Dean taught him how to be human. That’s what Sam tries to remember as he watches the angel and his idiotic brother stumble around the words they can’t bring themselves to say.
Sometimes, Sam is sure they won’t ever find their way to each other. But more often than not, he hears it.
Its Dean turning down the radio in the Impala, glancing at Cas and saying there is nothing good on, and to sleep.
How Cas remarks, quiet and serious, that Dean should eat vegetables because meat is not all he needs to survive.
When he asks, voice laced with concern, if Dean is sleeping well when he wakes up with sleep shadows clinging to his face and his hands shaking from nightmares.
It’s there in Dean’s fond smile at Cas and the way he drags the angel down to watch Star Wars, promising him he’ll love it.
It’s in the tense set of Cas’s shoulders when Dean is hurt, the tight set of his mouth as he radiates angelic disapproval.
In the sharp, furious bark of Dean’s voice when he yells at Castiel for putting himself in danger.
It’s in everything. The half glances that neither seem aware of, like they are reassuring themselves the other is there.
The long stares that are so fucking heavy sometimes Sam feels like he’s intruding.
It’s in the way Dean brushes against the angel when he passes by, and the way Cas grasps his shoulder. It’s in the way Dean steals his plate and Cas invades his space and the half smile he gives Dean that no one else gets from the angel.
Sam used to think they were all big gestures and epic love. Having yanked Dean from hell and fallen from Heaven, Dean fighting to save him from Purgatory it made sense. Everything in their life felt big.
But that was years ago and while those still matter…its these things that count. Sam wonders if maybe the big things aren’t as big as they seem. If it’s not the tiny things. The things that happen every day, that he never considered remarkable when it was him and Jess, but in Dean and Cas, it is everything. It’s sweet and intimate, and so right that sometimes Sam’s chest aches, watching them. This, then, is what they have.
It’s that every time Cas needs something, it’s Dean he calls.
It’s that when Dean is desperate or lonely or happy, he turns to Cas.
It’s a million things and nothing and all of them linger in the space between them, heavy on the air full of promise.
A thousand words and gestures that all say the one thing that remains unsaid.
Sam sits in the backseat of the Impala and Dean murmurs about Cas sleeping and Cas leans his head against the seat, curved toward Dean and it’s there.
Heaven and Hell and everything between may change. They do with startling regularity. But this Sam has come to depend on.
This silent promise. The unspoken love story that he watches every day.
He smiles to himself, happy with his little world and small family, and goes to sleep in the blanket of a thousand unsaid words, all three repeating endless and a thousand ways.
I love you.