Rating: mature, but not explicit
Summary: Castiel is a man who has never felt sexual attraction. Meeting Dean Winchester doesn't change that, but for the first time, Castiel wishes he could.
Note: This is in no way written to undermine the asexual community. I am simply experimenting with the concept of Castiel being asexual, and what that would mean for him and Dean if they were to have a relationship, seeing as Dean is most definitely not asexual, nor do I believe that he would give up sex for a partner who is.
Dean had been coming onto him for months by the time Castiel realised what the looks, the increased touches, the lip-licking and staring mean.
His late realisation had got nothing to do with intelligence; it was simply a lack of certain functions within his body. He had never felt the coils of arousal, only heard about them from other boys at his old high school; at his current age of thirty-five, people had long since stopped bragging over their "superior" sexual conquests; people assumed that every person his age had had many experiences - most of his friends were already married, or at least partnered - and no one talked about it anymore.
Most likely, Castiel was the only person at the office who was still a virgin. A fact that his colleague Balthazar had spent many a day bemoaning, because, as he put it; "it's such a shame, Cassie, that someone with your looks should be as sexually active as a rock. Couldn't God at least have made you ugly?!"
Castiel had not had one single experience with sexual relations. Not because of people's lack of trying; he had been hit on both by men and women, and he knew he was considered an attractive individual by most. But he'd never had any interest in sex. And because most people seem to equal romantic interest with sex, he'd never been in a relationship either. It wasn't that he would have minded being in a relationship, even if it entailed sex, it's just that most people seemed to take it as him letting them down gently when he explained that he had no interest in physical intimacy.
Dean Winchester, however, was not so easily deterred. Probably because his methods weren't as straight-forward as Castiel was used to encountering during the clubbing nights he occasionally got dragged along to. For one, he did not meet Dean at a club; he met him at work.
It had been a misunderstanding, really. Dean had managed to step off at the wrong floor on his way to see his brother, who had only recently started working in the same building as Castiel, however, Sam's office was located three floors above his. Dean had gotten the directions wrong, and spent a good ten minutes wandering the corridors of the twelfth floor, confusion furrowing his brow as he looked around for a door with the sign "Sam Winchester" on it.
Finally, he'd given up, and just as he was about to retreat back to the elevator, Castiel had stepped out of his office "like an angel coming to his rescue", Dean had later jokingly described it, and asked him what his business was intruding on their floor. Dean's reactions had been rather odd, Castiel had thought, as he refused to give a straight answer, insisting on prolonging his stay despite is serving no purpose.
In the end, Castiel managed to give Dean directions to Sam's floor, but only after Dean had wasted the better part of what would have been his and his brother's joint lunch break, and somehow Dean managed to extract a promise from Castiel to make it up to him by the two of them having lunch together the day after. Despite Dean's delay not being Castiel's fault.
Castiel hadn't even realised he was even being propositioned for the first few months he knew Dean, and thus couldn't correct him to let him know he wasn't interested. By the time he caught on, the two had become close friends. It was Dean he called when he was informed of his sister's passing from the same illness that had previously claimed their mother as well, it was Castiel that Dean asked to look after Sam's plants with him when Sam went on a vacation with his girlfriend (because Dean didn't know one thing about how to keep the plants alive).
And after five months had passed and their relationship had progressed that far, Castiel realised to his great surprise that he was, in fact, not at all ready to inform Dean of his lack of interest. The risk of losing Dean's friendship was too great if the other man was still primarily interested in having sexual relations, and Castiel couldn't stand thinking about losing Dean entirely.
So he went along with it. It was a game he had no experience with, having never gone out to socialise much when he was young, and having only paid a moderate amount of attention to the rules of the game called dating that his associates participated in. He found he had no idea how to keep up with the development in his and Dean's relationship. The first time him and Dean had gone out to eat dinner at a nice restaurant of Dean's picking, Castiel had ended up calling two separate cabs for them outside of the restaurant as usual, not at all realising that it was customary to follow one another home after a date.
The second time, when him and Dean had gone to see a movie, also of Dean's choice, he had insisted that they could afford one luxury seat each to spread out in, not realising that part of dating at a theatre was to give couples an opportunity to experiment with intimacy in the safety of the dim light.
All of his mistakes were explained to him by Balthazar, who just rolled his eyes at him and told him that it wasn't at all strange then, that Dean was now distancing himself from Castiel, after the third date had ended abruptly with Castiel announcing that he intended to call his brother before it became too late, and turned his back on Dean outside of his apartment building, just as the two were saying thanks for a nice evening. Dean had not called him since, hadn't even showed up for his weekly visit to his brother's office (which had, to be honest, turned into his weekly visit to Castiel's office). Castiel was getting nervous about it, and finally he asked Balthazar, who, as previously stated, called Castiel an idiot.
"How... am I supposed to act, then?" he asked Balthazar, as the two of them sat by a high table in one of the fancy clubs his colleague preferred as an after work social spot. Castiel had only agree on coming because Balthazar threatened to call and invite his brother out instead, and that was something that Castiel wished to avoid at any cost. (Had he known the first time that he introduced Gabriel and Balthazar to one another that the two would hit it off in the most terrifying way possible, he would have avoided it at any cost. As it was, the two seemed to live for making Castiel's life miserable, as he was the one who had to clean up their messes in one way or another.)
"Well, that depends on where you want it to go, doesn't it? Do you want to keep Dean for yourself, of would you be happy to see him go be happy with someone else?"
Castiel hesitated. He'd figured at this point in the relationship, him and Dean should have gotten to some sort of agreement on where they wished to take things. Castiel himself was perfectly content with how things were now, with the two of them spending time together, teaching one another things about their own childhoods, interests, fears and hopes. He loved hearing Dean talking about himself, about his experiences with growing up without a mother and practically raising his brother on his own, dropping out of college to work and support Sam throughout college, and how he finally, after having seen that through, started working for his own sake, taking odd jobs all while getting his high school diploma and pursuing a degree in mechanics.
Castiel loved the look of fascination on Dean's face when he himself gave the occasional insight into his own background. He didn't enjoy talking about himself most of the time, preferring for it to remain his own business, but it was different with Dean. He wanted Dean to know him, because he wanted to be able to put that look on Dean's face. He wanted Dean to know him as intimately as anyone had ever known him. He wanted to be the one to make Dean happy.
And there he had his answer.
"No, I would not be happy seeing him with someone else."
Balthazar shrugged. "Then you might have to make some sacrifices. All relationships require sacrifices. That's just the universal truth of monogamy, my friend."
Castiel considered this. He supposed that if the only sacrifice he had to make to be close to Dean was to be sexually active, that wasn't so bad. He didn't think he'd particularly enjoy it, really, but he had to let Dean be physically close to him as well in order to keep him, then so be it.
He ordered another drink.
He ended up arriving at Dean's home unannounced, at eleven thirty in the evening, pleasantly buzzed, if not halfway smashed. For a moment, he simply stood outside Dean's apartment in his rumpled suit (Balthazar has attempted to drag him onto the dance floor at one point, but Castiel doubted he'd ever be that drunk) and hesitated. He didn't know how to go about convincing Dean that him having kept his distance until this point didn't mean he didn't want to be intimate with him - because it kind of, sort of had meant that, except it was less about will about more about need. How did one initiate sexual relations?
Luckily, in the end he didn't have to decide.
Dean swung open the door, almost causing Castiel to trip and fall straight into his arms, seeing as he had been leaning on the door for support (the alcohol hadn't succeeded in making him "braver", as Balthazar had promised, only unblanced).
"Cas!" Dean exclaimed, reaching out to steady the other man with a hand on his shoulder. The warmth of his broad palm seeped through Castiel's suit and shirt instantly, and it drove home even further what he was about to do. "What are you doing here?"
"I'm here to see you."
Dean blinked. Then he chuckled slightly. "Yeah, okay, I kind of figured that." He stepped aside to let Castiel come inside.
Castiel nodded, but still didn't move. The alcohol made his thoughts hard to grasp, but he had this idea that maybe if he went about this the same way he'd go about ripping off a band-aid, he'd at least have it over with, even if it only made the experience remotely less uncomfortable.
"I wish to have sexual relations with you, Dean, if you are ready to take our relationship to the next level," he said, voice firm and eyes fixed on Dean's face. Or well, he tried to fixate on Dean's face, but he found that it blurred more and more the longer he stared at it, only to snap back into focus as Castiel leaned slightly forward into Dean's personal space.
Dean made a small choking noise, as if he'd inhaled something that needed to come back up.
"What the-- Cas! You can't just-- in the hallway! Don't just stand there, come inside!"
Dean reached out again, this time gripping the hem of Castiel's coat and tugging him into the apartment. The door slammed shut behind them, and Castiel used the momentum of Dean's tug to... trip over the threshold and tear down several of Dean's jackets from their hangers in his attempt to remain upright. It was a futile attempt, which ended with Castiel on the floor, buried beneath a surprising amount of leather and plaid.
Needless to say, Dean and Castiel did not have "sexual relations" that night.
The next morning, Castiel expected waking up to the agonizing symptoms of one of his rare hangovers, but to his great surprise, there was no headache, no need to vomit and no dried perspiration making him feel like the most disgusting being on the planet. Instead, he opened his eyes to the sight of a half-empty glass of water, an opened package of pain-killers. All of which were seated on top of a strange bedside table, with a strange bedroom in the background.
Castiel slowly came to, and realised that if he tried hard enough, he could remember the end of the night before. After detangling from the heap of jackets on the floor, Dean had proceeded to help him out of his own coat and suit jacket, leading him to the bedroom where he insisted Castiel stay, instead of sleeping on the couch. Castiel had thought that Dean was taking him up on his offer of having intercourse, and begun to strip out of the rest of his clothes. Due to his intoxicated state, this had left him sitting on the floor, one leg still halfway stuck in his slacks, when Dean came back into the room with a glass of water and the painkillers.
Dean had just shook his head in amusement, ignoring Castiel's apologies. He then proceeded to fetch a damp towel from the bathroom, insisting that Castiel clean himself off before getting him into one of Dean's own old T-shirts.
The T-shirt which Castiel was still wearing.
The T-shirt which was the only barrier left between him and the solid body pressed against his back. The arm thrown over his waist.
Dean was in bed with him, wrapped around him like a second garment. His even breath warmed the back of Castiel's neck, tickling against his hairline. And Castiel found he was strangely okay with that. Comfortable, even. There was no pressure to try and be more, give more, not with Dean currently unaware. And Castiel found that the intimacy was anything but apprehensive. It was warm, relaxing, soothing. And it made Castiel feel loved.
He sighed happily, burrowing back against Dean further, feeling that arm tightening around him in response.
It felt good to feel loved.
The effortlessness didn't last, naturally. After that first morning, during which Dean insisted that he was fine with thing as they were, that they could take things as slow as Castiel needed, things went well for a while. Castiel didn't stay over at Dean's place again, feeling like he had intruded enough for some time. Dean, on the other hand, stayed over at Castiel's apartment several times, and it was in Castiel's apartment that they begun to develop their sexual relationship.
Although it was awkward, and sometimes disappointing, since Castiel had always, almost without realising, hoped that when the right person came along, his libido would awaken, surprisingly, having sex with Dean didn't turn out to be a sacrifice. Nor was it a chore. Actually, Castiel found himself really learning to enjoy the sensations coursing through him as he and Dean explored the physical side of their relationship. It wasn't that he learned to experience arousal more freely; he simply... enjoyed being near Dean, and experience his arousal so much that his own lack of it hardly mattered anymore.
It was a really strange sensation, Castiel decided. Strange, but not necessarily unpleasant. His body reacted in ways couldn't control, but he wasn't frightened of losing that control, seeing as Dean was there to catch him when he fell, and put him back together when he fell apart. Dean was the most important person in Castiel's life, and for him, he'd do anything.
Dean, on the other hand, didn't agree. It took him some time, but finally, a couple of months after the two of them had initiated their sexual relationship, came a night when his blissful face post-orgasm changed into a worried frown as he looked down on Castiel's come-stained stomach and flushed chest. His eyes darted up to Castiel's face, the wrinkles between his eyebrows deepening at whatever he saw there. With a deep sigh, he withdrew entirely and rolled off of Castiel, one arm coming up to cover his own face as his laboured breathing returned to normal. Castiel lay still, in the same spot, feeling his own ejaculate cooling on his skin, but the uncomfortable feeling of being sticky all over didn't occupy his thoughts for long. Something was wrong with Dean, that was easy to tell, and Castiel could feel panic growing in his chest. He still wasn't that good at attuning to other people's emotions, and he feared that he might have missed the cues that would have told him that Dean was growing tired of him.
"Dean...?" His own voice sounded ridiculous to his own ears, hoarse from the last half hour of being overused, but his post-sex roughness always seemed to cause pleasant resonance within Dean, so he'd stopped trying to hide it.
Not today, however. Dean didn't answer him.
Castiel bit his lip, panic clenching at his insides. He was afraid to meet Dean's gaze - terrified of what he'd find if he did - but he propped himself up on his elbow either way, searching the parts of the other man's face that were still visible.
"...Dean...?" he asked again, even more carefully.
"Yeah, Cas?" Dean finally said.
"Is something the matter?"
"I don't know, why don't you tell me."
It was not the answer he'd expected, delivered in a disturbingly harsh tone of voice and Castiel was mighty confused and not so slightly scared of what it might mean.
"If I had known whether something was wrong, I would not have asked," he said.
Dean removed his arm from over his eyes, clear green eyes meeting Castiel's. Castiel's mind reeled; there was so many contradicting emotions warring in those eyes, he did not even know how to begin to determine what Dean was feeling. He hated it, because no matter how confusing he found the physical aspect of their relationship, he had never been unable to understand how to fulfil Dean's emotional needs. Knowing that he has failed in doing so - regardless of having no idea of how he'd failed - left him feeling like the ground had been tilted underneath him.
"Cas, seriously. Just... Stop messing around, okay?" Dean said, voice gruff with barely contained emotion. "I can tell, okay? I just don't get why you would wanna hide it at all, why you just couldn't tell me straight out."
"Tell you what, Dean?"
Dean grit his teeth together. The noise was slight, but it was horrible to Castiel's ears.
"Quit it, Cas! You don't have to pretend for me, okay? I'm a grown man, you don't have to worry about hurting my damn feelings or whatever, you can just tell me that you don't want it and that's it!"
Castiel stared. And stared. And gaped.
"That I don't...? Why would you think that I don't want you?"
Dean snorted. "Are you kidding me? Like I can't tell you're not into it! I'm not an idiot, Cas, and I'm not the kind of person who'd be happy just taking whatever I want when my partner's not getting anything out of it!"
It was Castiel's turn to sigh. He was beginning to understand where this was coming from. He'd been a fool to believe that they wouldn't have to talk about it, that things could just go on like they had thus far. Dean was an experienced man, of course he'd detect the lack of interest on Castiel's part compared to his previous partners.
Castiel sat up, not bothering to gather anything to him to cover himself up. He felt no shame over the state of his body; its messy appearance was a proof that Dean had loved it, and Castiel was proud to have received that kind of love from Dean, whether or not he was able to reciprocate it.
"Dean," he said, voice soft, but firm. Dean blinked up at him, expression turning from haunted to questioning. Good, he had his attention.
"Dean, I am not, and never have been, your unwilling partner. I apologise for having made you believe that this was the case, but I don't... know... how to properly behave in sexual situations."
Dean raised an eyebrow. "You don't have to tell me that," he said, voice dripping with sarcasm.
Castiel smiled faintly. "Of course. I'm sorry. But there is more to it than my inexperience. I am not..." he hesitated, unsure of how to continue. How did he explain to Dean that simply because he failed to inspire sexual desire in him, he absolutely didn't not desire him in any other way. In every other way.
"I am unable to feel sexual attraction, Dean," Castiel finally concluded, eyes still looking straight at Dean's face. He had no reason to feel shame over what he'd just confessed; he felt no embarrassment in regards to his lack of sexual appetite, but he was worried about how Dean would receive the news.
Dean received the news by looking completely mystified.
"What... uh, what do you mean? I don't get it, you're not an eunuch or anything..."
Castiel chuckled. "No, that I am not. But I have never felt a need to stimulate myself, either by my own hand or someone else's. I am sorry Dean, it is not your fault. I simply do not work that way."
Dean frowned. "So... what we've been doing..." He trailed off, and a moment later, his eyes widened almost comically, or it would have been comical, if his face hadn't been drained of all colour at that same moment. He sat up, facing Castiel, something definitely off about his body-language. "Has this been-- Have I been... Raping you?! What the fuck, Cas, are you-- have I--"
"No! Dean!" Castiel all but shouted, hastily denying Dean's fears. "No, Dean," he continued in a calmer tone of voice. "I'm a willing participant, never doubt that. I enjoy what we do, although not for the same reason as you."
Dean still only relaxed a fraction. His eyes were still suspicious as they trailed over Castiel's frame.
"So... You enjoy sex... but you don't enjoy sex...?" He frowned. "I don't get it, Cas, I'm sorry."
Castiel smiled a humourless smile. "I don't expect you to. I don't understand it entirely myself. I thought I would never desire another human being, in any way, and I was content thinking that I'd always be alone. But then I got to know you, and I fell in love with you. The thought of not being near you, of not having you in my life became unbearable, Dean. I was willing to do anything to keep you with me. Regardless of my own preferences."
Dean's expression still did not soften. If nothing else, it turned even darker. The other man leaned back further, away from Castiel.
"So you're sacrificing your own boundaries for my sake, is that it? How the hell is that different from rape, Cas?! If you're not getting anything out of it--"
Castiel narrowed his eyes. "Do you believe me so weak that I would not be able to hinder you from taking advantage of me, had that been what you were doing?" he asked, voice low and dark. If that was how Dean saw him, as an individual who could not make his own decisions, who would depended on someone else to command his body and mind, then he'd misjudged his character in a most disappointing way.
"Seriously? I know you're none of those things, Cas. But I don't really understand what you're saying here. Why would you be with me if you... didn't get anything out of it. That's what I don't get."
Castiel shook his head. "I do get something out of it. Your pleasure is pleasurable to me, Dean. Being near you makes me feel complete in a way I never knew I even could. In a way I've never even craved before."
"So... what're you saying. I'm special?"
Dean's tone of voice betrayed that he wasn't completely convinced yet, although Castiel knew him well enough by now to detect a slight release of tension as the two looked at each other. A smile tugged at Castiel's lip, and this time it wasn't as dry. It wasn't perfect. But it was a start. And they'd figure it out. As long as Dean was willing to learn how to get over what Castiel suspected was a case of "masculine pride", and learn that as long as Castiel was able to love Dean, and be loved by Dean in return, that love could take any form it wanted and he'd enjoy it.
"That, Dean Winchester, you most certainly are."