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Dean was about to push open the door and step into his room when he heard the sounds of wings flapping coming from inside. He stayed outside and even contemplated going back downstairs to give Castiel and his brother some privacy. But when he heard that it was just Gabriel and Balthazar, he stayed. If the conversation got too personal, he’d head back downstairs.

“How are you doing, Cassy?”

“I’m healing.”

“You know that’s not what we mean.”

“Well, what do you mean, Gabriel?”

“Cas, you went through a lot these last few months.”

“I know.”

“And then you went through this lone ranger phase.”

Castiel sighed. He did not want to be reminded of all of the mistakes he’d made. “I know, Balthazar.”

Dean could hear how tired and frustrated he was with his brothers constantly asking about his well-being. He knew how it felt to be constantly coddled over.

“So, how are you now?” Gabriel asked.

“I’m feeling better,” Castiel replied.

“Okay.” Gabriel said, but wasn’t content with the answer he got from Castiel.

And Castiel knew it too. “I don’t know what you want me to say, Gabriel,” he said with a sigh. He wished he had his grace so he could just fly away from the conversation.

“I don’t know, Cas. I just want to know that you’re doing okay. After everything with you and Dean—”

“I said I was. Dean’s been helping me.”

“Finally,” Balthazar said under his breath, but both Castiel and Dean heard him.

Dean had to restrain himself from bursting into the room and to defend himself. He didn’t want them to know he was listening in on their conversation, even though he had an inkling that Gabriel already knew. Why else would his name be brought up in their conversation?

“Balthazar, don’t,” Castiel warned when he saw his brother ready to attack Dean again. He had to defend Dean since he wasn’t there to do it himself. “He did what he could.”

“Only because he felt guilty that you became a chew toy for a couple of Hellhounds.”

“He’s human, Gabriel.”

“But you were his friend,” Balthazar countered.

“I still am,” Castiel whispered.

Dean was glad that Castiel said that, because if he didn’t, he would have charged into the room to say it himself.

“If he helped you the first time we brought you to him, you wouldn’t have being attacked by those Hellhounds.”

“I didn’t want his help then, Gabriel.” He sighed. “And even if he did help me, I still would have went after Vetis. The results would not have been that much different.”

“You’re going to defend him no matter what I say, aren’t you?” Gabriel groaned.

“I know him better than I know you, Gabriel,” Castiel whispered. Or at least he tried. It was hard to keep his words unheard with his deep voice.

Dean could have sworn he heard Gabriel’s heart shatter. Then Dean thought about what Castiel had just said. He was closer to Castiel than Gabriel was. He was terrified of magnitude of the revelation.

“Cas,” Gabriel replied.

“I’m sorry, Gabriel,” Castiel apologized sincerely. “That wasn’t supposed to be cruel. I was just stating facts. Maybe you held me when I was first created, but I don’t remember you.”

“That’s probably for the best,” Gabriel said with a sad laugh. “So, Dean’s really been helping you?”

“When he hasn’t been trying to find a way to defeat the Leviathans.”

“So, he’s been taking time off to help you?”

“He helps me when he’s free,” Castiel corrected. “I’m not the priority, Gabriel. The Leviathans are.”

“Keep thinking that, Cassy.”

“Balthazar.” He hated whenever his brothers would talk in riddles. The headaches they gave him were worse as a human than they were as an angel. “What—”

“We should get back to helping Mike,” Gabriel said, then he and Balthazar flew off, leaving Castiel alone.

Dean waited for a couple of minutes before he stepped into the room. He didn’t want Castiel to know he was just outside while he was speaking with his brothers. He pushed open the door and found Castiel sitting on the bed with a book in his lap. “I have to leave.” He winced with how blunt he sounded.

“Okay.” Castiel closed the book and looked up.

Dean was unnerved by how unreadable Castiel’s expression was. “There’s a hunt a few states over.”

“I see.”

“Bobby and Sam are dealing with something else, so I have to go.” Dean didn’t know why he kept divulging the details of his departure. Castiel wasn’t asking for anything, but Dean couldn’t help but tell Castiel everything.

“Okay,” Castiel replied.

“So, get dressed.” And the words left his mouth before he even realized what he was saying.

“What?” Castiel asked, surprised.

Dean smiled. It was the first emotion that Castiel had displayed since the conversation started. “You’re coming with me,” Dean replied. Once the idea was thrown out there, it appealed to him.

“Dean,” Castiel said.

“It will be nice for you go get out of the house.” Dean felt uncomfortable whenever he stayed in one place for too long if he knew there was something in the world that needed fixing. Even more, he hated staying indoors whenever he was injured or sick. He always felt better once he was able to get outside.

“I won’t be able to help on the hunt,” Castiel replied. His body was still recovering, and he couldn’t access his grace since his brothers had tucked it away. He didn’t want to burden Dean when he needed to concentrate on a hunt.

“Moral support counts, Cas,” Dean said. He hated driving by himself. Even if Castiel just slept in the passenger seat, at least it was company.

“Are you sure?”

“Do you not want me to come?”

“I… give me a few minutes to get ready?”

“I’ll give you ten.”

Dean pulled out an empty duffel bag and put it at the foot of the bed. Then he grabbed his bag that was permanently packed with the essentials he needed and headed downstairs. He was greeted by Gabriel standing at the bottom of the staircase. “Gabe.”

“I know you heard what me and Cas were talking about.”

Dean threw his bag over the banister and onto the couch. “I didn’t hear all of it.”

“You heard the most important parts.”

Dean sighed and trudged down the stairs. “Was I not supposed to?” he asked as he walked past the archangel.

“It depends on how you take the information.”

Dean turned around to look at Gabriel who had his eyebrows raised. “How am I supposed to take it?”

“He’s healing because you’re around. Don’t hurt him, Dean.” He wasn’t around to help or protect Castiel when he needed it, but he was going to be there now.

“I won’t.”

“You may not purposely.”

“I won’t,” Dean repeated, adamant and resolute. “He’s given enough for me. I will not hurt him.”

“Yeah, okay,” Gabriel said, incredulous.

The conversation ended when they heard Castiel coming down the stairs. He descended the stairs wearing one of Dean’s old shirts and jeans. He carried Dean’s spare duffel in hand.

“You ready?” Dean asked. He grabbed Castiel’s bag and searched through it to make sure he packed enough.

“I believe so,” Castiel said, taking the bag back from Dean. He knew Dean was going to keep a watchful eye on him, but he wanted it to wait at least until they got on the road.

“You sure you ready to be hunting, bro?”

“I don’t think Dean will allow me to accompany him on the actual hunt. I think I’m just keeping him company on the drive.”

“Just irritate the crap out of him and he’ll never ask you to do that again,” Gabriel suggested.

“Don’t do that,” Dean warned.

“I wouldn’t do that,” Castiel replied.

Gabriel laughed. “If you clowns need help—”

“We’ll call you,” Dean answered, but he didn’t think the case was bad enough that they’d need angelic assistance.

“No, you’ll call Michael.” With that Gabriel flew into the kitchen for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

Dean shook his head. He had no idea how the other angels put up with Gabriel and his antics. “Let’s go,” he replied. He led the way to whatever car Bobby and Sam stuck him with.

--------------

The car ride to Kansas wasn’t unpleasant or awkward, but Dean felt like he might as well have been driving alone. He and Castiel didn’t talk. Much.

Castiel would ask what song was playing and Dean would answer and give his own opinion of the song. That was the most of their conversation. Castiel found that the rumbling of the car they were in, along with the sound of the wind blowing past them, was calming. A little over two hours into the trip, he leaned against the window and fell asleep.

Dean kept a constant watch over Castiel throughout the trip. As uncomfortable as the position looked, Castiel looked at peace. It was probably the most at ease he’d been for more than a year. He hoped that nothing would disturb it for some time.

Dean woke him after a couple of hours when he pulled over to refill the gas tank and to grab something to eat. Dean smiled at how Castiel mumbled something at him and went right back to sleep. Dean grabbed him a sandwich when he bought himself a burger.

They arrived at Missouri’s a little after nine in the morning. Dean parked in the driveway behind Missouri’s car. He grabbed his bag then stepped out. He waited for Castiel to do the same before he slammed the door shut.

He walked up the path to the front door. He knocked twice and Missouri answered the door quickly enough that Dean suspected she was waiting for them. “Hey,” he greeted with his most charming smile.

Missouri reached up and framed Dean’s face with her hands. “I was wondering when you’d show your handsome face again.”

“I’ve been busy,” Dean answered. Dying and Apocalypses tended to do that.

Missouri threw her arms around Dean and squeezed. She let go and stepped back. “I know,” she said. Then she slapped Dean in the arm. She smiled when Dean rubbed it, even though it probably didn’t hurt him at all. “But, as soon as you were alive and started hunting again, you should have told me.”

Dean sighed. He wasn’t the best at calling people and filling them in on his life. At least Missouri didn’t slap him in the face like Ellen did. He looked at Castiel who stood beside him. “Missouri Mosely, this is—”

“Hello, angel,” Missouri said, focusing on the man standing next to Dean.

“Castiel,” Dean finished.

“Hello, Miss Mosely.”

She stepped toward him and grabbed him by his forearms. She gave them a reassuring squeeze. “Please, call me Missouri.”

“Missouri,” Castiel repeated with a nod.

She stepped aside. “Come inside,” she said as she waved them in. “Let’s get you settled, Castiel. And I can fill you in on the vampire situation, Dean.”

It took them about forty-five minutes for Castiel to get a tour of Missouri’s house and Dean to receive all the information about the hunt. Once Dean got everything he needed, he stood up from the couch. “I should be heading out,” he said. The longer he stayed at Missouri’s the shorter amount of daylight he’d have to hunt the vampires.

“You should,” Missouri agreed.

“Will you be—”

“Go, Dean,” Castiel sighed. He didn’t want Dean worrying about him. He felt safe enough with Missouri.

Dean nodded then walked to the car in the driveway. He sent one more glance Castiel and Missouri’s way before stepping into the car. Dean started the car then drove off in the direction Missouri pointed him.

Castiel stood on the porch with Missouri and watched Dean drive away. He kept staring even after the car was out of sight.

Missouri reached over took Castiel’s chin in her hand. She turned his face so he’d stop looking down the road. “He’ll be fine, Castiel.”

“I’d feel better if he had back up. If I went with him.”

Missouri moved her hand down and rubbed Castiel’s arm. “You know he’d be worrying about you instead of the hunt. Even if you’d be able to take care of yourself.”

“I know.” He sighed and shook his head. He prayed that Dean would stay safe and be smart about the hunt since he was alone. “I know.”

She snaked her arm around Castiel’s and pulled her in the direction of the front door. “Come on,” she said, patting his hand. “Let’s make something to eat.” She was determined to add at least five pounds to the angel before Dean’s hunt was over. “And I want to try find out why you won’t let your brothers heal you.” She felt Castiel’s body tense and was grateful that he didn’t have his powers because she was sure he’d have flown away by then.

--------------

Dean came back an hour after the sun went down. He was covered in blood, but, luckily, unharmed. He stepped into Missouri’s place and saw Missouri and Castiel sitting in the living room, watching something on the TV and drinking tea. “You would be a tea drinker,” Dean replied.

“Nuh huh,” Missouri said before Dean was able to cross the threshold into the living room. “Shower first. I don’t need you getting vampire blood all over my upholstery.”

“It’s dried,” Dean argued.

“I don’t care.”

“Are you injured?” Castiel asked.

“Nah,” Dean replied. “Just a little dirty.”

“Dean. Shower. Now.”

Dean held up his hands in defeat. He wasn’t going to argue with Missouri in her own house. He grabbed his bag and went to the bathroom for a quick shower.

He threw on a shirt and basketball shorts and walked out of the bathroom. He found Missouri and Castiel still in the living room, but this time without teacups. “Hey,” he said.

Castiel stood up. “Dean. Are you hungry?”

“Not right now, Cas. Sit down, jeez.”

Castiel nodded and sat back down. “Were you able to kill all of the vampires?” he asked.

“Enough.” He plopped down next to Castiel. “I have a few more that I had to get to. But the sun was going down, so I decided to wait until tomorrow or something to get rid of the rest of them.”

“Do they have your scent?”

“No. They shouldn’t.”

“Dean,” Castiel said. He worried about Dean’s carelessness, but he knew Dean was not irresponsible enough to let the vampires trace him back to Missouri’s.

“They don’t have my scent, Cas. Stop worrying.”

“Boy, don’t tell people to stop worrying about you.” She glared at the hunter. She loved that she was still able to incite fear in Dean. “Now, why don’t we all go eat?”

Castiel stood up first so that he could help Missouri to her feet. She smiled at his manners. Castiel smiled and leaned into Missouri’s touch as she placed a hand on Castiel’s cheek to thank him.

Dean watched everything from his seated position. He wondered what the two of them talked about while he was away. It had to have been deep and revealing, because Castiel was a lot more at peace than when he left them. He knew it was a good idea to bring him along. He stood up and followed the two of them into the kitchen.

--------------

After dinner, the three of them ended up back in the living room. Dean was on his second beer while Castiel was on his third cup of chamomile tea. The three of them sat and talked. It was mostly Dean and Missouri talking, with Missouri wanting to know about what happened since the last time the boy was in Lawrence.

After about an hour and a half, Missouri turned her questioning to Castiel. Castiel told Missouri his story about how he met Dean up to coming back to life a second time at Stull Cemetery.

Dean almost wanted to leave because there was something intimate about the story. Even though he lived it, he couldn’t bear to listen to it in Castiel’s words. Castiel told the story way better than he ever could or would.

Dean tried to stand up to get another beer, but Missouri glared at him and he stayed glued to his seat. He didn’t know why Missouri did this. He knew she knew about all of this. She was psychic. He squinted his eyes, suspicious, because he knew that she was up to something.

Another hour and Castiel was done telling his story. Dean wished he was wearing a jacket or something to cover his arms because he got chills the way Castiel told it. Then the three of them fell silent and Dean felt uncomfortable. He felt like it was the best to turn on the TV to cut through the awkwardness.

Missouri saw that Dean was about to reach for the remote to deal with the silence, but she stopped him. “So, tell me what’s going on between you two?”

“What do you mean?” Castiel asked.

“There’s a bond between you two, that much is obvious.”

“It’s profound,” Castiel answered.

“Cas,” Dean sighed. Of course, Castiel would answer the question that way.

Missouri smiled at Castiel’s answer. “Whatever it is, there’s a strain in it.”

“I… made some poor decisions last year.”

“Who hasn’t? Tell me what happened.”

Castiel looked to Dean with sad eyes. When he couldn’t stand to do it anymore, his eyes dropped to his lap. “I…” His voice trailed off because he had no idea where to begin his explanation of all the wrong he’d done over the last two years.

Dean had enough with Castiel’s guilt. He knew that it was mostly his fault for laying it all on him. Castiel would never forgive himself if Dean didn’t understand his motivations. “You saved the world.”

Castiel looked back at Dean, eyes wide. “What?”

Dean set his beer bottle down. He knew he was about to have a very animated conversation and he could imagine the look on Missouri’s face if he spilled his beer on her couch. “You defeated Raphael. You stopped a civil war between the angels. You put the brakes on an attempt at the second apocalypse. You saved the world, Cas. Yeah, I hated how you did it, but this planet is still here because of what you did.”

“Dean.”

“What?” Dean’s heart pounded in his chest with the way Castiel said his name. The tone always led to some deep and emotional talk.

Castiel set his mug next to Dean’s beer bottle and stared at the floor. “If I had come to you, would you have helped me?”

“What kind of question is that?” Besides a stupid one.

“One I need the answer to.”

“Yes,” Dean answered automatically. Because what other answer was there? “I would have dropped everything to help you.”

“That isn’t what Sam wanted.”

“Screw what Sam wanted,” Dean said rather loudly, causing Castiel’s head to whip up and stare at him like a lost puppy. “Thinking he could make my decisions for me. He wasn’t even in Hell so it didn’t matter. If you needed m… my help, I would have been there.”

Castiel blinked slowly as he processed what Dean had just said. Then he smiled one of his small, subtle smiles. “That’s why I didn’t come to you.”

And damn the angel for always looking after him. He wanted to wipe the smile off his face and tell Castiel to get his priorities straight. He wanted Castiel to worry about someone other than him for once. But those weren’t the words that came out of his mouth. “One year, Cas,” he said softly. “I didn’t see you for one year.”

“Dean. Just because you didn’t see me for a year, doesn’t mean I didn’t see you.”

“A lot creepy, Cas,” he said with a laugh.

“Your brother asked me to watch over you.”

Dean thought about those implications. Castiel took on the angels so he didn’t have to deal with Michael and another Apocalypse. Castiel wanted him to have a normal life. That’s why he didn’t see him for a year. He wanted Dean to have a chance away from hunting and dealing with creatures and evil. “You did. You have been. Everything you’ve done.”

“And I’ll continue t—”

“You’re not supposed to choose me,” Dean interrupted. He shook his head because he knew what Castiel was going to say. “Me, Dean, the fuck up, over your family. You fought against your family because of me. You’re not supposed to choose that.”

Castiel placed a hand on Dean’s arm. “What makes you think that I didn’t choose my family in the end?” he whispered. Sure, he had thousands of brothers, but Sam, Bobby, and Dean were his family.

Dean felt his throat tighten at Castiel’s words. He’d never had anyone do so much for him without the obligation of being related by blood. But there had been moments when even his blood hadn’t been as loyal as Castiel had been. He brushed Castiel’s hand off of his arm. “When are you going to get it through your thick skull that I’m not worth it?” Dean whispered. He couldn’t help but to use the words Castiel used against him all those days ago.

“When are you going to get it through yours that you are?”

The two of them fell silent. The air in the room was electric. Dean noticed that he was breathing in time with Castiel. With every breath they took, the more relaxed they both became.

After that, the tension in the room dissipated. “Boys,” Missouri said.

Dean jumped forgetting someone else was in the room with them. “Yeah,” he whispered.

Missouri shook her head. She bit her lip to keep her smile to herself. “Nothing.”

The conversation changed to something lighter. Eventually it faded into the three of them just watching TV.

Dean was forced to sit through Missouri’s favorite procedural cop show dramas. The only way he survived was with a couple more beers in him.

Halfway through the second episode into the marathon, Dean stretched his arms and rested them on the back of the couch. He would never admit that he was drawn in by the episode on screen. When Castiel leaned back and accidentally hit Dean’s arm, he tensed up.

Before Castiel could move away, Dean wrapped an arm around Castiel’s shoulder and pulled him in. He figured it would be more comfortable for them both. Out of the corner of his eye he saw Missouri smiling at them. It was hard to ignore.

Two more episodes later, Castiel fell asleep, leaning further and further into Dean’s area of the couch. Dean didn’t do anything to stop him, though. Castiel ended up lying down on Dean’s lap.

At the beginning of the next episode, Castiel twitched, waking up. “Sorry,” he mumbled as he attempted to straighten out and maneuver the other way.

His sluggish movements resulted in Dean receiving a mouthful of hair and a hand too close to his crotch area. He collapsed back onto Dean’s thigh, which caused Dean to grunt.

“Dude, stop,” Dean said when Castiel tried to sit up again. “It’s okay. Just lie down.” He helped Castiel to lie back down so he didn’t have to deal with any non-hunt related injuries because of a clumsy angel.

Thank you.”

“I hope you didn’t just swear at me.” He finished with the beer in his hand and set it on the end table on the other side of the couch.

“He was thanking you.”

“You understand Enochian?”

“I understand motivations. Which is why, as complicated as you think you are, you’re not that hard to read.”

“You are doing wonders for my ego.”

Missouri smiled. She knew all about Dean’s ego and what it would take to affect it at all. She knew the next thing she was about to say would get a reaction out of him. She grabbed the controller off of the coffee table and turned the volume on the TV down. “He loves you, you know.”

Dean froze. He was glad that he finished his beer because he would have spit it out if he was drinking or dropped the bottle on Castiel’s head. “Missouri,” he sighed. He knew that Castiel cared about him, but he never knew to what extent. Or maybe he did and he didn’t want to admit it.

“I mean it, Dean.” She picked up the television remote and shut off the TV. She stared at Dean. “I’ve never seen one being care about another being as much as he cares about you.”

“That’s…” his voice trailed off, trying to think of any way to spin this that didn’t involve him taking about feelings.

“Dean,” Missouri sighed. “Angels are beings of love. They are created from love. And while you think that they don’t feel a thing, you know that angel in your lap feels more strongly than most people do.”

Of course he knew that. Dean looked down at Castiel lying down on his lap. “I don’t deserve that.”

“Why the hell not? Because you’re broken? Because he’s an angel? Because he’s—”

“Missouri, I just can’t,” he said rather loudly. He looked down and saw Castiel stir. His hand went to rub Castiel’s arm and ease him back into his dreams. It was a couple of minutes before their conversation started back up again.

“Dean, he’s seen you at your worst. Your absolute worst, and he stayed. And when you tried to push him away, he loved you regardless.” She looked at Dean who could not believe her. She could see how much Dean was fighting against what she said. “You can have something good in your life, Dean.”

Dean swallowed hard, surprised that his throat was tightening like he was about to cry. “And how long before I break it?” he whispered.

“Just don’t do anything to break it. Simple as that.”

“Right, simple.” He ran a hand down his face and was surprised to find it damp. “The one thing in my life that would be.”

“Dean. Stop torturing yourself. I know you care about him too.”

“I let him down, Missouri. He was trying to save the world, and because I didn’t agree with the way he was doing it, I turned my back on him.”

“Dean.”

“Then when he was God, I just gave up. And then he died and I—”

“You fell apart when he was gone.” She watched as Dean tried to look anywhere in the room besides her face. “Dean, you don’t have to hide it. I can basically see the alcohol pumping through your veins.”

“He’s my best friend.”

“Of course he is.” Missouri nodded. He knew how much it meant to Dean to have a friend in Castiel. She needed him to see that they could be more if he just let himself be happy. “You know. All you had to do was ask him to stay.”

Dean shook his head. He refused to let the answer be that simple. “He wanted to go back to Heaven.”

“He didn’t know what he wanted, Dean,” Missouri replied.

“I couldn’t ask him to give up Heaven for me.”

“I know you wouldn’t do that, Dean,” Missouri said. “But I think he would have appreciated a choice.”

“Yeah, well,” Dean scoffed. “He would have made the wrong one.”

Missouri wanted to slap the boy for being so stubborn and demeaning about himself, but she knew that she wouldn’t be able to change Dean’s thought process in one day. She sighed. The two boys in front of her were so blind and unwilling to accept the roles they had in each other’s lives. She knew she needed to be the one to open their eyes. “If you wanted to know, he doesn’t think he deserves you either. He doesn’t feel like he deserves a lot of things.”

“What? Why?”

“You two are so similar, it’s almost embarrassing that you both haven’t figured it out yet.” She smiled with the knowledge that they eventually would. Though she wasn’t sure how long that would take. She watched as Dean rested his hand comfortingly and protectively on Castiel’s arm. “I’m tired.”

“Good night.”

“Keep him close, Dean.”

“I plan to.”

“And get some sleep. You have a few more vampires to kill tomorrow.”

“Yeah. In a few.”

Missouri walked over to him and put a hand on his cheek. “He’s going to be okay, Dean.”

“Is this a psychic thing?”

Missouri shook her head. She rubbed her thumb along Dean’s cheekbone and smiled. “No, it’s a Missouri thing. I know you.” She knew Dean Winchester’s heart and she knew that since he got Castiel back, he was never going to let anything happen to him. “Good night.” She leaned forward and pressed a kiss on his forehead. She reached forward and brushed a piece of stray hair out of Castiel’s face. “Good night, baby,” she whispered.

Then she headed upstairs, leaving the two men alone.

Dean sat in the living room with Castiel on his lap for about half an hour thinking about the conversation he had with Missouri. Castiel loved him. Even after how crappily he treated him, Castiel still loved him.

Dean couldn’t help but think something was definitely screwed up in the angel’s head. But that didn’t stop Dean from rubbing his hand up and down Castiel’s arm.

He needed to figure out what he felt for the angel.

He felt guilty for the way he treated Castiel last year. The angel didn’t deserve his attitude. He didn’t want to admit it, but he missed the angel. He was angry when he left without saying goodbye. When he came back, he couldn’t ignore the warmth he felt in the pit of his stomach after a year of not seeing him.

Then he felt betrayed when he found out he was working with Crowley. He was pissed enough to sic Death on him.

But when he died, the pain he felt was indescribable. He felt a mountain of guilt that he would never be able to tell Castiel that he was sorry. He went through all the denial and trying to push the feelings away, but he was sure that he would never be the same again.

Then came the moment when Castiel came back into his life. Again. He was still in denial because if Castiel was ripped away from him one more time, Dean wasn’t sure he’d be able to handle it. One person could cause him only so much heartbreak.

When he was sure Castiel was here to stay, he took it upon himself to help Castiel any way he could. At least, after he pulled his head out of his ass and stopped trying to out stubborn the angel. He owed Castiel a lot more than that, but it was a decent place to start.

He wondered why he cared so much for this person who had been in his life for less than half a decade.

Did he feel the same way Castiel felt about him? Did he love him? He knew he cared for him. Like family. And only a few have ever had that honor. He told him once that they were like brothers, but Dean didn’t know if that was an accurate description of their relationship.

He didn’t know if there was a word he had to describe what they were to each other.

He leaned back and hit his head against the wall behind him. “What he hell is happening?” he whispered. He looked back down at Castiel and watched him as he let out a deep exhale over his thigh. Dean matched Castiel second deep breath with one of his own. Finally, Dean squeezed Castiel’s arm then gently shook him awake. “Cas, get up.”

Castiel whimpered and shook his head against Dean’s leg. He then mumbled something unintelligible and was on his way back to sleep.

Dean laughed. “Cas, wake up,” he said, continuing to shake Castiel awake.

A few more seconds and Castiel had enough. He slowly opened his eyes and saw that he was still lying down on Dean’s lap. “What’s going on?”

“You’ll be more comfortable in a bed than the couch,” Dean said.

Castiel sighed. “You’re probably right.”

“I know I’m right.” The couch was not big enough for someone to sleep comfortably.

Castiel nodded. “Let’s go.” He shut his eyes and let out a deep breath.

“It would be easier if you actually sat up.” Dean slid his hands under Castiel’s arm and tried as best as he could to sit the other man up. Once Castiel was sitting on his own, he stood up. He grabbed Castiel’s arm and hauled him to his feet. “Come on, sleepy,” he replied when Castiel lost his footing and almost tumbled back onto the couch. “Twenty more feet and you can go back to sleep.”

“Or, I could stay on the couch and you have the bed to yourself.” He really did not want to move. He just wanted to get back to sleep.

Dean pursed his lips and shrugged. It sounded inviting to have the bed to himself and not have to share with Castiel who sometimes elbowed him in the throws of a nightmare. “Just don’t hit me and we’ll be fine.”

Castiel yawned. “I don’t mean to.” He brought his hand up and rubbed his eye.

“Come on, dude,” Dean said. He grabbed the other man’s arm and pulled him to the bedroom. When they got to the room, Dean shut the door behind them while Castiel walked straight to the bed and flopped down on it. “Graceful.”

“I don’t have my grace,” Castiel mumbled into the comforter. He maneuvered around to lay his head on the pillow, and during that process, messing up the sheets of the bed.

“Damnit, Cas. At least take your shoes off.” He walked over to the bed and slapped Castiel’s feet off of them. He did not want Missouri blaming him for footprints on the sheets even if she knew that it wasn’t his fault.

“Tell Missouri my fault,” Castiel mumbled as he put his feet back on the bed.

Dean rolled his eyes. He grabbed one of Castiel’s ankles and yanked off the shoe. Then he grabbed the other and did the same. “Child,” he whispered.

“Thank you,” Castiel said.

Dean felt like he was babysitting. He noticed that Castiel had fallen back asleep and was still wearing his jeans. “Damnit,” he said.

He unbuttoned Castiel’s jeans and pulled them down his legs leaving the other man clad only in his shirt and boxers. Once Castiel was in something comfortable enough to sleep in, Dean climbed into the empty side of the bed.

He lay on his stomach and tucked his arms under his pillow. He stared at Castiel lying on the other side of the bed. He hoped that the peace on Castiel’s face wasn’t interrupted by nightmares. He needed a restful night.

He rolled over onto his side to face the wall. He couldn’t look at Castiel any longer.

He would have cursed Missouri for the chick-flick moment they had, but he was scared of what Missouri would say knowing that she would hear it.

[Chapter 6 Pt. 2]   [Masterpost]   [Chapter 8]

Date: 2012-02-26 03:56 pm (UTC)
ext_3277: I made this (Cas)
From: [identity profile] laura-trekkie.livejournal.com
Missouri's straight talking is exactly what Dean needs. She won't let him get away with anything, but also doesn't make Dean feel cornered enough to clam up.

It also must have done Cas some good to talk to someone who doesn't have a direct interest in his well-being. There's no pressure to get better, no worry about saying something that might've upset one of his brothers and Missouri is open to the idea of talking about feelings.

What will Dean do with what Missouri told him?

Laura.

Date: 2012-02-28 04:31 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dauntperplexity.livejournal.com
Missouri knows just want to say to get Dean moving in a better direction. She tough and someone that Dean needs in his life.

This is exactly what I wanted. She cared about him, but she wasn't as invested as the angels and Dean. But she is just as invested now. :)

Date: 2012-02-27 08:37 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] falcytan-dream.livejournal.com
Just taking a quick pause here to tell you I love you sooo much for adding in some Missouri. That's always a good way to make any fic amazingly awesome (as opposed to just awesome) ;]

Date: 2012-02-28 04:21 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dauntperplexity.livejournal.com
I love Missouri like crazy. I think she needs to come back onto the show sometimes soon.

Thank you for reading everything so far.

Date: 2012-02-28 06:22 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] falcytan-dream.livejournal.com
Missouri deserved soooooo much more screen time than she got. I'm so upset she hasn't reappeared at all, not even in mention as a contact. =[
If she came back, I might actually start watching the show again. (I got to 7x03 before I just couldn't take the pain of watching my favourite characters get metaphorically (and physically) slaughtered anymore...)

Date: 2012-03-01 02:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dauntperplexity.livejournal.com
I agree. She was the first HBIC we had.

I'm sorry that you aren't watching the show again. I understand though. The show isn't what it use to be. I just want Cas to come back.

Date: 2012-03-01 06:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] falcytan-dream.livejournal.com
I tried to keep going, I did, but the end of 7x03 in terms of Dean's character just broke my heart too much. I already developed a strong dislike for him through ssn6 (I kept going for Castiel [and Crowley] primarily, and then they went ahead and broke him), and ssn7 just slaughtered Dean for me. I had to go back and rewatch some eps from ssn1-5 to remind me that I do actually love Dean...

/end rant

But yes, I agree. I just want to Cas to return. But at the same time, I'm afraid they'll completely ruin his character, too. =[

Date: 2012-03-03 10:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dauntperplexity.livejournal.com
I know. Dean is the reason I fell in love with the show. And to see him so... not Dean was hard. I wanted to fix it in this story.

I am hoping that the writers know better than to ruin Castiel for good. I hope the writers know how terrifying the fans can be.

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