They're eating in the kitchen when Cas says it.
"We could get married, you know."
Dean hums for a moment, not yet processing what Cas has said. The angel looks at him expectantly over the top of his Sunday Funnies, and waits. It hits a second later, and Dean chokes over his mouthful of scrambled eggs. What?!
"Oh, Jesus, Cas! Sorry." He flicks a particularly stubborn piece of egg off the heading of the newspaper, and sips his coffee, deliberately avoiding the other man's eyes.
Cas raises an eyebrow. "I assume you heard me, or your reaction wouldn't be so pronounced." He stands up, smacking Dean on the back of the head with the paper. "You're so overdramatic, Dean."
Dean follows him to the sink where he puts his mug down. The dishes clank against each other, but both of them tune it out in favor of each other. Dean's head is filling with a weird whirring noise, like he can practically hear the gears turning in his head. Married. "Uh, Cas?"
"Yes, Dean?" He asks patiently.
"Did you, like – I mean, um. Were you, like, serious?". The last word comes out as a squeak, and don't laugh Castiel you traitor.
The other shrugs noncommittally. The smirk plays out on his face as he takes a step backwards. The kitchen in the Bunker is pretty big, definitely large enough for the two of them to be able to stand next to each other without getting all accidentally touchy-feely. But Dean's backed Cas up into the corner by accident, and their shoulders bump.
Cas watches him intently, like he likes watching Dean squirm. And oh, if his guts haven't turned into a mess of wiggling worms inside his stomach. "I mean to say, Dean, that there isn't anything stopping us from doing it."
Dean taps a finger against the linoleum of the tiles lining the wall. "Well," he starts. "There's my job. And your job, as Heaven's designated all-purpose-rebel-without-a-cause." He pauses for a moment before adding "oh yes, and also, we have no family members alive to invite to the ceremony." He pokes Cas on the cheek once, for good measure. Those blue eyes are fixated on him too carefully, and he doesn't appreciate how they make his heart melt, all gooey-like. "But by all means Cas, sure. Let's get married."
He hopes Cas recognizes the sarcasm that drips into his voice at that because oh Chuck if he thinks I'm serious -
Cas rolls his eyes and grins. "Okay, okay. You've made your point Winchester. But, as I've heard about human engagement customs, you rejected my marriage proposal, so now you need to buy me some food."
Dean splutters in protest. "Nobody does that! I think they would go out to dinner or something if they did get engaged, don't you think?"
He gets a laugh from the other man. Cas hooks a finger around his chin and pulls him in for a quick kiss. He tastes like coffee and chocolate. "Why, thank you Dean. A cheeseburger does sound perfect right now."
It's more than enough.
Cas's voice is muffled by a pillow and Dean laughs. He sounds nasally, like a ten-year-old inhaling helium. It takes a moment for him to turn in place – the stupid sheets have wrapped themselves around his leg tighter than a splint.
The blinds are drawn, and no light comes in through the window, but Dean can still practically see the outline of Cas lying next to him in the dark. Fucking angel had to steal all the blankets. And the comforter. Dean's had to dig out an extra set for himself.
"Well?" His tone is teasingly impatient, and Dean answers with a slight grunt. It's got to be, like, one in the morning, and Cas sounds too awake for his own good.
"Have you considered my offer?"
He lifts his head up off the pillow at this, and reaches over to flick on one of the tableside lamps. His hair is sleep-mussed, but his eyes are bright and smiling and twinkling. He leans in conspiratorially. "I was being kind of serious, you know."
Dean paws at the air, trying to push Cas's face away, or maybe pull him closer. "Mm. Serious about what?"
Cas falls back onto the bed with a thump. "Marriage," he says matter-of-factly. There is no humor in his voice – he's dead serious.
Oi, he's treading on thin ice right now. Dean groans. "Cas, it's like, one in the morning. Can we maybe have this conversation in the morning?"
"It's twelve forty-nine, Dean. And technically, it is the morning."
"Oh shut up." Dean hits him in the arm before hooking an arm around his waist and pulling him closer. Cas smells like the lavender fabric softener Sam insists on buying, and a little like grass. He buries his face in his neck and closes his eyes. "C'mon, Cas," he gets out. "I'm sleepy."
"But this, Dean, could be the kind of deep and literal conversation our relationship has been lacking," Cas informs him as he untangles himself from the other. "I mean," he teases, "I want to know that this is going somewhere, don't I?"
Dean groans again, reaching for a pillow to smack Cas with. "Remind me to remind you to spend less time with my smartass brother."
Both of them are silent for a while – a few minutes, maybe more, before Cas sighs.
"I mean," he says. "I don't want to pressure you, Dean. I just, you know. Thought it would be nice."
Dean chuckles. "Flowers are nice, Cas. Cheap motel rooms are nice. Marriage, on the other hand, is scary." He trails his hand down to fit in Cas's, and the angel hums contentedly. He nestles himself back into Dean. He tries to imagine two rings there, between the two of them. It kind of works, the illusion fading in and out for a moment before he finally gives up.
"I don't understand you humans," Cas sighs.
"I don't either, Cas."
"It could be like a really quick thing," Cas suggests in the car the next morning. Dean's eyes are still on the road, watching for the road sign where he needs to turn – stupid GPS is down.
Cas's tone is serious enough to jerk Dean's attention from the road for a split second. He's caught off guard – what? – and Cas grins. "Mm, no. No death for me, thank you," Dean mutters. "Been there, done that."
"Well," Cas interjects. "You know what you haven't done?" He doesn't wait for an answer. "Gotten married."
Dean laughs. "You know what Cas? I can't even tell if you're kidding anymore."
Cas nudges his shoulder. "Then why take a risk? Pretend I'm not so you don't crush my delicate heart."
"You're an angel, dumbass. I could literally stab you in the heart and it couldn't break it."
"You know what, Dean?" Cas says. "I don't like your attitude."
Dean chuckles, trying to pretend like his heart isn't cartwheeling around in his chest. They've been having this same talk for months now, and he doesn't know if it's a joke or what. Please just let me know if it's a joke, Cas.
"Okay okay," he interrupts. "But no cheesy proposals, okay?"
The smirk Castiel gives him is as good an answer as any.
"What if I hid the ring inside a cake?" grins Cas in way of greeting, kissing Dean on the forehead.
Dean groans into his mug of coffee. "Jesus, let a man wake up before you push the wedding talk onto him."
"Cas," says Cas. Dean looks confused. "Not Jesus," Cas clarifies. He smirks. "Whatever floats your boat, Dean Winchester."
"Ew, dude. That's gross. You been spending time with Sam again?"
Cas clears his throat. "Anyway. Cake? Chocolate or vanilla or red velvet. I swear to my father, Dean, if you say carrot cake, then I'm breaking up with you here and now."
"Hey!" Dean objects. "I thought angels weren't supposed to have taste buds or whatever."
"We aren't supposed to have feelings either," Cas interposes, "but here I am, kind-of-engaged to an idiot, apparently.
"That was uncalled for."
"Your multiple refusals at my oh-so-romantic proposals were also uncalled for, but I didn't say a word. But whatever. Can I hide the ring in a cake? Or is that too cheesy?"
Dean shrugs. "Do what you want. But I'm warning you, if it's an expensive ring and I'm hungry, I'm probably just going to swallow it."
Cas frowns, then pulls an actual fucking piece of paper out of his pocket and crosses something off.
Dean wants to scream. Oh, Cas. What are you doing to me?
"So what about, like, a flash mob? I could take you to a bar or something and have a bunch of twenty-something women dance around while I ask you to marry me?"
Dean actually considers this for a moment. "Hm. I mean, I don't know what kind of fiancé would let that happen, so-"
"Obviously," Cas interrupts, "the coolest one ever." He leans in to peck Dean on the lips. "Like me."
"Wow, Cas. You're starting to sound like my egotistic little brother."
"Or," Cas suggests, "I'm starting to sound like my stuck-up, know-it-all fiancé."
"Ha ha ha. Very funny."
"A flash mob, Dean. How cool would that be?"
"Cas," Dean says. "I mean, I've never actually gotten married before, so I don't know how this is supposed to work, but I know that you generally aren't supposed to plan the proposal together."
"But then again," Cas says with a twinkle in his eye, "we aren't very good at following the rules."
"I'm just making sure it isn't too cheesy, is all."
"Right." Dean gives in. "But the flash mob's too much, don't you think?"
"But why?" protests the angel. "It'd be so romantic. Like, imagine: the crowd parting so I can walk up to you and take your hands in mine and pull one of those chick flick moments you keep pretending you don't have."
"It'd also be that much more humiliating if I say no."
"But you won't."
"Well, Cas." Dean winks. "I'm just full of surprises."
Cas sticks his tongue out at him, a welcome childish gesture. "Assbutt."
Dean pecks his temple. "You love me."
"I tolerate you."
"Or." Cas states as they sit through Sam's rerun of Harry Potter for the 2342398098th time. There's nothing else to the statement.
Dean stares expectantly. "Or…?"
Cas turns to face him. "You know what?"
Dean waits some more.
"Let's get married."
There's something different about the statement this time. The teasing tone is gone from Cas's voice, and his eyes are sparkling. He takes one of Dean's hands in his own, and his hands aren't shaking, even a little.
Dean clears his throat. "Again?" he asks, trying to hide how, this time, his heart starts fluttering in his chest and his palms have gone all clammy and his guts have turned into butterflies again. The word comes out a little breathless, and Cas squeezes his hand harder. "Are you serious, Cas?"
Cas laughs at that, a clear, high sound that ignites a warm-and-fuzzy feeling in Dean's chest. "Very."
Dean shoots him a look. "But why? I mean, you'll be stuck with me for a while. For forever, actually. I don't know how Sam's dealing with it-" he pauses to glare at his brother, who has a smile a mile wide, and is trying (and failing) to pretend like he isn't listening. "But he's probably gone more than a little insane."
"Because," Cas replies, untangling their fingers, "believe it or not, I kind of like you, Dean." He shrugs. "I have come to reason that I am, in fact, quite fond of you, and that it would not bother me if we had to spend the rest of our life together."
Damnit Cas. "Cas," he begins, voice breaking on the first syllable. Cas snorts. Dean rolls his eyes and clears his throat again. "Cas," he tries again. "Um, so. I mean, we've been through a lot together. Like, a lot. Um, I guess we can put the whole "till death do us part" thing behind us because that didn't really work either." Cas laughs, and Dean wants nothing more than to pull him in and kiss him breathless.
"Anyway," he goes on. "I know that you haven't technically proposed yet, but, um. I just want to say that I would say yes." Dean rubs the back of his neck. It's an awkward movement, and it seems forced, but whatever. "That is, um. If you want to marry me, I would probably wonder what the hell is wrong with you. But I would say yes." Dean looks over at Cas. "So what do you- oh hey no, Cas, why are you crying?"
Cas rubs at his eyes with one hand, surprised when they come away wet. "I have no idea," he croaks, voice thick. "I'm not supposed to have the ability to produce tears."
Dean laughs. "You big ol' sap. You're not supposed to have a boyfriend either but-"
"Fiancé," Cas corrects him. His face breaks out in such a giant smile that it makes Dean smile too. "You're my fiancé now. And I'm yours, I guess. If you'll have me."
Dean buries his face in his hands. This isn't how he'd thought it would go, in the living room of the bunker with Sam giggling quietly into his hands ten feet away, but he'll take it. It's perfect. It's more than perfect. "Castiel," he finally says, voice muffled by his fingers. "Of course, of course I'll have you."
And then he's being kissed so deeply and thoroughly that it's hard to think of anything else. His lungs have given out somewhere maybe ten seconds in, and he knows that he needs to surface for air soon but his head is spinning and Cas's cheeks are wet with tears, and he just got engaged.
He breaks away, hastily wiping the few tears that have spilled out. He lets out a shaky laugh. "You idiot, Cas," he says. "Look what you've done."
Cas pulls him into a hug. "I know," he whispers. "I'm sorry you're stuck with me for forever."
"Hey," Dean says. "It's okay. I mean, I kind of love you anyway."
He gets a laugh at that. "It's okay," echoes Cas. "I kind of love you too."