It's about two in the morning when a nightmare rouses Cas, and within moments, he's forgotten what it was. He just rolls over, half on his side and half on his stomach, and worms under Dean's arm, nuzzles up onto Dean's chest. Wriggles in the fabric of this shirt—one of Dean's, technically; an old one that doesn't fit him that well anymore, that has its fair share of small holes and a fading screenprint of some Metallica album cover—and brushes his fingers underneath the hem of Dean's.
Cas tries to ignore his breasts as he gets comfortable again but finds it a bit too hard. Ultimately, he outright fails. Because they're tender and self-insistent, and every movement makes them ache and twinge more than a little bit, and they knock into each other, then into Dean. They want to take advantage of this position, and Cas isn't sure he can blame them for that. He put them through Hell today, caging them up when they were sore and cranky to begin with, just because he didn't want to give his parents any room to comment on his gender presentation.
Put together with how he took Dean's head off earlier, the shit his breasts are giving him makes some sense. It's kind of early for PMS, but then again, he should've been menstruating this week and he's not.
In theory, he should've been menstruating this week. Cas has always been irregular. From his first period, through high school and his time as an undergrad, all the way up to now. In the past eight months, he's had two periods, aside from this most recent example, show up when he didn't expect them—and when they're late, they're always worse. The PMS hits Cas harder, makes him feel sicker and makes his nerves and stomach twist up into tighter knots. Leaves him not just scratching at his skin, but outright clawing at it.
He knows better than to trust his cycle, and he knows he shouldn't get excited over thinking he might not need to bleed this month. That could mean any number of Bad Things Of A Medical Nature, so Cas should care more about being potentially unhealthy. Cas knows that. At the very least, he shouldn't trust this because his body always kicks his ass for that and makes him regret it. Thought you might get some time off from the doubt, and anxiety, and dysphoria that your periods bring for you? Here, Milton—have a few extra helpings of everything.
Free from Cas's binder and only caged in by one baggy t-shirt (one that's so big on him, Cas swims in it), instead of all the layers that Cas usually wears, his breasts and hormones might even be kicking his ass for the period he missed and for getting his hopes up when he shouldn't have. …Well, his breasts might be acting out over their earlier confinement. But they wouldn't have the means to do so without his hormones, so Cas is perfectly willing to blame all of them.
None of which really helps that much. It charges to the forefront of Cas's mind because he's tired and because he can't stop knocking his breasts around in the wrong way. Because they won't calm down or stop hurting.
For all they're an inconvenience, and regardless of the explanation, his breasts aren't anything new or surprising. Irritating, yes, but he's used to jumping through hoops while trying to accommodate them, and to feeling like he's getting nowhere with that. Maneuvering against Dean always means trying to maneuver around them, and it's always worse at night. One sports bra isn't enough binding to keep them as far back as Cas likes them.
But, since his waking life is kind of a nightmare unto itself, Cas's only options are have his chest as flat as he likes it or actually be able to sleep, so he just has to live with this situation. At least it's not enough discomfort or frustration to really wake Cas up. Not much more than the imaginary nightmare already did. And at least the nightmare his unconscious mind cooked up for him ended and might not come back later.
And at least the nightmare that Cas just calls real life has little oases in it. Like Anna and Rachel, his favorite siblings. Like Bela, his best friend since they wound up as roommates in the first year of their undergraduate degrees. Like Sam, Dean's younger brother and Cas's friend, who tries too hard to be helpful sometimes and hasn't stopped worrying himself sick over law school applications since this past April, but has his heart in the right place, most of the time.
And like the human space-heater who's still sleeping under Cas's hold, whose skin looks worrisomely pale under the moonlight filtering in through the window. Like the guy who screws up sometimes—regularly, even and more regularly than Rachel and Bela want to allow him to do—but who still shows up at Doctor Visyak's office with Cas's lunch when he forgets it at home, even though campus is all the way across town from The Roadhouse, the restaurant where he's a chef.
Like the second boyfriend Cas has ever had who didn't make some kind of huge deal out of his vagina or turn it into some crisis of, I know you're a guy but what about your pussy? Does being into you mean I'm bisexual? I mean, guys have dicks but you don't but you're a guy, and ugh, this is just so confusing for me, okay, Cas.
Like Dean, who isn't perfect, but Cas thinks he loves Dean more this way. Like Dean, in all of his myriad flaws and the ways he's better than him. Like Dean.
Sighing, Cas tucks his head into Dean's neck, underneath his chin, and tries to go back to sleep. Curls an arm around Dean's waist and sighs. Drapes one leg so it ends up tangled in Dean's. Takes a deep breath of that familiar, heavy, slightly sweet smell that always lingers around Dean and wraps himself up in Dean's body heat. Nudges his breasts around again, because their current position's compressing them too much but not in the right way, and he burrows as far into Dean's side as he can manage. Then squeezes Dean's hip and tries to get closer.
Cas doesn't even really need the extra warmth. Just the physical contact, even if Dean's not reciprocating it, at the moment. It's on the cold side in his old bedroom, because despite November biting harder than usual, Mother and Father still have their Spartan attitude about regulating the house's temperature. But Cas is fine, mostly. Not even accounting for how warm it is under the quilted blanket Nana made Cas once upon a time, Cas hasn't had the same kind of trouble that he usually has with late autumn and winter. He's warm all the time, has been for going on two weeks, and this can hang around for as long as it likes.
All he wants here is the closeness—until he feels something wriggle under him, until Dean's arm wraps around the back of Cas's shoulders and until Dean pinches at Cas's upper arm. Then, Cas mostly wants to run until he hits the speed he needs to turn back time and undo all of this. Go back to sleeping next to Dean instead of practically on top of him.
Which comes out as whining and tugging himself against Dean, even though there's not much closer to his boyfriend that Cas can get. Nudging further past the boundary of personal space without caring that his breasts don't like it and Dean might be uncomfortable too. As though if he keeps doing this, the physical confines won't matter and he'll be able to properly be with Dean, unlimited, soul with soul. In the mystical sense that Cas doesn't discuss believing in, because it's irrational and unprovable and ridiculous.
Dean just sighs and rubs at Cas's arm, gives Cas a peck on the forehead. "What's up, Sexy? You okay?" he mumbles into Cas's hair, voice thick with sleep and words slurring together. They slip past his lips and down Cas's nerves, and Cas doesn't pull back off of Dean, but he clings a little less desperately. Dean's not going anywhere. Not for a few hours, when Cas and Anna will be with him, anyway.
"Nothing," Cas lies and shakes his head, rubbing his face on Dean's neck. "Well, nightmare woke me up, but it's nothing serious. And I'm cold. So I'm borrowing your body heat now. I knew you wouldn't mind."
Thankfully, Dean chuckles at that, instead of even vaguely getting offended or trying to question it. He could question it. He could point out that Cas has been complaining about being too warm for the past ten days. But instead, he leans down to kiss Cas on the tip of hiw nose, and says some affectionate, barely half-intelligible mess, from which Cas can only discern, don't objectify me.
"I'm not objectifying you," Cas says against Dean's jaw. "Snuggling you. There's a difference."
"Yeah, you can get away with one, but not the other." Dean snickers again, even though he's not especially clever when he's this close to being unconscious. "Because snuggling's cute. Waking up with you on my chest like a damn cat? That's friggin' adorable. But objectifying your boyfriend would make you kind of a dick."
"Yes," Cas deadpans, "I see. Because neither of us qualifies as such to begin with. Clearly."
He doesn't want to move—he's comfortable here and the ache in his breasts is starting to dial itself back to a more acceptable level—but with a deep, heavy sigh, he slithers up against Dean's side. Just enough to kiss him on the corner of the mouth. "I'm sorry for earlier, Dean," he says and bats his nose into Dean's cheek. "I was upset, and I don't think that I was in the wrong, but… I could have handled it without taking your head off."
"Yeah, well, I could've tried thinking things through better. Just like someone else I could mention. Someone who's a genius and kind of stupidly pretty…" Amused with his own antics, Dean huffs and presses his smirk into Cas's forehead. "Y'know, unless you want me to run us off the road later."
"And risk mangling your car? I wouldn't dream of it." Cas's own lips curl in a smile, and he steals a proper kiss, sucks on Dean's lower lip for a moment, before slipping back into place, nestled in the curve of Dean's neck. "I just wanted to say that I love you."
"I know." Dean snickers.
Cas scratches at his hip a bit harder than is entirely necessary, and murmurs against Dean's Adam's apple, "stop lowering yourself to Han Solo's level, Dean. I'll see you in the morning."