dean laughs

On Angels' Wings...

... for the love of a mortal

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And Trickster Makes Three, Part 2
dean cas
otp_destiel
Title: And Trickster Makes Three
Pairings: Dean/Castiel, Gabriel/Dean, Gabriel/Dean/Castiel & Gabriel/Castiel
Rating: NC-17
Spoilers: set early season 5, particularly "The Curious Case of Dean Winchester" & "Changing Channels", plus a minor little spoiler for some information we learn about angels in "Exile on Main Street".
Warnings: slash, AU, switch!Castiel, sub!Dean, bare backing, orgasm denial, Grace!sex, oral, het, dom!Gabriel, threesome, reference to previous gender bending, wing!fic, double penetration
Word Count: 51,385
Note: This fic was written for the deancasbigbang 2014. It is the third in the Trinity Trilogy and cannot be read on its own without reading the first two fics in the trilogy.
Summary: After Avalon, Dean is plagued by doubts about his role in his new relationship with Castiel and as he struggles to come to terms with it, he also has to deal with Sam asking questions and the little fact that there is an Apocalypse going on. So when Gabriel shows up, it does not make things any easier, but rather far more complex, especially when Dean starts to subconsciously remember his last meeting with the archangel.

Beta: aerilex

Artist: chemart - Art Masterlist

"Morning, sunshine!" Sam said a lot louder than his brother really needed to and Dean groaned.

"Go away," Dean mumbled, turning his head to face the other way.

"Nope, it's time to get up."

"Five more minutes."

Sam, the bastard, laughed. "No, if you wanted more sleep, then you should have thought of that last night before vanishing off to whatever bar you went to."

"What?"

"Oh, you didn't think I'd be able to guess where you went off to? Especially with the opened bottle of whisky that's magically appeared in our room this morning?"

Huh, Dean had obviously forgotten to put that away last night when Cas had returned him to his other motel room. Oops. Or, perhaps not, as it gave him the perfect alibi for why he hadn't been around last night when Sam had finally returned from whatever lead his brother had been chasing at the local library that was, clearly, special in some way. He hadn't asked too many questions as he really didn't care about the differences in libraries and he had promised to try and start trusting his brother again. He thought he'd done a pretty good job of that when he'd left Sam alone while vanishing off to Avalon with his lover for what turned out to be two and a half weeks, but clearly not from everything that his brother had said recently.

"It was something I had to do," Dean replied instead, which was strictly speaking true.

It wasn't his fault that Sam would assume that he was talking about the bar rather than what he had done. Just the mere thought of that was enough to make him close his eyes again and savor the newly strengthened bond with his lover which he could now feel pulsing lightly in the back of his mind and all along his soul. In fact, it took all of his effort not to start poking at it and toying with it, but since he didn't have the first clue as to what that might do or feel like, he knew enough not to do it while his little brother was in the room. No need to really traumatize the little bitch.

"Dean," Sam said pointedly.

"I'm up, I'm up," Dean replied, sitting upright and yawning loudly as he scratched his stomach.

"Jeez, what time did you get in anyway?"

"You probably don't want to know."

"You're such a pig."

"You need to get laid, man. Did you at least get some while we were separated?"

"Dean."

"Seriously?"

"I was trying to find myself, not get off."

"You can't do one without the other."

"No, maybe you can't, but some of us don't live with our minds perpetually in the gutter, Dean."

"It's called being repressed, Sammy."

And that got him the expected bitch face, which was totally worth the complaint that Dean just knew was coming. His brother had just opened his mouth to do so, when Dean's phone rang. Saved by the bell. He'd have to thank whoever was calling he thought as he reached for his cell where it lay on the night stand.

"Hey, Bobby, what can we do you for?" Dean asked, after glancing at the caller id and smiling.

"You boys need to head about sixty miles up north," Bobby stated.

"Well hello to you to, good to hear that everything's going so well. We're just dandy too in case you were wondering."

"Oh, did I hurt your feelings, boy? Do you need a hug to make up for it?"

"Wow, someone got up on the wrong side of the bed this morning."

"Give me the phone," Sam stated, stepping close.

"No, we're good," Dean replied, leaning away. "What's up north, Bobby?"

"A dead body."

"And?"

"And just get your ass up there and see for yourself. The guy's name is Xavier and he's still at the local coroner's office as they've called in the CDC."

"CDC, okay, got it. So how ar-" Dean began and then cut off as he got a beeping noise. "Hey, he hung up on me."

"I wonder why," Sam replied dryly.

"What?"

"You were snarky, Dean."

"Yeah, well, he started it."

"What are you, five?"

"Bite me, bitch."

"Get up and get dressed, jerk. We've got a hunt to check into."



It was just as he walked out of the fifth bar on his list that Dean's cell rang and he answered it without looking at the screen. "Yeah?"

"Your frustration is steadily increasing," Castiel stated.

"What?" Dean demanded before he felt the slight hint of worry coming across his new bond. "Oh, yeah, sorry."

"There is no need to apologize. Are you alright?"

The realization that it was now his lover calling him to check that he was alright made Dean stop in his tracks, nearly getting hit by the guy walking behind him. Muttering a quick apology, he stepped to the side to get out of everyone's way.

"Yeah, yeah, just coming up empty on a search."

"You are hunting."

"Yep, Bobby found us a case, some man-witch who's playing poker with people for years rather than money."

"Do you want me to assist you in finding him?"

Dean considered it for a moment. "Nah, that's okay, we've got a lead and you're probably in the middle of a search."

"I thought that you didn't believe my hunt would be productive."

"Doesn't mean that I'm not willing to explore every avenue. It's the Apocalypse, not exactly the time to be leaving any stone unturned."

"You believe God may be hiding under a stone?"

"What? No, it's just a metaphor, man," Dean laughed. "We've got to work on broadening your understanding of modern culture and pop references."

"If you deem it important."

"Yes, I deem it important! Can't have you never knowing who Luke Skywalker's father really is, now can I?"

"He is the farm boy you mentioned before, right?"

"Yep. So, do I want to know where in the world you are right now?"

"Machu Picchu."

"Bless you."

There was a sigh and Dean counted that as a win, Castiel never would have sighed even a few short weeks ago. "It's an ancient Inca site in Peru, Dean."

"Still trying the places the ninja angel and his posse wouldn't have thought to look?"

"Yes."

A beep made Dean pull his cell away from his ear so he could look at the screen. "Hey, Cas, that's Sam trying to reach me, I gotta go."

"Very well. Good luck hunting the man-witch."

"Thanks. And good luck finding Mr. Tortilla."

"I have told you, Dean, God is not on a flatbr-"

Dean had to laugh as he cut his lover off mid-word. Dominant in bed or not, his lover was just too easy sometimes.

"Hey, Sam," Dean said he accepted his brother's call while walking into the next bar along the road.

"Find anything?" Sam asked in lieu of a greeting.



Even with the anger and shock that Dean was still feeling over what Bobby had done and why (he'd just known that there was more going on with his friend than he'd wanted to see!), he didn't miss the way that Castiel responded when the man-witch said his spell over the chips. His lover might be partway around the world right now, but as his angel had promised, he was still aware of Cas. True, up until now it had been just a steady humming connection at the back of his mind, but aware nonetheless.

Now, however, it was a different story altogether. There was a wave of fury and possessiveness so strong that it made Dean dizzy and the only reason that it didn't show on his face or balance was due to decades of experience putting up a false front and the fact that he was sitting down. The reaction was so strong and powerful that at first he didn't feel the other, far darker touch to his meat suit. That one was slick and oily, reminding him of the corrupted touch of a demon topside outside of a host. He wanted to recoil from it, but he could already tell that wouldn't be possible as it clung to his own meat suit like a second skin.

It took Dean a second to figure out that it was the spell that the he-witch had just cast. Whatever the dark magic was, it was what would allow the bastard to steal some of his years should he lose this poker game. Even as he worked it out, Dean could already feel his angel's rapid approach and the sheer strength of Castiel's fury and possessiveness made it more than clear just what it was that his lover intended to do. The knowledge both touched and irritated him, though he had to admit that it was more for the former rather than the latter. It wasn't often that someone was so determined to come to his aide after all.

"Cas, no, wait!" Dean pleaded silently, throwing all of his willpower behind the call.

His lover was already really close, that much Dean could feel even if he couldn't yet translate the feeling into an actual physical distance.

"Mine!" Castiel hissed, possessiveness flowing across their bond.

"Yes, yes, yours," Dean agreed quickly. "Just give me ten seconds to help Bobby and then the he-witch is all yours."

Quickly Dean reached out and took the chips the man-witch had just enchanted and counted out twenty-five of them which he pushed to one side. "Twenty-five," he said, looking back up at the he-witch and indicating Bobby. "That's twenty-five years. They go to him, he's cashing out."

"Dean!" Bobby warned.

"Bobby."

"You sure?" the man-witch asked.

"Yes."

With that the he-witch nodded once and reached out towards the chips Dean had separated and said a second spell. They burst into flame before the ashes flew towards Bobby who suddenly looked like his old self again. Dean had a split second of intense relief before, with a soft flutter of wings, Castiel arrived and the table with all of the remaining chips were flung aside as if they were nothing more than a paper plate. Even though he'd known that his lover was about to appear in the room with them, even he jumped at Castiel's violent appearance. Even before the table and chips had fully settled on the floor, his angel stood in their original place, the witch held upright by the neck before him.

"Shit, Cas!" Dean exclaimed, jumping to his feet, sending his own chair flying backwards to clatter on the floor.

Bobby meanwhile cursed and managed to roll a few feet backwards in an impressively short space of time.

"No, impossible!" the he-witch gargled staring at Castiel with wide eyes. "Angels don't come down to Earth."

"What rock have you been hiding under?" Dean demanded. "They've been back for over a year."

"What? Why?"

"I thought witches were supposed to know about the Apocalypse," Dean said, looking at Bobby.

"He can hear all about it in Perdition," Castiel stated simply, raising his free hand.

Foreign words began to pour out of the man-witch's mouth and Dean stepped back instinctively from where he'd moved close. He needn't have worried though as his lover simply tightened his hold and choked them off. Clearly the witch tried something else, non-verbal, as he felt a small flash of pain along the bond that was immediately followed by annoyance.

"Your pathetic magic will not work on me, Patrick," Castiel intoned.

"Hey, Cas, before you smite him to Hell, maybe we should see if he's working this alone, huh?" Dean asked, not entirely sure that his lover would agree.

The sheer amount of anger and possessiveness flowing from Castiel was startling and left him in no doubt whatsoever as to exactly how angels dealt with those who tried to mess with their mates.

"He's right, Castiel," Bobby said. "This kind of witch can grant the years he's stolen to someone else."

Dean glanced at the older hunter sharply, but Bobby was studiously avoiding his gaze, focusing instead on Castiel. Like he was going to let that one fly. Not a chance in hell. As soon as they were done here, the two of them were going to have a little chat together, even if he had to put a stick in between the spokes of one of Bobby's wheels to do so.

When Dean looked back towards his lover, there was a weird sort of shimmer in the air between them, as if of movement of some kind, before Castiel relented and Dean silently thanked his angel.

"Why?" Patrick asked as he gasped desperately for air. "Why do... you... care?"

The question was aimed at his lover who turned slightly and pointed straight at Dean. "He's mine," was all that was said, but it was all that was needed apparently from the shock that lit up Patrick's eyes as the he-witch looked at him.

For his part, Dean felt shocked as well. He hadn't expected for Cas to come right out and say that and he could only hope that Bobby took it as his angel taking exception to his charge being messed with rather than anything else.

"I didn't know," Patrick stated. "I wouldn't have otherwise, but he approached me!"

"Look harder," Castiel hissed.

Dean nearly squirmed under the attention as Patrick turned his dark gaze back to him, though his hand went up to his shoulder automatically. That was a good thing though as the action caused some understanding to dawn on Bobby's otherwise very confused face.

"I'm sorry!" Patrick pleaded. "He can keep those twenty-five years and I'll release him from the other twenty-five."

"What, so you can do this to others? Hell no!" Dean snapped. "Fry him, Cas."

"No, I-" Patrick choked off to scream as Castiel brought his free hand down on his head and pressed.

At first Dean couldn't see anything happen, but then bright light began to shine from Patrick's eyes and mouth, growing in intensity until he had to shield his eyes and look away. A second later there was an even brighter flash and the screaming abruptly cut off as if a switch had been thrown. Blinking to clear the spots from his eyes, Dean looked back to find Patrick's body crumpled to the floor, eyes burned out and both face and body contorted in agony.

"Jeez," Dean muttered, his own eyes wide. "Remind me never to piss you off again."

"You could never make me that angry," Castiel stated simply.

"Good to know."

"What, so you can't heal me but you can do that?" Bobby demanded rather bitterly.

"Yes," was Castiel's only reply.

"Why?"

"I believe it is because angels are more likely to be cut off from Heaven while fighting demons and so Father put emphasis on smiting rather than healing."

That was one way of looking at it, Dean agreed silently. Another was that God just cared more about his angels' ability to fight than to heal. That He prioritized it that way.

"Great," Bobby muttered darkly before speaking up. "And what happened to trying to figure out if he had anyone else working with him?"

Dean blinked as he realized that he'd completely forgotten about that, which just really wasn't like him at all.

"It wasn't necessary to question him about that," Castiel replied. "For a nine hundred year old being, he was woefully unable to hide his thoughts from me and I was able to ascertain that he only had one accomplice, whom I shall deal with next."

"Thanks for your help here, Cas," Dean said, catching his lover's gaze and hoping that he was able to convey all that he couldn't say aloud that way.

Dean's mouth went dry and he had to will down an erection at the promise in his lover's blue eyes that he got in reply. That combined with the possessive intent that still flowed strong and clear over the bond told him in no uncertain terms he had better find an excuse to get away from Sam and Bobby tonight and get them a separate room.



"Thanks," Bobby said softly, before his voice got stronger. "Now are we done feeling our feelings, 'cause I'd like to be done with this conversation before we both start growing lady parts."

"Yeah, we're done," Dean replied, getting to his feet and moving a few steps away as he ran his hand over his face and tried to think of the best way to break the tension.

Luckily he was saved by the bell. Well, sorta. Only the bell was a door in this case. The one to their motel room which opened to reveal Sam carrying the dinner his brother had promised to pick up on the way back.

"Hey, Dean, d'you find anything?" Sam asked before starting in surprise. "Oh, hey, Bobby, what are you doing here?"

"Being an idiot, that's what," Dean answered. "Hunt's over, by the way."

"What? How?"

"Cas."

"Cas came here? Why?"

"Apparently he can sense when your brother's putting himself on the line," Bobby stated. "Came charging in like the proverbial guardian angel that he's most definitely not been before."

"Wait, you were playing the game?" Sam demanded, turning to him. "Dean, what the hell were you thinking?"

"That someone had to save Bobby from himself, that's what!" Dean retorted, catching his brother's eye and giving him a significant look.

"Save Bobby fr-" Sam began before his little brother clearly got it. "Oh. So Cas did what, exactly?"

"He smote the bastard and then flew off to take care of the accomplice."

"So it's over, just like that?"

"Yep."

"Well that's rather anticlimactic."

"You complaining, boy?" Bobby demanded.

"No, but it's not normally this quick and easy."

"Then count your lucky stars and leave it alone. Though I'd dearly like to know just what in the hell all of that was about your brother being Castiel's."

"What?" Sam asked.

"It's what he said to the man-witch."

"Hey, don't look at me," Dean complained, lying through his teeth. "How am I supposed to know what goes on in feather brain's head?"

"You don't suppose that the handprint scar actually has some kind of possessive or ownership connotations like Cas suggested it would for the fairies, do you?" Sam suddenly questioned.

"What? No!"

"What are you talking about?" Bobby demanded, brow furrowed beneath his cap.

"Well just before Dean and Cas went to Avalon-" Sam began.

"Okay, that's it, I'm outta here," Dean interrupted, grabbing his coat and heading for the door.

"But Dean."

"No, I've had more than enough talking for one day, I don't want to start growing those lady parts Bobby was on about earlier."

"What?"



Not wanting anyone to even consider them peripherally related to the (for the cops at least) inexplicable the death of Patrick and his accomplice, Dean had insisted that they leave town as quickly as possible the following morning and Bobby had agreed. They'd driven the few hundred miles north together before separating as Bobby went west in order to return home while Dean took himself and Sam east to an old abandoned house that he'd used in the past with Dad. The two of them had come back to it more than once because it was set away from the road in the forest just enough so that no one would notice them there even if they brought along a small power generator, but it was also close enough to town for them to be able to drive in and get their meals. Plus the plumbing still worked if you were willing to pump up water from an old well at the edge of the clearing around the house.

The reason that Dean headed for it now was because he'd seen the look that had crossed his brother's face when Sam had been forced to dismantle his little art project before his brother was finished with it. Though he didn't think that much good would come of it, he also didn't think that it could hurt either and if it made Sam happy (or at least content as he didn't think that his brother could do happy at the moment), then he was willing to go along with it. He just didn't want to have to worry about upsetting some motel owner and besides, he'd rather not have to sleep with all of those angel and God eyes watching him as they'd done at the last place.

Those drawings were frigging creepy in the near dark.

So the abandoned house it was where Sam could put up his collage in the spare rooms to his heart's content while Dean would be able to secure his usual room all for himself. And if he secretly hoped that his brother would vanish off to the local internet cafe long enough for him to invite Cas over to help him 'christen' the mattress, then no one was the wiser. Not that he was sure whether his angel would go along with it as his lover seemed to enjoy whisking him off to fancy pansy places, though the feel of the thousand count sheets and the sinfully soft mattress generally found there tended to still any protests he might have made unuttered in his throat.

Which was how he ended up here, sitting on the dilapidated back porch of the place, listening to the birds and all of that crap. They'd arrived so late that all Dean had wanted to do was crash and ignore all of his brother's complaints about the place. Prissy bitch had gotten spoiled at Stanford and even nearly four and a half years on it still sometimes showed. Not that Sam had ever been particularly pleased with staying in these types of places to begin with.

All of which though true wasn't what had brought Dean out here in the first place. No, that had been the dream that he'd had. The wonderful, blissful, terrifying dream. True, the latter hadn't really kicked in until after he'd woken, but it still applied nonetheless. For what did it say about him that he submitted so readily to Castiel that it happened even in his dreams, where his own fantasies should rule supreme? Did that mean that he really was like that? That he really wanted it so bad?

Dean hated feeling this way. So... uncertain.

He wasn't used to it.

No, normally he was always confident, knowing what was the right thing to do. So this current indecision was hell.

And the fact that he felt like he was betraying Cas with it only made Dean feel worse. But it wasn't that, not really. Yeah, sure, the whole gay thing was one hell of a surprise after years of thinking that he was straight, but he could live with that. He'd never put much stock in being normal after all, unlike Sam. But it was just the... the...

Submission.

Even distracted as he was, Dean didn't miss the approaching footsteps or the soft creak of the old screen door opening behind him. His father had drilled situational awareness into his sons far too well for him to ever lose touch of his surroundings like that, even with the emotional crisis he was pondering. Luckily he'd recognize his sasquatch brother's tread anywhere and so had no need to look behind him to see who was coming. Not that there should be anyone else around.

"Beer," Sam said, sitting down beside Dean, the opened bottle held out to him proving that it wasn't a question.

Dean accepted the bottle even as he looked at his watch. Uh oh, it was hardly even past noon, which meant that something had to be up for his little brother to not only be breaking out the alcohol, but plying him with it too.

"What?" Dean demanded, taking a swig and appreciating the coolness of it as it went down his throat.

Sam huffed at his forthrightness.

"What, you think you can sneak one past me?" Dean asked, amused. "If so, you need to learn the delicate art of subtlety, Sammy. Now spill."

"Actually that's what I want you to do."

"Huh?" Dread settled in the pit of Dean's stomach.

"Don't play dumb with me, Dean. It won't work," Sam paused before continuing much more quietly. "At least not anymore."

Dean's eyes shot over to look at his brother, swallowing at the knowledge he saw there. It made him feel naked in a way, to know that he couldn't hide the way he once had from his brother. And for that to come out right when Sam was asking about Cas, even if only unknowingly so... well that really made him feel vulnerable. As if he hadn't already had enough of that lately.

He quickly looked away. "I don't know what you're talking about."

Sam sighed. "Look, Dean, it's more than obvious that you've got something on your mind. At first I figured that it was none of my business or that you'd tell me if it was important."

"So what changed?"

"Nothing. Well, that and I remembered this is you we're talking about and that you might never come to me with it unless I pushed."

This time it was Dean's turn to huff. His little brother wasn't wrong about any of that.

"Look, Dean, I know that things haven't exactly been good between us for a while now," Sam began and Dean snorted at the understatement. "And I know that's mostly my fault what with Ruby and Stanford and all. But I'm sorry, okay! I'm sorry and I want for things to change."

"Change? To what?" Dean asked, genuinely curious now.

"I don't know. A few years ago I'd have known exactly what to say, but look how that turned out."

"That doesn't mean that it can't work," Dean replied. "At least not with a few well-chosen and well placed protections and precautions."

"I suppose. But I've changed what I want."

"Yeah?"

"Yeah."

The chick flick nature of the conversation was making Dean uncomfortable, but it was better than the direction his own thoughts had been taking. Not that he thought for a second that his brother had forgotten his original intent on joining him out here. No, Sammy was like a dog with a bone once he got an idea into his head. Hence the whole Ruby fiasco.

With a sigh, Dean hung his head for a second before looking at his brother and biting the bullet. "And what would that be?"

"You."

"What?"

This time his confusion was genuine and Dean could tell the second that Sam got that too as his brother's face fell a little before a determined expression took its place.

Uh oh.

"I want you in my life," Sam stated, speaking clearly so that there could be no room for misinterpretation.

Dean felt his throat close up at the words, unable to believe what he was hearing.

"I'm done with this whole breaking away and cutting off all ties crap," Sam continued, using Dean's shock to get it all out. "And while I'd like to settle down somewhere more permanently if we survive this Apocalypse, I'd like to keep hunting."

"You would?" Dean questioned in disbelief, latching onto the safest part of his brother's speech.

"Let's just say that being compared to Lucifer has made me rethink a few things."

"Sam-" Dean began in protest.

"Dean, it's okay, I know that it's only partially accurate, but they're right in a lot of what they said."

"Angels are douches," Dean spat.

"Look, I'm just saying that the fact that they could draw any kind of comparison between me and Lucifer forced me to take another look at a few things."

"And you decided that you do like hunting after all?" Dean demanded in disbelief.

"No, I realized how much I enjoyed helping people. And how I had a responsibility to do so given that I know what's out there. Besides, you like it."

"What's that got to do with anything?"

"Dean," Sam glared. "I just said that I don't want to lose contact with you anymore. And it's not like you're going to give up hunting for a normal life."

Dean snorted. "Not a chance in hell."

"Yeah, I realized that you really want that too," Sam smiled.

"Realized? What the hell did you think I meant before all those times I scoffed at stopping?"

"That you were just following Dad's lead and hadn't really thought about it for yourself."

There was a bitter and unfortunately very familiar taste in Dean's mouth. "Gee, thanks."

"Sorry," Sam apologized. "I was so convinced that I was right that I never bothered to look any further."

Dean snorted. "You mean you were self-righteous."

"Yes."

His brother's easy agreement to his less than kind words startled Dean and he turned a little so that he could really look at Sam. What he saw not only further surprised him, but made him uncomfortable as well. He really hated chick flick moments.

"Well good, so now stop doing it and we're all good."

Bitch face number two. Not quite the one that he'd been aiming for, but it would do. It wasn't like Dean'd had any real hopes of getting out of where this particular conversation was going so easily.

"You should be careful, you never know if one day your face will freeze like that," Dean said, just to break the silence. "Then you'd really never get laid."

"I'm not five, Dean, things like that won't scare me anymore."

"More's the pity. You were so gullible once."

"Yeah, not for long with you as a big brother."

"That's cause I was doing my job."

Sam gave a quick laugh. "That's one way of looking at it."

"Don't."

"Another way would be-"

"I don't want to hear it, Sammy."

"Don't call me Sammy, it's Sam."

"Not to me."

"You're such a jerk."

"And you're such a little bitch."

The next swig of beer tasted far better than those that had come before it and Dean leaned back against the porch step, leaning his arm on the top step and letting his legs sprawl out before him. The silence that followed was nice and companionable with only the occasional birdsong to break it. His little brother was a comfortable presence at his side and all that was missing to make it perfect was his angel.

"What's been bothering you so much lately, Dean?" Sam finally asked softly, an indeterminate amount of time later.

"Sam..."

"No really, man, I want to help. It's clearly been troubling you."

Relaxation gone, Dean leaned forwards to rest his elbows on his knees, dangling his now empty beer bottle from the fingers of one hand while he rubbed the other over his face and through his hair.

"I doubt you want to hear this," Dean tried again.

"Try me."

This time Dean laughed a little. "Don't say that I didn't warn you."

"Does it have something to do with what happened in Avalon?" Sam asked.

It really shouldn't surprise Dean that his little brother had worked that much out on his own already. They practically lived in each other's back pockets and Sam was anything but dumb.

"Yeah, in a way it started there," Dean admitted, hardly able to believe that he'd actually spoken.

"Okay, so what happened?"

There was no possible way that Sam could be as calm as he sounded, but Dean couldn't bring himself to look over to check. If he was going to do this (and he so wasn't even sure that he would!), then he couldn't do it while looking at his little brother. Not only because of the reaction that he feared that he'd see there, but also because he just knew that he wouldn't be able to get the words out. Hell, even doing it like this would be difficult.

"I... we...," Dean began.

"We? Do you mean you and Cas?" Sam probed gently.

A small part of Dean's mind registered how his baby brother was treating him like some fragile victim and he hated it, but the rest of him actually felt that vulnerable just now, which was even worse. Why the hell was he feeling like this anyway? He'd never felt like this while with Cas, not even when his angel was at his most domineering. No, that was easy and... and... almost natural.

And just how the hell could that be? How was it even possible that he, Dean Winchester, feared hunter, Righteous Man and eldest son of John Winchester, could think that was natural?

"Dean?" Sam inquired a little more forcefully and Dean realized how tense he'd gotten.

This was a great beginning to this particular conversation, though right about how well that Dean had always known that it would go. Hence one of the many reasons that he'd held off on telling his little brother about himself and Cas. While he didn't like lying to Sam, the thought of actually coming right out and telling the sasquatch had just always seemed even worse.

"We're... in Avalon we," Dean began again before he cursed himself silently for his own cowardice. "We're together."

Sam's brow furrowed. "Together?"

"Yeah."

"What do you mean you're together?"

Oh God, his brother really couldn't be that thick, could he? Dean wouldn't have thought it possible, but maybe that was because this was coming so completely out of left field for all of them.

"We're together, you know," Dean expanded with a little wave of his hand. "Together, together."

"To-" Sam began before his eyes widened. "Oh, you're- Holy shit!"

Yep, his brother definitely got it now.

"Oh my God, you and Cas? Since when? Avalon?"

"Yeah," Dean confirmed, eyes darting briefly to look at his brother's face before they skittered away again.

What he'd seen wasn't enough for Dean to be able to fully tell what Sam felt as the only emotion on his little brother's face was shock. Complete and utter shock. The silence that fell between them as Sam processed that little tidbit of information wasn't exactly comfortable, but Dean wasn't altogether sure that he'd prefer less of it right now as that would mean more talking and things were awkward enough as they were without adding more to it.

"I... uh," Sam finally began a few minutes that felt like eons later. "I didn't know that you were bi."

Dean snorted. Trust his brother to have a proper label and category for his newfound sexuality. He'd never really seen the point of them himself. People liked who they liked, end of. But if the labels and categories helped Sammy, then who was he to argue with them?

"Yeah, well, join the club," Dean replied wishing that he had more beer.

"You didn't know?"

"Nope."

"So how did you figure it out?"

"Really, Sam?"

"Well you're not exactly the most emotionally aware person that I know, Dean."

He scowled despite the accuracy of that particular statement. "Cas shoved me against a wall, okay?"

"Cas sh- oh, okay, I get it."

"Do you?"

"Yeah, I think so," Sam responded, taking a swig of his beer. "Are you happy?"

"What?"

"Are you happy? You know, do you like being with Cas?"

"Yes."

The word was out of Dean's mouth even before he'd really thought about it and he was sure that his brother would note the speed of his reaction and know it to be genuine.

"Okay, so what's the problem?" Sam finally asked, somewhat awkwardly.

The emotion made Dean smile despite himself. If only Sam knew. Well, he had warned his little brother, so Sam really couldn't complain that he'd been scarred for life afterwards. Eyes wide shut and all of that.

"Uh... well..." Dean began, toying with the label of the bottle he still held. "Apparently angels aren't as... eh... abstinent as we've been led to believe."

Sam frowned. "You mean angels in general and not just Cas?"

"Yeah."

"Wow. I did not see that one coming."

Dean snorted. "Me neither."

"Oh, God."

"What?"

"Does that mean... Uriel?"

The mere thought made Dean blanch and he glared at his brother. "I so did not need that particular mental image."

"You and me both," Sam replied with a shudder. "So, besides Uriel, isn't that a good thing?"

Dean's eyes immediately skittered away again and he suddenly realized that he'd peeled off most of the beer bottle's label.

"Well... eh... see..."

"I don't think I can recall the last time that you were so tongue tied," Sam teased, though Dean could hear a note of discomfort underneath it.

"Fine," Dean bit out. "They have their own set of... rules, I guess."

"Rules?"

"Think power play, but instead of it being merely play, it just is. Like it's a part of them."

"Wait, you mean instinctual? Power play?" Sam questioned, incredulous.

"Yeah."

"Holy shit."

Dean snorted. "Welcome to my world."

The words came out slightly bitter and Dean felt bad as soon as he said them. If it were all bad then he'd know exactly what to do and not be stuck in limbo as he currently was. It was the fact that it was so fucking unbelievably good most of the time that it was an issue. Even now, the mere thought of the last time he'd been with Cas would be enough to make him hard despite the fact that his brother was sitting right next to him.

Which he didn't.

Not really.

Fuck.

Dean was pretty sure that the only reason he got away with shifting to get into a more comfortable position was because his brother was also shifting in discomfort and embarrassment. Ha, take that, he couldn't help but crow silently, though he didn't get nearly as much enjoyment out of it as he would have if it had been caused by any topic other than their current one.

"I don't... eh... what I mean..." Sam stammered.

The temptation was great just to get up and walk away and Dean wasn't entirely sure why he didn't. Maybe it had to do with the fact that he just knew that his brother wasn't going to give this up so easily, no matter how uncomfortable it made Sam to talk about it. Or maybe, just maybe, it was because he had been trying to wrap his head around this for a while now and all that he'd gotten for his efforts was an ever increasing level of frustration.

"I'd have thought that you'd have already... experimented with power play," Sam suddenly blurted.

Oh. Fuck.

"It's not that simple," Dean responded, resolutely looking ahead at some point in the distance. "It's... ingrained, not chosen like with us."

"Yeah, you said."

Dean ran his free hand through his hair again. How best to explain?

"It's literally power play. So if an archangel and a... seraph were together, the archangel would be the dom, because they're... you know."

"More powerful?" Sam offered, brow furrowed.

"Yep."

It took a moment or two and Dean wasn't used to his brother being so slow, but he took it as a compliment in a way. Well either that or that small part of him was right and this was wrong.

The moment the thought crossed his mind, Dean wanted to reject it. Violently. That in and of itself made him pause. Up to now, Dean had been so focused on thinking of this mostly in terms of the whole submission thing on his part that he hadn't quite stopped to think of it overall, which, clearly, he couldn't think too badly of or not for long anyway. Which said a lot. So why the hell was he still so hung up on any of it at all?

The urge to call out to Castiel was surprisingly strong and Dean had to bite it back. How could he have that instinct be so strong and clear when he also had an almost equally strong instinct to protest the submission?

Well, at least when he wasn't with Cas. When he was... well, thinking (instinctively or otherwise) kinda went right out of the window.

"Oh," Sam finally said, eyes wide. "Oh."

Dean snorted. "Yeah."

"I see."

Somehow Dean highly doubted that, but he saw no need to share any further details. Let his brother picture whatever soft core version of power play that Sam might once have flirted with. There was no need for his brother to know the full extent of his submission to Castiel.

Not that he was going to think of that himself. Not just now anyway.

"Eh... well," Sam began, shifting before clearing his throat. "What I mean is... do you not like... that?"

Dean's eyes dropped and he realized that he was still holding the empty beer bottle so he let it fall and leaned forwards to rest his elbows on his knees, rubbing his hands over his face. "Sam."

"Well, it makes a difference. If you don't like it, then stop or tell Cas. But if you do... well, then what's the problem?"

"What's the problem?" Dean repeated in disbelief, finally turning his head to look at his brother again.

"Well, yeah," Sam shifted uncomfortably once more. "So?"

Dean hid his face in his hands again, not believing that they were actually having this conversation. "It depends."

"On what?"

"The time."

"Huh?"

"Fuck. Okay, look, when I'm with Cas," Dean pulled a face even muttering the words. "It's... I'm good. It's afterwards that..."

"That you get mopey and broody?" Sam shot back.

"Shut up, bitch."

"Make me, jerk."

The familiar exchange helped soothe Dean's nerves and he wondered if his brother had maneuvered him there on purpose. He wouldn't put it past Sammy to do so.

"I need another beer, do you want one?" Sam asked, but his little brother was already up and gone before Dean could reply.

He blinked, just staring at the empty spot that his brother had occupied only seconds before and Dean wondered what the hell had just happened. If it hadn't been for the length of this conversation already or the fact that he knew his brother better than that, he'd say that Sam was homophobic. Maybe it was the rest of the conversation and revelations that had just been too much. Dean wouldn't fault his brother for that.

"Okay," Sam said a few minutes later when he returned with two more opened bottles. "Let me see if I've got this straight. You and Cas are together; Cas, like all angels, has a built in power play instinct that means that he wants to be dominant in bed; and you're fine with this when you're together but not afterwards."

"Yeah, sounds about right," Dean groaned, closing his eyes, still not quite able to believe that any of this was real.

Someone just shoot him now.

The silence that followed made Dean tempted to get up and walk away again, so he took a large gulp of beer instead, not really tasting it. Part of him wanted to trade the bottle he held in for one of Jack Daniels, but the rest of him was actually curious as to what his brother would say. Now that Sam had returned and was waiting beside him once more, some of his fears had vanished. Instead he just wanted to know what Sam would come up with. He couldn't even begin to guess what was going on in his little brother's big head at the best of times, now... Now he was just completely clueless.

Finally Sam laughed.

Dean reared back as if sucker punched and his brother's good humor vanished in an instant, a stricken expression crossing his face instead.

"Crap, no, that's not what I meant!" Sam blurted out. "Shit, Dean, no, not at all!"

Dean swallowed. "Then what?"

"It was just the irony of this and what you said earlier of not having any desire to be normal."

"What?"

"Think about it, Dean. The fact that you don't mind when you and Cas are... you know, but that it's afterwards that it bothers you shows what's happening."

"It does?" Dean asked, resolutely ignoring what his brother might be thinking of when Sam had waved his hand and said 'you know'.

The absolute last thing that Dean needed was for his little brother to start picturing him and Cas together. Especially now that Sam knew the truth of their relationship.

"Yeah. You're letting society's norms get to you."

"What are you on about now, college boy?"

Sam scowled at him. "The whole idea that a macho guy needs to top."

Dean blanched at his brother's words. "Dude!"

"Well it's true and speaking of it in allusions isn't going to get it through that thick skull of yours."

"Hey!"

Instead of replying, his brother merely raised his eyebrows and Dean scowled. An uneasy silence settled between them for a few moments before Sam sighed.

"Seriously. If you don't care about being normal and having a normal life, then why the hell do you care about what is considered normal or right by everyone else?"

"I don't!"

"Really? So why all of this brooding? If you don't mind and like it while with Cas, then what's the problem?"

He'd already opened his mouth to reply before Dean realized that he didn't really have an answer to that. Why was it bothering him? Was it really because of what Sam said? That it was because it wasn't what everyone else thought of as normal?

Dean took another swig of beer as he thought about it. He'd not really considered where it was that his unsettled feelings came from. But it was as his little brother said. Whenever he was with his angel, it never really bothered him. Hell, not only did it feel right, but he loved it! There was just something about having Castiel take charge that felt intensely right and... liberating. It was just... Dean bit his lower lip as he tried to put another word to it. Natural? Easy? Enjoyable? Exactly what he needed?

He didn't quite know, he just knew that it was.

"Look, Dean, if it's what happened with me and Ruby that's what's bothering you, then let it go," Sam stated. "Cas isn't Ruby, not by a long shot. Not only that, but he's crazy about you. Sure, I'll be the first to admit that I didn't see this coming, but it makes so much sense now that I think about it."

"It does?"

"You have no idea. Dude, Cas has always been drawn to you and you to him. The way the two of you gravitate to each other makes so much more sense now, it really does. Especially with the way the two of you stare at each other at times."

"Huh," Dean said.

He'd never really given much thought to what his angel's seeming inability to respect his personal space looked like to anyone else. As for the staring thing, well Dean could admit that he knew what his brother was talking about. As girly as it sounded, he had gotten lost staring into those almost unnaturally blue eyes in the past.

"Hell, I'm pretty sure that Cas would do anything for you if you really needed it," Sam continued. "Which, with anyone else, would be really scary."

"You saying that you don't think I'll take advantage of that?"

"For the odd prank? Sure, it's you and you're a kid at heart."

"Hey!"

There were the raised eyebrows again. "But for anything else, anything serious? No, not a chance."

Any irritation that Dean might have felt with the first comment faded with the second and he didn't know what to say. Even without all of the tension and strain between them as of late, that was a huge thing to say and he felt his throat tighten.

"Thanks."

"Look, I know I've given you hell at times, but when it comes right down to it, I can kinda see why you're the Righteous Man."

"Kinda, huh?"

"Can't let your ego get too big, now can I," Sam shot back with a smile.

"Thanks."

Sam laughed. "I mean it, man. Aside from the occasional wrong assumption like with Lenore, there's not much that can keep you from doing what you think is the right thing. And unlike me, you're usually right about what that actually is."

Okay, now they were well and truly into chick flick territory and Dean felt thoroughly discomforted and completely at a loss as to what to say. Normally he was sure that he'd have a witty comeback for his little brother, but he still felt raw from their earlier topic of conversation and hadn't quite found his footing again.

"Look, I'm going to the coffee house for internet access, but think about it, okay? And, remember, the people that matter to you won't care."

Dean shot his brother a look before his eyes widened as a new thought occurred to him.

"That includes Bobby," Sam stated, pointing a finger at him.

"But-" Dean began.

"Dude, you saw his place when you got back from Hell."

His mouth snapped shut as Dean remembered the liquor bottles everywhere and the sheer agony he'd seen in the older hunter's eyes the few times that the topic had come up.

Clearly Sam saw whatever his brother had wanted to see in his eyes as the sasquatch got up and left Dean alone. He remained where he was and rubbed his free hand through his hair before finishing his beer and putting the bottle aside.

Already he felt a lot better than he had before and Dean wasn't quite sure what to make of that. It wasn't like all of his problems had been magically solved, or any other nonsense like that, but he definitely felt better and lighter. Some of it he knew without a shadow of a doubt was due to what Sam had said about his brother's own plans for the future as the knowledge that he wasn't just going to lose Sammy as soon as this whole Apocalypse fiasco (he was not going to think of it in terms of if!) was over, was a huge relief.

But that most definitely wasn't all of it. Not by a long shot. Although Dean could honestly say that he didn't quite know what to make of what Sam had said about his trying to judge himself and his behavior while with Cas against a 'normal' yardstick, the mere possibility was clearly enough to give him some hope. Then the bond shivered and Dean raised his eyes to see his angel standing a short distance away, watching him.

"Hey, Cas," Dean greeted, getting to his feet.

"Dean," Castiel replied, a pensive look on his face.

That changed as soon as Dean got close enough and he was pulled in for a kiss. As soon as Castiel's arms closed around him, Dean felt some more of his unease fade away. It was odd and he wasn't sure what he thought of it, but he did always feel safer when this close to his lover.

It was a feeling that he hadn't felt in a long time.

Not since he was four years old in fact. That feeling of safety made Dean bury his face into Castiel's neck after the kiss. His angel's arms tightened around him and Dean slowly felt the rest of his tension fading away.

He wasn't sure how long they stood there, but Dean was really thankful Castiel didn't press him and seemed content to just hold him for now. When he did finally pull back it was to instantly be drawn into one of the stares that Sam had mentioned earlier. It felt nice, though, comforting to be the center of his lover's intense gaze and attention and he was more than content to just remain as he was.

"You're feeling better," Castiel finally said, breaking the silence.

"Yeah," Dean nodded, stepping back. "Sam just gave me a new perspective or something that's been bothering me."

"About us."

There was no recrimination in Castiel's voice, nor was there any anger. It was an observation and nothing more. Or at least not that Dean could tell anyway.

"It's just that it's..."

"Not like a normal human relationship, I know."

"You do?"

"Of course. It is why I had not said anything before as I hadn't thought that you'd be interested."

"Wait, you'd been thinking of us like this before Avalon?" Dean asked, startled.

Sure, Cas had mentioned that he'd felt attracted to him, but Dean knew there was a huge difference between that and this.

"Yes."

"How long before?"

"Since I first saw your soul in Hell."

"Since you first..." Dean trailed off, stunned. "You mean the whole time?"

"Yes."

"Jesus."

The whole time, that meant... Dean could hardly wrap his head around that even if it did something odd to him to know that his lover had wanted him for so long but had held back out of consideration for him and his feelings. Not knowing what to say, Dean looked into his lover's eyes once more, knowing that Cas could often read more in his eyes then he was usually comfortable with. Right now, however, it could save him from having to figure out how to say what he was feeling aloud.

The way that Castiel's face softened made Dean pretty sure that his message had gotten across and he smiled.

"May I take you somewhere?" Castiel asked, raising two fingers.

"Sure," Dean replied, pulling out his phone. "Just give me a moment to let Sam know so that he doesn't freak when he returns to find me gone."

Message sent, Dean felt the by now familiar disorientation of angel flight before he opened his eyes to a savanna like view overlooked by the pale purple and red tinged sky of dusk.

"Dude, are we in Africa?" Dean demanded, looking about in amazement and spotting a herd of zebra off in the distance and what looked like antelope.

"Yes."

"Why?"

"Because I fear that I may have misjudged the impact of the... nature of our relationship on you," Castiel explained. "After Avalon and the ease with which you responded to me there, I may have incorrectly assumed that my initial fears were without merit."

"Yeah? And what gave you the impression that you were wrong on that?"

"The alcohol."

Dean rolled his eyes at his lover's continued inability to recognize sarcasm. "Look, Cas, I wasn't kidding with what I mentioned earlier. Sam's given me a new perspective on things and I don't regret anything that we've done, okay?"

"But your submission still bothers you."

"Yeah, it's a new side of myself that I hadn't even realized was there. That's always a bit unsettling, Cas."

"Submission with a mate doesn't alter who you are, Dean. It is not a trait that will bleed over to the rest of your life. You will still be as stubborn and hardheaded should Michael or Zachariah appear before you."

"Good. And thanks," Dean paused and frowned. "I think."

Castiel smiled and Dean couldn't help but notice how different it made his angel look. It almost seemed to make his lover look years younger and he suddenly couldn't help but wonder what Cas would look like in other clothes. Especially his clothes.

"So, Africa?" Dean prompted before his thoughts wandered too far and he got worked up.

While he was all for outdoor sex, he'd really rather not learn the perils of doing it in the middle of the freaking savanna the hard way, thank you very much.

"Yes, we are standing on the spot where the first human hunter killed her first supernatural creature," Castiel explained.

"What, seriously? Right here?"

"Yes."

"Wow."

Dean would be the first to admit that history so wasn't his thing. But this? This was so cool.

"The first hunter ever?"

"Yes."

"Was she hot?"

Castiel gave him a look. "She was a fierce human, avenging the death of her family."

"Oh, yeah. Generally hunters don't enter the fold without some incident. How long ago was this?"

"More millennia than you could comprehend."

Dean laughed. "Fair enough. What happened to her?"

"She hunted for many years, teaching others so that they could protect or avenge their loved ones. And, when she eventually died, she went to Heaven where she remains to this day."

"Eventually?" Dean asked. "You mean she wasn't killed off young? Even though she was the first hunter?"

"She may have been the first, but she had an advantage most hunters since haven't possessed."

"And that was?"

"Angelic protection."

Dean's head snapped away from inspecting their surroundings to look back at his lover. "Wait, there were angels involved back then as well?"

"It was before we were forbidden from interfering on Earth. Before the Rebellion even."

"Rebellion?" Dean questioned before his eyes went wide. "You mean Lucifer."

"Yes."

"Crap, that was long ago."

Castiel smiled sadly. "You didn't think that humans would have just let themselves be preyed upon for long, did you?"

"No, but most people have no clue of what's out there and somehow manage to write it off even if they do see something."

"That willful inability to see the truth is a recent development in humanity. At least to this extent. Back then, humans were much more aware of the supernatural and of what was out there."

"Oh. So was this girl, woman, the first of all hunters today?"

"No, there were others elsewhere who started hunting without contact from her or one of her disciples or their students, but they are not important now."

The tone of his lover's voice told Dean that there was more to this then immediately met the eye. "So what was it about her that made her so important?"

"The fact that she was a lot like you," Castiel replied.

"Dude, are you saying I'm like a chick?" Dean asked, voice full of laughter.

That earned him a head tilt as Dean had known that it would. Cas could clearly sense that he was amused, but it would conflict with his lover's initial reading of his words.

"I'm saying you're like the first hunter," Castiel finally replied carefully.

Dean laughed at that. His angel was learning and being diplomatic. Hedging his bets.

"Yeah, okay, I get it," Dean replied, looking around before focusing all of his attention on his lover. "I get it, Cas, I really do. Between my conversations with Sam and with you I think I've figured a few things out, it just might take a little while for it to all sink in properly. Until then, I want you to know that no matter how much I may struggle with this, I don't regret starting this relationship with you, okay?"

Castiel responded by holding out an arm and Dean didn't hesitate for a split second before moving into the hug. He couldn't deny that he'd always been quick to want to pull those he cared about close to him so if one of them initiated it, well he'd damn well respond to it.



Part 3

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