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There’s a period of time after Castiel pulls Sam from the cage that he tries to help him. He tries to get Sam to stay on the right path and tries to help him out on hunts when things get particularly messy. Sam never particularly wants his help, but when Cas doesn’t show up he gets angry - and then it’s non-stop prayers cursing Castiel for leaving him behind, for not helping when he really needed it. And those are the times when Castiel heads to Bobby’s house. He knocks and waits on the porch. Though he could be inside within mere moments if he wanted to be that was likely not something Bobby would be very fond of, as he’d learned in the past.

 

Bobby doesn’t usually say much when Cas visits. Not anymore. He asks about heaven sometimes, asks how the boys are doing, but it’s always the same. Heaven’s good and Dean’s living the life he’d always wanted. And Sam? They didn’t talk about Sam. They didn’t talk about the night he’d brought Sam back, all bloodied and broken, and they didn’t talk about how Cas knew, the moment Sam woke that the man he’d grown to love was no longer there. They don’t say much to each other, really. No, not anymore.

 

Cas helps out around the house sometimes - fixes the odd leak, cleans up the kitchen, helps rearrange the library - but most of the time he sits up in Sam’s room. Cas curls up in Sam’s blankets and savors the warmth and the familiarity of it. He stares at the photo of all of them, the one Bobby took the night before they left to try to kill Lucifer. The night before they lost Ellen and Jo. The night before everything changed. Sam’s hand is on Cas’ shoulder in the photo, and if Cas tries really hard, he can almost remember what that night felt like.

 

*****

 

It wasn’t the night of their first kiss, nor was it the first time they’d touched. That had been long ago, even then. Ellen and Jo and Bobby had long since gone to sleep and Dean was in the kitchen cleaning the Colt. And they were both on the couch settled next to each other, an arm draped over Cas’ shoulders, Sam’s fingers stroking the short strands of Castiel’s hair. Sam had liked touching him, liked making sure Cas was still there even when he wasn’t looking. Cas had taken his hand, and curled their fingers together before moving to stand, leading Sam upstairs to the bedroom they’d secretly shared ever since they’d brought Bobby home from the hospital. Sam had smiled at him, though Castiel could feel the tremble in his fingers. Cas locked the door behind them and brought Sam’s hand to his face, kissed his knuckles and whispered: “Relax”. Sam had taken a breath, closed his eyes, and kissed him, hard and sure, like Cas was the only thing Sam could ever want. His hands were warm against Cas’ skin, as his trenchcoat quickly fell to the floor, Sam’s jacket following not long after. They made love that night, for the first time. And afterward, Castiel had held Sam all through the night, watching as his chest rose and fell, feeling his heartbeat drum against his skin. The next morning, they’d head out to kill the devil, but this night was theirs, and theirs alone.

 

******

 

If Cas is honest with himself, that’s one of the things that hurt the most, now. Even though Sam is still here, he doesn’t touch Cas like he used to. Doesn’t touch him at all really. It’s almost as if what they had before all of this - before Lucifer, before the cage, before Cas’ handprint seared itself into the flesh of Sam’s body as he dragged him from the cage - meant nothing, less than nothing. Cas holds the photo close to his heart and rolls over to the side of the bed Sam used to like sleeping on and inhales. It still smells like him. Castiel looks down at the photo one last time, pain welling in his chest, and he laughs, bitter and cold, as a tear falls down the side of his face. He’s being ridiculous. He knows he is. But knowing that Sam - his Sam - is still trapped down there with Lucifer and he can’t do anything about it? He can’t --

 

There’s a prayer not a moment later, Sam asking for assistance with a pack of werewolves. Cas hesitates, smooths his hand down over the blanket, and goes to meet him.