Chapter 13 - Yes, you.
"He's gone," Sam echoes flatly. "Just like that."
"Yes, Sam. Just like that," Dean snaps. "Just like always!" he shouts, shoving at the drawer in anger.
Only it's not just like always. This hurts. So much more than usual. It's like being ripped out of his djinn-made life all over.
He thought he was there again. Maybe he thought he was dreaming. Or maybe he thought he'd finally woken up from a nightmare and was back at home, where he belonged. Maybe he wasn't thinking at all and he's twice the fool for it, but he was there.
And Cas was there with him too. Djinn fantasy or not, Cas was there with him this time, for real.
Dean barks a bitter laugh. Usually he's the one running out after a one night stand.
"But where would he go?" Sam asks, bitch-facing at no one in particular.
"I don't know, Sam," Dean sighs. "Probably back to Heaven to get mojo'd up properly again."
"So then… he'll be back," Sam says, but he sounds as dubious as Dean feels.
Dean reaches for the open drawer to slide it shut, but when he looks down, he sees something he missed before. The shine of new leather, underneath all the old clothes.
It's a journal. Not exactly like the one from his djinn-made world, but pretty damn close. His hands begin to tremble as he lifts it out of the drawer.
"Cas got that when we went shopping for his new stuff," Sam says. Dean nods, his throat thick as he runs his palm across the leather. He flips it open almost absentmindedly, wanting to feel the paper under his fingertips, but when he sees what's on the first page he jerks his hand away, as if burned.
It's a drawing. A symbol. Something that doesn't belong on paper, but something that is entirely familiar as well.
It's an anti-possession star. With a hand around it. And when Dean covers the outline with his own, he finds it matches near perfectly.
Suddenly Dean is moving, pushing past Sam as he strides out the door, digging in his jacket for the keys to the Impala.
"Dean! Where are you going?" Sam yells after him, but Dean doesn't stop to answer, throwing himself into the car and revving her up to fly.
He knows exactly where Cas went.
" " "
By the time Dean pulls up to the burnt out remains of Bobby's house, the sun is already on its way down. He executed some of the best driving of his life to get there as quickly as he could, ignoring speed limits and several other laws on the way, but he barely remembered any of it. All he could think of was getting to Cas, before the angel flew away again, somewhere he couldn't follow.
He should've known Cas would linger though. Where else did Cas have to go? And while he feels some guilt over that, it's overwhelmed by relief, when he sees Cas standing there amongst the blackened remains of Bobby's kitchen.
"You've got to stop running off like that," Dean says, leaning against the one remaining doorjamb of a non-existent wall.
Castiel's shoulders tense at the sound of his voice, the back of his trench-coat shifting with the movement as his entire posture goes rigid.
"How did you find me?" Castiel asks, so quietly Dean can barely make out the words.
Dean pulls the journal out of his jacket, opening it to the front page. Castiel's shoulders jump again at the sound of the paper rustling in Dean's fingers, and recognizing what he must have in his hands Castiel finally turns around, eyes wary and wide.
"I was there, Cas," he says gently, lining up his hand over the drawing. "I was here," he adds, looking around them pointedly. "The alpha put us both here."
"No," Castiel shakes his head in denial, "You're not him, you can't be. That would mean we both-" Castiel trails off, realization dawning in his eyes.
They both wanted the same thing. They both wanted each other.
"No, it was just a dream! It wasn't real!" Castiel gasps in disbelief, backing away from him.
"You baked pie for me, right here in our kitchen," Dean says vehemently, stepping forward. "Best pie I ever had. Even when you were just learning and they were the worst pies I ever had, they were still the best, because you made them," he says, pointing at Cas. "And you made sandwiches for me, and pancakes, and one time I gave you a blow job right at the kitchen table because you made so happy!" he says, before he even realizes what's coming out of his mouth. But there's a sudden crack in the hardness of Castiel's eyes when he says it, slowly spilling out a softness that cracks something loose inside of Dean as well, and the words just keep coming, quiet and breathless.
"I cooked dinner for you here," Dean continues, stepping closer again. "Steak and potatoes, with candles and everything, the first night we…" he trails off, desperate for Cas to believe.
"The first night we made love?" Castiel whispers.
"Yeah," Dean croaks. Swallowing thickly, he steps even closer. "I made a back porch, just so I could sit there and watch you in the garden. You looked so happy there in all the mud and plants."
Castiel huffs a breathy laugh. "I was."
"I had a picture of us, standing together in that garden under wedding decorations, both of us wearing suits, and you looked so…" Dean trails off again, breathless at the thought of it.
Castiel steps forward then, reaching out to take his hand, and Dean's knees nearly buckle underneath him at the touch.
"You flew a kite for me," Cas whispers, standing so close, Dean can see the material of their shirts shifting against each other with every breath. "And then you made love to me under a tree, with your hand on my heart, and I told you that-"
"You're my Heaven now," Dean finishes for him, meeting Castiel's gaze again. "Don't tell me that wasn't real, Cas. Because it was real for me."
"I thought I was dreaming," Castiel replies. "I've had… limited experience with dreams before. And the extension and shifting of time seemed to coincide with what little I knew," he explains. "I even asked Sam about it. Although it's clear now that it was just the djinn, trying to manipulate me," Castiel frowns. "He said that if I thought I was dreaming, then I should just enjoy it. So I did! I just went along with it. And it was so full of beauty and feeling, I never wanted it to end!" Castiel says, pained. "Even now, whenever I sleep, I dream of you, here. It hurts to wake up."
"That was me, Cas. That was us. And we can be that again, I promise." Dean reaches out to pull Castiel close, pressing their foreheads together. "You just have to stop running away from me. You just have to… You just have the stay with me," Dean murmurs, breathing a quiet laugh at how they've come full circle. Castiel huffs a wry chuckle as well.
"Please." Dean gives Cas' neck a squeeze, serious again. Castiel sighs, deflating and melting into him all at once.
"I thought you'd never ask," he whispers. And there's something about it that tells Dean it's not just an expression. Castiel really means it.
"Wait a minute," Dean exhales in dismay, pulling away to search Castiel's face. "Is that the reason you're always leaving? Because I never asked you to stay?"
Castiel doesn't say anything, but his eyes soften a little, becoming fond in a way that also says, "Duh, you idiot."
"Son of a bitch," Dean breathes.
"Wait, no," Dean protests. "You chose to stay in Purgatory when I left! I mean, the first time I thought I left. Me and Benny fought so hard to get to you. To get out. But you let go! Even though you knew I wanted you to come with me!" Dean frowns in confusion. "If that was still part of the djinn's world, why would you choose that?"
"I'm sorry, Dean. But at that moment in time, it was what I wanted the most," Castiel says. "I still felt so much guilt over everything I had done. Especially to you. Above all, I wanted your forgiveness. Not just some sense of obligation to save me."
"It wasn't just some obligation to save you!" Dean practically shouts. "Fuck, Cas! You know how that messed with me!"
"I know," Cas whispers. "And I'm so sorry I hurt you, again," he adds, reaching out to squeeze his hand. "If I had known the guilt you would feel over leaving me behind, perhaps I would've done things differently," he says. Dean takes a few deep breaths to calm himself down as he squeezes Castiel's hand back, acknowledging the apology.
"As soon as I got out I wanted to go back," Dean confesses. "Everything was off, you know? Sam had this whole other life with this girl, Amelia. You know, like Jimmy Novak's wife?" Dean explains. "Every time I saw him thinking about her, I thought about you. And I guess that was part of the djinn's plan, but fuck."
What he doesn't say is how he missed Cas so bad, he actually friggin' pined for him. And the djinn probably thought he'd do anything to keep Cas in his life after that, but in the end Dean was such an idiot, he did nothing.
"I suppose the djinn just made it easier for me to stay in Purgatory," Castiel replies apologetically. "If there was even the slightest chance that taking me through the portal would kill you, I wasn't going to do it. But I wanted those last moments with you as well."
"So what changed?" Dean asks. "Why did the djinn let you out?"
"I believe as it grew stronger, it was able to read deeper, and it saw beneath my desire for penance how much I wanted to be able to return to Heaven," Cas explains.
"Wow," Dean snorts. "That turned out well," he deadpans, remembering Naomi. But really, the sarcasm is just a cover for the twinge of guilt he feels. Guilt for being the reason Cas left Heaven in the first place, and guilt over how selfish he is for not wanting Cas to go back.
"It didn't work, because that wasn't what I really longed for," Castiel says. "What I really missed about Heaven, was having a home. I wanted to belong somewhere again," he says, hand resting light over Dean's heart.
Dean swallows thickly at that, reaching up to cover Castiel's hand with his own, as he pulls Castiel close with his other arm. Castiel melts into the embrace with a sigh, their bodies relaxing against each other with easy familiarity.
"You're home now," he whispers softly into Castiel's hair.
"It won't be the same, I'm not human anymore," Castiel says, but Dean can tell it's more of a clarification than an objection.
"I don't need you to be human anymore," Dean murmurs. "Besides, I'm not going to give up hunting."
"I know," Castiel replies, pulling back to give Dean a small, resigned smile. "We're still going to fight, aren't we?"
"Probably," Dean concedes. "But think of all the make-up sex," he grins. Castiel blushes at that, ducking his head like they don't already know each other in intimate detail. Just the way he did the morning Dean first saw him standing in their kitchen doorway, looking all too human in his rumpled old clothes.
"Hey Cas?" Dean murmurs, tilting Cas' face upwards again. "We had our first kiss, right in this spot. Remember?"
Dean hears a tiny hitch in Cas' throat at that, and Castiel's gaze slowly begins to wander down to Dean's lips, licking his own in response. Dean finds himself mimicking the movement, slowly drawn closer with every beat of his heart, tugged forward until he's practically breathing into Castiel's mouth.
"Dean!" Cas whispers, a needy puff of sound Dean feels against his lips, and then he's closing the last remaining distance, sealing their mouths together in something desperate and furious and gloriously perfect.
"Is that a 'Yes'?" Dean gasps when he has to pull away for air.
"Yes!" Castiel answers, pressing frantic little kisses all over his mouth, "Yes! Yes!"
Dean groans as he swoops back in to claim Castiel's lips again. He knew what Cas was going to answer by then, but he couldn't help it, he'd wanted to hear it as well.
"Fuck!" Dean gasps when he has to pull back for air again. "I really miss our bedroom right now."
"Shall I take us somewhere? The car? The motel?" Castiel asks hurriedly, still clutching at him and staring at his lips like he's nowhere near done with them.
"Nah," Dean answers, as tempting as it sounds. "I kind of want to stay here a while longer, you know?"
"Yes," Castiel nods. Though Dean's not sure Cas is even aware of what he's saying anymore.
"Come on, the panic room survived the fire," Dean says, taking Castiel's hand and leading him through the rubble.
There's a big gaping hole over the basement where the floor was burned through, and to Dean's dismay, exposure to the elements has taken care of what was left of the stairs as well. But then he feels that familiar swooping drop in his stomach, and all of a sudden they're standing inside the panic room, the last of the sunlight filtering through the exposed fan vents above them.
"Woah," Dean exhales, regaining his bearings. He'd almost forgotten what that felt like. Had almost forgotten Cas could do that for a second. But as much as he hates it, he has to admit it really comes in handy sometimes.
"Thanks, Cas," he says, squeezing Cas' hand as he looks around. He and Sam had thrown out all the furnishings in the room – the cots, the table, the chairs – the metal frames all having twisted and warped from the heat, even though the fire never penetrated the iron structure. There's nothing left inside but the mattress from the old cot, left lying on the floor. It's probably better that way though, because the cot was already too small for one fully grown man, let alone two.
Still, it's difficult to look at how little is left. Hard enough to see it burn down the first time, even harder now after having had it ripped away again.
"You know what, Cas? I'm going to rebuild this place," Dean decides suddenly, pulling Cas close again. "I'm going to make this a home again, with a balcony and a porch and a garden… And we're going to christen every room from the bottom up, starting now. You hear me?"
"Yes, Dean." Castiel smiles, laughing and blushing at the same time. "In that case…" Castiel says cryptically, and then several things happen in such rapid succession, it seems like they happen in the blink of an eye. First, Castiel disappears from Dean's arms. Then Dean's duffle appears, landing on the floor next to the mattress. Then a heap of blankets from the trunk of the Impala appear, spread out on top of the mattress. And finally, a handful of candles appear around the mattress, lighting up the room in a golden glow.
Castiel is back in his arms before he even realizes what's happened, and when he does, he can't help the powerful spike of arousal he feels. Not only do Cas' abilities come in real handy, but sometimes it's a real turn-on, being reminded just how powerful Castiel really is.
"Hot damn, Cas." he breathes, taking in the changes to the room.
"Are the candles too much?" Cas frowns.
"No, Cas. It's perfect," he replies, loving the way the light catches in Castiel's eyes and makes his skin glow. Just like the first night they spent together. Even though they didn't know it was actually their first time while it was happening, Dean still thinks of it that way. That night was too special to Dean not to count as something real.
And now, in a way, he gets to relive their first time all over again. The thought makes his pulse race and his stomach dance with anticipation. He leans in to kiss Castiel again, this time slow, and soft, though no less needy than before, and Castiel hums his pleasure, wrapping his arms around Dean's neck.
Dean's lips never leave Castiel's as he walks them towards the mattress, hands on Castiel's waist, guiding him as well as keeping him close. As the layers of their clothes come away, they hold each other closer, gravitating to each other's warmth in the chill air of the room. Slowly they sink to their knees, still exchanging gentle kisses as they descend onto the heap of blankets. There are soft sighs, and reverent touches, amidst the tender press of their lips. And soon Dean is laying Castiel out on his back, half-drunk on the sight of all that skin, glowing in the candlelight, just for him.
"Dean, wait," Castiel whispers, something uncertain and scared in his eyes where there wasn't before.
"What is it, Cas?" Dean frowns in concern, sweeping his thumb over Castiel's cheek in a gesture meant to soothe as well as ground him. Both of them.
"What if…" Castiel bites his lips in consternation before continuing, "What if this is all just another dream? How can I know this is real?" he asks, a hint of panic in his eyes.
"I don't know, Cas," Dean sighs, pained. He wants this. God does he want this. But he doesn't know if he can handle waking up and having it taken away from him again. The thought is too depressing to bear thinking about, not when he's pressed naked and hard against Castiel's body, and so ready for more. He doesn't know what he could possibly say to assuage Castiel's fears, but he'd give anything for Cas to believe him right now.
"Wait," Dean gasps, an idea creeping up on him. "Cas, why don't we do something we never did there?" he says, already feeling his skin heat at what he's about to suggest. "You never gave me any indication that you might be interested in… topping…" Dean exhales the word so quietly and quickly he's not even sure he said it, "But I would do that, for you."
Castiel frowns immediately, shaking his head. "Dean, I never wanted-" he chokes off, a look of consternation on his face, and Dean can tell from the response that he was right, that Cas never even considered it. And then he sees the moment Cas realizes just what he's offering, the slow dawning of awe and pain in Cas' eyes.
Castiel knows what Dean went through in Hell. The things he never talks about, but still has nightmares about to this very day. And for that reason, Castiel probably assumed that switching wasn't even an option. But Dean's thought about it. The way Cas makes him feel, he's thought about doing everything imaginable under the sun. He wants it all. Everything. He wants to give Cas everything.
"But Dean, I could hurt you. Especially now," Castiel protests.
"I know," Dean grins a little. No matter what he's been through, the idea of all that angelic strength still turns him the fuck on. He wants to feel that power inside him, all around him, cradling him… He knows what Cas could do to him and yet he can't imagine feeling anything other than safe.
Castiel was the one saved him from Hell, after all.
"I trust you," Dean murmurs, and it seems to be the right thing to say, because the look Cas gives him then is so full of joy, and desire, and utter panic, he already knows Cas will be nodding his assent the very next moment.
Dean kisses him when he does, moaning with a building urgency that wasn't there before. But before it can reach some kind of frantic crescendo, Cas pushes him away again. Or rather, pushes him onto his back, gently taking control before Dean loses himself. He hushes Dean with small kisses, one after the other pressed to Dean's lips, until Dean surrenders himself, eyes falling shut as he melts into the blankets.
The soothing trail of Castiel's lips moves downwards, suckling at the sensitive spot on his neck, his collarbone, his nipple, hip, thigh... All the sensitive places Castiel knows so well, drawing hitches and moans from Dean's lips that if anything, prove that they were really there, dreaming together. And then Castiel sucks him down, just right, fingers stroking him with a tenderness that makes Dean throb so hard he feel his pulse against Castiel's tongue.
He hears the zip of his duffle then, opening on its own with Cas' angelic mojo, and Castiel doesn't even lift his head from between Dean's legs before Dean feels the cold brush of lube against his entrance.
He groans as his legs fall open even further, inviting more, and before long Castiel's fingers are searching inside him, thrusting and stretching in time with the same slow rhythm of his mouth.
"Please!" Dean begs, "Cas!" he gasps, "Need you!" he rambles, "Now!"
Only to have Castiel ignore him, stretch him further, suckle him more gently. He is whimpering and squirming on the sheets, mindless with need by the time Castiel climbs back up his body. And when Castiel asks him if he's sure, he can't even open his eyes to look at him, can't do anything but nod and mumble, "Yes. Yes!"
It's only when Castiel finally slides into him, that his eyes fly open again, wide with relief and the breath-stealing sensation of having Castiel inside him, hot and thick.
"Dean!" Castiel rasps, breathing hard as a race-horse. And if Dean wasn't already overwhelmed by the fullness of him, he would be by the small, trembling attempts Castiel makes at movement. His body is a livewire, and he feels everything, every minute twitch and pulse inside him. He can't help but begin to writhe, rock his hips against Castiel's and encourage him to respond.
And respond he does. Especially when he grabs onto Cas' backside and pulls him in deeper, harder inside. At first, all Castiel can do is groan into Dean's skin, clutch at Dean's shoulders as he is caught up in the pleasure of it, the rhythmic friction of skin and heat. But Dean holds him together, grounding him with soft kisses in his hair, and whispering incoherent nothings in his ear. "I got you, Cas. Yeah, come on," and the like, encouraging and sweet, until finally Castiel is able to lift his head, and meet his gaze.
"Dean!" Castiel chokes out, the only word he says. But there's so much in Castiel's eyes, Dean doesn't need anything more. He soaks it all up until he's full with it, drowning in it, ready to lose himself completely in it, until he sees the fear in Cas' eyes.
"Please tell me this is real!" Cas gasps, gripping his shoulder so tight, it's sure to leave hand-shaped bruises.
"This is real Cas. I swear," Dean hisses fervently, grabbing Castiel just as tight. "You and me Cas, you and me!" he gasps, pressing his hand to Castiel's heart – right where its tattooed outline used to be.
"Dean!" Castiel sobs again, covering Dean's hand with his own. There are memories in Castiel's eyes, promises in his kiss, and when he comes, shouting Dean's name, Dean answers the cry, spilling over with him.
" " "
It's amazing how easy it is for the mind to interpret a certain reality, given the right directions to guide it. That first morning, when Cas put on his old Led Zeppelin t-shirt, he probably had no idea what he was putting on, he just needed clothes. But as soon as Dean saw him in it, the illusion was sold.
And how much did Cas hear of that first conversation he had with Sam, that same morning? Enough to gather that they were in some kind of relationship? That they had been for some time? Enough to think that he must be dreaming?
That first time Cas freaked out when Dean injured himself, it wasn't so much because Cas was sensitive about losing his healing power, but because it was the moment he first realized he couldn't heal in that world. And maybe Cas was popping pills after that not because his worry was getting to him, but because he was having those strange headaches from being in the djinn's reality as well.
And when djinn-Sam told him Cas always blushed when he touched him, like it was the first time, it's because it really was the first time. Their first few kisses, the first time they went to bed together… God, no wonder Cas looked so stunned afterwards. Hell, he probably wouldn't have even known what that tattoo was all about, until the first time Dean put his hand on it.
But there was more, so much more that happened regardless of any direction from the djinn or the life it fabricated for them. There was history between him and Cas, long before the djinn ever got to them. And maybe things never would've happened between him and Cas if it wasn't for the djinn, but just because they happened in a made-up world didn't make their feelings any less real. And that's the only truth they need.
The next time Dean wakes up, it's to the glow of daylight behind his eyelids, his body pleasantly aching from one of the most amazing nights of his life. Judging by the line of warmth wriggling beside him under the sheets, Cas is already awake, so he leans over, pressing a kiss into the back of Castiel's dark hair as he wraps his arms around Cas' naked torso.
Dean never thought he'd have this again. He is one lucky son of a bitch.
"Good morning," he murmurs, leaning over Cas' shoulder in curiosity. He thought he heard the sound of a pen, scratching against paper before.
"Good morning, Dean," Cas rolls over, smiling, and Dean sees the journal in Cas' hands. When Dean quirks an eyebrow at it, Castiel hands it over. "When I bought this, it was for you."
Dean accepts the gift, running his fingers reverently across the leather. "Thanks, Cas," he murmurs, leaning over to press a kiss to Castiel's lips.
"Open it," Cas grins when he pulls away.
Dean grins back as he flips open the cover, turning to the page with Cas' writing on it, elegant and neat. The entry has yesterday's date on it, and it reads:
'Asked Cas to stay. He said yes.'
Dean can't help himself. He pulls out the pen, grinning wide as he adds a few more lines to the entry, and when he's done the entire thing reads;
'Asked Cas to stay. He said yes.'
'And so did I. A lot. Very loudly.'
'Best night of my life.'