It was only September, and it was already colder than a witch’s tit at Camp Chitaqua. Dean’s cabin didn’t even have a fireplace, and he swore that he could see his breath in the dim yellow light of the hurricane lamp. The residents generally hunkered down after dark, with little to do and nowhere to do it, leaving the grounds eerily silent.
The explosive pop behind Dean’s back nearly made him hit the ground. He wheeled around, gun in hand, to find Cas standing in the doorway of his cabin, clutching a bottle of champagne. Liquor manufactured before the major distilleries closed down was a precious commodity at the camp, reserved for important occasions. Mostly these days they made do with the rotgut that they distilled themselves from half-spoiled corn and windfallen apples. Dean couldn’t imagine how Cas had gotten hold of champagne. The bottle was nothing special–it could have been bought for ten bucks at any grocery store back in the day–but Dean hadn’t seen anything like it in a couple of years.
Dean tucked the gun away, and sank back down into his seat. A regional map was spread before him, the Croat infested areas marked with red crosses, and he pretended to turn back to it.
“Oh, come on, Dean,” Cas said. “The apocalypse will still be here tomorrow. Have a drink with me.” He’d clearly started the party without Dean. His words slurred slightly, and the gleam in his eye was madder than usual. He had just enough decency, even now, to leave the painkillers–the ocycodone, the morphine, the heroin–for people in pain, but everything else he found among the medical supplies was fair game. He’d developed a particular love of amphetamines. Dean suspected that their crystal clear hyper-reality reminded him of how it felt to be an angel.
Cas took a long swig from the bottle and stretched languidly, arms bent behind his head. His back was to Dean, but there was no doubt that this was a show. There’d been a time when Cas hadn’t known the meaning of the word seduction, but that innocence had long ago burned away. The tilt of his hips, the long line of his neck as he tipped it back–there was something unnervingly feminine about his little performance. Dean could imagine the dozens of women who’d seduced Cas with the same set of gestures, gestures that Cas had watched, and learned from, and was now putting to use on Dean. Dean thought that he should be disgusted, or amused, that he should tell Cas to fuck off back to his own cabin and get one of his acolytes to scratch his itch. Dean didn’t, though. He was half-hard already.
“Champagne’s not really my thing, but if it’s alcohol, I’m not saying no,” Dean said. “The hell’d you find that, anyway?”
Cas flashed the broad, mocking smile that came so easily to him now. “I work in mysterious ways,” he said. He straddled Dean’s lap in one fluid motion, and brought the bottle to Dean’s lips. Dean grabbed Cas’s hand to steady it, and drank. The champagne was room temperature, but it was sharp and fizzy. No match for a good whiskey, or even a beer, but a hell of a lot better than moonshine. A trickle of champagne made its way down Dean’s chin, and Cas leaned forward to lick it away, his tongue catching the drop at the top of Dean’s jugular, and then following its path back up, along the roughly shaven throat, until it reached Dean’s bottom lip. Dean turned his head for a kiss, but Cas pulled away slightly, and brought the bottle to Dean’s lips again, instead.
“Cocktease,” Dean said to the mouth of the bottle.
“Drink,” said Cas.
Dean did. He swallowed the champagne in gulps, until it burned the back of his throat and dried out his mouth. Cas pulled the bottle away and drank a swig himself, head thrown back, mouth wrapped around it in a deliberately obscene provocation. Dean could feel Cas’s eyes resting on his face, gauging his reaction. When Cas let the bottle dangle from his right hand, Dean surged up and crushed their mouths together, one arm locked around Cas’s neck. Dean had never entirely gotten used to the beard, and the prickly scrape of it against his skin always surprised him. Cas’s mouth tasted bittersweet, like the champagne. His lips fizzed under Dean’s, as his tongue slipped into Dean’s mouth, insistent and exploratory. The too-rich, musty taste of marijuana lingered beneath the alcohol. Cas had made a grand success of growing pot out behind his cabin, and he’d made himself popular with the other residents by giving it away to anyone who asked for it.
Dean drew back. “You got something we can smoke?” he asked. Cas set the champagne bottle on the floor, and felt around in his pants pocket until he produced a joint. The paper used to roll it was clearly torn from a book, the black type spiraling around.
“Still smoking the Bible?” Dean asked.
“Nah. I burned my way through that ages ago. I’ve had to move on to books I actually like.” Cas studied the joint with his brows furrowed, as if it were an ancient tome. “I’m on the Collected Works of the British Poets now. I’ve been memorizing and then burning them in chronological order. This–” he held up the joint–“is Yeats. You like Yeats?” Cas asked.
“Can’t say we’re acquainted.”
“That’s a shame,” Cas said, still studying the joint. “Could be this is the last copy on earth. Still in here, though.” Cas tapped his head. “This page–” he brandished the joint like a professor would brandish a particularly important prop for his demonstration–“this page is my favorite: ‘A Drinking Song.’”
Cas tucked the joint behind his ear and rocked forward in Dean’s lap, pressing their chests together. His left arm hooked around Dean’s neck, and his lips sought out Dean’s ear, brushing so close that they rustled when they moved. “‘Wine comes in at the mouth,’” Cas whispered, deep voice scraping bottom, “‘And love comes in at the eye; that's all we shall know for truth, before we grow old and die.” Dean could feel, rather than see, the smile against the side of his face. Cas pulled away a little, and then grabbed the bottle and took a swig. He locked eyes with Dean, and lifted it up in a toast: “‘I lift the glass to my mouth, I look at you, and I sigh.’”
The champagne sloshed over Cas’s hand as he brandished the bottle, and when he set it down again, the froth dripped from his fingers. Dean grabbed Cas’s hand and brought it to his mouth. The champagne tasted salty-sweet as Dean sucked it from the fingers that curled against his tongue. He licked his way down to the wrist, chasing the trickle of champagne. Cas made an involuntary sound in the back of his throat, high-pitched and helpless. His act of sexual sophistication was just that. He always crumbled the instant that Dean touched him, raw and vulnerable to the simplest caress, like he was still amazed that his body could make him feel this. Cas’s forehead fell against Dean’s temple, and he said the single word, “Dean,” softly, like it was an entire sentence. Fingers stroked Dean’s cheek, sticky with champagne and saliva. He heard Cas’s breath catch. Dean sucked on the inside of Cas’s wrist until he was sure that he’d left behind a bruise in the shape of his mouth–something that he could push back Cas’s sleeve and look at for days. Dean liked that. He was pretty sure that Cas liked it, too. Dean looked up when he was done, and smiled.
“Cut the poetry reading,” Dean said, “and give me the goddamn weed.”
Cas’s mouth opened and closed, like he was in shock, but he recovered almost instantly, and the mask slipped firmly back into place. He grinned and pulled a lighter out of his pocket. Cas lit the joint, and took a deep hit. Dean reached for it, but Cas, still holding his breath, shook his head. He leaned forward and pressed his lips to Dean’s, a soft, tantalizing brush that wasn’t quite a kiss. Dean drew Cas’s breath into his lungs. Dean felt the high spread through his body almost before he exhaled, his limbs at once lighter and heavier, his fingers tingling, every place where Cas brushed against him bright and distinct.
Dean took the joint away from Cas, and inhaled in his turn. He caught Cas’s face in his hands, and blew the smoke into his mouth. They went back and forth like that, every hit shared between them in soft, lazy intimacy, so close that Dean could feel Cas’s eyelashes brush against his cheek at each pass. Finally, Cas stubbed it out on the table behind Dean’s head.
“Save it for later,” Cas said. He ran his hands down Dean’s chest as he slid slowly off Dean’s lap, and sank down until his knees hit the floor. He leaned his cheek against the inside of Dean’s thigh, and stroked his thumbs along the fold where leg met hip. He moved forward slightly, and nuzzled the bulge in Dean’s jeans. He made no move to unzip them, though. Cas looked up at Dean, and if it weren’t for the hard cock against his cheek, he could almost have been a supplicant gazing up at his God.
“Do you remember the first time we had sex, Dean?” Cas asked.
“Of course I remember,” Dean said. He had no idea where that question came from, and it made him uneasy. Even setting aside the influence of the drugs, Cas was weird–unpredictable, unknowable–same as he’d always been. This little trip down memory lane could take an ugly turn at any time, even if that wasn’t what Cas intended.
Cas smirked. “It was terrible, wasn’t it?”
Dean winced. That was absolutely true. “Not my fault,” he said. “I did my damnedest to make you comfortable for, like, an hour. I’ve never met another guy who could be stressed out while he was getting his dick sucked. Hell, I even cuddled with you. Nothing I did would make you relax. If I hadn’t known better, I’d have thought you were just going through with it to shut me up, like that night at the brothel.” Dean had thought that, or at least considered the possibility. It probably should’ve stopped him. It hadn’t.
Cas rubbed his cheek against Dean’s crotch again, and laughed the humorless laugh that Dean had come to hate. “I wanted it. You have no idea. I was scared. I was so sure that if I did it wrong, you wouldn’t let me touch you again.”
Dean swallowed. He didn’t like hearing these confessions of vulnerability from Cas, even though the guy had been bleeding all over the place for years now. “Well, like you said, it was terrible, and I still wanted to keep doing it.”
Cas peered up at Dean from under his dark lashes. “You want it now, don’t you?” It was a tease, but there was a real question barely hidden beneath it.
“Yes. God, yes.” Dean let his hand fall to Cas’s shaggy hair, and tugged lightly. “Come on.”
Cas caught Dean’s eye, heavy-lidded and amused, and then pulled himself free of Dean’s grasp and stood. “Strip,” he said.
“You’ve got to be fucking kidding me,” Dean said, but Cas was already unbuttoning his shirt, as efficient and unceremonious as he’d always been when it came to undressing. Whatever else Cas had learned about sex over the years, he’d never picked up the art of the striptease.
When the shirt came off, Dean could’ve counted Cas’s ribs. Dean was thinner, too, now that the days of pie and cheeseburgers were gone, but Cas was worse off than he needed to be. He’d never really adjusted to eating. He found most food repulsive, and could only barely be persuaded to eat anything that had been cooked. Meat, milk, and eggs practically had to be forced down his throat. Mostly he lived on raw fruits and vegetables from his garden. He was a good gardener, and as a result he had a lot of control over the camp’s meals. There were times when Dean thought that it was suspicious that the food Cas hated the most was the best and richest, and wondered whether all the meat, milk, and eggs that Cas didn’t eat were making their way onto Dean’s plate. Dean would kick Cas’s ass if he could ever prove it.
Cas had already kicked off his boots, and Dean still hadn’t made a move to join him. “It’s too cold for this shit,” Dean said. Which it was, really. There had to be an entire chemistry set’s worth of chemicals in Cas’s blood stream to keep him from shivering. Mostly, though, Dean just wanted Cas to get down to the business of sucking his cock.
“The World Mind can only be contacted by those who return themselves to their primal state,” Cas said.
“Jesus, is that what you tell your Manson girls?” Dean said. “You do know that’s total bullshit, right?”
“Oh, yes,” Cas said, grinning, as he kicked off his pants. “But it’s beautiful bullshit. And the longer you sit there and complain about it, the longer it’s going to be until you get what you want.”
Dean got up and started to undress resentfully. He was freezing the instant his over-shirt came off. Cas, though, gave no sign of discomfort as he sprawled naked across Dean’s cot. His forearms were dimpled with goosebumps in the flickering light, and his nipples were hard with the cold, the way they were when Dean had played with them. Dean imagined taking one of them in his mouth and rolling it around with his tongue until he’d warmed it. Maybe naked wasn’t such a bad idea.
Cas watched Dean pull his t-shirt over his head in rapt fascination. Whatever else had changed about him, he could still stare holes in Dean. “You know,” Cas said, “all your love poetry is so obsessed with sight. ‘Love comes in at the eye,’ and all that. I’ve never understood it. You’re an uncommonly ugly species.” Dean laughed in spite of himself. “Tigers, for instance, are much more pleasing to look at. All cats, really. And birds. Feathers are preferable to skin, practically and aesthetically. I’ve always thought that you’d look better with plumage.” Cas rambled like this when he was stoned. Dean was never sure how seriously it was meant. It sounded like a joke, but knowing Cas, it was entirely possible that he really did wish that Dean had feathers.
Dean dove for the cot with ungainly eagerness the instant his clothes were off. It was less an attempt to pounce on Cas than a rush to grab the blankets at the foot of the bed, but he more or less managed to do both at once. Cas might be willing to freeze his ass off in the name of seduction, but Dean wasn’t. Cas’s hands were icy where they landed around his waist, and Dean shivered.
“You don’t like what you see?” Dean said.
Cas hooked a leg around Dean’s thigh and rolled them over, Dean’s back falling into the narrow hollow of warmth where Cas had lain. Cas ran his forefinger along Dean’s bottom lip. “I’m not saying that. You’re quite beautiful. For a human.” He kissed the side of Dean’s face. “Although you do have certain obvious flaws. Your melanin is unevenly distributed, for instance.” He kept on kissing his way across Dean’s nose and cheeks, placing his lips with precision, as if he were following a pattern.
Dean ran his hand from the Cas’s shoulder blades to the small of his back, and let it rest there. Cas’s muscles tensed in response. “My what is what?” Dean murmured, already nearly past the point where he could understand language.
Cas kissed a spot close to Dean’s ear. “Freckles, Dean. You suffer from a tremendous number of them.”
Cas’s mouth traveled down to Dean’s throat and sucked on the pulse there, teeth scraping along the vein. He reached the edge of the blanket, and disappeared under it. His legs slotted between Dean’s, his knees nudging Dean’s thighs apart. Dean could feel Cas hard against his hip, but there was no urgency in the path that he licked down Dean’s stomach, or in the half-ticklish scrape of his fingernails down Dean’s sides. When his mouth reached Dean’s inner thigh, he rubbed his cheek against Dean’s cock, and the rasp of his beard made Dean hiss in surprise and thrash away. He felt Cas’s left arm settle firmly just above his hips and press down hard.
“Stay still, Dean.” Even muffled under the blankets, Cas sounded decidedly pleased with himself. Dean sank back against the bed, and Cas went back to nuzzling Dean’s cock. Dean dug his fingers into the mattress, and did his best not to push too hard against the arm holding him down. Cas would take resistance as an excuse to screw with him more.
The first swipe of tongue across the head of his cock dragged an undignified whine out of the back of Dean’s throat. He panted and arched his back as Cas lapped at him with obsessive thoroughness. By the time Cas actually swallowed Dean down, he couldn’t remember that he’d ever wanted anything else. It was perfect, it was everything, it was an absolute whiteout without thought, where nothing existed except that hot mouth, and the ache of his fingers clenched tight, and his foot rubbing against Cas’s calf.
His whole body prickled with sweat. His skin was so hot that he didn’t even feel the chill when he pushed the blanket down so that he could watch. Cas looked up at him, his pupils blown. Dean dropped one hand down to his hair, and laid the other against his flush, damp cheek. Cas changed his angle slightly, tipped his head just right, so that Dean could feel his cock pressing against the inside of Cas’s mouth. Dean was done the instant that he felt himself sliding under his fingers. He came shuddering and clutching at Cas’s hair. Cas sucked him through it until the pressure bordered on painful and Dean pushed him off.
He grabbed Cas by the arm and dragged him up, kissing the salty, bitter taste of himself out Cas’s mouth. Cas threw his leg over Dean’s thigh and pressed their chests together. The angle made it awkward to stroke him off, but Cas always wanted as much skin-on-skin contact as he could get. It took all of a half-dozen pulls before Cas gave a short, sharp gasp against Dean’s mouth and came all over his hand. Dean wiped it off on the edge of the blanket. Not like it wasn’t filthy already. Cas pulled back and buried his face against Dean’s throat, ragged. They were warm and sticky everywhere they touched. Dean couldn’t imagine ever wanting to move again.
After a little while, though, Cas collected himself and rolled onto his back, once again entirely self-possessed. He reached across Dean’s chest and grabbed the champagne bottle from the floor. He took a swig, squinted at it in disappointment, and passed it over to Dean. There was all of half a finger left, and Dean downed it in a single swallow.
“Happy anniversary, Dean,” Cas said with a smirk. He reached behind them for the joint he’d left sitting on the table. He turned it over in his hand and sighed. “Poor Yeats,” he said, and lit it.
“It’s not our anniversary,” Dean said.
Cas took a long drag and let it out before he answered. “Of course it is. Besides, how would you know? Did you draw a little heart around the date on your calender? ‘Dean plus Cas forever?’” He offered the joint to Dean and Dean waved it away.
“I think I liked you better before you learned sarcasm,” Dean said.
“So did I.” Apparently Cas’s mood had taken an ugly turn. He was like that, these days. He went from flirtatious to hostile between one breath and the next.
“Anyway,” Dean said, “I may not remember the exact fucking date, but I know that the first time we got horizontal was a couple of months before Sam . . .” He cut off that line of thought before it went any further. “And that was in May. There’s no way that our ‘anniversary,’ or whatever it is, is in September.”
Cas laughed. “No, Dean. Not that anniversary. I don’t remember when the first time we fucked was, either.” The word ‘fuck’ still sounded unnatural on Cas’s tongue, and it made Dean flinch. Which might have been the point. Cas looked over at Dean. “You really don’t know what day it is? September 18 doesn’t ring any bells?”
It did, of course, the moment that Cas said it. Maybe some part of him had already known. It was one of the many dates that Dean preferred to forget, these days.
“Five years ago today I gripped you tight and raised you from perdition,” Cas said, and Dean cringed to hear those words said with such mockery. Cas looked around the tiny cabin, the maps and the guns, the one flickering lamp. “I saved you.”
There was a beat of silence, and then Cas sat up. “I should go,” he said. “I’ve got a whole harem to keep warm.”
Dean grabbed his wrist. “They can keep each other warm.” Cas looked back at him. This was delicate. If Cas thought that he detected any hint of pity, his heart would roll up like a hedgehog, and Dean wouldn’t see anything but sharp edges for a week. “Come on, you go now, you miss round two. You can’t wait until sunup for your next orgy?”
“I don’t know, orgies are fantastic,” Cas said, but he relaxed in Dean’s grip. “You should join us sometime.”
“Not really my scene,” Dean said.
“I never expected you to be such a prude.” Cas reached over and blew out the hurricane lamp before he sank back into the bed. Dean hesitated, and then took Cas’s hand and laid it carefully over the scar on his shoulder.
“Dean, don’t,” Cas said, but he didn’t pull away. Dean laid his own hand over it, and pressed down.
They lay curled up there, awake and silent, for a long time. Dean kept their hands pressed together, and did his best to pretend that he couldn’t hear Cas’s breath hitching in the dark.