Dean blamed it all on Sam. If you asked him, the whole thing was entirely the younger Winchester's fault. If it wasn't for the asshole's oh so magnificent ideas, Dean would have never found himself in the position he was in at the moment.
It had all started a few years ago when both brothers had still been in high school.
Sam had decided that befriending the lonely new kid would be a good idea. Dean hadn't really had a reason for arguing, and he had always been a sucker for doing whatever made his younger brother happy.
As so, the next day saw the new kid, whose name turned out to be Castiel, sitting with them, Jo, Charlie, Kevin, Benny, Crowley, and Gabriel at lunch.
A month into the school year and Castiel had sort of become a permanent addition to their group.
Then, the incident had happened.
Dean had just been walking from the training after school – he had made team captain – when he saw two older boys pushing Castiel to the ground.
Before Dean realized it, he was rushing towards them and tackling one of the bullies to the floor. He landed a punch on the guy’s face, and turned at the sound of running feet, to see the other boy scampering off.
Not wanting to wait for him to return and get teachers involved, Dean let the boy go, with only a muttered warning, “Touch him again, and what I’ll do to you won’t possibly compare to this.”
Dean helped Cas to his feet, and after dusting him off and making sure he was alright, took him to the ice cream parlor near the school.
Needless to say that Dean hadn’t ever needed to warn anyone that it wouldn’t be a good idea to mess with the other boy again. And while there may have been students who would’ve liked to pick at Castiel, none of them were willing to get on Dean Winchester’s bad side, and face his subsequent wrath, to do so.
Over the next months, Dean and Cas developed an amazing friendship.
Castiel was the first person Dean allowed to truly get close - besides Sammy, - after his mom died and his dad left them both with Bobby.
Dean would admit it had all been due to Sam’s soft heart and good intentions because otherwise, Dean and Castiel would’ve probably never spoken.
Without Sam’s inadvertent intervention, the two boys never would’ve gotten close, they never would’ve gotten to know each other.
Dean wouldn’t have had anyone to call in the middle of the night after an especially bad dream, and Castiel would’ve had no one to comfort.
Cas never would’ve dared to ask to spend the night at one of his friend’s houses, when his parents were having a particularly bad fight, or when his brothers absolutely wouldn’t leave him alone, and Dean would’ve had no one to share his bed with on those occasions.
So, yes, overall, Dean would one hundred percent agree that they both owed Sam some thanks for bringing them together and all that because their friendship had obviously benefited them both.
However, if Dean and Cas hadn’t met each other, Dean never would’ve had to lay awake wondering what running his fingers through soft, dark hair would feel like, and longing to do it again after gathering enough courage to try it once. The older boy never would’ve craved the feeling of smooth lips pressing against his own, and the whisper of a beard burning his neck. And he certainly wouldn’t have yearned to find out what it would be like to wake up every morning find dazed, sleepy, blue eyes gazing into his.
No, if not for Sammy, none of that would’ve happened, and Dean also wouldn’t ever have fallen in love with his best friend.
Dean and Castiel finished high school and rented an apartment together when they got into colleges in the same city.
It was another dream come true for them and, in a way, a different nightmare starting for Dean as well.
When Dean got to their apartment, on the 20th, the first thing that told him something wasn’t right was the lack of clothes and belongings scattered around the floor.
Castiel was usually a very neat person, always keeping his things and the apartment, in general, tidy and clean. However, when the other boy had to pack a bag to go home for the holidays, or the occasional weekend, it would be like a hurricane had stormed their place.
Therefore, Dean was sure something was off when he didn’t find their apartment in such a disarray.
A head of messy, dark hair immediately poked around the door of Castiel’s bedroom. “Yes, Dean?”
Discreetly, a relieved sigh escaped Dean. “What’s going on, dude? You haven’t started packing yet?”
Cas pursed his lips and looked away. “No, there’s no need. I think I’ll stay.”
“Stay? What do you mean stay? It’s the holidays! I mean, it’s Christmas, you can’t stay here by yourself.”
Castiel sighed. “Dean…”
“No, man. Don’t “Dean” me. I know you and your family don’t have the best relationship, to put it lightly. But still, you can’t just–”
“It’s not like that, okay ?” The other boy let out another tired sigh, clearly wanting the matter to be let go. “Look, mother and father are spending the holidays on some island in the Pacific. And my brothers won’t be coming, alright? I refuse to go there and spend two weeks alone, in a huge, cold, empty house. I’d much rather stay here.”
The hurt and sadness that Cas tried to hide, but Dean still noticed in his eyes, was too much for Dean to bear.
In three strides, Dean was standing in front of his best friend and gathering the shorter boy in his arms.
“They’re assholes, Cas. They don’t deserve you, and you deserve a lot better than them. But you’re not spending Christmas alone, and you’re insane if you think I would let you. You’re coming home with me.”
Dean felt Cas start to pull away at hearing that, and he tightened his hold on the raven-haired boy, simultaneously not wanting to let him go so soon and not excited at the idea of having the conversation while looking him in the eyes.
“Dean, I won’t intrude on your family time. And on top of that, it’s a special occasion. They have been kind enough to put up with me crashing there whenever, I will not ruin this for them, or for you.”
“What? Cas, they love you. I’m pretty sure Ellen would have adopted you years ago if it wasn’t for her crazy delusions.” Dean internally winced. Ellen’s crazy delusions kind of involved Dean and Cas getting married and driving off into the sunset together. He did not want to get into that right now, or ever. “Anyway, my point is, they never put up with you. They enjoy having you around. Damn it, I have no idea how you manage to get this kind of thoughts inside your head.”
Castiel shrugged while pressing closer. “You’re sure it’ll be okay?”
“Yes, of course, I am.”
Just as Dean had predicted, Ellen was elated to have Castiel staying with them.
Castiel still tried to suggest that he could stay at his parents’ house, and come to Bobby’s to celebrate or something. That idea, however, was quickly shut down with one scary look from Ellen.
Then, Castiel had the gal to propose he took the couch since, that way, he wouldn’t disturb Dean, by sharing his bed. This time it was Dean who made him reconsider his statement.
And no, he wasn’t extremely pleased with the way Cas looked down and smiled, while a soft blush spread across his cheeks.
It was due to Sam’s insistence that Dean and Cas ended up helping to decorate the house.
They were just finishing with the Christmas’ tree when they started hearing giggling from the kitchen.
Dean knew something was up, but he didn’t think too much of it. For some reason, at the moment, it didn’t occur to him that he should always be the slightest bit worried when it concerned his brother and Jo possibly plotting something.
A few seconds later Sam’s voice could be heard from the other room, “Dean! Cas! Come here, we need your help with something.”
Dean shared a look with Cas and fondly rolled his eyes. “I bet it’s something they could do by their selves. I swear, those kids are always looking for attention.”
Cas chuckled. “You’re their older brother. Plus, you’re you. It’s only natural.”
Dean had no idea how to answer to that. In perspective, it really was naïve of him to think he was saved by more giggling.
The two best friends were just crossing the door to the kitchen when Sam screaming “Mistletoe,” stopped them dead in their tracks.
Dean slowly looked up, only to find a branch of mistletoe staring down at him.
He thinks he heard Jo delighted shouting “Now you have to kiss,” before the sound of scurrying feet and cackling reached his ears.
He was still staring, transfixed, at the stupid mistletoe, when he muttered, “I’m going to fucking murder them.”
When the taller boy finally summoned up enough courage to look at his best friend, it was to see the disbelief being replaced by dawning horror and, at last, determination.
Dean had a second to stare at his friend’s intent, wary, hopeful eyes before a pair of lips suddenly pressed against his own.
Dean was too surprised to react or do anything other than widen his eyes. It felt like his brain and his whole body had frozen.
After a few moments, Castiel pulled back, regret and embarrassment creeping up on his expression.
“Oh my god. Oh my god. I have no idea why I just- It was a terrible idea. Dean, I’m sorry, please-”
It was as if someone had suddenly doused him with ice-cold water. “I- I gotta go.”
Dean didn’t see the crushed expression on Castiel’s face, he simply turned around and took off.
It was Ellen who found him, sitting beneath his favorite tree, at the edge of the forest that started at the end of their backyard.
“You want to talk about what happened?”
Dean sighed, and stubbornly averted his eyes. “No.”
“You sure, kid? ‘Cause from what I’ve heard from Sammy-”
Dean immediately cut in. “You can tell that asshole to run if you see him before I do. He’ll wish he had when I get my hands on him.”
Ellen hid her smile behind her hand. “Dean, you can’t blame Sam for this.”
“You’ll find that I absolutely can. And do. It’s certainly not my fault.”
“Isn’t it, though? You’ve been in love with that boy upstairs probably since before you understood what love was. You’ve always trusted and relied on each other, throughout these years. You two idjits have developed this once-in-a-lifetime kind of connection, and have been too dumb to talk about it.”
Dean could only stare with his mouth hanging open. “I- What?”
Ellen rolled his eyes. “I know I can be pretty damned persuasive, but I couldn’t convince Bobby to come talk to you himself. He hates having these heart-to-hearts. Still, he asked me to talk to you and get some sense into your thick head. I think this was exactly what you needed to hear. You have a boy crying himself into a panic in your bedroom, honey. Do something about it.”
“No, buts. Take responsibility for your actions and feelings, Dean. God, knows I understand it’s hard, but you have to do it. Stop blaming your brother for feelings you and Castiel developed. Talk to the boy. Take a risk and you’ll find it was worth it.”
“Ellen, I just don’t want him to wake up one of these days and regret me, the way mom did with dad. He’s young, he can change his mind. I don’t want to help him make this kind of mistake.”
Before he could blink, Ellen had him wrapped up in her arms. “You listen to me, Dean Winchester, and you listen well. You are the sweetest, most loving person I have ever met. You have a heart of gold, sweetie, and you deserve the world. You are nothing like your father. Castiel will always be lucky to have you by his side, in whichever way you decide to be there, you understand?”
Dean would forever deny the tears that escaped him. “Yeah. Thank you, Ellen.”
A kiss being pressed to his head and the tightening of her arms around him was the only answer he got.
Dean hesitantly stepped into his room and found Castiel closing his suitcase, eyes red and puffy, movements jerky, and his whole frame practically shaking.
When the other boy noticed Dean at the door, he immediately got up, fresh tears welling up in his eyes.
“Dean. Dean. I’m sorry. I’ll go back home- to our apartment. And I’ll leave there as well if you want me gone. I- I just- I’m sorry. If you could forget it happened and forgive me, I swear- I swear it won’t happen again. And nothing will have to change, and I’m just really sorry. I-”
It was all Dean could take, and he cursed himself for not moving sooner, for not coming to find his best friend earlier. He tackled Cas in a hug, regret heavy on his stomach as the other boy trembled in his arms.
“I was terrified, Cas. That’s why I left. I didn’t know how to react, but I- I love you, have for a while, actually. And I’m sorry for hurting you and making you worry and panic. I love you. I love you. I love you.”
Castiel was smiling; his expression bright, and radiant, and so happy.
Dean couldn’t help but pepper his face with kisses.
Finally, hands holding the sides of Cas’s head, Dean pressed a kiss to his lips, soft but firm, trying to pour his emotions into the kiss, the way Cas deserved.
“I love you, Castiel,” he whispered against the boy’s lips, only to hear it echoed back.
“I love you, too, Dean.”
Looking back on the whole thing, Dean did find it kind of ridiculous that he thought Sammy to be responsible for him and Castiel to have fallen in love.
Dean had no problem admitting that, even though Sam had been the one to introduce them, if Cas hadn’t been Cas, their story wouldn’t have led them where they were.
However, at their wedding, Sam took full advantage of that fact, mentioning several times during his speech that he was the one who brought them together.
Neither one of the grooms could be happier that he had, either.