cloudy_fic: (D and C by dreamawayx)
[personal profile] cloudy_fic
Title: Sensor and Guardian
Author: CloudyJenn
Fandom: Supernatural
Pairings: Dean/Castiel
Rating: PG-13
Word Count: 6,696
Disclaimer: These characters do not belong to me. I am making no profit from this fanfiction.
Warnings: None
Summary: Dean and Castiel meet at a school for supernatural creatures and soon enough, their lives are entwined for good.
Author's Notes: Written on my Twitter awhile ago. Supernatural school!



Ellen sighed.

This was going to be a long day.

The very first thing she faced that morning was separating Crowley and Ruby. The two demons may be the children of reformed parents, but they both had attitudes a mile wide and their morning tiff had nearly come to blows.

Then Castiel had somehow gotten covered in mud during the morning break and needed his long silver wings washed. Which took up so much of Ellen's attention that she didn't see the ghosts starting their quiet prank war until after they'd thoroughly hidden Chuck's lamp and the poor genie couldn't find it when he needed a rest.

Just when she thought she might pull her hair out, a new family of Sensors dropped by. John Winchester with his two sons, Dean and Sam. New students to be enrolled and the classroom was in an uproar.

But Ellen was nothing if not professional. She managed to corral the ghosts, snatch Ava the fairy off the top of the bookshelf and find Chuck's lamp before meeting John at the door. Relative quiet reigned while she talked to him about his sons and their educational needs. Sam stood silently at his father's side, but partway during the conversation, Dean disappeared. She didn't think a thing about it until a moment later when a loud flapping noise informed her that one of the angels had unfurled their wings at full power.

It was Castiel.

His giant silvered (and now clean) wings were stretched out to either side of his small body, both trembling with power. His expression was thunderous and he was glaring menacingly at Dean Winchester. Despite the fact that Dean had a good three inches on Castiel, he looked rather awed by the little angel's fury.

Ellen was impressed. It took a lot to rile up Castiel.

"Boys," she called out. "What's going on?"

"This Sensor human pinched my wings," Castiel stated with the same venom one might use to announce their whole family had been murdered.

"He flapped them in my face," Dean argued.

John grinned at her. "Well, have fun with them. Be good, boys!" he called out before escaping through the front door.

Thanks a lot, Ellen thought as Dean flicked a rubber band at Castiel's left wing.

This day was never going to end.

***************

A short angel with brown hair and slim blond wings sidled up to Sam's side and pointed at his marker board.

"You added that wrong," he said.

Sam frowned. "How do you know?"

"I took this class four years ago, midget," he said, even though Sam was at least six inches taller than him.

"Oh," Sam said. "Um...will you show me how to do it?"

The angel sat beside Sam and grabbed his marker. "Sure. I'm Gabriel, by the way."

"I'm Sam."

"Yeah, I know. Everyone knows," Gabriel said as he erased Sam's mistakes and started filling in the right answers.

"How does everyone know?" Sam asked. Ellen hadn’t had them introduce themselves. Instead, she'd thrown them in with the rest of the group and instantly started the lessons.

"Your brother's been telling everyone off," Gabriel explained. "We've been warned off harming you or harassing you or in fact, talking to you, I believe." He flashed a grin at Sam. "I decided not to pay attention to that last one."

Sam's cheeks pinked. "Dean's too overprotective," he muttered. "Don't pay attention to him."

"He is," Gabriel agreed. "And he clearly suffers from wing envy," he added, nodding across the room where Dean was plucking at Castiel's wings and then pretending innocence when Castiel whirled around to see who did it.

"I don't think that's true," Sam said uncertainly. "He's never said anything about wings before."

"Oooh, I see." Gabriel looked back at Dean with a different expression on his face. "Well, then in that case." His voice took on a sing-song tone. "Someone's got a crush!"

Sam startled. "Dean? A crush on that angel?"

"Why? You don't think so?"

"He's never really had a crush before," Sam admitted. "I don't know..."

Just then, Castiel flung out a hand and banished Dean to the other side of the room, his eyes bright with anger. Dean flopped out of the air onto his backside and the class broke into titters.

Sam bit his bottom lip.

"Maybe you're right."

Gabriel handed back his corrected work.

"I know I am."

*************

"Mrs. Harvelle?"

Castiel polite question shook Ellen out of her contemplation of Bela's latest essay on Elfin mating rituals. Eventually, she had to get that girl to write about something other than sex.

"Yeah, Castiel?"

His light blue eyes were troubled, his mouth turned down at the corner.

"I would like to request a new partner for my history project," he said carefully, clearly hoping that a calm rational tone would help convince Ellen.

"Oh, honey, you're going to have to learn how to handle him sooner or later," she said, squeezing his shoulder gently.

Besides which, Dean and Castiel were the only two students at their particular grade level, so there really wasn't another viable choice.

"But Dean hates me," Castiel said, a hint of desperation coloring his tone. "He won't leave me alone."

"If he hated you, he wouldn't bother talking to you," Ellen corrected. "I think Dean likes you just fine."

Castiel grabbed at one edge of his right wing and pulled it in front of his body, mumbling something Ellen couldn't make out.

"Speak up, sweetie," she urged.

Ellen thought Castiel might not repeat himself, but he finally let out a heavy sigh and looked up at her.

"I said he keeps touching my wings."

"And you don't like it?"

He shrugged. The corner of her mouth tugged up slightly, but she managed not to smile.

"You like it more than you thought?"

His eyes stayed firmly on the shining feathers he twisted in his hands, but the way his cheeks turned a deep scarlet gave Ellen her answer. She let her grin out finally. She couldn't remember the last time she heard of a human Sensor and an Angel making a pairing, but Heaven help the Shadows if they did. There was no more powerful combination for a Hunting team.

"Listen up, Castiel," Ellen said, smacking his hand away from his wing. "All you can do is be yourself. Stand up for yourself, but give Dean a chance, okay?"

She waited until Castiel nodded slowly before continuing.

"And you ain't getting a new partner, kid, so suck it up and do your best."


**********************

As soon as school ended, Castiel marched up to Dean Winchester, head held high and gaze zeroed in on Dean's dark green eyes.

"We need to work on our project," he announced. "It would easier to meet at your home because you cannot fly to Heaven and I can't carry you."

"Um, okay," Dean said, shrugging his left shoulder. "Lemme get Sam and we'll go."

But Sam was busy being swung in wide circles by invisible hands and shrieking with laughter. Dean looked shocked. Castiel just sighed.

"Gabriel."

"Don't worry about him," Gabriel said from the cool shadows of a weeping willow. "He's having fun."

They watched Dean try to catch Sam for a few moments before Gabriel finally let Sam down. Dean urgently checked him for injury.

"Get off, Dean," Sam said, smacking at his hands. "I'mma go to Gabriel's house to play."

"Don't you live in Heaven?" Dean asked suspiciously.

"Nah, moved out ages ago."

Dean's eyes narrowed at him.

"How old are you?"

Gabriel straightened up under his scrutiny.

"No need to worry, Deano. I'm sixteen. More than old enough make sure little Sammy doesn't fall and kill himself."

"You can trust Gabriel," Castiel murmured. He may not have liked Dean that much, but he could understand being protective of family. "He's my brother. He'll watch out for Sam."

"Please, Dean," Sam whined. "Gabriel says he'll fly me around."

"So how come Gabriel can fly people around and you can't?" Dean asked Castiel.

Castiel blushed hard.

"Gabriel is more powerful than me," he admitted quietly, inexplicably embarrassed. He'd never been ashamed of his skills before, but allowing Dean to see his weaknesses made Castiel feel uncomfortable.

"Powerful enough to fight off demons?" Dean demanded.

"Oh, c'mon," Gabriel said. "Look, the kid wants to talk about advanced math and science you can't even begin to understand."

Dean's cheeks turned as red as Castiel knew his own must be.

"Fuck you," he snarled.

"Sorry, not into humans," Gabriel snapped back.

"Stop it," Castiel broke in. "Dean, Gabriel's home is not five minutes from here. Well within the safe zone. You will not have time to watch Sam anyway because we have work to do. Stop being so pigheaded."

"I'm not pigheaded!" Dean exclaimed. "It's my job to watch over him."

"I realize that, but it's not irresponsible to let him go to a friend's house," Castiel pointed out as he turned and began walking up the road.

"How can they be friends? They just met," Dean grumbled, but he followed Castiel and didn't seem to notice when Gabriel lifted Sam with invisible hands again, grinning as Sam soared through the air.

They fell silent after a few moments. Dean began to lag behind, presumably to stare back where Sam was still flying in loops. Castiel considered saying something, but decided Dean was just too stubborn for words. He fell into a moody silence, thoughts switching between Dean and their history project.

Then he felt a sharp pain at his back.

Spinning around, Castiel caught a devious grin on Dean's face.

"Did you just step on my wing?"

"Nope," Dean said and it was so clearly a lie.

Castiel threw his books down and folded his arms over his chest, anger and frustration boiling in his chest.

"Why do you hate me so much?"

Dean faltered, the smile sliding off his face.

"What? I didn't say I hated you."

"Then you hate my wings?"

Dean's eyes flicked over his wings and it was a brief second, only an instant, but Castiel still managed to catch the flash of admiration in his gaze. More than admiration actually. More like...

More like he was captivated.

"You do like me," Castiel said, struck with amazement. He hadn't really believed Mrs. Harvelle, but he couldn't mistake that expression, that glow of longing that Dean quickly hid.

"Shut up," he snarled, which further convinced Castiel. "I don't like you. You're stupid."

Castiel raised an eyebrow.

"I don't believe you."

"Whatever," Dean grumbled, turning to start back down the path to his home. "Stupid angels. You guys all think you're so freaking awesome, but you suck out loud."

He continued mumbling to himself, but Castiel was no longer bothered.

Dean liked him and Castiel knew it.

**********************

"I just don't like them is all."

"But they are reformed. You cannot judge them based on their species."

"Well, first of all, I don't like Ruby because she's a bitch. And Crowley gives me the creeps. And they're demons, Cas. Evil is in their nature."

Castiel tried not to be deterred by the pleasure Dean's special nickname gave him. He set his frown.

"That may have been their original purpose when they were twisted into creation, but they now have the choice to turn from that path. It's not fair to take that choice from them by assuming they are evil. Besides, can you Sense evil in them?"

"No," Dean admitted grudgingly. "They still creep me out."

The two boys sat in Dean's living room, supposedly working on a chemistry paper. Four months had past since the Winchesters showed up in Castiel's hometown and judging by how well John's Sensing business was going, the family was here to stay.

Castiel was surprised by how much that pleased him.

Quite frankly, Dean was still a jerk. He was stubborn and judgmental, crass and messy. But he was also loyal, funny and explosively exciting. Somehow he managed to get Castiel into scrapes the angel would have never imagined. Since he met Dean, he has sneaked out of his home at night, skipped school, nearly had his wings sheared from his back and somehow become one half of a duo now known as Dean-n-Cas.

Not that he liked Dean. But the human was fun to be around.

"Anyway, you're an Angel," Dean said. "You're like programmed to be forgiving."

"I am not programmed," Castiel said with a frown. "I'm not a robot."

"Coulda fooled me."

Castiel smacked Dean on the back of his head with the tip of his wing. Dean grabbed the wing and sat on it.

"Your wings are an unfair advantage."

"So is my intelligence."

Dean bounced up and down on the wing.

************

The next day at school, Castiel read over his chemistry paper before class. He didn't know how he managed to get any work done when he did homework at Dean's house. It was even more of a mystery how Dean finished, considering he spent the entire time chattering on and on in Castiel's ear.

He'd have to ask him when Dean got there.

Except when class finally started, both Dean and Sam were absent.

"So, you know where Dean and Midget are?" Gabriel whispered to him during spell work class. Gabriel probably didn't care about Dean, but he'd become something of an odd mentor to Sam. At least in his own mind.

"No," Castiel admitted. Worry wormed into his chest. Dean had never missed school before.

At lunch, Castiel approached Mrs. Harvelle.

"Um, teacher?"

Mrs. Harvelle sighed and set down her sandwich. "I was wondering when you'd come around with questions."

"Do you know what happened to Dean?"

She didn't answer for a moment and Castiel's worry changed instantly into fear. "Teacher?"

"I got a message earlier, Castiel. Dean was injured during a Sensing mission last night."

Castiel's heart stopped, pulsed hard once and then started thudding powerfully in his chest. Dean didn't even go on Sensing missions that often. Only the ones his father thought would be safe enough to train a fourteen year old boy. How could he be injured badly enough to miss school?

"Where?" he whispered.

Mrs. Harvelle sighed.

"Where is he?" Castiel demanded.

"They took him to the Healing unit. Castiel!"

But he was already gone, flying out the door and towards Dean.

********************

"Dean Winchester," he said again to the Medical Gnome on duty. "I need to see him."

"Are you a relative?"

"No, but-"

"Are you a mission partner?"

"No, you see-"

"Then I can't let you see him."

"But I need-"

"Cas?"

Castiel spun around to see Sam. His eyes were red and he was twisting his hands into his button-down shirt.

"Sam! What happened? Is Dean okay?"

Sam rubbed his knuckles into his eyes. "He got attacked by a demon," he choked out. "Daddy didn't Sense him in time and it broke Dean's ribs."

Castiel couldn't quite get his breath to ask more questions, but Sam kept talking anyway.

"He's gonna be okay, they said, but they had to do surgery and he can't go home for awhile," Sam said miserably. "It was really scary," he whispered.

There was probably something Castiel should be doing. Pulling Sam into a hug or telling him everything will be okay or offering to help hunt down the evil creature that hurt Dean.

All he could do was stare at Sam's big watery eyes and try not to suffocate there in the hallway.

"Sam? Cas?"

Dean's father ambled down the hall towards him. His own eyes were not red, but they looked tired and Castiel thought he saw guilt sunk into the lines of John's face.

"They won't let me in," Castiel blurted, finally finding his voice.

"It's okay," John said to the Gnome. "He's my boy's best friend."

Castiel never thought of it that way, but he supposed it was true.

The Gnome gave a world-weary sigh, but didn't stop John from leading Sam and Castiel back up the hallway towards Dean's room. At the last second, John clamped a hand on Sam's shoulder and nodded at Castiel. "We'll be getting something to eat down in the cafeteria."

Castiel nodded his gratitude for the privacy. He waited until they are gone before drawing in a deep breath and opening the door.

His heart skipped a beat again.

Dean looked just awful. His face was dark with bruises. Black smudges circled under his eyes, but the skin that wasn't marred was white as snow. His chest rose and fell on shallow breaths. He looked very small in the large medical bed.

"Dean?" Castiel asked softly, uncertain if Dean was sleeping or not.

His eyes snapped open. They were bloodshot, but nevertheless glowed with good humor when they landed on Castiel.

"Come to see my battle scars?"

Anger surged though Castiel and despite the fact that Dean didn't need the stress, Castiel found himself marching to Dean's bed, heated words spilling off his lips as he went.

"This is not funny, Dean," he growled. "You could have been killed. How could you not Sense the demon before it touched you? Did it touch you? Have you been Cleansed?"

"Geez, Cas," Dean said irritably, shifting himself slowly up so he can face him. "Of course. Calm the fuck down. I'm fine."

"You are not fine," Castiel said, eyes blazing. "The extent of your injuries is plain to me."

His angelic senses showed him Dean's broken bones, his deep bruises and strained muscles. Each hurt shrieked out to him and Castiel cursed his lack of training. A few more years from now and he could have healed Dean perfectly.

If they were mission partners, that is.

"You need an Angel," Castiel said. "You need a Guardian Angel."

Dean rolled his eyes. "No, I don't. Tons of Hunters get by without Angels, Cas. I'll be okay."

"And what happens if you get attacked again?" Castiel asked, his voice trembling. "What happens if a Demon captures you and drags you into the Shadowlands? How will you be found without an Angel?"

"I dunno," Dean said, plucking at his blue medblanket. "I'll be more careful."

"No, you won't," Castiel said with certainly. "You are reckless and idiotic. You need a Guardian Angel more than any Hunter I've ever known." He held out his hand. "Join with me."

"What?" Dean's eyes widened. "Are you kidding me? You want to be a Warrior Angel, not a Guardian Angel."

"I'm not powerful enough to be a Warrior," Castiel said bluntly. Dean wasn’t wrong. He'd always hoped to be a battle angel. To go on the front lines and represent Heaven in the war against the Shadows. But he has never been all that powerful. Not like Gabriel.

"We are a team," Castiel said with conviction he'd never felt before, not even when communing with his Father. "That is my power," he said. "As one half of a whole."

Dean frowned at his hand. "But...if we become mission partners, you can't take that back. It's permanent."

"You don't have to outline the parameters, Dean," Castiel said sternly. "I'm much more informed than you. Do you want to join or not?"

Castiel knew Dean wasn’t stupid. He knew what this meant. When they joined, Castiel would be aware of Dean's health and his location at all times. He would be able to find him in dangerous situations and he would even share a degree of Dean’s Sensor powers. Together, they would train to battle evil. The connection cannot be severed. No matter who came into and out of Dean's life, Castiel would always be there. It was not an easy decision.

But it was the right one.

Dean grinned.

"Sure," he said and clapped his hand into Castiel's.

For a split second, their respective powers patted at each other, feeling each other out and then someone reached out. Castiel never knew if it was him or Dean, but whoever did it, the other followed quickly and their powers melded together. Castiel felt warmth, spreading up his limbs and out to the tips of his fingers and wings. Dean made a small surprised noise and just when Castiel thought he was going to come out of his skin, it was over.

They were mission partners.

**********************

Four Years Later

"Yo, this way Fugly!"

The Demon whipped around and hissed, its yellowed teeth glinting in the moonlight. This specimen was particularly wild, Castiel thought as he watched Dean lure it into the Devil's Trap. His partner's heart-rate was almost too high, but Castiel let it go for now. Once Dean caught the creature, the adrenaline would drain out of his system and his heart-rate would return to normal.

And if not, well, Castiel would simply have to heal him.

His mouth curved into a self-satisfied smile.

It was possible Castiel was becoming addicted to his new Healing powers. Since completing the medical portion of his mission training, Castiel couldn't stop healing Dean's every injury. Everything from sprained ankles to a paper cut he got from a spell book last week. And Dean wasn't exactly complaining. With each small pain, he gave Castiel an exaggerated tormented expression and flopped at his side until Castiel healed him.

John Winchester was right. They did deserve each other.

"Yeah, c'mon, man. You know you want this body," Dean said, holding out his arms and waving a hand down his side. Castiel lifted an eyebrow.

"Just do the job, Dean," Castiel called to him. The noise distracted the Demon for the split second Dean needed to tug him into the trap and send him back to the Shadowlands.

"What's the point of the job without a little fun?" Dean said with a cocky smile.

Much about Dean was cocky. At 14, he was a short scrawny punk with an attitude. At 18, Dean had finally grown into that attitude. He backed up his arrogance with a strong muscular body and razor sharp Sensor skills. Castiel did all he could to remind Dean that he wasn’t the greatest Hunter in the world, but even Castiel wasn’t completely immune to Dean's charms.

He found himself smiling back.

"Very well." Castiel pulled out their mission log and made note of their kill. "Are we finished for the night?"

Now that they’d graduated from school, there was more time for Hunting. They'd been out all night long, clearing out the demonic presence in a wooded area near the edge of the Shadowlands.

"Fuck, I hope so," Dean said, rubbing a hand through his sweat-dampened hair. "I'm fucking starving."

"Yes, I'm hungry," Castiel agreeed. "Come to my home and I'll make breakfast."

Dean's grin became blinding. "Castiel food! C'mon," he said, trotting up to Castiel and grabbing his right wing. "Let's fly."

And so they did.

**********************

"I hate this class," Sam moaned over his chemistry homework. Castiel glanced at him. He remembered the paper Sam was writing. It was the exact same assignment he completed the day before Joining with Dean.

"Sucks to be you," Dean said, tossing a piece of popcorn at Sam's head.

"Have you asked Gabriel for help?"

"He's out with Kali," Sam said unhappily. "He said he'd help me after, but he'll stay out all night long and forget about me."

Castiel knows Sam didn't begrudge Gabriel his new girlfriend, but it must be hard when your best friend lost himself in a new relationship.

"I can help you if you like."

"Don't coddle the child," Dean said. Castiel snorted. Dean didn't realize how often he sounded like an old-fashioned father.

"You wouldn't say that if it were you needing the help," Castiel pointed out.

"I never needed the help."

"What do you think I was doing all that time?" Castiel said as he joined Sam at the table.

Dean threw popcorn at his head.

Castiel and Sam worked in relative peace for several moments while Dean read the latest edition of Wizard's Folly. The magazine serial was trash in Castiel's opinion, but Dean loved the stupid thing. Every so often, he made a little gasping sound that tugged at something deep in Castiel's chest.

"Cas?"

He jerked his gaze away from Dean, from his contemplation of the way Dean's long legs were sprawled across the living room floor and smiled tightly at Sam. "Forgive me. What was your question?"

Sam's look was all too knowing, but he just asked his chemistry question and let it slide.

Towards the end of their homework session, there was a knock at the Winchester's front door. With a pained sigh, Dean set aside Wizard's Folly to answer it.

Bela the Elf stood on their front porch, clad in a very short skirt and tight shiny top. Her silky smooth hair was piled atop her head, giving them a good view of her elegant pointed ears.

"Hey, Dean," she said in a sultry tone. "Can I talk to you?"

Dean frowned at her and crossed his arms over his chest.

"Sure. Talk."

Castiel hid a smile. Dean was not the greatest fan of Bela. Not that Castiel blamed him. Bela had a tendency towards sarcasm that Castiel thought Dean resented on the principle that it horned in on his territory.

"Oh well," she faltered. "Um, I was wondering if you wanted to come over sometime? Let me make you dinner?"

When Castiel realized what Bela was asking Dean, his heart clenched in his chest. He wasn’t entirely sure Dean's irritation with Bela would stretch far enough to prevent him from accepting a date with her. She might not be pleasant, but she was beautiful and Castiel had seen that trait override otherwise wise men's sense.

And Dean was not particularly wise to begin with.

"You can cook?" he asked skeptically.

Bela sighed. "Yes." She leaned forward, twisting her body in a rather sensual manner. "Do you want to, Dean?" she asked, her tone lower than before.

To his surprise, Dean looked back at Castiel. "Uh..."

Castiel thought maybe Dean was asking his opinion. His aura certainly seemed confused. Castiel’s instant reaction is No! No, get away from her and come in to sit beside me.

But Castiel had no claim over Dean. Not like that. And they'd never...their relationship was not like that.

He shrugged lightly, trying to make it seem like he didn't care at all.

Apparently, that was a mistake.

Dean's expression hardened. His confusion resolved into abrupt hurt and he turned back to Bela. "Sure," he said. "I'd love to. How about now?"

Bela glowed with happiness. She grabbed Dean's hand and dragged him down the front porch, leaving Castiel sitting beside Sam, wondering what in the world just happened and how the hell he could fix it.

********************

Castiel left the Winchesters' house shortly after Dean. He only waited around long to help Sam finish his homework and then he was off, wings spread wide, frigid air flowing over his face. Flying high above the trees of the nearby forest like this was the only thing Castiel could think to do when he was upset.

Castiel had been waiting for this revelation for awhile now. His subconscious already knew. It knew the reason Castiel's breath hitched in his lungs and his heart-rate picked up when Dean leaned close to him, sharing his body warmth with Castiel. It knew why Castiel didn't feel quite right when Dean wasn't by his side and why he often woke from fading dreams of Dean's smile.

Now Castiel’s conscious mind knew. And Dean was out with Bela of all people.

He never liked that Elf.

Flying only marginally helped. As Castiel twisted and dove through the trees, gasping a little as the rough branches caught at his wings, he knew he couldn't out-fly this problem.

He was in love with Dean.

Hardly a surprise really, considering that they'd Joined after only a few short months of acquaintance. That decision usually happened after years of careful planning and friendship. Castiel could still clearly remember the look of horrified anger that'd crossed John Winchester's face when he discovered what his son had done.

But they fit so well together. Sure, they fought occasionally and there were times when Castiel felt certain he would be forced to punch Dean in his smart mouth. But those times were nothing compared to the success of their partnership. At only 18, Dean had already garnered a reputation as a formidable Sensor and the strength of Castiel's protectiveness was known throughout the Shadowlands.

Falling in love was quite logical. The next rational step and it shouldn't have made Castiel upset at all.

Except Dean was with Bela.

He dove hard, shooting straight to the ground only to catch himself at the last second and land lightly on his feet. The adrenaline from the fall didn't help in the slightest.

As evening crept over the horizon, Castiel slowly walked back to his small cottage at the edge of the forest. While Castiel still officially resided in Heaven, he'd built the little dwelling as a place to sleep after a long Hunt.

But really, it was home to him. It was the home he built to better share his life with Dean.

And Dean was sitting right in front of it.

"Dean?" Castiel asked with faint surprise. He hadn't been paying attention to the connection, even though his steps had picked up when his subconscious knew he was coming closer to Dean.

"Hey," Dean grunted as he climbed to his feet. "Sammy said you went flying."

Dean knew Castiel flew most often when he was upset or needed to think. His expression was carefully neutral, but Castiel knew him too well. He saw Dean was worried.

"Yes." A pause. "How was your date?"

"Stupid. I don't like Bela all that much," Dean said with a shrug. He lifted his eyes from the ground to Castiel's face. "Chicks aren't worth the trouble."

Castiel wasn't exactly sure what Dean meant by that statement, but it didn't matter. Dean was here with him instead of Bela and that was all that mattered.

"Are you hungry?"

Dean's face lit up. "Hell, yeah. Bela lied about knowing how to cook. That spaghetti tasted like shit."

"I could make some hamburgers."

The little moaning noise that Dean released made Castiel’s wings tingle. "Fuck, yes. Do that." His eyes dropped to Castiel's now thrumming wings. "Did you get pulled through a bush backwards?"

Dean stood close behind Castiel while he cooked the food and carefully groomed the wings, plucking leaves and twigs from the happily twitching feathers.

Everything was right again.

*************************

Five years later

"A little heads-up," Sam said to Castiel as soon as Cas opened the door to let him in. "Patrick heard he has to go through Dean to get to you."

"What does that mean?" Castiel asked in confusion.

"It means Patrick is actually going to ask Dean if he can date you," Sam answered as he flopped onto Castiel's couch.

There was so much wrong with this concept. Dean was not in charge of who Castiel dated and even if he were, Castiel would ask him to reject Patrick. The witch was attractive enough, but like most people in the world, he wasn’t Dean and never would be.

"Do you think Dean will say yes?"

Sam looked at him like he'd lost his mind. "Dean would rather cut off his hands than let you date someone."

Sam believed that Dean loved Castiel in the same way Castiel loved him, but the last five years of one-night stands and sexual experimentation told Castiel otherwise. When Dean decided he prefered men to women and still never confessed to any romantic feelings for him, Castiel decided to give up.

Being alone for the rest of his life wouldn't be so bad. He had his friends and family and he wasn’t very lonely.

"Do you wanna date Patrick?"

"Not really."

"I don't get why Patrick is even trying."

That stung. Castiel may not have been the most handsome angel, but he was nice enough. He frowned at Sam.

"Why not?"

"Oh please, why do you think you haven't dated in years? It's not because you randomly suck, dude. It's because Dean scares everyone away. He won't take the chance himself. Oh no, that'd be too brave, but he sure as hell doesn't feel bad about acting like a chest-beating Neanderthal whenever another man comes sniffing around you."

Castiel was stunned quiet at the end of this angry rant. Not only because of Sam's fury of protectiveness, but because of the information itself. He had no idea Dean was scaring away potential suitors.

"He does that?"

"Are you fucking kidding me? No, of course you aren't. You think the sun shines out of Dean's ass." Sam abruptly leapt to his feet. "I wash my hands of you two. I'm going over to Gabe's. He doesn't stop fighting with Kali for even a second, but at least he had the guts to go for her."

And then he stormed out, leaving Castiel feeling confused and not a little annoyed.

*******************

Castiel was in the middle of cooking up a storm when Kali showed up. She appeared in the doorway of his kitchen, one elegant eyebrow lifted at the cookies and pies strewn across his table and roast sizzling in his oven.

"Hungry?"

"Not really," he said truthfully. "But I went flying and I did not feel any better."

"So is this angry cooking? Sad cooking? Annoyed cooking?"

Castiel pondered the question very seriously.

"Perhaps all three?"

"I see."

She seated herself at Castiel's table and plucked a chocolate chip cookie from an overloaded tray. "I couldn't help, but notice you've made all of Dean's favorites."

"I've had the most practice with them," Castiel admitted. "They require very little thought."

"Much like the man himself," she said.

Castiel glared at her. "If you believe I require a round of insulting Dean, you are very much mistaken."

"I don't believe that," Kali assured him. She bit into the cookie and sighed happily. "Dean certainly is lucky to be living with you."

"Dean doesn't live with me," Castiel argued.

Not really anyway. He did end up sleeping on Castiel's fold-out couch quite often after long Hunts and those nights when he managed to make it back to the Winchester family home, he still arrived back at Castiel's home early in the morning for breakfast.

It occurred to Castiel that Dean might be using him for food.

"Gabriel doesn't 'live' with me either," Kali commented. "And yet, he is there every night and Sam almost every other night."

Gabriel and Sam were inseparable. Castiel secretly thought the only time they were apart was when Gabriel and Kali were having sex. And maybe not even then.

"What is your point?"

"My point is that you and he are engaged in a courtship without realizing it. Therefore you suffer the emotional distress any couple would suffer when their relationship is threatened, only without the benefit of knowing why. Or make-up sex."

Kali was the most rational being Castiel knew. It was hard to argue against her cool logic.

"I don't know what you expect me to do about it," Castiel said as he opened the oven to check on the roast. "Dean is never serious about emotional matters."

"I expect you to stop acting like Dean has all the power in this relationship," Kali said sharply, her voice crackling with a hint of her power. "You may be the Guardian, but you are not required to wait upon him. Especially not in personal matters."

"What do you mean?" Castiel asked, though he thought he knew. A tremor of excitement crawled up his spine and down through his silvered wings.

"Well, as Gabriel would say it, 'put up or shut up'," she said, reaching over to pick up a sugar cookie. "Quit your belly-aching and go get your man."

For a moment, they only looked at each other, a brief pause of indecision and then suddenly Castiel straightened his back. He saw pleased realization blossom in Kali's dark eyes.

"Will you please make sure my house doesn't burn down?"

"I'll keep the roast company, yes, but I can't promise Sam and Gabriel won't eat it."

He squeezed her shoulder. "Thank you," he said and then he was flying, gone before her answer could fall from smiling lips.

*******************

Castiel found Dean on the back porch of the Winchester home. He liked to stand there on quiet days and allow his Sensing skills to take over. Dean said it was good practice and it had even resulted in a few Hunts. Castiel knew Dean Sensed him long before he arrived. According to Dean, Castiel showed up in his Sense as a vivid blinding light and a consuming warmth. Castiel had worried at first that it would distract Dean during Hunts, but Dean simply said he could tell Castiel from not-Castiel very easily and refused to say anything more on the subject.

"Hey, Cas," Dean said as he withdrew from his Sense. His emotions were calm and happy. Satisfied. Clearly, he was pleased with himself.

Castiel crossed his arms and glared hard.

"What did you say to Patrick?"

Anger instantly replaced Dean's pleasure, darkening his expression into something hard and ugly. His words commanded Castiel's attention, but not before he decided there was definitely jealousy mixed in with the irritation.

He couldn't believe Sam was right.

"Why? Did that little punk say something to you?" Dean demanded.

"I haven't spoken to Patrick since yesterday," Castiel said. "But he's not going to come talk to me, is he?"

Uncertainty flickered in Dean's eyes. "So what if he doesn't? He's a witch, Cas."

Dean's old battle cry. If he didn't like someone, he always blamed their power or their species. Castiel narrowed his eyes.

"What's wrong with that?"

"He could, you know...put some mojo on you and make you believe you were in love with him or something," Dean said, waving his hands around in a vague motion that seemed to indicate spell work.

"And how do you know I'm not already in love with him?" Castiel challenged.

The look that flashed in those beautiful eyes was nothing short of panic. Castiel felt Dean's heart beat rocket into an unhealthy rate and despite himself, he jumped forward, hand clamped around Dean's wrist.

"You are?"

"No, you complete idiot," Castiel said. His wings swept off the floor and around Dean's shoulders without Castiel remembering to tell them to do so. The motion did nothing to calm Dean's heart-rate.

"Cas?" he asked weakly, making a half-hearted attempt to pull away.

"You had no right to warn him away," Castiel said quietly.

"He's not good enough for you," Dean argued.

"Tell me the real reason," Castiel ordered, his voice still soft, barely more than a whisper.

"I don't like him," Dean said, his own voice breathy. "Don't want him around."

"The real reason," Castiel pressed, one hand curling around Dean's elbow while the other slid around his waist. His wings pulled Dean closer.

"Cas..."

"I have waited and waited," Castiel said. His mouth was close enough touch Dean's, but he held himself back. Dean's fingers clutched at Castiel’s white dress shirt. "Tell me."

"You're mine," Dean growled as he jerked Castiel the rest of the way against his body and it was too many feelings at once. Shock and pleasure and happiness and relief. Dean's heart pumped hard and fast, Castiel's breaths stuttered in his lungs, both sensations melding so completely, Castiel wasn't sure who was feeling what as Dean crushed his mouth to Castiel's. There was little skill or finesse in the kiss, but the wait had been far too long for that to matter.

He really couldn't believe Sam was right.

All thoughts of Sam were then torn neatly from his mind when Dean tugged Castiel into the Winchesters' home and down the hall to his bedroom. They probably had a great deal to discuss, but for now, Castiel got to touch and taste and have.

His world was reduced to Dean and he'd never felt happier.
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