Dean answered his phone as he climbed out of the Impala in the motel parking lot. “Yo, Sammy.”
“Learn anything from the vic's family?”
“Nothing useful. Library have any answers?” He juggled the phone and a six-pack as he fumbled the sticky lock and opened the room.
“Not yet, but I've still got a lot to dig through. Probably be here for a few more hours at least, if you wanna come give me a hand,” Sam said.
Tossing his key onto the table, Dean crossed to the mini-fridge to stash five of the six beers. “Naw, I'm sure you've got it all under control.”
Cutting the connection with a smirk, he pocketed the phone and twisted the cap off the bottle. He shucked his suit jacket and tie and kicked off his shoes before flopping down onto his bed with a gusty sigh. As he took a deep pull of his beer, he pawed around on the nightstand for the TV remote. Flipping through several channels, he finally landed on some old Western he was pretty sure he'd seen at least once before.
Dropping the remote back onto the nightstand, Dean settled into the pillows and stared at the television, but his mind quickly drifted elsewhere.
Last night, as he avoided talking to Sam and instead suffered through his brother's constant beseeching looks and annoyed sighs when the looks were ignored, Dean had drunk himself fairly stupid, hoping in vain that it would help him sleep. Instead, he'd tossed and turned, far too anxious about what had happened with Cas – and what had happened in the shower afterward without Cas – to get any real rest.
And now, though he was exhausted, his mind just kept buzzing around and around. 'Think about it,' Cas had told him. Shit, he wished he could think about anything else. Or that he had any answers.
What did he want from Cas? He had no fucking clue. He'd been perfectly happy with what he'd had before – aware of the strange something that existed between them, but without the angst of having to analyze it. But that was before the words were out in the open, as if speaking them aloud gave them power.
Cas loved him. Forever.
And fuck, that was never going to stop being a shock, especially if he ever truly started to believe it. Dammit, this had to be some kind of miscommunication. There was no way he deserved that kind of devotion from anyone, let alone an angel.
But that was just it, wasn't it? As much as it made him squirm to think about, he already knew Cas was completely devoted to him. And in the dark corners of his mind that he was normally very careful not to shine a light into, he'd always held tight to that. It had given him a sliver of hope that if an angel would claim a bond with him, he might not be a complete fuck up.
So if Cas loved Dean, then the real question was how did Dean feel about Cas? He gnawed at his lip. The guy was already his closest friend and one of the very few people with whom he would trust his – or more tellingly, Sam's – life. Cas was the rebellious angel who had turned his back on Heaven itself because he believed in Dean. Cas was close. Cas was family.
But Cas was also the one who unapologetically crowded his personal space, who made him flush under those soul-baring stares, and who made his pulse skitter and skip on the rare occasions he flashed a genuine smile, especially if Dean had been the one who caused it.
And he was the one Dean couldn't shake out of his mind while jerking off in the shower last night.
Cas's hand firm at the back of his neck as he pushed him face-down into the mattress. Cas's breath hot on his back as he murmured filthy things into his skin, stubble scraping along his spine. Cas's fingers at his hip, digging in to hold him still while he fucked relentlessly into him. Cas's words melting into incoherent grunts and cries as his cock pulsed and throbbed, buried deep inside his ass--
Jesus H. Christ on a cracker. Dean downed the dregs of the beer and ran a hand over his face to try and clear the searing images from his mind. After that little mental porno, he supposed he had to admit to himself that he might be interested in Cas as more than just a friend.
He just wasn't sure if that's what Cas was asking for. Assuming he really did love him in the first place. Dean groaned aloud. Dammit, he might have to break down and actually talk to him.
He grabbed the remote and shut off the TV. It definitely wasn't doing its job of distracting him. Heaving himself to his feet, he took his empty to the kitchenette and pulled another beer from the fridge. He cracked it open and chugged the whole thing. This conversation was going to require liquid courage – possibly more than he actually had at hand.
Dean turned to face the room at large and ran nervous fingers over his short hair. He took a steadying breath and dropped his head to issue a prayer. “Cas? Uh, I was thinking maybe we could talk?”
An immediate rustle of wings and stirring of air announced Castiel's arrival.
When their eyes met, Dean's steadying breath was stolen away. He was as lost in Cas's beautiful blues as he ever was, but this time, he could see so much more smoldering behind the stare, as if now that Dean knew his feelings, the angel didn't try to hide them anymore. The temperature in the room surged again. Clearly the heater wasn't broken after all. It was just him.
“Hello, Dean,” Cas greeted him.
“Cas,” Dean breathed, his voice as lost as he was.
After a moment of waiting, Cas prompted him, “You wished to talk?”
Dean blinked rapidly, trying to pull himself together. “Uh, yeah. About the, um, stuff from yesterday?”
The burning in his cheeks increased to the point he thought for sure his hair would catch fire. “You know. The stuff. From yesterday. I need to ask you some things.”
Okay, now Cas was just teasing him. Dean narrowed his eyes suspiciously, but the straight-faced angel's expression didn't waver away from curious interest.
With a bit of a huff, Dean broke their gaze and went to sit on the edge of his bed. He gestured vaguely at Sam's bed across from him, inviting Cas to sit, too.
The angel studied him for a silent moment, then walked to the narrow space between the beds and stood directly in front of Dean, waiting there until he met his eyes once again. Dean's breath caught as he gazed up at him.
Cas shoving him to his knees, gripping his chin to force their eyes to meet. Cas's other hand unfastening the buckle of his leather belt--
An entirely embarrassing noise slipped from Dean's throat before he clamped his lips shut. Cas continued watching him as he slowly sat on the edge of Sam's bed, at eye level again. Thank god. That was easier.
“You had things to ask about stuff?”
Dean laughed in spite of himself, releasing the built up tension. Trust Cas to be adorable just when he needed it. Then he sobered – he couldn't be thinking of Cas as adorable before determining whether it would be a welcome thought. But first things first. “So, um, just to clarify – how long do angels live, exactly?”
Cas's brow furrowed. “The angels were created not long after the birth of this world. There's no reason we as a species shouldn't live to see it end.”
“Then how can you know, Cas? How can you possibly say you'll feel that way about me for the rest of your life, when that might literally be forever?”
Cas leaned forward, and Dean flinched as a surge of crackling power in the room made the lights flicker.
“Why do you doubt me, Dean? I've been alive for countless eons, and I know what I feel. I've never felt anything as strongly as I feel for you. I Fell for you, Dean. Do you still not understand what that means?” The lights buzzed and sputtered again, more forcefully this time, and the hair on Dean's arms stood up. “When I pulled you from the Pit, everything changed. Everything. For better or worse, you are a part of who I've become, of who I will become. I am Fallen, Dean. And I Fell for you.”
Taken aback by Cas's vehemence, Dean gawked at him for a few stunned moments until he finally shook his head in denial. “But Cas...it doesn't make any freakin' sense! I'm not worth all that. It's crazy. It's ridiculous!”
Cas's face went from fierce to utterly blank, and his shoulders stiffened. “Ridiculous.”
“No! No, I didn't mean it like that!” Dean scrambled to make him understand. “It's just-- I don't see how you could, you know...”
“Love you.” The scary angel mask didn't crack in the slightest, and Dean felt a flicker of worry that this discussion might turn a little smitey.
“Yeah, that,” he finished lamely.
Cas's stony silence was freaking Dean out. Of course he'd fucked everything up – he always fucked things up. And he had no idea how to unfuck it.
But slowly, Cas's expression softened into something more familiar and less pants-wettingly scary. “Dean. Please don't concern yourself with the how or the why. It is. And it will always be.”
The knot in his gut loosened, and Dean breathed a sigh of relief that he hadn't ruined things before they had a chance to begin. “Okay,” he said, nodding his acceptance, at least for the sake of discussion. “So, assuming that's true--”
“It is. You deserve to be loved, Dean,” Cas cut in, but Dean ignored the interruption.
“--You say you love me, but I don't know what that means to you. What do you want, Cas? I mean, what exactly are you hoping for here?”
Cas was quiet for what felt like freakin' forever, staring at Dean strangely, but then he moved from Sam's bed to Dean's, sitting so close beside him that their legs touched from knee to mid-thigh. Cas faced him, and Dean forgot to breathe as those blue eyes searched his. Then he tingled hot from head to toe when Cas raised his hands to cradle Dean's face between them. Oh, holy shit, this was actually happening. He was going to--
Slowly, carefully, Cas leaned in, touching his lips to Dean's. He pulled back almost immediately but didn't release him.
His deep, rough voice sent sparks sizzling down Dean's spine to ignite a fire low in his belly. His breathing stuttered, but he didn't dare move.
“I want everything.” Cas's thumbs stroked softly over Dean's cheeks.
Dean swallowed hard. “And I want...more than we had before.”
A gentle smile appeared as Cas stared unabashedly into his eyes, with light and love shining behind the blue, and Dean thought fleetingly that maybe he could get used to this.
He grabbed the lapels of Cas's coat and dragged him forward, crushing their mouths together in a fervent kiss. Though Dean was shit at talking, he was great at kissing, so he put all the feeling he could never express aloud into it. At the touch of their lips, desire erupted under Dean's skin, boiled his blood, and filled him so full he thought he might explode.
But Cas wasn't kissing back. His hands still cradled Dean's face, but his lips weren't moving. He wasn't pulling away, but he wasn't drawing closer, either. Dean jerked back, sick with the thought that he'd somehow misread things after all. The angel was sitting stiffly, eyes wide, with a flush of pink coloring his neck and creeping into his cheeks.
Heart sinking, Dean clasped his hands around Cas's and drew them away from his cheeks. “Cas-- Dammit, I'm so sorry.”
His eyebrows drew together in typical Cas confusion. “Why did you stop?”
And now it was Dean's turn to be confused. “You...didn't seem into it.”
“Did I do something incorrectly?”
Finally it clicked. Dean was a raging moron; it wasn't that Cas didn't want to kiss him, he just didn't know how. His commanding, dominant fantasy-Cas was just that – a fantasy. Dean's anxiety bled away, and he smiled in his relief. Squeezing Cas's hands, he reassured him, “No, Cas, it was fine. I just forgot you're new at this.”
Cas's face fell a bit. “I'm sorry, Dean.”
Dean lifted Cas's chin to draw his gaze up again. “Hey, there's nothing to be sorry for. Honestly, this is pretty new to me, too. Not the sex part, but the whole...rest of it.”
“What do you mean?”
Shrugging self-consciously, Dean looked down at their hands, still clasped together, and ran a thumb over Castiel's knuckles. “I don't exactly have a great track record with this kind of thing. I'm not sure I know how to be in a...” God, it felt like saying a dirty word, “...relationship.”
“Dean.” Cas tightened his hold on Dean's hand. “We already have a relationship. As friends. Are you uncomfortable with the idea of progressing it?”
“The idea of it, no. The actual doing of it...kinda?”
Cas studied him long enough that he started to squirm a little. “Dean, what do you feel for me?”
Dean opened his mouth to retort with something sarcastic like he normally would to shut down what he considered girl talk, but the look on Cas's face made him pause. An all-powerful Angel of the Lord should not look so vulnerable.
He floundered for a moment, trying to figure out what he was supposed to say. “Well, shit, Cas. I don't know.”
“Please, Dean,” Cas implored him.
Dean suppressed a groan. Fuuuck, he hated talking about this stuff. “Okay, okay... Um. Well, you're my best friend. I'm closer to you than anybody except Sam. Uhh. I like that you think for yourself, unlike most of your dick brothers.”
The longer he talked, the easier it seemed to get. “You frustrate the crap out of me sometimes, but I always trust you to have my back when I need you. I like when you're around, and I miss you when you're gone.”
He stopped and looked away, biting back anything more. “I just... If we do this, I'm afraid I'll screw things up.”
“Dean. You've hit me, stabbed me, and shot me full of iron and salt, yet here we are. I have faith that our bond will endure regardless of any mishaps.”
Cas's wry observation prompted a snort of laughter from Dean despite his worries. If there was one thing he could count on, it was that Cas would be forgiving of his fuck-ups.
He sobered again, doubt creeping in like it always did. “Are you sure this is what you want, Cas? I mean, really sure?” He gestured vaguely between the two of them. “Like, all of this?”
“It is. I want this. I want you.” The simmering affection was back in Cas's eyes, along with so much trust it made Dean's insides flutter in a way he'd normally consider embarrassing.
Dean chewed his lip as he considered it. There would be no going back to the way things were. If he fucked everything up, he could lose his best friend. But maybe he wouldn't fuck up. For whatever reason, Cas believed in him, so maybe he should, too.
He blew out a breath and nodded.
“Okay, then. I'm in.”