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Let them be joyful: let them sing aloud upon their beds

an In His Image extra

 

Pairings: Main pairings Castiel/Dean and Gabriel/Sam; but they are in the process of moving towards wholesale TFL. All the other permutations are in various stages of development in this fic, with Wincest being the least advanced - enough that Dean can pretend it isn’t there at all. Mouseover for participants in the sex scene, if desired.

Rating: Explicit.

Genre and tropes: Christmas!fic. Fluff. Post-Apocalypse. Threesome, blowjobs, kissing, voyeurism, eggnog, carol singing, far too much mistletoe.

Word count: 7800.

Spoilers: Set after season 5, so everything up until Swan Song is fair game. Nothing for any seasons after that except passing reference to two characters whom we only meet in season 7 in canon.

Summary: In which it is their first Christmas together, and Gabriel decides that it is absolutely necessary to go carol-singing. Also there is now mistletoe growing all over every ceiling in the house, because who’s going to argue with mistletoe?

Warnings: Angelcest, and pre-Wincest thoughts. For those of Dean’s mindset regarding food, I should probably also include a warning for meat-free lasagne (Castiel’s still squeamish about red meat, I’m afraid!).

Notes: Set a few months after the close of In His Image, but it’s entirely possible to read this on its own. The main fic goes AU after Gabriel’s death but does use events and set-ups from the remaining episodes. Basically, “Kali brought Gabriel back to life and they stopped the Apocalypse and now Castiel runs Heaven.” At the end of the main fic we left the four boys learning how to be a family together; we also saw hunters and angels begin to build a network of contacts and liaise with people like Becky and the power of the internet to coordinate post-Apocalyptic clean-up, which is alluded to here, and which is now beginning to settle down into a more permanent set-up.
Originally written for the Team Free Love Secret Lover Exchange, for tiptoe39. Prompt was “Send the boys on vacation. Give them a break. Let them relax, let it all hang out, get their freak on a bit. Where and how is up to you. Just give them some time off and see where that utter lack of stress and danger takes them emotionally.”

“It’s nothing like that, okay? It’s just... conditioning.”
“Uh-huh.”
“’Cos usually when you two get going Cas and I start making out too. It’s like... Pavlovian.”
“Sure,” Gabriel agreed, eyes wide and sweet and completely untrustworthy, and snapped the groceries away into their places. “And also Sam and I are hot.”
Dean tossed the oven mitts at him, because Gabriel liked doing all the little everyday things the human way. “Isn’t there a lasagne you should be checking?”
“So,” Sam announced happily, staggering in under another mountain of shopping bags, “I got Christmas decorations!”

People were arguing on the internet. Again.

And seriously, guys? This wasn’t some youtube comment page where the most important thing was whether the yarn that kitten was playing was wool or cotton, or whatever trivial shit people argued about on kitten videos, not that Dean would know. This was people dying here – literally, someone had died, and people were still having hissy fits over grammar and there were at least three anons calling everyone attention-seeking D&D freaks and someone else blasting obscenities at everyone for using the “recent international disasters to pander to their own sick games,” and there were still people who were swearing that you could kill a vampire with a wooden stake.

How had Dean got himself roped into this?

More importantly why had Bobby agreed to let this Charlie chick put a freaking discussion forum on their website?

Putting the info out there so people could identify and maybe deal with the most common types of monsters that were hanging around after Lucifer’s thwarted Apocalypse, that was one thing. Giving them a way to get in contact if they were in trouble... well, Dean could think of a whole shady bunch of ways that could go wrong, but okay, fine, there were plenty of hunters out there to put on the job. Even more angels, too, if Bobby decided to toss a case in Castiel’s direction, though most of his lot were still more clueless than a puppy in a jewellery store. But a discussion forum? Dean had met internet forums, and this was just how they went. Bitchiness and all caps and people getting hung up over the stupidest little things and never even realising that there were things in the world more important than their petty little egos.

Also, staring at a tiny back-lit screen for too long always put Dean in a pissy mood. So sue him.

He shoved at Gabriel’s foot a bit, because the sly thing was burrowing its way in between Dean’s thigh and the sofa cushion again. Gabriel made one of his sleepy-cat noises where his face was smushed into the back of the sofa.

“Yeah, because you’re so much help,” Dean grumbled at him, and curled his hand around Gabriel’s ankle.

It was weirdly grounding, actually, the feel of it: strong fine bone and sinew and smooth skin warm and living under his palm, and the press of toes against his thigh. And the faint tingle under-inside the skin that Dean was beginning to think might be grace, though Castiel insisted that he shouldn’t be able to feel it, in either of them. Just angel, anyway.  

Christmas Eve’s eve, and things looked one hell of a lot better than they had this time last year. No Apocalypse, for one thing. No weak and bitter Castiel, no Sammy teetering on the edge of darkness and too angry to reach, none of the hopelessness that came with being a couple of tiny flies on the sand trying to hold back a rip tide. Gabriel here too, now, which was pretty much a symbol of all that, besides being kind of awesome even in a non-symbolic way.

And even if people were still being trolls and dicks on the internet – well, they were alive to do it, weren’t they? Sam and Castiel and Gabriel and Dean, they’d saved millions of lives since this time last year. Billions, probably. And they were doing a hell of a lot better even at the regular hunting business than they ever had before, with the vast strength of Heaven at their backs and the vast network of human information and ingenuity at their fingertips.

Team Free Will. Awesome.

Or, hah, Team Free Love, now that Castiel and Gabriel had finally grown a clue and started screwing, after Sam and Dean had dropped a whole bunch of anvilicious hints.

Weirdly enough, the archangel had been the reluctant one there. Castiel, once he was sure Dean and Sam were on board with it, had snapped into his scary-hot take-no-prisoners-or-bullshit mode quick enough, the one that said “I know what I want and I am going to take it because we both know you want it,” which usually ended up with Dean pinned to the mattress or the wall gasping out things he’d never admit to in the daylight. Not exactly shy, Dean’s angel; and Dean got the feeling that now he’d worked out how to express and experience love physically, with his shiny new body, he kinda wanted to go for it with all of them, and to hell with any quaint human cultural notions about monogamy. Even Sam, maybe, which was... okay, weird, but...  

Nope, still weird.

Gabriel, though – Gabriel had been on earth for a lot longer than that, and had more of a clue about how messy relationships could get. And also, Dean privately suspected, he had a whole lot of “I don’t deserve to have nice things” shit still knocking around in his head, so that made sense too.

Dean rolled his shoulders, took a swig of his beer (warm), and rubbed his thumb absently over the arch of Gabriel’s foot. A flash of light outside caught his eye, and he craned his neck around the back of the sofa to peer out through the glass wall that formed the north side of their living room. It looked out over the woods, down the gentle slopes of the hill toward the road. The sky was getting dark, and there, winding its way up the long winding driveway and flashing through the trees every time it rounded a bend, came the gleam of familiar headlights.

Thank God. Dean was so done with being stuck at home while Sam had the car. From now on Sam could take angel air or get his own freaking wheels.

“Hey.” He flicked the sole of Gabriel’s foot. “Heads up. The sasquatch’s home.”

Gabriel made a pleased noise without opening his eyes, so Dean figured he’d heard, wherever his mind was, and went back to glowering at the laptop. Funny how the faint rumble of his baby’s engine approaching focussed the mind. It was suddenly much easier to skim over all the stupid bickering, get to the essentials of the last few threads and flag a couple that might possibly have a real case in them for Bobby and Annie to look into tomorrow.

He was just closing the computer when Sam pulled up, under the shade cloth that Dean had insisted on putting up for his girl under the grape vines at the top of the driveway. And yes, they had grape vines now, even if they were a tangle of bare sticks at this time of year. Dean still wasn’t sure how he felt about him and Sam being basically Gabriel’s kept boys, but hey, he’d put up with a lot worse.

Then the glass panel in the window was sliding aside and Dean’s enormous kid brother was sidling through it, stomping mud off his boots, shoulders broad under his big brown coat and laden with grocery bags, and the buzzing little knot of unease in Dean’s chest was loosening up and vanishing like it had never been there.

Co-dependent? He could live with that.

“You went shopping in the Christmas rush, didn’t you?” he greeted him, and Sam’s face went from kind of frazzled to beaming in a moment.

“I actually did!” he confessed happily, scattering bags all over the coffee table. “It was all frantic and crowded and normal, Dean. And everyone was all happy and friendly and stopping to chat about their plans for the big day and how many of their kids are coming over or whatever, and also, hey, get your own computer.”

Dean yawned and stretched out, cricking his back and grinning at Sam loose and easy. “What, I’m not getting one for Christmas?”

Sam looked cagey and shoved at his shoulder as he edged his way around between the sofa and the tree, so Dean sort of batted at his arm in return, because Sam was getting way more into the whole physical affection thing now that he had two angels around all the time who liked to touch.  

Not that Dean was objecting.

“Hey,” Sam murmured, leaning down over Gabriel’s end of the sofa with his soppy look on, and Gabriel opened his eyes.

“Hi there,” he purred, throaty like he always was when he’d been ‘snoozing’, like he took a moment to get used to squeezing all of himself back into his vessel again; and Sam propped one hand on the cushion next to Gabriel’s head and wrapped the other around his shoulder and leaned down to kiss the fond curve of his mouth.

It was languorous, and kind of dirty, and intimate enough to be really fucking hot, the promise and the possession in it. Dean looked away after a minute then back, at the wet slide and nuzzle of mouths, at the slickness of Gabriel’s lips when they left Sam’s to slide warmly up to his cheekbone.  

Sam huffed out one of those funny possessive growls of his deep in his chest, the kind that made him sound like some wild animal instead of the happy dork that Dean was just getting to know again after the mess of the last few years. A butt from his nose tipped Gabriel’s head back and Sam nipped down over Gabriel’s jaw, nosed in just below his ear, mouthed his way along the rough line of stubble as Gabriel went lax and squirmed his hips invitingly on the couch.  

Sam’s hand moved, following the curve of Gabriel’s pec inwards to his breastbone; and Dean shifted a bit, just to relieve some of the pressure against his fly.

Gabriel’s toes wiggled suggestively against his thigh.

... Freaking archangels who swore they couldn’t read minds.

He shoved Gabriel’s foot away, scowled at it, and got up to lug the grocery bags into the kitchen.

He’d put away maybe half (and why did Sam need to buy this much food when they had angels to snap up anything they forgot?) when Gabriel waltzed in, wearing his annoying face.

“So!” he beamed, landing a smart pat on Dean’s ass. “Which of us were you drooling over in there?”

“Fuck off,” Dean told him easily, and cuffed the back of his head.  

Gabriel ducked too late, and hopped up to sit on the table in the middle of the groceries, swinging his legs and grinning far too wide. There was a dangerous glint in his eyes – not the angry kind of danger, the kind that made Dean’s jeans uncomfortably tight. “No, really. Spirit of scientific enquiry.”

“Says the guy who accidentally got a scientist eaten by an alligator the first time I met him.”

“It wasn’t accidental. I just didn’t mean to do it. Hey, tricks take on a mind of their own once you factor in a self-absorbed dick who won’t learn his lesson.” Three bags danced out of the way of their own accord just so that Gabriel could sidle closer to Dean on the table. “So, come on, you can tell me. Do I have to whip out the mistletoe for you and Sammy?”

Dean dumped a bag of sweet corn in his lap and glared at him, because they’d had that out weeks ago. Just because the angels had no problem with brother-on-brother action didn’t mean Dean and Sam were going to go there. Because. Seriously weird. “It’s nothing like that, okay? It’s just... conditioning.”

“Uh-huh.”

“’Cos usually when you guys get going Cas and I start making out too. It’s like... Pavlovian.”

“Sure,” Gabriel agreed, eyes wide and sweet and completely untrustworthy, and snapped the groceries away into their places. “And also we’re hot.”

Dean tossed the oven mitts at him, because Gabriel liked doing all the little everyday things the human way. “Isn’t there a lasagne you should be checking?”

“So,” Sam announced happily, staggering in under another mountain of shopping bags, “I got Christmas decorations!”  

Gabriel pulled his you humans are so quaint and adorable face, and Dean whacked him again.

“Going all out this year, huh?” he asked, aiming for dry, but the grin kept creeping in at the corners, because Sammy deserved this.

“And look!” Sam barrelled on, tugging a mess of dark leaves and white berries out of a basket. “I found actual mistletoe!”

Gabriel took one look at Dean’s face and doubled over, cackling with glee.

“I will hurt you,” Dean grumbled.

 

---

 

It was... brotherly bonding, the way Dean figured it. Sam and Gabriel had their nerdy bookgasms together; Dean and Gabriel had prank wars and flirted as ridiculously as they possibly could. Which included calling each other’s bullshit when Sam and Castiel were too confused or tactful or woebegone to do it, and which also included, sometimes, groping and kissing. Not seriously, of course. More like a game. Halfway between gay chicken and wrestling over the remote. One-upping each other under the mistletoe. It didn’t mean anything.

Well, okay, it meant something, just like Dean and Sam shoving each other’s shoulders and tossing affectionate insults meant something. It just didn’t mean sex.

Mostly. Probably.

 

---  

 

Castiel flapped in when they were about halfway through dinner, which was lucky, because the whole taking-an-actual-break-over-Christmas thing had been his idea to start with, and if Dean was going to sit around doing nothing for a few days he was damn well going to do it with Castiel.

Gabriel gave a wordless shout of greeting with his mouth full and kicked out the fourth chair for him, which Castiel didn’t really notice because he was staring at the ceiling and looking disturbed.  

Sam made a happy noise that sounded like “Cas!” around his fork, but he swallowed his mouthful before he went on, because Dean had taught him some manners as a kid. “You look beat, man. Rough day at the office? Sit down and have some of Gabriel’s lasagne, it’s awesome.”

Castiel turned his bemused squint on the table instead, and Dean’s fingers twitched with the urge to reach out and smooth away the little ridges on his forehead, the stiff twitch at the side of his mouth. It was always on those days when Castiel had had a hard time in the field that he took longest to work his way out of Stern Warrior Of The Lord mode and remember how to do... well, family.  

“I do not require,” he began. And hey, at least he hadn’t retorted something about not being in an office, because if he was getting pissy about slang it had been a really bad day.

“Yes you do,” Gabriel informed him breezily. “Everybody does. My cooking is just that awesome. Sit.”

“It’s not about the food, Cas,” Sam added gravely, for the umpteenth time ever. “It’s about the meal.”

Castiel made a grumbling sort of noise, but the sharp line of his shoulders softened into something relaxed and home as he bent down to kiss Gabriel softly in greeting.

(He was almost always soft with Gabriel, Dean had noticed: tender, almost gentle, like there was something there to forgive. He was like that with Dean too, some days; but other days he was many other things that were a long way from soft. And sometimes Dean was the one who carried absolution and patience in his touch.

So Castiel could adore Gabriel all he wanted, fuck him if they liked. Dean was pretty damn sure he was the only one Castiel was in love with.)

Sam flung an arm around Castiel’s waist when the angel stooped to kiss his hair, and nuzzled into his cheek instead, because egg nog always made Sam handsy and affectionate. Then it was Dean’s turn, and Castiel was stopping behind his chair and leaning down to press his nose and mouth against Dean’s temple and just breathe for a moment. There was the warmth of his hands curling delicately around Dean’s shoulders, and Dean exhaled and leaned back into the familiar strength of his chest.

“Hey angel,” he murmured. “It’s all grilled vegetables in the lasagne instead of red meat, so you’d better have some, because I don’t eat rabbit food for just anyone.”

“What Dean means to say,” chipping in his annoying little brother helpfully, “is that it’s delicious and that’s his third helping there.”

Dean flipped him off lazily, because Castiel’s mouth was softening into a curve against his forehead and the silk of his shirt against the back of Dean’s neck felt pretty damn good. “Yeah, guess mountains of cheese and tomato sauce will cover up most things.”

“That’s because I am a god in the kitchen,” Gabriel piped up in his special see-I-made-a-pun voice, and Sam rolled his eyes and kicked Gabriel under the table as Castiel settled stiff-backed into the chair next to Dean.

“Speaking of pagan activity in the kitchen,” Castiel said, in that blank kind of way he got sometimes when he’d sort of forgotten how to do humour but was trying, “why has the ceiling turned into a thicket?”

Dean passed him the pepper, because Castiel liked to experiment very thoroughly with flavours and condiments and this week he was studying pepper. “Because Sam brought home mistletoe and Gabriel thought it would be hilarious to make it take root up there and grow out super-fast all over every ceiling so that no one could dodge it. It’s probably halfway up the stairs by now.”

“So don’t be surprised if he keeps jumping you,” Sam warned with the cheerfulness of someone who’d been jumped fourteen times already. (Dean had been successfully jumped four times and had turned the tables on Gabriel six, though Gabriel insisted it was eight and two, because he couldn’t count and was a dirty cheat.)  

“I can’t help it if my sense of humour is vastly more complex and subtle than you apes could ever understand.” Gabriel leaned back in his chair and stretched, teetering dangerously on the back legs. “Sam doesn’t even try to get away. Takes the fun out of the whole Daphne and Apollo thing.”

Sam gave him that sudden narrow-eyed look of “I am not sure if you’re shitting me but even if you aren’t I have just realised that there is another fascinating historical thing you can tell me or better yet show me”. “Wait. You weren’t Apollo at any point, were you?”

Gabriel wiggled his eyebrows lecherously. “If I were, would you be my Daphne?”

“Gabriel, Daphne got turned into –”

“Promise I’ll blow your pipes.”

“- into a birch tree. The reed pipes was Pan and the water nymph.”

“And polish your birch wood.”

“... Smooth, man. Smooth.”

Dean let them bicker, and slid his hand unto the space between the curve of Castiel’s spine and the back of the chair. He was relaxing, a bit, skin soft and muscles loosening under Dean’s touch.  

Dean rubbed some circles there in the small of his back, because he was allowed to help, and also because he loved that shirt on Castiel. The dark blue silk clung, soft and suggestive, and showed off the shape of him in all the best ways, just like the pale jeans that Gabriel had insisted on did in a different way for his ass and thighs. But better than the look of it, or the feel of it under Dean’s hands, was what it meant. Castiel was choosing clothes that he liked, that he enjoyed: cuts that moved comfortably on him, fabrics that felt good against his skin. Castiel was enjoying his body, and working out how to take charge of that.  

Dean was definitely down with this.

“Missed you last night, man,” he murmured, and Castiel went still under his hand.

“I sent you a text message to explain,” he replied carefully. “Did you not receive it? The apparent demonic possession in Luxembourg proved to be a particularly powerful spirit, and it took longer than I had anticipated to locate –”

“Hey, no.” Dean cut him off, because he hated that neutral little note in Castiel’s voice, the one that said he thought he might have failed again at some unwritten rule that he hadn’t known about. “I got it. No guilt-trip, dude. Just good to see you now.”

Castiel gave him a doubtful little sideways look, that really piercing blue of what-is-going-on-in-your-head-Dean, so Dean cocked an eyebrow at him and leaned in to kiss the side of his mouth until he softened up again. And, fine, so Dean might have given him a reason to be defensive once or twice, but he was trying, okay?

“Finish your lasagne,” he said nice and low against Castiel’s mouth. “Pretty sure that mistletoe will’ve reached our bedroom by the time we’re done here.”

“Not so fast, my randy little goats,” chirped Gabriel, and Dean turned his head to glare back because that tone heralded nothing good. “You boys need to get into the Christmas spirit. Soon as we’re finished our lovely civilised family dinner, we’re going carol singing!”

“... The hell we are!”

 

---

 

Castiel was a pushover, because he had no shame but a hell of a lot of curiosity. Gabriel just snapped up a CD of some choir singing Christmas carols, tossed it at him, and ordered him to read it. Sam was almost as easy because he was in one of his mellow indulgent moods, and also Gabriel had programmed him with sex to think that all Gabriel’s plans turned out awesome and fun.

There was a bit of a hitch when Castiel, sitting there looking earnest with his head tilted to one side and his fingertips resting lightly on the flimsy silver disc, observed that the treble line appeared to be essential to the texture and asked how they were going to manage to sing that. It took ten minutes to convince Gabriel that soprano-Sam would not, in fact, be awesome and fun, ten minutes which Dean spent alternately cackling and making helpful suggestions; but once Gabriel promised to behave (more or less), Sam was on board.

Dean, though – Dean was a man of principle, and he stuck to his guns, all the way through dessert and that hot thrill of flirting with Gabriel.

(“Dean, Dean, don’t you remember the Apocalypse? Trying to argue with an archangel doesn’t change his mind, it just leads to world-wide pain and destruction.” “I dunno, I seem to remember one archangel caving pretty damn quick.” “Yes, but then I died. You wouldn’t want me to die again would you, Dean, just because you’re too stubborn to go a-carolling?” “Dude. You’re drunk.” “Drunk is fun! I can stop any time I like.” “That’s what she said.”)

Gabriel only won in the end because he threatened to go all Trickster on Dean’s ass and curse him with a lifetime of non-alcoholic egg nog if he kept on playing Grinch over carols and not ambushing Sam under the mistletoe. Dean wouldn’t have put it past him to actually follow through, at least for a day or two, so he nobly sacrificed his non-carol-singing principles on the altar of domestic peace.

At the first house, they were met by a chubby kid of about nine, who stared at them suspiciously for over thirty seconds of “Hark, the herald angels sing” (with conflicting ‘corrected’ lyrics from Gabriel and an intense Must Get The Tradition Right Despite Personal Opinions On This Text face from Castiel), before bawling over his shoulder, “Mom! Money for charity!” Sam surprised Dean by actually having a rather pleasant baritone, even if he couldn’t hold a tune for shit.

The second house contained a bewildered elderly couple who kept trying to hand them leftover Halloween candy all through “Once in royal David’s city”, while Dean just leaned against the door frame and laughed and laughed at the look on Sam’s face and the way Gabriel was making desperate grabby hands and trying to signal “yes thank you and please to be putting all the candy in my pockets” without breaking the harmony.

And screw “the Little Drummer Boy”, really – Dean and Gabriel burst out into their own rendition of that, complete with hard rock rhythms and heavy base (courtesy of Gabriel’s “play whatever the angel wants” speakers), because it was far more fun that way, especially with Sam grinning and shaking his head and trying to explain to Castiel why they should look disapproving in the background.  

Dean left “In Dulci Jubilo” to Sam and the angels, because it kept shifting back and forth between Latin and some ancient English and starting a sentence in one language and finishing it in another, which fascinated Sam and didn’t matter at all to the angels, and the way Gabriel looked at Sam’s scrunched-up delighted profile when they sang “our hearts’ joy reclineth in praesepio” was something else.

Houses three through nineteen passed in a dizzying assortment of laughing or barely tolerant or confused residents, and proved that Castiel was kind of useless, actually. He hit every note and every syllable spot on, but that was it – each song was a collection of notes and syllables, like he just happened to be speaking that syllable at that pitch for no particular reason. It was the most unmusical music Dean had ever heard, and the determined bemusement on Castiel’s face was absolutely irresistible.

By midnight they were stumbling, and Dean pulled Castiel aside to kiss him for long, warm minutes where the moon threw dappled silver shadows across the cobbles by the fountain. Gabriel and Sam were bellowing their own filthy lyrics to “Good King Wenceslas” somewhere deeper in the park, because it didn’t take much to get Sam to stop pulling “that’s so immature” faces when he was happy, and Castiel was making these little sounds into Dean’s mouth like he couldn’t believe he’d got this lucky in his life.

Dean could relate.

 

---

 

(“Understand this, Dean,” Castiel had said the one time they’d actually talked about it, one hot solid arch of skin and strength over Dean’s body, not touching, pinning Dean’s wrists bruisingly to the pillow above his head so that Dean couldn’t grab for him and his breaths came in short hungry gasps. “Gabriel, yes. Sam, yes. Nobody else. I will share you with no one but them. Understood?”

“Yeah, Cas. Yeah. Got it.” And, craning up to mouth at his neck, dragging hot lines of teeth and tongue across the pulse, “You too, okay?”

Castiel’s eyes had gleamed, blue and molten silver and fervour. “We own each other. The four of us.”

And that was it, really, no matter who was actually fucking whom. It was the four of them.)

 

---

 

Castiel stuck around the next morning.  

Gabriel had vanished, which usually meant that one of his motley crew of angelic-and-other minions somewhere planetside needed his help. Castiel, though, had put in a solid night’s work Heaven-sheriffing, so Dean got to have his semi-conscious vessel draped across him all night and wake up in the morning to coffee-flavoured pancake experiments. Which were... surprisingly edible, actually.

Sam stumbled downstairs after a bit, yawning and half hung-over and looking like he and Gabriel had taken a good long while to get around to the actual sleeping part of the night’s program. Castiel made his disapproving-but-indulgent eyebrows and took pity on him – Dean suspected darkly that Sam got hangover cures far more often than Dean did simply because of the way he went all floppy and woebegone and adorable.

True to form, Sam made a pathetic, grateful noise and draped himself all over Dean’s angel, like he was waiting for his brain to catch on so he could wake up properly. Castiel ran his hand through Sam’s hair and put down the spatula to rub the other one over Sam’s back. It was all sickeningly domestic.

“Hey guys,” Dean pointed out helpfully, just to see if they would. Somebody had to play Trickster when Gabriel was away. “Mistletoe.”

Sam rolled his eyes; Castiel smiled, just a hint of suggestion at the corners of his mouth; Sam spread one big hand out over the side of Castiel’s face with his thumb curled under Castiel’s chin and cocked an eyebrow at him; Castiel gave Sam the “you are trying my patience of eons” look, raised his face to Sam’s, and melted in against his body like he’d never had the slightest trust issues ever.

Dean’s mouth went dry.

He was getting used to seeing Gabriel and Castiel make out, slow and passionate and casual and friendly and just a kind of brotherly tease – it never stopped being hot, but Dean was getting used to it, so it didn’t punch him in the gut anymore with the novelty of the two hottest guys he knew (apart from himself and Sam, of course) going at it like they were Dean’s own personal porn channel.

Neither Castiel nor Gabriel had any modesty when it came to either Winchester, so Dean had seen them doing most things short of downright screwing before. And he was never going to be ashamed of ogling Castiel, and Gabriel pretty much invited it with all his preening and his flaunting and his goddamned winks, so Dean was getting pretty easy with just staying right where he was and watching. Enjoying. Especially given the way Castiel would arch into it and let his head fall back and groan, deep and rasping, and lick his mouth and look over at Dean and just fucking smile, and...

Yeah, Dean was pretty sure that it wasn’t going to be that long before he lost all shame and just unzipped in the living room and rubbed one out watching the angels go at it.

But this, this – the way Castiel’s mouth moved against Sam’s, the powerful line of Sam’s shoulders where he had to stoop to meet Castiel, and the way his whole body practically engulfed Castiel’s slender darkness – this was the two people who meant more to Dean than anything else in the world, sharing familiar little murmurs and secret grins between brushes of their lips, relaxed and... happy. Happy like this time a year ago he never would have thought either of them could have again.

... Team Free Love, huh?

Sam dropped a kiss on the tip of Castiel’s nose, and Castiel wrinkled it at him and made a noise like a pleased and sated cat.

Dean cleared his throat.  

“You two should do that more often.”

Sam huffed and pulled a face, and laughed like he thought Dean was just messing with them; but Castiel looked at Dean and smirked, satisfied, like he’d won an argument Dean hadn’t known they were having.

 

---

 

That evening, Sam voted for Love, Actually and Dean and Gabriel both voted for The Grinch. Castiel didn’t get a vote because he didn’t actually know any of the movies, and would just choose whatever Dean wanted anyway.

So they watched The Grinch, and enjoyed their alcoholic eggnog and the smell of the fir tree with its colourful pile of badly wrapped presents underneath. Castiel stretched out along the sofa with his back against Dean’s chest and asked all the wrong questions because he was determined to understand what all the bits of Christmas had to do with all the other bits, even when there wasn’t really any logic at all. And after that they watched Love, Actually anyway, because Sam was a giant girl and Dean was feeling just soppy enough not to give him hell over it, even when Sam and Gabriel started getting all starry-eyed and cuddly halfway through.  

Dean watched Sam for a while instead of the movie, just because. Dappled over with the dim shadows of the lamp. Head bent in towards Gabriel’s, eyes bright and warm under the dark sweep of his lashes and hands soft and easy on Gabriel’s arms, and that tiny smile of his that Dean loved, the one that managed to look shy and amazed and absolutely fucking certain at the same time.

Dean was just drunk enough to admit that love was a good look on Sam.

Dean’s hands were tracing honey-slow patterns on Castiel’s belly under his shirt, and his dick was nestling chubby and comfortable against the valley of Castiel’s spine.

No urgency, and that was kind of novel and sweet in its own way: just tasting the contented tingle of anticipation, of later and maybe, and knowing that even if they didn’t tonight there would be tomorrow and the day after that and (Dean was just starting to believe) a lifetime after that.

He pressed his mouth in against the warm angle of Castiel’s neck, soft and fervent, and relished the quiet sigh he got in return.

And then they watched It’s a Wonderful Life after that, with Sam draped all over Gabriel on the other sofa and sliding in and out of a doze.

The air outside was cool, and it was just warm enough inside to be comfortable with an angel blanket nestled in between your thighs and pressing comfortably back against your chest. No snow, but no clouds – crisp and clear. Leftover scent of Castiel’s disastrous attempt at Christmas pudding (he’d insisted on adding coffee to that too, to see what happened) and the messy but delicious turkey that he and Sam had managed together.

Castiel let out a quiet, puzzled “oh” at one point. Apparently Meg had called him Clarence once, and it had taken Castiel half the movie to make the connection. Dean yawned, nuzzled his face in against Castiel’s neck, and enjoyed the sound of their angels bickering on and off throughout the rest of the movie over the fictional Clarence and his resemblances to Castiel: Castiel with his dry, barely visible sarcasm, and Gabriel crass and affectionate, glancing over at Castiel every now and then with a grin that raked his teeth promisingly over his lower lip, cockiness of the daylight turned into something deep and warm in the dusk.

Little things. It was the little wordless things that made this all impossible and precious.

The movie murmured its way through the credits and back to loop the title screen a few times before Gabriel bothered reaching for the remote. His hands were busy anyway, dragging gently through Sam’s hair over and over in the way that had always put him right to sleep since he’d been a kid.  

Dean stretched out and yawned, thinking lazy thoughts of bed. “Hey. What’re the chances of Sammy waking up to snow tomorrow?”

Castiel made a soft, enquiring noise, like he wasn’t sure why the weather was relevant but was interested because it was Dean who’d asked it; and Gabriel smiled a bit into Sam’s shoulder.

“Think he’d like it?”

His voice was sort of muted, none of its usual sharp sly edges and brilliant reflecting surfaces. Just... comfortable.

“Yeah.” Dean cleared his throat. “Yeah, I do.”

“Then pretty fair, I’d say.” Gabriel’s fingers skimmed lightly over Sam’s neck, then lifted to tuck a few stray locks carefully back out of his face. Like he was addicted to the touch, and still couldn’t believe he got to do it.

Dean grunted something that might be thanks, closed his eyes and pressed his mouth into Castiel’s neck.

When he opened them again, Sam was sprawled out alone on the sofa, sound asleep, and Gabriel was right in front of him cocking an eyebrow at Castiel.

Dean knew the way Gabriel looked at Sam, and at Castiel – even at Dean sometimes too, the cocktease – like redemption and sex on legs all at once. And this was it. And it wasn’t just a goodnight kiss that Gabriel was going for here.

“Gabriel,” Castiel acknowledged, smooth rumble of his voice deep in Dean’s chest.

Gabriel slid onto the sofa, one knee shoving into place between Dean’s thigh and the cushions, face splitting into a grin like a lustful Cheshire cat. The cushions dipped under Dean’s ass and legs, and Castiel was sinking down deeper in the wedge between his thighs and reaching up one hand to tangle possessively in Gabriel’s hair.

And for some reason there was a world of difference between grabbing Gabriel’s belt and spinning him around against the bench to lick his mouth open while he yelped and pretended that that had been his mistletoe ambush victory, and seeing him like this. Legs splayed wide over both of Castiel’s legs and one of Dean’s, nose barely an inch from Castiel’s and tilted ready to kiss, warm breath fanning out to brush Dean’s cheek. Crouching like a beast about to spring, and for some reason it suddenly felt like Gabriel was a hell of a lot closer to Dean’s face than he’d ever been before. Sure, stick your tongue in a guy’s mouth and you’d taste him, technically; but like this – hands sliding up over Castiel’s ribs (brushing over Dean’s fingers) and that dark promise growing in the twist of Gabriel’s mouth – Dean couldn’t help imagining the taste and the feel of it, and that was far more potent.

Hell. There was no way Castiel couldn’t feel that boner. Which, not like he was going to mind if he really meant that whole I-will-share-you thing, but... where the fuck was Dean meant to put his hands when Gabriel was licking his lips and teasing open Castiel’s pants?

Gabriel caught Dean’s eye, twinkling and promising evil. Then he winked.

Dean smirked, and slid his hand around to linger low on Castiel’s belly.

A competition. That was familiar. Even if Castiel’s body wasn’t usually the... well, the battlefield.

Tug, and rustle, and the clink of a buckle, and the belt was gone. Castiel squirmed and made that dissatisfied little noise he did when fingers were teasing just shy of home base. Dean took pity and stole his attention, murmured “I got you, sweetheart” low and throaty in his ear to make his breath catch, and chased hot lines up over Castiel’s ribs with his fingers.

Castiel shivered as the silk of his shirt bunched up over Dean’s wrist, slipped off his shoulder when Dean nuzzled in against his neck. Gabriel must have undone a button or two. Dean stretched his neck forward to mouth at Castiel’s collarbone, to meet Gabriel’s gaze for a moment as the archangel worked his way down Castiel’s chest; and the heat and wonder in Gabriel’s eyes made Dean lose all his breath at once, hot over Castiel’s damp-cool skin.

He gave his neck a break and let his head fall back, let his fingers do the seeing: sliding in over Castiel’s chest, stroking up as Gabriel passed to smear the damp trail left by his mouth over the taut lines of muscle and bone. Gabriel’s breath puffed hot against the back of Dean’s knuckles, and Dean could imagine vivid and clear as a knife’s edge the curve of that smile that would go with it, so close that Dean could stretch his fingers and touch it.

This was for Castiel.

Castiel, whose body was trusting and relaxed between them, arching and pushing like he had no idea what the next touch was going to be but knew that it would be good, knew it to the depths of him, because it was Dean and it was Gabriel, and (incredibly) he trusted them.

“You gonna moan my name, Cas?” Dean growled into his neck. “Gonna make Gabriel hear it? Wake Sammy up, make him watch?”

Castiel groaned, deep and wrecked, wriggling maddeningly against Dean’s body to let Gabriel work his pants down over his hips and thighs and knees. He kicked one leg free as soon as he could get it out from under Gabriel, and Gabriel yanked them carelessly off and took the opportunity to shove Castiel’s leg up against the back of the sofa, to settle in low between them, to give himself room to work Castiel over.

Dean and Castiel were breathing together, deep and solid and ragged, chest to back, like they could draw the air in together and feel it. Dean loved it when that happened.

He lifted his hand and pressed it to Castiel’s cheek, drew it gently back through his hair because he always moaned and arched into it when he was revved up, like it made sparks fly down his spine. Sweat was beading on Castiel’s neck and Dean swiped it away, explored the shape of the collar bone under the skin with the hot open press of his mouth, moulding his tongue to it and the insides of his mouth. A sudden shudder and moan had him dragging his nails down to tease little shivers up the insides of Castiel’s thighs, except Gabriel’s hands were there already holding him open wide, and that was the weirdest thing, feeling that sudden barrier of somebody else’s body against Castiel’s when he was making those noises under Dean’s mouth.

“Dean,” Castiel demanded, and “Gabriel,” love and imperative all at once, and Dean ran his fingers over Gabriel’s knuckles and up into the wet tangle of hair at Castiel’s groin. Gabriel’s tongue swiped against Dean’s ring for a moment right at the base of Castiel’s dick, leaving a fresh string of dampness trailing across knuckle and metal as it retreated, and Dean let his fingers follow it blindly to skim over the flushed, stubble-rough cheek and curl around the straining angle of the jawbone beyond.

Only Gabriel chased him, turned his head so that Dean could feel the wet smirk against the skin of his wrist, and hell, that was cheating.

Gabriel’s fingers closed teasing-light around Dean’s wrist and dragged his hand around to Gabriel’s mouth, to bump against Castiel’s dick. Castiel wriggled against it, against Dean, head tipped forward to stare and breath coming in short demanding gasps as Gabriel’s tongue drew a hot, sly stripe across Dean’s palm.

“Fuck,” Dean breathed eloquently, and bit down hard on the back of Castiel’s neck, as Gabriel opened his mouth and sucked two of Dean’s fingers hard and deep into the heat of him.  

“Gonna let him carry the day, little sparrow?” Gabriel purred into Dean’s skin, and Dean growled protest and shoved his hips in against Castiel from behind. “Gonna let him make like he’s the one doing this to you, going to town on you, taking you so deep you forget to keep your eyes open to see his fingers all tangled up in my hair, pulling me in to make me choke on it?”, and he dived back in as Castiel whined.

And, wow. Just wow. Were they doing this? They were actually doing this. Dean was pretty sure. Okay, so he couldn’t actually see Gabriel, but the eagerness of those lips, the hungry pace he was setting, the rough bobs of his throat as he swallowed and swallowed again to take Castiel in or just because he was so eager for him, the awkward angle where his hip was wedged in against Dean’s ankle so he wouldn’t fall off the couch (and the way he was rocking slowly against the cushions), the power and strength of the hands shoving Castiel’s hips back into the cradle of Dean’s body... yeah, pretty clear visual, right there, and Dean could feel every bit of it.

For Castiel, yes.

Castiel’s voice was rasping wordless orders under Dean’s mouth, and his hips were working demanding little jabs in against Gabriel’s face and back against Dean’s straining dick, and Dean had the head of him shoving in against the palm of his hand every second stroke right through Gabriel’s cheek. Silk whispering over the back of Dean’s left hand with the undulations of Castiel’s body and the drag and huff of the breath in his ribs under the palm, silky hair tangling around Dean’s fingers on the other hand as he ran it forward to tangle at the nape of Gabriel’s neck, meeting Castiel’s there, knitting into them to hold Gabriel there and jerk forward into him together, and Castiel was falling apart.

Dean swallowed all the little noises Castiel made into his own mouth, from the growls of frustration (long and low and shaking right through Dean’s bones) to the little choked-off gasps and whimpers right at the end, like Castiel kept forgetting whether he needed to breathe or not.

He held him until Castiel was languor-loose between them: head lolling back on Dean’s shoulder, mouth brushing open against his chin, legs sprawled easily wide around Gabriel. Thumb rubbing back and forth over the fingers of Gabriel’s right hand and Dean’s left, where they had somehow got all tangled together in the hot crease at the top of Castiel’s thigh.

... Sam was watching.

He was there on the other sofa, a heavy shape in the half-light, sitting up sleep-mussed with his eyes wide and dark and locked on them. His mouth was half open like he’d started to lick his lips and been too distracted to finish, and the sight of him sent a sweet thrill of shock down Dean’s spine and straight to the throbbing heat between his legs.

Well, Dean was too horny to be embarrassed anyway. And it was Castiel’s junk that was all out there, not Dean’s.

Dean winked at his brother, and smirked. Sam’s eyes went narrow, and his mouth stretched into that slow grin of oh, it is so on.

It was only then that Gabriel lifted his head, and his eyes were hot and glowing when they locked on Dean’s, fucking glowing like melted gold.

Dean’s dick twitched shameless and eager against Castiel’s back. Castiel made a deep, wordless noise of approval, and writhed back against the touch.

Gabriel’s tongue flickered out and darted a slick little tease across his upper lip.

“Hey look, Dean,” he purred, just enough of a leer in it that Dean could roll his eyes and laugh it off if he wanted. “Mistletoe.”

Dean snorted half-assed laughter, and he rolled his eyes too; and he said, “Yeah, come on then, big shot,” and wrapped his free hand tight around the hard jut of Castiel’s hip, and craned forward over Castiel’s shoulder to grin his own challenge into Gabriel’s mouth.

Mistake? Maybe. Definitely not a game. Definitely real, this one, the slow hungry slide of mouth against mouth, the rock of Gabriel’s hips against Castiel’s stomach and the thud of his heart when Dean’s hand settled high on his side to keep him there, to swallow the heat and tang of Castiel from him. The way Castiel huffed out a soft, heavy breath against their cheeks and curled his fingers around Dean’s knee and Gabriel’s belt, and Sam groaned something deep and wordless on the other side of the room.

It wasn’t nearly as scary as it should have been, though.

Besides. They could all pretend it hadn’t happened tomorrow morning, if they wanted.

Dean scraped his teeth against Gabriel’s lower lip and shoved in harder, just for a moment. Gabriel made a dark noise, stuttering against Dean’s mouth; then he was gone, sliding off Castiel’s lap and strolling back across the room to Sam, casual as anything and all mussed up.

Dean rolled his eyes at Sam, and locked his arms around Castiel’s waist.  

“Cas,” he growled into his neck. “Bed. Now.”

“Have fun, kids!” said Gabriel brightly and filthily, as Sam reached for him with both arms and dragged him down onto his lap. “Remember, the sooner you go to bed, the sooner Santa comes! And everyone else!”

The living room faded into the sound of wing beats.

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