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Dean knows something is wrong the second he wakes up.

His clothes don’t fit him right, first of all. Not that his normal clothes fit him correctly, the way they’re advertised on the mannequin, but he knows how they usually hang on his body. He opens his eyes and he’s — he doesn’t remember where he fell asleep. Or, uh, passed out. Jesus.

“Dean?”

Christ. Dean pushes himself up, looks over at the voice. It sounds like— it can’t be, but it sounds like Sam’s voice. Dean hasn’t seen Sam in years.

Sam looks… old. “Jesus, what the hell happened to you?”

Old-Sam, or this bizarre creature pretending to be Sam and missing the mark by a few years, snorts. “Yeah, guess I deserved that. But hey, okay. What do you remember?”

“I…” It’s strange. Fuzzy. He can distinctly remember that last week he took care of a ghost down near Jackson, and after that he found a cute chick at a dive in Memphis, but it starts to trail off. He can’t put his finger on his last memory which is the strange part. Maybe there was something after that, maybe it was the road, maybe he conked out in the back of the Impala, or maybe he checked into a motel. Or maybe all of that happened before the Jackson ghost. “Last week,” he says slowly, trying to piece it together. This person — he knows he should check it for being a shapeshifter or something but it’s strange. Like he knows it’s Sam, knows truer than anything, truer than his own memory.

Sam nods. He doesn’t bitch at Dean for beating around the bush, which is more of a surprise than the rest of this fuckup. “Last week?”

“Jeez, I dunno, I was workin’ a job in Tennessee, I think.” But then Dean starts to worry if maybe the Tennessee job was two weeks ago, and maybe last week was the vetala that he thought was a month ago—

“So you haven’t met up with me yet,” Sam says. “And you’re not… now you.”

“What?”

“Near the end of 2005, you come and pick me up at Stanford,” Sam says. “So, clearly you’re somewhere in your own personal timeline before that. And, you don’t seem to have any of your, your current memories, so it’s not just a body thing. It’s…” and Sam trails off and gestures at Dean’s body like he’s supposed to know what that means.

“Okay, talk about freaky,” Dean says, rolling to sit on the bed with his feet flat on the ground, thinking. “All right. So this is, what, time travel? What year is it anyway?”

“Sorry, I shoulda—” Sam huffs. It strikes Dean, the way he does it, like Sam’s old bitchfaces from when he was just a kid, before he left, but emptier. “It’s 2020.”

“2020.” Jesus. All right. Dean can barely believe it. “Wait a minute, are you telling me I survive to 2020? That’s—” He counts on his fingers— ’89, ‘99, ‘09, ‘19. “Forty-one? You tellin’ me I live to be forty-one fuckin’ years old? That’s fuckin’ crazy.”

Sam laughs. It hurts him, Dean sees it, it hurts him to do it, to laugh like that. Christ, what the hell happened to him? “Complicated answer, but yeah, you do.” Sam shrugs. “We both do.”

“What the hell happened to you, anyway?”

Sam rolls his eyes. “Dean, I’m thirty-seven years old, you can’t expect me to look like—”

“A teenager, I know, I know, I just.” It cuts at Dean, the way Sam hunches over, trying to be small. The way Sam flinches at every noise, don’t think Dean doesn’t see it, the way Sam lets Dean push him around even now, even when Dean’s clearly the one on the back foot. “Did I…” He figures he fucked it up somewhere along the way, if Dean came back into his life and Sam still got beat down like this, worn away by life. That’s Dean’s job. Dean’s supposed to take it for him.

“You didn’t do anything wrong,” Sam says softly. Dean hates that, too, the way this Sam says everything soft and quiet, the way he stutters through his sentences.

But hey. They have a mystery to solve. “Okay, so. Got any theories, college kid?”

Sam flinches. It’s small, but Dean sees it. Jesus Christ he’s gonna be sick. “I—”

“Okay, that’s it.” Dean looks at his hands because he can’t look at Sam right now, fuck, he can’t look at anything. Seeing Sam hurt is like— it’s like cutting out his own heart. He won’t do it, can’t survive it. “What happened to you? I’m serious.”

“Nothing, I just—” Sam huffs, a tiny exhale that Dean assumes is what passes for a laugh in 2020. “Nothing’s wrong. You just surprised me. You haven’t called me a college kid in a while.”

Dean swallows. “You didn’t go back to school after I came and got you?” He looks up to see Sam’s brow furrowed, his whole body finally grown into the old man expression that made Dean worry about him as a kid, worry he was growing too fast.

“No, I—” Sam shakes his head. “This is so strange. So much has happened in the last fifteen years. No, I didn’t go back to college. God it feels like— like a different planet.” He laughs. “College. Christ, I don’t even know what I’d do.”

“You could—” He catches Sam’s eyes and doesn’t let himself back down. “You could always go back. Might not get any sorority girls to pay attention to you at that age, but I figure you were always more into the books anyway, so.”

“I always thought you hated me going to college,” Sam whispers.

“I never—”

“It’s not a big deal,” Sam says, and then shakes off whatever feeling has him looking at his feet, making himself smaller and smaller. “Anyway. We— older you and me, I mean, and Cas, we had a run in with a witch.”

“I never said I hated you going to college,” Dean reiterates, because he has to get this one straight. “I— okay, I admit it, I didn’t handle it well. I know that. But it’s just that I’m— I’m always worried about you, it’s my job to keep you safe, and I knew Dad wouldn’t—”

Sam just watches while Dean — oh, he knows it, knows what betrayal his face is enacting — while Dean’s lip trembles, while he shivers through it. “You know.”

“Yeah, I know, Dean,” Sam murmurs. “You know it wasn’t your job to get between us.”

Dean feels it still, the way Dad’s hands had been on his skin the night that Sam left, pushing and pulling in equal measure. A punch to the gut and then a hand on his throat, bringing him close. Don’t you leave me, boy, not you, too, he’d said too loudly in Dean’s ear, more whiskey than water in him. And then, as it turned out, he left Dean first.

“Whatever,” Dean mutters. He’s over it. And even if he’s not over it, Dean-in-his-forties is definitely over it, so he might as well put it aside. “Fuckin’ witches.”

“Yeah,” Sam says, all sympathetic puppy dog eyes like always. Before Dean can chew him out for it, though, Sam gets back to business. “So. She hit you with something, you passed out, she got away while we got you back here. Cas is looking into the spell and I’m supposed to make sure you stay alive.”

Dean wants to ask where here is, if they have like, a regular residence or something, but he’s more preoccupied with whoever this “Cas” is. God he hopes it’s a hot chick. “Who’s, uh, Cas?”

“Shit, that’s a big question.” Sam smiles. “Cas — Castiel — is a good friend. He’s been around for— God, I don’t know, a decade? More? He pulled you—” and Sam cuts off abruptly.

Okay. Suspicious.

“He—”

“Pulled you out of a bad time,” Sam finishes quickly. “He really helped you out. And me, too, and everybody. He’s a really good guy, one of our best friends.”

“What an angel,” Dean drawls.

Sam looks like he’s about to say something, and then just huffs out another one of those awful half-laughs. “Yeah, something like that. Actually, I probably shouldn’t tell you too many details, in case this is genuine time travel and not just, like, a weird de-aging spell.”

“Okay.” Dean frowns. “So, Castiel. He just… hangs around?”

“Yeah. I mean, I love him, we’re great friends, but you and him become real close by the time 2020 rolls around. He usually comes around to hang out with you in the bunker.” Sam must see Dean’s confusion, because he says, “Yeah, underground magical bunker. It’s a long story, but we live here now.”

Dean nods. He’s totally chill about it. It doesn’t mean anything to him that they have a real honest to God home, obviously. He swivels back along the bed to lie down so Sam can’t see the wetness in his eyes. “Awesome,” Dean says, and if his voice cracks a little down the middle of it, this old and gentle Sam doesn’t say a thing.

“So. Anyone else live in this bunker? You got a girl, maybe?” Then Dean sits up. “Shit, do I have a girl? Wife? Woman, I mean? Jesus, I’m too young for this.”

Sam snorts. “Nah, you’re safe. To be honest, it’s usually just you and Cas bickering at each other like an old married couple.” Dean shoots Sam a stink eye because he knows a gay joke when he hears one, but Sam’s continuing on, oblivious. “I’ve been— I mean, I have this thing with, uh, with a hunter. Eileen. She’s… she’s really sweet, Dean, God. I mean, I hope we find a fix soon, obviously, but I feel like she’d get a kick outta seeing you like this.”

Dean lets it warm him, the way Sam is. He looks— not infatuated, not really, Dean’s not sure this brutalized and half-empty Sam is capable of it, but he looks happy. Well and truly pleased over this Eileen girl. “Man. Nice to see you happy.” And then, before it can get too chick flick, he adds, “Was worried you were just gonna be a confirmed bachelor your whole life, huh, Sammy?”

“Says the guy who hasn’t slept with a woman in like, nine years,” Sam snorts. He’s easy about it, but Dean instantly goes still.

He’s not— but Sam made the joke about Cas, but Dean’s not—

Sam sighs. “Dean. It’s not 2005 anymore. It’s—” Dean waits as Sam gears himself up to saying something. “I’m only saying this now because I think you need to hear it. I’d never start this conversation otherwise, but you know you can always come to me.”

“Sam, fuck, what the hell are you—”

“I do not care if you’re into guys,” Sam says firmly, and Dean wonders if you can get sick just from words, because he feels like he has the flu, dizzy and overheated and nauseous. “We have a lot of queer friends. It’s okay. It’s allowed. Get it?”

Dean says, hoarsely, “Sam, I don’t know what the fuck you’re—”

“So then just take it as a general statement, if you’re so certain about your heterosexuality,” Sam says, and Dean shuts the fuck up. “And lay off the jokes, okay?”

“Yeah, all right,” Dean mutters, because he’s a charming devil but the emphasis is on the charming, not the devil. “I’m not gay, though, got it?”

“I hear you,” Sam says. And then he rolls his shoulders back, and says, “Hey, you wanna see the rest of the bunker?”


The picture Sam showed him of himself in 2020 (on a cell phone that looks like something out of Neuromancer, Jesus Christ) rattles around his brain. He likes it, kinda. Likes seeing himself looking like that, looking the way a man’s supposed to, and not— well, when his dad got real drunk he’d say shit like you look just like your mother, kid and send Dean out of his line of sight, and it gives a guy an impression.

The only problem is the other guy. Cas. They’re obviously fucking — Sam told him so in pretty heavy-handed terms, all right — and Dean figures, well. If his forty year old fuckbuddy or whatever got turned into a twinky twenty-six year old he’d probably wanna take advantage, and from the sounds of it they owe this Cas guy the world a few times over. And it’s not like he’s hard on the eyes or anything, if the photo’s anything to go by.

Sam says Cas will be back for dinner, hopefully with some answers on Dean’s little temporal paradox issue, and Dean’ll make his offer.


“Hey,” Dean says, tries to keep it low and sensual but not too desperate. Guys don’t like to be seduced, not the way girls do. They like a man who’s casual, easy for it, who won’t say no to most things and who won’t stick around in the morning. “I dig the trench coat, man.”

Cas smiles brilliantly at him. Dean swallows. He’s never — no one’s ever looked at him like that before. Cas says, “Thank you, Dean.”

All through dinner Dean had tried to keep it under wraps, focused on Sam and the food and the bunker which was more than enough to keep him occupied. Now, though, it’s just Cas and his gravelly voice, and the way he says Dean like it means something good.

Dean lets himself shiver with it. It’ll be good — useful — if he enjoys himself, he thinks.

“You done in here?” Dean asks, and Cas nods. He lets his feet pull him closer to Cas, lets his mouth tug up at the corners the way he knows everybody likes, the way he’s practiced in the mirror. He keeps his chin level to accentuate his jaw, thinks it’s too bad Cas isn’t taller than him so he can’t whip out the eyelashes. When he’s on his knees, though, that’ll be the time for it.

Cas wipes his hands on a dish towel. “Can I help you with anything, Dean?”

“I dunno,” Dean replies, reckless and bratty. He leans on the fridge, curls his fingers into his front pocket to pull his jeans down just low enough to reveal a sliver of hipbone. “Kinda got lost, to be honest. Was wondering if you could show me where my bedroom is.”

“Oh.” Cas takes him in — Dean wonders if he does that in the future, too, gives him a full body scan that makes Dean sit up straight and want to be noticed — and nods. “I’d be happy to, Dean.”

“Always nice to have company.” Dean pushes himself off the fridge and gestures to Cas, tilts his head back slightly to show off his Adam’s apple, the shadows of his collarbones. “After you.”

The walk to his room is quiet. Not silent, no, Cas replies to Dean’s offhanded commentary about their weird decor and creepy books with genuine sincerity (weirder and weirder, this guy), but the whole bunker is quiet and it seeps into him, makes Dean lower his voice and Cas lean in close to respond. By the time they get to Dean’s door they’re next to each other, speaking into each other’s shoulders, practically, close and heated with it.

Cas stops at the door. “Well.” He hovers, and then takes a step back. “Good night, Dean.”

“No, hey, don’t be like that,” Dean says, pulling Cas in by the sleeve of his coat. It’s safe, he thinks, safer than the bare skin of his wrist. Jesus, he’s— he’s kinda hard for the guy, kinda into him. Forty year old you is over his hangups, Dean tells himself, and pushes past it. And it’s a favor, anyway. Another in a long line of favors. “I’m not really tired yet.”

Cas just stands there. He looks at him. Dean tries to be open to it, bites his lip when Cas’s eyes get there and shifts his hips when Cas’s eyes sling low. Eventually, though, it gets to be too much for Dean, who’s never been studied like this before. “You comin’ in, or nah?”

Maybe the guy’s only into, like, older dudes, doesn’t really care for hot twenty-somethings. Dean’s never really heard of guys being into that the way girls are, but there’s gotta be a first for everything, right?

“You know I would love to spend more time with you, Dean,” Cas says eventually. “But I think we have different goals for the evening.”

“Huh?” All right, that doesn’t— ”I mean, my goals are what you wanna do, Cas.”

Cas— shudders. There’s no other word for it, the way his shoulders shimmy back, his throat works. Dean tries to piece it together and then realizes — his name. Somehow, this is the first time Dean’s said his nickname, not the long and formal Castiel Dean had tried at their introduction.

Oh. This’ll be good. “Cas,” Dean says, reveling in the way Cas’s jaw twitches. “Hey. Come on.”

Cas follows him into his bedroom and lets Dean close the door behind him. He doesn’t move out of the way, though, so it looks something like this: Cas, quiet and still; Dean, close to him, hips aligned, his wrist brushing past the sleeve of Cas’s coat to turn the knob; Cas, a wall of heat against Dean’s chest, chin jutting out to make perfect peace with Dean’s own jawline.

Dean doesn’t move. “I figured,” he starts, because now they’re in private and the guy’s clearly interested so what the hell does Dean have to lose, “you’d wanna see what your man was like back in his twenties.” It feels stupid to say something like your man, but any other phrase feels either too all-encompassing or too specific. Are they only fuckbuddies if, as Sam talked around at dinner, they’re willing to die for each other? Friends with benefits, maybe? Is Dean just Cas’s sidepiece — or hell, is Cas Dean’s?

“I’m interested in you at all times, in any form,” Cas says, which is, uh, kind of intense. “Including this form. You’re beautiful.”

He says it like it’s undeniable. Dean laughs. Sure, okay; in comparison to the guy on Cas’s phone, he’s beautiful. “I take care of the goods,” Dean drawls, slipping off his plaid overshirt. “And no offence to older me, but I do have the unfair advantage of being only halfway to fifty.” He’s found — from numerous girlfriends and the tracking eyes of various motel managers and bartenders — that wearing lots of layers on the regular means taking off a single one can be just as effective as baring skin. He hopes Cas likes it.

Cas puts his hand on Dean’s bare forearm. It’s warm. Dean wonders if Cas will kiss him, finally.

And then he says, “I meant inside and out, Dean. You’re just as beautiful in 2020 as you were in 2005, in 1990, in 1979. I have no doubt you will continue to surprise me with your beauty until the day you die, and even after that.”

That’s. Dean blinks. He wonders what the hell kind of planet Cas is on, if he thinks Dean even has anything on the inside worth thinking about. “Cool, okay,” Dean says, because he’s not sure he can get out anything else. He knows, intellectually, that it’s not 2005 anymore, but as far as Dean’s concerned Sam hasn’t spoken to him in two years and Dad’s not interested in keeping him company, and they’re the only two people in this world who give any kind of a shit about Dean. No way does some random guy think he’s beautiful inside and out or whatever.

Maybe old man Dean is a sucker for it. Maybe Dean’s got it all wrong and Cas is the one giving him something nice; maybe the dynamic turns on its head by the time Dean reaches the wrong side of thirty-five.

“I mean it, Dean,” Cas says. He puts — Dean jumps a little, sparks flying — he puts his hand on Dean’s cheek. His skin is rough and dry, warm against the stubble Dean shaved off after he heard about Cas. “I’d… I’d like to get to know you. But I think your older self wouldn’t like it very much.”

“Aw, what, he the jealous type?” Dean leans into Cas’s palm, risks a hand on Cas’s hip, under his trench coat. They’re so close. It’s — it’s almost harder not to be kissing, at this distance. “I’m still me. He can’t get too mad.”

“I don’t think he’d be jealous, no.” Cas pushes Dean off him. “I think he’d feel vulnerable. I’d like to learn about this time in your life with his consent.”

Dean watches Cas turn to the door, hand trembling on the doorknob. “Thank you for the offer, though, Dean. I hope you have a good night.”

Dean zeroes in on that hand, the one that still hasn’t turned the knob. “No, hey, wait a sec.” He steps up close again. “I don’t— I didn’t mean talking, or whatever you’re worried about. Maybe there’s secrets he wants to keep, I dunno. But we could still—” And Cas looks at him, and Dean realizes— Cas is a caretaker. He wants to be useful.

He can work with that. Dean sighs, elaborately. “Maybe I don’t wanna spend tonight alone, you think about that?” He risks a hand on Cas’s jaw, thumbs across the scrape of his stubble. “Maybe I just want you.”

“Do you?” Cas raises his eyebrow and Dean thinks, incongruously, damn, that’s cool. After a second of blank staring, though, Cas must realize he has to clarify. “You keep saying maybe. Do you actually want me?”

“Uh, yeah.” Dean doesn’t think about the way he wants most of the time — there’s a difference between what he does with women for fun and what he does with men because he has to, and some third ambiguous space where he thinks he might actually want guys outside of that, too, but he’s not interested in making things complicated. “Dude. You’re hot. And, like, nice and stuff.”

Cas’s lip twitches up. “Nice and stuff.” Before Dean can worry he’s blown it, Cas takes his hand off the door to hold Dean’s other hand, the one that isn’t on his face. He tangles their fingers together and Dean swallows. “Of course I’d like to sleep with you, Dean,” Cas says. Dean doesn’t blink. He knew that already. “But I think I’d… I’d like to do it my way, if that’s all right with you.”

Oh. Okay. Dean swallows. His hand slips numbly off Cas’s jaw to his shoulder. Probably— probably by the time he hits forty, he’ll have done all kinds of things. Cas will be used to that, not some kid who still gets nervous about sucking dick sometimes. “Yeah, ‘course,” Dean says, making sure his breathing stays even, his shoulders stay low. And he doesn’t wanna fuck anything up for himself in the future, so he doesn’t go into his usual spiel. Cas must already know, anyway, what Dean’s hard limits are.

Cas smiles. God. That smile— Dean gets it, now, why his older self is so into him. He looks at Dean like he means something. “Thank you for trusting me,” he murmurs, and pulls Dean into a kiss.

Dean’s too stunned at first to make it good. He just kisses back the way he would kiss anybody, his left hand twitching in Cas’s grip, his right going tight on Cas’s shoulder. Cas kisses like— it’s too much, is what it is, the way he kisses Dean like he wants to know Dean, wants to see all of him. Dean can’t help the whine in the back of his throat, the little noise of pleasure, and Cas pushes forward, and it brings Dean back to himself.

Dean pulls back a sec. “Wow,” he breathes, trying to sound cool but breathless, somewhere between totally overwhelmed and still in control. Wants Cas to know his kiss had an impact, but Dean is still good to go. He presses another kiss to Cas’s mouth, lets Cas take his lower lip between his teeth gently. It’s all— Cas’s hands come to his waist and Dean lets himself be kissed, all crisp sensation at their three points of contact.

“Look at you,” Cas murmurs, his thumb rubbing gently along Dean’s abdomen through his T-shirt. Dean can’t help the huff of laughter. He looks at himself all the time. He tries to see himself in third person every minute of every day, his best and most universally applicable survival instinct.

Cas doesn’t know that, though. Cas just means he looks pretty.

“Lookit yourself,” he replies, bringing his other hands up to meet behind Cas’s neck. And then— “You wanna take the coat off?”

“All right.” Cas steps back to slide the trench coat off and okay, Dean sees it, why the layers matter. He looks almost naked in his two-piece suit.

“You look good,” Dean says, and Cas chuckles. “What?”

“Nothing, just—” Cas shakes his head. “You’ve said that before. Those exact words, in that tone. It’s nice to know that some things haven’t changed.”

Yeah, all right, Dean gets it. He’s not the guy from 2020, and he knows it. He doesn’t stop himself from asking, “Anythin’ else you want me to say?”

Cas frowns. He— Dean winces. He clearly got the message. Dean shouldn’t have said it, shouldn’t have been so bitchy over it. Not like Dean’s not getting the nicer end of the deal, since it’s clear this Cas guy and Sam both need older Dean around, and twenty-six year old Dean is just a consolation prize. “I don’t want you to be him. I only meant that—”

“I get it,” Dean says, before Cas can try to make up for Dean’s hangups. “Hey, I’m just moody. Not your fault.” He smiles — the winning smile, bright and honest, the one that made every librarian from Daytona to Delano look the other way when Dean presented them with Sam’s puppy dog eyes instead of a home address. “Maybe you can cheer me up, huh?”

“I’d like to,” Cas says, and steps forward. Quietly, he says, “I’d like to kiss your neck. Is that all right with you?”

“What?” Cas is a strange fuckin’ dude. “Yeah, dude, go for it.” Cas puts his hands on Dean’s shoulders, steadies him, and presses a gentle kiss to Dean’s mouth before trailing down, God, the swipe of his tongue along Dean’s pulse is dizzying. “You’re— you’re not— are you gonna announce every move before you make it, dude?”

“Would it put you at ease?” Cas presses the flat of his teeth against Dean’s skin before biting, gently, a blunt and dense moment of pressure that makes Dean’s dick jerk in his pants. Jesus Christ. It’s— the whole thing’s bizarre, socially awkward weird on top of their usual brand of weird, but it’s hot. Dean doesn’t know how, but it’s hot.

Cas, clearly not distracted enough by Dean’s nubile body, continues, “I don’t want to unpleasantly surprise you at any point, Dean.”

“Not sure any surprise from you would be unpleasant, Cas,” Dean says, and it’s only half a lie rather than the blatant falsehood it would’ve been an hour ago. He pushes at Cas’s suit jacket. “I feel kind of underdressed here, dude.”

Cas strips his jacket off and then, with a look from Dean, his shirt, too, there in his undershirt and his slacks. He looks at Dean for a long moment, those eyes, Christ, blue as anything, blue like the sea.

Dean grins, trying to get through it. “Nice. You wanna— what do you want?”

Cas comes close. Intense, fuck, Dean’s never been with a guy this fucking intense before. “I’d like to make you feel good,” he says, low, hands on Dean’s waist dizzying through the fabric of his shirt. “I’d like to—” He cuts himself off, and says, “Actually, what would you like, Dean?”

Dean blinks. No one’s ever— fuck, what even is that about, asking him? Girls expect him to take what he wants, and guys aren’t usually in a giving mood. He finds he— he finds he doesn’t even know. “I could— I’d love to get on my knees for you,” he says.

“For me?” And Cas says, “I’d like to do something for you instead, if that’s all right.”

Dean breathes. “Okay, sure.”

Cas kisses him once, heavy, then asks, “Can I take your shirt off?”

“Sure, yeah,” and Dean lets Cas push the hem of his T-shirt up, raises his arms so Cas can pull it over his head and toss it onto the bed. Cas looks at him. Dean laughs. “You, uh, like what you see?”

“As always,” Cas replies, and kisses the skin right over Dean’s fluttering heart, his mouth gentle on him.

“Sh— shit, man,” and Dean lets Cas push him back onto the bed, lies back as Cas crawls over him. “You, uh. You wanna do something for me?”

Cas looks up. “Of course.”

“You could—” Dean blinks up at the ceiling. It’s not— it’s not weird, it’s totally normal, but he still gets antsy over it. He dry swallows. “My nipples are pretty, uh, sensitive. If you wanted to, y’know.”

“I’d love to,” Cas says in that rumble of his, his hair glinting in the weird overhead light. Dean puts his hand on Cas’s neck, a shock of sensation under his fingertips, as Cas licks gently over his left nipple, sends sparks up Dean’s spine. “Yes?”

“Yeah,” Dean murmurs, letting Cas work him up, breathing heavy. Cas scrapes his bottom teeth over Dean’s nipple and Dean chokes out half a moan, his legs spread wide to accommodate Cas between them, his dick abruptly hard in his jeans. “Fuck, fuck, Cas—”

Cas doesn’t say anything, just slides a hand up to thumb across Dean’s other nipple. “Oh shit—”

Dean lets himself feel it, the cold air on his skin, the heat of Cas’s mouth, his quiet grunts of pleasure that do more for Dean than he should admit. And, fuck, the feeling of it, Cas’s body over his, the pressure of it, the warmth, the weight—

Cas abandons his chest to press a kiss to his sternum, then lower, trailing down. “Is this all right, Dean?”

“Y— yeah,” Dean whispers, shaken, watches Cas’s broad hands unbutton his pants. Cas’s gaze, though, is still focused straight on Dean’s face. He watches Cas watch him, wonders if he’ll even survive it, the way Cas looks through him. Cas gets his palm over Dean’s dick through his boxers and Dean bucks up, oversensitive already. “Shit—”

“I’d love to suck your dick,” Cas says, matter-of-factly, and then presses a kiss to the bare crease of his thigh.

Dean nods, says, “Yeah, I’d— please—” and Cas kisses his lower belly. Dean remembers himself, tries to put on a good show, says, “That feels really good, you— you got me so hard, I’m so hard for you, Cas—”

“I’m glad,” Cas says in his normal voice, which effectively shuts Dean up. He pulls Dean out, presses his thumb under the head of Dean’s dick. And then he licks him, tastes him, tastes the precome Dean knows is there, and Dean’s voice collapses.

“Is— is that good?” Dean asks, quietly, more serious than dirty talk.

Cas pulls off. “Absolutely,” he murmurs, and then kisses a line down his dick, sucks on his balls as his fingers twist around the head of Dean’s dick and Dean— fuck, he just has to feel it, just has to let the shakes come over him as his head hits the mattress. Oh God, it’s so good—

He tries to put his hand over his mouth but Cas stops, says, “I’d like to hear you,” and Dean has to acquiesce, twists his hands in the sheets instead as his hips jerk, as sweat beads in the space behind his knees.

Cas’s free hand slides up his thigh, comes to rest in the space next to Dean’s dick, thumb rubbing at the thigh-asscheek crease. He rasps, “How are you feeling?”

How is he— Dean laughs, “Jesus Christ, dude, I’m like two minutes away from blowin’ my load, how the hell do you think I’m doing?”

“Good,” Cas says, and then stops stroking his dick to rest his forearm over Dean’s belly, to hold his hips down as he sucks him, mouth warm and tight, fuck, fuck.

“Sh— shit, shit, Cas—”

Cas moans around him, bobbing up and down, and Dean closes his eyes, wants to thrust but can’t because Cas is too strong, too powerful, won’t let him go anywhere that’s not here, feeling his pleasure. Christ. Dean’s— he usually has better stamina than this, but it’s his new body, and it’s Cas’s laser focus, his hands keeping Dean where he wants him, and—

Dean shudders, says, “Cas, Cas, I’m gonna—”

Cas sucks harder, moves his left hand to Dean’s balls, and just like that Dean comes in his mouth, overwhelmed.

Fuck—”

Cas presses a kiss to the inside of Dean’s shaking thigh, kisses his body, up to his chest. Dean lies there as Cas wraps his hand around the skin of Dean’s left upper arm, looks at him for a moment.

Dean swallows. He wonders— breathless, he asks, “Is, is that, uh—”

“Nothing,” Cas murmurs, moving his hand up to Dean’s cheek. Dean closes his eyes, sinks into it, lets Cas rub a thumb across his cheekbone as Dean comes down from his orgasm.

Dean wants to do something for Cas — even gets as far as saying, “Hey, do you want— what can I—” — when Cas distracts him with a strategic kiss along the line of his throat. Cas just pets him, just touches him all over, and Dean melts into it. It feels like— like getting spoiled, just absolutely spoiled rotten with it, with attention.

Cas puts Dean on his stomach, says get into any position you’re comfortable and Dean lies down flat, dick pressed against the mattress, as Cas kneels over him, straddling him. He tenses in preparation for whatever Cas will do, but Cas only rubs a soothing hand over his shoulder. “Dean. I’m not going to do anything without your permission. Would you like me to tell you what I’d like to do?”

Sure, but Dean also— he kinda likes the idea of it being a surprise. Barely thinking of it, he says, “Just don’t fuck me—” and then realizes he’s trying to give orders to this guy. “I mean. You can, totally, it’s just, I just—”

“Dean.” Cas kisses the back of his neck, his shoulder, the tip of his ear. “I won’t. You’ve said no, so I won’t. Please say stop, or kick me, or do anything you’d like if I ever overstep your boundaries.”

Dean huffs out a laugh at the idea of him kicking Cas like a pissed off donkey. “Yeah, all right.”

Cas says, “I’d like to give you a massage. If you’re amenable, I’d also like to fuck your thighs.”

“Jesus—” and Dean is overwhelmed with the image of it, Cas looming over him, thrusting between his thighs while Dean lies there, ass up, and it’s fucking obscene. “Yeah, that— that sounds good, Cas, shit.”

Cas’s weight shifts, and he must be reaching for some oil or something, because his hands are slick when he comes back to center and runs them down Dean’s back. The gentle pressure of it, unassuming, helps Dean relax into the bed. There’s either a sedative in the oil or something in the air because by the time he gets into the knots in the middle of Dean’s back, Dean’s basically a floppy puddle in the middle of the bed.

And then, Cas brushes the back of his hand low, knuckles running gently along the top of Dean’s ass, and Dean inhales. Cas’s hands on him become points of ecstatic contact, catching along every nerve until Dean’s shifting his hips, halfway to hard again, somehow.

“Dean,” Cas says, low, leaning in to press the heel of his hand into Dean’s shoulder.

Dean— there’s no other word for it, all right, Dean moans, some amateur porn noise pouring out of him as Cas relieves the pressure there, as Cas’s head dips in close. Dean can only see the shadows on the pillow next to him but he can feel him, can hear his breath.

His toes curl as Cas releases him and moves to the base of his neck, scratching up through Dean’s hairline. “Gorgeous, every part of you,” he whispers absentmindedly, and Dean feels himself flush.

“You, uh—” He tries to arch his back a little bit, tries to curve his neck down just enough to display submission. “Like what you see?”

Cas rubs at his neck until Dean sinks back into his awkward collapse, face first, probably drooling onto the pillow. “Of course,” Cas says, fingernails a single scrape of pleasure along the hollow of Dean’s head. “Always.”

Dean shivers at that, finds himself pressing back into the weight of Cas’s thighs around him, his hips above Dean’s ass. “‘S that right?”

“You’re a good man,” Cas says, sweeping his hands along the tendons of Dean’s neck, two surfaces of prickling heat against his skin. “It’s a joy to see you receive love and pleasure.”

Dean’s— God, it’s embarrassing. Dean’s eyes prickle with tears. “Nice of you to say, Cas.”

“It’s true.” Cas moves lower, and his head must be low, too, breath ghosting along Dean’s back. He finally presses a kiss against the base of his spine and Dean chokes, wants to spread his legs but can’t with Cas around him, over him. “It’s all true. I’ve moved Heaven and Earth for you, Dean, and I’d do it again, if you’d let me.”

The way he says it, like it’s more literal than Dean can really understand, it— he doesn’t know. It gets him hot, makes his breath catch, the way Cas talks about him. Like he’s— like he’s good.

Cas’s massage moves to his upper thighs and Dean— Dean wants, he wants so bad for Cas’s hands to move in, to move up, touch him where he’s sensitive and aching for it. Cas kisses the crease of his thigh as his hands knead his ass and Dean’s— Dean shifts, wants Cas’s mouth, his fingers, anything on him.

Cas says, “Can I—”

Without thinking, Dean says, “Yeah, yeah, anything—”

Cas tugs at his hips, pulls him up to his knees, head still buried in his pillow. Cas says, “Would you still like me to— your thighs, can I—”

“Please,” Dean breathes, hands fisted in the sheets next to his head. Cas warms his hands between Dean’s thighs, then moves his hands to his hips, holds him tight as Cas presses in.

God, it’s— Dean knows he’s hard, knows Cas must be able to see it, feel it, as his dick presses into the space between his thighs, just under his balls. He feels so exposed, ass out and up for Cas to look at, to see, for Cas to— to put his hands on, Christ. Cas’s hands pull him back onto him and Dean groans, the slick heat between his legs too fucking much to handle.

The only thing Dean can hear is Cas’s quiet grunts and his own voice, loud even muffled into the pillow. He mouths along the pillowcase, rubs his palms against the sheets for the sensation of it, just to feel something other than the relentlessness of Cas’s thrusts, the knowledge that Cas is seeing him, seeing his body, and likes it beyond whatever scraps of attention Dean’s been able to get from being young and too pretty for the hunting world.

Cas says, “Dean, I’d— if it’s all right, I’d like to hear you,” and Dean can’t say no to that, pushes the pillow away so his voice carries in the space between his mouth and the mattress, all half-moans and fucked out noises in the back of his throat, his breath too loud for their quiet room.

He’s so hard. His dick is bouncing with every thrust, Cas’s hands firm on his hips and his legs inexorable around Dean, pushing his thighs closer and tighter together. “I want you to know something,” Cas grits out, hands running up to Dean’s shoulders. And then— and Cas maneuvers them around until he’s sitting back, pulls Dean up, pulls him upwards, so Dean is splayed out over his lap. “Keep your thighs together for me, Dean.”

“Y— yeah, okay,” Dean whines, squeezing his knees in as Cas fucks upwards, slow, brutal, his stubble a scrape against Dean’s shoulder.

Cas kisses him there on the blade of his shoulder, open-mouthed. He says, “Dean, look at me.”

Dean turns to look at him, their faces so close, touching, almost, breath in each other’s mouths, Cas’s eyes bluer up close than they were before. Cas reaches around to jack Dean off and it’s— oh fuck—

“You are the most beautiful man I’ve ever met,” Cas says, fervent, his hand relentless on Dean’s dick, his thighs a solid line of marble under Dean, and those eyes, those eyes. Christ. “I need you to know it. You’re— you’re aesthetically perfect, of course, you know that, but you, Dean. Your soul. You have the most beautiful soul I’ve ever known.”

“God—” Dean’s red all over, he knows, shaking and sweating and Cas is calling him beautiful, fuck— “Cas, I’m not—”

“You are.” Cas brings his free hand up to Dean’s face and Dean realizes he’s crying, fuck—  “Please. See what I see. A man who’s sacrificed so much for those he loves. A man who deserves nothing but happiness.” Cas kisses his neck, cranes his head forward to kiss Dean’s jaw, and Dean gasps. “Dean. You are so beautiful.” Cas says it like it’s the only truth there is, the only natural fact in the universe.

Dean closes his eyes to it. He can’t feel anything beyond the sparkling up his spine, the tremble in his thighs, and maybe, if he lets himself, a budding warmth in his chest. “Cas—”

Cas’s dick nudges up one last time between Dean’s thighs, brushing against his dick, and that’s all she wrote. Dean comes all over Cas’s hand, his own stomach, his thighs, shaking with it as Cas kisses his skin through the comedown, tears leaking out of the corners of his eyes.

“Sh—shit,” Dean hisses, once he’s able to speak again, and Cas sets him down on the bed. Dean rolls over onto his back. Cas looks so hard, and Dean says, “Cas, you wanna—”

“I just—”

“Come on me,” Dean says, because he wants it, wants Cas on him, wants to feel Cas get off because of Dean. “C’mon, lemme just—”

Cas puts his dick against Dean’s belly and Dean puts his hand over it, makes a space for him to fuck, says, “Yeah, yeah, Cas— fuck, you’re so hot, you’re—” he can’t bring himself to say the word beautiful, not after what Cas said, not after the unbreachable golden feeling Cas gave him, but he says, “Babe, I wanna— I want you, I wanna feel you come on me. Please.”

And it’s that, maybe, the way Dean had tilted his head up and said please in that voice, half-cracked and desperate, that makes Cas come, thrusting once, twice, four times into the space between Dean’s hand and his belly, sending come shooting up to Dean’s chest, his collarbones.

Cas takes a breath, hands pressing down on Dean’s shoulders before he finally heaves himself off to lie down next to Dean.

Dean lets the silence rest. He feels— he feels unmade, and then made new again.

“Cas,” he whispers eventually. “You still awake?”

“Yes, Dean,” Cas groans, clearly half-asleep, and Dean grins.

“Old man,” he teases, a note of fondness in it, and Cas rolls over, slaps Dean’s arm halfheartedly before collapsing there. Dean lets him do it, lets him cuddle in, and maybe Dean leans into it, too. Maybe once he’s certain Cas has really passed out, Dean puts his hands over Cas’s forearm, just to hold him. Just to feel him.


Dean wakes up. He is forty-one years old.

Cas looks comfortable in the bed next to him, at least. Dean escapes to the bathroom, runs the tap hot enough to steam up the mirror so he doesn’t have to look himself. Jesus fucking Christ. His shoulders are shaking. Crying in bed, holy fuck— him and Cas, all right, they have something, something strange and intimate between them, but they’ve never—

He hates who he was, back then. Christ. Like Cas wanted some kid hanging off him, God, Dean winces to think how— how obvious he was, how obviously he wanted. That’s not the point of him. He’s not supposed to— to want things, not out in the open like that. He’s working up to looking at the world around him and taking the things in reach, yeah, but Dean’s never gotten anywhere by aiming high enough that the fall will kill him.

But below all of that — like it’s deeper, more foundational than the rest of his bullshit — Dean remembers Cas’s voice saying Dean. You are so beautiful, and the way he had lit up, the gentle warmth of it. And he starts to wonder — feeling stupid for it, but wondering all the same — if maybe saying it back to Cas wouldn’t be aiming too high after all.

Dean spits into the sink, and goes to make breakfast.

He figures that whatever the emotional consequences, at least the bad-decisions-at-night strategy wasn’t for nothing, if Dean woke up with his lower back hurting the right amount. Unfortunately, Sam’s lack of surprise busts that myth that right quick. “It worked,” Sam says, smiling bright. “Man. We shoulda taken a picture for Jody and the girls.”

“Shut up,” Dean says, maybe not light enough for first thing in the morning. He turns to the counter and busies himself making coffee so he doesn’t have to see Sam’s face.

He remembers the feeling of wrongness in the pit of his stomach yesterday. Had he just stopped noticing, the way Sam changed after Lucifer? He’d seen it in the first couple of years, but— maybe after Purgatory, or after the Mark, Dean just hadn’t paid attention to it afterwards, the quiet and consistent chipping away at Sam’s body and soul.

Sam doesn’t snipe back at him for his obvious grumpiness, and Dean frowns at his coffee, feeling scummier than he had this morning, leaving Cas alone in that bed. Fucking Christ.

“Anyway.” Dean turns around once the coffee machine gets going. “What did you do?”

“We actually didn’t even need the original witch,” Sam says. “Rowena had some spell about, like, returning to your correct form or something.”

“So I’m—” Dean rolls his eyes. “I hate when we use spells to counteract spells. Feels like, I dunno, poppin’ a benzo and then snorting coke right after. You sayin’ I have two spells on me right now?”

“It’s— it’s temporary.” Sam continues, “When we find the original witch and, uh, make her take the spell off you, then Rowena’s spell will just disappear, since it’ll be redundant.”

“Yeah, all right.” Dean gets a mug once the coffee maker beeps, pours himself a generous cup before making one for Sam.

“Hey, where’s Cas?”

Dean freezes, right as he’s putting a mug down for Sam, which feels unbelievably obvious. Sam doesn’t comment, though, so he tries to make it smooth, pulls away not too fast to lean back against the counter. “He’s, uh. Cas is probably, I dunno, why would I know? Sleeping maybe.”

Nice. Subtle.

“Sure.” Sam sighs. “Whatever’s going on between you two—”

“Nothin’s goin’ on between us, Sam,” Dean says, and then chugs half his too-hot coffee just to shut himself up. Son of a bitch. “Anyway. He’ll show up.”

He looks up and there Cas is, standing in the doorway, sweatpants and a T-shirt. In one shuddering moment, Dean remembers how his skin felt on his tongue. How Cas’s forearms had held his hips down when Cas went down on him, how Cas’s hands had felt when he held Dean’s left arm which Dean knows now, of course, is where Cas had put his hand on Dean when he raised him up out of Hell, God—

Too late, Dean croaks out, “Speak o’ the devil,” when Cas is halfway to the coffee machine.

The coffee machine Dean is standing right in front of.

Sam watches as Dean awkwardly bumps around Cas, aiming for the table and only making it to the island where he decides to call a strategic halt. Cas pours coffee into a mug singlemindedly. The mug says FISHLAKE CABINS HONEYMOON SUITE and has a heart-shaped handle.

Sam and Dean had gotten it when a motel booked them for the honeymoon suite accidentally a few years back, laughing about it. Doesn’t feel so funny now.

“So,” Sam says. He coughs out a laugh and Dean glares at him. “Anyway. Rowena’s keeping an eye out for the witch.”

Cas turns around, and finally seems to notice Dean. “I see you’re back in order.” His face is stone cold as he sips his coffee, and yeah, Dean gets the message. What happens in Dean’s bedroom stays in Dean’s bedroom, or whatever.

“I’m gonna— so— yeah,” Sam says, and hightails it outta there. Traitor.

They look at each other for a long moment. Dean hates it. Hates feeling like he made the wrong choice— and you know what? He made the decision he could at the time. As far as twenty-six year old Dean was concerned, old Dean and Cas had something going on, and young Dean was just fulfilling his end of the deal. Not his fault Cas took him up on it.

Anger never gets him anywhere with Cas, though, doesn’t get him anywhere except alone. So Dean tries offering an olive branch. He says, “You sleep okay?”

“Yes.” Cas closes his eyes, and Dean watches him drain his coffee mug. And then Cas says, “Just let me know if you’d like me to pretend last night never happened.”

“I—” And that’s fair enough, sure, Dean’s bitched his way through every interaction with Cas that wasn’t life or death, but this seems unnecessarily rude. “Sure, yeah, never happened.”

“Dean—” Cas puts his mug down, with force. “Fine.”

“Why the hell is this my fault? You’re the one who brought it up!”

Cas’s eyes bore a hole into him. Dean always feels that way when Cas looks at him; it’s only a matter of whether he likes the feeling or not, and that really just depends on the day. “You are insufferable. You know that?”

“What, you’re grumpy ‘cause I left you alone in bed this morning? Excuse me if I wanted a cup of coffee before dealing with a mistake my twenty-six year old self made, Jesus.”

“A mistake,” Cas repeats, and Dean digs a thumb into his forehead to stave off the pain there, the back of his neck hot as anything. Christ.

“Not— fuck, Cas, I’m talking about the way I was.” His mouth is running beyond his control, quietly scraping the back of his throat. “You didn’t sign up to— to take care of me, all right? I’m just— look, it’s embarrassing, okay?” His humiliation rushes through him like nausea, skin prickling from the sheer heat of it.

Cas frowns. “Why— why would you be embarrassed?”

“Because I—” came onto you like I was desperate for a customer, Dean wants to say, but that’s a little too close for comfort. And besides, he’s more embarrassed about the rest of it, his trembling thighs when Cas got that second orgasm out of him, the way he’d bitten his pillow, the fact that he’s getting hard right now thinking about the way Cas had whispered gorgeous, every part of you in his ear.

“I understand that it was— I can see why you would be angry with me,” Cas says, and Dean realizes that all of this is because Cas feels… guilty. “But I— you seemed, or, he seemed so sure of what he wanted, and maybe I just—”

“No, hey, Cas, that’s not—”

“It was wrong of me to take advantage,” Cas says, but like it’s rote, like he doesn’t really believe it. Then Cas looks up at him and adds, genuine, honest, “I really believed it was what you wanted, and I was— it was an honor, to have the chance to, to treat you with kindness. To be gentle with you. But I understand that if you’d known what you know today, you wouldn’t have made that choice, or it would’ve been different, and I just—”

“Cas—”

“You never take what you want,” Cas says. And then, like it’s a continuation of the same thought, he adds, “Am I crazy? Is this not what you want?”

Dean runs a hand over his face. Fuck. “You’re not— Jesus, Cas, you’re not crazy.”

His words sit there for a moment, the two of them facing each other but Dean’s eyes stay on the sink, his feet, anywhere that will let him avoid Cas’s gaze.

“So.” Cas nods to himself. “I’m not crazy, and you did want me, but you don’t anymore. We’ll pretend this never happened. Understood.”

He goes to walk out of the kitchen and Dean just— he can’t. He can’t do this. He reaches out — aims high, God, higher than he’s ever aimed — wraps his fingers around Cas’s wrist. Cas turns back to look at him.

“I want you,” Dean says hoarsely, to Cas’s shoulder, because he can’t look him in the eyes. “Yeah, I want you.”

Cas exhales. “You—”

“Yeah, Cas.” Dean pulls him in close, closer than ever, a disjointed hug in the middle of the kitchen, Dean’s face buried in Cas’s shoulder.

In the light of their kitchen’s shitty fluorescents, underground in the middle of nowhere, Dean uses his hands, his forearms, the scratch of his dull fingernails along Cas’s shirt to ask him to stay. And Cas, putting his palm on the back of Dean’s neck, true and faithful: Cas says yes.