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Title: Trial by Fire
Fandom: Supernatural
Pairing: Dean/Sam/Castiel
Rating: R
Wordcount: 6356
Content notes: oral sex, burns
Author's Note: Okay I started this before 8x17 had aired, and I haven’t seen 8x17 or 8x18 so it’s canon-divergent in the extreme from that point on. Originally intended for Wincestiel2013 but due to personal fail just being posted generally. To give fair warning I cut out a lot of the sex, so it's mostly ~feelings.

Summary: Sam's been coughing up blood but what comes next is worse. Stripped of his ability to touch anyone but Castiel, the barriers come down and secrets are revealed.

It’s not a slow process what happens to him. One minute he’s walking through the door and stopping short, surprised that Cas has shown up, and the next he’s reeling, struck from above as though by some great force, fire burning through his lungs and his veins, and for the moment he can’t understand a single thing, doesn’t think he’ll ever breathe again.

“What is it Sam?” Castiel asks, and there is no space between the words and the thoughts like this, as Sam is held suspended in time for a long instant, shocked to the bone as he feels as though everything had been made clear in one blistering moment of fear and tumbling chaotic freedom. He flinches away as though burnt by the regard, scorched by the intensity of the thoughts mirrored and focused towards him. He's briefly aware of how Dean is there, an inch away from his arm looming protection against something he can't understand and yet is still instinctively a bulwark against. Sometimes moments like this drive home the difference between them, a difference Sam suspects is only half inbuilt, half Dean flinching from the idea that what runs in their veins dictates his life. He doesn't see these moments, doesn't see what Sam can see if he narrows his vision and just lets himself feel as he hasn't in years, too fearful of it all.

Castiel is a deep thrum of borrowed life-force and inherent grace, non-existent blood pumped around non-existent veins, rebuilt from the ground up so many times he's barely more than shreds of humanity wrapped around light, and Sam doesn't get how Dean can look at him and not see all that he is, doesn’t understand why or how hard he clings to the face that Cas projects. Maybe Sam wouldn't see it either if he wasn't so high and doped on whatever the fuckers have done to him this time, but as it is, it shines brighter than he can bear to look at and he turns away, looks at Dean's face, beloved, human, love that can be quantified if not ever understood. Sam has only one frame of reference for what Dean feels for him and that's what he feels himself; how it can tear him apart and hold him together all at once. But it’s all he has to hold onto in this moment.

Then Cas's hand is on his sleeve, holding him up with strength that can't be understood, and Sam leans forward for a second, feels warmth that might not be real, only fleeting against him but still more present than anything that has been offered to him in so long. He can have pieces, his thoughts somberly remind him. Amelia and her edged, shattered fleeting relief, the way she didn't hesitate to handle his broken parts and how she offered him something to look forward to, a flickering devil's wisp of light. Dean, and his suffocating overwhelming all-encompassing love that doesn't allow for respite. Castiel and the way he can look sometimes as though Sam as well as Dean has a part of his hope, a part of his regard, and he'll never understand why, after what Sam has done, Sam has been that Cas can still look at him as though there is good to be envied, good to be recovered.

Then Dean rests a hand on his shoulder and yanks it back with a motherfucker ripped unbelievingly from his lungs, a shadowed darkness behind his eyes as he clutches a hand that is peeling and burning. Sam he says, and it's a hoarse whisper that Sam sways towards instinctively, consolation in his mind, and fire in his hands, before he reels back from Dean, living hurt embodied. He can't breathe all of a sudden and he doesn't think that it's just the blood coating his mouth, the iron taste that wells thick and deep and bitter all at once. They're cutting him off, he thinks helplessly. They're changing him from the ground up, altering his very structure, making him unbearable and alien in ways that he has been before, that are not paths that have not been travelled, and he rebels with all the force he can bring to bear, that he thought he had lost in grief and darkness.

They'll take this from him, of course they will. Take away any relief, anything that will bulwark him against what is to come, any shred of comfort that can be offered, and he can't meet Dean's eyes, sinks down to the ground and struggles for air. Dean's feet are in front of him, heavy boots and worn jeans and he tries to focus on them, on the familiar, before Castiel’s hand lands on his back, sinks deep down to his bones, no instant relief and healing, just there and solid and real, and touching him, and he squeezes his eyes more closely shut as though it will retain the moment, burn it into the darkness behind his eyes as though to sustain him for what is to come.

They discover the limits pretty fast. Only Castiel can touch him and it's not, Sam thinks, without effort - a faint line creases his brow when he tries, but he does it anyway, brushes against him, once or twice pats him on the arm, staccato and awkward like he's not quite sure how he should do it. Everyone else burns. He learns fast to be careful. Clothing has no effect, walking through crowds becomes a trial, each new person who approaches absorbed in their coffee, their phone or their own personal turmoil is a walking hazard to them both. He slides on through as best as he can, but he's not perfect and sometimes he slips up, lets his fingers brush those of the motel clerk who hands him the key, and can't apologise enough when they yank backwards with a curse and stare at him incredulously. He sometimes wonders how they rationalise it- how they accept that touching the hand of a stranger has burnt them visibly- there are always raw pink marks where his fingers brush, but that's not his problem as long as no-one comes right out and says it, names him for what he is.

On the third day he rose again and walked to the tiny balcony that was the only defining feature of the shitty room, bent his head to the cool air. He’s not high enough to hurt himself if he falls.  He's not too caught up in his own thoughts to sense Dean behind him though, and in a movement that's already become instinctual he steps forward out of reach, out of the zone of possible touch. "I'm okay man," he says, same old words again and again, and he mostly is. Sometimes the thoughts get the better of him, but not often. Still Dean stands behind him, a sombre presence that warns and warms at the same time.

"We're going to do it Sam," he says and it's stern and focused, like this is just a hunt, just any old monster, instead of them fighting for their lives again and again. He steps forward, and Sam tucks in his elbows, aware as he hasn't been for years of the precise shape and weight of his body, the space he occupies in the room, and there's inches between them, so close and yet impassable, a gulf that can't be crossed. In his mouth there's the taste of old copper, thick despair and emptiness as he stands there wrapped in his own little bubble. He can see every line on Dean's face this close even in the washed out fluorescent lighting from outside that darkens more than it lights. Can see the resolute set of his mouth, the weariness of his eyes. "We are," he says again, and it's not an accident when he sets his fingers on Sam's forehead, a light touch no more than a second but still enough to peel the skin from his fingers. Skin against skin though, like Sam already craves, and Dean saw that need and supplied as best as he could. He takes his hand back, and cradles it with the other one. "C'mon," he says, "bed," and turns to the bathroom to run his fingers under the faucet for long minutes.

Sam can feel the touch like a brand upon him still, as he lies on his side and listens to the water trickle. At some point he sleeps, a restless sleep filled with nameless monsters, all of them less scary than that brush of fingers. In the morning he thinks he might have dreamt it because Dean doesn’t look at him any differently, keeps that safe minimum distance between them as they navigate the bathroom, jumps his hand back when Sam reaches absently for the duffel bag that Dean’s rifling through at the time. But the evidence is there, shocking pink against the tough skin of Dean’s hands, an unbearable reminder in a way that blood stained tissues aren’t.

The next morning in the diner, Sam by instinct sits in the corner, tucks his legs back in as much as he can, watches Dean swing his own unconsciously to one side, giving him room to stretch a bit without the risk of collision, then looks out of the window in an attempt to avoid conversation. Dean seems as unwilling to speak as Sam though, grunting into his coffee and giving a morose look at the artery-clogging breakfast that's set before him. Sam isn't hungry but there's no point saying that since it's generally a ticket to mockery from Dean, so he's tearing at the toast in front of him and swilling the coffee that claims to be fresh-roast, but tastes as though it's been on the warmer for two days.

Between them there's a paper spread out- a possible case four pages in- three men beheaded in one fell swoop, not something either one of them reckons is worth the time - it all reads human. They need to stay unencumbered, wait for word - what word, none of them know.  There's a soft flutter in the air and Cas is there, slides into the seat next to Sam, a palpable presence even if he's not exactly human, and Sam wonders if the same blindness that covers him when it comes to people suspecting there's something unnatural about his skin covers Cas's sudden appearances as well, because not a single person around them has blinked an eyelid. Though it is seven in the morning which might have something to do with it. "Has there been any change?" Cas asks, and Sam startles when he realises Cas is asking him that, can't help the leap of hope in his throat at the idea that change might be expected.

"No," he says, "should there be?" and keeps his hands steady as he sips the coffee. Dean's gaze is heavy on him, unfooled by his pose of calmness and Cas has his head on one side as though evaluating him, drawing conclusions that have nothing to do with what Sam says, and all of a sudden Sam's tired of it. It's bad enough being cut off from any source of human contact without being constantly eyed like a specimen in a lab. He's spent most of his life with that look turned on him for one thing or another, because he had visions in his head, or two unmatched socks or hell he got every answer right in class but couldn't afford the ten dollars for a class trip.  "Excuse me," he says, because if he stays any longer he's going to choke with how much he wants to say and swallows right on back. Cas moves grudgingly, and Sam can feel him as he squeezes past, hates the fact that even that touch soothes something in him. He hunches his shoulders and doesn't look back as he holds the door for some old lady to enter and heads for the car. When he glances back through the window, he can see Dean and Cas hunched together, talking, not looking out and he doesn't want to deal with the quantity of the nausea that surges up in him.

Two minutes later he's been sick into a trash-can, and been given the eye by several passers-by who clearly think seven am is no time to be drunk at, and Sam's not sure if he agrees with them there. When he fishes a tissue out of his pocket and wipes his mouth, there's traces of red on it and he doesn't want to think too closely about that, about what it means when the lining of his body is clearly disintegrating. How much time does he have until he just can't function anymore? When he turns, Cas is there, disconcertingly close, his eyes sharp and clear, and Sam wonders if Cas can see through him, see the blood failing at its appointed duty and function of staying on the inside of his body where it belongs. Cas doesn't say anything though, and when Sam squints he can see Dean through the window still, finishing his breakfast and even from this distance he can see how rigid and tense his posture is and he wants to regret it, but can't. This isn't just about Dean.

Sam looks straight back at Cas, too tired and bleak to avert his gaze for once. He doesn't want to know what they were saying about him, doesn't want the ugly suspicions crawling up and out his throat about the doubts that he has in Cas these days, not when it'll sound pitiful and jealous as though he's trying desperately to cling on to the one thing that he has left, apart from closing the gates of hell. He doesn't stand on solid ground with Cas, never has, it shifts beneath his feet and throws him desperately off balance until he has to just stop and close his eyes. Cas is Dean's, he reminds himself, Cas will save Dean as Sam has never been able to, and the knowledge of that chokes him.

It's a shock to hear Cas's voice out loud. "You're wrong," he says, and incredibly there is understanding writ on his face, a nobler intention etched deep and clear. "I care for you Sam Winchester," and it shouldn't take the wind out of his sails so much, the plain truth uttered like this, in a parking lot with nothing to recommend it as a scene for any sort of rapprochement. He waits, for Sam's reply perhaps, though he is so still and so unruffled that Sam thinks he could just say nothing at all and Castiel would understand.

He doesn't know what to say in response. 'Thank you' doesn't seem right, and ‘there's something wrong with you’ doesn't fit the occasion, not when he reads the truth in every line of Cas's body as though the angelic grace that fueled him was bleeding through. So he shrugs, and says awkwardly, "you too Cas," because years of no chickflick moments have rubbed off well enough that saying it straight faced almost hurts.

"I know," Cas replies placidly, and Sam is pretty sure that Cas is laughing at him, or at least near him, mouth quirked just slightly enough to let him know that. "I suggest we return to the car. Dean will be worried. After all it is not like you to exit rooms abruptly," and Sam is definitely sure that Cas is fucking with him now, and it lightens something in his chest just a little, lifts a load off him if only for a few seconds, a peace that Cas ruins when he swipes a thumb across Sam's cheek. "You were adorned with your breakfast," he says as though it was a perfectly rational and understandable thing to do, and Sam thinks he should maybe be freaking out because this is all evidence in the 'there is something wrong with Castiel' box, but instead he's pretty cool with it.

Once he's in the car he breathes in deep and takes advantage of the one perk that's come with this isolation tactic on the part of whichever power has decided that his life isn't miserable enough- hovering his hand nearish the cassette-player at regular intervals after putting in the one bearable tape in the car. Dean's shooting him a pissy look, he doesn't like his routine interrupted and it's always AC/DC as they leave a town like this, but Sam smirks back at him, and Dean clearly decides discretion is the better part of valour and apart from a martyred sigh or two lets him keep the small concession.

In the absence of any Word of God about where to go next, what to do, they take the case anyway, driving hard and long. Castiel goes, as silently as he came, leaves behind an empty space where he should be - something they need to talk about. There's something wrong with him, they both know that, and Sam's had the first-hand advantage of seeing the greying strand twining down Castiel's skull and into his spine, and though he doesn't know what the hell it is, he knows it bodes nothing good. In one sense they don't need to know, it's not like they're going to abandon him, leave him alone whatever it is (and that's a resolution that Sam thinks is burnt into them- the look on Dean's face when he said Cas was left behind convinces him of that- it's not happening again). But hell, it's not like they've ever been content to let sleeping dogs lie before.

The case isn't a case at all, it turns out, a false alarm for once. Three men decapitated sure, but the murderer is all too human, a bleak reminder that evil has always had footholds in the human heart, though not a reminder Sam thinks they need. He's got other problems himself though. He'd never thought he was a touchy-feely sort of person, despite Dean's bullshit about him being the hugging and crying type. Neither of them are, not really, or so he'd thought until every modicum of contact was removed in perpetuem. They don't bump into each other in the doorway, knock elbows when they eat, Dean doesn't even play stupid little pranks on him, and Sam misses it more than he'd thought possible. The tiny amount of space they've always carved out for themselves in their chaotic lives has become an echo-chamber around him, devoid of even the smallest of touches. It brings it home to him as nothing ever has before, how close they are in so many ways even when they're drifting further apart, and if he could stretch over that bridge without bringing hurt he would.

As it is he finds himself craving touch - once he notices that he hasn't been touched even accidentally, even by someone in a crowd, his mind sets up an automatic ticking clock. It's been one day, two days, three days, a week since Dean touched his brow, since Cas swiped at his face, and he can't stop thinking about it, even as he ducks the over-enthusiastic greeter at Walmart, sidesteps the old man pondering beer choices, dodges the small child who has headed straight for his legs. It's the lack of them, that makes the ones he has received loom so large, at least that's what he tells himself. Amelia creeps back into his mind, he can picture the way she hugged, firm and solid like it was the only thing on her mind, and it feels a bit like self inflicted torture to remember what he's given up. He's still guiltily giving into the memories as he finishes shopping and pays at the cash register, and it's all weirdly melding into his head, the way Amelia hugged, the way Dean touched him, the way Cas felt, and he's pretty sure he needs to stop obsessing about it. It's something he has to live with, it's not something that's going to get better just by imagining that it will.

Dean's tapping away at the wheel idly when Sam gets back, shoves the shopping into the backseat and slumps down, trying not to look at the couple sucking face outside the shop, because there's something wrong with a world that makes him feel a mild heave of jealousy at the sight. "You okay?" Dean asks, a question that doesn't deserve an answer, so Sam just grunts in reply, and slouches away when Dean rests an arm on the back of his chair as he reverses out.

"I believe not," a voice answers for him and Castiel's there, leaning forward, his face intent.

"Creepy, Cas," Dean says more from habit than any genuine shock.

Cas ignores the interjection as usual, and focuses on Sam. "We need your spirits higher," he says, and there's a shadow of something in the back of his eyes that doesn't agree with what he's saying, "I can sense your downheartedness," and Dean looks over at that.

"So much for all that light at the end of the tunnel crap," he says, which is pretty much his version of 'sorry to hear you're feeling bad.'

"It's not crap Dean," Sam says, closes his eyes for a moment. "I really believe in it," and the kicker is, he does. There is a light, and by hook or by crook he's going to drag Dean to it. He's just not so sure he'll make it in time himself anymore. It's the right thing to say though, Dean needs to believe that Sam has that belief even if he's not entirely convinced by it himself. Castiel doesn't seem as content in Sam's reply, but he doesn't say anything at least, not then and there, just sits silently and listens as they bicker, putting on a show of unity as if by instinct.

Castiel lingers longer than he usually does which whets Sam's curiosity. Dean at least seems to have no such interest, and after a cursory offer all round sets off for the nearby bar with the intent of finding a drink or two. He won't get drunk, and he won't be gone long but it seems like he needs to escape the weird atmosphere that's been building around them since the whole no-touch thing started, and Sam understands that well enough. With Dean out of the room, part of Sam's need goes with him, like not having him within a distance to touch soothes him. It also provides him with the chance to talk to Castiel, which feels weirder than it should. Cas has been different recently, a strange wavering presence in their lives in a way that Sam can see hurts Dean on some level that he's never going to actually talk about, buried deep down with everything else that matters to him, too raw and sore to be brought to the surface for any old occasion. He's not entirely sure what went on between them down in Purgatory, Dean still sidesteps those questions with ease, and Sam isn't sure that Cas would be any more honest.

Cracking open a beer, he doesn't bother offering one to his angelic guest since he already knows the answer, but he doesn't expect cool firm fingers removing the bottle from his hands either, or how close Cas suddenly is. His eyes are bluer than seems possible this close, and Sam's not sure whether he wants to stretch towards him or lean right back, because he's getting really weird vibes from him. "Cas," he says, half question, half entreaty. "You're pretty much almost on my lap man," and when that doesn't give any sign of shifting him, "I know you know this stuff, watching over the earth for millennia and all that, so back off a bit."

Castiel does nothing of the sort. "I know, Sam," he says instead, and instead of backing off, he runs an intimate hand across Sam's jawline, a touch that trails heat in its wake like a little of Sam's curse is being turned back on himself, and Sam should be freaking out right now, throwing Cas off him and away, putting down the fact that he hasn't done so already to desperation, too many thoughts tangled up and twisted around of what exactly he felt. Instead he's frozen in position, and there's a tingle of fear spasming through him that feels suspiciously like a jolt of lust, and it's pooling helplessly in his gut, emotion that he doesn't even know what to do with, until one clear thought surfaces, enough to drench him with cold water.

"Look, if this is to keep me in good health or some shit like that for the closing of hell, stop me going insane from not touching anything, then you can give me a hug and leave it at that," and now that the ice is broken, ten other similar thoughts come crowding up, jostling suspicions eager to get to the forefront, because he's learnt the hard way that there's nothing without a reason or a price. One constant thrums through it all - Dean, and perhaps the thought is contemptible but a little part of him can't help thinking that if Cas can't have Dean- magnificently oblivious Dean, then why not go for the brother who has already proved himself corruptible?

"It's not what you're thinking Sam," Cas says, and his voice is calm and deep, almost comforting, and when he kisses Sam, Sam can almost believe that. There is no deception on Castiel's mouth, no honey-sweet lies clustered on his lips, and Sam can barely hear anything over the roaring of blood in his ears, as his fingers tangle almost helplessly in the material of Castiel's coat, as slowly Cas folds strong fingers around the back of his neck, pulls him in for a kiss that tears like wildfire through Sam, and his objections fall away as though he can’t even remember them, can’t remember every way in which this is a terrible idea. Cas kisses like this is all he’s done for centuries, no doubt or hesitation, and Sam feels like he’s unravelling, filaments of his being spooling out, and through it all relief, a hunger for touch as though he’s been deprived for years not just for weeks. He feels like he did when he was yanked out of hell into a body no longer really his, how the space had solidified around him, impassable like the distance between heaven and hell, and it’s like Cas is plunging his being past that.

It’s almost a shock to realize that he’s hard in one way, and he has a few seconds in which to feel a crest of embarrassment, like somehow the kiss should’ve been taken some other way, then Cas is standing and stripping the trenchcoat from himself, discarding it with ease, fingers going to his tie with practiced moments, and there’s no other way to take that. Sam sits back, leans on the headboard of his bed as Cas reaches for him again, and this time it’s Sam who drags him in closer, an architect in this as it feels like he is in nothing else. The heightened senses that’ve come with the lack of touch present him with a doubled picture. Cas is warm skin through white cotton as Sam slides his hands down his back, but it’s twinned with the awareness of what Cas is, of the innate power in him, and Sam can feel his hands trembling as he tries to take it in. Cas doesn’t give him any time though, stern fingers pulling at his shirt kneeling on the bed now, practically on top of Sam, lips bruised from the force of their kisses, and Sam’s taken aback by his surprisingly visceral reaction to Cas’s body, to the clean cut lines and familiar face, displayed now in a way it never has been before. When they kiss again, it’s slower, more sensual as though now they have agreed that this is possible between them they can take it easier, and Sam breathes in deep against Cas’s mouth, feels a hand thread into his hair as Cas leans over him again and kisses. His dick is straining against the fabric of his pants, and he’s pretty sure he can feel Cas’s erection against him as well, strange and alien in more ways than one, but he feels a surge of want run through him, a long slow shiver that Cas seems to interpret right off because he’s suddenly closer, knees on either side of Sam, a heavy weight against him, that should be all kinds of wrong, but just feels right.

In some ways it’s the sort of sex he hasn’t had in a long long time, perhaps since he was a teenager, not exactly sure of what to do with every limb, how to move precisely with his partner. There’s nothing smooth about it, Castiel knows what he’s doing but it’s like he can’t precisely match up what he wants with what’s possible- his hands press too deep for too long, and he can’t stop coming back to Sam’s mouth to kiss again, an awed press, like this means something to him that can’t be expressed in words. Sam’s pants are halfway down his thighs and he’s undoing Cas’s fly when the door opens, and Dean steps in, door clicking shut behind him as he stretches, sees them and stops. Sam’s painfully aware of what it looks like.

There's nothing that this can be mistaken for after all. Cas is in his lap, fingers still curled under Sam's t-shirt, bare-chested now himself, shirt discarded at some point between kisses, ripped by Sam's hands, whole by the time it hit the floor, and Sam is burningly aware of how close they are, how he can hear Cas's mechanical breathing in the utter silence of the room. Dean's face is almost unreadable as he backs towards the door again, mouth twisting mirthlessly. "Never heard of a sock on the door Sam," he says, and that's what breaks Sam wide open because the catch in Dean's voice is evident, breaking apart and spilling out, and Sam doesn't know how to fix this.

He remembers the sick surge of being left out, seeing Cas and Dean in the opening clumsy steps of whatever it was between them, can imagine how it feels, and just like that he's scrambling up, heaving Cas off or trying to at least because incredibly Cas's hands are on him, holding him down with ease, sudden iron grip as he turns to face Dean. "It's not what you think," and the words of a million cheaters and liars sound unbelievably sincere on his lips, a force of truth behind them, and his hands ease up as he holds one out, not entreatingly but an offer pure and simple, and Dean doesn't flee though neither does he reach out. Instead he moves into the room, looking at them disbelievingly. He circles closer, half prey half predator and Sam's grateful that he's still clothed. Dean's seen him in less than this, at his most exposed and vulnerable in every stage of his life, but he's never wanted to hide from his eyes more than he does now, feels like he should play the ostrich and close his eyes as though if he can't see it, it isn't happening.

"Dean," he tries to say but his voice is wrecked, and he has to stop and clear his throat. Dean doesn't give a sign of even having heard, his eyes hooded and cool like he's evaluating something, and Sam realises with a cold flinch where he's seen this before - this is Dean as hunter, stripped down to parts. Castiel loosens him completely, turns to Dean.

“Come here,” Cas says, and Sam could’ve told him that was the wrong thing to say, too much of an order for Dean to stomach. Dean stops, and shakes his head like he can’t believe he hasn’t left straight away, turns and leaves with long steps, and Sam gives a Cas a look that warns him not to try holding him down again, and is out the door after him. Dean’s not gone far, down the hallway hands empty and loose by his sides as though he can’t think of what to do with them, to do with himself, and Sam catches up with him in seconds, but when he’s there he doesn’t know what to do. If he could touch, he’d reach out, or slam Dean against the wall for not understanding, do something to break through and make him see, before Dean rebuilds himself all over again - Sam just knows that any second now he’s going to say something stupid like ‘I’m happy for you,’ or ‘get the hell out of my life and don’t come back.’

As it is all he can do is hope that Dean doesn’t forget what separates them either. “Dean,” he says, wills him to get what Sam is saying. “Please,” and it comes out helpless. He can’t do this without him, can’t take Dean walking away again, leaving them both behind. Then Cas is there beside him and before Dean has more than half a second to open his mouth, Cas kisses him. He’s gentler than he is with Sam, Sam can see that, holds back like scaring him away isn’t an option, and Sam doesn’t know what he was expecting but it wasn’t Dean to kiss back, to tug a hand through Cas’s hair and bend his head back like it’s all he’s ever wanted and he feels like a third wheel, unwanted and alone. He’s leaving when Cas’s fingers grip his wrist, and Dean opens his eyes and looks straight at him, and Sam can barely breathe at the sight.

Dean’s gaze is open for once and what Sam sees should scare the shit out of him, send him running for the hills, but he’s had years of this, building up to the inevitable, and what Dean feels doesn’t twist his stomach more than watching Dean die for him, he can only wonder how long it’s been there running beneath the surface and the skin. Cas’s fingers are cool on his wrist, and when he tugs Sam’s taken off balance, has to steady himself on the wall, only inches away from Dean, and fear runs through him twined with desperation. He’s grateful for having half the loaf - knowing exactly how Dean feels, he is, but it’s human nature to wish for the whole thing, and having cause to touch Dean but no means hurts even worse.

Back in the room he doesn’t even know where they start but Cas solves that problem, draws him back into the kiss and Dean steps up behind them, hands on Cas’s shoulders smoothing down his skin, tracing his muscles, the endless swathe of unscarred skin so different from his own, so different from Sam. Their awareness of where the other is serves its purpose now, Sam doesn’t need to look to see where Dean’s hands have landed, avoids him with ease, and when Dean bows his head to Cas’s neck reverently, Sam’s tugging down Cas’s pants. Dean used to joke about them doing this, picking up some chick and sharing her. It’s not gay if you don’t touch he thinks, and half of that is true in their situation. The beds latch together, luckily for their respective backs, and Cas takes control simply and easily like if they don’t stop moving it won’t crumble apart and stop. Every movement they make is mirrored on Cas’s body, tugged between them, greedy kisses and Sam finds himself gripping tightly onto Castiel’s hips as he sucks his dick into his mouth.

He’s done this once before, drunk out of his mind on tequila, laughing and sloppy, waking up in the morning and vowing never to drink that much again while Brady was sick in the sink. This is different, he’s as sober as he’s ever been and this is Castiel in front of him. Before he can lose his nerve, he’s doing it, hand around the base, taking it in as deep as he can manage which really isn’t far, but it still stretches his mouth, fills every sense with the scent, the weight, the heat of it in his mouth, and that seems to be enough for Cas who is rocking forward into his mouth, like he can’t help himself. Sam doesn’t know what Dean’s doing to Cas up top but he can guess, can imagine, and the thought makes his mouth water even more than the dick in his mouth is doing. Can imagine Dean sliding his mouth down the curve of Cas’s neck biting at the muscle there, soothing the hurt away, always inches away from Sam, as focused and intent as he is on any lover, and he closes his eyes and gets back to the task that he’s set himself.

When Cas finally comes, like he can’t help it, Sam kneels back up, wipes a rough hand over his mouth. He doesn’t feel any different, changed at all, just like something has clicked. Having Cas this close, past sins washed away, not forgotten but forgiven, and Dean in orbit around them both feels right, like balance that’s been lost for so long has been restored. There’s a place for each of them. He’s still hard himself and Dean’s looking at him with hungry eyes, fingers around his own cock. “Touch him Cas,” he says and his voice is hoarse, and Cas does exactly that, leans forward and strokes his dick with clever strong fingers, and Sam isn’t sure if he’s more fascinated by that or by how Dean looks pressed up against Cas’s back, hand working desperately between them, eyes huge and dark in the poor lighting. It’s the weirdest thing he’s ever done, and he’s not surprised at how fast he comes, or that Dean follows him seconds later; comes hard against Castiel, tucks his face into the curve of his neck, breathing fast and deep, before he stretches out his hand without hesitation and brushes his thumb across Sam’s mouth regardless of the burn, lingering for a brief second.

“We’re going to work this out,” he says and Sam believes him. They’ve always found a way.


Regardless of when you're reading this, feedback/crit always appreciated.


( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 4th, 2013 04:29 am (UTC)
Thank you for the bit of hope at the end, it was a palpable relief after how well you rendered Sam's pain and isolation. Beautiful language in this, from the description of the bond between Dean and Sam in all its glorious fucked up complexity, to the intensity of Cas between them even as their awareness is still/always of each other. Nicely done :)
Apr. 5th, 2013 05:35 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much, appreciated. I'm really glad that the language worked for you.
Apr. 4th, 2013 04:31 am (UTC)
Apr. 5th, 2013 05:35 pm (UTC)
Apr. 4th, 2013 07:57 am (UTC)
I enjoyed this. I've never thought much about how Sam and Castiel would relate to each other on their own, and this is a great idea to force such exploration. I liked how you made Sam both jealous of the D/C bond, and self-aware enough to calmly accept it as such. I definitely liked how you gave Cas the surety that any being that's observed humanity for millenia should have; he may be a virgin, but that doesn't mean he's naive about sex. He knew what Sam needed, and went about it with the same singleminded purpose he applies to every mission to help the boys. And I liked how you painted Dean as "magnificently oblivious," only to find his attractions to both Cas and Sam are just beneath the surface, showcasing again just how good Dean is at masking his feelings when he wants. And I loved how you made the brothers' bond clear just in the way Dean would sometimes still touch Sam, knowing he'd be burned, because they both needed it so badly.

This was a cool idea, and I like what you did with it.
Apr. 5th, 2013 05:42 pm (UTC)
I'm really glad you liked it thank you, and that you liked the Sam/Castiel interaction especially. Cheers again.
Apr. 4th, 2013 06:58 pm (UTC)
When the writers screw shit up, the beautiful lovely fic authors like yourself come along and give us gorgeous works of art like this.
Apr. 5th, 2013 05:42 pm (UTC)
Thank you! Very kind of you to say.
Apr. 5th, 2013 01:44 am (UTC)
I loved this. This is my favorite kind of codependency.
Apr. 5th, 2013 05:45 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much! I'm so glad the codependency worked because it's my favourite thing to write.
Apr. 6th, 2013 02:55 am (UTC)
Nnnnng, that hurts so pretty! Castiel knowing what they need, knowing what they all feel, and knowing that their love is the key to Sam's relief. The idea of Sam and Dean touching each other 'through' Castiel is heavenly. I'm sure the intesity will be cranked up a notch or two (or twelve) once Sam is released from whatever curse or trial has fallen upon him.

btw, If you ever decide to post the "Director's Cut" with the deleted sex scenes, be sure to let me know!
Apr. 7th, 2013 05:55 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'm really glad that you enjoyed it, and that the intensity came through. Cheers.
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )