It’s been three years. Three incredible years since Castiel first kissed him on that beach, and the angel still bewilders him sometimes.
The sex is great; Castiel is an attentive lover, always careful and intent with just a hint of greed in the way he touches Sam. He’s also surprisingly imaginative, and sometimes Sam wonders how much influence Gabriel has over his brother. Because that thing with the whipped cream they did a few times? It just screams of the archangel.
Though Sam would rather not think about what goes on in Dean and Gabriel’s bedroom, thank you very much.
Although he’s relaxed considerably as time passed, the angel can still be difficult to read, even for Sam, who’s gotten much better at it. Sam doesn’t usually mind; he suspects he might not even be able to begin to understand most of what goes on in an angel’s head anyways. But lately Castiel’s been watching him differently, like he’s in deep thoughts, important thoughts, and Sam doesn’t know what to make of it.
They’re in Wisconsin, where they’ve just gotten rid of a nasty ghost, when Gabriel and Castiel show up, Gabriel wearing a goofy grin and Castiel looking somewhat both pleased and nervous under his calm and sober expression.
“Hello boys!” Gabriel cheers, then grabs Dean’s wrist. “I’ll be stealing you for a while, big boy,” he adds, snapping them both away.
Leaving Sam and Castiel alone in the motel room. Which usually wouldn’t be a problem, but the tension radiating from Castiel is almost palpable now that their brothers are gone.
“Cas?” Sam asks with a frown. “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing’s wrong,” the angel says. “I just–“ he pauses. “There’s something I have to tell you. To ask you.”
“What is it?” Sam asks again, a little bit worried now.
“Do you remember, all those years ago, when I told you that angels couldn’t form bonds with humans? That Gabriel was only able to do so because of the centuries he passed as a pagan deity?”
Sam nods. It was years ago, and back then Sam was more astonished by the fact that Dean and Gabriel’s relationship was serious than by the exact nature of their bond. After that, he’d never asked more about it, figuring it wasn’t his business.
“I love you,” Castiel says, simply and plainly, like he always does. “I wanted you to know how much I love you, wanted to be able to form a bond with you, something that would go deeper than words. Something that would last forever. Like our brothers did. I may have found a way to do this.”
“How?” Sam asks, incapable of saying more than one word. His throat is tight with emotions too intense to put into words.
Castiel waves his hand, and he’s holding two wrist rings made of shadows and light. It almost hurts looking at them, but Sam can’t take his eyes off of them. He raises his hand, touches one. It’s warm, vibrant, there and yet not really there.
“What are they?”
“After the War, God gave his soldiers Glory, a sign of faithfulness and love that became part of each and every one of us, binding us to him, and him to us. This is what inspired these. They’re a semi-physical manifestation of Grace and Glory, but they aren’t finished. For them to be complete, to be what I intend them to be, they’ll need to be part Soul too.”
Sam stays silent a moment, taking in what Castiel is saying, and all that he’s not saying.
“I’ve never been jealous of what our brothers have,” Sam says. “I’ve never thought I needed more than your loving me. And I’ve never doubted your loving me.”
Castiel’s face is unreadable, completely blank. Sam smiles. He replies to the unasked question with a single word.