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Kayenta, Utah |  Route 163

 

He earned another glare from Dean when the Impala was enveloped in a cloud of dust and stones again. Dean didn't need to say anything. Cas knew he still didn't believe this was a case.

 

Not even Sam wanted to join them. He had tried to explain to Cas that this was probably the work of humans, people being destructive for no apparent reason, maybe even gullible people who were being tricked. But something about it just didn't feel right.

 

He unfolded the newspaper article he had found and printed out to read it again.   

 

Series of Bizarre Misdemeanors Strikes the small town of Kayenta

By Frances Fiore

 

There have been several eye witness accounts of five different citizens committing acts of vandalism and grave desecration in the town of Kayenta, Utah. As of this date, arrests have been made and the perpetrators are presently seeking legal counsel.

 

Sheriff Dena Nez of the Washington County Sheriff's Office stated that there is no apparent connection in the string of petty crimes. The five perpetrators are strangers to each other, having no connection outside of their shared religion.

 

“In a small town in Utah, it’s unsurprising that all of the implicated suspects are members of the LDS church. It’s the dominant religion of the state,” Nez said in her official statement to the press Monday morning after the final arrest.

 

Elephant Rock and Hell Hole Canyon were among the National Parks in which the suspects, Richard Cunningham, and Craig Smith respectively; were seen destroying preserved areas by using shovels and other equipment to dig substantial holes. The other three reports come from undisclosed cemeteries, to protect the identities of the families, in which Jennifer Thomas, Samantha Cole, and Daniel Duffel were caught in the act of digging up graves of people unknown to them.

 

None of the suspects have disclosed the reason(s) behind the vandalism and the investigation is still underway according to Nez...

 

Cas looked up at Dean again. He knew it wasn’t much to go on, but it reminded him of the time when demons were possessing local people to find the angel tablet. When he had mentioned his suspicions to Dean, he told him – in a not so friendly manner – that demons usually just killed their “meatsuits” and left if they got caught. Which was true. But still.

 

Dean growled when more dust and stones surrounded them. He had washed the Impala that morning. In very short pants. Cas remembered the strange feeling in his chest while he watched Dean wash his car.

 

“Seriously? Why the fuck would anyone want to live out here?” Dean grumbled.

 

"Because of the nice landscape?" Cas suggested quietly.

 

Dean gave him a pointed look and narrowed his eyes. “When we get back, I’m forcing you into car maintenance lessons, so you’ll feel my pain.”

 

Cas let his head hang low and looked up at Dean with an expression he had learned from Sam. "I could buy you a pie."

 

That was met with a sigh and Dean let out a soft laugh. “Don’t do that. Use Sam’s puppy dog look. Not when I’m annoyed with the roads.”

 

Cas looked out of the window to hide his smile. He had to thank Sam for inventing that look. It never failed to work. "I'm sorry," he said, not feeling sorry at all. But that was just something humans did. Apologize without meaning it.

 

He turned to Dean again with a soft smile. “Thank you for coming with me despite the condition of the roads and the fact that you don’t believe this is a case.”

 

“Well, it was escape with you for a couple days, or be stuck with Sam and Jack doing their nerdy, bonding, research crap. No friggin’ contest.”

 

"So, we're like Thelma and Louise, holding hands while we sail off a cliff together?"   

 

Dean barked out a laugh and smirked at Cas. “Got the right scenery for it.”

 

“I know. You made me watch that movie,” Cas replied with another soft smile. Although he never willingly agreed to watch movies with Dean, he noticed that he was starting to like it. Not the movies in particular, but spending time with Dean; listening to him explain the plot, tell him funny facts about the movie or actors, or other things he deemed worth mentioning. Especially when they watched a western. Sometimes he noticed Dean mouthing along with the lines of dialogue with a bright smile on his face. It was nice seeing Dean happy like that. And movies always made him happy.

 

“Say it like you don’t like when I make you watch movies,” he teased.

 

"Or like you don't like making me," Cas replied dryly.

 

Dean shrugged. “Sammy prefers documentaries, can’t make him watch the movies I like.”

 

"So you just make me watch them because you can't persuade your brother?" Cas asked slowly.

 

“Well, that and the way you get confused. Sometimes you’re more fun to watch than the movie.”

 

Cas looked out of the window again with a frown. He had thought Dean liked spending time with him. But he only did it because Sam wasn't available. He shouldn't feel disappointed by that. Sam was Dean's brother, and Cas was just... He didn't even know these days. “I see,” he murmured, looking at the newspaper article again without really reading it.

 

“So, where do you want to start? Local cops and go from there? Or check the scenes first?” Dean asked.

 

“Maybe we should talk to the perpetrators. Check if they are possessed by a demon?” Cas suggested hesitantly.

 

Dean nodded. “Maybe we should try to come in as lawyers? Didn’t the article say they’re waiting on representation?”

 

"I don't know anything about being a lawyer," Cas replied thoughtfully.

 

“Shit. Neither do I. That’s more Sammy’s field. Is there anything that we can use to come in as Feds?” Dean asked.

 

"Maybe we’re following up on a case of grave robberies all over the states and they fit the profile?" Cas suggested slowly. He hoped it was a good idea, because usually Dean would come up with something. Maybe he was testing his skills as a hunter.

 

Dean smiled and nodded. “Good idea. Okay, we’ll get the details and maybe try to interview the suspects.”

 

Cas returned the smile, happy that he had made a good suggestion. "If they don't tell us what they were looking for, we could inspect the graves and sites ourselves. Maybe we’ll find some clues."

 

“Well, I mean, if they aren’t demons, is that really necessary?”

 

“Even if they aren't possessed, something could have compelled them to do it.” Cas gave Dean a long, thoughtful look. “No one has died, yet. But who knows how far this will go when those people don't find what they are looking for.”

 

Dean sighed. “Alright, but if we don’t find anything at the sites, or from the suspects, will you give this up?”

 

Cas nodded slowly. “I'm sorry if it's nothing. It’s just a feeling.”

 

“Don’t be sorry. Like I said, it’s nice to get out and do something. Since Jack took care of all the big bads… We’re kind of low on work.” Dean chuckled.

 

Cas couldn't help but smile proudly whenever they talked about Jack. He nodded. "He did very good."

 

“Damn right he did. You can thank his father for that.” Dean turned to wink at Cas before returning his attention back to the road.

 

Cas looked down at his lap and smiled before he shook his head slightly. "Jack learned a lot from you and Sam, too."

 

Dean nodded. “Yeah, important shit like what counts as good music and what diners serve the best burgers.”

 

“You’re a better role model than you give yourself credit for,” Cas murmured, staring at the landscape outside. How the sun was starting to set and painted everything in even more saturated red and orange colors.

 

“You’re obligated to say that,” Dean returned as he leaned back and took a more relaxed position as they drove toward an almost unending horizon.

 

Cas tilted his head. “What makes you say that?”

 

“It’s in the contract you signed when you became part of the family,” Dean said with a smirk.

 

Cas frowned as he looked at Dean. "I'm very sure I didn't sign anyt–" He stopped himself as he took in the way Dean smirked. "Oh, you're joking."

 

Dean chuckled. “After ten years he finally gets it!”

 

"I am able to learn," Cas stated dryly before he added, "even if your favorite past time seems to be confusing me."

 

“What can I say? It’s right up there with chili fries and the purr of Baby’s engine.”

 

"You have strange hobbies."

 

Dean barked out a laugh. “Said the freckle counter.”

 

Cas stared at him in shock. How did Dean know he used to do that when he got bored? "W–what?" he stammered out.

 

“You remember the night we finally ganked Lucifer for good? And Gabriel concocted some booze that actually works on angels?”

 

"Hazily," Cas admitted, feeling embarrassed. He had been a little drunk.

 

Dean chuckled. “Yeah, you were wrecked. At one point you gasped and touched my face, telling me you found a new freckle.”

 

Cas scrubbed his hand over his face in embarrassment. That hadn't been something he had ever wanted Dean to know. He gave Dean a pained look. “I’m not doing it anymore, if you’re worried. It was something I did in the past when I still watched over you and got… bored. I know you think it’s creepy.”

 

“It is, but it’s also kinda adorable.”

 

"Is it though?" Cas asked, feeling annoyed. Mostly with himself. He used to command armies and now people thought he was adorable.

 

Dean quirked his brow as he turned his head slightly to look at Cas. “Yeah. You can be outright adorable sometimes. Own it.”

 

Cas squinted his eyes at Dean before he crossed his arms over his chest and looked out of the window again. “Well, you’re not adorable. In the slightest.”

 

“You and I both know that ain’t true.”

 

"You certainly aren't adorable when you wash your car in those short pants," Cas murmured without looking at him.

 

Dean let out a surprised chuckle. “Why are you being such a grouch?”

 

"I don't know, Dean," Cas answered truthfully. He knew he was feeling antsy and tense for some reason. But he had no idea why.

 

“See if there’s any diners in the area, maybe we need to stop and take a little break.”

 

Sometimes Dean used the word, "We," when he needed a break, so Cas didn't remind him that as an angel he didn't require breaks. He just dutifully pulled out his phone and looked up places where they sold Dean's favorite kind of food. It didn't take long to find something, mostly because there wasn't much to choose from. "There is a burger and milkshake restaurant on this road in about five miles."

 

Dean nodded. “Sold. I’ll get some food and you’ll get a break from having to be stuck in close quarters with me.”

 

“You think that is why I’m ‘grouchy’,” Cas stated more than he asked.

 

“Makes sense. I know you miss having the ability to get away from me whenever you wanted.”

 

"That's not true," Cas replied instantly and louder than he had intended to. "The fact that I miss my wings has nothing to do with you."

 

Dean gave him a pointed look. “Bullshit. I know you just miss your wings, but I’m not stupid, Cas. We both know there’s times you get annoyed with me and want to escape.”

 

Cas was shocked that Dean would think that. While of course he missed the freedom to come and go whenever he liked, Dean made it sound like he didn’t believe Cas wanted to be around him. “I don’t need my wings to get away from you when I’m annoyed. I can just go to my room and close the door. But that doesn’t mean I want to leave you.”

 

That was met with a beat of silence before he shrugged and focused back on the road. “Whatever you say.”

 

Cas frowned and looked at Dean. Sometimes it was hard to understand the man. “You don’t believe me.”

 

“Honestly? No, I don’t.”

 

The fact that Dean thought he was lying to him hurt even more than his previous comment. "Well, I'm not the one who only wants to spend time together when Sam's not available."

 

Dean scoffed and turned to look at him. “You’re not a pinch hitter for Sam, Cas. You never have been.”

 

“You said you only watch movies with me because your brother doesn’t,” Cas repeated quietly.

 

“No, I said he only watches documentaries. He’s not fun to watch movies with. You are.”

 

Right, Dean liked to make fun of Cas. How could he forget? Cas squinted his eyes at him. "I like spending time with you, Dean. Even if you don't believe me."

 

“Well, so do I,” he returned in an annoyed tone.

 

Cas furrowed his brow. "I don't understand why this feels like a fight. I don't want to fight with you."

 

Dean sighed. “I don’t want to fight either.”

 

Cas nodded and gave him a soft smile. “There is the restaurant. Do you want to eat my burger, too?”

 

“Is the Pope Catholic?” he quipped as he started to slow down to take the turn off.

 

Cas gave him a confused look. “I don’t know.”

 

Dean shook his head and laughed as he pulled into a parking spot. “Come on, Spock. Let’s go eat.”

 

…. :::: :::: ….

 

When they pulled up to the solitary sheriff's department of Kayenta, Dean shook his head in amazement. He’d been in some podunk little towns before, but this place was something else. The department was a small white building, looked like something out of the colonial days of the south. And it was apparently the Sheriff’s office and the town hall.

 

And talk about ghost town. Dean wouldn’t have been surprised if he saw a tumbleweed roll by to the song Rawhide. He straightened his tie in the mirror as he tongued his canine before he leaned over to pop open the glove compartment. “Still got your ID?”

 

Cas pulled his fake Eddie Moscone ID from his inner coat pocket and showed it to Dean. The right side was up. "Yes, I'm ready."

 

Dean smiled as he grabbed one of his. It felt like an Agent DeYoung day. “Alright, I think we should pair up for the interviews with the suspects if we can. We can work on your good cop-bad cop routine.”

 

"Want me to be the bad cop?" Cas asked enthusiastically.

 

“Well, you clearly do,” he said with a chuckle. “Just rein it in a little. Try to keep your cool, okay?”

 

“I’ll try,” Cas replied dryly.

 

Dean nodded and looked Cas over. He rolled his eyes and stepped in close to fix his tie. “I don’t know why you still can’t tie your damn tie,” he chastised, but there was no heat in it. His tone was more fond than anything else.

 

"Because I have you to fix it," Cas replied lowly and with a soft smile.

 

Dean rolled his eyes and patted his chest once it was fixed. “Alright, lazy. Let’s go be feds.”

 

Cas gave Dean a hesitant look. “Are you going to let me lead on this?”

 

“Would you like to?” Dean asked. Cas didn’t like taking the lead usually, clearly having failed the angel improv classes whenever he was put on the spot. But Dean had also seen him take charge and he knew his friend could do it.

 

Cas seemed hesitant for a moment before he nodded. "Alright." He seemed to steel himself before he turned and went into the building, Dean following him.

 

He strode over to the front desk with a confidence and authority he was used to seeing in Cas as he pulled out his ID. "Eddie Moscone, FBI and this is my partner…”

 

“Agent Deyoung,” Dean finished as he showed his ID and watched Cas work.

 

"We're here to speak to your sheriff."

 

The young woman pointed them to an office. "You can just go in. She isn't busy."

 

Cas nodded tersely before he went over to the sheriff's door and knocked before he entered. The sheriff was an older woman with a weatherbeaten face and longer hair, who looked bored as fuck with her job.

 

Well, no wonder in a town like this.

 

Cas introduced them smoothly before he told her that they were following up on a case of grave robberies over different states and that her prisoners fulfilled the MO, before he demanded that they speak with them.

 

“None of them are admitting to doing anything wrong, so good luck with that,” she clipped as she handed them the files on all of the suspects.

 

Dean grabbed them and thanked her as she showed them where the interrogation room was.

 

Cas leaned over to Dean, whispering, "If none of them think they did something wrong, maybe we can use that to our advantage and play into it. Let them think we’re on their side."

 

“That’s a good idea, catch more flies with honey than vinegar.”

 

Cas frowned at him, clearly not getting it, but he seemed to accept it either way. “They are all part of the same religion, maybe that is the key.”

 

While that was an interesting connection, Dean would peg a series of breaking and enterings, vandalism, and grave desecrations on pretty much any other religion. “You thinking we should try to approach them like we’re Mormon?”

 

Cas nodded his head slightly. "It might make them open up. I mean, if they are religious they would only steal something if they believe it's in line with their beliefs, right?"

 

“That’s if they stole anything. And you’d think that, but historically there’s been lots of religious people who don’t do what they preach.”

 

Cas made a thoughtful frowny face, something that would work perfectly as an emoticon on his phone. "You're right... So do you think we should try something different?"

 

Dean thought for a moment before he figured tried and true rarely failed. “I think we should stick to your good cop-bad cop idea. If these folk are truly religious, we should put the fear of god in ‘em. Tell them they’re now being tied to a string of similar vandalism activity that’s under the FBI’s watch, which means they could be on the hook for a Federal related inquiry.”

 

Cas nodded tersely before they went into the observation room and waited for a police officer to bring in their first suspect, Richard Cunningham.

 

When they brought the kid in – which is what he was, a friggin’ kid probably no older than nineteen – he looked terrified. That was definitely going to make their play easier. The kid looked like your clean cut, boy next door type, a little overweight and wearing glasses, visibly shaking as he asked the officer what was happening and he brushed the kid off with a shrug. Dean and Cas stared at him through the two way mirror, letting the kid stew in his own juices a little longer.

 

After about five minutes, Dean cracked his neck and looked at Cas. “I’m gonna start, get the good cop vibe set up. You’re gonna be the strong, silent type until I give you a nonverbal cue to channel your inner bad cop. That work for you?”

 

“Of course,” Cas replied tersely, already acing the silent, authoritative look.

 

Dean chuckled and grabbed the file on Cunningham, opening it and pretending to be reading it as he stepped inside the interrogation room with Cas on his tail. “Richard Cunningham?” he asked as he slowly turned to look up from the file.

 

"Yes?" The boy looked between him and Cas with an anxious expression. "What’s happening?"

 

Without missing a beat, Dean moved to take the chair across from him. “I’m Agent Deyoung and this is my partner, Agent Moscone. We’re from the FBI.”

 

The boy's eyes widened as he looked at them. "FBI?" he asked timidly. "I don't understand." Dean could see Cas in his peripheral, leaning against the wall with his arms crossed over his chest. He looked pissed and bored at the same time.

 

Dean had to refrain from smirking at him. Focusing his attention back on the kid, he took a deep breath and got to work. “The charges that have been brought against you have been linked to a series of vandalistic acts and grave desecrations that are currently under investigation by the FBI.”

 

"What?" the kid asked in surprise. His gaze wandered to Cas, who still just glared at the kid. "But... I didn't do anything wrong."

 

“Two eye witness accounts putting you at the scene states otherwise,” Dean commented as he leaned back in his chair. “Look, kid, you’re looking at some serious Federal charges if you don’t work with us here.”

 

The kid suddenly looked defiant and crossed his arms over his chest. "Those people are lying. And I’ve never left this state. I didn't do anything wrong."

 

Dean quirked his brow at the kid and sighed, giving him a pointed look. “You get what federal investigation means, right? This ain’t a two week stint in county. If you refuse to cooperate, it could mean real prison time.”

 

"But I didn't do anything wrong!" he yelled, sounding like he was afraid, but also frustrated. "It was a holy mission!" He suddenly paled and bit his lip, looking away from them.

 

“A holy mission?” Dean repeated, leaning in closer. “What does that mean?”

 

The boy shook his head. “Nothing. I’m not allowed to talk about it.”

 

Dean wasn’t getting anywhere with this kid. He turned back to Cas and tapped the side of his nose to silently communicate for him to start his act.

 

Cas slowly pushed himself off of the wall and walked behind the kid before he leaned close to him and braced his palms on the interrogation table. He didn’t look at the kid, just at Dean. “We should stop wasting our time. He is clearly guilty and we have enough evidence to send him to jail.” He tsked before he shook his head. “And here I thought that people with a strong belief system would respect the laws of the holy book.”

 

“You know nothing,” Richard spat.

 

Dean quirked his brow at the kid. “So, why don’t you enlighten us?”

 

Richard folded his arms against his chest again and stared at the table. “I want a lawyer.”

 

Cas walked to the corner of the room, looking impatient and frustrated as he waved Dean over to talk in private with him. He leaned in close when Dean walked up to him, whispering, “You said it's alright if I put the fear of God into him?”

 

“Yeah, but don’t go crazy.”

 

Cas gave him a look like he wasn’t sure what ‘crazy’ entailed, but apparently decided that he wasn’t going to question it before he strode back to the table, bracing his hands on it as he glared down at the kid. “Listen, child. You have a strong belief in the authority of God and angels. Stealing and lying is a sin, no matter the reason. So you’re going to be a good human and tell me what you were looking for and who told you to dig up that National Park.”

 

“I can’t,” he implored, his voice no longer angry but outright frightened, “he’ll punish me!”

 

Now they were getting somewhere. Dean narrowed his eyes at the kid. “Who?”

 

Richard shook his head and lowered it, hands braced on the table in prayer, mumbling softly as he began praying.

 

Suddenly the lights started to flicker and the air seemed to crackle with electricity. For a brief moment, the shadow of Cas’s wings were visible on the wall. They looked like they’d seen better days, but they were still impressive as hell. “Why are you praying to someone named Moroni?” Cas spat angrily.

 

The kid’s eyes widened in panic as he practically fell from his chair and stumbled back, crawling as far away from Cas as possible.

 

Dean gently grasped Cas by the forearm and sent him a silent prayer, telling him to pull back the reins. He focused his attention on the kid. “Are you praying to the angel Moroni?” Dean asked him.

 

Richard never took his eyes off of Cas and simply responded with a trembling nod of his head.

 

Cas gave Dean a very confused look. “There is no angel by that name.”

 

“Yes, there is!” he argued. Richard apparently had the balls enough to yell before he resumed cowering in the corner.

 

Dean brushed him off and looked at Cas. “My knowledge is minimal, but I’m pretty sure that’s the angel that appeared to the Mormon prophet, Joseph Smith.”

 

Cas frowned and looked thoughtful for a moment before suddenly he seemed to remember something. "Dantanian. It's probably him. He founded a religion against Heaven's order and was imprisoned for it. He used a false name to do so, but Heaven found out about it. He must have been set free during the fall, like Gadreel."

 

Shit. That made a hell of a lot of sense. “You think this is the same guy?”

 

Cas turned to the frightened kid. "Is that who you're afraid of? An angel?"

 

Richard nodded, wrapping his arms around his knees. “He said if I ever told, I’d never get into the kingdom of Heaven.”

 

Cas scoffed and rolled his eyes before he shook his head and looked at the kid. "Well, I can safely inform you that that isn't the case. Go and be a good child, and you will find your salvation in that."

 

“Who are you?” he breathed out, almost in awe. Dean tried to not roll his eyes.

 

"That's not important," Cas replied, sounding uncomfortable. "Where can I find this angel?"

 

“I don’t know, he appeared in my dream and said I was the new prophet for the next holy book.”

 

“He did what?” Cas practically yelled at the boy.

 

“Agent,” Dean warned, although it was probably a moot point to keep up the Fed schtick. “Take it easy on the kid. It’s not his fault.”

 

Cas took in a deep breath and looked at Richard. “I apologize. I just don’t like when angels abuse their power.”

 

He turned to Dean. “We have to find and stop him.”

 

Dean nodded. He looked to the kid and back to Cas. “Should we wipe his memory?”

 

Without hesitation Cas reached over and pressed his fingers against Richard’s forehead, instantly knocking him out. “He’ll sleep for a few minutes and won't remember anything. We should leave.”

 

Dean grabbed the folder and followed Cas out of the interrogation room. He handed it to the deputy who had helped them earlier.

 

“You’re already done?”

 

Dean took the lead, “We got what we needed. Cunningham isn’t more than a mixed up kid who should probably be let off with a slap on the wrist.”

 

Thankfully, no more questions were asked, the huge upside of working a case in a small town with overwhelmed cops. As they made it outside, Dean chuckled to himself. “It’s kind of hilarious how literal you took my put the fear of god in him line.”

 

Cas gave him a surprised look. “I thought that was what you meant.”

 

Dean shook his head. “Not even close, but it sure as Hell worked.”

 

Cas nodded tersely. “I feel bad for those people. Dantanian is a real… dick.”

 

Dean refrained from saying that all angels were. “So what’s his deal? Are you saying that the entire Mormon religion was created as part of what? Some sort of angel prank?”

 

Cas nodded with a dark expression. “Yes,” he growled. “Dantanian was imprisoned for purposeful idolatry, but I never knew which religion he created. There was a time in human history where a lot of religions were born. It’s hard to keep track and I was never very interested in the matter.” Cas looked away and into the sunset. “But if he is using those people for his own purposes, I doubt it is with their best interest in mind. We need to stop him.”

 

“Alright. So what’s the plan?”

 

“We should find a safe spot where we can summon him,” Cas suggested thoughtfully before he added, “and then we’ll hand him over to Heaven, so he will be imprisoned again.”

 

Dean nodded and opened Baby’s door. “I’m sure there’s an abandoned barn or shack somewhere.”

 

Cas slipped in the car beside him with a frown. “We need myrrh for the summoning. We might need to find a supermarket first.”

 

“Alright,” he said as he started her engine, “think a podunk town like this will have myrrh in their supermarket? Or should we drive to a bigger town?”

 

Cas looked thoughtful for a moment. “We could try a pharmacy first. Myrrh is sold for its healing properties too.”

 

“Use your phone to find a place and we’ll get this road on the show.”

 

A few minutes later, Cas navigated them to a pharmacy and went up to the counter to chat with the pharmacist, clearly buying something. Not for the first time, Dean wondered where Cas got his money from. He always seemed to have some in his coat pocket.

 

His staring had gotten so intense that when Cas turned to face him, catching Dean in the act, he tried to act casual and turned to the shelf he was next to, grabbing blindly and trying to act like he was just temporarily distracted from buying… Astroglide. Dean sighed and wished the floor would swallow him whole in that moment.

 

Cas walked up to him and tilted his head. "I didn't realize you wanted to buy something. I can pay for this too, if you want."

 

Dean was pretty sure he was the color of a stop sign. He shook his head and put the lube back. “No, I’m good. Ready to go?” he asked, desperately trying to change the subject.

 

Cas looked like he wanted to ask another question before he thankfully decided otherwise and just nodded. "I'm ready. I got everything we..." Cas's eyes wandered over the shelves of condoms and lube before he finished his sentence, "need."

 

“Great,” Dean replied, his voice cracking slightly. He was a forty-year-old man for fuck’s sake. This was starting to get embarrassing.

 

Cas frowned at him. "Are you okay, Dean?"

 

“Peachy,” he clipped as he started walking towards the exit.

 

When Cas caught up with him outside, he grabbed Dean’s wrist to stop him. "You only say, 'peachy,' when you're not fine."

 

Dean sighed and shook his head. “I’m fine, Cas. It’s nothing to worry about.”

 

Cas didn't look very convinced, but thankfully let it drop. "If we don't find a barn or warehouse, we could just drive to an area with no people in the vicinity."

 

“Okay,” Dean said with a nod as he got into Baby. “Anything else we need? Or start the hunt?”

 

Cas settled down next to him. "I suspect you still have holy oil in the trunk?" Cas asked with a frown. "We could summon and trap him, like we did with Raphael."

 

Cas looked slightly sad after that, before his gaze wandered out of the window again.

 

“What’s up?” Dean asked as he turned onto the main road and started heading out of the little town.

 

"Nothing." Cas sighed deeply before he looked down at his lap. "Just a bad memory. That's all."

 

Dean turned to look at him. “Wanna talk about it?”

 

“No,” Cas replied tersely, arching his back against his seat like something was itching him. It looked weirdly human, especially since Cas usually only moved parts of his body that he needed. His arms always hung loosely beside his weird, hunched over posture, like he had forgotten they existed as long as he didn't use them. Like he was a puppet that wasn’t used to having his strings cut.

 

He didn't like to think about it like that. Sam still saw Cas's body as a vessel, but to Dean that behavior was just part of Cas’s charm. His weird, otherworldly, dorky little angel charm.

 

Dean shrugged and nodded. “Alright. Well, holler if you see somewhere good to stop.”

 

Several minutes after they had already broached the outskirts of the town on a road to nowhere, Cas started fidgeting again. "Dean, could you stop here for a moment?"

 

“You okay?” he asked as he started slowing Baby down before he pulled off on the side of the road.

 

Cas shook his head and darted out of the car as soon as he had stopped it. Dean quickly followed him outside, watching as Cas just walked over to a cliff and held his face against the wind with closed eyes.

 

Dean carefully approached. “Cas?”

 

Cas squinted his eyes against the sun before he looked at Dean. "I'm sorry. I didn't want to worry you."

 

“What’s going on?” He stepped closer, warily eyeballing the drop from the cliff. He hated heights.

 

"I'm not sure. I feel very uncomfortable since we interrogated that boy. I was tense before that, but now I feel like my whole back is itching." Cas turned to look at him and shook his head. "It's probably nothing."

 

Dean furrowed his brow. “Anything I can do?”

 

Cas shook his head. "I'm not even sure why I feel like this." He looked around again before he nodded. "This is a good place for the summoning. There is just one direction he could go to flee from us."

 

He couldn’t argue that. “Alright. Then let’s summon this dick angel.”

 

…. :::: :::: ….

 

Cas had spoken the last word in Enochian for the summoning spell as the sun was about to set over the horizon. Usually summoning spells only worked on angels with wings, but there were other methods, a more painful way to summon angels. The spell he used was like a reverse spell of the angel banishing sigil and he knew it would work instantly.

 

He just hoped the angel wouldn't appear directly over the canyon. Otherwise he suspected they would be witness to a real life cartoon moment, where the angel would be suspended mid air for a moment before falling to the rocky canyon below.

 

Not that Dantanian wouldn't deserve it. But they couldn't afford to lose any more angels, no matter how much of an assbutt they were.

 

Dean looked around when nothing immediately happened. “Maybe you got a word wrong?”

 

Cas glared at him. "It's my own language, Dean. I don't get w–"

 

The air felt static around him and he could feel it shifting, something tugging painfully at his wings before Dantanian appeared, unceremoniously landing on top of Dean with a loud grunt, causing the hunter to cry out, “The fuck?”

 

Dantanian was shoved off of Dean, who was almost instantly on his feet, angel blade poised and ready.

 

The angel shook his head in confusion until he laid eyes on Cas. He furrowed his brow and, completely ignoring Dean, got up and approached him. “Castiel? Is that you?”

 

Cas pressed his lips to a thin line as he stared at the other angel, his angel blade a cold comfort between his fingers. He had hoped he would never see him again. "Yes," he answered tersely.

 

Dantanian’s eyes lit up in mocking glee as he clapped his hands. “Look at you. Not as attractive as your last vessel, but I guess beggars can’t be choosers, can they?”

 

Cas didn't try to show any reaction to the comment, though it was rather difficult. "Are you using humans to rob graves and dig up national parks?" he asked in a low growl.

 

That was met with a gleeful bark of laughter. “Awww, still tryin’ to play the good little soldier? Why don’t you go back to saving kittens from trees, or whatever it is you do-gooders do?”

 

"So you're not denying that you used those humans to do illegal things for you?" he asked with a raised eyebrow, swirling his blade around in his hand to get ready.

 

“Why does it matter to you? It’s not like what you do makes a damn bit of difference. Go back to your hole.”

 

At that Dean charged forward and yanked the angel forward by the collar of his shirt. “Answer his damn question.”

 

Dantanian barked out a laugh and looked back at Cas, eyebrow quirked. “Call off your hairless ape, or I’ll do something I presume neither of you will like.”

 

"The 'hairless ape' has killed far more threatening opponents than you.” Cas smirked at him before he added, “I’m not worried about Dean. You should be worried though.”

 

In a flash, Dantanian’s smirk disappeared and he yanked away, overpowering Dean in half a second, snapping his forearm back, the crack of a broken radius echoing around them over the sound of Dean’s cry of pain. The angel then used his grace to fling Dean back, causing him to land against the car’s hood with a loud thunk. “Yeah,” he said as he dusted off his corduroy jacket, “I’m not worried.”

 

"Dean!" Cas cried out in worry before he realized that Dean would be okay. He glared at the other angel before he stepped closer and jumped him, their blades colliding against each other.

 

Dantanian was a skilled fighter, but years of prison had made him slower. He landed a punch just above Cas's eyebrow, that instantly started to bleed, before Cas kicked him, causing him to tumble to the stony ground. He effortlessly switched the blade into his other hand before he jumped the angel, wrestling with him on the ground until he got the upper hand and was about to push the blade into Dantanian’s shoulder to pin him down.

 

And then it happened. He could feel Dantanian using his wings, pushing him off as he started to fly backwards. Only a few feet, but Cas could see that it was clearly working, despite the fact the other angel's wings still looked mostly shredded from the fall.

 

He stood up slowly, watching in disbelief at the expression of mockery Dantanian was giving him before said mockery turned into sheer terror as the angel’s temporary flight ability faltered and he fell.

 

Cas ran to the edge and watched as the other angel lost complete control over his wings again, helplessly smashing into the rocks among the depths of the canyon.

 

Cas scrunched up his nose before he quickly turned around and ran back to Dean, kneeling beside him. "Dean," he breathed out before he wrapped his fingers gently around his broken arm and healed him. "Better?"

 

Dean nodded and then shook his head in confusion. “Did… did he just pull a Wile E. Coyote?”

 

Cas couldn't help but laugh at that. "Yes. I couldn't believe it, but for a moment he was flying. I have no idea how he did that. It shouldn't have been possible, but... he did. At least for a few seconds."

 

“That’s… weird.” Dean moved to stand, accepting Cas’s proferred arm and turning to look at his car’s hood. He frowned and looked back. “I hope that fall killed his stupid ass. Look what he did to my Baby.” There was a large, Dean sized dent in the metal of the hood.

 

"His vessel is destroyed, but I doubt he is dead. He is probably looking for a new human to possess." Cas looked away with a frown. He didn't want any other human to lose their life because of that assbutt.

 

His back itched again and he wondered if it would be possible for him to fly again too, even if it was just for a second. Feeling the wind caressing his feathers when he was standing at the cliff earlier had felt amazing, calming the itching.

 

"I wonder..." He didn't finish his sentence. This wasn't the time to be selfish. They needed to find Dantanian.

 

“What?” Dean asked as he propped the hood and started trying to push out the dent.

 

He shook his head. "We need to find Dantanian, preferably before he gets a new vessel." He frowned at Dean before he had an idea. It would be dangerous, but if he followed Dantanian in the limitations of his own vessel, the angel would escape. He knew an incantation to imprison an angel in his true form, an incantation that would at least hold him until Cas delivered him back to Heaven. "Would you watch over my body for a while, Dean?"

 

“What are you talking about?”

 

"Dantanian is down there in the canyon in his true form. He can travel fast without a body. My only chance of catching him is to follow him in my true form as well."

 

Dean’s eyebrows shot up. “No. No way. Just summon him again.”

 

Cas shook his head. “It won’t work if he isn’t earth bound to a vessel. Dean, I have to. I promise I will be careful.”

 

“Promise all you want, I still don’t want you doing it,” he said as he moved to the trunk of his car, looking for something.

 

"Do you have a better idea that doesn't involve ruining another person's life?" Cas asked in frustration. He didn't want to make Dean angry, but he couldn't understand why he would risk an innocent person's life.

 

Dean returned to the hood with a hammer in hand. He sighed and shook his head. “Call in the other angels and make them deal with his ass. You’re on their good side again since we took care of Lucifer, right?”

 

Cas shook his head. "The other angels aren't allowed to leave Heaven anymore. I have to do this on my own." Even with Gabriel back in Heaven they couldn't risk even one more angel dying down here. "And even if one could leave, by the time they drove a car from the portal to this place, Datanian would probably have already created a new religion," Cas added dryly.

 

“There’s gotta be another option,” he said as he started hammering out the dent.

 

"None that would help us now before someone else gets hurt." He gave Dean a pleading look. "I have to try, Dean."

 

Dean sighed in aggravation. “Why does it have to be you? It’s always you, putting your goddamn neck on the line and I’m fucking sick of it.”

 

Cas stepped in front of him and touched his arm. "Because that is what we do. Saving people."

 

There was a tense beat of silence before Dean pulled him in for a quick hug. “If you die, I’ll bring you back just to kill you myself. You get me?”

 

Cas lost himself for a moment in the green of Dean's eyes, seeing the barely suppressed worry that filled Cas’s chest with a comfortable warmth. “I’m obviously too annoying to stay dead,” he replied dryly, “so don’t worry.”

 

Dean chuckled and playfully pushed him away. “Fine. Go get him. I’ll try to refrain from dressing your body in drag while you’re gone.”

 

Cas had no idea what that meant, but it probably wasn't something nice. He sat down, leaning against the car as he squinted his eyes at Dean and nodded tersely.

 

He concentrated on his true form as he slowly floated out of his body, spreading out into the vast landscape of Utah. It felt incredibly freeing, but also a little strange. He hadn’t been outside of his vessel in years. His wings hurt now in his true form, the lack of having his full grace was still a wound that hadn’t scarred over. But his wings...

 

Inside of his body he was barely aware of them, but now that he could see them again, he noticed that they looked much better than before. Like they were healing. It shouldn't be possible, but maybe his trips to Heaven with Gabriel had started to invigorate his grace, strengthened his connection to the host.

 

Whatever the reason, it had to wait. He had more pressing matters to think about.

 

He looked down at Dean from above, watching how the hunter shielded his eyes. It was weird how tiny he looked from his perspective, but still able to take up so much space in his thoughts, like Dean was a giant in reality.

 

Cas floated down the canyon, searching for the other angel as he reached the dead and shattered body of his former vessel. He paused, hoping the soul had found its peace in Heaven.

 

Dantanian couldn't be far. He could feel his presence everywhere around him. He carefully floated through the ravines before he noticed him, hiding in a cave system under him.

 

He harnessed all of his energy as he spoke the incantation, a binding sigil that would trap the angel inside of a ball of pure light and force. He had used this spell before, but with his full grace intact. It was difficult to do even with all of his power, but with his weakened grace, it was exhausting.

 

Dantanian was struggling against the bindings and it was hard to hold him, but Cas was confident that he could do it. He only had to carry him to Heaven.

 

Distances that would usually take hours to cross he now overcame in mere minutes as he finally reached the portal to Heaven.

 

Indra nodded to him from the swing set as he entered the portal with Dantanian in his grasp.

 

The first angel he ran into happened to be Naomi. Her vessel’s eyebrows shot up. “Castiel? Where’s your vessel?”

 

I left it on Earth with Dean. Cas had no idea why that had been her first question, since he had a struggling angel in his grasp. I captured Dantanian and I’m here to give him over to your loving care, he added dryly.

 

Naomi nodded and clipped, “Follow me to the cells. We’ve rebuilt them.”

 

There is something I’ve noticed, Naomi. Dantanian was able to fly for a few moments. Cas spread his own wings slightly for Naomi to see. And I think my wings are healing too. I hadn't noticed while in my vessel, but look. They appear to be regenerating. Is this because Gabriel is back in Heaven?

 

Naomi nodded. “Yes, he’s been funneling his grace into the host, in an effort to repair our wings. But he can only do so much and has to take frequent breaks.”

 

Cas was surprised to hear that. Not only because it was such a selfless act – something he didn't associate with his brother – but also because Gabriel didn't let a minute go by without misusing angel radio by complaining to everyone how boring Heaven was. So Gabriel is finally accepting his role in Heaven?

 

“He is. And I can’t begin to comprehend my gratitude for your part in bringing him home to us.”

 

Despite my past actions, I’ve always just wanted what is best for Earth and for Heaven, Naomi. He turned away as he added , I need to go. I don't want Dean to worry.

 

Naomi nodded. “Good luck. And thank you for bringing Dantanian to us. Even though he’ll be imprisoned, his presence will help the host.”

 

I thought as much, Cas replied before he returned to the portal without looking back. Although Naomi and him were one the same side, he still didn't feel at ease in her company.

 

He returned to Earth and travelled back to Dean, finally reaching the rocky surfaces of Utah. Cas floated back through the ravines, surrounding the rocks and playfully dipping his essence into a small rainwater lake before he splashed the water everywhere and dashed up the cliff again, searching for Dean’s bright soul, which was like a beacon and guiding light through the landscape. He hovered over Dean for a moment, playfully surrounding him, not wanting to get back to his vessel just yet. It felt nice to not be confined to three dimensions for a change. Dean’s soul was worried though, so after a few more rounds of whirling up sand around him, he returned to his body, that was now sprawled out in the backseat of the Impala.

 

When he opened his eyes, he was met with worried green ones.

 

“Cas!” Dean cried out as he pulled him into another hug. He drew back and looked him over. “You okay?”

 

Cas answered with a soft smile, enjoying how often Dean had hugged him today. "Yes, I'm okay. I brought Dantanian back to Heaven. He’s in a cell now."

 

Dean smiled and socked him in the shoulder. “Good. Don’t do that again.”

 

Cas tilted his head as Dean grabbed his wrist and pulled him out of the backseat. "I also have news about my wings. It seems that Gabriel is strengthening the host with his grace, so every time I’ve visited Heaven, it replenished my grace and made my own wings start to heal and now I wonder... if I could try to fly again."

 

“Really?” Dean appeared genuinely excited for him. “Wanna try it? Need me to stand back?”

 

He nodded before he walked far enough away from Dean so he wouldn't accidentally hurt the man.

 

It felt weird to move his wings after such a long time of not using and barely feeling them. There was a strange sensation, like ants walking over his skin and he suddenly realized that the tense and itchy feeling from before must have been his wings. It was their healing process.

 

The last time his wings had grown new feathers had been after his mission to save Dean. But back then he had only been uncomfortable for a few mere seconds. In Heaven, his angelic side healed a lot faster than on Earth, being cut off from the host.

 

But since Gabriel was in charge now, he wasn't cut off any longer.

 

He spread his wings, wincing slightly when a sharp pain surged through his body. It was manageable though. He started to flap them, which caused sand and tiny stones to whirl around them before he tried to jump and promptly fell, inelegantly, flat on his face with a pained groan.

 

“Cas!” Dean cried and was instantly at his side. “That was a helluva face plant.”

 

Cas drew his fingers to his face, noticing that he was bleeding from his nose. "My muscles are too weak and untrained. I haven't used them in years."

 

Dean pulled out a napkin from his pocket and held it to Cas’s nose. “Tilt your head back,” he instructed gently before a wide grin spread across his face. “Do you trust me?”

 

"Of course I do," Cas answered quietly, tilting his head back. He could have just healed his face, but he knew how much better Dean felt when he could take care of him. He could almost feel the tension and worry draining from his friend's body just by being allowed this little gesture of holding a napkin to Cas's nose.

 

“It’s gonna seem crazy, but I have an idea…” he said as he helped Cas to his feet again.

 

“I’m listening,” Cas replied as he braced himself against Dean’s arm. Not because he needed to, but because it felt nice to be close to him.

 

Dean pulled out his keys and said, “Get on Baby’s roof.”

 

“What?” Cas tilted his head. He wasn’t sure if he had heard that right.

 

“Get on Baby’s roof and position yourself like you’re about to take flight,” he instructed further as he made his way to the driver’s side door.

 

Cas hesitated for a moment before he complied and walked up to the Impala, pulling himself up onto the roof before he carefully spread his wings and fell into a balanced stance. "What's your plan?"

 

Dean grinned and said, “Gonna give you a jump start.” He got into the car and poked his head out of the window. “I’m gonna start slow, yell when you’re ready for me to punch it.”

 

And then Cas finally got it. Dean wanted to use the acceleration of the car to help Cas lift off into the air. Like a kite. Which might actually work to help rebuild his muscles. Starting from the ground was the hardest part, but once in the air he could glide when he felt too weak. “Okay. I’m ready,” he replied as he spread his wings far out, enjoying the way the wind felt against his new feathers.

 

Dean started going slowly, likely no more than twenty five miles an hour. He was keeping his head out the window, likely in order to hear Cas when he was ready for Dean to accelerate even faster.

 

He embraced the wind and air around him, closing his eyes with a soft smile as he just allowed himself to feel the ups and downs of that soft, invisible force around him.

 

His heart beat with joy as he carefully angled his wings to test their agility before he changed his center and called out to Dean with a happy smile, "Go faster, Dean!"

 

“Here we go,” he called back as he ducked his head inside the vehicle and he could hear the way the engine roared with the shift in gears as Dean’s speed began to increase. He soaked in the vast open road, the unending brown and red horizon soaring past him in a blur of warm colors.

 

 

arts

 

Cas felt free. And the thought overwhelmed him so suddenly that he almost choked up with happiness as he let the wind catch his wings, pulling him up into the sky.

 

He had never thought he would feel like this again. Weightless, unending, as his wings carried him higher and higher into the air. The Impala just a small black focus point that he followed with his eyes and a smile.

 

Cas glided in circles on his way down again, finding Dean had stopped on the side of the road, looking up at him. He wished Dean could see his wings. It would probably look weird from his perspective.

 

Cas closed his eyes again, concentrating on the air surrounding him, like waves he was riding, using a few flaps of his wings to keep his height before he felt too weak and slowly started to glide down to the ground, landing a little roughly next to Dean. At least he landed feet first this time.

 

And before he could stop himself, he smiled brightly at Dean and he drew him into a tight hug, laughing from how weightless and happy he felt.

 

He flew. With a little more training and practice, he could finally fly again.

 

"I did it, Dean!" He laughed again as he pulled back, noticing a tear running from his eyes. He had no idea why he was crying, for he felt nothing but pure happiness in that moment.

 

Dean smiled and gently wiped the tear away with the pad of his thumb. “Knew you could. You just needed a push.”

 

Cas just stared at Dean for a long moment before he asked, "What gave you the idea?"

 

At that Dean looked proud as he said, “Teen Wolf.”

 

That was probably the most confusing answer Cas had ever gotten, in his entire existence. He tilted his head and frowned. “What?”

 

Dean barked out a laugh and shook his head. “Get your ass in the car. We’re going home so I can show you.”

 

"That sounds like another movie you're going to make me watch," Cas replied dryly. "If that is the case, I demand more popcorn than the last time."

 

“Yeah, yeah,” Dean said with an amused eyeroll, “I’ll make three bags.”

 

“Thank you,” Cas replied with a soft smile. A smile that stayed on his face the whole drive back to the bunker. A smile that was also mirrored on Dean’s lips.

 

…. :::: :::: ….

 

“Cas! Do you want extra butter?” Dean yelled out as he poured the third bag of microwave popcorn into the ultra large mixing bowl he’d gotten off of a witch. Well, stolen from a witch after he and Sammy ganked her.  

 

“Yes and extra sugar,” the answer came from directly behind him. The freakin’ angel really needed a bell.

 

“I am not putting sugar on popcorn. You get to bring the sugar shaker and your own little bowl like last time,” he argued as he grabbed the butter and cut off four tablespoons to melt in the microwave.

 

Cas rolled his eyes and grabbed a little bowl with a bee pattern out of the cupboard – a Christmas present he had gotten from Jack – and the sugar shaker. “So is this movie a documentary about a wolf growing up?”

 

Dean barked out a laugh. It was damn tempting to fuck with him and tell him it was, but his stupid conscience had something to say about it. He shook his head. “No. It’s starring the guy who played Marty in Back to the Future.”

 

"How does that correlate with a teenage wolf?" Cas asked, scrunching up his nose.

 

“He’s playing the teenage wolf. It’s fiction, make believe. I mean, wait until you see what they look like as werewolves. Friggin’ hilarious,” Dean said as he grabbed a six pack and guided Cas to the door.

 

“It’s a movie about a teenage werewolf?” Cas asked with a frown. “Is it one of those horror movies? Teenagers and werewolves can be very scary. A combination sounds horrible.”

 

Dean couldn’t hold back the laugh as he shook his head. “While I’ve never heard a truer combination of words in my life, no. The movie’s a comedy. Come on. To the Dean Cave!”

 

“Batman?” Cas asked hesitantly.

 

“Yeah! Good job! You’re getting better, man.”

 

Cas looked proud of himself as he followed Dean, taking the seat next to him in front of the new (now ghost free) TV.

 

Dean propped the popcorn on the table between the recliners and grabbed the remote as he kicked up his chair. “You ready for this?”

 

Cas procured an extra pillow from fuck knows where and got comfortable on the recliner, nodding at him with a smile. “Yes.” He looked up at Dean. “Did you get something to drink?”

 

Pulling up the six pack, he grabbed a beer and held it out to Cas. “Want one?”

 

"Yes! Thank you." Cas gave him a quick, bright smile and Dean couldn't help but return it. He wished Cas smiled more.

 

Dean opened his own beer before he found the movie on Prime and hit play. After taking a swig of his beer, he turned to Cas and extended his bottle in cheers. “To movie night in the Dean Cave. The closest to normal we’ll ever come,” he said with a laugh.

 

Cas clinked his bottle against Dean's and smiled. "Thank you for making me."

 

“Dick,” he said in a laugh as he settled into his chair, getting comfortable as the credits started rolling.

 

He suddenly felt Cas's fingers on his arm as his friend looked over at him. "Dean, I just wanted you to know that I really like this. Spending time with you."

 

Dean scoffed as he took a sip of his beer. “Sure, making you watch movies against your will.”

 

"I didn't mean it like that." Cas turned in his chair to face Dean more fully. "On my own I wouldn't watch movies, but I'm glad you're pushing me into doing it. I didn't feel so well for quite some time, for a lot of reasons. And you being here with me, it’s helped me more than you think. I really appreciate that you're doing this with me, that you're spending time with me."

 

He was at a loss for words for a moment. Shit, what could you really say to that? Considering how often Dean was probably the reason behind why Cas didn’t, “feel so well,” in the first place... Dean ignored the rising guilt and gave him a soft smile. “Well, I do like spending time with you. And not just ‘cause Sammy’s busy.”

 

Cas gave him another wide smile. "I'm glad you say that. I wasn't sure."

 

Dean nodded. “Of course. You piss me off half the time sure, but… you’re the best friend I’ve ever had, Cas. And that’s what you do with people you love. Get pissed at them half the time.”

 

Cas chuckled lowly before he replied dryly, "Yes, I know that feeling. I get angry with you, mostly when I'm worried I could lose you."

 

“Same here. I’m kind of over losing you. Hell, losing everyone.” Dean sighed and took another swig of his beer. More of a gulp really.

 

“Yeah, we should stop doing th... oh, the movie’s starting, shh,” Cas interrupted and shushed himself before he stared at the TV.

 

Dean chuckled and turned to the TV. Trying to focus on what was going on, but finding himself lost in a whirlwind of thoughts. Mostly over the mini freak out he was having at telling Cas he loved him. It just tumbled out and it wasn’t like Dean said the words, “I love you,” but still… He’d never really said it so easily, casually before, to anyone but immediate family. Which he knew Cas was…

 

He’d thought of Cas as family for years. That’s what was fucking him up, because he couldn’t figure out what it was about saying it that was freaking him out so much. It wasn’t a big deal. Dean loved Cas. That was a perfectly normal thing to say and feel. Dean loved the angel that had pretty much stayed by his side through all of the bullshit.

 

Dean loved the angel who rescued him from Hell. Who defied Heaven for him and his brother time and time again. Who fucked up now and then, yes, but it was always with good intent. Always. No matter how damn stupid it was. Dean loved the guy who could always make him laugh, whether intentionally or not.

 

The angel who made Dean see so much more than the Kansas black and white his Dad had beat into his skull when it came to the supernatural. The angel who gave Dean faith. Over and over again.

 

Yeah… totally normal for Dean to say he loved Cas...

 

Cas tilted his head, already looking thoroughly confused with the movie. “Werewolves can’t compel someone to do something.”

 

Dean barked out a laugh, grateful for the distraction from his unending thought spiral. “Yeah, just keep watching. Apparently being a werewolf gives you superior athletic skills too. Making you real good at basketball.”

 

Cas tilted his head again. "What is the second item he is purchasing from the old man?"

 

“Actually, I can’t remember. My guess is Twinkies or Ding Dongs.”

 

“Those are sweets?” Cas asked hesitantly.

 

Dean let out an exaggerated gasp. “Have I seriously not made you eat a friggin’ Twinkie? With your damn sweet tooth?”

 

“I think I would remember that.”

 

“Next grocery run, remind me to grab all of those snack cakes. I can’t believe how badly I’ve failed you,” he breathed out in feigned dismay.

 

Cas touched his lower arm in comfort. “It’s alright. You had more important things to worry about and I don't even eat anymore.” He put a piece of popcorn in his mouth. “Besides popcorn.”

 

Dean shrugged. “Still…”

 

Cas raised his eyebrows when Stiles climbed up on the van and the music started. "Oh... this is where you got the idea."

 

He couldn’t help but smile and nodded excitedly. “Yeah, exactly. Always wanted to try that as a kid.”

 

“It looks very dangerous… Oh, see? He fell. He could have fallen off that roof and hurt himself.” Cas made a face like an overprotective Dad.

 

Dean chuckled and shook his head. “You gonna lecture me on peer pressure next?”

 

"Why would I do that?" Cas frowned before he looked back at the TV. "The song was funny. It almost appeared like he was surfing."

 

“The Beach Boys. Talk about classic,” he said fondly.

 

Cas smiled softly. "The air felt almost like waves under my wings. Do you think we can do it again? Until my muscles are trained enough, I mean."

 

Dean returned the smile. “We can definitely do that.”

 

"Thank you." Cas reached over and covered Dean's hand with his. "I still can't believe they’re healing. And with your help, they will be as good as new."

 

That weird warmth was new. Dean nodded mutely and withdrew his hand to grab another beer. The love thing flashed in his mind again and Dean took another long swig as they returned their attention to the movie.

 

Dean really needed to get ahold of himself. Internally freaking out over something that wasn’t a big deal was damn confusing. Dean loved a lot of people in his life. His brother and parents of course. Bobby, Charlie, Jody, Claire, Jack… Lisa.

 

He furrowed his brow. Dean hadn’t thought about Lisa in years and it was even weirder that she was falling into the same category as Cas. She shouldn’t. That was a different kind of love, completely different. Right?

 

Cas looked over at him with a playful half smile. "I could get you pie much faster with my wings working again."

 

Dean chuckled and fixed him with an amused grin. “All the things you could do with your wings again and that’s the first thing that came to mind?”

 

Cas nodded and replied dryly, “It’s all about priorities. Now shut up, I’m trying to watch the movie.”

 

Dean couldn’t help but chuckle. He liked it when Cas got sassy with him. Most of the time.

 

When Scott turned into a werewolf for the first time, Cas’s facial expression was worth the price of admission. It was all there, the eye squint, the head tilt, the scrunched up nose. If they lived in a cartoon world, again, question marks would have appeared over Cas’s head.

 

Cas turned to him with an incredibly confused expression, like the world didn’t make sense anymore. “I thought you said he would turn into a werewolf, not a Wookiee. Is this Chewbacca when he was young?”

 

Dean almost choked on his beer as he barked out a laugh and leaned in for a high five. “That was awesome on multiple levels.”

 

Cas still looked confused, but also proud, so he high-fived Dean with an expectant look. "Thank you, but that doesn't answer my question. Is this another Star Wars movie?"

 

“No,” he breathed out through a chuckle. “I told you, it’s pretty damn ridiculous.”

 

Cas raised an eyebrow. “So this is what they actually believe a werewolf looks like?”

 

Dean scoffed as he took another swig of his beer. “Yeah. It’s, uh… sometimes I think that it’d be nice to be so ignorant.”

 

“On the other hand, you’re prepared when you meet a real monster. You know how to defend yourself.”

 

“They get some things right, though. So it makes you wonder if the writers actually know…” Dean shrugged as he leaned forward to grab the remote again. “Sammy got to think this was what werewolves were for a few years. I’m happy for that.”

 

Cas frowned and looked at the screen thoughtfully, the flickering light making his eye color stand out even more. "I don't like feeling unprepared," he murmured. "It makes me tense."

 

Dean nodded. “I get that. But… not knowing you need to be prepared would be kinda nice for once.”

 

Cas gave him a sad half smile and nodded. "If I could do anything to give you and Sam that kind of security, I would do it in a heartbeat."

 

And he believed him. If anyone could and would give them that sort of chance, it would be Cas. Dean didn’t trust a lot of people, or very easily, but his trust and faith in Cas came naturally. It made sense. Cas in his life made sense. It was why he felt so damn lost the last time Cas died. Why his coming back was life changing. In the most positive way. Dean leaned over to tap Cas’s forearm. “Thanks, Cas.”

 

Cas gave him a sweet, almost shy smile before he looked back at the screen with a concentrated frown.

 

Damn, he’s cu And that thought was stopped dead in its tracks. Dean shook his head and tried to focus on the movie again, finishing off his second beer and reaching for a third.

 

"Oh, no." Cas suddenly sat up straight when Scott had changed in the middle of the basketball game in front of the whole school. His eyes were glued to the screen and he looked tense. "Are they going to hurt him?" he breathed out quietly.

 

Dean chuckled. “Keep watching.”

 

And Cas did. His eyes were glued to the screen, but after a few minutes he just shook his head. "I don't think he would be so popular in real life."

 

“Yeah, probably not. You’ve seen how people react when they find out the supernatural is real. He would have either been run out of town or killed.”

 

"Or they are met with high expectations only to get disappointed in the end," Cas added with a sad look. "Like those people who believed Dantanian was good just because he was an angel."

 

Dean sighed. Those poor saps. But he didn’t miss the underlying tone of Cas’s comment. The guilt laced in it. So Dean shrugged and said with a smile, “I always thought you all were dicks. You made me see that... well, not all angels are.”

 

Cas raised a surprise eyebrow before he gave him a playful, quick smile. "Didn't you call me a dick just a few minutes ago?"

 

“Well, you are. What? You thought I was talking about you?” Dean teased.

 

"You weren't?" Cas gave him a puppy eyed look to rival Sammy’s before he squinted his eyes suspiciously. "Who are you talking about?" It almost sounded jealous.

 

Dean barked out a laugh. “Dude, come on. You are literally the only angel I like. Hell, I barely tolerate Gabriel and he basically saved our asses.” Granted, to be fair, he had also killed Dean in hundreds of different ways and waited until he needed their help for his own Kill Bill revenge plan to help them the last go round.

 

It took way too long before Cas seemed to get it. "You meant me." Cas gave him another shy smile before he hid it by looking away.

 

“I did,” he affirmed.

 

It was nice to see Cas happy. It was a rare look on him. He scrunched up his nose though as he continued watching the movie. "I think Scott should be with Lisa. She seems to like him the way he is, with all his 'flaws'. The other girl is... weird."

 

Dean chuckled. “Remind me to show you some John Hughes movies next time.”

 

Cas smiled softly. "I will."

 

He wanted to make a joke about chick flicks, but considering Dean was the one enlightening Cas, it would have been damn hypocritical. Dean focused instead on his third beer, trying to pay attention to the movie, but finding more often than not that his thoughts kept lingering on the stupid confession. Which didn’t make a damn bit of sense, considering it clearly wasn’t causing Cas any concentration issues.

 

So what if he loved Cas? It didn’t necessarily mean anything, well… outside of the fact that Dean considered him a Winchester. Right?

 

Instead of continuing his panic, he focused instead on watching Cas. How he visibly reacted to the movie. For a guy with a pretty good poker face, he could be damn expressive sometimes. His lips curling up in a half tilt when he was amused. His eyes widening in shock, or surprise, when something unexpected happened.

 

Taking the opportunity to watch his friend again, minus an embarrassing aisle of personal lubricants to occupy his hands with, Dean found himself a little mesmerized. And in that way he often suppressed. Dean referred to it as his gay thoughts.

 

It wasn’t often, but once in a while, he’d find himself irretrievably drawn to another man and, often too late, he would realize it was a sexual attraction. Hell, mid-meeting did he realize that was what he felt when he actually met Gunner Lawless. But the thoughts were fleeting and had never been about someone he actually knew. Someone he actually cared about.

 

And yet, here he was, wondering how Cas’s lips would feel against his own. Shit. Dean polished off his third beer and grabbed the second to last one, needing those damn gay thoughts to be muted and forgotten about.

 

Cas slowly turned to him, his eyes rife with worry. “Are you alright, Dean?”

 

Dean nodded, now successfully yanked out of his mental spiral. “Yup.”

 

Cas didn’t seem to believe him, instead he reached over and grabbed his arm. “For a long time I felt like I didn’t belong here, Dean. But I do now. This is my home. And even when my wings are healed, I'm not going to leave.”

 

While the reassurance was welcome and invited, Dean shook his head in bemusement, unsure what prompted it in the first place. “That’s great, Cas.”

 

Cas gave him a confused look, tilting his head. “I thought… that’s what was bothering you.”

 

“What makes you think something’s bothering me?” he deflected as he took another swig of his beer.

 

Cas squinted his eyes at him. “Because I feel you… longing for me even though I'm sitting right next to you. I assumed it was because we talked about my wings healing and I know you don't like it when I leave. I just don’t want you to worry, because that's not going happen.”

 

Dean furrowed his brow as he narrowed his eyes at Cas. “What do you mean you felt me longing for you?”

 

“It's like a form of prayer. When you or Claire need me, but you’re both too stubborn to pray, I can still feel it. It makes it easier for me to locate you.” He tilted his head and gave Dean a soul searching look. “And I feel longing radiating from you even though you're not in any danger.” His eyes turned soft. “I learned from Claire that this often means that she misses me.”

 

Well, wasn’t that just hunky dory? Dean was having a gay thought crisis about his best friend and instead of it getting to be a shameful secret, like most normal repressed people, he had to go and have these thoughts about an angel, who could apparently feel subconscious longing. Great. Dean sighed and shook his head. “I’m not worried you’re gonna ditch us, Cas. Okay?”

 

Cas nodded slowly, a thoughtful expression on his face. “If you're not worried about that, then what is it? You clearly can't miss me because I'm right here.”

 

Shit. Dean fucked that up. He should have stuck with the perfect excuse Cas basically handed him. Dean sighed and, not making eye contact any longer, said, “It’s nothing to worry about.”

 

Cas growled quietly under his breath before he breathed out, “Is there a way you can resolve it in your mind so I’ll stop getting the urge to crawl onto your lap and hug you to death?”

 

“What?” Dean squeaked out, followed by a humiliating fumbling of his beer bottle, causing it to crash to the ground. Dean groaned out and swore under his breath as he hopped out of his chair to start picking up the pieces of glass. And he really needed that damn beer, too.

 

Cas knelt next to him, helping him gather the shards. “I'm sorry,” he mumbled quietly. “I didn’t mean to take my frustration out on you. It’s not your fault.” Their fingers touched when they reached for the same shard.

 

Dean chuckled nervously and drew back his hand like it had been burned. He raked his fingers through his hair with a shrug. “Don’t worry about it.”

 

Cas looked devastated then, letting his head hang low. “I’m sorry. I thought after so many years I would have gotten better at reading human emotions. Instead I just seem to make you uncomfortable. That wasn’t my intention.”

 

It was bad enough he felt weird at sort of being caught with his thoughts, but now he was making Cas feel like it was all his fault too. Dean sighed and fixed him with a pointed look. “Stop apologizing. You’ve done nothing wrong.”

 

Cas sighed deeply before he nodded and touched the floor to get rid of the beer puddle with his grace. He looked up with a hesitant look. It seemed like he wanted to ask something, but then decided against it, sitting down in his chair again as Dean put the shards in the trash can.

 

“Say what you wanna say,” Dean demanded with a resigned sigh.

 

Cas looked down and shook his head. "It's okay. Don't worry."

 

Dean groaned and scrubbed his hand over his face. “I guess I deserve that.”

 

Cas looked clearly uncomfortable before he shook his head. "I didn't say that to get back at you... I just don't want to make you uncomfortable again."

 

As he made his way back to his La-Z-Boy, Dean turned to face Cas and sighed. “At this point, this whole conversation’s got me feeling uncomfortable. Ain’t much more you could do to make it worse, Cas.”

 

"I could change the topic?” Cas suggested hesitantly without looking up.

 

“If that’s what you need to do,” he returned.

 

"I... I just want to stop making you uncomfortable," Cas said quietly.

 

Dean paused the movie, because it was clear they weren’t going to finish it anytime soon. “Look, I don’t know how our fun movie night turned into an episode of Days of our Lives, but I’m kind of over any more drama this century. How about a deal? Quid pro quo. Your honesty for mine?”

 

Cas nodded slowly. "Alright. Do you want to go first?"

 

That was the last thing he wanted, but it was fair, seeing as Dean started this nonsense. With a steeling breath, Dean mumbled quickly and almost unintelligibly, “I was freaking out over telling you I loved you.”

 

Cas frowned and tilted his head. "Why? I already know you do. Remember, you told me I was like a brother to you."

 

“Before I answer that, you owe me your honesty first.”

 

Cas still looked confused before he took in a deep breath and said, "I wanted to ask... if you wanted me to be closer. Physically." His voice was quiet and he didn't look at Dean. "It's stupid... It's just when I feel this longing from you, your soul is reaching out to me and all I want is to answer. It's confusing because humans often seem to want things, but then they say they don't."

 

Dean sighed and kept his gaze focused on the paused television. Finally, after a beat, Dean said, “I don’t know how to answer that, Cas.”

 

Cas looked up, his expression shy. "Do you want me to hug you?"

 

Dean couldn’t have stopped the mirthless laugh that escaped if he tried. He shook his head and sighed again. “Maybe we should call it a night.”

 

Cas looked disappointed with that before he reminded him, "You still haven't told me why you 'freaked out'." And yes, he did the air quotes with his fingers.

 

“I freaked out ‘cause that’s what I do,” he said noncommittally as he stood up from his chair. Dean nodded to the half eaten bowl of popcorn. “You can put your sugar on that, I think I’m gonna hit the hay.”

 

Cas pulled his feet onto the chair and wrapped his arms around his knees, not looking up at Dean as he nodded and quietly replied, "Good night, Dean."

 

And almost instantly the guilt washed over him. Dean didn’t know how to proceed. He didn’t want to confuse or upset Cas by telling him about his stupid human emotions and hang ups. But clearly, either way, his bullshit was hurting Cas. Dean sighed again, not facing Cas as he just blurted, “I’m freaked out because I don’t know how I love you. Alright?”

 

There was a tense silence after that. A silence that almost seemed loud from how tense it was. It was weird that he hadn't heard Cas getting up and stepping behind him in this silence, so he startled slightly when he felt the angel’s hand on his shoulder. "Dean," he murmured and again it felt like Cas was saying so much in the way he said his name. "Whatever the reasons are for you struggling with this, it won't affect how I feel about you."

 

At that Dean let out a mirthless chuckle and shook his head. “And how’s that?” he asked, trying to keep the snarkiness out of his tone. Trying being the operative word.

 

Cas frowned and looked down. "I told you that I want to be closer to you."

 

“You threatened to hug me to death and then asked me if I wanted a hug, Cas,” Dean pointed out, feeling weirdly petulant. Probably because he felt like a caged animal.

 

"Yes, because that is the only way you’ve ever let me close in the past."

 

Dean scoffed. “Well, that’s not true at all. You’ve gotten closer to me than most people.”

 

"I'm not talking about emotional closeness, Dean. I'm aware that we're good friends... Best friends." He stepped closer, giving him a serious look. "I'm talking about physical closeness. And that is something you’re uncomfortable with because it’s not within our friendship parameters. You barely tolerate a hug and that is the closest thing to physical closeness I have ever gotten from you."

 

Dean furrowed his brow, shaking his head in bemusement. “Are you saying you want more than that?”

 

Cas rolled his eyes. "Yes, that's what I'm saying. But I won't mention it again, because it clearly makes you uncomfortable and that is the last thing I want to do." Cas's frustration seeped into his voice as he added, "I don't want to lose you because of this. And I hate fighting with you."

 

It was all too much, far too fast. Dean was only coming to terms with the fact that he might be attracted to his best friend and now, here Cas was, basically telling him he was in the same boat as Dean. “I don’t think I’m drunk enough for this.”

 

Cas tilted his head. “Do you want another beer?”

 

Dean barked out a laugh and said, “I’m gonna need something stronger.” As he reached the door, he realized Cas wasn’t following him. He turned to the angel and said, “You comin’?”

 

“Of course,” Cas replied with a soft smile as he followed Dean.

 

When they reached the kitchen, Dean pulled out a mostly full bottle of Jack and took a swig straight from the bottle before handing it to Cas. “I’m surprised we haven’t been interrupted tonight. Usually Jack or Sam would have tried to annoy us with research by now.”

 

Cas took a sip before he handed it back. "I told them not to disturb us."

 

“Did you really?” Dean chuckled as he took the bottle back.

 

"Yes. I was very insistent," Cas repeated with a smile. "I was very interested in the movie." He shook his head. “Actually, it was more the aspect of spending time with you.”

 

Dean handed back the bottle with a smile. “I’m glad. Up until this weird fight, tonight was kinda perfect.”

 

Cas leaned back against the table with a soft smile and nodded. "Yes, it still is." He took another sip before he handed it back.

 

“So,” he started before he took a large gulp of the whiskey, “what do you mean by wanting to get closer to me, physically? What does that picture look like?”

 

"Dean..." Cas shook his head and looked down. He almost looked embarrassed. "Don't make me say it."

 

“You don’t have to say anything if you don’t want, but I’m trying to figure out what it is I’m feeling.”

 

Cas looked up at him. "I'm not sure if this will help you figure it out, but... there is a part of you that longs for me to be closer. Very loudly."

 

Dean furrowed his brow. “What part of me?”

 

"Your soul," Cas whispered before he stepped closer to Dean. "That might be why you're so conflicted. Your mind probably tells you one thing, where your soul tells you another."

 

“My soul is reaching out to you?”

 

"Yes, it's kind of overwhelming." Cas gave him a soft smile. “But in a good way.”

 

Dean’s head hurt. He pinched the bridge of his nose and shook his head. “What does that mean? When a human soul reaches for an angel?”

 

Cas licked over his lips before he looked up at Dean. "It means that there is a deep–a profound bond between us. That you trust me and that you need me close." He looked down again before he added, “It’s a strong feeling, but I can’t tell if it’s love for a family member, or love in a romantic sense.”

 

“Welcome to the club,” he murmured as he shot back another gulp of the whiskey.

 

Cas furrowed his brow in confusion. “So this is what you're not sure about? If you feel like I'm a brother to you, or something more?”

 

Dean nodded and handed him the bottle. “Pretty much.”

 

Cas nipped at the whiskey, never breaking eye contact with Dean. When he handed it back, he quietly asked, "Did you ever... want to kiss me?"

 

“Did you?” he retaliated, feeling strangely exposed. Because, even if he was terrified to admit it, the answer was a hard, fast yes.

 

Cas nodded hesitantly before he looked away with an embarrassed expression.

 

If Cas could be honest, Dean needed to man up and do the same. Why the hell was it so difficult? After a beat, Dean breathed out a barely audible, “Me, too.”

 

Cas gave him a shy, short lived smile before he murmured, "Well, I never felt that way with Sam. He is my friend and my family. But I never wanted to kiss him or touch him." Cas scrunched up his nose and shook his head. "That's why I know what I feel for you is different."

 

Dean chuckled and shook his head. “So what do we do now?”

 

"What do you want to do?" Cas replied slowly as he stepped closer.

 

Helluva question. Dean sighed and held Cas’s gaze as he placed the bottle on the counter. “I want to do a lot of things, but… you deserve better, Cas. Better than a broken man who doesn’t even know what he wants.”

 

Cas gave him a pointed look. "Do you really think that would change anything? It is what it is, Dean. I stood by your side during your best and your worst moments, like you did with me. I know who you are. And I’m still here, not willing to let go."

 

And he knew that was true, but that didn’t mean Dean wasn’t terrified. Terrified of fucking up a great thing they had. All over an unsure thing. “Just… give me time to work out my feelings. Can you do that?”

 

"Of course, Dean." Cas gave him a soft smile. "Even if you decide to never take this step with me, you won't lose me. I promise."

 

Dean smiled and let out a relieved sigh. He chuckled softly as he said, “I could really use that hug now.”

 

The smile Cas gave him was breathtaking and really nice to see. He could practically see the relief flooding his friend as he closed the gap between them and tightly wrapped his arms around Dean, pressing his face against his throat.

 

Soaking in the moment, Dean let himself be held, longer than he normally would. He committed the moment to memory. Every finite detail, from Cas’s grip, to his aftershave, to the irretrievable safety he felt in the arms of his angel.

 

Dean drew back and chucked Cas’s chin. “Come on. Let’s finish the movie so you can bitch about it.”

 

Cas tilted his head. "I didn't 'bitch' about it."

 

“You always bitch about movies I make you watch.”

 

…. :::: :::: ….

 

He did not. Well, not always. Maybe sometimes. Mostly when it was a western. Or a very weird comedy that Cas didn’t understand, because humor was still a concept that escaped his comprehension most of the time.

 

Cas followed Dean back into the 'Dean Cave', his heart beating irrationally fast. Dean's confession was still in the forefront of his mind, but he tried to not get his hopes up.

 

It wasn't easy because now and then a smile crept onto his lips and there was nothing he could do to stop it. Dean had thought about kissing him.

 

His heart skipped a beat and Cas finally realized that it was connected to Dean's confession. He was excited. He felt hope and he felt a spark of happiness course through his body. It was a weird feeling, but not in a bad way.

 

They resumed watching the movie, but Cas couldn't help but periodically sneak glances at Dean, smiling shyly when he caught him. He tried to focus on the movie, that was incredibly ridiculous, but still charming for some reason.  

 

He was shaken from his reverie by a smack on his arm. Dean was looking at him expectantly. “Dude, pay attention.”

 

"I apologize," Cas replied with a chuckle before he looked back at the screen.

 

Stiles had just revealed the newly painted van and suddenly Scott was holding him back before he could climb to the roof, telling him that, ‘these waves were his’. Followed by the same song about surfing and wolf-Scott doing dangerous acrobatics on the roof while Stiles drove.

 

Cas smiled brightly, he couldn’t wait to stand on the roof of the Impala again, feeling the wind under his feathers, feeling such a freedom again. “Dean,” he whispered, when the scene was over, “I can’t wait to do that again.”

 

Dean smiled and nodded. “Any time, Cas.”

 

“Do you think it’s safe to do here in Kansas, too?” He was sure that they would get in trouble if people witnessed him standing on the roof of a car, suddenly starting to fly.

 

“Probably safer at night, on the country roads,” Dean said thoughtfully.

 

“Can we do it tonight?” Cas asked eagerly.

 

Dean chuckled. “Got enough mojo to sober me up to drive?”

 

Cas gave him a pointed look. "Of course." But then he hesitated because Dean was probably only relaxed because of the alcohol. "Are you sure you want to be sober though? There was a reason for you wanting to drink."

 

“Yeah, and we talked it out. Apparently that shit works, so if you really wanna go, I’m down.”

 

Cas gave Dean a bright smile and nodded. "I will probably need to do it a few times before my wings are strong enough again. If at all. I don't have much experience with the process. The last time my wings were damaged like this, they healed in seconds after I got back to Heaven."

 

“This happened before?” Dean asked, his brow furrowed in confusion.

 

Cas nodded slowly. “When I rescued you from Hell, my wings were still burning, but back then I was still connected to the host. They healed instantly when I went back to Heaven.”

 

Dean let out a scoff as he shook his head. “So, basically... knowing me has fucked you over in every kind of way, on multiple occasions?”

 

It felt like a stab right in the heart every time Dean said something like that. “Dean,” he started, wondering how he could make Dean see what he was seeing, “rescuing you from Hell was the greatest honor and the best thing that happened to me, in my entire existence. Before I knew you, I was just a tool. You showed me how to live, Dean.”

 

The beat of silence that lingered between them was so tense that when Dean finally spoke, it almost startled him. “Shit, Cas. I don’t know what to say to that.”

 

Cas shook his head. "You don't have to say anything." All he wanted was to go to Dean and hug him again, feel him close. But he wasn't brave enough to take that step. He knew Dean still had problems with that level of intimacy and he needed time. Cas didn't want to pressure him.

 

Dean sighed and refocused his attention back on the movie.

 

Cas bit his lower lip and dragged his feet up onto the recliner, watching the rest of the movie in silence. It had a nice ending, with Scott learning to embrace his human side and that he didn’t need the extra power from his wolf side to achieve great things. He also found his love in a real good friend who had supported him, seeing him for who he really was, all along. Cas looked over to Dean, giving him a smile as the ending credits started. "That was a nice ending."

 

“Yeah. Can always count on eighties movies to have chick flick endings,” Dean said with a chuckle.

 

"I like happy endings," Cas replied wistfully. There was already too much going on in his own life that, even if it was only in the movies, it was nice to see a happy ending.

 

Dean shrugged. “Yeah, it’s nice to see, even if it’s just pretend.” And despite his own lack of comprehension when it came to the subtleties of language, even Cas caught the implication there. Happy endings are pretend. They don’t exist in the real world.

 

"So you think we shouldn't even try?" Cas asked after a beat. "Try to find happiness?"

 

“It’s only temporary no matter which way you slice it, so I don’t know. I guess it depends.”

 

Cas tilted his head. "On what?"

 

Dean shrugged again. “I’ll let you know when I figure it out.”

 

Cas took in a deep breath before he switched off the TV and turned towards Dean. "Why does it matter if it's just temporary happiness? Do you think that Scott will be happy forever? Maybe all his fur will fall out when he is thirty and his girlfriend leaves him. Maybe he’ll fall from the roof of his car and die. But just because his life might end up being less than ideal, shouldn't he make the most of it and cling to every chance at happiness?"

 

That was met with a quirked brow and almost impressed expression. Dean let out a soft laugh and leaned forward. “So… you think a werewolf’s biggest concern is premature hair loss?” he teased.

 

“That is what stood out to you in what I just said?” Cas replied incredulously.

 

Dean smirked. “Well, it seemed like the most important part.”

 

“You’re infuriating,” Cas replied dryly, but he couldn’t help a small smile from tugging at the corner of his mouth. “And yes, premature hair loss would be a big concern for a werewolf. It would be naked when it turns.”

 

That was met with a short bark of laughter as Dean shook his head. “Oh, yeah. Way more of a concern for a werewolf than a normal human.”

 

"All the other werewolves would laugh," Cas added in a serious tone. “A naked werewolf isn’t exactly frightening.”

 

“You’re not wrong,” Dean affirmed as he moved to stand up. He held his hand out to Cas. “Come on, Jasmine. Let me show you the world.”

 

Cas gave him a quick smile and let himself get pulled up by Dean. He didn't let go of his hand though, instead stepping close to him before he gently touched his forehead. He used his grace to clean all of the alcohol from Dean's blood and, since he was already at it, cleaned his arteries from cholesterol. “Feeling better?” he asked quietly, his fingers lingering for a moment before he slowly let them drop to Dean’s shoulder.

 

Dean visibly swallowed as he licked his lips. He cleared his throat and nodded. “Yeah. Thanks.”

 

Cas's gaze fell to Dean's lips for a moment before he nodded slowly and stepped back from him. "You're welcome." Why did his voice suddenly sound so breathless?

 

“Ready to take your wings for a spin?” he asked with a smirk.

 

"Yes." Cas smiled at Dean and squeezed his hand before he let go of him. He didn't want to press his luck.

 

Dean pulled out his car keys and nodded for Cas to follow. “I’m, uh… I’m glad I can do this for you, Cas.”

 

Cas followed him and nodded. “I’m grateful for you having this idea. I didn’t expect it to work so well. Thank you.”

 

“Honestly, I didn’t know it would work so great either. I’m glad it did.”

 

“The most difficult part is having enough power to get into the air. The velocity of your car is helping with that part. Now my muscles just need to become stronger.”

 

Dean nodded. “Then let’s get you strong enough.” He opened the passenger side door for Cas when they reached Baby.

 

Cas gave him a surprised look that Dean opened the door for him. He gave him a shy smile before he slipped into the car. He loved sitting next to Dean. It didn't happen very often, so it was always special to him.

 

When Dean slid into the driver’s seat, he popped the tape into the deck and started the car. “I’m gonna find a nice, long stretch of country road. Sound good?”

 

Cas nodded and listened to the music for a while, wondering if he could get a tape from somewhere with the surfing song on it. He wondered if listening to the song while standing on the roof was as much fun as it looked.

 

"What was the song called, Dean? The one they had in the movie?"

 

Dean chuckled and said, “It was Surfin’ USA by the Beach Boys.”

 

Cas typed that into his phone and saved the video he found for later. There was something he had wanted to do for a while and now he had found the perfect opportunity. He just needed to ask Sam a few questions because he wasn't sure about the process and he wanted to surprise Dean.

 

"Thank you," he said before he leaned back and enjoyed the drive.

 

“Sure. You never usually care about music. Did you like it that much?”

 

Cas thought about it for a moment before he nodded. "I think I did. It made me smile. I'm not sure if it was the song though, or because I remembered how it felt being up there."

 

Dean smiled and nodded. “Maybe it’s both.”

 

"That’s always a possibility." Cas returned the smile. "There is something I wanted to ask you... and I hope it is okay." He fidgeted with his fingers in his lap. “Would you… go out with me? To a diner… sometime?” His heart was beating so fast and he weirdly felt like he was dying on the inside.

 

Dean cast him a curious glance, lips curled up in a smirk. “Are you asking me out on a date?”

 

Cas looked out of the window, feeling slightly sick. “Maybe, yes.”

 

“Maybe yes?” Dean challenged with a chuckle.

 

Cas closed his eyes and exhaled a breath he hadn’t been aware of holding. “Yes,” he admitted quietly.

 

Dean patted Cas’s knee and said, “You’re buying.”

 

And with those simple words, Dean suddenly made everything better. The knot in his chest unraveled and he gave Dean a shy smile and nod. "Of course. Sure," he replied, still feeling slightly nervous. He couldn't stop smiling. He had never expected Dean to say yes. "We can go whenever and wherever you want."

 

Dean chuckled and nodded. “Hell, depending on how the night goes, maybe we could go get breakfast.”

 

Cas's eyes widened as he turned to look at Dean. His voice was breathless again. "What do you mean by, 'depending on how the night goes'?"

 

“I meant depending on how long we’re driving around and if I’m too tired to go grab breakfast by the end of it,” he said with a bemused smile. “Why? What did you think I meant?”

 

Cas suddenly felt way too hot in his own body. "Nothing," he quickly answered before he looked out of the window, feeling ashamed of his thoughts.

 

Dean snorted and shook his head. “You are seriously the worst liar. How you ever managed to deceive me and Sammy when you teamed up with Crowley, I’ll never know.”

 

Cas looked down, feeling even more ashamed than before. He hated thinking of that time, a time filled with regret and guilt. "Because you didn't expect getting betrayed by a friend," Cas replied quietly. It still hurt.

 

“I didn’t bring it up to make you feel bad, Cas.”

 

Cas gave him a quick, sad smile. "I know, Dean." He closed his eyes for a moment, listening to the sounds of the car against the asphalt. "Sometimes I'm just so full of regret. I... I'm incredibly thankful that you forgave me, but I'm still working on forgiving myself."

 

Dean reached over and gently took Cas’s hand in his, giving him a gentle squeeze. “Dude, if I can forgive myself, you really should too.”

 

“Did you?” he asked with a pointed look, accompanied by a smile because Dean was holding his hand.

 

“Most days. Some days are harder than others, but after the year we had… And seeing how even a dick like Ketch could kind of redeem himself. Figured I should forgive myself after all these years.”

 

It was nice hearing Dean say that. He always seemed to carry the world on his shoulders. Feeling responsible for everything that went wrong. It was nice to hear that he was finally getting to a point where he forgave himself. "I'm glad you have," Cas replied with a soft smile, experimentally rubbing his thumb over the back of Dean's hand.

 

Dean smiled and nodded. “Your turn now.”

 

“You say that like it's just a switch to pull."

 

Dean released his hand and grabbed Cas’s tie, gently yanking on it. “Did that work?”

 

Cas gave him a pointed look. "Yes, Dean," he replied dryly, "that was exactly the switch I was looking for."

 

“Good.” Dean released him to brace both hands on the wheel again.

 

I love you. Cas thought as he looked over at Dean with a soft smile before he sighed. “I promise I will work on it.”

 

“No need,” he said with a smirk, “I just fixed it, right?”

 

Cas chuckled and looked down at his tie. "Do you think this switch works for other things, too?"

 

Dean quirked his brow and chuckled. “Like what?”

 

Cas grinned at him. “Like if I pull it fast enough, do you think it’ll make my wings flap?”

 

Dean’s eyes crinkled as he almost doubled over with laughter. “Damn, I wish I could see that.”

 

“You wish you could see my wings?” Cas asked in surprise.

 

“You kidding? That would be one of the most badass things I could imagine.”

 

Never in a million years would Cas have expected that. "I had no idea... Do you want to see them? I mean, when we’ve found a place where no one will disturb us."

 

Dean turned to look at him, eyes wide in excitement and lips tilted in a half smile. “You can do that?”

 

"Yes, it's just a matter of manipulating the light waves and particles around them to make them visible."

 

Dean’s half smile became a full smile and he nodded emphatically. “That’s so friggin’ cool.”

 

Cas stared at him with parted lips. "You really think so?"

 

“Yeah. Dude, Sammy’s gonna be so jealous,” he said with an excited laugh.

 

“Why is that?” Cas couldn’t even fathom why Dean would want to see them, let alone why it would be something to be jealous over.

 

While he had expected a lot of answers from Dean, ranging in levels of sarcasm and rudeness, he wasn’t anticipating what the man actually said. “Bein’ raised in the life, any of the supernatural creatures we met, they were all evil, right? But no one talked about angels, except my Mom. And she always told me they were watching over me. My whole childhood, I knew if angels existed, they’d be the exception to the rule. You were pretty much proof of that to me and Sammy. So, yeah. He’s gonna be jealous that I got to see you in all your angelic glory before he did.”

 

Cas felt his body temperature rise again. He felt slightly embarrassed over the compliment, but it was also nice to hear. “That’s a very nice compliment. I hope you won’t be disappointed by them.”

 

“Not possible,” he said with a firm nod, “you could have sad little gnat wings and it’ll still be cool.” After a moment he amended, “Alright, maybe not gnat wings, but you get what I mean.”

 

“Well, the feathers have healed nicely and nothing is smoldering to ashes anymore, so I presume they look better than gnat wings.”

 

Dean chuckled as he pulled off of the highway and onto a stretch of open road surrounded by corn fields. “I’m just sad I don’t get to see your harp and halo.”

 

Cas rolled his eyes, repeating for the umpteenth time, “I don’t have a harp.”

 

“Didn’t think I could see your wings either, so…”

 

"It's not invisible. I just don't have a harp." Cas gave him a pointed look. "Why would you even think that?"

 

Dean shrugged. “Because humans fucked up on the lore on you guys. Instead of being painted as warriors and dicks, you were all painted as cute, cherubic babies with harps.”

 

“That’s disturbing,” Cas replied dryly, shaking his head before he squinted his eyes. “There is an angelic choir, but even they don’t have harps.”

 

“Wait, wait, wait. If there actually is an angelic choir, how come you can’t carry a tune in a bucket?”

 

“Because I'm a soldier.” Cas rolled his eyes. “I was never in a choir.”

 

Dean chuckled and nodded emphatically. “Oh, I know.” He winked at Cas and returned his attention to the road.

 

Cas crossed his arms over his chest. “You never sang in a choir either.”

 

“I sure didn’t, but I ain’t no angel,” he quipped.

 

“Believe me, not every angel was created with a musical talent. It wasn’t necessary for a soldier who wasn't more than a tool,” Cas explained calmly.

 

“I swear, it’s like we were raised the same.”

 

“How's that?”

 

Dean shrugged before he said, “Both raised to be good little soldiers. Weakness was not an option and so we became tools for our fathers’ respective plans.”

 

Cas was taken aback. He had never thought about it in that light. “You’re right,” he mumbled lowly before he looked up at Dean. He felt even closer to him now.

 

“Then we met each other and that all went to Hell,” he said with a laugh, winking at him.

 

Cas chuckled and nodded. He often wondered what his father thought of him, of what he had become. There had been a time where he had seen him as the source of all of his answers, but that image didn’t exist anymore. His father made mistakes, like all of them. He wasn’t infallible. “You showed me a different perspective on life. I wonder sometimes if my father resurrected me because you changed me.”

 

“Maybe? But I’ve learned to not ask unanswerable questions. Too much of a headache,” he said with a small smile.

 

“That’s very wise of you.” Cas gave him a quick smile. “I wish my father had spoken with me before he left. On the other hand… I started seeing him with different eyes. He wasn’t infallible anymore and I think he knew that.”

 

“What would you have wanted him to say?”

 

Cas licked over his too dry lips before he answered, “I would have asked if… I was on the right path. If this was what he had expected of me.” He shrugged and felt mildly embarrassed by his admission. “I guess I just wanted to know if he was proud of me.”

 

Dean reached out and grasped his hand again, but eyes still focused on the road. “It might not mean as much, but I am.”

 

Cas squeezed Dean’s hand with a smile as he looked over. “It does. More than you think.”

 

That was met with a returned smile as Dean started slowing down the car. He pulled off on the side of the road and shifted slightly to face Cas. “Ready to work out your wings?”

 

"Very much so." Cas rolled his shoulders and gave Dean a bright, almost giddy smile.

 

“Then get up on Baby’s roof,” he said with a small nod.

 

Cas got out of the car, but he didn't close the door. Instead he removed his coat and threw it on his seat before he started to untie his tie.

 

Dean’s eyebrows shot up. “I don’t know if it’s a good idea to do it in the buff.”

 

Cas stopped unbuttoning his shirt. "I thought you wanted to see my wings?"

 

He barked out a laugh, and even in the poor lighting of the overhead internal light, Cas could see that Dean was blushing. It looked good on him. “I guess it makes sense you can’t whip ‘em out with a shirt on.”

 

"They take on a physical form when I make them visible. My shirt would be a hindrance," Cas explained as he continued to unbutton his shirt and folded it on the seat as soon as he got it off. He gave Dean a shy smile before he rolled his shoulders and stepped further away from the car to have more space.

 

Dean got out of the car and they met in front of the headlights. “So, are they gonna just appear or…”

 

Cas closed his eyes and concentrated on his wings, the light waves and particles they were made of, shifting them into place before he knew that they were visible to humans... to Dean. He slowly opened his eyes, feeling nervous about Dean's reaction.

 

Dean’s eyes were wide and his mouth was agape. He look awed. Almost child like. “Dude.”

 

Cas spread them as far as possible to really show off their length. He gave Dean a shy look. “Do you like them?”

 

Dean nodded and stepped forward. “Can I touch them?”

 

“Of course,” Cas replied quietly. He couldn’t hide the slight tremor in his voice.

 

Dean drew even closer and reached out, gently grasping a handful of feathers, breathing out in awe. “They’re so soft.”

 

He couldn’t help the gasp that escaped before he bit his lower lip to keep more sounds of pleasure from tumbling out. The tingling energy that accompanied Dean’s touch felt like sparks and warmth running through his body, stemming from the point where Dean was touching him. It felt incredible and he folded them forward so Dean could touch more of them.

 

When Dean started carding both of his hands through the feathers, he smiled in awe. “Wow.”

 

Cas closed his eyes with a hum. “That feels very nice.” He wished Dean would never stop.

 

“If you start purring, I swear…” he teased.

 

“I'm not a cat, Dean,” Cas replied dryly, but he couldn’t help but smile. Dean’s hands felt so good that he arched his wings into the touch, shuddering when Dean stroked over a sensitive area.

 

“Did I hurt you?” he asked, retracting his hands.

 

Cas quickly shook his head. “No.” He felt his whole body growing warm again. “It just feels very nice.”

 

Dean chuckled. “So the purring thing isn’t far off?”

 

Cas huffed out a breath, but it was more playful than anything before he flapped his wings to stretch them. “Have you ever seen a cat with wings?”

 

“I learned a long time ago to not take anything for granted, including potentially non existent creatures.”

 

“I can assure you, I’m just an angel,” Cas repeated before he used his wings to playfully push Dean against the hood of the Impala. He gave him a quick smile before he walked to the side of the car and, with a smooth jump, pulled himself onto the roof.

 

Dean chuckled and made his way to the driver’s side of the car. “Want me to start slow? Or punch it from the gate?”

 

"I like it when you drive fast." Cas smiled down at him. He felt excited, his heart was hammering against his chest.

 

“Okay.” Dean slipped into the car. The engine was still purring, he could feel the reverberations through his shoes. “Ready?” Dean called out.

 

“More than ready,” Cas called back as he stretched out his wings behind him. He couldn’t wait to feel the wind again.

 

…. :::: :::: ….

 

It was crazy how quickly Cas’s strength built up. Dean found time every day to help Cas with his flight exercises. And every day, after Cas’s wings started to ache from the use, they’d make their way to a different little diner somewhere in Kansas and share a meal, dependent on the time of day Cas tapped out.

 

Dates, basically. Dean and Cas were going out on dates on an almost daily basis. Sometimes Dean would freak out internally over it, but Cas never pushed anything. Hell, they’d been doing the wing exercising thing for almost three weeks and nothing more than hand holding ever happened between them. Cas seemed more than content for something as innocent as holding hands.

 

Dean was grateful for that. He didn’t know how he felt about the whole being attracted to and having feelings for his angel best friend-thing. And thankfully Sam, Mom, and Jack weren’t mentioning the slight shift in their relationship. Dean wasn’t sure if that was a good thing or a bad thing.

 

Half the time, Dean would fantasize about taking their relationship to the next level. He’d imagine losing control, the two of them colliding together, a weird hybrid of muscle memory from the times they slammed each other up against a wall combined with flashes of past trysts, creating something new, something unique, something strictly belonging to Dean and Castiel.

 

And the thought of kissing Cas. That alone was as thrilling as it was terrifying. But Dean would lock eyes with Cas, feel the urge to lean in, and then panic at the last minute. Because that would make it real. That would mean he was acknowledging his feelings. That it was real, the connection that he’d spent years ignoring was so much more than a familial or friendship type of bond.

 

Dean wasn’t sure if he was ready to accept that reality. Not yet. It was cowardly, he knew that. Which was really ironic considering their friggin’ occupation. But then, it was the more human things that scared Dean the most. He was scared of heights, flying, spiders… It was only logical that he was scared of letting himself feel the happiness associated with love. And the stupid, cliche, Hallmark christmas movie, chick flick type of love.

 

He wasn’t sure he’d ever be able to allow himself to feel that. And still, despite all of that bullshit, Cas was being insanely understanding about all of it. Maybe it was because he was an angel and had no idea how that shit was supposed to work, or if it was just his ability to be incredibly patient, Dean didn’t know. But he knew he was grateful for it.

 

Cas had been getting stronger and it was noticeable. He’d start flying longer and longer. Hell, he even started being able to do quick journeys without the jump start. Usually in the bunker. He’d zap himself from the kitchen to the library. That sort of thing. And Dean was worried. It wouldn’t be long before Cas wouldn’t need to surf on the Impala to fly and then they wouldn’t have this reason to spend time together. And this time together was perfect, because they’d spend hours together while also not having to spend it in each other’s direct company.

 

When Cas didn’t need his help anymore, they would have to start spending real time together and Dean was terrified. Stupid, human types of problems.

 

They’d had a late night with the flying lessons the previous night and ended up getting an early breakfast before Dean rolled into bed around six in the morning. It was two in the afternoon when Dean woke up and he stumbled through the bunker in – what he called – his grandfather robe, until he finally reached the kitchen and, more importantly, the coffee machine.

 

He grumbled at the lack of already made coffee, but then he did have the chance of getting the first fresh cup, which was always the best. Dean yawned as he started getting the pot ready.

 

“Good morning,” Cas greeted him hesitantly from the kitchen door. He was holding a paper bag that smelled delicious. “I brought you breakfast.”

 

Dean walked as if in a trance right up to Cas. He gently took the bag and opened it. His now favorite fried egg, sausage sandwich monstrosity from the diner in Marysville – that served breakfast all day – they found a week ago. “You’re the fucking best, Cas.”

 

Cas smiled at him happily, obviously proud of himself before he sat down at the table, folding his hands over the surface. “Did you sleep well?”

 

He nodded as he pulled the sandwich out and unwrapped it. “Like a baby doped up on Nyquil.”

 

Cas gave him a soft smile before he looked up in confusion. “Where are Sam and Jack?”

 

Dean shrugged. “No idea. I just woke up a few minutes ago.”

 

“They are not in the bunker… Oh, I remember now that Jack wanted to join Sam on his daily runs.” Cas tilted his head as if that was still something he didn’t quite understand.

 

“Weirdos,” Dean said in a scoff before he stuffed a third of the sandwich into his mouth.

 

“I don’t understand why they would run if they are not running from something. What is the point in that?” Cas braced his elbows on the table and rested his chin on the back of his hands.

 

Dean smiled, a burst of warmth filling him with the fondness he felt for Cas in that moment. “I’ve been sayin’ that for years.”

 

"And did you ever get an answer? I asked Sam the exact same question and all he did was laugh."

 

Dean chuckled and shook his head. “I wouldn’t worry too much about it.”

 

Cas shrugged slightly, which was a very human gesture and one he had only found recently. "Alright." He shuffled slightly in his chair before he looked up again. "Do you have time today?"

 

“Yeah, just let me wake up,” he said with a smile as he took another large bite, the yolk breaking and starting to drip everywhere. That was Dean’s favorite part.

 

Cas hid a smile behind a coffee cup that had come out of nowhere. "Your face is covered in crumbs."

 

Dean nodded enthusiastically. “I wish you could taste this, Cas. Seriously.”

 

"Seeing you enjoying it is as rewarding as tasting things for myself," Cas replied after a short moment.

 

“I get that you’re being sweet, but you and I both know that ain’t true. I see that longing look when I eat a bacon cheeseburger.”

 

"It's fruitless to mourn things you can't change." He gave Dean a quick smile before he admitted, "But I miss burgers from time to time. And PB and J."

 

Dean chuckled and stuffed the last bite into his mouth, murmuring around the sandwich, “I knew it.”

 

"My wings are nearly healed again, Dean," Cas murmured after a long moment of silence.

 

Dean smiled, but that damnable dread came right along with his feelings of happiness. “I’m happy for you, Cas.” And that he meant, because whatever hangups he had, he was damn happy he was able to help him take something back for himself. If anyone deserved that shot, it was Cas.

 

"Thank you, Dean." Cas leaned forward on the table. "Especially for your help."

 

He braced his hand on the table, palm up, in invitation for Cas to meet him halfway. “Glad to do it.”

 

Cas grabbed his hand and intertwined their fingers with a happy smile before he said, “Which means I can get you every breakfast you want.”

 

“Or do stuff for yourself sometimes,” Dean offered with a laugh, turning their hands, a lazy back and forth motion as he took a sip of his coffee.

 

Cas looked insecure for a moment, almost hurt before he hesitantly asked, "Am I too... 'clingy'? Do you need time alone?"

 

Dean shook his head, unable to hide the laugh as he assured him, “No. No, it’s not that. And really? Clingy? Do I even wanna know where you picked up that word?”

 

"Jack," Cas answered as he looked anywhere but him. "He read it in a magazine when I asked him about... It doesn't matter."

 

Dean gently tugged on Cas’s hand. “Hey, you’re makin’ me feel like an abusive spouse or something.”

 

Cas gave him a pained look. "I'm sorry. That wasn't my intention. It's just... that we spend a lot of time with each other and I was unsure if you... if you would still want to after my wings are healed."

 

He let out a soft huff of mirthless laughter as he sat back against his chair. That had been Dean’s other real worry about the flying practice sessions ending. When Cas got his wings back, he wouldn’t be stuck with them anymore. “Funny. I was wonderin’ the same about you.”

 

"I do," Cas replied in such an earnest way that it was hard not to believe him. "I really like spending my time with you."

 

Dean smiled and nodded. “Me, too.”

 

Cas mirrored the smile and looked relieved. "Good."

 

He patted Cas’s hand and moved to stand up. “Let me go change and we can get to the flying practice.”

 

Cas wrapped his fingers around his wrist to stop him before he pulled him into a soft hug, whispering, "I’ll wait outside."

 

“Okay,” he breathed out and reluctantly stepped away.

 

Cas gave him a lingering, intense look before he visibly swallowed and practically vanished in front of his eyes.

 

Dean swallowed against the lump in his throat. He had almost ran to his room, looking forward to spending time with Cas again. The fun part of the dreadful, bullshit process of his confusing feelings. He was changed and headed up the stairs to the exit door that led top side.

 

When he rounded the corner to where Baby was parked, Cas was there, holding another bag. Dean furrowed his brow and chuckled in bemusement. “Cas?”

 

Cas’s expression was blank, but Dean knew him better by now. He was clearly trying not to smile. He could see it in his eyes.

 

Cas handed him the bag before he murmured, "This is the last time I will need to do this. I wanted it to be special."

 

Dean furrowed his brow in confusion, but his lips were curled up in a smile. He opened the bag and pulled out an old school pair of sunglasses and a hawaiian shirt. He held them out and laughed. “What?”

 

Cas pulled a tape out of his trench coat pocket. "And I made a tape for you."

 

Their fingers touched as Dean grabbed the tape. Dean let out a soft laugh at the name Cas gave it.

 

Impala Surfing Traxx

 

Dean shook his head in amazement. “What are you scheming, angel?”

 

Cas finally smiled at him. "Not scheming at all. I just want to see if it's even more fun with the music." He stepped closer to Dean, hooking his finger into the loop of Dean's jeans to pull him closer before he growled, "Because these waves are mine."

 

That’s when it clicked. Dean shook his head in amazement as he chuckled. He cupped Cas’s cheek with his free hand and smiled. His eyes automatically drawn to the way Cas’s lips twitched. As though in nervous anticipation. “Yeah. Yours,” he murmured as he allowed himself to finally give in.

 

And with a heaving sigh, as though taking in oxygen after holding your breath for far too long, Dean closed the distance between them and captured Cas’s lips in a surprisingly gentle kiss.

 

He could hear Cas's breathing hitch as he carefully kissed him back, one of his hands grabbing his side, as if he needed to hold on to Dean for purchase. To ground him.

 

When he drew back, Cas appeared to be breathless, just looking at him with an almost stupefied expression. "That's even better than flying," Cas breathed out in awe.

 

Dean chuckled and instead of answering with words, he pulled Cas in for another kiss. And not the chaste, tentative, permission seeking thing they had just shared. A real kiss. The type of kiss that stills your surroundings. Where the world immediately goes quiet, like the beat of silence between a clap of thunder and a strike of lightning.

 

When Dean gasped, Cas became the tornado that stole his breath and suddenly he couldn’t imagine what he had been so scared of. Fear seemed so far away in that moment, that it almost seemed ludicrous Dean had ever felt that emotion. Wrong. It was wrong that he’d ever let his own cowardice keep him from this exact moment.

 

Because this was more than worth it.

 

The End