Dean leant against the alley wall, boots cracked and leaking slush into his thick wool socks. Snow fell like cotton, silent and innocent, freezing on everything it touched, including the shoulders of his leather jacket. He hooked a numb finger into the loop on his jeans, looking out onto the street for any potential Johns. No one. Because of course no one was going to venture outside to unzip for a whore in this weather. You'd freeze your dick off, as Dean was doing now even when fully clothed.
A figure prowled along through the feathery grey mass, and Dean pasted his best smirk over his frigid face and leaned at the mouth of the alley. The figure came into view and Dean let his shoulders droop – he could recognise another rent when he saw one, and this guy was obvious. Thin grey T-shirt half soaked with snow, dark hair spiked up with damp and fragile hips beneath his too big jeans. Dean himself favoured tight shirts and jeans, showing off the body that little food and plenty of moonlight flits and hoofing it across town kept trim and muscled. But he knew there were enough dicks out there to keep someone like this in cigs and food if little else. Guys who looked like the boys their old clients sweated over, innocent and big eyed.
He pauses, twitchy, when he notices Dean, then pegs him as one of his own and approaches with caution.
"Bad night." Dean says, evenly.
"Bad. Awful." He says, too quickly, and Dean hopes he isn't on anything, junkies make bad company – they lie, they steal and they're terrible at conversation, least in his experience. The kid, because he can't be more than sixteen, maybe seventeen, is holding a brown paper bag with grease stains. He perches on the fire escape nearby and opens it, plucking out a handful of fries and hoovering them up indelicately, full, chapped lips getting smeared with grease and salt. It's probably the only care they get, Dean thinks, that layer of fryer grease against the cold.
He catches Dean's look.
"You want?" he holds the bag out, mouth full. Dean stretches and rubs his hands together, then accepts a handful of fries. He eats them quickly, watching as the kid picks at the rest without care, eating as fast as possible.
"You got somewhere to go?" he asks eventually. Because he started this game when he was fifteen and it's been ten long years. Dean knows that on a night like tonight you need a roof and walls, no matter how damp or cracked or if they're shared with noisily fucking couples at a turnpike motel.
The kid jerks a thumb at the cardboard box beside an overflowing dumpster. There are blankets inside, a kind of nest which Dean had looked at earlier in his boredom.
"I sleep here." He explains, scrunching the empty bag one handed and sucking the grease from his fingers, warm, wet saliva briefly enlivening the white skin of his long fingers, taking away the cold.
"You shouldn't be outside tonight." Dean mutters. "Kids die on nights like this...hell, anyone would."
"I'm not a kid." He grouses tossing the ball of paper away.
"You'd be best off in a room." Dean insists.
The kid snorts a laugh. Dean doesn't need to ask what's funny, business is crappy for everyone tonight, but the kid enlightens him anyway.
"I've got twelve dollars in my pocket, and I've had one guy all day. One suck job, twenty bucks...and he had me kneeling in the ice." He shakes his head. "You have somewhere? Cold's shitty for the old people as well you know."
"Bite me." Dean growls, but he's right, he's ancient by this neighbourhoods standards. "Fuck off..."
"Castiel." The kid says.
"It's my name." He shrugs, picking at the limp fabric of his shirt and touching the frigid flesh of his bare arms. "We're all named like that, we're all angels. Seven of us, Michael, Lucifer, Gabriel, Anael, Uriel, Balthazar...and me, I'm the smallest." He frowns at something Dean can't see. "I'm the baby."
Dean figures there's a lot behind that sentence. There's a lot Castiel's looking at that Dean can't see.
The kid blinks and he's back on planet earth, though Dean's still wondering what kind of man would name his kids after angels, and then leave the youngest to whore his mouth, and more, to guys who like them young and soft.
Castiel looks at the damp cardboard shelter, then back at Dean.
"I meant it...you have somewhere? A room?" Castiel asks.
"I've got a place in mind."
This seems to process for a moment.
"I'll blow you if you let me stay there." Castiel says, after a moment's thought.
Dean feels a little part of him get impossibly colder.
"You don't have to offer that to everyone." He growls, low and tonelessly.
"It's what everyone wants." Castiel shrugs without bravado, his voice dropping dead as a stone. "Why wait for them to ask, it goes faster like this."
Dean thinks for a second, but he can't think of a way around that. It's mostly true, most guys wouldn't turn down Castiel's offer. Straight, gay, married, single, curious, destitute – they'd still take his mouth for whatever tiny allowance he wanted. Food, a bed, ten bucks or a breath mint. Didn't matter.
"Greens Motel, three streets away – you know it?" he says instead.
"I've been there."
Well, they both have, isn't that the whole point?
"Ok, get your stuff."
Castiel watches him for a second, then goes to drag his army satchel and damp blankets from his box. He follows Dean through the streets, shivering under the snow but never complaining. Dean doesn't offer him his jacket and the kid doesn't ask.
At some point you stop asking for favours. You stop believing in something for nothing.
They go through the tiny office, Dean's already got the key from the night desk operative, thirty bucks for the night and more than he can afford. Single room, lap, TV with electrical tape all over it, cracked sink in the same room as the bed.
He lets Castiel dump his stuff in the corner and then sit down on the edge of the bed.
"Change your clothes." Dean says after a minute, when it becomes apparent that Castiel isn't going to think of it himself. "They're wet."
"I don't have any." Castiel blinks at him owlishly.
"Then what's in the bag?" Dean asks.
"Books. Couple of pictures. Tylenol. Condoms." He shrugs. "All my clothes got taken from a laundry place a month ago."
Dean shakes his head. "Take them off, you'll get the sheets wet."
He takes off his jacket and the shirt underneath, throwing the latter at Castiel to put on. He shrugs out of his jeans and sits on the scratchy under sheet of the bed, wearing only his boxers. Castiel pulls on the warm cotton, shivering as he gets under the blankets. Dean looks at him curiously.
"I can sleep on the floor, if you want." Castiel says, blue eyes already alight with concern that he's done something wrong.
"Don't be stupid." Dean mutters, sliding into bed himself and flicking off the dim lamp beside him. It's dark, he's tired and he wants to sleep now.
Castiel leans over him and palms the front of his boxers, Dean snatches his hand away.
"The hell are you doing?"
"You let me stay." Castiel says as though it should be obvious why he's reaching for Dean's cock like he's just slipped him twenty bucks.
"Jesus. Fucking..." Dean rolls over and stares at the opposite wall. "Go to sleep."
"What's wrong?" Castiel's voice carries an edge of childish hysteria, like he's frightened by Dean's refusal to use him, which is probably the most fucked up thing Dean's heard all evening.
"You don't owe me ok? You gave me some food, you can share the bed – that's it."
He lies in silence, waiting for the fallout from that, then he feels a warm pressure against his back, The slight form of Castiel's body moulding against him, face pressed to the back of his neck, the way Sam used to sleep next to him before the accident. Before his dad had killed them both, wrecking his car and Dean's life over a bottle of Jack.
He feels the wetness of tears there a while later, the shuddering of sobs in Castiel's thin chest.
Dean rolls over and holds onto him, he doesn't know why, save for the fact that Castiel is so obviously broken that he can't help but want to help him. It's the old Dean, the one who stole Christmas presents for Sam and tried to cover for his Dad's drinking. Wanting to fix everything so badly he papered over dangerous cracks.
If he'd only left one, one solitary flaw to clue in somebody to the fact that John was cracking up – Sam might not have ended up on a slab at ten years old.
It's the memory of Sammy that makes him ask.
"What happened to you Castiel?" he whispers, like he's known him for years and the kid's only just changed.
Castiel sucks the side of Dean's neck fiercely, biting at the pulse there as his hands push at the fabric of Dean's underwear and then his own, uncovering them both and pressing them together, rubbing and thrusting brokenly. Dean lets him and holds onto him even as the boy jerks half with misery and half with desire, fucking them loosely in his fist, face buried in Dean's clavicle. At some point he stiffens, his body shaking with pleasure and incoherent desperation, and Dean feels rather than hears the word 'Father' moaned against his skin.
It tells him nothing, and all he needs to know at once.
He cradles Castiel and lowers his hand, strokes him slowly, letting the orgasm wash over him in teasing waves rather than jolting him through it. Bitterly savouring the boys pleased mewls of pleasure as short, small, licks of ejaculate sputter over his palm with each pull. He drags as much as he can from the shaking boy underneath him, bringing him far, far over the edge in a trembling mass of pleading and tangling, slender limbs.
Castiel lies panting, eyes closed and body lax against the itchy sheets, while Dean jerks himself quickly and comes over his hand with a growl. Castiel makes no sound as Dean gathers him into his arms and holds onto him as their sticky stomachs dry and flake over the rough linens. Castiel starts to snore softly against his chest and Dean strokes his hair carefully, not wanting to wake him.
By morning he's acquired a lot of things. A friend, a brother, a son, a fuck buddy and a partner.
The boy with the name of an angel.
The boy with the Father he never talks about, but cries over at night when only Dean is there to hear, who shakes under his touch and yet clings to him with strength beyond his size and age.
They work during the day, but Dean keeps them in the same place at night – motels, abandoned buildings, shelters, under bridges, behind buildings.
He's not making the same mistake twice – he never should have left Sam.
He's never going to leave Castiel. Whatever happened to the kid, whatever his sainted Father did, is something he can't fix. But somehow, in the dark of the hotel room, he' found a part of the broken boy to hold on to, to love as much as he can love anything.
Something to keep him warm.