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The Pleasure Trip

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Night One

They meet at the ticket counter at the Dallas airport. The flight’s been cancelled and the best the airline can do is fly out tomorrow morning around eight. Dean’s grumpy and annoyed, regardless if they’re putting him up for free at a hotel nearby. He’d promised his niece he’d be there by tonight, be there in time to read her a few books before bed, and now he had to call and break the news.

The person next to him heaves a rather dramatic sigh, and Dean casts the man a quick look and then a doubletake. The man looks tired, bedraggled, like he’s been stuck at the airport all day, too. There’s a dark five o’clock shadow shading his cheeks and his hair is fucked to hell.

“Were you flying into LAX, too?”  Dean asks, because he’s grumpy and annoyed but he also has eyes.

The man’s eyes slide over to his and he nods. “Yeah,” he says. “So much for home sweet home.”

“You live in LA?” The other man nods. “Cool,” Dean says. “I’m actually visiting. Just a long weekend; my little brother lives there. Moved about four or five year ago.”

He must be really punch-drunk from his long day, because he doubts the man cares, but the man just studies Dean while he talks and after a moment holds out his hand.

“I’m Castiel,” the other man says. “Or just Cas. I overheard your conversation. Sounds like they’re putting us both up at the Marriott.”

“Dean Winchester,” he says, taking his hand. “You wanna catch a lift over there?”

“I’d love to,” Cas says. Dean waits while Cas twists the handle out of his bag so he can roll it after them—Dean just has a light duffel. He’s only in town for a few nights.

The airport is quiet and almost completely devoid of people. Cas falls into step beside him as Dean pulls his phone out of his pocket and dials.

“Hey,” Sam says. “We haven’t left yet—I thought you weren’t gonna be in for another few hours.”

“Bad news. The  plane had a mechanical failure, so I’m not flying out until tomorrow. Can you put Mary on?”

“She’s gonna be pissed,” Sam snorts, and then, further, muffled, “Mary? Uncle Dean’s on the phone for you!” There’s a garble of noise as the phone exchanges hands.

“Uncle Dean!” Mary sings. “I have a pile of my favorite Clarence the Cat books waiting on my nightstand, and Daddy says—”

“Mary,” Dean says. “Sweetie. I promise we’ll read them all together. But…not tonight. My plane got delayed.”

There’s a suspiciously long silence on the other end. Then there’s a burst of static, and a couple loud thumps, and Cas casts Dean a concerned look when he jerks the phone away from his ear.

“Everything okay?”

“My niece,” Dean says. “She’s a bit of spitfire—oh, hey Sam. Threw it where? No shit. Okay. I’ll call you tomorrow when I land. See ya.” Dean shakes his head as he pockets his phone. He hadn’t even realized it, but the phone call had lasted for the duration of the walk through the terminal—they’re stepping outside now.

“Like I was saying, she’s turning seven years old and a bit of a spitfire. Hair trigger reflexes.”

“Sounds like she  keeps you on your toes,” Cas says. He nods his head towards a waiting taxi and opens the door for Dean to get in. “You’re in the doghouse, I’m guessing?”

“Never left it,” Dean grumbles, and he hears Cas laugh from behind him as  he clambers into the  back of the cab, too. The drive to the hotel is mostly silent. Cas spends the majority of it slowly tapping something out on his phone, his tongue stuck between his teeth in concentration. Dean spends more time covertly sending him looks than looking out the window. He wishes he hadn’t gotten distracted by his phone call with Sam and Mary—he needed to make the call, after all, but it cut down on any actual talking with the man next to him, which is a shame. It’s not every day you get to share a cab with a man with those kinds of cheekbones.

The hotel is close to the airport, less than five minutes. Dean’s so busy staring at Cas, watching the graceful way he rifles through the money in his wallet, that he doesn’t even realize what he’s doing until it’s too late.

“You don’t  have to—” He says, but Cas is already handing his bills to the cabbie, along with a good night and a soft smile.

“Don’t worry about it,” Cas says. Outside on the pavement, he deftly twists his wrist to extend the handle of his wheeled suitcase again. Now Dean’s really kicking himself. He wasted an opportunity with a man who could make rolling luggage seem sensual.

Dean casts around for something to say. “It was my idea to get the cab,” he says. “Let me pay you back.”

“Really,” Cas says. “It’s okay. It was nice to have the company.”

“Let me buy you a drink,” Dean says, even though they’re in front of some bumfuck business-class hotel with no stores in sight, let alone a bar. Cas quirks an eyebrow.

“That’s—” Cas says, and then an appraising look comes over his face, and Dean’s suddenly aware he’s being scrutinized. He straightens, a little self-consciously, as Cas’s eyes rove over him. “Maybe something to eat. I haven’t had dinner, have you?”

“Nope,” Dean says. He resettles the strap of his duffel over his shoulder. “How about some order-in pizza, sound nice?”

“I can work with that,” Cas laughs. Inside, after they exchange their vouchers, Dean hands Cas the extra key card to his room. Cas waves and heads off to his room while Dean lingers with the front desk clerk, trying to get the scoop on the best delivery pizza in the area. Then he goes upstairs and upends his duffel, all in a hurry, trying to find some clothes he can change into that don’t stink of the airport. It shouldn’t be that hard of an issue—it’s nearly eleven, and it’s not like he’s going out again. But he doesn’t want to look like a complete slob, either. And then there’s the problem with the ambiance of the room—paintings of sailboats and cheap blue carpeting aside, he doesn’t want the room to be dead silent. But what TV station does he really want on? Should he pretend to be really invested in world news? Does he want to be caught, riveted, in the middle of a Dr. Sexy episode?

There’s a knock on the door just as Dean’s trying to decide whether he’s put on too much cologne or not. Cas pushes open the door, key card in hand, wearing a t-shirt that’s a size too big and some slouchy jeans. In the harsh light of the hallway, he looks tired, with pronounced bags beneath his eyes, but he smiles at Dean attentively, warmly.

“Thanks again,” Cas says. He comes in and sits on the edge of Dean’s bed, folding up one knee to rest an elbow on. He gestures towards the TV. “What’s on?”

**

Twenty minutes into their second episode of Dr. Sexy, there’s another knock on the door. Dean waves off Cas’s offer to cover the tip and soon enough they have the cardboard box spread over the covers of Dean’s bed. Dean sits cross-legged across from Cas, trying to lick away a strand of cheese that’s dangling past his chin.

“I’m surprised that you can stomach this show, considering you’re actually in the medical profession,” Cas comments. “I’m sure the inaccuracies are…many.”

It was surprisingly easy to talk to Cas. With the TV on in the background, they’d established the basics. Cas was 35—Dean, 32. Cas was traveling home, while Dean was on a short pleasure trip. And then Dean had filled Cas in on the basics—the little brother lawyer, the art dealer sister-in-law, his firecracker of a niece. Dean still lived in Kansas, an ER nurse at Lawrence Memorial, but he’d taken a few days off so he could be there for Mary’s birthday party tomorrow. Then they’d been interrupted by the pizza man.

“Hey,” Dean says. “When I’m off the clock, anything is fair game. This is also the same show that killed off one of its female leads by suggesting she got mauled by a bear…in Cleveland…so I don’t think believability is really its strong suit, anyhow.”

“They did that?”

“Yeah. Season three cliffhanger. The ratings have never been the same.” Dean shakes his head morosely. “Anyways. Enough about me. What do you do for a living?”

Cas, still chewing, shakes his head, like Dean just opened a can of worms. “Actor,” he says. “Voice actor, to be more specific. You’re never gonna see this face on camera.” He smiles like the thought pleases him.

“No shit?”

“That’s the normal reaction,” Cas sighs. Then, before Dean can even ask, he starts listing off a bevy of children’s shows that Dean’s heard of, plus a few  animated movies and a video game for good measure. “But I guess most people know me best for voicing Clarence the Cat.”

The Clarence the Cat?” Dean says. He slowly puts his pizza down.

“Yeah,” Cas says, cocking his head. His eyes narrow down. “You’ve heard of it?”

“Have I heard of it,” Dean scoffs. “Mary loves that show. She has the toys, the books, I think she even has some clothes merch. When she and Sarah visited last August, she couldn’t stop talking about it. I watched so many episodes with her I know the theme song by heart.”

Cas relaxes. “That makes sense,” he says. “I was afraid for a second there you were a….different kind of fan.”

“What other kinds are there?”

“The adult men who write erotic fiction about a cat on a children’s show,” Cas says. He looks around. “Do you have a napkin?” he asks mildly.

“Hold up,” Dean says. “We are so not done with this conversation yet.”

Cas still looks the same, sleepy, and kind-eyed, sucking some pizza sauce off the side of his hand. It’s weird knowing he’s the main voice of a beloved children’s show, one that Dean’s seen, no less. He even kind of liked watching it. Of course Mary loved it—Clarence the Cat being grumpy, and kind of snarky, but of course he always found ways to make friends and solve problems. She’d laugh in delight when Clarence would say, in his low, annoyed rumble, “I don’t understand that reference,” right before there was a learning sing-along about knowing your left from your right or stranger danger.

“Your voice doesn’t sound like Clarence’s at all,” Dean says.

Cas rolls his eyes. “Voice actor, Dean. It’s kind of my job to be able to sound different.” Dean just stares at him and Cas relents, saying another trademark Clarence phrase: 

“We’re making it up as we go.” That’s because Clarence and his animated friends never actually have a plan—when confronted by a problem, they use teamwork and applicable skills to solve unfamiliar quandaries. Suddenly Cas’s voice is pitched low, like he just gargled gravel, and that voice sounds a hell of a lot sexier when it isn’t coming out of a ruffled, animated black cat. Then Cas says, in his normal voice, “See? If I had known four years ago that Clarence would be such a hit, I might’ve not made his voice go so low. Makes my throat get sore.”

“Right,” Dean says faintly. He watches as Cas gets up, stretches, and pads to the bathroom. There’s the squeak of the faucet as he washes his hands.

“Dude, I’m, like, hanging out with a famous person right now,” Dean says.

He hears Cas snort from the bathroom. “Not even remotely.”

“No but seriously,” Dean says. “Your voice is on the television  like, six days a week. And I think my friend Charlie plays that video game you were in, too.”

Cas pokes his head around the bathroom doorway. “If I’m famous, does that mean you’re being a groupie right now?”

“Totally,” Dean nods. “I might even have you autograph something. Mary would flip out. She might even let me out of the doghouse.”

“Well, if it would make Mary happy,” Cas says. He comes back out and stands in front of Dean. Dean looks up at him, at the unselfconscious way Cas nudges his knee against Dean’s, the overlarge t-shirt hanging low over his collarbone. Dean’s been enjoying himself so much he almost forgot he was hoping for more, because sexy men you meet in airports don’t just hang around forever, flight cancellation or no.

So Dean rolls up and puts his hands on Cas’s hips, holding him in place between his knees. Cas doesn’t move away. Instead, he smiles at Dean like Dean’s the smartest kid in class.

“I was thinking of another kind of happy,” Dean says, and Cas takes the hint, coming forward another step with no resistance at all, and everything just kind of tumbles on from there. The pizza box gets swiped off the bed, and Cas is riding a knee between Dean’s thighs, and he’s got a hand cupping back of Dean’s head so hard it’s like it was molded there.

“Shit,” Dean gasps when Cas pushes him back into the pillows. Cas’s mouth alone is a warm, wild thing, sucking along the curve of his upper lip before he draws away, pushing Dean’s shirt up so he can put his mouth there, too. Dean whole body bucks up when Cas latches onto his nipple and pulls it between his teeth. “Fuck!”

“You like that?” Cas says, moving on to the next one. It’s really Cas’s fault, because arousal or maybe Dean tonsil-tonguing him has made Cas’s voice deeper, throatier, and when Dean goes to answer it’s just a loud moan followed by, “Clar—” before he shuts himself up.

Cas sits up. “Look, Dean,” he says. He’s panting slightly, and his shirt is all twisted around so an entire hipbone is exposed. “I’m down for most things, but I really don’t want to be confused with Clarence the Cat in bed.”

“Uh, noted,” Dean says.

“Just, you know,” Cas says. He shrugs. “I’m not trying to make a big deal out of it—”

“—More of a call-and-response kind of thing—” Dean mutters.

“Okay, well,” Cas says. They both nod at each other. And then he’s back between Dean’s thighs, kissing him as he works the zipper of Dean’s jeans down.

And Jesus, does Dean like it. Even though he’s in a business-class Marriott, with the stupid paintings of boats, and the lights still on, and there’s some infomercial blaring on the TV. He likes Cas pulling him out of his boxers and stroking him with a firm hand, he likes how Cas has to suddenly roll up onto his knees and shimmy out of his jeans like whatever he’s doing to Dean is so hot, he can’t wait to get a hand on himself. He likes watching Cas’s ass when Cas has to walk over to Dean’s duffel by the closet to fish out a condom and the lube.

He likes that Cas smiles at him while he works him open, his thumb pressing against his rim while he stretches two fingers inside him. Dean laces his fingers behind his head and he goddamn luxuriates  on the pillows.

“Fuck, I’m glad that plane got cancelled,” he says, which makes Cas laugh as he crooks another long finger into him. He’s still smiling when he slides his lube-slick fingers along Dean’s thigh, lifting it up and over the crook of his arm, and then he's guiding himself into Dean, stretching him full, pressing inside.

Dean,” Cas grates out. His breath is hot on Dean’s neck. He starts up slow, unhurried, and the infomercial on TV has finally gone silent, so for a few seconds Dean can hear the gasp in Cas’s breath, and the slap of their skin together, and the bed creaking beneath them. Then he nearly jolts out of his skin when Cas gets him in just the right spot.

Ho-ly—” Dean chokes out, and then he’s done with the luxuriating, he’s too caught up in the shiver in his bones, the heat in his belly, and he grabs Cas’s ass and helps shove him deeper—there, there, there—until Cas works a hand between them and jacks Dean through his fist a few times, his fingers wet with lube and precome, and Dean comes until the world doesn’t feel like it’s ending anymore, and then, since no one’s telling him to stop,  he keeps his handfuls of Cas’s ass until Cas stills and rocks in one last time and his lips work out some soundless word.

“Well, goddamn,” Dean sums up after a few minutes. Cas slides a slack kiss over Dean’s collarbone and then he reaches back and gently removes Dean’s hands, one at a time. Then he’s gone, and the toilet flushes, and he comes back with a wet hand towel, which Dean tosses onto the floor when he’s done. Cas tugs his boxers back on and falls into bed next to Dean. He reaches across Dean’s chest to flip off the lamp and then his fingers smooth over Dean’s ribs before stilling, replaced by soft snoring.

 And Jesus, does Dean like it.

**

The only glitch in their one-night-stand is the fact that, the next  morning, they both have the same plane to catch. Dean wakes up to find Cas turning off the alarm on his cell phone. His eyes are sleepy-soft still, and his hair looks like someone threw a rave in it. It’s a nice sight to wake up to.

They catch the complimentary breakfast together, and then share a cab, because they have the same destination anyways, and then they brave TSA together and stand in the terminal together and Dean watches Cas read the newspaper and reins in the urge to start a game of footsie. From time to time Cas will look up at him and smile, which is nice. So Cas doesn’t seem to find anything awkward about this. They’re just two guys who had sex last night and are now hanging out, waiting for their plane, like two guys do. Dean doesn’t know exactly what he wants Cas to do instead, so he mostly tries to not look suspicious while he angles his phone away and scrolls through Cas’s IMDb profile.

Then it’s time to board. Cas is one of the first on.

“See you in LA,” he tells Dean, and smiles as he rolls up his newspaper and walks to the ticketing booth. And then they smile at each other when Dean  boards, too, and passes Cas on the way to his seat ten rows back. And then they smile when Cas gets up mid-flight to go pee, and Cas’s smile changes into a concerned look when he sees Dean white-knuckled and wide-eyed. And then Cas stops to ask if Dean’s okay, and Dean says he  just hasn’t gotten over the turbulence yet, and smiles.

At the baggage claim, they end up standing next to each other.

“Is your brother picking you up, then?” Cas asks.

“Yeah,” Dean says. He checks his phone. “He might already be waiting outside, actually. What about you?”

“Oh, I’ll just catch a cab,” Cas says. “I don’t live too far away from here.”

“Right,” Dean says. He shifts his feet. “Almost lunchtime, huh?”

“I guess so,” Cas says. He cranes his neck down the carousel of moving baggage. “Look, Dean—” he says, at the same time Dean says, “Well, maybe—”

“Go ahead,” Cas says.

“No, you,” Dean says.

“Okay,” Cas says. “I know today is Mary’s birthday, right? So—unless you were joking—I could give her an autograph or something. I think some promotional items are in my bag.”

“Really?” Dean says. “Dude, that’d be great!”

“Okay,” Cas says. His smile this time seems a bit more relaxed than the ones from before. “As long as you don’t mind waiting—”

“Not at all,” Dean says. He looks up and down the nearly-empty baggage claim. “Your bag should be here any minute, right?”

**

The airline apologizes for misplacing Cas’s luggage. They have him fill out some paperwork and promise to call him as soon as it reappears.

“There wasn’t anything you really needed in that bag, was there?” Dean asks. He’s been ignoring his phone blowing up with texts from Sam. “Car keys? House keys?”

“No, they’re here,” Cas sighs, patting his pocket. “Unfortunately, Dean, I can’t give you anything for Mary now—”

“Don’t even worry about that,” Dean says. “Least of your problems. I’m just sorry you lost your stuff.”

“Well,” Cas says. “I wish I could still have something to give you—”

“Yeah,” Dean says. “Well, actually—” They both stop speaking at the same time.

“Actually, what?”

“You know,” Dean says. “Your voice is probably the most recognizable part of Clarence the Cat, so…”

“Seriously?” Cas’s head is cocked almost parallel to the floor.

“Just for a few minutes,” Dean says. “In and out. Just say, you know, ‘happy  birthday, Mary, from Clarence the Cat.’ Then you can grab a piece of birthday cake for the road. If you wanted to.”

Ten  minutes later, Dean’s sliding into the back seat of Sam’s car.

“You know, when you text me the words, ‘ready,’ as in, ‘ready to be picked up,’ I’m wondering if you have such a shitty sense of time that forty five minutes ago to now seems virtually indistingu—” Cas slides into the back seat next to Dean.

“Um, hello,” Sam says. “Uh, Dean’s friend. Nice to meet you.”

“This is Cas,” Dean says. “I met him on the plane. Well, not really, but—yeah, the plane. Cas, this is Sam.”

“Hello, Sam,” Cas says.

“Cas is the voice of Clarence the Cat,” Dean explains.

“Right,” Sam says, after a long moment. There’s no sound in the car for a few minutes but the sounds of Sam’s blinker.

“Sorry, this is probably a stupid question,” Sam says. “But, uh, are you planning on staying with us, Cas?”

“Of course not,” Cas says. He’s giving Dean a face right now that is the most un-smiley it’s been since they woke up this morning. In fact, he looks a lot like a certain grumpy animated character he voices, but Dean’s a big enough person not to mention it. “I live in LA. I’m coming over for a little bit as a favor to Dean.”

“Okay,” Sam says. He seems a little relieved. “That’s cool. And—and you’re the voice of Clarence the Cat, huh? Mary loves that show.”

“So I’ve heard,” Cas says. He’s still being pretty stiff. Dean reaches over and lays his hand over Cas’s, and Cas looks at their hands and then at Dean and then, with a slight lift in his mouth, out the window.

“So how’s the birthday girl?” Dean asks, leaning forward. “I’m surprised she isn’t with you.”

“To be honest, she’s still holding a bit of a grudge,” Sam says. “But she’s been enjoying herself. Sarah made her chocolate chip pancakes this morning so she’s been pretty hyper. And now they’re setting up the backyard for the party. I have to rig the piñata as soon as I get back.”

Dean and Sam talk birthday plans for the day while Cas sits silently next to him. At last, they turn into a cul-de-sac, Sam’s house easily recognizable because of the bunch of balloons tied to the mailbox.

“Damn, Sammy, you trying to recreate Up or what? Your mailbox is gonna go airborne any second,” Dean says.

Sam grumbles something unintelligible as he puts the car in park. They all climb out.

“Okay, then,” Sam says, and claps his hands together. Dean can see him looking Cas up and down, although Cas looks pretty passable to Dean, wearing a nice button-up and dark jeans and a polite smile. “Let’s go in, I guess?”

He ushers Cas to go up the walk first. Sam raises his eyebrows at Dean in what the hell are you doing kind of way and Dean shakes his head back, Zen, and gives him an innocent look.

Inside, Sarah’s walking around with a purple streamer trailing under her shoe, and what appears to be Kidz Bop is blasting on a radio somewhere further in the house.

“Was there bad traffic or what?” Sarah says. “I can’t find the goodie bags anywhere and Mary’s friends are gonna be arriving any mo—uh, hi there. I’m sorry, I’m having trouble placing your face—”

“This is Cas,” Dean says. “I invited him. Come here, Sarah. I haven’t seen you in forever.” He sweeps her up into a hug, making her laugh and clutch at his shoulders. Sarah’s promising to catch up with him later, as soon as the rush of Mary’s party has subsided, when the music abruptly cuts off.

“She’s sensed your presence,” Sam says dramatically, laughing as he scoops up Dean’s duffel and heads off to stow it somewhere. Dean, Sarah and Cas wait in silence for a few moments, and then a short figure appears at the end of the hallway.

“Uncle Dean,” Mary says solemnly. She’s wearing a sash that says BIRTHDAY GIRL! and a plastic tiara. Her eyes rove over Dean, who’s holding his arms out for a hug, then over her mother, and come to rest on Cas.

“I don’t know you,” Mary says. Sarah looks like she’s going to correct her and then thinks better of it. Cas clears his throat and steps forward like a condemned man from a line of prisoners.

“Hello,” he says, and then clears his throat and says in his deeper, graveled voice, “It’s me, Clarence. I’ve come to wish you a happy birthday, Mary. I hear you’re turning seven.” Mary gives him nothing, just continues to stare. Cas shifts on his feet.  “Hey, do you know why six is afraid—”

“Clarence,” Mary says slowly, like she’s sensing deceit, “is a cat.”

“Yes, well,” Cas says, still in his Clarence voice. His eyes meet Dean’s, like he’s wanting Dean to cut in and rescue him, but Dean doesn’t know what to say. He would have thought someone who works on children’s shows for a living would be better with kids. “That is a fact. But I’m Clarence…the Human.”

Dean and Sarah meet eyes and then quickly look away from each other.

“Why couldn’t Clarence the Cat come?” Mary demands.

“Because he’s in Clarenceland,” Cas says. “He’s busy there…making friends, saving the world.”

“Okay,” Mary says. She trips forward, walks right past Dean, and slides her hand into Cas’s. “Let’s go outside, Clarence. I have a piñata named like you.”

Cas looks for Dean one more time before accepting the turn of events and following Mary outside, still holding her hand.

“God,” Dean says. “That was like watching the Spanish Inquisition.”

“No, but one’s about to start,” Sarah says. “I’ve got about four busloads worth of kids from Mary’s class who are gonna be dumped on my lawn at any second. Mind telling me who’s alone with my daughter right now?”

“It’s Cas!” Dean says quickly. “Cas Milton. He really does voice Clarence for the TV show. I met him yesterday, he was flying into LA too, I thought you’d be happy he’s here. Mary’s obsessed with him!”

The front door opens and closes and two kids come darting through, followed by two sets of parents. Sam wanders back in and makes nice with the parents while Sarah pulls her phone out and starts typing something in.

“What do you know,” she says after a moment. “There is a guy named Cas Milton who does voice acting.”

“Are you seriously—” Dean starts in disbelief. “Didn’t you just see him? Nice outfit, sensible shoes? Did you look him in the eye? He’s like a friggin’ puppy.”

Sarah sidesteps a small riot of kids cramming into the hallway. “Then you won’t mind me doublechecking. Come on, Dean, anyone can do a good impression. That doesn’t make me Daffy Duck.”

“What are you even talking about,” Dean says. He cranes his neck around for Cas, but it looks like he’s still outside with Mary. He’s starting to feel a little bad for dragging Cas into this.

“Found a picture,” Sarah says triumphantly. Dean comes around to her shoulder so he can see. It’s Cas, sitting at some panel, with a nametag clearly attached over his breast pocket. Sarah thumbs through the article quickly and makes an impressed face. “You know, that’s actually pretty cool. It’s like we have someone famous here right now.”

Dean means to go outside and check on Cas but then he gets roped into helping Sarah retrieve the goodie bags off a high shelf where Mary couldn’t get into them before the party. Then one of the parents is coming over, saying he’s heard so much about Dean, the famous ER nurse that Sam’s always talking about, so he shares a few ER horror stories and is just disentangling himself when he sees Sam standing in front of the window overlooking the backyard, staring like it’s a movie screen.

Cas is briefly visible, stumbling by with at least two children clinging onto each leg, a chorus of “Clarenceeee!” audible even through the glass.

“Amazing,” Sam murmurs, shaking his head admiringly like he’s looking out over some spectacle or wonder of the world, rather than some poor cartoon voice actor being dog-piled by a class of seven year olds.

“I should really go help him,” Dean says, although he doesn’t move from Sam’s side just yet.

“He actually agreed to this?” Sam marvels.

Before Dean can answer, there’s a shout from outside, followed by a sudden crash and then the sounds of Mary and her classmates wailing in unison.

“Fuck.”

Night Two

“I feel awful about this,” Cas says later that night. “Really, Dean, I can just call for a taxi. Your brother and Sarah shouldn’t have to put up with an unwelcome guest any more than they already have.”

“You’re not unwelcome,” Dean says. “I’m just sorry I dragged you into this.”

Cas shakes his head. “I don’t think anyone thought it would turn out like this,” he says ruefully.

No one knows quite how it happened, since the ratio of children to adults outside had been sixteen to one, the one being Cas. But somehow he’d been tripped by something—he’s too nice to say someone—and fallen into the shrubs and twisted his ankle. That’s Dean’s prognosis, at least—he’d been the one to shoo all the children and the parents inside. Sarah served the cake early so they’d have something to do.

“Move aside, medical professional coming through,” Dean had said. That had made Cas, still half-sprawled in the bush, start laughing. Then he’d turned quiet and watchful as Dean rolled up the ankle of his jeans and had carefully probed the skin beneath, which was already warm and slightly swollen to the touch.

Dean had helped Cas hop into the front room and he’s been on the couch ever since, ankle stretched out before him, propped on a pillow, and gone to get him ice wrapped in a towel. Dean had tried to stay with Cas but Cas shooed him away, saying Dean came in town solely to be with Mary for her birthday and he didn’t want to take Dean away from it. So Dean had forbidden the kids from bothering Cas and gone outside to watch Mary decimate the piñata and, even then, caught at least three or four of them sneaking into the house, plopping down on the end of the couch—jostling Cas’s ankle, making him wince—so they could ask if Clarence the Human felt better yet, if he was ready to play. Apparently he was the hit of the party, injury or no injury.

So on top of his twisted ankle, Cas’s voice is sounding pretty hoarse, too, because—with endless patience—he had stayed in character as Clarence for the rest of the night, as long as those goddamn rugrats kept bothering him, until the last kid collected his goodie bag and finally went home.

Dean’s never been in a situation quite like this. One-Night-Stand turns into one-time-date for your niece’s seventh birthday party, turns into crippled—but nonetheless still sexy—Second-Night-Stand, if only because his ankle’s the size of a baseball, and his voice sounds like he has a bad head cold, and now he’s down for the count on your brother’s sofa.

Dean’s probably the one to blame. He still doesn’t know what got into him, thinking he should invite a virtual stranger to a family weekend. Not that he thought Cas would say yes, either, it was just wishful thinking. He also didn’t think Mary would lead her wolfpack classmates into a cutthroat sabotage of their favorite cartoon character.

“Where are Sam and Sarah, anyhow?” Cas says. “I should probably say something...apologize…”

“You got nothing to apologize for, Cas,” Dean says. “And I bet they’re still trying to clean up that piñata. It, like, exploded into a million pieces of glitter.”

Cas laughs, and then sighs.

“I still feel like I’m in the way,” he says. “You came here to see your family. I know you don’t get that chance too often.”

“I still have all day tomorrow,” Dean shrugs. “Do you have anyone you need to call, or anything? Anyone’s who’s waiting up on you?”

Cas shakes his head. “Nothing that can’t wait,” he says. They’d decided earlier that he’d stay on the couch. The guest room was up a flight of stairs, first off, but he also refused to make Dean give up his bed. Dean’s starting to realize that his second-night-stand is a pretty great guy overall, not that he knows what to do with that information. Cas is watching him sleepily, blinking slowly, and Dean realizes his presence might be more hindrance than anything else.

Since Mary’s asleep, and he thinks Sam and Sarah are still as mystified about this turn of events as anyone, he doesn’t think anyone will be bothering Cas anytime soon. He helps Cas shrug out of his button-up, so that he’s just wearing his white undershirt, and then with some creativity he manages to work Cas’s jeans over his swollen ankle.

“That’s the ticket,” he says, when he’s finally pulled them free. “Let me just get you some fresh ice and—”

“S’fine,” Cas mumbles. His fingers close around Dean’s wrist, keeping him from standing. “Just stay and watch some TV with me, Dean.”

Dean does. He slides onto the floor in front of the couch, sitting near Cas’s waist so he’s not blocking his view, and watches the TV flash colors without really processing it. He’s tired too, he realizes. He hears the sounds of Cas snoring behind him and turns to look. Cas’s head is tipped back on the arm of the couch, his mouth slightly open. Dean reaches over him and adjusts the pillow behind his neck.

In a second he’ll get up and see if Sam and Sarah need any help. He’ll get new ice for Cas’s ankle, and change into actual pajamas and head upstairs to the bed that waits for him—

Cas makes a snuffling sound in his sleep. He still has a loose grasp around Dean’s wrist. In a second.

**

He wakes to the sound of muffled talking.

“—Because Clarence the Cat would never be that nice.” Mary’s whispering something, close to Dean but not actually to him. Dean squints his eyes against the light that’s suddenly assaulting him.

“So that’s how you figured it out,” Cas says, his voice is still hoarse, and he’s talking quietly, so as not to wake Dean, but he’s definitely talking in his Cas voice. Not Clarence. “That’s very perceptive of you.”

“Not that Clarence the Cat wouldn’t do nice things for his friends,” Mary says, thinking aloud. “But he wouldn’t say happy birthday. Clarence hates birthdays, because he hates singing and he really hates talking to people.”

Sometimes Dean has to wonder why such a grumpy, get-off-my-lawn killjoy became the darling of children everywhere. Maybe he’ll never know. He’s just not the demographic.

“That’s fair,” Cas says. “And I’m sorry for the misunderstanding. You see, I’m just the voice of Clarence the Cat. But that doesn’t actually mean I’m him. That’s just my job. My real name is Cas.”

Mary seems to be taking a few seconds to mull that statement over. Dean blinks his eyes open. He’s on the floor in front of Cas’s couch, with a serious crick in his neck and Mary’s feet about two inches away from his nose.

“I like Cas better than I like Clarence the Human,” Mary decides. “Obviously I like Clarence the Cat best.”

“Obviously,” Cas agrees.

Dean finally raises his head and lets out a long sigh. “Jesus, can a guy sleep on a floor around here without you people nattering on.”

“Sorry, Uncle Dean,” Mary whispers. Her dark hair is in tangles around her face, and she’s still wearing her BIRTHDAY GIRL! sash over her pajamas. “We were having a serious talk.”

“I can see that,” Dean says. He looks over Mary’s head and meets Cas’s eye. Cas is propped up on his elbows, still looking a little tired but he’s smiling at Dean, which is something. “Morning.”

“Good morning, Dean.”

“Do you gotta—” he puts his hands over Mary’s ears, “take a leak?”

“Jesus, yes,” Cas says, which makes Dean laugh. Sam pokes his head around the corner.

“What’s going on in here? Slumber party?”

Mary is scandalized. “No, Dad,” she says. “We’re taking a leak!”

**

After Dean helps his Second-Night-Stand-And-Then-Some-Change wobble into the bathroom to take a piss, and after he replaces the sopping rag of last night with a fresh towel of ice, and after he gets Cas a t-shirt to borrow and a pair of sweatpants, he goes to help Sam make breakfast in the kitchen.

“How’s he feeling?” Sam asks. He’s cracking eggs open over a skillet.

“He says fine. I know it’s just a sprained ankle but those can still hurt like a bitch.”

“I believe it,” Sam says. “How’d you meet him again?”

Dean busies himself with mixing the pancake batter. “The plane. You know, hours to kill, nothing to do but talk. Find out your niece’s favorite celebrity is sitting right next to you and you get some ideas.”

“Yeah, Sarah was convinced he was like, your boyfriend,” Sam says. They can hear the sounds of Mary serenading Cas with a high-pitched version of Clarence the Cat’s theme song from the front room. “That was after she was convinced that he might be a convicted criminal, though. Guess both were wrong, huh?”

“You know, apparently beagles have long ears because it helps them catch more scents,” Dean says. “Really helps them to follow a trail all the way through. Is that why you’re growing your hair out? Think it’ll bump you from nosy to know-it-all?”

“You’re hilarious,” Sam says dryly. “I can’t get enough of you.”

“You and everyone else, Sammy boy.”

**

Turns out Cas and Sarah know some people who know some people. They’re on the back porch, drinking sweet tea and reminiscing about mutual acquaintances. Dean casts a look out through the window at them every so often. Sarah’s always been humble about who she knows in “the biz,” as Dean likes to call it, but she’s a pretty well-known art dealer, and Cas is on TV. He feels like he’s missing an episode of Entertainment Tonight—not that he watches it regularly, or anything.

Dean,” Mary says. “I said, go fish.”

“Right,” Dean says. “My bad.” He flips up a card and carefully positions it in his ever-growing stack. He looks at Mary over the tops of the card and strokes his chin, like he’s plotting something, which makes her giggle.

“So, Mare,” he says. “You liking school? Making friends? Getting good grades?”

“I’m making it up as I go along,” she says, and smiles wide enough that he can see which of her baby teeth she’s lost.

“Real funny,” he mutters. “You’re just a regular old Clarence, aren’t you?”

“Dean,” Mary says suddenly. “Is Cas gonna come visit again? Mommy and Dad like him.”

Dean has to say, he’s a little thrown off by Mary’s rapid turn-about in affections. He’s guessing she was pretty jealous when she, the birthday girl, was upstaged by an uncostumed adult man whose only visible talent was speaking like a familiar cartoon character. It might drive even the sweetest birthday girl to stick a foot out where she shouldn’t.

“I don’t know, sweetie,” he says. “Someone else’ll have to invite him next time. Uh, fours?”

“It’s my turn,” Mary says, fixing him with a frown. “You like him too. I saw you holding hands with him.”

“No you didn’t!” Dean says immediately. “I mean, I don’t know what you’re talking about. I’ve never held hands with him in my life. Barely even know the guy.”

Mary looks unimpressed. “You were this morning. On the edge of the couch. Then I woke Cas up to talk to him and he put your hand down while you were still sleeping.”

Dean feels an itch on the back of his neck, in the direction of where Cas is sunning on the back porch, comfortable now with Dean’s family, laughing at something Sarah says, his ankle stretched out in front of him on the swinging bench. He refuses to look.

Mary seems bored by Dean’s lack of response. “You got any…Jacks?”

“You’re a goddamn conwoman, kid,” Dean mutters, and starts passing his cards across the table to her.

**

In the evening, after dinner, Cas crutch-walks up to Dean and asks him to take him home.

It’s been a nice, long lazy day. Dean had insisted on grilling out for them all, and Cas had entertained them during the meal by doing different impressions of other characters he’d done—including one memorable Russian accent. He isn’t ready for Cas to leave yet, but Cas’s home is here in the city, and he’s got no real reason to be staying with Dean’s family, anyhow, and he does look pretty pathetic balancing on Sam’s old crutches, recovered from the garage after a basketball incident years ago, and way too high in the armpits for Cas.

So Cas thanks Sam and Sarah for being so hospitable and even gets a hug from Mary and then Dean borrows Sam’s car to take Cas home. Cas, stretched out in the back seat, gives directions from behind his head. He ends up driving to a pretty beautiful neighborhood about twenty minutes away, with palm trees lining the streets and houses with enough gazebos and skylights and wingdings piled up on each other to make them look like sophisticated versions of the Weasleys’ Burrow.

Cas’s home isn’t as flashy. It’s still pretty nice, still something worth whistling at, but it’s set back a bit from the street and suffers from a lack of decorative moats or any perceivable coat of arms.

Dean helps steady Cas on the crutches and then they walk slowly together towards the front door. Cas’s arms are jacked up so high by Sam’s crutches that Dean takes pity on him and fishes through Cas’s pocket himself to retrieve the key. The foyer that’s revealed is classy and elegant and pretty barren but for a side table stacked high with mail.

Dean doesn’t say anything as he helps Cas down the hallway, following his lead. There’s a living room situated at the end of the hallway, connected to a kitchen and, through there, a dining room. Dean can’t help but notice there’s a lack of much in the way of personal touches. It seems especially glaring after coming straight from Sam and Sarah’s, which is overrun with toys and dolls and drawings taped to the walls.

Cas finally reaches his couch and falls back onto it with a long sigh, letting the crutches clatter away. “You can take those with you,” Cas says. “I feel like I’m on stilts when I’m using them.”

“Oh yeah, sure,” Dean says, and then falls silent. Across the room there’s a TV and, on the shelves around it, a few pictures. He walks over to see them.

“Old girlfriend?” He asks, holding up a picture. Cas squints at it and smiles.

“No, actually,” he says. “My sister. Anna. She’s hardly ever in the country, but we’re close. You know how it is. Don’t see someone for years but you can still talk like you saw them yesterday.”

Now that Dean’s looking, there are a few more pictures of her and Cas together—leaning in with wide smiles, posing on a beach somewhere, her red hair vibrant in the sun. Most of the other pictures show Cas as one of many, posing with the cast of whatever show he had a role in.

“She your only family?” Dean asks, and then wonders if he’s reaching too far. But Cas doesn’t seem to mind.

“I have two brothers, too,” he says. “But we don’t talk. I think they would call it…a lifestyle disparity.” He laughs. “You don’t have to keep me company, Dean. I’m perfectly fine here on my own.”

“Right,” Dean says. “What’s gonna happen when you have to use the bathroom? Are any of your seven bathrooms close enough to hop to?”

“Dean,” Cas says.

“You gonna sleep on a couch again because you can’t make it up the stairs? And what about food? There’s dust all over your furniture, Cas, so I know you’re not gonna have anything fresh in the fridge.”

“God invented delivery for a reason,” Cas says. “Dean, medical professional, look at my ankle again if it will make you feel better. But I’m going to feel bad if you use up any more of your limited time looking after me.”

Dean kneels down at Cas’s feet and rolls up the ankle of his—well, Dean’s, but Cas is still wearing them—sweatpants, carefully feeling around Cas’s skin. “Swelling’s gone down a little,” he concedes.

“A medical miracle.”

Dean sits back on his heels. “Look, I have all day tomorrow—”

“That’s what you said yesterday—”

All day tomorrow, I’m catching a redeye home, so I mean it. So if you need anything, anything at all, I’m here for you. Sam and Sarah and Mary can make it through a few more hours without me, I guarantee you.”

“Okay,” Cas says. He’s watching Dean with a slight smile on his face.

“I’m all ears, Cas,” Dean says. “What do you need?”

Night Three

“This shower pressure is phenomenal.”

“Dean—the soap—thank you.”

Cas hadn’t showered since Dean’s hotel room at the Marriott. So that was his one request, before Dean went back to his brother’s. He didn’t have a cast or anything, so he could get his ankle wet, he just couldn’t exactly balance on one foot and shampoo his hair at the same time. Not that Dean’s complaining.

Dean’s mostly there for Cas to lean on. Cas is flush against him, and he’s naked and slick and smells pretty nice, but mostly he’s just leaning against Dean and humming to himself like platonically showering with the Third-Night-Stand who got your ankle sprained by his attention-jealous niece is a perfectly normal thing to do.

Dean might be a little too perky in places that he shouldn’t, if this really is just one of your old standard platonic Third-Night-Stand showers, but he finally gives in and snags some shampoo for himself. He figures Cas has the nice stuff; why not use it.

He’s just through his second lather when Cas hops around a little bit more so that suddenly his whole front is pressed to Dean’s whole front.

“All clean,” Cas announces, and Dean didn’t know that was the go-ahead he’s been waiting for. He slides a hand snug around Cas’s hip and presses him forward even more, so that Cas is leaned up against him and all keyed in to suck a hickey into his neck, which Dean magnanimously allows him to do. After a while he gets impatient and jerks Cas’s chin up and covers his lips with his own, his tongue sneaking hot and slick into Cas’s mouth, and Dean’s only just started riding his cock along the crease in Cas’s thigh, feeling Cas thicken alongside him— that old standard soap ‘n’ grope— when Cas draws away with a hiss.

“Shit—right in my eye—” Dean realizes Cas’s shampoo is running down his forehead and quickly cups his hands around Cas’s eyes, fingers slotting over his eyebrows, which makes Cas look like he’s wearing a ridiculous hand-visor, but at least it’ll take the sting away. Cas peers up at him through the web of Dean’s fingers. Dean’s pretty proud of himself until he feels a sting starting up in his eye, too. Cas laughs and, still plastered to his front, reaches up to do the same for Dean, who dips his head down so their fingers can bump together.

Eye-to-eye, they smile at each other while the water continues to beat down on their backs. Here, there’s a shallow pocket of moist air, their combined breathing, their lips almost touching.

“See, this is why I keep you around,” Cas says. “Always with the clever ideas.”

They kiss until the water runs cold—which, because Cas lives in a house which is something worth whistling at, takes a surprisingly long time.

**

Dean runs out to a corner store the next morning, while Cas is still sleeping. He stocks up on some basic necessities—milk, bread, eggs—and then comes back. He’s putting the finishing touches on some omelettes when he hears a thump upstairs.

“Dean?”

“Still here,” Dean calls up. He slides the food onto a plate, pours them each a glass of OJ, and mounts the stairs. Cas is sitting up in bed, yawning into his elbow.

“You’re making it very hard to let you go,” Cas says. “I want another thousand mornings just like this.”

“I like to be the kind of person that no one else can ever measure up to,” Dean says modestly.

But, jokes aside, after they finish eating and Dean’s washed the plates and cleaned up the kitchen, he goes up the stairs for the last time and looks at Cas from across the length of the room.

“I better—”

“Yeah,” Cas says. “I know. Thank you for everything, Dean.”

“Yeah, well, take care, okay? I left a note for you with Sam and Sarah’s numbers on it—just in case you need anyone for anything, in the next few days. They can come around.”

“Very thoughtful,” Cas says. Dean still lingers in the doorway, looking at Cas alone in his wide bed, with the pillow next to him that still had an indent in the middle from Dean’s head. It’s not the kind of sight you’d want to leave behind so fast. But Cas says, “You’d better go.”

“Sure, sure,” Dean says. He’s not sure whether he should come closer—press another kiss to those plush lips, but then it would just be too tempting, crawling back into the bed again—but Cas doesn’t make any move to gesture him over, or reach for him, so in the end he doesn’t. He raps his knuckles twice on the door frame. “You take care, Cas.”

“You too, Dean.”

The house is silent as he shuts the front door behind him.

**

“Well, well, well,” Sarah says, when Dean slinks in. “I didn’t realize Cas lived so far away. When you left last night, saying you just needed to drop him off and come right back, did you realize then that he lived in Wyoming?”

Dean tosses the car keys to her. “Kept getting lost in the Tetons,” he says. “No road signs anywhere.”

Sarah comes up and slides her arm around his shoulders. “Sam’s out with Mary, they’re picking up something special for dinner. Figured we’d take it easy, have a night in, and Sam’ll drive you to the airport once Mary’s in bed.”

“Sounds good,” Dean says. “Man, it’s weird being in here when Mary’s not here. It’s too quiet.”

Sarah squeezes her arm tighter and lets go. “Right,” she says. “Mary’s the one we’re really missing, here.”

**

Later, after Dean’s been stuffed with In-N-Out, and Mary puts on an impromptu talent show, and after Mary sobs into Dean’s shoulder when he tells her he’s not sure when he’ll be back, he kisses Sarah on the cheek, pulls her into a hug, and then he slings his duffel into the trunk of Sam’s car.

“Wish your visit could’ve been longer,” Sam says. “But I’m glad you could make it at all. Mary was over the moon.”

“What about you?”

“Eh,” Sam says, tilting his head back forth. “Take it or leave it, I guess.” Dean elbows him in the side. “Hey! Respect the integrity of your driver, will you?”

“You’re getting spoiled,” Dean says. “I used to be the driver, remember? Wouldn’t let you touch the steering wheel to save my life. And here in California apparently they let any long-haired hippie on the road.”

“Don’t knock it before you try it,” Sam says. And then, darting a quick glance at Dean, he says, “You know, California has hospitals, too.”

“You don’t say.”

“I do say—”

“You do this every time—”

“I’m just wondering what there’s left for you in Kansas,” Sam says. “Your whole family is here. You could easily continue your career here. I’m just wondering.”

“I don’t want to just follow you,” Dean says. “Maybe I want something of my own.”

Sam chews his lip, like he’s debating saying something. “Maybe you do.”

They subside into silence for a few seconds.

“So,” Sam says.

“Sam, wait,”  Dean says.

“I’m not gonna grill you about Cas, give me some credit,” Sam says.

“Turn left, turn left here.”

“But the airport—”

Left!”

Night Four

When Dean rings the doorbell, a light flicks on upstairs. Dean stares at it for the next few minutes, because it’s the only sign that someone’s in there, and he waits and waits and finally, distantly, he hears some slow, labored thumps.

The door cracks open a minute later. Cas squints at him.

“I’m back,” Dean says.

“I can see that,” Cas says.

So here’s the thing. Maybe it isn’t exactly standard practice to show up at the home of your—potentially—Fourth-Night-Stand, after midnight, after you’d spent the previous night nuzzling his face in the shower until the water ran cold, and that only because your warrior-princess niece put her foot in just the right place the day after aforesaid Fourth-Night-Stand fucked your brains out between the sheets of a business-class Marriott bed with goddamn boat paintings on the walls.

Cas’s eyes have wincing lines around them. Dean thinks the same thing that made him want to turn left, it’s the same thing that made Cas drag his crippled butt out of bed to answer the door. Something like potential. Something like a hope, or something.

“Well the first thing is,” Dean says. “Maybe not the most important, but the first thing, I fucking hate flying.”

Night Eight Hundred and Sixty Seven

Dean gets back late from his shift. He tiptoes through the bedroom and strips before he jumps into the shower and moans about how stellar the water pressure is. After, he towel-rubs his hair dry and slides into bed next to Cas.

“Hmm?”

“Just me, babe. Go back to sleep.”

The sheets rustle as Cas turns over and slings an arm across Dean’s chest. Dean’s got spots dancing before  his eyes and he’s glad to follow, to relax into the warmth that’s already been pooled between the sheets.

He wakes up before Cas and pads downstairs to put the coffee on, then comes back. Light’s streaming through the windows in their bedroom, but Cas sleeps on, so Dean turns the TV low and idly flips through some channels. He can hear the coffee percolating even from up here, and Cas starts shifting restlessly next to him, pushing towards wakefulness.

Dean can help with that.

Cas jerks awake with a gasp, looking around wildly before zeroing in on Dean, between his legs, holding his cock between his thumb and forefinger.

“Hello?” Dean says. His lips brush over the tip. “Is this thing on?”

“Dean,” Cas groans. He throws his arm over his eyes. “You are insufferable.”

“And I don’t know why you’re complaining,” Dean says. “Got a full day ahead, birthday boy. Up and at ‘em.”

Cas lifts his arm away. He looks down at Dean, thoughtfully, and then after a minute shifts his hips up minutely. The head of his cock drags over the curve of Dean’s top lip. Cas sighs and lifts his hips again and this time his cock slides up, through Dean’s lips, along the roof of Dean’s mouth.

“Fuck,” he whispers.

He’s got one hand fisted in the sheets, the other clamped in Dean’s hair, and Dean’s nothing if not a glutton for watching Cas’s hips in live action, real time, and he’s just about to really get the show going, nudging at Cas’s entrance with a knuckle, so he’s surprised when Cas suddenly stops.

“Oh my god,” Cas says. Dean can hear the Saturday morning cartoons going on still on the TV behind him—more specifically, he can hear an intimately familiar voice saying, “I think I’m starting to feel something.”

“I swear this isn’t on purpose,” Dean says.

“Just—just turn it off, please?”

“Can’t you just—” Dean says, palming at Cas, and Cas all but kicks him off the bed.

“No!”

On-screen, Clarence the Cat is learning about carbon monoxide poisoning. Dean presses the power button and the show blanks out.

“There,” he says. “Sorry, sorry. Now where were we?”

Cas is still grumbling to himself, but he watches with interest as Dean detours to the bedside table to find the lube, and he lets Dean fit himself back between his legs easily enough.

Within minutes, Cas is worked up again, a flush spreading down his chest as Dean draws him into his mouth again and again. He gasps when Dean prods a finger inside him, and he’s progressed to calling out Dean’s name through the fist pressed to his mouth by the time Dean’s got a finger circling inside of him. It’s filthy, and Dean likes it, likes the sounds of him sucking Cas off, likes the taste of it, likes feeling Cas jump in his mouth when he finds Cas’s prostate with a stroke of his finger.

“Close, Dean,” Cas says, his last legible words, and then Dean fucks his fingers into him until Cas is coming in his mouth, his hips pushing at Dean’s chin until he shudders out the last few pulses. Dean rocks his fingers in a few more times, more gently now, because Cas is blissed-out, warm and wet around him, and still twitching when Dean curls his fingers the good way. Right now he has eyes closed, fingers spread through Dean's hair, and he's humming a contented sound that's almost like a purr, not that he would tell Cas that.

Dean finally draws away, wipes his mouth, and climbs up the bed for a kiss. He’s hard and he knows Cas can feel it; Cas responds eagerly.

“Did you feel something, Cas?”

Cas rolls him over and pushes a pillow into his face and, while Dean laughs breathlessly under the pillow, he reaches into his boxers and ruthlessly jerks him to orgasm. Dean knows it’s just to shut him up, but he appreciates the favor.

Cas draws the pillow away after Dean’s done floundering through the aftershocks. He leans his elbow next to Dean’s face, looking down at him.

“What’s the plan?” he asks.

Dean knows, of course. Sam and Sarah are coming over later, along with Mary and Adam, their nineteen-month-old, who recently drew all over Cas and Dean’s living room wall with a permanent marker. And Dean thought Mary had been precocious.

They’ll have a lot to celebrate.

“You’ll see,” he says. “Coffee first.”

He comes back upstairs with two mugs of coffee balanced on a tray, and a cinnamon roll with a candle sticking out of it.

Cas rolls up into a sitting position and gusts out the candle. Then he pulls the roll in half and offers some to Dean.

The morning news is on. The light is still coming through the window, and Cas’s shoulders are fucking golden in it, and he’s licking icing from his fingers and not noticing all the crumbs falling into the covers. Dean could run circles in his mind, trying to figure out the reasoning and logistics that have given him this, given him eight hundred and sixty seven nights with Cas, and maybe they haven’t all been perfect and painted in starlight and dipped in rainbows, but they’ve always been something. And Dean should count himself lucky that once upon a time at a ticket counter in the Dallas airport, he used his goddamn eyes.

“Hey, Cas,” he says.

“Yeah?”

“Did you wish for anything?”

Cas is flipping up the covers, trying to find the remote. His voice is slightly muffled. “The usual. A thousand more nights with you. At least. That way I can have a thousand more mornings like this.”

Dean rests his hand along Cas’s bare back. “Is that all?”

“You got something more profound in mind?”

Dean smiles down at the ring in his palm. Better now than never. “Yeah,” he says. “Maybe even something better.”

**