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And, once the birds have chosen their mate, the nesting begins.

Deep in the blue cavern of the Dean Cave (also known as The Fortress of Dean-a-tude) the TV mumbled calmly, while birds on screen hopped around their mates, snuggled up on branches, and brought each other feathers and fluff to add to their nest.

Dean snoozed on his plaid-backed recliner, beer in hand, other hand limp in the popcorn bowl he shared with Cas, busy trying to keep his eyes open. The room was kept permanently dim, and the metal kegs hanging from the ceiling poured coloured light onto the concrete, reflected, giving Dean and Castiel’s chins a faint pink-and-blue glow. Dean felt warm and quiet inside, and although it was past his bedtime, he didn’t wanna go yet.

The pair works together to create a suitable shelter for the coming months, a home where they will lay their eggs and raise their young.

Dean’s eyelids drooped. He blinked hard, sitting up a bit, working his shoulders back to take off his plaid shirt. He balled it up like a pillow and stuffed it on the right wooden arm of his chair, then rotated himself to lie down. The wooden arm hit at his shoulders, but the makeshift pillow softened the blow.

The chair was only a one-seater, so his legs hooked over the other armrest. Castiel moved the popcorn bowl out of the way so Dean’s socked feet could slide onto his lap.

“Shouldn’t you go to bed?” Castiel asked, still holding the popcorn. “And doesn’t your chair tip back, anyway?”

“Mmh.” Dean kept his eyes on the birds.

Both mates share in the responsibility of finding materials for the nest, seeking loose feathers, bits of dry grass, even stealing insulation from inside the walls of a house.

Dean smiled, watching the little sparrow pop its head out from between the bricks, pink fluff in its beak. It fluttered out into the blue, hopping to join its mate in the nest.

Dean shut his eyes, just for a minute. He let the cozy warmth overtake him...

⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆

“Dean.” Castiel watched Dean slipping from consciousness, lips parting. More quietly, Castiel urged, “Dean, go to bed.”

But Dean was already asleep.

Castiel watched for a while, with a happy tingle in his heart. Dean looked so soft, and so... adorable. The love Castiel had for him seemed to double every time he caught a glimpse of him like this, guard down, at peace, safe under Castiel’s watch.

After a few minutes, Castiel put the popcorn bowl on the floor and turned to look at the TV, which now showed different birds making their nest in the crooked shoulder of a desert cactus.

He wished he was a bird. Not only would he have his wings again, but the whole mating process would be so much simpler. All he’d have to do was impress Dean more than anyone else could, and Dean would pick him. Humans were so... resistant to choosing. Or maybe that was just Dean.

Too bad Castiel had already picked him. There wasn’t much he could do to un-pick him, now. Not that he’d want to, especially not when he looked this sweet, his body zig-zagged over a pair of reclining couches, an old blanket halfway fallen from his waist.

Taking a deep breath, Castiel reached for the remote control, and turned off the TV. They could come back to watching when Dean was awake – Castiel didn’t want him to miss it. Dean liked birds more than he cared to admit.

Well, he liked a lot of things more than he cared to admit.

Castiel leaned over Dean’s chair, one hand on the headrest, reaching to take his half-empty beer. Dean’s fingers twitched around nothing, and he sniffed partly awake, murmuring, “Hm?”

He saw Castiel leaning over him. Their eyes met, and Dean sucked in a sharp breath, sitting up quickly. Their noses nearly touched. “Cas.”

“Hello, Dean.”

Dean seemed flustered. “How long’ve you been— W-Were you about to—?”

Castiel tilted his head, unsure what Dean meant to imply. Dean’s eyes had gone dark and he seemed excited, but also afraid, not to mention embarrassed.

“Uh.” Dean patted his lips with the back of a hand. “I should, uh. Get to bed.”

“Yes.” Castiel had an idea, and suggested, “Or you could sleep here and I could watch over you.”

Dean gulped, then warily eased away from Castiel’s face and stood up, leaving his plaid shirt to topple onto his seat, blanket flopping halfway onto the floor. “Nah,” he said, too casually. “Not comfy enough. I’m good, Cas. You,” he clapped Castiel on the shoulder, squeezing his trenchcoat, “You stay right here.” He took a few paces towards the door, paused, then looked back. “‘Night, Cas.”

Castiel watched him, looking over his shoulder. “Goodnight, Dean.”

Dean hesitated, then gave a quick smile and slunk off, leaving the door open.

Now Castiel sat by himself, in an un-reclined reclining chair, hands on his knees, wondering what to do next.

His eyes fell to the blanket, and he folded himself down to lift it back off the floor. He pulled it closer onto his own lap. It had a pleasant texture... and it smelled like Dean.

Castiel lifted it to his face and breathed in, eyes closed.

He smiled, chest rushing with delight. Oh, it smelled good.

A moment later his gaze snapped to the plaid shirt, left behind. He darted over to snatch it up, pressing it to his nose. He sank down and moaned, bliss tingling in his body, from the crown of his head to his curling toes. He inhaled deeply, rushing with joy. Dean’s smell made him feel so comforted.

With a lazy smile, Castiel sank way down in his seat, socked heels stretched out on the concrete; he covered his chest with the blanket, some of it pressed to his cheek, while he dragged the plaid shirt to squash firmly on his lips, where he could inhale that musky cotton to his heart’s content.

Usually, throughout the day, Dean smelled like all sorts of things – leather, car oil, a spicy men’s cologne, toothpaste. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, beer; an unpleasant acidic burp that had him bumping his chest with a fist. Whiskey, if Dean was upset, or they were celebrating. Blood, if they were on a hunt, or Dean was hurt. Then toothpaste again at bedtime. A soft, supposedly ‘feminine’ body wash, after a shower – it had become an unapologetic favourite of Dean’s when he realised how good it was to his skin.

But there was always an undertone of... just this. Just Dean. A soft, brown, earthy, mouth-wateringly delicious hum of a scent – as sweet as bees circling up from their hive on a hot, muggy day; as thick as the trunk of a tree that had stood firm for two hundred years.

Castiel wrapped himself in the scent, losing himself to it.

Without further prompting, his mind descended into something basal and wild, giving in to an urge at the very core of his personality that he didn’t realise, and continued not to realise, was even there.

He wanted.

He wanted, and wanted, and wanted.

⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆

Dean lifted a shirt out of the third basket of laundry. “Hey, Sam?” he called, as he saw a figure slide past the laundry room door. “Sam-mey!”

Sam slouched back, one hand in his messed-up morning hair. “Yeah?”

Dean frowned, lifting another shirt. “You seen my t-shirt?”

“Which one?”

“Any of them.” Dean upended the pile of folded clothes, certain it had been twice as high the previous night. “This is all your crap.”

“Nope.” Sam drifted away, calling back down the hall, “Just wear what you’re wearing, nobody cares.”

Dean looked down at his Batman shirt and boxers, halfway hidden under his robe. “But I slept in this!”

He ran after Sam, still on the hunt for his clothes. “I swear there were clean clothes in my bedroom dresser last night.”

“You probably put them out to dry. Or hung them up in your walk-in wardrobe on autopilot.”

“Yeah.” Dean bristled his chin with a thumb, looking around suspiciously as they entered the kitchen. “Probably.” He went up to the stove and picked a pan, preparing to make breakfast. “Hey, you seen Cas yet? Think he’d want some coffee?”

“Last I saw, he was arguing with you about nature documentaries.”

Dean froze, slowly looking up. “Wait.” He looked back at Sam in concern. “You haven’t seen him since then? At all?”

“What?” Sam sat at the table, peering back. “Haven’t you?”

“That was three days ago, Sam.” Dean let the pan go, worriedly stepping towards the centre of the room. “I thought he was just doing his hermit thing again. Shows up for a few days and then vanishes without a trace.”


“But he always says where he’s going first,” Dean said, rushing to put his hands on the table in front of Sam, imploring him to understand— “This ain’t normal. He hasn’t called, or texted, or—”

Sam laughed. “He probably just forgot, Dean. Eat something and call him after.”

Dean shook his head. He stood up, palming his forehead.

Yes, he did as Sam said, but he did it worriedly.

Hey Cas, where u at? Call me.

His worry doubled when Cas failed to answer three calls in a row.

Dude, u ok? Pick up your damn phone!

“He’s busy,” Sam said, while stealing Dean’s leftover breakfast. “Probably charging his phone. Stuck in traffic.”

Dean shook his head over and over, thumbs jabbing his phone screen as he typed out a third text.

Where the hell are you, man??? U alive?

After pacing for a few minutes and confirming that Cas wasn’t checking his messages, Dean threw up his hands and said, firmly, “I’m gonna go look for him.”

At that point, even Sam thought it was a bit weird. Cas always came when Dean called.

“Uh, Dean?” Sam said, trailing after his brother, watching him snatch up his jacket from a peg in the hallway. “Maybe... put some pants on first?”

Dean looked down at himself, and sighed.

⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆

“Look, man,” Dean said, dragging Sam through the halls to the room he’d long-ago commandeered as a walk-in wardrobe. “I know my closet freaks you out. I know you think I have too many clothes. I know you think it’s insane I have them grouped by colour and not by occasion – I know. But just— LOOK!”

Sam ceased his yelps of complaint, because Dean had positioned him in the doorway, and now Dean spread his hands towards the view, presenting an empty room.

Well, the room wasn’t quite empty.

It was empty of all the good stuff.

Sam didn’t care about Dean’s obsession with clothes, but he could tell that everything left behind, on every third hanger, while most of them hung empty on the free-standing railings, or were scattered on the floor – it was all crap Dean hadn’t worn in a year.

“Look at this. Leather pants. Plastic raincoat. Sweater vest. Clerical collar.” Dean wheezed uncomfortably. “‘S like this closet belongs to someone else.” He plucked at a limp poncho. “I only wore these things once or twice, for a case.”

“So someone took all your favourite stuff,” Sam said dazedly.

“We’ve been robbed,” Dean whispered in despair. “And they took my panties.”

Sam squinted. “What?”

Dean flinched. “Took all my pants, man! Jeans, slacks, the cute li’l booty shorts I wear when I’m washin’ Baby – everything.”

“Did they take anything else? Valuables?”

“Oh, yeah, like my good leather jacket? That thing cost me, like, three hundred bucks. Or did you mean emotional value, ‘cause – pchah!” He flung an arm out towards the entire room.

“No, I mean like – jewellery, magical artefacts.” Sam looked around, wondering if there was any damage to the warding of the bunker. “Maybe it was just people, not demons or ghosts.”

“Not that I’ve noticed. Cufflinks, shoes, and watches are all still here.” Dean turned away in distress. “Son of a bitch, Sam! No clothes! No Cas! No—”

He paused, mouth open.

“Hey.” His eyes shifted to Sam’s, and he asked him, slowly, “Any chance those things are related?”

“What?” Sam almost laughed. “Someone stole your angel?”

“Well.. they took... all my favourite stuff... sooo...”

Sam stopped looking amused. Dean looked back, legitimately worried he might’ve hit the nail on the head.

“I’ll call Rowena,” Sam said.

“I’ll get Jack,” Dean said, pacing off down the hallway in bare feet. “Maybe he can do some kind of angel locator meditation.”

⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆

By the evening, Dean was beside himself. He rocked on a chair in the Dean Cave, hands in his hair, TV playing the bird documentary on repeat. He shook his head, muttering, trying to retrace his steps. Cas was right here when he left him. Nobody else saw him after.

Cas’ car was still parked outside. His shoes were still here, on the floor of the Cave. Dean couldn’t believe nobody had come in here in three days, they would’ve noticed something was up earlier.

The blanket was missing. And there had been a used plaid shirt here, which was also inexplicably gone, which led Dean to believe it wasn’t just human burglars with good fashion sense, it was something supernatural yoinking his things.

They wondered if the TV zapped Cas inside again, but there was no cartoon angel banging on the screen on any channel, and Rowena was still off looking for a way to get them all inside to double-check.

On the first day, Dean had thought it was weird his jeans weren’t where he’d left them, but he just picked out new ones.

The second day, Dean had spent five minutes hunting for his bath towel, absolutely certain he’d hung it in the bathroom. Sam’s was still there, and it was definitely Sam’s, because it smelled like Sam. Again, Dean had put it down to forgetfulness, and took out a new one.

The third day, everything was gone, and Dean was losing his mind.


Dean sat up in a flash, looking back, only to sink down. Jack, not Cas.

“Hey, kid.”

Jack came into the Dean Cave, and Dean eyed him coolly, jealous that he had a clean shirt on. Dean was still wearing the shirt he’d slept in all week.

“We’ll find him,” Jack said, sitting on Dean’s chair, since Dean was sitting in the one Cas liked. “We will, Dean. We’ll try everything.”

“We’ve tried everything,” Dean grunted, scowling at the floor. “He’s just... gone. And it’s weird, you know, it’s weird it took me so long to notice. I feel like crap. What if he’s been in danger this whole time and I was so distracted by stupid missing laundry that I didn’t think to look for him?” He rubbed his forehead, eyes closed. His stomach was buzzing, as it had been doing all day.

“I don’t think he’s in danger,” Jack said, with easy confidence. “I think we’d all feel it if he was in danger.”

Dean scoffed, looking away. He eyed the TV, which was at the part where the birds snuggle up together in their nest, preening each other.

“No, really,” Jack said. “We’re connected. If Cas was hurt I think we’d all suspect something, at least a bit. We’d know something was up.”

“Something is up! I’m distressed. If Cas was really connected he’d answer my damn prayers already. I don’t know the first place to look for him. I drove up and down every highway for fifty miles today, askin’ people – guy in a trenchcoat, yea high, dark hair, blue eyes, you seen him? – and the last time they saw him, he was with me, buying groceries and following a goddamn bumblebee along the side of the road.”

Jack squinted. “Did you put pants on?”

“I borrowed Sam’s, alright!” Dean grunted, knuckles rolling against his temples. “Ugh. Sorry. I’m just – way on edge.”

“It’s okay.” Jack gripped Dean’s hand as he lowered it. The kid had such a reassuring smile, Dean couldn’t help but smirk back. “We’ll find him, Dean. And all your clothes.”

Dean rolled his eyes. “They can keep the clothes, whoever took them. All I want is a dirty trenchcoat and a backwards blue tie. And the weirdo who wears ‘em.”

Jack nodded. He let go of a breath, and turned to look at the TV. The birds were busy making eggs, and the male flew off to get his mate food, bringing it back for her. Dean watched, wistfully.

He wished he was a bird. Seemed nice, being waited on, wing and claw, and having no worries in the world but cats and eggs. But besides that, the mating process just seemed so simple. Once he picked his mate, he made babies with them, and they’d be together forever. Real life wasn’t so simple, given all the dangers were bigger and more numerous than house cats, and he still had to pretend to struggle between picking a mate he actually loved, or one he could make babies with.

Too bad Dean had already picked his mate. He could hardly un-pick him, now.

Well... it’s not as if he’d want to.

Guess babies happened to someone else.

Dean’s eyes drifted to Jack, who was enraptured by the documentary, chuckling and grinning when he saw the birds bicker and hop around in their nest.

Dean smiled.

Okay. Maybe he and Cas just did this backwards.

Baby, yes.

Nest, kind of, if they counted the Dean Cave (now sans blanket, the absence of which ruined the effect).

Mate, though? Nowhere near close.

Sadness tugged a grey rope around Dean’s heart, and he sighed. “I’m gonna head to bed,” he said, creaking as he got up out of Cas’ chair. “You better not vanish on me too when I wake up, alright?”

Jack smiled, eyes still lit by the glow of the TV. “Alright.”

Dean waved tiredly, already turning his back. He made his way to his room, lethargic and solemn, no clue what move to make next. Rowena had done a tracking spell and apparently Cas was still here, in the bunker, but they’d checked the place top to bottom, and found no trace of him. Dean was exhausted.

He slumped into his room, turning the light on.

His eyes shot to the bed, sensing something amiss.

With a roar of emotion, Dean threw his head back and yelled, “SaaAAAAAAM!”

Sam took eight seconds to arrive. When he did, he took one look around and then huffed.

“They took your mattress.”

“Yeah, gee, thanks, Captain Obvious.”

“And your sheets, and your pillow—”

“Everything, Sam, everything is gone.” Dean shook his head, pacing, looking at the stuff left over. “What didn’t they take? The cabinets, the bed frame – not yet, anyway. Chair. Sink. The hangers in the closet, right?”

“They left all the hard stuff,” Sam mused.

“They’re not building a Dean Winchester bonfire, or they’d have taken the wood.”

“Some kind of voodoo doll?” Sam suggested.

Dean shrugged with flared arms. “How’d they get in here without us seeing? My bed was in one piece half an hour ago. The door to outside goes past the Dean Cave and I didn’t see anyone besides Jack.”

“Portals? Wings? Invisibility?”

Dean groaned, fingers scraping back through his hair. “What if it’s somehow one of us? Hypnotism. Some kind of weird sleepwalking thing. A spell?”

Sam was shaking his head. “Rowena did a check for that kind of thing.”

“Maybe she’s the one causing all of this, you think of that?”

“Maybe it’s Cas,” Sam argued. “You know? We haven’t seen him. Maybe he’s trying to send a message.”

“What, by stealing all my crap? Yeah, right. He’d be better off writing on the mirror or – or God knows, standing by my bed until I wake up. When he does that I feel my skin crawling. Weird feelings in my chest.”

“You mean like – tingles? Butterflies?”

“Yeah, kind of.”

Sam stared at Dean, smirking.

“Oh, shut up!” Dean snarked, folding his arms. “It’s not Cas.”

⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆

Dean sat bolt-upright on Castiel’s recliner, making it rock. “It’s Cas,” he breathed.

He got up, stumbling in the dark. He’d come down here to sleep, but had barely gotten half a nap before his subconscious put the puzzle together.

He’d dreamed about birds nesting in Sam’s bath towel. Somehow that explained everything.

Dean hurried down the dark halls, bare feet on marble. He heard his own breath in the silence, heard his upper thighs touching as he walked.

He paused in the corners of the hallway, looking both ways before proceeding.

Cas was in the bunker. But he wasn’t anywhere visible. Not outside on the grounds. Not below in the basement, or the dungeon, or any of the storage rooms. Not left, right, forward, back, or down.

So maybe he was... up.

The top floor of the bunker consisted only of the main door to outside. There were other doors, but they opened out onto nothing. At one point, one door had opened out to Oz, the fairy realm, but it didn’t do that anymore.

Dean opened every single one of those doors. He had to unlock a few, fumbling with ancient keys.

Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. A steep drop into the forest. Nothing.

Then he found one that didn’t need a key. It was already unlocked.

It opened onto a cool breeze and a gentle, humid night, and a metal staircase that led up to the left. This part of the bunker wasn’t seen from the grounds, hidden by a tree; it was in the farthest corner of the biggest hall, and nobody ever came this way. Dean wasn’t sure he’d ever been out here.

He left the door ajar, propping it open with a fallen branch from the tree.

He looked up, up into the night sky, past the side of the roof.

He began to climb, bare feet despising the black metal grid of the staircase. Dean let his hand stroke the tree as he went up... then sniffed his hand, glad to find the green smell had completely covered the metallic stench of the old keys he’d left dangling from the keyhole.

By the top step, the breeze had lifted every corner of his robe, and ruffled every strand of hair, and whisked away the pang of fear and despair that had clung to him all day. By the top step, he was as fresh as the oncoming rain. He took a deep breath, feeling nervous about the roof having no barriers. Flat edges, all the way to the rims.

He looked about, and sighed in relief and consternation.

There was a big, big pile, right in the middle of the roof.

“Hey, Cas,” Dean said casually, sauntering across the grit, feeling a little epic as the wind picked up his robe and made it flutter towards the stars. “You under there?”

He could see the edge of his mattress under a lumpen mound of plaid shirts and blankets and jeans and lingerie. He couldn’t find it in him to be embarrassed about the panties; clearly Cas knew what he liked as much as Dean did. They were equally exposed here, and not just to the elements.

The pile of fabric wriggled, and Dean saw a sliver of skin. He flushed hot as he realised it was Castiel’s bare hip, attached to a bare thigh.

“Are you naked?” Dean asked, already knowing the answer.

Castiel gave a pleasured sigh, stretching lazily as the piles collapsed part-way around him.

Dean knelt on the mattress, fingering away two of his most-worn shirts, correctly assuming that was where he’d find Cas’ face.

Castiel gazed up at him, something dopey in his expression. He looked so happy, and so relaxed. He didn’t seem to be... fully himself.

Huh! Obviously. If Cas were himself he wouldn’t have made off with all of Dean’s stuff, he would’ve just borrowed one thing without asking and then told him when he’d returned it.

“Dean,” Castiel purred deeply, stretching out an arm and laying his hand on Dean’s thigh. “Hello, Dean.” He shut his eyes, blissful.

Dean let out a slow breath. He watched Castiel breathe in, nuzzling one of Dean’s undershirts. Cas groaned, squirming deeper into the softness, legs spread.

Dean wet his lips slightly, eyes flashing up to the sky. “Okay,” he sighed. He hung his head. “Okay, point made.”

He got up, shucked off his robe, and tossed it over Castiel’s head. “There, you happy? Smells just like me.”

Castiel took the robe and grasped it with both hands, eyes shut, eyebrows raised, cuddling the robe and moaning at the back of his throat like it was the best thing he’d ever smelled. Maybe it was.

Dean chuckled, scratching the back of his neck. “Uhh.” He examined the pile, and wondered if it was as squishy and comfy as it looked. “Hey, mind if I—?” Cas was busy. “No? Okay. Comin’ in.”

He sank his hands in between shirts and his bedsheets, diving in slow motion into the fluff. He laughed, burrowing into the pile, finding Cas’ legs against his chest. He wormed his way to lie beside Cas, lifting a shirt sleeve from over his head, grinning.

Castiel gazed at him with complete adoration in his eyes, rolling to face the sky, bare chest and legs exposed, modesty preserved only by a tangle of sleeves, which were wrapped between his legs like he’d stuffed them there on purpose.

Dean let his eyes linger, then roam back up as he propped his chin on a hand. He gave Cas a sweet smile.

Castiel reached to touch Dean’s nose with a fingertip.

Dean laughed, dropping his blushing face to the mound, before realising it was his own pillow, and Cas had no doubt put it closest to himself as it smelled most strongly of Dean’s skin.

Castiel rolled and nuzzled up to Dean. Dean raised his head and a cautious arm, uttering, “Uhhhh...? Cas...?”

But Cas wanted to hug him, legs slinking between Dean’s, lips open on Dean’s clavicle, sucking softly on the neck of his t-shirt.

Dean breathed out, unsure if Cas was okay or not.

“Cas, what’s happening here?”

Castiel snorted. “What does it look like? I built us a nest.”

Dean rested his chin on Castiel’s tousled hair, staring blankly at the open roof before him. “A nest?”

“Just for us.” Castiel breathed out happily against Dean’s neck. “Safe, and soft, and smells... hmmmmm, so good.”

Dean grinned, eyes closed, letting go of a bashful chuckle. “You, uh. You seriously dig how I smell, huh.”

Castiel nodded.

Dean lowered his nose to Cas’ hair, and drew in a curious breath. Tingles shot down his spine, heat between his legs, heart a-leaping for a few beats before settling again. Sam was right. It wasn’t such a different feeling from when he woke up and realised Cas was watching him sleep.

“Why all this?” Dean asked, tugging Cas closer, holding him tight. “Why make a nest at all?”

Castiel went quiet for a bit. Then he admitted, “I don’t know.” He shrugged. “Seemed right.”

“You disappeared for three days, Cas.”

“I did not. I came back in every few hours to get more things. I avoided you because you’d complain. But mostly because I was naked.”

“You emptied the place out, Cas.”

“Your smell was on a lot of things in there.”

Dean rolled his eyes, helplessly rubbing his cheek on Cas’ soft hair. “You could’ve just said something to me. Told me you wanted to snuggle, or whatever. I’d be weird about it for a while but I would’ve let you try it.”

Castiel snorted.

“Really, Cas,” Dean promised, pulling back so he could meet Castiel’s eyes. Cas looked less dopey now, more sane, but still soft-eyed and smiley. “You didn’t have to build a nest to make your point.”

“But I wanted to,” Castiel pouted.

Dean chortled, eyes lowering. “Okay,” he admitted, bringing Cas in for another cuddle. “Okay, fine, have your nest. Let’s enjoy it for a while. But we gotta take it back inside before it rains, dude, I only just did laundry.”

“The clean clothes aren’t as good.”

Dean laughed, stroking Cas’ back. “You can keep the shirt I’m wearing now, how ‘bout that. Bet it stinks.”

“Hmmm, it does,” Castiel said in breathy delight, nose on Dean’s shoulder. “Hmmmmm.”

“Or better yet,” Dean said quietly, eyes lowered but a smile rising, “you could, uh... have the real thing, maybe. The original. Original scent.”

Castiel quirked up an eyebrow, Dean felt it ruffle his hair at the side. “What does that mean?”

Dean pursed his lips, shrugging a pair of panties off his shoulder. “Cuddles? Or-or-or-or, you know, whatever.”

Castiel’s head darted back so they could look at each other. “Cuddles in your bed?”


“Under your blanket?”


Castiel looked thrilled, eyes darkening, a grin pulling at his lips. He surged the last inch between them until their noses touched, his gaze set on Dean’s lips. “Naked?”

Dean opened his mouth. “I thought the point was – the clothes.”

Castiel nudged his lips down to Dean’s throat, murmuring, “Don’t need clothes if I have you.”

Dean was pretty sure Cas had snapped. He’d totally, completely lost it. “You’re crazy,” Dean breathed, grinning helplessly. “Since when did you want me so bad, Cas?”

Castiel rolled his eyes.

“That long, huh?” Dean said quietly.

They held each other tighter, Castiel’s bare leg sneaking between Dean’s almost-bare bowlegs.

Dean scrunched his hand into Castiel’s hair, shutting his eyes to enjoy their proximity. “Is this an angel thing?” he asked, muffled by Castiel’s hot-skinned shoulder. “The nesting?”

“It’s a... me thing,” Castiel decided, after some thought.

Dean chuckled. “I think... maybe it’s a me thing, too.”


Dean nodded, eyes shut. Mumbling, he admitted, “I really like this.”

“It is nice, isn’t it?” Castiel let go of Dean and sank to lie onto his back. Dean wriggled to lie with their shoulders together, and they both let go of a content sigh, gazing up at the sky.

Beautiful, infinite stars decorated the brown-black of the city nightscape. Dean looked down and found one more star, one little bird, fallen.

Castiel blinked at the stars, then slowly turned his gaze back to Dean.

Dean gave him the softest, most loving smile, not even thinking.

Castiel snuck a hand to hold Dean’s, and they held tight.

⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆

Dean kept the recliners, because they were good chairs, and they were plaid, which was good luck.

But he also bought a couch. It was also plaid, and it reminded him of the one at Bobby’s house. He didn’t call it a cuddling couch, but it was definitely a cuddling couch, and everyone knew it.

There were a lot of blankets on the couch, these days. More than a few plaid shirts, too. And, uh... some pretty, lacy items. Sam and Jack knew better than to ask why.

Late at night, Dean let himself fell asleep with his head on Castiel’s lap, and Castiel didn’t wake him up. He carefully eased himself out from under Dean and lay down beside him, taking hold of him from behind. And they snuggled.

On the screen, happy bird families twittered and cheeped, singing their songs after sunset.

Castiel watched for a while, then shut his eyes, placing a kiss on the back of Dean’s neck.

Dean smiled, sliding a hand to lock his fingers between Castiel’s.

Yes. Soft. Comfy. Safe and warm and loved.

And as darkness falls and the stars come out, the lovebirds settle in for the night, comfortable, having made the perfect nest together, at last.

{ the end }