"You don't actually have to do this, Cas," says Dean, voice thick and scratchy. "Really, I don't want to infect you with whatever unholy plague this is." He watches through heavy eyes as the angel walks into the motel room, grocery bag in hand. "I mean, I feel a little awkward having an angel of the Lord bring me oranges, y'know?"
Cas raises an eyebrow and dumps the bag on the bed, where Dean's foot rests, covered by three blankets.
"I beg to differ," he responds. "Before I took the initiative of waiting on you hand and foot, you refused to go to bed. This is far preferable. And there were no oranges."
Dean sneezes in reply. Cas opens the grocery bag and produces a jar of honey, and Dean frowns, muscles aching as he does so.
"What's that for?"
Cas shrugs uncertainly.
"I asked the woman at the grocery store what I should get for an ailing human," he answers. "She did not understand the request at first, but eventually told me that honey has excellent healing properties. I do not know what I am meant to do with it. Feed it to you, perhaps, although I'd rather not."
"Likewise, Cas," says Dean, marginally horrified. "Likewise."
Any clever retort he might have added to the end of that sentence is rendered useless by a hacking cough that seems to come from nowhere, and by the time he's finished coughing and has managed to open his again, streaming as they are, he sees that Cas is now sitting at the end of the bed, seemingly awaiting further instruction. Dean sighs, his throat on fire, and sinks back into the pillows.
"I don't know, Cas," he says. "I really don't get ill that often. Sammy was always the one who'd pick up any germ going. Probably has a whole host of paternity suits against him, he was that unchoosy."
Cas raises an eyebrow.
"I do not understand that turn of phrase," he retorts. "And I don't believe that 'unchoosy' is a real word."
Dean closes his eyes. He wonders why, after years of chasing down demons and vampires and goddamn Leviathans, he's fated to die of a common cold in a motel on the outskirts of Ohio. Ohio, for God's sake.
"What did you do for Sam when he was ill?" Cas asks, and Dean cracks one eyelid open. Cas looks genuinely concerned, and Dean can't help but grin, even though he knows it will make the answer seem even more lecherous than necessary.
"He used to have trouble sleeping when he was ill," he answers. "Something about having the constitution of a Dickensian orphan made it hard for him to catch some shut-eye, so I, as the brother who actually inherited an immune system, would get into bed with him. Helped him sleep, apparently. Don't ask me how."
Cas tilts his head to the left in contemplation, and Dean closes his eyes again. He's pretty sure that if he could just sleep for a few hours, he'd feel a lot better. He couldn't feel much worse, he reasons. For all he knows, there's an anvil in his skull and bees in his throat.
He's wondering about the practicalities of germs when he feels the sheets rustling around him, and he opens his eyes to find, to his sleep-addled surprise, that Cas, now stripped of his trenchcoat and suit jacket, is getting into the single bed with him.
Dean wonders if he's hallucinating.
"What are you doing?" he asks. Cas fixes him with a pitying look.
"I am helping you get some 'shut-eye'," he replies, forming quotation marks with his fingers. "If it helped Sam, it will probably help you. Move over."
Dean shifts slightly and watches as Cas gets comfortable under the covers, feels him slot his body around Dean's. He's surprisingly warm, and Dean remembers the last time he shared a bed with someone. It had, not unusually, been Sam, and there had been a lot of swearing and knocking of knees and falling out of bed. This time, though, they fit. Dean lies on his back, propped against four pillows so he's half sitting up, and Cas pillows his head against Dean's stomach, one arm thrown around his waist. His knees are curled up towards his chest and press lightly against Dean's upper thigh, and Dean thinks it would be horribly uncomfortable if Cas were any taller. If he were anyone else.
"Huh," he hums contemplatively, and Cas sighs, his breath tickling Dean's abdomen through the thin cotton of his undershirt. "You're not going to get ill from this, right? If I'm going to Hell, it's going to be for sex, drugs and rock-and-roll, not afflicting a cranky angel with the 'flu."
"It's merely a cold, Dean," Cas corrects him, his low voice rumbling against Dean's stomach. "And no. I will not get ill. I am not human, remember?"
"If you're sure."
"I am sure."
Dean sighs and shifts back into the pillows, and Cas mumbles his disagreement.
"Goodnight, Cas," says Dean.
"Good afternoon, Dean," Cas responds, and the last thing Dean thinks before sinking into a strange smelling sleep that only illness can induce is that he really needs to teach Cas some etiquette.
Dean wakes up the next morning feeling more rested than he's ever felt in his life. Stretching slightly, feeling the familiar ache of morning, he looks to his right. Cas doesn't seem to have moved all night, his head still resting on Dean's stomach, and Dean feels an odd rush of endearment towards the angel. From this angle, he can only see the top of Cas' head, his ruffled bed-hair, and it's so human that he's thrown for a moment.
He looks at his watch. It's 06:45. He'd been asleep for ten whole hours. No wonder he feels so rested.
Gingerly, he pulls himself up so that he's sitting up a little straighter, trying in vain not to move Cas. Cas groans, and Dean finds himself grinning. He doesn't feel ill anymore, he realises. His throat is still a little dry perhaps, but that's not unusual for the morning.
Cas lifts his head, and Dean looks at him. He looks a lot less rested than Dean feels, his eyes still tired and red-rimmed. Apparently, Dean thinks, angels can get ill.
"You look awful," Dean says, and Cas rubs the back of his neck. "How do you feel?"
Cas rests his head back on Dean's stomach.
"Don't say a word," he replies warningly, voice thin and sore. "And don't move. This position is comfortable. And don't talk. It hurts to listen."
Dean can't help chuckling at that, and Cas whines at the movement. Dean figures that he's in no position to fight back, so he dares to run a hand through Cas' hair. To his surprise, not only does Cas not reject it, he seems to relax into it.
He files that away under things to think about later.
"You can, however, keep doing that," Cas says, and Dean does.
"Well, it's not all bad," he muses, and Cas nestles more closely against the line of Dean's body. Dean shifts slightly to more comfortably accommodate him.
"How is it not all bad?" he asks. "I have never felt worse than this, and I have been expelled from Heaven in the past. I have been torn apart by Leviathans and had my mind reduced to almost nothing, and those experiences were preferable to this. How can you say that it's not all bad?"
Dean leans back into the pillows, one hand behind his head and one resting at the top of Cas' spine.
"We still have the honey."