The Thorn on the Rose

Title: The Thorn on the Rose
Author:
Fandom: Supernatural
Pairing/character: Castiel/Dean Winchester
Rating: NC-17
Word Count: 14,500
Kinks: M/M slash. Oral sex. Anal sex. Claiming. Trust games. Food/feederism. Caretaking. Mild bondage.
Notes/Warnings: Spoilers for season 5. Written for . Thank you to , and for beta. Title is from “Come Along” by Titiyo.
Summary: Dean and Castiel have flirted with their attraction for months, but then the Apocalypse had to go and start and Castiel was exploded by an archangel. Now Castiel is back: a little fiercer, a little stronger, as inscrutable as ever. And they have a lot to talk about.
Artist: . Art. Soundtrack. Soundtrack art.


The Thorn on the Rose

The first time Dean kissed Castiel was in a parking lot. The air smelled like snow and the night wind was bitingly cold, and Dean acted without thinking — he just grabbed and yanked and mashed their mouths together, stopping another lecture about his destiny in mid-sentence. Castiel stiffened and breathed in hard through his nose, his lips parting, seemingly more out of surprise than desire.

Dean meant it to be a shock, something to force the words away, but then Castiel’s lips opened and his tongue, tentative and shy, flicked against Dean’s mouth. Dean thought, Okay, time to stop, but instead he found Castiel’s hips under his raincoat and suit jacket, and Castiel was clutching at his hair, and he pushed Castiel against the Impala and let their bodies rub together until Castiel turned his face away.

Dean stood there, stunned and aroused and aching for him — his lean body and sweet lips and sea-salt scent. He wanted to bury himself in Castiel, kiss him until the world spun on without them, breathe him in, taste him from tongue to toes.

They breathed together.

Castiel’s fingers moved through Dean’s hair before he gently withdrew his hands and left in a swirl of wind and the sound of wings. Dean blinked, confused as ever when Castiel just disappeared that way, and then swore in frustration and went back into the hotel room, not bothering to keep his noise low so that he didn’t wake Sam. Dean started the shower, yanked off his clothes and jerked himself roughly until he came, Castiel’s name on his lips.

He tried not to think about what had come over him — you don’t just go around kissing angels! — and decided it was just a momentary lapse, some kind of internalized gratitude towards Castiel for saving him manifesting as attraction, and they’d forget it about next time they saw each other.

Except Dean could see in Castiel’s eyes that he hadn’t forgotten, the next time Castiel came to him, and he knew Castiel could see that he remembered, too. Castiel’s eyes flitted to him every time Dean inhaled or licked his lips, and Dean kept getting distracted with the shape of Castiel’s mouth, with the way his collar rubbed against his neck. Castiel smelled so good, like the clean air of the open highway when there was no one around but themselves and the only sound was the engine of the Impala, and his eyes were so clear and trusting, and Dean could taste the memory of him, and his voice was urgent and gravelly and Dean had no idea what he was saying, he only knew it was time to stop him and there was only one way to do it.

This time it wasn’t just a kiss — it was making out, it was necking, it was biting and sucking and touching their tongues together, until once again Castiel turned away, trembling as if he couldn’t believe they’d been so reckless again.

“Dean,” he said, and the rough texture of his voice made Dean shiver down his back. “Don’t distract me.”

“Okay, Cas,” Dean said and moved so that there was a table between them and he could fucking concentrate.

Fortunately — no, it was a good thing, really — there was business to attend to that night and when Dean finally got to bed, he was too exhausted to think about kissing Castiel.

That was the second time.

The third time was not dramatic. It was fast and desperate, just before they entered Chuck’s house, Castiel’s mouth hard on Dean’s lips and his hand twisted into Dean’s shirt. At the time Dean thought, This is just the beginning, but later realized it was a kiss goodbye.

***

When he saw Castiel in the storage container, Dean wanted to grab him, ravage his mouth for a while and demand what happened.

Instead he watched Castiel kill two angels and make Zachariah heal him and Sam, and then Castiel was gone again, sudden and mysterious as ever. Answers would not be forthcoming any more than they had been before, and Dean, when he had the time to think about it (which was not for many hours, not until after he walked away from Sam) wondered if what had come back was Castiel or another being who wore Jimmy’s face.

Dean lay in bed, his eyes open in the dark, mulling over all that had happened since he last had a chance to think. In the other bed, Sam slept — or didn’t sleep, Dean suspected, given the rhythm of Sam’s breathing. This was the trouble with honesty: you still had to deal with the consequences, and there was no glossing over what had been said. Not until tomorrow, anyway. Maybe.

Man up and deal, Dean thought, but he couldn’t just toss a joke at Sam and make it all better. And he certainly wasn’t going to apologize for being honest, either.

In the other bed, Sam rolled onto his stomach and heavily sighed. Dean listened to Sam shift positions a few times more, punch the pillow and fluff the bedding, and then when Sam was still again Dean tossed his own blankets aside. “I’m going out,” he said and picked up the jeans he’d been wearing for three days now.

“Out where?” Sam said, and Dean smiled grimly at the suspicion in Sam’s voice.

“Out.” He put on jeans, boots and jacket, picked up the keys and said, “Try to stay out of trouble,” before he went out the door. He expected Sam to shout something back at him, but there was only silence behind him.

Dean walked to the Impala and then walked past it and followed the sidewalk to the first open bar he saw. It was darkly lit and smelled of spilled beer. A jukebox faintly played a country song, and the few remaining patrons didn’t glance up from their mugs or games of pool. Dean ordered a beer and watched the men play, aware that the cash in his pocket was running low and he needed to get another credit card before much longer. On the other hand, if he tried a hustle tonight he’d probably end up in the alley, bloody or dead.

Why not play for the fun of it? he thought. It wouldn’t hurt just to keep his skills sharp, and the men at the pool table looked like serious players. Dean brought his beer to the table and asked if he could join. The other men acknowledged him with welcoming if not friendly nods, and racked up the balls to start a new game.

Dean had made just a few shots when he noticed movement out of the corner of his vision, but when he looked he saw no one. He played a few more rounds and when he looked up from the table, there Castiel was, rumpled and familiar. Dean paused, and when Castiel stepped around the corner again Dean said, “I’m out, sorry,” and put away his cue.

It took a moment to find Castiel again — he had taken a booth in a shadowy corner and was visible mostly because of his raincoat. Dean slid into the seat across from him. “What’s going on?” Dean said, leaning on the table. “Where have you been?”

“I had work to do before I could look for you,” Castiel said and sipped from the glass of water in front of him. “I knew I would find you in a place like this. Some men go to confession when they are troubled.” His eyes swept their surroundings. “You come to a bar.”

“Yeah,” Dean muttered. “Not the best day ever. I told Sam I can’t trust him, and now neither of us really knows what to do.”

“I don’t know either,” Castiel said, and Dean almost smiled.

“Yeah. We’re all in the dark.” They both were quiet a moment or two, sipping their drinks. Dean said finally, “Come back to the hospital with me. Bobby’s been hurt.”

“I know.”

“Then you can do something for him?”

“No,” Castiel said in a way that made Dean close his eyes a moment.

He couldn’t keep the anger out of his voice when he said, “Why not? Hasn’t he earned a little good will from Heaven?”

“I am cast out,” Castiel said. “I am cut off. I am a wanderer without a home.”

Dean leaned back in the seat. “What does that mean?”

“It means I cannot heal your friend.”

“Okay,” Dean said and swallowed hard. “So, what happened to you? Chuck said you died.”

“I did.”

“So how are you back? And don’t disappear on me again,” Dean added through gritted teeth, and Castiel had another sip of water.

“I will not disappear.” Castiel glanced at the pool table. “Was it a good game?”

“The world is ending and you want to talk about the game?” Dean said, incredulous, but at Castiel’s look he said, “Yeah, it was fine, they were fun to play against.”

“I like watching you play.” Castiel sipped.

Dean frowned at him, and then drank a gulp of beer. “You’re not going to tell me what happened to you, are you?”

Castiel put down his glass. Someone had scratched “THE END IS NIE” into the surface of the table, and he traced the letters with his fingertips. He said quietly, “The archangel came. There was pain, the worst pain I have ever felt, and then there was nothing. And then — I don’t know how much time passed — then I came to myself again. I felt my grace fill me, and then I felt this flesh enclose me.” He looked at his hand, opening and closing it a few times as if he wasn’t quite sure his fingers would still work. “The sword was in my hand and I was sent directly to you, and that is all I know.”

“Somebody was looking out for you.”

“More likely someone was looking out for you,” Castiel said and Dean looked down at the table. “You are still the only man who can stop it.”

“Yeah,” Dean muttered, “because I’m Michael’s meat suit. Fuck that. Is that why you’re here? Strong-arming wouldn’t work so your bosses sent you to talk me into it?”

“Even if I were, I wouldn’t succeed. You are not easily talked into anything.”

“Then why are you here?”

Castiel’s gaze fell to Dean’s lips so intentionally Dean thought he wouldn’t have felt it more if Castiel’s had rubbed a thumb over his mouth. He licked his lips and Castiel met his eyes again.

“I wanted to watch you play pool.”

And then he was gone, leaving only his glass of water behind.

Dean sat there, blinking with confusion, and then finished his beer and went back to the motel. He let himself in, took off his boots, jacket and jeans and crawled into bed.

“Where have you been?” Sam muttered from the other bed.

“Playing pool,” Dean said and turned onto his side, his back to Sam.

***

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