In the day we sweat it out on the streets of a runaway American dream
At night we ride through the mansions of glory in suicide machines
The guy’s a goddamn mall goth. Crusty-wilting mohawk, cheap chains rattling off of his pockets with every step, cheap spiked collar, cheap studded belt, the whole shebang. Half of Dean is hoping that this is the guy responsible for the daevas so he can finally get out of this town, and the other half is worried he’s overthinking this and that this guy really is just some poor sap with a sadly misconstrued sense of what’s okay to wear.
He’s wearing a jean jacket with some newfangled death metal band’s pentagram logo on it, for God’s sake.
Mall Goth takes a furtive look around and ducks into the nearest alleyway. Dean hangs behind because the guy might as well be wearing a siren, those chains are jangling that loud. He’s unpleasantly reminded of the last daevas he’d – they’d – run into, with their dad and Meg and Azazel.
He pushes the thoughts away and focuses on following Mall Goth’s chain-tinkling into the basement of the crumbling apartment building; he still manages to get lost and, for the thousandth time, wishes Sam were with him, but he pushes that thought away too.
He can mope later. With Jim, Jack, and José.
The lock on the door finally clicks and he slides his way in; the basement is spacious and clearly abandoned, with cobweb- and cloth-covered furniture lurking in the corners and, surprise surprise, a black altar complete with lit candles set up against the far wall. Dean reaches into the waistband of his pants for his pistol and then his heart stops dead when he catches sight of another shadowed person on the other side of the room, moving quietly towards Mall Goth and completely oblivious to Dean’s presence.
Accomplice? Fellow hunter? Unfortunate civilian? He has no idea but this is not good. Mall Goth is nearly done with his chant or invocation or whatever and he can hardly yell out to the other person to get the fuck out; he’s frozen and in the couple of seconds he scrambles to make a decision, it’s done.
The candles flicker ominously and Dean sees the shadow of something against one wall, something that’s all claws and sharpness. He bolts to his feet and trains the gun on Mall Goth.
“Alright, kid, end the spell,” he barks, hoping to startle him.
It works. To the point where the kid scrambles backwards and bumps the black altar; the other someone that’s lurking is half-crouched, half-standing and it’s so dark in that corner that Dean can’t even tell if it’s a guy or a chick.
There’s a crash and Mall Goth has a look of horror on his face. The flimsy card table he’d oh-so-wisely set up his operation on has folded in half and everything’s starting to burn; the shadows on the wall screech and shriek and dive forward, one towards Mall Goth, one towards Dean, one towards the other person, and Dean can hear the sickening sound of flesh tearing as Mall Goth finally gets the tables turned on him.
“Shut your eyes!” Dean yells, raising his arm and feeling wisps of nothing clawing through his skin (at least it’s not his face), then digs in his coat pocket for the road flare he’d brought along just in case. It burns magnesium-bright and there’s an extremely disheartening sort of gurgle-shout from the other person. The daevas scream, shattering the tiny basement windows, then disappear and leave Dean to deal with a corpse and a civilian.
He drops the flare and strips off his coat. Thank god it wasn’t one he particularly cared about, as the sleeve’s shredded and so is his forearm. The other guy – he can tell it’s a guy now – has his back to him, bracing himself against the wall with one hand. Blood is dripping steadily onto the floor from the other.
“Dude, what the hell were you thinking?” he asks roughly, and before he can add any other scathing comments, the guy whips around. Tiny droplets of his blood splatter in a flecked-out arc.
His heart stops.
He’s actually having a heart attack. He can’t breathe and his vision is fading at the edges and he stumbles backwards in disbelief because this can’t be happening. It can’t. This has to be some sort of idiotic, cosmic coincidence because there’s no way in Heaven or Hell that Cas can possibly be standing in front of him.
“Cas?” he manages to choke out, barely a whisper. And then he realizes that even in the reddish light of the flare he’s looking awfully pale and there are three even scores down the side of his face, there’s blood on the floor, and oh shit. “You’re human.”
“You’re alive,” says Cas, and the sheer relief on his face makes something in Dean’s heart twist painfully.
“How are you alive?” Dean fires back, and he can’t stop the note of anger from creeping into his voice. There’s so much turmoil inside him and his thoughts are a fucking mess and anger is easy to slip into.
“This isn’t a conversation to be having as I bleed out in a basement,” says Cas calmly, and Dean’s big brother instincts kick in.
“Motel,” he grunts, and kicks the flare towards the corpse. Let the cops make of that what they will.
He expects something huge. He expects something of epic proportions, something like Sam’s fights with Dad, something ugly and mean.
What he doesn’t expect is Cas’s quiet litany of apologies, saying “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry,” over and over and over as Dean dresses both their wounds with more roughness than necessary.
He doesn’t expect the explosion of self-hatred from Cas when he finally starts getting angry, when he says he should never have opened his eyes after the Leviathans ripped out his Grace, when he says he deserved to die over and over.
He doesn’t expect to be the one defending Cas.
He doesn’t expect to see Cas close his eyes and turn away with a look of completely devastated hopelessness on his face.
It’s silent for ten minutes, fifteen, and finally tiredness starts seeping into Dean’s skin. Cas is slumped on the sofa when Dean gets up to shower and he’s still there twelve minutes later, staring blankly at the wall. He clears his throat.
“You gotta wash all that blood off, man,” he says quietly. When Cas vacates the couch, Dean grabs a couple of extra shirts from his duffel and wads them into a makeshift pillow, then pulls his other jacket over his chest. The couch is hard and uncomfortable and shorter than he is tall, but he’s asleep before Cas is out of the shower regardless.
For a second, he’s disorientated completely. It’s the middle of the night and he’s suddenly very much awake and it takes him a couple heartbeats to notice why.
Sammy’s had more than enough nightmares for Dean to recognize when someone’s having a bad one. Judging by the way Cas’s breathing is erratic and the way he’s practically whining, Dean can tell this one’s a fucking whopper. He rubs a hand across his eyes and gets up, mourning the loss of warmth, then leans over Cas and shakes him firmly.
He jolts awake and his eyes are completely unfocused for a split second and then they snap to Dean. Holy hell, he looks like death. His eyes are wide with pure terror and a lot moister than they should be; sweat’s beading at his hairline even though it’s a decently chilly night and he’s trembling under Dean’s hand.
“You, uh, okay?” Dean mentally kicks himself. He’s obviously not. Cas swallows a couple of times.
“I Fell,” he whispers, and his voice is utterly wrecked. “It– My Grace was ripped out, atom by atom and–” He pushes himself upright and Dean keeps a hand on his shoulder, steadying him, grounding him in reality. “And the pain–” A violent tremor wracks his body and suddenly Cas is throwing himself towards the bathroom; Dean barely stands up before he can hear the sick sound of vomit in a toilet bowl.
His throat is tight. Seeing Cas hurt and vulnerable is affecting him in ways it shouldn’t.
When it’s finally quiet and the only sound is the tap running, Dean moves to stand in the doorway of the bathroom. Cas looks terrible. There are dark circles under his eyes and his cheekbones are looking a lot sharper than they should; he’s still shivering and sweating and Dean really hopes it’s not an infection setting in.
“Cas, man, you gotta get some sleep,” he murmurs. “I know how shitty dreams can be, trust me, but you’ll feel worse without sleep.” He’s got no idea what Falling’s really like but if it’s even a tenth of what Hell is like, there’ll be no words for how terrible it is.
Cas shuts the tap off and turns around and oh holy god, for the first time in his life Dean feels the overwhelming need to pick someone up (someone other than Sam, kid-Sam) and pull them close to his chest, to coddle someone and hold their hand and tell them shhh, it’s all okay.
Must be those unused father instincts kicking in.
Instead, he pulls one of Cas’s arms around his shoulders and slips an arm around his waist in return, then leads him towards the bed and lets him slump unceremoniously on top of the covers.
“I’m sorry,” slurs Cas, eyes blank and unseeing.
“Shut up.” There’s no real venom in his voice.
Dean’s going to hate himself in the morning. He’s definitely going to hate himself, he thinks as he toes off his boots and lies down on the opposite side of the bed, as close to the edge as possible. He’s going to hate himself, but he knows that sometimes it’s sort of nice to know that someone is close by when you wake up from a grade-A nightmare.
He doesn’t hate himself as much as he’d anticipated when he wakes up in the morning with Cas’s back pressed flush against his.
The highway’s jammed with broken heroes on a last-chance power drive
Everybody’s out on the run tonight,
But there’s no place left to hide
They had it coming. They definitely had it coming.
It was in the quiet tension and the unspoken betrayal that Dean kept folded up inside of him and in the silent fury Cas held, and a week and a half later, they both snap.
It’s worse than any fight Dean can ever remember having with Dad or Sam, and worse than any fight Sam ever had with Dad. The things he says – god, he knows they’re gonna haunt him, because the shit that came out of his mouth would probably have made Alastair raise his eyebrows.
Not that Cas acts any better, though.
They yell themselves hoarse for over an hour and the back of Dean’s head is aching from where Cas had shoved him into a wall, but that’s okay, because his knuckles also sting from a satisfying punch to Cas’s jaw.
He’s completely spent. Every single ounce of anger, every hurt thought and every painful night has been pulled out of him and thrown right back at Cas. All of Sam’s pain, too, just for good measure and an extra guilt trip – Sam’s hallucinations, flinching at every shadow, listening to things (one thing, one specific, hellish thing) that aren’t there.
He doesn’t remember what the last, stinging comment is that he spits just before slamming the motel door; all he registers is that it was terrible, like all of the other things he’d said.
There’s a bar a block and a half down from the motel and he barely remembers walking down there, still raging, and then it’s one, two, three glasses of whiskey, half of a fourth, before he lets his head drop down onto the counter and he squeezes his eyes shut. The anger’s gone, all right, but it’s replaced with an emptiness and a sense of self-disgust that’s much, much worse.
“Rough night, hun?” asks the bartender sympathetically, refilling his glass. Dean makes a noncommittal noise and reaches for the alcohol, fingers bumping blindly against the perspiring glass and he washes it all down in one swallow.
An hour later, the door to the bar opens quietly and someone edges in, ghosts through the mess of tables and smoke and sits down next to Dean.
“Vodka,” mumbles Cas to the bartender.
He and Dean very carefully avoid looking at each other. Cas goes through three vodkas before Dean breaks the silence.
“I always knew you’d come back,” he says, voice low, not meeting Cas’s eyes – when Cas’s shoulders jerk Dean knows he heard him. Cas turns on him a split second later and grabs a handful of his jacket, fist curled tightly at his throat, and since when is Cas this strong as a human?
“You have no right to have faith in me,” Cas snarls, inches away from Dean. His face is flushed with anger, nose still pink from the cold.
“What’s the matter?” asks Dean, very quietly and very pointedly. “You don’t think you deserve to be saved?”
Cas’s eyes go wide with shock and recognition.
They’re frozen like that for a good solid few seconds before Cas does something very uncharacteristic and gets right up in Dean’s personal space; the hand at his throat goes from threatening to desperate and Cas slumps towards him, forehead warm on his shoulder.
Dean’s at a loss for what to do. Part of him is still Quite Furiously Angry and wants to shove Cas away but the other part, the empty and forlorn one, makes him raise a hand and gently rest his fingers at the nape of Cas’s neck. Half the bar is staring at them, the two men who are practically clinging to each other, and he’s well past the point of being able to mask any of his emotions so they all can go fuck themselves.
It’s drizzling by the time they duck under the overhang in front of their motel room door, and when Dean strips off his jacket he can hear the dull rumble of thunder. He’s tired and drunk and emotionally exhausted so he just shrugs off his button-down and crawls face-first into the single bed in his jeans, listening as Cas takes his time to fold up his clothes and spread a blanket out on the couch and–
“Y’know, y’don’t have to sleep on the couch,” he mumbles into the pillow. The rustling stops. “More’n ‘nuff room.” He’s about to curse himself for being exceptionally dumb when the bed dips slightly on the other side.
“Dean,” Cas starts, “I’m–”
“Don’t,” he says harshly, and digs his face even deeper into the pillow. “Just– just don’t.”
He falls asleep like that, tense and hunched in on himself, drawn safely behind his protective shell.
He wakes up in unfamiliar territory.
This is very different from waking up with his back against Cas’s.
He takes a few seconds to take in his surroundings – elbow caught in the curve of Cas’s hips, nose stuck in the hair at the back of Cas’s neck, leg trapped in the crook of Cas’s knee – and makes the executive decision to slowly, gently extricate himself from this potentially very dangerous unfamiliar territory.
He realizes he’s been holding his breath when he swings his legs over the opposite side of the bed and lets his pounding head fall into his hands.
By the time he gets out of the shower, Cas is sitting up. His hair is completely slicked down on one side and sticking up crazily on the other – with that, his not-stubble-anymore-beard, a bruise blooming on his jaw, and dark-than-ever circles under his eyes, Cas is a hangover poster child. Dean shakes four ibuprofens out into his hand, pops two into his mouth, and gives the other two to Cas.
“You gotta eat something,” he says. “Helps the hangover.” Cas swallows the pills and runs a hand through his hair – something almost creepily human, for Cas – then stands up right into Dean’s personal space.
It must be muscle memory that makes Dean’s body lean towards Cas’s, like a magnet, and it must be muscle memory that makes Cas curve around him, nose nearly brushing against his jaw. Dean’s emotions are completely in overload and and he’s hungover and he’s incapable of trying to process whatever’s going on in his head so he stands there and takes it, puts a hand on Cas’s shoulder and lets that communicate all the apologies he can’t bring himself to verbalize.
Oh, baby, this town rips the bones from your back
It’s a death trap, it’s a suicide rap
We gotta get out while we’re young
‘Cause tramps like us, baby, we were born to run
They’re probably about halfway there, now that he thinks about it.
Just the rest of Illinois to get through, then kitty-corner through Wisconsin, though Minnesota, and they’ll be back in South Dakota. He’s pretty confident that Sam’s headed there too, since it’s the closest thing they’ve ever had to a base of operations.
The washing machine beeps loudly and he gets up and stretches, then starts the process of tossing his darks into the dryer. Cas is slowly folding his own clothes at the rickety table behind him and his efforts are admirable, if a little ungainly.
It keeps surprising Dean, how much Cas must have picked up from being around him and Sam and Bobby. After all, he survived nearly a month as a human without them (Cas refuses to talk about it under any circumstance) and he’s got the shaving and showering and dressing and general bodily functions thing down.
It’s also surprising (and a little touching, though he’ll never admit it) that Cas dresses like he does. Dark, plain shirts and button-ups, jeans, boots, jackets, the whole shebang. He manages to make everything look much softer than Dean ever could – or maybe it’s the change from being an angel, impenetrable and solid, to something warm and human.
The clouds outside are heavy and dark-bellied, and everything about the weather is threatening a storm. Dean is stoked. There’s nothing like a midwestern storm, and they’re in such a small town that it’s going to be positively awesome.
It takes a couple of hours for the sky to open up, and when the storm finally hits, Dean’s watching Dr. Sexy reruns with Cas next to him, deep in a lore book they’d picked up a couple towns back. It’s probably one of the least stressful, most relaxing nights he’s had since he and Sam got separated, and it’s definitely the least strained after The Big Thing With Cas last week.
He’s acutely-subtly aware of Cas’s thigh brushing against his and his quiet, even breaths. He finds himself and Cas coming in contact with each other much more than they used to (not– not touching, really, that’s not the right word for when your shoulders brush together or your shins press lightly against each others’), and he’s got a sneaky suspicion it has to do with reaffirming for themselves that this is the real life, not just fantasy. Caught in a landslide, as it were. Dean chokes back a mirthless, self-deprecating chuckle at his internal monologue.
For the first time since he and Sam got separated, he feels like everything might be okay.
They go to a mom-and-pop diner in town for dinner and get thoroughly drenched in the short sprint between their crappy excuse for a car and the roof. An elderly couple is leaving right as they get to the doors and Cas obligingly opens the door for them, face as impassive as ever.
“Thank you, dear, you’re an angel,” effuses the old lady, smiling up at Cas like he put the sun in the sky. Dean laughs loudly (which earns him a glare from the old man) but it dies in his chest when he sees the look on Cas’s face -- a little crumpled, like he’s trying to hold it off. He quickly ushers them in and sits down in a booth.
“Hey,” he says quietly, and then again when Cas still refuses to look at him. “Hey. Cas, c’mon, look at me.”
“I–” Cas fiddles with the zipper of his jacket – another weirdly human thing for him to be doing – and a drop of rain rolls down his face, tracing the curve of his cheek. Dean fights the urge to wipe it off. “Sometimes I still dream about Falling. Dreaming, it’s... very strange.”
“Angels don’t dream?” Dean feels something hollow unfolding in his chest, some kind of old echo of injustice. “That’s kinda fucked, man.”
“Maybe it’s for good reason,” says Cas quietly.
Every time Dean closes his eyes, he sees the flash of hellfire. It’s one of those nights. He’s long overdue for some heavy nightmares, and on top of that something feels really off. He’d successfully coaxed Cas back into a good mood but the thought of Cas not being capable of dreaming, and then being thrust into nightmares is haunting him more than he thought it could.
He’s hoping his impatient tossing and turning isn’t what’s keeping Cas up, because he can hear restless shifting coming from his bed, too.
Dean isn’t even halfway through singing Led Zeppelin II in his head (just starting on Thank You) when he hears the telltale groan of bedsprings from Cas’s side of the room, then the padding of bare feet against thin carpet.
The rain’s still pounding against the roof. Dean rolls over onto his back and throws an arm over his eyes, expecting to need to block out the light from the bathroom or something, when the mattress dips and suddenly there’s a warm body under the covers next to him.
A flash of lightning throws everything into sharp contrast and there’s a halo seared into Dean’s eyelids, glowing faintly behind Cas’s head with every blink. They stare at each other for a good minute. Dean keeps trying to think of something to say but everything gets stuck in his throat, everything’s much too mixed up; it’s not the right time.
Cas is on his stomach, one arm under the pillow with his head turned towards him. Another flash of lightning draws deep shadows in the hollows of his cheeks.
“I’m sorry,” Cas murmurs.
Dean doesn’t need context.
“Does it make you feel any better?”
He trails fingers up Cas’s back, revels in the smooth, even bumps of spine under thin cotton, and something clenches tight in his chest when Cas sighs like there’s been something lifted off of his shoulders. Dean can feel the warmth of his skin through the t-shirt.
He’s got no idea what he’s doing. They’re two grown men, crawling into bed with each other during a thunderstorm because of bad dreams, and somehow, that’s completely okay.
Especially when Cas slides his fingers forward to close the half-inch between them and gently touches his jaw. He falls asleep with a hand between Cas's shoulder blades.
Together we could break this trap
We’ll run ‘till we drop, baby, we’ll never go back
The stick-up at the diner is like a bad parody of Pulp Fiction.
Except this time, the chick’s only waving a gun around for show, because her eyes are darker than the blackest pits of Hell. Dean would know.
The demon’s riding some totally vanilla-looking secretary or something – slim but not skinny, business-length skirt, well-kept shoes, and a gorgeous mess of dark, curly hair. In any other situation, Dean would be charming the fuck out of her (totally not because she reminds him of Cassie) but those black eyes mean one thing only: that she’s an it now, and it needs to get away from these people.
The demon grabs some college-age chick, hauls her up onto the counter like she weighs nothing, and presses the handgun to her temple.
Dean thinks it’s probably really fucked up of him to be a thousand times more worried for Cas’s safety than for the hostage’s. The same part of him that freaks out when Sam’s potentially in danger (read: most hunts) is going haywire right now over Cas.
“Let her go,” he says, keeping his voice calm and low. Cas is wound tighter than a spring next to him. “I thought Crowley told all his mooks that we’re on the no-touchie list.”
A disgusting smile curls across her face.
“Oh, honey, I’m not on Crowley’s payroll,” she purrs, and the girl she’s holding hostage finally bursts into silent tears. “I do what I want.” She raises her voice, then calls, “and right now, I want all of you to pull out your wallets.” The demon has the balls to drop Dean a wink. “Nothin’ like some good, old-fashioned fear, huh?”
“Look,” says Dean, quickly losing his patience, “let her go, or we’ll smoke you.”
“You?” She laughs, loud and nasty. “You, without your precious baby brother and dysfunctional because of it? And you–” The demon turns to Cas. “You, without a drop of mojo after your pathetic little God stunt – you’re going to stop me?”
Dean’s trying hard not to rise to her bait, but she’s pushing buttons that should never be pushed. He glances at Cas. He’s tense and focused, keeping his cool like a fucking champ, and then in a blur he hurls the uncapped salt shaker from their table. The demon screams and drops the hostage – she’s smart enough to throw herself off of the counter and under a table – and Dean vaults out of their booth after the demon.
Through the kitchen, out into the back lot, and then they start trading blows. The demon’s fast, Dean’ll give her that, but Cas is like a fucking cobra. Some of that angel stuff must have stuck around because damn, Cas fights beautifully. Dean manages to get her in the gut and Cas picks up right where he left off, shoving her against the cold bricks of the diner’s wall.
“You’re going to regret that,” murmurs Cas, with a forearm at her throat. Dean is suddenly aware that his mouth has gone dry because there’s something in Cas’s intense focus and the way his voice has gone low and dark that’s incredibly, stupidly attractive.
The demon spits in Cas’s face. Dean punches her.
He doesn’t remember the last time he was this seething mad. No one is allowed to disrespect the people he loves.
“Your boss is gonna be real happy to have a chat with you downstairs,” he says, with an icy smile.
“Exorcitamos te,” starts Cas, still in that same god-damn purr, “omnes satanica postestas–” Dean tunes out the rest of the exorcism and focuses on keeping the meatsuit still until, finally, black smoke pours out of her and sinks into the ground. The secretary slumps over and Cas lets her slide down.
Dean’s still got rage rolling through him when he pulls up his sleeve and roughly wipes the demon’s spit off of Cas’s face, and he’s still stormy when he stalks back into the diner. The customers are still huddled down against the tables and they all flinch when he walks in.
“It’s okay,” he says, raising his empty hands, and he’s surprised that his voice is as calm as it is. “It’s okay, you’re safe. She’s gone.”
“We should call the police,” says someone in a small voice. Cas comes up from behind him and offers his hand to the girl who had been held hostage; she grabs it and lets herself get gently hoisted up. He and Dean get her to sit down in a booth and some other vaguely-college-age guy shrugs off his jacket and drapes it around her shoulders.
Dean takes a couple of seconds to turn around and swallow his panic. Cas, risking himself like that, drove his freak-out levels through the fucking roof. He tells himself firmly that he’s not going to let Cas hunt any more. Too dangerous. He doesn’t care how selfish it is, he can’t risk losing Cas again.
“You should drink something warm,” says Cas, and Dean turns to see her nod mutely. She’s still shaking, face blotchy and red, and Dean kneels down in front of her.
“Hey,” he murmurs, “it’s gonna be okay.” She swallows thickly and another round of tears spills down her cheeks.
“She– her eyes,” she whispers brokenly. “And–” Dean looks up at Cas helplessly. Sam was always better at this whole ‘comforting the victim’ thing than he was.
“What’s your name?” asks Cas, quiet and calm. Dean can hear someone on the phone with the police, in the background. They’re gonna have to split. Soon. He stands up and touches Cas on the shoulder, as a five minute warning.
“Maddie,” she replies, sniffling wetly.
“Maddie, what happened today isn’t going to be easy for you to process,” Cas says, still calm, and Dean finds his own heart rate evening out at the tone of his voice. “There’s a lot of bad in this world, but–” He glances at Dean. “–there are good people out there. Don’t forget that.”
“Cas,” Dean says softly. He can hear sirens in the distance.
“Thank you,” Maddie mumbles, and her voice breaks. Dean smiles back at her. All in a day’s work, really.
They’re halfway back to the motel when Dean starts laughing hysterically.
“What’s so funny?” asks Cas, deadpan.
“My god,” says Dean, and his laughter is completely mirthless, “demons are better at being human than some humans are. I mean, half the shit that demons do is shit that people would do if they could get away with it. They just lack the stuff that makes most evil sons of bitches chicken out of all the horrible shit they want to do.”
“Thus conscience does make cowards of us all,” Cas says absently.
“It’s a quote from Hamlet,” answers Cas. “I had always found it particularly fitting.” And with that fucking enigma Cas ends the conversation, staring out of the window toward the rapidly-darkening sky.
“You’re the weirdest person I’ve ever met,” Dean muses quietly. He doesn’t need to add that it’s probably why he likes Cas so much.
If it was no big deal for Cas to share his bed last time, he figures, then it’s gonna be no problem if he gets up, right now, and slides under the covers with him. He’s realized (probably a little late) that sleeping alone equals bad night’s sleep and sleeping with Cas equals restful sleep.
There are no implications in that realization.
The boundaries of their friendship are so fucking bizzare that he’s still not entirely sure what’s okay and what’s not, but he’s pretty sure this is categorized under ‘okay’ because he gets one of Cas’s thousand-yard stares when he quietly scoots into the unoccupied half of Cas’s bed.
“D’you really think there are good people out there?”
This time, he gets the ‘you’re a fucking idiot’ stare from Cas.
“You do realize that you are, without a doubt, the most good person I have ever met?” Cas moves closer to him, somehow managing to loom even though Dean’s on his back and Cas is propped up on an elbow. “In all my years of existence I have never met someone as paradigmatically good as you. So yes, Dean, there are good people out there – people with a sliver of the goodness you have are some of the best humanity’s ever seen.”
“You believe in me too much, man,” Dean whispers. He doesn’t trust his voice to speak normally. Cas snorts wryly.
“I could say the same to you,” he retorts.
“‘Cause you’re family,” blurts Dean, “and that’s what family does.”
Silence stretches between them, and Dean is strongly considering high-tailing it back to his own bed because he and Cas both know that that was as good as him saying 'I love you.'
Dean clears his throat and turns onto his side, making a big fuss of adjusting the blankets. So family doesn’t end with blood and he’s maybe definitely in some sort of gray area with the only real friend he’s ever had – so what? Totally normal. No big deal.
Cas shifts around behind him and Dean is practically weak with relief that this isn’t something Cas feels the need to discuss, when he realizes that Cas’s subtle scootings are awfully close to him. Cas matter-of-factly drapes an arm around his waist and uses it as leverage to move himself even closer; Dean supresses a shiver when he feels a soft breath at the base of his neck.
It’s the safest he’s felt in years, and it terrifies him.
...Let me in, I wanna be your friend,
I wanna guard your dreams and visions
Just wrap your legs ‘round these velvet rims
And strap your hands ‘cross my engines
Dean’s done arguing. He’s done.
So he sits behind the shitty steering wheel of the shitty car and fumes while Cas sits in the passenger seat, arms crossed with a positively fucking infuriating smug smile on his face. Dean sneers elegantly at a line of trees in the distance.
If Cas ends up dying on this stupid fucking hunt then fuck it, it’s not going to be his fault.
They stop at an actually halfway-decent diner. Dean’s still furious so he doesn’t even bother flirting with the waitress; the silent I’m Angry With You between him and Cas is so tangible and awkward that the waitress barely passes by their table. Cas breaks the silence between them for the first time in the past 50 minutes.
“So,” he says, voice carefully neutral, “I’ve gathered some information.”
Cas pulls a folded newspaper clipping and pages of printer paper out of his pocket and slides them across the table.
“There’s a hotel in Rochester. People on the third floor keep dying,” he continues. “Drowning in the shower.”
“I don’t like this,” snaps Dean. The waitress passes by them and practically runs after leaving the bill on their table. Cas wraps a hand around his wrist and his grip is like iron; Dean is startled into looking up at him for the first time in about two hours.
“Dean, calm down.” Cas is using The Voice. The ‘I pulled you out of hell, I can throw you back in’ voice. The one that makes really kind of uncomfortable shivers run down Dean’s spine. Cas lets go of his arm and leans back. “What would you and Sam do?”
Dean takes a deep breath. Focus. He’s a grown-up. He can handle his temper. “The place is, like, a four-star hotel. We can’t walk in looking like this. So, we–” He runs a hand down his face. “–we should probably pose as two chumps on a business trip. That gets us in the hotel, we can... do our thing from there.”
God damn fucking vampires, stealing his wallet and all of the fake IDs in it. He can’t even pretend to be FBI any more and tackle this hunt on his own, without involving Cas. He’s wishing for Sam to be with them so hard right now that it hurts.
“Okay,” says Cas simply.
By Castiel’s reasoning, businessmen go on business trips and businessmen wear suits, so the two of them need to be wearing suits.
Dean is spending a lot of time with the part of himself that absolutely fucking hates Cas.
He’s hopeless – the damn angel (or ex-angel, whatthefuckever) has no clue how to wear a suit properly. Putting it on, sure, but wearing it is something else. Dean has to help him with cuff links and the tie and buttoning everything properly and making sure it all lays well on him. Jimmy Novak may have had perfect posture but Cas has a habit of slouching and Dean doesn’t think about the well-muscled, slim back under his hands as he pulls Cas’s shoulders back into how Jimmy wore them.
Dean’s completely exasperated and already hating the hunt by the time they abandon their car in a parking lot in Rochester, Minnesota, and walk the block and a half to the hotel. Rochester Hotel, the sign proclaims proudly, est. 1896.
And okay, Dean’ll give it props for looking pretty gorgeous. It’s an old brick building, well-kept, and it definitely has that Midwest old-timey feel going on. A bellhop (and wow, holy shit, a place with a bellhop) manages to snag Cas’s attention spewing pointless trivia about the city so Dean leaves his duffel with Cas and heads for the front desk.
“What can we do for ya?” says one of the girls. She’s got peroxide-blonde hair that’s been painstakingly curled and her brass nametag says Melissa.
“Room for one night,” he replies, and throws in Vaguely Flirty Smile 6b. “Business trip, you know how it is. They expect you to be in one place one day, then halfway across the country the next.”
She rolls her eyes and smiles back. “Tell me about it! So, one single for the–”
“Oh, uh,” Dean cuts in, “one king, actually. If you can throw a rollout bed in with it, that’d be great.”
“Yeah, no problem,” she says, and halfway through looking up to give him a grin, her line of sight snags on something behind him and gets caught. Her staring is so blatant that Dean actually turns around to see what she’s staring at.
But then Dean starts staring too, because Cas has one duffel slung over his shoulder and the other in his hand and late-afternoon sunlight is streaming through the huge windows, painting him and the rest of the lobby in warm reds and oranges, and Dean hopes his jaw hasn’t dropped.
It’s not like he’s never looked at Cas and thought to himself, ‘now, that’s an attractive person.’ Because he definitely has. There’s no shame in it. But right now, with his stupid fucking messy hair and five-o’clock shadow and that fucking tailored suit he looks godly.
Okay, so maybe not the best choice of words, but damn, does he look good.
“Here’s your key,” says Melissa faintly, and shoves a card at him right as Cas walks up. “Fourth floor, room 483. Just need you to sign...”
“Uh, here, Cas, 483,” says Dean, and hands him the key card. “I’ll be up in a sec.”
“Elevators are that way,” says Melissa, and, having regained her composure, smiles and blinks a lot more than is necessary.
“Thank you,” says Cas gravely, and walks in the direction she pointed. The second he’s out of earshot, Melissa leans forward, sliding a pen and a printed-out form his way.
“Is he married?” she whispers fiercely. Dean scrawls a signature at the bottom and he’s pressing down so strongly that the paper warps. He gives her a tight smile.
“Married to the job,” he quips stiffly, and walks away before he can do something dumb.
The fierce burn of jealousy and possessiveness is absolutely the last thing he ever thought he’d feel. Especially concerning Cas.
He catches up to him in front of the elevators and tries to play it cool. No big deal. Just... protective of his best friend. Nothing wrong with that.
In the end, they’re pretty lucky to have ended up on the fourth floor – only one flight of stairs between them and the third floor’s mysterious deaths, and easy access to the stairs on top of that. The room is fucking nice by Dean’s shitty motel standards, and within two minutes there’s a knock on the door and the hotel staff drop off a rollaway bed.
Cas has a funny way of enticing people into talking with him about anything. It might be his complete lack of social cues or the air general steadiness around him, but after 45 minutes in the hotel bar, the bartender is spilling everything to them. Rumor of a crazy janitor who died on the third floor 70 years ago, some superstitious weirdo who really hated his job and ended up slitting his wrists in a supply closet and bled to death, isn’t that crazy?
He and Cas subsequently call it a night, so sorry, man, conference tomorrow but it was great to talk to you. They’re alone in the elevator and it’s quiet and holy shit, Dean cannot stop looking at Cas. Jimmy’s suit had been loose and ill-fitting but these are custom-tailored ones permanently borrowed from a rental place and jesus christ in a handbasket, no wonder Cas was turning heads in the lobby.
They’re standing awkwardly close to each other and Cas is staring shamelessly back at him, as clueless about personal space as ever. If Dean’s finding it hard to breathe, it’s totally not his fault.
Dean makes it back to the room in a haze; the alcohol is kicking in and things are getting fuzzy but Cas is razor-sharp, struggling with his cuffs as Dean hangs his jacket over the back of a chair and expertly takes off his own collared shirt.
“C’mere,” he says, and has to clear his throat twice before it comes out. Cas steps forward when he beckons and lets Dean undo his cuffs, loosen his tie; Dean gently pushes the suit jacket off Cas’s shoulders and hangs it over his on the chair.
Dean’s in some kind of limbo. There’s a part of him (the part currently residing in his dick) that wants to run his hands up Cas’s back, to explore all of that skin he hides away, to throw Cas down on the bed and make him scream. There’s a (thankfully) more dominant part that firmly says no, that’s not important, not right now.
So he instead unbuttons the dress shirt for him, slowly making his way down, button by button, all while trying not to freak out because this is one of the most weirdly intimate things he’s ever done. They’re close, much too close, and Dean’s 5 o’clock shadow is catching on the eternal stubble creeping up Cas’s jaw; he pulls back with the dress shirt in one hand and Cas’s eyes an inch away.
Cas is looking awfully naked in his clothes and there’s a look on his face that Dean’s never seen before.
And then Dean blows all of the other weirdness out of the water by leaning forward and kissing Cas on the forehead. It’s clumsy and awkward and it’s so out-of-character for him that Dean’s fucking shocked at himself and he thinks he might be having an out-of-body experience. Everything is surreal as fuck as he and Cas finish changing.
What Cas does isn’t nearly as baffling as what Dean did, but he still feels another wave of shock when Cas breaks out of their usually sleeping arrangement (turns around in his arms, actually, but Dean’s not gonna let himself think something sappy like that) and turns to face Dean and stares. His eyes are weirdly luminous in the darkness of the room but Dean doesn’t have too much time to dwell on it, because Cas fucking–
He curls a hand around the back of Dean’s–
there are knees digging into his and
okay, Cas really sucks at wait
wait wait hands around his–
Back the fuck up, he’s got an arm around Cas’s back and Cas’s stubbled neck is inches away from his face and a sigh ruffles his hair and okay, okay, back up, the weirdest thing here is that Dean is completely okay with this.
He and Cas are, for lack of a better term, cuddling, and he’s okay with it.
He’ll deal with himself tomorrow. He vaguely remembers being mad at Cas earlier but he can’t for the life of him remember why; this definitely isn’t the worst idea they’ve ever had, he thinks, as he rubs the pads of his fingers in the hair at the nape of Cas’s neck.
If there’s something a little desperate in the way Cas’s hand sweeps up his side then, well, that’s just a bonus.
He doesn’t remember the last time he woke up like this. Hell, he doesn’t even think he ever has – he’s never woken up to someone carding fingers through his hair, never woken up to the barely-there press of lips at his hairline that makes something in his chest crack wide open.
He wants to ask what time it is, but what comes out instead is a half-whisper, low: Cas’s name, one tiny little syllable that means half the world to him.
Somehow with that everything slips through his fingers and it’s just another normal morning, with him rolling out of bed, heading for the bathroom as Cas sits up and drags a hand through his dark, sleep-crazed hair.
The rest of the day is easy and routine. Find motel, wait for nightfall, salt and burn.
Nothing’s changed between him and Cas, which is a little surprising. He’d expected something uncomfortable, some kind of awkwardness between them, and he’d been scared of coldness.
Dean knows he’s a hypocrite. He’ll push people away on purpose, not to get attached, but when it happens to him he panics. The prospect of losing someone he cares about – losing one of the few people he cares about – absolutely terrifies him.
So he lets himself revel in a small bubble of happiness when Cas doesn’t act differently at all. No pretending that nothing happened, no coldness, no strangeness except for the normal strangeness that always follows him and Cas around.
The next night, Dean pulls Cas against him without hesitation.
Oh, will you walk with me out on the wire?
‘Cause, baby, I’m just a scared and lonely rider
But I gotta know how it feels
I wanna know if love is wild, babe, I wanna know if love is real
The old house is musty, much too stuffy after having been boarded up since his and Sam’s last visit. It’s early morning when they get there and the light is still sharp and clear; Dean wrinkles his nose at the amount of dust on everything and starts opening windows to get the house aired out.
If they’re gonna be here more than a couple days, they might as well make it liveable.
So, Dean gets to teach Cas things like Watch Your Fingers When You’re Hammering A Nail and Dust Before You Sweep and a plethora of Various Domestic Things he’d never realized he’d picked up through living with Lisa.
The house looks a little more homey after just three days (which is, honestly, downright terrifying) and they’ve started slowly feeling their way around the small downtown they’re close to. Turns out they’re in pretty much a college town, full of people in their mid- to late-twenties and early thirties, so he and Cas thankfully don’t stick out too much.
Dean’s never gonna let himself think he might maybe like this place a bit.
Cas likes bars.
For some reason, that surprises Dean – probably because he goes to bars to drink whereas Cas likes to peoplewatch, as Dean called it.
He just likes the mix of people. The regulars, the drunkards, the awkward first dates, the biker gangs, the people – like Dean and Sam – on the road and stopping for some food and a drink before moving on. The versatility is incredible, and it really never fails to amaze him.
He’s a little (pleasantly) surprised at how close Dean sticks to him. He knows it’s less You’re Going To Make An Angel Mistake and more I Need Company, which is a lot more heartening than it should be.
Cas might also like bars because that’s where alcohol makes Dean soft around the edges, where old jukeboxes play his kind of music and dim lighting hugs the curves of his cheekbones.
Dean’s got limits; Cas knows this. He knows exactly where Dean draws the line, where he throws up walls, where he lets things bend. Cas knows that Dean’s like one of those briefcase locks, where he can spin the circles for words and touches and situations, but it’s going to take the right combination of all three for Dean to let him take another step forward.
He lightly brushes his fingers over Dean’s knuckles. This is okay, he knows, this is good, and the tiny smile tugging at the corner of Dean’s mouth confirms it.
But at the same time, Dean’s shoulders are tense and there’s worry in the lines of his face.
Dean sighs because he knows it’s a lost cause – Cas knows something’s up – and his fist tightens under Cas’s fingers.
“It’s just– Sam, you know? What if I’m wrong?”
“You’re not,” he murmurs back. “You know him better than anyone. He’ll find us.” He pauses, takes a short draught of his beer. “It makes me feel useless, too. Sitting here in a bar while Sam could be in trouble.”
Dean looks at him in silent gratitude and takes a long drink from his glass. The conversation shifts to lighter things – what they can do with the house next, what they should do with it, what to do about a permanent car.
In the past week and a halfish (almost two weeks, now that he thinks about it), fixing up the house is what’s kept him and Dean sane. It feels good to be doing something with his hands. It feels good to build something wholesome and good, build with Dean and for Sam. They never directly talk about it but Cas knows full well that all of their efforts (and 90% of his ideas) regarding the library are for when Sam gets there, that one of the extra rooms is for Sam (so they’ve fixed up both of them), that they’ve got enough furniture for at least two more people.
While he and Dean do share a profound bond, Cas can’t help but miss Sam’s huge heart and his eagerness to learn and soak up everything, all of the things that make Sam who he is. That, and Dean is more fractured without his brother than he cares to admit.
All they can do is wait.
Cas excuses himself to the bathroom with a politeness he definitely modeled after Sam and not Dean (because ‘I’m going to the bathroom’ sounds much better than ‘I gotta piss’); the door in the little hallway slams open and nearly hits him as a guy taller than Sam and more drunk than the rest of the bar put together stumbles his way out.
He takes care of his very human bodily functions following all of the polite rules laid down by human society (the not-Dean part of human society).
When he heads for the door he hears yelling that might as well be a stampede of elephants and knows, with a sort of comical horror, that Dean’s managed to get himself into some kind of trouble.
Sure enough, when he slides quietly back into the bar’s main room, the drunken giant (who has at least half a head on Sam) is practically screaming at Dean.
“Fuckin’– go to piss an’ come back, fuckin’, you’re all up in my girl’s– fuck you, dude!” he roars, and Cas notices an equally drunk-looking blonde cowering behind the giant, looking like she’s about to topple over in her high heels. Dean puts his hands up easily and grins, a little nervously.
“Whoa, whoa,” he says, “I didn’t do anything. She sat down in my booth and I asked her to leave, that’s all.”
The giant is obviously not processing anything, and Cas leaps forward through the hushed crowd as gigantor pulls back a drunk fist and aims vaguely in Dean’s direction. Dean ducks as the huge hand swings and misses him by half a mile; Cas manages to freak out the chick in question with his sudden appearance and then everything goes to hell.
The giant and the blonde are both yelling and flailing and Cas gets an (accidental) hand to the face but then his fist connects solidly with someone’s jaw and finally Dean just drops the giant with a well-placed elbow.
“You okay, Cas?” Dean pants, half a grin working its way onto his face.
“Yes,” he replies, and seconds later Dean is ushering him out of the bar, sliding a $50 towards the waitress and telling her to keep the change as the manager starts verbally ripping the giant a new one.
It’s sprinkling lightly as they make their way across the parking lot at a brisk walk. Cas tucks his fists deep in his coat pockets – he’d learned very quickly that it’s the best way to keep his hands warm – and the skin over his knuckles protests loudly.
Dean suddenly grabs him by the bicep and he jerks to a stop.
“Whoa, Cas,” he says, brows furrowed, “you sure you’re okay?” There’s bright concern, Sammy-concern, shining in his eyes. Cas catalogues himself – his lip stings, his knuckles sting, he can taste the iron tang of blood – and nods.
“I’m fine,” he responds, because he is and he’s been in much worse shape. A couple of scrapes is nothing to him or the Winchesters, after all.
“You’ve got some blood–” And Dean reaches out, gently, and traces Cas’s split lip with the pad of his thumb.
Cas is ready for the tingle and heady rush of blood that comes every time Dean reaches out past his careful walls, but it still hits him like a ton of bricks and his body leans in to the touch without his permission. He can feel the rough calluses on Dean’s palm; it feels like home.
He wonders, idly, how long it’s been since he stopped thinking of Heaven as home.
It’s been a long, long road since he first touched Dean’s soul and since he first felt the tremors of emotion, and there are no doubts as to how much he feels, how much he knows how to feel. The garrison always scoffed magnificently at humans for romantic attachment. Angels have no need for romance. Why bother, when you have the love of your entire family at your disposal?
And then there were angels like Anna, who tore out their Grace for a romp on Earth and the freedom to kick up their feet and lay back, who scoffed even more at the thought of being in love with a human. Loving the species, sure. But never to this degree, never to the point where his now-human heart is pounding and he can feel every point of contact between them, hand and wrist and shoulders and forehead, never to the point where it’s so past the point that Cas has absolutely no idea what it even is.
A big part of him wants to lean forward and kiss Dean – kiss him like Chastity didn’t kiss him and like he didn’t kiss Meg.
He doesn’t. There’s a small voice in the back of his head (it sounds like a truly awful cross between Balthazar and Gabriel) telling him not now, not yet. He still needs to click the last few tumblers into place.
There are still missing pieces, he thinks as they duck, dripping, into the car. Lots of them. They’re both broken people – that’s why they have each other, so that they can fix each other up, but Sam’s absence is a gaping hole in both his heart and Dean’s.
It’s late and it’s rainy and Cas is a little drunk. Everything is slow and steady when they get back to the house – climbing the stairs one by one, hands curled childlike around each others’ – and Cas strips off his jacket and button-up in one shrug, lets gravity take care of his jeans, slides belly-down under the warm, heavy bedcovers.
The ancient mattress groans with Dean’s weight as he crawls in next to Cas.
“God, Cas, I’m so glad I have you,” mumbles Dean, and he’s nudging Cas onto his side. He obliges, of course, lets Dean slide into his personal space, as he’d call it. “Sammy’s alone, he doesn’t have you or me–”
“Sam’s going to be fine,” Cas murmurs in response, and rubs a circle into Dean’s neck with his thumb. It’s the alcohol talking, for sure, but seeing Dean in a minor freakout still isn’t pleasant. Dean chuckles dryly against his shoulder.
“This is why I’m glad I’ve got you,” he whispers, then pushes Cas over onto his back. All of the breath leaves his lungs. Dean’s weight is draped across his chest, heavy and warm, and again Cas has to beat back the urge to kiss him.
Not now. Not yet.
Dean, however, seems to have a slightly different agenda. He’s kissing a slow, lazy crescent from his jaw down his neck and Cas can feel his heartbeat skyrocket – Dean keeps it chaste but Cas’s mouth is dry anyways, pulse ringing in his ears.
“Dean–” And he’s cut off by a thumb sweeping softly across his bottom lip, with Dean’s mouth slowly tracing half a collarbone, and his own hands are moving of their own accord up Dean’s back to tangle in his short hair.
The sheer intensity of such simple actions shocks him.
His hands come around to cup Dean’s face and they look at each other, really look at each other. The alcohol dissolves any nervousness he’d normally be feeling – he’s never been intimate with anyone, not like this. He mirrors Dean and presses a kiss where ear meets jaw, makes his way forward at the beautiful sound Dean’s breath makes when it catches in his throat.
The hunger surprises him. There’s a yawning pit in his chest that’s screaming for Dean so he digs his fingers into Dean’s hair, kisses along a thundering artery, rolls them over so that Dean’s on his back and their sides are pressed together in a blazingly hot line.
He can feel that Dean’s breaths are erratic now, close to his ear, and Cas leaves him one more kiss before moving back. Even in the dim light from the window, he could probably count each one of Dean’s absurdly long eyelashes. He cups a hand around Dean’s jaw and Dean covers it with his own and they just sit there, staring at each other, with Cas bent half over him and Dean curled awkwardly half on his back, both breathing much more heavily than they should be.
Dean suddenly frowns and pulls Cas’s hand away from his face.
“Dude, you’re bleeding,” he murmurs.
“Oh,” says Cas, a little dumbly. “I hadn’t realized.” And yeah, there’s dried blood across the back of his right hand and now that he thinks about it, there’s a dull ache seeping through his knuckles. Dean sits up.
“C’mon, you should take care of this,” he says resignedly. Dean’s squeezing each joint, curling his fingers for him, checking for any breaks or sprains. His skin is rough but every touch is gentle and careful; Cas can still feel the comfortable warmth radiating from Dean’s body, close as they are. He covers Dean’s hand with his other.
“It’s okay,” he says quietly. “I’ll do it in the morning.”
And then Cas sees something a little rare – Dean smiles him but it’s not his usual Cas-smile, it’s a Sammy-smile, one of the ones reserved for when his brother does something endearing. It both warms Cas’s heart and reminds him that they’re both still missing Sam, missing family.
Dean softly kisses his battered knuckles and Cas is overwhelmed. He’s got no idea how it’s cosmically possible that this beautiful creature, this perfectly imperfect, righteous, loyal, incredible man is willing to share even a sliver of his life with something as fallen and coughed-up as Cas. Their noses touch.
Dean lays back down with a sigh and Cas follows him, sinks down into the creaky mattress and runs fingers through Dean’s hair, once, when he turns his face into Cas’s shoulder.
He’s thrown, rudely, into consciousness with a jerk.
In the beginning he thought the nightmares would slowly peter out, but in months of being human he’s gone maybe five days with one full night’s uninterrupted sleep.
Cas swallows as quietly as he can and presses the heels of his shaking palms against his eyes, willing that last, terrifying imprint of a broken future to go away. It’s not successful. He’s doing his best to keep his breaths quiet and even – Dean’s a light sleeper by habit and god knows he deserves a good night’s sleep – but he can’t help the ragged, terrified gasps as the human fear-hormones run their course through his human body.
“Cas?” comes Dean’s croaky whisper. Damn. Guilt is added to the (very) slowly-receding fear. “‘Nother nightmare?”
“‘No, it– S’okay,” he mumbles back, voice breaking slightly, and with that Dean’s tipped off that everything is, in fact, not okay. An arm winds itself up and across Cas’s chest and then he’s being pulled tightly against Dean – warm, strong Dean, still-hopeful Dean, not-broken Dean.
“C’mere, honey,” Dean murmurs. Cas can feel himself relaxing automatically to the warmth of Dean’s palm rubbing a slow circle against his back, the stately thud-thud of his heart.
“To think that I considered humans lucky, to be able to dream,” Cas whispers when he’s finally regained enough control over himself to speak coherently.
“Nightmares are here to remind us that life doesn’t suck as much as it could,” replies Dean, almost absently. “It’s okay, Cas. Go to sleep.” And Dean’s warm and soft and pliant and Cas is tired and probably still drunk, so he presses his cheek against Dean’s and does as he’s told.
They wake up late the next morning.
Dean teaches Cas how to tape his knuckles properly after they eat a hangover-helper breakfast, and then they get to work on what’s sort of become their library. Evidently that’s the room that Sam and Sheriff Mills had picked to dump boxes upon boxes of Bobby’s books when Dean got accidentally DeLorean’d to the past, so with Cas’s help he’s cobbled together some makeshift bookshelves and now they’re just trying to clear the room out a bit, get enough space for the dusty desk to actually be of some use.
It’s something roiling deep in the regions of gut feelings, something both about Cas and not about him, a gut feeling that’s had him scared-elated all morning. Cas is on edge, too, and they’re really just waiting for that impending something to whirl into their lives.
Cas is stirring milk into his second cup of coffee for the afternoon when there’s a knock on the door. Both of them freeze.
Dean’s on autopilot – grabs his pistol, quick check to make sure it’s loaded, tucks it into the back of his jeans, and then he swings the heavy oak door open.