Dean never saw it coming. With every apocalypse, every curveball that came their way, he could at least anticipate it a little bit before it punched him in the face. Sometimes, he could duck before it caught him. He almost always could see it just around the bend. But this, he never saw this coming.
He had taken Cass out to get ice cream. Sam was at home, neck deep in lore books, reading in his free time. Dean had offered to bring him too, but he just waved his hand a little and made a grunting noise. Dean had taken that as a no, and went to knock on Cass’s door instead. Cass had opened it, standing in only his suit. His otherwise bare room only had the khaki trench coat, hanging on a hook, to decorate it. “Yes Dean?” Dean grinned. “Grab your jacket. We’re getting ice cream.” Cass looked at him. “I don’t get cold Dean.” Dean rolled his eyes. “Aesthetics, Cass.” Cass shrugged and pulled on his coat. “Is Sam coming?” Dean shook his head. “Nope, just you and me this time.” Cass nodded. And the two of them got in Baby and left.
Dean took him to this tiny place in town. Cass was like a little kid. “THIRTY ONE FLAVORS?!” He asked in surprise. Dean smiled. “Yeah Cass, thirty one.” Castiel got out of the car first and Dean grabbing his wallet hurried after him. Cass was already looking at all the flavors. The cute, bouncy cashier was giving him samples. He was trying double chocolate chunk when Dean got in there. He put it in his mouth and gave Dean a brilliant grin. “Dean, the molecules are going slow enough that I can taste it as it is!” Dean smiled back. How could he not smile back? Cass’s blue eyes were shining. Dean pulled him back a little. “Let's see.” He scanned the flavors. “How about angel food cake?” Cass glared at him. Dean grinned. “Okay, that one was a bit low.” Cass rolled his eyes. Dean spotted another flavor. “Cass, they have honey.” Cass’s face lit up. Dean grinned. He walked up to the counter. “Let’s have two waffle cones, one with two scoops of chocolate brownie for me, and one with two scoops of honey for my angel over there.” The girl grinned. “Sure!” She started on the cones. “You know, you guys are really cute together!” Dean’s eyebrows shot to his hairline. “No, no, we aren’t together, together. Not like that.” He stumbled a little over his words and blushed. The girl shrugged. “If not, you should be.” Dean was taken aback. “Excuse me?” She smiled at him again. “He obviously loves you.” Dean shot a look over at Cass, who had wandered outside. He was already waist deep in a patch of wildflowers. He was looking at bees. The girl nodded. “Can't you see it?” Dean looked at her, his eyebrows scrunched together. “See it?” She giggled. “You should see the way he looks at you when you aren’t looking.” She handed him the cones. “Or the way you look at him when he isn’t looking.” He reached for his wallet. She shook her head. “It's on the house. Just go out there and tell that boy you love him.” Dean blushed a little and mumbled his thanks. And he went outside.
Cass was sitting on the bench by a pond. He had a bunch of wildflowers in his lap, and he was weaving them into a crown. Dean handed him his ice cream. Cass put the flowers down and smiled. “Thank you Dean.” Dean looked at him. “Cass, the girl inside, she said you love me.” Cass smiled. “I do.” Dean bit his lip. “Like a brother right? Like you love Sam?” Cass shook his head. “No Dean, I don’t love you the way I love Sam. But I learned early on that you are uncomfortable with me displaying my love in any other way, so I show it that way.” Dean was speechless for a moment. Cass just licked his ice cream happily and waited. “You love me differently than Sam?” Was all that Dean could formulate. Cass nodded peacefully. “Dean, I pulled you from hell, I gave up heaven for you, I fell for you, I died for you multiple times, I ate every soul in purgatory to be the shining light you wanted, and when that went awry, I took Sam’s pain so you would not have to carry it. I ran from you in purgatory to protect you. I tried to close heaven and hell for you, I sacrificed all to remove the mark of Cain, I tried to stop Amara for you, and I protected Jack and Sam for you. I did all of it for you.” Dean choked a little on his ice cream. “But you did all those things for the good of humanity.” Cass smiled. “And you are the best of humanity.” Dean looked confused. “But isn’t homosexuality supposed to be a sin or some shit?” Cass’s smile widened. “Dean, I'm not a man. Or a woman. I am a wavelength of celestial intent. This vessel is male, and because of such I do not express my love for you romantically, as it makes you uncomfortable.” Dean finished his ice cream. “You want to express your love romantically?” Cass nodded. “Dean, if it were alright with you, I would kiss you, I would hold you, and as time went on, I would consummate with you. But as long as you are not comfortable with that, I will continue to love you as I love Sam. As my family. As my friend.” Dean bit his lip a little. He debated not saying anything, but he knew after that bare bones confession of love he had to. Why lie to himself now? Why shove this away? And the words bubbled out. “Cass, I love you too. You know that right?” Castiel nodded. “Of course I know, Dean. After all you have sacrificed, after all you have done for me, how could I not?” And with those words, Dean leaned forward and kissed him. It was slow and perfect and sweet. Dean could taste the remnants of honey ice cream on his lips. Cass slipped his hands up and placed the flower crown on Dean’s hair. And they sat that way for a long time.
Dean never saw it coming. But unlike all the apocalypses, the curveballs, and the deadly bends in the road, this didn’t punch him in the face. This picked him up with the same broken wings that had pulled him from hell, and carried him up, up, up, above it all.
They lay together that night, their naked bodies curled up close. Dean knew Cass wasn’t asleep, but for once, he didn’t mind him watching over him. He felt Cass’s warm lips nuzzling his neck. A soft grin spread across Cass’s lips. He could feel it against his neck. Dean snuggled in closer. He breathed in a deep breath and let it out slowly. And he slept.
Dean never saw it coming. And for once, that was a good thing.
Dean never saw it coming. It blindsided him like every other curveball thrown at his face. But unlike all those other curveballs, he was glad it came. Because this—the warmth of Cass behind him, the comfort of his long fingers around his waist, the peace in his soul—this was home.