The days go by slowly, all the same, in a steady and boring routine that would almost be comforting if it wasn't the result of his fight with Sam: instead, it feels dull.
Dean spends them working on Cas's house like putting it back in a decent shape as fast as he can has become a mission for him.
Every morning he wakes up early, has a fast and simple breakfast, usually alone, and then keeps fixing and repairing the place until it gets dark.
He uses this job to silence his loud thoughts, to keep them in the farthest corner of his mind, to drown them in a tired body and sore muscles.
Dean doesn't want to think about Sam, he's not ready to face his guilt, his resentment and all those unspoken things that keep building and higher and thicker wall between him and his brother.
He needs time, needs space, needs his mind focused on something he can manage and control: it's his way of coping with problems.
But that's not the only reason he's putting so much effort in the task.
He can tell the weather is changing: the days are getting shorter, the wind colder and and the sun isn't shining as hot and bright a it did before.
Summer is almost over and, even if this October is still pleasantly warm, Dean can tell that winter is coming.
He promised Cas he'd fix his place as good as he could before it started being really cold.
And he wants to do at least that right, since he's screwing up pretty much everything else.
Like he can sense that, while busy tiring himself to the point of almost fainting on the bed at night, he still doesn't want to be alone, Cas starts spending more and more time with him.
Sam pretty much ignores him and, honestly, Dean can't blame him since he's basically doing the same thing.
His brother goes out early, comes back late and, even when they're in the same room, he pretends he's not there.
He keeps being nice and polite to Cas, because that's how Sam works, he can't be mad at people who did nothing to him even though Cas is obviously close to Dean, but is as cold as ice to him.
And Dean finds himself almost relieved by the situation.
Because he needs to think, to work things out within himself before he tries talking to Sam again.
He wants to fix things with him, but right now he just doesn't know how and there's no point in screwing things up more.
And in all this fucking mess, Cas's presence is a nice, sweet comfort.
They don't talk much, as usual, but even just the fact that Cas is there with him helps.
Because, and Dean doesn't even know how he does that, he knows how to make him feel better with a smile, a look, a word.
It's like they have known each other for years and not for less then two weeks: Cas can, somehow, read inside him, find the right spots to press to ease the burden on his shoulders.
So he sits on the stairs, a cigarette between his lips and a beer at hand, and watches him; sometimes he turns the radio on and hums in time with the song he knows, usually, and probably on purpose, out of key to make him laugh.
For the next three days after the fight, Cas is the only person he talks to and Dean thinks it's weird that he likes it this way, likes how easy it is to be with him, that there are no buried and neglected issues or grunges between them. Cas, for some reason he doesn't understand and probably won't have the time to try to understand, likes this, him, too: he looks better, his face is brighter, his eyes aren't as tired and sad as they were before.
"Maybe he just needed company, someone to be with without having to answer and ask questions. That's why he put's up with me. Maybe he needs someone to worry about so he doesn't have to worry about himself."
Dean keeps working with Cas almost always around him, like a soft, friendly and quiet shadow that follows him around, that watches over him to make him realize he's not alone. It makes it better, really, and he feels grateful: but doesn't mention it, not really, because he sucks at asking people for help and at saying thank you.
But, somehow, he can tell that Cas knows, that he can find the answers he's looking for without having to ask any question. And this, for Dean, is the best thing the other man could do for him.
- Hey. -
Dean looks up from his plate and finds Sam standing in front of him, his face blank, hands tucked in his pockets: he doesn't look particularly happy about doing what he's doing, but Dean tries not to think about it, tries to focus on what really matters.
That he's there, that he's talking to him, which, after almost four days of complete silence, is already something.
Makes him realize how fucking bad he missed hearing his brother's voice, talking to him, even just spending time together.
- Hey. -
- Can I sit?-
- Sure, of course you can. -
Sam pours himself some beer, gulps it down in one shot and then goes back at staring at him: he looks so tired and sad and it makes his heart hurt, because he's the cause of it, knows it, but doesn't know what to say or what to do to fix things.
Dean can barely swallow one last bit of food without washing it down with the beer and can't bear to look straight at Sam; he's a coward and knows it perfectly, but at the same time can't help it.
- Probably upstairs getting stoned... -
Of course Sam doesn't laugh at the joke.
- So. Wanna talk?-
Dean nods, but for a while neither of them talks.
- Missed you, Sammy. -
Those words surprise him as much as they surprise Sam, who clearly wasn't expecting him to be the one to start the conversation.
- You did?-
His voice is so flat, unemotional, and he clearly doesn't believe him.
- Of course I did! How can you... -
- How can I think that you didn't?! Oh well, I don't know Dean! Maybe because you made no fucking effort of telling me that you missed me, that you were sorry or even just of talking to me these past few days?!-
Dean loudly inhales and remains silent, because he knows that everything he's going to say will only upset Sam more: so he just waits and hopes for the best, even though he learned that hoping is never a smart thing to do.
Especially for people like him.
- You're not going to say anything?!-
- What you want me to say, Sam? Mh? What?!-
- I don't know, Dean! Something! Anything! Help me here, because... really... I...-
Sam shakes his head and takes it between his hands, rubbing his temples.
- I'm trying here, Dean. I'm trying so, so fucking hard to reach you, to understand you, but you just keep pushing me away, you shut me out. You don't want me to see you, don't want my help and I just... God... I don't know what to do!-
Dean can't look at him, can't handle that pained expression on his face and doesn't know what to say, doesn't know what to do: it all sucks so fucking much he wishes he could just snap his fingers and make it all go away.
But of course it's not that easy, nothing is easy for him, not even doing something simple like talking to his brother.
- Just... just talk to me, Dean. We can't go on like this, with all these secrets, all these lies, all this... repressed issues and grunges between us. It's never going to work if we aren't honest with each other, we are just going to keep hurting and hurting and fighting and nothing will ever change. And I can't handle that. You're my brother, Dean, I love you and I know you're suffering for dad, I know you're still angry at me because I left but... -
Sam stops talking for a moment to take a deep breath a drink some water, gulping it like he hasn't drink in years and he's so thirsty he's dying.
- But I can't be the only one trying. I need you to try too. I'm hurting too, Dean. You're not the only one who lost a father. -
Dean looks at him for a while, his words echoing in his mind.
- I love you too, Sammy. You that, you know I'd do anything for you. But I was so wounded and disappointed when you left, so angry at you. I think I even hated you for a while because I did everything and more for you, I was always there when you needed me and then you were gone and I was alone... It was so unfair, you abandoned me when I'd never even thought about doing that to you. -
They look at each other for a while, Sam's eyes slightly humid with sadness and regret; Dean doesn't even want to think about what his brother can read in his.
- Maybe one day you'll understand why I left, why I had to leave, why it was so important for me. Maybe you'll see what I was looking for, why I had to go away to try to find it. I don't regret leaving, Dean. I regret hurting you and dad, but going away was the right thing for me to do at that time. I had to and if you can't get over it... well, I'm sorry, but I'll not apologize for that, for a choice I still believe was right. -
- Fair enough, Sammy. -
- I need to know if you can at least try to get over that, that we'll try to get a fresh start, a real one this time. And that you'll respect my choices even when you don't approve them. I need this, Dean. We need this, we need to bury the past behind us and look at the future... -
Dean lights a cigarette, avoiding looking in his brother's eyes and smokes for a couple of minutes in silence.
- I suppose I can trying doing that, Sammy. I can't promise you anything more but... but I'll try. -
A smile creeps on Sam's face and that soft change seems to lift the burden the weights on his heart at least a bit; allows Dean to breath easily again.
- Fair enough, Dean -
Dean knows that this doesn't fix anything, not really, that there are still too many things buried between them that they'll have to face eventually.
But for now it's a start.
- Are you and Sam ok now?-
Dean and Cas are sitting on the porch, the day after he and Sam made up, eating a sandwich and drinking the lemonade Anna made for them.
- What you mean?-
- You two talked last night. -
- You spied us?-
Cas smiles, his mouth still half full.
- No, don't worry, I'm not that bad. I just heard your voices, but didn't listen, I swear. -
Dean nods, pouring himself another glass of the beverage and then searching his pockets to find the lighter.
- Here, let me help you. -
Cas puts a cigarette between his lips and then lights it with his own lighter, smiling at him; Dean inhales the smoke and then lets it out almost on the other man's face.
It send a dangerous shiver down his spine, to be so close to Cas, makes him think things he really, really shouldn't think about: like how good that mouth would feel on his own... but thankfully Cas moves away quickly after that, interrupting his thoughts.
Dean clears his throat.
- Thanks. -
- Don't mention it. -
Dean smokes in silence for a minute or so, Cas's eyes fixed on his face, a sultry and playful smile in his eyes, like he's looking at something, someone, he's greatly enjoying admiring.
- Well, yeah... I think we are sort of ok now. -
- I'm glad, I hated all that tension. Don't like conflicts. -
- Sorry we caught you in the middle. -
Cas's knee brushes against his, a soft and pleasant contact.
- It's fine, I didn't mind. I'm used to brothers fighting more than you can imagine. And let me tell you: that little row you and Sam had... is fucking nothing compared to the ones my brothers used to have. -
- What the fuck? Was your family in the mafia or something?-
Cas looks confused.
- I'm not sure I know what mafia means... -
Dean's eyes wide in surprised and disbelief.
- Dude, you must be fucking wasted not to know what the mafia is! Haven't you seen "The Godfather"? Or, I don't know, went to school? God, how fucking gone are you?!-
Realization and, almost, relief appears on his face, when Cas seems to finally get what Dean is talking about.
- Right, right! We watched that movie! Gabriel fucking loved it, kept reciting the lines for weeks. It was terrible. And... yeah, you won't believe but that really is pretty much how my family is. A big, bad and bloody mess. -
- Wow, no shit?-
Cas shakes his head.
- Hundred percent accurate. -
- I assume you, Anna and Gabriel are the good ones?-
- Kinda, yeah. -
- Still, I'd cut down with the drugs, buddy. -
His laugh sounds almost insane to his hears, but the expression on his face is so relaxed and so comfortable, Dean can live with those weird moments if it means he gets to see it more.
Because Cas looks... beautiful like that, his eyes bright and his mouth open in a big, happy smile.
- Yeah, Anna keeps telling me the same thing. -
- She ain't doing a great job then. -
- No, not really, to be honest. Sometimes I zone out when she speaks... You won't tell her right?-
- Nah, don't worry.
Cas stares at him with an unusual light in his eyes, then suddenly reaches out for him, almost crawling in his lap, and breaths a puff of smoke on his face, so close to his lips that Dean can almost feel their heat on his skin.
- But maybe you can be more... persuasive than she is... -
Dean swallows, looking straight into the others eyes, fighting to impulse of licking his lips and putting his hands on Cas's hips to bring him closer.
- Yeah? How?-
- Mmh... don't know yet. Let me think about it for a while, I'll let you know. -
- Can't wait to be honest... -
Cas backs off; just in time, because Sam appears suddenly from nowhere, startling them both.
- Hey guys, I hope I'm not... interrupting anything. -
He looks at Dean with a funny expression on his face, like he's wondering what the hell is going on between his brother and the other man, but saying nothing.
- Of course not, Sam. Actually, I was just... going back inside to, you know, do stuff. I'll leave you two alone. -
Cas leaves and when Dean looks at Sam again, his brother is grinning, obviously enjoying the teasing a lot.
- Nothing, Dean. Really... I was just noticing how close you and Cas are. -
- So I can't say anything about you basically living at Anna's but you can joke on me and Cas all you want?!-
- I wasn't saying anything! Just pointing it out. I'm happy you two are friends, really. He's a good guy. -
- He is and yes, we are friends. Just friends. -
- Fine. Let's move on. I think I got something. -
Sam looks around like he's afraid someone may be listening to them and also lowers his voice.
- Today sheriff Henricksen came to the shop ok? Well, he was a bit shocked, so I asked him what was wrong, offered him some coffee... -
- Yeah, yeah Sammy, cut it out, I need to get back to work. -
Sam laugh, like he's not sure what Dean means exactly what he says work, pissing him off even more.
- So? The cat ate your tongue?-
- Wow, you sensitive about that, Dean?-
- Piss off. -
- Ok, let's go back to the important things: so today he got a report from a town an hour away from here about unusual deaths: two boys killed in two day. They were torn to pieces and their hearts were missing. They suspect some kind of rabid wild animal and are warning the whole county. -
- Missing hearts? A werewolf?-
- I think so too. -
- But only two victims? That sounds weird to me. -
- Maybe he ain't local and like us just got here recently. Wanna go check it out? -
Dean doesn't say anything, but looks away from Sam.
- What's wrong, Dean?-
- You sure you wanna do this?-
- What you mean?-
- One thing is being back in the family, another is starting hunting again. You haven't done it in... how long? Four years?-
- Yeah, but... -
- But, Sammy, that's a long time and you know it. -
Sam loudly inhales.
- So what, you don't trust me? You think I'm rusty?-
- Of course you're rusty, but that's not the problem: I know you'd still have my back no matter how long it has been, no matter what happens. But if it's really a werewolf we're dealing with, we'll have to kill him or her. Are you sure you wanna do it? That you'll handle it?-
Sam doesn't say anything, but the confidence on his face waves down; Dean finishes the last glass of lemonade and waits for him to speak, doesn't force him or tries to influence him.
- Sammy, you know I'd trust you with my life. But I don't want you to do this just because you think that would help me get over the fact that you left or that would make me realize that nothing has changed. Because things changed and we can't go back no matter what we do. -
- I know that, Dean and that's not why I wanna go hunting: this thing is killing people and it needs to be stopped. That's the only reason why I wanna do this. And yes I know it'll be bloody and we'll have to kill him or her, but I'm ready, Dean. -
- You sure? You really sure?-
- I am. -
Dean takes a deep breath and puts an hand on his brother's shoulder, gently squeezing it.
- Ok then, Sammy. Let's go gank that son of a bitch. -
Sam laughs for the first time in what seemed to be ages.
- I missed hearing you saying that, you know?-
- Yeah, it's one of my best lines. -
- Thank you. -
- For what?-
- For trusting me. -
Dean returns the smile.
It feels good, going back to their real work, to the hunting and all the things that come with it: the thrill that precedes the actual mission, the investigations, the questions, the lies, even the million dangers, Dean missed them all.
- Wow, where are you going dressed like that? You look like a model!-
Cas whistles in appreciation at him when he comes down for breakfast in his FBI suit: he considered changing on the road, like Sam suggested, but in the end the idea of seeing how the man would have reacted to it was too interesting and fun to pass.
- Me and Sammy are going to the bank, sheriff told us there is one in the next city. -
Cas keeps staring at him for a few seconds, his mouth slightly open, his eyes exploring his body and he only comes back to his senses when Sam clears his throat.
- Yeah, funny that after all that happened in the last year, there are still banks and money and all that crap. You'd think those would be the first things to go... but I guess people are too used to them by now, after so many centuries of giving them pretty much for granted. You have such an hard time when it comes to give up progress... -
- Wow, you're incredibly deep and sober this morning, Cas. -
Cas laugh, clearly pleased with himself: sometimes he looks and sounds just like a child, one of those kids that try their best to impress the ones around them, but that at the same time, hide their true face, their real personality.
There are times when Cas looks incredibly simple to Dean, when he thinks he can read inside him like an open book.
But in the end, it's Cas who knows about Dean a lot more things than he knows about him.
- I have my moments. -
- You done, Sammy?-
- Yeah, I'm ok. -
- Can we get you something in town?-
He thinks about for a couple of seconds, then smiles at Dean.
- A bottle of absinthe, if you can find it. I... seems to have misplaced my last one and can't find it anymore. -
Dean looks away, while Cas just leaves the room, still smiling: Sam is sporting his most annoying and stupid look, when he stares at him.
- Did I miss something? Was there an inside joke between you two I wasn't intended to catch?-
- Let's go before I punch you in the face, Sam. -
Sam keeps looking at him in a funny way for the rest of the morning.
The investigations are quick and surprisingly easy: Dean is more worried than usual about the local questioning their identities and blowing up their covers; FBI agents aren't a common sight anymore, especially in times like these.
But it all goes smoothly in the end: the sheriff isn't exactly smart and after a quick look at their badges are routine questions, he cooperates without thinking about them too much; a few people stare at them, maybe trying to figure out what the hell could two FBI agents doing around here, but they're mostly too scared to ask anything or to approach.
The bodies of the two kids are already gone, there was no reason from keeping the families from burying them, but the pictures the sheriff took are good enough to prove their theories.
- Definitely a werewolf. -
- Poor bastard, just happened to be too close to two hunters who are particularly pissed at werewolves. -
Sam nods, a sad looks that mirror his own appearing on his face.
- You thinking about mom?-
- I always think about mom when we gank one of those son of a bitch, Sam. I feel like honoring her memory. She was a damn good huntress and she knew the risks of the job. She died fighting, doing the right thing. -
- I'm afraid dad didn't think about it this way. -
- Well, dad died too in the end. Let's go. -
Finding a possible suspect proves to be a little harder than they thought and they spend most of the day asking questions, driving around in Anna's borrowed car that feels so wrong, like it doesn't belong on the field with them.
It's not part of the job, but just a mindless and aseptic tool.
Dean can't help but thinking about all their hunts, when they were kids, after Mary's dead and the ones where he was alone with his father: the Impala was the only certainty in their lives, the only place they could really call home.
And now even that is missing.
It doesn't feel right, not at all: Dean wonders if Sam feels the same: but it doesn't look like he does from the way he just focuses on rereading his notes, oblivious of anything else.
So he doesn't mention it; doesn't say anything at all.
Their suspect is a man called Stuart Freeman, who arrived in town just a couple of days before the first murder: they manage to take a decent look at him, even thought he basically lives barricaded into his tiny hotel room.
- So how you wanna play this?-
- We go back home for tonight, plan everything out and then we come back to kill the bastard in a couple of days. -
- Just like dad used to. -
- Yeah, exactly. -
- What if he decided to run before we can get him?-
Dean puts his binoculars away.
- Well then he's one lucky son of a bitch. -
- You don't plan to go after him?-
- I don't plan to give him a chance to run. -
Dean is staring at his father's gun: it's perfectly polished, in pristine conditions, kept like a reliquary: it's cold against the skin of of hand, when he takes it, heavy but not too heavy, deadly but subtle.
His dad never liked shotguns or big weapons, he thought they were too loud and messy: John Winchester preferred the easily and familiar grip of a Colt and relying on his accuracy than to the firepower.
- All you need is one clean shot, Dean. It doesn't matter what you're using. All you need is that one clean shot and they're done for. No need to make a mess if there's no reason to. -
The house is as quiet as a graveyard: Sam is sleeping, Cas is in his room doing God only knows what and Dean keeps staring at his father's gun, loaded with silver bullets, wondering what he's going to do.
Because he's been thinking and thinking about one thing, weighting it in his head, examining it from all the sides for hours, since they came back, but still hasn't decide what to do.
Until his father's voice starts echoing in his mind again, loud and clear.
- Never wait too long, Dean. They're smart, they can smell us, they feel us. Do it as quickly as you can. And if you have a partner, but you're not sure you can trust him... just leave him behind. The job is the first thing. Always. -
He trusts Sam, he really, really does.
This has nothing to do with trusting or not trusting him.
Or so he keeps telling himself while he packs the bag, walks all the way to Gabriel's garage, takes the Impala and goes hunting alone.
This has nothing to do with trust.
He just can't wait.
The light is so strong, too strong, has it always been this strong? Maybe someone changed it because that thing is fucking blinding him and he doesn't remember it being like this, white, raw and cruel, hurting his eyes, making his head almost explode with pain.
Dean tries to open the sink, but his hands are wet and slippery because of the blood and he has an hard time doing it.
God, the blood, there's so much blood, everything is white and red, white pain in his head, red paint everywhere else.
He feels like he's going to be be sick, his back is pulsing and fuck the blood is everywhere, how can it be everywhere, where all this blood comes from, Dean feels so confused, so tired and everything keeps being so goddammit white God the light...
He remembers the hunt, remember the werewolf knocking the gun away from his hands, throwing him hard against then side of the Impala...
Remembers the man struggling under his body while he stabbed him with the silver knife, remembers the hot, red, wet blood spreading under his hands...
Remembers driving back home and fuck he felt just fine really, there wasn't anything wrong with him, but now that damn light... that fucking light... everything is spinning around him and Dean doesn't know what the fuck is going to do if things don't stop spinning... oh God his head hurts so much...
Then he suddenly thinks about the body: what he did with the body? He can't remember, can't focus on anything...
- What the fuck happened here?!-
There's someone else in the room with him: he's talking, but Dean has an hard time understanding what he's saying.
The words are like a buzz in his ears, a white noise that only makes his raging headache hurt more and more, that just adds another problem to the ones that are already confusing and overwhelming him.
With what feels like an incredible effort, he manages to turn his face towards the door: Cas is on the doorstep, looking at him with a worried, confused and shocked look on his face.
Dean tries to say something, but his voice isn't coming out and then his legs give up and he's falling: but he doesn't hit the floor because Cas catches him, holds and straightens him.
- Dean, what the fuck happened? Are you ok?-
His body is trapped between Cas's and the wall and it feels so warm and pleasant against him, so good he almost wants to fall asleep there, with Cas's arms around him, pressed against the other man so close he can hear his heartbeat.
He puts the head on Cas's shoulder, inhales his scent, closes his eyes and doesn't move for a while: he just stays there, quietly breathing, the deafening noise of his own blood pulsing in his ears slowly diminishing, the pains in his head calming.
Dean can feel the nervous stiffness in Cas's body, but the man doesn't try to push him away, keeps holding him, not even speaking for what look like hours, but must be only a few minutes.
- Dean? Are you ok?-
His voice is soft again his ear, a quiet whisper that gets over the pain, the confusion, the tiredness and sends a shiver across his body.
Dean forces himself to leave the grip he has on Cas's arms and rests his body against the wall, keeping his eyes closed for a few more seconds, before opening them: his vision is almost back to normal now and the world isn't spinning anymore: it's better, so much better, he can think again, the blinding light goes back to being a simple light bulb and everything around him slowly reacquires its natural colors.
He looks at Cas, stares at his worried face, at the blood stains he left on his shirt where he grabbed him and, for reasons he doesn’t even want to question, he just can't help but thinking about how beautiful he looks even like this: he must be so fucking gone to focus on shit like that in this moment.
Dean forces himself to take a deep breath and to take his mind somewhere else.
- No, I'm not ok, you stupid son of a bitch. -
Cas breathes in relief, a little smile appearing on his lips.
- Well, I think this proves that at least you're going to die on me. Good. Now... what the fuck happened to you?! What the fuck is all this blood?!-
- I... I went hunting... -
- In the middles of the fucking night?!
- It's a long story... -
- Well, before I hear that, you need to... fuck, I have no idea what you need. A shower maybe? Some water? Yeah, water should be good. And I'll go call Sam... -
Dean grabs his arm hard, his grip so strong it startles Cas.
- Don't... don't you fucking dare calling him, ok?! Leave him out of this. If you help me... I'll tell you everything, but don't call Sam, ok? No matter what. -
- Why? I'm sure he'd be more useful than me. -
- I have my reasons, ok? Just... Just do what I say, please, ok?-
Cas looks at him unsure for a moment, torn between what he thinks would be best thing to do and what Dean wants, probably weighting the possibilities and trying to decide what he should do.
Dean gives him an expectant look and in the Cas nods.
- Ok, fine. I'll trust you with this. God, I fucking hope you're not going to make me regret this and that I won't end up in jail or executed, cause I'm far too pretty for either of those options. Damn you. -
He laughs softly.
- I'm gonna get you some water and then I'll take you upstairs so you can take a shower. Try not to get more blood around, ok?-
They look at each other for a few seconds, their eyes locked and still so close they can feel each other's body heat.
Dean's mind wanders again in places he usually wouldn't allow it to go; but right now he can't fight against it, he's not strong enough to control his thoughts: he imagines grabbing Cas, kissing him hard until he'll start moaning, taking his shirt off and touching him with his still soiled hands, smearing blood all over that pale skin... It's disturbing and arousing at the same time, a dangerous mixture of reality and fantasy that is giving him
the most awkward and wrong erection of all time.
"It's the adrenaline" he tells himself, "I wouldn't be thinking this if it wasn't because of it. It's just a physical reaction. It means nothing."
Cas moves away from his body, slowly and carefully, like he's afraid he could collapse again: then starts walking towards the door.
- Cas... -
- Thank you. -
- You're welcome. -
The shower feels glorious, the hot waters runs all over his body, cleaning it and bringing him back to life, massaging his sore muscles, washing away all the blood and the dirt.
He feels so much better after, the headache completely gone, his mind clear and sober again, the wound on his back still hurts, but thankfully it ain't bleeding anymore.
Now Dean can clearly think about what happened, the memories are no longer confused and his brain is cooperating again: he caught the werewolf when he was about to leave the town, followed him then fought and killed him.
He buried his body somewhere and burnt his things: at least, hopefully and unless his bad luck hits again, he isn't going to have problems with the authorities: pleased with himself, he goes to his room.
Cas is sitting on his bed when he enters, only wearing his pants and barefoot: the man briefly stares at his face, then at his naked chest, before looking away.
- You feel better?-
- Yeah, that shower was a blessing, really. -
- You ok?-
- Yeah. Mostly. I... need some help with this scratch I have on my back... -
- Yeah, of course. Thought you may need them, so I went looking for some bandages and... well, vodka. Cause I don't know you but after tonight I need to imbibe copious amounts of alcohol. -
Dean laughs, sitting next to him and grabbing the bottle.
- You and me both, buddy. -
The bottle is almost empty when Cas finishes patching him, cleaning his hands on a towel and drinking a long sip of vodka after.
- Fuck, this shit is strong... -
- I must've left a mess downstairs... -
- Don't worry, I cleaned while you were showering. -
- Wow. Efficient. But didn't think about changing your shirt?-
He seems to notice the blood stains just now, an hilarious expression on his face.
- Oh. Right. I'll take care of this too. You should also give me your dirty clothes. -
- Why, you gonna wash them for me?-
- More like burning them. -
They both laugh, then Cas becomes suddenly serious.
- So what did you do? And don't give me that hunting crap, cause I'm not an idiot, Dean. -
Dean takes a deep breath, collects the bottle from his hands and drinks.
- You wouldn't believe it if I tell you the truth. -
- Dean, while not drunk yet, which is a shame, I'm intoxicated enough to believe in... well... pretty much everything right now. So go ahead. -
He stares at him, at the subtle smile on his face and wonders if he really wants to wipe it away: he could easily lie, he's so fucking good at finding good excuses, at hiding things.
And Cas doesn't know him well enough, probably, to realize that he isn't telling the truth and after all, why would he care?
And why Dean finds it so hard to lie at him when he can fool everyone else without a second though; especially when it comes to lying to himself.
- I went hunting, really... just not animals. -
The words come out on their own, like they have always been there, waiting to be spoken.
Cas doesn't say anything for a moment.
- What are you, a serial killer? One of those crazy psychopath who hunt people?!-
- I hunt monsters. -
Dean spits it out before his brain tells him that it's a bad idea, that it's the stupidest idea he ever, ever had and God, Cas is going to laugh it off or start screaming at him or just run out of the room.
But he doesn't.
Actually the weirdest part of the whole situation isn't that he's revealing one if his deepest secrets to a complete stranger, but that the complete strangers doesn't do any of the things he imagined him doing: doesn't scream, doesn't laugh, doesn't run away.
He just stares at him, with a blank expression on his face.
- You're a hunter. You hunt monsters. -
Dean swallows hard, his eyes still locked to Cas's, examining his face to notice and change, any kind of reaction; but nothing happens, nothing changes.
- Yeah. -
- And you went hunting tonight. What did you kill?-
- A werewolf. -
Cas turns his face away from him, closes his eyes and takes a deep breath: Dean is already regretting everything and feels so fucking stupid for ruining everything.
How the fuck could he think this was going to be a good idea?!
It's a miracle Cas isn't losing it already, that he's managing to remain calm: he just needs to send him away so he can go wake up Sam and they can leave before the man tell anyone...
And then, Cas is quietly laughing, so softly that at first Dean can't hear him over the sound of his own thoughts, then louder, but not enough to be heard outside the room.
- Are... are you ok?-
Cas can't answer right away, because he's still laughing and needs a couple of minutes to calm down; then he looks at Dean again, his eyes relaxed but a sort of new light in them, something different.
He looks... like he knows perfectly what Dean is talking about and he appears perfectly ok, like he isn't shocked at all by his revelation.
- Yeah, I'm fine. Wow, of all the people I could meet in this... place in the middle of nowhere... I meet an hunter. I can't fucking believe it. Karma indeed has a twisted sense of humor. -
- What? I don't... you're not scared or... I don't know... going to freak out?-
Cas's body is shaken by another laugh.
- No, sorry to disappoint. I can pretend though, if you really want. -
Dean is at complete loss of words and can't do nothing but staring at Cas wide eyed and confused: things weren't supposed to go this way, seriously.
- Oh, come on, what's that face?! I can start screaming, very softly though, I don't want to wake up Sam, and faking terror if it makes you feel better. -
Cas lights a cigarette and rests his back again the head of the bed, smiling at him.
- But... How?!-
- How can you be so... calm about it?-
- Mmh, lets just that I know more about the supernatural than you could imagine. -
- You're an hunter too?-
- Not exactly. -
- Then what?-
Cas lowers his eyes and looks away, a shadows clouding his smile: he smokes in silence for a while, like he's remembering something from his past, something he clearly doesn't like or that, at least, makes him sad.
Dean gets closer to him, but doesn't dare touching him or anything.
- It's not important, really. Don't worry, your secret is safe with me, I'm not gonna tell anyone. -
- Well, thank you, really. I was already expecting having to get ready to grab Sammy and running away in the middle of the night, to be honest. -
A small smiles returns on Cas's face, but it's not as bright and genuine as it was before: it looks tired.
- Good for you that you'll not have to, right?-
- Definitely. -
- I... think I should let you rest now, you must be exhausted. -
The moment Cas mentions it, tiredness seems to fall on his shoulders like an avalanche.
- Yeah, I am. -
The other man gets up, turns of his cigarette and starts walking towards the door. -
- Cas. -
- Thank you. For everything. Really. -
The smile on Cas's face is like a soft caress on his face.
- Don't even mention it. Actually... thank you. -
- For what?!-
- For telling me the truth. -
Dean sleeps almost a whole day, not even getting up to eat or drunk or piss: he just lays in bed, too exhausted to do anything else until late afternoon, when he emerges from his room refreshed and well rested.
It's when he sees Sam that he knows what he has to do: he can hear his brother's voice in his head, his words echoing in his mind.
He decides that Sam is right, that secrets and lies are not good for them, that they'll only destroy their still shaky new found relationship: and Dean doesn't want to lose his brother, the only family he has left over something stupid like this.
So he tells him the truth, tell him everything, only omitting his conversation with Cas.
And to his surprise, Sam doesn't get angry, doesn't start shouting at him like he thought he would.
He looks sad, disappointed, but, at the same time, relieved.
- You should have trusted me, Dean. God, you almost died out there!-
- I know, I know... -
- You're such a stupid son of a bitch sometimes. Just... just like dad was. God, really, if you do something like that again, I'm fucking done with you. -
- But I'm glad you told me the truth, that you didn't try to lie to me or some stupid crap like that. I... I should be so fucking pissed at you right now but, I'm sort of proud. Means you're growing up. Maybe. -
- Oh, piss off, bitch. -
- Jerk. -
They look at each other, both relaxed.
- But, seriously Dean. Don't ever do it again. -
- Don't worry, Sam. I learned my lesson. -
His brother nods.
- I hope so. -
Sometimes, when Dean wakes up in the middle of the night and wanders around the house, complete silence around him, he could swear he can hear whispers, soft and shy, coming from behind the walls: he checked the whole place with the EMF meter and didn't find anything, not even a small disturbance, a little peak, nothing at all.
Just old, dusty corners, locked doors and forgotten rooms.
So he starts thinking that it may be just his wrecked nerves playing tricks on him, making him hear things that aren't real, murmurs that are just illusion created by his tired mind: he's so used to the mysterious and the unusual that his brain apparently has to fabricate some in order to keep him functioning correctly.
He's standing in the empty kitchen, staring at the road from the window, an empty glass in his hand: he's barefoot and the floor is cold again his skin, but he doesn't do anything but staying there in the dark, breathing as softly as he can.
But there's nothing to hear, no voices in the dark who were waiting especially for him to reveal their twisted secrets: there's only the silence, the darkness and the empty room that surrounds him.
Sometimes there's no mystery to uncover, nothing to fight against: just an hold house that creaks and moans.
He takes a deep breath, the cold air of the night filling his lungs, closes his eyes and lets his mind wander: his body still feels sore from the hunt, especially since he started working again on Cas's place almost immediately after it.
Dean thinks about all the things that happened to him since he and Sam arrived there: meeting new people, fighting then somehow reconciling with his brother, finally getting to do some work that doesn't involve people ending up dead in the end.
His old life, the family business, comes back haunting him in his thoughts and in his dreams, of course, but he can manage it good enough for now.
And then there's Cas: he's not sure he's managing him as well; he has so many emotions and feelings, often contradictory and confused, towards him and has no idea where to start to understand them; sometimes he thinks he's getting too close to him and wants to push him away like he always does.
It wouldn't even be that hard, because rejecting people is one of the things he's better at.
And then there are moments when he wants to grab Cas, hold him tight and...
Dean opens his eyes, looks at his tired reflection in the window for a few seconds, before leaving the glass in the sink and turning around to go back to his room.
That's when he notices Cas staring at him, his back against the wall in front of him a subtle something that looks like a smile, but Dead can't be sure, on his lips: the sudden apparition startles him so bad it makes his heart race furiously.
- Jesus fucking Christ, Cas! You fucking scared the shit out of me!-
- Sorry. -
His voice is weird, low, different from what he's used to hear from him.
- What the hell are you doing there like a fucking creep?! God... -
- Nothing, just staring at you. -
Dean shakes his head and pours himself another glass of water, drinking it in one shot, before turning around again: Cas hasn't moved, his arms crossed in front of his chest.
- Dude, do you even sleep sometimes?! Cause I swear... you're always around at night, it's fucking weird. -
Dean moves towards him, until he's standing right in front of Cas: the smile on his face grows.
- I do, thank you for worrying about me, Dean. It's just that sometimes I prefer not to. Or at least I usually drink a lot before trying. -
The man in front of him sights quietly.
- Too many bad thoughts, too much guilt. You know, the usual shit. -
- I see. Yeah, I get that. -
Cas puts an hand on his shoulder and brings him a tiny bit closer to his body: Dean is staring at his mouth, at his face, at his eyes, doesn't really know where to look honestly, so he keeps switching his attention from one thing to the other.
- You drunk?-
- Always, you should know. -
- Yeah, useless question, sorry. -
The hand caresses him slowly, moving to his neck, then back to his shoulder and down on his arm.
- You told Sam what happened, right?-
- How do you know?-
- Just a feeling. -
- Yeah, I did. -
- And how did it go?-
- Fine, better than I expected actually. -
Dean looks at him, at his gorgeous face, at the way his cheeks lift when he smiles and his eyes light up.
- I'm glad. -
Cas has both his hands on his shoulders now, massages them softly, then suddenly grabs them hard and pulls him closer.
- You know... you're so incredibly... cute, Dean. -
Dean doesn't react at first because... because he doesn't know what to do or what to say, he just blurs out something unintelligible, that the other man doesn't hear anyway cause he keeps talking without waiting for him to say something.
- No, that's not it, you're not cute, you're so incredibly hot, so fucking attractive, I swear to God, sometimes I close my eyes and oh, the things I think about... you have no idea... -
He's whispering those words on his lips, his breath warm against them: Dean puts his hands on his hips, caresses him gently, enjoying that feeling, that contact and that's the only thing he can do, the only thing he can think about.
- The things I wanna do to you, the things I want you to do to me... you don't even know... -
Cas's body is pressed hard against his, his lips so close, those eyes staring at him like they want to eat him alive: fuck, just fuck, it's so fucking intense Dean thinks his brain will just give up because it's already so much and they're not even touching properly, it's crazy.
- Sometimes... sometimes I wonder. -
- About what, Cas?-
His voice sounds so shaky it makes him want to smite himself, but Cas just smiles.
- I wonder how close I can get to you before you start burning me... -
When their lips touch it's like a fucking electric shock running through his body and Dean is stunned for a moment, because the feelings is so strong it makes his legs weak. Then he's kissing him back, an hungry kiss, all teeth, tongue and open mouth; it feels so fucking good, too good, it feels so great it almost hurts.
Cas moans in his mouth, grabs his hair hard to pull him closer, so close there's almost no space between them anymore, just their bodies grinding against each other: his mouth tastes like alcohol, intoxicating, sweetish and delicious.
Dean presses him against the wall so hard he's almost worried about hurting him, but the thought barely touches his mind, too busy to elaborate what's happening between them to care about anything that is not Cas's lips on his.
They're both breathless when they part, Dean's hand finding Cas's face, caressing him before kissing him again, groaning softly when their lips meet again.
A kiss that was supposed to be slower, but that becomes hungry and desperate again, like they can't help it, because the electrical friction between them is too much and needs to let out someway, before it crushes them both with its weight.
- Fuck... we should have done that before... Why the fuck we didn't do it earlier?! -
Cas breaths the words against his neck, then kisses it, following the curve with his lips while his hands get under his shirt, caressing his skin, making him fucking moan and wish he could just makes their clothes disappear, so he could have Cas's naked body in his arms and do him all the things he wants to do to him.
- Shut the fuck up... -
They kiss again, Dean's tongue touching Cas's, exploring his mouth: it feels so different from everything Dean has done before, with men and women, it feels more real, more intense.
They're just kissing and he already has a painful erection in his pants; he's thinking about the best way to take Cas upstairs with him, when a noise suddenly startles them.
Cas looks at him for a moment, his breath ragged, then looks at the ceiling, waiting, his hands still under Dean's shirt.
- Sam... upstairs... -
Right, Sam: he was so into what he and Cas were doing that he completely forgot about his brother; fuck it.
Dean nods and groans in frustration, reluctant to let go, but at the same time aware that it's the only thing he can do.
Silence fills the room again, the moment is broken and a slight awkwardness starts to creep in: Cas gently pulls him away, smiling, but nervous, patting his shoulder lightly like he wants to reassure him, but his touch feels so cold and so different from before.
It's like a different person is doing it and Dean almost wishes he hadn't.
They look at each other for a moment, then Cas just leaves, without looking back or saying anything.
Dean stares at his back, watches him leave and takes a deep breath: his body suddenly shivers in the night, hot as hell one moment, and cold the next.
He wait a few minutes to give Cas the time to lock himself in his own room, before going upstairs himself. He stop in front of Sam's room, open the door and looks at him, sleeping peacefully.
He should probably feel pissed at him for ruining everything, but doesn't: just smiles at his sleeping brother before closing the door without a sound.
Cas's door is closed, of course: for a moment he hoped to find it slightly open, a signal only for him, but he knows it was a long shot anyway.
The cold, lonely room welcomes him again at last.
Dean groans, an violent headache starting to circle his head painfully, and just falls on the bed, hoping to fall asleep as soon as possible, but knowing that there's almost no chance that's gonna happen.
Then he remembers the bottle of absinthe Cas left him that night: gets up again, uncovers him from the bag he left it and take a long sip.
He feels a bit better after that.