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Say a Prayer and Light a Candle

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Castiel sits in shul, gazing at the ark as his fellow daveners finish their prayers. He always finishes his silent recitation of the Amidah quicker than most, due to many long years of reading it every week as a child. It's 18 paragraphs of prayers in Hebrew, but Castiel has always had an affinity for languages. He learned to read Hebrew while most of his classmates were still working on English. So the Amidah is a familiar recitation, and he's done and sitting down a good three or four minutes before the people around him.

He takes the extra time to bow his head in a silent prayer. He doesn't often actually petition God for things -- that's really not how Jewish prayer works -- but in this case, he could probably use a bit of divine intervention. Please, he thinks, squeezing his eyes shut tight. Please let this week not be a disaster.

It's Shabbat now, and his last day of freedom for three weeks. Tomorrow, Sunday, every last straggling student gets kicked out of the dorms until the second semester starts in January. Which means Castiel is going home for the duration of winter vacation. Home to Mom and Dad, and his big brother Gabriel when he arrives, and all the various aunts and uncles and cousins that tend to drop in around this time of year. And home to the sort of big-hearted, rambunctious chaos that has always left Castiel, the quiet one, feeling just a bit out of place.

It'll be a little better this year, because Dean's coming to stay with him for the duration of Hanukkah. It coincides with Christmas this year, the sixth night coming right on Christmas Eve, so everyone has a few days off from work to spend with family. Which means next Shabbos and the days leading up to it are going to be packed with relatives. It'll be great having his best friend there to stay by his side through the tumult.

Great, and terrible. Because while Dean's well known in Castiel's family as his best friend from college, his parents and uncles and cousins don't have the slightest clue what Dean really means to him.

* * *

They met a year ago, in comparative religion class. Dean slid into the seat next to him and cast an eye at Castiel's yarmulke. "Why you wearing that?" were his first words.

Castiel boggled at him. "It's nice to meet you, too," he said, before his brain could catch up with his mouth.

The stranger beside him just laughed. "OK, sorry, I deserved that. Hi, I'm Dean." He offered a large hand, which Castiel took a moment to admire before shaking.

Of course, Dean had the same reaction to Castiel's name that everyone did. The answer was pat by now: "It's an obscure angelic name from the Kabbalah. Well, it was mispronounced in the delivery room, misspelled on the birth certificate, and ever since I've been Cas-TI-el instead of Cas-SI-el."

"Hunh." Dean pursed his lips, brow furrowing in thought. Then, innocently: "What's a Kabbalah?"

Castiel very nearly fell out of his chair. "You're taking religion, and you don't know what the Kabbalah is?"

"It is 101," Dean reminded him.

Castiel was forced to shrug. "It's a book of Jewish mysticism."

"So wait." Dean's eyes widened. "Are you Jewish?"

Was this a trick question? Castiel wondered if he was being filmed. "Um... yes?"

"No way. That's awesome!" Dean exploded with enough volume to turn a few heads.  He looked around, laughed, and settled down a bit. "Sorry," he said, "I just never met one before."

"You've never met a Jewish person?" Dean had to be putting him on.

Dean shook his head. "I'm from Kansas. There's not exactly a lot of -- what's the word? Diversity. Nothing but a bunch of white Protestant farm kids for miles around on every side." He grinned, and that grin was possibly the most adorable thing Castiel had ever seen. "That's one reason I wanted to take this class. Get exposed to things I haven't seen or heard of before."

"My hometown is about 40 percent Jewish," Castiel mused. "I can't imagine not having any of us around."

"Hate to tell you this, but you're the exception, not the rule."

Castiel bit off a laugh. "Trust me, I know."

The class rolled by, and when it was over, Dean leaned toward him. "So is the thing on your head a Jewish thing?"

"It's a kipah, and yes." Castiel had a habit of tilting his head to the side when he was curious, and he could feel himself doing it now. "Can I ask you a question?"

Dean blinked. "Yeah, sure."

"Why does a guy from Middle America come all the way out to the East Coast for college?"

"Like I said. I wanted to expand my horizons. Plus, my little brother Sammy's got his heart set on this school, and I gotta be there to take care of him when he gets here next year." Dean's chest swelled with apparent pride. "Kid could go to Harvard, but no, he wants to come here."

"You're a good big brother," Castiel replied, sincerely impressed. "Are you sure he doesn't want to get away from you?"

Dean laughed. "Even if he does, tough. It's my job to take care of him."

"You could teach my older brother some lessons," Castiel said. "Do you... want to get lunch?"

* * *

Dean has a single, and Castiel thanks the sweet Lord for it every chance he gets. It's always a pleasurable walk down the street to Dean's dorm, even on a day like today, when the trees are bare and the wind is whipping the temperature down about twenty degrees. Castiel lifts the folds of his collar and huddles down into his coat as he walks, glad for his gloves and feeling the lack of a hat. He'll have to buy one this week, when he gets a chance. Otherwise, his mother will probably kill him.

It's late afternoon now, and Castiel's had his fill of studying.  He spends Shabbats on campus reading, mostly, and occasionally fudging the rules to jot some notes. He doesn't keep Shabbat while he's at school, except in the most perfunctory way, but it still feels good to take the day to relax and recharge. Castiel gets energy from reading. Enough books under his belt and he gets restless and ready to have a good time.

He makes his way up the steps and enters the building, rubbing his hands together to warm them. The last thing he wants to do is shock Dean with cold hands, although he does like the idea of warming them on Dean's belly, or under his arms, or between his thighs. The thought gives him a devilish smile as he climbs the stairs to Dean's room.

He doesn't have to knock twice before Dean's there at the door, grinning wide and gathering him up into an embrace. They kiss, sweet and lingering, and Castiel hums with happiness against his lips. Being in Dean's arms is always like being enveloped in soft light. Warm, welcoming, home. "How you doin', hon," Dean murmurs, and Castiel nods and smiles in answer. It's been almost a year since the first time they kissed, and Castiel hopes the lightness in his heart never fades.

When Dean finally lets go of him, Castiel notices for the first time that Sam's here. "Hello, Sam," he says, a little embarrassed that he and Dean have basically been making out in the doorway while Sam was on the couch the whole time.

But Sam's nothing but sunny cheer, as usual. "Hi there, Cas!" he says, and rises from the sofa, looking at his watch. "Geez, I better get going."

"My brother wears a watch," Dean says, rolling his eyes. This is not the first time he's said it. Castiel chuckles and Sam shoots Dean a peeved look, but it's all in fun.

Sam claps Castiel on the shoulder. "Take care of him this week, okay?" Castiel nods, trying to look every inch the responsible caretaker, and Sam laughs. "I'm not worried. I know you're good for it."

"I'll do my best," Castiel says. He still feels as though he's got to do Sam proud, so to speak, and he's fretting enough about this coming week that he feels there's reason for Sam to be concerned. But Sam just smiles and turns to Dean to say goodbye.

"So you're going to try to come out to the party, right?" Sam says. He's staying in town with some friends who have an apartment off-campus, and they're planning a "Christmas Eve-Eve" party on the 23rd. For some reason, Sam and Dean don't seem to mind that they'll be away from family this Christmas. It boggles Castiel's mind, as he's always thought Christmas was like Rosh Hashanah -- you might hate it, but you go home and see your family every year nonetheless. He supposes that it must be different for every family.

* * *

It had been about two weeks, and lunch after Religion 101 had become a regular thing. Sometimes they headed across the street to the dining hall of the dorm that stood there, but more often Castiel and Dean walked down the block to the campus’ Jewish center, the Hillel. There, Castiel could get some protein for lunch - usually overcooked chicken breasts that tasted like plastic, but meat was meat - and Dean could assail Castiel with another round of ridiculous questions about Judaism.

It would have been annoying if it weren’t so adorable. Dean wanted to know what Jews believed in, what keeping Kosher was all about, why Shabbat was on Saturday instead of Sunday. He asked Castiel for the Jewish opinion on topic A or B from class (more often than not, Castiel’s response was, “You’ll have to ask a rabbi”). But he also wanted to know where Castiel came from, how he grew up, what his family was like and why he was taking a religion course. Dean seemed to look at Castiel and see a million fascinating facets that Castiel couldn’t imagine seeing in himself. It was novel, to be the object of such interest. And a little flattering.

Plus, when Dean smiled, his eyes went narrow and glittery, and a dimple showed up in his left cheek, and Castiel had become a little addicted to that sight. When Dean skipped one class to attend a lecture by some aging rock star, Castiel stared at the empty seat feeling like the bottom had been scraped out of his heart. Class without Dean kind of sucked.

Today he was here, though, and as they walked up the stairs of the Hillel toward the dining hall, Castiel noticed a flyer on the wall. Hillel Purim Services and Party, it read. March 13, 7 PM. Costume contest, Megillah reading, dancing, food & drink. Don’t miss it!

He touched Dean’s arm. “We should go to that,” he said, nodding toward the poster.

Dean glanced at it. “What’s a Purim?”

It was little, innocent statements like that, with Dean’s green eyes wide and waiting for information, that charmed the heck out of Castiel. Fighting the urge to grin ear to ear, he searched for the best words. “It’s… sort of like Jewish Mardi Gras. A long time ago in Persia, an assbutt named Haman tried to kill us. We lived. So now we eat and drink.” He flushed hard. He’d tried to go for “asshole” and “butthead” at once and the words had collided in an unflattering way.

And damn it, Dean had noticed. “Assbutt.”

Castiel stiffened. “Well. Yes.”

“Is that a sacred Jewish term?”

“Dean.” Castiel frowned and tried to look as serious as he could. “No.”

“Too bad,” Dean said with a grin. “I like it. I’m gonna use it. And I’m gonna tell everyone that asks that you came up with it.”

“Now you’re being an assbutt,” Castiel said crankily, and Dean burst into laughter.

By the end of lunch, they’d decided to meet at the Hillel for Purim, and Dean was doing that thing again where he laughed and his whole face glowed. Somewhere, deep in Castiel’s heart, a warning was sounding. But the happy thud of his pulse in his ears drowned it all out, and Castiel absolutely couldn’t wait for Purim.

* * *

Sam gives Dean a final hug, winks at Castiel, and heads out and back to his own dorm. Dean closes the door behind him and turns to Castiel with all the glee of an eight-year-old. "I got one," he says.

"Really?" Castiel teases him with a critical look. "I don't know, I have to see it for myself. You could have gotten a fake one."

"I didn't buy it at the supermarket, Cas!" Dean reaches for a bag on the floor by his bed. On the bag is printed a Jewish star and the words "Kobel's Judaica." It's a legit shop, and not a cheap one. Castiel's duly impressed, but, just to give Dean a hard time, he crosses his arms over his chest and squints skeptically.

"Don't give me that look." Dean rummages in the bag and pulls out a gleaming silver menorah. "See? I even bought candles for it."

"Hm. That's legitimate, all right," Castiel says, taking it out of Dean's hands and turning it over to inspect. "Eight candles plus the Shamash."

"One candle to rule them all," Dean quips.

Castiel ignores him. "Right. Let's put it in the window." He clears away some beer cans and crumpled up papers on Dean's windowsill and lays the menorah down. It looks perfect, framed by the skyline and the light of late afternoon. "We should lay down some tinfoil so we don't drip wax onto the windowsill."

"Tinfoil?" Dean makes a face. "I don't think I've got any of that."

"Newspaper or notebook paper should suffice." Dean grabs the previous day's student paper from the wastebasket and tosses it to Castiel. "I'm glad the first night is just us. Tomorrow you'll be thrown in at the deep end."

Dean laughs and comes up behind him, laying warm hands on his hips. "I like your family."

"You like who you've met so far," Castiel corrects. "Not everyone is as much fun as Gabriel. Wait till you meet Uncle Zachariah. Unpleasant man."

"I wouldn't be pleasant either, if my name was 'Zachariah.'"  Dean kisses his neck and licks the lobe of his ear. Castiel shudders. "So, tonight could be the last time we get to bang until after Christmas, huh?"

"I've been trying--" Castiel catches his breath as Dean sucks on his ear. Goosebumps prickle on his flesh. "--not to think about it."

"No chance of a quickie in the guest room?" Dean works his hands up under Castiel's soft fingers sweeping across his ribcage. "No handjobs in the bathroom in the early morning?"

"As though you'd wake up in the morning."

"Hey, for handjobs..."

"Dean." Castiel turns in his arms. "Shut up."

Dean's kiss is honey-sweet, and his tongue sweeps over Castiel's teeth, licking into the corners of his mouth. Castiel groans and pushes forward into his embrace, arms winding around him. Like this, holding each other tight, they're so close that it feels like they're melting into one person.

Castiel sighs. "I love you," he murmurs, "and you are going to drive me crazy this week."

"Oh, God, I hope so." Dean kisses his jaw. Soft noises leak from between Castiel's lips and melt in the air. "I love it when you get all hot and bothered."

"Because you're -- ahh-- a sadist." Castiel grabs Dean by the ass, squeezing and tugging. "Feel what you do to me." He knows Dean can. And he can feel Dean's hardness too - hot and thick -- against his thigh.

"Fuck, Cas," Dean murmurs between hot little kisses to his mouth. "You send me from 0 to 60 in a hot second, you know that?"

"I only give as good as I get." And it's the last word spoken in the room for a good long while. Dean and Castiel sink onto the couch, pulling off T-shirts as they go. They tangle together on the cushions, groaning and kissing, hands traveling absolutely everywhere. Dean's moans are hot, sharp little exhalations; Castiel's are long and guttural. Dean's hands card through Castiel's hair, slide down his arms, cup his ass. Ecstatic, Castiel pulls him close, eyes opening just a crack to see the long red lights of sunset saturate the room--

"Dean." He pushes Dean up. "Dean. The candles."

"Whu?" For a moment Dean sits there, hair disheveled, shirtless and clueless. "Candles?"

"We have to light them before it gets dark."

"Oh. Oh! Right." Dean gets to his feet and helps Castiel up. They both have to take a minute to get their bearings.

When he can remember which end is up, Dean goes for his bag, pulling out a box of candles. "So the one goes here," he says, placing a candle in the raised prong in the center of the menorah. "And the other goes..."

"On the right side. You add candles right to left, but you light the candles left to right."

"I'm never gonna remember that," Dean says, sliding a candle into the right-hand slot.

"I'll be here to remind you."

"Damn straight you will." He pats Castiel's ass and winks. "Oh, wait a sec. I got that paper around here somewhere."

"What paper?"

"Its got the pronunciations. Of the prayers. I wanna be able to follow along."

Castiel bites his lip to keep from smiling too hard. Dean is always doing little extra things like this. It's incredibly endearing, to know that Dean wants to know and understand his culture. Maybe it started out as just interest in an unfamiliar religion, but Castiel knows that now, Dean does it because of him.

Dean finally locates the paper and unfolds it. Castiel glances down at it. The transliterations and translations are there, such as they are. Castiel's always a little amused how English transliterations never seem to quite capture the flavor of the Hebrew words.

"Um." He chuckles. "We'll need a match."

"Oh, shit! I didn't even think of-- oh, wait. Duh." Dean scrambles in a drawer for a second and pulls out a lighter in the shape of a Colt pistol. The thought of "shooting" the Shamash to light it up has Castiel fighting giggles for a good minute.

"Do the honors," he offers, because he doesn't think he'll be able to do it himself -- not with a straight face.

Dean shrugs and lights up the Shamash. Somehow the gun thing doesn't look at all weird when it's in Dean's hand.

Castiel raises his palms in front of the candles and draws them in three soft circles in the air, inward and toward his body. The candle's glow lights the edges of his fingers. Dean follows clumsily. It's a ritual from Shabbat, and whether it actually applies on Hanukkah Castiel doesn't know. But it feels right to do it, and Castiel has always enjoyed how it makes his fingers look like they're melting into a halo of fire.

He sings the first two blessings in a hushed voice, catching out of the corner of his eye Dean following along on his paper. On the second blessing, he lifts the Shamash from its holder and lights the lone other candle. For a moment it looks like it won't light, but when Castiel tries another angle, the wick catches. Castiel returns the Shamash to its holder as he finishes the last notes of the blessing.

Then he grabs Dean's hand.

The blessing he sings then has a very specific meaning, and Castiel's always been fond of it. He closes his eyes and smiles as he sings.

Baruch atah Adonai, elohenu melech haolam, shehechiyanu v’kiyamanu v’higiyanu lazman hazeh.

When he comes to the last word and reopens his eyes, Dean's dropped the paper and is staring at him.

"What did that mean?" he asks.

"To be very brief," Castiel says, "it's the liturgical version of 'Thank God I'm here to see this day.'"

"Oh." Dean's lip curls up in a half-smile. "That's pretty good, I guess."

"I do thank God for us," Castiel says.

"Yeah?" Dean tries not to look pleased, but the flush creeps onto his face nonetheless. "Even though I'm..."

"Dean," Castiel warns.

"...a goy?"

"Don't use that word." Castiel has tried to impress upon him a number of times that it's derogatory slang at best, a slur at worst. But Dean seems hung up on the actual sound of the word. He likes to repeat things in Yiddish he doesn't really know the meaning of.

"Whatever." Dean gazes at the candles. "So when's the part we get presents?"

"Usually, right around now. But I'm not giving you your present yet, Dean. I'm saving it for Christmas."

"So you don't have to buy two, you freakin' miser," Dean teases.

"Because Christmas is your holiday," Castiel corrects, "and I want to honor it."

Dean blows air through his lips. "That's a good one. Honor it." He rolls his eyes.

"I do, Dean."

"You know what I want to honor?" Dean sidles up to him and grabs him by the hips. "Your ass."

"Oh. Well." Castiel tries not to grin as Dean starts pressing kisses to his face, groping him shamelessly below the belt. "I suppose you could honor that."

"And by ‘honor,’ I mean ‘pound,’" Dean murmurs against his lips.

A bolt of heat goes through Castiel, and he groans as Dean sucks on his tongue. "Dean..." he starts, breaking away, but that's all he can get out before Dean's kissing him again, pulling him this time not toward the couch but the bed. They jostle against it, and the two pinpricks of candlelight jump before Castiel's vision. "Careful," he says. "The candles."

"Mm-hm," Dean says, tonguing against his collarbone.

"Should have..." Castiel gasps for breath. "really used... tinfoil..." His legs fold, and he falls onto the bed. Dean follows with a little growl and a bigger grin.. All that hot skin and hard muscle on top of him, and Castiel's barely coherent. "Paper's," he tries between labored breath. " hazard..."

"Shut up, Cas," Dean says, and undoes his zipper. A hot hand reaches in and massages his cock through his boxers.

Castiel shuts up.

The candles burn down, bright witnesses, as Dean tugs Castiel's pants off and buries his head between Castiel's legs. A rough shout spills from Castiel's mouth at the first slick, hot feel of Dean's mouth on him. All fire inside, he grabs at Dean's hair and makes wanton, wanting sounds that fill the little room.

"Want me to lick you open, Cas?" Dean growls, a sound that sets everything buzzing inside Castiel. He pants and chokes out an affirmative. His cock is throbbing, but his ass is tingling now, and there's nothing he wants more than the feel of that hot tongue sliding inside him.

He's never flipped faster onto his hands and knees, and at the first feel of Dean kissing the smooth cheeks of his ass he comes unglued. "Fuck, Dean," he whispers, "do it, just do it, kiss me, lick me. Hurry."

Dean's tongue is hot and quick, and it darts between his cheeks with a suddenness that makes Castiel rear up and cry out. In another moment, Dean's licking inside him, easing the tightness in his muscles with delicious little stabs that fill Castiel with lightning. He clenches the pillows in desperate fists, begging and almost sobbing with the hot bright pleasure.

It has to stop eventually, though, and Dean calms him with soft kisses to his back before he gets up to get a condom. They got tested together last summer, but there's something about the condom that feels safe - even if other things they do are just as risky as going without. Besides, there's less mess with one. At least, on Dean's end. Castiel usually ends up soiling the sheets.

A little lube supplements the work Dean's already done on him, and Castiel relaxes and shudders into the probes of his finger. It's delicious teasing, but still teasing, and all Castiel can think of is being filled up inside. "Hurry, Dean," he mutters, "hurry."

"Oh, I'm hurrying," Dean murmurs, and curls behind him. "Damn it, Cas, you make me so fucking hot."

"Now," begs Castiel, "now, now, now."

"Yeah," Dean breathes, and then there he is, sliding in thick and unbearably warm, and Castiel groans loud and long. God, that's the way he loves it - Dean just filling him up in a single stroke. He shudders and pushes back with his hips, trying to get even more. The fullness is unbearable and wonderful.

Dean kisses at his vertebrae, reaches around to fist his cock roughly, and Castiel's caught in that ecstatic place between love and animal lust, where his heart is warm and his body's aflame. Every stroke breaks him a little, and he just wants to break more and more, to have Dean shatter him until he's in pieces on the bed. And he's so very close now, just barely holding himself up, thighs and arms shaking with exertion.

"Holy..." Dean hisses. "I'm not gonna last."

"Do it." Castiel scrapes for breath for the words. "Come in me."

"Fuck," Dean whispers, and Castiel can feel him trembling. "Want you to--" But it's too late, and Dean gasps, then groans hard, pushing forward. Castiel feels Dean’s orgasm pour out of him like a rush, feels the throb and swell and release. He relishes the moment and the last seconds of Dean still buried in him as he comes down from the high.

Then it's done, and Dean's sliding out, breathing heavily. Castiel turns over, and Dean leans down to kiss his neck. "Damn," he says, "I didn't last at all."

"It had been a while," Castiel offers. "With finals and all."

"Yeah, let's go with that," Dean says with a laugh. "Hang on a sec. I'm comin' back for you." He points a finger at Castiel's still-erect cock. Castiel laughs. Dean makes a break for the bathroom.

When he comes back, having washed himself off and gargled comically, he slides onto the narrow bed, easing behind Castiel. He kisses Castiel's neck again and again, tonguing at the sensitive skin there, and wraps his hand around Castiel's cock. Castiel moans, turning all to liquid, and bucks into Dean's hand until he's coming in rushes of shudders that take him over and recede like waves. He moans, little quavering cries, as his orgasm swells and fades again.

"I owe you some serious marathon sex," Dean says ruefully.

"I'll look forward to it next semester," Castiel replies with a rough laugh. "Because we're not getting another chance until January."

"Fuck that. I'm gonna sneak into your room at midnight and suck you off until you wake up every one of your relatives."

Castiel's heart stops. "You wouldn't dare."

"Naw, probably not," Dean admits. He reaches for one of Castiel's hands, interlaces their fingers. "But hey, maybe we can have another round before morning."

They do have another round, a long time after the Hanukkah candles have burned down to nubs and gone out. And then they sleep, heavily and tangled up together.

* * *

Dean showed up to the Purim event with a tinfoil crown on his head. “I read the story online,” he said. “See? I come prepared.”

Castiel, on the other hand, was utterly unprepared for what seeing Dean crowned and enthusiastic would do to him. He swallowed hard, managed a flat “Nice,” and headed inside.

The services were boisterous, with lots of joyous singing and noisemakers rattling raucously at every mention of Haman. And after the services proper there was a kiddush and party, with loads of Manischewitz wine and delicious three-cornered cookies called hamantaschen. Dean and Castiel both drank a little too much, and even without the wine, they were giddy with the night's festivities. Castiel in particular didn't have that much sugar as a rule, so the hamantaschen had him high as a kite.

The party went on for hours, a student klezmer band playing traditional tunes as the throng participated in hora after hora. By the time they left, their pulses were high and their faces red from exertion. Dean couldn't stop laughing. Castiel was a different kind of drunk: He got cranky and felt the need to pontificate about some topic or other.

They were in front of Castiel's dorm, and Castiel was going on about the various feminist implications of Queen Esther vs. Queen Vashti, when Dean pulled him to the edge of the sidewalk, took his jaw in one hand, and pressed a kiss to his mouth.

Castiel's words vanished instantly from his mind. He stared at Dean for a long moment.

Then something moved -- a tree in the wind, a car down a faraway street, something -- and they were in each other's arms again, kissing like it was the end of the world. Dean's breath was sweet with wine, and he tasted of sugar and rich fruit. Intoxicated, Castiel licked at his lips over and over again, groaning a low note in the quiet night. His whole body was electrified. It was unforgettable.

And unforgivable.

Castiel broke away, staggering backward across the sidewalk. "I can't," he said, gasping for air. "We can't."

"What?" Dean's voice was hoarse.

The look in his eyes was heartbreaking. Castiel had never wanted so badly to just throw caution to the wind, to grab onto Dean with all his might and never let go. Instead, he shook his head and stumbled onto the lawn of his dorm. "Good night, Dean," he muttered, and hurried inside.

* * *

It's nearly ten a.m. when Castiel jolts awake from a nightmare. He was in his grandmother's old house, trying to find his present for Dean, and no matter where he looked, he couldn't find it anywhere. He searched through old, empty rooms, around dusty furniture and in dark closets. And as he searched, he began to realize that the whole house was dead around him.

When he awakens, he's sweating and trembling.

And then he sees what time it is, and the trembling starts for real. "Dean," he hisses. "We have to go. It's time to go."

It all seemed sort of faraway and hypothetical until this moment. But as Castiel and Dean dress and grab their bags to head out to the street, the scary reality sets in.

Dean's spending Hanukkah with him. A whole week. And for the whole week, they'll be relegated to "just friends."

Castiel will have to spend a week lying to the people he loves most in the world. So as they walk down the street to where his father is waiting in the car, Castiel sends one more silent prayer up to the heavens.

Please let this not be a disaster.