Title: Redemption

Rating: NC-17/M

Genre and/or Pairing: Angst, Romance, Dean/Castiel

Spoilers: Up to S7:20 (to be safe)

Warnings: Language, explicit sexual content

Word Count: ~6,800

Summary: Dean, Sam, and Cas are reunited. They share each other's pain.

A/N: I have no idea how I wrote all this stuff. Hahaha, I don't even know what I've just done. You guys, this is one of the gayest things I've ever written. I hope you enjoy it...

The first time Dean laughed in a long time, it wasn't because of anything funny. He was driving the beat-up Ford they were currently using down a darkened, lonely stretch of highway laughing to himself because of all the lunacy that never ceased to fill their lives. He laughed because he had the man who had set Lucifer free riding shotgun and he had an angel who had opened the Pandora's box of all things evil sitting pretty in the seat behind him. Of course, Dean could never forget that he had been the man to open the first seal that had gotten the ball rolling.

"What's so funny?" Sam asked.

"Nothin'," Dean smirked. "Just look at us. Team Free Will."

Sam let himself feel pleasant nostalgia over their reunion for a moment before he tried to curl up against the window to sleep for a few minutes. The trio seemed more dysfunctional now than they had in the start. They had just broken Castiel out of the mental hospital and he was currently coasting on a dark cloud of madness neither brother could see. The angel was so quiet it was as if he was barely there at all.

"You ready to save the world again, Cas?" Dean asked.

"I – yes?" The angel replied, although he would have agreed to anything Dean said. He was beyond grateful to be free again because he believed with all his heart that he did not deserve it. Now, Castiel was returning to himself, thanks to Sam and Dean, but it was a slow process. The angel had been trying to fight his demons alone with great internal struggling, but the boys were all he had ever needed.

For the first few hours in the car, Castiel had been almost completely mute. During those moments, Sam wore himself out talking to Castiel non-stop to fill up the car with something that wasn't Lucifer's voice. Although he could no longer hear it, he knew it was there. Sam knew that Castiel needed a familiar, friendly voice to speak to him even if he wasn't always able to listen. So, Sam talked, and caught Castiel up on everything he needed to know. He tried to entertain him with the most exciting aspects of the hunts they had been on recently. Whenever he saw Castiel start to slip back into his little world, Sam reassured him that they would never let him out of their sight. He made the angel focus, but glossed over the more devastating aspects of their story. He never talked about Bobby.

Sam's voice was a cool river, flowing through the fire-ravished scenery of Castiel's psyche. Castiel could almost savor the love that the younger Winchester shared with him, without ever putting it into so many words. The angel remembered pulling Sam out of the cage and was in awe of how the tables had turned. Sam made Castiel feel more welcome than Dean did, which was remarkable to the angel considering what he had done to Sam by mercilessly breaking the wall in his mind. All the time the angel had spent in the mental hospital was not used solely in agonizing over the unrequited love he held for Dean. The suffering he had caused Sam had equally tormented Castiel. He could thank Sam a thousand times for his kindness and it would never be enough.

No one but Cas could see that Lucifer was getting annoyed. Nothing Lucifer could say had the power to sully Castiel's image of Sam. And now, Castiel had more to push him to fight. He had Sam's gentle words and the memory of the feel of Dean. He had the desire to make everything up to the both of them. He wanted to be deserving of any of the kindness generously offered to him. Castiel traced his fingers over his own hand, remembering the way it felt when he had touched Dean.

Dean had stubbornly refused to allow any of their conversations to get too deep. When Sam and Cas wandered into the territory of being sorry about anything, he shut them down quick. Dean had already cried in the mental hospital as Sam clutched him and Cas tight and he refused to cry again. In comparison to his brother, Dean offered few words of comfort to Castiel. His manner of taking care of the angel was completely different. Dean was secretive in the way he continually stole glances at Castiel in his rear-view mirror. His gaze was scrutinizing, trying to judge just how bad his mental state had become. Dean wanted to be sure the angel would be all right as much as Sam and he wished hopelessly that just keeping an eye on him would do something to help. The hunter was tense because he continually expected Castiel to suddenly vanish or have an extreme change in mental states that would cause an irreversible breakdown.

As he watched him like a hawk, Dean noticed the way Castiel had curiously observed the inside of the Ford like it was a spaceship. It had been as adorable as it had been sad. Castiel was like a fish out of water. There didn't seem to be one thing that did not befuddle the poor angel.

For miles after Sam had finished talking, the only sound in the car was Classic Rock music and Dean's occasional singing. Once Sam was drooling quietly by his side, Dean spoke to Cas, who was still entranced by his hand. When he spoke, he was earnestly cheerful, "We'll have to get you a suit. You know, like the one you used to have."

Dean was caught off guard by the tone of his own voice and inwardly cursed himself once he realized how gay he sounded. What's next, Dean? You gonna tell him he needs a nice blue tie to bring out his eyes? It was difficult for Dean not to be extremely aware and paranoid of his own thoughts and intentions after Meg had mentioned the depths of Cas' love for him so many times. It was especially hard after having felt the angel's fingers fondling his hand. Dean was uneasy and flustered about all of it.

"I mean, in case you need to look professional. Well, you will. You know what it's like. Uh, how about you just wear one of my FBI suits?" Dean offered. He knew he had a blue tie somewhere that Cas could wear. He felt like he was having a conversation with himself, which was just a little bit irritating. He pressed Cas, "Hey. Are you tired? Do you even sleep these days? Or eat? If you're hungry we can stop somewhere around here."

"No, thank you," the angel replied. If new clothes and a hot meal could fix Cas, Dean would have had all the answers. In the silence that ensued, both men thought about what they would have done if Sam had not returned to Castiel's room in the mental hospital as quickly as he had. Castiel rested his eyes, praying silently to hear another song from Dean's lips.

When the night had fallen to its darkest, chilliest hours, Dean pulled up to a cheap motel. If it had been just him and Sam they might have slept somewhere on the side of the road, but now they had Cas. To make up for leaving him behind in the mental hospital, Dean wanted to take good care of him even if the best he could offer was a cheap motel.

He ordered one room with two queens out of habit. Sam waited outside with Cas to keep an eye on him. The Winchesters had already developed a tacit agreement that one of them would be around the angel at all times.

Once they reached their room, Sam strolled in and set his laptop down on the table while Dean rummaged through a bag for the FBI suit that was almost Castiel's size. When Dean found it, he set the suit to the side, placing a dark blue tie around the hanger. Sam was peacefully checking his email when Dean realized a slight problem.

Castiel was usually only ever a temporary guest in any of the rooms they rented. Now he would be staying the night, for several nights, at least until he was better. Where the Hell are we going to put him? The angel in question was occupying space next to Dean, but his mind was clearly elsewhere. "Sam."


"Come 'ere. I have to talk to you," Dean frowned. As Sam got up to join to Dean, Castiel slowly made his way to one of the beds. He sat on it, springing up slightly. In a hushed voice, Dean began, "What are we gonna do about Cas?"

"What do you mean?" Sam replied.

"I mean, we can't keep an eye on him if we're both asleep. What if he gets the urge to, ya know, stretch his wings or somethin'?"

Sam contemplated Dean's words for a minute. It was a valid point. Since Castiel had just gotten out of the hospital, he would probably be especially prone to confusion and recklessness. Staying in one place had never been one of Castiel's habits. He was more likely to vanish in the middle of a conversation than he was to linger anywhere.

"Should one of us stay up while the other sleeps to keep watch?" Dean suggested.

"What? No, Dean. That would be inefficient," Sam argued. If they did that, they were much more likely to get burned out after a few nights and they had important business to take care of during the day that necessitated decent rest. There were easier ways to solve this problem. While the brothers discussed Castiel, the angel began to have a conversation of his own. Bobby flashed before his eyes with a hairy, familiar smile on his face.

"It sure is good to see you again, old pal," the apparition said. Castiel smiled in return. Either he was hallucinating or Bobby was dead. "Fresh out of the loony bin, huh?" The angel nodded and Bobby's ghost expressed a range of exasperated expressions that were reserved solely for the Winchester boys. "Well, it's about damn time they got you out!"

Castiel's distracted, troubled blue eyes searched for Dean. The angel wasn't aware that he was the subject of their current conversation. He wasn't aware of much at all. In fact, Cas felt like he was in a dream. He remembered what it was like to dream from having been a fallen angel for a while. Everything was a bit cloudy and distant. Bobby wasn't surprised to see that the angel was fixated on Dean, although it did make him feel a little bit like chopped liver by comparison. "Don't worry about Dean," Bobby sighed, "He'll come around eventually."

"Thank you," Castiel answered softly.

"Just share with Cas. If he moves, you'll feel him," Sam said.

"What? Why me?" Dean protested. "You share with Cas!"

"Hey, Cas! Do you mind sharing a bed with Dean?" Sam shouted over to the angel. He spoke loudly because Castiel had been talking to himself in a disturbed fashion.

"I do not require sleep."

"Yeah, I know that," Sam replied. "Do you mind not sleeping with Dean in a bed?"

Castiel did not understand what Sam meant at all, but he nodded because he felt he had no right to object to anything the Winchesters offered.

"Alright. Then it's settled. You can take that bed with Cas," Sam decided.

"No! Why can't he sleep with you?" Dean complained. Sam was just about ready to throw something at his stupid older brother. There were many reasons why it had to be this way.

"I need more room," Sam pouted, brandishing his Giant Card.

"You little – "

"Grow up, Dean! It's just Cas! You sleep more lightly than I do. Anyway, you guys have that 'profound bond' and everything. So… profoundly bond. In bed."

Red filled Dean's face as Sam effectively shut him up. He'd think of some way to get back at Sam later. For the moment, he needed a drink or three. After the men had opened a few beers, the humans of the group could no longer keep their eyes open. Sam was the first to go down. He was out like a light. He slept like a rock with his long legs hanging slightly off the edge of the bed.

"Needs more room," Dean grumbled to himself as he got ready to climb into bed with Cas. He kept himself angry to avoid feeling anything else. Once he was under the sheets, he commanded the angel to lie down. For a moment, Dean was on his side, staring at Cas who was staring right back, "Just stay like that, okay?"

"Why?" Cas replied. Everything in his eyes was a question. He did not understand why the boys insisted he remain in the bed after clearly emphasizing his inability to sleep.

"Because we need to sleep, damn it. Even though you can't, you're gonna pretend, and if you so much as think about getting out of this bed, I will hunt you down and kill you," Dean warned. Everything about Cas was difficult. He truly was a big baby in a trench coat. Dean yawned, which took the edge off his ferocity, "Meditate or somethin'. Just don't move. There's only two rules, okay? One. Don't get out of bed until I say you can. Two. No spooning."

Cas was going to have a hard night. Dean's eyes closed and he eventually fell into a sleep that was beautiful to the angel's eyes. In the darkness, Cas contemplated every breath and measured every tiny movement the eldest Winchester made. Castiel even tried in vain to join Dean in his nightly endeavor by shutting his eyes too. Meditate.

The night was still and surprisingly quiet. Sam only woke up once and it was to a shout from Dean.

"N-No spooning! I said no spooning!"

"What?" Castiel's soft voiced answered in alarm. What spoons had to do with sleep was an absolute enigma to him.

"That's spooning, Cas! Geez! We only had two rules! C'mon!"

Sam had to grin as he listened to Dean complain about being the 'little spoon.'

As the night passed on it had been Dean that had been unable to remove his touch from Castiel. Even in his deep sleep he had to remain in some sort of contact to ensure the angel would not fly away. When Castiel was sure Dean was sleeping, he whispered heartfelt apologies to him. Cas knew Dean hated apologies so he spoke gently in Enochian because humans could not understand it even though Dean wasn't awake to hear. I'm sorry for letting you down. I will never stop being ashamed of betraying you. He went on with words that were woefully poetic in his natural tongue. When the morning light shone across their bodies, Dean was curled up to Castiel's side. Castiel was lying flat on his back with Dean's leg intertwining his. When both of their eyes were shut, Sam snapped a picture of them together with his phone.

Dean woke up to his brother's snickering. H-Huh?

Dean felt blissfully wonderful and warm, like he had visited a spiritual healing spa in the middle of the night. Waking up next to Cas made him feel like his entire body had been blessed. It was a clean, sparkling feeling that Dean never wanted to forget. His hand rubbed over Castiel's chest and he sighed dreamily. Unknowingly, he nudged his face delicately against Castiel's collarbone.

"Oh my God," Sam chortled, snapping a few more pictures. "This needs to be on the Internet."

"W-What? What the fuck are you doing?" Dean bolted out of bed as soon as he realized the position he was in. "Sammy, you dick! D-Did you just take a picture?"

Dean did not know how good his advice had been. Meditation had effectively helped Castiel ward off Lucifer for several hours. While he had not slept a wink, the angel still felt refreshed. Dean's proximity had also kept him grounded all night. He would not dare fly anywhere if Dean was next to him. He would happily endure any number of hours in silence to feel Dean's cheek to his collarbone.

Once the brothers tired of chasing and teasing each other, they got ready for the day. They were following Dick Roman leads even though there wasn't much to go on. Dean and Sam were active at this time of day, brushing their teeth and pouring over their notes. Castiel was still because he did not understand much of what was happening and because he partially remained in a Dean-induced daze. At last, Dean fixed his eyes on him.

"Well, hurry up and shower, Cas," Dean ordered. He had forgotten that Castiel could clean himself with his angel mojo, which threw Cas off for a moment. Cas wondered if Dean wanted him to do other things in the human manner, like he did with sleeping. He was moderately curious about the shower. "I'm serious, Cas. You have to get into one of my suits and your angel stank has accumulated, man."

"Angel stank?" Sam questioned.

Dean shrugged as if to say he would know because he had had his face buried in Castiel's white, hospital t-shirt most of the night. With a put-upon sigh, Dean got up and dragged an unresponsive Castiel to the bathroom, "Come on, space cadet." The wide, blue eyes that met his face surprised Dean. Okay, this is not rocket science. Dean was beginning to worry that he would have to walk the angel through everything. "Just… take off your clothes."

"That's what she said!"

"Thanks, Sam. Real helpful," Dean answered sarcastically.

"And on that note, I'm going to get us some coffee," Sam mumbled. There was coffee in the room, but he figured they would need more. Donuts couldn't hurt either. He might search for a fruit salad too. Mostly, Sam was pretty sure he wasn't ready to be around his brother and a naked Cas. He thought it was strange that Castiel hadn't used his angel cleaning powers. Either Cas was fresh out of them or he actually wanted to get naked in front of Dean. It was too early for Sam to get involved in those kinds of matters. "I'll get Cas a donut too. Cas, you like sprinkles? Okay, Nevermind."

Sam ran out as quickly as humanly possible and nobody noticed.

"Take off your damn coat!" Dean growled, trying to help Castiel out of his coat. Castiel wasn't helping him at all. "You are such a child! Do you not even know how to undress yourself? Cas?"

The angel held on to the coat not because he was being stubborn, but because it was full of questions he was trying to remember. Now that they were alone, together, there were things Castiel needed to know of Dean. Before he could focus on anything in particular, the bathroom faded into a hellish, frightening red. The coat could protect him, Castiel thought. The coat meant something so he kept it on.

"You are such a prude," Lucifer said. He was sitting in the corner, sucking the meat off a human bone, just to try and draw Castiel's eyes to him. The scraps from his meal fell into a wooden bowl that was full of blood. Instead of giving him the pleasure of looking at him, Cas kept staring at Dean. He focused on his face and chased the fragments of the thoughts he had been having.

"Dean?" Castiel cried, doing his best to hide his terror. He gasped, "The coat! What does it… mean?"

"What?" Dean frowned. The angel slipped down against the bathroom counter and their legs almost intertwined. Dean could tell something was wrong and that some kind of episode was about to begin. "What are you talking about?"

Lucifer was teasing him loudly now and Castiel was trying his best to distract himself. Think of Dean. Dean returned the coat to me. The coat is important. The coat is real. Panic was rising from within. He knew Lucifer was a lie. He knew Dean was real. He knew the coat was real. He knew why Dean mattered, but could not understand the meaning of the coat. At last, he asked, "Why did you keep the coat?"

"What?" Dean knew damn well what Castiel was getting at, but he brushed his thoughts away. He kept the coat because it smelled of Castiel. It was hope. The coat symbolized the fondness that had grown between them. Dean would caress it sometimes when he was getting something out of the trunk. He 'accidentally' used it as a pillow a few times. Castiel was looking at him with desperation and yet Dean could not verbalize any of these things. To say those things would be to admit he loved Castiel more than he believed he should. He shoved all those feelings right where they belonged – well out of sight.

"It's a nice coat."

With such few words, Dean reduced their relationship to something smaller than what it was.

"It's a nice coat?" Lucifer laughed, clapping his hands together, "Oh, wow."

"No sense in letting a good coat go to waste, huh?" Dean tried to grin and laugh it off, but he couldn't because of how dirty he felt. He soothed Cas by rubbing his shoulders. "You gonna be okay?"

Castiel finally slipped out of the coat, unable to understand why he felt the immense disappointment he felt. As he carefully passed the coat to Dean, he realized that it was because Dean had just lied to him. Castiel may not have been worthy of honesty, but he still desired it with all his heart. By keeping whatever secret he was keeping from Cas, Dean was a hypocrit. Cas was supposed to tell Dean everything, but Dean wouldn't even answer one of his questions seriously. Testing him, Castiel pressed, "Really? Did you ever put it on?"

Dean was getting heated for all the wrong reasons. Castiel was prodding at a sensitive area that the angel had no clue was so sensitive. Nonetheless, it pissed Dean off. It was like Cas was trying to shine a spotlight on his soul and Dean hated it. He didn't want Castiel to see what he kept inside. Dean wanted to make Castiel lose his cool so the focus would shift away from him. "No. I didn't put it on."

"Are you lying to me?" Castiel asked, his eyebrows furrowed together in serious contemplation. His intention was not to set Dean off, but he did.

"Damn it! What's with all the questions? Who gives a fuck about your coat?" Dean smoldered, flinging the coat against the door. Dean believed Castiel had no right to ask him if he was lying about anything after he had lied to Dean about so many important, unforgivable things. "You think I don't have questions? We can start with, 'Why did you stab me in the back?' You like that?"

Stop it, Dean. Dean told himself to shut up, but he just couldn't. Furiously, he continued, "Why the fuck is Meg fucking Masters saying you love me and ought to give me a good fucking? What the Hell does that mean? Huh, Cas?"

Dean didn't know what he was saying. He wanted to punch Castiel in the face for bringing up the coat and all the feelings he wasn't supposed to have. He didn't have the nerve to physically throttle a demented angel, so he trashed him with his words instead, which was much worse. Dean played dirty because he was a coward and because he had been carrying around so much hurt for so long. In return, Castiel broke a little more. He fell into silence.

"I'm sorry," Castiel finally apologized. More than ever, he wished he had never crawled out of that lake. Cas wanted his last words to Dean to be true because Dean deserved the truth. He went on, "I know you don't believe me, but I did what I did for you. What Meg said was true. She knows because I told her. You may not have seen me for months, but I saw you everyday because Lucifer tormented – torments – me with you."

As it turned out, Lucifer was more impressed by the real Dean than by any of the hallucinations he had created. Castiel used every bit of energy he had left to keep himself together in front of Dean. "I-I should go. I can tell my feelings are unpleasant to you. You've done more than you should have for me. For that, I thank you."

There was a flutter. Dean was suddenly caught staring at his own reflection in the mirror. The space where Castiel had been standing was empty. All the color drained from Dean's face. He had let his best friend down again for something petty and stupid. Dean was staring at his stupid fucking face, wanting to kill himself for pushing Cas away yet again. All this time, Cas had loved him. All this time. Tears were threatening to coat his eyes. There was not a damn thing to like in his image and he found he couldn't bare the sight of himself. What did it matter if he cried now? Cas was gone, probably forever.

Only, Castiel reappeared by the bathroom door. Even if Dean lied about it, there was just something about that coat. The angel knelt down to pick it up. Before he could fly off again, Dean was on top of him, quickly crushing him against the wall. "No! Wait! I'm sorry! I'm sorry for yelling at you! I'm sorry for every damn thing I've ever done to hurt you. Don't go. I'm begging you. Please!"

He startled Castiel. For a moment, the wildness in Dean's eyes made the angel believe he wasn't the only one that was crazy. Truth be told, Castiel was exhausted with Dean. He didn't understand a thing the human did. Before he knew it, he was crowded against the bathroom wall with Dean pressed closely to his body.

Castiel swallowed hard. Of course he loved Dean. Dean could beg anything of the angel and he would give it gladly. Castiel was unable to do anything about it, and he completely understood that Dean would never love him back – not the way he loved Dean. Castiel remained in place because he was scared and because Dean had asked it of him. Even though the angel's heart felt like a mass of bleeding pulp, Castiel didn't want to leave Dean any more than Dean wanted him to leave.

"I kept the coat…" Dean began, grabbing the part of the coat that Castiel was not holding. "I kept it because it reminded me of you."

Their eyes met and they shared in a perturbed, heated silence. Dean touched his forehead to Castiel's. "I kept it because I always knew you'd come back. A part of me always knew. Cas, you… you…" Dean was trembling with his admission. Admitting any of this to Cas was painfully difficult, but it needed to be done. He had almost pushed him away and he couldn't live with himself if he let Castiel go now. After loosing him so many times, he just couldn't lose him again. "You fuckin' stupid angel bastard. I've been carrying a torch for you since you died. Since even before then."

Now it was Dean that expected reality to be altered in some way. Yet, the world did not collapse. It kept going and it was better for finally having heard Dean's mangled proclamation of love. Castiel was holding in his breath. Feeling Dean so close was arousing. He knew that even though Dean's words had been laced with insults, there was something powerful in their meaning. He inspected Dean with an intensity that made Dean feel naked. Still, Castiel could not get past one portion of Dean's confession. As Castiel began to speak, Dean hung on to his every word.

"I…I don't recall leaving a torch anywhere."

The room had been so tense and silent, but now Dean's short laugh filled the bathroom. "It's a figure of speech, Cas."

"Oh…" The angel replied. "Well, I don't understand what it means."

Dean made him understand with his lips. He kissed Castiel with all the fervor he'd been holding deep within for years. He didn't stop until Castiel was squirming and fighting for air. Dean broke apart, listening to the angel's heavy pants for a moment before pressing him even harder against the wall to continue exploring his lips. If kisses were his apologies, Dean couldn't kiss Cas enough. He licked and teased Castiel until the angel's mouth fell open with small moans. Dean let his tongue slide in his mouth and his hands roam over Castiel's sensitive, willing body.

Dean was absorbed in his taste and fired up by the warmth between them. He groped Castiel's ass and brought their hips together. Dean only broke apart from his lips to suck his neck. "This is what it means, Cas…" Dean whispered in Castiel's ear. "It means I'm not whole without you."

Castiel's eyes fell closed. He held Dean, thinking deeply about what was happening. Not a single image of Hell could penetrate the remarkable revelation between them. Castiel felt so genuinely happy. It was nothing short of a miracle. He let his hands explore Dean experimentally. His face nudged Dean until he found his lips and then Castiel initiated a sloppy kiss.

The pair was fused as one to the wall. Their bodies rutted together with the dirty coat between them until Dean felt heady and Castiel was blushing deeply. None of his hallucinations had been quite like this. Castiel had no idea how much more he would experience.

"How about that shower?" His human partner asked in a tone of voice that somehow struck every pleasurable nerve in Castiel's body. It wasn't as if Castiel had a choice. They kissed their way to the shower, falling over their own clothing. They were both hot and hungry. Dean's hand fumbled over the shower knob. Because he had not shifted his intense attention off Cas for a minute, the water shot out cold. They shouted together in surprise but did not untangle their bodies. Every second was so blazingly real.

Dean rubbed his cheek against Castiel's scratchy stubble. That had been one of his fantasies. He adored the angel's strong, perpetually unshaven jaw. The water began to warm up as Dean kissed, licked, sucked, and touched every bit of Cas he could reach.

"Dean! Y-You're…" Castiel gasped incoherently. All he could do was plead nonsense as Dean's beautiful mouth trailed down his chest. Cas started when his nipple was worked over and he begged Dean unintelligible things half in English and half in his heavenly language as every rib and every muscle in his abdomen was worshiped by Dean. Even the soft, sensitive skin beneath his bellybutton received special attention.

Dean had never once wanted to suck a cock like he wanted Cas'. He was on his knees without even thinking. Eagerly, his tongue traveled over Castiel's erection. He may not have had any experience in the task, but he had been on the receiving end enough to know what a man would like. He sucked carefully, savoring every sound Cas made, until he finally swallowed him into his mouth as deeply as he could. He sucked and stroked until Castiel had almost ripped the shower curtain from its rings. When at last he came, his entire body shuddered. Castiel could have never imagined something like that.

Dean swallowed curiously. He had nothing to compare it to, but he was convinced Castiel's taste was probably superior to any other creature. He licked Castiel until he thought the man would cry and then they both settled down onto the plastic floor. When Castiel looked at Dean who was soaking wet with water trailing off his jaw and his long eyelashes, Castiel was convinced he was beholding a beautiful, otherworldly being. He was slow to notice that Dean was still fully aroused. When Castiel's face bumped into Dean's chest and he began to kiss a path down, Dean gripped him by his shoulders.

"N-No," He stuttered. As always, Dean couldn't describe everything that was on his mind. "You're an angel."

Dean's words reminded Castiel of the time long ago when Dean had been faithless and had believed he was unworthy of being saved. Now, Dean did not believe he was worthy of Cas. He held Castiel up to a higher standard because he loved him and because Castiel was still holy and beautiful to Dean even after all they had been through. Castiel kissed Dean in sweet, loving way and dragged Dean into his lap.

Dean didn't get to decide what Castiel did with his hands. The angel left kisses over Dean's shoulder, sneaking a hand to grasp and stroke Dean's cock. Dean fell back into Castiel, allowing himself the pleasure because he wanted it so badly. Castiel sucked Dean's neck and worked his hand fast. After being tortured with Dean's face every day, he was familiar with this touch. Castiel was finally able to caress Dean as he had wanted to for so long. Both of their fantasies were coming true.

"Faster," Dean demanded. "Faster."

He gave Cas a warning before he came. This is paradise, Dean thought. He didn't need to go to heaven because Cas was his heaven. Dean and Cas couldn't be bothered to move for a long time. Castiel's fingers traced Dean's muscles with lazy little patterns. They forgot the reason they had gone into the bathroom in the first place even though the water splashing on their naked bodies was the greatest reminder possible. Castiel wanted to hold Dean forever.

"Oh, fuck!" Dean started. "Fuck!"

"What's wrong?"

"Cas, we gotta get ready. Sammy - " Dean began panicking. Slowly, the pair got up. "Sammy's still waiting for us. Here, lemme just…"

Dean rushed pour some shampoo in Castiel's hair. For some reason, the angel found it incredibly amusing. Too much had come out of the bottle so Dean rubbed the rest on his own hair. No big deal. Legit reason to be in the bathroom. Just getting clean. No fucking happening here. Aw, but fuck… He massaged his fingers through Castiel's hair and pulled him into a sudden, hot kiss. Castiel decided he would never use his angel mojo to get clean ever again.

Dean was lucky Sam hadn't been in the room when he ran out of the bathroom in nothing but a towel to fetch his clothes and Cas' new suit. He had time to towel-dry Castiel's hair and get him properly dressed, kissing him in between everything he did. He knew he would have to stop kissing him eventually. He couldn't do this in front of Sammy. Until Sam arrived, Dean took every advantage he could and Castiel did not complain. They shared a meaningful gaze when Dean helped Castiel back into his coat.

By the time Sam entered, Dean and Cas were fully clothed and standing in the middle of the room with feigned innocence. Dean was grinning a little bit too much as he adjusted Castiel's tie. Aside from Castiel's hair that was more tousled than usual, the angel appeared perfectly normal, if not a little bit shinier than usual.

"Oh, thank God," were Sam's only words as he settled down in a chair by the window. He'd come in too early about two times now and had had to take several long walks. There was nothing that surprised him about what had happened, but there were certain things he would rather not hear. "You're finally clean. Um, so… There's still some coffee. It's probably cold now. But, uh, while you were… taking a shower, I found some leads."

Just as easily as that, their lives resumed seamlessly. The suit Dean had selected for Castiel was slightly roomy, but the tie suited him perfectly. Everyday, the blue of Castiel's eyes regained a little more clarity. The trio still hunted things and obsessed over saving the world. They still fought like children and drank too much.

But, when night fell, Dean no longer complained about sharing a bed with Cas. He looked forward to it even though he never said it. Sometimes they just slept. Dean would curl up into Cas, holding onto him so he would never go. Dean even started to allow spooning. Other times, Dean waited until it was quiet enough to hear a pin drop to crawl on top of Castiel and kiss him quietly and as deeply as he dared. He would grasp the angel's hair and warn him not to moan. A few times, Sam threw pillows at them.

Sam got into the habit of taking many long walks. He also got into the habit of buying them lube and writing snarky, embarrassing notes that he would leave by the lube on the nightstand. Sam took hundreds of incriminating photos, but he also chastised Dean any time he began to look at or flirt with attractive women.


"What? I have eyes," Dean would reply. He never did anything more than look. As it turned out, Castiel was a natural when it came to carnal love, which wasn't surprising with how he had mastered a porn star's kiss in a single try. He kept Dean calm and satiated.

Castiel still heard things, usually hell hounds, and sometimes his world took on a reddish tint. He was prone to panic attacks, but they were no longer grounded in anything concrete. Dean was always there to hang on to. If Lucifer spoke to him, Castiel no longer heard him because he was gradually becoming strong again. He had the Winchesters to take care of and a world to save. Monsters were drawn to his vulnerability, but the boys were vicious in the way they guarded his back.

As much as they loved him, having Castiel back on their team was difficult in many ways. Castiel's continued madness was a challenge, but almost nothing was as difficult as finding forgiveness. The three men always reminded each other of their betrayals and mistakes by virtue of existing. They had all been vile and unforgivable in their own ways. They were dark and dysfunctional, but they would forever be a family.

Sam urged Dean and Castiel to become closer than they ever had been before, which was made easy by the fact that Dean's continued attention improved Castiel's condition. Neither Winchester could stand to see Castiel suffer. Dean made up for abandoning him in the mental hospital by refusing to let the angel leave his sight and by pampering him with anything the angel might want or need. Castiel needed his touch and his nearness to be reminded of what was real. Sam did a great deal of his research at cafes and diners to give Castiel the time he needed for his 'therapy,' which turned out to be as beneficial to Dean as it was to Castiel.

Sam had only to witness Castiel in one of his bad moments to forgive him. The memory of being insane was still fresh in his mind and it was something he would not wish upon anyone. The young, but wise, Winchester recognized that Castiel's disturbed mental state was the consequence of the appalling actions Cas had taken with good intentions. Although tragic, it was Karma that everything had backfired on Castiel in such a way. Sam forgave Cas because he knew, better than almost anyone, what it was to do horrific things in pursuit of something that was believed to be just and right. Sam knew what it was like to go off into the deep end only to come back up feeling unworthy of even holding oxygen in his lungs. People died when they believed that the ends justified the means and when they applied cold logic to a problem that required compassion and a conscience. Sam understood and he embraced Cas because, in this sense, they were exactly alike.

Unlike Sam and Castiel, Dean didn't have the ability to air out all their problems with words. Dean had lived a difficult, ugly life for so long that deep down inside he didn't think any part of it was ever meant to be easy or good. He kept himself shut in and conflicted because it was his way, but he gradually came to accept that the new Cas was truly sorry over everything he'd done. Dean heard him apologize thousands of times even if he usually was not awake when Castiel pleaded for forgiveness.

Dean couldn't help burying himself in Cas and letting himself become hopelessly attached to the angel even though he expected the other shoe to eventually drop. He never anticipated he would fall for someone that was perfect, so, in a way, it was fitting for him to love a rebellious, crazy angel. Dean's devotion and his forgiveness were evident in the way he watched out for Castiel and kept him close. Angels may have been watching over Dean since he was a baby, but now, Dean was watching over Castiel.

Every 'idjit' on the team had sold his soul in one fashion or other, made raw deals, and nearly destroyed the world. The blood from their hands could fill a river. They kept on going because they had each other. Although they tried to carry each other's burdens all on their own, they always needed to rely on each other in the end. They did not have the ability to forget anything they had been through, but they forgave out of a love that was profound and unbreakable.