Anyway, while it stopped at a logical endpoint (The Happy Ending), I always knew I'd want to write more, because these are not dudes who have an overabundance of relationship skills, and also seasons 11 and 12 are my favorites. So yeah, sequel. Two seasons of socially maladjusted dudes with no relationship experience trying to figure out how to be a couple, and also there's Lucifer. Gross, I know, but canon. I fucking love this universe, I don't know what else to say.
Our Little World
“I'll look into the lore,” Sam says, a fairly transparent excuse to flee the room. They all know there is no lore on this – entity, whatever it is. Whatever she is.
Cass can't hold it against him. Sam has been extraordinarily gracious, over the years, about being made an unwilling party to arguments much like this one – arguments that have little if anything to do with him. It was probably awkward enough before the arguments became...
Lovers' quarrels. Cass supposes one might call them.
So now it's just the two of them, alone in the war room. Cass frowns down at Dean's hand where it rests on the back of a chair, and he wants....
Nothing. He doesn't want anything. He's just tired.
Dean straightens his back with a little huff and says briskly, “Come on. I don't want to do this here.”
Cass isn't sure what this is, but for his own part he'd be surprised if he wanted to do it at all, anywhere. Dean, however, appears to want just that, and so Cass follows him.
He's so tired, and there is, quite distressingly literally, still blood on his hands.
Dean holds the door of his room open for Cass, and closes it behind both of them once they're inside. The room has a sink, and all Cass can think about is the blood--
is all the blood –
--and so he's grateful for the opportunity to clean himself up. He turns the hot water on and then the cold water, both with his less-sore left hand, and runs his thumb over his knuckles under the stream. The blood is mainly Metatron's, but when he nudges, he discovers there are small folds of disconnected skin lying loosely over exposed red meat in his right hand.
He's surprised he had the strength to injure himself.
He isn't surprised he had the strength to injure Metatron. Cass seems to have a special genius for assaulting angels.
Former angels. There's a fine but critical distinction... isn't there?
How, he wonders, do you know which one you are? How do you know it with certainty?
“Are you okay?” Dean says. Cass looks over at him and blinks; Dean is hovering closer to Cass' side than he realized, one hesitant hand raised as if he's considering touching Cass' arm. “You hurt your hand,” Dean says, in a soft, gruff voice that Cass is beginning to recognize as...personal. A voice he reserves for Cass, or at least for...people he cares for the way he cares for Cass.
“It doesn't really hurt,” Cass says. “It's just annoying. I should be able to heal it.”
“You will,” Dean says. “You're getting there.” Cass nods, gazing into his own eyes in the mirror. “Hey,” Dean says, softer still. He makes his decision at last, pressing his palm to Cass' arm, curling his fingers loosely. He leans in a little, and Cass ducks his head and turns a little, and he thinks maybe – this time, maybe it'll be – easy.
It's not. The delicate sound of the water he left running distracts him, and he seizes the excuse to pull away, to turn back to the sink and turn it off. “Christ,” Dean mutters under his breath, and Cass doesn't blame Dean for being frustrated, he really doesn't at all, but he also very much does not need the reminder of who is causing the problems in this relationship.
You are broken – scarred deep--
“Let me try to understand,” Cass hears himself snap. “I should not interpret you yelling at me in front of Sam to mean that you don't expect to have sex with me afterwards.”
It's a terrible thing to say, both unkind and untrue. He knows that. He knows.
You thought if you could get your grace back it would help fix you....
“Yeah,” Dean says with a sharp laugh caught between his teeth. “Because you haven't wanted me to touch you for two weeks, but I was pretty sure this was the night we were gonna tear each other's clothes off and bone down. Can't you feel the romance in the air?”
“Do you have to make a joke out of everything?” Cass grumbles. He doesn't know why he can't stop scratching at Dean, why he... why things are... why he's been so....
...help fix you, but it hasn't.
“Look, nobody's forcing you--” Dean begins, but whatever he hears himself about to say seems to trouble him, and he lapses into a moment of silence. Cass waits until Dean clears his throat and says in an uncertain voice Cass scarcely recognizes at all, “If you've changed your mind about all this, you can just say that. It's okay, we're-- We'd still be-- You know. Friends.”
He's trying to be kind. Cass knows what kindness looks like on Dean. He knows.
He knows he doesn't deserve Dean's kindness, and for some complicated, far-too-human reason, it seems that he wants very much for Dean to know that, too. “I'm sorry I haven't been as accessible to you as you imagined I'd be, but I've been ill.”
“Yeah, I fucking know that,” Dean says. He's raising his voice now, and it comes as a relief to Cass; he couldn't explain why. “Who do you think's been protecting you this whole time? Sam wanted you back in the field as soon as you could stagger from your room to the kitchen and back, I'm the one who said you should get all the time you needed, so don't act like I-- Fuck, Cass, this isn't even – you know this. You know me better than this.”
True. “This isn't – an ideal situation for me, either,” Cass says. Even he isn't sure if it's an apology.
What are Cass' apologies worth? He owes so infinitely many. They do so infintessimally little.
“I'm not concerned about the sex,” Dean says bluntly. “You think I can't handle a couple weeks' dry spell? Trust me, pal, my life is a dry spell. It's nothing. I just don't understand.... I mean, the way you just pulled away from me, what is that? What am I-- “ There's another brief silence. Cass can't turn away from his own gaze, he and his reflection both casting thousand-yard stares at each other across the space of a porcelain sink that was doubtless quite modern in 1935. “Did I do something?” Dean finally says. “I mean...are you mad at me or something?”
“No,” Cass whispers. “No, I....” What else would Dean think, though? It's the most logical explanation for Cass' behavior.
Two weeks have gone by since, utterly without foreshadowing or preamble, Dean came to him and put his arms around him and said I missed you and I want you in my life and all yours, babe – since Dean kissed him and kissed him and kissed him, like two thousand individual apologies, like he was measuring out the six years of time they'd let slip away, day by day and kiss by kiss, and everything was so easy. With Dean wrapped around him, Cass was so sure that he understood – what to do. How to do it. That for once Cass understood who he was meant to be, now that he is what he is.
There aren't words for what it was like to make love with Dean, let alone to hold him while he slept afterwards. Cass is sure it requires – melody, at the very least. He wanted to write songs for Dean. He wanted to cover Dean's strong, faintly scarred body with flowers and insects and all the other things that are as perfectly themselves as Dean Winchester. And when Dean woke in the morning and smiled sleepily at Cass and kissed his fingertips and said Morning, angel. Pancakes? – he felt as if Dean had covered Cass' entire body with fiery poetry poured from the tip of a quill plucked from an archangel's pinion.
Questions hadn't entered into any of it. Not for a moment.
How long did Cass think it could go on like that?
He's still staring at himself in the mirror, so he knows there's no blood on his face, but he can still feel it – forced from his eyes, dripping down the skin of his face, warm and slippery and so entirely out of his control.
He could have killed Dean, and still Dean kissed him, and it felt....
Everything was warm and slippery and so entirely....
Cass braces his hands on the sink and disengages from his own haunted gaze, staring down the drain instead. “The – the human body --” he says, and he can't make his mouth and his vocal cords work either, he can't do anything right. “It hurts – and when it feels good, it's still-- The things you do to me....”
The things Dean does to him. To this body that was never meant to be Castiel's – that can be made into a thing that destroys, or else a thing that pleases – and is that all a body is, is it a thing? A thing that humans have and angels want, or despise, or want and despise?
Would he be so broken if he weren't locked inside this terrifying, vulnerable thing?
“Cass,” Dean says, sounding helpless. “Cass, please just – would you just look at me?” Cass obeys his command, feeling vertebrae twist and eyes refocus and his heart pump faster at the sight of Dean. “Just tell me the truth, okay?” Dean says. “Did I – did I hurt you? Was it – too much? I knew you still weren't at a hundred percent, I just thought.... If I hurt you, I'm so sorry, I just-- I didn't think it through, it's my fault.”
There were bruises, it's true – faint print of a thumb on his hipbone, fainter on his chin. Cass lay in bed all night, feeling them well up and then fade away under his skin, healing faster than if he'd been human, slower than if he'd been an angel. “You didn't hurt me,” Cass says truthfully. “It's not-- None of this is your fault. I love you, but I.... I've never felt any of this before, and it's...overwhelming.”
He's so broken. He's so breakable. In his true form, Cass is sure he would have been able to resist all these alien forms of control and possession: the witchcraft that sickened him, the lust that shattered him – all these powers that can set a human vessel aflame and boil its blood.
Rest, his friends keep telling him. Rest up, get strong again, take care.
His scars run straight down the middle of him, soaked in the boiling of his blood, and this world that Cass has tried so hard to love and defend has wrapped its hands around his throat, forcing blood and semen out of him, and he wants the pleasure without the pain, but that's an impossibility, isn't it? That's always been an impossible wish, as impossible as rest and strong and care.
“Huh,” Dean says, the ghost of a laugh. “Yeah, I guess you – didn't exactly get to figure your body out the way the rest of us did.”
“How did you?” Cass asks. How do humans...figure it out? Make peace with it? Survive it?
“Long showers,” Dean says, his voice wry, as if he's making some impenetrable joke, which knowing Dean he almost certainly is. “Shoplifted porn. So many violated hand towels and pillowcases. Oh, god, all the wrong things me and Sam did to innocent hotel housekeepers, there oughta be a class-action lawsuit.”
“I don't know what you're saying right now,” Cass admits.
“I know,” Dean says.