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And all the pieces fall right into place

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It takes a few goes for it to be good.

Well.

No.

It’s good from the start, of course it is, it’s Cas. Dean has wanted Cas for longer than he can really remember any more. Years. But that doesn’t mean falling into bed with him is easy from the first try.

They’ve been best friends for over a decade now, and crossing that line to lovers is so fucking bizarre. Kissing is fine, amazing, awesome, but then Cas will get his hands under Dean’s shirt, down Dean’s jeans, and the bit of Dean’s brain that spent ten years shoving this want into a box on a shelf in the back of his mind wakes up and screams bloody murder.

He’s going to ruin this, he’s going to ruin Cas, he ruins everything, that’s just what he does.

Cas doesn’t seem to have these hangups. Every time he touches Dean it’s with this ravenous reverence, like he can’t get enough, like he could touch Dean forever and it would still be new.

Cas touches Dean a lot.

So yeah. Dean spends a lot of his time having internal crises before his idiot head works itself out.

***

The first time Dean’s got half a bottle of whiskey in him.

It’s been a couple of weeks since they brought Cas back from the empty. Since Cas answered Dean’s clumsy I love you too, please stay with me with the vial of his grace pressed into Dean’s palm and I will, always. They’ve been slowly stretching out into this new definition of themselves, the new depth of meaning to the and in Dean and Cas. Some things are easy as breathing. Learning to touch rather than hold back. Curling into each other on the sofa on movie night. Dragging each other into random corners of the bunker where Sam won’t walk in and kissing like giddy teenagers hiding out from their parents. Holding hands on the seat while Dean drives. Sam has started threatening to travel in his own car so he doesn’t have to sit in the back and wait for you to drive us into a tree because you can’t stop staring at Cas, for the love of God Dean.

Some things are harder. Cas still isn’t all that great at subtlety, so things will either fly straight over his head or he’ll be so astonishingly blunt that Dean’s blindsided. One evening Dean says he’s going for a shower, winks at Cas. Cas just nods without looking up from his book, and Dean hovers in the doorway for a long minute without Cas catching on, so he ends up going by himself despite not really wanting to shower in the first place. And then Cas has a habit of calling Dean beautiful in this sort of awed voice, which all kinds of strange and lovely even the hundredth, the thousandth time. But it’s a problem when half the time it makes something in Dean’s head come unstuck and he forgets that he was trying to read up on a hunt, or cook a meal, or get Cas’ clothes off.

So it’s been nearly three weeks. Three weeks of being so disgustingly affectionate that Sam’s threatened to hose them with cold water more than once. Three weeks since Dean tried to give Cas space, let him sleep in his own room at least at first till they can figure out exactly where this is taking them. But then Dean couldn’t sleep for fear he’d dreamt the rescue, and when he went to stick his head round Cas’ door and check he was really there he’d bumped into Cas in the corridor instead, eyes red and hands shaking with I dreamt I was still there, Dean I- so they’d ended up sleeping tangled together in Dean’s bed every night anyway. But they’re still dancing around each other like blushing virgins. Which is ridiculous, Dean hasn’t been wrong-footed by sex in his entire life.

Their last hunt was long and brutal and bloody. When they get back to the bunker they have dinner and drinks on the sofa, eyes catching on each other, smiling and buoyed up on the rush of victory. Cas spends most of the meal sitting sideways with his legs over Dean’s and his feet resting on the cushions. He keeps touching Dean’s knee, his wrist, watching him with this tender look in his eyes.

Sometime near the bottom of the whiskey bottle Dean takes their glasses, puts them on the table and climbs into Cas’ lap to kiss him. He cradles Cas’ jaw in his palms, strokes his fingertips lightly over the sensitive skin behind his ears. Cas makes a soft noise, holds onto Dean’s waist and runs his thumbs up Dean’s sides so gently it turns Dean’s heart inside out.

He’s sliding deeper into Cas’ lap before he knows what he’s doing. He pushes down against Cas, curls his fingers into Cas’ hair, groans in the back of his throat.

Cas’s fingers clench into Dean’s shirt. He makes another noise, longer and lower, jerks minutely up into Dean’s body. Heat unfurls low in Dean’s stomach.

For a few long minutes Dean just basks in that heat, kissing across Cas’ cheekbones, smoothing his hand down Cas’ chest, into the dip of his waist, luxuriates in the warmth spreading slow and heady through his limbs. Cas keeps making involuntary, breathy noises, sighing into Dean’s skin, and Dean drinks them in, feeds them to the growing fire in his chest.

Dean kisses close to the corner of Cas’ mouth and Cas turns into it, catches Dean’s lips with his, opens up to him, languorous and a little needy. Cas’s fingers stray under the hem of Dean’s t-shirt, dance lightly up the line of his ribs.

The golden whiskey glow makes Dean bold. He dips his fingers into the waistband of Cas’ underwear, skates lower to find hardening flesh, slips his fingers down-

Cas gasps sharply, breaks the kiss. He presses his face into Dean’s neck, pants into the hollow of his collarbone. Cas’ fingers grip hard, possessive on Dean’s thighs.

“Dean,” Cas grits out into Dean’s shoulder, “Dean, please I-“

The cut off groan Cas lets out completely short circuits Dean’s brain. It bypasses his conscious mind and takes control of him, makes him shove up off the sofa and onto his feet. Cas makes a brief noise of protest before Dean catches him by the wrists and pulls him up too. Dean tugs Cas into his chest, loops one arm around Cas’ shoulders, grabs his ass and pulls them close. He grinds into Cas’ hip, bites at Cas’ lower lip. Grins into Cas’ mouth when Cas full-on whines, clutching wildly at Dean’s shirt, his jeans, his belt loops.

“C’mon, sunshine.” Dean plants another kiss on Cas’ cheek, tugs him towards the corridor with his lips on Cas’ skin and his fingers hooked in Cas’ waistband. Cas doesn’t hesitate. He grabs Dean’s hand, bolts for their room, reeling Dean behind him like this was his idea.

Dean just smiles wider and lets Cas pull him along.

They barely make it into the corridor before Cas crowds Dean into the wall and crushes their mouths together. Dean kisses back, sinking for a second into the heat of Cas’ mouth, the hard lines of his body, before the tiny fraction of his brain that’s still coherent remembers bedroom.

He pushes at Cas, treacherous hands tangling in Cas’ shirt and trying to pull him in at the same time.

“Cas,” he manages to get the name out coherently despite Cas’ wandering hands. “Bedroom, now.”

Cas huffs, staggers back pulling Dean along with him. He doesn’t stop kissing Dean, and for a few steps they stumble over each other, lips locked, before Dean pushes Cas away with a monumental effort of will and propels him towards their room.

The corridor sways a little in front of Dean’s eyes as they walk, and he nearly trips on his own boots. He scrubs his hand over his face. Maybe he’s a little drunker than he thought, too much whiskey on too little sleep, too much of Cas intoxicating him with fingers in his hair, sliding into his waistband. A tiny alarm bell dings briefly in the back of his head, maybe slow down, maybe stop.

But then Cas glances at him with heavy-lidded eyes, grins a little wicked, and every other thought slips from Dean’s head.

As soon as they’re through the bedroom door Cas turns and shoves Dean against it, pins Dean’s hands above his head and kisses him open-mouthed and hungry. Dean pushes his hips up into Cas’ and the groan he gets in answer lights liquid fire in his veins.

For all that they’ve wavered on the edge of this, things move quickly then. Dean pops Cas’ buttons, pushes his shirt off his shoulders, skims his hands up the rising blush painting Cas’ skin rosy, while Cas fumbles at Dean’s clothes, clumsy with impatience, tugging him towards the bed by the collar. Dean has to let go of Cas for a moment to yank his boots off. The second he’s done Cas is hauling him upright and tumbling them back onto the mattress with eleven years of intent burning in his eyes.

And it’s awesome and revelatory and beautiful in the moment, but later Dean can’t clearly remember anything about it other than this one image where Cas pushes himself upright on top of him. Dean’s flat out on his back, chest heaving and hands clutching at Cas’ thighs. Cas balances over him, hands pressing into Dean’s ribs to stay steady. There’s bruises from Dean’s mouth blossoming up Cas’ neck and his face is a wonder of discovery and surprise and lust, and Dean doesn’t know what to do, he wants he wants, but that’s his best friend on top of him, and he’s drunk on whiskey and Cas, and for that second this is the strangest thing he’d ever experienced and he can’t make himself move.

Then Cas dives back down to kiss him with his fingers tangled in Dean’s hair and everything after that is a blur.

The next morning Cas is all sleepy eyes and smiles, wrapping himself around Dean and whispering love into Dean’s lips.

And Dean feels like the worst excuse for a human for being too drunk to remember their first time properly.

***

The second time Dean makes sure he’s entirely sober, but then he’s too busy internally freaking the fuck out to focus on enjoying himself.

He’s fine to start with. He’s got his hand on Cas and he’s sucking bruises into Cas’ throat when Cas clutches at him and whispers, “please, I want you inside me, please” in his ear, and those words hotwire his whole body, shoot down his spine to light him up from the inside.

It’s only a while later when he’s pushing in and Cas’ face twists a little, fingers clenching into the meat of Dean’s bicep, that Dean’s internal switch flips over to panic mode.

“You okay?” He stills instantly, curls his hand around the back of Cas’ neck. The liquid glow inside him freezes into crystalline fragility.

Cas wraps his leg around Dean, pulls him deeper. Grabs him by the jaw and kisses him ferociously.

“Keep moving,” Cas growls into his mouth, and Dean does, but part of his head is screaming at him and he can’t sink into it when he’s so scared that Cas is hurting.

Cas gasps into his mouth, whines against his shoulder, pulls him impossibly closer, demands more, faster please Dean please, until he’s scrabbling at Dean’s arms and spilling over his chest with his eyes wide and round and shining like stars.

And Dean does come too – how can he not with Cas making noises like that – but part of his brain is too strung out on fear for it to be properly good. He doesn’t mention it, though the way Cas wrinkles his eyes at him later when they’re cuddled up in bed and Dean can’t stop asking if Cas is okay, he doesn’t hurt, makes him think he’s done a shitty job of hiding it.

***

The third time is in the back of the impala. Dean got blasted by some kind of ice spirit and even now it’s dead he’s shuddering, blue lipped and ashen, his bones freezing him from the inside out.

Cas bundles him into the back seat, cranks the heat to max. He swathes them in blankets, pulls their clothes off, wraps the whole of himself around Dean. His body heat is a furnace and Dean clings onto him in desperation, pushing his face into Cas’ neck and shivering helplessly.

It’s a long time before Dean warms up, but it’s about when the vicious pins and needles subside and he starts being able to feel his fingers again that he also realises that Cas is mostly naked and right there. He’s still racked with shakes, he’s still not sure if his toes are all there or not, but he’s alive, he’s alive. And he’s suddenly overwhelmed the solid reality of Cas’ warm, beautiful body pressed up against every inch of him.

“Cas,” he mumbles into Cas’ jaw. Fumbles at Cas’ chest, mouths sloppily at his neck. “Cas, I want-“

“Dean, you’re hurt, I don’t-“ Despite his words, Cas’ grip on Dean tightens convulsively and he sucks in a shaky breath. “Dean, you’re-“

Dean scrabbles himself upwards, looks Cas in the eye. Cas’ pupils are too wide, even for the dark inside the car, his breathing unsteady against Dean’s ribs.

“Nearly fuckin’ died Cas.” Dean slides his trembling hands up to cup Cas’ jaw. “Again.”

Cas shudders bodily, eyes closing. “I know.” His voice is rough. “I thought I was going to lose you. Again.”

Dean pushes himself even closer against Cas’ body, slots his thigh between Cas’ and presses into him. Cas groans between his teeth.

“But you didn’t. I’m right here,” Dean whispers into Cas’ lips. “Tell me you don’t want this and I’ll stop. But I want you.

Cas says nothing. Just twitches, pressing minutely back into Dean, hands slipping down to grip his hips. Dean feels the hard heat of him against his thigh and smiles, shaky and exhilarated on his own survival.

“C’mon Cas,” he punctuates the words with messy kisses to Cas’ chin, his cheek, his nose, “keep me warm.”

And Cas moans and surrenders, rolling on top and pushing Dean down into the leather.

Later, when Cas insists on driving home and Dean spends the trip cocooned in blankets with his head on Cas’ lap, Dean worries the whole way that he pressured Cas into something he didn’t really want. Cas doesn’t seem to mind. He drives with his hand on Dean’s chest, over his heart, and glances down at him every few minutes with melting warmth, but Dean can’t stem the undercurrent of guilt in the back of his mind until the rumbling of the engine tips him into sleep.

***

The fourth time Dean’s had enough of his own idiot brain.

This is Cas, for Christ’s sake. He didn’t spend a decade longing for this to let himself flip out and ruin it the second he finally has it.

It’s a normal evening. No one nearly died. No one’s drunk or under a spell and freezing to death. Dean cooks them bacon topped macaroni cheese, throws together a salad on the side to stop Sam bitching. They eat with Sam in the library, argue over the last case, the three of them loose and happy, grinning at each other over their food. Cas asks hopefully for ice cream for dessert, the fancy expensive vanilla one Dean turned a blind eye to him sneaking into their last grocery shop. Dean drizzles it with warm honey and sprinkles on chocolate chips, just for the glowing smile he knows he’ll get when he gives Cas his bowl. While Sam pours them whiskey, Dean watches Cas melt around his first mouthful and his heart beats faster with anticipation.

Sam heads out after washing up, going to meet Eileen at a bar in town. Once the door bangs shut behind him, Dean pulls Cas out of his seat at the kitchen table, presses him into the closest wall and kisses the vanilla and honey off his tongue.

Cas melts into him as readily as he did the ice cream, like Dean’s the sweetest thing he’s ever tasted. His fingers slide up Dean’s chest, twist into his collar. Dean curls his hand around Cas’ elbow, his jaw, tilts his head a little more for that perfect angle, lets the warm slide of Cas’ tongue crowd every other thought out of his mind.

When they break apart Cas tightens his hold on Dean’s collar, keeps him close enough to brush their noses together.

“Hello Dean,” Cas says. His eyes crinkle at the corners as he smiles and Dean is helpless not to kiss the lines. He lingers against Cas’ face, breathing in the warm scent of his skin, noses gently into the curl of dark hair behind his ear. Cas’ fingers clench slightly in Dean’s shirt in response, sparking a flare of honey-gold heat that settles glowing in the base of Dean’s spine.

“Hey Cas,” Dean breathes into the shell of Cas’ ear, “wanna take me home?”

Cas laughs, deep and a little rough. His fingers twine through Dean’s and he presses a kiss to Dean’s knuckles.

“Every day for the rest of our lives,” he whispers. And that promise should knock Dean off balance how it always has before, flip the panic switch hardwired into the foundations of his being, but somehow it doesn’t. It just sinks into Dean’s skin, into his veins, runs warm and heady in his blood, stronger and sweeter than any whiskey in the world.

Dean keeps hold of Cas’ hand. He holds it close to his chest as he steps away, reeling Cas after him, keeps his eyes fixed on Cas’ so he can watch the fire build in Cas’ gaze as Dean pulls him gently towards their room.

Halfway down the corridor Cas squeezes his fingers. He fixes Dean with a knowing stare and presses his fingertips into the pulse point of Dean’s wrist. “Were you trying to seduce me with bacon and honey ice cream?”

Dean snorts, a laugh bubbling up in his stomach, blending with the whiskey to set a warm, happy hum thrumming through his bones.

“Yeah, maybe,” he admits, and the smile that Cas gives him sends fireworks shooting up from his toes to the top of his head.

Cas grins wider. Brushes his free hand up Dean’s chest from hip to chin, lingers there. “Well then,” he says lowering his gaze and looking up at Dean through his lashes. “Consider me thoroughly seduced.”

Dean swallows hard. His feet speed up of their own volition, tugging Cas along faster. Has their bedroom door always been this far from the kitchen?

They tumble through that door in a mess of tangled limbs. Dean’s hip rebounds off the desk but the jolt of pain barely registers through the heat flaring under his skin. He mouths at the line of Cas’ jaw, grabs at his shirt, shoves it off his shoulders to get to skin. The buttons snag and Dean tugs, stymied. Then Cas kisses into the hollow behind Dean’s ear, open mouthed and wet and messy, and the frustration slips from Dean’s mind in a hot glide of please, please, please.

Cas shoves his hands under Dean’s flannel and wrestles it down his arms. Then he’s grabbing Dean by the collar, spinning him around. He backs them up till Dean’s calves trip on the bed and they’re toppling back onto the mattress.

Dean fists Cas’ shirt, yanks him in. He loses himself for a second in the scrape of Cas’ stubble on his cheek, the solid strength of his muscles under Dean’s palms. Then Cas’ hands are on his jeans, popping the button, wrenching down the zip and all of Dean’s awareness focuses down into the brush of Cas’ knuckles over his dick.

“Cas,” he breathes, and Cas runs his knuckles back up slowly and deliberately.

The air punches out of Dean’s lungs. His eyelids flutter and Cas grins, the edges of it turning self-satisfied, so Dean grabs handfuls of Cas’ hair and kisses him filthy and hot until Cas is gasping and shuddering, all traces of smug lost to Dean’s mouth.

Dean lifts his hips up impatiently. Cas wrestles Dean’s jeans down Dean’s thighs, scrabbles at them inelegantly to get them further off without breaking the kiss until they stick on Dean’s knees and he pulls away, growling in frustration. Cas turns and pushes Dean’s jeans down until they won’t go any further, piled up around Dean’s ankles, on top of his boots. Cas curses under his breath.

“You’ve still got your boots on.” Cas scowls down at Dean’s feet, slithers gracelessly off the bed to tug at his shoes. Dean props himself onto his elbows, intending to lean forward and help, but once he catches sight of Cas he forgets what he was meaning to do. Cas has Dean’s right foot in his lap. His hair’s wild, skin flushed, shirt hanging open off his shoulders, delightfully dishevelled, and he’s poking at Dean’s knotted laces with the most ridiculous baffled expression, like he cannot fathom how he’s supposed to fix the problem he’s faced with. It’s so endearing Dean’s brain momentarily blanks out with affection.

Then Cas looks up at Dean, eyes scrunched up in annoyance. “Dean,” he says in his most deadpan voice. “Your laces are problematic.”

He sounds so entirely done that it cracks something open inside Dean’s ribs. Laughter at the absurdity of this situation bubbles up uncontrollably and he flops back down, arms giving way. Cas makes a startled noise that breaks the last bit of dam holding back the tide and it floods out. Dean just lies there with his jeans stuck around his ankles and laughs helplessly.

“This isn’t funny, Dean,” Cas snips. Dean catches the hint of hurt behind his curt tone and immediately sobers. This isn’t Cas’ fault.

He tamps down the remnants of the hysteria and pushes himself upright. Cas is still kneeling on the floor, scowling up at Dean with that trace of hurt haunting the curve of his mouth, the tightness of his eyes. Dean’s heart lurches and he’s instantly sliding off the bed and into Cas’ lap. Cas catches him, but his touch is hesitant and Dean hates himself for causing it. He wraps his arms around Cas’ shoulders, presses their foreheads together to catch Cas’ eye with all the apology he can muster.

“Sorry sweetheart,” he mumbles into Cas’ lips. “Laughin’ at me, not you.” He sighs a little and leans on the solidity of Cas’ chest. “Wanted it to be perfect for once. Trust me to go fuck it up in such a stupid way.”

Cas’ frown softens. He slides a hand up Dean’s back under his t-shirt, runs his fingers through the fine hair at Dean’s temple. “Dean,” he says insistently. “It’s always perfect if it’s with you.”

Dean blinks, slightly startled, but before he can even start to process that Cas kisses him again, hard and pointed as though he’s reinforcing his words with it.

“I mean it,” Cas breathes against Dean’s mouth. “Even when it’s clumsy and awkward it’s perfect, because it’s you.” His hand slips down to grab Dean’s ass and pull him flush against Cas’ body. “But if you don’t get those goddamn boots off right now, I might have to revise that opinion.”

Dean can’t argue with that. He drops one more kiss onto Cas’ nose before slipping off Cas’ lap and swinging his legs round to grapple with his laces. Cas follows him as if he’s drawn by an invisible tether between them. Cas yanks off his own boots in seconds – for a moment Dean’s brain is sidetracked by huh, maybe Sam’s right about those pull-on things – then he’s leaning into Dean’s side, slipping his hands back under Dean’s t-shirt, tracing the curve of Dean’s shoulder blades with feather-light fingers.

Dean unpicks the double knots as quickly as he’s able, but with Cas rucking Dean’s sleeve up to kiss the handprint scar and trailing fire over Dean’s back wherever his touch falls, Dean’s fingers fumble frustratingly and his mind keeps wandering off task.

“Maybe single knots next time?” Cas suggests into the angle of Dean’s jaw.

Dean snorts. “Sure, if you want me to trip on a loose lace and get eaten by the next monster we chase.”

Cas chuckles quietly. His breath tickles and Dean has to shove him off to focus before his dick hijacks his higher brain functions and he ends up trying to get back to what they were doing with his jeans still tying his ankles together.

The instant his boots and socks are off Dean wrestles his jeans and boxers over his feet. Figuring they’ve lost enough time, he tugs his t-shirt over his head too, kicks the whole pile aside. Then he turns and tackles Cas onto his back.

He lands bracketed in Cas’ knees, Cas’ arms coming up around him and hands splaying over his lower back. Cas pulls Dean down hard, pushes his own hips up and Dean hisses between his teeth at the pressure. The denim of Cas’ jeans is rough on Dean’s bare flesh, sparking lightning through his belly, and it’s not enough, not enough. Dean drops his face close to Cas, bumps their noses together.

“You,” he accuses to Cas’ mouth, close enough their lips touch. Cas twitches a little, mouth opening and eyes flicking down to Dean’s lips. Dean ghosts their mouths together, the lightest brush. Feels Cas’ chest rise against his own in expectation. “You,” Dean repeats, “are still wearing too many clothes.”

Then he’s gone, pushing up away from Cas’ lips and back onto his heels. Cas makes a protesting sound that can only be classified as a whimper, jerks up onto his elbows. Dean pushes him back down with one hand, hooks his fingers into Cas’ waistband and pops his jeans button with his thumb. The way Cas’ eyes immediately zero in on Dean’s fingers and his breath hitches sends a tingle right up Dean’s arms and overrides any intention he had to draw this out. Instead he gets Cas’ zip down and yanks his jeans and boxers off in one swift movement. It’s only when he’s pulling them over Cas’ feet that he realises Cas still has his socks on.

“Maybe take these off with the boots next time?” He echoes Cas’ teasing from earlier, picking up Cas’ foot and waggling it. “Just socks and shirt, not your best look.”

Cas rolls his eyes, shoves Dean’s shoulder with his free foot, but his eyes crinkle like he’s trying not to laugh and Dean’s stomach fizzes with something effervescent and warm.

Grinning, Dean strips Cas’ socks off. He keeps hold of Cas’ left foot, bends down to run his tongue up the fine arch of it, looks up at Cas’ face through his eyelashes. Cas’ toes curl and his eyes darken, so Dean does it again, ending with a kiss planted firmly on the jut of Cas’ ankle.

“Dean, get up here,” Cas demands. His voice is already rough with want, and the raw sound of it feeds straight into the fire growing in Dean’s groin.

Dean takes his time making his way back up Cas’ body. There’s a familiarity to the lines of him now that’s exhilarating. His hands know the shape of him, know where to touch to make him gasp and shiver. So he kisses his way up Cas’ shin, licks lightly into the back of Cas’ knee just because he knows Cas is ticklish, buries his smile in Cas’ thigh as Cas flinches and huffs. By the time he reaches Cas’ hips Cas is trembling finely all over, hands twitching at Dean’s hair, his shoulders.

Dean stops over Cas’ hipbone. He hovers there, looking up at Cas through lowered eyes, slips his hand under Cas’ shirt to glide softly up his stomach. Cas groans and shoves himself upright, reaching for Dean.

“For fuck’s sake Dean will you stop teasing and just-“

“Yeah, yeah ok,” Dean laughs. He catches Cas’ grasping fingers and with one hand, pulls them in to kiss Cas’ knuckles while he fumbles Cas’ shirt buttons open with the other. He’s barely slipped the last one open before Cas is tugging his hands free and impatiently shrugging the shirt off to toss it aside.

Now they’re both naked, for a few seconds Dean lets himself admire Cas’ body. His flat stomach, muscled limbs, the scattered scars he’s acquired marking his chosen humanity. Dean’s seen Cas naked plenty of times now, but it never fails to awe him that he’s allowed to, that Cas wants him to see, to touch, to claim.

From the way Cas is looking at Dean through half-closed lids, dilated pupils tracking his own hand as is trails lightly up Dean’s arm, across his chest, down his ribs to his stomach, he seems to be feeling something similar.

Then Cas’ hand dips lower, into the crease of Dean’s hip, and the curl of desire that wells up jolts Dean back into motion.

“Bed.” He says decisively, pushing himself into a crouch. “I’m too old for sex-induced rug burn.”

Cas nods eagerly and hold his hand out for Dean to help him up. A sudden bubble of mischief bursting in his stomach, Dean ignores the hand, quickly slips an arm around Cas’ back, the other under his knees, and picks him up. Cas yelps and clings onto Dean’s neck.

“Dean, if you put your back out I will have zero sympathy,” he warns, but he’s laughing even as Dean staggers a little under his weight and dumps him unceremoniously on the mattress.

Dean follows him down, settling between Cas’ legs and bracketing Cas’ head with his forearms. He slides his hands up into the thick tumble of Cas’ hair, runs his lips along the line of Cas’ jaw. His skin smells a little of his citrus shower gel, and that tugs at Dean’s heart, the sheer humanity of it so new on Cas, but already so familiar.

Then Cas grips Dean’s biceps, hooks a leg around Dean’s, and pulls their hips together.

“Fuck, Cas, yes-“ Dean’s breath stutters raggedly out. Cas rocks them together and Dean keens a little, breath catching on every slip of skin on skin, tension coiling in his spine with every touch of Cas’ fingertips.

Dean quickly loses himself to the slide of their bodies together, the way Cas moves underneath him, the breathless words Cas whispers into the hollow of Dean’s neck. The sounds are a soft tumble, barely audible, but Dean catches a needy sigh of dean please that stokes the fire under his skin to incandescence.

Dean pushes himself up, fumbles down between them to take Cas in hand, strokes once, twice. Cas’ gasps out a soft oh, arching his back. His face is suddenly open and vulnerable, a lifetime of weariness washed away by his surge of pleasure. He looks so fucking beautiful like this. Dean wishes he could look so soft forever, all his cares wiped clean.

Cas slips his hand down and wraps it around Dean, and Dean’s train of thought derails somewhere between Cas’ fingers and the nip of Cas’ teeth on the pulse point of Dean’s neck. Cas twists his wrist just so and Dean has to fight to hold himself up, arm shaking so hard the mattress trembles under them. He tries to focus through the tension building in his stomach, the narrowing of his perception down to the single point of Cas’ hand dragging him closer and closer to the edge, to concentrate instead on his own hand, on making Cas feel good.

Dean drops his forehead to rest on Cas’ collarbone, kisses the tender skin there. His hips dip a little lower, jostling their hands together and Cas groans softly.

“Dean, I-Dean, please, I-“ Cas chokes out. The rhythm of his hand stutters and Dean feels him tense.

“Cas,” Dean breathes into his ear. “Come on, I’ve got you- I want you to-“

Cas comes with his eyes screwed shut. His fingers grip convulsively on Dean’s shoulder, nails digging in just hard enough to send tiny shocks of pain down into Dean’s ribs, and that’s all it takes to tip Dean over the edge too. He follows Cas down with his face pushed into Cas’ hair and his own hand gripping Cas’ hip tight enough to bruise, the world whiting out around him.

When Dean comes back to himself, he’s slumped bonelessly over Cas like a human blanket. If it were anyone else Dean would worry about crushing them, but Cas just blinks slowly, eyes hooded and dark and blissed out, and wraps all his limbs around Dean in a whole-body hug. The heat inside Dean settles now, turning sweet and hazy, blending with the warmth of Cas’ body against his own. Dean snuffles contentedly and slides his hands under Cas’ back to pull them even closer together.

“Love you,” he mumbles. They’re so close the words reverberate off Cas’ skin and Dean feels the echo of them as a soft hum against his lips.

Cas sighs happily, runs one palm lazily up from the small of Dean’s back to cradle the back of his neck.

“I love you too,” Cas says quietly. “Always.”

Dean lets the words sink into his skin like a balm, mingling with the lingering high still running in his blood. Against his nose Cas’ skin is warm, smelling now of sweat and sex and the barest hint of that citrussy shower gel, real in a way that Dean could never have given justice to in all his years of longing imagination.

Dean breathes deeply and closes his eyes, cups the human reality of that scent in his heart and lets himself drift.

Finally the cooling mess between their stomachs tips over from ignorable to honestly kind of gross and Dean shakes his head, pushes up from their comfortable tangle.

“C’mon, shower.”

Dean rolls off the bed holds his hand out. Cas takes it, smiling, and lets Dean haul him up too. Dean lets go to pull on enough clothes to not give Sam a heart attack if he’s come back and they run into him in the corridor, but Cas twines their fingers back together before they head out the bedroom door. So Dean bumps their arms together as they walk, glances at Cas every couple of seconds, can’t hold in the grin when he catches Cas watching him too.

In the bathroom, Cas shuffles off his pyjama bottoms and beelines straight for the shower. Dean pauses to sling a couple of towels over the heater to warm up before kicking off his own sweats. The tiles are cold underfoot and Dean hisses a little, hurries to join Cas. Cas has cranked the water heat up so it’s billowing steam and his skin is already blushing pink and warm. Dean grins to himself, grabs Cas around his waist and curls his chilly toes into the side of Cas’ calf. Cas yelps a startled Dean!, yanks himself away, slapping at Dean’s hands.

“Sorry,” Dean says, but his smile widens unapologetically and Cas scowls, smacks him in the bicep with the shower gel. Mock wincing, Dean catches Cas by the wrist and takes the bottle from his hand.

“Here, let me make it up to you.” Dean kisses Cas quickly on the cheekbone, then squeezes out some gel and starts soaping Cas shoulders. He digs his fingertips in a little, massaging into the muscles until Cas loosens, frown smoothing and eyelids fluttering closed. Dean moves his hands down then, sweeping over Cas’ stomach, cleaning off the mess they made. That seems to trigger something in Cas, who swipes up the shampoo and starts lathering Dean’s hair. His fingers rub circles on Dean’s scalp and Dean half closes his eyes, humming in appreciation. Cas smiles and noses softly at Dean’s jawline.

It doesn’t take them long to clean up, but when the last of the soap suds swirl down the drain Cas shows no inclination to turn the shower off and get dry. Instead he wraps his arms around Dean’s waist, rests his head on Dean’s shoulder and sways them gently. Against his chest Dean feels Cas hum something quiet and tender, too low to be heard over the drum of the water on tile. Dean goes with the rhythm, leans the side of his head on Cas’ and sighs. The water’s just starting to lose its heat, but Dean can’t bring himself to care. Cas’ hands are firm on the base of his spine, his body is solid in Dean’s arms, and Dean can’t recall the last time he felt this content.

“You were right,” he whispers into Cas’ hair.

Cas turns his head towards him, nose brushing Dean’s ear in silent question. Dean smiles and pulls him a little closer. “This is perfect.”