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Dean’s fingertip glides along the rim of his whiskey glass, the motion absentminded at first, then slowly falling in sync with the music. The track is hypnotic, a sultry rhythm of languid beats, and its bass thumps through the lounge like a heartbeat, setting a mood for indecency.

“This is what you call beers at a local bar?” Dean asks, the words spoken as more of a scoff than a question. He catches a reflection of his frown in the polished mahogany countertop and looks away, irritated.

Parker laughs next to him, half of the scotch in his hand already consumed. “So I told a white lie. Sue me,” he smirks and nudges Dean’s arm. “S’nice to be out of the office, though, huh?”

Dean scoffs again, the puff of air hitting thick clouds of cigarette smoke on its way out. He shifts his elbow until it’s beyond his co-worker’s reach. “I’d rather be reviewing spreadsheets.”

“Aw come on, you gotta let loose. It’s Friday night and we just scored a huge new account!”

Right. The account. That’s why they’re here, because a prospective client they’d been chasing for months finally decided to sign a contract with their firm, all over a three-hour dinner and five-hundred-dollar wine.

“I agreed to drinks, not,” Dean vaguely waves his hand, “this.”

“... Whoa, hold up,” Parker grins as he leans over, a wicked glint in his probing grey eyes. “You’ve never been to a gentlemen’s club?”

“I don’t make a habit of paying for sex, no.”

“Uh huh, yeah, aren’t you a saint,” Parker raises his empty glass to beckon the bartender, a cute blonde with a practiced smile, and gratuitously watches her pour him another round of Johnnie Walker Black. “Don’t knock it till you try it, man. You’ll thank me once you learn the benefits of a ‘no strings attached’ transaction.”

“Of course.”

Parker tunes out the mocking tone. “I’m serious,” he insists. “And trust me, there’s no better place for that kind of fun than this fine establishment. You know about the angels, right?” He nods to their left and Dean follows the gesture over to a corporate drone in Armani, whose arm is snaked around a girl in a skimpy dress with an open back. Dean spots two identical scars on her exposed skin, whitened but visible. A fallen angel.

He remembers the footage on the news, how everyone had mistaken the phenomenon for a meteor shower; no one’s first guess would’ve been angels plummeting from the sky. Media outlets went predictably berserk, cranking out exclusives by the hour, launching a full-on, viral onslaught, and only when the novelty started to wear off did the city realize it had no clue how to accommodate the sudden influx of citizens. They’d lost their wings from the impact with earth, celestial powers faded, no practical skills to speak of, and eventually officials more or less swept the issue under the rug, abandoning the angels to fend for themselves. Those who adapted quickly found jobs and places to live but the rest weren’t so lucky, and while people were reluctant to hire angels in the workplace, they sought them out at alarming rates for sex, driving clusters of the young and desperate into the red light district, forced to cater to their newfound kink.

So much for humans and their supposed hospitality.

Parker’s busy chatting up the bartender so Dean lets him be and takes a moment to glance around the space, decked out in old-fashioned furniture, walls adorned with colonial moldings, entirely too classy for the immodest activities occurring on and within them. He raises the bourbon to his lips, the liquid a bitter tingle on his tongue. There are no empty chairs in sight, all occupied with men holding hired playthings in their laps, girls and guys, human and angel. Nearly everyone in the club appears to be paired up for the night, except-

Dean straightens up, doing a double take. Did he just see...? The lighting is dim but he squints into it and there, the guy enters his scope again, sticking out like a sore thumb in a hoodie and cargo pants, his expression one of utter perplexity. He’s alone in a corner looking like the most accurate representation of a fish out of water, and everything about his demeanor screams such innocence that Dean is instantly worried for him.

“Who’s that?” he inquires to no one in particular. He didn’t even mean to say it aloud but the bartender pauses mid-conversation with Parker and follows his gaze over to the man.

“Oh, he’s one of the new angels,” she explains. “Seems sweet but, you know, obviously overwhelmed by everything... Probably a virgin too.” Dean quirks an eyebrow at that, drawing a laugh from her tiny frame. “It’s easy to recognize after a few months on the job. Besides, we get men in here every night looking for inexperienced angels. Something to do with the whole... uncharted territory thing, I guess.”

“Do a lot of angels come in to...?”

“Sure.” Her expression is unreadable as she begins to wipe a row of already sparkling glasses. “I mean, it’s no picnic, right? Seeing all these angels who are scared and out of options. The resigned ones are even worse and, god, it makes me really hate people sometimes.” She sighs, wiping at an invisible smudge on a Glencairn. “We’re a shitty species.”

Dean turns back toward the angel, who is still by himself, shoulders squared like he’s bracing for an attack, and the defensive posture doesn’t seem so unwarranted given the number of men who are now leering at him from all sides. Dean feels inexplicably queasy as he takes note of their attention.

“See something you like?” Parker drawls, his pronunciation a bit slurred from hard liquor. “Better go get your angel before someone else snatches him away.”

“Shut up,” Dean grits out, downing his drink out of annoyance more than anything else. The bottom of the glass hits the wood with a clank, its sharpness dulled by Parker’s rumbling laughter.

“No shame in indulging a little, Winchester.” There’s another nudge, against his shoulder this time. “Plus, the one you’re staring at s’not gonna last long around here. Lot of pervs wanting to mark up pretty things like him.”

“Oh, and you'd know this how?”

Parker rolls his eyes, lifting both hands in feigned defeat. “Hey, my current tastes are strictly vanilla, contrary to popular opinion. Did enough weird shit in college to last me a lifetime. But you,” he jabs a forefinger hard into Dean’s chest, “need to pull that stick out of your ass and get laid, man. You want that guy to end up as some tool’s punching bag tonight? ‘Cause that shit happens.”

“Why would I even care if-” Dean interrupts himself as he observes a group of suits crossing into the angel’s space. They appear to just be passing by but the angel flinches back anyway, fingers curled in fists, eyes wide like a deer in headlights, looking so damn vulnerable and Dean’s no Good Samaritan but- Fuck.

He rises from his seat, the abrupt motion pushing the stool across the hardwood, and hastily reaches for his wallet to pay his share of the tab. He ignores the ‘I told you so’ stamped and flashing on Parker’s forehead as he walks away from the bar, navigating around the arrangement of leather chairs and tables until he’s on the other side of the lounge, close enough that he doesn’t have to shout above the ruckus.

“Hi.”

The angel startles as he whips his head around, appearing even more bewildered now that they are just a foot or two apart. His eyes are huge, and blue, so shockingly blue like two unearthly rock pools catching light, and Dean’s sure that no angel he’s ever met had eyes this gorgeous. The greeting, meanwhile, hangs between them unreciprocated, and it’s another lengthy second before the angel answers at last with a deep but tentative “Hello” that swoops low in Dean’s stomach.

He has no idea what the etiquette is in this situation or what he’s supposed to say next, but since exchanging pleasantries would be somewhat ridiculous, as would any other idle chatter, he decides to cut to the chase and masks the nerves with an easy smile. “Want to get out of here?”

“Oh,” the angel stammers, “I... um...” He has both hands shoved into the pockets on his hoodie and suddenly looks small despite their height difference being a couple of inches at the most. 

“You haven’t done this before,” Dean supplies, getting a nod in return. “What do you want for the night?”

“I’m not... I don’t really know.”

“... How’s four hundred?”

“Four-” the figure catches in his throat. “For that kind of sum, wouldn’t you... prefer the company of someone who is... more...” the question tapers as a blush stains his cheeks, and Dean thinks it might be impossible for him to be any more incongruous with his setting than he is now.

“No, I’d definitely like to leave with you.”

For a long moment, the angel’s eyes flit between Dean and what feels like everywhere else, considering the offer carefully, and it’s with a softer voice that he finally replies, “Okay.” The sound is barely audible over the din of their surroundings but Dean’s focused enough to read the movement of his lips as they form his assent.

“Alright. My car’s parked outside.”

Some of the tension leeches out of the guy’s shoulders once they’re out on the street, breathing in the fresh evening air. In fact, the relief at having left the club is so evident on his face that it almost (almost) prevents Dean from feeling like a total creep as he unlocks the Impala and gestures at the passenger door.

The drive back to his neighborhood is expectedly quiet, though not uncomfortable, and at one point Dean briefly takes his eyes off the road to glance at the angel, who is peering at the lights beyond the window with a wondrous curiosity like he’s seeing them for the first time. The endearing quality of it coaxes a smile out of Dean as he turns to face the front again, and figures it’s just his mind playing tricks when he senses the angel looking back at him shortly afterward.

Once they’re inside his apartment twenty minutes later, Dean tosses his coat negligently on the sofa and hooks a thumb over his shoulder toward the kitchen. “Would you like something to drink?”

“Oh. Just... water, please.”

Dean nods, returning after a minute to pass him a tall glass, and tries hard not to ogle so blatantly as the guy drinks, his throat bobbing harshly on each swallow. A few stray water droplets escape and trickle down his chin and he stops them with the back of his hand, fingers dragging on stubble and pink lips. 

“The, uh,” Dean clears his throat, “bedroom’s this way.” He hears padded footsteps behind him as he heads down the hallway, shrugging off his suit jacket and quelling the panic rising in his brain. He was supposed to come home alone tonight. What the hell had gotten into him? Sure, he’s been a mess lately, using flings to numb the pain of Lisa breaking off their engagement, but this is different. Much more questionable. Shit.

“Should I leave this... here?”

They’re in the bedroom when the question falls on his back and it’s almost comical how defenseless Dean becomes as soon as he turns around, previous doubts transpiring to be all for naught, the only lucid thought in his mind being how astoundingly beautiful the angel looks. He wishes he has the self control to let reason trump physical attraction but, well, he’s only human (Ha.), and this stranger is flipping every switch he has.

He notices that the angel has divested himself of the hoodie and, even though the shirt underneath is rumpled, Dean can tell that it’s hiding a fit physique. Then there’s the dark brown hair, tousled just so, tempting Dean to run his fingers through it, and the stunning eyes that leave him no choice but to succumb.

Dean sighs as he saunters over to take the hoodie from his hand. “I’ll put this there,” he waves toward the dresser. He also remembers to set the money down with the clothes before coming to stand in front of the angel, and hedges that now would be appropriate time for introductions if there ever were one for this context.

“I’m Dean, by the way. Dean Winchester.”

The angel tilts his head. “Dean,” he echoes, the syllable low and contemplative, and Dean thinks he might want to hear that voice say his name a thousand different ways.

“What should I call you?”

“... My name is Castiel,” he replies, tilting his head again when Dean chuckles.

“Sorry. S’just that the classic answer to that question’s something like ‘whatever you want to call me.’”

Castiel’s brows knit in confusion. “I don’t understand. Were you not asking for my real name?”

The joke is clearly lost on him but Dean smiles just the same, frankly too charmed to care. “Yeah, I was...” he trails, distracted by Castiel’s gaze, which is rapt and earnest, tethering in its intensity. Dean feels rooted to the floor, unable to look away, so in lieu of breaking the contact he lifts a hand to hold the angel’s chin, keeping their eyes locked as his field of view floods with bright, unadulterated blue. “Nice to meet you, Castiel.”

The angel gasps when their lips press together and Dean swallows the sound, hands quick to catch Castiel’s hips to steady his faltering stance. He tempers the kiss to a tender pace, slow and explorative as he learns the contours of the other man’s mouth, and its pliancy against his own ignites something within Dean, heat pooling in his stomach and heart racing in his chest. His hands, meanwhile, find their way under Castiel’s shirt, sliding up until they’re resting just above the waistline of his pants. He rubs small circles into the warm skin, and the patience is worth it ten-fold when Castiel starts to relax, each little sigh falling softly between them. His eyes remain closed when Dean pulls away with a slick sound, lashes long and fanned out, and it’s as if he’s logging away the details of the kiss, how it felt, how Dean felt.

They do open again at Dean’s hand reaching for the top button on his shirt, following its deft movement down his torso, and all the while his body stays completely still as the clothing is pulled off, yielding, unresisting. The t-shirt goes next, Dean grabbing the hem and dragging it over Castiel’s head. What’s left behind is all taut, lithe muscle and it’s back to skin on skin as the shirts fall to the floor and Dean’s palms find Castiel’s waist, pausing only for a second before trailing around to the front onto the buckle of his pants. It’s here that Castiel sucks in a deep breath, shoulders going stiff, which prompts Dean to stop and use his hands to frame Castiel’s face instead, his voice a soothing whisper. 

“Hey.”

He waits for Castiel’s eyes to meet his and, when they do, Dean’s breath catches at their shyness, the trust held within them. It really shouldn’t be so damn flattering but then he’s already leaning in for another kiss, thrown by how natural it feels to kiss Castiel. His behavior now is a full one-eighty from the past months of avoiding intimacy like the plague, and he’s finding it terribly easy to forget everything and everybody else.

Castiel blinks at him with dazed, heavy-lidded eyes when they pull apart, and Dean hastily removes his own dress shirt, casting it aside before kicking off his shoes and socks. “Castiel, if you wanna,” he nods toward the bed. “I just need to grab some things we need.”

He turns to rummage the bedside table for lube and a condom, and when he rotates around he finds Castiel on the bed in only his boxers, knees drawn to his chest, the rest of his clothes placed neatly on the floor. But more so than the six feet of tanned skin on display, what catches Dean’s attention are the twin scars on his back: long, severe gashes marking where his wings used to be. He moves closer to ghost his fingers over the ridges, wondering how powerful the appendages must’ve been to leave behind such violent wounds. 

“Do they hurt?” he asks softly.

Castiel shakes his head. “Not anymore, but I- I do miss... having my wings.”

“Yeah, I bet,” Dean says sympathetically. “I would’ve loved to see them.”

For the first time tonight, a smile tugs at the corners of Castiel’s mouth, though there’s something wrong about it. Too wistful. Melancholy. “I could have shown you the shadows but not their true form, as it would overwhelm your senses,” he pauses. “Of course, the human world can be just as overwhelming for us, or so I’ve learned.”

“Yeah? Which part do you hate the most?”

Castiel makes a small noise, one that’s not quite a laugh. “Hunger and thirst were very alarming... as was the need to rest. I have, however, come to appreciate other feelings, such as warmth and-”

“Pleasure?”

“Oh,” Castiel blushes, arms tightening around his shins. “No, I haven’t yet had the occasion for... hedonism.”

Under different circumstances, Dean may have spared a chuckle at the angel-speak, but right now he’s too much of a goner to say anything except, “Well, we should fix that.”

Castiel’s arms fall to his sides as Dean climbs onto the bed, pressing his body gently forward until the angel is on his back beneath him, hips snug between his thighs. He grabs a pillow to tuck under Castiel’s head before bowing down to kiss him, and his hands wander more freely this time, roaming from stomach to chest where a feather-light brush over a nipple makes Castiel moan behind his lips. Dean, intrigued, soon learns the harder pressure that has Castiel’s mouth parting in a gasp, and it’s worth nothing at all for him to sweep his tongue in alongside the angel’s to rock them together, hot, desperate, and deep.

The sound when they separate is downright obscene, a wet noise that’s loud in the silence, and Dean groans as he lifts himself off the bed to take off his pants and underwear, trying to be fast without tripping on the clothes as they pool at his ankles. He then reaches down to tuck his fingers under Castiel’s boxers, breath hitching at the obvious hardness swelling beneath the tented material, and drags the shorts over groin and legs until they can be tossed aside, leaving them both naked and aching for contact.

Castiel clutches at the sheets when Dean starts to kiss a path back up his body, a slow trail of lips and tongue. He peers at Dean through hooded eyes like he wants to watch but they screw shut as Dean spreads his legs to settle between them, causing their erections to touch. 

“Still with me?” Dean teases, his thumb a solid pressure on the base of Castiel’s cock, and the breathy moan it elicits is encouragement enough for him to wrap his entire hand around the length. He eyes every reaction as he strokes, firm and deliberate and slipping on precome, and it’s a challenge not to lose his bearings each time he feels the instinctive arching of hips underneath him, accompanied by the fucking criminal noises that wildly stir his blood. 

He releases Castiel to grab the lube and nearly comes from the whimper that escapes angel’s mouth. “Shit,” he bites down on a groan as he pops the bottle open, pouring the gel onto his fingers. When he glances back, Castiel is suddenly looking a bit intimidated by it all so Dean shoots him a smile to ease the nerves, and it’s kind of unreal how amazing it feels when Castiel smiles back.

He moves his lubed fingers downward until they’re at Castiel’s entrance, anticipation thrumming through his body, evident in his ragged breath. Neither of them can draw in enough air, it seems, judging by the labored motions of Castiel’s chest, and Dean, as carefully as he can, ends the wait by dipping his finger into Castiel, the slick warmth of muscle tensing around him instantly.

“Are you okay?” Dean asks. He runs his free hand along the inside of Castiel’s thigh until he sees a nod, and keeps up with the petting motions as he continues to work him open. It’s prolonged and meticulous and Dean isn’t sure what’s driving him to be so attentive, why making this really good for Castiel is his greatest priority, but he’s too occupied with the task to question it.

Dean studies Castiel’s responses while he adds two more fingers, crooking them and adjusting their angle to seek out his prostate, and he knows he’s found the right spot when Castiel bucks up, tipping his head back with a wounded sound. His face twists in pleasure as Dean rubs over it persistently, hard and unhurried, and it drives Dean a little crazy to know that he’s the first to touch him like this, pinned and writhing and perfect.

He slides his fingers out to reach for the condom, tearing the package with his teeth and rolling it on in one swift motion. He slathers more lube onto his dick before lining himself up, swallowing hard at the darkened blue eyes and flushed skin in front of him. 

“If it hurts... or if you want me to stop,” Dean murmurs, “then just say so and I’ll stop, alright?”

Castiel answers by wrapping his fingers around the hand Dean’s got planted on the bed for balance, and the open surrender in his gaze sends another spike of arousal shooting down Dean’s spine. Such vulnerability shouldn’t be this hot but, god, Castiel is just so incredibly beautiful, and his unguarded expression is really all the permission Dean needs before he pushes inside. He forces himself to move slowly, inch by torturous inch, and the tight heat clenches on his swollen dick, making him groan from the start.

“Jesus fuck,” he chokes out. “You feel...”

He’s rendered too incoherent to finish the thought and bends down to kiss Castiel’s neck, pelvis thrusting in little increments, straining from the effort to go slow. He hears Castiel’s breath catch when he presses in farther so he shifts his attention to the angel’s throat, letting his teeth and tongue busily lick and suck at the sensitive skin in an orchestrated distraction.

Dean,” Castiel pants and, fuck, his voice is rough and wrecked and travels straight to Dean’s cock. “Oh,” he keens, sounding full of need, “Dean, please.”

Dean tears his mouth away with a growl, hiking Castiel’s legs around his waist and finally moving forward. He keeps going this time until he’s fully buried with the angel split wider on his dick and Castiel gasps, hands flying to Dean’s biceps, blunt nails digging half moons into sweaty skin. Dean’s own moans are fractured as he sets a moderate pace, remembering to make sure that Castiel isn’t in any discomfort – although, if Castiel’s groans are any indication, the pleasure seems to be mutual.

Dean leans forward to capture one of the sounds with his lips and shudders when Castiel responds ardently, fingers sweeping over Dean’s strong shoulders and tangling in the shorter hairs at his nape. They’re pressed so closely together, hardly any space between them, but Dean continues to hold him tight as his tongue darts out to trace the shape of Castiel’s parted mouth, hearing more breathy little whispers of “Dean” that threaten to cut the air supply to his brain. All of this is only worsened (or made better) by Castiel’s glazed eyes, flushed cheeks and chest, and Dean drinks in the sight as he maintains a steady rhythm with his hips, filling a good minute with nothing but the filthy noise of thighs against ass and the deep moans that pour out of their throats.

When he feels his orgasm begin to teeter on edge, Dean extends a hand to grasp hold of Castiel’s erection, and the angel calls his name in broken cries as he pumps up and down, timing the movement with his thrusts. He sees the precome leaking copiously from the tip and presses his hips down to rut deeper, because as badly as he craves for this to last, Dean really wants to watch Castiel fall apart. He can sense that Castiel is close so he becomes relentless, tenacious, hitting his prostate and working his cock until Castiel’s mouth falls open in a silent scream and he comes, spurting hot all over Dean’s hand and their stomachs.

He’s shuddering, shaking, legs still locked around Dean’s waist, and Dean doesn’t waste another second as he drapes himself over Castiel. They’re chest to chest and he takes advantage of the leverage to grind against the angel with uninhibited desire, skin slipping on Castiel’s come, hands grabbing and clawing at his back.

“Fuck, Castiel...”

Castiel shivers with every thrust, each one a charge on his prostate, their bodies generating too much friction for his oversensitive cock. He clutches Dean closer to him regardless, breaths reduced to hitched whimpers, and it’s when his pleading exhalations register in his brain that Dean seizes up, totally lost, coming in a white-hot, blazing rush. His mouth clamps onto Castiel’s shoulder to dampen his shout of pleasure and it’s like the world is spinning, every nerve ending in a frenzy. All he can do, really, is hope not to pass out.

When it’s over, Dean slumps on top of Castiel, both quaking and boneless as they bask in the afterglow, and it’s another minute before he musters the energy to lift his head and lay a lazy kiss on Castiel’s lips.

“You okay?”

Castiel’s breathing is still uneven as he answers, “... I think so.”

Dean is afraid he might crush Castiel if they stay collapsed like this any longer, so he gently slips out and rolls onto his side, propping himself up on one elbow. He wishes Castiel would say something but the angel looks bewildered, not like earlier but enough to be concerning. “Hey, did it-” he frowns. “Did I hurt you?" 

Castiel meets his gaze, pupils dilated and lips gorgeously parted. “No,” he breathes. “No, Dean. That was... It was very much-” he laughs softly. “I’m simply a bit... overwhelmed, so to speak.” 

Dean smiles in relief. “Yeah, me too.” He gets up, throwing his legs over the edge of the bed, and ties off the condom to toss into the wastebasket. “Do you want to shower first?”

Castiel seems surprised at that, like he expected Dean to ask him to leave instead. “No, go ahead. Please.”

“Okay. Sit tight, I’ll be right back.”

Dean disappears into the bathroom and reemerges ten minutes later with a towel around his waist. “I left some clothes for you in there. Just, you know, something to sleep in. It’s by the sink."

“Sleep in?”

“Yeah. I mean, uh, it’s late so you’re welcome to crash here. If you want.”

“It wouldn’t be an inconvenience for you?” The head tilt is back and, standing there, clad in just his boxers, Castiel looks so artless and a lot like a puppy. A really cute one. 

“Seriously, it’s no trouble at all.”

Castiel hesitates for a moment, biting his lip (clearly unaware of its effect), but eventually nods. “Thank you, Dean,” he says before heading into the bathroom, which gives Dean the chance to dry off and put on some clothes before slipping under the covers. When Castiel comes back, Dean’s thumbing mindlessly through a car magazine, and he can’t help but grin widely at the sight of the angel wearing his favorite band shirt. 

“Looks good on you.”

Castiel’s reaction to the compliment is too adorable for words, a duck of his head, blush on his cheeks. “The design is rather interesting,” he remarks shyly, peeking at the shirt to read the text out loud. “Eye of the tiger.” 

“Fantastic song,” Dean explains. “I’ll play it for you sometime.” He pauses when it dawns on him what he just said. Shit, Castiel is making it too easy to forget why they’d even met tonight. There’s a sort of awkward silence that Dean somehow manages to break with “Um, coming to bed?” and he spends the next minute trying not to stare at the way the drawstring pants sit dangerously low on Castiel’s hips. 

Dean turns off the lights then lies on his side, both of them facing each other, and he doesn’t think twice about reaching out to pull the angel against his chest, soft brown hair brushing his cheek. He feels Castiel initially still in surprise, but it’s not long before the body melts warm against his and their hearts find a comforting, tandem rhythm. He then dreams of blue eyes and soft lips, a pretty smile, and sleeps better than he has in a long while.

Which is why, when he awakes the next morning, Dean is baffled to find the bed cold and the money still on the dresser, as if the previous night had never happened.

 

◇ ◇ ◇

 

Dean spends the first part of Saturday in a general state of confusion, trying to understand why he’s so upset that Castiel left without saying goodbye (or left at all). It’s honestly stupid to be this mad because, what had Parker called it? Yes, a ‘no strings attached’ transaction. That’s all last night was. Nothing more. Then again, Castiel didn’t take the money, which voids and complicates just about everything.

He paces his bedroom for a good thirty minutes then goes out to pace the living room, considering calling Sam at one point – though something tells him that ‘Sammy, there’s this angel that I picked up at a gentlemen’s club, slept with, and can’t stop thinking about. Some advice?’ would probably count as an over-share, even for them.

It’s after some more groaning and hair-pulling that Dean has the brilliant idea to return to the club, and he’s ready to go, coat and all, hand on the front door handle when it occurs to him that it’s ten in the morning.

His forehead hits the door with a dull thud and he sighs, once at how pathetic he feels, twice at the sight of his t-shirt and flannel pants. (God, he’d almost gone out in his fucking pajamas.) Dean trudges to the sofa, whose cushions just seem so inviting toward his self-pity, and he sinks down on them, head dropping to his hands. His memory swims with Castiel, how rare and acutely beguiling he was, so unlike anyone Dean’s ever met, and Dean suddenly can't bear the thought of never seeing him again.

 

◇ ◇ ◇

 

Dean goes back to the club that evening, the day after, and every night the following week. 

He’s not having much luck, though, and the search continues rather aimlessly until Thursday when he spots a familiar blonde at the bar. She remembers him (his generous tip too) and listens curiously as Dean explains that he’s looking for Castiel, asking if she’s seen him. Dean’s words are rushed and he stumbles over them a little, and she seems to search his face for any signs that he might be a crazy person before coming to a conclusion.

“Well, you’ve got it bad, my friend,” she clicks her tongue. “Your crush hasn’t been here today but I’m working the next few days straight. Leave your number and I’ll call you if he comes in.”

“Really?” 

“Yes, really,” she laughs. “This is the best thing that’s happened in this godforsaken place.” She tells him that her name is Jo before shooing at him good-naturedly to go home “and get some sleep, Romeo.”

 

◇ ◇ ◇

 

She calls four days later.

Dean’s watching some nature documentary on the Discovery Channel, an old one he’s barely paying attention to, and he lunges for his phone as soon as it rings. “Hello?”

“Hi. Dean?” 

“Hey, Jo, thanks for calling,” he truly means it. “Is he there?”

“Yeah, your angel’s here,” she sounds worried. “But, um, hurry up, okay? They’re circling him like vultures.”

Dean is already swiping his keys off the console table, cradling the phone between his ear and shoulder as he pulls on a jacket. “I’m leaving right now.”

 

◇ ◇ ◇

 

The club is packed, impressive (and concerning) considering it’s a Monday night, and Dean grimaces at the pungent smell of cigarettes and liquor that hits him as he walks in. Despite the crowd, he catches Jo’s eye almost immediately and she nods quickly to her far left, where Dean can make out Castiel’s silhouette behind another figure in a fancy suit. He keeps an eye on them as he weaves through the patrons, brain shifting into panic mode when the guy starts to crowd Castiel against the wall, and his stomach is all but churning by the time he approaches them and hears, “Come on, I’m not gonna hurt you.”

Castiel’s eyes are wide, uneasy. “Please, I...”

“Stop acting like you don’t want this,” the guy croons predatorily, baring his teeth. “Such a pretty thing, I’m going to-” The provocation is cut short when Dean shoves him hard into the nearby table. “What the fuck?”

Dean’s hands clench into fists in case this doesn’t end quickly. “You need to back off.”

“The hell? You got a claim on this whore? Go find your own, jackass.” The guy barely has a chance to sneer before he’s grabbed viciously by the collar, breath sputtering from the surprise assault.

“Better do as I say,” Dean warns. “I won’t ask again.” He’s been told that aggravation is an intimidating look on him, and the smaller man must agree since he’s shrinking back. “Go,” Dean commands a final time. 

“Fuck you,” the offender snaps, breaking free only because Dean lets it happen. He chooses wisely to stalk off and Dean pays him no mind as he turns to Castiel who’s slumped against the wall.

“Dean? What are you-”

Dean would’ve let him finish except he’s now standing close enough to discern the details of Castiel’s features, and there are marks on his skin that he hasn’t seen before, a nick near his mouth, light bruises on the wrists. He cradles the angel’s face with both hands. “Who the hell did this?”

“It’s... nothing to worry about,” Castiel assures him, though he can’t hide the wince when Dean’s thumb runs over the small cut at the corner of his lips. “I- I was just defending myself from...” His shoulders sag a little in defeat when it’s clear that words aren’t going to get through to Dean, whose eyes are flashing angrily.

Dean grips Castiel’s hand. “We’re leaving.”

It takes a couple of minutes to get to the entrance, although Dean is seething so palpably that most patrons, even the inebriated ones, wordlessly move out of the way. Once they’re outside, Dean leads Castiel to the Impala, ignoring the concerned glances as he revs up the engine.

The drive tonight is much shorter, thanks to Dean’s impatience and a few red lights run with abandon. They arrive at his building in record time as a result and Dean takes Castiel’s arm when they step out of the car, not letting go until the front door of the apartment slams behind them.

For a moment there is nothing but a charged silence and it’s Dean who speaks first, low and tense. “Why did you leave like that last time?”

Castiel drops his gaze, chewing over his words. “I thought doing so was... customary.”

“But you stayed the night. You fell asleep next to me, as if we’re...” Dean trails and his thoughts come out all scrambled after that. “God, I haven’t felt like this since- No, not even with my-” he averts his eyes in frustration, staring instead at an arbitrary point on the wall.

“Dean-”

“Was it all in my head, Castiel?”

Dean-”

“Just tell me. Our... Shit, I don’t know. Our connection. Did I imagine it?”

There’s a sigh, one long, trembling breath. “No, you did not just imagine it,” Castiel says softly, “but I don’t think it would be wise for you to consider me as more than a-” 

“Why didn’t you take the money?”

Castiel bites his bottom lip, fingers curling into the fabric of his jeans. His eyes look like they’re one blink away from shedding tears but his voice holds firm when he replies, “I couldn’t, Dean. I didn’t... want to remember you that way.”

Dean begins to close the distance between them, overcome with the urge to hold him. “How did you want to remember me then?” His fingers encircle Castiel’s wrists as soon as they’re within reach, thumbs brushing the pulse points, gentle and light.

“... You were kind,” Castiel whispers. “That’s all I wanted to-” his breath catches when Dean lifts a wrist to his lips, the kisses warm over his heartbeat. “Why did you come looking for me?”

Dean’s hands move to Castiel’s waist to pull their bodies together, and when Castiel peers up at him through dark lashes, Dean thinks it’s the most beautiful combination of blue and brown he’s ever seen. “I had to.”

He doesn’t know if he leans down or Castiel leans up, only that the kiss is fiery from the second their lips touch, the buzz immediate under his skin. It seems impossible for Castiel to be even more delicious than before but, god, he is, and Dean loses himself easily in the taste as he starts to steer them toward the bedroom. Castiel’s long fingers grasp at his shirt and neither cares that they’re practically stumbling down the hallway, pawing at each other like teenagers. When they do break apart, it’s only to get through the door without crashing into the frame, and that’s all the waiting Dean does before he pushes Castiel up against the wall, kissing his way from the angel’s mouth to his neck where he nips at the dampening skin.

“This is all I’ve been thinking about,” he growls, teeth and greedy tongue leaving red marks blooming in their wake. “You’re all I can think about.”

Castiel stifles a moan as his head lolls back. “I’ve thought about you too, Dean,” he breathes.

“Yeah?” Dean grins wolfishly, arousal surging at the confession. “Well, I’m here now. I’ll take care of you.”

He pulls Castiel from the wall and over to the bed, hands making quick work of unbuttoning the angel’s shirt, tugging it down his arms. Dean flings the clothing aside to turn his attention to the jeans, and opens the fly just as the back of Castiel’s knees hit the edge of the bed. The pants come off, the boxers along with them, and it’s a matter of seconds before Dean pushes Castiel onto the mattress, groaning at the angel’s easy submission. He doesn’t join Castiel until his own clothes have been removed but he doesn’t stop staring at him either, the way he’s lying there flushed and nervous yet so damn eager.

“Dean,” he implores, eyes lust-blown and absurdly blue. “Please. I need- I need you.”

Dean doesn’t have to be asked twice as he moves on top of Castiel and leans down to seam their lips together in a crushing, passionate kiss, tongue sliding over the rise of the angel’s lush mouth. They’re a tangle of naked limbs, fingers roaming and cataloguing the curves and angles of each other’s bodies, and Dean feels like his nerves are shot into overdrive, firing at higher frequencies under Castiel’s touch.

The noise their mouths make every time they change angles is an even filthier pop when they separate, and Dean laughs when Castiel sighs at the loss before rolling his head to the side, breaths falling into the shell of the other man’s ear. “Turn over.”

He shifts so Castiel has room to comply and soon resettles on the back of his thighs, unrelenting when the hips stutter beneath him. He bends over instead, pinning the angel to the bed with no leeway for friction, and begins to trail kisses between the shoulder blades, his lips and fingertips covetous over scars and hot skin. Castiel is beautiful like this, trembling and needy, rolling his hips into the mattress to no avail, and it’s when he whimpers at the playful bite on his nape that Dean’s possessive instincts flare for the second time tonight.

“Castiel,” he calls, body enveloping the angel from behind. The position traps his erection between them, hard and leaking onto his stomach and the dip at the base of Castiel’s spine.

“Y-yes, Dean,” comes the weak answer, which sounds like a desperate mewl more than anything, and it takes all of Dean’s floundering self control to not give into the jolt of heat that shoots through him. 

“How many times did you go back there? To the club?” he asks, settling his forehead at the crook of Castiel’s neck. The breathing beneath him is rough like his own, the body thrumming under his hands, and he grips the soft flesh of Castiel’s waist a little tighter, prompting a response. “Tell me.” 

“I... Just once,” Castiel pants and arches back against Dean’s palms, “but I couldn’t...” He clutches the sheets like his life depends on it and Dean reaches out to cover one of the hands with his, entwining them together.

“Couldn’t what?” he persists as he nips at Castiel’s ear. It’s unnecessary teasing and Dean knows it, but he can’t help the childish part of him that wants to hear the words, the affirmation.

“I couldn’t go through with it,” Castiel says, and his voice is wrecked like he’s just run a marathon. The muscles on his back ripple from the effort, and it’s mesmerizing to behold but Dean refuses to be distracted as he throws out his next question with a kiss to the shoulder.

“Why not?”

It’s at this point he releases some of his weight off of Castiel, the movement creating a small space underneath him, and Dean swiftly slides his arm around Castiel’s waist to take hold of his cock, wet from dripping precome. Castiel moans, bucks into his hand, but Dean’s not moving just yet, his grip still loose and inattentive.

“Dean, please, I-” Castiel’s breath catches on another moan that threatens to break any restraint that Dean has managed to hold onto so far, and it’s sort of unbelievable that this guy had been a virgin merely a week ago.

“Why didn’t you go through with it?” Dean repeats, hand finally wrapping more tightly around Castiel’s erection. The throbbing length all but leaps in his fingers and, fuck, is it ever hot to witness the effect he’s having on the angel, how he could probably get him off just like this without even touching anywhere else.

“I could only, only think of you,” Castiel gasps, each syllable a punch of breath from his lungs, “I couldn’t have it be... anyone... except,” the words reduce to quieter half-whimpers as Dean redoubles his pace. “It has to be you, Dean. I can’t- Please, only you.”

God,” Dean groans because the phrase hits him squarely in the gut, the sheer unguardedness of it so much more electrifying than he imagined. “You’re gonna be the death of me.”

He pulls his hand away and stretches over to yank open the bed table drawer, sifting through the contents, a pen and a pack of gum flying out in the haste. When he finds the two items he’s looking for, Dean retracts his limbs in a flash and hovers over a panting Castiel as he coats his fingers with lube, rubbing them together after to warm up the gel. His unoccupied hand tugs a little on Castiel’s waist and a noise of pure animal want escapes his throat at the sight of the angel hesitantly canting his hips, all tentative like he’s wondering if it’s okay, if he’s doing this right, and merciful fuck it’s a miracle that Dean doesn’t come then and there.

Needless to say, it’s a bit difficult to focus on anything besides Castiel lying before him, presented to him like this, but Dean reigns it in for long enough to get Castiel ready because, again, doing so has become a priority since the last time. He spreads Castiel’s knees wider and moves the lubed hand to his opening while the other caresses his lower back, murmuring reassurances into the air between them.

He gauges Castiel’s reactions as he presses in, just to the first knuckle and it’s so tight, the ring of muscle clenching around him already. He bends down to kiss the base of Castiel’s neck, circling his finger inside him, stretching him slowly, and waits until Castiel is relaxed before pumping the digit in and out, increasing its depth each time. He also takes advantage of the motion to spread the lube inside, and when his fingertip brushes the prostate Castiel tenses up, gasping and fisting the now-rumpled sheets.

Dean smiles as he pulls the finger out slightly to add a second, scissoring them steadily, not wanting to rush. It requires a bit more patience to get the last finger buried in there with the rest but Dean doesn’t care as long as Castiel is feeling good, so he makes sure to lay kisses on neck and shoulders and spine every time the angel tenses, and targets his prostate until Castiel is writhing, hands white-knuckled, cock swollen and bobbing on his stomach, pink and slick.

“Are you ready?” Dean asks.

“Yes,” Castiel replies with a dazed sigh, and then with more certainty, “Yes, Dean.”

There’s a soft, disappointed sound when Dean removes his fingers, followed by a shaky breath at the rustle of foil and skin and wet lube, and all of it converges to a long, low moan as Dean pushes in, careful not to move too fast. “I’ve got you,” Dean says, biting back a groan of his own, and does his best to wait and hold still as Castiel’s muscles go lax around him, heat continuing to build over what feels like an eternity.

“Dean...”

“Yeah?”

“You can- mm,” Castiel stammers at Dean’s arm wrapping around his waist, protective and warm, pressing them closer together. “You can move.”

Dean chuckles into the patch of skin he’s been nuzzling, wanting to laugh and cry at the same time. It’s like Castiel is intentionally trying to kill him. “Thank you,” he retorts in jest, because it’s really unfair how powerless he is against Castiel’s clearly unassuming actions. He forgives quickly, though, and returns to working back into Castiel, moving first in shallow thrusts then eventually fucking into him. It’s sticky where they touch, sweat beading and trickling, and every clench is like a bolt of lightning, a shock to his body.

Castiel,” Dean breathes, irregular and raspy, hips rolling into the heat surrounding him, wanting to go deeper.

“Dean, oh,” Castiel groans, his voice so exquisitely husky as he shifts to meet Dean’s thrusts, the dirty-hot slap of skin a filthy soundtrack for it all. When he spreads his legs to let Dean in farther, however, the air fills with a whole new set of salacious noises that nearly tip them both over the edge. “Please don’t stop,” Castiel begs, mouth open and pleading, and Dean’s certainly not planning to as he angles his hips and picks up his speed.

“Fuck, you’re- God, you’re perfect.” The pleasure is mounting in waves now and Dean can’t keep a rhythm to save his life but he’s too far gone to worry about that, not with Castiel falling apart so fucking gorgeously before his eyes. All he can hear, feel, and smell is the angel and he’s losing himself in the intensity, crazy and unmeasured. “So good... Cas, Castiel.”

Dean comes with a cry that explodes like lava from his heaving chest, tumbling out and sheathing him in hot, blinding pleasure. His mind goes blank, the entire world narrowed to just them two, and he relinquishes every inhibition as he ruts deeper, as deep as he can, hand looping around to tend to Castiel’s neglected cock. It’s an almost delirious few minutes of harsh breaths and wanton moans, Dean pairing strong strokes with well-aimed thrusts and Castiel shoving back for more and more until he tenses and comes, thick white ropes streaking the sheets, a half-sob plummeting from his mouth.

Dean milks Castiel through his climax even as his own hips begin to stutter, and afterward he simply holds the angel for a while, vision bleary and muscles weak like he could never move again.

“Jesus...” he says, voice muffled by Castiel’s back. The skin beneath his mouth is sweat-drenched and he’d lick the salt from it if he weren’t so damn drained. “Was that...”

“Yes, Dean,” is the equally breathless reply. “What about... Was it... good for you?”

“Do you hear me complaining?” Dean laughs fondly, kissing a shoulder blade before pulling out. He waits for Castiel to flip over onto his back to say, “You’re amazing.”

Castiel blushes, eyes bright, and Dean lifts a hand to push the damp hair from his forehead, gaze adoring and mouth curved in what’s probably a stupid grin. He still can’t comprehend how rapidly and effortlessly he fell for this angel – not to mention the ridiculous circumstances of how they met – but none of it seems to matter when Castiel reaches for him with graceful hands, bringing his face closer for a sweet, leisurely kiss.

 

◇ ◇ ◇

 

The next morning, when Dean wakes up, he finds Castiel curled toward him, head tucked under his chin, and a warmth surges through his fingertips as he draws the angel close. He smiles too widely at the snuffling noises that fall as puffs on his skin, and mumbles a “Good morning” into the mop of dark, messy hair, heart leaping at how Castiel sounds when he hums “Good morning, Dean” in return, all rough and sexy from sleep.

Breakfast is easy and natural, the conversation even easier, and if it freaks Dean out a little bit that this all seems too good to be true, the worry is washed away with Castiel kissing him against the kitchen counter, body still slightly sleep-warm and clad in Dean’s soft grey shirt. He wraps both arms around Castiel’s waist as he decides that such concerns are futile now, and they spend the rest of the day lounging, talking, Dean playing “Eye Of The Tiger” for Castiel who appears more fascinated by the perfect lip-syncing than by the song.

Dean sends Parker a bottle of Johnnie Walker Black the following week as the strangest thank you he’s ever had to express, but it’s all done anonymously, of course; the jerk would be insufferable otherwise. He also declines the offer for another night out (“I’m done, Parker.”) and goes to pick up Castiel from the local Starbucks where he’s started a new job, one that won’t make Dean insanely jealous and instead provides him with coffee. Besotted customers do ask a bemused Castiel for his number on a daily basis, but you win some, you lose some, Dean thinks.

Days turn into weeks, Castiel becomes Cas, and Dean continues to be moonstruck and enamored, so much so that Sam (who’s been brought up-to-date on the whole matter now) affectionately declares it “gross.” And when Cas looks at him solemnly one evening and says, “Thank you for saving me,” Dean feels fire behind his ribcage as he pulls the angel into his arms to kiss and kiss again, murmuring that, no, it was just the opposite.