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Understanding Your Body in Ten Easy Steps

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Sam shut the door, and Dean was left alone with Castiel.

It took maybe fifteen minutes before Dean’s eyes even wandered away from his laptop. He was minding his own business, when a slow moan travelled the air and rested in his ears. His gaze rose to see what Cas was watching on TV that was suddenly making so much noise.

The square of the screen was full of bodies and skin.

Dean raised his eyebrows. “Seriously, Cas?”

Castiel gasped (actually gasped) and scrambled to hit the remote. The colour in the TV screen flattened and disappeared, leaving the motel room quiet, both men existing in the summer serenity of a drifting curtain and fresh sheets.

Dean’s eyebrows were still raised.

Castiel sat with a miasma of guilt resting on his shoulders. Dean set his laptop aside and considered his best friend with a very narrow scrutiny. Hmm.

Then Dean stood up, socks on the carpet. He went and sat with Castiel at the end of the bed, hands hooked between his parted knees, looking closely at Cas’ hunched, trenchcoated form. Castiel appeared particularly gaunt, the skin around his eyes tightened, lips drawn apart and dry. As Dean stared, Castiel shut his eyes then looked downwards.

Dean didn’t even need to peer over Cas’ arm to know what was going on down there. It had happened before; Castiel’s dick was seemingly very reactive to even a few snapshotted frames of porn.

“You, uh,” Dean started, licking his lips, “You wanna watch something?”

Castiel lifted his chin again, but didn’t look over. There was a faint pink on the peaks of his cheekbones. “Do you mean pornography?”

Dean smirked. “Yeah, I mean porn.” He slouched his weight back on one arm, dipping the bed under the heel of his hand. “I’ve got my laptop open, internet’s full of it.” He glanced over to the laptop in a directive gesture, but Cas wasn’t even looking.

“Dean―” Castiel frowned, head lowering again. “I thought you said it wasn’t allowed.” He frowned again, deeper this time. “Or do you mean you would leave the room while I watch?”

Dean stood up, sauntering away with twining, feline steps, going slow so he could think about it. “Uh. Well.” He looked back, smiling when he saw Castiel was looking straight at him. “I’ll stick around.” He shrugged. “No big deal, right? The whole ‘no porn when there’s other dudes in the room’ was just a―” he cleared his throat, mouth still open, “―just ‘cause Sam was there. It’s not a blanket rule.”

Castiel surprised Dean by looking relieved. A small, awkward smile graced his lips for a moment, then his mouth returned to its natural resting line.

Dean went and grabbed his laptop, then hauled the motel dining table closer to the bed, socks skidding on the carpet as the weight rolled onto the balls of his feet. When the table was aligned with one long side of the bed, he opened up the laptop lid and gestured Castiel to sit.

“C’mon. We can start with the basics. I’m guessin’ you never whacked off before, so...”

“Whacked off,” Castiel parroted, saying the phrase like he might say something highly scientific. Dean gave a little nasal laugh.

“Masturbated.”

Castiel seemed intrigued, taking his place on the edge of the bed. “No, I haven’t.”

Dean plopped himself down on the mattress just to Castiel’s left. The left table leg was touching Dean’s left knee, and Castiel’s thigh was touching his right knee. Dean rubbed his hands together in a preparative manner. “Let’s make this your introduction, then. Understanding your body in ten easy steps.” Dean glanced down to his right, unashamedly observing the bulge of Castiel’s dick, which tented his black slacks. “Step one: erection.”

Castiel put his hands palm-down on his thighs, stroking downwards. “It’s interesting.”

“Yeah, I bet it is,” Dean sniggered, elbowing Castiel in a friendly way. “First time I got one, I was fourteen, and I was like, ‘whoa, what the hell’. I didn’t know what was happening. You end up missing a whole bunch of sex-ed while you’re roaming the country as a kid, you know? But hey, didn’t take me long to figure it all out.” He slapped Castiel on the thigh, then lifted his hand and pointed a determined finger at the laptop screen.

“Step two: el porno. Once I’ve shown you the ropes, I’ll let you lead the way. We’re gonna take it slow this first time, all right? Basics first.”

Castiel nodded, eyes on the screen as Dean typed in the url of his go-to porn website, second only to Busty Asian Beauties. Cas probably needed something with a wider demographic than Dean’s fallback favourite, since Cas had yet to find out what he liked.

“Dean,” Castiel said, as Dean immediately searched up the top-rated lesbian scenes uploaded that week.

“Yeah?”

“Why are you doing this? Why help me with this?”

Dean smirked, scrolling the trackpad with two fingers, all other fingers poised in the air. “Why do you think?”

Castiel was quiet for a moment. “I’m not really sure.”

Dean smiled over at him, knocking his right knee against Cas’ thigh. “Look, man. If you’re gonna dive head-first into this whole ‘being human’ mess, I’m not going to let you do it unsupervised. You’re worse than Sammy when it comes to seducing women, and that’s saying something, as far as I’m concerned. View this as a controlled environment. Sam’s out taking some me-time, so we’ve got the place to ourselves for a while. We’re like... ha! We’re like a couple’a teenagers, pretend. You’re horny, I’m―” Dean flicked his fingers at himself, shifting on his perch uncertainly. “I’m your more experienced guide. We’ll go easy, like I said.”

With that, he put his hands back on the laptop and clicked on a video with a thumbnail that looked decent.

Castiel watched patiently as the video began. Dean eyed the laptop, then shifted his fingers to turn up the brightness on the screen, since the gleaming rectangle was dark against the daylight from the covered window behind it.

Porn was all identical, Dean sometimes felt. Two pretty ladies flirted, swayed their hips, then ended up in the bedroom. Dean watched Castiel rather than the video when the bedsprings first took the ladies’ weight. Castiel’s lips parted, eyes widening. Dean listened for his breath, and smiled triumphantly as he heard it catch.

“Step three: visual-to-mental arousal.” Dean patted Castiel’s thigh in celebration. “Means you’re enjoying it.”

“I suppose they must know each other,” Castiel said. His voice was lower than it usually was. “These women. They must be good friends.” He started to smile, which somehow made Dean’s tummy feel warm.

“Friends,” Dean blinked. He looked at the screen, wetting his lips as he saw the women crooning and taking each other’s lips under their tongues, groans rattling from their breaths. A well-timed panty-shot let Dean see the swell of both their coochies through dampening fabric, and he smirked. Looking back to Castiel, he exhaled silently. “Uh-huh. Real good friends.”

Upon realising that his hand was still on Cas’ thigh, Dean snatched it back, fingers curling.

Castiel’s eyelashes rose and fell as he observed the video. Dean checked that his pupils were dilated, then that his erection was still pressing into his slacks. Castiel was definitely enjoying what he saw, but he didn’t seem to react in the usual way.

“Not wanting to interrupt your thoughts, or anything, but,” Dean swallowed quickly, “don’t you feel like - I don’t know - touching?”

Castiel blinked himself out of his funny stupor, eyes going down to his crotch, then across to Dean’s. Dean’s own breath caught in his throat in alarm - and that alarm only turned to complete shock as Castiel’s hand found its way between Dean’s legs before Dean could even register he was going to touch him.

Dean stood up so quickly he bruised his hip on the side of the table, folding over the laptop with an awful groan of pain. The laptop still warbled with feminine moans, but even when Dean slithered back to a seated position, he couldn’t see the screen through his watering eyes.

“Did I do it wrong?” Castiel asked, worry in his voice. His assumption wasn’t incorrect, but Dean didn’t have the heart to snap at him.

“Ahh. Heh.” Dean grasped his throbbing hip bone and gritted his teeth. “You― Ow. When I said ‘touch’, Cas, I actually meant yourself.”

There were a few seconds of culpable silence, broken only by a gasping, obviously staged moan from the video.

“Oh,” Castiel said. “I thought―”

“Yeah, I know,” Dean said. He lifted his eyes to the ceiling, then over to Cas, offering a flat smile. “I know what you thought. This isn’t that.”

“Oh,” Castiel said again. He looked back at the screen. He stared at it, without reaction this time. “The video finished.”

Dean sighed. His hip was still smarting, but he adjusted his position so the band on his jeans kept pressure on it. Flexing his fingers, he reached for the keypad again. “Here,” he said, turning the machine towards Castiel. “Type something, anything you want.”

Castiel looked blankly at the flashing line that rested in the empty search bar. “I don’t... understand.”

“I searched girl-on-girl, remember? Come on, I know you know how to use a keyboard, you send me texts at three in the morning about Indian wildflowers.”

“That was one time,” Castiel said.

“Last night you texted me about a fucking puddle.”

“It was a very remarkable puddle, Dean.”

“At two a.m., Cas, migratory ducks in Seattle are really not that high on my list of interests.”

Castiel huffed.

Dean couldn’t help smiling, though, kicking his friend playfully on his boot. “Type whatever you wanna type, Cas. I won’t judge.”

Castiel narrowed his eyes at the screen, humming a single note. “Are there instructional videos available?”

“Uh. Instructional how?”

“Something that could efficiently replace you as my guide.”

Dean took a few seconds to process that before he blurted out, “Cas, I’m reaching out to you here, if you don’t want my help, then I’m―” and then another few seconds before he swallowed the rest of his words and started to smile. “Oh. You’re kidding.”

Castiel’s gaze caught Dean’s, a tiny twinkle in his eye. “I only meant to imply that I have absolutely no idea what to type.”

Dean grunted in mild annoyance, but then realised Cas might actually make him leave if he got too impatient. Dean was here to explain the basics, after all. “All right,” he sighed, “What do you want to watch? What do you like? There’s literally a world of porn out there. How it works is that you type keywords, then press ‘go’. Girl-on-girl, or the regular straight stuff. Or threesomes: two girls and a guy. Dark hair, light hair. Chicks with a bit more booty-curve? There’s some nice ones on here. And there’s massage videos. Maybe something with toys. Some dominant ladies? God, I don’t know what you’re after.” Dean found he was blushing with his eyes set on his knees, having revealed a sufficient percentage of the kinds of video he liked to watch.

Castiel considered Dean, this time staring at him while Dean looked at the screen, nearly unseeing. He felt scrutinised.

“What about men,” Castiel said. “Are there videos of men?” Dean’s stomach clenched up tight, feeling a flutter in his belly that didn’t abate once a second had passed, nor the following second.

Dry-mouthed, Dean rasped, “You wanna look at men?”

“They do make up nearly half the population of Earth,” Castiel said mildly. “I think avoiding them forever may not be in anyone’s best interest.”

“No, no, I mean...” Dean frowned at his hands.

What did he mean?

He shook his head, trying to brush away the tension in his body that he hadn’t expected to feel so immensely. There was no use questioning Castiel’s motives. Dean had said he wouldn’t judge, so he wouldn’t.

He took a breath, let it go, then searched for solo men.

“You pick,” he said, as soon as the search went through. His hands flew off the keypad like it might singe his fingertips if he touched it for any longer.

Castiel examined the results carefully. He took so long that Dean had time to realise Cas was reading the caption for every single thumbnail.

“Cas, just click something that looks promising,” Dean prompted. “Like― I don’t know. Um.” His gut swooped as he lifted a hand halfway to the table, fingers pinching the edge. “That one. The... The one next to the massive black dude. Yeah,” he nodded when Castiel moved the mouse pointer over it. “Uh-huh.”

“You want to watch this one?” Castiel asked him, looking at Dean discerningly. Dean couldn’t look back, he was trapped under a magnifying glass.

Dean’s lower lip caught under his upper one. Shame, he felt shame. And excitement.

He nodded.

He slid a hand over his crotch, hiding the start of his erection from Castiel.

A sweet-faced Latino man smiled from the screen, shaven-chested, eyelashes long and flickering over his dark brown eyes. He was perched on a lab stool in a blue studio, fingering his nipples, rolling his cock through his loose fist.

Dean’s breath escaped his throat in a squeaky sigh. He could feel himself getting dark-eyed and melty around the edges, shoulders sinking down. Cas was watching him fill up with arousal, which Dean realised was only making it worse, more intense.

Dean squeezed his denim-covered erection, doing his best to cloak the fact that the touch made him blind for a while.

“Dean, may I ask you something?” Castiel said, his voice quiet with trepidation.

Dean’s eyes flicked over to meet Castiel’s for a brief second before he had to look back at the video. He was too flustered, and trying hard to hide it. “Yeah, what?”

“What... What do you feel when you view pornography?”

Dean’s mouth slid open. “Um. What do you mean, what do I feel?”

“Emotionally.”

When Dean’s attention moved to Castiel’s face, Castiel’s eyes dipped down to Dean’s crotch, where he was still grasping his erection.

Castiel added, “And physically.”

Dean let out a slow breath, his viewing of the pretty olive-skinned man going mostly unregistered now. “Feel. How do I feel,” he muttered to himself. “Uh. Sexy, I guess. Hot? Like, when I get aroused―”

“You’re aroused now.”

Dean frowned when his temperature soared up in reaction to Castiel’s observation.

“Yeah,” he replied, weakly. “Yeah, I― I kind of am.” He chuckled, relaxing a bit. It was becoming apparent to Dean that Cas was far less judgemental than he was. Dean relaxed some more, starting to smile. He nodded, looking casually over to meet Castiel’s interested eyes. “I get hot all over. Tingly, like little squirmy electric feelings, mostly down there.” He gestured to his abdomen and between his legs. “I get a bit hard, then after some touching, a lot hard.”

He grinned when Castiel looked at his erection again. Dean assured himself that it was all in the name of education, so it was fine for Cas to look.

“But emotionally,” Castiel urged. “What do you feel?”

Dean hummed, looking at the video before him with a mindful eye. “Huh. Kind of― Nothing?”

Castiel was silent, blinking only once. His hands were still on his thighs.

Dean shrugged at him. “A bit lonely, maybe. Aside from when I do it for relaxation, jerking off’s more fun when there’s someone watching, or someone to help out.”

Castiel continued to hold his gaze, but Dean got the subtle impression of building shyness coming from Cas.

Dean broke eye contact first, putting his fingers onto the trackpad to navigate away from the video of the naked man, which was nearing its end anyway. “That one’s a bit tame. Let’s try... Hm. What was it you watched last time, aaah...” Dean tapped his fingers on the laptop frame as he thought. “Oh! You kinda liked the spanking, right?”

He grinned over at Cas, only to grin wider when he saw Castiel leaning forward in interest, eyes locked to the screen like a cat spying its prey.

Dean, ever the expert, pinpointed a video that probably wouldn’t be total crap. He let it play out the initial credits, wriggling back into the mattress on his ass, both hands out behind him. His cock wasn’t as hard as it was before due to lack of touch, but the ache was still less noticeable than the bump on Dean’s hip, which still goddamn hurt.

Dean chuckled when he heard the cliched mutterings of “You’ve been a bad, bad boy,” coming from the laptop speakers. The young man’s meek reply had Dean lick his lips and touch himself again, tilting his head as he tried to put himself in the guy’s place. Personally, Dean had never found himself wearing a red jockstrap in a lady’s boudoir, but given the chance, he wouldn’t say no to a pair of fluffy handcuffs around his wrists and a stiletto gently pressing a woman’s weight on his thigh.

Castiel made an actual groaning noise in reaction when the guy was told to bend over a table with his hands locked above his head.

“What?” Dean asked. “What got you?”

Castiel’s breath hastened over his lips. He shot a glance over at Dean, his eyes enlivened. “I’m not sure. This - makes me―” Cas looked at his own erection again, and Dean brightened inside when he saw Castiel touch himself for the first time. “Powerful. Powerful. The way she... she helps him, she’s very loving towards her partner... Even though he’s done something wrong - sh- she still― Still loves him... Mhuh...” Castiel shut his eyes, a shocked “Oh, shit―?!” falling from his lips. Dean grinned in amusement, not unaware that hearing Cas swear turned him on.

“Step four: touching,” Dean said smugly. He patted Castiel on the elbow. “Take your coat and jacket off, or you’re gotta sweat through. And - move your arm outta the way so I can check you’re doing it right.”

Castiel took off his coat, then his suit jacket, leaving them scrunched around his waist. He looked at Dean, and Dean smiled as he scooted close enough to see.

“You like watching men, don’t you?” Castiel said, as innocently as he might’ve asked about the weather.

Dean smirked, ignoring his blush as he touched Castiel’s thigh, reassuring himself. He shrugged a shoulder, pursing his lips. “I guess.” He didn’t feel the need to deny it, Cas wasn’t stupid. His blood caught fire as he watched Castiel spread out his fingers, sinking into the soft-hard form that strained the black cloth between his legs. “Fuck, Cas, just like that. You got it. Christ, just - rub it. Yeah.”

Castiel watched Dean for a bit, then watched the dude on the screen receiving a tender spanking from a firm but practised hand. Cas made happy noises under his breath when he watched that, but when his eyes were on Dean, he sighed more.

Dean did try to watch the screen, but found his mind was still on Castiel’s long fingers and breathy sighs. So he watched Castiel touch himself instead, and the video played on, ignored.

It worked like that until the video ended, and then Dean blearily discovered he’d forgotten what they were supposed to be doing.

“How about you take your pants off,” Dean said. He looked Castiel in the eye. “It’s better when you’re naked, believe me.”

“Do you still have an erection?”

Dean rubbed himself, grunting noncommittally. “This isn’t really about me. C’mon, get your tie off. Hey― Goddammit, come here.” He leaned forwards, grasping Castiel’s backwards tie and unknotting it with swift, jerky movements. Without looking, he flung the tie onto the bed, and then slapped the laptop lid closed. “Get naked, we’ll go from there.”

“Will you undress too?”

Dean stroked his own thigh, thinking as Castiel stood up. Dean looked up at him, then asked, “Would it be easier for you if I was?”

There were plenty of unspoken things between them staying undefined, but Castiel understood what Dean meant. He held his eye gently as he started to smile. “Yes, I think it would be.”

Dean sighed, smirking with his face turned away so Cas didn’t see. “Awesome.” He stood up, shedding his plaid overshirt to the floor, then wrenching his t-shirt right over his head. He grunted as he undid his belt, wincing at the pain from his hip.

“What, what’s wrong?” Castiel asked, halfway through unbuttoning his white, baggy shirt. “Are you hurt?”

Dean waved him off with a hand. “Nah, it’s nothing. I bumped it when you - um... Never mind. Just get your pants off, slowpoke.” He grinned, ducking to tug his own jeans off his feet. His socks came off too, bare feet to the carpet.

Castiel undid his pants with a pianist’s precision, fingertips on the edge of his belt to pull it open, thumb and finger pinched to pull down his zipper.

Dean kicked off his boxers and flopped back onto the mattress, watching Castiel slink his pants down his pale, hairy legs. He was wearing white shorts as underwear, which followed the pants down. Dean tilted his head, admiring the view.

“Nice tush,” he grinned, winking when Castiel turned his eye in his direction. “For a man a couple bazillion years old, you sure retained your good looks pretty well. Kudos, man.”

Castiel rolled his eyes, but he did seem amused. He folded his pants and left them at the foot of the bed. Dean scoffed at his neatness and kicked them onto the floor. His fist took a gentle pull along his half-hard length as Castiel stared at the fallen clothing, then at Dean. “Dean,” Castiel said warningly.

Dean offered his most stunning grin, running his tongue over his lower lip. He’d forgotten his agenda, but his current feeling was that he kinda liked when Cas got fake-grumpy at him.

Castiel shook his head bemusedly, going forward and setting a knee on the mattress. Dean looked at his cock, feeling a bolster within his own at the sight. “Holy dick, Batman,” Dean muttered, appreciating the view. He met Castiel’s eye. “Jimmy was hung like a goddamn horse.”

“No, horses have much larger penises. Jimmy was merely a well-endowed human,” Castiel said. “You have one of a similar girth, if not length.” Dean smirked and shrugged. That was a good a compliment as any, coming from Cas.

Castiel crawled up alongside Dean, and Dean exhaled merrily. “Right,” he said, matter-of-factly. He nudged Castiel in the chest with his fingers, encouraging him to roll onto his back. “Step five: pleasure points.”

Castiel blinked, completely naive as to what Dean meant.

Dean cleared his throat. “Stuff that feels good when you touch it.” He waved a hand near Castiel’s face. “Hands. Use them to touch, and touch everything. Specifically,” he lifted a single finger, “fingertips.” He bent and stretched that one finger, until Castiel lifted his own hand to look at his palm.

Dean took Castiel’s hand gently from its back, grasping it with their fingers interlocked. “Palms are pretty sensitive too. Here, I’ll show you.” He turned Castiel’s hand back and ducked his head, sticking out his tongue to sweep a groove up the centre of Castiel’s palm. He tasted the salt of sweat, the muffled nothingness of cloth, and a hint of what was unmistakably Cas’ flavour. Dean tucked his lips back, drying them on each other, simultaneously hiding his pleased smile. Cas was wide-eyed, breathless, and was staring at Dean in shock.

“You like?” Dean asked.

Castiel nodded a few times, mouth hanging open. His dark hair ruffled on the blanket.

“Good.” Dean then turned Cas’ hand again, this time taking his index and middle fingers into his mouth together. He sank his lips down to the third knuckle, tongue running soft on them, teeth out of the way. He lapped at them, finding his eyes falling shut of their own accord. He sucked a little, head bobbing to move in and out, in and out― He pulled off with a soft murmur, leaving Castiel’s fingertips with a parting nip of his teeth.

He grinned down at Castiel, cheeks growing hot with a peculiar yet familiar heat. “How about that?”

Castiel nodded. He was fully aroused, cheeks rosy, lips reddening. His fingers were trembling in Dean’s hold. Dean smiled sweetly at him. “Like I said. Hands and fingers. Oh, and mouths, too.” Saying that, Dean lapped at his lower lip, making it slick. Castiel’s eyes settled on Dean’s mouth, and Dean couldn’t avoid noticing how widely dilated Castiel’s pupils were now, even in the bright afternoon light.

“You’ve kissed people before,” Dean said, his voice unexpectedly husky. He swallowed, pretending nothing had changed in him. “You, uh, so― So you know what it’s like.”

Castiel nodded for a third time. His hand twisted in Dean’s grip, fingers stretching wide to take Dean’s between them, palm-to-palm.

Oh. They were holding hands.

Dean held his breath, sensing Castiel’s voice speak a distant league away, his lips expressing unheard words, Yes, I know what it’s like to use my mouth.

Dean gulped, sliding his hand away from Cas’. The flutter in his chest slowly died, which felt like a reassuring relief.

“Okay.” Dean took a deep breath, rolling onto his back, staring up at the cracked ceiling. “Cool.” A long point of sunlight flapped in and out of existence as the motel room’s curtain moved in the breeze.

“What else?” Castiel asked. When Dean realised Cas’ voice was as husky as his own, he shut his eyes, wondering if he’d made a gigantic mistake in doing this.

“Dean, what else?” Castiel said again, prodding Dean on the ribs. “What else is sensitive?”

“I― I - I don’t know,” Dean mumbled. He frowned, squinching his eyes tighter. “God, I don’t fucking know, Cas, why don’t you work it out yourself?”

He had no reason to be so glacial with him; Dean had led himself to sink this deeply. Cas didn’t understand what was happening between them, he didn’t know what this all meant. He didn’t get why Dean now believed beyond every fibre of his being that he’d fucked up so massively he may have ruined everything. Dean wasn’t meant to feel anything from this, but he was feeling everything. Cas had held his hand, and Dean had connected to him, emotions first, body after. It wasn’t supposed to happen.

After a time, Castiel apparently came to ignore the tone of Dean’s words completely, instead opting to follow Dean’s instruction to the very letter. Dean’s eyes flicked wide open as he felt a tongue on his nipple.

“Oh shit,” he breathed.

Castiel laughed against his nipple, teeth grazing the tightening nub. “It’s okay, Dean. Relax for me.”

“Relax―” Dean shoved Castiel off him, kicking him for good measure. He darted away and curled up near the head of the bed, sneering across at his doe-eyed friend. “I can’t freaking relax. You just―” Dean’s breath halted on the bridge of his tongue. “You just licked my nipple.”

Castiel smiled kindly, lying on his front and offering an outstretched hand to Dean. “I did. You enjoyed it.”

He tilted his head when Dean didn’t take his hand. “What are you afraid of?”

Dean could only shake his head. Castiel beckoned again, his eyes ever-patient. “Come on, Dean. There’s still a lot for you to show me.”

Dean considered him for a long time, still clutching his arms around his legs. He felt a little scared, more naked than his bare skin could show. He wasn’t sure what he was afraid of, but he did know that Castiel was right, and he was indeed afraid.

Castiel got fed up of waiting, so lifted himself onto all fours and crawled across the bed, knees sinking deeply into the mattress. Dean’s heart thumped harder and harder every inch he approached, but when Castiel smiled at him, hushed him, and slid his hand around Dean’s jaw, Dean lost all his will to resist him. He let Cas lean in and kiss his mouth.

Pressure slid in between Dean’s open lips, taking away his breath with a hooked tongue. He shut his eyes, falling apart inside as Castiel tilted his head, heat swarming Dean’s senses, all of them. His blood, his mind, his pounding heart. And his emotions. He felt something. Something... big. Huge and expressive, pushing on his skin.

Castiel was still smiling as he pulled away, hands keeping Dean’s head in place, thumbs stroking his cheeks. “Step six,” he said. “Affection.”

Dean whimpered. He hadn’t wanted to feel it, but perhaps it had been inevitable.

Castiel chuckled warmly, taking Dean’s hand again. “Come on, Dean.” He tugged him, and this time Dean followed. They bundled together in the centre of the bed, where they sprawled, with Dean’s erection pressed up to Castiel’s muscular hip. Dean felt like he’d been stung from the inside out, his thoughts and movements reactive but still numbed by this premature unravelling.

Castiel stroked Dean’s hip up and down, reassuring him. “What do you like to have touched? I’ll touch it for you; you did say it was better when someone else does it.”

Dean shook his head. He started to frown, swallowing twice to clear the nervousness from his throat. “No. No way. I’m not stealing your thunder. I touch you. You’re supposed to work out what feels good for you. If you’re doing it to me, you’re only learning about me.”

Castiel blinked acceptingly. “Then... I suggest you touch all the places on me that you usually enjoy having touched.”

Dean retreated a few inches, spine curving. “How about, I tell you where, and you touch yourself. That’s what’s meant to be happening.”

“All right,” Castiel agreed. “Where first?”

Dean bit the back of his lip. “Your cock. The part at the top - the head. Rub your fingers on that. And your foreskin―” Dean had to look down to see if Castel even had a foreskin. He smirked when he saw he did. “Yeah, touch that. Fingertips. Mm-hm.” He nodded encouragingly as Castiel ran small circles around his cockhead, dragging his foreskin as he did.

“―Aughh,” Castiel said, his strangled noise gaining volume as it entered the air. “Oh... oh―”

“That’s it.” Dean sucked on his lower lip, holding back his moan as he touched himself the same way. “Here, touch this. This part, look.” He kept watching Castiel’s face as Castiel looked down, watching Dean nudge his thumbpad past the slick opening of his urethra. Cas’ face flushed brighter, lips trembling. Then his head fell back to the mattress, a deep groan coming from the back of his throat. Dean smiled as Castiel’s eyelids flickered, hiding the blue.

“Say what you’re feeling?” Dean muttered, bucking his hips in order to get a little closer to Castiel in the bed. His right elbow was now touching Castiel’s left. “If you tell me... you might learn something.”

Bullshit. He just wanted to hear Cas’ voice all scratchy and lustful. It made Dean’s gut feel like melted wax, malleable and hot.

Castiel took his time to gather his speaking voice together, having lost it to a shaky moan of pleasure. “Th-hh-eeaa... The. It’s good. It’s good, very g-uhhh. Mm.”

“Yeah, moan some more,” Dean whispered. “So fucking hot. So fucking hot.” His words weren’t comprised of much more than exhaled patterns of air, but he exhaled them with feeling.

“I― Uhgff...” Castiel struggled to speak, head tossed from one side to the other. As he turned back to Dean, his smile caught and stayed on his face, eyes on Dean’s. “Feel happy, I’m ha- happy. It’s small. But― Ah!”

Dean had to look down, his own hand tugging faster and firmer as he watched Castiel fingering his cockhead with one hand as the other hand kept a thumb to his hard rim, moving his foreskin about.

“But what, Cas?” Dean prompted. “C’mon. God, c’mon, you’re doing so good. So good. Auh...”

“But what else sh-should I touch?”

Dean planted his bare heels under his buttocks, lifting his hips off the bed so he could gyrate into his fist. “Ah - fuck - fuck― Umm, what, what...?” He gradually worked past the mind-muddling blaze of rising, falling pleasure, composing a difficult sentence. “Oh, your hole, your little hole. Like this. Watch me. Cas, watch me.”

When he was sure Cas’ intent gaze was on him, Dean rolled his head back, tongue rounding his lips. Another involuntary grunt of pleasure wandered from his mouth, but he slipped two of his fingers inside to stifle his next moan. He licked and sucked the way he’d done for Cas’ fingers - and immediately found the recollection of that made his mouth water, making his fingers slicker than he’d bargained for. He grinned as he removed them, leaving a cold line of saliva down on his chin. “Watch,” he said again.

He put his fingers between his legs, pushing up into the dip. His buttocks parted and he pressed his fingers against his anus, his entire body following the touch to make him arch upwards, all his weight on his shoulders and feet. “Ah!” he shouted, out of breath, out of his mind. His legs shook until he fell to the bed again, mouth wide open, legs parting wider so he had better access.

His dizzy sight fell towards Castiel, and he could only beam at him, unable to keep back the wash of adoration that showed on his face as he felt it. “God, Cas, you’re pretty when you’re hard,” he murmured, eyes roaming his best friend’s face. He licked his lips again, watching Castiel do the same.

Castiel wasn’t touching his hole, seemingly satisfied with having seen Dean do it. He stared back at Dean with a dazed look in his eyes, either caused by mounting confusion or mounting orgasm. “You are always beautiful, Dean. Always.”

Dean managed a smile, but his pleasure at that compliment went deeper than he could even express physically. When Castiel said things, he meant them. Dean had no choice but to believe what he said, because the words were profound.

As Dean went on watching, Cas’ hand shifted elegantly, enrapturing. His breaths were all surprised gasps, moving in seashore waves, each topped with the white froth of a frazzled moan.

“Hey,” Dean whispered, secretive.

Castiel hadn’t looked away from him. “Mhh?”

“Wanna make out?” Dean smiled, earnest and warm.

Castiel didn’t need explaining to: he knew what that phrase meant. He smiled, but in his current state of shaken arousal, the smile appeared more like a twitchy smirk that only lasted a moment before he nodded.

He flipped on the bed, one hand sliding to balance himself over Dean’s chest. Dean opened his mouth wide and coruscated with heat from head-to-toe as Castiel’s mouth met his, tongue dragging his lip and passing forwards a breath, flavoured sweetly. Castiel’s lips smacked, smearing saliva across both their chins, dragging stubble on Dean’s swelling lips. It was a filthy, glorious mess. Dean didn’t care that he’d forgotten how to breathe, he only wanted Castiel’s mouth to turn him into the feverish ghost that he already was.

Castiel kept on kissing until Dean sobbed gracelessly, mind blanked, limbs locked into positions he couldn’t even remember. Sensing Dean’s devastating euphoria, Castiel gave his nose a last, rather polite kiss, then fell back to his own side of the bed, allowing them to return to their previous activity of sidelong arm-jerking.

Dean groaned, overcome with budding contentment, and he closed his eyes to let another wave of bliss overtake his body. He loved getting himself off on a normal day, even more when someone was with him, but hands down, there was no comparison to the physical and emotional delight Dean was experiencing from bumping his best friend with his elbow every time he made a downstroke. Having Cas stare back into his eyes as they did it... shit, Dean had bypassed any once-there thoughts that would have included the words “dude” or “that’s fucking gay”; he was firmly in the territory of “oh dear God, I want this every day for the rest of my life and beyond”.

He chuckled at the thought, amused by himself. It was funny to him, but at the same time, he couldn’t deny how genuine the desire was.

“Mm―” Dean grinned, rolling closer to Castiel, thigh slotted between Castiel’s knees. Dean’s hands both rested flat on Castiel’s hipbones, breath washing down over Cas’ throat. “There’s no limit,” Dean said. “Everything’s sensitive if you touch it right.”

Castiel had hunger in his eyes, hand moving fast.

Dean grinned, playful. “See what you make of this.”

He slunk down over Castiel’s naked body, hands touching every shape of him as he went. Castiel moaned expletively as Dean helped him grasp his cock, but when a fast flood of jitters rose under Dean’s skin, he let go.

What was he to do? He wanted to touch, Castiel didn’t seem to mind what he did - but Dean was still uneasy. It wasn’t that he’d never done this before with a man, but that he’d never done it with Cas. It was important with Cas, more important than it would ever be with anyone else. What if Dean didn’t do it right?

“Dean― Dean, please―” Castiel’s voice was shrouded with tightened breath, want and passion deepening every syllable.

“Okay,” Dean nodded. “Okay, Cas, just...” He sighed nervously over Castiel’s hand, which still massaged his cockhead. Dean could smell his bitterness, licking his lips to taste the air. “Cas, close your eyes. Close your eyes.”

Castiel frowned confusedly, so Dean shook his head. He reached up, covered Castiel’s eyes with his cleaner hand. “Close your eyes. Don’t look.”

“Why not?”

Dean relaxed, feasting his starved sight on Castiel’s skin. “Because,” he whispered, mouth open over Castiel’s slick, meaty cock, nosing away Cas’ juddering hand with a gasp. “Because this isn’t me, I’m not doing this. Don’t think about it being me.”

It pained him to say those words; he was hollowed raw, like his body was devoured from the inside out. He shut his own eyes, feeling Castiel’s thoughtful blink on his palm.

Dean’s tongue reached for the first taste. Skin was soft, blood-hard flesh was firm underneath. Hot and rich, the tang hit the roof of his mouth and his breath curdled over his tongue, hips pushing down into the blanket under him in his rush of excitement. He wanted to rub on Cas, but his mouth was working for it first: he sighed over Cas’ cock, crooning in pleasure as its fierce musky scent ran deeper into his system on every breath. Castiel was shaking, hands clenched white in the blanket at his sides.

“More, Dean,” Castiel said. “You― Your tongue―”

“No, don’t,” Dean pleaded. “Don’t say my name, okay? I’m doing this so you feel good, not because it’s you and me together. You get that, right?”

Lies, lies, lies. The words felt wrong.

Castiel didn’t give an answer. “Please don’t stop.”

Dean shook his head, wanting the full taste too much to hang back. His lips parted over flesh, taking the head at the tip and sliding down, opening wider and sleeker until his tongue was covered and his throat was brimming with salted heat. His hand swept away from Castiel’s eyes and down to the blanket, only to find his fingers landed on Castiel’s hand, and Castiel moved so quickly - they held hands, they held hands as Dean sucked him down.

Dean shut his eyes tight, thinking maybe if he didn’t see then it wasn’t really Cas. He was seeking some other man’s affection, not his best friend’s.

The next few minutes were some of the most difficult Dean had ever willingly put himself through during sex. He wanted himself to accept that he was showing Castiel the love he really felt for him, but he resisted. Resisted, restrained, and repressed. His emotions were worn threadbare by it.

It was so hard to keep up with Castiel’s eager hips - but even after Dean had choked and drooled horribly over pubic hair and inner thigh alike, Castiel still reached to sink his hand into Dean’s tousled hair, moaning praise. Praise, of all things. In garbled mutterings, he told Dean he’d performed well. Dean couldn’t understand why he believed him, even though Cas had never had a blowjob in his life and didn’t know what a good one was meant to be like.

Oh, it was all going so wrong. Dean wasn’t meant to feel warm inside, not like this. He wasn’t meant to want to smile and lift his head and nuzzle his jaw into Castiel’s touch, meeting his eyes. He wasn’t meant to say, “Hey. Do you trust me?”

Cas wasn’t meant to say, “With my life, Dean.”

Dean got up and slid his hands down his face, rubbing his chin on his forearm to wipe away the smears of pre-come and saliva that were smeared there. Castiel looked up at him inquiringly, so Dean instructed, “Stand up.”

Castiel did, hand on his cock. Dean watched him touch himself, but turned away before he looked too much. He crawled back onto the bed, and lay down on his back, hand between his legs, head over the end of the bed, so he saw the world upside-down. Castiel was in his vision again, touching himself as before. Dean didn’t look away this time.

“What am I meant to do?” Castiel asked.

Dean wriggled on the mattress until he was comfortable; his neck was supported by the bed, but his skull was not. He wet his lips and opened his mouth. “Put your dick in my mouth.”

Castiel fingered the stubble on Dean’s throat as he stepped closer. “Isn’t that - dangerous?”

Dean grinned. “I asked if you trusted me.”

“I do.”

“I won’t bite your dick off, promise,” Dean smirked. “You can go pretty deep this way.”

“Yes, I imagine so,” Castiel muttered. He stroked Dean’s throat again, palm curled over the ridge of Dean’s windpipe. “But, Dean... I think the more pressing question is, do you trust me? I could choke you.”

“You won’t choke me.”

Castiel’s fingertips strayed to Dean’s lips, touching to his tongue. Dean loved the taste on his fingers, he was like melted snow and dirty rain mixed together. He’d taste different when he was clean.

“Dean, I’m not sure.”

Dean moved a hand so he could touch the back of Castiel’s. He met Castiel’s eye from three feet below, enjoying his concerned frown upside-down as much as he usually did. “Not being sure is what’ll mess it up. Go in confident, all right? You can do it. I can do it. We’ll― We can do it together.”

He realised part-way through that his words applied to far more than a deepthroat blowjob. But the blowjob could be a good starting point for everything else.

Castiel nodded eventually, stroking himself a good few times to harden his member completely. Dean casually tugged his own cock, being far more interested in Castiel’s.

When he was ready, Castiel bent his knees, pushing them up to the rim of the bed, leaning forwards with his hands on the mattress. Dean held one of his wrists for security as his other hand kept a tight grip on his cock, holding down a leap of dogged excitement.

“Are you ready, Dean?”

“Mm-hm,” Dean said, swallowing one last time before parting his lips, engaging a different pattern of breathing as Castiel filled up his mouth.

Cas’ cock slid over Dean’s tongue, but in this position, it was below it. Dean was daunted by the sensation at first, seeing nothing but the tops of Castiel’s thighs, crouched outwards around his face. Dean shut his eyes and made a surprised noise as Cas’ cockhead easily made it past the back of his tongue. Dean did choke, hand clamping down on Castiel’s wrist, but Castiel pulled back an inch, and Dean’s airway was allowed to open to breath again. He inhaled through his nose, exhaled... slowly becoming accustomed to the hot inches in his mouth. Then he inhaled part-way again, and Castiel, sensing his renewed leisure, rocked gently forward again.

Dean was gratified by Castiel’s humungous groan, a whale of a noise that drove shivers down Dean’s spine. Dean inhaled, exhaled, taking another slow push from Castiel’s careful hips. He couldn’t suck like this, his tongue was barely move able to at all. Saliva escaped his mouth and trickled in a sticky line past his nose towards his eye, but he didn’t care, he just wanted Cas to feel good, no matter how much of a humiliated wreck Dean would be in the end.

As Dean’s throat was filled again, Castiel ran his hand over Dean’s neck, easing him, soothing him. Dean took some bizarre pleasure from that, despite not being able to breathe. He trusted Castiel. He trusted him with his life, with his body.

But he could still understand Castiel’s reasoning when he pulled out, giving Dean the relief of a deep, full-headed inhale, which was promptly followed by a saliva-drenched splutter and an ungainly spit of liquid that spilled hot on his cheek and then splattered onto the carpet. Dean rolled over onto his front, disoriented, feeling saliva tingling in his eyelashes.

He looked up slowly as he felt a hand on the back of his neck. Castiel was peering down at him, not with concern, nor pride, but something incredibly tender, a small smile on his lips. “Step seven: trust. But, equally,” he said, helping Dean to sit up, wrapping his arms around his shoulders and bending to kiss his neck, “knowing when to stop.”

Dean smiled wearily. Castiel sighed against his clavicle. Dean found his closeness was very warm and comforting, and again overcome by affection, he turned his head to seek Cas’ lips. Castiel didn’t mind that their kiss was one sullied by so much mess - Dean had had it all in his mouth, so perhaps it was unfair to assume Cas would shy away from touching it. Cas nuzzled Dean’s wet cheeks with his nose, grinning when Dean started to blush.

“Come on, Dean,” Castiel said, encouragingly. “Let’s get to the end of this, you need to rest.”

“I’m fine,” Dean complained, but still followed Castiel’s guiding hands as he helped him lie on the bed again, head closer to the pillow end this time. Dean sighed, back and neck aching, jaw radiating pain that started to irritate him. Castiel understood his fatigue without being told, which was nothing less than a blessing, given that Dean never intended to tell him about all these minor quibbles.

Castiel lay down next to Dean, still holding his hand. Dean didn’t pull away, disinclined to break contact in any way at all. Castiel snuggled closer, surprising Dean into jerking away, but Castiel shook his head. “Stop that, Dean.”

“Stop what?”

Castiel brought their hands to his lips and kissed Dean’s knuckles. His other hand made its way to touch Dean’s cock, and Dean almost yelped over the soft tones of Castiel’s reply: “Stop fearing the last step.”

Dean laughed, helplessly pushing into Castiel’s hand as he pulled on his erection, ever so slickly bringing him closer to a complete pleasure. “Cas,” he snickered, “It’s all bullshit, I’m making it up as I go.”

“Maybe you are, but I’m not,” Castiel countered.

He sank down and took Dean’s lips under his own, still holding Dean’s hand with the delicacy and care he would take to hold a baby bird. He stroked Dean’s jaw with their joined hands, mouthing sighed vowels onto Dean’s sensitive lips. Dean, thrown by Castiel’s manner, let his eyes close, giving himself over to the swift but rolling way that Castiel loaded him like a gun from the hips, bullets stacked, hammer flicked into position. Dean was going to come, and he wasn’t in control of it at all; Castiel was.

Dean whined, open-mouthed, paralysed by Castiel’s kisses. Cas kissed his lips and his jaw and his cheeks and his nose, and Dean lay there and absorbed it all like he was sand being drenched by an incoming tide. Castiel was all that. He was terrifyingly vast; Dean felt he was only aware of the foam on the thinnest, slow-caressing part of him. There was an ocean out there.

Dean was loved by an ocean. How was he ever meant to understand? To love an ocean who loved him back struck terror into his very soul - the same soul that was once saved by the same ocean.

Oh, he was drowning.

A thumb twisted on the rim of his cock, sent him up like a firework. He fell apart over Castiel’s hand, calling out his name under a breath that didn’t carry, only tumbled and fell into Castiel’s mouth. Swallowed.

Castiel kissed him and praised him, smiling with his eyes.

Dean broke for him. And after that single, full-body burst of heat, the white flag was left dripping down Castiel’s fingers; Dean had surrendered.

They looked into each other’s eyes, and Castiel nodded decisively. “Yes. Step eight: orgasm.”

“What’s step nine?” Dean asked, whispering, as he had no voice left to speak with. “What’s the next step?”

Castiel smirked and shook his head. “Step eight isn’t over yet.”

Dean murmured, but couldn’t complete his question. Castiel pecked him happily on the forehead, then let go of his hands and his cock and everything, and Dean felt cold all of a sudden. “What― Cas, what―?!”

His chest took on a weight; Castiel straddled his ribs, knees under Dean’s armpits. Dean held his thighs, eyes automatically drawing to Castiel’s erection, which pulsed thickly under Cas’ dragging fist. Slimy trickles were painted all over his skin there, but he still maintained some inexplicable dignity. He looked down at Dean and began stroking his hair, which he didn’t seem to tire of doing.

Dean was smiling now, adoring the repetitive motions of both Castiel’s hand in his hair, and the rhythm Castiel continued to use as he pumped on his own cock, a natural movement that Dean had never needed to teach him. Dean set his fervent eyes on Castiel’s, breathing slowly with his lips parted, still aroused by the sight of him sitting on his chest. Castiel looked back with dusk in his afternoon gaze, every part of him attentive to Dean’s position below him, doing his best not to hurt him or stifle him in any way.

Dean held Castiel’s hips from their sides, fingers in dense muscle, thumbs in the dips under his hipbones. He rubbed gently, supposing Castiel was sensitive there.

“Ohh,” Castiel sighed, a small smile pulling at one side of his lips. His eyes slipped closed. “Yes... mmm, yes.”

Dean couldn’t help but grin at him. He loved seeing Cas pleased by something, but seeing him wearing that sort of pleasure of his face was nothing short of heavenly.

Castiel’s lower lip tucked under his teeth, and he was smiling, head rolling back to his shoulders. Dean took glory from seeing Castiel expose himself all the way from his throat to his cock, bare and wanting, a corrugated moan escaping his lips. “Ohhh, Dean―”

“No, no, don’t,” Dean insisted, stomach tensing up. God, hearing his name wrecked like that was beautiful, but it was beauty he couldn’t allow himself to appreciate. “Cas, please... don’t...”

“Deeeaaan,” Castiel moaned again, hips rocking on Dean’s chest.

His thighs rubbed on Dean’s tightened nipples, and Dean couldn’t resist taking a guilty indulgence in the sensation. Said indulgence came out with a startled sigh of, “Shit― Cas!”

Castiel laughed, grasping Dean’s hair tighter, face turning down to grin at him. “I know what’s going on in there, Dean. You don’t need to hide it.”

“No. No, you don’t know jack,” Dean muttered. “C’mon, get this over with.”

Castiel shook his head, licking his lips as he leaned down, getting closer and closer until he was bent over Dean’s head, foreheads pressed together. Castiel shut his eyes, and Dean did too, else risk going cross-eyed. Castiel moaned through his closed mouth, grinding his hips onto Dean’s chest, balls squashed to his stomach. Dean panted, still bursting with desire for the deepening of these acts between them, no matter what he said aloud.

Dean started to take his breaths in gasps as he felt and heard Castiel’s hand racing for the finish, all slapping skin and slick tugs of his sticky fingers. Castiel moaned into Dean’s face, body rocking over him. He was such a weight on Dean’s heart, in more than one way.

When Castiel kissed him, Dean just parted his lips and let him kiss.

And when Castiel fisted his hair and grunted, spilling fluid heat onto Dean’s face, Dean opened his mouth wider, eyes closed in reverence until it ended. The sea-brine scent was unmistakable, foul yet splendid as it seeped into Dean’s mouth, dripping past his teeth until it hit his tongue. He felt it slither on his cheekbone until gravity tracked it towards his ear, still warm. He kept his eyes shut, listening for every final pull Castiel gave himself, and every flustered, squeezed breath that made its way from him.

Castiel gave a satisfied murmur, and at that, Dean opened his eyes. Castiel smiled down at him, lips parted and swollen, cheeks ruddy with a blush. His eyes had never been darker, Dean was sure of it. Dean couldn’t really believe that he was the reason for such a marvelous expression, like he was Castiel’s most precious treasure.

Castiel licked his lips and broke away from Dean’s body, falling off to lie at his side. Dean’s eyes didn’t disconnect from his, though, and when they were lying parallel, Castiel inched closer again, leaning on an elbow to rest his face above Dean’s, still peering down at him.

Castiel didn’t speak, but lowered his face and kissed Dean open-mouthed on his cheek, tongue drifting on his skin. So warm. Dean moaned at the back of his throat, expressing exactly how awesome that made him feel. Castiel smiled on his cheek, then mouthed his way to the other cheek, nose dragging, tongue not shy about licking as he moved.

Then he kissed Dean’s lips, and Dean groaned, feeling the manner of numb where he felt everything so much he couldn’t respond to any of it.

Castiel sighed, lifting his head and stroking Dean’s face again, wiping away some of the mess. Dean blinked, looking at his smile: Cas had come smeared all over his face now, and a lot of sparkling liquid, which was probably Dean’s own saliva.

“Come here, Dean,” Castiel said, putting his arms around Dean’s body and pulling him closer. Dean was dragged like a goddamn ragdoll, and he didn’t make a single argument against it, simply going where he was tugged. He flopped over Castiel’s chest, embraced by him. Castiel kissed his forehead. “Mwah!”

Dean snorted. “Cute.”

Castiel hugged him tighter, rocking onto his side so the two of them lay facing each other, with Dean’s right shoulder digging into the mattress. Castiel looked very happy. “I love you.”

Dean’s eyes widened as he heard the words. He looked directly at Castiel more intensely than before, and breathed, “What?”

“I said, I love you.”

Dean gaped, pushing away a little. “Yeah, I know, I heard you.” He pushed away completely, breaking out of Castiel’s stubborn hold. “Cas, you can’t just―” Dean rolled away, trying to get to the edge of the bed. “You can’t just say that!”

Castiel grabbed his waist and hauled him back, having the unfair advantage of being incomparably stronger than Dean. Dean cried out in distress as he found himself spooned from behind, kissed on the neck and cuddled.

Castiel smiled on his skin. “I love you,” he said again.

“No!” Dean whined. “No, this isn’t that! We didn’t fucking make love, Cas, I was showing you how to jerk off! Admittedly, that does sound really - kind of - okay, super gay, but... Look, I’m not kidding, stop cuddling me!” He shoved Castiel, then swam through sheets to get out of his gentle embrace. He kicked outwards as he escaped, his foot connecting with something soft and fleshy.

“AGH!” Castiel shouted.

Dean flipped over, eyes wide as he realised he’d just kicked Castiel in the groin. “Oh, shit―” He crawled back, hands out to reach for him. He stroked Castiel’s muscular yet bony shoulder as Castiel curled around himself in pain, having gone silent. “God, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to kick you... Cas...”

Castiel cracked open his eyes, and Dean winced in sympathy, seeing the shimmering tears of pain. “I’m sorry,” he said again, quiet this time. “Let’s be honest, this totally makes up for the bruise you gave my hip earlier.” He grinned, but it didn’t last; he couldn’t smile when Cas was wheezing with anguish. “If― Um, i- if it would make you feel any better, we can cuddle for... like, maybe two minutes?”

Castiel laughed, still frowning and trying to control the pain. “Thank you for the offer,” he said, speaking like he was being strangled.

Dean kissed his forehead, at a loss for anything else to do.

It took another thirty seconds or so, but Castiel eventually rolled onto his back and let out a long mitigating breath. Then he beckoned to Dean, and Dean gritted his teeth, rolled his eyes, and made good on his offer.

He lay there, facing away from Castiel so he didn’t have to look at him. He kept his arms folded and his shoulders tense, but he couldn’t deny that Castiel’s warmth was still one of the most comforting things he’d ever felt. Cas’ warmth was not the same as anyone else’s, nor was his scent the same. He was very special, and was actually a pretty good cuddler, dared Dean admit it to himself.

“Listen, Cas,” Dean said, forty seconds into their cuddle, “I wasn’t kidding when I said this was just a physical demonstration thing. The point was to get you to learn how to do it yourself, so you weren’t popping boners every time the TV landed on a skin channel for five stupid seconds. We’re not meant to cuddle after; what happened wasn’t a love thing, it was a sex thing. A one-hit wonder, no album.”

“I don’t know what that means.”

“It means,” Dean said, taking a slow and agitated breath, “we’re not doing this again, ever.”

The amount he wanted to do it again was causing him a ridiculous amount of agony. He’d pick being kicked in the balls after an orgasm over having to make the decision he was currently making, and yet it couldn’t be helped.

“But we did have sex,” Castiel said carefully. “You and I... we just made love, didn’t we?”

“Sex yes, love no,” Dean said, being as blunt as possible. “And your first minute is up, this cuddle is almost over.”

Castiel exhaled somewhat sadly against the nape of Dean’s neck. “Dean...” His stubble grazed Dean’s shoulder, another breath ghosting over Dean’s clavicle as Castiel leaned over him. “Dean, I know you love me too.”

“No,” Dean said, suddenly wanting to cry. He covered his face with both his hands in case his emotion did get the better of him. Cuddling was very dangerous.

“But, everything we did,” Castiel said gently, “it was about love. I only enjoyed this because I love you.”

“Stop saying that!”

“Sex is one of the most potent expressions of love there is,” Castiel went on, his words falling like snow or lit sparks into Dean’s ear. “All the videos you showed me were about love, there’s many different forms of it. What you and I shared was one expression. Trust, exploration. And...” Castiel’s fingertips graced Dean’s forehead, leaving a tickle that Castiel then smothered with a kiss. “And care.”

Dean sighed into his hands, clenching his eyes shut tighter. “You can’t convince me I’m in love with you, Cas.”

“No, I suppose not. But you already know you are,” Castiel said, clearly believing it.

Dean sighed again, too upset to argue this time.

“Turn over, Dean. And relax. Come on, this doesn’t count unless you’re enjoying it too.”

With his face still covered, Dean turned over. “This isn’t about me,” he said, repeating what he’d said at the start. “If you wanna cuddle, then whatever. But I’m not gonna.”

“You said I bruised you earlier. Where?”

“Hm? Oh, my left hipbone.”

He heard a kissing sound, but Dean huffed into his hands, determined not to look at Castiel to find out what he kissed. But a moment later, he didn’t need to look. Fingers touched to his hip, making him spasm with pain. “Ow! Jesus, what the hell?!” He separated his hands to glare at Castiel, only to see him kiss his fingertips again, then lower his fingers to stroke the bruise.

Dean gave a shallow sigh, not wanting to breathe all over Castiel’s face. Castiel wasn’t looking at him, but at his hand as he put another finger-kiss down on Dean’s hip.

The pain didn’t lessen at each touch, but Dean got all gooey and tingly inside, because Cas was literally kissing his booboos better. That was offensively comforting.

When Castiel’s pretty blue eyes flicked to meet Dean’s gaze, Dean sneered at him and blocked his sight with his fists. “No.”

Castiel kissed the knuckles of Dean’s hands, and Dean pulled his fists away from his face in surprise. He saw Castiel smiling back. His pupils were no longer dilated so broadly, but his drying sweat gleamed in the daylight, and the smudges of muck that were on his cheeks were mostly wiped away now. He looked happy to see Dean’s face, and Dean hated that he could feel his impenetrable exterior shell falling away like it was no more than an encasement of overlapped ribbon.

“Hmph,” Dean said. Castiel only smirked and squished him closer, arms around his back, kissing his nose. Dean trembled, toes curling. He tried really, really hard not to smile. His lips wobbled.

He tried one last time to rebuild his shell, and took a breath to say, “You know, Cas, about the porn.”

“Hm?”

“When people make professional sex videos, they don’t usually know their partners that well. They’re not friends.”

“Then it’s love at first sight, like it was when I saw you for the first time,” Castiel said. He said it so plainly, like the light of day shone on the pureness of his statement and made it shiny. Dean hated it, it made him a guilty man.

“No,” Dean said. “No, it’s like when I sleep with women. Random women, chicks I don’t even know.” He tried to hit the jealousy button, knowing Cas had one. “I don’t even feel anything sometimes, except that I wanna come, and it’s easier with someone else.”

Castiel blinked back, stroking his shoulders, teasing his hair through curled fingers. “Temporary love. It can happen.”

“But I don’t even like those chicks sometimes!”

“They must find something valuable in you, then. You give them the love they need.”

“No!” Dean grasped at the last straws he had left. “Cas, I’m not even into chicks that much any more! I just do it ‘cause I want to lose myself for a bit, it’s easier than drinking. And! And sometimes I drink too! Sometimes I drink and then have sex, and I don’t even remember after. It’s mindless, loveless sex, Cas! I don’t love anyone! Nobody. I’m as soulless as Sam was, I’m just a walking, talking killing machine. I love nothing and nobody and I’m― I’m― Shit―” He swore as he broke down, hiding his face against Castiel’s chest as he tried so very hard to keep his tears from falling. The pressure was too much, he couldn’t do it any more.

Castiel soothed him, hushed him gently. He kissed his ear, mouthed near-silently against him. “You love in astounding amounts, Dean. I won’t demean you by listing everything, you already know perfectly well.”

Dean sobbed, clutching Castiel tightly against him, shaking as their legs twined. “I love you,” he murmured against Castiel’s neck, words muffled by the blanket. “Cas, I love you.”

Castiel sighed, cradling his head. “I know, Dean.”

“I love you a lot.”

“I know.”

“I wanna make love with you again.”

“I know. Don’t worry, we will.”

Dean trembled, and Castiel held him tighter, keeping him steady. Dean gulped down the heavy lump in his throat, but it wouldn’t go. “Cas―”

“It’s okay. It’s okay, I’m here.”

“I’m a huge idiot.”

Castiel laughed, chuckling rumbles down into Dean’s messed-up hair. “Yeah, you are.”

Dean sighed, an exhale which shook from his lungs outward, but felt like a weight off him when it was gone. He smiled tightly, rocking his nose against Castiel’s jaw. “Hey, c- can we cuddle for, like, another two minutes?”

Castiel kissed him on his temple, a kiss that lingered. “We can cuddle for as long as you want, Dean.”

Dean felt like crying again, embarrassed to his core, but equally grateful. He’d been needing a good cuddle for longer than he even realised. Physical touch had always been emotionally healing for him, and Castiel was a crown jewel in a pile of glass gem cuddlers.

Dean closed his eyes and relaxed completely into Castiel’s arms, hands resting between their stomachs, fingers feeling the inflation and deflation that Castiel’s breaths caused.

A few minutes elapsed in silence, punctuated only by soft, increasingly sleepy sighs.

Dean felt at ease, and well-protected. He smiled, a satisfied, breathy moan floating out from inside him.

“Hey, Cas?” he mumbled, entertaining a vague thought. “What was the final step you said I was scared of?”

“You mean step nine,” Castiel said, kissing Dean’s cheek. “Love.”

Dean hummed slowly, all the worry draining out of him. “Oh. That’s actually... pretty nice to hear. Say it again?”

“I love you.”

Dean smiled, feeling the dark and welcoming depths of sleep creep towards his consciousness. “Love you too.” He cooed, wriggling even closer to the warmth of Castiel’s body. “One more time?”

“I love you, Dean.”

“Mmm.” Dean sank into sleep, still smiling.

Sam opened the motel room door, grocery bags in hand. He nudged the door shut with his toe, pushing it until it clicked. He sighed as he wandered across the room, eyes first going towards the table he meant to he put the bags down on, but found the table was gone. So he looked over to Dean’s bed, ready to ask his brother where he’d put the table.

The bed was occupied.

“Oh, crap,” Sam said, freezing on the spot. He met Castiel’s eye as Cas lifted his head, naked shoulders shifting to accommodate the change in position. Dean’s bare ass was as obvious as an exploding car; Sam’s eyes couldn’t keep away, and a moment later, couldn’t look again. He examined the wallpaper, which was less naked than Cas and Dean.

“He’s asleep,” Castiel said quietly.

Sam put the bags down on the floor and hazarded another look, hand raised in front of him so his brain didn’t have to process the sight of his naked, assumedly post-coital brother as well as the sight of his naked, assumedly post-coital friend. Sam closed one eye too, as an extra measure.

Castiel smiled over at him, head tilted and a twinkling light in his eye. “We made love.”

Sam choked on nothing. “Yeah! Yeah, I kind of... got that.”

Castiel sighed with bliss, attention swivelling to admire Dean as he slept. Seeing that, Sam clenched up uncomfortably, so he cleared his throat and left Castiel to get on with his incredibly romantic but kinda creepy gesture. Sam couldn’t quite get his head around his finding Cas watching Dean sleep romantic, but seeing the way Cas did it... He figured that Dean probably wouldn’t mind the oft-mentioned vigilance so much if he could see the unbridled joy in Castiel’s expression, or if he knew that his hair was being finger-combed while he took a nap.

Once the bags of food were tucked into the mini-fridge, and Sam had cracked open a bottle of beer, he wandered over to the bed. The shock of seeing Dean and Cas naked had abated, and to be honest, Sam had seen Dean naked enough times to know exactly where his birthmark was. The bruise on his hip was new, though; Sam didn’t want to ask where he got that.

“Beer?” he asked, offering the uncapped bottle to Castiel. Cas shook his head, so Sam sipped it himself. “I take it you had a good afternoon.”

Castiel hummed a laugh, eyes not leaving Dean’s face. “It was educational.”

Sam smiled tautly, scritching the back of his head. “Was this... uhhhh... First time?”

Castiel glanced up to meet his eyes at the question. “The first example of many, I hope.”

Sam nodded once, paused, then downed another gulp of beer. He sighed as he swallowed, observing the gentle cocoon of touch in which Castiel cradled the sleeping Dean.

“Hey,” Sam said, after a few seconds. “Want a blanket?” He pulled up the sheet that was crumpled around the end of the bed.

Castiel smiled, reaching out a hand to take it. “Thank you.” Sam watched him tuck Dean in, then drape the sheet over himself too. Dean mumbled in his sleep.

Sam went and sat down at a chair. Its parent table was for some reason edged up to the bed and the laptop was set atop it, which posed questions Sam would get straight answers to if he asked Castiel, but he decided it wasn’t his business. Still, no matter how little business he had with the two of them, he kept on staring at the bed for a bit. It was weirdly captivating, seeing the way Cas expressed an exuberant amount of kindness, devotion, and barefaced love towards Sam’s brother. Cas looked at Dean like he usually did, except lying down, and with Dean asleep. It seemed to Sam that he hadn’t seen that look enunciated quite so clearly before, but it had always been the same.

“You might not want to be here when Dean wakes up,” Castiel advised, voice kept low. “He’s barely admitted to himself the depth of what he and I shared, I’m not sure he’s ready for you to see this.”

Sam nodded, accepting it. “I’ll be gone.”

“You knew, though, didn’t you,” Castiel said, lifting his head up enough that he could meet Sam’s eye. “You knew how he felt about me?”

Sam smirked. “I think the only person who it wasn’t obvious to was him.”

Castiel smirked, lying back down. “Hmm.”

There was perhaps five minutes of silence, wherein Sam read the motel’s phone book that had been tossed onto the floor when the table was moved. Then, Castiel spoke.

“Sam, can I ask you something?”

“Yeah?”

“In pornographic films―”

Oh crap, Sam thought.

“―are the people who partake in the sexual acts in love with their partners? I thought sex was always an act of love, in every case. Dean... suggested otherwise. And he mentioned sexual partners of his own. I’m only wondering... if my belief might be false. That sex doesn’t always mean love.”

Sam held his breath.

What were the odds that if he told the truth, he’d break something dear between Dean and Cas, something they’d only just gained? High odds, he figured.

On the other hand, if he lied, what good would that do in the long run? Castiel knew a lot about most things, but not everything. His naivety was going to lead him into heartbreak, and Sam didn’t want to be the one to push him.

But, he eventually formed an answer. “Well, in porn, um... people have sex, and they get paid for being filmed. It’s acting. They’re pretending to like each other. There’s probably a real connection underneath, I’m sure friendships do evolve... but what happens on the screen isn’t lovemaking, not usually.” Sam sighed breathlessly. “I’m sorry, Cas. Sorry if that upsets you. But that’s how it is.”

There were a few long seconds of silence.

“Oh.”

Sam shut his eyes tightly, hoping he hadn’t screwed up.

“But Dean loves me.”

Sam cracked open an eye. “Yeah?”

“Yes. When he has sex with me, it’s because he loves me. Even if it’s hard for him to admit it. He tries to disconnect like he does with other people. But he can’t with me.” Castiel kissed Dean’s forehead, murmuring his next words to his skin, “He can’t.”

Sam smiled softly, relieved all the way down to his toes. “Glad you see it that way.”

Castiel made a low, amused sound. “Oh, me too.” He kissed Dean again, sighing. “Very glad indeed.”

Sam smiled, and went back to reading the phone book.

Not too long later, he heard a quiet mutter from Castiel, but he didn’t pry as to what he meant. It was only a few words, hushed, and clearly private.

“Step ten,” Castiel said. “Being the only exception to your rules. And you, to mine.”

{ the end }