Characters: Dean Winchester, Castiel
Rating: R for non-explicit sexual situations
Summary: So yeah, it’s weird, this thing with Cas, but Dean’s just about getting used to it. Used to it enough that he stops questioning so much, anyways, but for all of Castiel’s assurances that he’s just experiencing everything through some weird kind of angelic Cas-filter, there’s one thing that still makes him wonder, sometimes.
Word Count: 2885
Notes: Miri posted something on tumblr about Dean's handprint scar. I said I'd write something about it and... ended up writing something that is more about intimacy than sex and takes over 1000 words to even mention the handprint scar. Whoops? Also asexy!Cas somehow snuck his way in there. Which I am completely fine with because the fandom needs more of him. Title is from Lisel Mueller's poem "A Long Way From Hell".
Warnings: Sexual situations and mentions of Hell. I think that's about it?
To the lost dreamers, kissing in the woods
of their own legend, miracles are not new;
but he, bedroom agnostic, cannot see
with the clairvoyance of the faithful, who
blow on the spirit with the body's breath
and by that doubtless summoning of light
make good their heat.
- Lisel Mueller, A Long Way From Hell
It’s weird, this thing that Dean has with Cas.
Well, that’d be the mother of all understatements. Dean Winchester, for years staunch advocate of his own alpha male heterosexuality, is in a… whatever this is, with a very much male-bodied angel of the Lord. A male-bodied angel of the Lord who, as Dean is frequently reminded, is a “wavelength of celestial intent” in his true form and therefore doesn’t give a crap about humans and their weird gender hang-ups anyway. Whatever “wavelength of celestial intent” actually means.
Basically, this thing Dean has with Cas was never going to not be weird.
That’s not really what Dean finds weird about it, though. Because really, once it had come down to it in the end, he’d been surprisingly okay about the angel-with-a-dude’s-body thing. And it was kind of a relief in a lot of ways to not have to worry about Cas not being able to handle anything about the supernatural world. Dean’s pretty sure Cas could handle anything on that front ten times better than him and Sam.
Nah, the weird thing is Cas himself. Or rather, Cas and sex.
After the whole thing with the brothel, Dean hadn’t been expecting to be able to jump right in, sure. He’d been mentally preparing himself to take it slow, because to hell with it, he wants to actually get this right with Cas.
For the record, that isn’t chick-flick either. That’s just fact.
As it turned out, it had looked like Dean was going to have to seriously re-evaluate all his previous assumptions, because Cas had been more than willing. In fact it was like he’d been doing so much to make absolutely sure Dean wanted to get in his pants that it hadn’t been until Dean actually had his hand in them that he’d noticed Cas apparently wasn’t as on-board with this as he’d been making himself seem.
Or at least, that’s what Dean had assumed. He’d backed off like he was scalded at that, angry with himself for not noticing and angry with Cas for not saying anything, and Cas – Cas had just given Dean this flat, confused stare that made it pretty clear he was wondering if Dean really was an idiot. What’s wrong, Cas had asked, and Dean had told him, fierce and straight-up, that he didn’t want to do this if Cas wasn’t getting anything out of it, damn it, he wasn’t like that, and Cas should have damn well said something about it. Cas had just given him another look before saying who said I wasn’t getting anything out of it?
Then he cheated by holding Dean down on the bed with his freaky angel strength and wrapping those long fingers of his around Dean’s cock before Dean could get his wits together long enough to answer, and yeah, okay, Dean sure hadn’t been against that while it was happening. It was after Dean had come, the post-orgasm haze slowly fading from his mind while Castiel looked down at him with a mixture of interest and triumph lighting his eyes, that the point he’d been trying to argue barrelled its way back to his attention. Because sure, Cas definitely seemed enthusiastic enough after that little display, but Dean was uncomfortably aware that it would be just like Castiel to do something just because Dean wanted it, and to hell with anything else. The thought made something prickle uncomfortably in his gut and at the base of his spine.
Cas had just sighed and rolled his eyes when he’d asked, in a way that Dean couldn’t help thinking was accompanied by a silent, exasperated “humans”.
“I’m not human, Dean,” he’d reminded him. “I don’t experience sex the same way a human would.” Dean must have looked seven kinds of skeptical at that, because Cas had sighed, a short, sharp thing, and added, “It’s not that it’s not pleasurable. I do like being touched by you.” He’d tilted his head, frowning as he tried to place the words in the way he wanted them. “It’s simply not as… I guess the word would be sensual, as you would expect.”
He’d shrugged slightly then, resting a hand on Dean’s stomach as if to emphasise his point somehow. “You can be assured I would not do this if I didn’t want it,” he’d said simply, like that solved everything.
And well, Dean guesses that when Cas wants to put it that way, all matter of fact like he’s talking about the goddamn weather, it does, kinda. Cas has been a quick study in the art of using his entire body to make Dean come apart completely in whatever way possible, and if Dean still feels a little (okay, a lot) like he’s getting the better end of the deal here and leaving Castiel stuck with the short end of the stick, he tries to give a little back, somehow. Remembers what Cas said about liking to feel his touch and makes sure to run his hands over every part of the angel’s skin he can reach when they come together, his fingers and palms making long slow journeys over Castiel’s body. Cas likes kissing as well, Dean discovers; hard bruising things as Dean topples over the edge or lazy, soft brushes of their mouths in the aftermath, and yeah, it might make Dean feel like a character in some saccharine teenage romcom to lie close to Cas and trade kisses with him for however long after the event, but Castiel asks Dean for so little that it’d feel like the king of dickbag moves if he didn’t.
So yeah, it’s weird, this thing with Cas, but Dean’s just about getting used to it. Used to it enough that he stops questioning so much, anyways, but for all of Castiel’s assurances that he’s just experiencing everything through some weird kind of angelic Cas-filter, there’s one thing that still makes him wonder, sometimes.
It’s after a round of particularly energetic sex that it slips out, almost unbidden. Cas is pressed flush to Dean’s side, one arm slung almost casually around his waist, and Dean’s fingers making chaotic paths around the small of Cas’s back. His pride has almost given up on pretending that this isn’t cuddling, but it’s practical as well; Castiel is less likely to pull his winging off act all of a sudden if they’re naked and sharing body heat.
Dean’s fingertips hit the point where Cas’s back hits the rise of his ass and still, pausing there as something occurs to him. He’s wanted to ask for a while now, but somehow it’s just seemed too – weird. Which is fricking hilarious when Dean thinks about it, because it’s not like he’s not already boning an angel on an astonishingly regular basis or anything, but in the world of Dean Winchester, this question most definitely and irrevocably counts as the sort of thing you don’t ask anyone.
Castiel isn’t exactly anyone, though.
“Why’d you like it anyway, Cas?” he finds himself asking, because Castiel has been looking at him oddly since he stopped tracing imaginary crazy paving on his back. Like he’s just been waiting for Dean to ask the inevitable question. It occurs to Dean that he probably has. Stupid freaky angel mind-reading powers.
“You know,” Dean says awkwardly, because he’s quickly re-evaluating this as a terrible idea, but now he’s got half of it out, he might as well follow through. “I mean, giving me a handjob or blowjob, fine, I’ll buy the whole experiencing sex differently speech you gave me on that, but.” He stops, then slides his hand down to cup Cas’s ass meaningfully. “Not that I’ve got much to go off, but I’m pretty sure that’s meant to hurt some even when both people are getting off on it.”
Castiel is silent for long enough that Dean begins to panic, his original fear that Cas is just doing this for Dean’s sake preparing to make its grand comeback, when Cas suddenly props himself up on one elbow, fixing Dean in place with his eyes.
“Dean,” he says seriously, “you know that you cannot hurt me. Stop panicking over nothing.” Dean opens his mouth to deny it, and Cas cuts him off with a deadpan, “You think very loudly.”
“Thought I told you to stay out of my head, Cas,” Dean frowns.
“I don’t have to go inside your head when you’re practically shouting it.”
“Fine, fine,” Dean mutters, disgruntled, knowing better than to get into that argument again. “Question still applies.”
Cas lets out a long breath. Running his hand up Dean’s arm with a strange expression on his face, he says, “It’s mostly the intimacy.” And whoa, okay, this conversation just got even more uncomfortable than it already was, but something about the look on Castiel’s face and the strange note in his voice means that Dean can’t quite bring himself to put a halt to it. Cas almost sounds like he’s confessing something. So Dean frowns, but he listens.
“I’ve already said it’s not the same as it would be if I were human,” Cas continues. His hand reaches Dean’s shoulder, slotting into the mark made by his only physical souvenir from Hell like it was made to be there. Dean feels a shiver run though him that’s only partly due to the sensation of Castiel’s touch. “It…”
Cas suddenly trails off as his eyes flit to where his hand lies on Dean’s shoulder, that odd look on his face changing to something more closed, troubled. “Perhaps I shouldn’t say.”
“Maybe you should, ‘cause I’m asking,” Dean fires back. Part of him isn’t sure he’ll like where this is going, but what the hell. He’s already effectively asked Cas why he likes taking it up the ass, he might as well suck it up and take the answer.
Castiel locks eyes with him for a long moment. Dean stares resolutely back.
“It reminds me of when I pulled you from Hell,” Cas says finally.
Whatever Dean had been expecting, it hadn’t been that. For a moment he’s too dumbfounded to answer, trying to make the connection between sex with Castiel and getting pulled out of Hell by Castiel, and trying desperately not to think of some of the possible implications of that.
“You mean when you gave me this?” he asks guardedly once he can speak again, hand coming to brush the back of Castiel’s.
“Yes.” Cas tilts his head slightly, looking at where their hands touch. “I doubt you remember it.”
Dean shakes his head. Cas yanking him out is about the only thing he doesn’t remember about his time in the pit, which is just typical really. He can remember everything except the one good thing that happened. Not that Dean wants to remember any of it, but if he has to relive his time down under in his nightmares sometimes (which is nothing less than he deserves), he’d rather be able to remember Castiel pulling him out too.
“It’s understandable,” Cas says almost absently, hand tightening on Dean’s shoulder in a way that doesn’t seem entirely conscious. “I wasn’t very careful at the time. The shock of touching my grace was probably enough to make sure you wouldn’t retain the memory.”
Dean looks at him. “So what, you’re saying you gave me some kind of third-degree grace-burn or something?”
Cas snorts softly. It’s the closest he ever gets to a real laugh, and that raises Dean’s spirits a little. “Or something,” Cas agrees. “I was in a lot of haste to bring you out, and you weren’t willing to come quietly.”
Dean swallows, closing his eyes. He feels rather than sees Cas’s eyes snap back to him, feels Castiel’s other hand come to rest on his cheek.
“We didn’t fight, Dean,” Cas reassures him, his voice lower than normal. “Hell saps the strength of angels somewhat, but it was still well within my limits to raise you. I was just… overeager.”
“And so I end up wearing a sign that says ‘Cas has dibs on this’ because of it, huh,” Dean jokes, not opening his eyes. It sounds a little weak even to his ears.
“Dibs?” Dean can hear the headtilt in Castiel’s voice. “I don’t understand.”
“You know, you left a mark on me warning everyone to keep their hands off.”
“Oh. That’s not what I intended, but I suppose if you want to see it that way, I can’t stop you.”
Dean feels his lips quirk up into a smirk despite himself, and finally opens his eyes again. “So how come I ended up with a handprint that fits your vessel like a glove, huh? I thought your true form was a ‘wave of celestial intent,’ the size of the Chrysler building,” he asks, putting as many verbal air quotes into that phrase as possible for Cas’s benefit. “Not really many hands to go around there.”
Cas frowns. Dean feels the thumb on his shoulder absently stroke back and forth. It’s weirdly soothing, not that Dean would ever admit that in a million years or more.
“I suspect it must have something to do with my vessel,” Castiel offers finally. He doesn’t sound entirely sure of himself, but then, Dean’s willing to bet that Cas hasn’t thought much about this before either. “For angels, there are several possible vessels to choose from, thanks to the growing population providing more members of a particular bloodline, but there’s only ever one human alive at any given time who is a near-perfect match.”
He’s talking about Jimmy, Dean realises, and really, like most things with Cas, it makes a weird kind of sense. Same logic applies to why Lucifer and Michael were so goddamn determined to get their gnarled angel claws on him and Sam.
“So… what?” he prompts.
“I was getting there,” Cas tells him. He doesn’t tell Dean to be patient, but it’s implied. “When my grace made that initial contact with your soul, it left… a mark. It’s not the sort of mark that’s easily removed or hidden, even on the physical plane. So when I put your soul back into your body –”
“I got a brand new tattoo,” Dean finishes for him. He takes Cas’s hand and pulls it from his shoulder, linking their fingers. It’s girly as all hell but Dean can’t bring himself to care, because his angel has just given him an abridged tale of how he pulled Dean out of Hell and left him with a mark to prove it happened, and what is he supposed to say to that? Thanks doesn’t seem anything near like enough. He thinks Cas gets it, anyway.
It takes a moment or two of comfortable silence before he remembers what spurred on this little heart-to-heart. “Wait,” he blurts suddenly, “What did any of that have to do with us having sex?”
He swears Cas almost laughs properly then, air rushing out of his nose as the look in his eyes goes fond. One-track-mind, Winchester, Dean thinks, and wonders if Cas is thinking something like that too.
“Sometimes I commit the terrible oversight of forgetting how stubborn you can be,” Cas tells him, one of his not-quite-smiles playing around the corners of his mouth. “On the journey out of Hell, I held your soul within my grace, Dean. It was the safest place.”
Dean blinks. “Huh.” Then he shakes his head, a small, exasperated smile playing around his own lips as he tugs Cas down again to lie close against him. That is just typical Castiel in so many ways, typical enough of him and Cas for Dean to want him closer so he doesn’t have to think about what that means too much. “Guess that does sound pretty intimate.”
“On a physical level, sex is the closest thing.” Cas’s breath tickles Dean’s neck as he speaks, and he sounds uncertain about saying it. Hell, to Dean’s disbelief, he almost sounds shy. Castiel, badass, blunt angel of the Lord with enough faith to outshine all the other angels put together, who can take on several demons at once and kicked Dean’s ass into actually having sex with him, and it’s this that makes him sound like the awkward virgin he no longer is.
Dean has to stop himself from laughing at the last minute at how ridiculous and perfectly fitting that is, because it occurs to him that him laughing at that is probably part of why Cas sounds so unsure to start with. Then the full gravity of what Castiel just said hits him, and he’s not sure why he wanted to laugh to begin with. He kisses him instead, open-mouthed and soft with all the things he doesn’t have the words to say.
“Well,” he says, “In the best way possible, Cas, that probably goes on the list of the top five most awkward conversations I’ve ever had.”
Cas looks up at him, a small frown between his eyebrows. “This is a good thing?”
“Just this once? Yeah,” Dean tells him, running a hand between Cas’s shoulder blades. “It’s a good thing.”
This thing he has with Cas couldn’t get weirder if it tried.
Dean can’t really bring himself to care.