Title: How to Train Your Dragon… Human… Whatever

Pairing: Dragon!Castiel/Dean

Rating: NC-17

Warnings: interspecies relationship, no actual bestiality though, explicit m/m sex

Spoilers: none, totally AU

Word Count: 8579

Notes: This was written for deancastiel's Everlasting Birthday Challenge. I started out with a completely different plot bunny but then it died on me and this one came to me instead, I hope you like it.

Prompt: Cas is a dragon. Dean's the 'virginal' sacrifice. Lots of snark and interspecies misunderstandings, please.

Summary: Dean takes Sam's place as the latest virgin sacrifice. Strange how not being eaten is only the first surprise.

Dean came to with his shoulders screaming in agony at bearing his dead weight for however long he'd been unconscious for. Shaking his head to clear the haze of the drugs he'd been dosed with, Dean got his feet under him, easing the strain on his shoulders and wrists which were bound with rope and tied above him. The rope laced through the heavy iron ring piercing the sacrificial post a foot or so above Dean's upraised hands. Dean gave an experimental tug, entirely unsurprised when the knots held fast. Uriel had been doing this for a long time after all, and the village enforcer was nothing if not good at his job.

The drug fog cleared a little more as Dean shivered in the chill morning air. Dressed in just his sleep clothes he could feel the dew trickle down his skin from where it had gathered on his bare torso while he'd been unconscious. He surveyed the empty meadow that the sacrificial post was set up in, could see the smoke from the village hearth fires curling lazily out of the chimneys and into the still morning air in the distance.

It was suppose to be Sam, hanging here… waiting to die. It was Sam's name that had been drawn from the list of virgins that had reached their majority in the past year, but Dean had made a promise to their father to keep Sam safe. That was why, as soon as night had fallen, Dean had shoved his not-so-little little brother onto Pala, their father's big black stallion, with a satchel containing the last of their food, and sent him to Bobby Singer. The older man had been one of John's few friends and lived deep in the woods, where most of the villagers feared to go. Sam had begged Dean to come with him, they both knew that the Elders would blame Dean when they found Sam gone, but Pala wasn't as young as he used to be and Dean would just slow them down, so he'd stayed behind. It had been worth it, though. Even as he stood there, shivering, the numbness from his hands seeping down into his arms, Dean grinned as he remembered the look of shock on Elder Zachariah's smug, fat face when he'd discovered that the current sacrifice had given them the slip.

The grin faded however, as a deafening roar shattered the stillness of the morning and the reason the village had to give up one of their own several times a year made itself known. Dean tensed, keen eyes scanning land and sky for the beast as he rose up on his toes, stretching his numb fingers toward the knots that remained well out of reach.

"Come on," he muttered, forcing fingers he couldn't feel to wrap around the rope. He still couldn't see the thing but smoke no longer rose from the houses, the terrified occupants having smothered the flames when the creature announced its proximity. Concentrating on keeping his grip Dean tried to ignore the burn in his arms as he pulled himself up enough to grip higher on the rope, then again with the other hand. The numbness was dissipating as blood was forced back into his hands, replaced by the boneless pins-and-needles feeling that threatened to undo all of Dean's work. His feet were dangling off the ground now and one more pull would put his hands in contact with the thick iron ring that had held generations of sacrifices. Just as he touched the metal the damn dragon trumpeted again, startling Dean so that he almost lost his grip but he managed to thread one arm through the hoop and anchor himself before looking around. He blinked the sweat out of his eyes and focused on the giant creature gliding toward him on great leathery wings.

Dean's hands started to tremble with a combination of withdrawal and adrenaline and he clung to the ring, trying to force his uncooperative fingers to work, to loosen knots pulled impossibly tight by his dead weight and his climb to the top.

"Damn it," Dean swore and was almost shaken from his perch by the great gusts of air stirred up by the dragon's wings as it settled its huge body to the ground.

Dean's heart hammered in his chest as the dragon stood mere feet away, watching him with eyes of the brightest blue Dean had ever seen. The creature was black as sin, its thick scales reflecting blue where the rising sun hit them, but Dean was more concerned with the large black claws, each easily the length of one of Dean's arms, that dug into the rich earth of the meadow as it slowly came towards him.

"Go away!" Dean commanded, trying to put the authority into his voice that had come so easily to his father. "Shoo!"

The dragon stopped and blinked its big blue eyes at the human, its huge head tipping to one side like a bird. Dean fought the urge to sigh. Well, it'd been worth a shot.

When all the thing did was watch him, Dean went back to working on the knots, keeping one eye on the gigantic beast staring him to death. Suddenly, the long neck stretched out, putting those massive jaws within biting distance. Dean shouted and jerked back against the post, his bare torso breaking out in gooseflesh as the animal's hot breath fanned his chilled skin. It just seemed to be smelling him now but Dean forced his fingers to work faster then let out a very manly sound of surprise (which sounded nothing like a squeak) as a long, serpentine tongue flicked out to taste him. Dean squirmed as the forked tips tickled over his ribs and down to his belly, flicking around the waistband of his pants.

Part of him wondered why the thing didn't just eat him already, while another part worried about those giant teeth so close to his junk. Eventually the urge to protect the family jewels won out over common sense and Dean lashed out, one bare foot catching the dragon square in the nose. The dragon reared back in surprise, snorting and swiping at its snout with one hugely clawed foot.

"Back off!" Dean barked and the dragon did that bird-like head tilt again before letting loose with another of its trumpeting roars as it reared back onto its hind legs. It arched its long neck, like Dean had seen Pala do after catching the scent of a mare in season, as the usually drab, blue-ish belly scales from under its jaw and all the way to the tip of the tail Dean could see curled behind the animal, flushed the same bright, un-natural blue of the beast's eyes. The wings flared out on either side of the dragon, the same blue color suffusing their undersides as well.

Dean was frozen in fear, and no small amount of awe, at the display but a tiny voice at the back of his head berated 'Way to go, dumbass, now you've really pissed him off!' Dean scowled at the voice, digging his fingers into the rough rope and biting back a curse as one of his nails tore to the quick, but then the dragon was lunging forward and Dean lost his grip on the ring, crying out as his shoulders were jerked nearly out of their sockets as the rope pulled taught. He was slammed back against the post by one of the dragon's front feet, long clawed fingers wrapping around both Dean and the post as its jaws snapped shut above his head. Dean screamed, expecting to feel the pain of his hands being bitten off but only felt the rope give way and fall around his shoulders as his arms (hands attached) dropped to rest on the dragon's scaly paw. Then, the dragon wasn't holding Dean and the post; Dean felt those long fingers wrap around his back before the thing spread its wings and Dean's feet left the ground…

Dean doesn't remember much after that.

The next time Dean came to was vastly different from the first. His arms and shoulders still ached but it was an old hurt, from hanging for hours in the cold and damp. Now, though, he was warm and dry and resting on a soft bed covered with furs. He didn't recognize the room but it was warm, heated by the low fire that crackled in the hearth across from the bed. The room was mostly in shadow so Dean couldn't be blamed for missing the man seated in a dark corner at first. The man was dark haired, his body draped with a black cloak from his shoulders to the floor, making it easier for Dean to have missed him.

"Holy crap, dude," Dean muttered at the guy. "Make some noise."

The man blinked at him.

"You've been asleep for some time," the stranger said, voice a deep growl.

"Yeah, well," Dean said, sitting up and testing his aching joints. "Being drugged and set out for dragon food'll do that to a guy. How'd I get here anyway?"

"I brought you," the man replied and Dean glanced at him.

"I figured that much, thanks," he replied sarcastically. "What I meant was how'd you get me away from tall, dark and scaly? Those things don't give anything up without a fight."

The man was silent, watching Dean from eyes cast in shadow. Dean began to squirm as time passed and the man continued to say nothing.

" 'Kay, awkward," he muttered eventually, scrubbing at the back of his neck. "I'm Dean," he offered, trying to get some kind of dialogue started.

"My name is Castiel."

Dean nodded as he swung his feet to the floor.

"Cas. Great. Maybe you could tell me where exactly I am. I need to find my brother, let him know I'm okay."

As Dean rose to his feet he noticed that he was dressed, not in his old, threadbare sleep pants, but in something new. The cloth making up the pants and what he could only call a tunic was soft to the touch and dyed a rich blue, black stitching forming an odd, looping pattern on the tunic's front.

"You are somewhere safe," the stranger in the corner spoke as Dean surveyed his new clothes.

"Yeah, I, uh… kinda figured that… Did you dress me?"

"Of course," he replied, head tilted in a way that was starting to raise Dean's suspicions, his senses narrowing in on the man. "They are my family's colors, my personal sigil," he indicated the looping pattern on the shirt. "They're to show the others that you're mine."

Dean blinked slowly at the man as the stranger rose from his seat and moved into the light.

"Yours?" he asked, brow arched. "Buddy, I don't know who you think you are…"

Dean trailed off as the man stepped fully into the low firelight; his eyes were a bright, unnatural blue that Dean had only seen once before, the knowledge of where that had been sending the human's heart into double-time as he also realized that that wasn't a cloak draped around the stranger's shoulders… The man's… no, the dragon's eyes were glowing, bright enough to cast blue highlights over his features and some of the room, as the wings Dean had mistaken for a cloak in the gloom spread wide on either side of its bare shoulders, the same blue suffusing the undersides of the webbed membranes like in the meadow but, unlike in the meadow, Dean wasn't drugged and tied to a post, he was free and he intended to make the most of it.

The dragon shaped like a man dropped gracefully to its knees a few feet from Dean, who was backed as close to the bed as he could get without actually being on it, its color-infused wings still spread wide and arched high above its shoulders as it held out one pale, unassuming, human-like hand.

"Come to me," it growled in that low voice and Dean couldn't help the high chuckle that escaped him.

"I don't think so, dude." Then, with one hard lunge, he was across the room, slamming open the door he'd spotted in the fire's flickering light, and running toward daylight.

Castiel hadn't been discouraged when Dean had disappeared out the door; according to his father and the Elders, it wasn't unusual to be rejected five or six times before being allowed to claim a new mate. Instead, he rose to his feet, folding his wings against his back, and gave Dean a head start. He stayed in place until the urge to give chase had him trembling slightly and only when he could no longer restrain himself did the young male slip out of the door, hot on the trail of his mate's scent.

As soon as Dean hit the corridor he realized that he knew where he was; the Castle in the Clouds, a huge crumbling ruin situated on the cliffs by the Eastern Sea. He'd heard stories about the place while growing up, all the kids had, about how it was haunted or cursed or any of the countless number of things kids came up with to scare each other. It just figured that the place was a friggin' dragon's lair!

The path to his right had crumbled away, large chunks of stone littering the marble floor below. The stairs on his left weren't much better, especially since they went up instead of down, but Dean didn't see much choice on his part. Taking the disintegrating steps two or three at a time, Dean made his way to the next floor. Doing his best to stick close to the wall and not look down as he hopped over holes of varying sizes Dean managed to reach the next level. He paused, listening for the dragon in either its man or beast form but failed to hear anything beyond the waves against the cliffs and his own heavy breathing. His racing heart began to slow as the creature failed to make an appearance but that didn't mean that it wasn't holed up somewhere, just waiting for its prey to announce his presence.

Dean needed a weapon.

With his enhanced hearing, it was easy for Castiel to pinpoint his mate and he glided on silent wings to settle among the thick wooden rafters and watch Dean creep from room to room.

"Damn it!" the human cursed as he emerged from yet another empty room.

What was the deal? This was a castle for fucks sake! There was supposed to be suits of armor and swords and shit lying around or decorating the walls but, so far, all Dean had managed to find was a whole bunch of dust, some ratty tapestries, and an ancient-looking bed that seemed ready to cave in if he so much as sneezed at it.

He paused to listen again, on edge because he hadn't heard so much as a hiss out of the damn dragon since escaping that room downstairs. Where was it? What the hell was it waiting for?

Dean tensed, pressing his back against the wall he glanced around, suddenly feeling eyes on him. Most of the interior walls had crumbled, or never existed in the first place, leaving one whole side of the hallways and most of the staircases open to thin air and the long drop to the great room below. It was odd, to say the least. Almost like it had been designed with winged occupants in mind…

Shaking the strange thought from his head, Dean crouched near the edge of the hallway and peered over only to be met by a flurry of feathers. He jerked back with a yelp, the equally surprised pigeon making an abrupt turn and flying toward a hole in the roof.

"Stupid bird!" Dean snarled as he watched it rise past the rafters, then, his eyes caught sight of something that had his heart jumping into his throat. His eyes locked onto a pair of unnaturally blue orbs glowing out of the shadowed eaves and he backpedaled into the wall.

Castiel fought not to react as his mate's gaze settled on him. His instincts were clamoring at him to claim the human, finally here after so long thinking he'd spend his life alone, but he held himself in check. If he'd waited this long then Dean had as well and his mate deserved a proper effort on Castiel's part.

Dean had fallen asleep during their first flight after initiating Courtship but now could be Castiel's chance to demonstrate his abilities in the air. It had been his father's Courtship Flight that had won over Castiel's mother, after all. Relaxing his wings, but still keeping them folded to his back, the dragon allowed his body to fall backwards and dove toward the marble floor below.

Dean nearly choked on the instinctive cry that rose in his throat as the dragon toppled over backwards and plummeted to the ground. It never hit the floor, though, at the last second it unfurled its big black wings and skimmed across the expanse like a bird over water.

Tilting his wings, Castiel caught an updraft and ascended sharply, his passing making one of the faded tapestries dance in the breeze. Nearing the ceiling once more he crooked his wings, sending himself into a spiraling arch through the air before halting his fall and beginning his ascent once more.

Dean didn't know what the hell the thing was doing but couldn't help but be impressed. It went through a series of dives and flips and tumbles, all while in mid-air, that reminded the man of the circus that had come to the village several years ago. The acrobats that traveled with it had been a favorite of his and Sam's until Zachariah and the other Elders had run them off. Deciding to move while the thing was distracted, Dean slowly backed up to the wall and began inching toward the next set of steps, his eyes never leaving the twirling, diving creature, until he abruptly tumbled backwards, landing hard on his back after tripping over stones from a crumbling doorway. Dean blinked at the cobwebbed ceiling for several seconds before raising his head, one hand sweeping back to check for blood. He wasn't bleeding but he had managed to catch the attention of the dragon. Propping himself up on a non-bruised elbow he watched it land lightly in the hall only a few feet away.

Castiel crouched, balanced on the balls of his feet and the fingertips of one hand and surveyed the downed human. Though he knew it hadn't been intentional, the sight of his mate spread out before him sent a thrill through him, instinct urging him to arch his wings and flash his colors, to show his mate how young and strong and virile he was. Dean was watching him with wide green eyes but he wasn't backing away and Castiel purred his approval.

Dean tensed as the dragon let out a low growl that echoed through the empty space like thunder, his heart giving a lurch as the thing lowered its huge wings with their bright blue undersides and prowled towards him on hands and knees. Its eyes were intent on his face as it crawled up his body, nostrils flaring as it scented him.

Castiel paused briefly to press his nose against Dean's groin, where his mate's dark, heady scent was strongest, heard the human suck in a swift breath and go still beneath him. Dean's shirt had ridden up in his fall and Castiel turned his attention to the soft, pale skin that had been revealed.

Dean swallowed a yelp as the forked tips of the dragon's serpent-like tongue tickled over his belly. There was a quick image in his head of the thing suddenly sinking its teeth into the spot and Dean dug his heels into the stone floor, trying to shove himself out from under the dragon but a strong hand caught his hip and the big blue and black wings arched over them both, the three small finger-like appendages at the upper joints of the wings touching the floor and fanning out on either side of his head. Dean jerked his eyes away from the slightly disturbing sight as a hot breath fanned over his throat, followed by a sharp scrape of teeth. Dean shoved at the dragon's chest, his head jerking back and smacking hard against the stone floor but the thing followed him down, quick as a striking snake, and Dean braced for the killing blow.

Then, the dragon kissed him.

Dean's eyes opened wide in shock, a surprised gasp leaving his mouth. Castiel took his mate's silent invitation and deepened the kiss, the tips of his tongue tickling past Dean's lips and over the roof of his mouth before flicking at the humans tongue, trying to coax him into participating.

Dean was kind of freaking out! He'd almost accepted the fact that he'd probably be eaten before the end of the day but then the dragon had turned around and started making out with him! His brain was sending out mixed up signals of fear and arousal, with arousal slowly winning, as Dean breathed in the dragon's scent. He'd expected it to smell like a snake, kind of musty with a hint of damp leaf litter over rich, dark earth, but it didn't. The dragon, Castiel his brain supplied, smelled of the meadow after a spring rain, like a summer thunderstorm, and he tasted so good. Dean groaned softly into the kiss, his hands sliding from Castiel's chest to his shoulders and pulling him closer, raising up to meet him.

Castiel let out another low rumble of satisfaction as Dean accepted his advances, dropping his hips to press against his mate's, delighting in the feel of Dean's hardness against his hip. He began to rut against his mate, reveling in the sweet friction and pressure of cloth and bodies pressing together. He pulled away from Dean's mouth with a gasp, sucking in air and scent, his eyes burning blue, bright enough to cast sapphire shadows on Dean's face. The fingers of one hand tangled in Dean's short hair and pulled his head back, baring the human's throat and pressing his lips there to lick and nip and suck as he shoved a knee between his mate's thighs so he could get closer. It wrung a gasp from Dean's throat and snapped him back to reality. What the fuck was he doing?

The thing might wanna screw now but Dean had no intention of becoming the post-coital snack. He needed to get loose and get back to his brother. His hands fell away from the dragon's shoulders and frantically searched the ground for something, anything he could use. His hand brushed a good-sized hunk of masonry and he wrapped his fingers around it, testing its weight before slamming it as hard as he could against the side of the dragon's head. The thing reared up with a yelp of pained surprise and Dean was able to shove it to one side and scramble out the door once more.

Castiel pressed his hand to the bleeding gash on his temple as he watched his mates retreating form once again. He gave a self-depreciating snort and waited for his vision to return to normal. The first approach was always tricky, female and submissive dragons being notoriously fickle about the when, where, and who of a mating. Castiel had assumed that, because Dean was human, he could let his guard down. Glancing at the crimson staining his fingers, the dragon grinned ruefully; he wouldn't be making that mistake again.

Standing, Castiel swiped his tongue over his bloody hand, cleaning it, before striding out the door and off of the ledge, taking to the air once more. It was time to claim his mate, once and for all.

Dean didn't know how the hell it was managing it but the damned dragon always seemed to be one step ahead of him; a flash of blue down a corridor, the sound of wings from below, glowing eyes peering out of shadowed rooms… it didn't take long for Dean to realize that he was being guided somewhere, pushed through this maze like a cow to slaughter, and he refused to play that game. He began to ignore the noises, only changing course if he actually saw the thing, telling himself that he had to escape, get back to Sam, but there was a part of him that refused to forget the feel of the dragon's human-shaped body pressed against his, the taste of its mouth and the scent of its skin…

"God damn it!" Dean growled and barreled right by Castiel's swooping form, undeterred from his path.

Castiel alighted on the wall, strong claws digging into the ancient rock and anchoring himself as he watched Dean disappear down another staircase. It wasn't working anymore and, even as a part of him swelled with pride in his mate, another part realized that he needed a new plan.

Dean paused in his headlong rush as a chilling sound reached his ears. Slowly, silently, Dean crept to the head of the next staircase, his jaw dropping at what he saw. Castiel, the sneaky bastard, was digging into the stone steps with hands gone to claws, his talons slicing through the stone like it was clay, breaking off huge chunks that tumbled to the floor far below. The dragon gave Dean a smug look and Dean scowled.

"Son of a bitch!" he snarled then turned back the way he'd come.

Castiel chose carefully, destroying only enough to discourage Dean from his path and onto the path the dragon wished him to travel, pushing the human slowly, so slowly, toward the nest in the topmost room of the tallest tower. That nest was his people's legacy, begun by their founder thousands of years ago, with each generation adding to it as they chose, courted, and claimed their own mates. Castiel had added his own touches to the marriage bed of his Clan before flying out to meet his destiny; sparkling rocks and gleaming metals, odd baubles left outside of caves and above the Clan's Cliffside home by the humans the lived nearby, furs and animal pelts to soften the hard edges.

Now all he had to do was get his mate there.

Dean didn't know how it had happened but he found himself running up a spiraling staircase that never seemed to end with Castiel behind him. The dragon was staying just out of sight around the curve of the wall but Dean knew he was there. He could hear the echo of Castiel's footsteps in the enclosed space, the scrape of his claws on the walls, the soft flutter of his wings, the quiet growls that wee getting steadily louder as they climbed…

Suddenly, Dean hit the top of the stairs and nearly fell when there wasn't another step under his foot. He crashed into a wall when his foot came down harder than he'd expected, then went tumbling backwards with a yell as the door he'd hit, not a wall like he'd thought, abruptly opened into a room roughly the size of the village meeting hall and shaped kind of like a bowl. There were clangs and clatters as he rolled down the sloped edge, setting what seemed like the whole structure to moving, before he came to rest, bruised and breathless on a mass of skins and furs in the middle of the room. Something came to rest up against the side of Dean's head and he grabbed it, raising his arm to fling the thing across the room but froze as he realized that what he was holding was an emerald the size of his friggin' fist!

Trying to slow his breathing, Dean dropped the giant gem and propped himself up on his elbows. Looking around his first thought was 'gold'. There was gold everywhere and silver and gemstones, both tumbling free and set into the precious metals. He'd heard that dragon's hoarded wealth like a miser but he hadn't expected this; chalices and plates and coins, necklaces, bracelets and rings… a veritable king's ransom, the wealth of an empire, covering the floor and rising up the walls like snow drifts. Glancing up to the door he'd tumbled through Dean found that there were stairs hugging the curved walls, spiraling down to disappear into the glittering pile and continuing who knew how far beneath it. The mind boggled at how much wealth could be held within this one room. Enough for him and Sam to never go hungry again, to never shiver on a winter's night because they had to make the wood last, to no longer wear clothes that were more patched holes than whole cloth. Hell, just the emerald by Dean's knee would be enough to move them both to the City and allow Sam to attend the big school he was always talking about…

But, none of that was ever gonna happen because Dean was going to die today. The dragon was in the room now, gliding down the spiraling stairs, watching Dean with wary blue eyes. Dean smirked at that, at least now the thing knew that he wasn't gonna go down without a fight.

Castiel felt his wings flush with excitement; his mate was in the nest, crouched on the furs he'd laid out. He dropped to hands and knees as he touched the materials of the nest and cautiously approached Dean. Stopping a few feet away he rose up on his knees and flared his wings to their fullest, flashing his colors the brightest he could manage. He saw Dean's eyes flick to his wings, take in what he was offering, and Castiel held out a hand.

"Come to me," he said, ready to claim his mate, tie them together for the rest of their lives but frowned when Dean shook his head.

"No," the human said. "If this is happening, you're coming to me."

If Dean was going to die, fine; as long as Sam was safe he could face it head-on, but he wasn't going to make it that easy.

Castiel hesitated, head tipped to one side as he re-evaluated his mate, uncertain now. Dean wished him to submit? To bear his throat and his belly to the human, to lie beneath him like a female or a beta and take him inside his body? Castiel was an alpha, had been since hatching but… he studied Dean, standing tall and strong and sure in the middle of the nest. He could see the human's worth, his youth and his strength even though he lacked wings to display it properly and he'd waited for a mate for so long, thought to never receive another to call his own and he theirs.

'What was the thing doing now?' Dean wondered. The dragon was staring at him again, unnaturally blue eyes intent on his face though it seemed to be looking through him rather than at him, with its head cocked to one side in that bird-like way, unmoving. Dean used the dragon's distraction to scan the pile, there had to be a sword or dagger somewhere in all of that glittering crap. But then, the dragon was moving again, slinking toward Dean on hands and knees, its great wings dropped low and nearly brushing the ground. Dean fought not to back up as the creature stopped in front of him.

Then, it spoke.

"I pledge myself to you, Dean; to become your mate and to be yours until the ending of our lives." Castiel spoke the ancient words with the calm authority such a decision called for.

Dean gave a long, slow blink. "Huh?"

Castiel fought his instincts which were clamoring at him to rise, to force Dean beneath him and make the human submit. He dug his nails into his palms in an effort to keep his body under control; if Dean was going to be the alpha in this relationship the human needed to act fast, before the dragon lost his internal battle. Forcing his wings flat, Castiel looked up at Dean.

"Do you accept me as your Eternal Mate, to take to the skies with no other until the ending of our lives?"

Dean stared at the dragon, his heart-rate and breathing returning to normal as he glanced around, half-wondering what the punch-line was before his gaze settled back on the dragon, on Castiel.

"Does, uh…" Dean's tongue darted out to wet his lips. "Does that mean you're not gonna eat me?"

It was Castiel's turn to give a long, slow blink, brow furrowed and his head tilted.

"Why would I eat you?" he asked slowly.

Dean shrugged, throwing up his hands.

"I don't know," he said defensively. "Maybe 'cause that's what dragons do?"

Castiel stood, putting them on equal footing and folded his wings around himself.

"Certainly not. Who's told you these things?"

"If you don't eat the virgins," Dean forged ahead, ignoring Castiel's question. "Then why don't we ever see them again? No visits, no letters, not even a friggin' note!"

"I don't know," Castiel replied. "But we would never harm our mates! We'd sooner rip out our own hearts!"

"Oh, yeah?" Dean challenged. "Then what was up with the runaround we were doing, huh? You tearing up stairs and floors and shit?"

"You responded favorably to my Courtship Flight," Castiel replied and Dean felt his face heating as he remembered what had followed the dragon's aerial routine. "And it's customary for the first mating to take place within the nest."

"Nest," Dean repeated, then followed Castiel's glance around, taking in all of the glitter and gleam. "You mean that… this is your nest?"

Castiel heard the awe in Dean's voice and flushed with pride for his Clan.

"My Clan's," he explained. "Our founder started it several thousand years ago, when we first came to these lands and he took his mate. Each of us has added to it as we came of age and found our own mates."

His eyes were dark when they settled on Dean again, sending a spike of heat straight to the human's groin.

"I've waited a very long time for you, Dean."

The rain and thunderstorm scent was back and Dean felt his body respond to it. He swallowed thickly as Castiel began advancing toward him, his wings held loosely against his back, their undersides flushing blue.

"And what makes you think I'm your mate? My brother was supposed to be the one left out for you."

"That may be," Castiel growled. "But it was your scent that carried to me on the wind," he closed his eyes and breathed deep of Dean's scent, letting out a low rumble of pleasure, "You that woke the hunger within me and, you were the one who agreed to my Courtship."

They were close now, nearly breathing the same air, but Dean frowned, confusion cutting through the haze of pheromones and rising lust.

"When did I do that?"

Castiel regarded him silently for a moment.

"In the meadow," he prompted. "I offered my intent," he flared his wings, "And you shed your blood, shared a precious part of yourself."

Dean jerked as Castiel captured his injured hand and brought it up between them, his soft serpent tongue darting out to soothe the torn nail Dean had nearly forgotten in the adrenaline haze of running for his life.

"Oh," he said softly, then he was being pulled forward by Castiel's grip on his wrist and the dragon's lips were pressing against his own. Dean moaned softly as he parted his lips for the dragon's questing tongue, still finding the thin forks odd but not displeasing.

Castiel released Dean's hand to bear his mate to the furs beneath them, a pleased purr rumbling through him when the other male went willingly, arching his shoulders off the ground to keep their lips pressed together. Dean's thighs easily parted when Castiel slid a knee between them and he could feel the hot, solid length of Dean's arousal through the thin cotton of their pants. He ground down against the human, eliciting a groan from the man beneath him and set up a slow, undulating rhythm of his hips against Dean's as he pulled back to watch his mate's face.

Dean's cheeks were flushed, his freckles standing out, pale against the blood-darkened flesh. He caught his bottom lip between his teeth and his eyes fluttered open, glazed with lust and the pupils blown wide, leaving only a thin ring of green. His hands gripped Castiel's shoulders, running up to cup the back of his skull and tangle in his dark hair, trying to pull the dragon back to his mouth. Castiel resisted, pressing his lips to Dean's collarbone instead, forked tongue darting out to taste his sweat, nostrils flaring as he inhaled Dean's dark, spicy scent. He trailed one hand up Dean's side to his chest to trace over the stitching that formed Castiel's sigil on his mates clothing, his wings flaring up behind him and flashing his colors threateningly, warding off any potential rivals.

Dean's eyes opened wide at the sight of nine feet of wing rising straight into the air above them and the thought came unbidden… what the fuck was he doing? Sure, Cas wasn't gonna eat him but the guy wasn't even human! Every person in the village, and Dean and his brother specifically, had been told growing up to not trust the monsters. His father had been a hunter, had killed the evil things that preyed on humans… things like Cas. How could Dean be sure the dragon was telling him the truth? His body and his heart were telling him that the dragon wasn't lying to him but since when had his heart ever had Dean's best interests in mind?

He pulled back when Castiel moved up for another kiss and the dragon blinked brilliant blue eyes at him. Dean shook his head.

"I can't."

"Dean?"

"I'm sorry, I just… I can't…"

He tried to roll over, to regain his feet, but Castiel's leg between Dean's, his hands braced on either side of him, wouldn't allow it. Dean shoved at the dragon, pushing with his feet, trying to get out from under the other male, but Castiel wouldn't be moved. It was a brief tussle that ended with Dean in Castiel's lap, held there by the dragon's strong arms and velvety wings. Dean was trembling, his face buried in Castiel's neck as he muttered, "I can't, I can't," over and over again.

"Why, Dean?" Castiel questioned, driven to understand his mate's distress. "Why can you not? I don't understand."

"I just… I can't make it work," Dean told him, confessing the true reason for his hesitation. "I've tried, I tried so hard with Cassie and with Lisa and they both left. It's not gonna last and I can't start it if it's not gonna last, not again."

Then, Castiel understood. Dean had tried to take each of these females as his mate at one time, but he had been born for Castiel; on some level, these females had sensed it and let him go. That was why dragon's mates were given over to them as virgins, before they'd had a chance to try to form bonds with other humans that were doomed before they began. Castiel didn't know how his and Dean's connection had been overlooked by the Elders of both of their respective Clans, but it had, and Dean had paid for that oversight in heartbreak. Holding Dean close to his chest, Castiel explained, stroking his fingers through the human's soft hair. Dean snorted derisively at the end.

"Probably Zachariah," he muttered. "That douche has had it in for me for years now."

Castiel fought not to hiss. Being appointed Elder was an honor few received and rife with sacred responsibilities, not just to their villages but to the dragon Clan as well. To willfully cast aside or ignore these responsibilities for personal gain or vendetta was an affront to everything the position stood for! Castiel resolved to take the matter up with his Clan's leader, Michael, but later… much, much later, because, right now, Dean was sucking bruises onto Castiel's throat and running curious fingers over the living satin of his wings. He was grumbling about acting like a girl under his breath as his dominant nature was being pulled to the fore, no match for the pheromones of an alpha dragon so close to claiming its mate.

Castiel jerked in surprise as Dean sank his teeth into the dragon's shoulder, growling out a low, possessive "Mine" around the flesh. Castiel's length twitched within the confines of his pants at the sound and allowed his mate to push him onto his back. His wings gave a feeble flap of protest before Castiel forced them to still and submitted. Dean needed this, needed to mark and claim and make Castiel his own and the dragon found himself more than eager to comply.

Dean tangled his fingers in the dragon's thick, dark hair and pulled him into a bruising kiss. Catching Castiel's full bottom lip between his teeth and drawing a low snarl from the dragon, he wrestled the soft cotton down Cas' legs as Castiel tugged the tunic up to Dean's shoulders. His nails had lengthened to claws and caught Dean's skin in places, drawing blood as he wrestled with the fabric. Dean hissed at the small pain, releasing Castiel's mouth and allowing the dragon to rid him of his shirt.

Dean's eyes fell to the wings stretched out on either side of the creature beneath him and pressed an open palm against the brilliant blue membrane, feeling the hot pulse of blood beneath the satin-smooth skin. Castiel arched beneath Dean, pressing his wing into the man's touch as a needy mewl left his mouth. Dean's green eyes were dark, nearly swallowed by his pupils, as Castiel started shoving at his pants, muttering "off!" and growling until Dean was bare before him. Dean's length twitched at the low sound rumbling out of his dragon and was quick to move between Castiel's thighs, pressing their bare skins together. Castiel's flesh was as silky as his wings and Dean groaned at the feel of it along the length of his body before claiming the dragon's mouth again, running his tongue over Cas' bottom lip, swollen from Dean's teeth.

The dragon was almost completely smooth with only a light dusting of dark curls at his groin that Dean discovered as he slipped a hand between their writhing bodies and wrapped his fingers around the erection pressing against his stomach, his own riding the crease of Castiel's thigh as he claimed the dragon's mouth again, eager for the taste of him. The dragon grumbled out an odd purring sound and wrapped his own hand around Dean's, showing the human how he liked to be touched. Dean followed Castiel's lead; it was different from touching himself but similar enough that he easily fell into a rhythm that drew growls and more of those purring sounds from Castiel.

The dragon thrust into his mate's hand as his own smoothed down Dean's strong, muscled back to grip the human's hips, fighting the urge to flip their positions and bury himself inside the other male.

"Please, Dean," he urged, voice gone to a low growl as he maneuvered the human between his legs. "Take me, claim me, make me yours."

'Before I can't stop myself' he added silently as Dean nodded, watching him with glazed green eyes.

"Yeah," Dean said, voice nearly a match to Castiel's. "Yeah, I can do that."

He pushed himself to his knees to look around for something, anything he could use to ease the way. Dean may not have done this often with men but enough to know that spit made a poor substitution if there was something else on hand. Then, Castiel was gripping his hand and tipping the spout end of a small golden vessel over it, covering his palm in a thick, slick substance that smelled faintly of rosemary and mint. It left his skin pleasantly cool and a little tingly as he rubbed it between his fingers, then those same fingers were being guided between Castiel's legs by the dragon's own hand. He encountered more of that velvety-soft skin as Castiel moved Dean's hand down and back, those gloriously massive wings twitching and rippling as Dean teased a slick finger over and around his dragon's… his mate's puckered entrance.

Castiel couldn't stop the low growl that rumbled through his chest as Dean's fingers slipped inside, too busy keeping his wings in check and his alpha instincts under control. Those instincts that were screaming at him, through every muscle in his body, to not yield, to bite and claw and force his chosen and accepted mate beneath him, to stake his claim until there were none, not human nor dragon nor anything in between that didn't know that Dean Winchester belonged to him. Dean closed his eyes with a groan as Castiel clenched around his exploring fingers, the sounds the dragon was making sending bolts of arousal through Dean's veins. Castiel was propped up on his elbows, hands clenched into fists as he watched Dean with smoldering blue eyes as the human removed his fingers with a wet sound and a groan from the dragon, and replaced them with something bigger.

Castiel let out a low snarl as Dean sheathed himself to the hilt in his body, his back arching at the unaccustomed sensation. Dean pressed their bodies flush together, his forehead resting momentarily against Castiel's as he remembered how to breathe before the dragon wrapped him up in legs and arms and strong wings, another purr rumbling up through his chest. Dean could feel the claws on Cas' wings scratching his back as the dragon clung to him and groaned, reclaiming his mate's lips in a hungry kiss.

Castiel held Dean tightly as they moved together, could feel heat building in his belly, a different heat warming his palms and he clenched his hands into fists to reign in his fire, startled. A strong shove of his wings against the ground rolled Dean to his back, the position finding new spots of pleasure inside and Castiel threw his head back, wings spreading wide as his lust-addled brain fought to work. He'd been afraid that he'd be unable to mark Dean as his chosen mate because of the change in their roles, had never heard of it happening before, but it appeared to be a myth if the heat rising in Castiel's hands was any indication. His eyes met and locked with Dean's as the human gripped Castiel's hips, planting his feet to better match the dragon's movements above him, and Cas leaned down, blanketing them both with his wings to growl the binding words in Dean's ear as he felt their end approaching.

"I pledge myself to you, Dean Winchester; to become your mate and to be yours until the ending of our lives. I accept you as my Eternal Mate and vow to take to the skies with no other until the ending of our lives. Do you?"

Dean's brain was nearing shut down but he recognized the words from earlier, understood the tone Castiel used and nodded as best he could.

"Yes," he gasped. "Always yours, always mine."

It was apparently good enough because Castiel swooped down and sealed their mouths together, serpentine tongue delving between his lips and one hand tightening on his left shoulder as the pleasure peaked and swept them away.

When Dean came to, for the third time that day, it was to the pleasure-pain sensation of a soft, warm tongue gently bathing the sore flesh of his left shoulder. What the hell? He remembered the meadow, the chase through the castle and the smoking hot sex, but not what had caused the hot throb of a burn on his shoulder. Turning his head Dean's sight was filled with Castiel's dark hair then his brilliant blue eyes and finally the pink swipe of his tongue as he laved a hand-shaped burn seared into Dean's skin. Dean felt free to repeat, what the hell?

What he said was, "Ow."

"My apologies," Castiel rumbled and Dean realized that he could feel the dragon's regret at harming him, even if it had been necessary.

"What happened?" Dean asked, sitting up and trying to get a better look at the freaking brand Cas had put on him. The dragon turned away only long enough to gather the little golden vessel that contained the slick they'd used earlier.

"It is a physical manifestation of our bond," the dragon explained as he poured out a bit of the salve and began to gently coat the angry red skin. Dean watched him, silent.

"So," he said, hesitantly, "All that you said… all of that was real? You weren't just feeding me a pipe-dream?"

Castiel wasted no time capturing Dean's face between gentle hands and meeting his gaze unwaveringly.

"Never doubt my feelings for you, Dean," he said softly. "You are my mate. The sun on my scales and the skies I travel. Mine, always and forever. It took me too long to find you to ever dream of turning from you now."

Dean blinked at the sudden rush of emotion rushing at him from the dragon through their bond and nodded, allowing Castiel to press their mouths together in a passionate kiss. He figured that he'd freak about this whole thing later but, right now, it just felt too good to poke at. Before too long, though, Dean's sense of masculinity reasserted itself and he rose to his feet and began searching for his pants.

"Now that we've filled our quota of girly stuff for the day," he said, turning a cocky grin toward his new mate. "I need you to take me to find my brother before he brings every hunter within a hundred miles down here looking for me."

Castiel nodded and rose to his feet, though he didn't look particularly worried.

"I assume you sent him somewhere safe?"

Dean nodded.

"To a friend of our dad's, man named Bobby Singer. He lives out in…"

"I know where Bobby resides," Castiel replied, startling Dean.

"Yeah?" the human questioned. "You pick it out of my head or something?"

"I've known Robert all of my life," the dragon said.

"How?" Dean questioned as Castiel slipped into his own trousers. Dean found himself following behind the dragon as Cas climbed the spiraling stairs to the nearest window and took his hand. He didn't even think twice when the dragon wrapped him in his arms and spread his wings.

"He's my uncle," Castiel said then launched them into the empty air.

Dean didn't scream like a girl.

No matter what Castiel says.