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03 May 2011 @ 12:44 pm
[fanfic] Trust  
Title: Trust
Author: tiptoe39
Pairing: Gen - but Dean/Sam/Cas if you squint.
Summary: Unabashed cuddlefic set after 6x18. Originally posted in two parts. Now consolidated For Great Justice.
Rating: G unless you decide to see PG in it. If you're looking for something harder-core, try this.

Castiel is still sitting on Bobby's chair in the den after Dean returns from a long-awaited shower to wash off the dust of the Wild West. In Bobby's absence, Castiel takes up the mantle of grumpy old man and wears it damn well, presiding over the room with labored attempts to sit up straight, groans, and reproachful glances at Dean, like it's Dean's fault Castiel's not feeling well. Dean would be insulted if it weren't for the rush of concern he gets when he sees the blood still oozing from beneath the bandage across Castiel's side.

"How's it feel?" Dean crosses the room to take a closer look.

Castiel opens his coat gingerly. His shirt's unbuttoned, hanging loosely around him, a brown-red blotch adorning the left side like an oversized rose. "It will heal," Castiel reminds him testily.

"That's not what I asked," Dean says. "I asked you how it feels."

Castiel glares at him. "Painful."

Dean sits down in beside him on the couch. "Let me see," he says, and the protest is on the tip of Castiel's tongue, very nearly bitten off into the air, when Dean's fingers slide along the contours of the bandage, pulling on the bare curve of Castiel's waist to twist him closer.

Instead, Castiel's eyelashes flutter, and his gaze catches Dean's. "Thank you," he says.

Weirdly embarrassed, Dean lowers his eyes to examine the wound. "Yeah, of course," he mumbles, and his fingers spread across the corners of the bandage so he can see how the skin flexes there, how deep and wide the bleeding might go. It looks to be fairly contained. If this were Sam he'd do with a few stitches; Castiel doesn't even need that. He nods, as though agreeing with himself in a silent conversation, and folds in his lips to press them together.

"Dean." Castiel's voice wobbles at the edge of his perception. "I--"

The word catches, and the sentence dies there. False starts are so unlike Cas, Dean looks up again in surprise. "What?"

Castiel looks as stunned as Dean is at the sudden uncooperativeness of his voice. He squints, almost crosses his eyes, and chews on his lip briefly. He finally settles on words -- Dean can see his eyes glint with the decision -- and says, gingerly, as though stepping on sharp stones, "I do not wish to appear selfish."

Dean thinks about pointing out that he and Sam are the selfish ones, at least according to Castiel's late cohort, but Castiel's a breath away, Dean's hand still splayed against his torso, and there isn't room for his bravado in so small a space. "OK," he says, just as carefully. "But..?"

Castiel is still calculating his next words. "But," he echoes, and then swallows, stiffening in sudden pain as his chest rises, "I am having a difficult time." A soft, surprised chuckle follows the words. "That is an understatement."

His eyes crinkle at the outside edges, Dean realizes. Has he ever noticed that before? Or is Castiel starting to show fatigue and age in his vessel's face now? Dean's chest hurts, and he fights back an isolated urge to run his fingers along the telltale lines. Instead, he presses his hand along Castiel's side a mite harder, fingers slipping around to hold instead of just feel. A moment later, Castiel's weight leans into the grip, and Dean can feel him exhale, feel his ribs relax as air whooshes out of him. It's a good feeling, to be witness to the release of tension. Dean feels himself relaxing in sympathy.

"I know you are," he says. "And Cas, if there's anything we can do--"

"This," Castiel says. "Do this." A warm insistence to his voice, an urgency Dean's never heard from him before, at least, not for his own sake alone. Before, it was always matters of heavenly war or earthly apocalypse that brought out the growl in his tone, but--

And Dean's thoughts skid off a cliff into nothing as Castiel's head bobs, then nods against Dean's chest.

Dean's first response is to panic. "Cas? Did you pass out?" But Castiel's breath is now rising and falling against his skin, and he's wormed his way closer. Another breath and Castiel's hand has found Dean's hip, pulling his body in with a sharp tug on bone and a shift of weight.

They're flush now, Castiel's chest pressed into Dean's, and his head bobs briefly against Dean's shoulder before burrowing in. Dean's fingers are still captive at Castiel's waist, tugging harder despite the voice in Dean's head that says this is dangerous, this is uncharted territory. His mind is racing, fear and nerves and embarrassment cooking up a million questions in his head - what's wrong with him? Am I doing something wrong? Should I break away?

But for all the scampering of unruly thoughts in his head, his body feels warm, languid, accepting. His arm has slid back now, nestling in the small of Castiel's back, and the expanse of skin against his forearm isn't scary, isn't wrong, doesn't feel dangerous. It's just there, constant, radiating heat at him, and the heat's seeping into Dean's bones too, pulling him closer. Making him want more.

"Cas?" he manages to whisper, his lips dangerously close to Castiel's ear now, and the dark hair shakes in response. Castiel doesn't want to answer. Of course he doesn't, Dean thinks. He's even more out of his depth right now than Dean is. His arm tightens on Castiel's back at the thought. As lost as he is, Castiel has it worse. At least Dean knows the language of bodies touching. He can guide Cas through this new experience. He can be useful to him like that.

His hand hovers on Castiel's shoulder, then slides down across his back, tugging, bringing Castiel's weight down against him. A gasp sounds sharp against his shoulder, and Dean smiles, settling back into the couch cushions and gazing up at the ceiling through half-lidded eyes. "It's OK, Cas," he says, feeling like he's gone back in time, feeling like the big brother cradling a crying Sam in his arms again. "I'm here. You're OK."

A whimper sounds, soft, near his ear. Dean's eyes close. This much he can do.

Sam creeps downstairs late. He'd been having a long conversation with Bobby about this, that and the other thing -- the mechanics of hunting the Mother of All, the difficulties of time travel, the weird, winding path their lives had taken from monsters to demons to angels and back to monsters again -- and the time has stolen away to midnight while he wasn't looking. He doesn't expect Dean to still be awake, and he definitely doesn't expect Castiel to still be there.

So he's surprised to see, as he passes the den, an angel crumpled into Dean's shoulder, hand around his waist, as Dean nods forward, asleep, cheek pressed gently against Castiel's. Two pillars, each off-balance, leaning on each other to keep from crumbling to earth.

It's sweet, almost cloyingly, and Sam has to stand there for a minute and smile. When was the last time his brother let anyone get that close? When was the last time he'd seen Dean with his arm slung around someone, not to keep them steady or to shuttle them away from danger, but just to support, just to say I'm here?

Sam's proud of him, he realizes. Damn proud that Dean can open himself up like that. After all the betrayal and all the heartbreak, in the knowledge that Castiel is facing hard times, Dean's managed to give of himself, and Sam's proud.

He ducks into the doorway and tiptoes toward them. There's room on the couch beside Dean, and Sam sits as gradually and as gingerly as he can, his legs stretching in an easy sprawl before him as he sinks into the cushion. Sitting upright, alert, he carefully lifts an arm and slides it across the back of the sofa behind them both. His forearm grazes the back of Dean's neck as it goes.

Nobody stirs. Sam waits a long moment, and then his hand creeps -- gently, so gently -- from the sofa back onto one of Castiel's hunched shoulders. For an instant, he thinks that's all that will happen. He'll be able to sit here, offer his own strength and comfort to them unnoticed. Just an instant, before blue eyes open.

Sam starts, but Castiel only catches his gaze for a moment before letting his eyes close again. If it weren't for the soft quirk of Castiel's mouth as their eyes met, Sam would think he was sleeping through the whole thing, open eyes and all.

Castiel's head droops, lolling on Dean's shoulder for a moment before tilting, then dropping to rest on Sam's hand. Sam turns his palm upward, offering a cradle, and Castiel makes a small, contented noise as he accepts it. Warmth and affection floods Sam in a bright wave, and he leans in, smiling, almost teary-eyed with the simple pressure of a cheek pressed to his palm, trusting.

So attuned is he to the weight of Castiel's head on his hand that Sam doesn't notice his own head nodding forward until his lips brush the back of Dean's neck.

Dean murmurs and shifts, but he doesn't awaken. Sam's afraid to move, afraid to disturb him. It's the most peaceful he's seen Dean in a long time, and he doesn't want to stir the waters. Still, he can't help exhaling, the puff of breath tickling against the hairs at the nape of Dean's neck.

Dean's arm rises from his lap and searches backward, seeking in sleep the touch of the person instinct tells him is there. He finds Sam's hand, curls his fingers around Sam's, and drags it forward until Sam's arm is wrapped around Dean's waist.

Arms and hands full now, heart throbbing painfully at the closeness and the trust, Sam closes his eyes, feeling like a mother bird with wings wrapped tight around her young. His thumbs stroke Castiel's cheek, Dean's fingertips, and he squeezes, barely, as though with gradual, steady pressure he can solder them into his grip so he'll never have to let them go.

And he lets himself trust, too, enough to fall asleep there.

Tiptoe39tiptoe39 on May 4th, 2011 03:04 pm (UTC)
Is this an RP? Are we RPing now? *looks around, panicked* :D