Dean wouldn’t deem himself to be a physically affectionate person. Sure, he would clap Sam on the shoulder or back of the neck when he did a good job at something. He would smile or wink or anything other than touch people more than that. If he did, that meant you were special to him - more than family, more than friends. Hell, the girls he hooked up with never really got to know him, so they didn’t get his hugs - which his mom used to say were the best - or his kisses that were meant to be supple instead of passionate and in a hectic way. They didn’t get him holding their hands and kneading his thumb over the top of it. His cuddling. God, they didn’t get his cuddling either. When his dad would be on a job, a young Sam and Dean would sleep together. This, of course, was when Dean was taller - much taller- than Sam; he was protective of his growing little brother. That’s why he was terrified the many times Sam almost bit the dust on the job. Losing his little brother? He wouldn’t be able to forgive himself. He wouldn’t be able to live with himself.
So, when he met Castiel, he was shocked to find that he started to feel that way after only a few meetings. The angel who had brought him back from Hell earned a special place in his heart - one he, according to girls in the past, wasn’t endowed with. But he knew he had one. It was more apparent after Cas stayed around more often than not. The angel and him would share delicate smiles when talking or when they were across the room from each other. Their knuckles would sometimes brush against each other. But Dean fucked it up when that happened. He hated being touched if he didn’t initiate it or if it was Sam. He missed the simpler days when he was sure he was straight, when he was confident in his sexuality. But that one man he met when he was twenty fucked it all up.
And now Cas did, too. But Dean didn’t blame him. Poor thing was so, so innocent. It was wholly ambrosial. He wouldn’t change it for anything in this fucked up world. Hell, he wouldn’t change the trench coat that always seemed to be plastered on him, how his tie wasn’t completely done right, still a little loose. He wouldn’t change his hair that constantly looks like he just had sex. His stubble was captivating to Dean. He constantly wondered how it would feel against his face if they ever kissed, on his neck when - no, if - he would leave hickies. Down further and further - and that’s when his thoughts would stop. There was no way he would get a boner on a case thinking about it or in a shitty motel room.
He missed Cas when he was gone. He missed him so goddamn much. He just wanted to be held by Cas or comforted when he slept. It would sure as hell help him get more than three or four hours of sleep on these things. Every time he told Sam, “I’m done,” he always thought of Cas. His luminescent beryl colored eyes lifted his spirits up so much. On his darkest days when he contemplated ending it all when Sam was out getting food, two things kept him alive: the anguish and desolation it would cause Sam, and Castiel. Everything made him happy when it came to Castiel. He was hooked on a drug he never knew he needed, and he didn’t want to get sober again. Never. He would inhale or inject as much of the angel as he needed to make him feel like he was out of his own body, to make him feel normal for once. What even was normal to him? Castiel.
Just thinking about the currently absent angel made Dean ache inside. Everything fucking hurt. The job from last week kept kicking him in the ass; he hadn’t been able to do it in time. He wasn’t able to save them. The poor kids died because of him and his slowness. He wasn’t fast enough. The vampire got them just before Dean was able to slice its head off. Jesus. Never again, he had promised himself after that. Never again would he ever be that slow again. He wouldn’t let innocent kids die on his watch. It ripped him apart from the inside. As he looked in the mirror at the wound he got - a simple shove that impaled him slightly - on his shoulder, he felt his eyes get wet. He brought his hands up to his verdigris eyes, rubbing them. He needed a drink, but he needed to stop if he didn’t want to die of liver poisoning within five or so years.
“You do know it was not your fault, Dean,” Castiel’s scratchy voice cut through the tension, his hands in the beige trench coat pockets. “You couldn’t have prevented their deaths.”
“I don’t give a shit, Cas! If I would’ve moved faster after Sam, they… they would be alive and with their mom,” Dean yelled, his face turning red quickly. “How the hell are you so calm? Do you not care that two innocent, little kids got fucking killed by this monster?”
Castiel was quiet. His gaze fell to the floor, obviously uncomfortable from the yelling. Dean felt like shit that he made him feel like this. He fucks everything up. Dean kept looking in the mirror, blocking the angel’s presence from his view. The man standing there would’ve been obscured anyway because Dean’s eyes started to get more and more watery. He just needed a hug, but after everything he’s put Cas through, he doubted-
He felt himself getting turned around and pulled against someone, strong arms wrapping around his shoulders. Cas was… was hugging him. He quickly wrapped his arms around Castiel’s middle, tucking his head into the crook of his neck, and he let it all out. He let out all the tears he kept in for so many fucking years. Castiel’s hands were rubbing his back and shoulders, working out any tiny knots. God, how was Dean so lucky to have this literal angel who was hugging him after he was such a piss-poor friend and human being to him. After a few minutes - but what felt like so many hours or days - Dean stopped crying. He felt utterly debilitated. Cas walked him out of the hotel bathroom, being careful of the bandage on his shoulder, and sat him on the bed.
“Sleep. You need it, Dean.”
Dean didn’t protest. He quickly fell asleep to the image of Cas standing by the window, watching out of it. Him being in the room was enough for Dean.
In the morning, Dean woke up and felt like a fucking mess. The bandage on his shoulder needed to be changed, dry tear tracks were on his cheeks. Castiel was nowhere to be seen. Dean sat up in bed, rubbing his eyes and yawning. He got a little more sleep than usual, but he still felt like a piece of garbage. Back in the bathroom mirror, he looked at himself. He really was a mess. His short hair showed signs of the tossing and turning he did, his eyes had dark bags under them. All in all, a piece of shit. A splash of cold water washed away most of the lethargy feeling in his system. How was he going to wrap his shoulder? It could probably wait, right? Yeah, it could definitely wait. Today would be better than the last. Baby, Sam, and him on the road, loud rock music playing. He would occasionally sing loudly - and inordinately out of key - to the song, making Sam want to lean over and smack him. But, if he caught Sam on a good day, he would sing along, too.
Yeah. Today would be better. For sure.
No. Today wouldn’t be better. As soon as they got to the motel room, Dean said something that pissed Sam off to the point that he left and got his own room. Great. Another thing he fucked up, not even twenty-four hours after the kids… no. He would not think about that. He didn’t need to cry more. Not today, not tomorrow, preferably not ever.
“If you did not cry, you wouldn’t be human,” a voice said from beside him on the bed, hands clasped in his lap. “And you would seem unsympathetic. It is better to cry every once in a while, Dean.”
He didn’t understand. He wasn’t the one who went through the kids, losing Sam when he was in Hell. He wasn’t the one who was told horrible things by Famine. It hurt him so much. So, so, so much.
“Ya know somethin’, Cas? You’re not very good at comforting people.”
Cas went to open his mouth to retaliate, but Dean stopped him.
“When Famine looked into my heart… into my soul, ya know what he said? He said, ‘That’s one deep, dark nothing you got there, Dean.’ He said, ‘Can’t fill it, can you? Not with food or drink.’ Then, the damn… thing had the audacity to look me in the eye more than he already was. And he laughed when he said, ‘Not even sex.’ I told him he was full of crap. Wanna know how he responded? ‘Oh, you can smirk and joke and lie to your brother, lie to yourself, but not to… not to me!’” Dean stopped to take a breath, tears threatening to spill over. His hands clenched into fists at his side. “And I was… I was pissed. But he never stopped, Cas. Never. He continued on and it hurt. ‘I can see inside you, Dean,’ he said. ‘I can see how broken you are, how defeated. You can’t win, and you know it. But you just keep fighting. Just… keep going through the motions. You’re not hungry, Dean, because inside, you’re already… dead.’ But I’m not. I’m nowhere close to dead. He just saw what I was really hungry for. It was something even fucking Famine couldn’t fix, Cas. He just saw… he saw I was hungry for someone - in love with - who I knew was incapable of loving me back!
“That just proves how broken I really am, how defeated I am,” Dean spat out the words broken, defeated, and love. He was hurt. No one could fix the boy next to Castiel. The angel was reticent, for probably the first time in a long ass time.
“Don’t even say you’re sorry. Don’t even fucking give me the bullshit that you understand. This… this man can’t love me back. He’s not capable of showing it. And that’s… that’s all I want, Cas. That’s all I want…” Dean’s voice broke near the end, slapping a hand over his mouth to muffle a snivel. “Just… just go. Don’t come back for… for the rest of the morning. Please.”
“At least let me change your bandage first,” Castiel muttered, starting to take the time to actually use his vessel’s hands instead of his mojo. He left after Dean gave a soft, ‘Thank you.’ Dean fell asleep again.
That night, Dean woke up to the door closing. On the small ass table in the meager kitchen area, was a bag of fast food. Probably Sam. He would eat in the morning, it was too late to eat anyways. But then he saw him. Castiel was back, standing at the window, back to him. He didn’t hate him, apparently. He stood up too expeditiously and his head started ringing, but he shook it off. He needed to apologize to the angel.
“‘M sorry, Cas,” Dean muttered, plopping himself down on a chair. “Didn’t mean to be a dick, honest to god. Just… a little fucked up, I guess.”
“Don’t worry about it, Dean,” came Castiel’s response, his back still turned to Dean. “I do hope you know you can talk to me about things like this, though.”
Dean let out a small snort, running a hand over his face. He didn’t respond, just laid his head down in his arms on the table, letting a tired yawn slip through his lips. He wasn’t tired, just mentally exhausted. He needed a hug or… or anything. Anything at this point would satisfy him. Comfort was all he needed.
“Dean, I have a question,” Castiel broke the silence, finally, finally turning to look at Dean with those cerulean eyes.
Dean grunted in response.
“How does one slow dance?”
Dean’s head shot up in shock, turning his head and cocking an eyebrow. “Why?”
“If I need to ‘fit in’ with humans more, I might as well learn to do something,” Castiel shrugged in response, his hands finding his trench coat pockets again. “Just a question.”
Dean stood up and beckoned Cas over to where there was some room. “Get over here.” Leaning over, Dean turned on the music from the radio, Cas standing at least a foot away. The music was cheesy as all hell, but Dean couldn’t be bothered to change it. Castiel took off the trench coat that always seemed to be glued to his vessel.
Highway run into the midnight sun
Wheels go round and round, you're on my mind
Restless hearts sleep alone tonight
Sending all my love along the wire
“So first, you take your hand and put it here,” Dean muttered faintly, moving Cas’s hand to his shoulder, placing his own hand on his waist.
“Like this, Dean?” Castiel had his gaze fixated on the hand on his waist, watching it.
“Yeah… exactly like this, Cas,” Dean grinned. Castiel looked up at him. God, he was so beautiful right where he was. The moonlight illuminated Cas from behind, giving him an angelic glow. This was how Dean imagined Cas when he was sad; standing in front of him, looking up at him with curiosity, a small smile on his face, and a soft glow behind him. Since Cas didn’t need to sleep, Dean’s bed was cold at night. All Cas would have to do was sit there and let Dean sleep next to him. He would give his life to save Castiel.
They say that the road ain't no place to start a family
Right down the line it's been you and me
And lovin' a music man ain't always what it's supposed to be
Oh, girl, you stand by me
I'm forever yours, faithfully
“Then, you take the other two and hold hands, like this.” They latched hands, Dean smiling at how warm the skin was. Their hands seemed to be meant to hold each other. Cas was looking at the hand he was holding. Dean’s hand was just a tad bit bigger than his, but it was perfect.
“Like this…” Castiel repeated again, taking mental notes by talking out loud. Adorable.
“Yeah. Like that, Cas,” Dean smiled a little wider, admiring how elated Cas looked that he was doing something right on the first try. His big, blue doe eyes shone with something Dean couldn't place his finger on. He realized he wanted to start a family with Cas sometime in the future. But, Dean realized falling in love with him wouldn’t be good; he can’t be committed. But he would for Cas. He would be faithful. He would for the angel that saved him.
Circus life under the big top world
We all need the clowns to make us smile
Through space and time, always another show
Wondering where I am, lost without you
“What do you do next?” Castiel breathed out.
“Then, you hold the other one close. Like this,” Dean breathed, tugging the shorter one close to his chest. He could feel the hot breath coming from Castiel’s parted lips. They were so close, Dean could tilt his head down and steal a kiss.
Castiel being happy and this close to him made Dean beam more than he has in a while. How had he managed to get through life without Castiel all this time? It was… it was a miracle. He was so lost with the one night stands, men or women. The connections there weren’t as strong as they were with the angel and him.
“Okay… hands here and holding each other, holding the other one close. Got it,” Castiel’s eyes never left Dean’s, his own soft smile not leaving his face.
And being apart ain't easy on this love affair
Two strangers learn to fall in love again
I get the joy of rediscovering you
Oh, girl, you stand by me
I'm forever yours, faithfully
“Now, we start rocking back and forth,” Dean mumbled after comfortable silence, starting to do just that.
“Like swaying?” Castiel asked, adjusting his hand on Dean’s shoulder.
“Like swaying, Cas.”
Being apart from Cas wasn’t easy, Dean realized. But everytime it happened, he seemed to fall in love all over again with the blue eyed beauty. He got the joy of rediscovering him; his smile, his eyebrow that always seemed to be slightly raised. His posture, his everything. As the two swayed back and forth, Dean relished in the song. It wasn’t what he would usually listen to, but for Cas, he could make an exception. Dean sighed happily, leaning down slightly so his chin was on Castiel’s shoulder, moving the hand that was holding the angel’s to the other side of the waist. Castiel’s chin also rested on Dean’s shoulder, his other hand moving up to timidly play with the locks of brown hair at the nape of his neck. It was so… so peaceful and… domestic.
Tilting his head to the side just the slightest, he buried his face in Cas’ neck. The tension in his shoulders was gone just for the shortest amount of time. He felt like all that mattered was Castiel, him, and the soft music. He wanted to cry from how soft and quiet the moment was. It made him feel loved. His insecurities slipped away from his grip as Castiel let out a soft chuckle. Castiel’s fingers were moving with precision, just ghosting over his hair. It made Dean’s body shudder oh so slightly on the inside.
Even as the song finished, the two didn’t stop dancing. The men were wrapped up in the presence of the other. It was beautiful. Dean’s heart ached to pull back and kiss Cas, but then he remembered that the man he knew couldn’t love him back was Cas. As quickly as the thoughts came Dean pushed them away. Castiel could probably hear them if he wasn’t careful. Dean stopped swaying and just stood there, embracing the other man. Castiel allowed it. His hand kept toying with Dean’s hair, being as tender as he could. The taller of the two inhaled deeply, letting the breath out slowly.
Eventually, though, Dean had to let go of Cas.
“That’s how you slow dance, Chuckles,” Dean smiled, crossing his arms over his chest almost as though to protect himself.
“It was… pleasant. Thank you,” Castiel moved to put on his trench coat before Dean stopped him.
Turning the angel around, he pressed his lips hesitantly onto the other pair. Unsurprisingly, Castiel didn’t return the motion. Dean, just as quick as he started the kiss, stopped it. He stepped back, taking his hands off of Dean’s biceps.
“I’m sorry. I… I didn’t mean to… I…” Dean stuttered, keeping his green eyes on the floor.
Without saying anything, Castiel moved forward and quickly pecked Dean’s lips. He looked up at Dean with his eyebrows raised, mumbling, “Its okay.”
Before he could stop himself, Dean kissed him again. This time, it was reciprocated, hands faltering before they placed themselves on Dean’s jaw. Dean’s own hands slipped to Cas’s waist, pulling him closer, breathing in the scent that was making him drunk. The kiss was soft, no playful nips or tongues prodding at closed lips.
Dean would never get enough of it.
When they parted for oxygen, his forehead rested against Castiel’s, his eyes closed and breathing heavy. Castiel moved his arms to hug Dean again, barely even resting on his tip toes.
Maybe they could do this, Dean thought.