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Panic flooded Castiel. This was not supposed to happen. He wanted to grab Dean, hold him close, and whisper promises of protection from the horrors he knew were waiting in this unforgiving land. Unfortunately, he knew that he had to remain calm, it was for the best. Dean would be safer without Castiel's protection, without his damn angelic light attracting every god forsaken creature in this place.

Dean was on the ground, knocked out cold from the violent journey here. Castiel wished he didn't have to wake him, that way he could stay unburdened from what was coming.

"Wake up," Castiel commanded.

Dean stirred and slowly began to stand up. When the hunter turned toward Castiel, he gave him a look that will forever haunt the angel's thoughts. Dean's expression was littered with worry and confusion. He had never looked so vulnerable, silently asking Castiel for guidance and protection. They shared a brief conversation about where they were and how they'd gotten there. Suddenly, Dean whipped around to face an eerie rustling, the first sign of many monsters already being drawn to their presence.

By the time Dean would turn back to his angel for help he would already be gone. Castiel felt guilt like he had never known before. Even after making a deal with Crowley and ultimately unleashing the Leviathans upon the world, nothing could compare to how guilty he felt about leaving Dean. Castiel knew Dean wouldn't understand, but he had to go.

"Cas, we should get-" Dean stopped when he realized he was alone. His eyes widened even further with fear knowing he was now on his own. "Cas!" He tried once more, but received no answer from his friend. Not even a trace.

Castiel whirled himself far away from Dean, trying to put as much distance between them as possible. The Leviathans were going to hunt him relentlessly and he couldn't take a chance of leading Dean into more danger. Dean was smart and resilient Castiel told himself, he knew the hunter would make it on his own. These thoughts did not do much to comfort Castiel or take away the heavy feeling in his chest, but he carried on. Right now, Castiel had to fight, survive, and do penance for his actions.

Later, Castiel found a suitable shelter to rest and recharge himself. He'd been fighting mercilessly and needed some time to recover his stamina. He promised himself he wouldn't think about Dean or what could be happening to him. However, Dean had other plans.

Cas? Buddy, you got your ears on?

Dean was praying to him. Castiel wished he wouldn't, then immediately felt terrible for even thinking such a thing. Dean was trying to reach out to him, using the only way he had left, and all Castiel could think about was his own selfish pain. The only good thing about this was that Castiel knew for sure Dean was temporarily safe and alive.

Look, I don't know what's got you but I swear when I find you, I'm gonna kick it's ass and we're gettin' out of here. Together.

Castiel felt sick. Dean automatically assumed something had taken Castiel, never had he considered that the angel could abandon him.

Please Cas, gimme a sign or something to help me find you.

Dean pleaded while Castiel remained silent, hating himself for ignoring the one he loved.

Okay, well I've found something that might pass as shelter for a little while. I won't give up on you, I can't.

This left Castiel feeling hollow and ashamed. He thought about Dean sitting alone in the dark, praying for help. It absolutely shattered him.

Little did Castiel know, Dean would continue praying to him every night from then on. Some nights they were short and to the point. Dean told him about the monsters he'd killed that day or the food he'd found to eat. Other nights they were more intimate, telling him that he was tired or scared. And on rare occasions, Dean would simply say how much he missed him and Sam.

Nights like these were when Castiel nearly broke. He would almost throw caution to the wind and fly to the hunter's side, ready to fight whatever came their way together. But he controlled himself and protected Dean the only way he knew how.

One night Dean revealed to him that he'd found an ally. A vampire named Benny. Apparently, this vampire knew a way out of purgatory and planned to use the only human available as his ride out.

Dean continued to tell Castiel about Benny every once in a while. How he was starting to trust him and how he watched over him while he slept.

Jealousy boiled deeply within Castiel, it was supposed to be his job to protect him. It was his job to watch over Dean. Also, he did not like the idea of Dean sleeping with his back to a monster. Staying away was becoming harder than ever.

Inevitably, one night Dean told Castiel that Benny's patience was starting to wear a little thin and he suggested that maybe Dean should consider moving on. But Dean ignored the vampire, vowing to find his angel before they left.

Dean prayed his heart out every evening to Castiel and all he could do in return was listen. It was extremely unlike Dean to be so open and willing to share his emotions. He revealed precious things that he certainly would never say aloud. Castiel hoarded everything greedily, determined to cherish every confession for the rest of his existence. The angel didn't think he could emotionally break any further, yet Dean somehow always found new ways to shred up the remaining pieces of his heart with unwavering loyalty. And yet they both carried on.

Castiel had always admired Dean's determination to protect and take care of his family and friends. He watched how Dean always put others before him, especially Sam, and began to realize that's one of the main reasons he fell in love with him.

It was difficult to keep track but Castiel presumed it must have been about six months since first entering purgatory. Dean was badly hurt during a fight with a couple of nasty werewolves. Castiel knew it was bound to happen and that Dean was very lucky to have not been hurt like this before. It haunted Castiel knowing that the reason Dean was still even here was because he wouldn't leave without him. And Dean paid the price for it.

Part of Castiel loved Dean even more fiercely for never leaving him, while the other part of him wished he would assume the angel dead and give up. His stubbornness would be the death of him. The night of the injury he prayed to Castiel more desperately than ever.

Cas, I'm hurt. I'm hurt real bad. Benny says I'll get better with enough time and rest, but I know he's lying to make me feel better. I'm beggin' you, if you're out there please come to me. I need your help. Need you, angel.

Castiel was dying inside. He felt dizzy and nauseous. He couldn't stay away this time, he had to go to him. He would fix him right up and hold him tight. Castiel longed to tell him that he too needed him and they could finally leave this nightmare behind. He felt lost in every sense of the word.

After mere minutes of internal debate, he decided to commit to the crazy plan he conjured up, he wouldn't let Dean die.

Castiel silently arrived to where Dean and Benny had set up shelter, a small cave that felt damp and stunk of rotting meat. It was very cold, but Castiel thought the pair were smart not to risk lighting a fire, it might attract unwanted attention. Benny sat perfectly framed in the entrance of the cave, his back to Dean, about ten feet away, watching for the first sign of attack. Dean was sleeping, or maybe he was just unconscious from the pain, while Castiel slowly knelt down by his side. The angel prided himself on how stealthy he could be, Benny didn't hear or sense a thing.

Castiel studied Dean and knew he made the right choice by coming here. Dean would not survive these injuries without emergency care. Castiel did not allow himself the pleasure of truly looking at Dean, this was purely business, no time to admire his beautiful soul. The angel pressed two fingers to the hunter's forehead and healed him. He cured the mortal wounds but decided to leave the external and superficial damage to heal on it's own, hoping this would hide his master plan.

When Castiel was finished with his work he quickly blipped out of the cave. He flew far away, leaving Benny to wonder whether he'd heard a faint fluttering sound when he turned back to check up on Dean.

Eventually, Dean fully recovered from the werewolf incident. He never missed a night of praying to Cas, updating him on his progress. Benny was caring for him as best he could, satisfying the void Castiel could not fill.

Cas, were you here?

Silence. The bluntness of the question startled Castiel. He'd been found out. Dean would be able to connect the dots and assume the angel was staying away on purpose.

Those wounds weren't gonna heal on their own, I knew I was dying. And then, somehow, I got better. If you really were here, why'd you leave me?

More silence. Castiel wondered when lying and keeping secrets had become so familiar, creeping in like a cancer spreading slowly and then all at once. The angel missed honesty. That freeing feeling that always came with it felt so foreign now.

Thank you.

Dean never brought up the subject again.

~

It was now approximately eleven months in when Castiel, despite himself, was waiting to hear Dean's nightly prayer. The routine had become far too comfortable and it scared Castiel how much he depended on hearing from Dean. This time the hunter had a surprise for him.

Hey, Cas. Today was pretty damn productive and I haven't felt this good in a long time. Never felt more alive than I do today. So, I know that you're out there and listening. That's why I'm gonna try something different tonight. Benny's watching our camp and he's far enough away that he won't know what I'm doing. Not that he'd care if he did.

Castiel was confused. What could Dean be planning?

Oh, it's been so long, angel.

Castiel froze, he now knew where Dean was going with this. The last time they were involved a sexual relationship with one another was before they stopped the apocalypse.

Been so long since I've touched you, felt your warm lips against mine. Never kissed lips like yours, Cas, they drive me crazy. Don't wanna stop kissin' you once we start. Wanna drown in you, baby.

Castiel could practically hear Dean moaning the words through the use of his thoughts alone.

Too long since my hands were in your soft hair. You know that I loved messin' it up on purpose? Made you look so sexy, all wild for me.

They hadn't been intimate like this in years. Castiel craved it more than life itself, already feeling his cheeks beginning to blush.

Haven't ever stopped dreamin' about you though, always thinking about your strong arms, the way they held me down. I think about your firm chest, and how sensitive your nipples are when I touch em'. I think about those sharp hip bones and the perfect curve of your ass. I miss bruising your skin, marking you with my mouth and fingers. And I miss that thick cock, baby. Miss the way you taste. Wanna feel you inside me again, Cas.

His body was already starting to give in to the dirty pleasure of Dean's words, when he suddenly snapped out of it. How could Dean let his guard down like this? Even with Benny watching out for him it was incredibly reckless and Castiel suddenly felt angry. Castiel's anger quickly turned to helplessness. There was absolutely nothing he could do about the situation short of actually going to Dean in person.

I'm touching myself, Cas. My cock's so fuckin' hard for you already. Pretending it's your mouth on me, suckin' me wet and sloppy. Picturing you lookin' up at me as you swallow me down.

All other emotions were slowly pushed aside as Castiel's cock swelled with desire, listening to Dean's lustful words. So much had happened since the last time they made love. Mainly, Castiel had destroyed Dean's trust in him, on more than one occasion. Before the fight to kill Dick, they had started to mend things between them, beginning the long road to recovery concerning their friendship. He never imagined Dean would want this type of relationship again, and he certainly would not have blamed him for it. But now that it was happening, Castiel couldn't deny himself the momentary bliss that was Dean Winchester.

Cas, touch yourself for me. Take your cock out and stroke it nice and slow.

Castiel began palming himself through his pants, creating delicious friction. Against all better judgment, Castiel freed his cock and obeyed Dean's orders.

When I find you, and I will, I'm not gonna be able to keep my hands off you. Need you like air. First thing I'm gonna do is kiss you rough, finally taste that sweet mouth of yours. Gonna bite your lip and breathe in your tiny little moans. I miss all those noises you make, just for me, nobody else. Then I'm gonna get on my knees for you, baby. Not gonna take my time. Want your cock in my mouth so fuckin' bad.

Castiel's breathing was loud and heavy as he started to pump his dick faster. Dean's filthy words were working Castiel into a frenzy and he was not going to last very long.

Come on, angel. I'm gettin' so close. Just thinking about you is enough to make me blow my fuckin' load. Want you to come with me.

Dean's named slipped from Castiel's tongue, chanting it over and over. He was making far too much noise, but couldn't find the will power to care. He wanted to come. He needed to come.

My slutty little angel, I know you're close. Come on, Cas, come for me. I'm right here with you, baby. Come with me. NOW! Oh, Cas! Fuck yeah, feels so good. Always feels so good with you, angel.

Castiel gave in and spilled hot cum over his already filthy hand at Dean's command. He moaned and panted loudly, basking in the glory of his first orgasm in what felt like ages.

There was silence for a long time. Castiel decided that must be all for the evening, Dean had gotten off and fallen asleep. Then Dean's voice was back, capturing the angel's undivided attention.

You wanna know what I miss most? The thing I feel like I'm dying without? It's your eyes. I miss looking at you and feelin' like I'm something special. I look at you and I see love. That's why I don't look away, Cas, I need to feel that. Need to feel your eyes on me again. Never giving up.

Castiel sat there with his back pressed up against a tree, hand still coated in his release, while his mind raced with too many thoughts all at once. His face wore a broken expression that revealed only half the amount of the pain that he felt. This was too much. He never expected to hear something like this, spoken or through prayer. He longed to give Dean what he wanted, set his eyes on him and drink his image in hungrily. He would caress him without touching, feel all of him without physical contact. They were beyond that.

After Castiel had gathered his thoughts and collected himself, he knew one thing was for sure, Dean had a plan. Castiel assumed Dean had been interrogating monsters for information on how to track the angel, but now he realized he must be getting closer. Trying to stay one step ahead of Dean Winchester was not an easy feat.

Every few nights for the next month Dean would pray dirty thoughts to Castiel. The new ritual made Castiel feel anxious because sometimes Dean's timing was awful. Castiel would have to listen as Dean whispered filth into his ear, distracting him while he ran or fought for his life. Castiel was accustomed to listening to prayers in the background while he focused on a task, but this was different. Prayer was not meant to be used this way. As much as Castiel wished it would stop, he secretly hoped it never would.

Castiel was bent over a stream washing his hands and face with water that couldn't be much cleaner than himself, when he heard footsteps coming from behind him. Normally, he would be instantly ready to fight or escape but this time was different, he knew those footsteps.

"Cas," Dean rasped.

Castiel stood up straight and turned towards the sound of Dean's broken voice. He stared calmly, face expressionless, taking in Dean's appearance. They were no more than two feet apart. His face was covered in blood, dirt, sweat, and most likely tears. His clothes were torn up and brown with gunk. Holding his weapon in one hand, he stood there looking extremely primal. Castiel could see his pain as if it were a tangible bubble surrounding him. Dean's physical state deeply saddened Castiel, he never wanted this for him.

They stared at one another, searching the other's eyes for answers. Castiel was relieved to see they had not changed. They were still incredibly vibrant, shining brighter than any emerald the Earth could ever produce. Castiel loved these eyes, they were the window to Dean's soul. The angel admired Dean now more than ever because no matter what he had endured in this awful place he remained pure and clean on the inside.

Hovering closely over Dean's shoulder was his vampire companion. Castiel set his eyes on the monster and they exchanged a heated glance. Castiel found what looked like possessiveness in Benny's eyes and body language. Castiel wanted to smite him then and there, have Dean all to himself. But deep down Castiel knew he should probably thank Benny for keeping Dean safe this whole time, but right now he wasn't feeling very rational.

"Dean," Castiel choked and lunged forward. He gripped Dean tightly, one arm around his waist and the other around the back of his neck.

Benny backed up to give them some space, keeping an eye on the surrounding area.

Dean immediately dropped his weapon to the ground and melted into the embrace. Dean's arms wouldn't stay still, he rubbed as much of Castiel's back, neck, and hair as he could reach. They were both panting frantically, their breathing irregular, fearing the other would somehow just disappear. Castiel pulled back slightly, craving Dean's eyes again. Their foreheads pressed together, lips less than inches apart, both too scared to make the next move. Castiel was the one to finally cave and moved his hands to cup Dean's face, pulling him all the way in.

The kiss was surprisingly gentle, given how desperate they both felt. Dean parted his lips, allowing Castiel's tongue to swiftly slide inside. He tasted the same as Castiel remembered, even under all the dirt and grime, Dean was still delicious. Time and place held no meaning. Let the monsters come, Castiel thought, kissing Dean seemed like a pretty damn good way to die at the moment.

They must have carried on for too long because Benny finally spoke up.

"Um, I hate to break up this sweet little reunion but I think we ought to get this show on the road, brother."

Dean jumped at the sound of Benny's voice, coming back down to reality. He broke the kiss but his eyes remained locked on his angel. Dean lovingly pet Castiel's scruffy beard.

"Looks good on you," he said lightheartedly.

"I saw no practical reason to keep my facial hair groomed in a place like this-" Castiel began automatically, but Dean cut him off.

"Cas, I don't think much of anything keeps itself groomed here." They both might have laughed but it seemed they couldn't remember how after so long. They settled on smiling, relearning to use the neglected muscles.

"I am so sorry, Dean I-" Castiel said trying to explain his actions but Dean cut him off again.

"Not now," Dean warned and Castiel understood.

"Let's go," he whispered as he grasped Castiel's hand, tucking it snugly inside his own. And so they pushed on, continuing the long journey toward the human portal, this time with Castiel in tow.

The angel knew he wouldn't be leaving with them, but he supposed he could try it Dean's way, even if only for a little while. He would fight for him and protect him, making sure he got through the exit alright. And when the time finally came to say goodbye, Castiel would look him over, determined to give Dean his eyes one last time.