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The Middle-School Route

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It's been two weeks since they saw that musical, four days since Cas turned up again while they were staying in a motel to help them handle a case, and two minutes since Dean awkwardly avoided Castiel's eyes for what must be the fortieth time, and Sam's had enough.

He's tried handling it the adult way. He's gone out of the room after they'd finished dealing with the vamp-the case that had led to them staying in a motel in the first place-and left the two of them alone together. He came back to find Dean sitting on one bed, glaring at the TV screen, and Castiel perched on the other, watching Dean with that head tilted to the side, those eyes narrowed in concentration as if trying to figure out why Dean was ignoring him.

He's downright told Dean to talk to Castiel. "Dude" he'd said, after the first two days of Dean giving Castiel clipped, monosyllabic answers. "What the hell?"

Dean had glanced at Sam as if he'd just sprouted antlers. "What the hell what?"

"Dude." And Sam had actually had to stare out of the car window to hide his grin. "Just talk to Cas."

"I am talking to Cas." Dean's grip had tightened on the steering wheel, and his eyes were fixed straight ahead through the windshield.

Sam snorted. "Dude, last time I looked, occasionally muttering "Thanks" in your best friend's direction-" He resisted the urge to say "angel boyfriend" because he suspected that that would just have the opposite effect of what he was trying to accomplish. And also, there was a good chance Dean would throw him out onto the road. "Doesn't count as talking."

"Shut up, Sammy." And that's all Sam needed to hear. This time, he really did grin and had to stare the other way and think very somberly about dead puppies to hide it.

"Is this about that musical?"

Dean jumped about an inch off his seat and swerved so badly the Impala nearly came off the road. "No, it's not about the freaking musical!"

And that was all the answer Sam needed.

Sam gave Dean a few moments of silence before he said "Look, you can't go on ignoring him all the time."

"I'm not ignoring him." It sounded suspiciously as though Dean's teeth were gritted.

"Dean, you don't speak to him." Sam was counting them off on his fingers. "You don't look at him. You stare at him when he isn't looking at you and then look away-"

"Shut up, Sammy."

"Dude, I'm just saying, you're not being fair."

"Fair?" and this time Dean turned to stare at him. "What do you mean, I'm not being freaking fair?"

Sam didn't look away. "You're not being fair to Cas. He doesn't know why you're ignoring him all the time."

Dean blinked and turned back to the windshield. "He said something?" and Sam wondered if he was imagining the way Dean was gripping the steering wheel.

"No" he admitted, leaning back against the seat and letting his eyes close, wondering how exhausted he'd be by the time he managed to succeed at getting Dean to see what was right in front of him. "But he's upset. You can tell."

It took everything Sam had not to look at Dean then but he could hear his brother clear his throat. "I'm not mad at him" and his voice was low in his throat.

"I know you're not" and Sam risked a quick glance at him. "It's just-you can't expect him not to wonder, you know?"

Dean's fingers tapped back and forth on the steering wheel but he still didn't speak.

"Look-" and Sam decided to risk it. "He didn't see that musical. He doesn't know why you're ignoring him."

Dean hit the brakes so hard that Sam was thrown forward in his seat. He'd barely had a chance to catch his breath before Dean turned to look at him, his mouth already moving too rapidly for anyone's brain to keep up.

"It-I-I-it-musical-cas-destiel-not-it-I-"

Any other time, Sam would be enjoying the sight of his brother tripping over his own words looking as if he wishes he would blow up or Sam would blow up or both but not right now.

OK, maybe a little right now.

"It's not that" and Dean held up his hands like a full stop. "It's not that."

Sam wondered if Dean honestly believed that telling himself that over and over would make it true.

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Sam isn't a moron. He'd always seen there was some-thing between Cas and Dean. Hell, since way before Cas had started with the "profound bond" stuff, there'd been moments when the two of them had been having one of their freaky-eye stare contests, and Sam had wondered if they even noticed that there was another person still in the room.

But he'd never mentioned it to Dean because, as much as it had been through, Sam still quite liked his head and didn't really like the idea of it being torn from his body.

But now that musical's said it for him.

And Sam's not stupid. He knows why Dean wants him to shut up about it and he knows why Dean can't look at Cas. And he knows Dean knows that he knows. And he knows Dean knows that he knows that Dean knows that he knows. And he knows that Dean knows that he knows that Dean knows that he knows that-

Sam has to stop that train of thought before it gives him a headache.

But he'd hoped talking to Dean would sort things out. For the time being, at least.

Or at least get them a little less awkward.

And if not-well, he'd hoped it wouldn't get to that stage.

But now it's been two days since that conversation and Dean has stared away from Castiel as much as possible, kept up the whole one-word answer thing, and right now when he brushed Castiel's hand as he reached for the salt, jerked away so violently that he managed to spill his glass of water all over his jeans which resulted in a load of cursing as Dean stalked off to the bathroom to clean himself up.

Yep, Sam has had enough.

He's got some self-control, though, so he doesn't point out that it looks like Dean's still in the middle of toilet training.

He really wants to, though.

But the laughter he was fighting down disappears when he sees the huge blue eyes trained on him from across the table, the eyebrows furrowed together in a quizzical expression, Castiel's face looking surprised, puzzled and hurt.

"Sam-" and Castiel's eyes drop to the table as he begins to play with the salt that Dean dropped. "Is it-is it possible that I have offended your brother in some way?"

Sam feels a sharp pang of sympathy twist somewhere in his ribs. He sends a mental death glare to Dean, currently mopping himself up in the bathroom while in the middle of his totally-not-real big gay crisis.

"No, Cas, you haven't offended him." He's just a freaking idiot who can't figure out he's in love with you, Sam doesn't add.

Castiel's eyes flicker and he purses his lips. Sam guesses if this was Sastiel, he'd be kissing him by now, but as it is, it's his brother who's head over heels in love with Cas, not him.

"Then-" Castiel is glancing back and forth between Sam, Dean's empty chair, and the bathroom. Sam resists the urge to mutter something about lovers' tiffs but from the forlorn look Cas is giving the chair, Sam feels the impulse to joke disappear.

"Dean has been acting unusually lately" and Cas turns back to the table.

Sam swallows. "He's just tired."

He should have known that wouldn't fool a former Angel of the Lord, but Cas just stares at him for a long moment and then glances away again. He tugs at his tie self-consciously.

"Sam?" he says after a moment.

"Yeah, Cas?"

Castiel's voice is low. "I miss him."

And it's then that Sam feels a lump actually well in his throat and if Dean was here, he'd probably laugh for the next three centuries but then Dean is the one who just wet his own trousers, essentially, because he can't admit he's got a crush on his best friend.

Best angel friend.

Best male-do angels even have a gender?-angel friend.

More than a crush.

"I know, Cas" is all he manages to get out before Dean appears, sitting down at the table with an expression that indicates neither of them are to mention what just happened.

And when Cas stares at Dean with that head tilted to the side and that confused expression, while Dean steadfastly stares in the other direction, Sam decides that this has gone far enough. It is ridiculous that Dean Winchester, the so-called Righteous Man, the guy who has been to Hell, Purgatory and back, cannot handle the idea of being in gay love with an angel.

And since Sam's the one who went to Stanford, it stands to reason it's up to him to sort things out.

He's tried sorting it out the adult way. Now it's time for drastic measures.

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When they get back to the motel they're currently staying at, Dean heads off for supplies and Cas disappears to check Hannah hasn't managed to screw up angel business or whatever. Which leaves Sam free to do reconaissance.

Not that he really needs to. It only takes a few moments for him to yank open the giant walk-in closet they've been gifted with in their room and realise that it's more than large enough to contain two people.

And that the door has a lock.

And that even though it'll contain two people, when the door's closed, it'll be cramped. Cramped enough that they'll be pretty close.

And that it's very easy to position Cas's cell phone on the floor by the door. Where it won't be noticed easily.

Sam feels his lips twitch in a grin. He's tried to sort things out between Dean and Cas the adult way. Now it's time to go the middle-school route.

It doesn't take long for Cas to reappear and it's only a few more moments for Dean to re enter the room, still looking anywhere but at Cas.

But that's OK. Sam has a plan.

"Dean?" He glances up at his brother briefly, while he taps away on his laptop.

"Yeah?"

"Could you get me my jacket out of the closet?" He wraps his arms around himself and glances appealingly up at his brother. "I'm cold."

Dean stares at him for a moment, then raises an eyebrow. "Dude, are you part-woman or something?"

Sam raises his own eyebrows. "Please?"

Dean rolls his eyes, before heading into the closet. Thank God it's pretty big. Thank God they picked this room.

And thank God Sam thought to bury his jacket right at the back so Dean will have to go right the way in.

And that's when he goes into phase two.

He slides off the bed, stretching, and heads toward the bathroom as if he's about to take a shower. And as he heads past the closet, he closes his eyes, yawns and kicks Cas's cell phone just a little way into the closet. Not far enough that Dean will notice. But enough to catch Cas's eye.

"Shit, sorry, Cas." Sam continues heading for the bathroom as Cas automatically gets off the bed with a roll of the eyes in Sam's direction (seriously, when did Cas learn to roll his eyes? Dean's a bad influence.)

Luckily, Cas's head disappears into the closet fairly quickly so Sam's able to step back, just in time to get a brief glimpse of Dean against the back of the closet, and Cas crouched on the floor, before he slams the door shut and flicks the lock.

Perfect.

It takes roughly a second before Dean starts banging on the door. "Sammy?"

Sam feels a grin spread smugly over his mouth. "Yeah?"

There's another second of silence in which Sam can practically hear the cogs of Dean's brain turning and then he hears "Sammy, open the goddamn door."

"Not until you guys have talked." With a smirk, he can't resist the next few words. "You know. In the closet."

This time, there's a few moments of silence before Dean says "You're freaking dead."

Sam isn't too concerned, given his brother's on the other side of a locked door. "Things have been freaking weird between you guys for days and you're sorting it out. I'll leave you in there all night if I have to."

"Sort out what?" and that's Cas. Sam wonders just how close he and Dean are right now and quickly shoves the thought out of his head. No matter how much he might be interfering right now, Dean's still his brother.

"Whatever's going on between you."

He hears Dean curse under his breath and that's when he gets the idea. OK, maybe it's a risk but he knows Dean and he's pretty sure it'll pay off.

He leans close to the door. "One word" he says, speaking loudly enough that he's sure they can both hear. "Destiel."

There's one moment of silence before Dean says "I am going to freaking kill you."

Sam pictures Cas wearing his I-do-not-understand expression.

"I do not understand" Castiel says.

Sam mentally congratulates himself on being able to guess an angel's reactions so well.

"Ask Dean, Cas" and he actually hears something slam into the door. Judging by the muffled grunt of pain, he's guessing the something was Dean's fist.

"What is Destiel?" and Sam actually has to jam his own hand over his mouth to stop himself sniggering.

"Sam" and it sounds as if Dean might actually be undergoing some kind of panic attack, combined with enough rage to pull the motel room apart.

"What is Destiel, Dean?" and Sam takes a step back towards the motel room door, satisfied that his plan is rolling forward in motion.

"Cas, you can use your angel mojo" and Sam stops dead. "You can just get us out of here" and Dean sounds hopeful now, as if Cas is about to just zap them both into the motel room.

If that's true, Sam better start running.

There's a long pause, during which Sam tries to calculate how far away from Dean he'll have to get before he hears Dean say "Cas?"

Cas's voice, unmistakeably. "No."

Sam almost claps his hands together.

"What?" and he can picture Dean's jaw hanging low, as if it's about to fall off his face.

"What is Destiel, Dean?" and Sam has to actually bend over and bury his face in a duvet cover so he doesn't scream out laughing.

Dean doesn't say anything. Sam's pretty sure Dean's wondering if he can somehow will himself dead from embarrassment.

"You guys talk" and this time Sam runs for the door. "I'm just going to go and get some food. Don't-um-break anything."

"Sam-" Sam doesn't stick around to hear the rest of the threat. He's already slammed the motel door behind him.

He decides to wait to tell them about the extra room he booked. That can come later.

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Dean is going to freaking kill his brother.

He's stuck in a closet. And the significance isn't lost on him so Sam can screw that.

He's stuck in a closet with Cas.

And Cas knows about Destiel.

This is all kinds of screwed-up.

He looks at Cas who stares back at him. This is just awkward.

"What is Destiel, Dean?" and Dean closes his eyes because this closet isn't as big as he first thought and OK, he keeps moving and bumping into Cas and since when did Cas have so much freaking body heat?

"It's-" and why the hell is his voice wavering at Cas this close, it's nothing, it's just Sam getting to him, that's all- "It's nothing, it just, it-"

It's nothing. Just some stupid-thing that people have made up. It's nothing. He and Cas are just-

He tries to finish the sentence with friends but it doesn't fit.

Neither does brothers.

Oh God.

OK, maybe Cas stands a bit close to him sometimes. And maybe they-stare. A bit.

And maybe he fixed Cas's tie for him a few times, and maybe it was him asking that broke the connection when Cas was being mind-raped by that freaking Naomi chick, even if they never talked about it, and maybe-

Maybe.

But just-

And he can never finish the sentence.

And Castiel is still standing there staring at him. Castiel, with that hair, that's all messy because he's been on the floor. And those eyes, narrowed in that way Cas has when he's trying to figure something out. And his lips are pursed, and the sleeves of his trench coat are dragged up a bit and-

What the fuck.

OK, maybe he's thought about Cas like that a bit. Before.

But that's-normal, right? It's-

It's just-

Cas opens his mouth and closes it again. "Is Destiel something to do with why you have been ignoring me, Dean?"

"I'm not ignoring you-"

Castiel's eyebrow arches. Castiel can raise an eyebrow. They freaking taught an Angel of the Lord to raise an eyebrow. That's another thing ticked off on the bucket list.

"Dean, you haven't addressed me directly for days." Dean remembers this, that odd formal tone Cas used to adopt, still does whenever he's stressed or worried or hurt-

Shit.

"Cas-" Dean drags a hand through his hair because it's not Cas's fault. Cas can't help it if Sam's a freaking idiot.

"I'm not mad at you" he manages, after a moment. It would be a hell of a lot easier if Cas didn't keep looking at him like that. Like Dean's let him down. Like he trusted Dean not to let him down.

And his lips are still pouting.

And OK, Dean's not thinking about Cas's lips. He's totally not-OK, he might have. Before. But just you know. Curiosity. Of course. Just freaking curiosity.

And that doesn't mean anything, OK, Sam.

Just...curious.

"You act as though you are" and Cas's hands are tugging at his coat, his teeth digging into his lip and Dean can't bear the freaking uncertainty in his voice. He just can't.

"Well, I'm not, I-" Dean swallows. Cas won't settle now. He'll look Destiel up online if he has to. He'll find out.

It's better coming from Dean.

He's going to kill Sam because really, why the hell does his brother want him to tell Cas that everyone thinks they should just have sex?

And the words "sex" and "Cas" in his head just set off a whole other array of pictures in his head. And Cas is still near and Dean can almost smell him, the strange scent that always seems to be just pure Cas, like the edge of a storm.

And all that has an effect.

And he and Cas are pretty close, especially now that Cas has stepped closer, those eyes staring into Dean's and that jaw set, grinding out the words "I have a right to know, Dean" in a way that shouldn't be so freaking-

And this is exactly why Dean has been trying to stay away from Cas. Because of this.

This-thing. That's always kind of-been there. But it's always been on the edges, like they're permanently on the edge of-something.

And now, something is almost tearing Dean's jeans in two.

Oh God, Sam can't be freaking right about this.

"Cas-" Dean tries to take a step back and finds he can't. Cas has him backed into a corner and he's still moving forward. He shakes his head, those eyes so bright that they seem to fill Dean's vision for a moment.

"Tell me" he says and at that moment, he bumps into Dean, right up against him.

Right up against his lower half.

Dean hopes wildly he's imagining the whole thing. Maybe it's not-that. Maybe it's just keys or something.

Oh God, please let it be keys.

Castiel stops dead and his brow furrows before he slowly lowers his head to stare at Dean's jeans. Dean closes his eyes and wishes for Chuck to write them into a wormhole where Cas forgets all of this immediately.

Please God, don't let Cas say anything.

Cas raises his head. "Dean, I believe you have an erection."

Dean almost chokes. "Dude-I-I don't-" That's pretty fruitless, given that for some reason, the words in Cas's voice, even though they're completely unsexy, have some weird effect that makes him even freaking harder and Cas being this close doesn't help.

"Dude, you don't-" He stares at Cas. "You don't just say things like that."

Cas's brow furrows and Dean shakes his head. "Look, you don't just-tell someone they've got a boner, OK?"

Cas looks puzzled for a moment and then his face clears. "Oh, I see. The vernacular."

Dean shakes his head. "You just-you only say that to someone-someone you're with, you know, romantically, not just some-" and why the hell is he explaining this?

Castiel stares at Dean for another moment. Dean waits for another "What is Destiel?" question.

And then Cas says "You are not "just some" anything, Dean."

The words were the last thing Dean expected to hear and he doesn't know why they send a lance of happiness through his ribs.

"Dude-" and he holds up his hands again. "I know, it's just-"

"You are not, Dean" and Cas moves closer if that's possible. "You are very important to me."

"Dude, don't start a counselling session right here because-" and then Dean trails off because his brain's now ringing with the last two words.

To me.

To me.

Dean wants to say something but can't. Castiel is chewing at his lip and his eyes are suddenly darting everywhere, as if he's aware he's crossed some line. Dean pictures him blinking out and his hand catches in Cas's sleeve before he can think twice.

"Cas" he says and his voice seems to crack in his throat.

Cas doesn't look at him this time. Instead, he just says, his voice determinedly steady, "What is Sam talking about, Dean?"

Dean closes his eyes. This is where everything can go to hell and back.

"Look-" He briefly explains that there was a musical. He doesn't let go of Cas's sleeve while he explains this. He chooses not to notice that.

And he chooses not to notice that Cas is still pressed up against him and that that isn't helping the jeans situation any.

And that Cas's mouth is pretty close.

And-there are a lot of things that Dean isn't noticing.

"So-" and he's missed this, in the days they haven't been speaking, that confused look Cas gives him, as if Dean's the only one he trusts to explain this stuff. "There was a musical about our lives?"

"Yeah." Dean nods. "And-they were kind of-pairing people up. Based on-you know the books?" Cas nods. "Well-what they saw in them."

He falls silent and prays Castiel will figure the rest out on his own.

"What do you mean?"

Son of a bitch.

"I mean-" and OK, Dean's fingers just brushed Castiel's wrist. But it was completely an accident. Completely. "They were-you know-pairing people up. Romantically."

"I understand" says Cas slowly and Dean knows straight away that he doesn't understand.

"And they were mostly just screwing around but-there was one-that-you know-happened in the show-that they took seriously."

Cas was still watching with his head tilted to one side and those eyes.

"Dean, what does any of this have to do with Destiel?" and hearing his name on Cas's voice does something to Dean, makes his heart pound faster and it's harder to breathe and he's trying to convince himself it's just because of the closet but even Dean's brain's starting to find it hard to accept that excuse.

Oh God.

"Destiel is-this-" He tries not to say the word. It slips out anyway. "Couple."

"That they take seriously?" Cas is still watching Dean from a centimetre away. His hair's a mess. Dean could tidy it up if he lifted a hand-

Shut. Up.

"Yeah" he says, and waits. And waits.

Castiel frowns. "What does that have to do with you and me?"

Dean rolls his eyes because jeez. "Dude, weren't you listening? De-sti-iel." He sounds the word out carefully, watching Cas's face for a reaction.

Cas frowns. "Dean, you just sounded the word out again."

Dean's head falls into his hands. "I can't believe I'm saying this."

"You're not saying anything." He hears Cas's gravel voice from somewhere over his head and somehow that's what makes him stand up so that he and Cas are almost mouth to mouth, so that he's breathing the words onto Cas's lips.

"Destiel is-Dean and Castiel." He points his finger back and forth between them. "You and me. Now do you get it?" The words are harsher than he meant them to be. But dammnit, he's been locked in a closet by his insane younger brother after a musical paired him up with an angel he might or might not be in love with. He's entitled to go a little-

Dean's brain stops dead. An angel he might or might not-

Oh-oh God.

Cas's face is blank, wiped clean of expression. But his eyes are bright, still so bright. He stares at Dean. "Me and you?"

Dean doesn't look at him. If he does, he thinks he might die. But he nods.

"In a romantic relationship?"

Dean makes a small noise in the back of his throat. It doesn't sound masculine. It barely even sounds human.

Castiel nods, and shifts slightly as he clearly considers this. And then he glances down. "Dean, your erection is poking into my thigh."

Dean actually thinks he might collapse on the floor. "Dude, would you stop talking about my erection?"

Castiel frowns. "But it's pressed into my leg."

Dean's head falls forward. Unfortunately, Castiel's shoulder is there to catch it.

"This upsets you."

Dean opens his mouth to say yes, but somehow the word doesn't come out.

"Then why do you have an erection?"

If Cas says the word erection one more time-

But Cas doesn't get it and he can't be mad at Cas. He can't. And he has. For days.

"I just-" and he stands up, but he doesn't want to pull away. And Cas's skin smells good. And it's nothing. It's-

Dean's brain is sounding more disbelieving than brains should.

"I just-I-didn't-I'm probably just hot" he says, and he's praying that he can deal with the erection thing first, because maybe he can convince Cas that's just a physical reaction thing. Maybe.

But Cas is still watching him. And those eyes are so freaking blue. Seriously, it should be freaking illegal for eyes to be that colour.

"Look, I just-I just-meant-it-was weird-and Sam-he thought-and he-" Dean sounds like a teenager in love. He knows he sounds like a teenager in love. He hates it.

Cas looks back at him for another moment and then says "You do not like the idea of us together." And he doesn't sound hurt or sad but-his voice is-low. Almost determinedly-blank. And Dean knows Cas. His tone doesn't usually sound that blank anymore.

Shit.

"No, it's not that-" And he realises too late what he's said but he can't take it back. It's out there now.

"It's just-it made me-and Sam wouldn't shut up about it!" he adds defensively. Maybe if he gets Cas talking about how annoying Sam is, they won't end up talking about this.

Cas frowns. "That's why he locked us in here."

Dean nods and Cas frowns again. "But why are you upset? If you do not dislike the idea of us being in a romantic relationship?"

Oh God.

"It's not that-it's just-" Dean rakes his hands through his hair. "I don't think-I mean, we're not-" His voice sounds pretty weak now. He freaking hates it. He hates Sam more. It's all Sam's fault. Definitely.

"I mean-" and he's staring at Cas now. "You-you don't want-that."

Castiel stares at him. "How do you know what I want?" and the words are low in that voice that sounds like it did when Dean first knew him, but at the same time, there's an edge to them, a forlorn, jagged edge that makes Cas sound unexpectedly vulnerable.

Human.

"I-" and his voice trails off.

"This is why you have been avoiding me." It isn't a question.

Dean spreads his hands. "I didn't want-you know-to make you-I don't know, freaking uncomfortable-"

Castiel tilts his head back and takes him in. "You are uncomfortable, Dean."

Dean swallows. "It's not that-"

"Then what is it?" Castiel's voice is that strange, formal tone he adopts whenever he's shutting himself off somewhere inside-

And that's freaking ridiculous because why the hell would Cas be hurt?They're just friends-

OK, friends who are standing very close in a closet.

And friends where one has a boner digging into the other's thigh.

And friends where the other one's staring at Dean as if Dean's just kicked his puppy.

Friends where Cas's mouth is way too close for comfort.

Dean swallows. "I just-didn't expect it" he says and he stares at Cas and he's seriously going to kill Sam later because how the hell did it get to this? When three weeks ago he and Cas had been perfectly fine, with the only signs of them being a bit too close at times being the whole profound bond thing and the whole eye staring thing and maybe the whole thinking about Cas's eyes too much thing-

He's going to absolutely kill Sam if he's right. He's going to kill him even more than if he was wrong.

He finds himself talking to Castiel's shoes. "I didn't think you wanted that" and the words come out as a sort of mumble.

When he lifts his head, Cas is still watching him. "Didn't I tell you" and the words are low in that voice and Cas's hair should not look this rumpled and his eyes should not look this blue. "Not to tell me what I want?"

Dean wonders when the hell the world stopped making sense. He stares at Cas and Castiel blinks. "I remade you, Dean" he says and his hand reaches out to touch the side of Dean's neck. Two fingers press right over Dean's pulse, sliding up to his jaw, grazing his skin. They glide over his mouth for a fraction of a second and a small sound comes from Dean's throat before he can stop himself.

"I put you together before you knew my name" and Castiel's voice should not be that low, his eyes should not be that bright. And he shouldn't sound like this, like something ancient and eternal, that touching him would be like expecting the ocean to stir to your command. And Dean's hands are raised to his shoulders before he knows what's happening.

"I know when you are lying, Dean" and the words are a breath on Dean's throat and a small groan breaks from his throat because those hands are moving over his neck now and Castiel's words are a breath against his mouth, and Cas is pressed against him now, and he can barely tell where he ends and Cas begins.

Especially now that Cas has raised his own arms, his thumbs brushing Dean's neck.

"You don't want this" is what comes out of Dean's mouth but what he means is You don't want me.

Castiel's eyes blaze. "I know what I want, Dean."

"How the hell can you want this?" and Dean's voice is a whisper that burns his skin but Cas doesn't let go, those hands just holding tighter. "You know me. You know every freaking thing I've done, Cas."

Castiel watches. "And you me."

Dean shakes his head, squeezes his eyes shut. "You had freaking reasons for the things you did. I just-" He closes his eyes.

"As did you." Castiel leans closer and his voice is a whisper. "Do not make excuses, Dean Winchester" and there's a hint of the old Castiel in there, and that shouldn't send the thrill down Dean's spine that it does.

"Cas-"

"What's wrong?" and Cas's thumb is stroking Dean's cheek and this is not how things were meant to be.

"I-"

"Dean" and Cas watches him, and Dean can't look away. "You can tell me."

"I'm-" and Dean looks away then, because he can't stand the thought of Cas watching him through this. "I've never done this before, OK? Not with a guy-and I don't freaking care that angels don't have a gender, you look pretty male to me-but it's not just that, it's you, and it's never been like this with anyone else-and freaking hell, Cas, everyone else sees it before-and-"

Cas's hand covers his mouth and for a moment Dean's back in that room when Cas had spun him against the wall and covered his mouth, the moment he had turned against the things he knew, everything he knew, for them.

For him.

For Dean.

And how the hell does Dean deserve that?

"You're afraid, Dean" and the words are soft. And Castiel's eyes are bright and his whisper tickles Dean's skin. "And so am I."

Dean stares at him. "Then why the hell-"

Cas shakes his head and presses his hand tighter. "I've been afraid before" and his voice is still that whisper and his eyes are still that blazing blue. "And you were the one who taught me to face it."

Dean's heart is pounding crazily enough, hard enough that it almost hurts, but then Cas leans against him and there's a hardness against his leg that definitely isn't his, and that almost ends him right there, because freaking hell, he's given Castiel, Angel of the Lord, a freaking boner.

He did that.

"Cas-" and this time, his voice breaks.

Cas watches him and this time, there's a flicker of nerves in the angel's gaze, his tongue touching his lip anxiously. "I-"

Dean stares at him because they're falling into this together, and he doesn't know how this will end. All he knows is that they can't go back from here. They just freaking can't.

"Cas" he whispers, and goddamn it, his voice does not shake a little. "What do you want?"

Cas stares for a moment, his chest rising and falling against Dean's, and then something seems to light behind his eyes, as if something's been lit inside his skull, lighting his whole face.

Slowly, he lowers his hand from Dean's mouth. And then he slowly tilts his mouth to the edge of Dean's, his eyes open the whole time, watching Dean nervously, as if asking permission. And Dean nods silently, the movement tugging his mouth down to the edge of Castiel's lips.

He feels the bump of Castiel's bottom lip against his and it's softer than he expected, and warm, and a mewling sound that he'd die if anyone else heard comes from his throat and his own lips part. Cas has stopped, a literal breath away, and Dean's hands tighten in his coat, pulling him nearer before he can stop himself.

"Dean-" and Cas's voice sounds like it's an inch from cracking.

"Yeah, Cas?"

"Are you sure?"

Dean feels his own lips twitch and he nods, letting himself take it, take what Cas is offering, take what they're both offering to each other.

And then Cas tilts his head and his bottom lip brushes Dean's again before both of his lips brush Dean's, their mouths opening for each other at the same moment.

Dean's brain's stopped working. All he knows is how hot Cas's lips are, how hot and open his mouth suddenly is and how good Cas freaking tastes and that humming sound Cas is making in the back of his throat, his hand tightening in Dean's hair.

Cas he says but his tongue slides into Cas's lips before he knows what he's doing, and the noise Cas makes just pulls Dean's arms around his shoulders so that Cas is against him, their mouths still together, even as Cas's fingers are exploring, even tugging at the bottom of Dean's shirt, even as Dean pushes his hips forward so that they're rocking together for a moment, prompting a wild sound from Cas's throat.

"Dean" and his name is fierce in Cas's throat as their mouths break away for breath. Cas is standing there, hair rumpled, lips swollen and red, cheeks flushed, panting and gasping, tie loosened, shirt untucked, eyes blazing, looking utterly freaking debauched.

And Cas's hands are digging into the back of his neck and whenever his nails catch the skin, it hurts in the best possible way. Dean's mouth moves to Castiel's neck and they nibble and this time, Cas's plaintive little moan of "Dean" is even sweeter.

"Why-" and Cas's eyes flutter as Dean moves his lips to the spot just above Cas's collar, sucking gently at his throat. "Did we never-do-this-if-" The groan from his throat next effectively ends his conversation, his hips rising to meet Dean's again.

Dean pauses, his fingers already fumbling with Cas's top button. "Because I'm a freaking idiot" he whispers and the words slide into Cas's mouth. "And don't ever tell Sam that."

Cas's laugh is soft, breathless against Dean's lips. "You are-entirely too-self-perceptive-Dean Winchester."

Dean smacks him gently on the arm and Cas's laughter against his mouth is what pulls him back again, his hands winding into Castiel's hair, as he kisses him harder, opens his mouth, tasting as much of him as he can, and this is what they are, everything, all the stares and late-night whispers and that current of energy between them has been leading to. This is what everyone else has seen.

This is what they are and what they're meant to be.

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Sam waits an hour before he heads back to the motel room. He pauses outside the door, though, just to make sure they haven't progressed to the bed, because as happy as he might be for them, that's an image he really doesn't need to see in his nightmares.

Luckily, there's silence on the other side of the door.

Sam pops his head in warily and his eyes fall on the closet door.

The closet door which sounds as though something is falling against it over and over.

Sam's just wondering whether Dean's still pissed about the whole intervention thing-though it's for a good cause-when he hears a soft sound, a whisper of a moan and a voice, low and muffled.

It might be low and muffled but Sam's been listening to Dean's voice his whole life.

And he recognizes the sound of Cas's name on his brother's lips.

He's just never heard it being said like that before.

Sam could leave the room and let them get on with it, but he still needs to tell them he's booked an extra motel room. And he's hungry.

And let's face it, he needs to gloat over being right all along.

So, he just slowly heads across to the closet door, trying really hard not to listen, and unclicks the lock. Then, he slides open the door.

He didn't expect Dean and Cas to fall out on his feet, Cas with half his shirt unbuttoned and Dean's hands splayed on his stomach, his mouth buried in Cas's neck but Sam's a Winchester. He's used to surprises by now.

Dean's head jerks up, and Sam happily watches the myriad of expressions cross his brother's face-horror, fury, happiness, and then that look he only gets when he looks at Cas as he bends down to help the angel up. "Jeez, Sammy" and Sam braces himself for the yelling about mind your own business and personal shit.

"You could have killed him" and Dean's hand rubs the back of Castiel's trenchcoat, pulling him closer, so that Cas's head falls onto his shoulder.

Castiel frowns. "I have withstood far more serious injuries than that" but that smile still tugs at his lips as he looks at Dean, those eyes widening. And Dean just stares back and Sam feels that grin tug at his lips.

Not even a ha-screw-you-big-brother-I-told-you-so grin. Just a you-guys-are-too-freaking-cute-and-that's-a-weird-freaking-thought-but-it's-true grin.

He doesn't even need to say "I told you so."

"Let's go for dinner" he says instead. "I'm starving."

Dean glances at Cas and the angel nods. "I too require sustenance" he says and Sam resists the urge to make a joke about working up an appetite.

Sam makes it to the door before he turns around. OK, he lied. He does have to get in a "told you so."

"Dean-" and he points to himself and then back. "I did tell you."

Dean raises an eyebrow. "Sammy, I might have Cas next to me but I can still get over there and kick your ass."

Sam's still laughing as he walks into the hall. "Oh, and by the way" he calls over his shoulder. "I booked you an extra room."

He gets a pillow thrown at the back of his head for his troubles.

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Sam makes it through the meal at the diner pretending he can't see Dean and Cas holding hands under the table. Or sharing food. Or sneaking those little looks at each other.

And that he doesn't notice that they disappear off to the bathroom for fifteen minutes. During which time the waitress comes up to him and whispers "Don't they make the cutest couple?"

Sam raises an eyebrow. "I got them together."

The waitress actually squeals.

He waits until they're getting ready to leave-the waitress giving him a wink as they do so-when he notices that Cas is playing with the salt on the table again. And he's written his and Dean's names.

If Sam was a teenage girl, he'd be giggling at the absurd cuteness of it all.

But he's a grown man and he thinks he should show more restraint than that.

That doesn't stop him bending over and drawing a little heart in between their names, though.

Which gets him a smack on the arm from Dean, another wink from the waitress and a laughing fit that takes him all the way to the Impala.

Where Dean shifts awkwardly as Sam heads round to sit shotgun.

"Er-Sammy-er-we were wondering if Cas could, um-"

Cas is also hovering by the passenger side door. Sam glances between them and lets his own grin answer for itself. "I'll take the back."

It's when Dean switches the engine on that he discovers the Cowboy Junkies song Sam's switched the stereo to but by then he's already throwing the keys at his brother in the back seat. Cas looks utterly bemused but that smile breaks out again when Dean reaches out to take his hand when they're on a stretch of highway with no cars coming in either direction.

Sam's really glad he booked that second room at the motel.

And while that thought might be enough to make him wish for the existence of brain bleach, at the moment, watching Cas's fingers wrap around Dean's in the front seat as Dean sings along to Led Zeppelin, Sam thinks he's perfectly entitled to the smug smile he's wearing right now.

He just hopes Dean remembers he owes him for the rest of time.

Though it's kind of worth it, just to watch them together. Not that Sam would ever admit that to anyone.

"Dean."

Dean glances across. "Yeah, Cas?"

Castiel shakes his head. "I merely enjoy saying your name."

Sam has never seen his brother blush like that before. And he doesn't think he's ever seen that grin creep across his face either as he whispers in Castiel's ear before he lets Cas's head fall onto his shoulder as he continues to drive.
Yep, Sam thinks, settling back into the seat, his eyes flickering closed on the sight of Dean and Cas holding hands in the front seat, he is definitely the smarter brother.