So I should be working on the two chapter fics I have going, or sleeping because I start school tomorrow, but instead I wrote this! It was supposed to be a one-shot, but it got away from me, and now it'll be another chapter or so.

Disclaimer: I do not own Supernatural or any of the characters.

WARNINGS: slash, violence, mentions of assault and sexual assault (non explicit), language, homophobia (John is kind of mean in this one)

I hope you like it!

John slammed the door of the scrap heap of a truck he'd driven to get to Bobby's, not finding it in himself to care when the force shook the vehicle, jerking one of the mirrors loose from its frail hold on the side of the truck and sending it smashing into the dirt. He stepped over the glass shards, hearing the satisfying crunch they made beneath the worn soles of his boots.

The Impala was parked in the driveway; it was impeccable, just like always. It looked exactly the same as it had before John had made his deal and been killed.

John hefted himself up the front steps, tottering slightly with exhaustion, and reached for the doorknob.

The door was yanked open before John could open it himself.

He squeezed his eyes shut tightly when he was doused with holy water. "Bobby—"

"Shut up," Bobby snarled, tightening his grip on his knife. "Who are you?"

"Bobby, it's me," John insisted, taking a step back and opening his hands to show he wasn't hiding anything behind his back. "John Winchester. Two boys, Dean and Sam. That's my car parked in your driveway, so I'm guessing they're here."

"Why should I believe you?" Bobby spat at the man standing in his doorway. "Get off—"


Both John and Bobby froze when Dean's voice drifted down the hallway. John leaned to the side to look around Bobby's shoulder. Dean was at the end of the hall, a knife held loosely in his hand and his stunned green eyes locked on his father.

"Dean," John breathed, taking a step towards his oldest without realizing it. Bobby growled lowly.

"Bobby?" Dean asked warily, striding down the hall to stand just behind the older hunter and peer over his shoulder. Dean looked good. He was healthy and alive, which was pretty much John's standard for 'good' anyway.

"Not a demon," Bobby replied. Dean darted around Bobby quickly and grabbed John's arm, twisting it around his back and digging his knife into the exposed skin.

John grunted and allowed Dean to manhandle him, not wanting to try to push him off or hurt him; that would probably look pretty damn suspicious.

Dean let John go and watched the wound carefully. It bled normally, showing no sign of any odd reaction to the blade. Dean pursed his lips and nodded shortly, seeming to resign himself to something, before hauling back and slamming his fist across John's face.

"Dean!" John clutched his jaw, shocked, and glared at his fuming son.

"You fucking deserved that," Dean snarled before turning on his heel and striding back into the house, not looking back. John heard a door slam deeper in the house and sighed.

"I guess I fucked that up," he muttered, glancing up at Bobby.

Bobby reluctantly stepped to the side to allow John inside, satisfied (for now) that he wasn't a threat. "You're pretty good at fucking things up with your kids, John."

"We should head back," Sam breathed softly, making no move to unwrap his arms from Cas's waist. Cas didn't try to move away; instead, he nuzzled his nose deeper into Sam's neck, his warm breath skittering across Sam's skin and sending shivers down his spine. Cas was absentmindedly tracing invisible letter in a language Sam didn't know on Sam's bare stomach, tucked up securely against Sam's side.

"You're probably right," Cas agreed softly, shifting closer to Sam. His trench coat, button down shirt, and slacks were neatly folded and placed on the chair in the corner of the small motel room, leaving him in his boxers, a white v-neck t-shirt, and black socks. It was as much as he was comfortable with that night; Sam had smiled softly and pressed his lips to Cas's the first time they shared a bed and he felt Cas's socked feet sliding between his calves.

Cas moved one hand to slide down Sam's chest and curl around his hip, under the waistband of his worn sweatpants. "Honestly, I am perfectly content here."

Sam laughed softly and moved one arm from around Cas to lace through the fingers Cas had splayed on his stomach. "So am I, babe. But Bobby and Dean are probably freaking out with how long we've been gone."

Cas raised his eyebrows in reluctant agreement. He felt Sam's hand slide under his shirt and run up and down his back. Cas's eyes slipped shut for a moment; Sam's hands were big and warm, and Cas wasn't used to being treated with so much tenderness. It felt good. He felt safe and cared for.

His mind wandered, unbidden, to Michael's hands in the same place Sam's had been, their goal to hurt and humiliate.

"What is it?" Sam felt Cas's body suddenly tense and stopped moving his hand over the smaller man's back. Cas didn't know how to tell Sam if he was uncomfortable; Sam had picked up on cues as they moved forward in their relationship. Sam knew there was a lot about Cas he didn't know yet, and the last thing he wanted to do was make him feel like he wasn't completely, unquestioningly safe with Sam.

Cas forced himself to relax. "It's nothing. Do not concern yourself."

"I'm supposed to concern myself," Sam pointed out. "I'm your boyfriend. Partner. Mate. It's what we do."

A warm feeling pooled in Cas's stomach when Sam called himself his mate. He knew it was a word that Sam wasn't used to using, but it meant a lot to Cas that he was making himself comfortable with it. He shook his head. "I'm fine, Sam. I promise you."

Sam reluctantly let the subject drop and returned to running his hand in soothing circles over Cas's back. He felt Cas tense again when his palm moved to cup his shoulder blade. "Am I…are your wings..?"

Cas nodded stiffly, his body tense and muscles knotted under Sam's hand. Sam slid it down to the small of Cas's back. He felt the tension ebb out of Cas's body.

"Can I see them?" Sam asked softly.

Cas hesitated a long time before replying slowly. "You have seen them. An angel's wings are very private, Sam."

"I know," Sam assured him quickly. "I just…I read that when an angel finds a mate…their mate is allowed to…to…"

"You want to touch them?" Cas asked quietly, curling up a little tighter against Sam, digging his fingers into Sam's hip harder without realizing it. He couldn't get the image of the last time he'd seen his own wings out of his mind; burned and charred by hellfire, their bones twisted and shattered by Michael's sure, steady hands, full clumps of feathers ripped out and cast aside. He buried his face in Sam's chest, pressing his nose into the warm skin. "I…you do not want to see them, Sam."

"Why not?" Sam demanded, irritation edging into his voice, no matter how hard he worked to keep it from showing. He had been reading up on angels, and everything he'd found said that letting someone touch their wings was the ultimate display of trust. Sam trusted Cas with his heart, with his soul, with his goddamned life. He'd thought that Cas had felt the same. "You don't trust me?"

"Of course I do," Cas snapped, shocked that Sam would even think he didn't trust him. He pushed himself up onto his elbows and looked up at Sam with wide, honest blue eyes. "Sam, how many people do you think have seen me as vulnerable and as broken as I have allowed you to see me?"

Sam sucked on his bottom lip, thinking back to that night a couple months ago when Cas had shown up at their doorstep, exhausted and beaten half to death. Sam and Dean had fixed him up the best they could, but he didn't even seem to notice. He still seemed like he was in unbearable, gut wrenching agony. Sam had resorted to just pulling him close and holding Castiel's shaking, shuddering frame as the angel rode out the waves of pain.

It had been the first and only time he'd ever seen Cas cry.

He looked back down at the angel in his arms, met Cas's pale, ice blue eyes, and nodded shortly. "I…I didn't mean it like that. I just…I want you to trust me. Completely."

"I do," Cas insisted, placing a hand on Sam's chest, his palm covering Sam's heart. He felt the steady, reassuring beat under his hand and marginally relaxed. "Sam, I love you. You are misinterpreting what I'm saying."

Sam pursed his lips and nodded, turning his head away from Cas. He felt Cas's penetrating gaze on his face, reading his expression and scouring his features for some clue to the thoughts whirling around in Sam's head. Sam sighed. "I'm not mad at you. I'm just…a little disappointed."

Cas pushed himself into a sitting position, letting the sheets pool around his slim waist. He sighed and ran a hand through his thick, ruffled hair. "We really should go."

"—just suddenly ended up right back at that hospital where I died," John explained to Bobby and Dean, silently praying to a God he wasn't sure even existed anymore that they would believe him. Dean, who had been coaxed back into the kitchen by Bobby, was eying John suspiciously, still not sold that this was really his father. Bobby seemed a little more certain, though not entirely relaxed quite yet. "So I hotwired that truck and made my way here. I figured Bobby could help me find you and Sam." John paused for a moments and glanced around the kitchen. "Where is Sam, anyway?"

"He's out," Dean snapped quickly, his eyes flickering to the back porch. No sign of Sam and Cas yet. Dean hoped that when they did show up they held off on the affectionate gestures while they were in John's sight range. He doubted it; it's not as if they would be expecting a dead man to show up at Bobby's. "He'll be home soon."

"What's he doing?" John demanded, tensing and leaning forward in his chair. "You let him go out on his own? Dean it's dangerous out there, I thought I told you to—"

"You told me to kill him," Dean cut John off, his voice cold and firm. He shook his head and looked out the kitchen window over the dimly lit salvage yard. John shut his mouth and stared at Dean a few moments, shocked that Dean had interrupted him. Dean cleared his throat and added less harshly, "He's not alone, either. He's with Cas."

"Who's Cas?" John raised an eyebrow at Dean, a small smile tugging at the corners of his lips. "Sam got himself a girl?"

Dean exchanged a fleeting glance with Bobby and shook his head. "Naw, Dad, it's not that. Cas is an angel. He's been helping us out lately."

John's eyebrows drew together in confusion at his older son's wording. Dean had never called someone an angel when he described them before, no matter how helpful they were. "Is he a hunter?"

"No," Dean's nose wrinkled and he scratched his chin, glancing away from his father. "Cas's real name is Castiel. He's an angel. Like, wings and heaven and church choirs."

John blinked and nodded slowly. "I…okay. They…they still exist? I thought…I thought they went extinct after the War with Lucifer. I studied them a while back on a hunt, but it never came to anything."

"Yeah," Dean muttered, rubbing his face with his hands. His eyes were burning with fatigue. "They're pretty damn real, and they're pretty damn angry at each other."

John sat back in his chair a minute, trying to digest the new information. He had a hell of a lot to catch up on.

The silence that had fallen over the kitchen was interrupted when Sam and Cas appeared on the back porch in a rustle of feathers. Cas had a firm grip on Sam's bicep, and Sam had a hand wrapped tightly around Cas's other wrist. Sam struggled to gain his balance and reorient himself. Travelling by angel was unpleasant at best, and downright terrifying most of the time.

"Hey, Sam!" Bobby called gruffly, trying to get their attention before they did anything that would give them away. Sam started at Bobby's voice and turned to peer in through the kitchen window. "Get in here a minute."

"Okay," Sam replied, his tone laced with confusion. He pushed the door open and held it for Cas, letting the smaller man slip by him into the dimly lit kitchen.

Cas's expression grew dark when he caught sight of John. Dean watched Cas's hand move behind him and grab at the hem of Sam's jacket to make sure Sam stayed behind him. Sam's eyebrows drew together when he felt Cas tense and push him back protectively. He glanced up, searching for what had put the angel so on edge.

When Sam's gaze fell on John, his eyes widened and his jaw went slack. He opened his mouth as if he wanted to speak, but no words came out. He tried to take a step forward, but found himself running into Cas's back, unable to push the angel out of the way.

"Wait, Sam," Cas commanded softly. His pale gaze ran up and down John, evaluating him, picking him apart until he was satisfied he'd gotten a good enough reading on the man. He wasn't a demon, that much Cas was sure of. There was no indication that John had been raised by anything wishing to do harm to Sam or Dean, no sign that John had any malicious intentions, but that left the question of what had brought him back to life and why.

Dean tapped his foot impatiently, watching as Cas eyed John up suspiciously. "Well, Cas? Anything?"

Cas shook his head slowly, tearing his eyes from John and glancing back at Sam.

John let out an inaudible sigh of relief when the dark haired man (angel, he corrected himself) lost interest in him and returned his attention to Sam. Sam was gaping at John, pale and speechless. John noticed that Sam had one hand curled into the side of Castiel's trench coat, right over the angel's hip. John's eyes narrowed slightly; Sam seemed a little more comfortable with this guy than John had anticipated.

"I can sense no ill will," Cas replied, his deep, gravelly voice still holding a note of suspicion. Castiel was still mostly focused on Sam; he had partially turned to face Sam, placing a gently hand on Sam's chest to restrain him and offer him comfort.

"Dad?" Sam breathed softly, his fingers digging into Cas's hip almost painfully. Cas pressed his hand firmly over Sam's heart, noting the acceleration on the beat under his palm. "Dad, what are you..? How did you..?"

"I don't know," Dad stood up and held out his hands. He shrugged and shook his head, a smile spreading across his lips as he looked at his youngest. "I just…was suddenly back at the hospital. I don't know how, I don't know what… God, Sammy, you look...your hair…"

Cas gently dug Sam's hands out of his jacket and stepped aside so John could pull Sam into an embrace. John got the distinct impression the angel was giving him permission to touch Sam, like he was allowing him to embrace his son. It was off putting. He expected that kind of behavior from Dean, being the extremely over protective big brother he was, but from a guy who Sam couldn't have known more than a year or two? Who did he think he was?

Sam hugged John back, the shock of seeing him again slowly wearing off. He felt Dad's hand steal up to stroke his long hair, and he buried his face in his father's shoulder, inhaling the scent of sweat, singed fabric, and motor oil.

John squeezed his arms tightly around Sam's back, and whispered gruffly, "I'm so sorry, Sam. I'm so, so sorry."

Sam shook his head, tears stinging at the corners of his eyes. He wanted to push his father away, to yell at him, scream at him for what he'd put him and Dean through, but he couldn't make himself do it. He remembered all the times Dad had left them alone to hunt for weeks at a time; Sam had missed him like hell, and he knew Dean had, too, even if he'd never admit it. When Dad had gotten home and hugged them hello, it seemed like all the anger and fear and frustration from when he'd been gone melted away for just a few moments when they were wrapped in his strong arms.

Sam felt the same way now; there was no anger, just pure relief that their dad was safe.

"I know, Dad," Sam mumbled, ducking his head and pressing his forehead into Dad's shoulder. "I know."

Dean rubbed his hands over his face, steadily ignoring the stinging in the corner of his eyes. He looked at himself in the mirror over the small sink, taking in his pallid skin and the sheen in his clouded green eyes.

He sighed and dropped his head again, gripping the edge of the sink to keep himself upright.

He could hear Dad and Bobby in the kitchen, their voices low and gruff. Sam had pretty much detached after he and Dad had broken their embrace; his gaze had gotten distant and far away, and he obviously hadn't paid attention to a word anyone had said. Cas had slipped his hand into Sam's under the table and tugged at his fingers gently, his gaze flickering to the doorway. Sam had nodded shortly and Cas had risen to his feet, given the rest of the table a polite nod, and tugged Sam up the stairs with him, slipping an arm around his waist to guide the dazed man.

Dean figured they were in one of the guest rooms. Cas was probably trying to calm Sam down and get him to talk.

He let go of the sink and straightened up, running his hands over his face once more before checking himself in the mirror; his eyes were a little red, but nothing else gave away his minor freak out.

He pushed open the bathroom door and started down the hallway towards the guest room he was camped out in. It was the one at the end of the hall (closest to Bobby's room) that he and Sam had always shared when they'd stayed there as kids. He slowed his pace when he caught snatches of Cas's voice floating from under the door next to the bathroom.

"…okay, Sam," Cas was saying softly, his voice low and soothing. "I promise…okay…love you…"

After a few moments, Dean realized that he'd come to a full stop outside the door. He hesitated a moment before raising his fist and knocking lightly on the door.

"Come in, Dean," Cas called quietly.

Dean pushed the door open and stepped inside, shutting it behind him. Cas was sitting cross-legged on the bed, his trench coat and shoes tossed onto the floor next to him. Sam was curled up on his side, the back of his head resting on Cas's lap, his eyes shut. Cas carded his fingers through Sam's hair, gently rubbing Sam's scalp and the back of his neck. Cas's expression was fraught with worry as he looked down at Sam's face. Even asleep, Sam looked upset.

Dean stood by the door and cleared his throat, linking his hands behind his back. "I figured you two would be neck deep in a girl-fest of emotions by now."

"Sam is still in shock," Cas replied steadily, squeezing Sam's other hand tightly where their fingers were laced together. "I think…I think he'll be fine if he gets some sleep."

"Sleep?" Dean repeated, raising his eyebrows. "Our dad is back from the dead and you think Sam just needs some sleep?"

Cas shot Dean a harsh glare and continued to stroke Sam's hair gently. Sam shifted slightly, tightening his hand around Cas's. "I think you both need to talk to your father."

"You think we…" Dean snorted, rubbing his eyes irritably and turning away from his brother and his brother's stupid angel boyfriend. He didn't need his pity, he didn't need to be condescended to. "What would you even know about fathers?"

Cas's hand froze in Sam's hair. His fingers moved from Sam's face and tightened into a fist. He ducked his head, but Dean saw his eyes flash dangerously. When he spoke, his voice was low. "I'm sorry."

Dean sucked on his bottom lip and let out a long breath through his nose. "Cas, I didn't mean…"

"Just don't, Dean," Cas's head snapped up so he could meet Dean's eyes, and the fire burning in Cas's gaze was enough to make Dean take a step back. "If Sam wakes up, I don't want you around him while you're like this."

Dean bit the inside of his cheek and nodded shortly. He reached for the door and pulled it open.

Sam must have heard the knob turn, because he stirred and his eyes flickered open for a moment. A small sound escaped his lips and he reached a hand up to touch Cas's stubbly cheek tenderly. "Cas…"

"Shhh, Sam," Cas's expression immediately slipped back into one of concern and reassurance. "It's alright. Go back to sleep, babe, we can talk in the morning."

Sam smiled softly, his eyes drifting shut again. He nuzzled his face against Cas's stomach, his warm breath seeping through the thin fabric of Cas's shirt. "I love you."

Cas rubbed the back of Sam's neck gently. He nodded a little bit, biting his bottom lip. "I love you, too. Get some rest."

It seemed like Sam hadn't even notice Dean was in the room and Cas had forgotten his presence.

Dean started to pull the door shut, but stopped when Sam's slurred voice caught his ear. "You, too, Dean."

Dean tugged the door the rest of the way shut, the vice grip their Dad's return had left around his heart slightly loosening.

John shuffled down the stairs the next morning, running a hand through his damp hair and yawning. He felt better than he had since he'd been back after getting some sleep and jumping in the shower, but he was still starving. He'd barely stopped to eat on his drive to Bobby's, too consumed by the need to find his sons and make sure they were okay.

He turned to corner to the kitchen, but paused when he heard voices coming from the small room. There was no way Dean was up this early, so he figured it must be Bobby or Sam.

When he peered around the corner, he was surprised to see Castiel perched on the edge of the counter and Sam at the stove, a spatula in one of his hands. They were talking softly, their heads bent towards each other as they spoke. Sam had a soft, intimate smile on his lips that made John feel like he was intruding on something private.

But he couldn't be. Why would he be? Sam was in there with an angel, a male angel, not a girl. It wasn't as if John could be interrupting anything.

He was about to step into the kitchen when Sam threw back his head and laughed before he leaned forward to close the distance between himself and Castiel and press their lips together, a small smile still on his face.

A small sound of surprise escaped John's lips before he could stop it.

Sam drew away from Castiel and whirled around to face the doorway, his eyes wide with shock. "Dad, I—"

"What..?" John gaped at his son, his eyes flickering back and forth between Sam and Castiel, whose cheeks were taking on a decidedly red flush. "Sam, I don't… what's going on?"

"Nothing," Sam tried weakly, leaning back against the counter and crossing his arms over his chest. Cas shifted beside him uncomfortably, his thigh pressing against Sam's side. "We were just…"

"Making out?" John finished for him, his tone harsher than he meant it to be. "Sam, what the hell?"

Sam ducked his head, his think hair falling into his eyes and hiding them from John's view. He started to speak, his voice uncertain and quiet. "I didn't know how to…I wasn't sure what you would…"

"You weren't sure how I'd react to the fact you were screwing an angel?" John demanded, his voice rising as he spoke. He took an imposing step forward and glared at Sam, fury contorting his features. "Well don't be shocked that I'm not happy!"

"Because he's an angel?" Sam snapped, his voice growing stronger and more firm. He stood up straight, dropping his arms to his side and curling his fingers into fists. He was so fucking tired of hiding from his dad, of just taking whatever Dad gave him and doing what he said. He took a step closer to John, challenging him. "Or because he's a man?"

John set his jaw and stepped forward, so he and Sam were separated by less than a foot of space. Sam met his gaze steadily, defiantly refusing to drop his eyes to the floor like he'd been taught.

John was going to have to fix that.

"I think we both know the answer to that," John replied through gritted teeth. "You remember what I told you when you were in high school?"

"Cas would never do that," Sam snapped firmly, sounding absolutely positive. "He would never…he wouldn't hurt me."

"He will do nothing but hurt you," John hissed softly, gripping Sam's biceps and pulling him close, trying to make Sam understand. "Men aren't supposed to…it's not right, Sam. He's using you, that's all this is."

"What the fuck is going on down here?" Dean stormed down the stairs and into the kitchen, rubbing his eyes blearily, woken up moments ago by yelling. He froze in the doorway when he saw Sam and Dad standing toe to toe, both of them obviously furious. Cas was hovering by the counter, looking unsure if he should interfere or not.

John and Sam both spared Dean a glance, then went back to glaring at each other. Dad replied first, his voice so low it was almost a growl. "Did you know about this?"

Dean stomach dropped when he realized what Dad was talking about. He must have walked in on Sam and Cas. It's not like Sam would have told him that he was in a committed relationship with a man. He hadn't even told Dean about Cas; he'd had to find out on his own.

Dean jerked awake when he heard the unmistakable sound of the Impala's engine pulling into the otherwise silent parking lot of the motel. He rubbed his eyes blearily and pushed himself up so he wasn't hunching over the small wooden table anymore. He caught sight of a small puddle of drool on the light stain of the wood, and swiped at it with his sleeve. He must have fallen asleep after he sent Sam out to get dinner.

He glanced at the clock. 10:56.

"What the hell?" Dean squinted at the electric clock, not sure he was seeing the numbers clearly. Sam had left at 8:30. What the fuck was he doing that took so long?

Dean's stomach sank when he thought back to the times Sam had snuck out for demon blood. He quickly forced himself to stop that train of thought. Fresh start. Sam was just getting back into the swing of things, he didn't need Dean accusing him of relapsing. Anyway, it wasn't like he showed any signs of drinking the stuff again.

Nonetheless, he approached the kitchen window and easily picked out the Impala in the parking lot. Sam had parked on the end of the lot by their room, giving Dean a good view of the car. He watched Sam climb out, taking note of Sam's genuine, soft smile and ruffled hair. Dean had to force himself not to let his mind go there; Ruby was gone, she and Sam weren't…dabbling anymore.

But Dean hadn't seen Sam smile like that since…he couldn't even remember.

Dean watched in confusion as Sam rounded the car quickly to pull the passenger's door open.

And hell if Dean wasn't shocked when Cas slid out, his trench coat left in a crumpled, tan heap in the front seat. Without the coat, Cas seemed much less intimidating; Dean was actually surprised by how small Cas actually was.

Sam put his hands on the car on either side of Cas and leaned closer, ducking his head as he spoke softly to Cas. Cas didn't seem to detest the close contact; he seemed to revel in it, actually. He tilted his face upwards to look at Sam, his blue eyes wide and light.

"What the fuck?" Dean muttered, pushing aside the net curtains to get a better view. One of Cas's hands moved to cup Sam's hip to pull him closer.

Dean expected Sam to freak, but Sam just grinned and allowed himself to be tugged up against Cas. He let go of the car so he could slide his arms around Cas's neck and bent his head so their foreheads touched. Cas closed the distance between them, sealing their lips together gently.

An indignant, high-pitched noise (that Dean would forever deny came out of his mouth) escaped Dean's lips and he clutched the bottom of the window frame tightly, his finger nails digging into the peeling paint.

What the actual FUCK was going on?

Dean wasn't blind; he'd seen the glances they shared, he'd seen the lingering touches that could conceivably be brushed off as innocent, he saw the way they looked at each other when the other wasn't looking. He'd shrugged it off; it's not as if he thought it would lead anywhere. Cas was a thousand year old virgin, for God's sake.

But here they were, all over each other in the parking lot of a skanky motel.

Sam hadn't even told him. That was what really hurt.

Dean set his jaw and watched as they drew apart, smiling at each other like idiots. They exchanged a few more words before Sam stood up straight and Cas vanished from his spot between Sam's arms.

Dean turned from the window and plopped back down in the kitchen chair, crossing his arms over his chest and glaring at the door as he waited for Sam to push it open.

He had some explaining to do.

Sam pushed the door to the motel room open, the tingling feeling on his lips from where Cas's had been pressed fading, but the feeling of contentment that Cas left him with still warming his chest. He had a paper bag with a couple burgers in it in one hand, and he hoped that would be enough to shut Dean up for a little while. He'd stayed out longer than he'd meant to, and he knew Dean would be suspicious.

He had a right to be, Sam reminded himself, trying to ignore the stab of pain that sent through his heart. Stop it. He and Dean were past that. Fresh start.

When Sam opened the door, he was met by the sight of Dean sitting with his arms crossed, glaring at the door like it had personally offended him. Sam shut the door behind him and locked it, double-checking that the salt lines hadn't broken. "Food's here."

"Took you long enough," Dean grunted, not reaching out to take the bag from Sam. Sam's heart sped up as Dean scrutinized him.

Sam tried to look unconcerned. "I got held up. Traffic was hell."

Dean grunted again and snatched the bag from Sam, placing it on the table without opening it. "Are you eating, too, or did you already have dinner with your boyfriend?"

Sam sighed and slid into the chair across from Dean, rubbing his face with his hands. "I was going to tell you…"

"When?" Dean demanded, sitting up straight and leaning forward. He tried to sound disinterested and angry, but Sam could hear that he was hurt. "When you and Cas decided to get married and shack up together?"

"Stop it," Sam snapped, pushing his chair away from the table. "I'm sorry I didn't tell you, but that doesn't give you the right to start freaking out at me like I'm doing something wrong."

Dean blinked a few times before he managed to state, "Sam, Cas is a dude."

Sam rolled his eyes. "Wow, Dean, that's amazing. Your powers of observation are really—"

"You know what I mean," Dean cut him off, irritated with Sam's condescending tone and flippant words. "You had Jessica, she definitely wasn't a guy." Dean paused for a moment, his expression shifting slightly. "Jessica definitely wasn't a guy, right?"

"No, she wasn't," Sam replied tersely. "I can't be interested in both?"

"Of course, I mean, I just thought…" Dean sighed, his anger deflating. Sam was trying to look tough, but Dean could tell Sam was terrified of what he'd say. Dad hadn't been really…open-minded. He'd made some comments, said some things about homosexual people that were straight up cruel. In high school, Sam had assured him that his boyfriend had just been a phase after Sam had been beaten half to death by a group of homophobic teenagers. It wasn't any wonder Sam had kept it to himself. Dean couldn't be mad at him for that. "How long has it been?"

"A couple months," Sam responded hesitantly, unsure of where Dean was going with this. "We, uh…he showed up when you were out one night, and I told him he might as well stay awhile." Sam shrugged. "He kissed me. I… after that, he came by a little more frequently, we went out together on the nights you went down to the bar…"

Dean nodded, dropping his head into his hands and rubbing his temples. He let out a long breath. He had no way to ask this without sounding like a total girl. "Are you happy, Sam?"

Sam didn't hesitate; he nodded, a small smile stealing across his lips. He brushed his hair out of his face and leaned back in his chair, relaxing slightly when Dean dropped the interrogation tactic. "Remember how I told you I always felt…angry, at everything, lately?" Dean nodded slowly. "When I'm with him…I'm not angry anymore. I just feel…better."

Dean pursed his lips and nodded shortly. Sam seemed serious about this. Dean's mind flashed back to the smile on Sam's face when he'd been talking to Cas, to the way Sam's body had been completely relaxed when he was wrapped in Cas's arms; honestly, Sam had looked happier than Dean had seen him in years. How could he be mad at Sam for finding something that made him happy?

Dean grunted and snatched the paper bag off the table, unrolling the top. "You better have remembered the extra onions."

"Yeah," Dean replied, running a hand through his hair and glancing over at Sam apologetically. "Yeah, I knew."

"And you let this happen?" John demanded, shooting Dean a glare filled with so much venom Dean actually flinched. "I told you to take care of Sam! You can't do one fucking job right!"

"Dad, lay off him," Sam snapped, shoving at John's shoulder so that the taller man's attention was drawn back to him. "Dean does take care of me, better than you ever did."

"I took damn good care of both of you," John retorted, shoving Sam's chest roughly. "I was alone, with two toddlers, and I did a damn good job keeping you alive."

"Gee, thanks," Sam snorted. "Excuse me if I don't elect you for parent of the year."

Cas stepped forward, placing a hand on Sam's chest, intending to separate Sam and John and get them to calm down and speak rationally. "Please, I think it would be—"

"Get your hands off my son, you disgusting perv," John shoved Cas away from Sam roughly. Cas stumbled back a few steps, but caught himself before he overbalanced. "Don't try to tell me how to handle my sons."

Sam's eyes blazed with fury. His lip curled in disgust and he growled lowly, "If you talk to him like that again, I will hurt you. And if you touch him again, I will fucking kill you."

"Why so protective of him?" John sneered. "He needs you to stick up for him? That's so cute, Sammy. He's using you."

"He loves me," Sam replied without hesitation, and damn it if the kid had never sounded more sure of himself than he did in that moment. "I'm an adult, I can make my own decisions, and I love him, too."

John's vision was obscured for seconds by a flash of white, and he lashed out at Sam violently.

When John's gaze cleared, he was left in the middle of the kitchen, staring at the space where Sam had just been. Sam had stumbled back from the force of the blow, crashing into the cabinets and sending some of Bobby's mismatched glassware flying. It smashed against the wood floor in tiny slivers and jagged shards.

Sam fell against the counter, right into Castiel's arms. Castiel caught him before he could crumple to the ground and held him up, afraid that if he let Sam fall, he would get cut up from the glass covering the floor. Sam clutched at his jaw, his eyes squeezed closed tightly in pain; he hadn't been ready for the blow. His dad had never hit him before.

"Dad!" Dean yelled, moving to restraint their father from hitting Sam again. John strained against him, obviously still furious, but couldn't break out of Dean's iron grip. He had the distant thought that Dean had really gotten stronger while he was gone. Dean shoved him away from Sam, planting himself firmly between them. If that didn't sum up their lives, John didn't know what did. "What the hell is wrong with you?"

"What's wrong with me?" John spit angrily, glaring at Sam. "What's wrong with him? I should have kept him at home, college put ridiculous ideas in his head! I knew this would happen! I knew he was wrong! Your mother would be disgusted!"

Sam took the verbal assault without giving a visible reaction until the last phrase that fell from John's lips. Cas felt Sam's whole body flinch at the words. He tightened his arms around Sam, wanting to comfort him, but unsure of what to do while his furious father was standing right there. Sam suddenly pushed Cas away and darted towards the back door.

"Sam!" Cas called, starting after him out the door.

Sam whirled around and met Cas's gaze, his hazel eyes wide and pleading. He'd have a nasty bruise of his jaw in a couple hours. "Cas, please, don't. I just…I need some time."

Cas's expression crumpled and he rubbed his nose, troubled. He knew Sam could protect himself, and that Bobby's was fairly safe, but he was reluctant to let Sam out on his own while he was so obviously emotionally distraught.

Sam surged forward and kissed Cas on the lips, hard and desperate. He drew away, gripping Cas's elbows tightly. "I promise, babe, I swear to God, Cas, I will be back."

Sam let go of Cas and disappeared out the door, heading deep into the junk yard.

"Good," John's voice made Cas turn back to the kitchen. John had stopped struggling against Dean, but Dean kept a cautionary grip on his elbow just in case he decided to take off after Sam. "Let him go, then."

"Dad, you need to calm down," Dean said, trying to keep his voice steady. "You can't just hit him like that. You can't talk to him like that."

"He's my son," John argued, tearing his arm away from Dean.

Dean reasserted his grip on John's arm and forced John to turn back to face him. He met John's gaze steadily and calmly replied, "He's my baby brother. And if you touch him again, I will hurt you. If Cas doesn't smite you first."

Cas tilted his head and raised his eyebrows in agreement.

"You want to know what really happened to him last time he was with a guy, Dean?" John said, meeting Dean's eyes meaningfully. "That guy beat him half to death when Sam said no. It wasn't a bunch of homophobes. It was his boyfriend."

Dean's eyebrows drew together. His mouth fell open like he want to speak, but couldn't find the words. Sam had never told him. Dean had suspected something was going on, with the way Sam had flinched at people's touch, and retreated into himself for a while after, but he'd chalked it up to the stress of being assaulted.

A darker thought crossed Dean's mind. "Did he…oh, God, did he touch Sammy after Sammy said no?"

Cas turned his face away, clenching his hands into fists.

Cas traced his fingers down Sam's back, entranced by the thin white lines curling over the soft skin in intricate patterns.

Sam remained still under his touch, but Cas felt the knots his muscles had curled into under his scarred skin. Cas leaned forward and stretched out next to Sam, his finger trailing along a scar that wrapped around Sam's side and came to an stop over his heart.

Cas glanced up at Sam inquisitively.

Sam smiled bitter sweetly and sighed, dropping his forehead to the top of Cas's messy, soft hair. "It's a long story."

"Someone did this to you," Cas said softly. "They're…they're deliberate. This wasn't a hunt."

"No, it wasn't," Sam admitted, nuzzling his nose in Cas's hair. "I…I told you about the guy I was dating in high school."

Cas nodded.

"When we ended it…" Sam sighed again and looked away from Cas, his neck flushing red with humiliation when he thought back to that night. "He, uh…he'd dragged me to this party. He was buzzed, and he'd talked me into drinking a couple beers. I didn't hold alcohol well, so I was pretty…pretty trashed. He brought me into a bedroom, and he wanted to…" Sam made a vague motion with his hands, hoping Cas got it. He cleared his throat. "I wasn't ready, we'd only been together a couple weeks. He kept going, and I tried to stop him…"

"He didn't," Cas pushed himself up and looked down at Sam, anger rising in his chest at the thought of someone forcing themselves on Sam, of holding him down, of touching him like that when Sam said no. "Sam, give me a name, I will kill him for even ever thinking…"

"Hey, Cas, shhh," Sam reached up to stroke Cas's hair, running his fingers through the short, messy stands. Cas looked down at him, his blue eyes filled with anger and concern, his hands on either side of Sam's chest. Sam slid his hand around Cas's neck and cupped his cheek with his hand. He felt Cas's stubble scraping against his palm and smiled a little bit. "He didn't, okay? He didn't actually go through with it. He did…he had a knife and he sliced me up, said it was so people could see how messed up I was inside written on my skin…"

"Sam…" Cas breathed, not sure what to say. "I…that's wrong of him. You're not messed up. You are hurt and you've been through so much..." Sam looked up at him, his dark eyes locked on Cas's face. His hair fell around him in a soft halo if brown against the white pillow, and his lips were slightly parted as he gazed up at Cas, drinking in his every word. "You…" Cas stroked a stray strand of hair out of Sam's eyes. "You are so strong, Sam. So incredibly strong. I can't imagine…" Cas's eyes wandered to Sam's chest; he touched one of the scars lightly. "They're beautiful."

Sam snorted in disbelief, turning his face from Cas.

Cas gripped Sam's chin and coaxed to bigger man into looking at him again. He kissed Sam's forehead, brushing his thick hair aside. "You're beautiful."

"The man stopped before it got that far," Cas said through gritted teeth, recalling the small, methodical white lines that worked their way intimately up the insides of Sam's thighs. "He threatened and taunted, but he didn't…" Cas turned to John and said firmly. "I…I would never hurt Sam."

John 'humphed' and crossed his arms, plopping into one of the kitchen chairs. John recalled some of the research he'd done on angels years ago, and challenged the one standing before him, "Have you even let him touch your wings yet?"

Cas pursed his lips, glancing away from John. He didn't want to explain. Not to anyone, and especially not to someone so close to Sam.

"That's what I thought," John muttered, turning his back on Cas and looking up at Dean. "We're going to talk about this once Sam cools off."

"I think maybe you should go cool off, too," Dean suggested, his tone bordering on being disrespectful. "I know you don't like it, Dad, but it's the way Sam is. I'm not going to let you be a jerk to him about something he can't help."

John stood up and sucked on his bottom lip, regarding Dean with an almost curious expression on his face. After a few moments, he seemed to make a decision. He nodded shortly and disappeared back up the stairs.

Dean sighed and sank into a chair, his head in his hands. Cas moved to the kitchen window, searching the wreckage strewn in the yard for a glimpse of Sam.

When Sam wasn't back in three hours, Cas started to get edgy.

When Sam wasn't back in seven hours, Dean was at Cas's side, gazing out the window with a troubled expression.

When Sam was still gone and it was dark outside, Dean and Cas exchanged a glance before rising to their feet and going to find Bobby and John, panic tugging at their hearts.

There it is so far!

Please review to let me know what you think so far! I'll need them with school starting...Seriously though, they make my day, so if you have a second, I appreciate it.

Thanks for reading!