4 Things Castiel is not Allowed to Do

as decreed by Dean Winchester.

Well, damn, another list of sorts. I'm a sucker for lists. You know, five-and-ones, and other such things. Not that this is a five-and one (nor was 4 Times Cas Took Liberties and Dean Didn't Know) but, y'know, whatever. It falls into the "other such things" category.

Definitely Dean/Cas here, though whether or not it's onesided is up to you. It's Dean/Cas through Clueless Castiel's eyes, so yeah…

I hope you enjoyed the holidays. I did, despite my ass which is bruised to hell and back, because ICE SKATING IS EVIL. I hurt myself a lot, and I almost broke my girlfriend's wrist because holding hands + falling on the ice + forgetting to let go of the hand I was holding = disaster. Don't go ice skating, kids, unless you have a death wish.

Or if you're, you know, better at it that me. Whichever. (On the bright side, she got her revenge for the whole nearly-breaking-her-wrist thing by accidentally smacking me in the head with her skates—the blades, to be more precise. I'm lucky to be alive.)

(I disclaim all rights to Supernatural.)

Dean Winchester, Castiel has long since observed, has a tendency to set rules with the utmost confidence that they will be adhered to unquestionably. Castiel normally obeys those rules—not because Dean has true authority or influence over him, but simply because the rules are usually along the lines of "do not do this," and Castiel has usually never had any intentions of doing whatever it is that Dean forbids him to do in the first place.

They are usually quite reasonable, at any rate…in Dean Winchester's own way. Don't douche up the Impala—Castiel needn't pay any mind to that rule, seeing as he doesn't know what it means to "douche up" anything, and he doubts he would know how to go about doing such a thing if he did (in any case, that rule is directed at Sam). Don't be mean to Sammy—this rule had initially confused Castiel, because he didn't know he was "being mean" to Sam at all. But he soon realized that, to Dean, "being mean" to Sam meant discussing Sam's previous relations with demons, demon blood addiction, use of his demonic abilities, and his starting the Apocalypse with a disapproving/accusatory/disdainful tone—or discussing it at all. Dean had snapped that Sam had believed he truly was doing the right thing, and that Sam now knew that it had been wrong. And Castiel had agreed not to "be mean" to Sam after that; partly because he knew that holding a grudge against the younger Winchester was an ugly thing to do, and partly because he could see that it upset Dean when Sam visibly recoiled under Castiel's blameful glances.

But many of Dean Winchester's rules are odd, and formed seemingly at random, after the smallest of incidents, and sometimes after events Castiel is unaware have even occurred. He doesn't question them; it will only lead to more confusion if Castiel voices his confusion, and he doubts he will repeat whatever he has done to inspire such rules.

However, Castiel still silently wonders what he has done for some of those rules…

Rule #1: Castiel is not allowed to drive the Impala.

Dean Winchster is slouching in the passenger's seat, and Sam lies in the back. The sun is just beginning to rise as Castiel pulls away from the motel and takes off down the highway. The brothers are bruised and beaten from a brutal hunt that is finally finished, but they are clean—blood scrubbed away and wounds self-treated, hair still damp from speedy showers. They insisted they leave the motel, but Castiel would not have either of them driving in their present conditions. They are sore and worn, and Castiel knows neither of them has slept in some time. Sam had no objections to crawling in the back and sleeping across the seats; Dean, however, was stubborn as always. He lied that he isn't tired, claimed that the hunt was nothing more than a simple workout. After Castiel called him out on his fib, Dean admitted that he wasn't sure Castiel knew how to drive, and he wasn't keen on the idea of Castiel driving the Impala.

Castiel knows how to drive, and so he does. Dean is sulking, but Castiel ignores him. Dean's displeasure at having his beloved car driven by someone who is not him is unwarranted and ridiculous. Castiel can feel Dean's suspicious eyes on him, and he suppresses a human urge to sigh in annoyance.

Instead, he says pointedly, "Dean, I suggest you follow Sam's example and go to sleep."

"Dude, if you're gonna drive my car, you're gonna be supervised," Dean protests vehemently. Castiel allows himself a small sigh this time.

"You need rest," he presses. It's true; Castiel doesn't like the dark ringlets around Dean's eyes.

"I'll sleep when we get to another motel," Dean says obstinately. Castiel gives up; when it's not a life or death situation, telling Dean what to do is like being stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Dean casts his gaze out the window when he sees that Castiel will not argue, and the sun rises further into the sky. Golden lights spills across the earth, flowing into the Impala, and Dean squints against the light, flipping down the visor to shield his eyes.

From his peripheral vision, Castiel sees Dean look at him, and he infers that he is vaguely wondering why Castiel's eyes aren't bothered by the sun—humans seem to do that a lot, wondering and pondering about things of little consequence. Those thoughts are usually short-lived, flitting through one's mind and sent spinning off in another direction.

Dean's eyes stay focused on Castiel. It is unlike Dean to stay engaged with such a little thing as why Castiel doesn't need to squint. After a moment of puzzlement, Castiel decides that Dean's attention is on him for a different reason. Without taking his eyes off the road, Castiel surreptitiously inspects himself; there is nothing on his face, his attire is clean, he isn't doing anything strangely. There is nothing of particular interest passing the driver's side window, so the possibility that Castiel is miscalculating the angle of Dean's gaze is dashed. But Castiel has done nothing differently in the past thirty-seven minutes and twelve seconds that he has been driving, and yet Dean is staring at him.

There is a strange, imaginary weight lightly pressing down somewhere on Castiel's navel. Castiel identifies it as discomfort after a few moments, and he searches for the correct subcategory of the discomfort he is feeling. Eventually, he names it self-consciousness.

Taking note of himself, how he is situated, and all outside forces such as the sun in the car and the sound of asphalt beneath the wheels and the trees passing by in a blur, Castiel tries to see what Dean is seeing. His hands are curled around the steering wheel, positioned at ten and two, as they ought to be. His grip is not too tight, not too loose. The sunrise paints Jimmy's olive skin with gold. Castiel's back is straight, perfect—he does not slouch at the wheel. Feeling his face from the inside-out, Castiel knows it is impassive, as it should always be (Dean Winchester can occasionally change that, however, in varying ways), and it is lit up by the sunlight as well, judging by the warmth on his skin. Castiel's clothes are a little rumpled, but not horrendously so; he had accompanied Sam and Dean on a hunt, after all. In any case, Dean is not one to stare at someone's clothes judgmentally. Castiel's hair is slightly mussed, but it is clean, and Jimmy's hair lights up with brown in the sun, which is nothing peculiar. There is nothing strange at all, nothing different in any way, that should have captured Dean's utmost attention, and yet Castiel can feel his eyes drilling holes into him from the passenger's seat.

Several minutes pass, Castiel growing increasingly more uncomfortable, and Dean hasn't yet realized that Castiel knows he's staring. Frustration sparks inside him, but he hides it. Without looking at Dean, he asks simply, "Why are you staring at me?" He doesn't expect an answer, and he doesn't mind that, but the question will stop Dean from looking at him, which is Castiel's aim.

And Castiel's prediction is accurate. Dean turns his head to look ahead, exhaling gruffly and lying, "I'm not."

The hour it takes to reach the next motel is fairly painless after that. Dean's eyes still flicker to Castiel occasionally, but the glances are brief, and he even falls asleep for a few minutes. Castiel is quietly pleased about that, because it means that Dean will sleep soundly when he reaches a real bed, and Castiel would like for the dark, sleepy circles to disappear soon.

But when Dean is awake, Castiel can feel the weight of his attention on his hands—especially when Castiel moves to activate the turn signal, or when he spins the steering wheel swiftly when he makes a sharp turn, or when he turns off the air conditioning when he sees Sam fidgeting in his sleep against the cold air. Castiel tries to understand Dean's fascination (he has assumed that Dean's gaze is not judging), but there is no apparent reason, and he knows it's a lost cause to inquire after it.

It's a relief to leave the Impala when they arrive at the motel. The morning sun is cheerful and bright, contrasting harshly to the sore, exhausted Winchesters. Sam fumbles with the key at the door, but he lets himself in and collapses onto one of the bed, asleep again. Castiel and Dean stand on opposite sides of the Impala.

"New rule," Dean announces brusquely. "You're not allowed to drive my car anymore."

Castiel isn't upset by this, but he is confused. He has no intentions of ever driving the Impala again, but still he asks, "Why not?"

He doesn't realize he's spinning the ring of keys around his forefinger until he sees Dean glance at it and shift on his feet, licking his lips. Castiel stops, chagrined at his human movement, and Dean says shortly, "Just 'cause I said so, alright?" He holds his hand out over the roof of the Impala, and Castiel hands the keys over. Castiel tilts his head and furrows his brow when Dean looks at the keys and gives a short huff of a laugh. Dean looks at him, an odd half-smile on his lips, and looks away again, shaking his head and tossing the keys into the air and catching them again before following his brother into the motel room.

Castiel places his hand on the Impala's sun-warmed roof, eyeing the automobile critically. He decides that Dean's new rule—a little unfair as it may be—is not objectionable. Castiel does not know Dean's reasons for forbidding him from driving the Impala, but Castiel knows that their goals are not dissimilar. Dean does not want him to drive the Impala, and if driving the Impala results in such uncomfortable scrutiny, then Castiel does not want to drive it, either.

Rule #2: Castiel is not allowed to eat ice cream.

Castiel is unaccustomed to the sensation of a full stomach. It is heavy and warm and not unpleasant, despite the fact that it gives him the equally unfamiliar sensation of being sleepy. Castiel says as much to Dean when the elder Winchester asks how he likes eating.

"Yeah, that happens when you eat after a long day," Dean says, appearing pleased at Castiel's answer. Castiel can see that Dean is encouraged by Castiel's benign attitude towards eating. Castiel hadn't wanted to eat at all; he explained over and over that his vessel did not require sustenance so long as Castiel was inside it, but Dean had persisted. He had quite literally dragged Castiel into the diner with an iron grip around his wrist, saying things like "C'mon, Cas, you've been long overdue for a night of pigging out after an awesome hunt" and "Part of hangin' out with Sammy and me so much is getting into our traditions." The only thing that had kept Castiel from honestly resisting Dean's coaxing was that there was something he liked—he couldn't pin down what exactly—about Dean wanting his company, and he finally agreed to stay when Sam said, much more reasonably, that it was more of a matter of morale for them, and that they'd like him to experience it as well.

And so he'd found himself seated across from the brothers at a small table draped in a sticky checkerboard-pattered tablecloth, and when the waitress arrived, they had looked expectantly at Castiel, who had tried to say, "I can experience your…tradition without eating for myself," only to be interrupted mid-sentence by Dean ordering a burger for him. He had sighed tolerantly, and the waitress had giggled and left.

Castiel had not expected to enjoy his meal, but he had, and he had not expected to feel so lethargic afterward, but he does. The feeling isn't disagreeable, but he prefers feeling alert.

"Sugar should wake you up," Sam says. "'S been a while since we've bothered with dessert."

"Alright, pie time!" Dean whoops joyfully, and he waves down the waitress. Castiel has seen Dean inhale pie before, and he tenses, praying that Dean will not try to make him eat any.

His expression must be alarmed, because Sam glances at Castiel and laughs, saying, "Don't worry, Cas, you can just have…uh…" He glances at the dessert menu. "You can have a cup of ice cream. You'll like it, promise."

"Kiddie dessert, nice," Dean snickers, but he doesn't try to force pie onto Castiel, so Castiel relaxes. Castiel has seen ice cream, and it's a much milder treat than the intimidating pies Dean is so fond of.

The waitress giggles again when Sam orders Castiel's dessert, and he surmises that she is amused that he is not ordering for himself, like a child. So he gives her a coldly impassive look, and her smile fades. She hurries away, and Dean and Sam cough to mask their chuckles.

"Though, I don't know why you wouldn't wanna sleep," Dean says when he is finished laughing. "Sleeping is awesome."

"It's unnecessary," says Castiel. "Eating is unnecessary as well, but it's enjoyable. I'm sure sleeping is agreeable in its own way, too, but if restoring energy to this vessel in the human way requires that I lie unconscious for any extended period of time, I'd rather not do that."

Sam and Dean laugh again, but Castiel's face puckers in confusion; he doesn't see the humor in his statement. However, their laughter doesn't seem to be mean-spirited, so Castiel lets himself smile a crooked, uncertain smile in return.

The waitress returns with their dessert. Dean immediately falls onto his steaming slice of apple pie, and Sam takes his time with his much less daunting, smaller slice. Castiel observes his little cup of vanilla ice cream curiously. He likes its stark plainness; it is, by far, the most benevolent food he has been presented with. He doesn't hesitate (as he had with his quite terrifying burger) to pick up the tiny plastic spoon and scrape off a sample from the top curve.

Sam and Dean watch him intently, and he vaguely wishes they wouldn't, but the ice cream is actually quite nice. Castiel removes the spoon from his mouth with a raise of his eyebrows in the brothers' direction to let them know that he approves and that they may turn their attention to their own desserts. Sam smiles and says, "Toldja," and goes back to his pie. Dean fumbles with his fork momentarily—an odd mishap, as Dean is an expert at handling silverware when it comes to pie, but Castiel supposes no human is perfect—and does the same as Sam.

Ice cream, Castiel decides, is one of Earth's finer inventions, but not remarkable by any means. It's sweet and cold, light and creamy, and Castiel likes it more than he had liked his burger, but he doesn't think he'll actively seek to eat it—or anything—again. The heaviness that follows eating and the pleasant taste of ice cream are pleasurable, but Castiel doesn't require it to feel satisfied. He does feel grateful to the Winchesters for introducing him to such sensations, however.

Castiel is on his fifth spoonful of ice cream, still pondering it, when he notices the absence of the sound of Dean's fork scraping against his plate. Sam's fork is still working happily, oblivious to the absence of one sound in a diner that is positively bustling with noise. Castiel glances up at Dean, spoon still in his mouth.

Dean is looking at him with his fork paused in the middle of stabbing into his pie. His eyebrows are raised, but slightly furrowed, his lips pursed. Castiel tries to decipher Dean's expression—raised eyebrows…is he surprised? Furrowed brow…is he confused? Frustrated? Pursed lips…is he concentrating? Is he holding back a comment? Castiel is at a loss, as usual. Dean Winchester is an enigma; his emotions are always on display so clearly, but Castiel never knows for sure what those emotions are.

But Castiel has seen that look on Dean's face before, that confused, inquisitive look that appeared without warning. Once again, Castiel doesn't know what he has done or what Dean is seeing.

"What?" Castiel asks curiously, dragging the tip of his tongue over the spoon to sweep up a patch of ice cream he had missed. Dean blinks rapidly, his mouth dropping open slightly like he plans to respond, but then he shuts it with an audible snap and his jaw clenches as he grits his teeth. He drops his gaze to his pie and he finally raises his fork.

"Nothin'," he says predictably, his eyes darting up to Castiel several times, seemingly against his will. Castiel stares back, perplexed, but lets it go. He focuses again on his ice cream, and when his spoon passes his lips, he's aware of Dean's eyes on him. Castiel wonders if he will ever know what goes on in Dean's head, but he doubts the knowledge will be any less confusing.

When they leave the diner, Dean's voice is gruff as he states, "New rule. Cas doesn't eat ice cream anymore."

Castiel sends him a questioning look, and Sam looks bewildered.

"What? Why?" Sam demands, sounding indignant on Castiel's behalf.

"I had no intentions of eating it in the future…" Castiel says slowly, "but I'd like to know why I'm forbidden from it, now."

Dean doesn't even look at him, instead choosing to thrust his hands into his jacket pockets and fidget, saying with transparent nonchalance, "'S unhealthy for an angel. Let's go, Sammy. See ya, Cas." He starts across the parking lot for the Impala. Castiel looks to Sam for answers, but Sam is equally confused as he is, so he bids him a goodnight and vanishes with a flutter of wings.

Rule #3: Castiel is not allowed to touch Dean's "special scar."

Castiel looks skyward with an expression of mild displeasure as he takes note of the simple facts of the current situation:

It is nearing 2 o' clock in the morning. Rain is coming down in thick torrents. The temperature is just above 54 degrees Fahrenheit. The ground is slick and muddy. Dean and Sam Winchester have fallen four and seven times, respectively.

Dean's back is coated in a thick, slimy layer of mud from his falls onto his backside, and Sam's front is caked similarly. Their expressions, once triumphant, are now miserable and irate as Castiel joins them in trudging back to the Impala. Castiel is soaked to the bone, but the cold does not affect him, and the slippery mud doesn't take his feet out from underneath him, nor does it suction off his shoes as it had done for one of Sam's (who had cried, "Dammit, not again!" and Dean had laughed hysterically until his own shoe was lost). Castiel had tried to convince the brothers to allow him to teleport with them to someplace dry, but Dean was adamantly against the idea, and he seemed to have informed Sam of its less than desirable effects on the human bowels, because Sam was disinclined to teleport as well.

Now, Castiel walked with them through the mucky cemetery, unwilling to abandon them in such horrid weather until they were in the dry confines of the Impala. He carried their shovels along with his own so they would not impale themselves when they tripped—which they seemed to be doing quite a lot.

Sam and Dean curse and take the Lord's name in vain frequently as they make their trek, and Castiel frowns but says nothing, more concerned by their violent convulsions as they shiver wetly in the rain. He looks ahead into the night, trying to see past the gloomy storm, and he can faintly make out the outline of the Impala. He points it out to his companions; Dean raises his face up into the rain, spreading his arms wide and proclaiming gleefully, "Hallelujah!" and Sam simply pushes his streaming hair out of his eyes and smiles in pathetic relief.

They reach the Impala, and Sam collapses into the passenger's seat, dripping wet and not caring in the least that he's tracking mud inside the car. Dean makes his way around to the driver's side, and promptly slips, plummeting heavily into the mire, swearing loudly. Castiel closes his hand around Dean's bicep and hauls him to his feet.

"Are you alright?" he asks, and Dean glowers, embarrassed.

"Yeah, 'm fine," he says roughly as Castiel's hand slides around so he's no longer holding Dean, but keeping him steady. When Castiel is sure Dean has regained his footing, he removes his hand and climbs into the back seat, deciding that he should see to it that Dean and Sam do not neglect to shower and get warm when they arrive at their motel. Once they have done that, then he will leave.

When Dean pulls the driver's door closed, he sits up straight with a puzzled expression on his face. Castiel and Sam regard him questioningly for a moment before chorusing, "What?"

Dean shakes his head, looking confused. "Nothin', I just thought…" He turns in his seat to peer inquiringly at Castiel. "Hey, Cas, gimme your hand."

Castiel obeys, mystified, and Dean grabs his proffered hand and presses it to his upper arm. Castiel's eyebrows knit together, at a loss, and before he can ask what Dean is doing, Sam says, "Dean, what are you doing?"

Dean's voice is enthusiastically surprised as he answers, "Dude, I'm a little warmer when he touches me!"

Sam snickers, though Castiel doesn't see what's so funny about Dean's discovery. Dean, however, does seem to understand what Sam is laughing at, and clearly doesn't approve, because he scowls.

"Shut up, Sammy," he snaps.

Not wanting a useless argument to start just now, Castiel interrupts, "My touch warms your skin?" He had been fairly certain that his vessel's skin would feel cold to another person's touch after spending so much time in the freezing rain, though he hasn't exactly experimented. Curiously, he tugs his hand away from Dean and extends it to Sam's cheek, putting his fingers to his skin. Perhaps he can be of use and warm both of them. But Sam flinches against Castiel's touch.

"What are you talking about, Dean?" he complains, batting Castiel's hand away. "His fingers are like ice!"

"No way!" Dean protests. He grabs Castiel's hand and presses his palm to the side of his face. After a moment, he looks perplexed and removes his hand, looking at it accusingly. "What happened? It's cold now!"

Realization dawns on Castiel, and he moves his hand down to Dean's triceps again, where he knows his handprint still lingers as a scar.

"Yeah," Dean says when Castiel plasters his hand there. "Yeah, it's a little warmer now. Dude, that is so awesome!"

"What's awesome?" Sam asks, befuddled. "What're you doing, Cas?"

Dean shrugs off his sodden jacket and picks up a flashlight. He turns it on and shines the beam on his upper arm, illuminating the upraised, red mark in the shape of Castiel's hand. Sam's eyes widen in recognition.

"'S where Cas gripped me tight," Dean grins, turning off the light.

"And raised him from perdition," Castiel finishes, examining his handprint. "You feel a little warmer when I touch it?"

"Yeah, talk about nifty," Dean answers.

"Hm," Castiel murmurs thoughtfully, his eyes darting to catch the tremors in Dean's still-frozen hands. Clearly, his touch isn't as effective with a jacket in the way. But now that Dean has removed it, perhaps… "Let me see—" He pushes the sleeve of Dean's t-shirt up and presses his hand to the bare scar.

Suddenly, Dean's back arches against the seat, his face coloring visibly with warmth in the dark, and he sucks in a wild gasp of, "Oh, God!" Alarmed at such a strong reaction, Castiel yanks his hand away. Dean sags into his seat the second Castiel's hand leaves his arm.

"Dean!" he and Sam say in unison. Dean is leaning away from Castiel, eyes wide and staring in disbelief, chest heaving as if he has just finished running a marathon.

"What happened?" Sam asks, worried.

"Did I harm you?" Castiel demands tensely.

"No," Dean pants, his fingernails digging into the upholstery beneath him. "You—it—I just…" He splutters incoherently for a moment before saying, "Yeah, okay, uh...I'm warm now. Really warm. Too warm. So…how 'bout you don't touch that anymore, okay, Cas?"

Castiel stares at him with anxious eyes, and he's desperate to know what his touch did to his friend, but Dean's expression makes it clear that he will get no answers. So Castiel says, "Of course. I apologize, Dean."

Sam and Castiel exchange baffled looks but say nothing more as Dean, still very flustered and flushed, starts the car.

Rule #4: Castiel is not allowed to take on demons by himself.

Castiel doesn't make a habit of getting injured and enduring the full aftermath of it. He is a skilled warrior, and can usually avoid getting hurt at all. When injuries do occur, they are in the midst of battle, and so he focuses on staying alive while his wounds rapidly heal. He has no time to dwell on trivialities such as pain, and he doesn't need to be distracted by an injury when even the worst of them will likely be nothing more than a memory within the hour.

But as a slowly, reluctantly falling angel, the damage Castiel's vessel takes longer to heal, and it gives Castiel time—time he wishes he could be spared of—to feel the pain.

He is not accustomed to the feeling of something hot and wet trickling down his face, nor is he used to the sharp sting and the accompanying throbbing ache. He lifts his hand to the source of the pain, and his fingers come back sticky and red. He sighs, disgruntled by the amount of blood that coats his fingertips. Castiel can feel his wound healing, but it is agonizingly slow.

Pulling his thoughts away from his injuries, Castiel remembers the Winchesters. They will be wondering where he is. Castiel casts a forlorn look at the three corpses on the ground. The demons are gone (they put up quite a fight), but he feels a twinge of guilt for being unable to save the humans.

The remorse comes and goes quickly, for Castiel has spilled far more blood of innocents than this, and he teleports to Dean and Sam's motel. He takes care to appear outside of their room; Dean is uncomfortable when Castiel "pops up" without warning in the middle of their room.

His feet touch down on the uneven concrete, and Castiel experiences the unfamiliar feeling of imbalance. The dirty green motel door tilts awkwardly before his eyes, and Castiel reaches out to grip the doorknob to steady himself. He stands very still, blinking against the unpleasant sensation of his head spinning. He has never felt dizziness like this before. Castiel's heart sinks a bit as he realizes that he may very well be concussed. Of course, it will be healed soon if that is the case, but Castiel does not want to experience the symptoms of a concussion, and he hopes that the imbalance will pass if he stands here for a few moments.

It doesn't. Castiel is disappointed, but he knows there is no sense in feeling sad. If he does have a concussion, then it is very mild, and it is healing along with his still-bleeding cut and his broken ribs. Deciding that the wisest choice of action would be not to travel until his vessel is healed completely, Castiel knocks on the door. Dean Winchester opens it, and his alarmed expression makes it very clear to Castiel that his appearance does not bode well.

"I have reason to believe I am concussed," he states seriously before Dean can say a word. "I also have several broken ribs. It would be in my best interest if I rest here until I am healed." He estimates that the last of his healing will finish in about an hour. He can feel his bruises fading, his cut beginning to seal shut, his fractured ribs knitting together, and his snapped ones slowly shifting back to their proper places so that they may knit together as well. Castiel misses the days when all of those injuries would be a mere memory in a maximum of five minutes, but it is a small price to pay for choosing Dean over Heaven. But he doesn't regret it.

Dean reaches out, and his openly concerned expression has turned to one of tightened eyes and pale pursed lips as he grips Castiel's shoulders and pulls him into the room. Castiel wonders why Dean is suddenly upset, casting his eyes around the hotel room.

"Where is Sam?" he asks, but Dean doesn't respond. Instead, he tows him to the other side of the room, to the sink. Castiel glances at the mirror before him, and his startled by the amount of the blood that paints the entire right side of his face crimson before he remembers that head wounds simply bleed more than others. There is an enormous, ugly bruise that expands over his forehead and down over his left temple, which likely confirms his concussion. It's a nasty shade of purple, but Castiel is fairly certain the color was much worse minutes before. He watches as Dean snatches up a small white towel and turns to him, his empty hand coming up to hold Castiel's head. His thumb rests firmly against Castiel's cheekbone, his fingers weaving tightly into his hair, holding his head in place. Castiel winces minutely—the pain is still present, though his awareness of it is gradually fading, to his relief—as Dean presses the towel to the gash above his eyebrow, stemming the flow of blood.

"What are you doing?" Castiel asks in confusion, his eyes flickering back and forth between the towel and Dean's hand on his face.

"Cleaning you up, that's that I'm doing," Dean snaps angrily. Castiel blinks in surprise at Dean's harsh tone. "What the hell happened, Cas?"

"I was attacked," Castiel answers. "Demons. Three of them."

"Did you fight them?" Dean demands. Castiel's brow furrows and he tries to tilt his head, but Dean has a good grip on it.

"Of course I did," he says.

"Dammit, Cas," Dean growls, removing the towel to peer at the wound. Castiel can feel that the bleeding has almost stopped completely. His cut is soon to scab over and disappear. "Why didn't you zap your ass outta there before they did this to you?"

Castiel peers at Dean, bemused. He is asking questions he should already know the answers to. "They had to be killed, Dean."

"Dude," Dean says irritably, putting the towel back to Castiel's head and looking him in the eyes, "taking on three demons by yourself is a stupid thing to do. You don't do that."

And Castiel understands, then, Dean's sudden anger and unreasonable questions. Castiel is surprised, but he supposes that he only feels surprised because he never actively acknowledged that it was plausible Dean cared about him. He always knew that, of course, but it has always been a silent, unsaid truth rather than one he has consciously addressed.

"You're worried," Castiel says interestedly. "I have caused you distress. I apologize, Dean."

Dean looks startled, as he often does when Castiel manages to read his emotions correctly, and he shifts from one foot to the other, glancing around. His face has taken on a pinkish tinge, for reasons Castiel cannot fathom. He licks his lips and exhales shortly, the anger draining from his expression. He looks back at Castiel, and his face is now irritably tolerant.

"Yeah, well, don't do it again," he says gruffly, inclining his head. "That's a new rule. No fighting demons by yourself anymore, Cas." He removes the towel again. The bleeding as stopped, Castiel knows, and Dean eyes it suspiciously for a moment before turning his attention to cleaning Castiel's face. Castiel is perfectly capable of doing that himself, but as he observes Dean's concentrated face, he concludes that it will put Dean at ease to do it for him.

It is strange, Castiel notes, to be cared for by a human. He is an angel, one of God's soldiers, a fierce warrior. He is righteous, glorious, mighty; yet here he stands with Dean Winchester, who knows how powerful Castiel is, and still tends needlessly to wounds that he knows will mend themselves, touches Castiel with unnecessary tenderness when he knows that even his strongest punch couldn't leave a single bruise on this vessel's flesh. Castiel doesn't know why Dean treats him with such warmth and affection, and he doubts he ever will know unless Dean explicitly tells him. Castiel wonders if he should feel affronted or belittled, wonders if he should interpret Dean's unprecedented behavior as being "treated like glass," but he doesn't feel anything negative toward such fondness.

So Castiel waits until Dean's eyes, still flickering erratically this way and that, finally return to his, and he smiles a rare smile. "I will endeavor to follow your rules."

Jesus fuckin' Christ, why does my stuff always end with mushiness? I'm growing a goddamn uterus as we speak. Excuse me, I need to call up my guy friends and make plans for…manly shit. We'll go hang out…Home Depot…or something.

There you go. Not as funny as my other SPN fic, obviously, because Castiel is very unfunny. It was hard writing as him, but it was fun. I'm not the only one who thinks that Dean would get turned on by Cas driving the Impala or eating ice cream, right?

This was originally going to be five things, but I…sort of…forgot what one of them was. So…yeah. This was also supposed to be posted on Christmas Eve, but that didn't happen. Obviously.

And…that's about it for this author's note, I guess.