The last time they fucked was before Dean found out about the demon blood.
It's strange how Dean can have thoughts like that. He wonders what it's like to have problems like "forgot friend's birthday" and "bought the wrong kind of milk". Before the demon blood, the last time they fucked was when they ganked that siren, and, god, it had been such a relief to fall into each other again, and with such fervor. In a way, it was easier to do this than to ask anything of one another anymore.
It took a monster pitting them against the other to bring them back together again. If evil can't use you against each other, then is it really love?
Dean's been sweet-talking the bartender into giving him free drinks, so he figures there's a chance he can get the guy back to his motel room at the end of the night, or at least to the Impala, or the men's room. Wherever. It's just that Dean's had enough of looking over his shoulder to see if Raphael's going to smite his ass in vengeful wrath, and he's sick of motel rooms with only one bed, and he is painfully aware of how many hours it would take to get to a certain restaurant in Oklahoma if he just gets in the Impala and drives all night. Tonight, Dean decides, is for gratuitous things. He's going to drink his fucking whiskey and keep on smiling at Peter, keep thinking about Sam.
When he's talking to Peter about driving cross-country, Dean is thinking about Sam crammed in the backseat, hovering above him with his eyes gone soft and his breathing staggered. Dean tells Peter about the weird roadside attractions along I-95, and thinks about Sam in a hundred motel rooms, before, after, during. The curve of Sam's back as he pulls off his shirt. His bloodstained mouth.
"I've always wanted to go on a cross-country road trip," Peter says.
"Everyone should," Dean lays on. “It cleanses the soul.”
"Are you road tripping alone?"
"I was with my brother, but he ditched out early, fucking bastard."
Peter likes it rough. Fine by Dean; he's too drunk to do it any other way.
They had stopped at a motel on the way to River Pass, and they were feeling good. Relatively good - because everything is relative when the apocalypse is nigh - but they had been joking around and giving each other shit, and it was refreshingly normal. No one was talking about the end of the world, or demon blood addictions, or traitorous demon girlfriends, any of that crap. They stumbled back to their motel room high on good humor, and Dean tossed Sam a beer from the six-pack. Cheers, they said. Then Sam came up behind him and looped his arm around Dean's shoulders, his face bumping against the back of Dean's head. Sam was still chuckling, laughing like Dean could pretend this was just some innocent celebratory gesture.
"Fuck, man," Sam said, letting his fingertips coast the side of Dean's neck, and suddenly the weight of the past year pushed down on him - Sam in the panic room, Ruby's smug grin.
Dean shifted uneasily and said, "Sam." Sam moved closer, and Dean said, "Sam," and stepped away. Turned on the TV and didn't look at his brother until enough time passed for Sam to pull himself together.
"Christ, when was the last time you saw an episode of Full House, huh?" Dean said at the TV, and the conversation moved, with surprising ease, to Bob Saget's cocaine habit.
Dean sharpens his knives and isn't really paying attention to the cop show on TV. Most of his brain is playing over the details of River Pass and checking it for wrong turns and should-have-beens. Part of his brain is focusing on Sam refusing to take the Impala, Sam saying goodbye. This is for the best.
Cas shows up.
"Jesus," Dean says, more out of habit than anything. He's getting used to Cas's sudden entrances, but if Dean doesn't show displeasure at these random acts of teleportation then Cas will never learn. He says, "You okay?" because there are cuts on Cas's face and blood on his hands, and his coat is stained and torn.
"I'm fine," Cas replies, and the next time Dean blinks, the angel is clean and whole again. How long can Cas keep mojoing himself better? He should save his strength. Use a bandaid, take some painkillers, wash it down with booze.
"Whatcha got?" Dean asks, but all Cas knows is where God and the devil are not and what they might or might not be doing. Like Dean told him all those other times, "Cas, this is what we call jack squat." Like the other times, Dean asks him if he's still got his amulet, and Cas takes it out of his pocket and dangles it from his fingers. Proof of life.
Dean has to wonder if Cas knows about Sam, the whole him and Sam thing. He’s poked around Dean's dreams often enough; maybe he saw something he shouldn't. Wouldn't surprise Dean, what with Sam all over his waking mind. His sleeping mind must be just as inundated. Does Cas know? Does Cas care? He hasn't brought it up, and Dean sure as hell isn't going to bring it up, so, whatever. Usually they have more pressing issues to deal with than who Dean wishes he could be fucking, but occasionally the worry returns. Some people betray heaven, some people fuck their brothers. No one's perfect.
"How'd you get all scraped up?" Dean asks.
"I was in Java," he answers, and Dean quirks his mouth. Cas's stories go like this: he was in Zagreb/Chiapas/the Alps/Bloemfontein/wherever, and then epic shit happened. "I was bartering with a bidadari, and things... didn't go according to plan."
"Did you win?"
"No. But neither did she."
"What were you bartering?"
Cas folds into a chair, awkward and stiff-backed. This is what Cas does now, more and more. Ever since Watertown, sometimes Cas shows up and sticks around. Stares at the TV a bit if something catches his interest. Cas is tired, Dean realizes in wonderment. Cut off from the host, mojo draining, he is an angel with nowhere else to go.
Dean puts down one knife, picks up another. "So what happened?"
Cas tells him, and Dean listens as he sharpens the blade.
For the most part, Dean has gotten his jollies out of cigarettes by the time he was sixteen. Emphasis on 'for the most part'. He's driving west these days because that's what Cas's limited intel implies he should do, so he follows the sunset and sometimes he'll smoke a cigarette too. It's an occasional thing. He doesn't want the car to smell like smoke. Dean bought this pack a couple of towns out of River Pass, meaning to go into the 7-11 to buy jerky and a soda, and ends up asking for a pack of Marb Reds as well. Why the hell not.
He's at a rest stop right now, leaning against the hood of the Impala as he lights a second cigarette, thinking of the scowl Sam would make at it. After Dad died, Dean bought a pack and Sam said, "Seriously?" and Dean said, "Fuck you." The last month before Dean got dragged down to hell, another pack. After he ganked those ghouls that pretended to be Adam and his mother, another pack. Sam went bitch bitch bitch and Dean blew the smoke in his face.
On a whim and as a joke, Dean had offered Castiel one in the car on the way back down from Maine and, to his surprise, he accepted.
"You smoke?" Dean asked, incredulous, and Cas said Jimmy smoked. He took Dean's zippo and lit his cigarette with fluid movements, muscle memory, and turned his head to blow the smoke out of the window.
There were exactly three times when Sam smoked with Dean. The first time was when Sam was twelve, young enough to revel in Dean's bad habits and eager to share them. The second was after Jessica died, and the third was after their father died.
After Sam's third cigarette, Sam leaned into Dean, leaned in and didn't stop. Sam unfolded against him, unfurling, grabbing fistfuls of Dean's t-shirt as his voice grated out some broken muffled thing into Dean's neck. Dean can feel the wet warmth of tears. He held Sam, because that's what you do when your brother's losing it, and then Sam's mouth is on the side of his neck, a not-a-kiss of breaths and subtle flicks of tongue, hands slipping under Dean's shirt to coast across his stomach. Such warm hands.
This is what Dean is thinking about when Cas shows up, fierce blue eyes just inches from him. The angel smells like dank places, and his sensible shoes are streaked with mud.
"Cas, let me tell you about personal space and heart attacks," Dean says. "The less I have of the first, the more I'll have of the second."
Can Cas see what's in his head? The old paranoia. Dean's heart is doing ninety, and he shoves Sam out of his mind.
"Did you find him?" Dean asks, meaning both God and Lucifer.
Of course Cas didn't find him. Dean offers him a cigarette and Cas says thank you, and they trade idle thoughts about how to hunt the devil as the smoke from their cigarettes rises, rises.
In a way, things were easier when he knew he was going to die.
The year after Dean made his deal, there was no guilt in the sex. Suddenly it was a right thing, a good thing, and it would have been everything Dean wanted if he didn't know what was coming around the bend. They allowed a tenderness to seep into their touches, a sincerity that they hadn't allowed themselves before. Before, it had always been desperate and penitently rough, often drunk and fast as if outrunning some judging eye. But then came the time limit, the expiration date, and Dean remembers the first time they took their time. Sam's voice going all raspy and tight, "Dean, wait..." and Dean resurfaced with an air of What now? "Let me," Sam said, so Dean let him. The thrilling and terrifying sensation of Sam's mouth savoring his body, the curve of his neck, the crease between his abdomen and his thigh. Sam was as meticulous with this as he ever was with anything else, and Dean followed his lead, wondering at the sounds he could coax out of Sam if he really tried, now that they both were no longer running from this.
Sometimes Dean turns the memories over in his head until he can't tell whether they're memories or wishes. Frank desire becoming the taste of Sam's sweat and the warmth of Sam's hands on his face. On the nights when Dean lets himself jerk off to it, Sam follows him into his dreams, but these dreams are never sexual. It's always just him and his brother in the Impala, some familiar song on the radio, and the plains placid and impressionistic outside. Dean would crack a joke or make some observation, and Sam would laugh, his laugh like a gunshot, his presence radiant, burned into Dean's mind like a brand.
He wakes up hungover somewhere in Nevada with no memory of what happened after the millionth whiskey shot. Cas had been there at the start of the night, but not for long. Bars make him uncomfortable and Dean only has himself to blame for that. He squints at the sunlight and fumbles for his phone on the bedside table, wanting to check the time, but instead he sees a new text.
good night jerk
His call history says he talked with Sam on the phone for twenty minutes last night. Dean doesn't remember any of this. He remembers leaving the bar. He doesn't remember the walk back to the motel, but he does remember struggling to unlock his room and resolutely placing the keys on top of the nightstand so he can find them the next day. That’s all.
For a few seconds, he considers calling Sam and asking him what they talked about, just so he can salvage the memory, but that would be so weak, man. Dean really hates drunk Dean sometimes. First time he's talked to Sam in weeks and now he's not even going to remember it, courtesy of that sauced up rat bastard. Thanks, asshole.
He considers replying to Sam's text, but instead he turns the phone off, rolls over, and tries unsuccessfully to go back to sleep.
Cas shows up when Dean is on his fourth cigarette and staring blearily at an X-Files rerun.
"How's tricks?" Dean asks.
"Never mind." He tosses back the rest of the glass then drops the butt in it. "So, what, anything good? Anything new?"
Cas shifts in Dean's periphery. "No. Why did you ask me here?"
"Cas." Dean stands up and totally doesn't stumble, nope, and he has not been indulging in a little hair of the dog either, just in case you were wondering. If it weren't for Cas's steadying hand around his bicep, Dean would've fallen over. He wrenches his arm away and takes a step back. "Cas, you know how you, uh... Remember last year, when I had the dreams about hell--"
"Are they back?" Cas cuts in, with a concern that edges on protective anger. It puts Dean off. He doesn't deserve that, and it frustrates him to receive it.
"No, no... Maybe. They never left." Dean stumbles to the bedside table, pushing past Cas. His trenchcoat is cold, like he's been walking around in the winter. Where they are now, it's the tail end of summer. "That's not the point. They're not the dreams I'm..." Quarter of the bottle left. To drink or not to drink? He turns around. "Cas. Can you... can you knock me out?"
Cas furrows his brow. "What?"
"You know, knock me out. Two fingers on the head, boom, down for the count. I just--" Dean rubs his face. "I need to sleep. I can't sleep, there's -- I want to sleep and not dream. Can you do that?"
"You want me to take away your dreams?"
"Just for tonight. Take all the dreams, just for tonight."
"Dean, what's going on?"
"Can you do it or not?" Dean snaps.
Something softens in Cas's gaze. Dean turns away before he can decipher it, in the likely and terrible case that it's pity.
"Yes," Cas replies. "I can."
Dean grabs the bottle and unscrews the cap, takes a couple slugs. "Good." He feels awkward sitting on the bed and lying down on top of the covers. Cas watches him the whole time, and Dean tells himself he should be used to that by now. "Okay," he croaks, staring at the ceiling. "Okay, I'm ready."
Cas approaches the bed and looks down at him, and Dean swallows, looking away. He doesn't think of Sam. He does. He doesn't. The color of Sam's eyes in a darkened room, silvered by monochrome. Cas touches Dean's forehead with two cool fingertips, and Dean closes his eyes. He remembers a couple of years ago, a hunt that took them up to Massachusetts in December and Sam leaning against the Impala, looking up at the sky. Sam and his baby, a dark smudge against the pale landscape.
Fuckin' cold as balls, Dean had said, and Sam replied, I think it's gonna snow again. Words misting in the air.
And then it all goes black.