Actions

Work Header

Strange Love

Chapter Text

Dean was still sweaty, with sawdust clinging to the creases of his heavy jeans when he pulled the Impala into the parking lot behind Purgatory, home of the best shrimp Creole in Auburn, Kansas. Though it might also have been the only place that served shrimp Creole, for all Dean knew.

Dean parked the Impala, dashed up the cement steps leading to Purgatory’s back door, and grabbed a white apron off a hook inside, tying it on while hustling over to the towering stack of dirty dishes left behind by the table bussers.

He started loading up the industrial-sized dishwasher, nodding to Benny, who stood stirring a steaming pot of jambalaya.

“Hey, Benny,” he said. “Sorry I’m late.”

He left the again unspoken, sure Benny must be thinking it too.

“No problem, brother,” Benny said, his rough voice calm as ever. “It just gives you a chance to keep busy before the dinner crowd, that’s all. How’s work on the development going?”

Dean rolled his eyes as he moved over to the pots and pans laying in the sink. He turned the water on scalding hot and grabbed a scratchy sponge, wincing when the water first ran over his knuckles, then adapting to the temperature.

“Who the hell Crowley thinks is going to buy all these places we’re putting up, I don’t know,” Dean said.

The Brit had just showed up in town three years ago with bags full of money and a bunch of ideas on how to “improve their fair city.” As far as Dean could tell, other than a bunch of half-built houses, the town was the same as it was when Dad moved them out of Lawrence because the cost of living was doing him in. Not that Dean minded. He’d come here exactly because this was a no-horse town, after all.

“But,” Dean continued, talking mostly just to keep the conversation going. “The houses are still getting built, and far as I know, no one has dug up any remains or unleashed any ancient curses. So that’s about as good as can be expected.”

Benny just nodded, and Dean let the subject drop. He knew Benny didn’t think much of Gordon, Kubrick, Creedy, and Cole, the other guys on Dean’s crew. The truth was, Dean didn’t think much of them himself. A bunch of opinionated assholes, if you asked him. But Rufus, their boss managed to keep them under control for the most part. The worst Dean had to deal with was some ignorant Jesus babble from Kubrick. Oh, and once Gordon had made a comment about Sam’s masculinity after he showed up to the site after school one day. But Dean had broken his nose, and no one had insulted Sammy since.

Dean let himself get lost in the rhythmic plod of washing dishes. Filling the washer, scrubbing a few pots, emptying the washer, repeat. It didn’t pay as good as the construction job, but it was more pleasant work—at least, the not being surrounded by assholes part. And Dean was always more than glad to help Benny out.

Dean snorted at that though. Yeah, of course he would be.

“Somethin’ on your mind there, brother?” Benny asked, looking up from whatever culinary masterpiece he was engineering at the moment.

“Hm? No,” Dean said, giving him a cocky grin. “You know me, Benny. My head’s always empty.”

“Aww, is Dean being all self-deprecating again?” Pamela, one of the wait staff asked as she sauntered back into the kitchen to pick up orders for table four.

“You know our Dean,” Benny said. “Never a bad word to say about anybody else. Never a good one to say about himself.”

“And he blushes so cute when we talk about him like that,” Pam said, slapping Dean’s ass on her way past him.

Dean yelped, not expecting the blow (which wasn’t exactly gentle). His brain temporarily went offline, and he had to restart it before he could jump back into the discussion, both Benny and Pam waiting for his usual retort.

“I do not blush,” he offered lamely, even as his face heated up a little more, dammit. He looked away, hoping she wouldn’t notice.

“Like I said, real cute,” Pam said, loading five oval plates on her arms before pushing the kitchen door open with her back and leaving the two men alone again.

Dean felt the heat on his ass cheek still even after Pam was gone. He decided he’d let himself forget context and hold onto the sense-memory for at least the next fifteen minutes. He went back to his scrubbing, trying to imagine the feeling of Pam’s little love-swat, but over and over again, until he lost count of the blows.

“Dean,” Benny said, much closer behind him than Dean remembered.

“Yeah?” Dean said, blinking at the other man.

“I know Pam can be handsy, but if you ever mind, you know you can say something about it, right?”

“Jesus, Benny,” Dean said, turning away and angling his shoulder toward Benny, blocking him from getting a good look at Dean’s face. “I’m not some shrinking violet, and Pam’s not some slimy predator twirling a waxed mustache in the shadows. I’m a big boy. You don’t have to worry about me.”

“All right,” Benny said, already moving away, from the sound of his footsteps. “Just making sure.”

“I know,” Dean said, feeling like a bit of a jerk. Benny couldn’t help the fact that he was naturally concerned for everyone’s wellbeing.

Dean turned back to his friend, forcing himself to bury the remainder of his annoyance or embarrassment at getting called out for what was probably a weird reaction to some friendly horsing around.

“And thanks,” Dean finished. “But I promise I didn’t mind.”

Benny peered at Dean seriously with those stupid blue eyes of his. The ones that maybe had Dean crushing on him for the first few months they knew each other, until Dean decided Benny was more like the older brother he’d never had than someone he actually wanted to bone. Even if he was in the habit of sleeping with other guys. Which he very much wasn’t.

“Huh,” Benny said, scratching his beard, still studying.

At first, Dean just looked back at him, but after a beat, it got too awkward. Too uncomfortable, like Benny was seeing something in Dean’s face for the first time, making sense of him in a whole new way. Before he saw something he wouldn’t like, Dean looked down at his heavy work boots.

“No,” Benny said slowly. “I guess you didn’t mind. Listen, Dean—”

The back door to the restaurant swung open, and a skinny guy with a prominent nose stepped inside.

“Let the party begin, your sous chef for the dinner rush has arrived!” Garth announced, grabbing an apron of his own, only to get the loop around the neck stuck on one of his ears as he pulled it over his head.

Benny coughed and greeted Garth, but Dean didn’t hear what he said. The blood pounding in his ears was too deafening. He went back to scrubbing a pot he’d already cleaned, and wondered what Benny meant using that tone of voice. He couldn’t have known—but of course he couldn’t. Dean was just being paranoid. All the same, he made sure he kept extra busy for the rest of his shift, and he left with only a quick nod to Benny on his way out.

SPN

“Hey Dean,” Sam called from their sagging second hand sofa as Dean stepped into their apartment.

“Heya, Sammy,” Dean replied, stopping to ruffle his little brother’s ever-lengthening and ridiculous hair. “Some blackened catfish from Benny.”

He dropped a Styrofoam take out box on the coffee table and went to take a shower. He kept it quick, not letting his thoughts wander back over the day, and emerged with heat-pinked skin and wearing only boxers and a holey t-shirt. He dropped down next to Sam on the couch, grabbing for a chunk of season fish with his fingers.

“What’re we watching?” he asked, nodding toward the TV which was currently playing a commercial.

“It’s called the news,” Sam replied with a smirk.

“Dude, you’re seventeen,” Dean said, reaching for the remote. “You can stress about the state of the world all you want in another five years. For now, you should be having fun.”

Dean flipped through the channels until he found one showing old cartoons. On screen, Wiley Coyote rigged up an anvil to fall on an unsuspecting Road Runner as he raced by.

“Yeah, Dean,” Sam said. “I’m seventeen, not seven.”

“Shuddap,” Dean said, elbowing Sam when he tried to grab the remote back. “Road Runner is a classic.”

“You say that about everything you like,” Sam complained, settling back into the couch and smiling a little as Road Runner zoomed past, only to have the anvil fall on Wiley’s head instead.

“Yeah, that’s because I appreciate the classics. Not like your whole generation.”

“You’re only six years older than me!” Sam said.

“And what a difference six years can make,” Dean replied, sinking back into the couch himself now that he could trust Sam wasn’t going to try and steal the remote again.

Sam snorted.

“Yeah, especially since Dad always treated you like you were thirty fucking years old when you hadn’t even struck double digits yet.”

“Watch your goddam language,” Dean growled. “And don’t talk about Dad that way.”

“Dean—”

“The man is dead, Sam.”

For two years. And it still stung like it had happened only a week ago. Dean still missed John, missed his presence, everyday.

“You think I don’t know that?” Sam shot back. “I was there, Dean. Same as you. But let me tell you, I don’t see any big difference in the way we live, except that you’re allowed to be happy now.”

“You think I’m happier than I was when Dad was alive?” Dean asked, staring at Sam with wide eyes.

“Yes!” Sam shouted, then seemed to deflate. “No.” Sigh. “I don’t know. I feel like you could be, Dean, without him around telling you what to do all the time, how to stand, how to fucking breathe. But for some reason you just can’t let yourself.”

“You don’t know anything about it, Sam,” Dean said, standing up.

“Dean,” Sam said, tone cajoling, whining now. “Look—I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to make you upset.”

“I’m not ‘upset,’ Sam. I’m tired. Why is everyone so fucking concerned with my emotional well-being today?”

Dean stomped down the hallway to his bedroom, a cramped room at the end of the hall. He shut the door behind him on Sam’s final plea. He looked around himself at the posters on the walls. Classic cars, 80’s rock bands, pin-up girls. At the moment, the whole thing made his skin itch.

Sam was wrong about his relationship to Dad. So, the guy was an ex-marine and had ideas about discipline and proper behavior. The fact was, he never could’ve made do anything against his own will. Lord knows he never convinced Sam to do anything the kid didn’t want to do. Dean had loved his father, not that they’d said that out loud much to each other. But more importantly, he felt comfortable with John. He always knew where he stood.

Despite Sam’s faulty memory, John was always willing to dole out a “good job, son” or an “I’m proud of you” when Dean had done anything particularly noteworthy. And when Dean fucked up (which was often) he didn’t have to wonder where he stood. John would lecture him, tell Dean exactly what he’d done wrong and why John was disappointed in him. Sometimes the lecture would be enough, and sometimes Dean would find himself running a few miles or doing pushups until his arms burned. But at the end of it, he knew he was forgiven. He’d made amends. Dad would let it go, and then he didn’t have to carry around that nagging worry all the time. That he’d disappointed someone. That he was never good enough. Hell, he knew he still fucked up on a regular basis. But now—now there wasn’t any way to get the feeling to go away.

Dean walked over to his desk and turned on his laptop. When the old thing finally booted up, he sat down in the wooden chair that once belonged to a kitchen set Dean had never seen the rest of, and opened up the internet browser, sorting through all his bookmarks. He clicked on one, and was taken to a page slathered with pictures of men wearing leather. Men wearing chest harnesses and collars. Men whose mouths were forced open by ball gags or spider gags. Everyone on the page had a truly massive cock, but these days, Dean found himself paying less and less attention to that. How hung the dudes on his favorite porn sites were didn’t matter. Not as much as what they were doing, or rather, what was being done to them.

Turning the sound down so low even he could barely hear it, Dean clicked on one of his favorite videos, and watched as a powerful, well-built guy knelt before another dude. Dean pulled down the band of his boxer shorts and took out his dick, already fisting it lazily while the Dom, who was walking slow circles around the kneeling submissive, spoke. Dean couldn’t hear the words this time, but he’d seen this video enough he remembered the gist.

Worthless, pathetic sub. Disobedient. Need to be punished. Reminded of your place.

Just the memory of the words had Dean stripping his cock faster, really going to town when the Dom on screen shoved his own dick into the sub’s mouth, holding the sub’s head and fucking into his face, while the sub struggled to stay in position despite the cock currently choking him.

Dean watched, jerking off like it was his fucking job while the Dom started slapping the sub in the face, first with his erect cock, then with his erect penis. The video cut to a new scene. The sub chained against the wall, his body forming a perfect X, while the Dom laid into him with a heavy cane. Swatting his ass, his thighs, even his lower back, again and again, leaving perfect pink stripes behind.

Dean finished before the Dom even made it into the sub, coming with a cry he managed to tamp down for Sammy’s sake. Panting in the chair, chest heaving, Dean reached for a box of tissues in the back corner of the desk. He cleaned himself off and tucked himself away before stumbling over to his bed and lying down, staring up at the water stain on the ceiling that looked vaguely like George Washington.

Dean had gotten off more times than he cared to think about to that video. Specifically, to imagining himself as the submissive in that video. It was stupid and weak, but ever since puberty had grabbed Dean by the balls, he’d always gotten off to fantasies of—well, not being in control. At first he’d assumed he was just into rough sex. Then, about the time he was Sammy’s age, he’d found femme domme sites and gotten off to those videos for a while. In time, he realized something was missing. He didn’t really like the idea of giving up control to women. For whatever reason, he wanted someone stronger than him. Someone powerful.

He could still remember his shame the first time he visited a gay fetish site. Could imagine what Dad would say if he knew Dean was getting off on men pounding each other. But now that was pretty much all that did the trick.

Not that Dean had actually had the stones to try any of this in the real world. No, his only sexual encounters involved fairly vanilla sex with women. There were fantasies, and then there was what Dean could actually allow himself to have in the real world. As long as he wasn’t actually kneeling at some dude’s feet, begging to be spanked like a ten-dollar whore, it was okay. That’s what he’d told himself for years.

The problem was, that just wasn’t cutting it lately. He was restless. Hell, he fucking unsatisfied, like some Victorian housewife. Lately, he just, well—he wanted. He wanted it to not be pretend anymore. He wanted that security of knowing exactly where he stood with another human being. Atoning when he’d fucked up, and being told when (if) he actually did something right. And fuck, he wanted sex he was actually into. Explosive, erotic, one hundred-percent kinky sex.

He’d done the whole fetlife thing, and since he A, had no experience with kink, and B, was still an ass-virgin, he went from trying to lurking to giving up in record time. So now he was just a loser with an internet connection and a well-curated fetish porn collection. And he was miserable.

And worse yet, letting his thoughts finally turn to the day he’d just survived. There was that moment, that weird intensity in Benny’s eyes when he looked at Dean at the end of their whole “harassment” in the workplace conversation, and it was almost like—he knew.

Dean shivered at that thought. Then he crawled under his blankets, pretending his was just cold. But the truth was, he didn’t know what to do if someone actually knew what he was. What he wanted. What he got off to at night.

Because if there was one universal truth he believed in, it was that Dean Winchester never got to have what he wanted.

Chapter Text

Dean survived his shift at the construction site purely on autopilot. His body knew what to do, how to lift, where to go, what materials to reach for. But his brain what not even a little bit present. It was stuck on a constant loop of Oh God, oh God, oh God, oh God. Because at some point in the day, he’d have to be stuck alone in Purgatory’s kitchen with Benny. And he just knew there was no way his friend was going to let whatever revelation he’d had the day before just die away.

So of course, because Dean was dreading the end of his shift, the day raced right toward it, and then it was four o’clock and he was punching out and driving Baby over to Purgatory. He was actually on time for a change, so he drove slow and walked slower into the restaurant. He pulled on his apron and nodded at Pam, walking like a zombie to his station at the far wall.

Pam said something smart to him, which he only smiled thinly at, and then, with a head-shake, she stepped back out front. And of course, Benny didn’t waste much time coming right over to him.

“Listen, brother,” he said, drawing Dean’s attention away from the stacks of dirty dished before he even got a chance to start sorting them. “About yesterday—”

“Benny,” Dean said, wincing. He kept his eyes on the glossy floor tiles. “Is there anyway we can just—not talk about yesterday?”

There was a pause. Dean peeked up to see Benny giving him another full-body scan.
“If that’s what you want,” Benny said. “All I was gonna say is that your safe. I’d never out you, Dean, and I want you to know that.”

“I’m not gay,” Dean shot back, automatic, defensive, finally looking Benny in the eye, if only to glare at him.

Benny just chuckled.

“I know you aren’t, Chief. I’ve seen you go home with enough women over the years to know you enjoy the ladies. I also remember you checking out my ass a few times when you were just a kid and thought I wasn’t paying attention. Sexuality is a spectrum, Dean, but that’s not what I’m talking about.”

Dean’s heart started to race in his chest, pumping blood to his body to prepare him to either take a swing at Benny or run the fuck out of Purgatory and never look back.

“I—I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Dean said, not liking how shaky the words sounded.

“We can play it that way if you wanna, Dean, but it’s very important to me that you know there’s nothing wrong with you,” Benny said, his blue eyes full of so much fucking compassion Dean really was half-tempted to start swinging, if only to chase it away.

Benny sighed and wiped his palms on his well-stained apron.

“Dean, you aren’t alone in wanting what you do. Lots of people find pleasure in spanking, submission, whatever it is that gets you going.”

“Jesus, Benny,” Dean cried. “You can’t just go around saying—”

Benny held up a hand, and despite himself, Dean stopped talking.

“Without people like you, people like me would be awful lonely,” Benny said. “I’ve been domming for over a decade now, Dean. Do you think there’s something wrong with me?”

“Well, no,” Dean spluttered, while his brain tried to catch up to what Benny was saying.

Benny? A Dom? He guessed it did sort of make sense. Benny was always so self-assured, able to command a room. It even made Dean’s teenage crush on the older man make a little more sense.

“Of course there’s nothing wrong with you,” Dean finished.

Benny shook his head.

“Because I’m a big guy and there’s nothing wrong with being commanding, right?” he said.

Dean nodded.

“Oh, cher,” Benny said, sounding tired all of a sudden. “Your daddy, may he rest in peace, did a number on you.”

Dean opened his mouth, but before he got a chance to make more than a few indignant garbles, Benny cut him off.

“I know, I know. But listen here, to someone who knows a thing or two about what I’m talking about,” he said. “There is nothing wrong with you, Dean. Y’hear? Nothing. Liking what you do doesn’t make you weak. It doesn’t make you any less of a man. It certainly doesn’t make you bad or worthless or whatever else may be running through that fool head of yours. And like I said already, Dean, You’re not alone.”

Benny took a deep breath. Dean didn’t even think about interrupting.

“This Saturday night, there’s an event in Topeka. They have ‘em every month, just a gathering for people like us. There’ll be a couple demonstrations, some public play, but mostly it’ll just be people talking, drinking, and making friends with like-minded people.”

“Benny, I—”

“Don’t answer right away, Dean,” Benny said. “You have two days to think about it. Now, if at any point you decide you want to try it out—just to meet a few fellow subs, y’see, and realize y’all are people just the same as everyone else. No pressure. But if you decide you wanna try it out, you text me. I’ll drive us. You won’t have to go alone. We don’t have to stay longer than you like. You can just—try it out. All right?”

Dean chewed on his bottom lip. What should he say? It was a terrible idea, that was for damn sure. He already basically knew he couldn’t let himself have this. Couldn’t live with himself if he acted so weak. But then he thought about what Benny had said, really thought about it.

“Just think about it for the next couple, okay, cher?” Benny asked.

Slowly, Dean nodded.

“Okay,” he relented. “I’ll think about it. But no promises, Benny. I mean it.”

“Oh, brother,” Benny said, smiling at him like nothing had changed between them. “That’s all I wanted to hear.”

And then Benny clapped him on the shoulder and went back to his stovetops, leaving Dean to pretend everything was normal when Pam came back into the kitchen to place another round of orders.

SPN

It was a stupid idea. Dean knew that. He knew it when he texted Benny he’d go to the party, knew it when he got into Benny’s beaten up pickup truck, and he knew it even better when they parked in the lot of a swanky bar in the city.

“You doin’ okay, brother?” Benny asked, resting a wide hand on Dean’s shoulder.

Dean wasn’t feeling particularly proud at the moment. He leaned into Benny’s touch. Without raising his eyes to his friend’s face, he nodded.

“We can leave at any time, y’hear?” Benny said.

“Yeah,” Dean said, his mouth feeling too dry all of a sudden. “I hear ya, Benny.”

Benny unbuckled his seatbelt and waited for Dean to do the same before getting out of the truck. Then, Dean followed Benny through the parking lot and then the front door of the club. There was a bouncer at the gate, but no line, and the tall man nodded Dean and Benny through without hesitating.

Dean didn’t know exactly what he’d been expecting when he agreed to this whole mess, but he was definitely surprised by how normal everyone looked once he got inside. Sure, there were couples dressed all in leather. Maybe a quarter of the people in attendance wore collars, and a couple of guys and ladies weren’t wearing much of anything at all. But on the whole, it was just what Benny had promised. A bunch of people just hanging out.

Benny had said the group rented the whole bar out for these events. Which meant everyone Dean was seeing here was involved in the lifestyle somehow. Which was—surreal. Sure, the place wasn’t crowded, but still, Dean couldn’t believe there were this many people in Kansas who probably owned ball gags.

Dean wandered over to the bar and downed a shot of whiskey, Benny grabbing a beer for himself. Dean took a moment to just read the room. He watched the small groups forming, some of them wearing sweater vests and looking like they just came from a PTA meeting. If these seemingly normal people could let themselves be happy, was there a chance Dean could have this too?

Nah, he was just jittery, was all. He asked for another shot and knocked that one back too.

“Victor, Ash,” Benny called to someone in the crowd.

A couple guys sliced through the crowd, making their way over. And never in a million years would Dean have put them together. The first man was well-built, wearing a power suit and an intimidating scowl. The second guy sported a mullet and a plaid overshirt not unlike the one Dean was wearing himself. He had a laid-back smile on his lips when he nodded at Benny and Dean.

“Have someone here I’d like you to meet,” Benny told them. “This here’s my friend Dean.”

“Name’s Victor, nice to meet you,” power suit guy said, dropping his scowl for a no-less-intimidating blank expression. He shook Dean’s hand a little too firmly.

“‘Sup?” the other guy, Ash by process of elimination, said, waving at Dean with two fingers.

“Dean’s just here getting a feel for things tonight,” Benny said.

“Well, welcome, Dean,” Victor said. “There’s some good people around here. And if anybody gives you any trouble, you let me know.”

He turned his eyes toward Benny, giving a small twitch of his lips that may have been a smile.

“It was good seeing you,” he said. “But if you’ll excuse us, I’m giving a shibari demonstration tonight, and I gotta get my boy here ready.”

Victor cut back through the crowd, moving to the back of the bar with a clear sense of purpose. Ash lingered just long enough to give Dean a smile and an irreverent salute before wandering off behind him.

“Wow,” Dean said, turning back to Benny.

Benny chuckled.

“Yeah, they’re different, all right. But they work. Victor there’s a cop, ‘s why he gets a little vigilant sometimes. Ash’s some sorta genius, but as far as I can tell, he doesn’t have a regular job. They’re good people, though.”

“Shibari?” Dean asked.

Benny took a pull of his beer and then a long look at Dean.

“Special kind of rope bondage,” he said. “How much research have you done into the lifestyle, Dean?”

Dean was about to stammer through an answer when a woman with dark wavy hair stepped up to the bar, staring at Benny like he was the second coming.

“Benny?” she asked, blinking big, brown eyes at him.

“Andrea?” Benny rasped.

Dean looked from his friend, who stood frozen in place to the woman who wouldn’t stop staring at him. He had the feeling he was missing out on something, and also that his presence was probably only going to make things awkward in another second. He nodded at Benny, not quite sure the other man even noticed, and mumbled something about mingling on his own.

He threaded his way through the space. He noticed a small raised platform on one end, next to a door Victor must’ve been heading toward when he excused himself and Ash. Even as he watched, a woman in a corset led a man wearing a gimp mask—and only the mask—onto the stage. She bent him over a padded bench, and without so much as looking at her audience, started going to town on his ass with a riding crop. The guy made a few garbled moans, but didn’t struggle or make any move to get up, despite not being strapped down.

Dean watched for a few minutes, surprised by how not weird it felt to watch a man being flogged in real life. Something about the people eating cheese cubes and sipping rum and cokes, still carrying on their private conversations in the room at large made it hard to feel too freaked out. When he felt like he’d seen enough, though, Dean turned and continued his circuit of the room, leaving the throng watching the couple on stage behind to see what everyone else was up to. A couple yards away, a tall blond woman knelt at the feet of a short brunette. The brunette stroked her hair, and the blond looked up at her like she hung the stars. Of all things, this was the first thing that made Dean truly uncomfortable. Something about the blond woman’s face made the moment seem more intimate than sex, than the play happening on stage.

Dean looked away, cheeks burning and some strange pins and needles feeling in his chest. He hurried away, walking straight into a tall, reedy guy. Dean swayed a little at the impact, and the other guy grabbed his shoulders to steady him. Only he didn’t let go after Dean regained his balance. Even when Dean tried to tug away. The guy just tightened his grip, long fingers digging into Dean’s biceps.

Dean glared up into the guy’s face, and froze. He knew that long, angular face. The hairline had receded a little further, and the faint mustache over the lip was new. But those eyes, he’d never forget those eyes.

“Well, hey there, friend,” the man spoke, his voice nasal, sticky like flypaper.

“Let me go,” Dean choked out, but he realized he hadn’t actually tried to move since looking into that dangerous, cobra gaze.

“Go?” the man echoed. “Now, why would you wanna do that? You came here tonight to meet people, right? And I’m people. So let’s mingle a little.”

The guy punctuated that last statement with an obscene thrust of his hips and a grin.

Dean felt his legs getting weak, felt like any second now they might just give up on supporting him entirely.

“Let me go,” Dean said, but this time, it had lost all its force.

“No,” the guy said, like there wasn’t even a  problem just refusing that demand. “Now, I begin to wonder if maybe we’ve already met. You do look awfully familiar. And I never forget a face.”

“Please,” Dean said, closing his eyes when the guy leaned even closer into his space, getting a closer look and, Dean would swear, sniffing him. “Alistair.”

Even saying the words, Dean remembered being a seven-year-old kid. Just months after Mom died. Back when they still lived in Lawrence. Being stuck in their neighbor’s house after school. Alistair kept insisting Dean come over to stay with him while Sammy was still with their babysitter.

“Don’t wanna make more trouble for her, do you, Dean? Make you daddy pay more for her to look after both you brats? Besides, you’re such a good boy, Dean,” all said in that sick, crooning tone of his.

Dean trying to be a good boy. Dean lost and confused, his mother gone, his father so sad he spent all of his nights out, and even when he came home, smelling of liquor and crying, he wasn’t Dad anymore. Dean remembered Alistair touching him. Undressing him slowly, talking, talking the whole time. Those long fingers of his running over Dean’s whole body, telling him to just be a good boy, keep quiet, this was their little secret and just—

“Let me go!” Dean shouted, forcing himself to take a step back, moving quickly enough he dislodged Alistair’s hands from his upper arms.

“Oh,” Alistair said, and when Dean opened his eyes again, the bastard was fucking smiling. “I remember now. Little Dean Winchester. Look at you, all grown up.”

Alistair took a step into Dean’s space. Dean backed away again. He was stuck again, couldn’t stop staring at Alistair. Felt like his whole world was crumbling. And he was so cold. Was that why he was trembling all over?

“Can’t say I’m surprised to run into you at a place like this,” Alistair went on. “Did you miss me, Dean-o? Out looking for someone to look after you the way I used to? Of course, you miss it. You always were so eager to please, such a good boy.”

Dean hunched his shoulders, whimpered a little. He wasn’t going to run. He wasn’t going to run away from Alistair again.

“Excuse me,” another voice said. This one deeper, powerful.

Dean whipped his head to the side to see who it belonged to. Some guy with dark sex hair and a crappy tan trenchcoat. He was glaring murder at Alistair with ice-blue eyes.

“Do we have a problem here?” the new guy demanded, taking a step so Dean was partially shielded by his shoulder.

“No problem,” Alistair said, smiling even broader, showing off crooked teeth and some gums as well. “Just two old friends catching up.”

The blue-eyed guy turned back to face Dean.

“You seem distressed. Is this man bothering you?”

“I—” Dean started, voice wavering. He wasn’t even sure what to say. How to explain. “I—”

“Get security. And—go fetch Victor as well. Tell him to drop what he’s doing and get here as fast as he can,” the stranger said to someone, Dean wasn’t sure who. It didn’t matter.

The man stepped closer to Dean, blocking Alistair from sight completely. He didn’t touch Dean, but it was clear he wasn’t moving. Still Dean tried to look around the man’s head to see Alistair.

“Easy,” the man said, his voice still deep, but calming now, soothing. “Look at me. Look into my eyes.”

Without even thinking about it, Dean obeyed.

“All right. I want you to take three deep breaths for me. In.”

Dean pulled a shaky breath into his lungs, holding it until the man said “Out.” They repeated the process.

“Good,” the man said, and something inside Dean unknotted, even while his body was still tensed up, his brain screaming away at him that he was still in danger. “Very good. My name is Castiel. Can you tell me your name?”

Dean swallowed, trying to get his throat to work again.

“D-Dean,” he said after a moment.

“Dean,” Castiel said, like he was trying it out. “Are you here alone tonight, Dean?”

Dean shook his head.

“Benny,” he said. “I’m—I’m here with Benny.”

“Good,” the man said, eyes crinkling a little as he smiled at Dean.

Then he looked away, and Dean made a small, pained sound at the back of his throat. Castiel spoke to someone else, but this time, Dean wasn’t even with it enough to follow along. All he heard was the tension, the urgency in the man’s tone. Dean winced. This was all his fault. He’d caused a problem. Just because he couldn’t man up and handle—

“Dean,” Castiel said, focused on him again, voice gentle once more. “You’re doing such a good job. You need to keep breathing for me, all right, Dean?”

Dean nodded and followed Castiel’s lead as he took a long, deep breath.

Heavy footsteps pounded behind Dean, then a hand came down on his shoulder. Dean flinched. Alistair! It had to be Alistair. He was back, and now—

“Easy, cher,” a different voice said. Benny. Benny’s warm tones and soft drawl.

Dean collapsed back into Benny’s chest, let Benny hold him upright. He was safe now. Benny would protect him. He could close his eyes and hide from everything now.

“What happened?” Benny demanded.

More angry tones. Dean tensed back up, but Benny brought a hand down to rub at his shoulder, melting Dean right back into him again.

“Are you his Dom?” Castiel asked.

“I’m his friend,” Benny replied.

“Right, of course. I apologize,” Castiel said. “I came in at the end of it. There was some other man. He was—he was just speaking to Dean when I arrived, but it seemed to be very upsetting. For Dean, I mean. I sent for Victor Henriksen, but I admit I lost track of what happened to the other man after that.”

“All right,” Benny said. “I’ll get him home. Thanks for your help.”

“Of course,” Castiel said, sounding—surprised, maybe?

“All right, chief,” Benny said, leading Dean away. “Come on.”

Dean stayed tucked against Benny’s chest for the walk out. When he felt the cool, night air on his face, he relaxed a little more, until Benny was practically carrying him. He just felt so tired all of a sudden. Like he needed to sleep for about ten years. Just drained.

“‘M sorry, Benny,” he mumbled.

“Oh, Dean,” Benny said, giving him a squeeze before lifting him up into the truck. “You ain’t got nothing to be sorry for.”

Dean knew that couldn’t be true, but as the truck roared to life, it was just so much easier not to fight him on that, but to let himself slip into unconsciousness.

Chapter Text

Dean woke up with a stiff neck and a scratchy blanket pulled up to his left cheek. He opened his eyes, for a moment wondering why he felt like he had a hangover without any lingering sense of fun the night before, but then he remembered. Right. Alistair.

He sat up, joints cracking as his stretched his arms up over his head. He was sitting on a couch in the middle of a living room decorated in faded wallpaper and shag carpet. Behind him, in the kitchen, he smelled the rich scent of coffee brewing, and heard something sizzling on the stovetop. Taking another sniff, he confirmed: bacon.

Dean got up off the couch and tottered over to lean against the doorway to the kitchen. Benny looked up from where he stood over the skillet of bacon and smiled at him.

“Mornin’, brother,” he said.

Dean only grunted, squinting at his friend, waiting for some reaction to his idiotic display the night before.

“Brought you back to my place last night,” Benny explained needlessly. “I didn’t much like the idea of leaving you alone, and besides, I thought you might want a little time to yourself before having Sam around.”

Dean nodded, still cautious.

“Thanks,” he said, slowly. Then he looked out the window, where the sun was already beaming down on the street. “What time is it?”

“Eight o’clock,” Benny said.

Eight o’clock? Shit, Dean hadn’t slept in that late (while sober, at least)—ever. Too used to waking up at 4 am for his construction job. And then at 5 for John’s morning workout regimen before that.

“Shit,” Dean said.

At least it was Sunday and he wasn’t supposed to be at work right now.

“Here,” Benny said, grabbing a mug and filling it with steaming black coffee before handing it over to Dean.

Dean mumbled his thanks and took a big chug. It burned all the way down his throat. Good.

“Dean,” Benny said, coughing. “I know you well enough I can imagine about how this is gonna go down, but still I have to ask: what happened last night?”

“I don’t want to talk about it,” Dean said, steeling his gaze before he met Benny’s eyes.

“Uh-huh,” Benny said, just looking back at him. “But see, I like to think just being around so many kinky people wouldn’t have that effect on someone. So, I can’t help but worry somethin’ bad happened.”

Dean narrowed his eyes but didn’t reply.

“I talked to Victor last night. Turns out a few folks saw you arguing with Alistair Malum.”

Dean almost choked on his next gulp of coffee just hearing the name.

“He’s caused a couple stirs before,” Benny continued. “So no one’s surprised he turned out to be bad news. The bastard slipped out before security could catch up with him, but he’s been blackballed from all future events hosted in the city. And Victor Henriksen said he’ll be keeping an eye on him. Two, if he can spare them.”

“Oh,” Dean said, setting his half-empty mug down on the counter and watching the steam still rising up from it, twisting and vanishing in the air. “Okay.”

“Dean” Benny said. “What’d he do to you? I’ve known you for years. I’ve seen you get—bad before. But I ain’t never seen you like that.”

“Just drop it, Benny,” Dean lashed out, hating himself for taking his anger, his frustration, his feelings of utter uselessness out on Benny, who was only trying to help. “I said I don’t want to talk about it.”

The kitchen was silent for almost a minute. Benny turned to grab a plate and pulled the now-crispy bacon out of the skillet and onto the plate to cool.

“All right,” Benny said, moving to the small, round table standing under a window to Dean’s left. He set the bacon down in the middle of the table, two glasses of orange juice already filled and a stack of toast laid out as well. “But you let me know if you change your mind. Now let’s not stand by and let this perfectly good bacon go to waste.”

Dean slumped down into the closest chair. He filled his plate with toast and bacon, declining Benny’s offer to make scrambled eggs. The truth was, he wasn’t very hungry. He chewed and swallowed mostly to keep Benny happy. But his mind wouldn’t stop replaying the events of the night before.

Alistair, just suddenly there in the same room as Dean. Touching Dean. And the fucker recognized him. Recognized him and wouldn’t shut up about it. Just like always with the talking ad talking. Until that other guy—Castiel—showed up. Just appeared like some kind of guardian fucking angel and kept Dean from completely losing it. That guy must think he was such a waste of space. Just like Benny would, if he wasn’t always so busy being nice to Dean.

It bothered Dean, though. The idea that Castiel would see Dean for the useless basket case he really was. It didn’t make any sense. Dean didn’t know the guy. But still, when Dean thought about it, he got all antsy inside, something prickling in his veins. He wanted to scratch out the feeling, excise it, claw it out like he could dig it free from under his skin. But he didn’t know how. So he sat and kept eating, tuning out the soft chatter Benny used to smother the tension in the room.

SPN

That prickling feeling didn’t die away as the week wore on. Dean stayed at Benny’s that Sunday hours after Benny had to leave to open the restaurant. He showed up to his regular shift that evening and washed dishes on auto pilot. For once everyone, even Garth and Pamela left him alone. Dean assumed Benny had given them some sort of warning about him. Like he was a fucking time bomb and came with his own caution label.

He had to walk back home, Benny having picked him up at his house the night before. He took the long way back, through the graveyard with the crumbling headstones behind the Baptist church. He got home a good hour and a half later than usual, but Sam, assuming he’d gotten lucky when Dean hadn’t come home after going out with Benny, was too busy harassing him about that to comment on the time.

By Monday night, Dean still hadn’t shaken himself out of his funk. He still felt humiliated, yeah, about fucking breaking down in front of all those strangers. And he still got that itchy feeling when he thought about Castiel. But overlaying all that was a dead numbness. And Dean wasn’t even worried about it. He’d take feeling nothing over hating being trapped in his own skin.

Sam, intuitive little shit that he was, gave Dean space. He didn’t talk much, and still sat next to Dean on the couch to watch TV together at the end of the night, but he didn’t ask Dean any questions, and he didn’t demand his attention. When Dean stood up to go to bed well before 10pm, Sam didn’t even say anything.

If only the guys at the construction site could be so intelligent. Used to Dean joking around with them or telling them to shut the fuck up if someone said something he didn’t appreciate, they zeroed in on his new, apathetic persona like so many sharks scenting blood. Their jokes got cruder than usual, and when Dean still didn’t call them out, they started slacking, leaving Dean to work harder to make up the difference. Which he did without saying a word.

“Fuck, Winchester,” Gordon said on Wednesday, when Dean still hadn’t done much more than grunt acknowledgement at any one. “What’s with you this week, man? You get bit by a zombie or some shit?”

“Nah,” Kubrick said, swaggering over to them, taking a big gulp of coffee from his thermos. “I think our Dean is just tuckered out. He must have himself a new lady friend.”

“That right, Dean?” Creedy asked. “You running on too little sleep? Been spending your evenings nailing some new piece of ass?”

“Shut up, Creedy,” Dean mumbled, wiping sweat off his forehead with the sleeve of his work shirt.

Gordon laughed.

“Please,” he said. “That ain’t the look of a man who’s been getting laid regularly. If Winchester is worn out because of some new bitch in his life, it’s only because she’s got him so fucking whipped he—”

At the word “whipped” Dean’s new “couldn’t give a shit” attitude left the building. Without even thinking about it, he launched himself at Gordon. Fortunately, he dropped the hammer in his hand before doing so, and came at the other man with his fists flying. He got in three good hits to the asshole’s head before Kubrick and Creedy managed to pull him off. They each grabbed one of Dean’s arms and were still holding him in place while Gordon spat out a mouthful of blood and glared at Dean.

Just when Dean was beginning to wonder if Gordon’s saviors were planning to let go of him before or after the asshole started using his ribcage as a punching bag, a sharp voice rattled off all their last names, mixed with a fairly colorful string of expletives.

Dean turned his head to see Rufus shouting his head off and marching toward them, his eyes promising danger.

“Now, which one of you in-bred sons of bitches wants to tell me what happened?” Rufus demanded when he finished his tirade and stood between Gordon and Dean, whose arms were dropped like red-hot fire irons when Kubrick and Creedy caught sight of Rufus.

“Winchester went after Gordon and started swinging,” Creedy supplied, always happy to be the first one to distance himself from any trouble.

“That true, Dean?” Rufus asked, rounding on him, the threat of violence still simmering in his eyes.

“Yes, sir,” Dean replied without looking away.

Rufus narrowed his eyes and studied Dean before peering at the rest of the men, maybe looking for evidence that information was being withheld.

“Gordon, you need to see someone about that swollen jaw of yours, or can you still do a day’s work?” Rufus asked.

“I’ve worked with worse than these little love taps,” Gordon said, grinning at Dean with bloody teeth.

For a moment, Dean debated lunging at him again, just to wipe that smirk off his face, but then all the anger drained out of him. It rushed out in one exhale, and left him with nothing but that dullness and the background feeling of something wrong once more. All that plus a few new scrapes and aches in his knuckles.

“Good for you,” Rufus said. “Now, d’you want a medal or something? Get back to work, all of you lazy bastards.”

Dean nodded and retrieved the hammer he’d dropped before the fight began, turning back to the frame of the building they were working on that day.

“Not you, Winchester,” Rufus growled. “Like I’m going to pay you for the rest of the day. You come with me.”

Dean only sighed and nodded, falling into step with Rufus as he led the way back to the main gate leading in and out of the site.

“Look, Dean,” Rufus said after they were out of hearing range of the rest of the team. “I know you. I know you wouldn’t just start throwing punches without a reason. Even if Gordon Walker is one nasty son of a bitch. But if you’re going to get yourself in trouble every time he says something to ruffle your feathers, I’m going to be down one good man on the job. Y’understand me?”

“Yeah.” Dean confirmed, not lifting his eyes from the dirt path they were walking down. “I hear you, Rufus.”

“Good,” Rufus said, pausing until Dean stopped as well and looked up at him. “You ain’t been right all week. I don’t know what the problem is, and quite frankly, I don’t care. What happens to you when you’re not on the job is none of my business. But whatever it is, you need to work it out or leave it at home.”

Dean nodded.

“Yeah,” he said. “I know. You’re right.”

He’d love to work it out. The problem was, he had no idea what even needed to be worked out, let alone how to do so. But he could make an effort to leave his baggage back home. He wasn’t some overly-sensitive kid who couldn't handle his own feelings or anything.

“All right,” Rufus said. “Because I don’t want to see you back here this week unless you can stow your bullshit.”

With that, Rufus clapped Dean on the back and left him to see himself out of the site. Dean kicked at a few rocks on his way to the lot where he kept his baby parked and then, with nowhere else to go, even though his shift didn’t start for another three hours, he headed to purgatory.

SPN

“You look like you went three rounds with a Grim Reaper,” Benny said, shaking his head when Dean skulked through the back door.

“What are you talking about?” Dean demanded, frustrated.

Gordon didn’t even get any hits in. Dean shouldn’t look like he’d been in a fight.

“I mean you look like shit, brother. You obviously ain’t been sleeping or taking care of yourself. And now you slink in here hours early, looking like you just come from a funeral.”

Dean only shrugged.

“It’s my problem, Benny. Can I pick up a couple hours today?”

“Uh-uh, no way,” Benny said, moving closer to Dean.

Pamela was watching from the corner of the room, tactfully (for once) not saying a word. Dean was grateful for her presence, though. At the moment, he was 98% sure it was the only thing stopping Benny from bringing up Saturday night and trying to get Dean to talk about his pansy-ass breakdown again.

“Dean,” Benny said, blue eyes flicking over to Pam, confirming Dean’s suspicions. “You don’t look fit to be standing upright at the moment, let alone carting around my breakable dishes. Why don’t you take a break for a while? Take a seat out front. I’ll send Pam out with something for you to eat. Then if you’re looking more like a human being when your shift starts, we’ll go on business as usual. If not, you can go home and have a quiet night with Sam.”

“Sam’s hanging out with the debate team nerds until late tonight,” Dean mumbled, already knowing putting up a real fight would be a lost cause. Benny was the boss after all.

“Even better. Maybe you could get some sleep, then,” Benny said.

Dean’s shoulders slumped a little deeper and he turned away from Benny, then stepped out into the brightly lit, cheerful dining room of the restaurant. He made his way toward his favorite booth in the back corner and was about to lower himself into it when a pair of bright blue eyes at a table a couple yards away caught his attention. He froze hallway through sitting down and stared.

The man stared back at him, beautiful eyes wide in shock. His lips were parted too as they looked at each other.

The other man recovered first. He licked his lips and sat up a little straighter in his chair, watching Dean a little more cautiously now.

“Hello, Dean,” the man said in the same gravelly, deep voice Dean remembered.

Powerful a tiny voice at the back of Dean’s mind supplied. He told it to shut the fuck up, and then he stood up again and awkwardly shuffled over to the small, round table where the man sat alone. He rubbed the back of his neck and tried to fight back the shame and complete humiliation crashing over him like a sucker-punch of a wave at the beach.

“Uh,” he said, glancing down at his feet. “Hey, Cas-um-Castiel.”

Chapter Text

Castiel looked up at Dean evenly. He blinked, and then a small smile spread over his face. His lips didn’t move much, but it made his eyes seem kinder, and they crinkled a little again at the corners.

“If you’d prefer to call me Cas, that’s perfectly acceptable,” he told Dean. “People often find my name a bit of a mouthful.”

Dean was willing to bet that wasn’t the only part of this guy that was a mouthful. But then he felt his cheeks burning pink at the thought, and he shoved it away. Where had that come from, anyway? He was supposed to be uncomfortable, running into this guy again. The guy who had basically talked him back from hyperventilating like a little bitch.

And he was. Uncomfortable, that was. Castiel, or, Cas as Dean was now apparently allowed to call him was still watching Dean. He didn’t seem to feel the need to fill up the awkward silence that had now expanded out from their tiny bubble into the rest of the restaurant and the few grey-haired patrons who frequented Purgatory at this time of day. Dean could practically hear busybody Madge Carrigan’s ears tuning into his and Cas’ conversation. Or lack thereof.

“Um, thanks,” Dean finally said, hoping it would stop this guy from peering through him like Clark Kent with his x-ray vision. “Cas.”

Cas fucking nodded at his gratitude like it was somehow expected, and then nodded at the chair across from him.

“Would you care to sit down, Dean?” he asked.

“Uh, sure,” Dean said, dropping into the chair without any smoothness at all, wishing he’d stop starting all his sentences with variants of “um.”

When Dean seated himself, Cas nodded again. And then it seemed neither party had anything to say to each other, and that silence was back again. Dean’s leg started jiggling out of nerves, but then he realized it and, knowing how annoying that was to deal with, forced his body to stay rigid and still. At first Dean was jealous of how cool this Castiel fucker was with the whole incredibly uncomfortable situation, but then he noticed Cas’ long fingers at work, shredding the paper wrapper of the straw bobbing in his water glass.

And that’s what gave him the courage to clear his throat, lean across the table, and speak to Cas.

“So, uh,” he said, off to a fucking fantastic start. “Don’t get me wrong, I’m not pissed to see you again or anything.” Understatement. “But what exactly are you doing here? In this restaurant? In fucking Auburn?”

Castiel’s shoulders hunched in on themselves, and he really eviscerated his straw wrapper before setting aside the confetti-size bits of paper, straightening up, and meeting Dean’s eye, oozing confidence once more.

“If you must know, I was here to check up on you,” he said.

“Are you stalking me, Cas?” Dean asked, the words not making any sense even as they left his mouth.

Why the hell would this guy? Why the fuck would this out-of-this world gorgeous human being, who was wearing a fucking suit and tie, and who had witnessed Dean sobbing like a goddam baby even want to remember his interaction with Dean, let alone track him down to this (no offense, Benny) hole-in-the wall diner?

But wonder stacked upon wonders, Cas’ only smiled at Dean’s question, his body growing looser in his padded metal chair.

“In actuality, I didn’t expect to see you here,” Castiel said. “A few of my friends from the club this past weekend recognized Benny. They knew of him by reputation. It wasn’t hard to find out that he owned this restaurant, or to drive down on my afternoon off. I admit I was—concerned about you after our encounter. I just wanted to ask after you. I was hoping Benny could at least assure me that you were recovered from your extremely unfortunate interaction.”

The words swirled around Dean’s brain, not solidifying into anything recognizable. Cas was worried about Dean? Okay, maybe he’d grant that because, again, he’d been pretty fucking pathetic that night. But still. He cared enough about Dean to track Benny down. And couldn’t he have just gotten his phone number from someone else who was into the scene? No, instead, he’d actually driven all the way out to Auburn to check up on Dean.

But then another part of the story clicked into place, and Dean felt nausea gnawing away at the lining of his stomach. Benny.

“So you talked to Benny, huh?” Dean asked.

Which meant Benny had sent Dean out there, into the dining room, to interact with this stranger without any heads up. Way to have his fucking back.

“No,” Cas said, frowning so hard his forehead wrinkled, obviously picking up on Dean’s mounting distress. “I haven’t even had the chance to ask after him yet. The waitress only stopped by to drop off my water and hasn’t been back to take my order.”

“Oh,” Dean said, letting relief take over. “Okay.”

Back to that quiet again. Dean and Cas both sat, feeling the awkward together this time Dean was pretty sure. But then Pam stepped over with her notepad in hand. She did a double-take at seeing Dean seated across from the handsome man, and then her most dangerous grin slipped onto her face.

“Well, well, well,” she said, one hand on her hip. “Are you making friends on your break, Dean?”

“What?” Dean said, blushing at her tone. “No. Shut up.”

“Oh,” Castiel said, getting endearingly confused. “Do you work here too, Dean?”

“Of course,” Pamela said, flashing her gleaming teeth. “Dean here is an essential part of our operation.”

“Please,” Dean mumbled, rubbing his hand over the red surface of the table. “I’m just a part-time dishwasher. It brings in a few extra dollars each week.”

Dean only looked up again when the weight of Cas’ gaze on him became too heavy to ignore. He had that serious look on his face that Dean recognized from his intervention back at the club. His head was doing this weird sort of dog-like tilt thing too. Dean tried not to find it adorable.

“What?” he demanded.

“I was just thinking,” Cas said. “As you work here, you ought to be able to recommend a meal I should try. I admit, I’ve never been to Louisiana before. I don’t know much about the cuisine.”

“Well,” Dean said, grateful the conversation had taken a normal (safe) turn. “If you only ever have one meal from Purgatory, it has to be Benny’s shrimp Creole. It’s what he’s famous for, after all.”

“I see,” Cas said, squinting a little at Dean. “And you enjoy it personally?”

Dean nodded.

There was a pause.

“Dean, would you be willing to join me while I try Benny’s famous shrimp Creole?”

“Uh—yeah, Cas,” Dean said, sparing a quick glance for Pam, who was smirking shamelessly. “Of course. If, you know, you wanted.”

“I would be honored,” Cas said, folding his menu closed and handing it back to Pam. “Pamela, would you be so kind as to put us down for two orders of shrimp Creole?”

“Coming right up,” Pam said, jotting the order down on her pad even though Dean knew it was just to give her something else to grin at.

When she stepped away to put in their order, she paused at the door to the kitchen. Cas’ back was to her, so he couldn’t see when she mimed fanning herself dramatically and winked at Dean.

Dean squirmed in his seat, not really finding it in himself to be too embarrassed by Pam’s teasing or the fact that she too, apparently, knew he was into guys. It was hard for Dean to feel much of anything over the bloom of warmth in his stomach at the way Cas had asked Dean to join him, had taken Dean’s advice on what to eat, and then had actually ordered for Dean. He felt heard. Heard and cared for. And Dean honestly couldn’t remember the last time he could truthfully say that.

SPN

While they waited for their meals and ate, Castiel kindly avoided any further reference to the circumstances of his and Dean’s first meeting. He asked Dean basic questions about himself and his interests. He listened carefully and smiled freely. At first Dean talked just to fill the silence, but the longer he interacted with Cas, the more he enjoyed the guy’s company. He was a little strange, yeah. A little too formal—what Dean had at first taken to be his natural dominance, but by the end of dinner was now thinking it was more likely Cas was just a little socially awkward. And it didn’t seem like the guy had ever seen any movie ever.

But still, he was—nice. And Dean realized he really was easy to talk to. Halfway through his plate of shrimp Creole, Dean stopped talking about himself and started asking Cas questions too, out of genuine curiosity. Dean learned Castiel was an actuary for a large firm in Topeka. He also got a vague understanding of what an actuary actually was, and a much keener sense that Castiel didn’t like to talk about it. He learned that Cas had a pet guinea pig and was interested in beekeeping. That he knew a lot about ancient cultures, and was obsessed with the Minoans, who Dean gathered were all about bulls for some reason.

Dean learned Cas was funny without trying to be, that he was sincere in everything he said, and that he seemed like a pretty stand-up guy. In short, Dean learned that he really, really liked Castiel. And he was worried that could become a problem for him.

Long after Pam dropped off their check and Cas insisted on paying, when their plates were so clean Dean was pretty sure he wouldn’t even have to wash them later, he and Castiel finally looked at each other across the table. They couldn’t keep pretending they were having this same meal together forever. They’d reached that limit, and besides, Dean was pretty sure he was already late for his shift back in the kitchen.

“Well,” he said, tearing his gaze away from Cas’ (stupidly) blue eyes. “Thanks, Cas. Really, for the dinner and for y’know, everything else.”

“Dean,” Cas said, voice becoming urgent. He leaned across the table to take the hand that Dean had rested by his used napkin. “I would very much like to see you again. Maybe some time when we could talk about more—private matters.”

“Uh, I don’t know, Cas,” Dean said, moving his fingers just enough to hold Cas’ hand right back.

For some reason, talking to Cas now, Dean was pretty sure he’d mostly enjoy whatever “private matters” the man wanted to discuss. The thought made him shiver, which Cas might’ve noticed, if the way his thumb started rubbing circles over Dean’s knuckle was any indication.

Dean bit his lip and pulled his hand away. Who was he fooling? He couldn’t see Cas again. Cas was some rich, successful Dom from the city. Dean was willing to bet he had perfectly experienced subs of whatever gender(s) he preferred vying for his attention. He didn’t need some inexperienced construction worker/dishwasher who’d never knelt for anyone or taken anything but his own fingers up the ass before. There was only one way this could possibly end. Dean would start getting his hopes up. He could already see how easy it would be to get attached to Castiel. And then Cas would realize what a hopeless wreck Dean Winchester really was, and he’d fly out of there faster than a bat out of hell.

“Please, Dean,” Castiel said, his tone actually sounding pleading, not something Dean would’ve thought possible from his particular ubermensch several hours ago. “Just one more conversation, where we can really discuss things. Then if you never want to see me again, I’ll respect your wishes.”

Dean pressed his eyes shut. He was an idiot. He was going to regret it. He already did regret it, preemptively. All the same, when he dared to look at Cas again, he muttered, “Fine,” under his breath.

And of fucking course Castiel lit up like a kid during his first time meeting a shopping mall Santa. Those blue eyes of his practically glowed with happy, and Dean felt the stone that had settled in his stomach at the very idea of opening himself up to more pain get a little lighter.

“Tonight?” Cas asked, still leaned forward a little in his seat.

Despite himself, Dean actually chuckled a little.

“Damn, Cas, hasn’t anyone ever told you patience is a virtue? I have to start my dishwashing shift now, but if you’re really that much of a glutton for punishment and want to hang around Auburn for the next three and a half hours, I can meet you back here when I get off.”

Cas pressed his lips together like he was thinking, then slowly, he nodded his head.

“I could make that work,” he said. “I have a couple of phone calls I should make anyway. I’ll do that, browse some of the shops I saw along main street, and be back to pick you up around eight?”

Dean smiled a little, feeling suddenly shy. He told himself he wasn’t a high school girl waiting to be picked up from the prom, and that helped level himself out a little. Damn if Castiel didn’t still look so excited, though.

“Excellent,” Cas said, giving one last nod before standing and grabbing that same trenchcoat he’d been wearing when Dean had first seen him from the back of his chair. “Thank you very much, Dean. I hope to make our later discussion worth your while”

And with that, he turned and walked out of Purgatory, the bell over the door ringing cheerfully as he left. Dean stared at the door for another minute feeling blissfully happy. And then, like an over-inflated balloon, the feeling burst. He groaned and pushed himself up and out of his chair. What the hell had he gotten himself into?

All the same, when he wandered back into the kitchen and pulled on his apron, getting a start on the stacks of dishes that had been neglected while his boss kindly let Dean flirt on his dime, he wasn’t feeling too put out. Benny gave him a fond smile and shook his head.

“What?” Dean demanded, surprised when he couldn’t quite convince his face to scowl.

“Nothin,’” Benny said, looking away and grinning even wider. “Just, Pam described the tall dark stranger you were out there talking to, and it sounds a lot like that Castiel fella from Saturday night.”

“So?” Dean shot back.

Benny shrugged.

“So nothing,” he said. “It’s just, it’s good to have you back, brother.”

Dean rolled his eyes. Just for that, Dean decided to make Benny listen to his personal rendition of “Back in Black,” off-key, of course. And he tried really hard to pretend he was only singing to punish Benny for his sappiness, not because he was actually looking forward to talking to Castiel again at the end of the night.

Chapter Text

Dean hung up his apron at the end of his shift. Benny was wiping down the surface of the island in the center of the room, cleaning up all the spatters around the line of burners at one end.

“So, uh,” Dean said, running a hand through his hair. “I’m out. Unless—if you need anything else?”

Benny’s hand stilled and he looked up at Dean with shrewd eyes.

“No,” he said. “I’m all set, brother. You go and have a good time.”

The kitchen door swung open and Pam stepped inside, a thick wad of bills in her hand. Her tips for the day.
“Please, for the love of God, put that poor piece of ass out there out of his misery,” she said, mock-glaring at Dean. “Your admirer has been waiting for going on an hour now.”

“He has?” Dean asked, face burning.

Great. Cas was probably bored out of his mind by now. But Dean had warned him there wasn’t much to do in Auburn.

“Yeah,” Pam confirmed. “So, don’t you think you ought to get out there?”

“Uh,” Dean stalled, glancing at Benny again.

His friend only wore an amused smile on his face.

“Yeah, I guess,” Dean said, wiping his suddenly sweaty palms on his jeans. “G’night, guys.”

“Have a good time,” Pam crowed after him.

Dean nodded, and stepped past Pam to the door leading back into the dining room.

“And brother?” Benny called just as Dean was about to leave the kitchen. “If you need anything—anything at all, you call me, y’hear?”

Dean met Benny’s eyes and nodded once more. Then he pushed open the door and walked into the nearly-empty dining room. The only occupant was Cas, sitting in the same table he and Dean had eaten at earlier. He was staring at the wall over Dean’s head, but when the door opened, his eyes found Dean’s face, and he broke out into that enthusiastic smile that had Dean believing even when this whole “discussion” of theirs went down in flames, at least Castiel might not be a giant dick about it. Would let him down easy. Wouldn’t rub it in Dean’s face how inadequate—

“Hello, Dean,” Castiel said, standing. “Are you ready to go?”

“Yeah,” Dean said, biting his bottom lip to keep back a smile.

He seriously needed to get a grip on himself.

Cas waited for Dean to catch up to him, then led the way to the front door.

“I admit I wasn’t sure where to go to both protect your privacy and remain public enough you wouldn’t have cause to be concerned for your safety,” he said as they stepped outside.

“What, in case you turn out to be a serial killer?” Dean asked with a snort. “If we’re working our way up from there, this is gonna be a hell of a long conversation. Tell ya what, Cas. My place isn’t far from here. We can drive there separately. You can follow me, and that way you’ll know you can leave whenever you want. That sound okay?”

“Are you sure, Dean? I wouldn’t want to inconvenience you,” Cas said in a tone that meant “I wouldn’t want to make you uncomfortable.”

“Please,” Dean said, waving him off and fighting back a wave of annoyance at the reference to his own fragility. “It’s fine. Just don’t expect the Taj Mahal and we’ll be okay.”

“But what if you turn out to be a serial killer?” Cas asked, his eyes twinkling.

Dean laughed. The guy was pretty good at the deadpan humor.

“How about this: whether I am or not, I promise to behave myself and not murder you tonight.”

Cas smiled again, and Dean noticed the way it didn’t just light up his face, but his whole body.

“Very well,” he said. “In good faith, I promise the same.”

“Deal,” Dean said, peering around the darkening parking lot. Only one car remained out front. A tiny blue volt. “Fuck me,” Dean groaned.

Cas’ eyes widened, but then he licked his lips, and Dean worried he may have given him the wrong idea.

“Please don’t tell me that’s your car,” Dean said to clear things up, gesturing toward the offending vehicle.

“Yes,” Cas said. “Why? I’m perfectly happy to drive a hybrid.”

Dean groaned again, maybe enjoying the way Cas stilled at the sound a little too much.

“Well, at least it’s a Chevy, I guess,” Dean said. “Start ‘er up, Cas, and I’ll pull around and show you what a real car looks like.”

Without waiting for a response, Dean started toward the back of the restaurant, where his baby sat parked next to Benny’s truck and Pam’s muddy Subaru Outback. Dean grinned to himself when he slid into the driver’s seat, starting the Impala up and revving the engine a little, just to give Cas a taste. Then he pulled around to the front, made sure Cas got a good look at his baby, and turned left onto the street.

It was a short drive home, but it still gave Dean a chance to get worked up about his most recent bad decision. Inviting Cas into his home? He barely knew the guy. All joking aside, the guy could be any kind of a creep. And even putting that aside, Dean’s place wasn’t nice by any stretch of the imagination. What kind of impression would it give? Don’t get him wrong—Dean wasn’t ashamed of the home Dad had made for them and that he’d maintained for himself and Sammy. But for someone like Cas, successful, settled, it was going to look a little sad.

When Dean pulled the car into his spot in the driveway and waited for Cas to park on the street, he was feeling that sickening, itchy feeling all over again. He looked up at the duplex. He and Sam lived in the right half of the house that had obviously been built in the early sixties and hadn’t seen a lot of updating since then. The brown shingles siding the building were an eyesore, and the steps leading up to the small porch shared by both units sagged in the middle, the wood clearly decaying.

Cas climbed out of his echo and nodded back at the Impala.

“I admit,” he said. “That is a beautiful car, Dean. You’ve obviously taken good of it.”

Dean blinked, pulled from his thoughts by the unexpected comment.

“Oh,” he said. “Thanks, Cas. She was my Dad’s, so yeah, I’ve definitely tried to do right by her.”

“It shows,” Cas said, standing in place. Waiting for something.

Right. Waiting for Dean to get his ass in gear and lead him inside.

“Well,” Dean said, climbing the stairs and painfully aware of them creaking under first his and then Cas’ feet. “Here we are. Home sweet home.”

He unlocked the door and stepped inside to switch on the lights. He was glad he at least kept the space pretty clean. To the left inside the door was an open kitchen area with a small round table that could fit four people if they didn’t mind knocking elbows. After closing the door behind them, Dean led Cas past the kitchen and the short hallway beyond it that led to the bedrooms and bathroom, and into the living room. He plopped down on one end of the ancient sofa, gesturing for Cas to join him. Cas took off his trenchcoat and draped it over one of the kitchen chairs before sitting down at a respectful distance from Dean.

And then they were right fucking back to that awkward silence from Purgatory.

“So,” Dean said, staring down at his hands as they fumbled awkwardly in his lap. “You wanted to talk. I’m guessing it was about something specific.”

“Yes,” Cas agreed, seemingly not put off by the gruffness of Dean’s conversation starter. “But first, I do want to make sure: are you truly all right, Dean?”

Dean looked up, and Cas’ face looked all intense again. His eyes full of worry. Worry for Dean.

“I don’t know what happened between you and Alistair Malum, and it isn’t my business to ask, but before I say anything else, I need to know, are you okay?”

Dean coughed a little, dislodging the hard lump that had started forming in his throat at Cas’ question.

“Yeah,” he said. “I’m okay, Cas. Alistair and I have—a history. And it ain’t a good one. I was just surprised to see him, is all. But I’m fine now.”

Cas exhaled, relief obvious in the way his shoulders relaxed.

“Good,” he said. “Because, I wanted to—well. It would be incredibly inappropriate of me to say any more if I weren’t confident in your emotional state.”

Cas looked away, scrutinizing the scuffed-up coffee table.

“As it is, I’m already unsure how ‘appropriate’ any of this is considering the circumstances of our first meeting. But when I saw you at that event over the weekend, I just—you were so—” He paused, took a deep breath. “Regardless of what I may have felt in that moment, when I saw you again, at Purgatory, saw your face, looked into your eyes, watched the way you carry yourself, Dean, I knew I had to at least ask: would you have any interest in subbing for me?”

Dean stared. It was all he could do. His brain had left the building—was making some sort of high-pitched TV test signal sound in the back of his skull. Because there was no way—no way in hell—what he’d just hear could be real. Castiel wanted Dean to sub for him?

“We’d have to discuss our limits first,” Cas continued, when it became clear Dean wasn’t about to answer immediately. “Make sure we have compatible interests. And of course, I’d prefer we work with a contract. I really prefer that, even if your interest wouldn’t extend past a single scene. I find it helpful both parties know exactly what the parameters are.”

No. No, no, no, no, no. Cas couldn’t be serious. Even if he was, Dean couldn’t sub for him. Cas was throwing out words like “compatible interests” and “contracts” like Dean had a fucking clue where to start with any of that. How should he know? But Cas was still babbling on. Dean had to say something. Had to explain, make sure Cas understood how embarrassing he was. How inadequate.

“I—I can’t,” Dean choked out, voice hoarse.

When had his throat gotten so dry?

“Oh,” Cas said, coming to a full stop.

He looked up at Dean. Defeated. Deflated.

“I apologize,” he said. “I didn’t mean to push. I hope I haven’t offended you. Did I—did I misread the situation?”

And dammit, he looked so vulnerable again. A full-on kicked-puppy expression that could give even Sam’s best puppy eyes a run for their money.

“I—” Dean started, then realized he had no idea how to finish the sentence.

Yes? Because Dean hadn’t expected Cas to start firing all these questions at him. No? Because Cas hadn’t misread the situation. Not really. Dean was at that event. He was interested in subbing. Heh, “interested.” He was fucking gagging for it. And even sitting there, telling himself how much he couldn’t have it, a flurry of images raced through his mind. He imagined himself naked and collared, kneeling under Castiel’s stare. Imagined himself choking on Castiel’s cock. Imagined Castiel pounding into him, Dean folded up onto a mattress before him. Imagined spankings and pleasure and being tied up at Castiel’s mercy. But that didn’t change the fact that he was totally unprepared for any of this. That this wasn’t for him. Couldn’t be.

Dean ran a hand over his face, scraping against the stubble on his chin.

“Shit, Cas,” he said, figuring he may as well spring for the truth. It wasn’t like he didn’t deserve to have Cas think even less of him. “I don’t even know how to answer that question. It-it’s not your fault or anything. And it’s not like the very idea of what you’re offering doesn’t have me half-hard in my jeans right now,” because Dean had decided he was going to tell the truth, so he may as well go all-out. Conflicted boner included. “But, um—I’ve never done anything like that before. That event where we—met—on Saturday. That’s the first time I’ve ever gone to anything like that. And outside my own fantasies, I’ve never, um, engaged in any BDSM activities.”

Dean blushed and stared down at the floor. He decided to go all-in, but that didn’t mean he had to enjoy laying his cards on the table.

“I, uh, I haven’t ever even slept with another dude before.”

Cas was quiet for a long time, and when Dean looked back up again, he could practically see all the information clicking into place in Cas’ head. God, the guy must think he was such a pathetic loser. Being a sub was one thing, but not even knowing how to be a sub was another.

“I see,” Cas said after a while.

And really? He did? Because if so, that made one of them.

“Dean, before I say any more, I want to make it clear that I am not trying to pressure you. You don’t owe me anything. And I don’t know how familiar you are with BDSM practices, but just because I’m a Dom, it doesn’t mean I’m entitled to anything from you right now. I’ve made my interest in you clear, but I don’t want that to color what I’m about to say.”

Castiel swallowed, and Dean felt himself leaning forward, waiting on whatever else Castiel wanted to say. Even though he should’ve just told the Dom Dean was a waste of his time. Not made Cas bother. Not when he’d already been so decent. So much fucking nicer to Dean than he deserved.

“If what you just told me was a way to let me down easily,” Cas continued. “Then simply let me know and I’ll be on my way. But what I’m hearing from you isn’t so much that you’re not interested in subbing, even that you’re not interested in subbing for me, but that your lack of experience has you concerned. Is that correct?”

Dean nodded. Yeah, that seemed about right. He wasn’t worth Cas’ investment. And uh, he still hadn’t made up his mind that he was ever going to sub for someone in the real world. Even if that someone was a gorgeous stranger with a gravelly, sexy voice and fucking alien calmness about him that had Dean wanting to kneel for him. That probably made it even more dangerous.

“Then allow me to repeat my offer. I apologize for making assumptions before or coming on too strong. But, Dean, the idea of dominating you is very enticing to me. I admit we don’t know each other much at all. That doesn’t change the fact that I find you—very attractive. If you are at all interested in trying a D/s relationship with me out—over a short and set period of time—I would gladly take your experience level into account, communicate with you constantly, and take things as slowly as you like,” Cas said.

Then he stood up, got off the couch, and was probably to be about to bolt for the door.

“Wait!” Dean cried, standing up too, reaching out to grab Cas’ arm, and only thinking better of it and pulling away at the last possible second.

Dean’s heart started pounding. He couldn’t believe Cas was just going to leave now. He’d just said all that shit about, about taking things at Dean’s pace. Being willing to work with him. And now he was just leaving? What had Dean done between one breath and the next to chase Cas away? Had he made a weird face? Somehow illustrated his ineptitude without even knowing? How had Cas figured out right at the end of his too-good-to-be-true declaration that Dean wasn’t worth it?

He studied Cas’ face for the answers. All he saw was—confusion. Like Cas couldn’t figure out the cause of Dean’s outburst.

“You’re—you’re leaving?” Dean supplied. “Right now?”

Cas titled his head, squinted at Dean.

“I was going to leave you my number first,” Cas said, pulling a pen seemingly out of nowhere. “So you could give me an answer when you’ve had time to think things over. If you like. I—I didn’t want you to feel pressured to give me an answer this moment.”

Dean took a deep breath, a little shaky on the exhale, and nodded. Right. Of course. Because Cas was fucking considerate to a fault.

“This is a big decision,” Cas continued. “I understand that, and I don’t want to make things harder on you. But—I don’t have to leave. Right now. If—if you didn’t want me to?”

Dean blinked, chewed on his bottom lip. He and Cas were both standing there, staring at each other. Both of them apparently terrified of chasing the other away. The idea was a little ludicrous to Dean. He couldn’t understand why Cas would need to worry about whatever Dean decided. He must have better offers. One missed chance to paddle Dean Winchester wasn’t going to negatively impact Cas’ life in any way. But that moment of terror when he’d thought Cas was walking away, just leaving after the whole day of trying to talk to him had Dean realizing he didn’t want Cas to leave. He wanted Cas. He wanted to sub for Cas. And yeah, that idea was terrifying, scared the hell out of him, really and truly. But deep down, he couldn’t deny it was what he wanted. The question was, could he let himself have it?

“Please,” Dean said, licking his chapped lips. “Don’t go. Not yet. Please?”

“All right, Dean,” Cas said, lowering himself back onto the couch slowly, deliberately, like Dean was a wild dog that might spook or lash out if he moved too quickly. And maybe he wasn’t wrong.

“I, um, I wanna try it,” Dean said, still standing, hovering over Castiel, hands balled into fists at his sides to stop them from shaking. “I wanna try subbing for you. Just for a little while, like you said. I don’t know if I’ll like it. I don’t know if I’ll be any good at it. Cas, I—”

Dean trailed off, staring helplessly down at the Dom who didn’t look much less effected than Dean himself. His lips were parted slightly, and his face was pale.

“All right, Dean,” Cas said, his voice soft and soothing. Dean tried not to think about how much it reminded him of Cas calming him down after Alistair. “Thank you, truly, for putting that much faith in me. Would you still like me to stay for a while?”

Dean nodded, unable to move the rest of his body. He had too much energy, adrenaline coursing through his muscles. But he still felt terrified, frozen in place. It was a shitty feeling; he was all strung-out.

But shit, what if Cas didn’t want to stay? What if he was starting to see what a mess Dean was? And, and did Dean even have any right to make those sorts of demands? Asking Cas to say, now that he was Dean’s Dom?

“Excellent,” Cas said in that same calming tone. “That’s fine, Dean. I’d like that. Now, this has been a pretty tense conversation for both of us. I don’t think it’s a good idea to talk about limits or contracts tonight, but I would like to try something that’s very gentle, low-key before I go, just because I think it might help both of us level out. If you don’t want to, just say ‘no,’ and if we try and at any point decide you don’t like it, just say ‘red.’ You understand, Dean?”

Dean nodded.

“Do you want to hear what I have in mind?” Cas asked.

Another nod.

“Nothing sexual,” Castiel clarified. “I wouldn’t do that before we have a proper conversation. But what I’d like to do right now is have you kneel next to me, on one of the cushions from this couch. And then I’d like permission to stroke your hair and speak to you. That’s all. Does that sound like something you’d like?”

Dean hesitated. Really? That all sounded super tame. Maybe Cas was just babying him because it was so obvious Dean was in over his head. But at the same time, as Castiel spoke, Dean felt an ache deep inside himself, a hunger to do just what Castiel was describing. And maybe it was because he could already feel his emotions tearing him apart inside and couldn’t handle feeling one more thing that he answered with another nod, this one firmer than the preceding two.

“I’d really like verbal confirmation if you could, Dean,” Cas said.

“Yes,” Dean said, pausing. What did he call Cas now? Sir? Master? “Castiel,” he finally settled on.

“Good,” Cas said, his voice dropping lower, practically a purr.

A weird jolt of something like electricity raced down Dean’s spine. It was a good feeling, he decided. He felt a little more blood rush into his dick, so clearly it agreed.

“And if at any time you decide you don’t like it, what will you say?” Cas asked.

Dean’s thoughts were moving a little sluggishly. He couldn’t picture any part of what Cas said that he wouldn’t like. All the same, his Dom had asked him a question. He had to answer.

“Red,” he said.

“Good,” Castiel said. “Very good, Dean.”

He reached across the couch cushions to grab one of the thin, ancient throw pillows that sat in the middle. Then he set the pillow on the floor, right next to his feet.

“All right, Dean. I’d like you to kneel on this, please.”

Dean moved over to the pillow. His body, which had felt locked up ever since Cas first stood, now seemed to know what to do with itself. He sank, relieved, to his knees on the floor and then looked up at Castiel.

Cas was smiling down at him, a gentle smile this time. Dean felt himself breathing a little easier at the sight of it.

“Good,” Castiel breathed. “Very good.”

He reached out a hand and ran his nails gently over Dean’s scalp. It felt glorious, and Dean leaned into the touch, butterflies in his stomach fluttering at the sound of Cas’ answering chuckle.

“You’re behaving so well for me,” Cas said, speaking softly still. “I’m so honored, Dean, truly honored that you chose to give me the gift of your submission.”

His hand sifted through Dean’s hair, rubbing gently at his head, soothing him.

“I swear I will attempt to earn your trust,” Castiel continued. “I will do my very best to be worthy of your submission.”

Dean moaned a little when Cas’ nails scratched over his scalp again. His neck felt boneless, and Cas’ hand moved his whole head around before settling it gently on the Dom’s thigh. Dean let himself rest there, leaning all his weight on Cas’ leg, resting his head on Cas’ lap.

“Thank you, Dean,” Castiel said. “Just let yourself go. You’re safe with me. That’s right. So good. You’re being so, so good for me.”

Dean sighed and let his eyes slip shut. He just breathed, comfortable where he was. Blissfully so. While Cas’ hand continued petting his head and Cas’ voice continued droning praise and promises in his ears. Just before Dean slipped away from himself—not sure if he actually fell asleep or just got so lost in the feelings of safeness, of rightness, of comfort, that he lost track of himself—he swore he heard Cas call him “beautiful.” And by that point, he was far enough gone, he sank even deeper at the word.

Chapter Text

When Dean came back to himself, he was surprised by how loose his whole body felt. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d been this relaxed. His neck was starting to get a bit of a twinge from the angle his head lay at, but the same moment he catalogued the small spark of pain, he also felt warm fingers kneading into muscles there. Cas’ hand had wandered from his scalp to his neck, it seemed like. Like he knew that Dean would be getting a little stiff there.

Dean repositioned his head a little, so he could blink up Castiel. The Dom smiled down at him, eyes wrinkling in the corners. Dean exhaled and slumped a little deeper at the sight.

“Hello, Dean,” Cas said, fingers scratching at the nape of Dean’s neck now, like one might pet a dog.

Dean grinned a little at the thought. Cas really was a weird guy.

“How are you feeling?” Cas asked after another moment.

“Good,” Dean said, licking his lips a little to work some moisture back into them. “I feel—great.”

“I’m glad to hear it,” Cas said, smile growing softer.

He stretched his legs out a little, the muscles in his lap shifting. Dean picked his head up, surprised by how heavy it sat on top of his neck now, hard to hold up.

“Come on,” Cas said, lowering a hand to grasp Dean’s arm. “Let’s get you up onto the couch.”

Dean allowed himself to be hauled up beside Castiel, rather than actually helping relocate his own dead weight. He expected to snuggle back into the sofa beside Castiel, but then Cas slid away and onto his feet.

“You’re leaving?” Dean asked, in what sounded suspiciously like a whine. He tried not to think about it.

“No,” Cas said, shaking his head. “Just getting you something to drink. It’s good to hydrate after a scene. Do you mind if I raid your fridge?”

“No,” Dean said, shaking his head and feeling it loll from one side to another. “But—can your really call what we just did a 'scene.’”

Cas froze with his hand on the refrigerator door. He peered at Dean across the space between the kitchen and the living room.

“Did you enjoy it?” he asked.

“I think you know I did,” Dean muttered, feeling his face heat up as he looked away.

“Then I would call it not only a scene, but a successful one at that. There’s no set checklist of what constitutes an official ‘scene,’ Dean. Just as there is no right or wrong way to engage in BDSM activities, so long as both or more parties enjoy it, and it’s safe, sane, and—”

“Consensual,” Dean finished. “I do know how to use google, Cas.”

“I’m very glad to hear it,” Cas returned dryly.

He reappeared in front of the couch, carrying a glass of the apple cider Dean only bought for Sam.

“Drink,” he ordered.

“Yes, sir,” Dean said, intending to come off as cocky, but realizing the words felt pretty sincere on his lips.

Dean tried to busy himself with taking a big gulp of the cider, but when he looked up, Cas was just standing there smiling at him again.

“May I join you on the couch, Dean?”

“Uh, yeah,” Dean said, glancing down at all the space on the sofa. “It’s a free country, Cas.”

“Thank you,” Cas said, ignoring the sarcasm.

He lowered himself smoothly onto the couch and pressed his body right up against Dean’s. He even did the whole one arm draped over the back of the couch bit, like an awkward teenager on his first date. But when Cas did it, there was something genuinely—nice about it.

For a while they just sat there next to each other. And for once, the quiet didn’t feel uncomfortable. Dean soaked up the heat radiating from Cas’ body. He enjoyed the way the arm draped over his shoulders felt, the way Cas’ hand would sometimes brush against him, rubbing at him kind of like Cas had done to his head during their laughably G-rated “scene.”

Slowly, that totally stoned, blissed out feeling Dean had been carrying since falling to his knees melted away. Instead of feeling happy-drunk or half-asleep or whatever, Dean started feeling like himself again. Just, himself in a genuinely good mood, which was also unusual.

“How are you feeling now?” Cas asked, like he was reading Dean’s mind or some shit.

“Pretty good,” Dean answered truthfully.

“I’m glad,” Cas said, giving Dean a one-armed squeeze before moving a few inches away and resettling himself. “I very much enjoyed watching you let go. I know I said it during the scene, but I’d like to reiterate now that you’re listening more carefully: I’m honored you chose to submit to me.”

“Uh,” Dean said, hunching in on himself a little and cradling the now-empty juice glass. “Thanks?”

Cas chuckled a little.

“I’d very much like to meet with you again. I’ll leave you my number, like I planned before, and if you want to call me some time, we can set up a time to discuss our interests. Write up a short-term contract that will work for both of us.”

“Thanks,” Dean said again, more genuinely this time. “I’d—I’d like that too.”

He fished his phone out of his pocket and opened up a new contact entry before offering it up to Castiel. Cas took it, punched in his information, and then handed the phone back to Dean.

“It’s getting late,” Cas observed. “I should head back to the city. But please feel free to text or call me any time, Dean.”

Dean nodded, already calculating in his head the number of days he’d have to wait before calling without coming across as a desperate or pathetic loser.

“I mean it,” Cas said, voicing growing a little sterner. “You may think what we did tonight was very tame or no big deal, but it was a significant step for you. Are you familiar with the concept of subdrop?”

“Yeah,” Dean said.

He’d read about it on one of his late night, shame-fueled forays into researching the world of kink instead of just getting off on the porn.

“I’m glad to hear it,” Cas said. “If you suspect you may be dropping, or if you just want to talk about what we did tonight or have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out.”

“Uh, okay, Cas,” Dean said, toying with the phone in his hands. “I promise.”

Cas nodded like that was all he’d been waiting to hear. Then, he took a deep breath and rose to his feet. Dean stood too. It wasn’t like the door was far away, but he figured it was still good manners to see guests out. Especially if that guest had just spent the past—shit, hour and a half petting you like a needy lapdog. He trailed Cas back to the kitchen where he’d left his coat. Dean’s legs didn’t seem to be working quite right, though. They felt a little stiff, clumsy. Cas must’ve noticed him moving slow, because he paused after buttoning up his tan coat and squinted at Dean.

“Your legs may be a little sore for the rest of the night,” he warned.

“Nah,” Dean said. “It’s fine. I’m not getting that old yet.”

Cas looked like he was about to say something else, something recriminatory from the look in his eye, but then he shook his head slightly and smiled again.

“Thank you once more, Dean. For everything.”

He reached out an arm, and Dean thought for a moment Cas was going to hug him (because really, what was the protocol here?). Instead, Cas just gripped Dean’s bicep, squeezed once, and then turned and walked out the door.

Feeling like a bit of a creep, Dean peered out the window and watched the little blue volt drive away. He didn’t know what time Sam would be home, but he wasn’t feeling tired enough to sleep yet. He turned on the TV and let the news play as white noise (grateful Sam wasn’t there to call him out on being a hypocrite) and let his mind wander.

He couldn’t really believe the evening had actually happened. Without Cas’s solid presence in the room, none of it felt quite real. Nothing, from the gorgeous Dom’s proposition, to Dean kneeling in his own living room, to Cas giving him fucking aftercare in the form of additional goddam cuddling and cider actually felt like something that would truly happen in Dean Winchester’s life. Flipping through the contacts on his phone, Dean found one labeled Castiel Novak. He processed the new last name and decided this new number was tangible proof that he wasn’t going crazy. All of that had actually happened.

Dean was just trying to work out what that meant for him when a car stopped outside the house, and a minute later, Sam opened up the front door and stepped inside. His face lit up when he saw Dean waiting for him.

“Hey, Dean,” he called.

“Heya, Sammy,” Dean said, changing the TV channel as fast as he could before giving his little brother a genuine grin. “How did debate stuff go?”

Sam launched into an enthusiastic account of the team’s plan of attack for their upcoming debate. Then he told Dean about how they’d all gone to Friendly’s to get ice cream and Andy, a stoner kid Dean had been shocked to learn was even on the debate team at first, until he went to one of Sammy’s events and learned that the kid had weird charisma and could probably convince a nun to buy cocaine, had started catapulting the gummy bears from his Sunday across the table with a spoon. Apparently he was a great shot, but then finally Kevin, a much more traditionally nerdy and uptight kid with a super fierce mother who maybe scared Dean a little bit, tried to get in on the action. According to Sam, on his first try, Kevin managed to send the spoon serving as his catapult flying behind him into the banana split the couple in the booth behind them had been sharing, while his gummy bear landed uselessly on the table in front of him. A waitress had come over to chew them out, but then Andy smoothed everything over in five seconds flat.

Dean struggled to pay attention to all of Sam’s earlier chatter about the debate itself, but by the time he made it to the gummy bear-apults, he was genuinely laughing along.

“Well, good. I’m glad you didn’t get yourself banned from Friendly’s. I would’ve missed taking you there for Fribbles. Although, I guess I could’ve just ordered them for myself to-go and eaten them in front of you,” Dean said when Sam had finished his tale.

“Ha ha, Jerk,” Sam said, punching Dean lightly in the shoulder, his face still lit up in excitement.

“Bitch,” Dean growled, rubbing his shoulder and wincing like the blow had actually hurt.

Sam rolled his eyes, but he was still practically vibrating with energy.

“So, what did you do tonight?” Sam asked.

Dean froze.

“I, uh—” he started.

“Dude, if you spent the whole night watching porn, I take it back. I don’t wanna know,” Sam said.

Dean laughed again, worried it sounded a little manic this time.

“If you insist, Sammy. But let me tell you, a night alone with Busty Asian Beauties is a religious experience.”

“You are so gross.”

Dean’s smile relaxed a little bit more on his face. He and Sam spent the rest of the night joking around. They both made it to bed much too late considering how early their respective mornings started, but Dean figured it was worth it. He hadn’t enjoyed Sam’s company that much for a while. Hadn’t enjoyed much of anything really. And he was only a little bit worried that the source of all his new-found good humor could be traced directly back to his time with Castiel.

SPN

The next day, Dean showed up to work at the construction site like always. Rufus took one long look at him, then nodded his head and started barking orders to the whole team. Gordon was sporting a black eye and a split lip, and there was a terse moment of he and Dean sizing each other up. But then Cole clapped Gordon on the back and asked for help hauling something, and Dean got to work for an ordinary, uneventful day. By the end of his shift, it was like the fight with Gordon had never even happened.

Pam whistled at him when he walked into Purgatory at the start of his dishwashing shift.

“How was your night, tiger?” she asked. “You rock that fella’s world?”

“Pam, you know I’d never kiss and tell,” he replied, surprised by how similar the banter was to times when he’d gone home with women.

Benny had given him a cool, calculating look later in the day and asked him how he was doing.

“Fine, Benny, I promise,” he said, and then swore on his baby to let Benny know the second that changed.

Back at home, he and Sam hung out while Sammy finished his pre-calc homework. It was more subdued than the night before, but Dean still enjoyed harassing his little brother for being a giant nerd.

On the whole, it was a pretty good day. He couldn’t deny the fact that he felt better, lighter after his night with Castiel. That voice in his mind that was always eager to tell him what a fuck up he was had fallen quieter. And even though he told himself he was rushing things, being clingy, pathetic for needing at all, for wanting anything but especially this, he found himself reaching for his phone as he lay on his bed at the end of the night.

Hey, he typed in a new text to Castiel. This is Dean. u still want 2 meet and tlk sometime?

He closed his eyes, set the phone down again, and tried not to panic at the idea of actually pursuing this, setting up a meeting to discuss contracts of all things with Castiel Novak. Just when he was starting to breathe normally again, his phone buzzed on his bedside table.

He had a new message from Cas. Dean only froze for a moment before opening the text thread.

Of course, Cas had replied. I’m free much of this weekend. Would Saturday evening work for you?

Sure Dean texted back, this time staring at his phone screen as he waited for a response.

Would you like to come to my place? I can text you the address. Or we can meet in your home again, if you’d prefer.

Dean chuckled to himself. Of course Castiel would text in complete sentences with proper grammar.

Your place? Dean typed. dont want my little bro around.

Understandable, Cas responded.

He and Dean texted a little more, setting up the details. When they had everything worked out, Dean set his phone down, thinking they were done, but it vibrated once more.

I’m looking forward to it, Dean, the message read, with a little bumble bee emoji at the end.

Dean laughed all over again. So Cas used complete punctuation and emoji in his texting. He really was a very weird guy. But that didn’t diminish the fact that Dean too was looking forward to this Saturday night. Very much.

Chapter Text

Dean stood outside the monolith of a house. It was a mansion. A castle. It was ridiculous.

Castiel’s place was maybe a fifteen drive out of Topeka. Dean had never been in this part of the suburbs before. Everyone had several acre lawns and long driveways that wound up to fancy houses. It was like goddamn Beverly Hills, Kansas edition or some shit. Dean had checked the address Cas had given him three times before getting out of the Impala, not believing one guy could possibly live there. He now stood in the crushed gravel drive outside a giant, three-story white house with a long porch decorated by freaking columns.  Dean thought the whole thing looked like it belonged on the set of Gone With the Wind.

Dean had known Cas was successful, maybe even rich. But he’d expected more the fancy, modern condo in the city kind of rich. Not the owns a fucking mansion kind of rich. Shit, what if Dean knocked on the door and a freaking butler answered it? Dean honestly wouldn’t even be surprised at this point.

And Castiel had been to Dean’s house. Had seen Dean’s moldy ceiling and cracked wallboards. His thrift shop furniture. How pathetic must he think Dean is? Pathetic enough to throw him a sympathy kink bone, that’s what. First he sees Dean falling apart, and then he sees how not-together his whole life truly was. Guy must’ve thought Dean needed a little charity dominance. If Dean had any doubts about why Castiel had taken an interest in him before, they were gone now.

The question was, what did Dean do about it? Did he get back in his car and drive away, tell Cas he didn’t need his sympathy. Or was he so fucking desperate to get laid (to feel Cas’ hands on him, those long, calm hands that pet his head, that scratched his scalp, that eased him into beautiful calmness) he’d actually get on his knees and beg for Cas’ handout like the miserable bitch he was.

Dean squared his shoulders, climbed the three steps onto Cas’ porch, crossed the grey-painted floorboards, and rang the doorbell, listening to the chimed song that followed. Yeah, that figured. He really was pathetic.

Fortunately, Cas answered the door, not some old British dude in a suit. He blinked at Dean in something like surprise, then broke out into a bright smile.

“Dean,” he said. “Please come in.”

He stepped aside, opening the door a little wider so Dean could walk inside.

Dean peered around at the large foyer. A curved stairwell climbed up on the left, and there were three large open doorways into different parts of the house. The floors were polished hardwood, and a freaking chandelier hung from the ceiling.

“Shit, does the phantom of the opera live here?” Dean snapped, staring up at the dangling crystals overhead.

Cas’ face fell and he followed Dean’s gaze.

“It is a little much, isn’t it?” he asked.

“No shit,” Dean said, shoving his hands in his pockets and feeling about ready to shake out of his skin with nervous energy. “Maybe next time warn a guy that you’re richer than the Kardashians.”

“Hardly,” Cas said with a snort. “But I do apologize, Dean, I didn’t think. I’m not—I didn’t mean to make you uncomfortable.”

He sounded so genuinely sorry about it, Dean looked down at the glistening wood floor, staring at his cracked, dirty work boot standing out in bold contrast.

“Yeah, well,” he muttered. “Newsflash, Cas: I was always going to be uncomfortable today.”

“Dean, you can always change your mind about this. You don’t have to go through with the contract,” Castiel said.

Dean knew it was only wishful thinking on his part that the guy sounded sad about that idea.

“Nah,” he said, shaking his head. “I’m here. I wanna do it. I’m just—”

“Nervous?” Cas supplied.

Dean nodded.

“Me too,” Cas confessed.

Dean stared at him, eyes bulging out so much he felt like a cartoon character.

“It’s only natural,” Cas said. “We both want this to go well, but we’re still new to each other. The unknown is always at least a little intimidating. But, since you’re here, this is something we both want, and we’re unlikely to get any less nervous, may I suggest we get started on that contract?”

Dean nodded, but Cas didn’t move, just kept watching him. And then Dean remembered back at his own place, Cas’ insistence on “verbal confirmation.”

“Uh, yes, Cas,” he said. “That sounds good.”

“Good,” Cas echoed. “Please follow me.”

He led the way through the doorway at the back of the foyer, down a short hall and into a huge kitchen. This room was more modern than the rest of the house Dean had seen so far. All shining chrome appliances, white-painted cabinets, and a small oak table near one end of the room beside a window looking out onto a small flower garden.

“Have a seat,” Cas said, gesturing to the table.

Dean obeyed without thinking, taking the chair that put his back to the corner, watching Cas as he stalked over to the fridge.

“Could I get you anything to drink?” Cas asked, his voice practically echoing in the long, galley-style space. “I have water, juice, and sports drinks.”

“I’ll, uh, have a sports drink,” Dean said.

The juice actually sounded good, but there was no way Dean was going to ask for it. He wasn’t a three-year-old, after all.

“This house wasn’t actually my choice,” Cas said, pulling a bottle of yellow Gatorade and a pitcher of something out of the fridge.

“Huh?” Dean said, surprised by the topic change and the fact the Cas was volunteering this information up out of the blue.

“I’d been staying in a modest apartment in the city,” Cas continued, grabbing two glasses out of a cupboard overhead. “But about three years ago, when I received a promotion, my brothers got it into their heads that I should buy a house. They said it was more respectable, and that I deserved something permanent and ‘worthy of my status.’”

Cas poured what looked like grape juice from the pitcher and into one of the glasses, and then opened Dean’s Gatorade and, despite the fact that Dean had never even considered drinking Gatorade out of anything other than the bottle, poured about half of it into the other glass.

“I admit I wasn’t even that hands-on in the house-hunting process. Michael found this place for me, so I made the bid and moved in shortly thereafter.”

“Uh, why are you telling me this?” Dean asked when Cas stepped over to the table, handing him the glass full of neon yellow sports drink before sitting down across from him.

“Because I saw the way you’re looking at the house,” Cas explained. “You’re putting a great deal of trust in me, and I thought it only fair you know something about the kind of man who would live in—and purchase—a place like this. I live in a museum and ultimately have no one to blame but myself for allowing my brothers to dictate the decision. But you should also know it doesn’t mean that much to me, where I live. Those are the sorts of decisions that don’t seem so important to me, so I’ve never bothered to fight for them.

“My priorities lie in more personal areas. And my submissives are always a priority. While we’re engaged in our relationship, for however long that may be, you will matter to me, Dean. I will take your physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing seriously. I will respect you and take my responsibilities as your dominant seriously. And if necessary, I will fight for you, Dean. My BDSM relationships are not something I am indifferent about.”

Dean listened to Cas’ whole speech in a mixture of awe and panic. Cas was, was—unbelievable. The guy casually mentions dropping upwards of a million dollars on this place like it’s no big deal. Because his brothers said so, which is strange, especially for a Dominant, not that it was Dean’s place to judge or even express curiosity. But then he turns around and acts like it’s Dean that’s something special. Dean that’s worth a damn. And that was—kind of amazing.

At the same time, it was totally terrifying, because Dean wasn’t worth it, and one of these days (like, in an hour, most likely) Cas was going to find out Dean wasn’t worth it. And Cas’ fancy fucking place didn’t even have a curb to kick Dean to. Not to mention, what Cas was saying sounded intense, not the casual tie him up and kick him around a little Dean had been expecting. He’d even gone and used the r-word, not something Dean had ever expected to come up in this context.

“Relationship?” he asked.

Cas blinked at him.

“We’re—” Dean licked his lips, tried again. “We’d be in a relationship?”

“Of course,” Cas said. “Not necessarily a romantic one if that doesn’t appeal to you. It needn’t even be explicitly sexual if you prefer. There are all sorts of relationships, Dean. Business relationships. Friendships. An extended BDSM encounter of any kind necessarily involves some sort of working relationship.”

“Right,” Dean said, rubbing the back of his neck. “Of course.”

That did make sense, he guessed. It wasn’t like Cas was proposing marriage or anything.

“On that note, shall we get right down to it?” Cas asked, reaching for a folder that sat to his right, at the table setting nearest the window.

“Uh, sure,” Dean said, as Cas drew out two thick stacks of paper, handing one to Dean and setting the other one down before himself.

“If it’s all right with you and since it came up so organically, I’d like to begin by discussing what exactly it is you’re looking to get out of this relationship. Or experience, if you prefer,” Cas said, looking up at Dean with a serious face, like he was hoping Dean would share the answers to some upcoming test with him.

“I, uh,” Dean said, flipping through the pages in front of him, and after the top one, finding a list so long the words all blurred together and became nonsense.

“Dean,” Cas said, calling his attention back to him.

Dean left the file alone, placed one of his hands on top of it resolutely, and forced himself to look Cas in the eye.

“I want to be your submissive,” he said, his voice even, surprised in that moment by how certain he felt. “I really liked what you did while you were back at my place, and I, um, I—I want to be good for you,” he breathed out the last all in a rush.

Cas stared at him, lips parted like he’d just performed a particularly enticing strip tease.

“Thank you, Dean,” he said. “That is, that’s very good. I appreciate your honesty. I enjoyed our time together earlier this week as well. And I have every faith in your ability to be good for me. You already have been, truly. Now, what about the other? What other expectations do you have for me or for our interactions?”

Dean took a deep breath but had to drop his eyes. He couldn’t look at Cas while saying this next part. He just couldn’t.

“Well, um, about what you said before. I definitely—I definitely want to have sex with you. Or, you know, at least do some sex stuff.”

Cas chuckled, but there was nothing mean about it. It was a warm, comforting sound. Dean liked it.

“I’m glad to hear that, Dean. I think we’re very much on the same page, then. We’ll start going through the particulars soon of just what ‘sex stuff’ sounds appealing to you. So how does this sound? I was thinking a trial period of two months. If you decide you aren’t enjoying yourself or want out at any time before then, that is completely fine. Just say the word and we’ll dissolve the contract. The two month period is more to give us a solid point to check in, discuss how we’re feeling about the way things are progressing, and determine if we think we’d enjoy prolonging our encounter.

“During that time,” Cas continued. “We will engage in a variety of BDSM activities and will be sexually active partners. I insist on both of us being tested and using protection at all times. I am also a deeply monogamous person, and during the time of our contract, I will not be seeking sex or scening with any outside partners. You, however, are under no obligation to do the same. I simply want you to know where you stand with me.”

“O-okay,” Dean said. “Thanks?”

“Does everything I’ve said so far sound reasonable?” Cas asked. “Any questions?”

“Nope,” Dean said, still trying to absorb everything Cas was saying without his head exploding at the realization that this was actually happening. “So far, so good.”

“Excellent,” Cas said with a small smile. “Now, a couple other particulars before we move onto the more fun part. How often were you hoping to interact, both in and out of scenes? And what would you feel most comfortable with as far as contacting each other for non-kink-related topics? For instance, would you want to interact outside our roles, text about our days, that sort of thing, or would you prefer to have set days for scenes and no interaction outside of those times?”

“Geez, Cas,” Dean said. “Have you don’t that a lot? Just have people show up when they want to get spanked, get off, go home and not talk until next week?”

“I have engaged in that sort of dynamic before,” Cas said. “It’s not my preference. I prefer to have a more emotional or friendly relationship with my submissives. I simply know you’re already stepping outside of your comfort zone, and wish to make this situation as rewarding and stress-free as possible for you.”

“Well, I don’t know about hanging out a lot when we’re not—you know, scening or whatever. Like, I don’t know about going on dates. But—I think it would be weird if we didn’t even talk at all. I’d like to be able to text you if I wanted to.”

Cas nodded and jotted something down on the top sheet of his stack of papers. He filled in several lines, then looked up at Dean.

“Let’s leave our number of scenes per week and interaction outside the dynamic open for now. We can see how you feel after you have a couple encounters under your belt. One last piece of business before we get to the list: I have no set preference for what I like to be called in a scene. I’m open to whatever you feel most comfortable with. My name, sir, whatever. And it can change on the day or the situation, if that feels natural to you. I know some Doms are particular about their honorific, but as long as I’m being respected and obeyed, titles don’t mean that much to me.”

“Cool,” Dean said, fingers twitching on top his stack of papers.

He was worried about looking like an idiot in front of Cas, going through that list. He was certain he hadn’t tried the vast majority of what was written there. How could he possibly know what he’d really like? And what if he hadn’t heard of—like, a lot of the things on there? He’d done research, yeah, but still felt underprepared. How humiliating was this going to be?

He was so locked in his own worries, he didn’t realize Cas had spoken again until he heard his own name.

“What?” he gulped, looking back up. “Sorry.”

“It’s all right,” Cas said. “We’re not in a scene right now. You don’t have to apologize to me. I only asked if there was anything else you wanted to say or wanted me to know before we discuss the particulars?”

Dean shook his head, staring at the stack of papers again.

“No,” he said.

“Okay,” Cas said after a moment’s hesitation. “In that case—”

“Wait,” Dean said, biting his lip. “Actually, there is something. I don’t know if maybe there’s a section on the list for it and I should just wait, though.”

Damn, he should’ve kept his mouth shut. Now it was going to look like a big deal. If he’d just waited to see if it was on the list, he could’ve slid it in naturally. But, well, there maybe was one thing he was nervous about, now that he was seriously about to put himself completely in Cas’ hands. And maybe, then, it wasn’t the worst thing if Cas knew he was sort of serious about this?

“That’s all right,” Cas said. “It can’t hurt to be thorough, Dean.”

“Right,” Dean said. “Yeah. Um, I would really like it if—could you not insult me? I know sometimes I’ll screw up and you’ll have to call me out on it, but maybe you could not tell me that I’m like, worthless or stupid or whatever.”

Dean winced. God, he sounded like such a baby. And after all, what did it really matter, if Cas just told him what he already knew was true?

“Oh, Dean,” Cas said, his voice full of so much Dean had to look up at him.

Cas reached out a hand, cupped his cheek. He ran his thumb over the bone there, gently, soothing.

“Dean, I would never call you those sorts of things,” he said. “Even in a scene. I take no pleasure in being cruel. I want my submissives to feel good. Remember what I said earlier, about caring for your wellbeing in every way?”

Dean nodded.

“Well, I meant that,” Cas said. “I’ve had subs who got off on being humiliated before, and even then, I would never use language that harsh or hurtful. Besides which, none of that is true at all. And I would never lie to you, Dean.”

“Yeah, well, you don’t know me that well,” Dean said with a huff of a laugh, just barely stopping himself from leaning more deeply into Castiel’s touch.

Cas just watched him with purse lips for a long moment, eyes cool and focused.

“What?” Dean asked when the staring began to get uncomfortable.

“Just planning for future scenes,” Castiel said, taking his hand away. “But for now, let’s start going through this list. We’ll discuss each item and mark whether it’s something we very much want to do together, would be willing to try, or would never, ever want under any circumstances. If you have any questions about anything on it, just let me know. I will never be angry at you for asking a question. It’s in both our best interests to be honest about what we know and want here, as if something comes up during a scene neither of us expects or enjoys, that won’t be much fun for anyone involved. Understood?

Dean nodded, then, remembering, added out loud, “Yes, Cas.”

“Good,” Cas said, beaming. “Let’s get started.”

Dean flipped to the second page in the stack, and listened as Cas began talking about “abrasion.” He had a feeling they were going to be sitting at this table for a while.

Chapter Text

Dean hadn’t been wrong. They sat in Cas’ kitchen going over the list in detail for hours. The sun had set completely, and Cas had turned on the bright lights over the table. Outside the window, the darkness grew thicker and deeper, and by the time they were done, the green numbers on Cas’ microwave clock read 11:34. But Dean also felt he had at least a general understanding of the mechanics behind each item on the list, and had been as honest about his interests as he possibly could be with his limited knowledge and nonexistent experience.

“Well,” Cas said, pushing his chair back and stretching his whole frame, arms over his head. “I feel very pleased with this contract, Dean. Our interests complement each other’s quite nicely. Now, for being so patient and honest through this entire process, I think you deserve a reward, don’t you?”

Something warm and wanting curled up in Dean’s guts. Yes, he wanted that reward, whatever Cas was promising. But that wasn’t what Cas had asked. He’d said “deserve,” and that was totally different.

Dean lowered his eyes.

“I—whatever you think,” he said. “Cas.”

“Hmm,” Cas said. “Since this is our first night, I’m tempted to let that slide. I’m more concerned, however, with establishing bad habits, so I’m going to push the issue. I asked you a yes or no question, Dean, and I expect a genuine, honest response. Now, I’m still offering you a reward, because you’ve tried very hard and been good for me all night. Don’t you think you deserve it?”

“I—” Dean started, squeezing his eyes shut tight.

What did he think? He didn’t deserve anything from Cas, he knew that much. Anything Cas chose to give, it was just because he was that nice of a guy. And a reward? All Dean had done was answer a bunch of questions. There was nothing so difficult about that. At least, there shouldn’t have been. And just because Dean felt the emotional equivalent of exhaustion as going three rounds with an angry minotaur, that just showed how inept he really was at this whole thing, not that he deserved anything.

All the same, he knew, just knew what answer Cas was looking for. A quick, easy “yes.” So Dean should just lie and give it to him. Except—except Cas had asked for an honest answer. To lie would be to disobey. Not like Cas could prove it, of course. But Dean would know. He’d know, and he’d feel like shit. Damn, they’d only just finished signing the damn contract, and already this was fucking hard. Already Dean was fucking up.

But Cas was still sitting there, waiting for an answer.

“I—no,” Dean said. “I’m sorry, Cas, but no, I don’t think I deserve a reward.”

He risked a glance back up at Cas and saw his lips pressed into a firm line, his blue eyes scrutinizing Dean again.

“Thank you for answering me honestly,” Cas said after a little while of silence. “I appreciate you behaving so well for me. Now, come with me.”

Cas stood up for the table, and without looking at Dean, led the way out of the kitchen, through a tight hallway, and up a flight of stairs that was much less impressive than the ones Dean had seen in the foyer. The stairs opened up into a wider hallway with cream colored walls and plush blue carpet.

Dean followed along a pace or two behind Cas, his mind reeling. He’d had to go and answer honestly, hadn’t he? Had to turn down Cas’ offer of a reward, so now he was getting a punishment. Not that he didn’t deserve it. He’d disappointed Cas, ruined what had promised to be a very pleasant end to the evening. He’d spoiled Cas’ fun, and now he’d pay the price. And he’d do it without whining and bitching. He’d take his punishment like a man.

Cas stopped outside a door at the end of the hall, glancing back at Dean for the first time. Then, he opened the door and stepped into a bedroom easily as big as the kitchen and living room of Dean’s duplex combined. There was a walk-in closet on one end of the room and a bookshelf. Dean was surprised to see there was also a dark wood armoire against the nearest wall. A king-sized bed stood against the far wall, facing the door, just far enough away from the window in the fourth wall that had an overstuffed chair and end table beside it that Dean wondered if Cas could even see the view from bed.

And then, looking back at Cas, he realized he had more pressing concerns than that at the moment.  

“Please remove your clothing and lie face down on the bed, Dean,” Cas said.

Dean swallowed around what felt like a boulder currently lodged in his throat and reached for his belt, unlatching it. He kicked off his boots and stepped out of his jeans, wondering what to do with them then. He decided to drape them over the chair near the window, feeling a bit bad about dirtying up Cas’ nice stuff with his clothes. But he figured it was better than leaving his clothes in a heap on the floor. He shrugged off his flannel outer-layer next, and then his t-shirt, draping them over his jeans on the chair as well.

By that point, his heart was really hammering in his chest. He wondered vaguely if he should be concerned that his heartrate got so high at his age. Maybe he really should listen to Sam and start exercising more. But then, he realized, he was just stalling now.

Slowly, feeling like he was crossing leagues instead of feet, he walked over to Cas’ bed. It was tall, and he had to climb up onto it. But once he did, he crawled forward and rested his head on a pillow, lowering his whole body onto the comforter.

“Very good,” Cas said, moving somewhere behind Dean where he couldn’t see. “Now take some deep breaths for me.”

Dean hitched in a lung-full of air much too quickly, feeling it burn.

“Easy now,” Cas said. “Let it out. Good. In. And out.”

Dean did his best to follow the instructions, and despite himself, he did start feeling a little calmer after three deep, even breaths. But then he heard the creak of Cas opening the door to the armoire, and his whole body tensed right back up again. He wondered what Cas was reaching for. A paddle? A flogger? A cane? Dean reminded himself he deserved it, but all the same, he was getting a little panicky.

He knew he could safeword out if he needed to, just call out “red,” the safeword he and Cas had agreed upon for the trial period and be done with this, but if he did that on the first night, what were the odds that Cas would want to stick around for the rest of the two months of the contract? Dean had taken pain before, and this was no one’s fault but his own. Cas would hurt him, and then it would be over, and Dean would be forgiven for fucking things up for one night.

That thought had Dean settling into the mattress. Cas climbed up onto the bed behind him, making it dip a little. Then Dean heard the click of a cap opening, and something being poured out. Lube? Was Cas going to fuck him? Now, on night one? Dean had sort of hoped they’d work their way up to that. He’d told Cas he was a little anxious at the idea of getting fucked for the first time. But maybe that’s why this was supposed to be a punishment? Cas taking what he wanted and not worrying about what Dean wanted or was feeling?

“You’re thinking too much,” Cas said, cutting through Dean’s thoughts. “The whole point of submission is that you trust someone else to take care of you. I understand that’s a lot to ask and it won’t happen instantly. I believe trust is earned, not given. But please try, Dean. Please try to trust me to give you what you need. Stop overthinking. Stop trying to guess what I’m going to do, and just let it happen. Can you do that, Dean?”

“Yes, Cas,” Dean answered, closing his eyes.

He could let Cas do what he wanted, but he needed that much of a remove before he took his first dick up the ass.

“Now, are you ready for me to touch you?” Cas asked.

“Yes,” Dean said, pausing before he added, “Sir.”

Because he did trust Cas. He was placing himself in Cas’ care. And he needed to believe Cas was going to give him what he needed. Cas was in control.

“Very good, Dean,” Cas said, voice growing softer and sweeter. “Very good.”

Dean felt Cas hovering over him. Braced himself for fingers in his asshole or a swat on his cheek before they got to the fucking. Instead, Cas lowered his hands to Dean’s shoulders, digging the heel of his hands into Dean’s muscles there, rubbing in smooth circles. A massage. Cas was giving Dean a massage. And that stuff in the bottle wasn’t lube, it was—oil, maybe? And something warming, apparently, if the way it soaked into Dean’s skin, heating up and relaxing the tension in combination with Cas’ even strokes was any indication.

Dean wasn’t sure if he was allowed to talk—Cas hadn’t said one way or the other. But after just thirty seconds of Cas’ hands easing the tension in his body, his brain was all sparking and about to short circuit. He’d have to take the chance.

“C-Cas?” he asked.

“Yes, Dean?” Cas said.

He didn’t sound angry that Dean had spoken. Must be it was all right.

“What’re you doing?” Dean asked.

“I should think that would be fairly obvious,” Cas said, voice warm and teasing. “I’m giving you a nice, relaxing massage.”

He moved his hands lower, sweeping down either side of Dean’s spine.

“How’s this a punishment?” Dean asked, peeking up at Cas with one eye.

Cas frowned down at him, pausing in his ministrations.

“It’s not,” he said flatly, returning to work. “This is your reward. Or part of it, anyway.”

“I don’t understand,” Dean said, feeling suddenly vulnerable, like he’d said something deep and shameful. He guessed in a way, he had. In that case, he may as well go all out. “I-I turned down the reward. And then I didn’t say what I was supposed to.”

Cas sighed, digging in a little bit deeper to Dean’s lower back.

“I would never punish you for not telling me exactly what I want to hear, especially when asked for an honest answer. Punishment only happens when you break a rule, Dean, and we haven’t even set out any of those yet. I expect any punishments you’ll receive will come for breaking a rule established in an individual scene.

“And once we’re in our roles, it’s not your place to ‘turn down’ anything, at least without safewording out. I’d decided you earned a reward tonight. I asked you if you agreed. You didn’t. That doesn’t change the fact that I had already decided you deserved a reward. So, as your Dominant, I’m doing what I decided to do with you, giving you what I decided you’d earned. Do you understand?”

“Um, I guess,” Dean said, only hesitating a little. He waited much longer before adding on, “But—why?”

Cas slid his hands back up to work the back of Dean’s neck and his shoulder blades again before answering.

“Why did I decide you’d earned a reward?” Cas asked.

Dean nodded as best he could with one side of his face smushed up against a pillow.

“I’ll tell you,” Castiel said slowly. “But before I do, I’m instigating a rule for this scene. Until I say otherwise, you are not allowed to speak, except to safeword, or attempt to argue with me in any way. Clear?”

No, Dean thought. That seemed like an arbitrary time to tell him he couldn’t talk. But then, he reminded himself, what Cas said went. He was the Dom. And it wasn’t a huge hardship for Dean to shut up and listen. He nodded once again before stilling under Cas’ hands.

“Excellent,” Cas said. “I’m very pleased, Dean. I decided you deserved a reward tonight, because you stepped so far out of your comfort zone for me. This is all so new to you, and you didn’t hold anything back. You went through the entire contract, and you answered every question I put to you.”

Cas’ hands started making bigger circles, encompassing the upper half of Dean’s back on every rotation. Now that Dean was just lying there feeling and listening, he had to admit, it felt amazing. He hadn’t realized just how tense he usually carried himself until Cas started easing some of that tightness in his muscles away.

“I decided you deserved a reward tonight,” Cas continued, not done, apparently. “Because I told you to ask questions when you didn’t understand something. I haven’t known you long, but I sense it’s uncomfortable for you to admit ignorance of anything, even though this is all so new to you. And despite that, every time you didn’t know what something was or weren’t clear on where I stood on an item, you asked about it. I could see it was difficult for you. It made you uncomfortable and sometimes embarrassed. But all the same, you did it.”

Cas dug in deeper, massaging muscles even harder, pulling away at the tension stored deep inside them, easing it away. Even though what he was saying, the words he was telling Dean weren’t true, were just Cas being kind, Cas being too impressed by Dean struggling to do as he was told, Dean couldn’t deny it felt—good.

“You deserved a reward, because I asked you to be honest. And every time I asked you a question, all night long, however invasive or personal or even embarrassing you found it, you answered it to the best of your ability. That impressed me deeply, Dean. Being that honest about anything is no easy feat. And you worked so hard at it, were honest with me all night.”

Dean relaxed into Cas’ hands as they worked at his lower back, massaging away tightness and exhaustion from all the heavy lifting at his construction job. And while he still wasn’t going to agree with all the pretty-sounding bullshit Cas was spouting, Dean let himself listen to it without fighting it even in his mind, because that felt good too.

“You deserved a reward, because even though you were nervous, you drove all the way from Auburn to my home to meet with me.”

Dean’s whole body felt blissed out. Totally relaxed. He’d only felt this calm when he’d been on his knees for Cas earlier that week.

“You deserve a reward, because even though the size and appearance of my house intimidated you, you walked inside it anyway, and remained brave throughout the entire night, right down to getting into my bed and letting me touch you.”

No, Dean had never been this calm. His whole being was liquid. Bliss. He felt good.

“You deserve a reward because despite how self-sacrificing I’ve seen you to be in the short time we’ve known each other, tonight you let yourself ask for what you wanted while we were filling out that contract. And that too is an act of courage. Because you are so brave, Dean, so very, very brave, and so very good. Now turn over.”

Dean didn’t even feel his brain sending the command to his body. Wondered if maybe Cas flipped him onto his back all on his own. Wouldn’t have been surprised. Dean’s muscles were jelly now, anyway.

Cas wrapped a hand around the erection Dean didn’t even know he was sporting. The oil left on Cas’ palm eased the way, warmed Dean’s dick as Cas stroked him up and down, slow and firm and controlled as his massaging.

“You deserve a reward, Dean, because you are kind and compassionate. Because you try so hard at everything I have seen you do so far. Because you are glorious, Dean. Because you are good. You deserve good things. You deserve this.”

Cas’ words were just meaningless babble, but they warmed Dean from the inside, just like the oil was doing on his skin. Cas’ strokes picked up speed as the praise fell from his lips faster, until Dean lost track of everything Cas was saying, too consumed by the burning need coiling in his belly, the rush that meant he was about to come sweeping him up at the same time his body still felt so relaxed.

Cas kept at it, kept stroking Dean and speaking in that soft, lilting voice of his until Dean was thrusting up into his hand and panting and wanting it, needing so badly for something, though he couldn’t say quite what. Needing to come, yeah, but needing something else first. And then it was starting to hurt and Dean felt like he might just explode, fall apart completely, split into atoms and get lost in the universe.

But then Cas started stripping his cock even harder. Said, “Come for me, Dean. Come for me.”

And that was it, and Dean was shooting all over himself and Cas, coming in a fucking stream of spunk. His whole brain was on fire with it. He could count on one hand the number of orgasms he’d had that were this intense, this all-encompassing.

When it was over, he lay panting in Cas’ arms, Cas laying pressed against his back, stroking the hair out of Dean’s face and kissing the top of his head, whispering to him.

“So good, you’re so good. So good for me, Dean,” Cas said. “You’re exquisite, and you did so well tonight. You deserved that. You deserved that reward.”

And when Dean lay there in Cas’ arms and didn’t argue with him, it wasn’t even because he was under orders not to. It was just—he didn’t think he could disagree with Cas about anything, not even that, not right now. So instead, he closed his eyes, leaned further back into Cas’ chest, and listened to the praise that kept spilling from Cas’ mouth.

Chapter Text

Much too soon, Cas disentangled himself from Dean’s dead weight. The only reason, Dean told himself, that he made the small whining sound at the back of his throat when he felt Cas shifting away, was that he was still pretty out of it. And then he reminded himself that was even more embarrassing, considering all that had happened was a massage and a handie.

“Shh,” Cas soothed. “I’ll be right back. Don’t go anywhere.”

Dean huffed out a laugh at that. How could he go somewhere when his body still felt like it was made of taffy? He lay still, focusing on the feeling of Cas’ satiny pillowcase against his cheek and the sound of crickets outside Cas’ window until footsteps in the hall told him Cas was on his way back. Then he forced himself to sit upright, his body too heavy and loose to make the movement look like anything but a fish flopping around on the deck of a boat.

Cas chuckled as he crossed the room, carrying a glass of grape juice in his hand.

“Drink this,” he said as he climbed back into the bed beside Dean.

Dean took a long sip of the sweet-tart juice (much better than the Gatorade he’d had a few hours ago) before looking back at Cas.

“What is it with you and hydration, anyway?” he grumbled.

“Well,” Cas said. “I could give you a list of the reasons why it’s important, but if I told you it matters to me to feel I’ve adequately cared for you after a scene, would that make you more comfortable?”

Dean shrugged, taking another drink. Whatever. If it made Cas feel good about himself to pump Dean full of juice, far be it from Dean to complain. Especially if Cas kept giving him orgasms like earlier.

Shit, what if he didn’t want to, though? It just occurred to Dean that Cas hadn’t actually gotten off at any point during that particular “scene.” Shit, Dean had to be the worst sub in existence. Cas fucking rubbed his back, helped him get off, and here he was waiting on Dean hand and foot. He was probably just waiting for Dean to leave at this point so he could lose Dean’s number.

“What are you thinking about right now?” Cas asked, his voice sterner than it had been a minute ago.

“Uh, do you want me to make you come now?” Dean asked, figuring an amended version of his thought process couldn’t hurt.

“No,” Cas said simply, nestling back against the pillows.

“Oh,” Dean said, setting his mostly empty juice glass on the nightstand beside the bed so he could let his hands fidget unimpeded. “Right.”

Well, that was that. Fun for a night, which was more than he should’ve expected, honestly.

“Dean,” Castiel said, looking serious but not impatient or pissed off like Dean figured he would. “You’re doing it again. What we talked about in scene, remember?”

Dean wracked his brain to remember anything that hadn’t been pure, warm pleasure pumping through his body. Oh yeah, something, something, trusting Cas to decide what should happen.

“Right,” Dean agreed. “Uh, sorry.”

“It’s all right,” Cas assured him, reaching out to cradle Dean’s jaw with one hand. “Truly. But this is something we’re going to have to work on. It’s my job to decide what happens in a scene. If I want to come or not, If I want you to come, how I want to make that happen. You don’t have to worry about what you think I wanted you to do. I promise to tell you when I want something from you.”

Dean let out a shaky breath. That sounded—pretty damn perfect, actually. Like exactly what he wanted. If only he could just let himself believe it could be that easy. Knowing what Cas expected of him.

 “As it was,” Cas continued. “You did a very good job for me in that scene. You lay still like I asked, you were quiet when I told you to be, and you came when I commanded. Everything I told you to do, you did, immediately and efficiently. I’m very pleased with you, Dean.”

Dean’s fingernails bit into his left palm. He couldn’t let himself believe that. Cas was just being nice to him again.

“Now what are you thinking?” Cas asked, and Dean was impressed by how well he was hiding his annoyance at this point.

“That all I did was lay still and get off. There’s nothing impressive about that.”

“Hmm, I beg to differ,” Cas said, using the very tips of his fingers to lower Dean’s eyelids, then pressing a kiss to them one at a time. “You made yourself very vulnerable to me. You did, in fact, trust me to decide what happened with your body. That’s not easy, especially for someone you just met a week ago. I happen to think that’s very impressive, Dean.

“Besides,” he added, his voice growing harsh enough Dean shivered at the sound. “Unless you safeword out, I’m allowed to compliment you all I like. And I believe I mentioned earlier that I demand my submissives be respectful. Does questioning my judgement every time I want to compliment my sub sound like respect to you, Dean?”

“Um, n-no, Cas.”

“Good,” Cas purred, kissing Dean on the forehead before drawing back. “I’m glad we agree. Now, finish your juice.”

Dean reached for the glass again, but before he righted himself, Cas had wrapped himself even tighter around Dean, clinging to him like a damn barnacle. Dean looked at him with a raised eyebrow, but Cas just grinned.

“Well, go on,” he said.

So Dean did. He finished his juice all while the world’s most gorgeous yet confusing man held him in a tangle of limbs.

SPN

At Cas’ insistence, Dean stayed the night. He kept saying he was concerned about Dean spiraling into subdrop on his own, even though Dean pointed out that, once again, what they’d done was too damn tame to have caused a problem. Cas kept talking about the contract, though, and how Dean had pushed himself far out of his comfort zone all evening, so in the end, Dean had agreed to stay just to shut him up. And maybe, also, because he sort of wanted to.

He still expected it to be all sorts of awkward. But instead, it was nice. He and Cas watched The Force Awakens before bed, because Cas hadn’t been brave enough to watch any new Star Wars after the prequels, until Dean wore him down, promising that the newest installments were totally worth it, and also that Poe Dameron was totally hot. Cas fell asleep halfway through, and when Dean noticed and paused the movie, Cas woke up, apologizing profusely and asking if they could finish it another time.

Dean was plenty tired too by that point, so they made their way back to Cas’ bed and curled up together. It only took Dean about fifteen minutes of listening to Cas’ even breathing to slip off to sleep himself. Then, the next morning he woke at his usually early time, roused Cas just enough to tell him he was leaving, then headed back home to spend Sunday morning with Sammy, like he usually did.

He figured he’d have time to get started on making an extra tall stack of pancakes before Sam hauled his teenage ass out of bed, but the damn kid was sitting at the kitchen table, grinning like the damn cat that got the canary when Dean stepped inside the house.

“Wow, Dean, doing the walk of shame two weekends in a row!” Sam crowed. “Either you got your groove back with college women, or you’re settling into something serious.”

“Shaddup,” Dean groaned, ruffling Sam’s hair as he walked past just to piss him off. “What are you doing up before the sun?”

“I still have a lot of work to do on my US history paper. I set my alarm to get an early start on it,” Sam said, gesturing to the laptop sitting in front of him.

“Aren’t you supposed to stay up late to finish papers at the last minute?” Dean asked, grabbing the eggs and milk out of the refrigerator before grabbing their biggest mixing bowl out of the cupboard. “Not wake up early on a Sunday morning?”

“Maybe that’s how you did it, Dean. But that doesn’t fly in AP classes.”

Dean winced, despite knowing Sam didn’t mean anything by it. Was just teasing him. He grabbed out the bag of flower and reached for the measuring cups, keeping his back turned to Sam until he could be sure his smile looked normal again.

“Yeah, well, that’s how I had to swing it so I could keep getting laid on the regular. It’s all about priorities, Sammy,” he said.

“We agree there,” Sam said, smirking so wide his dimples showed.

He leaned forward and typed a quick flurry of text on his laptop while Dean got started mixing ingredients together.

“So,” Sam said, looking up from his computer as Dean started pouring out pancakes into their ancient set of frying pans. “Aren’t you going to tell me?”

“Tell you what, Sam?” Dean asked, accidentally pouring too much batter out. Oh well, so there’d be one giant pancake on the pile.

“About your night? Usually when you come home, you’re all puffed up and bragging about your night.”

“Eww, gross, dude,” Dean said, giving a fake shudder. “Are you asking for the details?”

“What? No way,” Sam said. “It’s just, usually, I have to beg you not to give them. But these past couple Sundays, you haven’t told me anything at all. Which makes me think it must be the same woman.”

“And what makes you say that?” Dean asked, whisking the batter in the mixing bowl again while the current couple of pancakes cooked,

“You only ever avoid talking about things if there are feelings involved,” Sam said. “So you must really like her. Who is she? Do I know her?”

“Shit, Sam, you sound like you’re about to break out into ‘Tell Me More.’ There’s no Grease in my kitchen, Sammy. Like I told you, we’re a Fiddler only family.”

“And you’re deflecting and trying to change the subject,” Sam said, triumphant. “It must be getting serious. When can I meet her?”

“For fuck’s sake, Sam, there is no ‘her,’ okay?” Dean growled, rounding on his brother. “I wasn’t even getting laid last weekend. I was sleeping off a bender at Benny’s, like I said before. Now will you please drop it?”

Sam hunched his shoulders, slumping in on himself.

“Okay,” he said, too quiet. “I’m sorry.”

Dean sighed, flipping the pancakes before turning back to Sam.

“No, I’m sorry, Sam. You didn’t have that coming to you.”

He really didn’t. It wasn’t his fault all his ranting about a woman had Dean on edge. Because, yeah, if he was going to be spending more time with Castiel, he was going to have to find some way to explain it to his brother. But how the hell could he cover without telling Sam he’d signed a contract giving another dude control over his body at certain times of the week? Without Sam imagining he was having some budding romance with the girl of his dreams?

Sam just nodded, still looking too small in his chair.

“Shit, really, Sam,” Dean said, stopping when Sam flinched instead of looking up at him. “Here,” he tried instead, setting the first two pancakes on a plate and putting it on the table in front of Sam before grabbing out the syrup. “These two are done. Eat up.”

“Thanks, Dean,” Sam said.

When Dean turned around to look at him, he was smiling. It wasn’t really a vibrant smile or anything, but it was genuine. Sammy always had been too forgiving.

“They smell great,” Sam added, gesturing to his pancakes.

Dean grunted.

“Eat ‘em before they get cold,” he said, turning back to the stove to pour the next batch into the frying pans.

Yeah, he’d find a way to explain his Castiel-related absences to Sam. At this point, they weren’t planning to meet before next weekend anyway, after Dean had told Cas how full his week days were. Which gave Dean a full six days to come up with a good excuse to avoid exposing his baby brother to what a pervert Dean really was.

But even that thought had a little less sting to it than usual. Something about the memory of Cas tangled up around Dean, grinning at him had Dean thinking maybe, just maybe he wasn’t really such a sicko after all. And that made it so much easier for him to smile, turn back around, and ask Sam what he wanted to do for the rest of the morning.

SPN

“I was thinking about doing something a little more intense this weekend,” Cas said as he answered the door the following Saturday night.

Sam currently thought Dean was at a late-night poker game at Benny’s and planning to spend the night there. Maybe not a brilliant cover story, but if Dean was being honest, he still expected this whole thing with Castiel to fall through at any moment. No need to craft an elaborate screen if this was the last weekend Dean would need it.

“Uh, hello to you too, Cas,” Dean said, slipping inside the (still ridiculous) mansion.

Cas blinked up at him for a few seconds.

“Hello, Dean,” he said. “I apologize, I didn’t mean to be rude. I assure you I am happy to see you. I only wanted you to know my plans as soon as possible. Give you a chance to think about it and decide if you’re comfortable moving ahead before we begin tonight.”

“Hey, it’s fine, Cas,” Dean said, waving him off and trying to cover for his mixed reaction of growing a semi and feeling trapped like a rabbit in a snare at the idea of a “more intense” weekend. “I can’t blame you for being eager to get in my pants.”

Slowly, a grin spread across Cas’ face.

“Oh, but I am eager,” he said. “You are a very attractive man, Dean.”

Now it was Dean’s turn to blink. Shit, Cas just came right out and said the most serious things. Dean didn’t know how to handle it. So he just decided not to.

“Well, then, what are we waiting for?” he asked, taking a step forward and crowding against Cas, leering at him.

Cas had the decency to actually look rattled. His pupils grew wider, and Dean swore he could see Cas’ pulse jumping below his jaw from this close up.

“I assumed—” he began. “I thought—you’d want time to settle in.”

“Hmm, you know what they say about assuming, Cas,” Dean said, moving his hips forward so Cas was sure to feel the bulge in his jeans.

“Indeed,” was all Cas said.

“So,” Dean said, growing more confident now that he’d managed to throw Cas off for once. “Does this ‘more intense’ plan of yours involve me getting to make you come this time?”

Cas cleared his throat and took a step back, his face composed again.

“Only if you’re a very good boy,” he said.

And yup, that reinstated the balance of the world. Dean’s dick twitched at the words, and he swallowed, nervous all over again.

“Now,” Cas said. “As we’re both so eager today, why don’t you go upstairs to my room, remove your clothing, and kneel at the foot of the bed? I’ll give you five minutes, and then I’ll follow you up.”

Stunned by the easy brusqueness of Cas’ voice, Dean just stood there gaping at him.

“Go,” Cas barked, actually waving him off.

That got Dean going. He turned and had to hold himself back from bolting up the stairs. He was approaching Cas’ room from the opposite side of the hall as last week, so the door snuck up on him faster than expected. He walked into the room, heart pounding even faster than last time, if possible. There was something strange about being in this room without Cas’ steadying presence right behind him.

But five minutes. He’d be there in five minutes. And in the meantime, Dean had been given orders. Without Cas there to watch, he didn’t worry at all about making stripping look graceful or seductive. He just shed his clothes as quickly as possible draped them over the chair again, then knelt at the foot of Cas’ large and comfy bed, wondering.

He wondered how long getting up the stairs and stripping had taken. How much longer until the five minutes were up and Cas would come marching into the room. He wondered what Cas had planned for him. What counted as “more intense” and required Cas to give him a warning first thing when he arrived instead of even saying hello? He wondered if he’d like it. He wondered if he loved it. He wondered how he could be a good enough boy to get to see Cas come. Wondered what Cas’ “oh” face looked like.

By that point, he was well and truly jittery, his body staying in place only because he kept his muscles locked in place. If this were any other situation, his left leg would by jiggling like crazy by now. Cas had to have been lying to him. He’d been alone here for ten minutes at least. Maybe fifteen. He couldn’t do this. He was just going to embarrass himself. Let Cas down. Maybe he wasn’t really submissive after all, would be terrible at whatever Cas wanted from him. Maybe this was how he’d find out, and then he’d have to tell Cas he hated whatever it was, and then he’d really feel like an idiot.

But then he heard the creaking of the stairway. Cas was coming up. Finally. Dean took a deep breath, held it, let it out. And by the time Cas stood in the doorway, all Dean felt was anticipation. Anticipation, and a desire to please. And this time, he maybe even trusted Cas to tell him how to do just that.

Chapter Text

“Well, isn’t this a glorious sight,” Cas purred from the doorway. “Truly, my room has never looked lovelier, Dean. And what a good boy you are, all naked, kneeling, and waiting for me.”

Dean fought back a shiver. He hadn’t realized he could become so addicted to hearing Cas call him good, but now the sound of the word on the Dom’s lips made some agitated part of his mind quiet down.

“Tell me, Dean,” Cas said, walking into the room, but heading toward the armoire instead of Dean where he still knelt at the foot of the bed. “Was it a long five minutes?”

Dean was about to complain that yes, it had felt like forever, but then he paused. Was he allowed to talk? Last time he hadn’t been.

“You may speak,” Cas said with a chuckle, like freaking reading Dean’s mind was no big deal. “I’ll always tell you if I expect silence.”

“Then, uh, yes,” Dean said. “Sir. It was a real long five minutes.”

“And yet,” Cas said, closing the door to the armoire and padding across the thick carpet to Dean. “Here you still are. You were so patient for me. I’m pleased to see it.”

Dean wanted to turn around and see what Cas had gotten out of the wardrobe, but he forced himself to keep staring forward, head bowed just the slightest bit, because that felt the most natural to him. He didn’t have to fight the urge to peek for much longer, because Castiel stretched his arm out over Dean’s shoulder, dangling a long strip of black fabric in his line of sight.

“This is a blindfold,” Cas explained. “I’d like you to wear it today. Once you’re wearing the blindfold, I’m going to put you on the bed and tie your arms. You’ll still be able to move the rest of your body, but your arms will be immobile. The only rules for the scene are to stay where I position you as much as possible and wait until I give you permission to come. Do you think you can manage that?”

“Uh, yeah, Cas. Yes,” Dean said, eyes fixed on the blindfold in Cas’ hands.

He wasn’t really sure how he felt about being tied up without even being able to see anything, but as much as the idea sounded a little overwhelming, there was definitely a part of him that was getting excited at the idea. His dick was certainly interested, growing more rigid as he pictured it.

“Good, Dean. Excellent. And what do you say if you want to stop at any point, for any reason?” Cas asked, dropping his arm and bringing the blindfold out of Dean’s sight again.

“Red,” Dean said, taking a deep breath and trying to calm down a little. It would be embarrassing to be fully hard without Cas even having touched him yet. It wasn’t like he was sixteen anymore.

“Very good,” Cas hummed, placing the blindfold over Dean’s eyes and tying it behind Dean’s head.

Dean could see a little bit of light through the thick, satiny fabric, but no shapes or anything, so he just closed his eyes and felt the fabric resting on the bridge of his nose, reaching down to his cheekbones.

“Okay,” Cas said. “Now we’re going to stand you up and get you on the bed. Since you can’t see, you’re going to have to trust me to get you where you need to be. And we’re going to move slowly. You haven’t been kneeling all that long, but there’s no harm being cautious, and your center of gravity may be a little off without your sight. All right?”

“Yeah,” Dean said, throat dry.

Cas’ hands reached down to Dean’s shoulders, guiding him back to his feet. For all Cas’ point about how long Dean had been kneeling, his legs still felt a little tingly as he stretched up to his full height. Still using Dean’s shoulders to steer him by applying gentle pressure, Cas led Dean the last step and a half forward to the bed. Then he spun him (still slowly) around, so his thighs brushed the bedspread.

“Lean back now,” Cas directed, pressing Dean’s upper arms down toward the mattress.

He let himself be pushed down onto the bed, waiting to connect with the mattress without having any idea how far down it was. When he finally hit the bed, he lay on his back for a moment, feet still grazing the floor, while Castiel made some rustling sound a few feet away. It was kind of a weird place to lay, his legs still dangling off the edge like that, but Cas had told him to stay where he was put. So he kept still, resisting the urge to swing his legs as he heard Cas rooting around in the armoire again, judging by the creak and click of the door.

“Excellent,” Cas said, the sound of his padding footsteps drawing closer. “Now, we’re going to get you moved up toward the headboard.”

The mattress dipped down as Cas climbed onto the bed beside Dean, tugging his whole body further up by a good foot before Dean’s brain got the memo and worked with Cas, scooching himself backwards until he could comfortably lay his head on a pillow. Dean also took a moment to appreciate how big Cas’ mattress was. Back home, Dean always wound up with his feet dangling off the end of his bed. Not so here. The perks of being rich, he guessed.

“All right,” Cas said, reaching for Dean’s wrists and bringing his arms together, fingertips pointing up toward his chin. “Hold your arms here for me, please.”

Dean did as he was told, anticipating but still surprised by sensation of the loop of soft rope Cas tightened around his wrists, holding them together. Dean was expecting Cas to finish the knot and call it a day, but instead Cas pulled his arms apart by a couple inches.

“Not quite so close,” he muttered.

Dean sucked in a sharp breath when Cas started to wrap the rope around and around his wrists. The rope coiled around his skin, creating a cocoon. A bisecting loop bunched the strands together into a tighter grip but separated Dean’s hands. He could already tell this would hold him more securely than just the single loop of rope would’ve done.

But Cas still wasn’t finished. He threaded the rope down to coil around Dean’s forearms, binding them together more tightly. Then he made sure Dean’s elbows were together, tying the rope around Dean’s whole folded arm above them, encircling his biceps and forearms together. Yeah, there was no way Dean was going to be able to move his arms now.

He tested it anyway, and was still surprised by just how little give there was with his arms lashed together like this. Even more surprising was the smile he felt tugging at his own lips when he realized it. Huh, getting turned on by being tied up and at Cas’ mercy was one thing, but right now, with no attention paid to his dick yet, what he mostly felt was—content.

“How does that feel?” Cas asked, his voice startling Dean.

“Oh, uh, good, Cas.”

“I’m glad to hear it. But I meant, is it too tight? Is it pinching anywhere? Can you still feel your fingers?”

“Um, let me see,” Dean said, wiggling a little just to be sure he wasn’t lying to Cas. “That’s a no, a nope, and a yes.”

“Good,” Cas said, running a soothing hand up and down Dean’s ribs. “If any of that changes, you let me know, all right? This is important, Dean. I don’t wish to intimidate you, but bondage can go wrong fast if not engaged in responsibly.”

“Right, I’ll let you know the moment anything hurts or loses feeling.”

“And you’ll let me know how?”

“Uh—” Dean stalled.

“With your safeword,” Cas supplied, and something about the warm tone of his voice had Dean thinking he was smiling.

“Right,” Dean said. “Red.”

Instantly, Cas’ body shifted on the mattress.

“Are you calling it out?” he asked, serious.

“What? Shit. No,” Dean said, shaking his head, which felt strange when he couldn’t even see Cas.

Cas sank back onto the bed beside Dean.

“Okay. Then let’s get started.”

And with that, he ducked down and wrapped his lips around Dean’s cock.

“Holy fuck,” Dean cried, arms tugging at the rope as his whole body tensed up, shocked by the sudden heat and suction.

Cas hummed around him, really just the tip in his mouth. He toyed with the head with his tongue a few times before taking more. When he had about half Dean’s dick in his mouth, he started drawing back and bobbing down again, setting a pretty speedy pace that had Dean concerned about his own staying power, especially with that no coming without permission caveat.

Dean focused on breathing as evenly as he could, in through his nose, out through his mouth while Cas worked on what felt like a pretty damn methodical blow job. He’d started sinking lower, until it felt like he’d taken Dean’s whole dick in his mouth. When Dean focused even more on the sensation, he was pretty sure he could feel Cas’ throat muscles working around him.

Then Cas swallowed, and holy fucking shit, yeah. Cas could deepthroat, and it was amazing. Dean lay back, doing his damnedest not to thrust up into Cas’ mouth. His impressive, hot as fuck, glorious mouth. Dean hadn’t been blown in ages, and he couldn’t remember the last time anyone took this much care over it. Cas was like a fucking researcher, mapping out what made Dean hiss or moan and filing it away only to whip the trick back out again after a dozen heartbeats or so.

And all Dean had to do was lay there. He couldn’t meet Cas’ eye, couldn’t reach a hand down to stroke his hair. All he could do was take it. Take the pleasure Cas was offering. So he let himself sink into it and really feel. Feel all of it. He was so blissed out for a moment, when he felt that surge of intensity that meant he about to come, it was a surprise to him.

He was about to bark out a warning, tell Cas he couldn’t take it, was going to come, when Cas’ mouth pulled off.

Dean practically growled at the cool air on his dick, the absence of that skilled mouth. He’d been so close to coming So freaking close. If Cas would just freaking lick him right now, he was pretty sure he’d blow. But instead, Cas was leaving a trail of open-mouthed kisses inside Dean’s thigh. About halfway to the knee, he started suckling, probably not hard enough to bruise, but enough to make Dean’s legs tense up.

“Cas!” he whined, his dick still fucking aching with how close he’d been.

“Yes, Dean?” Cas asked, voice all innocent as he nipped the sensitive skin of Dean’s leg, making him yelp.

“I—I—” Dean stammered, but then he clamped his jaw shut.

Cas clearly wanted to play with him. Well, that was fine by him. But Dean wouldn’t give him the satisfaction of knowing just how close he’d been. He was fine. Hell, he’d lived through puberty with a nosy younger brother. He’d experienced many the interrupted masturbation session in his youth. He could handle this whole so-close-but-not-quite-coming thing.

Cas chuckled as he trailed back up Dean’s leg, more licking now than anything. Instead of going back to Dean’s cock, he started laving at Dean’s belly, suckling there and peppering it with small kisses.

Dean’s hands balled into fists and he strained at the ropes. Shit. He wasn’t ticklish. He wasn’t. Dean Winchester, leather jacket wearing, classic car driving Dean Winchester was not ticklish. But the way Castiel was playing around with those barely-there lick and suckles so close to his cock had his body confused about that fact. He sucked in a deep breath, held it, tensed his toes until Castiel moved on to the other leg.

When Castiel had had his fun and Dean’s boner had wilted at least marginally (because who could expect him to get too soft with what Cas was doing down there?), Cas got back to work at getting him fully hard again. Only this time, the asshole was really playing around. Despite his demonstration of his deepthroating skills, now Cas mouthed around Dean’s dick. He licked at the head like it was a damn ice cream cone, lipped his way down it and started sucking on Dean’s balls, one after the other. But he wouldn’t take Dean’s cock back into his mouth.

Dean’s legs fidgeted a bit in impatience. He’d already been denied a perfectly good orgasm, and now this bullshit? All the same, must be little Dean was extra sensitive after that whole not getting to come earlier thing, because despite the fact that Cas was just teasing him, Dean felt himself getting worked up all over again. He was doing a shit job at keeping his hips still, was really testing the integrity of Cas’ rope job with all his twitching. And then he knew, if Cas would just do that thing where he teased Dean’s slit with the tip of his tongue again, Dean could be shooting onto Cas’ face, consequences be damned. Because fuck this whole waiting for permission to come noise.

But of course, of fucking course, because there is no justice in the universe, that was when Cas pulled away again, his whole body shifting on the bed.

Dean lifted his head and let it fall back against the pillow, an irritated whining noise building at the back of his throat.

“How are you doing, Dean?” Cas asked, his voice drifting down from directly above Dean’s face. He must’ve been hovering over Dean’s whole body.

“Just fucking peachy,” Dean said, scowling in what he believed to be Castiel’s direction.

All the bastard did was chuckle before bending down to lick Dean’s nipple.

Dean whined again and fucking jolted underneath him. Damn, where the hell had that come from?

Castiel froze.

“Interesting,” he said. “I had no idea your nipples were so sensitive, Dean.”

“Yeah,” Dean rasped, forcing his muscles to relax. “Welcome to the club.”

“Really?” Cas pressed. “You had no idea either?”

Dean guessed his silence was answer enough. It’s not like the ladies he’d been with had taken the time to tease him like this. He was usually focused on getting them off and happened to be quite effective at it, thank you very much. That didn’t leave much time for “nonessentials.”

“Well, then,” Castiel said. “This certainly warrants further investigation.”

And then he dove back down, licking and suckling and nibbling Dean’s tits like he was a goddam girl. And Dean wasn’t helping matters with all the fucking sounds he couldn’t seem to stop making and the way he fucking quaked under Castiel, even worse than he’d done with his dick halfway down the guy’s throat. He tried to console himself with the thought that he was pretty keyed up by that point after almost coming twice, but then Cas latched onto his left nipple, biting down hard, and Dean forgot to do anything but feel. Cas was driving him fucking wild.

“Now really, Dean,” Castiel said between licks. “I believe I told you to stay put as much as possible. There’s an awful lot of moving happening. It’s like you don’t even want your reward.”

Reward? Dean tried to make sense of the word. Was Cas talking about an orgasm? But then he remembered, Cas promising Dean could see him come, if only he was good enough. And strangely, even with how fucking desperate Dean was to come himself, even though he felt like he was maybe a minute away from breaking down sobbing or cursing out Castiel and every part of his ancestral tree, that was the thought that pushed him over the edge into begging.

“Oh, shit, please, Cas,” Dean babbled, forcing his body to be still, only to have it start trembling on him without his permission. “I’m trying. For fucks’ sake, I’m trying so hard to be good. Please, you said, you said you’d—”

Dean’s tirade cut off when Castiel whipped the blindfold off his face. Dean blinked in the light of the bedroom, then swallowed hard, licking his lips when he got a look at Cas. Sometime between blindfolding Dean and turning him into a desperate mess, he’d found the time to get naked. And he was fucking gorgeous. All lean muscle (more fit than Dean), tanned torso, and some black text tattoo on his ribcage in a language Dean didn’t know. His cock was thick and bobbing against his stomach as he stared down at Dean, and although it had been literal ages (he tried not to think about it. Not now. Not with Cas) since Dean had given a blowjob, his mouth watered instinctively at the sight.

“Fuck, Cas,” he said, meeting his bright blue, hungry eyes. “You’re fucking gorgeous.”

“You too, Dean,” Cas said. “You’re exquisite.”

Dean felt himself blush, opened his mouth to deflect, but that was the moment Cas lined their dicks up and wrapped his long-fingered hand around them both, stroking them together. Dean stared, transfixed, at the sight of both cocks being stripped together. He gave a small, exploratory thrust of his hips, and instead of chastising him, Cas’ eyes fluttered closed for the briefest second. So Dean did it again.

“Yes, Dean,” Cas said. “So good. God, you were so good. Did everything I asked of you. You look so beautiful tied up like that for me. Let me—let me do just what I wanted with you.”

Dean had built up to a shallow rhythm, his and Cas’ dicks providing friction for each other, aided by Cas’ hand, stroking steadily faster.

“I’m so proud of you, Dean,” Cas said. “So pleased. You’re such a good boy for me. So, so good, Dean. You—you can come at any time. Anytime you want now.”

Dean didn’t need to be told twice. He let his head fall back against the pillow. After half a dozen more strokes of Cas’ hand, Dean was shooting all over them both. And shit, if he thought his last orgasm with Cas was impressive, it was nothing compared to this. Dean hadn’t even realized his balls could hold that much. He just kept shooting, his orgasm wracking his whole body, seizing it all up, but continuing on and on. It felt like it lasted forever. He was going to shake apart, completely apart.

And then he was panting, a little more come trickling out as Cas stroked him through the aftershocks, bringing himself off shortly after Dean. And finally, Dean got to see Cas come. His whole body tensed up and he threw his head back, giving Dean a great view of the line of his throat. Dean wanted to lick up all the sweat he saw trailing down that Adam’s apple. He let out a series of choked-off grunts that would maybe sound ridiculous on anyone less gorgeous, as he kept fisting himself and Dean together, splattering his own chest with semen. By that point, the pressure on Dean’s sensitive dick was enough to be painful, had him biting his lip, but he didn’t say anything. In that moment, didn’t think he’d ever find it in himself to complain about anything Cas did.

Cas sat still for maybe a minute after coming, shoulders slumped, bringing in deep, full breaths, before he grinned down at Dean, leaned forward, and started untying Dean’s arms.

“That was amazing,” he said, unwinding what turned out to be a shiny black nylon rope. “You were amazing.”

“Thanks, Cas,” Dean said with a smile of his own, feeling lightweight and floaty. Like he’d spent the last hour smoking something. “You weren’t so bad yourself.”

Cas’ grin only deepened at that, and he started rubbing Dean’s arms vigorously. They did tingle a little as the blood pumped back through them normally, but Dean promised Cas he hadn’t been in discomfort or experienced any numbness. Not like he’d have noticed anyway, with all the other sensations he was feeling, although Dean kept that part to himself.

“Well,” Cas said, bending down to kiss Dean’s forehead, which maybe was weird, but Cas was so casual about it, it was hard to get too freaked out. “Let’s get cleaned up, and then I have some strawberry-kiwi juice with your name on it.”

Even though Dean had his vision and control of his arms back, he let Cas help him to his feet, and he followed right on his heels all the way to the bathroom, where he assumed (hoped) he and Cas would be showering together. When Cas stepped inside and switched the lights on in the master bath, Dean didn’t even think about it, just grabbed Cas by the waist, pulled him close, and pressed their lips together. It only took Cas a moment to respond, kissing Dean back hungrily and taking control in seconds flat. Dean went pliant against him, sated.

The sex was great, Cas seemed like a genuinely good guy, and Dean was happy. And for once in his life, he tried to shut out the voice telling him everything was about to go wrong, and just revel in the moment.

Chapter Text

After Dean and Cas had showered (yes, together, but with a surprising lack of funny business, outside of Cas insisting on scrubbing Dean and washing his hair for him) and downing a whole glass of (if Dean were to be honest, pretty damn tasty) juice, they lounged on the couch with a large bowl of popcorn, about to pick back up on The Force Awakens from the point where Castiel had fallen asleep. Dean flipped through the scene selections, and it looked like Cas had only missed maybe fifteen minutes before Dean noticed he wasn’t conscious the week before. But of course, they were starting from the beginning of the scene, because continuity was important.

“Dean,” Cas said, putting a single piece of popcorn in his mouth before Dean hit play. “I wanted to talk to you about something before we start the movie. If you don’t mind.”

Ah, shit. Here it was. The “it’s not you, it’s me” speech. Cas was about to tell Dean it had been fun at all, but he wasn’t really getting anything out of it, and it was time to call it quits. Which was pretty fucking disappointing, if not actually surprising, because tonight was already some of the best sex Dean had ever had. And they hadn’t even gotten to the actual sex yet, with the, the penetrating and everything.

And then he expected them to actually finish the movie? Just hang out, no hard feelings, like everything was fine. Did he still think Dean was going to spend the night after that? Or maybe Cas was planning to put him up in one of the guest bedrooms this house was bound to have about a dozen of. Wouldn’t that just be awkward as fuck?

Dean looked over to see Cas staring at him, his face serious, maybe a little nervous. And that’s how nice the guy was. He actually felt bad about ending the contract early. Dean knew he should probable be pissed, but seeing that concerned face, he decided not to make it any harder on Cas. Not his fault Dean wasn’t adequate. Even if Dean had tried to warn him.

“Yeah, Cas,” Dean said. “It’s fine. I understand, really.”

“Wait, what?” Cas said, raising his eyebrows. “I haven’t even said what I want to talk about yet.”

“You don’t have to say it, dude. I get it, really. I’m, uh, I’m sorry tonight wasn’t as good as you as it was for me, but no hard feelings.”

“No hard—” Cas muttered. “Dean. Do you think I’m, I’m—ending things with you?”

“Well, yeah,” Dean said with a snort, grabbing a handful of popcorn and shoveling it into his mouth to show him how cool that was with him. How totally fine he was going to be. “Obviously.”

“There’s no ‘obvious’ about it,” Cas said, voice growing shriller than Dean had ever heard it. “Because that’s now what I’m doing. Not at all, Dean.”

Cas closed his eyes, pinched the bridge of his nose, and took a breath. When he looked back at Dean, his moment of frustration had already ended, and he wore his sad little half-smile.

“I apologize, Dean. I didn’t mean to upset you. Unless—of course—if that’s what you wanted? Did you—want to call this off?”

“No,” Dean said, sitting upright. Then, blushing, he leaned back against the couch. “I mean, uh, no, I’m, uh, I’m still waiting to see how this all plays out.”

“Good,” Cas said, exhaling in a whoosh, shoulders slumping. “I seem to have made this whole conversation more unpleasant than it had any reason to be. And it’s my fault in the first place. We should have discussed this when we were making up the contract, but I wanted to get a feel for things and let you see how you were doing with the scenes.”

Dean’s pulse was still a little fast as he sat watching Cas, waiting for him to start making sense.

“I wanted to talk to you about our roles outside of scenes. If you want to continue submitting only for the explicitly sexual parts of your visit, that’s perfectly fine. But I remember you seemed to enjoy simply kneeling for me when we were in your home. And I wanted to ask if you might be interested in remaining in our Dominant and submissive roles during more domestic moments,” Cas said.

Dean was aware in the back of his mind that he should be getting panicky at the idea of subbing even more around Cas, for staying in that role and headspace when it wasn’t for the first few hours of his visit and with the end-goal of getting off. But, he was running on relief that Cas wasn’t dumping him plus the endorphins from that really awesome scene, so instead, he just let his most mischievous grin fall into place and asked, “Like right now?”

“Yes,” Cas agreed, nodding. “If you like.”

A little bit of hesitation leaked through, but Dean tried to stifle it.

“How would that work?”

“Well,” Cas said. “Let’s start small. We can take it week by week if you like. See what you want and what feels natural to us both, since you’re still learning what you like, and we’re still learning each other. But for right now, all you have to do is remember that I’m in charge. You can still use your safeword at any time, just like we’re in a scene. And you’re still allowed to talk, comment on the movie, and be yourself.”

“All right,” Dean said, dropping his eyes.

He could admit that sounded fine to him, but he couldn’t do it while looking directly at Cas.

“Excellent,” Cas said, an edge of excitement creeping into his tone. “Why don’t you start the movie?”

Dean pressed play and waited for Cas to start domming him. Instead, Cas’ eyes stayed fixed on the screen, and he kept taking small handfuls of popcorn out of the bowl, eating them one piece at a time. Dean’s gaze flickered between the movie and Cas, checking, waiting for the other shoe to drop. By the time Finn was bandaging an unhelpful Chewie, Dean had gotten wrapped up in the movie again and started munching on popcorn himself.

A handful of minutes passed before Cas moved the popcorn bowl from its space on the couch between them and into his own lap.

“Dean, will you move closer to me, please?” Cas asked.

Oh boy, here it came. Dean wondered what Cas was going to have him do. Hopefully nothing that would distract too much from the movie. Dean really did want Cas to get the full effect, after all. He scooted closer to Cas, stopping when there was maybe three inches of space between them.

“Good,” Cas said, watching Rey react to how green Maz’s planet was. “Now open.”

Open? Open what? Dean wondered stupidly for half a minute, before he put together the few kernels of popcorn waiting in Cas’ hand and the intent behind the command. He opened his mouth, and Cas set the popcorn gently on his tongue. Dean closed his mouth, chewed more carefully than he normally would, and parted his lips again when Cas held more popcorn up to him.

They worked through the rest of the bowl that way, Cas eating a handful of popcorn, then feeding one to Dean. And they kept watching the movie. Cas didn’t even seem distracted by hand feeding Dean. Dean, on the other hand, was having a hard time focusing properly. There was something so nice about Cas feeding him like that. It made him feel cared for, pampered in ways he’d never have been able to admit to himself he even wanted. His head got comfortably fuzzy, a less intense buzz than he’d felt kneeling beside Cas a couple weeks ago.

When the popcorn was all gone, Cas set the bowl on the floor, then without issuing any orders, pulled Dean down so his head rested in Cas’ lap. Dean let out a small sigh and relaxed deeper into the couch as Cas’ hand started stroking Dean’s head and scratching his scalp, again reminiscent of the whole kneeling at Dean’s place thing. Dean let himself be swept up in that floating, happy feeling as the rest of the movie played out on the TV screen. He had seen it before, after all, but this, the way Castiel was making him feel in this moment, that deserved Dean’s full attention.

SPN

When Dean returned to his apartment the next morning, Sam was dead to the world, as it should be. Dean made them French toast and woke the kid up by whistling “Hooked on a Feeling” as loud as he could. Sam emerged from his bedroom, rubbing his eyes and walking slow enough he could’ve been mistaken for a zombie. He perked up after he sat at the table and Dean shoveled a heaping helping of sugary toasted goodness onto his plate, even going so far as to smile at his brother before chugging half a glass of milk.

Dean stopped whistling to eat, but he still took overly huge bites of his French toast, grinning at Sam so wide the partially chewed bread showed. He still had to do his big brother duty by annoying the kid first thing in the morning.

“You’re in a good mood,” Sam said, half-sulkily, half genuinely happy for Dean (because he was just that good of a person). “You win a lot of money last night?”

“Huh?” Dean asked before remembering the poker game at Benny’s, his cover for his late-night absence. “Oh, yeah. Yes, Sammy, you could definitely say I got lucky last night.”

Sam grimaced, took another bite of French toast, and swallowed it.

“Well, whatever,” Sam said. “At least you’re happy, right?”

Dean froze with his fork halfway to his mouth. Because, yeah, Sam wasn’t wrong. Dean was happy. And it was definitely because of his time with Cas. But it wasn’t like it meant anything. It was just sex, or, well, fooling around in any case. And if it made Dean happy, it was just some natural post-orgasmic state of being. It didn’t have anything to do with Cas himself, with the way he told Dean how good he was, or carded his fingers through Dean’s hair so gently. Nah.

And as long as Dean could remember that, he could know he’d be fine when this all fell apart. When Cas got tired of him for real, before or after the two months were up. Sure, Dean would be bummed (who wouldn’t be to miss out on having someone as gorgeous as Cas wringing orgasms out of them every weekend?), but he’d get over it. He’d be fine. And he could just enjoy it while it lasted.

“Yeah,” Dean said, recovering his grin and reaching out to ruffle Sam’s hair. “And taking Benny’s hard-earned cash is a sure-fire way to get me happy.”

Sam dodged out from under Dean’s hand, and they finished their breakfast quietly, both too absorbed with shoveling food into their mouths to speak.

Sam had some study group thing for a biology test at noon, so he and Dean hung out and watched old Batman reruns on TV until he had to leave. Then Dean tried to keep himself occupied by channel surfing, but there was just nothing on TV on Sunday afternoons, when most families were getting home from church and sitting down to pot roast or whatever.

Without consciously thinking about it, Dean picked up his phone and scrolled through his text messages to open his thread with Cas. He had his thumb hovering over the keyboard and everything before he managed to convince himself that texting only a few hours after leaving Cas’ apartment was a desperate move. He put the phone back on the coffee table and pretended to focus on an infomercial for some home gym equipment.

If only watching the damn ad could get him fit. He couldn’t remember the last time he had abs like the guy on TV, if ever. Although, Cas’ abs were almost that impressive, Dean’s brain supplied, before he told it to shut up and stop acting like a little girl with a crush. And then he was back to watching the mindless ad.

Every half hour or so, Dean looked over at his phone and debated texting Cas again. He didn’t even know what he wanted to say. He just liked the idea of talking to him. Complaining about the lack of good shows on. Telling him what a nerd his little brother was, getting together with his study group on a Sunday. But he stopped himself every time, until he had to leave for his shift at Purgatory, congratulating himself on a job not fucked-up.

The restaurant was pretty dead when he got there. Pamela was flirting with a customer again, presumably just to pass the time. Benny was experimenting with a Cajun jambalaya recipe. Garth still had a few hours before he was due to show up. Benny had let the dishes pile up for Dean, so he had enough work to keep himself busy for a little while. Once he was all caught up on pots and pans, and the industrial dishwasher was taking care of the rest, Dean leaned against the sink and watched his friend stir the spicy-smelling concoction.

“You branching out?” he asked, nodding to the pot.

Benny nodded noncommittally.

“I doubt it’ll ever make its way to the customers. Not really proper New Orleans fare, y’know. Just something to pass the time.”

Benny looked over at Dean, smiling a little and running his eyes up and down Dean’s body.

“What about you, brother?”

“What about me?” Dean asked, crossing his arms over his chest.

Benny’s smirk only widened.

“Are you branching out? Are you still seeing that Castiel fella?”

Dean picked up a steel wool scrubber, plucking small metal threads out of it.

“Maybe,” he mumbled.

“And how’s that workin’ out for you?”

“It’s only been a couple of weeks. Jesus, Benny, don’t go picking out wedding invitations or anything.”

Benny just chuckled, turning back to his jambalaya again.

“Wasn’t plannin’ on it. I just figure you’re past due to have something going on in your life you enjoy. And if Castiel can help you out with that, I’m all for it. I am going to claim the credit for introducing you two, though.”

“Introducing us!” Dean spluttered, letting the steel wool scrub drop back into the sink. “You don’t even know Cas, Benny. You didn’t introduce us.”

“Maybe not,” Benny said. “But you wouldn’t’a met him if I hadn’t dragged you to the city with me.”

Dean felt a brief chill when he remembered who else he had met up with because of Benny dragging him to that event, but he shoved that whole unpleasantness to the back of his mind.

“Yeah, sure,” he said. “What do you want? A medal?”

“If this does become a long-term arrangement between the two of you, I just might.”

Dean snorted, turning back to the sink and pretending an already sparklingly clean pot needed a little extra scrubbing.

“Yeah, I doubt that’s gonna be a problem.”

“Why’s that?” Benny asked, turning away from his cooking to watch Dean fake-clean.

“Nothing,” Dean said, shoulders going rigid. “No reason.”

He should’ve just kept his stupid mouth shut. As usual. Instead he had to go whining about the inevitable.

Benny was silent for several breaths. Dean was sure he was gearing up for one of his speeches about how Dean was a catch or a good person or whatever. He liked to do that. Dean figured it made him feel good about himself or something. Like he figured Dean needed cheering up about himself.

“You know,” he said instead, sauntering over to stand shoulder to shoulder with Dean. “I did a little digging into this Novak fella. Just to be sure.”

“Yeah?” Dean said, stopping his scrubbing to steal a glance at Benny, who was doing his calm and self-assured face. It was one of his more aggravating faces, as far as Dean was concerned.

“Mmm-hmm,” Benny nodded. “And he checks out. Victor had talked to him a few times and asked around a little on my behalf. Real discreet, I promise. And he checks out. Seems like a well-respected Dom and an all-around good guy.”

“Yeah, well, I could’ve told you that,” Dean said, rolling his eyes.

“That a fact?”

Dean paused.

“Cas is a good guy,” he said.

Benny nodded again, clapped Dean on the shoulder.

“Good,” he said. “I’m glad. Anyway, I just thought you should know. Of course, if you should ever have a problem with him—”

“I’m not going to,” Dean said, turning to face Benny again, surprised by the surge of annoyance he felt all of a sudden. “If we have a problem, I can guarantee it won’t be Cas’ fault.”

“Whoa there, brother,” Benny said, holding his hands up and backing away. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean any disrespect. I just wanted you to know I’ve got your back.”

Dean deflated at that. Benny always had his back. Dean knew he could rely on him for that. Even when he didn’t deserve to have such a good friend, had never done anything to warrant Benny’s loyalty.

“I know,” Dean said.

“All right,” Benny said, going back to the jambalaya on the stove. “You just let me know. Anything you need, brother.”

Dean rubbed the back of his neck, debating bringing his cover story up. He hated asking Benny to lie for him. Hated to lie about Castiel, like he was something to be ashamed of. But then, that idea was laughable. It wasn’t Cas who should have shame heaped on him. Dean had his reasons, good, valid reasons, for lying to Sam. And those reasons had nothing to do with Cas and everything to do with Dean himself.

“Uh, actually,” Dean said. “There is something.”

Benny turned back, watching him again, waiting for him to continue.

“I don’t think it’ll come up, but just in case—I told Sam I was playing poker at your place last night. If this thing with Cas keeps up, I, uh, I’d like to keep telling him the same thing. If that’s okay with you? And, uh, if you could just play along, if he ever asks, that would be—”

“Dean,” Benny cut him off. “I said I had your back, and I meant it. If this is what you need for now, of course you can tell Sam you’re with me, and I’ll cover if I see him and he asks. But if you and Cas do keep seeing each other, you know Sam’s going to figure out you’re not telling him the truth eventually. He’s a smart kid. And he deserves to know—”

“For fuck’s sake, Benny!” Dean said. “I’m not going to tell my little brother that I’m spending my weekends getting off on some guy bossing me around.”

“I wasn’t suggesting that, cher,” Benny said. “What you and Castiel do together is no one’s business but your own. But if this thing between you becomes serious, don’t you think you’d want Castiel and Sam to know each other?”

“That’s a big ‘if,’ Benny.”

“Maybe,” Benny agreed.

But Dean suspected Benny knew exactly what he was thinking. That it was one thing for Benny, who knew well enough what Dean was into, and got off on the opposite side of things, and even Pam, who flirted with anything that moved, to know Dean was seeing a man (in whatever capacity). It would be a whole different thing for Dean to explain that to Sam. Even leaving out all the kneeling and bondage stuff.

Fortunately, Dean knew it wasn’t likely to be a problem. He had what, six more weeks with Castiel, tops? Benny wasn’t bound to have a problem covering for Dean for that long, and even if Sam started to get suspicious, Dean’s Saturday nights would be free long before he got close to figuring out what his big brother was up to.

All the same, when Dean got off work and found a text from Cas waiting on his phone that read I very much enjoyed last night. Saturday feels too far away. Perhaps we could find a few hours to play on a weekday as well this week? Dean didn’t hesitate to reply, i get off early Wednesday nights. how about getting off 2gether? He didn’t even think to worry about what line he was going to feed Sam.

After all, he figured, if he only had six (and a half, now) weeks left with Cas, he may as well make the most of them.

Chapter Text

Work on the construction site Wednesday morning was pure torment. It was like the guys sniffed out that Dean was excited about something, as much as he tried to keep it hidden, and determined to piss him off.

“S’it just me,” Kubrick asked the rest of the crew as they started putting up plywood on the newest house shell. “Or does our Dean seem a little eager about something today?”

“Must be that new mystery lady of his,” Creedy agreed with a wheezing laugh.

Dean went from smiling to glaring in two seconds flat.

“I wouldn’t say your old lady is that much of a mystery, Creedy,” Gordon said as he held a panel of plywood sheathing in place.

Walt snickered at that, and Dean tried to keep his head in the construction game, especially when Rufus swung by to watch their progress. Thankfully that got everyone else to shut up too. But of course, Rufus had other teams to manage on the site, and once he left, it didn’t take the others long to get back to hassling Dean about his attitude.

“Don’t you think it’s strange, though,” Kubrick said, stepping back from the building and wiping his forehead. “That Dean has been so tight-lipped about his personal life lately. It’s almost as if he has something to hide.”

“Not everyone gets off on publicizing their sex life,” Dean snarled.

“No, Kubrick’s right,” Gordon agreed. “You never minded bragging before.”

Dean fought off a cringe. Gordon wasn’t wrong. Dean had never been the kind of guy to go into detail, but whenever the guys started in on whatever hot piece of tail they were seeing that week, Dean had contributed a little tidbit of information. He never wanted the guys to think he had something to hide, after all.

There definitely had to be some irony there somewhere.

“Yeah, well, we all have our dry spells,” Dean said. “Maybe I’m just happy without having sex all the time.”

He did say maybe, after all.

“No,” Kubrick said, shaking his head. “I don’t think so. You are still a man, after all. Right, Dean?”

Dean only grumbled and redoubled his efforts at sheathing the walls. He reminded himself he had the night off at Purgatory, and if he could just ignore the assholes around him for a few more hours, he’d be spending the evening with Castiel.

SPN

Dean drove slowly into the city after leaving the site at the end of the day. Cas still had a while before he was due to leave work, so there was no reason for Dean to hurry there. Cas had told Dean he’d throw something together for dinner, so Dean stopped off at a liquor store and picked up a bottle of mid-range wine (more than he’d usually pay for booze, but he figured Cas was used to the finer things) to go with their meal. By the time he settled on a bottle of red and left the store, he figured he’d given Cas plenty of time to get home.

Cas answered the door still in his dress pant and slacks from work. His tie was loosened, he’d unbuttoned his top button, and his sleeves were rolled up. His hair was almost as dishevel as it was after taking Dean apart on Saturday nights. He looked—well, sexy as fuck. He always looked sexy. But there was something else too, something comforting that Dean didn’t quite want to put a name on yet.

All the same, he smiled when he saw Dean standing at the door, and without even thinking about it, Dean leaned forward and sank into giving Cas a tight hug. Cas stood stone still for a second before moving his hand from the door handle and reaching up to rub small circles into Dean’s shoulders.

“Sorry,” Dean said, pulling away after a moment, trying not to regret the loss of solid warmth that had been Cas pressed against his chest. “Maybe that was weird. I don’t know. Do we—hug?”

“There’s nothing against it in the contract,” Cas said simply, gesturing at the wine bottle in Dean’s hand. “Is that for me?”

“Oh, uh, yeah,” Dean said, holding it out toward Cas. “I hope it’s okay.”

“I’m sure it’ll be fine, Dean,” Cas said, taking it and reading the label with a reassuring smile. “Dinner isn’t anything fancy anyway. I just threw some beef stew together this morning and left it in the crockpot all day.”

“That sounds great, Cas,” Dean said, honestly. It was beef. How could someone go wrong? “It smells pretty damn good too,” he added, as they moved through the mansion toward the kitchen.

Cas’ smile widened, a hint of color in his cheeks.

“Thank you. I’m afraid I’m not much of a cook, really. There never seems to be much of a point making a whole meal for myself. I eat most of my meals at restaurants.”

“Well, if you ever want me to make you something, just let me know,” Dean offered, stepping into the kitchen and moving toward the chair he’d sat in during the contract signing.

“Really?” Cas said. “You cook?”

“Enough to get by for me and Sammy. I might’ve picked up a thing or two from Benny, too.”

“Hmm,” Cas said, eyes gleaming with mischief as he lifted the lid off the crockpot. “I may take you up on that sometime, Dean. That could have a certain appeal. You cooking for me, wearing a nice apron. And nothing else, of course.”

Dean made a weird, half-gargling, half-choking sound.

“Dammit, Cas, you can’t just say shit like that,” he warned, aware that his dick was already perking up in his work jeans just thinking about it. Standing basically naked, stirring a pot of pasta sauce in Cas’ kitchen, Cas watching him coolly from the table.

“Of course,” Cas continued, ignoring Dean’s reaction. “It might be best to wait until after we’ve tried a little impact play. I admit I’d enjoy the view even more if we got your ass a nice shade of pink first.”

“Fuck,” Dean growled, ducking his face to hide the blush. That was the first time Cas had mentioned impact play since they’d signed their contracts.

“I think the stew’s ready, if you’re hungry enough for it,” Cas said, tone switching from his sultry Dom voice to a lighter, conversational one.

“Uh, yeah, I’m hungry,” Dean said. “Long day at work.”

“Hmm,” Cas said again, watching Dean for a moment before grabbing out two bowls and ladling them both full of stew.

Dean paid close attention to which cupboard he took everything from and filed the knowledge away. He figured it wouldn’t hurt to start familiarizing himself with Cas’ kitchen. Just in case.

“I admit I didn’t plan ahead enough to make a meal that could be easily hand fed,” Cas said. “I’d love nothing more than to have you strip, kneel, and eat food from my hand, Dean, but I’m afraid that’s not feasible with stew. So let’s have a nice dinner with this wine you kindly contributed, and we’ll talk about the scene after.”

“O-okay,” Dean agreed, starting to worry his dick was going to get whiplash from all the mood shifts Cas was giving him, just tossing out fucking hot scenarios and then expecting Dean to carry on like it was dinner as usual.

SPN

Despite the fantasies Cas had teased, dinner did turn out to be low-key and pleasant. The stew was pretty darn good (again, beef. Hard to mess that shit up), and Dean didn’t even mind the wine. Though, he still didn’t know enough about wine to tell if it was actually good or not.

Cas asked Dean about his day, why it seemed so long, and Dean complained about his coworkers. He tried to avoid getting too specific about what their issue had been that day. He didn’t want Cas to feel like Dean was ashamed of him, or worse yet, to feel guilty, like the guys at work were being bigger pricks than usual because of him. So Dean kept it general, and even then, he felt like he had enough material stored up from almost two years of working with the same team to paint a pretty vivid picture of why exactly his construction gig sucked balls. Even with Rufus around.

Cas listened attentively, offering impressively believable sympathy and even outrage on Dean’s behalf in a couple places. He didn’t say much about his own work situation, even when Dean asked him. Which, fair enough. It was none of Dean’s damn business.

When they’d both had their fill of stew, Cas put the leftovers away and stacked their dishes in the dishwasher before returning to Dean.

“In a minute, I want you to go up to my room and get naked and kneel for me again. But first—” Cas paused, taking a step toward Dean and cradling his jaw in one hand, thumb brushing over Dean’s lower lip.

Dean stared up into Cas’ face and swallowed hard, pulse leaping at the casual way Cas took control of the situation. Took control of Dean.

“First, I want to give you something to think about as you prepare for me,” Cas said. “You’ve been a very good boy for me so far, in the whole time I’ve known you. You’ve done everything I’ve asked of you. And you even took a weeknight out of your busy schedule to come and spend with me. I feel truly honored, Dean, and I would like to give you a reward. You chose the scene tonight. Anything you want, whether it’s something we’ve already done, or something you want to try, ask for it. Does that sound good?”

Anything Dean wanted? Anything at all? Hell, yeah, that sounded good. Dean didn’t even have to think before he nodded, head moving Cas’ hand along with it, in response.

Cas smiled down at him, thumb moving to swipe over Dean’s cheekbone.

“Excellent,” he said. “Think about what you want as you get ready and wait for me.”

Cas turned away and started rinsing out the stoneware interior of his crockpot, effectively ignoring Dean.

Dean took that as his cue to leave, standing from his place at the table and making his way toward Cas’ room. As he threaded his way through the ridiculous house, he wondered what he should even ask for. What did he want most of all? Or at least, what did he want that he could actually let himself ask for?

He thought about as he stripped out of his clothes and lay them over what he was beginning to think of as his “usual” chair (even though it was still too soon, too soon to be thinking of “usuals” He had to remember this was just temporary). Cas had mentioned impact play earlier, and it had definitely piqued Dean’s interest. He’d gotten off on more spanking porn in his life than he cared to think about, and he was dying to finally have the chance to try it himself.

But all the same, was that what he wanted as his reward? It didn’t feel quite right. He thought back on his favorite moments with Cas so far. The warm comfort of kneeling for him, the safety of being tied up and blindfolded. The image of Cas’ face—his whole body, really—etched in ecstasy when he came.

Yeah, that was it. The one thing Dean hadn’t actually done since he and Cas had been together. Well, there were hundreds of those things. Thousands, maybe, but this was the one that bothered Dean the most. The thing that made him most anxious that they hadn’t done yet. Maybe even part of the reason he still worried deep down that Cas didn’t really want him. Yes, he knew exactly what he’d ask for now for his reward.

He smiled and knelt up a little straighter, practically preening when Cas walked into the room. Cas must’ve seen something in his face or his posture, because he chuckled as he stepped across the threshold.

“Lovely as ever, Dean,” he said, crossing the room to run his hands over Dean’s shoulders, down his back, over his ribs.

When he was finished just stroking the plains of Dean’s flesh, he ran one hand up Dean’s throat, resting it under his chin and tilting Dean’s head up to meet his eyes.

“Well,” he said. “Have you decided, Dean? Do you know what you want to ask for tonight?”

“Yes,” Dean answered, the certainty in his voice surprising even himself. “I want to give you an orgasm. Sir.”

Cas froze, the soft laugh lines at the corners of his eyes growing rigid.

“Dean,” he said slowly. “I want to do something for you tonight. This isn’t a test. I’m not looking for you to give me a right answer.”

“Good,” Dean said, a flash of irritation coursing through him. He jerked his chin out of Cas’ hand. “Because that’s not what I’m trying to do. You told me to ask for what I want. This is it. So far, you’ve only come in front of me because you were jerking yourself off. And if was—fuck, Cas, it was a sight. But—I haven’t been made that happen, yet. Me. I haven’t—haven’t been the one to make you lose control, make you throw your head back and just fucking feel, and—and that’s what I want.”

Cas let out a low sound in the back of his throat that could only be considered a growl. He reached out for Dean again, but this time to grip his hair, hold his head in position to see Cas’ face staring down at him. His eyes were dark, wide-pupiled, hungry. His concern was gone, replaced by something—dangerous. And breathtakingly beautiful.

“Dean,” he groaned, releasing his grip on Dean’s short hair, fingers soothing the scalp there. “What you just said, that was—no one’s ever shown so much interest in my pleasure before. Yes, yes, of course I’ll give you what you want. And so much more than that, too.”

Cas took his hand away long enough to unbutton and unzip his dress pants, freeing his half-hard dick. He fisted it slowly as he looked down at Dean, some of the intensity dying away to be replaced by his usual restraint.

“In just a moment, Dean,” Cas said, voice catching a little on Dean’s name as he stroked himself. “You’re going to take this cock into your mouth. I know you’ve never been with a man before, so I’m guessing this is your first time sucking cock. Don’t worry about technique. Just take what you can, and don’t stop. You’re going to make me come, Dean. Come right into your mouth. Just like you wanted.”

Dean fought back a flicker of panic. Cas wanted him to give head? Okay, he could do this. It wouldn’t even be his first time, like Cas thought. And it was what he’d asked for, after all. How else did he assume he’d get Cas off? He still wasn’t sure he was up for popping his ass cherry, after all. No, this was better. This was good. Dean could be good, for Cas and for himself. Because this was what he’d wanted.

He’d just focus on the fact that he was still kneeling for Castiel. That he was bringing Cas pleasure. And that for the first time, he’d be directly responsible for Cas getting off.

Dean rested back on his haunches, sneaking a glance up at Castiel’s face. His Dom was smiling that gentle smile of his down at Dean. It made the army of ants gnawing away at his stomach lining settle down a little. Taking in the sight of Castiel’s rock hard cock bobbing in front of his eyes still had him plenty nervous, though.

“Easy, Dean,” Castiel said, calm and steady. “You can do this.”

Dean licked his lips. Yeah, he could. Damn right he could.

He leaned forward a little to take Castiel’s tip into his mouth. His dick was hotter than Dean expected, and rested heavy on his tongue. When Dean suckled, a little precome bubbled out, tangy like minerals. He swallowed instinctively and ran the tip of his tongue over Castiel’s slit experimentally.

Cas’ breath hitched, and he rested a hand on Dean’s head, stroking gently.

Encouraged, Dean sunk forward, taking Cas deeper into his mouth, until the tip of his dick hit the back of Dean’s throat. His eyes watered and he worried he was going to gag (and God, how embarrassing would it be if he actually puked on Cas’ dick?). Dean pulled back, sucking in a long breath through his nose.

“Dean,” Cas gasped. “G-good boy. So good, Dean.”

Dean hummed around Cas’ dick, and Cas jolted a little before

Cas hummed a little above him, and gently, so gently Dean could easily have resisted if he’d wanted to (but what he wanted was to prove to Cas, to himself that he could do this. He wanted to be good. He would be good, dammit) guided his head back down so he held the majority of Cas’ length in his mouth. Dean held himself there longer this time, tongue working sloppily at the underside of Cas’ dick. The tip nudging the back of his throat still made him want to gag, but Dean wasn’t going to let that stop him. He wasn’t a damn baby, after all.

He sank down even lower, swallowing around the dick now wedged in his throat.

“Good,” Cas murmured, hand stroking his scalp a little firmer now. “Such a good boy for me, Dean.”

Dean gasped, the words sparking a memory long buried in the back of his mind. And then he couldn’t breathe. Couldn’t breathe around the cock forcing its way inside of him. Oh God, he was suffocating! He couldn’t, couldn’t do it. But he had to. If he didn’t—if he didn’t—

“Shh,” Alistair said, petting his head. “You can do it, Dean. Be a good boy, now.”

Dean forced himself to calm down, to relax his jaw, do what Alistair wanted. He needed to be a good boy. If he wasn’t, Alistair would have to punish him again, and Dean didn’t want that.

He slurped at the long, hard cock filling his whole mouth, his whole throat. Felt like his whole body. He was going to choke on the thing. Alistair wouldn’t let him breathe. Tears were streaming down his face, but that wasn’t his fault. It wasn’t his fault, and he wasn’t a baby. He’d be good for Alistair.

“Good boy,” Alistair crooned, his voice growing deeper, somehow even more nasally. “You’re always such a good boy for me.”

Dark spots floated at the edge of Dean’s vision, his sight of Alistair’s thighs tensed with pleasure. He drew back a little, hoping to catch a breath, but Alistair shoved him back down, holding him in place. Snapped his hips back only to drive them forward again the next second, thrusting into Dean’s mouth. Dean couldn’t control the pace, couldn’t stop Alistair from forcing his way deeper into Dean’s mouth, down his throat.

And then he was trembling, couldn’t stop. He still couldn’t breathe. Alistair was killing him, killing him.

Without meaning to, Dean started to struggle. He pushed at Alistair’s thighs, tried to draw his head away, but Alistair held on tighter, picked up the pace.

“Breathe through your nose, boy,” Alistair growled as he pistoned in and out of him.

Dean tried, but it wasn’t enough and he couldn’t shake Alistair off and he was going to die here with Alistair’s cock down his throat, and he still wasn’t going to be good enough, never good enough, never, never good enough.

“Dean,” a voice that didn’t sound like Alistair’s called to him. “Dean, are you all right? Breathe for me, Dean.”

And that was when Dean realized he could breathe. His mouth was empty. He wasn’t swallowing around a dick anymore. And when did that happen? He didn’t remember Alistair (not Alistair?) coming, no semen on his tongue. So why had he stopped?

“Come on now, Dean, breathe with me. In. Out.”

Embarrassing as it was, that increasingly familiar chant was what brought Dean back to the present. Cas. That was Cas’ voice. Cas was the one who looked after him, tried to calm him down. And right now, he was kneeling in front of Dean, his arms holding Dean upright. His eyes peering into Dean’s soul, like they always seemed to do.

“Cas?” Dean mumbled, reaching out to him, gripping Cas’ shoulder.

“Yes, Dean,” Cas said. “You’re all right. You’re here with me. Just keep breathing.”

Dean obeyed, but then he slumped even further. Cas struggled to hold him up now.

“Bed,” Cas said. “We’re going to get you in the bed, okay?”

“Kay,” Dean agreed, not helping at all when Cas wrapped his arm around Dean’s chest, below his underarms, and lifted him up.

Cas stumbled the few paces back to the bed, then hoisted Dean up on it. Once he felt the soft mattress beneath him, Dean remembered how to move again, or at least the basic principles. He scooted back enough to let Cas situate him on one side, rest his head on a pillow.

Then Cas curled up behind him, pressed tight against Dean’s back, one arm draped over him.

“Shh, Dean,” he whispered. “It’s all right. I’ve got you.”

Dean was aware his body was trembling, but since he didn’t know how to stop it, he tried to ignore it. Something was itching at the back of his mind, irritating him. But he couldn’t quite seem to pin it down. It kept fluttering away every time he had it in his sights. Something to do with Cas and why Dean wasn’t still on his knees deepthroating him. Oh yeah, there it was.

“I didn’t safeword,” Dean rasped, surprised by just how dry his mouth and throat felt. Painfully so. “Why did you stop? I didn’t safeword.”

“Dean, you were obviously in distress,” Cas said, his hold tightening a little more. “I was concerned. I tried to check in with you, but when I realized you were unresponsive, I safeworded out.”

“Oh,” Dean said, picking at the raised leaf pattern on Cas’ bedspread. “I’m sorry.”

“Sorry?” Cas echoed, repositioning himself so he could lean down over Dean, see his face.

Dean peeked back up at him, shame heating his entire face.

“Dean, you have no reason to be sorry. I clearly pushed you far beyond your comfort zone. I have no idea how long you were—upset—before I stopped. I’m the one who should be sorry.”

“S’not your fault,” Dean said with a shrug.

And it wasn’t. Nothing to do with Cas if Dean was too messed up for something like a simple blowjob.

“Dean,” Cas said, tone cautious now. “Where did you go? When you weren’t here with me?”

“C’mon, Cas, you don’t wanna hear about my baggage,” Dean said, trying to angle himself away from Cas’ probing stare.

Cas’ hand held him in place, however. He couldn’t twist far enough away to avoid those eyes.

“But I do,” Cas argued. “I need to know what triggered this response, so I can avoid doing something wrong again in the future. You don’t have to give me details, but—”

“Alistair,” Dean cut in, because Cas had a right to know that much at least. “I flashed back to sucking Alistair off, okay?”

“Alistair Malum?” Cas said, forehead wrinkling. “But—I thought you said you’d never subbed for anyone before?”

“I—I haven’t,” Dean said, only to wonder if maybe that had been a lie all along.

All of Alistair’s “good boys,” trying so hard to obey, to do what was expected of him. Taking Alistair’s punishments when he was a disappointment. Hell, maybe Dean’s submissive streak could all be traced back to that whole—situation. And how fucked up was that, huh? Even as a kid, he was so desperate for approval he was willing to whore himself out to the first sicko who came along willing to tell him what to do. Looked like Alistair was right after all. Dean really had been asking for it all those years ago. No one to blame but himself, as usual.

“O-okay,” Cas said, drawing Dean back to the present again.

Cas obviously wasn’t buying what Dean was selling. Dean could practically taste the confusion rolling off him in waves. And there was something else, too. Something that felt like distress, if Dean was willing to believe Cas would ever have cause to be distressed over his worthless ass.

Cas took a deep breath and leaned back.

“I told you I wouldn’t ask for the details, and I won’t. I’ll respect your privacy, Dean. If you ever do want to talk, though, I hope you know you can tell me anything, and I promise to listen. Without judgement. In the meantime, though, can you tell me what it was I did wrong? What—caused the problem?”

Dean winced, drawing away from Cas, but not too far. He didn’t want to be obvious about it.

“Uh, I just, I think deepthroating is going to be off the table for a little while, Cas,” he said. “I’m sorry.”

“That’s all right, Dean,” Cas said, settling back on the bed beside him. “You still please me in so many ways. That’s not going to be a problem. But, just to be safe, how about we say no blowjobs at all, just for a little while, okay?”

Dean nodded and closed his eyes, pretending to rest. In reality, he was just trying to calculate how much longer Cas would have the patience to put up with such a defective sub. This whole mess was his own fault, anyway. Cas had told him to only take as much as he felt comfortable with. Dean was the one who tried to prove himself by going for the whole deepthroating thing. And now Cas was taking not just that, but all blowjobs off the table. Dean tried to tell himself that wasn’t a punishment, but still, how much longer until Cas gave him up as a lost cause? The math wasn’t coming out in Dean’s favor.

Chapter Text

Dean wasn’t sure if he actually fell asleep or simply checked out after his little freak-out, but by the time he came back to himself, the sun had set, and he and Cas were both still lying pressed up together on Cas’ bed.

“I, uh, I should go,” Dean said, edging forward and away from Cas, his limbs heavy and useless from resting stationary for so long.

“All right,” Cas said, sitting up. “If you feel like you have to.”

Dean nodded and lumbered over to the chair with his clothes draped over it, reaching for his boxers.

“Or—” Cas said, letting the word hang in the air,

Dean froze with one leg raised to step into his underwear. He turned to look at Cas. At first, the other man’s face was trained on the bedspread. He looked—nervous? Must be he was still worried Dean was going to lose his shit and space out again. Yeah, that had to be it.

But then, he looked at Dean, and his usual confident demeanor returned. A gleam of mischief reached his eyes, and his lips tugged into a smirk.

“Or?” Dean asked, letting the hand holding the boxers fall to his side.

“Or,” Cas continued. “I could still give you that reward. If you wanted.”

Dean swallowed, looked at Cas as he spread his legs in invitation, the motion enticing despite the dress pants he still wore.

Dean knew all the reasons he should decline Cas’ offer. He’d already been a little bitch and cried tonight. He’d ruined the mood, spoiled the scene. He shouldn’t still get a reward after that, even if the reward being offered was just to get Cas off. And it had to be after 9 already. Dean still had to drive back to his place, and he still had work in the morning.

All the same—Dean was a weak, selfish bastard, as it turned out. Because Cas was still offering this, and Dean sure as hell wanted it. He dropped his boxers, letting them pool to the floor, and stalked back to the bed, feeling much more coordinated all of a sudden.

Cas licked his lips when Dean started back towards him, and he wasted no time shucking off his own pants and underwear, throwing them to the floor too, next to the tie Dean didn’t recall him taking off. Dean tried not to think about when that probably happened, and why he couldn’t remember the moment.

He reached Cas just as his long-fingered hands started unbuttoning his dress shirt. Dean reached up to help him, then paused, waiting for permission.

Cas smiled softly and nodded, and Dean got to work. He hadn’t been allowed to undress Cas before this, but he wasn’t in the mood to stop and savor it. He unbuttoned the shirt quickly and efficiently. He did pause a moment when he pushed the fabric back over Cas’ shoulders, admiring the sight of Cas’ bare chest and the feel of his smooth skin under Dean’s hands. But then the shirt joined the rest of Cas’ clothes on the floor, and Cas was just as naked as Dean was.

“How do you want—” Dean asked, his hands still skating over Cas’ muscles, his biceps, his pecs, his abs. “I mean, if not my mouth, how should I—”

“Your hand,” Cas said, eyes fixed on Dean’s face, intense. “Your hand will be perfect, Dean.”

Dean nodded, one hand trailing lower, gripping Cas’ hot length. Cas hissed, head tilting back.

“Can I—” Dean started.

“Anything,” Cas interrupted. “Anything at all, Dean. Anything you want.”

Permission given, carte blanche, Dean surged forward, kissing along the line of Cas’ jaw, stroking him slowly, evenly. Cas’ hips twitched a little, but he didn’t actually start thrusting, letting Dean set the pace. Dean mouthed down Cas’ throat, sucked a light bruise over his collar bone, thrilled when Cas’ breath caught in his throat.

Then, remembering what he’d liked that Cas had done, he trailed even lower, latching onto one of Cas’ nipples. He worried it lightly with his teeth, drawing a breathy moan from Cas. Then he started sucking.

Cas’ body trembled for a moment.

“Oh, Dean,” he chanted. “Dean, that’s so good. So good.”

Dean pulled away long enough to see Cas’ face. His eyes were closed, head still thrown back, ecstasy clear in his features. Dean pressed against one of Cas’ shoulders, guiding him down to lie back on the bed. Cas followed his lead, and Dean sped up the hand stroking Cas’ dick. Cas was smooth and heavy in Dean’s hand. A little precome dripped from the tip, and Dean used it to slick Cas up as he picked up the pace a little more, moving fast with a quick twist near the head, like Dean always did when he was getting himself off.

For a moment, he just watched as Cas’ eyelids fluttered. He caught his bottom lip between his teeth and held it there, breathing heavy, obviously working to keep his body still. He was beautiful. Absolutely, breathtakingly beautiful. And Dean couldn’t believe he was allowed to bring this man pleasure.

The temptation to taste again became too much, and Dean hovered over Cas, mouth tracing the planes of his chest, tongue following the trail laid out by Cas’ abs.

“Dean,” Cas cried, his voice high-pitched. “Dean, I’m—I’m going to come.”

Dean leaned back again. This he had to see. This was the whole point of the exercise. His reward. Getting to make Cas come. And he’d be damned if he didn’t watch and take in the full effect.

Dean squeezed a little tighter, used a little more pressure as he kept pumping away at Cas’ dick. Cas started trembling again, and then his hips did start thrusting up, meeting Dean on the down-stroke. His hips snapped up more than half a dozen times before he was coming, spurting over Dean’s hand, face twisted up in fierce pleasure, and giving a guttural snarl like a wild animal. Dean couldn’t imagine a more awe-inspiring sight.

Dean’s hand slowed as he brought Cas through the aftershocks. Cas was breathing heavily, watching Dean out of half-opened eyes. They were quiet, just watching each other for several heartbeats. Then, Dean raised the hand that most of Cas’ semen had landed on. He brought it to his lips, then lapped at the cooling come, eyes closing in satisfaction at the earthy taste of Castiel on his tongue.

He heard Cas suck in a deep breath, but he kept to his task until all he could taste was the salty-sweat of his own skin. Then, he opened his eyes to see all of that ferocity Cas had shown mid-orgasm back in full force. He looked at Dean like a wild animal, like a wolf that wanted to devour him. And Dean didn’t think he’d mind even being torn to pieces by him in that moment.

“Dean,” Cas said, words coming out as a growl. “You will use your safe word if you need to.”

The order was clear.

“Yes, sir,” Dean said.

Before the words had finished leaving his lips, Cas was on him. He practically flung his whole body at Dean. Dean fell back against the mattress, head near the foot of the bed but not quite handing off it. And then Cas did devour Dean, or his mouth at least. He kissed him roughly, lips crushing down against Dean’s, his tongue claiming Dean’s mouth, forcing its way in. Dean went boneless against the assault.

Then Cas’ hand was on Dean’s dick. He didn’t bother with any of the slowness or gentleness Dean had started out with when it was his turn to give the handie. Cas worked his cock fast, hard, and merciless, grip so tight it was almost painful. Dean loved it.

Cas kept kissing him, like he could only breathe air that came from Dean’s lungs. And he started back up with that snarling, growling sound in the back of his throat. He was so dangerous, so perfect. Dean completely surrendered to him.

After a minute of nothing but sensation, nothing but feeling (feeling safe, feeling claimed, feeling true pleasure), Dean realized he was whimpering. And not quietly, either. He sounded like a needy fucking whore. And even when he realized it, he didn’t try to stop.

Cas sat up then, not easing up on Dean’s cock at all, but leaving his kiss-bruised lips.

“You, Dean Winchester,” Cas said, face hovering over Dean’s own.

Dean stared up at him, transfixed. Castiel was fire and thunder and everything, and Dean couldn’t have looked away if he’d wanted to.

“Are perfect,” Castiel finished, his eyes flashing. “You are a fucking perfect human being. You are beautiful. The most beautiful man I’ve ever seen. And you’re kind.”

He punctuated the word with a particularly tight squeeze that had Dean crying out.

“You are giving.” Another squeeze. “And brave.” Another. “And selfless. You are the most intriguing man I have ever known. I want to know everything about you, Dean. And I want to take you apart with pleasure and put you back together with praise.”

Dean’s whimpers had given way to moans now. He just lay on his back, moaning at both Castiel’s words and the feel of his hand still wrapped around Dean’s dick.

“You deserve good things, Dean. You deserve so much. And if all I can give you is pleasure—I will give you as much of that as your body can take, and then so much more.”

“P-please, Cas,” Dean gasped, not even sure what he was begging for. Maybe to come. Maybe for this to never stop. Maybe for the whole universe to be swallowed up by this moment, for there to be nothing else in existence. “Please. Please, sir.”

“Shh, Dean,” Cas said. “I will give you what you need. Whenever it’s within my power, I’ll give you just what you need. Come whenever you like, Dean. Come for me.”

Dean did. His whole body seized up. And he was shouting, loud enough his throat felt ragged with it. For a moment, it was too much. Too much feeling. But then the moment passed, and he was exhausted and his body felt heavy again.

Cas still sat above him, one hand still on his softening dick, the other on his forehead, brushing sweat-plastered hair away.

“Shh, Dean,” he soothed, voice quiet and gentle, in sharp contrast to the commanding tone he’d been using a minute ago. “That’s right. You’re so good for me, Dean. You’re too good. Just relax now. Let go.”

“C-Cas?” Dean said, his tongue feeling too big in his mouth.

“Yes, Dean?”

Dean fell quiet again. He didn’t know what he wanted to say. That had been—intense. It always was with Castiel. But that was—something else. At first, when he’d been getting Cas off, there had been a moment. It had all felt almost gentle, domestic. Like he and Cas were lovers or something, instead of whatever they were. But then Cas had made everything right again, like he always did. Reinforced their roles. Made it safe. Taken charge.

But even then, there was something, something so—real about it all. It was a little terrifying, really. Like something Dean just couldn’t name. Shouldn’t be feeling. Not yet. Not with a man. Not with someone like Castiel. Maybe not ever.

Dean was tired and his head wasn’t working quite right. His thoughts were jumping around, almost skittish. He was just being too emotional. He knew his dad would have told him to man up, stop being a girl over it. But Dean had just had (another) mind-blowing orgasm courtesy of Castiel. And before that, well, there’d been the whole Alistair thing. So maybe Dean could give himself a free pass on being girly? Just for the one night?

He realized just how out of it he was when Cas’ weight dipped the mattress under Dean, and he started cleaning Dean up with a warm, damp washcloth. He hadn’t even realized Cas had left the bed in the first place. But it felt nice, that gentle heat. Cas’ hands taking care of him. Dean lay perfectly still and let it happen.

Until Cas edged away to get out of the bed. Then Dean reached an arm out, gripping weakly (uselessly) at Cas’ ankle.

“No,” he mumbled. “Stay.”

“All right,” Cas said, chuckling. “I’ll stay, Dean.”

The washcloth disappeared, and then Cas was manhandling Dean again (mmm, Dean’s favorite) until he was lying on the bed the right way, head on a pillow and everything. Then Cas was nestled in next to Dean again, not quite a call back to resting together before the orgasms were exchanged. Because Dean felt so completely different from earlier.

Cas’ fingers drew patterns over Dean’s chest, and Dean sighed, content.

The bliss lasted maybe five minutes before Dean’s mind slowly started to pull itself together and go back online. At first, it was just the reminder that there was something Dean was forgetting. Something important that he didn’t want to do.

But then, he remembered how desperate he’d been. All the noises he’d made. The way he just fucking melted when Cas gave him a little attention. How he’d actually been fucking begging before Cas had given him permission to come.

The shame hit him like an unexpected wave, and his body locked up with tension.

“Dean?” Cas said, no doubt noticing the change, perceptive bastard that he was. “Are you all right?”

“Fine, Cas,” Dean gritted out, not even sounding very convincing to himself.

“Dean, wherever your mind is going, please don’t,” Cas said, sounding almost pained. “You’ve had a hard night already. Please don’t punish yourself into feeling worse.”

Dean looked away, huffed out a harsh laugh.

“Right,” he said. “Cause I’ve got no cause to be embarrassed about—”

He didn’t quite have the balls to finish saying “about what a whore I was.” At least, not out loud.

“That’s right,” Cas said, harsh again. “You don’t.”

He sighed, angling himself up to look down at Dean again.

“Did you enjoy what happened tonight?”

“You know I did,” Dean admitted, not able to meet Cas’ eye.

“And so did I,” Cas said. “Very much. Tonight was special for me. You showing that much of yourself—I value that very much. So please, don’t feel any shame about tonight.”

Dean didn’t move. Didn’t say anything.

“If it helps at all,” Cas said after a moment. “You were having a difficult time earlier. That took a lot out of you. You were tired and didn’t have enough energy to filter your actions. It was just—tonight. It didn’t have to be you, Dean. It doesn’t mean anything about you.”

Dean knew Cas was offering him a lie. Tear down Dean’s defenses, his preciously guarded image, and whatever was left, whatever desperate, whining, pathetic mess was left, that was the real Dean. But it was an attractive lie, and similar enough to what Dean had already tried to convince himself of, he decided to take it. To believe Cas wouldn’t actually think of Dean as a needy slut now.

It helped, at least a little. Dean was left feeling awkward and uncomfortable, instead of full of self-loathing. He’d take it. But then his mind was clear enough to remember the other thing, the part he’d been forgetting.

“Shit,” he groaned, covering his face with one arm. “What time is it now?”

“A little after ten,” Cas said. “Why?”

Dean groaned again, flopping onto his side, but still lacking the energy to climb out of the bed.

“I really gotta head home, Cas. I have work tomorrow.”

“You could stay?” Cas said, inflection turning it into a question. He leaned over and pressed a gentle kiss to Dean’s shoulder. “Please?”

Dean bit his lip, considering. He’d have to wake up extra early to make it to the site on time. But at least he wouldn’t have to leave right now. If he didn’t want to dive home first to change, he could buy himself an extra half hour. But that would mean showing up to his construction job in the same clothes (at least no one at Purgatory had seen him yesterday. None of them would know the difference). Of course, this would just convince the guys even more that Dean was seeing some mystery woman. Which, he guessed at this point, wasn’t that far off the mark. Cas was a mystery someone, anyway.

Finally, Dean decided—fuck ‘em. Let the guys think whatever they wanted. He wasn’t ready to leave Cas’ place yet. A thought he really didn’t want to investigate further.

“Yeah,” he said with a sigh, scrubbing one hand over his face. “Okay, Cas. I’ll stay.”

Cas grinned, clearly excited.

“Excellent,” he purred, lying down again and wrapping one arm around Dean’s waist, holding him tight.

Dean took a deep breath and closed his eyes, enjoying the feeling of Cas so close to him. Since he was allowed to be girly tonight, he was letting himself, and Cas had given permission too, he snuggled in a little deeper into Cas’ embrace. Wrung out from everything that had happened the whole night, it didn’t take long for him to fall asleep.

SPN

The following day kept Dean too busy to really think about anything. The guys at the construction site wolf whistled when they say Dean wearing the same flannel and dirty jeans from the previous day. They made a couple lewd comments throughout the day, but if anything, they acted proud of Dean for “getting some.’

At Purgatory, Benny commented that Dean looked a little tired and asked him how he slept the night before. Dean muttered some response, trying to deflect, but Benny just got a knowing glint to his eyes and clapped Dean on the shoulder, saying he hoped he was happy.

When Dean got home at the end of the night, Sam was just finishing homework for his biology class, and he grinned as Dean walked through the door.

“Don’t tell me you were at Benny’s again last night,” he said, closing his heavy textbook and twisting around in his chair at the kitchen table.

“Okay, okay, smartass,” Dean said. “I’ve still got needs, you know.”

Sam looked supremely satisfied with himself, but he didn’t press for any more details.

Dean glanced out the window, at the clear night sky.

“Hey,” he said. “It’s been a while since we drove out to Hodges Field, did a little stargazing. Whaddya say? You down?”

“Sure,” Sam said, practically leaping up out of his chair. “Let me grab my hoodie!”

He scrambled off to his bedroom, Dean chuckling a little. Sam returned half a minute later with a green hoodie that was too baggy on him, the sleeves a couple inches too short. It was one of Dean’s hand-me-downs. For the billionth time, Dean was hit by a wave of gratitude that his kid brother had never been materialistic, never ashamed of wearing second-hand clothes. Dean had gotten lucky. Sam was a genuinely good kid.

Dean reached out to ruffle his brother’s hair, trying not to notice the fact that his arm wasn’t reaching down like it used to.

“C’mon,” he said, leading the way back outside, not even having taken off his boots or dropped the Impala’s key on the table by the door.

Sam climbed into the passenger seat, folding his long legs up where he used to be able to stretch them out.

Dean started his baby’s engine and drove down quiet residential streets that soon gave way to back roads. When they were far enough out no streetlights burned, distracting from the natural light of the moon and stars, Dean pulled the Impala off the side of a road, parking her at the edge of a field. He and Sam both climbed out, heading toward the trunk in sync.

Dean popped the trunk and pulled out and old, plaid blanket. After he closed the trunk, he and Sam spread the blanket out over it, protecting Baby’s paint job. Then, they climbed up onto it, leaning against the back windshield, looking up at the stars. They were quiet for a long time, then started pointing out constellations to each other. Orion, Cassiopeia, Gemini. After they’d named all the ones they knew, and pointed out a couple that they’d named themselves (Jerry the Mouse, Hetfield’s Guitar, The DeLorean) they fell back into the comfortable silence, just watching.

Dean let himself relax. Everything was really going to be okay. Whatever happened with Castiel, he’d always have this. Always have Sam. Even if the kid went away to some fancy school, Dean wasn’t that tied to Auburn. He could always move with him. And if not, well—Sam would always be the best kid brother a guy like Dean could hope for.

“Hey, Dean?” Sam said after a while.

“Hmm?”

“I, uh, I’m glad you’ve been having a social life of your own lately. Really, I mean it. You work too hard, and you deserve to have fun. But,” Sam paused, biting his lip. “Sometimes, I miss you. So, um, thanks. For doing this tonight, I mean.”

Dean felt his heart sink. Yeah, he had the best brother in the world, but that didn’t mean he deserved him. The kid had to get lonely sometimes, with Dean at work so much, and lately, spending all his free time at Cas’ place.

“Dean,” Sam said, irritation slipping into his tone. “I really just meant I’m glad we’re hanging out tonight.”

“Yeah,” Dean said, swallowing around the lump in his throat and wrapping his arm around his little brother. “Me too, Sammy. This was good.”

They sat a while longer, huddled closer together as the night grew even chillier, winter starting to creep in. When Dean’s ass started to go numb from sitting on thinly padded metal for so long and he started shivering, he slid off the trunk, landing on his feet.

“It’s gettin’ late,” he said. “We should head home.”

Sam nodded and jumped down too, folding the blanked a little clumsily before tucking it away in its regular spot in the trunk. Sam gave Dean a soft smile and a quick hug before darting into the Impala, a little embarrassed. Dean felt a small smile tug at his own lips, and he looked back up at the sky. It really was quite a view.

Without letting himself think about it too hard, he pulled out his old flip phone and snapped a picture of the sky. He knew his camera couldn’t capture how beautiful the sight really was, but all the same—he wanted to share it with Cas. He’d send the picture when he got home. Cas could always ignore the text if he wanted too.

Stomping a little to warm his legs up, Dean returned to the driver’s side of the car and slid inside, starting her up and driving back home, Sam chattering away about school and what he had going on the next day. Dean’s smile relaxed, deepening. Yeah, he figured, he’d been right before. Everything really could be okay after all.

Chapter Text

That weekend, when Dean showed up at Cas’ door, he was feeling—antsy. In that he actually felt like ants had burrowed under his skin and were crawling all over beneath it. He just didn’t feel right in his own body. Too tense and jumpy. He’d eaten dinner with Sam, as usual had been looking forward to his usual evening with Castiel. Right up until he actually got there.

Ever since Dean had decided things might actually work out after all between them, he’d been having all these—like, fond feelings for Cas. And that was all well and good when the guy was safely back in his mansion and Dean was just fantasizing about being together. But now that Dean was back at his doorstep, he realized how ridiculous it all was.

Cas wasn’t interested in him as a boyfriend. He was just Dean’s Dom. Maybe he was really nice to Dean (really nice, much nicer than Dean deserved), but that wasn’t what their arrangement was about. Dean didn’t have any right to be feeling fond of Cas. Besides, that sure as hell wasn’t the kind of kink-relationship an experienced guy like Cas was looking to have, and even putting that aside, was it even what Dean wanted? Damn, he was all messed up again.

Only one thing for it, he pressed the doorbell, and heard the ridiculous chiming melody echoing inside the house.

Roughly three seconds later, Cas had the door open and stood smiling on the other side.

“Dean,” he greeted, with an admirable show of enthusiasm.

Dean must’ve done something weird with his face, because the smile slowly died on Cas’ lips, replaced by that serious, head-tilt expression.

“Hello, Dean,” he said, his voice grave, his gaze stern.

Dean relaxed a bit. This felt like Cas with his Dom-face on. Comforting territory that meant Cas was still enforcing their roles.

Cas’ eyes narrowed slightly, and he gave a small nod.

“Come inside, Dean,” he said.

Dean stepped into the hall, and found himself looking down at his feet. He dragged his eyes up from the floor, and forced himself to look at Cas, who was still studying him.

“In your contract,” Castiel began without preamble. “You displayed a keen interest in impact play. You labeled activities related to spanking as ones you were particularly curious about. I’ve been hesitant about jumping into anything that may seem intimidating too early in our relationship. But so far, you’ve taken everything I’ve given you and seemed eager for more. I’d like to experiment with some impact play today, Dean, if you consent.”

Dean swallowed, gaping at Cas. This was—unexpected. Sure, Dean was maybe, well “curious,” like Cas said, about spanking. But so far, all their interactions had been almost gentle. Primarily focused on direct pleasure. What Cas was suggesting felt almost out of the blue to Dean. All the same, Dean wasn’t objecting.

Maybe he’d been reading their situation all wrong. Things couldn’t be getting that weird between them if Cas trusted him enough to move onto the next level, kink-wise.

Dean stopped sorting through his thoughts when he realized Cas was watching him expectantly, one eyebrow raised. Oh, right. He was expecting a response.

“Um, yeah, Cas. I, uh, I consent.”

“Good,” Cas said, reaching out to stroke Dean’s jawline once, lightly. “Very good. Well, then, you know the drill by now. Upstairs, naked, and kneeling.”

Dean nodded before turning and walking up the stairs. He was jumpy again, but it wasn’t the ants from earlier. This was a different sensation. The way he’d felt before almost every scene with Cas, but amplified. Eager, a little nervous, but ultimately trusting Cas to take care of him.

He undressed, going through the increasingly familiar routine and moving to the foot of Cas’ bed to kneel before it. He was surprised to see a towel laid out on the bedspread. Looking around, he also spotted an unfamiliar bottle on Cas’ side of the nightstand.

Weird.

Dean felt a stab of panic when he considered the possible implications of the towel. Was Cas going to make him bleed so much they’d need something to protect his bedding? But no, Cas wouldn’t take him from zero to sixty like that. The whole time they’d been scening together, he’d been concerned about Dean’s limits. He was hardly going to flog him bloody his first time. Right?

Dean was just freaking out over this whole spanking thing. He wasn’t so much worried he wouldn’t like it. He was much more concerned he would. What did that say about him? As a person? As a man? How fucked up would he be if he actually ended up enjoying something parents used to discipline bratty kids?

And also—what was up with that towel?

Dean didn’t have long to wonder. He heard Cas’ footsteps outside the door and realized he hadn’t even gotten to his knees yet. He’d just been standing there staring at the towel on the bed. Dean dropped to his knees just as he felt Cas’ presence in the room. Shit, Cas had seen, had noticed Dean hadn’t properly obeyed him. He was gonna be pissed. He was gonna call off the scene. And would that even be such a bad thing?

“All right, Dean,” Cas said, moving into the room, making no mention of Dean’s delayed obedience. “Here’s what’s going to happen. This is not a punishment. I am not beating you because you’ve done something wrong or displeased me in any way. This is intended to bring you pleasure—to bring us both pleasure.”

Cas crossed over to the bed and picked up the towel. He started folding it, not even looking at Dean. Then, he set it on the floor, out of the way.

Realization washed over Dean like a bucket of ice water being dumped over his head, a feeling he could relate to literally from when Sammy convinced him to try the ice bucket challenge a couple years ago. The towel. It had been for a different scene. Cas had had a different scene in mind for this evening. Then, for whatever reason, when Dean had shown up, Cas had changed his mind. Shit. Shit, shit, shit, shit, shit!

A choked off sound escaped Dean’s throat. He didn’t mean to be such a baby, but damn, the thought of fucking up Cas’ plans had him freaked.

“What’s the matter, Dean?” Cas asked, his tone gentler than it had been since Dean entered the mansion. “Are you having second thoughts about the scene?”

“It’s not that,” Dean said, hating how—how fucking small he sounded. “It’s just—I didn’t mean to ruin your plans, sir.”

Cas actually glowered at him then.

“As your Dominant, Dean, it’s my right to change my mind about a given scene. Unless you’re withdrawing your consent about being spanked, you’re not responsible for choosing which scene I find most appealing tonight.”

Cas paused. Once again, Dean realized he was waiting on a response.

“No, sir,” he said without hesitation. “That is—I’m not withdrawing my consent.”

“Good,” Castiel said, standing at the side of the bed, so Dean could easily see his face as he spoke. “Then I’ll continue outlining what I’m about to do with you. When I tell you to, you’re going to stand up at the foot of the bed. You’re going to keep your feet shoulder-width apart, and you’re going to bend down enough to grip the footboard. If at any point you need to, you have my permission to lean down onto the bed, and let the mattress hold your weight. Otherwise, you are not to move, other than your uncontrolled physical responses to what I’m doing to that lovely ass of yours. Do you have any questions about your positioning?”

“N-no, sir,” Dean forced out, his breathing going a bit unsteady at the image of himself bent over for Cas, his ass totally on display.

“Very good. You will receive one verbal warning about breaking from position, then you will be bound in place. Now, as I believe being spanked is a new experience for you—?” Cas trailed off, his intonation making it a question.

“Yes, sir,” Dean said. “I-I’ve never been spanked before.”

“Not even as a child, to be disciplined?” Cas asked.

“No, sir,” Dean said.

He didn’t think Cas needed to hear the full story. That John Winchester was too big a fan of using his fists to punish a wayward Dean for spanking. He didn’t have the patience for open-handed slaps to Dean’s behind.

“Very well,” Cas continued. He moved towards Dean, out of his line of sight to stand behind him, stroking his hair absently. “Since this is new for you, today we’re going to do some experimenting. We’re going to figure out just what brings you the most pleasure. I’ll change up the force with which I strike you, but more importantly, I’m going to be spanking you with a variety of implements. As the point of the exercise is to determine what you like, it’s important you be vocal, Dean. You can speak if you like, but at the least, I insist you don’t hold back any sounds of pain or pleasure, understood?”

“Yes, sir,” Dean breathed out in a whisper.

He could no longer tell if he was anxious or excited about what Cas was going to do to him. All he knew was that he wanted to get started.

“Good,” Cas said, the hand in Dean’s hair petting with a bit more force. “Very good. Now, please pay attention to this, Dean. It is also of crucial importance that you remember your safeword. This scene is going to be more intense than other things we’ve done together. I need to know you’ll remember you have a word that can make it all stop. If you’re not enjoying it. Even if it’s just too much, I need you to safeword for me, Dean. Can I trust you to do that?”

“Yeah,” Dean said, nodding, moving Cas’ hand with his head. “Yeah, Cas, I promise.”

“Excellent,” Cas purred. “And what is your safeword, Dean?”

“Red.”

“Are you calling it out?”

“No, sir,” Dean said, the familiar call and response soothing him, settling his nerves.

Whatever was about to happen, Cas was going to take care of him. Dean knew that in his entire being, through his bones, to his soul. Cas would take care of him.

There was a long pause. Cas kept stroking his hair. Dean breathed slowly, in and out, only after a while realizing his breath had synced with Cas’ subconsciously. Only then did Cas take a step away, letting his hand fall from Dean’s head.

“It’s time, Dean. Get in position.”

Dean took one last, steadying breath, then drew himself up to stand on his feet. He was shaking even worse than he had his first time at Cas’ house, when kneeling had been a new sensation for his legs to get used to. Despite the nerves shooting through his body, trying to convince his brain this was a terrible idea, Dean gripped the solid wooden bar that served as the footboard to Cas’ bed.

From this angle, the height of Cas’ bed began to make perfect sense. At almost waist-height, gripping the footboard wouldn’t be a stretch and would hold his body mostly upright. If he did need to collapse forward onto the mattress like Cas’ offered, he’d only be bent over at roughly a 90-degree angle. It wouldn’t be too uncomfortable to maintain the position for great lengths of time.

Somehow, even realizing how much thought Cas had but into designing his bedroom settled Dean. His Dom was thoughtful in everything. He could do this and make it good for Dean. And then he’d look after him afterwards, when Dean tried to dissect all of his actions and parse out meaning from each reaction.

“I’m going to begin now,” Cas said from behind Dean, his voice low and even. “Remember to hold onto the footboard.”

Dean tensed, gripping the bar in his hands so tight the veins in his forearms popped out.

Then, he heard a sharp smack, and the next instant, a blossom of pain from Cas’ bare hand striking his left ass cheek registered. That hadn’t been so bad. Just a quick, light sting. Cas followed it up with another blow, aimed almost exactly at the same place. This one was harder, and Dean grunted a bit at the force of it. It still didn’t feel bad, exactly, just more solid, more present.

Cas laid into Dean, then, using the palm of his hand and peppering blows over Dean’s whole ass. Mostly, he hit Dean with those firm, loud blows. But every so often, he’d ease off, hitting more gently in what Dean’s endorphin-addled brain thought of as a sort of kiss. And it itched, made him long for more force. But then Cas would come back with another harsher blow, and Dean would moan in appreciation. Which he let himself do, because Cas had demanded that Dean be vocal, and Cas was to be obeyed in all things.

Especially when he made Dean feel so good.

It wasn’t that Dean was unaware that Cas was hurting him. He felt the sting soon enough, and soon his butt cheeks felt warm, Cas’ hand sharp against them. But, even though it hurt, it felt so wonderful at the same time. Dean’s whole body was thrumming with the feeling, his dick hard between his legs. Strangest of all, he didn’t want Cas to stop spanking him long enough to give his straining cock any attention. He just wanted the bliss to keep going. Forever, if Cas’ arms could manage it.

“Excellent, Dean,” Cas said, pausing in the rain of blows. “You’re being very good for me.”

Dean whined a bit at the lack of sensation, wiggling his ass a bit to get Cas’ attention.

Cas clucked his tongue.

“That counts as moving, Dean,” he said. “Consider this your verbal warning. If you move again, I will immobilize you. Do you understand?”

“Yes, Cas,” Dean said, hoping he didn’t sound as annoyed at this interruption in the proceedings as he felt.

“I’m going to move on to the next implement. Keep making those lovely noises for me, Dean. They’re very useful to me in determining what you’re feeling.”

“Yes, sir,” Dean sighed in relief, letting his head hang.

Cas was about to start hitting him again. It was glorious.

When Cas did hit him again, it was with something solid. Something bigger than Cas’ hand, that covered more of Dean’s cheek and connected with it harshly. Unyielding. Dean hissed through his teeth at the sensation. The next blow was lighter, as was the next, which Dean was grateful for. It gave him the chance to get used to the sensation. He wasn’t sure he liked this as much as Cas’ hand.

Whatever Cas was using now was clearly some sort of paddle. But it wasn’t as warm as Cas’ hand. Didn’t have the same gentle sting. It was impersonal and unyielding. Dean edged his legs a little further apart to brace for the blows, only afterwards worrying it violated Cas’ no moving clause. Cas didn’t call him on it, though, instead bringing the paddle down hard again.

That time, Dean yelped. The paddle hurt. Actively, actually hurt. But Cas kept going, and even though Dean wasn’t lost in the same haze of pleasure he had been at the bare-handed spanking, he found himself relaxing into the blows again before long. His cock wasn’t quite as hard any more, but there was something almost comforting about the pain itself. Dean started counting the blows in his head, losing track at twelve and then just letting the pain happen to him.

He was sure the solidness of the paddle was bruising his ass. Sitting tomorrow would be a bitch. But Dean wasn’t complaining. At least—not yet.

Cas brought the paddle down against Dean’s ass in quick succession. Dean was rocked forward with the force of it, his grip on the footboard the only thing keeping him upright. Dean realized he was letting out a series of low, animalistic moans. The pain just felt—yeah, it just felt. It felt so much. And Dean was just feeling it.

“Very good,” Cas murmured, running a hand over Dean’s sensitive flesh, smoothing over the skin. And even that hurt in its own way. “Very, very good. I’m very pleased, Dean. Very pleased with how well you’re behaving. Only for me. Shh, shh, now.”

Dean groaned, sagging forward a little. He wasn’t ready to lie forward on the bed, but he lacked the strength to keep standing upright on his own.

“Yes, that’s so good, Dean,” Cas soothed. “What do you think? Do you want more?”

Dean nodded, head jerking up and down frantically.

“Yes, sir. Please,” he said. “More. Please, more, sir, please, please, please.”

“Shhhh,” Cas said, hand stroking over Dean’s ass in firm, even motions. “Settle. Settle. Good. Good boy, Dean. That’s it. So good for me.”

Dean groaned again, and Cas moved his hand away.

“Something new again, Dean,” Cas said, the only warning before a new, sharper pain lanced through Dean’s backside.

It felt like Cas had cut him, like Cas had sliced his flesh open back there. Dean whimpered. But the thing hit him again, and this time Dean paid more attention, realized the skin hadn’t broken. This implement was just thinner. A sharper, more focused kind of pain.

Dean felt sweat beading on his whole body, his legs trembling as they struggled to hold him up under this new barrage of pain. Whatever Cas was using now on him filled his whole body with sensation, set every nerve in his body alight with delicious pain. It was so much. Dean’s brain whited out at the feel of it.

Finally, he collapsed forward onto the bed, the mattress supporting his whole body above the waist, letting his legs remain uselessly in place, no longer responsible for anything. The sharp strokes kept coming down, and Dean relaxed completely under them. This feeling was everything. It was all he needed. It was good, so good. Cas was taking such good care of him, was giving him exactly what he needed. And all Dean had to do was take it.

And he could, he could take it so good. Take this painhurtpleasurebliss. Take it all, as much as Cas was willing to give. And Cas was so good, so giving. He was everything for Dean. Absolutely everything.

Dean was so lost to it, lost to the feelings raining down on him that its absence dawned on him slowly. At some point, Cas had stopped hitting him. With that level of consciousness came the awareness that he was rutting against the mattress erratically, and the bedspread beneath his face was soaked his tears. A steady stream of sounds was breaking past his lips as well. Desperate little sounds and pleas Dean couldn’t even find the space within himself to be embarrassed about.

Back in his own mind enough to try and intentionally form words, though, he wanted to communicate with Cas.

“Sir,” he whimpered. “Please, sir, so good. ‘S so good, sir, master, Cas.”

Master. That was new. But it was right, wasn’t it? Didn’t Cas own him, all of him, whether he wanted to or not? With his beautiful eyes and his kind words and his hands that could be either so tender or so harsh, but were always so good.

“Yes,” Dean chanted. “Yes, yes, master, Cas, so good. It’s so good. You’re so good. Please, please, sir, please don’t stop. Please, always, it’s—it’s—”

“Shh, Dean,” Cas soothed, his hand running up and down Dean’s back, now, easing his tense muscles, helping him melt even deeper into the bed. “It’s all right, my perfect, beautiful boy. I’m here. I’m right here.”

Dean sobbed into the mattress. Cas was so gentle, and he hurt so good, and it was all so much. All he could do was cry with it.

“All right, Dean,” Cas said. “It’s okay. You’re okay. We’re all done for the day. You did good. So good, so perfect, Dean.”

“Wha?” Dean said. He tried to stand up, crane around and look at Cas, and was surprised when his body felt too heavy to move. Like solid lead. He settled for lifting his head three inches off the mattress and struggling to catch sight of Cas. “Done?”

“Yes, Dean,” Cas said, voice gentle. “I think you’ve had enough.”

“No,” Dean said, shaking his head and realizing that was a mistake when the whole world started spinning. He collapsed back down on the bed. “No, sir, please, Cas, please no. More, please, ‘m good. I need it, please sir, please, I need. Please!”

“Easy, Dean, easy,” Cas said, but he stayed in place.

Dean could almost feel him considering it.

“Please, sir,” he tried. “I’ll be so good. I promise, so, so good for it.”

“I know you would, Dean. You’re always so very good, so perfect for me. It’s not that. You’re just in it really deep. I need to know you’d be able to—”

“Castiel,” Dean growled, his Dom’s apprehension taking the edge off his glorious buzz, annoying him back to control of his own mind. “If it feels like too much, I still remember my safeword. I promise I’ll call it out if I need to. But please, won’t you keep beating my ass raw for me?”

Cas chuckled softly behind Dean, his hand travelling lower to knead at Dean’s abused ass cheeks.

Dean was lucid enough now that it felt mostly like pain, and unpleasant. He hissed, but forced himself to stay relaxed. He wanted to see this through.

“I do have one last implement I was considering using on you today,” Cas confessed.

Dean whimpered, the pure need in his gut overwhelming him. Yes, he wanted it. Whatever “it” was.

“But it’s very intense, Dean. It’s a cane, and even many people who’ve enjoyed impact play for years find them too intense and unpleasant. I don’t want to push you too far, especially on your first time.”

“Cas,” Dean said, closing his eyes to make it easier to get the words out, vaguely aware tears were still trickling down his face, though more slowly now. “I want you to use the cane on me. Please, sir. I want to feel it. Want to know what it’s like. You’re taking such good care of me, making me feel so wonderful. And I—I want it. I want it so much, sir. Master. Please.”

“All right,” Cas said, his hand on Dean’s backside rubbing harder. “I will give you three strokes with the cane. If the first one is too much, if it puts you over the edge, if any part of you does not like it, you will safeword. Do you understand me, Dean?”

“Yes, master,” Dean said, exhaling all the tension that had seeped back when he’d thought Cas was stopping.

“Very well, Dean,” Cas said, stepping away. He was gone for one moment, out of Dean’s reach, then he came back, the cane resting in his hand making a low swishing noise as he moved it through the air. “I’ll begin now.”

Dean drew in a breath, braced himself for the blow—

And was totally unprepared for the pain that followed. He shouted, actually, out loud, full-lunged shouted, and his legs scrambled thoughtlessly, trying to propel him away. Fortunately, he was too weak to go anywhere.

Once the initial shock wore off, all that was left was the afterburn, a glorious feeling like fire that started in the stripe left by the cane and flickered through his entire body. He’d been wrong before. The rest of what they’d done was just a warm up. This was everything. Dean groaned, going boneless again against the bed.

“Sorry,” he ground out when Cas didn’t land the next blow. “Sorry, Cas, I’m sorry. I’ll be good. I won’t move. Give me the last two strikes. Please, Cas, please, I need them. Need them so bad.”

“What’s your safe word, Dean?” Cas asked.

“Red, Cas,” Dean sobbed. “It’s red, Cas. Please don’t make me call it. Please don’t.”

“Do you need to call it out?”

“No, sir,” Dean cried. “No, sir. I swear I don’t. I swear it, Cas, please.”

“All right,” Cas said. “I believe you, Dean. And despite the fact that you moved, I won’t bind you. We’re so close to done now. You can take it, can’t you? This is two.”

He brought the cane down again, and once more, the sensation was unbelievable, overwhelming. It was like everything Dean had ever felt in his whole life all compressed into one straight line of pain. And then that wonderful full-bodied euphoria. Dean reveled in it. His whole body felt like it was about to float away off the mattress. Maybe it would have if it weren’t made of lead now.

“Three,” Cas said, bringing the cane down the final time.

Dean’s body jolted forward, rubbing his cock against the mattress, and he screamed as his body locked up, and his mind shattered, and he came all over Cas’ expensive bedspread.

Chapter Text

The first coherent thought Dean had after that life-changing orgasm, was that maybe Cas should’ve left that towel on the bed after all. And the second thought was that his ass must be a bloody and raw mess. Or maybe actually on fire.

Dean lay on his stomach on the bed with Cas beside him, spreading something cool over his ass cheeks.

“There you go, Dean,” Cas murmured. “You’re all done. That’ll keep the swelling down and help you heal up faster.”

Dean groaned, and not in the sexy way this time.

“Cas,” he said, and wondered why he sounded like he’d spent the last twelve hours shouting over the deafening music of a rave. “Oh fuck. Fuuuuck, my ass is sore!”

Cas chuckled softly.

“That’s not so surprising, considering what a beating you took. Dean, what you did—you were exquisite. I mean it. In all my years as a Dom, I have never—never—seen anything as breathtaking as that. You were so deep in subspace I was worried about you, but then you were so brave, so strong, I just kept giving you more. It was like I couldn’t help myself. You were—you were inspiring, Dean.”

It was Dean’s turn to laugh, the sound raspy, and scratching his throat on the way out.

“Yeah, leave it to me to have getting my ass wailed on as my special talent.”

“Dean,” Cas said, a note of reproach in his voice. “Please don’t belittle what I just witnessed. I mean it. You were positively glorious. Watching you—watching you surrender so fully—I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything more erotic in my life.”

“Yeah?” Dean asked softly, craning his head to peek at Cas.

“Yeah. Really,” Cas said with a warm smile.

He leaned forward to kiss Dean softly on the forehead.

“You astound me, Dean,” he whispered, not moving his lips away. “Every time I see you, you prove to me all over again how remarkable you are. You are constantly surprising me you’re your strength, Dean.”

Dean grunted. He didn’t see how being someone who got off on being spanked like a baby counted as “strong,” but if it made Cas feel better to say shit like that, it was nothing to Dean. Definitely worth it for the glorious beating Cas had just given him. Besides, if Dean were being truly honest—even if he didn’t necessarily believe Cas, all that touchy-feely bullshit was kinda nice to hear.

“I’d like to give you a massage now, Dean,” Cas said, picking up the bottle that Dean had first noticed sitting on the nightstand when he’d stripped down. “During a spanking like that, you were likely tensing muscles you don’t even notice normally. This will help relax those muscles again.”

Dean hummed, closing his eyes and remembering the last time Cas had massaged him, how glorious and relaxed he’d felt afterward.

“Cas, you can do that literally any time,” he said.

“Hmm,” Cas said, running a warm, dry hand over Dean’s shoulder. “Don’t tempt me, Dean. But first, can you sit up for me and drink a little juice?”

Dean grinned. Cas and his fucking juice. Whatever. It was part of their post-scene tradition now. Dean got his arms underneath himself, and then Cas gripped his shoulders, helping pull himself up into half a push up.

“That’s it,” Cas murmured. “Just like that. Let’s avoid putting weight on that gorgeous ass of yours for the night, okay?”

Dean felt his face heat up at that comment. It was one thing Cas complimenting him in a scene. It was another thing to just go casually tossing the word “gorgeous” around. He was spared any expectation of responding, though, when Cas held a glass of orange juice in front of him, a green bendy straw sticking out of it. Great. As if Dean needed to feel even more like a child.

Dean glowered at Cas, but he took the straw into his mouth and took a long pull of the juice all the same. He took a short break from drinking, but Cas didn’t move the glass away. He waited until Dean had finished half the juice before setting it back on the night stand and helping Dean lie back down on the bed.

“Excellent,” Cas said. “All right, Dean. You’ve already been so amazing for me tonight. So brave and beautiful and trusting. Now I need you to just keep trusting me a little longer.”

Dean heard Cas unscrewing the jar of whatever he held in his hands. The next moment, Cas was rubbing at his lower back, the massage oil warming Dean’s muscles and relaxing them in tandem with Cas’ hands, just like before.

“Just trust me to take care of you now,” Cas continued, his voice soothing white noise. “Trust me to give you what you need, after you’ve given so much to me. I’m so proud of you, Dean. So impressed. So honored, every time you chose to trust me. Every time you chose to scene with me. You’re so beautiful, Dean. So special.”

Cas kept talking, and his hands kept working, soothing muscles that, yeah, Dean didn’t usually think about but that were definitely knotted up after that (fucking fantastic) spanking. Or, at least, they were knotted, until Cas got his talented hands on them. Once again, Dean was reduced to a pile of satisfied ooze. And he left himself drift off, just enjoying the feeling.

~                                     *                               ~

Dean spent the following week hyper-aware of how often he usually sat during the day. He found excuses to stand as much as possible around Sam, making meals that required a lot of prep time and cleaning the house. When he did sit, he found himself gingerly lowering his body into a chair, only to fight back a hiss every time. He also found himself grinning a lot, which didn’t make quite as much sense. But every time he felt a twinge in his butt cheeks, he thought about Cas, and these days that meant grinning.

He also ended up thinking about Cas an awful lot.

At the construction site, he was moving slower and stiffer than usual. The guys of course gave him a hard time about it, telling him he was moving like an old lady with a hip replacement, etc. etc. Dean covered (rather brilliantly, he thought) by telling them he’d pulled a muscle. He left it up to them to figure out which one, and if they came to the conclusion that he’d injured himself thrusting into a particularly athletic young woman, he didn’t bother correcting them.

Benny was the only one who guessed the truth. He sized Dean up the minute he walked through the door for his shift Sunday evening, got a gleam in his eyes, and asked Dean how his weekend had been. When Dean blushed and muttered something, Benny just winked and started whistling as he cooked.

Dean was happy. And instead of freaking out for once, he let himself enjoy it. He told Sam to invite some friends over to the house and brought the group leftovers from Purgatory, even hanging out and playing a round of Mario Kart before letting them have the living room. He shrugged off the assholes at his construction job, and Rufus gave him an approving nod one day, telling Dean he was glad he’d decided to “be the bigger man.” And his time with Cas fell into a comfortable rhythm.

After the intensity of the spanking scene, Dean half expected every time he saw Cas, the Dom would just keep escalating things further. On the contrary, though, their scenes went right back to being the almost gentle, sensual encounters they’d had before. Dean often found himself tied up in an interesting position, and one other time, Cas laid Dean out over his lap and gave him a bare-handed spanking, but the scenes always ended in Dean getting off either from Cas’ mouth or his hand. There were no more “intense” impact play moments, and Cas still made no move to fuck Dean, or even bring his ass into play at all.

And when they weren’t scening, Cas still occasionally stayed in charge of Dean. He’d position his body as they watched a movie, or hand feed him, Dean sometimes kneeling at Cas’ feet. It was comforting. Reliable. And Dean got so used to their weekends and the infrequent Wednesday night together, the end of their two-month contract hit him like a punch to the solar plexus.

He showed up to Cas’ place like always, and didn’t even think much of it when Cas led him back to the kitchen instead of ordering him to the bedroom. Dean thought maybe Cas was finally going to put his cooking skills to use like he’d teased that one time. Preferable naked.

When Dean stepped into the room and saw the two small stacks of papers on the table, he froze. He stared at the white pages, glaringly bright against the wood surface. All the air left his lungs, and then he couldn’t get them full again, no matter how hard he tried. He was breathing in quick pants, all the colors in the room totally saturated, dark spots swimming at the edges of his vision.

Cas said something Dean didn’t hear and reached out to stroke Dean’s back. Dean flinched away from him. They were done. And Dean had—he’d just forgotten. For-fucking-gotten their time together had a big ol’ expiration date on it, like a fucking gallon of milk. Something disposable. Replaceable. Basically worthless.

And he’d been thinking—he didn’t know what he’d been thinking. He hadn’t been, clearly. Things had been good, and he’d let himself forget the one rule he’d never broken, the one universal truth that should’ve been seared in his brain. Dean Winchester never get to have what he wanted.

Cas wasn’t a thing. Obviously. And Dean didn’t know what exactly it was that they had. But it was so good. He was enjoying himself. He felt, fuck, he felt fulfilled in a way he never had before. And he’d just assumed it mattered to Cas as well.

It was presumptuous of him. And stupid. Dean Winchester never got to have what he wanted. And whatever happened to all the times he’d tried to remind himself he was inadequate? He wasn’t good enough for Cas. Wasn’t experienced enough. Wasn’t enough. Well, Cas had finished out the contract, which was more than Dean expected at one point. But now that was done, and he didn’t owe Dean anything.

His knees hit the hard tile floor as he lost his balance. His breathing only picked up speed. Fuck. It wasn’t enough for Cas to just toss him aside. Wham, bam, thank you, ma’am. No, Dean had to make a total fool of himself too. Remind Cas just how worthless and pathetic he was. As if Cas could’ve forgotten that at any point.

Would he still want Dean if Dean had let Cas fuck him? He’d been waiting for Cas to initiate that, but maybe it had been a mistake. He should’ve begged for it. Or maybe it was about the failed blowjob? Cas still hadn’t used Dean’s mouth since that day. A thousand other failures scratched their way to the surface of Dean’s brain, and he was only dimly aware of Cas supporting him so he didn’t just collapse to the floor like a sack of potatoes.

It was the tug of pain at his scalp that first drew him back to awareness of the world. Cas was holding his head up by the hair, staring into his face and speaking. Dean focused on the small prick of pain, something to ground him. His chest was still heaving with the effort of breathing, the world still too bright and too dark all at once. Cas’ lips were moving, and Dean struggled to hear what he said over the rush of blood pounding away in his ears.

“—ean, please, listen to me,” Cas was saying. “It’s going to be fine. You’re going to be okay. I promise you. Now, please, pay attention. You need to slow your breathing down, Dean. Can you do that? Can you do that for me?”

“C-as?” Dean panted, the sound of his own ragged breathing making him panic even more.

God, he was a fucking wreck.

“Yes, Dean, I’m here. I’m right here. And you’re going to be good for me, aren’t you?”

Dean tried to nod, but he couldn’t get his head to work. It didn’t matter. If Cas told him what to do, he’d do it. He’d prove to Cas that he could be good. That he was worth keeping. That he was worth caring about. Or, if not that, at least that he could follow instructions and might not be a total waste of space.

“Excellent,” Cas said, a strained smile on his lips. “Very good, Dean. That’s very good. And what I want you to do is to breathe when I tell you. That’s all you have to do, Dean. Good boy. So breathe in. And out.”

Dean obeyed, only to start laughing hysterically, painfully. How many times had Cas had to tell him to do something as fucking basic as breathing? That was just something people did, and this was what? The fucking third time Cas had walked Dean through the process? No wonder Cas didn’t want to keep him.

“Shh, Dean,” Cas said, voice growing sterner. “None of that, now. Not now. Now we’re just breathing. In. And out. Yes, good, again. In. And out.”

The hand in Dean’s hair relaxed, easing his head down to rest against Cas’ shoulder. Instead, Cas’ hands roamed up and down Dean’s back, just rubbing reassuringly. Keeping him aware of his own body.

“Excellent,” Cas said. “Let’s keep breathing. In. And out. You’re doing so well for me, Dean. Just for me.”

Dean breathed with Cas until he was able to keep the rhythm without prompting. His whole body felt tired and trembled by that time, and while he no longer felt like he was about to pass out, he was still dizzy. And humiliated. Dizzy and humiliated.

“Oh, God,” he groaned, tucking his head into the hollow of Cas’ throat, so he didn’t have to look the Dom in the face. “Cas, I am so sorry.”

“Dean, you have nothing to apologize for,” Cas said, steel in his voice. “I’m sorry for startling you like that. I see in hindsight I should have given you some warning about today. I just, it’s been on my mind for weeks, and I didn’t—never mind. That’s not important. What matters is, you’re going to be just fine. It’s okay, Dean. I promise.”

Dean bit back the “fuck no” on his lips, but didn’t manage to stop his head from shaking in disagreement.

Cas just tightened his grip on Dean, pulling him even closer to his chest.

“Dean, I know it’s not appropriate to discuss our situation right now, but since I don’t know where I stand—am I making things worse right now? By touching you? By being here?”

Dean scoffed. Because, yes, of course Cas was making it worse. He was just reminding Dean of how good he was, how kind he was, why Dean didn’t deserve him, and all that Dean wasn’t going to be able to have any more. But still, Dean didn’t want him to let go. Not yet. Because he was selfish and pathetic.

He settled for relaxing his body against Cas, so Cas was basically cradling him like a baby.

“I’ll safeword if I need to, Cas,” Dean mumbled as Cas kept rubbing at his back.

“Good, Dean,” Cas said, pressing a soft kiss to Dean’s temple. “Very good.”

They sat like that for a while. Dean’s left leg fell sleep, and his joints ached from being locked in position for so long. But still, he didn’t move. Not until that part of his mind that was screaming at him that every second he took advantage of Cas’ kindness was just more pain in the long run won out over the part begging him to let himself have just a little longer, just a few more seconds of memories.

It was really fucking pathetic.

Finally, stiff and still feeling like shit, Dean pushed himself away from Cas. He made it up into a crouch before needing to grab onto a counter to haul himself the rest of the way to upright. Cas was only a little more lithe in getting to his own feet.

“Well, heh, wow,” Dean said, rubbing the back of his neck and looking away from Cas. “At least that pretty much guarantees you won’t be forgetting about me anytime soon.”

“Forgetting about—what? Oh,” Cas said, voice suddenly getting small. “I see.”

There was an awkward silence in the kitchen, Dean was just gearing up to excuse himself from Cas’ like forever, when the Dom spoke up again.

“Actually, you know what, no,” Cas said. “I want to make sure I have this right. Dean, are you indicating that you wish to stop seeing each other, or that you’ve already concluded—without asking me, I might add—that that’s what I want?”

“Uh, the, uh, the second one?” Dean said, staring fixedly at the opposite corner of the room from where Cas stood.

Cas let out a long sigh. Dean chanced a quick glance and saw Cas pinching the bridge of his nose between his thumb and forefinger, shaking his head lightly.

“Dean Winchester, you are the most attractive, selfless, daring man I know. And every time I gain new insight into the way you see yourself, I am just—” he paused, took a step toward Dean, and held out his hand. “Come with me.”

Without thinking, Dean put his hand in Cas’ and let Cas drag him over toward the kitchen table. When Cas pulled out a chair and pressed Dean’s shoulder lightly, he fell into it, watching as Cas took the chair in front of the window again.

“Dean, when I brought you into the kitchen today, it was with every intention of asking you to renew our contract. Indefinitely,” Cas said, watching Dean meaningfully.

But that didn’t make any sense. That would mean Cas—

Dean glanced down at the document on the table. The first page looked eerily similar to the one from their now-expired contract. With one crucial difference. Where before Cas had written out the dates of their two-month “trial period,” this page simply had the day’s date followed by “in perpetuity, or until such time as one or both of the undersigned requests a termination.”

Dean blinked. Looked up at Cas. Swallowed. Read the page again.

“I. I don’t—” Dean started, but didn’t know what to say. How to untangle the thoughts spiraling through his brain.

Cas wanted to keep scening with him? In perpetuity? But like, didn’t that mean forever? And that sounded heavy. Why would Cas—

“From the moment I first saw you, Dean, I knew you were special. These past two months have only given me more and more evidence to prove my first instinct true. You are a gorgeous man. You’re kind and generous, and I enjoy spending time with you. You’re responsive and obedient in a scene. Bringing you pleasure has brought me such intense pleasure, I—I don’t want to put an end date on us.

“But I think you should know—I’m already quite attached to you, Dean. Emotionally. I will gladly continue spending time with you, as your Dom, but I—I also very much want the chance to see where our relationship could go outside of that. As friends if you’re willing. Or, potentially as partners, if there is any part of you that is curious to see how that might play out. I believe it’s only fair you know I’m holding onto that hope before you consider renewing our contract. I understand if that’s too much pressure, or more than you were bargaining for in this relationship.

“I’ve just thrown a lot at you, Dean, and it’s already been an emotional day. If you want—”

“Cas?” Dean rasped, staring at the fucking beautiful man sitting at the table with him in disbelief.

There was no way no way in hell Castiel Novak wanted to keep scening with him indefinitely. But more than that, the idea that Cas might be attached to Dean—emotionally—it was unthinkable. Actually ridiculous. Against the laws of the universe. Dean Winchester never get to have what he wanted.

But Cas was just sitting there, attentive, waiting for Dean to say more. There was no laughter on his face. No sign he was about to shout “psych!” tear up the new contract, and kick Dean out of his home. And if he meant it—if he actually wanted Dean, wanted to get to know Dean, even outside of their D/s dynamic, well, Dean wasn’t going to say no.

“Cas, are you—is this for real?” he had to ask, though, just to be sure.

Cas’ blue eyes looked so fucking sad at the question, and while Dean didn’t understand why that should be, he’d have given his right arm to have swallowed the words back up, save Cas from ever having to look that fucking dejected.

“It’s for real, Dean,” he said. “And just to be completely clear: may I please take you out on a date sometime? And then tie you to my bed and make you come over and over again?”

Dean let out a huff of nervous laughter at that. The sex part at least, he knew what to do with, if not the date. But all the same, sitting across from Cas at a dimly lit restaurant, holding his hand on the walk back to the car, kissing him because that was what was expected, not just because there wasn’t “anything in the contract preventing it.” It all sounded too good to be true.

“You have no idea how much I’d like that, Cas,” Dean said truthfully, letting his eyes drift down to the words “in perpetuity” on the page set out before him.

“I don’t know,” Cas said, reaching across the table slowly, hesitantly, to take Dean’s hand. “I feel like I have a pretty good idea.”

Dean looked back up at him then, and Cas was beaming, fucking glowing, like there was a goddam halo of light around him or something. For a moment, Dean felt panic setting in again, because now that he had the chance of mattering to Cas, he was terrified, fucking terrified of messing it up. But then he pushed the thought down, and promised himself he wasn’t going to let that happen. He would do everything he could to keep Cas happy. For as long as he was enough, he would do what he could. And maybe Cas would keep smiling like that. For at least a little while. And maybe that would make Dean’s life worthwhile.

Chapter Text

Dean sat, straight-backed at the table covered in a crisp, white linen table cloth. There was a small crystal vase with a single purple flower in the center. Dean suspected the utensils laid out a burgundy cloth napkin might be actual silver. This place was fancy. Too fancy for Dean. And Castiel was running late.

After their discussion about prolonging the contract and, well—dating, or whatever—Cas had spent the rest of the weekend thoroughly torturing Dean with pleasure. He took his time with everything. Unwrapped Dean like a fucking present when he undressed him that night. Tied him up with soft blue rope and kissed every inch of his skin until Dean was begging to be touched. When Cas finally gave in, it was with painfully slow strokes of Dean’s cock and rumbled promises to take care of him. Dean’s orgasm built so slowly it surprised him when he finally came.

The rest of the weekend passed much the same. Dean stayed longer on Sunday than he usually did (after shooting off a text to Sammy telling him something came up, of course). Cas was almost painfully tender with him the whole time. There were massages and blowjobs and even (despite Dean’s protestations) a bubble bath.

Then, when Dean shyly asked if they were still on for Wednesday, Cas had asked him out on a date. A real, proper date, insisted. Which to Cas, apparently involved fancy table cloths and a restaurant where violin music played in the background. Which, okay, Dean would have been more on board with if Cas were actually there. But of course the fucker had texted that he was running late, but told Dean he had reservations and to go in and order himself a drink while he waited.

So there was Dean, feeling like a real idiot in his JC Penny’s dress shirt and the same slacks he’d worn to his father’s funeral. His waiter hadn’t exactly arched an eyebrow when Dean ordered a whiskey neat, but it had been a close call. He came back with some bourbon in a cut crystal tumbler, told Dean it was Angel’s Envy in a tone that Dean couldn’t decide was expecting him to be impressed or offended. In the end, he took a sip, silently wished he’d been smart enough to have insisted on Jack, and thanked the waiter.

Dean had been left alone after that point and sipped his frou frou whiskey in peace. He watched other wait staff glide from table to table, smiling at people in suits and cocktail dresses. He tugged at the cuffs of his dress shirt, resisting the urge to pull out his phone and check the time again. When he heard someone entering the dining room, his eyes snapped over to inspect the new arrival. He let out a shaky breath of relief when he recognized Cas, wearing his stupid trenchcoat, even though it still wasn’t cold enough for it, and striding right toward Dean.

“I’m so sorry, Dean,” Castiel said, pulling out a chair across from Dean and ignoring the waiter who fluttered over instantly at his arrival. “My last meeting ran late despite my best efforts to wrap it up. I didn’t mean to make you wait.”

“It’s okay, Cas,” Dean said, hands fiddling with his whiskey glass. “You weren’t that late.”

“All the same, Dean, I wanted tonight to go so well,” Cas said, staring down at his lap as a tinge of pink colored his cheeks. “I wanted to spoil you.”

“Hey,” Dean said, reaching across the table for Cas’ hand. His stomach clenched up at the disappointment in Cas’ voice. “We still have plenty of time for a great night.”

Cas peered up at him, cautious but hopeful.

“Besides, uh,” Dean added. “I already felt pretty, um—spoiled—over the weekend.”

“Good,” Cas said, some steel in his tone now. “You deserve it, Dean. To feel spoiled, pampered—” He paused for a moment, like he’d been about to add something to the list and changed his mind at the last second. “You deserve good things, Dean.”

Then it was Dean’s turn to stare at his lap and blush.

The waiter cleared his throat, drawing both their attention to the man still standing beside the table. He’d been so still standing there, Dean had completely forgotten about him. Oh well, at least Cas didn’t seem to feel too embarrassed by having a stranger spying on their chick-flick moment.

“Yes?” Cas said, nailing the eyebrow arch so well Dean hoped the waiter was ashamed of his own failure to master the expression.

“Can I get you something to drink, sir?” the waiter asked. “We have—”

“What are you drinking?” Cas cut him off, gesturing to Dean’s glass.

“Angel’s Envy,” Dean said, and his face must’ve been more expressive than he’d meant it to be, because Cas’ lips quirked into a smirk.

“We’ll each have a round of Uigeadail,” Cas said without taking his eyes off Dean.

“Good choice, sir,” the waiter said with a sniff and then disappeared.

“What the hell are we drinking, now?” Dean asked, trying to wrap his head around whatever syllables had just come out of Cas’ mouth.

Cas’ smile widened.

“Good whiskey,” he said. “I really think you’ll like it, Dean. It’s a little more—traditional than what you’re drinking.”

“Well, good,” Dean said, knocking back the last of the Angel’s Envy. “If ‘It ain’t broke’ applies to anything, it should be liquor.”

“Have you had a chance to look at the menu yet?” Cas asked, opening his own menu.

“Uh, not really,” Dean lied.

The truth was, he’d opened it, skimmed through enough to see half the options were written in French, and then decided he’d wait for Cas to help him figure out what the hell he’d be ordering.

Cas hmmed as he glanced over the first page.

“Well,” he said. “The real reason I chose this place is because they serve a truly impressive ribeye. I thought that might appeal to you?”

Dean felt his mouth water at the thought of steak. It had been a long day, and between work and waiting for Cas, he was kind of starving.

“Yeah,” Dean agreed, feeling himself settle into his seat with the comforting presence of Cas across from him and the thought of real whiskey and a juicy steak coming his way. “Yeah, that sounds good to me.”

The rest of the date was surprisingly un-awkward. Cas was right. The U-whatever whiskey was really good (maybe even a little bit better than Jack), and the ribeye was hands down the most delicious steak Dean had ever eaten. With Cas there, it was easy to ignore all the other patrons at the restaurant. Dean could forget how fancy the cutlery was and that they were probably listening to music written by some centuries-dead composer rather than anyone Dean could actually name. Even the waiter seemed less intimidating.

And despite the fact that most of their interactions had thus far revolved around sex, the conversation flowed easily enough. Cas told Dean a little about the people he worked with, and Dean realized it might have been the first time Cas had chosen to share any details about work. Dean told Cas a few new stories about the guys at the site. They talked a bit about Benny, Cas filling Dean in on bits and pieces he’d heard about the man through people in the scene, and Dean telling Cas about Benny giving him a few years ago when Dean’s other gig wasn’t paying the bills and he was worried they might lose the house. Cas still didn’t talk about his family, even though Dean always seemed to be bringing Sammy up one way or another.

It made Dean a little sad for Cas, since the only impression Cas had given of his family was that they were rich, snobby douches. So that just made Dean want to make Cas smile, and he decided to tell increasingly ridiculous (and raunchy) stories, until Cas was actually laughing. Shoulders shaking, covering his face with one hand laughing.

After Cas paid the bill, only allowing Dean to cover the tip after he insisted he pay for something, they walked out to the parking lot together, and Cas had the valet (the sight of which had almost been enough to make Dean call off the whole date when he first arrived) bring Dean’s baby around first. Cas walked him over to the driver’s side of the car, and then reached out to hold Dean’s hand. Dean twined their fingers together, smiling down at the sight.

“Thank you for letting me take you out to dinner, Dean,” Cas said, voice soft.

“Of course,” Dean said. “It was—uh—a lot nicer than I expected.”

Cas chuckled at that.

“I mean,” Dean back-tracked, eyes widening when he realized how that had sounded. “I thought—I was worried, maybe it was going to be—well, I mean, Jesus Christ, Cas, I showed up and the place had real freakin’ silverware. I was worried I was going to get booted out of there before you even showed up.”

“But you didn’t,” Cas whispered, stroking his thumb over the back of Dean’s hand and staring up at him with that weird Castiel intensity of his.

“No,” Dean agreed. “I didn’t. And then you were there. And then—like I said—it was nice.”

Cas’ smile returned. Then, he leaned into Dean, kissing him. His free hand found its way to the back of Dean’s head, holding him in place while his tongue traced along the inside of Dean’s mouth.

Dean’s free hand traveled up to Cas’ chest, fisting the fabric of his jacket when Cas moaned into his mouth. He forgot to breathe at the intensity Cas poured into the kiss, like Dean was the most important thing in the world to him at that moment, and Dean pressed himself even closer up against Cas’ body.

Too soon, Cas was putting distance between them, stepping back to break up the kiss.

“I’m glad,” he said, picking up their conversation as if nothing had happened. “I too, thought it was nice.”

Dean only blinked at him in response.

“Dean?” Cas said, squeezing his hand one last time before letting it go. “Would you—would you like to come back to my place?”

And damn it, the guy had that little wrinkle to his forehead that said he was actually nervous about something. As if he thought there was some chance Dean might actually say no to that offer. In reality, Dean hadn’t realized any other end to the night was even on the table (unless, of course, if the date had been a disaster and Cas had told Dean he never wanted to see him again. In that case, yeah, he’d have gone home alone, but when that didn’t happen—he was definitely planning on getting laid that night).

“Fuck yeah, Cas,” Dean breathed out, closing the gap between them just long enough to slide a hand down to brush against Cas’ ass. “I’m definitely going home with you, sir.”

Cas licked his lips and locked eyes with Dean.

“Excellent,” he said. “After all, I still haven’t finished spoiling you tonight.”

Dean sucked in a breath at that, need settling firmly in his stomach. He didn’t know what Cas had in mind, but he knew him well enough to know he was going to love it.

Cas glanced over Dean’s shoulder at the valet stand.

“I think we’d best finish this discussion back at my house,” he said.

“Yeah,” Dean agreed, nodding before he slipped into Baby’s driver’s seat.

He looked up in time to watch Cas close the door for him, then lean in through the window for one last kiss, this one brief and almost chaste.

“Drive safely,” Cas said before backing away.

Dean watched him return to the valet stand, laughing to himself. Cas really was something else. One minute he was driving Dean crazy with lust, and the next, acting like a nerdy, protective wife or something. Dean put Baby into drive and shook his head. He guessed all off Cas’ oddities were part of the reason he loved the guy.

He drove the whole way to Cas’ mansion without even noticing he’d slipped up and used the l-word. And then he was too distracted by thoughts of all the steamy sex they were about to have and waiting for Cas’ hippie car to pull up the driveway to even remember having thought it.

Chapter Text

Cas didn’t exactly tear up the driveway, but then he didn’t exercise the same caution and precision while driving up the curving path that Dean had come to expect of Cas in all things. He parked his tiny car next to the Impala and was on his feet before the driving lights turned off.

“I didn’t realize we were racing home,” Cas said, playful danger edging into his tone.

“Yeah, well, I don’t mind you knowing I’m a little eager, Cas,” Dean said, adopting his cockiest grin.

Cas walked right into Dean’s space, grabbed him by the collar of his dress shirt, and twisted his fist so the fabric restricted Dean’s breathing.

“Then I suggest we get inside immediately,” Cas said, backing Dean up to the front door.

He shoved Dean against the wall, holding him in place while he rifled for his keys with one hand and unlocked the door, then pushing Dean inside. He didn’t let go of him, even as he punched in the security code on the pad inside, eyes locked on Dean’s.

The whole time, Dean was fighting for breath. After a couple strained attempts, he’d settled into taking long, slow breaths. He could still get air, just—not as much of it as usual, and not as easily. He felt the pressure Cas put on his throat, and yeah, his head was getting a little fuzzy, but he figured that was more excitement than oxygen deprivation. He was definitely getting hard in his dress pants, and the way Cas was manhandling him around was only making that whole situation worse.

Cas must’ve noticed his predicament, because he chuckled, eyes skating down to Dean’s crotch.

“Yes, Dean,” he said, the door shut behind him. “I can see you are eager.”

Cas crowded into Dean’s space again, licked a stripe up the side of Dean’s neck.

It was unexpected, and Dean shivered at the sensation, a sharp pang of want flooding his system.

“And that’s very good, Dean. Very good,” Cas continued, leaving his mouth on Dean’s neck, kissing it, breathing against it, letting his words fall against the skin there, all while he continued to hold Dean in place. “Because you see—I’m rather eager myself.”

Cas rolled his hips against Dean’s side, letting him feel the semi Cas was sporting.

Dean groaned, tilting his head back to give Cas unfettered access to his neck.

“Good boy,” Cas murmured, sinking his teeth into the base of Dean’s neck, where it met his shoulder.

Dean sucked in a deep breath, and a moment later, Cas soothed the pain away with his tongue.

“So tell me, Dean, my very good boy, what can I do for you tonight?” Cas asked, lowering his free hand to Dean’s dick and kneading it gently. “What do you need from me? How can I continue to spoil you tonight?”

“I need,” Dean began, closing his eyes and biting his lower lip.

It felt so good. Everything Cas was doing to him felt heavenly. Everything Cas ever did to him was pure fucking magic. And Dean knew what he wanted. He just wasn’t sure if Cas would be willing to give it to him.

But then, he realized, it wasn’t like Cas had ever denied him anything he’d asked for before. Encouraged, he opened his eyes again and sought out Cas’ face, needing to see him for this.

“I need you in charge,” he said, voice surprisingly even.

“Done,” Cas said, pulling away from his neck, easing up his hold on Dean’s shirt, until his hand was just resting there at Dean’s throat, and waiting for more. “Whenever you need that, Dean, always.”

Dean nodded.

“Good. I’m, uh—yeah.” He took a deep breath and held Cas’ gaze. “And I want you to fuck me.”

Cas’ eyes widened. His lips parted, and from this close up, Dean swore he could see Cas’ pupils dilate.

“Dean,” he breathed. “Are you sure?”

“Positive,” Dean said.

Cas smiled, sweet and genuine.

“Then in that case, Dean Winchester, it would be my honor to fuck that gorgeous ass of yours.”

Dean laughed, a nervous burst of humor.

Cas patted his ass once then removed his hands from Dean’s body.

“Go upstairs. You know the drill. I’ll be along shortly.”

Dean smiled hesitantly at Cas before turning and marching up the stairs. Going through the usual routine of stripping, kneeling, and waiting helped ground him. Which, he really needed. Part of his brain was screaming at him to get the fuck out of there. To run, just leave his clothes, jump in his baby, and tear out of there.

There was just something about taking another man’s dick up his ass that seemed so final. The ultimate proof that he wasn’t the straight-shooting ladies’ man John Winchester had raised him to be. That he’ wasn’t a real, strong man. That he really was a weak little bitch, just looking for someone to use him.

Not to mention, there was something a little terrifying about having someone else inside him like that. It was, well, to use a very chick-flick term—intimate. No more holding back from Cas, no more boundaries, not even between their bodies. It felt completely different from being the one doing the fucking. Made him more vulnerable.

But, Dean thought as he knelt at the foot of Cas’ bed, his body relaxing into the familiarity even as his brain had a regular old freakout, it was Cas. Cas who had never done anything to hurt him. Cas who tried to take care of him, who gave him everything he’d never dared to want for himself. Even this.

Dean bowed his head, let the tension leave his shoulders, evened out his breathing. He got lost in that feeling of waiting for Cas. He missed the moment Cas joined him in the bedroom, only registering his presence when a hand rested on his shoulder. And instead of flinching at the unexpected sensation, he just relaxed a little deeper.

“Excellent, Dean,” Cas murmured. “I’m so proud of you, truly. I will never stop being amazed and humbled by the trust you place in me. Now, I want you on the bed, on your back.”

Dean stood up, his legs a little numb. He realized Cas had stripped too and stood naked before him. He helped Dean onto the bed, resting his hips on a pillow that would give Cas easier access to his asshole. He glanced over to the nightstand to see a tube that he guessed was lube set out next to a box of Trojans.

Yeah, he could do this. Cas always took such good care of him. Of everything.                 

“All right,” Cas said, reaching for the lube and coating the fingers on his right hand. “We’re going to take this slow, Dean. If you need to slow down or for me to check in, please say yellow. If you want to stop altogether, use your safeword.

“I don’t want you restrained for any of this. Once I start fucking you, I want you to be able to touch. For now, however, you’re going to reach up and hold onto the headboard. You will not move your hands unless I say so. Do you understand?”

“Yes, Cas,” Dean said, reaching over his head to grab onto the sturdy wooden slats of Cas’ headboard.

He held on tight, his fingers tingling with the grip as Cas lowered his hand to circle around the pucker of Dean’s ass.

“Keep breathing, Dean,” Cas reminded him gently.

Dean obeyed, releasing the breath he’d been holding onto without realizing.

The tip of one of Cas’ fingers breached him, gently moving in and out of Dean’s ass, pushing in a little deeper each time.

“That’s good, Dean. Very good,” Cas said. “Just try to stay nice and relaxed for me, okay?”

“Yes, sir.”

Dean focused on the feeling of the finger. It wasn’t a totally foreign sensation. He’d experimented with fingering himself before. Only this time, someone else was in control. And there was a very different end-goal in mind.

But Cas would take care of him. He knew that deep down, just like he knew he would always be there for Sammy and he would never stop missing his mother. It was a fact. Indisputable, proven again and again.

Cas was getting more serious now, the finger pumping in and out faster, starting to feel pretty good. Dean’s hips twitched a little to chase the sensation, and Cas’ other hand rested on his stomach, stilling him.

“Good, Dean, I’m glad this feels good to you. Two fingers, now,” Cas said.

True to his word, this time when he pulled his finger back, it left Dean’s body, and then two fingers swirled at his entrance, pulling at his hole from the outside before plunging in. Dean tensed, even though Cas’ fingers couldn’t even be into him past the first knuckle yet.

“Easy, now, Dean,” Cas soothed. “You can do this. Just relax.”

The fingers inside Dean drew back, slowly gliding back into him. At the same time, Cas lowered his head to take the head of Dean’s cock into his mouth.

Surprised, Dean’s hands slackened their grip on the headboard, and he clutched back at it frantically as Cas bobbed his head down, taking in more of Dean while his fingers plunged in deeper.

He continued to open Dean up this way, keeping him pliant and needy by blowing him, while his fingers prepared Dean’s body to take his cock. When he grazed Dean’s prostate for the first time, Dean cried out, his legs falling wider apart. Cas made sure to focus on that spot afterwards, keeping consistent stimulation on Dean’s prostate as he scissored him open.

Dean panted at the barrage of sensations. Cas was fucking relentless. Dean hadn’t realized his body was capable of feeling this much. He lay completely limp, letting Cas do whatever he wanted. It was bliss.

“All right, Dean,” Cas said. “You’re ready. I’m going to help you flip over. It’ll be easier for your first time if you’re on your stomach.”

Dean didn’t want to move, wanted to lay there forever while Cas assaulted him with pleasure. But he’d do whatever Cas told him. Anything at all.

“You’re going to have to let go of the headboard for this, Dean,” Cas said.

Oh, right. That made sense. Slowly, Dean released his hold on the wooden slats. He didn’t so much help as allow Cas to flip him over, still keeping his hips propped up on the pillow.

“There you go, Dean,” Cas said, kissing his shoulder blade. “You’re being so good for me.”

Dean’s ass clenched around nothing. He humped the pillow beneath his hips, impatient.

“Cas,” he growled. “Start fucking me already.”

“Do I have to remind you of who’s in charge here, Dean?” Cas asked, but he was already getting himself into position above Dean, tearing open a foil condom wrapper.

“Sorry,” Dean said, lifting his ass a couple inches and not feeling particularly repentant. “Please fuck me already, sir.”

“Oh, Dean,” Cas said. “All you had to do was ask.”

Dean felt the tip of Cas’ latex-covered, lubed-up cock pressed against his entrance.

“Deep breath in,” Cas ordered, one hand resting flat on Dean’s back, holding him in place. “And out.”

On the out breath, Cas pushed inside of Dean, punching all the air out of his lungs. Cas had prepped him just fine, but Dean was still overwhelmed by how solid Cas felt inside him. How completely he filled him.

“That’s it, Dean,” Cas said as he slowly rocked deeper into Dean’s body. “Just like that. You feel so good around my cock. So hot and tight and welcoming. Such a good boy.”

He drew back a little bit, then shoved forward a little faster.

Dean grunted as the head of Cas’ dick grazed his prostate. His own dick, trapped between his body and the pillow begged for attention, but Cas hadn’t given him permission yet, so he clutched the fitted bedsheet near his head between his fists.

Cas pulled back slowly, only to ram home with more force than Dean had expected. Cas sent his body jerking into the mattress, overwhelming him with Cas’ power. It hurt a little. It was perfect.

“Very good, Dean,” Cas said, his voice sounding strained as he fell into a rhythm. It was slow, but maintained its forcefulness. “You’re taking me so well. Tell me how it feels.”

“It—it feels good, sir,” Dean said, grunting out the end of his answer at a particularly hard thrust.

“Excellent,” Cas said, the hand on Dean’s back travelling up to rub at his shoulder, while his other hand reached beneath Dean to wrap around his dick in a lazy grasp.

Dean melted as Cas started stroking him. Cas was everywhere, around him and inside him, bringing him so much pleasure. He let his eyes flutter closed, and just drank in the feelings Cas was giving him.

“Yes, sir,” he breathed. “It feels so good.”

Gradually, Cas began to pick up the pace as he thrust into Dean.

“I’m glad,” he whispered into Dean’s ear, his voice a little strained. “You deserve to feel good, Dean.”

Cas adjusted his angle at little, moving Dean’s body beneath him so he could jack Dean off more easily. The new position also meant he was nailing Dean’s prostate every other pass.

Dean cried out at how intense that felt. His whole body was a live wire, crackling with electricity as Cas pumped into him.

Cas peppered his shoulder with open-mouthed kisses and love bites, thrusting harder, faster.

“Good, Dean,” he breathed. “So fucking good. You’re perfect, you have no idea.”

Dean shook his head, eyes shut tight now.

“No, Cas,” he said. “No, you. Too—too good. I don’t—ah, ah.”

Cas’ thrusts just kept picking up speed. He was an animal, hips pistoning against Dean, driving him crazy.

“Oh, Cas, fuck,” Dean babbled, thrusting his dick into Cas’ fist, the sensations overwhelming, needing to come. “Please, Cas, God.”

“Shh, Dean,” Cas soothed, voice soft in total counterpart to the way he was still fucking Dean senseless. “I’ve got you.”

“Yes,” Dean agreed, totally strung out. “Yes, Cas, yes. Feels so good, you don’t even know. Feels like—like you own me, completely. Please, Cas. Please own me.”

“Oh, fuck, Dean,” Cas cried out, totally losing his rhythm and just driving into Dean. “Come, Dean. Please, come for me, my beautiful boy.”

Dean obeyed, giving everything up for Cas. His whole body tensed, arching back against Castiel as he came all over Cas’ fist and the pillow beneath him. His brain shut down with the pleasure, and for a minute, all the could register was feeling. It was like everything in the world happening at once. Then, he went limp, letting Cas continue to thrust into him, until he came with a growl over Dean.

Dean didn’t move when Cas pulled out, disposing of the used condom in the trashcan by the bed. He let Cas grab his shoulder, roll his body over so he rested half on top of Cas.

“Thank you, Dean,” Cas said, his voice hoarse.

Dean just hummed in response.

Cas kissed the top of Dean’s sweaty head.

“Thank you for giving me so much of yourself. That was so wonderful. Some of the most mind-blowing sex I’ve ever had.”

“S’me here,” Dean slurred, nuzzling up even closer to Cas. “Fuckin’ awesome, Cas.”

“You too, Dean. You’re so special,” Cas said. “I’ll get a cloth to clean you up soon. I just—need a moment, first.”

“I wore y’out,” Dean teased, a smile on his lips.

“Yes, Dean,” Cas said, a hand carding through Dean’s hair. “I think you did.”

Dean sighed in satisfaction, and decided he didn’t care if his own come dried on his stomach if it meant he and Cas never had to move again. Unless, of course, it was for round two.

Chapter Text

Dean came home Sunday morning with an even more bow-legged gait than usual and a goofy smile on his face. Before he’d been allowed to leave Cas’ that morning, Cas had hand-fed him pancakes and kissed him for five whole minutes at the door.

Dean shook his head at the memory, as he unlocked his door and stepped inside. He froze when he saw Sam sitting at the kitchen table facing him, arms folded, Supreme Bitchface in place.

“Jesus, Sammy, you tryin’ to give a guy a heart attack?”

“Do you think I’m an idiot, Dean?” Sam demanded, the Bitchface getting even stormier.

“Uh, no,” Dean said. “But then, I’m not going to say anything to piss you off when you’re looking at me like that.”

Sam’s nostrils flared, sending out literally every signal that Dean was about to weather some sort of shit storm. Alarms were blaring in his head, but short of actually running out of the room like a wuss, he was cornered.

“I know you haven’t been going to Benny’s, Dean,” Sam said.

Oh, shit. Dean’s stomach felt like he’d plunged twenty feet straight down in an elevator with the brakes cut. Sam knew. He had no clue how he was going to get out of this one.

“Sammy,” he stammered. “I—”

“I went to Benny’s last night. You weren’t there,” Sam said. “I’ve thought it was bullshit for a while, so I decided to check it out. Every weekend, every single one, you spend at Benny’s, playing poker with ‘the boys,’ and not once are you sober enough or whatever to drive yourself home? Benny’s couch is shit.”

“Yeah,” Dean agree, scrubbing a hand down his face. “You’re right. The thing’s all fucking springs.”

“Dean,” Sam said, his voice softer, wobbly.

Dean looked back at him. Sam had lost the Bitchface. He was in kicked-puppy mode now. His eyes were getting all misty, and his chin quivered. Fuck, Dean was a shitty brother. He’d really upset the kid. Yeah, maybe Castiel made him happy or whatever, but was enjoying himself really worth putting Sam through this?

“Sammy,” Dean started, clearing his throat to dislodge the lump that seemed to be growing there. “I’m sorry.”

“Where were you, Dean?” Sam asked, staring up at him. “What have you been doing Wednesday and Saturday nights?”

Dean opened his mouth, realized he had no fucking clue about what he wanted to say, and snapped it shut again.

“Is it—is it anything illegal?” Sam asked.

“What?” Dean said. “Dammit, Sam. Of course not!”

“Well, how should I know?” Sam demanded, gesturing wildly with his lanky arms. “I know you’re always worried about money. I thought—maybe you thought you had to, you know, do something you weren’t proud of to bring in some extra cash. But if that’s the case, Dean, I could help out. I could get a part time job after school. I know it wouldn’t be much money, but maybe enough to cover the electric bill and—”

“Sam, no,” Dean said. “It’s not like that. I’m—I’m seeing someone, okay?”

Well, there it was. The cat was out of the proverbial bag now. Dean knew where the rest of the conversation was going. There’d be no throwing Sammy off the trail now. Dean felt panic tightening his throat, squeezing at his heart. He didn’t know how Sam was going to react to the rest of Dean’s news, but shit, he couldn’t let the kid think Dean was working some street corner, selling drugs or his body to keep them in groceries.

“Oh,” Sam said, sitting back in his chair. “Seeing someone?”

Dean nodded once, terse.

“And—it’s serious?” Sam asked.

“Shit, Sam, how should I know?” Dean said, running a hand through his un-gelled hair, grabbing a chunk of it and absurdly wishing it were Cas’ fingers tugging at his scalp instead. As if that would make this situation any less terrible.

“Well,” Sam said, cautious now. “It’s been going on for a couple months now. And you’ve been seeing her pretty regularly. That sounds serious for you, anyway.”

Dean let out a bitter laugh.

“Yeah, I guess you’re right,” he said.

Because wasn’t that just his luck. He and Cas hadn’t even been officially “dating” or whatever for more than a week, but it was already one of the most “serious” relationships of Dean’s life. And of course it couldn’t have been with one of the smiling, pretty women Dean could actually talk to Sam about, bring home for dinner, hang out with around town.

“Can I—” Sam began, then bit his lip before continuing. “Can I meet her? Sometime—it, it doesn’t have to be right away if that feels like too much pressure.”

“I don’t know, Sam,” Dean said, left hand clenching into a fist to stop it from trembling. “I’ll, uh, I’ll think about it.”

Sam shook his head.

“I just don’t get it. Why did you feel like you had to lie to me? Before, you said—when I asked, you said there wasn’t a woman. And then that stupid cover story about Benny’s. You’ve never kept things like this from me before, and it just—it sucks, Dean.”

“Fuck’s sake, Sam, I didn’t tell you because there is no woman, okay?” Dean cried.

He turned his body so he wasn’t looking directly at Sam, his whole body tensed up, waiting for the fallout.

For several seconds, the kitchen was quiet. Then Dean heard the scraping of Sam’s chair on the linoleum. He squeezed his eyes shut. Sam had figured it out. He couldn’t handle it. He was going to leave. He knew Dean wasn’t the big brother he’d always thought he was. He’d be so disappointed. After everything John had tried to train Dean to be, strong, responsible, a good enough brother to take care of Sam, his little brother was going to see Dean wasn’t enough. He was flawed. He was—

“Dean,” Sam said, his voice much closer now.

Dean opened his eyes. Sam stood maybe six inches away, shifting his weight like he wanted to move. Hesitantly, he reached out and put his hand on Dean’s arm, like a child patting an animal.

“Dean,” he said, voice so soft, so even. “It’s okay. I—I didn’t know before. I’m sorry I made you worry so much about telling me, but—it’s really okay. It doesn’t change anything between us. You’re still the best big brother in the world. You’re still—still the same guy that practically raised me.”

Sam looked down at the floor.

“You’re still my hero,” he added in a whisper.

Dean sucked in an uneven breath, felt tears well up in his eyes. He blinked them away.

“Fuck,” he said, broken.

Sam looked back up at him then, smiling hesitantly.

“Could I—could I meet him sometime, Dean? Please?”

Dean gave a shaky laugh. He wished he could trust his voice to work properly.

“I’ll, uh, I’ll ask him about it. I’ll do it today,” he rasped.

Sam brightened, grinning at Dean.

“Awesome,” he said, leaning forward to give Dean a tight hug. “Thank you, Dean.”

When Sam stepped back, he looked a little shaky too. He brushed a strand of stupidly-long bangs out of his eyes, still smiling.

“I better go get started on my homework. I didn’t get much done last night,” he said.

Dean nodded.

“Yeah, go be a nerd,” he said.

Sam darted back toward his bedroom, but he paused at the hallway, looking back over his shoulder.

“Dean?” he said. “Thanks for telling me.”

Then, he disappeared, closing his bedroom door.

Dean tottered over to the living room couch, collapsing into it. He just stared at the opposite wall for a while, processing. So Sam knew. He knew Dean had been lying about going to Benny’s. He knew Dean was seeing a guy, and that it was maybe even “serious.” He knew, and he was okay with it. Just accepted it, like it was no big deal. Like Dean had just told him he was planning on changing deodorant brands or something.

More than that, he wanted to meet Cas. Sam wasn’t just on board, he wanted to be involved. Wanted to know the person Dean was spending so much of his time with now.

But what about Cas? Would he want that? To get mixed up in Dean’s mess of a life?

Then again, Dean thought, Cas was never the one putting up boundaries. He remembered Cas helping him down from panic attacks, listening when Dean talked about his life. Cas was the one who said he wanted to try out a romantic relationship with Dean. He asked Dean out first. So maybe, maybe Cas wouldn’t freak out if Dean asked him to meet his brother?

Well, there was one sure way to find out.

Taking a moment to collect himself, Dean pulled out his cellphone.

So Sam knows abt us, he texted, then hit send.

Not everything, obv. He knows were seeing each other or w/e

Would u be ok w/meeting him sometime?

Kids nosy af

Dean held the phone in his hands. His left leg jiggled as he stared at it, waiting it to buzz for a response from Cas. He only had to wait what his phone told him was three minutes, but it was a long fucking three minutes.

Oh course, Dean, Cas replied. I would love to meet your brother. Perhaps this Wednesday evening if that’s convenient for you both?

Dean’s lips quirked into a smile. Awesome. So, Cas was on board to meet Sammy. And he even suggested this week, the very next time they could see each other.

Works 4 me, Dean texted back. Cud we do my place? I’ll make u dinner

There was less fidgeting this time as Dean waited for a reply.

When his phone buzzed again, Cas had texted back, I look forward to it! :)

 Dean shook his head and pocketed his phone. He didn’t understand how, but it seemed like things might actually be working out for him right now.

SPN

Dean opted for spaghetti for the Cas and Sam meetup dinner. It was pretty easy to throw together, for one, but the meat sauce at least gave Dean something to stir while he stared at the plastic clock over the sink, calculating how many more minutes were left until Cas’ arrival. He figured concentrating on twirling the pasta would be useful during the actual meal, too. Give him a solid excuse to stare at his plate if things got uncomfortable.

He was just about to butter some Italian bread with garlic spread and pop it in the oven when Sam came out of his room, freshly showered and wearing a polo shirt with a pair of his better jeans. Dean smiled a little to himself at the signs that Sam was trying to impress Castiel.

“Can I help?” Sam asked, leaning against the counter and smelling the air.

“You can do the bread,” Dean said, gesturing to the cookie tray with bread slices all lined up.

“‘Kay,” Sam said, grabbing the butter and a knife.

From his place by the pot of sauce, Dean heard Sam laughing under his breath. He wheeled around to see Sam, pink-faced and shoulders twitching.

“Where’s the joke, Sammy? They start printing jokes on the garlic powder labels?”

“N-no,” Sam said, trying and very much failing to suppress his mirth. “It’s just—you decided to make spaghetti for Castiel. Are you two going to share a plate and eat the same noodle ‘til your mouths meet?”

“Fuck,” Dean muttered, resting his forehead on the hood over the stove top. “Lady and the Tramp. I made the Lady and the Tramp dinner.”

Sam let out a bark of laughter.

“Hey, t-too bad you didn’t make meatballs,” he said. “Now you can’t nose the last one back and forth to each other.”

“Shaddup,” Dean growled, no real heat behind it.

He felt a little weak at the knees. He’d accidentally made Cas the sappiest fucking meal he could possibly have thrown together. Fuck, he hoped it didn’t seem too desperate.

Sam doubled over, laughing hysterically, the bread forgotten on the counter.

Dean was just debating ordering Chinese when the doorbell rang.

“Great,” he muttered, turning toward the front door, the sound of Sam’s cackling following him the whole way.

He opened the door to see Cas standing there, his hair a little less wild than usual, a bottle of wine in the crook of one arm and a grocery store bouquet of roses in the other.

“Hello, Dean,” he said, eyes darting over Dean’s shoulder to where Sam was still laughing uncontrollably inside.

“Hey, Cas,” Dean said, stepping aside so Cas could come in. “Don’t mind my brother. He’s just really into Disney movies, and dinner struck him as hilarious for some reason.”

L-Lady and the Tramp,” Sam called from the kitchen.

“Oh,” Cas said, forehead wrinkling as he did that little head-tilt thing Dean had come to find completely adorable. “I don’t understand that reference. I’ve never seen that film. Is it good?”

“Are you kidding?” Dean asked, shooting a glare at Sam who, to his credit, was trying to rein himself in, taking deep gulps of air and holding them. “It’s a classic. Well classic Disney, anyway.”

Dean zeroed in on the gifts in Cas’ arms.

“Is, uh, is all that for me?” he asked.

Cas nodded.

“Yes, I wasn’t sure if the wine would be appropriate with whatever you were serving. And I suppose Sam couldn’t drink it anyway. I decided the flowers couldn’t be wrong, though. Unless—if someone was allergic—”

“The flowers are fine, Cas,” Dean said. “And we can enjoy the wine, anyway. I don’t know what’s supposed to be good with spaghetti, so I say we just wing it.”

Cas’ lips twisted into a hint of a smile, and Dean felt his face heat up in response. Shit, even Cas was taking this dinner so seriously. Maybe Dean hadn’t fucked up too much with the spaghetti.

“Anyway,” Dean said, taking the wine and the flowers and leading Cas into the kitchen. “Now that he’s stopped making an ass of himself, let me introduce you to my little brother. Cas, this is Sammy. Sammy, Cas.”

“It’s Sam, actually,” Sam said, but he grinned as he shook Cas’ hand. “It’s really great to meet you, Castiel. Dean hasn’t really told me a lot about you, but he’s been so happy lately—I figure if you’re responsible for any of that, you have to be a pretty okay guy.”

Cas covered his and Sam’s shaking hands with his left hand, giving Sam one of his most sincere gazes.

“It’s an honor to meet you, Sam,” he said. “You, Dean has told me a great deal about. I feel privileged to be allowed to meet someone who’s so important to him. And I hope I add to Dean’s happiness. I know he’s brought a lot of warmth into my life since I’ve met him.”

Dean cleared his throat as he moved to the sink to fill a pot of water to boil the pasta.

“Right here, guys,” he said. “Can we bring the estrogen levels down a little?”

Sam rolled his eyes with his whole body.

“You’ll have to excuse my brother,” he stage-whispered to Cas. “He can be emotionally constipated sometimes. And,” he added in a louder voice. “He sometimes says some sexist shit, even though he knows better.”

“Aww, but, Sammy, it’s just so easy to push your buttons,” Dean said, moving the water to the stovetop and joining the others at the other side of the room, ruffling Sam’s hair before migrating to Cas’ side.

Sam glared at Dean, but his expression changed as he studied Dean and Cas standing next to each other.

“I, uh, never did finish that bread,” Sam said, backing over the full six inches the room allowed to the tray with the bread.

“Come on, Cas,” Dean said, leading the way to the living room. “We can chill in here while we wait for the water to boil. You know what they say about a watched pot.”

“Yes, there’ve actually been studies about that,” Cas said, following Dean to the couch. “Apparently, the act of observation—”

He cut himself off with a sheepish smile.

“Apologies. I think I may be a bit nervous about this dinner.”

“Yeah, me too,” Dean said, running a hand through his hair. “And what the hell is that about, anyway? We’ve eaten together loads of times.”

Cas didn’t answer for a moment. He simply sat, smiling a little at the carpet near his feet.

“Do you remember the last time I was here?” he asked, voice pitched low enough that Sam wouldn’t overhear.

Dean felt himself blushing, blazing heat high in his cheeks.

“Uh, yeah,” he said, following Cas’ gaze to where he’d knelt beside him their very first “scene.”

“I wish I could have you at my feet right now,” Cas said. “I suspect it would center us both.”

Dean cleared his throat, adjusting himself a little in his pants at where that train of thought had inevitably taken him.

“Yeah, well, spaghetti isn’t exactly great finger food,” Dean said, which had also definitely not been a consideration when he was deciding the meal. Nope. Not at all. The last thing he needed was imagining Cas hand feeding him while he was trying not to panic around Sam.

“True,” Cas lamented, his eyes wrinkling in amusement.

Dean just watched him for a moment, and they fell into staring at each other in comfortable silence. Until Dean realized they had to look like freaks to Sam, who couldn’t really pretend they weren’t there while standing a room away without an actual wall separating them.

“I’d, uh, better go see if that water’s boiling yet,” he said, springing to his feet and returning to the kitchen, where Sam stood pointedly staring through the oven window at the toasting garlic bread.

“Water ready yet, Sam?” Dean asked.

Sam shook his head, straightening up. He nodded to the bouquet of flowers standing by the sink. Sam had found a glass big enough to put them in, since the Winchesters didn’t own a vase.

“Not yet,” he said. “But, uh, Cas seems cool.”

“Yeah,” Dean said, rubbing the back of his neck. “He’s okay.”

Sam smirked like he wasn’t buying Dean’s nonchalance, and then walked into the living room to keep Cas company while Dean stared at a pot of water. He heard the cadence of Sam’s voice asking a question, then Cas’ steady rumble as he responded. He didn’t try to focus on the words, but just let himself enjoy the knowledge that his Dom—slash boyfriend, or whatever—and his brother seemed to be getting along. He gave the meat sauce another stir and decided this dinner was actually a pretty damn good idea.

Leave it to Sam, he guessed. That kid always was too smart for his own good.

Chapter Text

After the total failure of the kink event Benny had dragged him to (or, well, maybe less a total failure and more of a mixed one. After all, he had met Cas there) Dean had no intention of attending another one. No intention, that was, until Cas asked him to consider it, citing several valid reasons it was a good idea (to show him kinky spaces could be welcoming, meet more people in the community, take the space back, prove to himself he could go back, yadda, yadda, yadda) and then tying Dean up so well he could barely move and edging him for well over an hour before finally giving him a mind-blowing orgasm. At that point, Dean found himself a little more open to the idea.

Which was why, once more, he found himself in the city on a Saturday night, freaking out about going into a club where people were going to be doing all sorts of kinky shit to one another in plain view.

And okay, maybe it wasn’t really the kinky part that had him sweating in his leather jacket. But he wasn’t going to think about that reason, not right now. Not after Benny had sworn to him there was no chance of running into—him. That he’d been blackballed or whatever, was on a watchlist, was banned for life.

Especially since this time, Dean would be going with Cas. And Cas would look out for him. He always did. And he wanted this so badly. Wanted this for Dean so badly. The guy asked for so little since he basically gave Dean fucking everything when they started seeing each other. And if going back to a fetish event would make him happy, Dean figured he owed Cas a hell of a lot more. He could definitely do this. He could. If only Cas would haul him a few steps toward the door until his feet started working again.

“You know you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to, Dean,” Cas said instead, from directly beside him.

Dean looked over at him to see Cas giving him that serious, worried expression that always made him feel a bit like an asshole and a little bit, well, like, special or whatever. And that was what really convinced him tonight would be fine. Because Cas really didn’t want to force him into anything he wasn’t ready for. He never had. He was a good fucking guy.

Dean rolled his eyes and reached out to grab Cas’ hand and pull him even closer, until their bodies were pressed up against each other.

“I know that, you dork,” he said, kissing Cas’ forehead, right by the hairline, and trying to tell himself that was an okay thing to do, not too sappy or disgusting. “Now, why don’t you show me how to have a good time at one of these things when I’m not even the one being put on display and spanked.”

“Oh, Dean,” Cas said, voice lowering as he held Dean’s gaze in his own smoldering one. “If I’d only known that was something you wanted—but for tonight, you’ll be a good boy and watch, won’t you?”

“Y-yeah,” Dean agreed, swallowing hard.

“Good,” Cas purred, nuzzling at his neck. “And then if you enjoy tonight, maybe someday it will be you up on that stage, showing the whole room how a good boy takes a paddling. How does that sound?”

“It—it sounds good, Cas,” Dean said, voice shaky, body taut. “Sir.”

“Excellent,” Cas said, stroking a hand down Dean’s ribs and onto his thigh, then back up again.

They stood there for several seconds, until Cas stepped away, twining his fingers with Dean’s again and smiling softly at him.

“You’re my boy,” he said. “Remember that tonight. And if at any point you feel uncomfortable, just let me know, or use your safe word, and I promise we’ll leave that very second, all right?”

Dean nodded.

“Yeah, Cas, I know.”

Cas smile widened, until his eyes crinkled at the corners.

“Very good. Now come along, I have every intention of both of us having a wonderful night.”

Dean followed obediently, through the parking lot, past the bouncer checking IDs, and once again, into the pretty damn generic club populated by people wearing leather, latex, and lingerie.

The club was setup much like last time. Cas followed Dean to the bar without commenting and ordered a gin and tonic for himself while Dean got a beer. Dean was content to sip his Bud Light and do some people watching for a bit. Every so often, his eyes flicked up to the stage where a man wearing leather pants was giving a suspension bondage demonstration on an enthusiastic volunteer from the audience, but much like last time, Dean mostly fixated on the people milling about, interacting amongst themselves. He didn’t think he’d ever get used to how—ordinary—everyone in the space seemed to find people crawling along after their Doms or walking around wearing posture collars. It almost felt like slipping into the Star Trek mirror verse for a night.

Victor and Ash spotted Dean on their way over to the bar and stopped to talk to him and Cas, welcoming Dean back. Ash trailed after Victor on a leash and seemed content to stand back and listen with a stoned-looking smile on his face as Victor shook hands with Cas and Dean, making small talk. Dean also let Cas do most of the talking, and fought the urge to stare at Ash and imagine himself on a leash being led around by Cas all night. The idea—had a certain appeal.

After a few minutes of conversation, Cas spotted someone coming in that he wanted to introduce Dean to. He excused them from the discussion with Victor with a smile and another handshake, and then led Dean back across the room toward a pair of women. One of them had long, red hair and was dressed pretty normally in jeans and a nice shirt, much like Dean and many others in the room. But with her stood a woman with curly dark hair and light blue eyes wearing a baby pink corset, pink leather collar edged with lace, and a set of fluffy, white wings.

“Dean,” Cas said, turning to him once they caught up to the women. “I’d like you to meet some friends of mine. This is Anna and Hannah.”

“Oh, wow,” Dean said with a chuckle, eyes skimming over the darker-haired woman’s body. “That must be hard.”

The woman with the red hair laughed too.

“Not too much,” she said. “Sure, the rhyming thing feels a too cutesy sometimes, but Hannah and I are used to it by now.”

Hannah’s lips quirked into a small smile as she nodded her agreement.

“So, Dean, how did you and Cas meet?” Anna said. “I haven’t seen him in a while and didn’t know he was seeing anyone.”

“Uh—” Dean said, looking back at Cas for help, not sure how to explain their fucked-up origin story without sounding like a whiny bitch.

“Dean and I crossed paths at an event a few months ago. This is our first foray in the community as a couple,” Cas supplied smoothly.

Dean ducked his head, grateful that Cas managed to make them sound so normal.

Anna and Hannah chatted with them for a while longer. Dean learned that Anna used to be Cas’ boss back in the day, before she got fed up with “all the corporate bullshit” and started doing some sort of freelance work that Dean didn’t get enough details on to make sense of. Hannah didn’t say much about her life, but even during their few minutes of conversation, Dean decided she reminded him of a female Cas—generally serious but kind, with a dry sense of humor.

When the two women wandered off, Cas noticed there was a flogging demonstration happening on the stage and led Dean over to watch with a gleam in his eye. Dean was pretty engrossed in that despite the fact that it was a tiny woman being flogged by a dude instead of a male sub, so it wasn’t until the stage cleared and he turned around that he spotted Benny.

Benny had clearly noticed him already, though. He grinned and waved at Dean, gesturing with his head toward the woman he stood next to. Dean was pretty sure it was the same woman he’d run off after at the event Dean had come to with him.

Dean waved back and shook his head.

“Damn, between the two of us, do we know everyone here?” he asked Cas.

Cas chuckled and reached for Dean’s hand, rubbing his thumb over Dean’s knuckles.

“The kink community isn’t that large,” he said. “After a while, you definitely know most of the faces if not all the names that go with them.”

“And we do try to be friendly with each other,” a high-pitched female voice spoke up from behind them.

Dean wheeled around, startled by a stranger just joining in their conversation. A thin blond woman stood there, wearing a lacy white dress, a choker around her throat. She blinked up at Dean with an innocence he wasn’t buying for a moment. He wasn’t sure if it was just because of her piping in when he and Cas had been having a conversation, but there was something about this chick that rubbed him the wrong way.

He leaned closer to Cas, enjoying the solid feel of his chest against his back, fighting the way his skin crawled at how the woman looked at them.

“I noticed you from across the room,” she said.

And there was no way that was her natural voice. She was pitching it higher on purpose for sure. Trying to sound breathy, more child-like perhaps. It only added to Dean’s creeped-out feelings.

“I just had to come and say hello,” she continued, taking a step forward into Dean’s space. “My name is Lilith, and you’re very beautiful.”

Lilith reached up, trailing her fingertips over Dean’s pecs.

Dean sucked in a startled breath, frozen. What the fuck? He was pretty sure people didn’t just come up and touch each other without permission, even here.

“I would very much like to play with you sometime,” Lilith said. “Or maybe even keep you.”

Serpent-strike fast, Cas reached around Dean and gripped Lilith’s wrist, pulling her hand away from Dean.

“I’m afraid Dean is spoken for at the moment,” he said, his voice stone cold and unyielding. “And I’m not inclined to share.”

Lilith stuck her bottom lip out in an exaggerated pout.

“That’s too bad,” she said, brightening a moment later and fixing her eyes just on Dean’s face. “But, if you ever change your mind, it’s nice to know you always have options. And you, pretty boy, would have lots of options.”

“Yeah, uh, no thanks, lady,” Dean said, finding his voice finally, even if it did feel a little rusty.

Lilith just shrugged, waved, and walked away.

Dean watched her go, not moving a muscle until she’d melted back into the crowd.

“I am so, so sorry, Dean,” Cas said.

Dean turned back to him to see Cas’ face twisted in remorse.

“So far you’ve had negative experiences at both events you’ve attended. I promise that’s not representational of the majority of people in the life. But I understand completely if you want to go home.”

“No, Cas,” Dean said, rolling his shoulders back and trying to dislodge the lingering sense of discomfort from Lilith’s advances. “It’s fine. Let’s not let one chick with boundary issues ruin our night, okay?”

Cas didn’t seem convinced, was clearly still feeling some sort of misplaced guilt for other people’s unwillingness to keep their hands to themselves. Dean decided to put a stop to that by leaning forward and kissing him. It wasn’t a long or a dirty kiss, but it was enough to smooth the lines on Cas’ face.

He nodded, took Dean’s hand again, and scanned the room.

“All right, Dean. Would you like to check out the merchandise table?”

Dean grinned, not even having to force himself.

“Oh yeah,” he said. “Lead the way.”

SPN

The rest of the event was a success. Dean met a few more people Cas knew from the scene, and they left early enough for Cas to give Dean a bare-handed spanking and then fuck him into the mattress.

The next week started out normally enough, until Dean was leaving Purgatory on Tuesday night. Benny and Pam had already gone home for the night. Dean had stayed a bit late to put away the last load of clean dishes, so when he stepped outside, he expected to see only his baby in the parking lot.

She was there, but so was a big, black motorcycle, parked right under a streetlight a couple yards away from the Impala.

Dean stared at the bike, confused, until a flash of light behind him caught his attention. He wheeled back toward the restaurant to see a tall, thin man leaning against the wall. He lit a cigarette held between his lips then extinguished the lighter in his hand. Illuminated only by the distant glow of the streetlamp and the burning cigarette, heavy shadows put his face in sharp relief. He looked like a skull, lifeless and threatening.

Even in the darkness, Dean knew instantly who he was.

“Hello, Dean,” he said in his nasally drawl. “Wanna smoke?”

“Alistair,” Dean said, pleased that his voice remained so even. That he sounded calm even if his heart was thundering in his chest. “What are you doing here?”

“What, I’m not allowed to look in on an old friend?” Alistair asked, exhaling a plume of smoke.

“We were never friends!” Dean spat, his hands clenching into fists.

“Fine, on an old fucktoy, then.”

Dean blinked. He knew Alistair never gave a shit about him, but hearing that word used to describe himself still surprised him.

“I may not be allowed to attend certain events anymore, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have friends who can,” Alistair said, pushing away from the wall and moving closer to Dean. “A little birdie told me you’ve been seeing a new daddy. And that it’s exclusive too!”

Dean didn’t move even as Alistair started slowly circling him, breathing smoke into his face, leaning forward to smell the exposed skin of his neck. His mind turned back to the blond woman at the event.

“Lilith,” he breathed.

Alistair laughed. It sounded like dry bones scraping against each other.

“Smart boy,” he said. “Yes, Lilith. She knew you were the reason I got blackballed from that bullshit club. More to the point, she knows you used to belong to me. So when you showed your face again, she made sure to report back to me. You’ve been a bad boy, Dean, seeing another daddy. Don’t you know I’m all the Master you’re ever going to need?”

“I don’t fucking belong to you, Alistair,” Dean growled, arms trembling now with how tight he was holding his fists.

He didn’t move. Didn’t want to run, because he knew Alistair would enjoy chasing him too much. Didn’t want to fight, because Alistair would enjoy hurting him too much. But that didn’t mean he was going to put up with whatever bullshit the sick fuck tried to spew at him.

Alistair clicked his tongue, shaking his head as he made another circuit around Dean.

“You can tell yourself that all you want, but I know better, and deep down, I think you do too, Dean-o,” he said. “You see, I was your first. The first man to ever give you what you needed. It was my cock you were choking on before you were eight years old. And now, you have to think about me every time you put that pretty mouth of yours to work on another man.”

Dean pressed his lips together, feeling his breathing get shallower. He thought about trying to deepthroat Cas, how he’d fallen apart, couldn’t get Alistair out of his head. Cas hadn’t let Dean try sucking him off since.

Alistair laughed his bone-rattle laugh again.

“You see, Dean, you know it’s true. I carved my name into your soul. You can hide from me all you want, but the deepest part of you was mine first, will always belong to me.”

“You’re wrong,” Dean said, wishing he sounded more convincing even as he said it.

“There, there, Dean,” Alistair said.

He stopped walking, crowding up against Dean, breathing against Dean’s neck, scenting him like an animal. Dean didn’t move, didn’t even tremble anymore. He was frozen, just like at the club when he’d run into Alistair the last time. He didn’t even move when Alistair took the cigarette from his lips and held it hovering close to Dean’s hand—not quite touching it, but so he could feel the heat. So the threat of it being extinguished on his skin was clear.

“I can make you whole again,” Alistair promised, whispering right into Dean’s ear. “I went easy on you when you were a boy, but now we can break out all sorts of new tricks and toys. I can carve you into a new animal. Until you worship me and beg for more. I can be everything you need, Dean. You’ve always been a pretty little whore, Dean, but I can make you beautiful. A masterpiece.”

Dean’s breath was coming in thin gasps, now. He could feel the world getting hazy, fuzzy at the edges.

“I know you. I know exactly what you need. I’ll be so good for you. Fix everything that’s wrong with you. Slice out every weakness, every imperfection, until nothing is left but a perfect tool for me to use. You know that’s what you want, Dean. It’s what you need.”

Dean tried to fight against Alistair’s words, but the lilt of them wormed their way into his brain. Alistair wasn’t wrong, not really. Dean knew he was weak. Knew he wasn’t good enough. He wanted to be fixed. Wanted to be strong. Wanted to be good enough. And Alistair did know him. Had all those years ago. Had always known just what to say, how to best make Dean obey. How to make Dean an object for him to use.

“That’s it, boy. Good whore, Dean. You know I’m right. I can see it in your eyes. You won’t regret this. I’ll show you things you never knew were possible. You’ll feel so much pain you’ll forget your own name, and it’ll feel like heaven to you. I can do things for you that that pansy pretend ‘Dom’ of yours right now could never dream of.”

“No,” Dean said, squeezing his eyes shut, but taking a full, deep breath.

The mention of Cas made Dean remember Cas’ face as clearly as if he stood there in the scant inches between Dean and Alistair. He remembered the sight of Cas worried about him. Cas telling him he was a good boy. Cas smiling at some stupid joke he’d told. Cas was good to him. Cas was good for him. Cas was what he needed. Not whatever fucked up, pain-centered fantasy Alistair was peddling.

“You don’t say no to me, boy,” Alistair said voice sword-sharp, dropping his cigarette and gripping Dean by the jaw. “I suppose this means you’ll have to relearn that particular lesson.”

“No,” Dean said, louder.

He reached up and shoved Alistair’s arm away, stepping back and putting two whole feet between them.

“I want nothing to do with you, Alistair. You’re nothing to me. You might’ve fucked me up some when I was a kid, but that was then. You don’t know me anymore. You’ve got no fucking pull over me. So get the fuck out of here and leave me alone! If I ever see you again, I’m calling the cops, and I’m not playing.”

Alistair stood still, watching Dean with his dangerous eyes.

“When you’re properly repentant for what you just said to me,” Alistair said. “I’ll take you back. I meant what I said. You belong to me. That won’t change. You’ll come crawling back, begging my forgiveness and my help, and I’ll punish you hard enough you’ll never cross me again. But I will take you back, Dean.”

“Yeah, well don’t hold your breath,” Dean said.

And then he did something he’d never done before. He turned his back on Alistair and walked away. He climbed into the Impala and tore out of the parking lot. He didn’t even start trembling uncontrollably until he made it home, thanked whatever God was listening that Sam wasn’t waiting up for him, and locked himself in his bedroom. Then he let himself fall apart, shaking in a ball on his bed, even while some piece of him felt braver and stronger than he ever had before. He’d told Alistair to fuck off. And he was still in one piece. Never in his whole life had he expected that to happen. And it made him feel just a little less broken.

Chapter Text

Dean made it through his workday at the construction site on Wednesday only by reminding himself how many more hours he had to survive before he could show up at Cas’ house. He was practically shaking with energy, still wired from standing up to Alistair Fucking Malum, and anxious to finally be in the presence of his awesome Dom. He had a surprise planned for Cas that evening, and he couldn’t wait to deliver it.

He tuned out the guys at the site, went through the work on autopilot, and fucking finally stood outside Cas’ door, fidgeting with the cuff of his shirt sleeve while he waited.

Cas opened the door with his usual small, warm smile.

“Hello, Dean. I—uh—oof!” he said, as Dean placed a hand on his chest and shoved him into the house.

Cas allowed Dean to spin them both around and shove Cas up against the wall in his foyer. His blue eyes were wide, his lips parted in surprise, but he moved willingly enough where Dean positioned him. If anything, he seemed too stunned by their apparent change in roles to say or do much of anything else.

He only seemed to catch up to the situation when Dean hit his knees on the hardwood in front of Cas and reached for his belt buckle, unhooking it.

“Dean,” he said, eyes growing comically wider as he stared down at him. “What are you—”

“Shh, Cas,” Dean purred, unbuttoning Cas’ dress pants and sliding the zipper down a little more forcefully than necessary. “I want to do this for you. I want to make you feel good.”

Cas reached down, his hand resting against Dean’s cheek.

“Are you sure?” he asked, forehead wrinkling in concern. “You don’t have to do this. You bring me so much pleasure in so many ways. I don’t need—”

“I’m sure, Cas,” Dean said, looking up at him and letting some of his assurance bleed away. “Let me do this for you. And for me. Please?”

Cas nodded, almost frantic.

“Of course, Dean. Anything.”

Dean’s confidence returned, and he grinned up at Cas, winking before he freed Cas’ dick from his boxer shorts and took the tip into his mouth. He gave himself a moment to tongue at the slit, suckle gently at the head, before he took in more of Cas’ length. Slowly, moving one inch at a time, his nose rested against the thatch of Cas’ pubic hair. He swallowed around Cas’ dick, only gagging a little bit (he was still pretty out of practice, after all), and was rewarded by Cas making a strangled, gurgling noise above him.

Dean finally worked up the courage to look up at Cas’ face. He froze for a moment, at the sheer intensity of feeling he saw there. Cas often looked at Dean like he was special, but right now, in that moment—it was like Dean had just invented pie or something.

Dean huffed as much of a laugh as he could, and it must’ve felt pretty good for Cas, given the way his thighs twitched and his hands uselessly reached for something to grip on the wall behind him.

Dean didn’t give Cas a chance to recover. He started bobbing his head, slowly moving back to pull off of Cas’ dick, until only the tip was in his mouth, then swallowing him down to the root again. He didn’t push the pace at first, simply enjoying himself. Enjoying the taste of Cas in his mouth, the scent of him in Dean’s nose, the weight of him on Dean’s tongue.

When Cas had fucked Dean the first time, he’d felt full, gloriously full of Cas. And it had been really fucking awesome. But in some ways, this felt even more intimate to Dean, watching Cas come apart as he worked his dick over with his mouth. He was still full of Cas, only now his throat was stretched around Cas’ dick, his jaw growing a little sore the long he drew this out. And he loved it.

Eventually, Dean picked up speed, moving faster on Cas’ cock, slicked with Dean’s own spit. Cas started letting out a series of moans above him, his hands finally finding Dean’s head. He didn’t try to lead or take over control of the blow job, but his long fingers nestled into Dean’s hair, holding on like he was trying to ground himself against the pleasure Dean was giving him.

“Dean,” Cas called out, head thrashing back and hitting the wall with a dull thump. “Dean, I’m going to come. I—I can’t—”

Dean pulled back, but he didn’t pull all the way off Cas’ dick, working the base of it with his hand as he increased the suction he was giving to the head.

Just a handful of seconds later, Cas came, pumping Dean’s mouth full of his spunk. Dean swallowed as much as he could, but wasn’t even really disappointed with himself when a trail of it escaped the corner of his mouth and trickled down his chin.

Cas didn’t even wait for his dick to stop twitching or for Dean to catch his breath before he hauled Dean to his feet, lips crushing against Dean’s in a frantic kiss. His longue traced over the ridges of Dean’s mouth, tasting himself there, before he moved away from Dean’s lips and lapped up the trail of escaped come.

Dean groaned at the thought. Fuck, Cas was hot.

Cas growled a bit at the back of his throat, twisting them around to switch their positions, so Dean’s back was pressed against the wall. Cas mouthed at Dean’s throat, licking and biting the skin there. When he finally stopped acting like he wanted to devour Dean and pulled away enough to speak, all Dean could do was pant in his grip.

“You, Dean Winchester,” Cas said, his voice even gravellier than usual. “Are going to tell me exactly what that was about. Later. For right now, I want to know what I can do to make you feel good.”

“Maybe, um,” Dean said, eyes skirting away from Cas’ face, all his swagger melted away.

Cas growled again and gripped Dean’s chin, moving his head so he was looking Cas in the eye again.

“Tell me what I can do to bring you pleasure, Dean. Or there will be consequences.”

Dean let out a small whimper, but he didn’t try to look away again.

“Maybe—maybe you could tie me up?” he said, his throat a little sore, but definitely not the reason for his reticence.

He liked it better when he didn’t have to ask for what he wanted. When Cas just knew and gave it to him.

“Like,” he continued. “Really good? So I—so I can’t move at all? And then maybe, um, maybe you could—fuck me?”

Cas stepped away, no longer crowded up against Dean, though his hand never left Dean’s face.

“I think that can be arranged,” he said, his eyes narrowed to slits as he smirked back.

He turned and started up the stairs, Dean still rooted in place by the door, chest still heaving as his breathing worked at evening out, still riding the high of what he’d just done.

“Well?” Cas said, pausing on the third step and turning back to Dean. “Are you coming?”

“Oh, yeah,” Dean said, shoving off the wall and tottering after Cas on less-than-steady legs. “Try and stop me!”

Cas only hummed at him, giving a quirk of an eyebrow, before leading the way to the bedroom.

SPN

Dean ended up with his whole body cocooned in rope. Cas really outdid himself, stretching Dean out on his back on the bed and trying him into a freaking work of art. He lashed Dean’s arms together at the forearms, in a ladder tie. Then he wove a harness around Dean’s chest, keeping him extra secure. He tied Dean’s ankles to the corners of his footboards, leaving Dean spread wide for easy access, but in a position that was comfortable enough he could sustain it for a while.

Once the tie was complete and Cas had worshipped Dean’s body with his rope and his mouth sufficiently, Dean was a worked up, begging mess, and Cas was ready for round two. He opened Dean up slowly and methodically, then rocked into Dean gently, their eyes locked together the entire time. It was intense, but not fast or rushed or brutal, and everything Dean needed. Once both men had come, Cas untied Dean, wiped away the drying come and some of his sweat as well, and then they simply lay next to each other, breathing in each other’s presence and the quiet of the room.

It was safe and comforting in a way Dean knew being with Alistair could never hope to be. He’d made the right choice the night before, and he’d made the right choice again coming to be with Castiel, giving him Dean’s everything.

Cas might’ve not been Dean’s first for everything, but Alistair was still wrong. There was no part of Dean that Alistair owned, not anymore. And whether Cas knew it or not, there was no part of Dean that didn’t belong to him, that Dean wouldn’t gladly give over or even beg him to take. He was Castiel’s, one hundred percent. And Dean wouldn’t change that for anything. Castiel was who he really needed. Maybe who he’d really needed his entire life.

Alistair didn’t know shit.

SPN

Dean woke up to a hand gently combing through his hair. He opened his eyes blearily to see it was dark outside the halo of light cast by the lamp on Castiel’s bedside table. The glowing numbers of the alarm clock only declared it 9pm, though, so he didn’t work up any worry he’d stayed at Cas’ too late for a week night.

Cas sat upright against the headboard, looking down at Dean and stroking his head. He smiled when he saw Dean staring up at him.

“I let you rest a little,” he said. “But as we skipped dinner for that rather enthusiastic greeting of yours, I wanted you to eat something before bed. You’re staying the night, I assume?”

“Uh, yeah,” Dean said, sitting up all the way and scratching the back of his head. “I mean, uh, if that’s okay. I—”

“Of course, Dean. Always,” Cas said, so much sincerity in his eyes Dean felt himself melting a little.

“Cool. Good.”

“Anyway,” Cas said. “I ordered Chinese. It should be here in about fifteen minutes. I figured you might want time to shower and wake up a bit before eating.”

“Heh,” Dean said. “I can stuff my face pretty much anytime, Cas. But, uh, yeah. A shower sounds like a good idea.”

He climbed out of bed and stepped into Cas’ nice, easily two-person shower, scrubbing the remainder of the sweat and gross off his skin. Sure, Cas had wiped him down before his nap, but that didn’t mean standing under running water and scrubbing his skin with the extra loofah that had shown up in Cas’ shower several weeks ago didn’t feel pretty damn good after what they’d gotten up to (or rather off to) earlier.

By the time Dean got out of the shower, put on clean boxers and a t-shirt, and padded downstairs, Cas had already set out the white cartons of take-out on the table. The dork always insisted on unfolding the boxes into their transformer plate-shape (“That’s what they’re designed for, Dean!”), and the sight brought a smile to Dean’s lips.

“I wasn’t sure what you were in the mood for,” Cas explained, bringing them both a glass of water and sitting down. “So I ordered your favorites. I figure I can live off the leftovers for a few days, but please, have all you want.”

“You’re too good to me, Cas,” Dean said, only half joking.

He sat in his usual chair and tucked into the General Tso’s chicken.

“I’m really not,” Cas said, watching Dean serve himself before reaching for the lo mein. “Dean—”

Dean paused, mid-chew, and looked up at Castiel.

“I don’t want you to think I didn’t enjoy your blowjob earlier. But I want to make sure—are you sure you’re okay? After what happened last time, I—”

“I’m fine, Cas,” Dean said. “Really. Last time, I—I wasn’t expecting to have that reaction. But tonight was about taking that back. Doing what I wanted to do. And making you feel good any way I can. I don’t really want to talk about it anymore, though. Is that okay?”

Cas nodded.

“Yes, Dean. Of course. And I’m—I’m glad you were able to do that. Take that back. I’m pleased that you felt that comfortable. With me.”

Dean stuffed his mouth full of chicken and grinned, his cheeks pouching obnoxiously.

“You’re a pretty okay guy, Cas,” he mumbled.

Cas’ eyes crinkled at the corners as he grinned back.

“You’re pretty ‘okay’ yourself,” he said.

Dean chuckled as they both focused in on eating. They fell into companionable silence, and Dean smiled throughout the whole meal, until they returned to bed. Together.

SPN

The next day, Dean was maybe a little more tired than usual (instead of sleeping, he and Cas had made out for a while, and then, to prove once more that he could, Dean gave Cas another blowjob, which Cas then insisted on reciprocating), but really, he was fine with that. The construction site was its usual nonsense. At Purgatory, Benny and Pam bantered around Dean when he was too tired to contribute. At the end of the day, he was ready to spend a quiet night in with Sammy.

Sam greeted him from the couch, with a wave of a PS4 controller.

“Hey, Dean,” he said. “Kevin loaned me Borderlands. You wanna play?”

“Sure thing, kid,” Dean said, bringing the Purgatory leftovers Benny had foisted on Dean at the end of the night. “Dinner first, though, okay?”

Sam rolled his eyes, but finished off Benny’s gumbo with obvious enjoyment.

Dean settled into gaming with his brother for the rest of the night, laughing and having some one-on-one time with Sam. He felt his phone buzz in his pocket a couple of times, but didn’t bother to check it until it was time for Sam to turn in and for Dean to do a little quick cleaning in the kitchen before he hit the hay himself.

The first text was from Cas, of course. Just a quick note announcing that he was thinking of Dean, followed by a bee emoji.

But the second text from an unknown number.

Time for your punishment, boy, it read.

Dean stared at the screen of his phone. He shivered, tried to shake off the chill that ran through him. It was Alistair, he knew it. Dean had no idea what the psychopath meant by his “punishment,” and he really didn’t want to know. He told himself if Alistair was stooping to texting threats at him, it was because he was desperate, because he had no other way to mess with Dean’s head.

But he wasn’t quite as convinced as he wished he were.

Dean had spent years with only Alistair’s shadow hanging over him, but no promise of the flesh-and-blood monster coming after him. Until Alistair had seen him again and apparently decided he wanted Dean back. Part of Dean wondered what had changed, or if Alistair had simply forgotten about him until they ran into each other again. Out of sight, out of mind.

Whatever the case, Alistair clearly wasn’t going to just drop him again this time.

Dean spent longer than he meant to in the kitchen, wiping down counters and scrubbing out the sink. When he finally went to bed, he went through the motions of brushing his teeth and getting undressed slowly, only part of his mind aware of what he was doing. The rest of it fixated on the image of that text on his phone, disappointed in himself for ever thinking he could stand up to Alistair and win.

Chapter Text

Dean slept for shit that night. Which wasn’t really that surprising. He spent most of the time tossing and turning, wondering what the fuck Alistair had in mind, if anything. He told himself he was being a scared bitch anyway. Alistair hadn’t done anything to him, not yet. Not for years, anyway. He didn’t have any reason to be scared of him. It was just a bunch of bullshit mind games at this point, and Dean was blowing it way out of proportion.

But then, Dean spent the rest of the night remembering pieces of his time with Alistair before. Back when he was still a kid. Those definitely hadn’t been mind games. But they were things Dean usually kept locked away in the vault of his mind with the rest of the things he Did Not Think About. Usually.

Though keeping that damn vault door shut had been a lot harder since he first ran into Alistair at the club. And it was damn impossible after that text. Memories, glimpses of a hundred bad touches and a thousand whispered words flickered in Dean’s mind. And the only way he could shut out those thoughts was by replaying the text character by character in his mind.

By the time he needed to get out of bed to get ready for the construction site, it was a damn relief. He climbed out of bed only fifteen minutes earlier than usual (all he’d allowed himself by way of a compromise. He needed to at least pretend he’d gotten some sleep, after all). He let the coffee run through while he took an utterly useless pre-work shower, hoping the hot water would calm his nerves.

Instead, he found himself remembering the time Alistair had told him he needed to take a hot bath before going back home. He said Dean reeked like a three-dollar whore, and no self-respecting parent would let their child through the door smelling like that. So, Alistair had filled the tub with pure hot water, held Dean in it until he stopped thrashing at the burning heat, and given him a very thorough scrub.

Dean gave up on the shower halfway through, and settled for making real oatmeal instead of instant for breakfast instead.

The rest of the morning was a similarly fun trip down memory lane. It seemed like Dean couldn’t brush his damn teeth without thinking of Alistair. Which was probably what the sick fuck wanted to begin with.

Dean pulled into the construction site, eyes scanning the frames of houses that littered the space. Crowley’s development was coming together, slowly but surely. It was easy enough to overlook when Dean was working on building the damn houses day after day, but actually paying attention now, he had to admit he and the crew had put a pretty impressive number of these monstrosities together. He tried to feel pride at the realization.

What he really felt was tired.

He parked his baby in the worker’s lot and headed into the builders’ trailer to clock in.

Gordon and Cole were inside, sipping coffee from thermoses. They both froze when the saw Dean, twin grins on both their faces.

“Hey, there, Dean,” Gordon said.

Dean nodded, reaching for his punch-card and going through the usual morning motions.

“Hey,” he said.

“Deano,” Cole greeted with a wave.

“So, what have you gotten off to lately?” Gordon asked, his grin becoming positively vampiric.

Cole choked on a swig of coffee, pounding the shitty trailer table with a fist as he struggled to catch his breath, laughing like Gordon had said something a whole lot funnier than he had.

“Excuse you?” Dean said, turning to Gordon with narrowed eyes.

“Oh, sorry,” Gordon said, holding up his hands. “I musta misspoke. I meant, what have you been getting up to lately?”

“Not much,” Dean said, moving back toward the door. “Now, come on. You should already be out there. Quit horsing around.”

“Yes, sir!” Cole crowed behind him, setting himself off on another round of laughter.

Dean stomped away to the frame they were scheduled to work on that day. The ground was solid beneath his boots, and he walked like he could pound some of his useless frustration into the dirt. Today was not a good day for the guys to dick with him. He just hoped they’d get the memo and leave him the fuck alone.

Kubrick and Creedy were standing around when he got to the spot, deep in conversation. They stood practically toe to toe, murmuring to each other. But like the guys in in the trailer, they stopped what they were doing when Dean approached and broke apart to watch him.

“Just what do you think you’re doing here, boy?” Kubrick said, his voice sterner than Dean had heard it since he’d called that Aaron guy out on being a “dirty faggot” a few years ago. Kubrick had gotten his ass suspended for that, but Aaron had never come back to work.

“Don’t mess with me,” Dean said, strapping on his toolbelt. “Not today, Kubrick.”

“Hey,” Kubrick said, stepping into his space and grabbing Dean’s arm. “I asked you a question. What’re you doing here?”

“I fucking work here, asshole!” Dean shouted, jerking out of Kubrick’s grasp. “What’s your damn problem? You touch me again and I’ll break your fucking face.”

“You watch your tone when you talk to me,” Kubrick said, his own face growing as red as Dean’s must’ve been. “Or I’ll have to teach you some better manners.”

“If you wanna throw down, just say so, Kubrick. I don’t know what kind of shit you’re trying to pull, but—”

A giggle off to the side caught Dean’s attention. He craned his neck to see Walt and Roy standing by the back frame of the house, Walt seriously fucking giggling.

“Yeah, and what do you want?” Dean demanded.

Looking closer, he saw the flutter of something neon pink, caught by the wind and shivering like a flag. A piece of paper of flier of some kind. From the look of things, Walt and Roy were stapling it to the frame.

“What the fuck are you two doing?” Dean demanded. “If you wanna piss Rufus off, just go right ahead decorating. Otherwise, let’s all get to work.”

“Oh, I don’t think you’re one to give us orders now, are you, Dean?” Roy asked, leering over at him.

“What is it with everyone today?” Dean growled. “It’s like you’ve all gone crazy or some shit.”

Walt looked back at whatever was on the bright sheet of paper he’d put up, chortling over it again.

“Okay, seriously, what the fuck?” Dean demanded, storming over to where those two idiots stood.

He moved around the frame so he could see the flier when it came into view. It had a picture on it, printed off in black and white. A picture Dean had never seen before, but one that stopped him in his tracks. It was him. Him, naked and bound by ropes on a bed, with another man positioned behind him, his dick sunk into Dean’s ass.

Dean knew when this picture had been taken. During his last night with Cas, when Cas had tied him up so lovingly and fucked into him so perfectly.

What Dean couldn’t figure out was where the picture had been taken from. This wasn’t from inside the bedroom. There was no way for Cas to have taken it himself. And the angle was wrong for it to have come from a hidden camera inside Cas’ room.

Nausea welled up in Dean’s gut, threatened to overtake him, make him heave his oatmeal breakfast out on the dirt at his feet.

The picture was taken through the bedroom window. That was the only explanation. The only way anyone could’ve gotten this shot. And Dean knew exactly who was responsible for this. Whether he’d been the one manning the camera or not, this was Alistair’s work. 

Dean came back to reality to hear Walt still laughing and to realize Kubrick and Creedy had joined the group.

“Where did you get this?” Dean said, rounding on Roy. “Where the hell did you get this picture?”

“Oh, there’s plenty more where that came from,” Roy said, still grinning like he didn’t realize Dean was holding himself back from straight up murdering every man on his crew. “Somebody emailed a whole photoshoot. The whole fucking town knows you like getting tied up and taking cock now, Dean.”

Dean snarled and lunged at Roy, but an unexpected blow to the jaw connected from the right. The force of it knocked him off-balance. He hit his knees, spitting out blood and glaring up at Kubrick, who stood with his fists raised and his feet apart in a fighting stance, glaring down at Dean in disgust.

“If you wanted someone to put you in your place, whore, all you had to do was say so,” Kubrick said.

“I’m going to fucking kill you. I’m going to kill you all!” Dean said, pulling himself back onto his feet.

Kubrick spat in his face while he was still straightening up.

“Get out of my sight, son of Sodom,” he said. “You disgust me.”

“Oh, are you sure?” Dean said, not giving Kubrick the satisfaction of seeing him wipe the mucus from his face. “‘Cause it seems to me like you all are a little too excited to find out what I’ve been doing in my spare time. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say you wanted in on the action. Well, I’m sorry to disappoint you fellas, but none a’ you are really my type.”

Kubrick’s face contorted in rage, but this time, it was Creedy who came at him first. Dean blocked a haymaker from him, but that left him vulnerable to Kubrick’s punch to his kidney. Walt and Roy stood off to the side, exchanging undecided looks while Dean took on both Kubrick and Creedy together. They got in several good swings, but he managed to stay on his feet, bloodying Creedy’s nose and splitting Kubrick’s lip.

He was just starting to worry about his odds when Rufus showed up, moving faster than Dean had ever seen him go before. Cole stood behind him, watching Dean with something like apprehension in his eyes, while Gordon brought up the rear, chuckling to himself.

“Kubrick, Creedy, you two get the fuck off my work site,” Rufus bellowed as he finally caught up to the action.

All three men who’d been fighting stopped, but Kubrick and Creedy made no move to actually leave, and Dean didn’t take his eyes off them for more than a second at the time, still not trusting them not to sucker punch him.

“What, are you two deaf as well as stupid?” Rufus said. “Leave. Go the fuck away. And don’t you ever bother showing back up here again!”

At that, Kubrick actually looked surprised. Creedy looked downright stunned.

“You can’t be serious,” Kubrick said.

“Do I look like I’m joking?”

“You can’t be siding with this—this unnatural whore over us?” Kubrick said.

“Boy, I don’t care if he’s the whore of Babylon. I don’t tolerate hate crimes under my watch. Now get the fuck out of here. This is the last verbal warning you’re going to get. The next one will be made by the shotgun in my truck.”

With a final glare at Dean and another muttered “whore” Kubrick shuffled away, Creedy trailing behind him.

Rufus glared at everyone left.

“Now, am I going to have any trouble from the rest of you?” he demanded.

Everyone shook their head, only Dean standing still, fists still locked, trembling with rage.

“Good,” Rufus said. “Now, Walt, Roy, you two take down that damn sign. I see anymore of those, and your asses are in the unemployment line behind those other two fucks. Now get back to work. Everyone but you, Dean. You come with me.”

Dean fell into step beside Rufus, still wanting to hit someone. He held onto the rage, because he didn’t know what would happen if he let it go. Couldn’t handle facing the facts he’d have to untangle sooner rather than later.

“Are we going to have a problem, Rufus?” he asked, voice flat.

“Boy, don’t you know me better than that by now?” he asked, giving Dean a stern look. When Dean didn’t respond, he sighed. “How many times do you reckon I’ll have to send you home to cool off before all’a you jackasses can figure out your problems and work the damn job together?”

“Look, if you want to blame me for this shit—"

“I’m not blaming you, Dean,” Rufus cut him off. “I’m just sorry you’re having such a rough go of it lately. I do think you should go home, though. That email went out to a lot of people. And people can be dumb motherfuckers, especially about things they don’t understand. You aren’t the only one who’s going to have to deal with the fallout from this. It’s bullshit, but it’s true. Now, why don’t you go home and keep your brother out of school for a day or two?”

“Fuck,” Dean groaned, closing his eyes and swallowing back his nausea again. “Sam.”

“Yeah,” Rufus agreed.

They walked toward the parking lot in silence, Dean trying not to break into a run, find Sam, make sure he was okay. Make sure he was okay, no one had done anything to him. Oh, God, make sure he hadn’t seen!

Rufus’ hand patting his arm drew Dean out of his own thoughts.

“It’s gonna be okay, Dean. I know that sounds like a lie, but it’s the truth. This is gonna be really shitty. Maybe for a while. But eventually, it’ll blow over. People can’t hold onto other people’s problems forever. There’s just not enough room in their minds for it. Someday, I can’t promise real soon, but someday, there’ll be something else everyone’s talking about. In the meantime, you stay strong, take all the time you need, and keep your door locked, y’understand?”

“Yeah,” Dean said, nodding. “Yeah, I hear ya, Rufus.”
Rufus gave his arm another pat, then waved as Dean walked away to climb into the Impala.
On the ride home, Dean’s cell phone started to buzz. First with a text, then with a phone call. Finally, it hummed steadily throughout the whole drive. He didn’t check it when he got home, only bounded through the front door to stare wildly around the empty kitchen and living room.

“Sammy?” he called.

“Dean,” Sam called, rushing out of his bedroom only to stop short at the threshold of the hallway, gripping the doorway with both hands. “What happened to you?”

Dean almost broke out laughing. What the hell kind of question was that, anyway? Better yet, how the hell was he meant to answer that? But then, he realized Sam meant his face anyway. He hadn’t bothered looking yet to see what Kubrick and Creedy had done to him, but his jaw still ached from that first punch, and between his left eye and his right ribs and a category of other pains, he could guess it didn’t look great.

“I got into it with some guys from work. Don’t worry about it. Sammy, have you—”

“It’s all over the internet, Dean,” Sam said, his face suddenly unreadable. “My phone hasn’t stopped buzzing since I woke up. Somebody sent out a listserv to everyone in a twenty-mile radius. There were—there were pictures, Dean. Lots of them.”

“Sammy,” Dean said, voice breaking.

He took a deep breath, ran a hand over his face, and then looked back at his little brother who still hadn’t moved. Who wouldn’t even come toward him. Who was probably disgusted right now, couldn’t believe what a sick freak Dean was. Knowing Dean was gay was one thing, but if Sam saw the pictures—

“Sammy, I am so, so sorry,” Dean said. “I had no idea—”

“Does he hurt you?” Sam asked, interrupting Dean.

Dean sucked in a breath, his heart kicking into overdrive now. Shit. Sam knew about Alistair. That sick fuck had, had signed the message somehow. Had told everyone what he did to Dean. It wasn’t enough to send out pictures of Dean taking it up the ass while tied up, he had to fucking brag about all the messed-up shit he’d done too.

“Look, Sam, I—”

“He does!” Sam said, a too-long hand fluttering up to his mouth. “Oh, God, he does. And I liked him, Dean. I thought Castiel was good for you. And to find out he’s—”

“Castiel?” Dean yelped. “What? Sam, no. No! Cas has never hurt me. Cas would never hurt me, okay. Never.”

Sam looked up at Dean with wide, deer-startled eyes.

“But Dean, in these pictures—you’re-you’re on you knees for him. And—you’re crying. Around his—his penis. And then he tied you up. I don’t—I don’t understand.”

“Shit,” Dean said, taking a steadying breath.

Sam didn’t know about Alistair. Sam didn’t know about Alistair. And maybe he’d gotten some wrong ideas about Cas, but that was fixable. This could be worse, Dean told himself. This whole, fucked up, terrible situation could be so much worse.

“Fuck, okay, Sam, look,” Dean started. “The things Cas and I do—well, we do them because we both want them, okay? He doesn’t make me do shit. He doesn’t hurt me. Not unless we’ve talked about it, and I tell him I want to okay?”

“But, Dean—”

“No, just hear me out, kid,” Dean said, holding up a pleasing hand. “I know it may look—messed up. And I imagine a lot of people are saying a lot of things to you right now. And I know that you’re—young. Too young to be dealing with shit like this, Sam, whatever anyone tells you. And I am so, so sorry that this is how you had to find out. That you had to see any of that. But what I need you to remember is that I’m gown up, okay? I have the right to do whatever I want. So long as it’s not, you know, illegal or hurting anyone else.

“More importantly, though, you need to know Cas is a good guy. He would never do anything I wasn’t comfortable with. He treats me good, Sammy, I promise. So, is that—are we clear?”

“Yeah, Dean,” Sam said, nodding. “I mean, I don’t get it. Not really. But I trust you.”

Dean let out a shaky breath.

Now that he’d brought up Cas, he couldn’t help thinking about him, wondering if he was having a similar day. If people he knew were calling him up as he got ready to go into work. If he’d be able to even go to work at all. He didn’t have this shit coming to him either. He shouldn’t have to deal with Dean’s baggage. Dean’s fucked up demons. But for right now, Dean didn’t know what to do to make it right.

All he knew was that his first responsibility was to Sam.

“Okay, kid. But, uh—I don’t think it’s a good idea for you to go into school today.”

He winced, waiting for the big blowout. He’d fought with Sam about staying home from school when the kid had a fever of 101. There was no way he would accept Dean’s suggestion.

But then, to Dean’s surprise, he just nodded.

“All right, Dean. You’re probably right.”

And Dean’s heart just fucking sunk, because whatever Sam had seen this morning must’ve been horrific to make him cave that easy. And Dean hated himself just a little bit more for being the cause of all this.

“Right,” he said. “Yeah. Good. Okay, that’s settled then.”

“Dean?” Sam said. “What are you going to do about all this?”

Dean clenched his jaw. Wasn’t that the million-dollar question right there?

“Well,” he said. “First I think I ought’a look at these pictures.”

“No,” Sam burst out, taking a half-step forward. “That is—I don’t think that’s such a great idea.”

“Sam,” Dean said, forcing his anger back and embracing what little patience he had left. “I already did everything in the pictures. I just want to see what sort of shots I’m dealing with here.”

“Right, no, I get that,” Sam said. “Really. I do. It’s just—they have, um. They have captions.”

Dean gave a bitter chuckle, shaking his head. Fucking Alistair! Fuck that asshole to hell and back.

“Of course,” he said, feeling the weight of his sleepless night hit him, the adrenaline keeping him going since he’d first seen the flier draining away. “Of course they do.”

Dean moved to the cough, sat on it.

“Dean?” Sam said, following him over and sitting in the ancient chair across from him. “Hey, um—are you okay?”

“What?” Dean said, blinking and focusing in on him.

The poor kid looked petrified. He was pale and his face was all twisted up like it got when he was trying not to cry.

“Yeah,” Dean said. “‘Course, Sammy. Sorry to freak you out. But, uh, I think I still gotta see the pictures. I need to know what I’m dealing with, you know.”

“O-okay,” Sam said, sounding anything but. “And then what?”

Dean sighed.

“Well,” he said. “Then I think I’m going to give Benny a call. He has a friend who’s a cop. He’s been a cool guy in the past. Maybe he can help me out again.”

Sam nodded.

“All right, Dean.”

“Hey,” Dean said, forcing a smile and holding an arm out in invitation for a hug, if Sam wanted. If Sam could bear touching him now.

The kid flung himself over the coffee table to get at Dean, clutching his work jacket tight, burying his face in Dean’s shoulder.

“Hey, kiddo, we’re going to be okay,” Dean said. “I promise.”

He decided that was the biggest lie he’d ever told to his brother. He just hoped Sam was willing to swallow it.

Chapter Text

The pictures were as bad as Dean expected. He wouldn’t let Sam scroll through the email with him, knowing the kid had already suffered enough for one day, however weak Dean might have been craving his presence in the room while he faced that particular shitstorm. Instead, Dean locked himself in his bedroom, opened his email, and clicked the message from an unknown sender promising a sneak peek at Auburn’s neediest whore.

The pictures themselves weren’t great. A little fuzzy, taken through a window of two people in motion and not mindful of their audience. But they were still crisp enough to unmistakably make out Dean. His face was clear enough for anyone to recognize him, even the most superficial acquaintance.

There were three pictures of him sucking Cas off by the front door, Dean on his knees and choking on Cas’ cock, tears in his eyes as he looked up in what could only be called adoration at Castiel. It was the look on his face in the pictures that made Dean queasy, more so than the act itself being depicted or even the captions naming him a slut in its proper place. Dean never knew his face could look that—pathetic. He looked so needy, so disgustingly dependent on Castiel. It made his skin itch and his body restless as he forced himself to keep scrolling through the email.

The second half of the photoshoot was even more compromising. Dean was tied up—fucking adorned in rope, more like. This hadn’t been a simple handcuffed to the bed deal like some people might try to spice up their sex-life. Cas had turned Dean’s body into a statement. And that statement was “Dean is a needy rope-whore,” just as sure as Alistair’s label for the first shot declared. Dean was bound to the bed at both wrists and ankles, with rope covering most of his body. There were shots of Cas prepping Dean, his fingers lost in Dean’s asshole. Dean had his head thrown back, baring his throat in total submission while Cas worked. Then there was a whole series of Cas fucking into him, Dean still looking just as desperate as Alistair’s commentary proclaimed him to be for the pounding he was getting. He looked up at Cas all doe-eyed and worshipful, his body offered up like a fucking present.

The last shot was of Dean covered in his own come. That was the only one without a caption. Dean’s satisfaction at his treatment spoke for itself.

Dean closed the laptop without clicking out of the email’s window. He crossed the room and opened the door to see Sam standing there, anguish etched on his face as clear as anything. He wrapped his arms around Dean, squeezing hard. He didn’t say anything, was smart enough to know that. The brothers walked to the couch and sat there in silence, clinging to each other while they waited for the storm to quiet down, at least in their own minds. Dean just sat on the couch, running one hand up and down Sam’s back, staring at the opposite wall while his mind reeled.

When Dean finally pulled himself together enough to follow up with Benny like he’d promised, he checked his phone. He had over a hundred and fifty notifications. Texts and calls had come in from Pam, Garth, and Benny. He ignored the first two and read the texts from Benny. His friend was clearly worried about him. He first sent a series of check-ins to see how Dean was coping, which then gave way to a series of detailed descriptions of what Benny would do when he caught up with whoever sent that email out. The last text he’d sent simply said “Victor’s on the case.” There was no judgement or disgust in his tone, not like Dean expected that from Benny, of all people. But still, it gave Dean the courage to check some of his other messages.

The rest of his friends from Purgatory where encouraging and outraged on his behalf. Several other people who knew Dean had also sent their support, casual friends from around town and acquaintances who had his number. They swore whoever leaked those pictures was the real pervert, and many told Dean they were there for him if he needed anything at all.

Then there were the other type of messages. He had almost thirty texts that ranged from declarations of disgust from people telling Dean to lose their number to outright death threats. A few came from numbers he didn’t recognize, and many from people Dean hadn’t spoken to in years. But there were others too. People Dean interacted with every week, spoke to at the grocery store, or who he had gone out for beers with after work. There was even a not-so-serious ex-girlfriend or two in their ranks. Dean read the texts, scrolling through them with a shaking hand, and deleted voicemails from anyone whose opinion he didn’t want to hear.

At the end of all that, he tallied the last of his notifications, the ones he hadn’t let himself think about before. He’d missed eight texts, seventeen calls, and three voicemails from Cas.

Dean’s finger hovered over his text thread with Castiel, but instead he scrolled back up to Benny’s texts and shot out a quick “thanks” in response to the last text, the one about Victor.

Benny replied almost instantly with Sure thing, brother. You gonna be ok?
Dean hesitated a moment before typing back I’ll let u know.

Dean navigated back to Castiel’s text thread, but then he just stared at his phone until the screen went dark. He sat still for so long, Sam, who’d been sprawled out on the couch beside Dean, his head resting under Dean’s arm, sort of tucked against his rib cage, sat up.

“What’s happening now?” he asked.
“I, uh, I don’t know,” Dean admitted.

“Did you text Benny back?” Sam asked.

Dean nodded.

“What about Castiel?”

“What about him?” Dean snapped, then winced. “Sorry, Sammy. I just—um—I don’t know—”

Sam looked up at him with eyes that were much too wise for a kid his age.

“Dean, you have to talk to him. At least to let him know that you’re safe.”

Safe. Shit. Dean had been so busy wallowing, he hadn’t even worried if Cas was okay. Somehow, the guy always seemed so together. Like nothing could really touch him. But there were assholes in the city too, and if Alistair’s email had made it that far out—

Dean opened the text chain between him and Cas. He started reading.

6:15 am: Dean I am so sorry. I don’t know what happened. Are you all right?

6:45 am: Dean, please text me when you get this. I want to hear from you. I’ll be home all day.

6:53 am: I swear I didn’t take those pictures. It wasn’t me. Please don’t think that for a moment.

Dean flinched at that. Why on earth would he ever think Cas would do something like this to him? He couldn’t believe Cas would worry about that. His eyes kept moving down the screen, though.

7:12 am: Just please—call me. We need to talk about this.

7:30 am: Dean, I’m worried about you. Are you ok?

7:58 am: If you’re still at work, please just text me when you see these. I just need to know if you’re safe. I tried calling again but your voicemailbox is full.

8:45 am: PLEASE CALL ME!!!

10:03 am: Dean. please

Feeling like the biggest asshole in the world, Dean shrugged Sam off him and rose to his feet, pacing as he sorted through his remaining voicemail to play Cas’ first message. God, he was a selfish dick, making Cas so upset.

“Dean, it’s me,” Cas’ voice said, sounding tinny on his shitty phone speaker. “I swear to you I don’t know who did this, but we will find them, and they will pay. Please don’t listen to anything that maniac said about you in that email. You’re strong Dean, and intelligent, and so, so beautiful. Please, I want to hear your voice. I can’t imagine what you must be feeling right now. You don’t owe me anything, but I just want to talk to you. I need to know that—I need you to know—just, please call me back. Whenever you can. As soon as you can.”

Dean’s heart clenched in his chest. He scrubbed his spare hand over his face, turning away from Sam’s expectant eyes as he collected his thoughts.

He couldn’t believe Cas could be so fucking calm and understanding about this whole thing. That he could still say shit like that, after the fool Dean had made of himself in those pictures. After the things Alistair had said about him based on those images. The things Cas could see with his own eyes were only too true. The things Cas knew from experience where true about Dean. That he was just a whore, desperate, needy to be filled, good for nothing but being put in his place and made to take it. But despite all that, Cas had said—and he really seemed to believe—

Without saving or deleting the message, Dean skipped ahead to the next one, but before it finished playing through the timestamp, the phone beeped in his ear to signal an incoming call. Dean pulled the phone away from his ear far enough to see the screen. It was Cas. Cas was calling him again. For the eighteenth time that day.

Breath locking into his lungs, Dean turned back toward his little brother.

“Who is it?” Sam asked, forehead wrinkling.

“Cas,” Dean tried to say, but the sound got stuck in his throat.

He angled the screen toward Sam instead, so he could see the name written there for himself.

“Answer it,” Sam urged, scooting toward the edge of the sofa.

Prodded into action by Sam’s tone more than anything else, Dean’s thumb swiped the green answer arrow. He held the phone back to his ear, but still couldn’t will his mouth to make any words come out.

“Dean?” Cas’ voice said, sounding higher-pitched than Dean had ever heard it before, laced with unmistakable tension. “Dean, is that you?”

Dean swallowed around the lump in his throat, licked his lips.

“Y-yeah,” he rasped. “I’m here.”

“Oh, thank God!” Cas said, his voice cracking.

He didn’t sound calm anymore, not like he had in his first message. There was something in his tone Dean had never heard there before, but he’d be hard-pressed to call it anything but hysteria.

“Dean, are you safe? You’re not at work, are you? Please say you’re somewhere safe?”

“I’m—I’m home, Cas. Sam is with me,” Dean said, talking not getting any easier, but his body getting better at forcing the words out.

“Good,” Cas breathed. “I’m so glad. Dean—I’m so sorry. I’m so, so sorry this happened to you.”

Dean closed his eyes, turned away from Sam again.

“It happened to you too, Cas,” he murmured, understanding that for perhaps the first time thanks to how truly terrible Cas sounded.

A gurgling sound from the other end made Dean move the phone again to make sure something hadn’t gone wrong with the connection. But after it happened again, he placed the noise. It was a sob. Cas was full-on gross sobbing into his phone.

“Dean,” he gasped between breaths. “I’ve been so worried! I didn’t know—I’m so sorry, Dean. Please believe me. I was—I didn’t know if—I’m just so glad you called.”

“Uh, yeah, Cas,” Dean said, turning back to gesture at Sam before fleeing to his bedroom. This was clearly going to need to be a private conversation. “I—I didn’t mean to worry you. I was just—”

“You were upset,” Cas said, not sobbing now so much as crying, the distress still evident in his voice. “Of course you were upset. I understand, Dean. I just—oh, God, I’m so sorry. I wanted to be strong for you, but I just, I got so worried. And it’s been so awful, Dean. And with the things that crazy person said in the email, I didn’t know if—”

Cas trailed off, and they were both quiet for several heartbeats.

“Yeah,” Dean said after a while, not entirely sure what he was agreeing with, but feeling it all the same.

“Yeah,” Cas echoed. “How—how is Sam doing with everything?”

Dean gave a mirthless chuckle.

“A hell of a lot better than me,” he said. “The kid’s tough. It just—it sucks. For him too, you know. He’s still young, and I can’t imagine what sort of shit he’s going to get for this in school now.”

“Yes,” Cas agreed. “I’m sorry.”

“You keep saying that, Cas, but it ain’t your fault.”

“Isn’t it?” Cas said. “Whoever took those pictures was at my house, Dean. Your safety and privacy were violated on my property. If my fucking curtains had been closed, there would have been no way for him to have taken those pictures. Without me, Dean—without me, there wouldn’t have been any scandal in the first place.”

The lump in Dean’s throat grew another two sizes. He was having a hard time breathing around it again.

“I—I guess,” he said.

But without Cas, these past few months wouldn’t have been any different than the ones before them. Dean would still be afraid of those parts within himself—his queerness, his desire to submit. He’d still be repressing them, pretending they weren’t there by day, but craving to indulge in them while alone at night. And he would still be alone, despite Sam and Benny and his other friends. He would still feel alone, the same way he had his whole life, in a way he hadn’t felt since Cas came onto the scene. Which, now that he thought about it, was strange. He hadn’t noticed that before, not really. He didn’t know at what point in seeing Cas that changed, but—that bone-deep loneliness had just sort of melted away.

Was it worth it? All of this bullshit going on right now? Dean didn’t know. But either way—

“It still isn’t your fault,” Dean said, resignation crashing down on him.

Because it wasn’t. Because Cas didn’t know. He didn’t know about Alistair. Didn’t know that Dean had ever seen the creep again after that day at the club. And he didn’t understand how deep his past went with Dean. Didn’t understand the ways Alistair haunted Dean’s life. He didn’t know that Alistair wanted to possess Dean, and it was only because Dean had grown too confident in his own safety, his own freedom from the monster, that Alistair had retaliated in this way. That Alistair had dragged Castiel into this whole mess in a literal and visual way.

No, this wasn’t Cas’ fault. It wasn’t even Alistair’s fault. After all, the fucker had warned Dean, had told him what would happen if Dean didn’t listen. But like the dumbass he was, Dean just kept pushing anyway. He didn’t hear what Alistair as good as promised him would happen. He’d been to suborn. Too sure he was right. Just like the cocky fuck-up his Dad always told him he was. All these years, and he’d still never learned that one lesson. Still never learned to just shut up and listen. That Dean Winchester knew fuck-all, and he never knew best.

“Dean?” Castiel’s voice, hesitant, cautious in his ear, brought him back to the present.

“Yeah?” Dean said, voice raw.

“Can—can I see you? Soon?”

Dean sighed.

“Cas—” he started.
“You still don’t owe me anything, Dean. I meant it when I said that before. I just—I just want to see you so badly. To hold you in my arms and feel that you’re okay. I want us to get lost in each other for a little while. I understand if you don’t want that. If you don’t want to be touched by me right now. But I need to at least see you, Dean. Please.”
“Yeah,” Dean said, failing to convince himself he was doing this because Cas wanted it and not because he was caving, giving into his own selfish needs. “Yeah, all right.”
“Thank you,” Cas breathed. “Thank you, Dean. Do you want to come here, or—”

“That’s not a great idea right now. Not with Sam.”

“Of course,” Cas said. “He’d be more than welcome, of course. But, well.”

“But it’s probably not classy to bring my baby brother to come along when I ask my boyfriend to bang me until I can’t remember my own name, let alone why I can’t show my face in public anymore?”

Cas let out a splutter that could have been a laugh or another strangled sob. Dean wasn’t sure which.

“Yes. That,” he said.

“So, um, I know my place isn’t much, and my bed isn’t as fancy as yours, but, uh, you could come over if you wanted. Here. With me,” Dean said.

“I’d like that. I’d like that very much, Dean,” Cas said. “When would you like me to come?”

Dean shoved aside the part of his brain that was begging for Cas to come immediately and never leave. And then he shrugged aside the dirty joke that Cas had flawlessly set him up for, deciding now wasn’t the time. He settled for something that hopefully sounded less desperate than option one but still inviting.

“Whenever you want,” Dean said. “And uh, you could stay too. The night. Or, like, a few. Just in case that wasn’t implied. I don’t think Sammy or me will be leaving the house for a few days.”

“Thank you, Dean,” Cas said again, sounding almost reverent this time. “I’ll pack a bag and be on the road, headed to your home in five minutes.”

Dean nodded, then kicked himself, knowing Cas wouldn’t see it.

“Okay,” he whispered. “I’ll see you soon, Cas.”

“I’ll see you soon,” Cas replied, pouring so much promise into the phrase Dean breathed a little easier as he ended the call.

He sat on the edge of his bed, just breathing. He didn’t know if things were going to be okay. Hell, he didn’t know if things were even going to be better! But Sam was in the other room, supporting him. Benny had his back. And Castiel was on his way. So at the very least, Dean was pretty sure he could get through the rest of the day.

With one last shaky inhale, he stood up and left the room to tell Sam to expect they might have company for a couple of days. And if Dean had any luck left, maybe even a day or two after that.

Chapter Text

Dean waited nervously on the couch next to Sammy for Cas to arrive. He sat at the edge of the sagging cushion, his leg jiggling uselessly, chewing on his bottom lip. Sam sat nearby, both of them staring off into space, talked out and worn out, but unwilling to devote their time or brainpower to anything else for the moment.

Finally, the sound of a car parking outside their house had Dean on his feet and halfway to the door before Castiel even had time to knock.

Dean practically dragged Cas inside, peering out over his shoulder, making sure no one was watching the house, taking notice of Cas’ presence. If something happened to Cas while he was here, checking up on Dean’s worthless ass, it would be Dean’s fucking fault, and he wouldn’t be able to forgive himself for that.

He closed and locked the door before turning back toward the living room.

Cas’ red-rimmed eyes settled on Dean’s face, and he gasped.

“Dean,” he said, moving forward, his long fingers coming up to stroke Dean’s check, below the eye that was so swollen by now it wouldn’t open all the way.

Dean was about to lean into the touch, absorb the warmth of Cas’ touch, when he closed his eyes and the image of himself bound on Cas’ bed, needy and taking whatever he could get flashed through his mind, and he flinched away instead.

Cas stood frozen for a moment before lowering his hand. He only nodded at Dean, something so sad in his eyes Dean almost wanted to drop to his knees then and there and beg for forgiveness. Almost.
Cas turned to Sam, and his shoulders slumped even more.

“Sam, I want to say—I’m very sorry for my part in all of this. I should have been more careful, and—and I realize this situation hasn’t only affected Dean and myself, but you as well. And I truly—truly am sorry for that.”

Sam nodded, face blank in a way it practically never was, the kid always feeling one extreme emotion or another.

“I know, Cas,” Sam said. “And I’m not going to say I understand your—relationship—with Dean. But this whole thing isn’t your fault. It isn’t either of your faults.”

Dean flinched again at that. If Sam only knew—

“The only person who’s to blame,” Sam continued. “Is the douchebag who stalked you guys and sent out those pictures.”
“Yes,” Castiel agreed, more steel in his voice than he used even in his Domiest moments with Dean. “You’re right there, Sam. And that person will pay for what they’ve done to you. You have my word.”

Cas turned his face back to Dean, his eyes soft and still sad, so sad. Dean felt that weight on his chest, the one that made breathing hard work. Even harder with his aching ribs, still sore from that morning.

“I was going to file a police report, Dean, but I didn’t want to take any action without consulting you first. I want this, this scum found and dealt with, but I won’t do anything without making sure you approve first.”

Dean nodded. He moved back into the living room and collapsed on the couch, eying the floor for a moment and imagining what a relief it would be to just sink to his knees on it. Of course, he couldn’t do that right now, not with Sammy in the room. And that had nothing to do with the strange twist of nausea he felt at the idea of being on his knees in front of Castiel again, the words “whore” and “slut” seared into his brain like the leftover glow of a camera flash on the retinas.

“Benny’s going to Victor about it,” Dean said, eyes closed, head resting against the back of the couch.

He felt more than heard Cas cross into the room, pause, and take up residence in the old chair across from him.

“I don’t know how official that is, though,” Dean admitted. “Fuck, I’ve never filed a police report in my life. When I got mugged three years ago and the bastard got away with my wallet, I just cancelled my credit cards and moved on, you know?”

Dean didn’t say what he was pretty sure he should share—that he already knew who’d sent out the pictures. He told himself it didn’t matter anyway. He didn’t have any proof. He couldn’t tie anything back to Alistair. Vague verbal threats in an empty parking lot, his word against Alistair’s, wasn’t reason enough for the cops to do anything.

And anyway, what difference did it make? The pictures were out there. Everyone knew. Getting Alistair whatever slap on the wrist he’d get for something like this wouldn’t do anything to help matters. The fucker had won. He’d won before he’d even taken the photos. Dean had just been too much of an idiot to have realized it at the time. He got it now.  

If it was just him suffering, he would’ve just sucked it up and taken his punishment like he deserved. It was only because this whole thing had fucked over Sammy and well, Cas too, that he was even willing to let Benny follow it up with his cop friend.

“I think for now, we can trust Victor to take care of things,” Cas said. “He’ll know the proper channels to go through and how to proceed.”

Dean grunted but didn’t open his eyes. He really did feel fucking spent. It had been a day, and now that Cas was here, all the adrenaline that had been carrying him through had just faded away, leaving him hollowed out and just—dead feeling.

“Dean?” Cas said, voice hesitant enough Dean cracked open his fully functional eye.

He saw Cas fiddling with the cuffs of his stupid trench coat nervously. It was enough to make him sit up and properly look at Cas again.

Cas ducked his head but peered up at Dean from under his eyelashes. It would’ve been adorable under any other circumstances. He licked his lips and his eyes flickered over to Sam again before he spoke.

“I hate to ask you this, but do you have any idea who—”

“I don’t know,” Dean lied, loudly, the words totally unconvincing. He did look at Sam, noticeably, before turning back to Cas. “And I don’t want to talk about that right now. If you want to know what I think I did to deserve this, Cas, then by all means—”

“Dean!” Cas said, face draining of all color so fast Dean thought he might drop into a dead faint. “No—of, of course not. I would never—”

Dean didn’t care what Cas looked like, didn’t care what he had to say, energy working its way back into Dean’s muscles in the guise of fury.

“—Just say so. I’m sure you have an idea or two to share,” Dean said, voice rising.

He was aware of Sam sitting stunned beside him, staring over at him. Across the coffee table in the other chair, Cas shook his head, horrified, but Dean couldn’t seem to stop talking.

“Should we start chronologically or alphabetically?” he asked. “Because either way it’s a long list, and I just got what I had coming, right?”

“Dean, please!” Cas said, almost frantic now.

“Just ask anyone in this fucking town, and they’ll tell you,” Dean railed on, not quite sure when he stood up to tower over Castiel, or when his hands formed fists that started shaking at his sides. “But if you wanna know what I think, well, I’m not really sure where to start. Fuck, I’m sure it doesn’t have anything to do with being a useless, submissive, queer whore or anything. Shit, I practically—”

“Stop,” Cas shouted, practically bellowed, as he leapt to his feet too.

A moment ago, he seemed to be trembling in the face of Dean’s wrath, but now he was overflowing with his own. It seemed to fill the whole room, draining the room of any light that wasn’t flashing in Cas’ eyes.

“What happened to you today was an abomination. It was a horrible, disgusting crime committed against you. And you have every right to be angry or afraid or hurt right now. But I will not sit here and let you say such, such terrible, wrong things about yourself.”

Cas exhaled, and suddenly, like that moment in Fellowship of the Ring when Gandalf goes back to being his own size again after arguing with Bilbo, he was just Castiel again. And this time, seeing how vulnerable he looked made Dean even more ashamed of himself than he had been already.

“Please,” Cas said, voice breaking. “Don’t let yourself start seeing the things that monster said about you as true. Please don’t let him win, Dean. Please.”

And then Cas started crying again, not sobbing like he’d been on the phone, just tears running down his cheeks. He didn’t try to wipe them away or hide or anything. He just stood there watching Dean, hurting. Hurting for Dean. It was even more evidence of Dean being a fuckup. This was his fault too. Everything was his fault, and he just kept hurting the people he loved, well, cared about. Whatever. It was like he just couldn’t fucking help it.

“Cas—” Dean said. “I, shit, I’m sorry.”

He turned back to Sam to see his little brother gaping at him, body curled into a tense ball in the corner of the couch.

“Fuck,” Dean exhaled, sitting down heavily and staring at his lap. “I don’t suppose I could be excused for all that on a plea of temporary insanity, huh?”

“Dean,” Sam squeaked, edging back towards him on the couch. “I—are you—?”

“‘M fine, Sammy,” Dean said with a shaky grin. “Just still pretty on edge, I guess. But, uh, sorry about that, again.”

“Dean—” Cas said, drawing Dean’s attention back to him.

“Not now, Cas,” Dean said, jerking his head ever so slightly in Sam’s direction. “Look, I’m sorry for freaking out on you guys. It’s just been a hell of a day and I’ve been stuck in my own head the whole time. Can we just—I don’t know—put on a movie or something and not think for a while?”

“I—yes, of course. Whatever you think is best,” Cas said, hesitating for a moment, watching Dean, before returning to his chair and settling into it awkwardly.

Dean picked up the TV remote and found a channel playing Jumanji. He sure as hell wasn’t watching (couldn’t have even said when they switched to a commercial break), but it gave him a chance to go numb and not have worry about fucking up and saying the wrong thing again. And it was nice to not have to feel for a while.

When it got dark outside, they decided to order Chinese, though Dean suspected nobody was any hungrier than he was. Dean freaked out when the delivery guy showed up (what if he’d seen the email? Shit, what had he been thinking? Was it even safe to invite people up to the house?), so Cas went to the door to get their food and pay the guy.

Everyone half-heartedly picked at beef lo mein and General Tso’s chicken while Mrs. Doubtfire played on what must’ve been a Robin Williams marathon or something. Dean was vaguely toying with the idea of picking up a secret identity himself, wondering what sort of disguise and fake backstory would allow him to ever show his face in the town again, when he realized Sam was all dead weight sagging against his side.

Dean looked down to see the kid was fast asleep, mouth hanging open and half-empty carton of noodles spilling out onto his lap.

Dean glanced over at Cas to find his eyes trained on him and Sam instead of the TV. Dean tried to smile at him, but it came out a wince. He turned back to Sam, trying to get the lo mein back in the box and off Sam’s jeans as much as possible. Then he scooped Sam up, carrying the kid to his room. He felt a weird rush of nostalgia as he changed a barely responsive Sam into his pajamas, remembering when he used to help him into bed every night back when they were both so much younger. He wished he could’ve said they were at least happier now.

He tucked his gangly teenage brother back into bed and returned to the living room, where Cas still sat in his chair, watching Dean in the strange light of the TV screen.

“Poor kid’s dead tired,” Dean said. “It was a rough day for him.”

“It was a rough day for you too,” Cas said.

Dean shrugged, looking at the carpet. The truth was, his eyes burned a little as well. He could do with at least a week’s worth of sleep. He’d love that, actually. Sleep until things had died down enough he could at least contemplate a run to the grocery store without wondering whether or not Baby was going to get egged.

“You could use some rest yourself, Dean,” Cas said, standing. “I suppose I should take my leave.”

“You’re—you’re not going to stay?” Dean asked, the thought spiking another moment of panic. “I thought—you said you’d bring a bag.”

“Yes,” Cas answered slowly. “I did. It’s out in the car. I just thought after—but I suppose I could stay on the couch.”

“Oh,” Dean said, taking a step backwards, nodding. “Yeah, of course.”

Of course, Cas wouldn’t actually want to touch him. Wouldn’t want to sleep with him now. Not after everything. The pictures, seeing the truth about Dean outside the heat of a lust-driven moment, and how Dean had totally lost his shit earlier. Well, it was really just because Cas was such a stand-up guy he was staying anyway.

“I can make up the couch into a bed for you. Sure, Cas. Whatever you like,” Dean said, some part of him hoping for a smile if not a “good boy” for doing something right, even while the rest of his brain told him to stop being such a needy bitch.

“Whatever I’d like?” Cas echoed. “Dean, of course I’d rather stay with you, but you clearly don’t trust me anymore. And how could I blame you? I’ve failed you so completely. Don’t think I don’t know that. I’m keenly aware of what I lost today.”

“I—I trust you,” Dean croaked, throat dry.

Cas snorted.

“Please, you can’t bear to let me touch you. My presence clearly distresses you so much you can barely look at me. As I said, Dean, I understand, but I—”

“Fuck, Cas, that’s not about you,” Dean interrupted, crossing the room to stand within arms’ reach of Cas, forcing himself to stop there, meet the other man’s eyes. “I just—fuck, I want you to touch me and hold me and promise me I’m not a total fuck-up and do a thousand other girly, chick-flick things like that. I just, well, I can’t stop remembering everything Al—that guy said in that email. And I—shit, Cas—it’s all true. You have to see it’s all true, don’t you? I really am such a needy fucking whore, and I don’t understand how you could look at me, much less—”

Dean was cut off when Cas swooped forward, wrapping his arms around Dean’s torso so tight it was almost impossible to draw a breath.

“Dean,” Cas whispered in his ear. “You are a kind, loyal, and intelligent man. I hope you won’t think me too shallow when I say you’re also completely gorgeous, incredibly sexy, and your submission has made me so grateful to have ever earned your trust. You have faults as well, yes, but the most infuriating one I have noticed so far is your inability to ever see the good in yourself.

“I meant what I said earlier. Please don’t let the monster win. Don’t let him get into your head and taint what we have together. You’re beautiful, Dean, and so, so good for me.”

Dean sucked in a breath at that, burrowing deeper into Cas’ arms, smelling the safe scent of him through his now-wrinkled dress shirt. Cas squeezed him even tighter, once, before relaxing his hold just enough to rub soothing circles into Dean’s back. Dean let himself relax against Cas’ chest, content to just stand like that forever.

“Now,” Cas said, breaking the short bubble of silence. “If you’ll let me, I’d like to hold you and tell you how good you are, how wonderful you are, and how I don’t think I could ever grow tired of being in your presence. Will you let me take you to bed and do that for you?”

“I—” Dean croaked, heart hammering in his chest, Cas’ words easing some of the tension there even while he couldn’t accept them all, not completely. All the same, even if they were lies, they were such enticing lies, he never wanted to stop hearing them. Hearing them from Cas, with those strong arms around him, making him feel safe, even if everything was crashing down around him.

Dean licked his lips and nodded into Cas’ shoulder.

“Yeah, Cas,” he said. “Let’s—let’s do that.”

Chapter Text

Cas made good on his word as soon as he and Dean were alone in his bedroom, the door closed behind them, the blinds safely drawn, and only the lamp on his nightstand turned on, leaving the room in dim, shadowy light.

Cas led Dean over to the bed and guided him to sit on the edge of the mattress. He leaned forward and planted a chaste kiss at his temple.

“You may speak if you need to,” he said, breath hot against Dean’s skin. “But try to listen.”

Dean nodded, head moving in sharp, jerking motions.

“You, Dean Winchester,” Cas whispered, hand sliding down over the planes of Dean’s chest, the softness of his stomach. “Are so brave.”

Dean snorted, but Cas shushed him, brushing his lips over Dean’s forehead.

“Every day, you amaze me,” he said, fingers trailing upward, to bush the flannel Dean wore off his shoulders, leaving him in a soft, gray t-shirt. “The way you work so hard to take care of this house, to take care of your brother, to take care of yourself. It’s high time someone took care of you.”

Cas removed Dean’s flannel completely, draping it over the back of a metal, foldable chair. Then he moved back to Dean, hands rubbing up and down his bare arms.

“You are kind. The way you talk about your brother and it’s so clear how much you care about him—”

“Little less talk about Sam while you’re undressing me, okay, Cas?” Dean said.

Cas chuckled softly.

“Of course. The way you treat me, then. Always listening so attentively when I speak. Always trying so hard to make me happy, even if it’s just trying to make me laugh at the end of a long day. Trying so hard, even when you don’t need to try at all.”

Cas toyed with the hem of Dean’s t-shirt, lifting it up to expose his stomach, then chest.

He hummed softly, staring at Dean hungrily for a moment before lifting the shirt over his head and off. Once the shirt joined the flannel on the chair, Cas stalked back to Dean, kneeling on the floor before him, bending forward and leaving a line of kisses down Dean’s peck, over his abs.  

“You are so lovely,” Cas said, speaking in between more kisses, occasionally sucking a pale bruise and laving at it with his tongue. “That first time I saw you, I couldn’t believe anyone that handsome could be real, could be standing in that same club as me.”

Dean sucked in a breath, biting the inside of his cheek and willing Cas not to go any further with that memory, not to make Dean think of how terrified he’d been, how Alistair had just shown up. Not to make Dean remember Alistair again now, when he was so close to forgetting about him, for the first time all day.

Cas was still for a moment, then he leaned back on his anckles, unbuttoning the fly of Dean’s jeans and unzipping them too.

“And you’re so bright too,” Cas added, speaking softly again. “There’s just something about you, Dean, a light that just draws me to you. I can’t—”

He cleared his throat, standing again to guide Dean’s pants down past his hips.

“And you’re bright in the other sense too. The way you look at things and see the world, I’m sometimes so in awe of you, the way you can get to the heart of things with just a few words. I hope someday you’ll see yourself as clearly as you see all those other things.”

Once Cas had helped Dean out of his jeans, slipped off his socks, he stood up.

“I don’t wanna be the only one wearing just my boxers,” Dean said.

Cas grinned and made quick work of getting out of his own clothes. He moved to join Dean at the side of the bed again, fingers finding the band of Dean’s boxers.

“What would you like, Dean?” he asked. “I’ll give you an orgasm, if you want. You’ll have to be quiet, of course. But you can come in my mouth, if you like.”

Dean breathed for a moment, mulling it over. Ordinarily, that would sound amazing, but at the moment, he just—wasn’t in the mood. Didn’t know if he could get hard if he tried, he was so worked up over this Alistair bullshit. But then, how could he let Cas down? Would he be disappointed if—

“I can hear you thinking, Dean,” Cas teased. “What do you want?”

“Just you,” Dean whispered, closing his eyes. “Please.”

He felt the bed dip as Cas climbed into it beside him. Dean kept his eyes shut as Cas guided him down until he laid on his side, Cas curled up behind him, arms wrapped around his chest.   

“I’m so grateful for all the time we spend together, Dean,” Castiel whispered directly into his ear. “My life was so empty before you came along. I worked all the time, let off steam playing with people I’d meet at the club on occasion, but I never felt happy. Not like this.

“Not until you came along with your beautiful smiles and your classic rock and your—your soul, Dean. My times spent with you are always the best parts of my week. You’re so incredibly special and important, Dean, and I would spend the rest of my life telling you if I could, in the hopes that some day you might start to believe it. And I’d enjoy every breath along the way.”

Dean’s breathing evened out to the low rumble of Cas’ words in his head. He still didn’t believe them, but he couldn’t help thinking that me might not mind spending forever listening, just in case.

Feeling safe for the first time since that morning, Dean drifted to sleep.

SPN

Dean woke in the middle of the night to the sense of something being not-quite right. He tensed in Cas’ arms, listening. Everything was mostly silent, the time so late there weren’t even cars driving by on the road outside. But then, there it was—a dull thud outside, followed by the sound of someone whispering.

Shit. There was someone outside the house.

Dean slid out of Cas’ grip and out of bed, padding over to his closed and the small safe in its left corner.

“Dean?” Cas slurred from the bed.

“Shh, Cas,” Dean said. “Everything’s gonna be fine.”

“Dean?” Cas said again, sounding more confused as he sat up, rubbing his eyes and squinting at Dean, who’d unlocked the safe and removed what lay inside it, on a bed of egg-crate foam.

A Beretta M9, John’s old service gun. Its matte black metal didn’t gleam in the light that seeped through the cracks in Dean’s blinds, but Cas’ eyes zeroed in on it all the same.

“Dean,” he said, voice even, if quite a bit louder than Dean wished it were in this moment. “What is that?”

“Go back to bed, Cas,” Dean whispered. “Let me handle this,”

He rose out of his crouch, moving noiselessly toward the front door. Cas grumbled something and then got out of bed, following him. Dean grimaced but had to admit, Cas could move pretty quietly himself.

Standing at the door, poised and ready to rush outside, Dean stood listening for another moment. If this was Alistair or one of his goons, Dean needed to be smart about this. A moment’s worth of observation assured him that was not the case, though. The people outside were definitely not criminal masterminds.

Dean heard quiet laughter and what was at least two other people shhing someone.

“Shut up, Kyle,” someone warned. “Let’s just finish up.”

Dean heard another hissing sound, this one different from the shushing. He recognized it as the sound of a can of spray paint being used. Oh, hell no, he was not going to let these fuckers get away with vandalizing his damn house!

Dean unlocked the dead bolt and rushed outside, gun held in both hands extended before him.

“What the fuck do you think you’re doing?” he growled, pitching his voice as deep as he could make it.

Three figures dressed in hoodies, two holding cans of spray paint and the last a flashlight froze at the sight of him.

“Holy shit, he’s got a gun,” one of the paint-holding guys said.

“That’s right, and I know how to use it, too,” he said. “Now get the fuck out of here.”

The trio turned and ran down the street, one of them leaving their can of paint behind. Dean kicked at it with a bare toe while Cas stepped out onto the lawn and came to stand beside him.

“Fuck, do I wanna know what they did?” Dean asked, scrubbing a hand over his face.

“Up to you if you look now or not,” Cas said, switching the flashlight app on his phone on. “But we’re going to have to make some decisions about how to proceed tomorrow.”

“Yeah,” Dean said, letting out a shaky breath, realizing he still had a death-grip on the handgun. He peeked to be sure the safety was still on, then let his left hand fall to his side. “You’re right. Let me see.”

Cas angled the phone’s beam toward the front of Dean’s house.

Scrawled across the wall in paint that might have been red, though it was hard to be sure in that lighting were the words “Whore” and “SLUT.” On the front door, the group had clearly been interrupted before finishing the word, but the letters p-e-r-v-e were plain as day.

Dean looked at the messages, stared until when he blinked, he could see the reverse images of the letters on the backs of his eyelids.

Then, he nodded.

“Yeah,” he said. “All right. Let’s go back to bed, Cas.”

“Dean—” Cas started, but when Dean looked over at him, he just hung his head. “Yes. All right,” he agreed, following Dean back into the house.

SPN

When Dean woke up again, the sun was shining through the blinds. Cas was still asleep, breathing heavily beside him. Dean took a little more care disentangling himself this time, grabbed the bathrobe Sam always gave him shit about wearing, and threw it over himself before heading out into the kitchen.

Sam was already there, wearing one of Dean’s old AC/DC t-shirts and a pair of flannel sleep pants. He was halfway through a bowl of cereal, his cell phone sitting on the table. From the bloodshot look of his eyes, he hadn’t slept nearly as well as Dean had.

“So, I’m thinking about spending the day at Kevin’s,” Sam said when Dean joined him, bringing the box of cinnamon toast crunch to the table, not even bothering with milk or a bowl.

“Doesn’t he have school?” Dean asked.

Sam stopped chewing, stared at his brother.

“It’s Saturday,” he said.

“Oh,” Dean said, staring down at the table’s surface, rubbing at an old marker stain from one of Sammy’s elementary school projects with his thumb. “Right. Of course. And uh, yeah. I don’t blame you.”

Dean tensed for a moment before making himself meet Sam’s eye.

“Did you, uh, did you go outside yet?”

“You mean did I see the asshole vandalism?” Sam countered. “Yes. Yes, I did. Went to get the mail and found a little more than I bargained for.”

“Fuck,” Dean sighed, staring down at his own hands this time. “Yeah, no surprise you wanna get away for a while. ‘S probably safer, anyway.”

“Shit, you’re not blaming yourself for the house getting tagged last night too, are you?” Sam demanded, voice rising.

“Shh, Sammy,” Dean warned. “Cas is still sleeping. But yeah, of course I am. If it weren’t for me, you could still feel safe in your own damn house!”

“Well it’s you’re house too,” Sam countered. “And I’m not leaving because I don’t feel safe, Dean. And I’m not leaving because I’m pissed at you or anything like that. I just—I don’t want to spend another day sitting on the couch and feeling useless and miserable again. I want—I want to feel normal for a little while, or as much as possible.

“Kevin said Mrs. Tran is cool with me staying the weekend. I figure—maybe if you and Cas want to take some time to yourselves or whatever, maybe that would help you feel a little more normal too. Then maybe we can all come back and deal with this bullshit with clearer heads.”

Dean let out a bit of a chuckle and shook his head.

“Damn, Sammy, when did you get so wise?”

“I’ve always been wise,” Sam said, puffing up his bony chest. “You just never noticed before.”

“Yeah, all right,” Dean said, reaching over to ruffle Sam’s hair. “You have a good time with Kevin and tell him I said not to go easy on you with Mario Kart.”

“Shut up, jerk,” Sam said, ducking out of his way and flattening his hair back down.

Dean opened his mouth to retort with the usual “bitch,” but before he could get the word out, Alistair’s caption below one of the shots of Dean taking it up the ass came back to haunt him. “Needy bitch takes what it can get,” it said.

Dean closed his mouth and settled for a not super convincing smile instead.

Sam noticed, because of course he did, but when Dean got out of his chair so fast he could’ve been mistaken for leaping away from an open flame, Sam had the decency not to say anything.

“I’ll, uh, I’ll text Kevin, then,” he said.

“Yeah. Sounds good,” Dean said, starting the coffee maker.

SPN

Sam was long-gone by the time Cas emerged from the bedroom, and Dean was on his second cup of coffee.

“You could’ve woken me,” Cas said, all wide-eyes and guilty features, like sleeping in a couple hours meant he’d failed Dean in some ways.

“You needed the rest too, Cas,” Dean said, gesturing to the chair across the table from him. “Grab some coffee and some of the French toast on the stove and sit down. We need to talk.”

As much as the idea of “taking some time with Cas” to “clear their heads” as Sammy suggested sounded like a great idea, Dean knew he couldn’t keep lying to the guy. It was time to come clean, about this whole fucking mess. And with Sammy being safely out of the house, well, Dean didn’t think he’d have a better opportunity than this.

He also figured he needed to get into this whole sob story now, or else he could happily keep putting it off forever.

Cas obeyed Dean’s suggestions, filling up a mug and, after noticing the French toast Dean had busied himself making after Sam left hadn’t been sliced into yet, portioned out two helpings, bringing Dean a plate of it as well.

Dean’s lip twitched at the gesture. It was sweet, Cas wanting to take care of him. But Dean didn’t think he’d be able to eat right now even if he wanted to. Still, he decided, forcing a forkful of syrupy bread into his mouth, this might be the last time Cas wanted to do nice things for him. Dean wouldn’t be surprised if he cut and run after hearing what Dean was about to tell him.

“What do we need to talk about?” Cas asked, voice soft, the kind of tone one might use on a frightened street cat.

Dean set his fork back down on his plate. The one bite of French toast he’d taken sat like iron in his guts already.

“I, uh, I know who took the pictures. And sent the email,” he said.

“Oh?” Cas said, so neutral Dean had to look up at him.

Cas’ face didn’t divulge anything more. His eyebrows were raised slightly, in what to Dean looked more like a show of surprise than any actual shock.

“Uh, yeah,” Dean said, already disoriented by the fact that this conversation had already gone off book.

He’d expected Cas to be stunned. Disbelieving. Maybe even to feel a bit betrayed—Dean had known all day yesterday and had full-on lied to Cas’ face about it, after all. Instead, Cas just sat there calmly. He took a sip of coffee and watched Dean, waiting for more.

“It, um, it was Alistair,” Dean said. “Alistair Malum.”

Cas took a deep breath, and unless Dean was going crazy, his fucking pupils widened at the name. He forced the air back out of his lungs and nodded slowly.

“Yes,” he said. “Yes, I suppose it was.”

Dean’s chair scraped on the linoleum as it skidded backwards. Dean leapt to his feet for the second time that morning, heartbeat thundering in his ears.

What the fuck? Cas knew?! So what did that mean? Had he been working for Alistair all the time? Had he—had he left the curtains open on purpose? Had he known Alistair was out there the whole time, watching, taking pictures, planning—

“Dean, please calm down,” Cas said, standing as well, palms up, soothing. “I didn’t mean to startle you. It’s just—you almost said his name yesterday. I put it together after that. But you were so scared. When I asked, and you said you didn’t know who it was—I didn’t want to push you, then. I figured, maybe you needed time to talk about it. I’m sorry. Please, breathe, Dean.”

Dean collapsed back in his chair, covering his face with his hands.

“Guess I wasn’t as sneaky as I thought,” he said, feeling hollow and a little stupid.

And guilty, incredibly guilty. He couldn’t believe he’d thought for even a moment that Cas might be on that-that fucking sadist’s side.

“And apparently, I wasn’t as tactful as I thought,” Cas said. “I truly am sorry, Dean. Just please, take as much time as you want. I’m right here.”

Dean peered through his fingers at Cas, sitting across the table once more, leaning forward, worry etched in the frown lines on his face.

“Yeah,” he breathed. “You really are, aren’t you?”

Cas nodded earnestly.

Dean lowered his arms and sagged in the chair, playing with the handle of his fork idly.

“Give me a minute, Cas,” he said. “This—this isn’t easy for me to talk about.”

“I understand, Dean. If Alistair was a past Dom of yours, I can imagine—”

“Wait, what?” Dean interrupted, blinking at him. “I told you, Cas, I never had a Dom before you.”

“Well, yes,” Cas said, clearly confused as well. “But the way you reacted to Alistair, and the things he said at the club that time, I thought—I suppose it doesn’t matter what I thought. I really am sorry, Dean. I’ll listen now.”

“Yeah, well, Alistair wasn’t my Dom,” Dean bit out. “Or, well, I don’t know. Maybe, in some ways, he was?”

Dean rubbed his aching forehead.

“Fuck, this is hard. I—I first met Alistair Malum when I was seven years old. My mom died in a house fire that practically burned our place to the ground, and Dad moved us to a rental in another part of town. He—he was in so over his head. Grieving his wife and stuck taking care of two brats. And Sam, well, he was still a baby at the time. So, when Alistair, one of our new neighbors, said he could watch me sometimes, Dad was just so fucking relieved to have a break from all the responsibility, well, I didn’t want to mess that up for him.”

“Oh Dean,” Cas said, breaking his promise to just listen. He covered his mouth with a long-fingered hand, face pale. “Oh my God, no.”

Dean just nodded.

“Yeah. He never, I mean, never, uh—up my, my ass, or anything. But, well, he liked to touch me. Liked to make me choke on his dick. And he liked to hurt me. I remember, he was always so disappointed in me. And I always tried to hard. But the only times—the only times he ever told me I was good was when I was crying so hard and trembling so bad I could barely breathe. He, uh, didn’t do anything to me that would leave too bad a mark. He was too smart for that. But I was so scared, Cas, and he still found ways to hurt me, and I just—I—”

Dean took a deep breath, realizing his voice was so hoarse all of a sudden was because he was crying. Huh. He hadn’t noticed when that started.

Cas sat looking totally miserable, like he was torn between rooted in place and wanting—wanting something. To run the hell away, most likely.

“How—how long?” Cas asked, his voice not sounding much steadier than Dean’s. “How long did that monster—”

“About a year,” Dean said. “After that, we moved again. I—I never told anyone before you, right now. And I tried not to think about it. Anyway, when I saw him at that club, it was just like—like a ghost come back to haunt me. Or, or a demon or something. I honestly never thought I’d see him again.

“But then, he was there. And he came to me after work one night. He—he basically told me this was going to happen, Cas. He warned me, but I didn’t listen to him. And now, and now this is all my fault! All this shit that it’s doing to Sam and, and to you. It’s all my own fucking fault!”

Dean grabbed fistfuls of his own hair, tugging. He wanted to tear it all out at the root and then keep hurting. Maybe if he pulled hard enough he could crack his own skull, go for his own brains, put an end to all this bullshit.

Cas was at his side the next instant, gently gripping his wrists, pulling Dean’s hands away from his scalp.

“Dean, listen to me, please,” he said. “What’s happening now is not your fault. It’s not. It’s this very, very evil man’s fault. But if he did approach you, if he did threaten you, that should be enough for agent Henricksen to detain him as a suspect. Not to mention the assault and rape charges. You have the power now, Dean. The power to send this man away, where he can’t hurt you ever again.”

“I—I don’t know, Cas,” Dean said, looking up at him with tear-blurred eyes.

It was one thing to tell Cas all of this. It was another thing to tell Henricksen, some guy he barely knew. And, and even if Victor did believe him and arrest Alistair. There was no guarantee it would stick. Then, if Alistair got back on the streets, he’d be so angry at Dean. There was no way he’d bring that much wrath down on his baby brother. On Cas.

“Can—can we not do anything about it just now? Just for a little while?” Dean asked.

Cas pursed his lips like he wanted to disagree. But he looked at Dean for another moment and then nodded.

“Of course,” he said. “Whatever you need. Can—can I hold you?”

Dean nodded, surprised Cas still felt he had to ask, and the next moment, Dean found himself sitting with a lapful of Castiel, his Dom’s arms wrapped around him so tight it almost hurt. But it was a very, very good kind of pain.

Chapter Text

Dean hung up the phone with Victor Henricksen, hands shaking. He sat on the edge of his couch, watching as his cell phone trembled in unsteady fingers.

Slowly, Cas knelt before him, taking the phone from his hands and setting it on the coffee table before kneeling before him. Dean watched the motion, heart speeding up at the sight of Cas kneeling at his feet. That was wrong. His Dom wasn’t supposed to be kneeling. That was what the sub was supposed to do. Dean was the one who should be kneeling. That meant he was being bad. He should—

“Shh,” Cas soothed, reaching a hand up to rest on the back of Dean’s neck, lightly rubbing the tense muscles there with the tips of his fingers. “You did well, Dean. What did Victor say?”

“H-he said he could come here. To, um. To take my statement,” Dean said, clearing his throat and fighting the urge to give into the sway of Cas’ touch, let himself fall apart. He knew he wouldn’t be able to put himself back together again in time to have any sort of coherent conversation with Victor if he did, though.

Instead, he leaned back, taking Cas’ dislodged hand in one of his and trying to smile down at him.

“Somehow I doubt it’s standard procedure to make house calls when someone finally stops obstructing justice,” he said.

Cas’ face looked thunderous for a brief moment before he soothed it over and joined Dean on the couch.

“Victor Henriksen will not be angry with you, Dean. He will not place any blame on you for keeping your silence until this point. And if he does, I will remove him from your home myself. By force, if necessary.”

“Aww, Cas. You gonna beat up a cop for me?” Dean asked, smirking a little at how determined Cas sounded.

“I would fight heaven itself for you, Dean Winchester,” Cas said, leaning over to kiss Dean’s temple.

The two sat in silence, Cas’ thumb rubbing soothing circles over Dean’s knuckles while they waited for the sound of a car pulling into the driveway. When they the car finally arrived and the engine cut off, Cas gave Dean’s hand a final squeeze before he disentangled himself, rising and heading towards the door.  Cas peeked out the blinds of the front window first, turning back to Dean.

“It’s Detective Henricksen,” he said. “But there’s a woman with him as well.”

Dean only nodded, lacking the energy to feel much of anything at that news.

Cas opened the door before the cops had a chance to knock, and Victor Henricksen walked in trailed by a woman with blond hair pulled back in a ponytail.

“Dean, Castiel,” Victor said, nodding at them. “I’d like you to meet my partner, Donna Hanscum.”

“Hello, Dean,” Donna said, smiling at him. “Quite an interesting paint job ya got on the front of your house, there. Me and Victor would be more than happy to help you sort that out.”

Dean shrugged, wishing Cas were still sitting beside him, wishing he could just have some point of contact to ground him.

“‘S just kids being assholes,” he said. “I’m not worried about the graffiti.”

“Dean—” Cas started.

“Let it go, Cas,” Dean said, voice coming out gruffer than he meant it to. “A little scrubbing and a new coat of paint will take care of it. It’s fine.”

Cas nodded, turning back to the detectives.
“Can I get you anything to drink before you get started?”

Victor smiled like he could sense Cas was trying to hurry the proceedings along.

“Thanks, Novak, but we’re ok,” he said.

He and Donna moved into the living room, Donna sitting in the ancient easy chair across from the couch, and Victor accepting the chair from the kitchen table Cas brought over for him before returning to his place beside Dean on the couch. Dean didn’t even try not to be needy. He pressed his leg up against Cas, feeling his muscles unclench just the slightest bit at having Cas by his side again.

“Before we get started, Dean,” Victor said. “I should tell you that this town isn’t technically in my jurisdiction. But Auburn PD only has three officers, and quite frankly, I know the Chief of Police well enough to be convinced that he’ll welcome a little outside help on this. I should be able to smooth out any issues that might arise over me overstepping my bounds, but I want you to know we’re not doing things exactly by the book right now, so you know whether or not this is how you want to proceed.”

Dean’s eyes flickered to Detective Hanscum briefly, wondering how she felt about “not doing things exactly by the book,” but she was watching him with a mix of sympathy and something like steel in her eyes. She didn’t look unnerved to be breaking or bending the rules in the slightest.

“Yeah, fine,” Dean said, staring down at his lap. “I, uh, I’d rather talk to you, Victor. Benny trusts you, so—yeah.”

He glanced up to see Victor nodding seriously.

“Benny’s a good man,” he said simply, pulling out a small notebook and flipping it open. “Whenever you’re ready, Dean.”

Dean nodded, rubbing his sweaty palms on his jeans.

“I, uh, I know who sent the email,” he said. “Only I don’t have any proof. And—” he took a long, shaky breath. “And I need to report a rape too.”

He started to talk. Victor and Donna let him get through a whole outline of the story first, starting in the past like he did with Cas and then working his way through every other interaction he’d had with Alistair more recently. When he was finished, Victor started asking questions in a smooth, calm voice, like everything was fine and he wasn’t asking Dean to relive his own personal hell. But also, like he wasn’t judging him, revolted by his answers. So that was enough to keep Dean talking. He talked until he felt like he’d spilled it all, every moment he remembered being with Alistair. Every sick thing the bastard had ever said or done to him.

In some ways, it felt like taking a knife to his own body, cutting and watching his own blood spill out. The pain was there, and it felt like every word he said sapped his strength a little more. Like a little more of his secrets, things he’d kept bottled up for years spill out. And when he was done talking, his throat was dry and he felt completely wrung out, but he was also surprised that it didn’t hurt any more than it did. Mostly, he just felt—done.

When he was finished, Cas looked like he wanted to go on a mission of vengeance. He sat beside Dean, the hand that hadn’t found its way back to Dean’s clenched into a fist, something in his eyes Dean had never seen there before, but it looked a lot like fury. Unadulterated, untampered fury.

The detectives, on the other hand, seemed collected. But there was no missing the edge of determination in the way they carried themselves either.

“The good news, Dean, such as it is, is that you can still press charges for the rape,” Victor said. “Statute of limitations won’t pass on that until you turn twenty-eight. But the bad news is, you’re right. We don’t have any hard proof of anything. No physical evidence of rape, and with your father gone, no one who could even testify to how much time you and Malum spent together.

“At this point, I think our best bet is to get a warrant to search his place and computer. If we can nail him for the harassment and stalking charges of taking the photos and sending the email, a jury will be more likely to convict him for the rape as well. It’ll help solidify the whole story. Donna and I will start going through the proper channels to get things done, and we’ll let you know if we need anything else from you.”

Dean just nodded again, not feeling able to do much else.

“What can we do in the meantime?” Cas asked, some of that fury leaking into his tone.

“You can stay safe and lay low. Call us if anyone approaches you or tries to vandalize your house again. But other than that—not much. Let us handle things now, Novak,” Victor said.

“So that’s it?” Cas snarled. “Dean and I are meant to sit idly by and wait for you to find something damning enough to put that sick son of a bitch away? And hope he doesn’t try anything in the meantime?”

“Mr. Novak,” Detective Hanscum said, still gentle, though Dean wasn’t going to let that lull him into believing she wasn’t tough as well. He’d seen her face a few times when he’d been answering Victor’s questions, and he was more than willing to believe she would be able to handle herself against a threat. “Detective Henricksen and I are very good at our jobs. We’ll take care of Alistair Malum. In the meantime, why don’t you two just take care of each other, okay?”

Castiel’s shoulders slumped, and he leaned against Dean a little more.

“Okay,” he agreed, voice rough.

“All right, then,” Donna said, standing. “It was a pleasure to meet you, Dean. Castiel. I hope the next time we see each other, it’s under more pleasant circumstances.”

“Call us if you think of anything else that might be useful in helping us take this guy down,” Victor said, rising as well. “We’ll be in touch.”

Neither Dean nor Cas got up to help see the detectives out. They left the house and drove away, leaving Cas and Dean sitting on the couch in silence once again. They sat like that for maybe five more minutes, Dean aware that things had changed since talking to the police but still feeling the same weight, the same uncertainty. Still feeling like he was waiting for the other shoe to drop. And he was fucking sick of it.

“Screw it,” he muttered, drawing a hand over his face and climbing to his feet.

“Dean?” Cas asked, peering up, confusion clear on his face.

“Sam was right,” Dean said. “I—I can’t just keep sitting here and stewing on this shit. I want—hell, I want things to be normal, but I’ll settle for feeling a little less shitty. Sam’s not gonna be back tonight, so there’s no reason for us to just sit around the house. Let’s just—go somewhere.”

He looked back at Cas, expecting to be met with logic. Arguments that they shouldn’t be going outside, that it was too dangerous with their pictures still so fresh in everyone’s mind. That they needed to do something about the slurs scrawled on the front of the house. That they couldn’t just run from their problems, and anyway, where could they go?

Dean should’ve known better, he guessed, because instead, all Cas did was look up at him and say, “Okay.”

They got into the Impala, fortunately not even seeing any neighbors or anyone else outside in the middle of the day. And then Dean just drove. He didn’t pick any particular direction, just out of town and away from the directions of the bigger cities. He didn’t want to be around more people right now, just Cas.

He kept driving, just the rumble of his Baby’s engine and the steady sound of Cas’ breathing filling the quiet. But that felt like enough here, peaceful, not the sort of heavy, oppressive silence he’d been feeling back at the house. Cas looked out his window and the stretches of flat nothing, the grass and wheat of the fields outside the window dead for the year, but no snow having arrived yet to blanket the earth. But still, mile by mine, Dean’s grip on the steering wheel eased up a bit, and Cas’ body slowly began relaxing back into his seat.

After half an hour of aimless driving, Dean paid attention to where he was and remembered a place his Dad had taken him a few times when he was a kid. A fishing spot that hadn’t been particularly close, but that was quiet and had a pretty impressive waterfall—impressive for Kansas, anyway. This time of year, it should be completely deserted. And that was enough for Dean to take the next right, heading toward Pillsbury Crossing instead of just away from everything else.

He drove for another half hour, Cas just hmm-ing in recognition of Dean’s obviously more intentional navigating, though he didn’t ask where they were headed. Eventually, Dean turned off onto a dirt road, driving past barren trees and brush before parking the Impala in a gravel lot.

“Come on, Cas,” he said, stopping to grab his and Sam’s star-gazing blanket from the trunk before leading the way deeper into the wood.

Cas followed him without protest, keeping up easily enough even though he was wearing dress shoes and Dean was in a pair of boots that, while not his heavy-duty ones for the construction site, were still a hell of a lot sturdier and with better traction than what Cas had on.

Eventually, the two stood at the top of a rise looking down on the creek, the shallow falls spilling out before them. The view wasn’t quite as appealing as Dean remembered it being in the summer, with the green of the grass and tree leaves to add more life and color to the world. But the water was still clear, and the falls, roughly a five-foot drop, were pretty enough, filling the air with the white noise of churning water.

As Dean predicted, there was nobody there this time of year, even on a Saturday. He led the way down the hill slowly, so Cas could steady himself against Dean’s body a couple of times when necessary. Then, when he found a spot where the ground was level enough, he spread out the blanket and sat down. Cas joined him, leaning up against Dean with a shiver, on the pretense of wanting the extra warmth. Dean wasn’t exactly cold, but after the stress of the last few days, he had no desire to be any further from Cas than he needed to be. He wound an arm around Cas’ body, pulling him even closer, so Cas’ head rested on his shoulder. Dean nuzzled his soft hair for a moment before turning to watch the falls.

“What is this place?” Cas asked, speaking softly, as if not to disturb the quiet of the natural world around them.

“Just some fishing hole my dad used to bring me to, back when Mom was still alive,” Dean said, matching Cas’ tone. “It wasn’t like it was super convenient to get to, but you know how flat Kansas is. The waterfall was a novelty, so I guess he thought it was worth the drive. We’d come here, pretending to fish, but instead, I would just splash around in the water. I’m sure I scared away anything that might’ve been biting otherwise, but Dad never complained. He just smiled and let me have a good time.

“We came back a couple times when Sammy was old enough to get a kick out of it. Only by then, Dad wasn’t smiling so much. I don’t think either of us had much fun then. So eventually, we just—stopped coming here altogether. I haven’t thought about this place in years. Not like it’s anything that special, but—it’s nice.”

“It is nice,” Cas said, angling his head down to kiss Dean’s shoulder. “And quiet. I like it here.”

He looked out at the falls for a minute or two before speaking again.

“My family is from Wichita,” he said. “They got rich off making airplanes, back when that industry was still fairly new. We’re not exactly old money, but old enough for my parents to feel like they owned the world. Anyway, I spent most of my time growing up in the city, but my grandparents retired to upstate New York, somewhere I guess the elderly rich flocked to. Lots of vineyards and lakes and mansions and rolling hills. And they lived, if not exactly in the county, in a cultivated, rural area. My brothers and I would go and spent two weeks of the summer there, every year. My grandparents weren’t exactly warm people. And my brothers and I never got along. But those weeks were some of the happiest of my childhood.

“I would go for walks alone in the woods. They weren’t really big enough to get lost in, but I would always try. And really, the area was quiet enough that sometimes, you could get far enough away from people and the sounds of cars on streets, and there would just be this true quiet. It was like—peace. I just soaked it in. I could spend hours just sitting and listening to the quiet, alone with my thoughts.

“I think, hearing myself talk about it, it sounds a little terrible. I should’ve been lonely. Or, well, it sounds incredibly boring at the very least. But I was never bored there. It was just—nice. Like this.”

Cas snuggled a little closer into Dean’s side. Dean didn’t say anything, didn’t do anything more than pull Cas tighter to him. This was easily more words than Cas had ever spoken about his family, and Dean didn’t want to spook him.

He ached for the picture of the childhood Cas was painting. For all his own childhood was tragic and fucked up, Dean had always had Sam. He’d always known he was loved—even by his Dad, in his own broken way. But the story Cas was spinning was of a childhood that was so stifling, so stuffy, he had to be completely on his own just to relax. It was pretty fucking sad, and Dean wanted better for Cas.

“Once I was on my own as an adult,” Cas said after a moment. “It never really occurred to me that I could choose to live somewhere rural. Moving to Topeka was moving away from my family’s home, but not from my family’s shadow. It never occurred to me that I could be further away from them than that. That they would allow me that kind of freedom. And the cities are where the good money is. Where the impressive firms are. I just never thought—I stopped visiting my grandparents too, of course, so I stopped going back to that woods. And I never—never tried to find another place like that. Peaceful, like that.

“I never really did much for myself at all, if you want to know the truth, Dean. I went to a school my parents approved of, entered into a major my family approved of, and took the best job I could to please them. I bought the home they thought I should live in, and I did all the things I thought I should. All the things they wanted me to do. That’s been almost my whole life, and I never questioned it before. But then—”

Cas paused, cleared his throat. His body went rigid against Dean’s, like he was tensing up to spring into action, like he was getting ready to fight.

“And then I saw you, Dean. And for the first time, I wanted. I wanted something badly enough to take action. To make decisions for myself and to pursue something that mattered to me. Because you do matter, Dean. You matter so much, and the more I get to know you, the deeper that truth becomes for me. And seeing you in pain like this—seeing you suffer all while I feel so helpless to do anything about it—I just, I can’t—”

And then Cas was trembling, shaking against Dean’s body. Dean put enough distance between their bodies to look into his face and realize Cas was crying. But somehow, it didn’t diminish the force of him at all, the power in his eyes as he stared at Dean like he was something precious, something sacred. Something worth fighting for.

Dean was in love with Castiel. Some part of him had known that for ages, but it was a deeply hidden part, a place in his brain that didn’t interact much with the rest of his consciousness. When Dean saw the way Cas was looking at him though, he felt the roar of that truth in his whole mind, his whole self. He loved Cas. How could he not?

He leaned forward, crashing his mouth against Cas’. It was an urgent kiss, no finesse whatsoever. It only took moments for Cas to get on board, though, making some sort of desperate, animalistic sound into Dean’s mouth before pressing his whole body up against Dean’s.

Their kissed each other desperately, tongues tangling together, arms pulling at each other’s backs, drawing themselves as close together as possible. For a long time, it was just about that, just about being as close as they could get to one another, feeling each other’s solid, undeniable presence. But after a while of full-body friction, Dean felt Cas’ erection against his leg and belatedly realized he was more than half-hard himself.   

Fumbling, he unbuttoned his jeans and tugged down the zipper of his fly, giving his dick a few rough strokes before freeing Cas from his pants as well. He gripped both their cocks in his fist, not pausing long enough to even spit into his hand to help slick things up. Instead, it was rough and dry and just as animal-like as their make-out session had been, Cas rutting against him with little grunts until he came all over Dean’s hand, Dean only needing a half-dozen more thrusts into his own fist before he was coming as well.

Cas breathed heavily as he came down from his orgasm, still kissing Dean just as ferociously, but with some of the edge of desperation smoothed away. His chest was heaving, and he looked undone in a way Dean wasn’t used to seeing him. Usually when they had sex, it involved Cas taking apart Dean’s defenses one by one, until his mind was blown and his whole world narrowed down to his own pleasure. Afterward, Cas always took care of him, put him back together piece by piece. He needed to be in control of himself in order to do that.

But this time, it had just been the two of them, taking as much comfort as they could from the other and giving as much of themselves as they could in return. This time, they could both fall apart, or maybe fall against one another. And Dean felt—better. Sure, everything was still crumbing to hell around him, but that weight in his chest had eased a little.

He loved Cas, whether he’d said it out loud yet or not, and he wasn’t going to bury that fact in his mind. And even if Cas hadn’t said it himself, Dean knew Cas loved him too. He knew from the things Cas had said to him and the way Cas had looked at him and how his hands tangled in the layers of Dean’s shirts, clinging to him even now like he couldn’t get enough of Dean.

They lay together on the blanket for a while, catching their breath and enjoying being close to one another in a gentler way now that the urgency had died away. Finally, when the chill of the late afternoon set in and Cas started shivering against Dean, they climbed to their feet. Dean grabbed the blanket, and they walked back to the Impala, hand in hand, to drive back to Dean’s house and spend the rest of the night together.

Chapter Text

On Sunday, Dean, Sam, and Cas covered up the slurs spray painted on the front of the house. Dean tried to scrub the paint away with soapy water and a scouring pad at first, but when his best efforts at that didn’t do more than lighten the shade of red on the front door a half tone or so, he gave up and drove to the mom and pop hardware store on the edge of town that he’d bought all his home-improvement needs at since moving into the house. Sam and Cas insisted on going in with him, and they flanked him as he moved through the cramped aisles, picking up a couple new brushes and then choosing a shade of paint that best matched the house exterior as well as a smaller jar for the front door.

Dean hesitated a moment before approaching Marla, one of the shop’s owners, to ask her to mix the paint up for him, but when he sensed Cas was about to take over, he forced himself to go up to the counter. He needed to be able to take care of some things still.

Marla hadn’t said anything, but she was far more tight-lipped than usual (usually, she asked questions about whatever project Dean was working on, joking and laughing as he flirted just to pass the time). She also looked from him to Cas and back again while waiting on the paint, her face struggling to keep a frown off it. It wasn’t too hard to imagine what she must have been thinking, but at the very least she didn’t say anything the whole time she was dealing with them. After Dean had paid and turned to leave, though, she reached out to tap Sam on the arm.

“If you ever need anything,” Marla said, clearly speaking to Sam, though her gaze shifted back to Dean and Cas again, like it was drawn that way by some magnetic pull. “If you ever need to—to get away. You can come here. Arthur and I would look after you.”

Sam’s lip pulled back in a silent snarl.

“I don’t need your help. I’m doing just fine with my brother and his boyfriend,” he spat, turning and leading the way out of the store.

Dean hesitated a moment, torn between wanting to thank Marla for trying to look after his baby brother and feeling the shame flood through his body over the implication that Sam needed protection from him.

In the end, Cas still on his heels, a solid presence at his back, Dean just followed Sam out of the store, finding him outside, standing by the Impala, fists shaking.

“Sammy,” Dean started.

“Don’t!” Sam said, eyes flashing as he looked up at him. “Not with that tone. I know she meant well, Dean, but—fuck her. If it weren’t for people looking at us like that, there wouldn’t be a problem.”

“I don’t know, Sam,” Dean said, shouldering his way past him to unlock the car. “I can still think of a problem or two beyond middle-aged women giving me dirty looks.”

Sam sighed, squeezing his hands into fists one last time before letting them fall limp at his side.

“I know,” he said. “I didn’t mean—”

Sam looked over to Castiel, like he thought somehow he might know a way to save this conversation. But Cas just watched the brothers quietly, hanging back like he was trying to give them space, some illusion of privacy.

“I just,” Sam continued, turning back to Dean. “If people like her stopped looking at you like you had some kind of disease, that assholes’ plan to mess your life up wouldn’t be working. And it’s people like that thinking I need help, that I need to be rescued from you who’re the ones making my life hard right now, not you. Not either of you two.”

“Yeah,” Dean echoed. “I get it. For now, let’s just—let’s just go home and paint the damn house, okay?”

He climbed into the Impala, breathing in the safe smell of her leather interior. Sam climbed into the backseat and didn’t say anything else. Then, Cas slipped into the passenger seat beside Dean, resting a hand on his knee and squeezing once, catching Dean’s eye.

Dean read the question here, nodded his reassurance that he was okay, and started the car.

In the end, they painted the whole front of the house. The paint was a close match, but after they started by just covering up the graffiti, the sun-stained boards of the rest still drew attention to the patches of new paint. Painting the whole thing seemed the only option at that point. It took up the whole of the day, and even when the neighbors left or came back to their houses, no one acknowledged the trio painting in the cold, so at least they were left to work in peace. It wasn’t a fun day, but Dean knew it could’ve gone worse.

SPN

On Monday, Sam went back to school. In the morning, he announced his intention over breakfast, standing in the middle of the kitchen with his chest puffed out defiantly, like he thought Dean was going to oppose him. In the end, Dean didn’t so much as ask if he was sure. He took in the set of the kid’s shoulders and that hard glint to his eyes and just nodded before going back to drinking his coffee.

Castiel offered to call in sick and stay with Dean, but Dean shrugged the offer off, told Cas they didn’t both need to lose their jobs. And then Cas had gotten upset and reminded Dean that Rufus hadn’t fired him, that he still had his job. And Dean knew that was true, technically, but the way things were going, it only seemed like a matter of time. Hell, Dean didn’t say it to Cas, but even if Rufus did tell him to come back to the site, Dean couldn’t imagine working with those guys again. Couldn’t even begin to conceive of how that would work.

As it was, even without him saying that, Cas seemed a bit freaked out at the way Dean was talking and practically begged to spend the day with him then. But Dean told him he needed some time alone. Finally, looking for all the world like a kicked puppy, Cas kissed Dean on the lips at the front door, made him promise for the third time that he would call if he needed (or wanted) anything, and then left for his fancy job in the city.

And then Dean was stuck alone in the house. He drank a second cup of coffee at the kitchen table, staring blankly at the refrigerator door. Then, he walked around the apartment for a while, pretending he was dusting (something he really couldn’t remember the last time he’d done) but really just moving around the house like a ghost.

Around ten, Henriksen called just to check in and update Dean on the case. He told Dean that he and Detective Hanscum were still in the process of getting a warrant to search Alistair’s residence and computer. He didn’t say it, but Dean got the sense that the process was moving slower than he expected. Dean wasn’t surprised. He remembered Alistair bragging about having friends in high places. It was another reason he told Dean to keep his mouth shut all those years ago, that he had friends that could keep him safe even if Dean did go “whining like a little bitch” to someone.

Dean wouldn’t be surprised if Alistair had a judge or two in his pocket, or at least the kind of leverage to get them to slow down the process a bit to give him a chance to get safely ahead of the cops.

Dean thanked Victor for the update and then turned the TV on to some daytime programming. He had no idea what was on the screen, but the background noise provided a good counterpoint to the static in his brain.

At noon, Sam texted to ask if he could spend the night at Kevin’s again. Dean stared at the text for a minute, worrying what it meant that Sam didn’t want to come home that night. Worrying that the other kids were being assholes to him and Sam was upset but didn’t want Dean to see. Worrying that maybe he had a split lip or a black eye and didn’t want Dean to know. Worrying—somewhere deep, deep down—that the talk at the school was getting to Sam in another way. That maybe he was starting to see what the other kids were talking about and didn’t want to come home. Didn’t want to be around Dean.

Dean did his best to shut his brain off, telling himself Sam probably just wanted to hang out with Kevin or spend the night somewhere that still felt normal. He texted back his approval and asked if Sam needed Dean to bring some of his stuff to the school. Sam just said he’d pick up some clothes later, and Dean went back to staring at the TV screen, seeing nothing.

At one, Cas texted on his lunch break. He kept up a steady enough stream of texts Dean imagined him sitting at his desk in his office with a whole wall of windows behind him overlooking Topeka, eating a sandwich with one hand while he texted with the other. He asked how Dean’s day was going, carefully not asking how he was doing (or what he was doing), and for that restraint, Dean loved him a little more.

Dean gave some evasive, bullshit response and started asking Cas questions. As long as Cas was the one doing the talking—or, well, texting—Dean didn’t have to think. And that was fine. Cas seemed willing to oblige, sharing a couple mundane stories about the people in his office. It was the most he’d ever shared about his day-to-day experiences at the job he so clearly hated, and Dean was grateful he found something to say that felt safe.

Once Cas had to get back to work, Dean vacuumed the apartment. When he finished that, he lay on his back on the couch until it was almost four o’clock, at which point he got into the Impala and drove to Purgatory.

When he walked through the back door into the kitchen, Benny and Pam stopped chatting at the island in the center of the room and gawked at him.

“Uh—hey, guys,” Dean said, waving like a moron.

Pam’s face did some weird parade of emotions before finally settling into a pretty convincing facsimile of her usual sardonic smirk.

“You’re late, Winchester,” she said.

“Well then, I’d better get to work,” Dean said, aiming for a normal tone and not missing it by as far as he expected. “The dishes aren’t going to wash themselves.”

“Damn right they won’t,” Pam said. “And I better get back to my customers. Lord knows they won’t wait themselves.”

She walked over to Dean, rising onto tip-toes to kiss his cheek before turning and heading out of the room.

Dean stood alone in the kitchen with Benny, whose eyes hadn’t left his face since he came through the door. Dean cleared his throat and took a few more steps towards the stack of dishes by the sink waiting to be scraped off.

“I, uh, I hope it’s okay that I’m here,” he said.

“Of course it is, cher,” Benny said. “But you don’t have to be if you don’t wanna. What you’ve got going on right now, ain’t nobody expected you to come in today.”

“Shit, Benny,” Dean said, letting out a shaky laugh and scrubbing at his stubbly jaw with one hand. “I couldn’t just keep sitting in that house. I was going stir crazy. Not going to the site today, I just—Benny, I’ve been working since I was fifteen years old. Now all of a sudden, I can’t even show my face in town, let alone go do my damn job, but I—hell, I don’t even know.”

“Yeah,” Benny agreed softly. “It’s all kinds of fucked up, Dean. But if you want a few extra shifts here for a few days, you let me know, all right? We can work something out.”

Dean laughed again, a little louder this time.

“You don’t need be and Garth here to help you clean up,” he said. “It only takes one pair of hands to load a dishwasher.”

“You let me worry about what I do or don’t need, all right? You just think about what you need for a change, brother.”

Dean let out a breath, turning toward the sink.

“I don’t know what I need, Benny.”

Benny came up behind him, resting a hand on his shoulder.

“If you figure it out,” he said. “And there’s anything I can do to make it happen, you let me know.”

Dean nodded.

“I mean it, Dean,” Benny said, his grip tightening. “Anything. Don’t care if it’s legal or not. Just think about that, all right?”

“Y-yeah,” Dean said, feeling a lump lodge in his throat. “Sure.”

SPN

That night, Dean made it home with more than double the food Benny usually forced on him, despite the fact that Sam wasn’t even going to be there to help him eat it. Dean parked the Impala, unlocked the front door, and flicked on the lights before stepping inside.

The house was empty. Dean knew that, of course. Knew Sam was spending the night at Kevin’s. Remembered telling Cas to go back to his place after work, not to drive all the way back to Auburn when Dean was going to be at the restaurant anyway. But even though Dean knew the house was going to be empty, he wasn’t prepared for just how empty it felt in that moment. It was like he could feel the silence in the air, a sort of echo that wouldn’t stop bounding off the walls.

He didn’t think he could take it.

Not even moving into the living room, Dean fished his phone out of his pocket and called Cas.

“Dean?” Cas answered after the first ring.

“H-hey, Cas,” Dean said, feeling his shoulders slump in relief at the sound of Cas’ voice.

Fuck, it was stupid how much better that sound made him feel. Pathetic, really.

“What do you need, Dean?” Cas asked, his voice soft, open.

Dean closed his eyes.

“You,” he said.

Only a beat passed before Castiel spoke again.

“Your place or mine?” he asked in a rush.

Dean opened his eyes and looked around the house. In that moment, he couldn’t even imagine waiting around in it the half hour it would take Cas to get there.

“Yours,” he answered.

“Perfect,” Cas said, sounding almost as relieved as Dean felt. “I—I’m glad you’re coming over.”

And that was the moment Dean realized what a fucking idiot he was to have thought spending the night apart was a good idea in the first place. He turned the lights off, left the house, and got back in his baby, take-out containers of food from Benny’s still in his hand.

He didn’t exactly drive unsafely to Cas’ home, but he wasn’t even as aware of the speed limits as he usually was on the highway. Finally, he stood outside Cas’ ridiculous mansion, some part of him feeling like lifetimes had passed since the last time he was here.

Cas opened the door and came outside to meet him before Dean had the chance to knock. He walked up to Dean and wrapped his arms around his waist, face buried in the curve of Dean’s neck. Dean hugged him back as best he could with the Styrofoam boxes still in his hand, feeling the tension he’d been building up in his body ebb away at Cas’ nearness, just relaxing at the heat of his body and the sense of his presence.

“Hey,” Dean breathed.

“Hey,” Cas echoed, pulling back enough to smile softly at him.

He stepped away then, taking Dean’s free hand in one of his and leading him into the house, locking the door behind him and standing in the foyer.

“I, uh, I brought dinner,” Dean said, a tinge of nervousness creeping in that he couldn’t account for.

“That was very thoughtful of you,” Cas said, watching him closely, making no move to head back toward the kitchen. “We can heat it up and both sit at the table if you like.”

“Um, okay?” Dean said, wondering why Cas was still just standing there looking at him.

“Or,” Cas said, raising an eyebrow.

The nervousness prickling at the back of Dean’s neck grew stronger, sending tendrils all the way to his stomach, knotting it up. He didn’t know what Cas was going to say next, but in some way, it seemed like his whole being was waiting for it. Like that moment at the crest of a hill on a rollercoaster, when everything seems to pause and that rush of the descent is inevitable but more than that too—needed. The fulfillment of some sort of promise.

“Or,” Castiel repeated, slowly, as though sensing he had Dean’s full attention. “We could heat it up, I could sit at the table, and you could kneel at my feet and let me feed you. The choice is yours entirely, Dean. Whatever you want.”

Dean felt a whine building at the back of his throat. His best effort to stop it leaking out just made it break a bit on its way past his lips.

“Please,” he whispered, dropping his eyes to Castiel’s feet. “Let’s do the second one.”

“Excellent,” Cas said, stepping back into Dean’s space and placing a hand on the back of his neck, rubbing the muscles there with his thumb. With his other hand, he took the take-out boxes out of Dean’s hand. “It’s time to let me take care of you for a little while. As much as you can, just let go. You’re here with me, and you don’t have to hold onto everything else. Not for tonight. Okay?”

Dean nodded, feeling ashamed when he realized he was blinking back tears. He consoled himself with the thought that at least with his head bowed like this, Cas didn’t have a good view of whatever his face was doing.

But then Cas was leaning forward, placing a kiss on Dean’s forehead. Whether or not he knew what Dean was feeling in that moment, he knew what Dean needed. He always seemed to know what Dean needed.

“Good boy,” he murmured. “Now come on. Let’s have some dinner and then see what else the evening brings.”

Dean followed Cas to the kitchen, the weight of everything that had been crushing him for days lifting just a little with each step he took. He knew it was all there, all of it, waiting to rush back at him and be horrible the moment he let it. But for now, just for tonight, Castiel could take care of him. He would, Dean knew that. And so just for the night, he decided he wouldn’t let himself think about anything else.

Chapter Text

The next day, after Castiel left for work, Dean went back home. He was moving a little stiffer than normal, the line of bruises Cas’s cane had left on him the night before twinging every so often and bringing a small smile to his face. Cas really knew how to get him out of his own head. For a few moments there, he hadn’t been thinking about any of it at all. Just been in the moment, with Castiel, and feeling pretty damn amazing.

But of course, the night had to end at some point, so Dean had promised Cas he’d be ok, once again turned down Cas’ offer to call in to work and spend the day with him, and then driven home, squirming in the Impala’s seat most of the way home.

He scrubbed the bathroom clean and was debating cleaning out the refrigerator when the phone rang. Dean checked the screen, at this random time of day, assuming it was a caller he did not want to talk to, but when he saw Victor Henriksen’s number on the screen, he answered.

“Hello?” he said, trying to swallow around the lump in his throat that was making it suddenly hard to breathe.

Had Victor and Donna gotten their warrant? Had they found something on Alistair? Was he even now under arrest, rotting away in a jail cell?

“Hey Dean,” Victor said, and his voice sounded so tired, Dean felt all his hope evaporate.

“Oh. Not good news, then, I take it?” Dean asked.

Victor sighed.

“You could say that,” he said. “We got our warrant yesterday. Finally found a judge who was reasonable  and willing to move against Malum. Donna and I were up all night sorting through thorough evidence, but the fact is—we got nothing.”

Nothing. Dean wanted to say he couldn’t believe it. But of course he did. Alistair was smart. Dean knew that. It’s why he shouldn’t have crossed him in the first place. Dean sank to the floor, didn’t even bother moving to a chair before he sat down. He just pressed his back against the doorway between the kitchen and living room and barely processed what Victor was saying.

“There was absolutely nothing on his computer tying him to the photos or the emails. This bastard his smart, Dean. He knows how to cover his tracks. Didn’t save anything on his computer, didn’t use it to send the emails. And there was no evidence of the photos around his place, either.”

“So what—” Dean swallowed, cleared his throat, hoping his voice would sound more normal when he tried again. “What happens now?”

“Well, that’s up to you,” Victor said. “Detective Hanscum and I have not given up. We’re going to keep digging, looking for something concrete to tie Malum to the harassment charges. In the meantime, though, the guy is still out there. I would still advise you file a restraining order, but the truth is, those only do so much good against someone who isn’t shy about breaking the law, as Malum clearly isn’t. In the meantime—we’re still sitting on the rape charges, Dean. We can arrest Alistair for that at any time.”

“I thought you said the rape charges would be more likely to stick if we had physical proof of the harassment and stalking,” Dean said, head still buzzing, but remembering Victor saying that.

“Yeah,” Victor agreed. “And that’s still true. But the warrant didn’t turn anything up. All I can do is advise you, Dean. Pressing charges is your choice, and I’m not going to take that away from you. In a perfect world, yes, we would throw everything we have at Malum at once. Or I would say, your testimony would hold up on its own and we could throw Malum in a cell for rape for the rest of his miserable life, or at least until he’s a withered old man.

“But we don’t live in that world, Dean. We haven’t gotten the evidence I wanted against Malum for the pictures and the emails. And while you pressing charges for the rape might get Alistair off the streets for a while—unless he makes bail before the trial, in which case he’d be right back out on the streets for a good year, anyway, the way these cases move through the courts—I still don’t trust our odds of winning that one. Because people are still shitty in a lot of ways.

“You might’ve been a child when Alistair Malum raped you, but the truth is, a jury is going to see a strong man testifying against him. I’d love to tell you that it wouldn’t matter—and it fucking shouldn’t—but it could. And the defense is going to point out that there is no physical proof of rape. And they’re going to point out how long you wanted to report it, like that means something. And the timing with the emails, they’ll say is suspicious as well. It’s terrible, Dean, and I get that, but—I’ve been a detective for a while now, and I’ve seen a lot of people I’d have bet my life were guilty go free over a reasonable doubt.”

“So you would still advise me not to press charges?” Dean asked, running a hand over his face and understanding just why Victor sounded so tired. Dean felt completely exhausted, and he’d slept the whole night in Castiel’s bed.

“I would advise you to make sure you’re ready for the kind of bullshit you’re going to have to deal with during the trial before you make up your mind to press charges. But I can admit I want this guy to go down, on whatever we can hit him with. And I want you not to have to keep looking over your shoulder, expecting him to be there every time you turn around.”

Dean nodded even though he knew Victor couldn’t see him.

“Yeah,” he said after a few moments’ silence. “I—I’ll think about it. Thanks, anyway. For letting me know what happened with the warrant. And—for the advice.”

“Believe me, Dean, I wish I had something better to tell you.”

“Yeah,” Dean said again. “I know.”

He hung up with Victor and sat on the floor, only barely registering how much the pressure on his ass was aggravating the bruises there. He wondered what the fuck he was supposed to do now. Victor might have brought up pressing charges again, but it didn’t sound to Dean like he really thought that was a good idea at this point.

Fuck.

Dean closed his eyes and let his head hang back and hit the wall. Hard. Alistair was going to get away with it all, wasn’t he? Dean should’ve known better than to try to push back. Even now, he imagined Alistair, laughing, sitting around his house after the cops had left and thinking it was just so fucking funny they thought they could find any dirt on him anyway.

Dean wondered how long it would take before Alistair reached out again, punished him for tattling like a schoolkid. He wondered what he’d do if Alistair came to him again. He couldn’t imagine having the balls to tell him to piss off again. Not after what had happened the last time. And what would Cas think if Dean did give into Alistair?

He wouldn’t be angry with Dean, Dean didn’t believe that. But he’d have to be disappointed. And why would he want to stay with Dean after something like that? Hell, why did he want to stay with him now? Especially now that it didn’t look like things were about to get any less messy in Dean’s life anytime soon.

He’d lost all sense of time, how long he sat on the floor wallowing when his phone went off again, buzzing in his hand and playing the opening to “Carry on, My Wayward Son.” He jolted and looked down at it, half-hoping and half-dreading it might be Victor calling back with more news. It was just a number Dean didn’t recognize, so he hit ignore and was about to get right back to the wallowing when his phone buzzed with a new text.

It was from the same number as the call, but this, Dean opened.

Pick up, bro! Its Ash, the text read.

Dean blinked at it, wondering how the hell Ash had his number and why the hell he’d be calling Dean in the middle of the day when the phone started up again, Kansas’ music playing again. This time, cautiously, Dean answered the call.

“Uh, yeah?” he said, cleverly, still bracing himself for some sort of trick.

“Dean!” a voice that Dean wouldn’t have recognized without context, but was pretty sure really did belong to Ash answered. “Long time, no see, brother. How you holding up?”

“Um—not great,” Dean said, cautiously. “Have you been talking to Victor?”

“What?” Ash said, voice far too innocent. “No way. Because that would be unprofessional and also illegal on Vic’s part. He could lose his job over shit like that. No way, he’s too good a cop for that. I just sometimes hack into his shit to see how cases are going, especially the ones I’m interested in. And yours doesn’t seem to be going great.”

“That’s an understatement,” Dean mumbled.

“Well, I thought I could take your mind off it for a little while, anyway. Come on, let’s get a drink and shoot a little pool. I know a bar you’ll feel right at home in.”

“A bar? It’s only—” Dean pulled the phone away from his ear to check the time. “12:30 in the afternoon.”

“Exactly,” Ash said. “So you don’t have to worry about getting harassed by drunk assholes who’ve seen too much of your sex-life.”

Dean swallowed. Seemed like Ash wasn’t going to worry too much about choosing his words carefully or offending Dean or anything. But he did have a point, all the same.

“C’mon,” Ash said after a beat. “Don’t tell me you couldn’t use an excuse to get out.”

Dean looked around the empty house. He still had hours to go before his shift started at Purgatory. Sam was at school, and Cas was at work. And Dean was clearly going crazy by himself.

“Yeah, all right,” Dean agreed, levering himself off the floor and realizing he felt way stiffer than he did when Cas would leave him kneeling for a while. He must’ve been on the floor for a long-ass time.

“This place serve food?” he added, when he realized he hadn’t had anything but a bowl of cereal and banana at Cas’ place that morning.

“Greasiest damn fries you’ll have in your life,” Ash promised.

“Great,” Dean said, only managing to convince himself to make his way back out to the Impala and out of the house because Ash kept up a running commentary on the food.

SPN

Ash was right about Dean feeling at home in the bar. It was a sizeable dive called the Roadhouse, with a big empty parking lot. It was far enough outside Topeka’s limits on Dean’s side too he didn’t feel like he was completely retracing his drive from Cas’ that morning, though it still took long enough to get there Dean was pretty hungry by the time he parked.

Unsurprisingly, the place was just as dead as Dean expected it to be. Other than Ash bent over a pool table when Dean walked in and the middle-aged blond woman behind the bar, there was no one else in sight.

The woman stopped stacking glasses when she saw Dean walk in, watching him as he anxiously made his way over to Ash, unable to stop himself from wondering if the way she kept her eyes trained on him meant she knew, that she’d seen the pictures.

Her scrutiny wore off the moment Dean greeted Ash with an awkward “hey,” though, so Dean tried to convince himself she was just surprised to see someone other than Ash in her bar at this time on a Tuesday.

“Hey, man,” Ash greeted, pulling Dean into a one-armed hug and giving him the bro-pound on the back, while still holding onto his pool cue with the other hand.

Dean didn’t feel like he knew Ash that well, so he didn’t hug back so much as stand there awkwardly and wait for the other man to give him space, which he did soon enough, turning back to the pool table and wincing as his shot went a little wide and missed the pocket by an inch.

“So, is this where you—work?” Dean asked, remembering Benny telling him that Ash was some kind of genius but didn’t have a regular job.

“Nah,” Ash said. “I just hang out here sometimes. You wouldn’t think it to look at the place, but they get great Wi-Fi. Besides,” he added, raising his voice deliberately so the woman at the bar could hear him. “Ellen loves me. Sometimes she’ll feed me for free.”

The woman at the bar snorted.

“Not on your life,” she said. “If we keep the place open for you alone, damn least you can do is pay for something.”

Ash just grinned.

“About that,” he said. “I could stand to have another Bud and a grilled cheese. Dean, you want anything?”

“Um, do you all have burgers?” Dean asked, turning back to the woman whose glower was pretty impressive when it was trained on Ash, but whose expression softened when she turned to him.

“You bet your sweet face we do,” she said. “What do you want to drink with that?”

Dean glanced over at Ash, still not sure why he felt so uncomfortable being in even such a dead place but around strangers right now.

“Uh, Bud’s fine,” he said.

The woman nodded, and disappeared into the back, a hard call of “Jo!” coming out the door to the kitchen, even as she closed it.

Dean let Ash draw him into shooting pool while they waited for their food to come out. Ellen brought their beers right over to them. She huffed enough about it, Dean didn’t know why she didn’t just make them come back to the bar and pick them up themselves. But the familiar taste of beer and the motion of playing pool was sort of soothing to Dean’s previously-completely-coming-apart nerves.

For a while, the two men just played without talking much, beyond commenting on the game, complimenting one another over obvious talent. Dean had done his share of hustling over the past, and he got the kind of vibe off Ash he’d be surprised if he hadn’t too, but neither of them bothered with those kinds of games today.

Ellen left their food on the bar, and Dean had to admit, Ash was right about the fries. They practically dripped with grease, and he loved them. The burger wasn’t bad either, a slab of ground beef thick enough he didn’t think he’d be hungry again for a while once he’d finished it.

Ellen didn’t stick around to watch them eat, but instead disappeared behind the doors to the kitchen or back room or whatever. Dean guessed that meant she trusted Ash enough that he wouldn’t rip her off, but it also left the two men totally alone in he bar, which only felt uncomfortable once Dean had finished his food and Ash made no move to head back to the pool table, the two sitting in silence that no longer had the excuse of shoving too much fattening food into their mouths to not have time to talk.

“So,” Ash said, and Dean braced himself, because there it was.

Ash was about to ask him something about Alistair and the emails, and Dean was going to have to talk about it again, with someone else, and he didn’t want to do that. Didn’t think he could handle it after the news Victor had given him earlier.

“How’re things going with Castiel?” Ash asked.

Dean had been about to tell Ash to mind his own damn business and go back to hacking into his Dom’s police files when he registered the question. He stared at Ash for a moment before deciding he may as well answer.

“Uh, good,” he said.

“Yeah?” Ash asked.

Dean nodded.

“Really good,” he admitted.

And then he was talking, telling Ash all about Castiel. How kind he was. How hot he was, especially in bed. How he was everything Dean had never let himself need before. How supportive and all-around badass he’d been about the Alistair thing. How Dean was maybe possibly falling in love with him.

It should’ve felt ridiculous to say all this to a guy he barely knew—telling Ash stuff he hadn’t even said to Benny. Or hell, to Cas himself. But he knew Ash was a sub like him, so there were parts of it he trusted Ash to just get. And beyond that, the not really knowing him, not really caring about what he felt made it easier for Dean to say some of that super-personal, highly secret shit.

Best of all, as he talked, Dean felt himself growing calmer, more settled. Yeah, he’d started to freak out again about Cas earlier, after Victor had called. But he had a good thing with Castiel. And incredibly good, impossible thing. And even though all of this other shit was cycloning around him, he could trust Cas to have his back.

When he’d talked himself out, Dean realized he was even smiling, and then he ducked his eyes, looking away from Ash, because he might’ve just unburdened his soul or whatever, but he shouldn’t have to think about it too hard.

Fortunately, Ash just set a hand on his arm for a moment, squeezed it, then took it away.

“I’m glad,” he said. “You deserve some good shit. Especially right now. And it sounds like Castiel is going to be good for you.”

Dean, feeling like he’d said more words in one sitting than he ever had before, just nodded at that.

Ash gave him a lopsided grin at that, but then his face turned more serious than Dean would have imagined it could get.

“I want to tell you something, Dean,” he said. “What I said before about Victor not talking about work was true. He’s too smart to do that. But I did leave something out. We have a—a codeword he drops when he wants me to look into something on my own. He texted me this morning, and that’s what got me digging into your case.”

The cold fear of everything focusing on Castiel and having a chill day with Ash had pushed aside came rushing back again, but not with the same intensity as before. Dean could still feel it, the despair, the panic, the uncertainty. But he felt like he could handle it now.

“Oh,” was all Dean said, recognizing Ash was trusting him with a lot to tell him that. Really, Dean could get Victor fired over that if he wanted to. But he found he really didn’t want to.

“I really did think getting you out of the house and your own head would be a good idea,” Ash said. “But I also wanted to say—wait. On pressing charges against Malum. I have a feeling the cops are going to get some hard evidence against that fucker real soon, and then my Dom is gonna nail him to the fucking wall.”

“What are you—”

“Just think about it,” Ash said, clapping Dean on the shoulder and going back to his pool table in an obvious dismissal.

Dean stared at him in confusion for a moment before he checked his phone and realized it still wouldn’t be time for his shift to start at Purgatory by the time he got back to Auburn. But Benny had offered him extra time if he needed it. And right now, Dean thought he needed it. As he drove back towards home though, he did think about what Ash had said. And he wondered what exactly the weird dude had meant by it all.