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Dean eyed Cas in the rearview mirror, ignoring Sam's rambling about serial killers or sustainable farming or whatever the little nerd was on about this time. Cas was as taciturn as always, but he seemed -- fidgety, Dean would say, if he were talking about a restless child, not a newly juiced-up angel of the freaking Lord.

"Dude, what is up with you?" Dean finally asked, after Cas cracked his neck for the third time in ten minutes.

Cas stilled himself with visible effort, tucking his hands under his thighs.

"I'm fine," he said, turning to the window.

Dean raised an eyebrow. "You haven't stopped twitching since we got in the car. You okay?"

"Fine," Cas insisted. He rolled his shoulders again. "I'm just -- readjusting to my grace."

Sam turned around in his seat, clearly eager to interrogate Cas about the mechanics of losing and regaining angel grace or some shit, but Dean stopped him with a pointed glare.

"Listen, we'll be back at the bunker soon. Sit tight for an hour or so and then you can stretch your feathers and shit."

Cas' eyes snapped to his in the mirror, but he said nothing, and Dean decided to let it go.

Nearly a week went by before Dean brought it up again. Cas was still acting undeniably weird, disappearing from the bunker for hours of at a time with no explanation, but he was also clearly healing, which was enough to keep Dean's questions at bay. His eyes had lost their look of bleak resignation, and Dean had even caught glimpses of Cas' rare smiles -- usually when he found Dean in in the kitchen, flipping burgers.

Cas had started showering, which was odd enough in itself; Dean hadn't seen him use a bathroom since he'd showed up coated in filth from Purgatory. But one day Dean found a stray black feather lodged in the shower drain -- tiny and bedraggled, but solidly corporeal -- and he went to go talk to the angel.

"Cas?" he called, knocking on the door to the room Cas had claimed for his own. There was a grunt of acknowledgement, and Dean poked his head in.

Cas was sitting shirtless on his bed, trench coat and dress shirt folded neatly at his side. Dean swallowed hard. He opened his mouth to make a joke about Cas' comparative nakedness before remembering that he had told him to make himself at home, and he covered his words with a cough.

"There a reason you been molting in the shower, buddy?"

Cas blinked at him in confusion, until his eyes dropped to the feather cradled in Dean's hands, and he flushed.

"I'm sorry, Dean," he said, drawing his knees up in an oddly childlike gesture. "I didn't mean to --"

"Whoa, hey, you don't gotta be sorry," Dean interrupted. "I just --" He stopped when he caught sight of the small pile of feathers gathered on the nightstand. Frowning, Dean stepped inside and shut the door.

"Cas, what's goin' on, man? I mean, it seems like you're gettin' stronger, but I feel like this," -- he gestured briefly with the feather in his hand before laying it down carefully, "-- ain't a good sign. Talk to me."

"I -- it's nothing. I'm fine."

Dean raised a dubious eyebrow, casting a pointed look at the nightstand, and Cas sighed.

"Truly, Dean. Both my body and my grace are getting stronger every day. It's just --" He hesitated, but Dean just sat down next to him on the bed.

"It's my wings," Cas finally blurted, staring at his hands.

Dean blinked. "Your wings? But -- you got 'em back, right? All mojo'd up and ready to go?"

Cas smiled slightly, still not looking up. "Yes, I have them back. But they were badly damaged when Metatron ripped out my grace." Dean's jaw clenched visibly, but he stayed quiet. "In truth, I was afraid they might be mangled beyond repair. But even so, despite the damage, to have them back at all…" He rolled his shoulders, and Dean automatically thought back to that day in the barn, the great black wings dominating the space. He resolutely ignored the goosebumps creeping along his skin at the memory.

"Perhaps it's… childish, but I found myself unwilling to keep my wings in the ether, as is our usual custom," Cas admitted. "But keeping them closer to my vessel does slow the healing process. And leaves me physically susceptible to the discomfort of torn and mending wings."

Cas spoke in a carefully neutral voice, but Dean caught the slight shudder that ran through him, and he swallowed a lump in his throat.

"Cas," Dean said, not bothering to hide the rasp in his voice, "why -- why didn't you tell us? Tell me, at least?"

"Because there is nothing you could do," Cas snapped, then sighed again. "They are healing, Dean," he continued in a softer tone. "It's unpleasant, yes, but since the only assistance you could --"

He shut his mouth abruptly, but Dean raised an incredulous glare. "The only assistance I could what, Cas?" he asked, his voice low and dangerous.

Cas shook his head, then gave Dean a small, sad smile. "It's nothing, Dean. Please believe me. I should be fully healed within a month, possibly two. You don't --"

"Months?" Dean echoed, voice cracking. "Cas, man -- believe me, I'm happy you're healing up -- I'm fuckin' thrilled. But if there's anything I can do to help you out, and you ain't telling me, so help me --"

"It's -- it's complicated."

"What's complicated?"

Cas looked back down, picking at a fingernail. "I don't wish to make you uncomfortable."


Cas exhaled. "When an angel's wings are injured," he said to his feet, "the healing process can be augmented by… grooming, I suppose, would be the most accurate word. Removal of the maimed feathers to allow growth of healthy ones. Otherwise, they're left to fall out alone." He tilted his head towards the nightstand. "As you see."

Dean stared at him. "So… that's why I can't help?" he said slowly. "'Cause I can't, y'know… see 'em? Or touch 'em?"

"Yes," Cas said, slightly too quickly, and Dean snorted.

"You're still a shitty liar, Cas," he informed him. "What ain't you telling me?"

Cas didn't respond for several moments, and Dean had almost decided to back off when Cas spoke again.

"No. If I manifested them fully, you could see them, touch them. It's just -- it's a very… intimate act," he said quietly. "Usually only done by our closest kin. Or -- or a lover," he finished, barely audible.

Dean took a moment to process this. "Angels have… lovers?"

Cas snorted softly. "You met Balthazar, did you not?"

Dean shuddered, but he filed that away for future contemplation. "Okay, but -- dude. You dragged me out of Hell. I spent a year in Purgatory looking for your dumb ass. Think we could say we're, y'know… intimate." He stumbled over the word, and when Cas' eyes finally shot to his, widened in surprise, he flushed, but didn't look away. "And anyway," he continued, aiming for bravado, "how many humans get to play heavenly hairdresser?"

Cas bit his lip. "But, Dean," he said, sounding strangely shy, "it's -- my wings, they're not like they used to be. They're… ugly."

Dean stared at him, and before he could think too much about it he laid a hand on the angel's face.

"Cas, I don't think anything about you could be ugly if you tried," he said, voice low and honest. "But anyway, this ain't no beauty pageant. Let's just get you all feathered up again before we worry about anything else."

Cas hesitated, uncertainty written in his unfathomable eyes. Finally he pushed Dean's hand from his face, shifting away on the bed.

Dean flinched, and had just opened his mouth to apologize when the air shimmered, and suddenly two huge wings filled the room, brushing against the ceiling and dragging on the floor.

"Jesus, Cas!" Dean yelped, heart hammering in his chest. "You can't just -- Jesus Christ!"

Cas looked at him, eyes wide and scared, and folded his wings in on himself. "I didn't -- I thought -- I can put them away…"

"Whoa," Dean said, breathing still unsteady. He reached out and caught Cas' wrist. "No, dude, that wasn't -- just -- warn a guy."

Cas blushed and ruffled his wings over his shoulders, and some of Dean's shock melted at the inexplicable familiarity of the gesture.

"Okay." He let go of Cas' hand and leaned back, surveying the wings. "Can you, y'know -- stretch 'em out? See what we got here?"

He wasn't entirely sure what he was expecting, from Cas' descriptions of the damage, and he steeled himself for the possible sight of blood matted into feathers, falling off of exposed bone.

Instead Cas' wings flared bright and strong, tips brushing into the corners of the room, and Dean stared at them in open awe. He'd seen them before, of course, in shadows and silhouettes, but those were nothing in comparison to the wings right there in front of him, solid and shifting and so close he could --

Dean coughed. "Uh, no offense, Cas, but not sure you understand the word ugly," he said weakly, still watching the way the dim lamplight played on the inky feathers.

"But they're -- they're mutilated, Dean, I can feel it, they must look --"

"Hold up," Dean interrupted. "You -- you haven't even seen them?"

"I don't need to see them," Cas said grumpily. "I can feel every molecule."

Dean rolled his eyes. "Stop your fidgeting for a minute and let me look." He reached out, then hesitated. "If, you know -- can I?"

Cas bit his lip, then nodded, stilling his wings. Dean's hand hovered uncertainly for a moment before he finally stroked a careful finger through the feathers.

Cas hissed, and Dean froze immediately. "Does that hurt?" he asked, withdrawing his hand. "Gotta admit, don't exactly know much about pettin' feathers."

"No," Cas whispered. "They're sensitive, but not… painful."

"Okay," Dean said. "Well, you just… lemme know if I do anythin' wrong."

Cas nodded, and Dean reached out again, stretching the wing slightly. As he looked closer, he could pick out signs of the damage Cas described. Feathers were bent and twisted, some clearly broken, and hints of white bone showed through in several places. But the wings themselves looked strong and sleek, and evidence of new feather growth softened the bare patches.

Dean combed his fingers through the tips, drawing out a shudder from Cas, and two small feathers floated to the floor.

"Cas," Dean said softly, still tracing through feathers, "man, I see where they're kinda fucked up --" Cas stiffened, but Dean just buried his fingers further until Cas relaxed again, "-- and it don't look comfortable, but -- Jesus, dude, you're -- they're gorgeous."

"Don't patronize me," Cas mumbled, but he leaned into the touch, and Dean smiled.

"I think I can straighten out a lot of these," he said, tugging lightly at the feathers. "But it might be easier if, uh -- if it's cool with you, if you'd, um, lie down?"

Cas shifted forward until he was onto his stomach, head pillowed on his arms, and his wings trailed elegantly over the bed onto the floor. Dean sat down at his side. He put his hand on the small of Cas' back, skin cool against his palm.

"Tell me what to do?"

"Um." Cas spread his right wing out. "Anything out of place. If you could… or, if. If something is… broken."

Dean smoothed his hand down over Cas' wing, until he found a feather sticking out at a forty-five degree angle.

"Like this?" he asked, pulling gently at it, and Cas sucked in a breath.


Dean hesitated, feeling down until he could wrap his fingers around the feather's base. He paused, then yanked it out all at once.

Cas cried out, and instinctively Dean stroked a hand down his spine. "Cas?"

Cas took a deep breath, rolling his shoulders experimentally. "I -- it hurts, but -- it feels better now."

"You want me to keep going?"


Dean grabbed a pillow, nudging it under Cas' head, then returned his attention to the wings. Despite the general disrepair, only a few feathers seemed to actually be broken, and he went through those first, tugging them out as carefully as he could.

When he'd pulled out the last one, setting it on the nightstand with the rest, he leaned forward. Cas' face was buried in the pillow, eyes closed, and tinges of pink glowed in his cheeks.

"Okay, angel?" Dean murmured, and Cas' eyes shot open. He struggled to sit up.

"Y-yes. Thank you, Dean, that's… much better. I'm sure I can --"

Dean interrupted him, putting a hand on his back. "Whoa there, buddy. That's the worst of it, yeah, but you still got a bunch of crap out of place, and that can't feel good." He raked his fingers down Cas' wing, watching the feathers slip back into place like liquid, and Cas melted back to the bed with a groan.


"Please -- please don't stop." The pink flush in his cheeks had deepened, but he spread his wings further in obvious offering. Dean swallowed hard, resisting the urge to move his hands from the silky feathers to the messy dark hair.

Friends, he reminded himself. Helping a friend. He ignored the way said friend's back muscles rippled under his touch, and absolutely did not catalogue the breathy little sounds being sighed into the pillow.

Dean shifted awkwardly, trying to get to Cas' other wing.

"Little help here?" he said, tugging at a feather, but Cas just hummed, wings rippling in clear contentment.

Dean hesitated, then he clambered up onto the bed until he was straddling Cas' hips, knees resting against his waist.

Cas finally cracked an eye, looking over his shoulder in surprise.


"Not a word to Sam," Dean said gruffly. He took a deep breath, then buried his hands in the scapular feathers.

Cas moaned, muffled into the pillow, and his fingers flexed in the bedsheets. Dean opened his mouth, ready to make a weak joke and scramble off, but instead he found himself leaning down until his face brushed against the silky black.

Cas arched underneath him, wings trembling palpably. "Dean -- you don't -- you --"

The helplessness in Cas' voice finally broke down the last of Dean's little hang-ups, and he turned his face, pressing a tiny kiss into a patch of missing feathers.

"You're beautiful," he said, voice low and honest. "I mean," -- he raked one hand slowly down Cas' right side, eliciting a shudder, "-- these, yeah, they're fuckin' -- fuckin' awesome, man. Like literally. But you -- you don't even know..."

"Please don't stop," Cas whispered.

Dean swallowed. "Yeah. Yeah, okay." He continued stroking through the wings, hoping Cas was too blissed-out to notice the nascent erection nudging at Dean's zipper.

Finally Cas' wings lay shining against his back, dim lamplight casting otherworldly shadows into the inky feathers, now smoothed over the patches of bare bone. But Dean couldn't quite reach the delicate undersides, and Cas seemed uninclined to help him out.

"Cas." He tugged gently at one wingtip. "Cas. Little help here? Can you stretch this out?"

Cas' right wing flared briefly, almost dislodging Dean from his perch, but almost immediately it spread flat against the bed, as if in invitation to continue, and Dean rolled his eyes.

"Cas, buddy, I'll give you a wing-rub all day if it'll help, but lemme get to the front." He bit his lip, hesitating. "Could you, y'know, turn over?"

Dean rose up to scramble off, but before he could move Cas flipped himself over with unsettling ease, considering the huge wings now spread out underneath him. Dean started in surprise, and before he could reposition himself he fell back to his knees, straddling Cas' hips again, and felt an unmistakable hardness under the thin dress pants.

Dean froze, eyes wide, but Cas either didn't notice Dean's half-hard cock pressing against his own, or didn't care. To be fair, he supposed, Cas had warned him it was intimate; maybe to him, arousal was a perfectly natural reaction. He shifted carefully away, determined not to take advantage of an angel apparently stoned on feather-touch.

Reaching down again, he began to gently brush at the disheveled feathers, trying and utterly failing to ignore the low, breathy noises Cas was making with every touch. Cas' eyes were still closed, and Dean stared in awe at the look of pure, unfettered joy, somehow more angelic even than the great black wings.

Enthralled in watching Cas' face, he barely registered one wing lifting off the bed until the tips of feathers were trailing down his back. He jerked in surprise; even through the t-shirt he was wearing, the touch sent electricity coursing through his blood.

"Cas?" he whispered without taking his hands away.

Cas just hummed, and then the other wing was rising too, pressing against Dean's shoulder. Cas rolled his hips once, back arching, and Dean choked back a gasp.

"C-Cas," he said more firmly, trying to keep his voice steady.

Cas just murmured something incomprehensible, most likely in Enochian, and shifted his wings until they encircled Dean entirely, wrapping him in a cool, silky cocoon, smelling like fresh water and vaguely of smoke.

Dean sucked in a breath, marshalling the last of his self-control. He planted his hands safely on Cas' shoulders, shaking him gently. "Cas."

Cas' eyes opened slowly, and he blinked up at Dean, pupils nearly swallowing the unearthly blue. His gaze dropped to Dean's mouth, lingering there as Dean swallowed harshly, then drifted up to his wings, still absently stroking down his spine.

Suddenly his eyes went wide, and he struggled to sit up, jerking his wings from Dean's body as if shocked.

"Dean," he said, voice even raspier than normal. "Dean, I'm -- I'm so sorry -- this is why we shouldn't --"

"Whoa, whoa, angel-mine," Dean interrupted, the endearment slipping out without thought. "If you wanna -- y'know -- keep going, believe me, I ain't complaining. You just, y'know, were kinda out of it, and I'd never forgive myself if I took advantage while you're, y'know, angel-high or some shit."

Cas stared at him, then reached up to gently cup his jaw. "Dean, touching my wings would be -- repellant, unthinkable -- with somebody I did not already consider… close. And even among those that I do consider family, such as Sam, I would not react like this with someone I didn't -- did not desire." A faint flush burned in his cheeks. Dean gazed down at him in disbelief, and he fixed his eyes on a point somewhere over Dean's left shoulder. "I had thought that I could control my body's reaction, but -- I'm so sorry, Dean, I didn't wish to make you uncomfortable."

"You mean," Dean finally said hesitantly, "you -- you want me?"

"I should have thought that was obvious," Cas grumbled, still looking determinedly away.

"And it's not just the -- y'know -- the angelic endorphins or whatever?"

Cas rolled his eyes, finally meeting Dean's gaze, and some of the tension roiling in Dean's belly eased at the familiar gesture.

"Please don't make me elaborate," Cas said grumpily. "I appreciate your assistance with my wings, but I'm aware you don't reciprocate my -- my feelings -- so if you could --"

He swallowed the rest of his words when Dean leaned down, pressing his mouth to Cas' in a chaste, barely-there brush of lips.

Cas froze underneath him, and Dean pulled away instantly, eyes wide and scared.

"Cas? Was that -- I thought -- I'm sorry, I didn't --"

"Do that again, please," Cas whispered.

Dean obliged, pressing their lips together more firmly, and a small, high sound escaped Cas' throat. The hesitant brush of feathers returned to Dean's back, and he shuddered.

"Cas, y'gotta tell me if you wanna stop," Dean said hoarsely. "'Cause I gotta tell you, I'm about to lose my mind over here."

"Please don't." Cas' voice had gone low and drugged again, but his eyes were wide and clear. "Please don't stop."

A few feather-tips slipped under the hem of Dean's t-shirt, stroking at the bare skin. Dean stared down at him for a moment, at the raw vulnerability mixed with desire in his eyes, and finally his resolve crumbled. He wrapped a hand around Cas' neck and kissed him hard, drinking in the small moan Cas breathed against his lips, and the feathers tightened on the small of his back.

Cas brought one hand up to settle in Dean's hair, and Dean fumbled through the tangle of limbs and wings until he could sink it into the mess of feathers again, any pretense of clinical grooming abandoned. Cas arched his back, dropped his head back with a cry, and Dean seized the opportunity to press a trail of kisses down his throat and along his collarbones.

"Dean," Cas groaned, eyes still closed, and Dean finally let himself grind down on Cas' lap. Cas was as hard as he was, and even through the layers of fabric, the friction sent sparks down Dean's spine.

The feathers slipped out from under Dean's shirt, and Dean bit back a whine at the loss, but then Cas was tugging at it clumsily, and he shrugged it over his head.

He leaned down to reattach their lips, but Cas stopped him with a gentle hand on his chest. He looked down quizzically, breathing hard.

"I just want to look at you," Cas murmured, smoothing his hand down Dean's torso.

Dean cracked a weak smile. "Like what you see?"

"Yes," Cas said softly. He brushed his thumb over Dean's nipple. Cas' feathers were tracing endless tingling patterns on the skin of his back, and the combination of sensations made Dean's vision go white and staticky at the edges.

"Jesus, Cas," he gasped. "Thought I was supposed to be the -- the experienced one here, and you the blushing virgin."

Cas just stared up at him, and then Dean found himself flat on his back with an angel in his lap, great black wings like waterfalls pouring over the sides of the bed.

"Holy shit," Dean said weakly, wide-eyed.

"I may be inexperienced, as you say, but I'm as old as the oceans," he reminded Dean, hands stroking over the musculature of his chest. "I do not share your human inhibitions." His eyes shimmered in the dim lamplight, and for a moment Dean wondered what the hell he was playing at, falling for an angel of the Lord.

But then Cas leaned down to kiss him again, the taste of his mouth already familiar on Dean's tongue, and he reached up to twist a hand in each wing, tugging Cas closer.

Cas shuddered, wings rippling, and he grabbed Dean's legs, wrapping them around his waist.

"Fuck," Dean groaned as Cas ground against him, his cock trapped achingly in the thick denim. "Think we should maybe -- lose the pants?"

"Mm," Cas agreed, not making a move to help, so Dean slid a hand between them to work at the button of Cas' slacks. But before he could even work the zipper down, a tingle coursed through his veins, familiar yet so foreign, and then Cas' naked cock was rubbing against his own, rock-hard and velvety-smooth.

"Did you just --" Dean choked out a laugh. "Nice use of -- of angelic grace, dude --"

"You talk too much," Cas murmured, grinding down hard and Dean sucked in a gasp. His hand was still trapped between their groins, and he shifted until he could wrap it around their lengths, relishing the broken moan that drew out.

Cas sat up slightly, and Dean tried to chase his mouth, but Cas pushed him back to the bed with a strong hand. He brought one wing forward until he could brush it over Dean's chest, rubbing firmly over his nipples. The other wing he reached down between them, adding electric, feather-light touches to the heat of Dean's hand.

"Oh, Jesus." Dean squeezed harder, precome smearing over his palm. "This's gotta be worth -- at least -- a few levels of Hell…"

"Pleasure is not a sin." Cas rolled his hips in emphasis. "I would know."

"You're the angel," Dean agreed breathlessly. "Oh, God -- Cas, I'm close --"

Cas just stared at him, eyes wide and awestruck. He pressed his wing further between Dean's legs, stroking over his balls and down his perineum. The moment silky feathers brushed over his hole, Dean arched, one hand gripping Cas' hip and the other working over their cocks.

"Fuck, Cas," he croaked, hand speeding up. "Fuck -- fuck -- Cas --"

"Later," Cas agreed without breaking their gaze. "Dean -- Dean -- fuck..."

Somehow the profanity tumbling from the angel's lips like honey was enough to push Dean over the edge, shuddering over his hand.

Cas let out a choked moan, head dropping. His wings twitched violently, slipping over the mess between Dean's legs, and then he was coming with a cry, dripping down his own feathers.

"Jesus." Dean reached up weakly, leaving streaks on Cas' cheekbone. "Jesus."

"I hope not," Cas returned, still muffled into his chest.

Dean snorted softly, then urged Cas to the bed until they were lying side by side.


"So," Cas muttered in return, but he wrapped his wings around Dean's back again. Dean made a face at the come-smeared feathers trailing down his back, but he pulled Cas closer, burying his face in the angel's neck.

"So you," Dean said, stroking sticky fingers into any feathers he could reach. "You, you know. Me. Really?"

Cas' eye-roll was nearly audible, and Dean smiled into his shoulder.

"Always, Dean." He spread his feathers until they fanned over Dean's body, head to toe. "Always."