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That Darn Cas!

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For the second time in a week, Dean Winchester stood in front of his neighbor’s apartment door with a cat in his arms.  The cat, which seemed almost too saggy-skinned and messed up to be capable of the feat, was enriching its boring life by jumping between their apartment balconies.

In the stifling heat of a Kansas summer, Dean wanted to keep as much ventilation going as possible, which the cat took full advantage of as it strolled through the gap on the balcony door into his living room.

His first glimpse of the critter had made him gape. It was a one-eyed Persian, coat color in dispute, as it was patchily growing in fur after a rip-roaring case of mange; so low-slung as to look deformed. It looked like a central casting call for a zombie cat.

Possibly sensing a less-than-warm welcome from Dean, the cat backed up against its exit and gave him a monocular glare. That was when Dean realized the cat was also missing teeth and drooling like a dog. And snorting. Of course, it had a stunted breathing apparatus behind that hideous squashed nose. He had to conclude, looking at the animal, that it was alive by divine providence, stupendous luck, sheer cussedness or some combination thereof.

He knew it was the neighbor’s cat, as he’d heard a faint mew from under the door of the neighbor’s apartment, as he passed. He’d seen the neighbor in the hallway a few times. He wasn’t walking fast or well, and seemed to be having trouble with his groceries, so Dean assumed it was somebody with a disability and didn’t give it much thought. He didn’t barge in and say, “Let me help you with those bags,” either, figuring he didn’t want to be one of those people who didn’t think people with a disability could look after themselves.

He couldn’t help but make assumptions about what kind of person would own such a messed up cat, and it didn’t make him feel good. He managed to scoop up the feline. He expected to get a faceful of claws, but the cat did not struggle, and made no noise except to snort with what sounded like dismay. It took a while for the guy that lived there to answer when he pounded on the door.

His neighbor didn’t look at him. He only looked at his cat, which gave Dean a chance to study him.

He was really good looking. He was quite slender. He was wearing a blue pullover which almost exactly matched his eyes. When he looked up from the cat into Dean’s face, he had the steady, curious gaze of a child.

Suddenly he blinked and held out his arms. Dean awkwardly transferred the cat over. The cat gave no sign that it cared who was carrying it, or that it was being handed around like a beanbag toy.

“Thank you! Come in and close the door!” the man said.

Dean, who’d had no intention of entering, just returning the cat, found himself inside the apartment. It wasn’t messy, it wasn’t tidy. It was lived-in. The man closed his balcony door and put the cat onto a carpet-covered piece of cat furniture.

The cat made a sound like a quack.

“Thank you so much for returning her.”

“That thing’s female?” Dean said in horror.

“All god’s children have a right to be ugly,” the man said, with a crooked smile. “I’m Castiel.”

Dean remembered his manners and extended a hand. Castiel took it. “Dean Winchester.”

Dean found himself taking just a smidge too much time letting go after his firm handshake.

Castiel thought that he was the one hanging on. It irritated him that he could be so touch-starved that he’d cling to a handshake.

Castiel looked right at Dean again as he let go. Both of them felt it, a little tremor. 

Castiel’s expression was regretful, and then he shook his head and looked grateful again. “I should say thanks for returning Mabel! How about a beer? I think I have two left.”

“Mabel,” Dean said. “That is a cat named Mabel.” Mabel rolled her head around so she could see him, and then returned her gaze to her owner.

“I named her after my great-aunt - she had an eyepatch. Scared the hell out of me when I was a kid.”

Dean smiled. “Sure, I’ll have a beer. God, I’ve forgotten your name already,” Dean said in embarrassment. Castiel gave a small, lopsided smile, and said, “Castiel.”

“Can I call you Cas?”

“Uh, if it helps you remember, sure. I have problems with my memory. I was mugged and put into a coma for six weeks, and the littlest things escape me.” He twitched his shoulders as if things like this happened every day. “Now I’m putting my life back together.”

“And your construction materials include this cat?” Dean asked, trying to be funny. He didn’t want to think about the other stuff, except that it accounted for the slow walking.

“The cat’s a reminder to eat. I keep forgetting, but she won’t let me forget, so I eat when she does. Anyway, I’ll keep my balcony door shut from now on, and then she can’t get out.”

“You’ll lose any ventilation you have… it’s stifling,” Dean said without thinking.

“It is,” Castiel said. “But I don’t want to disturb you; you don’t look like a cat person.”

“I’m not, really,” Dean admitted. It seemed mean to make his neighbor keep his balcony door shut though.

They drank their beers and made small talk, mostly about the building and their interactions with the building manager and the scowling woman who perpetually vacuumed the hallways and mopped the stairwells and polished the brass in the elevator.

Castiel said, “Betty smiles if she’s greeted properly.” He put his head to one side, and then straightened up, not realizing how he was making Dean’s heart start to kick around a little. “I bet you could get her to smile.”

“I only ask women to smile if they’ve agreed to let me take their picture in a group setting,” Dean said, pulling a face. “I’ve gone through extensive sexual harassment prevention training, at work.”

“Well, you can sexually harass me all you like,” Castiel said cheerfully.

Dean took a breath and then let it out slow and quiet.

“Oh,” Castiel said. “I’ve had a brain injury,” Castiel said sadly. “After the fact, I can usually tell what I said that was in- inappropriate. Sexual harassment is not a subject for humor. I didn’t intend to come on to you.”

Dean rescued him. “You said something earlier about rehab,” he said quietly.

It was a matter for panic, almost, though he kept it out of his voice. Cas’s remaining insurance only paid for rehab twice a week. While he’d been in hospital his law firm had completely screwed him over, twice actually; once by forcing him out on the worst possible terms, and once by fixing it so that there wasn’t a decent lawyer in a two hour drive who’d take that on, and he’d apparently alienated everyone who could help him. Everybody told him the same thing. He’d been a complete asshole before the mugging, and now people gave him pained smiles when he said please and thank you, because he’d never used those expressions before, but they still didn’t like him.

He looked at Dean and realized he’d been saying exactly what was on his mind, babbling because he had someone to talk to. Whining. Not dealing with things, even though he was so tired sometimes he could barely move. He felt sick. He was being given a chance to just interact with a - with someone, and he couldn’t even manage a quick beer.

Castiel changed the subject. He mentioned how he tried to be a quiet neighbor. He said he was really happy that he’d actually got up and showered and put on fresh clothes today.

“Too much information, dude,” Dean said kindly.

“I suppose. I’ve been too - what’s the word - forthcoming - since the injury.”

“It was a brain injury,” Dean said. Personality changes were usually bad.

“Oh, yes,” Cas said sadly. “I was apparently a mean son of a bitch before, and now I’m quite a bit nicer, apparently, and also quite a bit more stupid.”

“You don’t come across as stupid.”

“Until I try to do something new or read a map,” Cas said. “If you watch me trying something new, you’ll understand what I mean.”

Dean finished his beer, thanked Cas, and left. He wondered if he’d be as philosophical about a brain injury, and doubted it. Cas seemed like a really sweet guy, and he was definitely the nicest looking guy who had flirted with him recently. The waitress at the diner across the street had almost given up on him, he was so pre-occupied these days, what with work and trying to stay on top of Sam’s student loans.

 

Cas, having had a real live visitor, even if he’d embarrassed himself, stupid! Stupid! got motivated to clean his apartment. He was so tired afterward he didn’t notice when Mabel sat on his head for a couple of minutes while he slept.

In the evening Cas would often come out and try to get a bit of a breeze on the balcony. He usually wore shorts and nothing else.

Mabel, who’d shown no interest in moving all day (except to lazily get out of the way of the carpet sweeper) darted through the gap as he slid open the balcony door, and with a backward glance indistinguishable from a taunt, she jumped across to Dean’s place. Again.

Castiel figured he’d get ahead of the uproar and bang on Dean’s door first, this time.

Dean wasn’t home.

Mentally cursing Mabel and then thinking that it would probably be more fitting to pray that she didn’t break or barf on anything, he moved a kitchen chair closer to his door so he could hear Dean coming home. When he’d been sitting there for half an hour, Mabel appeared, scowling, and Castiel leaped up and slid the door shut before she could get any more stupid ideas.

Castiel chewed on the end of a pen thinking of a note to write.

 

Dear Dean,

It’s possible Mabel broke something or threw up on it so if she did I’ll pay for it. She’s back home now. Sorry she got out.

Castiel

 

He slid it under Dean’s door.

Dean did not show up demanding payment for a broken knicknack, which was good, because Cas had about four dollars until his next check. He used to order two hundred dollar bottles of wine to impress people and now he had no beer left in his fridge. That was annoying. The beer had made Dean stay, and now he’d have no reason to, ever supposing he dropped by again.

Dean showed up two days later when Mabel made a break for it again. This time Dean brought the beer, the cans stuffed into his back pockets.

He cheered Castiel up, chattering away like they’d known each other for years, didn’t say or do anything awkward or mention Cas’s stupid harassment comment, which seemed miraculous somehow. It was very kind of him.

Castiel found himself doing it again, putting his head on one side and squinting at Dean as if he were not exactly real. Everything about Dean, physically, was worth staring at, but nobody enjoys being stared at, and to stop himself from staring, even though it was challenging, Castiel looked at his own hands, and then Dean’s shoes.

Dean left what felt like a gaping hole in Castiel’s day when he said, “Take it easy!” and left.

Castiel masturbated, but he felt really sad afterward, because it hadn’t been sex with Dean. Then he scolded himself, because people only wanted Castiel when he was a high-powered lawyer. These days, he was just a stupid little man whose life was spiralling down a drain, while he desperately tried to think of a bright side to cling to.

 

A couple of nights later Castiel was having trouble sleeping, probably because he was thinking about Dean – as if he could stop – when he heard a scrabbling noise in the hallway.

He got up to investigate, and found the object of his fantasies coming down the hall making for his door with the overly careful step of the man who is shit-faced drunk, keys held in front him in an over-tight grasp.

A foggy, friendly smile slid onto his face when he saw him. “Oh, hey, uh, Cas, how’s it hanging.”

“Mabel keeps trying to get over to your place.”

“She’s nothin’ but trouble,” Dean said agreeably, and then laughed. “Well, gotta go, gonna pick up some supplies and surprises and head back out.”

“Dean!” Castiel said, appalled.

“Wha’?”

“You’re plastered. Please don’t drive,” Cas said, deadly earnest.

“I can drive fine like this,” Dean said. His eyes were glassy. He frowned, “Mind your business.”

“I can’t let you drive like this,” Castiel said.

“You couldn’t stop me,” Dean said, contemptuously. He had a couple of inches and twenty pounds at least on this frail dweeb, but that fantasy of superiority vanished when Cas summoned a martial arts skillset from his not too distant past and, wobbly limp and all, he put Dean in an armlock and yanked Dean into his apartment and pushed him, open-mouthed, onto the sofa.

“You’re not going anywhere,” Cas said in a gravelly voice.

“Okay. I’m not going anywhere. Can I at least call her?” Dean said, in the same snotty tone of voice. Without taking his eyes off him, Dean pulled out his phone and said, “Hey, remember me? Just a quick call, I got pulled over for speeding and now I – well, now - I called you.” Dean turned away. “Lose your number? Aw, okay then.” He turned back and glared at Cas. “Thanks, dipshit.”

“If you’d killed somebody on your way to her you’d wish some dipshit had intervened.” A straight boy, he might have known. It was one of the reasons he stayed closeted, unreliable gaydar.

“Give me your car keys,” Castiel said.

Nobody gets my car keys,” Dean said truculently.

“The cops will get them if you go out again. Promise me that you won’t go out again.”

“No way,” Dean said. “How the hell did you get me inside your apartment? My arm hurts, you sonuvabitch.” He didn’t sound angry, more perplexed and surprised.

“I’m out of practice, but the adrenaline helped,” Castiel said.

“Adrenaline?”

“The idea of you getting back in your car and driving like this,” and he gestured with a splayed hand, “Scared the shit out of me.”

Dean’s face went blank for a second, and then he look sly. “Concerned for my welfare?”

Castiel’s normal conversational filters, always a bit iffy, weren’t working, in that strange state immediately after an adrenaline rush. “My dad was a drunk and he killed himself and my mother in a crash, and all the kids were separated, and I ended up in juvie. So I guess I have strong feelings about drunk driving. Forgive me for acting out on you like that, but I still think I did the right thing.”

Dean didn’t say anything. Finally he sighed and said, “You probably did, man.”

“Can you stay put until you’re sober enough to make decisions again?” Castiel pleaded.

“You kinda put a crimp in my evening,” Dean said. He started to look a little green. “Excuse me,” he said, jumping up. He found the toilet just in time. There was a brief retching sound. Castiel rolled his eyes and filled a drinking glass at the tap.

Wordlessly he handed it to Dean as he exited the bathroom.

“Oh my god,” Dean said in relief, drinking half the glass in four slow gulps.

He handed it back to Castiel with something close to shy affection in his eyes, and Cas pivoted away from that open stare and put the glass in the sink.

“I’m feeling much better now. I should go home and sleep in my own bed,” Dean said, stiffly. “I apologize for arguing with you. If I’m puking drunk I’m long past too drunk to drive and furthermore, I’m an ash-hole.” He teetered a bit.

“You’re welcome to stay here,” Castiel said, his heart breaking a little. He’d relieved Dean of his keys on the way to the sofa, another skill picked up in his criminal youth.

It was a blatant piece of manipulation. If Dean went back out to his car, he’d lock himself out of the building, but then he’d buzz here to get back in. If he went back to his place and realized he was locked out, he’d come back here.

Drunks were unpredictable and he might have a girlfriend right in the building, or he might decide to bunk down in a stairwell. You never knew. It was probably dangerous to try to be devious when he wasn’t smart any more.

Dean was not going to hang around.

“No problem man,” he said. “I’ll go home.” Dean left.

About forty-five seconds later, he was back.

“You lifted my keys, didn’t you.” The booze on his breath could peel paint.

“I really didn’t want you to be driving, Dean.”

Mabel chose that moment to meow much more loudly than normal. They both jumped.

“Even the cat’sh got a fucking opinion,” Dean said. “You just want me to stay here because you’re lonely,” he added in an arch voice.

Pride fought with lust, and thankfully, pride won. Castiel handed over the keys with a jangle. “You got me. Sorry. Go home.”

Dean had been expecting more of a fight, something teasing. He was instantly serious. “I promise I won’t drive!”

Castiel said, “I believe you.” Mabel mewed again.

“That fucking cat,” Dean said, amused in spite of himself. “You have faith in me, do you?” he asked, speaking to Cas much more than to the cat, although it was Mabel he was squinting at.

Mabel, perhaps wisely, held her tongue, and Cas followed suit.

Dean made the mistake of looking up from Mabel’s rheumy eye directly at Cas. Castiel had an expression on his face which he swiftly changed to one of benign concern.

Was that longing?  Aw, the poor guy. Better not keep him waiting. Dean stood up. Without a word he left, closing the door noisily.  Cas, resigned, locked the door and looked at Mabel.

“Fat lot of help you were,” Castiel said. Mabel blinked her lone eye and looked disdainful. Castiel stayed close to the door, listening for Dean to try to sneak past to go out to his car. He was not surprised to hear him come down the hall. Castiel was just about to pop the door open to put Dean in an armlock again, when Dean knocked, hard, on his door.

“Shush!” Castiel said, opening the door with a scowl.

Dean was standing inches away from him.

“I brushed my teeth,” Dean said. “Can we neck, or something? You kinda opened yourself up for that the other day.”

“Uh,” Castiel said. His heart started to pound. “Maybe not in the hallway,” and he gestured into the apartment.

Dean reached for him and kissed him, not hard, but soundly, as if he meant it. The toothpaste hadn’t quite killed the whisky, but it was an improvement.

It had been so long since anyone had kissed Castiel with genuine desire that he felt himself melting against Dean. Time passed, but didn’t really seem to be a problem. They rocked back and forth in each other’s arms; Dean because he was drunk, and Cas because he had balance problems when he closed his eyes.

After a while Castiel pulled back, expecting Dean to start grabbing for his belt buckle. Instead, he took Castiel to the sofa, gestured for him to lie down, and lay down next to him. The kissing continued, and with deceptively casual slowness, Dean started unbuttoning Castiel’s shirt and sliding out of his own henley. His warm hands settled on Castiel’s nape and the small of his back. Castiel felt blissed out from the kissing. At the first contact, belly to belly and skin to skin, he felt himself shiver from head to foot, and then it wasn’t blissful anymore. He no longer wanted just affection, but sweaty awesome pounding sex, and Dean appeared to be on an unswerving and unhurried track toward that destination.

Castiel pushed his hard-on into Dean’s thigh. Dean looked down the length of their bodies, legs entwined, and gave a low, knowing laugh. One thumb flicked over a nipple, and then Dean grabbed Castiel’s ass and rubbed against him.

A moan that was almost a whine escaped Castiel.

He came in his pants. “Oh God,” he muttered, embarrassed.

“What?”

“I came already.”

“Jesus, Cas, I’m good, but I’m not that good. How long has it been?”

“I’d rather not say,” Castiel muttered.

“S’allright. Go clean up if you want to.”

Dean seemed unphased. With a nod of agreement, Castiel got up to take a quick shower, only to find Dean right behind him. “Hey I’m all about the environment,” Dean said. “Gotta save water.” Dean’s intent became quite clear. “I’m gonna jerk off while you watch,” Dean said.

“Okay,” Castiel breathed. He kissed Dean, and fingered his butt, and after a few minutes Dean turned him around and grabbed him by the waist and came all over Castiel’s back and ass and legs. Then he very gently wiped Castiel down.

Then Dean seemed to sag a little. “I -uh. Thanks, man, that was awesome.”

Castiel was expecting Dean to jump back into his clothes and leave, but he didn’t seem in a hurry, so Castiel thought, what the hell. “Did you want to stay over?”

“Do you mind?”

“No, not at all. I’d like that.”

 

Which is how he woke up the next morning with Dean wrapped around him like an octopus. As he came awake, Castiel thought, what I’d give for every morning to be like this. Someone to wake up to.

On cue, Dean said, “Morning, sunshine.”

Castiel grinned, realized that he didn’t have a headache this morning for the first time in months, and, almost giddy from lack of pain, rose and put on a bathrobe. “Coffee in five,” he promised, and went to the kitchen.

“You know,” Dean called from the bedroom, “I feel pretty good for a guy with a hangover this bad.”

“Good to hear.” Dean had been shitfaced, but still considerate. It was remarkable, really. If his true self came out when he’d been drinking, Dean was a sweetheart.

“I bet I could feel even better if you got that pert butt back over here.”

“This ass will continue to droop until coffee has been administered,” Castiel said, like an undertaker in a cartoon.

“Hurry back.”

“What do you take in yours?” Castiel called.

“Good or bad, I drink it black. I’m assuming that you only drink quality coffee.”

“I’m on disability; I drink the coffee I can barely afford,” Castiel said.

“Sorry, I guess I put my foot in my mouth. Is Mabel allowed on the bed?”

“I let her, but you don’t have to.”

“She was here first,” Dean said peaceably.

After a few minutes, Castiel came in with two mugs. As he entered, Dean whipped the sheet off and lay in his glory, stretched out naked like the Vitruvian Man on the bed.

“Beat me, whip me, make me write bad checks,” Dean teased.

Castiel set Dean’s mug down next to him.

“Don’t want to do any of those things.”

“What about that armlock you put me in?”

“I’m not in the habit of getting physical with people, but my PTSD kicked in and … well, I’m not sorry.  You’re in my bed, now, so I won’t complain.”

“And you batted those big blue eyes - and stole my keys! -  to get me here.”

Castiel put his head on one side and tried to turn his eyes into a camera so he would never forget how Dean looked, naked in the morning light in his bed.

“I admit I had designs, and I’ll try not to be so sneaky in future,” Castiel said.

Dean drank his coffee.

“Wanna fuck?”

The temptation to throw himself on Dean nearly killed him. He played it cool.

“I dunno, Dean, what did you have in mind?”

“I dunno, Cas, you’re the one ending a drought.”

“When’s the last time you had sex with a guy?” Castiel said.

“Maybe five years ago, a blow job in a club bathroom. It was… unexpected.”

“And before that?”

“Me and a coworker had a thing for about six months but he went back to his, uh, wife. It wasn’t a bad breakup, just a surprise.”

“But you prefer women.”

“If you’d asked me last night, I would have said yes before midnight, and no afterward.”

“I’m not that special.” But it warmed him, the implied compliment.

Dean said, “I would have said the same thing before I kissed you. You’re the best kisser I ever met.”

The smile Cas gave him was like the sun coming out.

“It’s like you’re reading my mind or something. Kinda why I’m anxious to find out if anything else we did would be so, I don’t know, interesting.”

“Interesting.”

“Fucking hot,” Dean said, enunciating carefully.

“Oh.”

“C’mere.” Castiel put his mug down and sat. Dean smoothed off his bathrobe and licked the end of Castiel’s cock. “Damn,” Dean said. “Is there any part of you that doesn’t taste good?” Another couple of licks and Cas was getting hard.

Dean rearranged himself on the bed so as to put his dick in Cas’s face and they began to stroke and suck on each other. What Dean was doing felt mind-numbingly good, but Castiel worked Dean’s dick over with all of the care and attention he could manage, and was rewarded as Dean’s back arched and he came in four or five hard pumps down his throat.

“Oh man,” Dean sighed, as Cas’s dick slid from his mouth. “I came so hard I can feel my lungs. Gimme a second and I’ll finish you off.”

“No, it’s okay, take your time.”

Dean flipped ends again and leaned against the headboard. “That was kinda spectacular,” he said, and reached for Cas. “More of the same, or did you have other plans?”

“I’d love to see you lower yourself onto my dick, but you probably don’t - “

“Don’t what, Cas?”

“Take it in the ass,” Castiel said.

“Well, it’s been a while, and I’m not sitting on that pocket monster without a little stretching and a fuckton of lube, but sure, why not?”

“You’re kidding.”

“Do you mind if I ask you to wrap that rascal?”

“Not at all,” Castiel said. He was going to fuck Dean in the ass, and Dean seemed to be perfectly cheerful about this dizzying prospect.

Dean visited the washroom, and then came back and got on his hands and knees. His asshole looked like a pretty pink asterisk, and Castiel leaned forward to tongue it very gently.

“Yikes,” Dean said, a grin in his voice. Carefully, Castiel lubed, and stretched, and stretched and lubed, while Dean moaned and occasionally told Cas that he was driving him crazy. Then Castiel stroked himself until he was hard enough to try to fuck. He put on the condom and gently started pushing.

“Oh,” Dean moaned. He hissed.

Cas froze.

“No, it’s okay, it’s okay, I’m just trying really hard to relax.”

Castiel closed his eyes and pushed. Dean’s ass gripped him, and then softened. He pushed some more, and was rewarded as Dean eagerly pushed back and he bottomed out, his pubic bone mashing into Dean’s exquisite heat. “I won’t - last long,” Castiel panted, and thrust, and thrust, with Dean moaning every time. Castiel lost the power of speech and came with a series of animal grunts and collapsed on Dean, who lay down and let Cas enjoy the last few spurts while still riding him.

Castiel slid out, and then Dean was kissing him, and caressing him and Castiel said, his whole body singing with relief, “Thank you.”

He cleaned himself up, and when he went back to bed he found himself being cuddled, forehead to forehead, and Dean said, “Thank you.” He looked into those impossibly green eyes, which he could finally see up close in the light of day, and felt himself go clunk inside. Ha, ha, you’re falling in love with your bisexual neighbor, and he’s going to break your heart.

“I suppose you have to go to work,” Cas said after a minute.

“Nope, I’m off today. Want to go out for breakfast, my treat, and come back here and fuck some more?”

What was he supposed to say to that? “Uh… I. Christ, Dean, you know I do.”

“I wanna come in your ass next time, but facing you, I wanna look in your eyes when I come,” Dean said. It wasn’t the most romantic thing a guy had ever said to him, but he was amazed he could feel this aroused so close to his last orgasm.

Dean ate as if he was expecting the meal to be his last. Castiel, who hadn’t had a restaurant meal in months, ordered carefully and planned for leftovers. Dean sat next to him instead of across from him and kept whispering filthy things in his ear and making him choke on his coffee.

The waitress, a no-nonsense blonde in her forties, narrowed her eyes when she came by with their coffee refills. “Who’s your friend, Dean?”

“This is my neighbor, Cas,” Dean said. “His cat keeps coming over to my place and making itself at home.”

The waitress saw Dean’s hand on Cas’s thigh, and said, “So do you, by the look of things.” Dean, instead of being cowed, gave her his 10,000-watt smirk, and asked for a container for the takeaway.

“You’re shameless,” Cas said under his breath.

“And that’s with my clothes on,” Dean agreed in a matching whisper.

As soon as they were through the door of his apartment, Dean was all over him again.  “What the hell, Dean, let me at least put the leftovers away.”

Less than half an hour later, Dean was coming in his ass, kissing him and shouting into his mouth.

It was all a little overwhelming, and Castiel pulled some muscles.

 

Around 11 Dean very reluctantly got dressed. As he was headed out the door, he said, “I got a family thing this afternoon-to-evening, but do you want to stop by after nine and we can maybe watch a movie and hang out?”

“Are we going to have more sex?”

“Only if you beg me,” Dean said, which was a mean thing for him to say, since Castiel could picture begging for it with no trouble. “I was seriously thinking couch, cuddling, movie. Maybe even popcorn.”

“That sounds - yeah. Please. Let me know when you’re home,” Castiel said. He felt very energetic for a change, and not much like sitting down, so he scrubbed out the tub and the shower surround, and then got the (by now very crusty) sheets in the laundry, carefully counting out his quarters, and then he had a very long soak and lay in the tub and thought about Dean’s hands all over his body, and sighed a long happy sigh.

Dean banged out a quick tattoo on his door around eight-thirty.

Castiel expected a bait and switch, with sex the actual agenda, but he got one beer, a large bucket of buttery homemade popcorn, John Wick, which really was very stylish and didn’t have so much plot that Castiel got tangled up, (and Dean loved that car), and then there was Dean’s arm over the back of his shoulders as if they were, you know, dating, and not merely fuck-buddies.

Castiel didn’t dare ask what was happening, as he was terrified that prodding Dean would make it all stop. He expected Dean to ask him to leave, but that didn’t happen; he fell asleep in a bed that smelled like Dean (and him, a bit), his legs and hands wound together with his, and in the morning Dean lay on top of him and coaxed him to come into his hand while he kissed him. He expected him to demand his own orgasm and instead found himself being kissed and cuddled.

After years of perfunctory solo sex, he felt like a fine instrument slowly being returned to concert pitch.

 

He didn’t want to wear out his welcome. “I gotta head home,” he said. “I got physio today. Last one.”

“You’re recovered?”

Castiel gave a dark, unhappy laugh. “No, ran out of money.”

“How much longer do you need physio?” Dean asked.

“It’s okay,” Castiel said, realizing he should lighten his tone, “I met a guy who’s doing his absolute best to get me in shape.”

“Seriously, just tell me.”

“Six months at least.  I’m getting steadier on my feet and I can do specific balance exercises anywhere but - anyway it’s all a big sob story - don’t worry about it.”

“I’m not worried, I’m curious,” Dean said. He appeared to mean it.

Castiel ran through the whole stupid story, the mugging, the brain injury and the broken leg, the coma, having to sue the insurance company, and the settlement money now coming to an end because he’d been stupid with his finances and there had been a margin call while he’d been under. “And of course I lost my job.”

“You dodged telling me about that,” Dean said.

“I was a litigation lawyer. If I want to re-enter the profession I have to re-sit the exams and have my insurance double at least; I honestly don’t want to spend the money and every time I try to study the brain fog comes back so hard I can’t believe I passed the exams in the first place. And speaking of dodging, you never told me what you do.”

“I’m a Lieutenant in the Fire Department,” Dean said.

And he thought it was okay to drive drunk, that seemed odd. He said, attempting to be salacious, “Is there a uniform that goes with that?”

Dean didn’t answer directly. “About ten years ago I was in the fundraising calendar for my firehall. I didn’t wear much in the way of work supplied clothing.”

“God, I bet you didn’t,” Castiel said admiringly. “Do you have one of the calendars kicking around?”

“No!” Dean said. He appeared to be a bit cheesed off, but put Cas out of his misery with a generous smile.

“I had a really great morning, anyway,” Castiel said awkwardly.  “I’ll see you around.” He wanted desperately to kiss him goodbye, but decided against it.

“Yeah, see ya,” Dean said. He didn’t get up from the kitchen table, but he waved cheerfully enough.

Cas didn’t see Dean for a couple of days. Mabel got out in the hallway and went straight to Dean’s door, and Castiel was dragging her back home when Dean got off the elevator with an immensely tall, really good-looking guy.

Oh well, thought Castiel.  He gave Dean a bright, social smile, and took Mabel back into the apartment.

Two seconds later, Dean’s pounding knock was heard.

“Wanna meet my brother?” Dean said.

Oh. This was a brother, not a boyfriend.

“Sure.”

“I already know him,” the man said.

“Sammy, this is Cas.”

“I said I already know him,” Sam said, screwing up his lips.

“Are you a lawyer?” Cas asked.

“Really? You don’t remember me?” Sam asked flatly.

“I had a brain injury,” Castiel said. Mabel ran out in the hallway again, since the door was open.

“I have you now,” Dean said in a Darth Vader voice, and swooped over her to pick her up. He brought her back and closed the door behind Cas.

“I’m not allowed to practice law. I’m still recovering,” Castiel said. “It’s possible I never will again.”

“Oh shit,” Sam said blankly. “I’m sorry. I just remember you as being a bit of a… shark, that’s all.”

“My days in the shark tank are over,” Castiel said. “I’m okay if things aren’t happening too fast, but I get tired and emotional if I’m stressed, and you know how stressful court can be.”

“You wouldn’t even pass the time of day with me when we faced each other before,” Sam said.

“It must have been close to when I was hurt, I have no recollection of you at all, I’m sorry,” and the expression on his face was one of troubled regret.

“He’s friendly enough now, Sam,” Dean said. There was a bit of a warning in his voice.

Cas smiled at Dean in a way that made Sam think, “What?”

“I’ll let you get back to whatever you had planned,” Cas said.

“Pizza and a cheesy old sci-fi movie on Netflix,” Dean supplied promptly. “Is it okay if Cas joins us?” he asked, turning to Sam.

“Dean, you’re very kind, but family time is important and I won’t intrude,” Cas said. “Thanks for grabbing Mabel. See you around, nice meeting you again Sam.” And he closed the door.

Cas could hear the two of them bickering in the hallway, and hoped he hadn’t caused any problems. He was considering whether to make refried bean tortillas when Dean’s knock again boomed across the apartment.

“Come on, Cas, don’t be like that.”

Castiel cracked open the door. “Like what, Dean? Respectful of your family life?”

“A stick in the mud,” Dean said. “Have some pizza, maybe a beer, watch a show with us.”

“I’m really tired today. I’ll probably just fall asleep.”

“Fine.” Dean whispered, “I missed you.”

“I missed you too.”

“Can I stay over after Sam leaves?”

“I guess,” Castiel said. “I don’t want to get too used to it though.”

There was a little pause. Shutters came down on Dean’s normally friendly face. “Why not?”

“I’m going to have to give up my lease here,” Cas said. “Why are we whispering?”

“What? Where are you going?”

“I haven’t quite figured that out yet, but I suspect it’s a little closer to rock bottom than I am now,” Castiel said brightly.

“Well, take your mind off it for tonight and come on over.”

Fighting Dean was too much trouble. Before Dean could complain any more, Castiel found himself in Dean’s apartment, sitting on the end of the sofa as far away from Sam as possible.

Dean sat between them and put his arm around Cas.

“Dean,” Castiel said warningly.

“Shush, movie’s coming on.” Cas saw Sam roll his eyes.

Sam grabbed the remote and hit pause.

“Are you two an item?”

“Yes,” Dean said, at exactly the same time Castiel said, “No.”

“Lemme know when you get your stories straight,” Sammy said, and hit play.

Cas fell asleep on Dean’s shoulder.

He woke up when the movie was over. He twitched, but didn’t open his eyes; Sam and Dean were having a low-key argument.

“If he doesn’t think you two are an item, why go to so much trouble?” Sam said.

“He’s a nice guy,” Dean said.

“He sure didn’t used to be. He was the biggest asshole I ever met. And I don’t understand - if he has a criminal record he shouldn’t be able to practice law here.”

Cas opened his eyes. “I was in juvie after my folks died. The records were sealed.”

“Oh.”

Cas got up, and promptly fell over. Dean, face stricken, grabbed him before he hurt himself, and then said, “I’m taking Cas home.”

Cas had a dim memory, the next morning, that Dean had tucked him in and kissed his forehead, but there was no way of knowing whether that had really happened or not. Today he had to put all that out of his mind, and try to find further ways to economize, starting with a cheaper apartment.

Dean banged on his door the next morning, again, and Castiel answered the door with a strange feeling of doom. He’d prepared a brief, “It’s not you it’s me,” speech, just in case Dean wanted to continue the fantasy that they were ‘an item’ rather than temporary fuck-buddies.

“I think I have a fix for your problem,” Dean said. He came in and closed the door.

“Oh really,” Castiel said. “That’s hard to believe.”

“What do you need most right now?”

“A place to live,” Castiel said. That part was easy.

“Move in with me,” Dean said.

“You’re kidding. I’m broke, and I’m broken, just in case you hadn’t noticed.”

“I can deal with a limp and some memory issues. I cannot deal with you and your amazing ass disappearing just because you don’t have health insurance.”

“I’m an adult, and adults look after themselves without complaining,” Castiel said stoicly.

“Think about it.”

“Your own brother thinks I’m an asshole. I get that a lot. I know why people feel that way.”

“Sam can see you’re a different person now.”

“Mm hmm. I’m a different kind of fuck-up now,” Castiel said.

“Enough with the mean self-talk, I’m gonna start spanking you in a second.”

“Oh no,” Castiel said. “You’re the one that needs a spanking.” He sat down on the sofa and burst out laughing.

“What the hell’s so funny?” Dean asked, perplexed.

“I keep fantasizing about you being in your fancy uniform and me pulling your pants down and spanking you,” Castiel said. He giggled again.

“And you wonder why I want you to move in with me,” Dean said. He knelt on the floor in front of Cas and assumed a woeful expression. “I’ve been bad.”

“You’ve actually been wonderful,” Castiel said. “But I still want to pretend that you’ve been bad and then spank you and make you suck my dick while you’re still in your uniform, which I guess all sounded better in my head.”

Dean was speechless, and abruptly, very, very horny.

Then he said, “I can get my dress uniform, but you have to promise not to come on it.”

“Then you have to promise to swallow every drop,” Castiel said. “Or you may have a big dry cleaning bill.”

“I’ll be back in a second,” Dean said. Man, that guy could sprint. He reappeared with a garment bag and did a strip tease in reverse to get into his uniform.

Castiel moaned with irritation with every piece of clothing Dean put on. “I have never in my life been this horny. You are so hot in that jacket that I may literally set myself on fire just so you can put me out.”

“Please don’t do that,” Dean said. He was trying to straighten his tie in the tiny entranceway mirror.

“So… why am I spanking you again?” Castiel asked. He giggled.

“What’s the worst thing I could do?” Dean asked, not thinking.

Cas smiled, and then looked very foxy and mean. “Drive drunk,” he said.

Dean was all injured innocence. “I haven’t driven drunk since you called me on it.”

“I didn’t properly punish you for doing it in the first place! Get over here and pull down your pants.”

“Now you’re talking. I was a bad boy, chasing tail and driving drunk.”

“That’s a separate spanking. Now I’m spanking you for driving drunk,” Castiel said with simplicity. “How many did we agree on? Lots!” and he smacked Dean’s right butt cheek three times, with abandon. Then he said, “My hand’s already numb.”

“May I suck your dick?” Dean asked hopefully.

“No, I think I changed my mind, I think there’s a ruler in the coffee table drawer.”

“You’re going to spank me with a ruler?” Dean cried.

“Only if you tell me not to.” Castiel had secured the ruler and leaned back.

“Please, please, don’t spank me with that ruler,” Dean said.

“You know this means I have to spank you with this - here - ruler.”

“I’ve been very bad. I’m so sorry.”

“Too late.” Castiel smacked six raised parallel pink stripes onto Dean’s left buttcheek.  “I wanna fuck you looking down on those glorious stripes. I wanna scrape my dick across your prostate until you’re seeing stars.”

“Stars and stripes?” Dean said, and made the mistake of giggling.

“And I want to do it while we’re watching fireworks on the Fourth of July,” Castiel said. “I changed my mind again. You wanna kiss me?” Dean took his uniform off and lay next to his lover, naked.

Castiel stroked Dean’s ass gently while they languidly kissed. It was all very floaty and strange and Dean laughed when he realized that Cas had fallen asleep.

Dean undressed him and moved him to his own bed. Carrying him made Dean so happy.

He looked down at Cas and said, “I have never been this nuts about anyone.”

Mabel had somehow crept up on him. When she meowed, Dean jumped a foot in the air.

He went to talk to the property manager. If he couldn’t get Cas to move in, Dean could at least keep him in his own apartment for as long as possible.

Then he phoned Sam.

“I think I figured it out.”

“I can hardly wait to hear what jewel of enlightenment you’ve parked your butt on this time,” Sam said, bracing himself.

“I need somebody to fuss over,” Dean said proudly.

Sam let out all his breath, and said, “Jeez, Dean, we had this conversation, like, a hundred times when I was in my teens. And, no offense, but I’m not really up for being fussed over these days.”

Then, before Dean could say anything else, Sam said, “This is about Cas. You want to fuss over Cas. And bone him.”

“We’re kinda equal opportunity that way, it’s one of the things I like about him,” Dean said, in a stomach-churning display of cheerful reminiscence. “But yeah, if you don’t mind me saying BUTT? YEAH!”

“I may honestly hurl.”

“Don’t be a homophobic pantywaist,” Dean said.

“What does that even mean?” and Sam stuck out his tongue and shuddered at Dean’s cheerful admission of committing butt sex, even though his brother wasn’t there to see.

“Are you making that face? It is the cutest face.”

“Shut up, Dean,” Sam said.

Dean sounded more focussed. “I like Cas, he could use a friend, he’s shore bin friendly to this cowpoke, and he looks at me like everybody in the damned world should be looked at.”

“He’s had a brain injury, you shouldn’t read too much into that,” Sam said slowly.

Dean blew him off. “Just because he’s had a brain injury doesn’t mean he doesn’t mean it, and he acts like he does. I’m concerned about his health and worried about his rehab and his living situation but I think I’ve got a fix for all of that.”

“Dean, he’s a guy, not a project.”

“I don’t see why he can’t be both.”

“You have to accept him as perfect the way he is.”

“That’s not hard, ‘cause he is.”

“That’s infatuation talking.”

“I’ve waited my whole life for someone who accepts me. All of me. The dark crap, too. I had to put on a happy face a lot of the time when I was raising you and I don’t have to do that with Cas and I don’t have to pretend I’m not bi, or that you’re not the most important person in my life. He got that right from the beginning, no questions, no jealousy, no testing me to see who I loved more.”

Sam thought to himself, Dean’s known this guy for three weeks.

Seemingly unaware that the word love had squeezed its way into the conversation, Dean continued. “Do you know what that’s like? You and I are so close, Sammy, so close! I’ve had lovers dump me because you were the first person I thought of when I had news, not them.”

“And they were total losers,” Sam said. He knew who Dean was talking about and he thought Dean had come out ahead. Far ahead. Dean didn’t even argue, he was on to the ‘next cool thing about my new boyfriend’.

“He falls asleep sometimes, right in the middle of whatever he’s doing. I know he’s not well. But then he does things like write me a poem and leave it in the bathroom. And the poem is about how he sees me, and I - ”

“If you recite it I will fucking end you,” Sam said, with all the menace he could put together.

Dean was startled at his vehemence. “What? No, I was making a point.”

Sam started to worry. Dean was sounding more than mushy.

Dean looked at the poem in his hand, which he wouldn’t have read to Sam with a gun to his head.

 

 

D.-

It’s in your nature to push.

To take everything you can.

To be immoderate.

Grabby, shovy, into things.

And constantly moving, flowing.

It’s your way through this world.

I’ll be the rock in the middle of that stream.

C

 

 

Dean ran his finger over the last line of the poem, and then let his index finger rest on the initial.

 

“Dean?” Sam asked pointedly, since his brother seemed to have dropped off the scope. “Look, he’s a wonderful guy I’m sure, although that’s not actually how I remember him, and you have romantic ideas about his health problems and you’re probably having almost as much sex as you think you want right now, but trouble is looming.”

“You don’t understand,” Dean said. “He knows how to say no to me.”

“What?”

“He knows how to make me stop being an asshole.”

“Really?”

“He prevented me from driving drunk.”

Sam frowned.

“You get to clean up after drunk driving accidents, Dean,” Sam said. “You honestly should know better.”

“He put me in an armlock and marched me into his apartment until I promised not to get back in my car,” Dean said.

What? He looks like he couldn’t hurt a fly!” Sam said with startled amusement.

“Normally, no, but I kinda triggered his PTSD and then I just – well, anyway.”

“So you took advantage of him sexually after putting him through an emotional wringer,” Sam said, rolling his eyes.

“What? I don’t think either of us saw it that way. He looked at me like I was – “ and Sam cut him off.

“You think carefully about what you want to share with me, okay? I don’t tell you every little thing about Jess, mostly because you’d enjoy it far too much for my comfort and tease me about it after.”

“I’m trying to make you see why he’s special,” Dean said.

Sam wanted to say, “And what if he gets his old personality back?” but he cringed at the prospect of Dean’s response.  “I’ll believe he’s special when he’s in your life two years from now and you’re not complaining about him every time you call or text me,” Sam said drily.

“Okay,” Dean said cheerfully. “And if I wanted it to be easy, I’d be out of luck, because that is not how my life has ever fucking worked.”

 

Cas said, as if he was troubled by good news, “I was expecting to get an eviction notice this week.”

“Cas, move in with me and then you can quit worrying about it.”

“I’m not worrying about it. I don’t want to be dependent on you.”

“You’ve got it backwards,” Dean said. “I like having someone to look after.”

“Two someones,” Cas said, looking at him with the little cat smile he offered sometimes.

“Yeah, Mabel too,” Dean said, as if he hated the idea. He didn’t. The more her fur grew back the better he liked her; she had radar for the rare occasions when he was sitting still and willing to pet her.

Mabel liked Dean. Cas occasionally found her rubbing her face into the armpits of Dean’s jackets, which he thought was hilarious, since Cas felt pretty much the same way about him.  Dean smelled better than any human being who had ever lived, in Castiel’s view. Even when he was filthy, he smelled amazing. As he mentioned one night, as he was drifting off to sleep in Dean’s arms, a feeling that had not yet lost its starry-eyed novelty, everything he thought about him could be condensed into the toddler-style sentence, “Dean good.”

They argued about the living arrangements for a month. Dean gave Cas an apartment key, and a long gold chain to keep it on. Two days before the end of the month, Dean came home from work and there were boxes stacked in his living room, but no sign of Cas. He backtracked down the hallway.

Cas was mopping the floor of his apartment, a faraway look in his eyes. All the furniture was pushed against the wall adjacent to the hallway. There were half empty boxes on the kitchen counters.

He slowly blinked his way back into the same time zone as Dean. With a sad smile, he said, “You won. I don’t want to be homeless. I don’t want Mabel to be homeless.”

“I hope you realize this is a step up for all three of us.”

“Until you get tired of me not pulling my weight. Dean, you’ve got a great job … what’s the expression, well-heeled, well-hung and well-connected? The only people who know me well were only too happy to screw me out of my retirement money the second I was unconscious. If you’re serious about taking me on you’re gonna feel like you tied a piano to your ass.”

“I can carry you, I can’t carry a piano,” Dean said. He tended to respond to metaphors with pragmatism. He still had not responded to the poem Cas had left for him, as he became flustered every time he thought about it.

“When did you carry me?”

“I carried you to bed once. You fell asleep while we were kissing.”

“That was rude of me,” and Castiel seemed appalled. He looked down and noticed that Dean had walked through a wet patch. He moved toward it, feeling like he was being held back by a giant, invisible spiderweb. He started thinking about lying down.

“It was crazy cute, actually,” Dean said. He walked up behind Cas and nuzzled his neck. Then, realizing why Cas had sighed, he seized the mop and made his footprints disappear.

Cas sighed again. “You just won’t let me stay mad at you.”

“You can be mad at me anytime you like, for as long as you like,” Dean said suggestively.

“Oh,” Castiel said. “That kind of mad. I’m too tired to be that kind of mad right now. I’m going to lie down.”

“At my place?” Dean asked hopefully.

“Here is closer,” Castiel said. Dean flew to his side, dropping the mop to the floor with a bang, and put a stabilizing arm around him. He walked him to his bed and pulled off Cas’s socks and got him situated.

“Stay,” Cas said sleepily.

“I can’t, I got a conference call in about ten minutes,” Dean said. He looked at his watch. “Eight minutes. I’ll be back.”

“I used to take conference calls,” Cas breathed, and he was out cold.

The conference call, which was a nasty one to do with a botched dismissal of an incompetent fireman and a three-way behind-the-scenes slap fight between City Hall, the Fire Chief and the union lawyer, lasted almost two hours. Dean found himself pacing – and spacing out – through almost all of it.

“You’ve been quiet, Winchester,” the Fire Chief said. Bobby Singer was a family friend, but during business hours they were formal.

Dean said, “I’d like to resolve this cheap, fast and dignified. I don’t see it happening.”

“How do you feel about becoming the spokesperson for the department for public briefings about the case?”

“I feel,” Dean said, “Like discussing it maybe somewhere else than a conference call.”

“Sorry to put you on the spot, but Carrie Loeffler, our PR person, just quit to have twins.”

“Still don’t think I want to be talking about this in public,” Dean said, smiling and hoping that was enough to take the sting out of his words.

Everybody else on the conference call took the hint and bailed. Finally it was just him and Bobby.

“What the hell’s wrong with you, son? You’ve taken two sick days in the last two weeks and as far as I can ascertain, you’re not sick. So what’s happening?”

“Please don’t make me stand in front of the media. I’m too free with my opinions. I’m not a little organizational Gobot,” Dean said, still pacing.

“You’re being groomed for bigger things.”

“I’m moving in with another man,” Dean said. Bobby would have to know sooner or later; Sam or Jess might mention it. Jess had quite taken to Cas; Sam was still rather cool toward him, although his manner was never less than polite.

Bobby considered it. “Is that supposed to shock me?”

“It’s political hemlock, and you know it.”

Bobby was unimpressed. “And you’re Socrates? I doubt it somehow. And hell’s bells, Dean, give me a second to get used to the idea – this is a romantic, uh, relationship?”

“It’s a partnership and a friendship,” Dean said. “Romantic and relationship sound too fluffy for what’s happening.”

“Fluffy? So you’re serious about this guy?”

“He’s the one for me,” Dean said. It was how he felt, and if he put it like that he didn’t have to say love, or marriage, or forever.

“But - you’ve only ever dated women,” Bobby said, although he knew he sounded like a relic the instant the words were out of his mouth.

Dean snorted. “That you knew about. You know how Dad felt about queers.”

“I see,” Bobby said. “Picked a hell of a time to come out.”

“Find another spokesthingy! Even if I could get my head in the game, I’d still be a terrible choice. And why does it have to be a white guy? Porter’s got college broadcasting experience, and he looks almost as pretty as I do, why not tap him.”

“So what you’re telling me is that you don’t want to spend a minute away from this guy.”

“He has chronic health issues,” Dean said. “I won’t lie. It’s a bit of a challenge. I want to check on him, actually.”

“What’s this mystery man’s name?” Bobby asked.

“Cas. I can never remember what it’s short for.”

Bobby was dumbfounded. “Dean… how long have you known him?”

“A month.”

“Oh sweet Jesus and Mary on a tandem unicycle,” Bobby said. “You’re infatuated.”

Dean shrugged. “I’ve been infatuated lots. I don’t think this is the same. But you’re welcome to inspect him anytime you like. Now, I hope I’ve talked you outta making me the new face of Stupid Excuses at the Fire Department, because I wanna go check on Cas.”

Dean hung up.

“Idjit,” Bobby said. He had to admit he was curious, though. He’d started to think of Dean as professionally single, as there was never a shortage of polished, successful women for him to squire around, and he seemed able to date more than one woman at a time without creating a scene, always an enviable skill.

He thought about it for a while, and called Sam, who summed it up in one sentence. “I think he’s gone completely insane, but – he’s happier than he’s been in years.”

 

“Dean,” Cas said. He yawned and sat up.

“I’m officially done for the day. I’d talk to you about work but legally I can’t.”

“I probably wouldn’t remember anything anyway,” Cas said. “What was your name again?”

“Shush,” Dean said, and kissed him.

After a couple of minutes during which he wrapped himself around Dean’s neck and enjoyed himself more than he thought was reasonable, given that they still had all their clothes on, Cas said, “Why do you like kissing so much? I’m not objecting, as a matter of fact, I love it, but you’re a real… artiste.”

“It doesn’t matter how old we get, we’ll still be able to kiss,” Dean said.

“Mmm,” Cas said. Dean kissed with long, soft strokes of his tongue. It was mesmerizing, and almost old-fashioned, until Dean started getting handsy. Cas felt a sudden urge to be a little more handsy himself, and got Dean’s fly open and started jerking him off. He cupped his balls and started licking the head on the downstroke, and Dean started squirming and moaning. 

Cas paused.

“Want me to tie you up and blow you sometime?”

“Oh God, yeah,” Dean said. “How ‘bout you?”

“Not a big fan of being tied up since I was hospitalized. After I woke up from the coma, I kept trying to get up and they had to put me in restraints.”

“Shitty.”

“It really was. I’m glad you understand. I may never want to be tied up and I don’t want to be pressured about it.”

Cas stopped what he was doing and then looked around like he’d suddenly noticed bats flying around the room. It was terrifying; then Dean looked where Cas was looking and realized some peckerwood was pointing a green laser right into Cas’s apartment.

Cursing, Dean leaped out of bed and said he wanted to call the cops. Cas looked at him as if he were very disappointed in him and said, “I’m okay with closing the drapes. We can’t dance naked unless we close the drapes.”

“You want to dance naked?”

“I want to make dancing naked possible, even if it doesn’t happen,” Cas said.

Dean considered this from across room, where he’d just finished closing the drapes.

“You’ll have to hold me up for most of it. I don’t know if you noticed, but my balance is shit.”

“I know, buddy.”

“Just reminding you of what a terrible idea this is. Living together.”

“I’m going to start calling you Eeyore.”

Cas looked at him, as if waiting for an explanation.

“He’s a fictional stuffed talking donkey with clinical depression,” Dean said.

Cas did not look pleased with the explanation. “I think I remember that now. He’s gray and talks really slow.”

“I’m sorry I mentioned it.”

“You should be, I don’t think Eeyore would suggest naked dancing. I’m trying to maintain a positive attitude,” Cas said. His voice was gently chiding, but his eyes were mischievous. “It’s easy when we’re having sex, which is why I want to do it all the time. But then I get tired. I have to have enough spoons.”

“I know about spoons. Sam explained it to me,” Dean said.

Cas was winding down. The pauses between words became irregularly spaced, although he made perfect sense. “I can feel my concentration disappearing, but when you’re around I feel so much better, even when I feel sleepy, because I fall asleep knowing you’re near. I only get about thirty seconds’ warning when I’m gonna fall over,” Cas said.

“I’m here,” Dean said. Before he passed out, Cas said, “You can do anything to me that is safe, while I’m asleep.”

“Like what, I think maybe you can supply a few boundaries, just to get me warmed up?” Dean said hopefully, imagining for two seconds what his brother would say to him if he didn’t get consent. Proper consent, the informed kind.

“If you promise to clean me up, you can come on my face,” Cas said, after what appeared to be some sort of severe mental struggle.

“You’re kidding,” Dean said blankly.

Cas was speaking more and more slowly. “Why not, I’m won’t be using it, and can I trust you not to block my nose with – “

“Stop,” Dean said, “I’ll aim for your chin and neck and I’ll have babywipes at the ready.”

“Good.” Cas’s breathing deepened. He appeared to be asleep.

So, he thought. Was that informed consent, or am I a dirty dog for even thinking about this?

Dean unlimbered his dick.  He thought about lube and was amused at how gooey he was already, but Cas had that effect on him. He spat on his hands and mixed with the pre-cum he got just the right amount of friction going. He began to get the feeling that he had to come before Cas opened his eyes, so it became a furious race, afraid that those amazing blue eyes would open and look at him in surprise and maybe horror. Even though he knew he had permission, Dean got caught up in how this would look if somebody saw him doing it and how incredibly nasty it was.

Dean came on Cas’s face. Cas opened his eyes and mumbled, “Ha ha, fooled you,” licked some come from the corner of his mouth, and fell asleep again.

Dean cleaned him off with babywipes and wondered what the hell had happened to his life.

He woke up getting a blow job.

“Cas,” he groaned.

Cas paused. “I’m busy,” he said, and Dean closed his eyes while his back arched involuntarily.

“I don’t need it 24/7,” Dean said between pants.

Cas paused again. “I don’t have it 24/7,” Cas said. “But I’ll do what I can with the time I’m conscious.”

Dean’s cock jumped in Cas’s mouth as Cas started to probe his asshole. There was a brief pause and the snick of the lube cap and then a long, rude slurp sound as Cas got a humane amount of lube adhering to his baby finger.

With a little breath-catch from Dean, he got his baby finger into Dean’s ass, pressed his knuckles into his taint, and resumed teasing the end of Dean’s cock with his mouth while stroking it to the music he was hearing in his head.

Dean’s dick kept getting harder and harder in his mouth. He thought maybe Dean was getting close. Then Cas felt a stirring under his knuckles and jammed Dean’s cock down his throat until there were tears streaming down his face. Dean came. He lay still, panting, while Cas swallowed, and then Dean reached for him.

“Jesus, Cas, that was - what, you’re crying?”

“Having trouble with my gag reflex,” Cas said.

“You don’t have to service me,” Dean said.

“When I woke up this morning, your dick was trying to make friends with my ass,” Cas said. “My mouth had other ideas.” Dean started laughing. He got a Kleenex and wiped the tears and snot off.

“I suppose you want me to reciprocate,” Dean said.

“Nah,” Cas said. “I’m gonna lube myself up and come on your stomach, but I better hurry or you’ll be late for work, especially since you’ll need a shower when I’m done with you.”

“I can’t believe you were in the closet.”

“That’s what I remember. I watched a lot of porn. I remember that. These days I don’t have to, I have all the porn I want sleeping in my bed.”

“My bed.”

“Currently it’s my bed, but yeah.”

“That’s how you see me? Live porn?”

“I don’t see why I can’t love you and think that too,” Cas said, although he sounded like he could be convinced either way.

“I - I don’t want to talk about love,” Dean said.

Cas grinned. “Okay. Can I talk about coming on your stomach?”

“Like what kind of talking,” Dean asked cautiously.

“You tell me,” Cas said. “You’re very bossy.”

“Not this again,” Dean said. Cas buried his face in Dean’s neck, nibbled, then backed away.

“This always.” Cas slicked up his cock and started rutting into Dean’s thigh and stomach.

“Grind against me, yeah, like that, like that,” Dean said, grabbing Cas so that he’d have bruises. Cas went at him like an animal, then lifted up. Dean grabbed at his cock and Cas thrust into his hands. They were looking at each other, which was unusual. Cas’s mouth fell open and his eyes went black, and he came all over Dean’s hands.

Cas collapsed in slow motion; Dean just barely got his hands out in time. There was come everywhere.

“We’re sleeping in your bed tonight,” Cas said.

“Thank god,” Dean said. “That was fucking amazing.”

“I like it when you look at me,” Cas said. 

 

Sam called a couple of days after that and said, “So you’re living with him now. How’s that going?”

“He’s learning to use the pressure cooker. I’m expecting to come home and find a hole where my apartment used to be.”

“You’re joking,” Sam said.

“Dumbass! Yeah, I’m joking.”

“Bobby and Ellen want to meet him,” Sam said.

“They can drop by anytime,” Dean said.

“Even when you’re not there?” Sam asked pointedly.

“He might not even be awake. He sleeps fourteen hours a day.”

“That sounds like depression,” Sam said, frowning.

“Mm, no, I don’t think he’s depressed. But he does have problems, and I think I may have a partial solution and here comes the part you’re gonna hate.”

Sam braced himself.

“I’m marrying him.”

Sam, who’d been expecting it as part of Dean’s urge to fix things, pressed his right thumb into one eye and his right forefinger into the other and said, after a breath, “Congratulations. Have you two lovebirds set a date?”

With disbelief that threated to teeter into hysterical laughter, Sam heard his brother say, “I haven’t asked him yet. He needs medical coverage and more rehab and he’s just going to get worse without a lot more help than I can give him, although at least he’s putting on some weight now. He was rail-thin when I met him and I bet he was malnourished, and you can’t get better if you’re not eating properly.”

“He sounds more like a project than a partner, Dean,” Sam said. “Maybe just live with him until you feel comfortable that he’s doing whatever he can to get better.”

Dean’s eyebrows headed for the ceiling, paused, and then descended into a scowl. “Unbelievable. To hear shit like this coming out of my own brother’s mouth. Okay. Okay, I get it. You think that since he used to be an asshole, one day he’ll wake up and go back to being an asshole. You don’t believe and I don’t blame you. You’ve checked up on me, and that’s great. Please go back to whatever you were doing. I’ll send an email about the party.”

“What party?”

“Cas thinks people have the wrong idea about us so he wants to meet the family.”

“What, like Charlie and Bobby and everyone?”

“That was the general idea. I’ll email you. G’night Sam,” and Dean hung up.

“I don’t think you have enough chairs,” Sam said to his now silent phone.

 

Dean was fussing about the party; Cas said, “Desserts and cool, not too sweet, non-alcoholic drinks, and if anybody skipped supper chili in the crockpot. We literally don’t have to do anything else, not decorate, not nothing. They’re your family, they want to see that the apartment’s clean and you look sleek and pleased with yourself.”

“Which I do,” Dean said. He mugged at himself in the kitchen mirror, pretending to lick at his hair like a cat.

“Pervert,” Cas said.

“Jackass,” Dean said.

“And if we feed them,” Cas said, “They’ll feel like they had a reason to be there even if my conversation consists of doing this,” and he went ‘bleeble-bleeble’ with his finger over his lips.

“It’s like living with a cartoon character,” Dean said affectionately.

“Wait until I repeal the law of gravity,” Cas said. “Oh that’s right, I won’t be in court ever again.”

“We’ll see,” Dean said. He’d learned not to say anything jolly and presumptuous.

“Or drive,” Cas said.

“We’ll see,” Dean said. Cas did fall asleep easily, and that was rarely a good combo with driving.

“I do like living with you but it just made one fairly important, but not critical part of my life better.”

Dean said, in that hostile-joking way he had, “Sex with me isn’t critical, gotcha.”

Cas looked at him. After a minute he said, “I still walk with a limp. I will probably never work again. I hardly ever feel angry but sometimes I feel despair, and that hasn’t stopped just because I have you distracting me.”

Dean deflected, as he almost always did. “And despite all this you want to throw yourself in front of the train that is my family.”

“Well, tell me about them, show me pictures.”

 

Half an hour later, Cas was curled against Dean’s shoulder, and they were looking through photo albums.

“Sam was so cute when he was little,” Cas said. “He’s a striking man now, but oh my gosh that little face.”

The corner of Dean’s mouth quirked up. “I couldn’t deny him anything, except I did, of course. Overdid it on being Brother Mom and Dad.” He stroked the back of Cas’s hand and said, “Do you have any family pictures?”

“I had half a dozen, and none of - my sister,” Cas said. “Because of what happened after my parents died.” He had forgotten her name again.  It drove him crazy when he forgot names, but he didn’t want Dean to worry. “Then they all disappeared after I went into hospital; I was going to go visit relatives and beg for photos but I haven’t got round to it.”

“Since you’re broke and you don’t drive,” Dean said.

Cas gave him that immense blue stare which, up close, nearly ended him. “You’re finally having a breakthrough about being disabled.”

Dean continued. “And you might fall asleep on the bus and end up mugged again, miles from home.”

“The thought had occurred to me. I’m not very brave any more.”

“Brave? You put me in an armlock to prevent me from driving drunk.”

“I was looking for an excuse to touch you and you gave it to me,” Castiel said. Dean turned his head and kissed him. Cas shivered. Dean had had responsive partners before, but Cas was kind of off the scale.

Dean caved. “Okay, okay we’ll do the party like you said.”

Cas smiled, his pure, innocent smile. “That was easy, wasn’t it? No decorations. I hate putting them up and I hate taking them down even worse. It’s like, ‘Oh look, something fun happened – but it’s over now.’”

“The fun never stops when you’re here.”

“Let’s hope your loved ones feel the same way.”

“I’d ditch every last one of them if they told me to give you up.”

Cas frowned. “Don’t be an idiot. If you want me to be part of your family, we have to act like it’s something we want, not that we’re expecting them to reject us.”

“Like Sam.”

“Sam’s expecting me to turn into a gold-digger and you into a bundle of regret.”

“You know what? He kind of is; at least he admits I seem to be happy.”

“I don’t know what to do about that. It’s going to be a long time before I can work, and sooner or later the sex is going to wear off, so maybe Sam’s right, but early.”

“Hey, hey, hey; don’t talk like that.”

 

The final guest list was ten people. Cas didn’t seem to be worried about it at all. Dean was freaking out. “The worst that can happen is that I fall asleep,” Cas said. “The best that can happen is that we start to get to know each other. Can I borrow your computer?”

“What do you want to do?” Dean asked.

“A presentation. You know. All the stuff people are going to want to know. I’ll only have the energy to tell people once, and maybe it will help you all understand what happened to me.”

Dean said, gradually getting more dramatic, “What’s to tell? You got mugged. You were in a coma. You were trying to recover, but broke, because someone cleaned out your bank accounts. When you were on the point of starvation you came on to me, assaulted me and turned me into your sex slave.”

Cas considered this. “I’m not sure that’s the version of events I want to tell your adoptive parents and your brother’s girlfriend.”

“Don’t you care what Sam thinks?” Dean said, irritably.

“Nothing I say could worsen his opinion of me,” Cas said. “I like him, but he doesn’t like me. Quit making that face, either he’ll learn better or it’s just a family thing we’ll learn to get used to.”

“I don’t want to put you in front of that,” Dean said.

“Dean, what’s happening this instant? We’re together, safe, it’s okay. I just need a reminder of what I’m going to say and this is the easiest way to do it. They’re your family, not wild beasts or demons planning on eating me.”

“I dunno, I wonder about that Jo sometimes,” Dean said.

“Is she the one you dated for the longest? I really want to meet her.”

“Nails bend themselves to get out of her way,” Dean said. “If anyone could have whipped me into picket fence country, she would have been it. Guess what happened when I told her I was bi?”

“Buh-bye,” Castiel said, kissing his fingers.

“I’m pretty sure she came close to looking me over a second time a couple of years back but something scared her off. Anyway, she’s happy enough now; according to Ellen she and her current boyfriend busted the spare room bed with their shenanigans,” and Cas snorted with laughter. Dean said, “Tell me more about your one and only family member that you invited.”

“He won’t come, I told him there’d be no alcohol here,” Cas said, “Also, that I’m completely broke.”

“Doesn’t he want to meet me?” Dean looked like a man trying to act scandalized. He only cared about one opinion, so he listened closely to the answer.

“I didn’t leave him with the impression that you’d give him money either – so probably no,” Cas said.  “He’s in recovery. He might be fine, he might be horrifying. He doesn’t know I’m out now, so that’ll be interesting.”

“I’m still having trouble believing that you were ever in,” Dean said.  They had gotten kinky the night before, although any frisson of fear from being bound and ball-gagged vanished when Cas said, “You cockslut, get ready to take it!” and then giggled as he fumbled with the condom. Cas was ready for anything, almost, and when he wasn’t, they’d lie in each other’s arms and kiss each other breathless. It was a continuing roller coaster of amazing sex and domestic tranquillity, not a combination Dean was used to. If the sex was hot, generally the fights were even hotter. Cas was a lover, not a fighter. Or to be precise, he was a grappler, and the most fluid switch Dean had ever met, unless he was looking in the mirror.

“You never met my father. Or my mother. She knew I was gay from the time I was tiny, and she did her best to protect me, which meant hiding, sometimes literally, in a closet.”

“Yikes,” Dean said. “We should fuck our way out of a closet sometime.”

“You can carry me,” Cas said, “My leg still hurts.”

Within a week of moving in, Cas had requested that they both get tested. The results were back; neither of them had any STI’s, and neither of them were exactly comfortable sitting down for a couple of days, as they both overdid it in celebration.

Dean, although he didn’t say so, was keeping a close eye on Cas’s weight and sleep times. He was finally over 170 pounds and sleeping less than 12 hours a day, which meant to Dean that he was getting better, whatever was wrong with him.

If he wanted to eat sugary crap that was fine with Dean. They picked up dozens of desserts and all kinds of exotic fruit juice for punch, and waited for their guests; Dean anxiously and Cas with a kind of resigned amusement.

“I hope they like my presentation,” Cas said.

He met Charlie and Jo and Bobby and Ellen and renewed his acquaintance with Sam and Jess and was secretly frightened when his brother Sar showed up, and then Rufus and Meg and Rowena arrived.

When everybody had a drink and was settled, Dean said, “Thanks all for coming; Cas and I wanted to celebrate living together as a couple.”

“This made Dean think of pie,” Cas deadpanned.

“The question is –“ Bobby began.

“What doesn’t make Dean think about pie,” Jo finished.

Cas snickered. Making an effort to be serious, he said, “Most of you have heard about the assault, but I thought if I did a time line it would help me keep things straight as well as inform you.”

“On July 7th 2016 at 10:50 pm I was mugged in the parking garage at work. I was beaten with a metal object on my head and my leg and I lay without assistance for almost half an hour before a security guard stumbled over me, further injuring me.”

“Holy shit,” Dean said. “You never told me any of this.”

Sam was looking at Cas as intently as a big cat watches a deer. Charlie was muttering something to Rowena. Everyone looked sort of stunned.

“It gets worse, or better if you’re a sadist,” Cas said. “So, I’m out of it for six weeks. I come to and at first everything seems to be okay, and then boom they’re kicking me out, probably a week too early, to a rehab facility that’s way less expensive. That’s when I find out that nobody’s exactly sure what’s going on with my insurance. I can barely talk and nobody at the office is returning my calls. I have my assistant go to my apartment and she comes back saying that the place has been broken into and everything that can be sold is gone. I talk to the bank and my account’s empty; I talk to my broker and my two investment accounts are gone too.”

“So now I’m on disability and I probably won’t work again. I don’t know what happened to my money and every time I try to figure it out I can’t get anybody to care about it and I had a traumatic brain injury and a big personality change so it’s really easy for people not to take me seriously.”

He looked at Dean, who briefly smiled in a way that made anyone who knew him widen their eyes. “Dean takes me seriously. Maybe I’ll figure it out.”

“What kind of personality change?” Charlie asked.

“Well, I’m very sleepy a lot of the time. And affectionate,” Cas said.

“Very affectionate,” Dean said. Half the people in the room looked away in disbelief. The other half looked at Dean like he’d lost his mind.

“And I was a jerk before, so it’s strange for people. I made a living being a jerk to people and I just don’t think I could do that any more; even if I had the brain power I don’t really have the killer instinct anymore.”

Sam said, “What are you doing about the fraud?”

Dean said, “I can’t get him to do anything.”

Sam said, “We can talk later.”

Cas started to seize. He fell to the floor and did not hear Dean yell “Call 911!” as he tried to pillow his head.

Twelve hours and one emergency operation for a brain bleed later, Dean had finally fought his way through the hospital red tape to sit at Cas’s side, as he wasn’t a family member and Cas hadn’t updated his drivers’ licence with Dean’s address. Sar had helped, thank God, or he wouldn’t even have been able to see him.

Cas was pale but breathing on his own. Exhausted, Dean went home and slept; Bobby told him not to bother to come in to work until things were more settled with his roomie.

Cas woke up, and Dean, not really knowing what to expect, greeted him.

“Hullo Dean,” Cas said. His voice was raspier than normal from the intubation.

“You were nearly the death of the party,” Dean said.

Cas didn’t respond to the humor.

“I was talking to the doctor this morning,” he said, “asking about the symptoms I was having.”

“What symptoms,” Dean said patiently. He hadn’t actually dared to hope Cas would be talking, let alone lucid.

“The hypersexuality,” Cas said.

“The what now?” Dean said, his eyes darting around the room as Cas’s had when the green laser dot had been on the far wall of his bedroom.

“How I’ve been wanting to have sex with you pretty much all the time that’s available and hang on to you like a sloth in a tree the rest of the time,” Cas said.

Dean thought about a stuffed sloth with Cas’s face, and smiled to himself. Then he said, “We’ve both been wanting to have sex pretty much all the time and cuddle like baby bunnies the rest of the time, to continue with the bestiality subtext. It’s been completely sickening – I agree – but I don’t think it’s hypersexuality.”

“I hadn’t had sex for twelve years when I met you,” Cas said. “I was living as a closeted gay man when I was assaulted. I hadn’t had sex since the assault. For me to go from that to sex literally three times a day sometimes – “

“Four,” Dean said, reminiscent.

“Is completely unlike me, and the doctor says it was likely as a result of this aneurysm.”

“Well,” Dean said, spreading his hands and leaning forward.

“Well what, Dean, I don’t know what you want me to say.”

“How often are we going to be having sex now?”

“Can’t we just break up and not talk about it?” Cas pleaded.

“Break up,” Dean said, poleaxed.

“I know you won’t want me.”

“What in the everloving fuck, man, I have no – “ and then Dean realized he was almost yelling at a sick and vulnerable man, one he loved, and he mentally slapped himself and took a breath. Dean put his hand on Cas’s forearm and said, in a much softer voice, “Hush now, you’re hurting yourself. I’ll be here for you as long as you want me. If you don’t want me, I’ll need a while to get used to the idea and then I’ll go. Deal?”

“Oh, I want you!” Cas said in a very unguarded way, and Dean would hold the look he had on his face forever, until the expression crumpled into something less composed than resignation, and he said, “But I know you won’t want me.” He was no longer making eye contact.

He thinks he doesn’t deserve to be loved. Sound familiar, Winchester? “Mm hm. Why am here, again? Exactly?”

“You’re a healthy man with healthy appetites,” Cas said primly.

Like he believed their sex life had been normal.  Gawd. “I was just barely able to keep up with you, man, finding out you were suffering from a medical condition is not exactly a relief – but things make a lot more sense now, looking back.”

Cas had been turning his gaze back toward Dean as he spoke.

“Well?” Cas asked. He splayed a hand, and for a second looked quite devilish, eyes shining, brows quivering.

“I’ll let you set the pace,” Dean said. He leaned back in his uncomfortable hospital chair and gave Cas a raffish grin. “Worked pretty well so far.”

 

Coda

 

Sam and Charlie found and recovered about half of Cas’s stolen savings. It took them months, but the combination of legal and IT knowledge, plus their burning desire to get some justice for someone who was obviously family at this point, proved the better of the problem.

Involving the police would have meant revealing that they’d both committed federal offences, and Cas was so happy when they came to the apartment and told him that he cried, and then, in front of them both, asked Dean to marry him. “Wait a minute!” Dean yelled.

“I thought you were going to let me set the pace,” Cas said, poker-faced.

“Well, then, yes,” Dean said, still a little annoyed.

“Go on, kiss him,” Sam said, shaking his head in affectionate disbelief.

Charlie mimed diving her hand into a bucket of popcorn.

“I love this part,” she said.

“Mow!” said Mabel.