Title: Passing in the Night
Warnings/Tags: Alternate Universe - Modern Setting, Airports, Travel, Snowed In, Chance Meetings, Hotels, Chocolate Chip Cookies
Summary: For spnreversebang and eaksoy/mycolour's beautiful art piece "Untitled"!
"Ships that pass in the night, and speak each other in passing, only a signal shown, and a distant voice in the darkness; So on the ocean of life, we pass and speak one another, only a look and a voice, then darkness again and a silence."
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Passing in the Night
He hates planes, okay? Hates them. He hates the way they smell, how crowded they are, hates that they're too hot, then too cold; he hates that he's supposed to survive for hours and hours on half a can of soda and a pack of peanuts the size of a condom wrapper, hates that stupid little tray thing, hates this stupid, almost psychedelic seat fabric. He hates planes. He hates everything about them.
But landing? That he hates most of all.
"I hate planes," Dean says through gritted teeth, gripping both armrests in a futile attempt to brace himself for the next shuddering drop. Holy fucking Christ, why did he think he could do this? This is insane, they're going to die, all of them, he could have driven, he could have taken the fucking train—
"Oh, it's not so bad," says the smiling old woman in the seat next to him, probably serene in the knowledge that if it's her time to go, at least she's lived a full and happy life. Dean, no, fuck no, he's barely thirty and he's got regrets, damn it, he hasn't even seen Sam's baby girl, this can't be how it ends—
"Ladies and gentlemen, we're beginning our second attempt at a descent into O'Hare International Airport," the captain says over the intercom. "We thank you again for your patience, and ask that you please remain seated until the seat belt light has been switched off."
"Oh my God," Dean says, voice cracking like a teenager's. The old woman pats his cramping, white-knuckled fingers and chuckles, the harpy.
"You really shouldn't take the Lord's name in vain, dear."
Dean wants to say something but the plane is starting to shake its way down through the cloud cover, and he'd thought wing seats were the way to go— no view of the ground, and yeah, he's a cheapass, blame Dad for that one— but all he can see from here is the horrible way the aluminum flexes and judders, like it's seconds from being torn off the body of the plane, and he's two seconds from puking as they fall out of the sky again, one terrifying hundred-foot plunge at a time.
Thirty horrific minutes later the plane lands, finally lands, albeitwith a rattling crash and scattered protest from its passengers, but even the buffeting winds that make them fishtail down the runway can't take away Dean's lightheaded euphoria that somehow, through some miracle, he's survived. He's slumped in his seat with a hand over his eyes until the plane stops taxiing and the compartment erupts into motion around him.
"Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to O'Hare International Airport. Local time is nine thirty-two and the temperature is nineteen degrees Fahrenheit. Please exercise caution in opening the overhead compartments, as contents may have shifted during—"
"There, was that so bad?" the old woman says, and Dean has to throttle back a scream.
"—do regret to inform you that many connecting flights have been cancelled due to inclement weather—"
"Oh, dear," the old woman says, and pulls out a cell phone that looks like it could land a space shuttle. She swipes briskly through various windows, peering intently at the screen through the tiny glasses perched on the end of her nose, and as Dean watches, a relieved smile breaks over her face.
"Not my flight to Minneapolis, thank goodness. Are you going on from here, young man?"
It takes Dean a second to realize she's talking to him. "Uh. San Francisco?"
Swipe, swipe, prod. "What time, dear?"
Dean blinks groggily. "Ten?"
"Oh, that is just too bad," she says, and shows him the screen, where there's a bright red box labeled CANCELLED next to his Boeing 747. "You poor thing. It looks like all the flights to San Francisco are cancelled."
"— to thank you for choosing United, and have a pleasant evening."
"... gosh darn it," Dean says with feeling.
"Look, man, I'm really sorry," Dean says for the fourth or fifth time. "I'm going to try to get out of here as soon as I can, I promise, it's just—"
"Don't be sorry," Sam says firmly, also for the fourth or fifth time. "Hell, I'm sorry we somehow managed to schedule this during the 'storm of the century'. How many inches is Chicago supposed to get tonight?"
"Eight to ten," Dean says bleakly. Hard to miss that little factoid when it's all the televisions are running, all the various flight crews and customer service people can say. "Maybe more with lake effect."
"Daaamn," Sam says.
"Yeah," Dean sighs.
He's drifting towards baggage claim with group of other disheartened passengers from his flight and their carry-on luggage, just one more unfortunate member of the slowly-swelling mob starting to fill the terminals. It's not just San Francisco that's unexpectedly out of the question— a glance at the flight boards as shows nothing but rows and rows of CANCELLED and DELAYED.
There's a sudden rise in background noise on Sam's end of the phone, and Dean thinks he hears Jess' mom yell, "Eat it, suckers!"
He starts to grin. "Sam? Everything okay with the in-laws?"
"We're, uh. We're playing bingo," Sam mutters, and Dean wishes he could laugh in his face but he settles for his ear.
"Really? Baby got her new pair of shoes, Ethel?"
"For your information, I've won a girl's watch, a yellow kitchen towel set and a homemade diorama my nephew calls 'turd mountain'," Sam says loftily.
Dean's still laughing, but it's softer now. The Moores are an unrelentingly pleasant, hardworking, white-picket-fence-and-a-retriever-puppy kind of family, and he'll always be glad Sam found them. "He make it himself?"
"Signs point to yes," Sam says. "But seriously, Dean, if you want to get a hotel room or something Jess and I will spring for it."
"What? No, no, I'll be fine," Dean says, almost tripping on the first step onto the escalator. The man on the stair below gives him a sidelong look and Dean smiles awkwardly back.
"Yeah. I'll figure something out. I'm sure they've got cots set up somewhere. What's a couple hours?"
"If you say so," Sam says, sounding doubtful. "I know how you like your beauty sleep."
"Shut up, bitch," Dean says fondly, just as the escalator bottoms out and he has to hop over the disappearing tread, trying not to step on anyone's heels. He's mostly successful. "Hey, where's that niece of mine?"
"Sleeping," Sam says, sounding relieved about it. "Hopefully for the rest of the night."
"Are you kidding? She passed out before the baby."
Dean hitches his carry-on a little higher on his shoulder. "Well, say hi for me. Tell her not to get too excited about the delay, I'm still coming."
Sam makes a 'psht!' noise. "She'll be glad to see you. We all will."
Dean ducks his head and smiles, because no one's here to see. "Aw, Sammy, I feel all warm and gushy inside."
"Don't call me that," Sam says with a long-suffering sigh. "Call me when you know your new flight ETA, okay?"
"Sure. Nighty-night, Sammy-wammy."
"Shut up, jerk."
Dean makes baby noises into the phone until Sam hangs up on him, then slips it back in his pocket with a satisfied grin.
Baggage claim is cold like the camps of Kolyma, half the lights out and a mass of heavily-bundled people milling aimlessly around the gates, gazing upwards at the signs directing them on to their respective luggage carousels. Dean walks down the long, long corridor, tipping his head back as well. United Airlines, United Airlines—
Several ice ages later, Dean's leaning on a column, watching the endless parade of suitcases creep past him with gritty eyes that keep threatening to slip closed on him. His feet hurt and his back is starting to, and he's not even 100 percent sure this rondelle is for his flight, but he's tired and he doesn't want to move anymore.
It's the third or fourth time he's seen that evilly green bag, he thinks, watching it roll sedately by, and maybe it's time to go visit the lost baggage office he'd seen during his circuitous journey across the claims area.
An army-issue duffel bag appears at the far edge of his vision, scuffed and raggedy-looking among the rest of the sleek, brightly-colored cases. It still takes Dean a second to recognize his dad's angular handwriting across the top, and another second to realize he should probably move, and by then he has to jog the couple steps to the carousel to catch it.
It doesn't come easy; one of the shoulder straps is hooked on a bulging black suitcase next to it, and when Dean yanks at the other strap both bags come tumbling off the conveyer belt. The suitcase's hard wheelbase nails his foot, and Dean swears, jerking his bag free and giving the black nylon a swift kick as thanks. "Fuckin' A!"
"Excuse me," says a voice on his right, and when Dean looks up there's a man hovering a few feet away, staring down at the scuff mark Dean's boot has left on the suitcase. "I believe that's mine," the man says, and looks up. Dean recognizes him then; it's the guy who'd given him the stinkeye on the escalator.
"Uh, sorry," Dean says sheepishly, bending down to lift it upright. "The strap was caught, and then it landed on my—"
"Thank you," the man says shortly, reaching for the handle just as Dean starts pulling it up.
There's a weird moment when their fingers brush, Dean looking at him and the guy looking back, an annoyed and haggard set to his mouth. Jesus, his eyes are blue.
"No problem. Sorry again," Dean says, and the guy blinks, turns and wheels his suitcase away.
Belatedly realizing he can do the same, Dean hefts the army duffel on the same shoulder as his carry-on and maneuvers past the people still waiting, angling towards the help desk and hopefully a rescheduled flight.
Midnight and the runways outside are grey and dark, Dean's reflection in the windows a hazy blur over snow and ice-covered tarmac as he wearily hauls his bags down yet another terminal. They must be multiplying, he thinks muzzily; like rabbits, or hydra heads. The lounges he passes have taken on the chilly white light of an Edward Hopper painting, and the people have the blank-eyed zombie stares of late-night travelers everywhere, grumbling and sluggish as they pace the geometrically-patterned industrial carpet.
The last of the three increasingly-harried airport employees he's spoken to— "Well, you know we're supposed to get eight to ten" on the lips of every single one of them— had pointed him in this direction, and by now Dean feels like he's circled the entire airport twice. The corridor he's walking down is about to dead end in another, and he's coming up on a line of exhausted-looking people that winds away from him in both directions, neither the end nor the beginning immediately visible. There's a dull, angry murmur emanating from the crowd, not loud enough to be a cacophony, but close.
Dean comes to the end of his corridor and slows to a stop, glancing up and down as the familiar sour taste of frustration pools in his mouth. "What is this even for?" he mutters to himself, trying to figure out which way to turn to reach the head.
"I'm not entirely sure," someone says, and Dean's eyes snap up to meet the weary gaze of the man with the black suitcase. "Although I think it might have something to do with rebooking flights?"
A line he should have found hours ago, then. Dean looks at the sheer length of it and feels his will to live rapidly draining away, bags slipping off his shoulder as he sags.
"Thanks," he sighs. "Where's the end?"
"I started in the food court," the guy says, pointing. "That was an hour ago."
Dean feels himself wilt a little more. "Well, I am really hungry," he says with a weak smile.
"All the restaurants are closed," the man says, with a dark look in the direction he'd indicated. "Even McDonalds."
"That's… that's just great," Dean says bleakly, the night stretching before his mind's eye into an unending purgatory of hunger and waiting and cold, three of his least favorite things. "Thanks, man. And, hey, sorry again about your bag."
The man is looking at him with a worried pinch to his eyebrows. "It seems unharmed."
Dean heaves his bags back on his shoulder. "Good. Glad to hear it."
He's already turned and trudged a few steps in the direction of the closed McDonalds when the man speaks again, leaning forward a little as if in conspiracy.
"I... perhaps we could share this spot," he says quietly. "It's a very, very long line, after all."
Dean looks at him, almost speechless with gratitude. "Seriously?
Glancing from left to right, as if anyone is paying attention to them, the man nods.
"Oh, man," Dean says in deep, almost spiritual relief. "I could kiss you."
"You could?" the man says, looking alarmed.
"No, I meant thanks. Thank you so much," Dean says hastily, stepping forward.
"It's nothing," the man assures him, moving back to making room for him. Dean notices with fleeting envy the wheels on his suitcase are the kind that roll in all directions, and drops his bags to the carpet again with a heavy thump.
"Still. Thank you," he says again, and the man gives him a tentative smile.
"I have an extra granola bar, if you'd—?"
"God yes," Dean says immediately. "Seriously, sloppy-wet figurative kisses."
The man makes a noncommittal noise, but even though his head is down as he digs busily through the top pocket of his suitcase, Dean can see the tips of his ears turning pink. "Here," he says, holding an inoffensive off-brand bar out.
"'M name's Dean," Dean says belatedly around half the granola bar, more because he can't wait than because he just remembered he hasn't introduced himself. "Mmmph, I swear this is the best thing I've tasted all week."
The man looks faintly amazed by the amount Dean's managed to cram in his mouth. "Cas— Castiel," he says in response. "That's my name, I mean."
Dean swallows his mouthful of dry, sticky oats, wishing for water. "Cas?"
The man narrows his eyes. "Castiel."
"Cas," Dean decides with a grin, taking another bite.
"Castiel," the man mutters, nibbling in the end of his own granola bar.
"So," Dean says, granola bars a fond memory and a weird kind of quiet hovering over his and Cas-ti-el's segment of the line. "Cas. What brings you through O'Hare in a February snowstorm? Business? Pleasure? Visiting old aunties?"
Castiel considers him, head slightly tilted. "Are you actually interested?"
"Dude," Dean says. "It's called making conversation."
"That's a no, then," Castiel says, and they descend into awkward silence once again.
They've moved ten whole feet up the line when Castiel speaks again.
"Did you hear Chicago is supposed to get eight to ten inches of snow tonight?" he says. He's looking at his phone. "And perhaps additional accumulation with lake effect."
"Ugh," Dean says, and then "Yeah, sorry," when the man looks at him with a faint squint of confusion. "It's just— I've heard that from a lot of people today."
"I see," Castiel says.
"But yeah, that's— a lot."
"Yes," Castiel agrees, and doesn't say anything else.
There's a toddler crying somewhere in the line behind them, and Dean kind of wants to find them and ask what their problem is. It's just the lizard part of his brain complaining, the one that knows and is angry it's one AM on the east coast. The rest of him is pretty sure accosting children is socially unacceptable at all hours, no matter how loud they are.
Fairly sure. Almost absolutely sure.
Wincing at a particularly piercing scream, he glances over to Castiel, who's been reading something on his phone for the past half hour, and is surprised to see him aiming a glare in the direction of the unhappy wails. Maybe this guy is human, after all.
"My niece is getting to that age, now," Dean says, nodding towards the noise. "I'm— well, I was flying out to California to see her."
"My niece was much better behaved than that child," Castiel says, turning his perturbed gaze on Dean. "She hardly ever cried when she was young. My brother used to call her his little angel."
"So we both have brothers, and nieces," Dean prompts, and sighs when Castiel only eyes him warily. "C'mon, Cas, you've got to give me something to work with. I don't want to stand here all night making like a fence post."
"I just don't see the need for pointless conversation," Castiel says, sounding a little frustrated.
"It's not pointless, it's passing the time," Dean coaxes, turning to fully face him. "It's boring, just standing here staring at the backs of people's heads. Let's talk."
"About anything! Do you watch baseball?"
"Uh, basketball? Soccer? Women's gymnastics?"
Castiel's face is utterly expressionless, in a way that makes Dean think he's holding back a laugh. "No."
"Okay," Dean says. "Do you own a television?"
That earns him an almost-smile. "Yes. But I don't have cable, or any of the local stations."
"Jesus, are you some kind of hermit?" Deans asks, exasperated. "Did you take a vow of media chastity? Sell your rights to TV for those eyes?"
Castiel lifts a hesitant hand to his face, but he smiles, a small but distinct curve of his lips. "I moved recently, and I work long hours. It's not unusual. What about my eyes?"
"They're gorgeous," Dean says impatiently. "Do you even listen to music?"
Castiel is looking at him strangely, but at the mention of music he brightens. "Ah, yes. I have a record player."
"A record player?" Dean asks, incredulous.
"Is that odd?"
In the face of Castiel's frown, Dean shrugs helplessly. "Well, it's… unusual. I don't think many people have them."
Dean bites his lip, caught. "Well, yeah. But only because—"
"Ha," Castiel says, quietly triumphant.
"But I have a TV too! And cable," Dean protests. "I have Starz and HBO."
"Well, I have a sizable collection of Chopin and Debussy, but I'm trying to collect more Britten," Castiel says, clearly warming to his topic. "I'm a fan of Schubert's later work as well."
"I recognize maybe two of those names," Dean admits, "so I'm gonna say you're a fan of classical music," and that's apparently all the further prompting Castiel needs.
They drift from topic to topic; classical music to contemporary, Credence Clearwater Revival circling back to California, then Sam, Sam to Castiel's brother to his niece Claire— a girl who apparently has quite a collection of tattoos and piercings now, much to her mother's dismay.
"To be fair, Amelia is not difficult to dismay. She's never liked me," Castiel says with a pensive look. "I have no idea why."
"I was worried about Jess because Sam's such a dork, but she's pretty cool," Dean says. "You live near them?"
Castiel lives in northern Virginia— not surprising, since they were both on a flight out of Dulles— and he's not a hermit, although when Dean asks what he does for a living he refuses to give any more detail than an evasive comment about 'government work'. When Dean asks about his new place, though, it evokes a twenty-minute rant about gentrification and the stifling of local businesses.
"Hey, do you want some water?" Dean says, as the line pulls them abreast of a picked-over vending machine. "It's the least I could do."
"I… I am quite thirsty," Castiel says, as if surprised by the fact.
"Well, we've been talking for—" Dean checks his watch. "Almost two hours, now. No wonder you're thirsty." And Christ, it's nearly three. Three fucking AM, God damn it.
Dean gives him a small smirk, about as much as he can manage with exhaustion starting to hang on him like a physical weight. "Didn't I say it would pass the time?"
The line moves and Dean automatically shuffles forward, only to bump painfully into the hard edge of a high counter. He looks up.
"Can I help you gentlemen?" says the airport employee, one of three attending the desk. She has smudged lipstick and a cheery smile just on the wrong side of manic, teeth clenched hard enough to make Dean's jaw ache in sympathy.
"Oh, thank God," Dean says. "Cas! We've made it to the promised land! Step right up, don't be shy."
"Oh. Hello, ma'am," Castiel says, belatedly coming up to the counter. "I need to rebook—"
"All rebookings need to be made through your individual airlines, sir," she says over him, words forced out around that frighteningly plastic smile. "This is the airport general helpdesk."
Castiel looks momentarily stymied. "Ah."
Dean leans in, elbow braced on the counter. "Okay, but is the airport setting up sleeping stations with—?"
"I'm very sorry, but we're currently out of cots," the woman says. Her eyes dip to the computer screen hidden below the desk. "The airport hotels have also notified us that they're filled to capacity. However, if you're willing to travel into the city, some airlines are offering a limited number of vouchers for discounted rooms there. Do you have your tickets?"
Dean passes his over while Castiel fishes around in the pockets of his patently ridiculous coat, finally unearthing his ticket along with a handful of unsweetened cough drops. The woman does something arcane with a scanner, and returns their tickets with an official-looking piece of paper stapled to them.
"Hotels are listed on the voucher," she says, already looking past them. "Have a nice evening."
"You're kidding, right?" Dean asks her, but she doesn't answer and he steps away from the counter and Castiel follows, moving to the side to make room for the next set of stranded travelers.
"What do you think?" Dean says, scanning the list. "Oh, hey, Doubletree is on here. They have cookies at check-in."
"Obviously a very effective marketing technique," Castiel says absently, frowning at his list. "All of these will likely be very expensive, even with a voucher."
"Well, we could always split something," Dean says offhandedly, covering a yawn with his hand.
Castiel looks up at him. "Really?"
"Sure," Dean says, giving him a cheerful leer. "What do you say, Cas? Wanna get a room?"
Castiel arches an eyebrow, but he gives Dean another one of those almost-smiles. "I suppose it's the cheapest option available."
"I know you didn't just call me cheap," Dean says, catching sight of a sign that says GROUND TRANSPORTATION. "Let's get some shut-eye, shall we?"
They share the lone cab lingering in the blizzard outside with a group of excitable twenty-somethings decked out in airport grunge, sweatpants and Uggs and a metric ton of shiny hardcase luggage crammed in the trunk and backseat. Squashed in side by side like the proverbial sardines, Castiel's arm is wedged painfully into Dean's until Dean works his own arm free and lays it across the back of the seat. It rests along the line of Castiel's shoulders, and he's plastered against Dean without even that small barrier. The guy smells unexpectedly good for going on five AM, a hint of shampoo and something green and growing. Whatever it is, it's a nice break from Chicago street-stink and l'eau de taxi driver.
The blanketing snow makes the cab ride one of the more adventurous of Dean's life, winds whipping up blinding clouds of white that make the driver swear in Pashto and for some godawful reason decide to floor it through the mess. Castiel nearly elbows him in the nose trying to grab the oh-shit bar on the ceiling, and Dean settles for a deathgrip on the door handle.
Dean gives the twenty-somethings ten bucks to cover his and Castiel's fare, and leaves them to sort it out while the two of them slog through the accumulating drifts towards the Doubletree and safety.
"It's fucking February!" Dean yells above the howling wind. "March is just around the corner, what is this shit?"
"It has been an unusually cold winter," Castiel calls back, diving into the scant shelter of the rotating door. Dean follows him a second later, and they force their way slowly through and into the comparatively desert-dry air of the hotel lobby.
There's a double room available for a price that makes Dean's mouth drop open, but with the voucher it approaches reasonable. Much more importantly, there is indeed a gooey warm chocolate-chip cookie waiting for him in a wicker basket on the marble desk.
"I believe their intention is one per customer," Castiel observes as Dean loads his pockets while the hotel clerk is distracted with their credit cards.
"After the night I've had, I deserve cookies," Dean says stubbornly. "Many, many cookies. More than this, even. A truckload. A fuckton."
"If you say so," Castiel says dryly, and Dean grins at him around the first chewy, amazing bite.
"Well, this is very… beige," Dean says, standing in the doorway with his hand on the light switch.
"I do not care if it's lime green with fuchsia polka dots," Castiel grumps from behind him. "Move."
Dean dumps his bags on the bed closest to the door and toes off his shoes while he paws through the bedside drawers for the TV remote. In his peripheral vision, Castiel shrugs off his coat, suit jacket and dress shoes in that order and lays the whole bunch neatly over the desk chair. The snowflakes have turned to tiny drops of water in his hair and on his discarded clothes. He loosens his tie but leaves it on, and undoes the top two buttons, but no further. Dean finds the barely exposed hollow of his throat oddly mesmerizing.
While Dean turns the TV on and channel surfs for an acceptable level of monsters or explosions, Castiel goes to the tall window and pulls back the curtains. They're a vibrant oxblood-indigo, the only non-beige items in the room. On the windows, ice crystals and blowing snow almost obscure the city entirely, but across the lake Dean can see the faintest hint of dawn color.
"Hey, man, sit down. Have a cookie," Dean insists, flopping across his bed with a bounce and waving at his bounty of baked goods. "They're starting to get cold."
Castiel looks back over his shoulder consideringly. "Maybe one won't hurt," he says, and the curtains swing gently shut.
Six AM. Tremors II: Aftershocks is on its second showing, and there's a smear of melted chocolate on Castiel's half-asleep face.
"Dude," Dean says, snapping his fingers and tapping his chin when Castiel looks over groggily from the other bed.
Dean taps the spot again. "You've got some chocolate on— no, up. Over a little."
It's hiding right above the pink swell of his upper lip, and Dean laughs as Castiel's eyes cross, as he sits up and tries to use the brass lampshade on the nightstand between them to see.
Somehow Dean pointing becomes Dean leaning across the beds to touch, urging Castiel's chin up so he can see the chocolate better, and as he rubs at it Castiel complains, "Dean, I'm not a child, I can—" and his tongue accidentally laps the pad of Dean's thumb.
They both freeze. Castiel's lips are parted, and Dean's hand is still on his face. There's a moment where Dean can almost see, in his eyes, the quiet revelation Castiel's having— the same one Dean is, maybe.
Castiel swallows, a subtle bob of his throat that draws Dean's eyes. "Did I… did I get it?" he asks softly. Dean could almost believe it was an innocent question if his cheeks hadn't suddenly flushed so red in the muted dawn light.
"Um," Dean says, a little unsteadily. "Not— not quite."
Castiel's looking right at him as his tongue makes another, slower circuit, leaving his mouth shiny and wet and Dean's breath stutters in his chest, comes out in a long, low sigh.
"Now?" Castiel murmurs.
Dean doesn't know if this is a really bad idea or a really great one, but fuck if he's going to refuse an invitation like that.
"Just a little bit left. Right, here," he says, the last word whispered to the corner of Castiel's mouth, and Castiel turns into it with an open, eager noise.
Dean's heart is beating so hard it feels like it might fall out of his mouth at any second, and he can't seem to get close enough to force their bodies together the way he needs to, the way his skin is screaming for.
"God, you— please, touch me," he pants, breaking away from a kiss that started out soft and experimental and now feels like the kind of fight Dean wouldn't mind losing. "I need— Cas, c'mon, your hands—"
"Dean," Castiel groans, and drags him to the edge of the bed by the backs of his knees, does it so easily Dean feels it like a punch to the solar plexus, and Jesus, he needs out of these pants five minutes ago.
As if having the same thought, Castiel stands and starts struggling out of his clothes, and Dean can't help but arch up to keep their lips in contact, a hand braced behind him and the other wrapped twice in Castiel's tie and pulling, keeping him close and his head bent down to his. Castiel kicks off his pants with a graceless little hop and Dean laughs into his mouth.
He's pushing at Dean's shoulders like he wants him moved, and Dean can go with that, maneuvering back up the bed and keeping his fistful of tie held taut.
They part for a moment, Dean trying get his fly open one-handed and Castiel's hands coming up to help, and Castiel staring right in his eyes as he slowly drags Dean's jeans and boxers down his thighs might be one of the sexiest things that's ever happened to him.
"Do you— do you have any sexually transmitted diseases?" Castiel asks with a mouth kissed practically raw, as if he's just remembered he's supposed to. Dean's trying not to laugh again, really, he is, but he's so damn punch-drunk he almost can't help it.
"No, but we're still using a condom," he says, still moving, tugging Castiel along by his tie. Castiel's knees hit the bed, then his hands, and he crawls on all fours after Dean. "Maybe a couple condoms, if you're any good."
"I'm very good," Castiel says, all steely determination, and Dean's back hits the bed very shortly after all of Castiel hits Dean. Fucking finally.
He yanks Castiel's tie off and throws it to the side, humming appreciatively as a warm mouth and slick tongue trace over his pulse point, and is about to try the same with the dress shirt still hanging off Castiel's elbows when hands urge him up and that mouth moves down, trailing over his collar, lower.
"Oh, yeah," Dean moans, rolling his hips up into it as his eyes slam shut and his head hits the soft give of the mattress, his fingers twisting in the hair at the nape of Castiel's neck. "Fuck yeah, Cas, use your teeth— fuck!"
A series of bites along the ridge of his pectoral and he turns his hot face into the smooth, cool fabric and hitches out a "Please," cheek pressed deep.
Castiel's practically purring into his chest, occasional drag of the wet head of his dick on the inside of Dean's thigh, and Dean grabs a handful of the pillow behind his head and squirms until he has Castiel's belly right where he wants it, grinding up against it shamelessly.
It's a really, insanely comfortable pillow, he thinks.
Desk wakes up to the smell of coffee and the soft creak of springs, something brushing lightly over his head as the mattress dips and settles a little lower than it had been.
"Hmm?" he tries.
"Good morning, Dean," someone murmurs.
The world is blindingly bright when he first opens his eyes, but a few blinks and someone's hairy knee swims into focus, half-lost in a mess of bed sheets and beige comforter. "'S m'rning?"
A huff of laughter. "Yes."
Dean's eyes slowly adjust to the vibrant sunlight, laying in a thick bar over what feels like most of his body and the far wall, shining through ice and the jewel-toned curtains and making fantastic shapes and colors against the far wall, like melting candle wax or ink in water. Castiel is sitting up on the bed and looking past Dean towards the window, naked as a jay, sheets in a muddled pile around his waist and a small steaming cup in a loose grip in his lap.
"Mmm," Dean says appreciatively, because that's a view he doesn't mind waking up to.
And, as realization dawns: "Oh, shit. Holy shit. I actually— I fell asleep on you!"
"To be fair, I am not entirely sure which of us fell asleep first," Castiel says meditatively, eyes barely open as he lifts the cup to take a slow sip. There's a good day's worth of stubble on his cheeks and something extraordinary happening to his hair, strands puffed up in tufts like a surprised cockatiel's. Castiel looks down and smiles, slow and sweet. "I had very good dreams, though."
The slight pressure on Dean's head proves to be Castiel's hand, and his fingers feel very nice combing through Dean's hair. "Yeah?" Dean says, smiling tentatively back.
Castiel leans back to deposit the coffee on the nightstand, then very matter-of-factly kneels up and uses a balancing hand on the headboard to swing his leg over Dean's hips.
"Now, where were we?" he asks, backs of his fingers dragging down Dean's stomach.
"A few inches lower," Dean suggests, and gets his hands on Castiel waist to show him.
The thing is, they're strangers. They're going different places, have completely separate lives that never would have intersected except for eight to ten inches with a chance for more.
They eat a complimentary hotel breakfast still curled like cats in bed, and fuck again, and then one more time in the shower. It's really, really good. Dean slips his number in Castiel's coatpocket and only later, as his plane's leaving the runway and he's panicking anyway, does he think that maybe he should have written his fucking name or something, how's Cas even going to know it's him, oh fuck oh fuck oh fuck—
Dean steals Castiel's tie (should have stolen his phone number while he was at it, but no, that would've been too useful), but he doesn't realize Castiel's stolen his favorite Axel Rose concert tee in turn until he's doing laundry with Sam a day later, watching his kid brother do the bouncy baby dance while his daughter drools on his shoulder.
In the kind of cosmic coincidence that only happens in the movies, not ten minutes later Dean's phone buzzes where he's set it on the top of the dryer for safekeeping. His heart does something weird and jumpy when he sees the Virginia area code.
"Dude, did you steal my shirt?" he says, instead of hello. It comes out more pleased than pissed.
A pause. "I seem to be missing something as well," Castiel says. "I propose an exchange of prisoners."
Dean's not grinning. And Sam needs to stop looking at him like that.
Castiel's in Virginia, and Dean's in Maryland, so— "Can you get to D.C.? Dupont?"
"How about next weekend?"
Another pause. "Are you alone?" Castiel asks, and his voice has gone a little deeper in a way that makes Dean flush, and hope like hell it doesn't show. He darts a look at Sam and pushes away from the dryer.
"Give me thirty seconds."