When Dean wakes up, Cas is sitting on the edge of his bed.
"I know I don't appreciate it when you call first, but don't get me wrong, I prefer it to being surprised." Dean mutters as he puts the gun back under the pillow and rubs at his face.
"It was not my intent to wake you at this time," Cas says slowly, which, Dean notes, doesn't mean that Cas wasn't planing on waking him up. Sam snores on, wholly immune to the addition of an angel to the room, or talking, or possibly a brass band. Dean also notes that Cas doesn't apologize.
"Well?" Dean asks after a long, empty moment because he's up now- whatever Cas was going to say can be said. Cas shifts imperceptibly, and Dean only notices because the subtle redistribution of Cas's weight causes him to edge into a cooler section of the sheets, a fraction of an inch closer to Cas.
And where Dean would have dismissed the furtive tilt to Cas's head months ago- the slight flicker of his gaze to the window, the shift- as nothing, he sees it for what it really is- what it is for someone who has always been supremely confident, unwavering.
Cas is fidgeting.
"Do you want to go outside?" Dean finally prompts Cas, who just stands up with something like relief in the set of his perpetually slumped shoulders.
"If that is what you want," Cas says noncommittally, even as he teleports himself out of the room in his eagerness. Dean rolls his eyes and spares a second to embrace the irony of making friends with the only person, angel, whatever, that is even worse than he is at being honest about what they want. He grabs one of Sam's enormous, stupidly stretched-out hoodies to throw on over his boxers and t-shirt, pushing his feet haphazardly into his boots before opening the door, Cas reappearing perched uncertainly on the curb. The cement is fucking freezing through the thin cotton of his- frankly- ratty boxers, but the sweater is warm enough.
"Did you have something on your mind, Cas?" Dean says, and it's so far beyond ridiculous, sitting outside at three in the morning with an angel in his underwear in Iowa, but Cas looks so tightly over-wound about something that Dean thinks his head might explode- again- if he can't be persuaded to talk about it.
"I was thinking about Jerusalem," Cas eventually concedes. Dean's torn with irritation at the fact that this is what he woke the hell up for- and a bit of trampled-down awe, the hint of a shiver at the way it sounds from Cas's mouth, like Yerushaláyim, like it's not just a word, not in the mouth of an agent of the Lord.
"Yeah?" Dean settles on, wrapping his arms around his knees. His breath fogs slightly in the cold air, but when Cas exhales, somewhere between a breath and a sigh, there's no tell-tale puff of white.
"I went there," Cas amends, like he's confessing something, like he feels guilty about it. Dean thinks the face is pretty close to the one Sam used to make when he'd eat a cookie before dinner. "I went to the Western Wall. I thought about the destruction of the Temple. I prayed before the Wall and could find my Father nowhere. And even though He was not there, I left him a message."
Dean doesn't know why he's holding his breath, and takes a big, greedy inhale.
"The Wall is not a wall of the Temple," Cas continues and in that moment, Dean wonders if Cas was there, then, if Castiel watched as the Temple was destroyed, if he felt anything. "The foundations of Herod's Temple have been erased by time and hatred, even if I remember where they stood. But the Western Wall does not need to be be of the Temple to serve its purpose."
Dean would never, well, presume, to understand Cas, but in the parking lot of a motel on the outskirts of Carroll, IA, Castiel is distant and inscrutable, and so far from known.
"At first I did not understand, because the Wall is no more holy than this place," Cas continues, independent of Dean's silence. "Most of Jerusalem is unmarked by anything other than the destruction wrought in its name. But I was not alone there. In the prayers and thoughts around me, I felt loss. A loss they shared- the pain of exile." Cas doesn't say he understands- because he doesn't have to.
Cas takes a deep, unnecessary breath.
"The message I left was about you, Dean." Cas says plainly. Dean thinks he should ask "what about," or even just "thank you," but what comes out of his mouth is "Why?"
Cas smiles faintly in the dim orange light of the few safety lamp posts in the corners of the lot.
"Because I have stood silent through the rise and fall of man, and you are the only thing I have ever loved," Castiel says, and Dean can't breathe. "I walked amidst their ancient suffering and thought of you." Cas shrugs, awkwardly, like he's still making his way through the casual use of the gesture.
"It was an almost... superstitious gesture on my part," Cas admits, like most people admit to tossing salt over their shoulder or avoiding black cats. "But I found it brought me some measure of comfort, after all."
Dean thinks about this per- this being, who faced and entered into exile, accepted the burden of humanity, its unhappiness and none of its joys and presses his inadequate, dumb lips to Castiel's.
Castiel murmurs softly against Dean's mouth, the quiet comfort of Hebrew sounding in Dean's ears- I am my beloved and my beloved is mine- and Dean pauses.
"What- what did you say?" Dean asks, curious and self conscious. Cas smiles, the edge of his lips brushing against Dean's cheek.
"הגן אותו מי הוא האהוב שלי." Cas whispers, brought back into the present. "Protect him who is my beloved."
Dean kisses Castiel's mouth and prays.