Before He Loved Him
Dean's brain stops. Cas, the image burned in his mind of old Cas, how he always thinks about Cas when he remembers his old life, is crayoned onto Sophie's family portrait between two huge, blue wings. Kind of the same blue as Cas's tattoo.
It takes a couple repetitions of "You like dah picture?" before he snaps out of it.
"Yeah, yeah, sweetie," Dean manages.
Sophie's forehead wrinkles and she puts her hand on his face. Her wrinkles deepen at the contact and something occurs to Dean. He pulls her hand away from his face, but tugs at her sleeve like he does when he's pulling her close to tie her shoes.
"I drawed a lot of people. Mindy's family has four cats," Sophie tells him.
"When did you see Uncle Cas wearing a suit? I haven't seen Uncle Cas in a suit since before you were born."
"He doesn't wear a soot," Sophie replies, giggling like Dean is telling her a joke.
"I was more curious about the wings," Mrs. Roach laughs.
"Uncle Cas has big blue wings," Sophie says matter of factly.
"Like an Angel?" Mrs. Roach asks playfully.
Dean's laugh in response is fake and loud and Mrs. Roach looks at him with some concern until he kicks out, "Hah, an… Angel. Yeah… he's…" Dean forces himself to calm down. "Well, only to me."
Mrs. Roach's eyes widen a little at that, obviously she hadn't understood the full implication of "Uncle Dean and Uncle Cas" but she smiles at Dean's joke and goes back to her desk. Dean squats down so that he's eye to eye with Sophie.
"Honey, can I take this? Put it up on the fridge?"
"It's a present," Sophie agrees. Dean hugs her tight and takes the picture out to his car. He stares at it. It's a really impressive drawing for a four year old. The proportions are pretty spot on. Sam is towering over everyone, but in the way that he actually does. You can tell who everyone in it is supposed to be. Dodger is sort of a big reddish black blob, but he's like that in real life too.
And then there's Cas. From years ago. Dean realizes that he's getting too upset over this, he does calm down a little when he realizes that the pink blob in Cas's hand is Captain Hops-Along. It takes him a little while to shake it off and go to work, and then it's still an incredibly long day.
Dean can't stop thinking about Old Cas. Immortal and removed. Zipping off without warning. Standing too close because he didn't understand that he shouldn't, not because Dean's personal space just was his personal space.
It's kind of terrible to think about up against his Cas with his stupid hair and his warm smiles that crinkle his eyes. The way he talks seriously to the dog and plays hide and seek with Sophie and scolds Dean for forgetting to take out the trash. It's a picture of Cas before he loved Dean and it's screwing with Dean's head, on top of the existing emotional hangover from the sudden resurgence of the want-to-be-a-Dad feelings from last night.
By lunch it's all just starting to get to him. He takes his sandwich out to a visitor garden and calls Cas.
"Hey. What's going on?"
"Oh, just…" Dean starts and realizes that his only real reason for calling is to hear Cas's voice and he can't think of a non-girly way to admit it. "It's been a weird morning. I wanted to talk to you."
"You noticed the date, didn't you?"
"Yeah. It's not helping."
He tells Cas about the picture. Cas seems surprised but not upset.
"You're not worried about this?" Dean demands. "I mean, where could she have possibly seen a picture of you like that?"
"There aren't any. Maybe she's just psychic."
This is exactly the conclusion that Dean's been trying to avoid. "And that doesn't freak you out?"
"Psychic humans are a natural occurrence," Cas says, and Dean can picture the way that he's shrugging. His shoulders moving entirely independent of his head, a natural move that he'd never quite been able to make look natural.
"What about the whole boy-with-the-demon blood thing?" Dean asks, glancing around to make sure no one's around to overhear him.
"That's not genetic," Cas says. "Dean I'm sure that has nothing to do with it. Azazel's dead. Sam's visions stopped with his death so it makes sense that the magic is done with. And if he could have marked a child with genetic heritage, why would he have made deals instead of just overpowered the mothers and force-fed them blood?"
"You know, those are exactly the sorts of things that I love almost never needing to think about anymore."
"I'm going to pick Sophie up in an hour. Do you want me to try to talk to her about it?"
"And ask her what? 'Sweetie, are you having visions of Uncle Cas going back to Heaven?'"
There's a long pause. Dean drops his forehead into his hand.
"Dean," Cas starts softly. "There's no proof that she has visions. All we have proof of is that she might be able to pick up images from people's minds. That's a very common trait for psychics."
Dean digests that. "Wait… do you still think of yourself like that?"
"An Angel. The coat, the suit. Your wings? Do you… have you been thinking about that while Sophie's been staying with us?" Dean keeps his voice level, but he sounds weirdly demanding in his head.
"Yes," Cas replies matter of factly. "A little. I mean, with the anniversary of the apocalypse coming up. It's crossed my mind how much things have changed." He sighs and Dean can hear the wistfulness as Cas continues, "I miss my wings sometimes."
"I'm sorry," Dean responds.
"It's not important," Cas says. "I'll see you tonight. Chelsea and Sam said they'd be back in time for dinner. Try not to worry unduly."
"Yeah. I'll try. I love you."
"Love you too."
He feels a little bit better after that, even though the rest of his day is crap. He loves this job, but the reminder last night that he's going to have to borrow all of his experiences with kids from Sam and Chelsea, the shock this morning that Sophie might not be as typical or as safe as they were hoping and now being forced to think about the apocalypse and Cas as he was is a little too much to take on top of the very small body he winds up wheeling down to the morgue before his second break.
He's relieved to walk in his own door to the smell of enchiladas and the sound of Cas and Sophie talking. Sophie's drawing at the kitchen table while Cas does dishes, but it's just a bunch of harmless pictures of Dodger.
Cas hands him an O'Doules. He must have made a special trip to the grocery store after he picked up Sophie. Dean wraps his arms around Cas's waist and kisses behind his ear.
"Bad day," Dean replies. He hugs Cas little tighter. "Glad we'll have the house to ourselves tonight."
Cas chuckles, turns in Dean's arms and gives him a real kiss. "So, where's this picture we're supposed to put up on the fridge?"
Dean runs back out to the car for it. It seems to bring Cas up a little short when he sees it. He brushes his fingertips along the top of his crayon wings with something that Dean imagines is longing. Sophie watches him with a smile.
"You're very pretty," she announces.
Cas nods and swallows hard before sitting down in one of the kitchen chairs and pulling Sophie into his lap. "When did you see the wings?" he asks gently.
"I don't know," Sophie says. "Sometimes I can see them. I don't like your coat."
Cas closes his eyes and sets his chin lightly on her head. "Can you see them now?"
Sophie touches his face, then nods. "I can see 'um like this. Can I go play with Dodger?"
"Yes." Cas kisses the top of her head and lets her wriggle down to the floor.
"I think she's just picking it up out of our heads," Cas says. "It's very common for people in the bloodlines of vessels to have abnormal sensitivities."
"And we've never noticed? Sam has never noticed?"
"She's four, Dean," Cas says. "It's not like we were expecting this. Why would we have been watching for it?"
"Sammy is going to blow a gasket," Dean declares.
"Well, then we'll have to calm him down."
They're halfway through dinner when Sophie perks up with a cry of "Mommy!" and runs to the door just before Sam and Chelsea walk in.
They get herded into the kitchen by Sophie and Dodger and Dean dishes them up. Sophie crawls into Sam's lap and Cas asks about their trip. Dean's not really listening, he's waiting for a way to get Sophie out of the room so he can tell Sam and Chelsea about his and Cas's theory. The conversation's winding down and Dean can sense an opening coming up when Sam and Chelsea turn to each other and smile.
"And… um… we've got news."
Dean doesn't have to be psychic. He can read the smile and he's ready for it when Chelsea grins from ear to ear and Sam announces. "We're having another baby!"
Sophie cheers. Sam and Chelsea start telling her how great it's going to be to be a big sister. They send her up to put together their suitcase while they talk to Dean and Cas.
"So… what's going on with you two?" Sam asks. "You're not quite working up the excitement we were hoping for."
"We're very excited," Cas says. "But there is something that Dean and I have to tell you."
Dean grabs Sophie's drawing off the counter and sets it in front of his brother and sister-in-law.
"Holy shit," Sam manages.
"Yeah," Dean agrees.
"I'm missing something," Chelsea says.
"They've been drawing their families in preschool," Dean says. He starts to point out each of them. "Here's you. Here's Chelsea, me and Dodger."
"And that's Castiel, from, shit, six years ago," Sam says.
"Six years ago today," Dean says quietly.
"Oh," Chelsea says. "So… where did she… maybe a picture or."
"No. There are no pictures," Cas says."
Chelsea stares at the picture, digesting for a moment. "Is it weird that the suit seems freakier than the wings?" She finally asks.
"What does this mean?" Sam demands.
Cas spreads his arms out pacifyingly and explains his psychic theory. Sam does blow a gasket. Chelsea barks at him to quiet down before Sophie hears and Cas does his best to assure Sam that it can't possibly have anything to do with Azazel or Lucifer, he knows that she's not a prophet, and it's very common for psychics and mediums to pop up in the bloodlines of vessels.
Sophie can tell that everyone is upset when she and Dodger come downstairs, which (probably unfairly) makes Sam freak out even more. He, Chelsea, and Sophie hustle out of the house. Dodger sits at the front door after they leave and whines for a few moments. Cas patches the hole in his world with a treat and Dean pulls Cas down onto the couch with him, then into a kiss, then on top of him.
"Well, today was a rollercoaster," as says, scratching lightly at Dean's scalp.
Dean leans back into the touch. "I wish I meant this in a sexier way, but I really need you right now."
"Everything is fine," Cas says, not quite a sing-song, but close.
"It's not the psychic thing," Dean says, starting to pull Cas's tucked in shirt out of his jeans. "It's kind of everything."
"Should we talk first or have sex first?" Cas asks.
Dean pulls him down into another kiss for an answer. They're both hard and half dressed by the time Cas starts to kiss down Dean's stomach. Dean grabs his shoulder. "Hey… could we…"
"Could we actually go all out tonight?" Dean asks.
They've had what Dean begrudgingly thinks of as "traditional sex" a handful of times in the last few years. It had been nearly two years by the time Cas had asked to try it, and it hadn't been anything special. Cas hadn't liked it. Dean had gotten off pretty hard, but didn't like how far away he felt. They'd given it another couple tries, mostly because Dean was determined to get Cas off while he was inside him, and even when he'd managed it, Cas had opined that it was a little to much work to really be worth it.
Dean had worked up enough indifferent to machismo to let Cas top him exactly once and it was still one of their biggest disasters as a couple. Years of battle and then post-battle surgery with whatever was handy had left Dean's body pretty ravaged. Back in nursing school he'd offered up several examples of what happened when a wound was not seen to by a professional. Cas had carefully opened him, and Dean had been warm and turned on and ready, but Cas had hitched his legs up and something had clicked, popped and then felt like it was ripping. It had hurt like Helland Dean had barely been exaggerating. The entire cost of his nursing degree had been justified to Dean when he'd been able to un-fuck-up his own leg and not have to go to the doctor with sex related injuries.
And that, in and of itself had been pretty bad, but then when he'd convinced Cas that he was still up for it, and that he could do it if he laid on his stomach he'd made the mistake of using the phrase"and I owe you one, I've done it to you a few times."
They'd gotten into a huge fight about how Cas hated it when Dean treated sex like currency, he didn't let Dean inside him out of a sense of obligation, he didn't find it arousing to do anything that Dean didn't actually want to do and it he didn't want to have sex when Dean was in pain. It had culminated in Cas yelling "I don't want to make love to the back of your head!" and storming off to sleep in the spare room.
But tonight Dean doesn't want to take turns, and just rutting isn't enough. He wants to feel buried in Cas, wants to feel Cas human and his underneath him.
Cas looks slightly concerned for a second, like he thinks he might have totally misjudged Dean's mood, but he nods and Dean pulls him back up into a kiss, rocking up into his body steadily until Cas pulls away with a gasp and starts tugging Dean upstairs.
Cas walks Dean backward to their bed, and slips him out of the rest of his clothes before pushing him down onto the mattress. He discards his own clothes efficiently and settles down on top of Dean, threading his fingers into Dean's hair and pulling him into a kiss. Dean fishes the lube bottle out of the nightstand by feel, squirts some in his palm. Cas lifts his body up so Dean can slick their cocks up and they slide together as Dean slicks his fingers again and starts working to Cas. The angle is awkward, but it's worth it when Cas drops out of the kiss, presses his face to Dean's neck and starts breathing heavily into Dean's ear. He waits until Cas is starting to work back on his hand before turning him over.
Cas is flushed red under the smattering of dark hair down his chest and stomach. He cheeks are glowing and his eyes are heavy. Dean strokes him languorously. There's no hurry. They've got no obligations, no world to save, no monsters to chase. They do have Sam about to go nuts with worry, a niece who can either read their thoughts or pierce the veil, and another niece or nephew on the way, but that's all far away from here. Dean sinks into the thought that the world is off his shoulders like a pair of worn slippers. His only immediate responsibility is making Cas feel good.
He kisses down Cas's stomach, taking his flush cock into his mouth despite the slightly medicinal taste of the cherry flavored lube Cas had bought. Cas groans and Dean smiles at the way he can see Cas's hands knot in the sheets while Dean works him a little further open, sucking slowly.
He carefully extracts his fingers when Cas's legs start kicking out, slicks his cock generously, and wipes his hand on the sheets, making a mental note to do the laundry tomorrow. He lines himself up and starts working into Cas's body in slow slides. Cas's head drops back with a moan and Dean strokes him while he works in, trying to keep him hard.
He holds his hips still once he bottoms out, letting Cas breath as he eases his lovers's legs backwards and sinks down as low as he can. Cas leans up just enough so that their lips meet. Dean can feel Cas's legs inching around his waist, the hard muscles, the coarse hair. He pulls the pillow under Cas's head down lower so Cas doesn't have to strain up to kiss him.
Dean holds out as long as he can, breathing through the feeling of Cas clenching cautiously around his cock, and adjust his legs around Dean's waist. He's just about to ask Cas if he's ready when Cas nods against his forehead.
The build up is the best part of doing it like this. The foreplay, working in slow, waiting, starting slow. If Dean's being honest, his favorite thing they do together is when they just rub together, kissing and pressed into each other everywhere. Cas prefers oral, and while the ex-angel doesn't seem to have any actual kinks, he has developed a delight in surprise blowjobs. Dean has woken up to Cas's mouth around him more than once, and every once in a while he'll drop onto the couch after work and Cas will come over, kiss him, and settle between his knees before Dean even has his shoes off.
Dean likes to keep up with him. He likes to catch Cas while he's doing the dishes. Turn him around and have his jeans down before Cas even has time to get his hands in Dean's hair. Surprising Cas in the shower is always fun too. It's easy, it's always amazing and it's something they can do with no prep, no mess, in every room of the house, sometimes several times in a day.
But Dean just needs this right now. Cas's sweaty forehead against his, breath hot on his face, tight around him in every way as he rocks into him.
It was just a picture. It was just colored wax on paper. And he's though about Cas from the old days a thousand times. And he remembers him fondly.
Someone else seeing him like that. Potentially psychic little Sophie having visions of Castiel- Angel of Thursday had shaken him. That Castiel had been inhuman and removed and able to disappear mid sentence. He had grander concerns than where Sophie's coloring books were, or whether Dodger was low on food. The idea of Cas being an Angel again is terrifying. The idea of Cas before he loved Dean is terrifying.
Cas's fingers dig hard into Dean's arms as Dean starts pumping deeper, hovering at the edge between making love to Cas and fucking him. Cas' head rocks back with a breathless "Oh, Dean."
Dean tries to hold back but can't. He buries himself deep inside Cas and comes hard. It's a moment before he catches his breath. He pulls out, finishes Cas off in his mouth and, spent, drops his forehead down to Cas's thigh.
Cas's fingers trace through his sweat sopped hair and Dean has no idea how long he lays there before Cas shifts underneath him.
"I need to shower."
Dean sighs and wraps his arm around Cas's other thigh. "No. Don't go."
Cas laughs. "Come with me."
Sam watches Sophie play with her legos and tries to be calm and logical.
There is nothing Demon inspired going on. Unlike his parents, he and Chelsea are aware of what's really out there, and aren't trying to pretend that just because they don't hunt, doesn't mean that can't be hunted.
"Come play with me, Daddy," Sophie says. Sam shakes himself. He's sitting on that line he can feel in his head sometimes. Where if he doesn't watch himself, he'll become John. It's not a thought he needs with Chelsea two months pregnant with his second child, or when his four year old might be able to hear what he's thinking. He shakes himself and moves down to the floor with her.
"What are we making?"
"Captain needs a house. And a dog. He needs a place for the fire and marshmallows."
"Like at Uncle Cas and Uncle Dean's. We cooked marshmallows in the fire in the living room."
Sam smiles and starts building a wall for Captain Hops-Along's house.
"Did you have fun with your uncles?"
"Uh huh. We made marshmallows and Dodger licked my nose and Uncle Cas let me bury flower seeds in his garden."
"That sounds fun."
"Uh huh. Dodger's breath is yucky."
Sam carefully prods at Sophie's long weekend with Cas and Dean. It doesn't yield much. Captain Hops-Along is afraid of Dean and Cas's basement. Dodger is afraid of storms and Sophie thinks that sometimes Dean is sad when he holds her. Chelsea overhears his gentle interrogation and gets mad at him. She drags him upstairs for a bit of a squabble before she makes him agree not to pick at this. Sam says he'll agree not to pester Sophie about it, but refuses to ignore it.
"Look, I just… I can't let this sit, Chels," Sam tells her. "I can't. I can't… I can't let my kids get sucked into hunting. I can't let this happen."
"She's not going to be a hunter," Cheslea tells him. She sets her hand at his arm like she was going to soothe him, but grips him tight instead. "There are a lot of things that could be happening here and I'm not letting you treat your daughter like a case. We are going to act like everything is normal."
"Cheslea!" Sam starts, but she cuts him off.
"We are going to act like everything is normal. We are going to call Bobby, and ask him what he thinks we should do. He knows a ton of psychics and they're all just fucking fine."
Sam doesn't respond that Pamela isn't. Chelsea read the stupid books. She knows what happened to Pamela.
"And then we'll call Chuck, and see if he knows what's going on, and if we have to we'll start praying to Gabriel."
"I don't want Gabriel anywhere near her," Sam replies.
"Fine. We'll cross that bridge if we even get to it. You go call Bobby, I'm going to go get Sophie in the bathtub."
Sam gets himself a beer out of the fridge and calls Bobby. Bobby seems utterly unperturbed after Sam tells him that Cas is sure it has nothing to do with Azazel. Sam's not sure if he's annoyed or relieved that Bobby is taking this so well. The call ends with Bobby telling him not to worry, and promising to hit his old psychic network and ask a couple questions.