Cas hasn’t moved from his spot on the couch in days and Dean is starting to get concerned. Usually the angel is an unstoppable bubble of energy, always asking questions or trying to get the new experience, but ever since Gabe was killed again and after Cas came back without his full grace, he’s been reserved, cut off.
“Cas, would you like the bowl of fruit or the PB&J? Come on, man, I need you to choose one,” Dean prompts and Cas looks at him without really looking and points to the fruit. Dean counts that as a win. Cas usually refuses to decide and Dean has to practically shove the food down his throat. Dean sits on the edge of the couch, his back just barely touching Cas’s body, and helps Cas sit up so that he can eat. Cas still leans heavily on Dean, but Dean doesn’t mind, he only feeds Cas strawberry by strawberry until the bowl is empty. Dean then holds up a glass of water to Cas’s mouth and Cas drinks it without protest.
Dean decides this is a good day since Cas at least cooperating, so he leans Cas up against the back of the couch so that Dean can bring the dishes back to the kitchen. Dean gives a small smile to Sam who sags in relief that Cas is having a better day. Yesterday was brutal. Cas didn’t even get up to use the bathroom and wet the bed, hence why he is on the couch today and why Dean has been prompting bathroom breaks all day. Dean feels like he’s dealing with toddler Sam, but he doesn’t mind. He’s too concerned about his best friend.
Dean heads back to the couch and sits down so that he’s facing Cas, bringing one of his hands up to Cas’s cheek to turn Cas’s head to face him. He keeps stroking Cas’s stubbly cheek until Cas focuses on Dean, seeming startled at the contact. Dean keeps his hand where it is and gives Cas a smile.
“There you are,” Dean mutters. Cas doesn’t respond, only tears up.
Dean just stays silent, trying to help ground Cas, hoping that the angel will speak in his own time. Dean hasn’t gotten Cas to talk yet, but he still has hope. Cas just needs to process this...grief?...to the best of his ability. Dean knows that he himself processes with anger, but Cas, well, Cas must process by shutting down to make the pain stop. So, Dean decides to bring some of it to the surface so that Cas can work through it little by little. Maybe then Cas can see that it’s better to talk than to bottle it, something Dean still struggles with but knows that it helps.
“Hey,” Dean starts just to make sure Cas is still focused before continuing. “I know that Gabriel meant a lot to you. I mean, don’t get me wrong, the guy was an ass, but I also know that he always protected you and Sammy and that he raised you from a...fledgling. He told stories about you, you know? He talked about your first time flying and how he kissed your knee better by channeling his grace through his lips. You thought it was the funniest thing ever. Like, apparently you flew because your wings were twitching so much from laughing. He also talked about how he wanted to visit you when he left, that he felt bad for leaving you with Michael and Lucifer and wished that he could have brought you with, but he wanted you to have a life with your brothers and sisters in heaven.
“He, uh, he said that he wrote down every prayer you sent to him. I think Sam has that journal, if you wanted to read it sometime. Oh, and he said that you’re a cuddler, that you would sleep in his nest because you said it felt like home. He said that you would bring a souvenir into it every time you visited earth with him. Like...oh, he said you brought in a woman’s scarf, ascots, tons of different fabrics that you thought felt soft, a stuffed bee, an actual beehive once.
“I like that about you, you know? The fact that you like the feel and texture and taste and whatnot of different stuff. Like...I sometimes feel you just run the fringe of my flannels or my jackets between your fingers and that’s really adorable. Um...I don’t mind, it’s, uh, kinda nice. Anyways, my point is that Gabriel may be gone, but he can still hear your prayers, ya know? You heard mine in Purgatory and the Empty, I know you did. I meant every word, uh, every word, Cas. Okay? And Gabriel can hear you, too. He’s strong and you mean the most to him, right up there with Sammy, and I know that he’ll keep his angel ears open for you.
“And you still have these memories of him. I’m not saying that the hurt and emptiness ever leaves, hell, I know it doesn’t. I feel every death of the people I love every morning, ‘s why I drink so much sometimes, when it gets really bad. But I also know that talking helps, too. So I sometimes talk to Sammy and I sometimes talk to you in prayer you know? ‘Cause I’m too scared to say it to your face, especially when you wouldn’t get it, like, you couldn’t feel the exact feeling as an angel and I just needed someone to listen and when it’s not in prayer you ask questions. Which isn’t a bad thing, just...shit, I’m fucking this up.
“What I mean to say, Cas, is that I may not know exactly what you specifically are going through with Gabriel’s death. I don’t know what you’re going through with this loss of grace thing, but I can help you by just listening if you want. Or I can talk. Or I can just hold you. Or I can just sit here. But I need you to say it, okay?
“I don’t really know what I’m doing with this. Sammy sometimes went through this, but he would tell me and I can do it if you communicate that you just want silence or whatever, but it scares me that I don’t know if I’m doing anything right. Because you mean a lot to me, Cas, and I can’t lose you, too. I need you for more than just your grace, you know? So don’t let that worry you. Jus’ let me help, please?”
Dean has moved his forehead to rest on Cas’s at some point during his speech and he feels like he rambled, but Cas hasn’t made any move to stop him. Cas actually seems like he listened to every word of Dean’s speech and that he’s processing it right now, so Dean gives him time. He moves his hand to Cas’s hair and strokes the silky strands and keeps his eyes trained on Cas’s. He feels Cas relax into him and watches as Cas closes his eyes, leaning into the touch.
“Can we just lie down and sleep?” Cas asks eventually, his voice hoarse from his silence, eyes still closed. Dean sighs in relief, so glad to hear Cas’s voice again.
“Yeah, yeah, that’s good,” Dean responds, rearranging them so that his back presses up to the back of the couch and so that Cas’s back is pressed to his front as per Cas’s brief instructions along the way.
“Hold me?” Cas whispers, almost as if he expects Dean to refuse, but Dean wouldn’t refuse anything at this point. He merely wraps his arms around Cas, kisses Cas’s neck in reassurance and nestles his nose into the junction between Cas’s neck and shoulder. Cas wriggles until he’s situated as close as possible to Dean, but he’s still shivering. Dean pulls a blanket over them.
“Sleep, Cas. We can talk when you feel like it because we do need to talk, but just sleep and open up in your own time.”
“Thank you,” Cas rasps and Dean responds with another kiss to Cas’s neck.
Sam smiles at the two as he passes to place waters down on the table, knowing that Cas may never be all the way okay, but he at least trusts Dean. Sam knows that Dean will always be there to watch over his angel just like Cas watched over Dean before, so he walks back to his own room to sleep, feeling just a bit better with this hope for a better future between the two idiots.