a low coo from the back of his throat. His eyes were half-closed, his lips parted like he loved it too, he was as turned on by the gentleness as Dean was. (Embrace, just hold me... Oh, like that―)

Kiss on Dean’s cheek. On his closed eyes. Naked bodies together, wings ruffled with emotional furor. Hands keeping Dean close.

Dean sighed, at rest.

“Love your wings, by the way,” he muttered, cracking open an eye. He smirked when Castiel fluttered the pinions proudly in reaction. (Fluffy, fluffy, fluffy.) “Mm,” Dean smiled, sinking into their soft texture. “I remember the first time you showed me these babies. The night we met. My first thought was, ‘oh, crap’. But actually? I had the weirdest boner. Like, you don’t see that every day. Each time I saw them after, they were sexier than the last time.”

“And why is that?”

Dean chuckled. “‘cause they were yours. First time, you were just some monster who happened to have a pretty face. I mean, all the best monsters do, usually. Yours was just alarmingly handsome. A dude sees eight-foot wings on another guy and he either starts to worry about his own inadequacy, or he acts impressed - because he is. I was. But yeah. Second time, you were Cas. My friend Cas. And I was - kind of falling for you.”

Castiel kissed his jaw bluntly. “I was kind of falling for you, too. I never really stopped falling.”

Dean buried his nose in feathers, humming with satisfaction. “Yay,” he sighed, with feeling.

An aeon passed. (Well, that was easy.)

Then Dean asked, “Hey, Cas. Kiss me, too?”

“Where would you like a kiss?” Castiel replied, his voice nothing but patterns under Dean’s skin. A tattoo made of sound.

“My heart.”

And on his heart, there was no tattoo. No protection. Pure and empty skin, faultless, pure as the clouds they lay on. There was nothing here to possess Dean but peace. Castiel put his lips to Dean’s skin, and gave him his tattoo: his voice. “Would you like me to touch you?”

Dean was aroused. But he answered no. “That’s not important.”

It wasn’t perfect yet, so Castiel asked again: “What else, Dean?”

(How did he know?)

(Just say the words. They’re only words, and he already knows.)

(Said like they were poison. Said like they were rapture.) “I wanna be the little spoon,” Dean whispered.

(In dreams, the smallest things take on greater meaning. Don’t worry that it’s pathetic. It’s not pathetic here. You want it to be important. And you told him, so that means you won.)


Castiel appeared in the motel room, ready for battle. Sam hushed him immediately, flapping a hasty hand.

“He’s just dreaming,” Sam said. Castiel was disarmed slightly, but still eyed Dean’s bed, wary.

Dean was writhing in the sheets, gasping and sweating. He moaned loudly, spine curving into an arch, pushing his hips off the bed. His hands were grasping the blankets, clenching and unclenching. He looked like he was having a fit, but Sam knew better.

“But he said my name,” Castiel said, still hesitating where he stood. He was intent on saving Dean, Sam wasn’t blind to it.

Sam smiled at Castiel, determined to ignore his embarassment to say: “He must be dreaming about you.”

Castiel fretted, eyes wide, mouth agape. He was confused.

“It’s a good dream,” Sam said. God, how was he supposed to explain this? “It’s not a nightmare, he’s - uh... He’s enjoying the dream a lot.”

Castiel squinted at Sam. “But he’s whining.”

Sam bit the back of his lip. Dean was making a lot of noise...

Sighing, Sam leaned forward over his thighs, patting the bed beside him. He’d been woken by the sound of Dean’s sheet-wrestling, and hadn’t taken a second to work out what Dean was dreaming about, but Cas obviously didn’t get what was happening.

Castiel sat beside Sam, hands clutched in his lap. He was nervous, still watching Dean flop about in the bed with a great deal of concern.

“Cas... Do you know...” Sam cleared his throat, “Do you know what a wet dream is?”

Castiel looked at Sam sharply. “A nocturnal emission. When a man ejaculates in his sleep.”

Sam tried his best not to grimace in discomfort. This was what he imagined being a father would be like, explaining awkward things to a child in the middle of the night. But he didn’t ever think he would be having this conversation with millennia-ancient being dressed in a trenchcoat, regarding Sam’s own brother - especially not in the same room, while the event in question was still transpiring before their very eyes.

“Yeah, that’s right,” Sam said. He glanced at Dean, who was now lying on his front, panting, wearing a facial expression of complete bliss, but with underlying desperation. Dean moaned, nuzzling the pillow.

Sighing, Sam went on, “Dean’s dreaming about sex. He probably said your name because―”

“He’s―” Castiel looked startled. “No, he can’t be. He’s... dreaming about...” His mouth didn’t seem capable of saying the final word.

“You,” Sam finished. “He’s dreaming about you.” He lowered his eyes to his lap, letting out an uncomfortable breath.

Castiel was very quiet.

“I’m not going to wake him up,” Sam said, looking across at Castiel’s white-knuckled hands. “Mostly because he’d never forgive me, but also because it’s not my business. If you want to wake him up, if you don’t want him thinking about you that way, then you do it.”

Castiel was staring at the bed opposite, which was now juddering under the slow, rolling humps Dean’s pelvis was giving it.

It took another few seconds of silence filled only with Dean’s soft moans, but eventually... Sam noticed Castiel’s reaction.

Castiel had put his hands in his lap for a reason.

Sam grumbled and covered his face with his hands. “Wow. Okay, Cas? For future reference... don’t touch yourself if I’m in the room. Especially not if I’m right next to you.”

Sam actually felt kinda sick. His brother was clearly close to getting off, and Cas wasn’t far behind. Sam was never getting back to sleep again.

“Sorry,” Castiel said gently, tucking his hands under his thighs instead. “It felt nice.”

Sam pushed his hair back with a hand, trying not to look at anyone or anything. “Yeah, that’s sort of the problem.”


“Sam, get out of here,” Dean complained, wrapping Castiel tighter over his back. “At least put some clothes on. I can’t cuddle properly if you’re watching.”

Sam folded his arms, standing on Dean’s cloud looking down at where Dean and Castiel were cuddling. All three of them were still totally naked. “Look,” Sam said, “I’m going to go outside until Dean’s - ugh - finished. Either wake him up, or come with me,” he said.

Sam and Cas had been having a weird conversation for a few years now (Dean had been watching the clock), and Cas - even though he was snuggled up against Dean’s back, perfectly warm, putting teeny tiny kisses on his shoulders - replied. “Okay. I’ll stay here.”

“You’re going to wake him up?”

Dean rolled his eyes. (There was nothing creepier than your own brother presiding over your sex dream...)

“Yeah,” Castiel whispered, smothering Dean’s neck with warm breath, wings rubbing his cock. “Yeah, I’ll wake him up.” Kiss, kiss, hands on Dean’s tummy, stroking him.

A door in Heaven opened, then closed, and a cold outside draft blew all the clouds away. Sam was gone, and Dean was now lying in a motel bed, the cosmos of centuries lingering above him, twinkling beautifully. His blanket was cloudy.

Castiel was still wrapped around him. (He’s sitting on the bed beside you, but you’re dreaming.) “Dean...”

Dean nuzzled him, heads together. “Mm, Cas...”

Castiel’s breath caught. He touched Dean’s cheek, hands cradling him. “Dean, you... you have to wake up.”

“But I’m not finished yet,” Dean complained. He pushed his ass against Castiel’s cock, pleased that his guardian angel was hard too. This was the best and only way to cuddle.

“Dean...” (Cas was excited but trying not to be.)

The blanket made of clouds was dragged back, and all the cold stars rushed down against Dean’s naked body. But he wasn’t naked, he was wearing a t-shirt and underwear. Castiel was looking at him, and Dean was very close to coming.

“Dean... you... need to―” Castiel struggled to speak. “Oh... Dean... You’re really dreaming about me?”

Dean nodded. “Yeah.”

“What am I doing?”

Dean looked at Castiel, admiring his blue eyes, his smile. (He’s your angel.) “Loving me.”


Castiel didn’t know what to do with that information. Dean was lying asleep with his cheek in Castiel’s hand, lips parted, looking like he meant every word. Every breath carried a slurred moan.

Castiel couldn’t stop glancing to Dean’s erection. The grey fabric of his underwear was darkened by pre-ejaculate, smudged and shiny. Castiel wanted very badly to touch it, but knew he shouldn’t.

“Dean...” Castiel smiled when he said Dean’s name, because Dean purred with pleasure. He loved to hear his name as much as Castiel loved to say it. “Dean, I - I want to touch you.”

There was no point keeping it a secret. Even asleep, Dean was responding; it was not unlike having him under hypnosis. Castiel was speaking directly to Dean’s subconscious. So if Castiel told him the truth, perhaps Dean would hear it as honesty, as opposed to something vile, something to reject.

Dean heard the words and he was gratified by them. He made another pleased sound, a little smile curling his lips as Castiel stroked his cheek. “I’ss okayyy, Cas,” he murmured. “Mm... mmm...” He nuzzled Castiel’s hand, face moved like he was nodding, jaw bristling Castiel’s palm until it turned burned sorely. Slurring again, Dean said, “Touchin’s good.”

Castiel’s heart leapt. Even with the permission he needed, acting on it scared him. What if it was still wrong...?

But his hand was more fearless than the rest of him. His fingers reached for Dean’s underwear, heart pounding harder for every second that elapsed as he moved.

Before Castiel even got a finger to Dean’s crotch, his eyes widened as he saw what was happening: Dean was coming, a white trickle spilling out into the stretched cloth of his underwear. It spread and sank into the fibres, darkening - Dean let out a luxuriated moan, eyelids flickering. Castiel’s body was running with delight abound, he never thought he would take so much joy in seeing a human perform something so simple as ejaculation.

Dean whimpered, nuzzling Castiel’s hand again. “Mmloveyouu...”

Castiel cradled Dean’s face with both hands now, peering down at him with a great feeling of devotion flowing in his blood. “I love you too, Dean. Very much. More than anything.” It was overwhelming - how was this much feeling even possible? He shook his head, totally awed.

But Dean’s eyelashes flickered again, and Castiel realised he was waking up, finally.

And Castiel was scared. What if Dean never wanted this to be real? What if it was all just fantasy - something kept private, in case he and Castiel both acted like themselves and ruined everything, yet again? After all, keeping his love a secret was what Castiel had been doing for years.

So Castiel beat his invisible wings down and stirred up tiny stars that Dean would never be able to see.

Dean woke to an empty motel room. The light beside his bed was on. His blanket had been tossed back, his underwear was soaked through, and he had a wonderful feeling inside him - truly, inexplicably wonderful - but somehow it also felt like... Like the puzzle had been put together, but without the edge pieces. He was missing something important, and he didn’t know what it was.


“So where did you guys even go last night?” Dean asked, rolling up the window, so he could hear any replies over the sound of air rushing past the car. Sunlight cut the road ahead into halves: yellow farther ahead, and cold blue under the wheels. The sun-blocking clouds were moving towards the car, so as they drove, Dean and his passengers entered the warmth, and the entire temperature in the car changed before Sam answered.

“I took a walk,” Sam said, with a simple shrug.

Dean shot his brother an incredulous look. “At three in the morning.”

“As did I,” Castiel said. His eyes darted to Sam’s, a movement that Dean noticed but didn’t know how to interpret.

“So...” Dean licked his lower lip slowly, flexing his fingers on the steering wheel, “what did you talk about?”

“What?” Sam said.

Dean shrugged. “You take a walk with an angel at three in the morning, there’s gotta be something you talk about, right?”

His assumption was that they’d talked about him - that was, if they had actually gone on a walk at all. All he knew was that he’d woken alone in a room that should have also housed his brother. When he’d looked outside, neither of them were around. He’d called Sam’s cellphone and got no answer, but not two minutes later, both of Sam and Cas returned together, giving no explanations whatsoever.

They’d packed up and left after breakfast, checked out the third remaining case lead, but found it was a dead end, so got back in the car and drove. There were a hundred miles to Kansas City now, and Dean was desperate to find an excuse to detour again. He didn’t want to go back to a place of regret.

“We were talking about guinea pigs,” Castiel said.

Dean raised his eyebrows. “Huh.” He didn’t believe that, at all.


Twenty minutes later, he found a decent reason to leave the main road.

“Scenic route!” he said jovially, careening the wheels down a grittier highway. Fruit-heavy orchards left them behind after a matter of minutes, and endless horizons of farmland spread out on all sides. Dean rolled the windows down again and grinned, glad to have the relief of a few more hours.

He sang his way through three tapes (both A sides and B sides) without a complaint from either of his companions. He was happy for a while. He was happy because his brother and his best friend were with him, and he saw them smile any time he looked over at them. What he had with him now was all he had in the world, but no matter how small a blessing it was, it was good.

The blessings bred for Dean when the fuel tank emptied.

“You only just filled her up,” Sam said, understandably irritable. “It usually lasts longer than this.”

Dean harrumphed as he parked the car in the shoulder, pointed towards a knee-high field of grass that had gone to seed. An unobstructed view of the sunset lay before them, perfect orange and purple. “It’s just the road,” he answered. “Grit gets her down. There’s a spare tank in the trunk.”

Sam grunted and slammed the door as he stepped out. Dean sighed and flopped back against the leather seat, staring at the roof. The colour of the sunset made shimmers reflect off the car’s silver rims, casting a large triangle across the beige roof over his head. He blinked slowly.

In truth, he hadn’t been paying much attention last time he filled his car up, he must not have filled her all the way. His mind had been on the clouds, on the good weather that cleared the sky today. He’d been thinking about his dream last night, how optimistic having an orgasm every night made him feel. It wasn’t like having sex every night - not least because it wasn’t a new girl every night. It was like sharing his life with love every night, like falling back into arms that promised to catch him every time.

Castiel shuffled in the back seat, watching Sam carry the spare container of gas to the opening to fill the car’s tank. After a moment, Dean got the impression he was being looked at, so glanced over at Cas, head turning on the backrest of his seat. “What’re you staring at?”

Castiel smiled softly. “The sunset makes your facial hair glow.”

Dean blinked a few times. That was a compliment, it had to be. “Uh. Cool.” His breath flustered. “Thanks.”

Castiel was still smiling. “Did you sleep well last night?”

Dean sat up properly and ducked his head, blinking in the orange light. “Yeah. Kinda.” He shrugged.

“You don’t sound sure.”

Dean grinned briefly. Sam was making a lot of noise as he poured the fuel into the car, clunking and glugging and sighing loudly enough that Dean heard through the window.

When he looked back at Castiel, Dean said, “I slept pretty good, actually. Three hours wasn’t much, but I feel awesome.”

“What―” Castiel made a breathy sound, “What did you dream about?”

Dean’s brain froze around the question. What did Cas mean by asking that? Did he know?

Castiel swallowed, then clarified: “I miss having dreams. I managed to feel productive even while handing myself over to one of humanity’s greatest flaws. Dreams... I don’t know. Dreaming helped me to think when my conscious mind was too stressed to do so.”

Dean smiled at Castiel fondly. “Sleeping isn’t always a defect.”

Castiel’s gaze rose up to meet Dean’s fully, and at the contact, Dean’s body flooded with heat. He came upon a new knowledge: Castiel agreed with him. There were merits in sleep, and Castiel knew it as well as Dean did. Whether or not that meant he knew Dean was escaping to a land of comfort with another version of him or not, that was unclear.

Any further thought was cut short by Sam clambering back into the passenger seat and looking out at the road expectantly.

Quiet, Dean turned the key, put the pedal to the metal, and drove.


Dean awoke to a yell and a hand grabbing his own from behind, a flash of light, Sam’s bark of alarm.

Dean panted in shock, unsure of what had just happened. The car had stopped moving, the engine was ticking, switched off. Dean looked around. To his right, he saw Sam’s black silhouette against an almost completely starry sky through the window. The silhouette of Castiel’s head was also wavering at Dean’s side.

Breathy, relieved silence filled the cabin for a few seconds.

“Wh... What?” Dean managed to say, groggily.

“You fell asleep,” Castiel said from the back seat, both gentle and reassuring, hand resting on Dean’s shoulder. “You almost ran off the road. So... I intervened.”

Sam made a disdainful sound. “I should’ve driven.”

Dean scoffed. “You were tireder than I was. You fell asleep already.”

Sam couldn’t argue with that, so said nothing.

Dean observed the shadowed scrubland on all sides of the car. He, Sam, and Cas were sitting inside the only shelter for miles around. Beyond this bastion, the world was vast, the hollow sound of night air echoing with nothing. Dean gripped the steering wheel, sighing slowly as he realised this would be where their journey ended for today.

“Maybe we should get some sleep,” he said, with a light touch of mirth. He was glad not to drive on.

Sam hummed, rolling over on his seat. “Fine. ‘Night, then.”

Dean watched his brother let out a long sigh, and seemingly fall straight to sleep. Dean then looked into the back seat, seeing the whites of Castiel’s eyes shine ever so slightly. “What about you?”

“I’ll watch over you,” Castiel said.

Of course. There was nothing else Dean could have expected him to say.

With a single smile, Dean lay back with the dip of his neck against the back of his seat. “Guess that’s goodnight.”

“Yes,” Castiel said, barely a whisper. “Sleep well, Dean.”

“Mm,” Dean murmured.

After the scare of only a minute before, he couldn’t fall straight to sleep like Sam had. But he pretended to, because he was tired, and sooner or later, pretence would fall in line with actual sleep.

Silence took over his mind, huge and daunting. He didn’t even know where they’d driven to, where they were. The stars were so bright out here.

Castiel breathed so quietly that Dean strained to hear him. Cas didn’t move, he didn’t shuffle or swallow or clear his throat. He was all but nonexistent. But Dean knew he was there, he could feel eyes on him. Dean was literally being watched over. Stared at.

There were thousands of ways to make Cas stop watching. The easiest was to just tell him to stop. Stop staring, it’s creepy. Go do something else for a few hours. Leave me alone.

(But you want him to watch. You feel safer.)

(No need to say anything. Just sleep and dream. Dream about him.)


Castiel couldn’t help feeling involved. Seeing Dean’s breath, seeing him gradually cease to blink, seeing his jaw relax, his shoulders slump, his lips part―

Castiel had never been so mindful of Dean in all his existence. He was confused by it, as equally as he was intrigued and enthusiastic. This was the first time Dean had fallen asleep in Castiel’s presence while actually being aware of said presence. There were times Castiel had been invisible, disobeying Dean’s order to leave him alone for the night, but never before had Dean accepted the offer.

It was overwhelming for Castiel. He sat and he stared, and he experienced.

He was trusted. He was appreciated. He was fulfilling his purpose. He felt truly loved, freed of doubts for the first time. He was loved. Dean loved him.

The shock and warmth in him didn’t abate for many hours, but kept up as static excitement in his body for the whole time. He was partially aroused, but didn’t seek to pleasure himself. It was good enough just to watch.

Watching Dean breathe seemed like a privilege. Castiel watched his throat tug up every so often as he swallowed; his lips dried of saliva, but his breath still curled with particles of wet heat. Castiel resisted putting his hand on Dean’s throat - no matter how tempting it was to touch him as he slept, Castiel wondered how welcome a touch would be.

After a while, Castiel got tired. Not tired of watching Dean, but physically. His eyelids began to droop, his breathing slowed. He understood fatigue, he’d felt plenty of it while he’d been human, so this came as no surprise. He wasn’t supposed to get tired - he was an angel, angels didn’t sleep - but he didn’t think he would be an angel for very much longer.

Perhaps his falling was the reason for his desire. Want was never this pronounced when he was fully anointed with grace. Maybe that was why he wanted to touch Dean: his long-hidden love for him was translating into ways far more human than before.

He bent forward over the centre of the front seat, arms folded on the backrest with his cheek pressed to his coat sleeves. He stared at Dean like that, blinking slowly. He wouldn’t fall asleep, but he could allow himself to doze for a while.

After another half an hour, Castiel had fantasised about touching Dean’s face what seemed like a hundred thousand times over. It felt good to fantasise, it made him tingle and bluster with an inner thrill, but it made him ache, too. He wanted it to be real, he was too burdened with his ache to let the chance pass. So he sank a hand into Dean’s hair, delighted with its texture. Each strand was thin, unlike Castiel’s thicker hair. It was warm under his hand, and tickled his palm as he stroked his fingers back from Dean’s forehead.

Dean smiled in his sleep. Castiel made a tender sound against his will, so pleased by that smile. He rested his mouth against the sleeve of his coat so no more sound could escape; he was somewhat embarrassed by his enjoyment. But seeing Dean... seeing him happy, seeing him at rest, at peace... There was no denying that it made Castiel love him more. He continued to stroke his hair, fingers apart.

Dean eventually began to flicker in his sleep, blinking without opening his eyes, moving his lips like he was about to speak. He was dreaming now.

Castiel bit his lower lip, pushing his head closer to Dean’s, so his forehead was resting on Dean’s cheek where Dean’s head was tilted back. There was proper arousal sinking fiery stones between Castiel’s legs, but he dared not touch himself. He only wanted to observe how it all affected Dean, how dreams took his body over.

Dean sighed slowly, giving a small grunt as his hips shifted for the first time. Castiel smiled, closing his eyes to savour it.

Some minutes later, Dean breathed out hot against Castiel’s forehead, a breath that was followed by a slow moan. Castiel began to pant, losing control over himself just a little. He didn’t know what was wrong with him, why Dean being so vulnerable made him seem so enticing.

Consumed by the simmering lust, Castiel opened his mouth over Dean’s eye, breathed a soft sigh over his dreams, whatever they were. Castiel then closed his lips again, slowly... slowly kissing Dean’s eyelid. He was beautiful to Castiel. So incredibly beautiful.

Feeling the kiss, Dean made a sound of unmistakable pleasure, and Castiel’s hand shot down between his open legs to clutch his erection, gasping; the firmness of it surprised him, the pleasure arriving as a shock.

Castiel ducked away from Dean, letting go of his own crotch immediately. He understood, now. This was why Dean didn’t let him watch over him at night. Dean must have known that Castiel felt this way before Castiel had even been aware.

He loved too much, and he wasn’t allowed to love a sleeping man. Castiel was a predator.

He rested a hand over his face in shame, releasing a breath as he opened the car door and stepped outside into the gritty road. The night air was empty, wind whorling in a distant current through the seeded grass. Castiel took a breath, leaving the car door resting closed but not sealed.

He took a few steps down the road ahead of the car, face turned to the sky.

There were too many stars to count. A week ago he would have known how many just by looking, but now, he was as clueless as every other stargazer on the planet. It ought to sadden him, but all it did was scare him. What if it had all been for nothing? What if he fell for the third time and Dean still didn’t want him?

There were other things he could do with his life. There were things he wanted to do, things he could only do without Dean. Like travel the world, seeing it through his human eyes. And yet... it didn’t seem a good enough of a dream. There was work to be done world-over, but the biggest challenge would be here. Here, beside Dean. Fixing what was not yet broken.

A relationship. That was what they could have. A future of pain and constant trials, but one that would be worth it in the end. That was, if Dean didn’t reject Castiel for this disgraceful arousal he wished he didn’t feel. The strain in his slacks felt as glorious as anything else ostensibly mortal, but it felt sinful to Castiel. He knew enough about human morality to know it wasn’t right to pleasure someone while they were unconscious.

A car door creaked open, and Castiel turned around quickly to see Sam climbing out of the car, blinking tiredly.

Sam closed the door incompletely, then gave a dull smile as he strode towards Castiel. He stopped to rest against the hood of the car, and Castiel went to stand beside him.

“Dean woke me up,” Sam explained, yawning and rubbing at his squinty eyes with a thumb and forefinger. “He’s having another - you know.”

“Wet dream?” Castiel frowned.

“Unfortunately, yeah.” Sam’s hands slumped to his thighs, and he sighed. “I think you might’ve overdone it with the dream thing. His dreams are too good.”

“Are your dreams not like that?”

Sam chuckled and shook his head. “Nah. I’ve been dreaming about Mom, and Jess, and...” He sighed again. “That life. Better things. It’s not so upsetting now. I don’t know. It was freaky the first time, and I woke up pretty rattled, but after a couple more dreams like that, it just started to feel... easy. Going to sleep has been the best part of the day, these past couple days. They’re all still alive in my head. You know? Kevin, his mom. Sarah and Madison. Our Dad. Benny, even.” Sam smirked, shrugging boldly and giving Castiel a smile. “I’m grateful, you should know that. There’s no Lucifer, there’s no death. You did a good job.”

Castiel smiled politely, but began to wonder if that ‘good job’ would stick forever. He was feeling weaker by the day, sometimes by the hour. How long until the blessing wore off?

“So what are you doing out here?” Sam asked, nudging Castiel with his elbow. “I thought you were a big fan of watching Dean sleep.” When Castiel’s eyes met Sam’s, Sam grinned lopsidedly. “Or so Dean keeps saying. He complains a lot. ‘Cas stares at me’ this, ‘I can’t make him stop’ that. I don’t know about you, Cas, but I don’t think he minds that much. There comes a point where I figure, no matter what comes out of his mouth, the lady doth protest too much.”

Castiel pressed a bland smile between his lips, putting his hands into his coat pockets. “I―”

The words caught in his mouth like his teeth were a net. He couldn’t confess to Sam...

“What,” Sam prompted. His eyes darted between each of Castiel’s, his whole face shrouded in night-time blue. “Cas, what’s up?”

Castiel swallowed his pride, supposing that after all they had been through together, one truth between them was better than another secret. “I frightened myself. So... I left.” He looked over at the car, smiling when he saw Dean still sleeping, still dreaming.

“Frightened,” Sam repeated. “How?”

Castiel glanced down at his crotch, relieved to see his erection had faded. His eyes drew back to Sam’s, only to realise Sam had figured out what Castiel had kept unsaid from that downward look alone.

“Oh,” Sam said. His tongue poked over his lower lip nervously. “You don’t think Dean wants that.”

“I don’t think he would want it to be quite so one-sided,” Castiel said levelly. “I do believe he is... attracted to me. But I also believe he has no intention to act on his desires. I don’t want to force him, or take him unawares.” Castiel found himself blushing ever so slightly, but it seemed to be masked by the starlit darkness.

Again, he looked through the car’s windshield. Seeing Dean asleep stirred so much emotion in him that he couldn’t name a single feeling. It was all a rush, a bulk of heaviness in his gut, a lightness in his chest, an ember ignited in his loins. Dean was a curse to look upon, he made Castiel so fragile.

“So he’s been dreaming about you,” Sam said slowly, eyes distant as he considered their conversation carefully. “You know he’s in love with you―”

“I never said―!”

“But you know it,” Sam interrupted. When Castiel’s tongue tripped and went silent rather than forming a reply, Sam smirked widely. “Yeah, you know it. He’s in love with you. You’re in love with him.”

Castiel looked down at the grit under Sam’s shoes. He felt terribly meek in that moment, ultimately humbled. Castiel’s love was not meant for Dean. Castiel was only supposed to love God... and humanity. Dean was not all of humanity, but for Castiel, he represented so much of it. He was so much of everything.

“Yes,” Castiel said, finally. His eyes rose to meet Sam’s. “Yes, I am.” He felt his stolen grace take another dive towards humanity as he said it.


He was causing his own fall.

Every time he did as humans did, felt their emotions, ate their food, wanted the same things they did, he became a little more like them.

It made him stand tall, smile proudly at Sam. He spoke again, not ashamed any more: “I’m in love with Dean.”

He fell another lightyear. He smiled more.

“I got it the first time,” Sam said, still smirking. “So you― You know all that, but you won’t go up to Dean and say, ‘hey, I want something with you’?”

Castiel frowned. “Am I supposed to do that?”

“Well, don’t you think it would get you somewhere?”

Castiel thought about it. “If I asked, would he let me touch him?”

Sam’s mouth slid open. He blinked a few times, shaking the weariness from his tired eyes. “Oh,” he said, gaze dipping to Castiel’s stomach. “That’s what you want.”

Castiel parted his lips and wet them with his tongue, feeling another gust of embarrassment that seemed to come hand-in-hand with discussing his sexual proclivities with Sam. “I feel lust. Particularly when he―” Castiel closed his eyes, fully ashamed. “When he sleeps.”

Sam made a disgruntled noise. When Castiel opened his eyes, Sam had the fingertips of one hand pressed to his temples. “You know there’s consent issues with that.”

“Yes. That’s precisely why I stepped outside rather than continuing.”

“Continu―” Sam shut his mouth. “Actually, no. I don’t want to know.”

He paused for a while, then sighed extendedly. Castiel broke the silence first, muttering, “He did say it was okay to touch him. But he was asleep when he said it, I can’t be sure he meant it.”

Sam squinted.

Castiel went on, less uncomfortable now, “It was a full conversation we had. On the one hand, it became clear that Dean... wants me to touch him, but...”

“But he wouldn’t say it if you asked him while he’s awake,” Sam finished. Castiel nodded.

Sam ran a hand over his mouth. “Look,” he raised the other hand, palm up, “I can’t give consent on Dean’s behalf, but I know him well enough that if you asked him up-front, he’d turn you down on principle and then regret it for the rest of his life. Given what you say... that he did tell you what he wanted―”

“He did,” Castiel confirmed. “He told me touching’s good.”

“Then I honestly think it’s up to you. But know that - if you hurt Dean, if you’re wrong and he doesn’t want it, then...” Sam shook his head, eyes locked to Castiel, giving him a very solemn look. “Then there’s no going back. You can’t just do what you want, here. You get that, don’t you?”

Castiel nodded once. He knew it all too well. Sam was only making sure.

Sam sighed yet again, resting both hands over his face. When he pulled his hands away, he was yawning.

Castiel put a hand on Sam’s shoulder. “Perhaps you should take a walk, Sam.”


With a significant look, Castiel expressed his intention: “I’m going to talk with Dean.”

Sam smiled, relief washing over his features. “Oh, thank God. Talking. Talking’s good.” He stood up off the hood of the car, patting Castiel a few times on the back. “Have fun, Cas. I’ll wait out the storm someplace else.”

Castiel smiled as Sam’s figure retreated down the gravel road, a hand scooping through his hair, an arm spread out to stretch it as he walked. He left the road and wandered into the grass, becoming little more than a moving shape in the farthest shadows. The moon was out now, casting a thin aura across the land.

Taking a refreshing breath, Castiel turned to the car. A low moaning sound escaped from inside, and Castiel’s body pulsed with a filthy pleasure that he tried very hard to squash. Until he had a decent response from Dean, he had no right to be excited.

He opened the creaky passenger-side door, climbed in, then let the door rest closed, silent so it wouldn’t wake Dean. Castiel was frozen again, as apprehensive as he ever was. Faced with Dean in slumber, he was always so overcome that he could only stare. He never wanted to disturb him, just let him rest. Watching him.

With a silent, fleeting prayer to God, if He was even listening, Castiel moved close to Dean and cradled his head like before. The warmth in his hair made Castiel shiver, a smile twitching the corner of his lips.

“Dean,” Castiel whispered. He leaned his head down, lips almost resting on Dean’s stubbled cheek. “Dean, I need to talk to you.”

Dean didn’t stir, but licked his lips. Castiel frowned, shutting his eyes and pressing his forehead to Dean’s cheekbone. On a normal night, Dean would have woken at the sound of the car door screeching on its hinges. But these dreams, these peaceful fantasies, they kept him under. They might even be dangerous, Castiel supposed. As a hunter, it was important to be a light sleeper.

Castiel breathed out, thumb brushing through the hair at the nape of Dean’s neck. “Dean,” Castiel whispered again. “I’m going to enter your dream. I know you’re listening. Don’t be alarmed.”

Dean murmured an indistinct word, eyes shifting behind his eyelids.

Oh, Castiel loved him so much. He smelled delectable to the point where Castiel wanted to lick his skin and taste him. Such peculiar cravings. Did humans feel this all the time, for the ones they loved so fiercely? Did humans even love this fiercely?

With a gentle hum, Castiel swept a finger across Dean’s forehead. He nudged his nose against Dean’s face, too afraid to use his lips.

“I’m coming for you now, Dean. Be ready for me.”

Castiel took a deep breath, as if he were about to dive into deep water. Then he sparked a hurricane of power from his heart and soared forth, all at once, and his consciousness became part of Dean’s.


Dean lay on the hood of the Impala, body curled towards his best friend. His eyes were almost shut, experiencing absolute contentment, but he still saw Castiel lying before him. Cas’ chin was tipped back, his dark hair pressed down against the glass of the windshield, made darker by the night. His eyes were sparkling with the stars, but rather than reflecting the light, they only seemed to make the universe seem twice as large.

Sam was asleep inside the car, Dean decided. He wanted Sam to be here for this, because it wasn’t private, it was just personal. Starlight and love.

Dean twined Castiel’s tie through his fingers, the ratty old one he used to wear. Backwards blue. Always backwards, and always blue. Blue like his universe eyes.

Castiel sighed slowly, mouth open a little bit. His breath came out as more stars, and Dean thought they were very pretty. Dean crooned and shifted closer, making the metal of the hood pop and clunk under his moving weight. Castiel was warm, like Christmas. His presence seemed more abundant than usual, as if there were two of him lying with Dean, even though there was clearly only one.

Castiel blinked, eyes passing over the rainbow galaxies that curved across the dome of the sky. “Dean,” he said, smiling. “Aren’t you going to look at the stars? They’re very beautiful.”

Dean’s fingers tiptoed up Castiel’s chest, stroking over his stubbled throat, finding their way to his lips. Castiel kissed his fingertips, and Dean smiled, putting his cheek on Castiel’s chest and peering up at him. “I’m already looking at the stars,” Dean said. Castiel smirked.

Then Castiel looked less happy, and Dean worried for a moment. “What, what’s wrong?”

“Nothing,” Castiel said. He was lying.

Dean set his face upright, chin on Castiel’s stomach. “You promised not to lie to me.”

“Did I?”

Dean stroked Castiel’s jaw with the backs of his fingers. “Yes. It doesn’t feel good when you’re not honest.”

“May I be honest then?”

Dean smiled, kissing the shirt over Castiel’s heart. “Mm-hm.”

“You’re dreaming.”

Dean scowled. “It’s not a totally unreachable goal, jeez.”

“What?” Castiel wore his most adorable frown. It cleared as he realised what Dean had assumed from the statement. “No, I mean, currently, you are asleep in another dimension, and this is your dream. What you’re living now, it’s an imagination. A... a fantasy.”

Dean mulled that over. “So, now I’m self-aware, I’m having a lucid dream.”

“I suppose so, yes.”

“We should have sex,” Dean said. “That’s what lucid dreams are for, right?”

Castiel chuckled, his gaze drifting to the stars. “Sam was right, you are far more forward when you dream.”


“In the real world, he told me... No... no, it doesn’t matter. Dean, I need to discuss something with you.”

“Does it involve sex? Because I could totally do with a quickie right now.”

Castiel almost rolled his eyes. “Dean,” he said sternly, looking away. “Don’t... Don’t tempt me.”

“Why, don’t you want it?”

Castiel sighed, looking back to Dean. He had a nice smile. “I do, that’s the problem. But it’s... This is difficult. It’s not only about physical intimacy, which I...” He breathed out, and another smile appeared over the first. “I lust for you, Dean. Forgive my bluntness, but I don’t think you really mind.”

Dean was as far from minding as it was possible to be. He was hard just from hearing Cas say stuff like that, and he proved it by rutting against Castiel’s thigh, as slowly as he could. Castiel seemed distracted, letting free a confused but obviously happy noise.

“Dean... No, not yet. Not yet, please.” Castiel panted, a hand rushing to press Dean away by the hips so he couldn’t rub his cock on him any more. “Please, Dean, I need a clear answer. In your dreams, you’re― You want me. You keep dreaming about me―”

“I love it,” Dean told him, fingering his hair. He set his cheek on Castiel’s shoulder, basking in the light of countless nebuli. “Dreams about you are the easiest. Dreams about us together are the best kind, ‘cause it’s all I want sometimes. The real world’s full of crap, but... Man, I fall asleep and I come back to you. Took me years, but I figured it out, you know? The djinn fantasies helped; my siren, Nick, he helped. Every girl I sleep with, they help. I figured out what doesn’t work. And the only avenue I have left to try, the only option I got... It’s you.” Dean smiled, sad now. He kissed Castiel’s jaw. “Dreams are the only way it can still be perfect. If we did it for real, we’d screw up.”

Castiel caressed Dean, one hand behind his head, one taking his hand to hold it gently. Stars still sparkled all around. “Thank you,” Castiel said. “Thank you for being so honest. I suppose now I know why you dream of me. It’s something.”

Dean kissed their joined hands, then ran his lips and stubble across Castiel’s knuckles. “Can’t really hold back when I’m dreamin’.”

“No. Which I know is probably unfair to you, you’d never tell me any of this if you were awake. And that’s why it’s so important: you need to tell me that it’s okay. Both you and I want this to be real, Dean. I know I do, I’m certain you would too, if you weren’t so afraid. I agree, there’s much left volatile between us, so much to ruin... But Dean, there’s so much to be had. I don’t want to be the man trailing after my one true love, feeling that every moment is wasted.”

Castiel pressed his lips to Dean’s temple. Words breathed to his skin, he said, “Tell me it’s okay to touch you.”

Dean understood the question now. Castiel wanted to know if Dean was ready to take the plunge in the real world.

But Dean didn’t know the answer. “Cas, I’m scared.”

“I know.” Castiel gave Dean’s head another gentle embrace. “I know, Dean. I... I am too. God help me, Dean, I’m terrified. I can’t lose you again, I can’t have this fractured for the hundredth time over. Every time we break, it never mends the same way.”

Dean shook his head. He laughed. “Cas, no. No, you’re wrong.” He lifted his head, hushing his breath on Castiel’s lips. “You said it yourself once, it’s not broken. Let’s call it - bent. Every time we straighten out what we mangled, we get stronger. Glue between porcelain, right? There’s more cracks ‘n stuff, and we get heavier, but we’re still the same vase. And if you use the right glue...”

Dean trailed off, grinning at Castiel’s perplexed squinting.

“What I’m saying, Cas, is we oughta take the chance.” He smiled, realising as he said it that he’d made up his mind. “Yeah, I bet real-me is shaking in his boots, but dream-me wants him to have what he’s after. He wakes up in sticky sheets because of you. He smiles in the morning and gets out of bed because of you, you’re the first thing he thinks of most days. There’s only two people in the world he loves so much, and Sam’s glue isn’t the same kind. Most of that relationship is too far gone to fix. But you ‘n me, Cas...”

Castiel had bright little tears in his eyes, an emotional tension at the corners of his mouth. Dean kissed his lips, holding a single press for a handful of seconds before pulling up. Castiel was consumed by surprise, and Dean smirked. That had to be their first kiss ever.

“Do it,” Dean nodded. “Let me sleep for a bit, I’m still tired. But if you wanna have at me...” he tilted his head suggestively, “then hey, I’m not complaining. Just make it good for me, yeah?”

Castiel’s breath came out flustered. “You want me to touch you?”

Dean laughed quietly, teasing his fingers back through Castiel’s thick, fluffy hair. “Cas, I’ve wanted you to touch me from the moment you laid your hand on me in Hell.”

Castiel looked horrified. “...Th- that long?”

Dean nodded serenely. “I love you, Cas. So goddamn much, you wouldn’t believe.”

Castiel grinned, breathless. “Oh, I believe it. I understand― I know.”

“Good.” Dean pecked his lips with another kiss. “Now get the hell outta my dream; me and dream-Cas were in the middle of a really good cuddle.”

Castiel blinked. “Cuddle?”

Dean blinked back. “Yeah.” He frowned, and it slowly dawned upon him that Castiel didn’t know about his most favourite pastime in all the world. Dean cursed his real-world self for being so prudish about his feelings. “Cuddling,” he said, nestling his body right up against Castiel, pressing his now-soft cock to Castiel’s thigh again. “Like this. See?”

Castiel hesitantly wrapped an arm over Dean’s back. “This... is something you enjoy?”

A happy noise purled out from the back of Dean’s throat. “Hell yeah, I love it.”

“It’s like a hug but―”

“But lying down. You got it. With some added kissing and nuzzling and stuff. And I really want to feel you get hard against me, so make sure you do that, all right?”

“Uh― Okay,” Castiel said, relaxing fully for what seemed like the first time since this dream began. “Cuddling.” He began to smile. “I think I’ll enjoy this.”

“I bet you will,” Dean grinned, running his nose against the curve of Castiel’s throat. “Hold my hand, too. In public. In front of Sam. I’ll freak out the first time, but I’ll get braver. Eventually, it’ll be normal - and I want so bad for it to be normal, Cas. Just you and me, in love. I want that to be normal. I want that to be the only way I can imagine the world being.”

Castiel’s eyes were on the stars again. “Funny,” he murmured. “That’s the only way I’ve ever known the world to be.”


Castiel opened his eyes, gasping at the chill in the air that hadn’t been present in Dean’s dream. The cabin of the car was dark, but beyond the windows, starlight and moonlight mingled to tint the Earth with pale blue. Grass sifted in the rippling breeze, making patterns that made Castiel glad he was inside: it looked cold outside. Hopefully Sam had somewhere sheltered to sit.

Dean was resting back against Castiel’s chest, in the same position he had been in the dream. Castiel’s erection was pushing to Dean’s hip, and Dean’s erection curved a ridge into the zipper of his jeans. Castiel sighed happily: now he was allowed to do all the things he wanted to do.

He pushed a kiss to Dean’s temple, breathing in his scent as his right arm snaked behind Dean’s lower back, between his jacket and the leather seat. When Castiel had his arm fully around Dean’s hips, he dragged his weight closer, spreading his own thighs so Dean could fit between them. Castiel’s breath became ragged, excited to have Dean’s heat so close to his crotch. Castiel had never been this hard before.

Dean stirred, murmuring as he began to wake; the movement had disturbed him. Castiel cradled him from behind, wrapping around his back, chin over his left shoulder. Lips to Dean’s ear, he spoke in a breath, “Shh. Shh, Dean, don’t wake up. Don’t wake up. Just sleep. Dream about me.” Castiel sighed, lips tickled by the blood flow that burned like fire in his system. Even the guilt he felt was beautiful. He kissed Dean’s ear, then relaxed back into the seat.

His hands slid down between Dean’s legs, and Castiel trembled from the inside as his left palm filled with the bite of the zipper, the denim pushed back from its teeth. Castiel rubbed it gently, testing the give of Dean’s cock through the material, each rub making him incrementally more breathless.

Then, when Castiel was ebullient with need, he held his breath and undid the zipper.

Dean squirmed in his sleep, a loose hand draping over Castiel’s thigh. He stroked Castiel’s leg, showing unmistakable affection. Castiel supposed Dean was dreaming about this same scenario, but with the two of them lying on the car’s hood, lit by a different set of stars.

Castiel kissed Dean’s neck, smooth and heated. Small traces of saliva were left behind, running under the tip of Castiel’s nose. He breathed in again, deep enough that Dean’s unwashed scent filled his lungs, rushed into his head. Castiel moaned as he breathed out, no longer caring how far he was falling. Dean made him lust, hungry in the most basic yet complicated ways.

Yes, it was good when Dean was asleep. It could be better when he was awake, but this first time, Castiel was allowed to try it by himself. Dean was not merely an object like this, however. His unconsciousness took nothing away from the importance of this act; he was Dean, he was everything Castiel loved. Castiel couldn’t explain why having Dean so completely under his control made it more exciting, but Dean had said it was okay. He wanted to sleep on. That worked for Castiel, so he was taking the opportunity he’d been given.

Fingers slipped into Dean’s open jeans, and Castiel shivered at the new touch. Dean’s arousal had put a hot, wet spot on his underwear, and touching it created absolute elation in Castiel. He smiled a broken and improperly composed smile, eyes half-shut, gasping on Dean’s shoulder. His fingertips massaged the wet patch, groaning low and mouthing Dean’s jacket when Dean made a soft sound of pleasure.

Rubbing his nose against Dean’s shoulder, Castiel managed to let Dean’s jacket flop halfway down his arm. Now Castiel could kiss Dean’s neck freely, heated breaths and rough stubble dragging on tender skin.

Castiel’s hips gave small, rounded humps, cock leaking into his underwear, feeling sparks from the roughened touches caused by the cheap fabric. Dean writhed, moaning loudly, head rolling back. He liked it; Castiel liked it. Castiel smiled.

Castiel’s fingers became braver after a minute or so; he skimmed Dean’s cock free of cotton, revealing flesh.

Enraptured, Castiel watched over Dean’s shoulder as Dean’s member was pulled out by his careful hand. It was plump, and decently heavy in his gentle grip. Castiel hummed against Dean’s cheek, sighing as the tip of his tongue tasted Dean’s flushed, stubbled skin. “Mm. Oh... oh, yes...” Castiel smiled, then chuckled lightly. “Now I understand why humans maintain such fascination with these parts. Genitalia. This feels good, doesn’t it, Dean? I can... ohh... I can feel all that blood in you, it’s all in my hand. And... What about this―? Do you like this?” Dean bucked into Castiel’s hand as his thumb nudged back his foreskin, fretting over the hard ridge of his cockhead. Castiel shut his eyes and washed over with calm, loving Dean’s reaction.

“And for me,” Castiel continued, his voice husky and dry. “You’ve made me very stiff, can you feel that?” Castiel licked his lips, glancing down. He couldn’t see his own erection, but he could feel the heat of Dean’s lower back rocking into his groin whenever he rubbed on him. Sighing, Castiel kissed Dean’s ear again, plucking his earlobe between his lust-swollen lips. “This feels - wonderful for me, Dean. So wonderful.”

Castiel ran his loose fist down Dean’s length again, eying the shiny liquid that drooled over his fingers. He tilted his head and rested his cheek on Dean’s shoulder, watching himself pleasure Dean. Dean muttered, head lolling, fingers clenching into Castiel’s knee. Dean’s moan came out hurried and slurred, cut short by a huffing breath, then a whine. His eyelids fluttered, breath escaping in a whisper; “Cas...”

Castiel chuckled. “Mmm.” He squeezed Dean gently with his body, offering a temporary cuddle. “That’s it, Dean. Shhh. It’s all right. Don’t wake up. You can wake up when it’s over. One last good dream.” His smile faded a little, and he nudged his lips against the pulse point on Dean’s neck. “I think - tonight may be the last good dream you have. Savour it. I’ll make it good for you, like you wanted.”

He spent a few minutes working out what made Dean’s limbs coil, his fingers clench, what made him moan and what made him gasp as he slept. He liked to be touched slowly, he liked to be squeezed. And always, he would smile when Castiel tightened all his limbs and gave Dean a hug from behind, or a kiss on his neck. Dean was so responsive, even asleep.

Castiel began to fantasise about Dean waking up, seeing his cock in Castiel’s hand, and being so excited by it he would come from the sight. Castiel’s mind had grown dirty with fantasy over these last few days; lust was hugely different from pure love. The desire to corrupt Dean with physical touch and make him orgasm offered such a sense of anticipation for Castiel. He’d seen Dean come once, and he wanted it to be his doing, not a dreamed imitation of him. He wanted to feel the heat spill into his fingers.

Castiel didn’t pay his own arousal much attention, having found that he most enjoyed Dean’s pleasure. When Dean’s cock dribbled out another drop of pre-come, Castiel did too, almost in sympathy. When Dean moaned, Castiel felt like he rose to the edge of a cliff, aware that his peak was imminent. But it never came, he never spilled. He was patient, and he kept working to bring Dean to orgasm rather than himself.

Dean kept starting to wake, but with simple words and soothing whispers, Castiel took him back under. There was no magic involved, Dean’s subconscious was simply very obedient. Castiel did allow him to wake uninterrupted a few times, just to see what would happen, but Dean only made a pleased sound and fell back asleep of his own accord. It reassured Castiel every time: Dean actually wanted this. He wanted to be asleep while it happened.

Maybe it was easier for both of them. An icebreaker, of sorts. Castiel got a chance to examine Dean’s body and touch what he wanted to in the way that excited him most, and Dean was given no apparent choice in the matter, which Castiel now knew suited him better. His dream-self had been far more forthcoming than Dean’s spoken words ever managed to be. Castiel just hoped Dean wouldn’t regret it later.

When Dean’s huffy breaths began to hasten, Castiel gasped, anticipating what was about to happen. He curled over Dean’s shoulder, watching his cock intently as his own hand jerked faster and faster, thumb wrinkling Dean’s foreskin back and forth. It wasn’t slow like Dean liked, but Castiel couldn’t wait to see him come. It was approaching, Dean was squirming, held down by Castiel’s embrace. Castiel pushed his own clothed cock against Dean’s ass over and over, pained by the friction, but desperately enticed by the finish line being so close.

Dean whimpered, Castiel held his hand and supported his lolling head with his shoulder, still peering down to watch it happen. Castiel sighed in relief as Dean started to spill: slick, pouring white flowed across the back of Castiel’s fingers. Castiel moaned with his mouth open, then sank his teeth into Dean’s t-shirt, breathing against it. His eyes fell shut - and the following seconds were taken up by nothing other than his own orgasm. His first orgasm. It felt like a heat inside his abdomen, and a spark through his bones heading downwards, a glowing skylark swooping towards the Earth. He felt his cock fill his underwear with wetness, spurting messily, erection jerking hard. It was not elegant, it was not beautiful, but it felt fantastic.

He shivered as it finished, and he opened his eyes to admire the mess Dean had made, too. They were the same, and they were both human. That felt very right.

Castiel kissed his sleeping lover’s cheek once more, relaxed further by the tenderness that passed through the kiss. Once he’d wiped Dean’s still-warm come onto his own slacks, tucked Dean’s cock back into his underwear and done up his jeans for him, he kept him there, swaying ever so gently. It was good to hold Dean, he was precious.

Peaceful minutes passed, heartbeat to heartbeat, but when Castiel saw human movement an extended distance from the car, he realised it was time for the moment to end.

“Come on, Dean,” Castiel whispered, no reason for his words other than self-encouragement. He didn’t want to leave the security of Dean’s closeness. “Come on.”

Urging himself to preserve Dean’s dignity at least, Castiel eased Dean out from between his open legs, rolling him onto the leather seat. Dean flopped over, and Castiel took grievance from that, but he didn’t try and pull him upright in case he woke up. He took a moment to arrange him into a more comfortable position, however.

Castiel exited the car, legs held awkwardly as he felt wetness running down his inner thigh. Some ejaculate had evidently escaped his underwear, which didn’t feel as pleasant as it should. Leaving the car door resting closed, Castiel walked out in front of the vehicle. Sam was approaching, having timed his walk perfectly. Castiel waved, then rested his rear on the hood of the car. Sam waved back.

Castiel spent the minute Sam was still distant tidying himself up. His shirt had come untucked, so he fixed it. There was nothing that could be done about the wet dribbles on his slacks. With no power left, he would have to deal with it like all other humans did, and put his clothes through the laundry for the second time in his life.

When Sam was close, Castiel hooked one heel up on the car’s front rims so the come stains were hopefully hidden from Sam’s sight. “Hello, Sam.”

“How did your talk go?”

Castiel smirked, looking behind him to see Dean stir from sleep. “Very well,” he said, truthfully. “Dean is incredibly responsive.”

Sam shuffled on his feet, sensing the most obvious significance in Castiel’s phrasing that Castiel had not consciously meant to imply. “...Talk. You did talk, right?”

Castiel looked over at the younger Winchester and gave a lazy smile. “Talking was part of it, yes.” Castiel paused. “Dean, um―” Smiling wider on one side of his face, he finished, “He told me to take what I wanted.”

Sam frowned rather amusedly, then glanced away and cleared his throat. “Okay. Uh. Congratulations. I guess.” His words were clipped, but were still said with a smile.

“Thank you,” Castiel said.

They both turned at the sound of the car’s creaking door. Dean stumbled out, bleary-eyed, looking around the gloomy grassland until he set eyes on Castiel and Sam, then he smiled. “Hey.”

“Hey,” Sam said, as Castiel said, “Hello, Dean.”

Dean sauntered forwards, putting a hand into his front pocket and walking strangely. Castiel realised this was to adjust the placement of his penis in his underwear, which perhaps Castiel had not arranged quite right when he zipped his jeans up for him. Dean shot Sam a quick smile, then turned his eyes on Castiel.

Castiel gazed back, with a soft, warm twirl in his heart. Dean blinked, lips parting... and then he smiled back, one corner of his lips rising up. The look in his eyes was tender and loving, but, admittedly, he did look confused.

Sam cleared his throat to break the silence between them. “It’s almost four a.m.,” he said. “If we keep driving there might be a truck stop or a diner or something opening for the morning about now.”

Dean only then clicked his eyes away from Castiel’s, glancing to his brother. “What? Oh. Oh, right. Yeah.” His thick tongue tucked over his lower lip, and his eyes went back to Castiel’s.

Sam allowed them another moment, but when he couldn’t speak any of the words he wanted to say, he sighed and slumped back to the car. “Whenever you’re ready,” he muttered.

Castiel put his sticky hands in his pockets and waited for Dean to speak. He wasn’t sure how much of his dream or Castiel’s actions he remembered, which Castiel felt sorry for, but he waited, and hoped Dean hadn’t forgotten it all.

When Sam got into the car and thumped the door shut, Dean let out a fast breath. “Um. Cas.” He blinked, eyes to the ground. “This might be a weird - kinda personal question, but...” He shrugged a shoulder, not raising his eyes. He was second-guessing himself, then third-guessing.

“I touched you,” Castiel confessed. Dean’s eyes shot up. Castiel’s body ran hot all at once. “I put my hands on you, you told me it was okay―”

“Yeah―” Dean interrupted, shoulders sagging, a hand pushing to his forehead. “God. Christ, thank God. I thought it was like, some - really crazy dream.” He met Castiel’s eyes, smiling again. He seemed truly relieved. “Thanks, man. Thanks for―” He grinned, fingers raising to scratch at the back of his neck. He was embarrassed, but also appeared to be thoroughly pleased. “Well, you know. Thanks for that.”

Castiel gave him a nod and a heartfelt smile.

Dean turned towards the car, but his feet paused, and he looked back, shoulders half-turned. “Can I ask...?”

“Hm?” Castiel stood quietly while Dean gathered up his words.

Dean’s gaze shot far away as he almost whispered, “Did you come?”

Castiel’s face got very hot, and his penis seemed intrigued by Dean’s question. Why did Dean ask that? Was he as interested in Castiel’s pleasure as Castiel was in Dean’s?

Castiel nodded.

Dean smiled, holding Castiel’s eye now. He relaxed somewhat, eyes drifting down to Castiel’s crotch, mouth open. When he’d seen the evidence, he sighed, licking his lips again. “Okay. Good. I just thought maybe...” He swallowed. “Ahh, never mind.” He brushed whatever he was going to say aside, stepping towards the car again.

“No, Dean,” Castiel said. “Say what you were going to say.”

Dean paused with his back to Castiel, eyes on his fidgeting hand. “It’s nothing. Just that... Um. I’m glad. Glad you... finished, or whatever.” He chuckled breathily. “I don’t want this to be some one-sided thing, where you’re just around to make me feel better. That’s awesome, but...” He slipped a hand out to his side, fingertips on the hood of his car. He looked over his shoulder, showing Castiel a light, honest smile. “But I want you to be as happy as I am with this.”

Castiel breathed out, satisfied. He was human now, and he had Dean. “I am happy.”

“Good.” With that, Dean tapped the car twice, and then climbed into the driver’s seat. Castiel paced forward and got into the back seat as the engine roared to life. Dean looked into the back seat with a grin, then hit the gas and drove out into the road, and Castiel still wore his smile.


“Home sweet home,” Sam said under his breath to the gloomy, echoing halls of the Men of Letters’ bunker. Bags dropped like bombs to the marble as Sam and Dean abandoned them to go and find, respectively, the bunker’s power switch and a sandwich.

“Hey, Cas, you want anything?” Dean shouted from around the corner, disappearing towards the kitchen.

Castiel squinted as he heard a distant clack, then the bunker lit up with bright flickers and buzzing sounds until Castiel was standing in a gleaming yet dusty hall, right beside the map table. To Dean, he replied in a loud voice, “Do I want any - what?”

“Food!” Dean shouted back. His voice was distant and muffled now, blocked by several stone walls.

Sam slumped back to Castiel’s side to pick up the fallen bags. Castiel looked down at him, fingers twitching as he considered helping to put their luggage away.

Sam and Dean didn’t yet know that Castiel had fallen. Castiel wasn’t sure if right now was the best time to reveal the fact. So, lifting his chin, Castiel called out, “I am an angel, Dean. I don’t eat.”

Sam huffed with amusement from nearby.

“What?” Castiel intoned, turning to Sam fully. He’d dumped one of the bags onto the map table, which was now lighting his chin from below. A few worldwide markers scattered away as Sam flicked them.

“You were stealing Dean’s gummy bears out of his bag all day.”

Castiel’s cheeks shaded with colour, feeling a mild shame. “Do you think he noticed?”

Sam scoffed, running a hand back through his hair as he looked up to meet Castiel’s eye. “If he did, I don’t think he minds. He’d complain about it otherwise.”

Castiel supposed that was true.

He turned away, fingers nervously twining around a button on his coat. He was hungry. He didn’t like the empty feeling. He was also tired, and he liked that even less than hunger. The only upsides to today’s humanity so far were how it felt to touch Dean, how an orgasm felt, and the taste of gum candy. They were decent upsides, at least. He looked down at the floor, wondering what he was supposed to do now.

“Cas, you need to tell him,” Sam said, quietly.

Castiel looked up, a rush of thoughts and assumptions and questions arising in his small human mind in reaction to Sam’s words. “Tell him―?”

“That you’re human now. He won’t be mad at you, I promise. Look... To be honest, I think you’re both better off with you human. He needs you with him―”

“I’ve been with you both, for weeks, I haven’t gone anywhere―”

“Yes! And that’s good. You’re literally the only solid thing he has left to hold on for. You get that, don’t you.”

It wasn’t even phrased as a question. Castiel nodded, affirming. He understood that Sam believed Dean would be a wreck without his support; that was why he joined them in the first place.

“If I tell him,” Castiel said, quietly, holding Sam’s eye with a solemnity that Sam mirrored, “then you have to tell him too.”

“Hm? You mean you want me to be there when you tell him?”

“No, I mean: you tell him why I’m here. Tell him what brought me here.” Castiel swallowed. “Tell him you prayed for me.”

Sam lowered his eyes, hands slowing as he zipped his bag up. “I don’t know what you think that’ll accomplish,” he said.

Castiel took a step closer, fingers spreading out as they pressed to the edge of the glowing table. “It’ll prove you still care about him.”

“He knows I care about him,” Sam said, as flippant as it was possible to be. He hauled his bag over his shoulder, heading towards the library.

Castiel hurried after him, catching him by the arm and turning him. When Sam met his eyes, Castiel shook his head. “No, Sam. He doesn’t.” Taking a deep breath, Castiel allowed a pause for Sam to digest the words. “He thinks you don’t love him any more.”

Sam shut his eyes and turned away again, kept on walking. Castiel stood in silence and watched him go. He figured he’d made his point.

Dean hopped up into the hall a minute later, three sandwiches on three plates stacked on top of each other. He handed one to Castiel, a big smile on his face. “I know you said you weren’t hungry, but I make a mean PB-‘n-J. The bread was stale so I toasted it. Bon appetit,” he said cheerfully, leaving Castiel alone with his plate as Dean went ahead towards Sam.

Castiel stood and ate while watching the brothers. He couldn’t hear their words - his ears felt like they were stuffed with cotton now he had no power, not to mention the sandwich being abnormally crunchy - but he saw Sam take his sandwich gratefully, and saw Dean pat him on the shoulder and sit beside him.

Dean still valued whatever was left between them. He still wanted them to be brothers as much as possible... and the thing was, so did Sam. There was so much to be mended. Castiel had heard Dean’s words last night in his dream, vaguely comprehensible metaphors about broken vases stuck back together with glue. If Castiel took anything away from that, it was that Dean thought his relationship with Sam was ruined.

Castiel disagreed with Sam. He disagreed with Dean. Castiel was not all Dean had left in the world. There was so much more, so many things to love. So many people. These entities were not separate vases, they were all one big vase, the vase of Dean’s life. Sam was one shattered piece, and Castiel truly believed he was the one most worth replacing.


After a few hours of merry housekeeping, Dean figured it was time to turn in. His lower back was aching from dusting the taller bookcases too enthusiastically, so he was looking forward to falling face-first into his memory foam mattress and feeling the weight of every limb vanish in a moment.

He felt better after a shower, but he felt positively buoyant when he dragged his slippered feet through the library and yawned dramatically. Sam and Castiel were playing a game of Go Fish. Dean stretched and yawned again, louder, gloating that his gown was more plush than a pile of angel feathers.

“‘Night, guys,” he said, smirking. “I’m going to bed. See ya in the morning.”

Just as he turned away, Sam slapped all his cards down to the table. Dean turned back to him, curious.

Sam gaped, shared a quick look with Castiel, then locked eyes with Dean. “Are you sure sleep’s a good idea?”

Dean started to frown. “What?”

Sam let out a long, slow breath, looking at Castiel again, as if imploring him to say something. Castiel looked down at the cards in his hands and said nothing. Sam finally pulled a disappointed expression and turned his face back to Dean. “Nothing,” he said, bluntly. “Go sleep.”

Dean hesitated. “But... what were you―”

“Nothing,” Sam said again, scooping up his cards from the table. “Sweet dreams.”

Dean eyed Sam, then Castiel. His eyes lingered on Castiel for longer, feasting on the full-body warmth that came from remembering what Cas had done early that morning. His hands... And such caring words...

Dean smirked and gathered the looser parts of his robe closer to his crotch. “‘Night,” he said again. “Have a good game.” He tried his best to take his eyes off Castiel, but struggled. “Sleep well, Cas.”

Castiel lowered his eyes and smiled faintly. “Goodnight, Dean.”

There was no “I’ll watch over you.”

Okay, thought Dean. That was new.

He shuffled off across the library in his slippers, feeling a little miffed.

He followed the hallways, going into colder territory as he made his way to his bedroom. He shut the door when he was inside, pleased that his heater was good at its job.

He got into bed, still wondering why Castiel hadn’t said what he usually said.

Cas had said... lust. That was the word he used last night. Lust. I lust for you, Dean.

What if he shared a trait of Dean’s? What if he satisfied his lustful urges and then moved on? What if he didn’t love Dean any more? What if all this time, he’d thought he loved him and it turned out he only wanted to fiddle with Dean’s junk?

The thought sickened Dean. He rolled over, his frown sinking into deeper and darker parts of him than just his face. A nasty, black ooze scratched at his bones, lending him anxiety, and suspicions that he wasn’t as valued as he’d thought he was.

For the first time in years, it seemed like there was no angel watching over him. It felt horribly, horribly wrong.


Oh, you like to think you’re pretty, do you? Yeah. Hahaha. Your daddy thought you were too pretty. Pretty girl. Pretty, pretty Deanna. Named after your grandma, too. You’re a girl. You’re just a girl. You can’t protect Sammy ‘cause you’re a girl. You can’t protect Sammy ‘cause you like boys. You can’t fight monsters because you’re wearing panties. Oh, look at them. You’ve ruined them, you’ve ruined your panties. Hahaha. Black, oozy wet stuff. That’s not yours, is it? No, that’s the demon inside you. Castiel touched you and you liked it, you’ve ruined them. You’ve ruined everything. You always ruin everything. You’re poison. You’re nothing but poison. You believe it because it’s true. You’re the black ooze, Dean. There’s as much filth in you as you always thought there was. No amount of happiness or self-indulgence will ever make that okay. You’ve killed your brother. You’ve been raped by the man you love. (You didn’t want it, not when it led to this. Not when you feel so bad after. He doesn’t want you any more. He doesn’t love you back. Nobody loves you. Nobody loves you, you don’t even love yourself.) Everyone knows your secrets, Dean. Everyone knows how weak you are. How much you lie. How even your smiles are just fakes. You don’t know what it’s like to be happy. Even the good things make you sad. You’re worthless and you’re bleeding. Look at the blood, Dean. Look how black it is. Remember when Cas bled black? He died. He died so many times, and he’s going to die again. He won’t come back next time, and even if he does, he won’t come back to you. He’s going to leave you. He never loved you. Sam hates you. He’s better off without you, you both know it. You’re alone and you’ll die alone. You’re weak, you’re a speck of dirt, you’re nothing. Everything you touch crumbles and breaks and dies―


Castiel crawled onto the bed, forehead down against Dean’s sweating skin. “No, no, it’s not real. It’s not real. Dean, please wake up.”

“It’s okay,” Sam breathed, obvious relief in his voice as he held his brother’s hand. “Oh, thank God. Cas, he’s awake. He’s fine. He’s fine.”

Dean opened his eyes, gasping and thrashing still. Sam grasped his hand until Dean stopped wrestling him, and his massive movements became convulsions...

...then spasms...

...then eventually turned to shivers. His eyes were unfocused, tears streaked down from either side of his face.

Castiel leaned forward and held his cheeks, thumbs wiping away those tears. He was lying on his front on Dean’s bed, wearing only his white shirt and his underwear; he’d been undressing when he heard Sam shouting for him. Sighing, Castiel relaxed, resting his cheek on Dean’s shaking throat. “It’s over, Dean,” he whispered, guttural. “The nightmare’s over.”

Sam petted Castiel’s hair. Castiel looked up, seeing the younger Winchester’s sorry expression turn blurry through his tear-filled eyes. The nightmare would never be over. Dean’s entire life was a nightmare. Castiel shut his eyes and buried his face into the pillow beside Dean’s shoulder.

Dean’s breath eventually settled into a semi-rhythmic pattern, and he moved his head for the first time since waking. His lips clicked with saliva as he parted them to speak. “Wh... What’re you t-two nutjobs d- doin’ in my room,” he muttered, his voice broken and swimming in heaviness like he’d been sobbing for hours. Perhaps he had, and Sam had noticed later than he should have.

“Saving you from yourself, apparently,” Sam chuckled, helping Dean sit up. Castiel had to scoot back and kneel on the bed instead, hands on his bare knees. Sam put a pillow behind Dean’s back, and Dean cooperated until he was sitting upright, hunched over his bent legs with his head down.

“Dean, there’s something I need to tell you,” Castiel said. He looked over at Sam for reassurance - but while Sam smiled encouragingly, Castiel didn’t feel reassured enough to tell Dean everything. “This is my fault.”

Dean met his gaze. Castiel saw the whites of his eyes were reddened, and he looked exhausted. “What?”

“Your nightmare, it’s my fault.”

Dean huffed. “What’re you talking about? I’ve been having nightmares every night for over twenty years.”

Castiel clasped his hands together on his knees, then self-consciously reached a hand up his thigh to tug his shirt to cover his underwear better. “A few nights ago, you were having another nightmare. It seemed like a bad one, I hadn’t heard you screaming in your sleep before.”

“I remember,” Dean said, somewhat defensively.

Castiel gulped. “I did something. A - spell. I gave you a blessing.”

Dean seemed interested, but Castiel could only hold his eye for a moment before examining the ripped bedsheets again. “I intended to banish your nightmares. All of them, forever.”

“So... what, it failed?” Dean squinted, surreptitiously lifting a hand to wipe away a spare tear that escaped his eye.

When Castiel didn’t answer immediately, Dean had time to consider what Castiel was really saying.

“Wait,” Dean said slowly. His eyes nervously snapped to his brother, who sat at his side, still wearing his day clothes. Sam gave Dean a non-judgemental look, and Dean was enlivened by that: his eyes landed back on Castiel, and he said, astounded, “The dreams I’ve been having. The good ones―”

“Hrgh,” Sam said.

“―You did that?” Dean’s expressions looked to be at war on his face. Castiel couldn’t tell if he was upset from the realisation, or if his grimace and raised eyebrows were leftover from his horrifying nightmare.

“Yes,” Castiel said. He let out a careworn breath.

Dean put a hand over his face. His shoulders started to shake again, and Castiel felt a flare of panic: what had he said wrong?!

Dean peeked out from between his fingers, then dropped his hand away completely. “You put this crap in my head,” he said, throat tightening to make his words come out breathy. “All these - the dreams - you made me feel it? Want it― Oh God, Cas―” His hands clasped his face again, covering a shaken sob, which Castiel realised included a wash of fresh tears.

Sam looked at Castiel in distress. One of his hands moved to take Dean softly by the back of the neck to soothe him; Castiel wished he could comfort Dean too, but what was he meant to do?

He was equally as horrified as Dean was now. He couldn’t bear the knowledge that Dean thought Castiel coerced him into sex. Castiel couldn’t even believe that Dean would think so little of him, but at the same time... what if he had? What if he had encouraged Dean to do things he wasn’t ready to do? What if Castiel had wanted it so badly he’d made Dean’s blessing focus on him?

“Dean... Please... I didn’t intend your dreams to be the way they were. I didn’t force you to dream about me. I promise, Dean. I― I promise.”

He wanted it to be a true promise. Part of him continued to question it, and he felt wretched.

“I’m sorry,” he whispered. “Dean, I’m so sorry. Maybe I was too eager... Maybe I love you too much, I don’t know. All I wanted was for it to stop hurting. You were torturing yourself in your sleep, all I was thinking about was making it stop. I didn’t realise that once the blessing wore off all the nightmares would return in one go. You’re hurt now because of me. It’s― It’s my fault, Dean. It’s all my fault.”

He too put his hands over his face, eyes shut tightly to keep his tears from falling. The sound of Dean shaking in Sam’s arms made him feel all the more helpless. He hadn’t known it would go like this, and he would do anything to change it.

There was a minute of silence. All three men used the time to gather their scrambled thoughts.

Castiel kept his eyes closed, fearing that he would be cast aside because of this mistake. As always, trying to help made everything worse.

Sam rested his forehead on Dean’s hair, rubbing his brother’s shoulders through his sweat-soaked t-shirt. He thought about how much Dean needed him here, how much more upset Dean would be if he didn’t have his brother. After only thirty seconds, Sam realised he was here because he wanted to be here, not only because Dean needed him. He wanted to see Dean happy, that wasn’t a surprise. He wanted Dean and Castiel to make up; he wanted the two of them to have a healthier relationship than the mess Sam and Dean currently had. Sam wanted a clean slate, but a clean slate was no longer an option, and would almost be counterproductive. Dean and Castiel could still have that, if only it were possible to wipe this kind of hurt away...

Dean continued to hide his tears, thinking very, very quickly. Firstly, he struggled to separate every dark feeling he currently had, since everything was all jumbled up in one ugly pit inside him.

Dean then attempted to firmly establish whether or not he loved Castiel.

Ha. It was easy. Of course he did. It had been true for many years, it was not something altered or amplified by the dreams he’d had during recent nights. All that the dreams had given him were feelings of reassurance and security, quiet moments in a loud life. They had allowed him self-acceptance. He couldn’t fault Castiel for offering him that.

Following that internal conclusion, he opened his eyes. He brushed his hair off his forehead and shoved Sam off his shoulder, then turned to Castiel, who was staring at the wall of weapons with tears in his eyes. Dean said to him, “I wanted it.”

Castiel’s eyes met Dean’s faster than Dean’s heart could manage another beat.

Dean smiled at him. His eyes stung from his tears, but he said his words plainly: “I― Look, I remember these dreams, okay? They weren’t like normal dreams - there weren’t any really weird bits, or stuff that didn’t make sense. It didn’t always flow right, but...” Dean took a shivering breath, his smile more settled now. “Listen, Cas. Those dreams were damn-near perfect. I don’t care if you put them there for me or not― I know you didn’t,” he said hurriedly, before Castiel talked over him. “I enjoyed them. All right? They were awesome. They were, literally, all my dreams come true.”

He was speaking as he thought, but everything that he said was resolved as it formed into words. Even with the unhappy tension in his stomach, it was such a relief to realise he felt the way he described.

“Some of it... I couldn’t even believe I wanted. That’s the only reason I thought... just for a minute, that you did it on purpose, made me think I wanted you when I didn’t. But Cas...” His grin was huge now, and the tear that trickled from his eye wasn’t even worth wiping away. “Cas, I wanted it. You came into my dream and you just straight-up asked me what I wanted, and I freakin’ told you. I kept you hanging for too long, I know I did. It’s been years. Don’t blame yourself for wanting me to choose, Cas.

“I gave you an answer. I told you I wanted you. God, just― Don’t believe for a second I don’t want you still.”

Castiel’s expression had slowly become one of utter reverence, and right now he looked so stunned Dean wondered if he was going to pass out. A tiny, tiny smile rested on the corner of one lip.

Dean watched that smile grow, and he sighed, feeling a massive burden lifted, which Castiel appeared to share. One touch hadn’t been enough. The lust wasn’t gone, the love was still as passionate. Dean saw in Castiel’s eyes that he too had had the same fears, thinking that once would be all they would ever have.

“I’m not bored of you, yet,” Dean added, cheekily. He was gratified by the soft laugh Castiel gave, ducking his head with a small frown between his eyebrows.

“Me neither, Dean,” Castiel replied. His eyes flicked up, and a warm, pleasant feeling filled Dean from his toes to his tummy to his heart. The assurance was all there: they were going to be fine.

Sam got up off the bed. “Good,” he said briskly. “Now that’s over, I guess I’ll―”

“Thanks,” Dean said. Sam turned, seeking Dean’s eyes.

Dean smiled at him, lifting his fingers from the blanket and waving them gently. “Thanks for the - you know. Support.”

“You’re welcome,” Sam said, with a weird frown. He seemed to be holding back, but Dean didn’t pressure him to speak.

Sam turned for the door again, but paused with his hand on the frame. He looked back.

Dean, whose hand was inching towards Castiel’s, glanced up.

Sam smiled again. “Just so you know,” he said, “I, um.” He cleared his throat. “I... love you.”

Dean’s eyebrows almost met his hairline. “Uhhh.” He blinked a few times, seeing Castiel grinning out of the corner of his eye. “Thanks... Sammy,” he said. He grinned quickly, realising that was the first time he’d called Sam by his nickname in months, outside of a dream. “I - I love you too?”

Sam chuckled, eyes going to the floor. “Yeah, okay. Just―” He looked at Dean and Castiel, whose hands were now curling together on Castiel’s hairy knee. Sam squinted. “Um. Have a good night. Bye, see you in the morning. Or not. You know, uh - whenever you’re up.” He left immediately, and closed the door behind him.

Dean smirked more and more, mostly because it felt amazing to have his brother back, to whatever level or brotherhood they were later going to work on together, but also because Sam had made enough assumptions about Dean and Castiel’s relationship that he’d left them alone to tend to business.

Only, things between them were as far from businesslike as they could possibly be. In the amber glow of Dean’s bedside lamp, and the ticking silence of only the clock, Dean met Castiel’s gaze. Castiel had a look in his eyes that read, to Dean, a message as basic and unsubtle as it ever was. His eyes dipped to Dean’s lips, then went back to his eyes.

“Come here, then,” Dean said softly. He beckoned with a finger, experiencing what it felt like to have affection and desire and total appreciation for their privacy descend over his body in a single moment. He became warm and excited, tingly in all the best places on his body. A conscious thought appeared in his head not a moment before Castiel crawled forward: This is real. It wasn’t a dream this time. They were actually going to touch each other, and maybe even cuddle. Dean didn’t think he’d wanted to do that with anyone this badly before. He needed the comfort, the reassurance. The desire to have Castiel’s fingers linked between his - like that, just like that - superseded the need to have his hands anywhere else. Everything was going to be perfect.

“Dean,” Castiel said lowly, his voice a hummingbird on Dean’s shoulder. Lips open, rough on his temple. “Dean, would you like a cuddle?”

Dean’s hands splayed open on the sides of Castiel’s face, a happy sound escaping his mouth before he could stop it. Oh, Castiel’s eyes were dark, Dean felt that darkness in him. It was beautiful, it was the mirror image of a nightmare. It was syrup and kindness rather than manipulation. Dean nodded sweetly, eyes not leaving Castiel’s. Yes, dear God, he wanted to be held.

He touched Castiel’s face, fingertips on his stubble. It was like in his dreams, exactly as he imagined. Castiel was freshly-washed and bristled perfectly. Dean wanted all those prickles on his lips; he gasped and put his mouth on them, because it was all real, and he was allowed to have his angel. This was their first kiss, the first time Dean put his lips on Castiel’s skin. Every kiss in his dreams has been their first. Dean kissed his cheek again. Their second first kiss. As wonderful as the last.

Castiel kissed his lips. Their first, eighth, third kiss. Dean lost track. He returned the kiss, falling into the hold Castiel slipped behind his lower back. His t-shirt rode up, and Dean began to spread into the sheets like melting butter, legs pushing away what had been ripped by his hands during his nightmare.

His breath came hot and wanting, tiny moans carried on each sigh. His eyes couldn’t leave Castiel’s, he loved how crystalline blue became golden in the lamplight. Even like this, humanity unforgiving in his caught breaths, Castiel was as impressive as when he had Heaven behind him. He was still watching over Dean, even as he sank down between Dean’s open legs and sighed.

Dean shivered, pleasure simmering like bubbling caramel below his ribs. He felt like he was painted with it, the heat swirling between his legs. Looking at Castiel’s dilated pupils made him weak, powerful. He couldn’t tell. Weakened because he wanted Castiel to care for him, powerful because it was his choice and he’d made it for Castiel too. After a lifetime of each of them not having anything they truly wanted, now he’d allowed them both to have each other. Yes, that was satisfying. That was power. His nightmares had never been more wrong: he had the ability to be happy.

Dean almost squealed in surprise and actual joy as he felt Castiel’s erection pressing to the fat groove between Dean’s legs, only underwear between them. He looked between their pressed bodies, mouth open as he tensed and relaxed twice in a second. “OhGodCas, oh my―” His head fell back, smiles shaking on his lips, eyes closing. “I’m not dreaming, I’m not dreaming.”

Castiel chuckled, the vibration conducting down his shoulders and into Dean’s heart. “No,” he purred, kissing Dean’s throat. Hushed and prickly, he mouthed to Dean’s neck, “No, you’re not dreaming.”

“Mmmm,” Dean moaned, lip under his teeth. He squirmed a little, hips rolling unthinkingly against Castiel’s cock. Heat burst intensely in Dean’s groin, and as he gasped in shock, he realised he was leaking pre-come after barely a touch. He was properly excited by this, despite so little movement. This wasn’t even cuddling, it wasn’t even sex. It was only physical closeness. Affection.

“Dean,” Castiel whispered, rocking his weight against Dean’s cock again. Dean yelped, hands both scrunching into Castiel’s shirt, almost strangling him until the top button popped undone. Castiel grinned, teeth grazing Dean’s collar bone. “Dean, relax.”

Dean was confused for a moment, lifting his head - when he met Castiel’s eyes, he realised what he meant: Dean was as tense as a rock, thighs clamped around Castiel’s, toes curled up against Castiel’s knees. His knuckles were almost as white as Castiel’s shirt. Letting free a slow, careful breath through pursed lips, Dean learned to be part of the mattress, sinking down on the pillow until he was lying with his lower back supported by the expensive foam.

“There,” Castiel nodded, fingers reaching up to stroke Dean’s face.

Dean had never seen so much raw adoration in anyone’s eyes before. It was almost painful; he wondered if it was hurting Castiel to love him so much, because Dean knew how much it hurt to love him. Sometimes he loved so much he could barely breathe, thought he would die from how much emotion his love for Castiel made him feel.

“Is this how you like to cuddle?” Castiel asked, tilting his head like a kitten, ruffled hair swaying to one side. “In your dream, you lay on your side and I put my arm over your shoulders. Is this better than that?”

Dean licked his lips, resisting the urge to rub his cock on the warmth and firmness of Castiel’s erection. Both of them were stretching their underwear, even though they were barely half-hard. Dean took quite some time to understand Castiel’s words; these new sensations were overwhelming. When he answered, it came with a blush, the kind that rarely made it to his face. “There is a way I like better, but it’s not this.”

Castiel rearranged his hips on Dean’s open legs, making Dean lose him composure again. Every time he felt Castiel’s scrotum squashing against his perineum, Dean wanted nothing more than to made Castiel come all over him. He wanted it to be like in his dreams, feel the warmth of his orgasm in his fingers, watching a wet shadow spread out where it fell into fabric. But he had to stifle the desire: if he made Cas come, Cas wouldn’t be hard any more. Dean couldn’t help but view Cas’ erection as a testimony to his attraction. If Cas was hard, it meant Dean was attractive, and loved, and appreciated.

Dean realised after processing these thoughts that Castiel had spoken in the seconds gone by. Dean blinked. “Huh? What? What’d you say?”

Castiel smiled. “Weren’t you listening? I asked how you like to cuddle the best.”

Dean blushed again, a flustered smile crossing his face. He felt strangely comfortable with Cas asking him that. Holy crap, Dean loved it. Cas was totally at ease having the word ‘cuddle’ in his vocabulary, he wasn’t laughing at Dean for enjoying something all men were meant to hate. The moments after sex were the only times in Dean’s life he actually got to relax and share all the unbridled affection that he always kept bottled up. Like anger, his love was clamped down until he could use it. But love was so hard to channel sometimes.

“I, um,” Dean started, wriggling his hips to make Castiel shut his eyes and feel physical pleasure. Dean got distracted with that, breathing harder and biting his lip until Castiel whined

“Okay, okay,” Dean grinned and lay back, panting. “I want to try it with, like― Um. You lie on your side, right...” Castiel obediently rolled into the middle of the bed, leaving Dean’s open legs feeling weightless and cold. To his right, Dean saw Castiel’s expectant eyes looking back. Dean smiled. “Yeah. And then I... lie like this...”

Dean rolled onto his left and inched backwards until he felt Castiel’s cock on his ass. Dean shut his eyes and shivered internally, breathing softly over his hands clenched in the sheets. He kept pushing back until his back was set flush with Castiel’s half-open shirt.

“Like that.” Dean smiled, relaxing. “And you put your arms around me.”

Castiel enveloped Dean in a big hug, left hand sliding underneath Dean’s hip, right arm draping over his belly. The front of his shoulder rested on Dean’s ribs, bicep edged up to the back of Dean’s bicep. Dean groaned as bliss overtook him: never before had he been embraced so wholly. Castiel didn’t have a waiflike figure like the women Dean was used to; he was wide and muscular, and Dean prized that now, knowing he would continue to treasure Cas’ masculine form in the future.

Castiel kissed his ear. “Is this what you mean?”

Dean nodded softly, eyes falling shut. He slipped one foot backwards to fit between each of Castiel’s ankles; both their feet were bare. “Yeah,” Dean sighed, fingers skimming to lock between Castiel’s as they reached under Dean’s body. “Mm-hm. ‘s perfect. It’s friggin’ perfect, Cas.”

Castiel hummed happily, hips nudging into Dean again.

Dean grinned. “In case you’re wondering, yes, I’ve noticed how happy you are to see me.”

Castiel laughed shyly against the skin of Dean’s nape, rustling his hair. “May I touch yours?”

Dean licked his lips, opening his eyes a little. “Heh. Umm... Just some rubbing, maybe? Don’t make me come yet.”

“All right.” Castiel moved his right hand slowly, fingers first lifting Dean’s t-shirt. Heat from his skin seared against Dean, making Dean’s breath stutter in excitement. Castiel ground his hips in reaction to Dean’s pleasure, which made Dean’s cock press to the bed, leaking pre-come from the tip. When Castiel’s fingers met the rise in his underwear, Dean had to turn his head to yell into the pillow, hips pumping down, trapping Castiel’s hand between Dean’s cock and the memory foam.

Dean just couldn’t stop rubbing, gorging completely on the touch of Castiel’s fingers. Castiel made sounds of hasty undoings, whispered disbelief and curses that ought never sound from an angel’s breath.

“Oh―!” Dean lifted his hips, hands stuck into the pillow to help him remove his crotch from Castiel’s hand. “Oh, fuuuh... Cas―”

Castiel laughed softly, hands grabbing Dean to roll him closer, somehow making Dean’s body pliable with his physical strength alone. Dean fell into him, moulded by Castiel’s grip until he felt like he was surrounded on all sides by Cas, sheltered by him. Castiel sighed down into Dean’s hair, lips dragging open on the crown of his head. “You know,” he said to Dean, “we don’t have to make this first time last forever. It wouldn’t be the last time if you came now, or I came now. We can do it again.”

Ah, so it would happen again. The simple reassurance of that was enough to make Dean smile.

Without giving an answer yet, Dean coiled backwards into Castiel’s arms, trying to understand the position they were in. He surfaced from the embrace, and found he’d been tucked under the blanket with Castiel’s arms around his head, legs around his waist from behind. He rolled over to face him, and peeked up at Castiel’s smile. He felt brightened by his presence. “But,” Dean countered, “there’s this special thing we have, you ‘n me. Where we take so long to do anything that when doing it finally happens, it’s awesome. Figures we oughta do that when we touch each other, right? I dunno,” he shrugged. “I want it to last.”

Castiel’s fingers played with Dean’s delicate hair, making him tickly. “Your word is law, tonight, I believe,” he said. He smiled at Dean serenely, bringing him closer again with his powerful thighs. Dean made a surprised vocal sound as he was wrapped up in Castiel’s arms again, his lower back massaged with firm fingertips. Castiel kissed his lips, and Dean just moaned aloud in absolute revelry, not caring that Cas was right there and Dean didn’t need to be so loud to get his point across. Cas kissing him made him moan, that was all. It felt amazing.

“But―” Dean breathed out, accidentally breaking the kiss. He licked Castiel’s saliva off his lips, examining the tartness of Cas’ mouth behind the taste of toothpaste. “But maybe I would kinda like to do it,” Dean said, finding Castiel’s hands under the blanket. “Like, proper sex? I’m― I don’t know. It was all cute and nice and stuff in my dreams, but I don’t really get how we made it to the tipping point. I kind of just got cuddled a lot and I woke up coming.”

He smirked as he realised his words were making Castiel more excited. Whether it was the mention of orgasms or the mention of cuddles, he wasn’t sure, so he asked: “What’s getting you so hot, huh?”

Castiel breathed softly, wetting his pink lips. “I want to make you come, Dean.” His voice was husky, a clear nuance of arousal. Dean’s eyes widened upon hearing so much in him. “If you would come from being embraced, I’ll do that. Your favourite way, if you like.”

“Spooning,” Dean explained.

Castiel squinted. “What?”

Dean grinned and nestled his face into the pillow, caught up in a moment of timidity. “Um. S- Spooning.” He peeked out at Castiel, who started to rub his cock on Dean’s thigh, getting harder almost by the second. “It’s called spooning. When we lie front-to-back. Mmmoh-ho-God, you’re so hard. Shhh― Christ, Cas―” Dean panted, moaning into the pillow, tingles and sparkles and heavily-weighted lust bouncing in his abdomen, in time with Castiel’s slow-rutting hips.

Short of breath, Dean managed to continue, “You- you, um... you’re the big spoon. Like when you stack spoons in a drawer. And I’m the other spoon. I g-guess they’d - ah!- they’d be the same size spoon, but... mmm...” Dean relaxed and let Castiel hold his hips, cock dragging both their underwear. Dean lost track of what he was saying.

Castiel put kisses on Dean’s neck and throat, and Dean craned backwards to let him do it more. “Yeaah,” he crooned, fingers sinking into Castiel’s hair. It was tufty and wild, like in his dreams. “Yeah, kiss me, Cas... Kiss me...”

Castiel did as he was told, smothering the crook of Dean’s shoulder and his Adam’s apple with little smooches: hot, sometimes wet, sometimes prickly, sometimes both. He moaned too, taking Dean’s thigh and holding it still so he could rub his cock on it.

Dean gasped and tried to get Cas’ underwear down, but Castiel was faster - he retreated to a kneeling position, throwing half the blanket off his back. Dean watched, dazed, as Castiel put his thumbs under the waistband of his white shorts and shoved them down, revealing an attentive, small-headed member with a fat, veined girth, and shimmering liquid smudged down one side. It had to be five inches at least, framed by untrimmed but decently tame pubic hair.

Dean couldn’t quite believe how lucky he’d gotten - that was the cock he was going to be stuck with for the rest of his life, and it was damn beautiful. He expressed this thought with a slow, squeaky moan, eyes closing as he fell back into the pillow and started rubbing his own cock, fingers inside his boxers.

Castiel gave a rumbling, close-mouthed laugh, body slinking over Dean’s. His cockhead dragged purposefully over Dean’s forearm, and Dean almost yelped in delight - the feel of slick pre-come on his skin made his cock pulse, more excited than he thought he could ever get from a touch on his arm.

It was so different when these intimacies were taken out with someone he loved, there was connection and an unseen fire that had never been possible during the same acts with strangers. Between Dean and Castiel there was not yet a familiarity in the bed, but there was trust, and there was the desire to pleasure the other man rather than pleasure themselves. Castiel did seem somewhat self-absorbed with all his rubbing and touching, but Dean couldn’t deny he too was in this partially because they would cuddle after. Besides, he did want Cas to make him come. He just wanted to experience everything it took to get him there more.

Dean nodded when Castiel fingered his boxers questioningly. With their eyes locked, Castiel arched his back and turned his wrists, pulling Dean’s underwear cleanly to his knees. Dean grinned and lifted his knees to his forehead, baring the backs of his thighs to Castiel. Castiel’s teeth nipped playfully at the tender skin there, as he pulled Dean’s underwear off the rest of the way. Dean trembled, not for the first time feeling awe that the man he fell for was the kind of man who played around and acted on instinct. This was Cas’ first time with another person, and Dean still felt like he was in the hands of a pro.

Rolling onto his back beside Dean, Castiel wriggled his own shorts off, tossed them over the side of the bed, then began to unbutton the rest of his shirt. Dean used the same moment to remove his own sweaty t-shirt to expose his skin, relieved by how cool the air was against his scalding-hot body.

Dean laughed happily, and took advantage of Castiel’s nakedness to plop himself over his waist, straddling him. Castiel’s cock bumped Dean’s ass, and Dean rolled his hips back in a smooth curve to make him rub there. When Castiel made a sharp sound of pleasure, Dean grinned, reaching a hand behind his ass. He took hold of Castiel’s cock - holy crap, first time touching one that wasn’t his own. Freaky. Freaky and totally, totally awesome. He rubbed that cock on his asshole, making a quiet sound of glee as he kissed Castiel’s chest. Meeting Castiel’s eyes, he whispered, “You like that?”

Castiel nodded, groaning into his closed mouth.

Dean kissed his chest again, then moved to his nipple. “Good,” he said. He suckled on Cas’ nipple for a while, nosing it and nibbling it. He’d always found nipples to be somewhat therapeutic to play with.

He blinked slowly, sighing as Castiel’s cock spilled another hot trail of pre-come over his fingers. Without thinking about it, Dean rubbed the slickness into his hole, excited enough by that kind of touch that his heart fluttered, sending shocks through his whole system. His head dropped low and he groaned, almost undoing himself over the rising and falling of Castiel’s chest.

“No― No,” Dean breathed, frowning as he strained away from Castiel’s cock and all his brilliant heat and wetness. “No, I’m gonna come if I keep― Freakin’― Cas...” He shivered and curled down, pushing his cock into the dip of Castiel’s belly as he put their lips together. Castiel welcomed him, mouth open, arms sweeping to hold Dean tightly, hands pressed on his back. Dean supposed Cas didn’t mind having all of Dean’s weight on his ribs or stomach, even though Dean was slowly relaxing, and probably getting heavier as a result.

Without warning, Castiel rolled them over, and Dean shouted into their kiss, then laughed when Castiel nuzzled his cheek. “God yes,” Dean muttered to Castiel’s ear, nibbling his earlobe. “Nuzzling. Rub your face on me, I love that.”

Castiel hummed, slowly but surely lowering his chin then raising it again, dragging his stubble all the way down Dean’s cheek. It ought to hurt - it did scratch quite nastily - but he enjoyed it, because he felt like he’d been wanting to feel not only a man’s stubble, but this man’s stubble, for perhaps all of his life. He trembled and turned his face, making Cas rub on the other side too.

“Now my cock,” Dean muttered. He licked his lips, flushing with heat when Castiel met his eyes. “Rub your face on my cock.”

When Castiel started to pull back to do it, Dean panicked and grabbed him by the shoulders. “No... No, don’t. Um.”

“You changed your mind, that’s okay,” Castiel said, stroking Dean’s cheek with the backs of his fingers. “Let’s try this instead.” He aligned his naked body with Dean’s, and ever so gently began to budge his weight against Dean’s member. Dean nearly passed out from the new sensation: blood-swollen skin juddered against his cock, foreskins damp and hot and touching as they rubbed. Dean stared down, and Castiel raised his body onto his elbows so Dean could see.

“Tell me what it looks like?” Castiel whispered. “I know how it feels, I can’t - oh, can’t even believe it, but - muhhh... Dean, what does it look like?”

“So goddamn human,” Dean breathed out. “Oh - Cas.” His eyesight felt weak, head drifting to the side, exhausted by simply looking at this wonderful thing. “It looks gross,” Dean said, chuckling until Castiel smiled. Dean flicked his eyes to meet Castiel’s, kissed him, then looked down again. “You’re - ahh, yeah - kinda drooling, dribbling all over the place, Cas... Uh-hhh. Heh. You got a real wet cock. Kinda hot... Guess that’s gonna either be fun or annoying, God knows.”

Castiel murmured something indecipherable against Dean’s throat. Dean nosed him away so he could watch again: “Christ, it looks like they’re looking right at me. Coupl’a cocks. Frickin’ weird.” He grinned and spread his fingers through Castiel’s hair, pulling his head down. “What’re you smiling at?”

Castiel was still grinning when he kissed Dean’s lips, so it wasn’t much of a kiss. “Only that I asked what it looked like because I knew whatever you said would be funny.”

Dean raised his eyebrows. “Oh, look at me, regular Charlie Chaplin.”

Castiel narrowed his eyes in confusion, and it was Dean’s turn to laugh. His legs curled up to wrap around Castiel’s waist, and he rolled them over to the middle of the bed again, rubbing Cas with his hips. Castiel was still grinning, but Dean was giggling properly, tickled from the inside out.

He lost control for a while, collapsing over Castiel’s body, laughing at nothing or everything. Castiel took that as a cue to make Dean laugh harder, and Dean spent the next few seconds jerking away from Castiel’s fluttering fingers, threatened by a tickle.

“Got you!” Castiel cried, pouncing on Dean from behind, cock whacking against the fat of his ass. Fingers found Dean’s tummy and he laughed before they even tickled him, so caught up in the chase and the game that it had completely slipped his mind that he wasn’t ticklish. He shrieked and squirmed away from Castiel’s hands, grasping his fingers to distance him, but making sure he let go so Castiel could tackle him again.

They messed about in the bed for some unknown amount of time, flopping away from each other, wriggling back. Hands grasped in awkward places - inner thighs, ears, ankles, curled tightly into hair - and every time it would illicit a bark of laughter, or a low bellow of overexcited playfighting terror, which somehow always resulted in a kiss or an exploratory touching spree.

Dean knelt on his hands and knees, letting Castiel finger his hole. He was curious about it... as was his tongue, apparently. Dean laughed and jumped away from the hot, wet licks, instead turning onto his front and opening up his legs. His cock bounced on the perch of his hips, enthused by the slow, stalking crawl Castiel did to get right up close.

Dean was out of breath, and Castiel was equally red on the cheeks, both of them flustered to the point of collapse.

They rested their lips on each other, not quite kissing. They shared breath, shared space, exuding heat that boiled down each of their bodies. Dean moaned on an exhale, enjoying this intimacy too. This was so much fun. He never would have believed Cas was such a tiger in the sack - the kind of tiger who pawed at things, and bit and licked things to find out how they worked. Even if those things where parts of Dean’s body that Castiel also possessed himself. Still, Dean couldn’t scrounge up a word of complaint.

He wondered what it would be like to ask Cas to play some more, try out the kinds of bedroom activities Dean was still scared and curious about - he was still too shy to try some things with girls, for God’s sake - but he decided to leave those experiments to days when they each knew more about what they were doing.

Finally catching his breath, Dean put a little kiss on Castiel’s lips, and whispered, their eyes locked, “I think it might be time, now,” he said, tongue shaping over his lower lip. “Time to finish up?”

Castiel’s eyeline dipped to Dean’s lips, and he let a slow murmur escape his throat. “Yes, perhaps it is.”

“Only because I’m actually really tired,” Dean assured him. “It’s not that I’m bored, I promise. I just don’t want to fall asleep right after I come, so sooner rather than later might be better― Why are you smiling?”

Castiel kissed Dean on the nose with a loud smack. “You don’t need to explain, Dean.”

Dean huffed. “You’ve never done this before, maybe you don’t know about what happens after dudes come. Usually we get real snoozy and drop right off.”

“I understand how everything works, Dean,” Castiel assured him. He kissed Dean again and pushed him down to the bed, grinding his cock into the plump vee of Dean’s parted legs. Dean had gotten acclimatised to how that felt, but that didn’t stop him from cooing in pleasure and squirming his legs further apart. Castiel grunted happily and held Dean’s hips down, kissing his throat arhythmically.

“Mm― No, no―” Dean complained, patting at Castiel until he eased off. “No, we should do this last bit in bed.”

“We are in bed.”

“I mean―” Dean scrambled to the head of the bed, quickly fluffing up his pillow and setting it neatly where it should be. He turned around, stretched down and lay flat, beckoning a hand to Castiel. “Bring the blanket up, lie next to me.”

Castiel’s eyes seemed to light up. “Are we going to sleep together?”

Dean’s jaw fell slightly slack. “I... I thought we already were.”

“No― You and me. You’ll sleep, and I’ll be... I’ll be with you,” Castiel said. He swallowed, riveted by the words he’d said. Dean watched him scoop the blanket towards where Dean lay, attempting to neaten it as he went; it was tangled and still ripped, but they managed.

“Yeah,” Dean said, as Castiel lay beside him, head resting on the same pillow. “Yup. You’re gonna sleep with me.” He looked over at Cas with a warm smile that he felt fully. He rolled towards Castiel, taking his hand under the blanket, then rolling away again and facing the side of the room, bringing Castiel with him. Castiel was the big spoon, and Dean got a tiny bit harder against the mattress. “You’re gonna sleep with me every night.”

Castiel seemed to stop breathing. He was so hard against Dean’s ass that Dean momentarily thought he had somehow misplaced an elbow.

Words came in a whisper against Dean’s shoulder, lips in a soft almost-kiss. “You really mean it.”

Dean took the hand that strayed to his heart, and he brought it to his lips to kiss it. He tasted their soils, bitter and dry. “Yeah,” he said, rubbing Castiel’s fingertips on his lips so he could feel him say: “Yeah, I mean it.”

Castiel pressed his forehead to the back of Dean’s neck, letting out a hot breath all in one go. “Thank you, Dean.”

Dean smiled against his fingers. “It’s okay. C’mon, make me come now, Cas.”

He felt Castiel’s smile on his skin.

Dean’s thighs were pushed apart by Castiel’s intrusive cock, bewilderingly hot, slickness guiding his way between Dean’s softest muscles. Lying on his side, his lean thighs seemed borderline untoned, but Castiel demonstrated the best use for them. Dean found himself moaning, looking down at something he couldn’t see with his eyes, but saw with his mind: Castiel’s member was pushing a space between his legs, foreskin wrinkling back with each push, covering over again as he slipped back. Dean felt the position change, naturally sliding up his thighs, closer and closer to his own groin―

And then they found it, they found how to transform Castiel’s experiment into something that worked properly. With Cas’ dick sliding in the exact space between the tops of Dean’s thighs, his cockhead spread another dribble of pre-come to guide his slow push. Dean let out a gentle, breathy cry, one fist in his pillow, the other around Castiel’s hand. His own cock was rubbing on the mattress, and making it much slicker where the tip rubbed. He couldn’t wait to touch himself and push out a full droplet, use it to get himself off. But it was Cas’ turn first. This was how they would do it.

Castiel murmured a note against Dean’s neck, followed by bright huff. “I can - auh! - can feel your scrotum,” he muttered, the tip of his tongue gracing Dean’s shoulder as Castiel breathed the words on him. “You’re very fluffy, but you’re sweating.”

Dean chuckled, but his amusement quickly devolved into building pleasure as Castiel’s hand left Dean’s fingers alone so he could instead play with his cock.

“―Oh!” Dean said, empty of breath, lacking volume but not enthusiasm. “Feels good. Feels so good, Cas. Mm― Go faster. Oh, freakin’ hell - Cas, go faster!”

He smiled and lost even more breath as Castiel rolled him down onto his front and rode into him from above, his pelvic bone thrusting into the fattest part of Dean’s ass. Their skin slapped, making clopping noises barely muffled by the blanket. Dean bit the pillow as his eyes rolled back, losing his sanity for heartbeats at a time. His heartbeat, for that matter, was galloping.

Castiel took himself to the edge, crying out loudly, shouting Dean’s name―! But then he sank back, pulled Dean onto his side again and took it slow once more.

“Wh... why...?” Dean managed to say, his body shivering, as he too had been pulled back from the brink of orgasm. “Caaaaas, whyy.”

“We’ll finish as we mean to go on, Dean,” Castiel said, stroking Dean’s thigh reassuringly. “Shh.” He soothed him, even as he himself was out of breath, sweating on Dean’s back. Dean couldn’t see him, but he would bet anything his hair was dangling over his forehead, lacking whatever gel he always seemed to magically acquire.

Dean kicked the blanket away, too heated to keep hiding under it like they were resting, for they were certainly not at rest yet. “And how do we mean to go on?”

Castiel nuzzled the nape of Dean’s neck, bristles against sweaty skin sending Dean into a back-arching spasm that made Castiel laugh and pull him closer, only to do it again.

When Dean slapped him in the face and made him lie still, save the rubbing between his thighs, Castiel finally answered: “We’ll go on, Dean, not senselessly, or caught up in impulsive desires - but thoughtfully.” He kissed Dean’s shoulder, the place his handprint had once been. “Considerately.” He nuzzled Dean’s shoulder gently, making Dean smile in satisfaction rather than startle. “And with an unarguable, indisputable amount of love.”

Dean breathed into his pillow, hiding his smile. “Mm. Love you too.” It felt so good to say it, but damn, did saying it make him feel like a baby.

Castiel held him tightly from behind. Kissed his neck, the back of his ear. “It’ll be normal for us one day,” he promised. “But always... Oh... Oh―” He breath came in little huffs on Dean’s cheek, his body tensing up. “Always new. Always― Dean, I’m coming, I’m c―”

Dean rushed a hand to underneath his balls, fingers tucking into the warmth to receive Castiel’s orgasm into his cupped hand. Dean sighed as he caught the immediate heat of it, eyelids flickering at how weirdly good that was to experience. Cas came and it was Dean’s fault. That was awesome.

Panting hard, Castiel struggled to regain composure. Dean reached for a tissue from the drawer of his nightstand, grinning as he wiped his fingers clean. There was something spectacular about it not being his own emissions he was wiping.

“N- No-whuhhh... Uff― Hhhh. Now... you,” Castiel panted, open-mouthed on Dean’s neck. “Oh, Dean... Oh... I’m exhausted...”

Dean chuckled, finding Castiel’s hand to hold it with his now semen-free fingers. “Come on, buddy. I told you you’d be tired.”

“I wasn’t this tired last time,” Castiel huffed, before freezing up for some reason.

Dean turned halfway over, managing to meet Castiel’s eye. Castiel seemed guilty.

Dean lay there on his back, considering whatever words were now going semi-formed on Castiel’s lips. “You came in your pants last time, right?”

Castiel nodded slowly.

Dean licked his lips. “I don’t get it. What’s up?”

Castiel shook his head, putting his hand on Dean’s cock instead. Dean was thoroughly distracted away from the topic, giving himself over to touch for a good, long while.

Castiel took his damn time to get Dean closer to orgasm - Dean was crying out and curling up and clutching the sheets before Castiel even considered speeding up the movement of his hand, but then stopped suddenly, taking his hand away.

Dean yowled into his pillow, frustrated and so unbelievably pent-up that he almost felt like crying. “Caaas, I wanna come. I wanna come, pleeease...”

“Sorry,” Castiel said, returning his hand to Dean’s member, this time focusing on the head, thumb squashing so Dean’s slit opened up wider. “My hand got tired.”

Dean grumbled, getting comfortable as Castiel curled around him, a thigh between Dean’s, body forming a warm cocoon over him. Dean breathed deeply, enjoying the sweet but salty smell of Castiel’s sweat and sex.

It went on gently for another few minutes, getting Dean back to where he was before, sweating in waves, crying curdled sounds into his pillow, then shoving aside the pillow in a fit of explosive pleasure, which of course had him spilling his load straight into Castiel’s cupped fingers. Dean was barely aware of anything but bright lights all around him as he came, lightning in his skin - and Cas, running his cheek over Dean’s shoulder over and over, murmuring encouraging sounds, eyes not leaving Dean’s cock as Dean filled his hand with liquid heat.

Dean came down in huge washes of relief, sinking lower and lower into Castiel’s arms as Castiel hushed him, still nuzzling him, rocking him into a soft embrace.

Dean moaned, taking a sloppy kiss from Castiel at an odd angle as Castiel craned over Dean’s shoulder. Dean couldn’t help smiling into the kiss, though; Cas’ love was indeed unarguable and indisputable - twice over, since they essentially meant the same thing. It was a sure fact.

“Mm. Wonderful. Now,” Dean slurred, blinking hard to fend off the sleep that tried to take him. He poked Castiel in the chest, rolling completely towards him so they were face-to-face. They bumped at the knee, but then twined their legs together. “Now,” Dean said again, finding his thoughts. “What was it you weren’t saying?”

Castiel sighed, tossing a now-damp tissue onto the floor. His spread fingers then pushed back through Dean’s sweaty hair. “Can’t we talk about it in the morning?”

“No,” Dean said. He kissed Castiel’s lips firmly, frowning at him from an inch away, both their cheeks on the same pillow. “No, we talk about it now. No holding back on this marital bed, Cas.”

Castiel wore a flighty little smile when he heard the word ‘marital’. Dean smirked rather smugly.

“Um,” Castiel said. He glanced down, apparently ashamed. Gulping, he shifted forwards and rested his lips on Dean’s chin, eyes open to meet Dean’s. All the innocence in the world was in those eyes. “I’m tired,” he said. He swallowed. “I’m tired because I’m― I’m human.”

Dean snorted. “Yeah, I know. What else is new?”

Castiel blinked and moved back a few inches in surprise. Dean started to grin, feeling like he won the part of life’s game where he outwitted his soulmate for a whole day. Psh, as if it wasn’t obvious. “Wanna know the first thing that tipped me off, Cas?” Castiel blinked. Dean grinned. “You owe me fifteen gummy bears.”

When Castiel sighed, Dean added, “And a chance to jerk you off while you’re sleeping. For payback. You know.”

Castiel smiled bashfully, wrinkles either side of his eyes as he looked down to Dean’s heart. “All right.”

Dean kissed his forehead. “Now, come on. Get some rest. You’d better not snore, or this whole deal is off.” Castiel actually looked frightened, which Dean could only laugh at, scruffing his messy hair with his hand. “I’m kidding.” He put another adoring kiss on Castiel’s slow, slightly unresponsive lips, finishing with a smiley peck. “Go to sleep.”

“What about you?” Castiel asked, taking the blanket as Dean pulled it up to their shoulders. When Dean lay down again, Castiel’s fingers moved to play with the scruff on his jaw. “Will you sleep too? I don’t want you have another nightmare. I’m sorry... I’m sorry, there’s nothing I can do any more.”

Dean shook his head. “You’re with me, Cas. I don’t get nightmares if there’s someone around to cuddle.” He smiled, nosing a last kiss to Castiel’s lips. His words were purely presumptuous, he really had no idea if Cas’ presence would make a difference. Despite that, he was as sure about the resilience of their kisses as he was of anything: no matter how tired he got of being awake, or tired of life, he’d never get tired of Cas.

Dean bundled himself up into Castiel’s arms, obtaining affection before it was offered. Castiel smiled, giving it freely. Pleased at how simple it was now, Dean huddled beside Castiel, cheek snug against his chin. His eyelashes flickered over Castiel’s lips once, then were still. Their bodies were wrapped and bound together, Dean feeling completely that he was a part of Castiel for the night.

“Go to sleep,” Dean whispered again, nodding reassuringly to Castiel, who still seemed unsure that Dean would be okay if either of them slept.

When Castiel had at last closed his eyes, Dean stroked his wrecked hair back off his forehead with a finger. He gazed at Castiel, fondness all warm and fuzzy like a basket of kittens in his chest. He smiled even wider, realising he only had one thing left to say to Castiel.

“I’ll watch over you.”

And until he fell asleep in Castiel’s arms and dreamed of nothing, that was precisely what he did.

{ the end }