Green and Warm
"You don't have to eat it," Tony laughs.
Castiel had never heard of any of the appetizers at the restaurant, so Tony had ordered one to share. Castiel was trying to eat it. It was resisting him.
"What is this called again?" he asks.
"It's calamari. It's fried squid. It's okay if you don't like it. I'll eat it. We can order you something else."
Castiel likes the way Tony laughs. He's very cheerful and relaxed. It's strange after spending most of his time on earth with the Winchesters. It's also somewhat… disconcerting. Tony is a "regular person" who anticipates living a long life on earth. Castiel is slowly coming to terms with the fact that he will remain human, remain on Earth, grow old and die. He finds Tony's way of ignoring these facts fascinating and comforting and very different from the way Dean seems to think about the same problem of mortality. He enjoys engaging in conversations with Tony.
Angels don't touch casually and don't ever express affection with more than words. And even then, it's not a common occurrence. He's been thinking about the way Tony had kissed him in the car for the last few days.
The one thing that Castiel really does find discomfiting is that he's not sure how to hold an ongoing conversation with Tony when he can't mention many of the inconvenient truths about himself, Dean, or Chelsea. It has taken arduous practice, but he's almost good at small talk. He can carry on conversations with Dean and Chelsea, and has gotten to the point where he actually just sitting and talking to them about nothing in particular.
So far, he and Tony have been discussing books, and events and history and when things turn toward the personal, Castiel redirects things so he can learn about Tony's experiences growing up. Tony keeps answering at length, laughing and trying to bring the conversation back to Castiel, but he isn't as good at directing the conversation.
Castiel enjoys the way Tony talks. Dean is very concrete and prefers to discuss the facts of a situation. Chelsea is similar, but not as serious. Given a topic, Tony spins castles in the sky and builds roads to them. It's lovely. And it's the reason they've been able to spend so much time so far away from each other's personal histories and so much time on ideas and imaginings.
Cas's phone rings. It would be rude to answer it in the restaurant, so he ignores it. It rings again. Cas apologizes to Tony and checks it. It's Dean. He'll get back to Dean after they sort out the squid issue.
He doesn't understand why Dean is upset with him. He gets the impression that Dean is more upset with himself than he is with Castiel, but the tension between them is still preying on his mind and he doesn't want it encroaching on his pleasant evening.
"Something wrong?" Tony asks when Castiel's phone buzzes again.
Castiel excuses himself, tells Dean he is out to dinner and ends the call.
"That was Dean," Castiel says when he sits back down. He eats another squid. Once he gets past the shock of the texture they aren't so bad.
"The roommate? Everything okay?"
"He did not find the note I left for him. He was just concerned."
Tony nods. "You two are pretty tight knit, huh?"
Tony wrinkles his forehead and after a pause asks. "How did you meet?"
Cas relates the story that he and Dean tell people. They met as soldiers. The war was hard on them. They live together because it's best to have someone who knows what it's like.
He doesn't understand the look that Tony gives him as he apologizes, stammering, and then suggests they order a few more appetizers so Cas can try things.
Their food comes, they go back to discussing topics rather than a history Castiel is starting to worry about not being able to fake. Castiel finds he is partial to the spinach dip. Tony talks about his schooling, family, and pets and Castiel has nothing real to offer back. Dean, Chelsea and Bobby are his family, and while he has siblings it's not really the same thing. He brings up Gabriel, because Tony met him, but attempting to make up an actual event involving Gabriel without acknowledging his powers is harder than he thought it would be.
When their meal is gone Tony takes Castiel's hand and they go back out to his car. He asks if Cas wants to return to his apartment for a drink. Castiel has already had a glass of wine, and feels pleasantly light. He's anxious about finding more things to discuss, and Chelsea warned him not to go to Tony's apartment on the first date… but this is the second date… so maybe it's okay… and there hasn't been any kissing yet.
So he agrees.
Tony's house is bright and new and nothing like his and Dean's house. Castiel likes it. Tony directs him to the couch and goes into the kitchen. He returns with two glasses of wine and hands Cas one before settling down on the couch next to him.
He sits close, so that the sides of their legs are touching. Dean and Cas do this too, Cas hasn't figured out the rules for when this is and isn't okay. Tony takes Castiel's hand in his own. Cas smiles and closes his fingers around it.
This is one of Castiel's favorite things about being human. He likes these quiet intimate moments. They way they forge a connection between himself and the people around him. He likes the reminder of camaraderie in the world that you can't have when you're intangible.
Tony gives him a soft sort of smile. Cas smiles back. He has learned and now he can readily interpret facial expressions and hardly has to think about it at all.
"I feel like I've been doing all the talking tonight," Tony says, sipping from his glass and setting it on the coffee table. He leans back against the arm of the couch and tugs Cas down with him. Castiel isn't sure how to fit against Tony in this position and pulls back. Tony loosens his grip on Castiel's hand and bites his lip.
"Tell me about your friends. How did you meet Chelsea?"
Castiel had a lie ready for this and feels bad that he has to use it. He tells Tony that before Dean worked in the garage he was doing odd jobs and had responded to Chelsea's ad. Tony laughs when Castiel tells him that Chelsea braids his hair, then reaches up and tugs at it gently. Castiel leans into the pull, toward Tony and sees Tony glance down at his lips.
"Can I kiss you?" Castiel asks, because Tony asked the last time.
Cas presses his lips his lips to Tony's. He really likes this how warm, soft, intimate and just slightly overwhelming it is. Tony had slipped his tongue into Castiel's mouth when they'd been kissing in the car and he'd barely been able to contain his cry of surprise at the sensation. He wonders if he was supposed to initiate kissing with tongue this time or if he should follow Tony's lead again.
The issue is resolved when Tony opens the kiss and slides his tongue against Castiel's. He slips his fingers into Cas's hair, brushing it back from his face.
"I like your long hair."
For some reason Tony finds this funny and grins as he resumes the kiss.
He pushes down at Castiel's back. He's not sure what he's supposed to do.
"Come here," Tony whispers.
Oh…. Oh. Cas follows the motion of his hands down. His entire body is pressed flush to Tony's now, they meet everywhere, tongues tangling as Tony's hands run through his hair.
It's wonderful, but a little odd, Castiel thinks, to be so close to someone he's known for a week and a half. He's unsure of how exactly he feels about this, but Tony's arm is loose around his back. If he needs to pull away he can. He feels safe here.
They keep on kissing and Castiel can feel the pleasant heat building in his body, burning hotter as Tony's soft touches at his back and in his hair turn firmer, palms pressing into his back and pulling up his shirt. Tony's hands run across his bare skin and Castiel's hips buck into Tony's before he can stop himself.
The most frustrating thing about being human is having no control over your form.
Tony's head rocks back out of the kiss. Castiel feels a burn of pleasure rip through his body as he feels what Chelsea calls a "hard-on" pressing into Tony's body.
Tony sweeps Castiel's hair back and Castiel realizes that they're both breathing heavily.
"Do you want to go upstairs?" Tony whispers.
"Why? What's upstairs?"
Tony kisses him again. "My bed, Cas."
Castiel doesn't know what that means, or how to ask.
And he can tell it's a thing a man appearing to be his age should know.
"Cas?" Concern shrouds Tony's features. "It's only a second date. You know there's no pressure, right?"
Castiel isn't sure of a right answer, and feels suddenly embarrassed and a little upset. It's very trying to be somewhere between several millennia and 9 months old.
He finally settles on a question. "What would we do if we went upstairs?"
And then a computer screen image of writhing, grunting bodies suddenly pops up in his memory.
No. He doesn't want that. It's not affection like this. He likes this.
Tony tugs at the ends of his hair again. "Whatever you want to do."
"I don't know what I want."
Tony let's his hands fall back against the arm of the couch. "Cas… can I ask you something?"
"Are you… are you a virgin?"
Cas considers lying… but what would be the point? "Yes."
Tony is quiet for a moment, and Castiel would be concerned about the pause, but Tony's hands are still in his hair. "What about girls?"
"I don't understand."
"Are you… just new to the guy thing, or have you never been with anyone?"
Humans are so very weird about genders.
"I'm new to everything," Castiel says… an excuse that Chelsea has used a couple of times that always made the other room-cleaners at the hotel nod as though everything was explained occurs to him. "Secluded, religious upbringing."
That seems to make Tony sad. "Oh. That must have been hard."
Castiel's hard on is subsiding, but still present enough to be distracting and he's trying not to move his hips against Tony's. He doesn't understand how he managed to interrupt the kissing. He also has no idea how to make up an entire childhood.
His silence makes Tony uncomfortable. "Tell you what. This couch is killing my neck. Let's just make out upstairs. Is that okay?"
They shift up off the couch. Tony takes a deep draft from his wine glass. Castiel echoes.
"Making-out" would be more fun if Castiel didn't feel like he had to dread the point where they stopped kissing and he'd have to pretend to be human enough to carry on a conversation with someone who had never hunted ghosts or demons.
He'd wanted to do a normal human thing. Chelsea dated, people on TV dated. He'd tried to make Dean date. It had seemed like such a good idea to divert Dean's attention away from him a little. Dean deserved normal things and he couldn't have them if he was always supervising Castiel. He had been considering bringing Chelsea on as a co-conspirator and trying to find Dean a girlfriend again, though he wasn't as pleased with the prospect as he used to be. Especially because something has changed with Dean over the last few days too and now Castiel just feels… lonely.
But Castiel knows he has to try harder to be human. He can't spend his entire life as Dean's ward, living on Dean's paychecks and sleeping one door down. The ex-Angel doesn't fit into the normal human life he wants for Dean and if Dean ever gets it Castiel needs to be able to stand on his own two feet.
Attempting to date like a normal person, forging a bond with a civilian had seemed like a good way to do that.
Tony's room is a light mint green. There are plants in all the corners and the room is infused with a sharp soap like smell. His bed is huge and it takes Castiel a moment to realize that's because it's built under the assumption that two people would sleep on it. Unlike the small cots in his and Dean's separate rooms.
He takes a deep gulp from his wine glass. The light feeling is starting to creep back in, though he doesn't feel as good as he did half and hour ago.
Tony sets his free hand at Castiel's waist and draws him into a wine sweet kiss, then walks him back toward the bed, plucking his glass from his hands.
They lie down together, hands skimming over each other's bodies as they kiss. It's subdued like it wasn't before and Castiel can't quite place how or when it changed, though he expects it has something to do with him being a virgin. Humans are very strange about that too.
The kissing slows and fades away He is tired and warm and just aroused enough to be warm and sluggish, but not aroused enough to need to be finished off. It's difficult to perceive how time is moving out at the edges of this feeling.
"It's late," Tony murmurs eventually. He shifts up. "Oh, Cas. It's one in the morning."
There's a jolt at that. Deans' home alone. He'll be concerned. Probably drunk too.
And that sting of loneliness creeps in again. Why hasn't he called?
Because my phone is in my coat downstairs, Cas realizes.
"I should go home," Castiel yawns. "Dean will fret." Castiel yawns again and realizes that humans don't say "fret" anymore.
Tony chuckles and presses a kiss to his hairline. "Come on. I'll take you home."
Cas checks his calls while Tony hunts for his keys. None from Dean. Two from Chelsea from an hour ago. It's too late to call back.
The ride home is awkward. It's taken two nights together for them to run out of most of their topics of discussion and you can't kiss and drive at the same time. Castiel has to find a way to avoid Tony's question about whether or not he went to college.
Tony kisses him again before Castiel gets out of the car.
When Castiel enters the house Dean is standing over Chelsea, draping one of the blankets from the back of the couch over her. There are two beer bottles next to Chelsea, and three next to Dean. Well. At least he wasn't getting drunk alone anymore.
"Hey." Dean grabs a book off the end table. Hell lore. Cas keeps the disapproving expression off his face. He's frustrated by Dean's refusal to understand the potential consequences of breaching Hell. But it isn't as though he can say thing to dissuade Dean.
And Dean's obsessive quest will distract him from what Cas is slowly beginning to believe must be the truth. Sam is actually, very literally gone. Only God could have brought Sam out of the cage without also releasing Lucifer and Michael, and God had abandoned them all years ago.
But there were many things out there- things with debts and compassion and maybe just plain fear of the Winchesters- who could have ceased Sam. Simply wiped him from his tortured existence, as though he had never been.
Cas is afraid of what it would do to Dean if he found out he can never get his brother back, and afraid of what his friend might do to himself if he blames himself for his brother no longer being. And Dean would blame himself.
Personally, Cas hopes that Sam has been unmade. It's a better fate than eternity in the Cage, at the mercy of Lucifer and Michael.
"Hello, Dean," Castiel replies cautiously. Chelsea has tried to explain the basics of why Dean is uncomfortable around Cas now. She used words like "Hyper Masculinity" and "Homosexual Panic" and refered to Dean as an "Emotionally-constipated wreck- not that I don't love the guy." But Cas can tell she's self editing her answers in an attempt to spare his feelings in some way. He has gathered that Dean thinks he is gay and that this makes it uncomfortable for Dean to touch him. But he doesn't understand why and it makes him sad.
But he knows Dean. Dean distrusts, then gets angry, then acts like it has always been this way. He was the same when Cas first introduced himself as an Angel of the Lord.
"How was your date, man?"
Perhaps he's already getting over it.
Castiel shrugs. "My date was fine." He can seethe small battle that seems to incite across Dean's features and wonders if Dean knows how expressive he is when he isn't lying.
Dean clears his throat, "Good. You wanna… wake Chelsea up and tell us about it?"
Castiel hesitates. He doesn't want to admit that it didn't actually go well. He would like to seek Chelsea's guidance, and this whole attempt is an experience he would like to share with Dean. It's would just be prideful to refuse to admit he may have been mistaken.
"Alright. But I want to go get my blanket first. I'll be back shortly."
Cas hears Dean wake Chelsea as he goes up the stairs and as he comes back down hears the two of them hissing at each other and then hears their voices hush as he footsteps come down the stairs.
He settles onto the couch, next to Dean, then after moment, experimentally moves closer. Unlike all week, Dean doesn't lean away.
You also have very little control over your emotions as a human, Cas has learned and his intention to simply explain the events of his evening devolves into a diatribe about the frustrations he's been trying not to voice about how he'll never be quite human enough to function on a planet where he may have as little as 50 years left.
Chelsea strokes his arm. Dean settles his hand on his knee.
And he feels loved and relieved and a little more at home.