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Somebody Up There Likes Me

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Like most interesting things that go down in their lives, they’re someplace really fucking boring when it happens. 

“I think,” Castiel says evenly, standing in the doorway of their motel bathroom in Oregon, “Even working under your very liberal definition of normal, this is unusual for human bodies.” 

“What? Go away, it’s not even eight.” Dean grumbles, and wriggles further under his blanket where it's warm and nobody is bothering him; he’d slept on the lumpy couch which, if he’s being realistic, he’s too far on the wrong side of twenty-five to be doing. 

They were all recovering from a mass exorcism that went off like an atomic bomb. Cas hadn’t even needed to stick around to help them out in the first place and got caught up in it, which made Dean feel shitty and selfish. On top of that, Cas looked so forlorn and pathetic with blood matted in his hair and sulphur burnt onto the collar of his shirt that Dean told him to stay, and take the second bed to rest on even if he didn’t need to sleep. 

“I - or rather, my vessel - appears to have undergone a very strange transformation.”

“Jesus Christ, I thought Sam already explained morning wood.” Dean sits up, squinting, and rummages in the crack between the couch cushions for his t-shirt. He finds it, and it doesn't smell, like, bad bad, so he pulls it over his head roughly, then turns to face Cas. “Holy shit.”

Cas shifts uncomfortably under Dean's scrutiny. “I told you I'm not my usual self.”

Dean, really awake now, rubs his forehead. “Uh, you got that right.” 

Cas is a girl. A hot girl. He has tits. Tits, Jesus, it is too fucking early for boobs on a dude. No matter how pretty that dude - girl - is. 

Fuck.

“Wake up, Sam," Dean snaps, throwing his feet onto the floor. "Cas is a girl.”

Sam buries his face in the covers, and actually pulls a pillow over his head. “Quit bullying him," he scowls, peeking out, "And go get us breakfast, it's your turn.”

Dean gets up, storms across the room, and snatches the pillow away. "Dude, see for yourself. He’s actually a chick.”

A chick that could have been Cas’s really cute twin sister - tall and lean; slightly hunched posture; big doe eyes; messy, shoulder-length brown hair. Dean’s threadbare t-shirt, which Cas borrowed while they washed the ash and blood out of his shirt and let it dry, is slipping off the peak of one pale shoulder. 

Sam blinks, sleepy, his eyes widening. “Uh, oh - wow, you actually have -”

“Don’t,” Dean warns him, slumping down to sit on the bed, digging the heels of his hands into his eyes like he can physically push the visual of perfect tits right out of his head, “I am cutting off the boob talk right now.”

Cas’s eyebrows twitch together. “What?”

“Dean doesn’t want to talk about your breasts,” Sam informs him, barely suppressing his glee, “It’s making him uncomfortable because he hasn’t acknowledged the complex fluidity of human sexuality.”

Why the hell hadn’t he tried harder with the yoga instructor back in Olympia? Maybe if he’d sealed the deal with her and gotten it out of his system, he’d be able to stop his eyes popping out of his head like some cartoon perve, when he should be thinking about whatever twisted magic shit happened to Cas. 

“86 the gender studies crap, I need to think about this,” Dean points to Cas, who crosses his arms over his chest, and watches with wide, confused eyes. 

“What do you need to think about?” Sam asks, kindly, “The fact that you’re checking out Cas ?” 

“Uh, hey, I have eyes, and a functioning cerebral cortex,” Dean paces the length of the room and back again, keeping his eyes to himself - at least while Sam’s giving him a beady, suspicious look, “He looks like a hot girl, I’m just - wired that way.”

Cas interrupts his rant peevishly: “I would suggest that a more pressing issue is that I can’t seem to do anything about this situation myself.” 

Dean chews on his thumbnail and paces. “Maybe we should call Bobby.”

Sam heaves himself up out of bed, unfolding all eleven feet of his mutant body and smirking. “I’ll do it. Go get me hash browns and I’ll shut up about you being into Cas’s boobs.”

“Fine!” Dean snaps. He gets up and snatches his wallet and keys off the table. “I’ll get drive-through, you deal with RuPaul.”

-

Dean drives to Burger King ten above the speed limit, fuming, wanting to smack his face against the windscreen to punish himself every time he thinks about the soft curve of Cas’s thighs, and the shadows of his nipples, hard underneath Dean’s t-shirt. It’s sad as fuck that it only took ten minutes of being face to face with him - her - him , to burn that image into Dean’s brain forever. 

He needs to get laid, like yesterday.

He's halfway there, Black Sabbath rattling the windows of the Impala, when he gets three texts from Sam, one after the other.

9:15
go get him a bra & jeans & boots that’ll fit, maybe sz 7? get an 8 too 

9:16
him? her?

9:16
whatever you still wanna bone Cas 😂

-

They take Cas with them and drive east, ostensibly to check in with Bobby, but really because Dean’s too restless and pissed off to sit around and do research in one place. His crappy mood gets worse whenever he catches himself checking Cas out like he would with any other girl, not like he's just stuffy old trench-coated Cas. Girl-Cas has miles of milky pale skin he's really bad about remembering to cover up, and an ass like a peach. 

Cas is bunking with them in a skeevy hotel in the middle of Idaho, and he’s scarily nonchalant about being a chick, even when he’s arguing doggedly with Dean about underwear.

“Cas, for the last time, put the damn bra on.”

Cas ignores him, chin lifted, and unzips his hoodie and shrugs out of it. It’s a soft, thin, grey one he found in a Goodwill in Boise and became immediately, irreversibly attached to. He stubbornly refused to leave until Dean coughed up the three dollars to pay for it, while Sam hung in the doorway smothering a grin.

When it became evident that Cas wasn’t going to spontaneously change back, and that he’d be forced to hang with them until they reversed the spell, they really had to double down on making him blend in. Under duress, and with Sam hovering over his shoulder like an overgrown, disapproving shoulder angel, Dean went to the mall and bought Cas a couple pairs of jeans, then some local shoe store for decent boots, and then a pair of blue ballet flat things from American Eagle that Sam got all moony and pouty over because Jess had a pair just like then. 

Other than that, he’s still wearing borrowed t-shirts. They’re all way too big around the neck, and the delicate lines of Cas’s exposed collarbones are beginning to grate on Dean's nerves.

“The women’s underwear is not comfortable.” Cas says, with a lot of dignity for someone who had to be taught not to say 'my new vagina' to the Mick Jagger-wannabe sales guy in Urban Outfitters. 

“Listen to me,” Dean grates out, trying not to look while Cas walks around the room in only a t-shirt and Dean's sweatpants, rolled up two or three times. “You have to wear a bra.”

Cas throws him a hurt, resentful look. “Why?” 

“You’re a C cup, that’s why!” Dean shouts back, “It’s just the rules.”

“It’s itchy,” Cas whines, “And if I wear it too long, it hurts, right under here,” Cas lifts his arm over his head and runs a finger around the half-moon shadow that’s clearly visible through his t-shirt. 

Dean opens the battered mini bar and takes out a seven-dollar bottle of Southern Comfort the size of a matchbox and pounds it in one swallow. 

“Ix-nay on the its-tay,” Sam, from the bed, nudges Cas with his foot, “Dean’s going to have an aneurysm.”

Cas tells Sam matter-of-factly, “I don’t know what that means, but I’m not wearing the bra, particularly if we're only going to be sitting around here doing research all evening.”

Sam smirks, tongue caught between his teeth. “Yeah, that’s fine, dude, that won’t make Dean drink himself to sleep at all.”

-

They make it to Bobby’s in one piece, dignity mostly intact - at least on Cas’s part. That is, once Dean convinces him to wear a bra at least in public where there are gross dudes who will check him out if he doesn’t - which in the end takes a bribe in the form of a horrifying trip to the Victoria’s Secret in Sioux Falls. 

Sam is still lecturing him about being creepy while they unpack the Impala in Bobby's driveway. Bobby disappeared as soon as they arrived to check Cas over, wielding a bunch of instruments he dug out of a spider-infested box in the supply closet, which is something Dean is very thankful to be far away from.

“You can’t fall to pieces every time Cas takes his bra off. He's hot in this body, sure, but -”

Dean rounds on him, pointing. “You goddamn hypocrite!”

“No-o,” Sam shakes his head, “I'm not. I can say that he’s objectively hot because in case you hadn't noticed, I don't pop a boner when Cas shaves his legs with the bathroom door open.”

“Why did you even teach him how to - that had nothing to do with -” Dean cuts himself off, jaw falling open with a click. “Excuse me, self-control? You boinked a demon.”

Sam looms over him with narrowed eyes, and Dean refuses to back down, so in two seconds flat they’re in a full on wrestling match. Sam is the morality police except when it comes to exploiting his height advantage in a fair fight, so Dean’s red-faced and sweaty and actually very happy for the interruption by the time Bobby sticks his head out of the front door and hollers, “Hey, dipshits, I’ve got something! Get in here!”

Because Bobby and Sam are in cahoots, and they hate Dean and want him to suffer, Cas is standing patiently in the kitchen next to Bobby’s wheelchair, although he’s basically half-naked. He’s wearing a grey t-shirt that could have been Dean's or Sam's at one point or another, and the Victoria’s Secret panties Dean bought him. Purple Cheeky ones. With a bow on the front.

“Fuck me ,” Dean groans, and throws himself down into a kitchen chair, thunks his forehead on the table, trying to knock the dirty thoughts lose. It doesn't help; even with his eyes squeezed shut he can still see the slender lines of Cas’s girl body. The no-sex void stretching out for several months behind Dean, haunting him like a very boring poltergiest, is making him weaker than usual. 

“What the hell’s the matter with him?” Bobby asks Sam. 

“He’s dismayed about having to spend sixty dollars on underwear for me,” Cas explains. 

“Jesus,” Bobby says, sympathetically, “Well, buck up, because this little mark right here means we can fix whatever happened, and we won’t have to sacrifice anything small and fluffy to do it.”

"Bonus!" Sam chirps, throwing himself into the chair next to Dean.

Bobby lifts up one side of Cas’s t-shirt and points to a tiny, blurry symbol that’s branded into the skin of his belly, just above the sweet curve of his right hip. 

“So, if you take a close look you can see it’s made up of a couple of different sigils -”

Dean interjects: “I’m good, I’m good,” because the quicker they get this over with, the less time he has to open his mouth and stick his foot in it repeatedly, “- just tell me what we need to do.”

According to some fat, dusty book that Sam finds intensely interesting, whatever it is that keeps angels and demons in their vessels is pretty volatile magic - useful, but very unstable, which is so freakin’ typical of Heaven. Of course they would prioritise expediency over actual human lives. 

Bobby hypothesises that Cas’s true form had some kind of allergic reaction to an incantation they’d used at the concert in Seattle with all the possessed hipsters. Dean refused to let Sam use his little party trick, so instead they’d tried some shady shit from the back page of a spell book to amplify one of their favourite moves and exorcise all the demons at once. It worked, but all three of them had been knocked off their feet in a huge cloud of demon-laced dust. 

Apparently, Cas had inhaled a little too much, and woke up the next day with no Y chromosome.

“Cutting magical corners always comes back to bite you in the ass,” Bobby crosses his arms and leans back in his chair, then tilts his head at Cas, “Or the, uh, hip, in this case.”

“Oh, we’ve learned our lesson,” Sam says, and flicks a smirk in Dean’s direction. “Believe me.”

“Well, it’s easy enough to fix, but we gotta do it before whatever deformed magic you two dumbasses conjured starts to degrade this form,” he jerks his thumb towards Cas, “You’ll need to drive to Des Moines tomorrow and pick up some stuff from my supplier.”

“I’ll go!” Dean volunteers, absolutely stoked at the thought of a few Cas-free hours, “Cas, you stay here with Bobby.”

Sam gets up from the kitchen table, and levels Dean with a pointed gaze that’s pure evil when he says: “I’ll come too. Give us a little time to talk, huh, Dean?”

-

Dean is facedown on Bobby’s upstairs guest room bed finally considering going to sleep, with the help of his fifth beer, when Cas barges into the room without knocking, wearing - oh, God - one of Dean’s old Royals sweatshirts and a pair of boxers Sam gave him to use as pyjama shorts. Dean groans into the pillow, suddenly reminiscing very fondly about hell. Take me back there, please, he thinks, anything but this, and behind him Cas makes a raw, shocked sound.“I can still hear you when you pray, Dean,” he croaks.

“Shit, sorry,” Dean heaves himself onto his back and sits up. “I was kidding, dude, don’t worry.”

But it’s too late, Cas’s eyes are boring into him, shining with hurt. “You’d rather go back to hell than be around me while I’m - like this?”

“No,” Dean says firmly, resolving to throw himself off a bridge as soon as possible, “God, no. I was just -” freaking out, he should say, having a full blown identity crisis past the age of thirty and hurting the people I care about, as usual. “- I was spiralling,” is what he settles on. “C’mere, man.” He shuffles over and pats the bed next to him. 

Cas sits down, and the sleeves of the sweatshirt spill down over his hands - Dean twitches with an out-of-the-blue urge to touch him, scoop him up and hold him while he’s so much smaller, lean into the size difference and make the most of it. Cas makes him feel tiny, even now, sometimes, it’d be nice to get his bearings in a way he’s familiar with. 

When Dean looks up, Cas is studying him intently in the way he always does before he says some disarming shit and leaves Dean feeling split in half; it’s like getting into a shower that’s too hot - it’s taken some time but he’s used to the pain now, and he braces himself just in time.

“I’ve been thinking about it, and I do not believe I’m wrong in thinking there is something between us. You find me attractive.”

And, yep, that’s a recurring theme in Dean’s life that he doesn’t want to think too hard or too long about because there’s bound to be some mommy and daddy issues bullshit in it. Every time he gets busted being unable to keep his eyes to himself around someone he’s into, they immediately seem to know everything he’s thinking and feeling. He may as well be wearing it as a slogan on a t-shirt: I think I can solve all my emotional problems by screwing you! 

“Well, I mean, okay you got me there, but I’m only human, and this body is -” Dean gestures to him, vaguely, and Cas clicks his tongue angrily.

“I don’t mean only now, in this female form, I mean since we met.”

Panic bubbles up, hot and unstoppable in Dean’s chest. “What? I - dude, Cas, I -”

“I’ve noticed that the way you look at me now isn’t all that different from before,” he says, like he’s telling Dean that he noticed the sky is blue, like turning Dean’s life upside down is nothing.

For once in his life, Dean’s got nothing to say - he’s knocked silent, opening and closing his mouth like a fish stranded on dry land.

“Perhaps it would be easier for you if I stayed in this body,” Cas offers, low and reassuring. He’s so close that Dean can see the hundreds of dainty freckles on the bridge of his nose and his cheeks, “Sam helped me to understand that homosexuality makes you uncomfortable.”

“Bobby said the magic would damage - whoa, hold up, Cas, I’m not homophobic -” Dean sparks up, furious kind of at Sam, and mostly at himself, because fuck, maybe he is? Can someone even be homophobic towards themselves? He’s panicking about it some more until Cas leans in, a hand on his knee for balance, and just like that, kisses him off-centre, clumsy and warm and perfect. 

Dean eases him away, trying to be gentle - which he’d really like a gold medal for, considering how long it’s been since he had a pretty girl try it on with him - and scrubs his palm over his own mouth where he can still taste Cas’s mouth, and it makes him feel insane, dizzy and hot and - “Cas, I can’t even deal with this on a normal day, let alone a day when you’ve been zapped into the body of a girl.”

“I’m still me,” Cas says, encouragingly, “Just a slightly different vessel.”

Fuck Dean’s whole life, that makes him feel worse about it, why would he feel worse ? It’s not like he’d rather have Cas in his regular dude body kissing him and climbing half into his lap in a cosy, dimly lit bedroom on a lonely weekday evening, would he? Christ, he must be drunk.

“That’s - not better. You got Freaky Friday-ed with yourself.” At a loss, he tries for a joke: “Besides, you might have a dick under there, how would I know?” And of course that sounds offensive and insensitive and would you look at that, he can hate himself more than he did when he thought it was rock bottom in that department. 

“I don’t -” Cas offers, glancing down at his lap, “- have a dick. If it helps.”

Dean groans, not picturing it until he is picturing it. “It doesn’t help, believe me.”

Cas is warm and solid against his side, with his ankle folded over Dean's, his blue eyes searching, “Then what would? I really wouldn’t mind staying this way, if you would be amenable to -“

A monster, Dean decides, he’s a monster - no, actually, worse than a monster, because he considers it for a second. It would be easier. But, no. It could be dangerous, Bobby said so, even if Dean’s horny and lonely and out of options. He shushes Cas. “Even if I wanted you to, you can’t -”

Finally, Cas pulls away to glare at Dean. “You don’t want me to be a woman either? Explain this to me concisely,” he snaps, “I believe my failure to understand the situation is not my own fault.”

“I'm straight, do you understand? I don't like men sexually. And you, temporary boobs aside, are a dude.”

“Bodies are only -” 

Dean cuts him off, “Hey, you wanted a concise explanation, and you got one. I don't need the 'humans are bizarre' lecture right now.”

“I don’t think humans are bizarre, I think they’re confused and fragile and disappointingly closed-minded,” he snarls. The hair around his face is ruffled into a demented halo, and in that moment he looks like himself, like boy Cas, and for that split second he’s more gorgeous than before. Dean’s belly sinks like a stone. What the fuck is happening to him? 

Dean gets up, unsteady on his feet, his voice tripping over Cas’s name, but Cas whirls around to face him and snarls: “Don’t come after me, I don’t want to see you.” 

He slams the door behind him, and Dean sits and listens to him storm all the way down the stairs, feeling sick to his stomach. 

-

The trip with Sam to go get supplies is no less excruciating than any time alone with Cas. Sam lulls Dean into a false sense of security by keeping it light for most of the drive, and then corners him while he’s eating one-handed after a drive-through stop. Sam’s so fucking smart, and Dean forgets that sometimes, and especially when he has a really good hotdog. 

“What went down last night?” Sam asks, and gives him the Concerned Eyebrows while he chews and swallows his mouthful of chicken salad with fat free dressing. 

“That’s none of your damn business,” Dean tells him sweetly.

“The hell it isn’t,” Sam scoffs, “You’re my brother, and he’s your guardian angel, and we all have to work together somehow in this clusterfuck of a situation.”

“We are working together just fine.”

“Right, and how long do you think that’ll last if whatever happened between you two keeps on happening?”

Dean stuffs half his hotdog in his mouth and guns it out onto the highway, overtaking some old biddy in a Honda doing the speed limit. He leans over and rummages around on the floor for a tape at the same time, just to make Sam nervous. “We just had a fight,” he loses patience completely, sick to his stomach with having to say it again for what feels like the millionth time in his life: “I’m not gay.” 

“Dean, you need to grow up,” Sam says, ignoring Dean’s nasty glare, “Sexuality isn’t fixed or binary, there’s a miles-long spectrum, you can identify with any part of it you want to.”

“Oh, God. Kiss my ass, Liberal Arts. I’m well aware of the spectrum.”

Sam actually looks happier, then, like Dean said something he liked. He smiles, just a flash of his infuriatingly white teeth in Dean's periphery. “That’s good. Just don’t - don’t think that you’re going somewhere you can’t come back from if you and Cas -”

Dean explodes: “For the last time, I am not doing anything with Cas! Which is the goddamn problem here!”

Sam’s eyebrows shoot up.

Don’t.” Dean floors it past 85. “I will kill you.”

-

Bobby's supplier doesn't come through with everything they need, of course, which means that, a) Dean spent nine hours avoiding eye contact with Sam for no reason, and b) they have to order some stuff from a website based out of some witchy coven in Vermont and wait out the excruciatingly slow shipping time all squished together at Bobby’s place. 

Dean buries himself in the car, and lets Sam mostly deal with Cas, because he's pissed off and twitchy from being scolded all the time for staring, or avoiding looking altogether, or saying the wrong thing accidentally. And from ending up in bed at night unable to sleep because he’s all tied up in confused, horny knots. 

Just Dean’s luck, now that Cas is even peripherally aware that Dean is attracted to him, he’s suddenly honing in like a radar every time Dean so much as glances at him, and looking back at him with his usual bright intensity and something pity-adjacent in his eyes. 

Sam, it turns out, spent way too much time living with Jessica, and is awesome at girl shit. While Dean mopes, he takes Cas into Sioux Falls and they scour the huge Goodwill and get him a bunch more clothes to wear, because once he found out girls could wear just about anything, they couldn't stop him. Then, Sam shows Cas how to put his hair in a ponytail to keep it out of his way while he’s doing something that involves leaning over a lot, and teaches him to wear his jean shorts over a pair of tights with his boots, and that's - that's good. 

He looks good. 

His legs are long and lean, and he walks very confidently into the bar that Dean drags them all into one Friday night, little black handbag swinging at his side. Walking a few steps behind Cas, but looking very carefully at the back of his neck, Dean decides that he needs to have sex with someone who is not an Angel of the Lord housed in a temporarily female vessel if it’s the last thing he ever does. 

"I wasn’t aware that women have so much more choice in their clothing," Cas tells Dean enthusiastically, perched on a barstool in the tights-and-shorts combo that short-circuits Dean's ability to not be a disgusting slobbering perve, something which Sam disapproves of intensely. "I'm finding it very amusing to change outfits all the time and I’d like to acquire more clothing for my male form. Is it generally acceptable for men to wear stockings, too?" 

There’s a lot he could say to that, but a garbled stream of consonants is all that comes out. It apparently takes all of the brain cells he has available right then to dismantle that particular mental image and the noxious wave of panic it dredges up.

Cas frowns at him. “Do you have these episodes often?”

Dean raises the mostly-full beer in his hand to signal the bartender for another one. 

He’s saved from being the centre of attention when Bobby runs into a couple of his lowlife buddies and gets roped into a very shady game of cards with Sam on his side. Cas watches them intently from the sidelines, oblivious to the lecherous gazes he's drawing from many of the patrons. 

Dean hovers, covering Cas’s six, which affords him the double reward of getting to glare at anyone who gets too close, and avoiding Sam’s curious glances. It doesn’t last long, though; the third time someone asks Dean what his girlfriend’s name is, he rage quits and decides Cas is on his own. He storms away from the table in search of a double shot of whatever is closest. 

“Jameson, neat,” he grunts, and then jumps a foot in the air when Sam, who’s managed to sneak up on him even though he’s the size of a telephone pole, adds: “Make it two.”

“It’s on me,” Sam peels a couple bills off a wad of his hard-earned hustling cash before he bends over to stuff the rest into his sock, “Bobby’s buddy Julio is teaching Cas how to play poker, so we could be in for a long night. You wanna get nachos, too? ”

“From this joint?” Dean scoffs, “Even I’ve got limits.”

“Sure you have. Hey, speaking of boundaries -”

Nope, no chance, Dean will not sit through another PFLAG seminar from Sam Winchester. He snatches a fistful of his lapel and hauls him in close. “I swear to God, if you bring up that feminist bullshit one more time, I’m gonna drag you to the bathroom, stuff your giant head the can, and flush.”

“So I don't need to give you a pep talk about the futility of labelling yourself?” Sam laughs, shaking Dean off. He’s way too amused by this whole thing, Dean decides, it’s looking like he needs to be yanked back down a notch. 

“I hear it’s the real apocalypse -” Dean explains, because he’s sorely tempted to bully his own brother, “- the bathroom here, I mean. Some guy told me earlier I’d wind up cleaner if I pissed into my own hands.” 

The bartender slides their drinks into their hands and takes Sam’s money. By the time he’s back with the change, Dean’s chugged his. 

“Is it really that bad?” Sam furrows his forehead. “Just because you think girl-Cas is hot doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world. I mean,” he pauses, and pre-laughs at his own joke: “We know what the end of the world looks like.”

Groaning, Dean jiggles his empty glass at the bartender, who holds up one finger and goes back to serving someone else. 

Sam barrels on: “I shouldn’t have freaked you out with all that stuff about sexual identities.”

Dean shifts, wiggling his toes inside his boots. All his clothes suddenly feel two sizes too small whenever Sam starts up about this stuff. Since when is Sam head cheerleader for he and Cas, anyway? He’s the one who keeps putting Dean in perve jail every time he looks at Cas below the neck for more than point five seconds.

Sam looks right at Dean, really examining him, terrifyingly sincere, “All I’m saying is, I don’t care. Bobby won’t care. Dad wouldn’t have cared.”

Furious and confused and thinking of Dad in a burst of sudden, aching hot flash of grief, because Sam dragged fucking Dad into this piping hot mess as well, Dean blurts out: “I don’t like men. I don’t want to fuck men. Cas is just the closest thing to a hot chick I’ve laid eyes on in months. He’s not special, okay?”

Sam’s face falls into the blankness of his ‘I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed’ face, and Dean clamps down on the guilt swelling in his chest as he says, wounded: “Sure, dude. Why don’t you go talk to those girls over there? None of them are special, either.”

He palms his whiskey and stomps off, leaving Dean alone and mapping out the logistics of shoving his own head in a toilet and flushing. 

-

In the grand scheme of every nasty thing Dean has fought, been bitten by, or had to run for his life away from, a skinny five-foot-something girl in jean shorts is nothing, less than nothing even - but Dean’s heart falls out of his ass when Cas bangs through the door of the guest room without knocking and sticks him with a volcanically furious stare. 

“Uh, Cas -” Dean starts. He hadn’t even realised anyone had followed him back - he’d hitched a ride on the back of Bobby’s friend’s Harley and left Sam to babysit Cas. Who’s now in the doorway of the room Dean’s claimed even though he really should give it up to let Cas sleep in a real bed, damp from the rain that’s started up outside, and radiating fury. 

“Why those girls in the bar, and not me?” Cas demands, hands on his hips, “We're the same.” 

They sure as shit are not the same. The local girls in the bar were - fine. They were drunk enough to find Dean funny and hot enough to distract him. He spent an hour doing shots with them, putting on his very best up-for-anything grin, and then ultimately struck out because his metaphorical boner was being squished by the steady throb of guilt and emptiness that kicked up in him every time he thought of Cas across the room fluttering his eyelashes at Julio the poker guy.

Dean flounders. “I - I explained this to you already. You're a dude.”

“Angels have no gender,” Cas snarls, “I have explained this to you.” 

Dean throws his arms up. “Okay, fine, well, usually you look like a dude.”

In a flurry of motion, Cas angrily unzips his stupid, beloved hoodie and throws it on the ground; Dean splutters, but Cas ignores him and starts on his jean shorts and tights, shimmies them down over his hips, then slips his t-shirt off over his head, and yet again, he's not wearing the fucking bra. He stands in front of Dean, defiant, and naked except for a pair of dark green panties, and puts his hands on his hips. “Do I? Look like a man?”

“Not -” Dean swallows, shivery hot all over, goosebumps prickling his forearms and blood rushing to his traitorous dick. He tears his eyes away from Cas's perfect pink nipples hardening in the chilly air. “Not right now.”

Cas sighs, and it's comforting in its familiarity. It's his ‘petty humans’ sigh. “Then what is your problem?”

Dean has a laundry list of problems, not the least of which is the fact that he doesn't do virgins, doesn't need that kind of responsibility, doesn't know if fucking Cas, whatever he's got in his panties, would make him gay, or bi, or whatever ten dollar word Sam wants to slap on it, hates the thought of breaking Cas's heart if and when they can get him back into his original-ish form and Dean inevitably doesn't want to get anywhere near his dick. 

There’s also the reality that if Cas wanted to bone a human, Dean could point him to at least ten in that town alone who would be a better choice than him. Well, maybe not that exact town, but the county, probably, there’d be men and women who were smarter, more successful, more stable, hotter, and less likely to ruin Cas even more than he already has been. 

But - Cas’s eyes are so, so blue, staring at Dean, challenging him, pleading, and they really are his, Cas’s eyes, not some other girl's eyes, and that's the worst part of the whole clusterfuck. It's also what has Dean moving across the room, leaping before he looks, shoot first ask questions later. Adrenaline sparkling in his chest, he backs Cas up to the door until it shuts, pins him there with an arm on either side of his body. He threads an arm around Cas’ waist to reach behind him and flick the lock. Cas shivers. 

"You cold?" Dean whispers, leaning his forehead against Cas's. Cas shakes his head. His eyes are wild and eager, searching Dean's face, darting up and down to his lips. "I need you to understand that I might not - after - when you're -"

Cas cuts him off with a hungry, open-mouthed kiss, and just like that, every promise Dean made to himself, and to Sam, about leaving six inches for Jesus between girl-Cas and his very confusing boner is gone. He kisses back, matching Cas's urgency, pulling him in tight against his body. He can't navigate the intricacies of his own fucked-up mind, panics at even the slightest complication with his sexuality, but this he can do. 

He can just let Cas scrape his fingernails down Dean’s shoulders in stinging lines, let him lick into Dean’s mouth like he’s starved for it and didn’t know what he wanted, and Dean’s somehow giving it to him. 

They spend long enough necking against the door, hot and sloppy and uncoordinated, that Dean has to start shifting at weird angles to keep his boner away from Cas, because that’s probably a little much for ten minutes after Cas’s first ever human kiss. Dean pins Cas’s hips to the door, and Cas makes a rough, pissed off sound. “Dean,” he moans, “Please - I -”

“You what?” Dean teases, dragging his open mouth down Cas’s neck and thrilling all over when Cas clutches a fistful of his hair and yanks on it, hard. He wonders idly if Cas, at full size and strength, would be able to throw him around and really make him feel it. 

“Dean,” Cas insists, and it’s like he’s coming untethered in Dean’s arms, wild-eyed, his mouth swollen, chasing every bit of contact he can get and eating it up. Needing to put a lot more muscle into it than he’d like to admit, Dean tries to rearrange him, but he moves at just the right time and slides onto Dean’s thigh and they both gasp - Cas because he’s obviously finally gotten the friction he wants and Dean because he can feel, even through his jeans, that Cas is soaking wet. Cas shifts, a tiny little bit, back and forth, and chokes on a moan.

“Je-sus-christ,” Dean mutters, knocks his forehead against the door with every syllable, because he’s about to cream his jeans like a fifteen year old, and he’s gotta get a handle on himself, he just has to. 

He’s making out with Cas. Cas, who defied heaven for him. Cas, who’s hot and weird and powerful and kind of funny and believes in spite of everything that Dean is special and interesting. Cas, who’s dragging ragged breaths into his lungs and staring wide-eyed down at where their bodies are joined, frozen in complete shock.

Dean’s been an adult since he was ten years old, he can do this.

Gently, he shifts back, encouraging Cas to take his own weight, propping him against the door.

“Hey, c’mon, look at me,” Dean can hardly breathe himself, but he tries to sound comforting. His hand is shaking when he reaches up and rakes Cas’s hair back off his damp forehead and cheek, which is totally normal and not at all a worry. “We can’t do this, you know we can’t.” 

Cas tightens his grip on Dean’s arm and hip. “I don’t - I don’t want to stop touching you,” he pants, “Everything - feels so good.” 

Christ. When Dean’s the person in the room with the most self control, it’s a surefire disaster. But he can fake bravado and give a pep talk for both of them if he has to, that’s his speciality. “I know, look, let’s just - cuddle. Come on.” 

He manoeuvres them both to the unmade bed, gets them down onto it without anyone getting an elbow anywhere unpleasant even though Cas won’t let go of him. He bends down briefly to snag Cas’s t-shirt off the floor and pull it down over his head - the less skin touching, the better. They fold together like jigsaw pieces, face to face sharing one pillow, their breathing slowing down in time. 

Outside, the storm picks up a little more, a mournful-sounding wind starting to rattle the car yard. 

“I wish,” Cas says quietly, “That I could somehow make things easier for us.”

"I know, but I’ve been there before, Cas, and getting attached is never good," Dean says, tapping their foreheads together, letting his lips brush Cas’s cheek, the slope of his nose, the pretty curve of his upper lip. It’s true, in many ways, but it sounds like - Dean searches desperately for something to add to that, to clarify, but it’s too late. Cas knows exactly what he meant, and what Dean didn’t say, and something has shifted between them; the air is tight.

But Cas just nods, although his eyes are big and sad. He reaches up and brushes his fingertips over Dean’s eyebrows, down his jawline, over his mouth, like Dean is special or valuable. Shivers zing through him, and he feels flayed, raw when Cas speaks. "Right - because we could be used against each other."

If he's going to buy that, it might as well be the reason.

They're so close Dean can see the tiny veins in Cas’s pale wrist, he could reach out only an inch or so and feel the pressure of the blood zipping through them, the secret beat of his pulse under the skin. He drinks him in, the smell of him, fabric softener and clean skin and something familiar and about as homey as Dean ever feels which might be the buttery cream Sam uses on his hands - the same one their mom used to use on them when they were little. Slowly, Cas relaxes into him, his breathing slowing down into long, deep sighs. 

Dean waits, happy to lay there and just be, until Cas dozes off in his arms, mouth open, hands soft. He’s been sleeping on and off lately, which is pretty unusual for him, maybe his body is just knocked out by the bad magic holding him in this form. 

Carefully, Dean extracts himself and stands up, leans across him to pull the covers up. With a soft, murmuring noise, Cas rolls over and buries his other cheek in the pillow. Dean knows he should be sensible about all this and go and sleep downstairs on the couch, let Cas stretch out and have the whole bed to himself.

But the rain is beating at the window now, so heavy it's just a sheet of water cascading down the pane, and the bedroom is dark and cosy, a secret little pocket of warmth. With nobody there to watch him, Dean hesitates for a second, torn, glancing between the door and Cas's warm skin and pink cheeks, the long line of his body curved down the middle of the mattress like a question mark. 

Dean takes his boots off, and then his belt, and, pushing past the point of no return with unsteady hands, his jeans. He drops them all in a pile on the floor by the bed. Gently, he slides back onto it, next to Cas, close enough to feel his warmth, breathe in the milky smell of the nape of his neck. 

Cas doesn’t stir when Dean pulls the quilt back up and over both of them. He passes out almost immediately, the backs of his knuckles just touching Cas’ shoulder blade, feeling the rush of his breath, in and out. 

-

Sam pounding on the door, calling, “Cas? Cas? You in there?” is not Dean's favourite way to wake up, but having a beautiful girl draped over him when he forces his eyes open softens the blow. Even if that girl is Cas. 

Cas is spooned up behind him, cheek resting on Dean’s shoulder. He shifts creakily and makes a soft, syrupy noise, presses his mouth to the skin just above Dean’s collar and kisses there softly, which does absolutely nothing to help with the insistent morning boner Dean’s trying to wish away through sheer determination. 

“I’m awake,” Cas replies to Sam, yanking Dean over onto his back with shockingly strong hands and tucking his warm face into the crook of Dean’s neck - he’s sleepy and pale and beautiful in the watery morning sunlight. Apparently unable to stop himself now he’s started, Dean wraps his arms and legs around Cas and squeezes, rearranges them so they’re slotted together like straids of a braid. 

“Have you seen Dean? I can’t find him anywhere and his phone’s off.” Sam calls. The doorknob rattles. 

“Perhaps he slept in the car,” Cas suggests, burrowing in greedily and making Dean’s heart clench and then expand like a squished marshmallow. “Or picked up a girl and went home with her.”

Dean bites his lip, laughing silently when Cas raises his eyebrows pointedly. Little shit.

“Okay,” Sam says, warily, “He usually texts me if he's getting laid, though. Can't resist.”

“Hmmm,” Cas does an okay job of making himself sound disapproving, “That does sound like him.”

Sam laughs, muffled. “Yeah. You'll let me know if you hear from him?” he prompts. 

Cas throws his leg over Dean’s and pulls the covers up to both of their chins, closes his eyes. “Of course I will,” he says. He’s snoring softly again within two breaths.

-

Once he’s awake again, Dean waits until Sam and Bobby have been out in the yard for an hour or so and then come back in for breakfast to saunter into the kitchen, whistling, like he'd arrived home casually while they were working on the pickup. 

Cas is still upstairs showering but Dean didn't bother, instead choosing to spend as much time as possible dropping in and out of consciousness with Cas all over and around him - so when he jolted awake way past ten he really only had time to wash his face and push a mumbly, heavy-eyed Cas into the shower. 

“Where the hell have you been?” Bobby demands.

“Out.” Dean tells him, chirpy; he's got his jacket and yesterday's clothes on, it's plausible. 

Sam eyes him, heavy with suspicion. “You want coffee?” 

“No, thanks!” Dean saunters to the fridge, weirdly perky considering he spent the whole night just cuddling, and pulls out the chocolate pudding Sam made the night before, the whole container of it. It’s fat free, ew, but it’s still breakfast of champions. He's cutting up a banana to go on top when an even better idea occurs to him. “Ooh, do we have graham crackers?”

“No,” Bobby says, narrowing his eyes, “Did you get laid?”

“Nope.” He rummages around in the cupboard until he finds half a package of vanilla wafers, and dumps the whole thing into the pudding with the banana. Sam twitches in disgust, wrinkling his nose down at his own bowl of granola and blueberries. 

Bobby scowls up at him. “Well get your shit together, and go get Cas out of bed. No time like the present to get him back into his dude body.”

“Cas is still in bed?” Dean asks innocently, sitting down at the table, just in the mood to fuck with them, the glow of whatever the hell cuddling did to him still sitting low in his chest, lighting him up. 

“Yeah,” Sam frowns, “I went up there earlier and the door was locked. He sounded really weird. I don't know what you said to him last night, but he must be upset.”

Upset isn’t really the word Dean would use; he woke up before dawn to discover he was using Cas as a pillow, and had rucked his tshirt up to rest his cheek on the velvety skin of his belly. He’d shifted, and Cas jerked awake and blinked down at him, heavy-lidded. Cas caught him when he tried to move away and wound them together tightly, stroking long, firm lines up and down Dean’s back. And just like that, Dean was unconscious again like somebody knocked him over the head, totally blissed out.

Mouth full, Dean says, “I think he'll be fine.”

-

Dean polishes off the pudding in six huge bites and goes upstairs to drag Cas down, but Cas sneaks up on him, fully dressed already, and corners him on the landing, crowds him up against the wall.

“If we do this,” he asks, voice hoarse, “If we change me back, will I have to pretend last night didn't happen?”

“I - no,” Dean says, puts his hands on Cas's hips, thumbs under his t-shirt, drinks in his soft skin for what might be the last time, “But you have to understand -”

Cas cuts him off, shaking his head impatiently. “I know, I know, you're not homosexual, but I -”

Feeling like shit, worse than shit, Dean reels Cas in and brushes the damp hair off his forehead. “I just can't give you any guarantees, okay?”

Cas looks at him for a long time, and then says, “Alright,” and gets up on tip-toes and kisses him, heartbreakingly soft, like a goodbye.

-

They set everything up in Bobby's poor, battered living room, figuring they may as well add to the burns and gouges in the walls and floorboards. Also, the thought of trapping Cas in the basement to perform more questionable magic on him makes Dean feel twitchy.

“I should take my clothes off,” Cas says, sensibly, crouching down to unlace his boots. “I don't believe these will fit me when I am returned to my previous form.”

Sam looks away awkwardly, and Bobby suddenly develops a consuming interest in flipping through the papers in his lap. Cas strips off, and Dean looks very carefully into his eyes and nowhere else. At Cas's pointed look, he shakes himself out of it, and tosses him the beat up old throw off the couch, which Cas wraps around himself like a towel. 

“Now or never, I guess,” Dean shrugs, “Let’s get this show on the road.” He’s trying to be cool about it although his heart’s hammering fiercely against his ribs, adrenaline starting to judder through him. Bobby’s magic has gotten them out of tighter spots than this, but usually with people they don’t know that well and wouldn’t necessarily be that upset about if they got a little scorched in the process. 

“We’re going to trap you with holy fire in case anything tries to throw you around,” Sam explains kindly, leading Cas to the centre of the circle with a big, gentle hand on his back.

Bobby wheels himself closer and adds: “Not that we think it will, mind you, but it’s insurance. Dean’s on backup - he’ll grab you if he needs to.” 

“This spell looks to be more, uh, expedient than gentle,” Sam winces, “But I think it’ll at least be quick.”

Cas looks over his shoulder at Dean and nods. He doesn’t look nervous, but he usually has the same bland, neutral expression for both abject terror and total contentment, so it’s moot.

A gallon of icy fresh lake water that’s been stored in some special ancient wooden jug gets poured over Cas’s head, which he endures stoically, but it makes him shiver and goosebumps spring up along his bare shoulders and the slender length of his arms. Dean takes a knee and touches his lit zippo to the oil and all at once, Cas is wreathed in flame.

Bobby takes a match to the cast iron bowl full of unusually gross stuff he’s got resting on his knees: deer bones, a whole heart of a wild boar, a pair of shrivelled feet from a hawk that was shot with a bow and arrow, a lock of Cas’s hair, and a tangled pile of deep amber saffron threads. It catches with a shimmer of sparks and a huge, green-blue plume of crackling flames and then immediately disintegrates into powdery golden ash. 

Magical wind picks up with a rumbling howl, lifting and swirling the ash in a vortex around Cas as Bobby starts to chant: “Salmacisae sumus in fide puellae et puerī integrī! Salmacisam puerī integrī puellaeque canāmus.

The holy fire kicks up, crackling , and Sam joins in, raising his voice over the roar of the energy ripping through the air: “Montium domina ut forēs silvārumque virentium saltuumque reconditōrum amniumque sonantum.

Under the riot of noise and the flashes of light, Dean hears Cas let out a pained cry, and he falls to his knees as Bobby and Sam finish, yelling over the clamor: “Sīs quōcumque tibi placet sāncta nōmine!

The noise peaks, and the holy fire rises and rises, burning almost to the ceiling until a thunderous crack splits the air. A ringing silence falls. Papers disturbed by the wind float to the ground, and the holy fire recedes. The ash settles in the air like shimmering gold dust motes, wafting harmlessly. 

“Cas! You okay?” Dean jumps over the smouldering line of holy oil and skids to his knees at Cas's side. He’s crumpled face down in a heap, and his very broad, very male shoulders are dotted with water and smears of ash. 

“Yes," Cas croaks, and his voice is back to normal - deep and gravelly and annoying as hell. Dean slides a hand under his chest and eases him up, helps him pull the discarded blanket around himself again. He leans on Dean heavily and gasps for breath. 

“Holy hell, it worked,” Bobby drawls, “All parts present and accounted for?”

Cas clears his throat, and heaves in a laboured breath. “That was unpleasant, but yes, I believe it worked.” 

Dean whistles, low, and sags with relief. "Phew, that one puckered my butthole."

“Excuse me?” Cas stares up at him. 

“He's just being -” Sam comes over and knocks his knee into Dean’ shoulder, shoving him. “Don't worry about him. Are you feeling okay? Anything hurt?”

"I’m a little dizzy,” Cas husks out, “But fine.”

“You look like you!” Sam tells him, cheerful, “Good to be back to normal, huh?”

Cas nods a little hesitantly, stretches and flexes like he’s testing that theory. When he’s breathing more evenly and he can take his own weight, Dean sits back, feeling kinda breathless himself. Cas turns and looks at Dean, all wide blue eyes and dark hair and hopes that he thinks he’s buried deep enough that Dean won’t see them.

Everything Dean was telling himself about going back to normal is clearly an outright fucking lie. Sitting there with Cas so close, his body knows well before his mind catches up to it: something’s shifted between them, and the point of no return was miles back. The moment stretches out between them like a rubber band, and the panicky urge to talk bubbles up in Dean, he’s gotta say something, tell him - 

nothing, because right on cue, the shrill melody of Bobby’s hunter hotline phone ringing pierces the quiet. 

Bobby sighs, and starts to turn his wheelchair laboriously on the spot. “No rest for the wicked."

“Uh-huh,” Dean stands up, his knees cracking loud enough that it makes Cas jump. “You stay there, I’ll get it.” 

-

There’s a nest of vamps just outside Telluride, and by the time Dean and Sam get to them, they’ve been driven into a mountain bunker by a power-hungry alpha and they’re trapped there, feral and emaciated. It hurts a little, putting them down, they’re almost like sick puppies at the pound. Although the ideal scenario would be to drink heavily and then sleep it off, duty calls again not even eight hours later - and this time duty is in some swampy shithole in Mississippi he’s never even heard of. So, they hit the road. 

It’s a solid day’s worth of non-stop driving, and they make it to Dallas before Sam taps out and pulls off the main route to find a motel on the outskirts of the city. 

Because Dean’s managed to make it a dreamy eleven hour stretch without thinking too hard about Cas, or their perfunctory goodbye before Cas flew off to whichever astral plane he had an appointment on, or thinking about the twisty, bereft feelings not thinking about Cas dredges up in him, the son of a bitch ambushes him right as Sam’s ducked out to call Bobby and Dean’s getting ready to shower. He doesn’t shriek, it’s not a shriek, it’s just all the air leaving his lungs in a way that sounds kind of squeaky.

Cas looks at him like it’s funny, one corner of his mouth sloping upwards. “I startled you,” he observes mildly.

“No, not -” Dean, panicking that he’s bare-chested, yanks a t-shirt out of his duffle and jams it over his head. It’s not until he’s got it all the way on that he realises it’s one Cas was wearing on loan in his girl body, and it’s saturated with his clean, spicy, vanilla smell. He gets a faceful of it and has to bite off the groan that slips out of him. 

"I thought about you today," Cas says, low, kinda suggestive, crossing the room and forcing Dean to back up to the wall. 

Dean's stomach swoops. “What?” He glances at Sam, who's pacing outside the window, talking on his phone, oblivious.

“He won't hear.”

He can still smell the fucking t-shirt, it’s all he can smell until Cas traps him against the wall with both arms and he realises that in this body, Cas still smells the same but also a little like smoke, or ash maybe, like he’s smouldering from somewhere. He’s - taller than Dean remembered, imposing in his coat, which is tented around both of them. He drags the sharp, scruffy line of his jaw along Dean’s cheek and noses around the sensitive skin of Dean’s ear, sending a cascade of shivers down his whole body. 

Where the fuck did you learn this? Dean wants to shove him off and yell in his face, who taught you how to just stalk in and make someone weak at the knees? But obviously, what comes out of his mouth is a horny little whimper that seems to light a fire under Cas, because he surges forward, the whole long line of his body rubbing against Dean’s, which feels like it could generate actual sparks between them.

“Will you meet me later, when Sam falls asleep?” Cas asks, and his open mouth is right against Dean’s ear, air skittering around inside it, and he’s so fucking hard all of a sudden. His dick went from six to midnight in the space of that sentence so his brain, deprived of blood, takes a while to catch up. Trembling all over, Dean’s body reacts before he can tell it not to, and he slides a hand under Cas’s suit jacket and finds the firm dip of his waist, scrabbling under his shirt for bare skin to hang on to. 

“Just to - talk,” Cas adds, and that’s bullshit obviously, because he’s not moving his big, warm body away from Dean, he’s grabbing the fleshy crook of Dean’s neck between his front teeth and nipping it just hard enough. 

“I - Cas,” he gets his shaking hands between them and straightens his arms to make a little space. “I can't,” he tells him, genuinely miserable. He knows Cas is hard too, can see the fat line of his cock straining against his slacks, and it stirs up something dark and wanting in Dean's belly, but he just flat out doesn't have the courage to follow through on it. 

“But -” Cas flinches, looks at Dean’s crotch, just a quick down-and-up flick of his eyelashes, and he looks confused and shocked, like Dean threw a bucket of water over his head. “I hope I didn’t - force you -”

“No, oh, God - Cas, you didn’t -” Dean’s reaching for him as he pulls back, cold all over and sick of himself, so fucking sick of himself, “You didn’t, I just - there’s so much shit going on in my brain -”

He doesn’t get a chance to force out all the other words that are trapped inside his chest because Cas is choking out an apology, stepping away from Dean with big, sad eyes. 

“Cas, don’t go, let me explain -”

Dean squeezes his eyes shut, gathering himself. He wants - there’s so much he wants to say and do and it’s not enough and too much all at once.

And of course, Cas has no reason to stay with them at all now, no need to kick around in dive bars and occult book stores and BBQ joints in backwater towns, and he sure as hell doesn't need to hang around while Dean makes a half-assed attempt and spectacularly fails to deal with his issues, so Dean's not surprised when he opens his eyes and Cas is gone, the echo of wingbeats whispering in the air.

-

Predictably, Sam knows straight away that it's Dean's fault that Cas is avoiding them. He needles away at Dean for two whole days, then sulks spectacularly when that doesn’t work. 

“It’s not like I haven’t spent my entire life trying to have a healthy conversation about emotions with you. I’m used to disappointment by now,” Sam slumps, pouting. 

"Oh, don't give me that James Dean, I-could-give-a-crap bullshit,” Dean sneers, “I invented that."

"Look, I just don't want to see someone I care about end up alone and miserable. Again." Sam turns to him while they're idling at a red light and snatches the bag of Doritos they're sharing out of Dean's reach as punishment. 

Dean rests his forehead on the steering wheel until the car behind him honks because the light’s turned green. The clutch crunches as he shifts too quickly, and they both wince. "Cas is going to be fine. He's an angel, dude, he probably doesn't even feel lonely."

"Right, yeah, Cas," Sam says, dry, sucking the orange cheese dust off his fingertips, "I was definitely talking about Cas."

-

Dean misses him. That’s not some huge epiphany he has - he’s always known it, but been too chickenshit to poke at the cold, heavy ache sitting low in his chest. 

One humid night in Virginia weeks later, he plucks up the courage to call him and tell him as much; Cas doesn’t pick up. He could be anywhere in the universe, maybe doesn't have reception, might not ever check his phone any more if there’s no reason to, but Dean whispers it to his voicemail anyway and then hangs up, phone clenched in his sweaty palm.

Cas does appear, shrouded in shadow like a dream, when Dean is almost asleep, the motel room windows thrown open because he hopes, in vain probably, that the breeze will dissipate the muggy air. Dean doesn't get up, keeps his useless mouth shut tight for once, and just lies there and lets Cas look at him; his gaze slides up and down Dean’s body, eventually settling on the sweat shining in the hollow of Dean's hip. It’s nice - it feels good to let him look, and be looked at, it feels like it could bloom into something more tangible, even though neither of them move. 

"It changes something, doesn't it?" Cas asks him softly, sitting down in the chair next to Dean's bed, "Kissing someone, touching their body so intimately."

Dean thinks about Cas in the upstairs bedroom at Bobby's, head tipped back against the door, trusting Dean completely to hold his weight, then looks at the soft curve of Cas's throat, his big, pale hands folded softly in his lap, and wonders why he’s such a fucking coward.

“I also miss you,” Cas says, quietly. Dean opens his mouth to say something - anything - back, and Cas is gone. 

-

After that, as they make their way through half a dozen dilapidated motels in Kentucky, Missouri, and Illinois, every night Cas materialises by Dean's bed right as he's dozing off and stays there, watching him sleep. He’s always gone by the time Dean stirs in the morning, he never tries to touch Dean, and never speaks - but the longing in his eyes hits Dean square in the belly like a punch.

-

A month later, back out west, Sam gets two motel rooms, and pushes one of the keys into Dean's hand, ignoring his protests.

"No, no, take it. I'm not an idiot," Sam snaps, hefting his bag over his shoulder and turning to leave. "He's been hovering around every damn night for the last month. Figure your shit out, Dean."

"Sam," Dean starts, voice shot to hell, and Sam's gaze softens. Dean takes a tight breath, his chest aching. "We kissed. When he was - and then I couldn’t -"

The shuttered expression on Sam’s face tells him to shut up. Sam looks at him - silent, disappointed - and shakes his head. He walks away, leaving Dean alone in the bright yellow lobby of the Paradise Inn. 

-

In his room alone under the sallow fluorescent lights, slumped in a lumpy arm chair, Dean prays. 

Not ten seconds later, the air ripples, and Cas appears in a flurry of wingbeats, looking harried and windswept - he glances around the room, and his expression falls into a pissed-off frown. Okay, so Dean might have exaggerated the situation a little to get him there.

“What’s the emergency?” Cas demands, “I'm busy.” He doesn’t elaborate.

Dean stands up, shakily, shows the palms of his hands in surrender. “I want - to apologise for the way I’ve treated you.”

Cas hangs his head, not looking at Dean. “Oh, well -” he stumbles over his words, “- there's no need. You were always honest with me.”

“Right, but I should have been more than just honest,” Dean moves towards him - Cas takes a step backwards away from him and it hurts, sudden and deep, like he’s been sucker-punched. For weeks he’s been playing over the moment in Dallas over and over again in his mind, Cas folding into him like he belonged there, sliding his whole body up against Dean’s, lithe and hot and perfect, and this - isn’t that. “No - look, it’s more than that. It’s - hard for me to -”

Cas cuts him off. “I don’t particularly feel like having another conversation about your sexuality.”

“That’s fair,” Dean swallows. “But I’m - I’ve thought about it a lot, and I do - uh, feel things for you -”

After a pants-shittingly long moment of silence, Cas nods. “Thank you for telling me,” he says, quietly. 

“I do, I swear, and I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to -” 

“I have to go,” Cas says, and his mask is starting to crumble, he’s backing away from Dean like he might get hurt, and Dean thinks, fuck, he already has been hurt, more than once -

“No,” Dean lunges for him, “Cas!” but he’s gone, nothing would suggest he’d even been in the room except that the cheesecloth curtains behind where he was standing ripple a little in the displaced air.

In the silence, Dean breathes, and tries not to hate himself enough to feel paralyzed with it. He’s got a plan. 

“Okay,” Dean tells the empty room, “Last resort. You asked for it.” 

He throws himself on the bed, boots and all, and unbuckles his belt, tips his hips up awkwardly to shimmy his jeans and underwear down to mid-thigh. The adrenaline’s already got him half the way there, so a couple rough pulls is enough to finish the job. It’s hardly the weirdest thing he’s ever done with his dick in his hand, praying, but it feels dirty enough to send a filthy little thrill rippling through him.

“Castiel,” he says, loud and clear, “Wherever you are, whatever the hell you’re doing, listen up.” 

He concentrates on thinking Castiel, please hear my prayer, as clearly as he can, and then floods his mind with any and every fantasy and dream about he and Cas he’s ever denied having - the secret dirty shit he’s stuffed away into a dark corner of his mind, and the embarrassing soppy daydreams he can’t even bring himself to think about because it hurts to want it so bad. 

He's got a clear picture of them making out against the trunk of the car mid-hunt, burning off some adrenaline, jerking each other off quick and dirty, pants around their knees and tongues in each other’s mouths; and then pictures some rose tinted, far away, never-going-to-happen future where Dean has a sturdy little house on the outskirts of a rural city where he could have a fat, grumpy rescue house cat to keep the mice away, and a sprawling auto shop - where Cas could sneak up on him while he’s working and kiss the back of his neck, smile into his hairline and rub his stubbly chin against the sensitive skin there. It’s so far beyond a pipe dream, but sometimes when he’s hovering in the twilight zone right on the edge of sleep the fantasy pops into his mind unbidden and unfolds like a sunflower. 

“I’m so sorry,” he says aloud, panting now, gripping his leaking cock in one hand and pushing his t-shirt up to his armpits with the other, rubbing his palm over his nipple and letting a breathy moan out so Cas can hear. “I want you, Cas, please come back.”

He hasn’t really gotten much further in planning the logistics of his big gay debut than abstract thoughts of Cas’s skin, his gorgeous mouth, the desperate noises Dean might be able to wring out of him, nothing concrete, but now. Now, with his dick fully on board with the idea, he’s sure as hell thinking about it in detail. 

He breathes in and takes the plunge, jerks himself roughly and lets everything he wouldn’t allow himself to imagine before he got his shit together run wild in his mind. 

The idea of Cas making him beg always revs him up. In Dean’s mind Cas is on his knees in the back of the car - because of course they’d do it in the car. The plush curve of his lips is wet and swollen around Dean’s cock, maybe he’d push Dean’s knees up and apart, dip a couple of slick fingertips just inside him to make it sweeter. He’s bringing him right to the edge over and over again and then pulling away and leaving him hanging, so painfully good. 

He wouldn’t be mean about it, though, he’d help Dean be good, help him earn it. He’d encourage him, whisper, I’ve got you, it’s alright - you can do this, and kiss his heaving chest, his mouth, his cheek, all the while with that infuriatingly placid expression on his face. One more time, as you asked so nicely.

And Dean would. He’d beg to be allowed to come but hold back like he’s been told to, squeeze his eyes shut and count his breaths until the taut clench of his orgasm fades away from his pelvis. He lets go of his dick and does just that, and prays aloud, his voice shot to shit and just barely scraping out of his throat: “See? I wasn’t lying, I’m not confused -”

He lets himself run wild imagining Cas with a handful of his hair kissing him wet and nasty, Cas thumbing Dean’s mouth open and sliding his hard cock over Dean’s tongue, tying him up somehow - he can’t think of how, but it hardly matters - with his arms above his head and making him beg. He gasps just thinking about it, and he squeezes his cock urgently. He’s right on the edge already and fighting it, whimpering as he digs his heels into the bed and fucks his fist. 

His hips roll upwards as he imagines what would happen if Cas heard him and came back right now - would he just want to watch? Or maybe he’d climb onto the bed and kneel between Dean’s thighs, spreading them as wide as he wanted to, his unbelievable eyes piercing as he reaches out to touch, curious and uninhibited. He’d trail his fingertips down Dean’s belly and to his cock, dip them into the precome beading at the tip, bring them to his lips - 

Dean comes all over himself, sobbing aloud and gasping for breath, scratching at the sheets with his free hand. 

He slumps back on the bed, boneless and silent, and breathes. 

-

Someone should really teach angels about making more subtle entrances, because Cas scares Dean half to death again when he appears smack in the middle of his motel room somewhere outside Des Moines and knocks over a side table that’s piled high with books and a fat stack of documents that Sam photocopied from land deeds at the town hall.  

“Are you trying to brighten up these buttfuck nowhere towns by giving me a heart attack?” Dean pants, palm pressed to his chest right where his pulse is slamming. “Jesus Christ -”

“You cannot -” Cas drags out, crossing the room in two long strides, and Dean can feel him thrumming with anger before he’s even close enough to touch, “- pray to me like that.”

“I bet it made a nice change from all the boring everyday prayers you - okay, no, you’re right -” Dean holds his hands up as Cas gets right up in his face furiously. 

“I got it loud and clear, while I was working,” he snarls, “Did you even consider what might have happened if another angel heard you?”

“Did you like it?”

Cas stops dead, his nose two inches from Dean’s. “That’s - irrelevant.” His anger seems to shrink a little, and takes a shaky step backwards. 

“I didn’t really know what the hell I was doing,” Dean confesses, “I just needed - look, I don’t know how two dudes work this out, man.”

Cas looks bewildered. “But you’re the human, why don’t you know how to -”

“The straight human -”

“If you’re straight then why are we -”

I don’t know,” Dean shouts at him, “And this conversation has already severely impaired my boner for you, so can we just -” He flaps his hands impatiently. 

“Oh,” Cas tilts his head, eyes dark, “You had -?”

Dean gives him a look to tell him to shut up , but his face is on fire. He yanks a handful of his own hair, absolutely hitting the very outer limit of his embarrassment threshold. He wants to tell Cas the whole truth, just once, so he tries it, with several glaring omissions:

"I'm not - I'm not good at this." 

Cas’s eyes brighten a little. “Are you - freaking out?” he tries out the words uncertainly.

Dean laughs in spite of himself. “No, I just haven’t -” Where can he possibly start? 

“Short sentences seem to be easier,” Cas prompts.

“I always thought I was - one thing. I was so sure of it, Cas, you gotta -” Cas just looks at him steadily. It wears him down, and he takes a deep breath to continue, feeling monumentally stupid: “It would be like if I woke up tomorrow and somebody told me I was - a pharmacist. Going from one thing to another so fast, so completely, and just expecting me to adjust on the fly - you know what I mean?”

Yes, Dean.” Cas says, patiently, staring into Dean’s face with laser intensity. And - yeah, duh, of course he does. 

“Cas. C’mere.” Dean says, totally done, not even caring about any of his own bullshit anymore, “Come here, I gotta -”

Cas doesn’t resist when Dean pushes him up against the wonky kitchenette table, thumbs open the buttons of his shirt from bottom to top, needing more than anything to touch his skin; in fact, he goes completely pliant, sighs when Dean fits his hands over Cas’s waist, smooths his palms right down to the points of his hips. “What are you doing?” he whispers. 

Dean takes him in greedily; the quick, shallow rise and fall of his muscular stomach, his smooth throat, the swoop of his collarbone that’s been driving Dean crazy for months - and his wide blue eyes that haven’t changed even slightly. Experiment successful: he’s definitely fucking turned on, lit up by it right to the very core of him, for every single inch of this Cas. 

“Yeah, no, I just needed to check something,” Dean tells him, grabs him by the lapels of his trench coat and pulls him down into a kiss. Cas’s hands come up to cup his face, and his palms are wide and cool and not girly at all. He kisses Dean wet and deep and lavish, holds onto him with both hands like the world is ending, and it actually fucking is, so Dean gives it his all right back, lets Cas yank off his jacket and button-up and push his t-shirt up to his armpits. 

Cas’s trenchcoat puddles on the floor by the table when Dean rips it off, and he’s got both hands on his stupid fucking tie, trying to work it free with the crippling distraction of Cas sucking wet kisses down his neck. He’s all hands now, greedy and rough, like he was holding back and the dam’s broken; Dean loves it, he fucking loves Cas like this, wrecked and horny and desperate and getting all over him, grabbing two handfuls of Dean’s ass and squeezing tightly, groaning husky and ragged about it into Dean’s neck. Every single cell in his whole body is alive and humming with need, he’d climb inside Cas if he could. 

Dean doesn’t entirely blame himself for being totally blind and deaf to anything that isn’t Cas’s harsh breaths, his insistent grip and hot mouth; but in retrospect he is kind of pissed off that Cas - who’s far and away the most powerful being in the room, probably on the whole continent - doesn’t hear Sam’s footsteps clunking along the concrete walkway, or his key turning in the lock. 

When Sam throws open the door, Dean realises it would be easier to shove Cas away and play it off as a hug if he didn’t have one hand inside Cas’s shirt all the way to his elbow and the other down his pant; Cas, for his part, has a fistful of Dean’s hair and his tongue in Dean’s ear, so it’s definitely over for them.

“Hey, I - oh,” Sam stumbles, and whatever is in the shopping bag he’s carrying clunks and rattles as one of his shoulders bounces off the door frame and he recoils in shock. 

“Sam -” Dean starts, ice cold humiliation trickling from the top of his head to the very tips of his fingers and toes, and then he stops when he realises that there’s no way for him to remove his hand from the back of Cas’s pants without drawing attention to it. Leaving it there would probably be worse, so he’s in between a rock and a hard place. Literally. 

It’s a good thing Sam’s forehead has more open space than the entire state of Iowa given how high his eyebrows shoot up when the cogs all click into place. “Oh my god, Cas?” he gawks at them, his eyes darting around from their dishevelled hair to where their shins and ankles are tangled together. They fumble apart, and Cas turns away from Sam to button his shirt - without Dean’s thigh between his legs, the boner distorting the neat front of his slacks is plainly visible. 

“The one and only,” Dean agrees, gruffly, “He’s just leaving.” 

“Yes,” Cas shrugs back into his trench coat, “I’m very important and busy.” 

Sam’s got a huge, wide-eyed, shit-eating grin plastered on his giant head. “Yep, wow, you sure are busy.”

“I’m going to string you up by your balls,” Dean tells him lovingly. It does big fat nothing to puncture Sam’s glee as Cas brushes past, searching for his tie. 

“It’s on top of the TV,” Sam points to it. “Nice throw.” 

“I didn’t throw it, Dean did,” Cas says, nobly. It’s a crying shame that for once in his life there’s no bottomless pit opening up for Dean to jump into and disappear.

“Yeah, see ya,” Dean gives him a sloppy salute, “Thanks for dropping by.” 

“Don’t leave on my account -” Sam starts, but with a last, significant look at Dean, Cas dematerializes right in the middle of the room, the breeze from his wings ruffling Dean’s hair. 

Before Dean can make a hasty exit to the car to scream into his balled up jacket, or maybe find somewhere to jerk off, Sam’s got his hands on Dean’s shoulders, beaming like he’s won the lottery. “Wow, this is big news -”

“You open your mouth one more time, you’re dead,” Dean twists out of his grip and stomps around looking for his jacket, “I will send your ass some place even God himself can't bring you back from.” 

“Do we need to stop by Planned Parenthood on our way out of town?” 

Sam lets out a pained ‘oof’ when Dean punches him in his annoyingly rigid stomach, but he’s still laughing, so it’s fruitless. 

-

Cas is gone for three interminable days. The stupid fucker doesn’t know how to text, because Dean never taught him, so it’s seventy-two hours of abject agony being alone with Sam, who’s taking smug to new heights even while they deal with a vengeful - and frankly kinda racist - ghost that’s holding onto some plantation land in Tennessee. 

They identify and bag the son of a bitch before dinner time on the third day, but then Sam pulls his quad running through a field, leaving Dean to do the salt and burn alone. The night is thick with humidity, pea-soup clouds hanging low and threatening in the sky, and he’s tired and pent up and really, really hates racists, so he doesn’t bother covering it up or making it neat. Let his family see the pile of ash in the churchyard, what does Dean care? 

He pulls the asshole’s coffin out of the family crypt near a Baptist church, not gently, and drags it out into the open, dumps the salt on, digs a firebreak and then douses him with a whole bottle of kerosene.

“Peace out, General Lee,” Dean flips him the bird and then lights him up. The fire takes straight away, and Dean smiles, pleased, imagining his soul plunging downwards. “Enjoy eternity in the cage, dickbag.” 

The acrid smoke hangs around because there’s no breeze to shift it, and it takes forever to burn down. He’s leaning against a gnarled tree stump flicking compulsively through news headlines on his phone when the rushing of wingbeats makes him jerk upright just in time to see Cas appearing right in front of him. 

“Hi,” Dean says, breathless, thrilled. He’d never admit it to anyone, but he loves it when Cas stops by and it’s just the two of them. 

Cas just smiles at him and says, low and fond, “Hello, Dean.” In the glow of the fire, his eyes are luminous.

“Hey, hi, you’re here - oh, watch out, you’ll get Confederate ash all on your clothes.”

Dean reaches for him as he steps away from the smouldering fire, and they end up leaning against the tree stump, foreheads pressed together. Cas winds his long fingers around the back of Dean’s neck and holds him tightly. “I’m sorry I didn’t come sooner, I was - well, it hardly matters now.” 

The fire is burnt right down, and Dean pulls Cas close in the lengthening shadows, indulging in the feel and the smell of him for a second, nosing the side of his neck. “C’mon, let’s get outta here,” he says, and Cas doesn’t argue.

The whole drive back, Cas keeps looking at Dean’s profile, and then looking away and smiling to himself. Dean keeps his eyes firmly on the road, doesn’t watch Cas turning in his seat to face him with his thighs apart. Right as they’re turning off the highway, the clouds finally open up, and the growl of thunder starts to build in the distance. 

They pull into the motel parking lot, and he switches off the headlights. The building looms above them, dark and mostly empty. The engine ticks as it cools down, and raindrops patter sporadically on the windscreen. Dean has no idea what to say. Cas looks at him with his big, kind eyes, then tilts his head back onto the headrest, baring the long curve of his throat as he unbuckles his seatbelt. Dean’s belly jumps. 

“We can’t do anything - Sam’s in there,” Dean tells him, chewing the inside of his cheek, “But you could come inside anyway, if you want?”

Cas raises an eyebrow. “To watch you sleep?” 

“Would that be - weird? If I wanted you to?”  

The sweet look on Cas’s face blooms into a full-on smile, and he shakes his head.

Dean nods, feeling bashful and awkward. “Just - kiss me quickly before we go in?” 

Famous last words. Cas does, leaning over and smacking a hot little open-mouthed one on him, and then another, and another, and then in a flash he’s wriggled out of his coat and hefted himself into Dean’s lap. 

“Hang on,” Dean says, muffled against Cas’s mouth, “Lemme -” he digs around for the catch and slides his seat as far back as it’ll go, but he’s still got his fucking seatbelt on, and Cas’s lower back must be digging painfully into the steering wheel even with the extra room. He doesn’t seem to care.

Dean grabs Cas’s ass, hauls him in closer, kisses his whiskery cheek, the point of his jaw, traces his perfect cupid’s bow with his tongue. He keeps him close, letting Cas feel his dick getting hard, making sure Cas knows he wants it. Cas moans, sounding wrecked; he’s leaning heavily on him, trusting Dean to take his weight, cupping Dean’s cheeks in his big hands, thumbs stroking his temples. 

“Let me,” Cas says hoarsely, pushing Dean’s t-shirt up until it’s bunched under his arms, “Please, can I?”

Dean doesn’t have time to ask what, because Cas’ fingers are sliding under the waistband of his jeans, and he’s looking at Dean from under his eyelashes.

“I don’t know if we should - do this here,” Dean says, trying to be nice. He’s thought about doing it with Cas in the car a hundred times in the last week, he’d drift off while he was driving imagining the two of them grinding on each other with their pants around their knees, leaving sweaty handprints on the windows in the back. He thought about smelling Cas on the upholstery afterwards, maybe jerking off there later when he’s alone. But it seems - degrading, now, kinda, like Cas deserves better for the first time he does this.

“You’re a liar,” Cas whispers, amused, and he’s unzipping Dean’s jeans, balanced over his lap, his knee pushed into the seat between Dean’s legs. 

“I - yeah, you got me,” Dean pants, helping Cas wrestle him out of his t-shirt. He’s shaking with need, they both are, the air between them is charged and scorching, and they rock together unsteadily, searching for friction.

Cas sighs around the shape of his name. He traces the slope of Dean's ribs, light and reverent. 

“Hey, you shoulda seen me before the apocalypse, when I wasn't eating my feelings in the form of double cheeseburgers and banana cream pie every night,” Dean jokes, but it comes out dry and husky, and Cas doesn't laugh.

“You're… great,” Cas offers, sincerely, "You’re very sexy.”

Dean grins at him. “Hey, look at that, you're catching on!”

Pleased with himself, Cas sticks his hand down Dean’s jeans and grips the outline of his cock through his underwear, and moans like it’s him being touched. It’s gonna be over in record time, Dean can already tell, he’s so worked up, it’s sparking under his skin like a warning. Dean has a hysterical moment of gratefulness for the storm rolling in that will drown out the noises he’s making, the ridiculous hitching moans he’s trying to kiss into Cas’ mouth. 

“Slow down, Cas, I gotta -” Dean pushes his fingertips past the waistband of Cas’ slacks, presses them into coarse hair, catches Cas’ shuddering whimper with his mouth. Evidently, he’s not the only one teetering on the edge.

“Is this alright?” Cas works his hand into Dean’s underwear and gasps when he gets his fist around Dean’s cock, jerking him quick and rough and absolutely without rhythm and it’s the best thing Dean’s ever felt in his life, “You feel so -”

“Don’t,” Dean grunts, kissing him, shoving his tongue into Cas’s mouth because if he speaks, it’s all over. 

But of course, he’s fucking the world’s most intractable rebel angel, who can’t be stopped even by the forces of heaven, who twists away and pants into Dean’s cheek: “I imagined how you’d feel in my hand, but this is - you’re so hard -” and that’s it, barely any not-even-dirty talk, and Dean’s gone. He comes like it’s been yanked out of his bones, shuddering with the force of it, knocking his head back against the seat and letting it wash over him while Cas moans and gasps about it.

He’s totally done in, barely any fine motor skills left, but he pulls Cas closer and gropes him, pushes the heel of his hand into Cas’ hard-on through his underwear, too far gone for anything else. It takes nothing at all, just five or six hard squeezing rubs, and Cas is doubled over while he comes, shuddering, forehead on Dean’s cheek, puffing hitching little gasps of air against his skin. His whole body is hot and shivering and alive under Dean’s hands and the heat of him obliterates any lingering doubts; Dean has never seen anything or anyone that sexy in his whole life, and he’s never fucking going back.

-

Creeping into the motel room with Cas clinging to his side isn’t the most stealthy Dean’s ever been, but he did just cream his jeans like a sixteen year old, so he’s gonna give himself some leeway. He gets the door open and closed behind him with minimal creaking, and then stops dead - the room is completely empty, both beds untouched in the grey half-darkness. 

He flips on the lights and goes to wash his hands, throws Cas a wet face cloth so he can clean himself up. He’s kicking off his jeans and underwear in the bathroom when he sees the note stuck to the mirror, written on the back of a burger joint receipt: I’m in room 3B, I had a hunch. - S.

“He is very intuitive,” Cas says, agreeably, reading over Dean’s shoulder, “His spiritual instincts are beyond the reach of the average human.” 

Dean’s feeling pretty bratty considering he’s scrubbing his own spunk off his belly and he’s naked from the waist down, which is barely a good look even on women. He glares at Cas in the mirror and kisses his teeth. “You wanna talk about how special Sam is, or you wanna get on me again?” 

“Definitely the latter.”

They make out clumsily while Dean redirects them to the bed, which he pushes Cas onto and skims his shirt over his head before he bends down and digs through the side pocket of his bag to find what they need. Cas reaches up and yanks Dean down on top of him, and takes his weight easily, running his hands up and down Dean’s sides and spreading shivery goosebumps in his wake. 

“Oh, wow, good for you,” Dean breathes, awed, rubbing himself on the warm, solid length of Cas’s apparently effortlessly renewed erection. 

“Do you want to -?” Cas looks with open interest at the lube in Dean’s hand.

“No, no, you fuck me, okay?” Dean sits back on his heels between Cas’s thighs and hands it to him.

“You'll - fuck me - after?” Cas says, jerkily, unsure, but Dean nods, swallows, allowing himself to think about it now he knows Cas wants it too.

“Yeah,” he says, husky, “I will.”

By the time Cas has him face down on the bed and is sinking into him, slow, relentless - holding a handful of Dean's hair to anchor him while he winces and breathes through the burning stretch - Dean has completely forgotten every objection he ever had to this. Yeah, sure, it hurts a little, and he’s still struggling mentally with wanting a dick in his ass, but it also feels like a physical manifestation of everything he's always felt and never been able to say: I trust you, I need you, is in every hiccuping moan pushed out of Dean by the movement of Cas's hips. 

In a lot of ways he’s been a dick on, brain off kinda guy from day one; anything he’s done in the moment has always been fun and stupid and surface level enough that it’s easy to shrug off later. Getting fucked by Cas isn’t that. 

He’d expected it to be intense, and he’d braced himself for pain and pleasure and riding the weird, blurry line between the two; he’d been fucking stupid to think that would be it. Cas holds him down and, with what seems like very little effort, just about turns him inside out; the tiniest movement of his hips floods Dean’s whole body with pleasure so intense and resonant it knocks him silent, breathless, paralyzed. 

Cas asks, “Are you alright?” and his voice cracks over the words - just that vulnerable little slip is apparently enough to send another spike of pleasure through Dean, so all he can manage is to moan, and drag his forehead up and down on the sheets, hoping it looks like an affirmative. He gets an answering groan from Cas. “Can I do it harder?” he asks, right against Dean’s ear, and Dean nods again. Cas really gives it to him then, and the thud of his hips against Dean’s reduces him to nothing but skin, muscle, breath, the toe-curling ache of his cock, his nipples, his balls - and the intense, barbed pleasure of his ass being stretched around the fat base of Cas’s cock so tightly. 

In some distant way, he’s embarrassed at the porny, uninhibited sounds he can hear himself making, hiccupping little uh, uh, uh, noises, but it’s all Cas’s fault for literally fucking his brains out. Cas seems to love it; he’s egging him on, whispering filthy, meaningless praise in his ear and grinding him into the mattress. 

It's over in no time, in a rush of desperation and harsh breathing and slick sounds. Cas groans weakly into his neck when he comes, and Dean’s shocked that he can actually feel Cas’s cock pulsing inside him - it’s so unexpectedly hot it makes his eyes roll back into his head. His orgasm is punched out of him a second later, white hot, and messy, when Cas shoves into him at the perfect angle and tumbles him over the edge with searing intensity. 

“Jesus Christ, Cas,” he gasps for breath. Cas just lies still and holds him while they both come down, steady and solid at his back. 

-

It doesn't end up meaning anything that it didn't last long, because they make out sloppily for a while, cooling off under the creaky ceiling fan. Dean's hard again in record time and, apparently having got his dirty talk mojo back at the same time he decided to let go of all his unproductive macho man hang ups, he takes his sweet time coaxing Cas back into the game. He props himself up between Cas’s thighs, jerks him off slowly until he's rock hard and leaking, then rubs lubed-up fingertips over the tight little bud of his hole, describing in filthy detail what he's going to do to him before he does it. 

This part is the same, girl or guy, Dean realises, and just as fun either way. 

"Yeah, is that good?" he asks, when Cas whimpers, and digs his blunt fingernails into Dean's arm, "You want me inside you?"

"Obviously, yes, I do," Cas grumbles, lifting his head to glare at Dean, and it's so him that Dean laughs aloud, and kneels up to kiss him while he pushes his middle finger inside him smoothly. Cas gasps, eyebrows drawing together, and Dean kisses him there and whispers encouragement until Cas relaxes slowly around him and he's pushing back into the movement of Dean's hand.

“Just - let me -” Dean crooks his finger, searching, and then Cas jerks against him like he’s been electrified and Dean knows he’s got it. Cas looks up at him, comically outraged, betrayal painting his face, like Dean’s been keeping secrets from him and he’s furious about it, and it makes him crack up laughing again, helpless not to. “I know,” Dean snickers, leaning down so their noses brush, and Cas chases his lips when he turns to the side and whispers, “I know, just hang in there.”

“You smile a lot,” Cas pants, when Dean’s finally inching his way inside him, keeping his breathing slow and even so he doesn’t just blow his load right then and there. “When you’re having sex. Did you know that?”

Screw it, Dean thinks, embarrassment will help take the edge off. “I don’t, normally,” he admits. He kisses him, quick and hard, then buries his face in Cas’s shoulder so he doesn’t see him when he says: “It’s just you.” 

He doesn’t need to see anything - Cas’s whole body tenses under him for a second and then he digs his knees into Dean’s ribs. “Do it,” he says, voice shredded in his throat, “Fuck me, Dean, come on -”

“Jesus Christ,” Dean groans, in pieces already, “Give me a second here.”

But Cas won’t, he never does, and of course Dean loves it; he loves it even when Cas is telling him to pull out, shoving him off, tackling him back down onto the bed. He throws one leg over Dean and sinks down onto his thighs with all his weight, pinning him in place, which feels so fucking good, and right. 

One second, Cas has his slippery hand around Dean’s dick, gripping him tightly, then the next he’s got both hands planted on Dean’s chest as he sinks down onto him. Dean’s cock presses past the tight rim of Cas’s ass again and back into the relentless sucking heat of his body, and they’re both gasping for air. 

“Oh, God -” Dean hears himself sobbing, “Cas, slow down -”

He does, but only to lean over and plant his palms on either side of Dean’s head. “It’s just you, too,” Cas says, his mouth right against Dean’s ear, dragging the words out like he’s pulling them from the depths of his guts, “- only you, for me, nobody else will ever make me feel like this -” and Dean aches to hear it, he wants to say it back, more than anything. He’s shit outta luck - his mouth won’t work other than moaning unintelligibly or trying to suck in air like he’s drowning as Cas rides him. Dean’s struggling for breath, trying to keep up with the peaks of pleasure Cas is pulling from him again and again so fast they’re cascading over each other, not giving him a second to regroup. 

“C’mon, baby, slow down,” is the first thing he manages to slur, the word slipping out without his permission, and he thinks for a humiliating second that it’s gonna haunt him tomorrow - until Cas moans low in his throat in reply, and digs his fingertips into Dean’s thigh. “Please,” Dean begs, for everything and nothing, “I want to see you -”

“Yeah, yes,” Cas grinds out, “I need - ah -” he sobs out a wet, throaty noise when Dean grabs his cock and gives him exactly what he needs, jerks him off, easy, ignores him when he whimpers like it’s too much and his whole body starts to seize up. Propped up on his elbows, Dean kicks his hips up a little harder, wanting Cas to come so badly. He rubs the head of Cas’s cock where he’s hot and wet, the skin pulled tight. It works - Cas goes absolutely blank and pliant with ecstasy, making a low, shocked noise as all the tension bursts, and he comes, shuddering. 

He doesn’t give Cas any time to recover - call it payback - and the fluttering clench of his muscles hasn’t even stopped when Dean reaches up and grabs Cas’s hips with both hands, pulls him down hard, pounding into him. He’s strung tight, right on the edge, his whole body humming with it, pleasure like electricity zinging through him.

Cas can’t catch his breath, but there’s fire in his eyes as he drags his fingers through his own spunk puddled wetly on Dean’s belly and smears it into Dean’s open gasping mouth, pushing it onto his lips and tongue, slick and filthy. Bliss crashes over him like a wave and he comes with his eyes squeezed shut, swallowing around Cas’s fingers, grinding upwards into the hot clutch of his ass, Cas just taking it with a euphoric look on his face, and begging for more. 

-

“Which did you prefer?” Cas asks, later, when Dean’s so blissed out that he’s nodding in and out of sleep, dozing off and then blinking himself awake again with a smile on his face. 

In the end, Cas had to clean them both up; he’d disappeared briefly and come back from the bathroom with a wet face cloth, his hands smelling like soap, and he was wearing an expression that was so nakedly fond that Dean had to hide from it, tucking his hot face into the crook of his elbow. Cas scrubbed him down and didn’t make him move, then just slotted back in next to him, warm and clean. 

He’s on his belly, one arm and leg slung over Cas, so well-fucked and satisfied that his limbs feel like they’re full of lead weights. He wouldn’t be compelled to move even if Lucifer himself materialised two inches above his naked, sore ass and tried to gut him. 

He forces his eyes open and slurs, “Huh?"

“Which did you prefer?” Cas repeats, way too bright-eyed for Dean’s liking, “Did you like it better when you fucked me?”

“No, I - don’t get me wrong, it was great, but I -” Dean admits it before he can stop himself, and then he’s blushing from forehead to nipples; he can feel it spreading, hot and irritating, like a rash, “I liked it the - other way.”

Cas’s eyes widen. “Oh, I see,” he says carefully. He looks up at the ceiling thoughtfully and closes his mouth, and then opens it again, and then closes it again, so Dean puts him out of his misery.

“Can you just - not say anything, I can’t deal with -” Dean screws his eyes shut, “I mean, any of this, to be honest, but if you make fun of me I might actually lose what little marbles I have left.”

“All I was going to say was that I’m going to need to get better at it, then,” Cas says, matter-of-fact, “Fucking you.”

And then Dean’s awake. He’s very awake, heat flaring up in him like magnesium catching. “Really?” he prompts, snaking his hand under the sheets and scratching his fingernails through the downy hair on Cas’s thigh, “Practice makes perfect, huh?”

“So I hear,” Cas arches into his touch, his eyes slipping closed, giving himself over to Dean yet again, letting Dean do whatever he wants. It’s as hot as it is fucking terrifying. 

“You wanna go again?” Dean’s voice sounds too eager even to him, and he couldn’t give a fuck. He’s gonna earn the selfless, careless devotion Cas is giving him if it kills him. He shuffles so he’s half on top of Cas, straddles his thigh and grinds down onto it, slow and shameless. 

Cas blinks. “I do, but aren’t you -” his fingertips slip down from Dean’s lower back to his ass and he presses in, in, then pulls back a little when Dean hisses through his teeth. 

Of course he’s sore, he got fucked to within an inch of his life, but so what? There’s a lot of evidence to suggest he’s got some wires crossed upstairs considering his long and fucked-up history of deeply, genuinely enjoying very questionable and often pain-spiked sexual encounters. Besides, gambling with his sore ass is chump change when he’s got the ‘I went to hell that one time’ card. 

“I don’t want to hurt you,” Cas insists, and then he says, plainly: “We could use our mouths?” 

When Dean’s finished having a stroke, he says yes. 

-

"Ew, crack a window already," is all Sam says when he barges into their room the next morning, having apparently kept the second key; Dean and Cas are still tangled up in the sheets, too fucked out and lazy to get up even though it’s nearing noon. Dean’s sprawled on his belly with Cas draped over his back, laughing at the dumbass videos Dean is showing him on his laptop.

“You do it, unless you want me to stand up right now,” Dean looks over his shoulder at Sam and raises an eyebrow. Screwing up his face in disgust, Sam scrapes the window open a crack, and the cool morning breeze billows into the room and shifts the stuffy, sex-fogged air. 

“Food?” Sam asks, hovering in the doorway like the room contains a biohazard, which it kind of does, “But like - after you guys hit the shower.”

“We’ve already been in the shower,” Cas tells him, oblivious, watching a man chase a bunny ineffectually around a backyard on the laptop screen, “But I assume that’s a different thing than what you’re suggesting.”

“Okay, this isn't fun for me any more, so I’m gonna -” Sam retreats, stuttering. From behind the slammed shut door he yells: “Fifteen minutes and I’m leaving without you!”

“You do need to eat,” Cas tells him, “Where are we? I mean - what town is this?” He flings his legs out of the bed and stands up - way too steadily, in Dean’s opinion, considering what they’d been doing all night and most of the morning.

The slightly bruised ego is a small price to pay to see Cas unfold every glorious, bare inch of himself and stand over Dean, not an ounce of self-consciousness in him. “I got no fucking idea,” Dean manages. He’s forgotten what state they’re in, what the motel is called, even what day of the week it is - Cas fucked any and all productive thoughts out of his head. 

Cas smiles, tilts his head, watches Dean watching him with benign curiosity. “Do you miss the female body I was in?” 

Dean takes a long, slow look at him; at the long, golden lines of his arms, the hard straps of muscle around his hips, and yeah, his dick, which is half hard and flushed and as goddamn pretty as his face, and his mouth goes dry. “I haven’t thought about it once,” he says, truthfully. “You going somewhere with that?” he nods to Cas’s semi, kind of in awe that he’s managed to get it up again even a little. He's starting to suspect Cas is giving them both a little magical help.

“Yeah,” Cas grabs him by the elbow and pulls him up, “And you’re coming with me.”

Dean sets the timer on his watch for fifteen minutes and grins, holding out his wrist to show Cas the seconds ticking away. “No angel mojo,” he warns.

“Alright,” Cas nods solemnly, manhandling Dean towards the bathroom. “I accept your challenge.”