When Dean gets out of the shower, bathrobe wrapped tightly around him, he’s greeted with the croons of Sinatra and the sharp sounds of Sam’s laughter. He walks towards the main room, where he left his brother with a stack full of books and wonders what could be making Sam laugh.
The sight that greets him almost makes him choke. Sam is standing with his hands on the shoulders of a very stiff, very terrified looking Castiel.
Dean’s first reaction is to panic, because something must be wrong here. Castiel looks like someone who has had the ground snatched out from beneath him and is trying to balance on a tightwire. It takes Dean a considerably long moment to realize that what the two men are doing is dancing.
Or trying to, at least.
Sam has Cas at arms length, and the angel is gripping the sides of Sam’s flannel with considerable force. But Sam seems un-phased. In fact, his brother seems to be enjoying himself. He has a light smile gracing his lips and his cheeks are tinted red. The way he keeps giggling makes Dean think that Sammy might be a little drunk—that and the fact that he’s trying to teach an angel how to waltz—and it takes Dean less than a second to glance over the book covered table to find a half emptied bottle of wine.
Cas has forgone his coat and jacket; his shirt sleeves are rolled up to the elbows, and he has a look of consternation on his face, like the faith of humanity depends on him learning to dance. His eyes are glued to his feet, and the sight of him, this angel of the Lord looking lost and confused because he can’t master the simple task of moving his feet left to right, hits Dean hard.
Dean stands there and watches them for a minute, his hulkish brother and the tense angel moving together with the difficulty of two pubescent mountains, when he finally makes his presence known.
He clears his throat. “Should I leave you two alone?”
Cas’ head shoots up at him, his face looking even more panic-ridden, but Sam gives Dean an easy smile.
“No,” Sam says, pulling the angel’s clenched fists off of his shirt. “I’m afraid Cas is a hopeless case.”
Something close to hurt flashes over Cas’ face, but it’s quickly replaced with cool resignation. He brings his hands down to his sides, and tightens his fingers into a ball, before he relaxes them again.
“I believe you’re correct, Sam,” the angel says, his voice sounding far away. “Perhaps dancing requires a certain human quality, which I obviously lack.”
Dean’s not sure what makes him act, maybe it’s the damn robe and its ridiculously high thread count that’s making him feel all kinds of blissful, but he finds himself moving towards Cas, holding one hand out to the angel while the other settles itself comfortably around Cas’ waist.
“Nonsense,” Dean says. “You’ve just been practicing with the wrong person. Sammy has the grace of a Yeti on crack.”
Sam laughs at that as he makes his way towards the table. He grabs one of the many tomes laid open and clutches it to his chest. “I’m gonna sort through the stacks again,” he says, lightly tapping the cover of the book with the back of his hand. “See if I can find something similar to this text.”
Dean watches Sam disappear behind the bookshelves and he turns his gaze back to Cas who now looks even more terrified than before. His eyes are open wide, his mouth clenched shut, and he has yet to place his hand in the one Dean is holding out.
Dean clears his throat and motions his head towards his open palm. It pulls Cas out of whatever trance he's in and the angel tentatively places his hand in Dean’s. Dean’s fingers automatically curl around Cas’ knuckles and he’s surprised at how warm the angel’s skin is.
“Let’s not try to do anything too fancy,” Dean says. He pulls Cas a little closer by the waist, splaying his fingers out against the cheap cotton of Jimmy Novak’s button down, and he lets his thumb graze the slight dip just beneath Cas’ ribcage.
“How about we just try moving together?” Dean continues.
Cas’ eyes meet Dean’s and the angel nods with a degree of solemnity that makes Dean laugh.
“What?” Cas demands, his voice rough and a little agitated.
“You,” Dean says. “I’m not asking for your hand in marriage here. It’s just a dance.”
Dean's words help the angel shake off some of his rigidness, and Cas raises his head up high. “I’m not afraid of dancing, Dean,” Cas says, voice deep and sharp.
“Then put your other hand on my shoulder,” Dean says. “And follow my lead.”
Cas does what Dean tells him, placing his hand lightly on Dean’s shoulder, and Dean takes the opportunity to slide his hand further towards the center of Cas’ back, bringing their bodies closer till there’s less than half a foot between them.
“Just move your feet with mine,” Dean says, and he starts counting off, “one, two, three, four.”
Cas shuffles his feet inch by inch, barely picking his feet off the ground, but he’s able to follow the rhythm well enough.
Dean briefly wonders if he should change out of the robe and put on some real clothes. After all, dancing requires lots of movement, and it’s a little strange that the only thing covering his skin from the air, from Castiel’s gaze, is essentially a long yard of fabric that could easily be undone by one tug of the belt. He finds that the thought doesn’t bother him as much as he thought it would. Besides, he likes the way the robe hugs him and how its hem sweeps about him as he moves.
Cas, as if reading his thoughts, comments on the robe. “You like this,” he says, picking at the collar of the robe. “You wear it often.”
“I do,” Dean says, but doesn’t elaborate further. Cas takes this in stride and lowers his gaze till it’s riveted to his feet, as if the secret to dancing could be found on the tips of his loafers.
Dean brings his hand up till it’s under Cas’ chin, fingers tracing the faint stubble there, and he nudges the angel’s head up. “Eyes on me,” Dean says, and if the register of his voice is slightly lower than usual, well, then it must just be the fact that the bunker’s well heated.
Cas’ eyes lock onto his, blue eyes clearer than ever, and he tilts his head as his hold on Dean’s shoulder tightens. Dean surprises himself and lets out a soft hum of content at the increased pressure.
He lets the hand on Cas’ waist drift down to the side of the angel’s hip and gives a slight squeeze. “You have to loosen up, man. Don’t think of it as a dance. Think of it as a fight.”
Dean quickly steps to the right and Cas follows him.
“Move in tandem with your partner,” Dean says, pressing Cas close till their chests bump and then pushing forward so that Cas is moving backwards.
“Anticipate their moves.”
He slips his hand away from Cas’ waist, pulls the angel by their clasped hands, and brings him in for a spin. Cas moves into it seamlessly, and when he’s completed the full turn, he stops so that he’s an inch away from Dean, one hand clasped in Dean’s and the other planted firmly against Dean’s chest.
See,” Dean says, his voice soft. “Not so difficult.”
Cas’ fingers curl against Dean’s clavicle, against the fabric of the robe, and Dean can feel the angel’s thumb skirting the hem of the robe’s collar, tentatively tracing the skin just below it.
Cas appears to be entranced by what his thumb is doing, and his teeth worry at his bottom lip as his finger circles the skin just below Dean’s collarbone. Dean’s toes curl against the hard floor and he swallows thickly, blood coursing through him in a way that makes him want to do something crazy. Something like pushing an angel onto a table full of demon research and having his way with him, watching Cas' fingers curl around the leaves of books as Dean sends him over the edge.
And Dean wants to do other things. Even crazier things, like telling Cas that there’s a spare room in the bunker and maybe the angel should take it. Maybe he should stick around for a while, not because he’s useful in a bind, but because Dean’s chest feels a thousand times lighter when he knows where Cas is.
Cas heaves a heavy breath, and he slumps a little, body growing heavy in Dean’s hold.
Dean’s arms immediately tighten around Cas in worry. “What? What’s wrong?”
“It’s just-- overwhelming.”
“What is? The dancing?” Dean jokes. “Is it making you dizzy?”
“I don’t think it’s the dancing,” Cas says, eyes skirting up at Dean and skirting away just as quickly, and suddenly, he’s breaking away from Dean, refusing to meet the other man’s gaze.
“I should go,” the angel says with an air of finality, and before Dean can reach out a hand to ask the angel to stay—they could share a drink or play a board game or something—the sound of wings echoes through the room and Cas is gone.