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Castiel is Having None of Your Heterosexism Today, Thanks

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Dean knew they should've left the city before stopping to eat. Doesn't matter how hungry the hunt had made them all, or that Cas got bitchy when his belly was empty, or that Sam had been giving him the puppy dog eyes. Dean should've put his foot down and gotten them the fuck out of Dodge before they tried to find a crappy little diner to eat in.

They would've had a better chance at a normal meal if they had, Dean thought sullenly. But no. Instead, they'd fucking stopped at a place that LOOKED like their usual hole-in-the-wall diner from the outside, albeit sandwiched in between two brick buildings.

Dean should've known better. A cutesy little all-American diner? In Boystown, Chicago? In June?

Dean, Sam, and Cas had walked into the diner only to be greeted by a profusion of rainbows, a sign proclaiming 'Pride Month Specials', and a waiter with tousled curls, dimples, and a rainbow of jelly bands covering his left wrist

Dean had almost turned tail and run right then.

If he had, they wouldn't be in this mess now. But nope. Instead, they'd been escorted to a table and handed menus, then abandoned with a chirpy "I'll bring water!" from the waiter.

"'Pride month'?" Cas echoed, squinting at the sign. Sam nodded, unperturbed and pointedly ignoring Dean's stony silence and crossed arms.

"Yeah, like gay pride," Sam said. Seeing that Cas was still wearing his 'I may be human now but that doesn't mean I understand you' expression, he continued. "It's a month where-"

"Anyone who's queer celebrates their perversions, companies try to cash in on 'pride', think of the children, yadda yadda yadda," Dean said, staring holes into the tabletop. Sam shot him a Look, but Dean ignored him.

He'd heard it enough growing up. The curl of his dad's lip when they'd come across pride-themed ads. The well-meaning but painful words of Pastor Jim when he saw two girls holding hands. The protesters on every fucking street corner this time of year.

He didn't need to hear it from Cas too. Especially not Cas. Dean didn't think he could take a dispassionate, matter-of-fact 'well yes, it was Adam and Eve after all, not Adam and Steve' from Cas of all people.

"'Perversions'," Cas repeated, like he wasn't entirely sure what the word meant. He tilted his head, brow furrowed in thought. "And what is it that they are perverting?"

"Some people think God's law," Sam interjected, leaning forward to try and steer the conversation. "They think that being gay is wrong because it says so in the Bible, but-"

"You know, 'man shall not lie with a man as with a woman'? Ring any bells?" Dean snapped. Sam and Cas both looked at him; Sam with barely-restrained anger, Cas with confusion.

"Oh," Cas said.

"'Oh'? That's all you got to say?" Dean asked. Cas looked at him levelly.

"What do you want me to say?" he asked. Dean nearly exploded.

"Something!" he snarled.

"Dean," Sam hissed, elbowing him sharply as their waiter returned with three glasses of water. Sensing the tension in the air, he smiled at them uncertainly.

"You ready to order?" he asked. Sam smiled tightly at him.

"Just give us a minute, thanks."

The waiter nodded and scampered off.

Silence fell. Finally, Cas took a deep breath.

"V'et zakhar, lo tishkav mish-ka-veh isha, to-eh-vah hee," he said, his voice somehow even deeper and more gravelly than usual. "'Man shall not lie with a man' is actually a mistranslation-"

Dean snorted. He couldn't help it. The whole conversation was just so fucking hilarious.

"Oh good, just a 'mistranslation'," Dean said. He turned to Sam, eyes falsely bright. "You hear that, Sammy? Just a-"

"Dean, shut up," Sam said. Dean opened his mouth to argue but Cas beat him to it.

"Heterosexuality is not one of my Father's 'laws'," Cas said quietly, complete with air quotes. His voice was tight and controlled, a slow-boiling fury riding beneath his tone. "God may not have had a hand in creating every human, but heterosexuality is not God's will. Homosexuality is not Lucifer's work. Stigma against it belongs to humans and humans alone."

Dean chuckled humorlessly.

"So what, you're telling me there's gay angels now?" Dean asked. Cas's expression darkened.

"None of us are what you'd consider 'straight'," Cas said flatly.

The tide of anger that had been pulling Dean through this conversation suddenly died. He stared at Cas in shock, eyes wide.

"In our true forms, we have neither sex nor gender," Cas continued, eyes boring into Dean's. "Over time, an angel might come to prefer one gender over the others. Anael preferred the female form, so when she Fell, she chose to be born female. Balthazar favored the male form purely for... recreational purposes. Often with several different partners. Gabriel enjoys being both, or neither, or taking a vessel he can present whatever way he chooses that day. Others of my siblings will simply take whatever vessel is available to them."

Cas lifted his chin defiantly.

"I have been both male and female and I have taken vessels that were neither," he said. "Now I am bound to this body, and I do not mind that it is male, but do not presume to tell me that because it is that I must desire women."

Dean opened his mouth. He closed it again.

He looked at Sam, who seemed to be in a similar state of shock.

"I... wow, Cas, that's-" Sam said, apparently at a loss for words. Dean could sympathize. He could also aleady see the cogs in his nerd brother's head turning, a billion questions about angels and angel sexuality forming on his tongue.

Dean only had one question though, and less reservation about asking.

"You don't? 'Desire women', that is," Dean asked. His heart was pounding in his chest, his head light with sudden possibility-

"I don't 'desire' anyone," Cas said, voice clipped. "Not the way you mean."

Dean's heart sank. The flare of hope died as quickly as it had sprung into being. The abrupt downshift in his mood almost made him miss it when Cas continued speaking.

"But the person I'm in love with..." Cas glanced briefly at Dean and then looked away. "I'm in love with a man. So yes, 'gay angels' do exist, if my having a male vessel and being in love with a man qualifies."

Dean's heart went cold.

Cas was- he was in love. With someone. A male someone.

Somehow, that hurt worse than the hypothetical idea of Cas one day meeting some girl and settling down. At least then, Dean could tell himself that he didn't have the right equipment or whatever for Cas to want him back.

At least then, he would have a few years to get used to the idea. But this wasn't some distant possiblility, this was concrete and now and Dean was nowhere near ready.

"You're... in love?" Dean asked, hoping no one else could hear how choked he sounded. Sam shot him a concerned look, so Dean supposed he hadn't been all that subtle.

Fortunately, Cas picked up subtlety about as well as wet tape picked up marbles.

"I... yes," Cas said. He looked down. "For a long time now. Years."

Years. Jesus Christ.

Dean never had a chance in hell, had he? Dean was /nothing/ compared to an angel; and it had to be an angel, didn't it? If Cas had loved them- /him/, damnit- for years? What was a puny human to centuries of history with another celestial being?

What was 'a long time' to a creature that had been around since before the first humans walked on the Earth?

"Thank you for telling us," Sam said, voice all soft and compassionate. Sam had always been better at the emotional conversations, always seemed to know what to say- and fuck, but this was Cas's coming out speech, wasn't it?

And all Dean was doing was sitting here feeling sorry for himself.

"You're still family," Dean said. He swallowed. "And we'll... we'll help you find him."

Because that's what family did, isn't it? Helped reunite one of their number with his lover? It might kill Dean to do it, but this was Cas.

He deserved happiness.

Cas looked at him quizzically.

"'Find him'?" he asked. Dean nodded, ignoring Sam's suddenly thoughtful look.

"Yeah. When the angels fell, he must have too, right?" he said. "So we'll help you look. Track him down."

Cas looked from Dean to Sam and then back again, like hopefully someone would be able to explain to him where this conversation had gone.

"I know where he is," Cas said.

"... oh," Dean said. What else was there to say? 'Great, let's invite him over for dinner sometime'?

"We'd love to meet him," Sam said. Dean shot him a betrayed look, but Sam wasn't even looking at him. He was staring at Cas searchingly, like he was on the verge of confirming a theory. What, Dean had no idea.

Cas looked at Sam, expression guarded.

"That's not necessary," he said. Dean quite agreed; he didn't need to meet Mr. Perfect Wings or whoever, didn't need to spend an evening comparing himself to this guy and finding out all the ways in which he was left wanting.

"Why not?" Sam asked, voice dripping with innocence. Dean wanted to elbow him and tell him to drop the subject, but he was a little curious himself. Sure, /he/ might not want to meet the dude, but why didn't Cas want them to meet him?
Cas's gaze flicked to Dean as if to assess his reaction. He looked back to Sam, opened his mouth, and didn't say anything.

"It's not an angel, is it, Cas?" Sam asked gently. Cas tightened his jaw.

"... no," he said reluctantly, like the word was being dragged from his throat. Sam grinned.

"Maybe someone we already know?" he said, like he knew the answer.

Cas didn't respond, just glared at Sam. To Dean's shock, Sam didn't seem the least bit bothered. On the contrary, he looked triumphant.

Dean didn't waste brainpower on trying to figure out when Sam had gotten so invested in Cas's love life. His mind was far too busy running through a mental list of all the men they knew, trying to figure out who Cas's secret lover could be.

The penny dropped.

"Wha- Crowley?!" Dean demanded, stunned. Cas and Sam both looked at him, Cas's expression repulsed and Sam's exasperated.

"Not Crowley, then," Dean said, a little relieved and a lot confused. If not Crowley, who?

Sam glanced at Cas, then at Dean. Cas looked at him anxiously, more wide-eyed and scared than Dean had seen him since the brothel incident all those years ago.

Sam sighed.

"Try someone a little more... righteous," Sam said.

"Sam," Cas said, wounded. Dean stared at Sam, trying to process what he'd just heard, mouth open in shock.

Because clearly he hadn't heard right.

Dean looked at Cas, half-certain he'd be greeted by a disgusted expression and a firm denial, knowing it would break him if that was the case, but Cas's expression was naked surprise and fear, and just as damning as if he'd confirmed it aloud.

Dean swallowed, his heart beating triple time in his chest. The diner faded away into insignificance, Sam next to him a small footnote.

"Cas..." he said, wondering what to say. Where to even begin.

'Years', Cas had said. Years.

"I..." Cas started, then seemed to think better of it. He shook his head hopelessly and pushed back from the table, then stood and turned towards the door in one motion.

Oh no. Dean wasn't letting him go that easy.

Dean was on his feet before he'd even consciously thought to do so. He lunged and grabbed Cas's wrist before he'd gone two steps.

Dean still didn't have the words to say, but he'd always been more a man of action anyway.

"Dean-" Cas said, regret heavy in his voice and on his face, but Dean didn't give him time to speak. He pulled Cas close and kissed him like he'd wanted to do for years.

Cas tensed in surprise and for half a second Dean second-guessed himself, but then Cas melted into the kiss and pulled Dean closer like a man starving. Cas's mouth opened to Dean and drew him in, allowing Dean's tongue access to anything he wanted.

And Dean wanted.

Dean groaned as he pulled Cas's body against his own, hardly even breaking the kiss to breathe as his hands dropped down, down-

"GUYS!" Sam shouted with the air of someone who had been calling for a long time. Abruptly, the fact that they were in a public place came back to them and Dean pulled back, red-faced with embarrassment. Cas looked stunned and flushed and breathtaking, lips red and damp and parted invitingly, and Dean was leaning back in for another kiss when someone cleared their throat behind him.

Dean, Cas, and Sam all turned to look and found their waiter standing there with an amused smile on his lips and his notepad in hand.

"So," he said brightly. "Are you gentlemen ready to order?"