Someone is watching him.
Even through a shroud of sleep, he can feel it – that vague tickle of awareness, prickling at the edge of his senses. Insistent. Urgent.
His hunter’s instincts are unparalleled. They’ve been honed over a lifetime of tight scrapes and desperate situations, and he’s learned to depend on them to keep him alive when everything else has gone to shit. It’s these instincts, right now, urging him towards awareness, dragging him towards wakefulness.
For several moments, he lies still, breathing deeply. He keeps his eyes closed and takes stock of his surroundings – the feeling of the blanket bunched around his waist, the softness of the memory foam mattress under him, the distinct realization that he’s not wearing any clothes, and - most conspicuous - the soft drag of fingers up and down his arm, brushing over the crown of his shoulder before running back down.
And, of course, that insistent feeling of being watched.
He turns his face into the pillow, grumbling sleepily.
“Cas. We’ve talked about the staring.”
The fingers pause, just for a second, before dipping into the crook of his elbow.
He can feel Cas’ stare like a physical sensation, almost like he’s standing in front of a window and turning his face into the sunlight, warm and bright against his cheeks. Even with his eyes closed, he can see it - their foreheads almost touching, Cas scooted as close to Dean as possible, body curved towards him like a soft smile, blue eyes roving slowly and unblinking over Dean’s face, as if trying to memorize every line and angle. It’s both flattering and unnerving, and Dean can see it perfectly because this isn’t the first time he’s woken up like this. Not by a long shot.
“Dude, take a picture,” he huffs, mouth twitching in a smile. “It’ll last longer.”
The bed shifts, Cas’ fingers withdrawing from Dean’s skin. Dean feels their absence keenly, but he feels the space between them even more acutely, like a chasm opening up, as Cas shifts and resettles in the bed, probably trying to get more comfortable. He’s on the verge of telling Cas to settle back down already when he hears the distinct, unmistakable sound of a camera shutter.
His eyes snap open. It takes a second for them to adjust, to focus on the cell-phone poised directly in front of his face.
“…Cas, you didn’t,” he accuses.
The phone drops, revealing Cas’ face with his hair spiked up in all directions - and a small thrill travels down Dean’s spine when he remembers why - and his eyebrows pinched together, blue eyes wide and confused.
“But you told me to.”
Dean snorts and stretches, rolling his shoulders back and twisting his neck from side to side, wincing when he hears it pop. “You know damn well it was an expression, Cas, don’t you pull that ‘naïve angel’ crap with me. Who taught you how to play poker? I know all your tells, babe.” He levers himself up onto an elbow and wiggles his fingers in a ‘gimme’ gesture. “All right then, let’s see it.”
Cas glances down at the phone screen. His eyes go impossibly tender, expression melting like butter, like he’s staring at a friggin’ kitten or something. Not a good sign.
Cas turns the phone so Dean can see, and yup, Dean was right. Sometimes he hates when he’s right.
The picture is zoomed in on Dean’s face, lighting soft. His head is turned slightly into the pillow, eyes still closed, and his eyelashes are resting against his cheeks. There’s a faint, drowsy smile quirking up the corners of his lips. His hair is sleep-mussed, his face is open and relaxed - no tight lines at the corners of his eyes, no tension in his jaw. Dean never sees that face when he looks in the mirror.
It’s a great picture, really. He looks content, and peaceful, and downright friggin’ sweet.
“Delete it,” he demands.
Cas looks affronted. “What? Why?”
“Because I’ve got a reputation to uphold, that’s why.”
Cas’ lips purse, just slightly, in a pout. “No one’s going to see it but me, Dean.”
“Uh huh,” Dean says, unconvinced. “That’s what you said about that panty picture, and what happened with that?”
“…Sam borrowed my phone,” Castiel mutters, avoiding his eyes.
“That’s right, Sam borrowed your phone and found the picture,” Dean corrects him sternly. “He hasn’t looked me in the eye in two weeks!”
“But I’ll be more careful this time,” Castiel insists.
“No. Delete it, Cas.”
“But Dean –“
“Delete it, Cas.”
There’s a pause, a moment where Dean can clearly see Castiel deliberating, his expression torn and indecisive. Then Castiel’s face clears and he meets Dean’s eyes, mouth firming into a stubborn line.
“Cas,” Dean warns. “Delete it, or I will.”
Castiel’s eyes narrow, and Dean can see the challenge in them, clear as day: ‘I’d like to see you try.’
He snatches for the phone, but Cas, damn him, is just a little bit faster, putting those unfair angel reflexes to good use. He jerks the phone away and stretches his arm high above their heads, holding it out of Dean’s reach, but Dean kicks off the blanket and clambers on top of him, grasping for the phone.
“Give it to me!” he yells.
“No! Dean!” Castiel arches his back, trying to throw Dean off, and keeps the phone just out of reach of Dean’s fingertips. “Stop it!”
“Damn it, Cas! I mean it! Give…it…TO…ME!”
Just as Castiel manages to pull up a knee and wedge it between them, trying to push Dean back, he hears the unmistakable slap of giant, Godzilla-sized footsteps pounding down the hall towards their room. He freezes. Castiel’s meets his eyes, mirroring his own horror.
“Dean, Cas! What’s going o-aaaaAAH!”
The bedroom door slams shut just as quickly as it had swung open, flinging a brief waft of air across the room. Dean shivers automatically, goosebumps prickling across his bare skin - his totally bare naked nude fucking starkers skin and oh, god, he’s basically straddling Cas with his bare ass presented to the world, and the blanket is all the way on the floor where he kicked it -
“You guys are the worst!” Sam yells through the door, voice ridiculously high. Dean would’ve laughed at it if he wasn’t too busy wanting to die. “I’m moving out!”
The footsteps stomp away, a little more forcefully than necessary (Dean’s pretty sure Sammy’s trying to make a point), and Dean sags against Cas’ leg. He rolls off and flops onto his back on the mattress, throwing an arm over his eyes and groaning. Here’s to another two weeks of not being able to look his brother in the eyes.
“Fine,” he mutters. “Keep the stupid picture. The damage is already done anyways, my reputation officially can’t get any worse.”
He feels Castiel roll towards him, mattress dipping, and a hand touches his arm and rubs warm lines up and down his skin.
“I’m sure that’s not true,” Castiel soothes, tone innocent.
Dean lifts his arm just enough to crack an eye at Castiel and shoot him a withering glare. “I hate you.”
Castiel smiles, eyes crinkling in the way that makes Dean’s chest ache, and ducks his face close to Dean’s - so close, but not close enough, the barest inch between them. His breath washes sweetly over Dean’s lips. “No, you don’t.”
Surging up, Dean closes the distance and meets his lips.
“No,” he agrees. “No, I don’t.”