One Of Those Things
Dean didn’t even notice the magic-angel-soul-bonding-thing at first.
In his defence, Dean was used to weird supernatural shit that made its effects pretty obvious, not subtle angel mojo that insinuated itself so gradually that you didn’t even notice that anything had changed, until it suddenly smacked you in the face.
For Dean, the smack in the face came when one day, he could suddenly see Castiel’s wings.
Castiel did his thing where he flapped in out of nowhere, absent one moment, there the next, except that this time, two great, enormous folding things made of light were right behind him.
Dean stared with his mouth open.
“Uh – Cas –” he choked out, while Castiel stared at him curiously. “Wings – you, you – wings!” Dean managed, in a supreme act of communication fail.
Castiel blinked. His expression didn’t change, but somehow Dean got the impression that he was surprised.
“You can see them?” he asked Dean calmly.
Castiel pondered this.
“The bond is progressing faster than I anticipated,” he said sagely, whatever the hell that meant.
“Can I have that again in something other than Cryptic, please?” Dean requested testily.
He still couldn’t pull his eyes from the fascinating shapes flowing and rippling behind the angel.
Castiel looked suddenly shifty.
“Well–” he began, and Dean knew before he even got started that the angel was planning to lie.
“The truth, Cas,” he said sternly.
“A great deal faster,” he noted.
Dean gave him a pointed glare.
Castiel gave a long, put-upon sigh.
“This is… somewhat embarrassing,” he admitted.
Dean waited expectantly, but Castiel just stood there, all awkward and a little apprehensive and faintly at a loss.
“I am not sure how best to explain.”
“Just spit it out,” Dean recommended, getting steadily more irritated with all the procrastination.
So Castiel looked him dead in the eye and without the slightest bit of hesitation calmly stated,
“According to angelic customs, you and I are the equivalent of being in a married relationship.”
What followed went something like this:
Dean yelled “what?!” at the top of his lungs, staring at Castiel incredulously.
Castiel stared flatly back, but with a slightly defensive, sheepish air, that told Dean that the angel had known damn well that Dean would be upset about this, even if not why.
Sam, alarmed by Dean’s yell, burst out of the bathroom, to see Dean and Castiel having a kind of staring stand-off and Dean possibly having an apoplexy, just in time to hear Dean exclaim,
“What the fuck? We’re angel-married?”
It all went downhill from there.
Dean refused to speak to Castiel for two days.
Castiel, in response to this, hung around looking both hurt and reproachful yet somehow annoyed, like he thought that Dean’s reaction was immature and unreasonable, while Sam alternated between looking seriously uncomfortable at being the third person in the room, and sending Dean ‘you should talk it out’ glares.
It was a fun two days.
Dean was mad as hell that Castiel hadn’t mentioned any of this. Like, not once. Not even a, ‘and by the way, we’ve formed the beginnings of a soulbond that binds us together for all eternity’ thrown into conversation somewhere.
The fact that they were bound together for all eternity didn’t actually make Dean as angry as it should’ve, so Dean was kind of mad about that, too.
Also, the whole revelation of what Castiel had been keeping from him all this time sort of left Dean feeling betrayed and gutted, but it was a lot easier to be furious about it than to admit that Castiel might have stomped Dean’s feelings into little painful pieces.
“I’m sorry I wounded your feelings, Dean,” Castiel said gravely, on the third day, apparently bored with Dean’s glaring silence and wanting to move on from the stage of their relationship that involved uncommunicative stonewalling.
“Shut up, I’m not talking to you,” Dean snapped. “And you didn’t wound my feelings. My feelings are just fine. Why would the fact that you didn’t tell me we’re angel-married wound my feelings?”
There was a snort from where Sam was trying unsuccessfully to pretend that he wasn’t there. Dean and Castiel both ignored him.
“I didn’t think you would be accepting of our union,” Castiel said carefully.
“I’m not!” Dean burst out, more venomously than he intended. “Why would anyone want to be married to you?”
There was an overwhelming impression of hurt, so strong and stark that Dean felt weighed down by it, and then Castiel was just gone.
Dean let his head hit the table.
“Fuck,” he said into the wood.
The feeling of hurt still throbbed, although now it felt a lot more distant.
He wondered why he didn’t just let someone take him out and shoot him.
“Wow. Congratulations on your sensitive and mature handling of the situation, Dean.”
Dean and guilt were old friends, but this was an entirely new level of guilt he had never felt before, possibly because Dean had never before basically told an angel of the Lord who had fallen from Heaven for Dean that no one would ever want to love him.
Dean felt like a complete and utter bastard. Just to add to his feelings, Sam kept shooting him looks like he suspected Dean of secretly being an evil kitten killer.
The feeling of hurt next to Dean’s heart dimmed, but never went away.
Dean tried to ring the angel, but only got voicemail.
He tried leaving a message.
“Cas,” Dean said into the phone. “Look, man, I’m sorry. I’m so sorry, Cas. I didn’t mean it, okay? You were right, my feelings were hurt, and I just… lashed out without thinking. Anyone would be lucky to be married to you, and that’s the truth, dude. Cas, if you could just… drop around, sometime, that would be good. Uh, see you, I guess.”
Dean hung up, feeling like the biggest asshole alive.
Over the next couple of weeks, Dean had plenty of time to contemplate his relationship with the angel, because Castiel didn’t stop by.
Dean started to call him about a dozen times, but each time he was about to hit the ‘call’ button, he ended up chickening out.
Even though Castiel wasn’t there, Dean could still feel him. It was like now Dean consciously knew it was there, the bond had exploded into life so that he was always aware of it.
Castiel’s emotions were a constant presence. A lot of them were feelings Dean didn’t have a name for, indescribable and alien, and he figured that, fair enough, Castiel wasn’t human, so it made sense that some of his emotions weren’t either.
But a lot of the emotions were things Dean could label, far more easily than he liked – grim determination, the sense of being lost, despair, loneliness, sadness, anger, frustration – and, always, the ache of hurt that Castiel had carried with him ever since Dean had opened his stupid mouth and said probably the dumbest thing he’d ever said in his life.
Dean found that he was utterly miserable. Without realising it, he had come to depend on the angel, not only for help during hunts or with the impending apocalypse, but as a familiar part of Dean’s life. Dean had become not only accustomed to Castiel, but attached to him.
It wasn’t like Dean was attracted to Castiel or anything – hell no – but he was slowly starting to realise that the idea of life without him? Really, really sucked.
And the more time passed, the more sucky it got.
Exactly fifteen days since Dean had been a colossal dick to Castiel, the seraph suddenly appeared in the Winchesters’ hotel room.
“Cas!” Dean cried, leaping to his feet, while his heart did this ridiculous bounding thing in his chest.
Dean didn’t even care, because Castiel.
Castiel blinked at him, and Dean could feel his own joy at seeing Dean again: a sort of quiet, inexorable gladness, like a star exploding in slow-motion.
Dean crossed the space between them in like two seconds and pulled the angel into a hug.
It should have been awkward. It should’ve. But everything was all rainbows and butterflies and Dean’s heart was going to burst any minute now and Castiel was radiating startled pleasure and fuck it, it was wonderful.
“Uh, I might just… go somewhere else,” Sam ventured, when Dean and Castiel looked like they weren’t going to part any time soon.
Both of them ignored him, and Sam hastily left the motel room.
“I’m so sorry, Cas,” Dean said into Castiel’s hair. He should have been freaking out about the fact that they were still hugging. He wasn’t. It seemed less important than the fact that Castiel was back. “I’m such an asshole. I didn’t mean it. God, I thought…” Dean trailed off.
Castiel’s arms came up, and he wrapped them tentatively around Dean’s torso, like he wasn’t quite sure where to put his hands, and leaned into Dean a little. His wings sort of... swirled.
“Dean, I know I am not…” he started to say into Dean’s neck, his voice vibrating across Dean’s skin.
“Dude, shut up,” Dean cut him off. “I’m lucky to have you, you hear me? Seriously, man.”
He broke the hug so that he could look at Castiel to see if the angel believed him.
Castiel’s eyes were all big and sad, like he wanted to believe Dean but suspected that Dean was just trying to spare his feelings. He radiated uncertainty.
Dean sighed. God, he was an ass.
“You are still not happy about this,” Castiel said quietly.
“Dude, I’m freaked out by it,” Dean confessed. And the question made its way out by itself,
“Does this marriage thing mean we have to have sex?”
Castiel gave Dean a stare of weary impatience, like he wasn’t sure why the conversation had suddenly taken this turn, but he should have known that Dean would bring sex into it somehow.
“Hey, don’t look at me like that,” Dean protested. “You said we’re married.”
“No, Dean,” Castiel replied, long-suffering. “We do not have to have sex.”
Dean thought about that for a second.
“Right, so we don’t have to, but do you –?”
“Oh, thank God.” Dean sighed in relief. “I mean, nothing against you, Cas, but I don’t swing that way.”
Castiel just gave him a look of dubious amusement.
“I am well-aware of that, Dean.”
“Dude, stop laughing at me on the inside,” Dean told him. “It was a legitimate fear, okay?”
Dean kind of died a little inside at the admission he was about to make, but –
“Look, as long as there’s no inappropriate touching involved, I’m – I – I’m kind of happy to be married to you if it means you don’t leave, okay?”
He maybe mumbled that last part.
Castiel’s eyes softened, and a rush of warm, blazing feelings bloomed in whatever angels had instead of hearts, and Dean felt, for a moment, almost like he was drowning.
“I have no intention of leaving you, Dean,” Castiel said. He added dryly, “Not even when you are, as you put it, an asshole.”
Dean couldn’t really argue with that.
They sort of looked at each other.
“You want a beer?” Dean suggested.
Sam returned an hour later.
He opened the door and peered in with a look of trepidation like he half-expected to find Castiel and Dean in the middle of a giant orgy.
He looked almost disappointed when they proved to be watching COPS instead.
“Whatever you guys have been doing, I don’t want to know,” he said immediately, his eyes darting about like he was looking for evidence that they’d been having wild, kinky sex in his absence, and was horrified that he might find some.
Dean rolled his eyes at him.
“Dude, what are you, twelve? Get in here. We’ve been watching TV, that’s all. Christ.”
Sam looked mildly embarrassed, but said,
“Well, the way you two came together like a Hallmark commercial, it just –”
“Sam,” Dean interrupted. Castiel was sort of slumped against his side and hadn’t looked away from the TV screen, but he was laughing on the inside again. “Jesus, man. I am totally straight, okay? Cas is... whatever the hell angels are, I’m not even going there. We have this big platonic thing, okay? That’s it.”
Sam stood there looking confused, like the idea that two people might really like each other and not want to have sex with each other wasn’t one he’d ever come across before.
“Huh.” He looked between them. “Really?”
Dean levelled a flat stare at him.
“Sam. You’re asking me if I don’t know whether or not I’m gay for Cas.”
“I believe the appropriate description of our relationship is ‘asexual but romantic’,” Castiel said helpfully, and Dean wondered if it was actually possible to die of mortification.
“Oh. Oh!” Sam said, his brow clearing. “Okay, yeah, that... actually makes a lot of sense. Great, that means I won’t be subjected to graphic PDAs. Oh, and congratulations, I guess, since Dean seems to have manned up about the whole thing, finally.”
“How is this my life?”Dean asked the world in general.
“You sold your soul and I rescued you from Hell,” said Castiel, unperturbed. “Why is that man wearing a balaclava, but no pants?”
“Because he’s a dumbass, that’s why,” Dean explained. “You watch, they’ll take him down any second.”
“That’s it?” Sam asked, mildly incredulous. “You’ve been freaking out about this for weeks, and now you’re fine?”
“Not gonna lie, I’m still pretty freaked. But it’s Cas. If it means he’s definitely going to stick around, that’s a good thing.”
Castiel was right, and Dean still wasn’t happy about the situation, exactly, but what was he going to do? It wasn’t like they could get a divorce – not that Dean would have wanted that, either, because he wasn’t sure if angels could actually die from heartbreak, but he was pretty sure Castiel would have taken a pretty good shot at it. Besides, he kind of liked the idea of Castiel being around forever, if you removed the words ‘married’ and soulbond’ from the equation.
So, yeah, Dean was freaked, still, but he could deal. It wasn’t like anything was actually going to change, really – when he thought about it, the way they argued and shit, they were practically married already, anyway.
Sam stared hard at Dean for a moment, but Dean looked back blandly.
Whatever Sam was looking for, he apparently found it, because he let the matter drop.
For a while everything was silent, except for the sound of morons being arrested. Then:
“So, are you getting rings?” Sam asked innocently. “Should the fake IDs be for Mr and Mr Plant, now?”
Sam ignored the pillow Dean threw at him and kept on going.
“Are you lovebirds planning a honeymoon? How do you feel about his + his demon-killing knives for a wedding gift?”
“Ugh, just shut up!” Dean groaned.
“Actually, those would be quite useful,” Castiel told Dean.
“Both of you shut up! No more talking!”
Sam looked earnest.
“I’m curious: which one of you is the wife?”
“Considering that you’re needy, moody, and always nagging Cas about where he’s been or what he’s been doing? I’m thinking it’s you, Dean.”
"Sam, I'm warning you –"