Author's Note: This is me proving that I don't have to dole out mental anguish every time I write. It's not exactly fluff, but it feels like it because I'm not torturing my favorite characters. Which is odd for me!

Cas is human post-Godstiel. No real spoilers, and if you want to see the "how" he ended up that way you're invited to read my longer fic "Before the Fall" for the start of this relationship. Established Destiel, non-explicit, rated for language, themes, cannibalism (geeze, it sounds less fluffy when I add that in) and so on. Enjoy, and please review and let me know what you think!

Meanwhile: author here, looking for prompts! Drop me a message if you've got any ideas, and maybe I can crank something out for you.

The day Dean Winchester began questioning his own sexual preferences would have been difficult to foresee. For one thing there was the small matter that Dean had been, from a very young age, a skirt-chasing, panty-dropping, straight-as-an-arrow, love 'em and leave 'em ladies' man and made no particular apologies for it. Everyone had fun, no one went into the situation with any expectations of long-term, and he was good to his partner (whoever she might be that day) and he moved on to the next town.

For the next, every time his brother said anything vaguely considerate or sensitive, there was the heavy teasing about him being "gay" despite all evidence to the contrary, not the least of which being he knew for an unfortunate fact that Sam had taken advantage of their separate motel rooms to bring a girl or two back with him over the past month and Dean hadn't picked up a girl since. . . well, once he started thinking about it that way, an embarrassingly long time. It had been a busy year, with his brother going crazy and then his best friend going off the deep end.

No, his almost manic hypermasculinity was still intact, and unscathed. He hadn't become any more sensitive (it was a stereotype and he knew it, but the concepts had become inseparably entwined in his concept of the world) and was still generally a complete ass to Sam whenever he tried to get Dean to 'open up,' 'share,' 'talk,' or otherwise discuss his emotions and his current relationship.

That relationship, of course, was the root of the belated confusion. You'd think he would have actually been struck earlier by the implications, but. . . well, Dean was Dean, and when Dean found a subject uncomfortable he was a pro at sweeping it under the rug.

No. Dean hadn't really considered if he'd started 'batting for the other team' until well after he probably should have.

"Son of a bitch, Cas! What. . . why. . . you know how to do this!" It wasn't exactly an ideal circumstance, either. Polk County, Iowa. In a small farmer's community, bodies had begun turning up, mutilated, sliced, diced, and missing organs. Convincing the locals that they were feds should have been easy. This was exactly the sort of thing the Feds were likely to turn up for, and that the locals weren't equipped to deal with. Waltz in, flash a badge, sound authoritative, don't linger, walk right out. Easy.

Dean had held up his badge, introducing himself and his partner as FBI.

Castiel had pulled out a Marshall badge.

And then he'd fumbled trying to recover it. Talked right over Dean's smooth bullshitting.

And now Dean was pacing a six by six cell in the police station lockup, watching Castiel hunch his shoulders under his jacket, sulking.

"You told me to grab a badge. It was a badge."

"It was the wrong badge. I told you which one's which, and when to use them." The doors were closed, the camera was visual only, and he was frustrated and annoyed. It wasn't the end of the world. Sam was in town too, and Bobby had pulled he and his brother out of similar situations in the past. . . but damnit, it was just such a rookie way to get tied up, and until they got out his brother was possibly looking at facing down an unidentified monster alone.

He kept forgetting what a damned amateur Castiel was.

Scowling at Dean across the empty cell between them, Cas seemed to be attempting to grind his teeth down to nubs, trying to maintain a level tone. He was falling slightly short of reasonable, as if he were growling a counter-accusation. "I'm sorry that I am apparently sub-par at lying about who I am. We never had to carry identification to establish our authority when. . ."

"Goddamnit, Cas." And yeah, he may have chosen the term just to see Castiel's eyes narrow, his shoulders tense farther. "If you go into a line about how anything was easier in the 'good old days' I am going to. . ."

"No. But it was more honest."

"Yeah, you were just the portrait of honesty." And that may have been a bit below the belt. The muscles in Castiel's jaw bunched, shoulders drawing in farther, and he watched Dean without offering a defense, long enough to get the point across. He had no defense to that, and Dean knew it when he decided to bring that up because of an honest mistake.

Castiel had done nothing but attempt to make up for what he'd done, how he'd misled them, and Dean still dragged it out like a convenient weapon, stabbing the angel with his own guilt.

The commotion at the doorway into the lockup spared Dean having to come up with an apology or defuse the tension, but from the way Cas settled himself onto the bench on the far side of his cell, they were probably going to end up having a painful conversation, and he was ready to put that off as long as he could.

"Yeah, I fucking cut her heart out and I ate it." The man struggling between the three officers that comprised the entire police force of the area had seen the inside of a cell before. Prison tattoos snaked their way across his skin like a spreading poison, and his eyes were wide and manic, muscles spasming, obviously on drugs. Matted dun colored hair tied back into a ponytail, built like a brick wall, he was the portrait of crazed serial killer. No wonder they hadn't found anything in the books to explain the pattern. Human. Crazy. Seen a few too many cult movies and started stealing ideas. This wasn't their arena, it was human. "And the other broad, I did her too. She was fucking delicious, self-righteous little bitch. . ."

The cops didn't even bother uncuffing him, as they threw him into the center cell. Panting, one of the officers leaned against the wall just past Dean's cell, and Dean went to lean against the corner bars near him. "This the guy?"

The deputy, young and newly minted enough an officer that Dean could swear his uniform still had crease marks from the packaging, nodded mutely, leaning his head back against the tiles. "Yeah. We got a call from a house out in the county. Same MO, same everything. When we got there, he already had the knife out. . ." There was blood running from a slash in the deputy's sleeve, staining the khaki colored uniform. Frowning, Dean gestured at it.

"You should get that checked out, man. Never know what's on that blade."

Pale and ashen, the deputy looked at his sleeve, then up at Dean, nodding slightly. "Yeah. Yeah I should. . ."

An older deputy led him away, and the sheriff took his place against the wall, looking in at Dean, arms folded across a barrel chest and a world more experience with the horrors of human monsters. "Sorry to stick him in here with you boys. We still haven't cleared up your story. . ." There was a paternalistic disapproval to the words, and he watched Dean knowingly, craggy brow drawn down. ". . . but we need the boys from state to come pick him up, and we gotta hold him 'til then. I've got the call in, they're on their way from Des Moines, shouldn't be too long. You, your pal there. . . stay away from the bars. Don't let him near you. He's tweaking, and he damn near killed us getting him here. I'll have Stevens watch the videos, keep an ear out at the door, anything happens we'll be right in."

Dean nodded slightly, meeting the other man's eyes, one authority to another regardless of whatever story Bobby and Sam cooked up to get them out of this mess. "You take care of your officers. We'll be fine."

With a grunt of acceptance, the sheriff pushed off the wall and strode back through the doors into the station, leaving Castiel and Dean alone with the screaming psychotic. Dean never would understand what would bring someone to this, and he'd been through literal Hell.

"Well, this is cozy." Dean shoots across the cells to Castiel, only to find the other man has withdrawn himself from conversation entirely, pulling his knees up, legs on the bench with him, turned to rest his head against the corner walls on the bench, only the tense set of his shoulders indicating that he was awake at all. Dean knew from experience that if he ran his hands down Castiel's back in this state, he'd find every muscle clearly defined, like steel cording—not knotted, just tensed and pulled tight.

Cas didn't take well to captivity, Dean noted silently, adding up the signals. At times he seemed claustrophobic in a motel room too long, or the car. Dean was just starting to recognize the signs of it, and Castiel. . . well, Cas was still having trouble accepting that he couldn't just use his wings and be gone from the situation.

"Cas. . ."

The psychopath was in his face, pressed against the bars of the cage between them and blocking the view to Cas, his face pressed against the metal, his hands still trapped by cuffs behind his back, the corner of his eye twitching with a visible, rapid flutter, made more obvious by the tattoo that crept nearly to the corner of it, snaking up from his neck. "They gave me a pretty boy."

Dean raised an eyebrow, and the devil-may-care smirk was reflex by now. "Why hell-o fugly. You are just all sorts of hideous, aren't you?"

"Tell me you're going to prison too. I'd follow you to prison. Lips like those, once you bruised and bloodied 'em up a bit. . ." The psychopathic killer in the cell next to his made a sound that would be profane in a porno. In the last cell, unseen, Castiel twitched, eyes opening again.

"Now that's not creepy or anything." Dean remarked casually, unfazed, arms folding as he leaned against the back wall of his own cell. "Sorry, chuckles, you're just not my type."

"I will be. And you'll look so pretty on your knees. . ." Stepping back from the bars between he and Dean, the psychopath leered, the whites of his eyes too clear, pupil of his left eye blown, the other contracted. It was unsettling, but Dean had stared down demons, gods and angels. He was disgusted, not afraid.

And he wasn't expecting what happened next. No one was.

Castiel could reach the ponytail through the bars. Coiling it around his fist, he yanked backwards, snapping the murderer's neck back, using it as a leash to haul him the step back to his side of the cell. He had toed off his shoes so his foot could fit between the bars, and his heel cracked against on the back of the man's knee with a sharp crunch, bringing him down, giving Castiel the leverage he needed.

One hand still gripping his ponytail, the other wrapping through the bars of the cell around to the other man's neck, his foot now pressing down on the short link of chains between the murderer's cuffed wrists to restrain him, Castiel crooked his fingers beneath the murderer's chin, into the soft flesh beneath his jaw, holding him back against the bars between them.

"If you speak to him again, I will kill you. I will rip your jaw open and choke you on your own disgusting tongue." Compared to the violence of his actions, Castiel's words were reasonable, a calm and straightforward outline of the consequences for continuing his behavior, and he'd never seemed any more the avenging angel, Heaven's soldier and warrior, as he did now that he was human. "You are foul, filthy, and have mutilated your own soul past redemption. You're a demon waiting for the chance at Hell, and I will send you there now if you so much as look at him again."

He punctuated his words with one last sharp yank on the ponytail, the psychopath's head colliding with the bars of the cell, but it wasn't over. Tucking his chin down over Castiel's arm rather than allowing himself to be released, the murderer twisted, wrenching, losing much of his stringy hair to Castiel's other hand in the process, throwing Castiel off-balance as his foot slipped from over the cuffs, and the shoulder of Castiel's restraining arm dislocated with a sickening pop as he was pulled sideways against the bars sharply, chin colliding with the metal, his fingers loosening on the lunatic's neck.

"Cas!" Dean's pressed against the bars of his cell, now, but unable to reach the action at the other end of the center cell.

As the psycho turned to see Cas, lunging at the bars as if he could bite Castiel's now so-close face off, the door between the station and the lockup bursting open and the sheriff and older deputy crowding through it, Castiel jabbed his other fist, still clutching some of the hair between his fingers, into the lunatic's nose through the bars. It broke violently, smashed across his face in a spray of blood.

It was a suspended moment for Dean, looking across at Castiel through the other cell, where the fallen angel now rose, holding his injured arm to his side while the officers fumbled the keys to get to him, voices raised. It was dumb, it was reckless, it could complicate their release from the cells, and it was just a bit disturbing in its violence. He should have chastised Castiel for it, called him an idiot, told him he was out of line, reminded him that Dean didn't need anyone to protect him.

Meeting Cas's eyes, both of them ignoring the ruckus he'd caused, Dean watched Cas wait for the expected censure, but his mouth had disconnected from his brain.

"That was frikkin' hot."

It was possessive, protective, violent, and decidedly male, and damned if Dean didn't want to press Castiel up against the sides of one of these cells and strip layers of flannel and denim off of the fallen angel for it, right there, right then.

Neither of them had expected that reaction. He wasn't sure himself why it registered that way in his mind, and Castiel blinked in surprise. As Cas was pulled out of his cell by the sheriff, though, Dean could see the former angel ducking his head, a silent laugh bubbling up within him, making his shoulders quake. When he looked up from the straight-backed chair they dropped him into, the deputies checking to see if his arm had broken, the corners of his mouth softened and turned up in the slight smile that Dean had started looking for, blue eyes alight.

And yeah, maybe when he started sleeping with Castiel regularly (and apparently exclusively, now that he'd spent the time trying to remember the last girl he'd bunked with), he should have clued in. He wanted Cas, had for a long time, but it was the resilient broken spirit and the understanding and the mutual need and the sense of belonging and chance at redemption they both seemed to grasp for, all wrapped up in another living being. Moreover, Castiel was such a blank slate of sexual experience, pizza-man aside, that everything could be new for both of them. But Castiel was a guy, not a genderless angel (and he would always think of him as an angel, regardless of if he was mortal or fallen or God at the time), and though he'd pointed it out every chance he got with the others-"Junkless"—the body wasn't a loaner any more, Castiel was very much a man not just a Castiel . . . and Dean liked it.

It should be complicated. He'd just mentally reclassified himself to bisexuality, at very least—no matter how belatedly—and it should terrify him. He'd tangled himself up in a relationship, and one with a guy no less, who he couldn't leave behind, who shared his ridiculous violent incomprehensible nomadic life. It should be confusing as hell. But what brought them together was (Sam would go all dewy-eyed schoolgirl over this) an emotional connection built over years, not a flipped switch, and he loved the guy. He'd known he'd have taken a bullet for him, but he'd never assigned the word to it.

Leaning his shoulder against the bars of his cell, ignoring the profanity-spewing bleeding violent murderer only feet away, Dean smirked back at Castiel and flicked him off for laughing at him, the gesture only setting the angel off again in that impossibly rare silent laugh, easy to miss and impossible for Dean to resent.

It was surprisingly easy to get them out of the police station after that. The sheriff's deputies seemed to be pretty forgiving of Cas laying into a violent murderer (they were professionals, the good guys, and couldn't do it themselves. . . though after he murdered in their small community people they knew and saw every day they thought it was richly deserved) and they bought the idea of Cas and Dean having a personal reason for hunting the guy, some murdered relative or friend across state lines, before Dean even offered them the idea as their excuse for the misdemeanor of impersonation. Cas had been in control the whole time, and they accepted that there had been provocation.

Dean got the feeling the video of Cas knocking the crap out a psycho serial killer was going to become a favorite around the station. Dean would have asked for a copy, but . . . well, he figured he'd be able to catch a repeat performance sometime down the line.

And no, they didn't talk about Dean's epiphany. And yeah, he kicked his brother out of the motel room without a word of explanation, but Sam was a sap and probably thought it was cute, or romantic, or adorable, or some other phrase that'd piss Dean off to hear aloud. . . and he probably kept on thinking it right up until the loud smack of a body forcibly shoved up against the wall, a sound swiftly repeated as the tables turned, the two of them evenly matched and Castiel asserting himself as such now.

Cas might have been an amateur in a lot of things. But he was a quick study.

(He remembered which badge was which, too, later on down the road.)