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After the Fire

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“I mean, you're all but useless, Cas,” Dean said dismissively, concluding his not-so-brief diatribe on why exactly Castiel's opinion on how to deal with demons was wrong.

One of the half-dozen other people present round the table, a pretty woman with dirty blonde hair named Azaria, scowled at Dean and then had the temerity to turn her gaze on Cas with concern, with sympathy.

“What does it say about our fearless leader, then?” Cas answered Dean, coldly. “That you still insist on my presence to make decisions?”

“Good question,” Dean muttered, rolling his eyes.

Cas just raised his eyebrows and shrugged, pulling the crutches towards him from where they rested against the wall in the corner. Azaria immediately started to rise out of her chair to help him up, but Cas insisted on doing this on his own. Around 6 weeks ago now, Cas had broken his foot whilst out on a mission with Dean and company, as they had attempted to make a swift getaway after a showdown with a demon called Meg. It was debilitating and humiliating enough for the former angel to be incapacitated, to depend on the people around him to do things for him, but he could definitely get out of a fucking chair on his own.

“Oh,” Dean threw up one hand slightly in a guarded but still obvious display of his frustration, “So now you're going?”

Everyone in the room stayed silent, and Cas didn't look back at Dean as he got up. Cas's hands around the handles of the crutches, he felt his arms taking his weight, his shoulders aching as he propelled himself forward in slow, small steps, limping out of the meeting cabin and into the cold December night with as much dignity as he possibly could, returning to the cabin he shared with Dean.

The meeting was close to being over when he left it, anyway, so Cas was not surprised when, having only been back at the cabin for a few minutes, he heard someone else walking up the veranda outside. But the footfalls were too light to be Dean's – and it turned out to be Azaria. 

The strongest emotion in Cas at that point, by far, was disappointment. He would prefer to be alone. Nevertheless, he invited her in. The two of them were friends, though it was a little more complicated than that.

Azaria had been a nurse, before all this, and now did her best as a medic at the camp, hence her presence at the meeting where they had been discussing the problem of their dwindling medical supplies, among other issues. She had cared for Cas when he was injured. Cas had asked Dean once if he could tell whether Azaria was in love with him. Dean had laughed the question off, but Cas knew Dean well enough to understand the meaning of the look in his eyes; jealousy. And Cas kind of hated himself for it, but he frequently played that to his advantage.

Once Azaria was inside Cas lit the paraffin lamp, deciding it was probably too late to bother with making a fire. He then let his trenchcoat fall to the floor in a crumpled brown heap and sat down next to it, leaning back against the foot of the bed. Azaria picked the coat up and draped it over her shoulders, apparently for warmth, though Cas was sure from her little smile as she did it that she was motivated more by her fondness for Cas, seeing as by this point the thing was filthy and worn ragged. Apart from it being Cas's signature item of clothing there was no particular reason for him to keep it. It wasn't waterproof anymore and wasn't even thick enough to be all that warm.

Cas lit a few of the candles on the side, but the only significant source of light or heat in the room remained the lamp on the floor in front of them, and that put out very little of either. The camp did have generators, and sometimes electricity was available through the mains, but, regardless, they tried not to waste it.

Azaria and Cas were alone for some time. Cas dug out some amphetamines, one of the many drugs that they had been able to get from pharmacies. He offered Azaria one, though he took two, and they were not his first of the day. Cas did also have some Ecstasy, but the last time he offered it to Azaria it had led to an argument, and Cas really couldn't be bothered with that.

They talked for a while, and Cas eventually forgot all about how angry he was supposed to be with Dean and found words tumbling quickly out of his mouth on some other subject, even though he didn't really know what he was talking about. Finally, not for the first time in the time they had known each other, Azaria asked, “Why do you stay with him, Cas?”

Cas scoffed as if that was a completely stupid question. Everyone in the camp knew that Dean and Cas shared this cabin; and all but the newest and most oblivious members knew that they were together. They had always been together. Dean and Cas. Cas and Dean. It wasn't a thing to be questioned. “How long have you got?” He replied, casually. “We go back a long way.”

“He treats you like crap,” Azaria countered earnestly.

“No he doesn't...” Cas replied wearily, knowing how he sounded – as if he were some fool so hopelessly in love with the great Dean Winchester and so lacking in self-esteem that he couldn't be on his own. But that wasn't the way it was between them.

Azaria pulled out a crumpled piece of paper from her pocket; a list of names with blue and yellow highlighter pens dragged over it to split people into two teams. “You know last time him he and Risa went on a mission?” Azaria began, looking at Cas earnestly. Cas rolled his eyes and looked away, but she went on. “They each led a different team. You know, she took over for you. But next week they're going together–”

“I'm sure there's a reason for that,” Cas replied, with a dismissive wave of his hand.

“You know they'll be staying out overnight in–”

“If Dean wanted to fuck Risa,” Cas snapped, his tone shocking both of them, “then he would. He wouldn't concoct some complicated scheme to get them alone in the wilderness, he'd just go right over to her cabin. So drop it.”

“I'm just trying to look after you,” she said, with a note of annoyance, but after that they both sat in silence for some time. For the sake of something to do, Cas languidly pulled the paper from her fingertips and looked over it. He and Dean were together on the list of names:

Winchester, Castiel
Winchester, Dean

Usually, Cas would lead one group and Dean the other, but seeing as Cas was injured, there was no highlighter pen dragged over his name. He was still on the list, though. His eyes fell to Risa's name, indeed highlighted the same colour as Dean's.

Risa often led the second team these days, since Cas's injury, if there was a second team on a mission, and Cas did not look forward to the day that he would have to try and put her back in her place, taking orders from him. There was a large part of Cas that didn't believe that he had the authority to be giving orders anymore, that perhaps it was better if Risa maintained her position as a leader.

Despite all that Dean said, though, Cas knew that that wasn't going to happen. Cas was kept on the list despite not doing anything useful for the last six weeks, and he knew that Dean did that to make sure everyone remembered what the score was. While Dean was The Leader, and others variously described themselves as Record-Keeper, Cook, Medic, or whatever the case may be, Cas had no title of any kind. He certainly wasn't one of the “grunts” and was not really even referred to as a soldier. It was curious, really. No labels ever quite stuck to Cas, his presence and role in the camp somewhat ill-defined, and yet everyone did as he told them and was completely aware that the second in command after Dean was, and always would be, Castiel Winchester.

Cas never understood why he needed a last name, and technically he didn't. It just made things a little simpler to administrate for Chuck and everyone else if he could be recorded in that way. And, certainly, no other surname had occurred to him. Dean had never said anything about Cas's use of his surname, but Cas suspected that Dean actually kind of liked it – that Cas had Dean's name branding him, similar to how Dean had Cas's handprint branding him. There was a streak of possessiveness in them both, to be sure.

A draft of cold air disturbed them as the door opened and Dean marched into the room. He shrugged off his jacket, greeting Azaria with a curt nod. Cas leaned back against the foot of the bed, acutely aware of Azaria watching them both, scrutinising their behaviour and their interactions. “Hey baby,” Cas said casually, and he could see Dean roll his eyes at the nickname as he kicked off his boots. “Are you staying?”

“I live here,” Dean replied, gruffly, passing Cas without looking at him and climbing onto the bed.

“I should be going...” Azaria muttered, awkwardly getting to her feet and leaving Cas's coat behind her on the floor. Cas shrugged and got up, limping over to the door to see her out and bid her goodnight. She wouldn't look at Dean and wouldn't meet Cas's eyes, and just like that she was gone. She'd been gone the second Dean stepped into the room.

Dean, meanwhile, had picked the lamp up off the floor to rest beside the bed and was reading a book as if nothing was wrong. Cas limped back over to the bed and climbed on, crawling up next to Dean. “What are you reading?”

“Tom Clancy,” Dean replied. Cas scoffed and settled to lie down next to him. Dean added, “It's Rainbow Six. It's about a soldiers fighting to thwart a plot to end the world with germ warfare.” Dean shrugged. “I guess you could say I relate.”

“Oh,” Cas replied, seeing why that could be interesting. Though just at the moment he rather lacked the ability to sustain interest in anything properly, simultaneously feeling maddeningly bored but having no inclination to actually do anything.

Abruptly, Dean put the book down and shifted down the bed to lie on his side half on top of Cas, imposing himself in Cas's personal space, changing the tone drastically. “Planning to fuck that girl on our bed, were you Cas?”

Cas laughed and looked up at Dean, lightly trailing his fingers through Dean's hair, not scared or intimidated by him in the least. “Her name is Azaria.”

Dean pressed a hand to the centre of Cas's chest, able to feel the heat of his body through his thin, loose cotton shirt, despite the cold weather outside and the fact that it wasn't that much warmer in the cabin. “You weren't expecting me to come back?”

“Not really, no.” Cas replied. As it was, Dean had been gone a while – long enough...

“So when I broke up your little party, were you disappointed?”

“That depends,” Cas mused, “on whether you've realised how right I am.”

Dean broke into a smile, something like genuine amusement shining through. Not so long ago, Dean had drunkenly admitted to Cas that no one else ever made him smile anymore – but Cas was different from everyone else. Cas infuriated him, defied him, stood up to him. Because someone had to.

Dean's reply was short and simple yet it conveyed so much of what was wrong with him, “I can do this, Cas.”

“I know.” Cas pushed Dean off him and sat up. “Let's be clear,” he began, suddenly feeling as if he was speaking with great moral authority, “what you're proposing is torture...”

“Come on, Cas, we work over demons we capture all the time.”

“Yes but this is...” Cas clenched his jaw, remembering Dean's detached and disinterested tone as he had described to Cas and Bobby how he intended to modify cells in a nearby abandoned prison to trap demons, and then keep them there to torture them. None of the other members of the camp knew about the torture, just interrogation. “This is institutionalised torture,” Cas concluded.

“Torture is torture, isn't it?” Dean shrugged. “There was a time, Cas, when you would have laid into me for caring about any of that stuff.”

Cas stiffened. “I've changed.” All I've got to say for myself is my humanity.

“Tell me about it,” Dean muttered. “Well I'm sorry, Cas, but I can't afford to care anymore. Don't you get it? It's no different from what I've already been doing, except it might actually work better because I'd have more time. More... resources.”

“I won't allow it,” Cas insisted. Having let Dean return to the way they would work over demons they captured was bad enough...

“Oh, you won't allow it?” Dean seemed amused, incredulous. “I'm the leader here, and I don't remember giving you a veto.”

“Well perhaps you should have,” Cas replied, tersely.

“Plenty of other people in the camp see my point,” Dean added quickly. “Risa thinks I'm right.”

Cas laughed – sharply, briefly, and bitterly – and said nothing.

A moment passed in strained silence. Cas was sure that Dean knew that he had made a somewhat meaningless argument; the opinions of people who didn't know all of the details was hardly of any relevance.

Cas didn't want to torture demons, and it disturbed him no end that the people the demons possessed were aware of what was going on – but he considered himself better able to cope with the whole thing than Dean. Dean was still haunted by the spectre of what he had done in Hell, whereas Cas wasn't. Cas could compartmentalise. He wanted to protect Dean from this entirely, he wanted to volunteer himself. He didn't quite manage to say any of that, though they had had the conversation before. Cas just said, “No one else truly knows what you're talking about, Dean. And I don't think they should. We shouldn't involve anyone else in this. We don't even tell anyone else where the place is. Just you and me.”

“And if we're not around?”

“Then that's just too bad.”

Dean sighed exasperatedly. Cas added, “And besides, no one else could give the location away, if they were, you know, tortured for the information.”

“Yeah...” Dean conceded.

“And we're not going to start keeping lots of demons there long term.”

“Why not?”

“Because...” Cas paused. “Because then we would essentially be running a concentration camp, Dean.”

Dean sighed wearily. “So? They're demons.”

Dean.” Cas stared at him, hard, and Dean knew that Cas was not going to let this go.

“Fine,” Dean sighed and lay back down. “Not too many, not too long...”

This time Cas moved to lay at Dean's side, propped up on one arm and looking down at him. He slipped his fingers under Dean's plaid button-down, ghosting lightly over the surface of the t-shirt he wore underneath. “I believe that this is what well-adjusted adults call a compromise...” 

“I wouldn't know,” Dean replied, with a small, wry smile. He pulled Cas in for a kiss, his hand cool and soothing on the back of Cas's neck. “Are you stoned right now?”

“No.”

Dean looked into his eyes carefully and thought for a moment. “I hate arguing with you, Cas,” he sighed. “Let's just go to bed, we can work out the details of all this tomorrow... when you're sober...”

Cas let that go. He didn't consider himself “stoned”, an expression he still didn't understand, but he wasn't all that sober, either. He felt incredibly tense and alert, but at the same time, the world around him seemed somewhat detached, and had the uncanny sensation that he was occupying some kind of museum or simulation. He got the idea into his head and became quite distracted by it, staring at the wall for a moment until Dean hit him on the arm with an exasperated sound and told him to go put out the candles.

Just as they did every night in the cold of winter they both exchanged their grubby jeans for sweatpants before going to bed, and Cas put the candles out and returned there. Cas took a moment to stretch, clasping his hands together behind him, in front of him, raising them above his head. He knew that Dean was watching him, that doing this in front of Dean served as a tacit invitation. Dean shifted on the bed to come and sit behind him, massaging Cas's back for him. Cas let out a few small sounds of pleasure at the relief it provided, feeling the tension dissipate under Dean's hands.

Cas had to stretch frequently, and generally needed Dean to do this too to ease the dull ache in his back. In human terms, there was nothing wrong with him, but in angel terms, he was accustomed to being able to feel his wings and couldn't anymore. It seemed bizarre that they could just vanish, and even Cas couldn't wrap his head around the physics involved in the idea that they could have “faded away” as his grace had. But they did seem to be gone, apart from the pain they left behind.

This little ritual had started out as a chore for them, but over time had become something that they both kind of enjoyed. It wasn't inherently an act of foreplay but it was often the case that once Dean has his hands on Cas he was reluctant to remove them.

Cas knew he was lucky to have this; he hated having to sleep every night but at least he slept next to someone who loved him and took care of him. Dean and Cas had spent so many nights together now that it was routine, commonplace; they were so completely relaxed and comfortable with each other like this that sleeping alone, when that happened, actually felt acutely strange wrong to both of them.

The first time had been around 18 months ago, in July 2012: the night that Dean heard about Detroit. They always referred to incident, on the rare occasions they referred to it at all, simply as Detroit, never as Sam or Lucifer or Sam saying Yes to Lucifer in Detroit.

Dean had been quiet. For at least two hours after hearing the news, he hadn't said a word.

He and Cas were sharing a motel room with two beds. Cas had been at a bizarre point in his transition. Heaven was on the defensive, and in retreat from Lucifer and his demons, and that left Cas completely cut off and with very little power. Cas didn't need to sleep, and didn't yet have the ability to sleep, and yet he did get tired. For the past several months, while he and Dean hunted together, they had stayed in motel rooms with two beds. While Dean went to sleep, Cas would lie down and close his eyes, resting for a while.

But that night, after Detroit, Cas couldn't imagine that either of them were going to be able to rest.

Dean sat in front of the TV drinking beer, but Cas knew that he wasn't watching it, and probably wasn't even registering what was on the screen at all. Cas was scared. He had seen Dean angry and upset before – seen Dean beat the crap out of something they were hunting, seen him smash things up, even unload rounds from his gun into some inanimate object. But Cas had never seen Dean like this. Dean was so quiet, so still, as whatever he was going through went so far beyond devastation and fear that he wasn't able to come up with an appropriate reaction.

Cas got down to his shirt and pants, as he had got in the habit of doing, and left his other clothes in a pile by the side of the bed so that they were easily retrievable if they had to leave in a hurry. Cas lay on top of the covers, just as Dean did at night time, unless it was exceptionally cold.

He had lain there for a while before he heard Dean get up, leaving the TV on, and coming over to sit on the other bed, just watching Cas, thinking. At that point, Cas knew what he wanted. He wanted to give Dean the affection he needed; he wanted to hold him and kiss him and... Well, they had never got further than that. They had actually kissed twice before; once while very very drunk and once up against an alley wall in the middle of a heated argument. After both occasions, Dean made it abundantly clear that it never happened and Cas was never to speak of it. So Cas didn't speak of it. But he would look at Dean even more intently than before, and sometimes would catch Dean looking at him, too.

But to in any way take advantage of all that on that night would have been tasteless in the extreme. Cas had turned his back out of respect for Dean's privacy, but he hoped that Dean would still know that Cas was available to talk, if that was what Dean wanted.

It wasn't.

In a measured, controlled sort of way, Dean climbed onto the bed, pulled Cas by the shoulder to roll him onto his back and then crawled on top of him. “Cas, I need you,” was all he said before pressing his body against Cas and capturing his lips in a kiss. He didn't quite look Cas in the eye when he said it, but Cas knew that it was completely true nevertheless.

And Cas wasn't surprised at all. He knew that it had been a matter of time before the sexual tension between them finally snapped. Since the kisses that never happened it had been palpable to the point of being insufferable. Cas wanted this and needed this, and he knew that Dean felt the same.

Cas wasn't nervous, either. Dean had finally succeeded in getting Cas an experience with a woman a long time ago, and Cas had got a few of his own since then without even telling Dean about it. Apparently, in this form he was attractive enough to women, as long as he didn't say anything stupid. The apocalypse seemed to help, imbuing people with a seize the day mentality which translated easily into thinking that one-night-stands were a good idea.

But Cas had never been with another man. That was territory he was unfamiliar with, so he let Dean take the lead, let Dean take whatever he needed, as Cas was more than happy to give it. When Dean got between Cas's legs he paused to meet Cas's eyes in search of approval, consent, and Cas gave it. He had enough angel mojo for simple telekinesis, like getting lube and a condom from amongst Dean's things without either of them having to leave the bed and interrupt this fragile moment. The first time with Dean was seared into Cas's memory; the sheer force of the thrill and the relief when Dean entered him for the first time, how this didn't feel like it was changing their relationship, just consummating what they already had.

Neither of them spoke, but with Cas's every touch he hoped to say I'm here for you, with his every kiss I love you, and with every moan I need you, too. Dean wasn't rough, but he was insistent, and his desperation and loneliness soon became all too apparent, the way he would bury his face in the crook of Cas's neck, the way his fingers would clutch at Cas's skin hard enough to leave bruises. And if Dean was surprised that he wasn't exactly getting the shy virginal Castiel that he might have imagined, then he didn't show it. The two of them surrendered themselves to each other; it was fast, needy and inelegant, but it was, without a doubt, making love.

Afterwards, Dean rested his head on Cas's chest and stayed there, still completely wordless. Cas stroked his hair for a while, using what little was left of his grace to lull Dean to sleep, though doing so weakened him. That was the first night that Cas slept, and he did so hopelessly tangled up with Dean physically and emotionally.

From then on, apart from Dean's occasional bouts of denial, they both just seemed to accept that this was the nature of their relationship without discussing it. Too much other stuff was happening for introspective examinations of one's sexuality and feelings. They would go everywhere together, they started staying in motel rooms with one bed, and they took pleasure from each other every chance they got.

Shortly after Lucifer acquired his true vessel the other angels seemed to disappear; Castiel felt the last link his grace had to Heaven snap, and he was left alone on Earth, alone except for Dean. Castiel's power drained away and, trapped in his vessel, he became practically human. As the world went to hell and Croatoan spread like wildfire, he and Dean, each being all the other had left, got into a routine of mutual trust co-operation.

Dean and Castiel against the world.

A few weeks after Detroit, they discovered Camp Chitaqua, already occupied by a desperate band of survivors under siege by demons. Dean and Cas had led a few others in taking those demons out and chasing them off.

The Impala had not survived the battle, and, finding themselves sort of trapped at the camp (for Dean would not leave his baby) they had helped to work out ways to guard and defend it, and somehow or another they found themselves leading the hap-hazard little community.

Days turned to weeks, weeks turned to months, and somehow, they just never left. Camp Chitaqua had been poorly organised at first, but it steadily came together as everyone adjusted to their roles in the camp and adjusted to each other. Dean and Cas had the natural authority and expertise to be regarded as the leaders. Cas was always at Dean's side, to fight with him, to work with him, to help him to make decisions.

It wasn't always perfect, by any means – there were numerous arguments and they were known to occasionally spend some time apart to let off steam, which may or may not involve sleeping with someone else just for the hell of it, not that they ever spoke to each other about what went on while they were apart. It didn't matter, though. No one had, or ever would have, the connection that existed between Dean and Cas. They always went back to each other, and even when they were apart, they were still together.

And now, well over a year into their stay at Camp Chitaqua in this little cabin, this bed, Dean was a reassuring presence next to Cas in the dark as they pulled the covers up over themselves, shutting out the cold. Cas was relieved when Dean chose to pull him closer and curl around him, chest against Cas's back, and it felt as if they naturally fitted together perfectly. Cas settled into a comfortable position and his breath hitched when Dean's hand on his hip pulled him back, so his ass was nestled against Dean's crotch. “You're always so warm, Cas...” Dean murmured as his fingers trailed up to Cas's waist and under his shirt, and Cas took a sharp gasp at the feeling of Dean's cool fingers moving lightly over his skin.

Cas sighed and felt the tension leave his body as he pushed himself back against Dean while Dean's fingers steadily mapped out his torso. Dean always knew exactly how Cas liked to be touched, how to give him what he needed, and how to tease him by withholding it. Other people could be a lot of fun, certainly, but no one else made Cas feel like this; the giddy excitement that made his heart flutter in his chest and his breathing fast and shallow, carrying out the occasional whimper and soft moan that Dean loved so much, combined inexplicably with the the slow building of tension in the pit of his stomach, spreading itself out steadily through the rest of his body. It wasn't even just about sex, or how exactly Dean touched him, but it was the way that Dean was so attuned to him, so able to understand Cas and respond to him. Cas couldn't understand it empirically; he just knew that the humans called it having chemistry.

Dean's hand settled on Cas's hip as his lips were on the back of Cas's neck, and he left a little bite at the juncture with Cas's shoulder as he pulled Cas back tight against him. Through the sweatpants, Cas could feel Dean's arousal pressing against him. As Dean's fingers worked on the hem of Cas's pants, slowly pushing them down. Cas rhythmically ground his hips back, earning him a low moan and insistent hands pushing his pants and underwear down more urgently. Cas raised his hips and pushed them down, shuffling them down his legs and kicking them off.

Dean pushed his pants and underwear down around his thighs and pressed himself against Cas again, a hot rush of skin-on-skin this time making them both pause to take a breath. Cas tried to turn around, tried to touch Dean, but Dean wouldn't have it. Dean shushed him and told him to stay still as his fingers grazed lightly over Cas's hardening cock, trailing down to fondle his balls, taking his time. Dean wasn't usually this bossy and Cas wondered whether Dean was in the mood for them to play at fighting each other for control, but Cas knew him pretty well by this point and concluded that that wasn't the case.

It seemed like all Dean wanted was to press himself tightly to Cas and touch him. Dean's fingers wrapped around Cas's cock moved slowly at first, stroking him almost lazily, letting the tension in Cas's body build up gradually. If this was what Dean wanted then Cas could certainly oblige; lying there and letting himself focus on the sensations he was getting from Dean as his hand sped up, making Cas buck his hips into Dean's hand and back against his cock.

After a moment Dean slowed down and then temporarily removed his hand, and Cas bit his lip to keep in the needy, mewling sound that threatened to escape. Dean used his hand to guide his own erection, sliding the leaking tip down the cleft of Cas's ass and then back up, so there was at least a little lubrication there. Apparently, mercifully, satisfied with this, Dean returned his hand to Cas's cock again, holding tighter this time and stroking from base to tip, varying his pace a little but never breaking it, flicking his wrist to give just the slightest twisting motion.

Cas moaned and wanted to do something more to reciprocate, reaching back to touch Dean's hip, feeling the tension beneath Dean's skin as the other man rocked against him. Cas slid his hand back further, Dean's ass was so firm and taut that he fought to get a firm grip as his fingers kneaded the flesh, until he went further, fingers slipping into the cleft of Dean's ass and taking a firm hold of him there.

“Fuck, Cas...” Dean breathed hard against Cas's neck and sped up the movement of his hand, making Cas moan and feel the tension building in the pit of his stomach. Cas had been half expecting Dean to take out his general frustration on him and fuck him into the mattress, but apparently Cas was wrong. He loved how he could know Dean so well and still be wrong. Most of the time Dean was like this; attentive, gentle, loving.

And effective. Cas was steadily getting closer and Dean didn't seem to be inclined to take things any further than this. He pressed himself tight against Cas's ass and rocked with him, pressing his lips to Cas's neck and moaning against his skin. “Cas...” Dean kissed the sensitive skin just behind Cas's ear and then sucked at his earlobe.

“Dean,” Cas bit his lip and ground his hips back against Dean, feeling Dean's cock slide along the cleft of his ass. “Dean, you're going to make me come...”

Dean smiled against his skin. “That's the idea, Cas.”

Cas let go of Dean's ass and twisted himself around just enough to be able to kiss him, holding the back of Dean's head. Dean's lips were soft against his own, giving him small, fast kisses in between frantic breaths. Cas broke away and settled on his side again, panting and grinding his ass back erratically, grasping at the pillow with his hands. Dean chuckled slightly, his voice low in Cas's ear. “Love it when you wriggle around like this Cas...”

“Hmm...”

“It's the cutest thing.”

“Oh, shut up,” Cas groaned, tilting his head back and feeling Dean lean over him, dragging his tongue over the stubble on Cas's neck.

Cas grabbed the towel just at the side of the bed, and Dean knew that he was close. He increased the speed of his hand, and rocked harder against Cas. “That's it Cas,” Dean murmured, “come for me.” Cas couldn't help the whimper that escaped him as he fell over the edge, moaning insensibly as the climax finally hit him, shocks of pleasure shooting through his body.

Still on a high, trembling and out of breath, Cas cleaned himself off and immediately span around to lie facing Dean. Cas so wanted to kiss him, he crashed their lips together and pushed his tongue into Dean's mouth even though it meant that he could barely breathe, quickly taking Dean's cock in his hand and holding it firmly, giving Dean fast, long strokes.

Dean held Cas close, both arms around him, repeating Cas's name between kisses. Dean got most of his pleasure from getting someone else off, so it was only a couple of minutes before he was close, pressing his forehead against Cas's, his eyes screwed shut. “Cas–” Dean gasped as he came, bucking his hips and coming into Cas's hand, crashing their lips together in feverish, breathless kisses.

Suddenly unbearably warm, as they still had their shirts on, Dean pushed the covers down and fell onto his back, forearm slung over his eyes. Cas's eyes roved over him, his broad chest rising and falling quickly, head thrown back. When Dean opened his eyes to look at Cas, Cas kept eye contact while bringing his hand to his mouth and licking Dean's come off his fingers. Dean swore and threw his head back again, breaking into a smile. He's beautiful like this – the thought struck Cas, just as it did every time.

Cas positioned himself over Dean, leaning down and kissing him deeply, wanting Dean to taste himself. Dean mumbled something about Cas being a kinky son-of-a-bitch into the kiss, and pulled Cas down until he was lying at Dean's side with one arm over him.

After a moment of getting their breath back, Dean tugged at his shoulder until Cas was lying with his head on Dean's chest, settling down on top of him. They basked in the afterglow like that for a long time, sleep gradually washing over them both, cooling down until eventually the blanket was pulled back up to Cas's shoulders. Dean's fingers were in Cas's hair, running through it, tousling it.

“I didn't mean what I said about you, Cas.”

“Hmm...” Cas was listening, though was half asleep and kept his eyes closed, his head still on Dean's chest, still recalling all too well how Dean had described him as useless.

Dean didn't say anything else; it was hard for him to communicate, even to Cas, even in the dark, even after they had sex. They had their own non-verbal understanding now, after all these years. Actions, gestures – and being especially attentive and taking the lead in bed was the closest Dean got to saying sorry. Cas held him more tightly and pulled down the collar of his shirt just enough to plant a kiss on his chest to convey that he had understood, and they settled down to sleep.