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  1. The way he talks
  2. The way his eyes glow
  3. That damn trench-coat that he lugs around everywhere and don’t get me started on the Continental
  4. He always eats what I cook, even though he doesn’t need to.
  5. Fucking annoying head tilt thing
  6. How he just randomly blows out lightbulbs
  7. His hair is untameable
  8. He watches over me even when he doesn’t know I’m there
  9. ‘Hello Dean’
  10. How close he is to Sam

Castiel’s being shudders, eyes instantly glossing over the list.

He was trying to be useful by helping the brothers do the laundry and he’d found this sitting on Dean’s bedside table.

At first he thought Dean was just scribbling to keep his thoughts away from The Mark. But this…

Castiel had caught sight of his name and he’d instantly known it would be nothing good. But this…

This broke his heart.

To have everything that Dean hated about him splayed out in the open like this… the amount of thought that Dean had put – well, maybe Dean didn’t even need to exert himself much to make a list of the things he hates about Castiel. Dean had thankfully narrowed it down to only ten things. Castiel peruses the list one last time, as though it isn’t already seared into his cornea and sets it down exactly as he found it.

Determined he marches out of the room. He can do this. He can do it for Dean. He knows the hunter will never return any romantic feelings and he remained okay with that… but his friendship with Dean, that was sacred to him, something he’d come to value more than any trinket or other memory. It’s still possible to salvage the situation, he just needs to make some changes.

“Sam.” He calls, entering the library.

“What’s up Cass?”

“Um…” he trails off, suddenly timid. “I need your help.” He’d already dropped off his car in a storage unit, leaving the coat behind as well. Despite the rewards he stood to reap, he couldn’t bring himself to just dump them somewhere. Out of sight; out of mind, as the saying goes.

Next, he planned clothes and hair.

He wasn’t sure what clothes would be appropriate, and Sam is usually the one who shops with Dean, he should know his brother’s preferences.

“I’m looking for some new attire.” He says, “I was hoping that you would join me. I’m still a bit ‘rusty’ when dealing with other humans.”

Sam perks up, like Castiel had expected. Out of the two brothers he was always more open and willing to spend time with others. “Sure thing, meet me in the garage, I just need to grab my jacket.” He stops on his way to the door, sending Castiel a strange look. “Speaking of jackets, where’s yours? I always thought it was welded onto you.” Sam gives a chuckle and Castiel decides to play along.

But in the back of his mind, all he can think of is: He’s violating rule 10 (Getting too close to Sam)

Sam offered him only shirts and dress pants, even some ties and coats that only served to remind him of his own.

No. Castiel had decided that he would do away with the ‘holy tax accountant shtick’ as Dean refers to it.

“I was thinking of something more casual. Like you and Dean.”

“Flannel?” he asks in alarm, “You’ve got your own style going Cass, you don’t have to copy us.”

“I’m not copying you.” he says indignantly, “I just want some new clothes.”

“Well.” Sam says, considering, “First you have to figure out what stuff you like and we’ll move on from there.”

He’d liked the trench-coat, he thinks in dismay.

Castiel shakes himself. Here he is fussing over a piece of beige cloth.

Resolutely he points out the green sweater he only likes because it reminds him of Dean’s eyes.

“I was thinking.” He says, helping Sam pack the bags into his car. They’d only bought a few different outfits, mostly sweaters and jeans, and some new belts. While Sam was distracted by some ‘cooling socks’ he’d bought over fifty new lightbulbs. At least he’d be able to change them rather than stressing Dean out.

His mannerisms like ‘head tilt’ and ‘the way he talks’ would be harder. He’d have to reduce verbal interactions until he found a way to change his habits.

Now, the hair.

“I want a hair-cut.” He announces, “Or at least something to ‘tame’ it”

Sam huffs, shooting him an amused look as he flicks his hair clear of his face, “You mean a brush?” he laughs once more, “Dean’s bought me probably fifty brushes… and some scissors. He’s always bitching about my hair. I’ll lend you one when we get back.”

“Thank you Sam.”

When they got back, after helping him sort the clothes, Sam gave him a small black brush and told him that once a day would be good enough.

The bristles felt strange though. He wondered what they’d feel like on his skull.

Standing in front of the bathroom mirror, he swipes the brush hear his hairline. It’s stuck. He tugs some more until eventually it releases… along with a clump of hair. He presses on, yanking and tugging violently. Needless to say, it’s slow work.

“Woah there!” Dean stand near the door frame, his eyes wide with shock. “You’re abusing your hair Cass. Knowing Sam and his obsession with hair, he would throw you in the dungeon if he were here right now.”

He huffs, cursing himself as the ‘hello Dean’ almost slips, unbidden from his lips.

Dean’s frown deepens, “What the hell are you wearing?”

Castiel shrinks in on himself. Dean didn’t even like this. Was there anything he could wear, that Dean would like? Or was the issue just him?

“You don’t like it?” he asks, trying to stow his disappointment for the moment.

Rolling his eyes, Dean leans against the frame, “It’s a big step away from the ‘holy tax accountant’ look. You tryin’ to impress somebody Cass?”

He blushes. “Maybe.”

Dean shifts, uncomfortable as he always is with even mentions of affection.

“She’ll be all over you buddy.”

Castiel sighs in pure relief.

Over the next few weeks he keeps up his charade. He doesn’t talk much, avoids dinner like the plague and combs his hair religiously every day. Those things are easy. Other things, prove more difficult. He’s avoided using his powers on hunts fairly well and hasn’t had to change many lightbulbs as a result but he isn’t able to push Sam away. He owes his friend so much and he knows that pushing him away would hurt him severely. So, Castiel limits himself to spending as much time as possible with Sam while Dean is out, or sleeping. Which brings him to his other problem. Watching over Dean.

Without the hunter’s soul to keep him company during the night, he prowls the bunker with a deep seated boredom that not even Netflix can satiate.

It’s at dinner, when he feels his resolve breaking.

Dean’s cooking cream of mushroom soup. Castiel’s favourite, besides burgers. The mushrooms always tastes exquisite however Dean seasons them. He doesn’t need to eat. But food is something that Dean does to show that he cares for someone he loves. He’d felt special and honoured to be a part of that, little did he know that he was intruding on something he wasn’t meant for. It felt like Dean was giving him a gift, a portion of his time and effort and how could Castiel not savour that?

So he sits sullenly at the table, politely refusing the blow that Dean lays before him. He sits quietly though dinner, only chirping in a few times to continue the conversation. By the end though, he feels the phantom pains in his stomach.

The brothers turn in minutes after that and Castiel begins his late night vigil.

He prowls the halls, somehow always ending up near Dean’s door. His stomach still twists, begging him for the soup.

Five spoons.

  Just five, he convinces himself as he creeps into the kitchen. He’d held out for so long, he just wants a taste.

Soundlessly, he cracks open the door, bathing his face in light. He grabs a spoon from the stand and uncovers the pot like he’s defusing a bomb.

The first mouthful is blissful. He can tell by the molecules that this batch of soup was made with love. Not love for Castiel, but love nonetheless.

The soup is colder than he’d prefer, but heating it would cause a ruckus and leave more evidence. He’d make do with what he has.

Just as the third spoonful approaches his lips, he’s jarred by someone vociferously clearing their throat.

The light snaps on and there is Dean. His boxers and shorts ruffled from sleep. He holds his hands up in a silent ‘what the hell?’ gesture.

Chastised, Castiel sets the spoon back and closes the fridge.

“I knew you’d come here.”  Insists Dean. “I saw your kicked puppy look when I took the soup away.”

Castiel presses his lips together, trampling down any emotions that rear up. He racks his mind for something suitable to say, something that would convince Dean that Castiel could still be a friend.

“What’s wrong with you lately anyway?” demands Dean.

Castiel remains silent, his brain uncomfortably loud, thinking of how badly he’s failed at such a mundane task. He’d cry if Dean wasn’t here to see him so weak.

Dean sighs, ambling over to him. He pinches his nose, looking uncomfortable, “I didn’t think I’d need to have this talk with you Cass. I did it with Sam when he was a kid, but you’re an all powerful angel. And I know it feels as though we forget that Cass… but we don’t. And you shouldn’t either. You understand me?”

“Not really.”

“Well, I noticed you making all these changes around the same time you told me you were trying to woo some chick.” Dean looks away, scratching his neck awkwardly, “I’m happy that you’ve found someone and all, but… you can’t change yourself. Not for anyone. If they tell you to change that means they don’t love you.”

Castiel stares at him, bewildered… almost enraged at his hypocrisy. But Dean thinks he’s doing this for someone else. He’d react differently if he knew it’s all for him. It’s all for Dean.

“Why didn’t you just have some soup if you wanted to?” Dean seems genuinely confused, “I made it for you cause I know you like the molecules or whatever.”

Castiel pins him with his stare, not daring to believe his ears.

“You made this for me?” his voice is low, unbelieving as he remembers how infused with affection it was.

“Of course I did, you seemed so distant. I miss you Cass.” He admits. Dean flushes at the words, but maintains eye-contact. Castiel can see how sincere he is, how open. “I miss us. And our talks and ‘hello Dean.’ I even miss your stupid clothes. And don’t even think I haven’t noticed you stopped popping into my room at night. What’s the problem Cass? Is she pressuring you to spend all your time with her and ditch all your stuff? ”

Castiel gapes.

“But – you – the list!” he blurts.

“What the hell list are you talking about? She made you a God-dammed list?” Dean scowls, his fists tightening in a way that throws Castiel for a loop. “I think it’s time you introduced me to this bitch. We need to have some words.”

His tongue is numb, but the words somehow make it past: “I found your list Dean. ‘Things About Cass’ that you hate. I did for you, for us.”

Dean’s expression shutters.

“Come with me Cass.”

Castiel walks mindlessly. Dean will surely kick him out now, for the invasion of privacy at least. But Dean bypasses his door entirely, leading them to the ‘Dean Cave.’

“Sit.” Dean gestures to the bed.

Castiel complies, subtly watching Dean as he produces the list from his drawer. Wordlessly he hands it to Castiel and sits next to him holding a paper and pen.

Dean taps his chin for a moment, and Castiel is too entranced to utter a single word.

  1. The way he doesn’t talk to me anymore
  2. The way his eyes have stopped glowing
  3. That he threw away all his stuff for me
  4. He seems to hate what I cook, even if it’s especially for him
  5. He doesn’t do anything ‘Cass’ anymore
  6. No hot displays of angelic power
  7. His hair no longer looks like bedhead.
  8. He doesn’t care enough to watch over me even he knows I need him
  9. He’s bid goodbye to his ‘Hello Dean’s
  10. Him and Sam only talk when I’m not there

Dean stops writing. He grasps Castiel’s chin firmly and looks straight at him, “Do you know what I’m calling this?”

Castiel is denied a reply as Dean moves the paper, holding it up, clearly revealing the title:


Then he moves to the over to the original list, holding it up. “This helped me with the Mark. It made me focus on something other than the bloodlust. I thought, hey, it worked for Cain it’ll work for me too. You know what I call this list Cass?”

Castiel feels his eyes welling with tears… tears of relief, tears of anticipation because Dean sure as hell knows how to draw something out.

Castiel leans in, closing that inch of space between them for the first time ever. His heart soars and he feels Dean melt into him. Euphoria threatens to swallow him as he stares at Dean, the love in his gaze is now undeniable.

And somehow, his love for Dean grows even more when he lifts the first list… the thing that started it all…