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Tales from the Bunker of Domesticity

Chapter Text

When Dean gets out of the shower, bathrobe wrapped tightly around him, he’s greeted with the croons of Sinatra and the sharp sounds of Sam’s laughter. He walks towards the main room, where he left his brother with a stack full of books and wonders what could be making Sam laugh.

The sight that greets him almost makes him choke. Sam is standing with his hands on the shoulders of a very stiff, very terrified looking Castiel.

Dean’s first reaction is to panic, because something must be wrong here. Castiel looks like someone who has had the ground snatched out from beneath him and is trying to balance on a tightwire. It takes Dean a considerably long moment to realize that what the two men are doing is dancing.

Or trying to, at least.

Sam has Cas at arms length, and the angel is gripping the sides of Sam’s flannel with considerable force. But Sam seems un-phased. In fact, his brother seems to be enjoying himself. He has a light smile gracing his lips and his cheeks are tinted red. The way he keeps giggling makes Dean think that Sammy might be a little drunk—that and the fact that he’s trying to teach an angel how to waltz—and it takes Dean less than a second to glance over the book covered table to find a half emptied bottle of wine.

Cas has forgone his coat and jacket; his shirt sleeves are rolled up to the elbows, and he has a look of consternation on his face, like the faith of humanity depends on him learning to dance. His eyes are glued to his feet, and the sight of him, this angel of the Lord looking lost and confused because he can’t master the simple task of moving his feet left to right, hits Dean hard.

Dean stands there and watches them for a minute, his hulkish brother and the tense angel moving together with the difficulty of two pubescent mountains, when he finally makes his presence known.

He clears his throat. “Should I leave you two alone?”

Cas’ head shoots up at him, his face looking even more panic-ridden, but Sam gives Dean an easy smile.

“No,” Sam says, pulling the angel’s clenched fists off of his shirt. “I’m afraid Cas is a hopeless case.”

Something close to hurt flashes over Cas’ face, but it’s quickly replaced with cool resignation. He brings his hands down to his sides, and tightens his fingers into a ball, before he relaxes them again.

“I believe you’re correct, Sam,” the angel says, his voice sounding far away. “Perhaps dancing requires a certain human quality, which I obviously lack.”

Dean’s not sure what makes him act, maybe it’s the damn robe and its ridiculously high thread count that’s making him feel all kinds of blissful, but he finds himself moving towards Cas, holding one hand out to the angel while the other settles itself comfortably around Cas’ waist.

“Nonsense,” Dean says. “You’ve just been practicing with the wrong person. Sammy has the grace of a Yeti on crack.”

Sam laughs at that as he makes his way towards the table. He grabs one of the many tomes laid open and clutches it to his chest. “I’m gonna sort through the stacks again,” he says, lightly tapping the cover of the book with the back of his hand. “See if I can find something similar to this text.”

Dean watches Sam disappear behind the bookshelves and he turns his gaze back to Cas who now looks even more terrified than before. His eyes are open wide, his mouth clenched shut, and he has yet to place his hand in the one Dean is holding out.

Dean clears his throat and motions his head towards his open palm. It pulls Cas out of whatever trance he's in and the angel tentatively places his hand in Dean’s. Dean’s fingers automatically curl around Cas’ knuckles and he’s surprised at how warm the angel’s skin is.

“Let’s not try to do anything too fancy,” Dean says. He pulls Cas a little closer by the waist, splaying his fingers out against the cheap cotton of Jimmy Novak’s button down, and he lets his thumb graze the slight dip just beneath Cas’ ribcage.

“How about we just try moving together?” Dean continues.

Cas’ eyes meet Dean’s and the angel nods with a degree of solemnity that makes Dean laugh.

“What?” Cas demands, his voice rough and a little agitated.

“You,” Dean says. “I’m not asking for your hand in marriage here. It’s just a dance.”

Dean's words help the angel shake off some of his rigidness, and Cas raises his head up high. “I’m not afraid of dancing, Dean,” Cas says, voice deep and sharp.

“Then put your other hand on my shoulder,” Dean says. “And follow my lead.”

Cas does what Dean tells him, placing his hand lightly on Dean’s shoulder, and Dean takes the opportunity to slide his hand further towards the center of Cas’ back, bringing their bodies closer till there’s less than half a foot between them.

“Just move your feet with mine,” Dean says, and he starts counting off, “one, two, three, four.”

Cas shuffles his feet inch by inch, barely picking his feet off the ground, but he’s able to follow the rhythm well enough.

Dean briefly wonders if he should change out of the robe and put on some real clothes. After all, dancing requires lots of movement, and it’s a little strange that the only thing covering his skin from the air, from Castiel’s gaze, is essentially a long yard of fabric that could easily be undone by one tug of the belt. He finds that the thought doesn’t bother him as much as he thought it would. Besides, he likes the way the robe hugs him and how its hem sweeps about him as he moves.

Cas, as if reading his thoughts, comments on the robe. “You like this,” he says, picking at the collar of the robe. “You wear it often.”

“I do,” Dean says, but doesn’t elaborate further. Cas takes this in stride and lowers his gaze till it’s riveted to his feet, as if the secret to dancing could be found on the tips of his loafers.

Dean brings his hand up till it’s under Cas’ chin, fingers tracing the faint stubble there, and he nudges the angel’s head up. “Eyes on me,” Dean says, and if the register of his voice is slightly lower than usual, well, then it must just be the fact that the bunker’s well heated.

Cas’ eyes lock onto his, blue eyes clearer than ever, and he tilts his head as his hold on Dean’s shoulder tightens. Dean surprises himself and lets out a soft hum of content at the increased pressure.

He lets the hand on Cas’ waist drift down to the side of the angel’s hip and gives a slight squeeze. “You have to loosen up, man. Don’t think of it as a dance. Think of it as a fight.”

Dean quickly steps to the right and Cas follows him.

“Move in tandem with your partner,” Dean says, pressing Cas close till their chests bump and then pushing forward so that Cas is moving backwards.

“Anticipate their moves.”

He slips his hand away from Cas’ waist, pulls the angel by their clasped hands, and brings him in for a spin. Cas moves into it seamlessly, and when he’s completed the full turn, he stops so that he’s an inch away from Dean, one hand clasped in Dean’s and the other planted firmly against Dean’s chest.

See,” Dean says, his voice soft. “Not so difficult.”

Cas’ fingers curl against Dean’s clavicle, against the fabric of the robe, and Dean can feel the angel’s thumb skirting the hem of the robe’s collar, tentatively tracing the skin just below it.

Cas appears to be entranced by what his thumb is doing, and his teeth worry at his bottom lip as his finger circles the skin just below Dean’s collarbone. Dean’s toes curl against the hard floor and he swallows thickly, blood coursing through him in a way that makes him want to do something crazy. Something like pushing an angel onto a table full of demon research and having his way with him, watching Cas' fingers curl around the leaves of books as Dean sends him over the edge.

And Dean wants to do other things. Even crazier things, like telling Cas that there’s a spare room in the bunker and maybe the angel should take it. Maybe he should stick around for a while, not because he’s useful in a bind, but because Dean’s chest feels a thousand times lighter when he knows where Cas is.

Cas heaves a heavy breath, and he slumps a little, body growing heavy in Dean’s hold.

Dean’s arms immediately tighten around Cas in worry. “What? What’s wrong?”

“It’s just-- overwhelming.”

“What is? The dancing?” Dean jokes. “Is it making you dizzy?”

“I don’t think it’s the dancing,” Cas says, eyes skirting up at Dean and skirting away just as quickly, and suddenly, he’s breaking away from Dean, refusing to meet the other man’s gaze.

“I should go,” the angel says with an air of finality, and before Dean can reach out a hand to ask the angel to stay—they could share a drink or play a board game or something—the sound of wings echoes through the room and Cas is gone.

Chapter Text

Dean is in his room, his room, and is making his bed, something he hasn’t done in years. When he lived with Lisa, she was the one to make the bed. Not because Dean wouldn’t have done it, but because he was the first one out of bed in the mornings. It was strange how all of Dean’s habits were flipped in that year he spent with Lisa and Ben. He’d wake early every morning, at 5:30 for Christ’s sake, and tuck in at eleven. He slept more in that year than he had in all of his years hunting, but strangely, he always found himself still wanting for sleep.

About a week ago, he and Sammy had made a trip to Bed, Bath, and Beyond where they bought new sheets and comforters for their beds. Dean chose a light forest green set for his, a choice that Sam found hilarious. “Did you buy them to match your eyes?” Sam had teased.

Whatever, thinks Dean, pulling his covers down. His bedding is awesome. And manly.

The simple act of stripping the bed layer by layer and dressing it up again has become one of the more calming moments of his day. Making his bed grounds him in a way so little else does, and he thinks back, fondly, on how both his mother and father emphasized how important it was to make your bed in the morning.

“There’s nothing better than coming home to a made bed,” his mother used to say, and Dean has only recently realized how right his mother was.

For Dean’s father, making the bed was a mark of a man’s mettle. It told you that that man cleaned up his own messes. That he was responsible, dependable, and could follow orders.

“A soldier never leaves his bed unmade,” his father would say, and their was a period of time when John would take a ruler to Dean’s bed, making sure that the top blanket was an even twelve inches away from the head of the mattress.

Dean doesn’t bother with such extreme detail anymore, but he tries to make the lines as straight and smooth as possible.

He’s about to put the first sheet down when Castiel appears. He manifests on the other side of the bed and in lieu of a greeting or an explanation or even an apology for showing up in his room unannounced, again, Cas says, “Sam told me you would be in your room.”

The angel takes a look around, glancing at the guns and knives Dean has mounted on the wall, the open closet where Dean has started to hang up his suits, and the shelf Dean had installed two days ago. The shelf is bare save for a handful of comics and half a dozen novels. It’s a work in progress, as is the entire room, but Dean already likes it. He likes having all of his things in one place. He likes leaving his stamp on the place. As a grown man, Dean’s never had the chance to choose what his space looks like. With Lisa, he felt like an interloper. The Glade-plug-in color scheme was all Lisa’s, and Dean kind of reveled in the process of picking out sheets for himself. Deciding where this chair should go and where to put the waste basket.

“I like what you’ve done with the place,” Cas says, and Dean can’t tell whether the angel is being facetious or not. He briefly wonders where the angel picked up such a clichéd phrase. Sometimes Cas surprises him with some reference or social cue that Dean is certain the angel hadn’t acquired from him or his brother. The brief spike of jealousy Dean feels in these moments always throws him. He knows Cas interacts, or at least has interacted with other humans. The dude’s been around for thousands of years. Dean couldn’t have been the only human Cas came into contact with.

The angel’s eyes return to the shelves and he runs a finger over the spines of the books there. Dean has a collection of Vonnegut books, all gifts from Bobby, and he took them out of storage and brought them here. He stops his ministrations with the bed and watches as Cas mouths the titles of each book.

Cas pulls one of the books out of its place, Cat’s Cradle, and presses his thumb over the book’s worn edges. “Would you like to meet him?” Cas asks with the nonchalance of a waitress asking if you want cream in your coffee. “Mr. Vonnegut.”

“We could catch him in one of his more prolific periods,” he looks up at Dean, eyes earnest and eager. “You could share a drink with him.”

Dean is tickled by the idea, more so by the fact that Cas is willing to use his ordained powers for something as trivial as giving Dean the chance to meet his favorite author, than the actual thought of meeting Vonnegut.

“Nah,” Dean says. “I like keeping my idols on a pedestal. A very far away pedestal.”

Castiel knits his brows and nods his head, a seeming acknowledgment of Dean’s logic, and Dean wonders, not for the first time, if Castiel actually understands Dean’s reasoning or if he just blindly accepts it. He finds that the prospect of either makes his chest warm.

“You should ask Sammy, though. I’m sure he has a notebook full of questions he’d love to ask Gandhi or Aristotle or someone equally dull.”

Dean returns to the task of making his bed, pulling the bottom sheet up over the pillows. Castiel clears his throat and stands at attention. “Can I help?” the angel asks.

“What.” Dean says. “With the bed?”

Cas stares at him unblinkingly and gives a slight bow of his head.

“Sure,” Dean says. “Just grab the other end and pull.”

Cas grabs the edge of the sheet, and before Dean can give him further instructions, the angel tugs at the fabric with such force that Dean, who’s holding the opposite end of the sheet, nearly faceplants onto the bed. He saves himself though, by bracing his hands in front of him, and he takes a moment to raise his head slowly and glare at Cas.

To his credit, Cas looks apologetic, and he apologizes to Dean sheepishly as he stares at the floor and scuffs his shoe against the hardwood.

Dean raises himself up and reaches for the cotton blanket, motioning for Cas to do the same. The angel grasps the blanket without glancing at it; instead, he keeps his eyes fixed on Dean as he brings the fabric up and lays it back down.

Dean finds it difficult to break his gaze from Cas,’ and he blindly reaches for the comforter until his fingers feel the soft down.

There are only two other people Dean has made his bed with, and both of them are dead now, hopefully snuggled together in their own bed in some untouched pocket of the afterlife. Watching Cas diligently smooth down the wrinkles of the comforter, Dean is slightly unsettled by how natural all this seems—the stolen glances between him and Cas, the ease with which they’re able to talk to each other, and maybe, more importantly, the way the silences sit between them, comfortable and strangely assuring.

“I found this enjoyable,” Cas says when they’re done, a look of pride gracing his face.

“Ya?” Dean asks. “That’s great. We can do some ironing next week.”

Cas’ eyes light up and he gives Dean a small smile. “I’d like that,” he says, voice soft.

Dean is about to ask Cas if he’d like to stay for breakfast. Even if the angel doesn’t need to eat, that doesn’t mean he can’t drown himself in the sweet comfort of a warm stack of pancakes. After all, Dean doesn’t need to cook bacon into his waffles. Except, really, he does.

But he doesn’t get to ask, because Cas’ forehead furrows in that way it does when his angel senses start tingling.

“Something up?” Dean asks instead, trying not to let the disappointment seep into his voice.

“I’m afraid so,” Cas says. He smiles at Dean again, but this time there’s a mischievous glint in the angel’s eyes. “I’ll see you soon. For the ironing.”

He’s gone in a flutter, leaving the space he was standing in empty save for a single white feather that slowly lilts downwards. Dean lunges over the bed and grasps the feather, eager to clutch it just in case it decides to disappear in a rush like its frustratingly elusive owner.

He sits on his bed and runs the feather against the skin above his lip over and over, smiling into it, until, several minutes later (though he’d never admit to it), he lifts his pillow and carefully places the feather beneath it.

Chapter Text

When Dean woke an hour ago, he had found Sammy sleeping with the side of his face pressed against an open book. To his surprise, though considering how often the angel was around lately, maybe it shouldn’t have come as too much of a surprise, he had found Cas in the main room too. The angel was standing over his brother in his typical creeper fashion, arms stiff at this sides and head tilted in contemplation. There was worry etched on Cas’ face, and when he saw Dean approaching he voiced his concern.

“It seems Sam has been overexerting himself,” the angel had said in a hushed voice.

“Are you kidding,” Dean had said. “He loves this stuff. It’s like he’s in school again.”

Dean had jerked his head towards the kitchen, motioning for Cas to follow him. Sam had been hitting the books pretty hard lately, and Dean thought he’d treat his brother to some well-earned grub. He had decided to make pancakes. In fact, he was going to make an entire breakfast spread—eggs, bacon, smoked ham, hash browns, biscuits, the whole shebang.

And that’s how Dean finds himself making breakfast with an angel.

Although, Dean quickly learns that making breakfast with Cas consists more of Dean cleaning up after the angel’s messes than actually making any food. He had asked Cas to crack some eggs into a bowl and the angel did exactly that. Literally. The angel had cracked the eggs, shells and all, inside the bowl.

When he presents said bowl to Dean, shards of eggs shells embedded in the yolk, the angel has a look of accomplishment on his face makes Dean’s heart pang.

“Uh, thanks, Cas,” Dean says, gingerly taking the bowl from the angel. “This is great, but, uh, you want to make sure to crack the egg without letting any part of the shell get into the bowl.”

Cas nods slowly. He reaches for the bowl again and starts to fish out the bits of shell with his hand.

“Woah,” Dean says, grabbing the bowl and pulling the angel’s yolk covered fingers out from the mucky mess. “Dude, no.”

He drags Cas over to the sink and reaches for a dishcloth. Holding the angel at the wrist, Dean wipes the egg off of each finger, letting the cloth slide over Cas’ skin.

This isn’t the first time he’s had to clean up a food related mess. He remembers going through the same motions with Sammy when the little monkey got his hands dirty with ice cream or chocolate syrup or peanut butter, holding his little brother’s hand under running water while he shook his head with a mix of frustration and fondness.

He feels mostly fondness right now, because, really, how couldn’t he when Castiel looks as angry as a little girl who got her favorite dress dirty.

He turns on the water and lets it wash over Cas’ hand and he tries, with not a lot of determination, to hold back his laughter.

“This is not funny,” Cas says, voice deeper than usual, and Dean knows that Cas is doing that on purpose—trying to compensate for how silly he probably feels.

“It’s a little funny,” Dean says. He starts to run his own fingers over Cas’ just to make sure that all of the yolk is gone. He lets his thumb slide down the side of each of the angel’s fingers, stopping at the web where he grazes the pad of his thumb over the soft skin he finds there.

“Want to make sure we get you all clean,” Dean says, offering an explanation for his thoroughness, even though Cas hadn’t asked for an explanation, even though Dean knows Cas could will the egg off his skin with a blink.

He turns off the tap and presses his thumb more firmly against the warm skin of Cas’ wrist as he dries the angel’s hand. Dean returns the hand back to the angel and grabs the bowl again. He dumps its contents into the sink and reaches for another egg, holding it lightly in his hand.

“Watch me,” he says, and he feels Cas crowd him, the angel’s chest brushing against Dean’s arm.

He shows Cas how to hold the egg—“loose, like you're about to throw a dagger”—and with a flick of his wrist taps the egg against the rim of the bowl, breaking the egg into two halves and letting the yolk pour down.

“See,” Dean says. “Easy.” He holds an egg out for Cas, and steps aside. “Your turn.”

The angel holds Dean’s gaze for a moment before he cups his hand around the egg, the tips of his fingernails lightly scraping against Dean’s palm. Cas’ face is unreadable as it so often is, and Dean can’t help feeling that the angel is gleaning something from the scene playing out between them—something Dean, as usual, can’t see.

The angel pulls the egg out of Dean’s hand and cracks it against the side of the bowl, just like Dean showed him, but with the strength of a throng of elephants. The egg is crushed in Cas’ hand and the yolk coats the angel’s hand splatters across his coat and tie.

Cas lets out a growl of frustration and tries to whip the residue off his hand. “This is ridiculous,” he says, and he begins pacing back and forth across the kitchen. Dean is taken aback, he’s never seen Cas get this riled up, and he finds it kind of adorable.

“Relax, Cas,” he says.

“Maybe I should be doing something useful.” His eyes burn bright for a second, and he brings up his now egg-free hand, scoured clean by holy magic.

“Hey,” Dean says. “This is useful. So you suck at cracking eggs. So does Sam.” Dean opens the cabinet beside the sink and pulls out three forest green plates. He hands them to Cas.

“Here. You can set the table.”

Cas takes the plates and holds them as if they’re holy relics.

“You know how to set the table,” Dean says. “We’ve been to enough diners for you to get the general arrangment.”

Dean empties the bowl again (hopefully for the last time) and lets Cas get to it as he starts cracking eggs with deft flicks of his wrist. He decides that eight eggs should be enough and he mixes the yolk till it’s light and airy, and adds a splash of milk to make the scramble a bit creamier. Bobby had taught him that trick. “It makes ‘em softer,” the hunter had told Dean. “And that’s as fancy as I get in the kitchen.”

It was Bobby that taught him how to cook most things, though the man had a more minimalist approach to cooking. So did Dean, at first, but the more he cooked, the more he realized how much he enjoyed creating varying textures in his food. How he liked to play around with seasoning. How he now preferred a brioche bun to a plain old sesame.

When he turns from his work to check on Cas’ progress, he finds the angel standing in the same spot he was in when Dean handed him the plates. He moves towards the angel and waves his hand in front of Cas’ glazed eyes.

Cas snaps out of his trance and his attention shoots back to the plates that are cradled against his chest.

“There are three plates here, Dean,” Cas says.

“Ya,” Dean says, turning back to the counter and pulling out a pan for the bacon. “And?”

“I don’t need to eat,” Cas says.

“Ya, well, you also don’t need to watch television, Cas,” Dean says. “But you do it anyway.”

The angel opens his mouth, probably to protest, but Dean beats him to it. “Don’t pretend you don’t. Set the table,” he commands. “Utensils are in the drawer next to the stove.”

Dean turns back to the counter, eager to get this show on the road and leaves Cas to his duties. After a few moments of silence, he hears the sound of heavy thunk of plastic plates being placed on the table. Dean smiles to himself and lights the stove. Sammy better appreciate this shit, he thinks.

 

 

 

It turns out that Sammy is incredibly appreciative and he practically moans when he sees the spread in the kitchen. He doesn’t even wait for Dean and Cas to sit down; he tucks in immediately, and starts saying things like “you have no idea how hungry I was” and “nothing opens your appetite like a six-hour research session.”

A smile breaks across Dean’s face and he doesn’t even care that he’s grinning from ear to ear. Sammy’s happy and they’re starting to feel like a family again.

He glances at Cas who is standing beside him and, of course, watching him intently. Dean gives a little bow and gestures towards one of the empty chairs at the table. “Sir,” he says in his best stuffy accent. “Your table.”

Cas appears bemused by Dean’s actions and he gives Dean an odd look before he takes his seat beside Sam. The table isn’t that big. It’s round and has four low chairs placed around it. There are some burn marks on the wood and scrapes that look like they have been made by knives. Dean imagines that the Men of Letters had a pretty good thing going here until they were wiped out. He could easily imagine the members sitting at the table playing cards as they drank scotch and puffed on their cigars. Which reminded Dean, he should probably look through all of the drawers and cabinets again to see if there were any cigars left. That would be badass.

Finally, Dean sits down and begins to scoop some of the scrambled eggs onto his plate. Truth be told, he’s kind of starving now too. Breakfast took longer than he thought it would, a full two hours, and he’s ready for a full-blown food coma.

On his third spoonful of eggs, he notices that Cas’ plate is still empty. The angel is alternating his gaze, moving his eyes from his empty plate to the food on the table and back to his plate.

Dean lightly kicks at Cas’ feet under the table. “Try the bacon,” he says.

Cas does. He grabs a handful of the stuff, about six pieces from the looks of it, and takes a huge bite out of it like he’s the Beast from Beauty and Beast, all uncultured and ravenous and kind of awesome.

Dean nearly chokes on his eggs from laughing.

“I like meat,” Cas says, words garbled as he talks around a mouthful of pork.

“We gathered,” says Sam, looking a little disgusted, but mostly content. Dean hasn’t seen his little brother eat that much greasy food with such gusto in a while.

The angel seems unperturbed and he takes another bite out of his handful of bacon. “This is very good, Dean,” Cas says, and Dean thinks someone needs to teach the angel how to chew with his mouth closed, but for now it’s fine, better than fine, even.

It’s breakfast with his family.

It’s home.

Chapter Text

Sam had declared that Cas needed new clothes.

“He can’t just keep appearing in the same thing every time we run errands,” Sam had said. “It’s a small town, Dean. People will start to notice, and the last thing we need—”

Sam had gone on for another ten minutes about what the last thing they needed was, even though he didn’t need to. Dean agreed with him, but sometimes it was good to let Sam go on his rants. It made him too exhausted to complain about other things later. They had taken Cas to the supermarket a few times and some townsfolk had already started commenting on the trench coat.

Last time they had gone on a milk run, a woman restocking cartons of eggs had approached Dean and asked, “Doesn’t he get warm wearing that heavy thing all the time?” Cas had been standing in front of the shelves of yogurt at the time, holding a cup of Yoplait in each hand and looking down at them as if they were part of the world’s biggest puzzle.

“Why do you need so many types of yogurt?” Cas had asked, voice laden with wonder and incredulousness.

The woman beside Dean had continued, voice low so only Dean could hear. “Or does he have-” and her voice had dropped even lower “- a condition? Me and the girls have been wondering,” she had jerked her head towards the checkout lane where two cashiers were staring straight at them, both with bemused smirks on their lips.

Dean had made up some story about Cas losing his luggage at the airport and being really particular about what he wore. The woman had pursed her lips and looked skeptical, so, yeah, new clothes for Cas, at least for when he went out in town, didn’t sound like a bad idea.

 

 

They stop by a gas station on their way to the clothing store. Sam goes into the convenience store to pay while Dean opens the tank door. Cas is still sitting in the back, back ramrod straight and hands politely folded over each other. Recently, there have been quite a few moments in Dean’s life when the camera pulls back and he’s forced to really look at where and who he is, and he’s started to notice a pattern. When Castiel’s around for these moments, Dean thinks he’s fared well in life. The angel had a way of brightening things up, bringing a spark back into Dean’s blood, dirt, and plaid saturated world.

Dean taps on the Impala’s window making Cas perk up like a squirrel. He motions for the angel to get out of the car.

From the main road, a motorcycle pulls up, engine purring like a dream. The man riding it parks it in front of the pump across from them and gives Dean a nod when he pulls off his helmet.

“She’s a beauty,” the man says, and Dean tries not to visibly preen.

“I could say the same about yours,” says Dean. He’s not sure from where he’s standing, but the bike looks like a Triumph, one from the 60’s judging by its slim frame and how high the body stands off of the ground.

“It is truly beautiful,” Cas says from beside him nearly making Dean start. He is looking at the bike with a reverence that completely throws Dean. Since when did the angel give a crap about any kind of vehicle?

“Ya?” asks the man, sizing up Castiel. “Well, feel free to take a closer look.” He winks at Cas before heading towards the store. Taken aback, Dean stares at the man’s retreating form for a moment. Was that flirting? Did that man just flirt with Cas? In front of him?

Dean’s not sure why that last one should matter. Why his presence should play any part in the way the man interacted with Cas, but, hey, he and Cas are two good-looking guys traveling together. It wouldn’t be crazy to assume. People always did with him and Sam and they didn’t even--

Dean cuts off that line of reasoning because, no. He is not gonna go there.

Cas approaches the bike and immediately lays a hand on its right handle. The body is black with yellow trimming--same colors as the man’s leather jacket, Dean notes, which is a little to matchy-matchy for Dean’s taste.

“So,” Dean starts, “you tired of riding with me and Sam? Thinking of taking up a two-wheeler.”

Cas bites his lips with restrained reverence, then looks up at Dean. “I never get tired of you.” His face turns serious. “Even when you say the same jokes over and over. And then laugh at them, even though they’re not funny. But,” and his eyes trail back to the bike as if they’re being pulled by a magnet, “this machine would make for a less confining journey.” He tilts his head and his features shift into something softer. “I could extend my wings and still travel with you.”

Dean didn’t know Cas had his wings with him the whole time. He thought it was more like something he conjured up when he needed it. Like the archangel blade. He plans to ask Cas about it later, when they are alone.

He hears laughter coming from outside the store's door and he sees the biker and Sam talking amiably, all smiles as they head towards them. The man seemed a little too chummy with his stupid, fitted, leather jacket. Dean could never fit into those jackets. His shoulders were always too broad.

When the two men reach the bike, the owner directs his gaze at Cas and asks,” Like what you see?”

Cas, completely oblivious to the man’s tactics, God bless him for it, nods emphatically. “How does it feel?” he asks.

“Like riding a cloud,” says the man, and Dean can detect a hint of humor in his voice. Dean notes something familiar in that voice and he studies the man’s face more closely. He has a narrow face, stubble across his jaw and hair buzzed close to scalp. He doesn’t look like anyone Dean knows, but he can’t shake off the feeling that he's met this man before.

“It’s like riding a cloud,” continues the man, “you know, if that cloud’s hugging the ground and spitting up gravel.”

He straps on his helmet and addresses Cas again. “You should try it some time.” He salutes Dean and Sam and gives Cas one more wink before he peels off.

“That was odd,” says Sam, and Dean whole-heartedly agrees, but Cas just lets out a quiet “hmm.”

 

 

The main street in town is wide and has almost no greenery or shade save beneath the few feet of roof that extends past the stores’ entrances. But there is a certain charm to the area and the townsfolk are out and about, visiting with each other outside the various storefronts. There was an ice-cream parlor that Dean had yet to try, a movie theater (only two movies and two showings per night), a bar (great selection of whiskey), a museum that housed miniature replicas of RVs (Sam had called it post-modern art and a commentary on the social stigmas that come with living in a mobile community), and lastly, a used clothing store.

The store is called The Vintage Vault and it has a large sign in its front window that reads “retro clothing.”

Retro. Vintage. Whatever they called it, it was still used clothes for Dean. Which is fine. That’s what he and Sammy wore for most of their lives, but if you’re going to sell something, just call it what it is.

A tiny bell rings as they push through the door and a sales girl looks up from her magazine for a moment and silently nods in greeting. Her eyes are heavily lined with black and her lips are painted bright red. They walk past her towards the men’s section and she gives them an almost sincere smile as they walk by, giving Sam a head to toe scan.

The store is small, but what it lacks in size, it makes up for in the vast amount of stuff it carries. Clothes, shoes, purses, hats, luggage lines every inch of the place, including the walls.

Dean rubs his palms together. “So, Cas, what will it be?”

The angel looks lost for a moment, slowly circling like a dog trying to find the best spot to sleep. When he completes a full turn, he flaps his arms at his sides in defeat and looks up at Dean with pleading eyes.

“Okay,” says Dean. He looks back at Sam who’s leaning against a shoe rack with his arms crossed against his chest. “Some help?” he asks Sam.

Sam sighs and pushes off the rack. It shakes and a few shoes threaten to fall off of the top shelves.

“Careful,” says the girl at the checkout desk. “I’ll have to pull out the ladder if one of those falls.” She violently flips to the next page in her magazine. “And I don’t want to be doing that.”

Sam clears his throat and says a quick “sorry.” It always amused Dean how Sam grew demure and apologetic around petite women. Sammy really was a big teddy bear.

Sam scans the store, his eyes settling on a rack of checkered shirts in the back. He picks at his own blue flannel and shrugs his shoulders. “They’re comfortable,” he tells Dean.

Dean looks down at his own checkered button down, green and black, and agrees. “Yeah, sure,” he says.

They start to move towards the rack, but a stern voice stops them.

“If you go anywhere near that rack of plaid, I’ll kill you all immediately.”

Cas’ stance quickly turns defensive and he moves so that he’s standing between them and the teenage girl. “You will do no such thing,” the angel says.

Dean places his hand on Cas’ shoulder. “It’s fine, Cas. She’s trying to help.”

“What’s wrong with plaid,” he asks the girl. She has both hands braced against the counter and her face is etched with exasperation.

“Nothing, unless the three of you are planning on starting an indie band called The Plaid Brigade.”

“What would you suggest then?” asks Dean.

The girl moves from behind her counter of judgment and heads towards a rack near the door. She picks out a pair of dark jeans and moves again, making quick work of it as she jumps from rack to rack like a pinball.

She ends up picking out two jeans, one grey v-neck and a deep-blue button down. “These ought to do it,” she says, pressing the garments against Dean’s chest.

Dean wraps his arms around the clothes and walks towards the changing room. “Come on, Cas. Let’s get you sorted.”

There are two fitting rooms, both empty and roughly the size of a bathroom stall. They have thin curtains with rough cloth that Dean pushes aside. He sets the clothes down on a stool sitting in the corner of the room and turns to Cas. The angel is standing just outside the room, looking a little apprehensive.

“You can dress yourself, right?” Dean asks, terrified that he might actually have to dress the angel.

Cas glares at him. “I know how to put on clothes, Dean,” he says and moves into the fitting room, dragging Dean out by the sleeve as he does so.

“Well, call if you need us,” Dean says and he gets one last look at the angel's steely glare, before Cas pulls the curtain shut.

Five minutes later, Dean hears his name. He's looking through a rack of t-shirts, hoping to buy a few to leave at the Batcave.

He looks up at Sam who’s holding a flannel shirt against his chest, and maybe the girl has a point after all because the shirt looks exactly like the one Sammy has on. Sam looks like he’s been caught with his hand in the cookie jar and his tone is a bit defensive. “What,” he says. “It’s soft.”

“He wants help,” says Dean, hoping Sam would get this one. Things have been, not bad, but just a little tense between he and Cas. They’d been getting closer in a way that had nothing to do with saving each others lives, but with knocking elbows as they washed dishes together or stealing glances when they played a game of cards with Sam. Dean hadn’t had the time to sit down and really think over what all those moments meant.

Though, the slight spring in his step and Sam’s constant “you look happier when Cas is around” gave Dean a pretty good idea of what those moments amounted to.

Sam shakes his head and looks down at his chest, admiring the cotton shirt that, seriously, looks exactly like the one he’s wearing. “Nuh uh,” he says. “He’s your—”

Dean throws a shirt at Sam’s face before he has the chance to say angel. “Careful,” he says, glancing quickly at the sales girl, but it’s too late. She’s already giving Dean a curious look.

“You and your man don’t have to worry,” she says, smug grin firmly in place. “We may be a small town, but we’re pretty accepting here.”

“Right,” says Dean, feeling a blush creep up his neck. “Thanks.” He glares up at Sam who is biting on his bottom lip in an attempt to hide his laughter. “I’ll just go see to my man, then.”

He knocks on the wood paneling that frames the room and asks Cas if he can come in.

The angel pokes his head out from behind the curtain. He nods solemnly and steps aside. The room is cramped and Dean has to press himself against the flimsy wall before he can get a good look at Cas.

He looks amazing. The grey shirt hugs him in the right places, clinging to his abs just enough to show off the slimness of his waist. The color suits him too. The light tone really makes his eyes pop.

Dean has to clear his throat before he starts to speak. “What’s the problem, Cas?” he asks. “You look—uh, you look good.”

“It’s the pants,” says Cas, and Dean looks down to wear Cas is gripping the front of his jeans.

Cas relaxes his fingers and the denim slips down a fraction. “They fall when I move,” says the angel.

Dean can see the waistband of Cas’ underwear, or Jimmy’s underwear. Dean had always wondered what Cas had under those too wide pants, boxers or briefs, and now he has his answer. Cas has on a pair of black Calvin Klein briefs.

He bites the inside of his cheek. Dean is pleased by this information. Cas wears black briefs. They are probably pretty snug too. Fitted. Hugging his backside. Blush creeps up his neck again and he wills himself to stop thinking about the angel’s underwear.

“They’re just a tad too big, that’s all,” says Dean, prying his eyes off of Cas’ lower half.

Cas is leaning in close and he really does look good, even, or rather, especially, with his jeans riding low on his hips.

“I’ll just get you a smaller pair,” says Dean, moving closer to the curtain and further away from Cas’ eyes and heat and how the cheap florescent light above them makes all of the angel’s features all the more starker, all the more captivating.

“What size are these,” Dean asks.

Cas looks at him with confusion and mouths the word “size.”

“Right,” says Dean and mimics a small turn with his index finger.

Cas turns around and faces the mirror as Dean inches close behind him. Dean looks up at the mirror and catches Cas’ reflection, the way his lashes cast a shadow over his skin as he patiently waits for Dean.

Dean lifts up the back of Cas’ shirt and lets a hand trail down Cas’ back. The angel’s skin is warm, and Dean indulges himself a little, letting the backs of his fingers caress Cas’ smooth, unblemished skin. He tugs at the tag and tries to focus his eyes on the small print.

The light above them flickers for a moment and Dean looks up at the mirror to find that the angel’s eyes are shut. His neck is arched back and he’s worrying his bottom lip with his teeth. The angel doesn't know it, but he's a real paradox-- sin on a holy stick.

Dean decides, to hell with it, and drags his thumb up and down Cas’ spine, following the soft arch of Cas’ back.

He brings his lips close to Cas’ ear and asks, voice low, “You alright, Cas?”

Dean feels hands skim the sides of his thighs, followed by the press of the rest of Cas’ body against his. He buries his nose into the small patch of skin just behind Cas’ ear and lets out a low growl.

“This probably isn’t the best place to do this,” he says, speaking against Cas’ skin.

Cas groans at that and spins on his bare feet. He brings his hands up to Dean’s arms, squeezing lightly as his thumb moves across the fabric of Dean’s shirt in slow circles. When he speaks, his voice is low and wrecked and it takes Dean a moment to move past the sounds of pure sex spilling from Cas’ mouth to actually parse what the angel is saying.

“I could transport us back. Sam would never know,” Cas finishes as he crowds Dean, eyes transfixed by the movement of his hands across Dean’s chest.

Dean, to his horror, finds himself pulling Cas’ hands off of him, holding the angel back by the wrists. The angel knits his brows together and the hurt is plain on his face.

“As much as I want to Cas, and trust me, I want to,” Dean adds, “Not like this. Not in some crap fitting room.”

He then pushes Cas against the mirror, holding the angel in place at the hips. “When we do this,” Dean says, mouthing the words across Cas’ jaw, the angel’s stubble tickling his lips, “I plan to undo you, Cas.”

He pulls back to look at Cas. He looks wrecked and wanting, eyes blown and pink lips parted, begging, screaming to be claimed and fucked raw.

Dean takes pity on him, pity on himself really, and fists his fingers into Cas’ hair as he presses his lips against the angel’s. He runs his tongue over the bottom lip, before he tugs at the delicate pink flesh with his teeth.

Cas bucks into him and his mouth parts further, giving Dean the chance to delve in, move his mouth against the angel’s, let his tongue canvas the inside of Cas’ mouth as he swallows the angel’s gasps and moans, sweet sounds that would make even a clergyman ache with want.

Dean pulls away from Cas suddenly, just when the angel figured out that bringing his own tongue into the equation would make the whole thing a lot more heated. He straightens out his clothes, then Cas,’ spending extra time smoothing out the wrinkles on back of Cas’ jean—jeans that the angel wasn’t even going to buy.

He clears his throat with an air of authority and says, “You can wear the shirt out. Put your own pants back on while I find you a smaller size.”

 

 

Dean is at the jeans rack, where he is determinedly ignoring Sam’s inquiring glances, when he feels Cas approach him. He can feel the hesitancy in the angel’s movements, the way he steps lightly and hangs back from Dean, further than usual.

“Woah, Cas,” his brother says. “Nice jacket.”

Dean looks back at the angel and bites back his own appreciative remark. Cas, if possible, looks even better. He has on a leather jacket. It’s black and fitted with thin cuffs and a china collar. The material is worn, but in good condition and Cas wears it well, like a second skin. He already has his hands stuffed in its pockets in a gesture that looks equal parts lax and insecure. Undoubtedly human.

“I was thinking, you and Sam have jackets. Maybe I can have one too.”

Dean thinks the jacket looks a lot like the one that biker from the gas station was wearing, sans the funky trimming, but he doesn’t comment on it. Cas has never asked for anything from them. Not really. Nothing small like this. Nothing Dean could give him without risking the world or Sammy or their selves.

“Ya,” says Dean. “Sounds good to me. And, you look good. In it, I mean. The jacket.”

Cas breaks into a genuine smile, all front teeth showing, gums and all. Dean finds it incredibly endearing…and a little unnerving. Cas in the jacket smiling broad and wide and his sudden interest in sex, it all points to a different Cas, one that Dean had seen in his brief glimpse of the future.

But that was a different future. One that wouldn’t come to pass, not with the apocalypse and Lucifer well behind them.

This was Cas changing. Growing. Growing with Dean. And if Cas wanted, Dean would buy every damn last leather jacket in town if it would make Cas smile like that again. Like heaven and hell didn’t matter and it was the space in-between, with Dean, where Cas found meaning and happiness.

Chapter Text

Cas shows up when Dean is partaking in some much-needed R&R. He is leaning back in the armchair in his room, feet immersed in a foot spa. It had been a long week.

He and Sam had taken on two jobs in seven days, a haunting and a nest of Arachnes in Wyoming, and they had run into a Wendigo on their way back home through Nebraska.

Dean arches his neck and rests his head on the back of the armchair. He kicks at the now tepid water in the foot spa, splashing water onto the toes of Cas’ loafers.

Cas is dressed in his regular clothes, the trench coat, the suit, the tie, and is looking down at Dean with fondness.

The last time Dean had seen the angel was at a bar in Lawrence, a week before he and Sam had set off for Wyoming. Cas was wearing his new clothes and he was wearing them well.

Cas wore the fitted leather jacket and jeans like he had been wearing them his entire life, moving with a graceful fluidity that accentuated every part of his body. Dean had never realized just how slim Cas’ hips were. How they had a slight sway to them when he walked. How the angel liked to notch the belt one size bigger so that his jeans sat low on his hips.

He looked (and Dean was kind of envious of it) cool in them. Effortlessly so. He looked like the type of guy Dean would want to strike up a conversation with.

Unfortunately for Dean, Cas looked like the type of guy a ton of co-eds wanted to strike up a number of things with. The angel got his fair share of attention from people when he was sporting the creeper coat, but now, the casualness of Cas’ new clothes gave the angel an air of ease that people gravitated towards.

Dean and Sam couldn’t go to a bar, a diner, a gas station, a freakin’ real-estate office for god’s sake, without someone propositioning Cas. Some motorhead placing his palm low on Cas’ back, and Cas being too clueless to realize what that gesture meant. Or some bartender leaning over the counter to hand Cas a drink, pressing her breasts together to accentuate her cleavage, as she playfully stroked Cas’ stubble.

Those moments typically ended with Dean subtly asserting his claim on Cas by hooking an arm around the angel’s shoulder and asking him if everything was alright. Usually, that got people to back off. In the rare instances when people didn’t take the hint, Cas would flatly declare his lack of interest in the other person.

“I am currently engaged in a romantic relationship with this man,” he would say, indicating Dean, “and we are very happy together.”

Dean would always beam down at Cas when he’d say this, and then the two of them would find some secluded spot, and Dean would show the angel just how happy he was.

Sam really hated it when people hit on Cas.

The angel looks down at the foot spa, eyes tracking the movement of the tiny bubbles that rise up to the water’s surface. “Is this a common custom amongst hunters?” the angel asks, voice teasing and a bemused look on his face.

“We got if for free,” Dean says defensively. It came with Sam’s purchase of a dozen hair products. Dean didn’t know how that kid’s neck didn’t ache with all the crap he put in his hair.

Cas nods and slowly drags his gaze up Dean’s body. Dean’s dressed in a t-shirt, long briefs, and the knighted “dead guy’s robe,” which he’s left open. He doesn’t bother covering up. Even though they haven't seen each other completely naked, there has been a lot of heavy petting over clothes and Dean hardly felt self-conscious. Not with Cas.

He feels the weight of Cas’ gaze as it travels up his bare legs, his thighs, his chest, and finally settles on Dean’s face.

“Like what you see?” Dean asks, raising his eyebrows and spreading his knees further apart.

Cas rolls his eyes, but his gaze settles again, latching on to Dean’s thighs. His lips part and he licks them slowly.

“You’ve been away for awhile,” Dean says. Cas typically checked in every few days or so, but this time it had been longer. Two full weeks. Dean was ready to jump the angel.

“I apologize,” says Cas. “I was delayed.” His brow knits together and for a second he looks like he’s miles away. He shakes out of the moment with a jerk of his head and smiles down at Dean.

“Let me make it up to you,” Cas says, voice low as he kneels in front of him.

Hell yes, thinks Dean, his mind immediately providing images of his dick moving in and out of Cas’ parted lips. He grips the arms of the chair tightly and bites back a moan.

Instead of putting his mouth to work, Cas surprises him by dipping his hands into the foot spa and grabbing Dean’s feet. The lukewarm water immediately heats up, sending a warm shiver down Dean’s spine.

“Better?” asks Cas.

Dean hums in the affirmative and lets his eyes flutter shut as Castiel’s fingers work the arch of Dean’s feet, digging into the skin, relieving tension that Dean didn’t even know was there. His feet are calloused, Dean knows, but Cas doesn’t seem to care as his thumb caresses the rough ridges on the heels of Dean’s feet.

Cas touches Dean’s feet with such care and adoration that it makes Dean’s heart clench.

“This used to be one of my duties in heaven,” says Cas, voice raspy.

“What,” says Dean, “you’d massage people’s feet?”

Cas pinches the skin at Dean’s ankle in a silent reprimand. “No, I would bless the water in churches on Holy Thursday. A bishop would then wash the feet of twelve priests as Christ did with his disciples.”

“Fun, was it?” Dean asks. His eyes are shut, but he can picture Cas’ face, eyes steely and brow furrowed. Cas’ hands are still on his feet, gently caressing the slope that leads down to Dean’s toes.

“It's an act of humility, Dean," Cas says, and that shuts Dean up good.

Cas runs his hand down the curve of the outer arch of Dean’s foot, fingers lapping water across the bottom of Dean’s legs. He rubs his thumb across the knob of the inner ankle bone in smooth, firm circles. He traces the shape of each toe, only to bring his thumb back down the bottom of Dean’s foot, pushing against the muscles in slow, rhythmic movements.

Dean doesn’t even bother biting back the moan that spills from his mouth. It sounds loud and obscene in his room. Dean opens his eyes, fixes them on Cas’ bowed head.

“Cas,” Dean says, biting his lip to keep from moaning again. “You need to stop.”

Cas, bless him for it, ignores Dean’s request and looks pointedly at Dean’s crotch. Dean’s already half-hard, the outline of his stiff cock visible through his grey, cotton briefs.

Cas moves his hands up Dean’s ankles to the bottom of his legs, fingers moving fluidly over Dean’s skin and the fine hair on his legs.

“Washing another person’s feet is an act of humility,” Cas says again.

“It’s an act of awesome,” Dean says, as he sinks deeper into his chair, warmth sweeping through him and settling in his bones.

“I mean it Dean,” Cas says, voice serious. “I know I have apologized before, but—” and Cas hesitated there.

Dean takes the opportunity to lean forward and he grabs Cas by the chin. “Listen,” he says. “That’s done. That’s behind us. We’re moving forward now. Okay?”

Dean doesn’t let go of Cas until the angel nods his head. “Okay,” says Cas, and he pushes the foot spa to the side and crouches directly in front of Dean. He brings his head close to the floor and for a second, Dean thinks the angel is about to pray.

Instead, Dean feels the soft press of lips against the top of his foot. It’s quick and chaste, but it makes Dean’s toes curl inward. Cas moves his hands, still wet, up Dean’s legs and plants another kiss on the top of Dean’s right knee. This kiss isn’t as chaste; Cas opens his mouth and sucks at Dean’s knee, tongue lapping at the skin.

His hands move higher, right below the hem of Dean’s briefs, and Cas tugs at them. “Off,” he says, voice hard and wrecked.

Dean lifts his hips off of the chair and slides the briefs down. Cas grabs at the cotton and pulls them down Dean’s legs, over his feet, and throws them somewhere across the room.

Cas sits back on his legs and just stares. He licks his lips slowly and brings his hands to Dean’s legs again, lifting Dean’s legs up by the calves and hitching them over his shoulders. He rubs his hands up and down the sides of Dean’s thighs, fingers gliding across taught muscles.

He brings his lips near Dean’s cock, which is at full mast now and leaking, and puffs out a sharp breath across the sensitive skin. “Is this okay, Dean?” Cas asks, and Dean chuckles deeply.

He brings a hand to Cas’ face and strokes his jaw, thumb grazing the angel’s stubbled skin. “Dude,” says Dean, “on the list of things that are OKAY, this is at the top.”

Cas smiles one of his crooked smiles, right half of his lips quirking up. He glances up at Dean shyly from beneath his eyelashes, before he lowers his lips to the swollen flesh of Dean’s cock. The second Cas’ lips touch him, warm heat enveloping him like a thick coat of honey, Dean jerks up into the angel’s mouth and curls his fingers in the thick strands of Cas’ hair.

“Jesus fucking hell,” Dean curses as Cas presses his tongue against the underside of Dean’s cock. He hollows his cheeks as he bobs up and down, taking the length of Dean into his eager mouth again and again.

“Fuck Cas,” Dean asks, “where in the hell did you learn how to do that?” His fingernails scrape against Cas’ scalp as the tip of his cock hits the back of the angel’s throat.

Cas’ pulls back, making a slurping noise as he glides his lips off of Dean. He runs his tongue deftly over his top lip and swallows thickly before he speaks. “Sam let me borrow his laptop,” he says. “I looked at some videos. I wanted to—” and the angels looks down, suddenly looking demure and embarrassed, as if he didn’t just have a cock between those now red and swollen lips.

“I wanted to be good for you,” Cas says, voice sounding small as he refuses to meet Dean’s eyes.

Dean is having none of that. He pulls Cas up by the lapels of his jacket and brings him up onto the arm chair so that the angel’s legs are bracketing Dean’s. He brings Cas’ face close to his, pressing his forehead against the angel’s.

He thinks back to ten years ago. How he would sit at a bar and wait for someone to catch his eye, his ear, his attention. Sometimes it would be a pretty face. Okay, a lot of the time, it would be a pretty face. Sometimes it would be a particular lilt in a girl’s voice that would make his belly burn. Sometimes it would just be the low lights and the familiar sounds of laughter and clinking glasses in the background of a good bar that would set him at ease and make everyone and everything seem like a good prospect.

Sometimes it was more than that. But it was never like this. All-consuming. Like there was a part of Dean missing when the angel wasn’t around creating an ache that would settle somewhere deep within him, an ache that rivaled (and at times even surpassed) what he felt when he found himself alone in the world, without his mother, without his father, without Sam.

Cas had become a fixture in Dean’s life, and if he could, Dean would go back in time, find that bright-eyed version of himself, the one chasing tail at one of the hundreds of bars that had become the standard set for his romantic escapades, and he’d tell that young kid to get ready. Get ready, because this force is gonna barrel into your life, and he’s gonna take you on one hell of a ride, but, god damn, will it be worth it. All of it.

He means to tell Cas that he’s better than good. He’s perfect. But what comes out instead is, “Where did you come from,” spoken in a harsh whisper against the angel’s lips.

He kisses Cas deeply, coaxing the angel’s lips open and sliding his tongue into the dizzying heat of Cas’ mouth. His tongue finds Cas’ and he cradles it between his lips, eliciting soft mewling sounds from the angel.

Cas moans into Dean’s mouth and he grips Dean’s shoulders as his lips slide desperately across Dean’s. He whispers Dean’s name with exaltation, like it’s a promise, like the entirety of Cas’ world is held in the four letters of Dean’s name.

It’s radically different from the way Dean usually hears his name—with a tinge of annoyance, with blind lust and greed, with hate, disinterest, or disappointment. Which is what makes Dean cling to Cas even harder, one hand latching onto the curls at the nape of the angel’s neck and the other digging into the side of Cas’ hip.

He mouths a trail of kisses down the side of Cas’ neck, moving his hands to Cas’ pants. He undoes them with ease and pushes them, along with Cas’ underwear, down the angel’s hips.

Cas is close now, repeating Dean’s name over and over in-between staggered and harsh breaths. It always amazes Dean how riled up Cas gets before he even touches the guy, and Dean groans at the thought of what the angel will be like when they take things further.

He grabs Cas’ cock and presses it against his, heat meeting heat as he slides his palm over their erections. Cas gasps into Dean’s mouth and Dean swallows the sound, sliding his tongue over the angel’s as Cas bucks and continues to mewl.

“Fuck, Cas,” Dean whispers as he tightens his grip around them, working them harder, faster, until Cas’ breath hitches and the angel throws his head back and screams Dean’s name as he rides out his orgasm.

Dean comes soon after from the heat radiating off of Cas’ body and the sight of the angel above him, rocking into Dean in small jerks as he spills onto them both, hot and messy.

“So,” says Dean, when he’s finally caught his breath and Cas has come down from his euphoric high. “What else did you learn from the internet?”

Cas raises an eyebrow at Dean and smirks as he fists his fingers around Dean’s robe and leads them to the bed.

Chapter Text

When Sam’s birthday rolls around, Dean is ready. He has a’67 Camaro, a gray one, polished and parked outside of the bunker when Sammy returns from his milk run.

It’s been years since Dean’s been able to get his brother a proper present, something other than an extra shot of whiskey, “because, hey Sammy, you’re a year older.”

He had bought the car on a whim at a car dealership in Lawrence. They drove past it on their way to a diner, and Sam couldn’t pry his eyes off the beauty, craning his neck towards the car as they drove by. Sam had even asked Dean to stop the car on their way back to the motel, and he had gotten out of the car, walked into the dealership and asked a salesman about the Camaro.

Dean stayed in the Impala with Cas and watched his brother circle the car, run a hand across the rusted exterior and rub at his chin as he stared at the $7,900 price sticker. After a moment, Sam shook his head and gave the car a pat on the hood, smiling to himself as he walked away.

“Your brother seems very taken with that car,” Cas said, leaning forward from his place in the back and resting his chin on the back of Dean’s seat. Cas had been doing that a lot when Dean was driving, moving so close that when he spoke, his lips almost brushed Dean’s ear.

It amused Sam to no end, and he always, always bit back a smile and glanced downwards whenever Cas did it.

When Sam had slid back into the Impala, Dean asked him what had happened with the car.

“Nothing,” Sam said, avoiding Dean’s eyes as he busied himself by checking his cell phone. Dean saw it for the evasive tactic that it was. No one called them. At least, not with enough regularity to warrant checking their phones.

Dean waited, hand poised on the car’s keys as his gaze bore down on Sam.

“It was nothing, okay,” said Sam. “I just wanted to take a closer look.”

The next day, Dean had woken early and he and Cas went to the dealership to take a look at the car. It turned out that the salesman who Sam had talked to was actually the owner of the dealership and the previous owner of the Camaro.

“This girl’s needed lovin’ for a while,” the man had said, giving the roof of the car an apologetic pat. “Unfortunately, my back gave out a few years ago and I can’t give her the attention she deserves.”

Cas narrowed his eyes and nodded in his solemn way. “That is unfortunate,” he said.

Dean told the man about Sam and how he had come in yesterday to take a look at the car.

The man nodded knowingly. “The big tall fellow, right? Ya, that was love in his eyes, that was. But he left without making an offer, and I have to say, I would’ve gone a grand lower if he was willing to take it.”

Dean asked if he could take a closer look at the car and the owner told him to help himself. Dean lifted the bonnet and checked the engine. Unsurprisingly, it was busted. You don’t sell a running Camaro for eight-thousand bucks. The car also needed a heavy de-rusting and a new paint job, but the interior looked like it was in perfect condition, the dark leather upholstery gleaming under the morning sun. Dean could probably get the rest of it fixed up in two months time, if the number of hunts stayed on the low side. And hey, he’d have the help of an Angel of the Lord. That would probably cut down the time significantly.

Dean slid his hands into his jacket pockets and turned to the angel. “What do you say, Cas? Ready to add another member to our family?”

Cas beamed up at Dean. “More than ready.”

 

 

Dean had Cas transport the car to an abandoned garage twenty miles south of the bunker. He and Cas spent a week outfitting the place with the tools Dean would need to fix up the car.

Dean had told Sam that he and Cas wanted to spend some quality time together, alone, and Sam didn’t question it at all. In fact, he was overly supportive of the idea. “That’s great, Dean,” he had said. “I really think you and Cas are great for each other.”

In truth, Dean would’ve finished restoring the Camaro a lot sooner if Cas wasn’t with him.

Yes, Cas helped him by passing him tools or lifting the car up with one freaking hand when Dean needed to get under the hood. The angel also expressed genuine interest in the various components of the engine and how they worked together. He would lean over the hood next to Dean, stand on his tiptoes and follow Dean’s fingers as they pointed to the piston and the crankshaft and the various valves.

But, for the most part, Cas was distracting. He hovered and spent a great deal of time breathing down Dean’s neck, warming Dean’s skin with each exhalation, and there was only so much Dean could take when Cas kept complementing Dean, saying things like “you’re very good at this, Dean” or “you have very capable hands, Dean,” or when Cas didn’t say anything at all and Dean would turn around to catch Cas staring at his ass.

Those moments would spur Dean to wipe the grease off of his hands and push Cas up onto a workbench. Dean would kiss the angel breathless until both of them would want more than the slide of their lips, and Cas would hitch his legs around Dean’s waist and move against Dean, hardness against hardness, making the tools on the table rattle with each of Cas’ upwards thrusts.

On one occasion, when the angel went from moaning Dean’s name to mumbling strings of Enochian, Dean took pity on Cas and carried him over to the Camaro and ushered him into the backseat. He stripped Cas bare and trailed a path of feather light kisses up the length of Cas’ torso. He lapped at the skin just below Cas’ shoulders, and then buried his nose in the soft tuft of hair of Cas’ underarms. Dean nuzzled his nose against the sensitive skin, and the angel let out a breathy laugh that was like wind chimes, clear, crisp, and something Dean very much wanted to hear again and again.

He brought a finger to Cas’ lips and the angel took it into his mouth and started sucking, pressing his hot tongue against Dean’s finger. Cas worked Dean’s finger with his tongue and moaned around it. Dean pulled his finger out and placed it against Cas’ entrance. He pushed Cas’ legs further apart and slowly eased into Cas. As he pushed in, he glanced down at Cas’ expression—the angel’s eyes were open wide and they were fixed on the car’s roof.

Dean kept his finger buried inside of Cas as he leaned over him and pressed a kiss on the angel’s temple. “You alright, Cas?” he asked.

Cas jolted out of his stupor and grabbed Dean’s shirt, pulling the hunter closer. He crushed his lips against Dean’s and started chanting Dean’s name as if he was in a fever. Dean pulled his finger out of Cas and pushed it back in again making Cas throw his head back. He called out Dean’s name, elongating it so that it sounded like three separate syllables. He clenched tighter around Dean’s finger and began rolling his hips up.

Dean planted one hand against Cas’ chest to keep him down and set a relentless rhythm, pushing his finger in and stroking the taught muscles inside of Cas as he pulled his finger out.

Dean kept fucking Cas through the angel’s climax, and when the angel was finished, Dean lavished Cas’ flaccid cock with a filthy kiss. He then made the angel promise that when they gave the car to Sam, he wouldn’t tell him that they got off in the back of his car.

Cas rolled his eyes at Dean. The angel let the “bitch, please” go unsaid, but Dean had gotten good at reading Cas, and the amount of sass emanating from the angel was hard to miss.

 

 

Sammy never hugged Dean with as much force as he does when Dean gives him the Camaro. His brother’s hulkish grip nearly forces all of the air out of Dean’s chest. When Dean tells Sammy that Cas had helped him, Sam picks the angel up clear up off the floor and spins, freaking spins him. Yeah, and he called Dean a girl.

Sam circles the car three times before he thinks to ask Dean for the keys. Dean tosses them to Sammy who catches them easily. He slides into the driver’s seat and from outside of the car, Dean can see Sam running his hands over the dashboard and the leather seats with unchecked glee.

He turns to Cas who’s watching Sam with a smile.

“I think he likes it,” the angel says.

 

 

They drive through the town in Sam’s car. “My car,” Sam says over and over again. “I can’t believe it. Thanks, guys. Really.”

“Birthdays are important,” Cas says.

Sam turns around in the driver’s seat and beams at Cas. The angel smiles back at him, and Dean is filled with warmth at the sight of Cas and his brother getting along. The two had built their own friendship, one filled with late night talks about ethics and free will, philosophical stuff that the two would get super animated about. Sometimes, when Dean would walk in on the two partaking in one of their chats, Dean would hang back and just watch them, noting the air of ease and comfort between them. Even after everything, all the people they had lost, they were still capable of having this. Of building a life together.

“Dean’s birthday is in January,” Cas says, like he’s recounting some important historical event.

“Yup,” Sam says, smiling ear to ear. He’d been enjoying teasing Dean about him and Cas and all of the mushy, relationship-y things Cas had been doing, like reaching under tables to hold Dean’s hand or resting his head on Dean’s shoulder when they were watching a movie.

“What about you, Cas?” Dean asks, ignoring Sam’s smirking face. “Do angels have birthdays?”

Cas shakes his head no. “Your calendar is a recent invention. We do not measure or experience time in the same way as humans do.”

“Makes sense,” Sam says.

“Sounds like crap,” Dean says. “Everyone gets a birthday.” He cranes his neck to look back at the angel. “When do you want your birthday to be?”

Cas tilts his head to the side and appears to think about. “I’d like to celebrate it on your birthday, if that would be okay.”

“No, man,” Dean says. “You need to have your own day. So that it’s special. Maybe you can have it on a Thursday. Like the first Thursday or something. You’re the angel of Thursday, right?”

Sam nods his head beside Dean, but Cas doesn’t seem to like the idea. “I think I would like it to be on September the 18th,” Cas says.

Sam laughs at that, but Dean doesn’t know why. “What?” he asks. “What’s so great about that day?”

“It’s the day you came back,” Sam says. “From hell.”

“It is the most important day of my existence,” Cas says, eyes wide. The angel says it with such sincerity, like this is a simple fact of his being, as sure as the grace within him and the wings behind him.

Dean’s throat clenches and he finds it hard to say anything for a long moment, but he clears his throat and manages to force out the words, “Good. That sounds good.”

“That’s about four months from now,” Dean says. “I’m sure we can find something good for your first present.”

“Definitely,” Sam says in agreement as he finally gets the Camaro onto a freeway and really opens her up.

 

 

What Dean ends up getting Cas for his birthday is a motorcycle, one that he restores himself. It was a bitch hiding the thing from Cas, because that meant that he had to hide from Cas while he was working on it.

The bike is a ’73 Norton Roadster, all sleek black and chrome, like the Impala. Dean kind of bought it because it looked like his girl. He could clearly picture his car and the Norton barreling down the interstate, side by side, looking badass.

They’ve just finished Cas’ birthday dinner, 2 medium-rare steaks that Dean grilled for each of them and a blueberry pie that Cas and Dean shared while Sam enjoyed a bowl of mixed berries. Cas had stood next to Dean as he grilled the steaks, and Dean had torn off pieces of the meat and fed the angel as he taught him how to season the beef and when to flip them.

Cas is wearing his jeans and one of Dean’s v-necks. He looks great. Relaxed. At home. “Close your eyes, Cas,” Dean says.

Cas, in his typical fashion, does it unquestionably, letting his lids fall shut. Dean moves behind him and places a quick kiss just below the angel’s ear. Cas smiles at the peck, and, keeping his eyes shut, turns his face towards Dean.

“Nuh-uh,” Dean says. “Head front.”

Cas does what Dean says and when Dean secures a blindfold over his eyes, the angel merely tilts his head to the side.

“I have a surprise for you,” Dean whispers into Cas’ ear. He moves so that he’s standing in front of the angel. He grabs both of Cas’ hands and gently guides Cas outside to where the bike is parked next to the Impala.

He positions Cas so that he’s facing the bike. “Happy birthday, Cas,” he says as he takes off the blindfold. “I hope you like it.”

Dean waits for Cas’ eyes to adjust to the light and then starts to explain the bike’s features. “It’s got parallel twin engines,” Dean tells Cas, “and it’s a smooth ride thanks to the rubber frame mounts for the engine and transmitter.”

Cas doesn’t say anything. He just stares at the bike with confusion, and this prompts Dean to keep on babbling.

“I know it’s simple, but I figured you’d prefer something like this over something flashy,” Dean says, as he starts to feel a little nervous. What if the bike was a mistake? What if Cas took it the wrong way? What if he thought that Dean was getting sick of his company in the Impala?

“You can still ride with me, of course. I mean, hands down, you’re the best wingman I’ve ever had. You don’t complain about the music, you never put your feet up on the dashboard, and when you eat in the car, you don’t make a mess. But, you know, if you feel like spreading your wings or whatever, you can ride the bike.”

Cas still doesn’t say anything, but he moves closer to the bike and lifts his hand so that it’s hovering over one of the bike’s handles.

“It can go up to 120 mph with the right driver,” Dean says. “And, I don’t know. I saw it, and I thought of you. You don’t have to ride it or anything, but, you know, it’s a smooth ride if you want to.” And Dean is definitely babbling now ‘cause he’s sure he had said some of that already.

Cas slowly turns so that he’s facing Dean. He raises both hands, and very suddenly, grips Dean on both sides of his head. He clings onto Dean’s hair so hard it hurts, but Dean doesn’t move. The angel presses his forehead against his and whispers, “Thank you, Dean.”

The angel draws in a ragged breath and Dean looks up at Cas’ eyes and finds that they are glassy. “No one has ever given me a gift.” Cas wraps his arms tightly around Dean and buries his face in Dean’s neck, staying in that position for a good two minutes. “It’s beautiful, Dean,” the angel says, lips moving against the collar of Dean’s shirt.

 

When Cas finally removes himself from Dean’s shoulder, he gives him a long, wet kiss that leaves Dean breathless. He then moves to the bike and places a hand on the seat. “Can I get on?” Cas asks.

“You can do whatever you want with it, Cas,” Dean says. “It’s yours.”

Cas seems thrown by the comment. “Mine,” he says with some hesitation, and Dean realizes that Cas has never really owned anything. Sure, he has the clothes that Dean and Sam had bought him, but apart from that, he doesn’t really own anything. His regular clothes, hell, his body, was technically borrowed.

Dean doesn’t consider himself a materialistic type of guy, but there is a certain comfort that a person can find in his or her items, whether it comes from sentiment or familiarity. For Dean, the main one is his car, but there are other things, like his father’s jacket, his guns, pictures of his mom, and, most recently, the bunker.

He’s glad he can be the one to give Cas something that is his wholly. “Yup. All yours,” Dean says, sliding his arm around Cas’ shoulder. “You use it when you want to and if you don’t want me or Sammy to go anywhere near it, you tell us so.”

“I would be okay with you using it, Dean,” Cas says, and lowers his voice to a whisper, “but your brother is quite large. And destructive.”

Dean laughs a deep-bellied laugh and slaps Cas on the shoulder. “Can’t say I blame you. You should’ve seen what he did to my car when I gave her to him. So,” Dean says, rubbing his hands together in anticipation. “You ready for your first ride?”

Cas gives him his “bitch, please” look, again—he should really get that patented—and lifts his right leg high over the bike’s seat and straddles it in one smooth movement. “Ready,” Cas says, looking smug.

Cas wraps his fingers around the handgrips and leans forwards a little. He looks good on the bike, like he belongs up there. Dean moves to stand beside him and he leans over Cas to point out the throttle, the clutch, the brakes, and the shift gears. He explains each of their functions and the more Dean explains, the more excited Cas gets. By the end of Dean’s lesson, the angel is practically humming with energy as he bounces up and down in his seat.

Dean starts the bike for Cas. He gives him a few more pointers—“remember to lean in to the direction you want to turn” and “watch out for those sharp bends in the road,” then he plants a kiss on top of Cas’ head.

“Be safe,” he tells the angel, knowing full well that Cas could probably heal any injury he got out on the road. Still, he’d rather Cas not have to endure that kind of pain.

Cas gives Dean a wink before he kicks back the kickstand with his left foot and shifts the bike into gear.

The bike rockets forward and soon, Dean is watching Cas trail down the curved path that leads away from the bunker. He catches his last glimpse of the angel as he disappears behind the dense foliage of the woods.

Dean wonders if he should go back into the bunker, find Sammy and tell him how much Cas liked the bike, but he decides against it. Instead, he hops onto the hood of the Impala and sets his gaze on the stretch of gravel that Cas went down. He rubs his palms together and tries to push down the nervousness that threatens to make a home in his stomach. He knows Cas will return. Cas always returned, so Dean would wait for him. He would park his ass and wait for his angel to come back home.

Chapter Text

Castiel remembers the first time he saw Dean in the flesh. The hunter was alone, just outside of Bobby’s home, hunched over the Impala as he polished the car’s dark exterior.

Castiel had newly acquired his vessel, as had many of his brothers and sisters, and a whole host of angels were brought down to Earth to observe Dean. Castiel was just getting used to his vessel, the way the thin layer of skin held in his pulsing grace. He was on edge for those first few moments in Jimmy Novak’s vessel. He feared that the vessel wasn’t strong enough, that it would split open and he’d have to embark on the long and tedious search for a viable vessel once again.

He flexed his fingers again and again, hoping that if he stretched the skin, it would give his essence more room and appease the part of him that kept telling him that this was unnatural. That he wasn’t meant to inhabit a human. No angel was.

Beside him, Uriel noticed his unease. “Be calm, little brother,” he said, as he laid a consoling hand on Jimmy’s, no, on his, on Castiel’s shoulder. “It’ll get better, and we won’t be in these bodies for long.”

Zachariah was the one who had brought them all to Bobby’s Salvage Yard for “Winchester Orientation" as he had called it. The seraph moved to the front of the group and stood beside Dean.

“This is Dean Winchester,” he told the group, holding one hand out to present Dean. “He’ll be taking a trip to hell in the near future, and…” he paused to see if everyone was paying attention, “He is to be Michael’s vessel.”

The angels around Castiel recoiled at that revelation, voicing their dissatisfaction and disapproval. “I know, I know,” Zachariah said. “He doesn’t look like much, but trust me, this is the guy, and we’re just going to have to bite the proverbial bullet here, and do what we’re told.”

He moved out of the way and let the rest of the angels get a closer look at the hunter.

“Take a good, hard look, girls and boys, because one of you lucky celestial beings is going to have to dive into Hell to dig up this pile of meat.” Zachariah circled to the back of the group as he said this, stopping near Uriel and Castiel. He too placed a hand on Castiel’s shoulder, but his touch felt far heavier than Uriel’s.

“Our brother is right,” he told Castiel. “You’ll get used to it. Now, why don’t you go take a closer look at Earth’s most-prized hog.” The hand on Castiel’s shoulder slid to his back, and Zachariah pushed Castiel forward through the throng of angels towards Dean.

The angels around Castiel parted and left a clear path to the man.

Castiel had seen Dean from afar, from his own little corner of Heaven. He watched Dean eat. He watched Dean sleep. He watched Dean worry about his brother. He watched Dean court and bed women. He watched Dean in his quietest moments, when he was driving the Impala with no particular destination in mind, just rolling across empty roads and taking solace in the dark.

He watched these things with a degree of separation. Dean was important. They had all been told so, and it was very probable that Castiel, one of the younger and lower ranking angels, would never cross paths with Dean Winchester. That honor would go to the angels who were older, stronger, and more respected amongst the Heavenly Host.

And things may have turned out that way, if Castiel had not seen Dean up close.

Like a magnet, something about the man pulled at Castiel, and Castiel found himself being propelled forward. Standing a foot away, skin glowing beneath the sun’s heavy light and his jacket tied around his waist in a fashion that even Castiel knew to be ridiculous, was the most beautiful being Castiel had ever seen.

In that moment, Castiel forgot about how confining he found his vessel. He forgot about his brothers and sisters, all of them standing rapt and curious behind him. He forgot his purpose and his self, and simply gaped at the man before him. At his taut arms as they bent at the elbow and moved back and forth across the car’s frame. At his firm stance and his wide, strong thighs. At the way his tongue moved over those full lips, leaving a thin film of saliva that Castiel wanted to, irrationally, taste.

He experienced want for the first time in his existence, a want that shook his grace and the ground that his vessel stood upon. There was a low pulse emanating from Dean—not his heartbeat, but something baser. Something that called out from deep within him and ached.

A strong urge to touch the man overtook Castiel, perhaps to quiet or ease that ache. He wanted to make his presence known, and before he knew what he was doing, Castiel found himself an inch away from Dean, close enough to lick the freckles on his face if he wanted to.

But before he could reach out to Dean, a sturdy hand settled on his shoulder and pulled him back. “Don’t stray too close to the sun, baby bird,” Uriel told him. “Your wings could catch fire.”

Too late, Castiel thought.

He was already ablaze.

 

 

He burns as hotly in Dean’s presence now, when Dean strides by in nothing but his underwear, giving Cas a heated side-glance. Or when Dean presses his thigh, thick and toned, up against Cas’ hardened length, prompting Cas to pin the hunter down at the arms and whisper promises of fidelity and eternity across Dean’s skin in Enochian.

Cas decided, long ago, that there are good burns, and Dean Winchester is definitely the best kind of burn. He feels the presence of God’s love when he is with Dean, and one time, when he was pushing into Dean and the other man was clutching him tightly, mouthing the words, “I love you, Cas--I love you so fucking much” across Castiel’s cheek, Castiel fleetingly thought that perhaps God had not abandoned Heaven, but had chosen to disperse across the universe instead, awakening in the moments of light, love, and joy that were kindled between people. Awakening in the growing home that he, Sam, and Dean had built together and blanketing them all with grace—short-lived as it may turn out to be.

Which is why he has decided to give Dean his birthday present two months early. Inevitably, some new problem will arise. A new villain will covet power. An old villain will want revenge. The sun may fall from the sky and wipe out the entire human population.

Castiel does not know. What he does know is that his own grace is a liability, both to him, and, more importantly, to the Winchesters. It needs to be taken out of the equation. Of course, the saner option would be to remove himself from the equation. Keep his distance from Sam and Dean. But he has been down that path. There are only so many times that Castiel can listen to the broken words of Dean Winchester, pleading, begging for Cas to come home. Come back to me.

So, since he cannot keep Dean safe by keeping his distance, he will have to cut out a piece of himself. But before he does that, he is going to give Dean his gift. In reality, it’s a gift for both Dean and Sam, and one he has to give now before he becomes incapable of giving it.

Cas has one hand on Sam’s shoulder and the other in Dean’s, their fingers interlocked, when he transports them to The Roadhouse, the one that’s pristine in a way that the one on Earth never was. Most places in Heaven are.

The bar has a light glow to it and it is completely empty save for Ash, the one who helped Castiel orchestrate this meeting, and a couple sitting at one of the booths in the back. Their heads are bowed, foreheads almost touching as they talk to each other in whispers. The woman lets out a giggle, soft and airy, and as the sound reaches Castiel and his fellow travelers, Dean’s breath hitches and his fingers tighten around Cas’. The hunter gazes at Castiel with wide, shocked eyes, and for a moment Castiel thinks he has made a mistake. Perhaps Dean does not want this.

But his fears are quelled when Dean raises their clasped hands and places a kiss on the back of Castiel’s hand. His eyes flutters shut, and as he pulls back, he lets out a half-broken “thank you,” that carries with it a wave of gratitude and affection.

He pulls away then, fingers leaving Cas’, and he follows Sam to the back of the bar, towards the happy couple, in a daze.

Cas thinks about following them. He wants to see the way Dean’s face lights up in his mother’s presence, looking up at her with wonder. Or how he would follow every one of his father’s words with rapt attention, nodding with restrained enthusiasm.

But Castiel hangs back. This was a private moment between the Winchesters. A reunion that all of them deserved ten times over. He would not intrude.

He watches from afar as Mary Winchester reaches out to Sam and strokes his hair, combing the longs locks with her fingers. She shakes her head and smiles as she does this, and says something that makes both John and Dean bark out in laughter and causes Sam to duck his head in embarrassment. Mary then swats at John and Dean with the back of her hand and Castiel hears something akin to “don’t make fun of my son’s beautiful hair. He’s like Samson.” This makes the other Winchesters laugh all the more and even Castiel finds his lips breaking into a smile.

Ash moves from his place behind the bar’s counter and comes to stand next to Castiel. “Makes you wonder if they’d be this happy together if they’d lived their lives out together,” Ash says.

Castiel tries not to think too much on that. He would like to think that in some version of their world the Winchesters got their happily ever after, but, unfortunately, there were things other than ghosts, demons, and the apocalypse that tore families apart.

Or perhaps this is their happily ever after. After all, Dean and Sam are alive and Mary and John have found each other again. Looking at the four of the Winchesters, seeing them laugh in earnest and reach out to each other, Castiel thinks, that all things considered, they have fared well.

“You should go over there, amigo,” Ash says, nudging at Castiel’s shoulder with his own.

“It’s not my place,” Cas says, because, in truth, it is not. His place is by Dean, and by extension, by Sam, but John and Mary Winchester do not know him. They have no reason to accept him into their family. Not after everything he has put both of their sons through.

The noise from the back of the bar suddenly quiets and Cas looks up to find John Winchester striding towards him with purpose. To say Cas is a little intimidated is an understatement, because even though Castiel is an Angel of the Lord, even though he could eviscerate a being with a touch of his hand, even though he could throw a being one hundred times the size of John Winchester across a range of mountains, he is still a little afraid of the man.

No one person had contributed to the makeup of Dean Winchester’s character as much as this man, and Castiel is terrified of what John has to say about the role he’s played in both of his sons’ lives. Before he can think of something to say that may placate the other man, John has his arms wrapped tightly around Castiel, giving him a a crushing hug. The man then plants both of his hands on the angel’s shoulders and pulls back.

“Thank you,” he says gruffly, “for watching out for my boys.”

Cas is too taken aback to say anything, but he chances a glance back at the table and finds Dean gazing back at him, a light smile gracing his face. Mary has a similar expression, smiling at Cas with her head resting on one hand. She gives him a quick, conspiratorial wink, and Cas immediately sees where Dean gets his cocksure attitude, tempered as it may have become over the years.

His eyes immediately snap back to Mr. Winchester's and it’s “mister” now because suddenly Castiel does not feel like a thousand year old angel, but like the young teenage boy in all of the romantic comedies that Dean (secretly) had made him watch, the boy who had to ask the over-protective father permission to take out his favorite daughter.

Castiel lowers his eyes and says, “I’m afraid I didn’t always do a good job of looking out for them.”

“You did the best you could,” Mr. Winchester says, his words sincere. “And I know a little something about that.”

He smiles down at Castiel and gives his shoulder a firm squeeze. “And that’s one gorgeous bike you got yourself. You wear it well.”

Castiel feels his face flush and he mutters “thank you,” and decides against adding a “sir” to the end of it, even though teen romance film etiquette dictates that you should.

Dean shows up behind John and claps his father on the back. “Done harassing Cas, dad?”

“Who’s harassing?” John says, removing his hands from Castiel’s shoulders. “That really is a nice bike you got him,” John tells Dean, again sincere, and Castiel senses there is something else being said between the lines, because Dean’s eyes water and his voice is hoarse when he says, “Thanks, dad.”

When the last hugs are given and the last of the happy tears are shed, Dean and Sam take their positions on either side of Castiel. Sam hooks his arm through his, partly, Castiel thinks, for balance, because out of all of the Winchesters, he has cried the most, burying his head into Mary’s neck for a long period of time, his whole body shaking as his mother drew soothing circles around his back and hummed him a lullaby.

Dean laces his fingers through Castiel's. His eyes are also watery, but he smiles wide at Cas, even lets out a light laugh, and Castiel thinks that it means Dean is happy. Castiel always wants to make Dean happy.

Mary comes up to Cas, and lays a hand on his cheek.“It's too bad,” she says, and she looks back at Dean, then back at Castiel. “You would have such beautiful children together.”

John rolls his eyes, and Dean lets out a groan. "Mom. Please," he says, and Castiel knows Dean well enough now that he's certain the man's cheeks are red from embarrassment. Before Mary moves back and settles into John’s embrace, she presses a kiss to Castiel’s cheek. “Be good to each other,” she says.

Castiel looks at Dean’s profile. He hopes he will be good for Dean. He cannot know for certain. What he does know with absolute certainty is that he will be good to Dean. He will love him unconditionally. Even when Dean steals the remote from Sam and him because a Dr. Sexy marathon is on. Or when he and Dean are playing a strategy game and Dean decimates all of Castiel’s forces in one fell swoop, knocking over Castiel’s soldier figurines with manic glee. Or when Dean steals the last piece of bacon from Castiel’s plate. Castiel thinks it is a testament to his love for Dean, because the last one is almost unforgivable.

Castiel will be good to Dean, because anything else would be sacrilege.