Dean raised his head—and froze halfway through the motion. His eyes unerringly spotted the thin, bare thigh that was pressed against his own where the sagging bed had brought them together, and to his complete outrage, he felt himself blushing like some stupid high school reject. What the hell, man?
Glowering, he looked up—to find Cas watching him with that achingly familiar expression, half-confusion, half-concern.
Only he was bleeding. A trickle of blood was running its way down his chin from where Dean had split his lip, and a few wayward drops had escaped to sprinkle little red dots on the towel bunched up in his lap.
“Dammit, Cas,” he grunted, looking behind him until he found the other discarded towel. “You’re bleeding everywhere—what are you, a baby?” He gripped Cas’s shoulder to turn him toward him, and then roughly wiped away the blood with one corner of the towel before blotting at the cut in his lip.
He was sorry he’d done it afterward, ‘cause now he was facing Cas, and he couldn’t help but meet his eyes. He was confused and everything like usual, but Jesus Christ, why the hell was he looking at him with such gratitude just for wiping his mouth? He was the one who’d hit him in the first place!
It just made Dean want to punch him again—or maybe it was just that he wanted to punch himself.
He was suddenly burningly aware that his hand was clamped down on the bare skin of Cas’s shoulder, and his face heated up again. But Cas was looking at him with such a pathetically hopeful expression, even though he didn’t know he was doing it, Dean could tell, and all Cas wanted was just—he wasn’t asking him to—didn’t want—
Dean sighed explosively, feeling more old and tired than he ever had in his life, and he turned away to face the door again, but before he could think better of it he reached around to grasp Cas’s other shoulder, his arm across his shoulders but thankfully separated by the material of his sleeve.
He felt different now; Dean had put his arm around him once before, and he’d been solid and upright and cool beneath him, his human skin unable to completely hide the fact that he just wasn’t human. Now he was all warm skin and fragile bones and he moved beneath the weight of his arm, and he wobbled when Dean squeezed his shoulder and gave him a friendly shake and managed to force himself to say, “I’m not—I’m not mad at you for—for that, Cas.”
Neither one of them were smiling like that time he’d dragged them both out into the alley to avoid the bouncers, but Cas still had those furrowed brows and had no idea what Dean was saying. “I’m not mad—” he tried again, “—that you—if you—it’s okay that you—”
Dean gave up. It wasn’t coming out, and Cas wouldn’t get it even if he could. Hell, he didn’t get it either right now. “We’re fine, Cas,” he just said tiredly, rubbing his hand over his face again, wishing that things could just friggin’ make sense for a change. “I’m not mad.”
And, of course, because he was Cas, Dean could see with even that piss-poor copout that was enough, that he was just gonna take it like that because he’d said it. His eyes were filled with disbelief, and Christ, was he gonna start crying again?
Well, whatever he was going to do, he need to stop staring at him like he was gonna start kissing his feet or something. Dean was gonna hand him his teeth if he didn’t stop it because he was just a regular guy, same as always. He wasn’t any different than he ever was, but you just forgave the people you cared about. He’d told Cas that time and time again, and he never listened, and now he was fucking looking at him like he was the Second Coming.
Without warning, Cas moved. He seemed to sag, and Dean started, ready to catch him if he’d passed out—
—but then he went rigid as he realized that he hadn’t fallen down, he’d laid down. He’d leaned over and laid his head right on Dean’s shoulder, and where his arm was still around him Dean could feel his breath hitching, and then a tentative arm rose up across the small of his back and further, his hand curling around his ribs, and shit, now Cas was hugging him.
No, he was crying on him; Dean could feel him pressing his cheek into the fabric of his shirt like he was a little kid, the hot drops that fell on his shoulder seeping through his shirt to make little wet dots against his skin. His face burning, Dean racked his brain, trying to think what he’d do if it was Sam crying on him and failing utterly, mostly because Sam didn’t and hadn’t since he was really little. What he hell was he supposed to do with a grown man blubbering all over him? Guys didn’t do that—and they didn’t kiss each other either, goddammit! But leave it to Cas not to get that, so here he was all up in his business and thinking it was all perfectly okay—but what was he supposed to do, just throw him off? He wouldn’t get it, and he’d get that kicked-dog look on his face again, and he’d think that Dean hated him or something when all he wanted was for him to just stop being so—so girly about everything. Cas was a dude, and he had to learn that he just couldn’t do stuff like that.
But since he didn’t know what else to do, Dean just sat there and let Cas cling to him like a burr. He gave an exasperated sigh, and then sort of resignedly gave Cas’s shoulder a rough squeeze to try and tell him that it was okay, and hopefully he’d get a hold of himself.
Cas’s hair was starting to dry and was sticking up in little damp points that were tickling Dean’s cheek. Irritated, he pulled his head away to get away from them, but to his outrage, Cas just seemed to follow him, tucking himself in closer and, dammit, he was mashing his face up against his neck! That was not allowed! This went way, way beyond a mere violation of personal space, and Dean was gonna—
Cas gave a small sniff, and the sound was so foreign and so pitiful coming from him that Dean’s fury subsided into a helpless sort of confusion. Goddammit, he didn’t know what to do. His shoulders slumped, and he just gave in and leaned to the other side, flattening Cas’s spiky hair with his cheek as he leaned down against the top of his head. Fine. If he was going to act like a great big baby, then Dean was just gonna treat him like one.
Cas echoed his sigh, and he sounded so tired…but he sounded so happy, too, like he couldn’t imagine anything better than where he was right now. Well, Dean sure as hell could, and it involved a quart of Scotch whiskey and Julie Newmar dressed as Catwoman. But he was stuck here, with Cas dribbling all over him.
He stiffened at the sudden, shocking sensation of Cas’s lips moving against his skin, and was so appalled by it and by the sudden rush of heat into his face that he almost didn’t realize that Cas was talking and that the touch was accidental, but even the knowledge that he was just talking to him didn’t subdue the pounding of his pulse in his ears.
“…so sorry, Dean,” he was murmuring.
“Cas, I told you to quit apologizing,” he forced out, staring off to the side and methodically counting the flowers on the butt-ugly paper that covered the walls in this room. “It’s all over, so quit going on about it. Just…just don’t go and do that again,” he added, pleased that the slightly joking note to his voice that he’d intended came through.
Cas was still for a moment, and then sat up, thank God, and got off of his neck, but then no, not thank God, because he didn’t get all the way up and now he was within inches from Dean’s face, kissing distance again, and he was staring into his eyes with that upsettingly-familiar focus, and Dean tensed, just waiting for it—
Dean blinked. “What?” he asked rather stupidly.
“How…” Cas trailed off, licking at his cracked lip, and Dean stared at the tip of his pink tongue poking out of his mouth until he caught himself doing it and looked away, flushing again. “How can you just…forgive me? For…for what I did?”
How the hell was he supposed to talk to him when he was still hanging off him like this? But Dean just swallowed, his mouth dry, and went ahead anyway. “I told you, Cas—that’s just what you do for—for people—” Jesus, he couldn’t even get this out. “Here—how ‘bout this?” he tried again. “Would you forgive me, if I’d done it?”
Cas stared at him, his forehead creased, and then Dean nearly laughed aloud at the almost comical look on his face as he suddenly just got it. “There you go,” he informed him. “That’s it—that’s how.”
But then his face wasn’t funny anymore, not with Cas giving him that adoring look again, and this time it was almost a relief when he laid his head back down, burying his face in Dean’s neck again.
Almost—because having Cas nuzzling at him was never going to count as any kind of relief, particularly not when the soft puffing of his breath was giving him goosebumps. But he just didn’t have to heart to push him away anymore, not when it was obvious that he could barely understand how they could forgive him for his epic fuckery over the past few years. Dean sighed and told himself to think like Sam, all in touch with his feelings and crap and just let Cas…do his thing, here. Sam and Dean had always had each other, but this was all new to Cas, he just had to remember that. Dean knew that even though they’d had some truly blockbuster throwdowns in their time, he and Sam would always forgive each other. But Cas didn’t know that. He didn’t understand family—real family, not all those winged dicks up there swingin’ on the Pearly Gates. Cas didn’t know that no matter what, he would still…he was his…they’d all still care about him, dammit.
Imagining that it was Sam with him, Sam when he was small and woke up from a nightmare in some cheap motel in the middle nowhere and with Dad out on a job and only Dean was there to chase the monsters away, he squeezed Cas’s scrawny shoulder again, and, steeling himself, turned his face to quickly press his pursed mouth just below his hairline.
Cas was still, gave no reaction, and Dean was on the verge of relaxing when he suddenly felt his lips again and he froze, because this time it was not an accident, not the way they were pressing softly on the corner of his jaw, just below his ear, and this time Dean knew he didn’t mean anything by it, but fuckitall, that wasn’t something you could do!
He stayed stiff and upright, his jaw tight, as Cas settled back down on his shoulder, and Dean continued to sit there, rigid and unmoving for he didn’t know how long until he felt Cas’s hand on his back slip, and realized with some alarm that his breathing had deepened, gone slow and even.
“Hey,” he said with a touch of sharpness, jostling his shoulder a little, and he felt Cas start against him. “Don’t you fall asleep on me,” he said warningly. Cas sat up, blinking confusedly at him, his blue eyes bleary and one half of his hair flattened to his head while the other half stuck up in a lopsided mohawk.
Dean smirked at him, relieved to be able to drop his arm, no matter how cold the air in the room was without Cas’s heat against it. “Come on, man,” he huffed, “you’ve had the mother of all bad trips. You need to sleep.”
Cas followed him with his eyes as Dean got up, but the only move he made was to grip his own elbows, and Dean frowned when he saw his bony shoulders shivering a little. He stared for a moment more, and then, with a sudden realization, wanted to kick himself. Cas isn’t an angel anymore, jackass, and he’s all beat to shit and wet and here you have him sitting here in the cold in nothing but a towel. No wonder he was like static cling—he was freezing.
“Come on, Cas—get in bed,” he said, tugging at the worn but clean sheets that Cas was sitting on. “It’s cold in here and you’re gonna get sick, sitting here all wet like this.”
Getting him into bed was mostly uneventful, save for when Cas made to stand up and Dean all but shouted at him to hold his damn towel up—Dean had seen enough of Cas already to last him a lifetime. He yanked the sheets down and pointed to the sagging mattress, and then stood by with his arms crossed, watching Cas drag his sorry ass into the bed. He didn’t seem to know what to do after that, so Dean grunted in irritation and grabbed the covers, jerking them partway over his skinny body. Cas got a clue then, and pulled them around himself, which just made him look even more small and pitiful, all wrapped up and trembling. Dean heaved a sigh, just staring down at him for a few moments, and then turned to leave.
He only half-turned, his mouth tight. “What?” he grunted. “You better not be asking me to read you a bedtime story.”
Dean grimaced, because Cas was looking at him again, only that sorrow and guilt was back and if he was gonna start saying he was sorry again Dean was going to drag him out of bed and—
“What…what are we going to do now?”
Oh, Christ, of all the things he could have asked…Dean didn’t bother hiding the fact that he was glaring now, his hands gripping his elbows. “How the hell should I know?” he growled at him.
Cas pushed himself up again, the sheets pooling around his waist. “I’m not….you can’t—” He swallowed, and Dean shifted on his feet, horribly uncomfortable—he thought this conversation was over! “I don’t know what to do,” Cas continued in that small, weak voice. “I only know that I am—” Dean’s face flushed darkly, his brain filling in the blanks in his sentences in a million awful ways. He found himself looking away as Cas, despite being just as a human now, fixed his eyes on him with that intense stare that cut right through him. “I can’t be trusted,” he finally said, and Dean blinked. “I can’t have free will. You…you have to…”
Dean stared at him, trying to separate what he was actually saying from what Dean thought he was going to say, and then narrowed his eyes. “Are you trying to say I have to tell you what to do?” Dean demanded.
Cas stared mournfully up at him. “I thought that…I thought that God wanted us to have free will, but…look…look what I did with it,” he said haltingly, as if each word hurt him. “I…I was wrong. I can’t be trusted with it…I was never meant to have it at all.” He closed his eyes. “My brother was right. I was not meant to lead. I am—was an angel. I was only ever meant to follow.” His shoulders hitched, and his head dropped, and his next words were nearly a whisper. “I…I must have been God’s way of showing the other angels that they couldn’t act without Him…because when we do, we…we just destroy…everything. I can’t…I need…I need you to…”
“I’m not gonna tell you what to do,” Dean said sharply.
His head came up quickly, and that pleading, desperate look was back. “Dean—please, you have to. I can’t—I can’t have this. Free will wasn’t meant—” he started.
“You can’t just give it back, Cas,” Dean cut him off. “You got it, now you have it, and now you’re gonna just have to deal with it.”
“But…” Cas licked his lips. “Look at what I did—”
“That’s how free will works, idiot,” Dean snapped. “What, did you think it’d be all peaches and cream, that free will only means you’ll make all the right choices? Sorry, Cas—if you’re free to choose your own way, that means you’re free to completely screw up. And you did, big time—now you have to live with it.”
Dean glared at him as Cas just shook his head slowly, staring at the worn sheets of the bed. “I can’t,” he whispered. “I can’t, Dean, I—I nearly destroyed—”
“I picked up the knife in Hell and broke the first seal!” Dean snarled. “Sam killed Lilith and broke the last one! We nearly ended the world ourselves all because of free will—we didn’t have to do that, nobody told us to do it, we chose to do it! That’s how it works!”
Dammit, he still didn’t get it. Cas still had that beseeching look, was still trying to beg Dean to give him some orders or something because he didn’t want choice anymore—no, he didn’t want it now that he found out he’d have to feed and water it every day. “Dean, please—what I did to you and to Sam and everything…I wasn’t meant for this, angels weren’t meant for free will. I need…I need to be told…I’m sorry—”
Cas didn’t get to finish, because he’d just said he was sorry again, and before Dean realized he had moved he was bearing down on Cas, his hands clenched into fists.
“I’m not fucking telling you what to do!” he shouted. “This isn’t about whether you’re supposed to have free will or not, Cas—it’s about you not wanting to take responsibility for the bad choices you make!”
Cas was shrinking in on himself again, but Dean wasn’t even close to being done. “What makes you think I even know if half of the choices I make are the right ones?! I’ve fucked up more times than I can count! Hell, I barely even know what to pick for breakfast sometimes, and then you sit there and whine that I have to tell you what to do?! No way, because that means if you do the wrong thing, you can just blame me for it! Fuck that, Cas, your choices are your choices! Free will doesn’t come with a return receipt! You have it—now deal with it, goddammit!”
He was trying to talk again. “But—Dean, I was never meant—”
“Quit goin’ on about that!” Dean bellowed. “It doesn’t matter what angels were or weren’t meant to have, because in case you didn’t notice, you’re not an angel anymore! You’re a man now, so fucking act like it!”
Cas flinched like Dean had hit him again. Dean just glowered at him, his quick and angry breaths the only sound in the room for a moment. Cas finally looked back up at him, and godfuckingdammit, his blue eyes were all wet again.
“Cas, if you say you’re sorry one more fuckin’ time, I’m gonna break your nose.”
Cas shut his mouth, thank God. Naturally, he was still all pitiful and tremble-lipping again, and Dean was inclined to break his nose for that instead. However, he didn’t, instead keeping his hand occupied by running it roughly over his own face again.
Why, oh why, did it always fall to him to try and talk Cas through…whatever he was going through?
“Look,” he began, reaching down and gripping Cas’s shoulder again, forcing him to look up at him, “guilt hurts. Okay? It does. I know it does—and the bigger the screw-up, the worse it feels. But you just…” Jesus, I sound like Sam, he groused to himself. “You just learn to live with it, mostly ‘cause that’s all you can really do. But…” He flapped his free arm a little. “It’s a good thing in the end, I guess, ‘cause it means you’re sorry for it and you know it’s wrong and you won’t do it again.”
He finished in a rush, praying to whatever powers there were that Cas would please, please understand what he’d been told. Cas just stared at him, silent and sorrowful, so Dean—just to end the painfully-awkward silence between them—added, “That’s just how it is when you’re human, and since you are one now, you’re gonna have to just…learn.”
Cas looked away. “I’m hardly human,” he whispered. “Powerless and useless—but not human. I don’t have a soul—I have nothing.” He met Dean’s eyes. “How can I possibly learn how to live with free will now?”
And once again, Dean felt his anger and aggravation just…diffuse. He felt himself sagging tiredly and angled himself to sit down next to Cas, his hand still on his shoulder.
“It doesn’t matter, Cas,” he sighed. “You’re…close enough. We already went through this de-powered thing, remember? You talked about how useless you were then, but you did fine. You’ll do fine here, too.” Dean shifted a little, facing him a bit more and almost grabbed Cas’s other shoulder too before he thought better of it. “You’ll be fine because you have—” Dean swallowed against the words in his throat. “You still have us, Cas. We’re not gonna tell you what to do…but we’re not gonna just…abandon you and expect you to make all of your own choices now with no help. That’s what family’s for.”
Cas blinked slowly at him, his eyes looking into his and his expression going all hopeful and reverent again. He keeps that up and I’m gonna smother him with a pillow, Dean grimaced to himself, but he kept his patience. “When you have…choices to make that are big, we’ll listen to you and try and help you along, okay? But the choice is yours on whether or not you wanna take our advice,” he said firmly, punctuating his words with a squeeze on Cas’s shoulder. “We just reserve the right to kick your ass if it turns out to be a bad one. That’s also what family’s for,” he added.
Dean managed a tiny smile. “And, seein’ as you aren’t an angel anymore, and I’m pretty sure it’s gonna be for good on the second go-round? I think you’re stuck with us this time,” he finally finished.
He regretted it, of course, because there was that ridiculous gaze, all guilt and hope and misery and disbelief and—Stop looking at me like that! he snarled internally. But Cas didn’t stop, and Dean didn’t look away. They sat in silence for what was way too long, and Dean found himself suddenly hyperaware his hand on Cas’s shoulder, the warmth of his skin burning into his palm, when the dude in question finally spoke again.
“How do you stand it?” he murmured.
Dean was staggered by the familiarity, a strange, almost nostalgic feeling washing over him. Maybe it was the way he’d said it—almost exactly like he had years ago, and for a moment, he was there again. Both of them, sitting outside of the cheap motel in that rotten town, Cas hung over and depressed and miserable, Dean hopeless and resigned to a fate he didn’t want because God had told them all to kiss his worthless ass and there was just nothing left to do…and Cas, as always, looking up at Dean and asking how to get through his issues because he didn’t know how.
Happier days, Dean thought sardonically. He remembered his answer, too. But, since they didn’t have any whores to kill, he’d have to think of something else this time. Fortunately, it wasn’t too hard to do so.
“Dunno how many times I’m gonna have to repeat it before it sticks with you, man,” he said. “That is what family is for.”
He was getting so resigned to it now he didn’t even bother letting loose with any mental bitching at the way Cas was looking at him now—though he did tense when one of Cas’s hands tentatively came up and gripped his own where it was still resting on his shoulder.
“No one can just tell you what to do, Cas,” he said hoarsely. “But you can always ask for help, and I—we’ll always be here for you.”
Oh, for God’s sake, he was just a big baby—his eyes had gone all watery again, and it didn’t take long for one to spill over. “Hey,” he said gruffly. “You gotta cut that out, man. People will think you’re a big pansy if you’re cryin’ all the time.”
Cas blinked a little, and then reached up with his free hand to touch the faint salt trail, pulling his fingers away and looking at them as he rubbed the wetness between them. “I suppose I’m going to have to get used to this body in earnest this time,” he said after a moment, turning and flexing his hand in front of his eyes. “I…don’t have control over it, the way I used to.”
Dean snorted. “Oh, don’t you worry—it’ll have plenty of surprises for you. Welcome to humanity,” he said.
That might have been the wrong thing to say; Cas’s face dropped a little, and he looked down. Dean raised his eyes to the ceiling, grinding his teeth again—why couldn’t Sam do this? He was the one who did better with the soppy shit. Casting about again for something to say, he finally settled on, “Hey—it’s not…bad. And besides,” he added, “you—I always pretty much thought of you as one of us anyway, you know?”
Crap, he groaned internally, because there it was—Cas looked back up at him, and he was all devotion and dewy-eyed hope and goddammit, why did he have to look at him like that?! Why did he have to start this up now?! But Dean just swallowed his discomfort once more and just kept talking, because shutting up after that kind of declaration was what he’d done in that crater and—well, he just wasn’t gonna to do that again. “So, you know—you’ll be fine,” he managed, trying not to babble. “I know you were only human for, what, three days last time? But you managed. And besides—we aren’t distracted by the rest of your sorority sisters this time, so we can help you out and all. You’ll…” He swallowed and finally had to turn away because Cas was way, way too close. “You’ll get by,” he finished lamely.
The wallpaper on the far wall really was crap, Dean decided. Not only did it look like something out of the old folks’ home, but it was covered in stains and was curling in places, too, and that strip in the middle had been put up unevenly. Bobby could design a perfect safe room but couldn’t friggin’ decorate a bedroom so that he wasn’t terrified by bad taste every time he woke up? Jesus.
He tore his eyes away from the wallpaper and looked back to Cas—and his mouth went dry again. He was still looking at him, his hand still wrapped around his own, and he was up in his face, and he—
“Go to bed,” he ordered, tugging his hand out of Cas’s grip. Cas let go, looking down at the bed blankets bunched around his middle as if he’d forgotten where he was. Dean was briefly relieved, but no, of course, he’d have to look back up at him again, and why couldn’t he wait to do that when Dean was safely across the room and not five inches away from him?
Oh, and now he was gonna talk again—Dean could tell, just by how he wetted his lips and the way his throat clicked. Why can’t you just shut up and go to sleep?!
“Thank you, Dean.”
He all but breathed the words, and Dean shifted uncomfortably. “Nothing to thank me for,” he grunted. “Just…just go to bed, Cas. We’ll—I guess we’ll talk in the morning.”
Dean stared at him for a moment, looking at his mussed-up, flyaway hair, the permanent five o’clock shadow, the narrow shoulders, the ropy arms, and the bright blue eyes—all that familiar stuff on the outside that wasn’t really Cas, but had just been made Cas by everything that had gone down, by everything that had happened over the years, so it might as well have always been Cas and not originally just some poor sap from Illinois who was unlucky enough to get carjacked by an angel.
And in the end, it was Cas no matter what—the real Cas, the one he knew, not that psycho that had been chasing him for over a year. It was just…Cas.
Without really thinking about it, he leaned forward and wrapped an arm around his shoulders, pulling him into a rough half-embrace. “It’s, uh…” he mumbled, “…it’s good to have you back, Cas.”
For a moment, Cas just sat there, pressed unmoving against Dean with his chin poking into his shoulder. But then Cas’s arms suddenly came up—both of them—and he twisted in bed and leaned forward and the next thing Dean knew Cas was clinging to him, really clinging this time, and his face was buried against his neck and his arms were pulling both of them close together—
Dean had no idea what to do. If he pushed him off he’d probably think he hated him again and get all weepy about it. But this was not acceptable! Not with the way he was pressed up against him—nakedly, he might add!—and his hands were grasping the fabric of his shirt as he hung all over him, and his breath was hot against his skin…
Shit shit shit shit shit shit—
Talking—why did Cas have to talk?! He could feel his mouth moving again, right there, right where his neck met his shoulder, and he felt him talk as much as he heard those words again, “Thank you, Dean,” murmured all reverent and adoring and right against his skin and he couldn’t help but shiver—
“You don’t need to thank me,” he ground out, happy that his voice was not too strangled. “I told you that already. Quit it.”
Cas’s only response was a soft little sigh, and the warm rush of air on his ear made Dean break out into goosebumps again. He cleared his throat and jostled Cas’s head with his shoulder. “Come on, man,” he said, trying to force his voice back to something normal and not quite managing it. “It’s late, and you still need to sleep, and—”
Dean had turned, moving to talk down to where Cas rested, but Cas had obediently raised his head at Dean’s words, and Dean froze when said words just completely died in his throat—because he suddenly found himself inches from Cas’s face, their noses nearly touching, the soft blow of Cas’s breath against his mouth, and Cas was looking him right in the eye.
Blood rushed into his face again, but he didn’t move—no, he couldn’t move, not with Cas looking at him, still fucking looking at him like that. Dean sat there like a stone, every muscle in his body tense and quivering, and the heat of Cas’s hands burned through the material of his shirt as if he was gonna leave a new set of handprints seared onto his back.
Dean’s eyes flicked down, anything not to be staring into Cas’s eyes like that, and he crazily found himself staring at the cut on Cas’s lower lip, which had started crusting over—the cut he had given him, he realized idiotically, which was still there because it hadn’t healed. No, because it couldn’t heal, because Cas wasn’t an angel—he was just a human now, for real. But then their noses bumped, and he tore his gaze away in surprise and looked up, only to once more meet Cas’s eyes.
They were soft and sleepy and blue, and even though Cas was blinking more than he ever had when he was an angel, his stare hadn’t changed and as always it just seemed to cut right through him. Dean didn’t know what he saw, staring into him like that, but whatever it was, it was what made him get that goddamn look in his eyes. He really couldn’t take this anymore, and so it was a relief when Dean’s eyes fluttered shut at the feel of a soft mouth beneath his own and he didn’t have to look at him anymore.
Dean started a little, pulling back barely an inch, and found himself looking stupidly at Cas, who was still just staring back, his eyes fixed and unblinking until they looked down at Dean’s lips, and then he angled his head to press his own against them again and then Dean couldn’t see anything. There was only the dark insides of his eyelids and the feel of quick breathing against his cheek and soft skin against his mouth—except for that one rough spot that was that damn cut. He cautiously soothed it with a quick brush of his tongue, tasting the all-too-familiar coppery tang of blood.
Cas had stilled at the touch, until with the next careful stroke of his tongue Dean found Cas’s mouth suddenly open and his tongue thrusting enthusiastically forward to meet him. The hands on his back twitched and then gripped him tight and pulled him close. Dean’s own arm around his shoulders moved restlessly as he sought some purchase, but of course he didn’t find any because Cas wasn’t wearing any damn clothes, so he just kept moving until he felt his fingers tangling in the short hair at the back of Cas’s neck and then he could tilt his head just right to meet him.
Cas’s mouth was hot and eager, his tongue straining clumsily in his excitement. Dean barely kept himself from smirking against him even as he teased his seeking tongue with his own, ‘cause it was Cas, just Cas, here, with him, and his stomach did a slow, lazy turn as his middle filled up with something warm and prickly. Dean’s free hand groped forward until he found bare, heated flesh: the soft warm stomach, a narrow hip, and his hand slid upwards, around his side and over his ribs to cup—
Just a flat chest with a light sprinkling of hair—
Dean jerked away as if burned, heard a quick gasp, and found himself staring in horror at Cas, at fucking Cas, who was flushed and breathing heavily and looking up at him with swollen lips and starry eyes—
GOD FUCKING DAMMIT!
Dean shot to his feet, anything to put distance between himself and Cas, his fist clenching uselessly at his sides. His own breathing was fast and his face was hot and his pulse pounding in his ears, and oh, fuck-monkeys, his stomach was a complete traitor and was still turning those familiar circles inside of him—
He scrubbed a furious hand over his face only to realize with something close to nausea that he had stubble burn—
Shit shit shit motherfucking shit—
“Go to bed,” he choked out. “Just—”
He couldn’t look at Cas anymore. He spun on his heel, only stumbling a little, and all but ran at the door. He sucked in a breath, his hand on the knob, and managed, “Just go to sleep already!” before yanking the door open and practically running out into the hall.
The sound of the slamming door made him jump, and he felt vaguely stupid for it. He briefly considered locking the door behind him, just to make sure Cas wouldn’t be able to come—come get him should he—
Dean stormed down the hall and made a beeline for the stairs, taking them two at a time. Once he hit the bottom, he paused, his hand white-knuckled on the banister as he glared up into the darkened stairwell. The house was quiet; he didn’t hear any doors opening, didn’t hear any creaking from somebody walking down the upstairs hallway—didn’t hear anything but the house settling.
He leaned against the banister, closing his eyes and trying clear his head so he could think. But he couldn’t think—or rather, couldn’t think of anything else but—
Wrenching himself away from the banister, he stalked into the kitchen, yanking open Bobby’s liquor cabinet, and there had better be plenty in there. He was not disappointed and, after liberating it of not one but two bottles, he threw himself into one of the chairs around the kitchen table.
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