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Let Me Count the Ways

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Dean knows that love scares the living daylights out of him.

He knows that when girls have cried in front of him in the past, he’s the first one to make a bad joke and slowly back out of the room.

He knows that whenever his own brother, the person he trusts and loves most in the world, asks him about what he’s ‘feeling’, Dean scrambles to change the subject.

He knows that even though he’s been closer to grief than most people, having seen his mom burning on the ceiling and having nightmares for years afterwards. Even though he greets the familiarity of grief like an old friend, he can’t bear to deal with it.

Which is why, when he happens upon his ex-angel crying on their bed, wound into a tight ball and shaking, his first instinct is to turn and run. Get Sammy, have him deal with it.

But instead Dean hesitantly sits in front of Cas, putting a hand on his knee. The only indication Cas knows he is there is a hitched breath and a shudder.

They sit there for a few moments, the only sound being Cas’s soft cries and Dean’s pounding heart.

Dean knows what Cas needs. Dean knows the notion terrifies him.

Slowly, Dean untangles Cas’s limbs from clutching onto each other, settling down behind him and encasing Cas in his arms. He presses a cheek to Cas’s head. His angel–always an angel to him, even without his grace–clutches onto Dean’s wrists, still unable to speak. His chest heaves in and out with suppressed sobs.

Dean presses a firm kiss into Cas’s hair. Now or never. “You squint a lot,” he begins, his voice cracking a bit into the silence. “And you do that weird head-tilty thing when you’re confused.” He clears his throat self-consciously. Cas stills, curling closer into Dean’s chest.

He kisses the dip behind Cas’s ear, feeling more confident. “After all these months of being human, you still can’t cook for shit.” He burrows his nose into the nape of Cas’s neck and smiles, losing himself in Cas. “But even after months of being human you still have that awesome, outer-spacey, larger than life smell on you. Kinda like how the air smells when it’s about to rain.”

Cas stirs underneath him. “Dean–”

“Your hair never stays down; it always looks like you just rolled out of bed. You like to nerd out with Sammy about the stupidest things, like the rise and fall of ancient Rome and the old Norse gods that you met back in the good old days.”

“Dean, I don’t–”

“You snore when you sleep,” Dean carries on, afraid to stop. “I guess it’ll bother me one day but right now I think it’s kinda cute. You buy stupid food at the grocery store that we’ll never cook or eat, like couscous and pickled herring. You wear the stupidest sweaters for every holiday under the freaking sun, and even after wearing those disasters you still insist on buying ugly loafers when we go shoes shopping.” He swallows a hard lump in his throat. “Even in those dorky loafers, I can’t help but be…” (I can’t help be completely gone on you) But he stops. That’s too much to say.

He can feel Cas become more pliant beneath his arms; his hitched breathing has stopped. “Every holiday has to be recognized through festive clothing,” he sniffs stubbornly beneath Dean.

Cracking a wide smile, Dean buries his face into Cas’s thick, unruly hair. “Silly angel.”

“Dean… why are you telling me these things?”

He cups Cas’s cheek and turns his head to face him. “I don’t know why you’re sad, Cas; and we’ll figure it out.” He wipes away a loose tear trailing down Cas’s face with his thumb. “But you need to hear why I love you.”

Cas regards him with wondering blue eyes, still wet with tears. Dean wonders if he’s gone too far; until Cas curls his hand around the back of Dean’s head and pulls him in for a kiss. “Thank you, Dean,” he whispers roughly against his lips.

Love scares the living crap out of Dean. He’ll never want to discuss feelings, his own included. He probably never will.

But for his angel, he can make an exception.