Title: The Cartography of Heaven
Written for: pesha for deancas_xmas
Spoilers: Up to 5x10
Summary: After a snowball fight and a bottle of tequila, Castiel accidentally seduces Dean.
In countless thousands of years, the angel Castiel had never been cold. Even when inhabiting a human vessel, physical sensations had remained remote and insignificant: temperature imperceptible, bullets like pinpricks, touches barely registering. When he descended to Earth in the Year of the Lord 2008, it took weeks before he even noticed that corporeality was seeping into him through the body he wore. He barely registered the way his flesh became more comfortable, heavier but roomier, as if he really were a man with limbs and bones and blood; as if he belonged there. In the terror and confusion of end times, these things seemed trivial.
So when Dean Winchester stuffed a handful of snow down the back of his shirt on Christmas Eve, the sharp breathtaking slice of it on his skin came as a shock. The snow turned to water almost instantly, droplets meandering downwards until he could no longer follow the sensation. It soaked a small section of his shirt and the fabric clung uncomfortably to the spot between his shoulder blades, but what stunned him the most was that the cold felt like burning. Castiel had known fire in hell and in heaven, and there was a bare shadow of that feeling in the snow melting against his body.
He found it curious.
"Cas!" Dean had retreated a few steps, as if expecting him to retaliate. "Cas, Cas, you look like somebody stuck a rod even further up your ass. Come on, man. Snowball fight?" A white clod sailed through the air in Castiel's direction and he caught it effortlessly, watching with interest as the snow melted, leaving the same tingle on his palm. When he focused on the feeling, it became stronger, more immediate.
"Fuck," Dean said. His footsteps crunched in the snow. "First blizzard of the year and I get stuck with the seriousest angel in the garrison." He planted himself squarely in front of Castiel and spread his arms slightly, the liquid in the bottle gripped in one hand sloshing. "Come on, I'll give you a free shot."
They were standing under a street light in the deserted parking lot of a grocery store. The snow was freshly fallen, undisturbed by any tracks except their own and those of the Impala. It was nearing midnight and Dean still showed no sign of wanting to leave. Castiel wasn't entirely sure, but he didn't think Dean had called him here to throw snow at him.
In the light, he could see Dean's breath fogging in the icy air. It gave him an idea; he leaned in close enough to feel the warmth. It smelled like tequila.
"Your breath smells of intoxicants," he said. "I never realized before how powerful of an odor alcohol has."
Dean blinked rapidly a few times. His eyes were red-rimmed and lightly swollen. His eyelashes, Castiel noted not for the first time, were very long.
"Hey, Cas," Dean said. "I don't have to go through the whole personal space conversation again, do I? 'Cause you would think three times would be enough."
Castiel took stock. They were separated by about six inches; Dean had told him at least twelve inches were required. It seemed like an arbitrary figure, but he complied anyway.
Taking a step back, he bent and scooped up a handful of snow. He formed it into a ball and threw it at Dean. It hit him in the chest, thudding to the ground and leaving behind a few rapidly melting white marks.
"I took a shot," Castiel said. "What did you wish to speak to me about?"
"Oh, Christ." Dean took a long drink from his bottle. Castiel watched his Adam's apple bob. When he'd finished, Dean made a face and passed the tequila to Castiel, brushing by him to lean against the Impala.
"Actually, I was going to invite you to spend Christmas with me and… Sam. Not that we usually make a big thing of it, but it is kind of a ritual," he said. He laughed a quick, bitter laugh. "See how that worked out. Alone on Christmas Eve."
"You had an argument," Castiel guessed.
"That's about the sum of it."
Castiel raised the bottle of tequila to his lips and drank about half of the remaining liquid. It burned and he sputtered a little, surprised. He'd felt almost nothing last time he tried drinking, but now a small, hot core began to form in his stomach, glowing warm like a coal. It was pleasant.
"Take it easy," Dean said, reaching out his hand for the bottle. Castiel gave it to him a little reluctantly.
"What did you and Sam argue about?" Castiel asked around the sting in his throat.
Dean stuffed his hands in his pockets and hunched his shoulders. "Same old stuff. Options. We don't exactly have many left."
"None at the moment," Castiel corrected him. "None that are viable."
Dean looked at him with an expression he couldn't decipher. He still needed more practice, Castiel thought, more time observing humans before he could read them as easily as they read each other.
"Thanks, that was real heart-warming." Dean scrubbed a hand across his face. "What a fucking crappy Christmas. End of the goddamn world, Sammy hates the sight of me right now, you…" He waved vaguely in Castiel's direction.
He was upset. Of course. Castiel's stomach churned oddly. This was where he should say something comforting, if he only understood humans better.
"Sorry, I'm a maudlin drunk," Dean said before finishing off the tequila. His speech had become slightly slurred. "Too fucking drunk. Can't even drive back to the motel. They're gonna find me tomorrow frozen in the Albertson's parking lot…"
"I could transport you," Castiel said, coming close enough to place his hand on Dean's shoulder. Warmth soaked into his palm; he had touched humans before but never noticed how much heat they radiated. The world rocked slightly and he pressed down to maintain his balance. Dean's head turned towards him.
A steadying hand gripped his upper arm. He couldn't seem to concentrate on anything except how warm Dean was.
"Something is happening to me."
"Are you sick or something? Is this an angel thing?"
"I… believe I am drunk." He managed to meet Dean's gaze despite a slight dizziness that made him want to close his eyes. They were closer than twelve inches again, but Dean didn't mention personal space this time. "You're very hot."
"I can feel your body heat through these clothes."
Dean's mouth opened and his tongue flicked out to lick his lips.
"Looks like you're… a grabby drunk," he said.
"I think I'm losing my Grace," Castiel said thickly. His voice sounded distant. He hadn't known he was going to say the words before they came out, but once they were spoken he knew it was the truth and with that realization came a bolt of fear. Suddenly the vessel he had grown so comfortable in was twisted up with feelings: the heat of the alcohol in his system, the cold air, giddiness, and something that pulled him towards Dean, pulled until he felt like his soul was being stretched.
"How is that possible?"
"I don't know, Dean."
Dean made an exasperated noise. "Does it hurt? How can you tell?"
But he couldn't explain. He had told Dean, once, that he had started to feel doubt; he'd only been able to verbalize that feeling because it was something angels had been taught to shun since the beginning of creation. He had even been told by his superiors that feeling doubt was impossible. But this, now, was not something any angel had ever spoken of to him. He didn't have a name for it. And he was certain that it was entirely human.
"It has been happening for a while, but," he found himself briefly distracted by the freckles on the bridge of Dean's nose, "I think the tequila made it worse. You're breathing quickly."
The white clouds of Dean's breath were puffing out rather faster than they had been a minute ago.
"Jesus, Cas, you don't have any idea what you're doing, do you?" Dean said. He shifted and his hand trailed a short distance down Castiel's arm.
"Yeah, with the… touching and the mouth."
"Yeah, that," Dean muttered low enough that Castiel had to lean closer to hear. Somehow Dean leaned at the same time; he tilted his head so that their noses didn't bump and suddenly his lips were pressed against Castiel's. They were warm like the rest of him and the texture… on impulse, Castiel licked them and found his tongue accidentally tangling with Dean's. A white hot jolt shot through him; he couldn't think of anything except Dean, not Grace, not God, not the apocalypse.
Abruptly, Dean pulled away, leaving him cold and unsatisfied.
"Your lips are soft," Castiel told him. "And they taste like tequila."
"Yeah, uh… thanks for the, uh, feedback. Cas? Don't take that the wrong way, I'm not trying to like, molest you or anything. It's just…"
It occurred to Castiel in a flash of insight that Dean probably wanted to have sex with him.
That would explain the kiss, of course. Even better, it explained the way his own body seemed to have gotten pressed up against Dean's; and the way his every nerve had come alive, raw and humming with energy. He'd watched humans have sex many times without understanding why it interested them so much, but now that he could feel what they felt, it was quickly becoming very clear. And he did feel it; fleshly desire, welling up as if to supplant his ebbing Grace.
"…it's just lowered inhibitions and this shitty depressing Christmas and I know sucking face with an angel is probably a crime against religion so…"
As Castiel recalled, the first step in having sex was removing the clothes. However, it was much too cold for that to be reasonable. He tried to think of how humans normally handled this situation, but couldn't remember ever observing anyone having intercourse outside in the cold. Asking Dean right now didn't seem like the best way to find out.
So he decided to do the obvious thing and continue kissing. Dean was still rambling but stopped instantly when Castiel resumed where they'd left off. He kissed Dean's mouth and his face (scratchy) and his neck (salty) and every touch made the warmth inside him grow.
"Cas," Dean finally said in his ear. "What are you doing?"
"I'm…" 'Initiating sex' sounded too formal. "I'm kissing you, Dean."
"That's great, that's—"
"Stop talking," he said helplessly.
To his intense relief, it worked, and then things began to happen very quickly. Dean pulled on the lapels of his coat and he followed, letting himself be guided to the Impala. It was slightly less cold inside and quickly grew much warmer. But he soon forgot about the temperature.
He felt he was charting new territory; everywhere Dean's fingers touched him, they drew new maps and all the paths on those maps led away from the Heaven he knew but to somewhere else, a different place but just as full of bliss. It was odd how happy it could make him to see Dean's eyes flutter closed, hear him sigh, odd how his body yearned to touch and be touched.
He could love this, he thought, half-dressed and straddling Dean's lap in the cramped back seat of the car. He already loved it, hands buried in Dean's pants, stroking Dean's cock and watching him writhe, hips bucking up and mouth whispering "Harder, Cas, you don't have to be so gentle." He couldn't think of anything he had ever loved more when Dean moaned his name with a neediness he'd never heard and came, shuddering, in his hands. When Dean pushed him down on the back seat and began kissing a trail down his stomach, he stopped thinking and simply felt.
After a long time, Dean fell asleep, and Castiel lay sprawled on top of him, watching him breathe. His trenchcoat covered them both like a blanket. He didn't need to sleep, but maybe that would come eventually too; he had no idea what would happen next, what if he had to eat (the thought was mildly repulsive), what if he lost his Grace altogether and became trapped in this body? But he couldn't leave. Once out of his vessel, he would no longer be protected by the Enochian sigils carved into its ribs and any other angel would be able to find him. Besides, he couldn't go back to Heaven, and he couldn't leave the Winchesters.
He kept a vigil through the rest of the night, letting his mind run through possible scenarios until the pale dawn began to light up the snow and Dean stirred.
When Dean's eyes opened, the first thing he said was, "So that wasn't a dream."
"Good." Dean shifted, rolling his shoulders and grimacing. "Not that I'm complaining, but what got into you, Cas?"
"Humanity, I think. I seem to be changing."
"I thought I told you never to do that."
"I don't think I can stop it."
Dean rested the back of his hand on his forehead. "Fuck, I've got the hangover from hell." There was a brief silence. Then: "I'm sorry."
"Sorry for what?" Castiel asked.
Dean shrugged, avoiding his gaze. "Being a jerkass human, I guess. Feels like I took advantage of you. Normally I don't get people drunk before… taking them on a tour of the Impala."
"I was not taken advantage of," Castiel said. "I am thousands of years older than any living human. My wings can carry me to Heaven in seconds, and if I spoke in my true voice, I would burst your eardrums and shatter anything made of glass within a hundred yards. You don't need to feel guilty on my behalf, Dean."
Dean looked at him and said, "I forget that about you sometimes." He seemed about to continue, but a phone rang and he went on a hunt through their discarded clothes for it instead. It was Sam. As Castiel listened to Dean's side of the conversation, he realized that he had begun to feel cold again and that the sensation was already more unpleasant than novel. He maneuvered back into his wrinkled pants and shirt, banging his elbows and knees against inconveniently placed parts of the car frame. From time to time, Dean glanced over and grinned. Behind him, the sun sparkled through the frosted window, creating a glittering halo around his head.
It was a new and very different day and there were no maps for the territory ahead. But if there was anything Castiel was good at, it was taking a leap of faith into the unknown; so when Dean asked him to stay and come along to breakfast (on Sam's dime, to make up for the fight) and then back to the hotel for Christmas and sleep in a bed, he didn't hesitate.