This is the first thing I've ever put on this website, so I'm kind of nervous. I edited the best I could, but let me know if anything sticks out to you. Thanks for reading.

I don't own Supernatural or any of the characters.

Sam had no problem with public displays of affection every once in a while.

He used to keep and arm around Jess's waist, or hand on her shoulder or the small of her back. He liked touches like that, the casual touches that had nothing to do with sex and everything to do with affection and comfort. A part of him liked showing everyone how lucky he was to be in a relationship with his amazing partner, no matter who it was at the time.

So he wasn't sure why he shook Cas off when the angel tried to take his hand.

Cas wasn't deterred, and tried again to take Sam's hand in his own.

"Not now, Cas," Sam said lowly, glancing around at the group of motorcycles and their riders gathered in front of the small coffee shop.

Cas gave him a confused and slightly put out look, and shoved his hands in his pockets. After a few moments, he spoke up, sounding more confused than anything. "I was under the impression, from what Dean has told me, that people in relationships 'held hands' when they walked together."

"Sometimes they do," Sam agreed reluctantly, running a hand through his hair. "But…it's different when they're both…both guys."

"Why?" Cas tilted his head. Sam could feel Cas's inquisitive blue eyes on his face, drinking in his every word as he tried to glean understanding.

"Because some humans…a lot of humans don't think two guys should be in a relationship," Sam explained, rubbing his face, trying to ignore the steady gaze of his lover that was boring a hole in his head. "They think it's wrong, and they might…say something."

"Is it wrong?" when Sam looked at Cas, he saw the flash of panic in his eyes.

"Would you leave if it was?" Sam asked softly, the bottom of his stomach sinking.

Cas shook his head and a weight lifted off of Sam's shoulders. "No. I…I don't believe God would be upset with me. He would not condemn love."

"That's good, Cas," Sam smiled a little and dug his hands in his jeans pockets. "I think you're right."

"So if it's not wrong," Cas began hesitantly. "Can I hold your hand?"

Sam ducked his head so his hair hid his face and he wouldn't have to look Cas in the eyes. "Not everyone is as open minded as us. I don't think that's a good idea."

Cas pursed his lips and didn't speak for the rest of the walk to the motel.

Cas still felt like he was missing something. Sam had informed him they could not hold hands walking down the street a few days ago, and had since taken to leaving a disconcerting amount of space between them when they were in public.

He stared down at his hands, contemplating Sam reluctance to touch him outside the motel rooms and the Impala, when he felt lips press to his fore head and looked up into Sam's eyes.

He smiled at Cas, showing the dimple in his left cheek. "I'm going out to get food. I'm guessing you don't want anything."

"I do not require food," Cas replied, nodding.

"I'll be back in fifteen minutes," he promised before he picked up his jacket and left the room, pulling the door shut behind him.

Cas stared at the stained rug of the motel room, thinking over Sam's words from earlier this week.

He jumped when a pillow hit the side of his head and turned to glare at Dean where he was lying on the bed on the other side of the room. "Do not do that."

"What's got you all spacey?" Dean asked, not looking away from the television. He knew Cas wouldn't understand the slang, but it came out of his mouth before he could correct himself.

"Spacey?" Cas repeated. "I am not—."

"I mean what are you thinking about that's making you so intense," Dean cut him off, rolling his eyes. "You look like you're trying to burn a hole in this crappy rug with your eyes."

"Oh," Cas's eyes flickered with understanding. "I'm confused about something you advised me on."

"What?" Dean asked, looking over at him incredulously. "Are you suggesting that my advice isn't working? Because if you're going to tell me that peanut butter on burgers isn't good, then—"

"This is not about your horrendous dietary habits," Cas cut him off, pursing his lips. "You informed me that humans hold hands with the people that are in a relationship with in public."

"They do," Dean said, his eye brows drawing together.

"When I attempted to hold his hand walking back to the motel the other day, Sam told me that we could not," Cas argued. "He told me that other humans may not be as open minded as us."

Understanding dawned and Dean rubbed his forehead. "Oh. Sammy would worry about that." Feeling Castiel's questioning gaze on him, he tried to explain. "People are jerks, Cas. Some people will say things to you, or want to hurt you because of you and Sam's…thing." He tried not to be mortified that he had to have this conversation with Cas. He wasn't exactly one to give tips on long term relationships, especially not for his Sasquatch brother and an angel of the Lord. He didn't even like to think about it too much.

"I would not let Sam be hurt," Cas said firmly, and Dean didn't doubt it for a second.

Still, they stayed in some sketchy places. Dean had no doubt Sam and Cas could hold their own, but if a big group of burly, drunk men decided they didn't like that way his brother and Cas were looking at each other, Sam and Cas might get hurt trying to protect each other. They were each other's weak spot now, a raw, gaping weak spot that would be easy to exploit.

Cas was looking at him with his confused, puppy dog eyes, begging for Dean to explain so he could understand why he couldn't hold his boyfriend's hand in public.

And all of a sudden, Dean felt anger creep into his chest. Anger because he had no rational explanation for Castiel. Why shouldn't he be able to hold Sam's hand? They were in a relationship; a serious one, considering the exchange of tender 'I love you's' that Dean had once heard when Cas had showed up after Sam had almost been gutted by a shape shifter. If they wanted to hold hands, who had the right to stop them? They had saved the world, they had been through hell (literally), and they had fought for each other so that they could be together.

"You know what, Cas?" Dean propped himself up on the headboard and stretched. "Screw them. Don't let them tell you what to do. Hold Sam's hand if you want to. And if any one gives you any crap for it, work your angel mojo on them."

Cas's serious expression broke into a small smile, and Dean flopped back on the bed, satisfied his work was done.

"I talked to Dean," Cas said softly, drawing small circles on Sam's shoulder with his finger.

"About what?" Sam murmured, already half asleep. He was stretched out sideways over Castiel's legs, flat on his stomach so the angel could rub his back. He used his foot to kick aside the empty Styrofoam container from dinner off the bed onto the floor.

"About what you informed me about holding hands," Cas replied. Sam stiffened under his touch, but didn't speak, waiting to hear what Cas had to say. "He told me we should hold hands if we want to and that if someone was a jerk to us, I can take care of it."

"You mean, like, angelically?" Sam rolled over and sat up, scooting back to sit against the headboard. He looked over at Dean, but his brother was already asleep, an empty burger wrapper resting on his chest. Sam lowered his voice; he hated when they were crammed into a room with Dean, but they were currently low on cash. "Cas, c'mon. It's not a big deal. We can hold hands as much as you want in the motel room."

To demonstrate, he slipped his hand into the calloused palm of the angel's and entwined their fingers.

He hated saying this to Cas; he hated that he couldn't reach out and take his hand in public. But he'd seen what happened to people like them; he remembered two boys from one of the high schools he'd been in. They'd been bullied and targeted the second everyone found out they were together. One night, they'd been attacked by a group of guys when they were walking home together. One of them was left in a coma for months; the other was killed. He remembered seeing the one who survived at his boyfriend's grave when he could finally leave the hospital; the look on his face, the way he'd clutched at the stone bearing the name of the kid he'd loved who had been taken from him suddenly and violently, and Sam felt sick.

Cas was quiet, staring at their hands where they were tangled on Sam's thigh. "What are you so afraid of? We are not weak; we won't be hurt by those people. They won't hurt you. I won't let them."

"I'm more concerned about you being hurt," Sam admitted, pulling Cas's stiff body closer. "You don't understand how cruel humans can be."

"How can you say that?" Cas pushed away from Sam, his eyes blazing. "I have watched humans kill each other, torture their own families, and laugh at the pain of others since the beginning of time. I fully understand what humans are capable of, Samuel Winchester. I have a difficult time accepting you are putting the petty hatred of others over the importance of our relationship."

"What?" Sam sat up straight, thrown by the way this conversation had turned. "Cas, this isn't about our relationship. This has nothing to do with how much I love you."

"How much do I ask of you, Sam?" Cas asked, standing up from the bed. He wasn't wearing his coat to give his hands something to fiddle with, so he instead placed them on his slim hips and glared at his boyfriend. "I understand now why you were reluctant. I sympathize with your misgivings. But now that I am informed of all of this, don't you think I should have a say?"

"I'm not…" Sam leaned forward and ran his hands through his hair, frustrated. "I don't want to talk about this anymore."

There was a rustle of wings, and when Sam looked up, Cas was gone.

Cas was back the next morning, arriving in the corner of the kitchen as Dean made eggs and Sam hunched over the laptop, searching fruitlessly for some hint of what they were looking for in old articles that had been scanned into the town archives online.

Sam glanced up when there was the sound of wings flapping, but didn't say anything. Cas spared him a glance before he turned to Dean. "What is on our schedule for today?"

"Questioning more locals," Dean replied, scooping the eggs onto two plates. "Unless Sam's found something."

Sam accepted the plate Dean offered him without looking up from his laptop, ignoring the piercing blue gaze he could feel on his skin. "Nothing here."

"We'll go after breakfast," Dean flopped back on his bed with his food. "Maybe you two lovebirds can work out your issues before then."

Sam rolled his eyes as the screen, trying to keep the blush from rising up the back of his neck.

"Too bad we didn't figure this out earlier," Dean hissed as they crouched behind a crumbling stone wall and watched a rundown cabin in the woods a few miles out of town. "It's stupid to take on vampires while it's still dark, for God's sake."

"Dean," Cas and Sam both admonished him, caught each other's gaze, and looked away from each other, slightly red and stubbornly refusing to acknowledge each other.

"Whatever," Dean mumbled, shooting them an impatient glance before returning his eyes to the cabin. "Looks like there's seven of them."

"Not bad," Sam took in a sharp breath and let it out slowly, trying to move his mind from Cas to the problem at hand.

"Not good," Dean shrugged. "Though we have got an angel this time."

Cas blinked and half-heartedly shrugged.

"Alright," Sam pulled his knife from the bag at his feet. "Let's get this over with."

Sam struggled against the vampire that pinned him to the ground, the creature's knees on his elbows to keep him from reaching for his fallen knife. Two others hovered over him, smiling down at him with their sharp teeth bared.

"Well, well, well," the vampire on top of Sam tilted his head and ran his eyes down Sam's body. The vampire was a big guy, half a foot taller than Sam and probably a hundred pounds more in solid muscle. Sam winced and tried to twist away, to no avail. He strained his neck to look over for Sam and Cas, who were occupied with three of their own vampires to slay. "Look what we've got here, boys. Isn't he a pretty little thing?"

Sam flinched away from the hand touching his face with disgust he didn't bother to conceal.

"Maybe when we're done with these guys we can have ourselves a little fun with this one here," the vampire laughed and tugged at Sam's hair. His rancid breath made Sam's nose crinkle and he turned his face away from the stench. "What do you say-?"

He stopped talking when his head was promptly detached from his body. The other two were caught off guard by the sudden attack and Cas had no trouble beheading them as well.

Sam scrambled to prop himself up on his elbows on the dirt floor and found himself looking at a blood splattered, dirt covered Castiel. Castiel wasn't looking at him.

Instead his gaze rested on the vampire who'd been pinning Sam down. He kicked the creature's body and, with his face expressionless and his voice steady, said, "No one touches my mate."

Dean, of course, was hungry by the time they got out of that cabin. He had Cas work some mojo to clean them up a little before dragging them into the local diner to stand at the counter and order breakfast. They'd caught scent of the vampire nest last night at around nine, from a homeless man who mentioned that people had been going missing from the tents the homeless population had set up in the woods. It had taken them a couple hours to find the cabin and determine it as a vampire nest, and by the time they moved in, it was probably close to three a.m.

Dean was bouncing on his toes, standing up as tall as he could to see the menu over the heads of the other people in line. Cas was examining the board on the wall next to him curiously. He still had a small cut on his temple, and Sam could see a bruise on his hand he'd gotten from bringing down the knife so hard on the vampire's necks.

As Sam let his eyes wander over Cas, he felt a surge of love and pride and need well up in his chest. The angel looked tired, and Sam's stomach went cold at the thought of Cas feeling exhaustion. His Grace was fading; it had been since he'd rebelled against Heaven. Rebelled against Heaven for Dean and him. And this man loved him; this amazing, pure being who had saved their lives more times than Sam could count; who had promised to protect him, and love him, and take care of him; who had killed the vampire and practically growled that he couldn't hurt Sam, that he would never allow that to happen to his mate (and Sam had to admit he like the possessiveness in Castiel's voice when he's called him that)…

Before he could give himself enough time to think about it, Sam reached out and wrapped his arms around Cas's chest, pulling the smaller form up against his chest and holding him there tightly. Cas stiffened, surprised, before relaxing against Sam and looking up at him inquisitively.

Sam gave him a lopsided smile, and, ignoring the stares and glares they were getting from other patrons, ignoring the gasps of disgust and the people standing up and leaving, he reached down to lace his fingers through Cas's tightly.


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