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new year, new us

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"C'mon, man, it's New Years Eve," Dean says exasperatedly, like he cannot comprehend why Cas seems so indifferent towards the whole ordeal. "It's, y'know -" He flounders for a moment, trying to think of a reason to justify his persistence with the celebrating it, "It's - it's a thing, dude. I don't know."

Cas almost rolls his eyes and his shoulders slump, tired of having this conversation, "Dean, it is an excuse for people to get drunk and a last ditch effort to eat more food than entirely necessary before the holidays are over." 

Dean snorts, "Let me guess, you hate valentine's day too?" 

The other man narrows his eyes at Dean, "Do you not remember meeting that cupid?" Dean hesitates for a beat before nodding in acceptance, "Okay, that's fair."

This time Castiel does roll his eyes and he crosses his arms, "Why doesn't Sam have to watch this with us?" 

"Because he's driving Claire to Jody's," Dean replies easily, with a 'dude where have you been the last week' look that makes Cas snort. "Kinda hard for him to watch it with us if he's on the road, dude." 

It's a fair point and he has no real argument for it so Castiel resigns himself to his fate and sits down next to Dean on his bed.

Dean whoops a little and hands Cas a beer before sitting back against the headboard and pressing play on the livestream of Dick Clark's New Years Rocking Eve that's on his laptop. 

"This is inane," Castiel mumbles before taking a swig of his beer.

"True, but it's fucking tradition," Dean informs him emphatically with a grin. He tosses a piece of popcorn in his mouth and looks incredibly smug when he catches it.

It makes Cas smile to himself as he takes another sip of his beer.

They've been dancing around the topic of the Mark since they got back to the bunker and Cas knows that Dean's sudden fervor regarding the holiday season has a lot to do with prolonging the not-talking-about-it.

So Castiel indulges him and eats popcorn and drinks his beer without complaint while listening to Dean complain about the performers and the current state of music. 

He laughs when Dean makes fun of Ryan Seacrest's hair and he takes it upon himself to keep their snacks and alcohol well-stocked. This is the most genuinely relaxed he's seen Dean in months, if not longer, and he'll do what he can to keep his friend feeling like this. 

Six beers in, Dean rests his shoulder against Cas' as he points out different things in one person's performance. For some reason he's whispering into Cas' ear. Castiel can't exactly find a reason to complain (although Dean's breath leaves a lot to be desired).

Seven beers in, Dean sets a hand on Cas' upper thigh and squeezes. It's the first time Castiel remembers being consciously aware of the blush spreading across his own face. 

The rest of the night continues like this.

Eight beers, Dean sings along to some of the songs. He winks at Cas during some cheesy pop love song and bumps their shoulders together. They both ignore the way the mark practically thrums on his arm. 

Nine beers, Dean grabs Castiel's hand and examines it closely for the entirety of some country bands performance. "You have good hands," Dean says quietly during the last notes of the song.

He chooses not to comment when Dean leaves his hand resting on Castiel's own hands.

Ten beers in and Dean perks up when one band in particular comes on. He taps his hand against Cas' leg in time to the song they're singing and pretends that he doesn't know the words. It makes Castiel grin because he does know who this band is, and he knows if Dean hadn't drank so much he wouldn't be able to shut up about how awful they are. 

"Tell Sammy about this and I'll kill you myself," Dean informs him, his words slurring a little bit, before singing along to the song quietly.

"Everybody wanna steal my girl, everybody wanna take her heart away... couple billion in the whole wide world, find another one 'cause she belongs to me..." 

Castiel just smiles to himself and finishes off his own beer.

By the time it's 11:30, Dean's had about thirteen beers and Cas has switched to giving him water in the beer bottles so he'll drink it. 

He can tell though that Dean feels better than he did this morning. He doesn't know if the alcohol helps dull the Mark's effects (though he suspects it might make them worse), but he knows that Dean's been smiling like a 'dope' for the last twenty minutes. For right now, that is enough to satisfy Castiel. 

On a commercial break, Dean turns to smile at Cas and bumps their shoulders together before asking, "So - got any new years resolutions, man?"

Castiel considers this for a moment as he sips his drink (still a beer). He finally decides, "I suppose not dying should be one." He narrows his eyes at a spot on the wall and adds, "Not starting another civil war in heaven should be another one. I am not sure how likely that one is."

He might be a little drunk as well. 

Dean giggles - actually giggles - and rests his forehead on Cas' shoulder, "You - you're actually really fucking funny, you know that?" 

"I should hope so, after being alive for so long," is all Cas says in response. He's not sure if Dean wants to share his own new years resolutions. 

Neither one of them says anything for a few minutes as the next performer comes on. Dean however does break his own self-imposed moment of silence to comment, "This chick fucking sucks." 

Castiel snorts, and he's not entirely sure why it's funny, but he does agree that the woman rapping is not very good. 

"I don't have any resolutions," Dean blurts out abruptly.

Cas has about .06 seconds to process that before Dean continues in a rush, like he's nervous that he's not going to get it out, "The Mark, it's - it's killing me. I guess. Or it will get me killed?" 

He looks a little confused for a moment even though he hasn't moved his forehead from Cas' shoulder. He shakes his head to knock himself out of it, "I don't know, man. I just know that any resolutions I make this year - they're not gonna matter. I mean - it's not like they mattered before. But, I just..." 

Dean shrugs and sighs, moving his head so it's resting on Cas' shoulder. They're pressed together from their shoulders all the way down to their ankles. Cas leans closer to Dean so his own head is resting on top of the taller man's. 

"I'm kinda scared shitless," Dean admits in one blown out breath and he laughs nervously. "I'm scaring myself. I'm scaring Sammy, I know I am. I -" His voice sounds legitimately distressed, "Claire's - she was terrified of me, Cas."

Castiel doesn't say anything because Dean's not wrong on that account - he gave everyone quite a scare.

"And - man, I know you've been -" he cuts himself off and frowns, trying to collect his thoughts, "I know you've been trying. With me, I mean. To, um..." Dean makes a slightly frustrated noise, "Not be - like. You know." 

He wants to chuckle, because he knows what Dean's getting at but he's drunk and he still won't say it. Castiel moves his hand into Dean's and laces their fingers together without a word.

Dean closes his eyes again and lets out a breath, relaxing against his best friend.

"I just don't know what's going to happen," he admits. His voice is so soft and so quiet that Cas isn't sure he would be able to hear it without the Grace he currently possesses making it more clear. 

"Sometimes I feel like I've got it under control, like it has no effect on me, and then sometimes I just - I don't even know what's happening. And then there's bodies and it -" Dean lets out a shuddering breath and makes a slightly distressed noise.

They start counting down on the laptop, "Thirty!

"What if I hurt you, Cas?"

"Twenty-nine!

"What if I hurt Sam?" 

"Twenty-eight!"

Dean's gripping his hand tightly and Cas can feel how intensely the other man is staring at their joined hands. 

"Twenty-seven!

Dean whispers, "What if I hurt someone we're trying to save?" 

"Twenty-six!"

Castiel presses a kiss to the top of Dean's head and thinks for a few moments, not wanting to say the wrong thing.

They've both had a few drinks and they're a little emotional. But the fact that Dean's talking about it at all is huge and the conversation is still so fragile. One wrong word and Dean will shut down on him again.

"Twenty-five!

"Dean, I -"

"Twenty-four!"

Dean turns to look at him, tired and nervous, and Castiel loses track of what he was going to say. 

"Twenty-three! Twenty-two! Twenty-one!

"Hey Cas," Dean murmurs quietly instead, breaking the silence. 

He hums in response and licks his lips unconsciously, "Yes, Dean?" 

"Twenty!

Dean smiles and it's small and private, a smile Cas isn't sure he's ever seen before, "You know what else people do on new years eve?"

"Nineteen!

He does know, he's watched them do it for longer than he'd care to remember, but he shakes his head.

"Eighteen!"

"Well," Dean breathes out against Cas' cheek, "They usually kiss someone at midnight." 

"Seventeen!"

Castiel smiles a little bit, "Oh?" Dean grins and nods, "Yeah." 

"Sixteen!

Castiel chuckles quietly, "I suppose it is too bad then that you have no one to kiss at midnight." 

"Fifteen!

"Nobody who wants to kiss me anyways," Dean shrugs flippantly. 

"Fourteen!"

He snorts, "Now I know you're drunk, Dean Winchester." 

"Thirteen!

They're both just grinning at each other like idiots and Dean sits up a little bit, so he can face Cas properly. 

"Twelve!"

Something has shifted between them, and Cas may not have a lot of experience with these situations but he knows where this is going. Where it has been going for a very, very long time.

"Eleven!

Dean leans closer to him and rests a hand on Cas' leg, "Hey Cas...?"

"Ten!"

"You got anybody you want to kiss at midnight?" 

"Nine!"

Castiel's smile softens as he turns to look at Dean, "I think you know the answer to that."

"Eight!

Dean chuckles and bumps his nose against Cas' cheek, "Smooth talker, buddy. Careful or you're gonna talk me out of my panties." 

"Seven!

"I would not be opposed to that," Cas mumbles without thinking. It startles a laugh out of Dean that makes him throw his head back.

"Six!

He might be the most beautiful thing Castiel's ever seen. 

"Five!"

"Dean," he mumbles insistently and pulls the other man back to him gently. Dean quiets and they rest their foreheads together, their eyes closing. 

"Four!

Dean's hand comes up to grab Cas' shirt, like he's worried that he's going to disappear at any moment now and it makes Cas' chest ache.

"Three!

Castiel wonders if Dean can feel how hard the heart in his chest is thumping with the prospect of kissing Dean. 

"Two!

A hand finds its way onto the back of his neck and Castiel leans in for the kiss early, not caring that he's just this side of too early.

"One!

Dean beats him and the countdown to the punch and he yanks Castiel into a desperate kiss by the collar of his shirt. He deepens it immediately, mumbling something into the kiss that Cas can't catch. 

"Happy New Year!" The laptop booms when the clock reaches midnight. There's vague noises of celebration and excitement but all Castiel can hear is the heartbeat reverberating through his body.

They're both desperate for each other and there are hands everywhere, trying to pull them closer than is possible. Ever since purgatory things have just been so shitty and it feels like they keep losing each other just as they find some footing in their relationship. 

And now they're here, and things are about as far from perfect as they can get, but they're together and for the moment they're safe

"Cas," Dean breathes out in between kisses, his voice more raw and broken than he'd care to acknowledge. The emotions from earlier have carried over and Castiel feels himself getting choked up too.

He shakes his head and kisses Dean again, harder this time, "No." 

Dean huffs a laugh and tries to say something else but Cas kisses the words right out of him. He shakes his head again and tightens his hold on Dean's arm, right over the Mark.

It's too fragile. This, right here, this moment, it's too fragile.

It's selfish and he's not proud of himself but - they're here. And they're kissing. And it finally happened and he doesn't want anything to ruin it.

He hears his own distressed noises distantly at the thought of not getting to have this again, of one of them not being around anymore, and he lets himself be more desperate. 

He doesn't have to say anything though, he doesn't have to explain it.

Dean gets it.

He slows the kisses down a little, making them more gentle and less rushed, and he rubs circles into the back of Cas' neck gently with his thumb. 

When they pull apart eventually, Castiel feels tears but he's not sure if they're from him or Dean.

There's still noise coming from the laptop, though he suspects it's a commercial, but he thinks they're both glad that it covers up the quiet hitches in their breath. 

"Cas," Dean whispers, "It'll be okay." 

He shakes his head a little bit and he's not sure if he wants to laugh or cry or find God and kill the fucker himself, "Dean, you don't-"

Dean covers Castiel's mouth with his hand and pulls back enough to smile at him, "I don't know what's going to happen. But I know you and I know me and I know Sam and if there's any group of idiots in this world who can get us out of this clusterfuck, it's gonna be us." 

He shifts so he's sitting in Cas' lap but keeps his mouth covered, "Remember? We've been through this before, buddy. We'll be enough. You, me, Sammy. We've always been enough before."

Castiel's eyes soften a little bit and he nods after a moment. Dean still waits to take his hand off of his mouth, wanting to make sure Cas wasn't going to tell him that he was wrong. 

They both know he's lying through his teeth but Dean has been working so hard to make everything as normal as he can. 

Right now, it's a new year. Nothing has changed except for this.

Cas knows that for tonight, Dean just wants to pretend that everything's going to be okay and that they're both going to make it out of this in one piece. Together.

"Yes," his voice sounds thicker than he's used to, "We - we are enough."

Dean's relieved smile is worth the bitter taste in his mouth.

"Happy new year, Dean."

"Happy new year, Cas."