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Sam hadn’t had sex in five months, three weeks, and two days.  Not that he was counting.  Nothing good would come of counting.  In fact, he was beginning to think it might be time to hang up his penis and call it a day.  He’d spent most of his adult life celibate at this point, anyway.  Might as well make it official. His biennial attempts to establish a sexual relationship always ended in disaster.  Hunting didn’t mix with a girlfriend—or boyfriend, he’d experimented at Stanford—and he’d never liked picking up people in bars.  Besides, the last time he’d tried the bar scene someone saw him pouring holy water into the girl’s drink behind her back and misinterpreted the situation.  He’d almost been arrested.  It just wasn’t worth it. 

And really, six months should have been a cakewalk.  If you didn’t count Sam’s soulless body fucking its way across the continental U.S., and Sam didn’t, then he’d gone almost three years without sex between Ruby and Amelia, and it hadn’t even been that hard.  The one advantage of a life dominated by stress, guilt, and mental illness was that it had pretty much killed his libido.  When he’d finally tried again with Amelia he’d found sex difficult.  It was like his body had forgotten what to do.  She’d put up with a lot of nights of cuddling. 

For the past couple of months, though, he’d been horny constantly.  He’d be cataloging books in the library when he’d realize that he’d spent the last twenty minutes staring off into space, daydreaming about a particularly debauched coven of witches.  He’d interview some nice young mother for a case and picture her spread-eagled on her formica table.  He couldn’t even do research on his laptop without getting distracted by all the porn sites Dean hadn’t bothered to delete from the browser history. 

Sam blamed the Bat Cave.  For the first time since college he was sleeping in a familiar bed and eating real food at regular hours.  He and Dean were on better terms than they’d been in years.  The world wasn’t ending.  The library was cool.  Apparently his body’s response to the first tentative signs of psychological decompression was to say “yay!” and start flipping all the switches.  Well, his body and its inconvenient urges could go fuck itself.  Literally.  The Bat Cave showers had a big hot water tank and excellent pressure, and Sam had a capable right hand.  He was a healthy 29 year old man who might never again know the intimate touch of another, and he was perfectly fine with that.  He wasn’t sexually frustrated at all.

**********************************************************************************

There wasn’t even a “Hello, Sam,” when Cas appeared in the library.  He just sniffed the air and slumped his shoulders in defeat.

“He’s baking a pie again,” Cas said. 

“Strawberry rhubarb.  He says you don’t know that you don’t like it until you’ve tried every kind.”  Dean was utterly, embarrassingly in love with the kitchen.  Sam half-expected that any day now his brother would come traipsing out in some Betty Crocker apron he’d dug out of the dead people clothes.  For a while Dean had focused on making a string of questionable dishes from a 1950s cookbook—why anyone thought it was a good idea to shove a steak inside a croissant Sam would never know—but then Cas had been foolhardy enough to express the opinion that pie was “a waste of fruit.”  Now Dean’s purpose in life was to convince him he was wrong.  From Dean’s point of view, he was introducing Cas to one of life’s great pleasures.  From Cas’s point of view, Dean was tormenting him with pastry.

Cas sighed and handed Sam his coffee.  Dean had stolen a fancy coffee maker for the kitchen, and he was offended on behalf of his new toy every time he caught Sam using flavored cream.  Sam must have complained about Dean’s coffee policing more bitterly than he was aware of, because after a few days Cas started bringing a Starbucks cup every time he showed up in the library.  Sam wasn’t sure how much this was a thoughtful gesture of friendship and how much it was a polite way of saying “For the love of God, stop bitching about Dean’s coffeemaker,” but Sam would take it either way.  He was just happy to have his caramel macchiato.

Cas sorted through his stack of notes, a structurally unstable tower of paper Cas added to daily and that, at least in Sam’s imagination, extended into the fourth dimension.  Cas was endlessly delighted by the library, and had volunteered to help Sam create a catalog the first time he’d seen it.  Sam thought there’d been a quiet note of desperation to Cas’s enthusiasm, just as there’d been to his short-lived plan to be a hunter.  Cas needed to feel useful.  Fortunately for both of them, Cas was better with books than he was with people.  He recognized every language, knew the biography of every forgotten author, and intuited strange, tangential connections between one story and another.  Sam didn’t know what he’d have done if he’d had to work his way through the collection alone.

Sam dragged forward the manuscript they’d been working on for the past week, an Enochian text he’d found tucked between volumes of scholarship on Biblical prophecy.  Sam hoped it might contain information about closing the gates of Hell.  Cas couldn’t offer any reason why an angel would take the time to create a book by hand, illuminations and all, instead of just zapping it into existence with his mojo, but to Sam it seemed like an act of humility and reverence.  There had to be something vitally important here.  So far, though, it was just an odd assortment of hex bag recipes, protective sigils, and Medieval monster lore.  Not a single entry related to the tablets.        

Cas flipped through the pages casually, looking for the place where they’d left off.  Sam was tempted to scold him for mistreating such a rare and ancient text, but to Cas it was probably just a coworker’s old notes, and slapping an angel’s hand seemed destined to end badly.  

“Should I start?”  Cas said.

Sam sat down next to where Cas stood and opened his laptop.  Cas could translate faster than even the most skilled human, and it was all Sam could do to keep up with the transcription.  Every so often he’d interrupt to ask Cas to explain a turn of phrase, or to discuss the historical background, or to debate whether a particular passage was metaphorical.  Ask the right question and Sam was rewarded with a description of an undersea mermaid peace summit, the fall of Troy, or the taste of starlight.  Ask the wrong question and Cas would turn cold and efficient for the rest of the day.  Sam had figured out pretty quickly that “the wrong question” was one that had anything to do with the politics of Heaven.  Sam got it.  He’d probably react the same way to being asked about Lucifer. 

The next section of their manuscript was an entry on the phoenix--an accurate entry, without a single bird to be seen.  Sam wondered where the hell this had been two years ago.  They spent the majority of the day working their way through it.  Every subheading went on for pages, offering dense detail on the creature’s biology, habits, and culture.  Every subheading except the last.  Subheading Thirty-Seven, “Combating the Phoenix,” read in its entirety:  “Do not combat the phoenix.” 

Cas didn’t understand why Sam burst out laughing.  “It’s sensible advice.”

“If hunters listened to sensible advice we wouldn’t be hunters.  That was a complete waste of time.  Next.”

Cas turned the page.  There was a long silence.  “What’s wrong?” Sam said finally.  “Is it a language you can’t read?”

“There’s no language I can’t read,” Cas said.  “It’s just unexpected.  The author appears to be describing his sexual adventures.  Quite colorfully.  Here, look at the illuminations.”   

Sam squinted at the page.  “What am I supposed to be seeing?”  The illuminations were no different from the rest of the book, a mixture of scholars at their work and those peculiar Medieval representations of angels that portrayed them as bundles of wings, eyes, and animal parts. 

Cas grabbed Sam’s magnifying glass off the table and held it out to him.  “Look closer.”  He pointed at the border.  Under the magnifying glass Sam saw that the fruits and flowers that ran around the edge of the page were entwined with countless tiny naked people engaged in every sex act he could imagine, and a few that were new to him.  In amongst the human figures were things with wings and claws, shoving parts he couldn’t name into every available orifice. 

“The hell?”  Sam couldn’t think of a single reason why someone would feel the need to draw an entire Bosch-style fuckfest into the borders of an Enochian manuscript. “Why would an angel write about his ‘sexual adventures’?  Wouldn’t he get in trouble?”   

“I don’t know why an angel would write any of the entries in this book.  This is no stranger than the rest.  Sex with humans was forbidden, but the rule was never strictly enforced.  As long as you accomplished your mission, superiors tended to ignore the occasional indiscretion.” 

“Maybe the book is a code,” Sam said.  “That would explain the randomness of the entries.”  Cas looked unconvinced.  “Anyway, we’d better translate the whole thing, just in case.”    

“Very well.  Dated in the Year of Our Lord 1285 it begins:  ‘I came to you as you slept and gazed upon you until looking could no longer satisfy me.  I touched your eyelids and your lips.  You woke and I was frightened, but you kissed my fingertips and drew me down beside you.’”

“Dear Penthouse, I never thought this would happen to me, but . . .”.  Cas gave Sam a dirty look.  Fine.  No making jokes while Cas was translating.

“’You kissed me a hundred times as you unlaced my clothes.  Your breath quickened and your skin warmed beneath my hands.  I licked the sweat from the hollow of your throat and sucked bruises into your neck and chest.’”   

Cas read the entry with the same calm authority that he read everything else, but Sam still cringed.  It was awkward as hell to listen to a friend talk about sweat licking.

“‘When I closed my teeth around your nipple, you arched your back beneath me, and I slid down to where your length lay hard against your stomach.’” 

Cas was unaffected, but Sam’s face burned hot.  He’d never been able to imitate Dean's ability to chat about porn like it was the weather, and this whole situation made him painfully uncomfortable.  What was worse was that it wasn’t entirely embarrassment.  His body was starting to direct blood to places that he definitely didn't need it to go.  It had nothing to do with Cas, really.   After so much deprivation just sitting a few inches away from another person while he talked about sex was enough to set Sam off.

“It twitched as I kissed the fold of your inner thigh.  When I touched the tip with my tongue you shook so that I had to hold your hips to the bed.”

Sam shifted in his seat.  This was worse than that freshman Lit professor who’d felt the need to read all the sex scenes in Lady Chatterley’s Lover aloud to the class.

“I licked the underside of the shaft before taking you in my mouth.  You clutched my hair and stroked my jaw with your thumb as I sucked.  You thrust into my throat as you spent, and I swallowed you down.”

Sam shivered and practiced saying the exorcism spell backward in his head.  Cas glanced down.  “Is something wrong?”

“What?” It came out less as a casual question than a squeak of alarm.

Cas looked at him curiously.  Please be clueless, Sam thought.    

“You’ve stopped typing,” Cas said. 

“Typing?” Sam echoed.  “Oh, typing!  Right.  I’m supposed to be typing.  Look, I’m kind of tired, and the pie’s probably ready by now.  You should go see Dean and get it over with.”

Cas lowered his head like he was being sent off to his execution and turned to go.  He looked back when he realized that Sam wasn’t behind him.  “You’re not coming?”

“I’ll catch up.  I’m, uh, just going to sit here for a minute.”  Cas gave Sam the full head tilt before he walked away.

That night Sam jerked off in the shower, silently cursing Enochian porn writers, gravelly-voiced angels, and ill-considered vows of celibacy.   

 *******************************************************************************************

 “Key lime,” Sam said when Cas showed up the next morning.  “And I don’t want to hear you complain. I go to the farmers’ market and Dean calls me a pussy.  For your pie he found real key limes in the middle of Kansas.  You’ll eat it and you’ll like it.”

Cas shrugged noncommittally, a tiny human gesture that was new to Sam.  Cas constantly tried on habits, some obviously learned from Dean, some acquired from sources unknown.  Once or twice Sam swore he saw himself in a sloped shoulder or a ducked head, the self-consciously nonthreatening posture of a taller man.  Some experiments stayed for a week or a month only to disappear—Cas’s attempts at cursing, for instance, seemed to have been entirely abandoned—while others were adopted permanently and became a part of him.  Give him a decade or two and he’d pass for human as convincingly as any angel Sam had met.  Sam sometimes thought he’d miss this awkward, liminal version of Cas if he lived long enough to see it erased. 

Cas handed Sam his coffee.  “Did you give any thought to what we read yesterday?”

“What?  No!”  He wasn’t about to cop to spending half the night looking for amateur porn sites that didn’t demand a credit card number before they got to the good part.

Cas looked confused.  “Well, I did.  And I still can’t think of a reason to include graphic sexual description in a book of protective sigils and lore.  You may be right that it’s a code, though for what I don’t know.”

“Whatever it is, let’s just hope it was a one-off,” Sam said.  “Reading porn with my friends isn’t my idea of a good time.  Tell me the next section is G-rated.”

Cas opened the book. “Unicorns.”

The unicorn entry turned out to be rather more than G-rated.  There was a subheading on testing the maiden’s virginity that was squirm-inducing.  It ended with the dry observation that “the cloister contained fewer virgins than expected.  Sapphism was nearly universal.”  At least no one was doing anything with anybody’s throbbing member.  Sam would take it. 

When they reached the end Cas looked over at him.  “We seem to have arrived at another of the author’s sexual adventures.  I could transcribe this part without your help if you’d prefer.”

If Sam had come up with the idea on his own he’d have thought it was brilliant, but hearing it from Cas made it sound like a dare.  He wasn’t a schoolboy who giggled his way through the assigned reading.  He could do this.

“I’m fine,” Sam said.  “Let’s just get it over with.”

“All right,” Cas said.  “Dated in the Year of Our Lord 1287, it begins, ‘You came to me without your flesh and I embraced you in a net of light.’”

“Okay, is it me, or is that gibberish?” 

“I believe the author’s friend is engaged in astral projection.  ‘Without the flesh’ a human can see an angel’s true form.  Your eyes can’t burn if don’t have them with you.”  Cas looked down at the text, lost in thought.  “It’s considered a great honor to see an angel in all his glory.  Many of my brothers refused, even for the most exalted prophets.” 

“And the ‘net of light’?” Sam asked.

“Just a poetic way of describing his limbs.”  Cas hadn’t blinked at the sex talk yesterday, but he looked uncomfortable now.

“Limbs?”  Sam thought that was an evasive response.  “Exactly how many 'limbs' do you have?”

Cas looked at Sam like he’d asked for a precise measurement of his dick.  “I don’t know exactly how many.  It varies.”  He looked down at the text again and blanched.  “They’re . . . versatile.  They can take on the qualities of fingers or, uh, tongues, depending on the needs of the angel.”

“Are they like tentacles?” Sam said.  He’d never given any thought to Cas’s true form, but somehow he hadn’t imagined that it had quite so many ‘versatile’ limbs.  He was relieved to find that the idea disgusted him.  The last thing he needed was to get worked up over angelic tentacle porn.

“No, they’re like limbs,” Cas said sharply.  He clearly didn’t appreciate the comparison.

“Okay, limbs,” Sam said.  “Go ahead with the limb porn.”   

Cas glared at Sam like he knew he was being teased but didn’t quite know how.  He turned back to the manuscript.  “I stroked your hair and scratched blunt nails down your spine until I felt you turn soft and pliant.  My tongues twined themselves around your fingers and toes, sucking each one gently, drawing sweet sounds from your throat.” 

Cas stumbled over the words, nowhere near as steady as he’d been during the reading yesterday.  Sam could have sworn Cas was blushing.  

“When I licked the arch of your foot you writhed in my grip and called me by my name.  Your laughter tasted like our warm bed.”  There was a flicker of a smile, like Cas was remembering something from long ago.

“I guess you probably did this kind of thing back in the day,” Sam said.

Cas gave Sam a sideways glance and rubbed the back of his neck uneasily.  “I knew angels who had affairs with their charges.  The opportunity never presented itself.”  Sam felt the urge to say ‘Sorry,’ but he thought that might be condescending.

“Delicate tendrils caressed the shells of your ears and fluttered inside them.  You twisted toward one side and then the other, seeking to escape them and to take them more deeply.”  Cas ran a hand through his hair, leaving it more disheveled than it was before.  He rested the other hand on the back of Sam’s chair, like he needed the support.  It occurred to Sam that Cas wasn’t just embarrassed.  After yesterday it should have been kind of hilarious that Cas was getting off on tentacle sex, but Cas’s hand was three inches from the back of Sam’s neck and it really wasn’t funny.

“I seized you by your wrists and ankles and splayed you out.  Limbs kissed the backs of your knees and and crept up your inner thighs.”  It definitely wasn’t just discomfort on Cas’s face.  He was flush.  His tongue darted out to wet his lips, and Sam couldn’t care less about tentacles, but holy shit he was on board for this. It was worse than yesterday because yesterday he was just reacting to what was on the page.  He was so hard up that he’d probably have gotten into it even if Bobby had been the one reading.  Now he was getting turned on by Cas getting turned on, and it was way worse.

“So many tongues encircled your length that you disappeared beneath them, and your thighs seethed with my limbs.  Your skin was slick with sweat and dripping with light.”  Cas stole a glance at Sam.  When he met Sam’s eyes he quickly looked back down at the page. 

“I pulled your thighs wider and stroked my way inside you slowly, until you were wet and open.”  There was a flicker of tongue again as Cas licked his lips, and Sam wanted to chase it back into Cas’s mouth with his own.  The back of his neck tingled with the knowledge that Cas’s hand was resting right behind him.  He wanted those fingers to close the distance between them.  He focused on typing.

“My limbs pressed in, finding your place of pleasure, and you cried out.  I silenced you with hard fingers that filled your mouth and toyed with your tongue. Your ecstasy was muffled against my flesh.  In the quiet that followed I cradled your exhausted soul in my limbs and wings.”

Cas cleared his throat and swallowed hard.  “That’s the end of that entry.”  He kept his eyes fixed on the book.  After a long silence he asked, “Do a lot of humans enjoy that kind of sexual contact?  I was under the impression that you were only attracted to your own kind.” 

Sam slammed shut his laptop.  He’d be damned if he was doing any more translation today.  “Most of us are.  Tentacle porn is a pretty unusual kink.”

Cas lifted his hand off Sam’s chair.  “I see.”  He looked so deflated that Sam had the impulse to make it better.

“I mean, not that there’s anything wrong with that.  I’m open-minded.”  Great.  Now it sounded like Sam was considering the possibility of tentacle sex with Cas.  Which he definitely wasn’t.  Probably.  Goddamn it.  This was way beyond Sam’s ability to handle.

“Look, this isn’t my area of expertise.  You want to know about tentacle porn, go ask Dean.  He’s the one who’s into it.”  Cas looked flustered and then disappeared.

Sam spent the rest of the afternoon googling hentai.  It wasn’t his proudest moment.       

****************************************************************************************************

Two orgasms and one confusing new set of feeling toward squid later, Sam threw himself into bed.  Instantly a half-dozen cold, slimy, many-legged creatures were crawling across his body.  He leapt up, ready to do battle with whatever supernatural being was powerful enough to get past the elaborate set of sigils on their hideout.  Nothing attacked him.  He turned on the light. 

Lobsters.  His bed was full of lobsters.

“Dean!”

Dean appeared in the doorway.  God knew how long he’d been waiting for the payoff.

“Something wrong, Sammy?”

“Damn it, Dean, this wasn’t funny when I was thirteen and it’s not funny now.”

Dean leaned back against the doorframe.  “It wasn’t supposed to be funny when you were thirteen, it was supposed to be justice.  You told Dad about my Playboys.”

“Because you wouldn’t let me look at them.  It was selfish.”  They’d had this argument an unreasonable number of times.  “Anyway, I don’t see what that has to do with anything.”

“You told Cas about my hentai collection.  This is what you get.”

“Oh God, he actually asked you?”  Sam grinned.  “You should thank me.  Now you’ve got a friend to share your pervy cartoons with.”

“I don’t want a friend to share my pervy cartoons with.  A guy needs personal time.”  Dean pointed at him with righteous indignation. “You’re the one who’s making Cas read you Ye Olde Fifty Shades of Grey.  That means it's your job to talk to him about the birds and the bees.  And the octopi.  Don’t make me do your dirty work.”  

Dean had a point.  It wasn’t fair to have cockteasing tentacle conversations with Cas and then suggest that he go talk to Dean if he wanted to know more.  This was Sam’s bundle of crazy.

“I hear you,” Sam said.  “I’ll try to keep Cas away from your porn from now on.”

Dean shook his head.  “You damn well better.  Because here’s the deal, Sam.  You tell Dad about my Playboys:  lobsters.  You tell Cas about Octopus Girls of Okinawa:  lobsters.  You narc on my porn stash to anyone ever again:  lobsters.  And next time I’m taking off the rubber bands.”

It took Sam half the night to wrangle the last of Dean’s sex lobsters out from behind his dresser. That thing could really scuttle. 

*********************************************************************************************

“You’re in luck,” Sam said when Cas showed up the next day. “No pies.  Dean’s making lobster thermidor.”

Cas handed Sam his coffee.  “Ah.  So that’s what he wanted them for.”

Well, that certainly explained how Dean had gotten that many lobsters so fast.  “Damn it, Cas.  You gave them to him?”

“He said I could borrow his DVDs as long as I promised I’d never, ever talk to him about anything I saw and brought him a tank of lobsters.”  Cas glanced over at Sam warily.  “I found some of his cartoons confusing.”

If that was an invitation to explain the nuances of kinky cephalopod sex, Sam was going to ignore it.  The last thing he needed in his life right now was more sex talk with Cas. 

Sam dragged forward the damned manuscript.  Cas looked at it quizzically, and then down at Sam.  “You want to work on that?”

“We need to get through it,” Sam said.  It had become a matter of pride now.  He was a grown man, and he could read an important piece of lore without wanting to jump the translator’s bones.  He really could.

“But . . .”  Cas stopped himself on the edge of whatever he was about to say and smiled slightly.  “Oh.  All right.”

The next section—something about basilisks—was innocent enough.  It didn’t matter.  Sam’s composure was shot to hell.  Cas’s hand had settled on the back of his chair again, and it made his entire back tingle with awareness.  All he could think about were tongues and fingers and inappropriate touching.  He forgot to type half of what Cas read.  Cas didn’t seem to notice. 

Cas didn’t even comment when the new section started.  He just plowed right into it.  “Dated in the Year of Our Lord 1291 it begins, ‘I bent you over my lap and struck your buttocks and the back of your thighs with my belt until they were striped red. With each blow you rubbed against me, and your hardness pressed into my thigh.’”  Sam glanced up at Cas and their eyes met.  Cas kept watching him.  Sam looked away.

“’When you could no longer stifle your cries I relented, and soothed the hot skin with my lips and tongue.  I bound you to the bed by your wrists and ankles, and placed my belt between your teeth to silence your moans.’”  Cas’s hand carded through Sam’s hair and then settled gently on the nape of his neck.

“‘I straddled your hips and took you inside me, rocking slowly to draw out your pleasure.  You thrust up and I . . .’”

Sam’s whole awareness was centered on the tiny patch of skin where they touched.  “Do something or stop screwing with me.”

The words were hardly out of Sam’s mouth before Cas grabbed him under his arms and lifted him up to sit on the table.  Even the guys Sam had been with in college couldn’t manhandle him like that, and he started to laugh from sheer surprise.

“Quiet,” Cas said, “he’ll hear us.”  And then Sam was falling backward against the library table, his head caught by Cas’s hand, his gasp silenced by Cas’s mouth.  The hand in his hair tightened, tugging his head back to bare his neck.  Cas broke away and sucked at his pulse, rubbing a stubbled cheek against his throat. 

Sam scrabbled at Cas’s coat to reach skin, but couldn’t get to anything except the warm, vulnerable line at the back of his neck.  Cas had more success.  The hand that wasn’t in Sam’s hair was already up under his flannel shirt, the fingers curiously circling his nipple as it tightened.

Sam felt the line of Cas’s hard-on against his thigh through Cas’s suit pants.  His hand went for it automatically, tugging the zipper down and sliding inside.  Cas pulled back from Sam’s throat and lifted himself up on his elbows, observing.  Sam was suddenly painfully self-aware.

“This okay?” Sam said.  Cas nodded once and kept his eyes on Sam’s hand.  Sam pulled his cock out and started to stroke him.  It felt weird to do it from this angle.  College was a long time ago.  The only cock he was used to touching was his own.  Cas studied how Sam moved, his gaze detached and intimate at the same time.  He bit down on his slick bottom lip as he watched, and his breath turned ragged. 

Sam grabbed him by his tie and dragged him down. “Kiss me.”  Cas did, using his grip on Sam's hair to turn his head for a better angle.  His other hand slid to Sam’s fly.  Sam arched his back and whimpered into Cas’s mouth before Cas got anywhere near touching him.  He couldn’t believe he’d thought he could live the rest of his life without this. 

When Cas’s hand finally closed around his cock, tentative and too gentle, Sam cried out.  An instant later his head hit the table as Cas's other hand clamped firmly over his mouth. “Hush,” he said. 

Sam tipped his head and sucked in four of the fingers pressed against his lips.  Cas hissed.  Sam remembered to move the hand he had on Cas’s cock, and Cas mimicked each motion.  Sam hooked one leg around Cas’s waist and pulled him closer, their knuckles brushing as they thrust.  Sam nipped at the fingers pressed against his tongue, and bit down unintentionally hard when he came.  Cas winced as he followed. 

Sam hadn’t caught his breath yet when Cas vanished from his chest and reappeared standing next to the table.  Sam felt drugged.  He’d have been perfectly happy to fall asleep where he was, but the library table was no place for a post-sex nap.  He sat up reluctantly, tucking himself back into his jeans. 

“That was unexpected,” Sam said.

Cas smiled at him.  “No, it wasn’t.  After yesterday you had to know the book was useless.  Why else have me read it to you again?”

Sam’s brain was fuzzy, and it took him a while to process that thought.  When he was done it still didn’t make any sense.

“What?” Sam said finally.

“You knew,” Cas insisted.  “You had to.” Cas eyed him, and Sam saw the realization dawn on him.  “You really didn’t?”  His smile broadened in amusement.  Sam wondered if this was how Cas felt every time he missed a pop culture reference.

“Okay,” Sam said.  “I’m an idiot.  What’s the book?”

Cas laid a fond hand on the manuscript.  “As I said yesterday, an angel doesn’t lightly show his true form to a human, let alone engage with him so intimately.  The author’s friend must have been very important to him.  This wasn’t written at God’s command.  It’s a gift designed to protect, inform, and entertain one particular man.  That’s why the entries are so idiosyncratic.”

"'Do not combat the phoenix,’” Sam said.    

 “Exactly.  It's more love letter than reference book.  I can’t imagine it has anything to say about the tablets.  When you wanted to read it again I assumed it was an invitation.  Especially given how much you’ve enjoyed the past two days.”

“You noticed, huh?”  Cas tipped his head in acknowledgement.  Sam felt embarrassed, even though they’d been giving each other hand jobs five minutes ago. 

Sam couldn’t think of anything more to say, and silence fell between them.   As the warmth of the afterglow faded, an unplaceable dread formed in his gut.  It was the same “oh, shit” feeling that hit the instant after the car door slammed shut with the keys inside.  Then his brain landed on an explanation:  “Fuck.  Jimmy.”  Sam was so used to thinking of Cas as Cas that he hadn’t even considered the vessel.

“He died the first time I did," Cas said.  "There’s no one in this body but me.”  He looked offended.  “I wouldn’t do that to either one of you.”    

Thank God for that, but the dread didn’t go away.  Sam thought about it again.  He should really have done this inventory of horribles before he stuck his hand down Cas’s pants.

“Have you . . . I mean, you’ve done this before, right?”  Sam had enough sins to account for without having deflowered an angel in the least romantic way possible.

Cas softened. “I have.  Daphne was highly educational.”

“First time with a guy, though?”  Sam was pretty sure of the answer to that.    

“I suppose so.”  Sam could tell from Cas’s furrowed brow that the distinction had never occurred to him.

“Verdict?” 

“Not that different.”  Cas tucked a damp strand of hair behind Sam’s ear.  “I liked it. I’d like to do it again.”

Sam wanted to agree, but he still had a sense of impending doom, and he couldn’t come up with a single reason why.

“How are you?”  Cas said.

“Good,” Sam said, because there was no reason for him not to be.  Except that this had gone way too well, and he couldn’t stop waiting for the other shoe to drop—for Cas to die, or turn evil, or be Lucifer, or God knew what.  The mere fact of Sam having an orgasm with another person in the room had the power to summon the dead from their graves to cockblock him. 

Cas looked thoughtful.  “We’re friends,” he said.  “If you want we'll just—“

Sam knew where that was going, and it wasn’t what he’d meant.  “I’m good,” Sam said.  “Really.  It’s just been awhile since I did this.  And I’m probably the worst person in the world for you to hook up with.  And given my history I’m a little concerned that my dick is going to kill you.”  Sam hesitated.  “But if you come by my room tonight, I’ll do my best to be educational.”

Cas cupped Sam's face in his hands and kissed him.  “I’m immortal.  I feel certain your dick can’t harm me.”  He gathered up the manuscript.  “I’ll bring this with me when I come.”

Sam was suddenly alone in the library.  He spent the rest of the afternoon hunting down books on his new research topic.  He had plenty of totally valid, work-related reasons to start practicing astral projection.