“Firstly, Cas and I have decided it will really benefit you to have clear structure while you try out your headspace. For this reason, you will have a couple hours of designated time each day where we expect you to try and allow yourself into Littlespace,” Sam said gently but firmly. He was watching Dean and could tell the boy was already uncomfortable, but wasn’t willing to abandon his and Cas’s mission.
“Even if you just sit with one of us and watch cartoons,” Cas added, ever trying to soothe. “We just want you to try actively tuning into your instincts and listening to your body’s needs, Dean.”
“We’re going to start out with three hours a day, and progress from there as you become more and more acclimated,” Sam continued. He watched Dean pull his feet up onto the cushion of the loveseat and hug his knees. The Little wasn’t looking at either him or Cas, but Sam had no doubt that he was giving them his undivided listening attention. “As to what time of day your Little time will be, that’s up to you, bud.”
Dean raised his head to give Sam a questioning look. “Honestly Dean, we don’t want to force you to do anything and would really prefer if you came to us when you feel ready,” Sam could see Cas nodding in agreement in his peripheral vision. Dean gave him a look as if to say good luck with that since he’d never be ready, but still ducked his head in a little show of deferral to the two Doms in the room. “Though I’m still going to insist that you do find the time to try this each day whether or not you feel like it.”
Dean shot him a glare, looking up through his scrunched brow. Sam bit back a smile at how much it reminded him of a disgruntled kitten.
“If you want we can make up a cue, so that we know when you’re ready,” Cas offered, and Sam had to admit it was a good idea. Dean wouldn’t have to be explicit about it, hopefully resulting in marginally less embarrassment. “That way you can use it if you want to be Little for longer too?” Cas’s voice was laced with subtle hope. Sam didn’t blame him, he wanted to see Dean comfortable enough to be Little whenever the mood struck him. He thought he’d like it if the mood struck Dean often.
Dean almost looked affronted, and opened his mouth, but seemed to think better of it and just slouched his shoulders and scowled.
Sam took the opportunity to move on to the next item on their list. “Apart from your designated Little time, you will have an hour long nap each day after lunch and-”
“Woah, okay no,” Dean cut in. “I do not need to take naps,” he defiantly crossed his arms over his chest and looked up at Cas. Sam fought the urge to grin, Dean was already seeking Cas when Sam told the boy something he didn’t want to hear. Cas had a pushover streak a mile wide, but Sam was there to balance that out. Dean would learn all in good time, Sam thought humorously.
“It isn’t a question of whether or not you necessarily need a nap,” Sam placated, saving his lover from Dean’s glare. “It’s about establishing a healthy routine, giving you quiet time to think and reflect.”
Dean huffed and slid his eyes away from Sam’s, but made no further attempt to argue. Sam watched Dean’s throat swell as the boy swallowed, and was reminded how uncomfortable and foreign even the concept of accepting his Little self was to Dean. To Sam’s other side sat Cas, perched on the very edge of the couch, as tightly wound as a spring. Sam felt like the filling of an angst sandwich.
“Right!” Sam clapped his hands, attempting to dispel some of the underlying tension. “The rest of your time is your own, but there are a few ground rules Cas and I have come up with,” he said and noticed Dean stiffen.
“One, you must always listen to Cas and me.” The second the last word left Sam’s mouth, Dean was opening his own, but Sam didn’t have time to squabble. “Dean, Cas and I both understand that you are more than capable of taking care of yourself, that’s not a question. We simply feel that in order for you to relax and find yourself, it would be better if you tried to rely on somebody else for a change. We will not force you to do anything you are not ready for and we promise not to ask anything unreasonable of you.”
“We need you to trust us, Dean,” Cas spoke up. “We can help you.”
Dean snorted. “I ain’t some damsel who needs to be saved,” his words were hot with indignation, but the way he was hugging his knees tinged the scene with insecurity. “I’m not this goddam baby everybody thinks I am!”
Watching Cas’ face crease, Sam locked eyes with a insolent Dean and felt his Dom bubbling up from his stomach into his chest. Nobody talked to Cas like that in front of Sam and got away with it. Not even heartbreakingly adorable little boys.
“Neither Cas, nor I, said any such thing, but if I do remember correctly it was Cas who helped you out of that hot car not too long ago. And now, Cas is using his saved vacation time to stay home with you for this month,” Sam’s already deep voice dropped an octave. “You will show some respect.”
The hard line of Dean’s brow softened a little at that.
“And as for swearing, I hope you’ve gotten it all out of your system because that kind of language will not be permitted in this household,” The long haired man continued as Dean’s shoulders rolled forward and up towards his ears.
Sam knew he was kinda laying his Dom on thick, but Dean needed to reign himself in. These outbursts were clearly a product of ‘classification frustration’. Dean was battling his submissive nature with displays of pseudo-dominance. Admittedly, the kid’s perseverance was something to admire, but the walls he had built on the shaky foundation of denial were beginning to crumble. And the more Dean tried to repair them, the more harmful it was to the Little he was hiding away inside. It was apparent how much the boy was struggling even now, going from all bravado to meekly hunched the instant Sam put some bass in his voice.
“Dean, we really just want the best for you,” Cas implored gently. “I know it’s going to be hard for you, but you have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. I classified as a Caregiver at the age of fifteen, taking care of people is in my blood, my DNA. It’s a really big part of me! Just like being Little is a part of you. And every part of you deserves love,” the quiver in Cas’ voice was almost undetectable but Sam could feel how strongly his emotional fiancé meant what he said.
Judging by the wateriness of Dean’s eyes, the boy had felt it too.
“M’sorry,” came the whisper, floating like a feather from those sweet lips. “I really do appreciate everything and I,” Dean paused to take a shuddery breath. “I want to try to make this work but I just can’t let go like that.” Removing his hands from his shins so that they could cup opposite elbows, Dean looked up at Sam and a surge of overwhelming tenderness eclipsed Sam’s Dom.
“That’s what we’re here for,” the tall man reassured gently. “Ever since Cas came home from the police station the day he met you, I’ve seen a fire inside of him. Dean, I don’t think you understand how important you are to us, Cas especially.” Sam felt Cas lean into his side as he continued, “And I saw how you reacted to Cas at Alistair’s. You two need each other.”
Sam could practically feel the connection between Cas and Dean as the boy and his lover held each other’s gaze. Then all of a sudden-
“What about you?” Green, uncertain eyes were back on Sam.
Eyes that were ready to snap into hard glass in an instant, but held a glimmer of longing beneath the surface.
“Me? Dean, there isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for you based on Cas’ love alone. And even then, when I first saw you my only thought was to protect you. Call that being a territorial Dominant, but it’s true,” Sam spoke with what he hoped came across as utmost sincerity. “I want you here Dean. I want to get to know you and your Little side. I want to be here for you.”
Dean bit his lip and lowered his head to stare at his lap as Cas squeezed Sam’s bicep. They hadn’t even gone over bedtime or, god forbid, consequences for breaking the rules yet and things were already coming apart like wet bread. But, Sam supposed, this is what you sign up for when you take in an emotionally constipated Little who insists on being Big. Besides, he meant what he had said, he did want Dean in his life. Hell, right now Dean was, at least in legal terms, Cas’ and his adopted Little and if that didn’t mean something to the boy then Sam didn’t know how else they could prove themselves.
When Dean looked up again, he was unquestionably Little. His cheeks were flushed and there were tears swimming in his green eyes, all traces of anger gone as though a switch had been flipped. Sam’s heart thrummed at the sight.
Dean reached out, mouth quivering, and in an instant Cas was up and over to him, shushing with tender touches. The corners of Sam’s lips twitched upwards at the sight, his shoulders relaxing and eyebrows arching the way they do when affection pushes all other emotions out of your chest.
Dean was now on top of Cas’ lap, sniffling into the dark haired man’s neck, one hand fisted in Cas’ shirt as the dark haired man whispered things Sam couldn’t hear into the boy’s ear.
Sam stood up without a word and reached for the throw they kept folded over the back of the couch. He placed the blanket around his boys with a wry smile; the rest of this discussion could wait.
Dean was so confused!
He thought they were supposed to be discussing rules and how his stay would work when Sam went and made things emotional. Dean didn’t deal well with emotions, dammit! Usually he could choke them down until he could be alone somewhere but with these two…
Now he was stuck somewhere between headspaces with too many tough things to think about. He just wanted Cubby. He didn’t want naptimes or stupid designated quiet time or whatever… did he?
Dean startled a little as a hand carded through his hair.
“Shhh,” it was just Cas.
Dean groaned, his head hurt. He remembered Cas said that Dean should trust him and Sam. But the thing was, Dean already did.
And that was a problem.
Dean didn’t trust anybody (with the exception of Cubby, of course). He couldn’t afford to, not in his line of business. Plus, the way he saw it, people didn’t deserve his trust anyway. The world was filled with people looking out only for themselves and that meant the world was filled with people looking for ways to take advantage of Dean. And he wouldn’t be taken advantage of if he had anything to say about it, thank you very much.
But Cas and Sam, they didn’t give off that vibe. Even just thinking about them made the world seem so much bigger and Dean so much smaller, but not in a bad way. In a way that made Dean want to be held and cuddled.
Clearly. Seeing as he was snuggling Cas on the couch right now, Dean rolled his eyes at himself. It felt so nice though. The low rumble of Cas’ chest when he talked and the way he stroked Dean’s hair was nothing short of perfect. Having this all the time wouldn’t be half bad. You two need each other, Dean remembered Sam's words, and a small (okay very large), helpless, needy part of him couldn't help but to agree with at least half of that statement. Dean just needed to figure out how to not be an ass was all, he guessed. Cas and Sam deserved more.
Well, the least he could do was agree to the house rules. Dean felt a prickle of nervous excitement dance through him at the thought and jolted a little, prompting Cas to shush him again. All of these unwanted feelings were just too much right now!
Dean felt himself slipping further as Cas (Daddy) continued rhythmically caressing his hair, giving more control over to the child inside of him. The child that he was.
Fighting, and losing, the urge to bring his thumb up to his mouth, Dean slowly sank into a dreamless sleep.