It was unbecoming and outright absurd for a Seraph, warrior of the Host of the Lord and Father Almighty, speaker of the Trisagion, veteran of the apocalypse and one-time contender for the throne of Heaven itself to be jealous of a Hooters girl. But these were not times that cared all that much for what was becoming, and they seemed very fond of the outright absurd.
Dean had finished his food two beers ago, and it was fifteen minutes from closing time, twenty minutes from when he would turn and smile with mostly the left side of his face and ask if Cas would tell Sammy he wouldn't be back to the motel tonight as if his brother wasn't sitting right there. Twenty minutes until Sam would roll his eyes and clap a hand on Castiel's shoulder and say "let's go" and leave Dean's eyes following the scalloped line of pink lace thong underwear visible when the waitress turned to set plates down. Twenty-two minutes until Sam and Castiel would leave and sixty-five minutes until she was ready to leave the restaurant and seventy-three minutes until she was half falling through the door of her apartment with Dean's hand already up her shirt and undoing all three hooks of her bra with one practiced twist of his fingers.
He knew this in part because he was an angel, and time was less a solid to him than a liquid of varying opacity, and in part because it was not the first time. Or the second. Or the fifth.
And every time, it hurt.
He did not begrudge Dean the pleasure of his experiences, nor the women theirs, nor did he understand the fuss that was made about the supposed immorality of an arbitrary number of partners. They both desired and enjoyed it, no one was being used or harmed, and why would the Father have made it so obviously pleasant outside of reproduction and love if that were wrong? It wasn't as if He made design errors.
Nor did he begrudge the time spent with the women, as even in a life so astoundingly fleeting as thirty, sixty, a hundred years, a few hours of single night was breathtakingly brief. Even the privilege they had of receiving so easily Dean's smile, his unburdened laughter, his unrestrained touch was understandable and unworthy of resentment. They were welcome to Dean's body, even, and really, he was pleased to see them find it so beautiful because Dean deserved to see someone think well of him, however shallowly.
There was nothing, after all, inaccurate about why they wanted him. They saw all the markers of physical fitness, good genetics, exceptional healing capacity, and high testosterone production with likelihood of sexual potency and fertility, and it appealed to them, even if they did not understand it in those terms. They merely knew symmetrical features, a square jaw, large, clear eyes, broad shoulders, good teeth, scarred hands. They knew the cues of his blown pupils and his flushed mouth, his cliched propositions and ample tips. It was simply that none of those things were relevant to an angel, any more than his preference for socks with reinforced toes.
What Castiel coveted were the things the Hooters girl would never even know, and the jealousy was all the sharper for it. She would run her hands and her breasts and her mouth over a body that by the standards of a thirty-four year old human male was good but still blemished and bowlegged and broken, and she would never even know what an extraordinary thing lay beneath her, because she did not have the eyes to see.
To her, he is only a man at the bar, licking the sauce of chicken wings from his fingers and raising an eyebrow in half-joking suggestion. She has never seen him as a soldier. She has never seen him covered in blood and shaking with exhaustion and still taking on monsters that would turn her guts to water even to comprehend the existence of. She has never stood with him at her back and known that no archangel could be preferred as an ally.
She has no idea how beautiful he is. It's in the way his hunter's instincts and hyper-developed training and reflexes make his nerves fire so quickly and in such precise cascades, no wasted muscle contractions, neural chatter, or misfired signals. When he's fighting it's transcendent; half of the impulses go no further than the spinal cord, lighting his limbs like sparks, almost giving him energy wings as he moves, walking the line between a mortal and a warrior of God. In Dean, a single glint of energy can flare from the retina of the eye to the brain to the brainstem to the spine to the arm to the hand to the explosion in the chamber to the heated flight of the bullet as fast and clean and pure as any blessed smiting.
She can't understand how he is so fleeting in time and yet so ferociously determined to extend it every possible microsecond while still holding his survival in no regard at all. Spitting in the face of millions of years of carefully guided evolution and creation while still adhering to every base and primal drive that he has witnessed since the breath of Adam. It is like a snowflake that hurls itself upward on one last gust of air current to preserve crystalline perfection as that same wind tosses it into the rising heat of a fire. And yet somehow, this one never seems to melt.
She can't see how the light reflecting off and through every layer of his skin is so intricately affected by the melanin of tan and freckles, by scars so faded they can no longer be otherwise seen, by the contraction of muscles, the dilation of blood vessels, by mood and sleep and food and alcohol and bathing and so many thousands of variables that minutely tilt the cellular prisms that encase his terrifyingly fragile, impossibly resilient body. Or the way every shaft of his hair has had slightly different exposure to sun and shade and different products because he uses the soap at each motel instead of carrying his own like his brother, and thus they are all fractionally different in the way they reflect light. And all a bit paler on the left side, even as his skin is a few shades darker on the back of his hand and side of his face. She doesn't know he usually drives.
She can't smell the autonomic shifts of hormones from his endocrine system when he is aware of Castiel's presence which indicate trust and pleasure and a lowering of stress levels. And how it hurt when those were replaced by adrenaline for a while. She cannot feel how the capillaries dilate in Dean's skin where Castiel touches him, even if it is through clothing, and how the nerve activity increases markedly.
She can't hear how his voice resonates on multiple acoustic planes simultaneously because of its particular timbre. Roughened from being choked too many times, hit in the throat too many times, too much alcohol, too much vomit, too much coffee, too little sleep…that somehow allow him to sound stronger and wearier, gentler and more threatening. Humans. A clockwork of contradictions. Such infinitely finite creations. Masterpieces of imperfection.
She can't experience how perhaps due to his time in Hell or the number of times he has died or some factor he cannot quite determine, he always avoids Castiel's wings. Not in a bad way, but in a good when-they-are-active-it-is-unpleasant-for-you-to-put-a-hand-through-them-though-I-know-you-shouldn't-be-able-to-perceive-them way. She can't sense how, as an individual who has traveled through time, Dean's molecules vibrate on multiple possible fractals of existence and resonate with over 100 years of potential energy.
But most of all, she can't understand what if feels like to be so near him as a vessel. How in what he was bred to be from the first man onward, the structure of Dean's soul is a miracle itself, as intoxicatingly beautiful to an angel as all miracles inherently are. It is as if knitted from human spirit and will to be the shape of a vessel and yet infinitely flexible and expansive, the outside shaped for a mortal and the inside shaped, so very, very invitingly for an angel…it is all he can do, sometimes, when he is so close to Dean that his energies can trace the perfectly formed space in his soul not to stare into the eyes that have 781 distinct chromatic variants and beg to be allowed to feel what it would be like to be inside him, even if just for a moment.
Sometimes, it makes him feel guilty, selfish, dirty, wanton to want to touch something made for one of Heaven's elite…but then he is certain that the space between his spirit and Dean's would be filled with that uniquely human brand of Agape that flares in men like Dean brighter and more briefly and more rarely against the universe than the birth of a star. It is the thing that makes him feel his jaw set in such human frustration, his eyes look away unable to watch Dean's fingers trace the rim of his glass as he leans forward just enough to look straight down her shirt.
While angels may, as warriors of God, have nearly infinite capacity to take life, it is humans alone who have been gifted the ability to create new souls, and in that orgasmic instant of potential creation, he could touch Dean's soul without hurting either of them, caress the perfection of that vessel with the shape of all the energy that is Castiel heedless of the meat that was Jimmy. It frightens him, what he would do to touch that, even at the edges, even in what shows in green eyes for an instant in the press of fingers and some dilated capillaries the width of sun-bleached hairs.
But it doesn't matter. Because when that moment happens, it will be one hundred and eight minutes after he and Sam have left this place, and he will not be anywhere near the sweat-rumpled sheets pulled half off the cheap IKEA futon. He will be atop the building across the street, invisible to eyes that might wander lazy and sated to the windows, a blade in his hand as he keeps watch for black smoke and things that live in shadow.
He has Dean's friendship, his love, his loyalty, his heart in so many ways that should be enough, and he treasures those things so much more deeply than make any sense even to him. He would certainly never trade them away, never even dare to risk them for a moment's reward that could cost so much so easily. But right now, as she laughs in arousal and just a little embarrassment at Dean's ribald joke, her eyes flicking up through two layers of mascara and shimmer eyeliner to meet his hungry gaze, he envies that Hooters girl to a degree that is without question unholy.
It is a mortal sin, as is Lust, and he understands this. He always has, and it is why he will never really be able to fully explain to Dean why he should still be in Purgatory and just how completely he has fallen.