There had been a man once, back before Hell, who’d found just the right spot to press on the inside of Dean’s thigh that opened him up, gasping and startled, made him bend and plead and want. He’d never thought about it before.
Then there had been a couple of girls who’d slid their fingers back and down, and he’d taken their hands and pressed them just thereand opened for them and fallen apart for them, dirty and begging and shameless because he’d never see them again after tomorrow, and just once, just for this once, he could let them take over, take him, break him into shuddering pieces, hand them the reins and not be the one who had to fix every fucking thing in the world.
And then there had been Alastair. And he had found... everything.
Then Castiel. Never pushing, never asking. So gentle and reverent, pressing him into the sheets, a long warm weight against his body, mouth soft and hot and incredulous and everything, everything in the world. Castiel, who knew him shatteringly down to his very core, and whose every touch was a terrifying lesson in Dean’s own magnificent perfection, a lesson that he would never, could never believe. Castiel, who never pushed or grabbed, because he could take Dean apart with a look.
(Which was fortunate. Because if he had tried, adoration or not, angelic marble strength or not, Dean might have broken his face before he had even chance to think.)
And then, after almost two years, Gabriel and Sam. Sam, Dean’s strength and his weakness and the centre of his soul (and even he knew it was really fucking unhealthy, but what the hell, they needed it and it worked, the way they lived), sly and sheepish and a great big floppy tower of everything he’d ever fought for. And Gabriel, closing the circuit, remote and implacable as Castiel and sharp and immediate and annoying as Sam and defensive and smart-ass as Dean and plenty of himself over and above, who’d cradled Dean’s soul for six months to keep it from Hell and who still had no compunction about slapping any of them around the back of the head (literally or Trickster-style) to beat a lesson into them at whim. Two or three or four of them in the bed, easy and light and hot and slick, mouths curving into laughter or nips against glistening thighs.
And then one day there was Gabriel, hot and sharp and furious, pressing Dean against a wall, fingers digging in and shouting and implacable, tearing at his clothes and growling words at him that Dean heard less and less with every passing minute, and not noticing when Dean’s yells began to edge toward screams.
Not until Castiel was suddenly in the room, slamming Gabriel (Gabriel? and how the hell did he manage that?) up against the far wall, snarling in his face something about strength and trust, while Sam hovered all well-intentioned and confused and worried in the doorway. Then just Gabriel’s eyes sliding over Castiel’s shoulder to fasten on Dean’s face, shocked wide and indignant and opening wider with sickening realisation for just a moment before Castiel grabbed his collar and dragged them both away to some weird angel dimension, and Sam’s ridiculous hair flopping about in front of Dean and “focus Dean, focus, did he actually hurt you, what the hell is going on Dean, what did you say to get him like that?”
Which Dean didn’t know he answer to, and he was too busy doing up the buttons of his jeans to think about.
Gabriel avoided Dean for two weeks. Or possibly Dean avoided him. Or Castiel just did his collie-dog thing where he glared at everyone until they were magically in the places he wanted them to be without them really noticing how they’d got there (and really, it was kind of embarrassing how quickly he’d programmed Sam and Dean to respond to growled orders, especially when it came to life and death situations or turning off the television after 10:30 pm, and Dean wasn’t even asking about Gabriel but it seemed to work on him too, against all logic).
Sam spent most of that time wearing his little tense and unhappy face that he had for whenever any of them were arguing, especially when they wouldn’t tell him what was going on so that he could stare at them earnestly and tell them to hug and get the fuck over it (or words to that effect).
Castiel just turned into a Dean-shadow, soft and angry and determined, but that was pretty much par for the course. Except for the little brittle edge whenever Gabriel was mentioned – or when Dean leaned in for a kiss. The one time Dean asked, Castiel just turned his head toward him and looked at him, eyes huge and dark, and said, “He did not see you in Hell, Dean. He does not remember as I do.” And okay, fine, but it didn’t actually tell Dean what it had been about, because all he remembered was moping that Castiel didn’t trust him enough to let him do that yet, then somehow that had morphed into him yelling at Gabriel something about keeping his funny-looking nose out of his and Cas’ business, and Gabriel yelling something about ungrateful stubborn bastards who couldn’t see when his baby bro was bending himself into knots trying to be something Dean was too stupid to understand. And shoving Dean up against a wall and starting to wrestle off his jeans. Possibly to make some obscure archangelic point.
And honestly, Dean wasn't really sure what everyone was being all touchy about. Okay, so it had looked pretty damn bad, but he hadn't freaked out at Gabriel, not really. So now he was mostly just pissed off and confused.
Which all around made for a couple of weeks of ice-blue balls.
(And yes, so Dean had let Gabriel fuck him before he could let even Sam, never mind Cas, put his fingers anywhere near him, because yes, Gabriel was fun and really freaking sexy, but it didn’t mean nearly as much as a lifetime of looking out for Sammy, or uncountable barely remembered frozen years of pressed together flying out of Hell with one hand searing into his shoulder, so it was easier. It didn’t mean he didn’t like it or anything, with the others. He just had to work up to it. Getting back on the horse. Gradually. By stages. Ponies. Or something. Not that Sam and Gabriel were ponies. And his mind wasn’t doing him any favours here, because now it wanted to compare Sam to a carthorse, which was really not okay. But that first time with Castiel inside him, that was raw and terrifying and far, far too open.)
(And yes, so the whole rough sex thing happened often enough, whatever, they were all strong guys and they usually had a lot of adrenalin to work off. That wasn’t the same thing as being... as that.)
So, because Dean was only patient when he had nothing better to do, he caved and stomped into Sam’s room to demand Gabriel’s wherabouts. And half an hour later he was marching down to the lake where Sam always took his obsessive morning swim to find a brooding archangel sitting on a rock, arms locked around his knees, turning his head to look over his shoulder with a deer-in-the-headlights look that was hilariously identical to Sam’s.
“Getting old, Gabriel.”
Gabriel’s teeth flashed bright in the dusky light, all swagger and bravado. “Yeah? Tell me about it. Your little renegade’s sulky fit is cramping my style. Even my pancakes were all flat this morning. Do you know how many pancakes it takes to make a good blueberry stack when they all look like crepes?”
Dean snorted, and prodded him in the small of the back with his boot. “So next time you go to do something you know’s going to piss Cas off, think of your pancakes first. What the hell was that all about, anyway?”
Gabriel looked startled, then softer, then his eyes narrowed. “You weren’t actually listening at all, were you? I swear, between the three of you, you’ve almost got the observational powers of a small caterpillar. A purple one, with spots. You’re lucky I spent millenia drumming Dad’s messages through thicker skulls than yours. Neanderthals? Surprisingly sharp.”
“You know what might work better? Saying what you’ve got to say instead of spending all your time ripping me a new one.” Dean glowered down at him, then lifted an eyebrow. “Kind of literally.”
He expected another burst of indignation and fury. Or protestations and explanations. He didn’t expect Gabriel to wince and go sort of pale, or to look away. “Yeah. Sorry about that bit. I sort of managed to forget about the whole... going to Hell thing. And you’re usually all gung-ho about...” He trailed off, and made a flappy hand gesture that might have meant anything from “rough sex” to “long mornings spent watching dying ducks flop about in sleeping bags”. You never really knew, with Gabriel.
Dean rolled his shoulders uncomfortably, repositioning his feet and body, definitely not a shrug or an awkward shuffle or anything like that. “It's really okay, you know. You just kind of took me off guard. Spent most of the last year not letting angels tear a ‘yes’ out of us, you know?”
Gabriel glanced up at him sharply. “And my little brother has spent more than that letting you tear him into something new and ragged and different altogether. And how often do you think to say thank you when he even passes you the butter, tiger?” Gabriel paused for a moment as Dean blinked, opening his mouth in protest that never really found itself words. Then, low and hard and clear, “You really surprised he’s kind of slow to let you take the rest of him as well?”
Dean blinked again, then scowled. “Quit it, Gabriel. He isn’t – it’s not like that, okay? Cas and I – we...” Well, granted, they rarely actually said it, but they didn’t need to. Cas had this soft little half-smile that was only Dean’s, still only Dean’s, no matter his deep affection for Sam and Gabriel. And, Dean, well... Cas knew, that was all. He knew he was needed and wanted and loved. And appreciated. And all that. His voice came out rougher than he meant it. “He loves me, okay?”
“Course he does, the idiot kid adores you. That isn’t the same as trusting you. With all of him, inside and out.”
He got it. He really did. But Dean had done it for Cas. And it couldn’t be an angel thing, because Gabriel let Sam take him, and Dean, and Cas. Hell, according to myths about Loki Gabriel had let a donkey take him once, or something like that. Possibly a mule. Dean may have had a few beers by the time that subject had come up. It was a Cas thing. Except it wasn’t, because Dean remembered that back-to-the-future 2014 (oh God did he remember), and he was pretty sure that Cas hadn’t had any possible virginities left. Not that he wanted his Cas to be that Cas. At all.
Dean let out one breath, then another, soft and steady, because he was determined not to argue with Gabriel again, even if he was way out of line here. Except the gleam of Gabriel’s eyes under his lashes was sharp and hot and had just that little extra glint like molten gold that he got sometimes when he angelled out (and that was hot in a very different way), and Dean couldn’t quite look away, because this felt like the edge of something. Something important.
So of course what he heard himself say was a fucking petulant, “But I let him...”
Gabriel was on his feet before he could bite it off, right up in his face, his expression suddenly blank and terrifying. Dean’s back was slammed up against the rough trunk of a tree, and how did Gabriel always manage to turn that height difference into nothing at all?
“You sad, sorry son of a bitch.”
Somehow, Dean couldn’t help thinking in a sort of panicky way through the hand curved hard around his collarbone, they’d gotten way off track. Or maybe Gabriel just had a thing for Dean and walls. Or trees. Or whatever.
Gabriel’s voice was a low rumble through his bones, just through that one point of contact. And somehow Dean always forgot just how terrifying the archangel could be, just how fucking vast. “He gave up his family for you, his faith, his heart, his life, his essence, and you gave him flesh.”
Gabriel’s fingers ran up the inside of his thigh, not gentle, pressing into the seam of the denim. They skimmed just by that spot and lingered, a breath short of too-hot pressure. Dean tried to keep his voice from shaking. “And what the hell does that have to do with – with grabbing at me, Gabriel? Trying to prove some kind of a point? Cause that isn’t anything we haven’t done before.”
“Yeah?” Gabriel breathed into his ear. “Then go ahead and tell me you’re completely down with this. Letting me do this to you. Anything. Open you up. Take you apart. Taking you for mine, all of you, all at once, and not a thing, not a fucking thing you can do about it once I’m there.”
Dean’s breath scraped raw inside his throat. “Really... really not the same thing at all, Gabriel.”
Gabriel chuckled, harsh and low and dirty, into the soft skin of Dean’s throat. “Isn’t it? You got any idea what you’re asking him, kid?”
And Dean tipped back his head, hit it hard against the trunk of the tree, hissed then growled, “So just fucking tell me already.”
Gabriel bit down, hard. Dean spat out one fierce, formless syllable very far from “no,” and grabbed at the angel’s hair and jacket, bunching them up into twisted desperate handholds as Gabriel shoved his way between Dean’s knees. Then there was the wicked sweet curve of his mouth against Dean’s ear. There was the shivering touch of cool air over Dean’s sides, and arms stronger than him taking his weight.
There was the shocking warmth of Gabriel’s hand curling over Dean’s bare stomach for just a moment, reverent, before he flicked the top button on the jeans below.
“Tell me, Dean,” all low and velvet-rough.
Dean’s fingers crooked in warm, messy hair, trying to drag Gabriel’s mouth just a little bit up and a little across, tugging for some little bit of control against an immovable statue whose heart was thudding against his breastbone. His own voice was wrecked already, but it always went quick. “Tell you what, you goddamn teasing rat-bastard?”
The hot press of Gabriel’s mouth didn’t even waver, stirring the fine hairs just above Dean’s ear as he breathed, “Tell me yes. Tell me you want this even if it fucking terrifies you.” One finger curled around Dean’s belt, tugging his jeans down over his hips. “Tell me you’re a sucker for losing the reins.”
Dean groaned “... the hell, Gabriel?”, and lost the rest on a gasp as fingers flickered over that spot on the inside of his thigh and they tumbled to the autumn-damp ground in a rush.
He expected Gabriel to make it rough and hard and quick, pound him into raw shattered gasps against the rough ridges of the tree roots, all weight and heat and irrefutable strength. But he did worse, devastatingly worse.
He took his time.
He was gentle and fierce and inexorable, leaving no part of Dean untouched, unloved. Hands and mouth and voice and grace, body and soul, murmuring all the time in a rough litany that pulled Dean to bits, taking out every little part that made him who he was and cradling it gently, turning it over and over in his hands and wondering at it and seeing everything, mind and body and the centre of his fucking soul. It was bright and hungry and fierce and not nice at all, on and on until Dean was trembling with the intimacy of it, raw and open and terrifying, stumbling over the responses Gabriel demanded, confessing, moaning, admitting, cursing. He didn’t let Dean keep a single part for himself, until Dean was pleading and promising and Gabriel was pressing soft open kisses along his jaw and whispering tenderness and possession as he slipped inside, one bright devastating shiver of pain on the edge of the deep thump of arousal in his gut.
And it could have gone so very, very, irreparably wrong, except that never, not for one moment, could he feel that Gabriel was not to be trusted with it. Never once did he falter in his love and his fierce acceptance of everything he touched, all of it. There was no violation. Gabriel moved, slow and devastating and too deep inside him in every way, his mouth brushing at the corners of Dean’s eyes, holding him so still he couldn’t have moved if he’d tried. Dean couldn’t do anything but plead, and he didn’t need to. Cherished and owned and taken, and it was such a goddamn relief, letting Gabriel take him there.
He fell; and as he fell, he realised with startling sudden clarity that the hands pushing bruises into his hips were the hands that had drawn a sword against Lucifer for them, caught Sam from Lucifer’s grasp as they’d tumbled toward the Pit together, buried themselves so tenderly in Castiel’s wings and coaxed relief and tears from him when they had finally persuaded each other that each had one brother left who would not leave, pulled Dean close and healed his body more times than he could count over the last five months. They were hands he trusted absolutely, and hadn’t even noticed.
He came back to the slow, steady thump of his own heart. Gabriel was sprawled across his body, a messy hot weight whose carelessness was belied by the hands cradling Dean’s hip and pillowing his head, soft and tender and so very strong.
Also his hair was in Dean’s mouth.
Dean blew it out and made a martyred sound. Gabriel’s lips twitched lazily against his skin.
Dean’s brain didn’t really want to kick into gear, so he let it just ramble along at its own pace as he took stock. Kind of raw, kind of open and... not used, but definitely a bit dirty. In a good way. Not just his body, either. But mostly, overwhelmingly, he felt safe all over. Taken care of and known, inside and out. And hey, if he was going to be honest, which he might as well be under the circumstances before he tucked all the dirty laundry back into its various drawers, that was hot as all hell.
And if this sort of surrender would be anything like that for Cas... yeah, okay, Dean kind of had to really earn that. Especially given, once wings were involved, angels couldn’t really close themselves off.
He cleared his throat. “Okay, so. You made your point.”
“Don’t thank me. Just doing my job.” Only Gabriel could manage to mumble cheerfully, seriously. “Now call off Castiel, would you, tiger?”
Dean smirked faintly from under the arm flung over his face. “Already tried. You’re gonna have to do some grovelling there, big man.”
Gabriel grumbled into his shoulder.
After another minute: “And Gabriel? It’s your turn tomorrow. With wings.”
Gabriel lifted his head just a fraction, and his eyes gleamed at Dean under a cheerful, wicked flutter of eyelashes. “Turn-about’s fair play.”