Author: Das Mervin and Mrs. Hyde
Betas: gehayi and kermit_thefrog
Genre: Hurt/Comfort, Family
Word Count: 17,630
Rating: R for language, themes, and sexuality (SLASH)
Spoilers: Through the SPN Season 6 finale
Summary: The writing was on the wall. And now Dean just had to understand it. Set vaguely post-Season 7.
Author’s Notes: This chapter is very long. Split in two parts again. Just a small warning as well—yes, there are a few instances of what could be considered non-PC gender issues, but this is Dean Winchester, and it’s just his characterization, okay? Oh, this is also where the R rating comes from. Just so you know.
Disclaimer: “Supernatural” is the property of Kripke Enterprises and Warner Bros. Television, and no profit is being made from this work and no copyright infringement is intended.
PART IV: NOTHING EVER GOES AS PLANNED
Since he hadn’t had anything to drink since breakfast, Dean didn’t feel bad about having a beer with his late dinner despite his silent vow to himself not to get even the slightest bit buzzed tonight. He’d had plenty of time to sober up all day, so one beer wasn’t going to hurt anything.
Settling down at the table, he poked at the plate in front of him; Sam had saved him some dinner—as well as lunch and breakfast earlier, seeing as he didn’t eat when the rest of them had at all today. And from what he gathered from the couple of times he spoke with Sam, it was a good thing he had set aside a plate for him: Cas apparently ate pretty much like a dog and Bobby was already complaining about the little dude’s insatiable appetite. Well, that’s what Cas got for not eating for years at a time. You’d think he’d have gotten used to eating and how awesome it was in the two or three days he’d been human before, but Dean figured he’d just forgotten and they were going to have to go through that all over again.
If anything, though, Dean was relieved that he could even think about Cas at all and not immediately want to change the mental subject.
Dean had not been lying when he’d said he was going to work on the car. He’d worked on it all morning, actually, only pausing once to sneak inside and make off with the bowl of beans Sam had left for him. Once he was done with the car, he’d done the same thing for lunch, zipping in to grab a sandwich or two, hopefully without anyone noticing him. Hadn’t been entirely successful, though, because Sam had managed to catch him. Fortunately, they’d only shared a few words before he’d made his escape, leaving him free to skulk around Bobby’s junkyard until dinner. Unfortunately, the last time he’d gone inside to find something to eat and had turned right back around again because he’d been still sitting at the table and still staring. Going right back out as fast as he’d come in, Cas hadn’t had a chance to speak to Dean, and Dean certainly hadn’t spoken to him.
He’d felt like an idiot, hiding outside all day, but at least no one had bothered him—and he’d gotten in a nice nap out in the Impala, which he’d needed after last night (he furiously struck a mental line through that thought the minute he thought it, heat crawling up his face at just the idea of what Sam would have said about it). So now he was awake, hungry but not hungry, and wasn’t entirely sure what to do next.
He knew Cas was upstairs in what was supposed to be his room—leave it to those dicks to put the guy in there. There were plenty of couches and spare rooms and floors where they could have stuck him, but no, they had to give him Dean’s room. That was just like them—Cas goes on a soul-bender and tries to kill them all and they give him his own room. Dean saves the whole planet and they make him sleep on the floor.
Unless, of course, they were implying something…
Scowling, he ate a few bites of cold spaghetti with more force than necessary.
No. They weren’t implying anything and he knew it. Well, most of him knew it. And anyway, he didn’t care if they were! Because he knew the truth. Let ‘em speculate and get it all wrong. He’d kick their asses for it later. Bastards.
Dean grimaced, swallowing and pushing the plate away from him. His mood was whipsawing worse than if he’d been a chick on the rag, and he knew it. But he didn’t really care, because he was too busy trying to wrestle his two halves into some kind of agreement—half of him wanted to stay downstairs, and the other half (the sissy half—which was the smaller half, thank you very much) kept insisting that it would be best to go upstairs and hash things out now and get it over with, but what the hell was he supposed to say?!
Scooting away from the table and leaving his half-full beer and half-empty plate for Bobby to clean up later, he glared at the stairs for a moment before trudging into the living room to sit quietly for a few—a plan that was quickly derailed because Sam was already there, passed out on the couch, and when Sam was passed out on a couch there was no room for anyone else. How the hell had he not seen him sprawled out there when he came in, anyway? He stared at his little brother for a moment before he wandered aimlessly out of the room, not really knowing he had a destination in mind until he was already halfway down the stairs to the basement. The door to the panic room was open and a quick peek inside revealed that Dean’s sneaking suspicion was right—Bobby was in there, but he wasn’t awake. He’d fallen asleep on the cot with a book, the bottle of booze on the floor next to him capped for the night.
So, they had him all nice and hemmed in, and that left only two options. Dean could join them—just find himself a nice patch on the library floor. He’d done it before, and sleep did sound nice even though he’d had a nap.
Or he could go upstairs. All the way upstairs.
Or I could just go get a root canal without any Novocain, he groused even as he began his slow and steady and stalling ascent. He turned when he hit the top, hating how every creak sounded like thunder; just because Bobby and Sam were asleep didn’t mean they wouldn’t wake up, and that just wasn’t acceptable—doubly so ‘cause they’d just fake still being asleep so they could eavesdrop. Bad enough Bobby had heard some of his ranting and raving last night. He didn’t want anyone hearing his ranting and raving tonight, either—and if he was really going up there, he was sure there would be.
Dean paused once he hit the door that was supposed to be his but was now pretty much Cas’s because that’s just how Cas was—didn’t matter if he was angel or human, he was still the unstoppable glacier, butting in on Dean’s life and making everything that was once Dean’s business his own business because he just had to be in someone’s business and that someone was always Dean. He glared at the chipped wood of the door and then, because there was simply nothing else for it, knocked twice.
The delay between Dean knocking and Cas opening the door was simultaneously far too long and way too short. It was just delaying the inevitable, but if he didn’t answer that meant Dean could bug out of here without having to see him. But then the doorknob rattled and the door swung wide and he—
It took every ounce of Dean’s willpower to not burst into hysterical laughter at the sight of Cas being eaten by Dean’s own faded Led Zeppelin shirt, his skinny legs poking out of what were supposed to be a pair of shorts but on him were so enormous that they looked more like a skirt. Clearing his throat and trying to keep his lips from trembling, he waved a hand at the ridiculous ensemble. “Uh—Sam set you up with that?”
Cas just nodded. “Yes,” he said, looking down. “The shorts he gave me first kept falling off,” he added quietly, “so he said I could have these that were his.”
Well, that sobered him up—Sammy, you are gonna wake up with your head shaved for that, he growled internally, because who gave Sam permission to give Cas his clothes? Shaking off the rather unpleasant idea that there was now a chance he was gonna put on a pair of shorts that Cas had previously worn for however little time, he coughed again. “Okay. Uh…” He glanced off to the side. “Were you asleep?” he asked, feeling stupid. Again.
“No,” Cas replied.
“Were you trying to sleep?”
“…Were you planning on sleeping any time soon?”
Dammit. “Then…” He had no idea what to say.
He ground his teeth and pushed his way into the room, making Cas step backwards. Once he was in, he shut the door very firmly behind them and almost locked it against those two nosy pricks downstairs, but decided not to because that would just look bad. Instead, he sat for a moment and hated on the situation because he felt awkward and at a loss for words and that wasn’t fair because Cas looked ridiculous and Dean wanted to laugh at him but felt too uncomfortable to actually do it. So he compromised and glared at Cas.
He really did look silly, wearing clothes that were way too big for him, and it was with a weird, disconnected feeling that Dean noticed that his stubble was actually starting to get thicker (and patchier). He realized with no little discomfort that he was starting to look a bit like the strung-out Cas that his future self had lead to his death in that world where they hadn’t stopped the Apocalypse, and right then Dean decided that wasn’t allowed. He’d taught Sammy how to shave when he was seventeen, and now he was just gonna have to do the same for Cas. This a-little-longer than his usual stubble was out, but Dean had a sneaking suspicion he couldn’t pull off the full-on, total-beardy-guy look, either.
And yet, despite the stupid picture he presented, standing there looking small and forlorn in borrowed clothes, still bruised and scabbed and battered, That Look was there and it ruined everything.
“So, uh,” Dean coughed, “did Sam say anything about getting you some clothes that aren’t mine or his?”
“Bobby said we would go to a store in town tomorrow,” Cas answered.
“Well,” Dean grunted, “remind him to take you to a convenience store, too. You’re gonna need stuff like a toothbrush and a razor—human body has upkeep, and all.”
“He already bought me those things while you were outside,” Cas said. “Sam told me how to brush my teeth.”
Dean didn’t really have a response to that, so they once again lapsed into silence that was horribly awkward—at least for him, anyway, because he suspected that it was hard to make the walking definition of “awkward” actually feel awkward.
He really didn’t know why he couldn’t think of anything to say, because there were about fifty bazillion topics that needed to be gone over with Cas. So just spin the wheel and pick one, you pansy, he berated himself. He flapped a hand at Cas and the bed before going over and dragging the desk chair up by the headboard (the very same chair he’d used when he was stitching up Cas’s war wounds), waiting for him to sit obediently on the edge of the bed (while Dean pointedly did not). He was still sitting too close for comfort, though, damn him, within touching distance and if Cas took it into his head to lean forward—
Dean coughed loudly in the silence, leaning his elbows on his knees and looking at his fingers where he laced them together. “You talk much with Sam and Bobby?” he asked for a starter.
Cas shifted, looking away. “Some,” he answered vaguely.
“‘Kay. Great. You talk any of what you’re…gonna do now?” Dean continued.
When Cas didn’t answer, Dean looked up and saw he was looking both concerned and confused. “Do?” he repeated.
“Well, you’re…human now, or close enough, so you can’t exactly go back to your old job,” Dean elaborated. “I just wondered if you’d, you know, thought about what you want to do now. Sam and I aren’t gonna up and quit hunting, and Bobby won’t want you just free-loading permanently, so—” Dean stopped, furrowing his brow at Cas. His concern had rapidly turned into…well, best he could figure, into something like panic. “What’s your problem?”
Cas seemed to be struggling. “I…I don’t really know what I could do, because I’ve only ever been an…an angel,” he managed, and his tone rather alarmed Dean. “I don’t have anywhere to go, you’re the only humans I’ve ever—” He swallowed. “—ever been friends with, and I have…no family or home now, except…” Those big blue eyes turned up at him. “…except you, all of you, but I don’t…I don’t deserve—”
“Dude,” Dean said sharply, cutting him off, “dial back, man. We’re not throwing you out, for Christ’s sake. Calm down.”
Dean pursed his lips at the familiar pathetic relief, and there Cas went again, with that “oh I am not worthy O Savior” face that he was getting really, really tired of, in no small part because it made him so damned uncomfortable. Why did Cas have to think he was Jesus?! Shifting in his seat, he said firmly, “We said we were gonna help you out. We meant it—we all did. But that’s gonna take time, and we all know you’re gonna be here for a while with us while we, you know…get you comfortable in your new skin and all. But you gotta do something eventually, you know?”
Obviously, Cas didn’t know. Dean let out a chuff of irritation. “Like being Bobby’s perky research assistant or something for a while. He wouldn’t mind the help, I don’t think, and who knows what interesting fun factoids you’ve got that none of us know about. He’s kind of a one-man-army in here, and I know it’s gotta drag on him, so I bet he wouldn’t mind you stayin’ on so long as you were pulling your weight.” He waved a vague hand in the air. “Just something, Cas, that’s all I was asking. Nobody’s telling you to get out, ‘cause we know you don’t have anywhere else to go—I was just askin’ if you’d thought about what you want to do now.”
Dammit, he was looking pitiful again. “I—thank you,” Cas murmured, “but I do…understand if you will…want me to leave.”
Dean glared. “We don’t,” he said a little more firmly than he’d originally wanted, but too late now.
Cas just met his eyes, staring solemnly at him like he always did, so Dean kept talking. “So, anyway, it’s just something to think about after you get on your feet and are a little more used to things. I dunno if you wanna stay with us and learn the ropes of what we do—or rather, how we do it without all the holy bells and whistles that you had before—or maybe if you wanna go off and try normal for a while and be a civilian.”
Cas shook his head. “I don’t think I could be the kind of normal you are referring to, Dean,” he said seriously.
Dean’s mouth twisted, and he snorted. “Yeah, I guess you’re right.” He looked Cas up and down, and one of his less-pleasant thoughts from earlier today came back to hit him with full force. “Uh, actually, there might be a bigger problem with that—the whole ‘normal’ thing,” he said. “That thing you’re wearing his wasn’t always yours, you know,” he said, poking him in the shoulder. When Cas just blinked at him, Dean clarified, “That body, Cas. It might have identity issues with the rest of the world now that you can’t just wipe memories and disappear.”
He frowned when Cas’s head bowed, his expression suddenly morose. “Oh,” was all Cas said.
Dean didn’t have time for Cas getting all depressed again about being human, not when there was another issue that was really, really bothering him after—after he’d thought about it today. Shifting a little in his seat, he decided to just ask the question that had been bugging him all day. “Is, uh…is Jimmy…still in there, Cas? You two bunking together permanently now, or what?”
Cas kept staring at the floor. “Jimmy’s gone,” he said quietly.
“Oh.” Dean coughed. “Was it—”
“I don’t know what happened,” Cas said, cutting him off. “I don’t know if he was…expelled with the rest of the souls or if I…lost…him myself when I took them in. But he is not here. He must have moved on.” His Adam’s apple moved as he swallowed, and then added in a whisper, “I hope.”
They lapsed into silence, Dean’s not necessarily comfortable—he hated to admit it, but he himself more often than not just forgot that Cas’s body wasn’t always his and that he was just borrowing. He hated that he forgot about Jimmy Novak, husband and father who’d signed himself up for an eternity of being Cas’s bitch. He also hated to admit it, but some sneaking part of him was relieved that he wouldn’t have to worry about forgetting it anymore.
“I don’t understand it.” Cas’s words snapped Dean from his woolgathering, and he glanced back up at him; Cas was still staring dully at the floor. “It doesn’t seem…right,” he continued. “Why I’m alive and in his body and he’s…he did nothing wrong, and I did everything wrong…yet I am the only one left.” He closed his eyes for a moment. “It should have been him. Not me.”
Dean sighed, suddenly understanding Cas’s melancholy and once again getting mad at himself for not being able to figure out his moods anymore—and here he used to think he was so good at reading people. “Well,” he began, “to be honest, I don’t think the poor guy could’ve gone back to his life all that well. Had a hard enough time just for that one day, after all. And…in the long run, I think it’s probably better—for him—if he’s not in there anymore. You aren’t exactly the ideal roommate.”
Cas just slowly blinked at him, so Dean added, “I’m not sayin’ it’s good he’s dead. I’m just saying…better he be out and moved on than stuck chained to you.” He waved a vague hand in the air. “Let’s just be glad he’s got some peace now, huh?”
Cas didn’t respond, because Cas never liked to help out when it came to uncomfortable silences—just the opposite, actually. He preferred to draw them out and make them as painful as possible. As such, it didn’t leave Dean with anything to do but either look at the wall or look at the floor or look at him. He decided on the last one because it right now, it was easy for a change—Cas wasn’t staring at back him.
Dean shifted a little, tilting his head and looking at Cas—really looking. His hair was in a permanent state of confusion, and Dean sincerely doubted that would change any time soon. The stubble, of course, something he’d never seen him without, was still there, if a bit thicker. He wasn’t necessarily scrawny (except how he was), but he was all wiry and thin. And, naturally, the big blue eyes to cap it all off; Dean grumpily suspected that those were the real reason Jimmy Novak had been tapped—all the better for Cas to soulfully stare at him with, right?
Dean supposed he was…good-looking. For a guy. The few times he’d been out in public with Cas, he’d seen women give him a once-over (well, for the few seconds a woman could spare for any other man when Dean himself was in the picture). But whether or not he was didn’t make much difference, because Dean patently did not find anything worth checking out on Cas, because Cas was a fuckin’ dude!
And yet somehow, that hadn’t stopped him last night when he had—when they’d—when he’d tried—
Suck it up, you little puss, and say it like it is, he sneered internally. That didn’t stop you from rounding first and trying to steal second.
Except it had stopped him, because there was no second, and that was the whole fucking problem!
Irritated again, he went back to glaring at the floor. Just because Sam had managed to couch it in terms that made some vague kind of messed-up sense didn’t mean it wasn’t weird, or that it didn’t make him feel like he was going completely out of his mind. Because it was weird, dammit, not to mention probably unhealthy. Check that—definitely unhealthy, because he it was pretty sure that he was halfway to developing a twitch, what with his brain running around in circles over it. At this rate, he was gonna need friggin’ therapy by the time he got sorted out.
If he ever did get sorted out—‘cause how could he even worry about what to do about this situation if he didn’t even know what the hell he wanted?
…For that matter, he didn’t even know what the hell Cas wanted.
Dean narrowed his eyes a little as he looked back up at the room’s other occupant—okay, so he knew what he liked to look at (and that Cas wasn’t on the list). But…what did Cas like to look at?
The immediate answer was the most obvious (and the most disconcerting)—Cas liked looking at him, apparently. But, as Dean turned it over in his head, he realized that that wasn’t entirely accurate. Cas hadn’t meant…that…last night when he’d said…what he’d said. So, just ‘cause Cas enjoyed staring at him didn’t mean he enjoyed looking at him, if that made any sense. Which it didn’t.
Dean blew out a rather explosive sigh. This really wasn’t making any sense (again). That one disaster of a time he’d tried to get the idiot laid, he’d sure been staring at that hooker’s tits. The messed-up Cas he’d met in 2014 thought of nothing but women (well, women and drugs). To Dean’s disgust, he’d certainly had all the usual reactions to watching porn, even if he didn’t get it. And, of course, there was the Meg Incident. Always women—he’d never shown any inclination to want to go after a dude…but last night, he’d certainly been…responsive. Dean shifted around in his seat again, ill at ease. So, what—Cas just liked everything? That didn’t make any sense either; if he liked everything, he’d friggin’ go after it and just not wait for someone to grab him! God knew Dean had met enough angels who did just that. What was Cas’s problem, anyway? Why the hell was he so uptight? “Do you even notice women?”
Cas’s head came up, and it took Dean a second to realize just why he was looking at him so blankly, his expression vaguely startled—because he’d said that last one aloud.
Cas was clearly floundering. “I—I don’t—”
Dean waved a hand, covering his own embarrassment. “Lemme start over,” he grunted. “Do you…you know, ever look at women?”
That apparently didn’t clear things up for Cas, who was still looking at him like he’d just spoken Pig Latin. “I’ve…seen women—”
“No, Cas,” he interrupted irritably. “I mean do you look at women. You know—notice that they’ve got things like boobs?” he asked, cupping his hands vaguely at his own chest.
Cas’s confusion was approaching near-comical levels. “Women…have them, and I have seen them—” he said haltingly.
Dean growled. Winchester, it’s Cas, here. You should know better by now. “Cas,” he said very deliberately, “have you ever wanted to have sex with a woman? You know—just seen one out on the street and thought she was hot and that you’d like to tap that?”
Finally. Cas’s eyes widened a little and then immediately cut to the side, just like they had when Dean had first pried it out of him that he was a 40,000-Year-Old Virgin. He shifted uncomfortably, and then, without meeting Dean’s eyes, replied, “No. I don’t…look at women. Not…like that.”
Dean pursed his lips. “Ever?”
Dean’s spine involuntarily stiffened. “What—do you look at guys that way?” he demanded.
Cas’s expression didn’t change. “No.”
Dean gave a rather skeptical snort. “Cas, you gotta have some kind of sex drive—and don’t try to deny it, ‘cause I know that’s a lie. Did you forget about, you know, Meg?”
Cas’s discomfort got worse, if that was possible. “I…didn’t forget,” he said haltingly. “I was…there is a reason angels were forbidden to engage in human…practices.”
Dean made a rude noise. “That sure as hell didn’t stop most of the ones I met,” he retorted.
“But they had already fallen,” Cas answered earnestly. “Angels, in our true forms, we don’t—we don’t breed, don’t have…urges, like that. In the past when we walked the earth, the hosts of Heaven were barred from…interacting with humans in such a fashion. Those who disobeyed were severely punished.” He looked down at his hands. “I…suspect it was really just to keep us—uh—‘toeing the line,’ as you said.” He looked up again, and his words were faltering as he said, “Angels…don’t feel—not like you do. But in human vessels, it can be very easy to give in, to the…hedonism of human physical sensations. They are…quite overwhelming, and can make us…forget ourselves.”
Dean felt a very unpleasant heat crawling up his neck. Shit—did I—did I seriously Meg him last night?
“But you never did,” Dean said unnecessarily—anything to distract him from that thought.
If he didn’t know any better, he’d almost say that Cas looked offended by such a suggestion—although, knowing Cas, Dean suspected it was less over the idea that he might have been screwing around and more over the implication that he’d have broken ranks. But the look was quickly gone, and he shook his head slightly, turning uncomfortable again as he answered, “No—never. Not as a male or a female.”
Dean started. “What? Not as—you mean you used to be a chick?” he demanded.
Cas’s brow furrowed. “I was never a…a ‘chick’,” he said. “I was an angel.”
Exasperated, Dean waved his answer away. “Okay, whatever—but, I mean, you’ve trawled around as a woman before?”
“Yes,” Cas answered, as if having himself a little genderflip was like changing his shirt. “The last time I was here, long before we were all recalled to Heaven, my vessel was a female. A distant ancestor of his one,” he added, looking down at himself.
God, how was he supposed to figure all this shit out when the guy he was trying to talk to didn’t see any problems with being a girl? “Didn’t—didn’t that bother you?” Dean asked. “Being a girl when you were really a guy?”
Cas got that stupid blank look again. “I was not a guy,” he answered slowly.
Dean stared at him. “Then what the hell are you?” he asked after a moment.
“An angel,” Cas answered, looking bewildered. Then his face dropped. “I was an angel,” he corrected himself, going gloomy again.
Dean didn’t have time for his angst over his demotion. “What does that mean, exactly, ‘an angel’?” he demanded. “You called all the rest of the angels your brothers, but some came down here as women, even Raphael, who still called himself your brother even when he was wearing a chick, and then there was Anna—how do you guys even work?”
Amazingly, Cas’s face cleared a little. He actually seemed to understand Dean’s confusion, would wonders never cease, and his voice was much steadier as he patiently answered, “Angels weren’t created two by two, male and female, Dean. Those are physical characteristics of humans and the other animals here on earth. Angels simply…are.”
Huh. Sam was right—he’s not technically a guy. Well, screw him. “Technically” could kiss his ass, anyway—if it had a dick, it was a dude, end of story. “Well, I’ve got news for you,” Dean informed him. “You have physical characteristics now, so I think you’d better get used to thinking of yourself as a guy.”
Cas looked pensive, but then nodded. “Yes—that’s what Sam said when I spoke to him.”
He spoke to Sam?
“You spoke to Sam?”
Cas nodded. “After breakfast.”
He spoke to Sam.
Cas spoke to Sam.
That meant Sam spoke to Cas.
Cas and Sam spoke.
“You talked with Sam,” he repeated. “About last night.”
They talked about it. Cas talked about it with Sam. Cas talked about last night with Sam.
Cas fucking talked about making out with me to Sam!
There was going to be death. First, he was gonna to kill Cas, right here and now. Then he was going to go downstairs and he was gonna to kill Sam. Then, just for good measure, he was gonna kill Bobby—better safe than sorry. And finally, he was gonna to kill himself. Everyone was going to die because this was too fucking much! Bad enough that Sam and Bobby had to gossip about what they had actually seen last night, but now Sam was pumping Cas for all the juicy details on what they hadn’t seen, and Cas was too much of a dumbass to keep his goddamn mouth shut!
Dean was suddenly, awfully aware that Cas was looking rather speculatively at him, and he wanted to black one of his pretty blue eyes for it. Before he had a chance to consider actually doing it, Cas started talking again.
“You are…uncomfortable with my being in a male vessel,” he said very seriously, halfway between a question and a statement.
Oh, he so didn’t want to hear this.
Cas seemed to be casting about for words in the face of Dean’s frozen silence, flicking his eyes between Dean and the floor, until he finally licked his lips and said, “Sam said…Sam said that you do…care about me…”
He really didn’t want to hear this!
“…But that it is…difficult, because you…normally only feel that way for women?” His voice lilted upwards, turning it into a question.
Dean changed his mind. He wanted to hear all of it, to make tearing off Sam’s head all the more justified. He wanted to hear every word—to count every word—so then he could march straight downstairs and take every one of ‘em right out of his overgrown ass! What the hell did Sam tell him?! What the hell did Cas tell him?! And now this—fuck, Cas was just now figuring out that Dean—how he—he hadn’t realized any of this but fucking Sam had to go and tell him and now Cas was going to patiently tell Dean that he had the wrong idea and all about how Angels Don’t Do That or weren’t capable of it or some other bullshit, never mind that he wasn’t an angel anymore—but what the hell did that even matter to him, because Dean didn’t—!
Dean scrubbed his hand over his face—and then stopped. Cas was looking at him. No, he was looking at him again, his eyes soft and filled with a gentle regret. “I’m sorry that I didn’t take a female vessel for you, Dean,” he said quietly.
For a second or two, all Dean could do was blink stupidly at Cas, and then his shoulders slumped, his gut twisting unpleasantly as Cas’s words sank in. However, on its heels was a surge of indignation—what the hell? Barely twenty-four hours ago, Cas was calmly explaining how he was going to turn him inside out and then go do the same thing to his brother for refusing to bow to the New God, and now Dean was the one feeling like a dick?! He had a good mind to tell Cas exactly how he felt about this situation just make him feel bad—and then he realized that it was pointless because Cas already did feel bad because he didn’t have boobs. Which was…fucking ridiculous.
“Cas,” he started tiredly, still not entirely sure what he was going to say, “you don’t…need to apologize…for that. In fact, you should never apologize for that again ‘cause it’s stupid. I don’t…I don’t want you to be a woman.” Dean paused, his brow creasing a little as he realized what he had just said—and realized that he meant it. He looked up at Cas, who was head-tilting at him. “I don’t—I dunno how, but things would’ve been…different if you had been cruising around in a chick all this time. I know, I know,” he said a little loudly, seeing that Cas was about to protest. “You still would’ve been you, ‘cause you’re an angel and all that crap, even though you never think to check your own damn plumbing.”
Dean ignored Cas’s confused look at the statement and ploughed ahead, the words just kind of falling out of his mouth now. “But things would’ve been different.” He forced himself to look right into Cas’s eyes this time—see how he liked it, the stare-y little bastard. “And I don’t want them to be different. I’m…” He couldn’t say “happy,” because right now he wasn’t, and he couldn’t say “fine” either, so he struggled for a moment until he finally picked a word: “I’m…okay with you…like this.”
Crap—that wasn’t the right word, either; this was so not okay. Well, whatever—it was the right word to use in that Cas wasn’t looking pitiful anymore about being a dude, so Dean supposed it would have to do. He nodded vaguely to himself, drumming his fingers against his knee.
“Are we…” Dean glanced up when Cas started talking, hesitant and unsure. “…all right, then?” he finished.
Dean snorted. “Yeah, Cas,” he sighed. “We’re all right.”
They both lapsed into silence again, neither looking at the other (which Dean was very glad for). He was grateful for the silence this time because it gave him some time to go back to plotting all manner of unspeakable horrors he was going to rain down on Sam for sticking his nose in his business and talking to Cas about feelings—about his feelings, no less. His plans involving the chili powder and the mouthwash were interrupted when he noticed Cas was scratching absently at his ribs. After boggling for a minute at how wrong such a normal, human motion looked on Cas, he suddenly realized what he was doing.
“Don’t do that,” Dean ordered, shoving his hand away. “Those are your stitches—you’re gonna tear them out.”
Cas frowned, fidgeting. “It’s uncomfortable,” he said, and Dean was amused to hear that his voice sounded just a little bit sulky.
Dean rolled his eyes. “Deal with it,” he said firmly. “That isn’t gonna be the first itch you can’t scratch, not by a long shot.”
Dean wasn’t stupid; he knew the shifty look Cas had and he could tell he was gonna scratch it again when nobody was watching him. He reminded himself to tell Bobby not to give Cas anymore of the painkillers so he couldn’t get away with touching the wound without it hurting him—then he’d learn. ‘Sides, Dean hadn’t been too keen on giving them to him in the first place, what with knowing how fast Cas could go junkie. No way they could keep up with the habit he’d run if he started; best to just keep him off that shit.
Heaving a sigh, he got to his feet. “Come on, Cas. You may as well go to sleep,” he grunted, irritated yet again that Cas got to sleep in a bed and Dean would get to sleep on the floor. The bed frame creaked as Cas got up with him, and Dean was forced to take a tiny step back when it Cas, as always, was suddenly right up in his face. Angel or not, Personal Space and Cas would never be friends, Dean decided. He opened his mouth to tell Cas to sit back down, because he wasn’t going anywhere…
Dammit. There it was again—why did Cas always look at him like that?! And why did he always get more looky when he got up in Dean’s face?! And why, oh why, did Dean’s insides have to suddenly start doing that twisty thing when he did?!
Well, that was stupid. He knew why—Sam had told him why. It was because he liked pussy but he still…liked…Cas. There was no point in trying to deny it now—God knew he’d spent almost all day and most of last night trying to do just that and failing miserably. He just didn’t know what he was supposed to do about it. He didn’t like it, but he couldn’t avoid it (though he really wanted to), and he certainly couldn’t deny it, so what?
What you do with anything you can’t run or hide from, his mind dryly asked him, in a voice that sounded disturbingly like his brother’s.
No. No way—no way he could just charge into this one.
…Except how he kind of already had.
He cleared his throat, staring down at Cas who just stared solemnly (and soppily) back. Doesn’t have to be much. Just try…something. Anything. Just to let him know that we’re okay. He hated how his neck felt hot, but before he could chicken out, he reached out and pulled Cas forward by his arm, careful not to grab him by a bruise, and drew him into a rough embrace. Cas came willingly, just passively going with it like he had before. Dean tensed a little when he suddenly felt Cas move, sooner than he had the last time even if he still hesitated a bit, and then Cas was tentatively hugging him back. But then he started leaning on him, pressing in all close, and—no, Dean was not going to throw him off. He could handle this. It was fine.
…and really, it mostly was. It was Cas—just Cas. He was warm, all pressed up against him like this, his breaths coming in even little puffs against Dean neck, which was apparently Cas’s favorite spot to be, though Dean had no idea why (and he admittedly wasn’t quite so okay with the way he was breathing on him). Dean let his eyes close, which made things easier because he didn’t have to see that he was…holding a dude like this—he could just hug Cas. Which was still weird, but…not as weird. He guessed.
No, it was still fucking weird.
He sighed without thinking about it, but then tensed as he felt Cas suddenly shudder, the hands on his back twitching. Dean looked down, his brow furrowed, and spotted goosebumps on the side of Cas’s neck. His first thought was a rather bitchy, So, how do you like it? But any triumph quickly dried up when he realized from the way that Cas’s arms had tightened around him and his breathing had sped up that, well, he kinda did like it, and that ruined everything and he turned away from Cas’s neck.
Okay, he was starting to get mildly freaked out now. Cas might be small and slight and delicate in his arms, even if he was kinda bony, but he wasn’t fooling anyone—still a dude.
Dean dropped his hands, and of course he was so wound up right now that the normal motion felt like he was petting the skinny runt, and his ridiculously sensitive hands picked up every wrong detail of the shape of him. Cas was hard and pointy in places that he shouldn’t be and conspicuously missing certain curves and swells in others—‘cause he was a goddamn guy!
Dean’s throat clicked as he swallowed, his hands sort of stuck on the too-narrow and too-straight hips beneath them, but he managed to pull away a little. Cas’s head came up, and he was close, way too close. Well, of course he was too close, he wouldn’t let go! Dean’s mouth went dry because all he could see was that Cas was looking at him again, he was always fucking looking at him. He tried to wet his lips, oh but that was the mother of all bad ideas, because Cas saw it and now he was looking there, just like Dean had looked at him last night before—
This was very bad. Dean remembered what happened last time—both last times they got like this, and his gut was all knotted up and his back went rigid when he saw Cas lean up, just a little, but then he stopped. If he didn’t just fucking do something Dean was gonna explode, but then Cas did do something and closed the distance and he felt the whisper of his lips on his own. Goddammit, what the hell was he supposed to do, stuck here like this with his eyes welded open with those blue ones boring into him so all he could see was Cas?!
Cas pulled away; he’d barely touched him for all that Dean thought that he was gonna spontaneously combust on the spot, and now he was looking up at him with a concerned expression. “Was that…all right? For me to do that?” he asked worriedly.
No, it wasn’t fucking all right! Of course he didn’t say that, but Cas seemed just know it and now was looking up at him like a stomped-on puppy. Dean felt his stomach clench at the sight of it, at the big dewy eyes and that pathetic face, because it was Cas, he was just Cas now, after everything that happened this past year he really was his Cas again, and Dean forced his throat to unlock. “Yeah, Cas,” he ground out. “It’s all right.”
Cas clearly didn’t buy it—shit, the moron believed almost every word that came out of Dean’s mouth and half the time he acted like it was some kind of gospel, but he couldn’t just accept what he said this one time and let it go? Dean couldn’t really tell if he was looking all pathetic because he felt rejected or because he felt bad for doing something he thought (correctly) that Dean wasn’t okay with, and he didn’t really care—he just really, really just wanted Cas to stop looking like that because it was the sorriest sight ever.
Are you seriously gonna do what I think you’re gonna do?
Yes. Yes, he was. And he did.
He squeezed his eyes shut and blundered forward, bumping Cas’s nose in his blind quest for his mouth and—there it was.
He could not—do this with his hands so low on Cas’s hips, so he moved them up, sliding them to rest on his waist instead—which wasn’t any better, because when he held women there, their nice curvy hips were what supported his hands and Cas didn’t have any hips. Cas wasn’t pulling away, which meant if anyone was gonna end this one, it would be Dean. So he did, keeping his eyes firmly shut even though he didn’t completely pull back and was still able to feel Cas’s breath puffing across his mouth.
Then that vanished when Cas leaned forward and he was kissing him again.
He almost opened his eyes again, but didn’t for the sake of his own sanity—because Cas was a fast learner, and that familiar flutter in his middle made him want to crawl away and hide even as he tilted his head so that his nose wasn’t mashed so bad and he has better room to maneuver. Cas’s arms tightened a little, and Dean, mostly because he knew he’d feel really idiotic if he just kept standing there like a stump letting Cas mack on him, he just…went along with it, matching Cas’s movement and trying to ignore the slow heat in his midsection.
Freaky as it was and as weird (and slightly sick) as he felt doing it, Dean thought everything was going pretty well right up until Cas went fucking insane.
Dean wasn’t quite sure what did it; he’d been concentrating too hard on keeping himself together, paying attention just to the mouth moving against his own and trying not to think about who—or more specifically, what it was attached to. Cas was an idiot, but he wasn’t stupid; he was picking up on things pretty damn quick, what with the way he was tilting his head just so and his lips were making those tentative, shallow movements. He was actually coming off as shy about it, and as much as Dean hated to admit it, it…kinda got his blood going. So much so that he found himself taking the lead a bit, catching Cas’s full bottom lip between his own, giving it a tug, and as any of his old girlfriends could tell ya his tongue always had had a mind of its own, and it snuck out for a little lick.
Cas suddenly went very still. Dean felt himself freeze in response—oh, shit, that was a mistake, now was gonna say something or—
But then Cas just attacked him.
He seized his arms, and a muffled shout of surprise escaped Dean as he was shoved backwards—no, he was flung backwards into the wall beside the bed. Jesus Christ, how did that stringy little dork have the muscle to do that now?! And then his eyes nearly bugged out of his head and his breath was snatched away from him and all he could manage was the girliest squeak ever as Cas was abruptly on him, his mouth hot and furiously covering his own, his tongue thrusting wildly forward into his mouth. His arms were like a vice, one hand gripping his short hairs above his neck to yank his head where Cas wanted it and the other holding him flush with the wall so he couldn’t move, and Dear God, Dean had done it now, he really had done him just like Meg had and now Cas had gone wild and grabbed him just like he had her and—
Outrage boiled up like molten lava in his stomach. Oh, no you don’t, you little fucker, you conned me into this gay shit, but the hell you’re gonna make me play the woman!
Dean grabbed him, nearly lifting him right off his feet ‘cause he was a scrawny son of a bitch, and then he flipped him around, slammed him into the wall, and now Dean was in charge here—Dean Winchester did not look like a bitch, goddammit, and don’t you forget it!
Cas didn’t seem to care. His eyes were wild when he hit the wall, rattling the pictures hanging beside his head, and then in the next instant he was pretty much trying to climb up Dean like a monkey on a stick. Dean held him down, because he was gonna get it now; Dean knew he could out-kiss that demonic whore with one lip tied behind his back, so he grabbed Cas by his hair and jerked his head back and now he was gonna show him how it was done.
Before Cas could try to jump on him again, he pressed against him and effectively pinned him and, tightening his fingers in his hair, sucked in a breath and kissed him hard. Cas was trying to push back against him but Dean was prepared this time, and he was stronger than Cas was—he wasn’t going anywhere. One of Dean’s knees shot forward, hitting the wall right between his legs, and Cas shuddered, his hands scrabbling wildly around until they dug almost painfully into Dean’s shoulders. Dean didn’t let up, not even coming up for air as he pushed even harder against him, flattening him against the wall until he could barely move. Cas’s grip tightened, clinging to him even as he tried to push away from the wall, but Dean had him right where he wanted him and he just kept going, showing Cas that he couldn’t learn jack shit from just watching some fucking pizza man as he forced Cas’s head back even further and sucked on his lower lip, catching it between his teeth, before licking his way back inside his mouth.
Cas was panting now, the few breaths he managed between kisses little labored gasps. His flailing was growing weaker, and when Dean finally stopped, pulling his mouth away but keeping his eyes closed and his forehead resting against Cas’s, he couldn’t help but smirk when he heard the helpless wheeze as Cas finally managed to take a full breath.
That’s all he gave him, but this time when he leaned forward he wasn’t so rough, relaxing his fingers tangled tight in Cas’s hair until he was simply cradling his head, not forcing him but just guiding him. Dean chuckled a little against Cas’s mouth when he felt his feeble attempts to try to rev things up again and just used his own tongue to push him back down. It didn’t always have to be a war, you know.
His other hand slid down across the narrow shoulders and back, warm through the fabric of Dean’s old T-shirt. Dean could feel Cas straining against him, feel the play of his muscles beneath the cotton, but he wasn’t going anywhere, not until Dean said so. He kept his kisses deep but slow, no matter how Cas struggled against him, forcing him to gentleness by only letting him get little sips of air before closing his mouth over his again.
Dean’s hand continued downward, finding a handful of nice firm ass. He was amused by the hitching sigh Cas let out and the way he twitched against him, and then he broke away for real this time, grinning at Cas’s gasping breath. Keeping close, he pressed Cas’s shoulders back against the wall with his own and then leaned his head down until he found the curve of his ear and the sweet skin behind it with his teeth, and then at the rasp of his tongue Cas let out a tiny sound close to a whimper.
Yeah, that’s what I thought, grinned smugly, nipping at the tender place just where the neck met the shoulder and savoring the low, rolling heat that filled his chest when he felt Cas shiver in response. You’ve been thunderstruck. Thank you, come again. He gently licked at the spot that he’d nibbled and then started moving upward to the side of his neck, feeling the pulse beating crazily through his skin. He slid his other hand down, finding a long, lean thigh that he gripped and pulled upward to hook around his hip, lifting Cas up so that he could keep moving his mouth up his neck towards his mouth again, up under his chin—
Oh, fuck. Stubble.
And just like that, Dean suddenly realized what he was doing, who he was doing it with, and just what he was. Yeah—a he.
His eyes snapped open and he jerked his head back and tried to pull himself away, but Cas wasn’t letting go; he was following him, and he wouldn’t let Dean get off him. His hands found Cas’s shoulders and shoved, pushing him back up against the wall again and putting a good foot of space between them. He finally saw him, saw him, goddammit, his hair sticking up in all directions because that’s what Dean had done to it, his breathing erratic and his face flushed because Dean was just that good, his eyes wild and focused because—
—because he could see in Cas’s eye that he thought it was time for war again and was bracing himself against the wall and two seconds from jumping him again—
“Stop!” Dean snarled, punctuating his order with another shove against the wall. “Just stop, for fuck’s sake!”
The fire in Cas’s eyes didn’t die immediately, but at least some sense seemed to come over him again—and it was then quickly snuffed out by a combination of a bewildered expression like a sleepwalker waking up and that goddamn angsty look he got whenever he thought he’d done something to upset Dean.
Dean released his shoulders and turned away, mashing his fist against his mouth, not wanting to see that anymore, and then realized that was a good thing because he suddenly became unpleasantly aware that doing all of that hadn’t just revved Cas’s motor, oh no, and now here he was all hot and half-hard because he’d been throwing down all of his best moves with a fuckin’ guy.
But even worse was horrible question that came rushing in on the heels of that one: What had he just done to Cas? Cas had been fine until—Dean was the one who took it further. Then he—he hated thinking of it like this, but there was no other way to think of it except to think that he had Meg’d him. Again. And after all that talk of hedonism and forgetting himself and Dean had just…
Well, at least the combination of remembering that Cas was a guy and the thought that Dean might’ve just accidentally done something vaguely rapey to him was taking care of anything that might or might not have risen south of the border. Dean was able to turn around and face him much sooner than he normally would’ve been.
Cas was watching him with an anxious look, but when Dean turned around and met his gaze, Cas dropped his eyes to the floor with an almost ashamed expression. Oh, great. That was just what this situation needed—both of them looking all shameful and naughty like—like they were two teenaged boys experimenting—
“Dean,” Cas said hesitantly, “I—”
“Don’t,” Dean spat, “say you are sorry. Don’t.” He didn’t want apologies, especially when he felt like he’d just…taken advantage of him without meaning to.
Cas just stared helplessly at him for a moment before going back to looking at the floor, and Dean knew he thought he was mad at him again—which he was, but not the way he thought, which didn’t make it any better.
This whole goddamn situation was completely fucked up and Dean just wanted—to sit down.
He backed up until his legs bumped the bed and then he just kind of collapsed down on it, his elbows on his knees and his face buried in his hands. Why couldn’t things be normal again? That’s all he’d ever wanted—was that just too much to ask? Why couldn’t his life just be simple? Why was it that every time he solved a huge problem, fifty million new ones that were even bigger than the one he’d just taken care of cropped up and got in his face?
Why the fuck did it have to be Cas?!
He started when he felt the mattress move beneath him, and his head snapped up—and there was Cas, sitting stiffly beside him, and when he caught his eye Dean actually blushed, goddammit, and Cas did too, and they both hastily looked away. Isn’t this just peachy—a pair of blushing virgins, Dean thought scathingly.
Cas was fidgeting again, one hand twisting the hem of his—no, that was Dean’s, dammit—shirt. Dean saw him take a breath and knew he was gonna start talking again, but Dean did not want to hear it. No—it was his turn to talk.
“What the fuck, Cas?” he blurted out before Cas could start blabbing. “Jesus Christ, this—what do you—” Well, that didn’t work out; in his haste to make sure Cas couldn’t talk, he’d started babbling without having any idea what to say, and so ran out of stupid shit in a hurry.
“Dean, I’m s—” At Dean’s furious glare, he caught the word in his throat before it got out, and he swallowed before starting again, his eyes firmly on his scabbed and bruised knees poking out of Sam’s sail-like shorts. “I don’t…I don’t intend to—to do…these things, but this vessel, it—reacts, to things that I never…I don’t know when it’s going to…” he trailed off, looking up with his face all pleading, like he was begging Dean to explain it to him. Well, fuck that—Dean wasn’t gonna give The Talk to him, especially after what they just did. Bad enough when he’d had to give it to Sam, but this? No way.
He also wasn’t gonna buy that crap excuse. “It’s your body now,” Dean growled, “so you’ve gotta have some idea what the hell it’s gonna do—what you’re gonna do. Or—shit, Cas, what—what do you want?!” He twisted in bed to face him, his hands in fists. “I—someone flicks a switch on you and you go on autopilot, you have no control over what you do whether you want it or not?! Don’t you say that’s how it is, that’s bullshit!” He paused his ranting to take a breath, trying to calm down and failing. “This—this is insane, Cas! I don’t—Cas, I don’t know what you want! What the fuck do you even want?!”
Cas sat for a few seconds after Dean shouted his last sentence, apparently waiting for more yelling. He finally realized more wasn’t coming (though if he didn’t talk soon there would be), so he licked his lips and said, “Dean, I…I only want you to be…happy.” The sheep’s eyes were on in full-force. “But I’m making you unhappy, and I’m not sure what…I don’t know how to help that.”
Well, it was official. The next time Cas did that—took a situation where Dean was fully justified in being furious but Cas just started bleeding-hearting all over him and making Dean wilt and feel like a total dick—he was gonna to strangle him.
Dean took in a deep breath through his nose; Cas was not going to distract him like this. That was changing the subject—or maybe it wasn’t, maybe it was just him being the brainless chucklehead that he was, Dean didn’t really care. All he knew at this point was he was sick and tired of this—this selfless crap!
“Cas,” he ground out, “I don’t care what I want—what do you want? Do you—did you want…any of—or did you just forget yourself? I don’t know what you want, Cas, because you just—” He stopped, unable to put what he wanted to say into words that made any sense because this situation didn’t make sense.
But Cas was just staring mournfully at him, even if he was a little confused. “That is what I want, Dean,” he said quietly. “I only know I want you to be happy. I’ve done so much to…” He looked away. “…to make you miserable. All I want is to…correct that.” He met Dean’s eyes again, all open and earnest and piercing. “I want…to do anything I can to—to make you happy again.”
And he meant it, too. Dean could tell. The awful truth of it all was that Cas couldn’t turn off the selfless crap because that’s just how he was when it came to him; hadn’t that been why he did nearly everything he did? He was always doing it for him, the one paltry human that conned him into falling. The stupid bastard never did anything for himself because he was too busy doing it all, whether that be falling or burning or dying, for Dean.
Dean—who right now really wanted to tell Cas that if he wanted to go cry in his ice cream and cuddle and talk about feelings and generally be a great big pussy that he should go find Sam, but couldn’t because his chest was painfully tight and he couldn’t seem to get his throat to work right to actually say the words.
Fuck me. And fuck him, too. Fuck everybody.
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