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It's Not Just a Coat

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"Cas?" Dean answered the phone with panic.

"Dean." Cas had been worried to call the man's number, but as soon as he picked up, he felt a tightness in his chest loosen.

"Cas. Where are you, man?" Dean's voice was panicked. "What happened?"

"Metatron." Cas said, and he walked along the side of the road. "He tricked me." Cas' voice was bitter and sad, and he bit back the rest of the story. He could tell Dean later. Dean audibly sighed on the other side, but didn't push Cas to continue on with an explanation. "I'm bleeding." He said softly, and Dean huffed a little laugh.

"Where are you?" He asked again, and Cas looked around him. There was no sign, nothing of importance to define his whereabouts. 

"I don't know, Dean." He said, agitated. "Along the side of some road, somewhere." He kept walking, picking up speed, trying to find something that might help Dean find him.

"Cas, Sam's in a bad place." Dean's voice was strained, and Cas shook his head, the emotion welling up inside of him overwhelming. "The docs say he's in some coma and I don't know what to do." Cas remained silent. He knew Dean would figure something out, even if it was something ridiculously stupid like making a deal with a demon.

It wouldn't be the first time. He let Dean talk, describing the doctor being an ass and the horrible smell of the hospital, and Cas turned onto a busy street, the light posts flipping on as the sunlight began to disappear.

"Dean, I am by a laundromat." Cas said, and he walked towards it, telling Dean the name of it, and Dean said he would be there as soon as he could. Cas hung up his phone and wiped his bloody hand on the trench coat before walking in. The cashier gave him an odd, scared look as he walked in, and Cas glanced down at his blood covered clothes. He held up his bleeding hand, as if that was a reasonable explanation, and the cashier let out a breath, and smiled at Cas, ushering him over to the bathroom.

"I have a first aid somewhere," she said, and held open the door for him. "You go wash the cut and I'll go find it." He nodded, muttering a thank you, and she sped off, leaving Cas to run water over his bloody hand. He wiped his face off, as well, feeling the coolness of the water on his stubbly skin. He stared at himself for a moment, truly taking in his vessel's appearance. He looked tired, Cas decided after a minute, and ran his thumb over the bag under his left eye. He shut off the water and pushed his way through the bathroom door, and let the nice woman tend to his wound.

"This is scraped up pretty badly," she said, smoothing a large bandage over his palm. He nodded.

"I almost got hit by a car." He said, wary of her reaction. She looked up at him with a shocked expression in her eyes, and a small smile appeared on her face. 

"Someone must be looking out for you," she said, and patted his knee before walking back to her post behind the counter. He repeated her statement in his head a few times before shaking his head, and walked past the rows of washing machines. For a second, he contemplated washing everything, and as he looked down at his blood-stained clothes, he decided, yes, he needed to wash his clothes. He pulled out various change from his pockets before undressing.

He flung his trench coat off first, sitting it on the top of the washing machine before kicking off his shoes, and pulling off his suit. He jerked the tie over his head, and then the white button-down shirt, and then, finally his pants and socks. He stuffed all of this in the washing machine, and shut the top. He reached for the change, and saw a vending machine in the corner. A bear claw was sitting on the third row of the precious machine, and Cas remembered Dean stuffing one into his face, making the most obnoxious noises of pleasure. His stomach grumbled, but he slid the coins into the washing machine, smiling as he heard the whir.

This was more important.

He stood there for a minute, and watched the shaking machine, before turning and looking out of the window. He felt a shiver of cold go through him, and immediately realized that it was probably inappropriate to be standing in nothing but a thin pair of white boxers. He looked back at the cashier, worried, but she only smiled at him before flipping through her magazine.

His shoulders relaxed again, but he stood away from the window, embarrassed of his inappropriate wear.

But he listened to the whir of the machine and waited for the roar of the Impala, and closed his eyes, smiling at the thought of being returned with his friends.

Dean pulled up to the Hillside Laundry, hastily parking and taking a breath before opening his door. Cas was inside, and he was nervous that he was badly hurt, or dead, attacked by demons or angels without any kind of backup. He didn't want to walk in to see his best friend dead. He was hesitant to go in, and afraid, he was so close to being all alone in the world, and if he didn't have Sammy, and he didn't have Cas, who would ever be there for him? He kept his head down as he approached the door to the laundromat, and pushed the door open warily, his other hand grasped tightly around the gun he'd grabbed.

He saw Cas immediately, and not because he was hurt. He had his bare back turned to Dean, his head down, and wearing only plain white boxers. There was a woman beside him, talking to him with her right hand on his back. He saw the man's shoulders shaking, and half jogged to him. He gave the woman beside him a glare, and she reached over to touch his shoulder, eyes wide with concern, before returning to the cashier.

"Cas? Cas!" He said, and Cas turned to him, red eyes and a wobbly lip. He pulled the fallen angel close to him, his arms wrapped around his broad shoulders. Cas only gave a sob, his arms tightly wrapped around a large wet piece of clothing in his hands.

Dean held his shoulders at arms' length, and looked down at the tattered trench coat in Cas' arms. 

"I didn't know." Cas was crying, his face wrenched in a horrible way he'd only seen when Jimmy Novak was dying. 

"Cas, it's just a trench coat. It's okay." His voice was a soothing whisper. Cas only shook his head and kept his eyes fixed on the ruined jacket. 

"No, Dean. You-" he let out a choked sob. "You kept this for me when you thought I was-" he didn't finish his sentence. Dean shook his head at Cas and pulled him in again, continuing to shake his head.

"No, Cas, I didn't keep it for you." His voice kept steady, although inside he was shaken with emotion. "I kept it for me. I-" he took a breath in. "I couldn't believe you were gone." He felt Cas pull away from him, and Dean loosened his arms. He kept his eyes on the ground as he talked. "Cas, you are so much more than that ugly trench coat. And I would rather have you any day than that stupid thing, so stop crying." He glanced up at Cas, afraid of seeing a confused expression on Cas' face.

But Cas was smiling. He wiped his eyes with the back of his hand and threw his tattered clothes away in a large garbage can across from them. He stood in front of Dean, goosebumps visible on his naked arms and torso. 

"Now what do I do?" Cas said, and he looked up at Dean like he was a god. Dean resisted every urge to put his hands on Cas' face, and turned away.

"You stay here." He said, and left the laundromat without a word, leaving Cas shivering behind him.

He could have sworn he heard the girl at the cashier ask Cas if he was Cas' boyfriend. He shrugged it off and ran to the thrift shop next door.

"Boyfriend?" Cas asked, and the girl laughed.

"You know, the hugging, the protectiveness of him, and the meaning behind that trench coat? Come on, you two have to be together." She bit her lip. "I wish you would have asked about the clothes, by the way. I would have dry-cleaned them for you." Cas shook his head. He didn't need the clothes anymore.

"I don't think Dean and I are boyfriends." Cas said simply, looking around. His face was unusually hot, and his ears were burning.

"Dean? The guy even has a hot name." The girl said, and Cas nodded. He did quite enjoy Dean's name. "Not to mention his chiseled jaw and his smoldering green eyes, and augh, the way he looked at you, and said your name, it was just so-" she swatted at the air, trying to find the words.

"What?" Cas interrupted her thinking, curious.

"Passionate." The girl said, and she bit her lip again. 

"So, you think Dean wants to be my boyfriend." Cas said, and looked at the girl with his eyes squinted in confusion. The girl nodded, her eyes wide.

"Cas, are you serious? He looked like he was about to kiss you!" She said, and Cas shook his head vehemently.

"No, no, Dean likes women. And pie." He added, as if this was a trait only straight men had.

"And you apparently." The girl gave him a look of triumph as she rebutted. He kept silent and kept his lips pursed. "So, he may not be your boyfriend, but I definitely think he has it bad for you." She finished, and flipped another page of her magazine.

"Has what?" Cas' mouth betrayed him. 

"The hots. He couldn't even take his hands off of your shoulders, and he eyed you up really good when you were throwing your stuff out." She blushed for a second. "I can see why, I mean, you are in practically see-through underwear." Cas' face burned again, and he cursed himself for washing his clothes. The door ringed and Dean barged in, a bag of clothes in his hand.

"I didn't know what size to get you, but I think this stuff will fit." He was saying, pulling things out for him. "I'm sorry about the selection, it was a thrift shop, and it's pretty late, and..." Dean trailed off, and Cas tugged up the loose-fitting cargo pants. They weren't as snug as he liked, but they fit nonetheless, and he was happy for the coverage of his body. He took the shirts, and layered them, despite Dean telling him he got different choices for him to choose from.

"Thank you, Dean." He said, slipping on the jacket. He looked down at himself, with these strange new clothes on his body. It was odd, not seeing his suit and trench coat, but Dean was smiling at him, and he had no choice but to smile back.

"Let's go home, man." He said, and grabbed Cas by the shoulder, pulling him in to drape his arm across the smaller man.

The girl gave him a smile and a wink before he left, and a small wave, exposing an arrow marking on her wrist. 

"Dean, are we boyfriends?" Cas said as they got into the Impala. Dean remained silent for a moment, and then shook his head.

"No, Cas. We're not boyfriends." He said, and shot a look over at Cas in the passengers' seat. He had a look of disappointment on his face. Dean sighed before continuing.

"I think that word kinda shames what we are." He said softly, and he heard Cas take a breath in. 

"Dean-" he said, but Dean didn't let him finish.

"We don't have to define what we are, Cas." He said simply, and left it at that. Cas didn't say anything after that.

But after a few moments, he did slide his hand over to Dean's knee and let it rest there for the remainder of their trip.

And if Dean was smiling, well, that was his own business, wasn't it?