The soft rustling pulled Dean from sound sleep like a fisherman's hook. Or at least that was his first thought; when he blinked his eyes open he found the bed on the other side of the room empty and the cheap clock radio on the nightstand frozen at 3:16. "Seriously, Cas?" he said, propping himself up on his elbows and not at all surprised to see Castiel leaning against the wall. "This again?"

Castiel didn't answer, which was pretty much par for the course lately. "Third night in a row, Cas. You gonna change it up and say anything tonight?" Castiel stayed stone-faced and silent and Dean let himself fall back onto the bed, rubbing one hand over his face. "Bad enough you've been acting like a giant dick when I'm awake since Bible Camp let out, I don't see why you've gotta do it in my dreams, too." There was no response to that either. "I'd say I'm glad you're talking to me again, but you know..."

"It must be a dream," Castiel cut in, his rough voice carrying in the still room. "This can only be accomplished allegorically."

Dean picked up his head, intending to stare Castiel down until he decided to make sense. "Care to translate that for the unwashed masses?"

"I..." To Dean's surprise Castiel looked away, his arms crossing over his chest. "They're not healing properly," he finally said, his voice so low Dean had to lean forward to catch the words. "I don't know what to do."

There was an edge to Castiel's voice Dean had never heard before; there had been something close to it during that dream of the fishing pier but this wasn't caution or alarm – this was flat-out fear and Dean felt his heart pound as he sat up. "Cas, you okay?"

Castiel finally looked up and Dean could see it in his eyes now, too. "This was a mistake."

"Wait. Cas, no, don't," he said, on the edge of the bed now. Castiel's chin tipped up, his jaw clenching tight; Dean could tell that if he said one wrong word Cas was going to flutter off to who knows where and every instinct Dean had screamed to not let that happen. "Are you hurt?" Castiel's lips thinned at that and he looked away again, giving Dean the chance to give him a long, appraising look. He couldn't say he'd ever actually seen Castiel relaxed but the way he was holding himself wasn't normal, too much tension across his shoulders and up his neck to the point Dean could see the muscles clench under his skin. "Cas, you came to me. Tell me what's up."

He could see Castiel argue with himself for a few more seconds, then close his eyes as he let out a soft, defeated breath. "I'll show you."

Lightning crashed outside the motel window and Dean felt himself jump; without another word Castiel started unknotting his tie, letting it fall to the floor as he shrugged out of his trenchcoat and suit jacket. Dean wanted to ask what the hell but held his tongue; another bolt hit, throwing light across the room and he dug his fingers into the mattress as he glimpsed shadowy wings spread against the wall in the
flickering light. Another bolt hit as Castiel finished unbuttoning his shirt and Dean felt his heart climb up into his throat; this time he could get a good look at the wings and saw they were wrong, twisted and hanging at awkward angles. "Christ, Cas."

Castiel gave him a warning look, whether because of the blasphemy or just because he needed Dean to shut up right now Dean didn't know. "You should sit back," he said instead as he let the shirt drop to the floor, his voice tight. When Dean did so, too dumbstruck to do anything else, Castiel closed his eyes, his mouth a tight line, and let out a long breath. Then Castiel took a step forward and Dean saw the wrecked wings follow with him, attaching to his shoulders like shadows made solid. All the color leeched from his face and his hands trembled as he looked at Dean the way someone drowning looked for a lifeline just before going under. Dean jumped forward when he saw his eyes roll back, catching him before he could smack his head open on the bedpost. "Easy, easy," he said, pulling him back to his feet and over to the bed. "Why didn't you say something?"

"I'd hoped...they should have..." His hand clenched tight on Dean's sleeve as his legs gave out again, forcing Dean to half-carry him to the bed. "This feels even worse than I thought it would."

"What the hell happened?" Dean said as he laid him out on his stomach, a split second before his brain caught up with him. Those sons of bitches he thought, the sudden flash of rage hot under his skin. "Have you been like this since they kicked you back downstairs?" Castiel just nodded, his breath rasping out of his throat as he tried in vain to find a more comfortable position. "How have you been flying around on these?"

"With difficulty," he said, glaring up at Dean like he really wished he would knock off the stupid questions. Which Dean guessed he could understand.

Castiel almost jumped off the bed when Dean barely brushed his fingers against his left wing. "Shh, Cas, I'm sorry," he murmured, still running his fingers over the muscles at the top of his wing. "I gotta touch you to see how bad it is and it's gonna hurt, there's nothing I can do about that."

"I understand," he whispered, his hands so tight in the sheets Dean could see the white in his knuckles. "Please continue."

Dean nodded, forcing himself to take his time. The wings still looked like shadows and it was messing with his head to feel something solid there, to the point he closed his eyes to shut out the distraction. He could almost do this better by touch anyway, it was all he needed to feel the swelling and bone moving under his fingers in that way that always turned Dean's stomach. When he finished he sat back on his heels, drumming his fingers against his knee as he tried to figure out a plan of attack. "Cas, man, I wish I had better news but they're broken. You've got two breaks in the left and one in the right."

"Oh," was all he said, his eyes so wide Dean could see himself in them. "I...I thought they might be."

Dean wondered how much of Cas' shaking just then was pain and how much was sheer terror. "Hey," Dean said, leaning down so he eye level. "lucky for you I've set a bone or two in my lifetime, huh?"

Castiel nodded, his eyes closing and lips twitching up like he thought Dean was humoring him. "Please do what you can."

Dean edged up on the bed and decided to tackle the left first. "Can everyone up there see how bad this is?"

Castiel shook his head. "It's not apparent in their true form," he said, the words dissolving into a strangled little moan as Dean touched him.

"Bet the ones who did it know," Dean muttered, which only drew a pained shrug from Cas. He focused on the break, which at least was clean; he'd set worse, that wasn't the problem. He just wasn't sure what to do after. "Gonna have a hell of a time splinting this," he said to himself, running through his options. He looked down and saw Castiel's eyelids fluttering. "Hey," he said, putting one hand on his shoulder. "I know this sucks but you gotta stay with me."

"Do I?" he whispered, sounding distraught at the prospect.

"I'll have a better chance of getting it right if you're awake and reacting, yeah," he said, tousling one hand through his hair before he realized what he was doing. "Trust me, I know exactly how bad this feels, at least as much as I can without having wings too."

"What if you can't fix them?"

"I'm gonna fix them, Cas, don't worry about that."

"But what if you can't?" he said, his voice very small.

Dean leaned down, forcing eye contact. "I'm going to fix them."

Castiel held the eye contact for a few long moments, like he was trying to see if Dean was lying, then he let out a soft, shuddery breath, nodding as he closed his eyes. Dean gave his hand a quick squeeze, his heart doing a weird flutter in his chest when Cas held on tight. "You're gonna be fine, Cas," he said, finally pulling his hand away. "This is no big deal, trust me." Which was a lie, to be fair, but it was the kind of lie you told in this situation.

Dean leaned back over the wing, chewing his lip. Two breaks in one limb was always bad news and Cas had been walking around like this for a while. Dean doubted he'd get more than one shot at this. "Say, Cas," he said, to keep him awake and talking as much as anything, "do you think them not being set is what's short circuiting your healing? If I set it and hold it, do you think they'll knit?"

"I don't know," he whispered, but at least Dean heard a note of hope in it now.

"Then let's give that a shot before I call the first vet in the phone book to see how to make a wing splint."

"That's not funny."

"It's a little funny," he said, feeling Castiel tense when he put his hands back on the wing. "Keep breathing," he said, making sure he could tell exactly how the bones fit together. "Sounds dumb but it'll help." He let out a long breath himself, then set his hands and pressed the broken edges of bone together.

The sound that ripped out of Castiel was somewhere between a moan and a sob but worse than either; Dean felt the hair on the back of his neck stand up and focused everything he had on keeping the wing still as Cas' whole body bucked against the pain. "You cannot move, Cas," he said, spitting the words out between his teeth. "You move the wrong way it'll make everything worse."

He saw Castiel nod in his peripheral vision, pressing his face against the pillow as another soft groan slipped out. "First time I ever did this I was thirteen," Dean said when he noticed Cas' eyes starting to roll back, desperate to keep him conscious. "I was thirteen and Sam was...I guess around nine. Dad was off on a wendigo hunt and he had me and Sam holed up in this little craphole in Duluth." He could feel Castiel's pulse throbbing through the wing, way faster than Dean would have liked. "Dumb kid was jumping on the bed and the whole frame just came apart. He fell and man, Cas, hearing him scream like that knocked something loose in my head for a second. When he got up I could just tell his arm was broken."

Dean startled when he heard Castiel's scratchy voice. "What...what happened then?"

He locked eyes with Cas for a second, giving him a little nod to let him know he was doing good. "We had a cell phone but the ones back then were crap compared to now, and even today you'd need some witchcraft to get a signal out in the woods where Dad was hunting. Tried for a solid hour to get Dad on the phone, left messages until the voice mail filled up. We didn't have the car and even if we did Sam wouldn't let me take him to the hospital. He was scared to death they'd take us away. And they probably would've, too."

Dean let out long breath, lost in the memory for a second. "So I sat Sam down and gave him a belt to bite down on, the way they do in war movies, y'know? Nah, strike that, you probably don't," he said, shaking his head. "So like I said, I just sat Sam down and set his arm myself, splinted it with the broken bed frame, all of it. I'd seen Dad field set broken arms before and just pretended I was him. Played it off so well Sam believed me when I said I'd done it before. How's it feeling? Any change?"

"A little better," Cas whispered.

"Good. I'm gonna give it a little longer, just to make sure." Castiel nodded; he'd said he felt better but he sure as hell didn't look better ,and Dean wanted to make sure the pain lessening couldn't be chalked up to some kind of weird angel shock. Weird angel dream shock. Dean didn't know what had happened to his life sometimes. "Dad didn't come back for two more days and I don't think I slept a single minute between Sam getting hurt and Dad walking through that door. Scared out of my mind that I'd fucked Sam up for life."

"Sam seems to have come through fine."

Dean grinned. "When I told Dad what had happened he bundled the both of us up and took us to this guy he knew, some hunter doctor he'd met in 'Nam. The guy thought Dad patched Sam up. Said he couldn't have done a better job himself." Dean felt the pride of that memory rush through him. "So if I was that badass at thirteen you know this right here is nothing." He let out a long breath. "Okay, so let's see where we are here."

Dean let go, holding his breath as he stroked his fingers along the wing; he felt Cas shiver and held still. "That hurt?"

Castiel shook his head, his eyes wide. "No," he whispered, amazement soaking the word.

"Told you I had this." Dean went back to examining the wing, relieved that he couldn't feel the bones shifting anymore. Even the swelling felt like it was going down. "Cool. Let's move on to number two."

The second break was closer to the wingtip, a greenstick fracture instead of a nice clean break like the first; he could feel the jagged edge almost poking through the skin and man, Dean hated greensticks. They tended to splinter, making them harder to set and they just hurt like a bitch. "Deep breath, Cas," he said, taking one himself before repeating the process from the first break. This time Castiel just whimpered, clearly braced for what he knew was coming. "Don't know why you didn't ask one of your dickhead brothers to patch you up, Cas. Would've been easier on you."

A cold fury crept into Castiel's expression, one Dean knew very well. "I don't want their pity."

It was probably the most human thing he'd ever heard Castiel say. "When Sam and Bobby asked about what went down in Hell I lied my ass off. Told them I didn't remember 'cause I knew how they'd look at me if I didn't. Still wish I'd been able to keep that up."

"But they care for you."

"That just makes it worse, Cas." Dean glanced down in alarm; Cas' words were slurring to the point that Dean could barely make them out. "Stay with me, buddy."

"We're not friends. That's not my purpose here."

There was a hazy, distant tone to his voice that made Dean strongly suspect he was quoting someone. Dean wondered if whoever had told him that had been the same thing that had snapped his wings apart like a wishbone at Thanksgiving. "Whatever you say, Cas." He eased up on the pressure and smoothed the shadow feathers back into place over the break; it felt like how he imagined it would feel to touch something made of smoke or fog, softlike something you could fall into and unreal all at the same time. He wondered if Cas realized he was stretching his wing into the touch.

Dean shook his head and pushed himself to his feet, slipping into the bathroom to grab a towel from the rack. He sat back on the bed next to him, careful not to jostle him too much, and started wiping away some of the sweat running down Cas' face. "Just the second wing and we're done. You'll be back to being a dick to me in no time.

"I don't like being a dick to you," he answered, the words still slurring around the edges. "It creates an internal dissonance I'm uncomfortable with."

At literally any other time Dean knew he would have cracked up at Cas swearing but he didn't have the heart just then. "I'm going to pretend that was some kind of compliment." Dean wasn't sure if Cas even knew what he was saying; he actually looked worse now than when they'd started, pale and shivering in a way Dean didn't like at all. He brushed Castiel's sweaty hair off his forehead, running his thumb along his hairline until Cas' eyes fluttered open. "That's better." The trembling was still pretty bad but his color was slowly improving; Dean rubbed his lower back, trying to encourage that along. "How long did they have you, Cas?

Castiel frowned, his brow furrowing like he was trying to puzzle out a serious math problem. "Time doesn't move there. It's a static place outside of reality, I wouldn't know how to convert the experience to time as you understand it."

All Dean could think of was that sounded like a damn long time. "Why didn't you show up in my dreams that night? Let me know you were in trouble?"

"Reeducation takes place somewhere very remote, cut off from the rest of Heaven. There's no communication in or out unless the Guides wish it. Not even in dreams."

Dean wondered if Cas knew that because he'd tried and decided very quickly that wasn't a line of thinking he wanted to go down, not at all liking the way that sat in his stomach. "'Guides,'?" he said instead. "Do I even want to know?"

"The ones appointed to guide me back to my lost path," he said.

Now Dean was sure he was parroting someone else's words. He didn't like how that sat either. Dean rubbed Castiel's lower back some more until he felt some of tension in his muscles ease, at a loss to figure out anything else to say. "Okay, Cas. Time for round three," he finally said, moving to the other side of the bed. "Don't want anyone to come looking for you."

Castiel shifted around, closing his eyes but keeping his face turned toward Dean. "Dean?" he murmured, his voice barely audible.


"If I had been held in a place I could have been reached, would you have come for me?"

There was something fragile in his voice that wrapped around Dean and squeezed. "Yeah, Cas. You know I would have."

Castiel nodded at that, an expression flitting across his face Dean couldn't name. He pulled his attention back to the mangled wing, testing the edges of the diagonal break. "Deep breath, Cas."

Castiel tried to curl in on himself in a convulsive spasm when Dean pressed the edges of the bones together, moaning through clenched teeth and his repaired left wing beating against the mattress.
"Easy, Cas. This is the last push. You hear me?" Cas nodded, his eyes so wide Dean could see white surrounding the dark blue irises. "I'm gonna hold this longer than the last two times, okay?" he warned, watching sweat bead backup along his forehead. "This break is worse than the others, I want to make sure it knits right."

Castiel nodded, stretching out like he was being forced to relax at gunpoint. "They made me confess," he whispered, his eyes hooded like he couldn't bring himself to look at Dean. "It was vital I confess my sins. I just...I don't understand."

"What did they make you say?"

"I confessed to so many things. Sins I'd never imagined committing until they accused me of them. I don't...I don't understand what I did that."

Dean wished he didn't understand quite so well. "That's how it works, Cas. When you're deep in it like that you'll do anything to make it stop. It's got nothing to do with how tough you are, once your body decides it's done, it's just done. Seen it thousands of times."

"Is that why you said yes?"

Dean swallowed hard, smelling phantom sulfur. "Something like that."

The next few minutes passed in tense silence, Castiel too spent to talk and Dean in a headspace where he didn't think he should really be saying anything. He wondered about the set up in Heaven, that other Dean he'd been carved into by Alastair trying to visualize it, tying to decide whether they'd tied him down or held him still manually. Whether racks were universal between Heaven and Hell.

Dean forced all of that far away. What's done was done, even if Dean knew he'd found himself a couple of new nightmares to wake up screaming from. "Okay, Cas. Think we're done here." He released his grip on the wing, flexing the cramps out of his hands before smoothing the feathers back down to test the stability of the break. "How do they feel?"

Dean backed up as Castiel pushed himself to his knees and rolled the stiffness out of his shoulders. He extended his wings, cautiously at first and then fully stretching them out, wide enough that the shadowy wingtips almost brushed against the walls of the little room, and Dean felt all of the breath rush out of him. Look, Dean would admit he'd given guys a second look once or twice in his life, he wasn't made of stone, but this went beyond that. Seeing Cas like that hit something primal in him, something deep and dark and old, something that bypassed his mind and body and went right into his soul.

Castiel looked up at him, relief making his eyes wide. "Oh. That's...I think it worked."

Dean couldn't get how casual he was being. Like he wasn't on Dean's bed looking like the everything humans had been dreaming about since they first learned how to make fires to tell stories around. "Lie back down," he said, the words slipping out almost before he knew they were coming. "I want to check on the swelling, make sure everything's right."

That lie must come out more convincing than Dean felt because Cas stretched back out without another word. And sure, Dean did want to make sure Castiel was okay but that was a small thought buried deep in Dean's mind - all he could think was that if he didn't touch those wings again in the next five seconds his heart might stop.

Castiel's whole body tensed up the second Dean touched him and Dean jerked his hand back. "Did that hurt?"

Cas shook his head. "No."

And Dean got that. "My fault," he said, sitting next to him on the bed and making sure Cas could see him. "Came at you too fast." He guessed he had his answer as to whether they'd used their hands or not.

"I didn't tell you to stop," Cas snarled, a flush coloring his cheeks.

Dean got that, too. He brushed just the tips of his fingers against the soft, shadowy feathers, feeling his heart pound at the way they almost seemed to cling to his skin. "Took a while before I stopped jumping when people came at me from behind," he admitted, stroking along the edges of that first break. "I was with this one chick and she was cooking, I turned around and saw her standing there with a knife and almost clocked her. Kind of ruined the night. Took a while to get over jumping like that."

"How did you?"

"Kept pushing it," he admitted. He didn't like remembering those first days back from Hell, when just the thought of someone touching him had made his skin crawl. "Probably not the best way, Sam keeps trying to get me to talk about shit but I wasn't going to let Hell fuck with my head any more than I had to." He leaned down toward Castiel, whispering close to his ear. "So if I do something that sends you back there, just say the word. I know how it is."

"Yes. You do."

Dean wasn't surprised at how Castiel stretched his wings against his hands. Dean had more than enough experience to know that whatever was sensitive enough to feel good when touched was the first thing you hurt. He trailed his thumb along the top edge of the wing one more time, then forced himself to pull away. "Okay, Cas. Think I can pronounce you cured."

Castiel pushed himself up on elbows, looking up at Dean with one wing cocked over his shoulder, just long enough to make Dean light headed again, then he turned himself over to sit on the bed. Dean moved back to give him some room but Cas grabbed his arm to keep him from moving away. Before Dean's mind could catch up with him Castiel knelt on the bed and kissed him, his lips hot against Dean and those wings curled around him. When he finally pulled back he stared up at Dean, shaking so hard Dean had to steady him. "Cas, what...?"

"If I'm going to confess to a sin I should at least commit it."

Dean realized he probably should have seen that coming but in the moment all he could do was stare at Castiel, his frazzled mind trying to force that to make sense. He realized he'd taken a second too long when Castiel's expression shuttered as he pulled away. "I'll go..."

Dean leaned forward and kissed him then, pulling him back close. He didn't think he'd ever been gotten so hard so fast as when he felt that little relieved breath Cas let out.

Castiel dragged him back down to the bed and Dean went with it; if passive aggressive rebellion was the only kind Cas was capable of at the moment Dean sure as hell was on board. Castiel put his hands right on his wings, almost like he wanted Dean to hold him down and Dean wondered how fucking kinky it must be for a creature that could wipe a city off a map to let a human pin him down like this. Dean stroked his hands over the length of wings, wisps of shadow clinging to him as he moved, then he slid down the bed and undid the buttons on Castiel's suit pants, pulling them off and tossing them by the side of the bed. He shucked off the t shirt and shorts he'd been sleeping in and spread Castiel's legs, kneeling own between them and running his hands over Cas' thighs.

When Castiel reached for him Dean caught his wrist. "No reason we have to rush, right? Unless you've got somewhere you've gotta be?"

Castiel just lay back against the pillow, an expression on his face Dean translated to I do, but fuckit. Dean licked his way back up Cas' body, feeling his stomach tremble under his lips, the way the rise and fall of his chest sped up as Dean lingered there. He traced along the curve of his collarbone and then locked eyes with Castiel again, holding the contact as he wrapped his hands back around Castiel's wings and rode out the full body shudder that followed. He made sure to wait until Cas relaxed into the touch before moving again, settling back on top of him and kissing him, a slow, deep kiss to learn to taste of him. "That's how you kiss someone, Cas," he whispered, staying close enough for his lips to brush against Castiel's as they moved.

"You should show me again."

Dean grinned and kissed him until his lips were tender from it, massaging his fingers into the muscles of his wings to match that rhythm. Castiel kept letting out these soft, surprised little moans, like he wasn't sure what his body was doing and Dean wanted to keep hearing that as much as possible. He licked up the line of Castiel's neck and traced around the curve of his ear with his tongue. "I'm gonna teach you how good it feels to have someone's hands on you," he whispered. Maybe he couldn't wipe out everything that had happened up there but at least he could prove to Cas that wasn't all there was.

Castiel groaned when Dean took his hands from his wings, telling Dean he'd definitely been doing something right there. "I'll get back to it, Cas, don't worry," he said, trailing his hands back down Castiel's body, tracing his thumbs over his hipbones as he angled his hips into place. Dean slid one finger inside him, just to give a little preview of what was coming and he grinned when Cas' hips bucked immediately. Normally he'd make sure to do a little more prep work but the best part of dream sex was that you could always jump straight to the good part. Cas was slick and hot and ready and Dean didn't think he could keep breathing if he didn't get inside him."This what they made you say you wanted, Cas?" Dean said, kissing his inner thigh as he got himself into position. "That you wanted me to fuck you?" Dean bet the other way around, an angel having his way with a human, that wouldn't have been as big a deal. Castiel nodded, his eyes wide and Dean felt his smile go grim; he bet they made it sound like something shameful, a thought they would be justified hurting Cas for having.

Dean was going to do everything in his power to show Cas how wrong they were. "Tell me to slow down if you need to," he said, then he kissed Cas' stomach one more time before sliding inside him, a slow, inch by inch process, Castiel so tight around him Dean couldn't breathe anyway. He kept his eyes locked on Castiel's face, the way his eyes got a fraction wider each time Dean moved, savoring the breathless sounds he kept making. He shivered when Dean finally got all the way in and Dean just held still and stared at him, at the flush coloring his pale skin and the way his lips part around each wordless moan and at those shadowy black wings covering the bed, begging Dean to touch them again. He leaned down and kissed Castiel, drawing another overwhelmed moan from those lips. "You know why they did that, Cas?" Castiel shook his head. "Because they were jealous I'd never do this to them."

Castiel groaned when Dean moved his hips, his whole body almost bucking off the bed. Dean moved his hands back to the wings and stroked down them again, feeling them flare out at the touch. Castiel held on tight and Dean set a rhythm like slow breathing, each motion of his hips matched by his fingers massaging into those soft feathers. He licked at the hollow of Castiel's throat as Cas writhed beneath him, trying to urge Dean faster but Dean wouldn't be rushed; he kept building Castiel toward the peak until Cas was shaking with it, so beyond words he couldn't even moan. Dean felt that first tell-tale contraction and saw Castiel's eyes go wide; Dean kissed him again, running his tongue along Cas' lower lip. "I got you, Cas," he whispered, finally moving his hips a little faster. "I want be the first person to ever watch you come."

Castiel responded by clutching onto him tight, like he was afraid Dean would disappear and leave the job half done. His head tossed on the pillows, his whole body shuddering right on the edge but not know how to go over it. Dean stroked his hands down the dark sea of feathers, slowly closing his fists until he had two tight handfuls – not pulling, but Dean knew from experience those first few times out of Hell he'd needed just a touch of pain to put him over.

Whyever the reason, it was exactly what Castiel needed; his whole body arched up as as he came over his stomach, his wings flaring to full length as he said a word in Enochian that rushed through Dean like fire. There was no way he could hold out under that and collapsed on top of Castiel, completely spent. He wrapped his arms around Cas and kissed him through the aftershocks, Castiel's overstimulated body shivering and pressing closer every time Dean touched him.

Dean stroked his fingers through Castiel's sweat-soaked hair, Cas' face buried against the curve of neck as he shook with emotion Dean knew reached further than just sex. "They had no right to touch you," he whispered into Cas' ear. Castiel just pressed closer in response, like he wanted to crawl inside Dean and live there. Dean knew those had been the words he'd needed when he'd gotten out of hell but he hadn't known how to ask anyone for them. He hoped Cas learned how to believe them a lot faster than he had.

Dean didn't know how much time passed before Castiel's pulled away, that mask of angelic composure back on his face and Dean knew that whatever moment they'd just had, it was over. "This doesn't change anything," he said, not looking at Dean. He was dressed again with a gesture, the wings retreating back into shadows on the wall and then disappearing entirely. "My priorities must remain with the will of Heaven." He did glance toward Dean then, his eyes softening like he wasn't sure what in the hell he was supposed to do now. "Thank you," he finally said, the words barely louder than a whisper.

Dean woke with a start, the sheets sweaty and twined around him. He glanced over at the opposite bed to make sure he hadn't woken Sam then lay on his back, his hands laced behind his head. Despite Castiel's words Dean felt more confident than he had in weeks – despite everything they'd done to him the guy who'd sat on a park bench and told Dean he had doubts was still buried deep in there somewhere. He just had to hope the Apocalypse gave them enough time to fight his way back out.

This doesn't change anything.

Dean closed his eyes, remembering the feeling of shadowy wings under his fingers and how blue an angel's eyes looked as he came. "Yeah, right Cas," he whispered into the dark room. "We'll see about that."