The flickering, illuminated face of the decade-old bedside clock flashed 3:27 when Dean finally realized he was just not destined for sleep tonight. A trunk full of Ibuprofen couldn't take out the powerful throbbing in the shoulder a psychotic shapeshifter had dislocated that afternoon, and Sam was snoring through what they suspected was a broken nose in the next bed.

With a gruff sigh of defeat, Dean shifted carefully upright against the headboard, rubbing his eye with his bandaged left hand. He figured he might as well get back to researching about Eve and swung his legs silently over the edge of the bed. He cast a glance over at Sam as he always did, assuring himself that his brother was present and in one piece before he got stiffly to his feet and shuffled over to the tiny table in front of the large window where Sam's mountain of books rested.

Halfway through his third-attempt at reading a particularly boring paragraph, the sound of something rustling gently against the scratched linoleum floor in the kitchen niche caught Dean's sharp attention. Craning his neck and lifting himself out of his seat to gaze around the partition that separated the beds from the kitchen, he saw an all-too familiar figure on all fours in front of the cabinets, blood dripping from his lower lip.

"Cas," Dean breathed, on his feet and by the angel's sides in seconds. "Cas, what – shit, what happened?" he asked, green eyes widening as he realized that the white undershirt the angel wore beneath his suit was also stained with crimson.

"Raphael," Castiel hissed, his hand finding Dean's shoulder, fingers curling in the material of the hunter's shirt. "His men ambushed me… I was careless, I should have been expecting it." A strong tremor passed through the angel then, his face tensing with pain as he leaned against Dean's chest for support.

"Fuck, come on, let's get you cleaned up, all right?" the hunter replied, his voice low as he moved to the angel's side and slipped his arm beneath Cas'. Slowly, gingerly, he coaxed Cas to his feet, surprised by how heavily the angel was relying on him for support.

After the slow and halting hike back to Dean's bed, the hunter disentangled his limbs from his friend's and quickly made work of removing the trademark trench coat and suit jacket, tossing them carelessly aside before he helped Cas sit and then lie back slowly against the mattress.

Dean slid onto the edge of the bed beside the angel as his hands swiftly unbuttoned the front of the blood-soaked shirt, carelessly tossing the tie to the side without bothering to remove it from around Cas' neck. The hunter winced slightly at the sight of the wound – it was nearly nine inches long, and it was deep. Blood still leaked from the center and the flesh around it was raised and raw.

"I'll be right back," Dean muttered, briefly glancing up to gauge the angel's expression. He was slightly surprised to find that Cas had been watching him intently the entire time, his normally calm blue eyes glazed with pain. Dean managed to return the look with a small smile before he got to his feet and headed to his duffel bag to fish out the first aid kit he and Sam had already abused earlier in the day. He returned to Cas' side immediately and opened the aluminum case, glancing through the contents for a sterile needle and thread.


The tone was quiet and shaky, accompanied with what sounded like a stifled groan of discomfort. The hunter glanced up to find Cas staring again, this time at Dean's hand.

"You are injured." The hunter paused, eyes flicking down to the bandage wrapped around his left hand.

"I'm fine, Cas. You're worse off than I am." Dean couldn't help the amusement that leaked into his voice when he said it; the angel should have known by now that the Winchesters were constantly in various stages of recovery from bodily harm.

When he finally found the needle tucked away under a roll of gauze, Dean managed to thread it on his third attempt, still uncomfortably aware of Cas' unwavering stare. "This is gonna sting a bit," the hunter warned as he temporarily set the needle aside, picking up a near-empty bottle of hydrogen peroxide from the kit and unscrewing the cap. He quickly tore off a piece of gauze from the roll and soaked it with the liquid, then carefully pressed it against the wound.

Cas let out a soft hiss of pain, blue eyes squeezing shut as his teeth clenched together. The corners of Dean's mouth tightened in a frown, cleaning the wound as quickly as possible to spare the angel more discomfort. The hunter balled up the blood-stained gauze as soon as he finished, setting it aside and pinching the curved needle between his fingers.

"This ain't gonna be a walk in the park either, Cas," Dean murmured, lowering the point to the edge of the wound.

"I'm fine, Dean," came the quiet and tired reply.

That was all the affirmative the hunter needed before he gingerly pierced the flesh and began to sew up the wound. Cas was silent save for the occasional hitch of breath or tensing of his fingers on the sheets by Dean's knee. After a few meticulous minutes, Dean knotted the last stitch and severed the remainder of the thread with his pocket knife and a flick of the wrist.

"We'll let it breathe while you sleep and put a bandage on it in the morning," Dean explained, inspecting his work a moment longer before green eyes slid up to meet half-lidded blue. "You feel okay?"

There was a tiny nod from the angel, and his lips curled so slightly that anyone else might not have noticed. "Yes. Thank you." Then, a slight pause.

Dean's eyebrow lifted in silent question. "Cas?"

The angel said nothing; he simply lifted his head, slowly, and reached out with his right hand, fingers brushing over the side of Dean's neck before curling around the back of his head.

The mild surprise in the hunter's eyes was quickly overwhelmed by that subtle affection Castiel had grown to adore, and Dean acquiesced to the angel's unsaid request.

There was a brief brush of lips; the same kind they often shared in the rare instances when they were alone. A kiss that lasted seconds but spoke volumes. Dean would never admit it, but that was his favorite sort.

The hunter pulled back after a moment, smiling, and briefly ran his fingers through Cas' perpetually disheveled hair. "Get some sleep."

"I don't require sleep," the angel replied quietly, letting his head fall back onto the pillow.

"I know you don't," Dean replied with a chuckle, closing the first aid kit and setting it on the nightstand. "But it can't hurt." The hunter gingerly lifted himself over Cas and dropped down onto the mattress on the other side of him, grabbing the thin comforter to pull it up over the both of them.

When Sam roused from sleep three hours later and got up to use the bathroom, he stumbled past Dean's bed and into the kitchen before he stilled, mentally backtracking. He glanced back at the bed, brows raised in slight surprise.

Cas was there, completely comatose in his sleep, and Dean was wrapped around him, face buried in the nook between the angel's neck and shoulder. Cas' arm was resting around the hunter's shoulder, his face turned so that his nose brushed Dean's hair.

Sam knew about their relationship, of course. Dean had confided in him a week or so before it had become "official". But he'd never actually seen them together so… unguarded like this. He supposed it was probably because his brother was still getting used to the whole thing, or maybe Cas was still unfamiliar with human romance.

Either way, when Sam looked over his older brother and their friend, he couldn't help but grin, indulging in a quiet chuckle as he turned back towards the bathroom.

He's definitely a step up from the girls Dean used to date.