Ratings/Warnings: PG-13 /general season 4 spoilers (takes place sometime mid-season)
Word Count: 1330
Summary: Castiel and Dean have very strange pillow talk.
Castiel appreciated Dean renting his own motel room. The place was ugly and smelled of one night stands and snuck cigarettes, and the bedspread was of questionable cleanliness, but having it to themselves meant that Dean didn’t bother with clothes after sex. Nor did he make pleading eyes at Castiel to toss on his trenchcoat and disappear the moment the Impala’s engine rumbled into the parking lot. Castiel had never liked embarrassment. He could appreciate the purpose it evolved to fill, but in his own personal experience in bad motel rooms, it only served to shorten visits he’d prefer to prolong.
For this night, at least, embarrassment had been banished to Sam’s room. Dean lounged just across the double bed from Castiel, barely covered by the sheets and not paying an iota of attention to either of their clothes on the carpet. Castiel liked the easy grin that Dean allowed himself in this space, and the casual, friendly way he spoke across the pillow, as if the fact that the sweat was still drying on their touching forearms didn’t matter.
“You’ve been around since when,” Dean asked, “Biblical times?”
Castiel didn’t know how the question related to where they were just now, but he didn’t mind answering for the sake of Dean’s curiosity. “I was created with the rest of the Lord’s angels, at the beginning of time.”
Dean whistled low and leaned back slightly, as if giving himself space to process the information. “I’ve hopped the age gap before, Cas, but uh, wow.”
Castiel waited, watching the emotions flickering across his companion’s face. They came and went so readily, small snapshots of a rich inner life. Three decades of experience on earth and four in hell filled Dean Winchester in a way that an eternity in God’s service had never done for Castiel. He felt a twinge within himself - envy, he supposed - and he clung to the feeling, cultivating it with another long look at Dean’s face.
Which, it turned out, had settled back into his usual post-awkwardness smirk. “I bet you’ve got the inside scoop on the real story behind existence.”
Castiel mirrored the smirk on his own lips. If this was what Dean had chosen to do with the information on his true age, he couldn’t complain. “You could say that.”
“So,” Dean said, propping himself up on his elbows like a curious child, “the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve getting banished for eating fruit out of season. Is that really the way humanity started?”
“No,” Castiel answered. “Just an allegory.”
“Cain and Abel, too?”
“What about all those people ‘begetting’ kids into their 700s? Did the human life span shorten somewhere along the line, or what?”
“That was misinterpretation on the part of the book’s writers,” Castiel said, turning on his side to face Dean. He was enjoying dredging up the old knowledge. There was so much of it within him - practically all that he was, aside from faith, he’d begun to think lately - and having the chance to make use of it thrilled him in an odd way. “Humans have always been unreliable record keepers,” he admitted. “Especially in the days before word processors.”
Dean grinned, which egged Castiel on considerably. “What about Leviticus? All the ‘and you shall be unclean until evening’ and ‘a man shall not lay with a man as with a woman’ and ‘boo shellfish’?”
Castiel had never known Dean to sound educated in the Bible, even in his most righteous moments. “You’re familiar with Leviticus?”
“‘Course.” Dean shrugged. “That’s the funniest part. What?”
“I’m surprised you’ve read the Bible.”
Dean shrugged. “Dude, I grew up in motels. Whenever I got bored with TV and my dad’s Vonneguts, there was always the Gideon Bible in the dresser drawer. Sam read it more than I did - I think he actually took the thing to heart. But, y’know, I can appreciate a good work of fantasy every once in awhile.”
Castiel couldn’t quite picture it - young Dean curled up in an ostentatiously themed hotel room, reading the by-proxy word of the Lord for enjoyment. If anything, he would have guessed the boy’s default rainy day reading material would be skin mags.
“So, Leviticus?” Dean prompted, giving him eager wide eyes.
“I never liked Leviticus,” Castiel said, and smiled - actually smiled, for once. He’d never admitted as much to anyone before, but telling Dean lifted a small, tight knot from the tangle of heavenly secrets within him. “He was an unhappy, editorialist ingrate. And I’m fairly certain he had a shellfish allergy, which explains that.”
Dean chuckled and leaned sideways to kiss him. His mouth still tasted of sweat from the last hour’s mapping of each other’s bodies and fake cheese powder from his vending machine dinner. Castiel didn’t mind either, but the moment did make him suspicious. He’d had enough evenings alone with Dean to know his companion’s libido, and if experience served, it should be in post-coital hibernation by now. He must want something.
“What was that for?” Castiel asked, once their lips parted.
Dean scoffed slightly. “Okay, first, I don’t need a reason to kiss you. And second, you’re kind of adorable when you’re annoyed.”
Annoyed. Castiel digested the word, his eyes falling on the pillow. He’d seen the emotion often enough to identify it in humans, but he couldn’t pick it apart from the brew of feelings now begging for attention within him. The things Dean could do to him with just a handful of words. “Did I look annoyed?” he asked.
“Yeah, Cas. You lowered your eyebrows and scrunched up your nose, right here.” Dean rested a fingertip gently on the curve of Castiel’s nose, just between his eyes, and smiled. “And your voice got this sharp, sorta wrathful tone. Like you didn’t know what to do with it and went for the angriest voice you could find on short notice.”
“Oh.” Castiel drew Dean’s fingers down to his mouth and kissed them, then shook his head slightly. “It wasn’t intentional.”
Dean lowered his head to catch his gaze, then guided it back up. “Showing emotion is a sign of humanity,” he said, flattening his voice in what Castiel presumed to be an impression of himself. “It’s a good thing, Cas.”
Castiel’s mouth opened slightly, and he furrowed his brow, unsure what to make of the words. Then he dropped his face once more toward the pillow, taking a moment to process the fact that he could sense himself emoting. Confusion this time - he knew that one fairly well. The moment didn’t last long - Dean roped an arm around him and pulled him closer, their chests flush and Castiel’s nose touching his neck. Fingers combed back his rumpled hair, and he exhaled against Dean’s flushed skin. He didn’t need to breathe, technically, but it felt good.
It felt… The phrase seemed foreign, an intruder in his vocabulary.
Dean laughed, his voice vibrating in his ribs. “Tell me more about Leviticus.”
“He once spat on Uriel.” Castiel drew his head back far enough to look Dean in the eye. “You and I have very strange pillow talk, don’t we?”
“We have ‘very strange’ a lot of things,” Dean answered. “Living is a pretty strange thing in general, Cas. You’ll get used to it.”
Castiel rested his head in the crook of Dean’s shoulder, his lips pressed softly against his companion’s collarbone and the pillow muffling his left ear. Dean’s hands skimmed the length of his back, and he tried mirroring the position, wrapping his arms around the man’s body until his palms lay flush with shoulder blades. Through his chest, he felt Dean’s heartbeat slow as he began the gradual descent into sleep - in a borrowed room saturated in floral prints, one year out of Hell, curled around an angel in the midst of the end times.
Living was a strange thing indeed, Castiel thought, slowing his own breathing to match Dean’s for the night.