Another motel in the middle of nowhere. Just a normal evening, there was nothing to do and the Winchesters and Castiel were discussing their last hunt in Dean’s room. It was about time to settle down for the night, however, the angel made no attempt to leave.
“Cas, are you gonna book a room or what?”
“No, I’ll stay here.”
„Oh okay. Yeah. We’ll have a slumber party” Dean joked, “we can drink until we’re wasted, eat unhealthy food and maybe we could braid Sam’s hair.
“I don’t sleep” Castiel repeated with a stern voice and stared into the hunter’s eyes who shifted uncomfortably in his chair. Sam’s face lit up and a small smile formed on his lips. “That’s the deal. You don’t sleep at sleepovers.” Dean gave his younger brother a look that probably meant something along the lines of “what the hell are you thinking?”, but he shut his mouth as he saw the taller man shaking his head while giving him his best puppy eyes.
“This might not be such a bad idea, trust me.”
From the very beginning, Dean should have known that this statement would turn out to be false. He should have known that two hunters, one angel and alcoholic drinks weren’t a very good combination and he should have known that evening would probably end in a disaster, if it wouldn’t even start yet another apocalypse. Still he kept quiet and, being completely honest with himself, he was even looking forward to spending the night with his little family, especially because some time had passed since they’d had the chance to celebrate.
A few bottles later, they were all convinced that this had been the best idea ever. Sam and Dean tried to explain drinking games to Castiel, who, for some reason, drank almost as much as the two hunters together. He had a high alcohol tolerance so therefore he wouldn’t get drunk this easily, but something was off about the angel, Dean knew it. Cas usually wasn’t very fond of alcohol, he complained about it “tasting like molecules” more than once so he’d only drink a glass or two on occasion to fit in, but this…?
He didn’t ask him though, looking at himself, he figured out that all of them had their own personal reasons for drinking, whether it was to forget about the trouble they had to endure once the effect wore off or just to let loose for one night. With a shrug, he refilled his friend’s glass once more, raising his own to give a toast.
“Here’s to Team Free Will!”
Another hour later, they were all somewhat tipsy, laughing about every stupid joke they came up with, but still sober enough to realize what they were doing. However, when Dean suggested to drive into town, Sam started to doubt his sanity, accompanied by a weak “I think one isn’t supposed to drive when drunk” from Castiel. Nonetheless, he found himself in the backseat of the Impala, banished from his usual position by Cas who complained about wanting to sit next to Dean for once.
With a dramatic sigh, he had agreed on switching seats- of course he had noticed how the drinks from earlier had affected the angel’s brain and turned him into a slightly clingy idiot, but Dean wasn’t much better either, so he just hoped for them to finally realize their mutual attraction. With the two men leaning out of the windows in opposite directions, the chances weren’t exactly high though.
The sky was filled with thousands of stars shining down on them and for a second, Castiel remembered what it was like to be a part of heaven, to follow strict orders from above and to fight in the name of God. If his brothers and sisters could see him right now, a smuggled bottle of booze in one hand, they would shake their heads in disbelief about how far he’d fallen from grace. Another gulp, he couldn’t bring himself to care anymore. He didn’t miss them. Cas had everything he needed right in front of him: Sam and Dean were his family now.
“Stupid assbutts” he mumbled towards the sky while bringing the bottle to his lips again. Empty. He threw it out of the open window and flinched at the sound of shattering glass, earning a worried glance from Dean. Maybe he should use his mojo and clean it up… no. No, he would forget about his angelic nature for the next hours and at least try to be human, because he was no longer a part of heaven, so he hoped that heaven would slowly stop being a part of him as well.
Cas started singing along to the lyrics of a song he heard Dean perform in the shower from time to time when Baby slowly left the parking lot behind, a feeling of pride washing over the angel when he saw the look of admiration dedicated to him on the hunter’s features. Castiel couldn’t remember the last time he enjoyed himself like this, it must have been years, decades, centuries maybe. He was breaking multiple angel rules and human laws, considering that they were exceeding the speed limit by now, but there were no regrets, he loved every second of it.
Sam was the first one to notice the police car in the rear mirror. When the sound of the sirens threatened to drown out the rock music blasting from the speakers, Dean snapped. Instead of pulling over, he stepped on the gas pedal, causing the three of them to get pressed into their seats by the sudden increase of speed.
“Dude, are you crazy?” Sam breathed out, clinging onto the driver’s seat in front of him with all his strength. “Relax, Sammy. They can’t keep up with Baby and you know that.” At least the police car disappeared in the distance behind them, probably only to call for backup though.
“It’s Sam” was the grumpy reply from behind which was, who would have thought, ignored by the two men in the front seats.
They decided to make a short pit stop at the gas station- certainly not without laughing at the pun- to refill both the car and Dean’s empty stomach. With a package of pie and a bottle of beer, said hunter returned to the carto share with the rest of the family. Cas furrowed his eyebrows in mild concern at the sight of more alcoholic drinks.
“Dean, you should stop drinking. I wouldn’t appreciate it if you passed out- “
“No, you’re not!"
Cas was shouting now, hands curled up into fists, but Dean didn’t back down either. Consequently, Sam closed his eyes and started to rub his temples to ease the headache their fighting caused. He could interrupt, he could try to make them shut up, sure, but he loved his life and wouldn’t want to end it so soon. The only safe option was to stay out of it and watch the drama unfolding in front of his eyes, preferably with a bowl of popcorn, but pie had to be enough for now.
“I dragged you out of hell, I can throw you back in! Show me some respect and don’t lie for once!”
“Oh yeah sure, you are frightening me! You don’t like me, you’re just searching for a way to humiliate me, right? Is it because you think I’m weak? Because I’m just some human and you’re… what was it?” The hunter raised his hands to mimic Castiel’s voice and air quotes, “an angel of the Lord?”
At that, Cas’ shoulders slumped forward, and he lowered his gaze, his voice a dangerous whisper.
“Do not associate me with these incapable, disloyal creatures who call themselves God’s angels. They slaughter and destroy in our father’s name, as if it was what he had wanted for humanity all along, as if that’s what he wanted for you. They are misled though; they are too blind to see the beauty of humanity in its imperfection which makes it so incredibly unique. Personalities, humour, love, passion… they’re too foolish to see it, but I am not.”
“Cas, I-“ Dean started to interrupt, immediately silenced by the cold yet somehow brightly burning blue of the angel’s eyes. He wasn’t done yet, and he would insist on finishing what he had started.
“I am better. I love humanity with all its flaws, its problems. I gave everything for humanity. For you. I need you, Dean. Don’t ever think about calling me one of them again, for I would never dare to look down on you or call you weak.”
His voice had become softer towards the end, caring almost, Cas looked like he was about to cry any second and even the ever-so-emotionless Dean Winchester was on the verge of tears after hearing the speech. Judging by their eye sex, the unnecessary argument seemed to be over. Sam, on the other hand, wasn’t as touched as the couple in the front seat, exaggeratedly clearing his throat to get their attention.
“Great. Now that this is out of the way, can we finally move on and hit a bar or something? I could use a drink; besides, I’m not planning to spend the whole night in the parking lot with you guys making out in the front. Not that I wouldn’t appreciate it if you’d finally resolve the sexual tension, but please do so when I’m not cramped in a car with you.”
Thus, an empty bottle and a plastic wrapping came flying his way, missing his head only by a few inches.
In the end, they did visit a bar, drank even more and, upon realizing none of them was in an acceptable condition to drive back home, decided to stay in town for a little longer, aimlessly walking around on the streets of the city center. It must have been a funny sight for the locals: Cas was practically carried by Sam and Dean who had taken the angel into the middle to support him and prevent the poor man from falling over his own two feet.
As it got later and the streets got less and less crowded, they stumbled from one building to another. First came a “den of iniquity” Dean enjoyed a lot, much to a jealous angel’s dismay, what lead them to their second destination, an open mic event that happened to take place next door.
Dean, being the horrible singer he was, got on the stage, flashing a proud grin to the crowd, before performing the worst version of “Angels” by Robbie Williams the world had ever heard. Castiel was, without a doubt, flattered and impressed by the hunter winking at him in between verses, while Sam wished he had stayed at home instead of having to drag his brother away, cheered on by the booing voices of the other visitors.
“Oh, come on Sam, don’t be such a party killer! I think I was awesome.”
“Yeah, awesome, Dean. Now let’s go somewhere where you can disturb less people, okay?”
“Cas liked it” the offended man argued with his head held up high, breathing in the cold night air and imitating- or rather trying to imitate- some moves of a rock star performance without loosing balance. It was hopeless, he looked just like a kid wildly flailing his arms around, yet it still made the younger one giggle.
Arriving at a crossroad, the trio suddenly stopped, unsure which way to take. Without any knowledge or not even a map of the area, they were lost in the empty streets of the small town, surrounded by restaurants and pubs which were already closing up.
A bright pink neon sign caught Dean’s attention, luckily not belonging to another strip club, Sam figured out after a closer look, but then he noticed the big sign reading “tattoo studio” and face-palmed. This was a bad idea, a very, very bad idea. It was too late to turn back though, Dean was already entering, followed by Castiel who curiously inspected the shop window where tools and photos were displayed.
The older hunter knew exactly what was missing to make Cas a real Winchester: his own anti-possession tattoo. And he was sure it would look “hot as hell” on the angel. A surprisingly short man who looked suspiciously familiar greeted them from behind the counter and asked for their order. Dean opened the first few buttons of his shirt to show the stranger his own pentagram, then pointed towards Cas.
“Dean, I don’t need protection. In case you forgot, I’m an an-“
Castiel caught himself and stopped, ignoring Dean’s speech about demonic possession and getting lost in his own thoughts for a few seconds. Wasn’t he done with that heaven and hell crap? He didn’t consider himself a warrior of God anymore, didn’t consider himself a member of the community that made him hate and doubt himself because he had different views and opinions, simply because he was better than a bunch of winged dickheads.
Okay, technically his species was inhuman, but in his heart, he knew he wasn’t an angel anymore. Whatever, if it made Dean happy, he’d get that stupid tattoo so he would shut up and give him the happy smile again he loved to see so much on the usually sad face of his hunter.
“Alright” he weakly announced, earning an amused huff from Sam who just shook his head in disbelief while Cas sat down in the seat, slowly peeling himself out of the trenchcoat. Dean couldn’t help but stare as he loosened his tie too and started to unbutton the white shirt. This was new, and somewhere in the back of his head a tiny voice tried to remind him of how rude it was to gawk at his best friend undressing in front of him, which, of course, only had the purpose of getting a damn anti-possession-tattoo. He had talked Cas into this, so he might as well enjoy the sight. It was the angel’s own fault for wanting to get inked up between his shoulder blades and not in a more visible spot on his body, although Dean assumed he would look gorgeous with a tattoo anywhere, really.
His face was as frowny as ever when the needle burned his skin, showing no emotion but slight annoyance at the quiet buzzing noise of the machine. When the task was done, he stood up and turned his back towards the brothers to show off the result. Dean was not disappointed, now that they all had matching tattoos, they were more Team Free Will than ever before, and he loved the warm feeling of being surrounded by his family.
Well, maybe it was the alcohol and the scorching heat in the tiny shop and also the fact that Cas still didn’t make a move to get dressed again, but who was he to complain. He was drunk, and happy. Nothing to complain about there either, so he left the shop a few minutes later, followed by a slightly chuckling Sam and a sadly now fully dressed Castiel who was smiling like a proud dumbass.
Nope, nothing to complain about.
It was time to search for a place to sleep, now that they had run around town for hours, so the three of them decided to call it a day and check in at the nearest motel. It was a tad bigger than the places they usually stayed at, but none of them cared about the extra money they had to spend for a few more square meters, a separate living room and two couches. Quite the contrary: the first thing Sam did when he entered the room was to lay down on one of them while Dean and Cas shared the seat on the other side of the small table in between. It was more lying than sitting though, no trace of the “personal space” Dean usually insisted on having, regarding the older Winchester had put an arm over the angel’s shoulder to “just hold onto something”, but Sam believed he had crossed the line between “holding” and “hugging” long ago.
Nobody said a word, the trio enjoyed the silence after their loud and adventurous trip, until at some point the younger hunter noticed that Castiel and his brother must have fallen asleep on each other.
Suddenly the door to their room opened and for a short moment, Sam was so shocked that he reached for the gun in his pocket- a decision he would laugh about later on, because even if he was quite skilled with weapons, his drunk self would probably not even hit a target five meters in front of him. The younger Winchester spun around, gun pointed at the intruder, and let out a relieved breath upon recognizing the familiar face belonging to none other than the archangel Gabriel who was casually leaning against the doorframe.
“What’s up Sammy, drinking without me? Why didn’t you invite me to the party?” His tone was accusing, but the grin tugging at the corner of his mouth gave it away: he wasn’t mad at all, but as always, he couldn’t let the opportunity to tease his favorite Winchester go to waste.
“Oh really? Whom did you expect it to be? Now let go of the gun before you hurt yourself kiddo, I know you’re drunk.”
“I’m not that drunk-“ he tried to lie, his voice suspiciously slurred, “those two had more.”
He pointed at the mess of arms and legs on the couch next to him, sleeping tangled up in each other and snoring ever so quietly. Damn, he should really take a picture as long as he had the chance to. Surprisingly Gabriel had the exact same idea and fulfilled that task for him with the “click” of his phone, followed by a satisfied sigh.
“Awww, they are too adorable. My little bro should get his shit together and confess already” he mocked in a sing-song voice while he sat down next to Sam.
“Jealous?” was the hunter’s immediate response before he could get his brain to think properly and shut the hell up- because Gabriel would totally go for this joke and he couldn’t guarantee that his drunk self wouldn’t say things he would regret later on. Drunk people were honest and straightforward, or so it said in some article he had found while doing research once, so right now, he had to be careful, considering the person he was talking to was the trickster himself and more than ready to take advantage of the situation. However, the reply he got was far from what he had expected.
“Yeah, kinda” the angel admitted with… was that hope in his beautiful golden eyes? No joke, no snarky comment? Was this a dream or was it just another Tuesday, a trick, a hallucination?
“I said yes.” It was louder than before, almost too loud, and for a moment Sam feared the couple next to him would wake up any second. Gabriel sounded genuinely pissed off now, what, of course, made the hunter himself feel a little guilty.
“Yes, okay? What are you gonna do, make fun of me or judge me for being honest just this once?” There was an uncomfortable silence that got longer and longer like strings of melted cheese on a pizza which just wouldn’t end once you took a bite. Gabriel was obviously done with talking, and Sam couldn’t decide between babbling incoherent nonsense and not speaking at all.
“Whatever, just forget about it, I’ll just…leave.”
Before the angel could get up and head towards the kitchen though, the younger Winchester reached out, going for his arm but ironically missed it by a few centimeters, clinging onto the shorter man’s belt instead. Realization kicked in and Sam actually blushed and pulled away in embarrassment while he resisted the urge to pick that gun back up again and shoot himself in the head.
“Easy there tiger, this ain’t a cheap porn video. You have to speak up, Sam. What will it be: are you throwing me out or will you ask nicely before you try to get into my pants?”
The light-hearted voice was back, but Sam could tell it was forced, a façade to cover up the archangel’s disappointment about the ruined attempt to confess to him. That was when he finally managed to open his mouth and get out an at least partly appropriate sentence.
“Please, stay here for a bit longer.”
It was no “I accept you”, “I feel the same” or “I love you”, but it was something, and luckily it was enough to convince the angel to sit back down. To clear his head, the hunter himself stood up to get his guest a cold beer from the fridge -he’d pass though, he’d clearly had enough alcohol for today- all kinds of thoughts running through his head and making him feel dizzy.
Back in the room, he got seated next to the shorter one, handed him the beverage with a small smile and, once again, looked over at the mixture of hunter and angel on the other sofa. They were indeed kind of cute, and, on second thought, he himself was also jealous. Sam’s eyelids started to get heavy, but he didn’t want to fall asleep yet, not now, not if everything was so peaceful. He leaned back, the angel next to him did the same, and without thinking, the hunter leaned to the side until his head was resting on the trickster’s shoulder.
“Stay awake with me?” He asked, fully aware he’d fall asleep within the next few minutes if only he’d close his eyes.
“Of course, Sammich” was the soft reply, and the man swore he could hear the triumphant grin in Gabriel’s face.
Everything was peaceful, quiet, warm. The events of the day replayed in Sam’s head, making him giggle quietly before he finally relaxed and gave in to the desire to sleep. This is how it was supposed to be, a perfect day; it should have chaos, unexpected incidents, just the right amount of fuck-it-let’s-do-this and the pure sensation of feeling at home, and today was one of these perfect days. Judging by the way Gabriel’s breath was slightly tickling his skin, there were more of those to come in the future.
“…Your hair is in my mouth.”
“Way to ruin the mood, Gabe. Shut. The. Fuck. Up.”
The next morning was as awkward as it was funny. Gabriel was surprisingly the first one to wake up, or rather regain consciousness, since deep sleep was quite unusual for angels. Finding himself crushed under the weight of the moose that had fallen asleep on him last night, he couldn’t help but chuckle at the sleeping giant. To get up he had to move his body though, what resulted in an awkward stare and a few seconds of terror in which Sam desperately tried to remember what had happened last night. Judging by the way his lips formed into a surprised “oh”, the hunter still had his memories, or at least enough of them to find the strength to apologize to Gabriel for his lacking communication skills.
“So, are you going to date me now or what?” sneered the archangel, wiggling his eyebrows in a suggestive way, causing Sam to burst out into laughter, which, therefore, made the two men on the couch wake up too. First it was just kicking and wrestling in between alarmed shouts until one of them slid off the sofa and landed on the ground with a thud and a painful groan. Finally recognizing the surprised angel by his feet, Dean stopped struggling and instead helped his friend up, laughing at his dishevelled hair.
“Dean, what happened? Why am I on the floor and what is this unpleasant sensation on my back?”
Ignoring the first two questions, Dean turned the angel around to look at the black pentagram, failing to hold back his laughter.
“Oh man, I can’t remember a single thing, but it looks like last night was a lot of fun.”
“It was” Sam agreed from across the room, following their conversation as if he was watching an interesting movie, “but I have to say that we shouldn’t repeat this too often”. He was right though, Dean noticed upon feeling a sharp pain in his head. He needed water. A lot of water. And some pain killers. A look at Cas told him that even angels could get hangovers, and the idea somehow filled him with malicious glee- at least he wouldn’t have to suffer alone.
“Wait. Sammy?” Suddenly the older one’s face was as white as a sheet of paper, his voice almost high-pitched as he asked with horror and a subtle glance at Cas “nothing happened last night… right? Please tell me nothing happened.”
Sam allowed himself to insert a dramatic pause- in which Castiel murmured a quiet “I don’t get that reference”- and tease his brother by raising an eyebrow at him, but in the end, it was Gabriel who answered the question.
“Oh, a lot happened last night. Wanna see?”
He unlocked his phone and presented them his recent photos, one worse than the other. Team Free Will playing drinking games. A photograph of the Impala from behind, probably taken out of a police car… sneaky bastard. A shot from the bar, from the perspective of the bar tender who had served them. Oh, who would have guessed it, there was even a photograph from the scene at the strip club (showing a furiously blushing Castiel in the bottom left corner) and a short video of Dean’s ridiculous karaoke performance.
There was Cas at the tattoo studio, shirtless, with a downright drooling Dean in the background, that made Sam figure out why the owner of the shop had looked so familiar to him. The picture of Dean and Cas cuddling on the couch, covered by the blanked Sam had put over them the night before, which the younger hunter desperately wanted to get a copy of, just so he could blackmail Dean with it from time to time. Last but not least, Gabriel revealed the last photo, a slightly blurry selfie showing himself with Sam peacefully sleeping on his shoulder.
Dean laughed but shut up as soon as Sam gave him his best bitchface and reminded him of the other photos of Dean that were forever saved on the phone in the archangel’s hands. Cas, completely unimpressed, turned towards the fellow angel and pointed at the bright screen.
“So… you were following us the whole time just to take those?”
“Guilty” Gabriel admitted, his hands raised in defeat, “but you can’t be too angry with me, these pictures are priceless!”
“There’s no chance you’re deleting them, right?” the older Winchester tried with an embarrassed half-smirk, but the trickster shook his head.