The good thing, Castiel decided, about the Earth’s incessant need to shift seasons all the damn time was that when it warmed it was a lot easier for Castiel to appreciate the amount of time in between the original end of the world and the rest of his life. He leaned back against the door of Bobby’s house and resisted the urge to smoke, as quitting meant a longer life span and a longer life with Dean. He squinted at the sphere of yellow light, bright in the cloudless blue sky, and thought about the persistence of the sun, how its hot summer rays tired to warm the Earth, even in the cold winter. The seasons changed but the sun remained through it all, working to keep the land alive. It did not have to make up its mind. It did not have to decide to take one side or the other. The sun simply had to be.
Then again, Castiel thought, absently running his hand over the shape of a box in his coat pocket, some decisions had to be made. Perhaps the sun should consider its relationship with the moon.
They took that beach vacation. They spent weeks with the sand between their toes, watching the waves crash onto the shore. Castiel even learned how to surf, the feeling of wind in his hair as he caught a big wave giving him an overwhelming sense of freedom. The nights he spent with Dean were endless and indescribable, the feeling of being with him better than any high he once chased.
One day, a short while ago, Sam, Dean, and Cas nodded at each other and they knew it was time to go. After all, there were still monsters out there, still people in need of help. So they packed up and returned to Bobby’s house, each one of them agreeing that someday, when they were in need of rest, they would return to the beach.
Castiel managed to peel himself from the door before Dean opened it, the bags in each hand blotting out Castiel’s ability to see within the house. Dean stepped forward, giving Castiel a wink as he passed by on his way to the Impala, throwing the bags in the trunk. Sam followed behind Dean soon after, bags of his own in his hands. As he crossed paths with Castiel, Sam grinned. Sam knew exactly what day today was.
Sam hopped down the steps, and threw the bags at Dean’s feet. Castiel watched as they exchanged words, Sam pointing towards Castiel and Dean shuffling his feet, confusion on his face. Either way, whatever words Sam said worked on Dean.
Dean walked onto the porch and joined Castiel where he stood. “So, Sam says you want to talk to me?”
“I, I, yes. Yes I do,” Castiel said.
His nerves must have shown on his face, because Dean tilted his head, concern clear in his eyes. Dean turned his body so he and Castiel were face to face.
“Everything okay, buddy?” Dean asked.
“Yes, yes. Of course.” Castiel had not felt this nervous before, even when he jumped into Hell. “Or at least I will be.”
“Okay.” Dean cocked an eyebrow. “Wait. You’re not pregnant are you?”
“What? No!” Castiel could feel himself flush from head to toe. “That’s-- That’s not possible.”
Dean laughed and reached out to ruffle Castiel’s hair. “You’re cute when you’re flustered. Doesn't happen enough.” Dean paused, one hand stroking his chin. “But, seriously dude, you’ve been on edge all day. What’s got you all worked up?”
Castiel looked into Dean’s eyes and saw the real concern there, floating in the green. He recognized Dean’s attempt to lighten Castiel’s mood with a joke. Dean knew Castiel, could read his mood so easily. Earlier that day, Sam had commented on how calm Castiel appeared, even with the importance of today. Castiel figured he had been carrying himself well but Dean knew. Of course he knew because, sometimes, Dean knew Castiel better than Castiel himself.
Castiel blinked and looked into the green, the green he had seen all those years ago deep within his dreams. Those dreams lead him to paint, lead him to Dean, lead him to here, this moment, standing on this porch, certain of only one thing in life. Castiel loved Dean.
Dean blinked. “What?”
Reaching into his pocket, Castiel managed to wrap his clumsy fingers around the box. He pulled it out and opened it, revealing what was inside.
Dean blinked again. “Holy shit.”
The band was simple, made from silver rather than gold. Silver was a much more useful material for a hunter. Symbols wrapped around the length of the ring in the same style of Castiel’s tattoos, written to protect a loved one. Those symbols, designed by Castiel and etched in a rather expensive process at the jewelry store, were created with Dean in mind, meant to keep him safe on the field.
Castiel told Dean all of this, knowing he was rambling on and on but unable to stop in the face of Dean’s silence. He was somewhere in the middle of waxing poetic about Dean’s laugh when he was cut off by Dean gripping his shoulders and kissing him deeply.
That worked so much better than talking. Castiel secured the ring box, then leaned into Dean. His body said what his words could not and Dean’s did the same. When they finally released each other, Castiel no longer worried. He knew the truth.
“I take that as a yes?” Castiel said.
“Yes.” Dean pulled Castiel close, his body shaking. “To think I didn’t get you anything.”
“It was meant to be a surprise.”
“Well, it fucking worked.”
“A good one?”
“Yeah, yeah. A good one.”
Dean backed up, wiping at his eyes. It did little to hide the happy tears still in his eyes. Dean reached out and took the box out of Castiel’s hand. When he opened it, the tears threatened to fall onto his cheeks.
“Dude. This is-- this is awesome.” Dean looked up. “Can I put it on?” At Castiel’s nod, he took the ring out of the box and put it on his left ring finger. He stared at it, his smile wide. With no warning, Dean looked up, his eyes huge. “Wait, wait. I got this.” Dean reached into the inner pocket of his leather jacket and produced a silver band of his own. “Stopped wearing it ‘cause it got beat up. Used it to open one too many beer bottles I guess. I, uh, I mean, it’s not a nice as yours but it’ll work until I--”
Castiel took the ring from Dean’s hand and put it on his finger. A little big but Castiel loved it all the same.
“Thank you, Dean,” Castiel said. “I love it.”
Dean’s cheeks flushed pink. “Alright. Cool. So, uh, how does this work, anyway? It’s not like we can go down to the courthouse or whatever.”
“We don’t need any of that.” Castiel clasped their left hands together. “All we need is a promise--” Castiel’s gaze drifted to the side and, right on cue, Sam appeared-- “and a witness.”
“Wait.” Dean addressed Sam. “How long did you know about this?”
“I don’t know,” Sam said. “Maybe about halfway through the beach vacation?”
“What?” Dean shouted. “And you couldn’t give me a heads up?”
“I promised Cas I wouldn’t. And besides,” Sam said with a little brother grin, “you’re cute when you’re flustered.”
“He was very helpful,” Castiel added. “And gave his blessing.”
Dean looked back to Castiel, right into his fond expression, and shook his head.
“I can’t believe I married you,” Dean said.
“Almost married me,” Castiel said. “We still need to make a promise.”
“Uh, okay. How do we do that?”
Castiel tightened his grip on Dean’s hand. This part, this part he knew. This part was easy.
He said his promise in Enochian. Castiel had said the same words more than once to Dean. As he spoke, he saw Dean’s eyes light up with recognition at the sound. Castiel had no way of doing the words justice in translation but, from the look on Dean’s face, Castiel was certain his message was understood. When he finished speaking, both Sam and Dean started at him, mouths open but silent.
“Wow, Dean,” Sam said. “You are never going to top that.”
“Quiet, you. I-- I didn’t have time to prepare.” Dean stared at Castiel with pleading eyes.
“That’s okay,” Castiel said. “All you have to do is promise to be with me.”
“Um, okay, so.” Dean cleared his throat. “I, Dean Winchester take thee, Castiel of no last name but should totally be Winchester, as my not-so-lawfully wedded, uh, husband.” Dean looked like he was about to stop there, but then he would not let Castiel release his hand. “Look. You’re stuck with me, dude, before this and after this. I ain’t leaving you. Never again. I promise you. And I promise, even though you got your memories back and shouldn’t forget, to remind you, every day if I have to, that I love you.” Dean took a breath and looked around the porch, as if he expected some sign from above. “Was that okay?”
Castiel wanted to tell him that was more than okay, that Castiel could not ask for anything more, but there was a lump in his throat preventing him from speaking.
“Hey, Cas?” Sam said, recognizing his trouble. “You should totally kiss the bride.”
Castiel reached for Dean and did as suggested. Their kiss was full of warm, gentle, promise, and, when they released each other, Dean made no effort to hide his tears. Castiel expected a comment from Sam. A sniffle from Castiel's side made him look over to see Sam wiping at his eyes.
They took a moment to gather themselves.
“So,” Dean began. “We’re thinking ghouls, right?”
Sam sniffed and wiped his nose on his sleeve. “Um, yup. Bobby’s already out there doing the FBI thing. We’re the backup.”
“Cool,” Dean said. “Man, Bobby’s gonna be pissed we got married without him here.” Dean beamed at Castiel.
“He already knows,” Castiel said.
“Yeah, we called him,” Sam said. “He said the whole thing was-- how’d he put it-- ‘too sentimental’ for him. Though I’m pretty sure he’s taking you out for dinner once the case is done.”
“I cannot believe everyone was in on this! How did I not know?” Dean threw up his hands and started to head for the Impala. “And now we’re gonna honeymoon in a graveyard and get covered in ghoul guts. How fun.”
“It’s the Winchester way,” Sam said, following Dean.
“Guess so.” Dean looked over his shoulder and smiled at Castiel. “The way for all of us.”
Castiel joined the brothers at the Impala’s trunk, stuffing his last bag into the space in between Sam's and Dean's duffels. Nothing left empty. He stood between Sam and Dean and his heart swelled at the promise of the free open road, of traveling down that asphalt line along with his family.
Dean reached up to grab the open trunk, his new ring glinting in the sunlight. He nodded to Sam, then to Castiel.
“We got work to do,” Dean said.
The Impala’s trunk slammed shut.