Castiel sighed. His ankle wasn’t broken but the sprain was bad. If that creature hadn’t found him, hadn’t saved them, then Castiel didn’t know what he would have done. Dean - that was what the creature had called himself - had carried him back to his cave.
It was dry and warm in the cave, a pile of warm soft furs laid out on the floor at one side and that’s where Castiel had been set down. Dean had built a fire and carefully attended to Castiel’s ankle, wrapping it tightly with vines and making sure it was elevated.
In a few days, when the swelling went down, Castiel would be able to hobble back to camp. He wasn’t sure how he’d explain what had happened. No one would believe him when he described Dean. Castiel knew they’d been looking for new and rare specimens on this expedition but Dean was unlike anything that had ever been found before.
Dean appeared at the mouth of the cave, silhouetted against the setting sun and Castiel drew in a sharp breath. How would he ever explain Dean without going into raptures about him? He was the most handsome creature - strange and stunning.
“I brought food,” Dean said in his broken English, holding up a brace of birds. He pointed to the fire and mimed what Castiel assumed was cooking.
Castiel nodded quickly.
“Yes, if you could cook them, I’d prefer that,” he said.
Dean smiled at him.
He cooked the meal in silence and Castiel had to admit that the freshly roasted birds tasted delicious. Dean was skilled, sprinkling herbs over the skin before roasting them. When Castiel had eaten his fill, he settled back on the furs, ready to sleep.
Dean crawled cautiously towards him, eyeing him nervously.
“I suppose this is your bed,” Castiel mumbled. “You can sleep here too.”
His heartbeat sped up at the thought of being close to Dean, but he tried not to be effected by it. Dean settled onto the furs beside him and nudged at him.
“Good mate?” he asked. “Strong mate?” he pointed to himself and Castiel furrowed his brow, trying to decide what Dean was asking.
“Are you a good mate? Yes, you are. But, do you mean for me? I…"
Castiel had no idea how to explain to Dean that this wasn’t the done thing where he came from. It all sounded so silly, so pointless in his head, especially when he was lying in a cave with a tiger-man gazing earnestly at him. The society of home was so far away and Dean was amorously near at hand.
"Yes,” he said finally. “You’d be a good, strong mate for me.”
Dean purred loudly, flopping on top of Castiel and wrapping his arms around him.
“Mine,” he purred triumphantly.