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Dean’s on his hands and knees, sweat rolling down his back with his body aching from head to toe. He’s so close. He only needs two more minutes, and he’ll finally, finally be finished. 

That’s when his phone starts buzzing in his pocket.

He sighs, wiping sweat from his brow with the back of his hand as he straightens up and fishes it out of his ratty jeans. The caller ID tells him it’s his brother, Sam, so he answers with a sarcastic, “Winchester Brothers Contracting. You fuck it up, we fix it.”

“That’s going on our next round of business cards,” Sam laughs. “What’re you doing?”

“I was two tiles away from finishing the bathroom before you called and ruined the big moment.”

“Speaking of big moments, how was your date last night?”

Dean scoffs. “Fucking bust. I’m 27 and still keep getting the, ‘I’m not looking for anything serious’ speech.”

“Shit,” Sam says sadly. “You’d think with you playing for both teams now you’d have twice the odds of finding somebody.”

“Nah, I just get turned down twice as often,” Dean says, trying to make it sound like a joke. 

The truth is, he hasn’t been on more than two dates with the same person since he and Lisa broke up almost five years ago. After that crazy threesome they’d had with Cas and a shit ton of self-reflection (read: watching gay porn), he realized he was bisexual and wanted to explore that some more. Lisa wasn’t comfortable with sharing again or having an open relationship, but she was supportive, and they ended things on surprisingly good terms. He really thought they’d stay friends, but she kinda dropped off the map a few months after they broke up. 

He was busy figuring his own shit out at the time though, and it didn’t take long to learn while he is definitely into women, it’s nothing compared to how hot he gets with guys. No experience has yet to top as good as it was with Cas, but he’s kinda chalked that up to first time excitement or something along the way. He considers himself a solid five on the Kinsey scale now—not that that helps anything. Apparently, a lot of guys and girls are freaked out by the bisexual thing. Well, unless he wants to do another threesome. And it’s not like he hasn’t participated in a few over the years, but he’s getting older and starting to think about settling down. He doesn’t want to just be the middle of a m/f sandwich for the rest of his life.

“You call just to check if I scored or what?” Dean asks Sam.

“No, I called to let you know the check from the First Avenue sale cleared this morning. Say hello to the cool ten grand I just deposited into your account.”

Dean whoops with excitement. “Happy fucking Friday to me!”

“Thought that might cheer you up.”

“Who the fuck cares about my date after that?” Dean says, still laughing excitedly.

“That’s the spirit.” Then, “Hey, did you check out the link I sent you for Oak Street?”

“Nah, didn’t get a chance yet with my hands covered in grout.”

“Let me know when you do. I think you’ll want to put an offer in.”

“Alright, will do. Gotta finish up this tile.”

“Talk to you later.”

“See ya, Sammy.”

He ends the call, and though his body isn’t any less sore than it was before he answered the phone, he’s in much higher spirits when he places the last few tiles. Ten thousand dollars will do that to a guy. He and Sam are in their third year of working together flipping houses and they’re finally really starting to rake it in; this is the second time he’s had over ten thousand dollars deposited into his personal account this month. It was a rough first year of eating a whole lot of ramen and sharing Sam’s apartment, but by the time they hit the year and a half mark, they’d flipped and sold three houses, making them some decent cash. Now they’re making more than they’re spending, and even have some subcontractors working for them when they need them.

He planned to put in a few more hours tonight, but he feels really good about where they are time-wise on this house, so he takes the high from finishing the tile and lets himself off early, telling himself he’s the best boss he’s ever had.

His good mood holds through the traffic jam caused by an accident on the way home, grilling himself a burger back at his place with the ball game on in the background, and even through the Royals losing in the bottom of the ninth. He’s still weirdly cheery when he puts the last coat of paint on the third and final bedroom in his own fixer-upper house, and he calls it a night knowing he’s that much closer to having his dream home done exactly the way he’s always wanted it. 

Sure, the ensuite bathroom still needs to be refinished, but it works, and the kitchen cupboards need to be scraped, repainted, and all new hardware put on them, and the dishwasher is older than he is, but the living room is done, the bedrooms are done, his back yard is ready for landscaping, and he’s so close to having everything exactly the way he wants it he can almost taste it.

Maybe he’ll tackle the kitchen cupboards this weekend. At least he can mostly sit while he strips them. He cracks a beer before bed, then showers away the layer of sweat and sawdust that always seems to cling to his skin. He considers rubbing one out while he’s in there, but he’s craving some visual stimulation, so after a visit to PornHub and some old fashioned man on man porn, he falls asleep feeling completely satisfied with his vibrator, his house, and his job, trying desperately to ignore how he feels almost unbearably lonely about the space next to him in bed that’s always fucking empty.

Monday morning begins the same as every other work day. He and Sam start the morning with a Facetime where Sam yabbers on about money, potential prospects, any problems on job sites that came up that didn’t warrant an immediate phone call, all while Dean cracks jokes and pretends not to listen just to drive him a little crazy.

In fact, they’re getting to his favorite part of the phone call now.

“Dean. Dean, are you even listening?” 

“Sorry, what?” Dean asks, even though he’s heard every word.

The glare he gets from his little brother is exactly what he was hoping for. “You’re going back to the house on Princess today, right?”

“Yep. Gonna drywall the bedrooms today. Got Jo coming in to give me a hand.”

“Awesome. Tell her I say hi.”

Dean sends him a knowing smirk. “Never gonna happen Sammy. You couldn’t be more in the friend zone if you bought land there.”

“Shut up, Dean,” Sam says, and the next thing he knows, the call has ended.

Gonna be a great Monday.

He stops and picks up donuts and coffee for himself and Jo on the way into work, and when he gets a large even though he paid for a medium, he knows he was right. Jo’s waiting in her truck for him, so she grabs the coffee so he can bring in the drywall tools he didn’t already have inside. 

“Sam said to tell you he wants you to have his babies,” he says as they walk in the door.

Jo snorts. “He’d have better luck winning the lottery. This is a baby free zone,” she says, pointing to her crotch.

“What, you don’t wanna push a football sized human outta your snatch?”

“There are literally millions of things I’d rather do, including shoving a football up your ass.”

“I’ve had some big stuff up there, but I don’t know that it’d fit.”

“Oh trust me, it would fit,” Jo insists menacingly.

“Sounds kinky.”

Jo rolls her eyes. “You wish.”

“Nah, that’s Sam.”

“Why does he even like me?” she asks, stuffing half a donut in her mouth in one bite.

“Beats the fuck out of me,” Dean says seriously. 

Even though Jo has food in her mouth, it doesn’t stop her from sticking her tongue out at him, which (while gross) makes him start laughing. He and Jo have been friends going on ten years now, ever since they were paired together in science class and hit it off. Though there was never anything romantic between the two of them, Sam’s had a crush on Jo since the first time she came over to their place, and it’s been something Dean loves to tease him about ever since. 

With their donuts now devoured, the two of them take their coffee and head upstairs to make some measurements. They work well together, always have, and by the time they’re eating the pizza they ordered in for lunch, they have three out of four bedrooms done.

They look at each other curiously when they hear a car pull into the driveway, and Dean peeks out the window to see Sam’s truck pull in behind his car. He shakes his head to himself, chuckling quietly about how obvious Sam is about his crush on Jo, but the smile disappears when he sees the expression on Sam’s face. 

“Sam? What’s the matter?” he asks, the second he walks through the door.

“I-I just saw an article online about that accident on Cassells on Friday.”

“And?” Dean asks, needing Sam to get to the point if he looks like he does.

“And—God, Dean—I don’t know how to tell you this.”

Sam looks like he’s going to be sick and it’s only making him more worried. He leads Sam to one of the boxes he was just sitting on with a hand on his shoulder, making sure he doesn’t collapse or something before he tells him what’s going on. 

“Just spit it out Sam. Like a bandaid, man. You’re scaring the shit outta me.”

“It—it was Lisa. In the accident. She—she didn’t make it, Dean. I’m so sorry.”

His hand falls off of Sam’s shoulder as he takes an instinctive step away. Away from what Sam just said. In a single second, memories of Lisa laughing, smiling, dancing, and falling asleep with her head on his shoulder slam into him all at once. She can’t be gone.

“No,” he croaks, shaking his head in disbelief. 

“I’m so sorry,” Sam says again.

“No,” Dean repeats more firmly. “You’re wrong. There’s gotta be some mistake. She’s—she’s only—” He does some quick math in his sluggish brain. “—26. She’s younger than I am. She can’t—she can’t be—”

The next thing he knows, Sam’s got his arms wrapped around him and he’s squeezing so tight. It takes the fight out of him, and just like that, the reality plows into him like a Mack truck. Lisa’s gone. He’ll never hear her laugh or see her smile again. They haven’t talked in years but he never even considered that he’d never see her again. Fuck.

“She was s-so good to me, Sammy,” he says through his tears.

“I know,” Sam answers sadly, and he sounds choked up too. 

Jo comes up behind him and presses herself to his back, her tiny frame comforting him almost as much as Sam’s giant one. “I’m really sorry, Dean,” she says quietly.

He has no idea how long they stand there. Time has lost all meaning. He just keeps thinking about all the things he loved about Lisa. How she’d dance around the kitchen when she made breakfast, how she could out-drink him whenever they went shot for shot, how soft and warm it always was waking up with her in his arms. How understanding she was when he realized he needed to figure his own shit out. 

She was his first real love, the first person he ever came out to, and now she’s gone.

As another unwelcome reality makes itself known in his head, he pushes out of Sam’s arms and away from Jo to say, “She doesn’t have any family. What about the funeral? Did the, uh, the thing on the internet, did it say anything about that?”

Sam shakes his head. “No, but I can make some calls. I’ll look into it.”

Dean nods, wipes the tear tracks away from his face with his hands and grabs a bottle of water from the cooler in the corner. He cracks the seal and downs half of it in one go, then waits for his breathing to get back to normal. Once it is, he forces a shaky smile and says, “Well, back to work, I guess.”

“Dean,” Jo says softly, shaking her head. “You should take the rest of the day off.”

“To do what?” he counters. “Sit alone in my house and cry all day? Hard pass.”

“It’s okay to grieve, Dean,” Sam tells him.

“I will. I am,” he corrects. “But I just—I gotta keep working, okay? It’ll help.”

“Why don’t we just take a couple more minutes,” Jo tries.

Dean shakes his head. “I need to work. I know it probably seems all kinds of fucked up but I can’t just keep thinking about this over and over. I’ll drive myself crazy.”

Sam exhales a long breath. “Whatever you need. I’ll... just... stay and give you guys an extra hand for today instead of working at the other house.”

Dean nods, feeling better knowing that Sam’s gonna be here. “That’d, uh, that’d be good. Thanks, Sammy.”

Thanks to help from Sam and Jo, a few hours pass with him in a weird state of mind where he just manages to not screw his shirt into the drywall and narrowly misses sawing off one of his fingers. A few tears leak from his eyes when his mind won’t stop going places he’d rather avoid for the time being, but thankfully, Jo and Sam know him well enough not to say anything about it. 

It’s just after two o’clock when his phone rings. Seeing as Sam’s here with him, he knows it’s likely a customer and takes a deep breath to help himself sound as professional as possible when he answers.

“Winchester Brothers Contracting, this is Dean speaking. How can I help you?”

“Is this Dean Winchester?” a female voice asks on the other end of the phone.

“Yes, ma’am.”

“My name is Charlie, I’m calling from the law office of Davies and Ketch.”

Dean frowns, exchanges a glance with Sam. “I’m not familiar with it, but what can we do to help you out?”

“Oh, no,” she says, laughing a little bit. “I’m not calling for contracting services, I’m calling to schedule a meeting with you and Arthur Ketch.”

He’s still completely lost. “And what’s Arthur Ketch want with me if not to do a job?”

“He’s handling Lisa Braeden’s final will and testament. Because you’re named in it, we need you to come in to discuss it.”

He feels his stomach drop to his feet. His voice comes out hoarse and mangled. “Lisa—she left something to me in her will?”

“I’m not sure if you’re aware, but there was no remaining family.”

“Yeah,” Dean says breathlessly. “I’m aware.”

“Time is of the essence in this particular case, but unfortunately Mr. Ketch is in court tomorrow morning and he can't get out of it. We were wondering if you could come in late afternoon? Say three o’clock?”

“Yeah. I’ll be there.”

“Awesome sauce.” Dean frowns again, and then the girl on the other end of the phone clears her throat. “I mean, that would be wonderful. I look forward to meeting you, Mr. Winchester.”

“Dean,” he says automatically.

“Dean, then. Bye for now.”

He’s a gross mix of nervous and exhausted when he pulls into the parking lot of the massive office building that houses Davies and Ketch. He didn’t sleep well at all last night and he’s completely out of his element going into a place like this. He’d had to dig through his closet for a solid ten minutes before he found a pair of slacks and a button down t-shirt without any stains from work on it for god’s sake. 

But he’s clean shaven, showered, and as caffeinated as he could safely get knowing he’d have to sit still for however long this meeting is going to take. So he squares his shoulders and holds his head up high as he walks out of the elevator and into the lawyer’s office thinking, fake it ‘til you make it, Winchester.

He approaches the big ass reception desk where a redhead is sitting. Her posture is impeccable and there’s not a hair out of place. Very impressive and super intimidating. 

“Good morning and welcome to Davies and Ketch Law Offices. How can I help you?”

“I’m Dean Winchester. I have a 3:00 appointment with Arthur Ketch.”

There’s some typing, but then she nods and says, “You’re a few minutes early and we’re still waiting for Mr. Novak to arrive.” Mr. Novak? Another lawyer, maybe? “So please take a seat behind you and he’ll be with you shortly. Would you care for coffee, tea, or water while you wait?”

“No, I’m good, thanks.” She nods again and that’s when he sees how the light reflects on her earrings. “Dude! Star Trek earrings?” he asks excitedly. 

Her perfect posture slumps into something more natural, her eyes light up, and she sounds about five years younger when she responds in a whisper. “Shhh. None of the robots who work here have noticed yet. It’s my tiny rebellion against acting like a stepford wife to keep my job.”

“Your secret’s safe with me,” he says with a wink. “And they’re badass.”

The spark stays in her eyes but her voice returns to the ‘customer service’ tone as her back straightens again. “Thank you, Mr. Winchester. It won’t be long.”

Dean grins and turns around to sit in one of the fancy chairs. Hell, the chairs he has at home aren’t even as comfortable as these genuine leather (probably) waiting room chairs are, and as much as he’d like to sink into it and catch up on the sleep he missed last night, he’s so fucking nervous he can’t even keep himself from jiggling his knee. What the hell could Lisa have possibly left him? It’s not like she had a ton of cash, and the last he heard, she still lived in their old place which was a rental. And why would anything go to him of all people? There’s no way she stayed single for the last five years. Maybe the last time she had her will updated was when they were together? But who the hell even has a will at 21 years old? He doesn't even have one now.

These are all the same questions that kept him up last night and he’s no closer to having any of the answers now than he was then, but apparently that doesn’t help his mind to stop thinking them. Thankfully there’s a distraction in the form of the elevator dinging, and then it gets even better when a tall, dark haired guy in a well-fitting pair of khakis that hug his bubble butt just right approaches the lady behind the desk. He can’t hear what he says from across the room, but he can hear the low rumble of his voice, and paired with that ass and the way his navy blue dress shirt is pulling tightly across his broad shoulders, he’s a perfect distraction to help kill time until Ketch is ready for him.

Or at least that’s what he was thinking right until the guy turns around and he gets a look at his face. He’s pretty sure his heart actually stops. His face is certainly heating up alarmingly fast, and his palms are already sweating when Cas stops in his tracks and tilts his head to the side. 

“Dean?” he asks.

Oh fuck. Fuck, fuck, fuck. Cas is every bit as hot as he remembers, and considering he still makes regular appearances in his dirtiest fantasies, he remembers him pretty fucking well. He’s not prepared to see him again at all because he honestly never thought it was going to happen. When he tried to find Cas online after he and Lisa broke up, he realized he didn’t know Cas’s last name or even how to spell his first name, so he came up blank. As much as he’s enjoyed thinking about that one night the three of them had together over the last few years (especially Cas’s part in it), he never really thought he’d get another chance to see Cas face-to-face, and now that he’s here, he has no idea how to act or what to say. 

But here Cas is, and there’s no way it’s a coincidence. Not knowing how the hell he should act in this kind of situation, he finds himself getting to his feet and trying to rub his hands dry on his stupid slacks. 

“Uh, yeah,” he mumbles, his facing growing impossibly hotter when he hears how stupid he sounds already. “Long time no see.”

Cas smiles sadly and approaches him. “I’m so sorry for your loss.”

He can’t breathe all of the sudden. To his horror, his eyes fill, and he has to look down at the ground to try to keep himself together. The last thing he wants is to fall apart in front of Cas of all people. Thankfully, Cas keeps talking so he doesn’t have to try to fumble through finding something to say. 

“I just got back into town on Sunday. I’m sure you know Lisa and I haven’t spoken since we last saw each other, but I always thought of her fondly. I can’t imagine what you must be going through.”

Oh shit. If Cas hasn’t spoken to Lisa in the five years he’s been gone to bee school or whatever the fuck it's called, then he probably doesn’t know they aren’t together anymore. It’s awkward as hell to tell this to Cas considering being with him had been a big reason he and Lisa broke up, but he swallows hard and forces the words out as he talks directly to the floor. “We weren’t together. We, uh, broke up... not long after you left, actually. Seemed like we were on good terms and everything, but I dunno, she kinda ghosted me afterwards.”

“Oh.” Dean huffs out a single breath in response to how loaded that one word managed to sound, wondering if Cas feels anywhere close to as awkward as he does. “In any case, I know you loved her at one time and I’m sure this is an incredibly difficult time for you. Would you like to sit?”

Dean nods and sits back down where he was, absentmindedly thinking that Cas is every bit as nerdy now as he first thought he was five years ago before he blew his fucking mind in bed, but also taking care to keep his legs closer together so he doesn’t accidentally brush Cas’s when Cas sits in the seat right next to him. 

This is so fucking weird. The last time he saw Cas was when they were maybe kinda sorta flirting at Dean’s front door after his big gay awakening and now he’s sitting next to the guy in a lawyer’s office because of his dead ex-girlfriend.

“Do you have any idea why we’re here?” Cas asks him.

“Not a clue.”

“I was told she left something to me in her will, but I can’t imagine what. You know we had a few classes together in college but we weren’t close by any means.”

Dean swallows hard again. “Well, she’s an only child and her parents died when she was 16. She doesn’t—didn’t, fuck,” he breathes, his heart aching from changing the verb tense. “Didn’t have any other relatives. I don’t know what she’s been up to since we broke up but she never had a lot of close friends, so you and me might be all she has. Had. Shit.

“It’s okay,” Cas says gently. “I still can’t really believe she’s gone either.”

Dean nods, and then there’s a few seconds of silence when he can’t think of a damn thing to say to fill it because his wheels are spinning so fast. The last thing he needs right now is for Cas to be such a nice guy on top of everything else. This is bad enough as it is, and he definitely shouldn’t be wondering when he last met somebody who was kind and attractive at the same time. 

“I should have checked in,” Cas says suddenly. “But I was in a different country and so focused on my studies that I just let everything else go. I never even attempted to reach out after everything that happened between us to make sure she was okay, that you two were okay. I should have checked.” 

“Coulda been worse,” Dean says quietly. “Coulda been living in the same city as her all along and let her completely drift out of your life after she stopped answering your text messages like I did.”

“Breakups are hard,” Cas says kindly, placing what he’s sure is meant to be a comforting hand on his knee. Unfortunately, Dean’s so surprised by being touched by Cas again he draws in a sharp breath like a fucking moron, which has Cas moving his hand rather quickly. “Sorry. I’m a very tactile person and I’m not very good at recognizing when I’ve crossed into people’s personal space.”

“Yeah, I remember that pretty well.” 

The second the words are out of his mouth, his eyes go wide and he wishes desperately that the ground would open him up and swallow him whole. Why the hell did he say that? He only has the balls to look at Cas because he has to know what his reaction is, and he doesn’t really know what to do with it when he finds it’s a small, fond smile, like Cas is fucking remembering the last time they saw each other and how good it was between them. 

“Forgive me if this is insensitive to ask right now, but other than what we’re here to deal with, how have you been, Dean? I hope it’s not out of line to say you’ve crossed my mind a time or two over the years.”

Cas’s eyes drop to his lips, reminding him of how Cas was obsessed with his lips five years ago, and Dean’s heart is now officially hammering a mile a minute. 

“I’m good,” he says. His voice comes out a little more garbled than it should, so he clears his throat and elaborates. “I own a contracting company with my little brother that’s doing really well. Got my own little fixer-upper that feels more like home every day. Just, uh, living the dream, you know.”

“A contracting company?” Cas repeats, sounding interested. “I’m afraid I’m not very handy so that’s especially impressive to me. And not to put you on the spot, but maybe you could help me with something?” Dean nods without even knowing what Cas is going to ask. Honestly, whatever he wants, the answer is yes anyway. “I thought I had an apartment all lined up for when I got back, but it turns out the asshole landlord rented it out from under me. I’ve been staying in a hotel the last few nights while I look around but I’m not having any luck finding something decent. You wouldn’t happen to know of any places in town for rent that aren’t infested with anything, would you?”

Dean’s lips quirk into a smile. “Not off the top of my head, but my brother’s good with shit like that. I’ll send him a text and let you know.” 

He pulls his phone out of his pocket to text Sam, but passes it over with confusion when Cas puts his hand out, palm up. He watches curiously as Cas enters his name (now he knows who Mr. Novak is) and number, then accepts it when Cas hands it back. 

Cas’s eyes are dancing with amusement when he says, “Just in case you don’t hear from your brother before the end of the meeting. I wouldn’t want you to not have my number if you needed it.”

Now it’s Dean’s turn to awkwardly say, “Oh. Okay,” as his brain tries its best to fizzle out on him completely. 

“Feel free to use it anytime, for anything you might be interested in.” Dean’s lips part automatically, his skin buzzing with the chemistry between them. Is Cas really saying what he thinks he’s saying? Did he just give him his number for real? Cas blinks suddenly and shakes his head slightly, breaking the eye contact Dean had been subconsciously tethered to. “I’m so sorry. The timing couldn’t be any worse and I literally couldn’t pick a less appropriate time to... do that. Forgive me.”

Shit, Cas was totally flirting with him. He doesn’t want to jump at the chance and look like a dick but he also doesn’t want him to think he isn’t interested. “Well, at least I’ll have your number for when it is a better time.”

Cas smiles, showing a little bit of teeth, and Dean feels his stomach swoop when their eyes meet again. What the hell is it about this guy? It had been the same thing five years ago too—he’s just insanely drawn to Cas. He’s literally unable to look away from the blue eyes that have starred in his dreams more often than he’d care to admit, and his pulse is racing for a hell of a lot more than nerves now. It’s for possibility. It’s for attraction, chemistry, anticipation. He wonders if Cas is as good a kisser as he remembers, wonders if his hands will still feel as big on his skin as they did back then now that he’s had other guys touch him, wonders if Cas is really as good at sucking cock as his memories want him to believe. He’s been telling himself for years that he probably just built up the whole thing with Cas to be this ultimate gay fantasy in his head because Cas was the first guy he admitted to being attracted to, but with Cas right here in front of him already making him feel like a horny teenager again, he’s not so sure about that anymore.

“Winchester and Novak?” the woman from the front desk asks. 

Dean jerks back, unaware that he was leaning in so close to Cas while their eyes were locked until right now, and jumps to his feet. 

He’s sure he catches a knowing look from the redhead and shoots her a sheepish smile as Cas gets up next to him, much less awkwardly than he did. 

“Yeah?”

“Mr. Ketch will see you now. Please follow me.”

Dean chances a glance at Cas, who whispers, “We’re going together?”

Dean shrugs. He doesn’t know any better than Cas does. They walk side by side down a bunch of hallways until the woman gestures for them to walk through an open doorway. There’s a dark haired guy sitting in a huge leather chair behind a rather impressive desk, but he stands when they walk in and comes around the desk to offer a hand.

Cas is closest, so he shakes his hand first. “Thank you so much for coming. I’m Arthur Ketch, partner here at Davies and Ketch.”

“Castiel,” Cas says, releasing his hand after one more shake.

“I’m Dean,” Dean offers, also shaking Ketch’s hand.

“Pleasure to meet you both. Please do take a seat.” As he and Cas get settled into chairs even fancier than the ones in the waiting room, Ketch nods to the redhead. “Thank you, Charlie.”

The door is closed behind her and Ketch folds his hands together on top of his desk. “So. You’ve both been called here today because of Ms. Braeden’s will. I assume you know why?”

Dean and Cas share a look between them, and it’s Cas who answers, “No, actually. We have no idea.”

Arthur’s eyebrows shoot up at the same time his mouth hangs open for just a second before he schools it into a tight smile. “I see. Well, that certainly makes this more complicated. I sincerely hope I’m not about to put my foot in my mouth, but you are aware that you were... both... in a sexual relationship with Ms. Braeden at the same time in September of 2014, correct?”

Dean and Cas both nod, Dean’s cheeks right back to burning as hot as they were when Cas first walked into the office. 

“Just the one time,” Cas explains.

“Okay, good,” Ketch says, obviously relieved. “That makes things less awkward on that front, at least. Now, were you aware that you’re both listed as next of kin for her four-year-old son?”

Dean’s heart clenches painfully in his chest as he leans in, already trying to convince himself he heard that wrong. “I’m sorry, what?”

“Her son. Liam.”

“Lisa had a son four years ago?” Dean asks, his eyes bugged out in complete shock as he does some very relevant math.

“And we’re both next of kin?” Cas repeats. “Why would she do that?”

“Well,” Ketch says, looking pretty uncomfortable for such a powerful man. “It’s my impression from the instructions she left behind that she wasn’t entirely sure which of you is the father, and since you’re together anyway, she left him to both of you.”

“Together anyway,” Cas echoes, looking curiously at Dean.

Dean isn’t paying any attention to him, though, because—“What the fuck?” Dean whispers hoarsely. He can’t make sense out of any of this. He feels like the whole world came to a screeching halt the moment Ketch said next of kin. He could have a son. “I could have a son? And she never told me? Why wouldn’t she tell me?” When Ketch doesn’t have an immediate answer for him, he turns to Cas, who looks like he’s feeling exactly the same way he is: seconds away from actually shitting his pants. “Why, Cas? If it was either one of us, we could’ve been there! We could’ve helped. He could’ve had a dad!”

“I don’t know,” Cas says, looking pale and slightly shaky. “I have all the same questions you do.”

Then a horrifying thought occurs to him. “Hang on. If Lisa was in the accident on Friday, where’s the kid? Where’s Liam? Was he in the accident? Is he okay?”

“Dean, try to stay calm,” Cas says gently, reaching over to place a comforting hand on his knee.

“Stay calm?” Dean repeats sarcastically. “I could have a son and I don’t even know where the fuck he is!”

“Mr. Winchester, please,” Ketch says firmly. “Liam was waiting to be picked up at daycare when Lisa was in the car accident. He’s physically fine.” It’s insane to feel this much relief over an uninjured kid who might not even be his, but he’s damn near lightheaded with it. “He was placed with social services this weekend and went back to daycare yesterday and today to keep his routine as unchanged as possible.”

“Well, I wanna see him. If he’s mine, he should be with me,” Dean insists.

“Fortunately, since Lisa did request for the child to be left with both of you and there are no other living relatives to challenge her decision, we can arrange for that to happen once we have somebody from social services determine you fit the requirements.”

“What kind of requirements?” Dean asks frantically.

“Steady employment, a decent place to live, clean criminal records, a healthy relationship. That kind of thing.” A healthy relationship? “Nothing to worry about, I assure you. We’ve already taken the liberty of providing your contact information to social services and they’ll be in touch to arrange a meeting to set up an interview and an inspection of your residence.” Residence? “Once that’s all cleared up, and assuming there are no problems, of course, we can work on introducing Liam into your family as soon as possible.”

“Wait, what?” Dean asks, chuckling lightly as the pieces fall into place. Relationship, residence, family. Ketch has this all wrong. “I think you’re—”

“Dean’s clearly in shock,” Cas says to Ketch, interrupting Dean and confusing him even more. Cas gives his knee a tight little squeeze, and looks at him with his blue eyes wide and begging for understanding. “Dean, a social worker just needs to check that we have a solid relationship and a nice home for Liam to come home to.” While Dean works on figuring out why the hell Cas obviously wants Ketch to think they’re a couple, Cas turns back to Ketch and adds, “Dean’s been working tirelessly on flipping a house for us while I’ve been away for school. It’s really nice to finally be home to see all of his hard work in person.”

What?

“That’s lovely,” Ketch says with a tight smile. “The timing will work in your favor actually, because as old-fashioned as it is, it’s quite difficult to place a child into a single-parent home, even if the other parent is only temporarily stationed elsewhere. Social services would much rather see that both parents are home and able to participate in the child’s life in an active fashion, as I’m sure you understand.”

“Absolutely,” Cas answers, smiling innocently.

Meanwhile, Dean’s mind is going a mile a minute. Ketch saying how difficult it is to place a child into a single-parent home means that if he corrects Cas right now and tells Ketch that he and Cas aren’t together, it could be harder for him to get guardianship of his own kid. If Liam is even his. And if he’s not—what about Cas? Cas doesn’t even have a place to live, so there’s no way they’d give him his own kid if he’s single and doesn’t have a house and that’s not fucking fair either. Suddenly, Cas’s decision to lie makes perfect sense.

“Are there any other questions the two of you have?” Ketch asks.

Dean just sits quietly, not trusting himself to say a word now that he’s made the choice to lie to a fucking lawyer.

“If we wanted to establish paternity in the future, how would we go about doing that?” Cas asks.

Dean’s heart lurches in his chest but Ketch just nods like he was expecting the question. “If it’s just for your own curiosity, you can buy tests in the drug stores or even on the internet. It’s only when it comes to a matter of a court of law that you need to have a DNA test administered by a professional.”

“Good to know,” Cas responds.

When neither of them ask anything else, Ketch continues. “If there’s no further questions, I think that concludes our meeting.” Ketch stands, so he and Cas follow suit. “If anything comes to you later on once this has all sunk in a little bit more—or if you require any other legal services, of course—feel free to give me a call.”

“We’ll do that, thank you,” Cas says. “It was nice to meet you.”

Dean manages to mumble a perfunctory, “Nice to meet you,” too, and then Cas is guiding him back down the maze of hallways with a reassuring hand on the center of his back.

They’re almost to the elevator when he hears a whispered, “Dean!” 

Fuck. Panic hits him like a brick wall. That’s it, they’re caught. They’re fucked. They never even made it out of the building and they’re probably gonna go to jail or something and even if Liam is his he’ll never get to see him at all.

He glances behind him with an apologetic look already on his face and sees Charlie rushing forwards, trying and failing to look professional while she does it. “Dinosaurs,” she declares, still whispering.

“Dinosaurs?”

“I said nothing,” she lies, winking at him. When he just continues to look at her blankly, she giggles quietly and says, “Just think about it.” Then she turns and bails just as quickly as she ran up to him. 

He and Cas share another puzzled look between them as they step into the elevator, but the second the doors close, Dean whirls on him and demands, “What the fuck was that all about?”

Cas raises his hands in an obvious apology and his big blue eyes somehow look even bigger with the words he hasn’t even gotten out yet. “I am so, so, so sorry.”

“We just lied to a lawyer!” Dean points out.

“Technically we didn’t lie,” Cas argues. When Dean shoots him a sharp look, he says, “Ketch assumed we were in a relationship and we just never corrected him.”

“You lied about the house,” Dean counters.

“But you didn’t. If anybody’s going to get into trouble here it’s going to be me.”

“Lying by omission is still lying,” Dean tells him, sounding scarily like his little brother.

“I’m sorry,” Cas says again. “As soon as he mentioned steady employment and a nice place to live I knew that if Liam was mine they’d never let me have him. I’ve already missed out on four years of his life, and if he’s mine, I can’t... I can’t even imagine not getting to know him just because of that. I know it’s a lot to ask, but please try to understand.”

Dean looks away, hoping he’ll be able to think better without Cas’s eyes boring into his. “I didn’t say anything because I get it. But now that I’m thinking about it more, I don’t know, Cas. We could get in real trouble for this.”

“For what? Lisa left us custody. Both of us. Ketch thinks it’s because we were together, but Lisa knew we weren’t. We’re really just going along with what she wanted.” 

That actually raises a good point, and as the elevator opens, Dean asks, “Why do you think she didn’t find out who the father was?”

“I have no idea,” Cas says. “Statistically speaking, he should be yours, unless you’re about to tell me you only had sex with her that one time in September.”

“Yeah, no,” Dean laughs. “We always had a pretty good thing going on in the bedroom but trying to prove to myself that I was straight meant a lot more sex than normal.”

Cas’s smile flashes briefly but brightly. “How did that work out for you?”

“How do you think?” Dean asks back. “You knew before you even left the house that day.”

“I didn’t want to assume anything.”

“Right. Because assuming my sexuality after I made out with you is off limits, but asking me to pretend to be your boyfriend is totally kosher?”

“Dean,” Cas says sadly. “I said I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have done that. If you want me to, I’ll turn around and walk right back in there and tell them that I lied and you went along with it because you felt bad for me or were in shock or something. Just say the word.”

Dean stops once he reaches his car, a 1967 Chevy Impala. He leans against it and drops his gaze to his shoes, trying to think this through. He isn’t comfortable with lying, but he also doesn’t want to be the reason Cas doesn’t get to know his potential son, and if placing kids with single parents is almost impossible... well, he doesn’t want to miss out in his chance, either.

“No,” Dean says quietly. “I need you as much as you need me.” Cas tilts his head in obvious confusion. “You heard what they said about single parents. I haven’t been in a relationship since Lisa. I’ve got everything but that. So I guess we can be dishonest, terrible people together.”

“For a good cause,” Cas adds.

Dean snorts shallowly. “Yeah, sure.”

Cas takes a step closer, damn near standing between his spread legs with only scant inches between their crotches. He's hyper aware that how attracted he is to Cas really isn’t going to help simplify the already messy situation they put themselves in, and as if to prove his thoughts are true, Cas chews on his bottom lip, bringing Dean’s attention to just how plump it is.

“So what now?” Cas asks, holding his gaze and smiling shyly.

Dean tries to swallow down the sudden dryness in his throat, but his lips are turning up just in response to Cas’s little smile. He shrugs a single shoulder like what he’s about to offer is no big deal even though there's a good chance it's gonna go down as one of the dumbest moves he's ever made. “Go get your stuff from the hotel. Guess you’re moving in.”

Cas’s genuine smile is damn near breathtaking when it’s aimed directly at him, and though there are all kinds of warning bells going off in his head, he’s smiling back just as big when Cas says, “I’ll bring the beer.”

“Make it a full case and I’ll text you my address.”

“You’ve got yourself a deal,” Cas calls as he gets into the same ancient Corolla he drove away in five years ago.

Even though he knows this is a terrible, terrible idea, he’s still grinning when he gets behind the wheel of his own car. As crazy as it is, buried beneath the shock and disbelief because of everything he learned in the last half hour, he also feels a tiny thrill of excitement at the prospect of getting to know Cas better.

He glances at the clock on the dashboard and lets out a bone-deep sigh when he sees it’s not even dinner time and he’s already landed himself a live-in pretend boyfriend and a potential four year old. Seems like it’s gonna be one hell of a day.

Chapter Text

Excitement is the last thing on Dean’s mind by the time Cas knocks on his door. He hurried home with the idea of getting the bed in the guest room fitted with fresh sheets, but before he tore off the old ones he stopped himself as a new thought occurred to him, and that’s how most of the excitement got replaced with nerves.

So it’s with some pretty aggressive butterflies in his stomach that he pulls the door open only to see Cas standing there with a box in his hands, a suitcase on wheels by his feet, and a huge duffel bag slung over his shoulder. The tight smile Cas has on his face is somehow enough to make the butterflies go even crazier, and he wonders fleetingly how long it’s going to take him to look directly at Cas without feeling like he can’t breathe properly.

He’s rubbing idly at the back of his neck when he steps back from the door and says, “Come on in, take a load off. And let me take something for you.”

“Thank you,” Cas responds, stepping into the foyer and handing him the box in his hands. “I’m not just saying this because you’re letting me live here, but you have a beautiful home. You actually have a white picket fence. And shutters.”

Dean huffs out a bit of a laugh at his surprised tone of voice. “Yeah, I guess I’m kinda old fashioned when it comes to some things. That was always the dream growing up.”

“That’s adorable.”

“Oh shut up.” He makes sure there’s no heat behind it, and Cas’s smile spreads accordingly. He turns away in a childish attempt to hide his growing blush, and says, “Leave your shoes at the door there so I don’t have to sweep twelve times a day, and then I’ll show you where you can stash your stuff.” 

“Hmmm.”

Dean turns back to check on what that sound means. “What?”

“I’m learning things about my new fake boyfriend already,” Cas says with a knowing smile. “You’re a neat freak.”

Dean opens his mouth to defend himself, then realizes there’s no point. He’s gonna figure it out sooner or later. “Guilty as charged. Consider this your warning that if you leave hair in the sink we’re gonna have words, and they’re not gonna be nice ones.”

Cas chuckles, a low sound that sends an arrow of heat straight through his core. “I’ll remember that.”

Trying to keep his mind on the situation at hand instead of the insane number of things he’d be willing to do to Cas to pull that low tone of voice out again, Dean says, “So I started changing the sheets in the spare room for you, but then I realized if we’re getting a home visit, it should probably look like we’re sharing a room... and a bed.” Cas makes a sound of agreement, so Dean walks through the door of his bedroom with his stomach in knots. “Which means you should probably put your stuff in here.”

He really shouldn’t look at Cas, because that prolonged eye contact thing they seem to keep doing with a bed only a few feet away seems like it could be a really terrible combination, but he does anyway, and he was right. The air charges between them in an instant. 

“This is your bedroom?”

He glances around at the forest green comforter spread over his king size bed, the dark brown faux-leather headboard and matching dark wood nightstands on either side of it with large white lamps on each. He watches as Cas takes in the two art prints he has—one of a mountain he liked peeking out of the clouds and one of a dock surrounded by a random body of water that reminds him of fishing with his dad—both with wide, white frames to brighten up the room. Not that it needs a lot of brightening up with the huge picture window looking over his backyard, complete with a window seat and big, plush cream colored cushions, but he likes the look of them anyway. 

“Yeah,” Dean says with a shrug, trying to act like it isn’t a big deal to have somebody he barely knows in the most sacred space in his house. “Kinda splurged in here since I had to redo it all from the studs up anyway.”

Cas’s eyes widen slightly as he looks around a second time. “I forgot you did all of this yourself. It’s gorgeous, Dean. It has an indulgent but homey feel to it.”

Dean’s heart thuds in his chest since that’s exactly what he was going for. “Thanks. You a, uh, dresser or closet kinda guy for your clothes?”

“Either one is fine. I don’t want to put you out when you’re already doing so much.”

“Well you can take your pick because I went ahead and emptied a couple of drawers before you got here if you need them, and there’s tons of space in the closet since I don’t have a lot of hanger worthy clothes. Everything ends up with holes or paint or grease on it anyway,” he explains.

“I can imagine,” Cas replies, nodding.

“Okay, well, I’ll leave you alone to put your shit away, then. Anything that doesn’t fit in here can go in the spare bedroom until we find a place for it. And, uh, hope you don’t mind sleeping closest to the window ‘cause the other side of the bed is spoken for.”

Cas chuckles again, but sobers up when Dean doesn’t join in. “I’m not actually sleeping in here though, am I? Just want it to look like I'm sleeping here?”

Dean stops on his way out the door. “Oh. Right. So you do need fresh sheets.” Cas shrugs and starts to say something, but Dean’s phone starts ringing. “Sorry, could be a customer. I have to take this.” Cas gestures for him to go ahead so he digs his phone out of his pocket and relaxes when he sees it’s Sam. “Hey, Sammy,” Dean says as he walks out into the living room.

“Don’t ‘Hey, Sammy,’ me. I’ve been pulling my hair out waiting for you to call me after the meeting like you said you would!”

“Good. You could use less hair.”

“Dean.”

“I dunno if we should do this over the phone,” Dean admits. “Kinda a doozy.”

“I can’t get away until late so just tell me,” Sam urges him. “I can take it.”

“Are you sitting down?”

He hears the scrape of a chair on the floor and then, “I am now.”

He himself takes a seat on his leather couch. “Lisa has a four year old son that might be mine.”

“Wait —might be yours? She was pregnant five years ago? Was Lisa cheating on you?”

Dean snorts shallowly. “Remember what I told you about how I figured out I was into guys?”

“Yeah?”

“I lied. We, uh, kinda had a threesome,” Dean admits. “Lisa was on the pill, but I mean... nothing’s one hundred percent, right?”

“You and Lisa had sex with another guy and you were all too stupid to use a condom?” Sam bursts out with. “What the hell is the matter with you guys? You’re lucky you didn’t pass around syphilis or something!”

“Believe me, it was way too hot to worry about syphilis or condoms,” Dean says, aiming a fond smile in the direction of where Cas currently is in his bedroom. “Anyway, save the lecture because it only gets worse from here.”

“Great,” Sam says under his breath.

“Basically, Lisa left the kid to me and Cas.”

“Cas?”

“The other guy,” Dean explains. “The lawyer went on and on about how hard it is to grant custody to single parents and the big list of things we need to have in order to get to know our own kid... and since Lisa left Liam—that’s the kid—to both me and Cas, the lawyer kind of assumed we were already a couple... and since that was gonna work out better for us in the long run, we didn’t really correct him. So basically Cas is moving in and we’re gonna pretend we were in a long-distance relationship for the last few years.”

It’s dead silent on the other end of the phone. It stretches on for so long that he pulls his phone away from his face to look at it to make sure he didn’t hang up or something, and when he sees the timer still counting, he checks on his brother. “Sam?”

“I was waiting for the punchline, because this is a joke, right? Tell me this is a joke, Dean!” This time it’s him who lets the silence speak for itself. “Why the hell would you do this? You—you could get in so much trouble! God, Dean! What if they find out you’re lying and won’t give you Liam?”

“They won’t find out,” Dean insists. 

“There’s going to be background checks and interviews, Dean. With everybody. With the people we work with, your doctor, your friends, the people you’ve been out on dates with, with me.”

“And?”

“And they’re gonna blow your cover!”

“We’ll figure it out.”

“How?”

“I don’t know, Sam!” Dean explodes with. “But I already missed out on four years of Liam’s life and I’m not about to miss out on more just because nobody’s ever liked me enough to look past the fact that I’m bi, okay? So what if I’m not in a steady relationship? I can still be a good dad! And Lisa wanted this. She wanted Liam to be with me and Cas.”

“Dean—”

“I can’t go back and change how I was too busy learning how to suck dick to check in on her—when—when she found out she was fucking pregnant with who might be my son and I have to live with that,” Dean says, his eyes burning with the guilt he’s sure he’s going to feel for the rest of his life. “But I am not gonna let her down now. Not again.”

He has to cover his eyes with his free hand, trying desperately not to let the building tears fall. 

“Okay,” Sam says quietly. “I’ll talk to Jo and get her on board. Just... tell the person interviewing you that you and Cas weren’t together when he left—which explains why you slept around if they check—but you fell in love with him when he was still gone and you’ve been committed to each other ever since.”

“Really?” Dean asks cautiously. 

“I think that’ll be okay. You said you haven’t gotten lucky in years, right?”

“Thanks for bringing it up,” Dean says sarcastically. “But I went on dates.”

“Spin it as being lonely and trying to get to know new people. If you never slept with anybody else you can say it was just to try to widen your social circle or networking or something.”

“That might work,” Dean admits. 

“But listen. You need to spend the rest of the day getting to know Cas the way you’d know somebody if you’d been talking to them on the phone for the last four years. You need to really know him. It’ll be believable if you’re a little awkward together but if you’ve been apart all this time you’d probably be glued at the hip now. So be prepared for that.”

Dean sighs heavily, running his hand through his hair now. “Yeah.”

“I’m serious, Dean. This is important.”

“I get it, Sam,” he says tersely.

“Good.” There’s another few seconds of silence before Sam speaks again. “So Liam, huh?”

Sam’s voice is softer now and Dean smiles despite himself. “Yeah.”

“I can’t believe you could have a son. You know that means I could be an uncle, right?”

Dean’s smile grows even bigger. “He’s gonna get one look at you and be terrified of the giant in the family.”

“Yeah right, he’s gonna think I’m awesome. Like a superhero or something.” Dean snorts with good-natured disbelief. “So what’s Cas like anyway?”

“Hot,” Dean says without thinking. 

Sam laughs lightly. “That helps, I guess.”

“I don’t know, maybe. He seems like a nice guy, though. I guess I’ll have to figure that out. It’ll suck if he’s a douchebag.”

“You’re stuck with him for now even if he is,” Sam tells him. “Hey, how long are you gonna stick with the whole pretend boyfriend thing?”

“We haven’t thought that far ahead yet, but my best guess is until they give us Liam and we can do a DNA test.”

“Huh,” Sam comments. “Well, I’ll do some research and try to figure out how long the process usually takes. But I gotta get back to work since not all of us had the day off, but text me later to let me know how it’s going. I’ll bring Jo and anybody else I can think of up to speed.”

“Any excuse to talk to Jo, huh?” Dean teases. “Seriously though. Thanks, Sammy. I know this is fucked up but I really appreciate you having my back. I couldn’t do it without you.”

“Don’t screw it up. I’ll talk to you later.”

“Later,” Dean agrees, ending the call.

He lets his head loll onto the back of the couch, taking a deep breath to try to clear his mind. He hates fighting with Sam and that was pretty close for a minute there. It’s going to make it easier now that he knows Sam is on board though. He just has to work on the things Sam brought up. Which means he has to talk to Cas.

He looks over his shoulder towards his bedroom again, feeling those damn butterflies taking flight at just the very idea of going to talk to Cas right now, and he decides to wait it out until Cas comes to find him. He doesn’t even bother turning on the TV, he just lies there in the silence of the house, actively working on keeping his mind blank.

He’s interrupted a few minutes later by the familiar sound of beer bottles clinking together. He turns around to see Cas standing behind the couch with a case of beer in his hands.

“Where’d you stash that?” he asks, curious since he didn’t see it when Cas came in.

“Suitcase. I was going to pretend that I forgot it to see if you’d still let me in, but then I forgot when I got distracted.”

He laughs quietly at the admission, thinking that Cas doesn’t seem like he’s gonna be a douchebag. “What distracted you?” he wonders, getting up to help Cas put some of the beer in the fridge.

“You opening the door.”

Thank God he didn’t try to take the glass bottles from Cas yet because sure as shit he would’ve dropped them after that. “Were you expecting somebody else?” Dean says, his joke falling a little flat because of the way his heart is currently trying to shove its way out of his throat. 

“No, I just find your face distracting.”

Dean briefly considers sticking his head inside of the fridge instead of the beer. That’s one way to cool off, right? 

“Jesus, Cas, you can’t just say shit like that.”

Cas lifts his eyebrows, but opens the fridge himself when Dean can’t seem to make his brain work enough to do it for him. “Am I not supposed to think my boyfriend is attractive?”

Ohhh. He’s an idiot.

“Oh,” Dean laughs. “You were pretending.”

Cas chuckles, that same low sound that he found unbearably sexy before. “If that makes you feel better, sure.”

He stands there silently, cheeks burning, hands stuffed in his pockets with his tongue glued to the roof of his mouth. He really hopes this inability to think of a single thing to say in Cas’s presence isn’t going to be an on-going thing, because it’s humiliating.

Thankfully, Cas swoops in with, “I couldn’t help but overhear you raising your voice on the phone earlier. Is everything okay?”

“Think so, yeah. Just took some convincing to get Sam on board with this whole thing between you and me,” he admits. “He wasn’t crazy about the idea of you moving in.”

Cas freezes, just for a moment, before he straightens up to grab another bottle from the case. His voice is shockingly cold when he speaks. “This might surprise you considering the way we met, but I’m not comfortable with sleeping in another man’s bed.”

That kinda came out of left field, but whatever. “Okay, so we get you set up in the spare room like we said,” Dean says cautiously. “No big deal.”

“And you expect me to just stay in the spare room knowing you and your boyfriend are doing god knows what across the hall?” Cas asks, a challenging note in his voice.

“Dude, no,” Dean chuckles, finding this pretty funny now that he knows what’s going on. “Sam’s my brother, not my boyfriend.” Cas’s lips part in surprise and it’s actually really fucking adorable when his cheeks start turning pink. “Kinda cute how you got all jealous thinking about me in bed with another guy though. You’ve really got the fake boyfriend thing down pat.”

“I wasn’t jealous,” Cas says, so quietly it’s almost under his breath. “I just didn’t want to be put in an uncomfortable position.”

“Well, I’ve got bad news for you then, because for us to be convincing at this home visit, we’re gonna have to get to know each other well enough to pass as a couple. And considering we don’t know a damn thing about one another, I’m guessing that’s not gonna be super comfortable.”

Cas has put half of the case of beer into the fridge at this point, which is when he stops. “I’m not uncomfortable with the idea of getting to know you better. If circumstances hadn’t forced us together the way they did, I was hoping you would call me so I could take you to dinner.”

“Like a date?”

“That depends on if you’re about to tell me you’re still straight,” Cas says, a teasing lilt to his voice.

Dean laughs a little and looks at his feet, his stomach in knots over having to admit to Cas of all people that he’s not nearly as straight as he thought he was. “Yeah, not so much.”

To his credit, Cas doesn’t say anything about his sexuality to make him feel any more awkward than he already does. “Then yes, like a date.” It’s lucky that he picked out a great tile for the kitchen since he can’t imagine ever looking up again. “If that’s something you might have been interested in.”

“Guess we’ll never know,” Dean responds, praising his mouth for making words when his brain is currently a puddle of mush sloshing inside his skull.

Cas hums a sound of contemplation, neither agreeing or disagreeing. “Should I leave the rest of the beer on the counter, or is there somewhere else you’d prefer it?”

The change in topic is enough to have him lifting his gaze. “Just in the corner there beside the fridge is fine.” Cas slides it into place, and then they’re left standing in the kitchen with nothing to do and nothing to say. Cas leans back against the counter, his arms spreading on either side behind him making his dress shirt pull across his broad chest. “Let’s go out.”

“What?”

“I couldn’t eat lunch because I was so nervous about the meeting today. Let’s go get some food. Get to know each other.”

He hasn’t eaten anything either, and Sam did suggest getting to know Cas. “Where do you wanna go?”

“I’ve been eating the same pizza for two days, so anything but pizza works for me.”

“Okay, well, my best friend’s mom owns a little diner down the road. It’s kinda known for being a dive bar but I swear they make the best burgers in town.”

Cas offers a small smile that makes the butterflies wake up again. “I love burgers.”

“Awesome,” Dean says, genuinely pleased to learn he’s not about to live with a guy who’s as health conscious as Sam. “You wanna go change first?”

“No, I’m comfortable in this, but feel free to change if you want to.”

Dean nods, already blushing with anticipation over what he should probably say. “Yeah. Don’t take this the wrong way, but you’re gonna be sticking out like a sore thumb if you wear that to The Roadhouse.”

Cas glances down at the clothes he’s wearing. “You don’t like the way I look?”

“So didn’t say that,” Dean says quickly, his blush deepening. “Just warning you.”

“I appreciate it, but I’m still okay how I am.”

“K, I’ll be right back. You can, uh, take a seat or whatever you wanna do. I won’t be long.”

He spins and walks down the hallway to his bedroom, closing the door behind him and immediately letting out a deep breath. Apparently he and the super hot guy he can’t stop fumbling in front of like a fucking no-mind are going to get dinner together. Should be fuckin’ peachy. 

Dean drops his dress pants and grabs a pair of light wash jeans instead. He has a few decent shirts he saves for dates, and even though he repeatedly tells himself this is not a date, he switches out his button down for one of those instead. It’s nothing fancy, just a plain back t-shirt with a shallow v-neck, but for whatever reason, the sleeves hug his biceps better than any other shirt he owns, and he’s always kinda loved the way it accentuates how wide his shoulders are compared to his waist.

He puts on a fresh coat of deodorant (stress sweat is bad) and decides that’s really all he can do without being super obvious about wanting to look good. He uses the bathroom off of the ensuite and finds himself weirdly shocked seeing the few products Cas has unpacked and left out. There’s a bottle of shampoo and body wash next to his, a razor that doesn’t belong to him along with shaving cream and hair wax, which must be what Cas uses to get his hair to stick up. The thing that gets him the most though is the toothbrush next to his in the holder. It makes something in his chest ache and he forces himself to look away while he empties his bladder.

A few minutes later, he opens his bedroom door to find Cas still standing in the kitchen but looking in the cupboard over the stove.

“Need something?” Dean asks.

Cas jumps like he startled him, and whirls around with a sheepish smile on his face. “I thought I would just take stock of where you put everything.”

“Makes sense,” he comments. “We should—” But the words get stuck in his throat because that must be when Cas notices his change of clothes. Cas lacks any and all subtlety when he rakes his eyes down his frame and back up again, stopping to linger on his torso long enough that he causes Dean’s cheeks to burn again. 

“You look good,” Cas says simply. Except it doesn’t feel simple, because apparently three little words from Cas said in that rough voice of his are enough to make time stop. Cas’s eyes find his, and over the sound of his heart beating in his ears, he hears Cas say, “Are you ready to go?”

He just barely resists the urge to clear his throat nervously like an idiot. “Yeah, let’s head out.”

Cas follows him towards the door where he stops long enough to grab his keys off the little hook next to it, then he locks it behind him and they’re off. When Cas looks like he’s going to get in his car, Dean tells him, “Hey, uh, it’s just like, three minutes that way. I usually walk.”

“Oh. A walk it is, then,” Cas says easily, picking up his pace until he joins Dean on the other side of his car. “Nice night for it.”

“Always regret walking in the summer when I get there looking like Dean soup, though,” Dean admits, making Cas laugh. 

“How long have you been in the neighborhood?”

Dean tells him how he and Sam purchased the little fixer-upper just over two years ago to flip, but he ended up falling in love with the small town feel of the area and bought it from the business instead. Telling Cas about how he fixed up the different rooms and eventually showing him photos of the before and after he has saved on his phone carries them through until they arrive at the restaurant. It’s the most coherent he’s managed to be in Cas’s presence so far, and he finds himself wondering if it’s due to the lack of eye contact.

Regardless, they reach the parking lot of The Roadhouse and Dean gestures to it with a nod of his head. “My best friend, Jo, her mom owns this place. Name’s Ellen.”

“Are you close?” Cas wonders.

“Ellen’s the closest thing to a mom I’ve got,” Dean admits. 

“I meant you and Jo,” Cas says, smiling slightly.

Of course he did. “Oh. Yeah. We’ve been friends since high school. Never been able to shake her,” Dean grins, clearly joking. “Just FYI, you might get the third degree from Ellen. Never really brought anybody here before.”

“And I suppose the fewer people who know we aren’t really together, the better.” Dean nods his agreement. “Would you mind if I held your hand?”

“Wh-what?”

“Pretend boyfriends. Holding hands,” Cas explains.

Dean sighs but offers his hand, steadily ignoring the heat on his face. At this point, he might as well get used to it because there’s been nothing to suggest he’s gonna be able to get over his body’s reaction to Cas anytime soon. When he looks at Cas to see how he’s dealing with their hands palm to palm and their fingers slotted together, he sees Cas is looking at him like he’s enjoying how easy it is to make him blush.

Dean shakes his head but pulls the door open, taunting him under his breath. “Hope she eats you alive.”

Since it’s early, The Roadhouse isn’t busy yet, so he makes a beeline to his favorite booth with Cas trailing behind him. He doesn’t even get halfway there before he hears Ellen.

“Winchester!”

He stops in the middle of the aisle he’s in, making Cas brace himself with a hand on Dean’s back which he doesn’t drop as Dean turns to face Ellen. She’s already approaching him with her eyebrows raised. “You think you can come in here without saying hello to me, boy?”

“No, ma’am,” Dean says quickly, accepting the brief kiss she places on his cheek. When he sees her turn her gaze towards Cas as she steps back out of his space, he braces himself for the awkwardness about to descend upon him, and says, “Ellen, this is Cas. My boyfriend.”

Ellen has amusement dancing in her eyes when she says, “Nice to finally meetcha, Cas. Heard a lot about you.”

“I bet,” Cas says smoothly. “Dean’s told me a lot about you, as well.”

“I bet,” Ellen echoes, her sly smile giving herself away to Dean at least. “Why don’t you go show your boy your favorite booth over there and I’ll bring you two love birds a couple of beer?” she says to him. 

“Sounds awesome. Thanks, Ellen.”

With that, she turns and heads back to the bar, and he and Cas slide into the booth he motions to. “That was remarkably easy,” Cas says under his breath. “Apparently news travels fast?”

“No, I’ve just been lying about dating you this whole time. Worked out surprisingly well for me.”

“Ha ha,” Cas says dryly, making Dean grin. 

“Sam probably jumped at the chance to tell Jo since he’s had a hard-on for her since they met, and Jo probably told Ellen.”

“And they’re all just going to go along with this?”

“For now,” Dean laughs shallowly, looking at Ellen coming over with their beer. “I’m sure I’ll get an earful later.”

“She’ll have to get through me first,” Cas says, lowering his voice so only the two of them can hear him.

“My hero,” Dean quips, pretending like Cas acting protective doesn’t do things to him.

“Beer for two,” Ellen says, sliding a bottle in front of each of them followed by a couple of menus. She looks at Dean and says, “Not that you need them. Signal when you’re ready,” and then she leaves just as fast as she came over.

Cas holds his beer bottle up and says, “To the best boyfriend I’ve ever had.”

Dean snorts and taps his bottle to Cas’s, because while there may be humor behind that for Cas, it’s actually the truth for him. They both take a drink, and Dean decides to own up to it.

“Y’know, I’ve never made it past a couple of dates with a guy, so technically, I guess you are the best boyfriend I’ve ever had.”

“Unless you want to count the boyfriend I dated for two very passionate weeks when I was sixteen until the other guy’s father found out and threatened to tie my dick in a knot, I would have to say the same is true for me.”

“Yeah right,” Dean says in disbelief. 

Cas smiles nice and wide but says, “I mean it. I was too focused on my studies when I was in college for anything more than one night, and once I got to Manitoba, I was surrounded by teenagers or men old enough to be my father.”

“You were in Manitoba?” Dean asks. “Isn’t that in Canada?”

“I believe I told you I was leaving the country the night we met,” Cas reminds him. 

“Yeah, Lisa said—” His throat closes up suddenly as he’s reminded all over again that she’s gone. He takes a drink from his bottle to try to mask the way his emotions have taken over, but he knows Cas has noticed. “Lisa said you were studying bees.”

“Entomology is what all of the overpaid scientists I corresponded with liked to call it, but yes. Bees were my main focus.”

“And it took you five years to learn about something smaller than a bottle cap?”

“I got a PhD,” Cas says dryly.

Dean can’t contain his excitement. “Holy shit, you’re a doctor?”

"I... guess?... you could say that." As confused as he sounds, Cas’s smile seems to grow along with his. “You’re not a gold digger are you? Because I’m afraid there’s very little money in taking care of bees.”

“No, uh—shit,” Dean says quietly. “I never admit to this right off the bat when I meet people but it would be weird for you not to know if we were dating, so...” Dean looks down at the beer bottle in his hands. “Dr. Sexy was my first gay crush before I realized I was into guys, too.”

“Ohhh,” Cas says, his smile turning cocky now. “So you have a doctor kink and you’re dating somebody with a PhD.”

"Fake dating, so stop sounding so fuckin’ pleased with yourself,” Dean says without any heat behind it.

“Can’t do it. It sounds like we’re perfect for each other,” Cas teases, and Dean just rolls his eyes and pushes a menu towards him. 

“You’re gonna need some nourishment to feed an ego that big, doc.”

“No, not when I make you blush every time I look at you.”

Dean scoffs under his breath but secretly wants to die now that he’s been called out for it. “Excuse me for finding this whole thing a little awkward.”

“What is it that’s so awkward for you?” Cas asks, sounding genuinely curious. “Is it because we already slept together? The lying part?”

Dean shakes his head, nowhere close to being ready to have this conversation. “You know what? Ask me again after a couple of beers.”

“Don’t think I won’t,” Cas says playfully. There’s only the quiet chatter of the people seated around them for a few minutes. Cas is checking out the menu, and Dean’s holding his in front of him but only using it as an excuse to peek over it every now and then to steal glances at Cas. He can't take his eyes off of him and he can't come up with a damn thing to say and he can't figure out why.

He’s always been good at flirtatious banter, at holding his own in any conversation with men or women thanks to learning how to turn on the charm when he was just a kid. He’s never even had to try to get a phone number, never been turned down for a date, and even when he first dipped his toe into the gay dating scene, gay bars had been the easiest place in the world to pick up. But with Cas, just one look from the guy and he’s a tongue-tied, blushing, fumbling mess. He’s an embarrassment to single people everywhere, and even knowing that—maybe because he knows—doesn’t help a damn thing.

“Dean?”

He realizes he was staring for god knows how long as his thoughts got away from him, and (shocker) he flushes red right to the tips of his ears. “Yeah, sorry.”

“Everything looks good,” Cas says, the intonation of his voice letting him know he’s likely already said that once. “So I think I’ll just go with a burger since you praised them earlier.”

“You won’t be sorry,” Dean assures him, waving Ellen over. “What do you eat on your burger?”

“Everything plus barbecue sauce.”

Dean nods as he takes another swig of his beer, noting that Cas hasn’t even touched his since they were delivered. “Don’t like your beer?” he wonders.

“Just pacing myself,” Cas responds, lifting the bottle to his lips for a drink.

“You a lightweight?” 

“It’s been said,” Cas admits, making Dean smile. 

Ellen comes over and takes their orders, raising an eyebrow at Cas’s barbecue sauce addition, and then they’re left alone again with more silence.

Cas says, “I propose we do a rapid-fire question round.” Dean snorts at the suggestion. “I figure it’s the fastest way to get the small details out of the way while we get drunk enough to dive into the deep stuff.”

Seeing as he can’t find a fault in that logic, he nods. “Okay, doc, you’re up first. Hit me.”

“How old are you?”

“27. You?”

“I turn 30 next month. You go.”

“Your birthday’s in September?” Dean checks.

“September 18. Yours?”

“January 24.” 

“Do you only have the one brother?” Cas asks.

“Yeah. Sam’s four years younger than me. We’re really tight; he’s basically my best friend.”

“I don’t have any siblings,” Cas offers before he can turn the question around on him.

“Parents?”

“Obviously I have some, but we haven’t spoken in years. Last I heard they were somewhere in Europe, still scandalized that their only son is attracted to men and women.”

“That blows,” Dean says honestly. “My parents died when I was fifteen. My dad’s friend, Uncle Bobby, took in me and Sam. He, uh, passed. A few years ago now.”

“I’m sorry. That probably explains why you and your brother are so close,” Cas comments, and Dean nods before he takes another drink. Been ten years and he still hates talking about his parents. “What kind of music do you listen to?”

“Classic rock,” Dean answers immediately. “And honestly, some of the Billboard pop stuff grows on me after a while.”

Cas answers that classic rock is just fine, but admits he doesn’t know any recent songs that might be on the Billboard charts. From there, they cover movies (Cas hasn't seen anything), books (where they're evenly matched), and television shows (again, Cas has seen nothing), and they’re in the midst of an increasingly heated argument about House Hunters when Ellen brings their food.

“That doesn’t make any sense!” Dean argues. “Why would they even do that?”

“I’m telling you. My co-worker’s niece was on the show and it’s all fake.”

“Boys,” Ellen cuts in, placing a burger and fries in front of Cas first, and then Dean. “Let’s get along now.”

“You try to get along with a guy as cynical as he is,” Dean says, popping a piping hot french fry into his mouth and trying to blow the steam out without losing any of the crispy, salty goodness.

“I’m not being cynical, I’m just telling you what my co-worker told me.”

“Well, she’s full of shit,” Dean maintains.

“She’s not!” Cas argues. “Her niece was living in her house for two months before she went on the show, and then the producers took all of her stuff out of her house and had her fake looking at two other places before she chose the house she already purchased.”

“That is such a load of shit!”

“She had no possessions for three days, all of her stuff was just stacked outside of her house covered with a tarp, and she was barely even compensated for it. The whole thing was an elaborate scam if you ask me.”

Because he can see the truth in the captivating blue eyes looking at him across the table, he’s forced to believe Cas no matter how much he doesn’t want to. He slumps back in his seat, a frown pulling at the corners of his mouth, feeling like he just found out Santa wasn’t real. 

“Well shit, Cas. You just ruined one of my favorite shows.”

“Stop that right now,” Cas says, making Dean look back up at him. 

“What?” Dean challenges, his two finished beer taking most of the edge off of his nervousness. “I’m sad! I liked that show.”

“Your mouth is distracting enough as it is without you purposely making your lips more pouty.”

Dean loses about three full seconds to complete shock as the memory of what Cas said before he left that first night comes back to him.

“Do me a favor and think hard about the whole ‘I’m straight’ thing when I’m gone. Maybe that way when I spend the next five years dreaming about really putting your lips to work, it won’t be for nothing.”  

He just manages to rasp out a joke. “Guess five years of dreaming about them wasn’t enough after all.”

The way Cas’s pink lips curve sinfully at the same time his eyes flash with heat is fucking pornographic, and Dean feels arousal hit him like a punch to the gut. “Oh, I think we both know dreaming about them isn’t what I really wanted,” Cas answers easily. Like it’s no big deal to admit he’s been thinking about Dean’s lips for five fucking years.

“Well, at least dreaming means you skipped over the awkward years when I was overeager without any skill,” Dean jokes.

Cas, though? He hones in on his words like a target. “And you’re past those years now, are you?”

Finding Cas’s obvious interest emboldening, he replies, “Still eager, but a lot can change in the skill department in five years.”

Their eyes catch, and again, that crazy pull combined with the hungry look in Cas’s eye lights him up like a fire from the inside out. “Well, if you ever find yourself in need of an impartial judge, I could probably be convinced to make the sacrifice.”

Dean snorts with laughter at the put-upon tone of voice Cas used to say that. It takes some of the heat away from Cas's gaze, and has him feeling like they’re back on equal footing. “You can’t be impartial if you’re my fake boyfriend.”

“Drats,” Cas says, smirking at him openly while he finishes off his second beer. “I’ll have to try to come up with a better pick up line later.”

“Didn’t need one the last time,” Dean reminds him.

“I must be losing my touch then,” Cas shoots back. 

He purposely lets his eyes drag slowly along Cas’s sharp jaw, the dark shadow of stubble starting to show, his messy hair, and lastly, his blue, blue eyes before he responds. “Not from where I’m sitting.”

Cas shakes his head as if he can’t quite believe what he’s hearing. “So all it takes to get you to flirt with me is two and—” He squints at what’s left in Dean’s bottle of beer. “A quarter beer?”

That damn heat comes to his cheeks again, but he shrugs and says, “Looks like.”

“Serious question,” Cas says, leaning in so that his elbows rest on the table between them. “How are you still single?”

This time his snort is decidedly bitter. “You want a list?” 

“Yes.”

“I’m too nice,” Dean says, counting on his fingers as he goes. “It’s weird that I’m attracted to guys, too—or women, depending on who you’re talking to. Apparently it’s really hard to understand that just because I’m bi doesn’t mean I’m gonna cheat on who I’m with. I want to settle down. I want kids. I don’t want to move to a bigger town. I’m a homebody. Should I keep going?”

Cas eyes him, blinking his disbelief. “Aren’t women everywhere complaining that men like you don’t exist?” Cas asks, driving Dean to take another swig of his beer. “And aren’t men everywhere offering you the world when they see how well endowed you are?”

Dean can’t quite stifle a laugh at having that brought up at dinner after not seeing each other for five years, and when Cas laughs along with him, their laughter carries on for several seconds, leaving him feeling lighter and more relaxed than ever by the time it trails off. “Nice to hear I left an impression.”

“Considering your dick is the last I’ve seen, I guess you could say that.”

Dean leans in, lowers his voice so that he’s not announcing it to the whole room, and questions, “You haven’t had sex since we saw each other last? Or, wait, just with women?”

“No, not at all, and don’t think I can’t hear the horror in your tone of voice,” Cas says knowingly. “It was a very long five years.”

“I mean, it’s been years for me too, but I thought that was just the worst luck ever. How, literally how, have you not gotten laid in five years? Aren’t there other bee geeks like you?”

“I’m a nerd, not a geek, thank you very much,” Cas says with an adorable little smile that makes his heart skip. “I don’t know how it never happened. I’ve been told I’m hard to approach, but I’ve never had to do it so I can’t relate,” Cas says, his eyes lit up with laughter in a way that has him giving into the quiet laugh that wants to come out, too. 

“I don’t think you’re hard to approach.” Cas raises an eyebrow at him like he doesn’t quite believe him, and he elaborates, “You’re direct, yeah, but that ain’t a bad thing.”

“I guess that depends on the person. It’s fortunate for us—since we’re deeply, deeply committed to one another—that you happen to like that about me.” Cas slowly, carefully, covers his hand on the table with his, and Dean can’t take his eyes off of how Cas’s hands still dwarf his, his heart pounding at the realization they really are as big as he remembers. “We have to look at least slightly comfortable touching one another, right?”

“I’m not uncomfortable,” Dean lies, his sweaty palm sticking to the table and pink cheeks belying him.

“No?” Dean shakes his head to reiterate his stance. “You look uncomfortable.”

“I look uncomfortable?” Dean echoes, hating the very thought. “How?”

“Same thing I said before. You keep blushing anytime we make eye contact, and your knee has been jiggling under the table almost non-stop since we sat down.” His knee comes to a halt as he realizes it’s bouncing for the first time. Feeling pretty called out now, Dean pulls his hand away and crosses his arms over his chest instead. Cas raises his hand in the air, one finger held up as if to stop whatever explanation Dean’s about to make. “What loosens you up?” When Dean doesn’t respond right away, Cas says, “Liquor, Dean. What gets you talking? Because we need to get past this if we’re going to convince a social worker tomorrow that we’re a couple. Being shy is adorable and quite frankly, more endearing than I was prepared to deal with, but it’s not going to help us at all tomorrow.”

Knowing Cas is right means he begrudgingly motions Ellen over. 

She raises an eyebrow at Dean when she sees he has his arms crossed, but says, “At least nobody’s yelling this time.”

“Can I get a couple of shots of whisky?”

She knows exactly what that means, and the second eyebrow rises like the first as her eyes skirt over to Cas. “You gonna be the one who gets him home after this?”

“Yes, ma’am,” Cas says solemnly.

She scrutinizes him for a few seconds more, then says, “Anything happens to him and you’ll be answering to me, ya hear?”

“Yes, ma’am. I won’t let anything happen to him.”

She leaves to fetch his shots, and Dean can’t resist the small smile quirking at the corners of his mouth. “Yes ma’am? You’re soundin’ like a southern boy like me there, doc.” 

“Who says I’m not?”

Dean breaths a laugh, unconsciously leaning towards him again. “No offence, but you got city boy written all over you.”

“Is that so?”

“Oh yeah. Money, too.”

“You seem so sure of yourself I hate that you’re right,” Cas says with a sigh. Dean lifts what’s left of his beer and tips it towards him in an incomplete toast before he swallows it all down. “I grew up in California, but my family moved around a lot. I lived here for six years before I moved to Manitoba, though. I consider this my home.”

“If Liam’s yours, you wanna raise him here?” Dean asks, almost afraid to bring up what has them sitting here in the first place. 

“Yes. You?”

“Yeah,” Dean says easily. “Got the space, got the house.” 

He stops when Ellen comes back with a tray of five shots. He looks up at her questioningly, knowing she knows that five shots plus three beer will have him crawling home, and she throws her head back and laughs. “Two’re for your boyfriend, sweet cheeks. You didn’t think I was gonna let you spill your guts when the city boy gets to keep his dignity, didja?” 

He grins at Cas’s expression—a mix of surprise, insult, and wariness—and grabs a shot to knock it back. It goes down nice and smooth and he hums his pleasure. “You’re the best, Ellen.”

“That’s just the booze talkin’,” she jokes. “Want me to put this on your card?”

“Yeah, that works. Thanks.”

As she leaves them to their own devices, Cas pins him with an unamused look. “I could have at least paid half.”

“Don’t worry about it. I made major bank yesterday on the sale of a house we flipped,” Dean confesses. 

“Does that happen often?”

“Why, you gonna come after me for my money now?”

“I thought I’ve made it perfectly clear I’m only here for your lips.”

He blushes so hard his ears are burning, and it only gets worse when Cas chuckles knowingly. “Fuck you,” he says lightly, reaching for his second shot. “Take one of these, ya jerk.”

“Well, since you asked so nicely.” 

He tries not to stare at the way Cas’s long, thick fingers dwarf the tiny shot glass even more than usual, but he fails miserably, and he doesn't even attempt to look away from how Cas’s pink lips wrap sinfully around the mouth of the glass. He can feel the heat from his cheeks seeping down his neck to his chest, and despite knowing that he really shouldn’t take another shot so quickly, his throat is bone fucking dry and so he knocks back another one anyway.

“How long until those kick in?” Cas wonders.

“Probably not long,” Dean admits.

“We’ve covered music, movies, and television, so why don’t you tell me about the other key players in your life that I should know about before you start playing footsie with me under the table.”

“You wish,” Dean says, but he tells him all about Jo and more about Sam, which is either easy enough to talk about that he doesn’t stutter like an idiot like he has been off and on since he ran into Cas this afternoon, or the alcohol has started to kick in. He figures it’s the latter, and when he catches Cas searching his eyes for how steady he is, he knows he’s right. “Yeah, alright. I’m a little drunk.”

“I can tell. Your shoulders have relaxed, and while your cheeks are still adorably pink, it’s more of a rosy glow than a flush of embarrassment.” Cas leans in a little closer, and adds, “It reminds me of how you looked the first time we met.”

Considering he was naked and turned on pretty much the whole time they were together last, it doesn’t take a lot of brain power to decipher what he means by that. “Now we’re approaching the why can’t I stop blushing around you territory,” Dean admits, his inhibitions lowered thanks to the shots. 

“You have my full attention.” Cas shows it too, by leaning in a little bit and looking directly into his eyes. When Dean doesn’t elaborate, Cas says, “It has something to do with us having sex, right?” 

“What, didja think it was because you like bees?” he laughs. 

Cas seems to be having trouble keeping a straight face, and Dean beams at him, enjoying nothing more than finding people who appreciate his sense of humor. “Surely you’ve slept with your share of people. Do you blush every time one of them speaks to you?”

“I don’t blush every time you talk to me,” Dean defends.

“No, you’re right. Sometimes I don’t even have to say anything.”

“Do you know how you look at me, dude? Anybody with eyes would blush if you looked at them like you look at me.”

Cas lifts his chin just a hair, looking down at him now in a cocky, confident way that has Dean remembering exactly how Cas took charge in the bedroom—and exactly how much he liked it. “How do I look at you?” 

Dean takes his final shot, knocking back the now warm liquid and feeling it burn just a little bit on the way down, and uses the new-found liquid courage to respond honestly. “Like you wanna rip my clothes off and fuck my brains out.”

“And?”

“And considering you were my big gay awakening and literally nobody has more material in my spank bank than you, it’s a little flustering,” Dean finally blurts.

Cas’s smile spreads wide and knowing, and now the sexy son of a bitch is smirking at him and he can’t decide if he wants to punch Cas or fuck him. “I figured as much.” Dean huffs out a single breath, unable to think of anything to say to that. “If it makes you feel any less flustered, the regularity in which I’ve thought of you in the same context is shameful, frankly.” His voice drops to a whisper, his eyes boring into Dean’s and pinning him in place with the severity of his gaze. “Your lips, your face, how you kissed me like you were starving for it, the sounds you made, exactly how it felt when you sucked my lip into your mouth—”

Dean’s dick is letting its interest be known as each of those moments come back to him. How the first time they kissed it felt like his whole body lit on fire, how he screamed at the top of his lungs when he blew his load into Cas’s wickedly talented mouth, how those pink lips of Cas’s got dark and swollen from the ferocity of their kisses, how it felt damn near succulent when that bottom lip of his popped into his mouth right before Cas came. 

“—how your fingers tightened in my hair and pulled just right, how your breath caught when you tasted yourself after you came down my—”

“Cas.” His name comes out in a weird mix of a plea and a warning. He’s either asking him to stop or begging him to keep going, and he has no fucking clue which one he wants more. 

Cas’s eyes search his, probably trying to figure out the same thing he is, and then his heart stops when Cas says, “Let’s get outta here.”

Chapter Text

They barely make it back inside the house before his shoulders hit the wall as Cas’s lips crash into his. The first press of their lips together after five years of fantasizing about it is fucking electric, sending shockwaves of pleasure down his spine and directly to his rapidly filling cock. Cas’s tongue grazes the seam of his lips and Dean opens for him eagerly, meeting the first needy swipe of Cas’s tongue with his own and groaning at the sensation. 

Cas’s hands burn as hot as fire when they roughly shift down his torso to land on his hips, one foot nudging Dean’s apart so Cas can bend at the knees and line up their erections, dragging a high-pitched sound of pleasure all the way up from the tips of his toes to vibrate where their mouths are seared together. He thrusts forwards instinctively, the friction on his cock good enough that he does it again, groaning when Cas’s hands slide around to cup his ass. The first squeeze has him gasping with pleasure, and as his lips fall open, Cas nudges his head to the side to latch onto his neck.

“Fuck,” Dean breathes, burying his hands in Cas’s soft hair while Cas ravages his skin. “This is really, really stupid.”

Cas makes a sound of agreement against his neck, but instead of making any move to stop, he dips down and sucks even harder on his collar bone, his big hands urging Dean to keep rocking his hips against him. Cas’s scruff scrapes pleasantly on his raw skin and his fingers tighten in Cas’s hair and it’s so fucking good and exactly what he wants but even halfway to drunk he knows it’s such a bad idea. 

“We shouldn’t do this,” Dean says again. “We could fuck—”

“Really hoping,” Cas cuts in with, capturing his mouth once again. He gives in to the impossible weight of his attraction to Cas, losing god knows how long to the way Cas’s lips on his erase every other thought except for more, except for how much he wants him, except for how long he’s dreamed about tasting Cas and feeling his solid weight on top of him again. He gasps again when Cas works his hands between them to undo his fly, and with oxygen comes a moment of clarity. 

“We could fuck everything up,” Dean finishes against Cas’s lips, but considering his hands are frantically unbuttoning Cas’s shirt, it’s pretty clear to both of them that he doesn’t want to stop. He gets Cas’s shirt undone just enough to pull it up and over his head, and Cas rips his shirt up and off for him, too. His shoulders are heaving, his eyes enthusiastically taking in the sight of Cas’s thick biceps and muscular chest. He’s even broader and more fit than he remembers, and the geeky exterior mixed with the weight-lifter’s body has his groin tightening with a new wave of desire. That cocky smile is back on Cas’s face as Cas traps him against the wall and bends at the knee, applying pressure to the backs of his thighs and leaving Dean no choice but to wrap his legs around Cas’s waist when Cas hauls him up off of his feet.

“What the fuck?” he asks breathlessly, his stomach swooping with excitement and nerves as he clings to Cas’s bare shoulders like a scared little kid. “You’re gonna drop me!”

“I am not going to drop you,” Cas replies, wrapping two incredibly strong arms around his lower back and taking several steady steps towards the bedroom. Holy shit, Cas is strong— and holy shit is that ever fucking hot. “I’m going to fuck you into next week,” Cas says, trailing his mouth down Dean’s chest, leaving a wet path behind on his skin. “Or the other way around if you want. I really wouldn’t mind being fucked by a dick as big as yours.”

“No, you—” He stops mid-word to throw his head back on another breathless sound as Cas’s mouth seals over his nipple. “You fuck me. No,” he says, changing his mind again when his cock ruts against Cas’s body. “I wanna fuck you.” He lands on his back flat on his bed, feeling the weight of Cas’s body as he plasters himself on top of him, grinding their hard cocks together so dirty he can hardly breathe through the cloud of lust surrounding him. “W-wait, no. Fuck me. Shit. Both?” he asks desperately, already out of breath, getting a loud round of laughter from Cas that brings a smile to his face while Cas untangles them to pull off his shoes, boxers, and pants.

“I think that’s a little optimistic considering I haven’t touched another person in five years, but I like the way your mind works.” Then, as he glances down at Dean’s new nakedness, he adds, “Jesus, you’re even thicker than I remember. You’re definitely fucking me first.”

If he wasn’t already all the way hard, he’s sure hearing that in Cas’s low, rough voice while he takes off his remaining clothes would have done it. He was afraid to look the last time they were together, but he can see now that Cas is fully erect and standing tall, and he sure as fuck doesn’t have anything to complain about in the dick department either.

“You ain’t bad yourself, y’know,” Dean replies, and then Cas is all warm flesh and hard lines pinning him right back down to the bed, and absolutely everything else goes flying out of his brain except for how unbelievably good it feels. Heavy, firm, solid, hot. 

Cas fuses their mouths together while Dean’s hands explore the flexing muscles in Cas’s back and grinds their cocks together. He can feel the sharp bite of Cas’s hip bones pressing against his and, as their tongues mingle in a dirty dance that has several pleasure-filled sounds escaping against Cas’s lips, he remembers exactly how it felt the first time Cas did this to him, the first time he figured out just how good it can feel to be with a man.

Even though Cas didn’t mean to do it at the time, it’s because of him that Dean can have this at all, that he knows he’s into it, and as soon as he has the thought, he knows he’s gonna give Cas everything he wants tonight to thank him. He uses the element of surprise to flip them over and grabs Cas by the hips to tug him until his ass is even with the end of the bed, and then he drops to his knees. He flicks his eyes up to find Cas’s, feeling a shiver run up his spine from the way Cas is watching him hungrily. Cas is propped up on his elbows, his chiseled chest on display, and Dean lowers his gaze slowly to take in his slightly soft middle and the trail of hair beneath his navel leading the way to Cas’s cock, which is when he purposely swipes his tongue along the seam of his lips.

Cas’s eyes heat up even more, and that’s all he can take. He discovered pretty damn fast that there are few things that make him feel as powerful as turning a strong, tough man into a writhing mess using only his mouth, and he’s dying to see how fast Cas loses that cocky edge to his personality because of what he can do with his lips. He doesn’t waste anymore time before he takes Cas’s thick length in his hand to steady it and leans in to kiss up his shaft. He peppers chaste kisses onto his flushed skin, parting his lips a little bit more with each one until he stops to seal his mouth over the tiny gathering of nerves just beneath Cas’s frenulum, earning his first surprised sound from Cas. Seeing as Cas clearly enjoys that, he does it again, flicking his tongue against the same spot before he makes his way up to the crown. 

He drags his tongue around it slowly, getting Cas as wet as he can before he slides his hand up to start stroking. Cas’s hips stutter forward into his fist, and Dean presses his tongue to Cas's slit, licking up the pearly bead of precum waiting for him with a moan of pleasure.

“Tastes pretty good, Cas,” Dean tells him, and he smirks when he sees Cas bite down on his bottom lip. Oh, how the tables have turned. He’s not some flustered idiot who can’t think of the right thing to say anymore. No, he knows exactly what he’s doing and exactly what he looks like when he’s down on his knees with his red lips shiny with spit and his bright green eyes framed with the long eyelashes he’s learned how to flutter just right, and he’s gonna use it all to tear Cas to shreds. 

He keeps eye contact and opens his mouth to wrap his lips around the tip of Cas’s cock, sucking just hard enough to get a groan from Cas.

Cas pushes until he’s sitting up and then reaches out to trace his bottom lip with his thumb, spreading the mixture of spit and precum from one corner of his mouth to the other. “You’re fucking gorgeous, Dean. You have no idea how much I’ve fantasized about this.”

Wanting to make every one of those fantasies come true and having a pretty good idea what Cas wants to see the most, he opens his mouth to sink down Cas’s length nice and slow. When he feels Cas’s girth stretch his jaw and fill his mouth, his own cock jerks hard and he sucks, hollowing his cheeks so Cas can see the outline of his cock as well as his lips pulled tight around him. He bobs up and down, letting his lips slip in a tight circle along his shaft, applying suction on the way back up to the tip. 

He takes a deep breath through his nose and slides down his shaft as far as he can, feeling the head bump the back of his throat. He considers trying to take in more, but since he’s never really gotten the hang of it and Cas is pretty thick, he sticks with what he knows and sucks his way back up to the tip, following with his hand. He pulls off with a purposeful wet pop, and turns his head to the side to follow the path of a vein down with his tongue, smooching his lips along Cas’s flushed skin up to the head, flicking his eyes up to watch Cas watching him when he drags Cas’s cock along his lips like he’s applying lipstick.

“Fuck, I want to paint those lips with my cum.”

Precum oozes from the tip of Dean’s cock and dribbles down the side at the very thought. “I ain’t sayin’ no.”

Cas’s blue eyes flash icy hot, but then Cas has his face in his giant hands, pulling him up to slam their mouths together. Cas licks into his mouth and sucks on his tongue just right, so fucking dirty it has him rutting his cock into the side of the mattress just for some friction and moaning into his mouth when he finally gets it.

Cas applies enough pressure that Dean knows he wants him to get up, but as he gets to his feet and prepares to climb onto the bed after him, Cas scooches back, reaches over, and opens the drawer on Dean’s side of the bed. Dean stands there with his cock hard and dripping when Cas turns back towards him and wiggles the bottle of lube with a smirk on his face. 

“Need a hand?” Dean jokes, turning Cas’s smirk into a genuine smile.

“Not necessary. I’ve got two.” 

Cas gets up to his knees and spreads some lube on his fingers, then braces himself on one hand and reaches behind him with the other to start circling his opening. Before Dean can even begin to process what he’s about to see, one incredibly thick finger disappears into Cas’s hole. Cas’s head bows forward as his breath comes out in harsh, panting breaths, and Dean’s cock leaps at the erotic sight. 

“Son of a bitch,” he rasps.

Cas turns to face him, hitting him with another confident smile so enticing he feels it strike him like lightning. Cas holds eye contact and he can’t even breathe when he sees the sheen of sweat on Cas’s rosy cheeks, the way a lock of hair has fallen down and is sticking to his forehead, and out of the corner of his eye, Cas fingering himself on his bed.

“See something you like?” Cas teases, his voice low and raspy and hot as fuck.

“Only every inch of you.”

“Flatterer,” Cas quips. “Why don’t you grab a condom so you can fuck me as soon as I’m ready for you?”

He never takes his eyes off Cas as he walks around the bed with his cock bobbing to take a condom out of the drawer Cas got the lube from. He lies on the bed as he rolls it on, still watching Cas as he adds a second finger, his eyes glued to how Cas’s rim is glistening with lube and stretching around his fingers as he pushes them in again and again. 

Seeing as Cas clearly isn’t ready for him yet and this is the hottest fucking thing he’s ever seen in his life, he wraps his hand around his neglected cock and slowly starts stroking as he watches. The direct stimulation after aching for it for so long, combined with the show Cas is putting on, has a whimper torn from his lips and his hand squeezing to form a tight tunnel around his cock. He drags his thumb up to rub along the sensitive underside of his cock, squeezing up and over the crown before he slides his hand back down and starts all over again. 

He notes with interest that Cas moves a lot faster than he does when he preps himself—he likes to tease himself more, be twitching with how bad he wants it before he finally inserts his fingers or a toy—but Cas’s hand is steady and sure despite how perfunctory his movements are, and based on the way Cas’s back is rising and falling with his heavy breaths and his cock is still hanging heavily between his legs, it’s clearly working for him. 

“You’re so big, I think I might need a third finger to take you,” Cas says, aiming a questioning look at him over his shoulder. “Maybe I’ll take a hand after all.”

Thank fuck. Dean reaches for the lube, fumbling in his haste, but once he has a finger slicked up he drapes his body over Cas’s, moulding his chest against the enticing arch of Cas’s back and nipping at the flushed flesh on his neck. God it feels good to have skin-to-skin again, and he follows the sharpened edge of arousal to get a grip on Cas’s firm ass cheek before he trails his hand down between Cas's legs to rub two fingers along Cas’s taint. 

“Fffuck.” Cas’s voice comes out on a stuttering breath that quickly gets sucked back in when Dean wiggles his finger inside of Cas along with Cas’s other two. Cas is incredibly tight, Dean’s panting he’s breathing so hard, and just thinking about his cock buried in that perfect slicked up heat has lust racing through his veins.

“How’s that feel?” he asks, his lips traveling the shell of Cas’s ear.

“Like I want you pounding into me yesterday,” Cas replies, pulling his fingers out entirely.

Dean takes the non-verbal invitation for what it is and inserts three fingers, his breath hot and shaky on the shell of Cas’s ear while his cock rides the crease of his leg. He nibbles at the soft skin behind Cas’s ear and feels his body tense, so he sucks gently as his fingers prod in search of Cas’s prostate. Cas’s whole body jerks when he finds it, and Dean moans happily against his neck as he rubs that one spot over and over until Cas is trembling beneath him. 

Cas surprises the hell outta him when he pushes back suddenly, forcing Dean to stand on his knees, and he’s waiting for instructions when Cas turns just enough to shove him until he falls back onto the bed. He’s laughing until he catches sight of Cas crawling on top of him, his biceps flexing and shoulder blades moving like some kind of jungle cat, only coming to a stop when he swoops in to dominate Dean’s lips once more.

He wipes the lube off of his fingers in the sheets and buries them in Cas’s hair, holding him in place while they ravage each other’s mouths like two men starving. Cas lowers himself until his ass is hovering over Dean’s erection, and he moans when he feels Cas reach between them to grasp his cock in his hand. Overwhelmed with what’s obviously about to happen, his hands flit nervously down Cas’s body until they settle on his hips when Cas straightens up, and then he nods shakily to give the okay as Cas lines himself up until his cock is pressing against his hole. 

His jaw is already hanging open uselessly as Cas begins to lower himself, and his eyes are locked on Cas’s ass swallowing his lube-shiny cock inch by inch. It’s so fucking warm and slick and there’s a moment where he wonders if he’s really gonna fit, if he stretched Cas enough, if he’s hurting him, but then in the very next breath his cock pops past the first tight ring of muscle and everything is so tight he couldn’t keep in the moan that slips out for anything. He watches raptly as Cas starts to sink down smooth and steady, and he doesn’t realize until Cas’s ass settles onto the bowl of his hips that his thumbs are digging into Cas’s hipbones with bruising pressure because holy mother of god does this feel good.

“Jesus Christ you feel amazing, Cas,” Dean tells him all in a rush, dragging his eyes back up Cas’s broad torso to settle on his face. 

“You feel fucking huge. Nice and thick. Fuck, ” Cas responds. His eyes are closed and his head is tilted back slightly, exposing his throat so that he can see where Cas’s pulse is pounding beneath his flesh. “It’s been a—a long time,” he stutters. “F-forgot how good it feels to be really full. God, it feels good,” he breathes. 

He opens his eyes to look down at Dean—likely seeing how his jaw is clenched and how his chest is heaving with how overwhelmed he feels already—and smirks. 

“Are you ready for a ride, Dean?” When Dean nods, Cas’s eyes darken as he braces himself on Dean’s chest. He lowers his voice, and says, “I don’t need you to do anything but lie there, okay, gorgeous? I want to show you exactly how I want you, and all you have to do is not come until I do. Sound good?”

Sound good? Cas taking him exactly how he wants him—taking control—ticks all his boxes whether he’s being fucked or fucking, and wrapped up with the way Cas is looking at him like he’s going to fuck him into next week has his throat feeling so thick with desire that all he can do is nod. 

Taking that as permission, Cas grinds back onto him in a slow, dirty circle that makes his toes curl. Dean whines, begging, “Again,” already, and Cas complies, his shoulders and torso twisting rhythmically along with his hips, putting on a show Dean already knows he’d die to watch over and over and over again if he could. He’s glad Cas starts slow, switching it up from circling his hips to a tortuously sluggish back and forth, making damn sure Dean feels every single inch of his cock sliding in and out again and again, because Cas sure as hell knows what he’s doing and if he went any faster, he’s sure he would embarrass himself by coming way too soon. 

Arousal has been burning like flames low in his stomach ever since Cas straddled him, and seeing him like this on top of him, so confident and lithe, is like throwing gasoline onto an already mighty fire. He knows Cas told him not to come, and he knows he just started moving, but Cas looks like the epitome of sex and he can’t imagine being more turned on than he is right now. 

“Fuck, you’re hot,” he blurts. 

Cas gets an almost-evil glint in his eye, and the next thing he knows, Cas stops grinding and starts fucking—hard. Cas lifts himself up until just the head of Dean’s cock is squeezed tightly around him, and even knowing what’s coming next, he cries out when Cas slams himself back down, impaling himself on his cock. 

He watches Cas’s cock bob heavily as he moves up and down the length of his cock like he’s riding a bucking bronco, the sound of skin slapping on skin only driving him higher and higher. Cas alternates between locking eyes with him in a challenging, knowing way, and tilting his head back with his eyes closed, so greedily reveling in the bliss he finds as he bounces on top of Dean, taking his huge cock inside of him again and again. 

He burns with the knowledge that Cas has complete control and knows exactly how to use it. He looks so incredibly sexy, so sure of himself, bold and confident in a way Dean will never be, making him feel impossibly better and hotter with every second he's sheathed inside of him.

He’s reduced to a sweating, writhing mess, not able to say anything except Cas’s name, moaning it softly over and over while Cas uses him just the way he wants to. His thumbs continue to dig into Cas’s hips, using every ounce of control he has not to thrust his cock mindlessly between his cheeks and up into the tight heat surrounding him. Cas is already riding him so fucking good though, driving him to a realm of pleasure he didn’t even know existed, one where he doesn’t even have to move because it can’t possibly get better than this. 

Cas tilts his hips the next time he takes him inside, and he can tell just by the way Cas clenches around him that he has managed to hit the sweet spot, and things only get more frantic from there. Cas sets a punishing, ferocious pace, rising and falling on top of him faster and harder than anything he’s ever seen, any person he’s ever been with. Cas’s hands are sweaty on his chest, pinching and burning where they rub on his skin, and still, all he can do is try to breathe, try not to come, try to concentrate on anything except for the way his name sounds coming off of Cas’s lips and the smear of precum Cas has dribbled onto his stomach. 

A dangerous heat flares in his stomach because fuck that’s too hot to think about when Cas is riding him like he is. 

“You are way too fucking good at this,” he rasps out. 

“Don’t you dare come,” Cas threatens. 

He whimpers, because for some fucked up reason, Cas telling him what to do is even hotter, and Cas is squeezing so tight, moving on top of him, raising his hips and dropping back down without restraint. Cas is making these delicious little sounds, coarse and guttural, getting louder and louder as his movements become desperate and jerky, and he hopes to Christ that means Cas is getting close too because he can hardly collect himself enough to take a full breath let alone hold off an orgasm. 

He tries to gather his wits, really tries to think of something unsexy, but Cas is perched on his cock like a fucking rock star or a king or something, blue eyes gazing down at his lips like he wants nothing more than to attach himself to his mouth for the next ten years and would that be so bad when Cas can fuck like this? Cas looks absolutely gluttonous with pleasure and Dean would rather shrivel up and die than stop watching him, mesmerized by his sharp hips rolling and rocking beneath his palms, his back arching with pleasure.

“You close?” Cas asks him.

Dean huffs out a laugh, which gets Cas’s lips to quirk, too. “Really fucking close.”

“Time for the big finish,” Cas smirks, and jesus fucking christ.

If he thought Cas was going hard before, it’s nothing compared to how brutally ruthless he slams down onto him now, over and over. His skin is on fire, he can’t fucking breathe, and everything is happening all in a rush now. It’s all heady and raw and hot and Cas’s hips are slamming down into his and apparently they’re both making the fucking animal noises that are filling his ears along with the slick squelch of lube and friction. 

He feels like he’s burning up, his whole body strung tight, pulled taut, like something big is about to snap—like he’s going to explode. He knows his body well enough to know there’s no going back now, he’s too close, he’s past the point of no return. 

“Cas,” he gasps, the only warning he can possibly give him, and thank fuck, Cas nods, grinding down and pulling a truly embarrassing whimper out of him but he’s done. He loses his grip in Cas’s hips for the first time, feels his hands fall flat onto the mattress and takes in every little detail of the man who’s starred in more of his dirtiest fantasies than anybody else and somehow manages to look a million times more enticing in real life.

Cas’s body is covered in a thin sheen of sweat, his flush has spread all the way down his neck to his broad chest, and the bulge of his biceps from where he’s bracing himself on Dean’s chest are flexing, making him dream about sinking his teeth into them. Cas’s huge fucking hands are denting his skin as he rocks forward and up, down and back, again and again.

“Dean,” Cas grits out. “Fuck. Dean, Dean, D—”

The tension he’s so desperately trying to hold on to is causing his extremities to shake, his muscles to tense, and his skin to burn—and it snaps as he loses control and thrusts hard and deep up into Cas. 

“Dean! Fuck! Ah!”  

He drives himself inside of Cas to the hilt, feeling Cas meet him halfway and grind down filthily once they connect. Cas begins to tighten around him sporadically and that’s it. He’s done. The only thing he can possibly do now is let it happen. 

He lies back and takes it. Lets the heat build low in his belly, lets it grow and grow, feeling it swell, getting bigger and bigger, tighter and tighter. Fresh sweat beads on his forehead and makes the sheets stick to his back, his breath bursts out of his lungs like flames, his fingers clench in the sheets, and his mouth drops open in a silent scream as his pleasure finally reaches its peak.

He rears up off the mattress, impaling Cas on his cock one final time as his orgasm rips through him like hellfire. He can’t even explain the sound that escapes him because he comes so hard little black dots fill his vision, and he’s just lucid enough to register splash after splash of hot cum landing on his stomach and chest, some even hitting his neck, and he knows when Cas’s significant weight collapses on top of him that Cas feels every bit as good about the orgasm he just had as he does his own.

Holy shit. 

Cas’s body slick with sweat and burning hot against his might be the only thing keeping him tethered to consciousness. He’s never felt his heart beat this fast, and the fact that he’s literally struggling to breathe could be because he’s actually dying, or it could be because Cas weighs a fuck ton, but either way he can’t find it in him to complain. He hasn’t felt this good, this sated or well-fucked in years.

Like Cas can read his mind, he grunts, lifts his ass to separate their bodies, and falls sideways onto the mattress with a groan. Dean removes and ties off the condom, tossing it into the trash can strategically placed next to his bed, and grabs a few wet wipes from his drawer before falling flat onto his back again. His chest is still heaving when he wipes the lube from the condom off of his dick and the lube that’s seeped into his pubes, then he tosses those wipes and grabs a few new ones to wipe up the cum on his chest and Cas’s.

“I might die,” Cas rasps once they’re both clean. “But I need you to know it was worth every second of that dick in my ass.”

“Five years of unresolved sexual tension’ll do that to a guy, I guess,” Dean says, feeling smug with the amount of endorphins rushing through him. 

“Less talking, more lazy, after-glow kissing,” Cas demands, crooking a single finger that has Dean reeled in like a fish on a hook. 

From the very first press of their lips together, it’s immediately apparent that this kiss is something different. This isn’t a desperate, wild kiss driven by lust and the need to reach the finish line. This is soft and slow, nice and gentle, and his body melts into the mattress beneath him as their mouths line up again and again. He’s reminded again of what a good kisser Cas is as Cas plays him like a fiddle, drawing quiet little sounds and ragged breaths from him over and over with the perfect curl of his tongue or timely flicks of the tip. 

He knows Cas has caught his second wind some time later when he surges up and pushes him back onto the mattress with one hand on Dean’s shoulder so he can dominate his mouth. It’s a fiery kiss that has his fingers digging into Cas’s firm shoulder blade as he tries to hold on for dear life while Cas takes him apart one kiss at a time. Cas kisses him for so long his lips start to burn, but still, Cas is so fucking good at it, changing it up from hot and heavy to soft and gentle often enough that it never stops feeling new and exciting. By the time Cas drags his mouth down to his neck and starts claiming every little spot that makes Dean’s breath hitch with a love bite, he could definitely be persuaded into a second round, and when Cas kisses down his chest to suck his nipple into his mouth, he’s officially hard again.

His hands are in Cas’s hair, combing through it with his fingers as Cas circles his areola with his tongue, closes his teeth and lips around his peaked nipple, and sucks hard. 

“Okay, okay, okay,” Dean says all in one strangled breath. “If you’re not goin’ for round two you need to—”

His words cut off when Cas just sucks harder, but then he pulls up to release his nipple, looking up at him questioningly. “I thought you wanted it both ways?”

“Shit,” Dean breathes, his dick thickening even more with anticipation. “Seriously?”

Cas looks down between them where they’re both erect and ready to go again, then flicks his eyes back up to him. “I’m certainly willing if you are.”

Dean’s grinning when he replies, “Willing’s an understatement.”

Cas’s eyes flash hot and he situates himself on top of him, lying comfortably between Dean’s legs when he spreads them in invitation, and then there’s more kissing as their cocks rut together until they’re both leaking and throbbing with the need for release. Only then does Cas find the tube of lubricant discarded earlier in the bed sheets, and he takes control yet again by slinging Dean’s leg over his shoulder before he rubs over his opening with a slick finger. Surprisingly, despite the way Cas opened himself up before, he’s almost torturously slow with him.

Cas fingers him open one finger at a time (though it only takes two of his massive fingers to have him stuffed so full he feels like he’s going to burst), zeroing in on his prostate like a homing beacon and reducing him to a panting, squirming, begging mess within minutes, staring at his face unerringly the whole time. 

“Jesus Christ, you’re perfect.”

It’s the first thing either of them has said out loud in what feels like a really long time, and hearing it coming from Cas when he’s looking down at him with flushed cheeks and his eyes dark with arousal causes him to burn red right to the tips of his ears.

“And you have no idea, do you?” Cas asks him, shaking his head in disbelief. “Unbelievably beautiful and absolutely perfect. God, Dean, I want to shake the hand of every person you’ve ever dated to thank them for being stupid enough to let you go just so I could see you like this.”

“Cut it out,” Dean says, somehow blushing even harder than before. 

Cas’s smile flashes quick and fond, and he finally lowers his leg and pulls out his fingers, stretching his body out on top of him while he reaches into the drawer again for a condom. He does it blindly though, because his eyes are still trained on his face, and Cas is close enough that Dean tilts his chin up, asking silently for another kiss.

Cas drops his forehead to his for a quick moment, muttering, “So perfect,” before their lips connect again and he’s being kissed with a tenderness he hasn’t experienced in years—since Lisa—and inexplicably, his eyes start to fill. Willing the unshed tears and the grief clogging his throat away, he puts his hands on Cas’s face, tracing the scruff on his chiseled jaw with his thumbs and reminding himself he’s with Cas right now and everything else can wait. Needing something to distract him, he increases the pressure of his lips against Cas’s and thrusts his tongue inside his mouth more forcefully, surprising a muffled sound of pleasure from Cas.

Having found the condom he was looking for, Cas leans back on his knees and rolls it down his length expertly, watching him the whole time and making him feel all kinds of antsy for a good fuck. 

“Want me to roll over?” Dean asks, knowing that’s the most likely way for him to get fucked good and hard.

“Absolutely not,” Cas replies, falling back over top of him and caging him in with his arms. Cas’s blue eyes hold his for just a second before they drop to his lips. “I want to watch you fall apart.”

His heart thuds in his chest, his cheeks nowhere close to cooling down, and he swallows hard before he responds. “Better fuck me hard then.”

Cas’s gaze sharpens but the affection in his eyes doesn’t wane, and then Cas reaches between them to guide his cock between Dean’s spread cheeks. His head is tilted back with his mouth hanging open from the first solid nudge of Cas’s cock to his opening, and it only gets more intense as he starts to push inside. It’s been so damn long since he’s been fucked that it’s a lot at first, and he winces at that glorious almost-too-much sensation, the burn of skin stretching and muscles loosening for the first time in who knows how long. 

Cas pauses and Dean shakes his head to tell him not to. “I’m good, keep goin’.” Cas looks unsure and pulls out just a little bit in order to press back in more slowly, inching deeper one second at a time until he gets past the worst of it and slides home nice and smooth. Dean’s breath comes out in a strangled-sounding, “Hnnnng,” as Cas bottoms out, finally taking in a nice, soothing breath as he tries to stay relaxed around Cas’s cock inside of him. “Fuck, that’s good.”

Cas sounds every bit out of breath as he does when he responds, “You feel incredible.” Cas drops his head to mouth at his neck again, covering all the same spots he must have left bruises on before, because he feels the dull throb of pain as his lips press to several spots. Cas slinks down to his nipple, letting his breath ghost over one of them as he looks up at him. “Look incredible too, stretched around my cock, smelling like my cum, covered in my bruises.”

Cas sounding possessive has lust burning inside of him, and all he can do is nod and cry out when Cas latches onto his nipple. A bolt of desire goes straight to his already pulsing cock when Cas applies suction, and Dean rolls his hips down jerkily, desperate to feel that thick cock start moving inside of him.

The next thing he knows, he has truly gigantic hands curling around his hips and pinning him to the mattress, and though he struggles to break free to get the friction he’s craving, he can’t even budge and arousal unlike anything he’s ever experienced flares up inside of him when he realizes he couldn’t get away if he wanted to.

“Please,” he whines, precum oozing steadily from his cock.

“Please?” Cas repeats, his voice as rough as sandpaper and his eyes trained on him like a wild animal studying his prey. “Please what, gorgeous?”

“Please,” Dean echoes, trying to keep his voice as steady as possible when his breath is tearing through his lungs like glass. “Fuck me so hard I feel it for a week.”

He can actually see Cas’s pupils dilate, and unprecedented pride races through him when Cas whispers, “Perfect,” that single word lighting fire to his skin like a brand. He’s burning from head to toe when he stretches his arms up over his head to brace himself on the headboard, doing it just in time for Cas to push his legs up to bend at the knee and drive inside of him in one fluid thrust. 

“Yes,” he chokes out as Cas rears back to do it again, and the second time he drills inside of him already has his upper back arching up with inconceivable pleasure. “Yes,” he sighs brokenly. “Again.” Thrust. “Ugh, yeah. H-harder.” Thrust. “Mmmmfff fuck. So good, Cas.”

And Cas continues to give him exactly what he asks for. He fucks him hard and fast, his rough voice gritty and harsh. “You like that?”

“Yes!”

There’s the distinct sound of Cas’s heavy balls slapping against his ass, the headboard knocking against the wall, the breath getting fucked out of him with one powerful thrust at a time. 

“You like taking it just a little bit rough, don’t you, gorgeous?”

He can hardly catch his breath he’s so hot. Cas’s voice is soft and loving, but his words are fucking filthy and his fingers are digging into the backs of his thighs as he keeps fucking him ruthlessly again and again. Every brain cell and every nerve is burnt out and sizzling with Cas, Cas, Cas, and he can’t think let alone form words when he’s getting fucked into oblivion exactly the way he likes it. 

Cas spears into him again, his hips staying flush to his ass cheeks this time, grinding nice and deep and ripping a breathless cry from his lips as Cas’s cockhead rubs his prostate. 

“Don’t you?” Cas asks again, his voice deeper this time, demanding an answer Dean is all too happy to provide.

“Y-yes,” he chokes out, his fingers flexing on the leather headboard trying to get a better grip. “D-don’t stop, Cas, c’mon.”

Cas drops his legs and settles more firmly on top of him, still grinding into his prostate and making him writhe beneath him, the soft hairs on Cas’s stomach tickling Dean’s swollen cock for a split second before it’s trapped between their bodies. He squirms under Cas’s solid weight, seeking friction for his cock and breathing harsh little pants when he gets it. His mouth struggles to close through his ragged breathing and his lips remain parted as Cas’s cockhead continues to rub his prostate ruthlessly, causing his cock to slide through the precum leaking copiously onto his stomach. Then Cas cups his jaw with his palm and presses his thumb down, forcing his mouth open wider, and he delves deeply into his mouth to kiss him passionately as he pulls out to thrust back inside, nailing his prostate like a bulls-eye.

He makes a pitiful sound into Cas’s mouth and releases the headboard to wrap his arms around Cas instead. One hand pushes into the sweaty hair at the back of Cas’s head, and he moans unabashedly when his other hand roves over the flexing of Cas’s back muscles as Cas pistons into him again and again, almost exactly in time with Cas’s tongue sweeping against his. 

Wanting Cas impossibly closer, he hitches his legs up and around his waist, another rough sound escaping him when one big hand runs along his torso and caresses his leg, settling on the curve of his hip as Cas keeps slamming into him. Cas urges him to move with him, and fuck, they’re good together. They’re so in sync, the rolling of their hips, their bodies coming together again and again, Dean’s cock rutting between their stomachs and his hands exploring the vast landscape that’s his lover’s back. 

It’s so fucking good like this, with their lips sealed together, Cas’s hand refusing to stray from his face, his other one burning on his hip, their bodies wrapped as closely together as they can possibly be, Cas’s thick cock keeping a steady and relentless pace, slamming into his prostate often enough that he’s already seeing stars before he even comes. His bedroom smells like sweat and sex, his body is tense with the onslaught of pleasure he’s experiencing, and as Cas continues to unravel him with flick after flick of his wicked tongue, time loses all meaning. All he hears is skin slapping skin, breath catching and quiet sounds of pleasure, and the only other thing he’s aware of is that he’s getting closer and closer to what he already knows is going to be a massively impressive orgasm every time Cas drives inside of him. 

Cas finally breaks the seal of their lips, nudging his head to the side and pressing his forehead to his collarbone. “Touch yourself for me, gorgeous.”

Dean shakes his head, struggling to catch his breath. “Don’t need to. ‘m close.”

Cas bites down on his pec, a surge of pleasure/pain pulsing through him, and he hears him groan quietly before he says, “Perfect.” Cas spreads his legs to get up on his knees more, his hands slipping beneath his lower back to hike him up so his ass is up and off of the bed, and his words are almost lost in his neck when he speaks again. “Let me see you come for me, gorgeous.”

Dean nods, knowing he’s almost there anyway, and then Cas pulls out so only the head remains inside before he spears back into him again and again. Cas sets a furious pace, breathing hard into his neck, sweat dripping from his hair and onto Dean’s neck, Cas’s blunt nails digging into his flesh as he pulls his ass to meet him halfway for every thrust. Dean’s so close now, looking between their bodies to watch where Cas’s thick cock disappears into him over and over, his own cock flushed red and glistening at the tip, the force of Cas pounding his ass causing his cock to slide along his stomach with every thrust.

He can feel it building, feel the familiar pressure getting bigger and bigger inside of him, his fingernails tearing into Cas’s skin as everything gets stiffer, tenser, tighter. 

“That’s it,” Cas rasps, sounding like every one of Dean’s dirtiest fantasies. “You’re so close now, aren’t you? Let it happen, Dean. Give to me, gorgeous.” Dean whimpers, so close he can taste it, every inch of him pulled taut like an elastic band getting ready to snap. “Dammit, Dean,” Cas huffs, slamming into him twice as hard as he did a second ago. “Come for me,” he growls. 

Like his body was only waiting for permission, unbelievable heat rips through him and he locks up as his orgasm is wrenched out of him. The pressure building in his groin reaches its breaking point, and he jackknifes off the bed, howling, “Cas!” as he comes like a fucking rocket. 

Cas bites down on his neck with the filthiest fucking moan he’s ever heard in his goddamn life as he buries himself in deep and shudders his way through his own oragsm, all while cum paints his skin in a series of thick, white stripes. Cas nails his prostate with a final grinding thrust that has Dean shaking from head to toe, so incredibly spent that even the idea of more pleasure has him balanced on the razor blade of pleasure and pain. 

Cas collapses on top of him for the second time tonight, their bodies so completely covered in sweat that it’s actually kinda gross when he feels their skin sliding together, but other than unwinding his legs from being wrapped around Cas, he can’t even begin to think of moving. His heart is beating a mile a minute, he’s huffing and puffing like he just ran a damn marathon, and his face and upper body feel so hot he’s afraid he might actually burst into flames.

But he still doesn’t move. 

He doesn’t recall it happening, but somewhere along the way, the hand that was on Cas’s back must have fallen to his side, because as sensation in his limbs starts coming back to him, he notices Cas’s fingers are twined between his, and it prompts a lazy, half-smile to appear on his face. He hasn’t felt this connected to anybody in ages, and amazingly, the sex between them had been every bit as hot as he dreamed about. Maybe even hotter. He knows for sure now that he didn’t build up the crazy chemistry they had five years ago, it’s just there.  

He’s robbed from enjoying the afterglow of truly amazing sex when Cas pulls out with a gross squelching sound and adds the used condom and wrapper to the trash can, exposing how filthy he feels all covered in cum again. He cleans himself up once more, and then huffs a laugh when Cas grabs a hold of his wrist and tugs until he falls onto his chest. Cas presses a kiss to his temple and strokes a hand up and down his spine, and Dean can’t help but curl into his touch like a big ole cat.

“It’s hard to believe it’s possible, but that was worlds better than I dreamed it would be, and I had extremely high expectations,” Cas says. 

Goosebumps pop up along his arms from the rough, fucked-out tone to Cas’s voice, and he says, “Your voice is like sex incarnate, man.”

“And I was better than you dreamed, too,” Cas prompts with an actual nudge, making him laugh.

“Best sex of my life,” he admits, getting a one-armed squeeze in thanks from Cas. He traces nonsensical patterns through Cas’s chest hair with his fingers while he works on steadying his breathing and normalizing his body temperature, quietly stunned with how easy it feels to be in Cas’s arms. 

“Tell me something nobody else knows,” Cas says suddenly.

Caught off guard, he says the first thing that comes to mind. “I tried to look you up when you were gone. Hard to do without knowing your last name, but I searched a bunch of different times.”

“Uh-uh,” Cas replies, surprising him with the shake of his head. “Something deeper. Something real.”

He swallows hard and says the one thing he’s never admitted to anybody else. “Sometimes—especially at night, you know, or holidays or when I’m sick or had a bad day or whatever—I, uh...” He burrows closer to Cas’s neck, closes his eyes and unintentionally takes in the scent of sweat and sex and a hint of whatever cologne or deodorant Cas uses. It reminds him that for once, for tonight at least, he doesn’t have what he’s keeping inside to be afraid of, and so he finishes, “I hate bein’ alone.”

Cas hums his agreement, like he understands what he’s saying, and it’s kind of a weird thing to feel, but he likes that Cas doesn’t spoon feed him bullshit about how he has his brother and his friends, and look at everything that he’s accomplished, blah, blah, blah, because he knows all of that and he knows he’s lucky to have it, but that doesn’t fill the other side of his bed at night.

“I’m terrified that Liam might be mine,” Cas confesses. 

Dean nods even though his head is tucked in under Cas’s chin. “Yeah, me too.”

“No, it’s not the same for you,” Cas disagrees. “I don’t have a place to live. I don’t have a job. My car could literally die on me tomorrow, and I’ve never even had a conversation with a kid. I have no idea how to raise one, where we would go, how I would support him.”

“Hey,” Dean says gently, pulling away enough so that he can look at him. He’s surprised when he sees Cas’s eyes glistening and his mouth pulled tight like he’s trying not to cry, and even more surprised by what comes out of his mouth next. “I’m not just gonna kick you out when you’ve got no place to go, okay?”

“You don’t even know me,” Cas reminds him.

“Yeah, but whether Liam’s mine or yours, he’s still Lisa’s, and I—I loved her,” he says, trying not to get emotional now himself. “If her kid needs someplace to stay, I’m gonna be there for him, and if that means bein’ there for you by extension, well then you stay, too.”

“I’m not in a position to turn you down, but for the record, I wish I had a leg to stand on to argue,” Cas responds, pulling a laugh out of him. “What’s your flaw, Dean?”

“Didn’t you hear the list back at The Roadhouse, or were you too blinded by my beauty?”

“None of the things you listed were flaws, and don’t pretend to be smug because it doesn’t suit you at all.”

Dean laughs again, rolling onto his back and putting his hands behind his head. “I dunno, Cas, I’m feeling pretty smug right now.”

“That’s okay, I lied anyway. It absolutely suits you.”

Dean snorts out a quiet laugh. “You already got in my pants twice, y’know. You don’t need to flatter me.”

“Impossible not to,” Cas tosses back. 

Dean stretches out and checks the clock, surprised to see it’s almost ten. Apparently they were tied up in one another a lot longer than he thought they were. 

“Will you think I’m lame if I tell you how beat I am before ten o’clock?” he wonders.

“I almost fell asleep when you were playing with my chest hair,” Cas replies. “I hardly slept at all last night.”

“That makes two of us. You wanna go to bed?”

Cas raises his eyebrows. “Is this your subtle way of asking me to go across the hall?”

“What? No!” he says automatically. But then he realizes that maybe Cas wants to leave since they weren’t even out on a real date, and his face floods with color. Jesus, here he is being a fucking idiot already getting attached to the man who’s only here because he has nowhere else to go. “I mean, unless you want to. I know it was just sex or whatever and we’re not really dating.”

Cas purses his lips, scrutinizing him carefully before he answers him. “Very tactile person,” Cas reminds him. “I would like to sleep in here with you if you’re not against the idea.” 

“I’m not against the idea,” Dean says quietly, secretly thrilled about getting to spend the night with somebody again—with Cas for the first time. And he’s definitely not against Cas leaning in to brush their lips together, either, even if it probably does toe the line of the whole strangers/fake boyfriends/lover predicament they’ve somehow gotten themselves into.

They get ready for bed after that, taking turns using the unfinished en-suite and then brushing their teeth together. Dean makes sure everything is turned off and the blinds are pulled down on the picture window, then after he sets his alarm for 8:30 as usual, he climbs into bed with Cas by his side.

Just like before, Cas tugs him in until he’s pillowed on his chest, and with Cas’s strong arms wrapped around him, lonely feels like a distant memory.

“Is this alright?” Cas asks him quietly. “I don’t want to cross any lines just because I like touching you.”

Thank god Cas can’t see his face, because even after fucking and getting fucked, apparently he can still make him blush with just a couple of words. Cas likes touching him, and not just for sex. “It’s awesome.”

Cas’s chest rises quickly with a quiet huff of laughter. “Awesome,” he echoes, laying his cheek on Dean’s head, and amazingly, he’s out within minutes. 

Chapter Text

He wakes up the next morning to Cas shaking him. “Dean. Dean, wake up! There’s somebody knocking on the door.”

“Wha?” Dean asks blearily, still mostly sleeping.

“The door, Dean,” Cas says firmly. “Somebody is knocking on the front door. Do you want me to get it?”

He grunts and shakes his head, dragging his slightly sore ass out of bed to step into a pair of boxers and slip into his housecoat, tying it around his waist while he shuffles blindly towards the front door. 

He can’t frigging wake up this fast. He needs to lie around for a few minutes first to make his brain start working enough to find his way to the coffee pot, and only after at least two cups of coffee can he actually speak. So suffice it to say that stumbling to the damn door in his underwear at god knows what time in the morning has him in a piss poor mood, and he’s not even sorry for the scowl on his face when he opens it.

“Hiya!” a blonde woman greets him perkily. “How ya doin’ there? Mr. Winchester I’m guessin’? Or am I lookin’ at Mr. Novak?” 

“Who the hell are you?” he grunts, one hand still on the door so he can shut it in her face if she woke him up to try to sell him something. 

“I’m Donna Hanscum, I work for social services.” She holds up a badge and he squints at it in confusion. Social services? Then his eyes bulge out of his head when social services sinks in, which is exactly when Donna says, “I’m here to do a residence check.”

He clears the sleep out of his throat and tries to sound more friendly when he asks, “I thought we were supposed to get a phone call first?”

If it’s possible, her smile grows even bigger. “I hear ya, yeah.” She leans in conspiratorially and adds, “Don’t want ch’ya cleanin’ away the good stuff before I get here though, do I?” 

He eyes her with confusion when her gaze travels to his neck and down his chest, and suddenly feeling really naked standing here in front of a social worker who’s checking him out, he pulls his robe a little closer together.

“Right. Well, come in, I guess. I need some coffee. You want?”

“Heck no,” she says, stepping through the door. “Coffee makes me bubbly.”

With his back to her while he leads the way to the kitchen, he rolls his eyes liberally and tries not to mention that she didn’t take her shoes off at the door. Deciding to let it go for the greater good, he puts a pot of coffee on and then says, “Would you mind giving me a minute so I can get some pants on?”

“That is how I prefer to meet with my clients,” she replies. 

“Right.”

He passes Cas on the way to his room, glaring at him for being fully dressed and completely presentable when he had to meet this chick in his fucking boxers. But shock steals some of that when Cas stops him to press a kiss to his cheek before waving him on, the gesture so out of nowhere that Cas actually has to give him a little push to make his feet start again. 

It is way too early for this shit. 

“Sorry about him,” Cas says to Donna as he walks on by. “I’m afraid he’s a bit of a bear before coffee.”

“Ex husband was the same,” Donna replies. 

Though he can’t see them, he hears Cas introduce himself while he throws on a pair of jeans and a clean shirt and rushes into the bathroom to swish some mouthwash around to get the terrible taste out of his mouth. It’s then that he stops dead and does a double-take when he sees the necklace of bruises Cas left on his neck last night. Pulling his shirt away from his body and glancing down at his chest confirms there’s some there, too, and now Donna’s wandering eyes back at the front door make perfect sense. 

He’s going to kill Cas.

He runs his hand through his hair to try to tame it a little bit, then decides that without a shower this is as good as it’s gonna get, and walks back into the kitchen. Donna and Cas are sitting at the kitchen table, and he barely spares them a glance while he makes a bee-line for the coffee.

“Here you go, gorgeous,” Cas says, holding out a steaming mug. “I poured you a cup to get you started. Did you want me to fix it for you?” 

Dean raises an eyebrow at that, knowing Cas has no idea how he takes his coffee. “I got it, thanks.”

He grabs the cream out of the fridge and dumps in a healthy dose, then adds three sugar cubes, gives it a stir, and gulps down as much as he can without burning his throat. He leans back against the counter, fakes a smile in the direction of Donna, and says, “There. Better already.”

Cas takes a few steps towards him and leans back beside him, sliding his arm around his back like he’s done it a million times before. “So, what do you need to see?” Cas asks Donna.

“Let’s check out the bedroom,” she says.

Immediately thinking of the events of the night before, Dean’s nervous and already blushing. “We, uh, didn’t really have time to clean up since we weren’t expecting you.”

“Okie dokie,” Donna says, taking off down the hall without another word. 

Dean turns to Cas, frantically whispering, “Do we follow her?”

“I have no idea.”

Deliberating for a moment about if it's better or worse for him to be there while she goes through his bedroom, he ultimately decides he wants to see. “I’m following her.”

He takes his mug with him, and the second he peeks into his bedroom, he wants to die. Donna is standing there with a little notepad in her hand. She has the drawer of his nightstand open, peering down into what he knows is a drawer full of porn, vibrators, dildos, plugs, several kinds of lube, and his jumbo pack of condoms. 

“You use condoms?” Donna asks.

Dean blinks, wondering if she can read his mind. “What?”

“You’re in a serious, committed relationship, but you’re still using rubbers?” she repeats.

There isn’t enough coffee in the world for this, and for the life of him, he can't think of a single thing to say. 

“Just a preference on my part,” Cas swoops in with. “We both last longer using a condom, and there’s less mess to deal with afterwards.”

“Gotcha,” she says, scribbling on a pad of paper Dean’s convinced she pulled out of nowhere. “How often do you have sex?”

“What?” Dean squeaks.

“Got a couple of condoms in the trash here. Castiel has been back since Sunday? Handsome young fellas like you, gotta say, I expected to see more.”

He’s pretty sure he couldn’t come up with a believable explanation for that if a gun was held to his head. 

“We only use condoms for intercourse, and we don’t always make it that far, if you know what I mean,” Cas explains with a chuckle. “I don’t expect we’ll always be so hot and heavy, but we’ve been having some sort of sexual contact several times a day.”

“And when you were apart? How did the distance treat yas in the sex department then?”

“FaceTiming and texting made it easier than you’d think,” Cas says easily. “I expect Dean has a folder full of photos of me in compromising positions on his cell phone, the same way I have of him.”

Donna nods. “And pornography? How often do you indulge?” 

What the actual fuck? How is that relevant to raising a kid?

“A few times a week when we were apart," Cas says, as easy as anything. "Not at all since I’ve been back.” 

Donna turns to him for his answer, and though his face is as red as it’s ever been, he replies, “Few times a week, yeah.”

She smiles when Cas wraps his arm around his waist. “Not too often ya see paper magazines these days. Busty Asian Beauties, huh?”

Dean shrugs, internally wishing he could die. “What can I say?”

“How do you feel about your partner looking at naked photos of women?” Donna asks Cas. 

“Considering I sent him half of what he has in that drawer, I feel pretty good about it,” Cas laughs huskily, nuzzling into his neck. “Those magazines are responsible for some very good memories, aren’t they, gorgeous?”

Dean elbows him playfully, genuinely mortified by the very idea of sharing what Cas is making up with a social worker. “Knock it off.”

“Cuties,” Donna comments happily, walking away and into the en suite. She clicks her tongue as she looks at the old, beat up toilet and the peeling wallpaper. “Bit of a fixer upper.”

“Yeah,” Dean admits. “Everything works though, and it’s not unsafe or anything.”

Donna shoots him a quick smile over her shoulder. “Oh, don’t you worry, this isn’t even close to the worst bathroom I’ve walked through. Plus you get extra points for having the toilet seat down.”

Dean huffs out a laugh at that, and then they follow her around the rest of the house. She checks out the spare rooms and seems impressed by the free space available, though she raises an eyebrow and scribbles on her pad when she sees Cas’s stuff piled in the corner of the empty room. The main bathroom and kitchen is met with approval... right until she opens the fridge and comments on the lack of fruit and vegetables... and anything that isn’t takeout. Cas steps in and says that was going to change now that he’s back with or without Liam, and the chastising look he gets from Cas is believable enough that he actually feels bad before he remembers he doesn’t really have to answer to Cas. 

Donna is absolutely thrilled with the backyard, and lights right up when Cas comments that Dean could probably throw together a swing set and sandbox. It would be a piece of cake, so he nods and agrees while Cas prattles on about planting sunflowers in front of the window because of how nice they would look from the bedroom. Cas has such a dreamy, wistful expression on his face that he forgets they’re pretending for a second and reaches out to pull him in and press a comforting kiss to his temple, his heart aching with how obvious it is that Cas wants that but doesn’t have the means to make it happen. 

The genuine thankful look he gets in response from Cas is what reminds him he’s not supposed to want to comfort him like that, and his face is burning when Donna asks where would be a comfortable place for the three of them to sit and provide some information she doesn’t already have.

They take a seat in the living room where Donna grills them about criminal records, drinking habits, drug usage, mental health, and family and medical histories. 

“Just about done here, you two have been great sports so far. Just a few last questions I missed while I was going down my list, okie dokie?” she checks. When they both nod, she continues, “I’m pretty darn sure I’ve looked in every nook and cranny, but just to be super duper sure, do you have any firearms in the house?”

Dean shakes his head. “No, ma’am.”

“Have either of you ever had an STD?”

They both reply, “No,” at the same time.

“When’s the last time you were checked?”

Dean swallows hard and looks at the floor. “I, uh, I’ve never.”

Cas’s hand covers his in solidarity. “Me neither.”

“Oh boy,” she says, actually wincing. “Okay. Why don’t you two go freshen up grumpy bear’s coffee there while I write up a few things, and I’ll call ya back over when I’m ready?”

“What kind of things?” Dean asks.

She smiles, reassuring him with the kind look in her eye. “Nothing to worry about. Just gimme a few quick shakes, okay?”

“Come on, Dean. Let me fix you a fresh cup of coffee. You said yesterday it tastes better when I make it for you.”

“That’s just ‘cause I wanted you to bring me coffee in bed,” Dean says, playing along.

Cas chuckles, but he looks suitably insulted, too. “So now the truth comes out. Come on, you scoundrel.” Dean laughs with him and accepts the hand he’s offered, flushing ridiculously when Cas pulls him to his feet much too hard. The momentum causes their chests to crash together, and then Cas swoops in to catch his lips in a smacking kiss. “I deserved that.”

He doesn’t have the brain power to say a damn thing, so he just steps away and snags his coffee mug with a sweaty palm before he bolts to the kitchen, silently berating himself the whole time. He feels like an idiot for the butterflies in his stomach and the blush on his cheeks because he knows Cas is just acting like they’re together because he has to and yet, here he is. Flushed and sweaty with fucking butterflies in his stomach just because a hot guy is actually being nice to him.

He needs to get a handle on this, he tells himself as he refills his coffee mug.

“Hey,” Cas says, stepping up behind him and resting his big hands on his hips, not doing a damn thing to help ease the blushing. “I thought I was making that for you?”

“I thought we were just joking.”

“That’s fine with me.” He squirms when he feels Cas’s nose brush the skin beneath his ear. “You smell like me.”

“Didn’t really get a chance to shower,” he says quietly.

“I’m not complaining. In fact, I’m quite happy to stand here with your hips in my hands thinking over last night.”

His stomach swoops and he can actually feel his flush spread to the back of his neck. He lowers his voice to a whisper and says, “You don’t have to lay it on so hard, man, come on.”

“Meaning?” 

Dean steps away to grab the cream again, not wanting Cas’s hands distracting him when he says what he wants to say. “Nobody’s gonna believe you’re that into me.”

He adds the cream and his sugar cubes, then returns the carton to the fridge, all while Cas doesn’t say a single word. He can feel his gaze on him though, so he stirs his coffee more thoroughly than he really needs to, and only once he can’t possibly carry on the pretense any longer does he lift his eyes to Cas. Cas, who is looking at him with a mixture of sadness and understanding that instantly has him feeling defensive.

Without bothering to whisper at all, Cas says, “I apologize. I’ve been wanting to touch you for so long that it’s hard to resist now that I have the chance. I’ll try to tone it down, but it won’t be easy.”

Because he genuinely can’t tell if Cas is being serious, joking, or pretending, all he can do is stand there like a moron drinking his coffee with pink cheeks. I’ve been wanting to touch you for so long. Is that Cas saying that, or his pretend boyfriend saying that? Cas did say last night that he’d thought about him, but is that what he means right now or was he just saying what he has to say in front of Donna? God, they’ve been doing this pretend boyfriend thing for a half hour and he’s already fucked up over it. Hopefully after this they can get guardianship of Liam and they won’t have to keep pretending.

“Are you hungry?” Cas wonders.

Dean hesitates to meet his eyes, but nods all the same. “‘m always hungry.”

“Do you want to go get something to eat when Donna leaves? My treat since you got dinner last night.”

“I’m gonna have to go into work since I missed yesterday, but I can eat first. Probably won’t be home ‘til late.” He looks over at where Donna is still writing on her pad, and then back at Cas. “You gonna be okay here without me?”

“Oh, I think I’ll survive. I can go get some groceries, including vegetables, and whip something up for dinner so you don’t have to cook when you get home.”

Considering how much he hates coming home to an empty house and how, at least some days, he’s so beat from working so hard for ten hours his dinner is a bag of potato chips or a bowl of ice cream (and even outside of that, he eats way too much pizza), Cas cooking dinner for him sounds like heaven.

“That sounds freakin’ awesome, Cas,” he admits. “You have no idea.”

Cas’s voice is almost as soft as his gaze when he replies, “It’s the least I can do.”

Well that brings up an interesting point. “You know you don’t have to, right?”

Cas’s eyes spark, and jeez, he’s gotta talk to him about learning how to control those baby blues because he knows exactly the kind of thing he’s thinking before he even speaks. “Are you suggesting I continue to make myself useful exclusively in the bedroom?” He looks down at the mug of coffee in his hand, hoping to hide the way his face is still burning. Cas steps back into his space and tips his chin up. “It’s adorable that I can still make you blush after last night.”

Because now he knows that Cas is being Cas and not pretend-boyfriend Cas, he shrugs away from his hand and says, “Fuck off.”

Cas laughs, his nose scrunched up and his gums showing, and fuck fuck fuck, how the hell is Cas so cute he melts him into a puddle one second and so hot he can hardly breathe the next? How is he ever supposed to stay on even footing when he’s trying to deal with all of that at once?

“Excuse me, fellas, but I’m all ready for yas over here whenever you are,” Donna says brightly from the living room.

“Is it too much if I hold your hand?” Cas asks, a teasing smile on his face.

Dean huffs out an amused laugh. “For the ten steps from here to the living room? Yeah, probably.”

“Okay, just checking,” Cas replies, snaking his fingers between Dean’s anyway and making him shake his head as they walk over to join Donna. With one hand tied up in Cas’s and the other still wrapped around his coffee mug, he sits gingerly, and still ends up smushed thigh to thigh when Cas damn near sits on his lap.

“Really?” he says dryly.

“What?” Cas asks, batting his eyelashes innocently.

“Alrighty,” Donna starts, sounding reluctantly entertained. “This here’s a list of things the state of Kansas needs you to see to before we can place Liam here with you.”

She hands them a piece of paper, and because Dean’s suddenly so nervous he can feel his hands shaking, he just lets Cas take it for him and reads over his shoulder. 

New locks on the front door, back door, and bedroom door, smoke detectors in every bedroom, tested for HIV

“Tested for HIV?” Dean says, anger racing through him in a heartbeat. “What the hell kind of homophobic bullshit is that?”

Donna raises her eyebrows, but recites, “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that all sexually active gay and bisexual men get tested for HIV at least once a year. Seeing as both of you said you haven’t been tested in the past, I’d say you’re safely outside of those parameters, don’t ch’ya think?”

“And you do this with all couples? Straight ones too? They have to have an HIV test?” Dean challenges.

“Gay and bisexual men made up for almost 70% of new diagnosises of HIV in 2016. So yes, if a man identifies as bisexual but is currently in a relationship with a woman, I would recommend that both people be tested.”

“That sounds reasonable,” Cas offers.

His shoulders are still tight with tension, but if those are the facts, then he guesses she does have a point. 

“I understand why you got upset,” Donna says kindly. “Negative attitudes about homosexuality discourages gay and bisexual men from getting tested for HIV and finding health care to prevent and treat it. No doubt about it. But there’s none of that happening here. This actually has nothing to do with Liam, but with you two. We just need to make sure you’re both in tip top shape, okay?”

Dean nods when Cas’s hand squeezes his, and then he looks back at the list, noting that other than the HIV test, he can’t argue with anything on there. 

“What’s with the new locks on the front and back doors?” he wonders. “I installed those locks myself. They’re good. Solid.”

“Oh, you betcha,” she agrees. “We just like to see locks higher up where little hands can’t reach them.”

“You think he’s gonna try and bail?” Dean questions.

“I think he’s a four year old boy who’s about to have his whole world turned upside down,” she says sadly. “There’s no predicting how he may react now or five years from now. We’re just trying to prepare you the best we can.”

“We want to make sure he’s safe, so of course we’ll take care of all of this,” Cas says. “And if you have any other suggestions that aren’t required by law, we’ll take those, too. We just want Liam to be as happy as possible considering the circumstances.”

“I’ll keep that in mind,” she says with a smile. “So. How fast do you think ya can get all this done?”

“I can do the doors and smoke detectors today, but I don’t know if I can get into my doctor today for the test.” He looks at Cas. “Do you still have a doctor here?”

“I don’t, but I can go to a clinic.”

“Planned Parenthood. They keep appointments available for us. I’ll call them and let them know to schedule you both. You want me to set up the STD panel while you’re there?”

“Yes, please,” Cas says immediately. 

Then they both turn to him expectantly. “Okay, fine, whatever.”

“Just think of the positives,” Cas says. “Optimistically thinking, this is the one and only time we’ll both have to do this. Then we’ll know we’re clean and won’t have to worry about it ever again.”

“As long as you don’t invite anybody else into the bedroom,” Donna says with a knowing smile.

“Oh, I think we’ve learned our lesson there,” Cas says smoothly, while Dean wishes he could sink through the couch. 

“You are in a monogamous relationship now, then?”

“For a few years now,” Cas answers for them both again. “No plans on changing that, either. Now that we’re finally in the same place, I find I really like the idea of having Dean all to myself.”

Dean’s face is as red as a beet, but he meets Donna’s eyes and shoots her a crooked smile. “Sorry ‘bout him. I told him to tone it down earlier but apparently he’s incapable.”

“Oh, I don’t blame yas. Honestly,” she says, starting to pack her things up. “It’s real nice to see the two of you together. I don’t always see next of kin so willing to help.”

“Kid’s had it rough enough as it is. Least we can do is try to be there for him,” Dean says.

“It’s what Lisa wanted,” Cas adds.

Donna smiles at them warmly, then gets to her feet. “Anywho, that’s it for today. Planned Parenthood will send the HIV results to me, and you two take care of the odds and ends around here, and in the meantime I’ll be contacting your family and friends, running background checks, and all that fun stuff.”

“Only sounds mildly terrifying,” Dean says under his breath.

“You stayed on your feet when I was lookin’ at your sex drawer, honey, you’ll be fine,” Donna jokes, and he can’t help but huff out a laugh. “I’ll stop by again tomorrow and we’ll make sure you got all your tees crossed, okay boys?” She gets to her feet, so he and Cas do as well, and Donna reaches into her bag and pulls out a card. “In case you need to gimme a ring-a-ding-ding.”

“Thank you, Donna. You really made this as painless as possible,” Cas says.

“Oh, you betcha.”

“We’ll walk you out,” Dean offers.

“Oh, no, no. I got it. It was nice meeting the both of ya,” she says, and then with a curt nod she walks through the living room and towards the front door. She’s about half way out when she says, “Toys might be nice. And I’ve heard kids these days are better with electronics than we are.”

Dean feels hope bloom in his chest so big and so fast it’s like there’s a balloon in there, so it’s no surprise Cas manages to get words out first. “We’re on it.”

He just manages to choke out, “Thanks,” before the door closes behind her. He tips his head back and lets out a big, deep breath, and jolts when he feels Cas’s big hand land between his shoulder blades.

“Are you okay?” Cas asks him.

“m fine,” he mumbles, stepping away from physical contact with Cas. His mind already whirling with all the things he needs to do today has him coming to one conclusion right away. “I need to call Sam.”

Cas nods his understanding. “Do you mind if I shower while you do that?”

“Have at ‘er,” Dean says, already walking towards the bedroom. He hears Cas following behind him, so he says, “Towels are in the closet right outside the bathroom. Feel free to use whatever soap or shampoo you need.”

Because his attention is already on how the fuck he’s going to work today and get everything done he needs to get done, he barely hears the thank you from Cas, and sits down on his bed to dial Sam’s number.

Twenty minutes later, it’s decided that Jo will pick up the slack for him this morning and he’ll go in for the afternoon, then handle the locks at home after dinner. He’s brushing his teeth when he hears Cas’s voice from behind him.

“Shower’s all yours.”

He turns towards the sound of his voice and damn near drops his toothbrush. Cas is standing in his bedroom completely naked except for a towel slung around his hips. His hair is still wet and sticking up in twenty different directions, sending stray drops of water dripping tantalizingly down his neck and chest, and Dean can’t take his eyes off of him even when he walks over to pull open the closet. Holy fuck, look at his back! His shoulder blades are so defined they look like wings, spreading and flexing as he parts the clothes he hung up yesterday, and the dip of his lower back, leading to the delicious curve of his ass? 

“Dean?” Cas asks him, jolting him back into action.

He’s got a mouthful of foam from brushing his teeth, and even though his face is quickly turning red from getting caught staring, he gestures to his full mouth and then spits, silently cursing himself. “Sorry, got distracted,” he says once he can, looking directly into the sink instead of the pornographic sight awaiting him in the bedroom. He rinses off his brush and spits out a mouthful of water, then braces himself to turn around. Cas is standing there watching him with a cheshire cat smile on his face, still with only a towel around his hips. “What?” 

Cas raises his eyebrows. “You can stare but I can’t? Your ass looks amazing in those jeans, by the way.”

“Shut up,” Dean says, causing Cas to chuckle dryly.

“What’s the plan for today?” Cas wonders, turning back to the closet and selecting a cream colored button down shirt with pin stripes running down it, then lying it on the bed. 

“Breakfast, Planned Parenthood, work, dinner, locks and smoke detectors.”

Cas nods. “Shower first?”

“No, I’m gonna walk around all day smelling like jizz and ass.”

“You wouldn't hear any complaints from me,” Cas says smoothly, draping a pair of dark wash jeans over the shirt.

Dean rolls his eyes and walks away without another word, heading to the shower where he purposely ignores the way his cock is more than a little plump from what he just saw in the bedroom.

Cas isn’t there when he returns to get dressed, so he’s able to put on jeans and a plaid shirt he leaves open with a black tee underneath in peace. Once he’s ready, he strips the sheets to start a load of laundry, then grabs his phone and his wallet (which he finds in his pants from last night), and he and Cas head out for breakfast.

Dean insists they take his car even though Cas makes a fuss about his being easier to take since it’s not in the garage. “Remind me to give you the other garage door opener later. You can just park your car in there with mine from now on.” Then he realizes, “I should probably get you a key for the house, too.”

“That’s a big step,” Cas jokes. “Do you think we’re ready for that?”

“Ha ha,” Dean says dryly, but he secretly loves the way Cas is smiling at him when he backs out of the driveway. 

Breakfast is surprisingly easy. He takes Cas to his favorite breakfast place, a little hole in the wall called Auntie Jane’s that has the best home fries in town (much to Ellen’s frustration), and between their plans for the day and everything that happened this morning, conversation flows well. Cas buys like he promised he would, and other than Cas’s relentless flirting—which he’s pretty sure Cas does purely to make him blush—the mood between them is relaxed. Cas initiated walking into the restaurant with a hand on his shoulder and takes his hand on the way out, but other than that, they don’t pretend like they had to in front of Donna. 

It makes it easier for him to remember that they’re not really together but still doesn’t take away from how incredibly attracted he is to Cas or that it turns out he actually likes the guy. It’s definitely going to make living together for the next couple of days more enjoyable, because it’s fun spending time with him, thanks to his dry sense of humor and easy-going nature. 

After a phone call from Donna informing them they got an appointment at Planned Parenthood if they can make it in ten minutes, they head there where Dean suffers through blood work and the humiliation of having his junk handled by somebody not for fun.

He and Cas bitch and joke about the indignity of it all on the way home, and he’s all loose and smiley after laughing it off with Cas. For the first time he can remember, he’s almost reluctant to go into work—and not because he’s too sore or thinks he might puke if he looks at the same color paint for one more day—but because he thinks he might have more fun hanging out with Cas than working. And isn’t that a revelation?

It feels ridiculously domestic when he pulls into the driveway and takes the house key off of his key ring. He hands it to Cas and says, “I’ll see you after work.”

“Have a good day,” Cas responds.

“Yeah, you too,” Dean says. “Later, Cas.”

Cas gets out of the car after aiming a final, warm smile at him, and he waits to make sure he gets inside okay before he drives away and makes his way to the house on Princess. Jo’s truck is still there, so he has a little bounce in his step at the idea of working with her again today when he walks in. His jaw almost hits the floor when he enters the kitchen to see she’s removed all the hardware from the cupboard doors and stripped and stained them. She’s currently crouching on the kitchen counter sanding down the inside of a cabinet, and it doesn’t seem like she even heard him come in.

He waits until she turns the sander off so he doesn’t startle her while she has a power tool in her hand, and says, “Didja hire elves to help you or something?”

She glances his way and snorts a laugh. “Please. We both know the only reason you don’t have me working full-time is because I’m faster and better than you are at pretty much everything.”

“Modest, too,” Dean quips, getting a genuine smile out of her.

“Hard to be modest when you’re this good.”

“You’re not gonna hear me complaining,” Dean agrees, admiring the quality of the work on the cupboard doors propped against the wall to dry. “Seriously, I thought I was gonna come in here and be a day behind but you’re half a day ahead of schedule. You’re my hero right now.”

“Getting in and out of these cupboards is a lot easier for me than it is for you,” Jo explains. “And the paint came off like a dream. You would’ve been just as far ahead as I am now if you’d been here.”

“But I wasn’t, and you picked up the slack,” Dean says, making sure she knows from the tone of his voice that he’s being serious for once. “You saved my ass, Jo. Thanks.”

“You’ve got enough going on right now. I’m happy to help,” she says easily. “Now make yourself useful and start staining the sanded down cupboards.”

“You got it, boss.”

The afternoon flies by, and they stop just long enough to shove a couple of sandwiches into their mouths out on the front steps where it doesn’t reek like the chemical scent of the stain. Jo asks about how the appointment went this morning, and Dean walks her through it, getting lots of laughter and burning second-hand embarrassment on her part. 

Then she surprises him by saying, “You and Cas banged, didn’t you?”

“What?” he laughs nervously. “No.”

“Dude, you’re covered in hickies, and you’ve winced half a dozen times when you sat down today.”

Dean shoves the last bite of sandwich in his mouth and says, “He’s hot okay?”

“No judgement. Probably makes the pretend boyfriend thing a lot easier now that you’re actually sleeping together. It’s like method acting,” she jokes. 

“Yeah, that’s the only reason I did it.”

“Does Sam know?” Jo wonders.

“Oh yeah. Cas barely pulled out before I hit speed dial,” Dean says dryly.

“Okay, ew, first of all.” Dean chuckles, pleased by that reaction. “And second of all, don’t be a dick. I was just wondering if you told him when you talked to him this morning.”

“No, I didn’t. He lectured me hard enough about pretending to date him, don’t wanna hear how irresponsible it was to hop into bed with the guy.”

“My lips are sealed,” she promises. Then, “How was it?”

Dean considers lying for a second, then admits, “Reminded me exactly why I haven’t been able to get him outta my head for the last five years, that’s for damn sure.”

“So it wasn’t just your big gay aha moment after all? He’s really that good?”

“Un-freakin’-believable,” he says, not bothering to hide the awe in his voice. But then, seeing the glint in her eye, he adds, “But don’t get any ideas.”

“Why not?” she challenges. “You’re not really dating.”

“Don’t care,” he grunts. “He’s off limits, Jo.”

She pins him with a probing look he really doesn’t like, then asks (entirely too nonchalant to be genuine), “How come?”

“Because I said so,” he barks.

Undeterred, Jo presses. “Are you gonna sleep with him again?”

He takes a swig of his soda and shrugs his shoulders while something tightens in his chest. “Dunno. We didn’t talk about it.”

“Would you?”

“What are you, a reporter or something?”

“I’m dying with curiosity!” she explains. “I haven’t seen you this into somebody since you first started dating...” Her voice trails off and he knows just from that that she’s talking about Lisa. “You know.”

“Lisa,” he says, unwilling to leave her name out of this. “You can still say her name.”

“I just didn’t want to upset you,” she says quietly. “But yeah.”

Dean shakes his head. “It’s not like that for me and Cas.”

She looks surprised and sounds like she doesn’t believe him in the least when she asks, “You don’t like him?”

“I barely know him,” he deflects.

“You slept with him,” she points out.

“So?” he shoots back. “Are we done with the girl talk?”

“Somebody’s defensive,” Jo says, smiling syrupy sweet at him so he doesn’t get mad.

“I don’t wanna talk about it,” he admits, his voice honest enough that he knows she won’t press anymore. “Can we get back to work now?”

“Fine,” she says, balling up the paper bag that held their sandwiches. “But if you do wanna talk about it?”

“I know a short, annoying blonde who’s weirdly interested in my sex life.”

“One of us is actually getting some for once. It's a novelty,” Jo jokes, and he can’t help but laugh because between him, Sam, and Jo, it’s honestly possible that nobody has worse luck than they do. 

They get back to work after that, and they go hard until six when Jo has to call it a day. Even though he planned to work later, he lets her drag him out of the house with her, and knowing that Cas is waiting for him at home means that he doesn’t put up much of a fight. He sends Cas a quick text letting him know he’ll be home within the hour, and then he hits his favorite hardware store to pick up three smoke detectors and the locks they need.

By the time he pulls into the driveway, he’s beat, which is weird for only putting in a seven hour work day, but his spirits lift when he sees the lights on in his house reminding him that somebody’s actually waiting for him. 

They lift so much, he steps through the front door and calls out, “Honey, I’m home!”

The first breath in has the scent of roasting meat wafting through his nostrils and he takes another deeper breath in when he hangs the bag with his purchases on the hook next to the door, which is when Cas pokes his head around the corner. “Hello, Dean.”

“Smells amazing in here,” Dean says as he toes off his work boots. “Roast beef?”

“With all the fixings,” Cas confirms. 

His mouth instantly fills with saliva. “Did I die? Is this heaven?”

“A man greeting you at the door with a roast in the crock pot is all it takes to be in heaven?”

Dean considers that and decides to make a very important addition. “Plus pie, but yeah. Pretty much,” he admits with a sideways grin. 

“Well then I have good news on the dessert front, but you’re still not dead,” Cas laughs. 

Dean walks around the corner only to see the small kitchen table set with the fancy plates he never even uses, a thick candle on a decorative plate he’s pretty sure he’s never seen before, and actual linen napkins. There’s a gravy boat he’s positive doesn’t belong to him, and three serving dishes with condensation on the lids, letting him know there’s piping hot food inside. There’s also a small basket with what looks like freshly baked bread, and he can’t wrap his head around all this stuff being in his house on his table when most of it doesn’t even belong to him.

He must be gaping like a fish, because Cas says, “I used some of my own things I had with me. I hope you don’t mind.”

“You just... travel around with a gravy boat in your bag?”

“In the trunk of my car, actually,” Cas corrects, smiling at the implication. “I used to live in an apartment, you know. I have belongings other than clothes.”

“Well, it looks just as good as it smells, and believe me, that’s saying something. Do I have time to wash up real quick before we eat? I smell like wood stain.”

“Everything will keep. Take your time.”

“Thanks, Cas.” Dean hits him with a friendly smile then hurries into the bedroom to wash his hands, change his flannel and undershirt for a band shirt, and apply a new coat of deodorant. His jeans are pretty ratty but most of them are (and they’re soft and comfortable as hell) so he just leaves them and then goes back to the kitchen to meet Cas for dinner.

“Alright, hands are clean. Where do you want me?” Dean asks.

“Well that’s a loaded question,” Cas says, pursing his lips and steepling his fingers in front of them. He feels his cheeks warm, but not as bad as it could be. “Everything’s ready, so you can just sit with me and take a load off. What would you like to drink?”

Dean takes his seat as instructed, and asks, “Would you judge me if I told you I wanted beer with a fancy meal like this?”

Cas looks meaningfully to where there’s already a bottle in the sink. “Would you judge me if I told you I’m one ahead of you?”

“Hell no. I think I like you a little more for it,” Dean laughs, pushing his chair away from the table. 

“I’ll get it,” Cas says, trying to get to his feet faster.

“Dude, you’ve done plenty. Least I can do is get you a beer.”

“Do you mind if I start serving, then?”

“Go for it,” Dean says over his shoulder, pulling open the fridge and grabbing two of the beer Cas brought over last night. He places them on the table, then opens the freezer and takes out two of the frosted mugs he keeps in there, shooting Cas a proud smile because of how prepared he is. “Like a boy scout,” he jokes, handing one glass to Cas as he sits back down. He pours his beer while Cas loads his plate up with two thick, slightly pink slabs of beef, and the aroma itself has him making a pleased little sound in his throat. “Jesus, look at that.”

Cas laughs quietly. “It’s not exactly difficult to cook a roast. Though I don’t want that to hold you back from moaning like you did a second ago.”

He sticks his tongue out when Cas looks over at him, and Cas does that scrunchy nose smile that makes his heart flip. “What else did you whip up?” he wonders, gesturing to the other covered dishes.

“Mashed potatoes and green beans.” He doesn’t even have time to turn his nose up before Cas says, “Which you will eat, or you’re not having pie.”

He huffs out an insulted breath of air. “You’re the boss of me now?”

“I’m the boss of the pie,” Cas replies, and Dean’s face falls, because dammit, he’s got him.

“How many do I have to eat?”

“As many as I give you.”

Dean huffs again, less impressed than ever. “You’re a hard ass.”

“And don’t forget it. Even your pretty face won’t get me to change my mind.”

“Wanna bet?” Dean flirts.

“Be good and eat your vegetables,” Cas says dryly, and Dean couldn’t hide his grin for anything. This is so much better than an empty house and a bag of potato chips for dinner.

He grabs the mashed potatoes and scoops some onto his plate, then as he goes to do the same to Cas, Cas stops him. “Half of that.”

Dean looks at the scoop, frowns, and dumps it on his plate anyway. “You could use some meat on your bones.”

“You didn’t have any complaints about my bones last night.”

“Yeah, but less vegetables and more potatoes will help me get a better handful of your ass next time,” Dean says, then immediately flushes red to the roots when he hears how he just casually referred to next time out loud. 

“In that case, pile them on,” Cas says, smiling at him way too smugly for his tastes. 

He puts down the potatoes and grabs for the gravy, but Cas stops him again with a quiet, “Ah, ah, ah,” and lifts the lid of the green beans. Dean makes a face, not bothering to hide his displeasure, but Cas just pins him with a sharp look and spoons some beans onto his plate. Cas must really have a soft spot for him, though, because he only gives him five green beans to eat. If he had served himself he would have forced down more, but Cas doesn’t have to know that. 

Instead, he plays it up by whining. “I have to eat all of those?”

“If you want pie,” Cas replies.

Dean sighs, but grabs the gravy boat and absolutely covers everything on his plate with gravy, earning an amused snort from Cas. “What?”

“It’s like a gravy river.”

“Hence the boat,” Dean says, holding it up.

“Did you save any for me?”

Dean peers into the half-empty boat and lies, wincing dramatically. “Oops.”

“Give me that,” Cas says, snatching it from him and spilling some onto the table. “It’s half full!”

“Or half empty, depending on how you look at it.”

“You said you used it all.”

“I was joking.”

“I spilled some because you said it was empty.”

“It was a joke,” he repeats.

“Are you always like this?” Cas asks, sounding less than impressed. 

Dean’s jaw drops at the implication of his tone of voice. “Like what?”

“Annoying. Childish. Immature.”

Dean considers that for a second before shrugging with his mouth and nodding. “Yeah, pretty much.” Cas rolls his eyes, but he can see his lips twitch, and he happily snags a slice of bread to smear it liberally with butter. 

“How was work?” Cas asks. “Were you as far behind as you thought you might be?”

“No, actually.” Dean launches into the tale of how Jo actually killed it while he was off and how they ended up half a day ahead by the time they clocked out for the day. Cas tells him a funny little anecdote about the cashier at the grocery store and how it took him five minutes and three tries to figure out how to turn the right element on the stove, and how he’s sure he spent more time digging through his boxes for his belongings than he actually did cooking, and before either of them know it, their plates are clean and Cas is serving Dean a truly gigantic piece of pie.

“I know we moved in together and everything, but is it too soon to declare my undying love now or is it cool?” Dean jokes.

“That depends on whether or not you’re going to insist on doing the dishes since I did all the cooking,” Cas says smoothly.

“That’s a given.”

“Then go ahead and declare away. For the record, I prefer big, romantic gestures,” Cas tells him.

“I fuckin’ love this pie,” Dean says with as much gusto as he can muster. Cas’s laughter echoes through the house and they share a fond smile while Dean digs in for his first bite. Ten minutes later, he’s so full he could burst, and he’s leaning back, slouched down in his seat with his hands on his bloated stomach. “Ho-ly shit. That was the best meal I’ve eaten in... hell, maybe forever. I can’t thank you enough, man.”

“I was happy to do it. But Dean, are you sure it’s normal for your stomach to stick out like that?”

Dean snorts. “Why, this doesn’t do it for you?”

“Unbelievably, you’re still the most attractive person I’ve ever laid eyes on.”

Annnnnd there’s the blush. “Shut up.”

Cas just smiles warmly at him. “Do you mind if I go read for a bit while you take care of the dishes?”

“Nah, get outta here. You’ve done more than enough.”

“Let me know if you need a hand with the locks or smoke detectors.”

“I might take you up on that.” Cas nods and starts to walk away, but looking at the table still full of food and dishes has him calling out, “Hey Cas?” Cas stops and turns back, eyebrows raised with his silent question. “Seriously. Thanks for dinner.”

Something flickers on Cas’s face—an expression he can’t begin to decipher from this far away—and his voice is as soft as he’s ever heard it when he replies, “Anytime.” 

And then Dean’s left alone in his kitchen, but for the first time in a long time, not completely alone, and he finds that’s more than enough for now.

Chapter Text

It’s kind of funny how much he enjoys loading the ancient dishwasher and washing a few of the bigger dishes by hand with his classic rock playlist streaming quietly in the background. It probably has something to do with how he feels like he’s floating on cloud nine after sharing such a nice meal with Cas. Like breakfast this morning, it was surprisingly easy to eat a meal and chat with him. Yeah, he blushed more than he does with anybody else, but he had long stretches where it felt like he was just talking to one of his friends.

And then Cas would smile at him with just a little bit too much interest or a quick flash of heat in his eyes and the space between them would come alive again. They both seemed to make a solid effort to ignore it, the same way they did at breakfast, but there’s no denying that it was there, and when it isn’t making him blush... it’s kinda nice.

Jo was right. He hasn’t had this kind of mutual attraction with anybody since Lisa, and even though he barely knows Cas, there’s an undercurrent of affection there, too. Like when Cas mentioned last night that he had nowhere to go? It killed him, and despite what he said, it had nothing to do with Liam. If Liam wasn’t in the picture at all, he still would’ve offered to let Cas stay. He shouldn’t care so much about somebody he barely knows, and he doesn’t typically connect with people as fast as he has with Cas, but the fact of the matter is they do have some weird kind of connection. He assumes it stems from physical attraction, but it somehow goes deeper too.

He likes Cas, is crushing on him pretty damn hard if he’s going to be honest with himself, and as nice as it is to feel that again, he’s also really, really aware of how much it can complicate everything. He figures Cas has come around to the same conclusion, which is why neither of them have brought up having sex last night. He’s sure Cas doesn’t regret it anymore than he does, but they also both know they can’t keep doing it with everything else going on, and so it’s best to just... not talk about it.

In fact, he should probably try to stop thinking about it altogether. Yeah, it had been some of the best sex of his life, but that doesn’t mean he should focus on it. Not when Cas is only a few walls away, looking way too good with his messy hair and exposed collar bones from that damn button down he chose to wear around the house.

He shakes his head to try to clear it, telling himself concentrating on how good Cas looks isn’t gonna help a damn thing, and starts working on the locks. He does the patio door first, mentally patting himself on the back for taking the suggestion of the chatty lady who recommended the Safety 1st sliding door lock. It will absolutely keep a little kid in, but it’s also virtually undetectable to the naked eye, which is a win-win as far as he’s concerned. It takes a little fanangling to get it to fit in the slot of the door, but he gets it, and after testing it a few times, he moves on to the front door. It’s a simple matter of adding a chain to the top of the door, so that’s done in just a few minutes and he moves on to the smoke detectors. 

He goes to get the ladder out of the garage and decides to start in his bedroom, which is when he sees Cas sprawled out on his bed with a book propped up on his chest. He’s barefoot (and after looking around, he spots his socks on the floor at the foot of the bed) with his shirtsleeves rolled up to his elbows, and when Cas turns towards him as he enters the room, he notices Cas has thick-rimmed glasses perched on his nose. 

He wouldn’t be surprised in the least if his tongue rolled out of his mouth like a cartoon character, especially when Cas smiles softly and says, “Need some help?”

“Uh,” is apparently the only sound he can make. Maybe it’s because Cas looks good enough to eat, but it also might be because Cas is lying in his bed like it’s a totally normal thing to do? For whatever reason, he can’t even think, and the next thing that comes out of his mouth is, “You’re wearing glasses.”

Cas chuckles a little and takes them off, setting them on the nightstand. “You caught me. I’m officially old enough for reading glasses.”

He wrinkles the comforter when he gets comfortable again and—wait. Cas put the sheets back on the bed?

“You put the sheets back on the bed?”

What the fuck is wrong with his brain-to-mouth filter?

Cas shrugs while Dean’s face probably turns several shades of red. “You took them off. I just heard the washing machine finish and switched them over, then put them on the bed when they were done. Seemed fair considering both of us had a hand in ruining them.”

“Pretty sure nobody but my mom’s put sheets on my bed,” he admits, rubbing the back of his neck nervously.

Cas only smiles at him. “You’re adorable.”

Dean huffs, “Shut up and help me.”

He gets a broad smile from Cas for that as he gets off the bed and to his feet. “What do you need?”

“I’m just gonna screw the plate in, then was hoping you could hand me the part that clicks onto that so I don’t have to keep going up and down the ladder.”

“Sounds easy enough. Where are you going to put it up?”

Dean gestures to the end of the bed. “I know the bed’s in the center of the room because I measured for the headboard. So I figure if I line it up with that it’ll be close enough.”

Cas nods his agreement and Dean puts the ladder in place and climbs up with the plate in one hand. He drills in one of the screws, then accepts the second one Cas hands him, then the part that clicks into place. He presses the button to make sure it works, and that’s that. Cas follows him to the other two bedrooms, and it’s when they’re in the last one that’s going to be Liam’s that Dean glances down between screws and sees Cas’s eyes glued to the strip of exposed skin where his shirt has ridden up.

“Really, Cas?” he chuckles.

Cas’s eyes flick up to his, dancing with laughter. “I can’t admire a handyman at work?”

Dean snorts a laugh as he clicks the smoke detector into place. After checking it with the button as he did with the other two, he says, “Not all that impressive to install a couple of smoke detectors, doctor.”

“It’s not what you’re doing so much as how you’re doing it,” Cas explains. “You’re sure of yourself in a way I’ve only seen you when you had my dick in your mouth.”

He’s surprised enough by the comment that he completely misses the first step down, and as his socked foot slips on the metal rung of the ladder, he loses his balance completely. His arms windmill wildly while he tries to right himself, but he’s losing the battle and tipping backwards, so he reaches out to try to grab a hold of the side of the ladder, but instead finds himself steadied by Cas’s big hands. As he realizes he’s not about to fall down, hurt himself, and/or make an utter ass out of himself, relief floods him, and he sinks back entirely into Cas’s arms, who gets one arm under his legs and cradles him like he doesn’t weigh a damn thing.

He’s looking up at Cas’s big blue eyes, blinking stupidly and identifying way more with a damsel in distress in this moment than he ever thought he would when Cas speaks and breaks the spell. 

“Are you okay?” Cas asks immediately, his voice sharp with worry. 

Cas sets him on his feet, keeping his hands wrapped around his waist for stability, and when Dean manages to stand on his own, Cas’s hands drift up his back to frame his face. Cas’s blue eyes just keep boring right into his, and the longer he looks back into them, the more everything else falls away. His heart is pounding, the sound somehow filling his ears, and the only reason he can look away from Cas’s eyes is because Cas’s gaze drops to his lips when he licks them nervously.

The hands framing his face lose some of the tension, and now it’s more like Cas is cupping his face versus holding it in place, and without the firm pressure, he finds himself drifting closer. Apparently that’s all Cas needs to make his move because he strikes like a cat, erasing the remaining distance between them in an instant. A low, rumbling moan escapes Cas the moment their lips meet, and just like that, he’s fucked. Cas’s plush lips move with his perfectly, sucking and then nipping at his bottom lip, and as he plasters his body up against Cas’s, Cas parts his lips with a teasing swipe of his tongue. 

When their tongues slot together he’s reminded again of what a wicked tongue Cas has, and as he melts into his arms, Cas makes a soft, pleased sound into his mouth that he wants to listen to on repeat for the rest of time. Cas’s hand slips around to the back of his neck, pulling him down even closer, smashing their lips together more firmly, and now it’s his turn to moan his pleasure into Cas’s soft lips.

Shit, Cas is a good kisser. His talented mouth has his dick filling out in a hurry, and by the time the seal of their lips breaks, he’s breathing hard and already dying for more. “Dean,” Cas groans quietly, peppering feather-light kisses along his jaw while his hands grasp for something to hold onto, eventually settling onto Cas’s hipbones. He gets a flash of exactly how well Cas knows how to roll those hips of his, and his lips fall open; short, harsh pants already spilling from his mouth. “You drive me crazy.”

Still unable to make actual words, all he can do is say, “Mmhmm.”

“I thought—I thought if I could have you just once I’d get it out of my system.” Cas’s mouth travels down his neck, leaving a trail of fire on his skin, prompting him to lean his head back for more. “But I was an idiot.”

Thank god. 

“I want you,” Dean blurts.

“Thank fuck,” Cas sighs, pulling away to show off a dazzling smile and getting one in return from him considering how in sync their thoughts are. But then their lips meet again, and now that he knows Cas is into this as much as he is, he lets his hands travel up Cas’s muscular back and wrap around his neck. Cas’s hands slide down his torso, then with his hands firm on his hips, Cas pushes him back and steers him out of the spare room and across the hall. They do surprisingly well kissing and walking until their trip is derailed by the door jam, which Cas presses him against with a thick thigh between his legs, and fuck, there’s the cock that fucked him so good last night digging hard into his hip. 

Opening his mouth wider for Cas to plunge his tongue inside of his mouth, Dean moans and Cas instantly increases the urgency in their kiss, crashing their lips together with what could probably be considered as way too much force—but he’s so fucking into it. He’s burning up with the sparks created by their chests colliding, of the stubble on Cas’s face rubbing against his own, of his hands roaming over Cas’s shoulders, feeling firm muscles shift and move beneath his hot skin as Cas rocks into him again and again.

Cas makes a muffled sound against his lips, then his fingers tighten on his shirt and he’s being tugged away from the door and forced towards the bed. The fingers grasped in his shirt pull it up and over his head, and Cas’s mouth is already slipping down his chest to seal around his nipple before his back even hits the mattress.

“Son of a bitch,” Dean gasps, sliding his hands into Cas’s hair and—after a few tantalizing moments of that plush mouth latched to his nipple making him achingly hard—pulling him back up to nip at his lips. They’re shiny and kiss-swollen already, and it’s a fucking shame that Cas’s lips don’t always look like this because it’s unbelievably sexy. Cas lets a low moan free at a particularly hard nibble and Dean’s suddenly pinned to the mattress by Cas’s unyielding body with his hands up over his head. 

His dick practically leaps between them and Cas wrenches his lips away to arch an eyebrow at him, increasing just how hard he’s pressing his hands into the mattress. Dean makes a very unflattering sound somewhere between a moan and gasp and Cas grinds their cocks together. 

“Ffffuck,” Cas curses, starting to undulate his hips against him slow and dirty. “What you do to me, Dean.”

“More ,” Dean pleads. “Come on, Cas. Fuckin’ touch me.” The second he says it he’s fucking desperate for it, and he feels additional desire race through him at the realization. He clamps his mouth shut as he thrusts up into the heavy weight holding him down, trying not to embarrass himself by admitting just how badly he wants.  

Cas keeps his wrists pinned to the mattress with one giant hand and uses the other to urge Dean’s leg up around his waist, lining up their rock hard erections and beginning to rut against him in earnest. Cas’s gaze is searing hot, watching raptly as his mouth falls open as he’s pressed into the mattress with each powerful thrust, the denim of his jeans rubbing almost painfully hard against his dick, pulling broken, needy little whimpers out of him with each one. 

“Please,” he rasps. “Pl-”

He stops, breathing harder than he should be already, when one finger presses solidly to his lips. “If you keep begging me like that we’re not going to make it out of our boxers,” Cas warns him with a crooked, unbelievably hot smile. “Do you know how arousing it is to hear you begging for me? Knowing you might want me even a fraction as much as I want you?” Cas drags that one big finger down his chin and to his neck, gently wrapping his finger and his thumb around his throat. His cock twitches again and he rubs himself more frantically against Cas, searching blindly for the friction he’s craving. 

“Want you,” Dean insists ineloquently, his brain not totally functioning at its best. “Want you so fucking bad, Cas. You have no idea.”

“I do, gorgeous. I do,” Cas croons, his low voice as smooth as honey for once. “You like when I’m a little bit rough, don’t you Dean?” Dean licks his lips in response to the way Cas’s voice is getting grittier, aware that he doesn’t really have to answer because Cas already knows. “You like thinking I’m stronger than you. That I could lift you up and fuck you against the wall if I wanted to.” Dean moans, nodding shamelessly, gasping when Cas’s fingers tighten just a little bit more around his wrists. “I’d do it if you wanted me to,” Cas tells him, his voice dropping into a whisper. “I’m powerless to say no to you. I’ll give you anything and everything you want.”

Cas leans in to press a kiss to his throbbing pulse point, scraping his teeth over the sensitive skin before he licks a hot stripe up to the bolt of his jaw and sucks, hard. Dean cries out and Cas whispers into his ear, “What do you want?”

“Fuck me,” Dean begs him. “Fuck me, Cas, and—and come all over me.”

Cas growls and captures his lips in a bruising kiss, his free hand working deftly to flip open the button of his fly and pull down the zipper. Cas’s big hand burns on his flesh, forcing down his jeans and boxers one side at a time until he can kick his way out of them. Now completely naked while Cas is still fully dressed, his cock slides against the rough denim tenting Cas’s jeans, ripping another strangled sound from his lips. 

He’s so fucking hot he feels like he can’t breathe, and whether it’s from Cas keeping his hands pinned over his head or just Cas himself, he doesn’t know and doesn’t really care about anything except getting Cas’s cock buried deep inside of him. Cas seems to be thinking the same thing, because he lowers his mouth to his neck and searches out a spot that makes his breath hitch before he seals his lips over it, reaching into the drawer of his nightstand at the same time.

He’s lost in the incredible sting of the bruise Cas is currently sucking onto the base of his neck, his hands curled into fists and his body pulled taut with anticipation, still rubbing himself against Cas the best he can with Cas’s heavy body on top of him. He calls out when he feels a slick finger ghosting over his crack, his next breath escaping with a litany of, “Please, please, please.”

“Shhh.” Cas brushes his nose against his jaw, soft and soothing. “Just relax and let me take care of you.” Dean takes in a deep breath, letting it out slow and steady, the reassuring hum of Cas’s approval calming him more than anything. “There you go. Just like that.” Cas’s finger rubs over his hole, circling, stimulating his nerve endings, dipping just the tip of a wide finger inside before pulling back out and circling again. 

Cas’s breath is hot on his neck, steady puffs of air he counts, waits for, anticipates as his body goes lax bit by bit under Cas’s careful ministrations. Cas’s lips find his jaw, starting a line of chaste kisses leading towards his mouth, and only when their lips meet and slot together does he feel all of the tension he was holding bleed out of him, leaving him boneless and pliant.

“Jesus, Dean,” Cas sighs against his lips, and then his finger sinks inside of him smooth and easy. Just that is enough to have a bolt of desire go straight to his cock, and he moans, still slightly loose from last night and ready and waiting for more. Cas fingers him expertly, sliding in and out with just the right amount of force so that Dean tries to chase the sensation, rocking into it. Cas’s lips pull away, whispering, “You are so perfect.” Cas kisses him again more firmly, lingering over his bottom lip. “Better than my wildest dreams.”

Joy and pride and anticipation and arousal are getting all jumbled up, making it hard to think about anything except for Cas, how he feels on top of him, how badly he wants more. “More,” is exactly what slips out, and Cas seals their mouths together again, dipping his tongue inside this time as he adds his second finger. Dean’s skin is raw, reminding him just how hard Cas fucked him last night, and as a rough sound escapes him, Cas becomes more tender. He takes his time, his lips tasting his skin as he works. His fingers are gentle and sure, opening him up seamlessly, completely without pain until Dean’s hard as a fucking rock and covered in a thin sheet of sweat with his arms trembling from being held over his head for so long.

“C-Cas,” he croaks.

“I know,” Cas responds, kissing the corner of his mouth before pulling his fingers out and getting up to his knees to tug his shirt off to drop it onto the floor. As Dean works the feeling back into his fingers and arms, he notices that if he thought he was sweating it’s nothing compared to Cas’s damp chest hair, the glistening of his shoulders and arms as Cas frees himself from his pants and reaches for a condom. Cas tears it open with his teeth and rolls it on, watching him as he flexes his fingers. “Did I hurt you?”

Dean shakes his head, too enraptured with the sight of Cas naked with his hand on his dick to really speak. “Just stiff.”

Cas positions himself between his legs, lifting his balls out of the way and giving them a gentle rub with his palm before he lines himself up. “Maybe next time we save that for the actual sex.”

Next time. “Okay,” he says shakily.

“You ready?” He nods, and Cas slides his hands down his thighs to pull them around him as he pushes in. “These bowlegs of yours,” he murmurs, his voice tight as he caresses them while he steadily inches inside. “Wrap around me so good, Dean. Fuck, you feel good. Inside and out.”

Dean can hardly breathe with the stretch, with the burn of his already irritated skin, and he closes his eyes, willing himself to relax further to make it as painless as possible. It’s only seconds before his muscles loosen again and any trace of pain disappears as his ass begins to accommodate Cas’s girth. Cas continues massaging his thighs, dipping his head to mouth across his chest and back to his nipples, obviously having picked up on how much he likes it. Cas bottoms out as he flicks his tongue over the hardened bud of his nipple with a quiet groan of pleasure, big hands drifting up his sides to slip under his shoulders. Cas’s mouth follows the path, trailing slowly up and over his neck to nip and suck at his lips. 

“Still sore?” Cas asks, and Dean curses himself for not hiding it better. 

“Good now.”

Cas makes a noise low in his throat that he takes to mean he doesn’t quite believe him, and when his cheeks flush, Cas clicks his tongue. “I guess it’s time to see if I can still make you scream my name when I fuck you nice and slow.” Dean swallows and nods, absolutely on board with that as long as Cas doesn’t stop now. “And next time you’ll tell me you’re sore or you don’t get to come at all.”

He can’t help the way he clenches needily around Cas’s hard cock from the commanding tone of his voice anymore than he can stop the dim-witted sounding, “‘kay,” that he answers with.

Cas huffs a laugh, swooping down to place a peck on his lips. “Oh, Dean,” he sighs, resting their foreheads together.

Before Dean can start to sputter out some kind of explanation (besides the truth) for why he’s barely been able to string more than two words together since they kissed, Cas pulls out and begins thrusting shallowly. He starts slow, only moving the slightest bit, gently but deliberately increasing his pace with every thrust. By the time Cas is moving seamlessly inside of him, he’s settled into a languid rhythm that has the two of them rocking together like they’ve been doing this for years. One of Cas’s hands is on his ass, switching between rubbing his skin in time with his thrusts and fingers digging into his flesh, and Dean presses and arches into every touch.

A part of him thinks he should be embarrassed by how eager he is for anything Cas wants to give him, for how he wants Cas to lose control and take him, pound him, fucking own him, but he isn’t. He’s never been this needy with anybody but Cas, and goddammit, what he needs is for Cas to really fuck it out of him.

“Harder,” he prompts. An approving moan slips from where Cas’s face is currently buried in his neck and the next thrust has more power behind it, shooting an arrow of desire straight to the heat gathering in his gut. “Yeah,” Dean breathes, the following thrust just as hard but twice as good. “God, yes. Harder, Cas. Come on, I can take it.”

Cas’s teeth sink into his skin, but he doesn’t fuck him harder. “No,” Cas grunts. Cas pulls all the way out and spears back into him in one fluid stroke, shoving himself nice and deep and rubbing over his prostate, grinding their pelvises together. “I won’t hurt you.”

“Cas, please,” Dean begs, feeling powerful when Cas’s hesitation is shown with his fingers clenching on his ass cheek. “Just fuck me. I know you want to. You’re tryin’ so hard not to, but god, I want you to so fucking bad.”

“Dean,” Cas barks, his voice hard with warning.

“It’ll feel so good, baby,” he tries, softening his voice to encourage him. “Please, Cas. I wanna feel how hard you are for me. How much you want me.” Cas’s breath hitches and his hips lose their rhythm. “Come on, baby. Fuckin’ pound me. Fuck me into the mattress. Fuck me so hard—”

He cries out, not because Cas gives him what he wants, but because the hand on his ass slips up to grasp his cock just on the good side of too hard. Cas slicks up his hand with the precum leaking out and times his next thrust to match the first stroke of his big hand. 

“F-fuck!” Dean chokes out, his curse trailing off into a whimper when Cas jerks his cock again and again, fucking him with his fist at the same time he drives inside of him. His hands are digging into Cas’s back now, holding on for dear life as Cas brings him closer and closer to the edge with every thrust, every stroke. 

The pressure is incredible. He never grips himself quite as tight as Cas is right now and it’s doing things to him, ripping new sounds out of him he’s never made before. Cas’s thumb draws circles and patterns around the head and ridge of his cock, stealing his breath with his talented fingers. Every time the pad of Cas’s thumb swipes along the slit he feels just how wet Cas has gotten him, and before he even knows what’s happening his balls are drawing up, tightening so deliciously, and his breath is coming out in short, fast bursts of, “Cas. Cas, Cas.” 

Cas’s whole fist squeezes up and over the head, and one more smooth, rolling thrust is all he can take. He locks up, muscles and tendons pulled tight, ass clamping down on Cas’s cock like a vice, and his orgasm is ripped out of him all at once. He can’t make a single sound—can’t even breathe— when he throws his head back as stream after stream of cum explodes out of him and falls onto his chest. The first intake of breath comes right back out in a shout, one so loud he wouldn’t be at all surprised if the neighbors heard it, each spurt of cum surprising him anew with the intensity of his release. 

Dimly, he’s aware of Cas pulling out, of thick thighs framing his chest. A condom falling against his hip. A plummy cockhead disappearing in and out of Cas’s fist—the same fist that just jacked him off, still splattered with his cum—as Cas works himself in brutal, deliberate strokes. It seems like no time at all before Cas’s cock erupts, adding milky-white fluid to his own as Cas spills hot over his abdomen and chest. 

Dean opens his mouth in a wordless invitation and Cas lurches forward, the next splash landing on his chin, his cheek, and finally falling across his lips, bitter and salty and so fucking good he moans like a ten dollar whore. 

“Fuck,” Cas gasps, diving in to lick into his mouth. He can’t even fucking think he’s so blissed out, but he kisses Cas back with everything he has, his cock still dribbling weakly, his lungs burning, and his hands right back in Cas’s hair where he holds him steady and sucks the cum off of his tongue. He lets Cas ravage his mouth after that, asserting his dominance again in the way he pins him back to the bed with his hips, their softening cocks nestling together. Cas continues to rock against him and devours his mouth until he finally forces his head to the side when he thinks he might actually pass out if he doesn’t get a good breath. 

Cas’s forehead droops to rest against his temple, his breath coming out every bit as harsh and ragged as his own. Cas’s big hand is stroking the back of his neck, teasing through the short hair there while he nuzzles into his cheek. He fucking loves how affectionate Cas is after sex, and he lies there happily, drifting in the afterglow, one hand resting lazily on the dip of Cas’s lower back.

Their breathing eventually evens out, and the first thing Cas says to break the silence is, “You smell like sawdust. It’s very manly.” It makes him huff out a bit of a laugh, and Cas grunts before he rolls off of him, uncovering how disgustingly sticky they both are with cum and lube. Cas wrinkles his nose up and says, “I don’t think those wipes are gonna do it.”

“Shower?”

“Yeah. I just need a few minutes to regain the feeling in my legs.” Dean chuckles happily. Cas’s fingers circle his wrist, prompting him to look over at where Cas is aiming a fond smile at him. “I know it’s been a while, but sex wasn’t always as good as it is with us, was it?”

“Hell no,” Dean says with feeling. “I tried telling myself for the last five years that it was only so good with you ‘cause you were the first guy I was with, but I think it’s pretty safe to say we’ve blown that concept outta the water.”

Cas nudges him, a huge grin tugging at the corners of his mouth. “I tried telling myself it was so hot because I corrupted the straight guy with the huge dick.” They both laugh, Dean’s coming with a blush, and Cas adds, “But you’re much more corrupt now than you were then, and it’s still just as hot.”

He rolls his eyes at corrupt, but says, “I guess the good news is it helped Donna believe we’re together.”

“I think the chemistry between us would’ve taken care of that anyway,” Cas points out. “How’s your ass feel, by the way?”

He huffs out a breath and looks away, too embarrassed to keep eye contact while talking about this. “Let’s just say I’m fucking you next. Uh, well,” he stumbles, caught talking about next time again. “If it happens again.”

Cas snorts a laugh. “You want to keep pretending this isn’t going to happen again?”

“Shit,” Dean breathes, immediately dropping the facade. “I dunno man. It’s pretty complicated.”

“It is,” Cas agrees. “But I don’t see how regular sex and mind-blowing orgasms could make this situation any worse.”

That’s a stupidly optimistic take, and if there’s one thing Dean Winchester isn’t, it’s optimistic. “Really? ‘Cause I’m pretty sure I could name about a dozen different ways sex could make things worse.”

“Like?”

“We could get in a fight. I could end up hating you, kicking you out. We could turn on one another and rat the other one out to the lawyer. We could fight over custody. You could snore in your sleep—”

“You are the one who snores,” Cas interrupts.

Dean stops, side-eyeing him. “Liar.”

“You do,” Cas insists. “Any time you're on your back, it's like a chainsaw.”

“I call bullshit.”

“I’ll record you next time,” Cas says, grinning. “But thankfully, every time I pulled you back onto your side you cut it out. Made for a very snuggly sleep last night, which you seemed happy enough about if your wiggling in closer in your sleep is anything to go by.” Face burning so hot he’s afraid it might catch on fire, Dean resolutely stares at the ceiling. “But back to the sex. Any of those other things could happen even without sex. Might as well have as much of it as we can.”

Dean lets out a long breath, already knowing he’s too weak to deny him before he even speaks. He could say no now, sure, but the second he and Cas lock eyes and there’s nobody else around there’s absolutely no way he’s not gonna move in for a kiss and he knows that. It might not be the smart, mature decision to make, but lying here with Cas naked and covered in cum is definitely not the most conducive time to think logically. 

“I’m sure my brother will be able to poke some holes in that theory when he hears about this, but for now, I’m kinda happy to live in ignorance.”

“That’s the spirit,” Cas says joyfully. “Shower? I’ll wash your back if you wash mine.”

“Your back is hot as fuck,” Dean replies. “I’m in.”

A half hour later, they’ve washed each other’s bodies and hair, traded slippery hand jobs, and Dean is now slumped against Cas’s strong chest, the water beating down on both of them.

“I would’ve moved in just for this shower, y’know,” Cas says tiredly. 

Cas’s lips brush the side of his neck when he speaks and holy shit, he is so relaxed right now he could absolutely fall asleep standing. “s’awesome, right?”

“And the water pressure is amazing.”

“Double shower heads,” Dean slurs. No way he was installing a shower with anything less.

“And a deep tub. And am I crazy, or is under my feet actually spongy?”

Dean laughs quietly. “I got bad knees and like to suck dick. It was a practical decision.”

“Why do you have bad knees?”

“Work,” Dean replies. “All the kneeling and bending. Got knees like an old man now.”

“I’ll make sure you always have a soft surface when you get down on your knees for me,” Cas teases gently, his lips brushing one spot just under his ear and making him shiver. Cas reaches around him to turn off the water, dragging an unhappy sound from him when the hot water stops beating onto his back. “You hush, you big baby. The towels are right here.” Cas grabs one and wraps it around Dean’s shoulders, his big hands rubbing up and down his arms to dry him before he gets himself a towel. 

“I could get used to this kind of treatment, y’know,” Dean says.

“How you don’t have people lining up to wait on you hand and foot, I’ll never understand. Especially when you look this good naked.”

He laughs when everything goes dark as Cas drapes a third towel over his head, scrunches his hands in his hair until it’s mostly dry, then he looks behind him to watch Cas do the same thing to himself. When the towel leaves his head, Cas’s hair is literally everywhere and Dean has a dopey smile on his face that turns into a snort of laughter when Cas smiles back, completely secure in his own skin even with his stupid hair. 

They walk back into Dean’s bedroom with towels slung around their waists, and as they cross the threshold, it takes every ounce of willpower he has not to mention that Cas’s socks are still on the floor. 

Instead, he comments, “Maybe jumped the gun on changing the sheets.”

“There’s just a small stain from the lube. It’ll dry,” Cas says, stepping into the en-suite to fix his hair in the mirror. “I don’t even know why I bother. It’ll look like a tornado went through it again by the time I wake up in the morning.”

“I like your messy hair,” Dean admits. “Goes with the whole nerdy thing you’ve got goin’ on.”

“Nerdy thing?” Cas asks, catching his eyes in the mirror.

Dean shrugs. “The button ups, cuffed jeans, messy hair, reading glasses, bee nerd, doctor.”

“You get I’m not actually a doctor, right?”

Dean hits him with a thousand-watt smile. “Believe me, in my mind you are.” Cas shakes his head with fondness. “You’re like a super nerd who fucks like a porn star. Hottest combo ever.”

“And you’re this hyper-masculine, extremely confident handy man with the poutiest set of lips I’ve ever seen, who for some reason, can’t stop blushing when I look at you the right way.”

Dean turns and faces him, screwing his face up in confusion. “I’m not hyper-masculine.”

“Please,” Cas laughs. “You work with your hands, dress like a lumberjack, drive a muscle car, and wear band t-shirts.”

Feeling unfairly labelled by that rundown of who Cas thinks he is, he says, “I also never miss an episode of Dr. Sexy, have a Taylor Swift playlist, and I’ve read every Nicholas Spark book ever written. I made myself a white picket fence for fuck’s sake.”

Cas approaches him, searching his gaze, then says, “Show me your phone.”

“What?” Dean asks, confused.

“Let me see your phone.”

Still confused but willing to play along, he searches the floor for his jeans and pulls his phone out of his pocket. He hands it over and stands next to Cas to watch him open the Spotify App to see what he plays most often, nodding when his Taylor Swift story checks out. 

“You have my apology,” Cas says astutely. “I totally thought you were full of shit.”

“That’s what you get for making assumptions,” Dean says with a know-it-all smile, pleased now that Cas knows he’s not really a butch or something. “I like chick flicks, too.”

“Chick flicks?” Cas questions.

“Y’know. Romcoms, Hallmark movies, pretty much anything with Katherine Heigl. And even though I never really do it for myself, I’m a hell of a baker.”

“Well, well, well,” Cas comments, looping his arms around Dean’s neck playfully. “I really had you pegged wrong, didn’t I?”

“Lucky for you I don’t hold a grudge,” Dean says, lying through his teeth (because he totally does). Cas tilts his head, looking at him like he’s intrigued and wants to know more, making his cheeks start burning again.

Cas’s face immediately cracks on a grin. “That blush, Dean,” Cas says, shaking his head like he can’t quite believe it. “You’re going to be the death of me.”

Dean shrugs out of his hold with an embarrassed huff and goes to his dresser to grab a fresh pair of boxers. He drops his towel, trying not to think about how Cas is likely staring at his naked ass, and steps into them gingerly, wincing slightly while he has his back turned. When he turns back around, he lets out a laugh when he sees Cas standing there in blue pajama pants adorned with little cartoon bees he must have gotten out of the closet.

“Okay, that might be the cutest thing I’ve ever seen,” Dean confesses.

“Well I’m glad you approve because I have them in three different colors,” Cas says, making him laugh again. “Are you ready for bed?”

Thinking of last night, Dean asks, “Is that your way of saying you wanna go across the hall to sleep?”

“No, that’s my way of asking if we should brush our teeth before we get comfortable.”

He ignores the way his heart flips in his chest. “Sounds like a good, solid plan to me.”

They do that next, brushing their teeth side by side, elbowing one another and laughing with their mouths full of foam, taking turns spitting out the biggest wad of toothpaste they can hold. Dean is the uncontested champion in that department, and then he’s left alone to empty his bladder before he slips into bed with Cas next to him.

“Do you mind if I read for a while?” Cas asks.

“Nope. I usually do the same thing before bed.”

They each reach for their perspective books, and Dean says, “Remind me to put all the sex stuff from my drawer here in a box up in the closet tomorrow if I forget. I really don’t need Donna going through there again. Or Liam.”

“Lube can stay though, right?”

Thinking about getting out of bed every time just to get the lube has him agreeing right away. “I don’t see why not.”

Cas tilts his head to look at what Dean’s reading. “Gone Girl,” he tells him. “It’s the second time I’ve read it.”

“It must be good then.”

“Total mind fuck,” Dean explains.

“Maybe we can trade when we finish,” Cas offers. He pulls his book close to his chest so Dean can see the cover. Someone We Know by Shari Lapena. “It’s a thriller. Suburban paranoia.”

Dean shrugs. “I’ll read just about anything. I’m in.”

They settle into a surprisingly comfortable silence after that, each of them reading their respective books. The only sound heard for close to an hour is the soft swish of pages turning, and then once Dean’s eyelids feel too heavy to keep reading, he slips his Batman bookmark inside and places his book back on the bottom shelf of his nightstand. 

“Three more pages,” Cas says, but Dean settles under the covers and turns off his lamp anyway. 

A few minutes later, Cas copies him, and once they’re bathed in darkness, Cas does what he did the night before and pulls him over until he’s draped over Cas’s chest. 

“We have to sleep like this. Otherwise you snore,” Cas says quietly. 

Dean snorts a sarcastic laugh. “Yeah, sure.”

“You like cuddling, don’t you?”

“Busted.”

“I do too.” Cas seems to prove it by stroking his back, making him feel like a big puddle of goo. “What’s the plan for tomorrow?”

“Work,” Dean grunts. “Alarm’s set for 8:30. Coffee. Breakfast. Sam’ll call, then I’ll be at work for the day.”

“What about Donna?”

“You can show ‘er the locks and the smoke detectors if she wants to see 'em. If you need me, I’ll come home. Princess ain’t far.” Then he stops to consider. “If that’s okay. If you’re comfortable bein’ here with her without me, I mean. Didn’t mean to put you on the spot.”

Cas’s chest rises and falls with his laugh. “Do you really think I wouldn’t say something if I was uncomfortable?”

Thinking about how direct Cas has been all along has him huffing out a laugh. “Guess you got a point there.”

Cas presses a kiss to the top of his head, making his cheeks burn. “Goodnight Dean.”

“‘Night.” He lies there in Cas’s arms, thinking over the events of the day while he tries to fall asleep. As something occurs to him again, he says, “If those socks are still on the floor when I get home tomorrow I’m gonna be pissed.”

Cas sounds endlessly amused when he replies, “Yes, dear,” and if Dean kinda falls asleep with a smile on his face, nobody needs to know that but him. 

Chapter Text

Everything goes according to plan in the morning, and as different as it is to have somebody else in the house with him while he does everything he usually does to get ready for the day, it isn’t bad. Just different. Cas is really understanding about how he doesn’t like to talk before he has his coffee and doesn’t really say much other than good morning until after he talks to Sam.

The little bit of talking they do between bites of cereal is remarkably easy, the same way it has been the last two times they shared a meal, and he leaves for work on time feeling good about the arrangement they have going on.

Jo isn’t working today, so it’s just him left to put the hardware back on the cupboard doors and then the doors back on the cupboards. After that, he starts in on the laminate flooring. It isn’t complicated work, but it’s repetitive and time-consuming. He eats a couple of pizza pockets for lunch and gets right back at it, eyeing what’s left to do and wondering if he can finish it off tonight if he stays late enough. 

Which of course, is when his phone rings.

“Hiya Dean, it’s Donna!”

Like she needed to identify herself after a bright hiya like that. “Hey, what’s going on?”

“Just calling to let you know you and Castiel both passed the background check, so I’m wondering if we can set up a supervised home visit with Liam after he gets out of daycare today?”

His heart drops into his ass, and his lips open and close several times without anything coming out. He’s so surprised by how quickly this is moving he can’t really make sense out of it.

“Already?” he asks.

“Well, yeah,” she laughs. “You’re named next of kin and there’s a whole whack of kids out there who need foster care a lot more than Liam does right now. We want to get him placed as soon as possible.”

“But... you didn’t even go check out if we got the locks installed or anything.”

“Didja?”

“Yeah,” he says lamely.

“Okie dokie then. Can you and Castiel both be home for 4:30?”

That’s just over an hour from now and he feels nerves rise up so fast inside of him he’s afraid he might actually vomit. He makes a desperate attempt at swallowing it down, but rushes over to the sink just in case, breathing unnaturally hard.

“Dean?” Donna checks. “You okay there, big guy?”

“Yeah,” he gasps, still dragging in deep breaths and trying to get his shit together. “Yeah. I can be home for 4:30. Cas is already there.”

“Alrighty. I’ll see ya there then!”

Then she hangs up and he hits Sam’s contact next, filling him in and snapping a quick picture of the progress he made so far before hanging up again and calling Cas.

“Hello, Dean.”

“Donna wants us to do a supervised home visit with Liam at 4:30,” he blurts.

“Today?” Cas asks, sounding every bit as panicked as he feels.

“Yeah. Today.”

“That’s an hour from now!”

“I know. I’m getting in my car right now.”

“Dean, we didn’t buy any toys! Or a tablet! I thought we’d have more notice,” Cas says all in a rush.

“Well fuck. Guess I’m swinging by WalMart first.”

“I’ll meet you at the front doors,” Cas says, and for whatever reason, knowing he doesn’t have to do this alone makes him feel at least fifty percent better. 

“Thanks, Cas.”

Ten minutes later has him parked a fucking mile away from the stupid doors in the WalMart parking lot, but thankfully, Cas is already waiting for him. He’s in black slacks and a soft peach colored button down, and while nobody should ever look good in that color, he can’t help but notice as he approaches Cas how it really compliments his golden skin.

He shoots him a sideways smile as Cas spots him and, unfortunately, doesn't miss the quick once-over Cas gives him. “Even now?” Dean asks in lieu of a greeting.

Cas only smiles. “I’m in a rush, not dead. Toys first?” he wonders, heading in that direction.

“I guess.”

They walk quickly without saying anything else, dodging shopping carts, people talking in the middle of the aisles, and kids running around like animals, before finally finding themselves in the toy section. 

After walking down aisle after aisle looking uselessly at rows of cars, Minions, NERF guns, and a whole bunch of shit he’s never even heard of, they just stop and stand there in a state of silent, mutual panic. What the actual fuck is Paw Patrol? Or PJ Masks? LOLs? He’s actually broken out in a cold sweat and is half a second away from suggesting they just buy one of everything when he happens to spot some Jurassic World merchandise, and his eyes go wide as he clutches at Cas’s forearm.

“Dinosaurs,” he breathes.

“Dinosaurs?” Cas repeats. Then his eyes go wide. “Dinosaurs! Charlie, at the lawyer’s office!”

“Liam’s into dinosaurs!” he exclaims, like he just won the goddamn lottery instead of figuring out what his potential kid likes.

“I could kiss Charlie,” Cas says.

“Fuckin’ same,” Dean snorts, earning himself a dirty look from a lady with a toddler in the shopping cart walking by. “So stock up on brachiosaurus here?”

Cas makes a pained face. “I think that’s one of the ones that dies in the latest movie, so maybe not that particular one.”

“Good point,” Dean says. “You can’t go wrong with a t-rex, right?”

They load up with several different dinosaurs all in different sizes and styles, and when Cas says they’ve got more than enough, they start towards the electronics. Dean hesitates on his way by the action figures, but ultimately stops and grabs a Batman and Spiderman. Cas raises a questioning eyebrow but Dean says, “Boys love action figures.”

“For all we know he prefers Barbies,” Cas shoots back.

“Yeah well, if he asks for one I’ll buy him Barbie’s Dream House, but in the meantime, there ain’t a damn thing wrong with Batman.”

Cas chuckles but agrees, and twenty minutes later, Dean’s several hundred dollars poorer and he and Cas divvy up the bags and head back to the house separately. Once inside, Cas gets the tablet charging and Dean dumps the toys out on the kitchen table so Liam can check them out whenever. He doesn’t take them out of the boxes just in case Liam doesn’t like them, because he figures he can bring them back and get something he does like instead if that’s the case.

Once he changes out of the clothes that smell like sweat and sawdust, he goes to get rid of all of his sex toys out of the end table and is surprised to see it empty save for the lube, condoms, and wipes. His face is burning hotter than ever, and of course that’s exactly when Cas pokes his head into the room.

“Dean, I put the—” He stops, laughs a little. “Guess you figured it out on your own.” Then Cas must see his blush because he steps into the room and walks towards him, saying, “Sorry if I overstepped. I figured you knew that I’ve already seen what was in there, so it wouldn’t be a big deal if I moved it. I promise there wasn’t anything pervy going on.” Then he grins wolfishly and steps into his space, adding, “Though I can’t say I didn’t have a few new ideas afterwards,” causing his blush to spread even further.

“Now is really not the time to give me a semi,” he says, only half serious, but he gets a husky laugh from Cas that definitely doesn’t help. “You and me alone in a bedroom is a bad idea. Get outta here.”

Cas laughs again, but he doesn’t seem nearly as affected as he is, especially given the way Cas reaches out to brush his knuckles along his jaw. He’s fucking helpless against the way his eyelids flutter shut and a shiver rolls down his spine, and then Cas’s hand is cupping his jaw before sliding around to the back of his neck. He goes with it when Cas pulls him in, hooking his chin over Cas’s shoulder, trying not to think about just how firm Cas’s chest is and how comforting it is to be in his arms. 

“It’s gonna be okay,” Cas murmurs quietly, prompting him to take in a deep breath. 

It’s calming, either the breath or the physical contact (or Cas), and he feels some of his nerves settle as Cas’s hands rub soothing circles between his shoulder blades. His shoulders relax, his breathing steadies, and when he realizes whatever manly-scented product Cas has on is as familiar as it is mouthwatering, he knows he should put some space between them before he does something stupid like kiss him. He loosens his hold and Cas pats him once on the back, as if that will somehow make it less weird that the two of them just had some kind of moment in the middle of the day not related to sex, Liam, or pretend dating. 

“Better?” Cas asks.

He’s embarrassed to admit it, but he replies honestly anyway. “Yeah, actually. And thanks for dealing with the, uh, contents of the drawer.”

Cas’s smile turns predatory all over again. “Anytime. I’m going to go load a couple of apps—”

Knock, knock, knock.

“Shit,” Dean curses, already moving towards the door with Cas right behind him.

“They’re here.”

“Shit, shit, shit,” Dean mutters quietly.

“Maybe try not to swear in front of the four year old right away,” Cas whispers, causing Dean to throw him a sharp look over his shoulder that Cas just grins at. “Take a breath, Dean.”

As much as he would like to do the opposite just to spite him, it worked well enough a few minutes ago, so he nods and inhales deeply. Then he pulls the front door open on the exhale, and his entire life changes in an instant.

“Howdy, Dean. Mind if we come in?” Donna asks.

He barely even pays her any attention, though, because his eyes are already glued to the little kid by her side, and all he can do is nod and step back. Thankfully, Cas is right there, and before he can even reach for him, he feels Cas’s hand find his. Their fingers slot together like they’ve done it a million times, and even though the grip is harder than is strictly comfortable, he knows he’s holding on just as tight.

Even as Donna and Liam step into the house, Liam never lifts his head. He’s looking down at the floor, but Dean can see that he has light brown hair like him. Hell, it’s even kind of cut like his. Short on the sides with just a little bit more length on top... and the kid’s ears are red. He looks over at Cas when he feels him squeeze his hand. 

Cas’s eyes are lit up with mirth, and he mouths, He’s blushing.  

Dean can only nod before he looks back at Liam, because his heart is already in his throat. The kid’s standing in his house—it could be his kid standing in his house—and he’s dying to see what his face looks like. 

Does Liam look like Lisa? Like him? Like Cas? 

Donna’s voice brings him back to reality, and he realizes too late he never even greeted her, or Liam. “Dean, Castiel, this is Liam Braeden.” Donna crouches down and says, “Liam, this is Dean and Castiel. You’re going to be living here with them for good pretty soon. Can you say hi to them for me, sugar pie?” When Liam only shakes his head no, Donna nudges him in a friendly way and waits for Liam to turn his head to look at her. “I checked them out real good, buddy, and I promise they don’t bite. Ain’t that right, Dean?”

Put on the spot, he blurts, “Yeah.” Then, hearing himself sounding like a caveman, he lets go of Cas’s hand to take a few shaky steps forward. When Donna nods encouragingly, he crouches down next to her and waits for Liam to look at him. This close up, he can see the blush painting Liam’s face, but more importantly, he can see the freckles scattered over his cheeks. Somewhere in the back of his mind, it pings that Liam has freckles like he does, has the same color hair he does, and holy fucking shit this could be his goddamn kid. Thankfully, his mouth still works even if his brain is currently in the middle of freaking the fuck out.

“I, uh, don’t know a whole lot about kids, but me and Cas went out and picked up some toys for you to play with if you wanna check them out?”

The kid lifts his eyes then, and he’d swear on a stack of bibles he can actually feel his heart drop to his feet because he’s hit with a pair of blue eyes he’d be able to recognize anywhere. Liam has Cas’s eyes. The exact same shade of blue, and he doesn’t know if it’s relief or heartbreak he’s feeling but he knows there’s something sharp and powerful happening in his chest that completely takes his breath away.

 

 

 

“Kay.”

Kay.

Liam said kay, and for whatever reason, that one little half-word has his heart leaping back off of the floor and filling his chest so fast he thinks it might explode right back out. “Awesome,” Dean says, a genuine grin on his face. He straightens up and when he looks behind him expecting Cas to look like he’s freaking out since Liam’s obviously his with a pair of eyes like that, Cas is just smiling warmly at the pair of them.

“Hi, Liam. I’m Castiel,” Cas says, his voice the kind of soft he’s only ever heard a few times. It makes something inside him ache and he tries to shake off the unwelcome feeling. “What kind of toys do you like?”

Liam shrugs his shoulders, but lifts his eyes enough to look up at the pair of them. Cas rests his hand on Dean’s shoulder and he unconsciously moves closer to him until he can feel the warmth coming off of his body. 

“We bought a whole bunch of Jurassic Park stuff,” Dean says, feeling smugly confident over having a leg up. “You like Jurassic Park?”

Liam shakes his head no. He shares a confused look with Cas, because what the hell else could Charlie have meant by dinosaurs?

“Oh,” Cas says, recovering a lot faster than he did. “That’s okay. Dean thought you might like Batman or Spiderman?”

“I like Jurassic World,” Liam says, talking directly to his feet.

“Jurassic World?” Dean asks to the room in general. Donna shrugs, but it’s Liam who answers.

“With the indoraptor.”

“Ah,” Cas says knowingly. “Jurassic Park is the movie that came out in the 90s. Jurassic World is the series with Chris Pratt,” Cas explains to Dean. “Owen, right?”

Liam’s eyes light up for the first time, and a tiny smile tugs at the corners of his mouth. “Owen’s cool.”

“And easy on the eyes,” Cas says under his breath, pulling a reluctant smile from him and a giggle from Donna. “I think we actually got an indoraptor when we were at WalMart. Do you want to help me find it?”

“‘kay,” Liam says again, this time stepping away from Donna. 

“You can follow me if you want,” Cas offers, and Dean stays right where he is, watching Liam walking slowly but with determination behind Cas. Cas slows down until they’re side by side, and he can’t tear his eyes away until they disappear around the corner.

“You’re good,” Donna comments, sounding impressed.

Considering he feels like he fucked that up pretty badly, he asks, “How do you figure?”

“You didn’t blow chunks or pass out on me.”

He snorts a laugh. “You set the bar really low.”

“Easier not to be disappointed that way,” she responds. “I see ya got that chain on the door.”

“Told you I did,” Dean replies.

“Low bar,” she winks. “Let’s go see how your boys are doin’ in there, hm?”

Your boys makes his legs feel like they’re going to give out on him, but when he looks at the floor to hide it, he sees her shoes. “Hey, do you mind leaving your shoes at the door?” he asks, and though she seems surprised, she nods and a few seconds later, he follows her around the corner. 

He only makes it far enough until he can see Cas and Liam sitting at the table before he freezes. Liam has the indoraptor package in his hand, and while he’s obviously struggling to open it, Cas is sitting next to him without offering to help. He’s about to jump in when he notices Liam sneaking glances at Cas. Cas has a box, too, and he presses in the little hole on the cardboard backing slowly. Very slowly. So slowly Dean wonders what the hell he’s doing before he sees Liam turn his box over looking for the hole on the back of his box. Once Liam has pushed it in, Cas pulls on the backing until there’s a rip down the middle, and after Liam watches him do that, he does the same thing.

Realizing that Cas is helping Liam without doing it for him has a soft smile on his face. Cas was worried about not knowing anything about kids and here he is helping Liam without intruding or making him feel bad like it’s the most natural thing in the world. Liam watches Cas twist a few ties on the back of the toy holding it inside, and then the indoraptor falls out onto the table and Liam laughs.

 

 

 

It’s just a quiet, excited little laugh that barely lasts for a whole second, but Liam catches Cas’s eyes and Cas smiles that adorable, nose crinkling smile back at him, and Dean’s fucked. He knows in that moment that he’ll let Cas stay here for as long as he needs, as long as he wants, if it means he gets to see Lisa’s son be happy. He hasn’t talked to her in five years, but after seeing Liam in the flesh, he’s more sure than ever that Lisa would have been the best mom. Sweet and nurturing, endlessly patient, a fun, dancing-in-the-living-room kind of mom. She would have worked herself to the bone to make sure Liam had everything he needed, read to him every night before bed, kissed him before he left for daycare every morning, and picked him up looking like the coolest mom in the world every single day.

There’s no way he’s ever gonna be able to be what she was for Liam, and he knows Cas won’t be able to replace her either, but if just having a house and a job is enough to help him try, he’s so on board with Liam getting to know his dad. He can barely even force himself to think this way, but if there’s a silver lining here at all, it’s gotta be that.

“You gonna get in there?” Donna asks quietly.

Dean shakes his head. “Nah. Not right now. They’re doin’ pretty good. How long are you guys staying?”

“First visit is typically a couple of hours, but the foster family has dinner around six so I want to make sure he gets home by then.”

“I could whip something up,” Dean offers. “Order in pizza or something. Kids like pizza, right?”

“How about tomorrow?” Donna says. “I’ll bring him by the same time tomorrow and we can have a little pizza party then.”

“Pizza?” Liam asks. When both he and Donna turn towards him, his cheeks turn red, and Dean feels a strong wave of empathy towards the little guy.

“You like pizza?” Dean asks.

“I love pizza with lotsa cheese and, and, sausage and...” His face screws up like he can’t think of the right word. 

“Bacon?” Dean guesses.

“YEAH!” Liam exclaims. “I love bacon!”

“Who doesn’t?” Dean says, getting a round of laughter from pretty much everybody. He’s laughing too, though, because Liam doesn’t seem to be able to pronounce his Ls properly, which is making wike and wove seem like the cutest words in the English dictionary. 

“Wanna play dinosaurs with us?” Liam asks.

Dean looks at Donna, then back at Liam. “Me?” Liam shrugs and Dean can’t hide his smile as he walks over to join him and Cas at the table. “I might be a little rusty. It’s been a while since I played with toys.”

“He’s fibbing,” Cas whispers. “He played with Batman and Spiderman when we were in the line up at WalMart.”

Liam giggles again, and Dean can’t help but think how good Cas is with him. “You can be the spinosaurus,” Liam announces. 

“Uh, okay,” Dean says, looking at the different boxes. “Which one is the spinosaurus?”

Liam sifts through a couple of boxes and hands him one with what he would’ve said is a stegosaurus inside, though now that he’s looking at it more closely he guesses the spiney thing is longer than he would’ve thought. “You gotta poke the hole in the back to get it open,” Liam tells him.

“Man, this kid’s full of information,” Dean teases, sharing a smile with Cas as he rips the package open.

“So is the indoraptor your favorite dinosaur, Liam?” Cas asks.

“Nuh-uh,” Liam answers, shaking his head. “I like Blue.”

“Like, the color blue?” Dean asks, wondering if he understood him correctly. This kid talk is going to take some getting used to.

“Owen’s raptor,” Cas explains. “I guess me and Dean are going to have to watch Jurassic World before you come visit again.”

“Do you got Netflix? ‘Cause it’s on Netflix!” Liam tells them, making him chuckle with how earnest he looks with those big blue eyes.

“Yeah, we have Netflix.”

“How have you not seen it then?” Cas asks him. “I thought we established before that you’ve seen everything and I’ve seen nothing?”

“I thought they were remakes,” Dean explains. “I didn’t watch them out of protest.”

“But you’re gonna?” Liam asks.

“Yeah, I’ll watch it before we hang out again tomorrow.”

“The day after this day?” Liam asks. 

“Yep,” Dean replies, barely suppressing a laugh. “That’s tomorrow.”

“Awesome,” Liam declares, and the smile Cas aims at him after that is damn near blinding. Cas reaches out and places his hand on his shoulder, giving it a little squeeze in a gesture of support, and his cheeks turn pink when he hears Donna make a sound that sounds suspiciously like, Aw.

“Hey! Castee—Cas-tee-lelle—”

“Cas is fine, Liam,” Cas says, his nose all scrunched up again, making Dean wonder how he’s going to survive the hour they have tonight if Cas keeps being this cute.

Liam’s cheeks are flushed again when he starts over. “Hey Cas! Who do you think would win in a fight with—with—with a indoraptor and a triceratops?” 

“Good question,” Cas replies, pursing his lips like he’s thinking about it. “What do you think?”

“Triceratops is a plant-eater,” Liam recites, as if that settles it. 

“Yeah, but he’s got the big thing around his neck to use as a shield,” Dean says.

“Is it super strong?” Liam asks.

“It’s called a frill,” Cas says, tapping on it so Liam knows what he’s talking about. “And it’s made out of bone, so it’s pretty strong.”

“You are such a nerd, doc,” Dean says fondly.

“I’m a scientist,” Cas says confidently. Then, turning back to Liam, he says, “Do you think an indoraptor could bite through bone?”

It’s kind of amazing how fast an hour passes. Liam keeps delegating different dinosaurs to the two of them, and they go through the process of deciding which dinosaur would most likely win in a fight in the wild, then acting out the fight and a grisly death for the losing dinosaur. Liam knows all of the dinosaurs by sight and name, and it’s incredible listening to the little kid say pachycephalosaurus without fucking it up even though he couldn’t say Castiel clearly. From what he can tell, Donna barely pays them any attention at all. She’s tapping away on her phone almost the entire time, and only once their time is almost up does she interrupt.

“Well, boys, as much as I hate to break up the blood bath, I think we better show Liam around real quick before we get him back to Miss Mosley’s.”

“Do you got a playroom?” Liam asks Cas excitedly.

“We don’t,” Cas admits. “Sorry.”

“They have a bedroom for you, though, pumpkin,” Donna says. “Maybe you could help Dean and Cas and put these toys in there for them so you know where they’ll be when you come back tomorrow?”

Liam’s eyes light up at that. “You have a room for me?”

“Well, yeah,” Dean says, looking at Donna for a clue for how much to tell him. She nods, so he echoes what she said earlier. “We’re hoping you wanna come live with us for good pretty soon.”

“‘cause I got no place to live,” Liam says quietly, sinking down in his chair a little bit and effectively breaking Dean’s heart.

“You do now,” Cas says. “We want you to live with us.”

Liam looks at Donna. “Do I gotta go someplace else after this?”

“No siree,” Donna says with a wide smile. “Once you move in here, that’s for good. This will be your new home.”

Liam nods once, solemnly, as if he’s letting that sink in. “Can I see my room please?”

“Super speed, okay?” Donna prompts.

Liam’s eyes light up and then he takes off towards the door with the indoraptor still in his hand, his little feet pounding on the floor as he runs. “I haven’t moved that fast in ten years,” Dean says under his breath, and Cas and Donna laugh as they follow Liam down the hallway. 

Liam runs right into the first room, which is empty. “Why do you got a room with nothin’ in it?” he wonders. 

“We weren’t sure what to do with it yet,” Dean explains. 

“Weird,” Liam comments. Then with one final spin in the middle of the empty room, he squeezes past all of them and heads for the next room, which is the bathroom. He barely pokes his head in and instead continues on to the last room on that side of the hall. “Huh,” he says, walking inside.

It’s pretty plain. He went with a dark teal color for the walls, offset by a plush beige carpet and a white ceiling. There’s a twin bed with a generic teal/lilac/white plaid pattern comforter on it and a bunch of decorative pillows, framed by a natural wood headboard and matching dresser. There’s no lamps in here because he decided on a ceiling fan, so other than that, there’s nothing else in this room.

“We can go shopping and get you some stuff,” Dean offers, prompted by the lack of a reaction from Liam. “A toy box, some stuffed animals. We can put some stickers on the wall or something. Whatever you want to make it yours.”

“Maybe we can find some dinosaur blankets,” Cas suggests.

“Yes!” Liam says excitedly, climbing up on the bed. Dean tries not to wince at the kids’ shoes on the clean blankets. “This is a biiiiiig bed,” he declares, rolling around on it. “Do I gotta share this room like at Miss Mosley’s?”

“No way Jose,” Donna says, reaching over to ruffle his hair. “This is all yours.”

“Awesome,” Liam grins, hopping back off of the bed. He walks right back out of the room and into the hallway like he owns the place, drawing smiles from all three of them.

“He warmed up pretty fast,” Cas says to Donna.

“Kids are more resilient than we give ‘em credit for,” Donna explains. “There’s nothing in your room that little eyes shouldn’t see, is there?” 

Dean follows her gaze and sees Liam walking into his room. He shoots Cas a quick smile and then says, “Nope.”

“Good,” Donna replies, following Liam inside. “Keep it that way.”

“Cool window,” Liam says, scrambling up onto the seat there. “Can I have this room?”

Dean chuckles. “Sorry, this one’s taken.”

“Is it yours?” Liam asks.

“Yep. Pretty nice, huh?” 

Instead of answering, Liam turns to Cas. “Where’s your room?”

Cas looks at Donna, who nods her encouragement, and so Cas says, “Me and Dean share this room.”

“We talked about this, remember, Liam?” Donna prompts. “Cas and Dean are in love just like Anna and Kristoff in Frozen.”

Liam turns to look at them, and Dean feels his heart clench in his chest. It's a lie, for one thing, and on top of that, he has no idea how Liam's going to react to this sorta thing. All Liam says, though, is, “Mommy says love is love, not just boys ‘n’ girls.”

A strangled sound escapes him and his eyes mist over faster than he can control. He figured out he wasn’t straight when he was with Lisa and that that’s what ultimately broke them up, so Lisa would have had every reason to hold a grudge, but instead, she took the time to explain to her son about homosexual couples. It means a hell of a lot more to him than he anticipated and he finds himself unexpectedly emotional about it. He turns away, trying to hide the way his eyes are filling, and he hears Donna say, “Your mom got that right, sweetie. Hey, didja know that when I was here yesterday Dean was talking about getting a sandbox or a swing set for the backyard someday? This is the yard right here. What do you think would be the most fun, a swing set or a sandbox?”

Cas slides his hand along Dean's back, and when he turns towards him, Cas draws him in for a hug. A part of him knows it would look weird not to accept comfort from Cas, but that’s not the only reason he goes. He might not be used to accepting affection so easily, but it feels right to bury his face in the crook of Cas’s neck as Cas holds him nice and tight. He loses the battle of containing the brimming liquid, causing a few stray tears to leak from the corners of his eyes, but he wipes them away as fast as they fall. He takes a couple of deep breaths to get his shit back together, and after a few comforting back pats from Cas, he nods and steps out of his hold. 

Cas hits him with a watery smile of his own and he has to look away before he starts up again, but he reaches out to hold Cas’s hand and doesn’t plan on letting go anytime soon. Donna must have been watching them out of the corner of her eyes, because she says, “Sounds like Liam’s vote goes for a sandbox.”

Dean clears his throat and nods. “You any good at building stuff?”

Liam shrugs. “I dunno. I got no tools.”

Dean’s smile is quick and genuine. “I’ve got enough for both of us.”

His eyes light up. “I could—I could hammer something? Or—or—or saw it?”

“We’ll start small,” Dean says, chuckling appreciatively. “But yeah. I was gettin’ pretty good with a hammer when I was your age.”

“Cool!” He looks from Dean to Donna and says, “He sayed I could use a hammer!”

“He’s a brave one,” Donna jokes. “We gotta skedaddle to Miss Mosley’s, kiddo. You ready?”

“Can I bring my indoraptor? And the t-rex?”

“How about one for tonight? If you’re coming back tomorrow, you can switch them out then,” Cas offers.

Liam’s shoulders slump but he sighs, “Okay.”

Having done the same thing himself when he’s been told to pick between two kinds of pie, Dean can’t help his warm smile.

“Maybe Dean and Cas will walk us to the door,” Donna prompts.

“Oh! Yeah,” Dean says, jumping back into action and stepping into the hall. “Thanks for coming over to play with us, Liam. It was a lot of fun.”

“I had fun, too,” Cas says. “How about you Liam?”

“You got good toys,” Liam replies frankly, making him laugh. 

“Tomorrow when you come back we’ll be able to talk Jurassic World,” Dean says.

“And have pizza with bacon!” Liam reminds him.

“You got it, kid,” Dean promises. 

Donna steps into her shoes and Cas crouches down next to Liam, sticking his hand out for him to shake. “It was very nice meeting you, Liam.”

Liam’s face cracks on a big grin as he fits his little hand into Cas’s giant one, and they shake once, very seriously, before Liam giggles and looks back up at Donna as she straightens up. 

Dean walks over and says, “I’m not much of a fancy handshake kinda guy, but are you down for pounding it?”

Liam grins and sticks out his fist, so the two of them pound it, and Donna says, “I’ll give you a ring tomorrow. Nothing to worry about, just a few things we gotta go over before he comes back.”

Feeling his heart leap into his throat, he replies, “We’re good though, right?”

“All on track. Don’t sweat it,” she promises.

He lets out a breath he didn’t realize he was holding, then, with pink cheeks, says, “Thanks, Donna.”

“See you crazy kids tomorrow.”

Dean closes the door behind them and sinks back against it, his eyes closed as he feels some of the nerves that had been knotted in his stomach loosen now that they’re alone again. 

“Looks like you could use a drink,” Cas says, a hint of humor in his voice.

Dean breathes out a laugh, opening his eyes to see Cas watching him. “Maybe a couple.”

“I know we decided on pizza tomorrow, but how about we get into our pajamas, I’ll order in Chinese, and we can have a couple of beer while we watch Jurassic World?”

Dean sighs happily; not having to worry about anything else tonight is exactly what he needs. “That sounds amazing.”

“Consider it done. I’m assuming your Chinese food tastes run more towards meat than vegetables?” Cas checks.

“I choke down the beef and broccoli if I have to,” he admits. 

“That’s my favorite,” Cas replies. “I’ll call it in.”

“Okay, I’m gonna give Sam a quick call and fill him in on everything. If you need me I’ll be in the bedroom.” He changes before he calls Sam, then, in a pair of grey sleep pants and a ratty old Star Wars shirt, he flops back on his bed and dials his brother.

Sam answers with, “Hey, jerk.”

“Bitch,” Dean replies automatically. “Guess who just left?”

“Ryan Gosling,” Sam says dryly.

“Please, like my mouth wouldn’t be too full of dick to call you if he came within ten feet of me.”

“Ten feet, huh?” Sam laughs. “You think he looks like that and has a ten-foot-long dick?”

“There’s gotta be more than one of us,” Dean jokes. Then, before Sam can catch his breath from laughing on the other end of the phone, he says, “Liam just left.”

“Already?” Sam asks. “That was faster than I thought it would be.”

“Foster family needed him home for dinner.”

“Well, how did it go? Did you freak out?”

“Didn’t even have time to freak out. Me and Cas ran to WalMart to load up on toys first,” Dean tells him, launching into the tale of finding the Jurassic World toys, which leads him to explaining how he didn’t know the difference between Park and World, and how he and Cas played dinosaurs with a four year old for an hour. 

“Sounds right up your alley,” Sam says fondly.

“It was kinda fun,” he admits. “He’s coming back over tomorrow and we’re having a pizza party. Liam damn near hit the roof over bacon.”

“So he’s yours then,” Sam jokes.

“Nah,” Dean says quietly, still unsure how he feels about that. “He’s got the exact same shade of blue eyes as Cas.”

“So?”

“So?” Dean repeats. “Lisa had brown eyes.”

“Dean,” Sam laughs. “Eye color is determined by a whole bunch of different genes. Liam could still be yours even if he has blue eyes.”

“Really?” Dean asks, wondering if Sam is just pulling his leg.

“You said Cas is a scientist or something, right?”

“A bee scientist,” Dean confirms, getting a snort from Sam.

“Still bet he’d know. Ask him if you don’t believe me.”

“Don’t think I won’t. I still haven’t forgiven you for trying to convince me reindeer were real.”

“Reindeer are real, Dean, I’ve told you a million times!”

“Yeah, Santa Claus, too,” Dean says sarcastically.

“Do us both a favor and ask Cas about reindeer after the eye thing.”

Dean tsks. “Like I’m gonna fall for that. You just want me to look like an idiot in front of him.”

“You really are an idiot,” Sam says, sounding resigned. 

“I know you are but what am I?”

“I’ll talk to you tomorrow,” Sam says, hanging up on him, and for whatever reason, shooting the shit with his brother has him feeling a million times better than he did a few minutes ago.

As he steps out of the bedroom and into the hallway, he spies Cas walking towards the bedroom. Cas announces, “Chinese is on the way. I’m just going to change.”

“I’ll grab the beer. Want a mug?”

“Bottle works for me.”

And so a few minutes later, he and Cas are curled up on the couch with a few beers. They start off on opposite ends of the couch, but by the time the Chinese food is delivered, they have their thighs pressed together. Jurassic World turns into The Fallen Kingdom, and a couple of beers turn into four each, and as the stress of the day melts away, he somehow ends up with his head on Cas's shoulder.

They head to bed after that, and even though neither of them bring it up, Cas gets into bed next to him instead of taking the bed in Liam's soon-to-be room. They’re both down to just their pajama pants, lying on their sides, facing each other. With no distractions for the first time since Liam left and Cas’s big blue eyes looking right into his, he says, “He has your eyes, y’know.”

Cas’s smile flashes quick. “You think?”

Dean nods. “He took one look at me and I was like, ‘Damn. Cas is a dad.’”

“Dean,” Cas says, huffing a little bit with laughter. “He looks just like you.”

“Nuh-uh,” Dean disagrees.

“Yeah-huh,” Cas says back. “His hair, his freckles. God, Dean, the first time he blushed I felt like I was looking at a mini you. And the way he talks? I’ve never heard anybody else say awesome as frequently as you two.”

“Well he’s a nerd like you are with all those dinosaur names memorized,” Dean replies.

“He just likes dinosaurs,” Cas says with a smile.

“And has the exact same eyes as you.”

Cas’s smile grows even bigger. “So I guess we’ve established we can’t tell if he’s yours or mine by looking at him.”

“I can tell he’s yours, you just can’t,” Dean says stubbornly, getting a laugh out of Cas.

“He was something, though, wasn’t he?” Cas says excitedly. “Smart and funny, going from so shy he wouldn’t even look up to asking you for this bedroom in the matter of an hour.”

Dean swallows and says, “Lisa did a great job with him.”

“She really did,” Cas agrees, reaching out to cover Dean’s hand with his. “I didn’t have any doubts, of course, but actually seeing him really cemented it, you know?”

Remembering how he had the same kind of thoughts watching Cas and Liam together has him nodding his head in agreement. “Yeah.”

“I know it won’t all be playing dinosaurs, but I’m looking forward to getting to know him better.”

“Me, too,” Dean says.

There’s a small silence where they just lie there with his hand covered with Cas’s until Cas says, “It was kind of weird to meet him though, right?”

“Unbelievably weird,” Dean confirms, relieved he can actually talk about this with somebody who really gets it.

“I knew he existed, but as soon as I laid eyes on him I realized he was really real and honestly, for a second there I thought I might faint,” Cas confesses, getting an understanding nod from him. “I was so busy with school that I’ve never had any reason to really think about having kids, but now that I know I might have one, it feels like the biggest wake up call in the world.” Dean nods again, knowing he’s going somewhere with this but unsure exactly where. “Seriously, what am I doing with my life?”

“Hey,” Dean says gently, figuring it out now. “Most people get nine months to figure their shit out before a baby comes along. We’ve had less than a week. It’s okay if you don’t have all your ducks in a row right now. You’re a smart dude, you’ll get there.”

Cas sighs but his head bobs. “I know I roped you into this, and if you felt anything like I did, you probably had no idea how real it was gonna be until today.”

“Yeah,” Dean says on a bit of a sigh. 

“So not to get even more heart-to-heart on you, but I want you to know I know I never would’ve had a chance to do this without you. Even if he isn’t mine, I’m just—I’m really glad I met him, and it’s all because of you. Because you were too nice to say no to me.”

Dean snorts a laugh. “Yeah, sure. It was because I’m nice and not because you’re so hot I couldn’t speak.”

“Whatever it is,” Cas says over him. “I’m very grateful. I don’t know how I could’ve dealt with any of this without you.”

Dean shakes his head, uncomfortable with all of this praise being heaped on him. “I’m not even doing anything.”

“You’re here,” Cas says simply. When Dean scoffs, he says, “You’re good company, and you distract me with sex.”

“I didn’t put out tonight,” Dean reminds him.

“Well I guess I’ll have to fake break up with you then,” Cas jokes, and Dean smiles, not because it’s particularly funny, but because he just enjoys having Cas here. Which makes him think...

“Hey Cas?” 

“You can’t fake break up with me now, I did it first,” Cas points out.

Dean rolls his eyes. “What happens when we find out who Liam belongs to?”

“What do you mean?”

“You heard him ask if he had to move again after he moves in here,” Dean starts. “So we’re gonna have him live here for however long it takes to get the paternity test done, get to know us both in the meantime, and then one of us is just gonna bail on him?” he wonders. “I don’t—” He takes a deep breath and says, “I don’t wanna do that. I don’t wanna do that to him.”

“I hadn’t thought about that, but me neither,” Cas replies. “He’s lost enough as it is.”

"It's just... more real now that I've seen him."

Cas hums his agreement. "We obviously didn't think this all the way through."

"Shocker, considering how much tie we had to think about it," Dean says sarcastically. Then, getting back to the matter at hand, he says, “So even if he’s yours and you’re ready to take off in a week or two, you’ll still let me hang out with him every now and then?”

“I thought that was a given.” When he doesn’t get it, Cas lifts an eyebrow. “You’re telling me you only want me for my potential kid?”

He can’t help his blush, because yeah, he likes Cas, too. “Nah. Even outside of the best sex of my life, you’re cool to hang out with.”

Cas grins and says, “I would be legitimately insulted at this point if Liam was taken out of the equation entirely and we never saw each other again.”

“Same, actually,” Dean says now that he’s thinking about it. “So we stay friends no matter what?”

“Friends,” Cas says, chuckling quietly. “Sure, Dean,” Cas says, rolling onto his back and pulling him in so he’s pillowed on his chest. “I always share a bed and cuddle with my friends.”

“Oh shut up,” he says tiredly, trying hard not to panic at the implication there. 

Hell, the way Cas said that almost sounded like Cas thinks they’re more than friends, and considering he himself had just figured out they’re actually friends five minutes ago, he can’t even begin to entertain the idea of anything more right now. Not when they’re trying to figure out how to live together and how to be parents to Liam. They’ve got enough to deal with.

“Sweet dreams, Dean.”

He snuggles in as Cas’s arms come around him, trying valiantly to ignore the way those damn butterflies are going crazy inside of him. 

“‘night, doc.”

Chapter Text

He wakes slowly the next morning with the unmistakable scent of coffee in the air, but even more noticeably, soft lips traveling slowly down the bend of his neck and to his shoulder. He shifts slightly before his eyes are even open, baring his neck for Cas to keep going, drawing a quiet hum of approval from the man behind him. The hand that had been resting on his shoulder blade slides down his lower back and over his hip, pulling him back just enough that Cas’s erection comes into contact with his ass. 

Knowing Cas is hard sends a strong wave of arousal through him, and he guides Cas’s hand down his hip until Cas gets the idea and rubs up the length of his own thickening cock over his pajama pants. 

Once again, Cas makes a pleased little sound in his throat, and his lips increase their pressure on his neck, scraping his skin with his stubble. He inhales sharply when Cas’s hand dips down to caress his balls at the same time Cas’s teeth catch on a tendon on his neck. Cas nibbles and sucks while he fits his cock along his ass crack, his hand still fondling his balls until his body begins to rock behind him. 

Cas ruts against him and he ruts against Cas’s hand, petting over the clothes like a couple of horny teenagers, and Dean’s already accepted that he’s going to come in his pants with a hickey on his neck he’ll never be able to hide when Cas slips his fingers beneath the elastic waistband. 

“Yeah,” Dean breathes, giving the okay before Cas even asks. 

His pants are pushed down and discarded within seconds, then Cas’s voice, rough with the morning’s grit, tells him, “Lube.”

He reaches for it in his drawer while Cas deals with his own pants, and when he offers it behind him, he’s pulled in again until he can feel Cas’s firm chest pressed along the length of his back. Cas is so damn muscular it causes arousal to tighten like a fist in his stomach. He hears the click of the lid, and only seconds later, Cas’s lubricated cock is riding the crease of his ass to push between his legs. The head of Cas’s cock nudges the sensitive skin behind his balls, and he’s already moaning when Cas’s slickened hand closes around his cock. 

There’s no teasing involved here, Cas just strokes him steadily right from the start, that firm grip that had tipped him over the edge so fast last time making a reappearance and stealing the breath from his lungs. Cas gets his free hand and arm under his neck, bringing their bodies even closer together, and Dean turns towards him, angling his chin for a kiss a split second before Cas leans in. Their lips connect gently, slotting together and readjusting bit by bit until they find the sweet spot, causing something inside of him to click into place in time with their lips, and even with the slightly unpleasant stale taste of Cas’s mouth it’s still unbelievably good.

Cas’s hand slows down, but he maintains the incredible pressure as he strokes him nice and slow from base to tip again and again, dragging those big, nimble fingers over and around his cock expertly. Cas’s thumb rubs that sensitive spot under his crown at the same time Cas’s cock presses firmly against his taint again and again, and Dean’s breath shudders out with just how much he wants

“C’mon,” Dean whines against Cas’s lips, ready and eager for Cas to move this along. 

Cas kisses him passionately for several long moments, making Dean strain towards him for more before Cas sucks gently on his lip as he pulls away. “Just like this.”

Knowing that Cas is going to jack him off has him relaxing some, the guessing game of when he’s going to start prepping him disappearing entirely. Instead, he finds himself melting into the bed, into Cas, closing his eyes and letting Cas take complete control. His body is Cas’s for however he wants to use it, and there’s something both freeing and incredibly erotic knowing that he trusts Cas enough to take care of him. 

Cas’s tongue slips into his mouth, his skill overpowering the morning breath enough to crank his arousal up another notch. He reaches behind him to tangle his fingers in Cas’s hair, holding him in place while their tongues dance between them, moving in time with Cas’s smooth thrusts between his cheeks. 

It’s slow and easy, lazy the way morning sex should always be, and it makes him dream about doing this tomorrow and the next day. About spending weekends right here in this bed wrapped up in one another, napping and cuddling and making love over and over until both of them are so completely drained they can’t possibly go again. They’d be covered in lube and cum, bruises in the shape of fingerprints and mouths, and there wouldn’t be an inch of skin that hadn’t been tasted, explored, exploited. 

His fantasies combined with Cas pumping him in his hand and kissing him just right has him tensing as ecstasy rushes through him. “Like that?” Cas asks him, his voice rough and rumbling in the quiet of the bedroom, his lips teasing just below his earlobe and sending a shiver along his skin. Dean nods, moving with Cas when he urges him to, switching seamlessly between fucking into his fist and rolling his hips back so his ass rides the length of Cas’s cock. “Do you know how beautiful you are like this?”

Pride and desire mingle and clench inside of him, causing his groin to tighten as those butterflies come to life in his stomach again. The flush already painting his cheeks darkens because of his reaction to Cas’s words, and he can feel it creeping all the way down his neck to his chest. Cas’s lips follow the heat as it spreads until he’s nibbling on his collarbone, the sting sending a buzz of pleasure/pain through his system and causing a needy sound to escape him.

“Dean,” Cas breathes. “You’re so gorgeous. Absolutely breathtaking. Inside and out.”

He blushes even harder, secretly deeply, tremendously moved by Cas saying that when he doesn’t have to. The reverent tone of Cas’s already deep voice combined with the praise Cas is piling on him makes him feel incredibly hot, invincible even, and it only increases his own desire. He can feel the heat simmering low in his stomach now, knows his orgasm is beginning to build, but it feels miles away and Dean’s never been overly patient. “Faster,” he pleads.

Cas kisses him feather-light under his chin, the corner of his mouth, his voice quiet and teasing when he asks, “What’s the rush?”

“I want it,” Dean breathes heavily, so conflicted with the emotions and desire warring inside of him he can hardly think clearly enough to speak.

Cas kisses his bottom lip, swiping across it with his tongue, then murmurs, “I’ll get you there, gorgeous, but I want to watch you fall apart first.”

He can’t complain or beg the way he might have, because Cas catches his lips in another kiss and his protest dies in his throat. Jesus Christ he loves the way Cas kisses, it’s so commanding and assertive, and he makes it absolutely impossible to do anything but give. So he gives himself over to Cas, lies there for ages cocooned by Cas’s strong body, wavering between aching for more and getting so close to the edge he’s actually braced for it—which is when Cas slows down again. It’s torture and bliss at the same time, and it goes on so long Cas has to add more lube to his hand and between his cheeks, the smoother glide causing a litany of curses to spill from his lips as he pushes his purpling cockhead through Cas’s fist. 

Cas is watching over his shoulder, encouraging him, egging him on, whispering. “Feels amazing, doesn’t it?” He’s so far gone, drifting in a sea of pleasure he never wants to come back from, that he can only nod in response, and Cas hums with appreciation. “It’s always stronger, sharper after waiting for so long. God, you look unbelievable when you’re desperate for it like this. You’ve been so patient, Dean. And now I want to see you come.” 

Cas starts twisting his wrist on the upstroke after that, adding a flourish as his fingers circle the crown, and after being in a constant state of almost there with the crescendo gradually increasing for so damn long, he doesn’t even realize he’s about to hit the apex before it’s too late. Cas’s hand squeezes nice and tight, his thumb trailing over his frenulum, and one final twist of Cas’s palm circling his cockhead has him coming explosively.  

His orgasm hits him so fast and is so intense he curls in on himself as he shoots all over the sheets and his stomach. Heat flashes so fucking hot through his insides he feels like his blood is boiling, his shout is lodged in his throat, and he can feel his pulse racing beneath his skin where his neck is bared. He comes again and again, shock waves of acute pleasure reverberating through him from head to toe more fiercely and all-consuming than anything he’s ever felt before. He’s tingling absolutely everywhere, in his fingers, his palms, and his feet, his arms and legs feeling shaky and strangely disconnected from his body. He’s so completely out of it that he’s barely even aware of what’s happening when Cas rolls him onto his stomach, and it’s only mere seconds later that he hears, “Dean,” in an incredibly low, rough voice that burrows deep inside his brain to play on repeat later, a heartbeat before hot fluid splashes over his ass and lower back. 

“F-fuck,” Dean chokes out. 

The mental image of Cas painting his ass with cum is enough to make him wish he had the energy to lift his head to look for himself, but unfortunately, he’s pretty sure he’s about to sink right into the mattress. He’s covered in a cooling layer of sweat and cum, his ears are ringing, and his body is so completely spent he feels like his bones are filled with lead. 

And that’s before Cas falls on top of him, his weight holding him down exactly the way he likes it, and when he feels lips press against the side of his neck, he knows it can’t possibly get better than this. It’s perfect. He wants to stay just like this, his cheek smushed into the mattress along with the rest of him, for as long as possible.

“You—” Cas pants. “—were unfuckingbelievable.” 

Cas kisses him again, nuzzling into his sweaty hair while Dean feels Cas’s hands fumbling around until they find his. Their fingers lock together, causing something new and unfamiliar to uncoil, loosen, shift at his core. He doesn’t give it any thought because he feels utterly content in every single way, tangled up with his boyfriend in bed and basking in the afterglow of truly spectacular sex. It’s so easy and comfortable, and there isn’t anywhere in the whole damn world he’s rather be than right here with Cas, so despite the way Cas is probably gluing himself to his back with cum, he doesn’t even ask him to move. 

Instead, he stays right where he is, soaking up the dozens of kisses Cas lays on his shoulders and the pleasant scratchy feeling of Cas’s facial hair on his skin. His mind remains completely blank, drowning in the warmth and security that he gets from being with Cas. Surrounded by the way Cas smells and feels, an indescribable light and airy joy fills him up with each new breath. The first lucid thought he’s aware of is how nice it is to feel right about being this close to somebody again, to be this close with Cas, which, of course, is when his alarm goes off. 

He finds the sound strangely jarring. Probably because there’s no place for alarms in the happy space he just unwittingly created in his mind. There’s no room for responsibilities and schedules and work. And he sure as hell wasn't ready for the bitter pill of reality that he’s forced to swallow when he remembers he and Cas aren’t really together. Fuck. He had no business even thinking some of the thoughts he let himself indulge in, no business letting Cas’s body and taste and scent get familiar enough to lull him into a false sense of security, no business thinking about having endless days and weekends spent with a man who’s nothing more than a friend. 

Shame and embarrassment (and something a lot more unsettling that he refuses to acknowledge before coffee) causes an unpleasant pit in his stomach, and has him saying, “Up and at ‘em. Some of us have to work.”

“Play hooky with me,” Cas says, rolling his hips suggestively against his ass. “We can stay in bed all day, and I’ll let you have your way with me as many times as you want.”

Considering that’s a little too in-line with the thoughts he’s trying to pretend he didn’t have, he shuts him right down with an undeniable sharpness to his words. “I’m not playing around. Get up.”

“Jeez,” Cas huffs, finally rolling off of him. He forces himself to get to his feet and head for the shower to clean up, ignoring how the hurt tone of Cas’s voice fills him with regret. “Coffee’s already made in the kitchen, sunshine,” Cas says sarcastically, and Dean’s already so in his own head he doesn’t even bother to reply. “You’re welcome!” Cas calls after him, and Dean shuts the door after he walks through, leaving Cas in the bedroom with everything he doesn’t want to be feeling.

He spends the ten minutes he has in the shower berating himself. He got so swept up in the bullshit comment Cas made last night implying that they’re more than friends that he actually forgot they aren’t dating for a few minutes there. Thank christ Cas can’t read minds because if he could, there’d probably be a Cas-shaped hole in the front door right now, and Dean couldn’t even blame him. Hell, he’d damn near melted when Cas’s fingers slotted between his and he needs to cut that shit out, because this thing between them isn’t supposed to be like that. It isn’t like that, he rephrases.

How could it possibly be like that? They’re basically strangers that just got thrown together out of necessity, not out of choice. Cas had said right from the beginning he wasn’t very good at understanding where boundaries should be, so all of the tender kisses, soft looks, and gentle touches that come from him are probably accidental. Either that, or Cas is just so thankful that Dean’s being nice to him—letting him live here, paying for shit, giving him a chance to get to know the kid who might be his—that it has him being way nicer than he needs to be, and Dean’s just getting all tangled up in the web of crazy Cas is spinning. It’s not that Cas likes him, he’s just showing his appreciation in his own way, and believing anything else is only going to make this whole thing a lot harder than it needs to be.

Yeah. It seems a lot clearer now that he’s awake. Maybe all of the feelings bullshit he was so wrapped up in before his alarm went off was all just because he wasn’t fully awake yet? He wasn’t thinking straight because he was still asleep when Cas started in on him, and considering what he was thinking about before he dozed off last night, it makes sense he got everything all muddled before he could wake up all the way. Cas steals the ability to think from him on a good day, so it’s no fucking wonder he couldn’t keep shit straight while he was half asleep. Now that he’s fully conscious, he knows he isn’t with Cas. Obviously. He was just out of it before. 

By the time he’s rinsed off and returned to his now empty bedroom, he’s convinced himself everything is fine. Cas is such a nerd that he doesn’t know he’s being a little too soft for the whole friends with benefits thing, and his own little slip up was all just because he was sleepy, and so there’s no reason not to keep doing what they’re doing. He just has to be careful not to blur the line between friends and more when they’re alone, but he can do that. He’s been doing that. He’s got this. 

He dresses and goes out to the kitchen for coffee feeling a lot better than he did before he hopped into the shower. Spotting Cas’s bare feet crossed and up on the coffee table has him calling out, “Pancakes for breakfast?”

Cas lifts his head enough to show off his fucking adorable bed head, but then drops back down to where he can’t see his expression. “Thought you were in a rush.”

Dean winces. Don’t need a facial expression to decipher a tone like that. “Nah, I got time. Still gotta call Sammy and listen to him babble for a bit before I go anyway. Two birds with one stone.”

Cas doesn’t respond, but he mixes enough batter for both of them anyway, and once his first cup of coffee is gone he realizes he’s actually in a really good mood—probably thanks to the mind-blowing orgasm he had earlier. He calls Sam while he cooks, and Sam reminds him he’s scheduled to spend the day at the little house Sam’s working on to give him a hand shingling the roof. He ends that call with a smile on his face, knowing it’s going to be a short day for a Friday considering how small the house is, and slides four fluffy, perfectly brown pancakes onto two plates. 

“Breakfast is served,” Dean says loud enough that Cas can hear him. 

He plops both plates onto the kitchen table, fixes his second cup of coffee, and sits while Cas walks over to join him. He never would have thought that having an attractive man barefoot in his kitchen would make him feel so warm inside, but thankfully he’s distracted away from his thoughts trailing in that direction by Cas’s low-hanging pajama pants revealing the enticing vee of his hip bones. Sadly, they’re hidden again when Cas takes his seat across from him, but now he’s forced to stare at his broad shoulders and defined collar bone, which features a hickey he vividly remembers putting there. 

He pushes the mental replay of that moment away by ducking his head to concentrate on preparing his breakfast. He slathers his pancakes with butter and drowns them in syrup, which is when he hears a quiet sound of amusement from Cas. Looking up again, he sees Cas shaking his head at him. 

“What?”

Cas cuts a sliver of his still dry pancake off with his fork and pops it into his mouth. “I don’t know why I’m surprised you use that much syrup after watching you put a river of gravy on your food before.”

“Me neither,” Dean says, stuffing a giant bite into his mouth and nodding his own appreciation to himself. “Damn, I’m good.”

“A shower really seems to have turned your mood around,” Cas comments.

“Probably the coffee,” Dean corrects, though he can feel his cheeks heat up a little bit at the pointed dig. “Sorry if I snapped earlier.”

Cas seems to soften immediately. “It’s okay. I knew you weren’t a morning person and I woke you up early anyway.”

“Even I’m not gonna complain about a wake up call like that,” Dean says, smiling across the table at Cas and then instantly berating himself for flirting with him. Friends, he repeats to himself mentally. 

“Noted,” Cas says, adding a tiny dollop of syrup to each of his own pancakes. “So I overheard you saying to Sam that you’re roofing today? Is that something you do often?”

Dean shrugs a shoulder. “Almost every house we flip needs a new roof, so often enough I guess.” 

“And it’s safe?” Cas asks.

Dean’s lips quirk into a sideways smile. “Why, you worried about me?”

“Well, I wouldn’t want you to break that pretty neck of yours,” Cas says, his cheeks turning a delightful pink color.

Dean smiles nice and wide, because is there anything better than when the tables turn and he’s able to make Cas blush? Knowing that Cas actually must be at least a little worried to have brought it up has him answering genuinely, though. “I’m, uh, actually not a big fan of heights, so believe me when I say I’m probably a hell of a lot more careful than most people.”

“I didn’t know you were afraid of heights,” Cas comments.

It’s slightly uncomfortable now that he admitted it, feeling like Cas has some kind of weird advantage over him now that he said that out loud. “Not really something I’m thrilled to tell most people. Kinda embarrassing, you know?”

Cas can either read him really well or is the nicest guy in the world, because the next thing he says is, “If it makes you feel any better, I’m afraid of mice.”

“Mice? Really?” Dean asks, finding that hard to believe. Cas is such a strong, assertive man, that he can’t imagine him being afraid of something so small and harmless.

Cas nods gravely. “Rodents in general are pretty gross because of how many diseases they carry, but mice specifically?” Cas shudders a little bit, which has him breathing out a laugh. “Their skulls are flexible so they can flatten to fit into almost anywhere.” When Dean doesn’t say anything, Cas asks, “How do you not think that’s freaky?”

Dean doesn’t bother trying to suppress his quiet chuckle, but he does say, “That’s cute.” Cas pins him with a decidedly unimpressed look, but unfortunately for him, he doesn’t look any less adorable even when acting grumpy. “The constipated look kinda works for you, doc.”

“It must, since it seems impossible for you to stop flirting with me this morning.”

He drops his gaze to the food in front of him as he feels his cheeks heat up. He literally just spent ten minutes in the shower telling himself they’re friends and nothing more and here he is twenty minutes later telling Cas he’s adorable and hot. He’s a moron and is contemplating trying to drown himself in his syrup when he feels Cas’s foot nudge him under the table.

He steels himself and looks up to see Cas smiling with satisfaction. Before Cas can even get a word out, he says, “Shut up.”

“Have I mentioned how endearing your pink cheeks are?”

“Have I mentioned shut up?” Dean says again childishly. That makes Cas laugh with his nose scrunched up, and all he can think is fuck Cas for being this cute and funny and making it impossible for Dean not to like him.

They finish their breakfast in a mutually amused silence, sharing secret smiles that leaves his cheeks pink the entire time and makes him drop his fucking fork once, and he only speaks once he’s ready to leave for work. 

He’s stepping into his work boots in the foyer when he says, “Won’t be a long day today.”

Cas was at the sink, but he pops his head around the corner with a dish towel thrown over his shoulder. “Donna said she’s coming back at 4:30 right?”

“Yeah, but I’ll be home before that. Three, maybe earlier. Want me to text you to give you a heads up?”

“No, whenever you get here is fine.” Dean nods, grabs his keys and his wallet and turns to give him a quick wave goodbye over his shoulder. He’s got the door open when Cas stops him by saying his name. Turning back again, he notices Cas looks strangely serious for a split second before he says, “Be careful, okay? I’m not done with you yet.”

He rolls his eyes for show, but inside, there’s a warm, happy glow that reminds him exactly how he felt lying in bed with Cas this morning. “I’ll be careful,” he promises. “You watch out for mice while I’m gone.” Cas’s eyes go comically wide and his voice is soft when he confesses, “It was a joke, Cas. I’ll see you after work.” 

Despite the middle finger Cas throws him before the door closes, he feels undeniably good knowing that somebody cares enough to worry about him. 

Ten minutes later, he’s pulling into the driveway of the house Sam’s working on right behind the Winchester Brothers truck. Because he knows Sam’s going to have more coffee for him, he leaves the bundles of shingles in the truck bed and walks into the house. He admires the new front door and the freshly drywalled foyer as he walks through it, finding Sam sitting on the kitchen counter tapping away at his phone.

“Workin’ hard or hardly working?” Dean asks him.

“The former. Unlike you, who hasn’t put a full day in all week.”

Dean grabs the coffee on the counter that’s gotta be for him and takes a swig before answering. “They say it’s gotta be family or career, you know.”

“And when your family is your career?” Sam asks.

“Looks like you get screwed,” Dean says with a smile. “Liam’s coming back at the same time today so I gotta be outta here before then.”

“Shouldn’t be a problem. I talked to Jo about picking up some of the slack on the Princess house.”

“Fuck you very much,” Dean says lightly. “We’re still ahead of schedule on that house.”

“We won’t be if you have to keep leaving.” Before he can defend himself, Sam lifts a hand to stop him. “I don’t blame you. Hell, I’d do exactly the same thing in your shoes. I just think it’s a good idea to have a backup plan now that you’ve got more than just work to worry about.”

“And I'm sure it has nothing to do with you wanting Jo to slob your knob,” he says sarcastically, taking another drink of coffee.

“You’re disgusting,” Sam says evenly. “If she ever heard you say that—”

“She’d probably ask me for tips,” he says with a smug smile.

“She’d probably kick your ass,” Sam counters. Dean shrugs, because really, it could go either way depending on her mood. “She’ll be at the house Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday next week, 9-5, and she’s willing to help out the week after if you need it, but we’ll see how much you end up bailing between now and then.”

He doesn’t necessarily feel like he needs the help, but he’s not about to turn it down, either. It eats into the profits they’ll make off of the sale of the house because Jo isn’t exactly cheap, but she’s worth every penny, and it does give him some wiggle room to help out with anything else he needs to get done before Liam moves in. 

“You’re the boss,” Dean replies.

"Music to my ears," Sam says with a smile. Then his face falls, and he shoves his hand through his hair.

It's a nervous gesture Dean's familiar with, so he asks, "What's up, Sammy?"

Sam breathes out a sigh. "I don't really know how to tell you this, but remember you asked about a service for Lisa?" Dean's heartbeat comes to a screaming halt, and he nods shakily. "I did some digging and I found out that she was cremated. No service."

He's totally floored by that, and it takes him a few seconds to process it. He doesn't want to make it all about him, but his first thought is that he won't get a chance to say goodbye. Liam won't get a chance to say goodbye. What the hell was she thinking, setting things up like that? "The ashes?" Dean asks weakly.

Sam shakes his head. "I was told they're already 'taken care of' but I couldn't get any other information. I'm sorry, Dean."

"It's fucked up," he says quietly. "What am I supposed to tell Liam if he asks someday?"

Sam pulls his mouth to the side. "I'm sorry."

Dean swallows hard. "Not your fault. Don't shoot the messenger and all that shit." He gives his head a shake and pushes it all down. He'll have to try to figure something out before Liam gets old enough to ask questions, but that doesn't have to be right now. "I could use a distraction," he admits.

“In that case, let’s get to work," Sam says. He smiles shakily, and adds, "I know you’ll be scared up on the roof, but don’t worry, I’ll hold your hand if you need me to.”

It's a weak attempt at a joke, but considering he needed something to make shit feel normal, he goes with it. “And I’ll hold your hair outta your face,” Dean offers. “With scissors.”

By the time they haul the shingles out of the back of the truck and onto the roof, Dean’s thighs are burning and he’s questioning if getting off early today is really worth it, but once they actually start the shingling, he’s in his element and everything goes smoothly.

It’s almost eleven when his phone rings, and his stomach clenches with nerves when he sees it’s Donna calling. Why does she never call Cas? Why’s it gotta be him?

After exchanging greetings, Donna leaps right in with, “We need yas to get a car seat for Liam, and we need to make sure you have it installed correctly—those little buggers can be tricky, ya know—and then we thought we could get him settled in for good tomorrow.”

Dean feels his eyes bug out of his head, and wonders if the day will ever come when he gets a phone call from Donna that doesn’t make his whole world turn upside down. “Tomorrow? Like Saturday?”

“Oh, you betcha,” Donna says, amusement evident in her tone of voice.

“Holy shit,” Dean says breathlessly, drawing Sam’s gaze. 

She laughs a little, then says, “I know it’s a lot, that’s why I wanted to give ya a quick minute to get used to the idea before tonight. Oh, that reminds me, do you mind if we bring some of Liam’s things to your place when we come?”

“His things?”

“Mmm yeah,” she answers. “Clothes, jammies, a few toys, y’know, to help him feel like he’s home.”

“Oh.” Dean swallows hard, trying not to think of Lisa’s and Liam’s apartment just sitting there with all their stuff in it. “Whatever he needs, yeah. I’m —we’re happy to buy him new stuff, but if old stuff will make him feel better, bring whatever he wants.”

“Okie dokie,” she replies. Then, “You’re at work, yeah?”

“Yeah, only until three or so, I’m hoping. Why?”

“I really need ya to get that car seat,” Donna tells him.

“I’ll get Cas to go get it,” Dean decides. “Hey, uh, what exactly is he supposed to be lookin’ for? I’m sorta new at the whole car seat thing but there’s different ones for different sized kids, right?”

“Lisa had him in a Britrax but I don’t know the model off the top of my noggin,” Donna says. “And they’re very pricey. We’re talkin’ big, big bucks, Dean.”

“That’s okay,” Dean assures her. “I’ll tell Cas to go with Britrax and just get him to read the box or something.”

“Make sure it’s for kids over forty pounds. Liam was forty-two when we had him checked out when we first got him.”

“K. Britrax, over forty pounds. Got it,” he repeats, saying it again in his head so he doesn’t forget.

“I’ll see ya at 4:30. Tell Castiel he can call or text if he has any other questions.”

“I will.”

“And Dean?” Donna pauses, waits. “Don’t cut off a finger or something while you’re blowing your top over this, eh?”

He answers on a breathless laugh. “Yeah. Thanks, Donna.”

“What was that all about?” Sam asks.

Dean holds up one finger while he dials Cas, knowing that Sam’s going to overhear everything he says anyway. Cas answers with, “Hello, Dean. Miss me already?”

His mouth pops open and he can’t think of a single thing to say for about three seconds before he huffs, “Shut up.” The worst part is that even though he can’t see him, he knows exactly what cocky smile Cas probably has on his face and it makes his stupid cheeks turn pink. He turns away from Sam when he sees his brother’s eyebrows raise, and says, “Donna just called.”

“This is becoming something of a habit.”

“I noticed,” he says dryly. “She wants Liam to move in tomorrow.”

“Tomorrow?”

“The day after this day,” Dean quips.

“Holy shit.”

Dean’s laugh comes genuinely. “That’s exactly what I said.” Cas doesn’t say anything back, so he prompts, “You still alive?”

“I think so. Just a mild freak out.”

“Shake it off ‘cause I kinda need your help. I’m hoping you can go get Liam a car seat before I get home. Donna said we need one installed so she can check we did it right, and I’m obviously tied up at work.” Looking down at the harness he has on him, he says, “Literally.”

“Well, I’m sorry I’m missing that.”

“Oh my god, would you stop?” Dean says under his breath, getting a quiet laugh from Cas in response as his cheeks start flaming again. “I have buying instructions for the car seat. Can you remember them or do you have to write it down, doc?”

“You have my full attention.”

“It needs to be a Britrax brand, for a kid more than forty pounds, and Donna said they’re expensive, so it might be a hundred bucks or something,” he guesses. Not knowing what Cas’s financial situation is considering he’s currently unemployed, he says, “You, uh, want me to send you some cash?”

“I have money,” Cas says, somehow managing to sound offended and thankful for the offer at the same time. “Should I see if I can find dinosaur blankets while I’m out?”

“That would be awesome, actually. And like, kid food.”

“Kid food?” Cas questions.

“Y’know. Cereal, snacks.”

“You already have three different kinds of sugary cereal, chocolate-covered granola bars, Dunkeroos, Oreos, popsicles, and Twinkies in the house.” He scowls at the judgmental tone of his voice, but then he’s distracted by what Cas says next. “What I really need to do is buy more healthy options, like fruit and vegetables.”

“What the hell is a kid gonna do with those?”

There’s a lengthy pause where Dean blinks, waiting impatiently for a response before Cas replies dryly. “Eat them?"

Dean laughs, “Yeah, good luck with that.”

“So I’m going to be the bad cop, then?” Cas asks.

Dean can’t even begin to stifle his smirk or flirtatious tone of voice. “And that surprises you how?”

Cas chuckles, that husky note he loves so much coming through the phone like a punch of heat right to the gut. “It doesn’t really.”

He loses several seconds to replaying that laugh in his brain before he remembers to say something. “Well quit being a shit disturber, then, and go buy your stupid vegetables,” he says, beyond irritated with himself.

“Yes, dear.”

Dean rolls his eyes and hangs up without another word, pocketing his cell phone and shaking his head with a fond little grin on his face when he turns back around to face Sam.

“You idiot.”

He flicks his eyes up to his brother to see him standing across from him with his arms crossed and the frown of all frowns on his face. “What the hell’s your problem?”

“You like Cas!”

“We’re just friends,” Dean scoffs, proud of himself for how convincing that came out considering he’d rather fall through the roof than have this conversation.

Impossibly, Sam’s frown only deepens. “You are literally the most obvious person I’ve ever seen when you have a crush on somebody.”

Because he’s heard Sam say that before and he knows his cheeks are going to betray him the more they talk about this anyway, he tells half of the truth. “Okay, I think he’s hot, but I’m not an idiot. I know we can’t start anything when we have a kid moving in, so unsquint before your face gets stuck like that. ‘Cause lemme tell you, it ain’t a good look for you.”

Sam does unsquint, but only because he’s rolling his eyes dramatically. “I could hear you flirting with him.”

“I wasn’t flirting!”

Sam imitates him with, “Oh my god, would you stop? Want me to send you some cash? And that surprises you how? And did I hear you call him doc?”

“He has a PhD,” Dean tells him. “It’s a nickname, not me flirting.”

“Right, because you definitely don’t have little nicknames for everybody you’ve ever dated.”

“Would you get off my back, Samantha? Oh wait, does that mean we’re dating? Because I need to undo my harness and throw myself off the roof if it does.”

“I want to meet Cas.”

Dean snorts bitterly, making sure his voice is laden with sarcasm when he responds. “Yeah, after this? Why the hell not, right?”

Sam matches his sarcasm with some of his own. “Yeah, why not, Dean? Is there some reason you don’t want me to meet him?”

“No,” Dean lies, responding too quickly and giving himself away. “Shut up.”

For whatever reason, that seems to soften Sam a little bit. “Listen,” he starts. “I know better than most people that you can’t help who you like. Just be smart about this, Dean. Don’t start something with him until you have paternity figured out so nobody gets hurt. Once Cas finds a place of his own, if you wanna date him or fuck him six ways to Sunday, go for it. Just wait until everything is settled first so nobody gets hurt, including Liam.”

Dean nods, swallows down the uncomfortable dryness in his throat, and says, “We’re not gonna do anything to hurt the kid, believe me.” Because Sam is still watching him way too closely, he says, “Can we get back to work now so I can get home on time?”

“Wouldn’t wanna keep your boyfriend waiting,” Sam says, obviously joking this time, and Dean gives him the finger before he puts his safety glasses back on his head, signalling the end of that conversation. Thankfully, Sam lets it go, and doesn’t even bring it up again when they break to grab a couple of subs for lunch. He concentrates on the job instead of the valid point Sam had brought up about potentially getting hurt, and keeps his mind purposely off of Cas.

Of course, that only lasts until he feels his phone buzz in his pocket. It’s a text message from Cas with a photo attached, and he damn near drops his phone when he sees it’s the price tag of a Britrax car seat with $299.99 on it.

“What the fuck?” he says aloud.

Sam glances over. “What?”

“Did you know car seats cost three hundred dollars?”

“What?” Sam repeats sounding every bit as shocked as he feels. “Is it plated in gold?”

“Jesus,” Dean mutters, tapping out a response to Cas.

DEAN: Is that a joke?
CAS: I was hoping I was reading it wrong because I didn’t have my glasses on
DEAN: wtf??? Are there cheaper ones that aren’t that brand?
CAS: Plenty, but I Googled it and Britrax has the highest safety rating out of all of the seats.

Dean rubs a hand down his face. “There’s cheaper ones but they aren’t as good.”

“And I guess when it comes to safety, you probably want to make sure you get the best of the best. But man, that’s insane.”

DEAN: It’s not so bad if we split it?
CAS: No wonder placing a child with a single parent is so difficult. Nobody could afford this on their own! 

It makes his insides feel weird to think about Lisa forking out all that money on her own, but he doesn’t mention that.

DEAN: You’re telling me. See you in an hour or so.

It ends up being more like an hour and a half by the time the roof is fully shingled and they’re cleaned up and he’s ready to go, but he’s still home an hour before Liam’s supposed to get there. He walks through the front door of his house, and because it’s still endlessly amusing to him, he calls out, “Honey, I’m home,” once again.

“In Liam’s room,” Cas calls back. Dean takes off his boots, groaning with relief when he gets them off of his feet, and makes his way there, stopping in the doorway once he sees everything Cas has done.

He found a cream-colored comforter and matching pillow case with multicolored dinosaurs on them, and there’s a big stuffed, friendly-looking t-rex plushie in the corner of the bed. On the wall behind the bed is four wooden, navy blue letters that spell out LIAM hanging by white ribbons, and there’s a dinosaur shaped... thing... on the nightstand that he doesn’t really know what it is. Now needing to talk to Cas to ask, he looks over at where he’s kneeling in front of a big red toy box, which has all of the toys they bought yesterday inside, along with several others he doesn’t recognize.

“I feel like the lesson here is don’t send Cas to do the shopping alone,” Dean says, making sure Cas can tell he isn’t actually mad. “This room looks like a Pinterest board vomited all over it.”

Cas winces. “Is it too much?”

“It’s awesome,” Dean assures him. “Only problem is, Liam’s gonna be pissed when I switch rooms with him now.”

Cas chuckles and braces himself on the toy box before he gets up. “I’m not very happy with the red toy box considering everything else in here matches so well, but that was all they had.”

“All of it looks great, Cas. Liam’s gonna love it, and I promise he’s not gonna give a shit about the red toy box.”

“I know,” Cas says, pushing his hand through his hair. “I just want him to feel at home.”

“I’m sure he will. And what is this, by the way?”

“It’s a night light. The base charges it throughout the day, and Liam can pick up the dinosaur part to carry through the house if he needs to use the bathroom or something in the middle of the night. It taps on,” he says, demonstrating how the little dino lights up.

“Pretty cool,” Dean says genuinely.

“I just thought a big, unfamiliar house might be a little scary at night, and I’d like to do everything possible to avoid nighttime accidents. Although I did buy a heavy duty mattress protector just in case.”

“Man, you thought of everything.”

“I know that’s not true,” Cas argues. When Dean makes a face letting him know he’s not getting it, he elaborates. “Walking into the kids aisle where the car seats were was a real eye opener. I didn’t even know what half the stuff was.”

“We’ll figure it out,” Dean shrugs. “And thanks for getting all this stuff. He’s gonna be in dinosaur heaven.”

“I was happy to do it,” Cas says. Then, stepping into his space close enough that he can lift his hand to his face, he says, “It looks like you got some sun today.”

“‘s probably just you,” Dean says, making Cas grin. 

“No, you aren’t—well, weren’t—” Cas corrects now that Dean’s most definitely turning red. “Blushing. But your cheeks were pink and I’m sure your freckles have multiplied since this morning.”

Cas is looking at him so closely he automatically looks away in self defense, but he can still feel Cas’s gaze on his cheeks, taking in the sight of his freckles. “Just take a picture and let me squirm in peace, wouldja?”

“You know, I probably should have a photo of you as my lock screen.”

“No,” Dean says immediately.

“Okay,” Cas replies, way too easily. “I’ll just take a picture when you’re sleeping on my chest. You look so cute with your face all smushed on one side and your pouty lips slack in your sleep.”

Now with his face absolutely burning, he steps away and says, “I should go shower. August sun was hot as hell and I was sweating pretty bad on the roof.”

“Do you always shower after work?”

Surprised by the question, he replies, “Not when I was home alone. ‘less it was really gross. Why?”

“I know Donna’s coming over tonight, but in the future, don’t feel like you need to shower just because of me.”

Dean rubs his hand on the back of his neck as Cas steps back into his space, somehow managing to tower over him even though he knows he’s the taller of the two of them. “I smell like sweat right now, but usually paint or sawdust or grout.”

“I know,” Cas replies, sounding interested as he stares openly at his lips. “It’s very manly, and incredibly sexy.”

Feeling his blush reappear has him taking a step back again, causing the back of his knee to collide with the damn end table and making him stumble slightly before he can steady himself. Absolutely mortified, he shoots Cas a shaky smile before turning and leaves Liam’s bedroom with a quietly muttered, “Okay.”

“Dean?” Cas asks, stopping him in his tracks. He would rather jump into a fire pit than look back over his shoulder at Cas trying but failing to hide his grin, but even though he feels like an idiot after bumping into the table, he’s half hoping Cas is going to offer to give him a hand (so to speak) in the shower. “Can I put dinosaur decal stickers on the wall?”

“Oh,” Dean says, distracted by how that’s the last thing he thought he might ask. “Yeah. Why not.”

“Thanks,” Cas says, a spark of excitement visible in his eyes before he disappears on him again. 

It takes him his entire shower to work his blush away, but he spends his time wisely by mentally preparing himself with several comebacks for the next time Cas flirts with him. Maybe if he can just deflect the flirting outside of the bedroom or when they’re pretending to be together in front of Donna, it might be easier to stick with the only friends mindset that he needs in order to cope with this whole thing. He figures it's as good a plan as any.

He’s got this.

Chapter Text

Now dressed in jeans and a black and white striped t-shirt, Dean pokes his head back into Liam’s room only to discover it’s empty. There are, however, several colourful dinosaur decals clustered in little groups that really help pull the whole room together, and he’s even more impressed now than he was before. After meandering down the hall, he finds Cas in the kitchen unloading the dishwasher. 

“I can do that, you know,” he offers.

Cas brushes him off with a shrug. “You just worked all day.”

“Yeah, but you loaded it, too. I didn’t ask you to stay here to be my housekeeper.”

Cas hits him with a smile and says, “You didn’t ask me to stay here at all.”

He has a point. “But still.”

“I like to keep busy,” Cas tells him. 

Dean grabs the utensil caddy to start putting those away to help. “The wall stickers look awesome, by the way.”

“As do you,” Cas says with a smirk, not even bothering to hide the fact that his blue eyes are scanning him up and down. 

After his shower, he’s armed and ready with a response. “Do you come on to all your friends like that?”

“Only the ones I’m currently sleeping with,” Cas says, adding a playful little wink. 

Because the wink makes him a little warm under the collar, he’s robbed of the chance to make a witty comeback the way he planned, so he just focuses on returning the cutlery to the drawer (and willing away his blush) instead. 

“We should probably order the pizza before Liam gets here,” Cas says next. “After witnessing so many toddler temper tantrums in WalMart today, I think it’s safe to say that children don’t wait well.”

“Guess me and Liam will have that in common,” Dean quips.

“That is true.”

Seeing as he knows that Cas has to be referring to how he is in bed, he chooses to ignore that comment and focus on the pizza instead. “Two larges?”

“Isn’t there just the four of us? Including a four-year-old?”

Dean blinks at him. “And?”

Cas huffs. “It’s unfair that you’re as fit as you are when you eat the way you do.”

That is a compliment he’s happy to take. “I know,” he grins. He finishes up with the cutlery and then pulls out his phone to order the pizza, and with nothing else to do but wait for either the pizza or Donna and Liam to show up, he plops on the couch and turns on the TV. He flips through the few channels he watches most frequently until he lands on Friends.

“I love Friends,” Cas says, settling in next to him. Cas sits closer than he would sit with most other people, but not so close he could complain about it. 

“Thought you said you don’t watch TV?”

“I didn’t when I was away for school, but Friends isn’t exactly recent. Everybody’s seen at least a few episodes.”

“Pretty sure me and Jo have watched all of them a dozen times,” Dean says with a genuine smile. “According to her and Sam, I’m Monica.”

Cas gives him an assessing look, then says, “I can see that, actually.”

Dean keeps right on smiling, relaxing back into the couch. “You’re probably Ross because of the geeky scientist thing.”

Cas catches him off guard with a backhand to the chest. “I’m genuinely offended. Nobody even likes Ross!”

“Ross ends up with the hot chick at the end!”

“After being whiney and annoying for ten seasons!”

“Yeah, but the best part about Ross is that he has no idea that he’s whiney and annoying.”

“Once again, if that’s the best thing about the character you’re comparing me to, I’m offended.”

Dean rolls his eyes playfully. “Fine, who do you think you are?”

“Could I be anymore Chandler?”

The fact that he deadpans the response with the perfect Chandler inflection has him cracking up, and even if he still secretly thinks Cas is more like Ross than anybody, he doesn’t argue Cas's suggestion. Cas doesn’t let it go though, and every time Ross does something annoying, Cas points it out and asks him, “You really think I’m like that?”

They’re still bickering about it when there’s a knock on the door, and knowing it’s either pizza or Donna has them both leaping to their feet and rushing to answer it. 

Cas lets Dean pull the door open, and he smiles nice and wide when he sees it’s Donna and Liam. “Hey guys, come on in,” he says happily.

Apparently, Liam is going to start off today just as shy as he did yesterday, because he’s looking directly down at his feet and he has his hands stuffed in his pants pockets. There’s some kind of cartoon dog on his hooded t-shirt Dean vaguely recognizes from toy shopping, but he’s pulled away from that when Cas says, “Let me take that for you.”

When he looks up from Liam to Donna, he notices for the first time she has a box in her hands with a folder on top. “Shit, sorry, I didn’t even notice.” He gets an elbow from Cas, which is when he realizes he swore. He grimaces, glances down at Liam for a reaction, then back at Donna when he doesn’t get one, and mouths, “Sorry.”

She shrugs and waves him away with the folder. “Somethin’ tells me that ain’t the first time these little ears have heard that, huh, Liam?”

Liam shrugs and keeps his head angled down. 

“What’s in the box?” Cas asks.

“Forgot to tell you she wanted to bring some of Liam’s things from Lisa’s house,” Dean answers.

“Oh, okay,” Cas responds. Then he softens his voice and says, “Liam, would you like to come with me to put these things in your room? We got those dinosaur blankets we were talking about when you were here yesterday.”

Liam shrugs his shoulders. “I guess.”

“Can you take your shoes off first, sweetie?” Donna asks him, and Dean would hug her if he thought it was allowed.

Liam plops down on his butt and pulls one shoe off at a time, then leaves them right there in the middle of the hallway and stands to walk next to Cas. Dean's staring at them helplessly when Cas comes to the rescue this time.

“Can you line your shoes up like mine and Dean’s so the pizza man doesn’t trip over them when he gets here?” Cas asks Liam, and though his shoulders slump, Liam does as asked. When he’s done he lifts his eyes for the first time, and Dean’s struck all over again by how much he looks like Cas. “Thank you. Let’s go see what’s in the box, huh?”

Dean steps away to follow them, but Donna says, “Hey, Dean? Can we go check out that car seat while I’ve still got my shoes on?”

Dean frowns, unsure if Cas even installed it. “Cas?” Dean calls out. Cas comes back around the corner with his eyebrows raised. “Did you get that car seat in?”

Cas winces. “I think so?” Donna laughs and he says, “I did the best I could based on the instruction booklet, but it wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be.”

“That’s what I’m here for. Don’t sweat it. I’ll just go give it a once-over to make sure everything’s hunky-dory.”

Dean grabs Cas’s keys off the hook by the door, and as he steps into his shoes, Donna says, “I’ll just leave this folder here for you." She puts it on the little table next to the door and explains, "It has all of the information we have on Liam. His birth certificate, medical history, daycare information. This is your go-to when it comes to him, okay?”

Dean nods, deciding to delve into that later, and he and Donna go out to the garage. He opens the passenger door of Cas’s old Corolla and does a double-take when he sees the size of the car seat. “Wow. This thing’s intense.”

“Believe it or not, this is one of the more compact models I’ve seen.”

“Probably because it cost three hundred dollars,” Dean mumbles.

Donna gives him a clap on the back, urging him out of her way with a big, toothy smile. “Aren’t kids great?”

“I’ll let ya know,” Dean responds.

Donna smiles more genuinely and reaches inside the car to check out the car seat. She wiggles it, and it moves slightly from side-to-side, but she nods anyway, then she pulls on it. “Mmmm,” she comments, sounding less than impressed. “It’s not the worst install I’ve ever seen, but big strapping men like you should be able to put your backs in it to get it a wee bit tighter, yeah?”

“I can try,” Dean offers. “What do I do?”

“Ya might need to get right in there. Put your knee in the car seat and use your weight to hold it down nice and tight to the seat underneath, then pull that there tether behind the seat of the car.” She points and shows him how it’s clipped to the back, so he gets in the car and follows her instructions, getting a knee in the seat and holding it down. It does move a bit, so he reaches behind the seat—smashing his head on the roof of the car when he tries to see what he’s doing—before he can pull the strap as tight as it will go.

“Might wanna try both hands,” Donna suggests, and he huffs out an annoyed breath at how incredibly awkward it is to hold this position while he reaches in and does as she asks.

He’s actually breathing a little hard by the time he’s pulled it as tight as he possibly can and has unfolded himself from the backseat, and he’s mentally crossing his fingers when Donna checks the seat a second time.

She pulls in a breath through her teeth that sounds a lot like a no, but then she laughs and says, “It’s perfect.”

“Oh, you’re funny,” he says sarcastically. 

“The wiggle side to side is fine as long as it isn’t more than this,” she tells him, demonstrating. “But it needs to be this tight to the seat anytime you install it, okay?”

“Believe me, I don’t plan on doin’ this more than once.”

“It’d be a shame to leave that pretty car of yours sittin’ in the garage,” Donna says, gesturing to the Impala.

And that’s the moment he realizes he doesn’t have a car seat for his car, and he sure as fuck isn’t spending another three hundred dollars on a second car seat right now. “Well shit.”

She laughs again and tells him, “You need to make sure you can only slip two fingers between Liam’s shoulders and the straps, and the chest clip—” She stops to point it out. “—has gotta be level with his armpits. It’ll slip down over time, so make sure Cas knows you need to push it up to keep him safe.”

Dean rubs his hand over the back of his neck. “How do parents learn all this stuff?”

“One day at a time, just like you two will,” she responds. Then her voice comes out more gently, and she adds, “You’ll be fine, Dean. I really, really believe that.”

“Yeah, it’s just a lot all at once.”

Donna closes the car door, so he heads back towards the house. “Just be thankful you don’t have to do the baby thing. All that cryin’ and poopin’ and wakin’ up a thousand times a night not knowin’ what your baby wants.” She shakes her head. “I like the bigger ones, myself.”

“Do you have any?” he asks. Then winces. “Sorry if that’s out of line or whatever.”

“Nah, no kiddos for me. Maybe one day,” she responds, sounding slightly sad about it and making him wish he never brought it up.

“Well, from what I’ve seen, you’re great with kids so I’m sure you’ll be a good mom or whatever when the time comes.”

“You’re sweet,” she smiles. 

Dean breathes out a laugh. “You’re probably the only person who thinks so.”

“I ain’t too sure about that,” Donna says as they step back through the front door and both toe off their shoes. “I get the impression that your Castiel is plenty sweet on you.”

Because that reminds him he has to agree, he says, “It’s that obvious, huh?”

“Oh yeah,” she responds, making him blush a little. “What do you think the boys are up to now?”

“If I had to guess, Liam’s probably in dinosaur heaven after Cas bought the whole store this afternoon. Shoulda known better than to let him go alone,” he tells her, and they both take off in that direction.

They find Liam half inside the toy box, and Cas sitting on the end of the bed with a well-loved stuffed monkey in his hand. There’s toys strewn about on the floor, and as the neat freak in him panics at the mess, Cas says, “He already knows he has to pick them all up when he’s done, don’t you, Liam?”

“Yup,” Liam answers. “I just gotta find the—the—the ankylosaurus. ‘s gotta be in here ‘cause the other guy played with it before.”

“Wait, am I the other guy?” Dean asks the room in general.

Cas shoots him a smile and shrugs. “I’m sure he’ll remember your name eventually.”

Dean glances at Liam to make sure he’s still head-first in the toy box, then gives Cas the finger. 

“I ‘member you,” Liam says, finally straightening out and looking over at Dean. “Just not your name all the time.”

Dean’s strangely pleased by that, and so he responds, “Ah, names aren’t that important anyway. But it’s Dean, just in case you need me.”

Liam nods, glances down at the toy box, then back to him. “Can you help me find the ankylosaurus?”

“Sure can, you just have to tell me what it looks like.”

Liam lights up instantly. “It—it’s got armor on his back and a really small head and a—a club on his tail.”

“Okay, yeah, I remember that one, and you’re right, it’s gotta be in here.” Dean gets down on his hands and knees and starts rifling through the toy box, incredibly thankful for the plush carpet after already being on his knees roofing for so long today. 

He’s only down there for a few minutes before the doorbell rings. He didn’t realize Cas was standing right behind him until he feels his hand warm through his t-shirt. “Dean, why don’t you get that and I’ll finish looking for the ankylosaurus so you don’t have to keep kneeling?”

Dean gets to his feet with a sigh of relief. “Thanks, Cas.”

Cas surprises him when he leans in and brushes their lips together quickly, and without knowing what to do with the blush that appears on his cheeks, he just walks into the hallway. He hears Cas say, “I just wanted him to pay for the pizza,” and huffs out a laugh. Donna’s laughter follows him to the door and he’s shaking his head fondly at Cas’s joke when he greets the pizza delivery guy. 

Five minutes later, he and Cas are setting a stack of plates and four glasses on the kitchen table, with Donna and Liam already seated. Liam grabs for the glass right away, but Cas snatches it out of his hand in record time, surprising Dean, who had placed it in front of him.

“Sorry, Liam, but I got you your own special cup when I got all the other stuff at WalMart today,” Cas says. “Would you like apple juice or grape juice to drink?”

“Grape juice,” Liam answers.

“Sweetie, I know Miss Mosley doesn’t let you get away with manners like that,” Donna butts in with.

“Grape juice please,” Liam adds, a pink hue spreading on his cheeks that instantly has Dean feeling bad for the kid. 

“I always get in trouble for that, too,” Dean stage whispers to Liam, getting a big smile that melts his heart. “Donna, what’re you drinkin’?”

“Soda’s fine for me. And you guys don’t have to feed me,” Donna tells them.

“If you don’t eat any pizza, that will leave more for Dean, and that’s just going to leave me having to listen to him complain about his bloated stomach all night long,” Cas says.

“Hey,” Dean interjects. “When’s that ever happened? Dean Winchester doesn’t complain about eating too much.”

“My monkey’s Winchester,” Liam says suddenly.

Everything stops as Dean tries to work out what he just heard. “What?” Dean asks.

“My monkey,” Liam repeats.

“The one you brought here from your mom’s?” Cas asks.

“Yup,” Liam nods. “Winchester Novak.”

He’s sure his heart stops altogether. He and Cas exchange a look heavy with both emotion and confusion, and after he sees Cas’s throat bob while he swallows, Cas says, “Novak is my last name. My name is Castiel Novak.”

“Cool,” Liam comments, completely unaware of just how weird that is. “Can I have my juice please?”

“Oh right,” Cas says, shaking himself out of the stupor they’re both currently in.

Why the hell would Lisa do that? Why would she name Liam’s stuffed monkey—something he obviously spends a lot of time with considering the state of it—after him and Cas? 

He brings Donna two slices of pizza in a daze, then gets some for Cas and himself, and finally puts a piece down in front of Liam. 

“You gotta cut it,” Liam says.

“Huh?”

Liam uses his hands like he’s making little squares and says, “Mommy cuts up my pizza.”

“Oh. I can do that,” Dean replies, grabbing a pizza cutter. He slices it up into a bunch of little bite-sized pieces and says, “Like that, buddy?”

“Yeah, thanks.” Thanks comes out like fanks, and he grins despite the unsettled feeling still swirling inside of him. 

Cas hands Liam his grape juice in a blue cup with a lid, explaining, “You just need to hold the button down here with your thumbs, and then the top opens up for you to drink from it.”

Liam tries it, looking down at the little flap that opens up when he presses the button, then grins up at Cas. “Awesome.”

“Good move on the spill-proof cup,” Donna comments, her mouth already full with a bite of pizza.

“How is it?” Dean wonders.

Donna grins around her pizza. “Amazing.”

“My mommy died,” Liam says, his high-pitched little voice slicing through the room.

Dean feels his heart clench like a fist in his chest. Donna keeps her attention solely focused on him, letting him know without words that she’s leaving it up to him to say something. “Yeah,” he chokes out. “I know. I’m real sorry about that, buddy.”

“She died in a car crash, but it didn’t hurt,” Liam recites. Dean swallows again, weirdly torn up by how frankly Lisa’s son is talking about this. He sits in the chair next to Liam, and he could kiss Cas just out of gratitude when he feels his hands land on his shoulders in a gesture of comfort. His eyes start watering, and before he can blink his tears away, Liam asks, “Are you sad?”

“Yeah,” he breathes out. “Me and your mom were friends before you were born. I’m sorry she’s gone.”

Liam looks over his head and up to Cas. “Are you sad?”

Dean blinks rapidly, trying to clear the mist from his eyes while he’s out of the spotlight. “I am sad,” Cas admits. “It’s okay to be sad, though. It’s okay to miss somebody.”

“Can I have a fork?” Liam asks.

Jesus Christ, he feels like he has emotional whiplash. 

“Sure,” Cas replies, and as he walks over to get it, Liam drinks from his cup and Dean shares a look with Donna. She nods her head, and he takes that to mean he did okay with whatever the hell that was, so he takes a deep breath trying to calm himself down a little bit and reaches for a slice of pizza. 

Cas comes to sit next to him and his hand is reaching for Cas before he can think not to. Thankfully, his hand barely comes to rest on Cas’s thigh before Cas covers it with his own, and the small squeeze he gets is oddly steadying. He’s so lost in his own head that he doesn’t notice that they’re all sitting in complete silence, but thankfully, Cas comes to the rescue again.

“Did you go to daycare today, Liam?”

“Yep.”

“Do you like it there?” Cas asks.

“Yep.”

Apparently undeterred by the one-word responses, Cas questions, “What kinds of things do you do?”

“Play dinosaurs,” Liam responds, his mouth now full of pizza. “Play outside. Do arts and crafts and build blocks and gel squish.”

“Sorry, what was that last thing?” Cas asks. Dean’s glad for it, because he has no idea what he just said.

“Gel squish,” Liam repeats, not any clearer as far as he’s concerned.

“And what’s that?”

“It’s—it’s like a bag with all this squishy stuff,” Liam answers, opening and closing his hands like he’s squeezing something. “And—and you squish it,” he explains, now pressing on the table in front of him. “And there’s like, stuff hided under the gel that you find.”

Dean is absolutely lost and looks to Donna for help. “They're called sensory bags. They put gel in ziploc baggies and tape them to the tables. There’s letters and shapes and stuff on a piece of paper on the table under the bag, so you have to squish the gel around to find the shapes,” Donna explains. “Kind of like a Where’s Waldo but with gel.”

Dean nods, impressed with the creativity. “And you like that?” he asks Liam.

“‘s my favorite. ‘cept when I can’t find the shapes, ‘cause that’s dumb.”

Dean and Cas both chuckle at that, and Donna asks, “Have the two of yas talked about whether or not he’ll stay in daycare?”

He and Cas exchange glances, because they haven’t. “No, not really,” Cas admits. “I’m home all the time right now, so I guess I didn’t think he’d need to go.”

“You said before though that it’s good for him to keep the same schedule, didn’t you?” Dean asks.

“Not off the top of my noggin, but it’s true. Keeping established routines after big changes is helpful for the little ones,” Donna confirms.

“Do you like going to daycare?” Dean asks Liam.

“Yup. All my friends go there.”

“He’ll be five in May,” Donna chimes in with, which is new information for both of them. She must catch that by the looks on their faces, because she adds, “The 14th. So he’ll only have this year before he goes to school in September.”

Dean looks to Cas and says, “Might as well keep him in there, right? Then when you find a job, we won’t have to scramble to figure out what to do with him.”

“I’m gonna live in the dinosaur room,” Liam pipes up with.

“Well, the whole house,” Dean smiles. “But the dinosaur room is all yours, yeah.”

“I think keeping him in daycare is a good idea,” Cas agrees, continuing the original conversation. “He’s had enough changes in the last week.”

“Just FYI,” Donna says, swallowing down a bite. “You’re looking at thirty dollars a day for the daycare Liam’s currently in.”

“Thirty dollars a day?” Dean repeats, doing some quick math. “That’s six hundred bucks a month.”

“Give or take,” Donna nods.

All of these unexpected expenses are starting to pile up and make him a little nervous. “Good thing I just made bank on that house sale,” Dean says to Cas.

“We'll split the cost like everything else,” Cas offers.

Dean nods and takes another bite of his pizza. Not wanting to have this conversation in front of Donna means he replies with, “We’ll figure it out.”

“Can I have more?” Liam asks with his cheeks bulging with food. 

“He’s obviously yours,” Cas whispers in his ear, prompting him to give Cas a friendly elbow to the ribs. 

Dean looks at Liam’s plate to see he’s demolished his piece of pizza in record time, all except for the crust.

“You don’t eat the crust?” Dean asks. Liam shakes his head. “Weirdo,” Dean says, winking so Liam knows he’s joking.

Liam’s smile is nice and wide, showing off his tiny little teeth covered in pizza sauce. “It tastes yucky!”

“If you say so,” Dean replies. He grabs Liam’s plate and pushes away from the table to get another piece of pizza, which he cuts up before he brings it back. “Anybody else want more while I’m up?” It turns out only he and Liam do, so the two of them settle in to eat, and Donna and Cas wind up in a conversation about what vegetables they like on their pizza, while he and Liam exchange grossed out faces.

It’s 5:30 by the time they’ve finished eating, and Liam asks if he can play in the backyard. It’s a nice day, so there’s no reason to say no. Liam grabs some of his dinosaurs from his room and then the three of them head outside while Donna chooses to watch through the patio door. Apparently Liam needs to burn off some energy, because he runs in circles with dinosaurs in hand for almost ten minutes before he flops into the grass and starts setting up a battle between them.

Dean and Cas join in while they’re asked, and Dean makes a mental note to get the stuff to build the sandbox and buy some outdoor toys so all of his indoor stuff doesn’t get dirty. The last thing he needs is an extra reason for a kid to drag dirt into the house. They stay outside until 7:00 when Donna says it’s time to go home because Liam has to get back to Miss Mosley’s for his last night there.

“Tomorrow morning you and me are going to bring all of your stuff to Cas and Dean’s house for good,” she reminds Liam. “No more Miss Mosley’s house.”

“Tomorrow? The day after this day?” Liam checks.

“You betcha,” Donna grins.

“Maybe we can do something extra fun to celebrate your first day here,” Cas offers.

“What kinda fun thing?” Liam wonders.

“Maybe we can go to the park, or the indoor playground, or to the community pool,” Cas says. “Whatever you want to do.”

“Awesome! Didja hear that, Donna?” Liam asks, pulling on her shirt sleeve.

“Oh, I heard. Somethin’ tells me your dads are going to spoil you rotten,” she says with a grin and a wink.

Liam just keeps on smiling while he puts his shoes on. For Dean’s part, this is the first time he’s ever heard himself referred to as a dad, and considering he has no idea whether that’s actually true or not, it does weird things to him. He’s proud and happy, but at the same time he’s afraid to give Liam the wrong idea, so he feels uncomfortable and like a big fraud, too.

“Just Dean and Cas for now, please,” Cas tells Donna gently, and while she looks slightly taken aback, she nods. “We haven’t decided what we want him to call us yet.”

“Ah, gotcha,” Donna replies. “Ooop, looks like you’ve got your shoes on the wrong feet, there, little guy.”

Liam lets out a big, dramatic sigh, and changes them around before putting them on again. “Is this right?”

“You got it,” Donna tells him. “Anything you wanna say to Dean and Cas for dinner?”

“Thanks for the pizza,” Liam says, pushing himself up with his hands until he’s standing up. Then, all of the sudden, his eyes go wide. “I ‘got my monkey! I need Winchester!”

“Go get him,” Donna prompts, and Liam takes off like a bat outta hell down the hall. “Sorry about the monkey thing,” she says quietly. “I had no idea Lisa did that.”

“Far from the oddest thing about all of this,” Cas says, slipping his hand around Dean’s waist. He smiles because Donna has no idea. 

“I forgot to warn you that kids this age who have lost people tend to bring it up often, repeating the same stories, and then changing the subject just as quick as a wink. You two did perfectly talking about your feelings and going with the flow. A+,” she nods.

“Definitely caught me by surprise, but I don’t wanna not talk about her, you know?” Dean says.

“I got him!” Liam yells, running back past them with Winchester tucked under his arm.

“Good job,” Donna says. “10AM work for you two tomorrow?”

Dean glances at Cas, who nods. “Yeah, we’ll be here.”

“Hopefully with pants on this time,” Donna jokes, and Cas laughs while Dean rolls his eyes playfully.

“See you tomorrow buddy,” Dean says to Liam. “Maybe you’ll remember my name by then.”

“Maybe,” Liam says shyly, bumping the fist Dean offers him.

Cas crouches down in front of him. “I feel like a handshake is too formal now. How do you feel about a high five?”

Liam shrugs. “Kay.” They high five, and then Cas says, “We’ll see you tomorrow morning.”

“See ya, Cas.” Then his blue eyes flick up to Dean, and he has a big smile on his face when he says, “And Dean.”

“There ya go,” Dean chuckles. “See you tomorrow.”

Donna says bye, too, and then Cas and Dean are left alone once again. Dean goes to the kitchen to start tidying up from dinner, and Cas follows right behind him. Cas starts with the dishes, so Dean wraps up the leftover pizza and puts it in the fridge, then starts wiping down the table, his mind bouncing between a dozen different things.

Donna called both him and Cas dad in front of Liam. Liam talked about Lisa dying. Lisa named Liam’s monkey Winchester Novak. He has to add a six hundred dollar monthly expense to his budget. Liam’s coming to live with them tomorrow and he doesn’t know a fucking thing about kids. 

Each new thing piles on top of the last one until there’s a weight so heavy on his chest it makes him feel like he can’t get a decent breath. He rubs his hand over his mouth, trying to regain his composure, but he can’t. He’s too hot. His lungs are squeezed too tight. He can’t do this. He can’t fucking breathe. He lands anything but square on the chair in front of him, almost falling over before he rights himself, and he has to brace his upper body on the table so he doesn’t slip out of his chair.

Distantly, he registers that Cas is saying his name, but it’s hardly audible over the buzzing in his ears. But then there’s two big, warm, familiar hands on his face and he’s looking into blue eyes he’d know anywhere now, except he doesn’t know if he’s ever seen them look quite like this.

“Dean? Come on, gorgeous, take a breath for me.”

A breath sounds like a really good idea, but each attempt at drawing in air only has it getting caught somewhere half-way in and now he’s really starting to panic. There are tiny black dots appearing in his vision and, oh shit, he’s gonna pass out. He’s gonna pass out because he can’t breathe

Soft lips press against his, and he can feel his shoulders relax the tiniest little bit just from the offer of comfort, from having Cas close. Then Cas bites down on his lower lip, hard enough that he gasps (but not so hard that he’s about to start bleeding or anything) and for whatever reason, that one little intake of breath is enough to kick his brain into action. He takes in another deeper breath, feeling the air hit his lungs with relief so strong it’s almost tangible. His first breath out is shaky, and he has to drag in several deep breaths before his vision starts to clear.

The only thing other than his breathing that he’s aware of is Cas’s forehead pressed against his, his hands petting down the sides of his neck, blue eyes trained steadily on green, and the familiar scent of Cas filling his nostrils and soothing his nerves with each subsequent breath.

“There you go,” Cas coaches him. He sounds pleased, which sends a wave of contentedness through him and strangely helps to come back to himself bit by bit. 

“Jesus,” he rasps. 

“Are you okay?” Cas asks.

“I—I don’t know,” Dean admits. “That’s never happened to me before.” Then, realizing he just lost his shit in front of Cas, he defensively says, “I’m not some fucking headcase, okay?”

Cas looks annoyed, and his hands drop. “I don’t care if you are. I care if you’re alright?”

He’s covered in sweat, his mouth is as dry as a fucking desert, and truthfully, he still feels a little shaky. But he can breathe, and he isn’t seeing spots anymore, so that’s... alright... right?

“I think so.” Then, remembering exactly what helped him breathe has him lifting his fingers to his slightly tender lip. “You frigging bit me.”

To his amazement, Cas flushes hard and fast, and he backs away enough so that his hands come to rest on Dean’s thighs for balance. “It seemed like the right thing to do at the time, but now—I don’t know what I was thinking. I’m sorry. I panicked. You were looking right through me and it was—” He stops, pushing a hand through his hair. “You scared the shit out of me. Are you okay now? Do you need anything? Should I call Sam?”

“No,” Dean says firmly, humiliated by the thought of Sam coming over (because he would) and babying him and having Jo watch him at work. “No. Just uh, maybe some water?”

“Don’t move,” Cas says, and he doesn’t know what it says about him, but the commanding tone of his voice is hot as fuck even now. Cas fills a glass with cold water and brings it back to him, standing in front of him with his arms crossed until he finishes the whole cup. 

“Happy now, doc?”

“Not even close,” Cas responds. “And since you insist on calling me that, the doctor prescribes sweatpants, Friends, and a shot of whiskey to calm your nerves.”

Dean licks his lips without thinking, and even with everything else he's feeling, he can feel Cas’s eyes drop to his newly moistened lips. “Are you gonna put on some scrubs? Cowboy boots maybe?”

“Are you calling me Dr. Sexy?” Cas asks, and he’d swear to god Cas’s voice has dropped an entire register, which may or may not have something to do with the heat he can feel kicking his cheeks.

“I would if it would help.”

Cas lifts his hand to trace his fingers across Dean’s lip—the one he bit—and like 1+1=2, his cheeks catch fire. “It’s nice to see some color back in your face. Now go get in more comfortable clothes and meet me on the couch.” He’s not exactly in a state to argue, so he gets to his feet shakily. “Do you need me to carry you?”

“No, I don’t need you to carry me,” Dean says back, managing to sound insulted even though the idea is more appealing than he lets on. “I’m fine. Stop hovering.”

Cas raises an eyebrow and Dean ducks his head while he walks by, muttering under his breath about how Dr. Sexy’s bedside manner is a lot better than Cas's. Once he’s splashed some water on his face and changed into his pajamas as requested, he meets Cas at the couch. Cas has two shot glasses and a bottle of whiskey, and he pours two shots, which they knock back in tandem. 

“Just sit for a second, and I’ll be right back,” Cas says, giving his leg a little pat. 

A few minutes later, he returns shirtless but in those stupid bee pajamas again, and he sits in the corner seat of the couch and beckons for Dean to come lie with him.

It’s an incredibly tempting offer, especially since he still feels a little shaky, but after he spent the whole day telling himself he wasn’t going to give in to shit like this because it doesn’t mean anything for Cas, he shakes his head. “I’m good.”

Cas raises his eyebrows like he doesn’t believe him, but when Dean still doesn’t move, he says, “What if I’m not?”

Dean rubs the back of his neck. “You’re not?”

“You scared the shit out of me. I’d feel better if I could keep an eye on you.”

“I’m right next to you,” Dean points out.

Cas tilts his head to the side, looking at him curiously. “Why are you so against me holding you all of the sudden? Did I do something wrong?”

That’s the last thing he wants Cas to think. “No!”

“Well then? What?”

“Nothing,” he mumbles.

“Well then get in here,” Cas says, tugging him in.

Although he’d like to say it took more coaxing than that, he winds up lying on Cas’s bare chest while they watch Friends on Netflix. Cas strokes his back, his hair, the back of his neck, and even though he hasn’t solved a single problem that had him feeling so overwhelmed in the kitchen, he feels undeniably better after four episodes and another shot of whiskey. 

In fact, the more he relaxes, the more he begins to enjoy the sensation of Cas’s hands moving over his back and shoulders, and like Cas can read his mind, he scooches down a little lower and starts massaging his shoulders.

His dick is quickly going from lazily interested to perking all the way up, and now with his face much closer to Cas’s neck than his chest, he’s able to resist the urge to nuzzle into the familiar scent and tempting skin for all of two minutes before he gives in. He runs his nose along the sharp line of Cas’s jaw, feeling the gentle scrape of his facial hair before he angles up his mouth to drop a kiss just beneath his chin. Cas’s fingers are still working magic on his shoulders, and as he digs in rather deep with his thumbs, Dean lets loose a quiet groan of satisfaction and rocks his hips, parting his lips to press an open-mouthed kiss to Cas’s throat. He feels Cas’s skin break out in goosebumps, and he travels up his neck to that little spot right below Cas’s ear that always drives him crazy.

“Dean,” Cas says, his voice coming out like a warning. He can feel that Cas is as least as turned on as he is by the fattening of his cock against his stomach, though, and he didn’t say no. He rocks again, purposely causing friction between them as he sucks on that tiny patch of skin, and Cas’s voice comes out twice as hard. “Dean, stop. You should be taking it easy, not getting yourself worked up.”

“I’ve heard orgasms are great for stress relief,” he quips. 

“Then you should be fine considering how many we’ve had in the last few days.”

“But I’m greedy,” Dean says. “And you’re hard.” Cas starts to say something, but Dean grinds on him while he slides his hand up Cas’s chest to roll his nipple between his fingers and that’s enough to shut him up. Using the advantage he currently has, he continues, “Besides, Liam’s gonna be here tomorrow for good, so this is our last chance to fuck on the couch and it hasn’t even been broken in yet.”

Cas’s hand slips down to his lower back, applying gentle pressure so he moves up further until their cocks line up, and Dean smiles against his neck because he knows he’s got him now. 

“We can’t have that, can we?” Cas asks, and then his other hand is angling Dean’s face up. Dean gives him his patented megawatt smile, and Cas takes the bait, swooping in to catch his lips in a soft but passionate kiss that makes his breath hitch. They make out like teenagers on the couch, somehow ending up with Cas flat on his back and Dean comfortably in the vee of his legs, rutting together with only two thin pieces of fabric between them until they’re breathless and hard and aching. Cas takes control by pushing him up into a sitting position, dropping his pants to reveal his erection standing proud and flushed, and straddling Dean’s lap, sitting heavily on his throbbing cock still trapped in his sweatpants. 

“I still want you to take it easy, so you’re going to stay right there and let me do all the work.”

Dean nods as he runs his hands along Cas’s thick thighs, palms grazing soft hair and hands groping thick muscles before he finally takes Cas’s cock into his hand. Cas moans, and his mind is torn away from the arousing sensation of Cas’s rock hard erection surrounded by soft, blood-warm skin pulsing within the tunnel of his fist when Cas captures his mouth again, because Jesus Christ can Cas kiss him stupid. Cas licks into his mouth just right, massaging his clever tongue against his own and reducing him to a mindless mess of hormones. It’s muscle memory more than anything that has him continuing to slowly stroke Cas’s cock while he loses himself in the enthusiastic assault on his mouth, but the tiny little noises Cas is making against his mouth makes him exceedingly glad for it.

When Cas breaks their kiss to lean towards the couch cushions in the corner, Dean is more than happy to trail his lips over Cas’s firm chest, blindly licking and tasting his way along one pec to the other until Cas straightens up, finally allowing him the chance to get his mouth on a deliciously peaked nipple. He swirls his tongue around the bud, sealing his lips over his tender flesh and sucking gently, humming with pleasure when Cas’s big fingers scratch along his scalp and through his hair. 

He gasps with a thrill of excitement when Cas grabs a hold of his hair at the top of his head and yanks until his throat is exposed. Cas dives in to feast on his skin, sucking heat into the bruise he worked so hard on only that morning, and it isn't until Cas pulls away with a filthy wet pop  that he sees the lube and condom in his hand. 

“Where—where the hell did that come from?” he asks breathlessly, still so frazzled he can hardly put a sentence together. 

“I stashed some all over the house,” Cas says with a crooked smile, releasing his hair to pet down the back of his neck. “Kitchen cupboard. Shower caddy in the bathroom. Couch cushions.”

Dean pushes into his touch, rasping, “You’re a fucking genius.”

Cas removes Dean’s hand from Cas’s cock and adds some lube to his fingers. “Finger me open and soon you’ll be fucking a genius.”

Because that sounds damn good to him, Dean snakes his hand between them and rubs his fingers over Cas’s furled opening to get him nice and slick before he pushes a finger inside of his incredibly tight ass. Cas leans in to keep kissing him breathless, only stopping long enough to demand a second and then a third finger, and though he asks a lot faster than Dean ever would have gone on his own, his demanding tone doesn’t leave any room for arguing. 

It’s only minutes before Cas is pushing up to his knees, pulling the elastic waist of Dean’s sweat pants down to free his cock and leaving it to pull tight right beneath his balls. 

He gets a knowing smirk from Cas when he groans at the incredible pressure, then Cas is rolling the condom down Dean’s cock and slicking it up, and faster than he has a chance to brace for, Cas holds him steady and begins to lower himself onto his cock. 

He couldn’t look away from the sight of his cock disappearing into Cas’s ass for anything, and they both moan as their bodies join. Cas is fucking tight despite the prep, but he opens up for him frigging beautifully, sitting right down on Dean’s cock and enveloping him in the most amazing way. With his dick now buried balls-deep in Cas’s ass, his eyes are drawn to Cas’s straining cock, leaking so fucking pretty for him and just begging for some relief—relief Dean is more than happy to provide with his lubed up hand. 

“Ah ah ah,” Cas says playfully, capturing his wrist with his fingers. “You need to relax and let Doctor Cas take good care of you.”

Heat hits him like lightning to the chest and his voice is barely even a whisper when he chokes out an ineloqent, “Fuck.”

Cas grins, obviously knowing exactly what he’s doing to him, and crosses his own hands behind his back. Cas’s arms and shoulders look huge like this, his chest broad and muscular, and combined with the deliciously tight confines of Cas’s ass, Dean wants nothing more than to get a good grip on his hips and start bouncing Cas on top of him like a rag doll.

“Hands behind my back,” Cas instructs him. Not wanting to miss out on a chance to touch as much of him as he can first, Dean slides his palms along Cas’s thighs and over the notches of his hips before his hands slip behind his back as requested. “Hold my hands,” Cas tells him. His hands find Cas’s, and as their fingers fit together, Cas tightens his grip and holds on as he starts to rock on top of him. “Don’t let go until I say so.”

Arousal slices through him as sharp as a knife as he realizes he’s being restrained, and when he lifts his eyes to look at Cas’s face, he’s struck stupid all over again. He drinks him in: eyes closed, head tilted back, the red mark Dean sucked into his neck earlier swollen and puffy, and his lips parted around the short, breathy sounds escaping him as he undulates his hips. He looks every bit as turned on as Dean feels, and that only makes him look hotter, sexier, and it’s unfuckingreal how attracted Dean is to him—not only now, but now especially.

“You’re fuckin’ gorgeous, Cas. Shit.” 

Cas angles his chin back down with a cocky, sideways grin spreading on his face that’s not even fucking fair. His eyes are heavily lidded when they open, looking right at him with a come and get it look on his face Dean wants to fuck right out of him, but before he can even try, Cas lifts himself up nice and slow, causing Dean to feel Cas’s inner muscles clench around every goddamn inch of him until he’s afraid he’s gonna blow right here and now. Cas holds himself up, his cock bobbing between them and glistening at the tip, keeping only the head of Dean’s cock tight inside of him and driving him fucking crazy with anticipation before he drops back down into his lap, impaling himself with Dean’s cock in one quick motion that has Dean keening for more. 

“Fuckin’ yes,” Dean swears, the white-hot pleasure nearly his undoing already. 

He watches hungrily as Cas’s teeth dig into his plush bottom lip, only inches away from Dean’s as he rises and drops again, expelling a long breath he feels on his face. “Jesus fuck you’re big,” Cas sighs. He starts a rhythm of bouncing in short, fast little movements, using only his thighs to propel each one, and Dean’s fucking mesmerized. 

Cas's muscles flexing under tanned skin is every bit as hot as the tiny roll on his soft stomach, and goddammit Dean’s hands are itching to run through the dark hair around his belly button and caress his belly, showing him just how perfect every single inch of him is. Instead, he flexes his fingers between Cas’s, managing to get some leverage on his ass even though he can’t move his hands from Cas’s firm grip, and he does what little he can to help Cas to keep moving. 

“You’re taking it so good, Cas,” he breathes. “You feel amazing, baby.”

Cas’s fingers clench around his and he finally, fucking finally leans in to kiss him. Their lips meet messily, uncoordinated but still searing hot, and his mouth opens immediately to grant Cas’s probing tongue entry. They stay like that, kissing and moving together, bodies rolling, Cas slamming his tight ass down onto his cock until he can’t anymore. He starts grinding down on him instead, eliciting a breathless curse as Dean feels his cock squeezed like a vice, then starts tearing him apart, switching seamlessly between rocking back and forth and swiveling in continuous, dirty little circles, angling his hips this way and that until Dean finally connects with his prostate. He knows he hits it because Cas loses the ability to keep kissing him, and instead, his kissed-red lips fall open and a long, low moan comes out.

A bead of precum seeps from Cas’s cock and it’s so fucking pretty his fingers twitch to touch, to swipe through it and watch Cas’s eyes darken when he sucks his own fingers into his mouth. 

“Don’t let go,” Cas barks, and Dean’s cock kicks as he nods. His eyes flick back up to Cas’s face and he’s so enraptured by the look of pure bliss as Cas chases his release that everything else falls away but him. 

Wanting to make Cas feel even better, Dean’s hands get a firm grip on his perfectly round ass between Cas’s fingers, and their eyes lock as he pulls Cas in even closer to his body. They’re so fucking close now that he can see the ecstasy flash in his eyes before Cas’s jaw drops. He can’t look away, hypnotized by the way Cas’s eyelids flutter, his eyelashes hitting his flushed cheeks every time Dean’s cock nails his prostate, punching out the most delicious little noises but never once breaking eye contact.

He can feel a tug inside of him, something related to but entirely separate from the way Cas is gradually increasing the pace of how he’s riding him until he settles into something almost brutally fast, impaling himself on Dean’s cock again and again. Maybe because Cas is watching him so damn closely? Cas always looks at him so intensely—more intensely than anybody else ever has—but now with so little space between them, it’s impossible to miss the warmth, the fondness, the affection being aimed right at him. With Cas’s hands clinging to his so tight, the eye contact they’ve been maintaining, and their bodies so close together, he’s powerless against the emotion that wells up so fast inside of him.

“C-Cas,” comes out in a strangled breath, and Cas is nodding, smiling softly, still staring directly into his eyes.

“So gorgeous, Dean,” he tells him, and his heart swells, pulses, aches. Because fuck it all to hell, right here in this moment there’s not a single part of him that thinks Cas is pretending or confused or unsure, and for reasons he can’t explain, it robs him of the ability to even try to act otherwise himself.

“Got nothin’ on you, doc,” he says, the teasing nickname falling flat because of how reverent his voice sounds. “Fuck, you’re perfect. You’re driving me crazy. I want you—I think about you—all the damn time.”

Cas’s fingers wiggle between his, and now they’re palm to palm and he’s no longer restrained, but he’s voluntarily holding onto Cas for dear life as it hits him like a pile of bricks just how fucking fast he’s falling for the man on top of him. 

“Five years,” Cas says quietly, still moving sinuously as a bead of sweat rolls down his temple. “I thought about you—” Cas clenches down around him, and Dean interrupts him with an embarrassingly loud groan as he feels increased arousal surge through him. “—every day, Dean, and never in a million could I have guessed you’d be like this.” Cas presses his lips firmly to his just once, both of them breathing way too hard at this point for their mouths to stay connected. “You’re so good, Dean. Such a good man.”

Cas kisses his cheek next, and even though his face is flaming, for once he doesn’t care in the slightest because he has everything that matters right here, riding him like a fuckin’ pro. Cas’s sweaty forehead comes to rest against his temple, and even though he knows his thighs have gotta be burning something fierce by now, Cas’s breath keeps puffing hot against his ear, getting faster and faster as he gets closer and closer. Dean’s strung right along with him, turned on beyond belief every time Cas’s cock brushes against his stomach and leaves a wet trail on his skin. He knows Cas is getting close by the way he keeps getting tighter and tighter, and an impossibly arousing thought occurs to him and slips right past his brain-to-mouth filter.

“You gonna come on my cock, baby?”

Cas doesn’t answer out loud, but just keeps going, grinding harder and dirtier, dragging Dean’s cockhead against his prostate if the more frequently choked-off sounds he keeps making are any indication. With every downward thrust Cas’s body locks up a little bit more, his fingers really squeezing Dean’s hard now, his core muscles twitching, and his breaths turning ragged.

“Come on, Cas,” Dean grunts through a particularly filthy swivel of Cas’s hips. Fuck this man can move. He’s pretty pinned down by Cas’s weight on top of him, but knowing that Cas is straining and so damn close has him doing his best to push up inside of him, and jesus, even after all this time he’s still so fucking tight he can hardly stand it. “I wanna see you. I wanna see you fuck yourself so good on my big dick that you come on it. Come on my cock, baby. Wanna see you come all over me.”

Cas pants, “Your—fucking—mouth,” as Dean feels his inner muscles begin to clench around him.

“Fuck, that’s good. Just like that, Cas.” He feels the familiar heat beginning to build in his groin and warns him as fast as he can. “I’m—I’m gonna—”

“Don’t,” Cas grits out, his rough, commanding voice making things unbearably better—worse—however he’s supposed to look at it. “Don’t you dare. Not yet. I’m—I’m—” His fingers clamp down on Dean’s, using them to pull himself up, and then he’s lifting up until just the head is still inside and slamming back down hard , once, twice, three times and that’s it— he can’t hold on anymore.

“Cas,” Dean moans, gritting his teeth, trying desperately to think of anything and everything except for how fucking close he is. “Oh god, oh fuck, come on, Cas. Come on.”

“Shut up,” Cas hisses, and Dean clenches his jaw shut as he thrusts up hard and fast to meet Cas halfway as he drops down again. Caught off guard, Cas falls forward, his cock rubbing hard against Dean’s stomach, and Cas jolts, groans, “Uggghhhh,” as thick ropes of cum splatter onto his skin. 

Cas’s teeth sink into his shoulder where he landed, his ass clenching rhythmically around Dean’s cock as he spills, and combined with the visual of Cas’s cum painting his skin, he follows Cas over the edge and releases deep, deep inside of him. 

He’s only halfway through the explosion of pleasure when he realizes they’re still holding hands, Cas’s lips are peppering sweet kisses onto his shoulder, and his thighs are shaking around him. Unexpected warmth in his chest goes to war with concern for Cas, but Dean’s still coming and he can’t even think straight, but fuck— fuck —he can’t possibly stop now, and so he says Cas’s name, over and over, until he’s completely spent. Then he uses the last tiny shred of his energy to fall to the side and pull Cas down with him to free his shaking limbs.

Cas groans as his legs straighten out for the first time in what feels like years, twitching and jerking, Dean’s dick still lodged in his ass, and Dean’s mind is already spinning when he realizes Cas’s head fits absolutely perfectly in the crook of his neck. He can hardly feel his fingers, but he still somehow gets them stroking through Cas’s sweat-soaked hair where he kisses him again and again, and he can feel his dick starting to soften but he knows he can’t move.

Thank god for Cas, because he reaches between them and wraps his fingers around the base of Dean’s dick before he lets his cock slip out, and then he removes the condom, ties it off, and tosses it onto the coffee table where it lands with a wet plop that has Dean grimacing.

“That’s—disgusting,” Dean says between heavy breaths.

“Digging it out of my ass would’ve been worse,” Cas pants. 

“I have to sterilize that now. We eat off of that table, man.”

“And what about the couch?” Cas asks, far too lucid for his liking.

“Why do you think I bought leather?” Dean shoots back, impressed with his own muddled brain. “Easy clean up.”

Cas’s shoulders rise with his huff of laughter, and they stay quiet and content in the afterglow long after their breathing returns to normal. He feels incredibly close to Cas, but unlike this morning, it isn’t freaking him out—it just is.  

“Can we sleep here?” Cas asks some time later.

“Can’t feel your legs, huh?”

“Not even a little bit,” Cas admits.

“We got time,” Dean says, weirdly okay with his own lower half slowly falling asleep where Cas is lying on top of him. Cas deserves the rest—deserves the whole frickin’ world as far as he’s concerned.

“Now I can make you tell me what happened in the kitchen earlier.”

His stomach twists with nerves, but he sighs, knowing there’s a good chance Cas literally won’t let him up until he does. He’s incredibly thankful Cas’s head is still on his shoulder because it means he doesn’t have to look at him when he tries to explain. “It’s—it’s been a hell of a week. I dunno,” he says, feeling like an idiot when he hears how that sounds out loud. “I guess everything just hit me all at once and—” He shrugs his free shoulder, still not really knowing how to explain what happened.

“That’s understandable,” Cas replies, his voice soft and comforting. “Anybody in your shoes would feel the same way.”

“Yeah?” Dean scoffs. “Well I don’t see you losing your shit like I did, and you’ve had the same week I have.”

“That’s not entirely true,” Cas disagrees. “Lisa’s death was a terrible shock to me, but she didn’t mean to me what she once meant to you. We were acquaintances and peers and I was always fond of her, but I didn’t care about her in the same way, so it likely isn’t affecting me as much as it is you. Besides that, I’ve had several hours a day here alone to deal with my own emotions, but you’ve been going non-stop without any privacy whatsoever.”

“Doesn’t really matter,” Dean says quietly. “I don’t exactly deal with shit like this in a healthy way anyway. Just sorta push it down or whatever so I don’t have to think about it.”

Cas makes an unimpressed sound. “So, really, it’s no wonder it all came to a head like it did. You can’t keep stuff like that bottled up, Dean. It’s not good for you.” Dean scoffs again in lieu of answering; Cas sounds way too much like Sammy right now. “Is there anything I can do to help out more? To make this easier on you?”

He almost says no, but then he remembers the way Cas was looking at him earlier, and even though the words still aren’t coming to him as easily as he’d like, he tries. “Honestly, bein’ with you... you know... like this, and, uh, this morning...”

“Having sex?”

“Yeah,” Dean says, frustrated that he couldn’t just say that. “In a weird way...” He chooses his words carefully, still not wanting to say too much. “I feel like that’s the one thing that didn’t change. This stuff, when it’s just you and me, it’s really me, you know?”

“That's good,” Cas says, and Dean feels some of the nerves that had been causing him to stumble and stutter like an idiot dissolve. “I’m glad I help.”

Because having Cas here is more of a comfort to him than Cas knows, he confesses, “Dunno how I’d deal with all this shit alone.”

“I’ve thought the same thing,” Cas replies. “It’s nice to have somebody to share the responsibility and emotions with—and frankly, I’m really glad it’s you, Dean. It wouldn’t have been like this for me with anybody else.” Dean feels that tug again, and he’s trying to come up with something good to say back, but then Cas says, “And the whole parenting thing? Thank god I have you to help me, because I have no idea what I’m doing.”

Dean snorts a laugh. “I know they say two heads are better than one, but I have no idea what I’m doing either, so I don’t know if I’m gonna be much help.”

“At least we can figure it out together,” Cas responds.

Considering that’s better than doing it alone, he says, “Sounds good to me.”

Cas kisses his neck, then says, “Can you do Doctor Cas a favor?” 

Dean laughs shallowly, burying his nose in Cas’s hair to try to hide his dopey smile. “That has a real ring to it, you know. But maybe. What is it?”

“The next time you feel like a bunch of things are piling up on you so much that you think you might have another episode like in the kitchen, can you try saying something to me about it first?”

“Will you get some cowboy boots?” Dean asks, more to deflect than anything.

“I have been known to reward good behavior,” Cas replies, sounding like he’s actually considering it. It isn’t a yes, but it’s closer than he’s gotten with anybody else in the past. “Besides, it could be fun for me to watch you trip over your tongue.”

“You cocky shit,” Dean says, poking him in the ribs. Cas squirms away and Dean does it again, causing Cas to get up to his knees to avoid him.

Dean raises his eyebrows and says, “Look who can feel their legs now, huh?”

Cas narrows his eyes, but then a smile flashes quick and bright. “Last one to the bedroom is a rotten egg.”

And then the fucker takes off down the hallway bare ass naked, leaving Dean to collect the used condom, hide the lube back in the cushions (just in case), pick up Cas’s bee pjs from the floor, and lock up before he joins Cas in the bedroom. After brushing their teeth, he falls asleep snuggled up on Cas’s chest, feeling oddly optimistic about tomorrow and everything it might bring.

Chapter Text

He sleeps like the fucking dead and only wakes up when his alarm goes off at nine. He’s surprised that he’s still wrapped around Cas, and as far as he can tell, he’s in the exact same position as when he fell asleep. He rolls onto his back, feeling his left arm screaming at him while circulation works its way back into it, and Cas’s rough morning voice says, “Good morning.”

Dean stretches, arches his back, and grunts in response. 

Cas leans over and kisses his temple anyway, and without any further discussion, they get up to start their day. Dean starts the coffee while Cas showers, and when he’s finished his first mug, he’s awake enough that his mind starts drifting to last night. The ridiculous butterflies in his stomach is proof enough that it’s pointless to pretend he doesn’t like Cas at this point. As much as it would be a lot easier if he didn’t, he does, and because he can still remember exactly how Cas was looking at him when he was riding him last night... he’s pretty sure Cas might like him back.

The possibility brings a smile to his face, and he can’t remember for the life of him why he thought this was a bad thing before? They have crazy chemistry, they get along really well, and given a chance, he thinks he could make Cas really happy. He knows Cas has already made him insanely happy during what should be one of the hardest times of his life—both of their lives, really—and if they can work this out, why couldn’t they be together for real? Why bother fighting the insane pull he has to Cas? If Cas wants to cuddle on the couch and sleep wrapped up in one another, well, why the hell not?

With a little bounce in his step (that he stubbornly refuses to believe comes from the relief of just giving in), he takes extra care grooming. He shaves, uses the nicest smelling after-shave he has just to give his ego a little boost, and messes his hair up more than usual to give himself a carefully rumpled look that he hopes reminds Cas of how good they are in bed together. He can’t dress up because he knows Cas would notice, but he chooses a soft, green, vee-neck tee that’s loose on his stomach but clings to his shoulders and arms nicely, and pairs it with the jeans that had Cas commenting on his ass a few days ago.

Feeling confident about his appearance and everything to do with him and Cas, he goes out into the kitchen to start some breakfast, but he catches a whiff of eggs and finds Cas already at the stove.

“Good morning to me,” Dean says excitedly.

Cas looks over his shoulder and clutches at his heart. “Jesus, Dean, are you trying to kill me?”

He feigns innocence. “What?”

“Forget the omelettes, you look good enough to eat.”

He’s secretly pleased, but he rolls his eyes for show, and even though he’s absolutely blushing, he feels sure enough of himself in this moment to finally, finally flirt back. “What about you? Finding you barefoot in the kitchen is sexy as fuck.”

Cas’s answering smile is damn near wolfish. “I was hoping to use that against you.”

“Use it against me how?” Dean wonders, suspicious now.

“You’ll see,” Cas says cryptically. “Sit and have another cup of coffee. These will be ready in two minutes or less.”

He is more than happy to sit with another cup of coffee and watch Cas cook for him, especially when Cas looks as good as he does while doing it. Cas is in a worn pair of jeans today that he’s sure he’s never seen him in, and he’s replaced the usual button down with a polo. It’s white with black double lines down each sleeve, making his shoulders look even broader than they already are, and with his hair still damp from the shower, he really does look hot as hell. 

He doesn’t bother trying to hide the way he’s checking Cas out while he cooks even though Cas does catch him a couple of times, and he’s halfway through his coffee when Cas sits besides him and sets a plate down in front of him. Seeing green inside his omelette has his nose crumpling up and his eyes lifting accusingly to Cas, who is staring determinedly down at his own plate.

“Hey, Cas? What’s in this?”

“Two eggs, ham, bacon and cheese,” Cas replies.

“And?” Dean presses.

“And... spinach.”

Dean frowns down at his plate now that the offending green item has been identified. “Spinach?”

“Don’t judge it before you try it,” Cas says firmly. “You might like it.”

“I have tried it and I don’t like spinach,” Dean tells him, trying his best not to sound like a little kid pouting.

“You won’t even taste it with all the meat and cheese, trust me.” Cas does that thing with his too-blue eyes, making himself look like an adorable little puppy, and Dean sighs heavily because they both know he’s gonna eat the stupid fucking thing just because Cas asked him to, even if it does taste like feet.

“I hate you so much right now.”

“I know,” Cas says smugly, cutting the corner off of his own omelette and digging in. “But we’ll both be thanking me when your biceps grow like Popeye’s.”

To his surprise and Cas’s credit, he can barely taste the spinach, so he eats it with only minimal complaints. Cas brings up the cost of daycare and assures him that although he doesn’t have a job right now, he has plenty of savings and he’s more than happy to pay half to keep Liam in daycare. He also offers to pay him for rent, but Dean brushes that off, explaining the house is already paid for. The whole exchange reminds him once again why he likes Cas so much—the straight-talking, no bullshit side of his personality makes everything surprisingly easy to discuss—and he’s debating maybe saying something about how he feels about him when he’s interrupted by the sound of his cell phone ringing.

He digs it out of his jeans pocket, glances at the call display and says, “It’s Sam, sorry.” Cas nods and gestures for him to answer, and since he’s still trying to finish his omelette, he puts it on speaker and answers it with, “Hey bitch.”

“Jerk,” Sam says back. “You left me hanging last night. How did it go with the car seat and everything? Is Liam there now?”

“No, he should be here any minute, though. Me and Cas are just tryin’ to eat before he shows up.”

“Your last uninterrupted meal with your boyfriend,” Sam says, making fun of the crush he has on Cas.

Considering he hasn’t owned up to those feelings out loud yet partly because of his idiot brother calling when he did, he says, “Shut up. I told you yesterday, he’s not my boyfriend. And before you say anything else potentially embarrassing, you should probably know you’re on speaker phone, and Cas can hear you.”

“Oh,” Sam says, laughing obnoxiously. “Uh, hi Cas.”

“Hello, Sam.”

Dean looks at Cas, noticing that he looks almost crestfallen compared to how he looked a second ago.

“You okay?” he whispers to Cas.

Cas drops his gaze but nods his head and takes another bite of his breakfast.

“Are you guys freaking out about Liam showing up or what?” Sam asks, oblivious of the silent conversation he and Cas just had.

Because his eyes are still trained on Cas trying to assess his expression, he answers distractedly. “Still pretty nervous but Cas got a bunch of kid stuff yesterday and Donna brought over Liam’s stuff, so we’re as prepared as we can be, I guess. We’ll just have to wing it.”

“Well when can I come meet my potential nephew?” Sam wants to know.

“I dunno, maybe give him the day to settle in and we’ll see how he’s doing tomorrow,” he guesses, not really having any idea how any of this works.

“Did you and Cas talk about getting that paternity test done?” Sam asks.

Because he knows Sam’s really asking if he acted on his crush on Cas, he says, “No. I told you yesterday to drop it.”

“And I told you it’s important to find out before either of you gets too comfortable.”

Annoyed now, especially because Cas is hearing all of this without context, he says, “Okay, that’s enough for today. I’ll text you later, Samantha.” He hangs up before Sam can say anything else, and immediately goes into damage control mode. “Sorry about him. Little brothers man,” he scoffs, shaking his head as he shovels in another bite of breakfast.

“We probably should talk about getting the paternity test done,” Cas says, surprising him.

“Oh.” It’s not like he didn’t know they had to, but he didn’t realize they were going to jump right into it. “Yeah. I mean, we probably shouldn’t swab the kid’s cheek today or anything, but yeah. I guess I was just kinda happy with the way things were.”

“You were?”

“Well, yeah,” Dean replies, feeling nervous now that he’s been put on the spot. “I like having you around, and I mean, obviously the sex is incredible.” Cas seems to have really perked up, and that has some of his worry ebbing. “I know we gotta find out who he belongs to, I guess I just... sorta worry... that it’ll change things.”

Cas smirks, “Don’t worry, gorgeous, I’ll still want to fuck you six ways from Sunday whether Liam’s mine or yours.”

He nods, but Cas’s words have caused a weird sinking feeling in his stomach because now that he’s finally given into the idea that he likes Cas, he doesn’t want this to be just sex. He takes a deep breath, trying to gather the courage to tell Cas that he has a big gay crush on him, but because the universe is obviously out to get him, that’s when there’s a knock on the door.

“Shit,” he says breathlessly. But he looks up at the clock and sees it’s 10:00 on the dot. “She’s punctual.”

Cas follows his gaze and smiles, reaching out to give his hand a little squeeze before he grabs their plates. “Just remember, after this we’re off the hook,” Cas says, leaving the plates on the counter. Cas has his hand on Dean’s shoulder when they walk around the corner to answer the door, and quietly, Cas finishes, “We won’t have to pretend to be together anymore after this, so that will help make the line between really good sex and pretending to like each other less blurry, right? Maybe I can even get my own bed for the spare room,” he whispers, and that’s enough to have him freezing mid-step.

With pretend to be together and pretending to like each other still all jumbled up in his head, he asks, “You—you don’t wanna stay in my room anymore?”

Cas laughs like he’s making a joke, but he can’t find it in him to smile because he doesn’t get it. He thought Cas liked him? Why would he want to get his own bed?

“We can talk about it later. Open the door before she thinks we ran away together,” Cas prompts.

Trying to shake off the sharp sting of what feels a hell of a lot like rejection, he opens the door to greet Donna and Liam.

“Heyya, Dean,” Donna says brightly. “You ready for us?”

“As ready as we’ll ever be,” Dean replies, stepping out of the way so they can come in. “How ya doin’, big guy?” he asks Liam.

Like the last two times he’s come in, Liam doesn’t look at them, but he does respond, “Good.”

“Liam’s a little nervous about living in another new house,” Donna explains, crouching down next to him. “But remember what I said in the car?”

Liam nods. “No more new houses after this.”

“You got it,” she smiles. 

Cas crouches down like Donna, and says, “Good morning, Liam.”

“Hi,” Liam replies, slowly lifting his gaze until he looks back at Cas.

“Me and Dean are really happy you’re here.” Cas reaches up for his hand, and he reluctantly squats so he’s down there with everybody else even though he doesn’t really wanna be anywhere close to Cas right now. 

“I’m too old to crouch like this for long,” he jokes, and Liam cracks a smile. “You wanna go bring your backpack into your bedroom?”

“‘kay.” He takes about three steps before he stops, looks back at Dean and plops onto his butt to take off his shoes. He gets back up, looks at Cas, and then goes to put his shoes next to theirs on the little mat. 

“You and me are gonna get along just fine,” Dean tells him with a big smile, and Liam smiles back.

“I’m gonna go back to work now, okay buddy?” Donna says. 

Liam looks surprised, but he says, “‘kay,” again.

“You wanna bring it in for a little hug before I go?” He shakes his head. “Okie dokie, then. I’ll see you again soon, okay?” Liam nods and before Donna gets a chance to say anything else, Liam runs off to his bedroom. Cas helps Dean to straighten up and then Donna shrugs her shoulders. “I think my job here is done, fellas.”

“You don’t wanna come in or anything first?” Cas asks. “I can make some tea.”

“No can do,” she replies, though she does sound disappointed about it.

“Guess this is goodbye then, huh?” Dean says.

“Oh no,” Donna laughs. “You ain’t gettin’ rid of me just yet.”

Cas tilts his head to the side. “What do you mean?”

“I guess you wouldn’t know, but we like to follow the wee ones we place in homes for the first year or so to make sure everybody’s adjustin’ all easy peasy,” she explains. 

“Oh,” Cas answers, covering up his surprise much better than Dean’s sure he would have been able to. A year? How the hell are they going to keep up this fake dating thing for a whole year? Cas is a step ahead of him though, because he asks, “So you’ll call us to set up appointments?”

Donna scrunches her nose up. “Not so much. I’ll be making a few unannounced visits, but don’t you worry your pretty little heads about that. You’ll be fine. In the meantime, if you need anything, you’ve got my number, yeah?”

“That’s it?” Dean asks, suddenly not at all prepared for the reality of him and Cas being left along with a kid they barely know. “You’re just gonna go?”

“You’re on your own now,” she says, and even though he knew this moment was coming, now that it’s here, everything feels staggeringly real. Donna looks weirdly somber—for her anyway—and there’s no hint of playfulness left in her voice, making it all the more obvious how big of a moment this is. “It was a right pleasure to meet ch’ya both.” She reaches out a hand for them each to shake, which they do, and then she nods once more and says, “You’re darn good people, and I just know the three of yas are gonna be so, so happy.” He feels panic welling up inside of him and tears gathering behind his eyelids, because how can they make Liam happy when they don’t even know what the hell they’re doing? What the fuck are they doing? “Take care of each other. Best of luck to yas.”

Cas manages to get out a goodbye, but he’s too choked up to do anything but nod, and then she’s gone and he and Cas are left alone with a four-year-old boy they know absolutely nothing about, uncertain paternity, his unreturned feelings for Cas, ridiculous chemistry and mind-blowing sex all hanging between them, and as if that wasn’t already enough, now they’re looking at a year of unexpected visits? How are they supposed to stop pretending to date if Donna’s going to be popping in over the next year? How is Cas going to move out? They weren’t planning on keeping the lie going this long, and he has no idea how he’s going to live with the guy he already has a crush on and keep things platonic like Cas wants.

Feeling incredibly overwhelmed with what feels like the whole fucking world crashing down around him, he buries his face in his hands and does what he can to take in a few deep breaths before he panics like he did last night. Unlike last night, Cas is right there almost immediately, but when he feels his hands come down on his shoulders, he shrugs them off.

“Dean,” Cas tries, wrapping his fingers around his wrists.

“Don’t,” Dean says hoarsely, turning away from him, away from the comfort he knows would be way too easy to take from Cas. He’s not mad at him—it’s not Cas’s fault he went and caught feelings when Cas made it clear from the beginning that it was just a couple of orgasms—but he also doesn’t want to blur anymore lines if he can help it. They’ve got another whole year of this charade to keep up, and it’s only going to be more awkward for both of them if he can’t get over this little crush of his, so keeping some distance between them seems like the smart thing to do here.

Cas keeps his hands to himself, but he still tries to reassure him. “It’s okay, Dean. It’s okay to be scared. I’m scared, too.”

“What the fuck are we doing?” he croaks. “We don’t know anything about kids.”

“It’s a little too late for the panic to set in,” Cas says with a hint of a laugh in his voice. “He’s ours now.” Knowing that Cas is right and there’s not a damn thing he can do about it except face it, he takes another deep breath, wipes at his face and folds his arms across his chest. “Okay?” Cas checks.

“Nope,” Dean says honestly, getting a huff of laughter from Cas. “But freaking out isn’t gonna help.”

“Believe me, I’m freaking out every bit as much as you are.”

Considering Cas has been pretending to like him all this time unlike him, he doubts that, but he shoves his hands in his pockets and looks towards Liam’s room. Lowering his voice to make sure Liam doesn’t hear him, he says, “What do we do now?”

“I can go in and see how he’s doing with whatever was in his backpack,” Cas offers. “Do you want to clean up from breakfast?”

Now that he remembers the dirty dishes sitting there, there’s nothing he’d rather do. He’s about to say as much when Liam suddenly appears in the hallway, declaring, “I’m hungry.”

“Oh,” Cas replies. “Well, let’s get you a snack to hold you over until lunch, then.”

The three of them head to the kitchen and Dean goes right for the dishes while Cas opens the fridge. “Fruit seems like a good morning snack. We have grapes, strawberries, pineapple, apples...”

“I want a banana,” Liam decides.

“We can do that,” Cas replies, closing the fridge and grabbing the bunch from where they’re hanging on a fruit bowl that Dean’s never even seen before. Cas pulls one off of the bunch and asks, “Do you need me to open it for you?”

Liam shakes his head and grabs for it, muttering a quiet, “Thanks,” and turning around to walk away.

“Don’t go too far. Food stays in the kitchen,” Dean says, deciding right here and now that that needs to be a rule. Cas looks over at him with a question written all over his face, and he explains, “Last thing I need is banana smushed all over the couch.”

Cas lifts his eyebrows and says, “Because that’s the worst thing that’s been on that couch.”

Dean glances at Liam to see if he’s listening, then back at Cas. “Which reminds me I haven’t cleaned it from last night, so all the more reason to keep him in here for now. Actually,” he decides, abandoning the dishes for the time being. “I should do that now.” He grabs some Lysol wipes and starts towards the living room, which is when he notices Liam still doesn’t have his banana open. “Need a hand?”

“No,” Liam says, but he looks discouraged.

Deciding on his angle, he crouches next to his seat and asks, “Do you know what animal loves to eat bananas the most?”

“Monkeys,” Liam replies.

“Exactly,” Dean says, happy he got that part. “But do you wanna know a secret?” Liam nods, thankfully playing right into his idea. “Monkeys open the banana on the other end so they don’t smush the top part.” 

Liam flips the banana over and looks at it before looking up at Dean for help with big blue eyes that remind him way too much of Cas. 

“All you’ve gotta do is get your little fingers around the seed on the bottom...” He puts Liam’s fingers on the top and bottom of the seed, then puts his right under them. “...and squeeze.” He squeezes when Liam does, and just like in the documentary he watched about monkeys, the peel splits evenly in two pieces. Liam dives in with his fingers and rips the peel off, then smiles up at Dean.

“I did it!”

“Guess that makes you a monkey,” Dean jokes, and when Liam laughs, he thinks just for a split second that maybe he can do this.

“Pretty smooth for a guy who doesn’t know what he’s doing,” Cas comments, and Dean can’t help the little grin on his face because he did kinda nail that. Of course, he’s reminded only a few steps later that he’s on his way to disinfect a couch that likely has semen all over it, and that brings him back down a couple of notches pretty quick.

He doesn’t see any offending stains or suspicious smears, but he still wipes down the whole couch just in case, doing his best not to get swept up in memories of exactly how it felt to have Cas’s weight holding him down on the couch while he rode him like something out of his dreams. He can feel Cas’s gaze on him though, and the knowing smile he gets when their eyes catch across the room doesn’t help in the least. 

“Cut it out,” Dean complains, earning a laugh from Cas.

“What are you doing?” Liam asks, still working on his banana.

“Just cleaning up,” Dean says.

“Did you spill somethin’ on accident?”

“By accident,” Dean corrects automatically. “And no. Well, not that I know of,” he amends, getting another snort of laughter from Cas. “But just in case.”

“Cas said you don’t like stuff messy.”

“Oh he did, did he?” Dean says, looking at Cas, who shrugs unapologetically. 

“It’s true,” Cas states. “But you don’t have to worry about being a kid, Liam. Dean won’t get mad at you or anything if you accidentally make a mess, he just likes things a certain way. Like the shoes in the hallway.”

“Because then nobody trips,” Dean explains, feeling like he’s being painted with the wrong brush. He’s not obsessive over this stuff, he just prefers tidiness where he can get it. 

“I falled down and scaped my knee,” Liam says, pointing to the bandaid there.

“Aw yeah, my little brother Sam fell and banged himself up three times a day until he started high school.”

“You got a brother?”

“Yep. He’s four years younger than me, but the weird thing is, he’s a little bit taller.”

“Is he?” Cas asks, sounding amused.

“Why’s that so funny?”

“You’re already quite tall.”

“Yeah, well, Sam’s a giant,” Dean says.

“Is he scary?” Liam asks, his eyes wide.

“Nah,” Dean replies, laughing at the very thought. “He’s a gentle giant. Nicest guy I know.”

“You and Cas are sorta nice,” Liam comments.

Dean feels distinctly gooey inside. “I’m glad you think so. You’re sorta nice, too.”

“I get—get—get scared to talk sometimes,” Liam admits.

Cas takes the seat next to him and says, “You know what? Dean does, too.” Liam looks over at Dean, who nods. “His cheeks turn pink when he gets scared he’s going to say the wrong thing, and guess what? That’s one of my favorite things about him.”

“It is?” Liam questions.

“It is. So try not to worry about that so much, okay? Everybody gets scared about something,” Cas reassures him.

“Can I go back and play in my room?”

“Sure. Do you want me to come with you?” Cas offers.

“No thanks.”

Liam pushes out of his chair, and Dean winces when he sees him wipe his hands clean on his shorts, and then he runs into his bedroom. “Always in a hurry, that kid,” Dean comments.

“We should probably teach him not to run in the house,” Cas says.

Dean shrugs, walking back over to the kitchen to toss the used wipes and wash his hands. “Don’t wanna overwhelm him with rules right off the bat.”

“But it’s probably healthy for him to have established ground rules so he knows he can’t just walk all over us,” Cas argues.

“We talked about this before. Good cop,” Dean says, pointing to himself. Then he points at Cas, “Bad cop.” He turns the water on to wash his hands, and before he can even squeeze some soap into his palm, Cas’s hands are on his hips and his body presses into him from behind.

“Y’know, I’ve heard there’s usually rules that go with that kind of thing,” Cas says, his mouth incredibly close to his ear.

“What are you doing?” Dean says, trying to shrug him off.

“I believe I’m establishing some ground rules.” Cas’s voice is low but playful, and he wishes more than anything that it didn’t turn him on, but god fucking dammit, Cas’s hard body pressed against him from behind really does something for him. 

“Liam could come in here any second,” Dean tries, finally soaping up his hands.

“And all Liam would see is two people he believes are in love being close to one another.”

As much as he hates to say the words that spring to mind, he forces them out. “Thought you said we didn’t have to pretend anymore.”

“Who’s pretending?” Cas asks.

Hope is a dangerous thing to feel right now, but it swoops on his stomach anyway. “Thought you were.”

“Pretending to be attracted to you?” Cas asks, chuckling low and husky. “Even I can’t fake the way my dick’s filling out just from having your hips in my hands, Dean.”

He shoves his hands under the water and washes off the soap while he thinks. He could let it go. A really, really big part of him (the self-preservation part) is telling him to just wash his hands and not make a big deal out of this, but the other part—the part of him who wants moments like this in the kitchen with Cas to be real—overpowers it. 

“Pretending to like me,” Dean forces out.

“Dean,” Cas laughs, backing up enough that he can’t feel his breath on his neck anymore. “Surely you know it’s impossible not to like you. You’re more charming than anybody I’ve ever met.”

Dean turns off the water and uses the cover of reaching for a hand towel to say, “No. Like like me.”

There’s five exceedingly long seconds where Dean dries his hands and Cas doesn’t say anything. Dean starts to mentally prepare himself for a flat-out rejection. Cas isn’t into him, he doesn’t want him for anything more than sex, and he should be totally fine with that because Cas is so, so good in bed, and he would be lucky to burn up the sheets with Cas literally any time.

But then Cas steps into his space. Those blue eyes he’s so fascinated with find his, and Cas looks absolutely gobsmacked when he says, “How could you think I don’t like you?” Dean’s mouth opens, but absolutely no words come out because Cas is looking at him exactly the way he was looking at him last night and it’s impossible to think anything when he looks at him like this. “Did you think I spend every night pulling you against my chest six times a night to make you stop snoring just because you’re hung like a horse? That I put up with your frankly assholish behavior every morning because you have a pretty face? That I snuck vegetables into your breakfast this morning because I want to be friends?”

He thought these were rhetorical questions, but the way Cas lifts his eyebrows like he’s waiting for an answer has him rethinking that. “Well, yeah. Maybe.”

“Dean,” Cas says sadly, cupping his face and stroking his cheeks. “When we were getting to know each other, you didn’t tell me how clueless you are.”

Dean knocks his hands away and puts the towel back. “You said you wanted a bed for the other room.”

“Because you snore like a chainsaw, and I was joking,” he reiterates, putting his hand on his shoulder and turning him back towards him. “I thought you knew. I didn’t think I was being subtle with how taken I am with you.”

“Yeah, well, you said it,” Dean replies, crossing his arms over his chest. “Clueless.”

“Let me make it perfectly clear then,” Cas says, and Dean is so caught up in his gaze he’s absolutely helpless to do anything but go with it when Cas uncrosses his arms and slides their fingers together at their sides. “Clueless or not, Dean Winchester, I like you, and not just like a friend. I like you enough to completely ignore how stupid it is for us to get involved, partly because I know there’s absolutely no chance that I’ll be able to keep my hands off of you, and partly because you have one of the biggest hearts of anybody I know.” Dean shakes his head in disagreement, knowing he’s nothing special and that Cas’ll figure it out sooner or later. “It’s entirely unfair that you look like you do and aren’t a complete asshole.”

“I got a couple of friends who’ll be quick to tell you how much of an asshole I am,” Dean says before he can stop himself.

Cas smiles, and says, “And I look forward to meeting them.” Cas takes another step forward so that their bodies are much closer together and releases his fingers to run his big hands up his arms and loop around behind his neck. “But they’re not going to change my mind. I like you, and not because I’m pretending, but because it’s impossible not to.”

It feels like the butterflies in his stomach have been downing Red Bull or something, because they’re going absolutely nuts. Cas likes him. And Cas is applying the tiniest little bit of pressure to the back of his neck, and like it’s the most natural thing in the world, they’re both leaning in. His eyes close as their lips meet, and plump, familiar flesh moulds to his with just the faintest hint of possessiveness that causes a spike of arousal to shoot through him. He inhales sharply through his nose, drawing in the unique, masculine scent of Cas, and his lips part automatically for more. Cas hums with happiness and deepens the kiss, flicking the tip of his tongue against Dean’s just right until Dean’s nothing but a pliant, malleable pile of goo, ready and willing to take anything and everything Cas wants to give him, because it might be all in his head, but he’d swear there’s something different about this kiss.

It feels more real, significant in ways he can’t even put into words. This is the first time he knows Cas is kissing him because he likes him, doesn’t really only want him for sex, and as technically good as it is, it feels a hundred times better emotionally and intellectually. Cas likes him, and he likes Cas, and it’s been so fucking long since he had this with somebody he wants it to go on forever just so he doesn’t forget how it feels when it’s over. He comes back to himself enough to wrap his arms around Cas’s waist, slip them up his back and hold on tight to his shoulder blades, feeling the warmth of his body and the muscles beneath his shirt, willing the moment to sear into his memory.

Unfortunately, that’s when Cas starts to back off. He retreats a little bit at a time, first his tongue, then closing his mouth and kissing him a half a dozen times with only his spit-slick lips. When their lips finally part, Dean pulls him in by his shirt and chases him for one more long, firm smooch that has both of their lips curving up into a smile as they pull away.

“I like you, too,” Dean breathes, aware but uncaring that his eyes feel heavily lidded and he has a lazy, self-satisfied smile on his face.

Cas huffs a laugh. “It would’ve been unfortunate if you didn’t.”

“Oh, I tried,” he admits.

“At least you’re not telling me you’re not gay this time.”

Dean can’t help his laugh. “Turns out I’m really fucking gay when it comes to you.”

Cas’s smile is cocky and sexy as hell. “I’m impossible to resist.”

“Don’t I know it,” Dean says seriously. “Haven’t managed to say no to you once in the last five days.”

“Why do you think I like you so much?” Cas jokes.

“Hell if I know.”

Cas places another peck on his lips and says, “We’ll work on that.” Dean rolls his eyes and Cas unwinds his body from Dean’s. “As much as I would love to stand here and make out with you literally all day long, I should go check on the four-year-old we’re supposed to be keeping alive.”

“Good call.” He stuffs his hands in his pockets and tries to get his mind back on track. “I’ll finish cleaning up in here and then meet you in there.”

By the time he finishes the dishes, Liam and Cas are coming into the living room. Cas sits him down on the couch and shows him how to use the tablet they bought him, and then Cas turns on a documentary on National Geographic, and he’s left with nothing to do. He sits next to Cas and is irrationally pleased when Cas puts his arm around him and pulls him in nice and close, and that’s how he finds himself losing an hour to a show about birds.

“I never do this on the weekend,” Dean says during a commercial.

“What do you usually do?” Cas asks him.

“Work on the house. Was gonna do the cupboards this weekend.”

“You still could if you wanted to,” Cas offers. “I could watch Liam while you work.”

“Nah, there’d be stuff everywhere and I don’t want him freaking out over too much change. Could start on the ensuite I guess, but it’s kinda nice to have a weekend off.”

“Let’s just relax, then,” Cas suggests. “I’m sure he’ll be ready for lunch soon, then we can take him somewhere this afternoon, and I’ll cook us a nice dinner when we get back. Then maybe we can have a movie night with popcorn before we try to get him down for bed?”

Because all of that sounds manageable, he replies, “All of that sounds good to me.”

“Well then I think we have time for the next episode before lunch,” Cas tells him, and Dean is more than happy to snuggle in and laze around with Liam on the other couch.

They only make it half-way through the episode when Liam asks about lunch, so Dean asks him if he likes grilled cheese sandwiches. That gets an enthusiastic yes, and Dean gets to work making a stack big enough for the three of them. Cas comes into the kitchen and starts chopping up celery and carrot sticks, and soon enough, they’re all seated at the kitchen table and eating lunch. Cas has to nudge him to get him to eat a celery stick, but to his surprise, Liam reaches for them without prompting. 

He catches Cas’s eye and mouths, “Your kid.”

Cas rolls his eyes but his cheeks turn a little pink and Dean gives into the urge to lean over and kiss the flushed skin. 

“Do you kiss on the lips?” Liam asks.

Dean puts his hands up to let Cas know he is not going there. “Why do you want to know?” Cas asks.

Liam shrugs.

“We do kiss on the lips sometimes,” Cas answers. 

“That’s funny,” Liam says with an impish smile.

“Let’s hope you think so for another ten years or so,” Cas says more to Dean than Liam.

“Oh god, don’t even make me think about that yet,” Dean replies, which gets a chuckle out of Cas.

“So did you think about what you want to do after lunch, Liam?” Cas asks.

Liam swallows down a big bite of his sandwich and replies, “Indoor playground.”

“I’ve never been to one of those,” Dean tells him.

“It’s so super fun!” Liam exclaims. “There’s a—a—a big red slide that’s super duper fast, and you gotta keep your arms in real tight like this or—or you get bloodied!”

Liam is incredibly animated when he gets going, and seeing his big blue eyes widen along with a very serious expression on his face (that reminds him a hell of a lot of Lisa when she was mad at him) paired with how most of his r’s come out like w’s, it’s impossible to stop his own face cracking on a big grin. “Well, it sounds like it’s a good thing we have you to show us the ropes.”

Liam’s eyes go impossibly wider. “Are you gonna go down the red slide?”

“Are grown ups allowed?” 

“YES!” Liam shouts. “Mommy doesn’t like the red slide but she’s so fast on the blue one!”

His heart clenches the same way it has every time Liam’s brought Lisa up so far, and like Cas knows, he jumps in. “We’ll have to see which ones we like when we get there. Which ones are your favorite?”

Five minutes later Dean’s sincerely wondering how anybody can talk that long about a playground (without stopping for a breath as far as he can tell), and once he catches Cas’s eye and Cas sees his what the fuck expression, Cas can barely keep his shit together and has to cover his mouth with his hand to keep from laughing. 

“Hey Liam,” Dean interrupts. “Let’s get outta here and burn off some of that energy at the playground, yeah?”

“YES, let’s go!” Liam yells.

“Okay, but indoor voices,” Cas says, and thank god, because he was about to say something a lot less eloquent than that. 

“We need socks,” Liam tells them.

“Socks?” Cas asks.

“Can’t go in the playground with no socks.”

“Good to know,” Dean says to Cas.

“Your socks are in the top drawer of the dresser. Do you want me to come help you find them?” Cas asks him.

“Nope, I know where that is.” He looks down at his plate which still has the crust from his two sandwiches. “Can I be done?”

“Yes, you can go get your socks,” Cas tells him. “But no running inside, okay?”

“Okay!” 

Considering that comes out like o-tay and he walks fast enough that he might as well be running anyway, Dean laughs as he goes and earns a slight shove from Cas. “Your reactions to him aren’t helping anything, you know.”

“What am I supposed to do? Not laugh at a funny kid?” Dean asks.

“You could try a little harder, yes,” Cas says snippily.

Dean snorts another laugh. “Never gonna happen, doc. Now stop givin’ me trouble and go get some socks on.”

“I’m not going down the slides,” Cas tells him.

“Why the hell not?”

“Because I’m nearly 30,” Cas replies.

Dean nods knowingly. “‘fraid you’ll break a hip, huh?”

“After last night, that’s a very real possibility,” Cas answers, and okay, that’s a good point. If he was folded up like Cas was for that long when they fucked on the couch, he wouldn’t be able to walk for a year. 

“I’m ready!” Liam announces, his socks damn near pulled up to his knees. 

“Me, too. We’re just waiting for Cas.”

“Cas, come on!”

“I’m going, I’m going. Why don’t you go with Dean and get into your car seat?” Cas suggests.

“Oh, sure. Leave me with trying to get him in that... contraption alone,” Dean complains.

Cas arches a single eyebrow and says, “Talk to me after you install one.”

Dean doesn’t reply, but when Cas turns his back, he sticks his tongue out at him, and Liam dissolves into giggles. Cas looks back over his shoulder and Dean lifts his hands in a, no idea gesture, but the look he gets in return lets him know Cas isn’t buying it. 

“Let’s get outta here before you get me in trouble,” Dean whispers, which has Liam giggling again as he runs down the hallway towards the door. They get their shoes on and then Dean grabs his wallet and Cas’s keys, calling out, “I got your keys,” before he closes the door. He and Liam walk out to the garage and he opens the car door for Liam to get in. “K, hop in there and I’ll see if I can fix the straps to fit you right.”

“I got this same seat in mommy’s car,” Liam says.

“Donna told us which one to get,” Dean admits. “Your mom bought you the best of the best, buddy, lemme tell you that.”

“I miss mommy.”

Shit. It hits him like a bullet to the chest and he swallows hard. “I know you do, little guy. My mom died too, so I know how it is.”

“Was your mommy in a car crash, too?”

“No, she just got real sick,” Dean explains, hoping that’s not too graphic for him. 

“My mommy got sick too!” Liam exclaims, like they both have the same favorite color or something. “But then she got all better.”

“Yeah,” Dean replies carefully. “Not the same kinda sick, kiddo. But it was a long time ago for me and I still miss my mom, so I know how you feel.”

Liam reaches for the two sides of his harness to put them around his shoulders and then grabs the buckle out from beneath his legs. He does up the chest clip and then clicks in the two pieces into the buckle. Dean’s amazed by how easily he’s able to get himself in, but unfortunately, all of the straps are way too loose. “You got in there like a freakin’ pro, buddy,” Dean says, genuinely impressed. “Just gotta tighten these up now.”

It’s not as easy as it looks, and after he tries for a few minutes and it still isn’t right, Cas comes out and gives him a hand, and between the two of them (and another ten minutes of fighting with the stupid crotch buckle), they get the straps to the right tightness that Donna told him they need. He makes sure the chest clip is at armpit-level and tells Cas what Donna said about how important that is, and then, both of them red-faced and sweaty, they get into Cas’s car.

“I can’t even believe I’m letting you drive me around in this hunk of junk,” Dean mutters.

“I’ll have you know this car has served me well over the years,” Cas defends, starting the car.

“Yeah, over the last twenty years.”

“Your car is older than mine,” Cas points out.

Dean’s jaw drops in indignation. “Baby’s a classic, Cas! You can’t even compare them!”

“Yours is just shinier,” Cas says stubbornly, putting the car into reverse.

“Shinier?” Dean squeaks, hardly even believing his ears. “I rebuilt my car from the ground up! It’s—”

“Dean?” Liam says from the back. 

“Just one second, buddy, I gotta tell Cas here the difference between the wind-up car engine he’s got in here and the beautiful big block my Baby’s got.”

“I gotta go pee!” Liam cries.

Cas hits the brakes while Dean hops out of the car to get the damn kid out of the three hundred dollar fucking seat before he pisses all over it, and as he wrenches the back door open Liam says, “I really gotta go baaaaad.”

“Okay, just hold it for ten more seconds,” Dean says, frantically fighting with the damn straps. Thankfully, Liam undoes the chest clip himself and Dean lifts him out, tosses him over his shoulder, and bolts for the front door. They make it into the bathroom just in time, and judging by the sound and force of the spray he can hear coming through the door, the kid wasn’t joking. It really was an emergency situation. 

He can hear Liam wash his hands, and then he comes out of the bathroom with his shirt tucked into his pants, and a guilty look all over his face that has Dean prepared for the worst. Maybe they didn’t make it in time? Maybe he pissed in his pants? Or on the seat?

“What’s the matter?” he asks. “Did you not make it in time?”

Liam points down to his feet. “We ‘got to take our shoes off.”

Dean’s so relieved he could sink to the floor right there and then. “When it comes to bathroom emergencies, so don’t even care, okay?” Without thinking, he scoops Liam back up and hitches him onto his hip, then closes the front door behind him. Getting him back into his seat the second time is much easier, and almost a half hour after they first left the house, they’re finally leaving the driveway.

“New rule,” Cas says once he gets onto the street. “Always make sure he doesn’t have to pee before we leave the house.”

And this time, Dean can’t even argue the point.

Chapter Text

Dean looks at Liam on the double slide next to him. They both have huge smiles on their faces as he starts to count down. “One, two, three, go!”

They go zooming down the slide, Dean a full body length ahead of Liam and going so fast he can’t even get his feet under him before he plops onto the mat flat on his ass. Liam’s only a second behind him, and he manages to land on his feet. 

“Beat me again!” Liam complains, but he doesn’t sound upset about it in the least.

“Eat my dust,” Dean replies, getting a trail of laughter out of Liam. 

“Again!” Liam begs him.

“Two more and then I need a rest, okay?”

“Okay, come on!” Liam says, already running back up the ramp and past the punching bags hanging from the roof of the play structure. Dean’s genuinely having fun, but he’s also quickly running out of steam, so it’s no surprise that Liam is impatiently waiting for him by the time he gets back up to the top of the slide. They go down side-by-side once more, but the second and final time down, Liam surprises him by climbing over his lap and wiggling until he’s seated on the slide between his legs.

“I wanna go fast,” Liam explains. 

To make sure he doesn’t knock him over or something, he throws his arm over Liam’s chest to hold onto him, and Liam clutches onto his arm. He pushes off, and Liam squeals the whole way down until they crash on the mat at the bottom. He just manages to fall to the side to avoid squashing Liam completely, and they’re both laughing when their eyes catch.

“That was awesome! You’re super, super fast! And you didn’t even squish me flat like a pancake!”

Dean reaches out for a high five, which Liam is enthusiastic about giving him, and after the loud, stinging smack of their hands together, Dean pushes himself up to his feet. “Okay, I’m gonna go sit with Cas and give my old bones a rest.”

“Can we play again before—before—later?”

“Sure can. Just let me catch my breath,” Dean replies. “You remember where Cas is sitting?”

“Yep! I’m gonna go play! Bye Dean!”

And then he takes off back up the ramp, and Dean makes his way out of the play structure to sit with Cas in one of the armchairs they have set up for parents. Parents. He shakes his head clear of that thought and plops down next to Cas.

“I’m feeling a little put out that it wasn’t me that caused your pink cheeks this time,” Cas teases.

If he wasn’t already red-faced, he would be now. “We’re literally surrounded by kids and soccer moms. Keep it in your pants.”

Instead of listening to him, Cas leans over and stretches his arm around him as dramatically as possible, just to be a little shit. “You’re really good with him, you know.”

“I was just playing with him,” Dean says, brushing off the compliment. “Worked up a sweat climbing up to the top so many times, though. And Liam was right, the red slide is fucking deadly. Look at my elbow!”

He shows Cas where the slide ripped up his skin and Cas says, “Awww. You poor thing. Come here.”

Cas leans in like he’s going to kiss it and Dean pushes him away, his cheeks flaming. “Would you cut it out before we get kicked outta here? I know you’ve been in Canada for the last five years but this is Kansas, dude. People are dicks.”

Cas sobers up immediately. “I’m sorry. Am I making you uncomfortable?”

“The arm’s fine,” Dean says quietly. “But anything more than that or holding hands and we’re probably gonna cause a scene.”

“I understand.”

Cas sounds pretty put out, so he explains a little more. “It’s not like I’d usually care. Other people’s opinions are their problem, right? It’s just because we’ve got Liam with us, and the last thing we need is for him to hear people saying shit about us when we’re still trying to win him over.” Then, just to make sure Cas knows it’s not about him, he knocks his shoulder into him playfully and adds, “It’s not ‘cause I don’t wanna.”

Cas’s smile is almost as soft as the emotion in his eyes. “Thank you.”

Quickly skirting his eyes away, he asks, “So you’ve just been watching us the whole time?” 

Cas nods. “I haven’t been able to decide which one of you is more adorable yet.”

“Oh please,” Dean scoffs. 

“And I know you disagree, but seeing you next to each other with the same mannerisms convinces me more than ever that he’s your son.”

“And seeing him willingly eat vegetables convinces me more than ever that he’s your son.”

“He’s probably just used to eating them because of Lisa’s eating habits. I’m sure she didn’t have a body like she did from eating like you do,” Cas says.

“Okay, first of all, I’m insulted,” Dean replies, though there’s really no room for that with how uncomfortable he feels hearing Cas talk about Lisa’s body. “And secondly, I don’t think she’s been gone long enough that you should just comment on how hot she was like it’s no big deal.”

“It’s absolutely a big deal,” Cas clarifies. “But that doesn’t mean I can’t comment on how attractive she was, does it? Especially given how being attracted to her landed us both where we are right now.”

Dean shakes his head. “I hear what you’re sayin’, just feels wrong still. Have your dirty thoughts or whatever but if it’s all the same to you, I don’t wanna hear about it.”

Cas doesn’t say anything for several minutes, and Dean ignores the quiet and the uncomfortable feeling in his stomach while his eyes search for Liam on the playground. He finds him up at the top walking across a rope ladder. Liam sees them watching him and waves, so they both wave back, and Liam’s face lights up with a big smile. 

“Do you regret breaking up with her now that you know you could have had it all if you didn’t?” He turns to look at Cas’s expression, wondering why it matters all of the sudden, but finds Cas’s face carefully blank. “The white picket fence, the family, all settled down like what you’re looking for now?”

He doesn’t even have to think about it. “Hope it doesn’t make me a dick for saying so, but no. I don’t. I do regret not trying harder to stay friends.”

“At least you know why she didn’t want that now,” Cas says quietly.

Because then he would have known she was pregnant. That doesn’t answer the real question, though. “Still don’t know why she never told us,” Dean says. “Friggin kills me thinking that one of us could’ve helped raise Liam from the beginning. Then this wouldn’t be such a shock for either of us or him. We’d already know him and we wouldn’t be scrambling like we are now.”

“She wasn’t a hateful person,” Cas comments. “I’m sure she had a good reason.”

“Just wish I knew what it was.”

Liam comes flying down the slide a few minutes later, and Cas nudges him when Liam starts their way. “Looks like you’re up again.”

“No way. I’m not recovered enough yet.”

“Dean! Cas!” Liam shouts as he comes closer. “Did you see me on the ladder?”

Wadder has him grinning. “You did that like a champ,” Dean replies.

“You look like you’re playing hard,” Cas says. “You’re all sweaty.”

“I’m really thirsty.”

“There’s a water fountain right over there,” Cas says, pointing it out to him.

“I don’t like water.”

Dean snorts a laugh. How can somebody not like water?

“That’s too bad,” Cas replies, ever the hard ass. “I guess you’re not that thirsty after all.”

“I want juice,” Liam declares.

“You can have juice with dinner, but for now, there’s a water fountain if you want a drink,” Cas reiterates.

Liam immediately turns his attention to Dean. “Please can I have some juice?”

He’s not dumb enough to go against what Cas literally just said, but Cas’s fingers dig into his shoulder like he thinks he might be and he pins him with an irritated look. “What Cas says goes, buddy. I could use a drink too, though. Do you wanna come with me to the fountain?”

Liam’s shoulders slump and he drops his head like he’s being sentenced to life without dinosaurs, but he sighs, “Fine.”

Dean works hard to keep the smile off of his face as he gets up to lead the way. He goes first so he can show Liam how to keep the little button pressed, then once he’s had his fill, he backs off so Liam can go. He has to help him with the button because apparently he can’t multitask, and then he’s horrified when he sees Liam wrap his mouth around the spout.

“Dude, gross!” he says, pulling him back by his shirt. 

“What?” Liam asks, wiping his hand over the back of his mouth.

And then something truly horrible occurs to him. If Liam put his mouth on there, how many other kids have? And he just drank out of that fountain that’s probably literally crawling with germs. 

“Oh my god, I hate kids,” he says quietly to himself. Then, after looking down to Liam who is still watching him wondering what’s going on, he says, “We’ll buy a bottle. Come on.”

Two dollars and fifty freaking cents later, he and Liam share a bottle of water, and Liam goes back to play on the playground. It’s 3:00 when he gets back out there with him, and after both he and Liam gang up on Cas (Cas may have the big, blue eyes he can’t resist, but he has the pouty lips he knows how to use to his advantage) Cas reluctantly agrees to go down a few slides. 

Because Cas looks adorable as hell when he has that grumpy look on his face, Dean lets him sneak a quick kiss back in the corner where there are no other adults, and to his surprise, Cas’s mood turns right around. The next thing he knows, Cas is snapping photos of him and Liam going down the slide, selfies of the two of them and then all of them together when Liam jumps in, and when Liam suggests the two grown ups race, Cas beats him up to the top and is waiting for him by the time he gets up there. 

Cas looks around quickly for any little ears listening in, then says, “Winner picks top or bottom next time,” and even though there’s really no way to lose here, that has him pushing off faster than ever before and winning the race with a smug smile on his face. Once Cas checks the time, he sees it’s almost 3:30 and mentions he has to get home to start prepping dinner soon, so they tell Liam he can go down the slide three more times and that’s it. After seeing several kids carried out of the building kicking and screaming, Dean’s prepared for the worst, but apparently Lisa raised the most easy-going kid in the world, because Liam comes without complaint.

“Wrong feet,” Dean tells Liam when he puts his shoes on. Liam grumbles but switches them over, and since Liam really was awesome today, Dean crouches down and says, “Since you were the only kid who didn’t pitch a fit on the way out, how about you take this and get some candy outta the gumball machine?”

He holds up a quarter and Liam looks at it like it’s the holy grail. “YEAH! I love candy!”

“No gum,” Dean tells him, mostly because he doesn’t want to see it end up getting stuck to the car seat.

“Rewarding good behavior?” Cas asks. He’s stepped in nice and close behind him. One hand is on his hip, and his breath is warm on his ear. Dean shrugs. “It’s almost like we know what we’re doing.”

“We haven’t made it through day one yet, don’t jinx us,” Dean reminds him. 

“Touche,” Cas replies. 

Once they get Liam and his candy into Cas’s car, Cas starts quizzing him about what foods he likes and what he doesn’t like. Cas asks about meat, vegetables, and pasta, and to their surprise, Liam says he likes it all. When Dean turns it around and asks him what he doesn’t like, he comes up with oatmeal, zucchini, fettuccini, and fish.

“That should make meal planning easy enough,” Cas replies.

“Meal planning?”

“How else would I prepare a menu for the three of us seven nights a week?” Cas asks.

His insides are almost unbearably warm from the idea of coming home to a hot, prepared meal every day, but he replies, “You don’t have to cook seven nights a week, Cas.”

“Well, I would hope not. I was thinking I could cook during the week and you could cook on the weekends.”

“Add takeout or delivery or going out somewhere once in a workweek to give you a break, and you’ve got yourself a deal,” Dean amends. 

Once they’re back in the house, Liam brings some of his dinosaurs out to the living room and stages a battle using several of them. Cas decides to make spaghetti and meat sauce, and despite his offer to help, Cas shoos him out of his own kitchen and he’s left on kid duty. Not that it’s hard or anything. While Liam does keep up an almost-constant stream of chatter, he really only asks him a question here or there and otherwise mostly keeps to himself. 

He finds it strange at first, remembering how Sammy drove him nuts as a kid because he always wanted somebody to play with. But then he considers that Lisa was a single mom, and she had to find time to do everything around the house by herself and take care of Liam, so he’s probably used to playing by himself. Liam’s also an only child, so it kind of makes sense that he would be an independent kid. 

Using his free time to his advantage has him starting up the Roomba to do the floors (which Liam finds hilarious and has him fully expecting to see Liam trying to ride it some day) and then, after checking with Cas that it’s okay for him to keep an eye on Liam, folding a load of laundry that’s been sitting in the dryer all day. He takes care of that in the bedroom since the washer and dryer are in the en-suite, and as immature as it is, he’s glad Cas isn’t there. There’s something intimate about their underwear being in the same load of laundry and it has him feeling all kinds of weird about it and everything else.

Hell, he’s barely even had time to think about how Cas said he liked him this morning. How he told Cas he likes him back. It’s just out there now. They haven’t talked about what it means for them, if it means anything, but Cas has definitely been more affectionate than usual. 

He scoffs to himself as he puts Cas’s boxers in the drawer next to his. More affectionate than usual. He hasn’t even known the guy a week and he has a more than usual in mind for him? He really needs to get his head on straight. Yeah, he’s playing house with Cas but he needs to remember that’s all it is. Playing. Well, that and they like each other and have an insane mutual attraction. But just because they have that in common doesn’t automatically mean they’re going to live happily ever after. It sure as hell hasn’t worked out for him with anybody else so far, so really, he should probably be worrying about the inevitable fall out between them more than anything.

But he doesn’t really want to do that, either. Not when everything so far today has gone easier than he thought it would. Being optimistic about a new fling isn't what he would usually do, but they have a kid to worry about here, so in order to keep the peace, he’s just going to go with the flow. No bracing for the worst or hoping for the best, just... living in the moment. And why not, right? They’re still reasonably young. If they’ve gotta raise a kid together for the next year while indulging themselves in the best sex he’s ever had, it’s not like that’s the worst thing that could ever happen.

With his mind made up, he finishes folding and putting away the laundry, then goes to check on Cas and Liam. Supper’s gotta be almost ready because it smells amazing, and after spotting Liam on his belly on the floor mid-dinosaur battle, he follows his nose right into the kitchen. It’s warming up in there pretty good, and it only takes Cas looking his way once for him to see how absolutely fucked Cas’s hair is from the humidity. It’s always kind of everywhere, but it’s a little bit curly behind his ears now, and where it’s usually pushed up off of his forehead, one side is flopping down adorably. When Cas’s eyes catch his, he avoids his gaze hoping he won’t get called out for staring, which is when he realizes Cas isn’t wearing socks again.

Considering he knows Cas didn’t come into the bedroom to put them in the laundry basket, that means they’ve gotta be around here somewhere. He looks around, scanning the floor, and finds them next to the kitchen table.

“What is with you and bare feet?” he asks Cas.

Cas snorts. “After the way you were looking at me, I was not expecting your first comment to go in that direction.”

“Your socks are on the floor.”

Cas doesn’t reply, and instead, he puts on an oven mitt and pulls out a loaf of cheesy garlic bread out of the oven. “Do you have a foot fetish I should know about or just a keen sense for when I’ve left something on the floor?”

“Not just something, Cas, socks. On the floor in my kitchen.”

Cas puts the bread on a cutting board and starts slicing it up. “If it bothers you so much, I’ll move them when I’m done. Cooking you dinner. In your kitchen.”

Distinctly put in his place, he feels his face flood with color as he tries not to let the black socks staring at him make him seem any more ungrateful than he already does. “Everything smells amazing.”

“Uh huh,” Cas says, sounding amused.

“Seriously,” he promises, offering up a sheepish smile. “You’re gonna have to roll me out of here.”

Cas chuckles, places the bread in a basket and covers it with a cloth napkin, then wipes the crumbs off of his hands. “How does anybody ever stay mad at you when you smile at them like that?”

Dean’s grin spreads. “Who says they do?”

“There’s something very odd about the dynamic we have between us,” Cas comments, surprising him with the abrupt change of subject. “When you’re shy and blushing, I want to pull you into my arms and—”

“Shhh,” Dean interrupts him, nodding towards Liam.

Cas lowers his voice to a whisper and continues, “—kiss every inch of you until you’re so horny you forget to be shy.” Dean swallows as Cas takes a step towards him. “But when you’re confident and sure of yourself, I want to pin your arms behind your back and unravel you bit by bit until you’re begging for it.”

Forcing himself to keep eye contact even though Cas is looking at him like he’s ready to skip straight to dessert, he says, “So you’re tellin’ me I can’t make a wrong move, then.”

Cas’s lips twitch. “You could mention the socks again.”

“Or I could do this.”

And then for the first time he can remember, he kisses Cas. He must surprise Cas, too, because he falls back a step, and Dean uses the advantage of the inch he has on him to really crash their lips together. It’s brief because it has to be, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t pack a punch, and when Cas makes a startled sound low in his throat, Dean lets it linger several seconds longer than he meant to, reveling in the way heat is coursing through his veins just from a closed-mouth kiss right in the middle of the kitchen.

“Dean!” Dean wrenches his lips away fast enough that Liam is still talking in the accusatory voice when he looks at him. “Cas! Gross!”  

Getting busted has him chuckling quietly with nerves, and he’s absentmindedly swiping the back of his hand across his lips to dry them again when Cas says, “I would say sorry, but I would be fibbing.”

Liam scrunches his nose up. “Why do you gotta do that?”

“You’ll understand when you’re older,” Cas says with a smile. He crouches down and says conspiratorially, “And I hate to be the one to tell you this, but there’s a good chance that won’t be the last time you see us kissing.”

“‘cause you’re in love and stuff,” Liam supplies, sounding more like he’s telling them they have cooties than they’re in love.

Cas looks over his shoulder at Dean with his eyes shining with laughter, clearly not panicking about how awkward this is the same way he is. “I’m definitely in love with Dean’s lips.” Liam makes a dramatic barfing sound, which has Dean laughing but Cas returning his attention to Liam. “Did you need something, or did you come in here just to see all the kissing?”

“Ew, gross!” Liam exclaims again, making them both laugh this time. “I—I—wanted to know if the pasghetti’s ready yet? I’m so hungry.”

Cas straightens up and says, “If Dean wasn’t in here distracting me with his kisses, it would be on the table already.”

“Dean!” Liam scolds, turning on him in an uncanny imitation of his mom that makes his heart clench.

“Cas started it,” Dean defends. 

Cas shoves him playfully. “Both of you get out of my kitchen.” Liam starts laughing, so Cas teases him by kicking his backside gently, which makes him crack up even harder. “By the time you finish picking up your dinosaurs, it’ll be ready.”

“Lucky for me, I don’t have any dinosaurs,” Dean brags. 

Liam’s shoulders slump, and he pouts. “That’s not fair.”

“Want a hand, kiddo?” Dean offers.

“Sure! We can go super, super fast if we do it together,” he declares, brightening up so suspiciously fast Dean’s pretty sure he just got played for the first time. 

“Alright, let’s do it.”

Less than ten minutes and a lot of coaxing later, all of Liam’s toys are picked up, both of their hands are washed, and they’re joining Cas in the kitchen. He’s got plates stacked next to where he’s standing in front of the stove, and he beckons them both over. 

Cas asks, “How hungry are you, Liam?”

“Really, really hungry,” Liam answers, his eyes widening to go with his exaggeration. 

“So how much spaghetti do you want? A little bit, a normal amount, or a whole bunch?” Cas asks him.

“A whole bunch!”

“And do you like spaghetti sauce with the meat in it?” he checks.

“Yep! Like—like smushed meatballs, right?”

“You got it.” Cas scoops a small helping of spaghetti onto a plate and adds the meat sauce, then asks him. “Like that?”

“Yeah!” He goes to reach for the plate, but Dean intercepts.

“How about you hop up into the seat with your juice cup and I’ll carry this over for you, big guy?” 

Liam scrambles over to his seat and climbs up, so Dean sets the plate down in front of him and turns to get his own. “Dean?” He stops and looks back. “I like it, um—” He waves his hands over the plate in a circular motion and looks up at him to see if he’s getting it.

“Mixed together?” Dean guesses.

“Yes! All mixed up!”

“I can do that.” 

It only takes a few seconds, and then Liam dives in happily with his fork. 

Cas has already scooped some noodles onto a plate for him when he gets back to the stove. “I wasn’t sure how you liked the noodle to sauce ratio,” Cas says.

“No such thing as too much sauce,” Dean explains. “But I can do it.”

“I’m here anyway,” Cas responds, ladling a generous scoop of sauce on top of the spaghetti. “There you go.”

“Thanks, Cas.”

“Go sit, and I’ll be right there to join you.”

Dean hesitates though. “You shouldn’t be eating last. You cooked.”

“I don’t mind at all. I like hosting, even if it’s not in my house,” Cas says with a friendly smile. “Now shoo and eat while it’s hot.”

Knowing by now that arguing with Cas is pointless, he goes where Cas points, which is when he sees Liam with spaghetti hanging over the edge of his plate and all down the front of his shirt.

“Holy shit, kid. Are you trying to wear it or eat it?” he asks.

Liam chews the bite in his mouth, then answers, “Your s’ghetti is really, really long.”

“Pretty sure all spaghetti is long,” Dean comments.

Liam shakes his head. “Not when mommy makes it.”

As Cas sits next to him, Cas asks, “Do you think kids eat spaghetti cut up?”

Considering the mess Liam’s already made, he replies, “Can’t possibly be messier than how he’s eating it now. Hang on a second there, buddy.” He pushes out of his seat and starts dragging a knife and fork across Liam’s plate until everything is in much smaller bites, and Liam’s eyes light right up. “Better?”

“That’s what pasghetti’s s’posed to look like!” Liam exclaims.

“Try to get some in your mouth this time,” Dean jokes as he sits back down, and Liam’s grinning when he shovels the next bite in.

“I guess he likes it,” Cas says to Dean.

“Yeah, I’m getting that,” Dean replies with a grin. He twirls his own forkful of spaghetti and meat sauce, and though the bite’s slighter bigger than he meant it to be, he stuffs it into his mouth anyway. As the delicious flavors explode on his tongue, he moans his appreciation around his mouthful, nodding his head to get his message across.

“Looks like I’m two for two,” Cas says, and Dean keeps nodding until he manages to swallow his bite.

“Seriously so good, Cas. Holy crap.”

“Bread?” Cas asks, offering the basket.

“Hell yeah.” He grabs a piece and offers it to Liam. “Garlic bread?”

“Hell yeah!” Liam echoes.

Dean bursts out laughing and gives him a piece of bread, but Cas elbows him. “We’ve had him for exactly one afternoon and you have him cursing already?”

Dean rolls his eyes. “Hell isn’t a swear.”

“But it definitely isn’t something a four year old should be saying. What if he says that to another kid at daycare?” Cas presses.

“Hey Liam, don’t say that at daycare, okay?” Dean tells him.

“Kay.”

Dean looks at Cas while he twirls another bite. “Problem solved.”

“If I get a call from the daycare I’m giving them your number,” Cas threatens.

“Deal,” Dean agrees before taking his second bite. It’s every bit as good as his first, and by the time both he and Liam are sopping up the remainders of their second helpings, he’s so full he thinks he might actually burst. After stuffing his final bite of garlic bread in his mouth, he wipes the spaghetti sauce he knows is on the corner of his lips away, and drops his napkin on his plate with a groan and a hand on his stomach.

“My belly is so full,” Liam says, copying the way Dean’s sitting with his legs spread and his gut hanging out. “That was awesome.”

Dean nods as he chews. “Kid’s right, man. You’re an amazing cook.”

“Thank you. Both of you,” Cas says. “I enjoyed it, too. Though I didn’t make nearly as much mess as the two of you did.”

Immediately wanting to defend himself, he points out, “Hey, Liam’s way messier than I am.”

“Liam’s four,” Cas says dryly.

“But still.”

“You know, I think he might need a bath,” Cas comments. Dean looks over at how Liam's got sauce from chin to eyebrow, some in his hair, up and down both arms, and all down his neck and shirt and silently agrees with Cas.

“I love bath time!” Liam says loudly. “And mommy always hasta give me a bath after ‘ghetti ‘cause I look like a Pasta Monster!” He puts his hands in front of him with his fingers curled like claws and roars. Liam’s pretty damn cute, so he easily gets a couple of chuckles out of him and Cas. “Can I have a bath now? Please? Can I?”

Dean turns to Cas. “I’ll take him. You go curl up somewhere with that book of yours.”

“I’ll do the dishes when you’re bathing him,” Cas offers.

“Oh no you don’t. The rule is, whoever cooks doesn’t do the dishes. That’s my mom’s rule and she’d come back just to kick my ass if I didn’t follow it.” Cas opens his mouth like he’s going to argue, but Dean cuts him off. “Book. Go.”

Cas lifts his hands in defeat, but leans in to press a kiss to his cheek. “Thank you.”

Feeling a blush rise to his cheeks because of how touched Cas sounded thanking him (and probably from the adorable cheek kiss), he tries to escape by getting Liam up and into the bathroom. He’s halfway there when he realizes how weird it is to be asking a kid he barely knows to get naked in front of him. He might be Liam’s dad, but he also might not be, and there’s something very weird about a little kid getting naked with an adult who isn't related to him.

He thinks about putting Liam in a bathing suit, but that means not all of Liam’s parts would be getting clean and he’s not okay with that either. After coming to the conclusion that Liam’s going to have to get naked but he doesn’t have to look, he says, “Okay. I’ll get the water going, and you try to use the bathroom so we don’t have to stop bathtime mid-way through ‘cause you gotta take a leak.”

“Take a leak,” Liam giggles. “That’s funny.”

Having a very clear image of Cas giving him the look in his head, he covers his own ass and says, “Probably don’t say that at daycare either. Just in case.” He turns the water on to what he thinks is a comfortable temperature and adds some bubbles. “Don’t get in the water ‘til I come back in, okay?”

“Kay.”

“Tell me when you’re ready.”

He stands just outside the door, so he can hear Liam emptying his bladder and when he should be done just in case he decides not to listen. “Ready!” Liam says once he’s finished.

“Okay, I know this is weird, but we just met so I don’t really want to see your naked butt.” Liam cracks up laughing, and Dean remembers fondly how he couldn’t say butt in front of Sam without a fit of giggles until Sam was about 10. “So let me help you get your shirt and your shorts off, and then you can take off your underwear and get in the water while I have my eyes closed. Deal?”

Liam nods, and Dean works on getting his shirt off without getting more sauce on Liam or (more importantly) himself. Once he’s down to his underwear, Dean says, “I don’t want you falling in on me, so I’ll put my hand out for you to hold onto, then you drop your drawers and get in the tub where you’re all covered by the bubbles, alright?” Liam nods his understanding, so Dean sits on the lid of the toilet and holds his hand out before he closes his eyes. “Alright, drop ‘em and get in.”

Liam grabs onto his arm and he hears him take the first step into the water. “Hot! Hot! Ow! It’s too hot!” Liam cries, and there’s a sharp edge in his voice that has him leaping into action.

As Liam continues screaming bloody murder and clutching at his leg, he does the first thing he can think of doing and lifts him into his arms and out of the water. Liam’s legs wrap around him as he dips his hand into the bath water to make sure it isn’t somehow actually burning hot. It still feels fine to him, but seeing as Liam is actually crying because it was too hot, he turns the cold up more just in case.

“Hey, you okay?” he checks, subconsciously rocking him back and forth and stroking the hair at the back of his head. “I’m sorry buddy, it doesn’t feel that hot to me.”

Liam sniffles and lays his head on his shoulder. “Yeah. I’m okay. Was just too hot.”

“I know, I’m sorry,” Dean says again, feeling so badly he has to swallow down how his throat feels thick with unshed tears. “I put some cold water in so it’ll be better in just a second, okay?”

Liam nods his head, and when Dean puts his other hand under his bottom to help hold him up, he realizes he’s got Liam fully naked in his arms and moves his hand from his butt to his bare leg instead, rearranging awkwardly to try to make sure he’s touching as little of him as possible. A split second later, he’s distracted from that when he gets a sudden whiff of spaghetti sauce, which is when he remembers Liam’s spaghetti-covered face... which is currently plastered to his shoulder.

He grimaces, and that exact moment is when Cas comes rushing in. “Is everything—” But he trails off as Dean turns towards him, and he watches Cas fail miserably at hiding a smile on his face. He sees it when Cas’s stupidly blue eyes drop to where there’s probably spaghetti sauce smeared all over his shoulder, and then to how Dean is awkwardly trying to hold Liam without touching anything he shouldn’t be touching, and then he sees Cas’s lips twitch before he says, “You’ve clearly got everything under control in here.”

Fuck you is on the tip of his tongue, but he bites his tongue, and instead uses the hand behind Liam’s head to give him the finger where Liam can’t see him.

“The water’s burning hot,” Liam says, probably feeling like he has to fill the silence.

“It won’t be anymore,” Dean tells him. “Here, try dipping a toe in, okay?” He lifts Liam over the tub and drops him down so he can try it, and when Liam wiggles until he’s got both feet in the tub, he figures it must be good. “Good?” he checks, just in case.

“Perfect!” Liam plops down, sending water up and over the edge of the tub, and Dean realizes too late that he’s going to need lots and lots of towels. 

“I’ll get some towels,” Cas says, clearly noticing the same thing. Dean sighs and sinks onto the closed toilet again, already feeling like he’s failed this particular task and they haven’t even really started yet. 

“I got no baff toys,” Liam comments.

“Huh?”

“Baff toys,” he repeats. 

“Oh bath toys,” Dean says, getting it the second time around. “Huh.” He thinks, wondering if anything they bought could be used in the tub but coming up blank. Cas comes in with a stack of towels and starts putting two on the floor along the edge of the tub. “I’ll be right back.”

He dashes out to the kitchen and comes back a few minutes later with a big plastic cup he got from the movie theater at the release of the newest Star Wars movie, a plastic funnel, plastic measuring cups, and a clean sponge. He tosses it all in the tub with Liam one item at a time, getting a squeal of excitement with each thing that echoes in the tiny bathroom. 

“There, play your heart out.” Then he turns to Cas. “You can go back to reading now. I probably won’t burn him again tonight.”

“Hey!” Liam complains, and Dean shoots him a smile to make sure he knows he’s joking.

“Do you want to get this shirt off?” Cas asks. “I can put it in the laundry for you now so the stain doesn’t set.”

“Thanks, but it’s probably toast already anyway. Besides, if I change into different clothes I have a feeling I’m just gonna get soaked again getting him out.”

“I’ll get a fresh pair of pajamas out for him to put on when you’re done, then. I’ll leave them on his bed.”

“Awesome. Thanks, Cas.”

He lets Liam play for 20 minutes before he asks him to start washing up. Liam does well with the cloth he offers him, and Dean only has to wipe off his orange face himself (though he still somehow ends up soaked, as predicted). It isn’t until he asks Liam to dunk his head so he can wash his hair that they come to their first roadblock.

“Nuh-uh.”

Seeing as Liam’s been incredibly easy to get along with so far, he’s surprised by how adamant he is about this. “Why not?”

“Water gets in my eyes. And it hurts real bad!”

“Okay, well, the good news is there’s an easy fix for that,” Dean tells him. When Liam looks interested, he says, “Close your eyes.”

“I can’t! ‘Cause then I can’t see!”

That doesn’t make any sense. “What do you need to see underwater?”

“I—I—I just do!”

“Alright,” Dean concedes, figuring it’s pointless to argue with a four year old. “How did your mom wash your hair?”

“I cover my eyes with my hands like this, and then she just—just pours the water on my head like a waterfall.”

“Okay, let’s try that, then.” He gets onto his knees beside the tub and fills a cup full of water. “Cover your eyes.” Liam does, and Dean asks, “Ready?” Liam nods, takes a deep breath, and Dean empties the water over his head. “Good job. Let’s get some shampoo in there.”

Likely because he has to keep wiping Liam’s face dry with a towel between cups or else the kid loses his ever loving shit, it takes a lot more patience and a lot more time than he would have thought to get all of the shampoo out. When Liam’s finally finished and almost all the bubbles are gone, he pulls the plug and Liam stands up, either completely unaware or completely unashamed that he’s buck naked.

Dean sighs and grabs a towel, using it to lift him up and out of the tub. “Guess we got over the no being naked thing pretty fast, huh?”

“Yup,” Liam laughs. Dean dries him off the best he can, then drops the towel over his head, scoops him up and tosses him over his shoulder, delighting in the giggles he gets as he walks into Liam’s bedroom.

He figures out pretty damn quick that it’s a bitch to get a still slightly damp, wiggly child into cotton PJs, but once Liam’s in them, he looks so freakin’ cute and snuggly with his Disney Cars pjs on that Dean forgets to care. He gives his hair one final scrub with the towel to dry it, and when he sees Liam’s hair sticking up everywhere with his blue eyes shining at him, he looks so much like Cas that his heart does jumping jacks in his chest. He fixes Liam’s hair with his fingers the same way he fixes his own, and then he sends him out to find Cas while he cleans up the bathroom and changes into pajamas of his own.

He catches the time when he’s changing and is shocked beyond belief that it’s almost seven o’clock. Yeah, dinner took longer than usual because Liam took forever to eat his two helpings, and then with the bath and wrestling with Liam to get him dressed, it must have taken up more time than he realized. They planned to watch a movie after dinner, but there’s no way Liam’s going to stay up late enough to watch one now. 

... right? What time do kids even go to bed? Donna said yesterday they wanted Liam home at seven, so probably not much later than that. Maybe Cas knows.

Now in plaid sleep pants and a black undershirt, he walks out of the bedroom and finds Liam and Cas seated together watching a cartoon on TV. Liam is curled adorably against Cas’s side, and Dean’s feeling incredibly warm inside when he joins them and sits on Cas’s other side. That warmth only increases when Cas pulls him against him and wraps his arm around his shoulder. 

He gets an intense wave of family from being here all snuggled up with both Cas and Liam and tries to cover it up by asking, “What are we watchin’?” 

“Apparently, Liam watches Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood and Dinosaur Train every night before bed. Daniel Tiger is almost over, then Dinosaur Train, and bedtime.”

“And this is on every night?” Dean wonders.

“Yep,” Liam answers. “Daniel Tiger is 'lergic to peaches in this one! Look!” 

“He says he’s seen them all a dozen times,” Cas tells him, more quietly now. “I think it’s probably a comfort thing, and I figured sticking with Lisa’s routine couldn’t possibly be bad.”

“I agree.”

Cas lowers his voice even further and says, “He said this was snuggle time for him and Lisa. I know I’m not her, but—”

“I woulda done the same thing,” Dean whispers, placing his hand on Cas’s thigh and giving it a little rub. “We’re the closest thing he’s got to parents now.”

And isn’t that a heavy thought. It certainly doesn’t help how he’s trying not to think about how domestic it feels to be in his pjs with one of Cas’s arms around him and the other around Liam. He knows today went relatively well (especially considering this was their first day together) and that it won’t always be this easy, but right now with his head resting in the crook of Cas’s arm and Liam singing along to the ending of Daniel Tiger, all he can think about is how this is exactly what he’s always wanted.

This is why he has the white picket fence. This is why he doesn’t go out with anybody looking for something casual and why he refuses to sleep around. He wants to have kids, he wants to fall in love with somebody who loves him back, and he wants a family to share moments just like this with. This is what he wants.

It’s insane to even consider that if things continue to go well he could actually have this exact thing with Cas and Liam, so he tries not to let his thoughts drift that way when a half hour later he and Cas are standing side-by-side while Liam brushes his teeth. He tries to brush it off when they take turns reading to him from Sam’s old beat up copy of Pickle Things, and he makes an attempt to ignore it when they take turns saying goodnight, but after they walk out of Liam’s bedroom and both hover outside the door just in case, Cas’s eyes catch his. 

On some level, he’s aware that he might be projecting, but deep down, he knows Cas is looking at him so softly because he’s having all of the same thoughts Dean’s trying not to give into, and when Cas links their fingers together and kisses the back of his hand, he’s simultaneously the happiest and most afraid he’s ever been in his entire life.

Chapter Text

“That can’t be it, right?” Cas asks in a whisper. Since he has no idea, he shrugs. “I’ve heard about kids needing to be put to bed ten times before they fall asleep. There’s no way he’s just going to go down quietly.”

Dean shrugs again, trying not to overthink how Cas is still holding his hand with his thumb brushing over the back of it sporadically. “Everything else was easy enough. Maybe he’s just a good sleeper.” He wiggles his fingers free from Cas’s and says, “I’m gonna go take care of the dishes.”

He’s already walking down the hall when he hears Cas say, “Do you want to watch something together afterwards? A movie or a show or something?”

He doesn’t bother turning back when he replies. “Thought you didn’t watch TV?”

“I don’t,” Cas says, following behind him. “But we can’t leave the house and I wanted to spend some time together.”

Dean laughs humorlessly, opening up the dishwasher so he doesn’t have to look at Cas when he blows him off. “We were literally together all day.”

“Dean,” Cas says, his voice filled with understanding. “If you want some space or time to yourself or whatever, just tell me. I know you’re used to living alone.”

The problem is, the last thing he wants is space. He’s enjoyed spending the day with Cas and Liam more than he thought he would—more than he probably should considering he doesn’t know how long he’s going to get to keep it—and it scares the shit out of him. He wants to curl up on the couch with Cas until they’re both warm and sleepy, but they’ve only been doing this for less than a week and it already feels like that’s a habit for them. What happens when Cas leaves? How hard is it gonna be going back to living alone after letting himself have that for a whole year?

“Just gimme a few minutes alone to do the dishes and I’ll let you know if I’m up for company after that.” Then, because he just can’t be a dick to Cas, he faces him and adds, “It’s not a ‘you and me’ thing. It’s just like you said, getting used to having people around all the time.”

He can’t quite bring his eyes up to meet Cas’s, and that probably has something to do with how uncertain Cas sounds when he answers with a drawn-out, “Okaaay.” Dean forces himself to look up and offer a small smile. “I’ll be reading, then.”

He nods, then gets back to the dishes, trying (and failing) not to think about how bad he feels for lying to Cas’s face. He rinses everything and places it in the dishwasher, and because he’s purposely dawdling, by the time he’s done hand-washing the pots and cleaning out the sink, it’s been about a half hour. Liam hasn’t come out of his room or made a peep since he went down, and when he goes to check on him, he finds him fast asleep with Winchester clutched to his chest. He leaves his door open a crack like he promised he would, and then with nothing else to do without being obvious about avoiding Cas, he returns to the living room.

Cas looks up from his book as he sees him coming. “Is he out?”

“Like a light.”

“That was way too easy,” Cas comments.

Dean sits on the couch Cas isn’t already sitting on, kicking his feet up onto the coffee table as he gets comfortable. “Watch him be up at five AM.”

“Good thing one of us is a morning person.”

Taking that as a slight towards his “parenting” skills, Dean insists, “I’ll be fine as long as there’s coffee.”

“There’s no point in us both being awake. I don’t mind watching him first thing in the morning.”

It's really annoying that Cas is being so understanding and reasonable about this when all he wants is one good reason to keep his distance. “Why do you gotta be so nice all the time?”

“Nice?” Cas repeats, shaking his head like he disagrees. “I’m just trying to split up the work the way it makes the most sense. You don’t like waking up early and it doesn’t bother me, so I might as well do that part.”

Dean inhales and lets his breath out in a quiet stream, giving up on the idea of finding a fault in Cas besides leaving his socks on the floor. “It’d probably be a lot easier to do this if you were a dick.”

There's a moment of silence when Cas just looks at him with his head tilted in confusion. “That’s where you lose me, because I was amazed by how easy everything was today.”

“It was too easy,” Dean says darkly.

“And that’s a bad thing?” Cas checks.

“Yeah, it is. Life ain’t easy, Cas. Or at least it ain’t for me.”

“Maybe it will be easier with some help,” Cas suggests.

“And then what?” Cas tilts his head to the side, clearly not understanding what he’s talking about since he doesn’t know what Dean’s been thinking about for the last half hour. “A year of help, and then what?”

Cas closes his book and places it on the couch beside him, giving Dean his full attention. “I guess we didn’t have time to discuss having to do this for a year.” Dean doesn’t answer, knowing the way he raises his eyebrows and looks away is enough of an answer in itself. “I know it’s a lot to ask of you.”

“Of me?” Dean asks, wondering why Cas doesn’t think it’s a lot for himself to agree to living with him. 

“Well, yeah. The original plan was for me to stay here just long enough to get a paternity test done, and now you’ve been put in a situation that’s impossible to get out of for an entire year regardless of who ends up being Liam’s father. It’s a much longer commitment than we first agreed to.”

Because Cas sounds like he feels bad about it, Dean feels like he should clarify. “It’s not like I was dyin’ to get rid of you.”

Cas smiles sadly. “He says from the other couch.”

“It’s not like that,” he insists. 

Cas raises his eyebrows. “What’s it like then?”

Cas is getting too close to what he doesn’t want to talk about, so he closes himself off. “It’s nothing, okay? Don’t worry about it.”

“Okay,” Cas replies, though it’s clear from his tone of voice that he knows something is going on. Instead of pushing like he would’ve expected from him, Cas picks up his book and starts reading again. 

Dean sits there for several minutes in the quiet, feeling strangely put out now that Cas didn’t take the bait and he’s left to deal with all the shit in his head by himself. He’s way too proud to bring it back up though, especially since Cas seems perfectly content reading his book and ignoring him, so he does the only logical thing and looks around for the remote to turn the TV on. Of course it’s on the couch next to where Cas is sitting, and now he’s left with the decision to either get up and get it himself, or break the silence and ask Cas to hand it to him. 

He only debates briefly before he stands up and walks the few steps to grab it, and because Cas doesn’t so much as look at him, he stubbornly sits on the couch next to him to see if he can get his attention that way. 

Still nothing. 

Whatever; this couch is the more comfortable couch anyway, and it’s not like he really wanted to talk about everything. He might have if Cas asked, but apparently that’s not happening. Deciding to forget about it, he turns on the TV and puts Friends on Netflix again. As usual, the familiar story line and humor in the show puts him at ease, and before he even knows he’s doing it, he’s sitting back against the couch cushions more comfortably and chuckling along to the show. 

When the episode The One With The Free Porn comes on, Cas either forgets he was supposed to be ignoring him or just decides to break the silence. “The internet really made this whole episode obsolete, didn’t it?”

Thinking of how he got busted about his porn drawer from Donna has him shooting a grin over at Cas. “How often do you indulge in pornography again, doc?”

Cas laughs with his nose scrunched up, making Dean’s smile grow. “Those Busty Asian Beauty magazines have been calling my name ever since I saw them," he jokes.

“Should just give ‘em to you. Just chicks don’t really do it for me anymore.”

“Really?” Cas asks, sounding interested. “You never told me that.”

“Not a big deal. Figure I’m around a five on the Kinsey scale.”

“Same for me,” Cas responds. “I’m awed by the softness and curves women have, but more often than not, they don’t arouse me the same way men do.”

“Guess it’s a good thing I’m not a chick, then, since you’re stuck with me for the next year.”

Cas reaches over to place his hand on top of his. “Happily stuck with you for a year.”

Dean huffs a skeptical laugh. “Well, you’d be the first.”

“Is that what this little bit of attitude tonight is about? You think I won’t last a year? That I’ll leave?”

“No,” Dean says honestly, though now that it’s been brought up, Cas has a good point. “And I don’t have an attitude. I’m not a teenager.”

“Attitude, pouting, bug up your ass, whatever you want to call it,” Cas says lightly.

“Screw you,” Dean says. “I’m dealing with a lot right now. You’d think you of all people would get it.” Annoyed all over again, he snatches his hand back with the intention of folding his arms across his chest.

“I do get it,” Cas says, catching his hand and pulling it back between both of his. “Which is why I don’t understand why you won’t talk to me.”

Dean stubbornly keeps his hand balled into a fist so that Cas can’t hold it properly. “Not a big talker.”

“Fine. So don’t talk about it, but you don’t have to pout on the other end of the couch by yourself. I’ve heard that seeking comfort from other people can be pretty nice.”

“So you want me to just fall into your arms so you can bullshit me and say everything’s gonna be okay?” Dean asks, his words dripping with sarcasm.

“What could it hurt?” Cas asks back. “Your ego?”

Dean tries to shake his hand free of Cas’s, but he’s a stubborn little shit and holds on for all that he’s worth. “Fuck you,” he says lightly, but his face cracks on a grin when Cas’s jaw drops like he’s genuinely insulted anyway. “Let me go, you freak.”

“No,” Cas says. “Not until you let me help you.”

Dean snorts out a laugh despite himself. “You think forcing me to hold your hand is gonna solve all my problems?”

“You’re smiling aren’t you?” Cas tosses back.

“Because you’re even more immature than I am!”

“Stubborn,” Cas corrects. “I’m more stubborn than you are.”

“We’ll see about that.”

Cas raises his eyebrows in a silent challenge, and then before he can even stop him, Cas is launching himself at him, straddling his waist, and wrapping his arms around his head in some weird headlock/hug combo that has him sputtering like an idiot while he tries to push his head away from Cas’s chest. 

“There!” Cas says loudly, talking over the struggle. “Isn’t that a nice hug? Don’t you feel better?”

“Cut it out!” Dean complains.

“Do you feel better?” Cas asks again.

“No!” Dean insists, but Cas is trying to rock him like a baby or something now and his protest comes out along with a laugh.

“Rock-a-bye Deannie, on the tree top,” Cas starts to sing. Cas is singing loudly and absolutely horribly and Dean can’t help it, he bursts out laughing. Cas lets go to sit back in his lap, looking down at him with a shit-eating grin like he just won a trophy instead of making him laugh, and then using baby talk, he says, “There’s a nice smile! What a good boy you are!”

He’s still smiling, and his hands settle naturally onto Cas’s hips now that they’re not fighting anymore. “Dude, you are so much weirder than I thought you were.”

“Thank you. Now give me a kiss.”

“No way, weirdo.”

“I will wrestle you again, Dean, and I’m pretty sure I just proved that I’m stronger than you.”

“Please,” Dean huffs, though he’s not at all against the idea of Cas being stronger than he is. “I let you win.”

“Let me win again then and kiss me.”

“Fine,” Dean relents. “One kiss and then you go back to being a normal person.”

Cas arches an eyebrow. “Normal is overrated.”

But before Dean can respond, Cas swoops in for a kiss. He expected something friendly or playful after horsing around like that, but the second Cas’s hands frame his face and their lips come together, he knows that’s not what this is going to be. Cas kisses him soundly, his lips crushing his own passionately for several seconds before he retreats and comes back for more, this time with his head tilted at a different angle. 

Cas’s thumb brushes the corner of his mouth and Dean opens to him, allowing their lips to slot together more thoroughly again and again before Cas slips his tongue into his mouth. Dean’s breath hitches as arousal shoots through him at the first point of contact, and his hands skim up Cas’s stomach to rest on his muscular chest while Cas works on making each of his earlier concerns disappear with one sinuous roll of his tongue after another. He can actually feel the tension bleed out of him one kiss at a time, he can feel his mind turn off and his body give in, and he sinks back against the couch absolutely boneless while their tongues continue working together in an easy dance that he never wants to end.  

The way Cas kisses him is unlike anything else. It makes him think in a weird way that he’s never been kissed before Cas at all, because no other kiss was anything like this. Nobody else has ever been able to work their tongue and lips and mouth so seamlessly together with his, to completely dominate every single kiss without even trying, to kiss the fight right out of him with a languid, sickenly-sweet kiss like this one.

That might have something to do with why he’s got two fists full of Cas’s shirt when their mouths finally separate, and jesus, he’s never been one to indulge in drugs but he’s absolutely sure this is what it feels like to be high on something—on some one— and he doesn’t even care. He doesn't want to stop, he just wants more.  

“How do you do that?” he asks, his voice soft and breathy.

“Do what?”

“Kiss me like that,” Dean says, though he’s slightly embarrassed to admit out loud the kind of power Cas has over him just because of a kiss.

Cas slides off of his lap and tugs Dean with him until he’s got his head pillowed in Cas’s lap. His big fingers start pushing through the longer patch of hair on top of his head, and Dean’s eyes close as inconceivable warmth and comfort engulf him. 

“Quite frankly, my mind goes blank the second I have your lips against mine pretty much every time, so I have no idea,” Cas chuckles. “It seems to be working for me though.”

Amused, Dean comments, “Your mind goes blank and my body goes boneless. Between the two of us, we almost make a functioning human.”

“I guess you could say we make a good team,” Cas says.

“Yeah,” Dean agrees, though that reminds him of what was bothering him earlier. “Why’d I have to find somebody like you when we have all this other shit going on? If it wasn’t for the pretending part and the one year time limit and trying to figure out how to raise a kid while grieving the loss of his mom and my ex-girlfriend, this thing with you...” He trails off, unsure of how much he should say. Cas doesn’t fill the silence, so because he feels obligated to finish his sentence, he says, “Guess it’s kinda what I’ve been looking for.” His face is burning from his confession, and he’s glad he’s facing the TV so Cas can’t see it and he can’t see Cas’s reaction. Cas probably thinks he sounds like a stage three clinger or something.

“Hearing you say that would’ve made me really happy if you didn’t sound so bitter about it,” Cas replies, his voice oddly flat. 

“I just meant the timing is shit,” Dean tries to explain.

“We are the timing, Dean. The only reason we’re here together at all is because of Liam.”

That has him sitting up, the reminder badly timed and hitting him like a sucker punch. “Thanks a lot.”

Cas’s lips press into a firm line even as his eyes turn all sad and sorry. “You know I didn’t mean it like that. I gave you my phone number within five minutes of seeing you because I didn’t want to let you slip away a second time,” Cas reminds him. “I meant if it wasn’t for Liam causing us to pretend in the first place, you probably wouldn’t have called me right away. We wouldn’t be sleeping together yet, I wouldn’t know you as well as I do now, and I definitely wouldn’t have spent the last hour sitting on your couch wondering if I’m the only one out of the two of us who’s actually happy to be together.”

“Cas, come on,” Dean implores him. “I’m not unhappy, and sure as hell not unhappy with this,” he says, gesturing between them. “It’s just—confusing sometimes, you know? We go from pretending to be this long-term, in-love couple who’re parents to a kid we don’t even know, to two people who barely know each other flirting and sleeping together between one second and the next. It’s fucking hard to jump into that with both feet knowing when the year’s up you’re either gonna take off with Liam or without him, and either way I’m gonna be left alone again, never knowing how much of this thing with you was real and how much is just because you didn’t have another choice.” 

He drops his head in his hands, his eyes closing in defeat as he realizes everything he just blurted out. Fuck. He didn’t mean to say all of that, sure as hell not all in one breath, and not when there’s nothing he can do to take it away now that it’s out there. 

“Dean, I am so sorry.” He shakes his head, not even wanting to hear whatever version of, it' s not you, it’s me he’s going to get this time. Not from Cas. “I thought when I told you I liked you before that you understood that meant I’m not pretending anymore.”

“Yeah?” Dean questions tiredly, not even bothering to lift his head. “Then sitting out here before with me and Liam, that wasn’t us pretending to be one big happy family?”

“Maybe you were pretending to be happy, but I wasn’t. Everything that’s happened between us since Donna left this morning has been real for me,” Cas says steadily. He can hear Cas scooching over towards him, and when he speaks again, he’s definitely closer. “And I know this was thrown at us with very little choice in the matter, but the reality of the situation is, at least for the time being, we are a family.”

He keeps his head in his hands but flicks his eyes up to Cas. “And how’m I supposed to be okay with that knowing in a year I could lose it all?”

Cas tilts his head. “Do you plan on kicking me out a year from today?”

“What? No,” Dean answers, confused enough by the sudden question that he sits up straighter.

“So you think I have a calendar somewhere where I’m counting down the days until I can finally escape?” Cas pauses just to look at him with his eyebrows arched and his eyes wide, like he’s waiting for Dean to hear how stupid that sounds. “Well, that makes sense, because it’s been so hard to wake up next to your incredibly handsome face every day, and it’s absolute torture spending time surrounded by your kindness, your laugh, your lips, and your sense of humor,” Cas says sarcastically. Then Cas stops suddenly, tilts his head and looks at him with a piercing gaze that makes him feel like Cas can see right through him. “Did it really not occur to you that I might like being here because I like you?”

“It’ll wear off, believe me,” Dean says, knowing this for a fact. “People get used to my face after a while and realize I’m nothing special.” When Cas tries to argue that, he talks over him. “Or I’ll do something stupid or you’ll figure out how far outta my league you are and that you’ve been slumming it the whole time. There’s a million different reasons why you wouldn’t wanna stay once you don’t have to.”

“There’s a million different reasons why any two people just getting to know each other might end up not clicking, that isn’t specific to you and me,” Cas points out. 

“How is that helpful?”

“Because,” Cas says. Then he reaches over and places his big hand on top of his, and his voice is almost unbearably gentle when he talks again. “Because I think we might have something not everybody else does. Or at least it feels that way to me.”

His heart’s officially racing a mile a minute. Cas is looking at him so softly now that he has a pretty good idea what he means, but he needs to be really, really sure before he says anything else. 

“What do we have?” he asks quietly, his voice so low it’s almost a whisper.

“I don’t want to come on too strong,” Cas hedges, and Dean takes a chance by turning his hand over so their fingers can slide together, hoping Cas takes it as the supportive gesture it is. “But if whatever this is between you and me hasn’t felt... fucking huge and weirdly significant for you since the first night we met, then you should probably tell me now so I can work on adjusting my expectations.”

Because it does feel like that for him, because it’s always felt like that for him even when he didn’t want it to, he forgets everything else and jumps at the chance to get confirmation. “It feels like that for you too?”

“How are you not getting this?” Cas asks, quietly exasperated. “I don’t know how else to say it. I wanted to spend time with you after Liam went to bed because I’m interested in getting to know who you are when you’re not in parent-mode. I think you’re unbelievably hot, and funny, and smart, and kind, and even as stubborn and self-deprecating as you may be, I like you, Dean.”

God, that feels good to hear. Unbelievably good, and a part of him wants to just bask in the warm, fuzzy feeling that’s taking up residence in his chest... but the pessimistic part of him won’t let that happen. “See,” he says weakly. “If you were a dick, it’d be so much easier not to get my hopes up.”

“Dean.” Cas scooches over even closer and gives his hand a gentle squeeze. “No matter how this ends up between us, I’m not going to hurt you.”

His breath catches quietly, because he didn’t realize how afraid he was of that exact thing until Cas said it. It makes sense to be scared since Cas is the first person he’s really cared about since Lisa. As much as he hated being alone for so long, he remembers all too well now that Cas brought it up how terrifying it is in the beginning trying not to get too excited, trying not to fall too hard, trying not to even think about how maybe this could be it this time.

Facing all of this again after seven years without it makes his voice come out quiet and scared. “You can’t know that.” 

“I can, because I could never do that to you.” Cas’s blue eyes are so earnest, his gaze so sure, like he doesn’t have a shadow of a doubt even though they both know it’s impossible to be certain about this.

“I really wanna believe you,” Dean admits.

“It’s okay that you don’t yet,” Cas tells him, as understanding as ever. Cas lets go of his hand only to wrap his arm around him, pulling him against his side and tucking him in nice and close. “Can you do me one favor, though?” Dean nods, though he’ll wait to hear what it is before he commits for real. “Get the idea out of your head that 'you and me' has a one-year time limit on it, okay? They say the past is a good indication of the future, right? So since I couldn’t stop thinking about you for five years after we spent one night together, you should have a good thirty years ahead of you now that I’ve known you for almost a whole week.”

It’s obvious how hard Cas is trying to reassure him or cheer him up, and because he can’t remember the last time somebody cared enough to try with him at all, he gives in with a small smile. “I’ll try to get rid of the picture of you crossing days off the calendar in my head.”

“Good, because that was never going to happen anyway.” He doesn’t know what to say, and before he can think of anything, Cas asks, “Is all of this why you didn’t want to spend time together tonight, or are you really getting sick of me already?”

“Not gettin’ sick of you,” he says quickly. The other part is harder still. “It was just ‘cause of what I said before.”

“Which part?” Cas wonders.

Dean sighs. “Listen, this is the most I’ve talked about feelings in a damn decade. Can we just—not talk for a bit?”

Cas hums, the sound low and rumbling against his ear. “What could we do to fill the time that doesn’t include talking?” Cas asks suggestively.

Dean pops his head up for that, trying not to get his hopes up. “I spent the last hour being a dick and you’re gonna let me get lucky anyway?” he asks with a sideways grin.

“I think it’s safe to say I haven’t gotten used to your pretty face just yet,” Cas replies, the teasing words softened by the honesty in his eyes. “And you were only a dick because you were scared, which I happen to find incredibly endearing.”

Though a blush blooms on his face from hearing Cas just out him like that, he’s more than willing to play along if it means some good old fashioned stress relief for him. “I was feeling pretty vulnerable.”

“Oh, you poor thing,” Cas coos at him, leaning in to give him a quick kiss, obviously placating him. “That must’ve been so hard for you.” He kisses him again, and Dean chases his lips, catching them for a longer, firmer kiss that already has his blood starting to heat up. “You need Doctor Cas to take care of you again, don’t you, sweetheart?”

“Mmmhmm,” Dean says eagerly against his mouth, swiping his tongue along Cas’s plump lower lip and then gasping when Cas’s tongue darts out to meet it. Cas takes control of the kiss in a heartbeat, one hand on his face and one between his shoulders, pulling him in until he’s straddling one of Cas’s thick thighs. His knees are already protesting from being on them while he was bathing Liam earlier, but he rolls his hips and drags his quickly swelling cock against Cas to let him know how into this he is anyway. 

The hand between his shoulders drops to palm at Dean’s hip, then over to the small of his back, encouraging him to keep rubbing against Cas while he tries not to get lost in the sensation of Cas’s fingertips inching down, down, down towards his ass. His stomach swoops, ready and eager to feel Cas open him up fast or slow—however he wants to do it—right here on the couch. He’s already embarrassingly keen for something more to happen, breathing faster, kissing Cas harder, grinding desperately against Cas’s thigh.

“Bedroom,” Cas says, breaking their kiss only long enough to dive back in and seal his mouth to Dean’s jaw. 

His breath comes out broken and rough, and Cas makes an answering sound of pleasure, his hand dipping down the back of Dean’s pants to get a handful of his bare ass cheek. Desire rips through him like lightening as their lips come back together in a heated kiss, all lips and teeth, and he groans pitifully when Cas uses his free hand to rub over his cock where it’s currently trapped in his pajamas.

Cas pulls back and tries to say something else, but he doesn’t let him. He gets one hand on the back of Cas’s neck and guides Cas's face back towards his, sliding their mouths together and feeling strong, wanted, powerful when Cas gives into his insistence. He pushes his cock into Cas’s hand, riding the dry rub of Cas’s long fingers as they fit against the shape of him over the soft cotton, but in his haste, his knee slips just a bit on the leather and he winces as pain lances through him. 

That breaks the spell and Cas makes another attempt to separate their mouths by applying firm pressure to his chest. “Bedroom,” he insists. 

Dean's response comes out sounding awfully close to a whine. “Why?”

“Because we could be interrupted at any moment without a door closed,” Cas says, reminding him that oh yeah, they have a kid in the house now. “And because you’re hurting your knees like this.”

Dean rolls his eyes but gets to his feet, his face burning when he sees the way his cock is tenting his pajamas like he has the goddamn Eiffel Tower shoved down his pants. 

Cas though? Cas scooches to the edge of the couch and grabs him by his hips, nuzzling his cock and leaving hot kisses up and down his length, breathing in deep with his eyes closed as if he has been thinking about getting his mouth on Dean’s cock all damn day, and it’s so fucking hot that his hands are pushing roughly through Cas’s hair and his voice is quiet and scratchy already when he says, “Yeah. Fuck, Cas.” 

Then he watches when those blue eyes open, looking up at him all wide and worshiping, and his cock twitches as Cas’s long fingers curl into his waistband and tug. His jaw drops when he feels the wet heat of Cas’s tongue swirl around the crown, oh-so-slow but so fucking good he feels like his knees are going to give out right here and now.

“Jesus,” he adds on a shaky exhale, attempting a surprised laugh but not quite pulling it off. Cas grins, cocky and knowing, and then the fucker kisses the head of his cock with his mouth open and wet, stealing his breath, his decency, and his self control until he pushes forward, trying to force his throbbing cock through the hot tunnel of Cas’s plush lips.

Cas holds him back by his hips, fucking laughing all husky and enticing as Dean’s face floods with color. “Bedroom.”

“Get your mouth off my dick, then,” Dean says. It comes out harsher than he meant it to because he’s horribly embarrassed that he wants this so bad already when Cas seems so cool and collected.

“But it was so happy to see me,” Cas replies, still looking exceedingly pleased with himself as he tucks Dean back into his pants and gives his dick a little pat. Cas stands, turns Dean to push him towards the bedroom, and then drapes himself over his back and mouths along his neck as he tries to walk. “I was going to keep going once we got in there, but since you don’t want me to...”

He knows Cas is only saying that to make him admit otherwise, but Cas has a wicked tongue and he’s not above giving in to get it back on his dick. “Didn’t say that.”

“No?” Cas asks, his lips sucking Dean’s earlobe into his mouth. 

Thank christ the bedroom is only right around the corner because he’d never make it if it was any further, especially not when Cas wraps his arm around him and skirts his hand up his shirt and over his soft stomach until his fingers find his nipple and start tweaking it. 

“N-no,” Dean insists, the one word stuttering out embarrassingly.

Cas’s other hand slides down his pants and wraps around him with a loose grip, and thank fuck for the door frame because he grips it like a lifeline and lets out a moan as arousal surges through him from head to foot.

“Shhh,” Cas warns him. “Liam’s door is still open and it’s right—” His palm encircles his cockhead and slides up and over it at the same time he rolls Dean’s nipple between his fingers. “—there.”

“You asshole,” Dean breathes faintly.

“Funny,” Cas comments. “We’re on the same page again.” Before he can ask what the hell that means, Cas pushes him the rest of the way into the room and whips Dean’s pants down. “Bend over the bed for me, gorgeous.” 

Cas doesn’t raise his voice or speak harshly at all, and yet the way he speaks somehow leaves no room for argument, and before Dean’s even decided he’s going to listen, he finds himself face down on his bed with his bare ass hanging over the edge. Because his comforter is familiar beneath him when he’s hard and aching, he rolls his hips, sliding his cock damp with precum across the soft fabric.

He’s already so lost in pleasure and strung tight with anticipation that he barely registers the sound of the door clicking closed, the lock popping into place, or the soft pad of Cas’s feet on his bedroom floor. He most definitely takes notice of the sensation of Cas’s gratifyingly hard cock settling between his ass cheeks thrusting against him though, pushing him more firmly against the bed and drawing a needy groan from his throat. He’s shamefully hard, and maybe that’s why he can’t find it in him to protest weakly (disingenuously) the way he usually would when he feels Cas fall to his knees behind him. 

Cas’s hands travel hot and fast along his sides and down to his hips before his big palms grip his ass to caress his flesh. Just that has a needy sound escaping him, and he wouldn’t be surprised at all if his face caught on fire from how hot it’s burning with a combination of nerves and excitement, and that’s before Cas drops one soft kiss to each cheek. A part of him wants to die on the spot from the sheer intimacy of the gesture, but he conveniently forgets how to form thoughts as Cas gets a firm grip on his ass and spreads him open.

He usually lies and says he doesn’t enjoy rimming as much as he does, not wanting the person he’s with to feel obligated to put their mouth on his ass if they don’t want to, but the appreciative hum Cas makes behind him as he looks at his hole put so shamelessly on display coupled with the request for him to get on the bed like this leaves very little doubt about Cas’s willingness to do this for him.

Then everything but pure euphoria disappears from the very first touch of Cas’s tongue. Just that is hot enough to have a rasping groan coming out of him, and considering that’s the only sound in the whole room, it seems overly loud to his ears and has him shoving his flushed face further into the mattress to quiet himself down even as he spreads his legs in invitation to give Cas better access.

He’s rewarded when Cas dives right in without hesitation. He doesn’t tease at his thighs or around his intended target the way he would have expected him to, instead, Cas laves at his furled entrance until he’s writhing over the scrape of Cas’s five o’clock shadow against his skin and the damp warmth of Cas’s wicked tongue circling his rim. He can feel Cas’s tongue fluttering and rolling as he opens him up, coaxing the muscle looser, softer, more pliant. Cas is tracing around him, occasionally catching the pointed tip of his tongue on his rim and applying a firm bit of pressure that has him leaning into it, gracelessly rolling his hips and searching for more. He tries to stifle the sounds of pleasure that he can’t choke back—the whimpers and whines and quiet, breathless affirmations of yeah, fuck, Cas —by muffling them on the bed beneath him, but then Cas applies more pressure. Cas’s thumbs dig into his flesh, pulling Dean open wider, giving himself more space to point his tongue and really spear it inside of him, and that’s it.

He loses any and all sense of composure and damn near chokes on his tongue as he tries to remember how to make words to beg for more. He ends up moaning a broken version of Cas’s name that sounds pathetic even to his own ears when Cas curls that filthy tongue inside of him, but it’s almost impossible to feel bad about it when it feels this good. Cas is forcing his tongue in and out of him, thrusting in earnest, reaching what feels unrealistically deep and driving him absolutely wild. 

The pad of a single finger joins in to begin circling his rim and he feels a surge of lust at the way Cas’s facial hair is scraping his skin at the same time. His finger is slick with the saliva Cas’s lips and tongue have left behind, and there’s something searingly hot, intimate, personal, almost primal about knowing where it came from that has his stomach clenching with the magnitude of his arousal. The tip of Cas’s finger dips inside alongside his tongue, and he loses focus on everything except the slight stretch that’s so maddeningly good but nowhere close to what he’s really craving right now. 

It’s a little dry, and he’s grateful when Cas withdraws it to spit and slip it back in, groaning his appreciation as Cas’s finger crooks and searches purposefully. Cas’s tongue is still warm and insistent on his flesh when Cas’s finger locates his prostate—the sharp gasp and the bow of Dean’s back letting him know he’s found his intended target—and Cas just ghosts over the sweet spot as his tongue continues to lick at him with gentle but relentless pressure that has Dean’s eyes rolling into the back of his head.

He’s panting and red-faced with the abundance of pleasure, Cas humming and moaning behind him like he’s enjoying every second as he reduces Dean to an incoherent, non-verbal mess of soundless words and exaltations. He doesn’t remember pushing up to the tip of his toes but his burning calves tell him that’s how he’s standing now, and somewhere along the way, Cas’s hands must have started rocking his ass back against his face because Cas’s stubble is burning and scraping pleasingly with each back and forth motion, pushing him closer and closer to the peak of his release with shorter flicks of his talented tongue.

His fingers are white where they’re gripping his blankets, his shirt stuck to his body with sweat, his core tightening, his cock getting just enough friction beneath him to drive him up and up to the edge. He’s braced for it, is anticipating it with his heart racing, the sounds he’s making dissolved into something animalistic, and his eyes squeeze closed as it climbs and climbs and— 

And then Cas stops.

All he can hear is  his own breathing harsh and ragged, his heart beating in his ears, and the click of a bottle behind him that has his skin crawling with anticipation. Cas drapes himself over his back and Dean presses back into him with only his sweaty t-shirt between them, searching for the familiar warmth of Cas’s body that has started to feel like safety and affection. He’s reveling in being close to Cas again, in the weight of Cas on top of him and the pride rushing through his insides when Cas breathes harshly into his ear.

“You’re so good for me, Dean. So, so good. You think I could get tired of you? Tired of this? How could I?”

Cas’s big hand pets down his flank and Dean’s surprised to find himself nodding, believing it for the time being, believing Cas, eager for his embrace and anything else Cas wants to give him. He hears the tear of a condom wrapper, wonders briefly how Cas is doing it with one hand still on his hip but forgets to care when Cas speaks again because it sounds like he’s begging now . There’s no other word to describe the pleading, desperate edge to Cas’s rough voice when he asks, "Can I? Can I please—inside, Dean?"

“Yeah,” Dean sighs. Hell, there isn’t anything he’d say no to right now, not when Cas is sounding so wrecked, holding him down and making him shake with how bad he wants him. 

“Turn over for me, sweetheart.” And there he is again, responding to the soft, commanding tone of voice and obeying Cas’s every word without even a thought. Cas’s eyes are looking down at him as his deft fingers roll on a condom, taking him in with a hungry gaze softened only by the worshipful tone of his voice. “Fuck, you’re perfect. Absolutely perfect.”

Dean turns his head, blooming with pride but squirming with fear and other emotions he’s not ready to put a name to with Cas looking at him, because he knows Cas, and he knows he wouldn’t say something he doesn’t mean and that makes it too much. He’s nothing special, he’s not worth the way Cas is looking at him—

“Son of a bitch.”  

He loses himself to the spike of pure lust as two thick lubed up fingers press inside of him. Cas curls the tips just right and his lower back comes up off the bed, forcing his aching cock to slap against his stomach and dribble fluid onto his skin. Cas uses his free hand to shove his shirt up until Dean gets rid of it entirely, then he pulls Dean’s foot up to rest on his shoulder and uses the advantage of more room to start fingering him open. Cas presses inside again and again, twisting his wrist and honing in on his prostate with such precision he writhes with over-sensitivity. 

“Look how beautiful you are, flushed all the way down to your chest,” Cas comments quietly, crooking his finger tips hard enough to pull a sob out of him. “You are my every fantasy come to life, Dean.”

Cas withdraws his fingers and Dean legitimately whines at the loss before he remembers he has more to look forward to. That has his gaze dropping between them to where Cas is fully erect, sheathed in a condom and ready for him. Cas doesn’t make a move though, doesn’t say anything, doesn’t give any indication at all that he’s wanting to move things along—he’s just staring at him with those blue eyes trained unerringly on his. 

“Fuck me,” Dean tries. But Cas continues looking down at him so seriously, his gaze so heavy with attraction and awe that it makes his heart pound against his ribcage. “Cas,” he says weakly, his mind so busy trying to drink in how Cas’s eyes are broadcasting exactly how much he wants him that saying Cas is the only thing he can come up with to try to goad him into action. 

It’s enough to get Cas moving slowly, at least. Cas slides his hands up the inside of Dean’s thighs, urging him to wrap them both around his waist, and he watches raptly while Cas slicks up his cock as he gets into a comfortable position. It’s perfunctory but still hot as fuck to watch those big fingers of Cas’s wrap around the cock he’s dying to have buried inside of him. Then everything comes to a screeching stop because Cas’s slick fingers grip onto his hip, he lines himself up, forces eye contact, and starts to push inside. 

One or both of them shudder at the first hint of pressure, and Dean has a sneaking suspicion it was him. He knows he’s irrationally keyed up because he can see his thighs actually trembling where they’re wrapped around Cas, but as Cas sinks inside of him a little bit at a time, Dean feels his body start to relax. This. This is what he wanted since the first time Cas’s tongue touched his ass, exactly what Cas knew he needed, and as he gets it inch by inch, he melts back into the mattress and feels a sense of calm settling inside of him easing his arousal.

“Dean,” Cas breathes softly, sounding relieved himself as he bottoms out and leans down to kiss his jaw. Dean hooks his knees behind Cas’s back for comfort and tilts his head back in offering, going even more lax as Cas bends to kiss his neck and his warm hand caresses his hip. “God, Dean. You’re the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.”

Dean takes a few shallow breaths as the praise washes over him and lights him up, tries to calm down enough to tell himself pillow talk is just what Cas does when they have sex. “You don’t gotta say shit like that every time.”

He can feel the curve of Cas’s lips on his skin as he smiles. “I only say it a fraction of the time I think it, believe me.” And Dean does, goddammit , he does. “Besides,” Cas adds, pressing a dry kiss to his collarbone. “It’s true.”

He doesn’t have a retort for that, so instead, he clenches down around Cas and answers with a slow roll of his hips. He hears Cas gasp and feels the way he pushes into him instinctively, so he untangles his hands from the blankets beneath him to grab at Cas’s back, rolling his hips again and pulling him in harder, and that seems to be all Cas can take because he finally gets a proper thrust.

“Yeah,” Dean whispers, coaxing him as if Cas doesn’t already know how badly he wants it. Cas gives it to him in his own way though, his thrusts deep and long, grinding into him slowly but meticulously before he pulls out and starts all over again, patiently, deliberately fucking him so gently his heart aches with it. 

His body follows Cas’s every move, meeting him halfway for each painstakingly lazy thrust, pushing his chest up and into Cas’s traveling lips, wheezing when Cas takes his nipple into his mouth and swirls his tongue around it. Dean’s fingers curl into Cas’s hair, the silky smooth strands damp with sweat as Cas shifts and adjusts the angle of his hips again and again until he finds what he was searching for. 

Dean howls as his back arches off of the bed, allowing Cas to sink inside a little deeper, a little harder, and now that Cas knows he’s found the best angle for both of them (considering Dean’s lost control over the sounds spilling from his lips), he’s relentless with it. Cas doesn’t let Dean’s obvious pleasure speed him up, though. He maintains his careful pace of in and out and still manages to have Dean’s quiet coaxing dissolving into pleas in record time from the drag of his fat cockhead against his prostate.

Cas suddenly straightens up enough that he can see the tenderness in his eyes, and even though his heart thuds in his chest and his eyelids flutter shut as much to hide from the expression as to absorb the next perfectly aimed assault on his prostate, he’d swear on the Impala that he can feel all of Cas’s attention focused directly on his face. The thought has his cheeks flooding with color, and the quiet, amused-sounding laugh from Cas that accompanies his humiliating response has something unraveling inside of him from how intimate and familiar and easy this is.

“Cas—c’mon,” he whimpers, needing a distraction from how fucking soft this ended up being, trying valiantly to ignore how his cock is leaking so steadily it’s pooling in his navel. “More. Harder, somethin’, please.”

Instead of increasing his pace, Cas comments, “But you’re loving this.” There’s no question in his voice, just an observation that’s way too on-the-money for him to deny. “I am, too. You feel so good, Dean. Look so good. I love getting to see you like this.”

Because he doesn’t want Cas to keep looking at him when he’s damn near bursting with pride over something as ridiculous as Cas finding pleasure in the way he looks strung out and begging for him, he pulls Cas down and crushes their mouths together for a kiss. Cas hums into it, the vibrations on his lips enough to have him parting them for Cas, luring him in with a teasing swipe of his tongue that Cas chases and then takes control over. Soon enough their lips and tongues are moving in time with Cas’s insistent but still methodical thrusts, and fuck yes, it so much better this way. 

This is easy. It’s always so goddamn easy to kiss Cas, to lose himself in him, to give himself over completely because Cas kisses every single thought out of his head and it’s impossible not to when he isn’t overthinking it. 

Cas breaks their kiss on a shaky exhale of, “God, Dean. What you do to me.”

Sensing a weakness has him gasping, “Harder.” Cas obliges, putting more power behind the next snap of his hips and punching the breath out of him. It’s harder, yeah, but it’s not faster, it’s not rougher the way Dean needs it to be in order to overpower the ache in his chest. “C’mon,” he complains breathlessly. “Fuck me.”

“I am fucking you, and you feel unbelievable,” Cas responds, sounding smug. “Jesus, Dean, look at how hard you are.”

Embarrassed, he huffs, “Cas—”

“You wanted me to take care of you,” Cas says, talking over him. “To show you that it’s going to take much longer than a year to get you out of my system.” He opens his mouth to argue that he never asked for that but Cas raises a challenging eyebrow and he closes it again. “Now lie back and let me make you feel good.”

“But—”

“Fine.” Cas cuts him off again and grabs his arms, pinning them over his head and covering his body with his weight, sending sparks up his spine as his cock grinds deep inside. Dean’s breath hitches as his wrists are restrained, and then Cas smiles knowingly and slides their hands palm-to-palm, folding their fingers together, still holding him down but forcing the extra layer of intimacy, too. And mother fucker, he loves it. He loves it so much he can hardly stand it. Cas keeps rocking into him steady and sure, his voice somehow comforting and confident when he asks, “Now you have no choice. That’s better, isn’t it?”

It is, and he knows that Cas knows it’s purely because he can’t protest now. Cas is in complete control and absolutely nothing is more freeing than putting himself in somebody else’s hands without reservation. It goes without saying that Cas would stop in an instant if he really wanted him to, but the fucked up truth of the matter is he doesn’t. Cas is onto him, has him pegged so well already that he knows Dean both craves and fears intimacy almost in equal parts, and Cas is giving it to him how it’s easiest for him to accept—by eliminating the illusion of choice. 

“That’s right,” Cas purrs, his voice soothing his insecurities like a balm. “I want to give you what you want. I want to give you everything, Dean.”

His voice is so sincere and so persuasive that Dean’s nodding and breathing out an automatic, albeit shaky, “‘Kay,” in response, his face flaming with how much he just realized he wants. He wants Cas to give him everything, wants Cas to give him what he wants, but he wants Cas to take control because he can’t help it, not because he knows Dean wants him to. 

He wants Cas. 

He flexes his hands in a silent, purposeful provocation, feeling Cas’s fingers tighten like coils around his wrists, and he’s moaning nonsense when Cas pushes forward and into him again, harder this time. As much as a part of him wishes Cas would look away, his eyes stay stubbornly trained on his face, watching for every little twitch and sound Dean makes, doing everything he can to learn exactly how to turn his world upside down, having no idea he’s already doing it with the intensity of his gaze and the quiet but hugely important understanding he’s come to while Cas is fucking the fight out of him. 

Cas’s face is only inches from him, and as he refocuses his attention on how fucking gorgeous he is, he notices that Cas looks torn somewhere between rapture and torture and realizes with a surge of arousal that Cas must be close—that he’s getting off on watching him, looking at him, studying his every move. 

“How do I look, Cas?” Dean asks, his voice rasping barely louder than a whisper. 

“You look unbelievable,” Cas pants. “Feel—s-so good.”

They’re so connected, their bodies pressed together everywhere possible, that as he feels Cas getting closer and closer, he hears himself egging him on with soft encouragements. “Yeah, come on. Do it, doc. Show me,” and Cas is shaking his head and biting down on his lips, turning them cherry red and making Dean’s cock twitch where it’s trapped between them. Cas works his big hands until Dean’s wrists are cuffed by the long, unrelenting fingers on just one of Cas’s hands, and then Cas’s free hand is tugging his hair sharp and stinging.  

“Ah!” Lust shoots through him like lava when Cas forces him to expose his neck a split second before he latches on and sucks, pulling a debauched sound from him that’s still echoing in the room when Cas’s hand drifts down to caress his cheek. The moment of tenderness right after he was manhandled has his cock spitting out precum like a faucet. Cas’s hand dips lower and lower, stops just long enough to tease a thumb over his nipple, flicking and rolling it between his fingers before he continues over his belly and down, and then those talented fingers are curling around his cock. 

Cas strokes him with a ruthless efficiency that has him squirming beneath him, straining, and so embarrassingly close within seconds he can hardly draw air into his burning lungs. He’s pulled taut and breathless, and Cas’s low voice is brimming with pride when he says, “The way you fall apart for me. Gorgeous, Dean.”

The hoarseness to Cas’s tone is like nails down his back, and as Cas’s grip tightens around his dick like only Cas touches him and Cas’s cockhead slides against his swollen prostate, he feels himself barreling head-first into his orgasm. Cas is losing his rhythm, too, finally, fucking finally going just a little bit harder, and a surprisingly low growl is rumbling deep in Cas’s chest—so fucking hot he can hardly stand to hear it—right before he feels Cas’s cock pulse inside of him.

“Oh f-fuck, fuck,” Cas stutters, his mouth falling open as he thrusts his way through what looks like one hell of an orgasm. 

Jesus christ, Cas has gotta be sex personified more than any fucking thing he’s ever seen. His blue eyes are glassy but still focused on him, his breath is coming out in short spurts from between his bitten-red lips, and as he thrusts once more deeply and forcefully enough that Dean’s body rocks back at the impact, Cas says his name so low and gritty he feels it all the way down to his bones.

Then Cas is falling forward, humming into his mouth as he slides their mouths together lazily, and even though he releases Dean’s achingly hard cock and his hands where they were still pinned to the bed in order to brace himself on his forearms, he can’t complain because goddamn the way Cas kisses him.  

But Cas doesn’t indulge in this kiss for as long as he would have expected. He pulls out as he moves his mouth down Dean’s body, leaving him open and empty. He whines his unhappiness but leans into the sensation of Cas’s lips pressing kisses to both of his nipples before he moves lower, over his stomach to suck on his hipbones.

He keens, breath rasping when a fingertip traces his raw flesh before pushing inside at the exact same moment Cas takes him into his mouth in one smooth motion. He literally can’t think, can’t decide whether to push down onto the one finger that’s nowhere close to enough after the thickness of Cas’s cock stuffed inside of him, or to thrust up and into the wet heat engulfing him. His hands clutch at the sheets as his ass clenches, and he manages to drag in a breath, exhaling on a whimper that sounds a lot like, “More.” He has no fucking clue what he’s even asking for—more fingers, Cas’s mouth to take in more of his cock, more friction—all of it? He needs it though, is burning with how desperate he is to come from something, anything , and when Cas shoves a second finger inside and crooks them just right, he’s so close he can fucking taste it.

Cas swallows him down and adds a third finger, causing his skin to burn just a little bit with the enticing stretch—f uck his fingers are big—and starts an unrushed but steady rhythm of swirling his wicked tongue against his swollen cock. Cas sucks hard once he reaches the over-sensitive head, and all it takes is one solid flick of his tongue right against his frenulum to cause the arousal coiled tight and low in his stomach to snap, and Dean cries out as he comes hard.

He’s been close so many times now that he’s shocked with how intense the relief is, his frazzled brain so preoccupied with his trembling limbs and burning skin he finds himself both pushing into and trying to pull away from the heat and suction of Cas’s mouth intermittently, groaning and whining as he pulses again and again. His vision whites out and it feels like his orgasm goes on forever, but Cas is there to work him through it expertly, sucking him completely dry and suckling still until he’s over-sensitive and panting. Cas’s throat muscles work to swallow his release before his dick falls from between his lips and Cas moves back up his body, removing his fingers and settling on top of him. 

“Beautiful,” Cas sighs, the sincerity in his voice causing Dean’s cheeks to flood with color. He turns away to try to hide it, but Cas’s big hand comes down on top of his head and his heart thuds in his chest when Cas forces him to turn back. “Let me see you,” Cas implores him, threading his fingers through his hair but keeping his head held securely in his hand as he dips down to seal their lips together. Cas kisses him tenderly, passionately, and as the fight goes out of him once again, he feels more than hears it when Cas moans into his mouth.

He clutches at Cas’s arms, curls his fingers around his biceps and takes, takes the dominating roll of Cas’s tongue and the fingers pressing firmly into his jaw, the slow rocking of his body on top of him, working them both through the lingering aftershocks of their orgasms as they make out hot and heavy. Cas breaks the kiss first, making him squirm when he drops a surprisingly sweet kiss to his forehead that feels like a promise. 

Then Cas is cupping his cheek, his eyes gazing down lovingly at him as one hand runs up his thigh where his legs are still wrapped around Cas’s waist. “Your knees okay?”

“Yeah,” Dean answers, his voice soft and breathy. Honestly, he can’t even feel his legs, can’t feel anything except almost unbearable warmth on top of him, surrounding him, growing inside of his chest more and more with every second Cas keeps looking at him like this. 

Cas presses their lips together once more. ”Good.” He straightens up, guides Dean’s legs away from his hips and removes the condom. Dean rolls over mindlessly and scooches back onto his side of the bed, his sweat starting to cool and making him hyper aware of how wrong it seems not to have Cas’s body pressed against his. Thankfully, Cas only needs a few seconds to get rid of the condom and join him, and he moves almost comically fast when Cas says, “Come here,” and motions for him to lie on his chest as usual.

Cas’s arms come around him, and though his face is burning from how eager he is for this even after they fucked like that, he hums happily and sags against him when Cas starts stroking his back. It’s just so nice and warm, and so freaking addictive. It might’ve only been five nights since they started sharing a bed together, but it’s pointless to even try to tell himself he’s not already used to it.

“I love this,” Dean admits. “If I never slept in a bed alone again I’d be fuckin’ thrilled.”

“You’re very snuggly,” Cas replies. “It’s endearing.”

“You think everything I do is endearing,” he says, smiling to himself.

“That’s true,” Cas agrees, a lightness to his voice that makes joy explode in his chest. Cas is happy, he’s happy, Liam’s sleeping—

“We should unlock and open the door,” he realizes, sitting up and moving quickly.

“Dean,” Cas says, his tone of voice stopping him. “Maybe some pants first?” Cas grins, and he chuckles as he searches the floor for his pants. He steps into them and tosses Cas’s to him, then opens the door and walks quietly across the hall to check on Liam. He’s still in exactly the same position as he was the last time he looked, so now breathing easier, he gets back into bed and crawls over Cas to plop onto his side.

“Graceful,” Cas says sarcastically.

“Like a cat,” Dean replies.

“Do you feel better?”

“Hell of a lot more relaxed,” Dean admits. “Doctor Cas took good care of me,” he adds as a joke.

“I’m happy to hear that. I’m impatiently waiting for my review on my bedside manner.”

“Solid five stars, doc,” Dean chuckles. “This patient would let you fuck him again 10/10 times.”

“That’s exactly what I wanted to hear.” Dean likes how pleased he sounds, and without thinking about it, he presses closer to his neck, seeking his warmth and musky scent. “I wish you’d let me take care of you as easily outside of the bedroom as you do inside.”

Thankfully he’s already hiding his face. It gives him enough time to deflect with a joke. “I let you take care of me just fine on the couch a couple of nights ago.”

“You know that’s not what I meant,” Cas replies, and he can tell just by the way Cas says it that he isn't going to let it go.

“Well... it’s easier in bed ‘cause I know you’d never hurt me during sex,” he says quietly.

“I would never do anything to hurt you period. Why do you trust me with your body but not with what you’re thinking or what’s bothering you?”

There’s impatience audible in his voice now, and Dean wonders what kind of charmed life Cas has lived that makes him think anybody would just believe that after knowing a person less than a week.

He swallows thickly, trying to find the words to explain it without getting too deep. “Lotsa people’ve had my body. Not so much with all the other stuff."

Cas makes a contemplative little sound, letting him know he’s thinking about what he just said. “I know we’re still getting to know each other, and whatever this thing is between us is just getting started, but because I’m starting to think you might try to convince yourself otherwise if given half a chance, I need you to know I want more than just your body.”

“I know,” Dean admits. “Finally got that bit through my thick head.”

“I happen to like your head,” Cas replies, his fingers coming up to brush over the back of his neck before dancing over his scalp, massaging gently and causing his eyes to slip closed. “I like all of you—even when you want me to believe you have the emotional capacity of a brick.”

That has him grinning. “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.”

“I believe that,” Cas tells him. “Mind if I read for a bit before bed?”

“Nope, s’long as I don’t have to move.”

Cas’s chest rises and falls with his laugh. “We need to brush our teeth, and my book is in the living room.” Dean groans pathetically and Cas shoves him away, laughing harder now. “I’ll lock up, too.”

Dean lets his eyes check out Cas’s bare back as he walks away, and once he’s alone he takes in a big, deep breath to try to settle everything that’s all jumbled up inside of him, and then he gets up to use the bathroom before Cas comes back. 

They brush their teeth and get back into bed, and after reading next to Cas for about twenty minutes, Dean turns off his lamp and curls back up on Cas’s chest while he finishes reading his chapter. Once both lights are out and they’re fitted back together under the blankets, they say goodnight and share a chaste kiss. He thinks that’s it, and he’s counting the steady in and out of Cas’s breaths to try to lull himself to sleep when Cas whispers in the dark, so softly he’s not even sure he’s meant to hear it. 

“I’m not going anywhere.”

On the edge of sleep and too tired to worry about keeping any of his walls up, Dean believes him without another thought. 

Chapter Text

Waking up alone is weird. 

It’s disorienting when he rolls over to snuggle back into Cas to discover his side of the bed empty and the only thing in the room with him is the sunlight streaming in around the blinds. He doesn’t remember he’s alone because of Liam until he turns back the other way and grabs his phone, his jaw dropping when he sees it’s 9:46. Cas said he would wake up with Liam, but he never meant to sleep in quite this late. He doesn’t even know how long Cas has been on solo kid duty, and as much as he isn’t a morning person, it’s not fair for Cas to have to do everything alone, either.

He relieves his bladder and quickly swishes around some mouthwash, grimacing at his reflection because of the way his hair’s sticking up on top, and he attempts to pat it down as he walks down the hall and towards the sound of shrieking laughter. Not exactly what he wants to hear before coffee, but he’s curious enough that he moves closer to the wall to make sure he isn’t seen so he doesn’t interrupt. The laughter is definitely coming from the living room, so he presses up to the wall and pokes his head around the corner, and okay, he can definitely see why Liam is laughing so hard.

Cas and Liam are both standing in front of the couch with their backs to him, facing the TV. He can only guess that they’re supposed to be copying what’s happening on the screen because they both clap their hands over their heads in unison, and as their arms come back down like a jumping jack, they lift one leg out to the side. Arms go up again, clap, other leg out. They’re both doing the same thing, though maybe because Cas is a grown man in bee pajamas with the worst bed head he’s ever seen and a decent amount of stubble covering his jaw, he most definitely looks the funniest.

He can vaguely hear a song that sounds a lot like it’s singing, Hot dog, hot dog, hot diggity dog, over Liam’s laughter, and then as the music stops, he hears the unmistakable sound of Goofy’s voice and realizes they must be watching some kind of Mickey Mouse movie.

He decides to make his entrance for real then, and pokes his head out to say, “Hiya, pal!” just like the Mickey from his childhood.

Jesus, he wishes he had his phone out because the look of absolute mortification on Cas’s face as Cas turns to see him leaning against the wall with a knowing smirk on his face is absolutely priceless. 

“Guess what?” Liam bursts out with, clearly way too excited to start with a hello. “We’re watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and—and Cas can do the Goofy dance so good! Cas!” Liam says, tugging on Cas’s pant leg. “Show him! Show him!”

“I think Dean has seen more than enough,” Cas replies. 

“Who me? I didn’t see anything,” he lies, smiling wide. “Come on. Show me, Cas.”

“YEAH!” Liam exclaims. “Press the button to go back to the beginning and do it again!”

“How about I get Dean some coffee instead?” Cas says, and well, he can’t argue with that (though Liam certainly has something to say about it if the loud groan is any indication).

He ruffles Liam’s hair as he plunks back onto the couch and then makes his way to the kitchen where he meets Cas. Another big grin spreads on his face when he thinks about catching Cas dancing in his pajamas, which has Cas shaking his head.

“Stop smiling before coffee. It’s unsettling.”

“Who knew all I needed was to see you doing the Goofy dance first thing in the morning to wake me up?” 

Cas stops with the coffee pot held over the mug he’s pulled down for him, an eyebrow raised in a silent challenge. “So I shouldn’t fill this up?”

“Not if you’re gonna do the dance again,” Dean quips.

“Ha ha,” Cas says dryly, starting to pour the coffee. Dean laughs, grabs the cream from the fridge, and adds it to the coffee along with his sugar. He goes to take the mug from Cas but Cas stops him by covering the top of it with his hand. His eyes meet Cas’s, and Cas announces, “You might want to close your eyes, Liam,” right before he cups his face and leans in for a kiss.

It only lasts a few seconds, but it’s unbearably soft, causing butterflies to go crazy in his stomach as Cas’s thumb brushes his cheek. He can’t explain it even to himself, but just this one kiss has everything he was worrying about last night moving so far back in his brain that even when he tries to remember why he was so worried about getting used to this, it’s impossible to put his finger on it. Hell, he doesn’t even know if he wants to remember, because right now in this moment, he’s almost giddy with how happy he is, and it’s frigging nice for a change.

Cas slides his hand down to the back of his neck before they pull apart, and he says, “Good morning, Dean.”

Dean’s cheeks are burning from how affectionate Cas’s voice sounds and the little teasing spark in his eyes. “Morning.”

He ducks his gaze to finally get his hands on his coffee, and Cas asks, “How did you sleep?”

“Good. Really good,” he realizes now that he’s thinking about it. “What time did you and Liam wake up?

“I heard him open his door at seven,” Cas says as Dean finally gets his first sip of coffee. “I gave him a bowl of cereal and he’s just been playing with toys and watching TV on and off all morning.”

“That’s good, I guess,” Dean says, happy that Liam wasn’t a handful while he was sleeping. “I didn’t mean to sleep in so long.”

“You work hard all week. You need your sleep.”

Cas’s hand slips from his neck down to his hip, tugging him a little bit closer into his space, and he smiles softly as he makes himself comfortable tucked up against Cas’s side. “You’re spoiling me.”

Cas swoops in to press a kiss to his cheek. “You deserve it.”

Dean rolls his eyes and pushes him away with his forearm, his face absolutely flaming now. “Okay, cut it out.”

“But you’re so cute when you blush,” Cas says, clearly trying to exasperate him. 

Dean shakes his head and walks away from him, taking the coffee with him into the living room to where Liam is still glued to the television. “Hey kid, how’s it goin’?”

“Mickey Mouse Clubhouse,” Liam responds, not even looking at him. 

Dean shrugs, deciding quiet isn’t a bad thing while he has his coffee. Cas comes up behind him, placing his hands on his shoulders and giving them a little squeeze. “Do you mind if I go grab a shower?”

“Nope, go do what you gotta do,” he responds, tipping his head up to look at him. Then he says, “Maybe keep the scruff.”

“Yeah?” Cas asks, his smile quickly turning into something more cocky.

“Oh yeah,” Dean confirms, and Cas wiggles his eyebrows before he turns away.

He and Liam sit in a comfortable silence while he finishes his coffee and tries to figure out the appeal to the TV show Liam’s obviously taken with. As far as he’s concerned, the original Mickey Mouse was way better than this Toodles bullshit, but anything that keeps a kid quiet is a win as far as he’s concerned, so he doesn’t say anything. The second the credits start rolling with the same song he saw Cas dancing to, Liam turns to him and says, “Are we doin’ something today?”

“No idea. What do you wanna do?”

Liam shrugs. “I don’t know. Go back to the playground?”

“Probably not,” Dean tells him. “Let’s wait for Cas to get out of the shower and see if he’s got anything in mind.”

“I’m hungry,” Liam declares.

Trying to catch up with the quick subject change, he asks, “Have you had anything since your cereal?”

Liam shakes his head back and forth. “Nuh-uh, and I’m so hungry.”

“Alright, let’s get you a snack then. Something healthy since it’s still morning, and no juice or Cas’ll have my head.”

“Can I have a Poptart?” Liam asks, following him into the kitchen.

“Healthy,” Dean repeats. “Fruit maybe? Yogurt, apple sauce?”

“Do you got Yogurt Tubes or squeezie apple sauce?”

“Since I don’t know what either of those things are, I’m gonna go with no,” Dean says. “We can throw it back and have yogurt in a cup, though. Pretty wild, right?”

“I guess,” Liam replies, sounding less than impressed. 

Dean snorts a laugh. “Apple? Grapes? Another banana, monkey boy?”

“‘nola bar?” Liam asks.

“A what?”

“You know, a ‘nola bar?” Seeing that he’s clearly not getting it, Liam explains, “With um, chocolate chips or—or—the crumbly stuff on top? It’s a—a—a rectangle?”

Dean snaps his fingers as it comes to him. “A granola bar! Yeah, I got some apple ones, which is probably what you meant by the crumbly stuff, right?” He opens the pantry and grabs the box, holding it out so Liam can see.

“Yes!” he exclaims.

“Healthy enough,” Dean decides, handing Liam one and then taking one for himself, too. “Water?”

Liam sighs heavily as he works on opening his granola bar. “I guess.”

He finds Liam’s cup next to the sink. “Let me know if you need help opening that,” Dean tells him. He fills his cup with water and hands it to him, noticing that he did manage to get the granola bar open, though the wrapper is in several tiny pieces for his trouble. Liam grabs the cup and heads towards the living room again. “Woah, woah, woah,” Dean says, stopping him with his tone of voice. “Who do you think’s gonna pick up your garbage?”

“Oh yeah,” Liam says with a sheepish smile. Instead of putting something down, he tucks his juice cup under his arm and grabs the pieces of the wrapper, then takes a few steps before he stops. “I don’t know where the garbage can is.”

“Right under the sink,” Dean says, pointing so he can see it. Liam nods and then makes his way there, opening the cupboard and dropping the garbage in. “Thanks, buddy.”

Cas comes into the kitchen as Liam heads back to the living room. His hair is artfully tousled and still damp from his shower, and he’s in jeans and a white, short sleeve button down with a navy blue print of some sort on it he can’t make out from where he’s standing. Cas left the scruff like he asked him to, and he isn’t the least bit ashamed of how his eyes rake over just how thick Cas looks—shoulders, chest, torso, hell, even his neck is strangely muscular—and the first few undone buttons display a smattering of chest hair he wants to bury his nose in. 

There’s no way Cas doesn’t notice the way he’s checking him out, but he doesn’t comment on it or how Dean’s abandoned his snack on the counter. Instead, Cas says, “So much for being good cop.”

“That’s not being strict, that’s just making sure we don’t raise an entitled dick for a kid.”

“That’s fair,” Cas nods. “Healthy, happy, not a dick.”

“Sounds like a win to me.” Then, because he actually knows that he’s allowed to say it now that they’re not pretending anymore, he tells Cas, “You look hot, doc.”

“Why thank you,” Cas replies, smiling as he encroaches into his space.

He gets a whiff of Cas’s signature manly scent and now it’s his turn to initiate the corny shit, because before he can even consider that he shouldn’t, he’s stepping close enough to figure out where the smell’s coming from. He starts by winding his arms around Cas’s waist and pressing a kiss to Cas’s jaw, sniffing his face before he drags his nose down to his neck to continue seeking out the scent. He gets down to his chest before he comes to the conclusion it must be his deodorant, and the pattern on his shirt is actually a bunch of tiny sharks. 

He leans back, his arms still around Cas’s back, and asks, “Is it weird that I want to bathe in your pit stick?”

Cas chuckles, but confirms, “Weird as hell,” making Dean smile wide. Then Cas’s big hands slip up his chest to loop around his neck. “But if it gets you this close to me every morning, you won’t hear me complaining.”

He tells himself he has no choice but to dip his head to erase the inch of space between them after a comment like that, and presses their lips together quick and simple, smiling when Cas chases his lips and kisses him again. Neither of them deepens it, but he hums into it anyway, perfectly happy with the way their mouths slot together again and again. His hands move up to slip under the back of Cas’s shirt, seeking out the warmth of his bare skin and making those damn butterflies go crazy when he finds it, his brain absolute mush as it conjures up images of doing this every morning for the foreseeable future. 

“Hey Ca—ugh,” Liam interrupts, abandoning whatever he was going to say in favor of expressing his displeasure of seeing them kissing again. 

They break apart smiling and Dean takes a step back, though Cas’s hand catches his hand and slots their fingers together. “Whats up, Liam?” Cas asks.

“Dean sayed we gotta ask you what we’re doing today,” Liam tells him.

“That makes sense. I am the boss,” Cas replies with a friendly wink in Dean’s direction. “I think Dean would probably like to have a shower, and then maybe we can have lunch before we decide on something to do this afternoon.”

“I can make us a Sunday brunch since you did breakfast,” Dean offers. “Bacon, eggs, toast, breakfast potatoes. How does that sound?” he asks Liam.

“Yummy!”

“I was thinking of doing groceries for the week, but maybe before we go we can sit down and plan out what meals we want to make so I can make sure I have everything?” Cas suggests.

“We can all go,” Dean decides. “Liam was asking about yogurt squeezy things and I have no idea what he’s talking about, so if we take him with us maybe he can show us what Lisa used to buy him.”

“Apple sauce squeezies,” Liam corrects, giggling.

“Whatever,” Dean sneers playfully, making him laugh even harder. “You think you can show us how it’s done at the grocery store, little man?”

“Yeah, I can,” Liam confirms. “Mommy says I’m a really good helper.”

“Well now we gotta bring you, ‘cause Cas will be so busy trying to kiss me the whole time he won’t be any help.”

“Gross!” Liam exclaims, and Dean scoops him right up off of the ground and turns him upside down, getting a loud shriek of excitement. He grabs his own granola bar off of the counter and carries Liam into the living room, bouncing him and making Liam laugh so hard he can hardly breathe by the time he tosses him carefully onto the couch. He’s barely even sitting down before Liam jumps into his lap, throwing his arms around his neck in an impromptu hug that melts his whole heart.

“You’re really strong,” Liam says, his little arms still around his neck. “But still soft and snuggly.”

Jeez, this kid’s too much. 

“I’ll second that,” Cas says, plopping down next to Liam. “Dean’s an excellent snuggler.”

“Cas is stronger, though,” Dean tells Liam.

Liam leans back, looking at Cas with wide eyes. “Really?”

“Only a little bit,” Cas replies. 

“He’s pretty snuggly, too, you know,” Dean says. “Betcha he gives a pretty good hug.”

Liam’s eyes light up before he launches himself at Cas, and Dean watches with his heart in his throat when they hug for the first time. Cas has an adorably soft smile on his face and his eyes dart over to him before he mouths a silent, “Thank you.” Dean nods, knowing his smile is probably just as soft as Cas’s is, and that’s when Liam pulls back.

“What’s the verdict?” Dean asks.

Liam scrunches his face up, looking just like Cas when he asks,“Huh?”

“Is he a good hugger or what?” Dean clarifies.

“Sorta good, yeah,” Liam responds, making them both laugh with how blunt he is. That turns around real quick when he says, “I miss my mommy.”

Dean looks to Cas for help, knowing he’s not very good with this kind of stuff. “Does hugging us make you think about how you miss her?” Cas asks. Liam nods, looking down at his lap. “You know she’d be here to hug you if she could be,” Cas says gently. “She loved you so much.”

“I wanna go home,” Liam pouts. “I want my mommy.”

“I know this must be so hard for you,” Cas tells him. “If there’s anything we can do to make it easier, we will. Just let us know.”

“I want—I want Winchester,” Liam whines.

“I’ll go get him for you,” Dean offers.

“No! Don’t go!” Liam cries, surprising him with the urgency in his tone.

“Okay,” Dean says quickly, looking at Cas for a clue what to do next. Cas motions towards him, miming a hug. “You wanna come sit with me for a second?”

Liam nods and climbs into his lap again, so Dean puts one hand on his back and one on his leg, holding him nice and close while he gives his back a little rub. His heart breaks when Liam sniffles, dropping his little head onto his shoulder as naturally as anything. 

“I’ll go get Winchester for you,” Cas offers, looking as heartbroken as he feels. “I’ll be right back.” Cas hops up to go get Liam’s monkey, and it’s insane to him that Liam’s fine with Cas going when out of the two of them, he’s definitely spent more time with Cas, but Liam doesn’t make a peep. He still seems pretty sad, though, his whole body slumped and his little head heavy on his shoulder, so Dean does what he can to try to comfort him. 

“I know this sucks, buddy,” he tries. “Missing your mom is always gonna suck, but it’ll get easier.”

“When?” Liam asks quietly.

“Probably a long time,” he says honestly. “But you’re not alone, at least. I know things were messed up for a couple of days and you felt like you had no place to live, but you have a home here with me and Cas now.” He frowns to himself, wondering what the hell kind of consolation prize that is. “I mean, we have no idea what we’re doing, but we’re here. And we’re trying our best.” Liam nods, his head still resting against his chest, and he goes with his gut and presses a quick kiss to the top of his head, simultaneously knowing and hating that there’s nothing he can do or say right now that’s really going to help. “We love you, buddy,” Dean adds, surprised by how true that is already. 

He might not know the kid very well yet and he has no idea if Liam’s his son or not, but it doesn’t seem to matter. He loves him just the same, and he’ll be here for him to provide for him or hug him or force him to eat healthy shit even though it’s gross for as long as Liam needs him.

“You do?” Liam asks, looking up at him with his big, blue eyes shining with unshed tears.

“Yeah, I do,” he confirms.

“Are you my dad?”

The question hits him like a knife to the chest. He absolutely wasn’t prepared for this. He doesn’t want to lie to Liam, but how can he tell him he doesn’t know? The question hangs in the air for a lot longer than he feels comfortable with, but he has no idea what the fuck he’s supposed to say. Finally, he just answers as truthfully as he can. 

“When it comes to bein’ parents, it’s a little bit different with two boys instead of a boy and a girl. You can’t call me dad and Cas dad because then we won’t know who you’re talkin’ to, right?” Liam nods, and Dean breathes a sigh of relief that he seems to understand that much. “So for now, we’re just gonna be Dean and Cas, and when we figure it out we’ll let you know, okay? The real important part is that you know we love you and we’re here for you no matter what, and just because you’re not callin’ us dad right now doesn’t mean we’re not a family.”

Liam looks confused about that. “We are?”

Dean nods. “Yeah. Family can be anybody if you love them enough.” Cas walks in then with Winchester, and he hands him to Liam with a soft smile. Liam grabs for it and tucks the monkey up against his chest, squeezing the stuffed animal really tight. 

“Dean’s right,” Cas says, sitting right next to them. Cas slings his arm around Dean’s shoulders and pulls Liam’s feet into his lap. “We’re your family now.” His eyes flick up to Dean, and he adds, “And neither of us are going anywhere.”

It’s a pointed reminder of what they were talking about last night, and as much as he would like to comment on it, he knows now is not the time. He turns his focus back to Liam, asking, “Does that help at all?”

“Not really,” Liam responds, getting a huff of laughter out of them both.

“Not even a little bit?” Cas asks. Liam shrugs. “A really really, itty bitty, tiny little bit?” he prompts.

“I guess,” Liam relents, and Cas smiles nice and wide. 

“Finally!” Cas exclaims dramatically, getting a little smile from Liam. “Wait a second. That wasn’t a smile was it?” he asks.

“No,” Liam responds, but he’s already smiling bigger.

“No? I think I see one,” Cas teases.

“Nuh-uh,” Liam insists.

“Dean?” Cas checks.

“Looks like a smile to me,” Dean agrees.

“No!” Liam argues, louder and more excitedly now.

“Well I think I can fix that,” Cas says, and then he starts tickling the bottom of Liam’s feet, once again eliciting a high-pitched squealing laugh that makes him both smile and inwardly cringe. (It’s really high-pitched!) Cas only lets the tickling go on for a few seconds, but by then Liam is sprawled across Dean’s lap flat on his back with his head resting on the couch.

Dean pokes his exposed little belly, getting one more bark of laughter out of him, and asks, “Better, yeah?”

“Yeah,” Liam answers, a faint blush tingeing his cheeks pink.

Dean turns to Cas and hits him with a sideways smile. “Nailed it.”

Cas looks amused in turn. “Who could’ve guessed we’d make a good team?”

“Shut up,” Dean replies, getting a crinkly nose smile from Cas. Then he looks back down at Liam still lying across his lap. “There’s no way I’m more comfortable than the couch, kid.”

“I’m on the couch,” Liam says back.

“Smartie pants,” Dean teases, making Liam grin. “How ‘bout I take you to get some clothes on before I take a shower and get ready? Then you can help me make lunch if you want.”

“Really?” Weawwy? “I can cook?” Liam asks, sitting up. 

“How else are you gonna learn?”

“Yay!” Liam exclaims, very narrowly missing kicking him in the nuts while he rolls off of him and onto the floor to stand up.

“Breakfast’s a good place to start, too. Always helps to impress the morning after,” Dean says, shooting Cas a wink.

“Dean,” Cas chastises, pinning him with a sharp look that only makes him smile more broadly. 

“What morning?” Liam wonders. “‘morrow morning?”

“You’ll put it together some day,” he answers. 

“The morning after that?” Liam asks.

“Forget about it,” Dean chuckles. “C’mon.”

Don’t ask him how, but it takes twenty minutes to get Liam into a pair of underwear (they have to buy him boxers), a shirt, and socks. He brings him into his and Cas’s bedroom to use his own hair stuff to style Liam’s hair just like his, and then he chases him down the hallway to slip into the shower alone. 

Half an hour later, he’s ready for the day in one of his rattiest pairs of jeans that are so broken in they’re basically moulded to his hips and ass at this point, and a black t-shirt with the symbol for Pi on it, which was a gag gift from Sam he’s actually come to find pretty funny. He didn’t shave today or yesterday, so he’s got some scruff just like Cas does, and he makes sure to style his hair just like Liam’s so they match.

With Liam’s “help” in the kitchen and Cas being extremely distracting by being all over him and whispering flirtatious and/or dirty comments into his ear every time Liam looks away, it’s after noon by the time they sit down to eat. Both Liam and Cas devour everything he made, and though the toast is a little too buttered even for him, Liam did a great job being on toast duty. 

Dean’s looking forward to getting out of the house and taking Baby for a spin to do some groceries by the time they’re finished meal planning, and it isn’t until they get to the garage that his mood turns sour when he realizes they have to take Cas’s car.

“Son of a bitch,” Dean complains, stopping right in front of the Impala and frowning at it.

Obviously understanding the issue, Cas opens his car door for Liam to get in, then suggests, “We should really buy another seat.”

Dean shakes his head. “I don’t have one of those latch thingies in the back of my car anyway.”

“The instruction booklet said you can use a seatbelt, too. It doesn’t have to be the latch system.”

He looks over at Cas for that, who’s now close enough to have his big hand resting on his lower hip. “Really?”

Cas’s smile is soft and understanding. “You obviously love your car, Dean. We should get another seat so we can drive in it, too. I don’t mind paying more.”

Dean leans in to plant a quick kiss on his lips for a thank you, then grins as he pulls away and whispers, “I’m gonna blow you so good for that later.”

The happily surprised expression on Cas’s face has him laughing as he gets into the passenger seat. He looks over his shoulder to prompt Liam to move his chest clip up, and then they’re off. Once they arrive at the grocery store, Liam asks to go in the shopping cart for a ride, so Dean lifts him up and flies him through the air before he plops him inside and takes his place behind the wheel.

“Where to?” Dean asks Cas.

“Hmm. I don’t usually do this big of a trip all at once,” Cas responds, obviously thinking about it. “We should probably just go up and down most of the aisles to make sure we don’t miss anything and that Liam has a chance to point out the things that Lisa used to buy.”

“Lisa’s my mommy’s name,” Liam comments.

“We know,” Cas replies lightly. 

Before Liam can tell them how she died again, Dean jumps in with, “What should we buy first in the fruit and vegetable section?” and starts pushing through the aisles. 

“Cotton candy grapes!” Liam shouts.

Dean laughs a little. “That’s not even a thing.”

“Yah-huh!” Liam argues.

“Sorry to break it to you, gorgeous, but you’ve been outsmarted by a four year old,” Cas tells him as he starts choosing some apples.

Dean narrows his eyes at Liam when he giggles. “How dare you.”

Liam’s eyes are shining with laughter. “Maybe if you try them you’ll think they’re super good!”

“And then I’m gonna eat them all and leave you none for laughing at me,” Dean teases.

“Nooooo!” Liam drags out. Then he looks at Cas. “He won’t, right? ‘Cause you’re the boss and you—you can tell him no, right?”

Dean and Cas both laugh a little, but Cas says, “I’m not really the boss of Dean. We’re partners. We were just playing around before.” Liam looks crestfallen, and Cas tacks on, “But I promise he won’t eat all your grapes.”

They make their way over to the grapes, and sure enough, there are actual cotton candy grapes right next to the normal ones. Cas explains they were created by accident and when Dean says there’s no way they taste like actual cotton candy, Cas says, “Try one.”

“What? No! Ew!” Dean says, horrified by the very thought. “You have to wash them first.”

Cas rolls his eyes. “It’s not going to kill you. Just one.”

“Hard pass,” Dean says firmly. “There could be pesticide or fertilizer or—” but he stops mid-sentence when Cas tries to shove one in his mouth. He just manages to turn his head in time and winds up with the grape smushed into the side of his face, which makes Cas start laughing this low, giggle-like laugh he’s never heard come out of him before. He gets ahold of Cas’s wrist and pushes him back a step, Cas giggling his stupidly attractive head off before he rights himself and uses his other hand to push him back a step. 

Spotting more than one head turned their way since they’re essentially grappling in the produce section combined with knowing that he’s likely about to be put in his place has him more than willing to shut this down. “Are you done?”

“Maybe,” Cas returns, trying and failing to keep a straight face. 

“People are looking at us,” Dean says between his teeth, his face starting to heat up when he says it.

“People are always looking at you.”

Dean releases his wrists with a huff of disbelief, keeping an eye trained on Cas for any more shenanigans. Cas still has a little smile on his face and he is nowhere near ready to let his guard down, but he does grab the bag of grapes Cas abandoned to wrestle him and tuck them next to Liam in the cart so they don’t get squished.

“That was funny,” Liam says as Dean starts pushing again.

“Oh yeah, he’s a hoot,” Dean says sarcastically, wiping the side of his face off on his shoulder. 

“You could’ve just tried one,” Cas comments, slinging his arm around his waist.

“You could’ve just not been a six foot man child,” Dean tosses back, which only has Cas smiling proudly and something warm surging through his chest in response. Damn him and his stupid smug face. 

Determined not to get sucked into causing another scene like that, Dean’s on his best behavior as Cas adds more fruit and vegetables to their cart than he’s ever bought in his life. In an attempt to keep the peace, he bites back asking who the hell eats brussel sprouts voluntarily, and when he averts his eyes to try to keep his trap shut, he spots one of the people who was watching them earlier, still with her eyes trained on the pair of them.

That wouldn’t be a problem if it weren’t for the way her nose is turned up like she’s smelling something a lot worse than brussel sprouts. He’s been looked at like that enough times in his life to know exactly what her problem is, and it immediately has his back up. Cas says something to Liam that makes Liam laugh, and if anything, the lady’s scowl deepens further and Dean has to look away before he tells her to mind her own fucking business. This is exactly why he told Cas yesterday at the indoor playground to keep his hands to himself. People in this fucking state are homophobic as shit and it pisses him off because even though he knows he has nothing to be ashamed of, he feels judged and ridiculed and it’s never a welcome feeling.

He can’t even shake it off, because as they move throughout the grocery store, he can feel her beady little eyes constantly boring into his back, and literally every time he looks she’s staring at them. 

They’ve made it down two aisles when Cas catches his eye and gestures behind him to where the woman is. Dean nods, letting Cas know he’s aware, and from then on, the fun trip to the store that started out as something they could do as a family now feels strained and uncomfortable. 

The only one who doesn’t seem to notice anything out of the ordinary is Liam. They realize they’ve finally stumbled upon the apple sauce squeezies (actually called Fruit Rockets) when Liam lets out a squeal of delight. They bargain their way down to two boxes, which Cas points out is enough for one a day, and then comes the surprisingly hard decision of which flavors to get.

After Liam deliberates for what is actually five minutes (though it feels like much longer), the damn lady still hasn’t left the aisle they’re in and Dean is feeling extremely uncomfortable. He tries to ignore it and concentrates on Liam. “Just think of if this way. It doesn’t matter which ones you get this time because you can just get different ones next time.”

“But I don’t knowwww,” Liam whines.

“Want me to choose?” Dean offers.

“No!”

He’s running very low on patience at this point, and with that stupid lady still watching them like a hawk he feels like he’s under a magnifying glass, which only makes him feel more stressed. “Eenie meenie minie moe?” he suggests.

“Ooooh good one,” Cas says, his eyes lit up. They dive into that, and within minutes, they’ve got it down to two kinds of apple sauce and they can finally move on. 

They’re near the end of the aisle when Liam suddenly says, “Hi!”

Dean glances down at him and sees Liam bent to the side and looking around him. He turns around to see who he’s talking to but the only person in the aisle is the lady who’s been following them around. 

Feeling like an absolute idiot for thinking she was judging them for being “gay”, he immediately loosens up as understanding dawns. “Do you know her, Liam?”

“Maybe I do?” It’s posed as a question, which has Dean sharing a look of confusion with Cas. “She keeps lookin’ at me,” he shrugs. “Maybe I know her and I forgotted.”

Cas doesn’t bother keeping his voice down when he says, “I don’t think you know her, Liam. I don’t think she’s looking at you, either. I think she’s just a very rude person who has a problem with me and Dean being in a grocery store together because we’re both men.”

Liam scrunches up his face, looking over at the woman who Dean himself is way too chicken to look at now. “How come?”

“Some people think only boys and girls should be in love,” Cas explains. 

Liam shakes his head. “Nuh-uh. My mommy sayed it don’t matter.”

“She’s right,” Cas says firmly, still speaking loudly enough that the lady can absolutely hear them. “And even if not everybody agrees with that—”

“If you don’t got nothin’ nice to say, don’t say nothin’ at all,” Liam recites fiercely, looking straight at the woman in the aisle even though his cheeks are getting redder and redder by the second.

Cas turns to Dean, shooting him an amused smile. “A four year old gets it.” Dean can’t help but smile back, at least equally amused by how Liam’s completely owning this woman without even meaning to.

Liam, on the other hand, is ignoring the two of them completely and is still focused on the stranger. “You’re not s’posed to stare, either. Miss Mosley sayed it’s bad manners.”

Dean can’t possibly keep it together after that, and he tips his head back as laughter bursts out of him. He can hear Cas’s low laugh joining his, and he ruffles Liam’s hair as he begins to push the shopping cart.

“You disgust me.” He stops in his tracks when the woman speaks for the first time. “You’re sinners, you’re going to burn in hell, and your son—”

“Watch it, lady,” Dean says, his voice icy cold as he whirls on her. She can say whatever the hell she wants about them, but one word about Liam and he’ll track down the owner of the grocery store and get her ass kicked out of here if it’s the last goddamn thing he does.

Before she can respond, Cas steps right up into his space, sliding his hand around his waist again and tugging him so they’re face to face. “Mmmm. It’s so hot when you get all protective like that, babe.” Cas’s other hand slithers up his stomach and over his shoulder, and he plasters their bodies together as close as they can possibly get. “Come ‘ere.” Because he can see the smirk on Cas’s face and the laughter in his eyes, Dean knows exactly what’s about to happen. He uses the hand closest to Liam to cover his eyes for him, and then Cas’s hand is curling around his neck and he’s being pulled in right before their lips crash together. 

Even knowing that Cas is only doing this to teach the lady a lesson, heat rips through him as Cas licks his way into his mouth. This kiss is dirty and possessive with a surprising amount of teeth and tongue, and if it wasn’t for Liam’s little hands trying to pull his hand off of his face and his quiet giggling, he’s damn sure he’d be getting hard in record time.

He can hear the bitchy lady say, “Excuse me? Yes, young lady? Do you work here?”

They pull apart, and he lets his hand fall away from Liam’s face and looks down to see him laughing his head off. “What was that for?” Liam asks. Then his eyes go wide as he figures it out when he sees Cas’s hand still around the back of his neck. “Were you kissin’ again?”

His attention is pulled back to the lady when he hears the employee say, “Yes. Do you need help finding something?”

“No. I need you to kick these two out of the store for causing a scene!”

The employee might be twenty if he’s being generous. She has an eyebrow piercing and blue streaks in her hair, and as she looks over to see them still wrapped up in one another with Liam and a full cart of groceries behind them, her expression softens and he hopes that’s because she understands what’s going on. 

She looks back at the woman. “They don’t seem to be causing a scene to me,” she says with a shrug, causing the other woman’s jaw to drop with indignation. “Is there anything else I can help you with?”

“No! I’m leaving if this is the kind of people you allow to shop in your store!” the lady screams.

“Everybody is welcome here, ma’am, but I’m sorry to see you go. I hope you have a good day, though.” The lady’s eyes bulge, but with nothing else to complain about, she turns and storms off. “Come back soon!” the employee calls out, her tone of voice overly polite but also dripping with insincerity. Her eyes skirt over to them and the three of them start snickering. “Old people, man,” she says to them, shaking her head. “Sorry about that.”

“We appreciate the support,” Cas tells her.

“Looks like you had it under control pretty good, but my aunt’s gay and she would’ve kicked my ass if I didn’t say something. Let me know if you need any help,” she says, and then with a friendly smile, she walks away.

“You ready to keep goin’, kid?” Dean asks, turning back to Liam.

Liam, whose cheeks are currently bulged out like a chipmunk and smells suspiciously like cotton candy. Dean lifts his hands in surrender and motions for Cas to take the wheel, whispering an emphatic, “So yours,” as he walks away.

The rest of the day is spent installing (and cursing at) the new car seat, making and then grilling homemade burgers to go with the salad Cas insisted on for dinner, and having an epic dinosaur battle with Liam out in the backyard afterwards. They go inside to get Liam into his pjs and watch Daniel Tiger before bed, and just like last night, he goes down without a peep.

Dean unloads and reloads the dishwasher before bed while Cas starts making a sandwich.

“Told you salad isn’t food. You eat salad and then boom, an hour later, you’re starving,” Dean says smugly.

Cas shakes his head. “I’m making your lunch for tomorrow.”

“What? You don’t gotta do that, Cas. Seriously.”

“You eat take out almost every day. It’s not good for you.” Then Cas shoots him a smile. “And this way I know you’ll think of me at least once while you’re at work.”

Dean huffs a laugh. “Don’t need a sandwich for that, doc.”

His face floods with color the second the words leave his mouth, and Cas’s quiet, “Awww,” doesn’t help in the least. 

Thankfully, he already had something in mind he wanted to bring up, so he dives head-first into that to distract him. “So I was thinkin’ I could drop Liam off at daycare in the morning on the way to work and then you could pick him up after? I’m never gonna be super reliable for getting home at a certain time, though obviously I’m gonna try harder now that I got you guys waitin’ for me.” He hears how that sounds, and corrects, “Not that you’re sittin’ around waiting for me. I mean now that I have a family to come home to.” He winces. “I know we’re not really—”

“Dean?” Cas asks, his laughter audible in his voice.

“Shut—” but he doesn’t get to finish because Cas spins him and crowds up against him to catch his lips in a fiery kiss. His protest dies in his throat when Cas’s big hands slip down to his ass and squeeze, a moan taking its place as he sags against Cas’s hard body and sinks into the familiar sensation of Cas’s pillowy lips. They haven’t had a proper kiss all damn day with Liam underfoot almost every single second, and son of a bitch, can Cas kiss. Cas has his blood boiling within seconds, and as he winds his fingers into Cas’s thick hair and holds him close, Cas makes a pleased little sound against his lips that has him thrusting his tongue deeper into his mouth. Cas’s hips push forward and he’s forced back, his lower back hitting the counter at the same time he feels the bulge of Cas’s dick rub against his own. 

His mouth falls open on a gasp and Cas pulls his bottom lip between his, sucking and nibbling while he tries and fails to catch his barings. Cas frees his lip and slots their noses together, his breath coming out in warm puffs against his mouth. “Drove me fucking crazy all day in these jeans,” Cas admits, and Dean has a small smile on his face while his fingers move through Cas’s hair. “Do you know how good they make your ass look? How many times I had to curl my hands into fists to keep from touching you when you were bending over in the grocery store earlier?”

“Yeah, actually,” Dean smirks. “You kept lookin’ at me like you wanted to eat me alive.”

“With an ass like yours, can you blame me?” Cas asks, leaning in to kiss him again, firm and filled with unrestrained passion. Cas’s hands move up to cup his face and as he deepens the kiss, it turns softer, more sensual and affectionate, and now his heart is pulsing with the connection he feels between them growing stronger and brighter with every second, every minute, every hour they spend together. 

It feels like this kiss goes on for ages. They give up control and take it back seamlessly, going from soft and sweet to burning hot with an almost bruising pressure of their lips smashing together before they slow it down again and go back to a gentle tenderness that has him feeling like tiny cartoon hearts should probably be whirling around them like a tornado. His back is killing him from the counter digging into it, but he doesn’t even consider moving when Cas is kissing him so tenderly, making him feel cherished and desired and the good kind of horny that he could stew in for days before needing to take the edge off.  

When they finally pull apart, their foreheads stay resting together and he feels like an entire conversation passes between them without words. Whatever the hell this thing is between them, it’s not petering out anytime soon. It’s not tapering off, it’s not getting old, and if Cas is feeling anything like he’s feeling, it’s getting stronger and stronger with every day. It’s gone from this almost animalistic need to have Cas naked the second he lays eyes on him to wanting to snuggle on the couch for an hour, get him naked, and then spend another hour talking and getting to know him better.

It’s real in bed or out of it, when they’re with Liam or without him, and nobody’s more surprised than him that he’s just as into it whether they’re doing groceries and Cas is making him choke down salad because he’s looking at him with those big blue eyes or they’re making out like teenagers in the kitchen. 

They’re either really, really in sync or Cas is scary good at reading his body language, because he breaks the silence by narrating Dean’s thoughts. “You feel this too, right?” Dean can only nod, so far past words in this moment he couldn’t put them together with super glue. “God, Dean. You drive me crazy. I can’t get enough of you.”

Is it possible to explode with happiness? Because he feels like he’s dangerously close. “Same, Cas.”

“I’ve never—I’ve never felt like this before. It’s exhilarating and terrifying at the same time, and I’ve never had so much sex in my life but god I still want you all the time.”

His heart is thudding so hard against his rib cage he’s surprised Cas doesn’t hear it beating like a drum. “The universe had to give us Liam, otherwise we woulda killed each other in bed,” Dean jokes.

Cas’s lips curve into a smile—kiss-swollen and deep red—and Dean feels another surge of attraction so strong he has to kiss him again. Cas makes a happy little sound as their lips slot together and those damn butterflies explode inside of him, making him want to be closer still. He strokes the base of Cas’s neck with his thumbs and tilts Cas’s head back so he can press a sweet kiss to his flushed cheek, his scruffy jaw, right beneath his ear. A curl of hair tickles his nose and he buries his face there with his eyes closed, taking in a breath of his shampoo in Cas’s hair combined with Cas’s signature scent that sends warmth flooding through him. Cas’s hands find his elbows, tugging them down until his arms are at his side and their fingers twine together, and when Cas rests his head on Dean’s shoulder, that’s it. This might be the happiest he’s ever been, holding hands surrounded by Cas’s warmth and familiar scent, just standing in the kitchen with the dishwasher half filled and Liam sleeping down the hall.

“I think I could stay like this forever,” Cas whispers.

“Sounds good to me,” Dean whispers back.

They’re forced to part eventually, of course, but the warmth inside of him doesn’t fade as he finishes with the dishwasher and Cas finishes packing him a lunch. It stays in place while they watch a movie curled up together on the couch, and if anything, it grows when they brush their teeth and get ready for bed.

They wind up trading lazy kisses again in bed, both shirtless and down to pajama pants, hands exploring curiously and without the intent to arouse—although they’re both undeniably hard—until he’s absolutely certain there isn’t an inch on Cas’s upper body that his mouth hasn’t sampled tonight. He’d be perfectly happy falling asleep with his head on Cas’s chest right now, but he did promise a blow job, and so after longer than they’ve ever managed to keep things subdued if not entirely chaste, he curls his fingers into the waistband of Cas’s pants.

He’s stunned when Cas’s wrists catch his and he looks up to see Cas shaking his head. 

“I’m happy just with this for tonight,” Cas tells him, his voice soft enough that although Cas is telling him no, he doesn’t feel rejected in the least. 

He presses a dry kiss to the softness of Cas’s belly and stretches out along his body, fitting himself between Cas’s legs. He ignores the insistent hardness of their cocks where they’re aligned between them and tucks his face into the side of Cas’s neck, sighing happily when Cas’s strong arms come around him to hold him close. 

He snuggles in feeling light and happy, refusing to allow any negative thoughts or persistent fears to ruin the end of what’s been the most emotionally exhausting but fulfilling week of his life. For tonight at least, he drifts off indulging his sappy and optimistic thoughts that this thing with him and Cas might be the start of something really good.

Chapter Text

He’s barely conscious when he rolls towards Cas, chasing the warmth he’s gotten so used to sleeping next to as it moves away. 

“Stay,” Dean complains, his voice rough with sleep.

He feels lips press soft and dry to his forehead and snuggles in closer, but Cas says, “Liam’s awake. Go back to sleep,” and rolls away, leaving him with a frown on his face when he falls back asleep.

He wakes up a second time when his alarm goes off, and he’s disappointed all over again that he woke up alone. For a split second he thinks he set the wrong time since it’s thirty minutes too early, but then he remembers he has to bring Liam to daycare this morning. As Liam pops into his mind, he has a flashback of Cas getting out of bed earlier and it suddenly occurs to him that he’s always going to wake up alone from now on unless he gets up when Liam does. And doesn’t that just fucking suck? Apparently the week he and Cas had of waking up together to snuggles and good morning kisses is all they’re gonna get. 

That has his Monday off to a miserable start, and he goes through the motions of getting ready for the day feeling remarkably grumpy. Once he’s dressed, he goes out to the kitchen in search of coffee, hoping that will help turn his mood around. Cas is sitting at the kitchen table with a cup of coffee of his own, reading something on his phone by the looks of things, so he looks around and finds Liam dressed for the day and sprawled out on the floor with a couple of toys. 

Cas must not have heard him coming since he jumps when Dean lets his hand trail across his shoulders as he walks by, but greets him with, “Good morning.”

Dean grunts in reply, not feeling anywhere close to being ready for conversation yet. He fixes his coffee and stands at the counter to drink it down, hoping it works its way into his system as quickly as he finished it. He readies his second cup before he grabs a bowl and some Frosted Flakes, then with his cereal ready to eat, he joins Cas at the table. 

He sends Cas a thankful little smile for not bugging him when he’s not in the mood to talk, and then he digs into his cereal. He’s about halfway through the bowl and wondering why Sam hasn’t called him for their morning briefing when it dawns on him that Sam doesn’t know he’s up earlier than usual. If he waits for Sam to call at his usual time, he’ll be in the car or at Liam’s daycare, so he pulls his phone out of his pocket and Facetimes Sam instead.

Sam answers with a, “What’d you do, shit the bed?”

“New routine since I gotta bring Liam to daycare in the morning now,” Dean says, his voice flat with how much he still doesn’t want to do this right now. “Woke up on the wrong side of the bed, though, so cut the chit chat and just hit me with what I need to know.”

“And a good morning to you,” Sam says sarcastically, pushing a hand through his hair and grabbing his tablet. Thankfully Sam has enough experience with Dean’s morning moods that he doesn’t keep poking at him though, so Dean watches as Sam swipes a few times and then dives in. “Both the countertop and floor for the kitchen are in for your place. Jo’s supposed to go pick them up, so you don’t have to worry about that. If you can switch out the faucet and put the trim on after the floor, that should finish up the kitchen, right?”

“Yup,” Dean answers around a mouthful of cereal.

His attention is pulled away from Sam when Liam exclaims, “Dean! What’re ya’ doin?” 

He looks over to see Liam walking his way. “Just talkin’ to my brother,” Dean answers, nodding at his phone.

“It’s for work, Liam. Just wait a minute until he’s done, okay?” Cas tells him.

“He’s okay,” Dean says to Cas. He can see that Sam is watching eagerly, and he gets what he was more than likely hoping for when Liam comes over to stand next to him. 

“Is that him?” Liam asks, pointing to his screen.

Sam smiles warmly and Dean feels weirdly proud to be able to introduce what could be his son to his only remaining relative. “Yep. That’s Sam, he’s my little brother. Do you wanna say hi?”

Liam shakes his head and moves in closer to Dean, still staring at the screen curiously.

“Nice to meet you, Liam,” Sam says, and Liam’s eyes go wide before he turns away and buries his face in Dean’s chest. 

Dean chuckles a little, pleased that Liam’s comfortable enough with him now to use him as a hiding place instead of hiding from him, and gives the kid’s back a little pat. “Pretty scary lookin’, huh?”

“Screw you,” Sam says, making him laugh even harder. “Did you turn him against me already?” 

“Nah, Liam just takes a little bit to warm up to people, that’s all,” Dean says more seriously. Then, figuring Liam would benefit from the spotlight being elsewhere, he prompts, “So I do the kitchen this week?”

“Yeah, and then since Jo’s there, you guys can put the shower insert in and that should finish off the bathroom.” Dean nods around another mouthful of his breakfast, and Liam turns just enough so that he can sit on his knee. It’s not easy to hold his phone, eat his cereal, and make sure Liam doesn’t fall off, but he jostles Liam until he’s on his lap more securely and watches how Liam’s eyes skirt to the screen. He sees Sam’s lips quirk, but he’s obviously following his lead by staying on topic instead of mentioning it. “Then there’s just the new light fixtures to put in each room and we should be pretty much done, right?”

“Should be done by the end of the week,” Dean confirms.

“Which puts us almost three full weeks ahead of schedule,” Sam tells him, smiling broadly.

“You don’t gotta say it, Sammy. I know I’m awesome.”

“I’ll save my pat on the back for when somebody buys your house,” Sam shoots back. 

“Somebody’s buyin’ our house?” Liam asks, pushing away from Dean’s chest and knocking his elbow enough that milk spills over the edge of his cereal bowl. 

He ignores that in favor of saying, “No, buddy. Not this house. I fix up houses and then sell them once they look better for work. We’re not goin’ anywhere.”

“Cas too?” Liam checks.

“Cas, too,” Dean confirms, ignoring the way Sam’s eyebrows have all but disappeared into his hairline and accepting a paper towel from Cas to mop up the milk.

“‘cause we’re family,” Liam recites. 

“You got it,” Dean says, even knowing that he’s welcoming a never-ending lecture from his brother after this.

Liam’s eyes flick to the screen, then back to him. “Can we go to daycare now?”

“Just gotta finish my cereal, which you knocked all over the table, ya klutz,” Dean teases, poking his belly and getting a big smile out of him. 

“Liam, why don’t you go try to use the bathroom and work on getting your shoes on while Dean finishes up talking with his brother?” Cas prompts. 

“Okay!” Liam exclaims, taking off at a dead-run down the hall.

“No running!” Dean yells after him, frowning when Liam skids to a stop while giggling his head off. He turns his attention back to Sam and has a crooked smile on his face when he asks, “Remember sliding on the floor in our socks when we were little?”

“I remember you doing the Tom Cruise Risky Business thing even though the movie came out ten years before you were born,” Sam says, which gets a low chuckle from Cas and has his cheeks flaming.

“Bye Sam!” Dean says immediately, ending the call before he can say anything else embarrassing.

“I’d pay good money to see that,” Cas says.

Even though he keeps his eyes focused on his cereal, he can hear the smirk in Cas’s voice. He’s about to reply that Cas is more than welcome to come in when he’s getting dressed in the morning if he wants a show, but then he remembers that’s probably not the greatest idea since Liam’s going to be around. 

“Never gonna happen since we’ve got a kid living here now,” Dean says, hating the whine that’s crept into his voice. “Don’t even get to wake up with the dude I fell asleep with anymore,” he adds under his breath.

“Is that why you’re in such a bad mood this morning?” Cas asks. Dean shrugs, not willing to admit to something that silly ruining his mood. “That’s adorable.”

“Whatever,” Dean replies, putting his spoon down so he can drink his milk. “Guess I better get used to it.”

He drinks down his milk and gets up to put his bowl in the dishwasher, and when he turns around, Cas is standing right there. He feels extremely embarrassed all of the sudden, which means his cheeks are burning hot when he lowers his eyes to the floor in an attempt to hide it. He knows he’s being ridiculous and he’s unfairly mad about something he can’t change, but he can’t help the way he feels even if he knows it’s illogical. 

Cas moves into his space like he belongs there, Cas’s fingers tip his chin up, and when he reluctantly lifts his gaze, he’s met with ocean blue eyes filled with kindness and understanding. Cas doesn’t say anything, he just leans in to press a soft, lingering kiss to his lips. Cas’s fingers fan out to cup his jaw as his other hand strokes down the back of his neck as their lips part, and like magic, most of his embarrassment drains out of him. 

“Sorry,” he says sheepishly.

“Don’t be,” Cas replies, his voice quiet and fond and causing his insides to melt like butter. “It’s nice to know you enjoy being close to me as much as I do you.”

“Yeah,” Dean nods. Cas leans in to kiss him again, warm and comforting enough that he knows if he doesn’t back off now he’s going to have a hell of a time leaving at all. He pulls back and says, “I gotta go.”

“Don’t forget your lunch,” Cas says, stepping away to pull open the fridge and hand him a brown bag.

“I still can’t believe you packed me a lunch,” Dean says, torn somewhere between pleased and embarrassed all over again as he rounds the corner to put on his boots.

“I like taking care of people,” Cas tells him. Then he leans against the wall, and Dean can feel the heaviness of his gaze on him as Cas watches him tie up his boots. “It feels strange knowing I’m going to have the house to myself after you and Liam were here all weekend.”

“Enjoy the peace and quiet. Maybe have a nap since you’re the one who keeps wakin’ up early,” Dean suggests. 

They both hear a toilet flush, and a minute later, Liam comes running down the hall with the front of his shirt tucked into his pants. “Wait for me, wait for me!” he cries, flinging himself onto his knees hard enough that Dean winces for him as he grabs his shoes. 

“Wrong foot,” Dean tells him right away.

“Ugh,” Liam huffs, switching his shoe to the other foot. 

“I’m about to kiss Dean goodbye,” Cas warns Liam, and Liam makes a sound of disgust while he covers his eyes. Dean’s got a smile on his face when Cas steps forward to plant a smacking kiss on his lips, pressing firmly and making a loud, “Mmmmuh!” sound as he backs away that has Liam giggling.

“Why do ya always gotta do that?” Liam complains, peeking through his fingers.

“Dean is extremely good-looking,” Cas answers, squatting down so he’s down at Liam’s level. “And my guess is you’re going to be just as handsome when you grow up.”

“But no kissin’ me,” Liam says quickly, and both Dean and Cas laugh.

“No, not like Dean,” Cas promises, still smiling. “Since you’ll be gone all day though, how would you like to say goodbye? A hug, a high five, a fist punch like you and Dean?”

“A fist bump,” Liam laughs, taking a few steps towards Cas to throw his arms around him. Dean’s heart melts into a fuckin’ puddle at the surprised, soft little smile on Cas’s face when he hugs him back.

“Have a good day, okay buddy? I’ll come pick you up at the end of the day and you can help me make tacos for when Dean comes home,” Cas tells him.

“I LOVE tacos!” Liam shouts—directly into Cas’s ear—and Dean laughs outright when Cas winces. Better Cas than him.

“Let’s go before you bust his eardrum,” Dean tells Liam.

“‘kay! Bye Cas!”

Dean shoots Cas one more smile and then opens the door for Liam. The two of them make their way out to the garage, and Dean lets him in on the good news. “You’re in for a treat today, my friend, because you get to go for a ride in my car for the first time.”

“The shiny one?” Liam asks.

“The cool one,” Dean replies. “Though she is nice and shiny.” As they walk into the garage, Dean says, “Liam, this is Baby. Baby, Liam.”

Liam giggles. “You called your car Baby? Tommy’s baby sister cries and cries and cries.”

“My Baby don’t cry,” Dean promises. “She purrs.”

Liam laughs and Dean helps him into his seat, making sure again now that Liam’s in it that it doesn’t move more than what Donna showed him. Once he’s behind the wheel, he asks Liam, “How do you feel about Led Zeppelin?”

“Huh?”

“Yeah, that’s what I thought,” Dean chuckles. “Radio it is.”

Liam’s pretty quiet on the way to daycare, which is about a ten minute drive, and even though Dean tries to fill the silence with a few questions, he only gets one-word answers back so he lets it go. Once they get there, he pulls up behind another parked car and asks, “Is this where I’m supposed to park?”

“Yep, we’re here! We’re here!” Liam manages to get the chest clip undone but Dean gets out to help him with the buckle, and then once Liam hops out, he takes Liam’s hand since they’re mostly in a parking lot and the last thing he needs is to get the kid ran over.

“Where do I go?” Dean asks him, but Liam’s already tugging him towards the yard filled with children. “I guess I’m gonna need to find one of your... teachers, right?” Dean says, unsure what they’re called.

“We gotta find Miss Alex,” Liam tells him, craning his neck to look for her as they walk through the gate. “There she is! Miss Alex! Miss Alex!” he calls. 

Dean spots a young lady with long, dark hair sitting in the grass with one kid in her lap but surrounded by others, and she looks up with a big smile on her face to greet Liam. “Good morning, Liam,” she says, smiling brightly. Then she looks at Dean and her face falls slightly as she moves the kid off of her lap and gets to her feet. She has a clipboard in her hand, and she marks something down, then meets Dean’s gaze. “I’m Alex. You must be Liam’s new guardian.”

“Dean Winchester,” he says, offering his hand for a shake. 

“Nice to meet you, Dean. We were hoping Liam would still be coming today. Everything go okay over the weekend?” she asks.

“Yeah. Easier than I thought it would be,” Dean says honestly.

“You lucked out with a very even-tempered, self-sufficient kiddo. We never have any problems with him, do we Liam?” she asks him.

“Nuh-uh! I’m Alex’s little helper!”

“I’d be lost without you,” Alex says, smiling down at him. “Before you take off, I just need your driver’s licence and phone number for Liam’s file,” she tells Dean.

“Sure thing,” Dean says, grabbing his wallet out of his back pocket while he tells her his number, then passing his licence over. She jots down the information and returns his card, then he asks, “That’s it?”

“Yep. We’ll send you the bill at the end of each month to take care of the following month, so you’re off the hook for this month at least since—” She stops and swallows hard and he has to look away before he gets caught up in the emotion himself. “—Lisa already took care of it.”

“Alright, cool,” Dean says awkwardly. He feels kinda bad about it, but it’s not as if he can pay her back, so he lets it go and crouches down to get Liam’s attention away from where he’s talking a mile a minute to another little kid. “Hey big guy, I’m goin’ to work.” He doesn’t have to ask for a hug, Liam just looks over and throws himself at him. 

“Bye, Dean!”

“Be good,” Dean tells him. “I’ll see you later, kiddo.”

“Okay, bye!”

He stands back up and gives Alex a little wave, and then he dodges all the other kids in the yard as he makes his way back to his car, silently wondering who in their right mind chooses to work with this many screaming kids. He pulls out his phone to text Cas to let him know everything went okay with drop off, and then he heads to work.

Even though he makes it on time, Jo’s waiting for him when he gets there. They talk about their weekends while they unload the countertop and flooring from Jo’s truck, then they pause for the coffee Jo brought.

He’s barely taken his first sip when she hits him with a look he’s all too familiar with and already has him blushing. “So ‘it’s not like that’ for you and Cas, huh?” she prods.

Dean snorts shallowly. “Didja even believe me when I said it the first time?”

“Nope,” she says with an easy smile. “But considering all I’ve heard is Cas this and Cas that since we started moving shit, I’m guessing you’re not quite as far in denial now as you were then.”

“I talked about Liam twice as much as I talked about Cas,” Dean insists.

“Okay, so maybe still a little in denial,” Jo says with a laugh. “But I guess you’re getting along pretty well?”

“Yeah. He’s like, the nicest guy I’ve ever met. Takes over early kid duty so I don’t have to wake up at the ass crack of dawn, doesn’t care if I don’t wanna talk the second I get out of bed, and he packed me a freakin’ lunch to bring today because he thinks I eat too much junk food.”

“Think he’ll pack me one too if you tell him the crap I eat?” Jo jokes. Then after a sip of her coffee, she asks, “And the sex?”

“Still un-freakin’-believable,” Dean admits. “Every single time, no matter who does what. I’m talkin’ like, explosive hot.”

“God I hate you,” she says, making him grin proudly. “So are you officially dating now or what?”

“No,” Dean says, shaking his head real quick. “I mean, he told me he likes me but it’s not like we can actually go out anywhere with Liam hanging around all the time.”

“Would you ask him out if you could?”

“He’d probably ask me before I got the chance,” Dean replies.

“You should surprise him and ask him out for lunch someday,” Jo suggests. “I know it can’t be too fancy since you’ll be in that,” she says, gesturing to his clothes, “but it’d be just the two of you.”

The very idea makes his insides warm and his palms start sweating in anticipation. “Have I mentioned that you’re a genius?”

“Not since I got us an A in biology,” she says around a grin. “You like him back, huh?”

He takes another drink of coffee, deciding if he can be honest about his feelings with anybody without getting teased about them, it’ll be with Jo. “So much it scares the shit out of me,” he admits.

“What? Why?” she asks. “You’ve got a little built-in family for the next year. Isn’t that what you’ve always wanted?”

“Yeah, and that’s exactly why it’s freaking me out.” When she doesn’t look like she’s following, he explains. “What’s that saying? If it seems too good to be true, it probably is?”

“So, what?” Jo questions. “You think he’s not as nice as he seems?”

“No,” Dean says immediately. He’s never thought that even once. “My gut tells me he’s a good guy.”

“Then what?”

Dean shrugs. “Most of the time it doesn’t work out, right? Add a kid into the fallout of a break-up and it’s not hard to imagine it could get real messy real quick.”

“I don’t know,” Jo hedges. “I mean, maybe. But maybe it gives you a reason to try harder, to stay when you wouldn’t normally? I’m not saying stay together for the kid, but a kid gives you both a reason to stay instead of bail when it gets hard.”

“Maybe,” Dean echoes. Then he gives his head a shake. “It’s stupid to even have this conversation. We’ve only known each other for a week. We’re not even together, we’re just sleeping together.”

Jo raises her eyebrows. “Have you talked about it?”

“I’ll give you two guesses but you’re only gonna need one,” Dean says dryly.

Jo rolls her eyes so hard he wouldn’t be surprised to see them bouncing on the floor. “Ya know, if you were half as stupid as you want people to believe, you’d never be able to operate all these power tools.”

“It ain’t that simple,” Dean argues.

“Yeah? Why not?”

“Because we live together! We’re stuck together for a year, Jo, no matter what. What if I put myself out there and he turns me down? That’s gonna be real pleasant to live with for another 360 days,” he says sarcastically.

“What if you put yourself out there and he doesn’t turn you down?” Jo counters.

“Not a risk I’m willing to take,” Dean replies, using a tone of voice that he knows Jo will take as him being done talking about this. 

“Well, let’s hope Cas isn’t as great as you say he is then, because if you won’t make a move, I’m sure somebody else will.” That has him hitting Jo with a truly dirty look as fear and jealousy twists like a knife in his stomach, and she just shrugs unapologetically. “Just sayin’.”

“Well don’t,” he bites out. “Can we get to work now?”

“Sure. You probably need to work off some of that jealousy,” she says, hopping off of the counter she was sitting on and smiling up at him sweetly.

“Bite me,” he responds.

“I would,” she says, tugging the collar of his shirt out of the way. He bats her hand away, but not before she gets the ammo she was looking for. “But it looks like the guy you’re raising a kid with, sleeping with, living with, but definitely aren’t together with is already all over it.”

Lacking a witty retort means he grabs a hold of her pony tail and tugs, and she backhands him against the chest in retaliation hard enough that he lets out an involuntary breath of air. “Ow,” he complains, rubbing the spot she hit.

She laughs as she walks away to grab her tool belt and he decides to let it go in favor of actually getting some work done today. He knows the two of them well enough to know if he swipes back now it will go on all day, and he wants to get home on time tonight. That doesn’t mean he forgets what she said though. In fact, the more the thinks about it—thinks about Cas going out with somebody else—the more angry he gets, and by the time lunch comes around, he’s right back to being in the miserable mood he woke up in.

Sam calls right as he’s about to start his lunch hour and he declines the call because the last thing he needs right now is a lecture, but once he settles into a comfortable corner in the carpeted living room and reaches into his lunch bag, he finds it hard to stay mad.

Cas has packed him a sandwich, a bottle of water, a Ziploc bag of cotton candy grapes, a yogurt, and a Moonpie. The Moonpie makes him smile, because he knows without having to ask that Cas put it in there as a consolation prize for all of the healthy crap, and before he can overthink it, he sends Cas a quick text.

DEAN: Nothing says “I get you” like a Moonpie. Thx Cas.
CAS: I thought that might make you smile
DEAN: It did, and I’m still in a pissy mood, so that’s saying something. 
CAS: Are you still pouting over this morning?
DEAN: I was not pouting, tyvm. And no. Jo’s just being annoying. 
CAS: Can I help with more than a sandwich?

Dean feels a tiny smile creep onto his face. It’s been a long time since anybody gave a crap about him having a bad day. 

DEAN: Nah, you’ve done more than enough.
CAS: Want to “sext”?

He actually snorts with laughter.

DEAN: Yeah, nothing gets me going like quotation marks 
CAS: I was just about to get my cowboy boots out too... 
DEAN: That’s just mean 
CAS: :) 
CAS: Really though, I’m sorry you’re having a bad day
DEAN: Hopefully I get it out of my system by the time I get home
CAS: If not, I’m sure tacos + me will cheer you up :D
DEAN: You think you rate up there with tacos? That’s high praise, doc. 
CAS: Well now I’m second guessing myself. Do I?
DEAN: Depends on the tacos :P
CAS: I make phenomenal tacos.
DEAN: I believe that, but I’m probably still gonna have to go with yes. You’re just as good as tacos.

He debates for several long moments trying to decide if that’s too much, but ultimately decides to hit send.

CAS: I might cry
DEAN: Don’t go chick flick moment on me when I’m at work
CAS: You love chick flicks. And for the record, I think you’re even better than tacos :)
DEAN: Yeah yeah 
CAS: Are you blushing? 
DEAN: See you after work! 
CAS: Ha! Have a good afternoon, gorgeous. 

He’s in a much better mood by the time he finishes his lunch, and he even shoots Sam a message apologizing for not picking up, telling him he can bitch at him tomorrow if he wants. Jo doesn’t comment on his improved mood, which he’s grateful for, and when mid-afternoon rolls around, the countertop is setting and they’ve got a 90s Pop playlist blaring from Jo’s phone while they work on the tile, both singing and dancing like idiots in a way you can really only do with your closest friends.

Dean’s mood keeps getting better and better the closer they get being done because he knows he’s going to get off early enough to get home in time to help with dinner. It’s right around four when his phone rings.

Jo stops the music and he sees it’s Cas calling.

“Hey Cas,” he says in greeting.

“They won’t let me take him,” Cas says, sounding frantic.

“What?”

“Liam. I’m at the daycare to pick him up and they won’t let me take him.”

“Why the hell not?” Dean asks.

“They said I’m not on the list of approved people.”

“The fuck is that?” Dean wonders. 

“I don’t know, but Liam’s freaking out,” Cas tells him. “He was crying at the fence because he wants to come with me but they won’t let him. I-I don’t know what to do.”

“I’m gonna call them, okay? Just hang tight for a second. I’ll call you right back.”

He ends the call and Googles the daycare, but before he can find the number, his phone rings. Cursing inwardly, he answers, “Winchester Brothers Contracting, this is Dean.”

“Dean Winchester?” a woman asks.

“Speaking.”

“I’m calling from Friends Forever Daycare. Liam’s fine, but I wanted to call to let you know there’s an unauthorized person here trying to pick him up.”

“Yeah, that’s Liam’s other guardian. We share custody,” Dean tells her.

“We have no record of any guardian other than you. When you filled out the paperwork this morning did you add anybody else to the safe list of people who can pick him up?” she asks.

“I didn’t fill out any paperwork. The daycare worker I dropped him off with took my licence and phone number but she didn’t ask if anybody else could pick him up,” Dean tells her.

“Oh,” she replies, clearly surprised. “Unfortunately the daycare policy states that we can’t let any minor leave the premises without written consent from the parent or guardian.”

“Cas is the guardian,” Dean says again.

“But we don’t have any record of that.”

“I’m literally telling you,” he replies, quickly losing patience.

“If we don’t have written—”

“Yeah, I got it,” he says tersely. “I’ll be right there.”

“Thank you, Mr. Winchester.” 

He hangs up the phone and grabs his keys and wallet. “I gotta go.”

“Is everything okay?” Jo asks.

“Everybody’s fine. Daycare shit,” Dean explains, already dialing Cas’s number. “I’ll be back in a half hour.”

“I’ll be done by then,” Jo calls out, following him out the door. “Just come back tomorrow.”

“Thanks, Jo.”

“Dean?” Cas asks on the other end of the phone.

“I’m on my way and we’ll get this all straightened, okay?” he says, getting into his car and starting her up.

“You couldn’t do it on the phone?” Cas asks.

“Needs to be written consent or some shit. Fucking stupid if you ask me, but I’m coming to get it all straigthened out and this’ll never happen again. Less than ten minutes and I’ll be there, okay, doc?”

“They took Liam inside. I can’t even see him anymore. Dean, he was—he was kicking and screaming when they were carrying him away,” Cas says, his voice hoarse.

He feels his heart lurch in his chest as he throws his car into gear. “I’m comin’ as fast as I can.”

“Hurry, but be careful.”

He may run a few yellow lights on his way, and he drives faster than he normally would, but thankfully he doesn’t get pulled over, and in a little less than ten minutes, he pulls his car up right behind Cas’s. They both get out quickly, and one look at Cas’s puffy red eyes has his heart cracking into a million pieces. He knows they don’t have time, but he has to make time because Cas needs him, and so he gathers him up in his arms and holds him nice and tight.

“Shhh,” he soothes him as he hears the wet sound of Cas’s voice catching. “It’s okay, sweetheart,” Dean tells him, pressing a kiss into his hair. “Five minutes from now we’re gonna have this all fixed, okay?”

“I’m—I’m so sorry I made you leave work,” Cas says into his shoulder.

“Cas, seriously, you and Liam are a hundred times more important to me than work,” he says, surprised to find he absolutely means that. He gives Cas a soft clap on the back and then pulls away to inspect his face, keeping his hands on his shoulders. “You good?”

Cas nods, but he ducks his gaze, which he interprets as ‘not really’. 

“It was just hard to see him like that when there was nothing I could do.”

“Can’t even imagine,” Dean says gently. “It’s never gonna happen again though. I’ll give a blood sample if they need it.”

“I’m sure that won’t be necessary, but I appreciate it nonetheless,” Cas says, offering him a weak smile. Dean slings one arm around Cas’s shoulder and tucks him into his side to keep him nice and close while they walk through the empty yard and to the door together. He has to press a button to get buzzed in, and once the door opens, he lets Cas walk through first and then takes his hand once he follows.

They’re in this parenting thing as a united front and he wants the people in the daycare to take one look at them and know that. Unfortunately, neither one of them has any idea where to go since they’ve never been inside before. They get to a hallway that splits in both directions and stand there for a few seconds.

“Now what?” Dean asks Cas.

But then somebody calls out, “Can I help you?” and they both look to the left to where there’s a lady poking her head out of what appears to be an office.

“We’re here to pick up Liam Braeden,” Dean explains. 

“All the way at the end of the hall on the left,” she tells them, and they thank her before heading in that direction.

They have to wait to be buzzed in again, and as much as he’s still irritated with how all of this went down today, he definitely appreciates the security they have in place.

A young man opens the door with a bright smile on his face. “Hello! How can I help you?”

“I’m Dean Winchester, I’m here—”

“DEAN!” Liam yells from across the room, cutting him off. Then, “Cas! Cas, you got in! You didn’t drive ‘way!” He watches as Liam goes crashing into Cas’s legs, wrapping both arms around them. 

“Ohhh, you’re the guy they wouldn’t let pick him up!” the guy who answered the door says. 

“Yeah,” Dean says. “Apparently I gotta add him to a list?”

“I can definitely help with that,” the guy says with a kind smile. He reaches for a clipboard that was hanging on the wall. “I’m Jack, by the way. I’ll be here most evenings for pick ups.”

“I’m Dean, and this is Cas,” Dean says, weirdly unable to hold a grudge against this smiley young guy.

“His partner,” Cas interjects sternly, lifting Liam up and into his arms.

“That’s so cool. You know, you’re the fourth same-sex couple we have in this center. Is our flyer in rainbow colors or something?” he jokes. Dean cracks a smile but immediately stifles it when Cas squeezes his hand and gives him the look. Apparently, Cas doesn’t have the same problem he does with staying mad at Jack. “Anyway, Dean, I just need you to write Cas’s information next to yours. We’ll need his address, phone number, and his driver’s licence, as well as any custody agreement information.”

“There isn’t any,” Dean tells him, putting down his address for Cas’s. “We’re just... together. Like regular parents. Either of us can pick him up whenever. Phone number?” Dean asks Cas instead of grabbing it off of his phone. He writes it down while Cas rattles it off, then Cas passes him his wallet, so he pulls out Cas’s licence and writes that down, too, making a mental note to make fun of him for his photo later.

“Are you okay?” he hears Cas ask Liam quietly.

“Can—can I still live in the dinosaur room?” Liam asks back.

“Yes, of course,” Cas answers. “Is that why you were so upset?”

“I thoughted I had to go back to Miss Moseley’s for a second,” Liam says, smiling this weird, tight smile that no four year old should ever have on his face.

“Never again,” Cas promises. “From now on, you will always be with either me or Dean, okay? Forever.”

“And now the daycare’s got that written down on this piece of paper so they know, too,” Dean says, making sure to sign it with a flourish. 

“Do you understand?” Cas asks Liam. 

Liam nods, so Dean hands the clipboard back to Jack and says, “So you get that me and Cas are together now, right? Co-parenting or whatever. I don’t have any more authority over Liam than he does. We’re equal partners.” He tucks Cas’s wallet into Cas’s back pocket and shoots him a little wink just to make him smile, and counts it as a win when he sees Cas’s lips twitch.

“Absolutely,” Jack assures them, checking over the form Dean filled out. “I hope you know it wasn’t anything personal, Castiel. It’s what we do for all of our children here.”

“It’s Cas, and I understand,” Cas corrects, sounding slightly less angry than he did before. “I just wish it hadn’t been so traumatic for Liam. He’s already been through so much.”

“Can we still have tacos?” Liam asks out of nowhere, getting a laugh from all three of them.

“It sounds like he’s gonna recover,” Dean says fondly. “That form’s all good there, Jack?”

“Yes, everything seems to be in order,” he confirms with a nod. “Oh! Who should we call first in case of an emergency?”

Dean and Cas exchange a glance, and though it pains him to say it, he answers, “Cas. He can probably get here faster than me. I could be on a roof or covered in paint, who the hell knows.”

“You know I’d call you immediately anyway,” Cas says, and Dean nods because he believes that.

“Okay, that should be it then!” Jack says, smiling that bright smile again. “I’ll see you tomorrow afternoon, Liam. And it was nice meeting you both.”

“Alright, let’s beat it, kiddo,” Dean says, and he turns back to open the door for Cas, who puts Liam down after he tries to wiggle free. “Can you show us the way outta here?”

“Yep! Follow the leader!”

Dean wraps his arm around Cas’s waist as Liam skips up ahead. “You okay?” he checks quietly.

“You should’ve punched him,” Cas says under his breath.

“Jack?” Dean snorts. “He looks like he’s 12.”

“You were supposed to defend my honor,” Cas tells him.

“He wasn't even the one who wouldn’t let you take him!” Dean reminds him. “And did you not hear me making sure you got all the same shit as me? I asked him like, four different times.”

“Twice,” Cas corrects, “and you didn’t even tell him we were together.”

“You jumped in before I could finish what I was saying!”

“Mmmhmm,” Cas says, clearly not believing him. 

“You wanna go back there so I can bend over for you? Show ‘em just how together we are? That way we could both get kicked out, y’know, ‘cause I don’t think we’ve caused a big enough scene yet on our first day,” Dean says sarcastically. 

Cas looks at him blankly for a second, then blinks. “Sorry? You lost me at ‘bend over for you’.”

Dean laughs but pushes him towards the wall as they round the corner, and when Cas trips slightly over his own feet and falls against it, Dean’s about to apologize when Cas makes a mad dash towards him. 

Dean takes off around the corner, running down the hall toward the door. Liam’s in his way, so he stops just long enough to scoop him up and hold him under his arm. Liam squeals with laughter, and Dean just gets his hand on the doorknob when strong, familiar arms wrap around them both. 

“Gotcha!” Cas says, tickling Liam on his side and making him squirm so much Dean nearly drops him. Then Cas looks up at him, his eyes shining with laughter and his nose scrunched up from his smile, and says, “Don’t think I’m letting you get away that easily.”

As much as he knows Cas is talking about the little chase they just had, there’s something about the way Cas is looking at him that makes him think he’s not only talking about that, and it makes his heart skip what feels like several beats as they continue to hold eye contact.

“Put me down!” Liam demands, effectively ending the charged moment. 

After Dean lowers him to the ground, Cas swoops in to press a quick kiss to Dean’s lips, then wraps his arm around him while they walk through the yard. “Thank you for coming to straighten this out. I started feeling better as soon as I heard your beast of a car coming down the road.”

“She’s a sexy beast,” Dean corrects. “And you don’t need to thank me. I mean, I know I didn’t defend your honor the way you wanted me to, but...” He pauses to swallow down the urge to change his thought midway through, and continues on with what he wants to say even though his face is already burning. “I’m pretty sure I’m at the I’ll drop anything anytime for you stage here, Cas.”

Cas stops, slips his hand up to the back of Dean’s neck, and waits for their eyes to meet again. “Dean,” he says softly. “I—”

“The door’s locked!” Liam says, and once again, Dean looks away from Cas’s magnetic gaze to see Liam tugging on the handle of Cas’s car.

“Hold up there, little man,” Dean says, walking away from Cas and over to Liam. “Are you tellin’ me you have the choice between riding in my Baby and Cas’s hunk of junk, and you’re choosing the hunk of junk?”

Liam’s face cracks on a huge grin. “Yep.”

Dean throws his head back and sighs dramatically, getting a peal of laughter from Liam, then turns to Cas. “If that’s not proof of paternity right there, I don’t know what is.”

“You are so dramatic,” Cas says, a smile curving his pink lips as he presses the button to unlock his car. 

Dean only smiles, feeling at ease now that he knows Cas and Liam are both happy and safe. “Yeah, yeah. I’ll see you at home, doc.”

Cas stays behind him the whole way there, and maybe because he keeps getting distracted by the sight of him in his rearview mirror, he doesn’t notice what he said until he’s pulling into the garage.

It’s only been a week, but somewhere along the way, his house has stopped feeling like just a house. For the first time since his mom died, he feels like he’s got a home. He knows a really big part of that is the two people pulling in beside him, and just like that, all at once he knows he’s going to do every damn thing in his power to keep them. 

Even if that means putting himself out there, manning up, and asking the guy he’s sleeping with to go out on a date.

Chapter Text

He doesn’t know what it is that tips Cas off about his revelation or if it’s one hell of a coincidence, but Cas is much more affectionate than usual. All through dinner (chopping vegetables, cooking the meat, even eating), clean up, playing outside, and the bedtime routine with Liam, they share countless touches, warm smiles, and enough stolen kisses that he couldn’t possibly be more on board when Cas leads him right into their bedroom once Liam’s asleep.

They undress each other slowly, taking the time to sample each inch of newly uncovered skin with exploring hands that learn, memorize, and exploit as they continue. Their lips come together as often as possible for long, passionate kisses that soothe his soul and pulse arousal through him while Cas gradually opens him up, one tortuously patient finger at a time.

By the time Cas is rolling on a condom and settling between his legs, Dean’s a sweaty, boneless, oddly emotional mess. It feels different this time, more profound for some reason, and when Cas holds eye contact as he enters him, he's absolutely sure that Cas knows it, too. One hand caresses his thigh lovingly as Cas presses inside of him bit by bit until he bottoms out, filling Dean perfectly, completely, flawlessly. It’s so right and so much that he has to squeeze his eyes closed to try to process it all. 

“I’ve got you, gorgeous,” Cas tells him, and god help him, there isn’t a single part of him that doesn’t believe it. 

“I know,” Dean replies, his voice nothing more than a hoarse whisper.

Cas drops his forehead to his, panting, “You feel so good,” and Dean suddenly can’t keep his hands to himself. 

His fingers frame Cas’s face, push his hair off of his forehead, trace the line of his jaw, the shape of his lips. It's been several long minutes when he finally tilts his chin up, pressing their lips together chastely and humming happily at the simple familiarity of Cas’s lips. 

“Nobody kisses me like you,” he confesses quietly.

“I plan to keep it that way,” Cas says, only the faintest hint of a joke in his eyes mixed with the honesty there, too. 

As if to prove his point, Cas keeps kissing his way down his neck, dropping searching, lingering kisses until he settles on a particularly sensitive spot. Cas’s clever mouth pulls a quiet, “Guh,” from his lips, causing his insides to clench down on where Cas’s length is stuffing him full. “Cas,” he gasps. Cas is busy staking his claim on his neck once again, sucking heat into his skin that seems to go straight to his cock, but he wants more. Wants to feel him move. Wants to make Cas feel as good as he feels. “Want you.”

“You've got me,” Cas promises, tenderly skirting his hands down his torso. Cas pauses to brush his fingertips over every dip and plane he encounters on the way down, kissing the freckles he finds on his chest until those big hands of his land on his hips. Blue eyes catch his, holding the most enamored look he’s ever seen aimed at him within them. “You are so beautiful.”

Cas says it so genuinely that it steals his breath, and before he can think of something to say in return, Cas is pressing into him the tiniest little bit further, withdrawing and sliding back inside, making his insides come alive more and more with each careful movement. 

He knows this is going to be slow, wants it to be this time, and still his body betrays him. He arches up against Cas, his head spinning with lust when Cas’s fingers tighten on his hips to hold him down. He strains against them, desperately and wildly needing more, chanting and pleading, “Cas, Cas, Cas.”

“Easy,” Cas soothes him. "I'll get you there." Dean’s whole body goes pliant in an instant, ready and trusting that Cas will take care of him in every way. “Just like that, sweetheart. Just perfect,” Cas praises, making his breath hitch and his eyes slam closed as shame wars with pride. He can't help the way his body reacts to Cas so strongly, and even knowing that Cas enjoys it, it's fucking embarrassing to lose it like this every damn time. “So perfect for me.”

His heart is beating almost painfully hard when one of his hands is enveloped by Cas’s, their fingers twining together on the mattress, grounding him for a split second before Cas’s hips roll forward and his cock shifts inside of him. The spark of pleasure has his eyes popping back open, and he’s robbed of the ability to breathe yet again when he sees Cas looking down at him, clearly enraptured with whatever he’s looking at. 

Squirming, blushing, begging. 

Thankfully he's too out of it to worry about that right now, because Cas himself is as gorgeous as anything he’s ever seen with his eyelids fluttering, cheeks pink, jaw hanging open. Feeling a confusing need to be closer still, he squeezes Cas's fingers, trying to voice the impossibility to Cas without using words even though he knows the two of them are already as close as they can possibly get. Misinterpreting his plea, Cas thrusts inside of him once more, a smooth in and out and in again that has him mindlessly matching the rhythm, moving with the man on top of him like two gears working in perfect synchronization. 

A sliver of golden light dances along Cas’s chest, drawing his hand to it like a moth to a flame, and he lets his fingers brush along the jut of Cas’s collarbone, following the smooth skin up to his muscular shoulder, listening intently to Cas’s breathy sounds of pleasure as they continue to move together. They’ve just barely gotten started, but Cas is clearly just as affected by this uncharacteristically soft but emotionally heavy love-making as he is, and it drives him higher too, has him feeling needed and cherished and revered on levels he didn’t even know existed until now. 

Until Cas. 

They feel so connected, so right like this, and he has to pull Cas down to kiss him, to add yet another layer to what’s happening between them right now. Their mouths slot together like that's how they're meant to be, and they keep at it, kissing like they might die without it, their lips and mouths and tongues complementing each smooth stroke of Cas’s body entering his again and again. The hand still lovingly caressing his hip slips beneath his lower back to hike him up, changing the angle of his body just enough that his cock slides against his own belly on the next thrust.

It lights a fire in him, has him squirming and writhing impatiently beneath Cas all over again, both enjoying and feeling stifled by the tiny amount of friction he’s being given. He makes a quiet sound of frustration in the back of his throat and Cas’s body answers his call immediately. His thrusts change, turn longer, deeper, still fucking him slowly but more intensely until every single thrust is landing just right and Dean’s throat is burning with how he’s straining to take in a full breath because of it. 

He tilts his head back, exposing his throat in an offering Cas seems unable to refuse, and he cries out when he feels Cas's teeth scrape his skin. His hand clamps down on Cas’s bicep, fingers squeezing firm muscles and sinking into supple flesh, nodding enthusiastically when Cas’s hips settle into a rhythm that’s pleasing to them both. 

“Feels—feels s-so good, Cas,” Dean breathes.

“You feel good, too. Every time, but god, Dean, like this? When you really let me in?” Dean nods again, the need to know, to hear Cas say it spurring him on. Cas pulls his hand to his face and kisses the back of it. He struggles to push his heart back down his throat as Cas’s blue eyes, dark with arousal but bright with affection, look down at him, through him, into him. “You’re— it’s everything.”

“You are,” he rasps, overcome with emotion.

Cas’s eyes flood with so much warmth he doesn’t know how it’s all contained, and then they’re forehead-to-forehead and Cas’s breaths are starting to come out shaky. Their noses nuzzle and bump, both of his hands are petting through Cas’s hair, and their lips are crashing together with a new urgency that’s no less tender because of the force of it. 

The pace of their love-making increases gradually until they’re moving more purposely, Cas maintaining those long, deep thrusts that light up his insides and have his hips snapping up to meet each one, tearing a low moan from Cas that he wants to hear over and over. 

“Yeah Cas,” he encourages, pushing against him even more vigorously.

“What you do to me,” Cas replies. Cas's voice is husky and low the way he likes it the most, but this time it's Cas's eyes that get him. So fuckin’ blue, glazed over with pleasure but still focused on him so intently, like he’s the only thing in the entire world that matters, and because he feels like that about Cas —now, yeah, but just as often when they’re not in bed too—he pulls him down for another kiss, desperately needing to cling to that connection. 

Cas kisses him back with everything he’s got, flicking the tip of his tongue against Dean’s in that way that makes his brain turn to mush, and with Cas’s hair slipping through the spaces between his fingers and Cas’s cock pumping into him, Dean’s lost. He’s lost to sensation, to pleasure, to the impossible weight of his feelings for Cas. To the slick slide of their lips moving together, the rocking motion of his body merging with Cas’s, his cock rubbing against his own stomach, drooling and spitting out precum steadily as Cas keeps grazing his prostate with every other thrust.

He’s keenly aware of how Cas has been slowly but undoubtedly increasing his pace, the force behind each thrust a tiny bit harder than the last, causing them both to breathe more harshly, more heavily as the urgency grows and grows with every moment. His dick sliding through his own puddle of precum yet again reminds him that he’s still achingly hard and sends heat prickling at the back of his neck and down his spine. He wrenches his mouth away from Cas’s with a gasp, sealing it to the hollow of his throat instead, sucking, marking, and sinking his teeth into Cas's skin until Cas growls and his hips pitch forward sharply.

“F-fuck yes,” Dean stutters, his head falling back onto his pillow but his whole body straining up, begging for it just a little bit harder. Cas reads him like a book, knows him better than anybody he’s ever been with, and complies, of course, causing echoes of I’ll give you anything and everything to resurface in his memory. Emotion sweeps over him all at once, heavy and stifling, and between one second and the next he feels like he's floundering, drowning, sinking.

“Cas?”

He doesn’t know where he’s going with it, what he wants to say or ask for, he just knows his chest feels raw and his eyes are stinging and he needs Cas to fix it. Cas’s hand lands on his face and he feels something click into place like a key in a lock, but he also detects a faint trembling coming from Cas, and his own confusion takes a back seat to whatever it is that Cas needs.

“I got you, doc.”

He turns his head to kiss Cas’s palm, presses a kiss to the pad of each finger. Their eyes catch, and whatever Cas sees cause his to widen, his jaw to unhinge, and his body to lock up. Cas’s fingers curl into a fist and slam down onto his pillow next to his head as a bitten-back but still desperate cry is torn from Cas’s lips. “Dean!”  

Cas fucks into him hard and fast one last time, grinds inside of him so fucking deep he has to bite his lip to stifle his shout, and then it's like Cas is washing over him like the tide. First their hips crash together, then stomachs, chests, and shoulders, all of Cas surging forwards at once but falling onto his body in a ripple effect of Cas’s orgasm. He's so in tune with Cas's body he can feel the pulsing heat inside of him, could even feel Cas’s cock expand right before he flooded the condom with warmth, and he feels more than he hears the gut-deep moan vibrating against his neck as Cas works himself through it all. 

He forgets about his own simmering arousal for the time being, choosing instead to live in the moment and stroke the back of Cas’s head. He cards his fingers through Cas’s damp hair and down his spine, kissing his shoulder and feeling surprisingly proud that Cas finds this much pleasure in his body, that something he did made Cas feel so good he literally collapsed on top of him. He kisses the side of Cas’s head as his fingers climb down the ladder of Cas’s ribs, exploring the dip of his lower back which quickly approaches the tantalizing swell of his ass cheeks. He can’t resist sliding his palms over his warm skin once he’s there, getting two handfuls of deliciously supple flesh that molds beneath his hands. 

His cock twitches between them, and that seems to awaken the beast because Cas’s lips brush his neck, and Cas lifts himself little by little, kissing his way down Dean's chest until plump lips wrap around his nipple. 

Heat rises inside of him like an inferno, in a single second engulfing him from head to toe, and when Cas’s hand licks like flames over his stomach to curl around his still rock-hard cock, he whimpers. “Fuck. Fuck, Cas.” His voice already sounds desperate, and the next sound that comes out of him is a nearly incoherent whine. He fucks into Cas’s fist with gritted teeth, and Cas barely strokes him root to tip before he can feel it hit. His orgasm is sudden and intense with its ferocity, and he rears up, his whole body contorted with pleasure as he downright sobs as it wracks through him like hellfire. 

“God, Dean,” Cas says breathlessly, and Dean looks down amidst indescribable pleasure just in time to see white painting Cas’s hand, coating his fingers and dripping onto his stomach.

He falls back onto the bed with that image playing on a loop in his brain, and lets the weightless, flying feeling wash over him again and again as Cas milks him through it with nimble fingers he should actually take the time to worship after his brain solidifies again. Once he’s pinned down again by Cas’s weight, he feels a smile curve his lips and realizes he’s flying with how perfect this is. He wraps his arms around Cas’s broad shoulders, Cas’s hair tickles his nose, and before he’s even caught his breath from his orgasm, his brain-to-mouth filter breaks down as he sinks into the undeniable sensation of home.

“Will you go on a date with me?”

Cas lifts his head and looks down at him with his eyebrows drawn together. “What?”

And that’s when the panic sets in. What the fuck did he just say? “Uh—” Good. Real smooth, Dean. His palms start to sweat and his heart is thumping so hard in his chest he can hear it in his ears. “I, uh—” Cas is looking at him like he doesn’t know if he should be worried or help or what, and he just needs to man up and spit it out. “Willyougoonadatewithme?”

Oh my god, he’s Harry Potter with Cho Chang. He sounds like a complete and utter moron and if he wasn’t pinned down by the very person he’d like to attempt to avoid for the rest of his life he would definitely—

But that’s when Cas breaks out in a smile so soft the butterflies kick in again. And then Cas kisses him—he doesn’t necessarily feel it or get any indication of what kind of a kiss it is because his brain apparently cannot keep up with all of this—and a kiss has gotta be a good thing, right? 

“Of course I’ll go on a date with you,” Cas finally replies.

Now it’s his turn to smile. In fact, he probably couldn’t not smile if somebody gave him a million dollars for it. “Really?”

“Obviously,” Cas laughs. Laughs like it’s the silliest question he’s ever heard. “Did you have something in mind?”

“Yeah,” Dean says, clearing his throat when he hears the single word come out in a squeak. “I mean, I’d like to take you someplace nice and woo the pants off of you,” he starts. 

“I believe we’ve already established all you have to do to get my pants off is breathe,” Cas teases. 

“Yeah,” he says again, still sounding like a complete moron but totally okay with it now that Cas said yes. “And obviously we can’t go out at night because Liam’s here and we don’t have a babysitter.”

“Oh,” Cas comments, as if he just remembered that himself. “That does put a bit of a snag in things.”

“So I thought maybe we could do lunch someday? Just you and me? I could bring a change of clothes to work—”

“Don’t you dare,” Cas interrupts him. “I like you in your work clothes.”

Dean narrows his eyes. “This is about the manly scent thing, isn’t it?”

“Absolutely,” Cas says with a grin. He rolls over and finally deals with the condom, then grabs a shirt off of the floor and mops up the drying cum from their bodies. Once Cas is settled onto his back he pulls him over until he’s lying on Cas’s chest, and then he says, “It doesn’t have to be fancy just because it’s a date. You already know how much I like you, so you don’t need to impress me.”

“What if I want to anyway?”

Cas kisses the top of his head, his words dripping with fondness when he speaks. “I never took you for a romantic.”

He’s slightly embarrassed about being called out like that, but he scoffs like he isn’t. “White picket fence didn’t tip you off?”

“Oh! That reminds me, how do you feel about flowers?”

He’s surprised by both the question and the change of subject. “Getting them or giving them?”

Cas’s chest heaves with his huff of laughter. “No, sorry. I meant in the backyard. There’s so much empty space back there and if you’re open to the idea, I’d love to plant a bunch of hyssop and the sunflowers I was talking about before.” 

“Why hyssop?” Dean wonders, getting a vague picture of a shrub in his mind.

“The purple flowers attract bees,” Cas explains, and just like that, he’s smiling wide at just how adorable his bee scientist crush can be. But then Cas lowers his head until he can feel his breath on his ear when he talks again, and his voice is quiet enough that it’s almost a whisper, and everything feels abruptly serious all over again. “And sunflowers because the idea of waking up next to you every morning with the sun shining and yellow sunflowers peeking over the windowsill makes me smile.”

“Go for it,” he replies. Hell, he’d agree to it if Cas asked him to paint his bedroom pink leopard print after a line like that. “Plant whatever you want.” Whatever makes you want to stay. “Whatever makes you happy.”

Cas’s hand rests on his face and tilts his chin up so that they’re looking at each other. Cas’s cheeks are still flushed and his hair is sticking up in haphazard spikes all over his head, but the expression on his face is so open and caring that’s all he can concentrate on. “You make me happy.”

“Jesus, Cas,” he whispers, instinctively hiding his face in Cas’s neck all over again as he’s swamped with emotions. “You scare the shit out of me sometimes.”

“I’m sorry—was that too much? Am I coming on too strong?”

“No,” Dean says immediately. “The total opposite. I—” He stops, appreciates Cas waiting him out, welcoming the comforting way Cas pulls his hand over his heart and leaves it there, covering it with his own until he figures out how to put words to what he wants to say. “I want this to work out so fuckin’ bad already and it’s barely even getting started.”

“I want that, too,” Cas admits, soothing some of his nerves with four simple words. Cas wants it to work, too. He wants to stay. Maybe Cas wants them to be a family every bit as much as he’s trying not to. “This is new, but every lasting relationship starts somewhere,” Cas tells him, his voice just as reassuring as his presence. “And we have nothing but time, Dean. We can put as little or as much effort into this as you're comfortable with, because I know I’m not going anywhere. I told you I wasn’t going to let you go that easily, and I meant it.” Dean smiles at the memory, snuggling into Cas more comfortably. “We have incredible chemistry, the kind of sex most people think only exists in their dirtiest dreams, an adorable child to raise, plus your lips and my no bullshit attitude.” Dean chuckles quietly, finding both the honesty in his words and the rundown of their little situation more than a little amusing. “I think we have a better chance than most people.”

“Hope so,” Dean says quietly. 

“Quite honestly, I would stay just for the sex, but I’m glad I don’t have to.”

“Yeah right,” Dean says, teasing now. “I know you only want me for my big dick.”

“I’d stay for that, too,” Cas replies, and Dean can’t help the laugh that comes out because jesus, he’s absolutely enamored by Cas. 

He frigging loves that they can go from having tender, emotionally-heavy sex to talking about flowers, to how much they want this to work between them, to joking about how big his dick is. He’s reminded once again that a relationship like this—a partnership that’s meaningful, hot as hell, easy, and fun—is exactly what he’s always wanted, and he slips his fingers between Cas’s, unable to ignore how perfectly their hands fit together. 

Just like the rest of them do.

They get ready for bed after that, but when the lights go out, they stay awake talking for hours instead of going to sleep. They talk more about their childhoods, Dean tells Cas how his mom got sick and his dad drank himself to death within a year, how he’s always wanted to have the kind of home his mom would feel welcome in and be proud of him for making. How the scent of pie baking always makes him think of his mom, and how even though he never told her, he knows without a doubt that she would’ve supported him for coming out. 

Somehow, that moves them to Lisa, and Dean confesses that it always bothered him knowing in the back of his mind that his mom wouldn’t have liked her as much as he did. She would’ve pretended and she probably never would’ve told him, but as much as Lisa was kind and funny and undeniably cool, his mom was more old-fashioned and wanted somebody who would take care of him. Cas suggests that maybe Lisa would have grown into that role with time, with the maturity that comes with age, and the conversation stops in its tracks when they both realize at the same time that growing up wasn’t a luxury Lisa was allotted. 

He cries then. Just a few tears at first, but he can’t seem to stop once he starts, and with Cas’s strong arms around him and his low voice encouraging him to just let it out, he can’t do anything but. It’s the first time he’s really let himself feel the sharp pain of losing a person he genuinely loved with everything he had at one point, the first time he’s really grieved for Lisa, and who knows how long later when he’s finally out of tears, he feels like a weight has lifted even though nothing has really changed. 

He’s mopped up his face with the blankets, and he’s settled back into Cas’s arms, exhausted in every way possible with just the faintest little bit of embarrassment starting to creep in for falling apart like that when Cas finally speaks.

“When I think of Lisa now, the biggest emotion I feel is gratitude.” Gratitude? “I’m still sorry she’s gone, especially for Liam’s sake, but I hope you don’t think less of me for admitting how thankful I am that she introduced us. Even if this thing between us fades into nothing by this time next week, I know I’ll cherish every moment we had together, and I’ll always know it was because of her.”

It turns out he has a couple tears left over after all, and he closes his eyes with them still wet on his cheeks, and it’s joy and guilt and loss and hope and something that feels a hell of a lot like love all jumbled up inside of him that finally pulls him down and into the sweet relief of sleep.

He wakes up sometime later with Cas’s arm still slung over his shoulders, but there’s a sense of urgency prickling along the back of his neck that has him popping his head up and looking around, which is when he sees a glowing light and Liam standing in the doorway.

“Liam?” he croaks.

“I—I had a bad dream,” Liam answers in a shaky voice. 

“Come ’ere,” Dean says quietly, and Liam pads into the room with Winchester tucked under one arm and the dinosaur night light in the other. He rolls over so he’s facing the window as Liam walks around to his side of the bed and waits beside it. Cas’s arm repositions and pulls him back against his chest, and Dean’s fighting back a smile when he says, “What’s the matter? You wanna talk about it?” Liam shakes his head. “Want me to tuck you in again?” Liam shakes his head again, and he’s officially out of suggestions. “I’m kinda new at this and it’s the middle of the night, so you’re gonna have to give me a hint here, buddy.”

“M-mommy lets me sleep in her bed when I have a bad dream,” Liam says, his voice higher than usual, and Dean’s heart twists when he sees his eyes swimming with tears. “I—I want mommy.”

“I’m so sorry, kid,” he whispers, reaching out to rub his arm when the first big tear spills over and rolls down his round cheek. “I know I’m not her, but do you wanna hop in here with us?”

Liam nods as he climbs into the bed. Liam puts the nightlight on the end table, Dean moves the blankets out of the way for him, and he scoots back a little more against Cas, feeling his arm tightening around him again. Apparently Cas isn’t letting him get too far even in his sleep. Liam settles into the space Dean made for him, his little head resting on his pillow with Winchester held tight against his chest. Dean puts his arm around him, and Liam wiggles closer. Getting the feeling that Liam wants to be held but doesn’t want to ask for it (hell, maybe Liam is his), he shifts so that he’s on his back more and applies gentle pressure until Liam moves all the way into the crook of his arm with only the stuffed monkey between them.

He rubs his back the same way Cas rubs his when he’s falling asleep, and he can literally feel Liam’s body relaxing bit by bit. “Little better?” he wonders.

Liam nods but sniffles, so Dean just keeps rubbing his back. He wishes he was more like Cas, the kind of guy who knew the right thing to say that might help Liam feel better, but all he can do is be here for him. He considers waking Cas up, but Liam seems like he’s calming down and Cas is already the one who gets the least amount of sleep between the two of them, so he doesn’t. Liam’s breaths are soft and rhythmic, and his little body is nice and warm, and it doesn’t take long before his own eyes are struggling to stay open, lulled to sleep from Liam curled up on him and by Cas’s familiar body bracketing his.

“I don’t wanna live s-someplace else,” Liam whines suddenly.

“You don’t have to,” Dean promises, wide awake once again. “You’re ours now, and there’s nothing that could take you away from us.”

“A-at d-daycare...” he stutters.

“That was just a mistake,” Dean tells him. “They didn’t know who Cas was, but they do now. Remember I put his name on those forms so they know? And I asked Jack a whole bunch of times to make sure that daycare knows you can go with me and Cas. Remember how I signed my name on it and made it all official and stuff?” Liam nods, but he can still see fear in his too-blue eyes. “And do you remember what happened when they wouldn’t let you go home with Cas?” he asks. “Who’d they call?”

“You,” Liam responds.

“That’s right. And do you know how fast I got there, buddy? I dropped everything and left work and came to be there for you right away.”

“Super speed?” Liam prompts, a small smile tugging at his lips.

“Super duper speed,” Dean corrects, and there’s a real smile. “And that’s what’s always gonna happen. It’s me, you, and Cas for good now. If Cas can’t be there, I will be, and if I can’t, Cas will be. You got us both on your team now, okay?”

“Two dads,” Liam says, making his heart stop beating altogether. “Like Tommy.”

“The kid with the crying baby sister?” Dean can’t help but ask.

Liam nods, still smiling. Then his face falls. “You and Cas aren’t gonna ‘dopt a baby, are you?”

“Now you’re gonna give me nightmares,” Dean jokes, and to his relief, Liam laughs, loud and uninhibited. “This is a no baby zone.”

“Is that so?” Cas asks from behind him, scaring the life outta him. Cas lifts his head and hooks his chin over Dean’s shoulder. 

“Hi Cas,” Liam says, lighting up.

“Hello, Liam. What’s going on here?”

“Dean sayed I could sleep with you ‘cause I had a bad dream,” Liam responds.

“Now I see how that corresponds to babies,” Cas replies, making Dean smile. “So we’re having a slumber party?”

“‘jama party!” Liam exclaims.

“Sleep party,” Dean insists. “No other party is allowed in my bed at two in the morning.”

“Okay,” Liam sighs.

“You wanna stay here kiddo, or do you wanna go back to your bed?” Dean checks.

“Stay here. I’m sleepy.”

“Me, too,” Dean says, a yawn forcing its way out in perfect timing. “You can wake me up if you have another bad dream, though.”

“Never gonna happen,” Cas says. “Bad dreams are impossible in this bed.”

“Really?” Liam asks.

“Well, I’ve only ever had very good things happen to me here,” Cas replies, and Dean once again has to force back a smile. “I bet it works the same way for you.”

“That’s so cool. I’m gonna have the bestest dreams,” Liam comments hopefully.

“First you gotta close your eyes and stop yapping,” Dean says.

Liam grins but he does close his eyes. “‘night Dean. G’night, Cas.”

“Goodnight, Liam.”

Cas kisses the back of his neck, and this time when he falls asleep, it’s with peace, comfort, and a sense of togetherness surrounding him, leaving no room for anything negative.

He wakes up to the bed dipping behind him and a familiar hand slipping low on his stomach. His cock twitches, which is when he realizes he woke up with morning wood, and when Cas’s lips start traveling along the back of his neck, he makes a contented sound low in his throat. Cas’s stubble is scraping pleasantly along his skin, and he angles his head to give him more space to work with, which is when his alarm goes off.

With it comes a startling clarity.

His eyes pop open, he turns his head side to side wildly to look for Liam, but there’s no sign of him except for the dinosaur night light on his nightstand. He reaches for his alarm to turn it off and then rolls onto his back with a deep sigh, his heart pounding. 

“What’s wrong?” Cas asks.

“Thought I had a boner with the kid in our bed,” Dean explains, and Cas drops his head to Dean’s chest laughing, absolutely losing it. “Oh yeah, real funny for you.”

“I’m sorry,” Cas says, still breathless with his laughter. “Liam and I have been awake since just after seven.”

“I don’t remember you leaving,” Dean says, trying to think back on it.

“We were quiet, and I don’t think you even moved except to roll onto your back and start snoring up a storm. I thought Liam was going to wake you up he was laughing so hard.”

“You’re both hilarious,” he deadpans, stretching. “What’re you doin’ in here anyway?”

“I believe it was implied between all of your brooding yesterday that you liked waking up with me, so I snuck in right before your alarm went off.”

His heart melts, and he brushes his fingers through Cas’s crazy bedhead to give himself time to come up with something to say. When’s the last time somebody cared about him this much? The last time somebody did something sappy sweet like this just to make him happy? He can’t remember, but it doesn’t matter anyway because nobody compares to Cas. 

He tugs Cas in for a soft, lingering kiss that has heat gathering quickly in his groin. He pulls back to kiss along Cas’s jaw, nipping his way across until he finds a spot just behind his ear that makes goosebumps spread along Cas’s arms. “You wanna share a shower?”

“That’s the best idea I’ve heard all day,” Cas says, already rolling away. “I’ll just go tell Liam where to find me if he needs me. Don’t start without me.”

“No promises,” Dean calls out, grinning. He empties his bladder and brushes his teeth, then walks across the hall to turn on the shower. It’s only a few minutes before Cas joins him under the spray, his skin feeling like ice where it presses against him compared to the heat of the hot water. 

“Is this a questionable parenting choice?” Cas asks.

“Leaving a kid alone for ten minutes so we can trade hand jobs in the shower?” Dean asks, shrugging. “Lisa had to shower at some point, right? She was a single mom, so it’s not like there was anybody else there to watch him.”

Cas hums happily, snaking his hands around him to rub over his belly and down to his thighs. “You are so smart,” Cas tells him. He leans his head back on Cas’s shoulder with a lazy smile and Cas’s mouth suckles at his wet skin, already pulling a groan from him before he’s even touched him. 

“I will never get used to how you give yourself to me so completely,” Cas says quietly. “There’s nothing more arousing...” His fingers start moving inwards, through wiry hair towards the place where Dean’s cock is standing hot and heavy. “...more sexy...” One hand moves between his legs to fondle his balls and the other takes him firmly into his grasp and starts stroking exactly how he likes it. “...than how responsive you are every time I touch you.”

“Cas,” Dean sighs, already floating with pleasure.

“Mmm, you do make a good point. My name on your lips—on those lips—is indescribably hot.” Now it’s Dean’s turn to shiver, Cas’s low voice, his talented hands, and the steam from the hot water all combining to overload his senses. It’s almost embarrassing how fast Cas has him on the brink, and he might be able to care later but right now he’s too busy trying to stay standing as Cas uses the knowledge he’s gathered about him so far to have him falling apart in minutes.

“Cas. Cas, fuck. ‘m—’m already close,” he whispers.

“Of course you are. You’re so good for me, Dean,” Cas responds, sending a surge of renewed arousal through him. “You know we don’t have a lot of time and you’re going to come for me now, aren’t you, gorgeous?” 

The hand caressing his balls slips back further between his legs, and as Cas’s fingers circle his furled entrance, he comes like a rocket. He curls forwards as his orgasm hits, only able to stay on his feet because of Cas’s arms holding him up. His knees wobble and air gets caught in his throat, his lungs burning as pleasure continues to zip through him even as he comes and comes and comes. 

It’s one of the best kinds of orgasms that seems to really last, sending spurt after spurt of watery cum dripping over Cas’s fingers, onto the floor of the shower and spiraling down the drain, but the second he can catch his breath he’s turning around and falling to his knees.

“Dean—” But that’s all Cas gets out before Dean swallows him down. “Mother fucker,” Cas gasps, and then those fingers of his are pushing through his hair and getting a firm grip as Dean starts sucking him down again and again. He looks up at Cas through his eyelashes, blinking through the water droplets clinging to them, and hums around the heavy weight of Cas’s cock sliding along his tongue. “Jesus, Dean. You are so gorgeous, so unbelievably gorgeous.”

Dean curls his tongue along Cas’s shaft and sucks, and Cas snaps his hips forwards with a garbled sound of pleasure, forcing his cock deeper into his mouth. He expected to gag, but Cas somehow fits just right, and it spurs him on to try and take him in even deeper. 

“F-fuck,” Cas sputters as he nudges the back of his throat. “You’re doing s-so good. Just try to relax your throat, breathe through your nose.” Dean takes in a deep breath, smelling the sharp tang of sex in the air that has his mouth watering. “There you go. I’m not going to go too far. You can trust me. Stay just how you are.” Cas presses in a little bit deeper, and though his eyes start to water, he does trust Cas. He can do this. He’s okay. “Just like that,” Cas breathes, pulling out to tell him to take a breath and then fucking right back in again and again. “You feel unbelievable, Dean. S-so fucking good.”

Cas takes complete control, talking him through it, telling him when to take a breath, petting through his hair and praising him over and over as he fucks his mouth. Cas keeps pressing a little bit deeper with each thrust until he’s got almost all of him in his mouth, and Dean’s damn near bursting with pride because he’s never been able to stand this before now. 

His jaw’s aching something fierce, and even with the spongy tub floor his knees are starting to hurt, but he’s never seen Cas enjoy something so greedily before. He’s an erotic sight chasing his pleasure the way he is, frantic and breathless but still so carefully gentle, and if Dean were just a few years younger he knows he’d be getting hard a second time just from hearing Cas say his name like this while Cas is forcing his head back by his hair and using his mouth exactly how he wants it. 

His hands slip from Cas’s thick thighs around behind him to get ahold of Cas’s firm ass, which has Cas groaning so low and so dirty that saliva fills his mouth. He swallows instinctively, around the head of Cas’s cock where it’s nestled into his throat, and Cas’s fingers tug hard on his hair. Cas makes some kind of choked-off, surprised sound of pleasure before he shoves him back far enough that when his mouth floods with salty cum a fraction of a second later, he can taste every drop. He savors the bitter reward for his hard work, wraps his lips around the head and sucks, swallowing down pulse after pulse of Cas’s release and suckling and lapping at the crown until Cas pulls away. 

They’re both gasping for air, his throat feels delightfully raw and used, but when Cas pulls him up to his feet and their lips meet, it’s surprisingly soft. Cas pulls away to press his lips to his cheek, his other cheek, and then his forehead, where his lips stay for ages before he says, “You—God, Dean. I don’t know if that was the best blow job I’ve ever had or if I’m actually starting to f—” But then he stops, huffs out a laugh, and tucks him in so Dean’s head is back on his shoulders and his arms come around him. “I think it's safe to say you definitely addled my brains a little bit there.”

“I’ve never—” His voice comes out as a wrecked mess and he has to stop to clear his throat. “Okay, ow,” he complains, getting another quiet chuckle from Cas. “I’ve never done that before.”

Cas inhales sharply, and Dean pulls back to look at his face. “Sorry. Just give me a second to force down my possessive, caveman-like reaction to knowing I have just been where no man has been before.”

Dean hits him with a sideways smile. “Gonna stick a flag in me, Cas? Start banging on your chest, grunting to anybody who looks at me, ‘Him mine!’?”

“Bold of you to assume I don’t already do that when you’re not looking,” Cas quips, and Dean’s helpless to fight against the pull he feels to kiss him again. 

Once their lips part, he confesses, “No point. I only got eyes for you, Cas." 

The kiss they share after that is tender. It's several minutes of lips and tongues sliding together, their bodies slotted against one another like they were made to fit just like this, and though it kills him to pull away, he knows he has to or he’s going to be late. 

“Gotta actually shower,” Dean says reluctantly.

“You’re so high maintenance,” Cas teases, but then he’s treated to Cas’s truly magical hands working his shampoo into his hair and his body wash into a lather on his skin. By the time they’re both cleaned up and Cas wraps him in a big fluffy towel, he feels like he’s walking on clouds. He can’t imagine starting his day in a better way, and he still has breakfast and dropping Liam off at daycare to look forward to, which he actually enjoyed doing yesterday. 

Before they leave the bathroom, he makes sure to pull Cas in for a long hug, twining their fingers together when they break apart, and looking straight into his eyes. He feels something significant but unidentifiable resonate somewhere soul-deep inside of him, and honestly, fuck his blush for creeping up now after everything they just did in the shower. Despite it, he powers through, dropping his eyes to the bruise on Cas’s collarbone instead of his face in order to actually talk. 

“Thanks for wakin’ up with me,” he murmurs shyly. 

“Oh, Dean,” Cas sighs softly, pulling his hand to place it over his heart again. 

They walk across the hall, and once Dean’s in the bedroom, Cas calls, “Everything okay out there, Liam?”

“Yup!” Liam responds. “Just playin’.”

They get dressed, and a few minutes later they walk out towards the kitchen for Dean to have his coffee and breakfast. Liam’s on the couch playing with something in his lap, and Dean says, “Morning, kiddo. Did you eat already? I was thinkin’ of making French Toast.”

“He ate already,” Cas answers for him. 

“But I love French Toast!” Liam whines.

“Tomorrow, then,” Dean promises, grabbing a bowl for cereal. 

“Hey Cas?” Liam asks. “How come these balloons taste yucky?”

“What?” Dean asks before Cas can answer. “What’d you buy balloons for?”

“I didn’t,” Cas says, exchanging a confused glance with Dean. 

They both walk around the couch, and when Dean sees the condoms scattered all over the leather couch, he immediately slams two hands over his mouth and turns around, hysterical laughter bubbling up and coming out in a snort behind his hand.

“What?” Liam asks, and jesus christ, he wishes he had the willpower to turn around to look at the expression on Cas’s face, but just the idea has another unattractive snort of laughter spilling out and he knows he is absolutely not mature enough to handle this. 

“Those are—” He can hear the laughter Cas is trying to hold in and it sets him off again, which is when he feels a pillow connect with the back of his head, and that’s it. He fucking loses it. He folds over he’s laughing so hard, and he has to grab onto the arm of the couch as tears start streaming down his face. “They’re not balloons. They’re mine, and I just forgot I put them there. Go wash your hands and I’ll clean them up, okay?”

“Okay,” Liam responds.

It's only once he hears the water start running down the hall that he turns around to face Cas, and they both dissolve into laughter instantly. He hasn’t laughed this hard in years, and when Cas actually falls to the ground because he’s laughing so hard, Dean has the insane thought that there’s nobody else in the fucking world he’d rather fumble through this parenting shit with than him.

Chapter Text

“Would you calm the hell down?” Jo asks.

“What?” Dean says, though he knows exactly what. 

Jo’s hand on her hip tells him she knows it, too. “You’ve been pacing for an hour, and you still have twenty minutes to go.”

“I’m nervous, gimme a break!”

“You’re being ridiculous,” Jo tells him, not for the first time. “You already know he likes you! You like him, you smile like a drunken idiot every time he texts you, and you live with the guy. He already knows you have the table manners of a frat boy.”

“Yeah, so you know why I wanna lock him down before he figures out he can do better.”

Jo gives him a look that says, “Oh please,” without having to actually say it. “What’re you still doing here then?”

Dean raises his eyebrows in a silent question. “You just said I still got twenty minutes.”

“How do you usually try to impress your dates when you take them out?”

“With my car,” Dean answers, then stops pacing as that sinks in. He smiles over at Jo, who’s smiling back knowingly. “Thanks, Jo. I’ll be back—”

“Just go have fun. You’re the boss, come back whenever.”

He hadn’t been planning to pick Cas up, but he never shows up empty handed for a date, and even though he’s technically showing up at his own house, he’s still not going to start today. Not with Cas. He makes one quick stop on his way to fix that, and then he’s pulling into his own driveway with a smile on his face and nerves making his cheeks pink before he even gets out of the car. He feels like an idiot standing in front of his own door in jeans with white paint on the hip and a black and white checkered flannel with a hole in the pocket for a date, but Cas told him not to change, and so he musters up a smile and knocks.

It’s only a few seconds before Cas pulls the door open, and Dean almost misses Cas’s look of confusion all together because instead of dressing up for their date, Cas dressed down. He’s in a light pair of jeans that cling to his muscular thighs like another layer of skin and a navy v-neck t-shirt that’s low enough to show a hint of chest hair. Though he’s seen Cas in button-downs and polos and even bee pajama pants, he’s never seen him in just a t-shirt and jeans and it’s incredibly distracting. He knows exactly what Cas looks like under that t-shirt, how to touch him and where to drag his lips to get a quiet sigh or a low groan, and that’s all he can think about now that the shirt is highlighting every inch of his muscular torso.

“Dean? What are you doing here?” Cas asks, pulling his mind back to the matter at hand.

“Here to pick you up for our date,” Dean replies. “You look unbelievably hot, by the way.”

Cas shakes his head a little, smiling fondly. “I doubt that, but I didn’t want you to feel underdressed.”

That might be one of the sweetest things he’s ever heard, which means it’s the perfect time to pull the flowers out from behind his back to even out the playing field a little bit. “These are for you.” He hands them over with a shy smile on his face, blushing harder than ever when Cas’s eyes turn soft. 

“You didn’t have to do this,” Cas says softly, but his expression says otherwise. He looks like he’s never been given flowers a day in his life, and for a guy who’s as sweet as Cas is, that’s just not gonna fly. Cas deserves to be spoiled every bit as much as Cas spoils him.

“Thought they kinda looked like little sunflowers. Made me think of what you said the other day before bed.”

Cas places his hand over his heart and buries his nose in the flowers. “They’re gerbera daisies, and they’re beautiful. Thank you.” Then he shoots a lopsided smile at him, and asks, “Do you have a vase somewhere I could put these in?”

Dean chuckles at the hilarity of the question. “Yeah, it’s in the cupboard next to the garbage can. But they have little glass thingies on the stems so you don’t have to do that right away.”

“I forgot we’re on the clock,” Cas says, gently placing the flowers on the little table in the hallway. “I can deal with that when I get back then.”

“Are you ready?”

“Do I look ready?” Cas asks, holding his hands out to the side.

Dean has to actively try not to swallow his tongue. “If you looked any readier I’d be tryin’ to talk you into staying here.”

Cas’s smile flashes in time with the spark in his eyes. “Do you come on to all your dates before they even step out of the house?”

“Nah, but none of them were as hot as you.”

Cas shakes his head again while he closes the door behind him, and then they’re walking hand-in-hand towards Baby. “If you’re always this smooth on dates, I don’t know how you were still single when I came around.”

Dean shoots him a grin while he pulls the door open for him. “Just waitin’ for you, doc.”

“Very funny,” Cas replies dryly, but his eyes are shining with laughter. “I hate to admit it because I’m afraid it’s only going to inflate your ego when it comes to this,” Cas says once Dean gets in the other side. “But I really, really love this car.” His thick fingers run over the leather seat and Dean’s mouth turns dry as dust. “She’s very sleek and sexy, and the way you look behind the wheel is... unfair, frankly.”

Dean feels warm all over, and purposely looks down at his lap. “Jeez Cas, I think you just gave me a chubby.”

Cas huffs out a laugh that has Dean feeling damn proud of himself when he puts Baby in reverse and heads towards the restaurant. The short drive is filled with Cas telling him about going to the post office to have all of his mail forwarded to Dean’s and how he flat-out laughed at the clerk when she asked if they were brothers considering they don’t have the same last name.

Dean’s still snickering about it when they walk into the restaurant, which is boasting a gay pride sticker in the window (and is exactly why he chose to come here). “I swear, some people are so heteronormative they wouldn’t see a gay couple if they walked in on us slobbing each other’s knobs.”

Cas screws his face up, and Dean’s already beaming at his reaction before he says anything. “The way you have with words is inspiring. Truly.” In fact, he’s feeling pretty good about everything so far when the hostess greets them. They’re shown to a table, and when Dean gets in across from Cas and the hostess gives them their menus, Cas says, “Why don’t you come over here and sit with me?”

“What?” Dean asks, laughing a little at the suggestion.

“I get an extra hour with you today, I don’t want you all the way over there.” When Dean hesitates, Cas sticks his bottom lip out a little and he might as well be a fish on a hook for how easily he’s reeled in. “Come on. This is a gay-friendly place in Kansas. I can actually kiss you here.”

Dean rolls his eyes for show, but honestly, he has no complaints about moving next to Cas, especially not when Cas’s hand finds a place on his knee almost as soon as he settles in. He glances over at him and sees Cas’s genuinely happy, easy smile and wonders briefly how much being able to be close in public matters to him. He decides to ask, because that seems like it would be important if they keep going out, which he really fucking hopes they do.

“You’re a PDA kinda guy, huh?” he asks.

Cas shrugs one shoulder and bounces his head side to side like he’s debating the question. “I never really thought about it before, but there’s something very compelling about people knowing that we’re here together.”

“Little possessive?” Dean wonders, purposely keeping his tone of voice light and non judgemental. 

“I can only assume that everyone who sees you wants you,” Cas explains. “And I want you, so.” He shrugs, as if that finishes his sentence. 

“Dude, not everybody who sees me wants me,” Dean assures him.

Cas lifts his eyebrows. “Agree to disagree,” he says smoothly. “You might not see the way people look at you, but I do, and I’m not sharing you again.”

Dean’s lips curve into a smile at that, and he opens up his menu to actually take a look as he responds. “Pretty ballsy for a first date, Cas.”

“Something tells me it’s not the most forward anybody’s been on a first date with you.”

That makes him laugh, because Cas is totally right. “That’s true, actually. I’ve had more than my fair share of nightmares disguised as first dates.”

Their waitress comes over then, and they both place their orders for drinks but tell her they haven’t really looked at the menu yet. She says she’ll give them a few more minutes and disappears again.

“So is that what you’re going to tell the next guy you date about being out with me? That this was a nightmare?” Cas wonders, and Dean’s expression sours immediately.

Going out with somebody else would mean it didn’t work out with Cas, and what that could mean about having Liam in his life has his throat closing up. Thankfully he’s saved from trying to come up with a decent response because Cas catches on right away. He must have been watching him.

“Shit, that was stupid. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean for it to come out like that. It was just meant to be a teasing question so you’d tell me you were having fun so far, but it came out sounding like I’m waiting for you to move on to the next person and that is absolutely not what I meant.”

He breathes a little easier after that. “‘s okay, just set me back for a second.”

“Can I just come right out and get something off my chest?” Dean nods, still trying to collect himself. “I was really nervous before we got here and now that I know I already fucked up, I honestly feel like I might throw up.”

Dean turns to him sharply to check his expression for clues about whether he’s joking or not. Now that Cas has admitted it, he can see that he’s a little bit more pale than usual, and come to think of it, that story about the post office did seem weirdly rehearsed. 

“You’re nervous?” he echoes, not fully able to believe him even now. 

Cas takes a deep breath and nods. “Other than that meeting at the lawyer’s office, this might be the most nervous I’ve ever been. I wanted you to come sit with me hoping that being close to you would calm me down the way it usually does.”

Okay, that’s adorable. “Cas. Doc,” he says gently. “You have nothin’ to be nervous about. You can’t possibly fuck this up.”

“I already almost did once,” Cas argues. 

“Well, yeah—” Cas’s shoulders slump a little, reminding him so much of Liam that he wants to make it better fast enough that he doesn’t have a chance to think about what he’s saying before he says it. “But only because I’m so into you that the idea of not bein’ with you makes me want to throw up.”

Cas’s blue eyes lift from his menu to his, and as it sinks in what he just said, his blush spreads like wildfire. He can also see the hope beaming at him from Cas’s eyes, and while he’s not exactly sorry for what he said, he does wish he’d said it with a little more finesse.

“So yeah,” Dean says, clearing his throat moronically while he looks back down at the menu. “You don’t have to be nervous. Hell, you’re so calm and collected all the time, I didn’t even know you could get nervous.”

“You should’ve seen me going to pick up Liam yesterday,” Cas says quietly. “I was shaking like a leaf the whole way there thinking they weren’t going to let me take him again.”

“Cas,” Dean says, quietly surprised. “I told you when I dropped him off I checked with Alex again just in case. You said you were good.”

“I didn’t want you to worry all day,” Cas tells him.

“Okay, no.” He speaks firmly now and angles his body more towards Cas. “That’s not how this works. You don’t get to take care of me all the time if you won’t let me take care of you, too.”

“You have enough on your plate as it is.”

“I don’t care if my plate is piled to the roof—”

“As it usually is,” Cas teases.

He elbows him but doesn’t let it stop what he wanted to say. “There’s always gonna be room for you.”

“You’re already doing so much. Sharing your home with me, dropping Liam off every morning, leaving work all last week to deal with everything. You had an anxiety attack less than a week ago because there’s so much going on right now. I don’t want you to worry about me, too.”

“I don’t care,” Dean insists. “Me and Sam work for ourselves, which means I’m my own boss and I’m weeks ahead on the house I’m finishing off this week. If I needed to leave early yesterday to go sit in the parking lot so you knew you had backup if you needed it when you went to go pick Liam up, I would’ve done that in a heartbeat. Would’ve done it happily in a heartbeat for you.”

The corners of Cas’s lips tip up into a smile. “I’m starting to get the feeling that you might care about me almost as much as I care about you.”

He’s actually not a big fan of PDA, especially in Kansas, but because he feels like Cas needs it, he leans in to brush their lips together. It’s brief, meant to be comforting, and he leaves his hand on Cas’s face for a few seconds once they break apart just so he can sweep his thumb over his cheek. “What was your first clue?” 

“Your cheeks turning adorably pink after you told me you never want us to break up,” Cas says, and fuck him very much for bringing that up again.

“Think you better get your ears cleaned out, old man, ‘cause that is so not what I said,” he replies, moving his hand away and once again focusing on the menu.

“Might as well have,” Cas says in a sing-song tone of voice, and now he’s officially blushing so hard he can feel the tips of his ears burning.

He chooses not to answer in favor of letting the subject drop, but can’t really hide his smile when Cas’s hand returns to his thigh under the table. He feels more comfortable now that he knows they’re both nervous, fumbling, insecure idiots together. Knowing that Cas doesn’t want to screw this up either has put him at ease, and by the time the waitress returns with their drinks, he feels relaxed enough to gag under his breath over the cobb salad that Cas orders. He orders himself a BLT with extra bacon and fries, and tells the waitress, “Thanks, sweetheart,” with a wink that has her giggling as she walks away and Cas looking at him curiously. “What?” he asks.

“How come you flirt with her like it’s second nature for you but you can’t with me?” Cas asks.

“You just called me smooth, like, twenty minutes ago,” Dean reminds him.

“And you were smooth, for you. But you were also blushing the whole time.”

“Wish I knew,” Dean responds honestly. “It’s just somethin’ about you, man. I never had that problem with anybody else.”

“Really?” Cas asks, sounding interested and surprised.

“Seriously. I wanted to kill myself every time you looked at me and I blushed for at least the first two days after you moved in,” Dean admits, smiling wryly. “Now it’s usually only once or twice a day.”

Cas laughs quietly, looking pleased by that. “I’m glad, but I selfishly hope you don’t get used to me entirely. I love your pink cheeks almost as much as I love your lips.”

Knowing how obsessed Cas is with his lips has him teasing, “That much, huh?”

“I’m afraid so,” Cas responds, feigning disappointment. “You just constantly switch between being so adorable all I want to do is wrap you up in blankets, pet your hair, and kiss your red cheeks, and so hot I can hardly look at you without having inappropriate thoughts.”

Dean shoots him a grin. “I’ve thought pretty much the exact same thing about you.”

“You have not,” Cas argues, but his eyes are dancing with laughter.

“Swear to god.”

“Why were we both so nervous about coming here again?” Cas wonders, smiling one of those nose-scrunching smiles of his.

“There!” Dean says, pointing at his face. “That smile right there when you have little nose crinkles? Hand to god the cutest thing I’ve ever seen in my fucking life.” And then, to his absolute pleasure, Cas blushes, and it’s his turn to swoop in and press a smacking kiss to his rosy cheeks. 

Cas shoves him away lightly, smiling the whole time. “Stop it.”

“You’re not the only one who has the urge to kiss adorable pink cheeks, you know.”

“Okay, cut it out. You’re being too nice. It’s throwing me off.”

“Too nice, huh?” Dean asks, wondering what that says about him. “Sounds like I need to take you out more often.”

“Are you telling me you want a second date already?” Cas asks.

“Yeah,” Dean answers, not even needing to think about it.

“How about a third?” Cas challenges.

“Sounds good to me.”

“Fourth?”

Dean laughs. “If you’re trying to hit my limit, we’re gonna be here a while.”

“The idea of ten dates doesn’t freak you out?”

He shakes his head. “Not ten dates with you.”

Cas knocks their shoulders together, drawing his gaze towards him. “You must really like me.”

Dean reaches for a drink of his soda, not wanting to look directly at him when he responds. “Don’t let it go to your head.” He takes a drink, then asks, “How you feelin’ now? Little less nervous?”

“Much less.”

“Good. Though it made me feel less nervous knowing you were nervous, too,” Dean admits.

“So you’re telling me you find comfort in my discomfort,” Cas says.

“You make me sound like a dick when you say it like that,” Dean laughs. “I don’t know. You help whenever I’m freaking out, so I guess I spring into action when you’re freaking out.”

Cas’s hand moves from where it’s been on his leg to find his hand instead, lacing their fingers together. “I noticed that about us, too. We’re good together.” Dean nods, agreeing wholeheartedly. “I know it’s only been four days, but I feel like we’re getting into a good rhythm with Liam, too.”

That’s a safer subject than talking about the two of them, so he’s happy to dive into it. “Yeah. I was worried when he had that nightmare Monday night, but I didn’t hear him last night.”

“Me neither. I was worried he was going to want to sleep in our bed every night,” Cas tells him. “But he didn’t even ask.”

“I probably scared him away with my snoring,” Dean jokes, which gets a knowing laugh from Cas. 

“It is pretty scary. Though either you’re getting better or I’m getting used to it, because I don’t remember you waking me up at all last night.”

“Can’t believe you haven’t kicked my ass out to the couch yet,” Dean says.

Cas’s eyes widen. “As the guest in the house, I didn’t realize I had that power.”

“I’m gonna regret this, but in my experience, anybody putting out in a relationship has that power.”

Cas leans over and brushes the flat of his nose behind Dean’s ear. “Then I suspect I have more power than most.”

Cas’s breath is warm on his skin and it causes goosebumps to pop up along his arms. “Not my fault I can’t keep you off of me,” Dean replies, tongue in cheek as he shrugs Cas away.

“I beg to differ, but I don’t think either of us are complaining.”

“Hell no,” Dean confirms. He takes another drink to try to keep his mind out of the gutter, and then, since there’s a small lull in the conversation, he brings up something he’s been thinking about for a few days. “Hey, what’s on the menu for dinner Friday?”

“I was thinking homemade french fries and corn dogs if that’s okay?”

“Sounds amazing,” Dean says genuinely, trying to dredge up the courage to steer this the way he wants it to go. “I was kinda wondering about inviting Sam over for dinner. You think Liam would be okay with that?”

“I don’t know,” Cas answers, his eyebrows drawn together. “We’ve never seen him with new people other than us before.”

That’s what he was afraid of, too. “But even with us, he warmed up pretty quick, don’t you think?”

“That’s true.”

“I don’t want to rush him,” Dean tells him. “It’s just that Sam’s been asking, and, well, we used to do dinner together a few times a week before you moved in.”

Cas pulls back and looks at him in surprise. “You never said anything.” 

Dean shrugs, not wanting him to think it’s his fault or a big deal when it’s really not. “We were both alone, you know, so it made sense to hang out together. I’ve got you guys now, but he’s just sitting home alone every night.”

“We should invite him, then,” Cas says immediately. “I hope I didn’t make you feel like he couldn’t come over just because I was there.”

“We were all settling in. He gets it,” Dean assures him. “Do you have enough weiners for everybody?”

“Sounds like a personal question for a first date,” Cas quips, and it’s such a bad joke that there’s a groan mixed in with his laughter.

“That was terrible.”

“You laughed!”

“It was a pity laugh,” Dean insists.

“I’m not above taking that. And yes, I have enough for Sam, too. Well, actually... does he eat like you do?”

“Quantity wise, yeah, but he eats a lot more healthy crap than I do.” He squints, considering for the first time that Cas and Sam have this in common. “Kinda like you, actually.”

“You’ll really be outnumbered when I make coleslaw then,” Cas says with a smile.

“No, I actually eat that if it’s good.” Cas raises his eyebrows and he quickly adds, “Which it will be, since you made it,” with a cheesy smile. 

“Mmhmmm. Who’s responsible for training you that well, by the way?”

“Probably Lisa,” Dean answers. His heart clenches just from mentioning her, but he knows he needs to get over that so that he can talk freely about Liam’s mom in front of him, so he powers through. “She was great about that kinda stuff. She was always really easy going, but she wouldn’t let an accidental dig slide completely. She used to do the same kinda thing you just did, actually. One look and I’d know to go back over what I just said out loud and fix it,” he chuckles, remembering it fondly. 

“Another thing I owe her for,” Cas comments, prompting him to smile sadly. “Sometimes Liam does things that remind me of her. Just certain looks that I can’t even explain.”

Dean nods, having experienced that himself. “Yeah. When he’s mad, he looks just like her. I’ve already been preconditioned to fear that expression, so I gotta work on that.” Cas squeezes his hand and Dean says, “And the uh, easy peasy lemon squeezy, thing? That was her, too. She used to say that all the damn time. Used to drive me nuts ‘cause it doesn’t even make sense, you know? Then Liam said it this morning after I put the dots on his shoes to help him learn the right feet. Damn near knocked me on my ass.”

“I can imagine.” He takes another drink to mask how he always feels vulnerable when he mentions Lisa, but of course, Cas doesn’t let it go. “I still think you’re dealing with all of this admirably.”

“We both know that ain’t true,” Dean says, his face starting to feel warm at the reminder of how he fell apart on Cas a few days ago.

“If that blush is about the other night, I’m about to be very annoyed with you.” Dean shifts his eyes away and Cas says, “Dean.” It’s that low tone of voice that does things to him and it’s totally unfair for him to use it on him like this, purposely or not. “I don’t think any less of you for grieving your ex-girlfriend, come on.”

“Still didn’t have to do it all over you like a blubbering mess,” Dean says.

“I figured it was going to come out sooner or later. Honestly, I’m glad it was like that instead of you internalizing it until it got to be too much like it did that other time. Much less scary for me to hold you when you’re crying than to see you struggling to breathe.”

That’s a good point. He’d rather cry than scare Cas or freak out again, too. “I guess,” he relents.

“And not to make it all about me, but it made me feel closer to you,” Cas says quietly. “I feel like things shifted a little bit that night.”

Dean nods, both unable and unwilling to deny that. “They did. The sex alone...” He whistles lowly. “Don’t know that anybody’s made me feel like that in bed.”

“How did you feel?” Cas asks.

Loved.

He ducks his head and looks at the table, his cheeks burning. “Fuck, this is embarrassing. Hell, I’d rather go back and talk about how I cried on your shoulder some more.”

“Nice try,” Cas laughs. “Just tell me. If it was good and you liked it, I want to do it again.”

“I liked it,” he admits quietly. “A lot.”

“Okay, now I’m really curious,” Cas says. “Just give me one word. One word to describe how you felt and I’ll let it go. I won’t even comment on it. I already had about a dozen things prepared to talk about so I’m ready to change the subject as soon as you tell me.”

He’s not brave or stupid enough to actually say loved. He tries other variations in his head: adored, cared for, cherished, but they all sound corny as fuck and he’s not going there, either. So he says the closest thing he can think of that doesn’t make him want to crawl under the table.

“Important.”

Cas keeps his word and doesn’t say anything, but he finds himself pulled into eye contact, like two magnets automatically drawn to one another, and because there’s nothing but kindness and affection in Cas’s eyes, he takes a quiet breath and forces himself to relax again. Cas isn’t judging him, not even for sobbing like a little girl and snotting all over his shoulder, and as much as it’s out of his comfort zone opening up to somebody the way he just did, he can’t ignore that each time he has so far, it’s brought them closer together. 

And he likes feeling close to Cas. It’s nice to know he has somebody in his corner other than his brother and Jo. It’s nice to have somebody to bitch to when he has a bad day, somebody who texts him funny memes and ridiculous selfies throughout the work day, somebody who cares enough about his well-being to make him paper bag lunches every day, for god’s sake.

That’s when their food shows up, and as subject changes go, he couldn’t ask for anything better. He’s pretty sure he was giving Cas a serious case of the heart eyes for a few seconds there, and he doesn’t want to freak him out by letting him know just how much he likes him. Not on a first date, anyway.

Thankfully, things lighten up after that. Cas wasn’t joking about having a subject change ready, and as usual, a stupid Tweet from Donald Trump has Cas scrolling through the replies to read in order to make him laugh. Dean asks him what other topics he had prepared to talk about, and Cas rattles off such an extensive list that he’s laughing so hard he’s in tears by the end. By the time they’re both finished eating, he’s pretty sure it’s safe to say there’s not a hint of nerves left between the two of them, and he hopes Cas feels like he’s having lunch with a really hot best friend he wants to snuggle and bang in equal measure the same way he does. 

Everything is going without a hitch until there’s a small scuffle when the bill arrives and Cas tries to take it, but Dean holds his ground for once.

“We always split everything!” Cas insists.

“No way,” Dean declines. “Typical date rules apply here.”

“Which are?”

“Whoever does the asking pays. I asked you out, so I’m buying.”

“Does it count as being asked out when the guy races through it so fast you can’t even tell what he’s saying at first?” Cas asks, his head tilted to the side.

“Fuck you,” Dean tosses back, which has Cas laughing with his nose crinkled up. “You try asking out the guy you’re living with!”

“You’re just full of good ideas today.” Cas straightens up, turns towards him, and very seriously asks, “Dean, would you like to go out with me next week? Another lunch date, maybe?”

“No,” Dean says dryly, and to his relief, Cas cracks up laughing all over again. 

“Too bad, you already agreed to ten dates with me,” Cas reminds him. “No take backs.”

Dean laughs at that. “What are you, twelve?”

Instead of taking the bait and getting into another squabble, Cas puts his arm around him. He has no idea how he fits perfectly under the crook of Cas’s shoulder since he’s bigger than Cas, but he does, and he secretly loves it. “I think I’m having the best date I’ve ever been on.”

“Yeah?” Dean asks, his mouth quirking into a smile without his permission.

“Yes,” Cas confirms.

“Have you been on a lot of dates?” Dean wonders.

“I think the closest thing is when we went to the Roadhouse,” he says, his eyes sparkling with amusement.

“Man, you got lucky on your first ever not date?” 

“I’ve been told I’m irresistible.”

“Well, I gotta go back to work after this, but if I didn’t, you should probably know you’d be two for two.”

Cas’s smile is totally different now. That top cupid bow lip of his has pulled into something suggestive and seductive, and between one second and the next, the light, playful air between them heats up and charges with physical attraction.

“You flatter me,” Cas says. His voice is quiet and low, with just a hint of the huskiness he knows by now means that Cas is turned on, and it has the unavoidable triggering reaction of getting him right there with his date.

He’s so caught up in the heat in Cas’s eyes, he blurts out the first thing that comes to mind. “You make it easy, doc.”

“You’re one to talk,” Cas flirts, gazing at him so softly now it makes the butterflies in his stomach take flight again. “If you keep looking at me like that you’re going to make it a very long seven hours until Liam goes to bed tonight.”

Dean grins wolfishly at that. “You counting down or something?”

“Can you blame me?”

“Not a bit,” Dean says honestly, turning his attention to the waitress who has returned to take his payment. Cas tries to protest again but Dean puts an end to that by handing over his card. 

They walk out hand-in-hand, the same way they walked in, and Dean shoots Cas another cheesy smile when he opens the door for him. He gets in his side, and Cas asks, “What are the chances you’d let me drive her someday?”

He tsks out an automatic laugh, but once he sees Cas looking at him quizzically, he realizes resistance is futile when it comes to Cas. “Probably pretty good, actually.”

“Really?” Cas asks, sounding surprised. “I thought you’d be one of those macho guys who says ‘nobody drives my car but me.’”

“I am.” He backs out of the parking spot and makes his way to the light before he finishes. “But if you can get me to eat salad with one look from those baby blues, I’m not dumb enough to think I’m gonna be able to say no to you for much else.”

“In that case, I have something I was wanting to discuss over lunch that I couldn’t find a good time to bring up,” Cas says. 

His voice doesn’t come out teasing, though. In fact, there’s something about Cas’s tone that has him bracing for whatever he’s going to say next. “A good something or a bad something?”

“I’m hoping you’ll think it’s good, but it is a lot to ask.”

“Okay, well, spit it out before I can think of all the bad things you might be gettin’ ready to tell me until I’m all worked up and crash my car.”

“It’s about Liam’s paternity.” Dean feels his stomach drop into his ass. “Remember we talked about it on the weekend and I said we should really get it done, but you said you didn’t want it to change anything between us because you thought things were going well?” Dean nods, pulling carefully into traffic with sweaty hands. “I’ve been thinking about that, and I think you’re right.”

“You think it’s going well between us, too?” Dean checks. He sees Cas nod in his peripheral vision and replies, “That’s definitely a good something.”

“Right,” Cas agrees. “And the more I thought about it, the more I realized I also don’t want anything to change between us. So, like I said, I know it’s a lot to ask, but how do you feel about tabling the whole paternity thing for now?”

“Like, not find out?”

“For now,” Cas repeats. “I think it’s safe to say we’re both already emotionally attached to Liam, and though it’s unlikely, I don’t want to see either of us pull away at all if we learn for sure who he belongs to.”

“He needs us both.”

“Yes!” Cas says passionately. “I couldn’t agree more.”

“He’s gonna keep asking though,” Dean says. “He already asked once and then said having us taking care of him was like having two dads.”

“When did he say that?”

“Middle of the night after his nightmare. I didn’t correct him because I didn’t want to get him going when he was already upset, and I didn’t really know how to bring it up to you without making it awkward.”

“Well, would it be so bad?” Cas asks.

“What?”

“If he called us both dad.”

Dean lets out a long breath, trying to take the extra few seconds to think logically instead of emotionally. “I know we said we wouldn’t go our separate ways after the year’s up, but if we let him do that—call us both dad—then we really need to commit to that. I’m talkin’ like, shared legal custody, no matter who’s the biological dad. Because he’s already lost one parent, and I am not going to be responsible for him losing another one.”

Cas makes a quiet sound of contemplation that has his nerves making a very real comeback. “If he’s yours, you would agree to that? Sharing custody with me even though I have no biological connection to him?”

“Well, Lisa left him to you, too. If that’s what she wanted, then yeah. Who the hell am I to go against what she wanted for her own son?”

There’s a beat of silence, and then Cas is the one who acknowledges the elephant in the room. “What if we’re not together in a year? What if you find somebody else who wants to be his other dad down the road?”

Though the thought makes his insides squirm uncomfortably, he’s already thought about this and he knows the answer. “Then Liam gets to have three dads.” Cas huffs out a soft laugh, but he’s not joking. “I mean it. As far as I’m concerned, if we go in this direction then we’re both in for life, no matter who or what comes along after the year is up. So it’s the same as if we adopted him together and then break up. He gets both of us and both of whoever we end up with, no questions asked.”

“Okay,” Cas says quietly, sliding his hand onto his knee. “I don’t know if I’m ready to suggest that he could call us both dad if he wants to right this second, but I think that’s the direction I’d like to move in if that’s okay with you.”

Dean nods, and then there’s only the soft music of Led Zeppelin filling the car for a few minutes while his mind spins like a top. They’re really doing this. Really committing to being here for Liam forever, which, in a round-about way, leads to the two of them having to deal with each other forever, too. 

“Did we really just agree to be in each other’s lives forever, no matter what, on our first date?”

“It seems that way,” Cas says, sounding amused. “I didn’t mean for the end of our lunch to take such a serious turn. I’m sorry if it ruined it.”

“Ruined it?” Dean echoes, contemplating that. He shrugs his shoulders, twisting his hands on the leather of the steering wheel. “I dunno that it’s a bad thing. Just heavy.”

“Should I offer road head to lighten the mood?”

As forced as the joke was, it brings a small smile to his face nonetheless. “Maybe we can give that a try in your hunk of junk someday, but not in my Baby.”

“Maybe I should try to make balloons out of condoms.”

That gets a genuine laugh out of him. “Jesus, that was still the funniest thing I’ve ever seen.”

“I guess sex on the couch is out of the—oh my god! I can’t believe I almost forgot to tell you!”

“Tell me what?” Dean asks, wondering where the hell he could possibly be going with this after that segue. 

“Remember when we went to Planned Parenthood and they told us we would get our results in 7-10 days? Today was seven days, so I checked the app today, and guess who’s officially STD-free?”

“Seriously?” Dean asks. “Considering we’ve been swapping blow jobs without condoms, gotta say, that’s a relief.”

“Yeah, for you,” Cas says pointedly, and Dean laughs as he pulls into the driveway.

“Good point. I’ll download the app when I get to work and check if my results are in.”

“You could use the app on my phone?”

“You’re that curious, huh?” Dean asks. 

“Anxious, more like.”

Dean frowns, not following. “Anxious because...?”

“Because then if we’re both clean and you’re okay with it, we could have sex without condoms.”

He sucks in a sharp breath as arousal flashes hot and fast. Thoughts of Cas being inside of him with nothing between them, of Cas being the only person to come inside of him, to actually really be able to feel it the second he topples over the edge... it’s all really fucking hot.  

“I’ve never, y’know,” he gestures, “with a guy.”

“Me neither. It’s a very appealing thought to share that with you.”

“Gimme your phone,” Dean says, and Cas is smiling knowingly when he hands it over. Dean types in the required information, Cas shows him where to click, and then...

He looks over at Cas with a mixture of fear and nerves. “Mine aren’t on here yet.”

Cas looks surprised for a half a second before he schools his face into a more natural expression. “Well, I went in first, so maybe they haven’t gotten yours back yet.”

“Yeah, but I went in twenty minutes after you. We’ve been out for more than an hour, and you said yours were on there this morning,” Dean points out. “Oh my god, what if I have something wrong with my dick!?”

“As somebody currently very well acquainted with your dick, I can guarantee you there’s nothing wrong with it,” Cas says, taking his phone back. “There could be a million reasons why your results aren’t in yet.”

“I just hope I didn’t get you well acquainted with gonorrhea,” Dean mumbles.

“Dean,” Cas huffs. “I’m sure you don’t have anything. I can keep checking during the day and let you know when it updates if you want.”

Considering he doesn’t have any other choice, he relents with a sad sounding, “Yeah, alright.”

“It could’ve been worse,” Cas offers, giving his knee a quick reassuring squeeze.

“Coulda been positive for something,” Dean agrees. Then his lips twitch when he thinks, “Imagine if it was? That’d be one hell of a story to tell Liam about our first date.”

“I think we already have the monopoly on embarrassing stories seeing as how we met,” Cas points out, and Dean actually snorts with laughter. 

“Seriously though, think about learning that’s how your parents met?” He screws his face up into one of disgust and Cas laughs, then pats his knee once more. 

“As fun as this has been, I should probably let you get back to work.”

“I’ll walk you in,” Dean insists, getting out of the car. Cas is too fast for him to get around to get his door open in time, but he holds it open for him while he gets out and closes it behind him anyway. “Never thought I’d walk a date to my own door,” Dean says to fill the silence. 

“Have you been walked in here before?” Cas asks. 

“Couple of times. It was a lot more awkward than this, though, ‘cause I knew there was no way I was kissing them and I could tell they were hoping.”

“How do you shut them down?” Cas wonders.

“You’re not looking for tips, are ya?” Dean teases. 

“As if I’d ever say no to a kiss from you.”

That makes him smile, and he waits until they approach the front door before he responds. “I usually just offer my hand for a handshake before they can make a move. Kinda go, ‘It was really nice meeting you. I’m glad we got a chance to know each other better.’” Then he holds out his hand with a friendly smile like he has countless times before, and Cas’s eyebrows shoot up. 

“Yes. I would say that would be a very clear signal that the date didn’t go well enough to try for a kiss.” Cas steps into his space then, so that there’s only a few inches between them, and his voice sounds deliciously low when he speaks again. “Do you have any moves for when the date does go well?”

“Been a while,” Dean admits quietly. “But I’m pretty sure it went somethin’ like this.” He places his hands on Cas’s chest, distracted for a moment by the firm muscles beneath his palms, and then skirts them upwards. As he does, he lifts his chin, and by the time his hands are on Cas’s shoulders and sliding around his neck, their mouths are only a breath apart. “If my date doesn’t lean in by now, I go for a hug. But more often than not—”

Cas kisses him right in the middle of his sentence. His lips are soft, warm, and familiar, and even though he wasn’t expecting it at that exact moment, he melts into it immediately. Their lips come apart and realign several times between short, shallow breaths until they line up like puzzle pieces. He makes a quiet sound of pleasure against Cas’s pillow-soft lips, and right as he hears Cas inhale a deep breath through his nose, Cas’s hands frame his face and he’s pulled into a deeply passionate kiss. 

His body follows the momentum of Cas’s insistent hands, and when their chests collide, he feels a blush creeping along his cheeks and warming his insides. He runs his hands down Cas’s spine, pulling him closer still until there’s no space at all left between them from shoulder to hip. He holds Cas in place with his fingers on the dip of his lower back, marveling at how he can feel the beating of Cas’s heart against his chest. 

Cas’s tongue delves deeper into his mouth, the scratch of Cas’s stubble rubs against his face, and it’s as if the heat building in his groin catches on fire and shoots through the rest of his body. He increases the strength of his lips against Cas’s, applying a hint of teeth to Cas’s full bottom lip as his fingers dig into his strong back. Cas grants him the illusion of control, but only for a moment, and then his hands are pulling Dean just how he wants him, reaffirming his dominance with a broad swipe of his tongue and almost bruising pressure on his lips that feels like heaven.

He surrenders without a thought, his body sagging against Cas’s as that weightless, indescribable feeling overcomes him the same way it always does when Cas really kisses him. Cas’s fingers move back into his hair, stroking down the back of his head tenderly in a dizzying contrast to the heat of his lips, and now that he’s forced to feel since he’s unable to think, he realizes it feels like slipping into bed at the end of a long day. Kissing Cas is that comforting, that warm, that cozy and safe, like the one thing he looks forward to every single day without fail right here beneath his fingertips. 

The realization obliterates every other thought, leaving only sensation and the desire for more—for this kiss to never end. The vague idea that he has to go back to work evaporates with a flick of the tip of Cas’s tongue. The self awareness he’d usually cling to since he’s in broad daylight on a suburban street in Kansas with another man like this disappears with the masculine scent Cas always exudes and the hard muscles of Cas’s back rippling under his t-shirt. The concept of stopping, of not having Cas’s body moving with his until they reach completion is stolen by the plush, endlessly soft lips sliding spit-slick against his own, and he’s so drunk on how good this is—how good it is every single time—that he forgets himself enough to push his hands up and under Cas’s shirt to feel his firm muscles and warm skin.

Cas wrests his mouth away with a sharp gasp and clarity hits him along with the first full breath he’s had in god knows how long. Shit. He’s got a thigh wedged between Cas’s, and his hands are pushing up his shirt. He feels like he was just splashed with cold water for how fast everything stopped, except he’s hot all over and achingly hard, and he’s still not quite breathing properly when Cas’s blue eyes flutter open and land on his. 

His stomach swoops like he missed a step on the way down a flight of stairs. His hands knit together over it automatically, he takes a big step back, and his lips are parted in shock instead of arousal now, because holy shit. Holy shit, it’s been a long ass time but he knows that feeling without a shadow of a doubt: he’s fucking falling in love with Cas.

“Are you alright?” Cas asks.

He blinks rapidly, trying to make his heart start beating regularly and his eyes to go back to their normal size, and he bobs his head up and down a couple of times while he tries to think of something to say. 

“That was a hell of a kiss,” he settles on. Then, remembering what they were talking about before, he adds, “If this was the end of the night, I’d definitely be inviting you in.”

Cas chuckles, all rough and husky, looking down at where both of them have noticeable bulges tenting their jeans before forcing a tight smile. “Like I said before, seven hours until bedtime.” Dean laughs this time, too, because it’s gonna be a long seven hours waiting to get his hands on Cas for real after this. “On a more appropriate first date note, I had a really nice time. I’m glad we did this.”

“Me, too,” Dean replies, his palms sweating and his face still hot enough that he’s sure it’s fifty different shades of red. He shoots Cas a cocky grin anyway and says, “Maybe we can do it again sometime.”

Cas smiles back, soft and inviting, and he has to actually force himself to look away from how enticing his kissed-red lips are. Of course, sinking into his blue eyes isn’t any better, but they’re less arousing, anyway. “I look forward to the next ten.”

“We could make it a weekly thing, you know,” he says, more seriously now.

“I’d like that. Too bad I didn’t think of it myself.”

Dean takes a step back with a grin, shaking his head a little to stomp out the urge to kiss him one more time. “I’d kiss you again, but I’m afraid if I do, I’m never gonna go back to work.”

“That’s probably a good decision on your part because I’m pretty sure if you touch me again I’m going to drag you through the front door and then fuck you up against it.”

He sucks in a sharp breath and says, “Shit, Cas,” on the exhale. The way Cas is looking at him leaves absolutely no doubt that he’s one hundred percent serious, which has him doing the last thing he wants to do and taking another step back. “I’ll see you after work.”

“Thank you for taking me out, Dean. I’ll see you when you get home.”

He walks back to his car with a spring in his step but undeniable fear twisting in his stomach, too, knowing he’s got less than four hours to convince himself it’s not a big deal to fall for the guy he’s living with.

Chapter Text

Dean is buzzing with nervous energy when he pulls into the garage next to Cas’s car. He made it just before five, which is pretty good for a Friday, and he knows Sam is only a couple of minutes behind him. 

He walks into the house and calls out, “Helloooooo?”

Liam pokes his head around the corner so fast he wonders if he’s been waiting for him. “Is your brodder here?”

“Just me for now,” Dean tells him. “He’ll be here in a few minutes though.” That’s enough for Liam, it seems, because he runs over to really greet him with a hug and a great big smile. Dean rubs his back and ruffles his hair a little when he pulls away. “You scared?” he checks.

“Maybe a little,” Liam admits with a shrug of a single shoulder. 

They’ve been over this several times a day every day since Cas said he should invite Sam over, but he says it one more time just in case. “We got you, buddy. I promise he’s gonna be the nicest guy in the whole world, but you don’t have to talk to him if you don’t want to.”

“Do I have to talk to him?” Cas asks as he comes around the corner. 

And how pathetic is it that one teasing smile from this guy has his heart beating like he just ran a marathon? Of course, it might also have to do with how Cas is wearing a light blue dress shirt that makes his eyes pop so much it looks like they’re glowing. 

Or, you know, the fact that he’s falling head over heels in love with the guy.

They talked about how Sam only knows they’re sleeping together occasionally because of Dean’s hickies, but that Sam has no idea that they went out on a date on Wednesday. Cas knows exactly how Sam feels about them getting involved, which is how Dean knows that Cas is fucking with him.

“You gotta do more than talk to him. You gotta win him over so I don’t have to listen to him bitch at me later.” He toes off the boots he’s been untying, and steps right into Cas’s space to give him a kiss hello. He lowers his voice to a whisper to tell him, “You look hot as fuck in that shirt.”

“And you smell amazing,” Cas replies, making him shake his head at the predictable comment. 

“Probably because me and Sammy ended our day measuring and cutting up the wood for somebody’s sandbox,” Dean says, smiling wide when Liam whips his head around. 

“For me? A sandbox for me?”

Dean chuckles and slides his fingers between Cas’s. “You bet. Sam’s got the wood and a big bag of sand in the back of his truck. We can get it set up for you tomorrow morning if you want.”

“YAY! I get a sandbox! I get a sandbox!” Liam chants excitedly, turning in circles. Then he stops and looks up at them, his eyes lit up with wonder. “Can I put my dinosaurs in there?”

“That’s the idea.” Liam shrieks as he goes running for his bedroom, causing Dean to wince as the high-pitched sound reaches his ears. “I don’t think I’ll ever get used to that.”

Cas’s hand cups his face, pulling him towards him while he says, “Let me help you clear your mind.” And then they’re kissing in the way they can only kiss when Liam’s in another room or in bed, and even though he knows he’s only got a few seconds to indulge himself, he gives in to it anyway. Cas’s lips always feel so fucking soft, so right moving with his that he only lasts seconds before he opens his mouth to grant Cas entry. Instead of giving him what he wants though, Cas nips at his bottom lip and draws a sharp gasp from him before pulling away. “Guess what happened today?”

“Guess who doesn’t care?” Dean responds, more interested in trying to kiss him again than anything else. Anything else can wait.

Cas chuckles and turns his head to deny him his kiss, but that exposes the side of his neck in the process, so Dean redirects his lips and lands there instead, mouthing at his golden skin while his fingers slip into Cas’s soft hair. 

“Your test results were finally posted this afternoon.”

That’s enough to have him pulling away and quickly assessing Cas’s face for clues. “And?”

“And I told you so,” Cas says, his blue eyes now so full of heat he has a hard time thinking clearly enough to confirm what he just said.

“I’m clean?” Dean asks.

“I told you there was nothing wrong with your dick.”

“Holy shit! We can—I mean—if you want to?”

“No matter what you’re stumbling through asking me, the answer is absolutely yes, gorgeous.”

And now it’s Cas who dives in, crashing their lips together in a searingly hot kiss and hauling Dean’s body up against his. He moans quietly when Cas’s tongue teases at the edge of his lips, thoughts of being with Cas with no condoms later unintentionally increasing the heat between them as their arms wrap around each other. 

Knock, knock. knock.

“Shit,” Dean curses breathlessly as he pulls away. “Fuckin’ Sam always was a cock block.”

“Is he here?” Liam asks, appearing again as if out of nowhere.

“Language,” Cas says to Dean under his breath.

He bounces his eyebrows at the familiar reminder and steps away from Cas, looking down at Liam. “Yep, this’ll be Sam. Do you want me to pick you up so I can hold you when he comes in?”

“No, I—I—I wanna stay with Cas,” Liam says, moving behind him and winding his arms around Cas’s leg.

“You’re okay, Liam,” Cas reassures him as Dean takes the few steps to open the door for Sam. 

“Hey man,” Dean greets, holding the door open for him. “Come on in.”

“Thanks,” Sam says, stepping inside with a gift bag in his hand. 

“Weird to see you wait after you knock,” he comments. Sam chuckles quietly, probably thinking about how he usually knocks and walks right in when he comes over the same way Dean is. His thoughts are pulled away from that when he sees Sam’s eyes drop down to where Liam is hiding behind Cas. Sam glances at Cas before he shoots Dean an amused smile, and Dean takes that opportunity to introduce him to Cas. 

“I know you already saw each other on my phone, but Sam, this is Cas. Cas, this is Sammy.”

“Sam,” Sam corrects, holding his hand out for Cas to shake with a tight smile. 

“Nice to meet you Sam. I’ve heard a lot about you,” Cas says.

“Yeah, Dean never shuts up about you either,” Sam replies.

“Wow, such an original dig, Sammy,” Dean says dryly, ignoring the blush already spreading across his cheeks. “Hey Liam, you wanna come say hi to my brother?” He leans his head to the side to try to look around Cas, but only sees Liam shaking his head. 

“That’s okay,” Sam says before Dean can say anything else. “I’ll just give him the present I brought him whenever he’s ready.”

Dean and Sam both laugh when blue eyes appear from behind Cas. “A present?” Liam asks quietly. He looks up at Cas and asks, “For me?”

“That’s what it sounded like to me. Sam must really want to be your friend,” Cas replies. 

“Lose the shoes, Sammy, and we can go hang out in the kitchen while I help Cas finish making dinner,” Dean tells Sam. 

“God forbid I leave a speck of sand on the floor,” Sam says sarcastically.

“Actually, dinner is ready and keeping warm in the oven,” Cas says. “But we can sit in the living room and let Liam and Sam get to know each other a little bit before we dive right into dinner if you want.”

“Sounds like a plan to me,” Dean agrees, and when Cas leads the way to the living room, Sam follows behind, sans-shoes. Dean’s surprised when Liam stays put as Cas walks away, but only until Liam holds his arms up with his blue eyes wide and pleading, silently asking him to be picked up. Dean grabs him and tosses him over his shoulder, bouncing him a little as he walks just to make him laugh. 

He plops onto the couch and sets Liam down next to him, but Liam scrambles into his lap right away. Sam takes the seat beside him, leaving plenty of space between them, and Dean’s grinning when Liam starts eyeing the gift bag with interest.

“There’s dinosaurs on that bag,” Liam whispers to him.

“It’s almost like Sam knew you liked dinosaurs,” he whispers back, and Liam’s smile flashes quick and bright. 

“Do you think there’s a—a—a dinosaur inside?”

“No idea,” Dean lies. “You’ll have to ask if you can open it.”

Liam buries his face in his chest, making him chuckle again, and when he looks up at Sam, he’s smiling at them both fondly.

“You’re good with him,” Sam comments, sounding surprised.

“He’s a good kid,” Dean replies. “Makes it easy on us, especially since we don’t even know what we’re doing,” he says, looking at Cas now. 

“Dean’s being too hard on himself, as usual,” Cas says. “He’s wonderful with Liam. He makes it look easier than it is.”

“You’re one to talk,” Dean tosses back. “Cas is the one who wakes up at the crack of dawn with him every morning.”

“Seven zero zero,” Liam says quietly.

“Hm?” Dean asks, not sure he heard him right.

“I’m not s’posed to wake up ‘til seven zero zero,” Liam repeats.

This is the first time he’s heard anything about that, and one exchanged look with Cas is enough to let him know it’s news to him, too. “Was that your mom’s rule?” Cas asks.

“Uh huh,” Liam answers, but he’s sitting up and eyeing the gift bag again. He lifts his eyes to Sam, and even though his cheeks flush red, he says, “Didja get me a dinosaur?”

Sam smiles softly and asks, “Would you like it if I did?”

“Dinosaurs are my favorite thing in the whole entire world,” Liam responds, scooting off of Dean’s lap and onto the couch, closer to the gift bag. 

“Would you like to open it?” Sam asks.

“Yeah!” Liam says quickly. Then he looks over at Cas. “‘m I allowed?”

“As long as Sam says it’s okay,” Cas tells him, his lips quirking into a smile. 

Liam glances hopefully over to Sam and Dean can already tell just from the smile on his face that Sam’s sunk. One down, one to go. 

“Yeah, of course. Here you go,” Sam says.

“Fanks,” Liam says back, getting up to his knees and ripping the paper out of the bag without a second of hesitation. His eyes light up a split second before he gasps. “It looks so real! Look! Look, Dean! It’s a t-rex!”

“Even I knew that one,” Dean says, catching a quick glimpse of it before Liam runs his hands down the back of it.

“It feels like—like real dinosaur skin!” he tells Sam, which is baffling to him, because literally nobody knows what dinosaur skin feels like. 

“Pretty cool, right?” Sam says in response. “They’re called Schleich figures. They’re supposed to all be to scale, so if Liam digs back in that bag and happens to find something else...”

Liam gasps again and dives into the bag right up to his shoulders, and they’re all laughing when he comes out again with—“A kentrosaurus! And a—a—carnotaurus! Holy crap!”

Surprised laughter bursts out of all three of them, but Cas is the first to sober up, pinning him with a knowing look from across the room. “How many times did I tell you—”

“‘s okay as long as I don’t say it at daycare,” Liam cuts him off with, and Dean beams at Cas, earning himself an epic eye roll.

“Anyway,” Sam says, still laughing a little. “This is how much bigger a t-rex was than a carnotaurus in real life.”

“T-rex is way bigger!” Liam exclaims. Then he looks up at Sam. “But the other one’s got the little horns on his head. It’s like a—a—raptor, just bigger. So it can jump real good.”

Sam’s eyebrows lift. “You know a lot about dinosaurs.”

“Dinosaur Train,” Cas says, making Dean snort a laugh.

Sam nods, even though Dean knows he doesn’t know what Cas is talking about, and Liam says, “So do you think the t-rex would win, or...?”

“The carnotaurus would definitely be faster,” Sam says. “But the t-rex has the strongest bite out of all the dinosaurs, right?”

Liam nods excitedly, clearly pleased that Sam also knows a thing or two about dinosaurs. “So one big chomp!” Liam says, slamming the t-rex mouth-first onto the other dinosaur. “And he’d be all bloodied!”

“If he could catch him, yeah,” Sam agrees.

“This is so cool!” Liam looks up at Sam again and says, “Thanks a lot, mister.”

“Just Sam is good, but you’re welcome, buddy.”

Liam gathers his dinosaurs and plops belly first onto the floor, immediately setting up a battle Dean’s already seen him fight a hundred times with all of his other dinosaurs, and he smiles fondly at the little guy before he looks back at Sam. “Told ya it would work like a charm.”

“I don’t know why I feel so accomplished after bribing a four year old to like me,” Sam says with a quiet laugh. “Not like it’s hard.”

“Hey man, whatever works is what I say,” Dean replies. 

“I’m going to go set the table, and then after Liam’s had a few minutes with his new toys, we’ll eat, if that’s okay?” Cas asks.

“Sounds great. Want some help?” Dean asks.

“Thanks, but I got it. Go ahead and visit brother-to-brother. I’ll let you know when it’s ready.”

Dean smiles at him warmly, hoping the growing affection inside of him when it comes to Cas isn’t too obvious in his expression. “Thanks, doc.”

There’s about four seconds of silence as Dean loses himself in watching Cas walk away before Sam says, “Pretty good thing you got going here.” Dean turns back to face him, immediately taken aback by the harsh tone of Sam’s voice. It doesn’t sound like he thinks it’s good at all. “Cute kid, live-in friends with benefits waiting on you hand and foot when you walk through the door.”

Dean shakes his head at the way Sam’s making it sound. “It’s not like that.”

“No?” Sam asks, clearly not believing him.

“No. He does the cooking during the week because I’m at work and he’s not. I clean up when we’re done, then I cook on the weekends and he cleans up.”

“Still not a bad deal,” Sam says quietly, still sounding like he thinks the exact opposite. 

“You’re right,” Dean replies stubbornly. “It’s been awesome not having to do everything by myself for once.” 

“I don’t know, it just seems like he’s trying awfully hard not to get kicked out of a free house, that’s all.”

And that has his brother going one step too far. Cas has been nothing but kind and understanding and helpful as hell from the very beginning, and no matter what Sam says, he knows it has nothing to do with not wanting to get kicked out and more to do with wanting to make life easier for all of them.

“He’s a nice guy, thank you very much. Jesus, Sam, you don’t even know him,” Dean whispers hoarsely.

“Neither do you,” Sam whispers back.

“I’ve been living with him for almost two weeks, dick for brains. I know him.” Sam opens his mouth like he’s about to argue again, but he doesn’t want to hear it. “Everything’s gone way better than I expected since he moved in, and if you fuck this up for me by being a jerk, I’m gonna be pissed.”

“Okay,” Sam says, showing his palms in surrender. “I’ll be nice, but I’m still suspicious.”

“Write a fuckin’ crime novel then and leave him alone,” Dean says, not even bothering to hide how annoyed he is by Sam being like this when he has no good reason.

“Are you fighting?” Liam asks. Loudly. Dean flicks his eyes over to where Cas is in the kitchen and sees him straighten up unnaturally.

“No,” Dean lies. Hopefully he can convince them both. “Just brother stuff.”

“I don’t have no brother,” Liam says, eyebrows crinkling into a frown.

“Nope. Can’t help you there, either.”

“‘cause no more babies,” Liam recites.

“You got that right,” he says with a sideways smile.

Liam looks right at Sam and asks, “Do you have babies?”

“Nope,” Sam laughs. “No babies for me either.”

Then Liam asks, “Are you my dad?”

Sam’s eyebrows almost disappear into his hairline, but Dean takes the question before he gets a chance to say anything. “No. He’s not your dad. Sam’s my brother, so he’s actually more like your uncle.”

He ignores Sam’s sharp look of surprise and instead, focuses on Liam’s little smile. “I think—I think I never had a uncle before.”

“He’s your one and only,” Dean confirms. “And I know he’s freakishly tall with long, girly hair, but he’s actually way better than a baby brother because he doesn’t cry as much. I mean, he still cries a lot because he’s a little—”

“Oh, I know! Did your mom get in a car crash, too?” Liam asks Sam solemnly, like that’s the only thing that explains why somebody would cry a lot.

Dean winces, but Sam doesn’t freeze up the way he does when it comes to this kind of thing. “No, she didn’t. Dean was just teasing me a little and making a joke. Brothers do that sometimes even though it’s not very nice.”

The last part is directed to him instead of Liam, and he shoots Sam an innocent smile that only makes him roll his eyes. 

“Everything’s ready over here if you guys want to come eat,” Cas says from the kitchen, his perfect timing saving him from trying to explain that sometimes his way of showing affection is by teasing people. “Liam, can you go wash your hands, please?”

“Corn dogs!” Liam cries. “Corn dogs, corn dogs, corn dogs,” he recites quickly as he goes running towards the bathroom.

“Okay, he’s definitely yours,” Sam says once he’s out of the room. “I’m pretty sure I saw you do the exact same thing last month.”

Dean laughs as he stands up, but Cas agrees with Sam before he can deny it altogether. “The similarities between them are endless.”

“He’s got the exact same freckles as you, too,” Sam says to him.

“But he’s also got the exact same eyes as Cas,” Dean points out, approaching the kitchen. 

Sam nods. “That’s true.”

“And a lot of the same facial expressions. Plus, add in his nerdiness for dinosaurs and love for vegetables, and that does not add up to a Winchester.”

Sam stares at him pointedly for a few seconds before replying, “I’m a nerd and I love vegetables.”

“An embarrassment to Winchesters everywhere,” Dean scoffs.

“It’s actually bizarre how much he looks like both of you,” Sam says, looking between them. “He’s a perfect mix of you both.”

“I have a theory that he’s actually a chimera,” Cas pipes up with, grinning like he just made a funny joke.

Sam looks intrigued, but Dean’s never heard that word in his life. “A what, now?”

Cas is still smiling as he explains. “A chimera. A single organism made up of two sets of cells.”

“Sounds freaky,” Dean says. “How does that even happen?”

“Most often if there was a twin in the womb at one point. In our case, it would be if you were the father of one and I was the father of the other, but Liam ‘consumed’ the other embryo at some point. Then technically he could have both of our DNA,” Cas says, which draws a sharp look from him.

“For real?”

“Yes, but I’m mostly joking,” Cas assures him. “The chances are incredibly small.”

“But it’s not impossible,” Sam offers.

“That actually happens sometimes?” Dean wonders.

“It’s been known to happen to twins,” Sam confirms. “Not frequently or anything, but then again, most people don’t know they ate their twin before they were born to check for that kind of thing.”

The whole thing rubs him the wrong way. “That’s weird as shit. I think I’d rather him be one of ours and we just raise him together.”

“Together?” Sam asks, huffing out a laugh at the idea.

“We do have a year to get through,” Cas jumps in with, saving him from coming up with another lie. “Here, Sam, you can sit next to Dean.”

“Do I have to?” Sam asks, but he seats himself in the chair Cas indicated. 

Dean takes a second to check out the table, seeing how Liam’s juice cup is at his seat, there are serving dishes on the table, and as usual, there’s a basket of fresh bread in the center. He’s about to offer Cas a drink when Cas beats him to the punch about Sam.

“What can I get you to drink, Sam?” Cas asks. “Soda, beer, water?”

“Water’s fine, thanks.”

Cas gets a Brita pitcher out of the fridge (which belongs to him) and places it on the table. “Ice?”

“No, this is great. Thanks, man.”

“What’re you drinkin’, Cas?” Dean asks, pulling out Cas’s seat to make sure he sits and takes a load off. 

“I’ll have a beer,” Cas answers, and Dean grabs one for each of them while Cas settles in. 

“You earned it,” he says, passing it to him and giving his shoulder a little squeeze. It’s insane how much he’s already missing not being able to just lean in and give him a quick kiss now that Sam’s here. Instead, he has to thank him with actual words. “Everything smells amazing.”

“Corn dogs and french fries aren’t exactly high cuisine,” Cas says with an amused smile. “But thank you.”

Liam comes running down the hall then, the front of his shirt predictably soaked (which means there’s water all over the bathroom), and he slides into a stop when he sees the annoyed expression on Dean’s face. “I forgotted again.”

Liam’s ashamed little smile might be the cutest thing he’s ever seen. “Get your butt up there before I give it a swift kick for running,” Dean says with a grin, and Liam giggles as he climbs into his seat. “You want your corn dog cut up or can you eat it like we do?”

“Cut up!” 

Dean figured as much, so he grabs one out of the serving dish and slides it off the stick, then takes the utensils next to his plate and starts slicing. He uses the provided tongs to give Liam a scoop of fries, then tells him, “The corn dog is gonna be hot for a while, so maybe start with the fries.”

“There’s also bread and coleslaw if you’d like some,” Cas says.

“Yes please!”

“Both?” Dean checks.

Liam nods, his mouth already full of french fries. Dean works on getting him that, and nods to Sam, “Dig in, man. Cas always makes tons.”

By the time he’s buttered Liam’s bread and made sure he has everything he needs, both Sam and Cas’s plates are loaded up. He’s dishing out his own food when Sam makes a quiet mmm sound. 

“This coleslaw is fantastic,” Sam says, sounding completely genuine. “Where’d you buy it?”

“I made it myself,” Cas replies, sounding nervous to admit it. “The trick is not using any sugar.”

Dean takes a bite to see for himself and is more surprised than anybody to find it’s actually really good. “Huh,” he says, chewing with a nod of appreciation. “Never would’ve thought taking sugar out of something would make it taste better. Especially not vegetables.”

“Sugar’s sooo yummy but makes teeth go all rotted, right?” Liam asks.

“Which is why we have to brush twice a day,” Cas tells him, getting a nod of understanding while Liam grabs a hunk of coleslaw with his bare hands. “Can you use your fork for your coleslaw instead of your fingers, please?”

Liam stuffs what was in his fingers into his mouth, wipes his hand on his pants, and then grabs the fork. “Sorry,” he says, his mouth still full.

“That’s okay, I have to remind Dean all the time too,” Cas jokes, and Liam’s eyes light up with laughter when he looks over at Dean.

“Traitor,” Dean says to Cas, and that makes Liam burst out laughing. “What are you laughin’ at, pipsqueak?” 

“You’re just funny,” Liam answers, and Dean’s heart melts a little the way it usually does whenever Liam says something nice about him.

“How do you like living here with Dean and Cas, Liam?” Sam asks.

“Pretty good,” Liam answers without much thought. 

Sam follows up with, “What’s the best part?”

“Lotsa new cool toys,” Liam says right away.

“That makes sense,” Sam says around a huff of laughter. “What’s the worst part?”

Liam doesn’t even miss a beat before he says, “All the kissing.”

Dean feels his heart drop to his stomach and tries to look genuinely surprised by the answer instead of like Liam just blew their cover.

“All the kissing?” Sam repeats, looking right at Dean. 

“Like, every single day,” Liam says, sounding so put upon that it’s hard not to laugh even through his nerves. “‘cause they’re in love and stuff. Just like Tommy’s dads!”

“Right,” Sam says quietly, looking curiously between him and Cas now.

“Outta the mouths of babes, huh?” Dean laughs nervously. 

“One of the daycare workers was telling us last week that there are three same-sex couples at Liam’s daycare,” Cas explains, and Dean could kiss him for being so good at lying. (He also might just really want to kiss him.) “Between that and how we were presenting ourselves in front of Donna, I think it’s safe to say that Liam has drawn some of his own conclusions.”

Sam nods slowly. “And you don’t really want to correct him in case somebody asks.”

“In case somebody asks what?” Liam questions.

Sam lets out another quiet laugh. “Easy to see that he’s like a little sponge just soaking everything up, huh?”

“You got that right,” Dean agrees, scraping up the last of his coleslaw. “Another thing he gets from Cas.”

Cas disagrees with a sigh, but Sam says, “Dean told me before you have a PHd?”

“I do. I’ve always enjoyed learning. If I could, I’d probably be a career student, just going back and taking more and more classes until I need a walker to get from class to class,” Cas replies, laughing at himself. 

“Really? What else are you interested in?” 

He can see Sam’s forced politeness already starting to fade away into genuine interest and it gives him a flicker of hope that maybe someday Sam and Cas can actually get along. 

“Botany, for one,” Cas says immediately. “But honestly, I like learning about everything. I could study the different branches of science for years and still not know as much as I’d like to. Physics, chemistry, geology, ecology. That’s my favorite because I’m fascinated by how living things affect each other and the environment. It probably explains why I’m so interested in bees, too, especially with how quickly they’re disappearing and how catastrophic it would be if they went extinct.” Cas stops to shake his head at himself. “I will go on and on about this, so somebody please stop me.”

He laughs, but the truth is, he would’ve been more than happy to listen to Cas talk about this kind of stuff for at least a whole day, because as much as he doesn’t really give a shit about bees, Cas’s eyes light up and he talks with his hands more than usual when he’s really passionate about something, and it’s weirdly attractive. The shy little smile and pink cheeks Cas has going on right now are cute as hell, too, and paired with how Cas was just geeking out a few seconds ago, he feels a strong wave of affection towards the nerdy side of Cas that he was drawn to so long ago.

“Cas likes bugs,” Liam pipes up with.

“Oh yeah?” Sam asks, smiling wide.

Liam nods. “Yup. We’re gonna get a—a—bug catcher and a—a cage—”

“It’s more like a miniature habitat than a cage,” Cas clarifies.

“And Cas is gonna help me catch something I can feed and watch and stuff!”

“Is that so?” Dean asks, since this is the first he’s heard of this. When he gets a nod from Cas, he says, “As long as you keep the habitat outside where all bugs belong, have at ‘er.” He punctuates that sentence with his first bite of corn dog, and makes a quiet sound of appreciation so Cas will know he likes it. 

“Dean’s afraid of spiders,” Sam says to the table. Dean glares at his brother and tries to chew faster so he can swallow and defend himself. “So make sure to catch lots and lots of those.”

“You never told me that,” Cas comments.

“I am not afraid of spiders,” Dean corrects, ignoring the way his cheeks are heating up. “I just don’t like them.”

“I’ve heard him scream like a little girl more times than I can count because of plastic spiders I put in his bed,” Sam says. 

Liam starts laughing and he’s about to say something not-so-nice to his brother when he feels what’s gotta be Cas’s foot rub against his under the table. Their eyes catch, and he can see the understanding within them.

“Perk of having a roommate. I’ll take care of any insects you may or may not be afraid of as long as you deal with any mice,” Cas offers.

Dean takes the reassurance for what it is, and though his lips quirk the tiniest little bit, he rolls his eyes and looks away to try to avoid a full smile, rubbing his own foot against Cas’s under the table. 

“You’re afraid of mice?” Sam asks Cas.

“Terrified,” Cas admits. “I’m sure my screams could put Dean’s to shame.”

“But mice are so little!” Liam says. “And soft! I seed them in the pet store before!”

Cas shudders a little in his seat. “And hopefully that’s the only place you’ll see one.”

“Wanna hear something really funny?” Dean asks Liam. “Your Uncle Sam is afraid of clowns.”

“What!?” Liam exclaims. “That’s so funny!”

“Not to me,” Sam replies, though he’s smiling down at Liam's reaction.

“How did that happen?” Cas asks, sounding curious. “Was there a traumatic incident when you were younger? Did Dean dress as a clown and scare you or something?”

“Hey!” Dean complains with his mouth full again, wondering why he’s getting blamed for his brother’s clown phobia.

“No,” Sam answers, chuckling. “I don’t even know why I don’t like them, they just freak me out.”

“He still won’t even hand out candy by himself on Halloween because he’s afraid a kid clown will come to the door,” Dean says to the table in general.

“Can I be Mickey Mouse for Halloween?” Liam asks.

“You can be whatever you want,” Dean answers easily, finishing off his first corn dog and reaching for a second.

“Even a dinosaur? Or Batman? Or—” He skirts his eyes to Sam and grins. “A clown?”

Dean can’t help but grin back, feeling proud over the little guy being confident enough to tease Sam already. 

“You can be a clown if you want to, but that means no great big candy bars from me if you do,” Sam threatens.

Liam’s eyes almost bug out of his head. “You buy the great big big big candy bars?”

“You bet I do,” Sam confirms. “Only for the best costumes, though.”

“Oh, mine’s gonna be so, so good!” Liam declares. “Right Cas?”

“We’ll do our best,” Cas promises.

“Maybe you can be a bug,” Sam jokes.

“I say Liam dresses up as a bumblebee, and Dean and I go as flowers,” Cas suggests, which sends Liam into another round of laughter.

“If he gets stuck on that, I’m gonna kick your ass,” Dean tells Cas.

“What do you have against flowers?” Cas asks.

“Yeah,” Sam jumps in with. “Can’t be too much, since I noticed the daisies over there.” Sam gestures to the flowers Dean bought Cas a few days ago, still going strong in the vase on the counter by the sink.

“This one’s got a soft spot for them,” Dean says, pointing at Cas. “He talked me into planting some sunflowers by my bedroom window, too. So obviously I don’t have anything against them, I just don’t want to be one.”

Sam ignores that part and says, “Sunflowers will look good out there. Have you done any landscaping before, Cas?”

“I have actually, and I loved it,” Cas tells Sam, surprising Dean. “I did it during my summer breaks while I was in Manitoba to make money. It pays well, helped keep me in shape, and after my arms stopped feeling like noodles, I realized I kind of had a knack for it.”

“Working with your hands like that is a lot different than sitting behind a desk,” Sam comments. “It’s not often you find people who like to do both.”

“You do,” Dean points out. “Self-proclaimed nerd, right? And co-owner of a restoration business.”

“Yeah, I guess,” Sam agrees.

“Can I have another corn dog?” Liam asks.

“Only if you eat it off the stick,” Dean tells him.

“‘kay!” 

He passes Liam one and then his and Cas’s eyes catch again. “Did you like them?” Cas asks.

Dean gestures down at the second one he just grabbed. “Obviously. I went for seconds.”

“You always go for seconds,” Cas teases.

Dean’s entirely sincere when he says, “Yeah, ‘cause you’re a good cook. I show my appreciation by eating until I feel like I’m gonna burst, and then doing the dishes afterwards.”

Cas’s smile is so soft it makes his heart flutter. “Well you’re certainly applying yourself to your task.”

“That’s me,” Dean says proudly. “Always give 110%.”

“As his co-worker, I have to acknowledge that’s true,” Sam says reluctantly, which makes him beam proudly. “But as his brother, I have to say I’m actually really happy to see him slowing down on the overtime, even if it is to overeat and do dishes.”

“Don’t forget about wrangling slippery naked toddler butts,” Dean says, and Liam dissolves into giggles.

“Is that really necessary to bring up at the dinner table?” Cas asks him, his voice filled with exasperation. 

“No, but it’s funny,” Dean says back, and he barks out a laugh when Cas’s foot knocks into his under the table.

Thankfully, the conversation stays light and playful from then on, and Dean smiles to himself each and every time Sam and Cas agree on something. He’s seventy-five percent sure that by the time they’ve finished fruit salad for dessert and all the leftover food is packed up with a doggy bag for Sam to take home, Cas has won him over. He’s one hundred percent sure when it comes to Liam though, especially after Sam lets Liam “help him” carry some of the wood out to the back yard for his sandbox. 

Liam is literally running circles in the yard with Sam chasing after him, which is when Cas looks over at him with a what the fuck look on his face. “He’s never going to sleep tonight. This was a terrible mistake.”

Dean only bumps his shoulder into Cas’s, staying pressed up against him for a second or two longer than is strictly necessary. “He’ll be fine. That kid sleeps like a rock.”

“Good thing, too,” Cas says quietly. “Because I have plans for you once he’s in bed.”

Heat slams into him like a fist. “I really wanna kiss you right now.”

Cas looks exceptionally pleased with himself and the setting sun only enhances his profile—which is hot as hell. “Soon.” He nods over to where Sam is currently tossing Liam up in the air, making Liam laugh so hard he can hardly breathe. “I think he might have a new favorite Winchester.”

“How dare you?” Dean says dryly. “I sired half of him, you know.”

That makes Cas laugh, those nose crinkles of his make an appearance, and Dean’s heart swells so big he’s surprised it doesn’t come out of his ears. Cas is just really, really, unbelievably cute, Dean tries to tell himself. It’s not that he’s falling for him—if anything, it’s more like he’s in quicksand up to his neck, knowing there’s no use fighting it and he’s going to go under sooner or later, but still struggling to keep his head up just in case he might be able to... 

Aw, fuck it.

“Hey Liam?” Dean calls out, still looking right at Cas. When he hears the commotion stop and silence falls over the yard, he asks, “How do you feel about hanging out with Uncle Sam next weekend so I can take Cas out on a date?”

“Okay!” Liam answers, but he doesn’t really hear him because the expression on Cas’s face says it all. Cas didn’t seem upset or bothered at all when he explained why he didn’t want Sam to know they’re dating, but the open affection in his gaze now is so strong it’s practically magnetic, and he’s moving in before he’s even consciously decided to do so.

Cas is obviously right there with him because he pulls him in by the back of his neck and kisses him soundly. Jesus, it’s barely been two hours, but the press of Cas’s plush lips against his has a soul-deep calm washing over him in an instant. Their mouths move together in an easy glide, Cas’s hands frame his face and Dean’s eyelids flutter in time with the butterflies in his stomach when he feels the coarse pads of Cas’s thumbs caress his cheek bones. 

When they pull apart a few seconds later, Cas keeps his hands on his face and drops their foreheads together. “You didn’t have to do that,” he says softly. 

“Yeah I did,” Dean says, surprising even himself with how true that is. “I don’t care what anybody thinks about me and you—not even Sam. This might not be the smartest thing we’ve ever done, but it isn’t a mistake and I don’t wanna hide it.” Cas’s eyes are so fucking blue and so damn soft this close up, he blames them for the word vomit. “I don’t wanna hide you.”

Cas’s breath drifts over his lips in a warm puff right before he quietly says, “Dean.” Cas sounds so touched and thankful he can’t help but wonder if not telling Sam bothered him more than he let on.

“You’ve had a kid for less than two weeks and you’re already pawning him off on me so you can get l-a-i-d?” Sam asks, but his tone of voice is light and playful instead of judgmental. He probably could’ve just said laid now that Liam has abandoned him to walk the 2x4s like balance beams.

“You’ve seen him, Sammy, can you blame me?” Dean shoots back, stepping away enough so that he and Cas aren’t being super gross in front of Sam, but staying close enough so that their fingers can lace together beside them. He’s missed being able to touch Cas like this.

Sam just shakes his head at the two of them, but he can see even from across the yard that he’s getting an assessing look from his brother. “How long?”

He considers lying for a split second, but then he remembers the affection in Cas’s big blue eyes from just a few seconds ago, and says, “Pretty much from the second I saw him again.”

“So I was right when we were doing the roof? You did like him!”

Dean scoffs quietly. “Of course I liked him. You had me pegged with the frickin’ nickname.”

“I knew it!” Then he looks at Cas. “Anytime he has a crush on somebody, he comes up with a ridiculous nickname for them.”

Cas gives his hand a little squeeze. “So you really did like me from the very beginning.”

“Yeah, yeah,” Dean says, refusing to be embarrassed about that now. “You liked me, too.”

“Of course I did. Have you seen you?” Cas says, repeating exactly what he just said to Sam.

“Why’d you lie?” Sam asks suddenly.

Dean shrugs. “Didn’t really wanna hear a lecture over how dumb it is to get involved.”

“So you know that it could all blow up in your face then?” Sam checks, walking across the yard to come closer to them.

“Yes,” Cas says for him. 

“And you know if you hurt him—or Liam—you’re gonna have to answer to me?” Sam says next, crossing his arms over his chest and narrowing his eyes at Cas.

Dean snorts a laugh and looks over at Cas, who hasn’t backed down or shrunk back an inch. In fact, he’s looking Sam dead in the eye, and it’s kinda hot how he’s not afraid to stand up to somebody who is obviously bigger than him. 

“Congratulations, you’re the first guy he’s said that to,” Dean says to him.

“And I’ve been waiting for it since he came out,” Sam says, his face now cracking on a grin.

“As much as I understand the sentiment, you have nothing to worry about. I could never hurt either of them,” Cas says earnestly. “They’re my family now, for as long as they’ll have me.”

“Family can be—can be—can be anybody if you love them a lot!” Liam says brightly, jumping off of the 2x4 to land shakily on the grass with a proud smile on his face.

“He really is a sponge,” Dean says under his breath. 

“You know who’s gonna be hurt the most if you two end up getting all Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson about this, right?” Sam says quietly, looking pointedly over at Liam.

“Were they friends of yours?” Cas asks Dean, clearly not getting the reference.

Dean presses his lips into a tight line, torn between being annoyed with Sam and amused by Cas. “We’re not stupid.”

Sam holds his hands palm-up. “I’m just saying. He’s been through enough.”

“We know,” Cas says this time. “We’re hoping to make this easier on him, not harder. He’s our number one priority.”

“But we’re still people,” Dean cuts in with. “We can still have our thing and be there for him.”

“And we can be there for him together even if we aren’t together,” Cas finishes. “We’ve talked about it a lot. We’re not just flying by the seat of our pants.”

“Or thinking with our dicks.”

“What’s a dick?” Liam asks.

“A word that only grown ups are allowed to say,” Dean answers. “So I better not hear that comin’ outta your mouth, short stack.”

“What if I do?” Liam asks.

Dean pulls a face and looks at Cas for an answer. They haven’t had a reason to discipline Liam so far, so he has no idea. “Then we take one of your dinosaurs away,” Cas says.

Liam’s mouth drops open, and he looks so offended that Dean can’t smother his laugh. “Guess you better not say it, huh?”

“I won’t!” Liam promises, his eyes wide and honest. Then he flicks his eyes up to the sky, squints, and looks back at Dean. “Can we turn a light on?”

“Starting to get dark, huh?” Dean replies.

“I think that means I better get outta here so you guys can put the little monster to bed,” Sam teases.

“Aw, he knows you so well already, Liam,” Dean says, playing along.

“I am a monster!” Liam says, clearly not bothered by it at all. He curls his fingers into what must be claws, and shouts, “ROAR!”

Sam huffs a laugh and makes a run at him, scooping him up and swinging him through the air as Liam loses his mind laughing. Sam holds him up over his head like an airplane and calls out, “Monster delivery! Get your monsters! You want ‘em, I got ‘em!”

“I’ll take him,” Dean says.

“Yay!” Liam exclaims.

Dean pulls the screen door open and says, “Right inside so he can go brush his super sharp monster teeth.”

Sam flies Liam through the doorway and plants him on his feet. Liam smiles up at him before looking over to Cas. “Can we still have cuddle time before bed?”

“Yes, but after you brush your teeth. Say goodbye to Sam and don’t forget your manners for the gift he brought you,” Cas reminds him.

“Oh yeah!” Liam responds, already throwing himself at Sam’s legs to wrap his arms around them for a hug. 

“Hang on a second and let me hug you for real,” Sam says, chuckling. 

Sam squats down and pulls Liam in for a hug, and Dean hears the shy edge return to Liam’s voice when he says, “Thanks for the dinosaurs Uncle Sam.”

Sam’s eyes flick up to Dean’s and he can see the emotion welling up in them. “You are so welcome, buddy. Thanks for playing with me.”

“It was fun!” Liam says, backing away with a blush painting his cheeks red. “Bye!”

“This was fun,” Cas echoes. “I hope we didn’t scare you away from coming back for dinner again.”

“Are you kidding? With food like tonight you’re never gonna get rid of me,” Sam says.

“I think we’d all like to see you around here more often, so I’m happy to hear that.” Then Cas offers his hand for a shake, which is nerdy enough that even Sam’s lips twitch. “It was a pleasure meeting you face-to-face.”

“Yeah,” Sam says, smiling genuinely now as they shake hands. “You too.”

“I have to go watch him before he has half the tube of toothpaste on his face like a beard,” Cas says, gesturing to where Liam disappeared into the bathroom. “I hope I’ll see you again soon.”

“Same,” Sam replies, and then it’s just him and his brother left walking towards the front door.

“That happened before, you know,” Dean says. 

“What did?”

“Toothpaste on his face like a beard.” Sam laughs and Dean says, “Seriously. Turn your head for one second and the kid’s like a walking, messy nightmare.”

“You love him,” Sam comments, and Dean nods without hesitation.

“I really do.”

“Well, you know I think you’re a jerk for lying to me and an idiot for getting involved with the guy who might end up taking the kid you’re falling in love with away from you in a year, but I have to admit you at least have good taste.” Dean’s smile spreads so wide so fast his cheeks hurt. “They both seem like really good people.”

Just to make sure Sam isn’t fucking with him, he checks, “Yeah?”

“They won me over in a night. Seems pretty easy to see how much Cas likes you, and Liam’s obviously in the same boat.”

Dean nods. “I dunno, man. It’s like it’s almost too easy, you know? The way the three of us just go together.”

“So you’re waiting for the other shoe to drop?” Sam asks, cracking another smile when Dean looks down at the shoes Sam is currently stepping into.

“Not really,” he admits. “Just kinda living in the moment for once. Soaking it all up.”

“You seem happy.”

He has to swallow down the lump that just clogged his throat, but he nods while he does it to try to cover it up. “I am.”

Sam straightens up and says, “I’m happy for you.” He slaps him on the back and adds, “And don’t fuck it up.”

Dean huffs out a laugh as he passes him his leftovers to take home. “Yeah, thanks, tips.”

“Let me know if you want a hand with the sandbox tomorrow.”

“Thanks, Uncle Sam,” Dean says, smiling in response to the way Sam’s own smile flashes so quickly.

“Ain’t that somethin’?” Sam asks, shoving his free hand in his pocket. “Uncle Sam.”

“You’ll be a real hit on the Fourth of July,” Dean jokes, and the last thing he sees before Sam walks out of his house is a poorly hidden smile and a roll of his eyes. When he hears Liam’s high-pitched giggle mixing with Cas’s low laughter drifting down the hall, he realizes he wouldn’t change a thing even if he could.

He’s happy.

Chapter Text

Liam’s down for the night now, and Dean’s taking a minute to himself, sitting on the couch with his head flopped back against it. He always gets so damn tired reading Liam his bedtime story. It’s all warm and comfortable with the three of them all snuggled into Liam’s bed, and it’s already a running joke between all of them how hard it is for him to stay awake when it’s Cas’s turn to read. 

Now that Sam’s gone and it’s just him and Cas left awake in the house, he feels like he can really just sit for the first time since eight o’clock this morning. He had no idea how much stress he was carrying around over Sam not knowing about him and Cas, but now that it’s out in the open, he feels like he can really breathe. Apparently the relief combined with the exhaustion caused by the bedtime routine is having the weird side-effect of making him feel like he’s about five seconds away from falling asleep, though, and that’s not how he wants to spend his Friday night. 

“Long day?” Cas asks from behind him. 

“Mmhmm,” he responds, so tired that even the idea of opening his eyes seems like too much.

He feels more than he hears Cas walk around the couch until he’s standing in front of him. “Lie down on your stomach,” Cas asks him, and considering he’s this tired, he complies without another thought. He buries his face in the cradle of his folded arms, and just as he gets comfortable, he feels the couch dip as Cas gets a knee up on it. A second later, Cas swings his other leg over, and now his lower back is being straddled.

“Probably gonna need a few minutes to wake up first,” he jokes, knowing that Cas isn’t actually trying to start anything right this second. 

“Famous last words.”

Before he gets a chance to comment on that, he feels Cas’s thick fingers curl around his shoulders and his thumbs start applying firm pressure on either side of the base of his neck. Cas starts moving those deft fingers of his in slow circles, and only moments later, he’s sure he can feel his bones starting to liquefy as the tension bleeds out of him. Apparently Cas is damn good at this, and he is more than happy to let his talented hands travel along his skin as Cas literally rubs the stress right out of his aching muscles. 

Cas lasts all of thirty seconds before he rucks Dean’s shirt up to his armpits, and then Cas’s hands are moving along his bare shoulders and eliciting a low moan of pure pleasure. 

“I love your back,” Cas says quietly.

He isn’t even thinking when he replies, “I love your hands.”

“You do?”

As if he hasn’t noticed. “Mmmhmm.”

“Huh,” Cas says, and maybe he hasn’t noticed? “For me, it’s because you hold most of your strength in your shoulders and arms. Feeling a strong man like you turn to putty beneath my hands is incredibly arousing.” Cas’s thumbs start moving outwards towards his shoulder blades, circling with just the right amount of pressure to be on the good side of too much, and because of that, it takes him a few minutes to string enough words together to make a sentence. 

“I think you told me that before, and it’s not really that surprising after seeing what gets you going in bed.”

“What gets me going in bed?” Cas asks.

Thinking that it was obvious, Dean explains timidly. “I thought you got off on making me give in to you."

“Oh.” And if Cas’s quiet, husky chuckle is anything to go by, he hit the nail on the head. “You’re right. When it comes to you, it’s absolutely my thing.”

Cas presses his palms against his shoulder blades and runs his hands down his sides, his fingers skirting his ribs and making him squirm until they land on the dip of his lower back. He feels Cas’s thumbs dig into his flesh on either side of his spine, and he downright groans as they start to slowly slide back towards his neck, maintaining the absolutely mind-numbing pressure as he goes. It isn’t until what could very well be several years later that he remembers what Cas said. 

“When it comes to me?”

“Well, I didn’t know how hot that was until I felt you give in when we were together with Lisa.” A pang of loss reverberates through him and he closes his eyes as he concentrates on willing it away. He hates that Lisa’s death has somewhat tainted that experience for him, not only because of how hot it was, but because he doesn’t want to have a dark cloud hanging over how he met Cas. He tries to focus on what Cas is saying and how good he is with his hands instead of the warring emotions inside of him when Cas starts talking again. “You were so nervous at first, obviously fighting the attraction you were feeling, but god, Dean. It’s been five years and I remember exactly how it felt when you gave in and really kissed me the first time.”

He feels heat start to rush through him despite the dark path his thoughts were travelling down a second ago, because he remembers it, too. He was so fucking lost in the way Cas kissed him even back then. It was like everything else disappeared the second he focused on how good it felt instead of the fact that he was kissing a guy and really, really liking it. 

“I haven’t been with anybody but you since then so I guess I don’t know for sure it’s only a you thing,” Cas continues, “but I can tell you it hasn’t lost a bit of its appeal so far, even though it’s not particularly hard to get you to give into me.”

“Yeah, well,” Dean starts, automatically trying to defend himself before he realizes there’s no point. They both know the effect Cas has on him—which is evident by the smirk he can hear in Cas’s voice right now—so he might as well be honest about it. “Guess that’s how you know you’re with the right person. When you can trust them enough to just let go.”

Cas is quiet for long enough that he wonders if he said something wrong. Cas’s hands don’t stop moving though, and it still feels absolutely incredible, which makes anything else almost impossible to get worked up about. Cas is blunt enough that he’ll tell him if he fucked up anyway, so he might as well just wait him out and enjoy the massage. 

“Or when they give you a back massage after a long week?” Cas asks.

“Exactly.”

Cas pushes up to his knees and says, “Roll over for me?” Figuring that can only mean good things for him, he rolls over to face Cas, and Cas’s smile looking down at him is so fucking fond it makes his heart skip what feels like a dozen beats. 

“Look at you, all flushed and sleepy-looking. You couldn’t be more adorable if you tried.” Of fucking course, that makes him blush right to the roots, and he looks away as he tries to wiggle enough to push his shirt back down where it belongs. Cas holds himself up with one hand on each side of Dean’s head, effectively boxing him in and drawing his gaze back towards him. “Don’t try to hide your face when you’re blushing so beautifully.”

“Knock it off,” Dean complains, squirming with embarrassment. 

Cas can’t frigging look at him like that and say nice things with his voice all soft when Dean’s been trying for three days not to blurt out that he’s falling for him a little bit more every time Cas smiles at him. Cas kisses the apple of his cheek, and Dean turns towards him automatically, pulled in by the same magnetic attraction they’ve always had between them. His tracks the crinkles beside Cas’s eyes, the laugh lines around his lips, and finally lands on blue.

Sinks into blue. 

His stomach swoops, stealing his breath and sending panic darting through him because fuck, maybe it’s not falling anymore, maybe it’s full-blown—

“God Dean,” Cas sighs. “The way you make me feel.”

He swallows, trying desperately to find more context in the depths of Cas’s eyes, but all he can see is affection and so much warmth it only makes his throat dry all over again. 

Searching for a distraction, he says, “Kiss me.” 

Their lips come together as easily as breathing, and he sighs into it as he melts back into the couch. If this were a romantic comedy, he’s sure this would be the moment that the sappy music starts playing and the fireworks start going off in the background. Because even though most of the time in life you have no idea that you’re living a moment you’ll never forget, he knows absolutely when Cas’s lips start moving in sync with his own that he’s always going to remember this. 

It’s no freaking wonder he loves rom-coms so much, because he’s been searching for his Fourth of July fireworks kiss for his whole damn life, and this moment—the moment he knows he really found it—is absolutely everything he ever hoped it would be. It’s heavy as hell, too, because he knows no matter what happens with him and Cas in the future, he’s going to remember this exact kiss. He’s going to remember the rush of affection that fills him when Cas’s tongue slides against his, how insanely right it feels when Cas settles between the vee of his legs, and the very real possibility that if neither of them fucks this up, this could be it. 

He pours everything he’s feeling into their kiss, and he’s pleased when Cas matches all of it with his own passion, desperation, and emotion. It makes him hope for the impossible—that he isn’t the only one feeling this way so soon, that Cas is failing as horribly as he is at keeping his feelings locked down, that Cas might want to do this every night for as far ahead as they can feasibly imagine the same way he does—and he can hardly focus on what’s happening because he’s so busy dreaming about it.

But then Cas shifts and it becomes obvious for the first time just how hard he is, and that pulls him right back into the moment. The burning hot length of Cas’s cock pressing relentlessly against his has him going from half-mast to hard as steel in a matter of seconds, and when they start moving together to find that dry friction that’s always so deliciously dirty with another guy, he couldn’t be more on board if he tried. 

Suddenly eager to feel the hard planes of Cas’s bare back moving under his hands, his fingers start working on unbuttoning Cas’s shirt. Cas’s lips travel down the side of his face to find his neck, and his eyes slam shut as Cas’s mouth finds a sensitive spot right beneath his ear. He loses several valuable seconds to indescribable pleasure when Cas works on it using lips, tongue, and teeth, and it’s only when Cas continues down his neck that he can think again. He gets back to working on the buttons until he can free Cas from his shirt, and then he moans unabashedly when he gets his hands on Cas’s bare skin the way he wanted, quickly sweeping his hands over his back to feel the rolling muscles flex and release under his fingertips.

Cas is simultaneously kissing his way down his throat and pushing his shirt back up again, and when Cas swirls his tongue around his nipple, he inhales sharply as his fingernails dig into Cas’s flesh. Cas briefly closes his teeth around the sensitive bud, but instead of drawing it out like he usually does, he continues kissing his way down the center of Dean’s chest to his navel, where Cas’s mouth leaves a trail along his skin as Cas flips open the button on his fly. 

The heel of Cas’s hand brushes his straining erection, and without thinking, he’s pushing up and into it, a choked-off sound of pleasure escaping him when Cas rubs him over his pants. 

“A little anxious are we?” Cas taunts him, and Dean opens his eyes to see bright blue peeking up at him through dark eyelashes. He nods mindlessly, and Cas hums against his skin while he lowers his fly. “I can’t wait to feel you with nothing between us, either.”

How the fuck did he manage to forget about that? Excitement and a trickle of something that feels weirdly like nerves plows into him, and he’s pulling Cas back up by his hair to crash their lips together to calm his jumbled thoughts. Cas’s plush mouth is as comforting as it is enticing, and with only a thin layer of cotton covering his dick and Cas bare from the waist up, he and Cas rutting together is even hotter than it was a few minutes ago. They keep moving as one, their lips sealed together in a passionate, never-ending kiss, hands, fingers, and mouths bringing each other closer and closer to the precipice until it’s either slow down or he’s gonna come in his boxers.

He pushes Cas back by his shoulders, his throat running dry all over again when he sees how fucking debauched he looks. Cas moves back in for another kiss but he stops him with, “Just lemme look at you for a second.” When Cas’s eyebrows draw together, he lets his eyes drop to Cas’s spit-slick, kiss-swollen lips. His own mouth quirks as he takes in the sight of Cas’s finger-fucked hair, and it’s only after they lock eyes again that he explains. “You look so fucking gorgeous right now.”

Cas’s expression softens, but more interesting than that is the pink hue that starts creeping along his cheeks. “Stop stealing my line, gorgeous.”

It’s a corny joke, but he’s almost delirious with happiness right now, so he laughs anyway as Cas sits up. He follows Cas’s eyes when they land on his crotch and sees the way the flushed tip of his dick is poking out through the slit in his boxers. He goes to rearrange himself to cover it up but Cas’s fingers clamp around his wrist. 

“Cas—” he starts, but Cas is already pulling down the front of his boxers. “Cas, I’m seriously really fucking close right now and if—” The elastic band of his boxers pulls tight against his balls about a heartbeat before Cas dives on him, sucking the head of his cock directly between his lips with no preamble whatsoever. 

Dean throws his head back, and the you he was about to say comes out more like, “Yuuuugh.” He tries desperately to think about anything except for how fucking hot and wet Cas’s mouth feels on his dick after the dry cotton of his boxers, but either Cas is trying to kill him or he’s an evil asshole because he sinks all the way down on him until Dean can feel the tight confines of his throat. “Fffuck.”

With absolutely no memory of moving them, he finds his fingers fisted in Cas’s hair, and when Cas lets up for a breath Dean can just think clearly enough to open his eyes, which is when he gets an eyeful of those pink lips he loves so much wrapped tightly around his significant girth. Cas comes off his dick completely, apparently just to swipe his tongue along his slit, and Dean’s gone enough that he thrusts up and along Cas’s soft tongue. Cas’s eyelashes flutter while he sticks his tongue out, letting him fuck his mouth nice and slow until he’s panting for breath. Then Cas presses an open-mouthed kiss to the head, swirling his tongue and sucking just enough to be a tease, and when Dean curses under his breath, Cas’s lips turn up into a smile. 

“Fuck,” Dean says, aware but uncaring that this is the third time he’s said that in fewer than three minutes because there’s a string of precum, saliva, or both stretching from his cock to Cas’s swollen lips, and it’s such a filthy sight that a fresh drop of pearly fluid forms. 

Cas’s smile stretches into something smug and self-satisfied, and then he licks up the new precum too with a quiet, “Mmmm.” 

He doesn’t even have time to call Cas an asshole before the tight, slippery ring of his lips is around him again and Cas is maintaining eye contact as he swallows his dick one thick inch at a time. Dean pushes up to his elbows to watch, and fuck, what a sight. Cas’s lips are usually so full and lush, and watching them spread so thin as he takes him further and further into his mouth has Dean’s own mouth watering. 

He meant it before when he told Cas how gorgeous he is, and watching him take his cock like a fucking porn star doesn’t detract from that at all. He can't not touch him when he looks like this, so it’s no surprise he finds his free hand on Cas’s face. His fingers curve under Cas’s chin, his thumb tenderly stroking his flushed skin, and son of a bitch, even when he’s having his dick sucked he can’t help but notice how unnaturally warm inside his chest is. 

His thoughts must show on his face, because he can see the moment Cas’s expression changes from liquid hot to knowing. His big blue eyes look soft and understanding right before they close and he repositions his head, sinking down on his cock until his nose is buried in his pubic hair. 

“Shit.” He can feel the tightening of Cas’s throat muscles as he swallows around him, and no matter how many times Cas does this for him, he’s completely useless to fight against just how unbelievable it feels. Cas’s throat constricting, the damp heat, and the visual of Cas literally swallowing his cock is all too much. It’s building too fast. He fucking warned Cas, and the devastatingly handsome son of a bitch still couldn’t resist sucking him down.

“Cas, you gotta—” Cas hums with his dick in his mouth, sending heavy vibrations down his shaft, and when his blue eyes open again and he can see the permission in Cas’s gaze that he knows means it’s okay to give in, he curses again. “Fuck. Thought you wanted—”

Cas pulls up just enough to take a breath, and then he dives back down, sucking like a goddamn hoover as he goes, and with a few insanely well-placed flicks of his tongue that shows him Cas has been paying very close attention each time he’s blown him, Dean loses what little control he had left and starts thrusting wildly into his mouth.

He can feel the pleasure reverberating from low in his stomach to the base of his cock, his sensitive cockhead throbbing while Cas sucks and sucks and holy shit he’s close. Another hum from Cas along with his cock entering the narrow channel of Cas’s throat a second time is all it takes to have him locking up. Heat rolls over his skin like flames, he can’t catch his breath, and between one second and the next, his fingers are tightening in Cas’s hair as he floods his mouth with his cum. The thrill of his orgasm surges through his chest and to the tips of his fingers as he continues to pulse again and again, spilling deep into Cas’s mouth. The moan Cas lets out as he swallows his release only sends an additional wave of lust through his extremities and jesus christ can Cas suck dick like every man’s wildest dreams. 

It isn’t until he’s spent and shaking his way through the aftershocks that he realizes his fingers are fisted hard enough in Cas’s hair that he’s sure he’s going to have loose strands between them in a second when he can figure out how they work again, and his other hand is still fucking petting Cas’s cheek like he’s a golden retriever instead of the guy who just sucked his brains out. 

He collapses back onto the couch, smiling when Cas’s lips are back dropping dry kisses on his stomach moments after he lets his dick fall from his mouth. Now he has enough control to make his hands brush through Cas’s hair like a normal person, and he couldn’t hold back his smile at the quiet sigh of contentment coming from Cas if you paid him. 

“I’ve been thinking about your massive dick all day,” Cas confesses.

The rasping brokenness of Cas’s perpetually deep voice is enough to send goosebumps spreading along his skin, and Cas chuckles when he sees them. He urges Cas up so he can kiss the smile right off his face, and after a few chaste kisses, they wind up forehead-to-forehead again. 

“Thought you wanted to fuck,” Dean reminds him quietly.

“I do, but it turns out I’m sort of a slut for your dick.” Hearing Cas say that of all things has a wheezing laugh escaping him. “Besides, you’ll be hard again by the time I get that perfect ass of yours ready for me,” Cas says, smirking.

Hell yes. “Challenge accepted.”

Cas laughs genuinely and sits up, tugging Dean up with him. “Let’s move this to the bedroom, then.”

Dean tucks himself away enough to get to his feet and walk to the bedroom with legs that feel like jelly. “You’re lucky we weren’t interrupted out there, Mr. No Fooling Around On The Couch.”

Cas shoots him a smile over his shoulder before Dean closes and locks the bedroom door behind them. “I knew it wouldn’t take very long.”

Dean opens his mouth to tell Cas he warned him, but that’s when Cas slips his thumbs into his pants and pushes both his boxers and pants down, revealing his bare ass and still mostly hard cock for the first time tonight. He doesn’t even think before he’s stepping forward and putting his hands on those perfectly round ass cheeks of his, getting a series of good squeezes in while he leans forward to nuzzle into the bend of Cas’s neck. 

“I swear you have one of the hottest asses I’ve ever seen,” Dean tells him.

“One of the hottest?” Cas replies, sounding less than impressed by that. “I guess I’ll have to add more squats to my workout.”

“Nuh-uh,” Dean disagrees. “Don’t change a thing. You’re fucking perfect, Cas.”

Cas turns in his hold, winding his arms around his neck and scrutinizing him with an assessing look. “You’ve been awfully complimentary today.” His face flushes immediately, but before he can try to lie his way out of it, Cas puts his finger on his lips to stop him. Cas’s eyes are so fucking blue this close up, and it’s impossible to miss how earnest he is when he speaks. “It’s sweet of you, and I like it very much.” Cas leans in to peck him quickly, his big fingers stroking down the back of his neck. “I guess I just didn’t expect you to be like this.”

“I can lay off,” Dean offers quietly, his cheeks still burning. 

Cas’s face says it all before he even opens his mouth. “Don’t you dare.”

He lets out a relieved a chuckle and noses Cas’s head to the side so he can leave a trail of kisses along his chiseled jaw. “Good, ‘cause I probably woulda sucked at it.” 

Now it’s Cas’s turn to laugh, and his lips are curved into an answering smile when he kisses the bolt of Cas’s jaw. “I am so crazy about you, Dean. You have no idea.”

He feels like he’s the Grinch and his heart just grew three sizes. He’s close enough to Cas’s ear that he makes sure his voice is pitched at a whisper when he admits, “I might have more of an idea than you think.”

Cas pulls back until they’re face to face, his blue eyes unsure and searching, and as uncharacteristic as it is for Dean to allow himself to be this open with somebody, it feels weirdly okay when he purposely keeps his guard down for Cas to hopefully find whatever it is he’s looking for. Cas’s expression is as soft as he’s ever seen it, and when his lips part on a quiet sound of disbelief, he’s almost curious enough to ask what he just saw. 

“Dean, I—” Cas croaks, his eyes darting back and forth skittishly. “I know it’s fast and I don’t want to scare you but, god, I think—?”

“I know,” Dean interrupts him, his voice so hoarse his words are almost indistinguishable. “I mean, it does scare the shit out of me, but only because I think I might be right there with you.”

“This is crazy,” Cas says breathlessly, blinking at him. His lips curve into a tentative smile, and he adds, “We’re crazy.”

“We’re certifiable,” Dean confirms with a teasing smile, and then Cas is capturing his lips in a closed-mouth but still passionate kiss. 

He feels Cas’s fingers tug at the hem of his t-shirt, and Cas breaks the seal of their lips to say, “Can I fuck you now?”

Dean breathes out a laugh. “Thought you’d never ask.”

And then his shirt is pulled off, he loses his boxers, and Cas manhandles him onto the bed. They’re both still grinning like idiots several minutes later when Cas grabs the bottle of lube and throws Dean’s leg up over his shoulder, but by the time Cas has two fingers moving seamlessly in and out of him, he’s nothing but a sweaty, needy mess. 

Thankfully, Cas doesn’t seem to be in the mood to tease him tonight, because he doesn’t even get the chance to tell Cas that he’s ready before Cas is pulling out his fingers, slicking up his flushed cock, and positioning himself between Dean’s legs. 

“Good old fashioned missionary okay?” Cas checks, his mouth tilted into a sideways smile that tugs at his heartstrings. 

“Just get in me,” Dean replies, spreading his legs wider to accommodate him. 

Cas settles himself between his legs, dipping his head down for a lingering kiss before he lines himself up. He feels Cas skin-to-skin for the first time between his cheeks, and he’s hit with such a strong wave of anxiety out of absolutely nowhere he almost has to ask him to stop. He pulls Cas down so that he can bury his face in his neck instead, and then Cas starts pushing inside nice and slow, and it feels good enough that he’s convinced himself it’s going to be okay. 

He lets out a shaky breath, feeling some of the tightness in his chest disappearing with the first breath back in that brings in the familiar scent of Cas, but he clutches at Cas’s back to keep him grounded.

“Relax, sweetheart,” Cas coaxes him, making him realize he’s currently strung as tight as a bow. Cas presses a chaste kiss to his neck and it’s enough of a comfort that he feels himself loosen up a tiny little bit, and Cas sighs as he slips the rest of the way inside. “God,” Cas breathes. “You feel incredible, Dean. Absolutely heavenly. I can’t wait for you to feel this.”

Instead of soothing him, the verbal confirmation that somebody is actually inside of him with absolutely nothing between them has fear clenching in his stomach like a fist and he blurts, “Wait!”

Cas stops instantly, pushing up onto his elbows to gaze down at him with alarm written all over his face. “What’s the matter? Are you okay?”

“Y-yeah,” Dean croaks, squeezing his eyes closed so he doesn’t have to look at Cas while he tries to figure out if that’s true or not. His heart is racing, but he’s not sure if it’s in a good way now, and he suddenly feels so nervous it’s like he’s a virgin all over again.

“Talk to me, gorgeous,” Cas implores him, his voice filled with concern. “What did I do? Did I hurt you?”

“No,” Dean says immediately. “God, no, Cas. You’d never.”

“I should’ve stopped when I felt how tense you were,” he says quietly. “I thought you were just a little sensitive after your orgasm.”

“Maybe that’s all it is,” Dean says, though he’s pretty sure that isn’t it.

“Will you look at me?” Cas asks, and though he’s not sure he wants to, he’s apparently unable to resist that coaxing tone of voice of his. His eyes open, and Cas’s expression changes almost instantly from curious to concerned. “You look terrified,” he whispers. Cas goes to pull out, to pull away, but although he has no idea what the hell he wants right now, he knows he doesn’t want Cas to move.

“Don’t. Please,” Dean implores him. “I know—I know I’m freakin’ out here a little but I don’t want you to stop.”

“Dean,” Cas says quietly, sounding broken. “I don’t know what to do.”

“It’s just—” He swallows, closes his eyes again, and tries to put the mess of emotions he’s feeling into words. “I’ve never—” He’s absolutely mortified when he feels his eyes welling up, and thanks to that unexpected reaction, he has a sinking suspicion why this is such a big deal all of the sudden. “Fuck, I’m such a girl.”

“A girl?” Cas repeats, clearly not getting it. 

“Crying through my first time,” he spells out, his face absolutely burning with shame.

“Oh.” Cas lowers his mouth to kiss his forehead. “I still don’t really know what to do here,” Cas whispers conspiratorially, and even though he’s more embarrassed than he remembers being in his life, he laughs nervously. 

“I knew I was a little nervous about doin’ this, but I didn’t really think it would feel any different,” he tries to explain.

“The fact that I’m still hard should be a testament to how different it feels on my end,” Cas jokes, and Dean laughs again, more genuinely this time.

“Yeah, but I meant... emotionally,” he settles on. “It’s just—it’s a lot knowing that I’ve got you inside of me with no condom or anything between us. You’re really in me,” he whispers. “And I’m never gonna—” He stops to lick his lips as emotion threatens to get the best of him again. “It’s my last first I’ve got left when it comes to sex, you know?” Cas nods with understanding, moving his fingers through Dean’s hair by his temple, and his heart swells dangerously in his chest at the tender gesture. His eyes feel wet again, but he forces himself to say, “It means more to me than I thought it would, and I guess I’m just really glad it’s with you.”

He sees Cas’s blue eyes turn to liquid through his unshed tears, and Cas sighs, “Oh, Dean,” before he frames his face and seals their lips together. He’s reminded of how he felt on the couch—how this is right with Cas—and as corny as he is, he knows this is the way it was supposed to be. With Cas. Always with Cas. He sniffles a few times between kisses, but Cas’s talented mouth has arousal beginning to buzz low in his stomach as they continue kissing, and when he moves his hands into Cas’s hair, it feels like two puzzle pieces falling into place, and everything else disappears. 

Cas makes a pleased sound against his lips when Dean’s flagged erection starts to stiffen between them again, but he doesn’t try to take things any further. In fact, Cas is still obviously hard and buried to the hilt inside of him, but he doesn’t move an inch. He doesn’t touch him in a sexual way at all—it’s all gentle caresses, fingers tracing his jaw, his cheek, brushing through his hair—and inexplicably, desire burns more brightly than ever because of the intimacy. 

Cas kisses down his neck, whispering, “You mean so much to me, Dean. I’m the luckiest man alive to be the one to share this with you.”

Cas is gonna get him choked up again if he keeps going on like that. “Same. Wouldn’t change it for anything.” He urges their lips back together, and when Cas is still being so incredibly gentle and refusing to move things along a few minutes later, he sucks Cas’s bottom lip into his mouth and scrapes his teeth along it as he pulls away, eliciting a sharp gasp from the man above him. 

Cas tilts his head curiously, and Dean says, “You gonna fuck me or what?”

“Are you sure? You know how much I love kissing you. If you need me to, I could probably hold out for another ten, twenty seconds?”

Dean snickers, kissing him once more just because he’s fucking crazy about him. “Show me what you got, doc.”

Cas smirks and pulls out just to push back in, groaning at the very first stroke. “God, Dean. I think I might’ve actually died inside if you asked me to wait another second,” he admits, making Dean laugh again. “You feel so, so good like this.”

“Yeah?”

“Unbelievable,” Cas reiterates. “I never want to wear a condom again.”

“Guess we can’t break up then,” Dean says without thinking. 

Cas answers just as quickly, “You won’t hear any complaints from me.”

Though it seems impossible, he’s sure his smile must be as blinding as Cas’s, and this time when they kiss, Cas doesn’t hesitate to curl his fingers beneath his jaw to move his head just how he wants him, causing his blood to boil hot when Cas’s tongue forces its way between his lips. Cas snaps his hips forward, stealing his breath with the sharp thrust, and he gets his hands back on Cas’s ass to feel it flex while he moves inside of him. 

It’s hard to explain, but Cas’s thick, warm cock is filling him in more ways than just the physical as they move together until they fall into a steady rhythm of in and out that has his hands grappling at Cas’s back all over again. He wraps his bowlegs around Cas, wanting him closer still, and as Cas slips inside of him the tiniest bit deeper, he really starts to lose himself in the onslaught of pleasure. 

It’s instinctual when he uses his body to guide Cas into the pace he’s craving, a quiet moan announcing his appreciation when Cas takes the cue and starts fucking him exactly how he wanted it. He can hear Cas’s thighs slapping against his with each deep, forceful thrust, pushing him back on the mattress bit by bit with the power behind them, and he finally breaks their kiss when he’s breathing so hard he can’t keep it going. 

Cas’s scruff scrapes under his chin when he nudges his head to the side to find the mark he sucked into his skin earlier, and when the delicious pleasure/pain combo overloads his senses, he calls out as the next thrust just brushes against his prostate.

“Shhh,” Cas reminds him, but he doesn’t let up at all. In fact, Cas changes the angle of his hips slightly and connects dead-on when he spears inside of him again. He muffles his cry on Cas’s shoulder, but his nails dig into Cas’s back in retaliation. 

Cas makes a low sound deep in his throat, and the next time his cock drives inside of him, Cas adds speed to force and he feels a lightning bolt of pleasure shoot straight to his cock. “Oh fuck,” he gasps. Cas is already pulling out to thrust back inside the exact same way, and even knowing what’s coming, he can’t help the garbled sound that’s punched out of him. 

Clearly sensing a weakness, Cas starts pounding into him hard and fast. Cas sucks kisses into his neck on the way back up to smash their lips back together, and this time Dean can’t concentrate enough to offer anything more than teeth clacking together and a wild tangling of tongues. 

They’re reduced to sharing damp, panting breaths in the negligible space between them, and the grip he has on Cas’s back is starting to slip because of the sweat Cas is working up maintaining the fervent pace. He nips at Cas’s full lower lip before laving his tongue over it to soothe the sting, humming when he recognizes the familiar heat already making itself known in the fire spreading through his veins. 

“Do you—do you want me to pull out?” Cas asks, his voice rough enough that it alone has him that much closer to the edge.

“Fuck no,” Dean says quickly. “Wanna feel you.”

“Mmmm,” Cas moans. “I want to. Fuck, I’m close. But I want to—” Cas pulls almost all the way back and then slams back instead of him with a fluid thrust that steals his breath and has him throwing his head back with unrestrained pleasure. “—to come inside of you.”

“Want you to,” he pants. “Only you, Cas.”

“Fuck,” Cas curses again, and Dean lets out a breathless laugh as he realizes what’s affecting him so much.

“Feeling a little possessive, doc?” Cas drops his forehead to his shoulder with a groan, and Dean keeps right on smirking when he asks, “Wanna be the first to come inside of me?”

“Yes,” Cas replies vehemently, his teeth scraping along his collarbone.

“Gonna mark me from the inside out?” he taunts. Surprisingly, the very idea has pleasure ripping through him like an electric shock, and he’s rolling his hips in a mad rush to meet Cas half-way for his next thrust, suddenly chasing his orgasm in a frenzy. “Make me yours.”

Cas’s fingers dig into his hair and a sharp yank both makes his cock twitch it throbs so hard and forces their gazes back together. “Mine,” Cas grits out, the flash of possessiveness in his eyes the hottest fucking thing he’s ever seen, and then Cas is catching his lips in a claiming kiss that sears him all the way down to his soul.

The intense heat pooling hot and fast low in his stomach is telling him that he’s almost there, and considering he hasn’t even been touched he knows it’s bound to be one hell of an orgasm, but Cas’s hips are starting to stutter and he’s so fucking close he can taste it. 

“Cas,” he pleads. “‘m so close.”

“I’m—” Cas’s voice breaks on another groan and frustration spikes when Cas tries to slow down.

“Don’t stop!” he complains. “Don’t stop, fuck Cas, come on.” Cas slams into him again and it’s so damn good, his toes curl. His muscles are tightening, and he’s so, so close. “Again, please, Cas. Fuck me, fuck me, fuck—”

Cas’s arms are starting to shake where they’re holding him up and when Cas chokes out, “D-dean,” he hears it for the warning it is.

He takes matters into his own hands and lifts his hips to fuck himself on Cas’s cock, and when he feels his own leaking cock rut through the soft hair on Cas’s belly, he moans as his orgasm starts to crest. He’s straining, reaching for it, welcoming the shockwaves of pleasure as Cas plows into him over and over, almost violently now, and it’s the third thrust when Dean’s breath is caught in his throat that Cas crumbles with a broken, “Dean!”

He feels the first hot spurt of Cas’s cum shoot deep inside of him, and that’s it, he’s a fucking goner. Cas is coming inside of him and as a mental image of Cas’s cum seeping out from between his spread cheeks flashes vividly in his mind’s eye, inconceivable heat swallows him whole and he’s coming for the second time tonight, completely untouched and so fucking hard he can’t even breathe through it. 

His cock kicks as it explodes between them, and the first breath he gets comes right back out in the dirtiest fucking moan he’s ever produced in his entire goddamn life because he can feel the added wetness that Cas is thrusting through now, can hear the new squelch of Cas’s cock still forcing its way in and out of him as Cas keeps pumping him full of his cum, and he loves every filthy second of it. 

His eyes are still squeezed tightly closed so he can absorb every moment when he feels Cas’s stilted breath fall over his lips. “Mine,” Cas declares, his voice hoarse but proud, and then he presses a soft, lingering kiss to his forehead that makes Dean’s heart do cartwheels in his chest.

Cas lies prone on top of him, pushing his face into his neck, and Dean’s stroking through his hair with one hand and down his back with the other without even thinking. He feels absolutely boneless, his heart is racing like he just ran a marathon, and Cas is heavy as shit, but he’s so fucked out he doesn’t even care. Unlike when they use a condom, Cas stays inside of him until he’s no longer able to, and as they both soften, Dean has his first experience with cum seeping out of a place that he really doesn’t want seepage from on his sheets. 

“Okay, the sex was awesome, but everything coming out? No so much,” he admits, barely suppressing a shudder of disgust. 

Cas snorts a laugh and pries his sweaty body off of him. “I’ll get you a cloth.” 

“Yeah, you better.” When Cas arches a questioning eyebrow as he walks away, Dean reminds him, “This was all your idea!”

He’s careful not to move so he doesn’t spread the mess, and when Cas comes back, he has a damp cloth that he passes to Dean so he can clean himself up. It only takes a few seconds to have him feeling (mostly) clean again, and after mopping up his stomach and Cas’s chest, he throws the cloth through the door to the en-suite where it lands with a wet plop. 

The only problem now is the wet spot underneath him.

“Move your ass over,” he insists, snuggling up to Cas’s side of the bed to get out of the wet spot. “We’re snuggling closer than usual tonight so I don’t have to sleep in a puddle of spunk.”

“Now that is a sacrifice I am happy to make,” Cas says, tugging him in so there’s no space between them at all. Cas presses a kiss to the top of his head before saying, “That was unbelievable.” 

“I’m actually pretty impressed. I can’t believe you made me come untouched after you blew me,” Dean says with a sideways smile. 

There’s humor audible in Cas’s voice when he responds, “I am pretty impressive.”

Dean huffs a laugh. “How’d it feel to come where no man’s come before, Caveman Cas?”

“Let’s just say I have enough spank bank material to last me a lifetime,” Cas replies, and Dean can’t help the laughter that bursts out of him. 

“You dirty perv,” he says lightly once he’s stopped laughing. He can’t stop smiling, though. He feels light enough that he could just fly away. “You’re damn near perfect for me, y’know.”

“That’s only because you’re perfect for me,” Cas says smoothly. 

He knows it’s cheesy as hell, but that warmth that’s been steadily growing inside of him all day finally overflows, bubbles up his throat, and comes out of his mouth like word vomit. “I’m—Jesus, Cas. I’m so fucking happy right now.”

Cas kisses the top of his head again. “Two orgasms will do that to you.”

“No,” Dean says. Though he knows there’s some truth in that, that’s not what he meant. “Not just ‘cause of that. ‘Cause of you. You and Liam. Shit, even having Sam over tonight. Having you all here—”

“I still have to meet Jo,” Cas interrupts. 

“You will. And she’ll love you just like I do.” His heart clenches almost painfully in his chest as he hears those words come out of his own mouth. “You know what I mean,” he tacks on, hoping he doesn’t sound like he’s about to shit himself the same way he feels. 

Cas chuckles and gives him a little squeeze. “I know what you mean. You make me really happy, too. You can be difficult sometimes—”

“Who, me?” he teases.

“But most of the time it’s so easy it doesn’t even seem real. I didn’t know it could be like this. I didn’t know it was even possible for people to be this happy.” 

“All the sex will do that to you,” Dean jokes, though he’s ten times happier now after hearing Cas say that than he was only a minute ago.  

“Or maybe starting to fall for somebody?” Cas says quietly. 

It’s scary, no doubt about it. The way his heart is pounding behind his ribs and his throat runs a little dry is more than enough proof of that, but it’s almost completely eclipsed by happiness. Because he was pretty sure falling in love is what Cas was going to say earlier, but hearing him say it out loud is... an experience. But mostly a good one, it turns out. 

“Might have something to do with it,” Dean admits, his voice a little more wobbly than he would like. 

“Does it scare the shit out of you, too?” 

“Only about ninety percent of the time,” he replies, getting a laugh from Cas. 

“Okay, good. I’m glad it’s not only me.”

He doesn’t know why he asks, but it comes out nonetheless. “Have you ever been in love before?”

“Hmmm.” Cas’s fingers tap between his shoulder blades. “No. Nothing more than teenage infatuation with the cute nerdy kid in my senior year of high school.”

Ridiculously, he feels a stab of jealousy. “Was he hot?”

Like Cas can read his mind, he answers, “He’s got nothing on you, gorgeous.” 

“Just making sure I don’t have any competition waiting in the wings,” Dean tells him. 

“Believe me, you are in a league of your own.” Dean smiles at that, comfortable and satisfied in Cas’s arms. “Have you loved anybody other than Lisa?”

“Nope. She was the first and only before you—uh—well—” He stumbles, embarrassed as hell at how that sounds. “I don’t think I’ve made it to a third date since her and I broke up,” he finally manages.

“So you’re telling me I have to get you out twice more to secure my status,” Cas says. 

“No,” Dean responds honestly. “You’re in a league of your own, too, doc. What we have is completely unique for me.”

“Probably because I’m the best in bed,” Cas surmises. 

“Probably a part of it,” he agrees. 

“And I’m a Doctor."

Dean chuckles. “It’s funny how fast you went from, ‘You know I’m not technically a doctor,’ to using it against me at every opportunity.”

“I’m an intellectual, what can I say?”

“Mmhmm,” Dean answers, amused. “You wanna put on pjs and watch a movie or something? We can stay up late since it’s a weekend.”

“How long do you think I have before I can talk you into a round two? Or three for you, I guess.”

Dean snorts in disbelief. “Seriously?”

“Yes, seriously. You don’t know how good that felt.”

“Maybe you should let me fuck you so I can find out.”

“Actually, it’s not really that different...” Cas lies. Badly.  

“Nice try.”

Cas sits up, jostling him enough to have him almost land in the wet spot again. “What movie did you want to watch?”

“Something funny,” he answers automatically. “But don’t think I’m gonna let you change the subject that easily.” 

“Do you have any idea where my socks got to?” 

Dean narrows his eyes. “That’s not funny.”

“Honestly. Did they come off when were fooling around on the couch? Because I kept them on when Sam was here.”

Now Dean’s sitting up and walking over to grab a pair of pajama pants from his dresser. “If I find a dirty fucking sock the next time I’m cleaning between the couch cushions, I'm gonna be pissed.” 

Cas is stepping into his pants with a shit-eating grin on his face, which is somehow even sexier when the elastic band settles low on his hips and accentuates just how sharp they are. He can see a fading bruise on the left and makes a mental note to renew that when Cas inevitably gets him naked again later. 

“Can we make popcorn?” Cas asks out of nowhere.

Because that does sound good, he shrugs. “Yeah, why not?”

“You go do that and I’ll go hide a sock in the couch cushions for later,” Cas says. "You're hot when you're mad," and then the fucker stops to press a kiss to his cheek before he walks out of the bedroom leaving him with one hell of a view of the ass he is definitely fucking later tonight.

Chapter Text

The weekend is spent outside for the most part. They build the sandbox for Liam on Saturday, and on Sunday, they invite both Sam and Jo over for a cookout. Once they realize they need somewhere to sit if they’re going to eat outside, he and Liam take a trip to Home Depot to pick out a patio set. It takes hours to build it together (with Liam getting in the way more than helping), but Liam’s excitement when it’s finished is worth it all, including the actual headache Liam gave him when he accidentally conked him on the side of the head with a hammer (that he told Liam they didn’t need in the first place). 

Cas makes the best potato salad he’s ever had in his freaking life, Sam brings over some three bean salad thing he refuses to even try but Cas and Liam eat like there’s no tomorrow, and along with the chicken kabobs and corn on the cob he grills up, they all stuff themselves full. With all of his favorite people seated around his new patio set, he’s as happy as he’s ever been, and that’s before Jo produces a Tupperware container full of homemade fudge brownies. Of course, that means Liam needs a bath before bed, but considering he’s basically brown from all the sandbox time this weekend, he probably needed it anyway.

Things seem to settle into a rhythm from there on out. Wednesday is their second lunch date, Sam stops by a few times a week for dinner, and the following weekend, he and Cas leave Liam with Sam late afternoon to go out for their first real date. Dean takes him for a bit of a drive until they wind up at the Strataca underground salt museum. Cas lights up like a little kid when he realizes what they’re doing, and just when he doesn’t think the guy can get any cuter, he gets to see Cas in a hardhat in order for them to go underground. The facts Cas whispers to him under his breath are a hell of a lot more interesting than what the tour guide is saying, and Dean’s left bursting with pride over just how intelligent Cas is. The whole thing takes about two hours, and they’ve definitely walked enough to work up an appetite, which is when they head to the restaurant Dean picked out for dinner. 

It’s a steakhouse, but with a bit of a twist. The restaurant has lava rock grills that come with most steak dishes, so they get to cook their steak at their own table just the way they like it. It’s a fun little addition that makes it a unique experience for them both, and by the time they’re winding down with drinks (only one for him since he’s driving), Cas is the one who’s flushed and starry-eyed for once, and Dean would swear on the Impala that nobody’s ever looked more beautiful. Despite the judgmental looks he can feel boring into his back for being a gay man in Kansas, he walks out to the car with his arm wound around Cas, and once again, feels pride swelling inside of him knowing that he’s the one who got to share tonight with Cas. 

Cas scoots over into the middle seat on the way home, and he drives with Cas’s head on his shoulder and one hand on the wheel. The other hand winds up tangled up with Cas’s, and it’s insane that he feels this incredibly warm and fuzzy inside from something as simple as driving home in his car, but the truth is he can’t imagine ever feeling better than he does right now. It’s the best date he’s ever been on, and he says as much when they’re walking into the house still hand-in-hand, which somehow leads to the two of them kissing so tenderly on the front step that his heart actually aches with how full it is.

Sam takes one look at the stars in their eyes when they finally make it inside and makes a quick exit after telling them Liam went to bed without a fight and he had no issues with him at all. They lock the door behind Sam, peek in on Liam, and then with the bedroom door closed and locked, they strip each other slowly, worshiping each other’s bodies until they come together so sweetly it can only be described as making love. 

Once again, they stay up hours after the lights are out, talking about everything and nothing. They’re face-to-face with their hands laced together on the bed between them and their legs slotted between the other’s, and if he was a betting man, he’d put money on Cas feeling just as warm, sated, and comfortable as he is with how they’re obviously falling in love. When they finally drift off into sleep, it’s not even on purpose, but they’re both so completely satisfied, body, mind, and soul that they can’t resist the pull. The last thing he remembers from their night is a vividly clear image of a soft smile on Cas’s lips.

Monday is the start of a new week, and Dean goes through the motions of bringing Liam to daycare every morning, working every day, and coming home to what feels more and more like his family at the end of each day. Now that living with Cas is starting to feel less like a novelty and more like the new normal, he begins working on his house again. Soon enough he and Cas are working side-by-side, and then Cas starts working on it on his own during the day since he hasn’t had any luck with finding a job yet. Cas warned him he wasn’t particularly handy but he’s been more than capable at everything he’s asked Cas to try so far, and Cas actually did a hell of a job stripping the wallpaper in the ensuite, which isn’t necessarily difficult but a hell of a time-suck that he couldn’t thank Cas enough for tackling on his own. Cas also managed to take down all the kitchen cupboards and strip the old paint off of them, making it a lot easier for him to stain and add new hardware, which the two of them picked out together. 

Though Cas insists it’s too late in the year to plant any flowers in the backyard, their work spreads out there, too. He makes Cas some planter boxes for along the fence at the back of the yard and in front of the window where they’re going to put that bush thing Cas mentioned to go with the sunflowers. Cas paints the boxes white to match the white picket fence, and plants a crab apple tree in the corner that Liam checks every day for apples. Cas convinces him to buy patio stones for right outside the patio door to make an adult area to the yard, and when Dean comes home from work one day to see the stones laid, the furniture all set up the way Cas wanted it with lights strung overhead, he has to admit the guy has one hell of an eye. They leave space out in the yard for a swing set for Liam, but other than that, the backyard is finished and better than Dean could’ve dreamed even before the plants are in their planters, all thanks to Cas’s hard work.

In fact, Cas’s personal touch continues to pop up throughout the house the more comfortable he feels there, which always warms Dean’s heart to see. There’s a candle in the bathroom that both works and smells better than any air freshener he’s ever had, and as fall approaches, a little centerpiece with pumpkins, leaves, and cranberries appears in the middle of the coffee table, a wreath greets him on the front door when he comes home one day, and a wicker basket pops up on the table inside the door where he can put his wallet. They’re all little things, but collectively, it makes it feel like it’s his and Cas’s place instead of just his place and really cements the sensation of home he gets when he walks through the door each day.

August flips to September, and as unbelievable as it is, that means Liam has been with them for more than a month. The school buses are back on the streets, Liam complains he’s “cold” if he doesn’t have a sweater or a jacket on in the morning, but more pressing than that is Cas’s birthday coming up in a couple of days. He’s been working through his lunch hour every day but Wednesday for weeks, working on building Cas the one thing the backyard still needs before it can be absolutely perfect for them. Any kind of decorative carpentry isn’t his strong point, but with a little bit of help from Jo (and a whole lot of teasing), he wound up with exactly what he wanted.

Cas kept saying he didn’t want any fuss for his birthday, but it’s not every day the guy he’s falling for turns thirty. Unfortunately, the 18th falls on a Wednesday, so he has to go to work for the day, but he does manage to start Cas’s birthday off on the right foot with a shower blowjob and a french toast casserole he prepped the night before. Cas has a party hat on his head when he kisses him long and hard before he leaves for work and tells him it’s already the best birthday he’s ever had. He reminds Liam’s daycare worker when he drops him off that Liam would like to make a birthday card for Cas, and then he’s off to work.

He spends the day thinking about this morning in the shower, how hot it had been when Cas gave in and just fucked his face, and how surprised Cas was when he could take it without even trying. Apparently all he needed to learn how to deepthroat was a patient teacher and lots of practice, both of which Cas has been more than happy to provide, and that clearly paid off this morning. He thinks about the trust he has in Cas to know that Cas isn’t going to go too far and make it impossible for him to breathe even in the throes of passion, and how even though there’s absolutely nothing soft and sweet about getting his face fucked, he hadn’t felt anything other than pride and happiness that he was able to give Cas so much pleasure on his birthday of all days. 

He gets a whack across the back of the head from Jo for staring off into space, and with that, he refocuses on what he’s doing and gets back to work, with only the occasional thought in the back of his mind about Cas, what he has planned for after Liam goes to bed, and how tonight might be as good a time as any to address the elephant in the room they’ve been dancing around for the last few weeks.

He’s falling in love with Cas.

Hell, if he was anybody else he might be able to admit that he’s far enough past falling that it probably counts as past-tense now, but he still feels like it’s too soon to be entirely sure. Who falls in love with somebody in a month? Wide-eyed teenagers who don’t know the first thing about true love or stage-five clingers who want to be in love so badly they think the first hint of a crush is the real thing, that’s who. He doesn’t fall into either of those categories, so chances are the fluttering feeling he gets in his chest when he sees Cas for the first time every day (or after work, or in the hallway, or the kitchen...) isn’t love yet, he’s just really, really close. 

Considering the amount of time he spends telling himself that, he wishes he believed it. 

He, Jo, and Sam all made a deal to quit at four today so they could all get cleaned up for dinner later, and he makes sure it’s four o’clock on the button when he and Jo leave for the day. He’s walking through the front door less than ten minutes later with a spring in his step and a smile on his face.

“Honey, I’m home,” he calls out (which still hasn’t gotten old). 

He hears Liam’s little feet pounding on the wooden floor before he sees him, and he’s about to scold him for running when Liam slows down right before he rounds the corner. Smart kid.

“Dean! Is it time to go for Cas’s birthday yet?”

He started asking that at seven o’clock in the morning, according to Cas, and apparently he hasn’t stopped yet. “Not quite. Almost an hour until go time,” Dean tells him as he takes off his boots.

“How long is that?” Liam asks.

“Almost three full episodes of Daniel Tiger,” Dean tells him, and Liam’s eyes light up immediately.

“That’s super soon!”

After looking in the kitchen and down the hall without a trace of Cas, he asks Liam, “Where’s the birthday boy?” 

“Don’t know,” Liam says with a shrug, turning away.

Dean frowns, following after him. “What do you mean you don’t know? Where did he go?”

“Don’t know,” Liam repeats, plopping onto the couch. “He just goes’way sometimes.”

And just like that, he knows exactly where Cas is. Considering how open Cas is about absolutely everything in his life, it amuses him to no end how secretive the guy is when he has to take a dump. It’s like Liam said, Cas literally just disappears whenever he needs to go. No, “I’ll be right back,” or anything. He’s just there one second, and then he leaves the next without any indication of where he’s going. He’s learned the hard way that even if he calls out Cas’s name to ask him where he is, Cas absolutely won’t answer if he’s in the can. You’d think with a little kid like Liam running around farting without shame and forgetting to flush the toilet nine times out of ten that Cas would be okay at least alluding to needing a minute to go number two, but it’s like he wants Dean to think he doesn’t shit at all. It’s hilarious.

He’s chuckling to himself when he takes the seat next to Liam. Liam casts his blue eyes Dean’s way and asks, “Didja find him?”

“I know where he is,” Dean answers. 

“Where is he?”

“He’s busy,” Dean replies.

“Busy doing what?”

“Stuff.”

“What kinda stuff?”

“He’s in the bathroom, okay? Let him have a moment of peace to drop a load already.”

Liam tucks his little legs under him, still looking at him curiously. “What’s he doin’ in the bathroom?”

Dean shoots him an amused smile. “What do people usually do in the bathroom?”

“Pee and poop. And have a bath!” he adds as it comes to him.

“There ya go, you just answered your own question.”

“Well Cas is takin’ a really long time. So prob’ly a bath, huh?”

Dean’s immature enough that outing Cas to Liam is at least somewhat funny. “He’s not in the big bathroom, and we don’t have a tub in ours, just a toilet.”

“Ohhhhh. He coulda just said he was poopin’. Everybody poops.”

Dean snickers a little under his breath. “Yeah, everybody does. Most of the time adults don’t talk about it, though.”

“You do,” Liam points out.

Dean grins without shame. “That’s ‘cause I’m just a big kid on the inside.”

“That’s weird,” Liam comments, but apparently he’s finally out of questions now, because he turns back towards the TV. 

“Hey,” he whispers. “Didja make a card today?”

Liam nods without looking at him. “I hided it in my room.”

Dean’s scrolling through social media when Cas comes out a few minutes later, and his heart tumbles in his chest when Cas greets him with a face-splitting smile. 

“You’re home early.”

“Everybody wanted to clean up a bit before dinner tonight.”

Liam’s eyes are still glued to the TV when he announces, “We were waiting forever for you to stop pooping.”

Cas’s face definitely turns a little pink, but he glares at Dean nonetheless. “So for my birthday, my boyfriend’s proving paternity without a test?”

Dean can’t help the way a nervous smile twitches his lips. He’s so fucking happy but doesn’t want to seem too eager, either. “Boyfriend?” he questions.

Cas tilts his head to the side, seeming genuinely confused. “What else would I call you?”

“I dunno. We never really talked about it.”

“We’ve been having—” Cas stops himself mid-word as he looks at Liam, who has already turned back to the TV. “You-know-what together for more than a month.”

“Yeah, but people do that all the time without being together.”

“I know that, but we are, aren’t we? That’s why I thought it was so adorable when you stumbled your way through asking me out on a date.”

Dean sits up a little straighter as that sinks in. “Wait—you thought we were together this whole time? Boyfriends this whole time?”

Cas shrugs. “Well, yeah.” Then he sobers up as something obviously occurs to him. “Unless—”

“No,” Dean says, getting to his feet to walk around the couch to be closer to Cas. He doesn’t know exactly how to say it without coming across as too eager, but he can definitely reassure Cas by taking his hand into his own while he figures it out. “I’d be fucking thrilled to be your boyfriend.”

Okay, apparently not too eager is off the table, but Cas’s pleased smile wipes that right out of his brain. “Really?”

“Yeah, really.”

Cas’s smile grows twice as big and he’s sure his heart is going to explode and shoot millions of tiny little cartoon hearts through the air like a freaking Care Bear or something. 

“This better not be my birthday present,” Cas demands, and he has a split second to wonder if he could be more perfect before Cas laughs at his own joke.

Dean huffs out a laugh of his own and closes the distance between them to press a chaste but lasting kiss to his pillow-soft lips. “You got your birthday present in the shower this morning, just like you wanted.”

“Mmmm.” Cas hums into it when they kiss again, but this time his hands come around Dean’s middle to tug him in a little closer. “I hope it’s not selfish of me to admit I’m counting on a second part I can unwrap a little later tonight.”

“Lucky for you I’m a giving kinda guy,” Dean says around a grin.

“I have the best boyfriend ever.” Dean’s grin stretches into a smile that would be embarrassing if it was in front of anybody other than Cas. “You’re gonna give me a big head if you keep smiling so big every time I say that.”

“Stop making me so happy then.”

“Never,” Cas declares, causing hope to fill him up like a balloon and prompting a soft smile Dean tries to duck his face to hide. Cas tilts his face back up with a single finger curled under his chin and guides him in until their lips are pressed together again, and Dean’s about two seconds away from blurting out that he’s head over fucking heels in love with him when he feels a little hand pushing against his chest. 

They break apart to find Liam staring up at them with two hands pushing them apart. He’s mostly gotten over seeing them kiss by now, but he still gives them shit for it every now and then when he wants to get a laugh out of them.

“Is it time to go yet?”

“No, but I should go shower all this sawdust off of me,” Dean says, earning himself a swat on the ass from Cas that makes Liam giggle.

“I thought I got whatever I wanted today?” Cas challenges.

Dean raises his eyebrows and tilts his head towards Liam. “Is that really the precedent we want to set here?”

“If that’s what it takes to keep you smelling like that all night, then yes,” Cas replies, apparently not at all ashamed to do what he has to do to get what he wants.

“Fine,” he sighs. “I’ll just wash up and change my clothes, then, birthday boy. You, too, Liam.”

“Oh yeah!” Liam exclaims, hopping up and running down the hallway.

“What’s wrong with what he’s wearing?”

“You’ll see,” Dean says cryptically, and then he follows Liam down the hall.

He lets Liam come into their bedroom while he washes up and changes clothes, even though that means answering a bazillion questions and saving him from almost falling off of the window seat at least three times in ten minutes. He styles Liam’s hair like his own, then pulls out the dress shirt he found for Liam online with little bumble bees printed all over it, and when he buttons it up to his neck and adds the yellow bow tie, he feels his heart fall at the little boy’s feet.

“Look at you,” he says breathlessly, one hand coming up to settle over his heart. “You’re growing up so fast, buddy.”

“I’m almost four and a half,” Liam tells him, which only makes him breathe out a laugh. 

“This is gonna make Cas real happy. Thanks for being such a good sport. I love you, buddy.”

Liam smiles, showing off the gaps between his tiny teeth, and says, “I love you, too. And Cas! And I love this shirt! Can I get my card now and show him?”

All he can do is nod as his heart overflows in his chest, because that’s a first he wasn’t expecting. Somewhere along the way, they started telling Liam that they love him before bed, and every single time, Liam says, “Goodnight, Dean. Good night, Cas,” but Liam has never said that he loves them back. And now Liam just said it like it was no big deal when Dean feels like the whole world just narrowed down to the little boy currently speed walking through his bedroom, and he knows in that instant that he’d die for him if he had to. He’d kill to protect Liam, would give Liam the shirt off of his own back if it meant he was the tiniest bit warmer, would do absolutely anything and everything just to make sure he lives a long, happy life. 

It isn’t a new revelation—he feels an echo of the same overwhelming emotion each time he peeks in and sees Liam sleeping with Winchester tucked under his arm, every time Liam laughs with his toothbrush sticking out of the side of his mouth, every time Liam snuggles in for cuddle time before bed or initiates a hug without prompting—but it’s particularly vivid right now and the magnitude of the love he has for the tiny human running out through his bedroom door is absolutely unparalleled. 

He doesn’t have time to really let it sink in though, because he wants to see Cas’s reaction when Cas gets his first look at Liam all dressed up for his birthday. That has him pulling himself together enough to get off of the bed and lean against the wall for a direct view of Liam now running down the hall with the homemade card in his hand to where Cas is on the couch. 

“Happy birthday, Cas! Look! Look what I made you!” Liam says, thrusting the card directly into Cas’s face and making Dean laugh a little. “And—and—and look at my bee shirt! ‘Cause you super like bees the most and Dean—Dean said you’d be the happiest ever if I wore it so I’m wearing it for you! Look!”

“Wow,” Cas says through his own quiet laughter at Liam’s enthusiasm. “You look very handsome, Liam. And so big, too! Are you sure you’re only four?”

“Almost four and a half,” Liam tells him, looking over his shoulder to where Dean’s standing in the hallway. “Dean, come see the card!”

“Happy Bee-Day,” Cas reads aloud as Dean approaches them where they’re sitting on the couch. “Did you draw this bumblebee all by yourself?”

“Yeah!” Liam says proudly. “He’s fat with little wings just like the ones we seed outside!”

“It’s wonderful, Liam,” Cas says, sounding absolutely genuine even though Dean can see the bee resembles a smear on the windshield more than a live bee now that he’s closer. 

“Open it!” Liam insists, and inside there’s a bunch of tiny bees scattered along the inside pages. “It’s—it’s my thumb, see?” And now that Liam’s pointed it out, he can see that all of the little bees are made from yellow thumb prints, and the words say, Bee Happy.

“That’s so cool,” Cas comments. “Did you write your name down here?”

“Yeah, it—it says, Love, Liam.”

Cas’s eyes are incredibly soft and full of emotion when they catch Dean’s. His own mist over, too, (feelings carried over from what just happened in the bedroom) and though his throat is thick with it, he wants Cas to experience the same thing he did earlier enough to clear his throat and force some words out. “He loves you, Cas. Right, Liam?”

“Yep!” Liam replies brightly. Then he throws his arms around Cas’s neck and says, “Happy birthday, Cas!”

Cas hugs him back real tight, and Dean manages to get his phone out of his pocket in time to snap a picture of the two of them. “Thank you, Liam,” Cas says. “This is the best birthday card I’ve ever gotten.”

Liam pulls away with a proud smile on his face. “And my shirt’s super cool too, right?”

“The absolute coolest,” Cas confirms. Then he turns to look at Dean. “Where’d you find it?”

“Just Googled it and it came up. Apparently you’re not the only bee nerd out there,” Dean says, smiling fondly. “I know, it surprised me, too.” Cas rolls his eyes at his joke, and now that it’s out of his system, he has an idea. “Hey Liam? You wanna hop up on Cas’s lap so I can get a picture of you two together on his birthday with the card you made him?”

“Okay!”

Dean snaps several pictures, making funny faces and fart noises to get Liam to laugh, and his absolute favorite photo is the one where Liam’s laughing and Cas is giving the camera an unamused glare. He immediately saves it as his wallpaper and grins down at it. “Perfect.”

“Let’s get some of the three of us,” Cas says, and so Dean hops in and takes a couple of group selfies. He even lets his inner cheese out and takes turns kissing Cas’s cheek in one picture and Liam’s in the next, and he’s so damn happy that he doesn’t even care that Sam and Jo are gonna razz him about them later when he inevitably posts them on social media.

After the pictures are taken, Liam hops down to go play with his toys, and Dean and Cas wind up sitting side-by-side with their fingers tied together. “If we stayed here and did nothing but this for the rest of the night, I still would’ve had the best birthday of my life,” Cas says.

“You’d be hungry though,” Dean quips, and Cas smiles wider than the weak joke calls for. “And you’d piss off Jo and Sam for standing them up, ‘cause you won ‘em over enough that they actually wanna hang out with you.”

“Yeah, but then it would almost be like they’re on a date of their own,” Cas tells him. “And Sam would love that.”

Dean snorts out a laugh. “You’re an evil genius. We should actually do that someday. Bail on them and see what happens.”

“Have we reached the annoying couple stage when we’re so happy that all we want is for our friends to find somebody to be just as happy with?” Cas teases.

“Fuck if I know,” Dean replies. “I’m still just over the moon that my dumb ass makes you happy.”

Cas leans over to press a smacking kiss on his cheek. “You make me very happy, and so does your smart ass.” Then he bursts out in what can only be described as a giggle. “That worked better than I thought it would, smart ass.”

He lowers his voice to a whisper. “Wait ‘til you see what me and my ass have planned for your birthday tonight.”

Cas’s eyes are heated when they find his again, and he laughs when Cas says, “So we should go now, then, so we can get back sooner.”

Liam pops his head up. “It’s time to go?”

Dean checks the clock and says, “Sure. Go pee and try not to soak your shirt when you wash your hands, and we can start walking when you’re done.”

“Yus!” Liam exclaims, taking off towards the bathroom.

“Good call,” Cas says. “We know how slow he is when it comes to walking to the Roadhouse.”

“Yeah, because he stops to inspect every ant he sees along the way.” Cas smiles proudly and Dean chuckles. “I wonder who he gets that from, dad.”

“Oh, don’t even start. He looks exactly like you in that dress shirt with his hair styled like yours.”

Dean can’t help his own proud smile. “He looks fucking adorable.”

“He was so excited to show me,” Cas says with a crooked smile.

“He loves you,” Dean tells him. 

Cas’s gaze softens but he shakes his head. “He’s just excited for the cake.”

“That makes two of us. Baking a cake with a new recipe and not even getting to eat it for almost twenty-four hours is torture.”

“I still can’t believe you baked me a cake,” Cas says softly.

“I like to bake. Just never had anybody to bake for before, and I know from experience that I will eat an entire cake by myself,” Dean chuckles, “so I stopped before I looked like the Pillsbury Doughboy.” 

“You’d still be cute even if you were all round-bellied like that,” Cas tells him.

“Okay, now I know you’re gone on me,” Dean laughs, trying to ignore the heat he can feel rising to his cheeks.

“That was your first hint?”

“Just one of many,” Dean says, feeling warm and happy. 

Cas kisses his cheek again, murmuring, “I love these pink cheeks.” He moves his lips over to kiss the corner of his mouth. “I love these lips.” Cas’s big hand cups the opposite side of his face to urge Dean to look at him, and he can see clear as day how much Cas cares about him reflected in those blue eyes of his. “I love your eyes, your immature sense of humor, what a good dad you are to Liam, and the big, gooey heart you don’t want people to know you have.” Dean’s breaths are coming shallow and fast and his heart is racing, because he knows from the way Cas licks his lips that he’s nervous, that he’s working up to something, and he thinks he might know what it is and he’s never wanted to hear something so bad in his life. He squeezes Cas’s hand in a silent show of support, and Cas’s lips tilt into a small smile. “I know this is fast, and intellectually, that it’s insane, but I also know—”

“Okay, I’m ready!” Liam calls out, appearing behind the couch. They both turn to him blankly, torn out of the moment so fast it’s almost disorienting. “Come on!” he insists. “Let’s go have cake!”

Cas’s face flushes red and he drops his forehead against Dean’s temple with a breathless laugh. “To be continued, I guess.”

“I swear it’s like he times this shit,” Dean mutters under his breath, and Cas laughs for real as he gets up and tugs Dean up with him. Dean pulls him in by the back of his neck for a quick kiss, then rubs his thumb along his cheekbone and quietly says, “For what it’s worth, I really wanna hear the end of that sentence.”

Cas huffs a little and rolls his eyes, looking remarkably shy about this. “Like you don’t know what I was going to say.”

“Still wanna hear it.”

“Then you will,” Cas promises. Even though it’s only a few steps to the door to put their shoes on, they hold hands on the way, and he knows it’s absolutely a cliche, but he’s so fucking happy he feels like he’s walking on clouds. 

Cas was going to tell him he loves him. There’s no way that was leading to anything else, not with how Cas was looking at him and how he said love five times in five seconds. He was pretty sure he wasn’t in this alone, but knowing that Cas is ready to say it has him feeling like a huge weight is lifted. He’s sure Cas can tell considering there’s a literal bounce in his step walking to the Roadhouse, but he doesn’t even care because this could be fucking it, the thing he’s been searching for his whole damn life. 

Cas, Liam, and the white picket fence. Love, hot sex, a fun and easy partnership, and an adorable little kid he didn’t have to change daipers for. He’s literally living the dream. 

Not surprisingly considering the good moods they’re all in, dinner goes off without a hitch. Jo and Sam complete their little family, and when Ellen even takes a half hour to join them and brings Cas over a wrapped present from herself, Dean’s sure the only thing brighter than Cas’s smile is his own. 

Cas winds up with a bee/honeycomb wind chime from Jo to go in the backyard, a Kiss The Cook apron from Ellen that gets big smiles from the three of them and gagging sounds from Jo, Sam, and Liam, and an indoor herb garden kit from Sam, which is all so thoughtful Dean really and truly feels like his family accepts Cas for the first time. 

Watching Cas’s face turn pink when Dean walks out from the kitchen with the birthday cake leading a loud and extremely off-key version of Happy Birthday is the highlight of his night so far... right until he gets a bite of the Oreo cake. It’s so good he moans without restraint while he eats his own creation, smiling with chocolate teeth when Jo tells him to save the porno sounds for later. 

“I wouldn’t count his chickens before they hatch,” Ellen says wisely. Dean’s in the far side of the booth, Cas is next to him, and Ellen’s on the aisle. Across from him is Sam, Liam’s in the middle, and Jo’s on the other side across from Ellen. When Dean leans in to shoot her a confused look, she raises her eyebrows in response. “I notice there ain’t no present here from you, Dean.”

Liam pipes up with, “Dean gave Cas his present—in the—in the shower,” and the entire table bursts into laughter when Dean’s only reply is a wiggle of his eyebrows.

“You are so going to hell,” Jo says to Dean, laughter in her eyes.

“He doesn’t even know what he’s saying,” Dean scoffs, though it’s still funny as hell. “For real though,” he says, turning back to Ellen. “Jo and Sam dropped off Cas’s present while we were walking here because it’s too big to bring inside.”

Cas looks between them all as if he’s trying to sniff out the lie. “Is that so?”

“Yep,” Sam says. “Needed my truck and more than two hands.”

“And,” Jo butts in with. “When Dean starts trying to brush it off like it was no big deal, you should know he worked through his lunch for weeks and spent hours and hours on it making sure every single centimeter was perfect.”

He can feel the heat starting to creep along his cheeks, and he aims a kick under the table that lands perfectly if the sharp look of pain from Jo is anything to go by.

And then, of course, Sam jumps in. “I probably have more pictures of it on my phone than anything else because he sent me a new one for approval every twenty minutes.”

He looks at Liam quickly to make sure he isn’t paying attention, then mouths a very clear, “Fuck you both,” to the two of them.

But then Cas turns to him, and he’s stopped in his tracks by how genuinely touched Cas seems. “You didn’t have to do that. You already work all day and then come home to work more on the house afterwards. You shouldn’t have worked through all of your lunches just for a birthday gift.”

“It wasn’t that many,” he fibs.

“Liar, liar, pants on fire!” Jo says, pointing an accusatory finger right at him.

“It’s what he does,” Sam says to the table in general. He nudges Jo and says, “Remember when he first fell in love with Lisa and spent hours making her that serving tray with matching coasters for Christmas?”

Sam’s smile fades as silence settles heavily over the table. Whether it’s the mention of Lisa or how Sam just basically outed that Dean’s in love with Cas, he isn’t totally sure, but he doesn’t get long to think about it before Liam’s wide eyes land on his. “You loved my mommy?”

His chest hurts, but he purposely tries to keep an open expression on his face while he nods. “It was a long time ago, but yeah, I did.”

Liam looks really confused. “But I thoughted you loved Cas? Like Anna and Kristoff?”

Seriously fuck this kid’s timing. He has to say that he loves Cas like that, but for the first time, he’s not just saying it for Liam’s benefit. Whether anybody else knows it or not is besides the point because he knows it, and it makes it so much harder to talk about with everybody listening. 

“I do,” he says softly, but Liam doesn’t look any less confused after the confirmation and now he has to try to explain. “Romantic love like me and your mom or me and Cas doesn’t always last forever. You kinda hope that it does in the end, but most of the time, that really only happens once. All the other times are just practice, kind of, when you’re trying to find the right person.” Liam looks like he’s following, so he adds, “When you’re not with the right person, the romantic part sorta wears off and it ends up being more like friend love in the end. And that’s what happened with me and your mom.”

He must’ve fucked it up somethin’ fierce because Liam looks more upset now than he did before he started. Dean feels like his heart is breaking into a million little pieces when he sees Liam’s bottom lip is starting to tremble and hears his voice is high-pitched when he speaks. “Can—can love like—like—like me and you—or me and Cas wear off too?”

“Never,” Dean promises, his voice strong and sure. “Me and Cas are gonna love you forever ‘cause we’re a family, and you love family no matter what.”

“You could never stop loving your mom, right?” Sam asks Liam quietly. Liam shakes his head no, his eyes still brimming with tears, and seriously bless Sam for wrapping his giant arm around Liam because it’s killing him to be on the other side of the table right now. “For Cas and Dean, and even for me, now, too, it’s gonna be impossible to stop loving you, Liam. Just like you love your mom, okay buddy?”

Liam nods, and Dean can see how he’s trying to swallow down his tears. “You’ve heard me say this is the best birthday I ever had, right, Liam?” Cas asks. Liam nods again, and Cas says, “The reason why it’s the best birthday ever is because I have a family full of people who love each other now when I didn’t before, and you guys make me so, so happy.”

“Did—did you love my mom, too?” Liam asks.

“I did, but only friend love.”

“Not like Dean,” Liam surmises.

“No,” Cas confirms, leaving Dean scrambling to try to figure out how Cas meant that. Did Cas mean that he doesn’t love Dean like friend love, or is he agreeing that he didn’t love Lisa the way Dean did? Or both?

“‘Cause you love Dean like Anna and Kristoff,” Liam deduces. Then his eyes go wide again. “But—but what if it wears off?”

Dean’s heart clenches in his chest because he was afraid Liam might go there. “It won’t,” Cas says firmly, surprising him with his conviction.

“How do you know?” Liam asks.

He feels Cas’s hand land on his knee under the table and his cheeks start to turn pink again when Cas gives it a little squeeze. “Sometimes you just know,” Cas says, and there isn’t even the tiniest hint of insincerity in his words. After a month of living with Cas, he knows that Cas is really good at deflecting with a joke or a question when he has to, which means Cas isn’t pretending right now. Cas isn’t saying what Liam just wants him to hear, and jesus fuck does that give him a lot to think about. “Just like a fairy tale.”

He can feel Ellen, Jo, and Sam’s gazes all falling onto him for his reaction, but he’s too busy worrying about everything going on right now to think about that. Thankfully, Liam’s lips turn up into a tentative smile. “Like happily ever after?”

“Exactly like that,” Cas says, smiling softly. 

“Cool,” Liam declares, and then he picks up his cup and takes a big gulp of juice. “I gotta pee like a racehorse.”

Everybody laughs at the blunt statement and Ellen says, “I’ll take him. Come on, big guy.”

Liam’s eyes go a little wide, and he says, “But Ewwen, it’s a bathroom for boys.”

“Lucky for you I own this joint, so I make the rules,” she says with a sassy smile.

“Woah!” Liam looks very impressed as he hops out of the booth. “This whole restaurant is yours?” Liam asks.

“Yep. It’s all mine,” Ellen confirms.

“What—what about the seats?”

“Mine,” Ellen answers.

Liam giggles. “The—the tables?” She nods. “The cups? The crayons?” She says yes to each, and Liam’s eyes get bigger and bigger as they go. “How about the floor?” Ellen says yes to that one, too, and Liam’s giggles echo in the bathroom before the door swings closed.

Dean rests his head back against the booth behind him. “How was that for a happy birthday dinner conversation?”

“Heavier than I was expecting,” Cas chuckles good-naturedly. “But it’s good when he asks these kinds of questions. I figure the more he understands now, the less awkward it will be when he puts it all together when he gets older.”

“Sure put you guys on the spot,” Sam comments. “You’ve barely been together a month and he’s making you make these big declarations of happily ever after.”

“Yeah, but every kid thinks their parents will be together forever when they’re four,” Jo responds, either unaware of or uncaring how hearing her call him and Cas Liam’s parents makes him want to die/celebrate in equal measure. “Any other possibility just doesn’t occur to them. I think these two dorks did the right thing to let him believe they’ll be together forever, even if they don’t know that yet.”

“Nobody ever knows that,” Dean says. Sam looks at him curiously, but he doesn’t back down. “Nobody gets married thinking they’ll get divorced, but it happens to like, half the population anyway. I figure all we can do is give it our best shot, same as anybody else.”

“That actually makes a lot of sense,” Sam replies.

“Well, I’m sure birthday shower blowies helps to keep the love alive,” Jo smirks.

“Hey, you don’t know that,” Dean says back. “Coulda been a handie.”

“Come on,” Sam says, looking away in disgust.

“I for one have no complaints about the alleged shower activities,” Cas says, making Dean and Jo laugh. 

“You better not,” Dean says under his breath.

“Y’know, I was gonna ask what the plan is for the rest of the night, but after all this, I don’t think I want to know,” Sam grimaces.

“It’s not all about sex, you know,” Dean says, getting a snort of disbelief from Jo that he talks over. “The plan is to put Liam to bed as usual, spend some time with the gift I made Cas and a nice bottle of wine—” Cas makes a pleased sound beside him that has him shooting Cas a smile. He purposely turns it into something predatory when he continues, “And then...”

“Pretty sure we all know what comes next,” Jo interrupts him, smiling fondly. 

Thinking about exactly what he has at home waiting for Cas has him talking through a grin. “Believe me, you have no idea.”

“You guys are so gross together,” Jo huffs.

“I don’t see what’s so gross about Dean helping me start my herb garden,” Cas says innocently, making Dean snicker.

Jo’s on the same wave-length, apparently, because she doesn’t shy away from putting Cas right in his place. “I know we’ve only met a few times, but I’ve heard enough from Dean to know not to fall for that.”

“Oh?” Cas says curiously. “What exactly have you heard?”

Knowing that Jo could spill any number of embarrassing facts right now, Dean casts about frantically looking for a distraction, and just so happens to see Liam and Ellen making their way back to the table. “Oh look, Liam’s back!”

“Best he ever had,” Jo whispers, and Cas beams proudly like Dean hasn’t already told him that a million times.

“This really is the best birthday ever,” Cas comments. 

He’s so fucking cute smiling like that, Dean really has no choice but to lean in and catch his lips for a quick kiss. He stays nice and close when he says, “Glad you’re happy, doc.”

Sam mimics him in a falsetto voice for that one, but it’s hard to care when Cas looks at him like this. 

They linger over their cake for a little while longer, but six-thirty comes fast, which means they need to start the walk back home so they can get Liam calmed down and ready for snuggle time before bed. Dean tries to insist on carrying Cas’s gifts home but doesn’t win that battle, and instead he winds up with two out of three. It works out okay, though, because then they can hold hands while they walk. 

For the first time ever, Liam asks to stay up later “for Cas’s birffday”, but as amusing as it is, they shut it down real fast. Not only do they have exciting things to do after he’s in bed, they also don’t want to set a precedence of letting him stay up late just because he begs for it. Liam goes down without a fight, but while he was hoping that Liam would tell Cas that he loves him tonight after he said it in the bedroom earlier, it turns out they just get their regular goodnights. 

He’s a little disappointed, and he admits it to Cas when they walk out of Liam’s bedroom and down the hall a little. “He said ‘I love you, too’ for the first time ever when I was getting him ready in his bee shirt for tonight. I kinda thought he’d say it again before bed now that he said it that one time.”

“Did you cry?” Cas asks, shooting him a knowing smile.

“No, actually,” Dean defends, but when Cas just raises his eyebrows, he relents with a tiny smile as he turns to walk into the kitchen. “Alright, I was close. But then he literally ran outta the room so I didn’t exactly have time to dwell on it.”

Cas huffs a laugh while Dean pulls the fridge door open. “That is one good thing about his non-existent attention span. He’s often there and gone between one second and the next.”

“Thankfully I’m not so easily distracted,” Dean says, lifting the bottle of wine he pulls out of the fridge. Cas grabs the corkscrew while he grabs two wine glasses from the cupboard, and then they walk towards the back door together. “Because we have wine and a special delivery waiting for us in the backyard.”

“Are we getting wine drunk and having outside sex? Are you secretly a voyeur?” Cas asks.

Dean chuckles as he waits for Cas to work the child lock open. “Yes, no, and maybe a little to the second.”

There’s dead silence for a split second. Then Cas laughs and says, “You are just full of surprises.” 

“Eye on the prize, Cas,” Dean reminds him, pulling open the patio door to step through. Nerves hit him like a hurricane all at once, and before Cas can even lay eyes on what he made for him, he turns to stop him. “Remember, this ain’t exactly my forte. I had to get Jo to help me out a lot because I couldn’t get it to look nice, and some pieces I had to do over a dozen times to make ‘em fit right, so you’re not gonna hurt my feelin’s or whatever if you’re not blown away.”

Cas places both hands on his shoulders and tilts his head to the side with laughter in his eyes. “Breathe,” he instructs him fondly, and Dean lets out the breath he was holding automatically. “There could be a poorly constructed paper airplane out here and I’d still love it if you made it for me.”

“Shut up, you would not.”

“You’re right, but I’d pretend well enough that you’d never know,” Cas quips, and despite his nerves, he laughs at Cas’s blunt honesty. “Now, show me what you really made me.”

Dean steps back and gestures to the freestanding ‘porch swing’ he made for Cas. Cas’s jaw drops, and he takes several steps towards it, running his fingers over the smooth wood of the closest arm rest.

“You made this?” Cas asks him, sounding slightly breathless.

“With a ton of help,” Dean qualifies, setting the bottle and glasses down on the table next to it.

“And it works? It swings?”

“Yeah, it rocks,” Dean nods, his cheeks burning. “I, uh, made it big enough for both of us so we can sit out here together when Liam’s running in circles. Or, I dunno,” he says, shooting Cas a confident grin he doesn’t feel in the least as he gestures to the glasses in invitation. “To get a little wine drunk on your dirty thirty?”

Cas chuckles lowly and shakes his head, looking back at the swing and inspecting it inch by inch, tracing his fingers over the top and back down to the other side. He gives it a little push and watches as it swings back and forth with a quiet sound of awe. 

“You wanna try it out?” Dean asks, trying not to show how eager he is to see Cas sitting on it. 

“Only if you open the wine and join me.”

“Good thing it’s your birthday. You’ve pretty much got carte blanche goin’ on tonight,” he says jokingly.

Cas sits gingerly, then looks up with a huge smile aimed in his direction. “It didn’t even collapse!”

Because he sounds impressed by that, Dean snorts a laugh. “Just wait ‘til we’re both on it. Cork screw?” Cas passes it to him, and he opens the wine and pours them each a glass. He hands Cas’s to him, takes the seat next to him, and after waiting a second to make sure the swing really doesn’t collapse, he lifts his own glass in a toast. “To you, doc. Happy birthday.” 

Cas lifts his glass and they each take a drink. Cas makes another quiet little sound of pleasure after he samples the wine, and they start to rock gently back and forth in a comfortable silence while they drink their wine. As the sun sets and the temperature drops, Cas wraps his arm around him and finally breaks the silence.

“I still can’t believe you did this,” Cas breathes. 

Cas says it like Dean hung the stars that are starting to appear all by himself, and as much as he loves knowing that Cas appreciates what he did for him, his workmanship on this particular piece isn’t worth the praise.

“It’s not like it’s—”

“I heard what Jo said,” Cas interrupts. “And considering I know the streak of self-deprivation you have is a mile-wide and she had no reason to lie to me about how hard you worked on this, I’m going to have to believe her and discount whatever it is you’re about to say.”

Even put sufficiently in his place, he challenges Cas weakly. “How do you know I wasn’t gonna say this is the best thing I ever made?”

Cas dips his chin and looks less than amused when he replies, “Because I know you.” And it’s not like he can even argue because Cas has got him there. Cas pulls him in a little closer, and because Cas isn’t the only one of the two of them who knows the other, he waits in silence for Cas to say whatever else it is he wants to say after he licks his lips again. “This is easily the nicest thing anyone has ever done for me. I love it, Dean. I more than love it. It fits out here so well, and knowing the whole idea behind it and the hard work you put into it... it’s perfect.”

“I know it’s far from perfect, but I really did work my ass off on it. For you,” he adds shyly.

Cas turns towards him, and his expression is so fucking soft he can almost feel it warm him from the inside out. That might be why he’s caught off guard by the teasing tone of Cas’s voice when he says, “It had to have been much more time consuming than the serving tray and coasters you made Lisa.”

Dean’s insides clench when he remembers exactly how that came up at dinner. He knew at the time that there was no way that wasn’t going to come up again, but he sure wasn’t expecting it right away.

“That’s an understatement,” he admits. 

“So does that mean you love me more, or are the two unrelated?”

His heart thuds so hard it borders on painful, and as he tries to unglue his tongue from the roof of his mouth, he can’t help but notice how the outdoor lights Cas hung out here are reflecting in the blue pools of his eyes. Even knowing that he’s had this exact thought at least once a day for the last two weeks, Dean would swear on his life he’s never seen anything more beautiful than the man in front of him right now. 

That might have something to do with why his mouth moves to say the words before his brain has a chance to sound the alarms and warn him not to. “Definitely not unrelated.”

Cas’s eyes close for just a moment, and Dean would be worried if it wasn’t for the smile that’s crinkling Cas’s nose and showing a hint of his gums above his teeth. Cas looks so damn happy, and he has no idea what the fuck he did to make Cas think his love is worth a smile like that, but he knows without a doubt that he never wants him to stop. Then Cas’s eyelids flutter open, and the emotion swimming inside of them is enough to steal his breath all over again. 

“I love you so much,” Cas states. 

That breath comes out all in a rush, because he gets it now, why Cas is smiling so big and there’s so much affection swirling in his eyes. Hearing that somebody you love loves you back might be the best thing in the entire world. Cas loves him. The incredibly hot, nerdy sex god who turned out to be the smartest, funniest, best person he knows actually fucking loves him.  

“I almost feel like I lost my balance and started falling from the very first time I kissed you, and every time I saw your cheeks heat up to that endearing shade of pink afterwards, it was like I could feel it light me up inside, too.” Cas’s thumb brushes the back of his neck and the intensity in his gaze is so heavy Dean can hardly stand to look right at it. There’s no Liam to interrupt this time, no TV to drown out the way every word is heavy with emotion, and so he finds himself pinned in place with the weight of Cas’s open expression “And then I got to know you a little bit more every day, and I could hardly believe that you were as witty as you are beautiful, and you’re as warm on the inside as your cheeks usually are on the outside—” Dean rolls his eyes a little at that, but Cas has no idea just how warm his insides really are. Then Cas finishes, “—and out of everybody you could have, you wanted me.”

And suddenly it’s not funny anymore, because Cas is saying it like he can’t quite believe it, and there’s no way he can let that go. His hand comes up to cup Cas’s face automatically, like if he can force Cas to hold his gaze with this intimate touch while he says this it might just be enough to make Cas believe him. “‘Course I wanted you. You’re everything I ever wanted.” 

Cas nuzzles into his hand, still conveying a hint of disbelief with the wobbly smile on his lips. “Sometimes I think about how you’re the only thing I’ve ever truly wanted,” Cas confesses. “I don’t know how I got so lucky to keep you even this long.”

He leans forward until their foreheads are touching and smooths his hand over Cas’s cheek and down the side of Cas’s neck until it’s resting there. Fear of saying too much keeps his eyes trained on Cas’s pale pink lips instead of his eyes, but he makes himself say the words that are bouncing around inside his head. “I’m yours, Cas. I’m—I’m all in for however long you want me.”

Cas tilts his chin up in offering for a kiss that Dean is helpless to resist, and though Cas is the one who initiated it, he pulls away only a split second later, the raw vulnerability in his eyes this close up almost unsettling. “Tell me you wouldn’t say something like that if you didn’t really mean it.”

His heart tumbles in his chest, trying not to get his hopes up about how it sounds like Cas wants to keep him forever. “I wouldn’t.”

Cas kisses him again, but unlike only a second ago, this is a firm, deep kiss that he can feel all the way down to his bones. After everything they’ve said to each other tonight, it still somehow manages to convey a sense of unsaid words. It feels like the seal of a silent promise, like the beginning of something new and more profound than they’ve had up until now, and he pours everything he has into it. All of the I love you’s he’s choked down leading up to tonight, all the times he’s caught himself accidentally thinking of years in the future spent with Cas, all of the silent prayers he’s sent into the universe pleading for what he has with Cas right now to last and not to fizzle out because he doesn’t know how he could be without it now that he knows how it feels to be loved like this.

Their lips have barely parted when Cas tells him again. “I love you, Dean. Inside and out, you are exactly what all my dreams are made of. Thank you. Thank you for the best day, the best night, and the best birthday I’ve ever had.”

He’s remarkably touched, but oddly, the first thing that comes to mind is something he heard earlier. “What was it that Ellen said before? Don’t count your chickens before they hatch?” Cas looks confused, so he explains, “We aren’t done yet. We’ve got this whole bottle of wine to drink, then once you’re all flushed and even more sappy than you are already, I’ve got somethin’ real special planned in the bedroom to turn the mood around.”

Cas’s wolfish smile disappears almost as quickly as it flashes. Cas looks away from him and up at the sky where the stars seem to be multiplying by the second. “I am definitely on board with whatever you’ve cooked up in that amazing brain of yours, but I kind of want to sit out here and enjoy the stars for a little longer if you don’t mind waiting. We’re not in any rush, are we?”

He may have a brand new set of soft-cuffed wrist restraints hiding in the bedroom so he can give Cas complete control later tonight, but the desire that’s been simmering beneath his skin all day in anticipation takes a back seat to the surge of love he feels while looking at Cas’s flawless profile as he gazes up at the stars. 

Cas tilts his head until they’re resting together, Dean’s hand finds its home on the inside of Cas’s knee, and when Cas lets out a soft sigh brimming with happiness, it’s like the words flow to his brain from his heart.

“We’ve got forever.”

Chapter Text

“Wait,” Dean says. They’re both naked, Cas is straddling his waist, and he’s just secured the second leather handcuff to his wrist. “Shouldn’t we have like, a safe word or something before we get too carried away?”

Cas’s smile is all kinds of amused when he leans down to kiss him soundly. “Do you think I’m not going to stop if you ask me to?”

“What? No!” That isn’t what he meant at all. “I know you would.”

“Then I don’t see the need for a safe word,” Cas replies. “I don’t want to be your dom, Dean. Or your master or whatever people call it. I just want you at my mercy. But if you don’t like it, we can stop whenever you want.”

Dean tugs on the hand cuffs, hearing the soft jingle of the chain and feeling pleasure slice through him as sharp as a knife. The soft lining inside each leather cuff is misleading, because really, there’s very little give involved here. He is without a doubt completely at Cas’s mercy, just like he wanted it, and when both sets of eyes move from the length of chain between his wrists to find each other’s, he can see the heat currently burning inside of him mirrored back at him from Cas’s gaze.

It’s twice as hot as he thought it would be, and he hasn’t even tried to move yet. The way Cas is looking at him inspires a cocky smirk and a flood of confidence. “I don’t wanna stop,” he tells Cas, and then Cas dives on him.

The foreplay had been soft and sweet thanks to the wine and the love confessions, but this is something else entirely. From the very first press of their lips together he can feel the flames of desire licking at his skin and burning low in his groin, and when Cas grabs ahold of his hands and pushes them up over his head to get them out of the way, he groans pitifully as his cock kicks between them.

Cas’s teeth scrape along his bottom lip before he pulls away. “Can you keep your hands up there for me, gorgeous?” Dean nods, eager to do whatever it is Cas wants him to tonight. Cas smiles like he’s pleased and then leans in to kiss him once more, briefly but with bruising pressure, and when he tries to chase Cas for more once Cas pulls away, he realizes he can’t really move his upper body if he keeps his hands where Cas wants him to. Either Cas is coming to the same realization, or he’s just enjoying how he’s got Dean pinned to the bed, because Cas groans as he starts mouthing hungrily at his neck. “You are so fucking perfect. I love you so much.”

A lazy smile quirks on his lips as he allows himself to enjoy the delicious assault of Cas’s plump lips on his skin. Cas kisses his way down to his chest where his mouth engulfs one of Dean’s nipples in wet heat, his tongue swirling around the sensitive bud providing one hell of a distraction while one hand skirts down his torso. A sharp breath escapes him when he feels Cas curl his long fingers around his throbbing erection, and Cas hums his understanding as he gets into position. 

Dean watches raptly when Cas’s cock bobs between them as he lifts his ass, lining Dean’s aching erection up with his hole. Cas’s entire body is bared to him like this, and his fingers are already itching with the desire to touch. He wants to run his fingers through the dark hair leading down from Cas’s navel, to take Cas’s flushed cock into his palm as he straightens up, and he can feel the tendons in his neck tighten as he fights down the urge. 

Every thought goes flying from his mind when Cas sits back and impales himself on his cock in one extremely well-practiced move. He can hardly breathe through how incredible it feels to have Cas’s tight little hole swallowing him up all at once, and his hands pull tight on the cuffs holding him in place. Cas’s ass cheeks settle onto the bowl of his hips and he exhales on a low and dirty groan now that Cas is fully seated. 

“Jesus christ you’re big,” Cas breathes, his sharp jaw hanging unhinged. “Gets me every fucking time, Dean, god.”

Dean shakes his head in response, still too busy drowning in how good it feels to be sheathed inside of Cas to insist that Cas is the one who takes his breath away every time they’re together. Usually he’d caress Cas’s thighs or pull him in for a kiss in moments like this, but for the first time, he can’t do a thing. He can’t use his body to help make up for how he can never quite find the right words when they’re in bed together. He can’t kiss Cas all soft and sweet, he can’t slide his thumbs into where they fit so perfectly on the notches of Cas’s hips, he can’t urge him to start rocking so he can get some much needed friction to go along with the sublime tight heat wrapped around him. 

As it sinks in that he's voluntarily made himself completely helpless for Cas, lust bubbles up inside of him, tearing a quiet whimper out of him as his hands curl into fists.

“Are you okay?” Cas asks, his blue eyes wide with concern.

Dean nods frantically, embarrassed over being this affected already. He forces out a rough, “‘s’good. Just—want you.”

Cas smirks as he undulates his hips in a smooth circular motion, pulling a harsh breath from Dean’s nose as sparks of pleasure erupt along his dick. “Like that?”

“Fuck yeah,” Dean answers hastily, and Cas smiles knowingly as he braces his big hands on Dean’s chest to really start moving. 

Dean’s lips part in pure bliss as his cock gets taken for a ride by the sinuous roll of his boyfriend’s hips. Considering all he can do is lie back and watch, he takes advantage of the opportunity to bite down on his bottom lip and stare at his boyfriend. Cas watches Dean as he sweeps his eyes over the vast expanse of golden skin bared to him. Cas can move so fluidly when he wants to, and he eagerly takes in the saliva-inducing sight of Cas’s biceps bulging where they hold up the majority of his weight. It’s a stunning contrast to how Cas’s shoulders and neck are loose and relaxed, and Dean smiles softly when Cas closes his eyes and tilts his hips in search of the perfect angle. 

Through the haze of pleasure from Cas clenching hot and tight around his cock as Cas continues moving on top of him, he watches Cas’s face intently, zeroing in on the flush that’s already starting to spread from Cas’s cheeks down to his neck. He both hears and sees the garbled sound get stuck in Cas’s throat when Cas moves just right and clearly finds the angle he was looking for. Cas is fucking gorgeous riding him for his own pleasure, and he stares openly at the sweat glistening in the shallow pools of Cas’s clavicles and the dark hair dusted along his broad chest, thinking the whole time about how fucking lucky he is. 

He’s seen Cas naked dozens of times by now. He’s seen him lost in ecstasy and looming over him the way he is now, he’s seen Cas take his cock from behind, Cas stroking himself inches from his face, or even just changing clothes or getting in and out of the shower, and while the shape of him in the broadest sense of the word is insanely attractive all on its own, he finds it’s his unique physical attributes that really draw him in now. 

The golden brown freckles peppered over his stomach. The little bit of extra weight that clings to his sides. The single mole above his right nipple. The calluses on his palms from working out in the yard or inside the house. The thin scar on his cheek where his beard doesn’t grow. All of these things that he only knows about because he knows Cas so well, and because he loves Cas, he loves the intimacy of discovering these little pieces of him to worship. 

His hands burn with the need to touch them all, to plant a kiss on the mole above his nipple, to caress the extra softness on his sides to show Cas that he loves every single inch of him. He pulls on the cuffs in pure unadulterated want, and a weird mix of frustration and pleasure wracks him when he realizes how much he likes being denied the thing he wants most. 

“Fuck, you look hot when you flex your arms like that,” Cas comments suddenly, pulling his gaze back to Cas’s face. “You’re doing so good, gorgeous.”

As if the praise isn't enough to have additional pleasure flooding his system, he’s still stuck on the discovery that he likes the pull, likes how it feels to have his muscles straining to free himself. Knowing that he literally can’t break free even if he wanted to sends a heady, electric-like current through his veins. He’s completely vulnerable to Cas’s mercy, and there’s something unbelievably hot knowing that he’s willing to give himself over like that, to give Cas complete control without even considering how it could go wrong because he knows absolutely that Cas would never let that happen to him. 

His mind is racing in a million different directions, and either because of that or because Cas feels like heaven around his dick, his voice is nowhere close to steady. “You’re—you’re the one doing all the work,” Dean replies.

Cas lifts himself up incrementally and slides back down, making Dean hyper-aware of the tight squeeze around every inch of his cock while Cas takes him in nice and deep.

“I can see your fingers straining to touch me.” Cas speaks through shallow panting and it fans the flames already growing inside of him to see he’s not the only one so keyed up he feels like a virgin on prom night. “You’re dying to get your hands on me, aren’t you? To drag your thumb through the mess your fat cock is wringing out of me?” He feels like lightning shoots through him when he glances down at Cas’s crotch to see that Cas is absolutely right, and he nods eagerly as he thinks about how much he wants to feel the slick slide of his hand on Cas’s dripping cock. “But you’re not even trying because you know I don’t want you to, and—” Cas stops to huff out a surprised sounding laugh, looking amused and confident and downright sexy as fuck. “—it’s much, much hotter than I thought it would be.”

Pride sends a new but distinct rush through him, adding to the extensive pleasure he’s already experiencing. The confirmation that Cas is as into this as he is, that Cas likes the way he looks with his hands restrained and up over his head, only makes everything feel that much better. Cas is his every dirty fantasy come to life, breathing hard above him, his face flushed and covered in a thin sheet of sweat, and Dean's so fucking hot for him he feels like he’s going to go up in flames any second now.

He knows he’s only moments away from begging for it harder, from asking Cas to strike the match, start the fire, to go ahead and light him up—

“You’re being so good for me, gorgeous.”

Dean keens, the spike of arousal too much too fast for him to even try to hold back. His ass cheeks flex as he drives up into Cas, unconsciously complementing his rhythm and forcing Cas to take him deeper, faster, harder. Cas’s chin drops down to his chest as a surprised sound escapes him, and then Cas is slamming back onto his cock twice as hard as before, meeting him halfway when Dean fucks up into his slick heat and calling out again when they connect in the middle. 

“So big,” Cas moans. “You feel unbelievable. God, I love your thick cock.” Dean loves hearing Cas talk dirty like that, and he’s waiting eagerly for more when Cas repositions himself until his palms land on Dean’s hips. Cas gets a firm hold, using his weight to press him down hard into the mattress. “But it’s my party, and tonight is about what I want, right, love?” Considering Cas punctuates the request with a delicious clench of his ass, he’s unable to do anything but nod wide-eyed as a low moan is torn from him. “There’s my good boy,” Cas croons, and holy fucking shit, why is that so hot? He doesn’t have time to linger on it though, because Cas is pulling up until just the head of his cock is squeezed tightly within his ass, and then Dean watched as Cas sinks down fast and hard, causing Dean to dig his teeth into his bottom lip to stop from actually screaming. 

Knowing that he can’t be too noisy without risking waking up Liam has him channeling his mounting pleasure into the cuffs holding his hands in place. He feels wild, frantic, burning with lust. He pulls on the cuffs, hearing the metal chain rattling as he tugs, feeling the soft material on his wrists pull tight. He’s vulnerable and helpless like this, and jesus christ are his wires crossed because it makes lust race through him like lava.

Cas slams down again, stopping long enough to grind a dirty little circle that feels so good he wouldn’t be surprised if he was currently cross-eyed. His arms continue to strain against the cuffs, his biceps aching with the constant pressure, but as Cas keeps on riding him like the stallion he is, his focus is split by the pornographic sight of his lube-shiny cock disappearing into Cas’s messy, stretched-out pink hole again and again. He’s mesmerized by the rolling muscles of Cas’s abdomen, Cas’s golden skin shining slightly with the sweat he’s working up, and as he’s overwhelmed with more stimulus than he can possibly absorb, he feels himself slowly starting to submerge into the blank head space he’s only ever been able to find with Cas.

He sinks back into the mattress slowly, going boneless and feeling as light as a feather floating through the air as he gives himself over to it, and when he hears Cas moan—that low voice adding fuel to an already outrageous fire burning inside of him—his pleasure quadruples in an instant.

He's just aware of the unbelievable heat building low in his stomach, spreading through him faster than he can contain and making his head spin with the intensity. It's like he's watching from outside of himself. He can hear Cas breathing hard, distantly feels Cas's hands ghosting up and over his chest, Cas's thumbs brushing his nipples.

He calls out in response, an obscure mix of surprise and pleasure, and he’s barely aware of Cas saying, “I love you. I love you so much, Dean.”

He fights through the brain fog to say it back. “Love you. Feels—so good. I’m—fuck, Cas—I’m gonna come.”

There’s a hint of amusement in Cas’s blue eyes when he threatens, “Not before I do.” 

He nods and struggles to catch his breath, to think, but Cas picks up the pace and starts to fuck himself harder and faster on his cock, like it’s Cas’s own personal toy and exists only to bring Cas pleasure. Cas is so fucking hot when he takes control like this, and he’s torn between watching the intense look on Cas’s face as he starts riding him even more ruthlessly and the erotic sight of Cas’s cock drooling copious amount of precum all over his stomach. It’s such a dirty fucking sight that he can feel his balls tightening, throbbing, and he’s back to pulling desperately on the cuffs. 

“Cas!” 

He bites down hard on his lip, trying to stop his impending orgasm with the sharp sting of pain, but Cas’s fingernails dig into his chest at the exact same moment and it goes from unpleasant to really fucking good in a heartbeat. 

“I’m—I'm almost there,” Cas tells him, sounding wrecked himself. “Oh, I’m so close. Hang on for me, gorgeous. I’m gonna come on just your cock tonight.” 

He squeezes his eyes closed, struggling to conjure up his go-to boner kills when Cas is fucking him like a dream. He can vaguely hear the quiet sounds of distress sneaking out of him, stemmed from wanting more than anything to be perfect the way Cas thinks he is, wanting to hold on just a few more seconds so Cas can feel good too. 

“It’s okay, sweetheart,” Cas whispers, but he shakes his head frantically. 

He can do this. He wants Cas to feel every ounce of the pleasure he deserves on his birthday of all days. Except his arms are actually shaking with how much stress he’s putting on them to try to hold back and even as he tries that much harder to suppress his orgasm, he knows he’s fighting a losing battle. 

Distantly, he can hear Cas repeat that it’s okay a second time, to let go, but he’s too caught up in his own thoughts. He’s trying desperately to hold on, but he knows he’s past the point of no return. Any second now he’s gonna come, he’s gonna let Cas down, he’s not gonna last long enough, and a pitiful whine is ripped from his lungs. 

“Come for me.”

Cas’s voice is rough and commanding, and combined with the impossible tightness of Cas’s ass, it’s enough to have him reeling, spiraling head-first into an orgasm so intensely mind-blowing that it rips the breath straight from his lungs. He releases a silent scream as he comes hard inside of Cas.

“Oh fuck,” Cas curses, and Dean knows he’s feeling the first warm spurt of cum deep inside of him. “That’s it, Dean. You’re so good for me. You can fuck me now, let me feel that big cock.”

He groans like a man dying as he thrusts up into Cas hard and fast, with shaky strokes eased by the lube and his own cum, and when he opens his eyes to see his cum dripping out of Cas and winding down his cock like watery ribbons, he shudders his way through the rest of his orgasm until he can’t possibly stand another thrust. 

Cas barely gives him a second to catch his breath before he’s knee-walking up towards his face, straddling his shoulders with his cock pointed right at his lips. Dean wets  them willingly, and then Cas’s fingers are curling into his hair to hold him in place as he feeds him his leaking, blood-warm cock one delicious inch at a time.

Cas is already throbbing he’s so close, and Dean presses his tongue eagerly to the underside, tasting his slightly bitter precum and feeling the heavy weight of his smooth flesh sliding along his tongue before Cas’s cock begins to enter his throat. His heart is pounding like a drum in his chest. He’s handcuffed, Cas is holding him down with his hand in his hair, and now he’s letting Cas take complete control over his breathing, too. He never thought he’d trust somebody like this in his entire life, but he keeps his jaw open without hesitation and flicks the tip of his tongue along Cas’s shaft the way he likes it, not even considering that with his mouth full and his hands cuffed over his head, he has no way to tell Cas to stop if he needed to. 

“Oh Dean,” Cas groans. “So beautiful. Fuck I can hardly stand to look at you. Your lips. Fuck, fuck, fuck,” he chants, snapping his hips and driving his cock deep into his mouth in time with each curse. “Dean, Dean—aurgh!”

Cas’s fingers tighten painfully in his hair, Dean makes a sound of surprise around the dick in his mouth, and then Cas’s cock pulses a fraction of a second before he floods his mouth with cum. He chokes and sputters as it shoots too far down his throat and Cas pulls away enough to let him get a breath around his cock, which is still releasing load after load of watery cum into his mouth. Cas’s blue eyes stay glued to his lips as warm, wet fluid drips from the sides of his mouth and down his chin. He swallows what he can and suckles greedily at the tip of Cas’s cock long after it’s started to soften, even when Cas whimpers and whines and twitches through it. 

Cas is trembling when he pulls out of his mouth, and Dean takes the opportunity to draw a good, full breath of air into his lungs. Cas shimmies back until he’s straddling his waist again, his hands slide up and over Dean’s arms, which are still held over his head, and Cas pulls them down to fall onto his chest. He groans as the blood starts circulating again, causing tiny needle-like prickles of pain to shoot through his arms, but Cas’s hands are big and warm, and he rubs soothingly up and down until the worst of it has passed.

“Okay?” Cas checks.

“Yeah," Dean croaks. "No worse than when I wake up with a dead arm."

“Let’s get these off, then,” Cas says, undoing the belts that hold the cuffs into place on his wrists. Cas brings his hands to his mouth to press a soft kiss to the inside of each wrist as he frees it, and then he slithers down to lie on top of him. Now finally able to move his arms, he runs his hands up and down Cas’s sweaty back before he wraps his arms around him and brushes his lips against his soft hair. 

“That was amazing,” Cas breathes. “Did you like it?”

“Loved it.” He keeps rubbing Cas’s back as he explains, “Didn’t like not being able to touch you more than I thought I would, but it’d be fun every once in a while.”

Cas snuggles in a little bit closer, moving his head until it’s pillowed perfectly on his shoulder. “It was the icing on a perfect day, from beginning to end. All because of you.”

“I love you,” Dean tells him gently, meaning it with everything he is. “You deserve a million days like this.” Then, realizing he feels slightly more emotional than he’d like to when he's still reeling from being so vulnerable a few minutes ago, he changes it up by adding, “Thanks for being born and stuff.”

Cas laughs the way he hoped he would, and soon after, they get cleaned up and ready for bed. It’s well after midnight by the time they’re snuggled back up with the lights out, and the last thing he hears before he falls into a deep sleep is Cas’s quiet voice telling him, “Thank you for loving me.”

‘It’s impossible not to’ runs through his head, but he’s too close to sleep to force the words out.

“Dean.” He blinks and gets dragged back to the present, which apparently includes paint dripping down his wrist from where his brush has been held stationary for god knows how long. “You’re doing it again,” Jo tells him, sounding extremely annoyed.

“Sorry,” he says sheepishly, trying to do what he can to even out the several coats of paint he’s painted onto the same spot on the wall when he was lost in the memory of Cas’s birthday.

“It’s been two weeks since you’ve started spacing out like this and I want to know what the hell is going on!” Jo insists.

“Nothing,” Dean tells her. “I was just thinking about Cas.”

Her eye roll is so big it extends all the way to her neck and shoulders. “Well I hope I never fall in love, then, because you’re an embarrassment to the entire species.”

He shrugs easily, so fucking happy with Cas and Liam and his whole damn life that he literally couldn’t care less about Jo thinking that he’s an embarrassment.

“It’s four-thirty, by the way,” she tells him, and he definitely cares about that.

“I’ll fix this tomorrow then,” he says, gesturing to the wall. “Thanks for the heads up.” He grabs a rag on his way out the door and wipes his hands off so he doesn’t get paint on Baby’s steering wheel, and a few minutes later, he’s home. He gets a surprisingly perfunctory hello from Liam before he turns back to his toys, and Dean searches for Cas, finding him standing at the stove making fried chicken.

“Holy shit that smells good,” Dean tells him.

Cas flashes a tired-looking smile over his shoulder that quickly turns into a chuckle. “You look like Liam when I pick him up from daycare after he’s been painting.”

Dean grins down at his messy clothes. “Nah, he probably pays more attention to what he’s doing than I did today.” He wraps his arms around Cas’s middle from behind and presses a kiss to the bend of his neck, feeling like he needs a little bit of extra affection right now. “Was too distracted wanting to get home to you.”

“So you’re telling me I’m going to get more texts from Jo asking me why you’ve been so ‘spacey’ lately.”

“Oh probably,” Dean laughs. “You smell like you fell into the oil, by the way.”

Cas turns to aim an insulted look in his direction and he’s reminded again of the tired look he first saw when he walked in here. Cas is usually more willing to take a joke, which tells him the fight they had with Liam to get him out the door this morning is either still bothering Cas, or Liam still isn’t cooperating very well. “Not all of us can smell like paint and sawdust at the end of a hard day of grueling work.”

“You’re still amazing though,” Dean says, quickly realizing a little extra praise could go a long way. “You don’t know how nice it is to come home to a clean house, a hot, home-cooked meal, you. I love you, doc.”

“I love you, too,” Cas says softly. “I’m happy to do it most days. Today just hasn’t been one of the best.”

“I get it,” Dean tells him solemnly. “Hey, want me to take over?”

“No, you should probably go and wash off the rest of that paint before we eat so you don’t get poisoned or something when you start licking your fingers like the heathen that you are at dinner,” Cas teases. 

“You’re so good to me,” he coos, letting his hands drop down to Cas’s hips. Because Cas huffs out a laugh, he pushes his luck by pulling Cas back against him, rubbing his dick against the swell of Cas's ass just because it’s right there and so damn fine.

“Get out of my kitchen,” Cas says dryly, and Dean cracks up, giving his ass a little swat before he backs away quickly.

“Do you wanna play dinosaurs with me?” Liam asks, popping his head up over the back of the couch.

“I sure do, but I gotta go have a quick shower to get all this paint off of me first,” Dean tells him. “Gimme ten minutes and I’m all yours ‘til supper time, okay, buddy?"

“Okay!” Liam replies excitedly. “I’ll—I’ll set up a big, big, big battle for when you’re done!”

“Sounds awesome.”

“Right after you pick up your blocks,” Cas tells Liam, and Dean takes the chance to duck into the bathroom.

Ten minutes later, he’s squeaky clean and dressed in sweats and a t-shirt of Cas’s that somehow made its way into his drawer. The small smile from wearing Cas’s clothes is wiped off his face when he’s forced to step over a pair of Cas’s socks o the floor at the foot of the bed, and he walks back down the hall shaking his head as he wonders why it’s so fucking hard for Cas to put his damn socks in the hamper.

He heads to the living room to play with Liam, but stops in his tracks when he sees Liam didn’t pick up his blocks. “I thought you wanted to play dinosaurs?” he asks Liam.

“I do! Look at the bloody battle we’re gonna have!” he says, gesturing to the two lines of dinosaurs he set up.

“It looks like a lot of fun, but you didn’t clean up your blocks like Cas asked you to.”

“I don’t wanna,” Liam responds.

Dean's eyebrows lift at Liam's hard tone of voice. “Well, you know the rules. Cas said no playing dinosaurs ‘til you clean up the other mess.”

“Cas isn’t the boss of you,” Liam says, surprising him again with the boldness of the comment. “You can still play if you want to.”

“Yeah, but Cas is half the boss of you,” Dean reminds him. “And if he said you have to clean up first, then that’s the rule.”

“That’s stupid,” Liam says, crossing his tiny arms in a huff.

“Them’s the breaks,” Dean responds. “Clean up your blocks.”

“I don’t want to!” Liam insists, sounding like a little brat now.

“Don’t then,” Dean says. He's unwilling to get dragged into an argument with a four year old, but he's also going to stand his ground. “But we’re not playing dinosaurs until you do.”

“FINE!” Liam shouts, and Dean lifts his hands in surrender and turns to Cas.

Cas is shaking his head with his back held unnaturally straight, and so Dean walks over there to see if he can help. “Guess he didn’t get over the mood he woke up in this morning?”

“Apparently not,” Cas says sadly. “He’s been like this since I picked him up.”

Dean chews on the inside of his lip as he leans against the counter next to the stove. “Think we should be worried?”

“About a bad day?” Cas asks. Dean shrugs in response and Cas looks back down at the chicken he’s frying. “My initial instinct is no, but what the fuck do I know? I can’t even get him to clean up his blocks.”

It's not very often that Cas gets down on himself like this, and he wonders absently if there's something else bothering him. “He’ll clean them up,” Dean promises. “He may be stubborn, but he ain’t got nothin’ on me.” Cas attempts a smile that misses its mark by a mile, and Dean feels a tiny crack in his heart. “Hey, why don’t you go take a shower, too?” he prompts, walking over to give his back a little rub. “Get the grease off your skin, take a few minutes to yourself, and then we can tag team the kid after supper, okay? I’ll take it from here.”

“The chicken needs to go in the oven to stay warm, the bread needs to be sliced and the potatoes still need to be mashed—”

“I got it,” he promises. “Go have a shower, take a breather, and by the time you’re done, everything will be ready to eat.”

Cas’s shoulders relax, and he nods as a heavy sigh streams from his lips. “That actually sounds really nice. Thank you.”

“I got you, Cas,” he reminds him. 

He waits for the door to the main bathroom to close before he calls Liam over. “Hey kid, drop whatever you’re doing and get your hiney over here.” Liam walks over with his shoulders slumped and a scowl on his face. “What’s your problem?”

“Huh?”

“Why’re you’re bein’ such a grouch?”

“I don’t wanna pick up my blocks!” Liam whines. 

“Forget about the blocks for a second,” Dean says, transferring the chicken into a ceramic dish so he can put it in the oven. “You were grumpy when you woke up, you weren’t listening when we were trying to get you ready for daycare, and now you’re still not listening. How come?”

“‘Cause I don’t wanna,” he pouts. 

“Yeah, well, we all do shit we don’t wanna do sometimes. You think I want to work all day and come home to finish cooking and deal with a kid who won’t listen? Hell no. But me, you, and Cas are a family, and when one of us is having a bad day, the other ones are supposed to pick up the slack.” Liam is looking down at his feet now, and he softens his voice a little bit when he keeps talking. “For example, I’m cooking even though I don’t want to because Cas is having a bad day. Do you know why he’s having a bad day?”

Liam shakes his head no. 

“I think you do, ‘cause you’re really damn smart when you want to be,” Dean replies. “So I want you to take a seat at the dinner table and think about it for a second and see what you come up with.”

It turns out Liam doesn’t need the second or the seat. “It’s ‘cause I’m not listenin’ too good.”

“Exactly. I knew you were smart,” he says with a smile. “Now, I know you love Cas and you don’t want him to have a bad day just because you’re in a bad mood, right?” Liam shakes his head. “I’m cooking to try to help because I love Cas, too. Any ideas what you could do to help him feel better?”

“Prob’ly say s-sorry,” he says quietly, his voice going high-pitched and letting Dean know how close he is to crying. 

“I think that’s a good place to start,” Dean says softly. “But I can think of one other thing, too.”

“Pick up my blocks?” he asks. 

“Even if you don’t want to,” Dean confirms. Liam doesn’t look too pleased about that, so he tries to up the ante with a bribe. “Then if you do it fast enough, you can use your manly muscles to help me mash these potatoes for Cas, too.”

Liam loves helping in the kitchen, so it’s no surprise that he nods and shoots him a watery smile. “Okay.”

He crouches down and gestures for Liam to come closer. “Bring it in for a second first.” Liam seems reluctant, but he comes into his arms, and Dean wraps him up in a really big hug, squeezing comically hard just to get a laugh outta the kid. When he lets him go, Liam has a small but more genuine smile on his face. “Better?”

“Kinda,” Liam answers with a shrug, but then he takes off into the living room without any other arguments, so he calls it a win.

It’s amazing how fast the kid can move when he wants to. Five minutes later, the blocks are put away and Liam’s standing on a chair, mashing the shit out of the potatoes. Dean makes sure to give him an extra big high-five when he’s done and tells him how proud he is for being a part of the family, and he’s feeling pretty damn good about himself when he’s got everything ready and the table set when he sees Cas cross the hall from the bathroom to their room with a towel wrapped around his waist.

A phone starts ringing, and Dean follows the source of the sound to Cas’s cell phone on the counter next to the stove. “Cas, your phone!” Dean yells.

“Can you grab it for me?” Cas calls back. 

Dean wipes his hand off on his pants and picks up his phone. “Hello?”

“Hi, is this Castiel Novak?”

Dean grins at hearing somebody use Cas’s full name for once. “Uh, no. He’s not available right now, but can I take a message for you?” he asks, walking over to the pad of paper stuck to the fridge.

“Yes, I’m calling to arrange an interview.”

“Really? That’s awesome!”

“It’s short notice, but we’re hoping to meet with him on Thursday.”

“Like, two days from now?” Dean checks.

“That’s right. We need somebody to start as soon as possible.”

“Sounds perfect,” Dean says, scribbling Thursday down on the pad of paper. “What time?”

“I have a fairly booked schedule, so I think it’s best if we discuss that when Castiel calls back,” the man says, rattling off a phone number. 

After Dean takes it down, he replies, “Alright, got it. Oh sorry, what did you say your name is again?”

“It’s Cain, and I’m calling from the Entomology department of the Faculty of Agriculture.”

“Huh,” Dean comments. “Never even heard of it.”

The guy laughs on the other end of the phone. “That makes sense considering it’s at the University of Manitoba.”

Dean’s heart drops to his feet the second he hears the word. “Manitoba? Isn’t that—isn’t that in Canada?”

“That’s right,” the man answers. “I’m sure Castiel remembers my office hours, so please have him call me back when he knows I’m available.”

“Yeah.” Dean barely manages to choke out the word through the desert that has suddenly appeared in his mouth. “I’ll tell him.”

“Thank you.”

Dean ends the call with a shaky thumb. Cas applied for a job in Manitoba? That doesn’t make any sense because they talked about this before they were even together. Cas said he wanted to stay here to raise Liam if he was his, and now he’s applying for a job in another fucking country? Cas said—Cas said he loved him and that he wasn’t going anywhere, and less than a month later he’s considering leaving? Without even mentioning it to him first? Why would he do that?

He puts Cas’s phone back down and runs a hand through his hair. The Faculty of Agriculture at the University of Manitoba sounds like a pretty legit job. Cas is the smartest guy he knows save for maybe Sammy, so it makes sense a big place like that would want him, but what about him? What about Liam? Didn’t Cas even think about them? 

He drags his hand down his face as the only logical answer comes to him. Cas did think about them, but he thought the possibility of landing this job was more important. He knows how much it’s been bugging Cas not to be able to contribute to anything more than daycare when it comes to the finances here, but shit. Doesn’t Cas know that Dean would rather have Cas here never making another penny for as long as he lives than to move to fucking Manitoba? How could Cas be so stupid? Why would he do this to them?

Fuck, he’s an idiot. He trusted Cas. He barely even knew him back then but he believed Cas when Cas told him he wanted to stay here. He believed him last month when Cas told him he wanted this to work between them. He believed Cas a half an hour ago when he said he loved him, and all this time Cas was applying for jobs in another god damn country without even giving him a warning. 

He’s pulled away from his spiraling thoughts when he sees a streak of movement out of the corner of his eye and turns to see Liam running over to a freshly showered Cas to wrap his arms around his legs.

Liam’s voice is quieter than usual, but Dean can hear him from where he’s standing in front of the table. “I’m—I’m sorry I was bein’ bad, Cas.”

Cas’s expression turns soft as he runs his fingers through Liam’s hair. “I accept your apology,” Cas says genuinely. “We all have bad days, and I’m sorry you’re having one today.”

“I—I picked up my blocks. And I helped Dean smash the potatoes.”

Cas crouches down to rub Liam’s back with a sideways smile on his face. “Thank you for doing that. I feel much better now that I had a shower and everything is ready. Are you feeling better, too?”

Liam looks down at the floor again, and his fingers pull nervously to stretch out the front of his shirt. “Are you mad at me?”

“No.” Cas shakes his head for emphasis and pulls Liam in for another hug. “I was disappointed that you wouldn’t listen, but I wasn’t mad at you. And even when I’m disappointed because you’re not listening like I know you can, I still love you so, so much.”

Yeah, you love him so much you’re gonna up and leave the poor kid after you told him you wouldn’t, Dean thinks bitterly, suddenly feeling fiercely protective of Liam. Anger rushes through him all at once and he can feel his face starting to burn with it, which is when he hears Liam whisper.

“I think Dean was pretty mad.”

“I wasn’t mad,” Dean replies, carefully not looking at Cas so that he doesn’t sound as mad as he feels right now. “I still love you even when you’re a stinky butt.” Liam bursts out laughing, and Dean adds, “Just like I still love—” He stops mid-way through the words, not wanting to say that now that he knows Cas is debating leaving them. He clears his throat and continues. “Just like Cas, even when he leaves his stinky socks on my floor.”

Cas straightens up and arches his eyebrows at him. “What socks on the floor?”

Knowing that means Cas probably just picked them up when he was done in the shower while Dean’s whole world was crashing down around him has him shaking his head to dismiss the conversation before it starts. “Everything’s ready, so come and eat.”

Dean grabs a plate for Liam and starts cutting up his chicken at the counter, and he damn near jumps out of his skin when Cas places his hand on his back. “Are you alright?”

“Just peachy,” he lies, slicing into the chicken with a little bit more force than is really needed.

“Who was on the phone?”

Dean swallows hard to keep his voice level. “The University of Manitoba calling to confirm a job interview.” He fails miserably, and he doesn’t know if he hates the crack in his voice or Cas’s quiet curse under his breath more. 

“Dean, I didn’t—”

Rage rips through him in a single breath. “You didn’t promise me you weren’t going anywhere and then went behind my back to apply for jobs in another fucking country? You’re not gonna le—” But he stops because he can feel Liam’s eyes on them, and he turns away from Liam to aim a hard glance in Cas’s direction that Liam won’t be able to see. “We’ll talk about it later.” Then he huffs out a sarcastic laugh when he hears what he just said. “Well, probably not actually, since apparently we only talk about my shit.”

“Dean, please,” Cas whispers, and his big fingers wrap around his wrist to stop him before he can take another step. He refuses to look him in the eye, but it doesn’t help at all because he knows just from the tone of Cas’s voice that his big blue eyes are extra wide and pleading with him. “Don’t shut me out before you let me explain.”

“Too late,” Dean says bitterly, shrugging out of his grip to bring Liam his chicken. “Here you go, big guy. Dig in.”

Not surprisingly, dinner is tense. Liam seems completely unaware of it, thankfully, but for him at least, the silence at the table is deafening. Cas tries a few times to draw Liam into conversation, but it doesn’t really go anywhere, and Dean’s too lost in his own head to worry about it. Cas keeps trying to catch his eye, but anytime he does, Cas hits him with a pair of sad puppy dog eyes that somehow manages to tug at his heart strings and piss him off simultaneously. He gives Liam a bath after dinner, which is more of an excuse to get away from Cas than because Liam needs it, and then they do snuggle time (with Liam sitting in between them and without touching each other, quite possibly for the first time ever), and by the time they read Liam a bedtime story and say goodnight, the tension between them is at an all-time high.

Dean can’t storm out of Liam’s bedroom and away from Cas fast enough.

He would like to shut himself in his bedroom, but he knows Cas well enough to know that he isn’t going to let this go without talking about it, and the last thing he wants is for Liam to fall asleep to the sound of the two of them yelling at each other, so he goes into the kitchen and starts cleaning up the dishes from dinner.

“You don’t have to do that,” Cas says timidly. “I’m happy to help since I didn’t do all the cooking this time.”

“Gotta get used to doing everything by myself again anyway,” Dean says darkly, rinsing out the frying pan.

There’s several long seconds of silence that lasts until he turns the water off. “So this is it?” Cas asks him. “I make one mistake and you’re breaking up with me?”

His heart clenches painfully at the very thought of not being with Cas, but all it takes to build his walls back up is the reminder that it wasn’t him that made that choice, it was Cas. “Kind of a moot point considering you’re thinking about moving out of the fucking country, don’t you think?”

“What are you talking about?”

He isn't looking at Cas, but he can fucking see his stupid confused head tilt in his head. “An interview in Manitoba, Cas?” Dean asks, placing the pan in the dishwasher. “I know I’m not the smartest guy in the world, but even I know that ain’t in the grand ole U.S. of A.”

Cas steps directly into his space when he straightens up, and he’s shocked to see there’s more hurt in his eyes now than he’s ever seen before. “You think I would do that to you?” he asks breathlessly. “To Liam?”

“What am I supposed to think?” he asks back angrily, turning away from the pain he can feel radiating from the only man he’s ever loved.

“You’re supposed to trust me!” Cas says with just as much heat in his voice as there was in Dean’s. “You’re supposed to give me the benefit of the doubt because I’ve never given you a reason not to.”

Dean shakes his head as he loads two more serving dishes into the dishwasher. Even knowing that Cas is right, that Cas has never given him a reason to doubt him, doesn’t change a damn thing because he still might leave. “Sorry, but I’m a little busy trying to figure out how I’m gonna be a single parent to worry about that right now.”

Cas steps forward again and places a tentative hand on his shoulder. He knows Cas is waiting for eye contact, and he refuses for a solid ten seconds—ten seconds that he uses to brace himself for whatever he’s going to see in the blue eyes he still loves so much—before he lifts his gaze.

“I know you’re angry,” Cas says patiently. “But please, Dean, I’m begging you. Please don’t tell me there’s even a tiny part of you that thinks I would ever hurt you like that?”

He has to swallow down the lump in his throat before he can answer. “I don’t wanna think it.”

A broken sound escapes Cas as he cups Dean's face tenderly and presses their foreheads together. “Oh, Dean. I’m so sorry.”

He’s so surprised by the apology that his mind goes completely blank. He doesn’t know what to say. He doesn’t know why Cas is apologizing, if it’s because he lied, because he got caught, because he applied for the job at all, or (maybe worst of all) because Dean thinks that about him. He doesn’t get a chance to ask why, either, because Cas kisses him chastely on the forehead and walks down the hall, his shoulders slumped just like Liam’s when Liam’s upset.

For several, long, heart-stopping moments, he thinks Cas is going to leave, that he fucked up so bad that Cas doesn’t want to be in the same house as him anymore, and he’s so frozen with fear that he can’t even force himself to look down the hallway to check. But then he sees Cas walk back into the living room and his heart starts beating again, and he’s so relieved, he’s ready to start spilling his guts. He’s about to tell Cas that it isn’t Cas's  fault that he thinks this way, that his self-esteem is so fucked up after so many years of not being enough for anybody that it’s going to take a hell of a lot longer than two months to rebuild it completely, but that because of Cas, he feels like he might actually get there someday for the first time in his whole life... when he sees that Cas has an old pillow and a spare blanket from the closet. 

There’s still a world of hurt in Cas’s eyes when he looks across the room at him, but he can see the hard set of his jaw from here, too, and he knows without having to ask that Cas has moved past upset to pissed. That’s confirmed with the hard tone of his voice when Cas says, “I’ll sleep out here tonight.”

Dean feels completely numb when he nods his head without a word. He makes the decision to leave the dishes until tomorrow and is forced to walk past the heartbreaking sight of Cas making a bed out of the too-small couch, wishing with everything he has that for once—just this one fucking time—he could be enough for the person he loves.

Chapter Text

Dean is a very confusing mix of upset and pissed off when he storms into his bedroom and flops onto the bed. He has no idea how Cas is the one who went behind his back and applied for a job in another fucking country and yet Dean somehow wound up feeling like he hurt Cas, but there’s definitely some of that jumbled up inside of him and it only pisses him off more. He throws his arm over his face and takes several deep breaths, trying to force everything out of his mind so that his eyes stop watering and his heart stops beating so fast. 

It only takes five minutes to realize that’s not going to happen, and since he knows he’s going to be rethinking every word they just said to each other for the next several hours, he decides to just get comfortable and call it a night. He reaches over to turn off his lamp and gets under the covers, trying valiantly not to think about how huge the bed feels without Cas in it beside him for the first time in months. He rolls onto his side away from Cas’s side of the bed, which is when he sees his clock.

It’s 8:06.

He scrubs his hands over his face and rolls over again to land on his back. He’s not going to bed at 8:00. He’s not going back out of the bedroom either though, which means he can either fuck around on his phone for a while or read. He turns the light back on and grabs his book off the nightstand, purposely not thinking about how the only reason he’s reading this particular book is because Cas suggested it.

His mind is so busy he has to go back to the beginning of the first paragraph a dozen times before he realizes it’s been forty-five minutes and he hasn’t absorbed a damn thing he’s read. With another quiet sound of annoyance, he puts the book away and grabs his phone instead. The first thing he sees is the picture of Liam and Cas from Cas’s birthday he set as his background, and he drops it on the bed next to him when his eyes start misting over again. 

He is not going to fucking cry about this. 

He spends the next thirty minutes staring at the ceiling, his thoughts replaying what that Cain guy said on the phone and Cas’s obvious heartbreak over him thinking that Cas was going to leave. Actually, Cas seemed pretty fucking sad when he asked if Dean was breaking up with him, too, and no matter how many times he thinks everything through, he cannot make it make sense in his head.

Feeling like he’s going to go fucking crazy if he doesn’t do something, he gets up to brush his teeth. He’s unable to shake off how weird it is that Cas isn’t elbowing him or making him laugh with foam in his mouth, and he climbs into bed a few minutes later with a heavy heart he wishes he could ignore. It’s stupid to feel so sad when he should be pissed that Cas lied to him, but the empty bed is surprisingly hard to deal with, and no matter how often he tries to steer his thoughts in a different direction, he can’t stop thinking that Cas is supposed to be next to him. 

Knowing that his best chance of escaping the heartache he’s currently feeling is sleep, he rolls onto his side once more and closes his eyes. Unfortunately, sleep isn’t as easy to escape to as he was hoping. He doesn’t want to linger on it, but the truth is, the longer he lies here, the more aware he gets that Cas isn’t with him and it feels fucking wrong. He hasn’t slept without Cas a single night in more than two months, and even though he’s still mad at him and confused over what happened earlier, he misses him. He misses the arm that Cas always has slung around him, he misses rolling over and feeling Cas pull him back against him even in his sleep, he misses putting his feet against Cas’s legs to warm them and getting an annoyed groan from Cas. He misses pressing his face into the curve of Cas’s neck, taking in Cas’s familiar scent with every breath, the way Cas rubs his back if he’s having a hard time falling asleep.

He can’t stop thinking about Cas out there on the couch, either. Is he warm enough? Is he comfortable? Is Cas feeling as miserable without him as he does without Cas? Even though he’s mad at Cas, the idea of Cas out there all alone and maybe feeling sad only makes him feel worse.

Every minute that passes feels like an hour. He tosses and turns so much his sweatpants are twisted uncomfortably, his blankets are all tangled, and he’s so angry and sad and lonely by the time midnight rolls around that he’s on his feet and walking towards the bedroom door before he can think to stop himself.

He peeks down the hallway, noticing that all the lights are out in the living room. He can just make out what has to be Cas’s feet hanging over the end of the couch, covered by a blanket, and he slumps a little at the sight. There’s no way Cas can sleep comfortably like that. He can’t see a glow from Cas’s phone or anything, so even though he has no idea what he’s trying to accomplish when he starts moving, he’s suddenly creeping down the hallway towards Cas. He just wants to see him, he realizes. He feels stupid for even thinking it when he’s supposed to be mad at him, but maybe if he can see that Cas is sleeping and okay out here, he’ll be able to fall asleep, too. 

He knows every floorboard that creeks and he’s careful to avoid every single one, which means he’s absolutely silent as he approaches the back of the couch. That might explain why he freezes like a deer in headlights when the first thing he sees over the back of the couch are Cas’s blue eyes staring back at him. He’s sure his heart has stopped all together, and even though this is his house and he has every right to be walking around it in the middle of the night, he feels exactly like he’s a little kid who just got caught with his hand in the cookie jar.

“Dean?” Cas asks.

Cas’s voice sounds rougher than usual, raw even, and his frozen heart shatters into a million different pieces when he thinks about Cas being out here on the too-small couch feeling even half as upset as he was in his room.

“You okay?” he hears himself ask.

Cas’s eyes dart away, looking in the polar opposite direction of where he’s standing, and for several very-long seconds, silence hangs heavily in the air between them. He’s just starting to think that Cas isn’t going to say anything at all, and he’s working on trying to deal with the hurt that causes, when Cas finally answers him. 

“Are you?” Cas asks back ruefully.

He’s glad Cas flicks his eyes back over to him after that, because he’s pretty sure he couldn’t force a single word out if his life depended on it. Every instinct he has is screaming at him to nod yes and turn back to go into his bedroom because Cas lied to him. Cas promised him that they would raise Liam together forever and then applied for jobs in another country without even talking to him about it first, and he’s so fucking mad, and he’s hurt, and a part of him feels like Cas deserves to be out here on the couch feeling miserable.

But he can’t seem to make his head nod the reply he knows he needs to give to pretend like he’s fine, and he definitely can’t force his feet to carry him back down the hall. He lifts his hands nervously to rest on the back of the couch instead, and he starts picking at the leather seams for something to do when he feels the weight of Cas’s eyes on him. His cheeks heat up when he realizes that even as mad as he is, he doesn’t want to leave Cas’s side. He doesn’t want to leave Cas out here all by himself when Cas is supposed to be in bed with him.

He’s mad at Cas, yeah, but he loves him, too. More than he’s mad at him. And he wants Cas back in his bed more than he wants to keep fighting with him right now. He’s so fucking tired, and he knows without a doubt that the only way he’s going to get a minute of sleep tonight is if Cas is in his bed where he belongs. Hell, if Cas really is going to move to frigging Manitoba, he might as well soak up every night of sleep he can get now with Cas next to him before he’s stuck alone and miserable for good like he has been for the last few hours.

And so he swallows hard, ignores the blush he can feel heating up on his cheeks, and shakes his head no. He’s not okay. Cas reaches up and covers his hand tentatively, and his own free hand reaches out to land on top of Cas’s, sandwiching it between his and clutching desperately at the warmth he can feel radiating from the man he loves. 

“Come to bed,” Dean whispers hoarsely.

The second the words leave his mouth he feels his heart pulse painfully. He just put himself in a really terrifyingly vulnerable position. Cas could say no right now and he’d be ten times as heartbroken and pissed off as he was before he came out here, and he’d probably never—

“Okay,” Cas replies quietly. The rush of relief he feels when Cas gets off of the couch is so powerful that he can’t fight back the tears before they completely cloud his vision, and for the first time all night, a single tear spills over. He wipes it away self-consciously, but he feels Cas’s big hand come down comfortingly on his shoulder and knows then that Cas saw it. It takes everything he has not to turn and bury his face in Cas’s chest right now, but even though Cas seems open to at least sharing a bed tonight, he doesn’t know what else is okay yet, so he doesn’t do it. 

He clears his throat and tries to sniffle surreptitiously as he turns away to retrace his own steps back into the bedroom, already feeling a million times better now than he did on the way out. He and Cas get into bed together without speaking, and he lies flat on his back, unsure if they’re going to talk or fight some more or what’s about to happen.

Cas breaks the awkward silence with a nervous-sounding offer. “I understand if you don’t want to, but if you do want to, I’d really like to hold you.”

He’s sure he’s never moved so fast in his life. He rolls over and throws himself into Cas’s arms, pressing his face into his neck the same way he does every night, the same way he was dying to earlier when Cas wasn’t here, and he feels some of the stress and most of the fear seep out of him when Cas squeezes him tightly for several long seconds. If Cas is here, willing to hold him like this in bed, Cas must think they’re gonna be okay. He didn’t know until right now, but that reassurance is definitely what he was searching for when he tiptoed out to the couch. 

“I’m still hurt,” Cas says bluntly, but his words are softened since he says them without letting Dean go.

Dean wiggles in a tiny bit closer and admits, “I’m still pissed.”

He can feel Cas’s arms tense around him and wonders if this is it. If all they’re going to get is two minutes of tentative peace before the next round of fighting starts. But Cas surprises him when he says, “But I still love you.”

His eyes fill for a second time as his worst fear is washed away, but thankfully none immediately spill over. “I love you, too.”

Cas’s chest rises and falls shakily several times before he speaks again, and when he does, he sounds nasally and like he’s trying not to cry. “Please don’t break up with me over this.”

“You don’t—” Dean sniffles and has to concentrate hard on making sure his voice doesn’t crack like it did in the kitchen. “Don’t leave me.”

Cas squeezes him even harder, pressing a kiss—no, two, three kisses—to the top of his head that fills him with so much hope he wouldn’t be surprised if he floated right off the bed like a balloon. 

“I won’t if you won’t,” Cas whispers.

Dean just manages to croak out a broken-sounding, “‘kay.”

“We’ll talk for real tomorrow,” Cas tells him quietly.

Dean nods, and even knowing that they haven’t fixed a damn thing yet, Cas’s heart beating steadily beneath his ear and his warm, loving hands rubbing his back the way he always does puts him to sleep in minutes. 

When he wakes up the next morning, it isn’t because of his alarm. It’s because he can hear Liam crying. Really crying. The kind of crying he’s only heard once before, when Liam tipped his chair backwards outside and banged/scraped up his elbow on the patio stone. The sound of that kind of cry ringing through the hallway again now has him out of bed and literally running to follow the sound with his heart in his throat. 

The first thing he sees is Liam crumpled to the ground, Cas on his knees next to him with his arms wrapped around him, but staring with wide eyes at the door. He runs in front of them both, putting himself between them and whatever’s at the door causing Liam to react like this without a thought, which is when he sees Donna standing there.

The fight or flight instinct kicks in as the pieces come together, and he turns to Cas without taking his eyes off of the doorway. “Take Liam into the bedroom and call the cops,” he instructs him, speaking loudly enough that he can be heard over Liam’s cries. “She’s not taking him without a court order and a hell of a lot more muscle than this.”

“Hold on just a shake,” Donna says loudly, stepping forward, and Dean steps closer to head her off instinctively. She shows her palms and her voice sounds exasperated when she says, “I’m not here to take the little gaffer! Unscheduled visit, remember?”

“She—she—” Liam says through massive, gasping breaths. “She took me outta daycare after mommy—” He stops and shakes his head, tears streaming down his face. “And outta Miss—Miss—I don’t remember her name but she did!” he screams, tears streaming down his face as he points an accusing finger at Donna. “I don’t wanna go! PLEASE, Cas! Don’t—don’t make—”

“You’re not going anywhere,” Cas interrupts him. 

Now that Dean knows Liam’s not in any danger, he drops down next to them both to add his arms to Cas’s around the little guy, completely ignoring the sharp stab of pain he always gets from being on his knees.

“We’re never gonna let anybody take you. Never ever,” Dean promises. “Come here,” he urges him, and Liam scrambles into his lap and coils both arms and legs around him like some kind of snake or something. He rocks him back and forth as he shushes him, smiling sadly at Cas when he starts rubbing Liam’s back the same way he rubs his. “Donna’s just here to check that you’re doing okay.”

“It’s her job to make sure that we’re taking good care of you,” Cas adds. “She’s not going to take you anywhere ever again.”

“Didn’t mean to give ya a scare, little man,” Donna says to Liam, coming over to crouch a few steps away. 

“Him? He’s the one who scared the shit out of me,” Dean jokes, which is apparently enough to have a watery laugh coming out of Liam. “I thought you were dyin’ or somethin’.”

“I never thought I’d see Dean move so quickly before coffee,” Cas comments. That earns another little laugh from Liam, and though Liam’s shoulders are still shaking with his silent sobs, a little laugh is worlds better than more tears. “Now we’ll know how to wake him up real fast if we need to,” Cas says conspiratorially. 

“Wait a minute.” Dean leans back to look down at Liam’s tear-streaked face. “Was it your plan all along to wake me up early just so I’d make blueberry pancakes?” A fresh tear drips over Liam’s freckled cheek as Liam nods his head, and when Dean lets his jaw drop like he’s shocked, Liam giggles as he wipes his tears away. “You little monster.”

“Are you okay now, Liam?” Cas checks.

“Yeah.” Liam skirts his eyes over to Donna and drops his head back down to Dean’s shoulder. “S’long as she’s not gonna take me.”

“Nobody’s going to take you,” Cas says again. “We’re a family, remember? We stay together no matter what.” His eyes catch Cas’s when those words remind him exactly what they were dealing with last night, and he can see some of the warmth vacate the blue eyes looking back at him, telling him Cas just remembered, too. “Now that your evil plan worked, you should let Dean up before he gets stuck like this.”

He drops his gaze as the oddly flat tone of Cas’s voice makes his insides feel tight and unsettled, and moves Liam off of him until he’s standing. He struggles a little before he manages to get himself all the way up, noting but ignoring the way Cas darted a hand out to help and then pulled it back just as fast. 

“I’m real sorry about this, fellas,” Donna says. 

“Not your fault,” Dean tells her, rubbing absently at his kneecaps before he straightens up entirely. “Kitchen?” he offers, and Donna nods as she toes off her shoes and follows them down the hall. 

“Sorry to stop by so early ‘n’ all. I know you aren’t human before your cuppa joe,” she tells Dean. “But I knew Liam would be off to daycare soon and I wanted to see y’all together.”

“I get it,” Dean says around a yawn, which gets a knowing laugh from Donna. “Gimme five minutes to drink down half a mug and I’m all yours.”

“No... problem...o,” Donna replies slowly. Because she sounded a little distracted, Dean’s curious enough to spare a glance over his shoulder to see what caught her attention. His insides freeze when she nods to the blanket and pillow still on the couch. “Trouble in paradise?”

“Trouble sleeping with a man who snores like a chainsaw,” Cas laughs. “It’s fine when I fall asleep first, but sometimes if I wake up in the middle of the night I have a hard time falling back asleep because of all of the noise.”

All at once Dean remembers what a fantastic liar Cas was when Donna came around the first time, except now the realization comes with a sinking feeling in his stomach instead of pride. No wonder Cas had been able to lie to him about applying for a job in Canada without batting an eye. Dude’s a natural.

“Dean snores really loud,” Liam agrees. “Like, really, really loud. It’s soooo funny!”

Feeling a lot less happy than he was a few seconds ago has Dean grumbling, “Cut it out over there, pipsqueak, or I’m sleepin’ with you tonight.”

Liam giggles and plops down at the kitchen table, seemingly unaffected by the harder-than-usual tone of his voice. “Are the pancakes ready yet?”

“Yeah, I made them with no ingredients, no cooking, and in less than seven seconds in front of the stove,” he says sarcastically.

“How about I get you some milk while Dean works on cooking?” Cas asks, clearly trying to keep the peace. Dean can see Laim nodding in his peripheral vision and he tries not to stiffen nervously when Cas stands and approaches him.

He’s still not really sure where things stand between them, and because of it, he doesn’t know how to react when Cas trails a hand along his lower back. His jaw unclenches when Cas presses a chaste kiss to it, and he’s blushing furiously when Cas pats down his flank with his big hand. He’s torn somewhere between embarrassed and pleased about how easy it is for Cas to soothe him with his touch, and he feels his shoulders relax slightly knowing that Cas is trying to calm him down even when they’re still fighting. Cas must really care about him.

That’s when Cas whispers, so quietly it’s almost completely silent, “Pretend better,” and Dean’s heart sinks into his stomach all over again. Cas wasn’t trying to relax him, he was trying to make sure they don’t tip off Donna that they’re—what? Fighting? On the verge of a break up? He tries to shake it off, knowing that regardless of what’s happening between them right now, they need to convince Donna they’re one big happy family. He takes a deep breath and forces his shoulders not to stiffen again as he works on gathering the ingredients for pancakes while he drinks his coffee.

Cas gets Liam his milk, and when Cas takes his seat at the table, Donna pounces with another question. “So what’s a typical morning look like around here, Liam?”

As fear gnaws on his stomach once more, he thinks about what a smart choice it is on Donna’s part to question Liam considering Liam doesn’t know enough to lie. 

“I dunno,” Liam replies with a shrug.

“Well what time do you wake up?” she prompts.

“Seven zero zero,” Liam answers dutifully.

“And then what happens?”

“Cas wakes up too and we—we eat breakfast and get ready for daycare.”

“Yeah? What kinds of things do you like to have for breakfast?”

“Lotsa stuff. Cheerios, yogurt, waffles, toast—”

“He loves eggs, too, but Dean usually cooks us a big brunch on Sundays so we save them for that,” Cas interrupts.

“So Dean doesn’t usually make pancakes in the morning on weekdays?” Donna asks.

“No, Dean’s still sleepin’ ‘cause he don’t like mornings,” Liam replies.

Cas swoops in with, “Since Dean isn’t a morning person and I don’t mind waking up early, I feed Liam breakfast and get him dressed and ready to go for daycare while Dean gets ready for work, and then he brings Liam to daycare.”

“So Dean sleeps through most of the morning routine?” Donna double checks. He feels an edge of annoyance hearing it said like that, and he stirs the ingredients together a little harder than he really needs to.

“Only the first half hour,” Cas says easily. “It’s what works best for us all.”

“Hey, no judgement,” she says quickly, clearly responding to the hint of defensiveness in Cas’s tone of voice. “Just wanted to make sure I got the routine down okay. You still liking daycare okay, little guy?” she asks Liam.

“Yup.”

“I talked to the daycare already and they said he’s still doing really well,” Donna says to the two of them. Dean keeps mixing when Donna turns her attention back to Liam. “Who picks you up after daycare?”

“Cas,” Liam states, “‘cause Dean’s workin’. He—he fixes houses. Right, Dean?”

Dean shoots him a smile over his shoulder. “You got it, buddy.”

“He builds stuff, too,” Liam says proudly. “With Uncle Sam. They builded me a sandbox and—and Dean builded Cas a swing for his birthday and—and—and boxes for his flowers.”

“Oh, you met your Uncle Sam?” Donna asks, apparently zeroing on that little detail. “How was that?”

“Good,” Liam says simply. “He’s really, really tall. Like a giant.”

Dean snorts a quiet laugh. “You like him okay?” Donna asks Liam.

“He bought me dinosaurs.”

“Sounds like a winner,” Donna comments around a smile. “So you’re still into dinosaurs, huh?”

He doesn’t have to see Liam’s face to know he lights up when he talks. “Dinosaurs are my favoritest thing in the whole entire world!”

“Still got a whole bunch in your bedroom?” she wonders, and Liam nods in response. “Wanna show me?”

Liam hops right up and Cas says, “I’ll go with you.”

“I’m just about to start cookin’ the pancakes so don’t take too long,” Dean says to the lot of them. He gets nods of acknowledgement, and as soon as they’re out of the room, he takes a deep, steadying breath. He tries to remind himself that Liam doesn’t know that he and Cas are fighting, so Liam shouldn’t be able to out them to Donna. He was smart not to get into anything with Liam around last night, because he can only imagine how blunt Liam would have been about everything today if he had. 

Of fucking course Donna had to come today of all days. She couldn’t have come yesterday when everything was absolutely perfect, when he and Cas were in love and disgustingly happy. No, she had to come today when Dean’s still trying to figure out how he’s supposed to look at the guy he’s mad at but still in love with, knowing that Cas is hurt, too, but that neither of them want to break up. It’s fucking exhausting already and it’s only been ten minutes. This is exactly why he didn’t want to ask Cas out in the first place. Living with the guy you’re pissed off at while trying not to seem pissed off at him in front of a kid is hard as hell, and that’s without social services popping in unexpectedly. 

Hell of a way to start off a Wednesday.

By the time he’s got a stack of pancakes ready on the table, Liam leads the way back to the table. He’s surprised to see that they came out of his and Cas’s bedroom instead of Liam’s, but he guesses Donna had to check out all the rooms to make sure they’re not making Liam live in some kind of a pigsty or something. 

“Ohhhh these look so yummy!” Liam exclaims as he scrambles into his seat at the table again.

Dean places Liam’s little plastic plate in front of him with a fork. “Dig in, my man,” he tells him, gesturing to the bite-sized pieces on his plate. Liam digs in without hesitation, and though it feels unnatural to serve Cas when he’s mad at him, he puts two pancakes on a plate for him and passes them over with a wink for show. “Eat up, doc.” Cas’s smile is warm and he looks away quickly before his body can react to what his mind knows is a fake smile. “I made enough for you, too,” Dean says to Donna. 

“Are you sure?” Donna checks.

Dean shrugs as he grabs a few pancakes for himself and starts slathering them in butter. “Just ‘cause you’re here at the asscrack at dawn doesn’t mean I’m gonna be a dick.”

“That’s another word for penis, but I’m not allowed to say it,” Liam tells Donna frankly.

Donna attempts to keep a straight face for a single second before she lets out a surprised bark of laughter. “Well thanks for spellin’ that out for me, sweetie.” She grabs the last remaining plate on the table and serves herself a pancake. She seems to hesitate for a few seconds, then asks, “Do ya happen to have peanut butter I can grab?”

Dean and Cas share a genuinely confused look. “For your pancake?” Dean asks.

She nods, then laughs at Dean’s horrified expression. “It’s good!” she insists. 

“If you say so,” Dean says skeptically, forking another bite of drowning pancake into his mouth. “Peanut butter’s in the cupboard next to the fridge.”

She shoots him a bright smile, pushes out of her seat, and stands to grab it. “Oh, what’s this on the notepad here?” she asks, squinting at it. “Isn’t the Entomology department of the Faculty of Agriculture in the same school you went to in Manitoba, Castiel?”

“Cas,” Cas corrects her. “And yes, that’s where I went to school.”

“I see interview scribbled down,” she says curiously. “How are you going to work in Canada when your family is here?” Before Cas can say anything else, she adds quietly, “You know how Social Services feels about single parent homes.”

Dean doesn’t bother trying to hide the murderous look he aims in Cas’s direction. If Cas fucks up custody of Liam for him he will never ever forgive him, and the reminder that Cas did something that could put that in jeopardy at all makes him so furious he can feel the hard metal of his fork digging into his palm where his hand has clenched into tight fists. 

“I would be working remotely. From home, actually,” Cas replies, and just like that, Dean feels like he can’t breathe. “I’d be inputting and interpreting data collected by the Entomology department for a five-year study they’ve just secured the funding for. I can do all of that from here, and I’d only be required to travel to Canada once a year for a conference with the people paying for the study.” 

Cas’s voice is remarkably steady considering he’s turning Dean’s insides into knots with every word that’s coming out of his mouth. It’s a remote job? Why the fuck didn’t Cas just say that last night? Cas could’ve even told him after they cooled down when they were in bed. 

“Oh, that sounds perfect for you!” Donna says happily, her voice cutting into his thoughts.

“It would be the perfect job, I agree. I could still be home to get Liam off of the bus when he starts school next year and I’d still be able to start dinner so it’s almost ready when Dean gets home from work. Nothing would have to change for anybody, except I’d actually be able to pay for my share of the expenses,” he says with a small smile.

Dean still can’t breathe.

“Kids thrive in an environment with a routine, especially after big changes like Liam’s been through,” Donna says around a bite of pancake. “It’s good that you’re thinking about that kind of thing.”

“Honestly, it’s been a big reason why I haven’t found a job yet,” Cas admits, and surprise, surprise, that’s news to Dean, too. “I didn’t want Dean to have to wake up earlier than he does now, and I didn’t want to miss our time together with Liam. I wasn’t even applying to any jobs with evening shifts because the idea of missing out on the bedtime routine broke my heart.”

“That’s sweet,” Donna comments, and inwardly, Dean has to agree. He had no idea Cas was being so particular about applying for jobs because of him. Hell, he had no idea Cas thought about that kind of thing at all when he was looking for a job, he just thought there weren’t a lot of job opportunities in Cas’s field. “Do you know how many people you’ll be up against during the interview process?”

“No, I’m not sure, but Cain, the man who’s in charge of the study, was one of my professors and is actually the one who sent me the link to apply for the job,” he says, smiling proudly. “So I think my chances are pretty good.”

“You didn’t tell me that,” Dean blurts out. Just great, he thinks a fraction of a second later. The one thing he manages to contribute to this conversation makes him sound accusatory towards Cas when he should be on his knees begging for forgiveness for thinking the worst of the best man he’s ever known.

“I wasn’t hiding it from you,” Cas replies, his gaze steady with just the teeniest hint of anger within it. “I just didn’t get a chance to bring it up yet.” Cas turns to Donna. “I only applied for the job yesterday afternoon, and Cain called last night before Dean and I sat down for dinner.”

“Well, I hope it works out! It sounds perfect for everybody.”

He just barely hears her response over the roaring in his ears, and he can hardly keep up with the conversation after that. He’s so stuck in his own head he can barely even force a smile when it’s called for. Jesus christ, he was an idiot. He was so consumed with fear at the idea of losing Cas when he heard the word Manitoba that he jumped to his own conclusion about Cas deciding to move away without even asking him about it first. Even when Cas had begged him not to shut him out before he could explain, he wouldn’t give him a chance. No wonder Cas looked so heartbroken last night—it’s because Dean broke his heart! He told Cas he loved him and then at the first opportunity he had to show him that he trusted him, he turned on Cas and let him know he thought Cas was the kind of man who would leave his family behind for a job.

How is he ever going to get Cas to forgive him?

The pancake that had been so sweet and fluffy in his mouth before tastes like cement now, and he’s so distraught he can’t even bring himself to finish it. He hears Donna make some comment about how it looks like he needs more coffee, so he stands shakily to make himself another cup, using the excuse to take a few seconds to get his shit together while he has his back turned. It doesn’t work, though, and he’s still standing at the counter uselessly when Cas wraps his arm around his waist and tugs him towards the door to say goodbye to Donna. 

He’s pretty sure all he manages to get out is a simple, “Bye,” and the second the door closes, he looks over to meet Cas’s eyes. His own eyes are watering and his voice is hoarse when he says, “Cas—” Cas stares back at him, his face eerily blank. “I—I’m so fucking sorry, Cas.”

“What’s the matter?” Liam asks curiously. “What’d you do?”

He can’t even look away from Cas’s expressionless face to answer Liam, because if Cas breaks at all and shows even a sliver of emotion, he wants to make sure he catches it.

Cas doesn't, though. He turns to Liam and says, “Your clothes for the day are on your bed. Can you please go wash your hands and face and then put them on?”

“Okay!” Liam says before spinning on his heels and taking off down the hallway.

As soon as they're alone, Dean tries again. “I’m an idiot,” Dean says quietly. “I was such a dick. I should’ve given you a second to explain before I thought—”

“That I was some heartless, selfish person that would abandon you and our son?” Cas asks flatly.

He has no idea how a broken heart can swell, but that’s the first time he’s ever heard Cas refer to Liam as their son and that’s all he’s ever wanted.

He swallows hard, hating the hurt he can see in Cas’s blue eyes even more than he hates himself. “I’m sorry,” he says again. “I—I didn’t know. I heard—I heard Manitoba and I just thought you—” He has to swallow again, has to look away from Cas’s piercing blue eyes before he admits his own shortcomings. “You finally figured out I wasn’t good enough just like everybody else did.” His heart aches at the very thought. “I was so fucking scared you were gonna leave me I just—lashed out.” I lashed out so I didn’t have to feel how much it hurt to think you didn’t want to stay.  

“I am all too aware of your frighteningly low levels of self-esteem, Dean,” Cas says, gently bringing his palm up to rest on the side of his face. Dean leans into it like a lifeline. “I’m sorry I haven’t made it more clear over the last two months that you will always be enough for me exactly as you are. I take part of the blame for that, and I’m going to try harder to make sure I tell you more often.” Dean shakes his head, knowing that none of this is on Cas. He’s about to say so when he realizes Cas isn’t done yet. “I also take the blame for not telling you I applied for the job as soon as I did it. I didn’t set out to lie to you, but it turned out to be a lie of omission, I suppose, even though I had planned to tell you over dinner. I understand why you feel lied to, and I apologize for that.”

“That’s—that’s not important,” Dean says shakily. “I know you were gonna tell me about it now.”

“Now,” Cas repeats, and his eyes turn remarkably sad all over again. “I won’t lie to you, Dean. You broke my heart when you told me you thought I would leave Liam behind.” His voice has lost almost all of its warmth now, and he can feel a fresh crack in his heart when he realizes he did something to make Cas sound like that. Cas, who is the warmest, most caring partner he’s ever had. “I can empathize with the low self-esteem when it comes to thinking that I might want to leave you, but what did I ever do to make you think I’d do that to Liam? To the child I love like he’s my own?”

“N-nothing,” Dean croaks. “Nothing,” he repeats more firmly, forcing eye contact and placing his hands on Cas’s shoulders to give him a little shake. “You never did anything, Cas. It’s not you—it’s me. I’m—” He rolls his eyes at himself bitterly, barely feeling the way his fingers are winding into Cas’s shirt. “I’m a fucking idiot, okay? I never should’ve even—even considered that you would do that. You wouldn’t. I know you wouldn’t.”

“You didn’t know it last night,” Cas points out sadly, and Dean drops his head as he realizes he’s right. He didn’t want to think it, but he did. “And I don’t know what to do with that.”

Cas sounds... resigned almost, and it scares him more than the heartbreak or the hurt he saw in Cas’s eyes. “I’m so sorry, Cas. Fuck,” he breathes. He's so incredibly pissed off at himself he can hardly think. “I don’t know what to do. I just—I love you so fucking much and I hurt you and—fuck.” He has to stop to take a deep breath so he doesn’t start blubbering right here and now. “If I could take it back, I would. I would a thousand times over, and I know that doesn’t help because I still let you down, but it’s true.”

“I believe you,” Cas says quietly, and Dean’s eyes shut as relief floods him. “And I still love you,” Cas tacks on, and his knees genuinely go weak with how good that feels to hear. Cas must be able to tell he’s barely keeping it together, because he pulls him into his arms and hugs him so fucking tight. Dean buries his face in his neck and lets out several deep, shuddering breaths, trying to focus on Cas rubbing his back because if he’s rubbing his back and hugging him, Cas must not want to break up with him right?

“I love you, too,” Dean breathes. “I love you so damn much, Cas. I don’t—I don’t wanna lose you.” He squeezes Cas even tighter and whispers, “What can I do? I’ll do anything. Anything.”

“I don’t know,” Cas says quietly. “I don’t want you to think that because I’m holding you right now that I’m not still hurt and, well, angry with you,” he admits. “But Dean?” And Cas pulls away now, brushes his thumbs through the wetness beneath Dean’s eyes, which is when Dean realizes that he must have started crying at some point. “I want to work this out, okay? I’m not going anywhere, and I’m not breaking up with you. I’m still in this.”

He feels the flood of tears this time, warm and wet sliding down his face, and because he knows he can’t trust his voice right now, he nods his head up and down several times. 

“I can’t stand to see you cry,” Cas says with a sideways smile, and he starts wiping Dean’s tears away for him again. Cas rests his forehead against his as his thumbs sweep along his cheeks. “We’re going to be okay, gorgeous.”

“Don’t—don’t deserve you,” he chokes out.

“Mmm.” It’s not a disagreement, but he can’t exactly blame Cas for it. “But you’re stuck with me anyway.” And then Cas tilts his chin upwards and their lips meet for a soft, searching kiss. It’s tentative and unsure, but Cas is kissing him, and his hands are on his face, and for five whole seconds, he feels complete, loved, and that maybe Cas is right. Maybe they will be okay.

Cas is the first to pull away, but instead of breaking contact altogether, Cas wraps his arms around him and hugs him nice and close for a few more seconds. Dean clings to him without shame, wishing more than anything he could stay right here, just like this for the rest of the day, because he already knows the second they pull apart that he’s going to start doubting that Cas is really this understanding. He’s going to be worrying all day long that he’s going to come home to an empty house.

Like Cas can read his mind, he asks, “Do you trust me? Really trust me, Dean?”

“Yes,” Dean says honestly.

“Then believe me when I tell you we’re going to work this out, okay?”

“Yeah, but... how do you know?”

Cas turns his head to kiss him on temple. “Sometimes you just know.”

That has him letting out some kind of very wet, very unattractive sound that’s somewhere between a laugh and a sob, because he remembers all too well the way Cas said the same thing about how he knew their love wouldn’t fade into friendship. Sometimes you just know.

“You need to go shower before you’re late for work,” Cas prompts him gently.

Dean takes a tiny step back and rubs his hand down his face, trying to pull himself together. “I’m already fucking beat and the day hasn’t even started yet.”

“Tell me about it,” Cas replies.

Knowing that Cas is exhausted because of him being an idiot has him apologizing all over again. “I’m still really sorry.”

“And I still forgive you. Please don’t spend all day beating yourself up over this.”

He absolutely will, but Cas doesn’t need to worry about that on top of everything else. “Don’t worry, after the shitty work I did yesterday ‘cause I couldn’t stop thinking about you, I’m gonna need to concentrate to get caught back up.” He gives the side of Cas’s face a quick pat, and then turns away. “I’m gonna go catch that shower.”

“I will check in with Jo,” Cas says as Dean walks down the hall, and Dean smiles a little as he rolls his eyes. But the truth is, he feels a bright spark of hope over knowing Cas still cares enough to check in, and his mind is already spinning, trying to come up with something he can do to make things right between them again.

Chapter Text

With the way he’s feeling, it’s no wonder that it’s after 11:00 when he realizes it’s Wednesday and he and Cas are supposed to go out for their weekly lunch date today. He debates whether or not he should even bring it up after everything that happened this morning, but the last thing he wants is for Cas to think he doesn’t want to go, so he mans up and sends him a text.

DEAN: We still on for lunch?
CAS: I wish I could, but I really need to prep for that interview. Rain check for next week?

Ouch.

Turns out he was wrong; the last thing he wanted was to be rejected when he already feels like shit ran over twice. He tries to stay positive and reminds himself that Cas said they’re going to be okay and that Cas wants to work on it, so he ignores the sinking sensation in his stomach and texts back not to worry about it.

His mind is still stuck in a loop of it doesn’t mean anything twenty-five minutes later, but when he eventually finds himself wondering what he’s going to do for lunch since he didn’t bring anything, it occurs to him that Cas might appreciate having lunch ordered in for him. So he pulls out his phone once again and has Cas’s favorite order from Taco Bell sent to him, hoping that the small gesture will win him back some of the (major) brownie points he’s lost since last night.

CAS: You didn’t have to do that, but it was delicious, so I’m glad you did <3 
DEAN: Glad you liked it!

That’s it, though. That’s all he hears from Cas all afternoon. No funny memes, no quick little text about something that happened when Cas picked Liam up from daycare. Nothing. It’s not unheard of, but it’s definitely unusual, and it has him feeling all jumbled up about going home at the end of the day. He wants to go home and see that everything’s okay between them, but he’s also afraid to go home and find out that it’s not.

Unfortunately, he experiences the latter.

He walks in the house and calls out a nervous, “I’m home!”

Liam comes running over with his