The knock came again, and Dean groaned loudly, shifting the towel full of ice on the side of his face enough to glare at the door. Sammy was still in the shower - and probably, with that much ectoplasm and offal in his hair would be there 'til New Year - and ignoring it wasn't working. Another knock. "No room at the inn unless you're naked!"
"I'm not taking my clothes off in a motel hallway, Dean."
The towel dropped to the floor, ice scattering across the stained and cigarette-burned carpet as Dean sat abruptly upright, and he had one hand on the door before caution caught up with him. As unmistakable as that voice was, there were plenty of things that could fake it. Carefully, he picked up his gun and a small flask of holy water from the side table. "Cas? What're you doing out there?"
"I have pie."
"That's great," he unscrewed the lid of the flask, checking that it was full, "but why not just pop in here?"
"Because the last time I did that, you were masturbating and informed me that if I did it again you'd find an angelic blade and shove it so far up my ass I'd be deep-throating it."
"Right." Dean could feel the flush all the way to his collar, and he cleared his throat, wishing angels came with a better idea of volume control. "Gimme just a second." He re-capped the flask and put it back, though the weapon was still tucked in his waistband just in case as he unclasped the security chain and opened the door.
It was Cas all right, and he shouldn't have been surprised that apparently he had, in fact, brought pie - a big, deep dish apple one no less from the look and smell of things - but neither that nor the cheap red and white Santa hat on the angel's perpetually touseled head was what made Dean's mouth drop open in shock. It was the wings.
He'd seen Cas' wings before, or at least the idea of them, shadowed dark on walls in moments when he was inclined to allow a pants-wetting glimpse of just what Warrior of the Lord really meant. He'd seen Raphael's wings of pure energy, even the scorch marks that had too often surrounded Cas in his nightmares, but never anything like this. These were perfectly, absolutely white, swooping up from his shoulders to nearly touch the dingy, damp-stained ceiling and arcing down again with what looked to be long, elegant feathers until you stared long enough to realize that they were somehow barely glowing and yet made entirely, incorporeally of light. Dean licked his lips, his mouth suddenly dry as he fought the simultaneous urges to reach out and touch them or possibly run very fast in the opposite direction. "Wow…you…uh…wings. I thought they were black?"
Eloquent, Winchester. In case he'd forgotten which brother did not go to Stanford.
"Only when I'm wrathful." Cas smiled uncertainly, the wings dimming slightly as he held up the pie. "I'm a Christmas angel. I have a hat."
Dean chuckled, still unable to take his eyes off the wings. "That you are. And do. And, uh, glad you're not wrathful, but that still doesn't answer what you're doing here. I thought you said Christmas was a pagan holiday appropriated by the Church and Jesus was born in the spring or something."
"Of course," Cas acknowledged, "but that has nothing to do with Christmas."
Dean stepped out of the way to let Cas in, then closed and re-locked the door, trying not to make it too obvious that he was staring. "So…Christmas has nothing to do with Christmas?"
"The details of the origins of the holiday or the historical accuracy of the myth are largely irrelevant." Cas set the pie down by Sam's laptop, then paused, frowning. He had noticed the ice on the floor, his eyes narrowing further and his wings fluttering slightly and then vanishing alltogether - something that disappointed Dean to a degree he hadn't expected - as he connected it to the slight swelling on the side of Dean's face. "You're hurt. What happened?"
"No big deal," Dean shrugged. "Poltergeist Sammy and I cleaned out earlier today decided to celebrate Christmas by throwing a bison at me, and I mostly ducked."
"A bison? As in the mammal?"
"Yeah. Apparently they're making a comeback. Low cholesterol or something."
"I see." Cas sighed, and Dean felt the familiar shiver of healing as he reached out, brushing his fingers over Dean's cheek. "You're fortunate in that case that you mostly ducked."
"Damn straight. They're like hairy tanks that poop. I hate Montana." The pie was apparently pretty fresh, the aroma already filling the tiny room distractingly, and Dean looked past his unexpected visitor hopefully. "So…I take it that's for us? It's just a pie, right? Not like a cursed pie or a hell pie or a —"
"Just a pie, Dean. It's a Christmas present."
"You didn't have to do that," Dean protested, even as he snapped open his pocketknife and started to cut a slice. Oh, Jesus, the crust just flaked apart like nothing. It was gorgeous. "Sam and I didn't know you were coming, we'd have gotten you…I dunno. What do angels get each other for Christmas? Halo polish?"
He'd expected some kind of retort that Cas didn't have a halo or angels don't celebrate Christmas, and he paused, the slice halfway out of the pan as he realized that Cas was silent, staring out the window at the gray, filthy slush of the truck stop parking lot and the vast, snow-covered darkness beyond. "Hey, I didn't mean to —"
"I'm homesick, Dean. Homesick and lonely." It was so quiet, he almost didn't hear, but it was enough.
The pie was abandoned. He crossed the room, putting a careful hand on Cas' shoulder and trying to avoid where he'd seen the wings just in case they were still there and it might feel weird or something. "It's ok. You're always welcome here, pie or not. I've told you before, you're family."
"And that's the point of Christmas." It was a statement of fact, but there was a resignation beneath it that Dean knew all too intimately. "Home and family? You're the only —"
"You forget mini-mart eggnog and a lamp shaped like a hooker's leg." Cas blinked, and Dean laughed, relieved to have broken the dangerous introspection of the moment. "Come on…there's still at least one more round of it on TNT." He nodded back to the pie, leading the angel away from the window. "I'll haul Sam out of the shower, you can zap his hair clean, and you can tell us about what really went down in the manger while we introduce you to Ralphie."