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Previous chapter.

 

Week 3.

6 kalends Septembris (August 27).

Six days after the events of An Acorn Button. This one accidentally got a bit plotty. For those who haven’t read the main story: Castiel’s parents died during the angelic civil war, and his oldest brother (Gabriel) staged his own death, fled, posed as human and set himself up as an itinerant pedlar. Their other brother, Balthazar, was killed far more recently in the fighting between humans and angels, and it was Dean who dealt the death blow. They’ve resolved all that now (insofar as you can resolve that), and Gabriel is preparing to leave with his eager new apprentice, Sam. Who might just be infatuated with him. Dean found out that little fact six days ago, and it’s forced him to actually confront the fact that he's about to lose his little brother.

 

“... Shit.”

Dean’s stride broke and faltered, the last harsh thud of his boot jarring and skidding on the grass. It left a black scar in the earth.

Castiel looked up, his face caught between bemusement and welcome and his long clever fingers tangled in a mesh of coloured threads, and that was all Dean saw before the dark cloud in his head was whispering no, no, don’t let him see, don’t touch him and dragging Dean back and away.

He fled like a fucking coward.

Or he tried to. But he hadn’t got three steps before Castiel said his name, rusty and puzzled and quiet, and apparently even when Dean was in this mood Castiel could just reach into his gut and twist.

Dean’s feet stopped moving. His shoulders felt tight as rock under Castiel’s gaze.

“Don’t,” he snapped out, and his voice was this foreign jagged thing that should never be turned on his angel. “I can’t, Cas, okay? Not right now.”

He waited for the “Dean what’s wrong”, and the worried forehead crease, and the “Dean talk to me” fluttering, and the hanging around, and the puppy-dog looks and the special treatment and everything that just made him snap when he was like this, made everything so much worse because it felt like he was smothered in something vast and heavy and couldn’t fucking breathe. Everything that he’d come down to this oak grove to escape.

Only that was Sam, wasn’t it? It was Sam who frowned over him like that, who made those noises, and Sam wasn’t going to be doing that anymore, and, and. Fuck.

Castiel was being... very quiet. 

That couldn’t be a good thing. 

What if he was only just realising what a screw-up Dean was? This guy he’d gone and got himself engaged to because he’d thought he was some kind of hero or whatever, when Dean couldn’t even hold a family together, had been sulking at home while his little brother got cursed, had killed one of Castiel’s brothers and almost done for the other too, and, and - what if. What if it was not having Mom around, being brought up only by Dean really because what the hell had Dad ever done for Sammy even before he’d gotten himself killed, what if that was what had screwed Sam up bad enough that he didn’t want to settle down and make a family and be happy, that he wanted to leave?

Castiel’s hand settled carefully on the back of his neck.

“Then don’t,” he said, with this soft kind of exasperation, like he didn’t get what the big deal was.

Dean’s breath suddenly decided there were a hell of a lot of better places it could be and rushed out of his body, and hell, Dean didn’t blame it. Castiel’s hand felt far too hot in the evening breeze.

“I’m serious, man. I just. When I’m like this I say shit I don’t mean. I break things. People things.” He shook Castiel’s hand off, as gently as he could, and missed it at once (selfishly and fiercely, unwisely). “Can’t talk to you right now.”

He felt like he should be adding sorry, but the words stuck in his throat. Because when this black, ferocious thing was hanging in his head, he couldn’t say or do anything that didn’t hurt people. 

Freaking useless.

Castiel didn’t say anything.

Dean practically ran back to the house.

Only, that didn’t work so well. Because of course he stormed right into the kitchen, and it was like a punch to the gut. A bedroom meant sleep and relaxation and finally being alone at the end of the day, and the bathhouse meant thank-fuck-that’s-over-and-I-can-wash-it-all-off-now, and the living room meant lounging around together and slinging back a cup or two and taking the piss. But there was a reason Dean’s treacherous feet had led him straight to the kitchen. The kitchen was the centre of it all. The kitchen was home, and keeping this whole wreck of a house going come rain or shine or blood, and look after Sammy, always look after Sammy, Mum’s gone and you gotta carry on

Also, he was pretty fucking sure he had some strong apple-based drink up on the top shelf.

Dean leaned there, with his head sagging heavy between his shoulders and the edge of the worn old wooden counter pressing into his hands, and smelt the phantom cookies. Years worth of the things, just the way Ellen had taught him because he’d been too young to reach the oven when Mum had gone, because of the way they’d make Sammy’s face light up and the whole house smell like home. And because of all the little tricks Sam would make up to try to reach the cookie jar no matter how high Dean stashed it (way back when Dean had still been bigger than him). Because even when things had been screwed to hell and Sam had been throwing one of his tantrums that left the room trashed and Dean’s hands shaking as they fixed everything and put everything back where it was meant to be, Sam had still been here. And he’d still been Dean’s to look after.

Maybe Dean should get rid of the baking trays. They’d only be gathering cobwebs.

Hell.

Gabriel had probably planned space for baking trays into that handy new wagon they were building. Maybe Dean should just hand his - theirs - over. Gabriel and Sam probably wouldn’t even notice. Too busy looking at the sides of each other’s faces and avoiding each other’s eyes, like this morning. Like all this week, over and over. Too busy earnestly figuring out whether they could have the bed fold up into one wall and have the other wall fold out to make some kind of movable stall that would show off everything they had to sell, everything they’d found together across dozens of different cities and towns and villages and fucking languages. Too busy talking of lands farther away than Dean could even comprehend, and the weirdly shaped animals that lived there.

It wasn’t SamandDean anymore. It was turning into GabrielandSam, with all their private jokes, the little allusions and smiles and “hey maybe we should”s that cut Dean right out. Out of the picture. 

Sam didn’t belong to Dean.

And Dean knew that, okay? He knew it. He’d been biting it down all week, trying to pretend it wasn’t growing into this big black thing inside his head, ever since he’d figured out just why Sam was looking at Gabriel like he’d hung the moon (like he used to look at Dean) and had freaked out very calmly and reasonably and never once punched Gabriel in the face. And he was getting it shoved down his throat every fucking day, and he’d never wanted Sam to be his exactly, he’d always wanted Sammy to grow up and be this amazing kick-ass guy who’d do everything perfectly and be happy and make a family that was right the way theirs hadn’t been so Dean could help look after his kids or something, and - and all that, but he’d never thought. Never imagined.

He couldn’t just pretend this was some temporary vacation thing for Sam, a year or two maybe of satisfying his curiosity before everything would be back the way it should. This was Sam changing, and leaving Dean behind, and having to face that was fucking brutal, and Sam just kept right on beaming. All week.

Why would Sam want to leave him?

The front door clicked.

It didn’t slam. It just opened, and closed, firm and decisive and I-am-a-door-with-whom-you-will-not-screw.

Dean,” Castiel growled in his most long-suffering tone, and Dean wanted to laugh but it really wasn’t funny.

He should tell Castiel to get out. 

Hell, there was a reason he locked even Chevy out of the house when he was in these moods, because it really wasn’t a good idea to have someone staring at him like they needed him when he was so screwed up. And it was a good solid reason, and he knew that, but he was a freaking coward and the words “leave me alone” were hanging on the tip of his tongue but he couldn’t bring himself to say them. Just in case Castiel obeyed.

But Castiel hadn’t left him. Castiel had followed.

Castiel was just standing in the middle of the kitchen (Dean’s kitchen, Sam’s kitchen) with his hands loose by his sides and his mouth doing its pissy worried little twist that it did sometimes when he didn’t know exactly what to do, and demanding, “Why do you assume, Dean Winchester, that I will try to make you talk.

... Oh.

Dean turned his head, slow and heavy as it felt, and blinked stupidly at the purse of Castiel’s lips.

Castiel reached out to cup the right side of his face, slow as if he was waiting for Dean to dodge. He almost did, for a moment there - or a stiff flinch, anyway - except that he couldn’t bear to see what Castiel would look like if he did. And before he could work out how to say “you don’t want to touch me” Castiel’s fingers were fitting in neatly around the back of Dean’s jaw and under his chin, and the warm uncalloused press of his left palm was firm against Dean’s cheek. 

Sly careful fingers they were, fingers that could learn how the thresher worked in five minutes, that had been studious and determined on Dean’s skin just nine hours ago, and doing dextrous things with coloured thread when Dean had found him in the oak grove. They made the raging, wanting, lonely thing inside Dean want to reach out and latch onto Castiel instead, haul him close and keep him.

“You only look like this when it’s about Sam.” Castiel’s thumb hovered by the corner of Dean’s eye, then pressed in to sweep over his temple. “Why would I need to know more than that, unless the tenor of your feelings has changed substantially since this morning.” 

Huh. Okay.

Dean closed his eyes for one exhausted moment and let himself lean into the touch, into the mute promise of - of just having someone there. Of Cas

The dull, savage roar in his head calmed down, just a bit. And hell, if he could only - if he could just grab him, get close - not with his arms and his body, just, just - just to reach him. That weird closeness that they sometimes had together that had nothing to do with actual vicinity: when they were curled up naked and warm in bed and just smiling sly little smiles at each other like they didn’t need words, and sometimes full-dressed in public when Dean would just reach out to touch the small of Castiel’s back or even catch his eye from the other side of a room and Castiel would just look at him from the corner of his eye, and Dean would know. 

Like they were in this together, and nothing needed to be said.

Only Dean had no fucking clue how to reach out from inside this - this thick muffling blanket thing that dulled his touch when he was like this, cut him off from the world. Even from Sam. Even from Castiel.

He closed his eyes, and turned his face into Castiel’s wrist for a moment, because apparently nobody had ever told Castiel that men (human men) don’t do that kind of shit.

“What’s that you were making back there?” he mumbled, distracted a bit by the way his lips dragged against the delicate little ridge of the tendon.

The tips of Castiel’s fingers pressed in a bit against Dean’s skin, then vanished. It took extra effort to drag his eyes open, against the buzz of anger and helplessness messing around in his head, but when he did he found Castiel leaning back against the counter with his wings settling in place around in him so one of them nudged in against Dean’s arm, twining the thing he’d been working on between his fingers.

It was four inches or so of a flat knotted band, about two inches broad and composed of many different colours and threads and beads and charms, and it still trailed more than a foot of threads out from the loose end. Some of the threads were crinkled, like they’d been plaited and unravelled, and some ran smooth and bold and new, including a few grey and black ones that looked suspiciously like the yarn from Dean’s old blanket.

Also it looked halfway familiar.

“Isn’t that the one you had on your ankle?” he blurted out, then tried to bite it back into his mouth.

Castiel’s forehead was faintly creased up, the way it looked when he was thinking, and a little bit unsure. He was quiet for too long, and, oh shit. Because Castiel had said once that bands like that were like wedding rings for angels, and - what if he’d been married before and Dean had never known and there was someone really big and important in his past that he’d never mentioned to Dean, not once? What if - was Dean meant to be making one of those for him? And what if Dean wasn’t meant to see it or know about it or ask, and he’d just screwed everything up?

“It was, and it isn’t.” Castiel tangled a few loose threads around his finger, where they trailed out from the unfinished end of the band. “I made it for Gabriel, once. Black and copper, for our father. Scarlet, our mother. His egret, and her goshawk. After they died.” His fingertip hovered for a moment over a silver charm shaped like a water bird, strung on a scarlet ribbon whose patterns had faded. “It was almost the only thing left intact when we found Gabriel’s - when we found what we thought was his body. I suppose, in retrospect, that was deliberate.” There was a tight edge to that which got Dean’s hackles up, even though it was smoothed away after a breath and a pause. Then Castiel touched the other old threads, the ones matching Gabriel’s feathers: red, and gold, and copper. “I remade it to include his colours after that, and the beads. Archangels don’t take a sigil,” he added, like an afterthought.

So, not just marriage, then. Family. 

Lost family.

And there was something in Castiel’s presence that turned the roaring into soft white noise, took the edge off wanting to punch something and yell and changed it into - something else. Or maybe it was just the smell of him, the delicious spicy-salt-sweet mix that had Dean itching to drag him close and press up against him, but he couldn’t. Castiel was standing there, all cool and sort of troubled and smelling good, too far away at about five inches and thinking about his family and Dean couldn’t touch him.

“Only he wasn’t dead,” he managed instead, too rough to be sympathetic and too inane to be anything else, because Dean was brilliant at conversation and he ached

Castiel shot him a sideways look, a flash of dangerous silver lurking in the blue. “He was mourned. For years.” And there, again: something rippling deep under there that might have been frustration, maybe even anger. Except Castiel hardly ever did anger. Dean had never even seen him raise his voice at Gabriel: just look away, and freeze him out. “But no. He wasn’t dead, and Balthazar was. I removed it for some weeks at that point. I wasn’t sure what to do with it.”

Balthazar.

In that matter-of-fact tone. 

Dean found he was drumming his fingers on the bench just next to Castiel’s wing, just to do something with them that wasn’t grabbing him and pressing into him and holding him too tight. It was a strange, jagged combination of thoughts: Castiel’s brother, an entire person that Dean had never known, unmade in a hot spray of his blood over Dean’s hand. Spoken of so casually here, in Dean’s town, in Dean’s house. And Gabriel as an actual kid, young and not all harsh and brazen, just missing his parents. Nothing like the one Dean kept seeing this week, the stranger with the unreliable smirk who could break Sam open if he tried.

He took a breath, and curled his fingers up tight, to stop them twitching.

“Okay. What’re you doing with it now?”

Castiel glanced at him again, a bit slower this time, eyes squinty in that look-right-through-you way that made Dean’s chest warm up. Then he touched the new grey threads, and one purplish one. “Balthazar.” Under the tap of his knuckle, a silver magpie chimed against a tiny falcon, clear and soft and sweet. “And myself.” Which would be the last few threads - black and dark blue. To match Castiel’s wings.

“I’m giving it back to Gabriel complete,” Castiel ended, quiet and sure.

“Huh.”

Balthazar, remade out of the threads of Dean’s favourite blanket. The one he’d lent Castiel, when first he’d brought him home.

Pretty piss-poor substitute.

His fingers unclenched of their own accord and reached out to slide between feathers, firm and velvet and yielding, to press in against the skin underneath. Castiel made a small noise and moved that wing, just a bit, to nudge against Dean’s side. It turned the touch into a stroke that slid up the inside, following the tracks of the feathers deeper, to where the skin was warm and soft under the down.

“Good.” Dean’s tongue felt thick and useless in his mouth. Castiel was baring his fucking soul here, and Dean had nothing to give back. “Sounds like the sort of thing he might. I mean. I get that.”

The creases at the corners of Castiel’s eyes deepened, into something like a smile, and something like a sigh. “I thought you might,” he said quietly, and lifted a hand to touch two fingers to the amulet that lay on Dean’s chest.

Dean cleared his throat, then cleared his throat again, then gave in and just grabbed, hands clutching at shoulder and waist and dragging Castiel in against his side. Only Castiel wouldn’t let it stop there: moved too easily in Dean’s grasp, turning willingly into his body like relief. 

Dean’s heart decided to take that as a cue to go wild and start pattering away like it thought this was some kind of race.

“So you’re a falcon, huh?” he mumbled into Castiel’s hair, because it was better than letting out a torrent of “mine” and “why are you still here” and “let me look after you”.

“It’s only a symbol,” Castiel said, muffled around a mouthful of Dean’s collar, offhand as if he was trying to pretend it didn’t matter. “A mother dreams it before she gives birth, when she’s too heavy to fly and sees the bird flying for her instead.”

Dean’s breath stuttered out all ragged over Castiel’s cheek.

Trouble with moods like this: all his walls were broken and scattered everyfuckingwhere, until anything could just hook him in the gut and wrench him open, too real and too present. There was a memory like a dream of Mum (long pale hair, kind eyes, warm arms and cookie smell and a face that was a blur), when she’d been all big and round with your little brother or sister, Dean honey, coming in to check on him in the night. Saying how she’d had such strange dreams, all about the baby, and when he’d giggled and asked what, because dreams were funny, she’d said she’d tell him in the morning.

Only he hadn’t seen her in the morning. He’d been bundled up and swept out to stay with Bobby and Karen so that Missouri could look after Mum, all that day and all the next, and the day after that too as everyone started to look scared and grim and he wasn’t allowed to go home. And when it was over and Sammy was there, Mum had been very weak and quiet, and didn’t remember the dreams when Dean asked, and looked too grey and tired for him to ask any more. It had only been a few weeks before Ellen was feeding Sammy as well as Jo, and only a few weeks more until the funeral.

There had been a lot of unfunny dreams after that. 

“Dean.”

Feathers, and fingers, and a forehead resting against his.

Castiel, standing there, a bit awkward and more than a bit stubborn and like there was nowhere else he’d rather be.

Dean shifted, dragging Castiel’s head down so that he could wrap his whole body around him and press his mouth into his angel’s hair and breathe him in. The same sick urgency was beating hot and deep inside him, and only the rhythm of it had changed when Dean wasn’t looking. That old fierce mix of possessive and protective that had only ever meant Sam before had two centres now, and it was playing merry hell with the balance in his head. Dean didn’t know what to do with it: torn between baring his teeth at that other family that Castiel was weaving himself into, and wanting to drag them out of time and death to give Castiel back the family he deserved, the one that wasn’t a mess. Wasn’t broken.

“Cas, c’mere,” he rasped. The smooth fabric of Castiel’s tunic snagged under his clumsy fingers as he tugged, catching at Castiel’s waist and fisting his hand into the back of his tunic to get him to move. 

Castiel came willingly, feet stumbling around Dean’s as they bumped into the wall by the door, then bounced off the lintel and knocked Dean’s hip against the hard corner of the sofa on their way to the Dean’s bedroom (their bedroom). 

Dean couldn’t quite let go of him, couldn’t quite stop tugging. He just needed to have Castiel in their space, safe and closed off from the world. He wanted so badly to hear the way Castiel’s voice shuddered and turned into demands when he got turned on: the way, when it got really strong, sometimes he was reduced to nothing but Dean’s name with so many different intonations and meanings, a whole vocabulary of just Dean.

Castiel twisted away from him just long enough to shove the door shut behind them, and Dean actually growled, pushing after him and crowding him up against the door. It was only a moment before he was gasping an apology and pressing his mouth (not quite a kiss) against Castiel’s cheekbone, but he couldn’t bring himself to let go. Couldn’t even figure out how to stop touching him, how to stop his hands shifting restlessly over Castiel’s body, snagging on his hipbone, the joint of a wing, the ties down the side of his tunic. He needed - needed something, and he didn’t know what, and his dick was achingly hard which made no sense because he wasn’t actually turned on. Was he? This didn’t feel like that, like the warm happy nervous excitement he usually associated with kissing Castiel (and, well, doing other things with Castiel). 

“Dean?”

Castiel’s lips brushed against his jaw as he spoke. And it wasn’t the way Dean wanted (needed) to hear it: there was a question in there, and an edge of uncertainty. How the hell was Castiel meant to know what do with him like this when Dean didn’t have a clue?

Castiel kissed him.

Oh, thank fuck.

Dean fisted his hands in feathers and hair and hung on, relief and demand thundering through his blood. Castiel’s mouth was hot and - and yielding, familiar and new at once because it felt like gentleness. Only this wasn’t gentle, not with the tight grip Castiel had on the back of his neck and the way he himself was pressing in, knee bruisingly hard against the wall between Castiel’s legs and dick shoving hungrily into the hollow of Castiel’s hip and the way Castiel’s mouth was just open for him, stretched out so it didn’t feel soft as it normally did. And usually if they were getting a bit desperate Castiel would be shoving right back, with his mouth demanding and hot and so damned focussed, but now he was just letting - just letting Dean - 

Dean tore himself away - or his mouth, anyway, because if he disentangled his fingers and gave Castiel space Castiel might move, and it was very important for some reason that that not happen - and tracked his eyes over Castiel’s face.

Castiel’s head was tipped back loosely against the pale wood, hair all mussed and touchable, eyes half-open, dark and considering. His wings were hitched up to brace against the door so high that they almost met over his head, framing his face in a velvety black reminder of just what Dean was pushing around here (and yes, okay, sometimes they did still startle him, sometimes he did forget). And there was something very far from soft curving at the corner of Castiel’s damp, tempting mouth, but, but...

He was relaxed. Sprawled pliant between the door and Dean’s body. Not getting all pissy over Dean pushing him around, and not being stiflingly gentle or fluttering over him or cringing out of his way. Just... just here. With Dean. Watching. Safe, bracketed under Dean’s body. Breathing deep and slow, rocking the hot line of his dick slowly against Dean’s hip.

Maybe even smirking, a bit.

Dean licked his lips, and let his gaze trace the shadows of Castiel’s stubble down over his chin, along the line of his jaw to where it met the long tendon under the ear, down the soft, prickly ridge of that towards the curve of his collar bone.

Castiel’s eyes slipped shut, and his body arched against Dean’s, just a bit, just enough: legs wider so that Dean’s thigh pressed right in (ohshityesrightthere), hand sliding down from his shoulder to curve around his side, head falling easily sideways to expose the long, sensitive line of his throat.

... Dean recognised that hint.

He swallowed down another growl (because, seriously, what, it wasn’t like he was the Winchester who’d got himself turned into a dog), dragged his left hand out of Castiel’s hair to cradle the side of Castiel’s face and hold him still, and opened his mouth greedily on Castiel’s throat.

Castiel groaned, deep and halfway to a growl himself, rumbling through his chest and against Dean’s lips. And he had closed his eyes, and his body was pressing so willingly into Dean’s every touch, opening so easily under him, like - like trust. Entire trust: even letting Dean be his eyes for him.

Yes.

If Castiel would only stay still - right here, right as he was, cradled in Dean’s hands and body and safe right here in Dean’s room where nothing could touch him - if only he wouldn’t move, if Dean could keep him like this, then nothing could hurt him. Here, still, right now, Castiel at least was safe.

Dean worked the skin over like he was kissing Castiel’s mouth, taking it hard between his lips and pressing at it, rolling it, sucking at it, even scraping his teeth against it a little, kneading it gentle and unyielding between his tongue and his lips. He couldn’t quite let it go, worrying at one spot, moving onto another, returning to the first and sliding between them to cover everything in between, swallowing the little groans and hisses and hitched breaths that pressed under his tongue like gifts. Caught, between devouring Castiel and the overwhelming urge to take care of him.

Because Castiel did belong to Dean, certain and whole-hearted. In a way that Sam never had and never could, in a way that took Dean’s breath away. Because Castiel had chosen to.

Dean let go of Castiel’s head, because there was nowhere it could go anyway while Dean was nipping into the sensitive bit just under Castiel’s ear and making him jerk and shudder against his body. And he knew, even as he ran his hands all over him, mapping him out like some kind of possession, that this was a bit freaky: that he was being almost rough here, that this wasn’t how a guy should treat a gi- his betrothed, someone he cared for, and that he was maybe actually a bit out of control. 

But Castiel was a guy, and Castiel was an angel, and Castiel would not break. And Castiel was pressing into every touch, willing and hot, his mouth open and slack with panting.

Dean,” Castiel breathed out, and oh

That one wasn’t an order, wasn’t a request, wasn’t any of the many Deans that meant do something else or stop teasing or you will not break me or other things that Dean hadn’t worked out yet. This Dean was simply yes.

“Bed,” he remembered thickly. He had one. It was right behind them. He’d meant to get there. Castiel deserved a bed. More comfortable on a bed, not a door, not shoving him around like some sort of - 

Castiel shoved him.

Dean made an oof of startled protest, but before he could bristle up or grab the backs of his knees were colliding with his bed and folding. Then Castiel was catching at his waist and pushing him further back and crawling onto the bed after him, and he had the weight of an angel on top of him, pushing him back into this morning’s mess of sheets. 

He arched up into it, missing the tight press of muscle against muscle, and Castiel’s hand moved lightly over the side of his face, over his shoulder, made him shudder as it curved over his chest and just brushed his nipple (one of the many places on his body he’d never really thought about until Castiel had come along and made everything feel new and different). Then Castiel was tugging his shirt roughly off over his head, and Dean was running his nails up Castiel’s back until Castiel had to lift his wings out of the way to let him in, and Castiel’s tunic was catching on Dean’s nails until Castiel groaned and pulled back far enough to tug impatiently at the laces at his flanks, arching his wings down to take his weight against the mattress.

Dean pressed in for a kiss, then another, disregarding the strain on his neck, and breathed in the scent of him: the tang of sweat and the faint bite of arousal and the sweet dusty smell of his wings. He was scowling a bit, face shifting into his The Impertinent World Is Foiling Me In My Big Important Plans expression as he yanked at his laces, and the muscles of his back were smooth and strong under Dean’s restless hands. 

He wriggled his legs out from under Castiel’s to cradle the angel’s between his own, shuffling his heels back a bit on the bed so he got that sweet weight of Castiel’s hips and thighs right where he wanted it, so that he could sort of wrap the guy up in his arms and legs. Which was stupid, but screw it: he needed this right now, needed to feel him solid and real and here, needed to rake his fingers in the sleek feathers at the top of the wing joints and feel Castiel twitch and hiss, needed to be able to let his head fall back on the sheets and look up to see Castiel poised over him, wings half-spread and hair mussed by Dean’s hand, a hovering shape outlined against the dark beams and off-white plaster that Dean had stared up at almost every night for as long as he could remember.

And - shit.

Dean swallowed, hard, and freed one hand to trace guiltily along that smooth, pale column that he’d been kissing at earlier. Formerly pale, anyway: there were spectacular bruises there now, blooming purple-brown and oval-shaped, and shit he hadn’t thought he’d been biting that hard, and he couldn’t even see teeth marks, just - 

Castiel shuddered between his legs, against his stomach, and his fingers fumbled to a halt for a moment. His mouth fell open, wet and hungry, and Dean had to crane up to fit his own against it and take.

“Sorry,” Dean managed to gasp, around the hot slide of lip between lips. “Sorry, I’ll be. I promise I’ll be okay tomorrow, I’ll have it under control.”

“Why.” It was half lost into Dean’s mouth, but he could hear the frown. “He’s your brother, and he’s always been there.”

Dean went very still.

Castiel pulled back and sat up, perched on Dean’s hips, a fucking distracting weight right there, especially when he forgot to stare intensely at Dean for a moment and closed his eyes just for one roll of his hips, one heated slackening of his mouth. And yes, bruised, and completely mussed up: hair destroyed, wings ruffling in the way they did when he wanted Dean’s hands in them, tunic askew and half undone and tugged sideways, and hell, perfect.

And he was peering at Dean like he really didn’t get why this was a thing. Like he didn’t think the way Sam and Dean were all tangled up in each other was freaky, or that Dean was a dick for wishing like hell that his brother wasn’t growing up, or that it was weird to want to keep your family just where it had always been, and - oh.

Well.

Okay. That probably made sense, then. Him, getting that.

Dean let out a heavy breath, and ran his hands up Castiel’s thighs, and why the hell were there still pants. “Yeah,” he allowed, and left one hand lingering right at the top where the fabric was straining around Castiel’s spread legs and the dampening bulge in the centre, lifting the other hand to press in again over that nasty mark on his throat. “Fuck, Cas, how did I - you’re a freaking angel, you shouldn’t bruise, I shouldn’t be able to hurt you.”

Castiel tilted his head, looking intrigued and a bit smug. “I bruised?”

Dean glared at him, until he made a huffy sort of a noise. “Why would I keep my shields up when I’m alone with you, Dean,” tilting his head to that side, letting his eyes slide closed, voice going deeper and scratchier as he leaned into Dean’s touch, “when I want to feel everything.”

His pulse was beating fast under Dean’s fingertips, a deep thud-thud-thud that Dean was getting addicted to pretty damn fast, but... shit, those colours on the pallour of his skin.

Dean swallowed. “Dude. I hurt you. That’s not cool.” And, shit, he was pressing in too hard now, wasn’t he?

Castiel cracked one eye open to glare when Dean snatched his hand away, but it softened into something else as soon as he focussed on Dean’s face.

“Not hurt, Dean,” he murmured, mild, exasperated, and tugged his tunic free and off as he leaned down for a kiss. “I’ll heal it if I want it healed.”

Which, okay, fair, Dean knew he could do that technically, if it wasn’t a wound from an angel’s sword or one of their own weapons that could punch through angels’ shields, but seeing Castiel hurt was bad, okay, and he didn’t want -

Castiel’s mouth sliding over his, slow and somehow urgent at the same time, and the fire racing in his blood, and the shove of hips into hips, a bit left of centre the first time then too far the other way as they both tried to correct then there, hellsyesrightthere, as Dean locked his hands onto Castiel’s hips and dragged him down hard.

Did want. Definitely did want.

Dean muttered something obscene that was lost into Castiel’s mouth and fumbled at Castiel’s pants, shoving them down over the intoxicating angles of his hips, over the backs of his thighs. Then he had to run soothing hands over his hipbones, map the shapes of them and gentle the skin, keep it warm. And they were hitching and rolling under him, so of course he had to dig in, roll up into them and curse the fabric covering his own dick because they should be right up in each other’s space right now, skin on hot wet skin, but it was more important to grope in further and take a handful of each asscheek and knead them reverent and curious and firm until Castiel had to break off the kiss to pant and hiss into Dean’s throat.

Dean made hitched-up quieting noises, wordless, like he might with a horse or a dog, dragging one hand up over Castiel’s tailbone to pet at the lower part of his back, tried not to be to intrigued by the possibilities at the tips of the other four fingers right on the warm edge of - well, of his asscrack, not that it was a crack right now so much as a valley with his legs splayed like that, and hell, Dean needed a better vocabulary for this because that sounded kind of crude but this was... something very different.

He had to take care of Castiel. Most of his head was pretty messed up, muzzy with sex and raging protectiveness, but that much was clear. And, yeah, right now that meant pretty much one nice simple thing.

It was actually pretty fucking tricky wriggling a hand in between the hitch and grind of their hips, but Dean managed it, through the power of his awesomeness.

And here’s a thought it would never have occurred to Dean-a-few-months-ago to have: he really, wholeheartedly, bewilderedly, loved the feel of wrapping his hand around Castiel’s dick.

It wasn’t just the noises Castiel made when he did it, all hitches and stutters like he was coming undone, or the fact that it meant he’d have Castiel spilling all over himself any minute now (although, yeah, that was pretty awesome). He loved the way it fit in his hand, the weight and heat of it, the texture - soft and demanding all at once, the blood beating hard under his fingers and the slick that got all over his palm. He loved the crush of their bodies together, all desperate and uncoordinated and honestly a bit painful when his hand got sort of squashed in there: the sheer abandon of it, of letting your heart race like that for a good reason, not because some nasty son of a bitch wanted to tear your arms off, and panting that good thing into Castiel’s mouth and sharing it with him, feeling him feel it. 

But most of all Dean loved to catch and hold him in his eyes while his hand worked, to just devour every expression and every flutter of his eyes. Every catch of his throat, and the abortive “De-”s, and the way towards the end he started to press his mouth in almost savagely against Dean’s but had to keep stopping to gasp for breath, so that it was never really a kiss. Not until Dean pushed in and turned it gentle, turned it open and deep and so impossibly fucking strong that he felt like he was melting. Drowning, maybe, but who gave a tinker’s ass, not when it felt like this.

Dean’s slippery fingers fumbled over the head of it, leaking and straining, and Castiel made a noise like a kitten if a kitten was six foot something and really fucking desperate, so Dean caught it and swallowed it. Castiel’s mouth was open and wrecked under the insistent push of Dean’s, and oh, Dean could just imagine the sounds he’d make if Dean’s mouth was where his hand was right now, filling his mouth with that strange plump weight. He’d still only tasted it that once, and maybe they’d just had this unspoken decision that they weren’t doing that anymore because it had been weird and Castiel hadn’t mentioned it since (or, you know, done it to Dean), but hell, right now he really wanted to feel it, pushing in solid and silken onto his tongue.

Only more than that (as he slid his free hand down to grope at the back of Castiel’s thigh, up again to rub over his back with the rhythm of their rolling bodies) he just wanted Castiel. With him, here, safe, Dean’s. All the strange, ungainly edges of him, his awkwardness and his sharpness, and then the no-holds-barred wildness that sometimes burst out of him, on the hunt and right here in the bedroom. And then there was the way he could just stop, just be still and peaceful and warm next to Dean, and never have to say a word.

And the way they’d chosen each other.

“Mine,” he breathed hot and fervent into Castiel’s ear; and Castiel lost all his breath and came with a cry all over Dean’s shirt and hand. 

Which was so startling that Dean’s own dick, which he’d mostly forgotten about, decided to join in the party and empty itself against the last juddering thrusts of Castiel’s hips.

Just like that. Huh.

Dean hadn’t figured on Castiel being that close. Or, you know, that Dean probably should have got his shirt out of the way. And maybe his trousers. Ew.

But, huh. That was... actually pretty damn hot, Castiel riding over the edge just when Dean said that.

And satisfying. On some bone-deep level that Dean wasn’t going to look at too closely right now.

Mine.

Dean wrapped him up and held him close, tented in under the heavy drape of wings. Castiel’s breath was heavy and hot against his mouth. Their foreheads were pressed together again, and it would only take a little bit of effort to tilt his head enough for a kiss. Lazier this time. Easier.

It wasn’t the end of the day, so they would have to get up again. 

Dean’s hands trailed down to settle on Castiel’s hips. He left them there for a bit, tracing over the angle and back again with his thumbs, and thought idly and darkly about sucking bruises in there as well, along that pale, tempting line. If, y’know, Castiel really didn’t mind.

Castiel made a contented-but-not-falling-asleep noise, and shifted carefully so that he could settled down, stretch out, let his wings spread the weight and squash Dean against the bed a bit.

They would have to get up, soon. And Dean would have to get clothes on. Other clothes. And there was work to be done, and so on, and Sammy was probably still building that hellish wagon with Gabriel, and Dean still didn’t want to think about him leaving, and... and Gabriel was still a dick. 

Mostly.

Dean yawned into Castiel’s cheek, and rolled his shoulders comfortably against the bed. Just a few more minutes. Just being still and holding him close, reducing the world to only this: the slowing thud of heart against heart through skin and flesh and cotton, and the dull buzzing of a bee against the window.

 

Next chapter.

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