When the brothers return from their hunt--a tulpa, and Castiel had already been told about it in far more detail than he wanted--they find Cas sitting in the living room. Staring with unnerving intensity at the corner of the bookcase.
He barely acknowledges them, muttering a distracted hello as they come in, but not bothering to look up.
They exchange glances and then Dean cautiously approaches. "Cas, buddy. You ok?"
Legitimate question. The angel had been a little off since he lost his grace and regained it. Again.
How many times can any angel go through that and not fall apart completely?
"I'm wonderful, Dean. There's lasagna in the oven. And salad. Would you bring me a plate when you eat?"
He still hasn't looked up.
Sam this time, "Cas, what are you staring at?"
Because he's an angel and the bunker has been haunted before, it wouldn't be surprising to be again, and maybe it was something else. Something celestial.
"A mouse," Cas says matter of factly.
When the screaming starts, he finally looks away from the damn corner.
They argue about it. Dean actually pulls a gun, trained on the corner with all the intensity that Cas had previously had.
"Dean!" Cas snaps, and Dean throws an annoyed look at the angel. "You can't kill it!"
That stops both brothers. Finally Sam says, a little blank, as Dean shifts his weight anxiously, "Why not?"
Castiel stares at the corner and his expression goes soft and sad. "He only wants somewhere he can be safe." His gaze flicks to the brothers. "A home."
Fuck. Dean's seen that look before. That wounded puppy look that slipped into Cas's eyes when he left the bunker, last year. When Sam was recovering from the trials and Cas had been painfully human and homeless.
His gun drops to his side. His stomach twists and he's staring at the angel.
"The mouse can stay."
It's after dinner. While Cas is standing at the sink, his hands soapy and his feet bare, that Dean clears his throat.
"You know you aren't the mouse, right?"
The angel goes still, his shoulders tight. If Dean could see his wings, he imagines they are tucked tight against his back. Making himself a smaller target.
And that breaks his heart, a little.
"You aren't looking for a home, Cas," he murmurs. Stepping closer until he's close enough to feel the warmth of the angel without touching him.
And still Castiel doesn't speak or move.
When Dean's hand settles, slowly, on his hip, thumb brushing over that sharp jut of bone that is fucking distracting as hell, Castiel shudders.
"This is home, Cas. I'm home," Dean whispers the last against the softness of Castiel's skin, and he always thought he was scared, of this. Scared to be honest. But Cas is trembling under his hand and lips, his skin warm and soft, god, so fucking soft, and salty when Dean opens his mouth and sucks a bruise into the place where the long neck curves into strong shoulders.
When Cas moves, it's into him, whimpering and wordless pleas as Dean does what he's wanted for fucking years, and kisses his angel.
Later, much later. Dean creeps out of his bedroom, barefoot and shirtless, in search of water for an angel. He pauses in the hallway and stares at the black beady eyes of a tiny gray mouse.
Then their unexpected houseguest scurries back to it's corner and Dean smiles.
He should put out some cheese for the little guy. It's the very least he can do.