Despite the short time he’d been on earth, Castiel had determined his likes and dislikes rather quickly. He hated potatoes of any kind, which Dean couldn’t understand; he didn’t mind bars and dives, as long as they weren’t too crowded. And he loved Sam and Dean more than he’d ever thought possible.
The kind of love he’d felt for his Father had been of entirely different kind—expected, rigid and unshakeable. But Sam and Dean did to ask him for anything at all. When he had to give of his heavenly grace—something he did willingly—they always felt guilty. As if the act of saving them were burdensome.
It was always “You don’t have to, Cas” or “Where the hell would we be without you?”
He didn’t want to think about it. They both been through so much, and it broke his heart.
Tonight, like many nights, they were sequestered at a bar—one of the quieter ones. Sam tried hard not to pay attention as Dean, reliably tipsy, attempted to sing a rousing rendition of an old song at the karaoke stand.
“He’s killing the crowd,” Sam groaned.
“I like it.” Castiel watched. Dean, red in the face, all but swayed to the song he was singing. Cas didn’t know from earthly singing, but the quality of her song didn’t matter. Dean was enjoying himself. Dean did that a lot. He loved being alive, which made sense, given the state Cas had found him in. But even before that, he knew Dean had been one to devour everything offered on the buffet of mortal life.
Cas supposed it could have been his respect for the fact that Dean appreciated everything God had put in the planet. Only the Father had nothing to do with it at all. It was pure and simple Dean Winchester.
Sam sighed. He looked from his open laptop to the stage. Whatever derision he felt disappeared. The smallest smile graced his lips. Castiel didn’t have to ask. He knew full well Sam was thinking that it wasn’t so bad, this boisterous song; and that he was grateful, after all, that he still had his brother.
“He’s got the moves,” Sam remarked. “I’ll give him that much.”
If Cas loved Dean for his good heart, his joy for life, and his courage, then he loved Sam for all those reasons, as well as what set him apart from Dean. Sam was quiet, thoughtful, and contemplative. His intellect didn’t make him arrogant, the way it did some people. It made him compassionate, almost to his own detriment.
Sam looked from the stage to Cas. “Something tickling you?”
“What do you mean?”
“You’ve been sitting there smiling like crazy for like, five minutes.” Sam chuckled. “Do you really like Dean’s singing that much?”
“Yes,” Castiel said softly. “Among other things.”
He wouldn’t tell them. Dean would shy away, and while Sam wouldn’t, Cas still felt it best to keep it to himself: Sam and Dean Winchester made him…well…happy.