His first encounter with darkness was deep in the chasm of Hell. Twining threads of black wrapped around his bright form and then he was heavy. An angel swept and floated through the air fluidly, but this dark mass pulled him down.
He had never experienced emotions before his voyage to Hell. Perhaps that was where it had started – this impossible connection to rebellious acts and Dean Winchester.
It was there, he first felt desire. Desire to escape, to grab the human and flee, to obliterate the black with his light. His brothers around him weren’t enough to quench his need for the safety of Heaven.
He was the small runt, the lower warrior. No one expected it to be him.
He found Dean. Dean, whose soul drowned out both the darkness and his brothers. So bright, this brilliant, righteous man. When Castiel leant forwards and placed his glowing, hand-shaped spectrum onto the bloodied, ash-stained shoulder of Dean Winchester, it was then that he felt the safety that he thirsted for so much. There, in the lethal, white-hot danger of Hell, Castiel was safe.
Because the righteous man was there, and suddenly, nothing else mattered.
When he closed the eyelids of his vessel, he saw only bright light, squashed and tight against the skin. He wondered, sometimes, whether he would ever be able to experience the kind of darkness that he knew Dean and Sam did. When they closed their eyes, it wasn’t light they saw.
There were times, in his vessel, when he had been unconscious, half-human, not-quite-there. Even then, he saw only light.
He didn’t want it. He hated how it attempted to comfort him, hated how it was a constant reminder of Heaven.
He felt hate.
‘They feel I've begun to express emotions, doorways, to doubt. This can impair my judgement.’
When he had been informed about his emotions, Castiel hadn’t known. No, he couldn’t even understand what it was he had been feeling. Emotions, they had said, were a fickle fault in our Father’s creation. They are not a part of us. They are a disease.
That wasn’t true.
Humans were the perfect angels. Angels were the faulted ones. Anna had told him.
And he believed it.
He cared about the Winchesters more than he would ever admit.
Heaven was chaos, and the last thing he needed was his followers doubting his position. Did they know? The faith that he had once given his Father was being taken by the brothers. Did his Father know?
He needed to stop Raphael, so they could be safe. His friends – his only friends – needed to stay alive. And he was willing to do anything to ensure that happened. To save the world, to save the precious humans, he would make a deal with the Devil.
Crowley was the compromise.
It ached. It ached, badly. The back of Dean’s head had never been such a painful sight.
He just didn’t know. He didn’t have to breathe, yet his chest was strung, wound and pressed hard against his heart. His vessels eyes, they were prickling and it was uncomfortable. His true eyes, the eyes of his form, were flickering erratically.
‘Cas, I just can’t.’
You can’t do this, Dean, not to me. I gave everything I had.
He unfurled his wings, and flew.
And I’d give so much more.
Burning. Excruciating, limitless agony.
The souls, screeching and clawing through his spectrum, bled with ferocity through the vessels chest. They tore flesh from bone with a sticky rip and sliced with ease through the light that was his true form. The body healed itself, and then there were more souls, biting and chomping their way through the pale skin.
There was radiance and hot intensity and white. Then he saw it. Or rather, saw nothing.
The darkness he had once wished had finally enveloped him. He hurt. He throbbed. He was on the floor. It was silent. He could move his hand and it scrabbled at the dirty dust on the tiled floors.
He sucked in a breath.
The heart. The vessel’s heart. He could feel it. He had to—
He sucked in another breath.
Dean was there. Dean – forgiving, worried, righteous Dean – grasping his arm. The warmth spread through the trenchcoat, through the layers of clothing, piercing at his skin pleasantly.
His heart thumped again. Castiel felt his lip turn upwards in one corner. He’d done it. And survived.
“They’re gone, Dean. All of them. I—“
It was silent. His brothers and sisters – the constant buzz in his head – gone. His hand sought purchase in the air, trying to search through the darkness. He found a body in front of him, breathing, tense. Dean.
“I can’t hear them, Dean. My brothers—“ His trembling hand pushed and pulled against the shoulder, clutching and releasing, fumbling through the rough material. Dean’s solid chest was a comfort in the deadly blackness.
“Dean, where are you?”
“I’m right here. I’m here.” More concern, laced with fear. Castiel gulped down a breath of oxygen, a tangy taste tingling on his tongue. I don’t need to breathe—
“Dean,” Sam’s voice was quiet, pained even. Castiel swung his head around, eyes rolling in the darkness. Need to see Sam. Is Dean okay?
“I don’t like this,” Castiel whispered to himself, though his hoarse voice reverberated around the room. His shaking hand slid from Dean’s shoulder, dancing along the ridge of his collar. He slipped Dean’s cheek into his hot, dirty palm.
“Cas?” Dean’s voice was quivering, like his hand, like his resolve.
“Dean,” he swallowed, ash and grit in his throat, “why can’t I see you? Why can’t I open my eyes?”
Intakes of breath were quickly replaced by the hasty crunch of rubble. Heavy footsteps – Sam, then. Sam was by his side.
“Cas,” Dean’s words caught in his throat. A sleeve brushed by Castiel’s knuckles. Sam had placed a comforting hand on his brother’s shoulder.
“Cas, your eyes are open.”
“Watch your step,” Sam says quietly, his grip tightening on Castiel’s hand. Dean doesn’t miss the way his eyes worriedly flicker between the two of them, like he expects him to lash out.
“Stop it, Sammy. I’m not that cruel,” he bites out aggressively, turning away to run a hand over his face.
He can’t be cruel. He still has this seething mess of betrayal in his stomach, but it seems unfair to throw it around while Cas is in his current state.
He isn’t going to help him, though.
“My brothers and sisters—”
“It’s alright, Cas, we’ll sort this out,” Sam reassures him, leading him over to the table. Dean clenches his jaw and takes deep breaths to calm himself before turning around. The invisible knife that had been twisting in his chest plunges in deeper.
Castiel’s eyes are glazed over, darting around the room uneasily. It gives Dean a small twinge of nostalgia – the last time he had seen the angel’s gaze so disorientated was at the whorehouse . His lips tug downwards and he stands in the centre of the room, scowling.
“Jesus,” Bobby comes clattering through the door, bag of guns slung over his shoulder. “So, what’s the prognosis?”
Sam slumps into the chair opposite Cas and scratches at his forehead. Dean spares him a concerned glance – was the wall still standing?
“He can’t see and his angel buddies are MIA,” Dean forces himself to say offhandedly, padding into the kitchen to get a bottle of beer. Bobby obviously doesn’t buy his casual attitude and watches him suspiciously, eyes narrowing.
“You sayin’ he’s not tuned into angel radio any longer? Where the hell they all ran off to?” Bobby drops the bag on his shoulder to the floor and steps in front of Cas. There’s a moment where Bobby just stands in front of him, eyeing him up. If anyone could figure what was wrong with an angel, it’d be Bobby.
He bends forwards and snaps his fingers in front of Cas’s blank, expressionless face.
Castiel blinks, flinching backwards slightly.
Silence falls. A heavy, stifling silence, where the words everyone wants to say just bounces around the empty room, choking them.
Bobby straightens up and walks past Dean to fill up a glass with water. The brothers watch him carefully make his way across the room and stop in front of Castiel, where he then holds the glass out. Cas doesn’t take it.
“Well come on, I ain’t feedin’ you like a cherub,” he snaps.
It’s like something inside Castiel suddenly breaks and sends him swirling out of control. He can’t see, but his trembling hand shoots up and the fingers tighten around the glass in frightening accuracy. In his haste, Castiel makes water splash around the edges of the glass. He drinks thirstily, gulping down the clear liquid like he’d never drunk it before.
The beer suddenly feels like acid in Dean’s mouth and he swallows.
“Human,” he croaks. Bobby and Sam’s heads turns to him and he quickly clears his throat, covering up his lack of composure with another reluctant glug of his beer. He wipes his mouth with the back of his hand and storms away from them, seating himself stiffly onto the couch. Then he flicks on the television and concentrates on ignoring the scene going on behind him.
“Cas, you’re human?” Sam asks softly behind him. Dean can feel his brother’s glare of disapproval digging into the back of his head. Let him stare. He and Cas can be best buddies.
“I hope not.”
Castiel’s reply isn’t disheartened, or concerned. Just truthful. Just passive. So much like… Cas.
Dean’s lips thin and he finishes the rest of his bottle.
“You just downed that glass of water like an AA member in a locked room full o’ whiskey,” Bobby shoves his hands into his jeans, “I’d say that was a pretty human thing to do.”
“Bobby’s right,” Sam adds from the other side of the table, “And you can’t hear the angels.”
They allow him some time to process the theory. Dean looks over his shoulder, curious about the silence.
Castiel shuffles uncomfortably in his seat, his hands clasped in his lap. He looks surprisingly like Cas, considering the circumstances “That would seem the most logical solution.”
Dean’s eyebrows shoot up.
“That’s it?” He shares his puzzled expression with Bobby and Sam, who look over at him in surprise, “You’re human. You can’t see—”
“What else am I supposed to do, Dean?” Castiel suddenly snaps, his hands fisting in his lap. He drops his head. “This is a worthy punishment for my sins.”
Dean lets out a breathless, humourless laugh. He wishes he could say that Cas has a point, but he can’t find it in him.
“Cas, you didn’t do any of those things. It wasn’t you.” Sam says, sending a glance Dean’s way. It’s a look that says ‘you should be saying these things, not me’. Dean just ignores it. “You did it to protect Heaven, right? You had no idea what was gonna happen.”
Dean finds himself looking expectantly at Bobby, waiting for him to chip in. The man casts the two brothers a critical look.
“Hey, I ain’t sayin’ nothin’. Instead of fluffin’ up his clipped wings, deal with this human thing,” he throws a hand into Cas’s direction, “You know, like get him to a doctor.”
Sam agrees, absorbing Bobby’s words like they were a frickin’ revelation. Dean snorts and turns away. He wants to throw a comment in their direction about how they should just throw Cas into the streets and leave him there, but the very thought makes his gut ache.
“I don’t like this,” Castiel says passively into the pondering silence.
“It’s better than bein’ dead, son,” Bobby sighs.
“I suppose I shouldn’t see it as a punishment to be one of God’s finest creatures.” Castiel’s voice sounds neither hopeful, nor depressed. “Though it would be nice if I could see.”
“We can’t promise anything, Cas,” Sam says. Dean winces at his tone – it’s the one he uses when he’s talking to those mourning their loved ones. What would they do if Cas was going to stay blind? Dean tries to make himself imagine that future, but finds it can’t form.
Bobby claps his hands together, alarming everyone out of their gloomy stupor. “Well, I don’t know about you idgits, but I’m gonna go and get a decent night’s sleep. Got no King o’ Hell to worry about.”
Dean starts with surprise. That’s right – there’s nothing weighing us down now. Sure, they needed to do a little clean-up, but they’re free men. Or, as free as hunters can get.
He holds up his empty beer bottle.
“Amen to that.”
Sam sits down on the plush couch opposite Dean in the waiting room. After Sam’s declaration, Dean looks up from the magazine he’s reading from, eyebrows raised.
“’Nothing’? What do you mean ‘nothing’?”
“I mean, there’s nothing wrong with Cas. Except for the fact he’s definitely human.” Sam explains impatiently, running a hand through his hair. Dean slams the magazine shut and throws it onto the table, leaning forwards to press his elbows into his knees.
“But… he can’t see.” Dean stares at Sam, as though he was going to suddenly spew the answer. Sam just pulls a face at him.
“Yeah, I know, Dean. The doctor’s say there’s nothing wrong with his eyes - they’re a little freaked, actually.”
“Great,” Dean runs both his hands quickly across his face and leans back against the hard backrest. His hands slump heavily into his lap and his eyes follow a bizarre stain on the ceiling above him. “So, what, we just drag Cas around with us until he can see again? If he ever will?”
Sam’s quiet. Clearly, he doesn’t approve of Dean’s bluntness on the topic of Cas’s sight. Well, screw him. Someone had to say it.
Except the quiet’s dissolving. There’s a question dancing in the air between them. Dean can hear it, even before Sam says it.
“Dean, when are you going to forgive—”
“Shut it, Sam.” Dean lifts his head to look at his brother, who’s watching him sympathetically. For just a moment, Dean allows his mask to drop, showing Sam just an inkling of the grief he’s feeling. “I can’t.”
It looks like Sam wants to say something, but he keeps it to himself and turns away. They sit in silence, until Sam takes in a deep breath.
“He’s not leaving. He’s staying with us.”
Dean rubs the back of his head and takes to staring at a piece of floor. He already knows.
He knew that Cas was going to be staying with them. He knew that Sam was going to insist on it and no matter how much he would protest, he knew it was a fight he couldn’t win. His little brother was too forgiving – but Dean wasn’t going to trade that trait in him for the world.
A tirade of flapping interrupts Dean’s thoughts and both brothers are on their feet in seconds, staring hard at their visitor.
“Balthazar?” Dean whispers in disbelief. He hates the way his shoulders sink with relief. He’s glad it isn’t some douche-y angel out to get him and Sam – though he isn’t sure whether Balthazar is a better alternative. “But you were—”
“Dead? Well, come on, give me some credit,” The angel presses a hand to his own chest, “Cas stabbed the fake me. Little bastard.”
“Cas is human. And blind,” Sam says slowly, as though it would make the situation better. Balthazar sends him a sarcastic, dumbfounded look.
“Really? I had no idea. How about we go and pull faces at him?”
“This isn’t funny,” Dean finds himself saying. Balthazar examines him carefully.
“I thought you doesn’t care about him anymore, Deano? Didn’t you want him dead?”
It’s a low blow, and Balthazar knows it.
“Can’t you just go and heal him? Mojo him up, give him his Grace back?” Sam asks exasperatedly. Balthazar’s mocking expression falls, just slightly.
“That’s not why I’m here.”
“Then why are you here?” Dean spits angrily. Balthazar sends him a challenging look.
“To see my friend. You see, unlike a certain pitiful human I know, I forgive my friends when they make mistakes.”
Dean clenches his jaw and his expression goes blank. Sam readjusts his footing beside him – he knows an expressionless Dean is an angry Dean. Balthazar seems to know this too, but he doesn’t stand down.
“He tried to kill me and I forgave him,” Balthazar smirks humourlessly, “I think I’m more righteous than the righteous man right now—“
“Get the Hell outta here,” Dean growls, moving forwards. Before he can approach Balthazar and pound his face into the medicine cart nearby, there‘s a flutter of wings. He’s gone.
Dean lets out a deep, calming breath through his nose and closes his eyes. The last time he’d had a conversation that painful, he’d been staring into Cas’s hurt gaze.
‘Stand behind me. The one time I ask.’
“We should go.”
Sam’s voice is laden with that irritating, yet comforting, pity. Dean doesn’t want it. He wants them to understand. Do they know how sick he is of being double-crossed? Sam with Ruby. Cas with Crowley.
He couldn’t live without Sam. He knows that. Maybe in a few years, he’d finally regain the trust that he once had in him. But Sam was his brother.
Castiel, well, he knew. He knew how Dean had felt after Sam had ran off and he knew how much it hurt him. He could see Dean’s soul – he must have seen the harsh tear that Sam’s betrayal had left on it. And yet he had gone off to Crowley, plotted behind his back.
Dean was just done.
“Yeah,” Dean croaks, dampening his dry throat, “we should go.”
Dean sends a cautious glance to the angel – or rather, ex-angel – in the back seat of his Impala through the rear-view mirror. ACDC is playing quietly on the radio, since the silence had been unbearable, but Cas seems oblivious. In fact, Cas seems out of it.
“What’d Balthazar say to you?” Dean asks suddenly, making Sam jump next to him. He stares at Dean in surprise, before turning his head to look at Cas through his wing mirror. Castiel’s eyes are unfocused.
“Nothing that concerns you.”
Disbelief spreads across Dean’s face. Well, fine. If Cas wanted to be like that, it wasn’t worth wasting another thought on him. It’s just the whirring of the car engine and the faint lyrics of Back In Black until Cas speaks again.
Dean keeps his eyes on the road, feigning disinterest, but his ears perk up. He’s listening.
“I suppose it does concern you,” Castiel lowers his head. “Balthazar knows the location of my Grace. But it is unreachable. As is my sight.”
Sam flips around in his seat, staring hard at Cas.
“You mean he can’t heal you?”
“My eyes are not damaged. There is nothing to heal.” He picks at a fraying piece of thread on his trench coat. “We discussed our theories and how Heaven was coping. It appears Gabriel has taken charge—“
“That dick is still alive?” Dean shoots out with disbelief. He realises his game is up, and that now they know he had been listening. Neither Sam nor Cas seem to care.
“We never saw his body. We assumed he had fallen because he had gone silent,” Cas’s lips twitch, “I should have known better.”
As if on cue, there’s a rustle of feathers and Dean curses loudly at their new visitor.
“Get the fuck out of my car.”
“Come on, now. I expected a better welcome. Don’t you remember the last time you saw me?”
Dean clamps his mouth shut. Of course. He’d been surprised that Gabe had actually returned for them. Facing Lucifer head on? He had to admit, Gabe had balls.
“What do you want?” Sam asks tetchily from the passenger seat. Gabriel rests a hand on Castiel’s knee and ignores Sam’s question, turning to the ex-angel beside him instead.
“How you doin’, Cassie?”
“I’m blind and human.”
Dean can’t help the small twist of a smile that pulls at his lips. It would have been a disheartening reply, if Cas hadn’t casually thrown it out like he was telling him he’d stepped in dog crap.
“Details, details. I mean, how do you feel now you know you’re going to spend the rest of your pitiful human life with these two knuckleheads?”
Dean’s humor immediately evaporates. It hadn’t occurred to him that Cas would be spending forever with them, though it should have. Gabriel’s watching Dean carefully in the rear view mirror, eyes twinkling in a way that tells him the dick knows what he’s doing.
There’s silence. A silence that doesn’t hold an ‘I’m thinking about that question’ air but rather an ‘I don’t want to say’ kind of air. Sam stares at Cas in concern – he can probably feel the heavy undertone to the stillness too.
“I don’t plan on staying with the Winchesters,” Castiel eventually grinds out. Apparently pretending they aren’t in the car is the way he’s going to play this game. Dean’s fingers go white on the steering wheel.
Sam turns around in his seat further, a look of outrage spreading over his face. “What? No—”
“That’s a brave move, kiddo.” Gabriel slaps Cas on the shoulder, making him flinch a little. It must be disconcerting to not be able to see when someone was about to touch you.
“Dean?” Sam urges him, obviously expecting him to protest about Cas’s decision. Every inch of Dean tells him to stop the car, climb out and shout in Cas’s face about how fucking idiotic the idea is. But he fights against the temptation and keeps driving.
“He can do what the fuck he wants,” he croaks, ignoring the sting in the back of his eyes. He catches a glimpse of Castiel’s face in the backseat and ignores the stab of hurt that he feels when he sees how crestfallen he looks.
“Wow, bucko, you’re being a little harsh there.” Gabriel’s tone is still teasing, but Dean hears the warning behind it. He grinds his teeth together.
“Cas, you’re not going anywhere.” Sam reassures, sparing Dean an angry glare. Dean sends him one back.
“I’m not gonna convince him to stay,” Dean says to him, his voice surprisingly level. “He popped Purgatory and knocked down your wall. I can’t forgive him for that and if he wants to leave, he can frickin’ leave.”
“Dean, he only knocked it down temporarily—”
“He did it, Sam. That’s what matters.” Dean snaps, turning his head sharply round to focus his angry scowl on his brother. Movement in the back seat catches his eye and he glances quickly at Gabriel. He’s sending a scarily serious stare in his direction.
“Well heck. I don’t think I’ve ever met someone so ungrateful,” Gabriel leans forwards, pressing his hand on the shoulder of Dean’s seat. Dean shifts uncomfortably – the powerful aura of an archangel was oozing out of Gabriel - and turns back to the road. Gabriel lowers his voice to a whisper. “You know what Cas did, buddy boy? He saved your ass, he saved your brothers ass, he saved the world’s ass and he saved Heaven’s ass. Look what he got for it.”
And then he’s gone with a rush of air, leaving Dean with a heavy stomach and words that are etched into his brain like the Enochian sigils on his ribs.
They arrive back at Bobby’s with a heavy silence over their heads. Dean’s mind is flashing and whirring through the events of the last twenty-four hours and Sam seems to be happy to let him ingest them quietly.
It hurts to look at Cas, unable to walk a few steps without almost stumbling. Sam has led his hand to his forearm and for the moment, Cas seems content to use Sam as his guide. Somewhere in his fucked up, unforgiving head of his, Dean wants it to be him instead. He wants to be the person Cas can rely on.
But he’s stubborn. His brother may have forgiven him, but Dean’s still setting hard with his decision.
“Thank you very much, Sam,” Castiel sighs gratefully, seating himself in the dining chair. Sam sends him a small, sympathetic smile, though he knows he can’t see it.
“Don’t mention it. I’m gonna go check on Bobby. Don’t move, okay?” He throws Dean a pointed look before he leaves but Dean just snorts and props himself against the doorframe. He rests his head against it and closes his eyes, feeling exhaustion that, for once, he allows himself to feel. No need to stay up and research. No need to worry about whether or not they can save world.
Gentle rustling makes him reopen his eyes. He watches Cas fidget uncomfortably in the chair, his hands pressed into his lap, as they always are. He continues to shuffle and even though Dean bites the insides of his cheek, he finds himself sighing.
“What is it?” He asks resignedly.
“I am… uncomfortable.”
Dean raises one eyebrow and readjusts the position of his shoulder on the doorframe.
“Well, humans can’t sit like they have a stick up their asses. You need to relax.”
Castiel shoots up off of his seat with a growl of irritation, making Dean jump in surprise. With a bewildered look, he watches as Cas tears off his trenchcoat and suit jacket.
“It’s hot,” he breathes out in irritation, throwing the clothing in the general direction of the table behind him. Dean’s more than a little weirded out, seeing Cas so… naked. God, it was wrong. He’d seen Jimmy in his suit, but he’d never seen Cas in just a shirt before. He may as well have been standing in front of him without clothes, it was so shockingly wrong.
“Weather sucks when you can feel it,” Dean quips, though with less energy than before. His voice is breaking. Seeing Cas standing in the kitchen, looking so human, makes the reality of the situation finally hit him. The strong, powerful Cas who would fly down upon his request, who would smite demons, who would disappear without warning – he was gone. This was now, and Cas is human.
Cas stretches a hand out behind him, feeling for the ridge of the table. Dean watches him smooth the hand along the wood, moving slowly backwards towards his chair. It’s pitiful, and his heart aches. Damn it, it hurt. It hurt a lot to see him like this.
Dean moves forwards, rolling his lips inwards and breathing in deeply through his nose to keep his emotions at bay.
“Cas, let me—“
Castiel swoops forwards suddenly, his legs crumpling beneath him. Dean’s there, strong arms wrapped around Cas’s warm waist.
“Cas! Cas, you okay?”
Cas’s head rolls over his shoulder, turning so his nose is pressed into the ridge of Dean’s neck. He mumbles something.
“Speak up,” Dean sits back on his feet, pulling Cas half onto his lap. It’s a girly, awkward way to sit, but if Cas is injured, he wants to move him as little as possible.
“Drowsy,” Castiel’s low, hoarse whisper skates across Dean’s hot skin and he swallows, rolling his shoulder uncomfortably.
“Just…” His words trail off. Worriedly, Dean turns his head, wrinkling his nose when Cas’s mussed hair rubs against it. He’s still breathing, which is a good sign.
Then he hears a gentle snore.
Dean doesn’t know whether to laugh or punch something.
“Son of a bitch,” he whispers to himself with a smile.
The door opens behind them, but Dean stays as still as he can, resting a gentle, cautious hand on Cas’s back. It soothes him – even though he doesn’t want to forgive him and even though they aren’t friends anymore, the fact that Cas is alive and breathing is right.
“Dean!” Sam runs in quickly, his tone loud and worried. Dean snaps his head round to glare at him.
“Lower the volume,” he whispers harshly.
Sam slows, the concern fading rapidly from his expression. His brow furrows in confusion, then smoothes out in realisation.
“Sleeping?” He asks, in a hushed tone.
Dean nods. “Collapsed on me, dumbass angel.”
It isn’t a slip up. Castiel’s still an angel in Dean’s mind – Grace or no Grace.
“Nah, I’m good.” Dean moves away from Cas as gently as he can, hooking an arm under his knees. He pulls him up into a bridal carry, eyebrows rising in surprise when Cas clasps the front of his jacket subconsciously. He tucks his head further against Dean’s shoulder.
Dean moves his bewildered look over to Sam When Dean see’s that his brother is having trouble keeping his expression schooled, his own expression falls and he stares at Sam intimidatingly.
“Not a word, Sammy,” he orders sternly in his normal volume. Sam grins, though his eyes gleam with more than just amusement at the scene before him. Dean was on the road to forgiving Cas, and it’d only been a day.
He just didn’t know it yet.
“Well, that was one of the best nights of sleep I’ve ever had,” Bobby pulls a mug from a cupboard in the kitchen, filling it with coffee from his machine. He sips it with a grimace and Dean watches him take a silver flask from his pocket, tipping its contents into the brown liquid.
“It’s 10AM,” Dean says. Bobby sends him a confused, challenging glance.
Dean rolls his eyes and turns around, rocking his shoulder once. His face scrunches up in pain as the limbs protest - the bruises he had gotten after being tossed around like a ragdoll were a painful reminder. They provided white flashes of his memories, piercing him with images of Cas’s eyes, lifeless yet glistening with the raw power that thrummed through him.
It was ironic that when Cas’s eyes finally had life, he was unable to see through them.
A thump from above draws Dean from his thoughts and he looks cautiously at the ceiling. Bobby’s gaze lifts too. Judging by his expression, he already knows the cause of the sound. He takes a sip of his coffee (if it could still be called that).
“Guess his Lordship is up.”
Dean looks over his shoulder to send Bobby a disapproving look. The old man just pulls a face at Dean’s pointless displeasure and pads off into the living room, newspaper clenched in his hand.
There are hurried footsteps echoing from above him now, so Dean assumes Sam has ran to Cas’s side. He swallows back the invisible, protruding lump in his throat and feigns ignorance when those footsteps are soon heavy clunks on the stairs. They are shuffled and stunted.
“Thank you,” Cas’s voice is muffled from the wall that separates the kitchen from the hallway and Dean hates the cruel swoop that runs through his stomach in response to it. Today was going to be hard – explanations, forced disinterest, squashed pity.
The door opens. He busies himself with a glass of milk.
“Morning,” Sam says tautly after it’s clear that Dean is ignoring their presence. Dean can’t help smirking a little – Sam always caught on to Dean’s vices quickly.
Which is why, instead of drinking the milk himself, he approaches his brother and Cas. Without sparing Sam a glance, he lifts Cas’s hand and places the glass into it.
“Milk,” he says plainly. If he notices Sam’s thankful smile when he turns away, he doesn’t show any sign of it.
He was going to occupy himself with cooking a fried breakfast, but instead he finds himself watching as Castiel slowly lifts the glass to his lips. His movements are wary and he waits until his lips touch the cold edge of the class before tipping it into his mouth.
Throughout the whole process, he keeps his eyes closed.
Dean throws a questioning glance towards his brother, who answers with an ‘I’ll tell you later’ frown.
“I like this,” Cas croaks. It certainly doesn’t sound like he does – he had said it with such a sad tone, like he’d broken his favourite toy. It was probably a strange feeling, actually having a personal preference after not having to care.
“Ready for breakfast?” Sam asks Cas, placing a reassuring hand on his back. Dean doesn’t miss the friendly action and he eyes up the point of contact. Sam wasn’t a very touchy-feely person, so seeing him touching Cas so easily? More than a little weird.
Sam notices his inquisitive eyebrow and openly thins his lips at him. Right. They’d talk about it later.
Cas seems to like toast. Plain, simple toast. No butter, no spread, nothing.
It should have been strange to see him eat, but after seeing him consume so many burgers during their fight with Famine, Dean had gotten used to it. In fact, it looked natural.
Well, it would, if his eyes were open.
“Are you gonna start talking?” He says in a low voice to Sam, who’s cleaning dishes next to him. Sam looks up at him, then over to Castiel. With a shrug, he goes back to washing the dishes.
“He told me it made him feel better. Like he was just walking around with his eyes closed, you know?”
Dean presses his hands into the counter behind him and rests the base of his spine against the edge, watching as Cas takes another bite out of his toast. He’s hunched over and back into his trenchcoat – something that he had insisted on keeping. Perhaps it made him feel like he was still an angel.
“What about the PG-rated groping?” Dean throws back at Sam. He receives a flick of bubbles to his face in response.
“I figured he needs to get used to human contact,” Sam replies, scrubbing the last plate and settling onto the draining board with a clatter. Dean wipes away the suds from his face with the back of his sleeve with a quick smirk and looks back over to Cas. He’d finished his toast and was patting around on the table for his glass of milk.
“He needs to get used to not being able to see when someone’s going to touch him,” Sam adds, wiping his hands on a towel. Dean scowls at him.
“Why? You think he’ll be like this…” He trails off. He was going to say forever, but it seemed like such a strange term to use in relation to Cas. Cas didn’t have forever now – just a lifetime.
There’s a clunk, the sound of liquid spreading across wood and then a long, drawn out scraping noise. Dean twists round just in time to see a glass roll to the floor and shatter.
Cas is rigid in his chair, hand frozen in the air. He’s knocked over his glass of milk
“I’ll get it,” Sam hurries forwards and crouches, picking up the large chunks of glass and collecting them in his palm. Dean watches dejectedly for a moment, feeling very much like a kid whose ice cream had been taken, though he has no idea why. Quickly, he retracts another glass and fills it with milk.
He works his way around the spread of shards and takes Castiel’s hand, pressing the milk into it.
“Don’t worry about it,” Dean reassures stiffly, unsure of why he feels the need to comfort him. He turns to walk away, but a hand shoots out to grab the sleeve of his jacket. He looks over his shoulder and watches as Cas opens his eyes. They’re unfocused, staring somewhere just above Dean’s head.
“Thank you.” He sounds almost… wrecked. Dean looks down to where he’s grasping his jacket and gently peels it from his grip. He turns away. Not yet.
Dean clenches his jaw. You know that if you call my name, I’ll listen.
“I wish I could see you both.”
Sam freezes on the floor and lifts his watering, puppy-dog eyes to the broken angel. Dean doesn’t want to turn around. He doesn’t want to look at him, not when he’s so close. So close to forgiving. Not this early.
See you both. He wants to see Sam, too. That’s what slammed so hard into the wall of uncertainty in his head. His little brother means as much to Cas as he did.
“You boneheads alright in there?” Bobby calls from the living room. He’s slurring. Throwing a one-sided celebration by himself, most probably. After all, there’s no more big battle hanging over their heads.
Just one, blind, human angel.
“I understand the functionality of human anatomy,” Castiel sounds exasperated and he shrugs off Sam’s concerned hand. Dean walks in on this scene while wiping his dirty hands on a ragcloth – his baby had needed work and he’d been spending the afternoon on it. He’d finished cleaning the rims, rearranging the trunk (into a more disorderly mess), oiling the doors (the squeak was a lot more prominent now) and cleaned out the interior (blood stains were a bitch), until he literally had no other option but to go back inside.
Where he was now watching an amusing scene unfold.
“Cas, what if you…” Sam trails off and coughs awkwardly. He sends Dean a pleading glance, but Dean just stares back blankly. Sam sighs. “If you know how to… use it, then you should know that if you can’t see, you’ll… miss.”
Dean finds himself enjoying the pink flush that spreads across Sam’s cheeks. His prudishness is adorable.
“I’ll find other means.” And then Cas walks away with an alarming amount of confidence, considering he can’t see.
The bold, aggressive image is thoroughly shattered when he collides with the doorframe.
Sam steps forwards jerkily, but Dean just lets out a loud laugh. He can’t hold it back – it erupts through the pit of grief in his stomach and suddenly, he’s in hysterics, clutching hold of the counter beside him. He wraps one arm around his stomach and laughs until tears are prickling at the corners of his eyes.
Once again, it’s Cas who involuntarily makes him laugh harder than he ever has in his life.
He slowly regains his composure, only to find Sam frowning at him in immense disapproval. He ignores it, grin fading away, and looks at Cas.
His eyes are closed and he’s smiling. If it could even be called that – a slight turn up of his lips that looks like someone has attached string to the corners and pulled them upwards. He doesn’t even seem to register the fact that his forehead now had a gentle, protruding lump with a speck of blood trickling down it.
“Ouch,” Castiel says simply, lifting a hand to dab at the lump. This almost sends Dean into another fit of laughter, so he coughs to cover up the bark of amusement that threatens to spill out. He can’t wipe the smile off of his face, though.
He shakes his head and turns to open the fridge, pulling out a cool beer He refuses to believe that the reason he now feels so light is due to the large bout of laughter he had just spewed. When he turns back, Castiel is gone and Sam’s watching him, a gentle, knowing smile on his face.
Dean pulls a face. “Are you gonna start talking about feelings? Because if you are, I’m outta here—“
“—Come on, Dean. Admit it.”
Sam tilts his head and engages the ‘you know what I’m talking about’ face. Dean sends him the ‘I actually fucking don’t’ look in response. Sam lets out a frustrated sigh.
“You’ve forgiven him. Hell, you forgave him the moment he says sorry to you back in that warehouse—“
“—We’re not talking about this,” Dean snaps. His good mood has swiftly evaporated at the mention of Cas and forgiveness. He leaves his beer bottle on the counter and throws the ragcloth in his hand over his shoulder. There had to be more things to do to the Impala…
He stalks past Sam towards the back door and goes to haul it open, but a hand clamps down on his wrist. He looks up in surprise. Sam is next to him, and fuck does he look angry.
“Do you have any idea how childish you’re being?” His voice is tight strung, tense and the hand that’s gripping Dean’s trembles with restrained rage. “Do you know what he did for you? For us?”
‘He saved your ass, he saved your brothers ass, he saved the world’s ass and he saved Heaven’s ass. Look what he got for it.’
Dean never thought he’d see the day when he starting hearing Gabriel’s voice pushing at the back of his mind like some irritating itch. He can’t draw his eyes away from Sam’s – they’re blazing with… protectiveness. A fierce protectiveness.
He’d seen it in his own eyes.
“Sam, there something you wanna tell me?” He asks in a low voice, highly aware of the almost-painfully tight grip on his hand. Sam’s nostrils flare and he tears his hand away from Dean’s, the ridge of his jaw throbbing. Dean continues to watch him with a deadly intensity, taking a step away from the door to get closer to his brother. “Do you… Are you kidding me? You have feelings for Cas?”
Sam snaps his head around and the immensely horrified expression on his face immediately dispels Dean’s suspicions.
“No! No- that’s not it. I…” The anger quickly fades and instead, is replaced with a flustered irritation, “Dean… You’re my older brother.”
Dean’s head tilts forwards and he waits patiently for Sam to elaborate. When he doesn’t, Dean shuffles uncomfortably.
“So, I’ve...” Sam sighs and throws a hand in the air, “I’ve never had a little brother before and it’s nice to be able to look after someone instead of being the one who’s being looked after, alright?”
He speaks quickly, but Dean picks everything up. Dean goes rigid. Oh.
“You… you actually like taking care of Cas?” Dean lets out a huff of humourless, but relieved laughter. “Well, how nice of you, Nanny McPhee.”
Sam sends him a weird look. “I… don’t know who that is.” He runs a hand through his hair and frowns at Dean’s expression. “I don’t expect you to understand, Dean. You’re not the one who has to watch someone else take responsibility for your mistakes. Cas doesn’t have anyone who’ll do that for him. Not anyone who’ll admit it, anyway.”
Dean straightens up and schools his expression into one that’s unreadable. Did Sam know how much that stung?
“Yeah, I do. And I’m gonna keep doing it.”
“Get the fuck out of my head, Sammy.”
Sam snorts and smacks his brother on his arm.
“You’re an open book. Don’t need to see inside your head to know what’s going on in there.”
Dean can’t help but smile at his brother. This was how he wanted it. Just the two of them, free banter and no impending doom over their shoulders. He’d do anything to be back in the Impala, next to him, laughing freely and listening to classic rock. But that wasn’t an option. Not now they had Cas.
“So what’s on the agenda? We just gonna bum around Bobby’s until we’re as old as him?” Dean jibes, returning to his lonely beer. He glances over at Bobby, who had passed out on the couch, a smile plastered across his face.
“I dunno. I guess we need to let Cas adjust and then….” Sam hesitates, which is always a sign that he’s about to say something that he doesn’t think Dean will like. Dean waits patiently for him to continue. “…We could teach him how to hunt.”
Well, he wasn’t expecting that.
“Sam, he can’t see—“
“Yeah, exactly. So we teach him how to fight without his eyes.”
It was a marvel how Sam managed to say it with a straight face, and with a deadly seriousness. Dean sniffs and places the beer on the counter behind him.
“Yeah. You know what? Fine. It’s not like we could spend our time doing something useful.” Dean’s voice drips with sarcasm, but he finds himself not completely opposed to the idea. Extra help on a hunt was never a bad thing and it would be a thrilling challenge. He resists the urge to smirk.
It would also give him a reason to take control over Cas, and he knew how much he hated that.
“I’ll do it.”
Dean looks past Sam’s shoulder and see’s Castiel standing in the doorway, his eyes closed. His head doesn’t stop moving, like he’s searching for them in the darkness. He steps towards them.
“I want to be of use, even in this state,” he gestures down at himself and his shoulders slump forwards in defeat. Sam watches him with his gleaming, kid-on-Christmas-day eyes and Dean snorts to himself, ignoring the rush of warmth he feels through his chest. It was nice to see Sam so dedicated to something, even if that something was a backstabbing angel.
“Great. So, where do we start? Throwing knives?” Dean smirks at Sam, who swerves around and settles a glare on him. He shrugs his shoulders – it’s not like he’d said anything offensive.
“Something more basic, perhaps,” Cas suggests, obviously missing Dean’s joke.
“Can you sense when someone’s near you?” Sam moves forwards and hovers his hand above Cas’s shoulder. Dean watches intently, ignoring the twinge of hope he feels in his gut. Cas jerks his head to the side and, if his eyes had been open, Dean’s sure he’d have looked directly at Sam.
It was unnerving.
“I… I believe, if I concentrate. You are standing next to me, Sam.”
Sam shifts back slightly in surprise, his hand drooping slightly. He keeps it above Cas’s shoulder, though.
Dean didn’t hide the shock that spread across his face. He shares a glance with Sam and then slowly begins to move forwards, tiptoeing lightly across the tiled flooring. Cas was probably relying on sound and smell, so Dean cups his mouth too, stifling the smell of alcohol on his breath.
He’s within a few feet of Cas when Cas’s head jolts sideways.
“Dean.” He sounds slightly baffled at his own accuracy. Dean lets out a breath of disbelief.
“Damn, he’s good.”
“So, we’re doing this then?” Sam rubs his hands together and looks between Dean and Cas, excitement bright behind his eyes. Dean tears his gaze away from Cas and nods at him.
“Yeah, we’re doing this.”
Dean had to admit, there was something mildly pleasing about sparring with Cas, especially when he couldn’t see. Sam had thrown him a warning looks, but Dean had carelessly thrown them off.
He was going all out, letting his anger shine through his punches. Though he didn’t punch with enough power to seriously injure the angel, there was enough to bruise. Now Cas would know what it felt like to ache constantly and not be able to do anything about it.
Though – and he wouldn’t admit this to Sam – he was hitting almost as much as he was missing. He tried not to be impressed, but he was. Damn it, he was.
Because Cas swung and swerved around, dodging and hitting back in movements that were mesmerizingly smooth. When he had his Grace, his movements had been jittery, like he didn’t quite belong in the body. Now, he was fluid – he may not have had his holy Grace, but he still fought with a type of grace that Dean couldn’t deny.
Dean leans over with his hands pressed to his knees, inhaling as much of the dank, hot, evening air as he could. The sun’s setting and is casting obscure shadows across the junkyard. If they stayed out any longer, Dean figured him and Cas would be on even ground. Neither of them would be able to see.
“Alright, I’m spent,” he straightens and lets out a gentle moan. He now had a few more bruises on top of the bruises he already had. Cas is panting too, one of his shoulders poking out of his trenchcoat where it had slipped down his arm. Christ, he looked so ruffled and human.
Sam stands up from where he had perched himself on the steps and stretches, hopping off them to walk across the yard towards them. His gaze roams over Cas’s dishevelled form.
“You alright, Cas? Should we go inside?”
“No, let’s continue.”
Dean shakes his head and breathes in one last suck of oxygen, blinking away a droplet of sweat that travelled down his brow and into his eye.
“You’re gonna kill yourself, man.” He knew how exhausted he felt, but knew it wouldn’t compare to how bad Cas felt. He’d never experienced human fatigue, so he wouldn’t know when to stop.
“I’m fine,” he huffs, straightening himself up. Dean lets out a sigh and walks away. Try to show the guy some compassion and he shoves it back in my face. Whatever.
Sam smiles at him as they pass each other, but Dean pretends not to notice. Haven’t forgiven Cas. Won’t.
He slowly settles himself onto the steps, shrugging off his jacket and using it to wipe off the dirt and sweat around his face. Wow, he ached.
He eases himself back onto the veranda, propped up by his elbows. The sun has ducked low behind the trees and the sky is a vibrant orange. A light breeze blows over him and he finds himself smiling, watching as Sam slowly approaches Cas.
It was dangerously perfect, this moment. Dangerous, because when he saw Cas and Sam standing together like that, preparing themselves, he realised that it really wouldn’t be the same without this strange new addition to the family.
This human, broken angel was what he and Sam had needed to fill the black caverns that had carved inside their stomachs since their dads death. Cas was the thing that occupied the weird emptiness of the backseat in the Impala; he was what Dean saw out of the corner of his eye when he was alone in the motel room; he was the subject of Sam’s ‘little brother’ fantasies.
And while he had done terrible, terrible things, Dean really wouldn’t have given him up for the world.
Dean’s tired eyes watches as Castiel peels the coat from his sweating body. He jerks up a little straighter, waiting with a slight tingle of excitement that he can’t quite decipher. The suit jacket comes next. Cas eases it off, revealing the white shirt. It presses in places where he’s begun to sweat – the planes of his shoulder blades are like shadows beneath the clear material.
Dean swallows, watching as the muscles twitch when Cas throws the clothing into what seems to be a random direction. The clothes end up on the bonnet of a nearby car.
His composure is shattered. Dean is detached from the rational sense of his mind as he watches Cas widen his stance, the primp trousers spreading tightly across his thighs. He isn’t even aware that he’s admiring Castiel in a sense that definitely isn’t normal – or rather, normal for him.
The sparring match has Dean’s unbroken attention. Sam’s large, clunky body towers over Cas’s, but Cas doesn’t seem to be intimidated – it probably helps that he can’t see him. Sam throws a gentle punch towards Cas’s head, but he ducks before it can come into contact with him. How he did it is still a puzzle to Dean, but it just makes the fight more interesting.
“Come on, Sammy,” he jeers. Sam casts him an amused glance before sweeping out his leg. He catches Cas this time, sending him straight to the floor. Dean watches Sam expression change rapidly into one of concern and he bends over to pamper his opponent.
Nothing could have prepared Sam for Cas’s next move – the angel reaches out and tugs Sam to the floor by his wrist, while at the same time using him as leverage to clamber to his feet.
Sam lay, defeated, on the ground.
Dean can’t help letting out a victorious laugh and scrambles to his feet. He isn’t going to pass up this opportunity to poke fun at Sam. As he approaches them, he notices that Sam is covered in dust, his face scrunched up in disgust. The sand has stuck to the sweat on his face and when he wipes a hand over it, he only succeeds in making it worse.
“Would you look at that, Sam - Cas can kick your ass and he can’t even see.” Dean pokes his brother in the ribs with his foot playfully and grins when Sam smacks his foot away.
He only glances at Cas for half a second, but the moment he tears his gaze away, it immediately goes back to him.
His hair is tousled, as it had been when they had first met, but that isn’t what catches Dean’s attention. It’s the gentle sheen of sweat over his features, a few smudges of dirt here and there. The white shirt has opened just below the base of his neck, revealing a smooth expanse of chest that’s just wrong. Seeing Cas so open and shed of layers is strange – or rather, the reaction Dean’s having to it is strange.
“Dean’s staring at you, Cas.”
Dean jerks his foot out and kicks Sam in the ribs, sending him to the floor again. Sam lets out a painful laugh and rolls over.
“Dean?” Cas asks. God, he probably thought he had a question or something.
“You...” he clears his throat, “you need a shower.”
Cas’s head tilts – still a powerful movement, even without his eyes– and he lifts a hand to rub the back of his head. Dean watches the hair entwine itself around the fingers and swallows.
“Yeah. You know, stand under water, get clean—”
“I’m aware,” Castiel cuts in, sounding slightly rattled. Dean snaps his mouth shut and throws a baffled look at him.
“Well, alright then. Don’t get your panties in a twist.”
“My pants are not twisted—”
“It’s a saying, Cas,” Sam’s on his feet and stands next to Dean, punching him on the bicep. “For the kick.”
“Hey, you deserved that.”
The three of them head across the scrapyard in a companionable silence, though Dean goes rigid when Cas swerves too close to his side and what the hell. He can’t stop himself thinking it: he smells nice.
Hot sand, fresh sweat and something warm and sugary that he couldn’t quite put his finger on.
Yeah, that’s not gay at all, Dean curses himself, though he does find his thoughts more amusing than disconcerting. Hell, he’d thought about how Sam smelt to himself sometimes (though they were usually envious thoughts – how did the guy make himself smell so nice while Dean walked around smelling like he’d walked out of some gay bar?)
He’s knocked out of his thoughts – seemed to be happening a lot lately – when Cas catches his foot and stumbles. Dean’s quick reflexes makes his hand shoots out almost immediately and he grasps Cas around the bicep, straightening him back up. He sends an angry glance towards Sam, who he had figured would be leading him. He receives a confused look in response.
“Aren’t you supposed to be his guide dog?” He barks. Sam purses his lips.
“No, Dean, I’m supposed to be a friend helping him out. And Cas has already made it clear he doesn’t need to be tugged everywhere. Right, Cas?”
Castiel’s head has dipped in the direction of his left arm, where Dean’s grip has tightened. He seems surprised by it. Dean quickly pulls his hand back, shoving it into his pocket as casually as possible.
“Yeah, well, he’s not gonna be any good to us if he gets a face full of gravel.” Dean looks around, then runs his eyes up and down Cas’s figure. Ah. That would work.
He leans forwards and grasps Castiel’s hand, pulling it towards the belt loop on the back of his jeans. He ignores the quick rise of Sam’s eyebrows.
“We got belt loops, right? Well, he can hold onto them and let go when he wants to. No pressure,” Dean starts to walk to demonstrate. Castiel walks steadily behind him, not bothering to hide the gentle smile that graces his lips.
Sam lets out a gentle snort. “Yeah, that works. Alright, Cas?”
“I’m fine,” he replies, though there was no mistaking the pleased tone in his voice. Dean’s glad no one else can see him – he has this indescribably goofy smile on his face, though he can’t figure out why.
Sam follows slowly behind them and on his face is a smile.
A smile that mirrors his brothers.
“Geez, I thought you’d grown outta the stage where you come into my perfectly clean house covered in dirt,” Bobby shakes his head, “Guess I was wrong.”
Sam grins at him and Dean slaps him on the arm, leaving a grimy mark on his shirt.
“Never too old, Bobby. How you hangin’?” He jokes, knowing that Bobby has only recently recovered from his drunken consciousness. Bobby waves a hand at him.
“Nothin’ an old drunk like me can’t handle. You three gonna go and dirty up my shower any time soon? You pretty boys need to keep your locks clean.”
“You mean Sammy needs to keep his locks clean,” Dean responds. He waves a hand through the air by his head, imitating the models he’d seen in shampoo advertisements. He laughs loudly at Sam’s embarrassed, agitated expression.
“Hey, don’t think I haven’t seen you preenin’ yourself, idgit,” Bobby lectures playfully. Dean’s humour evaporates and then he’s on the end of Sam’s snickering and imitations.
The three men turn to look over their shoulders at Castiel, who’s standing with a crease of confusion settled between his brow. His thumb’s still hooked into Dean’s jeans. Dean frowns and moves away so Cas’s hand slumps back to his side.
“Yeah. You three look like you’re jumped outta some prissy teen magazine,” Bobby mocks, shoving his hands into the pockets of his bodywarmer. Cas still looks confused.
“I don’t understand. How do you know when someone’s pretty?”
Dean shakes his head in disbelief and Bobby mutters something under his breath. Sam seems to take sympathy on Cas, however, and despite the fact the three of them are standing in the kitchen covered in dirt, he begins to explain.
“Um… when you see someone who you like to look at, sometimes I guess you could call them pretty. Like, I think women with long red hair look pretty.”
Dean snorts and Sam ignores him when he mutters ‘such a girl’ underneath his breath. Bobby shakes his head, wanders over to the other side of the kitchen and starts to prepare himself a sandwich.
“So how does Bobby know I’m pretty? I’m not a woman and I don’t have long red hair—“
“—You’ve got the looks that other guys would kill for,” Dean chips in before Sam can start speaking. The last thing he wants is for Sam to start giving Cas a girly lecture. “You’ve got those really blue eyes. Pretty freaky when you stare at someone for too long, but I dunno, chicks probably like that kinda thing. And your skin looks sorta smooth,” Dean moves closer, tilting his head to the side as he examines him. He lets out a breathless laugh. “Sex hair. Like you’ve just come out of some heavy make-out session. And you’re like a lost puppy. Girls dig that stuff…“
“You’re well-built. I mean. You’re not like me or Dean, but there’s muscle there,” Sam cuts in. Dean nods and runs his gaze back over Cas, looking for another feature he can point out. He’d be damned if he was gonna let Sam get the last word in. While Sam occupies himself with a sip of water, he looks over Cas’s face. Then freezes.
“Ugh, your lips,” Dean clears his throat and pretends that he isn’t about to blush. “Your lips, they’re a bit… just… kissable, you know?”
Sam splutters on his drink, the laughter bubbling out before he can swallow the water. Dean frowns as ferociously as he can at him.
“Shut up, Sammy.”
“I’m sorry—” He erupts into a coughing fit and even Bobby starts to snigger in the corner of the kitchen. “Sure. I’m the girl.”
Dean clenches his jaw. Right, okay. So, he tries to be nice and explain things to Cas, then gets mocked for it?
“Whatever,” he huffs and storms out of the kitchen. Screw them. I’m having the first shower.
“Hey, Dean, you don’t want to kiss Cas goodbye?” Sam yells after him.
“Go fuck yourself, Sam,” he shouts back, stamping his feet on the stairs for angry emphasis.
Sam listens to the slam of the bathroom door and can’t help letting out another laugh. He catches Cas standing still in the corner of his eye and turns to look at him. The angel looks thoughtful, his fingers brushing delicately over his lips.
“You okay?” Sam asks him.
“Fine,” he replies gruffly, snatching his hand away from his lips, like he’d been caught doing something private. Sam spares him one more concerned glance before retreating to Bobby’s side, leaving the angel wrapped in his thoughts.