There was something peaceful about being married to Dean. Something that Castiel found himself embracing, though he wasn’t altogether sure why he felt that compulsion. But it was something that he knew he had to keep hold of, and make precious. Maybe that was the secret to their marriage, that they didn’t take each other for granted, that they still acted as though they were in the first flushes of love.
For instance, Castiel had spent some time that morning with his head in a book, reading about a world outside of his own, fully absorbed in the flow of language and the nuance of the ideas that separated one notion from another by mere words. He loved reading. At some point - he had lost track of time - Dean approached, and began wriggling under Castiel’s arm, getting comfortable on the sofa, snuggling up to Castiel, all while Castiel tried to read a fairly exciting scene.
‘Dean, sometimes, you remind me of a cat.’
‘Nah, apparently cats lick themselves clean in front of you, then show you their butts.’
‘Hmmm, like I said. Just like a cat.’
Dean made a grab for the book.
‘Oh, come on, Cas! Pay attention to me, not that dusty old thing!’
‘Wait, was that pay attention to you, or not pay attention to you?’
It took a moment for the intended insult to sink in.
‘If I’m dusty and old, it’s because I’ve been waiting so long for your attention.’
Castiel shook his head, and made himself continue reading, as Dean began tracing a finger along his arm, and up into his hair. He read the same sentence, three times.
‘I’m trying to read.’
‘I’m trying to be adorable.’
‘You are adorable. Now quit distracting me.’
Castiel wasn’t annoyed at all, though his tone suggested otherwise. He was hoping that Dean would become creative in trying to get his attention. He wasn’t able to follow the book’s narrative any more.
‘Read to me,’ Dean whispered, now running his hands up the back of Castiel’s shirt. ‘If you’re going to insist on reading, then read to me. Then I get to hear that sexy voice of yours and you get to read the book.’
‘It’ll be beyond you. It’s not about cars.’
‘Yeah, I won’t be listening to the words,’ Dean cuddled closer, his head in the way of the book. ‘I’ll be listening to you. And I might get it. I’m not a total motorhead.’
‘I know that. But you need to read the whole thing, otherwise it’s just weird.’
‘I can handle weird. I’m with you, remember?’
Castiel sighed, and gave up with the book completely, dropping it gently onto the coffee table, and wrapping his arms around Dean, and kissing his forehead.
‘Okay, okay, you win.’
‘No, pick the book back up! I meant it,’ Dean squirmed around, lacing their legs together, nuzzling down until his head rested just under Castiel’s chin. ‘I don’t care about the story, I just want to listen to you.’
‘I don’t need the book for that, do I?’
‘Fine. Just talk at me.’
Castiel laughed to himself, and squeezed Dean even closer, nuzzling against his hair.
‘What do you want me to talk about?’
‘Anything. The words aren’t the point.’
Castiel smiled, and then found himself making up a story, about Dean being a hero, fighting off all kinds of monsters and nightmares, how Sam was his sidekick, helping him to right the wrongs out in the world. He was just getting to the part when Dean would discover the man of his dreams when his husband made a snuffling sound. He leaned back slightly, and saw that he had fallen asleep. Castiel held him close again, and reached over for the book, finally able to concentrate on the words.
Castiel once again lost track of time, until Dean stirred in his arms, stretching and accidentally knocking the book out of his hands. He looked around with blurred eyes.
‘Hmmm? Oh, sorry baby.’
‘It’s okay. I didn’t want to disturb you. You wanna do something?’
Dean laughed, and ran his hands slowly along Castiel’s back, until he was playing with the wasitband of his pants.
‘Is your name “something” now?’
Castiel groaned, flopping back against the sofa cushions with a hand held dramatically to his forehead.
‘I think I make progress with you, I think I’ve managed to tame you, and then you go and make jokes like that.’
‘And you let it go, because you’re like “its Dean, and I love him” and you actually think it’s a cute little quirk.’
‘God help me, I do,’ Castiel sighed. Dean laughed, and kissed his collarbone. ‘Dean, don’t you think it’s a little early?’
‘Mmmmm, no. Too early is while you’re still asleep.’
Castiel sighed, and worked to detangle himself from Dean, who started grabbing at him, tickling him, wrestling him to the ground.
‘Dean, Dean, No! No, stop it!’ He found himself yelling, as they ended up on the floor, Dean straddling him and tickling him mercilessly.
‘Like I’d just let you go.’
‘You’re being such a child!’ Castiel gasped out.
‘And you’re being an old man.’
‘Okay, Dean, stop it. Stop, stop, STOP!’
They were both panting as Dean took his hands off Castiel’s body, and held them just above his chest.
‘Okay, compromise,’ Dean suggested. ‘We go have sex.’
‘How’s that a compromise?’ Castiel raised an eyebrow.
‘Because that way, I get sex, and you get to avoid being tickled, because I’d be getting sex.’
‘Doesn’t seem like I’d win anything in this compromise.’
‘You get to have sex with me. Everyone wins that way.’
Castiel groaned, and tried to flip Dean off of his body.
‘Like you don’t want to make love to me.’
‘I’m not going to win, am I?’ Castiel groaned. ‘Fine, I’ll just get some stuff from upstairs, okay?’
‘What’re you planning?’ Dean grinned back, his expression smug now that Castiel was conceding.
‘Apart from how to get back at you?’ Castiel smirked. ‘Sex in the yard.’
Dean turned his head to look through the window at their back yard.
‘It’s a little exposed.’
‘Good. Everyone can see that great ass of yours before I claim it. Again.’
Dean laughed, and bent down to kiss Castiel.
‘No, no, I have to get some stuff.’
‘Bet it’s cold out.’ Dean purred.
‘So?’ Castiel challenged him. ‘Are you a wuss?’
‘That’s fighting talk, Cas.’ Dean began tickling him again, and Castiel couldn’t help rolling on the floor, laughing.
‘Stop it! Dean!’ He shrieked. ‘You’re getting sex, isn’t that enough?’
Dean stopped tickling him once again, and bent over to kiss his lips.
‘Well, go get the stuff then, and I’ll get prepped in the garden.’
‘Sounds good. Are you going to let me up?’
Dean rolled his eyes, and finally climbed off Castiel’s lap, holding a hand out to help him stand up, and pulling him closer for a kiss as he did so.
‘Mmmmm, can’t get enough of that,’ Dean grinned.
‘Me either,’ Castiel admitted, as he heard their front door open and shut. ‘Did you hear that?’
‘The front door.’
‘It was probably nothing, baby.’
‘I’ll just check on my way to getting the lube and stuff, okay?’
He wriggled out of Dean’s grasp completely, and walked towards the foyer.
‘Don’t be too long! Things might start dropping off from frostbite if you do!’ Dean called at his retreating back. Castiel smiled fondly to himself, and pushed open the door to the foyer, and then was brought up short. Standing on the welcome mat just inside the door, looking straight at him with a serious poker face, was Dean. But not the Dean he had just left behind, preparing for sex in the yard. There was a different aura to this Dean, one that was heavier, like he had a world of guilt and tension sitting on his shoulders. His clothes were awful too, a fraying flannel shirt, a greying t-shirt, ripped jeans, and the dirtiest combat boots Castiel had ever seen.
This Dean stood silently, glowering at him, and Castiel’s brows knitted together momentarily as he tried to work out what was going on, where this Dean had come from, why there was such a strong, intense vibe around him. Castiel could feel it sinking into him as they stood, and he knew there was no way he was having sex in the garden now. The Dean opposite him looked as though he couldn’t speak, and Castiel knew he’d have to reach out first.
Dean’s eyes widened, and Castiel knew he’d inhaled quickly at that. Why was Dean over-reacting to a simple hello? Castiel watched as Dean seemed to pull himself together, then jut his chin forward and up slightly, as though he were regaining some kind of control.