Castiel stood, gaze turned up to the stars, wind dancing passed and twirling the tails of Dean’s baggy button-down. It was probably too cold to be out here in just shirt and jeans but Castiel wasn’t human, he just pretended to be.
Some days, like today, it was harder than others. Some days, like today, he would come out on the lawn or parking lot of whatever motel they were holed up in, or, wander out to the absolute middle of Bobby’s car graveyard and just look.
Most times, Dean, Sam and Bobby left him to it. They understood his need and accepted him for him a long time ago. Sometimes, the guilt would hit sooner than others and Castiel would trudge back inside and curl up with Dean or sit with John sleeping soundly on his chest. Other times, Castiel would gradually lose track of seconds, then minutes and eventually he would lose track of hours. Then, there were those times when Dean would let him be for a time before he came out and find him. Either on his own, or move provokingly with John in his arms.
Now was one of those times. Though it was just Dean on his own, after all the hour was late and John was asleep.
“Hey,” Dean whispered coming around a menacingly slanted pile of vehicular wreckage.
Castiel heard a burst of static as Dean got closer. Dean let out a muffled curse and turned down the volume on the baby monitor receiver before tucking it back in his jacket pocket.
“You want to talk about it?”
Dean came right next to Castiel and stood close enough for the angel to feel the warmth of the green-eyed hunter’s soul. Environmental temperatures affected Castiel very little, but the warmth of humans and their presence, that he felt all too potently – Dean more than others. John more than all.
They stood in silence. The only sound was the wind, the crickets and Dean’s leather jacket creaking along Castiel’s borrowed shirt-sleeve with each inhale. Dean was staring at the stars as well, but mostly at Castiel.
“Please, believe me when I say I don’t regret a single second,” Castiel said without prompting.
“Never thought you did.”
Castiel nodded, accepting the truth of Dean’s statement. The angel continued, “It’s very difficult. I didn’t think it would be so difficult.”
“I’m pretty sure most parents feel that way.”
“I imagine so, yes. But, I also feel as if I’m doing John a disservice.”
“Why?” Dean asked, aghast. “I mean how could you? You’re—”
“Not human,” Castiel cut in before Dean could complete the defence of his partner.
Dean wasn’t about to argue that, there was no way he could. Whatever he said would just be useless platitudes. Castiel had been floundering for a long time and not just with this new life they were thrust into, but since he first set a hand on Dean in Hell.
Castiel’s life was a mess of contradictions, juxtaposes and conundrums. He was not normal in either world he belonged to. And now, he had a small boy he was one-half responsible for, in a position perhaps even more difficult than Castiel’s own.
“I had faith, then lost it, then had it restored, only to corrupt it then worst of all, loose myself. Just when I was coming to grips with myself again, with mattering again my world was once more altered in a way I never could have imagined. Sometimes I feel as if I’m caught in a tornado that spins and spins but never moves and never burns itself out. I love John, more than I ever thought conceivable. In all honestly, I used to think I couldn’t love any one thing in this world more than I loved you. Then John happened and I’ve reached an entirely new peak that I never even realized before, though it looms massive before me.”
“You’re a dad, Cas,” Dean said with a shrug. “That shit just happens.”
“With all that, how can I stand here and look up there and feel so helpless, small? I can span the globe in a thought if I so wished but I face what John and you mean to me and I feel no larger than a grain of sand.”
Dean didn’t know how to respond so he said nothing.
When Castiel spoke it again it was very soft, “I’ve disappointed you, let you down and hurt you in ways I will never forgive myself for. What if I do the same thing to John? What if something seemingly insurmountable comes around again and I tear it all down with a futile hope to stop it? I barely know how to be human myself. How can a raise a child?”
Dean was quiet contemplative then he said with a shrug and a smile, “Hey, he’s human sure but he’s also angel. I don’t know the first thing about that, but you know all about it and I have a passible understanding of being human so I’ll take the human side, you take the angel side and together will do the best we fucking can. Somehow, we’ll meet in the middle. We always have. It wasn’t so long ago that we were on completely opposite sides of the spectrum but look it us now. We’re back, we’re together, the world is safe for the time being and all we have to worry about is protecting our son and loving him the best we can. So let’s not worry about things that might happen, let’s just focus on being dads.”
“We don’t exactly have the best role-models for that,” Castiel remarked dryly.
“No, I suppose not our real dads, but we got Bobby,” Dean said. “He may be a crusty old drunk but he’s the best father we ever had, right?”
“Yes,” Castiel said with a smile. “That is very true.”
They were quiet again, eyes still turned to the blue-black sky with the bright pricks of light that always seemed so much brighter in Bobby’s backyard.
“Look at it this way,” Dean spoke up. “You happy?”
“As happy as I ever recall being, yes.”
“You love me?”
“Without a question.”
“Well I’m happy and love you and John too,” Dean said hastily, still uncomfortable with such honest emotion. He continued, “Right now I think that’s all we really need. We’ll worry about the hard stuff later. Deal?”
“Only if sealed with a kiss,” Castiel smiled, looking over at Dean.
Dean grinned back. “Well that’s done easily enough. I’ll even let you have my soul.”
“Keep it, it looks much better from this vantage point,” Castiel replied.
Dean kissed him, deepening it gradually, sharing his warmth with the angel. Castiel leaned into the heat of the green-eyed man, hands curling at the small of Dean’s back creeping closer with each brush of lips.
The baby monitor burst into awareness, John’s gentle cries interrupting the quiet of the night.
Dean pulled back. “Duty calls.”
“I’ve had worse duties,” Castiel added lightly.