The pictures on Dean's laptop hardly do their life justice.
A small file, barely taking up any space on the massive hard drive, gets looked through every couple of months. This morning, Dean clicks through the images trying, without much difficulty, to recall the situations and emotions swirling through each one of them. There aren't many from his earliest days, marking memories not exactly having been high on the to do list at the time. The first few are scans of those he'd collected of his family throughout the years - a young Mary, a newly wedded John. Two or three pictures of him and Sam as kids had wound their way in there some how. Dean is pretty sure Cas had something to do with that. Garth, Mary, Ellen, Samuel, Jo, Bobby, John, even one of Missouri - still images that Dean sees capture a life time of memories in a few hundred kilobytes.
He is making himself depressed, again. When the screen flickers, a file that always brought his smile back comes to life on the screen.
Angels may not need sleep, but that doesn't mean they can't. The picture is from the first time Dean woke up to Cas fast asleep. Cas had been snoring quietly against his neck, body pressed against Dean's back, holding him possessively. Dean had slipped out of the angels grasp and grabbed his phone, wanting to capture the moment. Looking back, decades later, he's certain this was the night he knew he was completely, and forever, in love with Castiel.
Dean runs his hands through his grey hair. What a load of chick flick crap. He tells himself.
But it doesn't diminish the smile that has spread across his lips, or the moisture in his eyes.
"You're up early." Cas' bare feet move quietly along the wood floor, even after all their years together, Dean never hears him coming. "I brought you some coffee." Dean grins even wider, clicking the right arrow to scroll through more images.
"Thanks babe." Still watching pictures flick by the screen, he hears the quiet thud of the clothes basket being dropped to the ground. Before he can look back, soft lips are pressed against his neck. Dean leans into the touch, letting the warmth of Cas' trail of kisses overtake him. "Why are you so amazing to me? After all this time, you stick around. Why?" It's a question Dean has asked dozens of times, and Cas always answers with more kisses.
Today is not any different.
Dean has to lean back, tilting his head to meet his angel's lips. There's a pop and a crick in his neck that he will have to worry about later. For now, all he cares about is the way Cas' tongue still lays claim to his mouth, running along his lips and making Dean his. When Cas trails the back of his fingers down the side of Dean's face, across more grey than brown stubble, he has to stop him, pull back, however reluctantly.
"Let me set my coffee down before I spill it all over my self." Dean's words are a whisper against Cas' lips.
He catches the smile in Cas’ bright blue eyes, the promise of everything that is always there. "No need. I'm going to put this laundry away before it sits out all day like last time. I'll be right back." Dean frowns when he bends to pick up the basket. "I promise."
After taking a few steps up the stairs, Cas stops, and looks back at Dean with a grin. "And if you really want an answer to that question. Look at the very next picture."
Scowling, Dean, as always, does as he's told.
How Cas knew exactly what image would be next Dean never even thought about. Sam was in the background, laughter all over his face, Cas and Dean in the foreground, Dean's arm wrapped around Cas' waist, holding him in close, both men with stupid grins on their faces. It wouldn't have been a remarkable photograph if it weren't for two key details.
One: Dean and Cas were both beat to hell and back. Their faces, though cleaned of blood, were swollen and bruised, cuts and scrapes covering them. Cas' right eyes was mostly swollen shut. Two: they had gotten this taken a mere five minutes after they had said their vows to one another.
They had stopped denying their relationship years before that day. When all of the seemingly world ending crises had finally been averted (another only popping up every couple of years or so) Dean and Castiel simply hunted together. Sam joined them on occasion, when they were close enough or they really needed him.
“You know this isn’t actually, like, a legal thing or whatever right? Seeing as how Cas isn’t actually, well, documented anywhere?” Sam raised an eyebrow at Dean while he leaned back against the Impala.
“Dude, shut up. That’s not what’s important here and you know it.” Dean glanced around the small park, surprised that he was okay with it being that crowded. They had hoped the barn would still be there, but after ten years, and an unfortunate amount of suburban development, this is what they got.
At least someone’s house wasn’t in the way.
“Sorry. I guess I’m still just a little, shocked, that this is happening at all. I mean, are you sure you really want to do this Dean? Promise yourself to one person and one person alone for the rest of your life? You do realize what that means, legal or not right?”
“I know exactly what I’m doing Sammy. Now stop trying to act like we’re...” He stopped at Sam’s scowl. His little brother didn’t even have to say anything. He was about to get married to an angel in the park on a bright, sunny spring day. It didn’t get more chick flick than that.
Sam decided to change the subject. “Where did he get off to anyway?” - kind of....
“I don’t know, but he said he’d be...” Dean was cut off by the soft flutter of wings that always marked Castiel’s arrival. He appeared, as always, right in front of Dean.
They had both long ago quit worrying about something as trivial as ‘personal space’.
“I’ve got them.” Cas was beaming, holding his hand out with two gold bands in his palm.
“Damn Cas, what took you so long?” Dean hoped Cas would see the laughter in his eyes.
The smile he received reassured him. “I had to make the rings Dean. I couldn’t just take them from somewhere.” Sam grabbed one of the gold bands from Cas, examining it closely.
“Castiel!” Sam gasped. Dean looked over the ring Sam was holding. The outside was simple and unobtrusive, but the inner band was etched with intricate scroll work and symbols Dean had only just started learning how to read. Sam recovered enough to ask, “What does it say?”
“I think it says, eternity?” Dean guessed then smiled.
“Close, but there really isn’t a better translation than that. This,” Castiel took the ring from Sam and handed it to Dean, “means so much more than eternity.”
Dean pursed his lips to keep the from shaking. He took the ring in his hand, rolling it around in his own palm. Something heavy started to settle in his stomache.
“We should get this going before my big bad brother breaks down and cries.” Sam gave Dean a gentle shove against his arm, but Dean paid him no attention.
All he cared about at that moment, was telling Cas everything he’d been wanting to say.
“Cas, as much as I will deny and have hated to admit it in the past, I’ve been yours from the moment we met. And I promise, as I always have, to trust you and do everything I can to keep your trust, to forgive when you don’t ask for it, to never stop looking for you when you fly off, to be there for you even when you don’t think you need me, especially then, and to...” Dean paused, taking a deep breath, “...and to love you. Always.” Everything around them faded as Dean’s entire world suddenly revolved around placing the ring onto Castiel’s finger.
Whenever he thought about it, it was really just because his entire world had been revolving around Cas for quite some time.
Castiel’s fingers trembled at the very human touch of the wedding band. “Dean...” he moved to kiss Dean, but was stopped by a single finger brushing against his lips.
“Uh uh uh...” Dean shook his head. “Your turn.” The smile that lit up Cas’ eyes was breathtaking.
He tried to nod, stammering out his first few words. “I have.. uh. I have been watching this world for eons.” Cas paused, searching Dean’s eyes for everything he needed to say. “In all of those billions of years, I had never seen anything so amazing, so flawed and broken, so perfect and bright as when I saw you. I knew about humans, but I never knew about humanity. I never knew what it meant to truly care, to want, to feel sorrow, to regret, to know the gut wrenching feeling of loss, the ache of the need for forgiveness or the joy of giving it, to be jealous, to long, to love, to be loved... you taught me all of that, you showed me everything.” Cas stopped, eyes narrowed slightly, studying Dean’s reactions.
“You taught me what it means to be alive.” Dean’s breath shuddered at Cas’ words, his entire body tensing as he tried not to cry.
“I will love you, Dean Winchester, through the good, the pain, the joy, the bad, and...” Cas paused, stroking a gentle finger against Dean’s swollen cheek, “and the ugly. Through hell and back, over and over again, however many times we have to pull one another out, no matter what, I love you, for the rest of eternity and beyond.”
Dean didn’t even notice Cas slip the ring onto his finger. He was too busy watching the man he loves offer him his soul. Through the tears freeling falling across his face, Dean laughed. “You make mine sound so dull and simple.”
“Shut up Dean.”
It was by far not their first kiss, nor was it was not their most passionate kiss. It was simply, their best. The moment they touched Dean felt something come alive inside, as if Cas was truly sharing a piece of his Soul; giving Dean a part of himself that no one else would ever be allowed to know.
Their kiss had hurt, slightly, the press of their lips against one another pushing against the wounds covering their face. Neither of them cared in the slightest.
“Can I introduce myself as Castiel Winchester now? I’ve always wanted to be a Winchester.”
Sam’s laughter at Cas’ admission had brought the rest of the world back into focus for Dean, however slightly.
Dean glances down at the gold band that he hasn’t removed since the day Cas put it there. Thirty years today, and seeing the ring on his finger still leaves Dean Winchester a little speechless.
He doesn't bother waiting on his husband to come down stairs to keep his promise. Dean sets his coffee down, forces his old body off the couch, and takes the stairs up two at a time to make love with his angel.
Daggomusprime - Old Man Dean