“I will hold my head up high
You will never see me cry
I'll smile and say I'm good
But I would fall apart if I could”
Eighteen months, three weeks and five days. That’s how long he had been overseas. Stepping into the bright lights of Lawrence airport, Dean feels as if it has been much, much longer than that. Lifetimes had passed while he was over there. He has seen so much destruction, so much death and the whole time all he could think about were the blue eyes and nose-scrunching smile waiting for him at home.
But now he is back, searching the crowds for Him – and suddenly he finds himself afraid. Afraid that he has been gone too long, afraid that he has changed too much – on the outside and the inside – afraid that He won’t be there waiting for him.
He sees Sam first, his giant moose of a brother towers over the swarms of people, waving enthusiastically and Dean makes his way over to him. Sam immediately wraps him in a giant hug and then steps aside to let Dean see the person he has been waiting for.
Cas is beautiful as ever, piercing blue eyes, tousled dark hair and his tie still hasn’t been knotted properly.
The moment Dean had set eyes on him, years ago in the lecture hall where he was repairing the lights and Cas had gotten lost looking for his class, Dean had known Cas was the one. He knew it when he fell off the ladder he was standing on, because he was trying so hard not to stare at Cas and he knew it when Cas had immediately rushed to his aid, gripping him tight and pulling him to his feet and Dean had valiantly fought the tears his fall had brought rushing to his eyes. He had stuttered and blushed and stumbled over his own words more times in that five-minute conversation with Castiel, than he had in his entire life, but at the end he walked away with Cas’ phone number and one of the biggest smiles to ever grace his face.
Their first date was a disaster. Dean had been so worried that Cas would think him just another stupid, high school drop-out that he took him to see a foreign film, about which he had memorised as many facts as Wikipedia would provide and tried to whisper them all to Cas during the movie. That is until Cas had shut him up with a kiss. Three months and twenty-three dates later, Dean moved in with Cas.
Dean knew Cas was the one when he watched him answer the phone and saw something in his eyes darken as he hung up, and had to be the one to tell Dean that his father had died. Cas had held him for what felt like hours, while Dean sat motionless on the sofa, unable to speak and unable to cry, because John Winchester hadn’t raised a sissy.
And later when he had mentioned that he wanted to join the army like his father had, Cas had just looked at him with a hint of a smile and said: “Whatever you want, beloved.”
When Dean was shunted from base to base, Cas came with him, taking on jobs as a guest lecturer at the university nearest to where they happened to be at the time. Dean knew Cas was the one on their sixth anniversary and he got down on one knee in the middle of the barn where they had been having a romantic picnic and asked Cas for his hand in marriage. When Cas said yes, with tears streaming down his face, Dean thought that life just didn’t and couldn’t get better than this.
And he was right, because two days later, he was told he had a week before he shipped out. So Dean held Cas, as he wept when he told him, and tried to keep his face stoic and emotionless, because it wouldn’t do for both of them to be sobbing messes.
He told Cas he was the one as he kissed the tears from his face when they said their goodbyes and he promised him that he would return to him no matter what. And he tried so hard not to cry when Cas buried his face in his chest and mumbled that he could go with him, because if he started he knew he would never stop.
Cas wrote to him every week and Dean always wrote back and at night he clutched the letters to his chest as the soul-shattering sound of gunfire tore up the night and he kept his tears at bay by picturing Cas at his happiest, surrounded by bees at the honey farm Dean had taken him to for his birthday.
But now here he is, in front of Cas and suddenly all those moments where he had kept the tears inside, come crashing down around him as he launches himself into Cas’ arms, the tears falling freely.
He kisses Cas over and over and over, before finally breaking away to say: “Hiya Cas.”
Cas looks at him with those perfect blue eyes, scrunches up his nose as he smiles and says: “Hello Dean.”.