“This is stupid.” Saying it is useless; it’s not like Dean’s ever listened to reason before, but Castiel feels obligated to point it out nonetheless. “This is reckless and dangerous and—”
“Yeah, yeah. Come on, hold this one for me.” Dean pushes a firecracker into Castiel's hands, while he juggles another in his own and flicks at his lighter. “Cheers to the end of an era, Cas. We gotta go out with a bang, right?”
It’s the night of their college graduation and there’s no one in the world Castiel would rather be celebrating with right now than Dean Winchester, his best friend since the fourth grade.
Dean's face glows in the light of the small flame and his freckles are cast into sharp relief. When he looks up and grins, his green eyes blaze with a certain maniacal glint that Castiel is all too familiar with. He should stop this, he really should. But Dean has already lit the fuse on the firework he holds, and he's pressing his lighter to the base of the one in Castiel's hands too.
“I've done this with Sam before for fourth of July,” he says. “I figure we've got about thirty seconds before—”
They did not have thirty seconds. And they did go out with a bang. That much, at least, Castiel can remember.
Castiel wakes up in a bed to the sound of beeping and high-pitched ringing in his ears. Somewhere to his left, Dean is swearing.
“I'm fine! Get off of me, I'm fine. You gotta take care of Cas, please, he—”
“Your friend is fine. We’ve just given him a mild sedative for the shock and if you don’t lay still, you’ll be getting one next.”
From the sounds of it, Dean is not being still. Castiel smiles and struggles to push himself upright, but he lets out an involuntary yell and collapses back onto the bed. His hands. . . his hands are on fire. . .
The next time he wakes up, Castiel’s hands are heavily bandaged and not, in fact, on fire, even if they feel that way.
“Cas!” With a wince, Castiel turns to see Dean in the bed next to him sporting identical bandages on his hands. Dean’s face is pale and contorted with worry.
“Hello, Dean.” Castiel manages a small smile, and Dean’s features relax as he lets out a shaky chuckle.
“Dude, that was epic. Battle scars to prove it!” Dean holds up his bandaged hands. His smile is cocky and self-assured, but Castiel can hear the small quiver in his voice that belies his confidence.
As it turns out, it could have been a lot worse; the fireworks malfunctioned and although they went off early, they didn’t explode at their full capacity. Still, both Dean and Cas find themselves with moderate burns on both palms and a long lecture from the ER doctor who reminds them repeatedly that they could have lost fingers or worse.
The doctor gives them strict orders not to use their hands for anything, and Castiel worries about what this will mean for Dean. They’re going to need help with the most basic of daily tasks, but Dean’s brother, Sam, is away at camp for the summer and John Winchester can hardly be counted upon as a caretaker.
Castiel’s family hires a private nurse and insists that Castiel recuperate at the family cabin, far away from prying eyes. After a lengthy battle of wills, Castiel relents and agrees to go — on condition that Dean come with him.
The cabin is remote; there’s nobody but the two of them for miles. Castiel is glad that if he has to spend the summer alone and injured, then at least he’s with Dean. They’ve been best friends since the fourth grade when Dean’s family first moved to town. Dean was instantly popular. The other kids loved the brash, flirty, confident Dean Winchester, who never backed down from a dare. Castiel loved that Dean too, of course. But he especially loved the scared, uncertain boy who was smart and kind and loyal.
Castiel had been there when Dean’s mother died in the sixth grade. Dean had been reckless then, and refused to shed any tears. He climbed up on the school roof and when someone dared him to jump off, he didn’t hesitate. He’d broken his arm, and he hadn’t cried then either. But a week later, he found Castiel behind the trees at the far end of the playground. Castiel had held him as he sobbed, and they stayed there all afternoon, hidden from everyone else.
And Dean had been there in high school when Castiel came out as gay. Castiel had been both relieved to rid himself of such a secret and terrified of how Dean might react. He needn’t have worried though, and their friendship never faltered.
They remained best friends through college as well, and Castiel is glad to spend the summer with Dean before they move on to whatever is in store for them next.
By the end of the first week, though, boredom begins to settle in. The shock of being at the epicenter of a small explosion has passed, and so too has the sharp pain in their bandaged hands. It dulls to a steady ache that Castiel can forget with enough distraction and medication. The painkillers are easy to come by; distractions, not so much.
There are surprisingly few things they can do without the use of their hands. Nearly every board game at the cabin requires the use of fine motor skills; Monopoly is out of the question entirely. Cas gets one of the little green houses wedged in his bandages and spends the rest of the afternoon trying to pull it out with his teeth.
They watch a lot of TV and old movies. They’re nearly foiled by the remote control, before Cas has the bright idea to use his tongue to press the buttons.
“It’s one of the strongest muscles in the human body,” he explains to Dean who stares at him with a strange expression as Cas stretches his tongue out and uses the tip to press down on the buttons.
A certain restlessness begins to settle in as well. There’s no air conditioning, and the heat in the cabin is stifling. Dean grows tired of his t-shirts sticking to him and takes to wandering around shirtless. They’re both sweaty and miseable, and frustrated at their sudden impotence. They can’t use their hands for anything. They can’t cook, can’t open a can of beer. Castiel can’t scratch that infernal itch on his nose that’s been driving him crazy for days now.
And then, of course, there are other itches that can’t be scratched.
Castiel can’t remember the last time he’s gone this long without masturbating and it’s starting to become a problem. He watches Dean try unsuccessfully to eat a popsicle without the full use of his hands. As it drips down his chin, Dean sucks the whole length of it into his mouth and Castiel finds himself with a sudden and wildly inappropriate boner right in the middle of the kitchen. He fakes a headache and flees to his room.
It’s just the heat getting to you, Castiel tells himself.
He tries to take matters into his own hands at night. Figuratively speaking of course, since he can’t actually use his hands as nature intended. Instead, he tries balling up his blanket and thrusting into it. But it’s old — probably older than Castiel himself — and painfully scratchy. Castiel flops over onto his back and lets out an exasperated sigh.
The cabin walls are thin, and Castiel can hear Dean’s bed creaking in the next room. He lies perfectly still, willing himself not to think about his best friend and resolutely ignoring the twitch of his own cock. But a few minutes later he hears Dean cursing loudly about thread counts and the creaking stops.
Night after night, Castiel finds himself having increasingly inappropriate dreams about Dean that, in some cruel twist of irony, seem to involve a considerable hand action. One dream features Dean giving him a handjob. In another, Castiel inches his own fingers inside of Dean, stretching him slowly open before rocking gently into him, both clinging desperately to one another. Every time, Castiel wakes with a startled gasp, completely mortified and wrapped in a crusty mess of uncomfortable sheets. It only increases his mounting frustration and Castiel is furious with his subconscious for using Dean in that way.
Things take a turn for the worse the day the batteries die in the TV remote. Castiel is poking around on the TV when he stumbles onto graphic porn. He scrambles to change the channel as the sound of exaggerated moaning fills the room, but the remote refuses to work.
It’s several minutes before they manage to isolate the power button on the TV itself and the room falls blissfully silent. But the image of a buxom brunette performing a sloppy blow job is now ingrained in Castiel’s retinas.
“Huh,” Dean says after a long moment of silence.
Castiel squints at him and Dean shrugs. “Maybe we should consider. . . you know.” He nods in the direction of the TV.
Dean shifts uncomfortably. “Well, we can’t use our hands, so we’re useless on our own. But if we teamed up. . .”
“Blow jobs, Cas,” Dean huffs. “We could give each other blow jobs. If we both promise to close our eyes, we could just kinda pretend, you know? Come on, I dare you.”
Castiel stares. “You can’t be serious.”
“Come on! If I don’t look, it’ll be like you’re that hot brunette from the TV going down on me. And you could pretend I’m whatever dude it is that floats your boat. I don’t know, like Harrison Ford. Or Gunnar Lawless? Doctor Sexy!”
“Are these my fantasies or yours, Dean?”
Dean’s face goes bright red. “You’re right, it was stupid. Forget it.”
Cas doesn’t forget it. In fact, he obsesses about it for days. There’s one glaring problem with Dean’s request: Castiel’s a little in love with Dean. A lot, actually, if he’s being honest with himself. He has been for years. Nothing good can ever come of Dean knowing though, and so Castiel has always kept that particular secret locked safely away.
But now Dean’s offering to trade blow jobs. It’s not something Castiel ever imagined being able to have, and he knows it’s a terrible idea. Dean obviously doesn’t feel the same way; his proposal is both pragmatic and temporary. Once they quell their raging libidos things will return to normal. Castiel isn’t sure he’ll ever be able to go back to normal after something like this though— to have such close intimacy with Dean only to have it snatched away. But if they do nothing, Castiel will spend the rest of his life wondering what if. . .
Basically, he’s fucked.
Castiel makes up his mind the following day when their nurse brings a pie for dessert. Half of it remains uneaten after she’s left, and Castiel finds Dean staring longingly at it. Dean always stares longingly at pies, but something in his expression today is different, more lecherous. Castiel can practically see the gears working in his head.
“Alright, that’s it,” Cas announces as Dean fidgets uncomfortably. “Take off your pants.”
“What?” Dean stammers.
“I’m sick of this. I’m so horny I can’t see straight and you’re having pornographic thoughts about a pie.”
“We can’t. It was a shitty thing for me to even ask, Cas.”
“It’s fine, really. Pretend I’m your busty brunette. I’m going to pretend you’re. . . I don’t know, Ernest Hemingway.”
“Hemingway?” Dean looks horribly offended.
“Yeah, you got a problem with Hemingway?”
“Can’t you pick someone cooler? Or, I don’t know, from this century?”
“Fine, Garret Hedlund.”
Castiel sighs. “Guy who played in On The Road? I made you watch it? Look, I’m fine. So just shut up and drop your pants. Or are you too chicken for your own dare?”
That seems to do the trick. Dean sinks onto the couch and Cas drops to his knees on the floor. Part of him expects Dean to burst out laughing and call the whole thing off. But instead, Dean spreads his legs slowly. It’s almost shy, and when Castiel looks up, he’s surprised to see that Dean is blushing.
“Right, um. . . close your eyes, I guess,” Dean says. He shimmies back further into the couch and slides his pants midway down his thighs.
Dean has a soft spattering of freckles all along his inner thighs and Castiel follows their trail to where they converge at Dean’s dick. It’s half-hard against his thigh, and beautiful, and Castiel can’t tear his eyes away. He stares, enraptured, as Dean’s dick swells visibly and twitches under his gaze.
“Dude, eyes closed!”
Cas is jolted out of his stupor and looks up to see Dean, face flushed and eyes frantic. Right, Castiel’s meant to be playing the part of the busty brunette and definitely not supposed to be enjoying this.
He shuts his eyes obediently, and lowers his head to Dean’s groin. Under the guise of not being able to see, he allows himself a few seconds to nose around at Dean’s navel and lick tentatively before Dean is gently guiding him into place with bandaged hands to the back of Castiel’s head.
Cas swallows him down. Above him, Dean lets out a loud hiss, and Castiel’s brain short circuits a bit because he’s sucking Dean’s dick. It’s the most incongruous thing he’s ever experienced, going down on his best friend like this. And god help him, he loves it. He loves the heavy feel of Dean in his mouth, the strangled, gasping sounds that Dean’s making, the way Dean’s stomach clenches and his legs squirm. He’s intoxicated by the scent of Dean all around him.
He doesn’t get long to dwell on any of it, though, because it’s over quickly. Dean is making frantic noises above him and before Castiel has a chance to do much of anything, Dean is shouting hoarsely and coming in hot spurts down his throat.
Now that Castiel can safely open his eyes, he glances up to admire Dean, who is red-faced and still panting heavily.
They stare at each other for what feels like forever. In only a few short minutes, everything has changed and the weight of it hangs heavy in the silence between them.
Dean’s breathing evens out and he clears his throat. “You uh, want me to take care of that?”
Castiel glances down at his own erection straining against his pants.
“It’s okay,” he mutters.
“Nah, it’s fine,” Dean says, and slides to the floor. He nudges at Castiel to take his place on the sofa. “Really, man. It’s weird if I don’t. We’re supposed to be helping each other out, right?”
Dean squeezes his eyes shut tight, takes a deep breath and runs his tongue up the underside of Castiel’s shaft. The sight alone is almost more than Castiel can stand. Here is Dean, with his long lashes and his perfect mouth, on his knees in front of him. It’s the most beautiful thing Castiel’s ever—
“Dude!” Dean’s eyes flicker open and he glares up at Castiel. “Eyes closed!”
“Yours are open,” Castiel points out.
“I was only checking that you weren’t looking.” Dean scowls at him until Castiel reluctantly shuts his eyes and throws his head back against the couch. Only then does Dean wrap his mouth around him and inch himself lower.
It’s incredible. Warm, and wet, and Castiel lasts all of ten seconds before his eyes fly open again, heedless of Dean’s arbitrary rules, because he has to see. Cas is too stunned to make a sound as he watches Dean’s mouth stretch around him.
Surprisingly, Dean gives a hell of a blow job. He seems to have gotten over any shyness now, and moves his head faster, his motions deeper. Castiel experiments with a tiny thrust up into Dean’s mouth, and the resulting moan from Dean reverberates everywhere. Dean slows for a moment, taking Cas as deep as he can and holding still. Castiel would give anything in the world to have the use of his hands; he wants to touch, to feel himself pressed against the inside of Dean’s cheek, to stroke Dean’s face and run his thumb along Dean’s lips where they’re stretched to accommodate him. When Dean gags slightly Cas tries to pull back, but Dean follows him, bobbing his head eagerly, heedless of the saliva that is pooling or the wet, slick sound that he’s making.
It’s all too much. “Dean,” Cas warns.
Dean moans again in response and Castiel tries to pull away.
“Dean, I’m going to come. I’m coming! I—” His body seizes as Dean pulls back, and Cas lets out a low growl. “Fuck. . . Dean. . .”
He finds Dean blinking up at him in surprise, come splattered across his bewildered face. Castiel would apologize but words — and really all higher brain function — have abandoned him entirely. Dean’s blushing furiously, freckles dancing across his nose, his eyes wide and shining. There’s a streak of white across his cheek, and another clinging to his hairline.
Castiel considers kissing him. Just a few inches and he could lean into Dean’s space, clean his face, and lick into his mouth. He wants to kiss his chest and his neck and up his throat and just under his ear. He wants to kiss Dean everywhere. To taste where his hands can’t touch. But as he sways forward, Dean lets out a sudden laugh and clambers to his feet.
“Damn, Cas, that was intense.”
“Uh huh,” Cas manages as he sinks back into the couch.
“Well, thanks buddy. That was. . . that was really something.” Dean wanders off in search of a towel while Castiel’s heart sinks.
“Sure thing, buddy,” he whispers to himself.
Castiel gets very little sleep that night. He can hear Dean snoring loudly in the next room while he lies awake worrying about the state of their friendship. He and Dean have always been close, but they’ve almost certainly crossed a line now that they may not be able to come back from.
He wakes the next morning with no small amount of trepidation, not sure what to expect from Dean. He’ll probably want to avoid talking about it. Maybe he’ll even be angry. Maybe Dean will be so disgusted by what they did that he won’t be able to look at him and Castiel isn’t sure he’d be able to bear that.
His fears are unfounded though, because Dean comes bursting into the kitchen with a huge grin, sliding across the floor in his socks.
“Hiya, Cas. How’d you sleep?”
“Well, thank you,” Cas lies.
“Oh god, me too. Thanks to you.” Dean winks at him and Castiel jolts in surprise.
“So I was thinking,” Dean says as he rubs against the edge of the counter to scratch his side. “Have you ever 69ed before? I think we could definitely expedite the process if we gave that a try.”
Castiel is speechless. Yesterday had been incredible, but he had been under no illusions that it would be allowed to continue. And yet, here they are. . .
After their nurse leaves for the day, Dean gets down to business. He positions them to maximize efficiency, but Castiel has his doubts. He keeps silent though as he straddles Dean and tries to hold his weight up on his elbows so as not to put pressure on his hands. It’s not exactly comfortable. But then Dean’s mouth is on him, and there’s a dick in his face, hard and insistent. Castiel does the best he can while half his mind is trying to stay balanced and upright and the other half is distracted by what Dean’s mouth is doing. He misses being able to see Dean’s face.
Over the next few days, they try various configurations of the same thing. But without the use of their hands, Castiel wouldn’t call any of them particularly successful. It comes to an abrupt end the day Castiel accidentally elbows Dean in the groin. There’s a lot of hissing and swearing, and ultimately Dean concedes that perhaps this isn’t the time to experiment.
They go back to alternating blow jobs on the couch, but with some of the awkwardness now behind them. Dean certainly seems more relaxed. By contrast, Castiel’s anxiety has only grown with each passing day because he’s not sure what to make of Dean’s flippancy. Whenever they finish, Dean chuckles and cleans himself off and they carry on— like they haven’t just swapped frenzied blow jobs and made each other come hard enough to see stars.
In the days and weeks that follow, Castiel grows bolder. He let his mouth roam lower each time, taking Dean’s balls in his mouth and licking his perineum. Even though Dean tenses each time, he allows it. And soon, he encourages it, spreading his legs wider and making full-throated noises of pleasure. When Cas first licks tentatively at his hole, Dean’s entire body spasms and his legs clamp together around Castiel’s head. When he’s able to work his tongue inside, Dean lets out a wail and comes harder than Castiel thought possible.
They don’t talk about it after.
The summer soon draws to a close. The night before their bandages are set to come off, Castiel makes a particularly risky move. He isn’t sure what makes him do it. Maybe it’s the sounds coming from Dean, or the fact that their time at the cabin alone is coming to an end. Or maybe it’s Dean muttering Castiel’s name under his breath, his eyes open and staring. Whatever the reason, Castiel pulls away from Dean’s dick with a soft pop and watches as Dean exhales heavily. With the next breath, he makes his way up Dean’s body, pressing kisses up the length of Dean’s torso. He traces the hard lines of Dean’s body with his tongue. He shoves, just a little to one side, and Dean goes willingly, collapsing bonelessly into the couch cushions with a gasp. Castiel follows, covering Dean’s body with his own and drawing his tongue across a nipple. Dean shivers beneath him.
He kisses up the column of Dean’s throat as Dean tosses his head back. He nuzzles softly behind an ear lobe and down the line of Dean’s jaw.
Dean doesn’t tell him to stop.
Castiel pulls back and stares, transfixed, at Dean’s face. It’s flushed, and his green eyes are wide and searching. Castiel’s eyes are drawn to the place he’s been seeking: Dean’s lips, parted slightly. Dean’s tongue darts out as he licks them nervously, and Castiel surges forward, pressing their lips together.
It’s soft, and tentative, and when Dean freezes beneath him, Cas pulls back quickly and rests his forehead against Dean’s. He’s finally done it, he realizes, as he squeezes his eyes shut tight. He’s found the point of no return and crossed it. He’s gone too far, pushed Dean too much, and now Dean’s going to shove him away.
But, much to his surprise, Dean kisses him back. As the kiss deepens and their tongues find one another, Dean lets out a low groan and chases the taste of himself, his tongue darting further into Castiel’s mouth.
Dean’s erection is pressing insistently into his thigh, and Castiel shifts so they’re able to rut against one another. It’s rough and uncoordinated and god, what he would give to be able to wrap a firm hand around both of them. But it’s still so good and Castiel nearly loses it as their dicks slide together, heated and throbbing.
Dean comes apart beneath him. His moans fill the room, and his bandaged hands grapple at Castiel’s back. Castiel wishes he could feel Dean’s nails drag down his spine, that their marks might leave him with something — anything — after this is over. While Dean lets loose a stream of colourful expletives, Cas remains stoically quiet but for his laboured breathing, too afraid of what words may escape were he to open his mouth.
Soon, Dean’s curses trail off into broken gasps. He shudders as he comes suddenly between them and Castiel nearly sobs at the feel of Dean’s cock pulsing and hot against his own. He aches to bury his face in the crook of Dean’s neck, but he veers to the side and sinks his face into the couch instead as he spills his own release. He bites down hard on the cushion to keep what can’t be said from spilling out as well: I love you, I love you, I love you.
Their bandages come off the next morning and Castiel can’t stop touching things. He scratches the itch on his nose, runs his hands through his hair. Unsure what to do with himself, he sinks heavily to the arm of the couch, and smooths his hands over the coarse fabric. Finally, he can use his hands. Finally, he can feel.
Dean emerges from the washroom examining his own hands with childlike glee, and fuck, Castiel wants to touch him. Dean stares down at his hands as he walks towards Castiel. He’s talking animatedly, but Castiel isn’t listening, lost as he is in his own world.
He wants to run his hands over Dean and feel him. He wants to retrace the path his mouth has laid.
As Dean draws closer, still oblivious, Castiel can’t seem to stop himself. He reaches out a hand and brushes softly over Dean’s bare chest. Dean inhales sharply and Cas risks looking up to meet his gaze. They stare at each other both unspeaking, before looking down to where Castiel’s hand is still pressed to Dean’s chest, just above his heart.
It’s only then that it occurs to him, reality crashing down heavily. Their hands are healed. They have no reason anymore to be touching. Castiel pulls his hand away abruptly, willing it not to misbehave again, as his fingers flex, itching and desperate for Dean.
Dean clears his throat and Castiel snaps back to attention.
Dean lets out a nervous laugh and claps Castiel on the back. “It’s been a hell of a summer, buddy.”
The ride home is quiet. Castiel stares out the window in silent contemplation of all that he’s lost. Dean doesn’t seem eager to talk about what transpired at the cabin, and although Castiel wants desperately to ask Dean where their friendship stands, he’s too terrified to hear the answer.
Before, Castiel always wondered what it would be like to be with Dean, and he allowed himself the private agony of contemplating what if and maybe one day. Now, he knows in vivid detail exactly what it would be like. He also knows the answer to the question of what if and it has broken him.
Once home, Dean makes himself scarce and Castiel busies himself with job applications. He considers one which would take him out of state. Perhaps it’s time for a fresh start. Maybe moving halfway across the country will be the push he needs to finally get over Dean and move on with his life.
As if he could ever get over Dean.
He’s about to hit send on his latest application when there’s a knock at his door. Castiel is surprised to find Dean.
“Cas, we need to talk,” he says, eyes fixed on the ground.
Castiel lets him in, a sinking feeling in his gut. This is it, Cas thinks. Dean is here to confirm his worst fears that their friendship has been fucked up beyond repair.
“Sam called me a coward,” Dean says, as he steps over the threshold. “Dared me to man up and do something, and honestly Cas, he was right. I’m a goddamn coward.”
Castiel closes the door behind him, not sure what Dean’s saying or what his brother has to do with anything. Dean sounds far away, muffled by the ringing in Castiel’s ears.
“I’ve never been scared of anything before. I can mess with explosives, and jump off buildings. I can spend the night in a haunted house, or streak naked through a football field. I don’t back down, Cas. Not from anything, ever.”
Castiel nods mechanically. He knows this. He was there for every dare Dean’s ever agreed to.
“Except you, Cas. You terrify me.”
Castiel blinks. Dean is scared of him? This is so much worse than he’d even realized. Before he can stop himself, he’s blurting out apologies.
“Dean, I’m sorry. I know it didn’t mean anything, what we did at the cabin. We were just making the best of a bad situation. I know you were thinking of the porn star the whole time, I get it, and I swear, I tried to pretend. I really did. I’m sorry if I made things awkward, if I pushed you too far, or made it weird, or crossed a line.”
“Huh?” Dean looks confused. He shakes his head and has the audacity to laugh. “I never cared about the porn star, Cas. I stopped closing my eyes after the first day. I never wanted to imagine anyone but you.”
The ringing in Castiel’s ears reaches a crescendo.
“I’m scared, Cas, of how I feel about you. But I’m tired of being scared.” Dean reaches out a fully healed hand and strokes Castiel’s cheek. “I’m crazy about you. Always have been, even before the cabin.”
Dean’s voice is so soft Castiel has to lean in to hear him. And— fuck, are those tears?
“Dean. . .” Castiel’s hands betray him again, sliding up and stroking through Dean’s hair. It’s electric to finally feel. One hand trails down Dean’s neck, coming to rest with a thumb stroking against an erratic pulse, and Dean tips forward, eyes closed— his forehead bumping gently against Castiel’s own.
“Kiss me,” Cas whispers, unable to contain his grin. “I dare you.”