“I’ll be down in a few minutes,” Dean said, and didn’t look up as Sam left the room.
There was a familiar sound behind him, and he raised his head to see Castiel behind him. He looked like a mess: his face was bloodied and damaged, his hands were scraped, and his clothes were still a little stained in places.
“Cas,” Dean said, his mouth going dry. He cursed quietly. “I—are you okay?”
“I’m fine,” Cas said, wiping blood from his mouth with the back of one hand. “I believe this is….mostly superficial.”
Dean swallowed, feeling guilty at the sight of the wounded angel. “Are you sure?” he asked. “You look terrible.”
He realized he was on his feet, examining Castiel’s face, where the injuries were still healing—a slash across one side of his face from the shifter’s knife, a split lip and a slightly darkened eye on the other side, but nothing worse than that. Just surface injuries that were already starting to fade.
“I should be well quickly,” Cas reassured him, nodding. “Don’t have too much concern for it.”
“Good,” Dean said, and covered the shake in his voice with a forced laugh. “You scared me a little.”
He wasn’t totally sure what happened next, but he definitely wasn’t expecting to find himself kissing Cas. For a startled second he was alarmed, before he realized to his surprise that he didn’t really mind.
It wasn’t until he’d taken a step back that it really hit him. He stared at Cas, who was staring back, looking puzzled.
“Yeah,” Dean said slowly, and looked away, rubbing the back of his neck. “So…”
“I, ah,” Cas faltered, and was apparently unable to come up with anything more coherent than that.
Dean licked his lips and tasted blood, reminding him even more strongly that yeah, he had actually just kissed Castiel. He wasn’t sure whether he was more scared that he’d done it in the first place, or that he’d enjoyed it.
He’d kissed Cas and enjoyed it.
And Cas didn’t even know how to kiss.
“Uh,” he managed. “I’m gonna…go find Sam. Get something to eat and…yeah.”
“Right,” Cas agreed. Dean glanced up and looked away quickly when he saw Cas was still staring at him. As quickly as he could without running, he left the room and jogged down the hallway to escape the motel.
The diner down the street was busy, but not enough that it was hard to find Sam sitting at a table near the entrance. Dean slid into the seat across from him as casually as he could and grabbed a menu to examine.
“You know,” he said after a minute, giving up and throwing it aside, “I don’t know how I lost control of my life this badly.” With a sigh, he rested his head on one hand.
Sam raised an eyebrow at him. “Uh, okay.”
Dean took a sip of his water, trying to think. Everything seemed kind of like a blur.
“So what happened with Cas?” Sam asked casually.
“Whoa, hey, slow down,” Dean said, nearly choking. “Who said anything about Cas? I never said anything about Cas.”
Sam gave him a look.
“It’s not!” Dean snapped. “This isn’t about him! I don’t know why you’re jumping to that conclusion, because it has nothing to do with him!”
“Uh-huh,” Sam agreed sarcastically. “Sure.”
“What—you think I have a thing for him, or something?” Dean demanded. “I do not have a thing for Castiel! I mean, I like him, sure, but I’m not—attracted to him! I don’t—”
He broke off as he caught sight of Sam’s expression, and turned to look over his shoulder. Cas was standing a few feet away, watching them.
“Am I intruding?” he asked with his usual look of confusion, but there was a tightness in the corners of his mouth. “You don’t need to stop conversing. I will leave you alone.”
For a moment Dean couldn’t remember how to speak. “Cas, wait,” he managed finally, but by that time Cas was almost to the door, and he didn’t raise his head at the sound of his name.
Then he stepped out onto the street and was gone.
“Wow,” Sam said. “Nice job.”
Dean swore and slammed his hands down on the table. “Of course.”
“If I didn’t know better, I’d think you offended him,” Sam said pointedly. “But considering the concept of attraction means pretty much nothing to him…”
“Shut up,” Dean groaned, burying his face in his hands.
“So are you gonna explain what happened now, or…?”
“I kissed him, okay?” Dean snapped, glaring at his brother.
Sam raised his eyebrows. “And?”
“And what? And nothing!” Dean said. “I kissed him, that’s all that happened! What else do you want me to say?”
Sam leaned on the table. “But you’re not attracted to him, huh?”
“I don’t—” Dean began, and broke off. “It was an accident.”
“An accident,” Sam repeated, disbelieving.
“Yes! Well—I don’t know. He was hurt and…I wasn’t exactly planning on kissing him. It just sort of happened.” He shook his head, staring at the table. “I’m just—I don’t know. Maybe. I don’t even know.”
There was a long few seconds of silence before Sam said, “Dean?”
“Yeah?” Dean asked, looking up.
“You’re an idiot.”
Dean rolled his eyes. “Thanks, Sammy.”
“Welcome,” Sam replied lightly. “So, what are you gonna do now?”
“Hell, what am I supposed to do?” He sighed. “What do you say to an angel who doesn’t understand human emotion, to tell him—”
He broke off and shook his head again. He wasn’t even sure what he wanted to tell Cas.
“Let’s order dinner,” he said. “I’m starving.”
They went back to the motel after dinner, and Sam headed down the hall to their room. Dean didn’t follow. Instead, he sat in the lobby, watching the doors.
Sooner or later Cas would have to come back, and then he could talk to him.
He waited for more than an hour before he decided he was going to go find Cas himself.
“Hey, Sam,” he said, looking into the motel room. “I’m gonna…go find him, okay?”
“Good luck,” Sam said, glancing over at him. “You want me to come with you?”
Dean shook his head. “Nah, I’ll go by myself,” he said. “I’ll be back soon. I hope.” With that, he turned and jogged down the hall to leave the motel.
It was almost dark when he found Castiel sitting on a bench in a park and staring aimlessly at something across the street.
“Uh, hey, Cas,” he said, sitting down next to him.
Castiel turned to look at him, frowning slightly, but didn’t say anything.
“So,” Dean said, avoiding the angel’s eyes. “Look, if you’re mad about—that thing you heard…”
“You kissed me,” Cas said.
Dean sucked in a breath and let it out as a sigh. “Yeah.” He tried to think of more to add to that, but couldn’t.
When he turned his head, Cas was watching him and looking confused. “I believed that kissing was a sign of…attraction.” The way he said it, it sounded like a question, almost like a plea for confirmation.
“Well, uh,” Dean said. “Yeah, it is.”
There was a moment of silence before Cas asked, “Then why did you kiss me?”
He looked less hurt than he did lost, and Dean looked away again, rubbing his eyes with one hand. If he’d been trying to send mixed signals, he’d done a great job of that. As if Castiel needed to be any more bewildered.
“I don’t know,” he said. It was true. Mostly.
Cas didn’t reply. Like there was a lot to say to that answer.
Dean sighed. “I just—Cas. Listen. What I said, to Sam, I didn’t…that wasn’t exactly true.”
“I don’t understand.” Dean looked up to see Cas frowning at him. “It seemed to be either true or not true.”
For a second, Dean hesitated. “No,” he said finally.
Cas cocked his head and didn’t answer.
“No, it wasn’t—isn’t true.” Dean looked up at the sky, not sure what else he could say.
“So…” Cas began slowly, faltering. “Then, you are—?”
This conversation had been uncomfortable to begin with, and it was quickly becoming too difficult for Dean to respond to, so he decided it would be better to end it before he said something stupid and ruined everything.
Besides, kissing Cas again probably got the point across better than words would have.
“I think—” Cas began, and swallowed. “I think that clarified the situation.”
“I sure hope so,” Dean said, and managed a small smile.
“Can I…also kiss you?” Cas asked, blinking at him.
Dean raised his eyebrows. “What do you think?” When Cas gave him another confused frown, he laughed and corrected himself. “Yeah, sure, go ahead.”
The corner of Cas’s mouth twitched up in what almost looked like a smile, before he leaned over and pressed his lips against Dean’s.