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Fire on the Water

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“Welcome to Seascapes,” a young, petite woman greets Dean and Sam. For a brief, breath-stealing second Dean thinks that he’s staring at his childhood sweetheart, Cassie. 

But then she’s ducking out of the glare of the sun and passing Dean a map of the park, and he can see her more clearly. Her stature and voluminous, curly hair are where the similarities to Cassie end. Where Cassie’s face was narrow and soft, this woman’s is heart-shaped, all sharp angles, her eyes wider and more cat-like.

“If you have any questions there are kiosks near each restroom facility, as well as staff hanging around everywhere, so don’t be shy. Also, don’t forget about the sea lion performance at three o’clock.”

“Thanks,” Dean says, passing the glossy, colorful trifold over to Sam, not wondering for the first time where he went wrong with his ex and decides right then and there that he's going to avoid letting his gaze linger on any couples that may cross their path today.

They're directed toward the front gate where people are waiting with their tickets and passes to get in. They fall into the back one of the lines, shaded under an enormous canopy that gives them a temporary reprieve from the hot sun.  

The mass of people move slowly forward as one and then each person is required to pass through a steel turnstile before they’re spit back out into the sun and everyone disperses down the many different trails that branch off to different exhibits. Except the brothers. They stand off to the side, out of the way.

The paper crinkles when Sam opens the map. “Well, where to first?”

“I have no idea. This was your idea,” Dean grumbles. “The idea of looking at fish, that I’m not actively catching and eating, holds very little appeal, man.”

Sam rolls his eyes behind his sunglasses.

“I saw that,” Dean says, pointing a finger at Sam’s face.

“Whatever,” Sam mutters, shaking out his map and bowing his head over it in an effort to help shield the paper from sunlight glare. “They’ve got penguins but they’re on the other end of the park.”

“Let’s just go down this trail and see what we find.” If Dean doesn’t make a decision now then they’ll be standing here perusing the damn map all morning.

“Okay,” Sam agrees, still deciphering the map as they begin walking. “There’s a lot of indoor exhibits along here. There’s a stingray touch tank,” Sam suggests and Dean grunts half-heartedly. No way does he want to touch anything. “We’re coming up on seahorses and jellyfish. Oh, and hey, there’re sharks down this way.”

“Why didn’t you lead with that?” Dean asks, though his insides quake at just the thought of seeing sharp-toothed beasts the size of school buses--or bigger.

Because if there’s anything a badass monster hunter should enjoy here it would be the sharks. There’s absolutely no reason that he can’t pretend that they aren’t fucking terrifying at all. Not. At. All.

“Come on, you really think a place as huge as Seascape wouldn’t have ‘em?”

While Sam drones on about different fishy facts, Dean tries to not get bowled over by shrieking children and prickly, irritable adults who walk far too briskly for what should be a relaxing time. Dean is really starting to question their choice to come here if it’s just going to be one big ball of overstimulating heat, noise, and questionable smells.

But then the moment they open the door to the first air-conditioned building and step inside and it’s night and day difference. No, really. It’s like an instinctive reaction to step inside and instantly quiet down in reverence and awe. The cooler air touches the skin, helping relieve some discomfort, and everyone hushes in in unspoken agreement to respect the serene space.

Large, glowing tanks line the walls, filled with saltwater fish and plant life, miniature oceans on display. Sam and Dean each remove their sunglasses and follow a line that snakes around the room. People move in a stilted shuffle-like dance, a robotic choreography, as they move from one tank to the next to admire the colorful array of fish that dart and swim and glide.

In the center of the room there’s a floor-to-ceiling cylindrical tank filled with jellyfish that float in a mesmerizing slow-motion suspension. Dean wonders where they all come from, if staff just go out to the ocean and wrangle up a buncha jellyfish.

The iridescent blobs glow under the blacklight and are clustered close, gently bouncing off of one another. There’s a distinct lack of sand and sea plants, and it’s such a small space in comparison to the ocean. He frowns as they continue around the room.

He’s conflicted. On the one hand, he is really diggin’ the hum of calm that comes from being in this womb-like environment with its soft, white noise and tranquil qualities. And on the other hand, he feels a pronounced sense of injustice that these creatures are on display for their amusement and entertainment.

They weren’t even planning on coming here. They were just going to go to Disney for a much-needed break from hunting after all the shit they’ve gone through, taking time to enjoy some normalcy for once. And then Sam saw a billboard on the drive back toward home and wanted to check Seascapes out since they didn’t have anything pressing going on.

They finally get through the entirety of the large room and step back out inside, blasted with suffocating heat and commotion. Dean replaces his sunglasses. If the small tanks were bad, he wonders how he’ll feel when he sees the larger sea life.

He’s about to find out sooner than he thinks because a “shark tunnel” or whatever is up next. There’s a small line outside so the brothers wait in silence, soaking up the mundane conversations going on around them. Somehow Dean has ended up with the map again and he worries a corner of the pamphlet, bending and distorting it.

When they finally step inside, Dean wants to run back out. It’s a gratuitously large and open area but the fact still remains that they’re in a glass tunnel, and no size is large enough to remove the claustrophobic panic that all sides are closing in--especially with big ass fucking sharks slicing through the water around them.

“Nuh-uh,” Dean says loud enough for Sam to hear, rearing back into his brother and trying to push them both back and outta the door that they just came through.

“The only way out is through, Dean,” Sam says, shoving him forward. “C’mon, don’t be a sissy. Look at those kids over there. They’re not scared.”

“That’s because they’re innocent and don’t know any better,” Dean hisses, glancing over at kids who are actually touching the glass and staring up at the big white bellies of passing shark. “One crack and this whole thing is gonna cave and we’re all gonna d--”

“Dude, you’ve literally been tortured. I think you can handle five minutes in the shark tunnel,” Sam argues, pushing at Dean because they’re getting bumped into by impatient people who want inside as well.

“That’s different,” Dean says, but even he knows that’s stupid. Torture is probably worse than being crushed by the weight of tons of water and then becoming tasty chum, noshed on and torn apart...

“Are ya chicken?” Sam goads him, smiling triumphantly when Dean narrows his eyes.

“You’re a chicken… ya chicken. You know what? Let’s get this over with.” Dean pushes Sam ahead of him and follows close behind, staring wide-eyed at the enormous beasts that swim around them and over their heads.

He’s so pant-pissing anxious that it’s hard to enjoy the shimmery patterns cast across their faces and the tunnel floor by the light passing through the tank. Or to appreciate the majestic and effortless way that the sharks coast through the water.

After what feels like an eternity, they reach the end and can finally step back outside into fresh air, where the fear of being crushed and drowned by a faulty tank dissipate.

“Dude, I gotta eat something,” Dean says, taking a deep breath. Not even fear can steal his appetite. If anything it only fueled it. “This is way too much stress for,” he glances at the black watch on his wrist, “eleven o’clock.”

Sam purses his lips and levels Dean with a bitchface, unamused that Dean’s stomach would dare interrupt their adventure, but still leads the way to the path that should lead them around to Oceanic Restaurant. The smell of fried fish and hushpuppies is making Dean drool before they even reach the front door.

Once they’re seated, Sam starts talking about the dolphins, which are on the other end of the park near the penguins. “So if we go there after this, we should make that sea lion show on our way back out.”

Dean wants to grumble but then Sam starts going on and on about more marine life. It’s clear just how much Sam is enjoying this and it tames his mood. If anyone has earned the goddamn right to have this day to enjoy then it’s his little bro.

Lunch is ridiculously expensive and doesn’t taste nearly as good as it smells, but it helps to stave off the drop in blood sugar that he must’ve been starting to experience before they ate which, all-in-all, puts Dean in a better mood.

The dolphin show is fine. The dolphins appear happy and have a pretty large pool. Still, it’s nothing near as large as the open sea. At the end of the performance a trainer comes out to discuss their catch-and-release endeavors for sick and injured animals, explaining that a lot of the animals who remain here at the park can’t be returned to the wild.

Which, Dean figures, carries some truth for the oceanic mammals and maybe the penguins, but he can also smell some bullshit. He wants her to tell that to the jellyfish because he’s pretty sure they aren’t reliant on the good graces of the sea zoo. They’re decoration, plain and simple.

The brothers have some time to kill before the sea lion show so they take their time walking back to the front of the park when Dean notices a narrow and unkempt path. Not one to turn down a curiosity that he can explore, Dean pokes Sam and points it out.

The weedy path leads to a squat, dilapidated building, and a weathered sign advertises that this is where the seals live.

“This must be the old place and they just abandoned it,” Sam guesses. “The seal exhibit is on the west end of the park now.”

“Now I know you’re a nerd,” Dean says flatly, earning another bitchface from Sam.

‘Building’ might be too flattering a description. When they manage to pry the door open they find a roofless arena, like the dolphin pool but on a much smaller scale and with an obviously much narrower entry.

On the back wall is a small grouping of bleachers that guests would have sat in for the seal show. Across from those is a ground-level pool with a large concrete bank, ineffectively contained by a short railing.

If Dean wanted to--and he definitely doesn’t want to--he could easily squeeze under it and find himself in the water. So if Dean could get in, that means a seal could easily pop up and get out, but he’d be surprised if anything was actually in here.

Dean looks around at the dusty bleachers and back toward the pool when he catches movement out of the corner of his eye. A woman with shoulder-length brown hair walks in from a partition set way back behind the seal pool. It’s gotta be the staff area considering she’s wearing a polo with the Seascapes logo.

She doesn’t appear to see them because they’re still lingering clear across the building, in the shadows near the guest entrance. The woman opens a small gate set within the railing, keeping her eyes glued to the surface of the water as she walks halfway around the enclosure.

Which means that there really is something in there? Why else would she stop, lean over the top bar to gaze down and begin talking softly? If she’s not talking to an animal then she’s talking to her reflection. Either way, it’s weird.  

Dean nudges Sam and jerks his chin toward her, even though Sam is already watching her curiously. But now it’s time to sneak out before they’re scolded for trespassing--or worse, fined--but Sam seems to take the prodding as a sign that Dean wants him to alert the woman to their presence.

Which is the exact opposite of what he wants Sam to do. Apparently, the only time they ever seem to be able to read each other’s minds is when it’s life-and-death. Dean grimaces when Sam clears his throat loudly.

The woman startles violently and pushes away from the railing, whirling around to see who is in the arena with her. After she gets over the jump scare she glares at them and snaps, “How’d you get in here?”

“My brother and I saw the path and followed it, thinking it was an exhibit,” Sam explains, ever apologetic when he oversteps boundaries. “We’re sorry. We’ll just go.” Dean’s arm is patted a few times to encourage Dean to move toward the door.

She glances back at the water, her expression changing from irritated to intrigued. “Wait. No, it’s alright,” she says. “Castiel doesn’t ever get visitors so at least say hi before you go.”

“Castiel?” Dean asks.

The woman hitches a thumb at the water behind her. “Uh, the seal?” she says in a way that suggests they’re complete fucking morons. She beckons for them to come closer and Dean follows the pull of curiosity.

She could be fucking with them. The place is deserted but there is water in the pool. And she’s also a staff member who appears to be here to check on it. Joke or not, it’s going to drive him nuts if he doesn’t at least check it out. And, he figures, it’s gotta be a pretty harmless creature to have nothing more than a rinky-dink railing inadequately confining it.

The sunlight streaming down through the open roof causes a patterned glare across the water so Dean keeps his sunglasses on his face as he looks down at the glittery surface. Sam steps up beside him but Dean is the one who leans over further, trying to make out anything beyond the bright surface.

He watches and waits but can’t make out anything because the water in here isn’t like the clearer water like the dolphins have. “I’m not seeing anyth--”

Suddenly the water breaks, like shattering glass, and a dark face comes straight up at Dean. He has absolutely no reaction time to prevent a wet, whiskery mouth from lightly touching his nose and lips.

In a blink the beast is gone, lost beneath the disturbed, sloshing water. Dean gasps and sputters, wiping the back of his arm across his face which upsets his sunglasses. They fall before he can catch them, a light plop, following the seal in a slow sink down into the murky depths below.

The woman starts cackling behind Dean and Sam joins in, slapping Dean on the back.

“That was just too precious,” she croons. “I’ve never seen him do that before. He must really like you.”

Dean scrunches up his face in disgust and lifts the hem of his shirt to wipe it across his mouth, too. “Whatever. You knew he was gonna do it. Why else would you tell us to look over like that?”

Sam is still laughing so Dean back-hands his chest.

“Dude, not cool. I lost my sunglasses.” 

“Oh no, that’s too bad,” the woman says without sympathy. “Name’s Meg, by the way. I’m Castiel’s caretaker.”

“Not a very professional one,” Dean complains quietly, scowling at her. “I assume he does tricks like every other animal around here. Tell him to get the glasses back.”

“If he wants to bring them back then he will. He’s just over there. Why don’t you go sweetly ask him for them back? Just don’t forget the ‘pretty please with a cherry on top’ because no one likes a sourpuss.”

Dean looks where she’s pointing and sees a large-ass seal heaving itself up out of the water up onto the bank on the opposite side of the pool. He’s very round, with dark brown and black variegated fur that Dean won’t admit is really fucking pretty. Hell, he wouldn’t exactly be adverse to petting it if he doesn’t risk losing a hand in the process.

Compelled to get closer to the creature, Dean makes his way around the railing for a better look while Sam stays back to talk with Meg, no doubt about what the hell happened to this abandoned arena. Or about the statistics on how endangered seals are or whatever.

He feels somewhat safe with the railing but there isn’t much keeping a giant blob of blubber, with teeth, from coming at him. He figures that someone who works here, even Meg, would warn him to not get close if he shouldn’t. Wouldn't encourage him to get closer. Right?

“Well, shit, looks like you just got a souvenir,” Dean says when he gets closer. “Those are my best sunglasses, you know. Good thing you’re cute. Also, really fucking intimidating, which is why I ain’t jumping in there to get ‘em back.”

The seal cocks his head a little. Very large, very bright blue eyes look over Dean’s face like it is really listening to him. The blue is strange because Dean coulda swore that seals had black eyes. It really stands out with all the dark fur, making the eyes appear almost ethereal. Dean decides they’re pretty cool looking, hypnotic even.

The seal begins to wiggle its way toward him and Dean eyes it warily. It doesn’t seem to be able to move very fast but it’s enormous, at least half a ton. Visions of it dragging him into the water to drown him flash across his mind but then a distinct calm washes the worry away. Somehow, inexplicably, he knows he’s safe.

When it’s close to the railing, it lowers its head to toward the ground and something clinks against the concrete. Using his nose, Castiel nudges the thing toward Dean and then looks up at him expectantly with those big, big blue eyes.

“What’s that?” Dean asks, crouching down to see what it is just in case it’s glass or something else the creature shouldn’t have. Castiel nudges it again, hard, so it tumbles closer to the railing. Dean can see it now.

“A shell, huh?” It’s a perfect scalloped shell, and fairly large compared to others that Dean has seen before. But most interesting is its coloring, with deep purple at the bottom that fades into blue, and then fans into pink toward the rippled edge.

Dean reaches out but stops himself, hesitant to reach past the railing and pick it up. The seal snorts at him, nudging it for a third time, its face so close that Dean can feel the puff of hot air on the back of his hand.

“Alright, alright,” Dean chuckles. “I can take a hint.” Dean picks it up and he isn’t bitten, so that’s a plus. He lays the half-shell against his hand and it nearly fills his entire palm. “Shit, this is really cool.”

The seal looks back over at him and its expression softens slightly. If Dean didn’t know better, he’d say it was smiling or happy. It snorts at him again, a bit more gently.

“Dean,” Sam calls.

“Yeah, coming.” Dean looks back at Castiel. “Uh, thanks for the shell. Take care of yourself, Cas,” he says and then silently scolds himself for being stupid enough to talk to an animal, especially after thinking shit about Meg for doing it.

He walks back over and holds up the shell for the others to see.

“Where’d ya get that?” Meg drawls, raising a brow.

“Your good buddy there. Here, if you need it back, or whatever…” Dean says reluctantly, holding it out to her.  

Meg puts her hands up and shakes her head. “He gave it to you fair and square.” Her voice sounds a little funny and she looks past Dean to narrow her eyes at Castiel suspiciously.

Dean doesn’t know what the hell he’ll do with it but he feels a teeny, tiny bit special that the seal gave it to him. He slips it into a jacket pocket and barely gets the zipper up because it's so big.

“So, why’s Cas here all alone and in such a crappy building?" Dean asks. "Doesn’t even have a roof.”

“Well,” Meg says, “where do you think seals live, genius? Out in nature, in the open.” She laughs. “As for why he’s here..? The other seals ganged up on him and nearly killed him. My boss told me to put him out of his misery but I--.” Meg looks away. “I snuck him in here and made sure no one would find him while he recovered."

"How?" Dean is actually impressed. He knows what she did was illegal, assuming she's been stealing food and supplies on top of harboring a wild animal without permission. "How'd you manage all of that?"

"Wouldn't you like to know?" Meg says with a smirk. "And I'm gonna assume you're not gonna spill the beans. The fact that you even found us is a big deal."

"Yeah, whatever you say." Dean looks over his shoulder and Castiel is lounging on the bank, blinking his weird blue eyes as he watches them, and Dean remembers something. “What’s with the eyes?”

“That’s just one thing that makes Castiel special. Call it a genetic anomaly. He’s not like other seals,” she says a little ominously.

Dean is starting to get the creeps the longer they talk to Meg. Great of her to save the seal’s life and all, but he relies on his instincts when hunting and right now this Meg character has been setting off all sorts of warning bells ever since Dean brought over the shell.

“Let’s go, Dean. The show is starting soon,” Sam says, probably getting the same feeling and using the sea lion thing as an excuse to leave. “Meg, thanks for letting us say hi to the seal.”

“No problem,” she says lightly. The brothers turn to go but her voice calls out to them again. “Oh, one more thing. If you want your sunglasses back, come back here at closing. I’ll fish ‘em out for ya.”

Dean peers over his shoulder at her. Meg is standing next to the railing, casually, her arms folded under her breasts. She’s still wearing a smirk and has a brow raised as if challenging Dean in some way.

They're just sunglasses, a dime a dozen, but then he glances over at Cas again. The seal raises his head and snorts a little as if to say he is also inviting them back. Dean’s gotta admit, it’s kinda cute, and probably the only reason he ends up agreeing. One last chance to see the creature would be cool.

“You got it,” Dean quips, ignoring Sam’s huff of annoyance beside him.

After-hours is sooner than Dean assumed. The park closes at four so they have enough time to finish the show and head back to Castiel’s pool with twenty minutes to spare.

The place is still bright but the sun is beginning its descent toward the western horizon, casting long shadows along the pool and the walls. The place is empty again, not a brown-headed, saucy staff member in sight.

“Well, we are early,” Sam says. “I really gotta take a piss. Should’ve done it before we got here but--”

“Eh, go,” Dean says dismissively. ”You’ll know where to find me.”

Dean looks over the railing and wonders if Cas is still in there or if he has some secret tunnel that leads to an indoor resting area like a lot of zoos and exhibits have for animals. When the seal doesn’t show up after a couple of minutes, Dean turns around, leans back on the railing and closes his eyes for a brief rest.

It’s been a long day, his boots are killin’ his feet, and he’s ready to get back to the motel so they can get some dinner and pass out. And then tomorrow morning they’ll begin the long drive back home to Kansas.

The water laps gently behind him and it’s really soothing. Dean is pretty sure he could doze off right about now but then there’s a louder slap, like a wet body hitting concrete. Dean’s eyes fly open and he whips around.

He’s expecting to see Cas’ big flabby body wiggling around on the bank but what he sees almost sends him slipping over the railing in a different for a completely different reason. Because what he sees is a very nice, very naked, and very human ass as a man rises to his feet from a mound of thick fabrics.

“Whoa, dude, what’re you doing?” Dean asks so loudly that his voice reverberates around the arean. He slaps a hand over his eyes but he already got an eyeful of wet, muscled skin, dark hair plastered against the man’s head like an Adonis stepping out of a pool in a porno. “Where did you come from?”

“The water,” a grumbly voice replies, his voice so low it almost doesn’t carry across the pool.

“Okay, yeah, figured that much, but pretty sure this is a no-swim zone. Do you want to get arrested? Why are you naked?”

The man huffs and something about it is familiar but Dean is trying really hard to not peak between his fingers. Then again, he really shouldn’t impair his vision. People crazy enough to jump into a pool with a seal, which could probably kill them, could be crazy enough to be killers themselves.

Dean lowers his hand and finds the man has almost reached him, using the railing for support as he walks slowly around the pool very slowly.

“You okay?” Dean asks, fighting to keep his eyes on the man’s face and not his--his nether regions. Which is really hard when he’s very well endowed, even without a hard on and...

“I’ll be fine,” that rough voice grounds out. “I just need to acclimate.”

Dean has no idea what that means but it’s clear the guy is on shaky legs. Probably drunk.

“Uh, where’re your clothes, dude?” Dean looks away, back toward the bank. He sees the pile of clothes, or a coat of some sort, left over there and it's better than nothing. “Wait right here.”

“I--okay,” the man says.

Dean walks around to gather up the clothes. They’re heavy and damp and velvety. And they look eerily familiar. Dark brown with some black. Hell, it looks just like a pelt of seal fur and he has no idea what that means as he makes his way back over to the man.

“Is this yours?” Dean asks skeptically when he’s a foot away.

The man gingerly takes it and holds it against his chest and that’s when Dean notices the sunglasses clutched in one of his hands. Dean’s sunglasses. Dean looks up into hypnotic blue eyes.

Dean frowns and looks back at the fur, at the glasses, then back up to the man’s familiar eyes. “Um, I’m Dean. I didn’t catch your name?”  

“I’m Castiel.”

Dean’s frown deepens and he takes a step back, fingers slowly reaching back to find the gun that he always keeps tucked into the back pocket of his jeans.

“You fucking with me, man?” Dean asks. “That’s the seal’s name.”

“I knew it,” Meg's voice calls out triumphantly.

Dean snaps his attention over to the bleachers as Meg steps out of the shadows but then looks back at Cas, refusing to take his eyes off of the man. As she approaches them, Dean is relieved to see Sam has come back.

“Uh, what’s going on?” Sam asks when he’s noticed the naked guy leaning against the railing in front of Dean.

“Apparently the supernatural can’t wait for us to have one fucking vacation, that’s what’s going on,” Dean says, narrowing his eyes at Cas.

Cas just stares back calmly. Nothing about him seems threatening but still… this guy claims to have the same name as a seal and is holding a seal pelt. This has shapeshifter stink all over it.

“And what do you mean you knew it?” Dean asks Meg without looking away from Cas. She steps up just to the left of Dean, watching the men.  

“I knew he was different, had my suspicions about what he was. Hell, if I could’ve mustered up seven tears in order to see him transform then I would have. What I don’t fucking get is how much time I devoted to Castiel here, but I get squat. Then he gets one glimpse of you--” Meg purses her lips and crosses her arms.  “I thought I was bad but you must be one damaged sonofabitch.”

“You wanna clue me in here? What the actual fuck are you talking about?”

“Dean?” Sam interjects. He’s standing across from Dean, near Cas, and has quickly assessed the situation, piecing all the clues together in under a couple of minutes. “The fur, seven tears... It’s a Selkie.”

“Okay, first of all, it’s not an it. He’s a he. And he is a what?”

Sam rolls his eyes. “A Selkie, from Celtic lore. They’re basically the opposite of mermaids. Instead of luring sailors to death, a Selkie is lured onto land by a human. But they’re good,” Sam rushes on when Dean takes a more defensive stance, “not evil.”

“And,” Meg interrupts, “it looks like congrats are in order. I’d throw rice but, tsk, I’m fresh out.”

Since Sam doesn’t appear all that concerned and isn’t attacking Cas, Dean moves his hand away from his gun and relaxes. He side-eyes Meg. “What the hell are you talkin’ about rice for?”

“Because that’s what you do when the bride and groom tie the knot. You basically just married him, at least according to his culture.”

What?

Meg looks over at Sam. “Did he pass the first grade? Does he have any other vocabulary?”

“I am sensing a lot of tension,” Cas says, moving closer to Dean, eyes skittering between everyone’s faces grimly. “It is true, I am what you say. And now that I am healed,” he faces Dean, “and you have returned my fur to me, I will go with you.”

“Okay, okay, wait a second,” Dean says, holding up a hand like it can just halt everyone and everything. It doesn’t because Sam gets out his phone and starts to do, what Dean assumes, is some quick research. “That’s just--that isn’t happening. You can’t come with us.”

Bizarrely enough, it pains him to even say it, especially when Cas appears distressed and saddened by Dean’s words, which is completely ridiculous because he doesn’t know the guy--er, creature.

“Well, Puddin’ Pop, you either take him with you, or I drop him off at the big blue,” Meg says and Dean tries to not conjure up every predator and danger Cas could come across in the ocean. “He wasn’t ever meant to stay here long-term and, for whatever reason, he’s chosen you.”

“Dean,” Sam interrupts, “can I talk to you for a sec? C’mere.”

Sam gestures with his head for Dean to come around to him. Once they’re far enough away to not be heard, Sam actually starts pleading the Selkie’s case.

“He’s harmless but he’s also a supernatural creature, one we’ve never seen before. I’ve never even seen Selkies mentioned in Dad’s journal. The only reason I know about them is because I just happened to come across some lore a few weeks back and thought it was interesting. We should take him back to the bunker.”

Dean pinches the bridge of his nose and tries to count to ten before he responds. “Okay, say we take him with us, then what? And what’s with the whole m-word bullshit?”

“I don’t know much about Selkies off the top of my head but according to this,” Sam holds up his phone, “they sorta imprint on a human? I mean, you’re not really married. I think Meg was just being a smartass.”

“Yeah, I guess,” Dean says slowly, looking over at Cas, who happens to be staring at him intently while Meg talks the Selkie’s ear off. “He won’t stop staring at me,” Dean tries to say out of the side of his mouth, like a ventriloquist.

Sam ignores him and starts reading off of his phone. “This says they are the gentlest of supernatural creatures and very beautiful. And male selkies are--” Sam’s eyes read ahead quickly. “Oh.”

The tone Sam uses catches Dean’s attention and he tears his eyes away from hypnotic blue. “Oh?”

“Um, well, male Selkies are drawn to the shore by the lonely and are, apparently, very seductive. But, uh, I mean,” Sam stutters, “it says seductive toward women. Do you think he’s confused? Or, maybe the lore is wrong. Wouldn’t be the first time. Or,” Sam says emphatically, “maybe selkies don’t care about sexual orientation...”

“You done?” Dean asks, trying to avoid glancing back over at the Selkie again. The handsome part seems to fit, but seductive? Towards women? Does that mean they’re going to leave here and the guy is going to try to jump in bed with anyone with boobs?

The thought makes Dean’s stomach roll. He chances a glance over. Cas is saying something to Meg but he doesn’t look like he’s flirting or trying to get into her pants. Still, Dean isn’t happy with the sight, even if the naked seal-man is holding the fur against himself in an effort to have some modesty in her presence.

For one, she’s standing far too close and Cas is still leaning back on the railing for support, like a brand new fawn on shaky legs. Dean should really go over there and see if Cas needs something. Obviously he’ll need clothes, shoes, a fucking comb for that hair, and...

“... to learn. One thing at a time.” Sam pokes Dean in the shoulder. “So you agree?”

Dean didn’t get any of that. “Uh, yeah, sure,” he says distractedly, walking back over to Cas and Meg. Dean draws up as close as he dare to Cas’ side and gives Meg a glare, silently telling her to back off.   

Sam is practically giddy when rejoins the trio, clapping his hands once and rubbing his palms together, startling everyone. “Okay, you’re coming with us.”

Cas looks at Dean, eyes blazing with relief.

“Uh, don’t get too excited,” Dean says. “I hate to break it to you but where we’re goin’, there ain’t no ocean.”

“I won’t need the ocean. On land I will be in my human form and you will hide my fur. But I must warn you that if at any time my fur is returned to me after tonight, I will be compulsively drawn back to the sea and will not be able to return to human form for seven years.”

Dean feels oddly unwell with that information. Already he feels this connection--maybe a sense of responsibility--to Cas and despite his earlier statement that Cas couldn’t come with them, the thought of the Selkie leaving and not being able to return for seven years is unacceptable.

“Gonna need to find some pants before we get outta here,” Dean grumbles. He looks down at the fur that Cas is still holding against his body. “And you said we’re supposed to do something with that thing?”

Cas’ nostrils flare. “This thing is my power and is what allows me to shift between two worlds. I am entrusting it to you safekeep it or else the call of the sea will take me away whether I want to go or not. The longer I am without it, the stronger that pull will be when reunited with it. For now, I’m fine.”

Dean looks over the fur and wonders where the heck all the blood and gore is at. It just looks like a cured pelt. That must be part of the magic. He reaches out a hand to touch it, his head bowed, not realizing he’s stepped closer and closer until he feels Cas’ breath against his temple. He glances up at Cas and the Selkie smiles softly, pushing the fur toward Dean.

“Uh, Dean?” Sam says unsteadily.

“Yeah, yup,” Dean says, snapping out of it and taking a large step back with the fur clutched in his fingers.

He realizes his mistake belatedly, when Sam immediately looks up toward the sky and Meg says, “Well, hello there, cowboy.”

“Hey,” Dean practically growls at Meg, moving back to stand in front of Cas, his back to the Selkie. “Someone find some fucking pants.”

“Would it kill you to say please?” Meg gripes. “Besides, I kinda like this look on ol’ Castiel.”

“Sam,” Dean changes tactics, “give me your shirt.”

“What?” Sam gapes. “Why mine?”

“Because yours is from the big-n-tall,” Dean explains and Sam clenches his jaw, already moving his fingers to the buttons of his short-sleeved plaid shirt, “which should be long enough to at least help, ya know, cover things up better.”

Behind Dean, Cas’ fingers gently alight on his biceps and Dean wonders where the sunglasses went because they aren’t in either of Cas’ hands. Dean swears he feels the tip of the Selkie’s nose trail along the nape of his neck and he shivers. Judging by Meg’s smirk, he’s going to say he guessed correctly.

Sam throws the shirt at Dean’s chest. “Should I take your--whatever he is to you--boyfriend’s fur?”

“No,” Cas’ stern voice moves through Dean like the deep bang of a bass drum, and his fingers tighten on Dean’s arms, breath hot against Dean’s neck. “Only Dean.”

Dean is flooded with an unexpected warmth at the commanding voice saying his name and tries to not shiver again. He reluctantly pulls away from Cas’ touch so that he can turn around and give him Sam’s shirt to find that Cas is wearing the sunglasses over his eyes, a double reflection of Dean in the shiny lenses.

Dean’s knees go weak. It’s almost too much. With Cas' hair drying in a natural windblown sweep, his angular jaw tensed and the uniquely shaped curve of his plump lips, the glasses make him look like a model, a wet dream come to life. 

“Come along, Samuel, let’s go wait outside while Dean helps Castiel get presentable for the walk to the parking lot.”

“Yes, thank God, good idea,” Sam says in a long rush of breath like he’d been holding it in for a while. Sam practically jogs to the door for as fast as his long legs move.

Left alone with the Selkie, Dean lowers the pelt to the ground. Cas had already gotten his arms in the sleeves of the shirt but is struggling with the buttons so Dean takes over, hyper-aware of Cas watching him as he quickly works the buttons into their respective holes one-by-one.

His pulse picks up when he reaches the button near Cas’ navel.

“Dean,” Cas says softly, but his name sounds like it’s been through a rock tumbler, vibrating along Dean’s arms, straight to his chest and into his heart.

“Uh, yeah, Cas?” Dean keeps his head bowed, fingers on their task, but lifting just his eyes up.

“Thank you.”

Dean huffs and smiles a little. “Yeah, well, you may be making the biggest mistake of your life. Our life isn’t some utopia, Cas. You may last a day, maybe a week, and then beg us to take you to the beach.”

“Maybe not,” Cas counters.

“Well, for what it’s worth, you’re not our captive. If you ever want to go back home, just say the word and we’ll let you go.” Dean swallows hard and Cas says nothing.

Dean retrieves the pelt from the ground, rolling it into an easier shape for carrying.

“You need help walkin’?”

“No, I should be alright now.”

Dean feels a twinge of disappointment. He walks slow and stays near in case Cas needs help but he appears to have found his land legs.

They find Sam and Meg loitering outside, neither talking, both lost to their own thoughts.

“Well, I suppose this is where I say goodbye but I want to talk to Dean first,” Meg directs at Cas.

Cas gives her a curt nod and walks over to Sam. Dean watches them a moment and Sam becomes animated, likely asking Cas a million questions.

“Alright, I’m not gonna beat around the bush,” Meg says frankly. “He was heavily guarded. No one should've been able to get past the spellwork unless they were meant to so--"

"So you're a witch," Dean says. That would explain the raised-hairs creepy vibe she puts off. The old part of him, the part that automatically labeled anything supernatural as evil, itches just beneath the surface but he ignores it. So far Meg hasn't threatened any of them but the moment she does...

"Does it really matter?" Meg asks, crossing her arms. "So, not only did you find him but he chose you, so don’t fuck this up or take it for granted. Contrary to how the lore is written, Selkies choose a mate for life—"

“Whoa, whoa. A what now?”

“A mate. A lover. A companion. Did you even go to school? Quick, give me your address so I can send you a fucking thesaurus.”

Dean presses his lips together and glares.

“Just take care of him, okay? Don’t let me find out you’ve hurt him because I will gut you very slowly,” Meg says with a saccharine sweetness that defies the morbidity of her words. “Sound good? Okay, I wanna say goodbye to him so you and your moose of your brother give us a sec.”

Dean nods and watches her as she changes places with Sam, a thumb absently running through the short, velvety fur that he’s holding.

“So what was that all about?” Sam asks when he reaches Dean, gesturing toward Meg. He's clearly trying to keep his amusement reined in.

“Hell if I know.” Dean squints up at Sam, choosing to keep the witch's witchy secret a secret. For now.

He's still on vacation, after all.

“You’re like the kid that always brings home strays. I just came here so you could look at some fish and now we’re taking a creature home. I’ve never even heard of a Selkie before today. Other than shifting, does he have powers? What does he eat? Does he need to be put back in water at some point so he doesn't dry out?”

“Well, that’s part of the reason why we’re taking him,” Sam says, growing serious. “We can learn a lot.”

Dean searches Sam’s face and scowls. “He ain’t our science experiment. There won’t be any torture."

"Of course not, Dean. I wasn't even thinking anything like that."

"I'm not kidding. We ain’t even poking and prodding him—”

“Well, I won’t be poking and prodding him,” Sam deadpans and then bursts out laughing. “I’ll leave that,” Sam gasps, “to you.”

Dean’s cheeks flare up hot. “It’s not—knock if off. It’s not like that.”

“Yeah, okay, whatever you say,” Sam says, sobering to a light chuckle.

Dean looks over at Cas, who is listening intently to Meg. He's still wearing the sunglasses, the gold reflective coating shining and flashing blindingly bright. One of Cas’ hands comes up to rest on her shoulder and Dean feels a rush of unexpected jealousy and possessiveness.

Cas sniffles and glances up, right at Dean. His hand falls away from Meg’s shoulder and his expression appears almost apologetic, though it’s hard to tell with his eyes hidden.

What the actual fuck?

“Uh, Sam? I’m gonna need you to research the whole seduction thing, like, in depth. We need to know if he has some kinda freaky pheromone-control powers.”

“Huh, what makes you mention that specifically?” Sam says, the amusement present in his voice again.

“This is serious, Sam,” Dean says, eyes cutting away from Cas and back to his brother. “He was doing something to my neck…”

“Okay, joking aside, I’ll tell you what I know from just talking to him because—like the awesome brother that I am—I already questioned him about what he was doing.” Sam takes a deep breath. "All he was doing was scenting you.” Sam says it casually, like it’s the most normal thing in the world for a perfect stranger to do.

“He was fucking smelling me?” Dean wrinkles his nose. He’s been sweating all day and that’s just weird and gross.

“Yes, mammals scent, Dean,” Sam says in exasperation. “Even humans, though we’re not always aware of doing it. It’s instinctive.”

“Okay, so if I hate someone for no reason, it’s probably because I think they stink?”

Sam huffs a little chuckle. “Uh, yeah, something like that.

"Okay, so I know what he was doing. Now my question is why?"

“Attraction." Sam shrugs and Dean clenches his jaw, willing himself to not blush. "And the feelings have to be mutual. He told me that when you're around him, it might amplify your senses. It's some natural ability he has as a Selkie that he can't control. So you’re not under some spell or drug. His pheromones, or whatever you wanna call 'em, won’t work on just anyone. I’m not attracted. Meg is intrigued but even she knows that he isn’t hers. Apparently,” Sam smiles wickedly, “it only works between him and his mate—”

“I am not his mate,” Dean implodes, throwing up his arms and nearly dropping the pelt. Sam looks past Dean with wide eyes. “Why does everyone keep saying that?”

Behind him, a hand comes to rest on Dean’s shoulder and he flinches. A look over at Cas tells Dean exactly what he suspects: that Cas just heard that and the twin reflection of Dean’s grimace in the reflective lenses fills him with unexpected guilt.

“Let’s go,” Dean grumbles, pulling away from the touch and leading the way toward the park’s exit. His shoulder burns with the ghost of Cas’ touch, the weight of Cas’ sadness heavy in his heart.

At the car, Dean debates having Sam ride in the back because they should never put their backs to an unknown threat. But that weird prickly instinct is telling him they’re safe so Cas goes into the backseat and the pelt gets locked up tight in Baby’s trunk.

Sam keeps an ongoing monologue as they ride, explaining that he’s Dean’s brother, and about what it’s like where they live. They reach the motel before anyone can even mention the hunting stuff, but that can be explained later, after a hot meal and some z’s.

Sam practically bolts from the car as soon as she’s parked. “So, hey, I’m gonna go ask the front desk for more towels,” he says, so Dean takes Cas to the room that the brothers had paid for early that morning.

Dean has barely removed the perfect scalloped shell and set it on the table in the motel room, fingers trailing over the rigged lines, when he gets a text from Sam that reads, “Got my own room. Text me in morning when up.”

“Sonofabitch,” Dean mumbles, sending a reply that Sam is officially the biggest dick on the planet.

“Is everything alright?” Cas asks, perching on a chair.

“Yeah, peachy. Just my idiot brother making things awkward.” Dean pulls his duffel bag onto the end of one of the single beds.

“And Sam will be returning?”

“Tonight, no.” Dean looks over at the half-naked man. “This your first time as a..?” Dean waves his hand up and down to indicate Cas’ body.

“Human?” Cas chuckles. “No, of course not. But it has been a long time.”

“So then you know about public nudity,” Dean says, pulling the zipper open. He’s gotta find Cas some friggin’ underwear to put on after Dean shoves him in the direction of the bathroom for a shower.

“Yes,” Cas replies, rising to his feet and moving closer in Dean’s periphery.

“And you know that people don’t just run around nak—” Dean looks up and loses his train of thought.

Cas is slowly unbuttoning the plaid fabric that hangs off of his slim, but firm and muscled frame.

“What are you doing?” Dean asks, his voice hitching. By the coy way Cas glances up at Dean through his lashes, Dean has a pretty good idea what Cas is doing. And his traitorous dick decides it’s totally on board if this is the direction things are headed. It’s been a while since Dean has gotten laid…

Except… wait. Wait. This is a supernatural creature. A dude creature.

Harmless or not, Dean can’t do this, can’t have sex with a seal-man. What if his penis is barbed? Or what if he’s got seal parts down there? Dean’s eyes shoot downward and then wildly back up to Cas’ face before Cas can catch his wandering eyes.

“I’m getting undressed, Dean,” Cas says huskily.

“Um. Why?”

Cas stops unbuttoning. He only has the bottom two left to go and Dean feels a pang of disappointment.

“You gave me a gift. I reciprocated and you accepted. I kissed you. You have my pelt,” Cas says as if any of that explains anything. Except for Dean, it doesn’t. “I’m only doing what should naturally come next.”

“Okay, first? I didn’t give you anything. And I’m pretty sure I’d remember if we’ve kissed.”

“You gave me eye shields.” Cas glances over at the sunglasses which he had set on the table. “To protect the windows to my soul,” he recites softly, almost poetically.

What… the… fuck…

“I—I didn’t give those to you. They fell off after you—” Okay, maybe Cas did kiss him, Dean thinks, recalling the sloppy seal kiss. “—after you rammed your face into mine.”

Cas looks over at the sunglasses, crestfallen. “Oh.”

“And you giving me some shell is just—I don’t even know what.”

“What purpose do you think a shell serves? It’s symbolic of my wanting you and you accepted it.” Cas’ eyebrows pinch together in consternation, his head tilted just so, like he’s perplexed by Dean and that he actually believes that he’s the one making sense here. “I picked the most beautiful one for a beautiful mate.”

Dean pinches the bridge of his nose. “I don’t get what the fuck is happening,” he mumbles, sitting down heavily in the chair that Cas had vacated, purposely ignoring the fact that Cas just called him beautiful and mate .

“Dean,” Cas says sternly, “I want to show you something.” He comes over to Dean and the next thing Dean knows is he’s being manhandled to his feet.

“What’re you doing?” Dean asks, even as he allows it to happen.

“Please, trust me. Scent me, right here,” Cas says, holding the collar of the plaid shirt open, indicating the juncture where his shoulder meets his neck.

“What the hell, man? You want me to smell you?”

Cas rolls his eyes. A former wild animal actually rolls his eyes. “Yes, Dean. You need to let go. Let your senses guide you and tell you who I am.”

“This is so fucking weird,” Dean grumbles as he stares at the smooth flesh that throbs lightly with Cas’ pulse. But the more he fixated on that rhythm, the easier it is to obey, especially because he really can smell something now that the fabric isn’t completely covering the skin there.

Dean hovers near Cas’ chin, takes a shallow sniff and straightens up quickly, definitely smelling that new something , afraid of its draw if he consumes it fully.

“Don’t know what you want me to say. You just smell like a person who’s been in a fish tank,” he lies. It isn’t true. Cas smells oddly clean for having been a seal in saltwater only a couple hours ago.

“Dean,” Cas chastises. “Even though our bond gives you a stronger sense of smell, it's still not nearly as strong as mine. You must come close and breathe in. Close your eyes.”

Dean gives him a dubious glare but he’s already leaning down again, his body drifting on its own accord, like a helpless leaf caught in a breeze. He leans in close enough that the tip of his nose touches Cas’ skin.

He takes a deep breath to steady himself, before sniffing, but that action inadvertently draws in an explosive amount of Cas’ essence, instantly setting Dean’s pulse on fire.

“Are you druggin’ me?” he practically slurs, pressing his nose in harder as he inhales the rich, heady scent again. His hands come up to Cas’ chest, fingers curling into the skin-warmed fabric in an effort to pull Cas impossibly closer.

Cas chuckles and it tickles Dean’s nose. “No. I apologize that this is so intense but I needed— ah,” Cas gasps when Dean’s tongue darts out to taste, followed by a gentle bite. “I, ah, needed to make sure you scent mate as well. Humans no longer rely on this form of courtship, but that doesn’t mean the ability to do so isn’t there.”

The heat of Cas’ flesh warms the scent—this scent of smoky embers and rum-soaked hickory. Now that he’s gotten a good whiff of it, Dean doesn’t know how he had missed it before. Except he does know. The arena smelled strongly of the sea and his car of motor oil and leather. Now that it's just them, so close, it seems to permeate his every pore and now it’s all that Dean can smell.

“I need to know, Dean, if you intend to keep my pelt, and if you intend to offer these eye shields as a gift to me…”

“Sunglasses,” Dean corrects, murmuring against Cas’ neck. “They’re called sunglasses and, fuck yes, you can have ‘em.” Right now he’d probably give Cas anything that the Selkie asked for, short of the Impala’s keys, so he must not be too far gone.

Cas makes a pleased noise that rumbles in his chest, beneath Dean’s knuckles where he’s still holding fistfuls of fabric.

“Is this—what’s happenin’?” Dean asks, finally coming up to look at Cas with lust-blown eyes.

Instead of answering, Cas’ hand slips over Dean’s jaw and he’s pulled in, Cas’ lips brushing his lightly, teasingly.

Dean allows himself to be led back into Cas’ personal space, buried in his neck, listening to the seductive lull of the Selkie’s baritone as he encourages Dean to keep scenting him and ‘stop thinking so damn much ’.

Dean smiles against soft skin when Cas curses, closing his eyes and taking a deep breath of mate , the stubble of Cas’ jaw rubbing against his temple.

Dean lets go of the shirt and runs his hands under it instead, palms against Cas’ smooth chest as he guides the fabric first off one shoulder and then the other.

“You’re from the ocean...” Dean traces the tip of his tongue up the tendon that runs along the side of Cas’ neck. “So why do you smell like fire?” He barely registers Cas plucking at the buttons of his pants, the muffled zip of his zipper, losing his pants and boxers after a careful dance of balancing on one foot, then the other, to kick them off.

“You smell amazing as well. Like salt and the musky green of the sea,” Cas whispers, nudging gently at the side of Dean’s head with his chin. When Dean lifts his head, his shirt is pulled up and Cas presses up against him as soon as he’s bare-chested, slipping a thigh between Dean’s legs and grinding his cock against Dean’s hip.

Dean’s breath hitches. “Fuck, Cas,” he says, tilting his head back to give Cas room to bite along his collarbone, leaving a trail of small puffs of hot breath across his skin.

“That is the idea,” Cas says, biting extra hard in the soft, meaty portion of Dean’s shoulder and neck, without breaking skin, before releasing him.

He’s not even aware of being led toward the bed until he feels the mattress pushing at the back of his knees.

“Wait, Cas,” Dean says, dropping down onto the bed on his ass next to his open duffel bag. He doesn’t want to interrupt with the way things are headed, and this is a total mood killer, but dry fucking? No thanks. “We’re dudes. Gonna need something to help things along.”

Cas narrows his eyes suspiciously but obediently waits for Dean to quickly look around his bag for lube and a condom.

With a little distance from Cas’ intoxicating smell, Dean’s lust-clouded thoughts clear enough that he considers calling this whole thing off because they don’t know each other. And then—fuck that. Most people he’s slept with were people he didn’t know. Sex is sex and Cas is hot and Dean wants it.

And Cas is apparently really horny because he’s pushing his way back into the space between Dean’s knees and wrapping his fingers around Dean’s cock as soon as Dean pushes the bag off of the bed and to the floor.

“This is what we require?” Cas asks, taking the lube from Dean with his other hand and squinting at it. He pushes down on the cap with his thumb until it clicks open. He sniffs it.

“Here, I’ll show you,” Dean says huskily.

He leans up on his elbows and takes the lube back, turns the bottle upside down and squeezes the plastic until generous globs of the thick substance dribble over the head of his cock and Cas’ fingers. He gasps at the cold contact.

“Spread it around,” he instructs.

Sitting back on his haunches, Cas watches his hand glide over Dean’s hard cock with rapt attention, eyes snapping to Dean’s face when Dean lets out a rather obnoxiously loud moan. He lets his elbows give out under his weight, falling back against the mattress.

It’s been so fucking long since someone else has had a hand on him and he can’t resist thrusting into the fist Cas eventually forms around his dick.

“I see,” Cas says, the lube’s purpose has finally become obvious to him. He stops and adds more lube to his hand, but this time he rubs the slick substance over himself.

Dean lifts his head just in time to watch Cas’ eyelashes flutter shut and his lips part, his hand clumsily spreading the lube until Cas finds just the right grip and motion for his liking.

When Cas opens his eyes again, Dean lifts his hips and spreads his knees wider, lifting his balls to rub a finger against his puckered hole. Dean bites his lip and keeps his eyes trained on Cas’ face when he slips his middle finger in knuckle-deep.

Cas’ eyes darken and he all but stops freezes, his attention wholly focused on Dean opening himself up. Dean doesn’t even know when he decided he was gonna bottom—didn’t know if they were gonna go all the way at all—or that he was gonna put on a show. But Dean wants it. His eyes dart from Cas’ face to the crown of Cas’ cock peeking out from his fist, a pearl of precum glistening at the tip and he can’t wait any longer.

“Okay, fuck, get over here,” Dean mumbles. He uses toys all the time, and may not be loose enough for the Selkie’s thick cock, but he wants to feel that burn that teeters between pain and pleasure. “Oh wait, condom,” Dean says when Cas lays over him, the blunt head of his dick begging entrance between his cheeks.

“I don’t know what that is, Dean,” Cas all but growls when Dean squeezes his thighs together to keep Cas from going any further.

“Prevents preg--well, in this case, it prevents sexually transmitted diseases.”

“I don’t have any diseases and I would scent any in you, but I don’t.”

Dean stares up at Cas’ serious expression with wide eyes, ready to argue, but this might be his one chance to ‘do the do’ bare because and it’s too tempting to pass up what that could be like.

"I intend to make you mine, Dean." Cas dips his head down to the hollow of Dean's throat but he doesn't feel lips, tongue, or teeth so he knows Cas is doing that smelling thing again. He leans back and looks at Dean with such heated want.

Dean makes a hasty, reckless decision. He relaxes his thighs, letting his knees fall open to accept Cas whose expression softens.

“Okay, ten points for having sex with a supernatural creature with a scent kink,” he whispers just before Cas’ lips are on his and they’re both taking turns fumbling with a really slippery cock that doesn’t seem to want to cooperate and adjusting their positions until they get the angle right. Cas finally breaches him with an intense burn that slowly dissolves into a thrumming pleasure.

The next minute or two is a blur of incoherent, encouraging blabbering and whispers of their names as Dean is stretched open and takes more and more of Cas’ length. Sweat begins to bead across Dean’s brow, his cheeks aflame with a heated blush.

Cas is saying something just under his breath and Dean swears he hears ‘mine’ and ‘mate’ in there a few times. But he’s far too focused on the glide of Cas’ cock filling him and drawing back to tease his rim each time Cas pulls back and nearly out.

Dean hooks a leg around Cas’ hip, using the heel of his foot to push at Cas’ ass insistently, wanting him to thrust more, faster, harder.

Dark hair tickles his jaw as Cas sucks bruises into his chest and Dean's fingers tangle in the strands, fingertips massaging Cas’ scalp and holding him close. Dean gasps when Cas finds a nipple and rolls it gently between his teeth, teasing pain rippling out in electric shivers through Dean’s chest.

“C--Cas, don’t stop,” Dean says, foot digging into Cas’ ass.

Cas mumbles something back that is really muffled but Dean loosely translates it as, “I wasn’t planning to,” and it makes him chuckle a little giddily, which turns into a moan when Cas brings a hand between them to jerk Dean off. In only a few pumps Dean is coming in small gasping breaths, his body tense through his release and then instantly relaxing once spent.

Cas’ hips stutter only seconds later, his cum-spattered hand coming up to grip Dean’s shoulder for leverage as he pushes in as deep as he can when he comes, biting down hard on Dean’s peck just above his left nipple.

Dean gasps and clutches at Cas’ back, drawing angry red lines down the length of the area that he can reach. When Cas releases him and draws out, they lay side by side trying to just breathe.

“Dude, you bit me, really fucking hard,” Dean says, lifting his head to look down at his mottled skin. Dean brings a hand up, hissing at the sting when his fingers make contact with his flesh. There’re a few drops of blood dotted where each tooth punctured his skin.

“I did,” Cas says simply, like duh, Dean . “You can bite me next time if you wish. It isn’t necessary, but I would accept your mark.”

Dean looks over slowly, still panting a little, giving Cas his best ‘what the fuck did you just say’ expressions. There are so many things wrong with that statement, most specifically the whole bit about a next time...

But when he sees this look , of complete and utter adoration in Cas’ eyes, Dean slams his mouth shut against some very choice words. Biting must be some animalistic seal thing and even though it’s smarting something awful, he can overlook it. And honestly, it was also kinda hot...

“Well, that’s gonna bruise,” he finally says, frowning at it as best as he can from this angle. “And probably scar. Why’d you do that?”

Cas’ brow furrows. “That’s part of the mating ritual.”   

Oh sweet baby Jesus, what did Dean just do? This, this , is why people shouldn’t sleep with supernatural beings. There’s a whole host of rules and shit that humans aren’t aware of. Not to mention, this isn’t a one-nighter that he can send packing after they clean up. He conveniently seemed to forget that he’s taking this dude home .

Dean sighs, mostly annoyed with himself for getting carried away and thinking with his dick instead of his brain, and asks the question that’s been niggling at the back of his mind.

“Why me, Cas?”

“Your soul called out and I’ve answered,” Cas says, rolling onto his side and tracing his fingertips along Dean’s arm, gazing across the expanse of Dean’s chest to admire his teeth’s handiwork.

But Dean narrows his eyes at more of the Selkie’s prose. Cas is no Faulkner, but his speech can be peculiar and Dean isn’t used to all this flowery talk about souls. But just because he’s not used to it, though, doesn’t mean it doesn’t make his heart feel all fluttery.

“Selkies answer the call of the lonely, Dean,” Cas clarifies, blue eyes looking away from the bite and up at Dean. “You may not have called out physically, or specifically to me, but I heard the call just the same. And now,” Cas adds proudly, “I am your companion.”

“What exactly does that mean, Cas?”

“You will safeguard my pelt, keeping me land-bound. I will follow you where you go, protect you, help you. I will remain with you so that you’re not alone.”

“Jesus, you make it sound like you’re enslaved to me.”

Cas doesn’t move. Not even an eyelash twitches as he stares back at Dean for some time.

“Does that make you enslaved to me?” Dean asks uneasily.

“I chose to shed the pelt for you and I left it unguarded to see what you would do. Not everyone is so kind to Selkies but I trust you.”

Dean scoffs. “You don’t even know me.”

Cas’ lip ticks up into a closed-mouth smile. “Your problem is that you need to trust your senses. Have a bit of,” Cas places a hand over the fresh wound above Dean’s heart, “faith, I believe you call it.”

After that, Cas gets up to get Dean a washcloth and to go shower, leaving Dean to stare at the ceiling and wonder why his life is so fucking weird.

“Didn’t know you even knew what a shower was,” Dean says when they switch places, Cas coming out of the bathroom in a fog of steam and Dean going into the suffocating, moist heat.

Cas just smiles a secret smile, running a too-small motel towel over his wet hair to absorb most of the water.

Dean closes the door and decides to wash quickly with the motel soap since he left his toiletries in the room, purposely avoiding the bite to deal with tomorrow. He’s too tired. Hell, if he hadn’t been sweating all over the park today he’d have probably just rolled over and gone to sleep.

When he lifts a leg to step out of the tub, his ass aches, but in a good way. He reaches back and dips a finger in, past his stinging rim, to feel the creamy jizz Cas left behind, his other hand coming up to lay over the bite mark.

After having met only a few hours ago, Dean can hardly believe he let Cas fuck him--mated, marked, and claimed--the reality of it all bearing down on him in one big ohfuckwhatthehelljusthappened panic.

Dean barely has the towel around his waist when he stalks into the room, ready to confront and interrogate, but Cas is curled up on one of the two beds. Unsurprisingly is that it’s the one they had sex on, and even more unsurprisingly is that he’s buck ass naked, fast asleep on top of the blankets.

Whatever accusation Dean was about to make fizzles out when he drinks in the scent of sex and mate that linger in the air. Despite every brain cell trying to logic him that none of this can be right, every instinct is telling Dean that to not follow his heart could be all wrong.

Changing direction, Dean grabs the thick blanket off the second bed and carefully drapes it over Cas before crawling in behind him. He tells himself he’s snuggling into the Selkie’s back for warmth because his bare skin is still damp.

“Dean?” Cas asks sleepily, rolling over.

Dean half expects to be forced into Cas’ neck but it’s Cas who burrows under Dean’s chin, hot breath warming him. Body parts snake together until they’re tangled into one being and Dean doesn’t even bother to try to overthink it anymore, firmly deciding to let go and to trust that maybe--just maybe--something good will come out of a decision for once.

 

He falls into a blissful sleep, dreaming of fire on water.