Rating: R
Characters: Dean, Castiel
Content: angst, hurt/comfort, fallen!Cas, blood, pain, gayness
Timeline: 5x21 - Two Minutes To Midnight
Word Count: 4,392
Disclaimer: Supernatural and all associated characters do not belong to me and never have. I'm just borrowing them for my own sick and twisted purposes.

"This is what they mean by the eleventh hour, right?"

"Pretty much."

"Well it's the eleventh hour, and I am useless."

[5x21, Two Minutes to Midnight]

Dean doesn't recognize the number when the phone rings.

Sam wants Lucifer to put him on like a six-foot-four Armani suit, and Dean doesn't want to fucking talk about this because there's nothing to fucking talk about. But his brother is nothing if not persistent, and he's not gonna let it go. The set of his jaw and the stubborn look in his eye say it more clearly than any one of his many we-need-to-talk sighs ever could.

The phone's chiming in his hand like a gift from god, though, and Dean couldn't be happier about the timing. At this point, if it were a goddamn telemarketer he'd strike up a conversation like they were trying to sell him a Get Out Of The Apocalypse Free card.

"Hello?" he snaps, and god fucking damnit, Sam, you dumb fucking giant bitch of a-


Dean stands a little straighter. Because Sam and the devil and the apocalypse aside (when the fuck did that become an aside, anyway?), the last he saw of Castiel was the back of his beige trenchcoat as he headed into a warehouse stuffed to the brim with his unfriendly brethren.

"Cas? We all thought you were dead. Where the hell are you, man?"

Dean registers something about a hospital and a boat and some scared to shit sailors, but he doesn't really start paying attention until Castiel says he can't zap anywhere, because since fucking when has Cas not been able to magically appear at the worst possible times, buried way too deep in Dean's personal bubble for comfort?

Since now, he guesses. Since those symbols did more than banish his dickhead brothers.

Since they banished the angel right out of him.

"...I am thirsty, and my head aches," Castiel grates out tinnily in his ear. "I have a bug bite that itches no matter how much I scratch it. I-I'm saying that I'm just-incredibly..."

"...human," Dean finishes for him. Then he has to sit down. Somehow, saying that impossible thing out loud makes it all too real in a disconcerting, punch-to-the-gut sort of way.

Castiel's frustrated sigh, distant and muffled over the phone, tells Dean he thinks so too.

Pestilence's ring is on Bobby's desk, and Cas has saved them, again, like he always does. Only Dean's not sure it's an always sorta thing anymore, because to reach them, Cas had taken a bus.

"There's not a speck of angel in you, is there?" Pestilence had said with a cheery grin.

"Maybe just a speck," Castiel had retorted before wiping the horseman's smile off of his face along with his finger. But it had been a very near thing. Dean knows it was a near thing because, first, Castiel had coughed and collapsed on his hands and knees on the grimy linoleum, and there was nothing heavenly about the look of sick agony that had twisted his face into new and horrible shapes.

Maybe just a speck, he'd said. Dean's pretty sure that's wishful thinking. Or denial.

Cas is catching on to the whole 'humanity' thing pretty quickly.

"Your angel's a mess," Bobby tells him gruffly. Dean doesn't want to care because Cas isn't his angel, isn't even an angel at all anymore, and hell, he's a mess too. Sam's a mess. Bobby's a mess. The whole damn planet is a mess. What's one more fucked up dude in the grand scheme of things?

Fucked up angel, his conscience whispers.

Dean can't ignore that. 'Cause in typical Dean fashion - typical Winchester fashion, really, 'cause he learned from the best - he's blaming himself. Whether or not that's fair is immaterial. Castiel was an angel and now he isn't. Dean never asked this of him (or maybe he did, back in that panic room a million years ago when killing Lilith was still at the top of their agenda), never wanted it and didn't want to deal with it, but he sure as fuck isn't going to leave him alone with his newfound mortality now.

After all, this might be his last chance to tell Cas that life, even a human one, is worth living.

I'm gonna try to kill Death tomorrow, he thinks for what has to be the millionth completely surreal time as he heads out into the junkyard. I'm gonna try to kill Death.

"Hello Dean," Cas says softly when Dean settles beside him on the hood of a rusted out ford. Well, 'settles' may not be the word. Clambers is a little more accurate. Dean isn't sure how Cas even made it to the top of one of Bobby's enormous piles of junked car husks without his mojo, with humanity still fresh on his tongue, but somehow he had.

Though he may not get the wherefore, Dean's pretty sure he's got the why down pat. Castiel is staring up at the bleak, starless expanse of the sky like it'll talk to him.

It had, once.

"Hey." Dean pulls two beers from the pockets of his jacket and rubs sweat away from his forehead. Castiel accepts one of the proffered bottles silently. "How you holding up?"

"Holding-" His brow furrows.

"You okay?" He asks roughly and then washes the taste of the words out of his mouth with a liberal swig of his Budweiser. Dean Winchester doesn't instigate that girly chick-flick 'let's feel our feelings' shit. That's Sam's gig, and he does more than enough of it to cover the both of them for the next twenty years at least.

Assuming we live that long.

Castiel stares his unopened beer and doesn't say anything. Dean plucks it out of his hands and pops the cap off before handing it back.

"Thank you," Cas says softly. And then, so quietly Dean has to lean closer to catch it, "I don't like this."

"Nobody likes this." Dean nudges him with his shoulder and Castiel has to catch himself with his hand on the hood of the car to not tip over. He looks shocked, and for a flash, terrified. Dean wonders if he's ever lost his balance before.

"I..." Castiel grimaces. "My head hurts."

"Looks like it would." No wry humor in his voice this time. He eyes the half-healed cuts that split Castiel's temple.

"And my...chest," Cas adds hesitantly.

Dean blinks.


Then he remembers. The warehouse. The blast of white light that had assaulted them blindingly even through the cracks in the door. The angel-banishing symbols carved in deep, bloody lines on Castiel's chest.

"Show me," he demands, and Castiel looks up sharply at his tone. Nervousness flickers over his face when he meets Dean's eyes, obviously unnerved by whatever he finds in him, as though he think's Dean is mad at him or something. For being hurt, for being human, as though Dean had ever been anything more than just that.

With effort, he gentles his voice. Now it just sounds strained. "Please, Cas. I'm sorry, I...I forgot. Lemme see. I'm not gonna hurtcha, I promise."

"I know," Castiel answers immediately.

There it is. That angelic doubtlessness, that God-given sureness that Dean is and always will be A Righteous Man, whatever the fuck that means.

Dean's not going to admit that it's reassuring to see, but it is.

Castiel slips the buttons of his shirt loose and struggles for a moment to pull it open before remembering his tie and tugging it off awkwardly, as though he's never done it before. Maybe he hasn't. But Dean doesn't have time to think about that because even before the white button-down is peeled away, he can tell the hospital either didn't do their job or Cas just didn't stay there long enough to let them.

Castiel's undershirt is stained with the unmistakeable patterns of Enochian text, symbols and arching lines criss-crossing the white with slashes of brown. Even as Dean watches, Castiel's movements shake loose brighter, redder blossoms of color.

"Shit, Cas, you're bleeding," Dean breathes, already pushing the layers of coats off of Castiel's shoulders and helping him shrug out of the rumpled dress shirt, swallowing back his alarm. The skin on the back of Castiel's neck is clammy with sweat when his fingers brush it. Dean hadn't noticed in the dim half-light, but looking now, his stubble stands out too starkly on the pallor of his face, and the shadows under his eyes are too dark, too bruised. He looks haggard and hurt and sickly.

It's not a good look for him at all.

Dean pulls the undershirt up carefully, but not carefully enough. Castiel hisses and clutches at his shoulder when the fabric peels away from his wounds with a sticky crackle of dry blood.

His chest is a mess. Butterfly bandages hold together the deepest of the manifold gashes, but whatever further work the doctors had been planning to do - stitches, probably - had gone undone. Castiel hadn't been taking it easy, either; he'd fought and run and leapt and stabbed and then loaded Bobby's truck without complaint. Apparently bleeding sluggishly the whole while.

Castiel's fingers close convulsively around his bicep when he pulls the shirt higher. "Easy," he murmurs, like he always did when Sammy was little and had gotten himself banged up by something bigger and meaner than he was. "Raise your arms for me. We're gonna get this off so we can clean you up, okay? That's it, you're fine."

Tears in the corner of Castiel's eyes. Real, actual tears. He's breathing through his teeth, little lines of fresh blood tracing dark trails over his skin.

"Fuck," Dean growls, and Castiel shrinks away. "No, no, don't-I'm not mad, Cas, I just-" He rakes his hand back through his hair, takes a deep breath and releases it in a gust. This fucking angel and his fucking martyr complex and his fucking inability to ask for help. "I'm gonna get a first aid kit from Bobby, alright?"

Castiel nods, averting his eyes and catching the corner of his lip between his teeth in a gesture that's shockingly human.

Dean doesn't want to see any more proof of just how human Cas is. He practically sprints down the side of the mound of scrap metal and dead cars.

Castiel's blood is on his hands, but for once Dean doesn't feel guilty about it. It's a nice change of pace.

The once-angel is rigid beneath his gentle, practiced fingers on the hood of the once-ford. Sweat beads on his face and makes his hair stick to the back of his neck in curling, damp clumps, and his torso is stained alternately pink and red, and those suit pants are definitely ruined, but his wounds have been sterilized and - for the most part - stitched up. Dean knows they can deal with the rest later.

"It's okay," he repeats gently as he sutures shut the last of the deep slashes. "Easy now, we're almost done, you're doing real good, Cas." He pulls the thread tight and ties it off, snipping it away from the curved needle almost thoughtlessly. How many times he did the same for Sam, or himself, or his father, he lost count. Never thought he'd be adding Castiel's name to the list, but his life has always been full of unpleasant surprises.

White cotton bandage and brown surgical tape mottle Cas' chest. Dean lays down the last patch as carefully as he knows how, but Castiel still sucks in a sharp breath and presses his cheek against the cool metal, eyes squeezed shut.

"Okay, okay. Done. You're all done," Dean touches his shoulder, and Castiel shivers. His eyes, when he opens them, are foggy with pain. "You want some...aspirin or something?"

Bobby has stronger stuff in his kit, but Dean remembers 2014.

"No," Cas answers in a low, grating rasp after a moment of bleary confusion, sitting up slowly, gingerly, less sitting up than pushing himself carefully upright. His hands flutter across his chest for a moment, but then he flinches and grabs at the edge of the car.

"Don't fuss with 'em," Dean says helpfully, and then chuckles when Castiel glowers at him. "I know. Those stitches probably feel like they're doing more harm than good right now, but trust me - you'll thank me later."

Castiel looks at him with somber earnestness and sets a hand on Dean's wrist. "Thank you."

Dean's got a gruff 'you're welcome' on it's way out when Castiel's lips collide with the side of his mouth, and before he even really processes what he's doing he's got his hands on Castiel's shoulders and he's pushing the angel back with a shocked, high pitched sound he would never ever admit to having made.

Castiel stares at him, wide-eyed.

Dean stares back, also wide-eyed.

Then Cas is swallowing convulsively and pulling back, a jumbled flurry of apologizes stuttering past his lips. His soft, pink lips. His lips that had been on Dean's lips.

"I-I'm sorry, I didn't, I-"

"Cas?" Dean tightens his hold, and Castiel freezes. "What...?"

"I-" He shakes his head fervently, winces when it twinges the cuts on his chest. "I wanted-"

Castiel goes very, very still, his eyes wide and blank and stunned. Dean's got it together enough to feel the beginning of dull panic burrowing into his stomach and he gives Castiel a small, sharp shake. "Cas, hey, stay with me, man."

"I wanted," Cas murmurs.

For a moment, Dean's confused.

Then he gets it.

Then he kind of wishes he hadn't.

Mortality is practically an all-new thing to Castiel. Speck of angel left over or not, for all intents and purposes he's completely human, with completely human weaknesses and completely human needs. Pain might not be something he was unfamiliar with, but he'd never before experienced sickness, or hunger, or fatigue, or-

Dean's mouth is suddenly very dry, and he opens and closes it wordlessly. Cas looks like he wants to disappear, and he probably would have if he still had some mojo left over, but he doesn't, so he can't. All he can do is shrink back and fold in on himself in obvious embarrassment and shame.

Dean's gotta do something. Anything.

"Cas..." He relaxes the vice-like grip he realizes he's got on Castiel's shoulders. The angel beside him (fallen angel) gives a shuddering sigh and starts to pull away.

Only to be yanked unceremoniously to Dean's chest.

It's awkward, Castiel practically in his lap with his head caught beneath Dean's chin and his arms stiff at his sides as they sit half angled toward each other on the hood of a car that can hardly even be called a car anymore. Dean doesn't doubt that Cas's chest hurts like a bitch, and this angle isn't comfortable for either of him, but fuck. Cas looked like he was seriously considering throwing himself off of the heap of metal they were perched on, and Dean wasn't having any of that. Not over something like...like...

"Just a kiss, dude." Dean says, at much to Castiel as to himself. "You're human now. Humans want...stuff." Dean Winchester: avoiding The Talk since Sam was old enough to start noticing girls. "Nothing wrong with that. It's...normal."

"Do you-want..." Cas starts haltingly, his voice muffled against Dean's shirt and Dean's throat, his words skirting over Dean's skin like warm, insubstantial fingers.

Dean takes a deep breath.

"Yes. I mean I...sometimes, not always, but-" Castiel says something else, something so soft Dean doesn't catch it. He tilts his head a little. "What?"

Mutter mutter. Dean would be irritated by it but he catches the last word, and the last word is enough.


Dean is very careful not to speak. Or move. Or breathe. In the circle of his arms, Castiel is, somehow, even stiller than he is. Until he's not. Then his hands are sliding between them and planting themselves firmly against Dean's chest, pushing away weakly.

"Yes," Dean croaks.

Then: did I say that out loud?

He must have, because once again Cas has frozen against him.

Fuck it. If he's gonna dig his own grave it's damn well gonna be a deep one.

"Yes." More firmly this time.

Still, he lets go like Castiel is a white-hot branding iron when the angel struggles again, preemptively holding his hands up in the universal gesture of I-mean-you-no-harm as the hands on his chest take up the weight of Castiel's body and the head tucked against his neck slips out from beneath his chin. No need to freak the little dude out. He'd just barely had his first kiss, after all, and not all successfully at that.

Hardly his fault, he thinks, and feels a small pang of guilt.

It's lost in the much bigger pang of shock when Castiel slides up against him and pushes their lips together again.

"Mmf-!" Castiel's jaw is rough with stubble beneath his palms. He pulls back a little, separating them, but doesn't push, doesn't shove, doesn't recoil. He's unprepared but not totally unprepared. Prepared enough to handle this with some level of...of...

God damn but he's insistent with those soft, chapped pink lips and those blue blue eyes, and Dean would lodge a protest about are you sure and what if you're wrong and dude I'm straight (but he isn't really, and never was) except that Cas seems to think there's something in Dean's mouth that he desperately wants and he's going to find it with his tongue. Dean has long enough to wonder where Cas learned how to do this before his dick gives a more-than-interested twitch, and Dean remembers he's sitting on the hood of a car in Bobby Singer's junkyard with a sliced-to-shit fallen fucking angel in his lap.

"Cas-Cas-" he gasps out when there's a slight abatement in Castiel's enthusiastic assault. "Hold on, wait-"

"Why?" Castiel growls against lips in the same voice he used what feels like a million years ago when he threatened to throw Dean back into Hell, stepping close enough for Dean to feel the air around him become charged and high pressure. Then, his voice had sent an electric shock of fear down Dean's spine. Now it sent an electric shock of something very different somewhere else entirely. "If you-and I..." He cards his fingers through the short spikes of Dean's hair, tugging him closer, warm air brushing Dean's mouth when he speaks. "...why?"

Dean's pretty sure he had a good argument lined up as to why, but he can't think of it now.

"Okay." It comes out of his throat gravel-rough and guttural, but that's fine. The time for talking has apparently passed them right by anyway.

Dean doesn't protest the teeth that click against his or the tongue that swipes over his bottom lip. He definitely doesn't protest when that same tongue flicks against his, teasing and probing until their roles are reversed, Dean pressing against Cas, into Cas, tasting, exploring, tickling his palate, all softness and heat and fuck, seriously, where the fuck did Cas learn this shit?

But it doesn't matter. It really doesn't. Cas is clutching at him with long, desperate fingers, making noises that could put more than one porn star out of business, and Dean really couldn't care less where Castiel learned how to kiss, as long as he doesn't fucking stop.

He doesn't notice Castiel's moving until his weight's already settled across his hips. Dean jerks in surprise, but Cas doesn't seem to notice; when their mouths break apart he just gives chase, following him down and pressing him back against the hood of the car, crushing them together with a low, throaty growl and a roll of his hips that makes Dean gasp and buck up beneath him. The movement unbalances Castiel, straddling Dean as he is, and his palms come down loudly on the rusty metal on either side of Dean's head, his thighs tightening on Dean's waist.

He's distracted long enough for Dean to lurch upwards and snag the back of his neck with one hand, his lips attaching themselves to his throat and moving over the throbbing vein they find there with tantalizing gentleness.

Castiel tastes of sweat and blood. It's not what Dean expected, but then again...Cas is human now.

Human now, he thinks as Castiel stills, taught and trembling above him, his eyes fluttering shut. His nails scrape over the hood as his hands clench.

The pause is short lived. Dean takes a breath and Cas is shoving him roughly again, then gasping in pain and making a vague, grabbing motion over his chest. But if Cas is anything he's determined, and tough besides, and he doesn't slow down for more than a second, not long enough for Dean to even really worry about it. Then he's doing things with his mouth that make Dean's dick fucking ache where it's trapped in his jeans, jeans that were comfortable ten minutes ago but really aren't now, Castiel all teeth and tongue and quivering muscle atop him.

The second time Cas rolls his hips Dean's a little more prepared. Not much more, but somehow still more than Cas is, apparently, because whatever kind of friction it generates shocks a whine out of him, makes him stiffen and then shudder.

Dean hitches up, and Cas makes that sound again. Dean swallows it. Cas collapses forward onto his elbows, buries his fingers in Dean's hair, and kisses him like a dying man clinging to life.

I'm gonna try to kill Death tomorrow, Dean thinks, and kisses him back in just the same way.

Dean's not really sure when the frantic, fuddled back and forth became a steady, gasping rocking of their bodies. All he knows is that Cas is hot and hard and solid and needy, alternately moaning and whimpering, slipping his tongue into Dean's mouth and sliding it along his neck while Dean does the same. They clutch and pant and breathe the sounds they make into one another. Castiel's hips stutter and Dean knows he's getting close, knows because their kisses are going from intense to desperate to agonizing, the coppery taste of blood in their mouths, who knows who from, who cares.

Then Castiel's back arches and his fingers dig sharply into Dean's shoulders. A soft, strangled cry bursts from his throat, and if Dean didn't know any better it would almost sound like he was in pain.

Dean's still rocking, still bucking against him, close himself, sofuckingclose.

Castiel snaps forward and sinks his teeth into the muscle between Dean's neck and his shoulder, and that's it. Pain and pleasure working him over in a blinding rush and it's not a blackout orgasm but fuck if it isn't close. He's mindless with it anyway, vision swimming grey as he rides it out, Cas' nails and teeth buried in his skin like he's trying to tear his way into it, and in this moment Dean would let him. More than let him, Dean would beg him.

The night swims slowly back into focus as they lay there on the hood of the rusty old ford, chests heaving, stuck together with spit and sweat and slow, syrupy surprise.

A few minutes go by before Castiel rolls sideways and off of him. A few more before their breathing settles, and more after that before Dean lets out a small snort of laughter. Castiel turns his head to the side to look at Dean quizzically, puzzled and more than a little hesitant. Dean just smiles and tugs Castiel to his side, hooking his arm around his shoulders. The once-angel doesn't resist at all, fitting against Dean like he was made to be there. Dean ruffles his hair, smile broadening to a grin at the huff of irritation and the hand that swats his away.

"Humanity's not all bad, is it?" he quips, jostling Castiel gently.

"No," Cas mumbles, tracing small, tight circles over Dean's ribs.

Dean presses a kiss to the top of his head. "Welcome to the club, Cas."

"I used to be part of a much better club," the former angel grumbles, but he nuzzles down into Dean's chest with a sigh of unmistakeable contentment, and Dean doesn't think he really believes it himself.

They don't move for a long time, Castiel writing invisible words on Dean's torso with his fingers while a breeze cools the slick layer of shared sweat clinging to their skins. Dean shifts slightly, increasingly aware of the mess in his boxers but reluctant to break what might be the last moment of peace he ever has - possibly the last moment of peace either of them will ever have, depending on how tomorrow goes.

I'm gonna try to kill Death.

"Where'd you learn how to kiss like that?" he asks, eager for a distraction, any distraction. "You been watchin' pornos on your spare time or what?"

Castiel blushes.

Seriously, fucking blushes, his cheeks and the tips of his ears flushing hot and pink. He averts his eyes, mumbles something into the crook of Dean's arm and then buries his face in Dean's shirt.

"Sorry, what? Didn't catch that."

Cas lifts his head to glare, but it wilts into embarrassment almost instantly. He looks down at the ford, scrubbing his thumb over a patch of rust.


Dean blinks, uncomprehending.

"I was..." Cas clears his throat and swallows. "My responsibilities-"

"You had to watch me," Dean finishes slowly, and Castiel nods, looking anywhere but at Dean.

Dean's bark of laughter startles him, and he stares, wide-eyed and stunned, his mouth falling open.

"You angelic fucking peeping Tom!"

"My name isn't Tom."

Dean laughs again. Castiel looks honestly perplexed by his reaction, but god fucking damnit he taught a fucking angel of the lord how to make out without even knowing it, and now he's all embarrassed and shy and blushing and this is just too good.

"What is funny?" Cas asks petulantly, scowling.

"Nothing, Cas." Dean grins, wrapping him up in both arms. "Just...don't ever change."

"I'll do my best," Castiel says somberly.

Dean smiles and pulls him in for a kiss.