Castiel knew it was coming. As the oldest remaining male alpha to the family line, there was an expectation for him to create an heir. His ageing mother had pointed it out several times throughout his teenage years, but it had never quite hit him as an obligation before.
Nevertheless, the men around him had long settled with wife’s or husbands. Their war-torn faces softening as they talked about their offspring.
Castiel had not seen the appeal, nor the necessity until it hit him late one night as he stumbled drunk back into his grand home.
He had an obligation to more than glare at his fellow well-doers, no matter how much he resented their behavior or listening to their empty talks about children. He was the alpha, the only remaining in his family line. He was the sole heir, and so would his potential alpha offspring be too.
Castiel could not phantom himself getting married, nor could he see himself as a father figure. He’d sworn early on that he would not turn out like his own father, absent, drunk and never quite there.
Yet it seemed like he was well on the way. And he had neither an omega, nor an offspring on the way.
Rubbing his temples, he tried to will away the oncoming headache. That was what he got from drinking so much, he figured, as the doors slammed behind him, alerting the staff that their master had once again returned home. He went out rarely to drink and when he did it was usually to get his mind off something. It never quite worked how he wanted it to.
Hours later Castiel woke, heart hammering in his chest. He could still taste the blood in his mouth, smell the sickening sweet stench of rotting corpses. It took him too long to realize that he was safely in his bed. Even more time passed before he felt that he wasn’t going to hit the first person he encountered.
The nightmares always filled him with dread. Usually a night of drinking kept them at bay, but this time he wasn’t quite so lucky.
He could still see his men falling if he closed his eyes.
He got out of bed, slowly and stiffly, like the scars that had long healed caused him pain once more. They didn’t. Not that night at the least, but it was like his body thought differently when he had those nightmares.
His staff looked at him oddly when he told them that he wished his breakfast served in the kitchen. It was on rare occasion that he decided to do so. They knew better than to question him, probably because he gave of a stench of distress, anger and sorrow.
The kitchen was the hottest place in the entire home. Heat helped. It kept the aching in his scars a bay, made him a bit more comfortable. His own room had a fireplace too, but he preferred to keep it more on the chill side as he slept better that way.
He took the majority of his meals in the dining hall, but it was never hot enough when his body ached the way it did that morning.
Castiel made his way to the kitchen, mood souring more as he recalled what had set him off the night before. He needed an heir. But for an heir, he needed a wife. Or an omega husband. He wasn’t quite sure that he wanted either in his life.
Feet moving automatically, he sat down at the small table he sometimes claimed as his. It was close to the big fire the cook used to make god-knew-what on.
He mumbled a low thanks as the cook placed a bowl of hot porridge in front of him. It wasn’t royal food, but it was exactly what he needed. Heat from the inside and out. He had no idea how his cook, Ellen, knew that. Maybe he’d requested it the first time he ventured down into the kitchen after a nightmare? Maybe she could read minds? Maybe she just simply knew more about people than he did?
As far back as he could recall, he’d been served hot porridge the mornings he ate in the kitchen.
Today it was sweetened with fresh berries. Castiel felt grateful as he dug in, savoring the rich sweetness from freshly plucked strawberries along with the slightly salted porridge.
Halfway through his bowl of porridge his butler appeared. He had a strange look at his face.
“The tailor is here,” he announced in a high-pitched voice.
“Tell him to wait. I’ll be in the library just after breakfast,” Castiel replied tiredly. He had forgotten that the tailor would come by, had forgotten that today was the day he would be prodded and poked and measured. He hated it. Hated that he’d been born alpha with all the expectations, hated that he needed to look a certain way for society to accept him with the status he held.
Angrily he drew circles in the porridge with his spoon, as he considered moving the appointment. It would mean a day in peace and quiet where he could dispose over his time as he felt. On the other hand, the tailor had already put time aside for him and Castiel had nothing better to do that day, it was just that his mood was foul.
With a deep sigh he figured it was better to just get it over with. He washed down the last porridge with a sweet, white tea someone had placed on the table without him noticing.
Walking into his library, Castiel was met with a sight he could not have imagined. Instead of his old, withered tailor, a young man stood there, back straight. He was wearing something clearly made to show off his assets, tapering close to his long and slightly bowed legs, showing off the curve of his bottom beautifully. Castiel swallowed audibly, realizing that the man was wearing a take on a traditional wedding outfit for a male omega.
Taking a deep breath through his nose confirmed what Castiel had already guessed. No alpha or beta would put on an outfit like that on. The man was very much omega, the rich sweetness giving him away. He seemed quite large for one, though. The few male omegas Castiel had met had been smaller than him, slimmer and with wider hips generally, allowing for childbirth. This one could have easily passed for a beta, even a small alpha had his scent not given him away. Not that Castiel was one to judge another man on his height given that he was low of stature for an alpha himself. If he guessed correctly they were about the same height, the other man possibly a bit taller.
The omega turned around, admiring himself in the full-length mirror Castiel had installed in the library for the purpose of tailoring his clothes. The old tailor had not been able to take the stairs to his bedroom, so a large table and mirror had been moved to the library to accommodate. He had clearly not noticed Castiel or his ogling.
The man was breath-taking as he stood there.
Castiel couldn’t help himself from moving closer. The tailored wedding outfit was clearly made for this omega. Did it mean he was promised to someone else?
Castiel hoped it didn’t.
If he had to deal with creating an heir with someone, he could just as well choose someone who was appealing to look at and didn’t smell so overly sweet, that he felt sick. He could just as well choose one who would create beautiful offspring.
The omega finally noticed Castiel, eyes ridiculously wide and cheeks red as he was caught checking himself out.
“I’m so sorry Sir. I’m just… designing this, you know, for male omegas to have something else to choose, when they marry. Something new and fashionable,” the omega rambled away, pointing at the outfit. “I didn’t mean to use your time on it, but your butler informed me that you would be delayed quite a while and I figured that I could just as well use time wisely.”
Castiel dismissed his rambles with an indifferent move of his hand.
“Not to worry, omega,” he said.
“Dean,” the omega corrected him.
“Dean, then,” agreed Castiel. “As long as you can work, I don’t care what you do when I’m late.”
“I will, I will.”
“Good. Now, where is old Mr. Turner? It was him I expected to see.”
“He has retired, sir, left the shop and all to me. I’ve been his apprentice for the past five years and he will continue to supervise my work,” Dean told him.
“Oh. He has never brought you here.” Castiel frowned, not entirely happy with how things had turned. Mr. Turner had always made beautiful clothes for him and respected his boundaries. Surely Dean could sew if it was him who had made the wedding outfit he was currently wearing, but Castiel would have preferred his old tailor. He wasn’t much for changes, especially not when they arrived as surprises.
“No, and for that I apologize. He meant to do so, but never got around to doing it. I have sewn more than one of the pieces you’ve received from him in the past,” Dean assured him with a smile that seemed more nervous than anything.
Castiel made a non-committing agreeable sound. It sounded very likely that Mr. Turner had let his apprentice make some of the less advanced clothes, he had no way to know for sure.
“I understand if you would prefer to work with another tailor,” the omega interrupted his thoughts.
“You’ve made the set you are wearing yourself, yes?”
“Yeah,” Dean agreed.
Castiel stepped closer, musing for the omega to turn around so he could admire the handiwork.
When Dean was done turning his cheeks was once again flaming red.
“Then I trust you to make something for me too. It fits you well, works with your color-palette and is beautifully made.”
“Thank you, Sir.”
Castiel allowed Dean to take the measurements he needed and supplied him with wishes and thoughts upon the outfit he was to wear on his sister’s wedding day. Dean showed him samples of different fabrics, explaining why one might work but the other wouldn’t.
The omega turned out to not be half bad company. He was perfect for what Castiel had in mind. His smell upon further inspection gave away that he was both unmated and fertile. He was carrying no ring of promise, nor did he have any signs of seeing someone. There was no second scent of alpha blending in with his alluring essence of omega.
For a moment he wondered how to propose the deal to Dean and ended up figuring that the most direct way was probably the best.
“Marry me, Omega.”
Dean looked at him, then started laughing loudly. Castiel frowned, not sure what in his short proposal was funny.
“I’m serious,” he said. It had not gone this way in his head when he finally found the man or women he wished to reproduce with. He found it quite annoying that Dean had started laughing, should he be perfectly honest.
Dean stopped laughing and looked at him like he could see all Castiel’s thoughts and intentions just by staring hard enough.
“Why would I do that?” he asked, challenge in his voice and in the way he crossed his arms in front of his chest.
Castiel could sense he had done something wrong but had no idea what it was. “Because I’m proposing?” he started, realizing that it was barely an explanation. “I’m finding myself in need of an heir. You are young, beautiful and fertile.”
“I’m not a bitch.” Dean sounded angry now, the sweet smell omega cloyed with bitter notes.
“I didn’t say you were,” Castiel said, entirely confused by the turn of events.
“Why else would I agree to marry a man I don’t know for the sake of carrying his children?” Dean demanded to know. The words where spit out in a harsh tone and it occurred to Castiel that maybe he hadn’t tackled the proposal in the best of ways.
“To help me out. I know you don’t know me; I know this is odd and unconventional. I’m sorry if I have offended you. I didn’t mean to imply that you are a bitch or anything like that.” He winced at the slur. It was commonly used among alphas, degrading omegas alike. He hadn’t meant his words that way, and he hoped Dean would realize that.
“Sure is,” Dean grumbled, still not looking any happier.
“Do you like tea?”
Dean huffed and Castiel took that as a yes, calling his butler in to have it served for them. They stood in awkward silence until the tea was served. There had been sweet cookies and fresh fruit added with it.
“I guess I went about this all wrong.”
“You could say that,” Dean agreed grumpily, pouring himself a big cup of tea. The smell told Castiel it was the same he had enjoyed with his breakfast.
“I don’t think of you as a breeder, nor do you strike me as someone who would marry the first the best. I, however, have reached a stage where I’m desperate for an heir. Society keeps pressuring me towards marriage, and I fear what will happen with my estate and ground should I not lay down the life of a bachelor,” Castiel tried to explain. “I’ve been looking for a while, I think. To ensure the highest chance of an offspring, I know an omega would be the wisest choice, but frankly most smell wrong to me… You don’t.” The last was added as an afterthought.
“You see, I’m not proposing this out of the blue. I’ve been thinking for a while and you are the first omega I’ve met who I don’t find nauseating to be around. I… I’m not a bad pick, you know. I’m rich. I have served my time in the war. I can offer stability and a good home for children to grow up in. I can provide for you.”
“I don’t need an alpha to provide for me,” Dean sneered. He looked too angry to be holding fragile porcelain between his hands.
“I didn’t say you did. I’m merely telling you what I have to offer, why you shouldn’t just turn me down without considering my offer.”
Dean put the cup down slowly, scrubbing a hand over his face. “How do I know you mean this? I’ve had more than enough alphas propositioning me hoping I would give in. I have no interest in carrying a child of yours just to be set out on the street again once it’s born.”
“I would never do that,” Castiel protested.
“Didn’t say you would,” Dean sighed. “I don’t want to be someone’s breeding mare. I don’t want to a bitch or looked down upon because of my designation. I don’t want to be a kept omega who has to lounge around in the house all day, looking pretty.”
“I don’t care what you do in your time, Dean.”
“Omegas shouldn’t work,” he countered in a bitter tone. The anger was back.
“I would never ask that you didn’t. You make beautiful garments.”
Dean swallowed, looking away for the first time. He looked vulnerable like that. It occurred to Castiel that Dean was merely saying what alphas must have said to him. That he wasn’t supposed to be anything but a breeder, how no one would hire an omega of all things to make their best clothes. How he should stay at home with the children and be a housekeeper. Castiel had heard that enough. There was a time where he had even believed it himself, that he was superior to omegas. War had taught him differently.
“Dean, I am not proposing this as a joke, nor to keep you as a pretty thing to look at and breed with. I do not wish to stop you from working. You can continue your life almost as you are. We would be lovers during your heats only, the other days you can use as you see fit. We won’t share a bed after you fall pregnant unless the child is not a legal heir”
“You mean an alpha, preferably male,” Dean interrupted. “Which we wouldn’t know for sure until the child hit puberty.”
“Yes. Unfortunately,” Castiel agreed. “But the likelihood of an alpha/omega couple producing an alpha is quite high. I have alpha parent’s which further heightens the chances.”
Castiel hesitated for a moment before continuing: “There won’t be kissing, there won’t be copulation with the lights on. We barely need to be lovers, really. You are not allowed to ask about my battle scars either. Those are my terms.”
Dean looked unimpressed.
“Why would I agree to that?” he asked, leaning back on his chair, arms crossed once again.
Castiel just looked at him.
“I would have terms on my own,” the omega continued. Castiel motioned for him to continue.
“We will have dinner every evening together. We will talk, like a married couple should. I’m no breeding mare, I refuse to be treated as such. And yes, your terms make it sound exactly like that’s what I am,” he said. Castiel must have looked about ready to protest. “Dinner. Talks. I will tease you. You will bring me out and be proud to have me by your side.”
For a moment Dean sat there, looking pleased with himself to get Castiel to agree to his terms.
“What about outside my heats?” Dean asked.
Castiel looked at him, puzzled. “We wouldn’t need to share a bed outside your heats.”
“You don’t know the first thing about omegas, do you?” Dean asked but didn’t wait for him to reply. “My heat cycle will be a lot more regular if we sleep together outside the heats. I’ve been told it will make the heats themselves less painful because my body will be accustomed to yours, responding better or something like that. I’ve had enough painful heats to deal with on my own. I don’t want more of that if I have an alpha.”
Castiel was quiet for a while. He didn’t know much about omega’s, that was true. Dean’s words rang a faint bell in his head, like it was something he had heard years back and had forgotten.
“We can try. To sleep together outside your heats,” he said, slowly, not sure of himself. He hadn’t wanted that, but if it meant that Dean wasn’t in pain and that his heats would be regular until a pregnancy occurred, Castiel couldn’t very well say no to that, could he? From what little he did know regular heats meant higher fertility and that he had a very selfish reason for wanting.
“Alright,” Dean agreed with a short nod. “Before we share a bed we will be legally wed.”
“We will share a bed in the night and during my heats, but otherwise I’m allowed to use my time as I see fit.”
“Yes,” Castiel agreed readily.
“You will provide a safe and sane home for me and our future children. You will treat me with respect. We will dine together. I’ll continue to work and provide for my family.”
“Your family?” Castiel interrupted, fearing Dean somehow already had an alpha or a child Castiel hadn’t been able to sniff out.
Dean hesitated for a while, eyeing Castiel wearily like he wasn’t quite sure it was something he felt comfortable telling him about.
“Yes, I have a younger brother. And my father too. He used to be… he used to be the Vicar, but yeah. My brother lives with me and I pay for my father to have a roof over his head too. I will refuse this deal if I’m not allowed to take care of them.”
“How old is your brother?”
“12,” Dean replied. “I take care of him. Make sure he is fed and clothed, and I will continue to do that.” His mouth had set into a stubborn line.
“Of course,” agreed Castiel readily. “You could bring him here if you wish to do so. There are more than enough rooms for him to have one of his own. I will even pay for the housing of your father if you wish me to do so.”
“Thank you.” Dean’s voice sounded off. As Castiel kept looking at him, it was clear to him that the omega had not thought that Castiel would accept those terms so easily.
“No need to thank me. Family is clearly important to you.”
They continued to talk, to finalize the terms of their deal. Castiel knew it was unconventional and quite a bit mad, but he found he didn’t care one bit. With an heir the finer society and especially his mom would finally stop being in his hair.
And Dean wasn’t a bad omega to marry. He was easy on the eyes, had a soothing scent and comfortably deep voice that Castiel didn’t mind listening to. He was a far cry from the soft and pliable omega’s Castiel had been introduced to over the years in the hope that he would want to marry one of them. Dean stroke him as headstrong and somewhat stubborn, something the alpha appreciated greatly.
Dean went home with a whole lot more than an order for new clothes. His head was swimming with all he and Castiel, his future alpha(!), had talked about. He still hadn’t quite managed to wrap his mind around what had happened, what he had agreed upon.
But what else was he supposed to do? His old master had been so sure the customers wouldn’t mind Dean. None had minded him as an apprentice, that was for sure, but more than one had cancelled their orders or refused to pay the prices Dean had asked for his work, even though they were the same as they’d been under Rufus Turner. Things weren’t going the way they were supposed to, and he could sense trouble coming.
He had to take care of Sammy. Had to make sure his dad had somewhere to stay the nights he did make it to his home.
And what Castiel proposed would enable him to do so. He wouldn’t have to scrape money together for two rents, wouldn’t even have to pay for the food he and Sam would eat.
But he would be someone’s omega. For the longest time he’d aimed for taking care of himself and Sammy without the help of an alpha. As an apprentice he had been paid decently for his hours. The money had not been much, but it’d been enough to get by, as well as pay rent for two seperate places. But if the customers didn’t come back, if they refused to pay his (very fair) prices, what could he do? Obviously, society didn’t like unmated omega’s working and earning a living by themselves.
He’d be kept.
Dean didn’t quite know how he felt about that. Castiel’s terms had been a bit odd, with the no kissing or no lights on. Not even during Dean’s heat. Dean couldn’t quite figure out why Castiel had set those terms, but it wasn’t his place to question it. Either he agreed to the strange terms or he didn’t.
All he had to do was to stay true to Castiel and get pregnant with an heir. If fate was with him he wouldn’t need to carry more than one child.
Sam was waiting in the back of the store as he returned. He let the sign stay at closed.
“I thought you would be back around lunch,” the kid said, hazel eyes staring hard into Dean.
“Yeah, I planned to. Something happened.”
“What?” Sam demanded.
“I’ll tell you while we eat,” he replied, ushering Sam into the small apartment they had behind the store. It was one bedroom and a combined kitchen and living room. Not much space, but they’d never needed much.
Not knowing what else to make with the limited ingredients on hand, Dean cracked a few eggs on a pan, gently cooking them over the glowing coals in the fireplace.
“I don’t know how to explain this to you. An alpha has asked for my hand in marriage, and I said yes.”
“Why? I thought you didn’t like alpha’s!” Sam protested in a high-pitched noise.
“I generally don’t,” Dean agreed. “But he seems different. ‘sides, we need to eat, we need to have somewhere to sleep. And with the way business is going right now, we won’t have that in a short while.”
“I could work,” Sam offered hurriedly.
“Yeah, no. You are just a kid, no one would hire you. I want you to focus at school. You are smart Sammy, hell of a lot smarter than me. You should focus on becoming something more than a tailor.”
Sam grumbled angrily.
“I know it seems sudden. But it’s a good idea. He is nice, albeit a little strange. We can live in his house. You can have your own room and meals several times a day,” Dean told him, realizing he was looking forward to provide Sam with those things. Give him stability and safety.
Even though Sam didn’t say anything it was clear that he noticed the lack of customers, how Dean was struggling to make ends meet. But with all the customers taking their business elsewhere it was a matter of time before he’d have to close.
Probably because male omegas were thought of as second-class citizens, he thought bitterly.
Sam still didn’t seem to think it was a good idea. Dean flipped the eggs to cook the yolk completely exactly as Sam liked them.
“You don’t have to take care of me,” Sam said, looking at the table.
“Yeah I do.”
“I’m 12!” he protested. Dean couldn’t help a small smile.
“Which means you are not a legal adult for many more years,” he pointed out gently.
“You shouldn’t have to do it. Dad should take care of both of us.”
Dean felt his heart rate rising. It hurt to have Sam point out the truth. It was an old discussion between them. Sam thought John should take care of them, as the alpha of the family. Thought he should bring home the money and the food. Reality had just been that he didn’t, hadn’t for a long time. Probably never would. Dean was used to it, Sam still rebelled against it. There was a reason Dean used his small pay to ensure John didn’t live with them. They’d tried it. Hadn’t been good.
Dean didn’t want to hide more marks from when John was drunk and got rough. It was better when they were apart.
“He ain’t going to Sammy, let it go and let me take care of us, okay?”
He wasn’t above begging if it made his baby brother shut up and deal with their situation. John wasn’t going to drop the alcohol, he wasn’t going to come back and act like a responsible adult. Mary’s death had fucked him up seven ways to Sunday and there was no coming back from that.
“Castiel is a good guy. He’ll help us.” Dean sounded so much more certain than he was. He didn’t know the Duke, barely knew more than his name. At the least Castiel smelled like summergrass and earth and something heavy Dean had wanted to lean in and explore rather than the typical alpha musk. Most alpha’s made him want to get as far away as possible, but Castiel hadn’t had that effect on him.
Dean knew his alpha-to-be had been to war and didn’t want him to see what it had done to his body. That he feared intimacy and was dutiful enough to copulate with an omega just for the sake of creating offspring. Who he felt that duty towards Dean didn’t know, Castiel hadn’t said that.
As long as Castiel treated him with respect and was nice to Sam, he didn’t need to know. As long as he didn’t turn out a shit father for their future children, Dean didn’t care.
Or so he at least kept telling himself.
“How do you know that?” Sam demanded between two forkfuls of egg-white.
“He promised me,” Dean told him.
“And? Dad promises stuff all the time. Maybe your Castiel-alpha is a promise breaker too. He has a weird name, you know.”
“I know,” laughed Dean. “I don’t think he is a promise breaker, Sammy. I really don’t.”
Sam rolled his eyes.
“I’ll make sure he ain’t!” he told Dean with all the stubbornness of a twelve-year old. “I’ll put fish in his pillowcase if he is. Or under his mattress.”
Dean laughed again. He couldn’t help the mental image of Sam hiding fish in Castiel’s bedroom to make sure the alpha kept his promises another time.
“That would stench up my bed as well.”
“You are going to sleep with him? Yuck!”
Dean shook his head fondly. His little brother was still very much innocent, and Dean would like to keep it that way. Sam didn’t need to know he’d sold his womb for their safety, didn’t need to know he would have a niece of nephew shortly if everything went well. Castiel had sounded like someone who preferred it to take in Dean’s first heat, so they didn’t need to continue to sleep together.
If he had to be with an alpha, Castiel wasn’t half bad. His deep blue eyes where alluring, his voice so deep and gravely Dean could listen to it for days. From what little Dean had touched as he’d taken Castiel’s measures the alpha was also fit.
No, not a half bad catch. Especially since it seemed that the alpha was more than willing to accommodate Sam too. Very few alpha’s wanted a male omega, and to ask that they took in a kid as well… sure, Sam wasn’t Dean’s, but he was still the sole caretaker so he might as well be. There were no saying if Sam would present as an alpha as well.
“He has a library,” Dean said.
Sam perked up, looking at Dean with interest.
“With loads of books?”
“Yes, more than I’ve ever seen before,” he told.
Sam nodded with a small hum, but from the way his shoulders relaxed Dean could tell it had been the right thing to say. For whatever reason Sam didn’t think people with books could possibly be bad.
Castiel had no idea how he had managed to get the beautiful young omega to agree to wed him. Dean was a catch, and he was quite frankly surprised no one else had a claim on him. He knew a lot of people looked down upon male omega’s, but still someone like Dean seemed like he would have had plenty of offers.
But then again, not all alphas would be alright with him bringing in a much younger, unpresented brother as well. Dean hadn’t needed to say anything for Castiel to offer housing for the kid as well, the way the omega had held himself when talking about it had made it clear that there was no discussion. Either he took both of them or he got neither.
Oh, and Castiel longed to get the burden of marriage of his shoulder. He longed to have an heir, for his upstuck acquaintances to stop blabbering about his bachelorhood. For his mother’s letters to contain more interesting topics like they had once done. With Dean he could show them that he was more than that. He could be a father, a family man, no problem.
He was nervous, he realized. Terrified, if he had to admit it to himself.
Dean would come by later that day with Sam in tow, both to introduce them and to figure out living quarters and all the practical stuff around getting married.
They had to talk about the wedding ceremony as well, Castiel realized, brushing dirt off his fingers in the old, ragged pants he was wearing.
But first he had to figure out a way to get Sam to accept him. He had no idea what 12-year old boys liked. He had no clue what they wanted to talk about or what he could possibly do to impress him. But he knew it was vital that Sam accepted him.
If the kid hated Castiel, he was certain Dean would refuse to marry him.
And without Dean Castiel would have to go look again, among all the omega’s in the city. The thought alone filled him heavy with dread. No, he liked Dean. If he had to marry and have an heir, Dean was the man he wanted that with.
He didn’t want to use time or energy searching for another omega. Seeing as he preferred men, it was likely an impossible thing to find another in their city either way. Should he be honest with himself, Castiel also very much doubted he would find someone he was as compatible with. Dean made him wonder what a real marriage would be like. What could have happened had they met in the city one day, if Castiel had properly courted him.
It wasn’t something he had the answers to.
With a small shake of his head, Castiel continued to weed the rich soil, making the small plants stand a better chance to thrive.
Once he’d settled his nerves with gardening, he hurried for a lukewarm bath, not wanting to waste time heating the water fully. He wished to look presentable for his guests, not covered in dirt and smelling like sun and sweat.
A loud knock on his study where he had opted for waiting announced that his guests had arrived. His heart was hammering in his chest and he knew he gave of a strong scent of nervous alpha.
In entered Dean, smiling softly, looking as beautiful as he had the other day. Instead of traditional wedding robes he was wearing a soft looking tunick and a fitted pair of pants.
A young dark-haired kid trailed after him, mouth in a sour line. He didn’t look like he wanted to be there one bit.
“Castiel,” Dean said softly, smiling even wider at him. “This is my baby brother, Sammy.”
“Sam,” the kid corrected, sending Dean an annoyed glare.
“Hello, Dean,” said Castiel “hello Sam.” He had no clue what to do after that, no experience with children whatsoever. Even if Sam was a bigger child, he was still tiny compared to the adults Castiel was used to being around.
“Dean says you have a library. Can I see it?”
For a moment Castiel debated with himself. The books he had were expensive and not easy to get by, but on the other hand he had a feeling that he needed to win over the youngest Winchester. Dean was looking at him like he was considering what Castiel’s next action would be.
The silence stretched to the edge of uncomfortable as the alpha and omega stared at one another. Sam was bouncing in the edge of his vision with excitement.
“Sure,” he found himself agreeing, basking in the warm feeling that filled his body when Dean smiled approvingly at him.
Sam talked about nothing and everything as they walked towards the library, but Castiel didn’t listen. He was too busy watching Dean converse with his younger brother, smile wide and eyes bright. Not surprisingly, it meant a lot for him that Sam would like it there too. Castiel had a feeling that Dean would rather live out on the street than bring Sam to live in a place he didn’t like.
Sam was wide eyes and an open mouth as the doors to the library where opened. Castiel couldn’t help the grin spreading over his face. The kid just stood there, staring at all the books like he had never seen anything more amazing than that.
“I didn’t know there were these many books in the whole entire world !” Sam exclaimed after finding his voice.
“There are many more in the world, I assure you,” Castiel told him with a smile. “But I will admit I have quite a lot.”
“I can read,” Sam told him proudly.
“I’m glad. Not enough people are able to enjoy books.”
Dean was beaming at him. Even if Castiel felt hopeless in his interactions it was clear he did something right. If everything else went wrong, he could cherish the way Dean had smiled at him.
“Do you want to pick out one for reading now?” he asked.
Sam looked like he was about to explode from joy. “Yes, yes I would love to! Thank you, sir, Duke Castiel!”
Having no idea how advanced reading skills the boy possessed, Castiel guided him towards some of the easier books he had read as a big child. His father hadn’t always been absent, and when Castiel had learned to read, his father had been there to help him pick out new books and explaining difficult words.
Some of them were clearly meant for children being taught to read. He had a feeling that Sam would not appreciate being babied, so he went for a book that was probably a bit over the level Sam possessed.
“I’m sure you are a very smart young man, Sam, but don’t hesitate to ask Dean or I should you encounter words you don’t understand,” he said.
Sam nodded vigorously, clutching the book between his hands. “Can I read now, Dean? I don’t care about the room. I can just live down here.”
Dean chuckled softly to Castiel’s right. “I’m sure you can stay and read for a while. Cas and I can go look at rooms and talk practicalities while you do so.”
Castiel nodded. The way Sam held the books and his general excitement around them was all he needed to see. The kid would treat his book with respect while they were gone.
As they closed the doors to the library Castiel smiled. “Do you want to see the room I picked out for Sam or do you think I should have the bed moved to the library instead?”
“You may just as well. There is no doubt that all his hours awake will be spent down there,” Dean replied. “But I would love to see the room. And the rest of the estate too.”
Castiel was more than happy to show him.
The estate was massive and there were more than enough bedrooms for another family if needed.
“If you want to there is plenty of room for your father too,” Castiel offered hesitantly. From what little Dean had said it did not sound like he had a good relationship with his father, and Castiel preferred not to stick his hands into a nest of wasps by poking at that.
“I would rather keep him and Sammy away from each other if I can,” Dean told him with a sigh. “They don’t get along very well. I also doubt he would approve of our marriage and the entire deal.”
Castiel glances at his husband-to-be. Dean’s mouth was a hard line, his eyes cold and laced with sadness. No, the relationship he had with his father could not be any better than what Castiel had with his.
“Then consider that offer withdrawn,” he said. He had waited with the garden and the rooms to the end of the grand house tour. Pushing open a door he revealed what he had thought would make an appropriate space for Sam.
“I figured this could be made into Sam’s room. We can redecorate as he sees fit. Maybe add a shelf so he can bring books from the library up here? I figured there was a nice light in here and that it had plenty of space for a growing man. It’s also close enough to our bedroom that you can be here in a moment if he needs you, but far away that he won’t hear a thing.” Castiel could feel his cheeks heat as he talked. He was not quite used to think of his bedroom as something he was to share, nor had he quite digested the thought of sleeping with Dean.
Dean’s cheeks had colored a beautiful pink too. It was a good thing that Sam had decided reading was more important than a house-tour.
“Do you want to see our room?” Castiel proposed.
“Yeah,” Dean answered, voice catching in his throat.
The alpha let the way down a few rooms. As he had promised he had picked out a room for Sam that was close but not too close. Their bedroom was big and light. The curtains were heavy enough to keep out all light, just like he liked it. There was a large fireplace, the bed placed as far as way as possible.
“Behind that door there is a bathroom, and behind that one,” Castiel lifted a finger and pointed, “there is a study. I figured that maybe you would like to have your own space? You can also pick out another room if you prefer something entirely separate from our bedroom. But yes, this is essentially it.” He knew he was rambling, but for some reason it felt very important that Dean liked and accepted their shared space.
“It’s perfect Cas. I’m used to sleeping on an old couch, this is… this is so much more.”
“You keep calling me Cas, why?” Castiel asked, finally noticing that Dean had shortened his name. It made something in him thrum with satisfaction.
“It’s just… it feels more familiar. And seeing as we are to be wed, I figured I might as well familiarize myself with you. I hope you don’t mind,” Dean explained hurriedly.
“No, I quite like it. It’s better than the nicknames my siblings came up with anyway.”
“Dare I ask what they were?”
“Ask away, but I won’t tell,” Castiel told him with a grin. “I’m glad you like it. Anything can be changed if you feel that it is needed.”
“Won’t the fireplace provide light? You said…” Dean hesitated for a moment.
“I know. And no, the fireplace won’t provide enough light to really see anything. If it does, I have a screen I can place in front of it, dampening the amount of light escaping that way.”
Dean nodded but didn’t exactly look happy.
Castiel wasn’t quite happy either. Dean looked fit, and Castiel would love nothing more than to watch the omega writhe beneath him, covered in sweat and flushed in heat. But for that to happen he would have seen himself. The last whom had seen the mangled mess of his upper body had been the doctor removing the stitches that had held him together. And then of course his physician Balthazar who’d been there along the way and still continued to help him with mobility.
He’d probably even keep on a thin shirt so Dean wouldn’t be able to fully feel the extent of scar tissue. It felt very impersonal.
Which their whole arrangement was, he supposed.
“Do you want to see the garden?” he asked instead, getting out of his own head. Dean nodded and together they stepped out of the bedroom, Castiel leading the way to the big garden surrounding his estate.
He had flowers planted, trees that would carry fruit later in the year. The berry bushes was filled with berries however, and he couldn’t help but encourage Dean to eat as many as he liked.
“I love bees,” he confessed, watching them fly around in the garden. “They are such working little creatures.”
“As long as they don’t sting,” Dean agreed with a shrug. He didn’t sound particularly passionate about the bees, but Castiel did get him excited about the apple trees. As it turned out the omega loved to bake pies in particular.
They made their way around the big gardens as Castiel talked about the lands that also came with the estate. He even had another residence he sometimes used should he wish to withdraw from London for a bit.
Dean smiled and nodded and ate the berries he had collected.
“Can I bring Sam out here? He loves nature too and would very much enjoy plucking his own berries.”
“Of course. This is yours and his as much as it’s mine.”
“Once we are married,” Dean pointed out.
“We will be. Soon.”
Castiel went to the kitchen to ask for tea brought to his study, Dean went to the library to check on Sam. They met in the study afterwards to draw up the last to their agreement. Castiel wanted to have things in writing. From all he had learned it seemed like the smartest thing to do, but he had also grown up among men who was a lot less honorable than Dean seemed.
As Dean entered the room the thoughts quickly faded. It was one hell of a beautiful omega he was to marry.
It had been a big relief for Dean to see how easy Castiel was around Sam. Had the kid not liked the alpha at all, Dean probably would have withdrawn right there. But facing the hard facts they didn’t have that as an option. Tailoring was slow at best, most alpha’s preferring to transfer their work to someone who was, frankly, not an omega. Dean knew that a lot of people were raised with the belief that omegas was weak, their work not worth the same. But hadn’t he proved himself as an apprentice already?
Of course, he could always sell himself to get food on the table, but what if he fell pregnant with a random John Doe? What then? There would be no one to provide for him if the pregnancy took a toll on his body, no one to care for the child when he was back out on the street working.
He’d seen more than one poor omega end up that way.
With Castiel he would strictly speaking still be selling his body, but he was secured in a marriage. Sam would have a safe place to grow up and someone would provide for both if Dean should fall pregnant. He would whore himself out for food and shelter and safety over money, but it didn’t matter. Not if Sam had a bed to sleep in, enough food in his belly and access to education.
Dean just hoped his baby brother wouldn’t turn out an omega like him. It had brought nothing but trouble upon them, after all.
“What are you thinking about?” Sam interrupted his thoughts. “You smell sad.”
“I’m not sad,” Dean told him, smiling lightly. “I’m relieved.”
“Yes. I’m relieved that you don’t hate Castiel, that we can move in with him. That he will let me continue to tailor clothes and that you can have a library with books to read from.”
“Oh,” Sam agreed. “I’m liking the books a lot. Do you think he meant it when he said I could ask him for help with difficult words?”
“I’m sure he did,” Dean promised, ruffling Sam’s hair with a grin. He found himself looking forward to leaving the small tailor apartment, to not kick Sam out of the bedroom when he was due for a heat. To share a heat with someone. The mated omega’s he knew said it was much better when they were with an alpha.
Two weeks before the wedding was set, Sam and Dean moved their few belongings into Castiel’s estate. Castiel had another bedroom set up for Dean until they were a properly wedded couple. Dean couldn’t figure out how that made him feel. The sooner they started to spend the night together, the higher the likelihood that his body would respond to Castiel’s and regulate his heat. A part of him was also quite relieved that they got to spend time together, getting to know one another before that happened.
Castiel had not exactly said much about himself. He sometimes talked about his family, but that was about it. And Dean desperately wanted to understand and know his betrothed.
Dean’s clothes didn’t take up much space. He had few pieces of high quality, wanting to show his abilities as a tailor when walking the streets. Per Castiel’s request he had kept the wedding suit he had worn when they first met. It was against all traditions that the alpha had seen the piece before Dean was walked to the altar, but he figured that if he did proper adjustments it was different. He didn’t want bad luck to rain upon them from not upholding traditions.
“I really like that I get to have my own room,” Sam interrupted his thoughts.
“Yeah, me too.”
“But you will be sharing with Castiel, right? When you are married and all that?”
“Yes, we will share his bedroom after that,” Dean confirmed with a small sigh. He hoped Sam didn’t went further down that lane of questions, because there where certain things he didn’t want to explain until his brother presented.
“Gross,” Sam told him. Dean couldn’t help but grin. Yeah, of course Sam thought anything that had to do with adults where gross.
“Do you like him?” Sam continued his line of questions.
“I think so,” Dean said hesitantly. “I don’t know him very well. It’s hard to truly like someone you don’t know.”
“Why are you marrying him then?” Sam asked, arms crossed. He didn’t look too happy with Dean’s answer, but then again, Dean probably wouldn’t have been either if it had been the other way around.
For a moment Dean debated if he should answer honestly or give Sam some romantic sweet babble of a lie. He’d barely scratched the surface of reasons the day he came home and announced it and Sam hadn’t brought it up afterwards.
They had always been honest with each other, but somehow Dean doubted that his little brother would appreciate knowing exactly how much he was willing to sacrifice. Marrying Castiel was not a bad thing. The alpha was odd, sure, but he did seem like a good and fair man other than that. It was better than working for nothing because of his secondary gender or selling himself in the streets, that much was for sure.
Sam looked at him, obviously waiting impatiently for an answer.
“We need it, Sam. We need somewhere we can be safe, where we don’t have to worry about where the food is going to come from. I need to know that you are alright no matter what happens to me, and Castiel will make sure you are,” he swallowed heavily. “He will make sure we are warm, clothed and our bellies full. That’s why I do it.”
“I could work!” Sam cried out, just like the last time they’d talked about it. Anger making his cheeks blotchy with color and his eyes shining.
“I know you could Sam, but I don’t want you to. I want you to study, to become a scholar or whatever you want to be. I want you to have all that and more.”
“But why can’t you have that too?” his lower lip was querying, and Dean knew his brother well enough to know that he was stubbornly holding back tears.
“Because I’m an omega,” he said gently.
“That’s stupid. You didn’t choose that!”
“I agree,” Dean said hoarsely. “I know it is, but I can’t force people to buy their clothes from me or get their gowns sewn in my shop. They choose other people because I’m an omega, and I cannot do a thing about it.”
“If we just wait until I present, we could have me as a front figure, I could pretend to be the tailor and you could be my assistant. We could do that, Dean, you don’t have to marry!” Sam’s voice was frantic.
Dean didn’t know what to say. He couldn’t go for the low blow of reminding Sam that maybe he too would present as an omega, and what would they do then? What could they do then? Castiel had offered him a solution that kept them both safe no matter what happened, and he had accepted.
“It could be years until you present Sammy,” Dean reminded him instead as gently as he could. “Castiel is offering safety and stability, and I need that too.” And he truly did. He was tired of waking up in the night, wondering if they would have to rent the next month. Tired of not knowing if he had to ask John to move back in with them to make money last. As an apprentice he had earned enough for decent living for the three of them, but it didn’t help much when his customers fled now that he was alone.
He still didn’t get it. Even the most traditional alpha’s agreed that omegas were good for one thing, and that was housekeeping. Wasn’t repairing and making clothes not a part of housekeeping? But it wasn’t like he could do anything about it.
Sam was looking at him with wet eyes. “I could just pretend to be a beta. Early presented or something.”
“I know you could, but I don’t want you to.”
“Will you be happy?”
Dean stopped for a moment; it was a question he couldn’t answer easily. He didn’t want to lie to Sam, but he also didn’t want his little brother to worry. “I think maybe I could. When I get to know Castiel.”
Sam grumbled, hazel eyes back on the floor in a stubborn attempt to hide his emotions. Like Dean couldn’t read him like an open book or smell how sad it made Sam that he could do nothing to help. Sam rarely cried, and when he did it was almost always out of frustration.
Like when John was drunk out of his mind and yelled at Dean.
Or the few times Sam had seen the marks left after the drunken rages.
When people were mean to omegas in general.
It made his heart ache that he was the reason that Sam was now close to tears. That he had to do something that hurt his brother so much to protects him and properly take care of him. Not for the first time Dean wished he had presented as anything but an omega. Presenting like that had brought nothing but heartache and trouble. He had been lucky to become an apprentice in the first place, lucky to be paid decent and that his master had thought his work good enough for him to take over the shop.
He couldn’t help but feel like he let his master down. Nothing stopped him from continuing to sew and work from Castiel’s estate, but he wouldn’t be keeping the shop.
Sam grabbed the front of his shirt and dragged him in for a wet hug. Dean held his little brother close, let him cry and rage what he needed. He understood: It was a big change, and there was nothing Sam could do about it.
“I just want you to be happy,” Sam hiccupped, voice woolly from tears and snot.
“I know. I will be, okay?”
“I promise,” Dean agreed, knowing full well it meant to get to know Castiel and learn to love him. But when Sam asked like that, like his heart would break if Dean didn’t make sure to be happy, what else could he do? He would do his very best to be happy with Castiel, would do his best to make their marriage a successful one.
Whenever Sam was at school and Castiel did whatever Castiel did, Dean took the time to explore the estate. Castiel had encouraged him to do so.
One cloudy morning, he found himself in the kitchen again.
The kitchen had a homey feel about it. There was always plenty of wood in the fire, leaving the room nice and warm. The kitchen staff was nice too.
“Good morning,” the chef, Ellen, greeted him with a warm smile.
“Good morning, Ellen,” he replied, trying to match the warmth.
“Do you want some breakfast?”
“I can make myself some,” he told her with just a bit of pride in his voice. He was not some helpless high society omega who didn’t know his way around the kitchen.
“I’m sure you can, I was offering to make some,” she said with a motherly smile. “I get the feeling that someone needs to spoil you.”
Dean shook his head with a grin, sensing a lost battle. Every morning he had ventured down to the kitchen it had been the same. He couldn’t figure out if Ellen wanted to spoil him or if she just thought he would hack his fingers off if she let him use one of the big knives.
“Do you know what Castiel is up to today?” he asked, watching as she prepared a bowl of fresh fruit for him to go along with the bread, she smeared with plenty of butter.
“No, I don’t, I’m afraid. You will have to ask him yourself,” she replied.
Dean sighed under his breath, afraid that if he did it too loud the chef would hear it. Over the scents of food cooking he doubted she could smell how her words affected him.
It felt as if his betrothed wanted nothing to do with him.
They didn’t eat dinners together yet. Dean had suggested it and Castiel had put it off with their agreement only starting from the day they married. It shouldn’t have stung, but it did.
They didn’t see much of each other either and it frustrated Dean to no end. How was he supposed to uphold his promise to Sam then? The alpha seemed so distant, and whenever Dean did catch him and ask, he would excuse himself with the stress of planning a wedding on such short notice. Like Dean couldn’t or didn’t want to help.
“Maybe I will. I figured I would work on my wedding outfit should he be gone today,” Dean told her after what undoubtedly was too long of a silence for it to seem natural.
“I’m sure you will get time either way. The Duke prefers to stick to himself and read upon the days he is home and he would not disturb you should you prefer to be left alone,” Ellen assured him with a smile.
Moments later she placed his breakfast along with a steaming hot cup of black tea on the small table. For a second she stared at him before getting herself a cup of tea as well, sitting down opposite him at the small table.
“I know Castiel is not the easiest to be around, but he is a good man.”
“I wouldn’t marry him if I didn’t think so,” he replied in a dismissive tone.
Ellen didn’t care and continued: “I’ve been working for him for years. He always treats his staff fairly and we get days off too should we need that. That’s not how it always works.”
Dean nodded along, chewing the berries carefully as he took in her words. If anything, Ellen could possibly provide him with some insight.
“The war changed him, of course, but who wouldn’t be changed by something like that?” she continued, seemingly not caring if he was listening or not. “Made him more reserved. He used to come down to the kitchen and eat with his staff before then, share a glass of wine or a beer with us. After the war he withdrew.”
She seemed lost in thoughts for a moment.
“What I’m trying to say is, that if he seems distant, it has likely nothing to do with you. I thought he would die a bachelor, die childless. It pained me; he deserves happiness.”
Dean stopped chewing, just listened.
“Family has always meant a great deal to him,” Ellen continued. “I think it will do him good to have one of his own.”
“He talks about his family often enough,” Dean hesitantly offered. The few conversations they had, Castiel had mentioned someone from his family.
“I bet he does.”
“They don’t seem to be around?” he tried to pose it as a question, but something told him that Castiel’s reserved nature, his unwillingness to let Dean see him naked and the fear of intimacy also had something to do with his family.
“No, most of them are dead,” Ellen sighed. “It’s not really my place to tell, so if you want to know more, you’ll have to talk with him yourself.”
“I will,” agreed Dean. If just Castiel wanted to talk to him too…
Castiel had no clue what to do with the omega and his brother living in his house. Dean kept seeking him out, seemingly to have a conversation with him, and he found himself at a loss for words and what to do.
He knew his social skills where rusty at best, horrible at worst, and he feared that the wrong words would send Dean running in the opposite direction.
Sam on the other hand was easier, which was why Castiel found himself with the 12-year-old in the library one afternoon.
Sam had interrupted his brooding about weddings (truth was that he had hired a few people to take care of anything, but it didn’t stop him from brooding about the stress of it all) by knocking on the door into his study.
“You promised you would help me with difficult words,” Sam reminded him, nodding at the book he held to his chest. It had not taken him a week to move from the first book Castiel had lent him and into a more advanced one.
Castiel had felt a sense of pride he couldn’t quite name or describe when Sam had sought him out, telling him he was finished and needed a new one, and if Castiel please, please would help him pick out one from the library.
“Try this, one letter at a time,” Castiel instructed gently. He knew it didn’t quite produce the right sounds to do the reading that way, but he would help Sam get the rest. The important thing was that the kid learned how to get through difficult words.
“Will I ever be as good with reading as you are?” the kid asked. His eyes were wide with admiration and Castiel felt something swell in his chest. Maybe having a family wasn’t the worst idea, if it meant more time reading with someone.
“Yeah, I’m sure you will. I don’t recall being as good when I was your age,” Castiel assured him.
Sam continued to read out loud, most words steady. Castiel helped him through the difficult ones, ensuring that the child knew how to on his own as well.
He found that he quite enjoyed it, sharing his knowledge with someone so willing to learn. Sam was bright and an easy student, asked questions where questions was needed and accepted Castiel’s answers.
It took both long to notice that Dean had joined them in the library, bringing with him the sweet smell of flowers in the summer. He was smiling softer than Castiel had ever seen him smile before.
He’d never looked more beautiful.
“There is something I need to tell you,” he murmured softly.
Castiel turned around. “Huh?”
“There is something I need to tell you,” Dean repeated a bit louder. Castiel motioned for him to continue.
“Eh,” he could feel his cheeks heat up in embarrassment. But what was he really embarrassed about? There was no shame in staying virgin as a man. As someone able to bear children he had never sought out an alpha, not wanting to risk being pregnant and unmarried. Of course, there were other options than him taking it up the ass, but he’d refrained, afraid that control wouldn’t exists in the heat of the moment.
Castiel was waiting patiently, head tilted ever so slightly. His alpha. It was weird, being a kept man. Even if they hadn’t completed a mating bond, they were still bound in the eyes of everyone from the simple band of gold on Dean’s right hand.
“I’m a virgin.”
Castiel squinted at him like he wasn’t quite sure he had understood Dean directly.
“I had expected that,” he said it almost like a question.
“As in, I’ve never been with someone. At all, in any form or way. Or you know…” Dean made an awkward motion with his hand, his cheeks felt like they were on fire.
“Oh!” Castiel seemed like he was finally understanding where Dean was going. “Don’t worry. I’m not expecting penetrative sex right away, Dean. I figured it would take a bit of getting to know one another before that would happen. I’m not that desperate for an heir.”
Dean let out a breath he hadn’t been aware he was holding. He felt relieved, knowing that Castiel would give him time to adjust. His heat could possibly screw that royally over, though…
“I would like my first time to be outside of heat if possible, in any way,” he added slowly and a bit nervously.
“I understand. As would I. I’m not a monster Dean, even if my rules may make me seem like one,” Castiel smiled wryly. “I would like to get to know you a bit, understand what you enjoy and what you don’t like before we share one of your heats, so I don’t accidentally put you through something you are uncomfortable with and only agree too because your brain is raddled with fever.”
Dean swallowed twice around the lump in his throat. Castiel could not have any idea how much those words meant for him. “And what if my heat comes before we have reached the penetrative part of making love?”
Castiel stopped for a moment, looking emptily into the air before answering: “Then I’ll move into your old room, or you could, depending on where you feel safest. I won’t take your virginity while you are that far gone. I want you to be able to remember it afterwards. There are also ways I can help you without going into penetration, but I’ll leave that up to you.”
Dean must have looked shocked, because Castiel grinned warmly. “After you pointed out that I did not know enough about omegas I decided to research a bit.”
Dean nodded, biting his lip, thinking. He appreciated the offer, but they had a goal after all.
“That will delay the plan about a pregnancy, potentially by quite a while,” Dean pointed out.
“I know, and I’m okay with that.”
Dean did not have words to describe the relief that filled him in that moment. Castiel rules and demands had it seem that he had intentions of using Dean as a breeding machine and nothing more, but his words said otherwise. Maybe there was a human hiding underneath the hard shell of the alpha with the blue eyes. Maybe there was more to him. The way he read with Sam whenever they both had time would suggest so, the way he cared for his garden when he had staff that could easily do so.
Maybe their marriage was one of convenience; an heir for Castiel, safety and security for Dean and Sam, Dean still hoped it could form into friendship with time. Castiel had just made that a whole lot more likely.
“Thank you,” he said, moving to put his things into place.
“No problem Dean. I know my rules seem unconventional to you,” Castiel sighed loudly. “But I have them for reasons I cannot disclose.”
“I understand.” Dean wasn’t sure it was the truth, but he could respect it, even if he found it odd. “I’ll respect them. And you’ll respect it if I tell you the same? That it’s something I can’t or won’t discuss?”
Dean swallowed, readying himself for his last question on the matter.
“How about our wedding night?”
Castiel thought for a moment, blue eyes staring emptily into the air. “Well, traditionally speaking we will need to consummate our marriage. But I’m not going to insist or force you into anything Dean. If you decide that it’s a good a time as any, I will look forward to being with you, and shouldn’t you be that’s fine too.”
Dean turned to see Castiel smiling softly at him like he was looking forward to the dinner they would have together that evening. They’d agreed that their wedding dinner would be just the two of them, just as many to come would. No matter how much Dean loved his little brother, there was a limit to how well he could get to know his husband with a 12-year old nosing around in their business.
Castiel seemed to have warmed up a bit towards him. Their amounts of dinner together had still been limited, but the alpha had invited him into the garden more than once, showing off the trees and pointing out how the apples for his autumn pies where growing.
Castiel’s back had been nothing but trouble for a while. He barely slept at night, kept awake from the constant turning in an attempt to find relief from the aches. Their wedding was coming up fast, and he direly wished that he was able to do more than just stand, too doped up on alcohol or medicinal herbs to remember half of what was going on.
He wanted to be able to recall his wedding afterwards and consummate their marriage, should Dean wish to do so.
Balthazar had been his physician for years, but he was busy, too busy for Castiel’s liking sometimes. Maybe he was too good at his job since everybody seemed to prefer him over others.
He would be by later in the afternoon and Castiel couldn’t wait. The muscles over his back was tense enough they made those in his neck and head throb in pain whenever he moved.
“Cassie!” Balthazar was one big smile as he entered the room.
“I’ve told you to not call me that,” he murmured. It was hopeless, he knew. It was a small price to pay for Balthazar’s service though.
The beta laughed and shut the door behind him. “So, tell me what’s going on. You are the gossip of the town; do you know that? Are the rumors true?”
“That you have found yourself a sweet omega, let him move in and that you are going to marry him. Have you knocked him up you sly dog?” Balthazar wiggled his eyebrows obnoxiously.
“No I haven’t,” Cas sighed. “It is within our plans, though.”
“Why a man then, if it’s for the sake of having children?”
Castiel looked at his physician for a long moment, long enough that Balthazar started moving uncomfortably under his stare.
“I prefer men over women. But I guess you know that already.”
“I don’t like the way our society treats male omega’s if I have to be honest. I would hate to see a man like Dean out on the streets just because he’d been unlucky enough to be born the way he was. He can’t change the way he is any more than I can.”
Balthazar made a non-committing sound, motioning for Castiel to continue.
“And since my attraction is primarily towards men, it was an easy choice. I know there can be difficulties for male omega’s giving birth… I know the risks perfectly well. Still doesn’t change my decision. Dean is a wonderful man.”
“I wasn’t going to warn you of the marriage, I know you are too smart not to have used time researching the risks,” Balthazar said with a small smile. “I was merely curious to hear what had pushed you off the bachelor wagon. Or who, rather.”
Castiel returned the smile. “Our marriage is a mutual agreement upon giving each other what we need. I’ll provide for Dean and our child as well as Dean’s younger brother, and Dean will give me privacy.”
He hesitated for a moment. Outside of his family, Balthazar was the one who knew most about what had happened during the war, seeing as he’d been the one to treat Castiel afterwards. Balthazar was also quite the gossip when he wanted to, but Cas trusted him to stay quiet with the important things.
“Yes. You know how I feel about my scars? Or people seeing them?”
The other man nodded.
“Dean has agreed to a lights-out arrangement as well as not asking any questions about them. I know that he may touch them at some point, I see that as inevitable, but I would really rather not think about the wars more than I’m forced to already.”
“I see.” Balthazar looked like he wanted to say more.
“And once he’s fallen pregnant, we have no reason to share a bed. Really, it’s that simple. A business arrangement really.”
“But Castiel, I met him on my way in. He is gorgeous . Why would you ever want to do the dirty with lights off when you are going to marry stunning on two legs?”
Cas huffed and shook his head. “Enough, I don’t pay to gossip with you, especially not about me.”
Balthazar laughed and shook his head.
As always, the treatment started with warm towels soaked in muscle relaxing herbs to relax his back enough that Balthazar could gently stretch and massage the knotted disfigured skin and tissue. Castiel had seen his back in a mirror a few times after the war, after it had healed, and he had hated it every time. How Balthazar was unaffected by touching him he had no idea.
The physician worked gently at first, making the skin and connective tissue move with more freedom above the layers of muscle. He had no idea how deep the wounds had been, hadn’t been conscious for most of it. what little he remembered was white searing pain, and he had no desire to dig deeper into the memories than that.
Balthazar hummed softly as he worked, loosening the aches and pains slowly. His fingers were gentle, rarely applying more pressure than Castiel could handle.
He knew that some of his back had been sewn together improperly to stop the bleeding and save his life. Much of his pains stemmed from the stiffness of the scar tissue, so thick and rigid it was unable to move and bend like a back was supposed to.
It really wasn’t the few spots where things had been repaired hastily that was the real problem.
“I’ll come by in a few days. When it’s gone this bad, I cannot work everything out in one session.”
“I figured,” Cas mumbled into the pillow.
At this point he knew how things worked. He’d let it get bad enough that he was hurting a bit all the time, Balthazar would be busy, and he would be hurting a lot by the time the physician had time to come by.
“We really should just have regular times, Castiel,” Balthazar said in a tone Castiel knew all too well.
“I know,” he gasped in pain as Balthazar started working on a particularly sore spot.
The beta mumbled an excuse but continued to work as if Castiel had not protested.
No matter how gently Balthazar worked, it always left Castiel pained and without energy for the rest of the day.
“It’s really bad today, Cassie.”
“I can feel that,” he grumbled into the pillow.
It was a relief when Balthazar removed his hand, announcing that he would come back in 4 days, hopefully ensuring that Castiel would be able to attend his own wedding.
Sitting back up was a slow and assisted process. Getting dressed even more so. His fingers felt swollen and he was entirely unable to bottom his shirt back up.
“And do take it easy. No strenuous work or exercises,” Balthazar blinked at him.
Castiel rolled his eyes. “I’ll behave,” he agreed.
“I know you will. Do you need me to assist you back to your room?”
“No. I’ll manage.” It was embarrassing enough that he’d needed help with the shirt, he didn’t need Balthazar to play his crutch. It would be a slow process, but he sure could manage on his own.
On unsecure legs Castiel got to his room. He was asleep before his head hit the pillow.
Their wedding was small and private. Castiel didn’t have many people he wanted to invite, and it appeared that Dean had even fewer. The way he had talked about his father it should have been no surprise when Sam sat as Dean’s only family, but the lack of friends where a surprise to Castiel.
His side of the church contained a few more people. His mother had not been able to make it with such short warning, something for which he was grateful. Her letters had indicated that she had not been entirely pleased with him choosing a male omega over a female, even though Dean was perfectly healthy.
He sent Sam a nervous smile as the bells started to ring, announcing that Dean would shortly walk up the aisle.
As he did, Castiel entirely forgot that he wasn’t in love, that their marriage was one of convenience. Dean looked breath-taking as he walked up the aisle, head held high in pride. His garment was the one he’d been wearing when they had first met, Castiel noticed. As Dean stepped closer, he noticed all the details that had been added to make it one for a man of status.
The white pants were tighter fitted than it was custom, the slim jacket so far from the big gown’s fashionable among women. It had a deep green color and a low cut, showing of the shirt underneath. Both had been stitched with silver that glinted in the low light from the morning sun through the windows. Dean’s hair was combed back with water, darker streaks making it obvious that it was still damp. He longed to run his hands through the strands, to make them stand up in passion.
Castiel swallowed heavily as Dean moved even closer, green eyes sparkling along with the silver.
For the second time Castiel wondered what it would have been like meeting Dean and courting him properly. For the second time he almost regretted that things had not gone down that way.
But all that mattered was that the beautiful man in front of him was going to be his. In just a few short moments their vows would be said, and they would be a couple. Oh, how Castiel longed for the hymns to be over with, how he longed for the priest to declare them wedded.
He wanted nothing more than to take Dean home and take him to bed and consummate their marriage.
Castiel barely listened to the words of the priest, he didn’t hear the hymns. All his attention was on the man in front of him, his husband to be.
It was a near miracle he had enough functional brain cells to say his vows. They were of respect rather than love and he wished for nothing more than to change that with time. He wanted so desperately to fall in love with Dean it was hurting him, so desperately for the omega to love him back.
The simple band of white gold shone around Dean’s ring finger as they walked out into the sunlight. Castiel liked seeing Dean marked like that, even if he had yet to carry Castiel’s bite.
After the ceremony they’d walked to the mansion, the wedding celebrated in intimate and small fashion like it was custom.
No one talked about how neither Dean’s nor Castiel’s family was around, save for Sam.
It was cozy and yet Dean wanted the guests to dissipate so he could be alone with his new husband. They’d discussed the wedding night previously, and he felt ready to consummate their marriage.
Castiel had looked so damned handsome standing there at the altar.
They’d agreed upon serving a light lunch. Ellen had gone out of her way, preparing fine finger foods and several different beverages for them and their guests. The ballroom was decorated with silver candlelights and white and soft blue flowers. It was beautiful.
Dean was just about to pick up another savory snack when he was approached by a smiling man with soft brown hair. He had a mischievous look to him and Dean couldn’t help but feel he’d seen him around before. It took a good half minute before he realized that it was Balthazar, Castiel’s physician.
“Dean!” the beta smiled, walking right into Dean’s personal space. He was practically touching as he leaned over, grabbing one of the savory finger foods Dean had just devoured.
“Balthazar, is it?” Dean replied, trying to smile in what he hoped was a friendly manner. He felt more like backing away to gain his personal space.
“Mhm,” he agreed. “So, you are the man who stole Cassie’s heart.”
Dean opened and closed his mouth a few times, trying to figure out the right response. Their marriage was one of convenience, an arrangement benefiting them both, nothing more. But he doubted the general public knew that, figured most people thought he was already pregnant or that they had fallen in love.
“Uh, apparently so.”
Balthazar stepped a bit back, allowing Dean to gather his composure a bit.
“I know a thing or two about your marriage, Dean-o. I know it’s an arrangement and Cassie thinks he can keep his heart out of it. I know he plans to copulate with you, create and heir and be done with it. But let me let you in on a secret: That’s not Castiel’s style. I’ve known him since before the wars, and when he falls, he falls hard. He doesn’t know it yet, but he is already well on his way to that pit.”
Dean stood there, dumfounded, heart hammering in his chest. It didn’t seem like something a stranger should tell him on their wedding day.
“He is trusting you a great deal, by allowing you into his life. And into his bedroom. Aside from the people who stitched him up, I might be the only one he has allowed to touch him since the war.”
There shouldn’t have been a white-burning fire of anger in his stomach. He shouldn’t care that Balthazar could touch his husband where stupid rules forbade him from doing so. It was just a convenient arrangement, that was all. Dean didn’t care . Shouldn’t care.
“Don’t worry little omega, not like that, never like that.”
His anger must have bled into his scent. Dean took a few steadying breaths.
“I don’t care. That’s not the reason I married him.”
Balthazar grinned at him. “Oh, you are not doing a very good job at not caring. But Dean, please don’t break his heart. Not even I am skilled enough to mend that.”
The beta stood there for a moment, thoughtful. “And take care of yourself as well. I don’t know you, but you wouldn’t be the first soul to get burned trying to get close to him. But it could be that you are the first one to succeed.”
The omega folded his arms in front of his chest.
“Balthazar, what are you doing?” Castiel interrupted the uncomfortable conversation.
“Talking to your lovely omega,” the beta replied in a light tone.
“He doesn’t look like someone who wants to talk to you.” His tone was mild, like he was scolding a child who couldn’t have known better.
Balthazar gave Dean a scrutinizing look. “No, he doesn’t. Odd.”
“Off you go, I want to talk to my husband.”
Dean waited a moment, making sure Balthazar was out of hearing range. “I didn’t need rescuing.”
“I know, but Balthazar can be obnoxious and a blabbermouth. He is a horrible gossip too,” Castiel was smiling freely.
It was a look that suited him well, Dean couldn’t help but notice.
“Don’t worry, he just warned me to not break your heart,” Dean winked at his husband.
“I figured he would say something along those lines.” Castiel sighed.
They talked for a moment before guests demanded to be entertained. Dean continued to mingle and smile and behave like the good husband, the good omega.
He wished for the guests to leave so he could spend time with Castiel alone. He’d looked nothing short of beautiful standing there at the altar and Dean found himself longing to consummate their marriage.
Castiel looked at him, moving his weight from one foot to another. His rich scent had a bitter note of anxiety to it.
“Should we… maybe move your belongings to my room?” he asked, voice a pitch higher than usual. Dean had not seen him nervous very often, but his alpha sure was now. “Or would you rather prefer to keep your own room and just sleep in mine?”
His cheeks had turned an adorable pink color, as had the tips of his ears.
Dean found himself smiling. “Let’s move it.”
Castiel let out a deep sigh before returning the smile with one even brighter than the one he’d worn at the altar.
It didn’t take them many moments to move Dean’s few belongings to Castiel’s room. The alpha’s scent continued to vary between excited and happy and nervous.
Dean was nervous too.
The night to come would be their first together after all, and even though he had told Castiel that the alpha would be his first in all instances, Dean still felt his heart beat faster whenever his thoughts strayed to what would happen later.
He closed the door softly and placed the box in his hands on the bedside table.
“I want tonight to be our first time together as it should be,” Dean said slowly, looking at Castiel. “I want you.”
He could hear Castiel swallow, see the Adam’s apple bob as the alpha tried to find his voice.
“I would like that too,” he replied hoarsely.
Dean felt like he was floating on clouds as they walked hand in hand to their bedroom. He still couldn’t quite wrap his head around what they were about to do.
Castiel was breathing heavily beside him, squeezing his hand reassuringly. He smelt as nervous as Dean imagined he did, with a sharp tang of alcohol. They had enjoyed their dinner with wine. Not enough that they were too drunk to properly consent, just enough to take off the edge.
“You’ve been with someone before, right?” he asked, not quite sure if that was a topic he wanted to bring up.
“Yes.” Gravel over rocks, oh how Castiel’s voice did things to him. Dean didn’t dare look over, afraid that they wouldn’t make it to the bedroom if he did. The back site of his pants where already growing damp with lust as they walked. He knew Castiel could smell it, even if it were mixed with nerves. Knew what it had to do to the alpha from the way his scent changed in response.
“So, you know the ins-and-outs so to speak?” he didn’t like how his voice was shaking nervously. For a moment he debated turning around on his heal and down another glass of wine. But should he be honest Dean preferred being sober enough to properly remember what was happening the day after.
Castiel closed the door to the bedroom softly, crowding Dean against it.
“Yes, yes I do,” he breathed down Dean’s neck. They were so close the omega could feel the heat radiating from his alpha, smell the wine on his breath and the lust clouding everything.
“I’ll take care of you Dean,” the alpha promised, and that was all Dean needed to hear.
“Please,” he whispered, his erection filling out in the tight pants he was wearing as Castiel continued to crowd his personal space. Dean had never smelled something quite as intoxicating as Cas, never found someone his body responded to as eagerly as it did to the alpha.
Soft lips were pressed against his neck, Castiel slowly moving so close they were almost touching. Dean’s knees felt weak. He’d never wanted someone as badly as he did that moment.
Dean moaned softly as the hard outline of Castiel’s erection pressed against his own, big and overwhelming and everything his body wanted in that moment.
He was not sure how it would ever fit inside him, and he didn’t care. All he knew was that he needed it so badly he was soaking his pants with slick and pre-come.
Castiel rocked against him gently as he continued to kiss and lick the sensitive skin just below Dean’s left ear.
“Bed?” he whimpered as teeth grazed over the sensitive spot just above his scent-glands. With what they were about to do he much preferred the bed to the hard outline of a sturdy oak-door.
Castiel studied him for a moment in the low-lit room, the hard erection still pressed against Dean’s.
“Yes, that would be wise,” he said hoarsely like he was biting back a moan. Dean loved it, loved that Castiel sounded as out of breath as Dean felt.
Castiel slowly led him to the bed to make sure he didn’t fall over in the dark. Dean could barely see Castiel, let alone make out the layout of the room. He was grateful that his alpha knew the room well enough they didn’t walk into a piece of furniture even if he had preferred the room to be sufficiently lit.
“You are wearing too much clothing,” Castiel mumbled before he undid the buttons on Dean’s jacket first, then the shirt.
“Yeah,” he agreed with a sigh as Castiel let his fingers run softly over his body while taking off the shirt. Dean didn’t care about the clothes as they were thrown to the floor, not when Castiel’s mouth once again was over his neck, kissing and sucking at all the sensitive places.
“Yes, yes,” Castiel breathed out against his neck, making the hairs on his arms raise with goosebumps.
Dean felt warm hands move down his upper body, slowly around his hips.
“Are you sure? That this is what you want?” Castiel sounded worried and like he had sobered up from the wine and their lust-haze.
“Yes, I’m sure,” he confirmed, wanting to press a reassuring kiss to Castiel’s lips, but remembering in the last moment that he was not allowed to do so.
The long fingers tightened around his hips for a moment before moving to the front of his stomach, slowly and deliberately with the only purpose of making Dean soak his pants completely with slick before they got off him.
“You smell so good,” Cas whispered as he opened the fly, gracing Dean’s throbbing member in the process. Oh god he wanted Castiel to keep touching like that so badly, but had no idea how to ask, no idea how to make thoughts into words that made sense.
Dean moaned softly as the back of a hand once again stroked over his erection. The alpha took pity on him, pressing the heel of his hand over his dick, and even through the underpants Dean felt like his groin was on fire. Nothing he’d ever done to himself had felt half as good.
“Oh fuck, please,” he whimpered as Castiel slowly increased the pressure, moving his hand ever so slightly. His underpants had long lost the battle against the slick soaking through them.
“Please what?” the alpha breathed against his skin, nipping gently as he moved his hand against.
“I need you,” Dean groaned as Castiel slipped his hand inside the underpants, curling his fingers around Dean’s erection in the most delicious of ways.
“I can smell that,” the alpha sounded as lust dazed as Dean felt and he was still wearing way too much clothes, fully dressed against Dean’s practically naked body. With one swift moment Dean went from practically naked to very naked, slick rapidly cooling against his naked skin.
The soft rustling of fabric told Dean what he couldn’t see as Castiel ditched his jacket, then his shirt. “On the bed, Dean,” he ordered gently. There was no doubt in Dean’s mind that if he called it off, said he wasn’t ready, Castiel would stop and leave it at that.
But Dean had never felt more ready than he did that moment. Every fiber in his being longed for Castiel and his body, to feel filled up on the hard erection that had just been pressed against his own.
“Good boy,” Castiel whispered in the dark as the mattress creaked under Dean’s weight. Just as he thought he couldn’t get any wetter it was happening, slick leaking steadily out of his hungry hole. Not even in heat had he wanted to be filled as badly as he did that moment.
Castiel climbed on top of him, slotting himself between Dean’s willingly spread legs, their erections brushing against each other. Dean’s hips where bucking on their own accord, seeking out friction and pressure.
“Let me take care of you,” Castiel asked, pressing a soft kiss to Dean’s collarbone.
“Yes!” Dean agreed as Castiel moved downwards, trailing soft kisses over his chest and abdomen. Dean could feel the ghost of breath over his hard dick as another kiss was pressed to his hipbone.
Castiel’s fingers traced the curve of his ass as he continued to kiss the sensitive skin around Dean’s erection, stubble gracing his sensitive parts. Dean was glad he was lying down; his legs didn’t feel trustworthy and the covers of the bed where so much softer than the oak door had been.
He hissed as Castiel pressed a finger to his hole, just keeping it over the sensitive rim, rubbing lightly to get Dean used to the sensation. As if he hadn’t fingered himself during heats, too desperate to do anything but. Dean wanted to tell him to hurry up, to get that finger inside him, to do something other than just teasing, but Castiel took his sweet time with the other hand sprawled over his hip to keep him in place.
When he finally pressed inside a finger, it didn’t feel like anything nearly enough. Dean was so wet there was barely any resistance, slick soaking into the covers beneath him.
“Cas,” he whimpered, hoping the alpha would understand his plea for more.
“You are so wet for me,” Castiel murmured before pressing his lips to the head of his erection. Dean’s hips bucked at their own accord; he was too far gone to keep any control.
The alpha had barely done anything to him and there he was, feeling like his orgasm could overtake through him at any moment.
He lost all higher brain functions when Cas’ lips sealed around the head of his dick, sucking gently. Two fingers where pressed against his entrance, and Dean managed to relax just the fraction it took for them to slide into his wet hole.
Castiel gently fingered him open while sucking and licking at his dick, making Dean see stars in the dark room. Had he known sex could be that could he sure as hell had not stayed a virgin that long.
“Ple-ease,” he cried out as Castiel withdrew the two fingers, leaving him feeling entirely too empty.
Castiel listened to his pleas, adding in three fingers this time, slowly opening him up. It burned, something so hot and delicious Dean felt like he was keeping his release at bay with his last of self-control. The pain from the stretch made his entire body sing like it was made for it.
Fingers where carefully moved inside him, gracing that place that made his blood boil with pleasure, his hips bucking out of control, searching out more, more, more.
His moans where filling the room, suspiciously sounding like broken versions of Castiel’s name.
“I think you are as ready as my fingers will get you,” Castiel sounded out of breath, like every word was a struggle for him to say. “Let me know if it hurts, okay? I don’t want to hurt you.”
Dean loved that he was the one doing this to the alpha who had barely agreed for them to sleep together outside heats. Loved that Castiel was sounding like he was just about to lose it as well.
“Yes,” he managed.
“On your stomach. It will be easier that way.”
Dean scrambled to get around, too far gone on desire to care that he was acting like a bitch in heat, so desperate for it.
He willingly spread his legs, let Castiel maneuver him around until he was satisfyingly spread out. A small pillow had been placed under his hips, rubbing against his overly sensitive erection.
“You smell so good,” Castiel moaned into the dark as he pressed the tip of his dick against Dean’s leaking hole.
“Don’t move, not yet.”
Dean clutching his hands around the cover, focusing on that sensation to stay still as Castiel gently pressed against his hole.
Gentle hands moved up and down his sides, coaxing him into relaxing again. He didn’t know when he had started to clench his muscles.
Castiel was pushing against him, gently, as Dean relaxed more and more. He was whispering something, words that he wasn’t coherent enough to understand.
The burning sensation turned into one of blinding hot pain.
“Wait,” he managed to gasp out. His alpha stopped at his request, waiting patiently as Dean breathed through the pain until it fainted to a dull sensation again.
And so Castiel did, one inch at a time, giving Dean’s body time to adjust in between until he was balls deep inside.
Nothing could have Dean prepared for the overwhelming sensation of having his alpha fill him up like that, the weight of him pinning him to the mattress.
He felt like he had been created for that moment.
Soft kisses where pressed to his shoulders as Castiel waited for him to fully adjust, for his body to start relaxing into a pliant puddle against the covers.
Dean was overwhelmed by the new sensation of being filled up like that, his body on fire as Castiel started moving inside him, withdrawing ever so slightly before pressing in fully.
“Yes, Cas, yes,” Dean whimpered to let his alpha know that he was more than on board with what was happening. He’d never felt more vibrant, more alive. Castiel did as he was asked, pounding into Dean, moaning softly.
Dean’s dick rubbed against the covers underneath him, creating just the friction he needed so badly. Castiel’s teeth grazed his neck just where a mating bite would go.
Dean was so far gone, the need for release building inside him in record time as Castiel adjusted the angle of his trusts, ramming into that sweet spot of Dean’s with every movement of his hips.
He whimpered softly, asking for something he didn’t even have words for. His alpha seemed to get it, placing soft lips against that sensitive spot by his necks, licking, biting, sucking until Dean was seeing stars. Castiel’s knot had started to inflate, filling him impossibly more, tugging at his sensitive rim with every movement.
“Can I?” Cas asked, voice even deeper than usual. “Please let me knot you.”
“Yes, fuck, knot me, breed me alpha!” he cried out.
He was so close to coming. Castiel teeth bit down over his sensitive spot again, making him see stars.
The burning sensation from the knot locking them together pushed him over the edge, his seed wetting the covers underneath him as Castiel filled him up, impossibly so.
He could feel the come pulsing from Castiel’s hard cock, the small movements the alpha made in his orgasmic high.
Dean was barely awake when Castiel withdrew, dragging his cock out gently. He could feel the wet slipperiness of come and slick leaking out of his hole and made a grimace.
“Stay down,” Cas mumbled, touching the small of Dean’s back with a gentle caress before getting up.
Dean listened to the soft sound of bare feet against wood disappearing and reappearing.
“I’m just washing you a bit, okay?” Cas sounded almost shy.
“Mhm,” he mumbled intelligently. The cloth was wrung in warm water and was soft against his skin as Castiel gently dragged it over his back, cleaning off their combined sweat, before moving down to clean around Dean’s abused ass.
He whimpered as it touched the tender skin.
“Did I hurt you?”
“No,” he replied. “But I’m sore.”
“I’m sorry,” Castiel sounded sincerely so.
“Don’t be, body just needs to adjust and all that. I’m just not up for a round two right now is all.” Dean was slowly starting to fall asleep again, dreams dancing behind his closed lids.
“Okay.” The alpha didn’t quite sound like he believed those words.
Dean wanted to turn around, wanted to kiss the idea of being hurt out of Castiel’s brain. Wanted to touch him with love and passion until he believed those words. For half a second he almost did, his muscles tightening to turn him around.
Then he remembered that he wasn’t supposed to touch Castiel, wasn’t supposed to kiss him.
Because of their stupid arrangement.
“I’m fine Cas, really. Stop worrying,” he said just to be sure his alpha at least got the message that way.
When Dean woke up the morning following their wedding night, he found himself all alone in the big bed. He had no right to feel hurt by that, but it didn’t stop his heart from clenching painfully in his chest. Had it really meant that little to Castiel that he hadn’t even wanted to stay around for Dean to wake up?
Judging from the light sneaking in from under the curtains it wasn’t even that late. Surely the alpha could have slept in if that was what he wanted.
Dean pouted into the empty air, feelings too close to the surface for his liking before he got up and dressed himself.
He didn’t need an alpha.
Didn’t need Castiel to be there and cuddle him.
He’d barely gotten his trousers on when the door to the bedroom was pushed open, Castiel standing there with a tray and a small, insecure smile playing around his lips.
“Good morning,” he said as he placed the tray on the bedside table. “I… I hoped that maybe we could enjoy breakfast up here before going on with the day? I’ve been up for a while, and, uh, I didn’t want to wake you up, so I figured that…”
“It’s a really good idea,” Dean interrupted the nervous rambling with a warm smile. “I would love to eat breakfast with you.”
Castiel’s smile turned into one big, bright smile.
They ate in a comfortable silence, Dean enjoying the taste of freshly baked bread to it’s fullest. Ellen was a wonderful cook. The bread had to be freshly made, crunchy on the outside and soft and delicious on the inside.
“How are you feeling?” Castiel interrupted his thoughts.
“I know that was your first time.”
“Yeah,” Dean agreed reluctantly. He’d told Castiel so earlier. He didn’t know why he had done so, it was generally expected that omega’s stayed virgins until their marriage. Alpha’s didn’t quite have the same restrictions on them.
But then again, they didn’t have the ability to carry children either.
They didn’t have to worry about the social ridicule from a bastard.
Dean stared at the bread in his hand like it could explain his quickly souring mood.
“You are upset?” Castiel worded it like a question but it really sounded like a statement.
For a moment Dean kept his eyes at the bread in his hand, biting the inside of his cheek, wondering if he should share his thoughts with Castiel. On one hand the alpha had no idea what omegas went through on a daily basis, on the other they were married.
“I’m not upset with you.”
Castiel didn’t look happier at those words.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to… I don’t know.”
For a moment they sat in silence, Dean gathering his thoughts. Part of him wanted to enlighten Cas, but a tiny voice in his head yelled angrily.
He’d already sold his body and womb for the promise of safety and a full belly. Why should he sell his soul and mind too? Castiel wasn’t one to share anything with Dean, he’d already made it clear that there was nothing more to their marriage than him wanting an heir.
“I’m just overthinking everything, I think,” he admitted slowly. The tiny voice could shut up. How was Castiel supposed to want to open if he knew next to nothing about Dean? “I’m just thinking about the difference in how society treats alphas and omegas. It seems unfair, and it makes me angry that you’ve got a bigger chance in life just because nature didn’t make you able to carry children. And you know, being a male omega really doesn’t make it any easier. If anything, people see me as a freakshow, a price cow for others.”
He let out a harsh breath. “And you know what? I can’t figure out if I’m your prized breeding cow either. I can’t figure out why you would possibly choose the one male omega nearby. I can’t wrap my head around why you would want to be with someone people yell things like that at. You oughta know that a lot of people don’t care that I can carry children, that they will just see two men!”
Castiel placed a gentle hand on his shoulder, making Dean turn his head.
The blue eyes were filled with sadness, mouth drawing a downturned line. Castiel wasn’t happy, that much was easy to tell.
“I didn’t choose you because you are a price to be won, nor a breeding cow. I don’t think less of omega’s no matter their gender,” he hesitated for a moment, eyes flickering as if he searched in Dean’s for something before, he continued: “I don’t find women very attractive, Dean. I have never found them interesting. They smell wrong and feel wrong in my arms. I could have gone with a female omega, sure, but our arrangement would still require me to at least be with her when she went into heat, and how could I do when I’m not the least bit attracted to her?”
Dean’s mouth went dry.
“Don’t you see how lucky I was finding you? You are beautiful Dean; your smell is intoxicating and your soul the brightest I’ve ever seen. Even if you hadn’t been able to carry children, I would still have wanted to court you.”
He couldn’t find the words. Castiel had just out all his doubts to shame. Dean could only regret he’d not earlier asked the alpha about his intentions for the marriage rather than assume that a child, the promise of an heir, was the only reason.
“Thank you,” he managed to choke out. He wanted to tell Castiel that he was attractive too, that his blue eyes where the most beautiful Dean had long seen. But those words would fall short after all Castiel had just told him, would sound like he was just trying to be nice back.
“I want you to make me a promise,” Castiel said, running a gentle finger over Dean’s shoulder.
“I want you to tell me if I should ever act like an alpha knot-head. I have no desire to be like that, especially around you. Tell me if I cross a line.”
“I will,” Dean promised with ease, placing a hand over Castiel’s. He could feel a smile tugging at his lips, relief filling him. It seemed like he’d married a decent alpha after all.
A bit odd sure, but decent at the least.
Castiel woke up gasping for air. The shirt he had a habit of falling asleep in was sticking uncomfortably to his skin, making him aware of how much he had been sweating.
Dean was right beside him, green eyes big in the dim light from the fireplace.
Castiel meant to comfort him, meant to say soothing words and assure his omega that there was no need to worry like that.
Except that he couldn’t push the words over his lips. He couldn’t force them out no matter how hard he tried.
He could barely breathe, the nightmare so real it still clung to his insides, making his gut twist uncomfortably.
He didn’t deserve the arms that was gently pried him closer, didn’t deserve the man who was whispering to him in a soothing tone.
Dean had no idea who he was, what he had done. Castiel had made sure of that, putting up barriers before they had even gotten a chance to get to know each other.
Warm fingers traced the damp fabric up and down his back in a gesture clearly meant to be soothing.
He had no idea how long they sat there in the dark, Dean just waiting for him to calm down.
“Do you want to talk about it?” he asked gently, keeping a hand on Castiel’s knee.
He didn’t quite trust his voice, so he shook his head.
Castiel swallowed. Dean didn’t deserve him shutting off like that. But Dean didn’t deserve a lot of things about their agreement, yet he had easily agreed to it.
To protect Sam. Because he really didn’t have another choice. His mouth tasted sour at that thought.
“I… I, tea, okay?” he managed without his voice breaking too much.
He could still smell the metallic tang of blood over the sweet scent of rotting flesh. He could still taste the air filled with infection.
His scars were aching.
“Yeah.” Dean agreed, but he didn’t look happy about it. Even in the low light it was easy to see his downturned mouth, the worry that furrowed his brow.
Castiel hated that he had been the one to put that look on Dean, hated that he wasn’t stronger than that. He couldn’t even share his nightmares with his mate… no, not mate, he reminded himself bitterly. They were married out of pure convenience, nothing more. Castiel had no right to think of Dean as anything but his lawfully wedded husband.
They weren’t mates.
He got up from the bed, instantly regretting leaving the warmth of Dean and the safety of the blankets. But he couldn’t keep up, couldn’t stay with Dean like that if he wanted to keep his composure.
On bare feet against cold tiles he managed to locate his pants before going to the kitchens. The staff was probably sound asleep, but he was a Duke, not a helpless baby, and he sure could make some tea for himself.
The tea tasted a bit like bathwater. Soapy and wrong.
He almost wanted to cry as he sat the cup on the table, leaving it there to grow cold and stale and even worse. Not even a cup of tea could he managed.
Castiel sat there alone, staring into the flames. He had no idea how much time had passed, but it couldn’t be the hours he had thought. His tea was still lukewarm when he grabbed it, hearing the soft steps from his omega walking into the kitchen.
“Please come back to bed?” Dean asked softly.
Castiel shook his head.
“Talk to me –”
“- you agreed to –”
“- I don’t mean about your nightmare or about the war,” Dean sighed as he sat down on the bench. “Just tell me something about bees or the book you are reading. It will help get your mind off things. What are you teaching Sam? What’s the latest gossip?”
“I don’t care about gossip.”
For a moment Castiel just sat there, lukewarm tea growing colder between his hands as he considered Dean’s request.
“I grew up here. In this mansion.”
“Yeah?” his omega was smiling at him, and that was all it took for Castiel to continue.
“Yeah. My mother and father bought the land when my mother was expecting me. My father was drafted to the war as well, however, he didn’t get lucky like I did.”
“I have a younger sister. She is to be married shortly. Some of the garments I placed an order for the day we met is for her wedding, actually…” Castiel shook his head to get back on track. “I meant to invite you as well but with everything going on it slipped my mind.”
“Doesn’t matter. I can have the garments finished soon enough,” Dean said.
“Mhm,” he agreed absentmindedly. “We grew up here. Back then there were only a few big trees and fewer berry-bushes than you see now. My father was not happy with my choice of spending more time in the garden than wielding a weapon, but… my mother indulged me a lot in that department, so a lot of what you see out there is the result of years of work. I started as just a big kid, knowing I was to inherit this place one day. I like to think I have the most beautiful and functional garden in the entire city.”
“I think you do too.”
“I know it may not seem like it from your time spent here so far, but I also love taking care of it. My back doesn’t always allow for it, but when I can, I do. I also oversee all work done there, so it’s made to my liking.”
“I injured it in the war.” Castiel dismissed quickly. Dean must have felt some of the scar tissue during their lovemaking, but Castiel doubted he had any idea about the extent of the damage. It was just sometimes it hurt too much for him to do anything. Sometimes he couldn’t make his body do what he needed it, wanted it, to do.
He hoped and prayed that there would be few of those days. That maybe Dean would never have to see him like that. But he had no idea what set off the periods where it seemed like the skin was too stuff and the muscles too damaged to work properly.
Dean nodded again, seemingly content with not saying much and letting Castiel talk about his childhood, playing with Anna in the garden, riding in the nearby forest, playing hide and seek with the staff.
It was easy just talking about back then. Things had been easier, simpler, before he turned out to be an alpha. Had he presented differently it would not have made much of a difference. As a beta or omega, he would have been expected to marry and create heirs just as well, his title would just have fallen upon his alpha partner instead.
It was an unfair world like that.
They ended up talking for hours at Castiel’s best guess. His soapy tea managed to grow cold and replaced by a proper brewed cup or three before the staff was even up preparing their breakfast. In turn Dean told bits and pieces of his childhood. He couldn’t help but notice that his omega stuck to talking about what had happened up until the time around Sam’s birth, and Castiel got a feeling there was a reason. But it was not his place to pry.
If Dean thought, they had been making progress in talking about things and being open with each other he felt utterly cheated when Castiel disappeared without a word.
Rationally he knew that he had no claim on Castiel, knew that the alpha could do what he wanted. But disappearing before dinner was out of their agreement and Dean was furious. He had kept Castiel’s stupid rules, and wasn’t it basic human decency to expect the same thing from his husband? How was their agreement supposed to work if they didn’t uphold the rules, both?
Sam seemed to sense his fury and announced that he would dine with the staff instead, leaving Dean alone to brood.
And brood he did until he grew tired of upholding the anger. Sam had stopped by with a bit of dinner for him he’d left on the bedside table to grow cold.
It was a fake-pretend relationship for the sake of safety and a full belly for both him and Sam. If Castiel didn’t turn out to be abusive, was there really any reason for Dean to be mad?
It just reminded him of how things had started with John. Going out without saying so, coming home late in the evening drunk out of his mind.
He’d never placed a hand on Dean when sober.
But Castiel wasn’t John and it wasn’t fair to assume he was out drinking. For all Dean knew he could have been called out on important duke-business or asked to attend some meeting. It was just odd that he hadn’t even left a message with the staff was all.
He knocked gently on Sam’s door.
“Come in.” It was muffled through the thick oak.
Dean pushed open the door.
“I’m sorry Sammy, I didn’t mean to get angry.”
“I know,” his kid brother assured him. Dean bit his cheek.
“Doesn’t make it alright. You are not the one I’m angry at, and I should not have taken it out on you.”
Sam padded the bed beside him. “Read me a story?”
Dean couldn’t help but smile. They both knew that Sam was the better reader and had been for a while. Dean had practiced reading to Sam as long as the kid had been around.
There was something comforting in opening the book, letting his finger follow the words and sounding them out.
He didn’t need to think.
Beside him Sam’s breathing slowly evened out. In his peripheral vision, he could see his baby brother curl up under his blankets and soon enough he was fast asleep.
Dean kept reading for a while anyways.
He was still reading when a loud bang announced that a door had been smacked. Judging from the direction of the sound it was the main door.
Judging by the pitch blackness outside Sam’s window and how exhausted he felt it was late in the evening.
Sighing Dean placed a bookmark before lying the book on the bedside table. He hoped Castiel had a very good explanation for staying out that late.
It was the stench of alcohol that hit him first, long before he saw Castiel dangling, barely upright by the help of the wall.
The scent of burnt meat and acid filled his nostrils, growing in strength as his heartbeat sped up, pumping the anger through his veins.
“Where. Have. You. Been?” he demanded; each word articulated with so much animosity that Castiel flinched.
“Out drinking,” the alpha slurred, looking very small against the wall.
“You disappear without a word to go out drinking?” Dean sneered.
For a moment Castiel hesitated before he nodded. He’d had more than his fair share, legs unsteady. It appeared that leaning against the wall was the only thing keeping him upright.
“You reek of alcohol. It’s disgusting.”
Castiel nodded again, looking utterly miserable. Sadness tinged the bitter-sharp scent of cheap alcohol.
“I just…” he started.
“I won’t hear your sad excuses. It’s unacceptable. It’s the behavior of a bachelor, not a married man!” Dean growled.
“You want to have a child. This is not responsible. What if Sam had been up now, huh? Do you want a kid to think this is acceptable behavior?”
“No,” Castiel’s voice where breaking. He looked small.
It tugged in Dean to make it better, to make his alpha happy again. His omega instincts screamed at him to make the sadness go away. But more than anything was the anger and the disgust. He’d learned to associate the stench of alcohol with abusive words and physical pain.
He’d thought he would be safe from that by moving in with Castiel.
“I’ll be in my own room tonight,” Dean announced. There was no point in discussing anything with Castiel when he was drunk out of his mind. He wasn’t likely to remember it.
As Dean turned on his heel, he could have sworn his alpha was whimpering. Clenching his jaw, he ignored everything in him screaming that he had to make it better and kept walking towards his old room.
Castiel would have to take care of himself. He did not deserve Dean’s sympathy or help.
It was pitch black outside his windows. Dean sat in the dark for just a moment, utterly confused as to why he was awake. It took a good two minutes for him to remember that he’d decided to sleep in his own room because Castiel had drunk himself hallway into oblivion.
That just didn’t explain why he was awake. His bladder wasn’t the reason, nor was he in pain. He hadn’t had a bad dream either.
Then the screams reached his ears.
Dean jumped to his feet. Ran down the corridor. It was a short distance, yet he was heaving after breath. He pushed open the door just as Castiel wailed again.
He barely sounded human. His voice was nothing but horror, fear.
The room was dimly lit from the fireplace. The screen was not in place. But why would Castiel bother with that if he didn’t need to hide from Dean? The thought felt bitter, out of place.
His alpha reeked of distress and alcohol.
Dean opted for breathing through his mouth as he closed the door behind him, not wanting to wake up Sam if he could help it.
Castiel was curled into a ball, back turned to Dean. He was shaking, despite the heat in the room. Scars littered his back in a way that was almost disfiguring.
Dean swallowed heavily as he sat down on the edge of the bed. Castiel had hid those for a reason. It felt intruding to see them like that, even if he had a good reason to be there.
He placed a gentle hand on Castiel’s shoulder, trying to omit the scent of calm and collected omega, trying to calm his alpha down.
“Cas!” he tried, shaking the alpha gently. It didn’t take him many seconds to realize that the nightmare had a better hold of the former soldier.
Dean shook him harder. “CAS!”
“Come on, wake up!”
“WAKE UP, CASTIEL!”
Dean could have sworn an eternity passed before Castiel started blinking in confusing. He didn’t seem to recognize Dean at first.
“Come here,” Dean whispered, enveloping his alpha in a hug.
Castiel just sat there, muscles tense under Dean’s hands. Dean swallowed hard, trying his bed to keep his scent calm. It wasn’t easy, not when Cas was making the whole room smell of distress. Combined with the alcohol he wanted nothing more than to run away.
It took long, too long, before Castiel’s shoulder started to sack. He was leaning on Dean like he was no longer capable of holding himself up.
Dean felt his lips move against his collarbone, but no sound came.
Castiel started shaking again, more violently than before.
Dean held his alpha close. He felt useless, unable to do a thing about the tears dripping down his shoulder.
It took a long while for Castiel’s breathing to even out and his scent to grow less sour. The sharpness of alcohol was still permeating the air, but Dean found that he didn’t care as much about that.
“I’m sorry,” Cas whispered hoarsely, still not meeting Dean’s eyes.
“We can talk about that in the morning. Right now, I just want to sleep.” Dean hoped his voice came out as calm and reassuring.
For a moment Castiel looked like he wanted to protest, then he resigned with a small nod.
“Let’s go to my room,” Dean suggested.
“I won’t be able to sleep in here. It smells too much like distress and alcohol.”
“I’m sorry,” Castiel repeated, a broken sound.
“Come with me,” Dean said, running gentle fingers up and down Castiel’s left arm. Castiel didn’t flinch like he did when Dean neared his back or sides, so he deemed it safe. Somewhere not touched as much by violence.
Castiel whimpered, low in his throat.
“Cas, I’m not offering this because I feel sorry for you. I’m not mad right now, but we do need to talk in the morning. I just really, really want to sleep right now, and I can’t do that if I know you are lying in here all alone after that.”
Castiel lifted his head, looking at Dean. Even in the low light from the fireplace his eyes were still too shining and red rimmed. His dark hair stuck to his forehead and curled at the temples from sweating.
“Okay,” he agreed.
Dean got up, the bed creaking as his weight lifted from it. “Come on then.”
“I don’t, I can’t…” Castiel gestured hopelessly into the air.
Castiel got to his feet, slowly. He was swaying worse than Dean.
“Come on, let’s get you into bed.” Dean put a gentle hand around Castiel’s waist, guiding him through the cold halls slowly.
Castiel woke utterly confused by a sunbeam straight in his face. Why where the curtains not drawn? He never withdrew them, and his staff knew to draw them once they’d finished cleaning.
His head was pounding with force, and the strong light from the sun did not help it.
Groaning he turned around to avoid the sunshine and the light and the additional pain.
Dean was sleeping soundly beside him, face relaxed. He looked utterly beautiful in his sleep. Awake his brows where often creating a small crease between them in worry. It was gone now, and it made him look young.
Castiel slowly got up, moving as soundless as he could. He didn’t want to disturb Dean’s sleep further.
From experience he knew the foul taste in his mouth and the pounding headache would subside some with a decent breakfast and plenty of cold water. It probably wouldn’t make a difference for his morale hangover, though.
Sighing softly, he picked his shirt and trousers from where they had been carelessly thrown on the floor the night before.
Judging from the light in the hallway it was midmorning. His staff was probably up, as where Sam very likely. He hoped the kid had not seen him the evening before. He’d grown fond of the smart young man and didn’t want Sam to look at him any differently.
Rubbing his brow in the hope it would relieve the headache, Castiel walked down the too brightly lid halls towards the kitchen. Ellen knew what he preferred to cure his hangovers, he just hoped she was around, so he didn’t have to wait until someone had located her.
Ellen didn’t look happy when he entered the kitchen. Her arms where crossed in front of her chest. Castiel did not feel like the master of the estate that moment, he didn’t feel like a duke. He felt like a kid who’d behaved badly and who was about to get a lecture. One he knew he deserved.
For moments they just stood there, Ellen with a brow raised, waiting for him to explain himself like he’d done so often as a child. Her kitchen, her rules. He knew that.
“I know I screwed up,” he sighed.
“Yeah you did boy,” Ellen agreed. “You know Dean is a good man. He doesn’t deserve you running off and getting drunk like that. Hell, no one deserves that.”
“I know,” he agreed, feeling terribly little. “I’ll have to apologize to him once he wakes up.”
“I’m not sure words will do it, Castiel. From what Dean has told me, he’s heard more than his fair share of bad excuses and empty promises.”
“You know I wouldn’t promise anything I don’t intend to uphold, Ellen.”
“I know. But Dean doesn’t know you well enough to be certain of that Cas,” she told him softly. She loosened her posture, didn’t look at him with anger in her eyes. “I’ve made breakfast for you. We can talk while you eat, because right now you reek of alcohol and distressed alpha in pain. It’s not a pretty smell, let me tell you that.”
Castiel nodded dutifully and sat down by the small table, starting to eat.
“It’s not my story to tell you, so I won’t. But from what Dean and Sam has told me, things haven’t been pretty for them. And alcohol has been playing too big a part in that.” Castiel nodded, having gathered as much. Dean hadn’t told him in so many words, but from the way he talked about his father and the rumors Castiel had heard in the city about a Vicar turning drunk and his pretty, unmated omega boy… well, it was not difficult to guess, given how few male omegas that lived in the city.
“So, you screwed up big time yesterday for a lot of reasons. You didn’t tell Dean you were going out. You didn’t tell him why you did it. You came home drunk out of your own mind instead of sobering up a bit,” Ellen continued.
“I know Ellen, I’ve heard the rumors about Dean’s father too.”
“You shouldn’t listen to gossip.”
“That’s impossible as long as Balthazar is my primary physician,” he couldn’t help the small smile. Ellen was smiling too, obviously against her will.
“I’ll give you that, and I’ll agree that even though he is an obnoxious gossip he is damned good at what he does. When you first came back, I didn’t think you would be able to have a somewhat normal life again,” she shook her head as to get back on track. “But that isn’t really what this is about, you know? Dean should tell you because he trusts you and wants you to know these things about him. I get that it is difficult not to listen, especially when your husband is mentioned in the discussion.”
“It is,” he agreed softly. The frames for their marriage hadn’t exactly been ones getting to know each other either. What Dean had demanded in return was more than fair, and probably the single reason Castiel knew more than his husbands name and designation.
“I think I screwed this relationship over the moment I tried to start it,” he admitted after another moment of silence. “With all my odd demands and rules. I tried to protect myself, to ensure that I wouldn’t care for Dean.”
Ellen sat down opposite of him, pouring tea in their cups. She could just as well have said she was ready to listen to his heartache.
“I care for him in ways I shouldn’t, Ellen. That’s why I went out and got myself so drunk. I wanted to see if other people could entice me the way they used to. I wanted to see if I were still the same man I was before Dean came into my life. One drink didn’t do it, so I took another. But it didn’t matter. Didn’t matter at all. They didn’t even get their hands on me, it just felt so wrong, the thought of being with someone else. It wasn’t supposed to go this way. I wasn’t supposed to care,” he swallowed heavily, grabbing the cup in front of him.
Even he could scent the stench of distress that permeated the air around him.
“I am aware that my actions last night were horrible and inexcusable. I know I am a bad man and an even worse husband.”
Ellen sighed softly, placing a hand on his wrist. It was warm, grounding, offering comfort he didn’t quite deserve.
“Dean doesn’t deserve me running off in the evening to see if I still can be with someone else.”
“No, he doesn’t,” Ellen agreed. “But nothing happened, Castiel. You stopped before things got out of hand or before you committed infidelity.”
“I did, but it was not my intention to stop when I walked out,” his voice sounded pained even to his own ears. “I had all the intentions of proving to myself that being with Dean hadn’t changed anything. That I don’t care about him. I was lying to myself. I shouldn’t want someone like that, shouldn’t wish for our marriage to be real and not out of convenience. I shouldn’t have those feelings in the first place. This arrangement was my suggestion, the rules to keep him at bay mine.” Castiel swallowed heavy again, trying to take a deep, steadying breath.
“I don’t like this Ellen. I don’t know what to do, how to act. I know I owe him an apology; I know I should tell him what happened. But I don’t want to hurt him, and I think I will if I tell him the truth. I’m terrified that he will break our marriage, terrified that he wants to stay despite how horribly I treated him. What if he forgives me? How am I supposed to ever repay that?”
“Castiel, I think you need to go out into your garden today – don’t look at me like that boy, we both know it calms you like nothing else – and gather your thoughts and emotions. Yes, it will hurt Dean, but if you don’t tell him it will appear that you have something to hide.”
“But,” Castiel protested. He did have something to hide, he was nowhere near ready to be open about how his feelings had changed.
“No buts. You need to take a bath and scrub off that stench of distress and alcohol, and then you need to go out and work on your garden.” Her tone told him that it was the last of the discussion.
Sometimes he didn’t feel like the master of the house.
She was nevertheless right, knew him too damned well. She’d been around long enough that he couldn’t remember a time where she wasn’t, had taken care of him when his parents didn’t.
He needed to get out of the house and out of his head. Using his hands always proved for the most efficient thinking. There were no doubt in his mind that he needed to talk with Dean, he just didn’t know how. Yet.
Castiel rinsed quickly in lukewarm water. Since he had decided to follow Ellen’s suggestions about taking time in the garden, it made no sense to take a long, warm bath beforehand. He would be covered in dirt and leaves in no time.
The quick rinse did make him feel better, washed off the worst of the stench. He changed into old clothes that he had specifically kept for his times in the garden as he didn’t want to ruin new garments with soil and marks from the grass.
He also made sure to get a servant to change the bedding in his and Dean’s bedroom and air it out. It reeked almost as bad as he had.
No longer smelling and headache at a reasonable level, Castiel set out to relax in his garden.
Dean woke up alone, sheets clinging to his body.
He groaned in annoyance. The blinds had not been closed, and the sun was shining directly onto him. No wonder he was drenched in sweat.
Annoyed he rolled out of the bed, getting dressed in the same clothes he had worn yesterday. Just wearing something annoyed his skin, made him feel hot and bothered. He needed a cold bath, needed something cold to drink. Maybe something to eat.
The thought of food made his stomach roll uneasily, like he had been the one out drinking the day before.
Mumbling to himself about annoying alpha’s and their shitty behavior Dean stumbled down the hallways to the kitchen, not really noticing anything around him. He was too hot, his clothing preventing him from sweating freely.
No one was in the kitchen when he entered. Dean felt grateful; he wasn’t in the mood to bother with other people. Normally he liked the staff, but just the remnants of their scents mingling in the hallways and kitchens made his nose itch uncomfortably.
Maybe he was going down with something. Rubbing his nose with the back of his hand, Dean grabbed a glass and filled it with chill water. He had no clue how Ellen kept it that cool or where she got it. Instead of tasting stale and murky like what he’d gotten from the town’s well, it had a freshness to it.
Downing two glasses of water Dean started to feel a bit more human. He was still sweating like no one’s business, his shirt sticking to his chest and between his shoulder blades, his trousers sticking uncomfortably to his ass and behind his knees.
He debated drenching himself in a third glass of cool water. Why did it have to be so ridiculously hot?
“Dean?” Ellen’s voice called out softly.
The omega turned around slowly. Why hadn’t he noticed her coming in? Her smell was suddenly all around him, cloying up his nostrils.
For a moment he just looked at the older beta, gears turning inside his head.
“I think I’m going into heat,” he whimpered. His heats had been perfectly regular since he’d presented. Of course, sleeping alongside an alpha regularly would screw that up. And of course, of fucking course, it would happen before they’d had a chance to talk.
“I think so too,” she agreed. She was breathing heavily through her mouth, like his scent was overpowering for her too.
“Shit. I wanted to talk to Castiel, I need to…”
“You need to go back to your room and stay there, I will fetch Castiel for you.”
He needed Castiel like a starving man needed food. How had he not recognized the symptoms of his heat before?
It had hit him like a horse carriage.
It was too early on his cycle; the usual days of uneasiness had not been there. Going down with something had been a more logical assumption.
“I’m gonna find Cas,” he informed Ellen, breathing in deeply. Castiel had been there earlier, he could scent that much.
But where had he gone?
Ellen looked at him like she realized that getting him to do anything but look for his alpha was a lost cause.
“He is in the garden – but Dean, please let me get him?”
Dean made a humming noise, not really listening to her words, legs already moving for the small staff door allowing for easy access to the gardens.
He needed his alpha.
The freshness of the garden hit his oversensitive nose. All of a sudden, he understood why Castiel smelled as divine as he did. The earthiness from the soil, the sweetness from the roses, the tangy scent from herbs and spices Dean couldn’t name, it was so present in Castiel’s scent.
Slick leaking out into his pants made walking uncomfortable. The material chafed, touched near his privates in a wrong way.
He wanted out of the pants, out of his shirt.
Breathing in he yelled for his alpha.
Where was he?
Dean stumbled further into the garden, breathing heavily through his nose. Everything around him reminded him of Castiel somehow, making his head spin with need. It was impossible to distinguish Castiel’s scent from the garden he loved so dearly.
Finally, Castiel appeared. His chest was moving fast, like he had been running.
“Alpha,” Dean murmured.
“You are in heat,” Castiel said. His blue eyes where big and round, pupils blown.
Castiel inhaled deeply. Their room smelled like him, mostly. Dean’s enticing scent of heat would soon overpower that.
He’d practically carried Dean to their room.
His omega hung by his arm, whining low in his throat. The scent of slick was heavy in the air, making his head spin and his trousers feel impossibly tight.
He’d been around omega’s in heat before, but none affecting him like Dean, none making his self-control frayed around the edges. He longed to pound into Dean’s tight, slick heat, longed to breed him and mate him and fill him up with pups.
“On the bed,” he growled.
Dean hurried to obey. Castiel could sense fresh slick in the air. Did his omega really enjoy when he acted like that? When he took control?
One look at Dean’s flushed face, so filled with anticipation made Castiel think that his omega would do anything to please him, anything to get things hurried along if it meant he god his needs satisfied.
Oh, how good it would be.
His member was pulsing impatiently in his trousers, the front already stained wet with precome. Castiel bit the inside of his cheek. He had to make it good for Dean, had to make sure his mate was taken care of. He couldn’t let his alpha out fully, couldn’t allow himself to lose control like that.
Dean had asked him not to mate him in the heat of the moment.
Castiel knew it was going to be a hard fight not to.
“Please,” Dean whined, spreading his legs, allowing Castiel to see the wet stain where his slick had leaked through, soaking his trousers.
“Yes,” he agreed, not knowing quite what he agreed to. He wanted to grab the front of his shirt, rip in two. He knew omega’s preferred skin on skin contact, but the anxious nausea was more overwhelming than his blood boiling desire.
Castiel hurried out of his trousers, getting into the bed with Dean.
The omega was soft and pliable, more than ready to get out of his own clothes. He tugged at the hem of Castiel’s shirt, whining softly, begging for the fabric to be removed.
“Shhss, I’m going to take such good care of you Dean, gonna make you feel so good.”
“Yes alpha, please!”
Castiel licked along Dean’s sweaty neck, kissed his way down his fevered body. Nothing had ever tasted as sweet as Dean did at that moment.
Dean’s heat lasted a good three days. Castiel was oversensitive and spent by the end of it, but he suspected he was better off than Dean. At the least he’d been able to alter between sucking Dean off, eating him out and actual sex. Dean had done nothing but beg for Castiel to fill him up, to breed him, to mate him. At the end of it he’d been near tears from exhaustion and pain, skin raw to the touch.
It’d been great.
Had there been any doubt in his mind beforehand, it was gone. He wanted Dean as his mate, not just as his husband.
Castiel behaved like Dean was pregnant. He was touchy, feely, clingy and had spent the evening caressing Dean’s very flat stomach. He acted like the big, tough provider, bringing Dean meals in bed and refusing to let him do anything strenuous. Like getting up to pee on his own.
And hell, they didn’t even know if the heat had born fruit or whatever. One day out of heat was too early to tell anything.
“Do you think… Do you feel any different?” Cas asked when he returned with an assortment of fresh berries.
Dean had asked for something light.
“I feel awful,” Dean grumbled.
“But couldn’t that be, a sign? Maybe?” the alpha gave off a stench of nervous and hopefully.
“I always feel awful after my heats, Cas. I don’t know if this is a different kind of awful, that’s sorta hard to tell,” he sighed. It was only around lunchtime and only the day after his heat. If that was how Castiel intended to behave for all the time Dean might spend pregnant he would go fucking crazy.
“Don’t look at me like that. Bodies spiraling out of control generally leaves you feeling like shit.”
“I feel exhausted, spent, after my ruts. Not awful.” Castiel was frowning, looking utterly worried.
“Yeah and heats last longer and makes me go into a literal fever, Cas. ‘course it’s gonna take a toll on my body.”
His alpha just continued to look unhappy. Dean had no idea how a man having an omega sister and mother could be so uneducated about omegas. Heck, Castiel had a freaking library that would probably tell him the exact the same thing Dean did.
“Ask Sammy if you are in doubt. He’ll tell you that it’s entirely normal for me to use a day or two in bed afterwards.”
“Hm,” Castiel murmured. “Please just eat something, alright? I don’t like this. I feel like an awful alpha, not being able to take proper care of you.”
“Cas, you’ve done everything I could have wanted.”
“I didn’t mate you.”
“No, and I’m grateful for that now that I’m lucid enough. That shouldn’t be something done in the heat of the moment,” Dean snickered over his choice of words. Maybe he was still a bit high, okay? “It’s not to be taken lightly. I know I didn’t make it easy for you, but for what it is worth I’m glad you didn’t do it.”
Why those words made Castiel smell like wet puppy and look sadder than the ones in the street searching for scabs and bits to eat, Dean had no idea. He’d just complimented the alpha’s restraint, a quality too rarely found.
He knew deep down that had they not agreed on yes to heat sex beforehand, Castiel would have made sure he got inside safely. The alpha would probably still have provided him with food and drinks and checked on him, but there wouldn’t have been any sex, not if Dean hadn’t agreed to it while lucid enough to consent.
“I appreciate that you didn’t take the choice out of my hands, Cas,” he tried to elaborate. “But I’m not saying I would be sad to have mated you.”
His alpha just stood there; head tilted. He looked like he seriously considered Dean’s words.
“I understand,” he replied. Didn’t sound like he understood though. He still smelled like wet puppy and sadness and didn’t look any happier.
Trying to please his alpha, to get the frown to disappear, Dean bit into the strawberry he’d been provided. The sweet flavor busted on his tongue, making him sigh in pleasure.
“These are really good,” he said.
Castiel sat down on the edge of the bed. “I went out to pluck them myself.”
“That explains why you were gone for so long.”
“Did I take too long?”
“No, no, not at all. I was just wondering was all, since you took a lot longer than it would have taken you to go to the kitchen and back up.”
“I wanted to provide fresh nutrition for you,” Castiel admitted softly. His cheeks and ears had grown considerably redder.
“You are a good alpha.” Dean grabbed another strawberry, watching Castiel straighten under his praise. “You took so good care of me during my heat, and now you are providing me with fresh berries.” Those words seem to do the trick, wet puppy blending into fresh summer rain.
“I try my best.” His already deep voice had gone even lower.
Dean swallowed heavily. That tone of voice had asked things of him during his heat, had told him how pretty he was, how good an omega he was. His body was reacting against his will.
Castiel’s took a deep breath in, pupils dilating as he scented Dean’s beginning arousal.
The omega stared down at the berries in front of him, picking another plump and round strawberry. He’d chosen a good alpha to marry, no doubt about that. Castiel’s request had been odd and inappropriate, but Dean was nevertheless happy that he’d agreed to it.
Even if he hated it, marrying an alpha meant his business was flourishing. Being an unmated and unwed omega meant a lot of people looked down upon him, saw him as being less. Apparently he was not good enough without an alpha.
He’d regained a lot of his previous customers, being a married man.
Annoyance flooded his system.
It wasn’t fair.
“What are you thinking about?” Castiel gently interrupted, probably sensing Dean’s shift in mood.
“I’m just frustrated with the way our society is constructed,” he grumbled, studying another berry with more intensity than strictly necessary.
“Because my business dwindled to none after my master left it to me, just because I was an omega and especially a male one,” he started. “And unmated and not wed. But after marrying you and it has become public knowledge a lot of my former customers have written to me, requesting that I design garments and gowns for them.”
Castiel tensed visibly, his scent shifting inter something heavier and more dangerous.
“I had no idea,” he all but growled.
“No need to get worked up, little alpha. It’s how our society as a general view omega. We are weak, unreliable…” Dean shrugged helplessly. It was what he’d heard for years after all. Not that he thought the words to be true, but when everyone around him did it was difficult not to listen after enough time.
“Don’t degrade yourself like that!”
“I’m not Cas, I know it’s not true. I know I’m worth more than that, but a lot of people do not. A lot of people thought less of me because I was neither wed, nor mated,” Dean tried to explain.
“That’s on them, not you.”
“I know, I know. But they are still free to take their business elsewhere if they think I’m a bad fit for fitting their garments and I can’t do anything to stop them. Lowering my prices didn’t help, they still saw me as less because of how I was born.”
“Is that why you agreed to marry me?”
There it was again, the small voice filled with insecurities Dean didn’t know how to get rid of. Castiel had been the one to suggest the whole marriage without attachment, marriage without emotions, and now he was the one to sound sad and hurt about it. It didn’t make any sense.
“No – I honestly didn’t think it would make that much of a difference.”
“Oh, okay.” Castiel sounded like he wanted to ask why then, what had then prompted Dean to say yes to the awkward and horrible proposal if not getting his business to flourish.
But he didn’t ask, and Dean didn’t offer.
If asked Castiel wouldn’t have been able to explain how he knew, he just did.
From the last day of Dean’s heat, he’d been sure he was going to be a father. His mother would be thrilled, no doubt about that. She had complained that he had found a low-life omega and not some from his own social class and he had told her off. Either she accepted the man he had chosen to marry, or she could stay away. But even she would not wrinkle her nose at the prospect of finally having grandchildren. He was certain it would make her change her mind; certain she would finally approve of his marriage.
Castiel also knew it was too early to tell anything. Even the best trained physician with the most sensitive nose would need another few weeks to confirm or deny whether a pregnancy had occurred.
But he knew.
Dean had laughed when he’d suggested it just after their shared heat frenzy. Said it wasn’t possible to know anything that early and that maybe he was just imagining it because he wanted it so badly.
There’d been a bitter tone to his words.
At first Castiel hadn’t understood why, it wasn’t until he had been out in his garden, plucking berries, that he got it.
If Dean was pregnant with a little boy it would fulfill their deal, rendering the omega useless. Unless the boy himself turned out to be an omega as well, which they wouldn’t know for certain until he reached puberty and presented. But with an omega parent and an alpha parent, the chances of a child presenting an omega was low compared to presenting an alpha. Not that it couldn’t happen, it was just highly unlikely.
Castiel slowly realized that Dean was worried they would not need to talk or share a bed any more. He’d continue to go into heats, continue to be able to carry children and without an alpha to help him out it would be painful at best. Not that the omega would admit that he’d preferred his heat shared, at the least not outside of them, but… well, from what he’d gathered and read and learned, the omega would feel a lot worse off without an alpha to help him out.
A bowl filled with fresh berries later he had tried to take care of his omega the way he knew best.
But the day after Dean’s heat turned into days after Dean’s heat which turned into a week. There was still no change in scent, no symptoms at all that could indicate one way or another. Once Dean’s body had settled after the heat his appetite had returned to normal.
It was both frustrating and relieving.
Sam had opted for following him into the garden one day. Castiel hadn’t minded, the young boy well-mannered and intelligent to be around.
“Why do you do your garden yourself, Castiel? Won’t your staff do it for you?”
“I’m sure they would, and they also do if I need them to,” Castiel started explaining. “But I enjoy it very much. It gives me peace of mind, taking care of living organisms like that. Making sure they thrive and become the most beautiful and fruitful they can.”
“What do you mean need them to?” The boy had his hands folded behind his back, chest forward. It was a proud stance, and along with the regal-worthy clothes Dean made for the boy he looked entirely like he belonged in the higher society.
“My back causes me a great deal of trouble from time to time, Sam.”
“I participated in the war and was greatly injured.”
“Couldn’t the doctors help you?”
“They saved my life and stitched me back together the best they could.”
“Yes, like Dean stitches clothes together. My skin was in pieces at places so they had to sew it like that to make sure it would heal properly.”
“Oh, that’s smart. Can I see?”
Castiel stopped in his tracks, wondering how he had not anticipated the question. Of course, a young child like Sam would be interested in seeing his scars. He would see them for what they were, lifesaving and smart for having done so rather than disfigurement.
Part of him wanted to say yes and open his shirt to show the young boy who would not judge him, who wouldn’t know how much pain the jagged lines meant. He would have no references to the agony Castiel had lived through, still lived with every day.
But mostly he couldn’t help but feel it would be unfair to Dean. Dean had not been allowed to see or touch his scars.
“Another day,” Castiel said and found himself meaning it.
He just felt like he owed Dean to see them first. He had no idea if Dean would even care about it, but since it had been his rule in the first place… it felt ridiculous now, refusing to let Dean see those scars, refusing to let make love to him without the light off. He could have watched Dean flushed and writhing beneath him all throughout his heat.
What a thing to miss out on. For a brief second he almost wished Dean was not with child, so he’d get another chance to do it over.
“What is this flower called?” Sam interrupted his thoughts.
Feeling his cheeks heat by the route his thoughts had taken, Castiel stammered a reply containing both the English and Latin name for the flower.
He really shouldn’t be thinking about Dean around Sam. Not in that way, at the least. While Sam’s sensitivity to scents would not fully develop until he hit puberty and presented himself, he’d still be able to pick up a scent as strong as him fantasizing about Dean in heat.
“Do you think Dean is pregnant?” Sam asked thoughtfully. His eyes were still on the flower he’d just asked about.
“Why do you ask me that?”
“’cause that’s what married people do, right? Get pregnant and have babies? And Dean just had his heat, right? Heats get omega’s pregnant.” It was said as a statement and Castiel had no doubt that Sam had read that somewhere.
“Yes,” Castiel agreed perplexed.
“Yes, to that it is what married people do or that Dean and you is going to be fathers?”
“Yes, to the part about married people. I don’t know if Dean is pregnant, it’s too early to tell anything.”
Sam hummed low, hazel eyes looking thoughtful at the lavenders where bees were flying lively around.
“Would you like to be a father?”
Castiel stood there for a moment. That was the whole reason he had married Dean in the first place, wasn’t it? To become a father, to fulfill the expectations of his family and the society around him had.
No one had ever asked him if he would like it.
The alpha swallowed heavily. “I don’t know,” he admitted.
“I don’t think our dad liked it very much. He never used to be around much, and he would smell like alcohol and sadness all the time,” Sam’s young face scrunched up in disgust. “I didn’t like that at all. He was also very mean when he was drunk, has Dean told you that? Said a lot of bad things about him, even though it wasn’t true. Dean is a good big brother and will be a better father than ours ever was.”
There were so much certainty in the child’s voice. Most of what Castiel knew about Dean and Sam’s father was from town gossip, about how tie Vicar had turned into a drunk after his wife had passed in a fire. How he couldn’t keep a job or a home. About how his oldest omega son fought to take care of the family.
Castiel swallowed. It wasn’t things Dean had told him in trust. Somehow it felt like betrayal that he knew it anyway.
“I think he will too, Sam.”
“I know it. He’s taken care of me for so long, so I’m certain he will do great with a baby of his own.”
“Do you love him? Dad loved mom very much, Dean told me so.”
His first instinct was to tell the hazel-eyed pup no. But Sam looked at him like he expected something else, like they could not be parents if they did not love each other. Sam hadn’t been born out of an arranged marriage or one of convenience, he’d been born out of a loving one.
As Sam’s face fell, Castiel realized he had to say something at the least. The boy wanted his big brother to be happy and loved and taken care of. Of course, he did.
“Not yet, but I think I could, with time,” he said. It felt like needles in his chest that he meant it. Sam didn’t need to know that Dean had married him out of need. That they weren’t in love and never would be.
Castiel tried to swallow down the painful flare in his chest. The thought of Dean never caring for him shouldn’t leave him with stinging eyes or trouble breathing. Maybe those words were truer than he wanted them to be.
“Are you okay, Castiel?”
“Yes, my scars are just hurting a bit today,” he lied easily.
“Is it because the sun has retreated behind the cloud?”
“Perhaps,” he agreed. “Maybe we could go inside and work on the Botanical?”
“Yes. Would you help me draw the plants and spell their names? And do you know some that can be used for medicine as well? Or if they are edible? I would like to have all the facts.” Sam told him, bouncing enthusiastically by his side.
Cas laughed softly. “I would be happy to help you as soon as we have had some lunch and a cup of tea.”
Sam was probably the brightest and most curious student Castiel could have asked for. It also seemed to please Dean that the two of them spent time together, which only made Castiel happier to do so.
Back when Dean had said there was a younger brother that he had to take care of, Castiel had been a bit worried. Maybe Sam would take away too much of Dean’s attention from their future babies, maybe Sam would have turned out to be a spoiled brat. Any worry that had crossed his mind had turned out to be ridiculous.
Sam was smart, entertained himself most of the time, excellent company and a great study. Castiel had found he enjoyed teaching the gifted young Winchester when they both had time.
They’d been enjoying tea together after Sam had gone to bed, talking about nothing and everything at the same point. Castiel had debated telling Dean more about his scars, possibly even showing them, but had ultimately decided against it.
Their evening had been lovely, there was no use in destroying that by talking about such dark topics, he’d told himself.
A loud aggressive hammering to the front door had interrupted their conversation.
He opened the door with more force than necessary, annoyed by the late time and the anger with which the other person was trying to get their attention.
A man he didn’t recognize was in the dark. If the pungent stench of alcohol wasn’t a dead giveaway, the way he stood would be. The man was barely able to keep his balance, on hand steadying against the doorframe. Almost as pungent as the alcohol was the stink of alpha in dire need of shower. It was almost unbearable.
“I want to see my pups!” the man demanded with a snarl before Castiel had even had a chance to ask.
“Go away!” he growled. It was not hard to guess that the man had to be the former Vicar, Dean and Sam’s alpha father.
“Not until I see them!”
“I will not let you into my house smelling like that or behaving like a caveman! You can come back when you’ve sobered up, taken a shower and…”
A soft hand on his shoulder interrupted him.
“I’ve got it Cas,” Dean told him with a small smile. He looked calm but his scent was cloyed with anger and disgust.
For a moment Castiel debated on letting Dean handle it himself. All his instincts screamed at him that the stranger, the alpha, was a danger. That he had to get him as far away from his mate and pup as possible. His logic was yelling that Dean knew what he was doing, that the omega had handled his father before they met, that he could do it easily.
With a small huff he stepped aside, ready to intervene if necessary.
He wasn’t going to treat Dean like he was less capable just because he was an omega.
“Oh, look at you boy, all kept,” the former Vicar sneered. His voice was cold and so filled with disgust.
“What do you want, sir?” Dean asked. How he managed to talk in an even tone Castiel had no idea, it took all his self-control to not growl at drunk alpha on his porch.
“I just wanted to check up on you, see Sammy. I couldn’t find you at home, looked and looked until someone told me you’d moved here with some strange alpha.”
“Like hell you want to check up on us.” Dean’s voice was sharp like a razorblade.
“I… Dean, of course I wanted to make sure you were OK. You’d always said you didn’t want to get mated, didn’t want to get married…”
“If anyone forced my hand into a marriage, it was you dad!” Dean all but yelled. “If you’d managed to keep a job instead of drinking your ass off, I wouldn’t have had to try and support all three of us on what meager wages they think is fair to pay omegas!”
Dean took a short breath and continued: “And for the record I’m happy here, a hella lot happier than I was back home! I’m safe, I don’t need to whore myself off to feed me and Sammy, and I have an actual goddamned bed to sleep in!”
Castiel tried to keep his breathing even, his scent neutral. He had never wanted Dean to feel forced into marrying him, had tried to provide what he could. But listening to the omega he wondered if Dean hadn’t been forced somewhat. By his father being absent, by the way society had treated him. Castiel could only hope he wasn’t a half bad alpha.
Suddenly Dean’s reaction to his drunk night out made too good sense. Seeing his father standing there, all alpha and demanding and boozed up made Castiel wonder how much trust he’d betrayed by drinking that night.
“You are still a whore, just only spreading your legs for one man!” the angry drunk retorted.
“I am sleeping with my husband!” Dean screamed back. “Don’t you dare call me a whore!”
“How could I not, Dean?” something about the man’s attitude changed, it was like the anger made space for something cold and cunning. “After all, that’s just what you are. A weak, pathetic omega bitch unable to handle yourself in the big bad world. Buhu! How unfair! Grow a pair, kid. The world doesn’t revolve around you and you haven’t had it more unfair than most!”
Castiel didn’t understand how Dean just stood there. His own throat was vibrating with the growl he barely managed to keep back, his teeth exposed in a threat. He hated how this man talked to his mate, hated how his mate didn’t want him to intervene.
For a moment he debated doing so anyway, consequences be damned.
“You know what dad? I don’t have to listen to this shit,” Dean told his father. Castiel could smell the pungent stench of angry omega. “I don’t need you in my life and neither does Sammy. We are happy here, with an actual alpha who provides for us and keeps us fed and healthy. You are not welcome! This is my home and my family, and I will not let you ruin it!”
Dean stepped back, grabbing the heavy door just to smack it in his father’s face. Castiel managed to catch a glimpse of the drunk alpha’s surprise as his oldest son closed the heavy oak right on his face.
Dean stood there for a moment, breathing heavily.
“In case you wondered what I bring to the table that makes me reasonable to breed with, there you have it...” Dean sounded exhausted.
“You are so much more than your father,” Castiel managed to say before the hammering started again. “What do you say I inform the servants not to open the door for him and then we can head off to bed? At some point he surely must leave.”
“Mm, he is a stubborn man.”
“Not as stubborn as an oak door, I hope.” Castiel’s brows tugged downwards in an unhappy grimace.
Dean huffed, it sounded somewhere between a sigh and laughter. “Me neither, but with John Winchester you just never know for sure,” he said.
“Will you allow me to take care of him if he has camped on my porch?”
Dean nodded and that was all Castiel needed. He placed a gentle hand around his omega’s waist, led him to bed and tugged him in before searching for his staff to let them know what was going on.
Castiel stopped dead in his tracks halfway back to their room.
He’d thought of Dean as his mate.
More than once that evening.
He swallowed, wondering when their relationship had taken that turn. Wondered when he had started thinking Dean as his. As someone he wanted to have properly courted before asking for his hand in marriage.
He’d anticipated he would grow to care for Dean.
But not on the level where he wished things had been different from the start, not where he wished they were properly mated and not just married.
Not where he wished he’d not put up those stupid rules in the first place.
Had he ruined it already? The chance for things to grow into more, for Dean to fall in love with him too.
Because he was in love. So utterly smitten with the stubborn and strong-willed omega it hurt to think about Dean not reciprocating his feelings.
Dean had a restless night of sleep. Judging from the bruising dark circles under Castiel’s eyes, he hadn’t slept much better.
For a moment he debated staying in bed. He felt exhausted and sick to his bones, nauseas from the lack of sleep.
“Good morning, Dean.” The alpha’s voice was a deep gravel.
“Mhm, it’s too early Cas,” he protested, hiding his head under the pillow very slowly to not upset the nausea.
“I’ll bring you some strong tea and something to eat.”
Dean hoped the sound he let out was confirming rather than one he’d make if he were about to vomit. From the way Castiel paused hesitantly beside him, he wasn’t sure he fooled anyone.
“I’ve just slept horribly,” he mumbled into the mattress.
“I’ll… do you want to perhaps sleep a few more hours? I could return with breakfast later,” Castiel suggested softly. “Or we could just stay in. Whatever you need.”
What he needed was for his body to stop rebelling against him. What he needed was to know for certain that he didn’t have to deal with his father again.
“Would you mind making sure John is gone?”
“No of course not. I will return shortly,” Castiel confirmed.
The bed dipped as the alpha crawled out, worsening Dean’s nausea to the edge of unbearable. He was breathing heavily through his nose, trying to get his stomach back in order.
When Castiel returned a good while later Dean felt a lot more like a human being. His body had settled enough that he figured food would do him good rather than cause him to vomit. The nausea was still playing in the back of his throat and he knew from experience not to turn his head or move too quickly.
His alpha was carrying a large tray with steaming porridge and fresh berries. Knowing Cas as well as he did at that point, he’d probably taken the time to pluck the berries himself from the garden.
Dean propped himself against the pillows, gratefully accepting the tray. It was easy to balance it on his thighs.
Castiel sat down gently on his side of the bed.
For a few moments they kept silent. It was by no means uncomfortable or awkward which Dean appreciated. He could focus on eating slowly to not upset his stomach instead of chatter.
Once he had managed about half of his porridge and most of the berries, he decided to stop. His body felt odd and there was no reason to upset his system further.
“I’m sorry you had to see that. Yesterday evening, that is.”
“There is nothing to be sorry about.”
“My dad was acting horribly and out of line,” Dean sighed, hiding his face in his hands for a moment. God, it had been so embarrassing that Castiel had seen John in that state. Had his father at the least been somewhat sober… no, it wouldn’t have helped, John would likely still have said some of the things he had said. Dean knew well enough he was worse when drunk, but that didn’t make him a sober saint.
“Dean, I hated the way your father treated you, but his behavior is by no means a reflection on you,” Castiel said evenly. “If we were our fathers I’m sure we wouldn’t be in this bed right now.”
“What do you mean?”
“You are not the only one with a less than ideal father, Dean.” Castiel turned his head, blue eyes locking into his for moment, staring like he was trying to see Dean’s soul.
“My father wasn’t a good man. When he learned that my attraction is towards men of all secondary gender’s he didn’t talk to me for months. I still suspect that the only reason he didn’t cut me off entirely is that I was the sole heir,” he said. It shouldn’t hurt, shouldn’t make his throat go tight. “We hadn’t made up at the time of his death. And while he wasn’t a good father…”
“Yeah,” Dean agreed softly. “I understand. He might not be much, but he is still my father.”
Castiel hummed in agreement.
They sat in silence for a while together, looking into the air. Castiel tried to grab the fleeting thoughts, make them into actions.
He knew the regret of losing a father without the chance to talk and make up. He knew the guilt that came with that all too well.
“I won’t have your father around our child if he is drinking, but if it means something to you, he is welcome when sober.”
Dean nodded slowly. “I’m not sure I want him around either way.”
“I understand why you are saying that, but please believe me when I say that you might regret that once he is gone. He might not come around or sober up but giving him the chance and motivation to do so will set your mind at peace.”
His omega continued to be silent. It was quiet enough that Castiel could hear the soft scouring sound of Dean grinding his teeth in frustration. He was unable to look away from the muscles clenching and unclenching.
“How do you know?” Dean finally asked.
“My father was killed in the same war I was hurt in.”
“I’m sorry to hear that.”
Castiel shook his head softly. “No, I’m sorry for not telling you sooner.”
“I did agree to the terms of not asking about it.”
“You did, yes. I also realize now that it was foolish terms to put down on a relationship if I wished it to be lasting. You’ve shared personal things with me and it’s about time that you get to see what the war made of me” Castiel swallowed hard before he stood up, the bed creaking as he left it. “I don’t think it is fair that Balthazar of all people know what I look like, and you, the man I chose to marry do not.”
Castiel started unbuttoning his shirt, heart hammering in his chest suddenly. His body was screaming at him, nausea overwhelming him.
“Cas, please breathe,” Dean sounded so far away.
He was breathing, wasn’t he?
His omega was suddenly into his space, grabbing his face with calloused hands. “Come on Cas, in” he took a deep breath in “and out” the air left is body with a soft whooshing sound.
Castiel did his best.
Time passed. It could have been seconds or hours.
All he knew was that he was breathing again, feeling lethargic. Exhausting was seeping into his bones.
Was it truly that big of a deal to let Dean see his scars? He hadn’t anticipated it. When Sam had asked his only thought was that it would be unfair to Dean if he wasn’t the first to see, not this cloying feeling of panic that had made breathing so difficult.
“Good alpha,” Dean purred gently, prompting Castiel back to reality. “It’s alright if you don’t show me today, it’s alright that you never show me if that is what makes you comfortable.”
“I want to,” he got out. His voice was breathless still, wheezing like an old man’s.
“I know, I know,” Dean soothed.
Eyes locked into Dean’s green, Castiel continued to unbutton his shirt. “I’m scared,” he confessed.
“It’s okay,” Dean told him.
And Castiel wanted to believe him. Wanted to think that his omega wouldn’t see him as less or as disfigured because of how war had marked his body.
He liked to think Dean wouldn’t mind how he looked underneath his clothes.
“I don’t want to become my father, Dean. I don’t want to look at my children like they are less because of their designation or who they love.”
“You won’t, I’ll be here too, remember?”
Castiel swallowed. They had vowed till death did them apart, of course they had. But back then it had barely meant a thing, just a means to an end, an heir.
He found that he didn’t care very much about an heir in that moment. He had Dean. They had each other. What else could matter?
“I don’t want you to hate my body.”
“How could I ever hate something that is yours?” Dean replied so softly that Castiel felt an all too telling burning sensation in his eyes.
“I’m scared,” he said instead of trying to explain. The last bottom was opened with skilled movement and he shrugged of the shirt. It fell to the floor, barely making a sound as it landed.
Dean didn’t look away from his eyes. Didn’t appear to even care about seeing what he had been denied seeing for so long. Castiel’s vision was swimming, unclear. He tried to blink, tried to clear it.
“I know Cas. It is alright to be scared. You are doing so well,” Dean told him. A thumb was stroked over his cheek, then the other.
It felt wet.
He realized slowly that the wetness had to be coming from tears he was barely aware he was shedding.
“It’s okay, it’s okay Cas,” Dean mumbled in a soft tone.
“Please just look,” he begged. He didn’t want to drag it longer, didn’t want to be comforted if what he was about to see was a look of pure disgust on Dean’s face.
It wasn’t his chest, nor his stomach that bothered him the most. There were scars, but it wasn’t disfiguring or painful in the way his back was.
Dean traced the soft welts of tissue from his waist down over his abdomen, lips slightly parted.
Castiel swallowed before turned around. His skin felt cold where Dean’s fingers where no longer touching him.
Dean was softly inhaling behind him. He had no idea what it meant, too afraid to turn around and face his lover.
He’d seen how it looked once in a mirror, and that had been enough that he didn’t want to see it again if he could ever help it.
He knew how bad it was. Knew how horribly disfiguring the scars were, how his skin was dragged and too tight in places and big lumps of confused tissue in other.
When had he started crying again? Had he ever stopped? He didn’t know, but he could taste the salt, feel the warmth from fresh tears rolling down his cheeks.
Warm arms reached around his middle. He could feel the soft material from Dean’s shirt against his back, the bottoms digging into his skin at places. Warm air was breathed against his right shoulder every time Dean exhaled.
He hadn’t left.
Castiel swallowed heavily, trying to inhale the gentle scent of omega through his halfway stuffed nose.
“I don’t care about your scars Cas.”
“Why?” he gasped out.
“They are a part of you. Why would I mind?”
Castiel stood there, relaxing into the warmth of his husbands embrace, realizing the truth to those words. Would he had cared if it was Dean who’d been littered with scars?
He could not have found a better or more patient man, could not have asked for a better human to be with. Castiel had no idea what God he was to thank that Dean had appeared to tailor his clothes on that day, but he was eternally grateful, nevertheless.
Dean was mumbling incoherent and soft, soothing voices. Cas could easily imagine his omega settling an upset pup in the same way.
They stood like that until his breathing had evened out entirely and his sniffles stopped altogether. They stood for a bit longer than that, if he had to be honest. He didn’t want to break away from the embrace, and Dean didn’t seem to mind.
When he finally turned around Dean had an odd look to his face, like he was trying to puzzle things together.
He was chewing his bottom lip, green eyes flickering as thoughts appeared to unravel in his mind. Castiel was close enough that he could count the individual freckles on the bridge of his nose, had he wanted to.
But all he wanted, all he wondered about, was how Dean’s lips would feel against his own. He’d already broken one of his own, stupid rules.
What held him back from breaking another?
He wanted nothing more than to properly mate Dean, to have more than just a simple scent bond from their time spent together in bed marking him as his.
Castiel leaned forward, gently slotting their lips together. Dean’s lips felt soft against his, mouth parted a bit in surprise.
For half a second nothing happened, then Dean returned his kiss, gently at first, then with more heat. Cas placed an arm around his omega, holding him close, longing to feel skin against skin.
Then Dean stiffened in his arms, hands against his chest, pushing him away.
He looked hurt and smelled like sour milk.
“Why did you do that?” He demanded, angrily.
Castiel stood there, baffled, hurt. He hadn’t expected Dean to react with anger, not after all their time together. He thought he knew the omega, but apparently not.
“Because…” he hesitated for a moment, not sure he wanted to confess his feelings when Dean looked so angry and smelled like he was about to attack. But Dean deserved the truth, and nothing else could explain his actions for that day, not really. “Because I’m in love with you.”
“No, you are not. You just think you are.” His omega sounded so utterly broken.
“Why would I think that?” Castiel asked, brows furrowing over his eyes in confusion. In his mind there was no doubt about his feelings or the realness thereof.
“Because I’m pregnant. It’s pheromones, scent bonding enhanced, what do I know. You are not in love with me, but my biology makes you think you are, so you stick around and take care of me and the pup.”
“It is too early to tell, Dean. I know I’ve insisted on it since after the heat, but as you’ve pointed out multiple times, we just can’t tell anything this soon.”
Dean sighed, rubbing a hand over his face.
“I know I said that. I just started to notice the changes myself, and I figured you would too, within a few days. I didn’t want to say anything or get your hopes up in case I was wrong. But my scent has changed, even though it’s subtle. I feel awful half the time, like I’m about to vomit. I know I should probably have told you sooner, I know I should’ve, but…”
Cas swallowed, tried to get rid of the dry feeling in his mouth, tried to understand what Dean was telling him. His brain took its sweet time wrapping around the words his alpha had already understood. His beloved omega, his mate, was with pup and it was his.
“I hadn’t noticed,” he whispered hoarsely. Now he understood Dean’s reaction. Of course, the omega would be worried about it being about the pup, and not about Castiel’s feelings. Castiel hadn’t exactly been an open book and shared those earlier. Something he bitterly regretted.
“Yeah, you might not have done so consciously, but your behavior towards me has changed.” Dean looked utterly heartbroken. He smelled like sorrow and sadness and tears.
Castiel hated that he had been the one to make Dean smell like that. Hated that he had waited so long to do something about how he felt, to share his scars with Dean. His shoulders where slumping, and from Dean’s reaction he figured he made the room stink like upset alpha.
“Cas, I’m not saying… I’m not saying this couldn’t be real, between us. I’m not saying that, alright? I’m just… When it occurs this close to my scent changing and the pregnancy is a thing, I can’t…” Dean’s voice broke.
Castiel watched as Dean shook his head a few times, swallowed, rubbed his forehead again, as if he tried to make the words come out on their own.
“I want it to be real between us, okay? I didn’t mean to, I really didn’t mean to, but I care about you Cas. And I don’t want to get my hopes up high and have you as my alpha if the only reason you want me is because I’m with pup and smell like everything good and bright in this world to you.” Dean’s voice was shaking violently, his knuckles white from clenching his hands that hard.
“I want that too,” Castiel said with as much force as he could muster. His voice sounded like he’d been out drinking, even more gravel and unreliable, ready to fail him at any moment. “I want it to be real between us.”
His breathing felt constricted, like when he’d been able to run and had overexerted his body.
“I don’t know what to say or what to do, Dean. Not at this point. I thought I was early enough that… that you wouldn’t think it was just about the pup. Of course, I care about the pup too, but I’ve come to realize that you are so much more than a convenient way to an heir.” He swallowed heavily before continuing: “I think I’ve been in love with you for a while, Dean. At some point it became less important to have an heir and more important to be with you and see you smile. I realize that I should have done something about my feelings earlier and not waited like the coward I am. I also doubt I was ready to acknowledge them at that point.”
“What made you change your mind?” Dean asked, voice thick.
“I realized I wanted to show you my scars. I wanted you to see all that was me, I wanted you to fully know what man you’d said yes to marrying. I wanted to be open and honest with you, so that one day, knowing everything that you could possibly need to know, you’d say yes to be my mate as well, not just my husband,” Castiel confessed slowly. He kept his eyes locked on Dean, trying to figure out what the omega thought of his words. If he believed them. Believed Castiel.
“I want that too.”
“Then why don’t you believe me?”
“Because I want it to be real Castiel!” Dean all but screamed. “I don’t want it to be because I’m pregnant and your stupid alpha instincts took over! I don’t want to mate you if everything it’s about is because I smell good to you! I want it to be because you care about me, not about the pup. I want you to be in love with me as well, you idiot!”
“You are in love with me too?” Castiel asked, baffled.
“Of course I am!” Dean yelled, arms gesturing wildly in anger. He sighed, seemed to deflate a bit before he continued: “I saw you with Sam the other night, you know? You guys were reading. I know you do that often, but I’d just realized what was happening and it just hit me… you are so good with Sam, you’d be a great father to our pup. And I wanted to be more than just your husband in that moment, I wanted it to be real and not just practical. I know a lot of alphas would have refused to accept Sam into their lives, and you did. You didn’t have to do all you’ve done for him or for me, you didn’t have to care about him. No one asked you to care about him. It wasn’t a condition that you had to spend time with him or treat him like an equal.”
“I enjoy spending time with your brother, Dean.”
“I know. And as I stood there, I couldn’t help but think about how my mate was doing so well with my brother. I couldn’t help but imagine how great you would be with a child of your own. I hadn’t realized it before then, that I thought of you as more than my husband, but I do, I did.” Dean’s jaw and lower lip was trembling despite the teeth he decided to bury into the soft pinkness.
“Oh, Dean,” Castiel realized it sounded more like a whimper. “I wanted nothing more than to mate you during your heat. I wanted to make you mine in a way marriage bonds cannot. I wanted it a long time before that too. I was just too much of a coward to tell you, and for that I am truly sorry.”
He ran a hand through his dark hair, trying to rub the feeling of being a bad alpha away.
“It’s not your fault, Cas. I could have said something too.”
“It was my terms.”
Dean snorted. “I should have set a term about honesty, shouldn’t I?”
“We both should’ve,” Castiel agreed wetly.
“Come here.” Dean held out his arms, gestured for Castiel to come closer. He hurried to do so, hurried into the arms of his mate and held him like their lives depended on it.
And up this close, searching for the scent he knew was there if Dean said so, he found it. Dean’s gentle scent laced with something heavier, something like rich soil. Castiel knew his own scent well enough to recognize it and bask in the ways it complimented Dean’s.
They stayed like that for a while, finding comfort in each other.
Dean sighed. It was time for another appointment with Balthazar to ensure everything was going according to plan. Not that there was anything the obnoxious beta could do if something was going wrong, but Castiel insisted.
Dean had a feeling it was important to his alpha, so he agreed, even if he found Balthazar to be annoying and intruding a times.
It was like the beta saw more than he was supposed to see, read more of Dean’s face and reactions than he’d meant to give away. Maybe it was just the pregnancy that made him give off a stronger scent, making it practically impossible to hide anything.
He had no idea, but it was his third appointment with Balthazar in as many months after he’d learned he was pregnant. Castiel was not present at that appointment, he had been called in for some sort of a meeting. Dean hadn’t listened very well when it was explained, should he be honest.
Dean scented Balthazar long before he heard his steps. His scent was familiar enough to not present a threat, yet it stood out among the staff and what was Castiel, Dean and Sam’s.
The tall beta sauntered into the room like he owned it, a big smile plastered to his face.
“Hello, Dean-o,” he greeted. “How are you today?”
“Not puking my guts out, so that’s an improvement,” Dean grumbled in return, leaning back on his hands. Knowing what Balthazar would ask and what the examination would consist off, he’d already placed himself on the massage brix, essentially a high table.
“Yes, I would say so too. Have you gained weight?”
Dean shrugged. “I dunno. I look at my body every day, it’s hard to say for sure. I mean, you can tell that my stomach has started to grow a bit, if I’m not wearing clothes, and my pants are tighter. But other than that? I’m not sure.”
“Well, now that you are back to eating instead of throwing up, I’m sure you will,” Balthazar sounded confident as he motioned for Dean to lose his shirt.
Dean grumbled. It had not been a day from Castiel had found out he was pregnant to the full-time nausea had hit him. He’d heard about omega’s being sick out of their body but had not anticipated it for himself. Throughout the first two months after he’d found out he was pregnant he’d been throwing up more food than he could eat, worrying Castiel and Balthazar alike.
Dean knew that Castiel had kept the physician updated between their times together.
The nausea had let up a bit after their two months appointment and he had slowly been able to eat normally. Red meat still seemed to set him off to his annoyance.
He opened the bottoms, feeling the soft fabric slide of his arms.
“I know it’s difficult for you to tell, but you’ve definitely gained some weight. We are still a bit from a healthy weight, and honesty I wouldn’t mind if you gained a bit more than that. In case you get that sick again, having a bit of pudge to draw from wouldn’t be a bad thing,” Balthazar told him gently.
“I don’t want to get fat.”
“I’m not saying fat,” eyes were rolled. “I’m saying that for the sake of you and your pup you would benefit from having a bit of excess weight. You males are not built with natural fat depots around the hips like the females are, which does make you more likely to complications just around birth and after. Your body simply does not have those resources to drag on at those times.”
Dean sighed. After all the health of his pup was the utter most important thing, he could worry about he looked after giving birth, he supposed.
Balthazar nodded. “How are things between you and Cassie?”
“Yeah. He’s very touchy feely and loves to sleep with a hand on my stomach. Has done so before we knew I was pregnant, really.”
“That’s good. Having a caring alpha near you is very beneficial.”
“Yeah. I get annoyed with him sometimes, though. My omega craves the contact and the skin-on-skin and having him near,” Dean admitted slowly. He wasn’t sure Balthazar was the right person to share it with, but who else should he talk to? The staff was Castiel’s, Sam was too young and if Dean had to be honest, he didn’t have many friends. It had not bothered him before, but he did feel very alone with the thoughts he preferred not to burden Castiel with.
“Why is that so?” Balthazar asked curiously.
“Because he admitted to being in love with me after I fell pregnant. He tried to kiss me, and I don’t know for certain if his feelings are real or a reaction to the pregnancy.”
“Dean let me let you in on a little secret. I’ve never seen anyone as smitten as Castiel is with you. He worships the ground you walk on, and he has done so long before you even got married. He might have been able to fool himself and not realize how badly he had fallen; he might have tried to protect himself with his weird rules. But believe me, that alpha is head over heels for you and has been since he met you.”
Dean blinked in surprise. Out of all things Balthazar could have said, that was not what he had expected to hear.
“I didn’t know,” he admitted.
“I know. I don’t think Cassie knew until recently either. Maybe your pregnancy pheromones prompted him to get his head out of the bush faster than he would have otherwise done, but believe me, those feelings are very real.”
Dean swallowed, wanting to believe those words so bad. But he couldn’t, didn’t want to allow himself to give in. What Castiel regretted it later? What if they ended up mated during a pregnancy heat and it turned out it truly had been the baby pheromones setting it all off?
Dean wasn’t sure he could deal with that sort of abandonment, that sort of rejection.
“Don’t go into those thoughts too deep, Dean-o. You smell like sadness and dead plants and it’s not pleasant. Or good for the pup,” Balthazar said. His words weren’t kind, but his smile was and Dean had gotten used to him enough that he knew that Balthazar had a habit of saying things very directly.
“I know. I just wish I had a way to know for certain that he is not going to leave me or reject me after the pregnancy.”
“Maybe you should reflect about the time you guys have already spent together?” Balthazar suggested with a thoughtful look. “I wonder what about Cassie’s previous behavior give you the idea that he would do such a thing.”
“I…” Dean hesitated, looking down at his knees. “I’m not sure it has much to do with Cas.”
“Mm, then consider using the time figuring out what it is about, will you? I hate the stench of sad omega.”
Dean snorted, half laughing. Something about Balthazar made him get his head out of his ass. He was hilarious in a very annoying and obnoxious way.
“Jokes aside Dean, you are as healthy as you can be and there are no signs that there should be anything wrong with the pup. Your scent is developing as I would expect, as is the size of your stomach. I’m confident you’ll give birth to a healthy young one in five- or six-months’ time.”
“Thank you. And please don’t tell Cas about this?”
“I won’t. But you should.”
Dean bottomed his shirt shaking his head slowly, looking at the door where Balthazar had sauntered out after delivering his last punchline. The beta liked to have the last word Dean had noticed, no matter the topic.
Didn’t mean he wasn’t right, though.
He hadn’t really talked with Castiel about his worries or how he felt other than the other evening where Cas had sprung the kiss and all the talk on him. Honestly Dean hadn’t been prepared for any of it, and his reaction had been accordingly shitty.
Maybe Castiel was telling the truth, the thought, landing softly on the floor. And maybe it was spurred on by the scent of pregnant omega, but should it really matter? Other than the stupid rules Castiel had laid out in the first place, he had not said or done anything that had made Dean feel unwanted.
Quite the opposite.
The alpha had been sweet, attentive and caring. He’d been quick to accept Sam too. All Dean had asked for was housing of his little brother, not a tutor, not that Castiel befriended him. Yet Cas had decided to do on his own accord, and when asked about it he claimed happily that Sam was a joy to be around.
Sam was, of course Dean knew that. But he had a suspicion that Cas had started being around Sam more after he’d realized how happy it made Dean to see the two together. If he thought about it really well he’d seen them together maybe once or twice a week before he’d told Castiel that it meant a lot to him. After that it had easily turned into five or six times that he found the alpha studying with his kid brother.
Sometimes Dean was a bit envious. It seemed so easy between them, when they walked through the gardens together, taking notes about plants.
Yeah, Castiel had gone well above what Dean could have ever expected of him, and not only in regard to Sam.
He’d been uneducated in terms of omegas when Dean first arrived, but that had changed quickly. Dean had seen the titles being added to the library, not just about omegas in general, but some that must have cost a fortune about the male omega as well.
Stupid pregnancy making him all teary-eyed about things like that.
Without realizing it, Dean had started wandering towards the library. He pushed open the heavy doors, half expecting to see Castiel and Sam with their noses buried in a book or busy sketching the leaves of some flower.
The door creaked heavily on its hinges. He had to ask someone to give them some oil for a smoother glide.
Dean shook off the irrelevant thoughts, heading for the omega books just to ensure himself that they indeed where there. He grabbed the one about male omega’s not bothering to read the title.
Loose pages fell to the floor.
“Fuck!” he swore, heart rate picking up. Had he damaged the book just by picking it off the shelf?
As gently as humanly possible, Dean placed the book on the reading table before bowing down to pick up the pages.
Once his panic subsided, he realized that they were pages filled with notes, written in Castiel’s neat handwriting.
Not meaning to, he couldn’t help but skim over the content of the page.
Unable to put down the pages, Dean sat down at the table, almost in a trance. He was unable to focus on anything but getting to read.
Castiel had taken notes of him, comparing him to the omega described in the book.
I realize now how lucky I am. One page started. I realize that something bigger than us lend a hand in allowing Dean and I to meet. I didn’t know back then how much that man would come to mean to me, but I understand now that I could not have found a more compatible man. Dean is a lot of things, but first he is compassionate, patient and understanding. He has not pushed me further on the scars or my horrible terms for our marriage. He educated me where I lacked knowledge, and I think being with him, in time, will make me a better alpha. And more importantly, a better human being. He is everything I hoped for and a lot more. No book could have ever taught me the wonders of this omega.
Dean read the passage, trying to make sense of the words. He understood them, but it was like his brain was unable to process, to fully grasp the extend of what it meant.
Castiel had written this long before he had even considered showing Dean his scars, that much was clear.
Dean continued to read. A bit further down the page was Castiel’s notes on heats, underlined that he had to ask Dean if he had preferences for food and drinks so that he could properly provide.
He swallowed heavily.
It was written long before his heat. Dean had not expected that Castiel’s feelings extended that far back, but there he sat with the evidence clear as day in his hand. Written black on white.
How could there be any doubt left in his mind after reading those things? Castiel could not possibly have known he would find them, since he had displayed little interest in books previously.
It didn’t take him long to set his mind. He obviously needed to talk to Castiel and figure things out. The alpha truly felt what he said, his changed scent or the possibility for a pregnancy not being a factor. He’d told Dean the truth all along.
Dean ran a gentle hand over his still slightly raised stomach.
His and Cas’ pup.
The man he loved was in love with him too. He’d never anticipated to fall for the odd alpha with all his stupid rules. It hadn’t been in his plans ever.
Dean practically ran down the halls, looking for his alpha. Castiel was nowhere indoors to be found. Not surprising since he seemed to prefer using as much of his time outdoors in the summer heat as possible.
Dean found him underneath the apple trees, sketching some plant he didn’t know.
He still held the papers he’d found in the book.
“When did you write this?” he gasped, a bit out of breath. Mostly from nerves.
Castiel’s sun colored face turned as red as his roses.
“That was… A long time ago.”
“Before my heat?”
Castiel nodded, unable to keep eye contact with Dean. It was obvious that he was embarrassed about what he’d written.
“I’m in love with you too,” he blurted out. He didn’t know what else to say. “Not just because of heat and the pup. I’ve been for a long while, I just… when you told me about your feelings, I wasn’t sure if, you know, if it wasn’t born from the heat or my changed scent. I was so scared you’d end up mating me and then regret it after I’d born the pup. That you’d rather not be tied to me in that way, too.”
Castiel’s gaze turned back on him during his ramble.
His alpha was quiet, and Dean swallowed heavily. “I’ve wanted this to be real since the day I married you,” he confessed meekly before Castiel had a chance to say something.
“Me too. I cannot tell you how much I regret putting those rules into our relationship in the first place.”
“I get it. You had to protect yourself.”
“Yes, but not from you.” Castiel was smiling softly.
“I wanted you to mate me during my heat,” the omega confessed. “I’m glad you respected my wishes, don’t get me wrong. But not having a mating bite after that heat just felt… wrong.”
“I understand. I felt the same. Feel the same.”
Castiel patted the blanket beside him, inviting Dean to sit down. Why he’d been standing all along he had no idea.
“Does this mean I can kiss you? Ask about the war? And that I get to see you without clothes?” Dean’s voice was teasing. He meant it nevertheless, never had he longed to see someone undress as much as he longed to see Castiel do it.
Castiel leaned into Dean’s space. He was close enough that Dean could feel the soft huffs of breath. He smelled like strawberries and judging from the slightly pinker color of his lips he’d probably been eating some just before Dean arrived.
“Yes,” his alpha breathed out.
Dean leaned closer, their lips touching. Soft at first, gentle. But he didn’t want soft or gentle, he wanted to feel Castiel and all of him.
He wanted all that he hadn’t allowed himself to have when Castiel kissed him the first time.
Chapter 11: Timestamp, ~ 15 years later
Once again, thank you NikkiSage for beta'ing this for me and suggesting this idea as something that totally should happen.
This is basicly sweet fluff. At the least as close that I get.
Thank you for all the kind comments, thank you for the kudos, thank you for reading.
And thank you to those of you that chose to believe my word and subscribe and wait patiently for a bit more of this story. Here it (finally) is!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Dean had always planned to have multiple kids.
That their first became a last was never his intention, nor Castiel’s. It wasn’t for the lack of trying or praying or hoping. It wasn’t for the lack of getting the best doctors, best physicians to examine them both.
It was just bad luck, they’d told him. Bad luck and a bad birth.
He’d been devastated.
Nothing but a failed omega.
Nature had designed him to produce literal litters of pups, tiny humans filling the big estate. And he couldn’t.
At times it still bothered him.
But it had been years since Balthazar told them that to keep on trying was futile, that he’d only hurt himself. It was likely that the traumatic birth of Jack, nearly killing both, had damaged something.
“I’d rather have you two, alive and well, than risk your life in another childbirth Dean,” Castiel had said back then.
Dean believed him.
And if Jack turned out to be an alpha it wouldn’t really matter too much, Dean thought to himself as he walked down the halls.
He could take over the estate, the title as Duke. He could continue the family business that Castiel had made flourish and grow over time.
The sweet scent of omega in heat almost made him gag when it hit his sensitive nostrils.
That was not the life he’d wanted for his pup, his only baby.
Maybe the world will be easier on him , he thought in desperation as he ran towards his sons’ room. Maybe growing up here, maybe not having a drunk dead-beat dad will make a difference in how he is seen.
He didn’t believe it.
The scent got more cloying, like it tried to suffocate him, remind him that not only had he only managed one pup, but that his only child had turned out exactly like him.
“Jack?” he asked, knocking on the door with a sweaty fist. His heart was racing.
He heard a soft groan, shuffling of sheets and the creaking of floorboards.
Jack opened the door, eyes glassy and forehead sweaty.
“I’m sick,” the child whispered hoarsely. “Please, Pa, please I feel…” he shook his head, long locks of dark blond hair sticking to his forehead and temples.
“You are not sick,” Dean mumbled, stepping into his sons’ space. Without hesitation he hugged the kid. It’d been a while since Jack had last allowed Dean to hold him like that.
He could feel the fever radiating from the pup.
“Remember that we’ve talked about this? That while unlikely, it could happen that you presented an omega?”
Jack made a low sound that Dean had come to learn was the teenager’s response to understanding something. It wasn’t the time to reprimand him to use proper words rather than roll his eyes or groan.
“That’s what’s happening. I know you feel awful. The first heat is always the worst,” Dean swallowed heavily. He ran a gentle hand up and down Jacks sweaty back, trying to calm the child.
It didn’t matter that his baby boy had grown up, that he was almost as tall as Dean. He was still just a scared kid needing his parents.
“Am I going to die?” Jack whispered almost so low that Dean didn’t hear him.
He couldn’t help the small smile around his lips as he held Jack even closer. He’d felt like he was about to die when his first heat had hit him. Dean was just glad that he could support his son rather than scold him for presenting as he had.
“No, but you are going to feel about this awful for a while. Your next heat will be better, and the next one after that easier yet. Your body needs time to adjust to you turning into a proper adult suddenly.”
Dean took a deep breath through his mouth.
“I’m gonna give you some privacy, alright young man? I’ll come by in a bit with supplies and check in on you.”
Jack’s fever-red cheeks turned even more crimson in the low light. He looked as if he were on the verge of protesting.
“Don’t give me that face kiddo. Been there, done that, alright?” Dean couldn’t help but smile as he ruffled Jacks sweaty hair in a loving gesture.
“Paaa!” Jack whined in protest.
“I’ll knock before I enter, okay? And if you don’t answer I’ll leave the things outside the door and check in later, how does that sound?”
Jack hummed low in his throat as Dean hugged him tight again.
Not knowing what his only pup would prefer for his heat Dean had a strange assembly of foods and drinks on the tray. Ellen had taken one look at his face and a deep breath before nodding. She’d not needed to tell him that she would make sure there was plenty of options to choose from. He’d waited impatiently in the kitchen while she’d assembled everything.
With the tray between his hands he’d headed for the box he had prepared just in case. Jack presenting an omega was less than likely, but somewhere deep down he’d had a feeling there was a chance. Or maybe it was just the instinct to prepare towards everything since he also had a similar box had his son went into a rut instead. The content was practically the same, skin friendly oils to ease the chaffing and supplies like that. He could have done with just one box, he realized as he walked, but for some reason making two had felt important.
Castiel was standing in their bedroom as Dean headed there.
He was still as handsome as the day Dean had first laid eyes on him. Maybe even more so. The grey around his temples highlighted the blue in his eyes somehow, the wrinkles around his eyes had added personality rather than make him look old.
Dean swallowed with emotion, wondering if he’d grown equally older, if looking into a mirror too would reveal lines around his eyes and mouth from the happiness Cas and Jack had brought to him over the years.
Cas held out the blue box rather than the green one.
“Would you mind telling him that I’m proud of him no matter what?”
“Of course,” Dean agreed before balancing everything towards their son’s room. He understood why Castiel opted to stay away. While Jack’s scent was by no means making him uncomfortable it was still strong and cloying and reminding him that his pup was no longer a child, no longer a small and frail thing to protect.
Castiel had always been emotional with things like that and Dean knew he was not quite ready to face that. Smelling Jack on him was probably more than enough for now.
Not surprisingly the door was closed.
When Dean checked in later the tray however was gone, replaced by an almost empty one and a small note with a “thank you” scrawled with the unhelpful writing of a teenager.
The only thing he hadn’t touched where the fruit.
Dean couldn’t help but laugh at that. Ellen grinned too when he brought her the tray, knowing very well that fruits and berries where practically the only thing Dean could keep down during his own heats.
Jacks heat went on for almost a week. Castiel had grown increasingly distressed with each day their son did not come out of his room freshly showered and ready to take his place as an adult.
Dean tried his best to keep his mate calm, to make sure Cas knew that the longer heat was perfectly normal for a presenting omega. He’d been inside Jacks room a few times since the first time, checking up on him and collecting laundry.
“He is fine, Cas,” Dean mumbled gently for God-knew-what-time. They where well into the hundreds he was certain.
“I know,” the alpha agreed with a soft sigh. “I know he is. I know the human body is well designed to go through heats and ruts like this. I just… I have some things I wished I had talked with him about before he went into heat, but I thought I’d have longer.”
Castiel sat quietly for a while before continuing: “I should probably have talked with you as well, my love, but I didn’t want to tell you anything before it was certain.”
“Tell me what?” Dean asked, running a hand through Cas soft hair.
“Tell us what?” A tired voice repeated.
Both men lifted their heads to see their child walk into the library. His hair was still damp from a much-needed shower and he looked worse for wear, but Dean knew it was only to be expected. Jack had taken his first heat a lot better than he could have hoped for.
Dean hoped his kid did not have his tendency to get sick after heats.
Castiel hugged Jack with affection. Dean could practically scent the love poured into the hug, the gratitude that the kid was alright after all.
Then his mate straightened his back.
“I know we’ve told you multiple times that it wouldn’t matter to us that you presented an omega,” he started. Jack nodded in agreement. “But I’m also quite certain that you must have picked up how people still treat your Pa, and how he would not be able to inherit the estate should I pass.”
Castiel sighed. “As it is now, your uncle Sam is the closest thing to an heir since I have no alpha siblings left.”
The way the pup moved was enough to tell Dean that he was highly uncomfortable. “I’m sorry,” Jack murmured, eyes cast towards the floor.
"You don’t have to be sorry, Jack. Presenting alpha or omega is not a choice you make, and I am utterly indifferent towards what you are as long as you can make a name for yourself and be happy,” Castiel stated with certainty in his voice. He looked towards Dean. “You know I’ve been active in omega rights activism, right?”
Dean nodded, brows drawing together in confusion. Why would Castiel bring that up now? He’d been active since the midst of Dean’s pregnancy; it was not exactly news.
“Well, as per next year it is possible to put an omega as the sole heir! We did it, we made it possible!” he was one big grin.
For a moment Dean’s eyes just flickered between Jack and Cas, words absorbing into his brain slowly.
“You are saying that Jack can be your heir? Legally too, without mating an alpha?” he asked hoarsely. Maybe his pup did not have to worry then. Maybe Jack would never have to feel like he was less because he’d presented an omega.
Society wouldn’t just think differently of male omegas just like that. Dean knew better than to think something so naïve, but with time…
“Yes!” Castiel agreed. He was practically radiating happiness.
Dean hurried out of the plush reading chair to hug his mate and his pup.
Cas had made it possible for him to fulfill their original agreement. He’d made it possible for Jack to make more for himself, to create his own future.
Dean’s throat felt tight as he hugged the two most important people in his life. His pup would not have to struggle how he had. He could marry out of love and not necessity if that time came.
“Thank you,” he whispered, knowing that Castiel knew exactly what the news meant for him.
And now for the important question!
Does anyone want to know what happened to Sam? (or John?)