Series: A Strange Love (#1)

Title: Is it Cuddling if You've Been Angel-Whammied?

Author: Reiko Katsura

Fandom: Supernatural

Characters: Dean, Castiel

Word Count: ~2,195

Rating: PG-13

Warnings: Crude language.

Prompts: "Destiel" and "cuddle".

Summary: Dean gets nearly killed (and possibly just the teeniest bit molested) by a dead hooker, and Castiel comes to his rescue.

Notes: This fic can be considered a D&C friendship fic or D/C pre-slash. Either one. Whatever makes you happier. Oh! And this set after the non!apoc. In other words, this is a post s5 AU. In this story, the apocalypse has been averted and Castiel sticks around while the Winchesters return to hunting basic things (no Levithians, God!Cas, etc.)

Disclaimer: I don't own SPN or its respective characters, settings, or themes. NCII.

ETA: This was originally part of a three-part series, but I decided to publish it as a stand-alone because I didn't think I'd ever continue it. Turns out I was wrong. The series is called "A Strange Love", and this is the first part. The second part is currently being edited, and the third (and final) installment is still in its planning stages. I don't know how I ever thought I'd be able to not finish this when Destiel pretty much owns my heart.

Anyway, thanks so much for the reviews, everyone! They really mean a lot.

Is It Cuddling if You've Been Angel-Whammied?

Life's a bitch and then you die. Truer words had never been said. Dean wished he could meet whoever it was who'd come up with that morsel of wisdom and thank them (or shoot them; he wasn't quite sure which, yet) because they truly described his life to the 'T'.

At the moment Dean was currently being choked to death by this ghost bitch they'd been hunting for the better part of a week. Sam was nowhere to be found, his sawed-off shot gun was lying somewhere far out of his reach, and he was being straddled and strangled by a dead hooker. To make the situation just that much worse, it wasn't even a sexy one. Less Pretty Woman and more Tyler Perry Movie if you got the drift. The thing even smelled like cheap liquor and bad sex, which shouldn't have been possible as all ghosts tended to smell like ozone, but whatever. Just another sign that the universe hated Dean Winchester's guts and loved to make him suffer.

The grip on his neck tightened and Dean gargled. What a fucking way to die. He'd always thought he'd go out with a BANG! or something. At least a fucking pew-pew. This, though? This was fucking embarrassing.

Dean felt his eyes roll to the back of his head and blackness inch across his vision. He thought of Sammy, wherever the hell he was, and Castiel, whose whereabouts were even more of a blinking question mark, and, finally, his baby. He hoped Sam would take care of her the way she deserved to be taken care of. With Dean's last moments of consciousness he swore he'd come back to haunt his baby brother's stupid ass if he installed an iPod dock like he'd been nagging Dean to do for ages. Fuck being a vengeful spirit; he'd go poltergeist on Sam's lanky ass.

Dean fought the darkness as long as he could. He thought he heard the distant flapping of wings before it finally overwhelmed him.

It hurt too much to be heaven, but not enough to be hell. Those were Dean's thoughts upon awakening.

His throat ached like a motherfucker and every pull of air felt like spikes were being driven into his neck, but he struggled against the shadows that threatened to overtake him and forced his eyes open.

He was immediately faced with a pair of curious baby blues.

So. Not dead, then. Cool. That was…cool.

Dean opened his mouth to remind Castiel about personal space but what came out instead was a rasp for water. Considering he fell into a coughing fit not half a second later, it was probably a good thing. Castiel disappeared and his brother's wonderful big head took his place and helped prop him up. Dean would have complained about being cradled like a girl if not for the fact that his arms felt like jell-o and he really wanted to sit up.

When Castiel returned a few beats later with a cup of lukewarm water and fed it to him like he was some invalid, he was too focused on the way the liquid soothed his battered throat to really care. When he'd guzzled as much as he could, he was laid back down. He fell asleep soon after.

Dean felt a little better the next time he woke up. His throat was still sore, but it wasn't burning him from the inside out as it had been earlier. The searing throb behind his temples had also abated, to his relief. Dean managed to prop himself up with only a little trouble. When he was seated, back hunched over but at least up, he took a moment to survey his surroundings.

He was obviously in a motel room. It was bigger than most of their lodgings tended to be, with two twin beds situated in the middle. A quick glance assured him that he occupied one, and Sam the other.

Dean raked his gaze over his brother's form and bit back a smile. Sam's face was smushed against his pillow, hair all over the place and lips pursed duck-like from what Dean could see. His legs were also bent at an awkward angle, far too long for the mattress but obviously unwilling to hang off. The clock on the table between their beds read 2:07 a.m., but the heaviness of Sam's snores clued Dean in on just how recently he'd made it to bed.

Probably been too worried about him to snooze, then crashed when he couldn't stay awake anymore. Typical Sammy.

There was a faint echoing of rushing wind, and Dean turned sideways just in time to see Cas appear out of thin air. He didn't look surprised to see that Dean was awake. Dean waited while Cas scrutinized every inch of him, as if checking for error. He always did that when Dean got injured, and Dean had learned to stop being creeped out by it a long time ago.

"Dean," Cas said. A million things were spoken in that single word.

"I'm fine," Dean assured him gruffly, only a little annoyed at the mother-hen act. If he'd thought Sammy was terrible for it, Castiel was even worse. At least his brother pretended not to fret when he was worried. Castiel just didn't care if Dean knew it or not.

Plus, even at his worst Sam didn't really stare at Dean like Castiel did, as if he was checking his very soul for injury. No matter how long they'd been together, Castiel's soul-scans never stopped being unsettling.

Castiel eventually nodded, satisfaction obvious in the easing of his expression. He sat down beside Dean and glanced at Sam.

"He only just fell asleep," he said.

"I figured," Dean muttered.

"We were worried." Another sharp glance.

Dean rolled his eyes. "I'm fine," he stressed. "Battered but whole. Alive to fight crime and the forces of evil another day." So what if the Powerpuff Girls was a chick show? Buttercup was badass, alright? Not that he'd ever admit that to anyone, like, ever.

"I feel there was a pop cultural reference in there somewhere," Castiel said after a moment.

Dean's lips twitched. Never change, Cas.

"You should rest," Castiel recommended quietly.

As if on cue a yawn ripped through Dean's throat, and he grimaced because fuck, that hurt. He shot Cas a glower as if it was somehow his fault (and it probably was, the conspirator), then huffed when Cas only blinked at him.

"You look like a baby bird," Dean pointed out.

"So you always tell me," he retorted dryly.

Dean grinned and carefully laid down.

Despite the fact that he'd only just woken up he was tired, though apparently not tired enough to sleep. Each time he closed his eyes his chest prickled uncomfortably until he snapped them open again. He tossed and turned, hell, had even tried to count fucking sheep, but nada. It just wasn't happening.

He felt too wired, the way he always did after a near-death experience, like he'd eaten too much candy and the sugar rush was keeping him awake. Dean huffed, resigned. It was going to be a long fucking morning.

"You can't sleep," Castiel said redundantly.

"Five points to Captain Obvious," Dean grumbled back surly.

"Touchy," Cas said, proof that he'd been around the Winchesters way too long. The corner of Dean's lip curled because yeah, he loved being a corrupting influence.

"If you'd like, I can assist you."

Dean's brows shot up. "You mean, like, angelic sleeping pills or something?"

"Or something," Castiel repeated, amused.

Dean thought about it. He normally didn't like being hit with angel mojo (he'd had enough of it for his lifetime, thanks), but it was Cas. He could trust him. Another yawn made its way past Dean's lips and the unintended action made Dean's head throb. His exhaustion, coupled with his returning aches, made the decision a whole lot easier to make.

"Alright," Dean conceded. "Hit me."

"Maybe later," Cas intoned.

Dean paused. Was that a joke? Holy shit, that was a joke. He looked up at Castiel in awe and saw the angel's lips twitch, ever so slightly. Dean beamed at him, and Castiel looked pleased as pie at the sight of it.

"Funny," Dean said, honestly.

Castiel's lips spread a tiny bit.

Dean settled into his pillow and waited. He didn't really know what he was expecting. Maybe a two-finger poke to the head, or a flash of bright light, or something indicative like that. He certainly was not expecting Castiel to climb into the bed beside him after a moment of unabashed staring, trench coat, slacks, shoes, and all.

Castiel eased himself right next to Dean, sinking into the mattress and resting his head on the vacant side of Dean's pillow. Dean stared at him with wide, flabbergasted eyes, because what the hell? When Cas threw out an arm placed his hand on Dean's hip, Dean honestly thought he was going to have a heart attack.

He struggled a few moments for words, his thoughts jumbled liked an overturned crossword puzzle. Castiel was warm beside him, hot like a furnace, and the hand on his waist felt like a ball of flame. Every time Dean opened his mouth to say something, say anything, he was distracted by Castiel's quiet stare and the palm on his waist.

"What are you doing?" Dean whispered at last, more croakily than he'd intended. But Sam was sleeping not six feet away and he'd be damned if he spoke too loudly and woke him up now.

"I'm helping you sleep," Castiel said, as if it was the most obvious thing in the world.

Dean focused on calming his breathing and reminded himself that Castiel wasn't human, was an angel, and probably didn't know any better. Maybe angels up in heaven did this sort of thing all the time. Castiel had never let on that his brothers and sisters were anything as close as that, but Dean could have misinterpreted it. It wasn't like he understood what Castiel meant when talked about heaven and angels and God a good 70% of the time, anyway.

"When you said…" Dean swallowed, nervously. "When you said you were going to help me sleep… I was kind of expecting some kind of angelic mojo, Cas. Not… not this."

The skin between Cas's brows furrowed. "The reason you're incapable of sleeping is because the stress of your latest miss with death," Castiel paused here to glare at Dean, as if he was to blame for that, "is sending your body into a hyperactive state of anxiety. You simply don't feel secure enough to sleep alone at the moment. I chose to assist you this way, rather than using my "angel-mojo", as you say, since you dislike having your person supernaturally altered." Castiel paused, then said carefully, "Is this… not acceptable?"

Dean gaped at him. "I'm not sure what half of that even meant," he said after a moment, "and I'm damn affronted about the other half," because he sure as hell wasn't having trouble sleeping 'cause he was scared, "but Human Lesson 101? Dudes just don't hop into beds with other dudes." Unless they were gay, which he wasn't.

He pointedly did not think about the few times he'd crawled into Sam's bed, or vice versa, after some of their more bone-chilling hunts, either.

"I'm not human," Castiel pointed out.

He wasn't a man, either, but still.

"Still fucking weird," Dean grumbled. He wondered why he hadn't pushed Castiel away, and blamed it on his weariness.

"Only if you choose to consider it as such. Dean, I've seen every inch of you, have built you up from dust and bone and fragments of shattered soul."

The I-don't-think-we-can-get-any-closer-than-that was left unsaid, but Dean definitely heard it hanging in the air.

"You're thinking about it too much," Castiel reprimanded, and the grip on his waist tightened. "It's probably a symptom of your dilapidated nerves. Just close your eyes and rest; sleep will follow."

Dean stared into Castiel's earnest eyes for a moment before reluctantly slipping his lids closed. He was way too tired for this shit.

"Make sure Sammy doesn't see us like this," he ordered. Sam would never let him live it down, and a night of sleep when he so desperately needed it just wasn't worth that.

"Of course, Dean," Castiel said.

That out of the way, Dean allowed his body to slump and relax. Castiel wasn't very comfortable, being (thankfully) fully clothed and all, but he was warm, the kind of warm you felt only when you were sitting under the afternoon sun, with tepid grass beneath your hands and a balmy breeze sifting through your hair. He sunk further into the bed and focused on the heat emitting from Castiel's body, and the safe hold on his waist.

He had a few seconds to fret over the fact that he and Cas were sleeping together, practically cuddling for fuck's sake, before the soothing warmth and familiar light cocooned him and he succumbed.

He slept better that night than he ever had in his life.

.The End.