“Just pick one, Cas,” Dean said, trying not to laugh out loud in public. If there was one thing he didn’t want, it was unwanted attention. Especially right now.
“Dean, I do not understand why you want me to pick one. I thought we were here for you.” Castiel said, his voice wavering with uncertainty as he was led to the next case. He looked down the bridge of his nose as if the pieces inside offended him, though, really, Castiel cared little for material objects.
Dean grinned and turned to the woman behind the counter, who was waiting expectantly. “At least size him, okay?” He suggested, and the woman did so happily, holding her hand out for Castiel’s own, Dean having to convince the Angel to actually cooperate. When Castiel finally let her place the metal rings on his finger, he looked down at the tan line the previous band had left, thinking hard about the soul that had used to occupy the body with him.
Jimmy had loved Amelia more than anything, that was for certain, and the Angel knew that. Yes, he had let Jimmy’s soul go to his place in Heaven, and ever since, he had been alone within the body. One night, he had looked down at his hands, noticing the gold band on his finger, and brought it up to his face to look closer.
Slipping the ring off of his finger, he felt a wave of emotions rush over him, something he was still getting used to as he fell further and further. He was always a little confused about the emotions, whether they were his or just vague shadows of Jimmy’s soul. Either way, he found that he didn’t feel right, wearing a symbol of love and devotion between Jimmy and Amelia. That bond was private and he felt it needed to be laid to rest.
Dean slapped a hand to his shoulder as he blinked away the thoughts, turning to look his friend in the eye. “Pick one, Cas. You’re like a fuckin’ mule, I swear,” he laughed softly. The sound of it finally convinced Castiel to look into the case, his eyes trailing over each silver band in more interest than he had before. Castiel’s eyes finally fell upon one, and he pointed at it. The woman smiled as she yammered on about the cut of the silver, the black color of the diamonds, the warranty they could purchase along with the jewelry. Castiel didn’t care about any of that, honestly. He just picked one because Dean told him to, and that’s the one that he liked best of them all. “Yeah, can you grab one in each size?” Dean said to the employee, glancing up at Castiel. When she returned with two boxes and opened each to reveal the same ring in each, the Angel cocked his head to the side, listening to Dean ask which was what size and grabbing the smaller of the two and took Castiel’s hand.
The two men looked at each other, Castiel’s eyes wide with curiosity as Dean’s lips twitched up at the corner. Castiel felt him pushing the ring onto his finger, and he looked down to watch, captivated. Honestly, he didn’t understand the significance of what Dean was doing, but he heard the girl beside them sigh wistfully, and that somehow pulled him out of his trance.
“Does it fit well?”
Castiel looked back up at Dean. “Yes, it is adequate.”
The girl made a disgruntled noise and Dean looked at her as though she had interrupted something important as Castiel glanced back down at the ring. When he looked back at Dean, he was biting his lip as he started to pull it off of Castiel’s finger, placing it back in the box. They were there for several more minutes as Dean tried his own on and then paid in cash. Castiel had half expected him to used one of his many credit cards, and when he asked about it Dean just said that you don’t dirty something like this with fraud. Which, needless to say, caused Castiel even more confusion than before, but he decided not to worry about Dean’s odd answer.
They were driving back to the motel, the silence as normal to Castiel as anything, but he could sense Dean’s strange mood radiating from his side of the car. “Dean, there is something troubling you.” He stated, turning his face slightly to look at him. He noticed the Hunter visibly tense up, only to start relaxing when he glanced Castiel’s way.
“The rings,” Dean started, his grip on the wheel tightening as he spoke, and Castiel could tell that talking about it was probably painful for Dean. Simply because Dean just didn’t talk about things. “I didn’t want to use a fraudulent card to pay for them because I want to do this right.”
“Do what right, Dean?” Castiel asked, his eyes trained directly on the man’s face, now concerned. What was it Dean was trying to say to him? He didn’t know if he would ever truly understand human habits, even if he was becoming more human himself.
He heard Dean sigh softly, and watched as his hand ran through his hair in slight agitation. Words never came easy to Dean, and he could tell it was taking everything he had not to snap at the Angel for asking too many questions. However, Dean had started to talk, and Castiel knew that meant he was going to finish it. Otherwise Castiel would be very irritated with him for causing him to needlessly worry about something trivial. The human had that effect on him and he hated it. “This. Us. Cas, I... I dunno what’s going on with me, but... I’ve been having... thoughts lately, and -- fuck, don’t get me wrong, they were freaking me out -- and well,” he licked his lips, his brow furrowed in thought. “I guess I have been... I have...”
Castiel felt himself smile at Dean’s attempt to talk about what he was feeling. He may be an Angel but he figured he knew where this was going. Perhaps it was his enjoyment of Dean’s discomfort or his innate curiosity to hear what he had to say, but Castiel wasn’t going to stop him now. He waited as Dean pulled over to the shoulder, putting the Impala into park and turning off the engine before taking a deep breath. It was a few long moments before Dean moved again, and Castiel began to get concerned, until he saw Dean’s eyelids flutter closed and he slumped forward.
“I think I’m in love with you.”
For once, the Angel of the Lord was speechless, because he didn’t know how to respond. He thought for a while about what to say, until Dean sighed in irritation, leaning back against the seat. “Dean,” Castiel said carefully, mainly because he could tell Dean was close to erupting at him for his lack of response. His heart was beating into his throat, and he couldn’t remember it ever doing that before. Something about the situation was making his palms sweat, and he felt himself start to panic. Castiel felt very human at that point, though it wasn’t anything to worry about. The only thing that bothered him right now was the obvious pain in Dean’s eyes.
“Cas, don’t try to make me feel better by lying, because that’s the last fucking thing I need right now,” Dean snapped, looking away from Castiel’s eyes. “Heh, you know what, never mind. It’s really no big deal, okay? Just... Leave.” His knuckles turned white as he gripped the steering wheel and Castiel found he couldn’t respond. He had half a mind to just fly away from the issue, but he knew that he would only get so far before regretting it.
Castiel took a deep breath, reaching over to place his hand on Dean’s arm, feeling the muscles twitch beneath the coat. “I will not leave, Dean.” He said, straight-faced and unwilling to let himself back down. “I do not understand human emotions, but I do know that my bond with you is unlike anything I have ever experienced.” His voice had actually felt fragile near the end, making him reluctant to continue, but he knew that Dean would retreat further into his shell if he didn’t get this out now. If Dean slipped away from him, after everything they had been through together... Well, he could potentially find some one else to help him as he fell, but he found that he didn’t want any one else. His hand moved to Dean’s, pulling it from the steering wheel, holding it tight in his own. “No one else can be with me, Dean.” Castiel finished, looking into Dean’s eyes, his gaze solid.
He had made up his mind. It may not be the human love to which Dean was referring, because he didn’t know what that was supposed to feel like, but perhaps Dean could teach him what that was. The Angel was willing to learn, especially if Dean was his teacher. What he was supposed to do next, at this point, was totally foreign to him, but Dean was more than helpful. Moving closer on the seat, Dean wrapped his hands around Castiel’s biceps, pulling him in close, their noses now brushing.
The unfamiliar sensation of his heart plunging into his stomach kept Castiel from saying anything, but the concern was proven unimportant when Dean closed the last inch between them, his hand possessively gripping the back of Castiel’s neck. Castiel’s hands remained limp between them, so confused and taken by surprise by what was happening at that very moment. For an instant, he returned the kiss, even going so far as to close his eyes before he felt Dean pull back.
As his eyelids fluttered open, dazed eyes looking over Dean’s face, he wondered what had happened and he silently pined for the return of his lips. Whatever it was that caused Dean to stop, it wasn’t an issue for long, because Castiel saw his green eyes go dark, felt fingertips massaging into his neck. Getting the strength in his arms to bring his hands to Dean’s coat and clutching the material in his fists, he pulled Dean close, his breath coming out in short ragged gasps. The need he felt inside himself was foreign, and he felt somewhat disoriented, but when he looked back into Dean’s eyes, all doubt left him. He needed Dean, wanted him, in the most selfish way he would allow. Even that was more selfish than he had ever thought he could be.
Before Castiel could do anything, Dean had reached down and unbuckled himself, his arms now forceful, coaxing Castiel onto his back. His hands ghosted over the dark slacks, his palms coming to rest on his knees and pushing them apart. Castiel held his breath, watching as Dean positioned himself between his legs, his arm against the seat back as his free hand slipped beneath the suit jacket to rest against the thin white fabric of Castiel’s dress shirt, his fingers teasing against his ribs.
This whole routine was out of his league, Castiel didn’t know what to expect, and was surprised when his body reacted in the correct fashion. He assumed the human instincts were still intact, and for that he was thankful, reaching up to bury his fingers in Dean’s hair, kissing him like he knew of nothing else. Hands explored one another, curious and tentative. Castiel fumbled with Dean’s jacket, Dean expertly removed Castiel’s belt, unbuttoning the shirt and pushing it back to reveal Castiel’s chest. The Angel’s hands curiously slipped up into Dean’s shirt, his fingers inching along the warm skin beneath. He could feel the rise and fall of Dean’s breathing, the thrum of his heart; some times Dean would twitch beneath his hands and Castiel found it fascinating.
What he found even more intriguing was the way he himself was reacting to Dean’s movements, his touches, the way his back arched and his breath caught in his throat when he felt Deans hands move around to scratch softly at his back. He subconsciously let out a breathy moan when Dean’s lips trailed over his neck, his eyes clenching shut as he felt teeth scraping against his pulse point. The relief he felt when Dean’s lips were against his again was overwhelming, his hands clutching at Dean’s hips as he felt his mind go blank.
When they pulled apart, their eyes caught in a heated gaze, Castiel could feel a sheen of sweat on Dean’s skin. They hadn’t stopped to consider the hot car, or the blazing sun outside that day, but in this moment, Castiel found it compelling. He didn’t have the right vocabulary to express what he felt at this time, as he was very unaccustomed to human sexuality and what it entailed, but he could feel Dean’s demeanor change in less than an instant as a smile broke out across his face.
He laughed softly, his forehead resting against Castiel’s collar bone, his breath hitting bare skin and causing the Angel to shiver involuntarily. Turning to look at Dean as he leaned down to grab his jacket and pulled away to sit back in his proper seat, Castiel started getting up on his elbows to stare at his friend. “Man, you look like a mess,” Dean said finally, his smirk causing Castiel some minute annoyance.
“Thanks to you,” Castiel shot back, sitting up straight, unsure of what to do with himself. He had never touched his clothes so he had no idea how to fix his open shirt and the even more askew tie. Pulling his jacket back on, Dean moved back next to Castiel to help him fix his clothes, giving silent instruction in case he had to do this himself some time soon. Castiel caught Dean’s hand in his own as Dean was replacing the belt, looking down at his fingers. “Dean,” he finally said, still struggling for the right words, “why buy a ring if you don’t know the answer?”
Dean looked up at him as he tightened his grip on his hand, refusing to let go before he had an answer. It was a few moments before Dean placed a kiss to Castiel’s lips. “I dunno, Cas, blind faith maybe?”
The admission was enough to make Castiel want to laugh, but at the same time he was taken aback. Dean had believed enough that Castiel wouldn’t reject him. That fact was enough to make Castiel’s human heart skip a beat. The moment was broken when Dean reached into his pocket, grabbing the two velvet boxes, his face becoming visibly flushed. “Fuck, I feel like I’m a stupid teenager doing this but...” He opened one of the boxes and removed his hand from Castiel’s to take the ring out and played with it in his fingers. Instead of saying anymore on the matter, he took Castiel’s hand and slipped the ring on his finger, covering the area where the old one used to be.
Castiel held his breath for a moment when Dean handed him the other box, and he had to guess what Dean meant for him to do. As he flipped open the box and pulled the ring out, he couldn’t help but feel like this was a very important exchange. He knew what exchanging rings meant, and he didn’t think Dean was that sort of person. At all. “Dean, are you proposing?” He asked dumbly, and Dean nearly choked.
“What, Cas, no!” He struggled, face red and eyes wide. “No, Cas, these are promise rings.” The explanation was even more confusing than his prior understanding of the situation. When he tilted his head, perplexed, Dean ran a hand along his chin, groaning to himself, obviously embarrassed. “It’s like... a promise. To stay faithful?”
At that point, he understood. This was a big thing for Dean, to promise some sort of commitment to one person, especially in this lifestyle. If there was one thing Castiel knew about Dean, he knew of his issues. There weren’t words for the gratitude he felt toward Dean at the moment, but as he took the matching ring out of the box and carefully slipped the ring onto Dean’s finger, he felt something within him grow. His understanding of one more human ritual, his affection for Dean, the new opportunities and the new memories he would make... It was all a gift, and he cherished it. Somehow, the ring he now wore meant more to him than Dean would ever know.