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Dean is completely silent, except for the anxious drumming of his thumbs on the steering wheel. Sam is trying to keep himself soft and gentle to counteract whatever contained hysteria his brother is emanating, and he’s trying not to stare. He doesn’t really have to look, though. Sam is already aware that the tendons in Dean’s neck and jaw are tensed, and his eyes are darting side to side, ostensibly focused on the road but really looking into something very far away. He looks almost unreachable. Sam has no idea what the fuck he’s going to have to do to keep Dean intact if this turns out to be a false alarm, but hopefully it’s the real Cas. Cas is back, and they’re going to get him, and Dean will be able to pull himself out of the grief nightmare he’s been pretending he’s not living in, the one that’s seen him vacillating between focusing on the job with a scary intensity, or just passed out.

Dean has said he’s fine. He said he would get through it like he always did. And beer for breakfast is not exactly a revolution in the Dean Winchester Book of Coping. However, none of that has stopped Sam from feeling worried, and from tabling his own grief to try and keep an eye on his brother. He knows Dean better than anyone, and he knows they’re a hair’s breadth from Dean taking a page out of the John Winchester Book of Coping and trying to “sacrifice” himself for the greater good. Because for some reason, it’s only ever been dad’s shittiest ideas that Dean clings to.

Cas called though, and they’re on their way. Hours of watching Dean break every speed limit, no music, just his incessant finger tapping and the faint squeak of him squeezing and releasing the leather of the steering wheel.

It was only a few hours ago that Dean had literally killed himself in a Hail Mary to try and save that kid from the torture house. But they were too late for the kid, and Sam was almost too late to get Dean back. If this isn’t the real Cas they’re driving too, if this is another dead end, Sam doesn’t know if it’s going to be something Dean came back from. So he takes deep breaths, and keeps himself soft to counteract his brother’s tension, and they keep driving.

-

Dean has felt like a skin-sack full of bees since mile marker 50. Since marker 100, he hasn’t been able to feel his hands or feet. It’s completely possible that he’s about to vibrate out of his skin, but this isn’t his first time driving through a meltdown so he keeps his focus on the road and he powers through. He drives, and drives, and drives, and tries not to think about what’s waiting at the end of it, or, God forbid, what it all means. If this isn’t the real Cas then he’s headed to the exact kind of shit-sundae he’s always deserved. But fuck he wants it to be Cas. Cas has died before but he’s always come back. He’s an infinite, cosmic being. He’s Dean’s best friend. He can’t really be gone.

He tries to keep his hopes in check as he pulls Baby into a dark alley. If they’re in the right spot, there should be a payphone here. Dean catches sight of the phone at the same time as he sees a figure next to it. The figure is wearing a trenchcoat and is unmistakably shaped like Cas. It feels like some new kind of torture, looking at something that looks just like him, even though it’s inevitably going to turn out to be a hoax. Dean must have parked and killed the engine at some point. His body is moving on autopilot and all he notices is that he’s now standing a few feet away from the figure. Dean feels a sharp intake a breath as the man turns around and is wearing Cas’ face. It could still be a trick, he tells himself. He’s grasping at that hope by his fingertips to try and keep it pinned down. But then he sees that Cas’ eyes are shining with tears, and the expression on his face is so full of exhaustion and guilt and hope, and so undeniably Cas, that Dean is sure it’s really him.

Cas is looking at Dean, inscrutable as always, and Dean feels his tongue get thick in his mouth. He tries to swallow but there is absolutely no moisture left in his mouth, and the bees inside his chest have really kicked it up a notch. They stare at each other for longer than they should. Dean knows he must look pathetic, shocked and speechless, and he tries to beat through the blood roaring in his ears to say something. His mouth is moving a little but no words are coming out. God he’s an idiot. Cas tilts his head, squinting at him like Dean is written in a language that Cas can’t quite read. That familiar little head tilt destroys the last vestige of doubt that Dean was holding on to, and before he knows it he’s crashing into Cas. A soft “oof” of air escapes Cas with the force of the hug. It’s clumsy and uncoordinated, but it doesn’t matter because Dean’s arms are around Cas, and Cas’ hands are on Dean’s hips, and Dean is turning to press his forehead into the side of Cas’ face as if he could burrow inside of him and never come out.

“Shhh, it’s okay,” Dean distantly realizes Cas is whispering to him, even as he digs his fingers into Dean’s sides.

“I’m right here, it’s all okay.” Cas’ hands come up to hold his face, pressing his forehead against Dean’s, and fuck he hopes he isn’t crying.

Dean is still trying to pull together something that resembles words. He can hear his own breathing, wet and ragged, and he knows he’s a half inch from letting some tears break out, while Cas continues to whisper reassurances to him in a low, steady murmur. Fuck it, if he can’t find a way to say it, he can show it. He’s always been better at doing than talking, anyway. This is it. Now or never. Just cowboy up and do it.

Cas pulls away enough that Dean can see his face and his stupid blue eyes. There’s an emotion in Cas, barely contained, but Dean’s not sure what it is. It sparks a flicker of warmth in Dean’s chest that is only slightly outpaced by the wave of panic that’s threatening to crest. Cas’ eyebrows pull together and he’s looking at Dean with so much affection it could only be described as penetrating.

“I love you Dean.” Cas’ voice is still a whisper, hands gripping Dean’s face a little tighter.

“I’ll always come back to you. I’m so sorry I didn’t say it sooner. But I promise, I promise, I love you and I will always come back. I’m here.”

An abortive, choked sob rips out of Dean against his will. Their faces are so close together that he can feel Cas’ lips ghost over his with every sentence. Not giving himself the chance to second guess it, Dean wraps one hand around the back of Cas’ neck and presses their lips together.

It’s less of a kiss and more of a desperate, clawing crush of their bodies. Dean’s face is now undeniably wet as he moves his mouth against Cas’. But Cas is kissing him back, even as his hands are touching Dean everywhere. He’s wiping the tears off of Dean’s face, and running his fingertips up Dean’s neck and through his hair in a way that makes a tremor run through his body. But Dean is steady, one hand on the back of Cas’ neck, one around his waist, holding him close. He’s trying to pour every frantic thought that’s floating around his head into that kiss. But no matter how tight Dean holds him, Cas never tries to lean away.

After a minute Dean breaks the kiss to drag in a breath. They’re still inches from each other, bodies lined up, and Dean tries to ignore the fact that he’s shaking slightly. The air feels thick between them. For one second it’s overwhelming, the breath and the tension and Cas’ ridiculously blue eyes looking at him, and Dean flicks his gaze away. Just for a second. Cas must notice though because his fingers tighten where they’re gripping him, and the soft tug on his hair helps pull Dean out of his head and back into the moment. Dean squeezes Cas’ waist with a small smile and brings their mouths together again.

This must have been the permission that Cas was waiting for, because any semblance of restraint he had was thrown out the window. One hand on Dean’s jaw holds him tight, directing the kiss, parting his mouth enough that his tongue is in Dean’s mouth and it feels fucking incredible. He pulls Dean fractionally, moving him how he wants him. Something inside Dean becomes quiet and peaceful at the feeling, and he tries not to peer under that psychological rock when there’s kissing to be doing. Their tongues are a wet slide and Dean’s hands are fisted in Cas’ shirt. He is well past the point of introspection.

Cas’ hot breath against his face, the taste of him, the languid roll of his hips into Dean’s, they’re all proof of life. Dean couldn’t tell you how long they were there for, but when he feels his dick starting to strain against his pants, as well as the fact that Sammy is still standing a couple feet away, he breaks the kiss and pulls back.

They stand there, breathing each other’s air, both a little dazed. Cas is still staring at him, and has one of his goofy-ass smiles that are rare but make him look irrepressibly human. It lights Dean up from the inside. Hell, he probably has a goofy-ass smile on his own face.

The sound of Sam clearing his throat brings reality crashing in. Dean feels all the heat that had been pooling in his groin rush up to his face. He tries to ignore how hard he knows he’s blushing and uses every ounce of self-assuredness he still has to look Sammy in the eye. Sam’s face is, of course, a study in neutrality. There’s a glint of amusement in his eye though, and Dean can tell that Sam’s working hard to contain himself.

“Cas!” Sam’s voice is a little too loud. “I’m so happy you’re back,” he steps forward to gather Cas up in his ridiculous moose arms, squeezing him once and clapping him on the back in that way that men do, before stepping back.

“We missed you, buddy.” He smiles at Cas, who returns it with warmth, and Dean stays very, very still.

“It’s good to be back.” Cas says with a sigh. His voice is even more gravelly than normal and it’s making Dean feel a little tingly. Fuck he needs to get it together.

“Okay, okay,” Dean tries to keep the tension out of his voice, “enough chick flick moments, let’s get back to the bunker.”

Sam’s subdued smile breaks into a grin when Dean says “chick flick moments”, and Dean tries not to flinch. Everything is fine.

He turns to lead them back to the car, but he can tell that Cas is studying him with a practiced level of nonchalance that means he’s worried Dean is about to lose it. He doens’t need to be, though. Dean is fine. He clears his throat and pulls his face into the most impassive expression he can muster.

“Come on, let’s go,” Dean says, reaching back to tug at the sleeve of that damn trench coat. He tries not to focus on the familiar feel of the material between his fingers and the choking sensation that throws at him. The coat that rode around in Baby’s trunk for months the last time he thought Cas was dead. Dean scrubs at his eyes as discretely as he can and reaches for the driver’s side door.

They all pile into their usual seats, and there’s so much tension thrumming in the air Dean feels like he’s going to throw up. He chances one more look at Sammy, who has given up on neutral and is embracing a facial expression that can only be described as gleeful. What a punk.

Dean puts on his most intimidating big brother face and points at him, “You,” he barks, “just… just don’t. Can it.” Sam nods, still smiling, and Dean ignores the soft snicker of amusement coming from the back seat. He rolls down his window, cranks the radio up and tears out of the alleyway, hoping the noise and cold air will blast this hot, itchy feeling right out of him.

-

Sam has been trying to keep the peace the whole ride back to the bunker. Dean’s been silent, still holding his body in one long line of tension. So Sam and Cas kept up the conversation. Cas explained how he managed to escape the Empty, while Sam filled him in on Jack and the progress he was making with managing his powers. Cas had seemed relaxed, but once in a while Sam caught him glancing at the back of Dean’s head with a worried crease in his brow. This will all work out, Sam thinks. They just can’t push Dean. They have to give him space. He absolutely cannot, will not meddle. Probably. So he and Cas talked and made forced jokes and tried to leave space in the conversation for Dean to join in if he wanted, which he never did.

As they reach the outskirts of the property, Sam can see Dean make a conscious effort to relax. His face softens, his shoulders roll back, and he loosens the death grip he’s had on the steering wheel. Sam isn’t sure if this is good or bad, but Dean’s obviously trying to keep whatever chaotic inner monologue he has going on in check. Sam thinks, not for the first time, that Dean could find a little peace in his life if would just stop over-thinking everything for one goddamn minute. He isn’t sure which part of this situation is making Dean freak out specifically, but whatever is, he’s 100% sure that it’s stupid.

But Dean now at least appears to be relaxed. He’s joining in the conversation as if he had been the whole drive, and he’s put a smile on his face. The smile isn’t fake, either. It’s soft and kind of wistful, and it intensifies whenever he throws a glance at Cas in the rear view mirror, when he thinks Sam isn’t looking. Cas has outwardly appeared calm for the entire drive, but Sam can feel the tension in him ebbing as Dean finally crawls out of his panic hole. During a lull in the conversation, Sam notices Dean catching Cas’ eye in the rearview mirror, giving him a small, reassuring nod. Cas gives one of his crinkly-eyed almost smiles in return. Sam resists the twin urges to say “aww” and also vomit from the display. Then he notices that Dean is unconsciously licking his lips, the color back in his face, and trying to very subtly reach down and readjust his pants. Sam whips his eyes back to the road. There has to be bleach somewhere in the bunker so he can scrub his eyes out when they get back. There’s still tension in the car, but now it’s a different kind of tension, and Sam is resolutely ignoring it.

They pull up to the bunker in silence. Sam hustles out of the car towards the entrance. He hopes it comes across as respect for their privacy, but really it’s because Dean and Cas are doing the heavy eye contact thing that they think no one else notices, not touching, but moving together like they’re connected by tight, invisible strings. Sam keeps his eyes forward as he opens the door, walking into the bunker and yelling to Jack that they’re home. They head down the stairs into the library where Jack is waiting, and Sam pretends he doesn’t see Dean’s hand graze the small of Cas’ back as they enter.

The reunion/introduction between Jack and Cas is bizarrely touching, considering they’ve never really met. Cas looks like a proud father as he watches Jack demonstrating his powers. It’s so charming that Sam almost misses the way Dean is watching Cas. He’s quiet, sitting with the rest of them, inserting a comment here and there, but mostly he’s studying Cas with an expression that Sam has never seen on his face before. Something about it makes Sam ache. His brother has never let himself even hope for a better life, but after a lifetime spent taking care of Sam and cleaning up Dad’s messes, he deserves it. Deserves something.

As they all listen to Jack explain the case he’s found, Dean and Cas never speak to each other directly but continue to hover in each other’s space. They probably don’t even realize they’re doing it, Sam thinks. They’ve always been like this. Sam doesn’t think either of them has any idea that they’ve spent the last eight years making eyes and circling each other like un-moored lifeboats.

Jack continues, animated, talking and talking without a lot of input from the others. The adults nod and “mmhmm” as appropriate, and Sam watches as Dean takes a deep breath and then slides his hand across the table, coming to rest next to Cas’. Cas doesn’t miss a beat though, still looking at Jack and nodding, but making a small move to hook his pinky finger around Dean’s. The tips of Dean’s ears are bright pink and the uncertainty is rolling off of him in waves. Sam is possibly going to end up with a sprained eye from trying to look-but-not-look, but Dean catches him at it anyway and scowls.

“Cas,” Dean blurts, cutting off Jack mid-ramble about zombies. Dean clears his throat and tries again. “I mean, Cas and I need to talk. About the case. I’m going to borrow him for a minute. In private.”

Sam has shoved so much impassive neutrality into his facial expression he thinks he might explode. Cas is looking at Dean, eyebrows raised but saying nothing. Jack looks between the three of them with a total lack of comprehension. He opens his mouth, probably to point out that that doesn’t make any sense, so Sam interrupts.

“Yeah, absolutely.” Sam says, “You two should talk. Go for it.” He holds up a hand to indicating toward the bedrooms, and Dean blushes even while he glares at Sam. Cas is still just watching Dean, expression fond but biting back amusement, and Sam deserves a goddamn medal for not smiling. He just meets Dean’s glare with his innocent face and waits for them to stand up.

“Go ahead,” he says, “Jack and I will be fine here.” He hoped he doesn’t sound as amused as he is.

Dean makes an incomprehensible snorting sound and then pushes his chair back with a loud scrape.

“Come on, Cas.” Dean says, pulling at Cas’ collar to get him up.

Cas continues to look bemused and Sam has to put a hand over his own mouth to keep himself in check. Dean pulls Cas with him as they head toward the hallway and refuses to look at Sam again. Cas does look back over his shoulder once, giving Sam such a dramatic eye roll he’s worried he might hurt himself. Sam covers his laugh with a cough as they disappear from sight.

“What was that about?” Jack asks, head tilted, guileless curiosity on his face.

“Eh, we’ll tell you when you’re older,” Sam snorts, “why don’t you show me what other research you’ve done.”

-

Dean runs both hands through his hair and grabs the back of his neck, lettin out a deep, shaky exhale once he’s inside his room. He can’t see Cas hovering in the doorway behind him, but he knows he’s there. Dean’s fingers tap a staccato against his own neck as he tries to pull it together.

“Aren’t you going to say something?” he tries not to sound as strung out as he feels. Please, God, don’t let this silence mean he’s fucked everything up with his stupid inappropriate horniness. Please don’t let Cas be mad. He kissed Dean back, he couldn’t be that mad, right?

Still, crickets from Cas, and the peanut gallery he calls a brother isn’t here to poke at them, so Dean keeps his gaze forward and seriously considers the benefits of peeling off his own skin. His brain is offering him a few possible reactions from Cas. Pity, for one, which would actually be worse than outright disgust. Maybe Cas is trying to come up with a way to let him down easy, tell him that Dean misinterpreted everything and they’re just good friends after all.

He turns around, and the expression on Cas’ face is none of the possibilities he had considered. Cas is leaning against the doorway, casual and rumpled and handsome, and also so full of affection that he looks like he might burst. Watching him stare at Dean with that naked adoration is a little like staring into the sun. Dean feels his breath catch in his chest. He can handle this. He knows how to love and be loved. Dean’s entire life has been dedicated to taking care of his family, and Cas has been a part of that family for a long time now. But still, the idea of Cas being willing to just stand there, pouring love into him without any hesitation, is absolutely fucking terrifying. It’s not that he doesn’t want it. He may want it. He probably, definitely wants it. But it’s still terrifying.

He realizes his mouth is hanging open and he probably looks like an idiot. Cas lets out a long-suffering sigh and steps fully into the room, closing the door behind him.

“Dean.” he says gently, “Everything’s okay. Take a breath.” He steps into Dean’s space, bringing his hands up to take Dean’s arms in hand and pull them down from the death grip he has on the back of his neck.

Dean tries not to notice how much the touch steadies him. His brain is rebelling against the intimacy of the situation, and those two feelings are clashing violently somewhere inside him. Cas is just looking at him, eyes bright. Dean can tell he’s trying to control himself, but he’s well practiced in figuring out when people are hot for him, and right now Cas is practically on fire. He pushes forward until their bodies are touching again, pulling his focus away from the twist in his chest and back to the tension building south of border.

He flicks his tongue out to wet his lips and he can see Cas tracking the movement. This, this is something Dean can do. Dealing with life and death and resurrection and the possibility of being in whatever with his best friend/guardian angel/nerd in a trenchcoat is all too fucking much, but Dean is excellent at sex. They need to get this show on the road, so Dean can start cramming all these feelings back down where they belong.

Dean takes a deep breath and enjoys the feeling of pressing up against Cas. Cas is strong for a nerdy little dude, and he feels so solid. Dean needs to keep feeling that. He needs to remember that Cas is here, and alive, and that that’s what’s important, not the anxiety clawing at his insides.

“Cas,” he rasps, before pulling him in for a rough kiss. Cas tenses for just a second before softening into it. Dean pushes his tongue into Cas’ mouth, eyes closed, grabbing at Cas’ face and holding him close. Their tongues slide together as Cas’ hands come to rest on Dean’s hips, just grazing underneath his shirt to rest on the skin beneath. The point of contact is small, but the heat feels like it might take over Dean’s entire body.

They’ve been kissing for a while, but not nearly long enough when Cas pulls back. Dean tries to ignore the whimper that escapes his mouth, as well as the way he leans forward to chase Cas’ lips involuntarily.

“Dean,” Cas says, breathless but still stern, “We should talk about this.”

Dean has several inches of height on Cas, but it still feels like Cas is towering over him, Dean’s heart sitting in his impassive hands.

He blinks once and tries to formulate a game plan. Anything that doesn’t include talking but does include getting his hands on Cas’ body. He steps back from Cas, staring at him with the most heady, seductive expression he has in his repertoire. He keeps stepping back without turning around or breaking their gaze. Cas’ mouth quirks, like he’s just charmed by all this, but also his eyes are just a little wider than usual. Dean’s hands go to the hem of his own shirt, and he pulls it over his head to throw on the floor. He bites his bottom lip and inwardly grins at the uptick in Cas’ breathing. God damn, Dean’s still got it.

“Dean,” Cas says again, shaking his head slightly to clear his senses, “I really think we should discuss this before… moving forward. Just to be clear.” His expression shows that he knows Dean isn’t going to be on board with this, but he feels obligated to say it anyway.

“Do you want this?” Dean purrs, resting his hands on his waistband, ready to undo the button.

“Do you want me like this?”

Cas’ eyes rake up and down Dean’s body with an appraising gaze, and Dean pretends isn’t making his stomach swoosh like he’s a teenage girl at Hanson concert.

“Yes.” Cas sounds like he may have more to say, but his eyes are dark and the scrape of lust in his voice is undeniable.

Dean pulls deep from the well of Dean Winchester bravado that’s gotten him through life this far, and grins. He moves one hand down from his waistband to cup his own erection through his jeans. He rubs it with is fingertips, just enough to make his breath catch, and then starts to unzip his pants. Cas is watching him with a feral intensity and if Dean weren’t rock hard already, that would definitely have done the trick. For all that it intimidates him, the feeling of Cas single-mindedly focusing himself on Dean is something Dean wants to soak up like a sponge. He feels drunk with it, reckless. He shucks his jeans and boxers in one motion, kicking them to the side and leaning back against the desk with a smirk. His cock is full, skin tight and flushed, weeping precome from the tip that smears a trail across his stomach.

“Dean, we need to-,” Cas’ voice is perilously close to breaking, and the tension in his body is obvious, despite the fact that he stays put on his side of the room. Even when Dean reaches down and wraps a hand around his own cock, stroking loosely, Cas stays where he is. He wants to step forward and touch him, Dean can tell, but something is holding him back. Dean dies inside a little at the thought of having to articulate some kind of emotional state before he gets Cas’ hands on him.

“Cas,” Dean cuts him off. He looks at Cas, trying to convey the intensity of how he feels without letting Cas see what a pathetic, insecure mess he is. If they could just get to the fucking, everything would be all right.

“Cas please, I’m begging you man, just fuck me.”

Cas freezes and his eyes widen incrementally.

“I mean it man, I want you to fuck me.” Dean keeps stroking himself with a featherlight touch, feeling his whole body flush and his chest heave more and more with each breath. Cas’ pupils were threatening to swallow his eyes and his body looked coiled and ready to unleash itself.

“Please, let’s talk later,” Dean continues, “right now I just need you inside me.”

His voice comes out in a plaintive whine that he’s not really proud of, but it makes Cas crack. He looks back up at Dean’s eyes and obviously sees something there. He seems to understand what Dean is saying. Cas has been trying to give Dean what he wants ever since he betrayed Heaven for him, why would he stop now.

Crossing the room to him, Cas looks resolved and confident. He takes one measured step at a time, shucking his coat and loosening his tie, and the sight of it makes the remaining blood in Dean’s body rush straight to his dick. Between the steady confidence of Cas’ movements and the way he keeps one eyebrow raised at Dean, Dean is seriously in danger of coming all over himself before they even get to the good stuff. He couldn’t think about the bigger picture right now if his life depended on it. All he knows is that he needs those long, strong fingers: wrapping around his cock, inside him, in his mouth, anywhere they can fit, Dean wants them. He can examine what that means later. Or never.

Cas crowds into Dean’s space, making Dean involuntarily lean back against the desk, the hard edge of the wood digging into his ass in a way that he doesn’t hate. Cas reaches up with one hand and wraps those fingers around Dean’s jaw. His eyes are dark, focused. The intensity of his gaze is something that would normally make Dean squirm, but right now it’s making him want to fall to his knees and beg for it.

“You’re sure this is what you want?” Cas growls. He taps a finger on Dean’s lower lip like he’s asking permission. “You want me to fuck you?”

Dean’s eyes are wide, but he pulls himself together enough to nod.

“Yes please,” he rasps.

“And you promise we can talk about it later?” Cas murmurs, dragging his fingertip back and forth across Dean’s lips, leaving a tingly trail of sensation behind it. Dean nods again and parts his lips.

“So beautiful for me,” Cas voice is so soft Dean can barely hear it.

His movements are sure though, as he brings a second finger to join the first one and then pushes them slowly and inexorably into Dean’s mouth. He feels them scrape over his teeth, coming to rest on his tongue and pushing down just enough. Dean is so far past the point of self-control and he moans, a desperate sound pulled from deep inside him. The weight of Cas’ fingers on his tongue is slight, but incredible. He closes his lips around them and sucks, his cheeks hollow. His tongue laves up and down, and Cas takes the hint and begins to move. He draws his fingers in and out of Dean’s mouth. Always pressing, always filling, keeping up a steady pace. His left hand is still holding Dean’s jaw to anchor him in place. Dean loses himself in the rocking, and Cas has to repeat his question.

“I said, do you promise we can talk about this later, Dean?”

He pulls his fingers out of Dean’s spit-slick mouth, a string of saliva still connecting the two of them. It is so much hotter than anything has the right to be, and Dean tries to ignore how empty his mouth feels.

“Sure, Cas,” Dean breathes, “whatever you want.”

Cas pulls away one more time to study him. Dean feels like a bug under a microscope, and is suddenly very aware of the fact that he is completely naked and Cas is still wearing that suit. He grabs at Cas a little to pull them closer together. Please, please, please don’t make him confront what all this means. He can’t. But he knows that letting Cas take him apart right now, fucking him so thoroughly he can’t walk after, will help tamp down the tight pain he’s had since Lucifer impaled Cas on an angel blade and everything stopped making sense. Dean needs this.

Sadness crosses Cas’ face, just briefly, before he surges forward. He kisses Dean fiercely, bringing both hands down to brace under Dean’s thighs and heave him easily onto the desk. Dean gasps into Cas’ mouth. He hasn’t been manhandled like that in a very long time, but he’s absolutely not arguing. Cas is between his legs and it’s everything he wants. He feels Cas pushing him down into the desk, feels Cas’ erection hard against his hip, feels him mouthing a path down Dean’s neck and sucking hot, stinging bruises there.

“Jesus, fuck Cas, need you,” Dean doesn’t feel like he can keep the words in any more.

“Need you inside me, fuck me, show me I’m yours,” he babbles. Cas’ mouth is lower now, kissing across his chest, biting at a nipple and then swirling a tongue over it. Dean rocks into the pleasure even as Cas brings a hand down to his cock, running his thumb down the slit and then scraping his fingernail under the head with just the barest pressure. Dean’s hips buck into Cas’ hands involuntarily.

“Christ, Cas, where the fuck did you learn to do that?” Dean gasps.

Cas continues mapping out Dean’s body with his mouth, answering between biting kisses.

“Dean,” he rumbles, “I’ve been watching humanity for thousands upon thousands of years. Just because I haven’t had occasion to participate doesn’t mean I don’t know every single thing a human body is capable of doing to another.” He pauses his ministrations to take hold of Dean’s jaw again and brings his face up so they lock eyes. His fingers press into Dean’s skin even harder than before.

“Trust me when I tell you that there are many, many things that I would like to do to you.”

A shudder ripples through Dean’s body and his mouth fills with saliva.

“If… if you’re amenable.” Cas adds.

The pause is the first crack in his facade of self-confidence that Dean’s seen so far, and it makes him angry. How much of an inarticulate asshole is Dean that Cas isn’t even sure that he wants this. He brings back the classic Dean Winchester grin. There should be no doubt in Cas’ mind that this is what Dean wants right now.

“Definitely amenable,” Dean says.

He reaches out to tug at the buttons on Cas’ pants, and shoves his hand in as soon as there’s space. Cas’ cock is hot and heavy in his hand, and there’s a wet patch in the fabric that’s been trapping it down. So much for angels being junkless, Dean smirks.

“Dean,” Cas breathes, body trembling, still holding himself back.

Dean’s jacks him slowly, languid, biting his bottom lip and peering into Cas’ face with hooded eyes. He grabs Cas’ hand and wraps it around his own cock with a sharp hiss of breath. Cas takes the hint and moves his hand up and down, and they’re both just leaning into each other, sharing breath again, hands moving slowly as their pleasure builds. Dean uses his free hand to pull Cas’ collar to one side. His skin is smooth and tanned and Dean wants to bite it, so he does. He can feel Cas’ hips moving in shallow thrusts against his hands, so Cas obviously doesn’t object. Dean bites down harder and feels Cas’ answering growl reverberate through his body.

Cas lets go of Dean’s cock to wrap those hands around his thighs one more time, tipping him back further and further until he’s laid out on the desk and Cas is slung over him. Dean feels about as exposed as he ever has. He tries to focus on how beautiful Cas’ eyelashes are when his eyes flutter closed with pleasure, and not think about the last time he was in this position.

“Top drawer,” he mutters, and Cas frowns at him.

“What?”

“Lube. In the top drawer.” The words are coming out piecemeal with each pant of breath.

Cas’ mouth makes an “o” as realization dawns on him, and he pulls open the top drawer to grab the bottle. Thank God this desk is where he normally watches porn. Whatever feeling of shame was trying to build in Dean, it dissipates as soon as Cas starts squeezing lube out to slick his fingers. Again, Dean feels like he’s in danger of coming all over his himself here and now, just from watching him. Cas wastes no time though, and brings his fingers down between Dean’s legs. He skips past his cock and goes directly to his hole. He presses his wet fingers against Dean’s rim, rubbing gentle circles, causing Dean’s breath to escape his body entirely. Cas keeps circling, pressing harder, just on the cusp of breaching him.

“Is this what you want, Dean?” Cas asks in a low voice.

Dean feels so overwhelmed by the waves of arousal and affection that he can’t string words together, so he just nods. His whole body is tense, waiting for Cas. Cas watches him as he pushes his fingers inside. Two thick fingers are a lot for Dean to take, especially considering how long it’s been since anyone’s been back there, but Cas moves slowly. He rocks into Dean, bit by bit, and Dean feels himself relax and open up. Soon, Cas’ fingers are moving in and out, deep and strong, and grazing over the spot that makes sparks fly in Dean’s brain. Dean doesn’t know when brought his hands to Cas’ shoulders, but he digs his fingers in now, holding on, Cas’ other hand still pinning him by his hip even as Dean tries his best to fuck himself down harder onto those fingers, wrapping his legs around Cas to pull him closer.

“Cas, please.” Dean’s voice cracks as he begs, but there’s no space left for shame. There’s only Cas, his warmth and his familiar, masculine smell; his hard body leaning into Dean even as his fingers fuck in and out in a way that rips pleasure through him.

Cas’ pants are already unbuttoned from Dean’s sloppy handjob, and his cock has been straining against the fabric this whole time. Cas reaches down and frees it with a quick movement. He pours more lub onto the hand he’s been fucking Dean with, and then uses that to slick up his cock. As soon as he’s ready he closes the last few inches between them, holding Dean in position as he presses himself up against Dean’s rim. He stops there, their noses almost brushing, looking into Dean’s eyes. There are words on the tip of his tongue, Dean can tell, but he’s holding himself back. Again, Dean is trying not to squirm under the attention. He can feel something tugging at him and there’s a slight burning in his eyes like tears are trying to gather. Cas doesn’t break their eye contact as he pushes into his hole, punching the breath out of him.

He’s just breached him when Dean says “Stop.”

Cas freezes. His face falls and Dean can see him trying to figure out what’s happening.

“No, no, not stop stop.” Dean rushes, “Just, hang on.”

He can’t take it. He can’t take Cas staring into his eyes with all that love and lust and whatever else. It’s too much.

He grabs Cas’ hips to push him away just a step, ignoring the consternation on his face. He slides off the desk until his feet hit the ground and already feels a little steadier. Dean turns around and lets out a breath. He bends over to brace his elbows on the desk. In a way, he’s more exposed like this, more vulnerable, but he feels better. He needs Cas, but that level of eye contact is just excessive, even for them. He can feel Cas hesitate behind him and he knows he’s thrown a curveball, but he doesn’t want Cas to worry.

“Please, Cas,” he moans, as pornographic as he can manage, “please, just fuck me.”

Cas’ hesitation holds for a second longer, and then he breaks. His hands are all over Dean again. He drags them up Dean’s sides, skating over ribs that are still covered by the warding that Cas once branded him with. He ghosts his breath over Deans neck and bites his earlobe, worrying it between his teeth, almost appearing impassive as Dean pants and writhes beneath him.

“Whatever you want, Dean” he whispers, pausing one more time, “I mean it.”

The serious tone of his voice is just a flash though, and then his hand is around his cock again and he’s pushing forward again. Dean tries to hold still and not rock back onto his cock, but Cas is being too slow, too gentle. This is leaving too much space for feelings. He wants Cas to just take him.

“Come on, yes, fuck me, please,” he babbles encouragement as he pushes back. There’s a burn as Cas stretches his rim, filling him. It hurts, but it’s a hurt that he wants right now. Painful enough to ground him in the moment, not too much. Eventually Cas bottoms out, and Dean lets out a noise that’s half growl, half gasp. Cas drags his cock out slowly, and then pushes back in. He keeps going, thrusting harder each time, until he’s hitting Dean’s prostate every time and Dean feels like he’s starting to dissolve.

The thrusts are punching soft moans out of his chest. He can feel Cas breathing heavy behind him, and distantly realizes that Cas is still touching him, gentle, one hand on his hip and the other running over his ribs. Cas grazes that hand over Dean’s shoulder, and then brings it to rest on the front of Dean’s throat. He doesn’t press, just wraps his hand around and holds him still while he fucks into him. Dean feels more safe and contained than he can remember ever feeling, and a high-pitched keen slips out of him.

Cas doesn’t slow down for a second, still pistoning in and out of Dean at a pace that’s just short of punishing. It’s exactly what he needed. Dean can feel his own cock bounce with each thrust, sometimes catching the tip on the cold, hard wood of the desk. The drag of it is a hard contrast to the heat of Cas thrusting into him from behind, and it’s twisting him from the bottom up. He feels a wave of something come over him. He’s not sure what the feeling is, but he knows it’s good and peaceful, and he knows it’s directed towards Cas. Cas can maybe feel it too, because he leans more of his weight on Dean and starts to squeeze with the hand that’s wrapped around Dean’s throat.

The strength of Cas’ hand is intoxicating. Dean feels it pressing, not cutting off his oxygen, but constricting enough that the pleasure sparking from each stroke against his prostate makes him feel like he’s floating out of his body. He’s not limp, his body is tight with pleasure, but on the inside he feels pliant. Like Cas can just move him and mold him however he wants. Cas can touch him and squeeze him and take his pleasure and it all just shows that Dean is safe and protected in his hands. He has a sudden urge to curl up in Cas’ lap like a child. He tries to shake it from his mind, focus on the pleasure, on the thick cock rutting into him, on the precome leaking out of his own cock and letting the head glide back and forth over the desk with each thrust. He can’t shake it entirely, but his brain is also well and truly checked out at this point. There’s only Cas, surrounding him, holding him. He realizes a split second too late that Cas is starting to relax his hand on his throat.

“God Cas, yes, yes, please don’t stop,” scrapes out of him. Cas can’t let him go now.

Cas picks up on this and growls as he redoubles his efforts. He squeezes Dean’s throat, just enough, and slams into his ass without reprieve. He’s starting to make choked out sounds and Dean can tell he’s close. He suddenly wants to have Cas fill him with his come more than he’s ever wanted anything. He says so, tells Cas to come for him, fill him up, show him who he belongs to. Cas doesn’t reply, but he gets louder, groaning as he comes, cock pulsing his spend into Dean. He’s still growling through his release as he reaches down and grabs Dean’s cock, jacking him hard and fast. It only takes a few strokes before Dean is coming too. He swears his vision whites out for a minute, and he can’t think about anything past how this feels. He feels his ass clenching around Cas, who is still shuddering through the aftershocks, and his own cock is painting the desk with ropes of come. There’s a high-pitched sound coming from somewhere, and he realizes too late that it’s him. Tears prickle in his eyes even as his cock gives a few more twitches, still held loosely in Cas’ hand. Even that light touch is overwhelming, but he doesn’t want Cas to let go.

Dean deliberately lowers his voice back to a more masculine register, but Cas pulls a thick groan out of him anyway as he shallowly thrusts a few more times while they both soften. Cas’ hand has fallen from his throat, but at some point he latched onto the back of Dean’s neck and bit down, and he still hasn’t let go. They continue to rock together, the movement barely there, for what could be hours or just seconds. Dean sighs, letting the feeling of bonelessness take over. Normally is takes a very specific combination of sex and a lot of alcohol to get to this level of relaxation, but with Cas he couldn’t stop it if he tried.

“Fuck, Cas,” he breathes. “Just… Fuck.”

Cas hums his agreement as he releases his bite on Dean’s neck. He grazes a kiss over the spot where a bruise is already forming. He pulls back from Dean gently, but the coldness that takes his place still causes Dean to shiver. Just a minute ago the build of pleasure was the only thing he could feel, but now something else is trying to get a foothold in him, something frantic. Dean hopes that Cas doesn’t notice the tension settling in his shoulders, but it’s Cas, so he obviously will. Well, Dean Winchester is nothing if not an expert in repression, so he pushes it down hard. He contorts his face into a smile and shakes his head, letting out a whistle.

“Cas, that was really something,” his tone is light. He’s still staring at the desk in front of him rather than Cas. Cas’ hands burn hot where they’re resting on his hips, and it’s too much contact but also not enough at the same time. He feels Cas slip out of him. Come runs down his inner thigh, and shame does its best to take root in him. Dean tries to shake it off, but it clings. It joins the anxiety already building in him, and Dean fights the urge to fold in on himself like a child. Cas is obviously not fooled by his tone though, because even as he steps back from Dean he reaches out, taking his face in hand one more time and holding his gaze.

“Dean-” he starts, his voice conflicted.

“Cas,” Dean cuts him off, forcing himself to throw out a winning smile, “that was fantastic. Great work.” He winks at Cas and tries not to feel sick to his stomach. They stare at each other. Cas squints and cocks his head again, like he’s trying to hear something, thumb stroking absently over Dean’s cheek. Dean can feel the squirmy, shame feeling rolling back under the onslaught of Cas’ affection, and he wants to bask in it. But he just… can’t. Shedding a tear at Cas coming back from the dead is one thing, but turning into a whining, simpering ball of need that begs Cas to bend him over and fill him with his come… That’s not something that fits into Dean’s skin.

So he smiles, and gives Cas a chaste peck on the lips, and pulls himself out of the bubble they’ve created, even though it makes his limbs feel heavy and his head hurt to do it. Cas is still watching him with unmasked concern.

“Dean,” he starts again.

“Cas, I’m fine.” Dean walks away from him, trying to retrieve his clothes from the floor without bending over more than he has to. He winces as he pulls his pants on. Cas is watching him but not moving any closer, which Dean appreciates. At some point Cas must have tucked himself back into his pants, because he’s still fully dressed. His tie is loose and his hair is sticking up everywhere, but he looks more untouchable than ever. A servant of Heaven. Dean suddenly feels very small, and very fragile, and he doesn’t fucking like it.

“Dean, your thoughts are extremely chaotic right now, I’m concerned.” Cas is looking at him with a gentle expression, but Dean jerks up like he’s been burned.

“Stay out of my head, Cas.” He growls. He has one leg in his pants, one leg out, and he works to pull them on with the desperation of someone who no longer wants to be naked. Between his bare ass and Cas’ ridiculous sex hair, it’s obvious what they just did, and Dean wants just a little of his dignity back.

Cas tries to hold back an eye roll and partially succeeds. He keeps talking, using that calm, patronizing voice that he saves for when Dean is being a brat. And Dean is aware that he’s being a brat, but that’s not going to stop him.

“I’m not ‘in your head’, Dean,” Cas says, “I can’t read your thoughts. I just…” he searches for the right word, “I can just feel it. When you’re thinking about me, it can come to me like a prayer.” Dean stops and looks at him, wide-eyed. “I can’t hear the exact words unless you want me to, but whenever you think about me strongly enough, I can feel it.” Cas looks resigned. Maybe he really does know Dean’s thoughts.

Dean tries to cover up the fact that he feels like he swallowed broken glass. He thinks about what they were just doing, and how Cas seemed to know exactly what he needed and just gave it to him. Was that mind reading? Does that mean that all Dean’s thoughts and insecurities are a raging storm that Cas is just… listening to? As if Dean and his thoughts are his to know about. And, big picture, maybe they are, maybe his feelings do belong to Cas, but he’s not sure and that doesn’t help the broken glass feeling right now.

“Look, just… just don’t.” Dean hears the edge of hysteria in his voice and ignores it, pulling his t-shirt back on. He takes a breath and forces his body to loosen. Brings back the grin. Walks back over to Cas, feeling less itchy now that he’s clothed again, and kisses Cas one more time. “Twelve hours ago we were both dead, and now we’re here, and,” he waves his hands around, “all this, there’s just a lot going on right now” He smiles again, “I’m fine. Just leave it alone, please.”

Cas sighs and gives Dean a stern look. “We should talk about this, Dean. We could lie down for a while, or-”

“Cas, buddy,” Dean interrupts. He sees Cas flinch at the word, which makes him feel even more shitty than he already did. He’s aware that he’s being an ass, but Cas will not let it go and is already opening his mouth to argue. The idea of having an honest conversation about this makes him want to snap like in half like dry kindling.

“Jesus, can I just have one god damn minute to deal?” He yells.

“I’m fine, I don’t need to talk about anything, I just need to shower and get my four hours before we go to Dodge City. And you don’t sleep so-” he fumbles, bringing his volume down, “so I release you. Go, do angel shit. Bond with Jack. Everything’s fine. I’m gonna go wash up.” Maybe if he says “Everything’s fine” enough times everything will start to feel like it’s fine.

Dean paces over to the dresser to grab a towel, and catches his reflection in the mirror. Beside looking completely fucked out, which he is, there’s a string of dark bruises covering the left half of his neck. There is no excusing this away as something else, they’re undeniably hickies.

“Fuck, Cas!” He stares at his neck like they might disappear. Cas is still just standing in the middle of the room, looking lost.

He takes a step towards Dean with a hand raised, “Here, let me heal you.”

Dean jerks out of his reach. They both freeze, the air between them stretched tight. The hum of panic in Dean’s ears has turned back into a roar, and he has no idea what the fuck he’s doing, but whatever it is, he’s sure he’s ruining absolutely everything. Like he always does. Maybe it’s for the best.

His voice is quiet but still tense. “Just don’t, Cas.”

He does his best to ignore the hurt on Cas’ face as he brushes past him to leave the room.

-

Dean showers, trying to let everything from the past 24 hours wash off him. Everything except the fact that Cas is alive. No matter how stressed out he is about their little reunion, he can’t even try to suppress how happy he is that he has Cas back. By the time he’s stepping out of the bathroom, clean and pink-skinned with a towel around his waist, he’s smiling again. He goes back to his bedroom. He’s honestly a little bummed that Cas did what he asked and left, but that’s his own fault.

He pulls on some sweats and a clean t-shirt. He needs to get a little shuteye before they head out, but there’s no way that’s happening anytime soon after all of this. So he takes well-worn a page out of John Winchester’s playbook and heads to the kitchen for a beer. The bunker is quiet, so maybe Cas took his advice and took Jack somewhere to get to know each other. Dean shrugs to himself, opening the fridge and pulling out a bottle. The shush of the fridge door closing is comforting and familiar. The beer is cold in his hand, and he opens it just like he’s opened millions of others, letting himself get lost in the repetition of it all.

When Sam walks in, Dean is sitting in his normal spot at the table, picking at the paper label of the beer and rolling the torn out shreds absently between his fingers. He hears Sammy walk in but he’s too lost in thought to really care. Sam sits down, his own beer in hand, and Dean waits for it. Sam doesn’t speak for so long that Dean almost lets himself believe that he’ll get out of this encounter unscathed, but of course that couldn’t last forever.

“So,” Sam says, eyebrows raised, waiting for a response.

“So, what?”

Sam ignores Dean’s gruffness. “So, how are things now? With you and Cas?”

Dean feels his hackles raise, “Oh we are absolutely not fucking talking about that.”

“Dean,” Sam rolls his eyes, “the bunker may be warded but it’s not soundproof. I saw the opening act with my own eyes, and I unfortunately had to hear the end of it, plus your neck looks like you got mauled by a rugaru.”

Dean tries to suppress a blush and fails.

“You can at least try and talk to me about it. You know, in exchange for me being scarred for life by knowing what you sound like when you… you know.” If Sam’s eyebrows were raised any higher they’d have escaped his face.

Silence settles on the room as they each try to outlast the other. Dean is buckled in hard though. He is twisted and confused and his ass is sore and he is absolutely not fucking talking about this, especially to Sam. So it’s not that surprising when Sam breaks first.

“Dean, I just wish…” he trails off a little, collecting his thoughts.

“I just wish that you could see what I see when the two of you are together. Really. You guys have just always had this energy. From the moment Cas came into our lives you two have just been connected, your ‘profound bond’ or whatever.”

Dean snorts and takes a large swig of his beer, but Sammy doesn’t let up.

“Look, I’m not trying to tell you what to do. It’s your life, and whatever you and Cas want to be to each other is fine by me. But…” He trails off again. God this kid has a knack for melodrama. Dean stares at him until he continues.

“You’re not just friends. You’ve never been just friends. And I’m sure you’re probably freaking out because he’s technically a man but I just want to remind you that Dad is gone and so is his macho old world bullshit, so you are free to feel about Cas however you want. And you deserve that.”

Dean sputters and rolls his eyes through the end of Sam’s speech, but now the floor is his and he doesn’t know what to say. The silence hangs between them for just long enough that he thinks Sam is going to talk again, so he starts.

“Sam, do you remember when you were about thirteen, and Dad left us in that shit-bag tenement building in Chicago for a couple months?”

Sam frowns even as he nods, clearly wondering where Dean is going with this. “Yeah, we were there for a couple of weeks working a haunting, just long enough for us to enroll in school, but when the job was finished Dad took off.” Sam said. “It was the longest he’d ever been gone, at that point. That was the one of the last times you went to high school, right? You dropped out when he didn’t come back so you could spend time hustling pool for food money.”

Dean hates the pitying look Sammy always gets when they talk about what Dean sacrificed to take care of him. This is definitely going to make it worse, but fuck it, he’s committed now.

“Yeah, so,” he clears his throat, “I never told you the whole story.”

He stares at the curled edges of the beer label from where he’s been picking at it. He may feel like he needs to tell Sam this story, but he damn well doesn’t have to look him in the eye while he says it.

“Even before Dad left, I wasn’t really showing up to school. It was a shitty neighborhood and there were plenty of bars that didn’t care how old I was as long as I had money to spend. So, yeah, I hustled pool. And darts, and poker, and anything else I could find. And I met this kid, this guy, he was my age and he was into the same kind of stuff.”

Dean tries to ignore Sam’s eyes widening and he knows Sam can guess how this story is going to play out.

“So we were friends. We found trouble to get into together and hustled and brought home as much as we could. I had you and Dad to take care of, but he was on his own. I didn’t know much about him, but he’d had a shitty childhood too and he knew how to take care of himself.”

Dean clears his throat again and tries not to let his voice waiver.

“When the job was done, Dad wanted to head out of town, so he came down to the bars looking for me. He was running through the dives he knew I hung out at, and eventually he found me. And my friend. Uh, in the bathroom. Not completely dressed.”

The difference between how he felt talking about this stuff and how he felt telling Sammy about the waitresses he hooked up with was stark, and the condescending look of sympathy on Sam’s face made him want to hurl.

“Stop with the face, Sam. It’s not a big deal.”

Sam shot him a bitchface but waved Dean on with his story.

“Dad lost it, obviously. Read me the riot act, told the kid to stay away from me, blah blah blah. He was three sheets to the wind by the time he even found us, so I don’t think he really had any idea what… What he was doing. He was just mad. He told me if I was old enough to be slutting myself around, I was old enough to take care of myself for a while.” Dean chuckles, “Never mind that he already knew I was sleeping with girls, because he was the one who fucking took me to the whorehouses in the first place, but this was obviously different to him. So he took off.” He refused to meet Sam’s eyes. He could feel the pity rolling off of him and it felt like his skin was stretched too tight over his bones.

“So, I’m sure you remember things were tight. You were working so hard on your classes, and I was just trying to get enough cash to keep food on the table and your textbooks and whatever. Hustling pool really wasn’t cutting it, and at this point I had no idea how to scam a credit card. But my friend he uh,” Dean flinches, “he made a living by hooking down on the south side.”

Dean’s tongue feels like something thick and dead in his mouth, and he’s surprised he’s able to keep talking.

“So he taught me how. It was easy money, and we needed it. I learned a few lessons the hard way in the beginning, but I caught on quick and I could defend myself if I had to. For the most part. So, all in all, it worked out pretty well for me. We had the cash we needed to get by. And I never knew if Dad was coming back or if he was gone for good this time, so it made sense to find something we could rely on.”

Dean doesn’t realize he’s staring hard into the middle distance until a sound startles him. It’s Sam. His eyes are dry but he’s sniffing a little and that’s something Dean is not prepared to see. As much as Dean teases him, his brother is not a cryer, and the fact that this story is getting him this worked up puts a lump in Dean’s throat that he needs to ignore.

“Ah fuck, Sammy, there’s no need to get weepy about this, it’s not an after school special.” Dean snaps. “We both did a lot of shit to get by, this was just one of those things. It is not a big deal. Spare me the hysterics.”

Sam nods, eyes on the desk, and takes a pull of his own beer. Suddenly Sam seems so young to Dean, he can still see him as that awkward kid who was gentle and smart and needed to be protected. And Dean doesn’t regret a damn thing he did for him.

“Anyway,” Dean continues, “Dad eventually dragged his ass back to get us, and he never mentioned it again. Until the day he died, we never acknowledged it. And once in a while, times would get tough, and I would fall back on it to make a little money. But only when he wasn’t around. And I never, ever let myself get involved with a dude again for real. It wasn’t worth the risk of him catching me.” A flame of grief licks through him, like it always does when he thinks about the things he gave up for Dad. But, like always, it’s gone as quickly as it appears.

“Dean, I don’t-” Sam sounds all choked up, so Dean cuts him off.

“Sammy, don’t. It’s fine. I’m not trying to make you feel weird or guilty or whatever. I stand by what I did and I’d do it again if you needed me to.” Dean lets out a breath he didn’t realize he was holding.

“I’m just trying to tell you, that Cas…” he swear his voice doesn’t break at Cas’ name. Whatever, it’s been an emotional 24 hours.

“I’m not upset, or whatever, that Cas is a dude. I mean it’s weird, but that’s not the point. I just know that this isn’t gonna work out for me. It’s Cas, and he’s… Cas. He’s my best friend, and I don’t want to lose him again when he realizes that I was never worth saving in the first place. I’m not someone who can be what he deserves. I’m just the grown up version of some punk kid who’s already been fucked by half the scumbags in nineties Chicago. What would I possibly have to give him.” Dean rolls the neck of the beer bottle between his fingers.

“And the more we do… this,” Dean gestures towards his bruised neck, “the closer we get to him realizing it. So tonight was a mistake. It was all the heat of the moment, all from him coming back. I let myself get carried away.”

Dean looks up at Sam, who has composed himself enough to look normal again, even though Dean knows he’s dying to talk it all out.

“I’m no good for him, Sammy, and I refuse to lose him. So all that can’t happen again. It just can’t.”

He tips his head back to finish his beer before heading to the fridge for another. They’re quiet again. Even though Sam looks like he’s about to speak half a dozen times, he doesn’t. They sit in silence, drinking their beers, Dean rubbing absently at the bruises on his neck while they both think about how differently their lives could have gone if they’d ever had the chance to be normal.