Chapter 1: Little he knows...
Dean had wanted to apologise, to tell Cas everything he hadn’t dared to even think about for the past ten years but instead he smashed his lips against the angel’s with so much force he nearly made Cas fall back. When he realised what he was doing, he moved away.
Still, having to make sure, he said “Don’t do this to me, Cas…”
A look of understanding crossed Cas’ face. “Of course, Dean.” he agreed, a smile on his lips.
They had made it back to the bunker in once piece, although not without having to stop several times because Cas had nearly passed out from exhaustion and the pain from his wounds. Dean had cursed more so than usual and Sam had been on edge the whole ride home. Once finally back in their home base, Dean all but collapsed on the couch, face buried in the pillow and promised himself not to move for the next week or so.
“Move over.” Sam said and let a barely conscious angel sink against Dean who spluttered and shifted away from the sudden contact. Cas didn’t react, too caught up in the pain coming from his ribs. Somehow, the wound had gotten infected and was now burning like hellfire.
“Being human is more of a challenge than I initially suspected.” Cas grunted but still sounded like talking about a mild nuisance which had both hunters simultaneously roll their eyes.
“All part of the lifestyle, Cas.” Sam said, a smile obvious in his voice. Dean, on the other hand, didn’t see the humour of the situation.
“I told you, you’d get hurt, Cas. Maybe lay off hunting for a while.” Dean pointed out, the image of Cas’ unconscious body still burned into his brain.
“Dean, we already had this conversation. I wish to play my part and assist you any way I can.” Cas’ tone made Dean reconsider his next move. Cas sounded just so damn vulnerable, as if they’d throw him out if he didn’t do work.
“Cas, you don’t need to assist us, you’re welcome here anyway. You’re family, man.” Sam beat him to it. Cas however, looked at him for some reason, as if only Dean’s word would reassure him. Oh, well- here we go.
“Course, Cas.” Dean assured with a shrug and saw a real gummy smile appear on Cas’ face for the first time since they had started the ride home. That it was directed at him, and him only, made Dean’s insides feel funny.
“Come on, buddy. Get some shut-eye- you’ve been up long enough.” he directed Cas to his room, not bothered by Sam’s remark of him being a “mother hen”.
Only when he lay in bed, unable to sleep like usual, did the last thirty hours come back to him. How he had acted, what he had done.
That damn kiss!
And suddenly, he felt the panic creeping in, his heart beat faster, his vision blurred and he couldn’t breathe freely. He sat up, pressed a hand against his chest, tried to calm down but was beyond the point of it being manageable.
Without further thought, he ripped open his bedside drawer to pull out a flask full of whiskey and downed it in one gulp. The burning sensation grounded him for a moment, the alcohol not really in his bloodstream just yet, but the familiarity of the taste already a calming factor. Still, the fact remained that he had- in the spur of the moment- kissed Cas.
Cas of all people.
And he was not- this was not- okay.
Fuck. He was screwed. They were screwed.
Everyone Dean had gotten close to in the past, every girl, every relationship had been cursed from the very beginning. He didn’t do commitment, didn’t do relationships in general. And now, thinking about what that kiss had meant, how it might have looked like to Cas made him wanna puke. The truth was that he had wanted to kiss Cas like that for a long time, even if he never would admit to it. But he couldn’t afford to feel that way. He shouldn’t even feel that way at all. And now his self-control had slipped for a second ‘cause Cas had been alive and walking and he had been so relieved to see him up and running.
But now- God now- the impact of what that kiss had changed, dawned on him. Cas would be in danger, he would be a target- just like Sam. Dean couldn’t watch that unfold. He couldn’t change the fact that Sam would always be in danger because of Dean but he damn well should have made sure Cas would not be. With Cas, it had always been different- he had had a choice and he had made the wrong one, for just one taste of his angel.
This- this was precisely why he never even dared to touch the hidden drawer of feelings in his brain because the second he did, something horrible was about to happen.
John’s voice echoed through his head, a nasty snarl saying: Cas is male- you fell for a man- a dude- an angel on top of that. He heard every sneer his father had ever let loose, every snide remark about those kinds of people and how Dean better not ever think of disgracing the family that way.
He tried to shut it out but the whiskey didn’t work yet.
And once again, he thought the kiss should never had happened, should never even been a possibility. Yet, he had thrown all caution out of the window because he had nearly lost Cas- once again. Still, he needed to make sure to push all feelings he might have for Cas deep, deep down where they belonged and on top of that make sure Cas accepted that too.
Oh, Dean was no idiot, he knew damn well, there was no way Cas would forget the kiss or simply ignore it. He had spent five out of the ten years he’d known the damn stubborn angel telling him to stay the hell away from Dean and see where it got him. He would have to tell him at some point though that the kiss had just been a mistake, that he hadn’t been in full control of himself and that it would never happen again. Cas needed to understand.
But what if he didn’t? What if he left because of that? Dean really hoped he wouldn’t. If Cas left because of that- if he left, period… What was he supposed to do?
“Dean?” Cas’ voice came from the door. The familiar sound ripped him out of the destructive downwards-spiral he had been in for just a short amount of time. His fingers itched to scratch his head but the flask was still in his hand.
“Uh- Cas- what’s…? It’s three in the morning.” he said, sounding sleep ruffled and not as inebriated as he knew himself to be. Cas needed to leave, this was not- he couldn’t deal with him now.
“Are you alright, Dean?” Cas asked, obviously worried and made a move as if to step inside but was stopped by Dean’s hand in the air.
“No- yes, just go back to sleep, Cas.” he gestured for him to step outside but Cas didn’t budge.
“I cannot sleep, Dean.” he mumbled and it took Dean a moment to realise that Cas was asking for help without really asking.
“Read something, watch TV- I don’t know, man. What do you want me to do?” He got grumpier by the minute. What was he- Cas’ personal babysitter?
“Of course, Dean. I apologise.” Cas muttered, turned and closed the door behind him.
Any other time, Dean would have followed him, would have apologise for the harsh words but tonight he simply couldn’t. The alcohol finally kicked in and made his brain fuzzy enough that he could sink back against the pillow. And while, in his mind, the problem still remained unsolved, sleep mercifully took over.
Dean walked down the stairs the next morning, half expecting a cup of coffee with Cas already sitting there- and tried to simmer down the sharp pang of disappointment when neither one greeted him. Instead, he found Sam in the kitchen, rummaging through drawers and preparing, what Dean considered not worthy the title, “breakfast”.
“Mornin’, Dean. Sleep well?” Sam asked, all chipper and Dean wanted to kill something. This day started as horribly as yesterday has ended. And he was hungover.
He didn’t answer but sat down at the table and waited for Sam to finally stop making so much fucking noise.
Finally. Finally, he sat down beside Dean and ate his breakfast happily. Cas strolled down fifteen minutes later, looking grey around the edges and even grumpier than Dean.
“Hey, Cas. You alright?” Sam asked, oblivious to the sudden tension in the room. Cas refused to look at Dean and answered with a non-committal shrug.
“Riiight. I’ll just uh-“ Sam got up and backed out of the room.
That left Dean alone with Cas.
And wasn’t that the very thing he needed to avoid? So, he got up as well, trying to make it seem calm and collected- which he was not- and left the room as well.
Two days of him ignoring and avoiding Cas wherever he could, followed. He was under no illusion that he had to address the issue one day but still did his best to buy himself some time. Unfortunately, like always, life was rarely that kind to Dean Winchester. He walked into the kitchen to get some leftover pie and spend the afternoon in front of the TV- Sam and Cas were supposed to be outside, shooting- and nearly stumbled over when he heard a familiar voice say his name.
Like a deer in headlights he froze on the spot, one second away from getting it over with and replying to being caught, when Sam said “So, you haven’t talked to him about it?”
Concluding that they were, in fact, not talking to but rather about him, he crept closer to where the voices were coming from.
“Sam, do you know your brother?” Cas said sarcastically- they had trained the angel well in that department.
“Yeah, I guess you’re right but Cas- one of you has to-“
“I will not ask your brother, why he kissed me. That is out of question.” Cas snapped and Dean nearly choked on his own spit.
Cas had told Sam.
Cas had told Sam that Dean had kissed him.
What- the- fuck? How- why in the seven levels of hell had Cas told Sam that? How could he do that to Dean? This was a private matter- private, damn it.
“Well, someone has to. Cas, I know how he is but this isn’t working- you can’t just ignore it until it goes away.”
Wise words, Sammy, Dean thought with an eye-roll. Not that he hadn’t tried.
“He does not wish to talk about it, Sam. I will not force him to.” Cas said, voice sounding final. Dean leaned heavily against the wall.
This wasn’t supposed to happen. Sam should have never ever found out about the kiss. Never. And now his baby brother knew. That he had kissed Cas. That he had kissed a guy. Why hadn’t Cas kept his mouth shut? The prospect of talking to Cas was horrifying enough without adding Sam to the equation. Now he’d have to deal with that too. Hell, not that it would have been easy talking to Cas but to Cas and Sam was on a whole other level. He felt the anger brimming under his skin and headed towards the gym room. Why did Cas have to make this more complicated than it already was?
Without taping his knuckles first, he swung at the punching bag so hard it nearly smashed the wall behind it. The sharp pain in his fist helped his anger simmer down, even if just a bit. Still, he had to rectify this. There was no way he would let this stand. Cas made a huge mistake talking to Sam about this. It had just been a kiss for fuck’s sake, nothing to talk about here. To make such a big deal out of it was ridiculous.
No, he’d just tell Sam the truth.
That it had been a mistake, that he had been high on adrenaline and worry and had been relieved that Cas was okay and he had been spurred on by the moment. He needed both of them to believe the kiss had meant nothing. Everything would be so much simpler if they’d move passed that and never talked about it again. Cas must never know how Dean really felt about that kiss. It would be one hell of a performance but he needed to deliver it perfectly.
This had to work.
“Cas, I know Dean is difficult to handle but don’t you think the kiss meant something? Maybe he just hasn’t talked to you ‘cause he’s scared you don’t want him to?” Sam gently prompted, hoping for all the world that this was the reason. Knowing his brother though, he feared that Dean was on his way into a full panic meltdown. Sand pretty heavy denial on top of it.
“Sam, I simply do not see how you can think that. Your brother does not want to discuss the matter, he does not want to be in the same room with me. If I indeed speak to him, he will tell me that he was not in his right mind and that it was a mistake.” Cas answered, aimed and shot.
Surprisingly, the anger and disappointment seemed to improve his aim, since he hit the target pretty well.
“ But what if he doesn’t? Don’t you wanna know?” Sam tried again, aiming himself and hitting right in the middle.
“What if he does? What if he tells me everything I have tried to tell you?” Cas asked.
“So, what? Then you know.” If Sam had looked at Cas in that moment he wouldn’t have needed to ask this question.
“It would hurt me.” Cas admitted so quietly, Sam would have missed it if he hadn’t been standing so close to the angel.
“Cas-“ he put a hand on his friend’s shoulder.
“I understand your issue, Sam. I do not like the tension either but I will not put myself through this.” Sam nodded sadly, understanding his point. God, he knew Dean probably better than the man did himself and therefore, he knew one thing to be true- Cas was right: the chances of Dean admitting to his true feelings were probably below zero, especially because Cas was decidedly male- at least after his fall.
And Sam had by no means forgotten the words his father had spat whenever Dean had so much as looked at anyone other than a girl. At the time, he hadn’t fully understood how much it had affected Dean but now, it was plain as day. Out of all the things Dean was worried about, putting a label on his sexuality should not be- and should never have been- one of them.
And it was Cas. For heaven’s sake, Cas was arguably the best thing that had ever happened to Dean- and Sam by default. Dean had said it himself: his one big win. And, while refusing to believe in the good things in life, had Dean written all over, hurting Cas was where Sam drew the line. Cas was his friend too. And this silly dance had gone on long enough. If none of them would make the first step, he would take matters into his own hands.
He was on his way back inside when Cas stopped him. “Sam, if you do talk to your brother sometime, may I request-“ but he trailed off and turned away.
“What is it, Cas?” he asked.
“Would it be possible for you, to ask him not to call me…” Cas stopped for a second, a blush on his cheeks.
“Not to call you what?” he had an inkling as to where this was going but needed Cas’ confirmation.
“Not to call me angel anymore.” Cas said.
“Why?” he had to ask. Cas had always responded to the nickname with that secret little smile of his and Sam had thought it to be an insider between the two. For him now to want Dean to stop using it, was a bit out of character.
“It is a term of endearment, is it not?” Sam nodded. “Used in a romantic context normally?” Sam nodded again and understood instantly what the problem was.
“Of course, Cas. I’ll tell him.” Cas already aimed again, then looked back at Sam.
"Thank you, Sam. I appreciate having you as a friend.” Sam’s chest was suddenly tight with feelings. He stepped forward to wrap Cas in a hug and felt the angel smile faintly against his shoulder. “You too, Cas.” he murmured, then let go to walk inside.
He needed to talk to Dean.
Dean stepped out of the cold shower, his frustration not gone but slightly less close to the surface. While dressing, he thought back to the conversation he overheard and came to the same conclusion he had already come to hours ago. Cas shouldn’t have told Sam. But, since he did, it was on Dean to clarify things.
When he stepped into the living area, neither his brother nor Cas where anywhere in sight.
Alright then, at least he would have the kitchen to himself to prepare dinner from scratch in private. Having nobody to complain about his drinking habits, he opened a bottle of beer which quickly turned into several and, at some point, had morphed itself into whiskey.
Sometime in-between he had moved to the couch and was now startled when the other two occupants of the bunker came in. Cas noticed the mess in front of him first and stared at him with so much judgement and sadness in his eyes that Dean had to look away.
Sam, on the other hand, just huffed an exasperated breath like he had done a thousand times before and cleaned the bottles from the table and the floor.
“You’ve got to stop this, Dean.” he murmured as if Dean wasn’t two feet away. Dean was on his way to coming up with a witty reply when Cas stalked away from him without a word. Somehow, the answer got caught in his throat. Cas never walked away from him when he was this drunk- or had not walked away from him for a very long time, period. Usually, he’d have made sure Dean was alright, would have tutted and explained why alcohol should never be used to squash his feelings and could affect his bla-bla-bla and stuff like that.
Now though, it seemed as if the angel couldn’t care less about Dean and that made him feel more uneasy than anything else would have. He tried to stand up and failed spectacularly. Sam caught him barely in time before he hit his head on the table.
A lowly rumbled “Go to sleep, Dean.” rang in his ears on repeat while he helped him up the stairs, put a basket beside his head, a glass of water on the nightstand and then left him there. The bed felt colder than usual.
In the morning, he could have sworn several drills were on full power and ripping his head apart from the inside out. He made it downstairs on wobbly knees and wasn’t the least bit surprised to see Sam’s judgy eyebrow climb up his forehead.
“What?” he snapped and fell heavily down onto his favourite chair, the impact shooting needles through his eyeballs.
“Nothing.” Sam said, even when it was obvious that he was lying.
“Come on, give it to me- shouldn’t drink that much, Dean- it ain't healthy, Dean and yadda, yadda, yadda.” Sam’s bitchface looked even bitchier than usual and had Dean pause mid-thought.
“You really shouldn’t drink that much. But- that’s not what I wanna talk to you about.” Sam said slowly. Dean’s insides immediately clenched, his stomach rebelling. He jumped up and ran to the bathroom. The prospect of having to talk feelings with Sam made him wanna puke on his best of days- he really hated chick-flick moments. Sam didn’t comment on it but it was clear that he had lots to say about Dean’s timely retreat.
Just when he thought his day couldn’t get any worse, he saw Cas march in his direction with his jaw set and grim determination in every step. Luckily, the door to the library was wide open so he ducked inside and closed the door in Cas’ face. He heard the angel splutter indignantly and breathe out an irritated sigh but he seemed to have walked away when Dean let go of the door handle. He knew he was being pathetic and childish.
That didn’t change the fact that he wasn’t ready to talk to Cas.
The possibility of him never wanting to speak to Dean again, made him anxious. He didn’t know for sure what Cas’ stance was on this but there was a tiny part of him that couldn’t help but secretly hope it somehow had meant something to Cas too. He couldn’t act on it, even if Cas felt a certain way about him. Cas would get over it, the sooner he made him realise they would never be an item the better - not that Dean would want- oh, who was he kidding, he did want that, maybe just a tinsy-tiny bit. Even if Cas was hurt by Dean pushing him away, there was no comparison to what it would feel like when he found out how disturbed and broken Dean truly was inside. He couldn’t watch Cas figure that out and decide to dump him, he also couldn’t watch Cas die because some evil fucker had found out the angel was Dean’s pressure point.
No, he needed to set things straight.
Sam too had tried to talk to him several times per day but Dean had improved his strategies of convenient retreats so that the only time he would have to actually talk to either of the two was in the morning when he got himself his substantial cup of coffee without which he couldn’t function. However, when he walked into his room to go to sleep three days later, he was cornered by his baby brother. And it looked like he had lots to say.
“This ends today, Dean.” Sam snapped, the frustration clear on his face. He had prepared himself for that moment but still was completely caught unawares by Sam’s sudden outburst. It took him a second to remember his concept.
“I won’t deal with this anymore. You’ve had plenty of time to talk to him and it’s obvious you won’t, so let me make this easy for you. You either go in there and tell him why you’ve been acting so strange lately or I’llgo and tell him. Your choice!”
Dean was taken aback by the anger in Sam’s voice but bit back just as harshly. “Yeah, what exactly do you think you’re gonna tell him- huh, Sammy?” a nasty grin spread on his face.
“That you’re in love with him!” Sam shouted. Dean flinched, heart somewhere in the basement and not beating for several seconds. Hell to the no!
“I'm what now? Are you having a stroke? I want you to listen to me very carefully, Sammy: I am not and will never be, in love with Cas!” Dean yelled back. It was go big or go home at this point. He needed Sam to believe him. He’d pull out all of the tricks if he had to.
“Then why’d you kiss him? Why the avoiding and the snarling and this whole mess?” Sam matching him in volume and sounding so damn sure of himself. Well, Dean hated to destroy the kid’s illusion. You know what? Thinking about it, he actually did not.
“Maybe ‘cause I don’t want him to get his hopes up? Have him think there’s something when there’s clearly not? Ever think about that?” he threw in his brother’s face. If Sam knew the truth, if he even guessed it, then Dean was screwed. Sam would never allow him to go through with this, he wouldn’t understand. No, Dean needed to make sure that even Sammy believed, he didn’t have an ounce of a feeling for the angel.
“As if, Dean! Are you seriously telling me that there’s nothing between the two of you?” Sam asked, incredulously.
“Yes! Thank fuck, he’s finally got it!” Dean yelled, hands stretched up to the roof in a cruel imitation of prayer.
“Then why the kiss, Dean?” Sam said and something in his tone changed. That was an easy one. He had prepared his answer carefully for that particular question from the second it had happened.
“He was alive. That’s all. I was happy he wasn’t dead, high on the hunt. Choose a reason for all I care. There’s nothing more to it.”
Sam shook his head slowly. “No, Dean. Even if what you say is true- which I don’t think it is- why do you constantly worry about him? Why do you always drink yourself stupid whenever he leaves?” Sam asked, his voice small.
Dean reeled back as if he had been slapped. That shouldn’t- Sam shouldn’t have- how dare he bring that up? It wasn’t fair. He knew- he knew what seeing Cas’ dead body had done to him. But, you know what? If he wanted to play dirty, so be it.
“Oh please, you are one to talk! You always bitch when he doesn’t call you back for a day!” He shot back.
“I never said I didn’t worry. But there’s a difference, Dean!” he explained but Dean was beyond hearing it. It didn’t matter anyways. Whatever Sam said, he would discredit so there would be no doubt that the angel meant nothing to him. So, he threw around the worst insults he could think of.
“No, Sam- I’ll tell you what. You may think you’ve found a new cuddle buddy and what not but he’s notfamily. Don’t you get it? Course I worry- he’s as good a weapon as we’ll get! So, guess what: If he’s counting worms, we’re on our own! Ever think of that?” Dean nearly yelled himself hoarse and stared at Sam, ready to contradict any accusation he would throw at him.
But Sam didn’t throw, didn’t yell, he simply stood there, looking like Dean just told him, they would not be going to Disneyland tomorrow.
“That’s all you think of him, Dean? That he’s a weapon? That you can use him until you don’t need him anymore?” Sam asked and Dean hated the way he sounded close to tears.
Shit. This wasn’t just puppy eyes anymore, this was the damn Niagara Falls.
He hadn’t meant to disappoint his baby brother but there was not turning back now. Here goes nothing.
“There something wrong with that?” he replied, aiming for his most blank expression.
“Yes. Yes, there is something wrong with that, Dean. Cas is our friend, we- you have always said he’s family. You invited him to stay…” Dean laughed at that, a hollow sound void of any humour that echoed loudly in the empty room. Time to go in for the kill.
“What else was I supposed to do? Have to keep an eye on him, otherwise I wouldn’t even have let his foot cross the threshold.” he said and saw a sudden spark of understanding on Sam’s face.
“So, what you are telling me is that you don’t like him and you only allowed him to stay ‘cause he’s useful.” Sam summed up, full on smiling now. It made Dean’s stomach churn with unease. He knew that look. It was the: I see right through your bullshit look.
“Why are you- you know what- yes. That’s exactly the reason.” he answered, freaked out by the smile growing on his brother’s face as if there was something seriously funny that he didn’t see.
“What, Sam?” he spat. He hated it, when Sam acted like he knew everything and Dean was an idiot.
Sam was about to answer, when suddenly they heard the front door slam.
They looked at each other and Dean found his own worry mirrored in Sam’s eyes. They made it down the stairs- heard an engine roar. Dean reacted first. He sprinted outside just in time to see that ugly ass beige pimpmobile disappear behind a sharp right turn. Dean closed the door with more force than strictly necessary and ran up the stairs as fast as he could, only to find Cas’ room void of his clothes and the spare toothbrush Dean had picked out for him.
When he returned downstairs, he saw Sam still in the same position at the door where he’d left him.
“He’s gone. Cas is gone.” he said, defeat vibrating in his every fibre.
To Sam’s credit, he didn’t say anything, didn’t throw accusations that would have been justified but instead went to the fridge to get both of them a bottle of beer.
They sat down on the couch and Sam finally spoke up in a low voice. “He must have heard…” regret so strong it nearly made him barf, flooded through Dean.
Once again, this was his fault. There was no way around it. He had fucked up royally this time. He had been so ready to deny the true reasons for the kiss that he had made Cas leave. Cas- that freakishly stubborn, too loyal for his own good angel- his angel… Cas, who now thought he hated him and didn’t want him and had lied to this whole time.
He should have made sure that damned door was shut, that Cas was out on a grocery run or somewhere in the basement before discussing this with Sam.
God, he had been an idiot. There was no way back from this. Even if he ever got the chance to explain himself, even if he somehow by a miracle got Cas to listen, the angel would never forgive him. And he shouldn’t. Deanwouldn’t even forgive himself, no matter the reason, for what he’d done.
“We have to look for him” he mumbled.
“Are you sure? Maybe he just doesn’t wanna-“ but Dean didn’t want to think what would happen if they didn’t look for him.
“He’ll get hurt- he doesn’t know how to be human- Sammy! He’ll get killed- he doesn’t have his mojo- I…” Sam placed a hand on his shoulder, calming down the upcoming panic attack just before it actually came crashing in. He promised they’d find him and then proceeded to call Charlie to locate Cas’ phone.
Dean sat on the couch, motionless.
It was all his fault. How could he have said all those things? How could he have thought this would work, that this was in any way a good idea. He should have known what would happen if he tried to lie his way out of dealing with his feelings. He should have known Cas would hear. It was so typical of him. He always did this. Pushed people away when they got too close for comfort, isolated himself so they didn’t want him anymore or decided he wasn’t worth it.
He had pushed and pushed because if he hadn’t Cas would one day have told him that he had made the wrong decision and would have walked away- and Dean wouldn’t have survived that. So, he had lashed out, had hurt before Cas would hurt him. He had underestimated how much it would hurt the angel. Never, in a million years did the thought occur to him that Cas would really leave after hearing that. Cas shouldn’t have heard it in the first place. He hadn’t thought that much at all to be honest when Sam had confronted him. There had just been this burning need to get out of this loop. But Cas leaving had never been even on his mind.
Cas shouldn’t have heard.
Damn it! Cas shouldn’t have heard.
Sam had seen right through his bullshit excuses, Cas hadn’t. Cas had believed every vile word out of his mouth, had believed Dean’s rant to be true because he didn’t think Dean would lie, didn’t know how Dean really felt because Dean had never been brave enough to tell him.
And now he was gone. His best friend- his angel- was gone and it was his fault and his fault alone- there was no one else to blame.
Dean felt like dying. If Cas got hurt- but he stopped himself right there: They’d find him. They had to find him. Dean would find him. He needed to. There was only this one thought present in Dean’s mind- only that one. Everything else had disappeared, his fear, his regret, everything but that one thought:
Cas is gone…
Chapter 2: Little he cares...
Cas is gone and Dean needs to find him before something bad happens. Or is it already too late?
This one is more concentrates more on Cas but touches on Dean as well.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
The road ahead was dry.
Castiel had been driving for hours, so it felt. After some time, he finally pulled over on the side of the road. He didn’t get out of the car, simply sat there and looked through the windshield. The last day kept repeating itself in his head, over and over and over again.
When he had been an Angel of the Lord, he hadn’t felt emotions of this kind. Dean had always been of utmost importance to him and he had been drawn to this one human since he had rescued him from hellfire. But after the fall, it had doubled in intensity. Now, the stab whenever Dean flirted his way through a bar, didn’t feel like a dull pain but a sharp sting. Dean’s touches, his kiss had made his skin burn and his lips tingle.
Long before he had fallen, he had been quite sure of his connection to his human. Afterwards, he had not been surprised to see that those feelings had not vanished. As an angel, he hadn’t been able to act upon his instincts, fearing the fall as well as Dean’s reaction. But now that he was human too, he had no such reservations. It seemed, as though Dean did have some, regarding the matter.
And while, at first Castiel had thought it to be easy to put up with Dean’s constant self-belittling and his fear to be vulnerable, it turned out that even an Angel of the Lord was not blessed with that much patience.
Oh, Cas would’ve gladly waited forever and beyond if that was what Dean needed but that had been before he had heard of the human’s true intentions.
His thoughts wandered back to the scene he had unintentionally witnessed, to Sam’s reasoning and to Dean’s outburst. He remembered his breath leaving his lungs, his heart nearly stopping just for that moment, his stomach plummeting so fast he had very nearly vomited. Still, he had wanted to believe he had heard wrong so desperately. Hearing Dean say all those things, have him articulate his worst fears, had Castiel trembling on the driver’s seat. He felt tears on his cheeks and moved to brush them away but irritatingly enough, new ones kept falling. The sensation was odd and unwelcome and he disliked having to tell himself that it was simply a reaction of his body to extreme emotional circumstances.
It did not help.
For a moment, he wished Dean to be here to tell him how to handle this situation properly but then remembered that Dean would not care. The thought hurt so deeply it felt like a stab in his chest with an angel blade. He must not think about Dean, Castiel promised himself, even though, all his memories, his choices revolved around this one human.
While he knew that- even with taking the kiss out of the equation- Dean would still someday have told him the true motives behind his actions, he wished for that kiss to never have happened. That simple touch had ignited a spark as if his grace had been restored.
A taste of what could have been.
If he weren’t Cas, if it weren’t Dean.
He had enjoyed it so much but it had made him hope. And hope was cruel when it was crushed. Cas had stood in his room, ready for bed, his pyjamas in hands and had been about to decide whether to take a shower now or in the morning. Recently, he had become quite fond of a shower just before resting, it made the bed feel more welcoming even if he was occupying it alone.
A door not far from his room had been ripped open and smashed against the wall so hard it made the bunker shake slightly. Then there had been noises, Cas had identified as Sam’s and Dean’s voices. They had been shouting at each other very loudly. Cas had left his room to see if there was anything needed from him to help resolve the conflict the brothers seemed to have. He had never liked conflict.
He had heard Sam accuse Dean of being in love with Castiel and had flinched back when he had heard the other snarl he would never be. Those words coming from Dean had felt like a punch in the stomach, almost as prominent as grief and so very painful. He had not wanted to hear anymore but for some reason hadn’t been able to move away. Somewhere distantly the words: not family, useful, a weapon had registered but only barely.
Why- why had Dean done that to him?
Did he truly deserve this- was this all there was to it?
To being human?
All that pain and no chance of relief?
He had- for a short, wonderful, fleeting moment- thought, hoped to have found somewhere he belonged. After risking his life for the Winchesters- always the Winchesters- always Dean- he had thought that he had somehow earned the privilege to be at least considered a friend.
And maybe Sam- kind and gentle Sam- had thought of him as that too but Dean- oh, Dean had never even considered him anything beyond an ally.
And knowing that, having heard that from Dean’s mouth had hurt like the fires of hell, more than Naomi’s mind control and Lucifer’s possession combined because then he had had hope. Now, there was nothing left, only a shell of an angel that was no longer welcomed in the realms of heaven because he had chosen one human over armies and brethren. He had watched the destruction of heaven and earth side by side with a man who did not love him, did not even like him. It was not only betrayal but the feeling of being left truly and utterly alone in a world where he did not and would never truly belong.
Void of any emotion he had left the doorstep and in a quick decision had gathered his few belongings and had quietly made his way down the stairs. The brothers had been shouting still and Cas had used that to make his fast retreat. The engine of his beloved car had roared to life and without looking back he had driven away. Hearing Dean say he did not want him with them had made the exist surprisingly easy.
He would not stay where he was not wanted.
Leaving Sam behind, hurt maybe not equally as much but on a different level it did hurt just the same. It felt like leaving his only true friend in this world without so much as a goodbye. He knew Sam would be safe, Dean would always look out for his little brother and this time Cas was glad, for that knew without a doubt. He needn’t worry about the younger Winchester, he would be looked after, would be well taken care of and would, when his time came without a doubt, find his way to heaven.
Castiel had never met a man more deserving of piece than Sam Winchester- however wrong his first impression of him had been.
And Dean- Dean would be alright.
Precisely like the other way around, Sam would look out for his older brother. While Dean may not want him to, he would make sure to save Dean from himself. And still, even after hearing the hurtful words himself, he could not suppress a shiver at the thought of what Dean could become if he let himself fall. That had always been a possibility, the darker side of him had always been there- under the surface- but just as close, just as much Dean Winchester as his caring side was and Castiel loved it just as deeply.
Castiel nearly turned his car around at the thought of this darkness consuming his human charge again.
But he could not.
Even though, Dean would benefit from his presence, he could not do this to himself any longer. He had to believe, had to convince himself that Dean’s soul would always stay that blinding, pure light it had been when he had raised him from the pit. Dean Winchester could conquer anything in his way and be it hellfire. Castiel had to count on that. Because if he did not, he would turn his car right around to go back and to watch over this human who so obviously did not care for him, did not want him around.
Dean Winchester would be safe. Dean would be safe. He repeated the sentence in his head until nothing remained of the pain in his chest. Dean would be safe.
Dean would be safe.
Dean would be safe.
Cas woke up to a bang on his windshield. An angry looking man knocked on his car until Cas was awake enough to react to it. The man gestured for him to drive away, which he did after getting his bearings. The hurt was still there, he discovered sadly. And it felt like it was here to stay. Somewhere on the highway, Cas realised that he had indeed nowhere to go, he hadn’t considered that when exiting the bunker, the night before. What was even more discomforting was that he was in no possession of money.
Against his better judgment, Cas decided to stay another night inside his car. He followed the example the Winchesters had set countless times, their beloved Impala more of a home than an actual flat ever would. Granted, his car was nowhere near as comfortable to sleep in but it would have to do for the night. Sleep took over rather quickly once he had found a position that didn’t require acrobatics.
His dreams were laced with images of Dean’s face, taunting him, then Dean kissing a stranger at a bar, Dean dying, Dean going darkside, Dean, Dean, Dean…
Morning came as some sort of a blessing and still, Cas felt more tired than he had had the night before. For a moment, he nearly wished to go back to being an angel, to belong to the Host just so he wouldn’t have to feel like this anymore. The memory of Dean’s voice saying all these horrible things made his chest ache with hurt. Nevertheless, he forced himself out of the car and walked briskly toward the shop behind the gas-station.
Requiring regular nourishment still was a foreign concept to him from time to time and in this state, he could barely eat the granola bar he had purchased. While still chewing on the granola, which was in all fairness completely void of any flavour, he went around the building and was stopped by a rather firm grip on his upper arm.
He looked up to two men towering over him, one armed with what he recognised to be a shotgun, the other holding a large knife with a rusty blade. Instead of being afraid, he simply stared and waited for them to explain what the purpose of the situation was.
When they didn’t, he politely asked “Is there a reason for you to be holding onto me? I find myself…”
“Shut the fuck up an’ hand it ova’!” the one with the knife interrupted quite crudely.
“I do not understand what you want me to ‘hand over’” Castiel answered, thoroughly confused by the unclear way the man articulated. He detected a faint southern twang in his speech style.
“Cash, bitch!” the other one spat and very nearly ripped Castiel’s arm out. The angel did not comment on the pain. However, he did not like to be talked to like in that way.
“I do not possess any money.” he stated truthfully and took a step forward to walk away.
“Think we’re stupid? Watched ya’ get outta tha’ car.” he pointed to Cas car and back at him.
“Ya’ think ye’r so smart, no? Guess what y’er not! So gimme y’er fukcin’ cash or I cut y’er head off.” the smell of hard liquor laced his breath.
“I do not own any money,” he said once more, slowly getting annoyed. He tried to walk away again but didn’t even make it one step towards his car, before he was hauled back. A fist met with his stomach and made him double over. Breath left his lungs quickly. He had not been prepared for this assault on his body.
“Now, wanna give us the cash?” when Cas opened his mouth to protest again, a wicked right hook smashed his jaw against the wall behind him. He fell to the ground, clutching his chin, blood dripped down his neck. The pain was nothing he could not handle but still a nuisance.
“I do not-“ he gulped when a kick landed hard in his lower stomach. The airstream stopped abruptly and he coughed. He scrambled to get up but was pushed down again. While staring up at the two men he realised, they were not going to stop. His sight was blurry and he raised his arms to protect his head from the kicks that still rained down on him. Pain exploded on his forehead when a boot connected with it harshly.
He grunted, tried to get up and crawl away but they wouldn’t let him. His nose broke with a sickening crack, his lungs wouldn’t expand, he couldn’t breathe.
Panic soared through him like wildfire. The sudden clarity of being unable to stop them, made his stomach plummet. He would die. He would die behind a gas-station, alone and helpless. He had fought heaven and hell, had survived purgatory and hellfire and would be defeated by two human robbers. His eyelids closed, even though he fought to keep them open. Somewhere in his mind a voice yelled at him to stay conscious.
It was a losing battle.
Another hit in his gut and there was nothing but black.
The bunker was quiet when Sam got off the phone again early the next morning. Charlie promised to call when she had news but unless Cas suddenly decided to use a credit card or turn on his mobile then their chances were rather slim. Dean had been running up and down for the better part of an hour, packing and un-packing bags, throwing a beer bottle and smashing the punching bag so hard it had fallen down.
“Dean- Dean, sit down! You’re driving me crazy.” Sam said and instantly wished he hadn’t.
“You think I give a fuck! Cas is gone, Sam!” as if Sam didn’t know that already. He sighed. Handling Dean in this mood was not only difficult, it was a freaking herculean task.
“Call Charlie again, see if she has something!” Dean snapped.
“Dean, I already called her twice, she doesn’t have anything.” Sam had tried to explain that to Dean before but his brother hadn’t listened.
“So, what? Maybe she had something now! Call her!”
“I just got off the phone. She doesn’t have anything.” he tried not to sound like talking to a stubborn child but judging by the murderous look on Dean’s face, he failed by a mile.
“What is she good for, then? If she can’t even track down a freaking angel?” he yelled and that was were Sam intervened. He understood that his brother was stressed and freaking out but insulting Charlie wasn’t the way to go. Even though, Dean wasn’t in his right mind, he shouldn’t throw things around like that, since the last time he had, it had gotten them here.
“You know she’s trying. Don’t blame her for this. This isn’t her fault.” he said.
Dean’s face twisted up in utter pain and he went remarkably white. Sam was on his feet so fast, he knocked over the coffee table.
“Dean- no, I didn’t mean-“ but Dean ran away without looking back. Sam hurried after him, seeing Dean punch a wall on his way to his room.
Fuck. This wasn’t looking good. Blood dripped from Dean’s knuckles. He hadn’t meant for it to sound like an accusation but hearing it with Dean’s ears, it had sounded so cruel.
“Dean- I didn’t mean-“ The door to Dean’s room slammed in his face.
Shit. Chuck knows, what Dean would do inside his room on his own in that mood. Sam knew, his brother had a secret stash of hard liquor somewhere in the room and he so very much hoped, Dean wasn’t drinking it. The last thing he needed, was Dean drinking himself into a coma. Again.
The restless feeling inside of Dean wouldn’t settle down. No matter what he did, it just wouldn’t fucking settle. He already had the whiskey in his hands before he even consciously decided to drink it.
He took a moment to overthink it but the urge to just squash those damned feelings was too strong to resist. It burned so damn good on his tongue. And in his mind there still was this voice- that sounded like a bizarre mixture of Sam and Cas- that kept telling him to slow down, to fucking stop Dean!- but he didn’t listen.
He couldn’t do this.
Knowing he had finally managed to drive Cas – stubborn, loyal Castiel– away from him, hurt like a bitch. It must be a new record, even for him, making even his angel leave after everything they’ve been through. It had to be a new low. Everybody always left him and this time it was actually his fault. Out of sheer frustration, he kicked his bed-stand and promptly heard his toe crack. The sudden pain dulled the ache inside his heart, giving him something else to concentrate on, if only for a short while.
But it didn’t last.
He grabbed his phone and dialled Charlie’s number before he could chicken out. After two rings she answered and hearing her voice was a relief on its own. “Dean?” she said, obviously concerned.
“Y-yeah…” he croaked out, suddenly closer to tears than he wanted to admit. Damn it. He had no right, no freaking right, to feel like this. Cas was hurt and he was to blame. He wasn’t allowed to pity himself.
“Dean I’m doing what I can- I know it’s…” she paused shortly “it’s not easy- but you have to give me some time ‘kay? I promise I’m working as fast as I can but he just doesn’t-“ another pause, as if she prepared herself for an outburst “he doesn’t have his phone on, he hasn’t used one of the cards… I’m sorry-“ Dean steeled himself for what was to come next “but if he doesn’t do either, I can’t find him.” he immediately hung up and threw the phone against the wall so hard it sprang apart.
The bed dipped under his weight when he fell down on it and buried his face in his hands. Reality hit him and tears promptly started dropping down his face. He felt so utterly helpless, so guilty. For just a moment he would have given anything for Cas to still be an angel just so he could pray to him, tell him to come home, that he was sorry. But Cas wasn’t an angel anymore and his prayers wouldn’t reach him.
He wanted him back.
He swore in that moment to do everything he could, to become a better man if only Cas returned to him. Even though, he had never been one for faith, in that moment he promised to stop drinking and figure out his feelings like a grown adult should if only he got a second chance with Cas. If only Cas came home.
He sent a silent prayer to Chuck.
Please, I want my angel back.
I’ll do anything- whatever it takes.
I just want him back.
Sam nearly knocked down the door two hours later. Dean got up slowly at his brother’s annoying intrusion.
“What?” he bellowed and silently dared Sam to comment on his red-rimmed eyes. His whole body urged for a fight. To let his frustration out and feel punches rain down on him, to breathe again, to feel something else besides this utter hopelessness.
However, when he heard Sam say the words “Charlie found him.” with the biggest grin on his face, he nearly fell over in relief.
“Wh- how?” he asked already putting on his jacket and running down the stairs.
Sam jogged after him. “She checked the security-footage of the area- don’t know how she thought of that but it worked. She found his car in the parking lot of gas-n-sip.”
Dean threw himself on the driver’s seat, Sammy riding shotgun. Both of them nearly glowing with excitement. In his head, Dean repeated his words over and over, making sure he knew them as well as the trunk of the Impala so that, when he’d stand face to face with Cas he’d know them by heart. He only had that one chance to make this the fuck right and damn would he take it.
They reached the gas-n-sip about half an hour later and Dean briefly wondered why he hadn’t just spent the night looking for Cas on his own. If he’d known the angel had stayed that close to the bunker, he’d never had stayed at that precise bunker.
No, he’d driven this night and the next if it had meant to find his angel and bring him home. Not like he had slept anyway. Whatever, it was all water under the bridge now. He slammed the brakes; the Impala came to an abrupt halt.
“What? What is it?” Sam asked perplexed. But Dean wasn’t even in the car anymore. He had caught a flicker of dark hair that had looked frighteningly familiar. And it had gone to the ground like a bag of rice.
He had never in his life run that fast. When he turned the corner and the scene unfolded before his eyes, he nearly threw up. Cas was on the ground and looking like a punching bag. He had seen hell and purgatory but never had he seen something so disgusting as that. Bile rose up in his throat when he heard Cas whimper ever so slightly and saw him move his hands to protect his head. Cas’ head snapped back when one of the men kicked him with his boot.
Dean heard the faint crack of Cas’ nose and saw red.
Somewhere distantly, he might have heard Sam’s voice yelling at him to stop but he was beyond caring. With all his might, he grabbed the two men and ripped them away from the angel. Cas’ eyes fluttered close and he sank down un-movingly. The sight triggered Dean’s memory and he felt himself taken back to that day a few weeks ago when Cas had looked exactly the same. He felt the blade pierce his skin before he could even make a move to defend himself.
It didn’t hurt.
Nothing would hurt as much as seeing Cas bleeding on the ground. Sam finally reached them and not for the first time was he glad, his brother was a giant of a moose. Within a few minutes, the brothers had disarmed their opponents and held them down on their knees. Dean didn’t think twice before punching both of them in the face until neither of them moved. Sam tried to pry him off of them but saw Dean’s rage for what it was and stepped back until Dean stood up, panting, bloody all over.
The men weren’t dead, Dean had seen to that.
He wanted them to wake up and hurt so badly they would never again think of hurting anyone else like this. You didn’t kick a man when he was down. Even demons knew that. It had taken all of his remaining self-control not to rip them to pieces and show them the bitter tang of blood hell had left behind on his soul.
“Dean- Dean come on!” Sam was already on Cas’ side, checking for his pulse and looking up at his brother with so much fear in his eyes, Dean’s knees gave out under him.
“He’s alive- breathe, Dean! It’s all good, we’re gonna take him back to the bunker and it’s gonna be alright- okay? You with me? Dean? Dean!” Sam yelled at him. Dean couldn’t answer. Cas still didn’t move and he couldn’t do anything.
“Help me carry him to the car. Dean, come on!” he acted on a mixture of muscle-memory and instinct but in his head, there was nothing, like he blacked out somewhere in between the fight and now.
To this day, Dean wouldn’t remember how they got Cas from the parking lot to the bunker or the drive there. What he would remember however, was that, without Sam he would still be standing there and Cas would probably already be dead.
Once again, Cas lay on their couch, unconscious and bleeding. Frankly, Dean was getting so sick of that.
“Help me stop the bleeding- press here-“ Sam kept giving instructions and for once, Dean was grateful. It took about an hour before Cas showed any signs of being alive and Dean wasn’t proud to say he spent three quarters of that hour pacing and staring and bitching at Sam to do something for fuck’s sake. Sam took it in stride and told his brother calmly to shut up. Suddenly, Cas sat up and promptly fell off the couch then scrambled to his feet, obviously not aware of where he was.
“Cas- Cas, calm down, you’re safe, it’s okay…” Sam said, somehow managing to sound soothing and firm all at once.
“Sam? Sam!” Cas’s surprise made Dean shudder. Was it really such a miracle that they’d come to save him? But then the reason for Cas’ injuries came back and he had to lean against the wall to steady himself.
“Cas, sit down, please you’re hurting yourself.” Sam helped him sink down onto the couch as gently as he could. Cas hissed when he came in contact with the cushion.
“Dean? A little help here please.” The flinch that went through Cas at the mention of Dean’s name was nothing short of spectacular.
“I-I…” he took a step forward, hands up in a gesture that signalled: I’m not a threat.
Cas’ posture didn’t relax, his shoulders were still squared- everything about him seemed to scream “defence”.
Sam noticed and looked at Dean with so much pity that Dean waned to hurl.
“I’ll go to my room.” he pressed out, tears already burning in his eyes. He nearly ran from the room, determined not to let them see, not to let Cas see.
Once he reached his room and sank down on the bed his first instinct was to grab the whiskey and drown each and every feeling he still had. He never, never wanted to see Cas flinch away from him like that again. Just before the liquor hit his lips he stopped. Something didn’t sit right with him. He had promised the world if he had Cas back and now Cas was back and he should try to keep that promise.
Maybe this was the time to stop drowning his feelings in alcohol and start dealing with them like the man he should be. Cas had been hurt, emotionally and now physically because Dean Winchester had been a freaking chicken.
This would end today.
It took a large amount of willpower to empty the bottle in the sink but when the last bit was washed away, he felt sudden freedom. It was time to face his demons and he would do it in true Winchester-fashion: with his head high and his shoulders squared.
Sam gawked when he saw Dean come down the stairs without stumbling, determination in every step. He had half suspected Dean to be on at least his third shot of whiskey by now. Dean didn’t say a word to him but it was clear what he was here to do. Cas sat on the couch with a look of utter surprise on his face and didn’t seem to grasp what was happening. Dean grabbed the sponge and scissors from Sam’s lack grip and settled between Cas’ legs to dab at his face. Neither of the other two moved a muscle, both staring as if a shapeshifter had taken hold of the older Winchester.
“D-dean, what are you doing?” Sam asked, in a high-pitched voice.
“Shut up, Samantha and get me something to stitch him back together.” Dean snapped, warning him without actually saying the word. Whatever was going on, Sam knew he needed to give them some privacy. Cas still hadn’t spoken.
“Stop moving.” Dean growled when Cas flinched at the burn of the water in his wounds. Never had Dean touched him with such tender care, never had himself allowed to. When the needle pierced his skin, Cas involuntarily shied away, causing Dean to scrape his chin with the sharp metal.
“Cas- I- would you hold still? Jesus you’re acting like-“ he caught himself just before the insult, aware that this wasn’t like the other times they had done this, aware that this was not the time to crack jokes. Instead of trying to talk, he concentrated on stitching Cas back together, careful not to hurt the angel more than necessary. Cas had been hurt enough for a lifetime. When he was done, he stood up on wobbly legs and looked down at Cas.
“I need to talk to you- I- I know I fucked up but- if you- if you would let me explain, I-“
Cas shook his head and said “There is no need to explain yourself to me, Dean. I am well aware of your feelings towards me.”
Dean felt the blow of the words as if they were physical. He gathered all his courage, breathed in, closed his eyes and said “I lied.” He waited for a reply and when none came opened his eyes to see Cas stare up at him owlishly.
“You lied. May I ask as to what it is you lied about, exactly?” there was no give in Cas’ voice, it was decidedly flat and while Dean knew it was a mechanism to protect himself from Dean, it hurt him nonetheless.
“You.” Dean stated. In hindsight, he should have known that a one-word-answer wasn’t the way to go.
“Me.” Cas repeated and then looked away. He seemed to sink further into the couch, a sudden aura of sadness around him.
“It may not occur to you, Dean but I can, in fact, no longer access your mind to make sense of your words. So, if you would please be so kind as to elaborate whatever it is you are trying to tell me.” he didn’t phrase it like a question and Dean was fairly sure he detected a note of biting sarcasm somewhere in there.
“When Sam and I had that- that – when we talked about you- I- I lied.” At the memory of the conversation he had overheard, Cas’ smile lines around his mouth disappeared completely, his eyebrows climbed high up on his forehead.
“I think we covered now that you did lie about something but since you are still not offering any clarity on what exactly that was I would like to make a guess: was it that you do not love me- that you do not view me as a friend- that I am useful to you as a weapon- that you would not have let me cross your threshold if it were not for my powers as an angel- or was it that you did not have any feelings whatsoever for me?” Cas was pissed.
Oh damn, Cas was really fucking pissed. And Dean deserved it. Hell, he knew he did. But it didn’t make it any easier.
“Cas- I…” he couldn’t say it. He wanted to, so desperately but he couldn’t say it. Fuck, he was a coward.
“You what, Dean? I am reaching the limit of my patience.” Cas stood up on shaky legs, facing Dean and then walked towards the door. “It was very kind of you to rescue me. I will forever be thankful but if there is nothing you wish to tell me, I will be leaving right now.”
Dean’s mind came to a screeching halt. No! No, fuck no. He just got Cas back- he can’t leave him again! He had to- to do something, anything. So, he ran to the door and blocked it with his entire body to keep Cas from leaving.
“Dean, let me leave.” Cas said. When Dean only shook his head and didn’t move, Cas stepped forward.
“I said: let me leave.” Dean didn’t. In his head, a voice was screaming at him to stop this madness, to apologise and fall to his knees and beg forgiveness but he couldn’t- couldn’t- couldn’t…
“Step aside!” Cas roared. Dean’s knees were about to give out but he didn’t let Cas through. Cas seemed to break at Dean’s refuse.
“Dean, please. I cannot stay here any longer when I know what you think of me. Please let me go.” his voice sounded small.
And then, Dean saw the tears in Cas’ eyes and surged forward. It was a soft press of lips against lips. Cas stumbled back, nearly falling over. Dean caught him, keeping a firm grip on his arms and directed him towards the couch once more.
“C-cas I…” he took a moment to regroup, then looked the angel dead in the eye and said “I lied about all of it, okay? I- I- there was this voice in my head, telling me all those things and I couldn’t make it shut up. But Cas, none of it was true. I would never- I’ve never thought of you as a weapon- maybe in the beginning but then- you’re my friend- my best friend and I can’t- you can’t leave. I don’t- I can’t do this without you.” he stopped, breathing heavily.
Cas just stared at him and Dean felt his face flush under the scrutiny. When the silence grew, Dean heard his heart beat so loudly, he was afraid Cas would hear too. What if Cas still wanted to leave? He got up, suddenly in need of space and started to turn around when an astoundingly smooth pull on his hand made him sit back down again.
“You promise that you did not mean it? Any of it?” Cas asked and Dean could clearly see how much it took for the angel to gather up the courage to ask. The possibility of being hurt once again, of rejection was visible on his face. And he’d be damned if he didn’t make sure his angel knew there was no reason for that.
“I’m sorry, Cas. I really am. You don’t know how much. I didn’t mean to hurt you. I just- I couldn’t…” but Cas shushed him with a kiss so sweet it tasted like sugar.
“C-cas?” he breathed, surprised by the sudden ferocity in Cas’ behaviour. Rational thoughts flew out of the window when Cas’ lips connected with his.
It felt like coming home.
Cas was warm against him and the faint tang of blood on his lips spurred Dean on. His angel was back and he still wanted Dean. He made a quick notion to thank Chuck if he was still out there. Without thinking, Dean’s hands wandered down to Cas’ collarbone, feeling giddy but then heard Cas draw in a sharp breath.
“Alright?” Dean asked, suddenly aware of how much pain Cas must be in. He saw Cas grimace and backed off immediately.
“Sorry. I-“ but Cas’ smile was back. God, how he’d missed that.
“I would very much like to continue kissing you, however, I am sorry to say, my body seems to protest.” Dean’s laugh bubbled in his belly. The pure relief of hearing Cas say he wanted this, felt better than any high ever could.
“Hey, you wanna move back in?” he dared himself to ask and nearly jumped through the roof when he saw Cas nod.
“I’ll get your car tomorrow; do you want burgers for lunch? I can go shopping…” Dean trailed off, already on his way to the kitchen without waiting for an answer. He didn’t see Cas smiling on the couch but he didn’t need to anyway.
Sam’s head peaked out from the hallway.
“You guys all good?” he asked even though the grin on his face spoke volumes.
Even to Cas, it was obvious he had been eavesdropping but, in this instance, he couldn’t find it in himself to care. Cas nodded and gestured for Sam to come in.
“Dean making lunch?” he caught himself in time before saying the word “brunch” even though it would be fitting.
“You want a salad or something real to eat, Sammy?” Dean yelled from the kitchen.
Sam couldn’t suppress the eyeroll at Dean’s sudden change of attitude. A few hours ago, he had been a depressive drunk and now he was all giddy and cooking lunch. Well, Sam would make damn sure he stayed that way.
“Lunch coming right up.” Dean said and served the plates with more elegance than should be allowed for a man like Dean. Sam figured, love truly does elevate a person- and as it seemed, not only metaphorically speaking. For once, the tension in the room was gone and every one of the three was relaxed. Dean had outdone himself with the burgers and he glowed with pride when he saw Cas dig in with gusto.
Sam thought to himself that he’d take the lovesick expression on his brother’s face over the usual grim one any day.
A week went by with Dean being unusually happy and Cas cracking a joke or two. All in all, Sam would have already gotten out the champagne if it weren’t for Dean’s current abstinence.
One morning, he had come down to proclaim he would not touch any alcohol for a while. Sam had been proud and Cas had looked relieved. They two of them had had a conversation or two in the past about Dean’s drinking habits and had both decided to put a stop to, it should it get out of hand. Luckily, with Cas safely in the bunker under Dean’s watch, it seemed unnecessary.
Sam should have known there was still the other shoe to drop. Because they were the Winchesters and for the Winchesters, it was never that easy.
He woke up in the middle of the night to the slamming of a door and a pair of feet, he suspected belonged to his brother, running down the stairs and out the door. He stepped outside his room, only half awake and bumped into Cas, also looking rather tired.
“Where did he go? What happened?” he asked, annoyed at his brother’s antics. Seriously, can that man not last a week without some kind of drama?
“We decided to proceed into the physical stage of our relationship and Dean-“ but Sam had stopped him right there.
He did not- for the love of Chuck, need to hear about his brother banging an angel- ex-angel, whatever. The looks Dean had sent Cas over the past ten years and counting would have made anyone in the near vicinity uncomfortable. Not that the angel was any better. If the term eye-fucking needed description a picture of Cas staring longingly into Dean’s eyes would suffice.
“No details, Cas- please.” Cas, thankfully, just gave a firm nod and continued
“When things progressed further, he uh-“ Sam stopped himself from giggling at an Angel of the Lord blushing up to his hairline. Then the impact of the words hit him and he felt his face flush too.
“Uh- ‘kay so he’s having another… huh meltdown?”
Suddenly, it all fell into place. Of course, Dean would panic about this. His brother had lived his life thinking it was a sin to even look at another guy with anything more than platonic feelings. That the actuality of experiencing intimacy with someone of the same gender had him running for the hills, was no surprise to Sam. However, it seemed as if Cas wasn’t in the know of Dean’s inner turmoil. Sam would bet good money that Dean had kept that tiny detail to himself in his confession to Cas.
And while Sam understood Dean’s absolute terror of talking this out, he still should have discussed it with Cas before things got intimate. How his brother had not seen his own meltdown coming from a mile away when even Sam had anticipated it sooner or later, was beyond him.
“I- should I attempt to follow him?” Cas asked and Sam realised that this was as new to Cas as it was to Dean- if not more. Hell, he truly hated meddling but what was he supposed to do? Cas was his friend, Dean his brother- he wanted both of them happy. There really was no other solution than to give Cas a nudge into the right direction. Just a tiny nudge, mind you! He absolutely didn’t want to google ways to bleach his brain.
“No, just give him some space- he’ll come around.” Sam advised. An awkward moment when they both stood on the top of the stairs and just stared at the door, followed.
“Uh- good night, Cas. If he comes back, tell him to talk to you. Like- you know- talk…” he made a universal gesture he himself didn’t quite understand- but hey it was three in the morning, he shouldn’t deal with this shit- and went back to bed.
Cas lay awake, unable to sleep and thought back to their encounter. Everything had gone well until Dean had reached for him to pull him closer and Castiel had stumbled against him. Feeling Dean through his jeans had been an exciting sensation and he had wanted to continue exploring, when suddenly Dean had tensed. Before he even had the chance to ask what was wrong, Dean had run out of the door. He couldn’t really fathom why, he had thoroughly enjoyed Dean’s touch. Somewhere downstairs, the door fell in its lock. Cas quickly stepped outside only to bump into Dean who refused to look at him.
“Dean? Is everything alright? I did not mean to overstep-“ but Dean shook his head. Neither of them said something and Cas noticed Dean’s ears turning quite red.
“I- you didn’t… I just- you felt good and I…” With two fingers Cas motioned Dean’s chin up, made him look him in the eye.
“You were scared. I understand-“ but Dean shook his head again then squared his shoulders as if in front of a firing squad.
“No, ‘m not scared. It’s just- I didn’t expect to- to…” he gestured widely between them.
“To what?” Cas couldn’t help but ask.
Dean flushed a beautiful scarlet, then mumbled “to like it that much.” Relief flooded Cas’ brain. That was more than he had dared to hope for.
“Then why did you feel the need to leave? I would have been happy to continue…”
“Yeah, I know- I- Cas, look- I’m not used to- what I’m tryna’ say is… I’m not- not used to doing it with a- a guy, you know?” Cas saw how much it pained his hunter to get the words out. And he was proud of him for managing it.
“Dean, I do understand your hesitation. We do not need to proceed any further than you are comfortable with.” he promised and saw a scowl on Dean’s face.
“No, I- that’s not what I- I want to- uhm…” he trailed off. “It’s just- we haven’t talked about stuff- and I’m not sure I’m ready for, you know- that- and uh but I’d like to try- someday- but not now- and if you don’t-“ Cas put his fingers against his lips. Dean stopped rambling and looked at the angel with wide eyes.
“If you could form a coherent sentence, I would very much appreciate it.” Dean was on his way to quip back when he saw Cas smirk at him.
“’kay. See- I-I wanna have sex with you- like really badly but uh- I don’t think I can…” the end of the sentence was garbled up, so Cas had to ask “Pardon?” Dean bit his lips, then whispered “Bottom- okay? I don’t think I can bottom…”
It took Cas a minute but when it finally dawned on him, his face flushed hot with the implication. When he found his words again, he offered “I have to admit I did not think of the specifics but if it is of any importance, I will say I would gladly uh- ‘bottom’ for you-“ Dean sucked in a sharp breath of air at the words and Cas saw his pupils dilate to the point where only a small ring of that vibrant green remained visible.
“You’d- you’d wanna?” Dean asked, sounding strangled.
“Yes, I think it would be a pleasurable experience.” Cas stated firmly. Dean’s whole demeanour changed in one single breath. He stalked forward, grabbed Cas’ t-shirt and pulled him close in a swift move.
“You know what that does to me, angel?” Cas’ skin broke out in goose bumps, he felt the wall against his back and Dean’s hand gripped him tightly.
“Uh- I…” but he couldn’t form a sentence, too captivated by Dean slowly licking his lips. Dean kissed him with so much force, his head knocked against the wall. Cas’ eyes fell shut at the contact of Dean’s teeth with his lips.
“Still with me, Cas?” Dean’s voice was hoarse, he pressed himself forward into Cas. The angel in question gasped when he felt Dean’s answering erection against his own.
“D-dean…” he whispered, breath catching on the first letter. Dean walked him backwards until they stumbled through the open door of Cas’ room, still kissing. Cas’ thighs hit the bed and he fell, pulling Dean with him. They ended up with Dean between Cas’ legs, rolling his hips down until the angel saw stars behind closed eyelids.
“D-dean- a-are you s-sure?” Cas stuttered when they came up for air. To his utter surprise, the hunter halted in his movements to stare down at him. Something more profound than simple lust was blatantly obvious in his eyes. Dean blinked a few times then rolled onto his side.
“No.” he admitted, sounding like it physically pained him to do so.
“No, I- maybe we should…” he scratched his head in, what Cas recognised was, a nervous gesture.
“I wanna do it right, you know?” Castiel did not know. “Like, with Lisa-“ Cas barely contained a growl at the name “it wasn’t just about sex but it was a huge part of it- and- and maybe we should take it slow? Like, do it right? Not at three in the morning or with Sammy two doors down… I don’t know… maybe I’m just being stupid…” Castiel sensed the moment Dean’s embarrassment took over and interjected before he could get into his own head too much.
“No, Dean you are not stupid. I appreciate you wanting to ‘take it slow’.” He still used air-quotes because they felt right to him and also because they always made Dean smile.
He liked when Dean smiled.
“Huh- ‘kay.” Dean stood up and Cas saw him press the heel of his palm against his crotch. That simple move made Cas’ breath hitch in a new wave of arousal.
“I’ll uh go then…”
He was half-way out of the door before Cas offered “Do you- would you like to stay here? To sleep?”
Dean stopped abruptly and turned to look at him. Cas saw the struggle on Dean’s face and also the moment he made his decision. Seemingly out of his element, Dean stalked back to the bed, stripped down to his boxers without a word and was under the covers before Cas had time to appreciate the beautiful body he had stitched together in the pit.
“Night, Cas.” Dean said quickly. Cas smiled knowingly at the hunter in the darkness, aware that Dean had tried desperately for casual and had failed by a mile.
“Good night, Dean.” Cas whispered, even though there was nobody but Dean to hear him.
Two weeks later, Dean shoved three hundred bucks into Sam’s hand and told him to leave for the night and that he didn’t care where he went, as long as he didn’t come back until morning. Sam, being the awesome brother that he was, took the money without comment- aside from a raised eyebrow and a knowing smirk on his lips- and left.
Dean was giddy with nerves, contemplated lighting candles before shaking his head and instead just put some fluffy pillows on the bed he had found in the basement. He had washed them, of course, with Cas’ favourite detergent. Wouldn’t do to have Cas complain about the smell in the middle of fucking.
And boy, did the image of Cas displayed on the sheets do something to Dean’s body.
When evening came, Dean felt himself flushing hot all over whenever he got a glimpse of Cas’ ass. And it was a spectacular ass.
After dinner, which Dean had made sure was perfect for Cas, and a movie, he pulled the angel towards his room with a promise on his lips. Cas followed eagerly, a drum of tension between them. Their kisses grew heavy with desire rather quickly, hands roamed over fabric until both men were naked.
Dean had taken his time to remove Cas’ trousers, had kissed every inch of Cas’ thighs and legs he could reach. Cas had stared at Dean in all his glorious nakedness and Dean had felt himself heat up under his gaze.
When he leaned down to kiss Cas again, Cas used the movement to buck up against Dean. The friction nearly set Dean off. He lifted his hips off of Cas, smiling slightly embarrassed, all the pent-up sexual energy from the day now culminating in the movement of Cas’ hips.
“Cas- angel, I need- if you want this t-to last, we need to-o ta-ake it slow.” Cas smirked and flipped them over so fast, Dean had only time to hold onto Cas’s shoulders. The show of strength had Dean trembling with need.
Meanwhile, Cas scooted down Dean’s body, tonguing his nipple in the process. Dean arched against the touch, his nipples had always been sensitive. Cas didn’t stop there, instead he sunk lower until his lips met the tip of Dean’s dick that was already leaking pre-come. Chuck, he was so damn hard. Before he could even conjure up an image of Cas’ plump lips around his length, Cas had already sucked him down.
Dean’s mind went blank and his hips shot off the bed. Cas had to hold him down, choked a little, then continued with controlled movements that shouldn’t be possible for a virgin but hey, he wasn’t about to complain. Dean felt Cas lick under the crown only to suck him down as far as he could in the next moment.
“C-cas!” he moaned, gripping Cas’ hair tightly and pulling him upwards. It was a close call but he pulled him off fast enough. His dick twitched once, pleasure shooting through him with each pulse. When he kissed Cas, he tasted himself on his lips.
“Did I do it wrong?” Cas asked and Dean’s heart swelled to double size.
“No, no- Cas you were perfect. I just thought we’d huh get going before I-“ he looked up at Cas sheepishly and saw exactly when the realisation hit. Cas’ smile was radiant.
Dean flipped them back, pushing Cas’ thighs over his shoulder. He grabbed the lube from the night-stand and warmed it between his fingers. Cas seemed utterly confident, even when Dean’s finger brushed behind his perineum and towards the small puckered flesh.
“Uh…” Cas made a sound that had Dean nearly blow his low right there. He gripped himself tightly, squeezed once for good measure and felt his orgasm retreat, even if it was just a fraction. His finger caressed Cas’ entrance for a bit to get him used to the feeling, then, once Cas relaxed he slowly inserted his finger. Cas gasped and tensed immediately.
“Cas? You okay?” Cas didn’t move for a minute then nodded hesitantly. Dean moved his finger in and out, nearly going blind with arousal when he felt how tightly that ring fit around him. Being distracted by the images his mind supplied, he didn’t notice his finger moving slightly deeper until Cas nearly threw him off while arching into his touch.
“D-Dean!” he grabbed Dean’s shoulder, his dick rock hard and flushed.
“What? What did I do?” he needed to get Cas to make that noise again. Like right the fuck now.
“I believe that was my prostate.” Cas said between small little breaths. Dean tried to wing finding that spot again but didn’t manage until he had another finger inside Cas. He scissored them and bumped against something that had Cas wailing within seconds.
“T-there, Dean- d-do it ag-gain plea-ease.” Dean nearly laughed at the politeness in Cas’ words. He sneaked a hand down to jerk himself twice to relieve some of that pressure, otherwise his dick might explode. It didn’t take long for Cas to writhe in the sheets, not begging but not asking either, for Dean to get on with it.
When he heard Cas moan the words “F-fuck me, Dean.” his eyes rolled back in his head and he felt his dick twitch and pulse, suddenly beyond ready to come. He once again scrambled for the lube, not taking the risk of hurting his angel. When he pushed inside, Cas tensed again but breathed through it rather quickly. Meanwhile the only thought in his head was: tight.
“Come on, Dean. Move.” Dean had to stifle a whine at the command in Cas’ voice. He moved his hips experimentally, feeling that tight heat around his dick and revelled in the smooth glide. God, Cas felt so damn good. His whole body tingled with the sensation of Cas around him, under him. Sweat broke out on his back while Cas’ fingers raked down his spine. When he hit that spot inside Cas again, Cas seized up and Dean thought for a second he’d come but then Cas relaxed back against the sheets, shivering and whimpering so beautifully. Dean bit his lip, his hands flexing on Cas’ hips so hard it would leave bruises. Cas bucked against him, making Dean see stars. He leaned forward to kiss Cas, who reciprocated with feverish kisses of his own against Dean’s overheated neck.
“D-dean, I- I believe I-“ but Cas didn’t have to say anymore because Dean was right there with him.
“Me too, Cas.” he moaned. He sneaked a hand between their bodies, gripped Cas’ erection and stroked in rhythm with his thrusts. He needed Cas to come first.
Fuck. In his mind there was a litany of: Come on, come on, come on- Cas, please.
Just when Cas tensed underneath him, he sunk his teeth into Dean’s neck. The pain from his teeth combined with Cas clenching around his dick triggered his orgasm. A feeling of hot white pleasure surged through his body with so much force he couldn’t breathe. Cas panted heavily when Dean let go of his dick.
Then, while Dean was still recovering from an orgasm that had left him near blind, Cas leaned over and whispered a soft “I love you, Dean Winchester” against his lips. Cas' eyes fluttered close, he smiled contentedly and put his arms tightly around him.
Dean lay on his back, his heart in his stomach and his breathing still laboured.
It didn’t take long for Cas to fall asleep. When he woke up, he noticed a distinct lack of warmth around him.
Dean was gone…
As always, thank you for reading. The last work in this series will be uploaded soon.