Dean’s not sure who’s more frustrated with himself—him or Cas. He spends the next week like a ticking, emotional time bomb. Half the time he’s laughing and shooting the shit while the two of them watch Star Trek, the other half he’s telling the guy to back off, insulting him, trying to drive him away. He’s constantly torn between trying to get the angel to stay and trying to drive him away as far as possible.
Castiel doesn’t just take it, though. After being caught off guard the first few times, he’s now prepared to tell Dean when he’s being ridiculous and should stop. Sometimes the demon calms down, but other times one of the two will storm off for an hour or so. Dean never apologizes, but sometimes Castiel will come back to him cooking burgers (the angel’s favorite) or Dean will tell him they can watch whatever the angel wants. It’s not much, but it usually makes Cas lighten up a bit, and maybe even forgive him slightly.
With the twenty-eighth creeping closer and closer, Dean’s started drinking a lot more than is probably healthy. He’s always thought that was the best perk of being a demon, though; compared to humans, their bodies have an amazing tolerance. No need to worry about your liver failing on you (unless you drink the whole liquor store).
He thinks Cas has noticed. By the sixth day (they made so much money that Dean’s decided to hold off on taking gigs until the angel’s gone), they’ll get back from seeing a movie or dinner, and Cas will immediately distract him by asking if they can watch more Star Trek or if Dean will tell him some hunting stories. On day eight, the beer mysteriously gets moved from the front of the fridge to the back, hidden behind all the food.
But day ten rolls around, and there’s no stopping Dean. He’s grouchy the whole day, and makes no attempts to apologize. He even made sure to stock up for the day. Starting the moment he wakes up, he grabs a full bottle of Jack Daniels and refuses to stop. There’s an aching pain in his chest, guilt crawling over his skin, and he doesn’t want to remember any of this later. He doesn’t even want to remember tomorrow. When it’s all over and done with, he just wants this whole thing to be a blur in the back of his mind, something he can bury with everything else and never have to think about (except for those moments when he’s lying in the dark, unable to sleep, with nothing else to do but review all his failures).
Castiel wakes around two. They’d stayed up pretty late last night, and the guy refuses to function on less than a perfect eight hours if he can help it. He walks, nearly naked, to the bathroom, and a quick glance tells Dean that the guy is nearly healed. He’s not wearing bandages anymore, and from what the demon saw, the scarring is almost completely gone.
He takes another drink.
Being drunk at three in the afternoon is not something Dean’s experienced in a long time. However, he is definitely drunk. When Cas returns from his shower, smelling like soap and dressed in clean clothes, the demon is yelling at the woman on the television. He’s not sure why he turned on the news channel in the first place; it’s usually just for finding possible hunts. But when he scanned through the channels and saw what they were talking about, there was no way he could just pass it.
“Do you friggin see this shit?” he grumbles, gesturing at the television. “Looks like your buddies are having a fucking field day.”
Over the course of the last two months, more and more cities have been razed, burned completely to the ground with not a chance of revival. “A Great Purge,” it’s being called. Areas of dissent are being sniffed out, and Heaven’s hammer is hitting them harder than ever before. The residents – traitors, the anchorwoman calls them – all get trapped inside the city somehow (magic, Dean guesses), and the entire town and everyone in it is obliterated. Anyone who somehow survives, whether through some clever hoodoo or even just being a monster immune to fire, is killed immediately after.
The screen shows videos of a town in Pennsylvania that was taken out yesterday. Whatever kind of fire was used, it wasn’t normal. Every inch of the place is gone, reduced to smoldering rubble. He thinks he can see skeletons in the ashes.
Cas is slow to approach, but when he does, he sits down right next to the hunter and they watch in silence.
It flashes back to the anchorwoman. “President Michael has released a statement saying that this Great Purge is in the interest of keeping all the citizens of the world—angel, human, and demon alike—safe from those who would do the state and its people harm.”
“Do you see this shit?” Dean scoffs as it turns to a story about a string of local robberies. “Like anyone’s gonna believe that.”
The angel is quiet. He’s still staring at the TV, brows furrowed and mouth pulled into a thin line. Obviously, something’s wrong. Cas always reads the morning paper after Dean, so it’s not like this is the first time he’s seen what his brothers have been doing, but he’s rattled. That much is undeniable. And even though he doesn’t want to care, even in his drunken state Dean has to ask, “What?”
“Aren’t you disturbed that they’re doing this?” he asks, glancing over at Dean. “Killing thousands of people?”
The demon shrugs. “Hell if I care,” slurs Dean, “It’s not like they don’t do this kind of stuff all the time. Now it’s just on the news.” Shaking his head incredulously, the angel tightens his jaw and turns his gaze back to the screen. Dean raises his brows, knowing that’s Cas-code for ‘immensely pissed the fuck off.’ “You want a beer or something?”
The angel sighs, exasperated, but doesn’t look at Dean. “No,” he replies sharply, “and I don’t think you should be drinking, either. You’ve been ridiculous about it these past few days.”
“Yeah, and what’s it to you?” the demon snaps back. He looks at his bottle and realizes that he’s running low. He’ll take any excuse to leave right now. When he gets up, though, he catches Cas glaring. “What?”
“Why are you behaving like this? Ever since the last hunt, you have been capricious and overbearing, and I think I deserve to know why.”
Sighing loudly, Dean rolls his eyes and goes to the kitchen. Yeah, like he’s gonna explain that. As soon as he starts rattling around the fridge for another drink, though, he hears Cas stand and approach. The demon’s about to tell the guy to go fuck himself when, in good ol’ Cas fashion, he says something to leave the hunter frozen in place.
“Meg said you have a fear of abandonment.”
After a brief pause, he puts the Jack Daniels away and stands to look at Cas. “What?”
“She said that because your family is gone, you’re always afraid that people are going to leave you. She said that that, coupled with your abrasive nature, is why you’re always—”
Dean stumbles forward and grabs Cas by the front of his shirt. The angel doesn’t budge at all, unlike a few weeks ago when they were almost on equal ground. Without his bracelet, Castiel isn’t tied down, and the air around them buzzes with his irritation and power. Dean can feel the power emanating off of the angel, warming him to stay back, but he doesn’t care. “Where the hell do you—do either of you—get off saying that?”
Castiel raises his hands and puts them gently on top of the demon’s. “Dean, if—“
“No. No! Fuck you, I don’t want to hear it!” he snarls, giving the man a hard shake. His stomach is rolling, and he feels nauseous. “Don’t you ever try to pretend you know a damn thing about me! You talk all the time like you know about me o-or-or Sam or my family. You don’t know a goddamn thing. God, I could fucking—“
A weird sound comes out of his throat. He stumbles in his speech and looks down between them for a moment. When his mouth next opens, it’s not words coming from it, but a stream of bile that rises quickly through his throat. Then, he’s puking between them, right onto the floor and over both of their clothes.
He lets go of the angel to double-over, trying to suppress it as best he can. He can feel a hand on his back, but doesn’t shy away from it. His chest heaves, and Cas grips his shoulder.
“Let’s get to the bathroom.”
God, is this embarrassing. Bent over the toilet, puking for the first time in three years like some sixteen-year-old kid who can’t hold his liquor, with an angel standing behind him, rubbing his back and offering him glasses of water to drink.
If he died right now, Dean thinks he’d be absolutely okay with that.
Once Cas sees that the demon should be able to hold his own, he leaves, probably to clean himself up and to clean the kitchen floor. A half hour later and the angel returns to sit as company, not saying a word and occasionally providing more water to drink.
Dean hugs the toilet for another hour before he finally risks standing up. He’s a bit shaky, but he manages.
“You should try eating something light. It will help,” Cas tries to tell him, but just the word ‘eat’ makes him feel like he’s going to vomit again.
“No way, dude… I think I’m going to lay down.”
Nodding, the angel helps lead Dean back to his room. He strips off the demon’s stained shirt, then pushes him gently down.
“I’ll get you some water.”
When Castiel returns, Dean’s nearly passed out. He sets a pitcher of water and a glass on the end table, but the hunter doesn’t hear him leave until a few minutes have passed. Once he’s gone, though, Dean falls straight to sleep.
+ + +
He wakes up about three hours later. He doesn’t feel awesome, but he definitely feels a little better—and slightly more sober. He’s not going to throw up again, that’s for sure. He thinks back, trying to remember exactly what went down, and as he recalls the conversation, Dean can’t help but cringe. He’s still pissed, of course, but he also realizes how close he was to saying something he really, really shouldn’t have said.
After changing his sheets, he stumbles out to the bathroom to wash up, trying to be as fast as possible as he moves between rooms so he doesn’t have to face Cas. It works the first time, but after he’s gotten his shower and starts to go back to the bedroom, the angel catches him.
“Do you think you could handle eating something?” he asks, tearing his gaze from the television. “You haven’t eaten all day.”
That’s true. Dean didn’t have anything before he started drinking, and now his stomach is upset and growing at him. While the idea of food makes him a bit queasy, he knows he should eat.
“Yeah. I might go for some toast or something.”
When Dean comes back from getting dressed, Cas has already got a plate of toast—buttered and everything—ready for him. The hunter approaches the dining table and stares at the small meal, frown cutting deep lines in his brow. He glances back up at the angel.
“Why’d you do all this?”
“Hm?” The angel turns down the volume on the television and turns to him. “I didn’t hear you.”
“Why’d you do all this? The toast, the helping me while I puked my guts out. Healing me the other day. Why’d you do all this?”
He doesn’t get it. He doesn’t understand any of it at all. Anyone else would have left Dean a long time ago. Hell, Cas can go anywhere he wants now that he’s not wearing that bracelet, yet he never tries to leave. He always stays. Even when he’s pissed as hell, he doesn’t go far, usually just wanders into the adjacent woods for a bit before he returns. But he never hesitates to do what Dean asks, to help him, and it all goes far beyond the simple reasoning of “repayment.”
The TV turns off, and Castiel rises to come join the demon. He gestures for the man to sit down, and they both do so. Dean is waiting for an answer, but the angel nods to his food.
“Eat first. Then we can talk.”
Normally he wouldn’t take that, but Dean figures he can throw the guy a bone this time. He eats, slowly so as not to worsen his stomach. It’s only two pieces of toast, but it still takes him a few minutes to get it all down. Once he does, he looks up at Cas expectantly, and the angel sighs.
“Ever since we met, you have tried to put on this persona of yourself as a heartless monster, one whose only purpose in this world is to torture, drink, and have sexual intercourse. You perform an idea of yourself, but I never believe you,” he says. “Of course, you have an affinity for violence and sin that is common among demons, but even with Paul Owens, I have yet to see you commit an act worse than what I have seen my own brothers do.
“I have told you before, but you have much more humanity than you like to believe. While you may behave cruelly towards many, you are kind and generous to those whom you know, even just those who reside in your community.”
Dean takes a drink of water, rather skeptical of all of this. “I’ve been kind of a dick to you, though.”
“Yes, you have behaved quite awfully to me at times,” Castiel agrees, nodding, “but you have also showed me unneeded kindness. For every moment you have been vicious, you have also been congenial.” The angel puts his hands on the table, lacing his fingers together. “You could have treated our relationship purely as business, but you have instead treated me, in most respects, like a friend. I see no reason why I should not return the gesture.”
He wants to throw up again. All his mind keeps going back to is that this is the last day. This is the last day that Cas gets to be a free man. Less than twenty-four hours from now, he’ll be in Crowley’s possession, stripped of his powers, wings ripped off, sold. And Dean can’t stop it.
That’s what he tells himself.
It’s already done.
But then the asshole keeps talking about how they’re friends and Dean’s been so nice to him, and he just wants to scream the truth in the angel’s face. He doesn’t want to hear any of this. All it does is make the guilt worse, and even though the thought of alcohol aches his stomach worse than anything else, he can think of no alternative that will get him through this.
“We’re not friends, Cas. Being friends isn’t the same thing as not being an asshole,” he says, words half-hearted as he tries to defend himself.
“We are friends,” says the angel, pure determination in his eyes as he stares Dean down. “No matter what you say, I know you think we are, too.”
But of course Dean would never admit to that. Because how could he? “Yeah, Cas, we’re friends! That’s why I’m selling you into slavery so that I can move the fuck out of here and live out the rest of my life alone and torturing any monsters that happen to wander by my house!” Yes, that would go over well.
A thought does occur to him, though. He could say no—to Crowley. He could tell him to stick where the sun don’t shine. To forget the deal and forget trying to come after Dean’s stuff, because he’d be dead before he stepped within a hundred yards. And then Cas could stay here and—
He stops. He can’t go any further with that thought, only because it’s so ridiculous. Cas? Stay here? Why would he want to do that? Even if they are “friends,” the guy would never want to stay here. He wants to go back home, apparently, or go somewhere far away from them. And Dean can’t blame him, because his house doesn’t exactly fit into either of those two categories. Not to mention that Dean’s practically the Roommate from Hell. What reason could an angel have for wanting to stay here?
“Do you want to watch some more Star Trek?” Dean asks, fiddling with his cup of water. “I think I could go for some lying down on the couch.”
The agreement is a relief, if only because they can stop this conversation. Dean crashes on the couch, and Cas sits in the arm chair. They get through a few episodes before the demon’s appetite starts to return, and his companion offers to make dinner.
“Just don’t poison me.”
It’s pasta and sauce, nothing special, and it’s easy on Dean’s stomach. But he keeps watching the clock, keeps counting down the hours until Cas is going to be gone forever, and it nauseates him all over again.
When one o’ clock rolls around, Castiel lets out a yawn. He turns off the television as the end credits roll.
“We should go to bed,” he says. He rises from his chair and goes to Dean, offering a hand.
Grunting, the demon sits up, and he takes it without hesitation. His legs are still a little wobbly, but he thinks that’s more from nerves than anything else. Cas turns, heading for his room, but Dean’s words stop him.
“My mom died when I was four,” he says, voice hitching slightly. This isn’t a story he tells… ever, really. There’s only a few people that have ever heard it, and most of them are dead. It’s always seemed to be a pattern that those who get too close to the Winchesters end up six feet under. “A demon came in, was lurking in Sammy’s room. Mom saw, so he… The guy killed her and burned the house down.
“Dad became obsessed. He raised Sam and I to be hunters. Sam ended up leaving for college. He didn’t want anything to do with us. He was always kind of weird, really. Didn’t like hurting people. He was friendly, people liked him. Had a soft spot for humans and monsters, too, and he was always real smart and nerdy. But we got him back, and the three of us killed the demon. But, uh… Dad didn’t make it.” He’s surprised at how hard it is to talk about this. Mom, Dad, Sam. They’ve all been gone for a long time now, but the thought is still painful, and the words are even worse. “That left just me and Sam.”
Dean looks at the ground, because he can’t look at Cas right now, not while the guy’s drowning in the clothes that his brother used to wear. “We had a fight a few years ago. He went off, and I didn’t hear from him until a few months later, when I get a letter from the freaking Chief of Police in Tuscany that he died.” He brushes a hard hand over his eyes.
“Apparently he got killed trying to stop a couple of demons from beating up these humans. Things got nasty and…” Dean shakes his head and gives a haflt-hearted chuckle. “Humans lived. The demons got pretty messed up. And Sam just…” He sighs. “Figures he’d go out like some kind of hero.”
When the silence settles in, Dean regrets saying this at all. His eyes burn, and he can feel his throat closing up on him. Everything is awful, and he’s going to just go back to his room when Cas reaches out and puts a hand on his shoulder.
“I’m sorry, Dean,” he says gently.
The demon shrugs it off, though, hoping that his sniff isn’t as loud as it seems. “There’s nothing to be sorry about it. It’s just how things are,” he mumbles. “I wouldn’t say I have ‘abandonment issues’ or whatever that bitch told you… But I’d rather you hear the story from me than be going off whatever Meg told you.”
Cas takes a step forward, and they’re a lot closer than they usually are, which is definitely saying something. The angel licks his lips, and Dean wonders if he’s still a little drunk, because he suddenly gets quite a few inappropriate thoughts.
“I think I’ve nearly healed,” he says, eyes glancing down for a brief second. “I should be on my way any day now.”
Hearing that said hurts more than Dean expected. He knows that it’s not going to happen, of course, that Crowley is going to take him instead. But it’s still painful to have Cas say it out loud.
“Yeah. I guess so,” is all he can think of for a reply. He’s not sure where to stare, where to look, so he chooses the angel’s eyes. They seem different, and he doesn’t think it’s because of the Castiel’s grace or energy or any of that.
“Dean… Do you want me to stay?”
His chest and torso tighten up immediately. The question knocks the wind out of him, and he’s left like a deer in the headlights. “Do… Uh…” He fumbles for words. “Do you… want to?”
“Yes… I think I would like to.”
And Dean has to be drunk—he has to be, because there’s no other explanation for his behavior. Relief, happiness, anxiety—it all washes over him in an instant, and he shouldn’t be feeling any of that, not when he knows that this time tomorrow, Cas will be far out of his reach.
But as he goes forward and pulls the angel in for a firm, thankful kiss, he realizes that the moment he told Cas not to put on the bracelet was the moment he decided that Crowley was no longer in the equation.
His fingers cup the angel’s face, the tips digging slightly into his cheeks, sliding into his hair. Neither of them move for a moment, both surprised by this turn of events, and the longer Cas goes without doing anything, the more embarrassed Dean gets. Finally, he has to pull away, and his cheeks turn red. The words You’re so fucking stupid are already rolling on a loop in his head, and he’s ready to apologize, but Cas grabs him and kisses him back.
That’s all the consent Dean needs before he’s leading them into his room and lowering Cas onto the bed. The two kiss passionately, the demon’s hands planting themselves firmly on either side of Cas’ face while the angel’s roam and grab curiously at whatever they can find.
It’s not long before Dean starts to feel for the buttons on their shirts, their pants, and one-by-one, pieces of their clothing fall to the floor. Cas’ body is beautiful, but it’s marred by the scars from his battle, the one that drove them together. They stop kissing long enough for the demon to look at each one and carefully run his fingers over the raised skin. He can’t imagine that scars are a normal thing for angels, and he silently hopes that they’ll heal one day.
But he doesn’t want to linger there for long, not when he notices that Cas’ eyes are following the motions, face not quite hiding a twinge of pain. The hunter moves south, then, and slides his fingers in the waistband of Cas’ pants to tug them and expose the angel’s half-hard cock against his leg.
Dean’s not usually in this position. He prefers to be on the receiving end of this kind of thing, but if the angel’s as much of a virgin as he claims, then he figures it’d probably be best for the demon to lead the way for now. They can switch things up on another day, some other time, but right now Dean is just so damn happy that he doesn’t care what he does as long as he can make Cas stay.
Cas is staying.
That’s what really drives him forward. The thought that Castiel, Angel of the Lord, is staying here, wants to stay here, is overwhelming. And he doesn’t think of how this could go wrong. He doesn’t wonder how he’s going to get out of this deal with Crowley. He doesn’t worry that Cas is lying to him). All he cares about is that he’s happy—really, really happy—for the first time in a long time, and he just wants the angel to be happy, too.
After sinking to his knees on the floor, Dean runs his hands over the creases between the other man’s legs and hips, feeling the body shudder beneath his touch. The angel leans back on one hand, the other running through the short crop of hair on the demon’s head. Dean teases with his hands, his fingers, exploring the intimate details of a body that he’s thought of more than once while he was by himself (and sometimes with someone else). He can feel the angel harden under his touch, hum deep in his throat at every pleasuring caress.
There’s a strange noise, like fluttering cloth, when Dean’s lips touch against the head, but he ignores it, focusing instead on closing his eyes and working the angel’s cock as best he can. He makes his way down farther and farther along the shaft until Cas is buried completely inside his mouth. Green eyes flutter open, and the demon looks up to see the other’s face.
Then he chokes, and Cas yelps, because holy fuck he wasn’t expecting that.
Dean falls right back onto his ass, staring up at Castiel like nothing he’s ever seen before—or, more accurately, staring up at Castiel’s wings. They’re manifested, one spread out across the bed and the other draped across the room, and it’s like the angel’s sitting in front of a backdrop of feathers. Cas doubles over slightly, making Dean jump as the wings move with him, perfectly in-tune with body. The demon’s never seen an angel’s fully-formed wings, not in person, and he just can’t stop staring, mouth slightly open.
“Dean, I’m so sorry,” Cas spits out, face turning bright with embarrassment. “They-they’re triggered by adrenaline, and I just couldn’t—if I concentrate, I can put them back. I apologize, I just—“
Dean rushes in, “No, no, no! No way, man!” He sits back up and slowly gets closer, hands reaching to stroke a feather before stopping short. “I’m not going to turn into a pillar of salt if I touch them or anything, right?”
Castiel chuckles and shakes his head. “No. It might… feel strange, I think, but you shouldn’t be harmed.”
Dean nods, and then lets his fingers glide over the feathers. They’re softer than he thought, and Cas is right; it almost feels like touching an electric socket, like his fingers are buzzing with energy that slowly fills up the rest of his body. Castiel shudders, and the wing presses into the demon’s touch.
Fuck blow jobs. This is how Dean wants to get Cas off.
After shucking off the rest of his own clothes, he gets onto the bed, unable to stop himself from petting the angel. He tells the man to get onto his hands and knees, and Cas does so without question (though he seems a little upset that he’s not getting blown). That doesn’t last very long, though, because soon Dean’s running his hands through the feathers, gently at first until he gathers the courage to work his fingers in deeper. Castiel arches into every touch, and his gentle moans are muffled by the pillow.
Dean spends a long time there, but he eventually moves on. He has to remove himself for just a moment to dig around the bedside table for lube, and he wastes no time in prepping himself and then working on the angel.
Fingers slicked up, he presses one against the angel’s entrance, a thrill running through him at the thought that no one else has touched Cas here. The man tenses up, but Dean presses a kiss to the small of his back, free hand stroking soothingly at his waist.
“Just relax,” he says into the skin. “I’ll take care of it.”
It gets the angel to loosen a little bit, and Dean starts to work him open. It’s the slowest this process has ever been, but he finds himself not minding, especially as he gets to watch those awesome wings stretch across the room, things that have always been symbols of ethereal power, meant to strike fear in the hearts of anyone who might have to see them. But here they are so much different. They aren’t meant to be tools of destruction, but act as an extension of pleasure and trust.
Dean moves one hand to Castiel’s cock and strokes him slow, his other fingers testing how loose he is. Once the angel is ready, Dean moves both his hands to the man’s hips. Cas groans and wiggles them in frustration, trying to push back, and Dean smiles slightly. The tip of his cock presses against the angel’s entrance, and he waits just a moment to brace himself before beginning to push inside.
Cas moans loudly, hands clutching desperately at the sheets and pillows, trying to find purchase anywhere they can. Shushing him, Dean gently reminds him that he needs to relax. It takes several minutes to fully sheath himself inside the other man, but once he does, he has to take a moment to appreciate how beautiful this all is.
He leans over so that his chest is almost pressed against Cas’ back. His face is buried in feathers, and one hand reaches up to grab the top of a wing. The other snakes down and wraps around the angel’s cock, and soon he’s pumping it in time with his thrusts.
It’s fast for both of them. Cas is the first to go off, coming within a minute. He’s not loud, but quiet, breathing in sharply and bucking back against the demon. Hissing through his teeth, he buries his face in the pillow and grunts into it. He doesn’t move for a moment, even as Dean starts to pound him even faster, but as he comes down from his high, he becomes more pliant beneath the hunter.
Dean follows suit rather quickly. Try as he might, he can’t keep himself for too long, not with his face buried in feathers that light him up with sensation and angel come smeared across the top of his sheets.
He supports Cas by the chest and wing when he gives his final thrusts, and stays there for a moment as he empties himself. He feels the wings disappearing beneath his touch, dematerializing. As he pulls out, the feathers become transparent and fade away, leaving nothing but two naked, sweat-covered bodies on the bed.
Neither seems to mind the mess as they fall side-by-side, facing each other. They don’t say anything, and Dean can’t help but lean forward to press another gentle kiss to Castiel’s lips. No words need to be spoken as they gather close, arms wrapped around each other and legs intertwined. It hangs in their air, a truth that needs no words in order to be understood. And when Dean falls asleep, he can’t remember the last time he felt so at ease.