The last time the world is a small step away from Hell, and no games are played.
It's been three weeks since Castiel had almost died. Two weeks and three days since Uriel had dropped by – visibly annoyed and irate – to inform him that Castiel is recuperating. A week and a day since Uriel had stopped by again, this time looking weary and somber to say that another, sixty fifth, Seal had been broken. Three days since Dean had called his brother just to say three words to him. A day since Sam had done the same.
Apparently a helluva lot can happen in just three weeks, but Dean still waits. There's still that one thing that needs to happen, and Dean is starting to learn that patience can have its benefits.
When he allows himself to think of that day three weeks ago, Dean doesn't think of the blood on Castiel's chest, nor the look of pain on his face. And he as sure as hell doesn't think about how it felt when he'd thought that Castiel was dead. Those memories are inside his head, in their very own folder marked 'Hell, take two', and as far as he's concerned, they are to be avoided at all cost. Instead, he thinks how it felt when Uriel had appeared. It was a strange feeling. And he'd felt it just once before, when Castiel had kissed him in that church a couple of lifetimes ago, and that is how he knows what it was.
Forgiveness and peace and love.
God forgave him. Dean doesn't know why, especially considering that he wants to steal one of his angels and never give him back, but he did. Castiel was dying, but he stayed alive. For the first time, Dean was allowed to keep a loved one. Without deals or soul-selling.
A loved one.
That thought still makes him feel like a fucking kid in love for the first time – butterflies in the pit of his stomach, sweaty palms, daydreaming… the whole nine yards. All that's left for him to do is start carving Dean loves Cas on tree trunks.
But yeah, he is really in love for the first time; that whole bigger than life, once in a lifetime, fate and destiny kind of crap. It just figures that him falling in love for the first time would be with an angel in the middle of a war between Heaven and Hell.
Dean Winchester is in love with an angel. Ironic doesn't even begin to cover it. The strangest part though, is that Dean doesn't care about it. Doesn't care about potential blasphemy, or how words tragedy in the making are written all over it. Hell, he doesn't even care about the whole male-vessel part. All he cares about is that he loves Castiel. And the angel… well, Dean can't be sure, especially with that whole no-emotions crap he'd been feed by a couple of angels and an ex-angel, but there is always something more in Castiel's eyes when he looks at him. Something that lies hidden beneath tenderness, compassion, and annoyance that has somehow become Castiel's usual look when directed at him. But Dean can't know it for sure, not until he sees the angel.
Three weeks ago, Dean would be freaked out of his mind by the newest development in his love life. The man he was three weeks ago, would now be in bed with some willing, female-shaped body, doing his best to fuck Castiel out of his system. Alcohol would probably come in play as well. And yeah, it still happens sometimes. When he can't sleep, when he remembers how fucked-up the world really is, he still wants to do all of that. Because, his recently discovered faith aside, it's still hard for him to imagine anything resembling happily ever after for him and Castiel. Even if the world doesn't end up in Hell. But then all he has to do is remember how empty he felt when he thought that Castiel was gone and was never coming back. It felt like his soul was missing, and really, what's the point in living if your soul is dead?
So, Dean waits. Every day, for the last three weeks, he waits for Castiel to show up. He has no clue what he'll do and say when the angel finally comes to see him – and he will, Dean is sure of it – but he doesn't plan on fucking up this second chance he has been given.
And when he finally hears that familiar sound that makes him think of wings, Dean knows that his waiting hours are over.
"Hello, Dean," Castiel says calmly, and the sound of his voice is the best music Dean had ever heard. Metallica included.
Dean slowly gets up off the bed, eyes glued to Castiel's face. He looks… normal. Maybe paler, and there are dark circles under his eyes, but there's nothing on his face that speaks of death and blood and pain like it did the last time.
"You're alive," Dean blurts out, his mouth just a tad quicker than his mind, and Dean wants to kick himself. "I mean… I knew you were, Uriel said it, but… I didn't see you before, and now you're here. Alive." Dean finishes lamely, wishing for a hole to open up in the ground and swallow him, 'cause this? Awkward as hell.
"I feel well now, Dean," Castiel says slowly, tilting his head slightly, and there it is, that I-want-to-crawl-inside-your-head look, and Dean stands frozen under that piercing gaze, a part of him terrified and ashamed, wanting to run away and hide, but a larger part of him wants Castiel to pick out the words I love you out of the mess that is his mind. But then Castiel blinks and his face settles into his usual stoic expression and Dean inwardly rolls his eyes. Of course it's not going to be that easy. When was anything in his life easy?
"So," Dean clears his throat, not really sure what to say, or even where to look. And why the fuck is he even acting this way? He's sure as hell not a blushing virgin, or some innocent, clueless kid. But then he throws a look at Castiel's face, and feels an ache inside his chest at the sight of it. So yeah, maybe he's as far from innocent as one person can get, but this whole situation is new to him, and it's not like there's a 'Dummies' Guide to Wooing an Angel' out there that he could read. "Uriel said that we're down to the last Seal."
Those words are out of his mouth before Dean has a chance to actually think about them – again – and he winces inwardly.
Well done, Dean, there's nothing that sets a romantic mood quite like talk of the apocalypse.
A grave expression settles across Castiel's features. "That is correct," Castiel sighs. "But the last Seal is also the most difficult one to break, and we will not allow it to break, Dean. When the time comes, Lilith will be stopped and this world will once again be safe."
There is a note of deadly determination in Castiel's voice and he looks fierce all of a sudden. And for one moment, Dean can actually see a faint golden glow accentuating an outline of invisible wings. Castiel looks… well, magnificent and scary as hell. Dean's breath is currently stuck in his throat while his heart does it's best to punch a hole through his chest, but it's not out of fear. Dean had stopped being afraid of Castiel a long time ago. But his stomach feels funny and his knees are weak, and the words mine and angel bounce off the walls inside his mind, and Dean thinks he'll choke on the sheer intensity of the love that he feels for Castiel.
But then Castiel takes a deep breath, closing his eyes for a moment, and he's Cas again. Looking like nothing more than a regular guy dressed in ridiculous trench coat with his tie hanging askew and his hair sticking in all directions, and Dean loves him all the more for that.
"Cas," Dean says, taking a deep, calming breath. "Can we forget about the apocalypse for a day? I mean, I know it's important, but I need a day off. You need a day off."
"Angels do not take days off, Dean," Castiel says, frowning. "We are what we are."
Dean rolls his eyes, exasperated. "Come on, Cas," he says, grinning. "Just one day."
"Dean," Castiel sighs. "It is…"
"I dare you," Dean says firmly, his eyes narrowing in a challenge.
Castiel blinks. "You dare me?" He repeats, disbelief clear in his voice.
Dean shrugs his shoulders. "Yeah, it's our thing. Just like Uriel and I have a mutual disgust thing going on."
"What if I wish to quit playing that game?" Castiel asks, his face growing serious, and Dean suddenly feels a lump of worry in his throat.
"You played with me before," Dean says, his voice hardening. "Why stop now?"
"Because I never really played your game, Dean," Castiel says simply, and Dean feels stupid and disappointed all of a sudden. "I merely wanted you to be honest with me, but you never were."
Dean bows his head. "Well, that kinda fucks up my plans," he says, trying to keep his voice light, but he can't quite manage to keep disappointment out of it.
"If you want something from me, Dean," Castiel says softly, taking a step closer to Dean, "you could always try asking."
Dean rolls his eyes, annoyed. "Yeah, I could ask you about the last Seal or how the fuck are we going to stop that bitch from fucking up the whole damn world," Dean forces through clenched teeth. He feels annoyed and angry, even betrayed at Castiel's admission, and he can't stop himself from lashing out, even as he feels that second chance slipping from his fingers. "And I'm sick and tired of hearing about it."
"And what is it that you want to know?" Castiel asks.
"I don't know," Dean snaps. "Anything… everything. What you're doing when you're not smiting demons… have you tried eating pie or drinking beer… what do you have against wearing jeans… that kind of stuff."
Dean releases a deep breath and shakes his head in surrender. "Forget it," he says and turns his back on Castiel. He can't do this. Hell, he doesn't even know what this is supposed to be. A surreal version of a first date? A friendly chat? Are they even friends? "Just forget I said anything."
A strange, frustrated cross between a sigh and a growl comes from behind him, and then there are hands, strong, unyielding hands on his shoulders, turning him around. And before Dean has a chance to even try to fight against the hold the angel has on him, he is looking at Castiel's face, blue eyes blazing.
"And again you are doing it," Castiel whispers, his face holding nothing of its usual calm. "Speaking truth cannot be that complicated or frightening, Dean. It can be even liberating, so why cannot you simply say what is it that you want from me."
Dean blinks, swallowing, becoming aware of how close they are standing now, of their bodies touching from shoulder to groin, of Castiel's fingers digging holes in his shoulders.
Dean's brain short-circuits, his nerve endings bombarding it with too much information about warm and close and firm and Castiel. "You want me to say what I want from you, Cas?" Dean asks, his lips curving into a shark-like grin. "I have a better idea. I think I'll show it to you."
And with that, Dean grabs Castiel's head and pulls it close, close enough to kiss. The last thing Dean sees before his lips touch Castiel's is the widening of Castiel's eyes, but it doesn't matter. It doesn't even matter that Castiel's body freezes against his, nor does it matter that the angel keeps his lips firmly pressed together. Right now, the only thing that matters is seizing this moment. If this is the first, and also the last time he'll get to kiss Castiel, well, then Dean plans to make the most of it. He keeps his hands firmly on the back of Castiel's head, but he knows that if the angel wanted to pull away, there was nothing Dean could do about it, so it must mean something. It has to mean something that Castiel is allowing himself to be kissed, even though he's not kissing back. But Dean is nothing if not stubborn, and he knows how to kiss. He licks and sucks, teasing Castiel's lips with his tongue and teeth, and finally, when he thinks of pulling away, when air becomes a necessity, Castiel releases a choked sound that could be both a whimper and a moan, and opens his mouth under Dean's lips.
Castiel tastes normal – wet and warm and sweet, but it's clear that this is his first kiss. It's messy and clumsy, their teeth clashing, their tongues colliding, and Dean really needs air now, but he doesn't want to stop the kiss. He never wants to stop kissing Castiel. He has no clue what made the angel kiss him back, but he's afraid that when he pulls away, that would be it. So he keeps on kissing Castiel, because there's this feeling of happiness and warmth spreading through his entire being, and this feels so fucking right, and who cares about breathing…
And then the kiss ends. Just as suddenly as he began kissing him back, Castiel pulls away, but still keeps his hands on Dean's shoulders.
Dean takes a deep breath, suddenly feeling cold. The look on Castiel's face is unreadable, nothing except his slightly swollen lips giving away what has just happened between them.
"Come on, Cas," Dean says finally, his voice both a plea and a demand when Castiel just keeps on staring at him. Jumping Castiel wasn't exactly in Dean's plans, and now, seeing that almost hard look on the angel's face, Dean really wants to kick himself for not thinking things through. But it's too late for regret, and he really doesn't want to make up some story that this kiss was somehow a part of the whole saving the world deal. Besides, he wanted to know what his chances with Castiel are. And whether he'll like the truth or not, he needs to know. "Do something. Say something. Kiss me or kill me, but don't…"
Dean never gets to finish his sentence; the rest of it gets swallowed by Castiel's mouth. And, oh boy, this kiss is nothing like the previous one. Castiel literally devours his mouth, and there's nothing smooth or sensual about it. It's rough and filled with need, and even though Castiel still doesn't quite get the mechanics of it, his enthusiasm makes up for it, his tongue sliding down Dean's, exploring his mouth with vigor. Castiel kisses him as if he were living in a desert his entire existence and Dean is his oasis.
Dean breaks the kiss, panting, and starts tugging at Castiel's clothes, frantic and desperate, still afraid that this isn't happening. That Castiel will suddenly come to his senses and disappear out of this room, and he can do it. He can vanish into thin air in the blink of an eye; Dean knows this better than anyone. But Castiel doesn't show any signs of wanting to leave, in fact he allows Dean to take his coat off, to maneuver the both of them towards the bed and then push Castiel down on it, just looking at Dean with wide eyes, eyes that are currently glazed with desire, but beneath it is a look of innocence and trust, and Dean suddenly feels shame and guilt tear through the veil of lust and need that is wrapped around his mind.
Dropping down on his knees in front of the bed, Dean swallows against the dryness of his throat. "Cas, is this…" he whispers, and there's a voice in his head that screams at him to shut the fuck up and just take what's being offered to him before someone or something stops this from happening, but Dean ignores that voice, 'cause no matter how much he wants the angel – hell, his body is literally shaking with desire to finish what they've started – he's not about to drag the angel down to the gutter with him. "If we do this, are you going to get punished?"
Castiel smiles. A wide, warm, and knowing smile that stops Dean's heart for one glorious moment. "Dean," Castiel whispers, sitting up and taking Dean's head between his palms. "There are many roads that lead to Perdition, but love is not one of them."
The world comes to a halt then, and reality crashes in on itself, and nothing exists anymore, only this motel room and the two of them in it.
"Love?" Dean manages to choke out. This doesn't feel right, and he's suddenly afraid that this is some sick and twisted dream, that he'll suddenly wake up in Hell, looking at Alastair's smirking face, 'cause this? Un-fucking-believable. Angels don't fall in love with humans. And they certainly don't fall in love with humans who answer to the name of Dean Winchester. "But… how? Why? Why me?"
Castiel's face grows serious. "You deserve all the love this world, as well as the next, can offer, Dean Winchester," Castiel says solemnly, his words sounding like a vow, but then a smile stretches his lips upwards, and Dean's heart swells in his chest. "But I love you because I can. And because I have no choice. You are a very lovable person, Dean."
Dean blinks at Castiel's almost teasing words, but then he smiles. "God, I love you," Dean says – amazed and shocked and so fucking happy he thinks his chest will explode – climbing up on the bed and straddling Castiel. "I love you so fucking much."
What follows after is making love – slow and deliberate shedding of clothes, teasing slide of flesh against flesh, tangle of lips and limbs.
Dean kisses and touches every part of Castiel's skin, leaving tiny marks of possession with his fingers and teeth, even though he knows they won't last. His hands map the contours of the angel's body, and Castiel writhes and bucks beneath him, choked moans falling from his lips, his head thrown back, and it's the most beautiful sight Dean has ever seen.
When Castiel touches him, his touch is tender, almost reverent, like Dean is made of glass, like he's something precious that deserves to be worshiped, and Castiel does. With his hands, and his lips, he traces every patch of Dean's naked skin, leaving Dean shuddering and gasping for more.
Every kiss and every softly breathed declaration of love that spills from Castiel's lips between kisses unravels Dean, and he stops being the elder son of John Winchester and brother of Sam Winchester. Even the guy who spent forty years in Hell disappears. Only Dean remains. Only a man who wants to live and breathe and be happy, and it feels so fucking good.
When he's finally inside Castiel, Castiel's body arching off the bed and meeting his thrusts, his eyes fixed unblinkingly on Dean's, Dean thinks he knows how Heaven looks like. And when Castiel comes, whispering Dean's name, Dean follows immediately after, his orgasm shattering him and rebuilding into someone new. He's sure that this is the only Heaven he'll ever need.
Later, when both of them are sated and spent, their bodies still entwined and Dean's head pillowed on Castiel's chest, Dean realizes something and shakes his head in amazement.
"You know, Cas," Dean says, lifting his head off Castiel's chest. "If I already didn't know about that whole apocalypse thing, I'd be sure of it now."
"I cannot say that I understand the meaning behind your words, Dean," Castiel says, frowning.
Dean smiles and kisses Castiel's chest. "Well, Cas," another kiss. "I'm happy," and another, and this time Castiel's eyelashes flutter and Dean can feel the angel holding his breath under his lips. He grins victoriously. "And that's a sure sign of the apocalypse."
Castiel's frow deepens, and before Dean is aware of him moving, Castiel has him pinned to the bed with his body, holding Dean's wrists with his hands. "This is the last time I will repeat myself, Dean," Castiel whispers into Dean's ear, and Dean has real problems with concentrating on what the angel is saying, the weight of Castiel's body on his distracting as hell. Not to mention the low rumble of Castiel's voice in his ear. "You are worthy of happiness and love. Accept it, once and for all, or I will make you accept it."
Dean swallows a needy whimper when Castiel lifts his head from his ear. "I'm glad you think so, Cas, 'cause there's this one thing I need to be happy, and you can help me with it."
"What is it?" Castiel asks, tilting his head.
"You," Dean whispers, keeping his eyes fixed on Castiel's. "And that means that you're stuck with me. No vanishing acts or nearly dying."
Castiel blinks, a look of naked longing and love passing across his features. "Then we are stuck together, Dean," he whispers, releasing one of Dean's wrists so he could put his hand on the handprint seared into Dean's flesh. His handprint. "For as long as you need me."
"Forever sounds good to me," Dean says, grinning.
"Then forever it is," Castiel says and lowers his lips on Dean's, and Dean thinks that maybe Castiel was right all along. Truth can be liberating. But that doesn't mean that he's ready to stop daring the angel. After all, he still wants to see Castiel's wings for real.