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What Joseph Saw

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Joseph almost can’t catch his breath, he’s laughing so hard. When was the last time I laughed with Dean? Have I ever laughed with Dean before? The thought is fleeting; he chooses to sink into the welcome experience of easy camaraderie (and his chair) rather than poke too hard at wondering about changes. He focuses on Dean’s story, and enjoys the warm feeling of being included. He’s glad he took a chance on asking about returning to patrol duty. When he’d approached the porch steps this morning, he certainly hadn’t been expecting this.

Memories tickle the back of his mind—quiet conversations around camp to the effect of what’s going on with Dean and Cas? —but he ignores them for the moment, not wanting to break the spell. It’s nice, laughing with Dean.

Dean, his attention snagged by something indiscernible, breaks off and swivels to address Cas, who has appeared and is leaning against the door frame of the bedroom. “Hey, want some coffee?” He gets to his feet and looks back at Joseph. “You?”

Joseph automatically responds, “Sure, thanks,” and hopes that his astonishment isn’t visible as he tracks Dean’s exit. Dean is…getting me coffee? Getting Cas coffee? Cas wants coffee?

“Good morning, Cas.” He looks back at Cas and pauses. Cas is blinking sleepily at him from the bedroom (bedroom?!) doorway, rumpled and clutching his pajamas with a bandaged hand, barely staying upright. Huh. Wait. Now that’s very interesting. Does that explain...? I wonder how long...? Shit, he’s looking at me, I need to say something. “You okay? You look….” Fuck. I can’t say that. What….

After some internal flailing, Joseph gives up and gestures towards the couch. “Sit down already.” He sucks in a breath. Keep it together, man.

He watches as Cas slowly drifts over to the couch and sinks down, carefully schooling his face to not reflect his state of sudden high alert, of processing a flood of cues and information that holy shit wait till I tell everyone...

“I’m not used to…” Cas breaks into a yawn, curls into the couch, and gets even more rumpled, if possible. “I usually don’t sleep this late.”

Joseph cocks his head, tamping down on the glee bubbling up. “Looks like you might need a few more hours.” He’s proud he managed to get that out without an overlay of insinuation that is probably still inappropriate for interacting with the camp leaders, for fuck’s sake. He’s also proud that he doesn’t startle at Dean, who is suddenly back in the room handing him coffee.

“Which is what he’s gonna be getting when we’re done.” Dean is addressing Joseph but his attention is on Cas.

He crouches in front of Cas and murmurs softly, “Feeling better?” Cas murmurs back, “Much,” and eyes the coffee Dean is holding.

Joseph fights the feeling of unreality overtaking him as he watches Dean fondly (fondly?!) keep the coffee out of reach. Where is the cutting sarcasm that defined them? The defensiveness?

He holds his breath while Dean continues, concern leaking through as he considers Cas. "You need to eat something. I'll see what we got. Forgot to raid Chuck's yesterday for more supplies, but we got enough for another meal."

“Fine, yes,” Cas says, with no fight, no hesitation. None of the combativeness that once marked his interactions with Dean. And his reward is to get his cup of coffee which he... relishes? Joseph can’t quite keep himself from clutching the arm of the chair while he stares at this tableau of domesticity—of Cas enjoying coffee and Dean’s attention, of Dean dropping comfortably to the couch next to Cas like he belongs there and oh my god.

Cas notices, and tries to explain. "I like coffee. No one told me it improves with the addition of sugar."

"Sugar makes everything better," Joseph agrees. He takes a sip in solidarity, mostly to keep from laughing out loud. Oh. My. God.