His body rings hollow. His mind, especially—all thoughts wiped away like the blood smearing his skin after the rag is soaked through. Dripping red. It’s all he can do; stare at the droplets hitting the floor of his room and try not to think, because if he thinks, he’s going to fall into that deep, dark pit of despair that’s been hounding him his entire life.
They’re lucky, he thinks—except it couldn’t possibly be luck. He doesn’t know how they got out of that graveyard alive. He would say it was a miracle, but God’s never really been playing for their team, now has he?
Dean tosses the ruined rag into the sink. His hands are stained so deeply he’s not sure if he’ll be able to get the red off this time. His shirt is ruined. His jacket is friggin’ ruined. His head----
He paces the room like a caged animal. He needs to do something. But what the hell can he do?
They’ve lost Mary.
They’ve lost Jack.
What did that leave them? And where ?
A soft knock at his door has him jerking out of his stupor and the threat of near-tears from the sheer amount of overwhelming bullshit his life has become. He sniffs to clear his head. At first, he thinks it might be Sam, but the taller man had hobbled off to his own room to lick his own wounds and give Dean some much needed space after everything that’s happened.
Which just leaves Cas.
He debates not answering. A pang of guilt shoots through him like a bullet-- Cas has gone through just as much as they have. It took every ounce of the angel’s energy to get them out of that graveyard with all their limbs intact—and he’s grateful for that, he really is. He owes the guy more than he cares to admit. Dean wraps his fingers around the door handle and sighs, eyes closed against the pounding drum of his headache.
Cas looks about as tired as Dean feels, standing in the hallway and half-leaning against Dean’s doorway. Dean knows the look well. It’s one he’s worn himself for the last ten years of his life. Hell, probably even longer than that.
“I wanted to check on your wound.” Cas weakly tilts his head towards the long gash running down Dean’s torso. There are a million words behind the angel’s tongue and it’s clear in his eyes how much strength it takes to hold them all in. Dean can’t for the life of him figure out why any of it matters, now.
It takes Dean a minute to hear what Cas actually said, and he looks down to the nasty cut across his shirt. He’d been patting at it for the last hour or so with the remains of his jacket, and the bleeding had stopped for the most part. He still feels dizzy with how much blood he’s lost. But he’s alive, and right now that’s about all he’s got going for him.
“I’m fine.” Dean lies. It’s a well-practiced one. Cas sees right through it.
“I’ll be the judge of that.” Cas narrows his eyes and steps through the threshold, hand already reaching for his wound. There’s no light at the tip of his fingers, no tingly sensation of knitted flesh. Dean lets him in close and glares at the way Cas’s eyes are heavy with poorly-concealed exhaustion. There’s no way Cas has enough juice left to heal any more of his wounds right now.
Cas’s palm meets his skin anyway, a gentle examination that scrapes flakes of dried blood to the floor, shirt sticking crusty to the gash. Dean doesn’t make a sound—far too numb to feel anymore pain. But he knows an excuse when he sees one.
This close, he can feel the heat of Cas’s body radiating from under his dirty trench coat—can see the deep, haunted blue of his eyes when he looks up the few inches to meet Dean’s own. There’s that question again—the one that’s always been hovering between them, but always goes unanswered. As Cas’s eyes bore steadily into his, Dean can’t help but wonder why Cas is still waiting for Dean to give him one.
Maybe Dean already has an answer, but he’s just too afraid to admit it. But it’s never been up to him, has it? His story has never been his own.
But fuck the damn story.
Fuck the rules—fuck the game, and more than anything else, fuck Chuck.
Fuck all of it.
Something must show on his face, because Cas is looking at him with a crease between his worried brows, his hand backing off like he’s afraid any more pressure might break Dean. Dean snatches his hand and holds it to his chest, right over his heart-- right over the wound. He closes his eyes and lets himself just feel for half a goddamned second. Like nothing else in the universe matters except for this one little piece that he can actually control. The one choice he and he alone gets to make.
“Dean—” Cas says so softly Dean almost doesn’t catch it over the rush of blood in his ears. He slides his fingertips over the skin between Cas’s fingers, resting them in the space between and remembers—just for a moment—that the body in front of him is just a host for something far grander than he’s ever been able to comprehend.
“Please.” Dean’s voice is steady, but it doesn’t hide the breaking of his soul.
Cas understands enough to press closer. Dean’s wounds don’t matter anymore for all that Cas is holding him as tightly as he can, strong hand gripping the back of his neck and an arm around his waist. The fabric at Cas’s neck smells like gore and graveyard dirt and he’s absolutely what Dean needs right now. What he’s always needed.
The tears don’t come—he’s far too afraid he might just disappear if he opens himself up that much. Instead he just breathes shaky sighs, warmed in the layers between him and Cas’s skin and suddenly wants to crawl inside him, to join the pulsing wavelength of energy Cas is comprised of. Like that would save him from being swallowed whole by the universe.
He doesn’t want to do any of this anymore.
The blanket of numbness tears away slowly with the sudden press of a mouth to his own. Cas’s breath is hot and it chases the cold hollowing out his soul like a balm made of stubbled jaw and chapped lips, cold nose bumping into his own until he gets the angle right. Dean grabs him by the cheeks and heaves him in closer. The answer to the question that’s been hanging around Dean’s neck like a noose for almost a decade.
The bedroom door is still wide open. He doesn’t even register it—all of his focus boiled down to the point where Cas’s body is connected to his own. A lifeline keeping him going when the adrenaline shot to his system has long worn off and he’s feeling more than ready to pull the plug. He thumbs at the soft spaces just under Cas’s ears, and the angel’s mouth flowers under his in answer. The slide of his tongue feels like a brand and Dean loses track of where his mouth ends and Cas’s begins.
He stumbles backwards, a gentle push of Cas’s hands on his hip bones, careful to avoid touching any more of his wounds, for Dean’s sake-- always for his sake-- and Dean pulls him along with him so their faces never get more than an inch apart. He can’t open his eyes and see this right now—can’t see the way Cas is always looking at him like Dean’s his entire world. He doesn’t know how to handle that. He’s not sure he’ll ever know.
There’s the sound of the door closing just before the back of Dean’s legs hit the edge of the mattress and they disconnect long enough for Cas to guide him gently but firmly to sit down upon it. He leaves no room for argument. Dean’s just happy he doesn’t have to think about anything right now. He lets his own instincts drive him, without the mountain of regret and self-loathing he keeps himself buried in. Something inside him is rising from the grave, crawling its way out with sharp claws and gnashing teeth and leaving him raw and empty inside.
He stares at the stupid blue tie hanging from Cas’s neck and wraps a hand around the fattest end to rip it off him with a sharp yank. Cas gasps before prying Dean’s numb, clenched fingers from the fabric. He understands what Dean wants, even if Dean’s execution wasn’t really that thought-through. Cas loosens the tie where it crushed his collar against the column of his neck and pulls it up and off his head to throw somewhere over the bed.
Without the offending article in the way, Dean can easily pull the white shirt free from under Cas’s belt. Cas sways with it, letting Dean pull him closer where he stands between Dean’s spread legs. Dean gets both hands underneath to push it up and pauses when he sees the edges of Cas’s concealment tattoo.
He can’t— he can’t, he can’t —think about it.
He leans in to press his mouth to Cas’s skin and bites over the strange symbols instead. Maybe if he bites hard enough, they’ll go away. They never should’ve had a reason to be there in the first place. Cas makes a sound, fingers curling around the back of Dean’s neck to just hold him close. It’s getting far too hot in the space between them. Dean, flanked on either side by the rest of Cas’s layers, decides Cas is still wearing too many of them.
He pulls at the lapels enough for Cas to get the picture, and is thankful when he does. Cas shucks both the trench coat and suit jacket off his shoulder in one go. Dean greedily pulls them down his arms until both the annoying things are on the floor, out of sight and out of mind.
Cas is solid under his hands, filling out the plain white dress shirt in a way that makes Dean’s mouth water and throat close all at the same time. Dean leans back and pulls Cas down with him. Cas goes readily, carefully letting himself fall over Dean, one strong hand on the bedspread beside him, and all that warm flesh coming to settle on top of Dean in a way that makes him want to scream.
Cas’s mouth is on his again. His tongue fills the spaces between Dean’s own and Dean wants him to snap, to bite, to do anything to make that vulnerable feeling go away. Cas has literally held Dean’s soul in his own hands, but Dean will always be so, so afraid of being seen—of being known. Cas pulls back only to trail his lips across Dean’s jaw, settling over his throat and planting kisses with a reverence that makes Dean squeeze his eyes shut and grit his teeth.
Cas is lost in the spill of his admiration. Dean can’t take it anymore. He flips them with a wobbly leg wrapped around the back of Cas’s knee, his hand fisting the dark curls haloing Cas’s head.
Cas stares at him, wide-eyed and surprised from where he lays on his back. Dean shoves him up the bed until he’s resting on the pillows at its head. He sees the storm on Dean’s face and has the nerve to look apologetic.
Or maybe, Cas is just as afraid of this as he is.
Maybe, for all Cas’s power and other-worldliness, he’s just as vulnerable as Dean.
Dean kisses him and tastes the salt in his own mouth. He’s dangerously close to thinking again. Cas makes another sound, low and desperate, and Dean wants to give him every reassurance in the world. He can’t bring himself to form the words, so he shows Cas instead—with the curl of his tongue in the angel’s mouth, his hands digging hard into Cas’s skin and pulling his shirt open so the buttons scatter across the bed and floor.
He smooths his hands over Cas’s slacked thighs and lets instinct drive his hips closer. Cas’s knees fall open to let him in, legs scooting up on either side to clamp around him. The sound of their kiss is wet and desperate in the ringing silence of the bunker. Dean can’t catch his breath. He’s drowning, but looking at Cas’s heaving chest and blown-out pupils, at least he’s not being pulled under alone.
Dean’s hips jerk hard against Cas’s and he groans into the angel’s throat when an answering hardness presses into his own. His jeans are killing him—constricting and keeping him from the heavenly garden Cas is offering to him. Has always been offering. And Dean’s just been too stubborn to realize.
He fumbles between them with numb fingers. Cas stills his hands with his own and takes over, deftly unbuttoning Dean’s jeans and pulling each side of the fabric open, zipper spreading gradually like a ripe fruit. Dean presses his shoulder to Cas’s chest long enough to reach over to the side table, groaning when Cas grabs his ass to haul him into a rough drag along Cas’s body.
Once he starts, he can’t make himself stop. He fists the small bottle of lube he had just enough of a mind to grab—his clenched hand planted deep in the bed spread to give him more leverage to hump Cas through the fabric of his boxers.
Cas is making needy, breathy noises in his ear and if Dean isn’t careful, he’s going to come right here and now. He feels the heat building near the base of his spine where Cas’s fingers dig into his skin just under his shirt, slick with sweat and the blood it’s wetting to smear all over them both. He needs his dick in something now , or he’s going to lose what’s left of his mind.
Dean sits up on his haunches, taking the now hot-to-the-touch bottle and flips the cap in a well-practiced, automatic movement until he’s pulling the hem of his boxers down to rest just under his cock, pushing his hard-on into the tight tunnel of his own hand to cover it in liberal amounts. He closes his eyes to moan because looking at Cas’s flushed, open face while he jerks himself is just way too much for him right now.
He hears the jingle of a belt buckle and when he opens his eyes again, Cas is shuffling his own pants down. There’s no fanfare, just a quick movement to get them the hell out of the way to join the rest of his garments over the edge of the bed. Like Cas has already been waiting far too long for this. Dean can’t feel bad about it, not when they’re both here now and his dick’s in his hand, jumping at the sight of Cas’s laying hot and full across his own belly just above the neat mess of dense, black hair.
Dean lets go of his own cock long enough to grab Cas’s in his wet fist—half curious and half just needing Cas to feel what he’s feeling. Cas flinches, his hips jerking up into it reflexively and it’s the hottest thing Dean’s ever seen. He slides his hand up and down a few times to gauge his reaction. Cas’s head tilts back, eyes shut in concentrated bliss, exposing the long column of his throat. His whole body vibrates on his rumbling moan. Cas’s cock drips over his fingers and Dean knows exactly what his answer is.
Dean kisses the clefted end of his chin and slides the underside of his erection against Cas’s. He gets an arm just under Cas’s shoulder, laying it parallel to his body and folds himself over Cas. Dean mouths at his neck while his hand works long stripes over the both of them in the tight space between them. He wants to drink down every little moan and breath Cas makes, like they’re the only thing that can keep him breathing under the waves.
Cas clutches at his back and moves his hips in time with it—a bodily instinct an angel wouldn’t even know how to feel shame over. Dean feels the build in the clench of Cas’s muscles, almost painful and getting stronger with each increasingly desperate jerk of Dean’s wrist over the sliding skin of their cocks. Dean know he’ll find more bruises between his shoulder blades later, but the pain of it finally drags the pleasure kicking and screaming from his exhausted body.
Dean clenches his teeth over a tendon in Cas’s neck and comes. His mind whites out just long enough that he misses the mangled sound that escapes his own throat, but not the strangled shout Cas makes. Dean shivers with the aftershocks, dick pulsing and dripping with every gasp and whine that comes out of the angel’s mouth.
The last few rounds of cum shoot hot into Dean’s palm. He sits up on shaky limbs, cupping their combined efforts in his hand to politely keep it from making any more of a mess. Not that it really matters—they’re both far beyond saving at this point—in any capacity.
He catches his breath and watches the glittering, holy light fade from Cas’s pupils as the angel does the same. He takes in the dirt, the smeared blood and stray cum painting Cas’s torso and staining his shirt. He takes in the sweaty, flushed skin, red with arousal and the scrape of Dean’s stubble across his skin. But most of all, he takes in the blown, fucked-out look of reverence on Cas’s face and—despite everything else that goes unsaid between them—it finally feels like an answer to all of life’s great questions.
Dean presses his lips to Cas’s, careful of both their sensitive, softening cocks, and he can’t ignore the suffocating, clench of pressure in his chest.
It feels like love.
God could write whatever hell he wanted for them, but this — this is something nobody will ever be able to take from him.