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for a sinner released

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Dean is furious. 

Dean says he fucks everything up. 

Dean’s probably right. 

Whatever. 

If they want to assign blame, then technically, it’s Dean's fault, because Cas told Dean he didn’t want to go that morning, when Dean swept aside the beaded curtain serving as his door and stormed into his room, boots clomping against the creaky floorboards. Cas had been awake from the moment Dean’s foot hit the second step of his cabin, but he faked slumber anyway. It probably wouldn’t work, but maybe Dean would leave him alone. 

No joy. Dean roughly grabbed his shoulder, yanking over from his side to his back. Still bleary from the night before, Cas blinked slowly at Dean. He smiled, lazy and inviting, and stretched. As he stretched, his shirt pulled up to high on his stomach while his pants pulled down almost obscenely low on his hips. Cas leered up at Dean, well aware of what he looked like. 

Dean didn’t take the invitation, not that Cas thought he would. He did the Fearless Leader jaw clench, his eyes staring cold through the countless walls keeping him separate from the rest of the members of camp. Keeping him separate from Cas. He wouldn’t even give Cas the satisfaction of pretending to care. After all this time, Cas shouldn’t be surprised, but it still sends a little curl of hurt through him. 

“Get the fuck up,” Dean said, voice rough. He jerked Cas’ blankets away, leaving Cas whining unhappily as the early morning chill nipped at his bare skin. 

A low growl rumbled out of Dean’s throat, its cause unknown. It could be from the pill bottles of varying degrees of empty lined up like soldiers along the shelf beside his bed. It could be from the fact that Cas had the temerity to defy him by not jumping immediately out of bed. It could be from the dark purple bruise spreading over his hip, damning teeth marks in the middle. 

Whatever the cause, it didn’t matter. Dean was as shut down as Cas had ever seen him. “We’ve got a raid this morning. Now get your shit together and let’s go.” 

“Fuck off,” Cas said, which should have been a succinct enough rejection even for Dean. He groped for his blankets, only for Dean to toss them out of his reach. 

“No,” Dean said. If he clenched his jaw any harder then he was going to crack several molars, which would be unfortunate, seeing as dentistry was quickly becoming a lost art. 

“Time for you to start carrying your weight around here.” Cas didn’t follow the direction of his gaze, but he knew Dean was looking around at his cabin, the mats littered across the floor, the various pill bottles and rolling papers shoved underneath books and glasses, and wherever else they fell. “Get dressed and get ready. We leave in thirty.” 

Dean stomped out of the cabin as abruptly as he’d arrived. In the wake of his departure, Cas was left cold and alone, his brain trying to recalibrate to a world which didn’t want him in the slightest. Nothing about that was unusual, but still. For a moment, he contemplated remaining in bed and ignoring Dean’s orders. It’s not as though Dean would shoot him if he refused. 

Well. 

He didn’t think Dean would shoot him. 

His brain was jittery from too much amphetamines and not enough sleep. His body’s need translated into trembling hands and a persistent twitch of his muscles that wouldn’t stop, no matter how many times he tried to massage the nervous energy away. It was time to pull out the heavy hitters. 

He shook two pills into his palm and swallowed them dry, wincing as they scraped down his throat. He knew, from experience, they would start working in about ten minutes and keep working for about six hours, but he needed something now. 

A half-smoked joint provided instant relief, and Cas gratefully drew the smoke into his lungs. It sunk through his body, stilling muscles and soaking his bones with a languid apathy. He closed his eyes, appreciating the sudden quiet of his thoughts. 

He could always not go. He could leave Dean to his own devices and sink back into bed. He had enough stores to last him for a while, more since he figured out the magic of the bartering system. But underneath his defiance beat an inescapable fact. 

Dean asked (Dean told), so he’ll go. 

His fingers were clumsy from the pills and the pot and it took him a few tries to knot the laces in his boots. By the end, he still wasn’t sure he’d gotten it right, but the boots didn’t feel like they were about to tumble off of his feet, so it was good enough. He grabbed the gun sitting beside his bed, the metal cold and crude in his hands. He missed the comforting weight of his sword, but Dean had sneered at the silver metal when he’d seen it. 

“Good idea,” he said, tossing Cas’ angelic weapon back to him like he couldn’t bear to have it in his hands for longer than a few seconds. “You can ask the croats to line up, one by one, so you can stab them. Hey, maybe while you’re at it, you can ask them nicely not to bite you.” 

Dean’s shoulder slammed into his as he walked away, just a reminder of how pointless it all was. Cas ignored the rest of the eyes on him, pity and scorn alike in their expressions, and slunk back to his cabin. Later, when he was busily watching the ceiling swirl into interesting shapes and he found various other bodies in his cabin, he didn’t complain. 

The next morning, when his midnight companions stumbled out of his cabin and back to their respective dens, Dean had taken one look at him and turned away. Dean hasn’t looked him in the eye since. 

With difficulty, Cas pushed the memories aside. They certainly won’t help him now. He checks and then double checks his appearance, a habit formed since the first time he stumbled out of his cabin, stoned out of his mind, barefoot with his shirt dangling off his shoulders. He never forgot how Dean’s upper lip curled as he quickly turned away, the quick flash of something slicing through his eyes. Ever since then, he’d taken an effort to learn how to fake normalcy, fake sobriety, fake humanity. 

Cas made his way to the caravan, dressed in the cleanest pair of jeans and shirt he could find on short notice. Dean’s eyes barely paused over him before continuing on to the rest of the members of the raiding party. The usual suspects were lined up beside the Jeeps and trucks, either those who Dean trusted or those for whom survival had become a hypothetical question instead of a biological imperative. Idly, Cas wondered which group he belonged to. 

Dean barked out a few orders and got into the lead truck without ever offering an invitation to Cas. That was fine. Cas walked down the line of vehicles until he found a Jeep he liked the look of and got into the backseat. The driver, Tanner, looked at him in the rearview mirror, raising his eyebrows, but saying nothing. No one talked to him unless they wanted drugs or something else. For the most part, Cas liked it that way. By and large, humanity was confusing, possibly more so at the end of the world. He found it difficult enough to hold himself together; deciphering the puzzle of other humans was almost impossible. 

As always, Dean Winchester proved his exception. As the caravan started to roll out of camp and the trees and shrubberies faded into a single line of green smeared brown, Dean Winchester occupied the majority of Cas’ thoughts. He contemplated Dean's callous disregard, his deliberate and petty cruelties, his disdain and contempt for how he chose to spend his days. 

And, because he learned the wonderful lesson of self-loathing from his erstwhile siblings, before they abandoned the earth and everyone on it, he then examined his own failings. It was his decision to abandon Dean to his grief and despair over losing Sam while he tried to numb his own roiling feelings. (The night Sam said yes was the first time Cas swallowed a pill.) It was his decision to welcome bodies into his bed, trying to fill the empty pit which just grew with every stranger sharing his sheets. It was his decision to, in the beginning, ignore each of Dean’s attempts to draw him back. It wasn’t until Dean stopped that Cas realized how much it had meant, how tightly he’d clung to that last remnant of the man he’d Fallen for. 

Strange, he thought, forehead pressed against the lukewarm glass of the window, how he and Dean sought to hurt each other, even at the end of the world. 

It took Cas by surprise when the Jeep shuddered to a stop. He’d zoned out through the ride. Hopefully no one had been in search of a conversation. He blinked, trying to clear the fuzzy waves from his vision. The world itself was rolling slightly, at the uncertain pitch which Cas always associated with mixing his vices. It’s possible he might have made a mistake but like hell he’ll go to Dean and tell him he can’t do this raid. The thought of the derision in Dean’s eyes as he ordered him to stay with the vehicles withered every little bit of pride Cas still possessed. 

From its appearance, the town was abandoned, but that meant nothing. Croats had a nasty habit of lurking in the shells of abandoned buildings and not emerging until they were sure of victory. They might be bent entirely to a sole purpose, but there was still a feral intelligence within their minds. 

Cas shouldered his gun and followed. Dean hadn’t given him any orders, but he found himself falling behind him anyway. It was a fortuitous decision; Dean’s group was headed for a drugstore. An itch settled underneath Cas’ skin as he thought about his stash back at camp. Carefully cultivated by himself, his supplies weren’t anywhere close to running out, but it never hurt to gather more. 

When Dean saw him straggling at the back, he said nothing. He might have rolled his eyes; Cas wasn’t sure. He wasn’t really looking at Dean anymore. All of his focus was on the jagged glass of the doors of the drug store. Half empty shelves beckoned them forth. 

“All right,” Dean said, after scanning through the store. “Go quick, go fast. Try to look for any medical supplies, non-perishables, whatever. Get as much as you can.” 

The group moved as one, quiet save for the glass crunching underneath their boots. Cas stepped through the door, careful of the sharp edges of the broken glass. In the back, the pharmacy beckoned him like sin and, quite enamored with the idea of damnation, Cas moved eagerly towards it. Only steel fingers wrapped around his elbow stop him. 

“Just get what’s medically necessary, would you?” Dean growled. Something incomprehensible flashed behind his eyes. 

Cas’ brain worked too slowly to understand the nuances of human expression, so he fell back on what he always did when life became too confusing. He flashed a bright, fake smile and retreated back into the comfortable haze blurring his mind. “Of course, oh Fearless Leader.” He threw in a broad wink, anything to shatter the grim exterior of Dean’s expression. 

Dean pushed him away with a low, disgusted noise, turning away to peruse through the already sparse first aid section. Cas watched him go, something uncomfortable rolling in his gut. He thought he was beyond feeling hurt by Dean’s small slights and rejections, but it turns out there was always that little bit more the knife could twist. 

The soft white glow of the pharmacy’s shelves saved him, absorbing all of his attention until the only thoughts in his head were of the treasures held upon them. He planted one hand on the counter, easily vaulting over the flimsy barrier. Once across, Cas released a sigh of relief. He might not understand the ebb and flow of emotion, might not understand the nature of loyalty and friendship, might not understand how to gain back Dean’s regard or how he’d lost it, but here...here he understands. 

He used to be woefully ignorant of human medicine. It seemed in general to be fairly pointless. Humans became injured or ill and they either lived or died; for the greater part of history, medicine had little say over the processes of mortality. But after his grace fizzled into nothing, medicine gained a new and urgent importance. And after he discovered the joys to be found in synthetic chemicals, he became a fanatic. 

He lost himself to shelves littered with orange bottles. Benzo, Dilaudid, Xanax, all were good, all promised to take him directly out of his head and to a magical place where everything was beautiful and nothing hurt. He did stop to throw all the antibiotics he saw into his bag, cognizant of how Dean would want something more from the raid other than a restoration of his stash. 

He didn’t hear the commotion outside, not until it had reached their block. “Croats!” was whispered through the store, but Cas, lost in the labyrinth tangle of his thoughts, never noticed, until Dean was in front of him, tugging at the collar of his shirt and yanking him forward. 

“Cas, there’s croats out there, we need to move--” 

Dean’s eyes went hard as he met Cas’ eyes. In that moment, Cas wasn’t sure what Dean saw him as. The angel who marched into the barn, filled with righteousness and wrath? The naive rebel who yanked him out of Heaven’s grasp and led them tripping down this path to ruin? Or the pathetic remnant of an angel who stumbled into Dean’s cabin gasping out, They’re gone, they’re gone, the angels, they’re gone, and then, in an explosion of emotion horrifying to both of them, burst into tears as the last swirls of his grace withered and died. 

Whatever version of him Dean saw, he also saw the most damning part: the wide pits of his pupils eclipsing everything else, the thin tendrils of red creeping through the whites of his eyes. “God fucking damn it,” Dean swore, before he twisted his fingers in Cas’ shirt and yanked him forward. “You’re going to get us all killed, you fucking…” 

Cas followed placidly along, stumbling as Dean’s feet moved faster than he could keep up with. The world warped into fuzzy swirls as they hurried past empty shelves, some of them with disturbing dark stains which he chose not to think that closely on. Cas didn’t think that closely about anything, until Dean led them past a series of shelves not entirely emptied. 

For all of Dean’s strength, Cas only had to balk the slightest bit for Dean to lose his grip. Perhaps he wasn’t accustomed to people defying his orders. Perhaps he didn’t care enough to hold on tightly. Whatever the reason, Dean went one way while Cas went another, and Dean was already at the door before he realized their paths had diverged. 

“Cas, what the fuck--” Dean looked back at him, something raw and torn passing over his face before it settled back into its normal grimness. “Get the fuck out of there!” 

Fascinated by the contents of the shelves, Cas ignored him. He stretched out his fingers, brushing against the wares, fascinated with their smooth texture. Far away, he could hear Dean’s shouts-- Goddamnit, Cas, I will LEAVE you here-- but Cas ignored him in favor of stuffing the contents of the shelves into his bag. 

Screams and shots echoed through the streets, but, compared to the warm glow spreading through his chest, those sounds were distant. Only the sound of his name, echoing through the empty store, caught his attention. Even then, he probably would have ignored it, were it not for the thin shred of anguish in Dean’s voice as he called. 

Dean’s voice struck something in him. A long ignored survival instinct surged to the forefront of his brain and goaded him into movement. Cas ran out of the store, tripping over his feet and possibly over bodies and possibly over nothing. Dean was there, gesturing wildly at him, face set in a paroxysm of rage. When Cas was close enough, Dean seized him by the upper arm and all but threw him into the passenger seat of his truck. A second later, Dean was behind the wheel and hitting the gas pedal so hard that the stink of burnt rubber singed his nose. 

The rest of the drive home, Dean was silent, only talking on their walkies to assess injuries and losses. Thankfully, there were no casualties, though the consensus was that they’d taken a big risk and only gotten a mediocre payout. Dean heard the news with his usual stone faced aplomb, only cutting a hard eye towards Cas at the very end. Cas said nothing and watched the destroyed landscape flow past him. It didn’t take long at all for them to end up back at camp. 

Which brings them to now. Dean jumps out of the truck and grabs him by the scruff of the neck, hauling him out of the vehicle. He effortlessly leads Cas towards his cabin, past the rest of the caravan and civilians alike. The moment he and Dean pass by them, the whispers start, insidious, curious, and cruel. Once, Cas would have been ashamed, but now he only has room for faint irritation. Do these people have nothing better to do at the end of the world?  

Dean’s hands are rough (whenever are they anything but?) as he pushes Cas up the stairs of his cabin and across the porch. Cas goes with the treatment, makes himself limp and pliable. He learned, a long time ago, everything is easier when he allows his brain to take a backseat and the world to run its own, rotten course. 

Dean’s fingernails dig into the sensitive skin at the back of his neck before, with a single push, he sends Cas stumbling through the curtain and into his cabin. Cas thinks fondly of the days when Dean was terrified to even address him. 

(Those days were short lived at best, but they were wonderful while they lasted.)

“Cas? Is that you, baby?” 

Cas blinks stupidly, turning to the woman stretched across his mattress. He can’t remember her name (Jamie? Jana? He thinks at least it was something with a ‘J’). She’s looking at him through bleary eyes, her mouth open in an insipid circle of surprise. That changes to wariness when Dean storms in, swatting aside the curtain with such force that a whole string of beads bursts. The beads clatter to the floor, bouncing against the wood to disappear in the dark corners of his room. 

“Get the fuck out,” Dean growls. Fresh from the hunt, he looks utterly terrifying, and Cas can’t blame J-name for the swiftness of her retreat.  

With her out of the way, the full force of Dean’s ire slams into Cas like what he imagines a train would feel like. “What, is she one of your sluts? You get her high and she spreads her legs?” 

Cas shrugs. Dean’s not too far off the mark and he’s suddenly too tired to argue the benefits of the dragonfly mind or whatever bullshit spills out of his mouth these days. “Sure, why not?” he asks, deliberately insolent. Dean might be their fearless leader outside, but this is his space and he refuses to be intimidated. 

“Fucking…” Dean paces around the room. The rise of his rage is an almost tangible thing, evident in the splotchy red flush on his cheeks and his erratic footsteps. “What fucking good are you?” Dean finally spits. 

The question hits harder than Cas thought it would. 

He’s wondered the same thing, dozens of times, hundreds of times, thousands of times. What fucking good is he? He can’t fly, can’t heal, can’t even connect to angel radio anymore. He’s a decent shot and still the best knife-fighter the camp has, but those skills require some level of sobriety, which he finds himself lacking more often than not. He’s amazing at riding the high and he can hold an inhale for a hell of a long time, but somehow he doesn’t think that’s the answer Dean is looking for. 

What fucking good is he? Survey says, none at all. 

“We almost lost Bryce today,” (who the fuck is Bryce?), “and it was because of you.” Dean plants his legs like pillars in the center of his floor. His jaw is stronger than Cas has ever seen it before, clenched hard enough to crack the whole of the world between his teeth. “You were so fucking high out of your mind that you didn’t know what was going on, how fucking useless--”

“To be fair, I did tell you I didn’t want to go this morning,” Cas points out, trying to be reasonable. 

Dean’s snarl tells him he landed somewhat far from the target. 

Dean advances on him, his face morphed into a mask of a person Cas doesn’t want to know. Almost nothing remains of the man he once abandoned Heaven for. The spark of rage which Dean once carried within him has been fanned into an inferno. It’s consumed Dean; now it threatens to consume Cas. Perhaps it’s cowardly, but Cas doesn’t want to fight against it any longer.  

“We almost lost a fighter today, someone who actually bothers to contribute, and if we had, it would have been because of you!” Dean’s fingers curl into a fist at his side. Cas wonders, with a sense of detachment, if Dean is actually going to strike him. 

He doesn’t. 

Instead, Dean pulls out his gun. 

Cas’ thoughts screech to a trembling halt. 

Dean’s hand never wavers as he points the gun towards him. His eyes are distant, his face unreadable. Not for the first time, Cas realizes he doesn’t know this man at all. 

“The best thing to do would be to put you out of your misery.” Dean’s finger doesn’t touch the trigger, but it’s still too close for comfort, resting a hair’s breadth away from the guard. 

Dean’s logic is brutal, pragmatic, and completely correct. Cas has nothing to offer the world. It’s perhaps more alarming for him to realize that the world has nothing to offer him. Once upon a time, he stayed with Dean out of some sense of friendship, of loyalty, of something deeper which he was never able to experience before Dean Winchester changed into something unrecognizable. What else is here for him, other than death? It’s either a slow demise, wasting away from the thousands of chemicals coursing through his veins, or the bloody bite of a croat at his neck. The kindest ending would be a bullet ripping through his skull. Quick, painless. Not necessarily clean, but it wouldn’t be his problem, would it? 

Cas takes one step forward, then another. A third step puts him in front of Dean, close enough to touch. Dean doesn’t move his arm, though Cas does catch the quick bob of his throat as he swallows. 

There’s nothing left for him here. 

Without taking his eyes off of Dean, Cas sinks to his knees. The movement is graceful and fluid, the last vestiges of something angelic finally sparking to life in his last moments. He rests his ass on his heels, craning his head up to meet Dean’s gaze. 

Dean’s eyes are still hard. His mouth is pressed into a razor-thin line. His nostrils flare as he looks down his nose at the penitent kneeling before him. 

Cas reaches up, slowly. Dean could stop him if he wanted. He wraps his hands around Dean’s wrist. 

Underneath his palm, Dean’s pulse flares wildly. 

Cas blinks in surprise. That… That was unexpected. 

He looks closer at Dean. Now that he bothers to look, he notices the tremble of Dean’s lips, the almost invisible glimmer in his eyes. He notes the hard rise and fall of Dean’s chest and the almost imperceptible shake of his hand. 

Not impervious after all. 

That’s interesting. 

Cas has always enjoyed interesting things. 

Perhaps he’s not quite ready to die. 

Testing his theory, he runs his fingers over the soft skin of Dean’s wrist, until his thumb is pressed firmly against Dean’s hammering pulse. Cas pulls, gently but inexorably, until Dean is forced to take a step forward. The shift in positioning pushes the barrel of the gun into his forehead. 

Cold metal touches overheated skin, and Cas inhales sharply at the contrasting sensations. The gun is unforgiving, relentless, beautiful. 

It’s like Dean. 

With the gun pressed so closely to his skin, it’s impossible for him not to feel the quiver in Dean’s hand. A slow, triumphant smile spreads across Cas’ face as his hands guide Dean’s wrist to the side. The barrel kisses at his temple and Cas closes his eyes at the blunt pressure against delicate skin. 

The lack of sight just makes Dean’s swift intake of breath all the more noticeable. 

Cas’ eyes flutter open, slow and heated, as he drags Dean’s hand down. The gun trails along the line of his cheek, sending small shivers down his spine. Dean’s given up trying to control the harsh staccato of his breathing. The sound expands to fill the whole of his cabin. 

When the gun reaches the seam of his lips, an almost sepulchral silence enfolds the cabin. 

Cas stares up at Dean through his eyelashes. Every trick he ever learned about the subtle art of seduction, he deploys now: the lingering, lazy gaze, the sensual drag of the gun against the swell of his lower lip, the delicate arch of his neck as he cranes his head back just that extra little bit. He wants to see every inch of Dean’s reaction as he opens his lips and takes the tip of the gun into his mouth. 

The metal is cool against his tongue. It tastes bitter but he’s had much worse. At least here, he gets to see the quick expansion of Dean’s pupils, black eclipsing green. Dean’s lips part on a shaky sigh, and Cas preens to see his formidable self-control starting to crumble.  

Cas could stop here. He’s made his point. One pithy comment from him, one remark about how Dean’s enjoying this a little too much and he could send Dean scampering back to his own cabin. Dean’s humiliation and anger would keep him from bothering Cas for a few weeks, if not a whole month. 

But Cas doesn’t want that. Dean is like coal being squeezed into a diamond, thousands of years of magma erupting in one, vicious, burst. Cas has always been interested in the invisible gears and workings of the universe, has always excelled in finding the weak spots. This, his tongue curling around the barrel of Dean’s gun, Dean’s shaky exhale at the sight--This is Dean’s collapsing point, push hard enough and see what happens. 

And Cas wants nothing more than to dig his fingernails in and tear. 

He tips his head back (he’s always had a streak of showmanship in him) to give Dean a better view as he opens his mouth wider. Perhaps his hands pull Dean’s wrist forward. Perhaps Dean moves on his own. Whichever is true, the simple fact remains--the whole of the gun barrel slides into Cas’ mouth. 

The metal is unfamiliar, the hard edges and filigree against his tongue foreign, Dean’s shocked expression an unlooked for joy, but the sensation of his mouth being filled… That he knows. 

He uses each and every of his hard earned tricks, hollowing his cheeks as he bobs his head up and down, allowing small grunts to escape from deep in his throat. By now, Dean’s trembles have become full-body shudders, gaining in intensity whenever Cas leans forward. Dean’s breath is a wild, untamed thing, rasping loudly in conjunction with the slick sounds of Cas’ mouth sliding over metal, and Cas whimpers as a heady spike of lust flares through his gut. 

Instinct takes over and Cas closes his eyes, tilting his head to the side to allow Dean to see the bulge of the gun against his cheek. Dean thrusts the gun in, rougher than he was expecting. Quite out of his control, a small moan rips free from his throat. 

Dean’s careful restraint shatters. 

He tangles his fingers in the hair at the top of Cas’ head and jerks back. The gun slips out of his mouth, scraping against his teeth in an unpleasant mixture of sound and sensation. Half out of his mind, Cas growls with displeasure, only to gasp as Dean cruelly twists his fingers in his hair. Bright pain tears through his scalp and another startled moan spills from his lips. Dean shakes him before he pulls his head back, exposing his throat in a vulnerable arch. At the edges of his brain, something feeble and pathetic urges him to fight back. Cas dismisses that voice without ever particularly considering its words. 

His blood pumps victory, the sweet siren song of mine mine mine. 

“The fuck…” Dean’s heaving, like a bull at the end of the fight, bleeding from dozens of wounds, yet still determined to defeat the matador. “What the fuck do you think you’re doing?” 

A low, thrilled laugh tumbles out of Cas. He grins, wide and sloppy, tracing the outline of his lips with the tip of his tongue. 

The sound galvanizes Dean, like he knew it would. The barrel of the gun, slick with his saliva, pushes at the bolt of his jaw, an implicit threat, but all Cas can taste is the delicious thrill of danger. 

“You fucking…” Sharp, vicious breaths whistle out of Dean’s nose, “fucking whore, you fucking slut--” 

“Take it then,” Cas finally whispers, too strung out on the nearness of Dean, the heat and fire of him, the swirling darkness which had never quite left him, not since Hell. 

With an inarticulate cry, Dean releases his tight grip on Cas’ hair. The gun remains firm against his jaw, pushing his head back so that he’s forced to roll his eyes downward at a painful angle to see Dean working one-handed at his belt and the button of his jeans. Cas’ mouth waters to see Dean’s cock spring free, hard and angry red, already glistening at the tip. 

Dean strokes over his cock, moaning through gritted teeth. Cas watches the flushed, fat head slide through Dean’s fingers as he shakes with anticipation, with need-- Dean in his mouth, he needs it more than he’s ever needed his next high, more than he ever needed the companionship of his perfidious siblings, more than he needed the power and the glory of the Host, he needs--

“Take it,” he mutters, talking difficult with the gun still shoved into his tender flesh, “take it, take it, fucking, Dean--” 

Harsh fingertips pull at his jaw and hook behind his teeth to force his mouth open. Cas gleefully obeys the unspoken order and is rewarded a second later with the hot, hard length of Dean forcing itself into his mouth. 

Long ago, Cas might have wondered what it would be like to worship Dean this way, or how it would feel to take him apart and put him back together. He imagined Dean would be reverent, delicate. He imagined tender fingers tracing over his lips and cheeks, soft words whispered to him, a gentle rocking to completion. He imagined being treasured. 

The reality of it is so much worse and yet so much better. 

Cas moans deliriously at the feel of Dean’s cock, thick and warm and bitter, against his tongue. Compared to the gun, Dean is so alive, and Cas does his best to show his appreciation. He tries to curl his tongue around the girth inside his mouth and show off some of his talents, but Dean takes the question of delicacy directly out of his hands when he slams his hips forward. 

Cas’ cry of surprise is muffled around Dean’s dick. A brief flash of panic flares through him when he tries to suck in a breath through his nose only to find his lungs empty. He starts to pull off, but the gun pressed into his jaw halts that train of thought before it can leave the station. He takes the warning for what it is and remains stationary, his throat clenching as he tries to breathe. 

“Goddamn, Cas,” Dean breathes. His free hand rests on the side of Cas’ head, fingers pressing into his skull, urging him forward. “Your fucking mouth, your…” He sighs and the sound slips down Cas’ spine in a wonderful tease. “Fucking take it, you look so good with your lips wrapped around my dick.” 

He’s heard the words before; when it comes to dirty talk Dean is neither inventive nor poetic. What’s different about Dean is his sheer sincerity. When Dean praises his mouth, Cas actually believes him. 

He thought he was in control of the situation, but it seems that control is an ephemeral thing slipping through his fingers. 

He tries to grip Dean’s hips to control the depth of his thrusts, but a sharp dig from the gun stops him. “Put them behind your back,” Dean orders, his voice ragged. 

Cas flicks his eyes up at him, heat pooling low in his groin. His already half-interested dick hardens so quickly that it makes him dizzy. Dean looks down at him. In his eyes, there are no shades of the fearless leader and only a faint curl of the bitter, enraged man of the past years. The person looking down at him now is the brash, reckless man Castiel first met in a run-down abandoned barn, the one who sold his soul so that his brother could live, the one who tempted one of Heaven’s most stalwart warriors into throwing everything away, just for a chance to touch that glorious heat. 

Cas puts his hands behind his back, the fingers of one hand gripping the wrist of the other. “Good,” Dean praises, and something warm and pleased lights in Cas’ gut. 

Cas sets a quick pace, urged on and encouraged by the hand resting at the top of his head. The gun lays against his cheek as a reminder and warning. Cas is spiraling higher and higher, need and desire and lust shredding him apart until he’s delirious. He’s never felt a high like this, never thought that he would shatter with the slightest touch. Above him, Dean moans and mutters praise for his mouth, for his lips, for the stretch of his throat. 

“Gonna come,” Dean finally rasps, both too soon and not soon enough. “Fuck, Cas, gonna come, fucking, gonna--” The gun clatters to the ground with a low thunk. Dean uses his newfound freedom to press against the bolt of Cas’ jaw, holding his mouth open. He pulls out of Cas’ mouth and starts stroking his cock in swift motions. He’s so damned close his knuckles are brushing against Cas’ lips, but he’s still so far, and all Cas wants is to taste. Bereft, Cas actually whines, low and disappointed, until, with a low groan, Dean is coming in thick, hot stripes across his lips, chin, and tongue. 

The moment stretches into eternity and it’s over in the blink of an eye. When Dean finally releases him, Cas is cold, the bliss faded from his veins. He blinks up at Dean, slow and dazed, licking the taste of him from his lips. 

“Fucking look at you,” Dean murmurs. Instead of bitter and hateful, he sounds almost awed. “Fucking christ Cas, you look good.” A calloused thumb sweeps over his chin, gathering the cooling come before it’s forced between his lips. Lost in his haze, Cas obediently sucks at the digit, swirling his tongue around the knuckle. He licks at Dean’s finger until all he can taste is the salt-tang of him. 

His own cock pushes insistently at the zipper of his jeans. Evey shift of his hips reminds him of his own need, and now, without Dean to distract him, it’s almost unbearable. He works at the fastening of his jeans. He’s needy and whining, looking every inch the slut which Dean accused him of being, but he doesn’t care. His skin is aflame with need. He’s so close to the edge that he’ll just need a few strokes to come, but he barely manages to wrap his fingers around his cock before he’s stopped. 

Dean’s fingers wrap like shackles around his wrist, yanking it up and away from his lap. Cas almost sobs with frustration, his every nerve screaming in thwarted release. Dean pulls him onto his feet before tugging him forward and Cas follows, not out of obedience, but because his lust-starved brain can’t comprehend anything else other than the hard grip of Dean’s fingers. 

Dean drags him to his bed and tosses him on the dusty mattress. Cas bounces while Dean stands back and almost devours him with his eyes. Under the weight of his gaze, Cas shifts, bashful for one of the first times that he can remember. 

“Fucking angel,” Dean whispers, so softly that perhaps he thinks Cas hasn’t heard him. 

The words twist something inside him, something needy and desperate, something bitter and angry. Cas chooses to pretend as though he never heard Dean. It’s better for both of them in the long run. 

To distract himself from the swirling emotions Dean’s managed to kick up, Cas returns back to his previous task. If Dean’s not going to take care of him, then he’ll do it himself. It’s difficult. His clumsy fingers refuse to cooperate, getting tangled around the complexities of his belt buckle. Under Dean’s intense scrutiny, his whole body is useless. Thankfully, Dean takes pity on him (perhaps it’s not pity, perhaps it’s just a new way for Dean to show his contempt, but either way, Cas isn’t going to question it) and lunges forward, covering Cas’ body on the bed. 

“Don’t you fucking dare,” Dean whispers, ducking his head down to bite at the column of Cas’ neck. Cas keens at the dig of teeth into his skin. His back arches, whether to push himself closer to Dean or to escape, he’s not sure. 

Dean is a dervish, everywhere and nowhere. Cas isn’t sure how he goes from on his back, sprawled across the mattress, to sitting upright in Dean’s lap, his back to Dean’s chest. Dean’s arm is a band across his torso, keeping him prisoner, while a ruthless hand pushes his jeans down to his mid-thighs. 

“You don’t come unless it’s my hand on you, you hear me?” Dean’s voice is a low and dangerous whisper in his ear, and at first, Cas doesn’t comprehend the question, too focused on the low susurrus of Dean’s words. It’s only when Dean repeats himself, punctuated by a sharp nip to his lobe, that Cas finally understands. 

“Yes, yes, please,” he cries, caught between the promises of flight or release. “Please, Dean--” 

Dean’s chuckle echoes through him, reverberating in his chest. “Used to think about this. How you’d taste. How you’d look,” he tells Cas as he dips his hand into Cas’ jeans. He noses the collar of Cas’ shirt aside and bites at the juncture of his neck and shoulder, possessive and hard enough to leave bruises. 

Cas isn’t sure Dean’s aware of what he’s confessing, but he’ll take it, he’ll take all of it, crying out in wordless need as Dean grips him tightly. He starts to stroke Cas, hot and tight, almost too harsh, but the edge of pain is exactly what he needs. 

Cas leans against Dean, throwing his head back on his shoulder, as he shudders. “Please, please,” he whines, too far gone in pleasure to do anything more than buck into Dean’s grip. “Dean, I need--” 

“I know what you need, angel,” Dean whispers, before he squeezes his cock, thumb rubbing over the frenulum. By contrast, his lips are almost gentle as he presses them to Cas’ jaw, right at the already tender spot where the gun bruised him. 

The dual sensations prove too much. Cas comes with a sharp cry, shaking apart in Dean’s hands. Bizarrely, tears spring to the corner of his eyes as his stomach clenches and his cock strains in Dean’s hand. 

Maybe it’s the lingering drugs, maybe it’s the high of orgasm, maybe it’s just Dean. All Cas knows is that the world turns hazy at the edges. He’s aware of Dean working him out of his jeans, leaving his bottom half bare. He curls up in his pile of filthy blankets, searching for tactile sensation, and finds it in the fingers carding through his greasy hair. 

He doesn’t know why Dean remains, but he’s not going to question it. Instead, he shifts, resting his cheek against Dean’s thigh, and relaxing into the sensation. Languid warmth suffuses through his blood, and for the first time in a long time, Cas thinks he can almost remember what happiness felt like. 



---

 

Cas opens his eyes and blinks in the unexpected darkness. The last time he closed his eyes it was mid to late afternoon, but the sky he can spy through his window is inky black, with a few sparse stars doing their best to provide light. 

His confusion grows when his brain takes in the differences of his cabin. Soft, warm light lends the patchwork walls a comfort they’re normally lacking. Someone’s taken the time to light his considerable collection of candles. Their small, flickering lights transform his cabin into a place of comfort instead of debauchery. 

That small act of care would be revolutionary enough. But the true wonder comes when Cas rolls over and comes into contact with another warm body. 

Dazed, Cas blinks upward to spy Dean, still dressed and in his bed. He’s perched upright, his back resting against the wall, idly flipping through one of his paperbacks. Sartre maybe, or Camus. As Cas watches, one corner of Dean’s mouth lifts up in a reluctant attempt at a smile. Bukowski, perhaps. Appropriate tomes for the end of the world. 

Dean glances down. He doesn’t smile, but his face gives the impression that he wants to, the corners of his eyes lightening and his eyes gaining an added layer of warmth. 

“You’re still here,” Cas croaks, a little unnecessarily. 

Dean lifts a shoulder but offers no other commentary. After a few moment’s silence, he returns to reading. 

He can’t deal with this sober. He needs something. Cas rolls again, shivering as the covers slide from his body, leaving his bare lower half open to the chilly night air. At this point, it’s the work of moments for him to roll a joint, and he does so hurriedly, needing the extra fog of calm smoking will give him. He brings the joint to his lips and lights it, watching the end flare orange. Smoke curls as he takes a grateful inhale. 

Heedless of his partial nudity, he sprawls back on his bed, next to Dean. It’s habit more than anything else which leads to him offering Dean the joint (no one likes a stingy host), but genuine surprise floods through him when Dean wordlessly accepts the joint from his hand. 

Cas watches in wonder as Dean easily rests the joint against his lower lip, breathing in deep. He holds his inhale for several seconds before exhaling, smoke curling out of his mouth and nostrils. He hands the joint back to Cas, and Cas takes it from him with trembling fingers. 

The end of the joint is damp. Cas doesn’t slobber over his joints, which means that’s Dean’s saliva. He stares at it for a few long seconds, an illicit thrill pumping through his veins as he lifts the thin cylinder. His lips close around the end of the joint in an indirect kiss. 

No matter that his skin bears several bruises from Dean’s teeth and fingers, not to mention that his throat is sore from Dean’s cock shoving itself down it, this is the most intimate he and Dean have been all day. 

Long minutes pass as Cas and Dean pass the joint back and forth between themselves until it’s worn away to nothing. Halfway through, drowsiness beckons, and Cas surrenders to it. His head finds its way to Dean’s hip. The warmth of Dean’s skin bleeds through his shirt and into Cas. He can smell the faint scent of Dean, sweat, and gun oil, and leather. It should be off-putting. 

It’s not. 

Cas soaks in these minutes, breathing them in like they’re each their own little pockets of oxygen. He’s desperate to stretch the joint out for as long as he can and he fights against his instincts to take shallow inhales, holding the joint between his lips so that he can revel in the feeling of his saliva mingling with Dean’s. 

But all things come to an end. Cas takes the joint from Dean, noticing mournfully that there’s only enough left for a single inhale. He pinches the thin strip between his fingers, dragging in deep enough that the cherry starts to singe his lips. He finishes off the joint but holds the smoke in his lungs, even as he pinches the cherry dead between his fingers. 

Cas has no idea why he does it. It would certainly be easier to just exhale, to ride the moment of peace for a little bit longer. But Cas has never been interested in what is easy. He’s always been greedy, always been interested in taking more. 

His head is a little fuzzy from the inhale and lack of oxygen, but he still has enough wherewithal to push himself upright and sling his leg over Dean’s hips. He’s half expecting to be unceremoniously tossed off, but Dean, as always, surprises him. 

His hands settle on Cas’ hips, pulling him so closely that their chests brush. His hands are huge and warm, fingers brushing over his ass. Cas wriggles happily as Dean presses into his skin, even as little white pinpricks burst across his vision from lack of oxygen. 

“You’re holding out,” Dean finally says, digging his nails into Cas’ skin. “Give it to me.” 

Shaking, hardly daring to believe his luck, Cas leans forward, tilting his head to the side. Dean meets him halfway, plush lips parting. Cas makes a happy sound in the back of his throat as his lips push against Dean’s. Dean opens his mouth and accepts the stream of smoke which Cas breathes into him. 

It’s one of the sloppiest shotguns he’s ever done, mostly because at the end of the day, he could give a shit about getting Dean high. He’s drunk off of the feeling of Dean’s lips against his, flying from the feel of Dean’s hands against his skin. There’s nothing here between them now, no croats, no angels, no Lucifer. There’s just the pungent weed and skin and sweat. 

It’s so very human. 

There’s no way he can get it up again, not after his explosive orgasm earlier and the weed working through his system, but Cas wishes he could. As it is, his cock gives a valiant stir against his thigh. He rocks in Dean’s lap, wanting to chase the slow pulse of arousal yet not wanting to scare Dean away. He’s happy to keep this, Dean’s tongue sliding against his, teeth nipping at his lips. One of Dean’s hands leaves his hip to slip underneath his shirt, spanning the length of his spine to rest between his shoulders, right where his wings would have been. 

For once in his life, Cas doesn’t ache with their loss. 

Cas never wants the kiss to end, but eventually they both have to breathe. Their lips part with a soft smack, a thin tendril of saliva stretching between them and keeping them connected for several seconds before it snaps. Cas stays as close as he can, nose almost brushing Dean’s, so close that he’s going cross-eyed from looking at him. If he’s going to leave, then Dean’s going to be the one to push him off. 

Dean doesn’t. They hang in the liminal space of almost but not quite kissing for several long seconds. Dean doesn’t initiate another kiss, but he doesn’t pull away either. His thumb rubs an idle circle over Cas’ hip, pressing against several old bruises.

Finally, Cas can’t take it any longer. He leans forward, slowly enough that Dean could stop him if he wanted, and kisses Dean again. Dean allows the contact, going so far as to encourage it, opening his mouth to Cas’ questing tongue. 

“Shit,” Cas breathes quietly when he finally pulls away from Dean’s lips. 

Dean’s certainly not the first person he’s kissed. But Dean’s possibly the first person he’s kissed who meant something. Kissing those other people was like kissing cardboard, empty, dry, unsatisfying. Kissing Dean… well, if he was allowed to do this regularly, Cas doesn’t think he’d need quite as many drugs to make it through the day. 

Dean hums. It’s not exactly a confirmation, but it’s not a rejection either. The end of the world has made Cas easy. He’ll take what he can get. 

“Oh,” he says suddenly, the events of the afternoon coming back to him. Rather than slamming into him with the delicacy of an anvil, they wash over him, submerging him for a moment, but then disappearing. “I have a present for you.” 

“More weed?” Dean asks, slightly bemused. 

Cas grins. Testing his luck, he darts forward to peck a swift kiss against Dean’s lips. “Even better,” he promises. Loathe though he is to leave the warmth of Dean’s lap, he does so, finding his forgotten bag on the floor near the doorway. He steps on several beads on his way there, hissing unhappily as they dig into the soles of his feet. Even with those obstacles, he finds his bag and drags it back to the bed. 

The pill bottles clack against each other, but instead of looking pissed, Dean just looks intrigued. The difference makes Cas almost giddy. It’s strange to feel that sort of joy without the help of any chemicals to get him there. He’s not quite sure what to do with this feeling, other than ride it for everything he’s worth. 

“Here,” Cas says, reaching into the bag and dumping his prizes in Dean’s lap. 

Dean gingerly picks up the magazines, their once glossy covers tarnished by age and weather. He squints at the titles before he throws his head back. 

Cas startles as a genuine laugh bursts out of Dean’s throat. He hasn’t heard that sound in years. 

He’s entranced by the sight of Dean, almost undone. This must be how moths feel, drawn inexorably to a sight which will kill them. Even knowing that, there’s no way he could look away.  

“Classic Rides and Busty Asian Beauties?” Dean looks down at the magazines and then up at Cas. “This is what you were after?” 

Cas nods. “I thought you might appreciate them.” 

Dean’s hand rests on the magazines before he sets them carefully aside. “Fucking angel,” he mutters, loud enough for Cas to hear. 

The same swirl of emotion rises in his chest at the words, but Dean doesn’t give him any time to contemplate. He’s already reaching out for Cas, drawing him closer. He pulls Cas into his lap, hand spanning over the meat of his thigh and gripping at the thick muscle. He runs his lips over the bruises he left littered across Cas’ skin, licking at the tender flesh in an unmistakably possessive move. Cas whines at the feeling, grabbing at Dean’s arms to pull him closer. 

It’s not perfect. Nothing ever is. They’ve still lost Sam. There are still croats outside the borders of the camp. This slice of peace isn’t permanent. Cas isn’t different, nor is Dean. In the morning, he’s going to be itchy and jittery, and unable to function without swallowing at least three different pills. Dean still has a camp to look after. 

But here, for now, with Dean’s mouth against his, Dean laying him down and covering him with his full weight, Dean’s hands plucking at his shirt until he’s laid bare… This is theirs. 

Their little elegy for the end of the world. 

 

~*~*~*~*~*