Disclaimer: Nothing is mine and I do this just for fun.
A/N: The story is set somewhere between Two Minutes to Midnight and The Swan Song.
A million thanks to the person who kindly accepted to beta-e this for me, despite being as busy as she is right now (and with my English I'm sure it also was a hell of a challenge). Without her help this wouldn't be more than a bunch of disjointed and depressing ideas. So this is as much as hers as it is mine. Thanks again :)
It's a warm night. It must be, since the atmosphere in the room is stifling and heavy. It's the first thing Castiel noticed when he entered through the thick iron door, that and the barely perceptible scent of oxide snaking its way up his nostrils. Bobby's panic room is both the silent promise of safety and the bleak threat of imprisonment, a representation of everything else in his life lately. White and black twisting around each other, mixing viciously and leaving behind a frustrating palette of despondent, hopeless grays. But at least the place is dead quiet, and that's all he needs.
He's been sitting on the edge of the lonely bed for more than fifteen minutes, looking intently at an empty space in front of him, elbows on his knees, fingers laced under his chin, because he's seen Dean adopt that very pose and wear his thinking face more and more just recently. He's trying with all his might to clear his mind, to reach the calming blankness of contemplation, of angelic indifference and detachment, or perhaps apathy.
It's not working.
His stubborn human brain is reluctant to cooperate, and when he manages to partially shut off the screams of reality, of the impending apocalypse hanging over their heads, he's overwhelmed by a cacophony of meaningless thoughts, thoughts about how his feet are throbbing in his shoes, about how thirsty he is, how his hands are sweating. Thoughts that wander to the fascinating way the corners of Dean's lips curl upwards when he gives a sincere smile, thoughts about how and why Sam's plan to say yes is brave but utterly stupid. Without him being fully aware of it, his eyes are darting around, and for a second they catch sight of the dried blood scrawls painted on the wall. It snaps him back to the immediate past, and pain is searing through him once again, pain of a completely different nature this time. Apparently he still can recall events as vividly as he could when he was fully mojoed, as Dean might say, but sometimes remembering hurts.
He's anxious. He hates being anxious. He came here to find peace, time to reflect, but without the distraction of the others he's feeling the weight of his tiredness, of his confinement, a sense of claustrophobia creeping up inside the living, breathing trap of bones and flesh that keeps him earthbound. This state is unsatisfying, and even while he tries to accept it and come to terms with it, his fumbling attempts to just be what he is now are sinking into the realization that maybe humans are intrinsically incapable of just being. Maybe that's why they're always rushing towards something, burdening and diluting themselves, he thinks, and it's a terrifying possibility because it dooms him to the same pointless existence. Or maybe it's just that he should have gone outside instead of coming here. Fresh air and space might have helped, he thinks, but consciously or not, he seems to keep coming down here for these moments of reflection that end up making him want to weep and howl out his rage instead of calming him. He casts his eyes down and around. The room is bare, sparsely furnished, offers little comfort, and the thin mattress under his butt isn't comfortable at all. This is life, he thinks. This is all humanity has to offer him, and he wonders if it will ever be enough.
Maybe fate is playing its own trick on him when he gets the old funny feeling, the feeling of proximity that makes the hair at his nape stand up. It's one of the few things he hasn't lost, the innate ability to hone in on that soul, and it's strong enough to make him turn his head sideways. Dean is standing in the doorway, his gaze boring into Castiel. He's frowning slightly, as if he can tell Castiel is a bomb ready to explode and he's clueless about how to mitigate the inevitable collateral damage. But there's fondness in his look too, and it's focused solely on Castiel, and that makes him feel lighter, and somehow steadier. And then it hits him, comprehension dawning abruptly. Being at the receiving end of that kind of stare, as Dean so often complained, is creepy.
"Hey," Dean says casually, as if he hadn't just been caught staring.
"Hello, Dean," Castiel replies, with his usual deep voice. It's a total contrast to what Dean was seeing a few seconds ago, and he knows the former angel is impersonating the Castiel of before, the Castiel who might make a difference to whatever happens in these final days that mark the endgame. But his friend looks careworn, with dark circles shadowing his eyes, and even if he's only an inch or two shorter than Dean he looks smaller than ever inside the excessive clothing.
"Uh, I – there are sandwiches in the kitchen, if you're interested," Dean offers.
Castiel's hands grip the mattress edge. "I'm not hungry at the moment."
"C'mon man I'm sure you need to catch up in the eating department. Hospital food is shitty, and I put in extra ham." Dean isn't stupid, he knows Castiel is in denial about all things human, is picking at the food, that he has to be forced to rest, and manhandled into the shower every morning by his gigantic brother.
Castiel is politely insistent. "I'm not hungry. But thank you Dean, I appreciate your concern."
His eyes drift away as he speaks, and Dean knows it isn't right. The words are racing out almost before his brain can process them. "Are you okay?" His skin chills at the blank smile he receives in answer, the phantom of the broken junkie to come grinning at him. That can't happen, he can't let it happen, can't see that nightmare play out and see the last good thing that other-Dean had be corrupted. A twisted logic tells him that if Castiel doesn't end up like that maybe he won't start torturing again, and maybe Sam won't end up Satan's meatsuit, and maybe Hell won't come to Earth, but the flipside is his knowledge that if Sam's plan goes wrong he'll lose everything. And he still can't let that happen, because it's Cas.
"Sam told me you saved his ass, blew a few demon heads off at Nivaeus," he says.
Castiel is looking at him again, and he isn't smiling now. "How do you stand it?" he asks softly.
"What? Shooting bloodthirsty zombies?" Dean retorts, even though he knows that isn't what his friend means.
Castiel dips his head into his hand. "The noise… the rumbling. I can't clear my mind."
It's an opening, and Dean takes advantage of it, tries to distract his friend. "You think too much, Cas, that's your problem." He snorts. "You need to relax. It isn't the end of the world or anything." Castiel doesn't look up. "I should take you to a brothel again," Dean quips desperately. "You seemed pretty relaxed the last time."
That gets him a reaction. "I imagine that having sex without sharing any emotional connection with your partner leaves you feeling hollow inside, Dean," Castiel replies thinly. "So I'm not interested." He places his hand back on the mattress, and he looks self-satisfied, looks like he might have prepared the comment in advance and practiced it in case Dean ever broached the topic.
"You've been spending way too much time with Sam," Dean parries, and Castiel looks surprised.
"How do you know your brother—"
"Told me that?" Dean finishes for him. "Well, you're a nerd, but I doubt you'd come out with something so girly by yourself. More evidence he has a G-spot instead of a P-spot." He supports the claim with a fake grimace, and it melts the ice because this time the smile he gets back is genuine, if modest, like Castiel hasn't really worked out how to do it properly. And now Castiel is tilting his head, giving him that quizzical look, and his blue eyes are fixing on Dean in that way Dean likes because it makes him calmer, makes him stop, puts the brakes on his own train of thought before it can derail him. This is the angel looking at him, not the stoner. "I thought you knew about all that stuff," Dean says helpfully, as Castiel's look turns confused. "I mean, you were in the rebuilding bodies business after all, and you can't just go around bringing back prostate-less guys. Sweet spots are important." He winks elaborately.
Castiel nods, drifts into a brief, thoughtful pause before glancing up at Dean. "Is that why you practice deep anal stimulation when masturbating?" he says, speaking low and slowly as it was a revelation.
Then there is silence.
"What the fuck are you talking about?" Dean hears his voice squeak out several octaves higher than usual, feels his cheeks burn as blood rushes to his face, and Castiel's expression goes crestfallen, his mouth opening and closing a few times without emitting any sound. If Dean weren't so shocked he knows he'd think the sight of his nervous friend was nice. "Cas, what the fuck are you talking about?" He manages to control his response now, even manages to drop back down to a lower register.
Castiel's adam's apple bobs nervously before he mutters out a rapid stream of words. "Sam called me, he thought it was a good idea to let me know where you two were staying. I was tired and I thought I – so I… when I arrived you were already… satisfying yourself." He fixes his eyes on the floor. "I'm sorry," he says, like a kid about to be chastised. "These things, sexuality, they are – human nature. I forgot that they sometimes cause you embarrassment."
The comment makes Dean think of Castiel's own mortification at the brothel, and the dichotomy is so fucked up that this is just hilarious, ridiculous. He barks out a laugh that takes over, until his eyes tear. Castiel doesn't join in like in Maine, though, he keeps his eyes on the floor, and Dean's mirth fades away, leaving him aware that his heart is pumping hard. He swallows, because he has this weird now-or-never feeling. "Did you like what you saw?" he asks dryly.
Castiel doesn't answer, just keeps staring at his boots.
"Did you stay for long?" Dean presses, even more serious. Deep down he knows he wants a yes, but there's still no answer from his friend, and even though there are so many reasons for him to end this conversation and walk away, he needs to know what the other man is thinking. It makes him reckless, and he rationalizes it with the thought they'll probably be dead by the weekend anyway, and then the world will burn. He has always valued the distractions of the flesh. That's why he's doing this, he tells himself. "Have you ever heard about that whole eye-for-an-eye thing?" he asks casually.
"Of course I have, Dean, it's in the bible," Castiel says witheringly. And then he slants his eyes across suspiciously, like he just worked out it's a trick question.
"Do you think it's a fair concept?" Dean presses.
Castiel ponders it for a moment. "That logic inexorably leads to a downwards spiral," he says weightily. "It could be argued that it is a primary expression of justice but—"
"Get naked." Dean cuts in, his voice authoritative, hiding the knot of tension in his stomach. "You'll be more comfortable in your meat if you let off some steam."
Castiel gapes. "Dean, please. I already told you that I'm sorry."
He truly sounds like he is, Dean thinks. "Do you trust me, Cas?" he asks quietly.
Castiel's eyes go piercing, and any trace of nerves is instantly blasted away, so much so that Dean gulps.
And then Castiel stands up, slides the trench coat off his shoulders.
Five minutes later Dean is standing in front of the bed, feasting his eyes, avidly scanning every part of that expanse of pale skin, and the knowledge that Castiel's eyes are glued to his, that Castiel might be looking for some sign of approval, is the kind of turn-on he never could have imagined.
Castiel's legs are slimmer than his own, but the muscles of his calves and thighs are well toned. The same applies to his arms, and Dean tracks his eyes down them to the hands of a warrior masquerading as the hands of an ad-salesman from Pontiac, Illinois. Castiel's wrists are narrow, his fingers long and graceful, and Dean can almost feel them touching him, fitting him back together, making him whole again, even if he knows the body Castiel wears never set foot in Hell. He's not sure why he hasn't ever watched them before, wonders if he has but never allowed himself to acknowledge the fascination he feels for them now. And then he's looking up again, at a smooth flat chest scarred with the sigil he cut into the skin in Van Nuys, messy red lines that make Dean's heart clench uncomfortably before his gaze travels down Castiel's torso to sharp hip bones, then back up, to broad shoulders, a sharp jaw covered by faint stubble. He's looking everywhere but where he really wants to, and he bites the bullet, sweeping back down to Castiel's crotch, where his cock is already hardening to half erect, resting on his left thigh. Dean lets his gaze linger there, sees it visibly swell under his scrutiny. Not so innocent after all, he thinks, and he's growing hard himself at the thought.
"I want you to close your eyes and remember," he says with faked nonchalance, his lips curling in a grin.
Castiel's throat catches a nervous sound before it can leave his mouth. "What do you mean?" he asks, with a voice schooled steady, and Dean knows he's faking his own offhandedness.
"Just close your eyes and remember what you saw that night," he says, grinning wider.
Castiel frowns, closes his eyes. After a moment Dean can see his chest is rising and falling slightly faster, but the rest of his body remains still, until his dick twitches abruptly and happily, and starts filling fast. It's fucking erotic, and Dean can't take his eyes off it. When the first bead of pre-come appears at the tip, Dean kicks off his boots and climbs onto the bed, crabbing along the mattress to sit next to Castiel. "Open your eyes," he says.
Castiel turns to stare at him, and his pupils are dilated so his eyes look almost black. A faint pink tints his cheeks.
Dean licks his lips, predatory. "Now do exactly what you saw me doing." He raises a finger as Castiel's mouth falls open. "Come on, Cas, put on a show for both of us. It's only fair." He lays his hand on Castiel's leg, raises a challenging eyebrow.
Castiel's eyes flicker from Dean's down to his dick, and it jerks in response, like it's daring him. He sighs, shuffles backwards so his back is leaning against the cold metal of the wall, and Dean doesn't miss how his friend leans on him slightly. He raises his right hand, flexes and fists it a couple of times, brings it to his mouth and licks a stripe along it, like Dean knows he does every time, and then he reaches down and traps the shaft of his penis in his grip, in one deft motion. He gasps, and a tremor runs through him. After a moment when he just stares down, he rubs his thumb up and over the swollen glans, traces circular patterns on its surface, under the crown, spreading the glistening liquid as more oozes out, giving a soft moan as he does. His hand starts to move, slowly at first, speeding up then, to travel up and down his length in firm, steady movements. His left hand is also moving, grasping at his hip, trailing up to knead at his pectorals, caressing the skin of his abdomen as he tracks back down, going beyond his groin to clutch and squeeze his inner thighs, exploring even further south to fondle his balls, rolling the sac around on his palm, playing with them, pulling gently on them in counter movement to jacking his cock, both hands speeding up until he's groaning softly.
Dean watches, knows this is a mirror image of himself, mimicry, and he devours it, every detail, every sound, every scent. He gulps at an especially deep grunt Castiel lets out after twisting his hand over the sensitive head, and his mouth feels suddenly parched. The bulge between his own legs is painful and growing bigger, tenting the fly of his jeans, and he can feel that he's leaking come. It's all he can do to stop himself from reaching out and touching.
Castiel slows down the hand on his cock as his other drifts back up to his lips, and he doesn't open his eyes as he suckles on his finger, plush lips sealing tight around his knuckle. He reaches down behind his balls, the hand on his cock stilling as he teases himself, wet finger running along the crack of his ass, brushing against the tender rim of skin, sliding up and down his perineum before they disappear and he lets out a sudden gasp that tells Dean all he needs to know. The way Castiel whines and throws his head back a moment later is proof he's found that glorious bundle of nerves and is making good use of it. The sounds he's making as his finger slides in and out are debauched, soft moans, wheezing, panting.
Dean can almost feel Castiel's temperature rising, can feel his friend's lust expand out into the room, making the air humid and sweaty, making it hard for Dean to breathe. He's mesmerized by the way Castiel's chest heaves, the nipples stiff with arousal, by his flushed cheeks, by the sweat slicking Castiel's body, and he's sweating too, can feel it beading his brow and trickling down between his shoulder blades at the sight of Castiel's long finger working inside his body. He's jealous of those hands, and the feeling only deepens when the other man's legs start making little involuntary movements, hips jerking, thrusting in his own fist. Castiel is gone, his eyes glassy, like everything else has disappeared from his mind and existence, and he looks oddly serene, peaceful.
"Stop." Dean commands.
For a split second Castiel ignores him, but then every movement abruptly ceases, and he gazes at Dean with a look that screams now what? and please? and all the other words they can't ever say to each other. Dean doesn't answer the look, he's reaching for Castiel's wrists, pulling his hands away from himself, so that his friend's expression goes puzzled. And then Dean leans in, his nose colliding with Castiel's, ensuring they're breathing the same air, their lips brushing together. Dean's tongue darts out, teases its way across Castiel's jaw, towards his ear, and he can feel Castiel's stubble rasping the skin of his face. When he reaches his destination, he nips Castiel's earlobe tenderly, humming at the knowledge that now Castiel's attention is wholly his. And then he says it, soft but clear. "Come." He lifts his right hand to cup and turn the face next to his, backs away just enough to lock his eyes with deep blue ones. He smoothes his other hand lazily along Castiel's naked thigh, and he speaks again, barely a whisper this time. "Wanna see you come. Now."
The stare they share is as intense as always. Loyalty, devotion, love, this bond Dean doesn't really understand, and he sometimes thinks he doesn't want to because it's too much, and it's a mirage doomed to vanish because everybody leaves.
And then it's over, and Castiel is squeezing his eyes closed, his mouth opening in a silent cry. His body tenses, one hand gripping the sheets, and his toes curl tightly just before he explodes with the flood of burning white pleasure Dean knows so well taking over. His cock is pointing up, pulsing frenetically as semen spurts out and paints his belly with white stripes, until it slows to a dribble that trickles down the shaft as his penis softens and droops. He's trembling with the strength of his orgasm, and by the time the last wave hits him, his mouth has gone totally slack.
When Dean frees his face, Castiel's head falls to rest between his shoulder and neck, as if he's seeking comfort. Dean's knuckles are white by now, his nails buried in his palms while he tries to regain control. He's so hard it hurts, and his brain is struggling to focus, to ignore the smell of come and the sensation of silky, dark hair against his jaw. When Castiel's tongue brushes against his pulse, it's too much. He shoves the other man over, face-down into the mattress, and throws himself on top, hands gripping Castiel's hips with bruising strength. He drags his ass back and up in one graceless jerk, presses the bulge of his cock into the cleft, and rocks and grinds his hips, the friction overpowering his senses. Castiel spreads his legs wide at the onslaught, makes muffled noises into the pillow, and Dean pounds five, six, seven times, before he comes hard. He bows his forehead down and rests in on Castiel's nape for a few seconds, before his weight collapses them both, and he rolls off Castiel onto his back.
The first thing he notices when he recovers from his post-orgasmic haze is the unreadable blue stare pinning him place. His heart sinks, panic rushing through him. But before his lips can mumble a coherent apology, Castiel is speaking.
"Well, I didn't jump on you, Dean," he says, in an amused voice.
Dean rolls back in towards him, grimacing at the damp, sticky feeling in his boxers. He nuzzles Castiel's neck in sheer relief. "That's your problem," he says. The angry growl Castiel's stomach produces in answer is a welcome diversion. "Those sandwiches sound good now, huh? So let's—"
It's not the way Cas says his name, he's always managed to make it sound precious, it's the way his friend is looking at him. He'd recognize it anywhere because it's the way Sam looks at him, an expression that says we need to talk. And Dean isn't feeling so talkative anymore, doesn't have time for this, not now, not ever. "You know what?" he blurts out. "We gotta shower first. Then we eat, and then…" He stops because Castiel's gaze is knowing. "C'mon man," Dean pleads. "I creamed my pants because of you, I think I—"
"No," Castiel cuts him off.
"No…?" Dean echoes him apprehensively.
"No," Castiel repeats seriously. "I enjoyed this experience thoroughly, I can't deny that. But I believe you displayed an indefensible lack of control and I think you should be… punished. Severely." He raises an eyebrow. "Call it that whole eye-for-an-eye thing."
It takes Dean aback for a moment, and he guesses it must be written all over his face, because Castiel smiles wider than he ever has before. Dean swallows, and he can already feel his dick stirring again. In the back of his mind, he wonders if he was in control of what just happened at all. "Well, I guess I do deserve it," he croaks.
Castiel knows that chewing slowly and salivating enough is important for proper digestion, but he's devouring his piece of bread, cheese and ham with an enthusiasm that surprises him, wolfing it down so fast his taste buds hardly register the flavors. He'd like to take his time, but his stomach decrees differently. Dean is finishing his own sandwich, one hand holding it up to his mouth, the other one busy opening a beer. It looks like a complicated maneuver, and Castiel wonders how long it will take until he has that fluency and expertise in the mundane activities of daily life. His testicles are a little sore, he muses distractedly, so perhaps he needs to practice that more often too.
He glances to his companion, and Dean doesn't notice, so he can keep staring. The other man looks worn out, and Castiel can see the worry that moves restlessly under the surface bravado, the fear he hides behind each casual snort and expletive. Dean's heart is already defeated, it doesn't matter how all this ends, he'll lose. Dean is one step from falling apart.
"Beer?" Dean asks, before turning to look at him.
It startles Castiel, and he holds out a hand wordlessly to take the opened bottle. The bitter liquid sears his throat, and while it isn't a pleasant feeling, it gives him something to focus on. He knows that if he drinks enough he'll lose interest in what's going on around him. He likes the idea of that, and as for the hangover, well, there are pills for those.
"Cas," Dean says softly, dragging him out of his musings.
Something in the other man's voice sounds vulnerable, like a crack in his shield, and it's somehow a relief that not even Dean can keep the charade up forever. Castiel is sure that if they live through this one day he'll have mastered humanity enough to fake at Dean's level, so both of them can just go through the motions. Maybe he'll even be able to hide things from Dean, if it's necessary to protect him, of course. For some reason the mere idea sickens him, scares him.
"I need you to promise me you won't let me change, no matter what happens," Dean says.
It's like a stab to the heart because it makes him wonder if Dean blames him. He became whatever he is now, he couldn't protect them anymore, and everything went to hell. After all, that's what Dean saw in the future Zachariah showed him. Don't ever change, Dean had said. Castiel snorts. "You want me to do that, when I couldn't even stay myself," he retorts bitterly, sadly.
Dean's expression doesn't falter. He puts his beer down with a sigh. "C'mon, let's go upstairs," he says, and then he smiles crookedly.
"Why?" Castiel asks, furrowing his brow.
Dean rolls his eyes. "Call me crazy, but I don't want my little brother walking on me doing naughty things with my angel," he smirks. "Well, that's if you have the stamina." He stands, and walks as far as the kitchen door before he looks back and shrugs.
And Castiel thinks they can at least give each other the oblivion of ecstasy and whispered words, and maybe a part of him is already hooked and craving more. He's sure Dean craves it as well. Perhaps humanity can be enough. After putting down his own beer, he follows.
The next morning is gloomy, the sun barely casting down its light through the thick cloud. No-one says more than a couple of words, and Castiel feels more powerless than ever. They need to collect enough demon blood so that one of the very few people in the world he calls friend can poison himself before inviting the devil in. It will take them several days to gather a sufficient amount.
He feels tired because he didn't get much sleep, but the memory of why gives him a content feeling inside. He stifles a yawn as he walks towards the impala, ignores the rumbling in his head.
As he reaches to open the rear door, he notices a cushion placed on the driver's seat.
Before he can help himself, he smiles.
Thanks for reading :)