Fifty First Dates

By Siobhan Collier

Erotica / Romance

Chapter 28

Castiel sat quietly in the Impala as Dean wound his way across country to their destination. He was still amazed by the speed with which Dean had organised everything after they had agreed to go away together, and yet he felt a sense of disappointment. He wanted to show Dean all the things he had promised, that time they were laying in bed and Dean was asking him exactly what he wanted. The first time Castiel really thought there could have been more than just one date. He found himself gazing at the trees flickering by as he imagined Dean’s reaction if he took him to the mountainside, and showed him the sheer drop underneath the narrow plinth he liked to sit on. He wished that he could have done it, regardless of whether he still had his grace, but he knew it was impossible. The grace was the only way to access the place, it was simply too dangerous for humans to even try to go there-

‘Cas? You okay?’

Dean finally broke the silence with the tentative question. Could he feel Castiel’s lament?

‘I’m fine, Dean,’ he lied.

‘Sorry it’s Wisconsin.’

‘Its fine.’

Castiel didn’t quite know why Dean was apologising for selecting a place in Wisconsin. He knew deep down that it really didn’t matter where they were, so long as they were together, alone. And if they couldn’t leave America and visit Nepal, it really didn’t matter. Yet he still longed to go there, to squeeze onto that narrow rut with Dean and look out at the vast expanse of untouched earth-

‘Well, you looked like you had a place when I asked, but you didn’t say anything. We could always go there? I’ll cancel.’

Castiel closed his eyes, just for a moment. Dean was beyond sweet, offering to change their plans to satisfy him. But it made it so much harder to deal with.

‘We can’t go there.’

He knew his emotion was evident in his voice. He was careful not to look anywhere near Dean, or he would start crying, and Dean would become frustrated, and he was so hopeful for their week away. Dean wasn’t letting it go, however.

‘Come on Cas, the deal is that we talk. Tell me about this place.’

Castiel sat back in his seat, feeling defeated. Dean was of course correct. They had agreed to discuss things more thoroughly, to avoid any misunderstanding. But this wasn’t over a misunderstanding, it was something unattainable. He knew that Dean wouldn’t let the matter drop just like that.

‘It’s in Nepal, and hard to reach. At least, for humans, it’s hard to reach. And I don’t have a passport, you don’t enjoy flying. It’s just not possible.’

He could feel a lump in his throat as he spoke, could feel an irritating, prickling sensation in his eyes. And Dean’s next response did not help that feeling in anyway.

‘Do you miss your grace?’

Castiel worked on not crying, and Dean seemed to be happy to wait patiently for an answer. Maybe he knew that it was complicated, or thought that Castiel would want to soften the blow when he confessed that he truly missed it. Dean had to know the truth, that Castiel’s grace came second to him, every single time. He answered when he was ready, his voice shaking slightly despite his best efforts.

‘I miss some things. Being a human is tiring and dirty. I don’t like having to constantly eat and silence my stomach, or urinate as frequently as my vessel demands. But,’ he looked at Dean, whose gaze was flickering between the road and Castiel. He forced a smile onto his face, so that his boyfriend would know he genuinely meant it. ‘I made the right choice, Dean. I’ll take whatever comes of being human, so long as I’m with you.’

‘You can’t get rid of me now.’

Dean smiled, and Castiel was baffled by how easily he seemed to say things like that, suddenly. Dean who was verbally constipated, Dean who only admitted to loving him when their situation seemed irredeemable. He moved closer to the hunter, sliding across the leather upholstery.

‘This week will be nice,’ he declared, trying to make the effort to be more positive. After all, they had a long stretch of time to be intimate. Longer, if Sam carried out his threat. ‘We can kiss and not get interrupted all the time.’

‘We can fuck and not hear Sam bitching about how loud you are.’ Dean nodded. Castiel fought the urge to look around, in case they were overheard. It seemed novel, being able to discuss their sex life at normal volume without fear of someone making derisive comments. Castiel felt emboldened by that fact, enough to join in.

‘Well, that’s your fault. Is that why you gagged me last time?’

Dean didn’t seem at all affected by Castiel’s attempts to be casual.

‘A little. Sometimes, you only start talking when we’re fooling around. And why is it my fault that you’re so loud?’

Castiel felt a little non-plussed by Dean’s accusation. He felt as though he talked a lot, regardless of the impending intercourse. But Dean’s question made him genuinely smile, and gave him the opportunity to practice flirting.

‘Because you’re so good.’

‘Okay. I totally accept the blame on that one. But this week, you can be as loud as you want.’

Dean was grinning, enjoying the flirting. And not making a point of Castiel’s clumsy attempts, which spurred the ex-angel on.

‘I’ll be as loud as you make me.’

‘I’ll accept the challenge.’

Castiel smiled again, and returned his gaze to the window. If this was a sign of things to come, Castiel couldn’t have been happier. He had a man he loved, who loved him back, and they finally seemed to be thinking the same way. He was happy with the prospect, but couldn’t escape the one shadow that felt as though it lurked over them. He knew bringing it up would sour the mood, but he wanted to dispel it as quickly as possible, so that they could enjoy their time together.

‘Dean, what if … what if we have longer than a week for all these things? What if today is just the start of us having that time together, alone?’

Dean’s smile tightened, and Castiel instantly regretted saying anything. After all, Sam hadn’t totally been sure, had he? He was reticent about leaving his brother with the ex-angel.

‘This week is meant to be a trial thing. So Sam and Becky can have some alone time. They’re not moving out. Not yet. And we get to have fun in the mean time.’

Castiel didn’t respond. He looked out of the window without truly seeing the scenery, trying to think of how to discuss this with Dean. Obviously, the hunter was still in denial about his brother’s plans.

‘Cas-‘ Dean said weakly, and Castiel was prompted into speaking his mind.

‘He seemed fairly certain. Yes he said it was a trial, but he said he was moving out with her soon as well. I don’t know, it was a feeling I got from him, that he’d already decided to move out. It’s just a question of when.’

‘He promised he wouldn’t.’ Dean pressed on belligerently. Castiel had his misgivings about bringing up the topic, but he knew they couldn’t bury it now. Could he admit to Dean that he was the element of doubt for Sam? That if the younger hunter knew that Castiel was truly trustworthy, he would be out already? He didn’t know how Dean would react to that. He didn’t want to spin it so that Sam sounded unreasonable, but he knew it would come across that way while he avoided that topic.

‘He asked me not to tell you. That’s what makes me think he’s serious.’

‘Why did you tell me then? If you’re not meant to?’ Dean sounded petulant, and Castiel felt the strain of tension. He reminded himself that it was better to get it all out into the open and then move forward.

‘I’m trying Dean, to make the effort. You want us to talk, you want me not to keep things from you. I think this quantifies as something I should tell you.’

‘It is. Sorry, Cas.’

‘I know,’ he reached across the leather to take Dean’s hand, their fingers weaving together around the steering wheel. ‘I know you’re not mad at me. Did you want to turn around, go back and talk to him?’

Castiel watched as Dean set his gaze firmly on the road in front of him, his nostrils flaring slightly, his jaw set as he considered Castiel’s offer. It had been genuine. He knew that Dean wanted to be with him now, knew that they were a couple in all the ways that mattered. Of course, he was looking forward to their alone time but it wasn’t essential, not if Dean was going to be upset over his brother the entire time. Castiel purely, simply, wanted the hunter to be happy. Eventually, Dean spoke again, his voice shaking as he tried to suppress his emotions.

‘No. Besides, we’re nearly there now.’

‘Okay. We can call him once we’re settled in, maybe?’ Castiel offered, trying to appease his lover. He wasn’t sure what had made Dean pick him over his brother, but he knew that he couldn’t take Sam out of the picture entirely. Their relationship was a complicated one that Castiel had only really scratched the surface on. He only knew that for Dean, Sam came first. He was flattered by Dean’s decision.

‘Cas?’ Dean said abruptly.

‘Yes?’

‘I’m … thanks.’

Castiel squeezed his fingers, and Dean squeezed back, the sensation almost painful. Castiel didn’t bring up that Dean was hardly articulate, or that there was a hypocrisy in the notion that he wanted Castiel to talk and was unable to do so himself. He knew that the words just weren’t coming to the hunter. And he knew what the words were anyway.

*

Castiel waited patiently in the car while Dean sorted out their accommodation in the reception area, his thoughts stuck on Sam Winchester. He felt responsible for Sam’s decision, not necessarily because of how he and Dean conducted themselves in their relationship, but because he felt that Sam’s decision was a product of Dean’s neglect. Castiel had taken up so much of the hunter’s attention, no wonder his brother was feeling isolated. No wonder Sam was turning to the person filling Dean’s void.

Dean climbed back into the car and drove along a dirt path, through a glade of trees, and Castiel looked around, appreciating how close this location was to what they had been discussing. So it wasn’t his favourite mountainside location, they could still feel alone, cut off from society, in their own small bubble. When Dean parked the car, they both stayed in their seats for a few moments, surveying the two-storey cabin, the small beach and jetty that was just visible from their parking spot, and the lake that seemed to stretch out into a distant hill range. And then Dean seemed to rouse himself, and climb out of the car, and Castiel felt obligated to follow.

Castiel was surprised by the decor in the cabin, at how light and open it all felt, but Dean seemed not to notice as he threw their bag down beside a chair, striding across the thick carpet, and turning around in the middle of the couches. Castiel watched his lover intently, cocking his head to the side almost without realising he’d done it. Dean looked back quietly for a few seconds that seemed to last forever, and Castiel felt a pull in his chest. He missed being able to just look at Dean like this, communicating just with eye contact. It was as special to him as when they kissed. And there was something in the hunter’s eyes that let him know the feeling was mutual.

‘Pretty sweet digs, right?’ Dean smiled. Castiel nodded, his throat too dry for him to respond. His chest was close to bursting with love for the man in front of him, and Dean seemed to notice. ‘Everything okay?’

‘Yes,’ Castiel pulled himself together enough to answer, and then decided to hit the biggest issue head on. ‘Are you going to call Sam now?’

‘In a while. I’m hungry, are you?’

Castiel ignored the bluster, and the change of subject. He was still concerned about Dean, and the way he was going to handle Sam leaving. The worst outcome would be that the brothers stopped talking, and Castiel would be left trying to encourage Dean to talk to his brother once again without being allowed to utter his name. It wasn’t an impossible notion, and it made Castiel uneasy. Would either of them blame him if they did stop talking?

Dean turned away, heading into the kitchen and pulling open cupboard doors, removing various packages from inside them. Castiel realised that Dean was going to be his usual belligerent self, and ignore the topic in favour of a distraction. In this case, food. Castiel conceded that it had been a long time since they had last eaten, and whatever meal Dean was preparing would be very welcome. And Dean seemed at peace as he stirred something in a pot on the stove, Castiel couldn’t resist approaching him, slipping his arms around his lover, resting his head on Dean’s shoulder. He could remember dreaming of the day he would be allowed to do this, to touch the hunter tenderly, affectionately. He had never imagined how comfortable it would feel, how routine. And yet, despite that, it felt as though they had been this way for years. It was as though the unrequited longing was in a very distant past that had no more meaning.

‘I could get used to this,’ Dean commented, still stirring the pan. He seemed to be content, but Castiel was sure it was a farce. He tried to tread lightly.

‘It’s very domestic.’

‘Is that a bad thing?’ Dean noticed his slightly dour tone, and Castiel tried to sound happier in response.

‘No.’

‘What’s up with you, anyway? I thought you’d be excited to get here. Stop worrying about Sam, I’ll talk to him, he’ll come around.’

Castiel wanted to believe that Dean meant the words, but he knew his boyfriend far too well. It was a mask of bravado, hiding his upset and anger over losing a piece of his brother. And more than that, since they had stepped into the house, Castiel had a strange sense of deja vu that he was trying to process. He attempted to answer Dean as sensitively as he could.

‘I know you will. And I’m happy to be here,’ he tightened his hold on Dean momentarily. ‘It’s nothing.’

‘Cas-‘

‘You wouldn’t want me to talk about it, Dean.’ Castiel felt exhausted by trying to tread carefully. And this was, in his opinion, an issue between them. He’d felt Dean shut down the conversation before, and the hunter had said Castiel should express himself more often. Maybe, he considered, the time was right to at least bring up this one bone of contention.

‘Cas, we’re meant to be talking more. Right?’ Dean echoed his own thoughts, and that was the final piece of motivation that Castiel needed. He could make his point, and hope that Dean understood what he was trying to convey. He focused on the bubbling pot in front of them.

‘If I said everything I was thinking, you’d be perpetually mad. Or worse, you’d shut it down.’

Dean turned his head, trying to make eye contact, and Castiel continued to watch the sauce react to the heat underneath. He was hoping to avoid an argument.

‘Try me.’

Dean’s tone was gentle, one Castiel recognised as empathetic. He continued avoiding Dean’s eye contact, cleared his throat, and took his boyfriend up on the offer. At least, to an extent, to see how much Dean truly meant that.

‘It reminds me of our house, this place. Of the one you convinced me to leave. You were cooking for us then as well. And Sam lived with Becky, they had two little girls, remember?’

He knew that he wasn’t expressing himself well. And with voicing the unrest came another wave of deja vu. It wasn’t just the furnishings that felt reminiscent of the house he had created, there were other elements. Dean cooking at the stove, the intimate discussion as he made their meal. They were even standing in the same way. Castiel was afraid to look in the refrigerator and find wine. And Dean couldn’t possibly have known about these details, because he had so far refused to discuss that place. The more that Castiel acknowledged the similarities, the more he wished he’d continued trying to discuss Sam.

‘So what, this is what it looked like beyond the front passageway?’

Castiel heard the strain in Dean’s voice, as he tried to relate. He knew that Dean was still trying to avoid whatever had gone on in Castiel’s head.

‘No, but it felt like this place.’

He knew he wasn’t explaining himself well at all. How did humans do it? How did they just know what they were thinking and feeling and express it in words?

‘Did I make you mac and cheese then too?’

Castiel was surprised that Dean was engaging in the conversation. And though he knew it meant the hunter was trying to prove a point, that he could discuss these things despite his reticence, Castiel was grateful. So grateful that he began to let his guard down. After all, this was their romantic weekend away, they were meant to be confessing their thoughts.

‘No. Thai green curry. From scratch.’

He kissed Dean’s shoulder, glad his lover was being so calm. Maybe it was a good thing that Castiel hadn’t mentioned his brother.

‘Dream me was showing off. I can’t make that, Cas.’

Castiel even managed to smile at that comment. Dean seemed okay with discussing the fantasy, or dream, or whatever it had been. Maybe he was trying to understand Castiel better.

‘It’s okay. That wasn’t the point. You made me get your beer out the refrigerator.’

Castiel felt Dean’s face move, and he knew the hunter was smiling too. This was what he wanted for the entire week, these confessions and bonding moments and tender touches-

‘Dream me had a good idea. I didn’t check for beer.’

Castiel kissed his shoulder, and let go of his waist, crossing the room to the chiller, which he pulled open slowly, still anticipating the bottle of wine. Fortunately, he couldn’t see any in there, though there was a six-pack of beer. He pulled two bottles out, and passed them both to Dean, who left the stove alone to open them up with a gadget set in the wall. He passed a bottle back to Castiel wordlessly, and the ex-angel sat down on a stool by the breakfast bar, overwhelmed once again by the sense of deja vu. Dean returned to cooking, and Castiel absent-mindedly lifted the bottle to his mouth, trying to drink the beer the same way that Dean did. The taste was bitter, stronger than Castiel had been anticipating, and he swallowed a wince before his boyfriend could notice the expression on his face.

Dean distributed the vivid yellow gloop into two bowls and slid one across to Castiel, before digging his phone out of his pocket, and pressing the screen. Castiel stuck a fork into the sauce-covered noodles, feeling a little grateful for the distraction. It was a normal thing, for Dean to answer his cell phone, and it certainly hadn’t happened in Castiel’s fantasy. He gingerly bit down on a few noodles, and his tastebuds were flooded with an intense cheese flavouring that wasn’t unpleasant.

‘How’s the moving out going?’ Dean broke the silence with his petulant tone. Castiel glanced up at his boyfriend, studying his face. Dean was grimacing, and Castiel assumed that Sam was talking quickly, trying to appease his brother. Dean continued to be abrupt. ‘Put it on video call.’

After a moment, Castiel could hear a tinny version of Sam’s voice, amplified slightly by the change in the phone call. He tried not to marvel at the things humans could achieve, not while Sam and Dean were both gearing up for an intense conversation. Instead, he did the sensible thing, and focused on the bowl of deliciousness that Dean had made him.

‘Okay. Dean? You might wanna move your phone from your ear.’

Castiel may have been trying to stay out of the conversation, but he could still hear every word. He planned to listen carefully, and whatever the outcome, work on making Dean feel happier.

‘Where are you?’ Dean was asking his phone screen.

‘At dinner with Charlie and Becky. We’re taking Charlie home. They’re just using the restroom so I thought I’d check in with you, if you weren’t sucking face with Cas anyway.’

Sam sounded fairly happy, and Castiel wasn’t sure if it was a good thing or not. He made himself sip some more beer, and chased it up quickly with another mouthful of mac and cheese, as Dean replied to his brother.

‘We’re eating too.’

‘Hey Cas.’

Castiel looked up, and saw Dean’s arm extended, the phone in his grasp, and Sam smiling at him from the handset. He looked quickly at Dean, and the resigned expression on the hunter’s face, before turning back to the phone.

‘Hello, Sam.’

Dean withdrew his arm, and turned the screen back to himself, cutting off Castiel’s chance for a chat with Sam. Castiel understood that Dean wanted this conversation to very much be between the brothers. He continued to pretend to concentrate on his meal, while listening to them both as much as he could.

‘See? We have self-control.’ Dean’s voice oozed with attitude, and Castiel couldn’t help himself.

‘One of us does.’

He took another mouthful of beer, and winced again. Dean caught his expression, this time.

‘If you don’t like it, Cas, don’t drink it. And what does that mean?’

Castiel could hear Sam chuckling, but he focused on the beautiful man in front of him. Was it not obvious to Dean? Castiel had withstood his emotions for years before he finally acted, and Dean was suddenly the one with the wandering hands. He shrugged as he stated the obvious.

‘It means I can restrain myself.’

‘Sure, Cas.’

Dean rolled his eyes, as though he didn’t believe him. Okay, Castiel had introduced the experimental element to their love-making, but otherwise he had been the one asking Dean to stall, to wait. He knew it was important for the hunter to talk with his brother, but Castiel wanted to make a point, so he climbed off his seat, and walked around the breakfast bar until he stood beside Dean, leaning close so that they were almost touching. He could feel his boyfriend’s body heat, could sense the tension building. But he directed his gaze to the screen, which still showed Sam’s face. Sam was once again laughing, and Dean responded to his brother, his voice catching as he spoke.

‘Seriously, Sam, are you moving out?’

Sam sobered up, as Becky appeared behind him, slipping her arms around his neck and beaming at her boyfriend.

‘So you told him!’

As Sam turned to look at Becky, to shoot her a warning look that told Castiel far too much about the state of Sam’s thinking, Dean quickly kissed Castiel’s cheek. He felt himself smirk, full of self-righteousness, and knew he didn’t have to say anything more on that issue. Dean would already be kicking himself for letting someone else be in the right. He blustered over the moment by referring back to the phone call, and the real issue at hand.

‘We guessed, Becky.’

She pursed her lips at the screen, and Sam looked resigned. Castiel continued letting them talk it through, knowing it was important to Dean to do so.

‘We have talked about it, Dean.’ Sam’s tone was as close to agitation as the taller hunter could get while still remaining polite. Clearly, this was going to be a bone of contention between the two of them that resonated deeper than most people would comprehend. Castiel supposed it had something to do with Dean feeling like Sam’s other parent, and Sam wanting his independence, which had been a theme when Castiel had met them both. He supposed it went in a cycle.

‘We talked about it as a maybe, you said you’d hold fire. I knew it, you always have to sneak off, or run away.’

‘Dean,’ Sam sounded strained, and then his eyes flickered to the corner of the screen. ‘Cas? Can you please just talk to him?’

Dean hit the end call button, and flicked his wrist, so that the phone tumbled across the counter top. Castiel stayed exactly where he was, unsure if Dean would want reassurance, or else would want to vent his frustration. But Dean seemed incapable of doing either, and eventually, Castiel put a hand on his shoulder, hoping that he would at least unfreeze from his position. Dean immediately wrapped his arms around his chest, cuddling in close, nuzzling into Castiel’s chest. And what else could he do but hold his boyfriend in return, leaning down and touching their heads together, stroking Dean’s hair in an attempt to be soothing. Castiel wasn’t sure why Sam’s appeal had caused such a negative reaction, but he supposed that it didn’t matter. Dean was in pain, and finding it hard to deal with losing his brother, and Castiel’s role was to be there for Dean. He needed to reassure Dean that he wasn’t alone, that they were a team and Sam wasn’t trying to fight. Maybe Sam just didn’t see the situation in the same way that Dean did.

‘At least I have you,’ Dean mumbled into Castiel’s chest. He knew it wasn’t intended as an insult.

‘You’ll always have me, Dean.’

Dean planted a kiss on his chest, and Castiel continued to run his fingers through the hunter’s hair, knowing that he had to offer his boyfriend the option to talk to his brother face-to-face, and appeal to Sam’s better nature.

‘We can cut this trip short if you want to, Dean. We could go over to Becky’s house and plead with him to reconsider-‘

‘No.’ Dean sat back, looking up into Castiel’s face, and the ex-angel fought the urge to caress his face. ‘Sam’s made his choice. And we need this. Look, we’ll finish eating, I’ll make sure we’re totally warded in here, and then I just need like, five minutes driving time to myself, okay? And then when I come back, it’s all about us, no worrying about my brother or anything else for the entire time we’re here.’

Castiel didn’t even consider arguing with Dean, as much as he was worried about his boyfriend going out alone. He knew that he had to let Dean process it in his own way, and if that meant letting him drive away for a portion of the evening, Castiel was going to have to accept that. He pressed his lips against Dean’s forehead, hoping that his lover understood exactly what he was trying to convey, and then he walked back across the kitchen, to his now-cold food. Despite having no more appetite, he made himself eat the rest of the dish, and drain the rest of the sour-tasting beer. He couldn’t help himself from watching the man he loved, as Dean shovelled his own meal in, before grabbing his car keys and heading for the door.

Castiel listened, and heard the faint hiss of a spray can working on the outside of the house, before the familiar roar of the Impala starting up rent the air, and Castiel was left alone. He tapped the table as he thought, and then decided to do something that might make Dean at least a little happier. He gathered together all the dishes, and set about washing them, drying them, and replacing them in the cupboards.

He then walked around the main room of the cabin, and gravitated towards the bookshelves. He ran his fingers along the broken spines, and pulled a book out at random, grabbing the throw from the couch and settling in the armchair. He wrapped the throw around his shoulders, and pulled his knees to his chest as he began to read, absorbing himself in the book to try and distract himself from worrying about Dean.

He lost track of time as he read the book, which seemed to be discussing stories within the bible and was actually fairly interesting. He was already on chapter four when he realised that he wasn’t alone, someone was standing nearby, observing him. He looked up slowly, and saw Dean, looking wearier than ever. Castiel bit his lip, as he acknowledged that this two, was similar to his siren-induced fantasy. He had tried to read a book, and Dean had been demanding and attention-seeking. He looked at the book as he considered the difference between the fantasy of Dean and reality.

The reality was, real Dean needed the attention, he needed the reassurance that he was supposed to get from Castiel. But he just did not have the vocabulary to let his boyfriend know how vulnerable he was feeling. Castiel bit his lower lip as he closed the book, and moved it aside. And then his eyes were back on Dean, taking in the hunter, trying not to be overwhelmed by his personal epiphanies. This was what he had wanted, Dean relying on him, the two of them together no matter what challenges they faced. Dean showing him a side that no one else saw. He opened his arms, and the hunter crashed into them, hardly seeming to care if either of them were comfortable in their respective positions. Although Castiel wished he could unfurl his legs from their now-cramped position, he had no desire to reprimand Dean. Instead he wrapped the blanket around the broad shoulders of his boyfriend, and tucked himself into the curve of Dean’s neck and shoulder, one hand toying again with the short bristles of hair at the back of Dean’s neck. This time, he decided not to let the silence drag on, not if there was a chance that the love of his life would talk candidly through his vulnerability.

‘How was your drive?’

‘Okay. How’s the book?’

Castiel knew that Dean was trying to avoid the subject, but he let it slide. That was all part of it, wasn’t it? That he work around Dean’s limitations and Dean would make the effort. So he would play along, and try and ease the truth out of his boyfriend.

‘Interesting. It’s a take on the Bible I haven’t yet come across. I found it on the book shelf over there,’

Castiel indicated the bookshelf across the room, and Dean turned his head to look. Castiel assumed that things would be easier to discuss without eye contact.

‘Are you feeling better?’

Dean shrugged, and Castiel couldn’t resist touching his face, stroking it cautiously. He didn’t know what to say to make the hunter feel better, but he knew that this was probably the best way to communicate his compassion.

‘Cas? Are we still good?’ Dean muttered quietly. Castiel hadn’t expected it, didn’t know where Dean would think they were still having problems.

‘Of course we are. Why wouldn’t we be?’

‘Because you’re not pawing at me, demanding too much from me.’

Castiel kissed his temple fondly, trying to follow Dean’s logic. He reminded the hunter of their deal.

‘You asked me not to, Dean. I’m trying to respect your wishes.’

Dean looked back at him, and spoke quietly, not breaking eye contact.

‘You still love me?’

It was bold of Dean to speak so clearly about his emotional state, and Castiel understood straight away where the vulnerability was coming from. The hunter needed reassurance that Castiel wasn’t going to leave him also. He endeavoured to talk to Sam, to try and find some way of making the blow easier for his boyfriend. And in the mean time, he would make sure Dean felt treasured. He smiled, stroking Dean’s hair.

‘Nothing could stop me from loving you, Dean.’

Dean reached forward, kissing him abruptly, and Castiel kissed back, trying to tame the kiss, trying to make it more about that slow-burning sensation that Dean created than a short-living fire. They seemed at odds with each other, wrestling for their own agendas, and Castiel wondered why Dean was pushing for anything other than the love and acceptance that he was trying to convey. It was at total odds from their conversation also. He tried to give them the chance to pause, to regroup.

‘Maybe we should find the bed?’

Dean nodded, looping his fingers into Castiel’s waistband and standing up. Castiel moved willingly, the blanket they had been sharing falling to the floor. Dean picked a plastic bag up as they walked up the stairs together, heading into the first room and finding a huge bedroom, filled with a king-sized bed. Dean threw the bag inside, and returned his attentions to his boyfriend, pulling up at Castiel’s shirt, untucking it from the jeans he was wearing. Castiel let him remove the shirt, still dwelling on what could possibly be going through the hunters mind, even as Dean began to touch his chest and kiss his face, their lips almost glued together, and they resumed their silent fight from the living area. The power struggle as they both tried to dictate how this would go. Castiel just wanted to show that he loved the hunter, without it turning to sex. But Dean seemed determined to avoid his own emotions, and return to safe ground.

‘Do you want me, Cas?’ He eventually moaned.

‘Of course.’

They carried on kissing, Castiel still trying to be slow, and sweet, and sensual, and Dean still trying to shove his tongue down Castiel’s throat. He was once again toying with Dean’s hair, massaging Dean’s scalp in the way he liked the hunter doing to him, trying to use the same technique to make his boyfriend calm down, even as Dean’s fingers traced his chest. Dean was the one to break apart again, panting all the while.

‘Come on, Cas. Get in the mood.’

Castiel rested his forehead against Dean’s, his fingers still working his boyfriend’s scalp as he tried to understand what Dean meant. He was very much in the mood, in the one that Dean had been in before they began kissing. In the end, he decided that maybe the physical contact wasn’t appropriate. Not yet.

‘Dean, maybe this isn’t a good idea. You seem … we should talk.’

Dean didn’t respond, but from his controlled breathing, Castiel assumed that it was safe to continue.

‘You’re making me talk about things I’m uncomfortable with, it should work both ways. I know you use body language more, I understand that, but I think right now you need something other than sex.’

‘I think sex is exactly what I need.’ Dean responded immediately. Castiel let his hand caress down Dean’s head, along his neck, and then he stepped back, looking straight at the man he loved.

‘I understand, you know. What Sam means to you, how betrayed you feel about it all-‘

‘We agreed we weren’t going to talk about that when I got back.’

Dean’s tone was abrasive, and Castiel felt disappointed that Dean was shutting it down, despite all the signs pointing to the fact that the hunter needed something. He steeled himself to fight back.

‘I think we need to. I’m not going to leave you, Dean. I wouldn’t. I’ve been in love with you for a long time. And when you broke up with me and they took my grace? All I could think about was getting back to you. And Sam’s not trying to hurt you, either. I’m sure he thinks he’s doing us a favour, as well as helping himself. This is his solution to a lot of conflict.’

Dean started to hyperventilate, his eyes glazing over with tears, and Castiel stepped forward, wrapping his arms around the man he loved, rubbing his hands along Dean’s back, hoping that the gesture was a soothing one. At least, the hunter didn’t fight him, didn’t resist his touch.

‘It’ll be okay. You’ll see.’

He kissed Dean’s neck, and Dean leaned into him, letting Castiel practically hold him up. They stood together as Dean’s breathing slowly returned to normal, and he began to hold himself normally again. Castiel rested his head on the hunter’s shoulder, stroking his thumb across the top of his arm.

‘Let’s just go to bed,’ Dean broke the silence. Castiel nodded wordlessly, taking a few more moments to savour Dean’s touch before letting go, and surveying him quietly as the hunter stripped off and climbed into the bed. It was only then that Castiel shucked off his own jeans, and climbed into the bed too, wriggling over until he could wrap his arms around Dean. ‘Since when do we wear clothes in bed?’

It was a moment before Castiel realised that Dean was commenting on the underwear that the ex-angel was still wearing. He kissed Dean’s collarbone, and then reached down, pulling the elastic band down as he wriggled out of the material, and then tossed them aside.

‘Better?’

Dean nodded, and Castiel cuddled close again, hoping that Dean wouldn’t take the fact that they were both naked to pursue amorous activities once again. But he didn’t seem able to move, and Castiel once again took to running his fingertips across Dean’s scalp, as Dean closed his eyes and a small tear gathered in the corner of one eye. He lifted the ex-angel’s chin, and Castiel avoided his lips neatly, planting small kisses on the hunter’s fingertips instead, and trying once again to get through to him.

‘We have a whole week for that, Dean. Tonight, can we just enjoy this intimacy?’

Dean let the silence linger after Castiel’s words for a moment, and when he spoke it was with a grudging voice.

‘You owe me.’

‘Well, you owe me a top.’ Castiel replied simply.

‘Do I?’

‘You promised.’

Dean left another lingering pause.

‘I was trying to see if you were paying attention.’

‘It still counts.’

Castiel wasn’t trying to sound petulant, but he was aware he might have been coming across that way. And yet, despite that, he thought that Dean sounded more like himself than he had all night, more flirtatious and friendly. Castiel wanted to embrace that.

‘Nope, I said right then, at that moment. And you didn’t move.’

‘What would you have done if I had?’

There was another pause, and when Dean spoke again, there was a softness evident in his voice.

‘I would have tried. I don’t break promises, Cas.’

Castiel kissed Dean’s chest, rather than articulate just how touching it was that Dean thought that, even after everything. And then the hunter’s fingers were caressing his jawline, tilting his face upwards so that their lips could meet. This time, their kiss was mutual, that softness from Dean’s voice threading its way into the flow of their mouths, and the kisses that Castiel had tried for earlier now seemed so easy between them. He fell into the sensation, into the endless slow kisses, and the lazy way that Dean’s tongue grazed against his own. And then Dean was rolling on top of him, pressing down on him, and Castiel knew that the sweet innocence of their kisses were going to fade as Dean resumed his default setting.

‘Not tonight, Dean.’ He tried to be firm on the issue.

‘Don’t you love me any more?’

It was a cheap shot, and Dean had to know it. Nothing Castiel had done all evening indicated that there was anything less than affection for him. Hadn’t they both discussed before that sex didn’t equate to love? It was just a very pleasant part of it. He slid his hand to the back of Dean’s neck, and began to massage the skin there.

‘I love you very much and you know it. And you know I don’t think sex is love, so don’t even try that. I meant what I said, Dean, not tonight. I don’t think you could handle it tonight.’

Dean stroked his face wordlessly, his fingertips catching on Castiel’s lips, caressing his throat, grazing down Castiel’s chest, and the ex-angel caught him somewhere on his stomach, knowing full well what his boyfriend was planning.

‘Yes, I know, you can physically handle me. That’s not what I meant either. I don’t think you realise how much it showed on your face Dean. It’s all I’m going to be able to see.’

Dean sighed, looking resigned, and rolled away from Castiel, settling on the mattress where their bodies could no longer touch. But they were still holding hands, and Castiel took that as a good sign. He squeezed his boyfriend’s fingers gently.

‘I just don’t want either of us to regret anything.’

‘Mmmmm.’

It was not the time to bring up Castiel’s irritation with that sound. Instead, he decided that Dean was finally conceding to the idea that they would not be engaging in intercourse that night. He decided it was best to be wilfully ignorant.

‘Goodnight, Dean.’

He scooted over and rested on the hunter’s chest once more, and Dean tucked his chin on top of his head. Castiel took that to be a good sign, that Dean wasn’t mad despite the rebuff. He just hoped that the next day would be better, happier.

*

Castiel woke up to Dean stroking his arm, and kissing his forehead. He blinked a few times, as his eyes adjusted to the morning light, and he smiled to himself as he felt the tenderness of Dean’s touch. Maybe he had gotten through to the hunter that night. He hoped that this was the sign that the day - the week even - would go by smoother than the day before. That they would just indulge in each other, the way they had promised each other.

He didn’t want to break the moment, to have Dean stop caressing him. He knew that the hunter probably thought he could get away with being so sentimental because he believed Castiel was still asleep. But he had to move eventually, his body was starting to ache from laying in the same position all night. He fought off the urge to stretch.

‘Good morning, Dean.’

‘Morning, Cas.’

Dean sounded a lot more alert. How long had he been awake?

‘Are you feeling better this morning?’ Castiel tried to be careful about the subject. He didn’t want to make Dean more miserable, after all.

‘I’m good. Not as great as I could be, since my boyfriend wouldn’t do me last night.’

Castiel raised his head to look at Dean, and his boyfriend tucked his chin out of the way so they didn’t accidentally hit each other. Castiel narrowed his eyes, not appreciating Dean’s comment. He was trying to be a good boyfriend, and look out for his well being, and not use sex as a comfort. He truly believed that there was nothing wrong with that, but since Dean appeared to be in the mood to point score over their sex life, Castiel decided to stick to his own agenda.

‘I’m deciding to take it, from your crass analysis, that you’re more willing to let me top?’

Dean rolled his eyes.

‘You know what I mean.’

Castiel smirked, knowing that Dean wasn’t going to push the issue if that was going to be the argument. He changed the subject to safer ground.

‘Would you like some coffee?’

‘I’d like something hot and rich in me.’

Dean winked, grinning widely. Castiel had some idea that he was making a sexual reference, though he wasn’t sure what it was.

‘I’m temperate and have little money, so you can’t be referring to me, even if you were pretending to consider it.’ He sat up reluctantly, stroking Dean’s chest with his knuckle in an attempt to be endearing. ‘I’ll go and make us a coffee. You stay here.’

He planned to call Sam, and to discuss Dean’s reactions with the younger hunter. Not to guilt him, but to see if Sam had any suggestions to bring Dean out of his funk.

‘Actually, I think I’m going to grab a shower.’

Castiel felt relieved. A shower meant that Dean wouldn’t easily interrupt or overhear his conversation.

‘Fine. I’ll have a great image in my mind while I make your coffee.’

He smirked once more, and then climbed out of the bed, heading over to his discarded underwear. He had forgotten until that moment that they had left all their clothes in the main living space the night before. He hated having to wear the same underwear two days in a row, but he also hated the idea of walking through the house completely in the nude, no matter how remote the cabin was. He slipped out of the room, and headed towards the kitchen, filling the coffee machine and switching it to brew, and then finding his cell phone, which was buried in the discarded blanket from the night before. He hastily put the blanket back onto the sofa, and waited for the faint sound of the shower running to press Sam’s speed dial.

‘Hello?’ Sam sounded tired as he picked up his cell phone.

‘Sam? It’s Castiel.’

‘Yeah, hi.’

‘Is it okay to talk? About Dean?’

Sam sighed down the phone line, and Castiel could hear some scuffling sounds, before Sam finally spoke again.

‘I thought you weren’t keeping secrets from my brother any more?’

‘It’s not a secret, Sam. It’s a concern.’

‘Okay, shoot.’

‘He’s really not taken your news well. He seemed … last night he was … he wasn’t very Dean.’

Sam sighed again.

‘I got that when he hung up on me. Is he better this morning?’

‘It’s too early to tell. He keeps trying to sleep with me.’

‘Cas? He’s always trying to sleep with you.’

Castiel felt frustrated by Sam’s lack of compassion.

‘That’s not what I meant, Sam. It was like he was trying to avoid the real issue that was his feelings about you leaving by pretending they didn’t exist.’

’Sounds like normal Dean to me.’

‘Sam,’ Castiel was trying not to raise his voice, in case Dean overheard and came to see what the problem was.

‘Okay, okay. Look, it’s my brother. Just go with it, okay? If he wants to talk, he’ll talk. And probably when you’re not listening for it, so you’ll think he’s discussing what beer he’s feeling like and he’s actually talking about this. Just listen closely.’

’Thank you, Sam,’ Castiel felt relieved that Sam was finally taking him seriously.

‘It wasn’t an easy decision to make you know, Cas. I’m still not sure that this is a good idea. I mean, the moving in with Becky part is, but the leaving you alone with him part?’

‘I understand, Sam. I know I was wrong, I was just … I was scared he wouldn’t want me as well. He phrased it in a confusing way. But we understand each other now, even if I was an angel again, I wouldn’t do that to him.’

‘Well, there is that, I guess. You being human now. Cas, just enjoy your time with him, okay? If he wants to forget it to be- to do- you know, then let him. I mean, don’t you want all that stuff too?’

‘I want him happy, Sam,’ Castiel heard the water shut off. ‘I’d better go, he’s out of the shower.’

He ended the call before the taller hunter could reply, and stowed his cell phone in the bag of food Dean had bought the night before, then turned and began pouring the well-brewed coffee into two mugs.

‘Did you forget how to make it?’ Dean announced himself. Castiel looked up, trying not to appear guilty about having called Sam behind his brother’s back.

‘No. Becky showed me how, remember?’ He smiled, and then re-thought. Dean might be sensitive to the reason why Sam was deciding to leave.

‘It is okay to talk about Becky, isn’t it?’

Dean shrugged carelessly.

‘Why would it not be okay to talk about Becky?’

Castiel stopped pouring the coffee into the mugs, and leaned against the sideboard. He knew he should heed Sam’s advice, but it was difficult, when Dean was obviously covering his true feelings in this way.

‘Dean, please don’t bury your emotions about this. I know you and Sam are fiercely codependent and for you this feels like he’s leaving the nest. You can discuss this with me.’

Dean reached over and picked up one of the cups, sipping the black liquid, and leaning against the sideboard, looking at Castiel’s profile.

‘I’m not burying a thing. Sam and me are completely separate to what I think about Becky. She’s just, you know, his girlfriend.’

Castiel grabbed some milk out of the refrigerator, and poured it into his coffee, feeling disappointed that it wasn’t as frothy as the latte in his imagination, or even how Dean managed to achieve in the bunker. He made up for it by adding several spoonfuls of sugar to his coffee and stirring. All the while, he tried to think about the entire situation, about how he could possibly help his boyfriend come to terms with what had happened.

‘You’re going to be bouncing off the walls with that,’ Dean sounded conversational. Castiel looked at his boyfriend and took a large gulp, to see what he could possibly mean. When his body stayed rooted to the floor, he dismissed the comment.

‘It’ll be fine, Dean.’

‘Uh-huh.’

Castiel returned to the real agenda.

‘Do you want to talk about it? About Sam moving out?’

Dean closed the distance between them, holding Castiel around the waist and tugging him closer, pressing their bodies together. Castiel was cautious not to spill his drink over the hunter and burn him.

‘Nope. I want this week to be about us. We’ll worry about my brother when we’re back home, okay?’ Dean rubbed their noses together. ‘Come on, I’m meant to be making you scream louder than ever. Wasn’t that what we agreed on the way here?’

‘Dean-‘

‘Cas, please. I don’t want to spend the entire time we’re away repeating the same old conversation, knowing that Sam’s made his mind up. I want this to be about us. Don’t you want that? To find out what we’re meant to be like together when you don’t reset my memory every night?’

Castiel hated the bad taste that Dean’s words left in his mouth. Was that Dean’s agenda the whole time the night before? To truly prioritise him? And Dean made it sound so endearing, to get to know each other properly, to wake up each morning knowing exactly where they stood with each other, without having to fret about whether Dean remembered or whether Sam was going to blow it all for him. Like when they were at Becky’s house, and Castiel had avoided wiping Dean’s memory, and loved the direction their relationship had taken. He felt he had to at least point out that towards the end of it all, he had stopped removing the memories.

‘I never did it once we got to Becky’s house.’

‘Not my point, Cas.’ Dean nodded forward and caught his lips quickly. ‘My point is, we should be easy, this should be easy. But you’re always trying to overcomplicate it. Let things just happen.’

‘You’re the one trying to force sex here.’ Castiel sounded indignant.

‘Well, stop being so goddamn good looking and there won’t be a problem with that.’

Castiel smiled despite himself, and took the opportunity in Dean’s flirting to reach forward himself, kissing the hunter, leaning into him. Their mouths danced together, tongues sliding together, and just as Castiel was about to melt fulling into his boyfriend, he realised he was close to scalding the hunter. He pulled away reluctantly.

‘I don’t want to spill the coffee,’ he took a gulp, trying to drain his mug, and Dean took a pull from his own cup, his fingers now grazing along Castiel’s back as he turned and surveyed the cabin. And then he was letting go of Castiel, heading across the kitchen, and the living space, and out onto the raised porch. Castiel appreciated the way the towel clung to Dean’s taut muscles, before he was following him outside, intrigued by what had caught his boyfriend’s attention.

Dean had made his way to the corner of the porch, where he was removing a tarpaulin from a large square bath, more complicated than any Castiel had seen in any motel bathroom. And why was it outside? Castiel was about to ask, when he noticed the scenery beyond the giant bath, and the railing around the porch. There was a thicket of trees around most of the porch, which parted to show a small vista of the lake, and hills that appeared purple, they were so far away. They really were secluded.

‘It’s beautiful out here,’ He murmured. ‘Don’t you think so?’

‘Mmmmmm, sure. Wanna try out the hot tub?’

Dean turned, a boyish smile on his face. Castiel merely sighed, and shook his head. Dean really hadn’t noticed their surroundings, had he? The way the leaves on the nearest tree almost made a canopy over the hot tub, the way the sunlight glinted through the gaps in the leaves and somehow made them seem greener. They almost matched Dean’s eyes. But no, Dean only had his sights on the tub.

‘You’re incorrigible.’

‘I don’t hear you encouraging me.’

Castiel sighed again, as Dean pressed a button and the tub roared to life, humming loudly as the water pulsed through the tub in a system that seemed too complicated for Castiel right then. Particularly as Dean had removed his towel and the ex-angel was treated to the sight of his naked boyfriend for a few seconds before he was submerged in the water. Castiel watched, setting his coffee mug down next to Dean’s as the hunter closed his eyes and leaned back in the water, the surface full of small eruptions as steam began to rise from the surface. He forgot about everything except the sight of Dean’s skin, bobbing up in the water, looking so tempting. He stepped closer, until he was against the side of the tub, and then he reached out, caressing Dean’s cheeks, his throat, the laughter lines by his mouth. And then he kissed the hunter’s forehead.

‘Hey.’ Dean sounded happy, almost dreamy.

‘Hello, Dean.’

‘You know, I bet the view of the lake looks even better from in here.’

‘I suppose it might,’ Castiel loved the idea of climbing in with Dean, but he wasn’t going to make it so easy for his boyfriend. He ran his hands back down his lover’s throat, and onto his chest, feeling the warm water lapping at his palms. ‘The view of you would change, however.’

‘Are you perving on me?’ Dean laughed, and Castiel reached down to kiss the tip of his nose.

‘You seem determined to make me.’

‘Honestly, as soon as I saw the hot tub, All I could think was getting in the hot tub. You should get in the hot tub.’

Castiel doubted that very much. Dean was like a dog on heat.

‘If I get in, will you stop saying hot tub?’

‘I promise nothing.’ Dean smiled playfully, and grabbed hold of Castiel’s hand, twining their fingers together in the water. ‘Are you getting in?’

Castiel sighed once more, smiling himself where Dean’s grin was infectious. He bent down and kissed his boyfriend passionately. Dean raised a dripping wet hand, and rubbed the back of Castiel’s neck, trying to force Castiel closer into the tub. He broke the kiss, laughing himself. Maybe it was easy to put everything aside and just enjoy his time with Dean.

‘Fine, I concede. You’re insatiable.’ He grinned, and bent down again to kiss Dean, shifting the hunter along so that he could reasonably have his tongue in his boyfriend’s mouth and reach down to remove his underwear. Dean stopped their kiss this time, twisting around in the water and giving Castiel a view of his sculpted behind. He kicked off the underwear, and tried to navigate how to get into the tub. Dean submerged as he tried unsuccessfully to clamber up the sides of the tub, and after a few attempts, he admitted defeat. ‘Dean, would you please help me?’

‘Sure,’ Dean scooted closer, and put his hands either side of Castiel’s rib cage, tugging him closer as he scrambled up once more. But Dean had used too much force, or else he had slipped on the bottom of the tub, and Castiel went crashing down onto his boyfriend, and he began laughing just before they were fully submerged. Castiel managed to hold onto a small mouthful of air as his body fell below the surface and slammed against Dean.

He was the first to recover, pulling himself up to a standing position, and then retrieving Dean, who coughed and spluttered from the water he must have swallowed as he began to laugh.

‘That wasn’t the most graceful entry.’ He noted when Dean seemed to be over the worst of it.

‘That’s what she said.’

‘Who?’

‘I … never mind. Hi.’ Dean wrapped his arms around his lover affectionately, kissing him deeply, and Castiel allowed it to happen, revelling in Dean’s attention. ‘Welcome to the hot tub.’

‘It’s pleasant,’ Castiel noted, before deciding to repay Dean a little for nearly drowning them both, and splashed him. Dean’s only reaction was to hold him closer, unbothered by the small spray from Castiel’s attempt.

‘Hold your breath.’ He muttered.

‘Why?’

‘Just do it. Trust me.’

Castiel looked at his boyfriend for a moment, feeling wrong-footed that Dean was asking him for trust, before he did as he was told and pulled in a large breath. Dean pressed their mouths together, and pulled him back under the water. Castiel clung to him, even as their mouths parted to allow their tongues to move together, and he was frightened by how quickly his air supply seemed to run out. He pulled up, back out of the water, and Dean came with him, leaving him only a moment to gasp for air before they were kissing again, the way that Dean had been pushing for the previous evening; hot, and heavy, and full of passion, sloppy yet fiery.

Dean started walking towards the edge of the tub, behind Castiel, pressing down on him until he was sitting on the small ridge that ran just under the surface, creating a bench that he ended up folding onto. Dean straddled him immediately, gripping his shoulders so that he had no choice in the matter. He slid his own hands down until the were on Dean’s backside, where his fingers sank into the taut muscle.

Finally, Dean came up for air again, and Castiel took advantage of the brief respite.

‘I think I like the hot tub,’ he whispered and dug his fingers deeper into Dean’s flesh. His boyfriend’s response was to smirk.

‘How much do you like the hot tub?’

‘Enough to cave.’

Dean’s smile grew, and he knew exactly what Castiel meant. Of course he did, sex was one of his main settings. Castiel removed a hand from that firm backside to splash him once again. Dean’s response was to resume kissing, grabbing him roughly by the back of the neck to deepen the kiss further. Castiel went right back to holding Dean’s backside, feeling good about the status of their relationship once again. Dean’s hands began to wander, first stroking Castiel’s chest, then his stomach, echoing the progress from the night before also. This time, Castiel didn’t fight it, instead he found himself moaning into Dean’s mouth.

‘Cas?’ Dean murmured. ‘Cas, I trust you.’

Castiel found himself smiling as they continued making out, but it seemed that Dean had other things on his mind, as he broke off the kiss once more, his fingers busy around Castiel’s penis.

‘I trust you, Cas,’ he repeated, once they made eye contact again. And then Dean was shifting his position, still stroking Castiel’s genitals, and began kissing him once more. He finally stopped moving, and lowered himself slowly onto Castiel, who almost broke away from his lips in shock. He would have done, if Dean wasn’t gripping his neck so hard. His senses caught up with him quickly, and he realised that the hunter needed to maintain some control if they were going to sleep together in this way.

So many things began running through his mind, even as their bodies worked together, Castiel doing his best to make Dean feel half the things he usually felt during their intimate moments. He wondered if Dean thought this was a pay off, like they had made a deal the night before, or even that morning. Was it because Castiel had stopped bringing up Sam, or because he wasn’t resisting Dean’s persistent nature, or because Dean felt obliged? And what exactly had he done to suddenly earn the hunter’s trust enough to be allowed to top?

He knew better than to bring any of it up though, he wanted to savour the fact that Dean was letting him do this, even if the hunter was taking charge. They stopped being able to concentrate on kissing, both of them absorbed in their connection, and Castiel let go of Dean’s glorious backside in order to work the hunter’s penis himself, forcing his concentration onto what he was doing with his hands, trying to keep his rhythm up, even as he collapsed into his boyfriend, completely spent. Dean came a few moments later, and seemed content to let the ex-angel hold him, their bodies still connected.

Castiel loved the few moments after they finished intercourse, when they were still in each other, absorbing each other. It felt very different, to be the one inside Dean as they leaned against each other in the hot tub. It was maybe inevitable that the hunter would be the one to break the silence.

‘Cleaning this thing out is going to be a pain in the ass. I creamed in the water.’

‘Dean, sometimes I struggle to know what you mean with your colloquialisms.’ Castiel sighed. Though he didn’t quiet understand the wording, he did have an idea of what Dean was referring to.

‘My man juice?’

Dean was clearly still in a playful mood. Castiel decided to just go with the flow.

‘Your semen?’

‘Well, if you want to get all technical about it.’

Dean smiled, and kissed him gently, before easing himself off of Castiel and slipping out of the water. Castiel watched him leave.

‘So that’s it? No more hot tub?’ He felt confused by Dean’s sudden aversion to the water. He supposed that Dean’s “cream” comment was connected to it somehow.

‘Not for now.’

Castiel watched as Dean bent down and scooped up the discarded towel and underwear, wrapping the towel around himself and padding away from the tub. After a couple of steps, Castiel began to realise that he wasn’t coming back, or stopping just short enough to allow Castiel out. He was heading back into the cabin holding the only thing that would save Castiel’s modesty. It didn’t matter that they were isolated, he would feel much better wearing his underpants. Dean was pulling back the glass door, and he called out plaintively.

‘Dean! Give me my underwear back!’

Dean turned his head, and fully pulled open the door. He smiled mischievously.

‘Come get it.’

Castiel frowned in consternation. He didn’t want to go without his boxers, and he didn’t want to stay in the tub if Dean was no longer there. And he really didn’t want to be running around outside in just his vessel. But Dean was just standing by the door, smirking smugly, and Castiel knew that it wasn’t even an option for him to come back and hand Castiel his clothes.

He acted, scrambling up the bench of the tub, and slipping over the top, feeling a sharp ache in the pads of his feet as he hit the main deck. And then he ran as quickly as he could, trying to get inside the house as quickly as he could. Dean slipped through the door when Castiel was only a few steps away, heading through the sitting area. Castiel caught up with him, and launched himself at his boyfriend, landing on him heavily, and sending them both crashing into the sofa, panting heavily, Dean barely concealing his laughter. Castiel fought to wrestle his underwear from Dean’s grip, but the hunter kept twisting, passing the small pile of cotton from one hand to the other, twisting around underneath Castiel as the angel straddled him, trying to grab the boxers. Dean was still laughing breathlessly, and he pressed the pants below a sofa cushion. Castiel gave up on them, knowing that Dean was intend on not giving them back. And besides, he reasoned with himself, they were dirty, the underwear he’d had on the day before. He moved over to the bag that Dean had packed for them, squatting down and rifling through until he found some underpants and a shirt for both of them.

‘Cas?’ Dean was still breathless, but no longer laughing.

‘Keep them. I have more.’ Castiel shrugged on the clothes he’d pulled out for himself.

‘Don’t get dressed. No one’s going to see you but me.’

Castiel knew that was true, and yet he knew he’d feel better with something covering his modesty. He turned back to his lover, and passed Dean’s pants and shirt.

‘We’re not animals. Humans wear clothes. So put them on.’

Dean obediently put on the clothes that Castiel handed to him, grumbling under his breath. And although Castiel no longer had his angelic powers, he still heard Dean muttering.

‘You are the worst at romantic weeks away.’

Castiel launched himself back onto Dean, and the couch, trying to wrestle with Dean once more. This time, it was to punish him, rather than to win back his own underpants.

‘What was that?’ He breathed as he managed to grab hold of Dean’s wrists and pin them on the sofa arm, above his head. They paused for a moment, looking into each other’s eyes and panting heavily from the exertion.

‘I brought the handcuffs,’ Dean admitted. Castiel raised his eyebrows. He had seen some of their supplies in the bag, this wasn’t news to him. He forced himself to stick to the agenda.

’That’s not what you said.’ He bent closer, dropping his voice, breathing in that wonderful Dean scent as he did, enjoying the tingling sensation that came from their near-contact. ‘I believe you said I was the worst at romantic weeks away? Purely because I want to wear clothes?’

‘They look so much better off.’ Dean flirted shamelessly. Castiel bent forward very slightly, still soaking up that tingling sensation that came from not quite having contact. Dean reached forward for a kiss, and he pulled away slightly, wanting to just enjoy the anticipation. He tried to make that point to Dean.

‘I thought humans liked the suspense that came with unwrapping their presents?’

‘We’re also very into instant gratification.’ Dean quipped immediately, searching again for a kiss.

‘Don’t I know that, with you,’ he mused, shaking his head and remaining out of reach from Dean’s searching lips. ‘Hey, Dean?’

‘Mmmmmm?’

There was that noise again. Castiel knew he could finally bring it up and not feel like he was hurting Dean’s feelings by mentioning it.

‘Okay, I did have one question, now I have two.’

He began tracing a finger over the small portion of Dean’s anti-possession tattoo that was visible over his t-shirt collar, his other hand still restraining his boyfriend by the wrists. This was the intimacy he’d been craving, the relationship he’d been wanting with Dean. And he had at least a week of this kind of bliss. He couldn’t help but smile.

‘Shoot.’

The words fell out of Castiel’s mouth easily, all reservations about Dean’s reactions gone.

‘Why did you let me top in the hot tub? I mean, I’m very grateful that you did, but I know it reminds you of some unsavoury memories. You are okay, aren’t you?’

Dean nodded wriggling slightly under Castiel’s weight.

‘It wasn’t so bad, you know. I guess because it was you, and it wasn’t in a bed.’

Castiel was flattered that he could be the reason Dean had managed to put the past behind him. That was somehow even better than being told the hunter loved him.

‘But it probably won’t be a regular thing?’ He asked, expecting the answer, but wanting to show that he did understand the man he loved. Dean shrugged, his good humour never leaving him.

‘Let’s just see how it goes.’

Castiel finally released Dean’s hands, and curled up on his chest instead, slipping his hands underneath Dean’s ribcage as Dean settled his arms around his waist, fingers laced together. Castiel felt spoiled by the attention. He understood this time, what Dean was trying to convey. That he wasn’t going to rule anything out, or make promises that he couldn’t keep. Because when Dean made a promise he stuck by it. Castiel knew that now, knew that Dean wasn’t giving a firm answer only because he couldn’t guarantee his answer would be the same the next day. He reiterated his point, just in case they had the same misunderstanding that had led to so much confusion and heartbreak.

‘And by that, Cas, I mean, it might not happen tomorrow. It might be okay for the whole week. We might swap about. I just don’t know.’

‘I understand, Dean,’ he promised. ‘This time around.’

He burrowed his head further into Dean’s chest, and felt his boyfriend’s chin resting on his forehead. He looked at the opposite sofa, staring at the metal legs under the fabric of the seat, indulging in Dean’s quiet affection.

‘Was that both your questions?’ Dean’s voice was quieter this time, as though he was absorbing the atmosphere between them.

‘No. What does that noise mean?’

He’d finally asked. He felt so proud of himself, of what this meant for the both of them.

‘What noise?’ Dean, on the other hand, sounded perplexed. Castiel kissed his collarbone affectionately, knowing that he hadn’t explained himself well.

’That noise you make. That ‘mmmmm’ sound. I assume it’s a positive noise, but I have no idea what you mean by it.’

‘I don’t know.’ Dean sounded perplexed, as though he had no idea he had the trait. ’Tell me when I’m doing it and I’ll try and explain it.’

Castiel was grateful that he had a recent example to hand in order to explain himself. It was after all, the entire reason he brought it up.

‘Well, okay. I said your name because I wanted to ask about you letting me top and you did it then.’

‘Maybe I just love the way you say my name.’

Dean’s tone was teasing. Castiel sighed in frustration, knowing it wasn’t a real answer.

‘You’re a terrible flirt, Dean.’

‘I’m an awesome flirt.’ Dean inevitably flirted back.

‘As long as it’s just me you’re flirting with.’ Castiel tried to match him. Dean didn’t comment on his obvious jealousy. Instead he flexed his biceps around Castiel, and unclasped his hands, raising one to toy with Castiel’s hair.

‘So, we’re good, right?’ Dean changed the subject.

‘We’re very good,’ Castiel smiled happily, closing his eyes as he embraced the feeling of Dean’s fingers kneading his scalp. ‘How are you dealing with Sam moving out?’

It didn’t feel wrong to ask this time. There was no tension after the words fell out of Castiel’s mouth, and he knew that Dean would just accept that he cared.

‘It sucks,’ Dean responded softly. ‘But I get it. We’ll have more time to be like this, whenever we want. And its not like he’s decided not to be my partner. We’ll still be working together.’

‘And working with me.’ Castiel decided, burrowing further into Dean’s chest.

’Not happening.’

Castiel could finally sense the tension. How was it, he mused, that Dean was seemingly fine about discussing Sam leaving him, but talking about Castiel coming along to hunt had set him on edge?

‘Dean-‘

‘Cas, I just spent three weeks worrying about you, watching you and not knowing if you were ever gonna wake up. I just talked some angels out of killing you. If you think I’m ever going to do anything except keep you safe from now on …’ Dean squirmed, unable to finish the thought, and Castiel waited, listening hard. Not just to the words, he was trying to practice Sam’s advice, and listen to what Dean was really saying. As far as he could deduce from the context, Dean was saying that should he come on the hunt, there would be a constant concern for Castiel’s newly fragile human status. And Dean was done with worrying about him for the time being.

‘It’s not happening. And I like the idea of coming home to you. Of having someone to come home to.’

More than that, Dean was laying out how much he was in love with the ex-angel. And though it was everything Castiel was hoping for, he still didn’t like the idea that he would have to constantly worry about the hunter if he wasn’t allowed to come along on the hunt also.

‘I like that too, Dean. But I’m not going to sit in the bunker, unable to see daylight, worrying about whether or not you’re safe.’

‘Okay, compromise,’ Dean started to speak quickly. ‘You can come along. Stay in the hotel room, help us with research. Be our phone guy - Sam’ll call you so we stay professional - and then at least we’re not half a country away from each other.’

Castiel reflected on the new offer. It was still so far from what he wanted, and they would have to negotiate sleeping terms because there was little chance that Sam would be okay sharing a room with them while they shared a bed. But he knew it was better than nothing, and a huge effort for Dean to begin to compromise.

‘That sounds fair. Can we compromise further and agree not to discuss hunting for the rest of the week?’

‘Sounds good. So long as we get a lot more of this.’

Castiel laughed, feeling the tension lift once more. To know Dean enjoyed their private discussions, and wasn’t afraid of what it could possibly mean; to have Dean admit it was what he wanted also? It gave Castiel a heady feeling, and he could feel more words slipping out. The difference now was that he was no longer worried about Dean’s reaction. And something told him that it was a good sign; that he wasn’t supposed to worry about Dean’s reaction, not if they were meant to be together.

‘You know, this is all I ever wanted with you. This intimacy, this understanding.’

‘I know. I’m glad you asked for it. Eventually.’

Castiel paused for a moment. Had Dean been anticipating Castiel asking him for a relationship? How had he managed to catch the hunter unawares when he finally brought it up then? Regardless, knowing that Dean had expected it, had waited for Castiel to ask … maybe Dean had loved him for longer than either of them had ever realised. He raised his head, and smiled as he looked into Dean’s eyes.

‘I’m glad too, Dean.’

It was inevitable that they would kiss the moment they made eye contact. Castiel savoured it, as much as he savoured any of Dean’s kisses, knowing that they had reached the point he had always wanted to get to. The buzzing feeling in his chest, the smile that lasted through the kiss, the secure feeling of Dean’s arms - it was all there to stay. Castiel was content, and best of all, he knew that Dean was too.


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