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The Structural Similarities of Hunters and Onions

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Castiel can’t remember when they watched it. He doesn’t even think it’s one of those occasions when Dean made him sit down and watch a movie that had previously been unknown and unimportant to Castiel. In fact, Castiel is fairly sure he remembers Dean grumbling about being forced to watch a ‘stupid kid movie’ because that was the only thing that the motel TV had available.

Regardless of what had happened to bring the event to pass, at some point, Castiel had watched Shrek, a heartwarming story about a green ogre and what had seemed to be a highly intelligent donkey capable of human speech. He distinctly remembers the line about onions and layers, and he remembers reflecting that humans have layers like onions too.

While Dean is not an ogre by any means—Castiel has met ogres before, and he doesn’t think much of them—it can certainly be said that Dean has layers like an onion. Or perhaps like a tree, an analogy that feels more appropriate. Comparing Dean to a pungent vegetable feels… callous, now that Castiel thinks about it.

Whether Dean is like an ogre, an onion, a tree, or something else entirely, the point is that he has layers. He has different parts of himself, pieces of his beautiful personality that he chooses to show the world at different times. Castiel is blessed to say that he gets the honor of seeing all of them.

He gets to see Dean when he’s grumpy and irritated in the morning, barely able to function without the powerful dose of caffeine that he insists on consuming. Castiel has managed to encourage him to decrease his intake from four cups to two, but it’s been a slow process. No matter how much caffeine Dean has, he’s still grumpy for a little while, anyway. The only person who never seems to be on the receiving end of Dean’s early-morning attitude is Jack, a fact that Castiel finds as endearing as it is annoying. He’s seen the young Nephilim poke Dean repeatedly on the shoulder to get his attention, only for the hunter to blink sleepily at him and ask what he needs. Castiel knows that if he were to try that, he’d lose a hand.

When Dean wakes up fully, if it’s a day where they’re not on a hunt—and it is, more often than not lately—he’ll clean or do something similar, like fixing the cars in the Bunker or organizing something or other. Sometimes he takes Jack fishing, or he shows the Nephilim something new like how to change a tire or how to tie knots. Or how to hotwire a car. Castiel hadn’t been too happy about that last one.

If it’s a day that they’ve got nothing planned, Dean will make lunch and loudly announce to everyone when it’s ready. He’ll make an elaborate dinner and force Castiel to try it even though he still doesn’t need to eat. He hasn’t had to eat since Jack fixed his wings, but Dean doesn’t care that all he can taste is molecules. Dean will make everyone sit down at the dinner table and he’ll make everyone eat at the same time. He tolerates absolutely no excuses as to why someone can’t make it to dinner, unless they’re sick, gravely wounded, or dying.

Castiel indulges him because he knows that this is a softer side of Dean, a softer layer. One that needs to see his family all together, eating and safe and happy. He sits on Dean’s right-hand side and rubs his kneecap gently with his thumb while he eats, and Dean eats his food with a beautiful, light pink flush on his cheekbones that Sam pretends not to see.

Those are the days when they aren’t hunting. On the days when they are, things go a little differently.

Dean still wakes up, still grumps around, still drinks an ungodly amount of caffeine. The unspoken rule is that Jack isn’t allowed on hunts, because while he has responsibilities and the power to level continents, he’s still a child and he deserves to experience life as one. Besides, the monsters are disappearing, becoming weaker and weaker as the hunters of the world slowly weed them out, so there isn’t as much need for heavy-duty cavalry. Typically, Sam doesn’t even join them in the field anymore, just helps with the research and stays back at the Bunker with Eileen.

These days, it’s just Dean and Castiel on hunts, and that’s okay. Castiel likes it that way, too.

They go to breakfast at a diner. Sometimes the food is good, sometimes it’s bad. Even though he’s forty and he has beautiful smile lines beginning to crinkle his eyes, Dean still manages to garner the attention of nearly all the young women—and sometimes young men, too—in the diner. It will never stop firing up Castiel’s possessive instinct, but he’s learned to deal with that. Dean will never not be beautiful and magnetic. That’s just how he is, how his soul was made. All Castiel can do is know that Dean is receiving the attention he deserves, but also comfort himself with the fact that at the end of the day, Dean is his.

Dean knows that, too. There’s a certain tone to his flirting now, a ‘thank you, but…’ that Castiel can’t help but feel satisfaction at. Typically, Dean’s admirers seem to recognize that and back off. If they don’t, the scribbled numbers on receipts go in the garbage before they even leave the diner.

Castiel sees the loud, confident layer of Dean when they’re in public. He orders for Castiel, smiles broadly at everyone, charms old women and little kids alike. He holds Castiel’s hand when he’s feeling secure enough, but Castiel understands that there are some days where he needs to hold back a little, to not push himself too much, to walk with his hands in his pockets and pretend like that will somehow make him more of a man.

Castiel is content to let Dean feel in control when they’re in front of other people. He lets Dean take the lead when they’re talking to victims, listens to him strategize as they’re about to walk into a haunted house. He lets Dean puff up his chest and get cocky when he successfully fleeces a victim at pool, watches somewhat exasperatedly as Dean taunts the sore loser as much as he can without starting a real fight. Castiel sees every bold, loud, confident, macho, manly layer of Dean’s personality. Every layer that he’s built up over the years.

He also sees what Dean is like when all of that is stripped away.

Castiel sees Dean’s shoulders drop when they get back to the Bunker. He sees the way his face softens, the way his bravado and cockiness melt away. He watches as Dean lets himself be led to their bedroom instead of the other way around, following one step to the right and two steps behind, like he was born to do it.

Today is no different. They’ve just finished a rather brutal ghost hunt, and they’re both exhausted. There’s a certain electricity in the air, though, a feeling that tells Castiel that the day might not be over yet.

Castiel can feel the longing start to build in Dean’s soul, tangible now that he’s letting the last of his layers slip away. He can sense the softness that is now being exposed, the vulnerable, aching part of Dean that the hunter only ever shows when they’re behind the closed and locked door of their bedroom.

“Cas?” Dean asks, as said door closes and said lock turns.

It’s soft, questioning. Castiel pauses where he’s pulling off his tie on his side of the room, listening to not only the sound of Dean’s voice, but the sound of his soul.

“Yes, sweet boy?” he asks, taking the chance. He hears the soft intake of breath behind him.

“Uh, can we… Can, uh…” Dean trails off, fighting with the last of his defenses, fighting to obey what Castiel has told him to do time and time again: ask for what he wants. “Can we… Can we, uh… play?” The last word is quiet, barely audible.

Castiel is tempted to make him repeat the question, louder and to his face, with eye contact and his shoulders back and everything. Some nights he does that. Sometimes he knows that Dean needs to be pushed. Tonight, though… Tonight, he can feel Dean’s vulnerability, can tell that Dean is feeling less confident and secure tonight and more like he needs to be taken care of.

Castiel turns to his hunter and gives him a soft smile. “Of course, beloved.” His mind is already racing, flying through the endless possibilities of what they could do. He looks Dean in his shy green eyes and reads what his soul is telling him, what Dean is silently asking for.

When Dean is like this, stripped of all his layers and walls and defenses, he usually wants one of three things. To feel safe, to feel loved, or to be touched. It’s often a combination of all three, but Castiel can sense Dean’s need for touch taking center stage at the moment. He crosses the room, tugging the cuffs of his dress shirt up his forearms as he does, and pulls Dean against his chest without hesitation.

He can feel Dean’s sigh of relief against the bare skin of his collarbone, can sense the wonder of the human’s soul as he marvels at the easy, easy way Castiel is willing to hold him. It breaks the angel’s heart to think that Dean has ever felt like he needs to earn something like a hug. Touch and affection is something that Dean deserves, something that he should never feel like someone can take away from him. For the rest of Dean’s time on earth, and for the duration of their time in Heaven afterward, Castiel will drill it into his human’s stubborn skull that being loved isn’t something he needs to earn.

“What do you need?” Castiel asks quietly, because even though Dean deserves to be loved and touched and praised, it’s still good practice to make him ask for what he wants.

Dean tucks himself a little closer to Castiel’s chest, quiet for a moment. Castiel lets him think, content to simply stand there and hold him.

“Can we, uh… I…” Dean trails off again, jaw clenching with tension where it rests lightly against Castiel’s left pectoral. “I… I wanna feel you. Just, uh… Just that.”

Castiel hums, unsurprised, pleased that Dean had been so forthright. While it doesn’t seem like much, coming from Dean, it’s surprisingly straightforward and to the point. Usually, there’s a lot more that Castiel has to wade through before he can get to the core of what Dean really wants.

While Dean’s moods change on a daily basis—from sexy and confident, to soft and needy, to angry and rebellious—his baseline never shifts. Dean will always be Castiel’s sweet, cuddly submissive, even if it takes a harsh spanking and some sharp correction to bring him out of hiding. Castiel can tell that Dean’s softer, sweeter side is closer to the surface tonight. It seems a gentler sort of scene is in order.

“Take off your clothes and lay on the bed, beloved,” Castiel says, voice soft but firm. “I’m going to blindfold you and tie your hands to the headboard, is that something you think you can handle tonight?”

“Yes, sir,” Dean murmurs quietly, reaching up to pull the first of his flannels off. Castiel leaves him to it, knowing that Dean is insecure about undressing sometimes. It varies from night to night, usually. The angel doesn’t pretend to understand everything about his beloved hunter, just accepts him and all of his perfections and flaws.

Castiel hesitates as he goes to put his tie away, deciding to keep it out. He sets it on his dresser and pulls off the rest of his clothes, tossing them in the basket for dirty garments. He goes to the wardrobe in the corner and digs around in the lower half, flipping past a nondescript folded blanket to get at the cardboard box at the very bottom. Once Castiel has pulled out another, softer rope, he closes the wardrobe and turns around to find that Dean has obeyed his order and is watching him curiously from the bed.

The angel smiles and takes his tie off the dresser, climbing slowly onto the bed so he can kneel up next to Dean’s head. “I’m going to bind your wrists now,” he says. “Safeword?”

“Impala,” Dean murmurs, cheeks pinking slightly as Castiel guides his hands up to the hidden hooks they’d installed a few months ago, when they’d first gotten into the kinky aspects of their sexual relationship. Castiel makes sure Dean’s arms are in an acceptably comfortable position, then binds them expertly to the wooden hooks with the soft rope he’d retrieved from their box.

Castiel holds his tie in front of Dean’s face for a moment, allowing the hunter to see what it is and what’s about to happen. He watches Dean’s face carefully, searching for any signs of discomfort or fear. There’s nothing, just beautiful, simmering arousal that makes Dean’s green eyes darken in the soft light of the lamp on the bedside table.

Castiel lifts Dean’s head gently and ties his tie around his hunter’s eyes. He can feel as Dean’s body tenses and relaxes underneath him, a gut reaction to being tied up and rendered blind. Castiel puts a gentle, steadying hand on Dean’s arm, a soothing reminder that he’s safe. After a lifetime of hunting and fighting, it’s no wonder Dean has a reaction to being put in a position where he’s unable to defend himself. Castiel’s whole goal is to make him feel safe and loved, though. The angel hums quietly, pleased, as Dean relaxes.

“Such a good boy,” Castiel says softly, watching the tremble run through Dean’s entire body at the praise. “I’m so lucky to have such a good, sweet boy. Thank you for your vulnerability, beloved.” Castiel leans down and kisses gently at the tip of Dean’s nose, smiling at the way his submissive tips his head up in search of more kisses.

Castiel ignores him for the moment, choosing instead to move from where he’s kneeling next to Dean. He lifts his left leg and brings his knee down next to Dean’s hip, straddling the hunter’s relatively slim waist. He smiles at the soft, quick intake of Dean’s breath, the way his muscles tense and relax underneath Castiel’s body.

“Sir…,” Dean says quietly. He tips his head up, evidently searching for more. “Kiss me? Please?”

“Mmm, gladly,” Castiel rumbles, leaning down so he can press soft kisses to Dean’s lips. He feels Dean’s tongue peek out, knows that it’s Dean’s way of trying to make the kiss deeper and more heated, but Castiel ignores that in favor of kissing down the bolt of Dean’s jaw, then down the length of his beautiful throat. He pauses to nip lightly at the thin, soft skin, reveling in the hitch of breath he can feel underneath his lips. The message is clear. I control the pace.

Dean whines softly as Castiel’s kisses drift downward slowly, coming to his collarbone and then his chest. Castiel kisses around his nipples, purposefully ignoring them. He glances up every so often, smiling at the view he has of Dean. His beautiful hunter is trying so hard to be good, throat and jaw working as he swallows all the needy, pleading sounds he surely wants to make.

That won’t do.

“As good as you’re being for me, I never said you needed to be silent,” Castiel says quietly, putting his mouth next to Dean’s right nipple. He feels his submissive twitch at the warm breath on the sensitive bud. Dean whines quietly.

“Please,” he says, voice tight. “P-Please, sir.”

“Please what?” Castiel asks teasingly, moving to the other nipple. He still doesn’t do anything, waiting for his good boy to ask.

Dean makes a soft, barely audible noise in his throat, high and helplessly frustrated. “Please touch me, sir.” He squirms a little as Castiel brings a hand up, tracing it over the baby soft skin of his chest and abdomen.

“I am touching you,” Castiel says softly.

Dean whimpers. “Please, sir,” he begs. “Please, I don’t wanna… I… Please.”

Castiel hums softly, assessing the situation. He could make Dean beg, could force him to vocalize exactly what his soul is pleading for. Or he could be benevolent and give Dean what he wants. He can sense the hunter’s exhaustion, can sense his paper-thin walls. Castiel needs to be careful. He wants to push Dean, wants to send him flying, but he doesn’t want to push him too hard.

For tonight, Castiel opts on the safe side. He kisses Dean’s tummy, right where rock hard muscle becomes gentle softness, and strokes his hands soothingly up and down Dean’s warm sides. “Okay, sweet boy,” he says gently. “It’s okay, you’re okay.”

Dean whines softly and relaxes into the bed, all the tension leaving his muscles in an instant. Castiel knows he made the right choice. “Thank you, sir,” Dean says quietly.

Castiel hums and gives him what he was asking for, leaning down to run his tongue lightly over Dean’s nipples. His submissive reacts beautifully, as always, arching off the bed with a gasp. Castiel can’t help his small chuckle, doing the same to the other nipple. Dean moans quietly, sounding blissed out and happy.

Castiel gives Dean’s chest the attention it deserves, then slowly begins to move lower, pausing to suck a singular dark mark into the side of Dean’s abdomen. It makes his hunter gasp, which sends a rush of blood down into Castiel’s already aching cock.

“Here’s where you have a decision, sweet boy,” Castiel murmurs, kissing gently at Dean’s hipbones. “You have two options, alright? Option one, I untie your hands and you pleasure yourself until I say you can come, and then I’ll mark you with my come and we can go to sleep.” He smiles softly at the little shiver that runs through Dean’s body, the way his sub bites his plush pink lip as he waits to hear what the second option is. “Option two, I pleasure you, and then I mark you and we can be finished.”

He sees the little frown on Dean’s face, knows what his submissive is thinking before he speaks. “You aren’t gonna fuck me, sir?”

“No, sweet boy,” Castiel says gently. Before Dean’s brain can come up with all sorts of awful, self-blaming thoughts, he leans up and kisses his hunter lightly on the mouth. “The hunt today was tiring. I know you’re hurting.”

“You could heal me…?” Dean tries, but Castiel can feel his soul’s quiet agreement. His body is aching and tired, and not just because he’d been thrown into a wall twice by the ghost before they’d managed to burn her bones. He’s getting older, enough that Castiel might need to have a talk with him soon about retiring. But that’s for later.

“Option one or option two, beloved,” Castiel says.

Dean swallows, the sound audible. It makes his beautiful throat convulse, filling Castiel with the intense need to bite for a split second. He pushes the urge away for another time, knowing that now is not a situation where harshness is appropriate.

“Okay,” his beautiful, obedient hunter whispers. “Uh, c-can we, uh… T-Two? Please? But sir, can I… Can, uh…” He trails off, swallowing, and Castiel can practically see his mental battle. He strokes encouraging arcs into Dean’s hipbones with his thumbs, letting his hunter know that whatever he’s going to ask for, he won’t be judged or punished. After a moment, Dean swallows again and forces out, “Can I see you, sir? Please?”

Castiel pauses, considering Dean’s request. “I’ll keep you blindfolded when I’m pleasuring you,” he decides. He wants Dean to feel everything, wants his every sense to be heightened without his sight. “I’ll take it off when you’ve orgasmed, though. Does that sound okay?”

Dean hesitates, and Castiel tilts his head thoughtfully, unused to Dean being so vocal about his desires. Usually, Dean accepts any compromise simply because he wants to please, but he looks almost like he’s going to ask for something else again. Castiel waits to hear it eagerly, silently marking this off as major progress.

“Uh, can… can we do it in the reverse?” Dean asks quietly, voice tiny. “I just… I wanna see you, sir. P-Please.”

Instead of responding, Castiel reaches up and gently lifts Dean’s head so he can get to the knot at the back, untying the tie from around his eyes. His hunter blinks at him in the low light, green eyes wide and heartbreakingly uncertain. Castiel smiles gently, trying to reassure Dean that he isn’t upset.

“Good boy,” he praises. Dean’s eyelashes flutter, his cheeks pinking. He doesn’t look away, and Castiel smiles even wider as a reward. “Such a good boy, beloved. I’m so proud of you for asking for what you want. I just want to clarify, alright? You want me to mark you, then blindfold you again and make you orgasm?”

Dean’s cheeks redden even further at Castiel’s choice of words, but he doesn’t comment. Instead, he gives a jerky nod. “Please.”

“Mmm, well that won’t be a challenge,” Castiel murmurs. He leans up to kiss Dean on the forehead, then reaches down between his own thighs to grab at his throbbing cock. “Ohh, Dean. You’re such a good boy for me.”

Castiel isn’t sure what it is about Dean’s obedience that is so arousing. Perhaps it’s the idea of his hunter being vulnerable for him. Perhaps it’s the knowledge that the loud, brash, confident Dean Winchester can be rendered helpless by Castiel’s hands, by Castiel’s words. That he is willing to drop to his knees at a simple command, that he’s willing to be vulnerable and helpless before Castiel because he trusts him, because he loves him.

Of all the things Dean does—cooking and cleaning and putting his safety and life on the line for Castiel—this act of submission, of trust, is what communicates his love to the angel the clearest. It makes Castiel feel high on the rush of it all, on the knowledge that there is a beautiful creature like Dean that loves him enough to give him access to the softest, most vulnerable parts of himself.

Castiel groans and strips at his cock slowly, rubbing the thumb over the head in the way he’s learned sends sparks up his spine. Dean whimpers softly, green eyes glued to where Castiel is jerking off above him, hips making tiny movements underneath the heavy weight of Castiel’s body.

“Dean,” Castiel pants, squeezing his eyes shut. His breath in his throat is ragged, desperate. He breathes in the smell of Dean and himself and sex and sweat, reveling in it all. “Dean, ohh…”

“C’mon, sir,” Dean says quietly. “Come on me. Make me yours.”

Castiel moans, hand moving faster as the pleasure builds like a cresting wave inside of him. Dean is beautiful and wide-eyed beneath him, green eyes shining like stars in the golden light of the bedside lamp. Castiel doesn’t think he’s ever seen anything more beautiful. The silvery pulse of Dean’s soul, the way his plush pink lips are parted in awe, the way his muscled chest heaves with breath even though he’s immobilized… it does Castiel in embarrassingly fast.

The angel growls and comes, eyes squeezing shut as his cock pulses, shooting come across Dean’s chest. The hunter moans and closes his eyes, hips thrusting upward once in desperation. Castiel snarls, riding the aftershocks dizzily. “Dean…”

“Please, sir,” Dean pants, gasping. “Please, please, please.”

“Shh,” Castiel soothes, still breathless as he comes down from the high of his orgasm. He needs to take care of his boy, now. He goes to grab the blindfold, then has an idea that would have made his cock throb if that had been physically possible. “Dean, close your eyes.”

“Sir,” Dean whines softly, shutting his eyes obediently. He shifts, testing Castiel’s weight on top of him, and the angel settles back a little more on him. “Sir, please…”

“Shh,” Castiel says, gentling a hand up and down his side, eyes on Dean’s deliciously hard cock. It’s so filled with blood that the tip is turning purple, precome leaking down the side. “Keep your eyes closed, beloved. Don’t open them until I tell you to come.”

Dean whimpers but obeys, settling down a little as Castiel continues to stroke his sides gently. Castiel waits until he’s relaxed slightly, watches as he sucks in a shuddering breath, then wraps his right hand around Dean’s weeping cock without warning.

Oh, sir, please!” Dean cries, eyes squeezing shut as he bucks off of the bed slightly. He’s trying to be good, trying so hard, and Castiel’s stomach twists with pride and love for the man beneath him. He conveys how pleased he is by rubbing the tip of his thumb along the throbbing head of Dean’s cock, smearing precome in and around the slit. Dean makes a noise that’s between a moan and a sob.

“Such a good boy,” Castiel praises, listening as Dean whimpers. “Such a good boy for me. So obedient, so beautiful. You’re so perfect, beloved. The most gorgeous thing I’ve ever seen.”

“S-Sir,” Dean sobs, head coming off the pillow and then thumping back down. His eyes are still squeezed tightly shut, evidence of how hard he’s fighting to obey orders. “Sir, Cas—”

“Good boy,” Castiel says. He strokes a thumb up the throbbing vein underneath Dean’s cock, reveling in how it makes his submissive writhe. Dean’s practically crying now, his breath coming out in harsh exhales through his gritted teeth. His body strains against the rope keeping him bound to the headboard, and Castiel silently appreciates the corded muscle in Dean’s arms as he struggles.

“Oh God, please, please,” Dean begs, sounding practically incoherent. His eyes are still squeezed shut, his teeth gritted tightly. He’s trying so hard to be good. It makes Castiel’s spent cock twitch, just a little. “Please, please, sir. Please, Cas. Please, please, God, I-I—”

“Are you going to come for me, sweet boy?” Castiel asks, voice tight with how much Dean’s moans are affecting him. If he hadn’t come already, he thinks he could do it now, just from watching Dean writhe in pleasure. “Are you going to be a good boy and come for me?”

“Oh, please,” Dean gasps. “Please, please, sir, please…!”

“Come, Dean,” Castiel orders, pressing his thumb into the slit of Dean’s cock as he speaks. “Come for me.”

Dean cries out and obeys, head pressing back hard into the pillow as he orgasms. His release covers Castiel’s hand and the lower part of both their abdomens. Castiel strokes him gently through the aftershocks, stopping when Dean’s pleasured moaning starts to shift to overstimulated whining. When Dean finally relaxes on the bed, panting, Castiel leans forward to kiss him gently on the forehead.

“Cas,” Dean says as Castiel reaches up to untie his wrists. The angel doesn’t reply for a moment, choosing instead to kiss gently at the rope burns on Dean’s wrists. He’s tempted to heal them, but he needs to ask if Dean wants that first. Sometimes his hunter likes to carry evidence of their coupling even after they’ve finished the actual act.

“What do you need, beloved?” Castiel rasps, leaning down to look at Dean’s face. There’s a sheen of sweat covering Dean’s cheekbones, making his adorable freckles glisten slightly.

“Cas,” Dean says again, and Castiel understands that he can’t really communicate right now. Instead of doing anything, he slides down to curl around Dean as best he can, running soothing hands up and down his hunter’s sides and back. It seems to be the right thing to do, because Dean turns to him and buries his face in Castiel’s chest.

Castiel holds him and kisses his hair, alternating between murmuring praise and telling Dean how pleased he is, how good the hunter has made him feel. He knows that’s just as important to Dean as hearing how good he was. Dean likes knowing that he’s made Castiel feel good. He likes knowing he was of service.

Dean floats for a while, making happy little noises as Castiel massages his arms and shoulders gently. The angel smiles, silently filing this moment away for later. There are few things in the world that he enjoys more than this, when Dean is floating in subspace, thoroughly blissed out and happy.

After a suitable amount of time, Castiel begins to gently speak to Dean, pulling him out of subspace as best he can with his voice and hands. He sits Dean up and conjures a damp cloth and a glass of water, cheating with his grace because he doesn’t want to leave the hunter alone. Dean hums and sips the water, eyes slowly coming back into focus.

“Dean, beloved?” Castiel asks when Dean finishes the water.

“Yeah?” Dean asks, voice rough. He looks at Castiel, bliss still written into every line of his face, even though his green eyes are definitely clearer than before.

“How do you feel?”

“‘F you’re askin’ if I’m back yet, the answer is kinda,” Dean says. He’s still slurring a little. “Feel real tired.”

Castiel chuckles. “Okay, sweetheart. Did you want to take a bath, or do you want to wait until morning?” He wants to pull Dean out of subspace completely, not wanting to risk a drop. Questions and choices always help gently get Dean’s brain back on track. The hunter frowns as he considers.

“Uh, tomorrow?” he says. “I don’t feel super gross. Just… super tired.”

“That’s alright,” Castiel says, kissing Dean’s temple. “Do you want some more water? Are you hungry at all?”

“Nah,” Dean says, and now he just sounds exhausted, the last of that dreamy quality to his voice disappearing. His green eyes are almost entirely present, now. “I’m good. I think, uh… I think I’m back.” He peeks at Castiel a little, shy, and smiles tentatively. “That was nice, Cas. Thanks.”

“I should be the one thanking you,” Castiel says, leaning over to kiss Dean. “Are you ready for bed?”

Dean blushes a little, shifting with a grunt so he can start to get out of bed. “Lemme put on some boxers, hold on.” He winces a little as he stands and puts weight on his knees, but Castiel can see that it doesn’t bother him that much. He waits patiently as Dean goes to get some underwear and sweatpants, smiling at the golden, freckled expanse of Dean’s back in the lamplight. He can see the blush on Dean’s face extend to the tops of his shoulders as he says, “Quit starin’ at me, angel. ‘S creepy.”

“You’re beautiful, and you’re mine,” Castiel says calmly, pulling the covers down so Dean can climb back into bed. “I’m allowed to do whatever I like.”

“Yeah, yeah, you big sap,” Dean mutters, cheeks suitably pink. He glances at Castiel, hesitating, then says, “I love you.”

Castiel beams, leaning over to pull Dean down into bed so he can pepper his face with kisses. “I love you too, Dean.”

Before his hunter can say anything, he snaps his fingers, turning the bedside lamp off. Dean snorts in the sudden darkness, tucking his face up underneath Castiel’s jaw. “Cheater,” he says into the soft skin covering Castiel’s collarbone.

Castiel smiles and wraps his arms around his human. “Goodnight, beloved.”

Dean doesn’t have the time to answer him before he falls asleep, his body relaxing in Castiel’s arms. The angel needs no sleep, of course, but he’s content to rest beside his human until he wakes.

Relaxed, content, and happier than he’s ever been, Castiel settles in to watch over Dean until the morning dawns.