Actions

Work Header

Holding onto Happiness

Work Text:

Dean hated witches.

More than spiders, airplanes, and even hellhounds.

More, even, than the Mormons who kept knocking on the door to their super-secret underground bunker. (Seriously, how did they keep finding it?!)

Of all the baddies he’s fought over the years, it’s cases with witches that make him squirm. The way they use fluffy animal bits and questionable body fluids for their magic is enough to make a germaphobe like Dean want to crawl out of his skin as literally as possible and boil it in bleach.

Not even knowing Rowena helped completely tamp down the anxiety he gets around them.

So yeah. Dean hated witches, which was why he was currently driving to a suspected witch case with a newly humanized Cas in the passenger seat of the Impala.

Cas knew the score; he’s been on the receiving end of Dean’s ‘I hate witches’ speech countless times over the years. Sensing an encore performance on the horizon, he instead scooted across the leather of the Impala’s bench seat and grabbed Dean’s fidgeting right hand so that he could keep steering with his left.

Dean glanced at him. “You’re messing up my drum solo, Cas.” There’s no heat to it, only his trademark crooked smile.

Cas rolled his eyes but just squeezed Dean’s hand before settling next to him. He turned down Dean’s Metallica tape--he’s the only person who can do that without getting kicked out of the car at 60mph.

“Case details?” He asked in that raspy, rumbling voice.

Taking a breath, Dean sat up and thought for a second. “String of mysterious deaths, bodies all covered with bloody markings, sigils or something. Sam’s got no idea on what they mean.”

“I had no frame of reference for them, either,” Cas admitted. He looked out the window at the passing scenery, a string of mom and pop shops flying past. In a carefully nonchalant tone, Cas asked, “So, what’s our game plan?”

Dean bit his lip. He knew what Cas was doing; he was forcing Dean to focus on tangible details—redirecting Dean’s nerves by making him focus on things he could control, like their next steps.

He rolled his eyes but gave Cas an appreciative nod of his head.

“Usual, I guess. Cops first, maybe the coroner. See what we can find out from the neighbors of the victims. See if there are any connections.”

Cas groaned dramatically. “Still hate having to talk to people.”

Dean squeezed his hand, taking pleasure in glancing down to see their fingers intertwined. He chuckled. “Trust me, Cas, you are a lot better than you used to be.”

A very tiny, very coy smirk passed over Cas’s lips as he looked up at Dean. “Could apply that to other things, too.”

That little shit. He didn't take his eyes off the road as he leaned over and brushed a kiss on Cas’s soft mop of tousled brown hair. There are stands of silver that weren't there so long ago: Dean finds he likes them. “Yeah, well, practice makes perfect, you know.”

The road ahead of them still had plenty of traffic as the sun started to dip downwards, the purple edge of twilight began to rise in front of them.

“I’m glad it’s just us on this case,” Cas said dryly. He made sure to glance sideways to see Dean's reaction to his following words. “Would hate for Sam to walk in on us ‘practicing.”

Dean's surprised laugh was loud. “Since we have to wait ‘til tomorrow to get started anyway, how about we get dinner, pie, and then engage in all the ‘practice’ we can manage before we pass out?” He wiggled his eyebrows for dramatic effect.

Cas smiled; it was a radiant sunbeam busting through the cloudy sky that was his usual disposition. “I think that’s the best plan you’ve had in a long time, Dean.”

*****

When Dean and Sam had stood before Chuck on that picturesque beach, he thought that was the end of them. They had not expected to survive the encounter--who would when going up against literal God?

Their plan for Jack ended up working better than they thought. Since his return from the Empty, the kid had been absorbing energy--the plan to get Jack to absorb God's powers was so stupid it ended up being brilliant because even Chuck had expectations higher than that. He never saw it coming.

While Chuck had been left behind, human and now forced to live in the pages of the last story he wrote, the guys had not expected Jack to step into the literal position of God.

Dean was still trying to wrap his head around the idea that his 3-year old kid was technically God. It was an even weirder disconnect when he walked into the kitchen at 2 in the morning a couple of days afterward only to find God, with his eyes glowing gold, eating his favorite cereal in the dark, so he didn't wake anyone.

Jack might have been ‘hands-off,’ but visiting his family did not count.

Or planting the idea of how to save Cas into Dean’s head, as the hunter later realized.

The tension in the bunker snapped like an overstretched rubber band when Dean and Cas showed up, hand in hand as they walked down the metal staircase into the bunker. Sam grabbed them both in a massive hug, tears of relief, love, and pure joy streaming down his face.

It would have been embarrassing if both Dean and Cas weren't also crying--Sam, Dean, and Cas were a unit and had been each other's only family for so long...the loss of Cas, then the triumphant return his brother and their angel, holding hands after all this time? Words couldn't do it justice. Sam still tried, though.

“FINALLY!!” Sam had shouted so loudly it had reverberated around the entire bunker. Eileen was deaf, and even she had to cover her ears.

Dean had to agree, though. Finally, Chuck's strings were cut, the biggest bad of them all toppled. Finally, they could have the lives they wanted. Finally, Sam wouldn't be the third wheel to their star-crossed pining for each other anymore.

'Finally' seemed to sum things up just fine.

Things had been weird at first, in how much just stayed the same. Dean and Cas still shared those soulful looks. They still subtly touched each other when in view of others. Cas still allowed Dean to make an ass of them both, just so he would laugh.

The most significant change had been Cas ‘moving’ the few personal effects from his otherwise spartan room down the hall to Dean’s room. When he brought his little box of belongings in and saw the two pillows, the cleaned-off second dresser, and bedside table, Cas might have to cough a few times to cover up how choked up he’d gotten.

And Dean might have taken the box and set it on the bed and welcomed him home before gently kissing his angel (Cas would always be his angel, no matter where his halo currently was: on, off, or lost).

While they were still getting used to the ability to hold hands or kiss in front of other people, Dean relaxed fully in the Impala. In the safety of Dean’s first home, he could be himself with Cas, and Cas could be his whole, authentic self to Dean.

It wasn’t as much of a change as Dean had thought it was going to be.

*****

Strong fingers pressed into the side of Dean’s neck, checking for his pulse, and he groaned at the pressure. Blinking open his eyes a few times, he was disorientated enough to wonder why Cas’s face was hovering over him, chewing on his lip in concern as his blue eyes darted over Dean’s face.

“Dean, are you okay?”

That was the question, wasn’t it? He realized he was lying on concrete, probably knocked out when the witch let loose a barrage of magic towards them. Cas had ducked behind a crate in time, but Dean had been caught and knocked out for a moment. Since his head didn’t feel like a cracked coconut, Cas must have caught him or eased him down to the ground.

Cas sat back on his heels as Dean sat up and shook his head. He looked over himself, taking stock that everything felt normal. He didn't see or feel a third arm growing out of his ass anywhere, so it might not have been a big deal. Hopefully.

“I don’t think she got you.” His angel’s hand is on his shoulder, a comforting presence. Cas held out a hand and helped Dean back to his feet. When the room stopped spinning, Dean made sure to check over Cas, just in case. While the former angel was used to Dean’s propensity to mother hen others, he still let out an annoyed huff. “Dean, I’m fine.”

Dean grinned. “Hell, yeah, Harley,” he said. His forehead furrowed in confusion, but he figured he must have knocked some wires loose upstairs, and he just needed to rest.

Looking over Cas’s shoulder, he saw the body of their witch, on her back and bleeding out from multiple wounds to her abdomen. Cas held the sawed-off shotgun limply in his right hand, eyes riveted to the corpse.

They walked up to her and stared for a moment. As her blood pooled under her, Dean looked to Cas, careful to watch him.

The case hit too close to home. This wasn’t some bored homemaker looking for revenge against a neighbor; the woman, named Marnie, had been homeless. Her ragged layers of dirty clothes and her stringy, unwashed gray hair and face drove home the point of what desperation would do.

Somehow, desperate to change her lot in life, Marnie found an actual old magic grimoire donated to a thrift store. She’d stolen the book and discovered a ritual to raise something akin to an eldritch demi-god. The deaths had been fulfilling the ritualistic sacrifices needed to reach the entity, and she had planned to reach out to this being and beg it to give her money and power.

Dean’s been hungry enough to stare too long at roadkill. He’s grown up with so little, but Cas had been despondent as Marnie’s motivations became clearer. It broke Dean’s heart, and he almost found himself grabbing his phone to call Sam or Eileen to take over several times over the past couple of days.

He could never get rid of the guilt from kicking Cas out of the bunker when the angels Fell. Dean had been a jackass in a corner, but he still should have at least given Cas some cards and adequately set him up in a motel or something. Those months dealing with Gadreel were some of the worst since the Apocalypse, in how fractured their family had become.

Unable to deal with Cas’s sudden mutism, Dean had promised Cas: no matter what happens between us, you will always have a home at the bunker. You will always have a family, and we will never leave you out in the cold like that again.

“Never again,” He promised, staring Cas dead in the eyes. “I’m so sorry, Cas.”

Dean didn’t deserve Cas’s forgiveness, but maybe that’s what made Cas the better man between them: he offered it so easily.

They both gazed down at Marnie. She’d almost finished the spell when they had burst into the dilapidated house at the edge of town where she had set up shop. Cas tried to talk her down, tried to get through to her as someone who had walked in her shoes. She, unfortunately, sealed her fate when she attacked Dean and sent him flying across the room. Cas had a line, and she'd crossed it.

Still, Cas knelt next to her stinking corpse and gently pushed her dirty gray hair from her forehead, and closed her unseeing eyes. “I’m sorry it came down to this,” he apologized quietly to her.

Standing up, Dean managed to snatch the book and went back out to the Impala for the full can of gas in the trunk. It was just past four in the morning when they set the blighted building ablaze. Cas stood, hands in his trench coat pockets, stoically watching the flames devour the house until he heard sirens in the distance.

When he slid into the car, Dean was waiting inside with the car already idling; he’d gotten his fill of fireside vigils for one lifetime.

*****

“What up, Wizards?”

Except for Zepp's 'Traveling Riverside Blues' quietly playing from the tape deck, the past few hours had been silent. After leaving the smoke from the house in their rearview mirror, Dean had spent at least an hour driving through random places off the beaten path. It was just good practice to lose anyone trying to tail them, but the extra driving was sometimes such a pain.

Cas turned from looking out the window and raised an eyebrow at Dean. The hunter had that same confused expression on his face. “What about wizards?”

“Uh...Kit-Kat?”

Dean licked his lips, and Cas watched, slightly distracted. He narrowed his eyes at the hunter. “Did you just refer to me as a candy bar?” A bitter smile crossed Cas's face. The leather seat creaked as Cas turned back and watched the farms and fields they were driving past.

“You know, out of all the angels, Gabriel’s the one I find I miss the most. He was the only archangel I was close to--he taught me how to fly.”

“O’Reilly?” Dean cleared his throat, but Cas was lost in thought.

“At some point, there was an angel for every hue in the light spectrum. Seeing us all together was to see a living rainbow that could span the solar system. However, I was the only angel who sported ebony wings. The other fledglings considered it an omen, and I was shunned for a long time.

"When Raphael came to teach us to fly, the others didn't want me there. Said I was too distracting. Gabriel stepped in. In front of them all, he declared that since my wings weren’t broken, he'd teach me himself. Having God’s Literal Messenger teach me his tricks meant that I was unmatched in aerial combat for much of my career.”

Cas spoke with humility--though it had been a fact at the time, his years on Earth had worn down the edges of his angelic pride.

Dean was strangely silent; since the car had not gone into a ditch, he assumed Dean was mulling over his words and had not fallen asleep at the wheel.

Cas wasn't prone to reminiscing about his past, especially the unfavorable parts. But sometimes, the dead refused to stay dead; Cas almost wanted to ask if Dean knew how to salt and burn the ghosts in his mind. If he knew how to do that, he'd have done it long ago.

The miles passed as the morning sun climbed higher in the sky. They'd killed the witch about four or five hours ago, then hit the road. Cas felt his stomach clench and grumble. Feeling those hunger pains made him nervous.

“Are we going to get food soon, Dean?"

“Way, Sass, armed you wig way?” Dean cleared his throat a couple of times. “I keen, the word was a ball, yeah?”

Pinching the bridge of his nose, Cas rolled his eyes, exasperated.

“Dean, I know you pride yourself on your references, but now is not the time. Just speak plainly.”

He loved Dean, but sometimes he also wanted to stab him with his Angel Blade.

Dean groaned in frustration, running his free hand over irritated face. He took a deep breath and spoke each word separately, desperately even. “We’m buying! At worth Alex, arming art Baird!”

Cas’s lips pursed. “Why are you being so belligerent?”

“Ash, banner way bin light weak bight!” Dean smacked the steering wheel hard and groaned. “Argh! Nimrod scuttle's worth!”

Making sure the roadway was clear, he pulled the Impala over and parked it. He sat for a moment, clearly confused and getting angrier.

The ex-angel studied Dean, now. “You're not being belligerent, are you?”

Dean shook his vigorously, then pointed at his throat with wide, concerned eyes.

Castiel took a breath, realization dawning over him. “Oh no.”

He grabbed Dean’s chin and moved his head back and forth, searching for any oddities. “Stick out your tongue,” Castiel ordered. Dean rolled his eyes but did it.

When Castiel leaned back, he was frowning. “I don’t see anything physically wrong with you, Dean.”

Snapping his fingers, Dean pulled out his cell phone from his jacket pocket and started to type on it. After a few seconds, he almost threw the phone in his frustration.

When Castiel took the phone from his hands, he saw nothing but gibberish in the memo app.

Laying a comforting hand on Dean’s forearm, Castiel called for backup.

*****

“Hey, Cas,” Sam said quickly. “How’s the case going?”

“Um...that’s why I’m calling.”

Sam’s voice hardened. “What’s going on? Are you two okay?”

“I’m fine. But I think our witch got Dean with a curse before she died."

Sam groaned. "Please don't tell me it's a fuck-or-die spell."

Cas and Dean shared a look of horror, though Dean's quickly morphed into curiosity. "Those exist?" Cas asked, then shook his head. "No, that's definitely not the problem."

There was a sigh from Sam. “Ok, what’s going on with him?”

"He's speaking in tongues."

"Tongues? Uh...Is it a language you recognize?"

"No, it's very bizarre. I can't understand him." Unsure how to explain it, Castiel put the phone on speaker, then held it out towards Dean. “Talk to Sam.”

“Army! Aim bone bow wax’s wooing yon! Everything big arc atop baby aims wing! Alp!”

“Did you get any of that, Sam?”

After a few seconds of stunned silence, Sam spoke with concern. “That sounds like word salad…Hey, Dean, you don’t smell toast, do you?”

Dean was torn between letting out an annoyed grunt and looking genuinely concerned. He lifted his arms up and down--no numbness. He poked his cheeks, but they felt normal, and his eyesight was fine. Dean shook his head.

“Dean doesn’t seem to have any other symptoms indicating a stroke,” Castiel reported.

Both brothers let out a shared sigh of relief. “Okay, so it’s probably the work of your witch. Must have scrambled his language centers or something.”

“It’s not just his speech. When he tried to write up a text, it was also gibberish.” Cas could hear Sam typing away on his laptop from the other end of the line, so he quietly waited.

As the silence continued, Dean could feel a constriction starting in his chest--he was beginning to unconsciously hyperventilate, his chest rising and falling in a labored fashion.

Cas looked over at him and snapped his fingers in Dean’s face to get his attention. When Dean looked over, Cas made a point of locking eyes with him and taking deep, exaggerated breaths. Dean nodded and synced his breathing to Cas's.

In five seconds, hold five seconds, out five seconds. Repeat.

After a minute, he was already starting to feel better--the pressure on his chest was beginning to let up. He gave Cas a shaky thumbs-up as he recomposed himself.

“How long has he been talking like that, Cas?”

Cas swallowed hard. “A few hours, I think?” He trailed off with a guilty look. “Honestly, I thought your brother was just making exceptionally dense references at first.”

Despite the unknown nature and outcome of this spell hanging over Dean’s head like the sword of Damocles, Sam still managed a loud snort. “Know what, Cas? I would have assumed the same thing.”

“Buck ewe!” Dean snapped back.

“Yeah, pretty sure I know what that means,” Sam said. “I’ll have to hit the books. Just get home so we can figure this out.”

“Thank you, Sam.” Cas hung up the phone and slid it back into his trench coat pocket. He lay a hand on Dean’s closet shoulder blade and rubbed comforting circles over it. “I’m sorry, Dean. If I had caught on earlier…”

Dean ran a hand through his hair. “Wu’s away, Zan.” He grimaced, but straightened up in his seat, determined to adapt to the situation as best he could. “Blade whim stupid burst bong affect be agility bow arise.”

“I’m just going to agree with what you just said,” Cas said gently.

With a shake of his head, Dean eased the car back on the highway and pointed them towards home.

*****

The bunker was a sight for sore eyes, and Dean practically bounded down the stairs so he could tackle his brother in the library. “Army! Blase word wire on starlight?”

“Hey, Dean,” Sam hugged him. Taking a stab in the dark, he said, “Haven’t found anything yet, sorry.”

Dean groaned but picked up his and Cas’s overnight bags to deposit in their room. Sam's eyes were drawn to Cas as he walked in, looking exceptionally haggard with dark circles around his eyes. The former angel flopped into one of the library chairs.

“How was he?” Sam asked.

Cas leaned over and put his head in his hands. His voice came out muffled and pained. “His current renditions of ‘Wanted Dead or Alive’ and 'Simple Man’ leave much to be desired.”

Sam winced in sympathy. “Oof, sorry, dude.”

Cas pulled his head from his hands and ran one hand through his hair, a tic he’d picked up from watching the brothers for years. “Find anything, Sam?”

The biggest Winchester moved with the stealth of the cat burglar he was and boosted himself to sit on the table in front of Cas.

"Unfortunately, I haven’t found anything online or in my digital catalog. I mean, I find that a bit odd, honestly.”

“Why?”

“Word salad as a curse isn’t that creative, as far as curses go.” Sam rubbed his mouth in thought. “Hm. I wonder if previous possession cases where the victim was speaking in tongues were someone with this curse? Like you thought at first?”

Before Cas could say anything, a cold beer appeared before him.

“Deer?” Dean had three beers and gave the other Sam once Cas took his. “Bastion talent tabloid?”

“Uh, sure.” Sam took the drink, and Dean boosted himself up next to his brother. “I think?”

The brothers watched in tandem as Cas upended his beer and drank it in three desperate gulps.

“Damn, Cas!” Sam said eyebrows pinched in concern.

“Lamb Ass!” Dean said in tandem, but he groaned when Sam started laughing like a hyena.

The look on Cas’s face spoke that he needed more alcohol for this situation. Sam pushed himself off the desktop to reach out and put a hand on Cas’s shoulder, keeping him in the chair. “Easy, Cas, you’re not an angel anymore.”

“Oh, trust me, I’m well aware,” he muttered darkly.

Sam turned to his brother. “What the hell did you do to him?”

Dean’s eyes grew wide. “Tea? Bed zoe forget why shrew burped? War bid been ace buy!” His tone was offended.

Sam held up his hands to stop Dean from spewing more nonsense. “To be fair, usually you’re the one who pisses Cas off, so…”

Anger flashed over Dean’s face, and he opened his mouth but then shut it. Instead, he drank deeply. When he came back up for air, his shoulders drooped as he sighed.

“He didn’t do anything, Sam,” Cas said. He had started to tear the paper label off his empty beer, leaving tiny paper shreds on the table. “It was just a rough trip for all parties involved.”

Sam snickered. “Yeah, heard all about your car karaoke, dude. What did Cas do to deserve that?”

Dean’s cheeks flushed at first, but then he gave his brother the middle finger.

Cas stood up, the clink of the glass bottle on the wood table getting their attention. Before they could have an actual argument, Cas warily said, “I’m going to take a shower.” He strode away with his trench coat flapping dramatically around him.

Sam looked over and saw Dean was staring at Cas’s retreating figure, his lips drawn thin.

Shaking his head, Dean pushed off the tabletop and collected the empty beer bottles. He headed to the kitchen, a curious Sam following (and yes, just keeping an eye on him in case Dean needed something). Sam leaned on the door frame and watched his brother throw away the bottles.

Humming Metallica, Dean began to multitask around the kitchen. He got their electric tea kettle up to boiling and threw a green tea bag into Cas’s mug (a bee-striped monstrosity he’d found a thrift shop). As he got down a plate and the fixings for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, the water hit the right temperature. He let it steep as he finished off the sandwich, but before he put the sandwich together, he paused. Going into the tea cabinet for honey, he carefully drizzled some on both halves of the sandwich before he carefully smushed them together.

There was a secretive, happy little smirk on his brother’s face. Having the timing down to an art, Dean quickly pulled the tea bag out--leaving it too long would cause it to taste bitter. Then he squirted a tiny amount of honey into the tea and stirred with the cleaned butter knife he’d used for making the sandwich.

Dean looked up and froze for a second when he saw Sam watching. But then, he seemed to remember that there was no need in being sly or subtle anymore--he and Cas were together now, and everyone knew it.

Instead, he gave Sam a crooked smile and a wink. Cleaning up, Dean grabbed the sandwich and cup of tea and meandered down the bedrooms. “Boa won’t we bingo zealous, bitch!”

Sam scowled. “What the hell, dude? You can’t get Cas’s name right, but ‘bitch’ you’re able to say?”

In one smooth (and, knowing his brother, probably practiced) motion, Dean spun around, stuck his tongue out at Sam, spun back, and kept moving. Not a drop of tea was spilled.

*****

Cas looked slightly less grumpy as he sat on the edge of their bed in nothing but a pair of pajama bottoms. A wet towel hung around his shoulders as he worked to dry his hair. The wrinkles he started to sport on his forehead smoothed out when he saw Dean had come bearing food.

Dean smiled and presented the plate with a flourish and a bow. While Cas’s eyebrows raised at the display, it didn’t stop him from snatching the plate and tearing into the sandwich.

Smile still on his lips, Dean stripped and pulled on a clean pair of boxers, figuring he’d shower in the morning. Gathering up his and Cas's dirty clothes first, he dropped them into the hamper in the corner before he turned back to Cas. The angel’s eyes were closed, and there was a look of bliss as he ate his favorite food.

Cas paused for a moment; when he opened his eyes to look at Dean, they were twinkling in delight.

“You added honey?”

Dean beamed with pride. It made sense to combine Cas’s favorites for a pick-me-up.

He crawled into his side of the bed and fluffed his pillows so he could sit up. Dean used Cas’s momentary distraction to drink in the sight of his lover. Hard to believe under the suits and trench coat was a muscled, tan body. Dean refused to believe Jimmy had been ripped the whole time. Since when did Cas, the dorky, sensible-shoe-wearing angel, have abs?

It was so far from what Dean had expected the first time they made love he had literally stopped in shock until Cas had kissed him back into action.

He felt his cheeks warm at the memory. Sex with Cas was mind-blowing for a guy who literally had no idea what he was doing. Maybe it was his age showing, but Dean found that he preferred these quiet moments together more than sound barrier-breaking sex. (That hadn’t prevented them from covering the walls in soundproofing sigils, however--they were considerate).

It was the little things, like trying to guess the killer in a mystery show or reading in bed together. They would read passages out loud that were funny or thoughtful. Sharing a cup of coffee in the morning or a beer at night never failed to make the butterflies flutter in Dean’s stomach.

Knowing Cas was going to be at his side made Dean look forward to sleeping at night for the first time in his life. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d had a nightmare with Cas’s octopus limps wrapped around him in a warm embrace. However long he had, he was going to do everything he could to keep Cas in his arms.

Work on his anger? Already trying breathing techniques.

Learning that he could share his burdens with others and be supported? That was coming along, but Cas made it easier.

Cas made everything easier.

There was a tap on his shoulder that snapped him from his musings. “Dean? Other than the obvious, are you feeling okay?”

Dean nodded and leaned forward to lay a peck on Cas’s concerned, stubbly cheek. He took the empty plate and carefully put it on his bedside table. Then, he playfully grabbed the towel Cas was holding and vigorously ruffled his damp hair with it. Leaning over, Dean saw the frown on Cas’s face, but he just leaned in and peppered him with kisses until Cas gently shoved him off with a roll of his eyes.

Breaking apart, Dean balled up the towel and shot it like a basketball into the hamper. He pumped his first. “Tree anoints!” His face fell; he’d forgotten about the stupid curse.

Patting his thigh, Cas looked at Dean with determination. “We’ll break this spell, Dean. I’ll personally perform the spell to summon Rowena if need be.”

Dean nodded, but a large yawn escaped him. He turned out the light, and they snuggled together under the covers. Despite the curse on him, Dean still slept peacefully that night.

 

*****

The bed was empty when Cas surfaced from his sleep and cracked open an eye. The lack of sunlight in the bunker was starting to affect his circadian rhythm. He could easily go back to sleep for another week if he were allowed such a luxury.

Reaching out, he felt the sheets were still slightly warm. Peeking over the bed, he saw the bedside table was empty of the dishes. Morning, then.

Cas was working on autopilot as he pulled on one of Dean’s band shirts. Hanging on the back of their bedroom door was his own house robe, the third gift from Dean he’d ever received.

The first was the mixtape.

The second was his life as Dean saved him from the Empty.

The third was this beige terry cloth robe, which was just the right amount of weight and warmth. Cas ran his fingers over the soft material, and a tiny grin lifted the edge of his mouth. It had taken him way too long to figure out Dean had managed to find a house robe that was the same color as his beloved trench coat.

That was the moment this new life was made real for Cas.

As he walked towards the kitchen, he could smell the brewed coffee. The humming he heard next as he rounded the corner. Dean was already pouring two cups of black coffee into mugs--he’d cleaned out Cas’s mug to reuse it.

Dean’s sleepy face lit up when Cas walked in. “Warning sublime!”

Cas just walked up to Dean and kissed his annoyed frown. “Good morning, Dean.” He grabbed his mug and let his fingers curl around it for warmth. Secret underground bunkers had many perks, but the constant chill was not one of them.

They migrated over to the kitchen table, both sipping their coffee in the quiet stillness. Occasionally Dean might kick Cas’s foot, but otherwise, they drained their cups in silence.

The former angel let out a content sigh. “He was right, you know.”

Dean tilted his head, questioning.

“Chief Hopper. Mornings are for coffee and contemplation.”

Dean’s proud smile at Cas making his own reference made his heart flutter. In the distance, the bunker door opened and slammed shut. Heavy footsteps gracefully pounded down the staircase, then Sam’s sweaty head popped into the kitchen’s entrance. “Morning, guys.”

Cas tilted his head in acknowledgment. Dean gave him a thumbs up.

There was some shuffling, and suddenly Eileen’s sleepy form trudged into view. She was dressed in one of Sam’s old t-shirts and some boxers. She pinched her nose at him and waved him away. His eyebrows pinched in annoyance, but then he headed off towards the showers.

Eileen got down a mug and made herself some coffee before sitting next to Cas. “Morning,” she said and signed.

“When did you get here?” Cas asked. He didn’t want to talk, but he also knew he would have to act as Dean’s mouthpiece until the spell wore off or was reversed.

“Last night. Went out on a basic salt ‘n burn. Sam was up late researching, so he told me what happened. Sorry, Dean.”

Dean shrugged. “Banks. Win’s anon all but yearly.” He rolled his eyes as he drank.

Eileen studied him, confusion making her brow furrow when she couldn't work out his meaning. "That is weird,” she agreed. “Can’t you just…?” she mimed writing.

Cas shook his head. “Tried that, still comes out as gibberish.”

Setting her mug down, Eileen gestured and waited for Dean to do the same.

“Sign to me,” she said. He raised an eyebrow but nodded. Since Eileen had been coming around more, both brothers had been working on their signing skills. While Sam seemed to struggle sometimes, Dean had caught onto basic concepts and phrases quickly, which didn’t surprise Cas at all.

He’d seen Dean’s excellent memory at play many times over the years. The first time had been in the Green Room, on the eve of Lucifer’s Rising. Cas had decided to follow his heart instead of his orders and was trying to help Dean escape to stop Sam from killing Lilith. He’d drawn an angel banishing sigil to drive Zachariah away. Dean had seen it for a few seconds at most but was able to unerringly recreate it later when needed.

Cas watched, fascinated, as Dean continued to mess up the most basic phrases he’d learned and perfected months ago. Seeing the building frustration on his face, Cas reached over and put his hand over Dean’s fumbling fingers, stilling them.

“Point made,” he said quietly. “This spell allows no real communication.”

“Dangerous,” Eileen observed. “Good thing Sam is going to contact Rowena later.”

“What am I doing?” Sam walked back in, showered and in clean clothes. He poured a cup of coffee and toasted some bread to make peanut butter toast.

“Rowena,” Eileen explained. “Dean can’t even use sign language, Sam!”

Sam looked up from taking a sip of his coffee, curious. “Really? Wow, under the right circumstances, this is probably a more dangerous spell than we first thought.” The toast popped up, and he slathered it with peanut butter. “Cas, pb&j?”

Before Cas could answer, Dean, shook his head and stood up. He kicked Sam out of the tiny kitchen and started to make a large batch of scrambled eggs for everyone to share. Such a simple meal would not require talking on Dean's part, so Cas watched as he got lost in the process of cooking.

Eileen and Sam were signing back and forth out of the corner of his eye, but he didn’t pay them much mind. He liked watching Dean work, enjoyed seeing the finished results from the chaos cooking usually entailed. It was one of many skills he wasn’t good at, but Dean just took the angel’s lack of culinary talent as an excuse to cook for him. Or teach him when Cas felt up to it.

Still getting used to the fact that he could, his eyes wandered over Dean. Though his robe hid the shape of his ass, Cas could still see Dean's broad shoulders move as he worked. Dean's cocky confidence could be grating, but he was usually confident for a reason--he'd earned it. Whether it was hunting, cooking, fixing cars, or sex, Dean was the master in his chosen domain.

Dean whisked almost a dozen egg folks together in a large metal mixing bowl. He was humming to himself as he poured the golden mixture into a ripping hot pan.

Cas wondered about a garden, not for the first time. Growing his own herbs, vegetables, and flowers would be a practical skill he could learn. Cas was not going to be able to sit quietly in the bunker forever; he’d have to learn a skill or maybe find a job somewhere. Could he help Jack as a human? He'd have to ask the next time his son came around to raid their Krunch Cookie Crunch supplies.

Jack's new position made things so confusing. Cas was created to serve God--did the transfer of the power mean a transfer of duties? He didn't know if he was supposed to stay in his place as a human subject under Jack's eye. Or was he still his father, and could he offer advice?

A plate of scrambled eggs with melted cheese slid onto the table in front of Cas, breaking him from his thoughts. Dean's smile was soft as he handed the others their plates of breakfast. Eileen brought the coffee pot for refills. The four of them were becoming a new little unit, a little family. And family took care of their own.

Which was why they ate cheerfully and with gusto--they’d need all the energy they could get to cure Dean of his curse.

*****

Rowena’s sing-song voice came over the line. “Why, hello, Samuel. It’s so good to hear from you! You do realize you’re calling a bit early, though, yes?”

Sam’s face scrunched up in confusion. “Early?”

Rowena tutted at him in disappointment. “Your tutoring, love! We had an appointment for Tuesday evening to go over those spells you found in the library? You know, the ones that enlarge your--”

“Yeah, yeah, I remember now,” He said loudly, cutting her off. He coughed to compose himself. “Yeah, um, this has nothing to do with that. I need your help.”

“ Course you do,” she said, sounding a touch disappointed. "I’m always willing to help, but being the ruler of a Kingdom means my time is limited. I can’t always work pro bono, Sam. Not even for you."

“Alright, what do you want?”

Rowena paused. “Wow, no fight, Samual? This is about your brother, isn’t it? Or is the handsome angel who needs my assistance, today?"

“Dean's been cursed, and we need your help." He made sure to emphasize the ‘your.’ “So, what’s the Queen's price?”

“A favor.”

Sam blinked. “That’s...it?”

Rowena laughed. “Not just any favor. I want a Winchester favor. 1 Get out of Jail Free Card from you two that I can cash in at any time, for anything.”

Sam ran a hand through his hair and sighed; yeah, he could see this biting him in the ass later. “Can I talk to Dean about it?”

“Wow, look at you, being all grown up and responsible! I shouldn’t, but...I do have a soft spot for you. Go ahead."

Sam put his hand over the phone and looked at the others in the library around him. He shot a look at Dean. “She can do it; she wants a favor from us in the future that can be for anything.”

Dean scowled. “Cereal, beat wisp ads terrible break, ad!”

Sam pinched the bridge of his nose. “Right, forgot. Um…”

Cas and Eileen watched a silent argument erupt between the brothers, made up of nothing but facial expressions and vague, hand-wavy motions.

Sam gave his brother his most potent kicked puppy face.

Dean threw his hands up with a snarl and walked away.

Sam grimaced. “Deal.” Checking on Cas, he saw the former anger’s face gave nothing away.

“Thank you, Sam. Now, what’s going on with dear old Dean?”

“Got hit yesterday by a witch, is now speaking in word salad--”

Rowena chuckled darkly. “Are you sure he’s been cursed? Sounds like Dean’s normal, honestly--”

Sam continued loudly over her interruption. “--His writing, typing, and even sign language come out as gibberish. He literally can’t communicate, Ro. Any ideas for a cure or reversal?”

There was a long, drawn-out sigh. “Why couldn’t your brother just get hit with a fuck-or-die spell? That’s easy to cure, at least. Dean and Castiel have worked out their issues, now, haven't they?”

He cleared his throat so he wouldn’t snort; he and Rowena were on the same wavelength sometimes.

"Yeah, but that's not the point."

Rowen hummed. “There’s a cure, but the ingredients are a pain to gather. Got a pen and paper handy?”

He sat down and pulled out a legal pad and a pen. Listening intently, he wrote down the ingredients, instructions, and the invocation. “Alright, got it all. It looks like I’ll have to ask around about some of these, but I appreciate it, Rowena.”

“Of course, Samuel,” she chirped. “And, since I know you and your brother will have a crisis about it, I’ll not use the favor to make you kill anyone--well, anyone who doesn’t deserve it, at least.”

Sam smirked. “Are you sure I can’t just pay for a trip to a day spa and call it even?” He asked hopefully.

"You have no idea how tempting that sounds, Sam. Getting away from all the screaming to gossip about your brother and his angelic playmate's newest drama would be such a highlight to my week. However, I know this blank check from you is priceless. So, until Tuesday night, good-bye, Sam.”

The line went dead, and Sam looked over his list of ingredients. Most he was sure were in the bunker, and the rest he had an inkling about places to call to find them.

“Got it,” he told the gathered parties. “Going to be a bit of a scavenger hunt, but we can fix this, Dean.”

Dean’s lips were a thin, angry line and his eyes were bright with temper. The glare he shot Sam was almost deadly.

Sam held up his hand. “Whatever Rowena asks for, I’ll deal with it. I won’t argue over this, Dean, so shut up.”

His older brother closed his mouth but continued to sulk. Ignoring Dean, Sam wrote on a new page for a moment. Then, he ripped out and handed Eileen and Cas their own lists of items.

“Eileen, can you find these online? I wrote down some websites you can try, first.” She gave him a salute.

He turned to Cas. “You’re going to have to hit a few occult shops for these items. I wrote down the ones I could remember within an 8-hour drive. You can call ahead and check their stock before driving all the way.”

Cas nodded as he looked at his list. “What about Dean?”

Hearing his name, Dean looked up. Sam shook his head. “Sorry, dude, I think you should stay here.”

Dean stomped up to him, ready to shout whatever literal nonsense, but Sam stood up to his full height. “It’s too dangerous, Dean! If something happened to you, you literally could not ask for help. Can’t call, can’t text, can't write, can't talk.”

His brother opened his mouth a few times, then stomped away towards the bedrooms.

*****

“Dean, wait!”

He slowed down just enough for Cas to catch up to him. Usually, he’d tell Cas to get lost too, but he was actively working on that stupid knee-jerk reaction to everything.

I’m lucky I even have him. Memories of that black tar engulfing Cas’s face still haunted him. I am not going to push him away anymore.

Still, his ego was bruised by that whole discussion. Dean wasn’t used to being helpless; what had started as an annoyance was becoming a bigger deal than he realized.

Dean walked into their bedroom and sat down on the bed with an angry grunt. Cas followed him inside and closed the door. “Dean, now is not the time to let your ego get the best of you.”

A bitter chuckle escaped Dean’s lips, and he pushed his palms into his eyes. Cas slowly walked forward to stand in front of him, head-tilted as he studied Dean for a moment.

He was wearing his blue suit and trench coat, like always. Despite being human, and needing to do laundry regularly, Cas never changed his “work outfit.”

Dean didn’t blame him for being reluctant to change what worked. The clothes might not have been the best look on Cas (tight jeans and one of Dean’s t-shirts certainly looked better), but they offered comfort in their consistency. Just like the raggedy shoebox of yellowing, cassette tapes, and the Impala did for Dean.

When you grew up most of your life with few possessions, the ones you managed to hold onto were that much more precious.

Dean reached out and hugged Cas around the middle with a sudden bear hug that caught the former angel off guard. He carded his fingers through Dean’s sandy hair, humming tunelessly.

Why were his instincts warning him that this was a bad idea? Realization dawned on him--this would be the first time Cas was going to be away from his side (for more than few hours) since his return from the Empty almost seven months ago.

With a gentle tug on the back of his head, Cas made Dean look up at him. “I’m going to come back home, Dean. I promise.”

Embarrassed that he’d been read so easily, Dean shoved his face back into Cas’s stomach. The stiff fabric of the white dress shirt smelled like Cas--an inexplicable scent of ozone and sandalwood. It made him feel a little better to be able to smell it.

“I’ll call or text Sam every hour,” Cas offered quietly, still running his fingers through his hair.

Dean leaned back, a pinched look on his face. He was probably debating between complaining about the handholding or wanting to acquiesce. Cas reached under his chin and gently but firmly lifted it, so Dean looked up at him.

“I know it’s grating, but being away from you is going to be hard on me as well. You can tease me all you want once you’re cured.” Cas admitted, surprising Dean. Usually, Cas kept his cards close to his chest until absolutely necessary. Maybe Cas was trying to turn over a new leaf and break some bad habits, too.

Eventually, he nodded and let go of Cas with a grumble. He twisted off the bed and away from him, eyes bright but dry. Dean grabbed Cas’s shoulders and pulled him into a desperate kiss, and for several minutes the world shrank down to just the two of them. He pulled away and kissed Cas’s forehead, then stepped away, composed for the most part.

“Thank you, Dean. I’ll not take a second longer than necessary.”

*****

Dean hated this entire situation.

Cas’s check-ins made him feel both appreciative and demoralized. Sam dutifully sought him out and let him know Cas’s update every hour. For the first few hours, Dean decided that chores would be a welcome distraction--he didn’t want to be tapping his foot waiting for the text. So, he did multiple batches of laundry of everyone’s clothes and their bedsheets.

He cleaned up their room by emptying the trash, dusting, and hanging up any wayward clothes. Looking at Cas’s side of the bed, he noticed Cas had gotten into a bad habit of having several books lying on the floor. Currently, Cas was reading James Patterson’s Along Came a Spider, a Dr. Micku Kaku’s The Future of Humanity and Falling Up by Shel Silverstein.

Cas was, as Dean liked to teasingly call him, a ‘polyamorous reader.’ He bounced back and forth between multiple books of multiple genres without ever mixing up the plots. Dean found it pretty impressive how quickly he read and how accurately he remembered information later.

On the other hand, Dean preferred to take his time and really chew on the books he read, even going so far as to make notes in the margins. Cas didn’t think that was the hate crime Sam always treated it as; his brother always griped about the invention of post-it notes. The bitch never responded when Dean pointed out that it was easier to lose those stupid sticky notes than it was to lose the whole damn book.

Not really knowing if Cas had a system, Dean just stacked them up nicely and continued his rounds. After the room was clean and fresh sheets on their bed, Dean was swapping his clothes to the dryer when Sam popped in with the latest message from Cas. “Looks like the first store had three of the four ingredients. He'll have to hit up the next one, about forty miles farther away.”

Dean swallowed but shrugged and gave him a wary thumbs-up. Sam swapped over his and Eileen’s laundry, then returned to the library.

When Sam went looking for his brother for the following message, Dean was jamming to Lynyrd Skynyrd while washing the Impala in the garage. He turned the music down and waved the phone at Dean. “Got the last one! Should be back in about four hours.”

There was a false sense of security that enveloped Dean for a moment, but he had to tamp that down. Four hours is a long time, long enough for something terrible to happen…

He shook his head. Cas was okay, and he was on his way back. They’d reverse this curse, and Dean was going to recite the entire movie Tombstone verbatim just because he'd be able to.

“Hey, Dean, Eileen will be back by then. Want me to order pizza?”

Dean nodded. He didn't think he’d have the energy to cook tonight. Instead, he finished washing up the Impala and a few other cars in the garage. Then he showered and took the time to shave away all the stubble that had accumulated on the road.

Cas could always rock the o'clock shadow, but Dean felt too weird and itchy to try and grow it out more often. Hell, he’d taken time to scrape his cheeks clean every day in Purgatory. However, Cas did rock the outlaw bandit beard nicely, though. Maybe he could talk Cas into No-shave November and see who grew the best beard.

The thought of himself with a long scruffy beard like a mountain man made him laugh. That could be our five-year plan--living in the mountains, ass deep in snow in the winter, Cas fending off bears from the beehives he’d have because he’s got a damn fetish.

Freshened up and in a clean shirt and sweats, Dean folded and put away their clean clothes and put on a movie in his room. Despite having a queue of stuff to watch, he just flipped on an old comfort film, Tremors. Underground worms would be pretty terrifying in real life, but Dean had a soft spot for the film--he’s seen it many times on cable over the years in the motels they lived in.

He’d barely gotten to the discovery of the town’s first victim to the creatures when he noticed he was tapping his fingers more than usual. Resigned, he went to find Sam.

Definitely should have gotten another message by now, right? I’m sure it’s okay. Maybe Sam didn't want to walk in on me showering? I’m sure everything’s okay.

He still could barely contain the urge to bolt down the corridors as fast as possible to find his brother and demand an update. Every ounce of willpower was being used to walk as casually as possible to the library.

When he came around the corner, he saw Sam sitting at the table with his laptop open. “Haven’t heard anything yet, Dean,” Sam called out, not even looking up from the book he was attempting to translate.

The only thing that kept Dean from taking the Impala and driving to find Cas like a bat out of Hell was Sam’s calm demeanor.

“I'm sure he’s fine, Dean,” Sam said, using his gentle, calming-down-a-witness voice when he saw how nervous Dean was being. “Could be something as simple as a dead phone battery, and he forgot a charger.”

“Bat isn’t bump, bee would abu butt somewhere! Bald whip, appease, war!”

Sam ignored the words and focused on the panicked, pleading tone. “I’ll call him.”

He was almost vibrating as he waited for his brother to call Cas’s phone. As the phone continued to ring, Sam’s face just slid a touch towards concern.

No. No, no, no, no.

Nononononononononononononononononononononononononono--

The memory of black tar swallowing Cas's tear-stained face flashed through his mind, making him grunt audibly. Dean's started to breathe harder as he screwed his eyes shut, trying to shake the image from his mind.

Sam hung up and put the phone face up on the table next to his laptop. He jumped up to grab his brother’s shoulders . The contact made Dean open his eyes.

“Dean, I know, I know how bad it is to have them leave your sight after they were taken away.” Dean barely noticed that Sam’s fingers were trembling. “I know what that’s like,” he reiterated, voice cracking with emotion.

Eileen’s smiling, mischievous face flashed across Dean’s mind.

“If something is going on with Cas, you passing out from a panic attack is not going to help him get home,” Sam said firmly. “Sit down and just breathe.”

Dean sat in the chair next to Sam’s and hated how vulnerable he felt at that moment. It was as if 40 years of layers and walls he’d erected to protect himself emotionally just crumbled at that moment. How had he ever been able to just push through the numbness before? Oh, right. Usually, there was a big evil villain on their heels. No time to sit and mourn; there’s always work to do.

Now there’s nothing to turn to, to bury himself in. Dean would have to deal with whatever was going on with Cas. Please, Jack, I know you aren’t supposed to intervene, but please just let Cas be okay. Please, kid…

He remembered Cas’s eyes, remembered the breathing. In five, hold five, out five over and over until he wasn’t feeling like the ceiling was caving in on him.

*****

Eleven minutes.

Eleven agonizing minutes later, Cas’s name showed up on Sam’s phone screen. Dean yelled “DAM, DAM, BASS, IT BASS!”

Sam swooped in and picked the phone up from the table. “Cas! Hey, are you--” Dean could hear Cas’s rumble but not his words over the phone. Sam’s face flashed between several emotions, from relief to concern, to downright disbelief.

“Are you kidding?” Sam eventually asked.

“No, I’m not!” Cas’s voice was tiny and annoyed. Suspense killing him, Dean jumped up, grabbed the phone, and slapped the speaker button.

“-not kidding, Sam. Dean must be so worried--”

“Bass!” Dean yelled. “Ward appended?”

“Dean, first of all, I’m fine. But I, um…” Cas let out a shaky breath, the tremble in his voice from the adrenaline coursing through his system. “I drove over the only hill in Kansas on my way back, and there was a cow just below the crest of the hill. I barely managed to avoid hitting the stupid beast head-on.” **

Dean blinked and looked at Sam, then back at the phone. “A...Dow?”

“Yes, a giant, black-and-white, mooing roadblock. Unfortunately, I clipped her hip with the front of my truck before she figured out why I was blasting the horn at her.”

Sam took over the logistics. “How bad is the truck? Is the cow still alive? Have you called the cops?”

Another long, irritated sigh. “I just...a cow? Really?” Cas sounded so offended by the situation; Dean couldn’t help but laugh in relief.

“Well, I mean, we aren’t in Chuck’s story anymore,” Sam said apologetically. “No plot armor. It means normal, random ass things are bound to happen. And unfortunately, Kansas has the third-largest cow-to-people ratio in the U.S., so escaped cows are bound to happen.”

Dean gave Sam a look that clearly said, I know you’re a nerd, and you know things, but why do you know that?

“Glad to hear you two are enjoying the situation,” Cas growled. He took another deep breath, then rattled off: “The truck is drivable, the cow looks more annoyed than anything, and why would I willingly call the police?”

Sam rolled his eyes, but there was relief on his face, too. “Just get home as safely as possible. Dean doesn’t need to have an actual stroke, now.”

“I'll be home in a few hours, Dean, I promise. I went through all the trouble to find these ingredients for your cure--I’m invested in seeing this through.”

Dean could translate Cas just like Cas could read him like a book. I’m sorry, I’m coming home. I love you.

*****

That didn’t stop Dean from waiting in the bunker garage for the last forty-five minutes until Cas's truck pulled in.

He barely had time to put the thing in park when Dean wrenched open the driver’s side and tackled him into a desperate bear hug. Cas returned it, murmured apologies and endearments into his shoulder. Dean kissed his pink lips repeatedly, each time a reaffirmation: Cas is here, Cas is alive, Cas is safe.

He eventually released Cas from his arms and checked him over. Cas was fine, just a little spooked but alive.

“I promised,” Cas said. “Besides, I’ve finally gotten what I’ve wanted after so long--I’m not going to let a cow take me away from you.”

As Cas gathered up the plastic shopping bags from his adventure, Dean checked out the damage to his truck. The navy blue 1969 Ford F-100 pick-up had been a cheap rust-bucket of purchase when Dean found it sitting at the edge of someone’s yard with a ‘FOR SALE’ sign on it.

He’d spent the past six months restoring it for Cas, and this was the longest voyage of her recently restored glory. He winced at the sight. The side was dented, the headlight was broken and needed a replacement. Except for some blood on the side, it had taken the hit well. Dean patted the hood, thankful for its sturdy construction.

If Cas had been in his pimpmobile or something like it, the whole thing would probably have gone in a very different direction...

Dean shook his head, trying to shake that image from his mind. Cas came around and grimaced. “I ruined your hard work,” He groaned. “I’m sorry, Dean.”

Dean shook his head. A truck can be fixed. You can’t, dumbass!

He just grabbed the shopping bags from Cas and peeked inside--a handful of colorful rocks, a bundle of sticks that smell like ass, and something that almost looked like the horn from a unicorn. After shrugging, he linked his free hand with Cas’s and pulled him into the safety of the bunker.

Dinner was pizza and beer. Then everyone settled in to watch some TV in the media room. The few ingredients Eileen found online would ship overnight and be at the Lebanon post office tomorrow. Dean had one more night of the stupid curse. He could breathe with the finish line finally in sight.

*****

Dean could barely keep his hands off of Cas while in view of Sam and Eileen in the chairs next to the couch. He kept running his fingers along the back of Cas’s hand, a gentle movement that grounded him just long enough for the show to end and for Dean to pull Cas towards the bedroom.

Dean pushed Cas down onto the bed, hands, and lips moving in a desperate frenzy. They both kicked off their shoes, but Dean didn’t let Cas do anything else. He kissed the former angel breathless as he ripped off his suit jacket (his trench coat was hung up earlier). Cas was pushed down on his back, and Dean was straddled over his hips, a look of hunger and devotion on his handsome face.

Dean’s lips sucked hard hickies into Cas’s neck, and the soft spot under his ear--the heat in him was so intense that he couldn't even convince himself to get Cas all the way undressed. Dean growled promises into Cas’s tan skin; when Cas reached up to start unbuttoning his dress shirt, Dean pushed his hands away and undid them himself quickly and recklessly--at least one button shot off and landed on the floor somewhere. He pulled open the shirt and untucked it from Cas’s dress pants, then carefully pulled off Cas’s tie to toss it behind him.

The clink of the belt buckle being undone seemed to ring louder than usual. Frantic, Dean just shoved his hand into Cas’s pants so he could grasp Cas’s hardening dick. His toughened and rough fingertips ran over the smooth, hot skin, and he gave a few firm squeezes.

Finally, Cas seemed to have broken from his shocked silence. He let out a pleased hiss before he groaned into Dean’s closest ear. The sound made Dean’s dick become rock hard, but he ignored it. Cas tried to push the hem of Dean’s shirt up his chest, tried to touch the smooth skin there.

The hunter pulled back, removing his hand from Cas's pants for he could instead push Cas’s arms above his head. He grabbed both wrists in his left hand and just watched the shiver that ran through Cas, exposed and helpless at the moment. His nipples stood hard under his open dress shirt. The former angel looked down at himself, then was looking at Dean, curious.

This wasn’t the usual. Cas had shown to be the more toppy of the two, and Dean was happy to let Cas dictate their trysts, but...Dean had to be in charge. He had to show Cas how important he was, how much he was needed, how loved he was, though Dean hadn't said the words since that day. He showed his love physically, in acts of service. Worship.

Dean wanted to Worship Cas.

Their eyes met, and they got lost like they were prone to do. Dean's intention must have shown on his face because Cas gave a barely perceptible nod to continue.

Dean hated that he couldn’t talk. He was always vocal, and he liked it when his partners were, too (hence the sigils). This curse was so much more frustrating than it had any right to be. So, Dean was going to show Cas in a language they both understood.

His calloused hands felt up and down Cas’s chest, feeling the ribs that had healed since his crash landing over six months ago. Cas might not have been an angel anymore, but he was even more beautiful to Dean because of his humanity. Wrinkles, gray hairs, he wanted it all.

“Dean,” Cas whined low in his voice, and Dean leaned down to suck hard on a nipple. Gasping as his back arched, Cas threw his head back against the bed, eyes fluttering shut. His breath hitched and stuttered as Dean continued his assault, licking and sucking on first one nipple, then the other, before his tongue and teeth just nipped any patch of skin he could reach.

Unable to move because Dean was leaned over and still had his wrists trapped, Cas was panting and groaning in frustration--Dean was holding his hips up so Cas couldn't even try to rub against him. His eyes flashed with lust, and his skin was starting to get a slight sheen of sweat.

The sound of the button being undone and the zipper being lowered made them both pause for a moment. Dean gently pulled out Cas's dick; it was heavy and red with need as it jutted from him. Dean could feel it pressing against his shirt, felt the wetness coming from the tip.

“Let me go. I want to touch you.”

Dean shook his head, and Cas rolled his eyes. “Then stop teasing and get on with it!”

Seems like Cas still thinks he's in charge with an order like that. Well, good relationships are all about compromise, right?

Using his free hand, Dean made it a point to stare into Cas’s dilated eyes as he licked his palm in several long, slow licks, covering it in saliva. Then, without breaking eye contact, he reached down and wrapped around Cas's dick with a gentle tug.

Cas bucked up under him, head falling back against the mattress. “Fuck, Dean…” That harsh whisper made Dean’s dick pulse in his jeans, painfully straining against denim and the teeth of the zipper, but he was ignoring that. He only wanted to focus on Cas, on memorizing the pleasure on his face, the pleasure Dean was giving him.

Cas’s hips started to try and thrust into the tunnel Dean’s hand created. Words were coming from Cas, suddenly, and Dean felt himself grin. Must have been doing something right for Cas to forget English and just start moaning in Enochian. How did his vocal cords manage to make his voice even raspier and huskier without shredding themselves?

Dean leaned down so he could hear Cas’s filthy commentary without the whole world also hearing it. Though he had no idea what Cas was saying, it was still all manner of hot for his angel to lose control like this. Dean was the only one who got to see this side of Cas--it was a heady feeling.

Cas's hips thrust up again. "Please, Dean…" How could his name formed with those lips sound so heavenly? It was a drug he was chasing; Dean nibbled the sensitive skin along his neck before biting a deeper bruise on Cas’s shoulder--all the while steadily speeding up his strokes.

Dean was lost as he watched Cas writhing and groaning under him until he saw Cas’s eyes fly wide open, almost as black as a demon's, they were so lust-blown. Cas begged, his voice indeed wrecked with desperation. “Please, I want to ...need to...Make me come, Dean, please….”

Definitely a drug. This creature, formerly literally from Heaven, was begging to him. Praying to him. Shit, Dean was pretty sure he’d come in his jeans like a teen if Cas kept that up.

He pulled back just a hair, enough to take in Cas’s flushed skin and dark, spit-shiny dick. Hickies were blooming over his chest, neck, and along his sharp jawline. His hair stuck to his forehead and his eyes were both bright and dark. Nodding, he dug his nail gently into the slit for more fluid to spread around, and Cas let out a little sob. “Close, close, please, Dean, don't stop, please let me….”

Dean leaned up and desperately kissed Cas, their tongues intertwined before he started to fuck his tongue into Cas's mouth, in sync with his hand movements. Cas was almost there, and he could feel it in the air between them. He twisted his hand around the head on the last few strokes when he felt Cas tense. Dean swallowed Cas' howl as he felt the body shudder under him before his hand grew warm and sticky.

Dean barely had time to process that before his own body was racked with a powerful orgasm. He'd been so focused on Cas--it had snuck up on him. After a moment, he let Cas’s wrists go and gently flopped onto his side next to Cas, their eyes met as they caught their breath. He was still dealing with the fact that he’d creamed his jeans like a total virgin.

Well, at least Cas was clueless enough not to know that was something to be embarrassed about. Actually, the former angel looked smug about it. Shit, maybe Cas knew more than Dean realized.

Cas stretched out like a cat after a satisfying nap, displaying his messy chest and sharp hip bones as his pants rode down his hips. His hair was now a proper head of sweaty sex hair, and his wrists were a bit red, but the satisfaction on his face made every second of the switch worth it. Cas might want an encore at some point.

Dean pressed a kiss to Cas's temple before he rolled over and pulled the wet wipes they kept for quick clean-ups from his bedside table. They stripped, cleaned up, and crawled into the bed and under the covers.

There wasn’t much talking between them; there was no point in wasting the breath on Dean’s part anyway. And Cas just let his completely smitten heart-eyes do the talking on his part.

 

*****

The next evening, Dean cracked open an eye as Sam’s voice finished echoing around the dungeon. The warmth of magic was still in the air, making the place feel humid like Louisiana in July.

“Dean?” Cas and Sam spoke in tandem while Eileen watched anxiously behind them.

Dean cleared his throat. “Ooh..eeh..ooh ah aah ting tang walla walla bing bang?”

Cas’s face fell. “Oh, no, Sam, what went wrong--SAM!”

Dean, laughing maniacally, had to duck behind Cas because his younger brother had just flung a heavy book at his forehead.

“Jackass! Don’t scare us like that!” Sam snapped, ready to throttle Dean. He angrily ran a hand through his hair. “Seriously, Witch Doctor?”

Cas was just looking back and forth in confusion--looking over at Eileen and seeing her just as confused just made him growl, “Tell us what’s so funny!”

Dean leaned close and whispered dramatically. “Sam was born with a defect: he doesn’t have a funny bone in his body.”

The bitchface Sam gave him only made his point, but Cas just hugged the hunter back to his usual, quippy self. Dean leaned in and whispered his love for Cas low into his ear, which made Cas smile.

“I thought after defeating God, things were going to get quiet around here,” Eileen complained. “But instead, we get Dean cursed to gibberish and Cas hitting farm animals. Guess there’s no such thing as quiet with you guys, huh?”

“Nope. And we plan to keep it that way,” Dean said with a grin. "And, um, thanks guys. For stepping up as a team when I..." The words were still hard to say sometimes. He swallowed. "When I needed it."

Sam just grinned at his older brother as he put an arm around Eileen's shoulders. "That's what family does--help each other."

"Always," Cas agreed, pressing a kiss to Dean's temple.

 

~*~