If You're Hanging Around, I'm Holding the Noose
He remembers the day he met Castiel – long before he'd taken Jimmy Novak's body, long before Dean had been given his own back. He remembers the feeling of hands digging in, into chest and lungs and ribs, and he remembers the pull. Pieces connected where they'd been broken, where nothing had worked for so long, and those hands had crafted like they had know what they were doing – like they knew how to fix him.
It's difficult to forget the sudden start of his heart, where it had once been quiet and had become a loud beat in his ears again. He'd heard it in his ears, against his chest and in his throat, and the feeling had been so sudden, so foreign that it had almost scared him. It had been a slow, steady pull back into motion – his lungs again learned to breathe in and out, over and over, and the subsequent feelings had been completely smothering, so overwhelming that he'd been almost certain the pieces had been put back together wrong.
More than anything he remembers the blinding, searing light. The electricity that crackled and popped, wrapped itself around every bone and muscle, mended blood back into the skin, that had ran through him like he was a live wire. It had set body and lungs and heart into motion, but it hadn't fixed him.
He hadn't known it was Castiel until they'd met face-to-face. When he'd realized that those hands and that electricity and that burn was Castiel. Because there had been a sudden pull, that started in his arms and ended up in his ribs, like all of those organs were borrowed and knew who they belonged to.
The mark on his arm had been the worse, had burned and ached like it didn't belong, like his body had to reject it or he'd be swallowed alive. It had gotten worse the closer Castiel got to him, the closer he stood in his space. It had grown like an itch, until it had left Dean tense and unmoving, until he'd been left wondering what would happen if Castiel had just... touched it.
It hadn't taken long after being brought back to life for Dean to start to feel like something was wrong. Because he's a human, a person, a mind and a body, and he's not just a fucking jigsaw that the pieces fit back together just-so. Because you can't just put the mind back in the body, dust off the dirt and assume everything is fine.
He'd confronted Castiel about it, because, really, what else could he do? Castiel had gone into Hell and picked up all the pieces – but he'd obviously forgotten something in the fire and brimstone. He must have left behind small pieces that weren't important, that God hadn't instructed him to grab in his haste. Dean had been certain from the moment he'd woken up in his own grave that there was something of his still laying in Hell, abandoned and dying, because he'd felt the absence like a hole in his chest.
And he'd had his fists in the lapel's of Castiel's coat, desperate and demanding, because Cas had forgotten something. He'd gathered the pieces and he'd put Dean back together like some sort of fucking brain teaser, but there was something he'd left out – there was something he hadn't put back.
And Castiel had accepted the anger, had accepted the mistreatment, because there hadn't been anything else he could do. Because when prompted, he'd fixed Dean with a stare, expression steeled, and informed Dean that he'd already given him everything.
It's taken a long time, far too long, for him to realize that there are pieces of Castiel in him, like shards of glass. They ache like splinters, like a forgotten piece that the skin has healed over, and it aches worse the more he ignores it.
Because there's more of Castiel's grace inside him these days than there is inside Castiel.
It seems like a waste these days. Because there are times when Castiel still gives him that look, stares at him like he holds all the answers, like he holds the world in his hands – and Dean is sorry to disappoint, but he really doesn't. He's an ordinary man, brittle and breakable and human and he's not extraordinary or some superhero that can save everyfuckingthing.
He's fragile and he's falling too, crashing underneath this wave like everyone else, and if his head is above the surface then it's only temporary.
When Cas touches the mark he left on Dean's arm it's in Bobby's junkyard, with Dean's backside pressed up against the radiator of a bullet-ridden pickup. It's like a flare shoots through his body, like a flame suddenly fanned. It erupts into heat and it spreads like wildfire, consumes him until he's gasping against Castiel's mouth.
There shouldn't be anything left, nothing that sparks like it does, but everything underneath Castiel's hands is that low thrum, that vibration that Dean feels in every bone.
And Castiel is inexperienced and newly-human and he doesn't even know how to kiss, but his hands map across Dean's skin like he's already disturbingly familiar with every inch. His lips are learning, but his hands seem to know how to take him apart, seem to know how all of these pieces fit together.
Fingers dig in and Cas presses him into the metal like he's unbreakable – like patience isn't something he's familiar with, like he doesn't know how to take his time. They don't have time for patience.
And none of it makes absolutely any sense at all.
Because Castiel is completely human. The air is cold and Castiel's hands are cold – of course they're cold. Except where they're burning across Dean's skin like he's on-fucking-fire. A trail of heat and static all along his stomach where those fingers are working underneath his shirt, pulling it over his ribs like Dean might burn alive if he doesn't. And, God, maybe he will, because there's beads of sweat forming on his brow and each breath feels like he's taking it in a damned sauna.
When those fingers move to dig into his hips, one insistent knee sliding in between his thighs, Dean briefly feels that familiar stab of guilt that never seems to completely leave him. Because, okay, he doesn't even remember the last time he got laid. It's been a long damned time. Too long. And it is the end of days and all of that shit, but, fuck, he does have a conscience. And it had been completely different when it was Chastity the Hooker about to take an angel's virginity rather than himself.
It's a fucking stupid thing to waffle over now, especially since it's Castiel that has him shoved against the truck, hands already working at the buttons on Dean's Levis, and Dean being the one that is trying to catch up. It honestly doesn't feel like he's taking anything at all from Cas, but the guilt is still there regardless.
It goes until Castiel grabs his jaw and stares at him hard. "Stop it, Dean."
So he tries to stop thinking.
He undoes the buttons of Castiel's shirt, pushes dirty white cloth over too-warm shoulders, and he doesn't think. He presses fingers and palms against the scarred, still tender skin that the shirt reveals, presses until Castiel gasps into his mouth – almost pain and almost pleasure that is all too human to be coming from him.
The shirt stays on, gathered at Castiel's elbows, but it doesn't seem to hinder his movements any when he reaches between them and presses the heel of his hand against the straining of denim there. And Dean's hips do buck at that, at the way Castiel's wrist moves his hand in a slow circular motion, like he knows exactly what it is he's doing – but, fuck, where the hell had he even learned it?
"Fuck," Dean breathes, and closes his eyes. Okay, it has been a while, but he does sort of have a reputation – or at least he's fucked enough people that he's not new at any of this shit – and it's going to look really bad if he gets off in two seconds from Castiel fondling him.
And, God, not even really fondling. Just touching him through his pants, the heat of his skin bleeding through the denim, and he's biting his lip so hard at this point that he's close to breaking the skin. His own fingers find purchase against Castiel's ribs and he grips hard, like it can ground him in some way.
The buttons of his jeans are already undone, so he almost doesn't notice Castiel's hand moving until his fingers are skirting underneath the waistband of his boxers. He has a brief moment of Thinking Too Much before Castiel wraps five fingers around him and breathes, "Dean", and then he's done thinking completely – brain gone and shut off and fucking useless.
Dean chokes on his own breath and Castiel presses lips against his jaw, against his neck, but Castiel still doesn't find time for patience. Because his other hand presses flat against Dean's hip and slides down, taking jeans and boxers with it, and the air is cool and the metal of the radiator is unpleasantly, startling cold against his skin, but those hands are warm.
One of Cas' shoes scuffs along the dirt, moves glass and empty shells to the side - and it's not slow, not graceful, but when Castiel moves to his knees on the dirt it's probably the hottest thing Dean has ever seen. He glances up once, perhaps to see that Dean is paying attention and not wallowing in his own guilt again, and then he stretches those wonderful, perfect lips and swallows him.
And Dean doesn't even know what noises he makes at that – something helpless and embarrassing and incriminating – but fuck.
He doesn't look. He presses a hand over his eyes and clenches it into a fist so tight that he feels his nails digging into his palm, because the sight is too much. And he's really trying his damnedest to stick to his plan of lasting longer than five fucking minutes, because he's not a god damned teenager and he has more self control than that.
His other hand curls into Castiel's hair and uncurls again and he's really trying not to thrust into Castiel's mouth because he doesn't want to choke him, and he focuses on his breathing and, really, even that's getting more difficult by the minute. Cas pulls back slightly, but doesn't take him out of his mouth – just wraps a hand around the rest of his length and starts moving his tongue across the head-
And Dean is going to kill whoever taught Castiel this. Shoot them dead between the fucking eyes because holy fuck.
He does grab Castiel's head then, digs his fingers into his hair and clings to him, because he's absolutely gone. He's gasping for air, metal of the truck digging angrily into his back as he arches, and the cold is nothing compared to the boiling in his blood.
He doesn't see stars, because he doesn't see anything. Vision black, entire body tense – except for the way he's shaking, limbs twitching without his consent. It's a slow descent and he's still coming down from it when Castiel presses his lips against his jaw again.
It reminds him to breathe.
"I think I would do it again," Castiel murmurs against his skin, and Dean groans.
"Fuck, Cas, I think you're going to have to give me a minute-"
He feels the smile against his jaw and Castiel pulls away, and amused is a good look for him. "I mean that if I were given the choice I would make the same decisions again; I would fall again."
Dean swallows tightly and let's Castiel pull his jeans back up around his hips.
There's a light on from the house that he doesn't want to comment on, but it's like a ticking clock and it settles a heavy weight into his throat that he can't swallow.
He buttons his jeans and catches Castiel's wrist as he starts to button up his shirt. His skin is cold. "I know no one's probably told you, but these things usually go both ways. I'm not that much of a douchebag."
"I think we're out of time," Castiel replies, and it's harder to hear it from him, a little worse when he slowly pulls his hand away from Dean's and buttons his shirt the rest of the way up.
And it's cold. It's really fucking cold and Dean wonders why he isn't wearing a jacket, why he has all of these chills.
"You'll be here when I get back from Chicago," Dean says, and it's hardly a question, not even a request, but he waits for an answer all the same.
Cas picks up the shotgun from where he laid it against the pickup. "It is likely I will be inside when you return. Sam insists I sleep at 'normal hours'."
And, okay, he hadn't mean you'll still be standing in Bobby's junkyard when I get back, but this human thing is a learning process and Castiel is getting there.
It's definitely a start.