Dean had admired blood since he was a kid. He had admired the way it shone with life. He had admired his dad with bright sharp splatters of it on his smiling and laughing cheeks. Had admired the color it made on the white carpet at the nice hotel (They'd been on the road for a while and it was Sammy's 6th birthday) when Dean had cut himself while carving the cake. Had admired the marks it made on hello kitty band-aids (Dean still doesn't remember why Dad bought them) after the cut had sealed.
When he got older (taking care of Sam and Dad made him feel as old as the sun) that childish admiration of pretty colors and abstract patterns changed. It shifted to a different kind of admiration.
He admired the way it marked victory. Another monster down. Another scar collected. Another civilian saved. Another town saved.
And he hated it.
He hated the way it marked another failure. Another monster escaped. Another scar twisted deep into his skin. Another sibling, another parent, another partner dead. Another city destroyed. He hated how it marked death and suffering.
So when he came out of the shower to find Castiel sitting on his bed getting blood all over the sheets, he wasn't completely sure how to act.
"Cas dude, what the hell happened?"
Castiel blinked, a confused tone lacing his voice, "It was only one demon. I am unsure how they gained the upper hand."
Dean released the breath he had been holding as a snort. He purposefully didn't look at the blood on Castiel's hands. Dean was almost certain it was Cas', and he wasn't sure what to do with that information. He started pacing.
"Where is Sam?" Castiel asked as he watched Dean move back and forth across the room.
"He went out to buy milk or cream or something, it doesn't matter." Dean glanced at Castiel but kept moving, "Are you okay, Cas?"
Castiel nodded, "The wound was largely superficial and healed quickly."
"Is that why you look like someone pushed you into a blender?" Dean stopped pacing and looked straight at Castiel, "Why haven't you mojo'd the blood away if it's nothing big?"
Castiel looked away from him, down at his red hands. His face twisted in an odd expression, "I cannot." Dean's eyebrows shot up, "It took a great deal of energy just to close the wounds." Surprised, the hunter looked closer at Castiel's face. With a barely contained start Dean realized the angel was ashamed. Dean took a couple steps towards Castiel, noticed the way Cas' blood glistened along his slender fingertips, and stopped.
The clock on the wall timed the pause (tick tock tick tock).
"Do you need to take a shower?"
A smile tugged on either side of Castiel's lips, which Dean now noticed were also splattered with blood (fuck), "I would welcome the kindness, Dean."
Dean ignored the way Cas' blood stained lips formed his name and looked expectantly at the bathroom door. But Castiel didn't move. Dean shifted on his feet, settled his gaze back on Castiel, and raised an eyebrow, "Well?"
The small smile wavered shortly before turning into a frown, "I... I am unsure how to operate a shower." The ashamed face returned again.
"Seriously dude?" Dean huffed with a hint of disbelief and barely contained humor.
But Castiel must have heard the withheld laugh because the little frown grew deeper. Castiel huffed, stood up, and started for the bathroom. "I have never had the need to learn how to use one. But since you are so busy working, I will figure it out on my own." Castiel jerked the door open, and Dean thought that maybe if Cas wasn't in the process of falling he would have ripped it off the hinges.
Dean gave up holding in his mirth and laughed. Castiel turned around and glared at the hunter.
"If you are going to mock me then leave me be." The air around them stirred, carrying with it the smell of metal and sky.
Dean raised his hands in a placating motion, "Woah Cas, calm down I'm not mocking you. I'm just..." Dean pause, rolled his eyes, "yeah okay I was mocking you, but let me help." Castiel glared softened but did not leave. "I do not understand your idea of friendship, Dean."
The hunter shrugged starring at a very interesting stain on the beige carpet, "Cas, I'm sorry, I don't mean anything bad by it. It's just what I do." Castiel nodded in understanding though the tenseness in his shoulders stayed.
"That is true, I have seen you do as much to Sam." Castiel's small smile came back and his shoulders relaxed slightly, "I accept your apology."
Dean fidgeted, uncomfortable with the 'moment', "Great, now that the chick flick is over can we get a move on that shower. You're getting blood everywhere."
Castiel looked down at his feet where a pattern of red was quickly forming on the carpet and then at the red sheets. He frowned. "My apologies, I had not noticed."
Dean sighed and headed towards the bathroom, brushing against Castiel as he went.
"Whatever, get in here. I don't want to spend all day teaching an angel how to bathe."
Castiel shuffled into the bathroom politely looking about like a tourist in a museum. Dean stared at the odd picture he made. An angel in a crappy motel bathroom staring at the cracked mirror like it was a masterpiece. He snorted and turned towards the shower brushing the mucky curtains aside.
"That's the handle that controls the water temperature" he pointed to a rusty hunk of metal whose cold and hot marks where flaking off of and then pointed to another rusty hunk which looked like it had been used for ritual sacrifices, "and that's the faucet. You'll need to pull the plunger up to get the water to the shower head. And... um... you'll need to get undressed... I'll just leav-" Dean turned around to face Castiel and trailed off, the angel was staring at him oddly. "What, Cas?"
"You have my blood on your hands."
He looked down. The back of his left hand was blanketed in red, and somehow his right palm had gotten covered too. He stared at Cas'-Jimmy's-blood on his hands, an undeniable mark that even Goddamn angels weren't invincible. An undeniable mark that Castiel was becoming less and less of one. It had probably happened when he'd brushed against Castiel.
"Oh." Dean repeated out loud.
Castiel cocked his head to the side and stepped toward Dean, ignoring what he'd been told about personal space. "It does not bother you?"
Dean stuttered, "I-i-um I don't-" Cas stopped him with a smile (blood curving with his mouth ohgod) and raised his arm towards the hunter.
"May I?" Dean stared at the outreached hand, refusing to look Cas in the eyes.
"Dean, my friend, look at me." The hunter shifted his gaze to Cas' chest where the blood had bloomed across the angel's shirt, turning it red. Cas sighed, stepped towards Dean again, crowding his space even more. The air stirred around them (the smell of metal and sky) and there was a buzzing in Dean's ears. Cas reached out with bloody fingers and brushed them down Dean's cheek, leaving a streak of red on his face.
At the sticky mess and the angel's hand now resting against his neck a familiar tense feeling settled in Dean's stomach. He froze. Cas' blood was dripping onto the bathroom floor plink plink plink, the hunter could feel himself getting hard. He wanted Cas.
He wanted to wash the blood away from Cas' body. He wanted to hold Cas and feel the blood soak into his clothes. He wanted Cas to fuck him as the angel marked him with blood and kisses. Oh God. He looked into Castiel's blue cautious eyes and small cautious smile. What would Castiel think of him? What would an angel think about someone like Dean lusting after him? Dean panicked and flinched away from Castiel's hand.
Castiel froze, a blank mask immediately came over his face, "I did not mean to presume." The angel yanked his hand away from Dean and dropped it down to his side. It looked to Dean like Castiel was trying to shrink as far away from the hunter as possible.
He was going to leave.
"No Castie- that's not wha- Cas!" Dean reached for him-the flutter of wings, a final plink of blood hitting the white tiles-and met empty air.
Castiel, the Angel of Thursday, gone.
Dean lifted his hands to his chest level and stared at them. (the smell of metal and sky) He stared at his hands (tick tock tick tock) until he could gather enough strength to look away. With a practiced motion he shoved down a sob.
He moved to the sink and washed away Castiel from his hands, his neck, his cheek. When the water turned from pink to clear he squashed another sob (filthyou'llneverbegoodenough) deep inside himself, for another time, when he didn't need to clean up angel blood off the floor. And anyways,
Sammy would be back soon.