"Alright, so, what kind of girls do you like anyway?"
The bar they found was fuller than Dean expected, probably because the locals needed a good drink after that storm. His well-trained eye swept the room. To be honest, some of the women he saw were uncommonly hot, but he was looking for Castiel, so his standards were different. Before Castiel even said anything, Dean had dismissed most of the women in the room as too short, too tall, too slutty, too blonde, too curvy, too skinny and so on.
"I've never thought about it," Castiel answered Sam as he peered around the bar.
"Not even earlier?" Sam asked. "I told you it'd be easier if you used your imagination."
"Dude, what the hell did you tell him while I was gone?" Dean had been kidding about those pointers, after all.
"Nothing too graphic, I promise. Just that he might need a little visual reinforcement," Sam explained as he led them through the smoky room towards a table near the bar.
"You don't have to go into details," he added to Castiel. "Just think about the type of girl you imagined earlier and it might help give you an idea of what you find attractive," he finished and if Dean had looked away just a split second earlier, he would have missed the smile hiding at the corner of Sam's mouth and he wouldn't have felt suspicion start to grow in his chest.
"I see," Cas said blandly.
"How about her?" Sam nodded towards a slender woman in her late twenties who was leaning against the wall beside a ratty old pool table. In Dean's opinion, she was rather unremarkable. Too athletic to be womanly and far too tall. Probably taller than Castiel even.
"She's got nice eyes. Nice big green eyes," Sam said and there was no doubt now that laughter threaded through his tone. He was having way too much fun with this to be innocent.
Castiel turned to contemplate the woman, giving Dean the opportunity to kick Sam under the table and glare at him in a way that totally said, 'What the fuck are you doing?' Sam smirked in reply and by the time Cas turned back around, the brothers' faces were neutral.
"I think not," Cas decided.
"Well, you know, just go with what comes naturally," Sam counseled as he stood. "Pick the person you're most drawn to. No matter what."
And with that bizarre advice, Sam drifted to the bar and struck up a conversation with a cute redhead waiting for a drink.
"I think Sam finds this experiment amusing," Castiel confided to Dean.
"Sam has a pretty rotten sense of humor."
Castiel's eyes caught on something and he asked absently, as he gazed at whatever it was, "Which woman do you find most attractive, Dean?"
Dean looked over the available women again, this time with his own personal parameters in mind and shrugged. There was a pretty nice looking curly-haired woman sitting alone at a table across the room, but not nice enough to really tempt Dean out of his chair. Besides, he was far more interested in following Castiel's gaze towards what turned out to be an extremely busty blonde, laughing and drinking with a group of other girls.
It was 'too slutty' from before. With her low-cut blouse and far too tight skirt. Dean's lip curled in disgust. No way in this world was this chick good enough for Cas. If Cas went home with her, he'd only get a quick fuck. Cas deserved someone who'd take his time. Her time. Whatever. Someone who'd slowly introduce Cas to the joys of sex and take good care of him.
"I don't know about that one," Dean cautioned.
"Just...You should avoid woman who look too available," Dean said.
"That didn't seem to stop you in the past," Castiel said, a slightly accusatory lilt to his tone.
"I'm different," Dean said.
"How so?" Stubborn and annoyed, Cas looked remarkably like Sam when he got pissy with Dean.
"I've had sex before, that's how. You don't know what you're getting yourself into," Dean explained as patiently as he could when all he really wanted to do was drag Cas out of there by his ear.
"I'm not naive, Dean," Castiel argued. "Just because I've never experienced sex doesn't mean I don't understand how it's done. You should try to remember that I'm considerably older than you. I've seen more humans copulating than you've even met in your short life."
"Seeing and doing are nowhere near the same thing, Cas," Dean snapped, inexplicably hurt by the idea that Cas didn't need his help. "But hey, you're a big boy. If you want to fuck Barbie McSluttypants, don't let me stop you," he snarled. He pushed himself out of the chair and stalked over to Curly-Haired Girl, intent on ignoring Castiel and maybe finding a way of salvaging this stupid night.
Curly-Haired Girl's name turned out to be Megan and a bunch of other stuff about her that Dean didn't hear because he was so busy ignoring Castiel, it took up most of his attention. The flock of women around Barbie giggled when Castiel approached them. Stupid angel. He was probably being adorably awkward. They'd be fighting over which one of them got to take the idiot home before this was over, though Cas had managed to cull Barbie from the rest of the women.
"Are you alright?"
Dean blinked at Megan. "I'm sorry. What now?"
"You know, if I were you, I'd just go over and talk to her," Megan said.
"Talk to who?" Dean asked, genuinely bewildered.
"Whoever it is you keep trying not to look at," Megan said with a smile. Dean's face must have betrayed his guilt because Megan laid a hand on his arm and shook her head. "I'm not offended, really. Sometimes it's just hard to go for what you really want. But here's a nickel's worth of free advice. Don't wait around for someone else to snap her up. Life's far too short," she said. The sadness in her brown eyes gave Dean pause, made him wonder what happened to this girl and whether she could see the answering grief in his own eyes. Because she was right. Dean's life was too short. Had been too short and was in danger of being too short again.
The only problem was he didn't really know what he wanted.
"So get out of here before I bring them over here myself." Megan pushed at his arm. "Besides, no other guys are going to sit here if you don't go away."
Dean gave her a grateful smile and started to apologize, but then he glanced over to where Castiel and Barbie should have been.
They were gone.
"Cas! Castiel, answer me!"
If Dean had been anywhere but in the parking lot of a bar where people were expected to act drunkenly, he might have been arrested. As it was, he drew the curious glance of more than few passersby. What he didn't draw, to his chagrin, was the presence of a certain half-angel.
"Don't tell me you can't hear me!" Dean shouted.
"Dean?" Sam appeared in the bar's doorway, the cute redhead at his side. Worry darkened his eyes. "What's the matter?"
"What the matter is that Cas is off fucking some random girl," Dean barked.
"Seriously?" Sam asked, amazed.
"Yes, Sam. What did you think was going to happen when you brought him here to pick up girls?"
Discomfort and something very like guilt shifted over Sam's features. "I didn't think he'd actually...I thought..."
"You thought it'd be hilarious to make him uncomfortable," Dean said, furious now as he really thought about it. "You think this is some kind of joke, don't you? Well, it's not, Sam. He's not used to these feelings. He's confused and alone. Do you understand that? He's alone for the first time in like, millions of years and we've just delivered him into the hands of chick who doesn't even know him. Not like us, not like he needs."
The tirade shocked and scared Dean, but he couldn't take it back, couldn't stop the feeling that he'd failed Castiel. Cas protected Dean from angels and demons and in return, Dean should have protected him from humans, from the sort of emotional hurt that could happen when it came to sex and love. And instead, he'd pushed Cas towards this woman.
"You're right," Sam said softly. "I wasn't thinking. I thought he would've...I expected him to choose differently."
Sam's genuine contrition deflated Dean's anger, at least the anger directed at Sam. He was still pretty pissed at himself. After, Castiel was Dean's pseudo-angel to deal with, not Sam's.
"Look, just...just go on and have fun. I'll find him," Dean said wearily.
"Are you sure? I can help-"
"No," Dean interrupted him. "Someone should have some fun tonight," he said, nodding towards and acknowledging the redhead for the first time. Another reason to be annoyed with himself. Losing it in front of strangers and probably making her wonder what he meant by 'millions of years.'
"Ok, um, just call me when you find him, alright?"
"I will," Dean promised. Their eyes met for a long moment, one of those sibling moments mentioned earlier, the kind that made Dean feel better about life even though Sam hadn't actually said or done anything to help. Then Sam started to walk away, but to Dean's surprise, Redhead paused and gave Dean a small smile.
"I hope you find him," she said, her lilting voice gentle and somehow knowing.
Then they were gone and Dean was back to shouting for Castiel to answer him. He hoped this wouldn't be like the time out behind Bobby's place because Dean was not in the mood to strip his vocal chords bare. So he was pretty happy when he heard the flutter of wings about twenty minutes later.
"You're being distracting, Dean," Cas said.
Bile rose in Dean's throat. "So I was interrupting something, huh?"
"Just a strange conversation," Castiel promised. He'd appeared under a street lamp. The light shone down over him, turning his features sharp and unearthly. The look wasn't helped by the way Cas held himself rigid, hands shoved into the pockets of his ever present trench coat. "What did you want?"
"I just..." Dean wasn't sure he should say that interrupting Castiel was what he'd wanted. "I'm sorry I snapped at you earlier."
"You were worried about me," Castiel surmised. "I shouldn't have thrown your concern to the side."
"It's just...you know, I've had a lot of meaningless sex in my life," Dean admitted. "And it's just that. Fun, but, you know...hollow. You deserve better than that," he finished, face burning with embarrassment. It just figured that a being that only started having emotions last fall could get Dean to say the sappiest shit.
"Thank you," Castiel said simply.
"Well...what do you mean, strange conversation?" Dean couldn't imagine what an angel would discuss with a civilian. Unless Castiel used Lucifer's rising as an icebreaker, which probably would lead to a pretty strange conversation.
"She tried to kiss me," Castiel said in the same tone of voice one might use to say 'She threw up on me'.
"And you didn't like it?"
Castiel sighed. "Melissa was a genuinely good person, but I felt it would be disrespectful to Jimmy if I used his body to find pleasure with someone I didn't know."
He should have known it was something like that. Denying himself for the greater good or some warped sense of honor.
"I thought the body was yours now?" Dean asked, swallowing down his curious disappointment.
"It is, but..." Cas trailed off and turned away, watching something Dean knew wasn't really there. "It should be his. He didn't deserve what happened to him. He was only trying to serve his Father. I spoke with him many times before taking over his body, but I don't think he ever really understood what would happen to him. I can't...I can't fix what I've done to him. The only thing I can do is honor his memory."
Cas' gaze shifted back to Dean's face.
"Jimmy loved Amelia fiercely. She was his only lover. If I ever do use this body in that way, I will wait until it's with someone I care for like Jimmy cared for Amelia."
At the end of the speech, Dean released a wavery breath. He didn't know what to say to such an intimate confession or the way it tightened his chest, so he floundered for a moment before striking onto another topic. "So if you didn't care about her, why'd you seem so intent on talking to her?"
"I wasn't intent," Castiel denied. "I was only following Sam's advice to speak with the most attractive woman in the bar."
"So that's your type? Blondes with big tits?" Dean wouldn't put it past Castiel to do something unexpected like fall for stereotypically hot chicks.
"It wasn't her physical appearance that I liked," Castiel explained. "Of all the women in the bar, her soul was the most pure."
Dean gaped at him. "Seriously?"
"Yes," Castiel said, solemn. "You shouldn't judge people by their appearance."
Laughter bubbled up in Dean's chest and he nearly fell over with it. It really did just figure that Castiel would choose a girl based on her sexy soul.
"Man," Dean snickered, striding towards him and grabbing Castiel's arm, pulling him towards the car. "If you like pure souls, why on Earth do you hang around me and Sam?"
To his surprise, Castiel stopped hard and jerked his arm out of Dean's grasp.
"Don't say that, Dean," he commanded, eyes flashing. "You have the purest soul I've ever known."
The humor leached out of Dean as the air between them grew heavy with that strange feeling Dean still couldn't identify. That insane protective feeling that made him act crazy in the bar and made him want to do something right now, something weird like curl his hands around Castiel's shoulders and just touch him.
"I don't like it when you speak that way about yourself," Castiel said and Dean remembered so clearly how confused Castiel looked when they first met. You don't think you deserve to be saved. "You deserve my admiration. More than that. My..."
Castiel's eyes changed. Darkened or cleared or both, Dean couldn't really tell. Only could see something slot into place and the way Castiel suddenly smiled in amazement.
"What?" Dean didn't trust the creepy blissed out 'sure I'll drink the kool-aid' expression on Castiel's face.
"Nothing, I just...something..." And then he laughed. Like actually sort of chuckled and if the world weren't already ending, Dean might have thought that was one of the signs of the apocalypse. "Nothing, Dean. We should go back to the motel now."
"What's so funny?" Dean allowed Cas to tug him towards the Impala. "Why're you laughing?"
"No reason, Dean."
Dean didn't stop bothering Castiel about it all night, not even as they ordered a crappy action flick on pay-per-view and ate pizza together. Not when Sam stumbled into the room hours later with a grin on his face and a story to tell. Nor the next morning while they got ready to finally leave Tuscaloosa and followed Lucifer's trail north.
His answer is what brings the story near to its conclusion. But it's only half the reason Dean and Castiel end up out in that rainstorm together. Because while Castiel may have figured out something important that night, Dean hadn't quite got to the point yet.
The next few weeks were fairly quiet. Strong storms, unusual earthquakes or odd livestock deaths drew them across the state of Tennessee and into Kentucky. As time went by, they began arriving in towns devastated by disaster only hours after the fact. Dean couldn't really tell if they were getting any closer to Lucifer himself, but until they had a better idea, chasing after the signs was all they could do.
The next part of the tale didn't affect the apocalypse one way or another, but managed to change Dean's life forever.
And all because Dean decided to sleep in the same bed with Castiel finally.
They arrived in Paducah, Kentucky on a Thursday night. The streets were wet with the latest weird storm, although Dean couldn't actually rule out the possibility of it being your typical summer storm outbreak. Perhaps a little fiercer than most, but not raining hailstones the size of bowling balls like in Jackson, Tennessee earlier that week.
When they got to the room, exhausted from all-day driving, Sam dove into the nearest bed, legs and arms a tangled mess that basically precluded anyone else sleeping with him. Dean looked at the floor, then looked at Castiel, who was swaying on his feet and obviously in need of a night's sleep.
Dean just couldn't stomach the floor again.
"Right, you're with me, I guess," he said. Castiel's eyes widened.
"Are you sure?"
"Yeah, whatever. Just don't steal the blankets from me."
Dean tried not to watch too closely as Castiel removed his trench coat and set it aside before changing into the pajama pants Sam had bought him in Nashville. For his part, he just tore off his pants and crawled under the covers in his underwear. He felt the bed dip when Castiel joined him, well on his side of the bed and the last thought Dean had before falling asleep was that he hoped Cas didn't start humping the bed in his sleep again.
When he woke up several hours later, eyes blinking at the darkness still blanketing the room, Dean didn't remember where he was for a moment. Or maybe he did know where he was; he just didn't understand why he felt a solid warmth at his back or strong arms around his waist. It was a moment of blissful confusion because Dean couldn't remember the last time he felt this good or this safe. Sleep caught at his mind, threatening to drag him under again and he almost let it. He almost melted back into that embrace and slipped into dreams, but then the body behind shifted and a leg pressed between both of Dean's, spreading them. White hot arousal shot to his groin and that's when Dean remembered he was in bed with Castiel.
"What the fuck," he yelped. Rolling over on his side, Dean tore himself out of Castiel's embrace. This wasn't right. Dean didn't get turned on by having another guy between his legs and certainly not the rumpled not-quite-angel squinting at him in the dark of the room.
"Dean?" he asked, voice ragged with sleep. "Are you alright?"
"I'm going for a walk," Dean growled. He stumbled into his pants and shoes, grabbed his car keys and escaped before Castiel had time to shake the sleep from his mind and figure out what the hell was going on.
The clouds hid the moon and that suited Dean just fine. He stalked off into the pitch dark, in the general direction of a city park he'd noticed on the way in the night before. His thoughts tumbled in his head like a bunch of lottery balls in those big spinning plastic barrels. Only instead of numbers printed on them, they said things like, Fuck me, I'm attracted to Castiel and This is just what I need and God, I can still feel his hands on my stomach.
Dean was concentrating so hard on these thoughts that he almost walked into Castiel.
"Fuck," he spat, startled.
"You're upset," Castiel announced calmly.
"No, I'm not," Dean denied. "I just wanted to be alone."
"In the middle of the night?"
"What better time?" Although, truthfully, after years of one-night stands and failed relationships, Dean was pretty sick of being alone at night. But Castiel didn't need to know that.
"I have to tell you something, Dean." The change in his tone, from worried to nervous and in his expression, from concerned to apprehensive, shook up Dean's insides. For some reason, Dean felt a shot of fear that Castiel was about to leave them. And he might be having a big gay freak-out and wished Cas would go away so he could flip out in private, but Dean didn't want Castiel to actually leave permanently.
"You can't leave," he blurted.
Castiel's head cocked. "That's not what I was going to say." A pause. "Are you worried I'll leave?"
And maybe he was, just a little. Worried that he'd get called back to Heaven or do something reckless and get killed. Gay freak-out aside, Dean was honest enough with himself to recognize that he couldn't handle it if Castiel died.
"Maybe I am," he admitted, flushing and angry at himself for being such a girl. "Maybe it wouldn't be such a problem if you didn't...Fuck! I am not in the mood to be in love with you."
Dean didn't know which of them was more surprised. Certainly Castiel's eyes widened and his mouth dropped open, but it seemed fairly tame compared to the waves of mind-numbing shock rolling through Dean.
That was the moment Dean joined Castiel at the point.
It seemed really obvious now that Dean looked back on his actions the last few months. So obvious, in fact, that Dean started to feel really stupid, which totally ruined the odd euphoria he'd only just started experiencing.
It didn't help when Castiel starting laughing.
"What?" Dean asked, defensive.
"It's just…that's what I was going to say," Cas said through his chuckles. "Not in those words, but I thought it was time I told you how I felt about you."
"Well, I'm so sorry I ruined the moment for you."
Honestly, Dean had never tried to imagine the moment when he'd first confess his feelings to the love of his life, but if he had, it would not have gone this way. And it probably would have starred some gorgeous woman instead because Dean couldn't have guessed he'd want nothing more than to press Cas' scrawny male body into the closest mattress. Love did weird things to people.
"So now what?" Dean asked. "You do realize this is not a good thing, right? The last thing we need during the apocalypse is this distraction."
"It feels like a good thing to me," Castiel said softly. "But if you think we should try to ignore it and concentrate on the task at hand, I do understand."
He took a step back, as if to leave Dean there with his realization and that wasn't fair. After all, it wasn't like Dean didn't have a tremendous weakness in Sam anyway. Add another one on and they were still at the same level of fucked, except maybe Dean would actually be getting fucked sometimes. He supposed he should be surprised by how quickly he got past the freak-out, but the world was ending. He had enough other shit to freak-out over. Sometime, you just had to roll with the punches.
Stepping forward, intent on kissing his angel finally, Dean was stopped short by a booming clap of thunder. He had a split second to peer at the sky before it tore open and buckets of water poured down onto his head. Hard heavy drops of freezing cold water drilled into his head and arms.
"Holy shit," he yelped and reached for Castiel with the thought that Cas could mojo them back to the motel room.
Then lightning flashed and imprinted an image on Dean's mind that he would never forget as long as he lived.
Flung out to either side of Castiel's body were great wing-shaped empty spaces where no rain fell. Dean couldn't hear the rain hitting Cas' wings, but he could see the rivulets flowing down over them, waterfalls perfectly outlining Castiel's huge and fucking beautiful wings. And in the middle, Castiel stood with a grin on his face, hands and face upraised and that's how Dean knew there was nothing evil about this storm. He felt Castiel's joy in the nature created by his Father.
"Come here, Dean," Castiel cried over the pounding rain. Drawn like a magnet, Dean went to him, took his hands and tried not to yelp yet again when the wings folded around them, locking them together into a dry and quiet sphere. They were surrounded by a curtain of rain. Dean couldn't see Cas' wings and when he reached out, found that he couldn't touch them either.
"This is weird," he told Castiel.
"Yes," Cas agreed. "I'm going to kiss you now."
The hands Dean held let go and slid around his waist, down his back. Cas tugged him forward by his hips, which told Dean what he had on his mind. Not that Dean was complaining, of course. Nor was he thinking much when Castiel's lips pressed to Dean's and he discovered to his surprise that angels really know how to kiss. Castiel's hands found their way into Dean's back pockets and it was so scorching hot that Dean nearly fainted right there.
The water continued to pour around them.
All was not right with the world, but all was right with Dean.
This was never the story of how Lucifer was stopped. That's an exciting tale to be sure and one that will be told many times by others, but this was a love story. It should be sufficient to say that they lived happily ever after, but sometimes you just want some proof. So, here it is.
Six years later
"What the hell is that?"
Dean stared at the picture taped to Sam's refrigerator. Five colorful blobs danced together in front of what appeared to be a large box.
"It's supposed to be us," Sam explained from his position in front of the stove where he stirred a steaming pot of spaghetti sauce. "The little green splotch is Maryanne," he said, referring to his four-year old daughter. "And the two red splotches are me and Kimberly. You're the yellow glob and Cas is the blue glob. You see how he's floating a little above the rest of us?"
"Oh right. He's flying. I get it." Dean smirked at Sam. "You're getting better drawing all the time."
"I keep hoping your sense of humor'll improve and then I remember you're thirty-six and it's far too late," Sam said absently as he removed the sauce from the heat. "If she asks, you tell Maryanne it's beautiful, ok? It's the first thing she's done in pre-school and she was so excited she could barely sleep last night."
"Will do," Dean promised. He supposed it wouldn't be a lie in the sense that his niece was amazing and everything she did was wonderful. According to her uncle and father, anyway, because Sam and Dean decided to deal with their weird upbringing by spoiling any of their own off-spring egregiously.
"He went to pick up Bobby."
As if on cue, Castiel and Bobby appeared in Sam's kitchen. Bobby wavered on his feet a little, holding his stomach and made a face.
"I hate the angel taxi," he complained.
"Well, if you would just move to Kentucky with us," Dean said.
"I ain't pulling up stakes just because you think Kentucky is the happiest place on Earth," Bobby shot back, but Dean knew that he was only a few more conversations away from convincing the man to finally sell his place in South Dakota and join them in Paducah. Shaking his head and muttering under his breath, Bobby wandered away to find Maryanne, probably because Bobby never showed up at Sam's without some kind of gift for the kid. It was lucky Sam's wife was there or the men in Maryanne's life would let her get away with murder.
"Hey, Cas, come here, I want to show you something," Dean said suddenly. He saw Sam roll his eyes as Dean grabbed Castiel's wrist and tugged him into the living room.
"What is it?" Cas asked curiously.
"This," Dean answered and drew Castiel into his arms. He'd been working on the car all day while Castiel flew around the country, checking up on a bunch of people they'd saved on hunts the past year and it felt like a long time since he'd awoken that morning with Castiel curled up at his back. "I'm going to kiss you now," he said.
Castiel smiled. "Alright."
So he did.
THE END (for real)