Chapter 1: The Set-Up
Dean has an obsession. It’s borderline crazy sometimes, as obsessions tend to get. Sometimes he spends hours behind it, frantically investigating.
Dean stalks Chuck Shurley.
Strange isn’t it? He has so many other – better – things to do with his time. But ever since Chuck and Amara left (and to be honest, ever since he saw himself full frontal in those books) he’s been ‘keeping an eye out’ frantically and obsessively of course, for any new information. Chuck has published a few books online before taking off and he’d devoured them in a few days. Sure, the books barely revealed anything invasive emotionally but he still didn’t want the whole fan-base to be reading about the size and grit of his dick.
So it’s shocking when he sees a new one appear. Because he’d signed up for all the alerts and pre-alerts.
‘How To Take Care Of Your Guardian Angel’
The blurb tells him that ‘Castiel’ has gained a large following so he decided to write a book specifically about the angel. Supposedly it contains information about all the angels, but some special side notes about Castiel also.
He shouldn’t… Dean clicks purchase.
Nothing to feel bad or guilty about; he’s just covering his bases. New information. Completely not spying or infringing Cass’ privacy.
Okay, well maybe he is – will be.
But damn it!
The poor guy had said yes to Lucifer. The Devil. If that wasn’t a sign that something is wrong he doesn’t know what is.
Dean has loads of free time now anyway. With the whole The Darkness vs The Light crisis averted, his mom back, Sammy rescued from British psycho-bitch and Cass hanging around the bunker with them… well, there’s never been a more perfect time to try out some of the stuff in that book.
He wants to deny that he waits near his laptop like a complete fangirl for the notification that his package has arrived. There’s really no other way to describe it though.
When he’s away from the laptop, he does some family bonding.
Movie night, games, cooking. The works.
Some shocking things had been revealed, especially in regard to his mother’s cooking. For shame. Sammy’s hair is longer than ever, dudes probably aiming for Rapunzel length hair, and Dean has to curb the urge to sneak into his room at night and get to work. He could blame it on mom. Dean’s pretty sure Sam’s hair is longer than hers now, he could say she’s jealous. Or Cass, have him say he got bored at night. Dean grins, imagining the angel explain that to Sam in his matter of fact tone.
“You’re sure they’re not…?” Mary’s voice is uncertain.
Sam chuckles and Dean can practically hear the hair flip, “C’mon mom. I’m positive nothing’s going on there.”
“It’s just that… what I saw – Sam it didn’t look like just another friendly encounter.”
What she’d seen? “Hey!” he calls in greeting, “What’s going on where?”
Mom opens her mouth eagerly but Sam holds his hand up, “She found your Dr Sexy tapes in your room.”
“Oh.” Dean says in realisation, “Trust me, it’s better when you see it spoiler free.” But in his mind he’s trying to remember if he left any of his porn out. It’d been a few days. Mom finding his stash is probably the last thing she needs to help her adjust to this whole having two grown ass sons jam.
She nods, still a bit uncertain. “Can I help with dinner tonight?” she asks.
He wants to say no. But her hopeful expression stills his tongue. “You’re prohibited from anything to do with fire though.”
“That’s probably for the best.” She mutters, “I don’t feel like burnt food tonight.”
“Sammy.” He calls over, already moving to set out the ingredients, “Check with Cass, see if he wants dinner.”
Wordlessly Sam nods and exits.
“Castiel told me that angels don’t need to eat.”
Dean shrugs, “Yea, that’s true. Sometimes he likes the molecules though.”
After overstaying her welcome in the kitchen, Mary walks through the bunker halls. She’d spent almost a day trying not to get so turned around. She spots Dean’s door and walks past it to Castiel’s room, just a few doors down.
She knocks twice firmly. Nothing happens so she presses an ear to the door. Hmm, still quiet. The door opens abruptly, causing her to jump back in fear.
The angel frowns at her, cocking his head. “Sorry.” She mutters. “I couldn’t tell if you were actually in there.”
He gives her a tight lipped smile, “Dean often tells me that he should ‘put a bell on me.’”
She almost bursts into laughter as she imagines stoic Castiel wearing a cow bell. “Dinner’s ready.” She says instead. Mary still isn’t as comfortable around Castiel as her sons. She suspects that it has something to do with the many years they’d already spent together. Angels were watching over her boys… well, at least, one seemingly loyal one.
“Dean says you like to taste the molecules.” She comments, breaking the silence during their walk.
The angel shifts, “It’s… honestly, don’t tell Dean, but it isn’t the molecules. Food tastes horrid.” Yea, she isn’t telling that to Dean, especially since he’s under the impression that the angel actually likes them. “Dean makes me eat restaurant food sometimes.” Yea, she can’t imagine anyone making an angel do anything, “It’s not the same.” Castiel takes a breath, “Dean’s cooking though. He cooks for people he cares about. It’s not quite the molecules…”
“What is it then?” she asks, genuinely interested.
He stops walking, as though trying to figure it out himself, “It’s like the saying ‘made with love.’ I can taste how much care Dean takes to make the food. It’s nice, especially since he isn’t very emotional otherwise.”
“That isn’t what I saw.” The words come out unbidden.
Castiel’s heavenly glare tells her she should have dropped it, like Sam asked. But she’d been so sure.
“What did you see?” his voice is low, dangerous.
“How Dean reacted when he saw me hold a gun to you.”
He sighs, “Dean knows that a gun won’t hurt me.”
“The way you looked at him.”
He huffs, “I thought he’d just died in an atomic explosion of pure soul energy Mary.”
True, true. But she’d read the books… even a few fanfictions. She’s playing catch up in her boys’ life after all. So what if she needs a bit of a cheat sheet? Mary saw Castiel, over and over give everything up for her sons – Dean. She’s read about him offering to follow him to their collective deaths without a moments thought.
If that wasn’t true companionship she doesn’t know what could be.
“Sam can deny it all he wants, and I might not have known you for a long time.” she shouldn’t continue, especially given his expression darkens by the second, “Don’t tell me otherwise Castiel; I know what love is.”
“You,” he spits the word like poison, “You know nothing. Nothing! Don’t bother Dean with such pointless musings.”
Mary looks at him. She really looks. Past the anger… is fear. The angel is terrified by love.
Castiel’s breath trembles as he marches away from Mary Winchester. His head whorls with what this could mean. He’s managed to go years without drawing attention from Sam and Dean. Every being they’d ever met - friend or enemy – had poked fun at Castiel’s affections. But the Winchesters, they were too adverse to the idea of being loved by someone so new in their lives… they’d never believed a word. They’d never noticed. And he was thankful for their oversight.
It allowed him to maintain his position – though precarious – as Dean’s friend and confidant.
If Dean found out things would never right between them. He’d see Castiel as he’d seen every woman who sought his attention. He’d push him away, even more than usual. Dean would never share his true thoughts on anything… not if he knew.
Castiel won’t survive being told to leave again. Things had just began to feel normal. Dean had given him a room. Carved a place out for him inside the bunker, Dean’s home. Dean would be betrayed to know about his feelings… disgusted even, after all he had destroyed in the brother’s lives. He couldn’t live with Dean’s revulsion for him seared into his grace.
Castiel sits at the table, eyeing Mary, the ticking time bomb. She looks back.
Castiel cannot read her expression. Not one bit.
So he prays. Prays to his father… to Chuck… please don’t let them know.
Tracking on the package tells Dean that it’s held up because of a snow storm.
He almost smashes the laptop in frustration. Could these people be any more useless?
Now, more than ever, Dean is convinced that he made the right choice in buying the book. Last night at dinner Cass had acted like a stranger. Barely speaking, eyes darting left and right or remaining completely focused on his plate. Dean had tried to talk to him during dinner and even after, to watch a movie, but he’d refused without any real reason.
At the moment, Dean has two options: get his dick out for some fun or go check on Cass. What does he even do at night? He can’t just sit in the darkness. Just a few steps down the hall and he’s at the door. He raps twice, not wanting to wake everyone else up.
The door creeks open and Cass eyes him in surprise. “Dean? Is something wrong.”
“No.” he assures, trying to scrupulously peek into the room, “Nothing’s wrong. I just wanted to check up on you.” Cass says nothing and Dean feels like an annoyance, “You were acting strange at dinner.”
“Oh. It’s fine.”
Right. “Y’know Cass, when someone says ‘it’s fine,’ it never usually is. Talk to me.”
Cue shifty eyes and twitching. “I just want to be alone Dean.”
What if he really does want to be alone? What if by pushing and pushing, Dean makes him feel as though he doesn’t have any privacy. What if angels need space sometimes? What if at night is the only time he gets any peace and quiet, and now Dean is here, disrupting it all? This is why he needs the damn book. Pronto.
Cass isn’t okay. Dean feels like he should press; ask to come in maybe. Cass wouldn’t say no. But that is the problem. Cass would let him in, even if he doesn’t really want to. Dean can’t risk driving him away. He knows that if Cass stops feeling safe – at peace – in the bunker, there’s not one thing that can stop him from just leaving.
Dean can’t risk it.
“Morning!” Sam calls, stalking into the kitchen. His eyes are glued to his tablet, already mapping out what they need for the case. “Guys, I found –”
He breaks off, taking in the thickening tension. Sam seems to be the only one out of the loop.
Dean leans against the stove, frying eggs and talking non-stop to Cass about some cow-boy movie he thinks they should watch. Cass just stands there sullenly, nodding at intervals. Sam can see the smile slipping off Dean’s face, but he doesn’t let up, seemingly determined to make the angel talk. Mom sits on the far end of the table, her elbows propped on it with a mug of coffee staring intently at them both.
Sam sighs loudly, sitting next to her. “You didn’t bother them with that insane theory, did you?”
She looks determined, “It isn’t crazy Sam.”
“Mom.” He suddenly feels like a nagging teenager, “I’ve been here for almost ten years with them. Trust me. There’s nothing there.”
Dean and Cass are friends. The only friend Dean has a matter of fact. Sam is a bit envious of their dynamic at times, but he is happy that his brother has someone outside of him to talk to and share things with.
“Dean is probably the straightest man on the planet.” He adds. Sure, freaking out over Dr Sexy didn’t scream straight, but Dean is allowed one guy crush; everyone has one. “I’ve never seen him with a guy.” And sure, people liked to joke, but Sam know, and Dean knows… it’s just that: a joke.
Mom still shakes her head, stubbornly and Sam feels like he’s talking to a brick wall, “You didn’t see it.”
No he didn’t see it. But he knows how distressed Cass had been after Dean left… Sam had shared in the sentiment. “I would have hugged him too. Cass thought he had died horrifically.”
Sam knows she hasn’t dropped it. “You don’t have a mother’s eyes Sam.”
He sighs, “No. I guess not. But please… please, don’t bring it up with Dean.” She raises an eyebrow, interested, “Last time I joked about it, he got really weird. We finally have some time without a world ending crisis on our hands; let Dean have some peace.” Sam almost laughs at how up tight and defensive Dean had gotten when he mentioned ‘Deastiel’ or ‘DeanCass.’ Much less ‘Samstiel.’
‘Sastiel’ does have a nice ring to it too.
However, he means what he said, about not pestering Dean. They’d all been through a lot. Some peace would do them good. That’s why Sam is passing this case right along, to another hunter.
Mary catches sight of Sam’s tablet.
“Is that a case?” she perks up, leaning in to have a closer look.
Hmm. A couple, dead at a convention. Nothing screamed supernatural about that.
“A case?” Castiel is suddenly behind Sam, leaving Mary to wonder how long he’d been standing there.
By now Dean perks up too. So much for peace. “Yea.” Sam fidgets, “I was going to pass it along to another hunter.”
“Hey!” Mary exclaims, pointing, “That’s ‘Supernatural.’”
Dean spits his coffee and Castiel looks him over, unamused.
“How do you know about that?” Sam demands, looking as shaken as Dean.
Unconsciously, her eyes flit over to Castiel. It’s just for a second, but Dean picks it up right away. “Friggin’ hell Cass!” he punches the immovable angel. Dean lowers his voice but Mary can still hear just enough, “I’m full frontal in there Cass, and you gave it to my mom.”
“Um.” Castiel looks around helplessly, “I left that book out.”
Hmm. Mary had read many, many things about her sons that had made her stomach churn. But that Castiel had left out the one volume that Dean was ashamed of…
Well. That spoke for itself.
“Wait.” Says Castiel, “Chuck is gone. How is this convention even happening.”
Sam winces, “It’s a fan convention. Led by Becky.”
“That bitch.” Dean growls.
Sam makes a noise of agreement, “It’s called ‘I Will Go Down With This Ship.’”
“Like the Titanic.” Castiel seems proud; finally understanding something about pop culture. Mary shares the sentiment.
“Takes you back to the glory days, huh.” Dean teases. “You and Balthazar running around saving ships; collecting souls.”
The angel doesn’t dignify that with a response.
Sam blushes, looking ashamed, “It’s about couples who they want to be together… like on Dr Sexy.”
Mary nods in agreement. Though… there hasn’t been much romance in the books so far. Nothing that had lasted long in any case. She feels a twinge in her heart at how much her boys had been through.
“Who do they ‘ship’?” Wonders Castiel, bringing his hands up to do air quotes.
Dean harrumphs, “It’s complete bullshit. Crazy stuff. Me and Sam, me and Crowley, Sam and Chuck!”
Had all these people really missed the most obvious one? “What about Dean and Castiel?” She knows the moment it comes out, that it’s the wrong thing to say. Dean clams up, turning to dump his coffee in the sink. Castiel glares at her before turning to Dean, to assess the damage.
“Yea, we're up there with all the other bullshit.” Dean deadpans.
I'll try to update *at least* once a week. Sometimes updates will be quicker depending on how much time I have.
Thanks for reading!
P.S. there's a special surprise I'm planning for the next chapter *wink wink*
Chapter 3: The File Room
Castiel and Sam sit in the back seat. Sam screws his face up, glaring pointedly at his brother.
“Now isn’t the time Sam.”
Sam leans forward angrily reaching for Dean’s collar. “Why does it always have to be you two? Why can’t Cass and I ever team up?”
At the moment, Castiel wouldn’t mind. Dean seems dead set on going in and pretending to be ‘Dean and Cass bumping uglies.’ That situation would make it all too easy to give something away. He prefers to go with Sam on this one.
“Because, Sastiel hasn’t really caught on. Sorry Sam, but you’re just not lovable enough for our Cass.”
“That isn’t true.” He pipes up, wanting to avoid any additional confusion.
Sam nods. “I know Cass.”
The retort is on the tip of Dean’s tongue, but Mary manages to reel him in with a motherly touch. “Why don’t we ask Castiel.”
Eyes bulging out at being put on the stop, Castiel shirks away from everyone’s sudden attention.
“Maybe, it would be nice to work with Sam for a change.” Sam shoots a grateful look his way, smirking triumphantly at Dean.
Betrayal shines in Dean’s eyes and Castiel almost wishes to take it back.
“Well, it doesn’t matter.” He announces, shutting off the engine. “This is a dictatorship. C’mon Cass.”
“Wait!” Sam shouts, “Rock, paper, scissors for it.”
Castiel almost rolls his eyes at their childishness, while Mary watches raptly; clearly liking this playful side of her children.
“Alright.” Dean turns sideways in his seat to face Sam.
Castiel watches the equally determined expressions on their faces as their hands move. He knows how low Dean’s odds are and how bad his luck seems to be when it comes to this game.
They both play rock. Dean grins.
They both play scissors.
Sam plays paper.
Dean plays scissors.
“Whoo!” he yells triumphantly, “Haha!” he sticks his tongue out at Sam.
Castiel shoots Sam an apologetic look as he moves to exit. He knows better than to argue with rock, paper, scissors.
Inside the convention are more people than Castiel had anticipated. He attributes it to the Winchesters’ personality. Anyone would be drawn to their light. He certainly had been.
Dean, on the other hand, looks almost horrified at the hundreds of people casually milling around. Some were dressed as Sam or Dean, others as Bobby and even some in a black suit which he presumes represents Crowley. To his amazement, some people have chosen his traditional suit, tie and trench-coat combo.
“Why would they chose to dress like me?” he wonders aloud.
Dean snorts, “Why not?” he asks rhetorically. That really doesn’t help Castiel figure anything out.
Sighing, Dean offers a more eloquent answer this time around, “You know… you’re part of Team Free Will. You’re as much a brother to me as Sam is. People love you and your hair and that stupid jacket.”
Someone in said ‘stupid jacket’ throws Dean the stink eye while passing by. Castiel almost chuckles.
“But I’ve done so many things wrong. I’ve betrayed you and Sam… on multiple occasions.” He feels the shame in his voice as he remembers all the ways he’d let them down.
“Hey.” Dean’s voice is unusually careful, “All that stuff’s done with. In the past.” He pauses, “Me and Sam have made our fair share of mistakes. You don’t hold it against us do you?”
“Of course not.” He answers, resolute.
Dean winks, “Problem solved buddy.”
Castiel follows Dean as he saunters over purposefully to the receptionist. “Hi there.” He says, flashing his badge. By now, Castiel knows to do the same.
The receptionist is an old lady with thick glasses and white hair. She looks up at Dean, nonplussed, “You got a warrant sweet cheeks?”
Frowning, Castiel wonders how she knows Dean’s cheeks are sweet. She isn’t in Dean’s usual age range, but the older Winchester was always surprising him.
“Not yet.” He says, deepening his voice slightly, as humans do when they want to intimidate someone. “But this could be a cross-state murderer. Time is of the essence.”
“Warrants are also of the essence.” Cass notes the tick in Dean’s jaw and wonders if he should say anything. No, he doesn’t want to risk ‘screwing it up,’ instead, he sets his face into what he hopes is an intimidating expression and focuses it on the poor old lady. She is just trying to do her job and she doesn’t even know the danger that exists on this earth. Castiel can’t find it in himself to hold animosity towards her.
Scowling, Dean touches his elbow, leading him away from the desk. “On to plan B.” he announces.
He holds up his lock pick with a smirk, “Break into the file room.”
Dean touches Cass’ shoulder as they stand in the dimly lit file room. “Look for the registration list. They did it manually so Sam can’t hack anything this time. Seriously! Screw this hotel!”
Castiel looks amused by his rant but heads to the opposite end of the room, combing through files. It’s slow going; the room is packed and there isn’t any coherent filing system. Seriously, screw this hotel. Why would anyone pick it for anything? He huffs.
Glancing over at Cass tells him that he’s deeply engrossed in his task. Dean feels a bit guilty for not being as focused, but takes his phone out discretely. He opens the tracking app. How could it not be here yet? Why is he paying Dean Jenkin’s perfectly good money for this crappy postal service?
“Is that something for the case?” Dean practically springs out of his skin as the angel’s voice booms behind him.
“Damnit Cass!” he tries to steady his heart rate and hide the phone simultaneously. “Give a guy some warning would you.”
Cass chimes in, apparently forgetting his phone for the while. “I found it.” he proudly holds up the ratty notebook and Dean can’t help but share his smile.
“Nice job Cass. Let’s scram before Becky finds Sam out in the parking lot.”
Dean freezes like a deer in the headlights as he sees the doorknob rattling. Just his luck, it would be the old lady, or worse… Becky herself.
Silently panicking at being caught, Dean shoves the book in his jacket and pins Cass to the nearest cabinet with one swift move, pressing their lips together in what he hopes is passion.
He shuts his eyes wanting to keep up the charade and Cass even seems to catch on, moving his lips more sinfully than an angel should, against his. He hadn’t expected Cass to follow along so easily. Damn, he’s getting better at working on the fly.
Cass’ tongue in his mouth manages to wrench a real moan from him. His eyes fly open in shock, almost shoving Cass aside as a reflex. The angel’s face is relaxed and Dean has to admit his kissing is definitely doing something for him.
A throat clearing has him springing away. He breathes out harshly, not daring to look over at Cass. Instead he focuses on the hotel security guard who glowers at them. How long had they been kissing? It had entirely slipped Dean’s mind that someone was about to catch them.
“You two.” He thrusts his thumb backwards, “Get out of here and back to your game.”
Only then does Dean turn to Cass. He looks just as dazed as Dean. Which is only fair since his kisses made Dean feel as though he’d drank ten shots of whiskey. His lips are pinker than usual and swollen; Dean had gotten some good nips and licks in there too.
“C’mon.” a light tug on his arm springs him into action, “Don’t let me catch you two getting hands-y in here again!”
He barely catches the guard’s last words as a loud, murderous scream pierces his ear drums. Dean immediately goes for his gun and he hears the slide of Cass’ angel blade as he, too, readies himself for the monster.
The scream comes again and a blurry figure tackles him, repeating “Ohmygod.” Like a broken record.
“Becky.” He shakes her off, disgusted. At least she hasn’t found Sam.
Her eyes widen and she gapes widely at Cass.
“Castiel.” Her eyes shine with wonder, “I’m honoured to meet you.” she thrusts her hand out, “I’m your number one fan.”
Dean rolls his eyes. Number one stalker, kidnapper, obsessive fan… and that’s being generous.
“You guys were kissing in there?”
A biting: ‘no,’ is on the tip of his tongue, before he remembers the guard is still right there. He keeps his mouth shut. But that seems to be enough for her. She screams again running down the halls, chanting “Destiel is canon.” Dean almost hides his face in shame, but he notices some of the people chant along with her.
Seriously? Screw this hotel!
Sam continues researching the case while Dean and Cass went off. Screw Dean. He angrily punches the news article about the murders. The guest list should help. According to this new information the couple had been dressed as Sam and Dean and were found with their hearts ripped out near the fountain. Sam had seen it on the way in, it was a mammoth of a thing, almost the size of an Olympic swimming pool… the designs were intricate too; lots of space for a werewolf to slink in and out without being detection.
“Well.” He taps mom’s shoulder, “Guess Dean didn’t need that guest list after all.”
“What was that Sammy?” he swears Dean’s voice raises an octave.
“New info.” He repeats as Dean and Cass get in. “The initial report left out the fact that their hearts were ripped clean from their chests. To be thorough, we can check the register but it’s most likely someone in town.”
Dean curses violently. More violently than warranted as a matter of fact. “So you’re telling me…” he breathes heavily, “that I went in there – endured that – those horrors – for nothing!”
Sam keeps his mouth shut as his brother angrily peels out of the hotel.
When they’re almost to their motel Sam leans over to Cass who stares out the window listlessly. It’s honestly the most at peace he’s ever seen him. Sam almost doesn’t want to ruin it, but, as always, curiosity gets the better of him.
“Dean saw Becky didn’t he?”
Cass’ eyes flit up front, uncertainly, but he nods anyway.
Sighing, Sam ignores the upwelling of unpleasantness associated with his… ex-wife. He shudders.
“What did she say to him.”
“She just screamed quite loudly.” Mutters Castiel, looking perturbed, “Then shouted ‘Destiel is canon’ while galloping down the halls.”
He takes a sharp breath his eyes darting around, as the first bit of doubt filters in. Had Becky –of all people – seen Dean and Cass together and screamed for joy at their undeniable chemistry? Had Sam been blind?
“Why would she say that?”
“I don’t know Sam.”
Huffing, he tries a different tack, “What were you doing just before she found you.”
The angel dons his ‘pondering face.’ “We retrieved the file and Dean kissed me because he was happy then we got kicked out by a guard. That’s when Becky found us and started screaming.”
Pretty sure he’s just either gone deaf or is currently in a djinn induced fantasy land, Sam shakes himself. Glancing around the car, he can tell that no one had heard. “What?” before Cass can even respond he slams his hand on Dean’s shoulder.
“Dude!” he calls managing not to run them off the road. But Sam doesn’t care. There are more important things. Like finding out whether he even knows his brother.
“You kissed Cass?”
His eyes flit to the back seat, “Way to spill the beans Cass.”
Mary smirks and Sam’s mouth falls open.
“We had to Sam. The guard was about to catch us digging in the file room.” his eyes remain fixed on the back, “It was just a distraction, right Cass?”
Sam prays for Cass to just say yes. And his prayers come true.
The angel stares out the window once more and Sam feels his heart plummet… this time, his face is the picture of stoicism.
Chapter 4: Dean pie
Sam notices the way Dean suddenly stands. It’s suspicious. But nothing new. What’s new is the fact that he notices how Cass instantly stands too.
“Uh…” he glances around the room, “Beer run.”
Sam frowns, “There’s beer in the fridge.”
Dean fidgets, “You forgot the pie. You always forget the pie Sammy.”
So what? He only forgets it sometimes. And he brings cake too, it’s basically the same.
“Right. Whatever.” He waves his brother away. He half wonders if mom wants anything but he doesn’t think either him or Dean would be comfortable enough to bother her in the shower.
Knowledge really is a burden, Sam thinks, as he watches Cass trail behind Dean.
“Um…” Dean trails off, his hand on the door. “Cass, buddy, where you going?”
Raising his eyebrows, he answers like it’s the most obvious think in the world, “To get the pie.”
Dean smiles uneasily, “I kinda wanted some alone time… just me and Baby y’know, on the open road.”
Open road his ass. The nearest highway is about fifty miles out. Dean’s probably just looking for a chick to put the moves on. He’d eased up quite a bit after the first time he’d done it absentmindedly in front of mom. It was a whole new level of awkward for everyone. Dean had actually managed to look ashamed. Cass, though, seems to reach the same conclusion as Sam and forces a small smile.
For once in his many lives, Dean finally seems to notice something.
“Alright. Alright, lemme talk to you outside for a sec Cass.”
Sam keeps his eyes glued to the hotel register, wondering if it would be too obvious to rip the curtains open and stare outside.
“Look, buddy, it’s just stuffy in there.”
He looks at Castiel for a reaction, but gets none, “Dean, if you want to engage with a female you don’t need to lie to us.”
Wincing he realises how ‘Dean’ that is. Sneaking off to get it on with some chick. He isn’t doing that, but still, it’s unsettling how well they know him. “I’m not doing that.” He says truthfully, “Look – it’s just – four of us in that small hotel room isn’t really comfortable for me. It’s getting claustrophobic, I just need some air.”
Cass smiles lightly, “And some pie.”
Clapping his shoulder, Dean releases a breath, “I can always count on you to understand.”
He shakes his head, wondering if he should even ask his next question. Cass could laugh at him… but would it really be so bad, he wonders. “So um…” he begins, eloquent as ever, “You got some technique there Cass. The things you did there with your tongue... wow! I mean, I’m a master and you had my head spinning.”
There. Not exactly a question, but enough rope for Cass to fashion himself an answer.
To his chagrin the angel only blushes and ducks his head with a small: “Thank you Dean.”
Alright, so he just has to come out and say it, “Where did you learn to do that?”
His eyes pin Dean, filled with confusion, “The pizza-man, of course. His technique worked well with the babysitter.”
“You’ve got to be shitting me.” he mumbles.
Castiel looks scandalised, “That is physically impossible Dean.”
Laughter bursts out of him, he can’t help it, “No.” he wheezes, “No, I guess it’s not possible.” Cass laughs along with him, seeming to understand that he’d been joking.
“I’ve watched you kissing many women Dean.” He explains. Dean fights the complaints about boundaries that threaten to slip out instead just smiling. If Cass watching him led to that… Dean should really be proud.
“See you in a beat.” He calls, “Make sure that Sammy doesn’t die alone with his face in a book.”
Another smile, “I’ll do my best.”
Castiel hears a loud banging noise just as he enters. He glances around assessing the room. Sam’s still fine and Mary’s in the bathroom.
“Did you hear that?” he asks Sam.
“What. No. Course not.”
He raises a brow at the abrupt answer but keeps his suspicions to himself.
In any case, he’s still too caught up in Dean’s reaction to his kiss. To hear that it hadn’t been real had been harrowing, but hearing that it did something to Dean, that just about made his day.
Contemplating their kiss, the moments that had led up to it and the superseding ones. Dean’s lips had felt infinitely. Just infinitely, like he could spend forever in their embrace. The act of lips pressing on lips had always seemed inherently disgusting to him… up until that moment. Dean had always done it with the females he was intimate with. The programmes on TV give him the impression that he should be jealous… and he is, to an extent. But he has something that none of those females ever did. He would be permanent. Those women would last no longer than a night but Castiel would always be there.
Those women had gotten to experience something he hadn’t though. True intimacy with Dean.
Today had come close though. His tongue had caressed the hunter’s mouth, drawn gasps that seemed all too real for a fake kiss. Castiel had survived his greatest dream and his greatest nightmare all at once. He’d always assumed that Dean would be adverse to being intimate with him due to his vessel’s gender and that any attempt would be met with a violent refusal. How wrong he had been.
He knows. He knows that it won’t change things between them but now he has something… something tangible to tide him over.
“Castiel.” Mary nods as she exits the bathroom. He remembers when Sam had explained that women, and Sam apparently, usually feel the need to spend copious amounts of time in the bathroom priming and pampering themselves.
“Mary.” He replies. For a second he wonders whether he should ask her what had taken so long, but decides against it. He doesn’t wish to antagonise her in anyway. She was already keeping his secret.
“Hey-o” the front door slams open and Dean enters with an armful of groceries.
Castiel perks up on his arrival. He hadn’t been gone long enough for an sexual relations to occur. “Did you get the pie?” he asks.
Dean smiles, “Of course.” He whips out the box, complaining that some of the whipped cream had been smeared during the ride back.
“You want a bite, Cass?”
He nods, not wanting to be rude.
Sam huffs from his corner, “We want a bite too.”
Scoffing, Dean holds his fork out to Cass while sticking out his tongue to his mother and brother. “None of you deserve this.” He teases.
Leaning forward Castiel swipes the pie off Dean’s fork. His mouth freezes mid chew as he fully assesses what’s actually in the pie. “This is… pleasant.” The molecules are by no means complex and they slide across his tongue in a familiar dance.
Nodding excitedly, Dean shovels some pie into his own mouth before replying: “That’s the crust. It’s honey glazed. Thought you might like it.”
He hums in approval holding it in his mouth for a few seconds longer than necessary.
Mary’s voice cuts through his pie appreciation moment like a hot knife, “Is that a new shirt Dean?”
Castiel looks over, interested, it is a new shirt.
“Nah.” Dean lies, fingering the material lightly.
Castiel vividly remembers the green and yellow plaid that he’d worn to the convention. This shirt is white, pure white in fact with hints of silver and gold flecks. It’s more of a dress shirt than a jersey really though it does have a Nero style collar. This reminds Castiel of what kings had worn hundreds of years ago. Elegant and majestic… something that separated them from mere men.
“It suits you.” continues Mary, “Don’t you think Castiel?”
He wants to melt away and seep through the floor boards. Dean looks up at him expectantly. “What’da you think buddy? Am I dashing?”
“You finally don’t look like a lumber jack.” He comments dryly. Why would Mary put him in such a position when she was well aware how precarious his position is? Dean’s bright smile dims at his comment and Castiel feels a stab of guilt. “This style mirrors some of that of the 15th century nobilities.”
“Thanks.” Dean replies, but it isn’t sincere.
“I was just joking around.” He tries, not wanting to destroy Dean’s mood.
“No. You don’t like it.” he pouts.
Castiel almost rolls his eyes, “It is very handsome Dean.” His eyes are drawn to the shirt. The colours remind him of the gates of Heaven. Pristine and shining, a true feat of magnificence. “It reminds me of Heaven’s gates.”
“Hey Cass?” Dean’s voice calls in the dark. The pie had long been devoured and everyone had gone to sleep. Except Castiel, who watches over the Winchesters.
“Are you alright?” moving over to his side, he feels his head, checking for any ailments.
Dean waves his hand off, “I’m good… I was just wondering. Do you like your nickname?”
Frowning, he wonders what brought this on. Why now? It had been years since Dean started calling him ‘Cass.’
“It’s what you call me.” he says.
Dean pushes himself up into a sitting position, his eyes trying to focus on his face in the darkness. “But do you like it?”
He thinks. It’s the name that Dean gave him. In a way, he had been reborn into the life of freewill and decisions. “I like when you use it.” he admits. “Others… not so much.”
Dean sighs, and Castiel swears he detects a note of relief.
“Maybe you should give me a nick name too.” Dean suggests, sounding excited at the prospect.
Castiel laughs, until he realises that Dean is serious.
“What?” he blurts. How can he figure out a proper nickname for someone as great as Dean.
“C’mon. Spit ball.”
Nodding, Castiel wracks his brain for familiar nicknames. Cutie pie, sweetie pie…
“Deanpie.” It’s perfect. Dean loves pie.
Mulling it over for a few long seconds, Dean finally nods, “Alright, Deanpie it is.”
Dean opens the box with trembling fingers, practically shredding the carefully packaged book in the process.
He can’t believe it’s finally here. He wants nothing more than to sit in the lonely parking lot and devour the entire thing. But he won’t do that. On the way over, he’d promised himself that, no matter what, he’d only read a few pages at a time. He doesn’t want to overwhelm Cass.
Popping the cover open he flips past the table of contents and the dedication without really looking.
Chapter 1: Fun Facts About Castiel
- Though he considers the Winchesters family, nothing can compare to the overwhelming feeling of security and peace that an angel experiences when entering Heaven after completing a task. Castiel misses that feeling.
Dean wishes that this case could be over. He want to get back to the bunker. Maybe put some white drapes and Christmas lights up like the books suggests. White, silver and gold. Blue is supposed to be comforting too, like the sky.
- Castiel yearns for closeness, both physical and emotional, to the people he chooses to spend time with. As we all know, Sam and Dean aren’t the most ‘touchy feely’ and who can blame them? Once in a while though, it would be nice for them to let Castiel know how appreciated he really is. Sometimes, our favourite angel, feels as though he isn’t wanted – but for his powers – by the Winchesters.
- Castiel hates nicknames. Especially when not used -
His eyes trial off. Cass really feels like this? No wonder he said yes. They hadn’t let him know how much he meant. How much they would miss him if he died. Things would be different, Dean decides. He had the book. He had the know how. And most importantly, he cares about Cass.
Maybe he could endure an extra chick-flick moment every once in a while.
Chapter 5: Chick-Flicks
Mary knows that something is up. Her hunter instincts are tingling and her maternal ones too. Sam stands at her side and this time she has the chance of putting her baby under the microscope. The way he talks to this ‘Becky,’ is as though they have some history. She’d heard Dean complain about her, numerous times and she’d just attributed it to Dean’s general dislike of ‘fangirls’ and ‘chick-flicks’ in general.
“The guard said that Dean and Castiel were kissing in the file room.” she says with faux casualness.
Sam sees through it immediately and presses his lips into a line. “They did it so that they couldn’t get caught stealing hotel property.”
Her eyes seem to get this far away look, “Does that happen often?”
That one has Sam stumped and Mary along with him. Had it ever happened before?
“No.” Sam says smoothly, catching himself. “No. And you’re sure that this isn’t some elaborate scheme to get us here.”
Eyes widening comically, she shakes her head vigorously, “I’d never do that to you Sam.”
A short silence follows before Sam looks up, shutting his notebook. “Right. We’re going now.”
“No Sam.” She says, tugging at his sleeves, “Why don’t you stay. We have trivia from the books… and prizes!”
“No. We’d rather not.”
Mary assesses Sam patiently, Sam had never been so snippy with anyone. With Dean it was easy to see it for what it is: playful banter between brothers, but this is something else entirely. As they make their way from the convention, Mary swears that she hears Becky say, “Dear God, Dean and Cass kissing the file room. It’s perfect for a fanfiction!”
“Hey Sam.” She calls as they get into the rental car.
Dean and Castiel are going house to house on a few potential suspects. Turns out that the victims were from a nearby town so it’s highly likely that they share a few friends in the area. The guest list had been a bust, much to Dean’s chagrin, but Mary knows the importance of being through. She’s pretty sure her boys know it too; sometimes they just like to bitch though.
“Wasn’t that the super stalker fangirl from the books?”
He faces Mary, “Come on mom, we don’t need to dance around it, I’m not Dean.” He says, “I know she’s my ex-wife and that must freak you out, but I wasn’t in my right mind when it happened so it wasn’t really my fault.”
The wheel and the car seem to have disappeared, Mary wonders what Sam had just said. A wife. But she’d read all the books. Perhaps Castiel had left it out…
“And…” Sam draws out the ‘d’ comically, “You didn’t know that did you?”
Lost for words, Mary shakes her head, no.
Hmm. She wants to ask Sam more, but the closed off expression on his face tells her she mightn’t have much luck at the moment. That’s fine, she has the Google. And if she doesn’t like what she finds the she’ll just hunt this Becky down. No one hurts her boys.
“That was a horrendous waste of time Dean.”
Dean rolls his eyes at that. Of course the angel who has spent bijillions of years alive would think that.
“It’s necessary Cass.” He retorts stepping into the Impala. It’s not that he didn’t think it was a huge waste himself, it’s just that he knows the detriments of not being thorough.
“What fruitless endeavour shall we engage now Dean.” Never before had Dean heard an angel sass him so sassily.
“Tell me how you really feel.” He mutters. They should regroup with Sam and Mom at the motel but… “I’ve got some stuff to pick up.” Says Dean, “You might actually be able to help me with it.”
“I am very strong.” He angel asserts.
Laughing Dean struggles to clarify, “No Cass, stuff to pick out, I mean. You’ll help me choose.”
Wrinkling his face in utter distaste Cass shifts slightly in the passenger seat. “I’m not the best at making choices. Especially when it comes to human things.”
Slapping his shoulder, Dean offers a paltry, “You’ll do fine.”
Dean walks a stiff backed Castiel through the aisles of some health and wellness shop he’d seen on their way into town.
“You’re getting into aroma therapy Dean?” the angel perks up immediately, and Dean definitely notices the extra pep in his step as they walk down the essential oils lane. Dean hadn’t expected them to be so many. The book had said lavender or similar oils. But friggin hell. There must be hundreds, how is Dean supposed to determine which ones are similar to lavender.
He looks around some more, hoping to see a shop attendant nearby. No such luck.
His gaze drifts back to Cass’ almost proud one. “Dean I think this is wonderful. Aromatherapy is a very effective way to dissipate stress or even get a good night’s sleep. You can’t imagine how happy it makes me; that you’ve come to this conclusion on your own. That you’re finally doing something for yourself. This is a momentous step, Dean, and I’m glad that you wanted to share this with me.”
Mouth popping open, Dean stands there. Oh shit. Cass thinks this is for Dean. He’s happy… grinning in fact. A shit eating one too.
“Sure.” He says slowly, “That isn’t the only reason I’ve brought you here.” His mind scrambles quickly, searching for a way to salvage the situation and keep his plan intact. “Uh, I –um – don’t want to do this alone. It’s kind of weird.” That’s hardly a lie. “But if I had some … company… I don’t know…”
“Yes. Of course.” The angel responds immediately. “You know I’m here for you Dean. Whatever you need.”
Dean smiles, “Even if it means lying on my bed and singing kumbaya while the fumigated oil swirls around us?”
Cass touches his arm lightly, “Especially then.”
The oils are apparently in alphabetical order and he searches frantically for lavender. How many L’s are there?
He offers the bottle to Cass so sniffs it and nods approvingly. Dean shuffles, “I um… read … that this stuff is supposed to be good.”
Cass nods, still inspecting the bottle, reading the label or even taking a look at the molecules, who knew anymore.
“This bottle contains fairly little impurities.” He announces, “And the scent is appealing, even to me.”
Super. “Great. Let’s ring this up and jet.”
“Wait.” Cass snags his shirt sleeve which is blue, just as suggested. Dean hadn’t failed to notice how relaxed the angel had been in his presence or how he had almost drifted closer. “Don’t you want anything else?”
He shakes his head, “Yes, but –”
“Okay.” Cass says, cutting him off, “We’ll get an oil diffuser before we go. Maybe even some scented candles!”
Cass almost claps his hands in joy and Dean raises an eyebrow. That’s way too much detail. “Have you – have you been thinking about this?” With a fierce blush, Cass spins away, pretending to inspect more bottles, Dean doubts that rosehip is really that interesting. “You have!” he exclaims. “Why didn’t you say anything.”
“You always complain about Sam and his ‘funny smelling hair cream.’” Cass quotes, “I didn’t want to make you uncomfortable in your own home.”
It’s the way his head ducks ever so slightly, as though he really believes this – the way he seems so ashamed of wanting something – that breaks Dean. His voice is thick next, coated in his good intentions and unintentional slip-ups, “Cass the bunker is as much your home as it is mine. You deserve to have things too. To want.”
Those blue eyes glaze over and he leans in to Dean, who, has an unwanted flashback of their kiss and almost flings himself away. He doesn’t though. And that’s what counts.
So Dean let’s Cass convince him to buy jasmine, frankincense, agar and sandalwood oil and chuck it into the back of the Impala.
Sam is just about ready to pitch a fit when Dean and Cass casually roll in hours later than they should have. The words die on his tongue though as the scent hits him. It’s … flowery? He exhales sharply wanting to make sure is isn’t hallucinating the smell. Nope. Still there and getting stronger by the minute. It’s almost like it’s seeping from their skin.
“You guys went to a perfume testing?” he asks.
Dean rolls his eyes, “Jealous?”
“Not really. I didn’t say it was good perfume.”
Cass smiles and Dean notices almost instantly, fake pouting at him. “You’re supposed to be on my side.” He whines.
“Oh.” Says Sam, raising his eyebrows, “We have sides now?”
“Did you two find anything useful?”
Cass looks around, flustered, but replies anyway. Droning on about the house. Sam continues searching on his laptop… something doesn’t quite add up about this case.
“… and Deanpie over there - ”
Sam’s wrist – it just – spasms. Suddenly his laptop is flying halfway across the hotel room and everyone is staring.
“Dean what?” he asks, the case almost entirely forgotten.
“Dean’s pie?” Dean’s face is flabbergasted even as the angel twitches. Cass points at the fridge shakily, “It’s in the fridge.”
“Oh.” Says Sam, almost ashamed of his gross over reaction. That makes sense. He bends to retrieve his thankfully not-broken laptop.
Mom stands, her face set in an unamused expression, she marches over to the fridge and rips it open standing back to let everyone see the contents, “Where’s the pie?” She demands.
Chapter 6: THAT AWKWARD MOMENT WHERE EVERYONE THINKS YOU’RE IN LOVE WITH YOUR BEST FRIEND
… Mom stands, her face set in an unamused expression, she marches over to the fridge and rips it open standing back to let everyone see the contents, “Where’s the pie?” She demands.
Dean feels his muscles seize up immediately and he immediately tries to relax. In the heat of the moment (he’d been half asleep) Deanpie had sounded like a great nickname. Dean loves pie. But he realised how much like a pet name it sounded as soon as it came out of Cass’ mouth. Thankfully his friend had caught on to his discomfort and had tried to play it off. Really well actually.
But mom seems dead set on… something. Dean still isn’t sure what exactly her point is.
“I ate it.” he replies.
“And Castiel knows that you did.” She retorts.
He frowns, “So what if he forgot. I don’t get why you’re making this into a whole thing.”
“He’s an angel Dean, he doesn’t forget things.” Her voice is almost condescending and Dean has to try very hard to keep a lid on his temper.
Cass, apparently, doesn’t have much luck with his. He glowers at Mary. “Bold of you to assume that.”
“Oh and is it also bold of me to assume that the two of you are in love? That you’ve given Dean a very obvious pet name?”
Dean is so stunned that he can’t respond.
“Mom!” Sam exclaims, standing quickly and inserting himself between Cass and mom.
“Where did you get that idea?” his voice is slightly higher than he wants. But wow.
“Oh from the way you two look at each other. All the time.” she drags each word out slowly, trying to move around Sam.
Cass is fuming, mom is damn near hysterical and Dean feels frozen. Sam, to his credit, seems to be the only one with a cool head. “Mom, we talked about this.” That had? “What happened to us having some time to relax? Stress free?”
She huffs, “Don’t make me into the bad guy.” She insists, “I just want my sons to be happy. And one of you is in love and not doing anything about it.” She looks over to Dean then, “You have something special here and I don’t want you to squander it because you’re afraid – of losing him or of how we might react. I’ll support you no matter what, so will Sam.”
Dean licks at his dry lips, chancing a glance at Cass who seems to have just deflated. Dean can see the worry on his face, the panic. He can’t actually believe this crap can he? Dean wonders though, looking at his face once more. He’s never seen the angel more perturbed.
“Mom.” He says slowly, “I think I understand what you’re trying to do. And you’re right. Cass and I do share a profound bond.” Cass’ head whips up at that. He looks almost nauseous. Could the thought of being with Dean really be so repellent? Sure, Dean isn’t actually in love with him. But still, it hurts on an atomic level. “But it isn’t like that between us. And it’s not because I’m afraid or anything it’s because we’re not attracted to each other that way.”
She opens her mouth, “Dean, that isn’t what I’ve been seeing.” This time it’s softer.
He sighs, “What have you seen then?” to his knowledge all him and Cass do is hang around… like buddies do. Drink a few beers, have dinner, work cases… nothing romantic enough to warrant an intervention. Sure, they look at each other, but it’s all about eye contact. Engaging in the conversation. Letting the other person know you’re listening.
“The way you look at each other.” Dean opens his mouth, rebuttal ready, “No. Don’t give me that. When you talk to Sam you don’t look at him like you’re getting lost and he definitely doesn’t return the look. You don’t stare off at Sam when I’m talking to you. Like right now.” Dean whips his gaze forward. God dammit, now he can’t even look at his friend (to see how he’s doing with all this mind you) in peace anymore.
Sam’s eyes widen. Oh no, Dean thinks, he isn’t getting on the coo-coo train too is he?
“The way you’re always spending time together. I almost always see you near each other. And the touching. Dean there’s only so many times you can pat s-”
Sam clears his throat loudly. “Mom. Dean said that there’s nothing going on. You can’t force him to tell you otherwise.”
“What about Cass?” she challenges, swinging her gaze back to the angel. Dean almost steps infront of him to protect him. But that won’t do anyone any good; not now.
“I-” Cass looks over to him. The same, almost nauseous look on his face. “I don’t - ”
Dean reaches out to touch his shoulder and he almost jumps out of his skin.
It’s then that Mary realises something. She isn’t doing any good here. Castiel is almost trembling and his skin is paler than any angel she’d ever seen before.
He’d begged her not to say anything back at the bunker. She only just realises that it’s because thinks Dean doesn’t love him back. Not the way he wants any way. Mary is sure that Dean does love him back, but he’s confusing his emotions. Castiel is scared of what will happen if Dean finds out, and here she is shoving everything in his face.
“I’m sorry Castiel.” She murmurs. “I didn’t mean to make you uncomfortable.”
The angel looks at her warily and nods once.
“We’re dropping this right?” Dean breathes in exasperation.
She nods. She’s dropping trying to force them to face their feelings. Castiel already knows. Maybe Dean just needs to realise it now too.
Dean and Castiel sit together and start flipping through the TV channels. Sam beckons Mary over.
“Why did you do that?” he asks, “You’re making Cass uncomfortable. I told you Dean is straight.”
“I thought I was helping them.” she says with despair. This one thing, she can’t even manage to do it right.
“By forcing Cass to sit there while you crank the heat up?”
“I though Dean had realised his feelings.” She admits, “Castiel loves him.”
Sam looks away, “I know.”
Mary’s eyes widen, “Then why aren’t you helping me?”
“Because, like I said Dean is straight. Think of the straightest thin in the world… um… a pencil!” he exclaims, “Dean is like a pencil.”
“But there are flexible pencils. Made of rubber.” Mary interjects.
Sam squeezes the bridge of his nose.
“You didn’t have to sound that disgusted by the thought of being with me.” Dean’s voice pulls his attention away from the episode of Scooby Doo. Ever since he’d actually met the talking dog and his companions, he felt an odd kinship with them.
What would be an appropriate reply, “You don’t want to be with me.”
“Well. No.” Dean admits. Hearing verbal confirmation is like an angel blade to the eye.
“Not that you’re not nice.” Dean continues, “Cause you are. Nice dorky little guy.”
Castiel huffs. “I’m not actually this size Dean. Nor is my true form male.”
“I know. I know.” Dean scrubs his hands down his jeans, “It’s just… this is what I see. And sure, your vessel has got the looks and your personality is – um, awesome. You’re a guy. And my best friend.”
Castiel feels the blade twisting and twisting and he struggles to maintain composure. “If you don’t react to males … then why did you enjoy my kissing?”
“Uh, I don’t know Cass.”
Castiel feels the hope that he’d had deflate. He wishes that Mary hadn’t filled his head with the thought that they could be together. She had made some good points. Some of the things that they did mirrored people in romantic relationships. But Dean had said otherwise and he knows well enough that Dean expresses his emotions differently from other humans in regards to certain things. Maybe this is one of those things.
All he is… is a friend.
Castiel thought he had made his peace with this already, but Mary had dredged up all the things he’d wanted to keep submerged.
Their moment is interrupted by Sam, who stands awkwardly by the bed. “Hey guys.” He coughs, “Caught a break with the case. Turns out that it might not be a werewolf at all. There are a large number of sub-terrarium water ways that connect directly to that fountain.”
“What are you thinkin’?” Dean asks, slipping back into business mode swiftly.
“Water wraiths maybe. I dug up some interesting info from Dad's journal. We should head to the corners in the morning to get another look at those bodies.”
Chapter 7: Dead In The Water
Sam’s eyes trail away from the dead body and back to Dean and Cass who look like they’re in their own little dream world. Looking at each other and communicating without a word being spoken.
It’s like Dean isn’t even trying to deter mom.
‘Flexible pencils. Made of rubber.’
Sam shakes his head, clearing away the doubt. Dean would hate him if he ganged up against him with mom. That’s not what brothers do. Once again he wonders about his brother and their angel.
A good brother would say something, he decides.
Marching over to then, he clears his throat loudly and even then the trance doesn’t seem to break fully. He practically had to drag Dean away.
“What are you doing Dean?” he demands, staring down at his brother. It’s obvious that Dean can’t see anything wrong with what he’s doing. It reminds him of the time Cass had sniffed the stiff. He glances over to the angel. Yup. He’s at it again. Dean probably doesn’t even realise that he’s been leading Cass on. Unknowingly yes, but there are still emotions and relationships at stake here.
“Whaddaya mean Sam.” He huffs, “Me and Cass are working the case.”
Sam raises his brows, “You know mom thinks you and Cass are in love. You two standing over there making moon eyes doesn’t help your case.”
Seeing the rebuttal on the tip of Dean’s tongue, he holds up a finger, continuing talking in a hushed voice. Mom does not need any more ammunition.
“You two are chatting it up next to a dead body.” He holds up another finger, “You’re wearing – you look like a high schooler on his way to junior prom. It’s inappropriate and why are you even wearing that anyway? It’s not even your style! That’s a gold shirt you’re wearing Dean… and that Jacket… it has sequins and glitter on it dammit!” he shushes Dean once more, holding up a third finger. “You smell like a flower shop. It’s disturbing. I don’t even know how or why you did that. Why did you do that Dean? What did you do? Head out early and roll around in some daisies?”
Dean blushes. Blushes. “First of all, Cass and I don’t stare. I look at him when I’m talking to him I do that with everyone. And Cass likes my clothes. Said so himself, so you can shove it Mr No-style. Thirdly… it’s lavender. It’s supposed to be calming and – uh, helps relieve stress.”
Sam doesn’t know what to do with this information.
Dean doesn’t look at him like that… hopes he never does actually. And – and Cass likes his clothes, what kind of screwed up reasoning is that?
Lavender is just about the only thing that makes sense.
“Look.” Dean leans in closer, “There’s something I should probably show you, but it’s supposed to be a surprise and I can’t risk Cass finding out. I don’t want him to … leave again – you know? Just – just hang on Sammy, trust me.”
“Okay Dean. I trust you.” Doubt once again clouds his mind.
“It is clearly bent on killing Sams and Deans.” Dean observes around a mouthful of burger. “Sam and I should hang around at the fountain and see what pops up.”
Castiel makes a shocked noise. “How does that do us any good?”
“Well… no one else dies.”
“Except maybe you.” the angel points out. “We don’t even know for sure that it’s a water wraith.
He sighs, “We never know Cass. That’s the risk we have to take.”
Sam and Mary nod silently.
“Then take me with you.” he argues. “Sam, Dean and Cass usually go as a team anyway.”
“No.” Dean’s voice is firm but he doesn’t miss the way Castiel’s face clouds over, suddenly reminding him of a thunder storm. “Cass.” He drawls, “Don’t be like that buddy.”
“Right!” he snaps, “You call me ‘buddy,’ Dean, but what does that really mean to you?” Dean feels himself shrink back a bit, “Is ‘buddy’ a word you use to describe someone who exists to follow your orders… to – to come at your beck and call?”
Accosted, Dean can barely find his tongue, a simple “no” slips out.
Angrily, Cass stands marching out of their hotel room. Dean rushes after him immediately, feeling his fears coming to life. What if he doesn’t come back? He hadn’t realised how deeply Cass felt about his role in their lives.
His mind flashes back to something he read in the book last night.
How To Subdue An Angel:
- Angels are immediately relaxed when the muscles on the edge of their shoulder blades are pinched.
His feet move without any command, leading him to Cass. He squeezes… not too hard, but… medium.
Cass stumbles and Dean reaches around to wrap an arm around his torso, preventing him from falling.
Sorry Cass. He thinks.
“Where are you going?” he asks.
Unfocused eyes stare up at him and Cass mumbles something in Enochian. Dean bites his lip, guilty. He had to, he reminds himself. Cass would have left otherwise.
“I got you.” he murmurs, stroking his hair as his friend gets back to himself.
“Dean.” His voice is still rough, “What happened?” he asks, staring disconcertingly at the floor.
“Uh, I – I grabbed your shoulder and you dropped.”
He blushes, “That’s dangerously close to my wings.” He whispers.
Dean nods, awkwardly.
“Where were you going?” he tries again.
“I need some air Dean.” He says, seeming to remember what had perpetuated this in the first place.
“Wait.” His hand shoots out, latching onto his arm. “You don’t exist just to follow orders. You’re our friend.”
Cass looks unconvinced. Dean had said all of this before, he realises. “You know I care about you Cass.”
The angel smiles slightly. He’s well aware of how uncomfortable Dean is with emotions and how much just that simple ‘I care’ had taken him to say.
Turns out that they all head to the convention. Sam, Dean and Castiel go as themselves and Mary goes as Ellen.
No one really pays them any heed in the sea of ‘supernatural rip-offs’ as Dean calls them.
Some of his worries had been dissipated earlier when Dean told him that he cares. He knows the older Winchester well enough to tell when he’s lying and that – that had been real.
“Alright.” Sam say, “Dean and I care going to break away and head to the fountain, you and mom hang back.”
“I’m glad you didn’t show up in that suit.” Sam teases.
“It’s not very Dean like is it.” Dean mutters, “But it makes Cass happier.”
“Yeah.” Sam stops walking to face his brother. “How does that work again?”
Dean rubs his brow, “Uh, well there’s this – book!” Sam presses his lips together to stifle his laugh at Dean’s nervousness. “Chuck wrote it before he went on his sabbatical. It’s about angels… and there are sections specifically about Cass.”
Dean thinks that Sam’s hair would stand straight up in shock if it could.
“And you read it?” Sam asks incredulously. “That’s … an invasion of his privacy. You know that right.”
“Of course I know that.” Dean admits, “But I don’t want him to leave, or feel like we don’t care. He gave himself to the devil man, just because he probably told him how worthless he is or some crap like that. No way am I letting that kind of mentality continuing.” After a beat he pokes Sam’s shoulder in a friendly manner, “I’d do the exact same thing for you. If mom wants to see it as something it isn’t then I’ll just let her be. But you know it’s not like that between us.”
Something in Sam’s eyes brings Dean closer. He knows his brother well enough to know when secrets are swirling in his eyes.
“You got something to say to me?”
Sam fiddles with the ends of his hair – more a mane these days really. “Dean… I just don’t think that Cass knows that.”
Dean scoffs, “That’s ridiculous. Of course he knows that.” ‘That’ being that Dean isn’t in love with him.
“Does he though?” Sam asks almost frantically, “What if – he does?” Sam waves his arms around, gesticulating like he does when he’s nervous. “What if he’s already in love with you and you’re just making it worse. Playing with his feelings.”
Feeling his face darken, Dean squashes his anger down. Now isn’t the time to get violent with Sam. “Sam… trust me, Cass and I know where we stand with each other.”
“Would it be so bad though?” Sam wonders. “For you and Cass to be in love?” he sees the strain on his brother’s face and softens his next words.
“It would be the most catastrophic thing to ever happen to us Sammy.” He exhales, and a plume of condensation follows, “Everyone would know. And they would all use it against us. We’ve died so many times already… imagine what would happen if we have one more weakness.”
Dean sighs heavily, aware of his brother’s scrutiny. “You’ve given this a lot of thought.”
“I’m not –” he breaks off with a curse, “I’m not.”
“Dean –” Sam breaks off, going into high alert and Dean immediately sets his mind to hunter mode.
Now, in the dead silence, Dean can hear the small dripping noises from the fountain nearby. And what they see… it isn’t a wraith.
It’s a ghost.
The ghost of to be precise Peter Sweeny, from all the way back, during that case at Lake Manitoc.
Chapter 8: The Turning Point
Sam glances across at Dean. They both know why they’re dealing with.
Why though? He’d gotten all the justice he wanted. They should have all moved on. In fact Sam had checked the area regularly for years after, finding nothing unusual every time.
“Shit.” Dean hisses, “We got no iron… no salt.”
Sam presses his lips together. Mom and Cass don’t either.
Suddenly, they both find themselves slammed flat on the concrete ground being dragged closer and closer towards the water. Across from him, Sam sees Dean digging his nails in till they’re bloody, but it does nothing to stop the ghost.
Nothing about this makes sense, Sam thinks rapidly, the other Sam and Dean had their hearts ripped out. The ghost had done that… but why?
“Finally.” It’s disembodied voice drifts over.
That’s when it dawns on Sam what this really is: a trap. And they’d walked directly into the web. It had been laying in wait for them.
“You ruined my fun!” he shouts petulantly. “Generations of them would be drawn to the water only to join me for an eternity. But you stopped that! You took away my playmates! I always left enough of them alive to continue the family line but you two ruined everything.”
Out of the corner of his eye, he spies mom and Cass slinking closer with what looks like pieces of the guard rail I their hands. At least they’d picked up on the situation. Dean gurgles at his side and Sam whips his head around prepared for the worst… prepared to see Dean drowning.
It’s so much worse.
The ghost has his heart in his hands… the only thing connecting it to Dean’s body is a pulsating chord. Sam can’t even find his voice to scream before a piece of iron comes flying, dissipating the ghost’s form. Dean’s heart, it literally drops… along with a sickening squelch that has Sam flying forward.
Only, a certain angel of the lord beats him there. Pushing him aside frantically and cradling Dean’s heart in his hands. Dean had gone unconscious about the time his heart had been ripped out and now blood is gushing everywhere and Cass seems like the only one with their head on straight.
“Keep watch!” he commands, “The ghost can’t get to Dean while I’m trying to heal him.”
Mom jolts into action first, wiping her tears and standing at the ready with her iron stick. Sam stands opposite to her, both slowly moving… making a circle of protection.
Castiel’s entire body glows, brighter and more intensely than it ever had. Sam has to look away and grip the iron to stop his hands from trembling as Castiel cradles Dean’s heart and slips it back into his chest cavity. Sam swears a string of Enochian.
The glowing intensifies.
The ghost appears directly in front of Sam. He swipes the iron, scattering it.
Cass slouches and Sam nods for Mom to check on them.
“Shit.” She exclaims, “Dean is okay. I mean… the blood… but everything is… where it’s meant to be. They’re both out for the count though.”
“I’ll take Dean, you grab Cass.” Sam knows that it should be the other way around. Mom had clearly been about to lift Dean… but Sam needs to be the one to carry him right now. Feel his heart beating for himself. He’d almost let Dean be killed.
The ghost doesn’t appear on their way to the Impala. Somehow, it must have connected itself to the fountain or… Sam can’t think about that right now. Dean and Cass are unconscious in the back seat, both of them leaning precariously against their respective doors.
Castiel awakens to a loud roar. It takes him a few seconds to realise that it’s the Impala’s engine.
Sam and Mary sit stiffly in the front. Sam clutches the wheel and Mary just looks down into her lap. Suddenly, he remembers everything. Dean.
Dean is still unconscious… covered in blood but Castiel can hear his heart pounding… see his soul still in his body.
“Sam?” he calls shakily.
Sam glances away from the road and for a split second relief shows on his face. “Cass, you’re okay.”
“I am.” He assures, “So is Dean. But his body needs time to recover from the shock, my grace only healed so much.”
“Thank you Castiel.” Mary’s voice is small and distracted. “Dean would be dead without you.”
Glancing back at the unconscious Winchester, Castiel can’t help but think that this could have all been avoided, had Dean only trusted his opinion enough to listen.
No. Now isn’t the time.
Cupping Dean’s face in his hands, Castiel strokes Dean’s ear with his thumb, letting his grace probe carefully, to ensure that everything is really okay. He could wake Dean up, it would probably do wonders for everyone’s nerves but he knows how important it is for Dean to rest… and how hard it usually is for him to even fall asleep.
“Everything is as it should be.” He announces, breaking the silence.
“Can you wake him up?” Sam asks, still looking anxious.
“I could.” He says, “But it’s better if he at least gets some rest.” He waits a beat, “This is not your fault Sam.”
The tick in his jaw tells Castiel that he doesn’t believe him in the slightest.
When he gets out of the Impala he can feel his legs tremble. Dean had been all but dead. A few more seconds and he would have bled out or the shock would have killed him. Bringing him back from the brink had severely sapped Castiel’s powers.
It’s a sombre mood as the three of them hover around at Dean’s bedside. Castiel knows – more than anyone else – that Dean is definitely waking up. But just seeing his pale face… his unconscious form gives him the feeling he’d felt when Dean had been bleeding out on that dirty floor.
A soft groan has them all spring into action.
Sam gets there first and Castiel lets him, knowing how important the brothers are to each other.
“Sammy.” He mutters, “No chick’s ever ripped my heart out like that before.”
Even as Sam huffs an unwilling laugh, Castiel suddenly wants nothing more than to strangle Dean Winchester.
How dare he? Joke about this when they’d all be so afraid?
He balls his hands into fists, but says nothing as Mary leans down to kiss him, relief shining from her eyes.
“Pretty far away there, huh Cass?” Dean slurs.
Saying nothing, he walks a few paces over.
“Take it you used your mojo to save me.”
“Yeah.” He says sarcastically, “next time, how about you thank me by listening to what I have to say!”
He sighs, “I dunno what to say Cass. You know I can’t promise that.”
“Why not?” Castiel bites out.
“Cass, take it easy on him.” Sam warns.
Huffing, he just raises his eyebrows.
“Because you’re wrong sometimes too y’know.” Dean responds, “There are always risks when hunting. If you had been there too, the same thing could have happened… would have.”
“You always take stupid risks Dean.” He says lowly, “And I think it’s about time you realise you are invaluable to – to the world, your family… me. You aren’t as stupid as you like to think and you are a magnificent hunter… an exemplary human. So don’t you ever use that as a rationale to justify you sacrificing yourself!”
Castiel gives himself a moment to register the shock on Dean’s face, to see that his words had broken ground and registered in Dean’s mind. Then he walks away.
Dean shuts his eyes to avoid the constant staring. Cass had walked out a few minutes ago and ever since Mom’s been watching him like a hawk.
Sam’s in the shower; said he wanted to wash off all the blood. Dean wouldn’t mind doing the same… except he’s too damn tired and no way is he letting anyone bathe him like a friggin’ two year old. Mom won’t mind. Sam would… do it if he absolutely has to. Cass… well Cass wouldn’t even know what to do.
Sam comes out of the bathroom, his oh so precious locks dripping everywhere. Dean saves his joke. Just this once.
With a groan, he pushes himself upright and moves to stand. His entire body aches.
“You need help?” Sam nods over.
He scoffs, “I won’t even need a shower if you come near me with your dripping hair Rapunzel.”
“Sorry I asked then.” Says Sam turning back.
Mary smiles at him and it brings him the comfort that only a mother’s smile can. “How about me? No dripping hair here.”
“Nah.” He says, leaning on the door, “I’m trying to save just a little of my dignity. Although, send someone in with clothes. If I bend over right now, I don’t think I’ll be coming back up for a while.”
Dean is sitting on the shower floor, under the spray when the door opens.
He wants to at least push himself up into a sitting position but he’s too afraid he slips and falls. Dean’s legs had betrayed him about halfway through his shower. He feels the phantom pain of having his heart ripped out, clinging to life by one thread of flesh. The redness of the water swirling around doesn’t help in the slightest.
“Dean.” He feels himself stiffen.
That isn’t mom.
Nor is it Sam.
Castiel, the angel of having no clue about personal space, is here to drop his clothes off and he’s lying pathetically on the shower floor.
Chapter 9: The Mandatory Steamy Shower Scene
“Dean?” the voice calls again. Dean feels himself tremble despite the steam and the boiling water raining down around him.
“Leave the clothes by the sink!” he calls, hoping that Cass will just leave. The one time Dean actually wants him to leave and he’s stuck like a thorn in his side.
He hears the clothes rest with a light ruffle and he sighs with relief.
That actually went smoothly, Dean can hardly believe it.
The shower curtain is ripped open and Dean shrieks, placing a hand securely over his junk. “Cass what the hell man?” Dean demands lifting a knee to shield himself some more. Usually he won’t care but it feels different this time… more vulnerable.
They stare for a few long seconds. Cass eyes him like Dean’s the hottest piece of ass he’s ever seen, then cocks his head. “Why are you on the floor Dean?”
“Just chilling dude.” He says in a rush, wanting to get the conversation over with quickly.
“I am unaware of this custom.” He observes still holding the curtain open.
Dean is afraid that if he reaches forward… some things of his will be on display.
“Can you close the curtain?” he bites out.
Cass cocks his head again, seemingly confused, “Why?”
“Cause Cass. Just cause!”
“But I like looking at you while I talk to you.” the angel almost pouts. Dean rolls his eyes, he really does spoil his friends.
“And I like my privacy.” He sighs, damn if he was exhausted before he might as well get into a coffin after that strenuous exchange.
The angel leans in closer and Dean wishes he’d just melt so that the spray would carry him down the drain and away from this constant probing stare. “You know why I like looking at you Dean?” the angel asks.
“Cause I’m hot?” he sasses back.
Tapping his chin, Cass actually seems to consider that. “It’s because of the way your soul reacts when you lie to me.”
Stiffening, he tries to laugh it off.
“Do you need help Dean?”
Dean wants to explode… but he doesn’t, for two reasons: he promised himself that he’d be nicer to Cass and he’s just too damn exhausted.
“I – I’m just tired buddy.” He breathes in shame covering his eyes with his hands and pretending that Cass isn’t just staring at him.
“Your legs are shaking.” He observes.
“I um, brought you something.” His friend says tentatively.
That perks Dean up. “What?”
The bottle of lavender and a tender smile apparently.
He shrugs, then steps entirely into the shower; trench coat, shoes and all.
“Woah!” Dean exclaims, throwing out a hand to hold him back. “You can’t come in here while I’m naked. And you can’t wear clothes in the shower.”
Another perplexed look. And this time it’s even worse because Cass’ hair is all wet and saggy. “I don’t understand your obsession with clothes Dean and this so called privacy especially when we all know what happens in here.”
Dean isn’t sure whether he means toilet stuff or jacking off. Neither thought is welcome.
A towel is flung at him and it falls into his lap becoming completely drenched immediately. “Thanks.” He says drily.
But Cass is gone. That little bastard.
Dean closes his eyes hoping to finally get some peace when he hears: “Dean?”
He cracks an eye open. Unbelievable. Cass is still here and wearing… nothing but a towel.
Dean knows where this is going. It’s happened to him so many times before… except with a chick and no towels.
It should freak him out. It does freak him out. But when the dorky angel without a trench-coat tells him to scoot forward, he does it without complaint.
“Sam. Mary.” Castiel greets them with a nod as he moves over to Dean’s bed. Sam watches his movements carefully… the underlying tension… the exhaustion.
Dean had mentioned a book before the ghost jumped them. Maybe Cass really does need a pick me up.
“Where is Dean?” he demands, “He shouldn’t be alone right now he is undoubtedly still exhausted.”
“He’s showering.” Sam explains, internally berating himself for not insisting that he wait… or that someone go with him. “I need to drop his clothes off and I’ll check on him. He told me that he wants some alone time.”
“Now isn’t the time for that Sam.” Cass mutters drily.
Oh. “That’s not what I meant.” Sam can’t help but crack a smile glancing over to the chair Mary is sleeping on. Not that he wants to complain but anything to do with sex feels weird whenever mom is nearby.
“I’ll carry the clothes in and check on Dean.”
Castiel can’t believe his eyes… or his ears or his sense of touch.
He can’t believe the feel of being pinned between the cold tile wall and Dean’s warm back.
“Should I turn off the water?” he asks dazedly.
Dean thinks for a moment before patting his thigh and hell if Castiel doesn’t stiffen. “Nah. I don’t – don’t want them to hear us.”
“Hear us?” he echoes.
Sighing, Dean twists slightly to look at his eyes. “I’m guessing you came in here to talk to me or some bullshit.”
Smiling, he wonders why he ever thought sitting here with Dean like this would change anything. “Or some bullshit.” He whispers.
“Out with then.”
“There’s no bullshit.” He points out. “I just don’t want you to faint and crack your skull open.”
“And they say chivalry is dead.”
Castiel dabs a small rag onto the lavender, testing out the strength by sniffing it. He coughs and lets some water dilute it.
Holding the rag near Dean’s, nose he takes note of the way the older Winchester immediately melts into him. Soon enough Dean’s head begins to loll and Castiel lets him lean on his shoulder. He shuts the shower off and uses the tiniest bit of his power to dry them and the area completely.
Dean feels much nicer against him dry, he realises, tracing a gentle finger down Dean’s face.
Castiel wishes for his wings; so that he could whisk them away.
He wishes for the privacy of the bunker so that they would talk after.
He wishes that Dean would do this every day and not only when exhaustion drove him to. Because, he realises, this is what true intimacy feels like. Dean had felt vulnerable when he first came in here but he’d decided to share his doubts with Castiel and allow him to see him at his worst.
And no one could ever deny the worth of this. Not Dean. No one. Because it does mean something: a true expression of trust whether Dean had meant it that way or not.
But even though Castiel knows what it is… he also knows what it isn’t.
It isn’t a declaration of love.
It isn’t a promise of more.
And it certainly isn’t something Dean would want his family privy to.
Allowing himself a few more minutes to savour the closeness Castiel just shuts his eyes and lets himself feel Dean’s warmth, the soft tickle of his hair and the way he seems completely at ease in Castiel’s arms.
Mary stirs in her sleep, her eyes immediately searching for Dean. In her nightmares, Castiel never got there in time and she’d buried her first born child in a grave just outside the bunker. Cold sweat drips down her back making her shiver and she freezes when she realises that Dean isn’t there.
“Sam?” she calls, nearly hysterical. “Where’s your brother?”
“Hey.” He says calmly, “It’s fine mom. He’s just in the bathroom.”
“It’s been.” She glances at the clock, “More than two hours. We need to check on him.”
Sam winces, “We don’t. Cass is in there.”
That stills her. She listens closely, hoping to hear something above the water. Except, Mary doesn’t even hear the water. It’s deathly silent in the shower.
“I’m sure they’ll be out soon.”
And they are.
Castiel walks out with Dean cradled in his arms like a baby. All he’s wearing is a pair of boxers but he’s completely dry otherwise. To Mary it looks as though he’s just asleep. The angel rests her son on the bed like a piece of fine china his eyes darting everywhere but Sam and Mary.
“Is he okay?” Sam whispers, finally breaking the silence.
“He will be.” Castiel says gruffly.
He turns to take up his spot on the couch when Mary sees it… the trench-coat’s tag. Mary knows that the angel doesn’t bathe or change outfits so how in God’s name is the trench-coat inside out.