Wait and See

Dean Still Thinks of Cas As Fragile

Dean still thinks of Cas as fragile and simple. He tries to remind himself that up until this year Castiel was an immortal, all seeing warrior of God that got beat up just as badly as anyone else did, but he tends to mentally default to an image of Cas clutching a beer in a whorehouse and looking terrified.

He feels younger and more fragile as a human and Dean has to keep reminding himself that Cas, for lack of a better term, is growing up. He does a better job remembering this than Chelsea, who still molly coddles him. She braids his hair and hugs him like a little girl hugs a dog, arms thrown around the neck. Bobby treats him like he's broken.

But all three of them are shocked when, while researching a truly weird case in Ohio that turns out to be a sort of singing curse mania, Cas, in his blanket, with his hair braided and drinking the broth out of his bowl of soup like it's a giant cup, reaches out absentmindedly and grabs the FBI phone as it rings.

"McTavish." He nods along for a moment then sneers, "You think I don't know who I put on this case? Donnelly's one of my best agents. If he says those bodies need to be exhumed, you hand him a damn shovel," and hangs up. Bobby's staring. Chelsea's jaw has dropped. Dean is mostly trying to imagine Cas, the hair, the blanket the whole nine, actually out on a case.

Cas dispassionately flips to the next page in his book and picks his soup bowl back up. Bobby shrugs and goes back to his own book. Chelsea rubs her hand over his back a few times before going back to hers.

Dean looks down, more at his juice glass than his book, thinking.


Dean expands the scope of his research. He's looking for Sam on Earth and in Hell now. He goes through the obits, the arrest records and even the engagement announcements everyday looking for Sam or the couple of aliases they use when they get split up. He sets up a Google alert linked to his phone.

He gets… a little reckless. It's part exhaustion, part hopelessness, just a little bit relief. Cas can take care of himself, take care of business if Dean's gone for a few hours. Dean's even gotten one of the junkers in the yard running and started teaching Cas to drive. He doesn't go over 20 miles an hour, the plates are discards and the registration is forged under the name "Horton Hornswagle" but it moves. Cas takes it down the back roads to the grocery store (unless there has been any kind of weather).

Just one of those things being true would be enough for Dean to start thinking about making some bad decisions.

All of them together… he can feel himself thinking these things and keeps fighting to remember that just because if Dean took off to go hunting for Sam, Chelsea or Bobby would take care of Cas, that Cas is to a point of becoming human now where he could survive without Dean, doesn't mean that he'd be okay with out Dean. They've built this family together that Dean doesn't quite know how to explain to himself.

And he promised Cas he wouldn't.


One day at work the google alert on Dean's phone goes absolutely ape-shit. He ducks into the bathroom to check it, not even bothering to wash up first and smearing grease across the screen.

Heart racing, he reads through the first five before he realizes what's going on and nearly throws the damn thing against the wall.

Apparently, a bunch of kids who spent too much time on their computers had set up some… internet thing so that all of the Twilight web traffic got redirected to an… under appreciated… book series that had miraculously come into the funding to start publishing again. Just in time to reveal it's main character's last names and get one of them mysteriously back from Hell.

So now he's got a tattoo and a hand shaped burn (which he covers up all the time anyway, because there is no possible explanation for it) that make him look like a nerd. His "Sam Winchester" google alert is sending him all sorts of things that he doesn't need to ever see, and it's useless for actually finding Sam.

Dean dials Chuck's phone number as he walks out to the field behind the garage where he won't be over heard.

"Hello, You have reached the voicemail of," a brisk female voice started followed by a "Chuck Sh… oh crap" then back to the robotic woman "cannot take your call now. Please leave a message after the beep."

Dean leaves a message that he even admits is just an off the cuff list of ways he's thinking of ganking Chuck then hangs up with a promise to call back when he thinks of more.

That burning anger that his misery is back up for public consumption pushes him toward the edge. A couple snobby bitches who don't realize that their oh-so-impressive German cars were actually built in Mexico push him over. He buys a bottle of whiskey on the way home and by the time Chelsea and Cas get home from her (finally successful) trip to get Cas to trim his hair and then a detour to the bookstore on their way home, Dean is more than halfway through it. He pours some for Cas, who knows that Dean is drunk, and then a shot for Chelsea who seems to think she needs to stay and take care of them. She takes a second shot, decides that she doesn't want to drive in the snow after two and goes upstairs, dropping into the bed in Bobby's old room, where she sleeps if she's there late working on a case.

The hangover Dean has in the morning makes the list of his top ten worst hangovers of all time. He hasn't drunk more than a whiskey chaser with a beer in months. Cas keeps wine and beer and in the house and Dean hasn't really bothered to go out and get anything else.

Cas finds him hunched over the toilet, sweating like a pig and hurling like a champ. Cas gets mad when he realizes that it's not the flu, but he still calls into work for Dean and brings him juice.

A team of hunters in Oregon call to tell them about a strange amount of Demonic omens just over the border in Minnesota. It's a little closer to home than the stuff they've been dealing with and Cas goes into a sudden, complete panic, about possession. Now that Cas is no longer the thing that is occupying a body, but the body itself, he could be possessed. Dean digs an anti-possession out of Bobby's desk for him, Cas puts it around his neck immediately. He fishes out the second one.

"We need to give this to Chelsea," he says.

"Yeah, man," Dean grabs Cas's hand, clenched around the charm. "We will."

"No… we… we should go now. She's not protected!" Cas insists. Dean can't talk him out of it. Chelsea doesn't answer when they call. Cas calls her over and over again until she does answer, understandably scared.

She's out on a dinner date.

Dean's not sure why that seems weird. She's not his girlfriend. She still kisses him on the cheek a lot, but just as much as she kisses Cas. He hasn't taken her out in… four months? She eats dinner with them all the time and sleeps over if they're researching too late at night. She and Cas make breakfast sometimes. But it does still seem weird. They segued from a state of dating to a state of non-dating easily, without sex or fighting, and Dean's not sure how it happened.

Cas gets a little garbled and excitable, Dean takes the phone away from him and tells Chelsea that they'll meet her outside so they don't ruin her date and to just tell the guy that she forgot something and a friend is dropping it off.

Dean splashes a little holy water on her when they get to the restaurant anyway. She passes the test.

"He a nice guy?" Dean asks as he fixes the necklace around Chelsea's neck.

"I think so."

"Good. He tries to pull anything, you know we'll kill him." Dean smirks and kisses her on the cheek.

It's strange to be part of an actual team.

He and Cas go home and research. Cas obsessively touches the charm around his neck for the next two hours until Dean just can't take it.

"Cas? Stop that. You aren't going to get possessed in Bobby's house. There are devil's traps under all of the rugs and salt under all the doors. You're safe in here."

"It's just…" Cas shudders. "It's just the worst thing I can think of. The worst."

Dean knocks his knee against Cas's. "Hey… if you're that worried about it, do you want to just tattoo it on?"

Cas looks intrigued. "How does a tattoo work?"

"They push ink under your skin with needles. It doesn't really hurt that much." Dean unbuttons his shirt and pulls it aside so that Cas can see. He's a little surprised when Cas reaches out and runs his fingers over it lightly.

"You can feel where the ink is, a little bit," Cas comments. "Under your skin."

He seems to be thinking pretty seriously about the idea. He runs his fingers over the ink again, tracing his fingertip around the edges.

"Cas? Whatchya thinking?"

Something about the way that Cas looks up at him his guilty and Dean doesn't understand why. Cas stops moving his fingers, Dean grabs his hand in his, noting distantly how comfortable that has become and just how limited his ability to deny Cas comfort (or undermine what Chelsea sets as a standard of normal) really is.

"It's strange to think about purposefully scarring my skin."

"Well. You can't lose it and it works."

"Yes." Cas's forehead scrunches. "This would cost money."

"Don't worry about it. We've got it." He's got savings for the only time in his life. Protecting Cas is a completely reasonable thing to bite into them for.

"How much money?"

"Don't worry about it."

Cas purses his lips. Now he's annoyed. "I have two hundred seventy five dollars and fifty eight cents. Would I be able to purchase this?"

"How did you get money?"

"Chelsea pays me to clean the hotel room sometimes when the other maids are ill or off."

"Oh," Dean says finally. "Why didn't you tell me that?"

Cas shrugs. "It's very dull work."

Dean takes Cas into town in the morning. There are four tattoo parlors in Sioux Falls and one of them has an open appointment. It's a two hour wait. They drop into chairs and listen to the buzzing in the other room. Cas has a paperback that Chelsea lent him that seems to be pretty engrossing. Dean has a book of Hell lore with a relatively plain cover.

Dean watches while Cas shows the artist the charm and explains what he wants. It's still strange to see Cas interact with people outside of himself, Chelsea and Bobby. He's gotten pretty good at normal and he gets asked where he's from now more often than Dean quietly gets asked what's wrong with him, but it's something he turns on and off. He's admitted that he finds it draining and so he doesn't bother to pretend with the three of them.

Dean's surprised when it takes almost three hours for Cas's tattoo to be done. He and Sam just got the ink in and got out. But when Dean ducks back to check on Cas he sees why. It's Cas's tattoo, it's Cas's money, Dean found a crazy long search history about tattoos and he knows that Cas doesn't like black so he isn't surprised that Cas's tattoo is a little different. It's dark blue, with the edges of the flames in a lighter blue so that they look like waves in the water, little beads of the former angel's blood blossoming up between them as the artist works. There's also a little line of enochian symbols down one side, also in shades of blue.

Dean asks what they mean after they get home. Cas shrugs and looks up out the the window at the sky before answering, "It seemed prudent to be protected against both sides. Since I stand in the middle."

There's nothing out of the ordinary about the rest of the day, so Dean's not sure why he's so antsy by the evening, but he is. Cas spent the afternoon absorbed in his book. Dean called and threatened Chuck's voicemail again. Cas fell asleep on the couch.

He needs some air.

He leaves Cas a note and goes to the bar, vaguely interested in a couple hands of poker.

There's a woman in the parking lot when he pulls up that makes him reconsider. He realizes, with something like horror, that he hasn't slept with a girl since Anna.

Over a year ago. What is wrong with him?

He sees her eyes rake over the car and when he gets out he smiles at her. She offers him a cigarette and he accepts. He doesn't usually like to smoke, but it's a good excuse to talk to people.

Her name is Santia. She pronounces it very dramatically and laughs when Dean repeats her with a cheeky grin. She's already touching his arm.

She dropped out of nursing school. She thinks the fact that he's a mechanic is sexy.

She asks about the car. He tells her it was his dad's. She asks if they can go for a ride. They get in. She gives directions. It starts to snow slightly. Dean's not surprised when they wind up in a well concealed dead end. Santia gives him a look and slinks out the passenger side door and drops into the back seat. Dean leaves the engine running, cranks the heat up so high that the legos in the register rattle and follows her.

He's just a little bit worried she might go monster on him, but he's not entirely out of practice yet and he's got a gun and a silver knife in the glove compartment.

Dean is very aware that this is where he had sex last too. With Anna, who was brave and about to die and had forgiven him for things that were unforgivable while she kissed him and stroked her palms over his arms.

Santia is tugging open the buttons of his shirt now. She makes a noise like a purr when she sees the tattoo and runs her tongue over it. Dean wonders what he's getting himself into.

She brings her face up to his, but moves when he tries to kiss him, running her talc soft cheek across his, her lip gloss making her lips stick against his ear as she whispers filthy things to him and tugs his jeans open.

She's wearing perfume… it's heavy and sharp. Almost venomous. Dean lets his head drop back against the seat. He tries to catch her lips again when she moves, but she drops to his neck, nibbling along a tendon.

She pulls his cock out and strokes him hard. It doesn't take much. It's been so long. Her hands are soft and strong, she's good at this and his body is desperate for it.

She thumbs over his slit, with a hum of approval when he's already just a little wet there, then sinks down to the impala floor and takes him into her mouth.

From a technical standpoint- like if he were awarding points in the blowjob Olympics, this would be the absolute best blowjob of his life. Tens across the board even from the eastern block judges. Her tongue is amazing, the word nimble springs to the part of his mind that's still thinking, her mouth is perfect. He's already ratcheted so high that only strength of character keeps him from exploding down her throat the first time she swallows around him.

But he's not enjoying this at all.

It's… girly and embarrassing and he would never admit this to anyone, but he doesn't like "hook ups". He doesn't mind one-night stands, but there is a difference. He doesn't like sticking his cock into whoever is passing by. He likes to have spoken to a girl, know something about her. Maybe have saved her life. He likes to run his hands through her hair, over her skin. Kissing. Eye contact. He likes to feel like she knows he's getting her off, and maybe, even if it is just for the night, that she likes him, and he's glad she's there.

He sort of feels like Santia saw him pull up and thought to herself that she had better suck his cock before her perfect technique got rusty.

His mind fighting his body keeps him from coming, but doesn't affect how hard he is. Santia's breathing heavy from the effort now, but just keeps sucking him.

He doesn't like this. He can't see her, folded up on the floor between his legs. He tries to stroke her hair, but it's styled with something that catches in his hands and she pulls his hand away and pins them to the seat.

Dean's about 70% sure that this was an installment of Casa Erotica.

She ups the tempo, the suction, the tongue action and he can't help it anymore. He comes hard. She swallows and then she's climbing into his lap, her pants already pulled down.

He presses two fingers inside her. Tries to kiss her again. She leans back, mewling and moaning and putting on a show. When he touches her clit it's pierced. He gets her off, she grabs his hand and sucks his fingers clean.

He wishes he'd stayed home.

And now the awkward part. How does he take her back to the bar?

His phone rings, solving the issue. He answers it.

"Dean, are you okay?" Cas asks. It's his 'trying to be reasonable when I don't want to' voice. He uses it when he knows he's asking for something that he shouldn't be asking for.

"Yeah. I'm okay. I'm just out for a drive. Needed some air. Went to the bar."

"Alright. It's snowing."

"Cas. I'm fine."

"I know. I just… I can't drive in the snow. If you drink too much at the bar I can't come get you. You're making me very nervous."

"Cas. I'm not drinking. I'm okay. It's barely snowing. I'm coming home."

"Okay. I mean… you don't need to. If you need air."

"Will it make you nervous if I don't though?"

"…yes."

"Kay. I'll be home in half an hour." He pulls up his pants and shoves the phone in the pocket.

"Girlfriend?" Santia asks.

"No," Dean replies, offended. He's never had a girlfriend, but he likes to think he's the kind of guy who would be faithful if he did.

"Wife?"

"No!" Dean gives her the traumatized army buddy story. She seems unmoved. This bothers him. He could pretend that he doesn't want women to look at him like he's a hero, but it's a transparent lie.

"Good," Santia smiles. "Cause this is a great cock and I'd love to take it for a ride sometime."

Dean's not sure how to reply to that. He goes for awkward smile.

He takes her back to the bar. She still doesn't kiss him. He goes home.

Cas is sitting on the counter when Dean gets home, blanket around his waist, shirt unbuttoned, tugging at the plastic and bandaging on his chest with the tube of tattoo cream they gave them at the shop sitting on his lap.

"Hello, Dean."

"How ya feeling?"

"Fine," Cas replies. "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have asked you to come home."

"It's fine," Dean shrugs. "I was all aired out." Dean drops down into a kitchen chair and pulls over a book from the pile of Hell lore.

"Dean?"

"Yeah?"

"I'm worried about you."

Dean's heard that a couple times since Bobby came back. From Bobby, from Chelsea, from Tom at work.

It sounds different from Castiel. Especially when he keeps going. "You've been tired and obsessive and moody and withdrawn since you started to believe that Sam might be back."

"Wow, Cas. Covered everything?"

"Grouchy."

Dean hates it when Cas tries to be snarky. He doesn't answer. Cas goes back to his bandage.

"Cas. I'm fine."

"Going through the obituaries twice a day is not fine."

"He's my brother, Cas. He might be wandering around thinking that we're all dead. He could be anywhere. I can't… Cas… I can't just…"

"Wait and see?" Cas asks.

Dean huffs. "Don't make me hit you."

Cas deflates. Dean feels bad. The more normal Cas gets the more Dean thinks he can treat him like he's just one of the other guys and it doesn't always work.

"I'm sorry. I didn't mean that." He stands up and goes over to the counter. He pushes Cas's shirt back off his shoulders. "Here. I'll do it."

Cas drops his hands down to the counter, Dean takes the edges of the bandage in hand. He decides not to yank it off at the last minute. Cas has made it vehemently clear that he does not appreciate the "not really on three" trick.

Dean peels it off slowly, even though that makes it hurt more. Cas makes a face.

"Looks good." He tosses the bandage in the trash, picks up the cream off Cas's lap and pours a little on his fingers. He's already got it spread over half the tattoo before he realizes what he' doing. And then there's nothing for it but to keep going.

It seems like Cas is thinking the same thing. "Dean, it scares me that you are doing exactly what you always do." Cas leans forward, hugging Dean suddenly. Dean sighs but lets him. "You hurt yourself when you're obsessing about Sam. You went to Hell for him and I had to pull you out."

Dean gulps, remembering the nightmares that Cas wakes up from about that. He settles his arms around Cas's shoulders and Cas keeps going. "You hurt the people around you. You…screw things up. Please don't screw things up."

Dean, for the millionth time this week, doesn't know how to reply. So he just sits and waits for Cas to stop hugging him.

Cas doesn't. He just sighs, "You smell bad." But he doesn't let go.

Dean doesn't let go either.



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