Christmas has never been a holiday that's mattered to the Winchesters. Actually, none of the holidays -- except Halloween, because weird shit is always going down on October 31st -- have ever mattered. They were just days, nothing special, nothing worth celebrating. Celebrating meant time taken away from possible hunts, and John Winchester was never one for sitting still very long, not even to give his boys anything that wasn't a necessity.
But this year, Dean wants it. He's passed thousands of houses during his life on the road, seen the lights strung across people's houses -- some going completely and awesomely overboard -- and the tree displays in Walmart and the guys dressed as Santa in various malls. This year, they all have something to celebrate, something to be thankful for, and what better way to celebrate the end of the war between Team Free Will and pretty much everyone else than by having a decent dinner, exchanging a few small gifts, and spreading the Christmas spirit through laughter, old stories, and having sex with a recently Earthbound angel?
It's the perfect way to celebrate. And because Dean has always been that Murphy guy's number one target, it also didn't happen.
He's making Bobby's famous eggnog -- the secret is to not actually add any eggnog to the whiskey -- when he hears the familiar flutter of displaced air. He doesn't turn around, just presents his back and hopes Cas can't hear his colon tying itself into a square knot.
"Hey there, douchewad." Dean tosses back his eggnog and slams the glass down onto the counter, reaching for the whiskey to pour himself another and resolutely ignoring the strainer where there are quite a few knives that he kind of wants to throw at Cas's face. God, he does Glenn Close better than Glenn Close. "Nice of you to show up. Good thing Christmas wasn't four days ago. Oh, wait."
Cas says nothing for a moment, but Dean hears the wet click of his tongue as it passes nervously over his lips. He's been at Cas to use chapstick for months but apparently the prick wants Dean to feel like he's making out with a Brillo pad.
"I am… I took longer than I intended."
At least Cas has the grace to sound contrite. It's pretty much the only grace he's rocking these days, which is a horrible thought to have and Dean immediately feels like a complete douche for having it. It's a throwaway thought, but Cas must hear it anyway because there's a hurt expulsion of breath behind him and Dean is pretty much the worst person ever. He didn't actually mean to throw that in Cas's face, because only an asshole would bring that up, but he's still pissed. When Cas said he'd spend Christmas with them, Dean really kind of expected him to be there, not disappear for days on end and ignore all of Dean's calls.
Speaking of. "So, you forget how to work your phone?"
"It would not work where I was," is the soft reply, sounding a bit thready. Cas's voice usually doesn't get to that point unless Dean's fingers have been working his ass for the better part of a half hour.
"Where were you?" He caps the bottle of whiskey and pushes it to stand against the wall. "Some random monastery in Bumfuck, Nowhere?"
Dean chokes on a mouthful of whiskey, spilling it all down his shirt -- guess Sam wasn't kidding a few days ago when he said Dean needed a bib -- and spins around, looking at Cas for the first time in nearly a week.
Cas looks like shit. The weary gaze he inherited from Jimmy is now full-blown exhaustion, and the circles under his eyes are so dark that it looks like he got sucker punched. Twice. His hair is even wilder than usual -- Dean's almost afraid birds are going to fly out of it and attack. Cas has gone from 'windswept' to 'possibly stuck tongue in light socket'.
"Jesus fuck, Cas! What the hell was so important that you had to go to 1982 for it?!" If Cas came back with legwarmers or sweatbands, Dean's going to blow something up.
Cas only gives him a tired half-smile. "Your gift."
He stares. "Dude, I got you a coat."
"It's appreciated," Cas says, looking down at the coat, at the patches of dirt, blood, and ripped fabric which haven't been mojo'ed away. He picks uneasily at it. "It's growing increasingly difficult to piece this back together."
"That's not what I -- Don't change the subject! Why were you -- I would've been happy with a six pack!"
Cas's shoulders slump and he casts about Bobby's kitchen until he finds a chair to fall into. Dean watches him, fascinated. It's like he's never even met Cas; up until now, Dean's been pretty sure Cas didn't actually know what kitchen chairs were used for. But he's never looked so tired -- Cas has always rocked the 'I smite, therefore I am' thing -- and while he's started eating every so often he's never needed sleep. How far has he fallen that he actually needs to sit down and rest a bit?
And there's Dean, leaving nasty messages on his voicemail.
"Cas," he says, stopping there; what else can he say? Cas never forgives him for the stupid shit that Dean does, because he truly believes there's nothing to forgive. Dean's absolved even before he goes and does anything. He could go out right now and fuck the first hot barmaid he finds and Cas wouldn't be angry. On the contrary. Cas would justify it by being all Vulcan and 'humans have needs that must be fulfilled'.
So Dean drops to his knees at Cas's feet and runs his hands slowly up and down slim hips clad in butter-soft navy cotton. He hopes Cas finds it soothing; it's heaven against his palms, the gentle sweeping over the fabric, which is probably so threadbare from being mojo'ed one too many times.
"I wanted to be with you for Christmas," Cas says, his hands coming up to encircle Dean's wrists gently. "But the trip took more out of me than I had anticipated."
Like he's even pissed anymore. "Dude, it's fine. We… I was just worried, you know? I thought you got waylaid by Raphael or something."
Cas snorts. "Raphael has no time for me. I wouldn't worry about him."
"Fuck him, Cas. I worry about you." And because he's a giant girl, he turns his hands to press their palms together, fingers sliding together easily."So, you gonna pony up or what? What was in '82?"
The slender fingers tangled with his start to slip away, then seem to think better of it and reverse direction until they're holding on tightly, squeezing. Jimmy had nice hands, but they're nicer and more graceful now that they're Cas's.
He hates it when Cas gets that hesitant look -- Cas isn't hesitant, or he wasn't before he started falling at Dean's request and realized all his actions have consequences. Dean squeezes the hands in his and wonders when they'll force him to trade his Guy Card for a vagina.
"I… deliberated over what to get you and Sam for a long time, if I ought to give you both… but I realized that he can't miss what he doesn't remember, and that you can and do, so I gathered as much of my Grace as I could spare and -- " Cas licks his lips again, his babbling ceasing. Cas doesn't babble, ever.
Dean can't take much more of this.
"Spit it out, Cas!"
"I went to see your mother."
The way Cas delivers news is like the way Tokyo reacts to Godzilla coming out of the bay: everyone is happy and blissfully unaware until the first building's knocked over. Dean is always that building, standing one second and in pieces the next.
Dean, swallowing back the dust and destruction, chances a look and finds Cas's nuclear death ray stare on him, unwavering and waiting for Dean to throw a shit fit. Under normal circumstances, he would freak out. He should be freaking out now, but all that tumbles out is a weak, "what?"
"The closer Christmas came, the more you dreamed of her. She kept your memories of Hell at bay; you woke well-rested, calmer. Happy. And I thought that if I could give you some part of her then you would be --"
Dean surges up from his knees to crush their mouths together, just to stop him, just to shut him up. He takes Cas's tongue into his mouth and swallows the rest of the words down, turning it nasty, dirty, nipping and biting until Cas is moaning. He arches when Cas's long fingers ruck up his shirt to get to skin, blunt nails scrabbling up Dean's back, and he breathes encouragement into the stubble on Cas's jaw.
"Yes," Cas hisses when Dean licks a hot stripe up to the tender skin behind his ear, the place that never fails to drag a full-body shudder out of him when Dean scrapes it with his teeth. Right on cue, Cas shakes apart, sliding off of the chair and into Dean's lap, knees hitting the floor hard, allowing himself to be divested of his trench coat.
Dean fucking loves it when Cas is desperate for it like this; he'll let Dean do anything to him, and God, Dean wants to do everything to him. He doesn't know where to start, if he should suck Cas until he's dripping, completely soaked, or force him to take Dean's tongue until he's screaming for Dean to shove something inside him, fingers, cock, a fist. Fuck Cas through an orgasm and keep fucking him until he has no choice but to come again, oversensitive and incoherent, skin raw from rubbing the floor with every thrust. Finger him, open and sloppy and full, until Cas begs him to stop. God, all that and more, right here in Bobby's kitchen where anyone could walk in on them and see how Dean takes an angel of God and turns him into a cockslut.
Cas must hear his thoughts because a low groan issues forth, deft fingers raking through Dean's hair and yanking his head back, baring his throat for Cas to bite. Jesus, that's hot. "You are distracting."
"And by distracting you mean sexy as hell," Dean says and punctuates it by sucking on Cas's bottom lip. The thing is like a goddamn pillow. "It's been four days --"
"For which I apologized," Cas mutters, stealing an open-mouthed kiss and flicking his tongue playfully against Dean's teeth. He's learned well; seven months ago Cas was pretty sure tongues were only used for talking. "I want to give you your gift now."
Right. The gift. The one he got in 1982 from Dean's mother.
Dean's hand slides down and grips Cas's upper arm through the material of Jimmy's white shirt, a reply to the brand on his own arm, and slots the bridge of his nose against the swell of Cas's cheek, closing his eyes and breathing in the air that washes over his lips. It's painfully intimate, more than cuddling, more than when their words embroider themselves into the dark of a hundred motel rooms that won't soon forget them.
"What did you get Sam?" Not that Cas is required to get Sam anything, but since he went over two decades back in time for Dean it would only be fair. "A book? A really old book? You know how he gets when he finds something that some old guy wrote a million years ago, regardless of whether or not he can even read it."
Their lashes brush as Cas tilts his chin to capture Dean's lips in a soft kiss, chaste, almost worshipful. He hates it when Cas gets like that; Dean's nothing special at all, just some fuck-up with very few marketable skills and a nice car.
Fingers brush his lips, hushing him. "You are so much more than believe yourself to be. Your self-deprecation angers me."
"Pisses you off," Dean corrects, tongue flicking the soft pad of Cas's thumb. "Say 'your self-deprecation pisses me off'."
"You piss me off," Cas says dryly, amused, and Dean pushes the hand aside to get at that mouth, but Cas leans away, holding him at arm's length. "Dean, stop being a -- a douchewad. I will not give you a gift from your mother while we're engaging in sexual intercourse."
Dean stares. "Douchewad is my word. You can't use it against me."
Angel of the Lord, asshole. I can do what I want, now shut up, Cas's eyes seem to say, but maybe that's just Dean's eggnog-addled brain talking.
Cas shifts in Dean's lap until they're both a bit more comfortable, a bit more settled, and then cups Dean's jaw with a hand, passing his little finger gently under Dean's right eye. It's strangely soothing so he says nothing; he does feel a bit weird about having a raging hard-on while Cas is trying to have a moment, though. Cas's other hand comes up and he runs him thumb over Dean's left cheek, and Dean's eyes fall slowly shut, the tension from before seeping from his muscles.
It freaks him out sometimes that the only person who can get to the heart of him, knows him better than anyone else -- even Sam -- and still likes him, isn't actually a person at all. Cas saw what he did in Hell and still dragged his ass out, rebelled against Heaven for him, died for him, and continually puts up with his stubbornness and assholish tendencies and general douchbaggery. And he sticks around, despite it all.
Cas -- Castiel, the angel of God -- loves him. Enough to travel to 1982 in order to meet the parents, apparently. How is Dean, as a relatively normal human man, supposed to live in a reality that encompasses that?
"Cas," he whispers without opening his eyes. He can't face that stare, can't look at him when he gives Dean whatever it is he brought back.
"Dean," Cas answers quietly, pressing his forehead to Dean's. "I would like to give you your gift now."
He's not sure if he even wants it. This wasn't what he wanted when he asked Cas to spend Christmas with him. He'd been banking on some real eggnog, maybe some apple pie, giving Cas the coat he'd bought and had gift-wrapped at JC Penney, and a lot of sex. Not Cas disappearing into 1982 to talk to his mother for four days.
There's a long moment where it's just the sound of his breathing, which sounds a lot louder in the silence of the kitchen than it probably is, and his heart is trying to beat an escape route through his chest, but then… it's barely noticeable, and if he hadn't been expecting something he might have missed it, but it's there.
Oh, god, he knows it, Autumn evenings curled up in soft arms, being read The Witches and hoping that he would know a witch if he ever saw one. Dean inhales cinnamon and sugar, clinging to golden locks of hair that tickled his nose, left over from the pie they'd made together. She let him scoop the apple mix into the crust and they'd licked the bowl clean afterward, fingers and grins sticky.
Warmth, deep in his chest, blossoms and spreads throughout until dizziness hits, and he clutches the arms that hold him safe, loved. He's four years old again, and his mother is with him, her smile like Christmas lights, brilliant and beautiful, and he's never known anything except happiness.
Cas gave him his mother for Christmas.
He doesn't know how much time passes, but eventually the feeling fades to something small and secret, manageable, easily accessed if needed, a reminder of what he had and has. Dean sucks in a long, deep breath through his nose and leans back into the hand that rests gently on the back of his neck, grounding him.
"She took me in once I introduced myself, allowed me to rest while your father worked late," Cas murmurs against Dean's cheek, the words hushed and reverent. "You fell asleep in my lap while we watched an animated film about a reindeer with a glowing nose. You were so small, so perfect, and had so many questions. She taught me how to tuck you in, how to emulate the voice of the Grand High Witch. She was wonderful, and she loved you more than you will ever know."
There is no way for him to even deny the tears that are beading on his lashes, because they break away and smear across Cas's skin, growing cold between them from the air.
"I can't ever repay you for this, Cas," he whispers hoarsely, his hand coming up to grip the back of Cas's neck and bring their mouths together. He's snotty and disgusting, but Cas kisses him like there isn't anything else he would ever do besides this. "God, Cas."
Cas brushes the wetness away from Dean's face with his lips, and Dean knows this even better, the smell of displaced mountain air and ozone, whispers in the dark and the glint of angelic steel. He's thirty-two, and they won the war so they can have Christmas lights and Bobby's eggnog and anything they want. He has what he wants, right here.
"You are loved, always. Happy Christmas, Dean."
He holds his reason to celebrate, his something to be thankful for, as tightly as he can and breathes, "Merry Christmas, Cas."