Castiel didn't know it would be like this. Warm and wet. And good. So good, to be surrounded by slick and heat. He closes his eyes and breathes deep. He's cradled here, caressed. Every human tension easing out of his muscles as the water sluices over his shoulders, down his back, wraps around his legs as it pours toward the drain.
There is so much about being human that Castiel finds confusing. Without the buffer of his grace, the world is too full of commotion: people breathing and people talking, the din of traffic and the stench of city sidewalks. All of it strains his newly minted senses in ways that he finds overwhelming. Even the thrum of his own heart, of his own thoughts, is sometimes too much to bear.
Living with the Winchesters, therefore, in their Men of Letters lair, is both a respite and a trial. The bunker offers a reprieve from the noisy public sphere, and it’s far superior to the streets that Dean retrieved him from. And Castiel is grateful, he is, for Dean coming to his aid on the strength of nothing more than a phone call.
But occasionally the close quarters of this place exacerbate his sense of too loud, too many, too much. It’s not Dean’s fault, or Sam’s. For them, these everyday interactions—the clatter of Dean’s boots on the stairs, Sam’s calisthenics, the simple logistics of humanity—are utterly routine. But for Castiel, they are still blindingly new, and there are times, he finds, when he needs a place to hide.
He arches under the water, letting it fall in fat waves down his chest, his soapy hands trailing absently behind. Curls of shampoo snake down his hips and tumble to white caps at his feet.
His first shower here, the first time he closed the curtain and turned himself over to the water, Castiel was desperate to be clean, to scrub away the dirt ground into his skin, dirt he could suddenly feel, uneasy and immediate, outside the shelter of his grace. Even when his hands, his legs and his elbows, even when they looked clean, he was certain the grime was still there, was sure he could feel it burrowing into his pores. He’d stayed in the steam a long time (much longer, he knows now, than was strictly necessary) but it soothed him, the kind of quiet he found there. And now, when his humanity is too much, too loud, the shower is his favorite space for respite.
Its pleasures are simple, straightforward. And yet, when he closes his eyes and tips his face up to the spray, wholly immersive. When he’s here, he hears nothing, sees nothing, feels nothing except the water beating into his body and the stress of this new existence falling inexorably away.
As a human might say, this is heaven.
He turns his back to the taps and leans over, one hand on the tile as the water pounds into his back. It’s so hot and so hard that it draws sounds from him, soft little noises at the back of his throat. The water holds him steady, allows him to be still, and in a moment there’s nothing but pleasure rolling deep under his skin.
But then the rolling crashes over something new. Unfamiliar. It’s a tug in his groin, a shot of heat in his hips, it’s—
He peers down his body, water falling from his face.
It's his cock, flushed and fattening under the deluge. Well.
There's no reason for surprise, Castiel thinks. This body—he—is human now, no question, and this is how genitalia are meant to react in certain biologically advantageous situations.
Which this, surely, is not.
At least, he’d never have assumed so.
He spreads a wet hand wide and rests his palm over it, against it, his cock—a gesture it appears to appreciate, for it curves greedily to meet his touch, mindless. A swirl of delight chases through his blood as his fingers trace over the head, under the lip of the crown, and—
Oh, he jolts. That feels—
“Hey!” Dean shouts through the door. “Cas! You grow gills in there or something? Your waffles are getting cold.”
Castiel jumps, his hands falling into fists at his sides.
“I— Just a minute, please,” he calls.
His stomach rumbles at the thought of food, of syrup and strawberries, and in a splash, his cock is all but forgotten.
The second time it happens, it's not such a surprise.
He's scrubbing his hair, fingers full of soap that smells of pinecones, when he feels it: that sudden sense of weight in his cock. It sways under his stare, as though it’s as uncertain about the situation as he is.
But now Castiel is curious.
He touches it, the same way he’d done before, a press of his palm, a nudge of his fingers at the base. This time the heat of it surprises him. His cock is warmer than the water, and than the rest of his body too.
Touching himself like this isn’t uncomfortable or disagreeable, Castiel thinks. He rubs his thumb across the head. It’s soft and warmer still, this part of his cock. Almost hot. In theory, he understands that with some manipulation, some application of hand to flesh, like this, he could eradicate this problem. The shaft bumps the inside of his wrist as he turns his thumb again, and oh, there’s a sudden rumble of pleasure between his hips, a low-grade fever of feeling that’s sweet, somehow. Rich and deep.
His cock shivers, lurches in his hand as water falls over his fingers and onto the crown. And yet, he thinks vaguely, it’s difficult to conceive of how many of these touches he would need to translate this sensation—he cups his hand, lets the tip of his cock rest in his palm—into orgasm.
What would it take, he wonders, to make himself come?
Just the thought makes him harder, makes him ache, and, oh, isn’t that strange?
A sting of soap brings him back to himself, to the shampoo in his eyes and the hiss of the spray, and this isn’t, Castiel muses, a problem he is well equipped to address, human or not.
It’s true his centuries spent garrisoned as a watchdog to humanity ensured an awareness of possible bodily pleasures. He learned of phallic humor from the Romans, and he knows the lack of a procreative act in the conception of Jesus is one of the strongest arguments for Christ’s divinity. But Castiel never sought carnal knowledge. It hadn’t seemed relevant.
His cock is disappointed when he drops it. Still, his erection endures, sitting smugly between his legs as he rinses off, as he climbs out of the tub, as he winds his way into his clothes.
Yes, he thinks, frowning, trying to zip his jeans around the persistent swell, there’s no question. His cock poses a problem.
But as he’s brushing his teeth, watching the steam streak in smears down the mirror, it hits him: he may not know how to solve the mystery of stubborn arousal, but surely he knows someone who must.
Dean’s first reaction, however, is not encouraging.
He chokes on his coffee, in fact, coughing and pounding his chest a few times before he can speak. Sam, by comparison, is all throaty laughter, head thrown back and chest expanding.
“Oh my God,” Dean wheezes. “Are we really having this conversation?”
Sam’s mouth dances in and out of a smile. “I think you’re having this conversation,” he says, sliding out of his chair. He sweeps up his plate and tosses Castiel a little smirk as he beats a hasty retreat and that . . . was not a response Castiel had expected.
He tilts his head, bewildered. “Did I say something wrong?”
“No, Cas,” Dean says, still looking a little uneasy. ” No. It’s just— The five-knuckle shuffle isn’t exactly breakfast-table conversation. But,” he clears his throat and squares his shoulders, elbows landing on the tabletop with his hands, “Alright. Hit me.”
Castiel's confusion must show on his face because Dean huffs: “A question, Cas. Your question. C’mon. Lay it on me. What d’you wanna know?”
But Castiel is still puzzled by Sam’s swift exit. “I don’t,” he starts, “Why did—? My understanding is that it’s only a biological reaction. Not something considered shameful.”
Dean hangs his head with a sigh. The tips of ears, Castiel notes, are now a bright shade of red.
“You’re right,” Dean says, more to the tabletop than to Castiel. “But it’s also kind of a private process. Not something people talk about in groups. Or at all. So if you have some burning question—and please, God, let there not actually be burning sensations involved—you gotta ask me now, okay? Because the only kind of sex talk I’m interested in is the during kind, if you know what I mean.” He looks up and the impish grin accompanying that last thought drops away. “Which, you don’t. So.” He raps the table with his knuckles. “Ask.”
Castiel considers. It surprises him how, considering his range of experience, Dean is markedly less willing to talk about sex, about the human body, than he’d anticipated. Perhaps these matters are not as simple to humans as he’d thought. He settles on the question that probably has the simplest answer. “When you experience arousal on your own," he says, "what’s the most efficient way to eradicate it?”
Dean's eyes go comically wide before he rocks backward. “Eradicate?” He flinches. “Okay, look, no. When you’re uh,” he gestures toward the table edge above Castiel’s lap, “when something like that comes up, you don’t think about eradicating anything, okay? Or efficiency. You just gotta— Oh my God.” He stops, covers his face with his hands for a moment. “It’s about what feels good,” he says from between his fingers. “You do whatever feels good, for as long as it feels good, okay, until it feels really good.”
Castiel frowns, annoyed. “It’s not as if I don’t understand the concept of orgasm. I only want to know the best strategy for achieving it on one’s own. It seems to be a problem that I need to know how to address.”
The flush of red on Dean’s neck shoots up so high it reaches his cheeks. “Right,” he says. “Yeah. You, you know,” he makes a horizontal motion with his hand cupped in loose C shape before self-consciously dropping it. “Just sort of touch— And, uh, think about—”
His mouth twists and he looks away before his expression quickly switches to harassed. “Dude, look, if fourteen-year-olds everywhere can figure it out, so can you. It’s not like anybody’s gonna be looking over your shoulder and judging your style. Whatever you do is probably gonna feel awesome. Just go for it. Okay?”
It’s not as specific as Castiel had hoped, but if there isn’t one right way, he thinks, then so be it. “Okay," he says.
“Oh, thank God,” Dean sighs, sagging in what looks like relief. He gets to his feet and claps Castiel on the shoulder as he passes. “You'll be fine. Just— don't over think it.”
“Right,” Castiel nods, with a confidence he doesn’t feel. Because how does one do that, exactly? But when he looks back to ask, Dean is already gone.
Perhaps it’s inevitable, then, that Castiel can’t stop thinking about not overthinking.
The next night, as he readies for bed, it's still disrupting his concentration, this paradox. He’s too unsettled to sleep, and the book in his hands feels like a burden rather than a delight. Restlessness crawls beneath his skin, an unfamiliar itch he’s not sure how to quiet. The more he considers the problem, rolls it over and back in his mind, the greater his agitation becomes.
At this point, he thinks, whether or not he reaches a conclusion about Dean’s cryptic advice is inconsequential. He just longs to feel . . . not like this, ill at ease and unsatisfied. No. He yearns to be tranquil, at peace. A shower might help, he thinks. The warmth and rhythm might soothe whatever this irritation might be.
Yes. A shower to wash away his perturbation. And should he have the opportunity to put Dean’s advice to practical use, well, surely there’s no harm in that.
He listens for Dean in the next room, for the heavy and slow breaths that signal deep sleep—it would be inconsiderate to wake him.
He sets his book aside and slips out into the hall. Soft yellow light pools at the end of the corridor from the library, confirming that Sam is still deeply absorbed in his reading and unlikely to stir anytime soon. Good, Castiel thinks. No reason to disturb Sam, either.
He eases down the hall, away from the light, from Sam, and towards the bathroom. He closes the door quickly but quietly behind him, and leans on it in the dark for moment, surprised by the heavy, fast thump of his heart. Behind his back, he gives the lock tab a twist. Just . . . because. It seems a wise precaution.
There’s a tremor in his fingers as he reaches for the light switch, as he steps out of his clothes, as he adjusts the tap and tests the water. The restiveness made manifest.
“Don’t over think it,” he whispers to himself and steps into the spray.
The water rolls over his shoulders, down his spine, a quick infusion of heat. He bows his head and lets it course through his hair and over his cheeks, lets it drizzle from his bottom lip as he takes slow, humid breaths.
Yes, he thinks, drowsy. This is much better.
He rolls his neck in a full circle, ending where he began, and blinks open his eyes. He is, he finds, staring down at his cock.
It certainly isn’t averse to its present environment, wrapped in the warm, steady spray, but it—he—isn’t wholly aroused, either. It’s merely . . . interested, as it had been the previous morning. An expected sort of weight, but one unlikely, he knows, to resolve itself on its own.
Sam and Dean are occupied. The door is locked. Do what feels good, Dean had said.
Castiel’s hands shake where they hang awkwardly by his side. Self-stimulation will be the best course. He knows this. It's what Dean had suggested, after all.
Still, he hesitates. Lifts his hand, slow. Brushes his fingertips over the head. A slight, simple touch. He does it again, bolder, catches the pads of his fingers on the curve and traces the shaft to the base, where it joins with his body. And up. It’s a strange sensation, something like delicate lightning, but not at all unpleasant. So he does it again. This time, he cups his hand so the shaft meets his palm and moves once more, down and up, and that is—
A little punch of sound falls over his lips.
Yes. Better than pleasant. Good. It’s very good.
In his mind, he hears the hot curl of Dean’s voice again, Just touch— think about—
His cock moves at the thought, a hot jerk of its own accord that burns into Castiel’s hand. Interesting.
Dean, he thinks again, deliberate, and the reaction is the same: a kick of pleasure in his mind that’s mirrored in his body, his cock, and he holds himself more firmly, rolls his hand from the head to his belly and back, faster now.
Yes. Very interesting.
He takes a deep breath, strokes himself once more, and in his mind Dean is nosing at the back of his neck, one arm curled around his chest as the other slips down his side, fingers tripping over his ribs and coming to rest just above Castiel's hip. Playing over his tattoo.
Oh, Castiel thinks, wild. That—that is a lovely idea, watching Dean touch him like that.
He imagines Dean biting gently at the top of his spine, curling his mouth around Castiel's neck and sucking, steady and slow.
Castiel's head snaps back, imagines that he’s pressing it into Dean's shoulder as Dean chuckles, spreading that warm honey sound all over Castiel's back. It makes Castiel’s fingers tighten, his wrist move faster, the feel of that sound in his skin.
In his mind, Dean kisses his throat, tight little blooms that have Castiel's body arching, asking for more.
Dean's lips curve. Mmmm, he says. In a minute. Keep touching yourself.
Castiel twists, his cock leaping in his fist. "But," he pants, "Dean. Want you to—"
Dean makes that sound again: a low, contented hum. I like it, Cas. Like watching you do this. Makin’ yourself crazy for me. He shifts, tucks his chin into Castiel's shoulder and licks lazily at his ear. C'mon, sweetheart. Wanna see you make yourself come.
"Oh," Castiel says aloud, a jolt of pleasure so fierce it’s almost pain. "Oh."
He slaps a hand to the wall, his palm slipping over the tiles as he strokes his cock, watches the head fall in and out of his fist as Dean nips at his jaw.
God, yeah, Dean says, low and ragged. Cas. Look at you.
Castiel moans, imagining he can feel Dean's breath over his cheek, can see those strong fingers gently petting at his tattoo, can feel Dean's cock pressed into the curve of his ass as they rock together.
In his mind, Dean’s grabbing at him, the water making it harder for him to hold on the faster Castiel jerks his cock, the louder his cries.
Yeah, Dean says. Like that. Gonna be so pretty when you come, baby. Gonna feel so good, huh? God, makes me so hot, watching you do this. You like it? You like touching yourself for me?
"Yes!" Castiel cries with his whole body, his being. "Oh God yes, Dean."
Words fall to pieces in his mouth, ripped apart by a deep groan of satisfaction as he comes, his cock leaping as he thinks Dean Dean Dean.
He breathes deep, drawing the steam into his lungs once and again, steadying himself, and in his mind, he feels Dean’s smile tucked into his cheek, those beautiful hands rubbing soft circles on his skin.
“Yes,” Castiel whispers, hiding his voice in the fall of the water. “That felt—really good.”
After that night, there’s a whole new kind of pleasure associated with the wet heat of the shower for Castiel. One he’s developed a small habit of indulging in.
But this morning, today, he’d kept it relatively brief, because Dean has been—as Sam put it—giving Cas crap about his extended showers, muttering about how he’s lucky they don’t pay water bills and threatening that the city will notice conspicuous water usage if he doesn’t knock it off.
So Castiel complies, most days. The days when Dean is in residence rather than on the road. But when his showers are short, like this morning, he turns the heat up to stinging, as fevered as he can stand, to compensate for the time lost reveling in it—his own small form of rebellion.
Despite the brevity of his shower, it’s pleasantly steamy when he steps from the tub, the humid air warm in his lungs as he snags his towel and shakes the excess water from his hair. The mirror over the sink is lost in the fog, so he swipes a hand over the glass to see his blurry reflection blinks back at him, blue eyes gone soft in the heat.
He watches himself as his movements become efficient, clipped. He runs the towel over his chest, then his shoulders, tipping his chin this way and that to gauge the necessity of shaving. He would prefer not to, if it’s not required, since even the wet/dry electric razor Dean provided him with often leaves an unhappy itch in its wake.
No, he thinks absently. Not today. He should get dressed.
In the mirror, his hands are still moving, still working to get himself dry. He watches the towel pass over his groin, around one thigh, and—
Another idea occurs to him.
Castiel catches his own eye in the mirror, and he can see it, the way his mind is turning, plotting conspiracy with himself. Surely another few minutes won’t matter. He bites his lip and glances over his shoulder towards the door.
No, of course not. How could they?
When he looks back in the mirror, his mouth is set in determination.
After all, he is, technically, no longer in the shower.
He reaches over the counter and makes one long sweep with the towel, peeling back the steam from chest to hip of his reflection, and takes a step back to assess. He’s grown accustomed to thinking of this body, this reflection, as his—as him—but hasn’t spent much time studying it, not from this perspective, anyway, taking it in as someone else might see it. But he looks now, unabashed.
His skin still holds the pink flush of heat from the shower, and when he drops the towel, tosses it aside, he can see it, the way the flush hangs on him, colors him from his thighs to his throat. He reaches up to touch his clavicle, that horizon of bone beneath taut skin, a little brush of fingers on flesh. Such a small thing that it surprises him. He shivers.
He traces that touch down, through the shallow valley between his pectorals. In the mirror, his hand opens, palm to his chest, and his thumb drifts, rubs the nub of one nipple. His body answers with a buzz, a warm shot of bliss that he didn’t expect. He rolls his lips with a hum, taking note.
From there, he can see, can feel, his chest slope toward his ribs and abdominal muscles, all faintly underscored with shadow by the light above the sink. He wraps his fingers briefly over his tattoo—the only claim he’s made on this body, the only part of it that’s authentically his—before sliding his hand down to rest at the furrow where torso turns to hip, to the faint trail of hair that leads from his navel to the dense, dark scruff at his groin. Castiel lets his fingers follow it, lets them sneak over his skin until they hover near the flesh of his cock. He’s not hard. Not yet.
But then, he reminds himself, that is what he set out to witness.
At first touch, his cock hangs small and soft against his body. In the mirror, he watches himself cup his fingers under it, forming that loose C shape, and squeezes gently, adding the barest tug. He’s gratified by the way his cock jumps, by the thrum and rush of his blood through his body. He pulls again, and again, and feels his cock firm as he watches his reflection, watches it grow in his hand, watches the fat head emerge from the cusp of his fingers.
A sound escapes his mouth before he realizes he’s made it, and oh, God, he thinks, as his eyelids sink heavy, yes. Yes, that feels good, but—
He shakes his head and forces his eyes to open. After all, the whole point of this exercise was to watch.
He fastens his gaze back on the mirror and watches as his downward strokes turn into upward pulls as his cock rises, its hard length curving out away from his body. Steam is steadily reclaiming the mirror, fogging over Castiel’s face and neck, but he doesn’t care. He can’t. His attention is lower, zeroed in on his hand and his cock, and it’s easier this way, he thinks—as he studies the speed of his hand, the twist of his wrist—easier to imagine that perhaps it’s not his hand that he’s watching. To imagine instead that it’s Dean’s, that maybe this is what it would look like if Dean’s hand were working him, jerking him, that maybe this is how he would touch Castiel, what he might do to make Castiel feel good.
He moans, a hoarse whimper that he can’t contain, because he hasn’t forgotten the power of that fantasy, of Dean’s chin hooked on Castiel’s shoulder, Dean’s lips there—Castiel reaches his free hand up and touches the spot—just there on his neck.
And oh, he thinks, blinding white. Oh, yes. Dean.
So Castiel pretends, for a moment, that Dean is behind him. Pretends, just for the sake of it, that it’s Dean hand curved around his cock, Dean’s fingers playing with the first pearl of precum at the tip, Dean’s hot breath on his ear, growling, Fuck, Cas. Fuck, I love the feel of you.
Castiel can feel his thighs tense, his toes tighten against the tile floor. He swallows hard and breathes deep, but his eyes never leave that reflection, the shade of Dean just behind.
If that hand were Dean’s hand, he might make longer strokes, like—yes—this, achingly slow pulls from base to tip. He might push his thumb over the head of Castiel’s cock, might smear precum all over the slit and around the crown.
And if Dean were here, he might drag his other hand along Castiel’s ribs, might dig his nails into Castiel’s skin to pull him closer, might rub a wet thumb over Castiel’s nipple, taunting it until it's firm and tingling.
In the mirror, Castiel’s hips buck and his spine arches, hot tacks of want in his back, and he fights the thought that this could never be, fights to hang onto the fantasy as he watches his hand pump faster and harder over his cock. Dean could hardly discuss this with him, of course he’d never participate.
But if it could be, if he did, if he wanted to . . . Oh Lord, if Dean wanted to.
He wants Dean to want this too.
Castiel whimpers because if Dean were here, he’d want Dean to tell him that, and if Dean were here, he would. He’d say it. He’d say, You don’t even know, Cas. You don’t even know how much I want you. I think about you, like this.
“Oh, fuck,” Castiel says, words honey shards in his throat. He pitches forward and grabs the counter’s edge with his free hand, hips jerking into the other of their own accord. “I’m close,” he whispers to the mirror, to a Dean who isn’t there. “I’m so close, Dean. Yes— Please, please.”
He throws head back, eyes closed, right at the edge of orgasm, but—
No. No, look at me, Cas.
He looks back at mirror, at the blur of his cock, the hand around it, and if only, if only it were—
Watch me, watch me make you.
Castiel chokes back Dean’s name as he comes, as he watches white, hot slick shoot from his cock, watches it splash onto the counter and catch the edge of his reflection.
Baby, Dean growls in his head. Yeah, that’s right. Come so fucking hard for me, don’t you? Castiel’s knuckles go white around the counter edge. He bites his lip and squeezes his eyes shut as it twists and pours through him, out of him.
”Dean," he thinks, or he says—he’s not sure. "Yes. For you."
When it’s over, just past the crest of pleasure, when his cock is spent and his hand has stilled, Castiel looks up to meet his own eye in the mirror. And just for a second, he smiles.
Then there’s a knock at the door.
Castiel startles, his feet tripping backward, heart thundering, suddenly aware of the mess he’s made, the smell of come, the over-hot clench of the air.
“Cas?” Dean calls.
Dean. Castiel’s brain panics.
“You, uh— Are you— Everything okay in there?”
“I—” Castiel snaps into action, grabs his towel from the floor, and wipes his hand, the counter, the mirror, and oh, that wasn’t quite right, but— He clears his throat and starts again. “Yes! Yes. I was just . . .” he glances at his wild-eyed reflection, desperate for an answer, “Um. Shaving. I’m shaving.”
There’s silence on the other side of the door and all at once Castiel remembers: it’s not locked. Shit, he thinks, scrambling over to where he left his boxers and hopping into them, one leg at a time, praying that Dean doesn’t try the knob. But why would he? There’s no reason for him to—
“Alright,” Dean says, voice drifting through the wood. “I just thought I heard, uh. Something.”
“I nicked myself,” Cas answers quickly and, oh no, he’ll have to shave now, with a razor and everything, to cover the lie. He’s certainly cut himself enough times before, so Dean won’t question— “It hurt,” he says to the door. “And, uh, I’m bleeding. But I’m— I’m fine. It’s all fine here, now.”
He closes his eyes and listens for any sound from Dean, though it’s hard to hear anything over the loud thump of his pulse.
“If you say so, Solo,” Dean says, and he maybe sounds amused. Perhaps. “Just, uh, make sure you clean up in there. When you’re done.”
This is a lesson in embarrassment, Castiel thinks. This is what it’s like to be embarrassed.
“I will.” He nods, even though Dean can’t see him. Thankfully.
“Good,” Cas repeats, then winces. “I mean, okay.”
He thinks he hears Dean huff a laugh, but doesn’t move until he hears footsteps move away from the door.
Castiel sighs, his eyes caught one last time on the mirror, at the mess that he’s made. From now on, he thinks, he’ll stick to indulging himself in the shower. It’s just so much cleaner.
Next time, he’ll know better.