Dean’s bending over to roll up his jeans when Castiel says, voice carrying no small amount of disdain, “You’ll be stung by a jellyfish.”
Dean looks up at him, shoes in hand. “Seriously? We get assreamed by the supernaturally freakish every other day of the week, and you’re worrying about jellyfish?”
“I’ve heard the experience isn’t really pleasant,” Cas answers in a voice that suggests that he doesn’t worry about anything, which is crap, because he does. He’s been known to give even Sam a run for his money in the Worrying Olympics.
“Cas,” Dean says, shuffling his knees through the sand to reach Cas’ ridiculous feet. Who wears slacks on the beach, anyway? “Learn to live a little.”
Cas’ lips fold into a thin line, arms hanging down by his sides as he obediently lifts up a foot so Dean can slip off his shoe. “I thought I made it clear that I was attempting to do so by falling for you.”
Dean’s ears turn noticeably red in the salty air as he stands, looking pointedly away towards the line of dark rocks that make up the sharp-edged jetty. “Don’t say crap like that, Cas,” he mutters. Straightens his spine and wiggles his toes in the wet sand, numbing them a little. “We’re on vacation.”
“We killed a ghoul yesterday,” Cas points out. Correction: Sam killed a ghoul yesterday. Dean was knocked out cold on the grimy seafood factory floor, and Cas had been thrown headfirst into the bay, narrowly missing the rocks while Sam flung threats and waved around a shotgun. The three of them are more like an x-rated Scooby Doo marathon than a daytime soap opera nowadays, but that doesn’t make the job any less dangerous. Or embarrassing.
Cas looks down at Dean’s toes and does the same with his own.
“Exactly.” Dean looks at him, now, grin brighter than the sun looming over the foggy tide. “Compared to the shit we’ve been through these past few years, we’re practically being lazy.”
It’s cold. The frigid sea air is nothing like Bermuda or some shit like that, but the west coast is calm; comforting and beautiful in its own wet, fishy way. Sam is a few yards down the beach, pockets stuffed with sand dollars, holding a staring contest with a belligerent seagull. His hulking shadow stretching across the sea foam has all of the nearby crabs scuttling for their lives in opposite directions.
Cas catches Dean’s eye when it wanders away again, sea glass stare boring into his soul effortlessly. Hooking him like a fish. (Dean hates how his running commentary keeps veering into ocean-related analogy territory. It’s pretty fucking annoying.) “You deserve a thousand vacations, Dean,” Cas says seriously, in the same voice he uses to tell Dean that he deserves to be saved, he deserves to be kissed on the eyelids every morning, he deserves a fourth scoop of ice cream, and he deserves to sleep on the wet spot because he was being bitchy earlier.
Dean stares at him, working his tongue in and around his teeth. “Cas, man, you—” He trails off, looking skyward for a moment, as if to say, fuck you very much, he’s mine now, and shuffles forward, kicking sand over Castiel’s pale toes. “You too. All of it.” All of what, he doesn’t know, but he’d give it.
Their mouths slot together. It’s sweet and a little vulgar at the same time, Cas breathing openmouthed over Dean’s tongue, slipping his fingers under a flannel collar and smoothing over the freckles on the back of Dean’s neck. He’s forceful and careful, pushing Dean against the wind and holding him like he’s something broken that’s only recently been glued back together.
Dean makes a contented little huffing noise, like a cat curling up in the sun. There’s barely any sun, of course, but there’s Cas, who is ridiculous and blindingly perfect.
A few feet away, another seagull flaps angrily at Sam, who steps over its intended three-course lobster meal to reach them, and instantly realizes that they aren’t pressed so closely together so Dean can check Cas’ mouth for.... for cavities. Or krill. Or whatever.
Sam stands there awkwardly for a moment, rubbing his thumb over the inside lining of his jacket and staring at them like a creeper, until Dean removes himself from Cas and makes an annoyed growling noise. Weeks cooped up in the Impala with Sam munching on potato chips and humming along to his favorite alternative rock station is bad enough without his unfortunate tendency of being an all-around semi-clueless cockblock.
Of course, Cas is definitely not without his various blossoming (and very peculiar) human interests, but he has the added benefit of being Dean’s. So. He’s got that going for him.
“What do you want, Sam?”
Sam swallows a discomfited laugh, like he wants to make fun of them for getting caught in the act but is holding himself back because he senses that he’s interrupting one of their Precious Moments.
This knowledge manages to annoy Dean even more.
“There’s, uh. Families coming, Dean. They want to, y’know, build sand castles and take pictures. Not watch people undress each other on the shoreline.” Sam’s trying to hold back on the attitude, he really is, but he just wants to leave the beach so they can get a couple of hotel rooms, order some pizza, and, most importantly, be in, well, separate rooms. Not that he has anything against PDA. It’s just that Dean is so damn smug about it all the time.
Dean can get behind this unspoken agreement, but he is sorely regretting the fact that they didn’t trek out here at the ass-crack of dawn like all of the other couples who get up early just so they can make out on the beach like they’re in the middle of a goddamn Nicholas Sparks novel. Dean’s never thought about waking up that early for that purpose only, but it’s strangely appealing now. “So screw them,” he says, shrugging.
“I don’t want to scar the children,” Sam whines in his high pitched listen to me I’m right voice.
“Dean,” Cas says, trailing his finger down Dean’s throat and chest and generally just making Dean expectant and shivery and all kinds of uncomfortable, finally tucking promises for later into his front pocket. Sam stands there, blissfully ignorant. “It’s alright. I need to use the facilities anyway.”
They stop off at a rest area that has a helpful map of Oregon, benches, trash cans, and flushing toilets. Cas climbs out of the back seat as regally as he can manage with sand crusted in between his toes (and all over the backseat, Dean adds sadly, like a disgruntled father who’s just learned that his daughter has been sneaking out to parties for months since she turned thirteen) and his hair messy with static electricity. He makes Dean walk with him to the bathroom.
Dean bitches and whines the entire way. Sam rolls his passenger-side window up to muffle Dean’s bellowed, “—what are we, women?” and tries to concentrate on his copy of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
Cas stops outside of the bathroom, turns, and shrugs off his trench coat. Sam has, time and time again, not-so-subtly tried to convince Cas to burn Jimmy’s coat, or give it to a blind hobo with a rash or something, but Cas is too attached. He often enlists Dean in the important task of protecting it from those who would see it destroyed.
Dean takes in Cas’ overly large white t-shirt proclaiming that he “Got Crabs In Newport, Oregon,” his sandy, haphazardly folded dress slacks, and his pinched expression. He snorts. “You look like the world’s most socially awkward tourist.” Which he kind of is.
Cas pulls something small, dirty, and white out of his pocket and pushes the coat into Dean’s chest. “Hold this.”
Dean rolls his eyes. “Either let me come in there for a quickie, or get the peeing the fuck over with already,” he orders, because he’s classy like that.
“I’m showing you something, Dean,” Cas says, respect me or I’ll smite you obviously itching to free itself from beneath the scathing reply, but flopping back down after remembering that the threat is impossible to carry out properly. He holds a jagged half-seashell under Dean’s nose.
Dean looks at it, waiting for a punch line. When he realizes Cas is waiting for a reaction, he takes the shell, frowns, turns it over in his hand, and says, “It’s, uh. It’s broken.”
Cas stares at him for a moment, gaze seething and affectionate, then folds his hand over Dean’s and traps the broken seashell there, warm and smooth. “It’s beautiful, though. Isn’t it?”
Dean knows it’s a loaded statement that he can’t even begin to think about right now, but the sheer fondness in Cas’ eyes scrapes at his heart; this simple, endearing little expression that he’s perfected just so. He just barely manages to hold Cas’ gaze. “I guess,” he says finally, hooking Cas’ coat over one shoulder. He waves his hand. “Go, piss.”
It’s altogether a very unromantic, yet somehow profound moment. Cas leans over to brush his lips to the line of Dean’s jaw, smiles at him with his eyes again, and disappears into the realm of flushing toilets.
Dean stares dumbly at the dirty concrete space previously occupied by an angel-turned- awkward-human-tourist. He then returns to the Impala, only slightly dazed.
Sam sticks his nose in his book, trying to pretend that he hadn’t just been watching the world’s most bizarre and socially challenged couple try to communicate outside their natural habitat. He doesn't even know where their natural habitat is.
Dean puts the broken seashell on the dashboard, and they sit in silence for three minutes. Sam knows because he counts. “You love him,” he says, finally, pushing out the statement like it’s been trapped in there without bread or water or phone privileges for a year.
Dean looks at Sam like he is pathetically far behind in terms of recent news. Which he is. “Yeah,” he says, voice only slightly rougher than usual. “I’ll try to make it more obvious.” It’s a wonder Sam even knows they’re fucking, at the rate he’s catching up. He did find out only a couple of months ago, though; Team Free Will is still in its awkward recently-discovered-lovers-and-third-wheel-brother-who-ruins-everything-but-really-means-well stage.
“Good,” Sam says, overlooking the sarcasm.
Cas is probably washing his feet off in the bathroom sink and scaring away all of the normal people who want to use the soap, the arrogant little bastard. Dean sighs, taps his fingers on the steering wheel, looks at Sam looking intently at his book for a long minute, and finally says, “That any good?”
Sam says, “Huh?” because he was actually reading that time.
“Is that book... good?” Dean makes a vague hand gesture that is supposed to
Sam stares at him.
“Either I’m hallucinating, or Cas has finally succeeded in breaking your Jerk-O-Meter. Did you seriously just ask me about a piece of literature?” Sam laughs, incredulous.
“Shut up, bitch,” Dean growls. “I’m bored.”
“What, ‘cause your sex toy’s in the bathroom?”
“Okay, that was a little insensitive. Sorry. I’m just surprised, that’s all,” Sam says, choking on laughter. “But yeah, it’s a good book. Intriguing, even.” He bites his lip. “Happy?”
“I’m done talkin’ to you.” Dean rolls his eyes.
“I try to open up a little, share some genuine feelings for once...”
Sam sporfles. Sporfles. When the fuck did that word stumble drunkenly into Dean’s vocabulary?
Castiel taps on the window. Dean, grateful for the distraction, unlocks the door.
Cas climbs in the backseat and scratches Dean’s head on the way, raking his fingers through his hair in a private, tender gesture that Sam almost doesn’t feel privileged watching. He flushes, but doesn’t have time to try and subtly ignore them when Cas asks what they were talking about.
“I was just telling Sammy that it’s his turn to drive,” Dean says, throwing Cas’ trench coat in the backseat and crawling after it.
When Sam realizes what their intent is, he loudly declares that he won’t be looking in the rearview mirror throughout his stint at the wheel. At all. No matter what manner of noises he hears.
“You crash her while you’re trying to parallel park or some ridiculous shit, we will haunt your dumb ass,” Dean says, crawling over Castiel, who immediately parts his legs like the Red Sea to adjust to changing accommodations, and really, it’s almost disgusting; how much of a well-oiled machine they’ve become.
....Sam immediately curses his brain for going there.
“Can fallen angels become ghosts?” Cas asks, voice convincingly curious as if he doesn’t actually know, throwing the coat over them both like a fluttering, slightly mustard-stained sail. Dean shuts him up by shoving something down his throat; at least, that’s what it sounds like.
Sam hopes it was Dean’s tongue, but then he kind of hates himself for thinking about it. He makes a high, horrified noise as he starts the engine and briefly considers hitting Dean with his book or spraying water on them like they’re both misbehaving cats. “Can you guys not—really—oh my god,” he yelps, after a particularly wet sucking noise, desperately thinking of dentures floating in viscous pools of Vaseline; enormous, wrinkly grandpa shorts; anything.
Dean removes his tongue from Castiel’s esophagus long enough to say, “Don’t worry, we won’t do anything to damage your hard-won virgin ears,” and immediately after this, Cas says, irritated, “Don’t promise him anything.”
(Anyone who says Dean corrupted Cas is so wrong. Cas has always had enough knowledge in his brain to corrupt legions; Dean’s only fault was teaching him what to do with it, and when is that ever bad, really? Best to work with the tools that you have.)
“Jesus, Cas, at least pretend you have human stamina,” Dean murmurs appreciatively, drowning out Cas’ confused, “But I do—”
Sam turns the radio on and tries to drown out the sickening soundtrack to human-angel-whatever foreplay with Cage the Elephant, wondering if it’s possible to drive down a highway safely while banging your forehead repeatedly against the steering wheel.
Sam thinks, with a small degree of shock as he realizes that it’s taken Dean and Cas to get him to consider this, that he really, really needs to get laid.