Castiel stood outside the door of Bobby's spare bedroom, shoulders tense, back stiff, hands clenched tight at his side. He was experiencing another one of those human emotions that had started to become a part of him. He was nervous. Anxious.
After Dean had admitted that he thought of Castiel as more than just a handy angel useful in a tough spot, he had hung up and Castiel had been left staring at his phone. Trying to process what had just happened. He didn't realize until his phone started to buzz that he had been processing for an hour. The call was from Sam, informing him of their new lead on the Colt and their location. Castiel had left immediately, appearing at Bobby's before Sam had even hung up the phone.
Rufus had already arrived, rivaling Dean for the Most Reckless Speeder Award, and they had waited on Ellen and Jo's arrival before getting started. This was Lucifer and the Apocalypse they were up against. While there was a sense of urgency revolving around their plan, Dean and Sam had agreed they wanted to take this slow – as slow as possible, anyway. They wanted everyone's input so that they could, for once, enter into a situation with a well thought out plan.
Since then, everything had been a whirlwind of research and strategizing as they all tried to figure out a plan cunning enough to defeat the Devil. It had taken hours, but they had finally settled on a plan they thought might work. The consensus had been to head out in the morning. The rest of the night would be spent celebrating. Not celebrating victory, because they weren't sure the plan would work. They were celebrating life, what little they had left.
Ellen and Bobby had grabbed the hard liquor – whiskey, gin– and started downing it like it was water. Rufus had taken charge of the music, opting to play smooth Motown hits and James Brown instead of the hard rock the rest of the group was used to. Jo had initiated a drinking game of sorts with Castiel, one in which Ellen soon joined, while Sam and Dean quietly sipped beers in the corner and watched. Castiel had found himself, in between shots and awkwardly forced dancing, staring at Dean throughout the night. To his delight, his stares had often been met with Dean's own.
After a couple of hours, Dean had gone upstairs, claiming exhaustion. Castiel had remained with the others, watching Dean as he left. If this could, in fact, be one of their last nights on Earth, he had to speak to Dean. Alone. But something kept him from following. Something human. Fear.
It had taken Castiel twenty minutes to head upstairs, where he now stood frozen at the door. Castiel let out a frustrated sigh. Feeling nervous was new to him and often overwhelming. He was not used to being unsure of his actions, of worrying about how others would react. He found, more often than not, that human emotions got in the way.
Castiel slowly reached for the doorknob, gripping it tight in his hand. It felt cool against his fingers and he found himself relaxing. He spared a look at the stairs before he turned the knob and entered the room.
Dean was on the bed. His back against the headboard, legs stretched out in front of him. There was an assortment of guns and rags laid out on the bed. At the sound of Castiel's voice, Dean looked up from the gun he was cleaning and smiled.
His hands continued to move over the gun, wiping it clean as he responded. "Hey. You get sick of the crowd, too?"
Castiel shook his head. He had enjoyed spending time with the other hunters, especially Ellen. While their bonding rituals confused him, he found that he liked the moments when he was viewed as "one of them."
Castiel stepped further into the room, closing the door behind him. "I wanted to talk to you."
Dean nodded and went back to cleaning the gun on his lap.
Castiel stood awkwardly in the middle of the room, staring at Dean. He watched as Dean's hands moved swiftly over the gun. His right hand held what Dean had explained to him to be the lower receiver while his left hand snapped the slide of the gun on with a click. Quick, efficient, and sure in his movement. Dean looked right at home. In a bed surrounded by guns. The observation both saddened him and left him in awe of the Righteous Man.
"You left." He said as he watched Dean apply the final coat of oil to the gun.
"Downstairs? Yea, well, I wasn't much in the partying mood."
Castiel nodded, understanding. If he celebrated with them now, Dean would just be creating more good memories of people who might not make it out of this fight alive. Something he didn't need. It would just make moving on harder. Celebration should come after, when death wasn't such an imminent threat.
"You're worried about the plan."
"Fuck yea, I'm worried, Cas." Dean's grip on the gun tightened as he pressed it into his lap. "This is the Devil. Lucifer. There's no bigger Bad than this. We got five humans and an angel. And we're supposed to just what? Get him isolated and shoot him with the Colt? What stops him from killing us on sight? How do you distract the Devil?" Dean wiped his hand roughly across his mouth, letting out a breath. He was quiet for a minute before he asked, "You think we got a shot?"
Castiel looked up, as if hoping to receive some divine news or reassurance. After a moment, Castiel sighed and brought his gaze back down to meet Dean's. "I pray that we do."
Dean laughed a little at that. An angel who'd been cast out of Heaven praying to a God that didn't want to be found. They should at least get points for being the most rag tag group of saviors this world had ever seen.
"This what you wanted to talk about?" Dean asked after a moment of silence.
Dean smirked and shook his head, putting the gun he had finished cleaning aside. He grabbed another gun from the bed and started taking it a part. "Well, go ahead. I'm all ears."
Castiel stepped forward until he was at the foot of the bed. He hesitated, eyes moving from Dean to the bed and then back again before he walked over to the right side. He sat on the edge facing the window, his back to Dean. He thought it might be easier this way.
"I think about you, too."
Dean's hands stilled on the gun. His eyes flickered to the back of Castiel's head, and stayed there.
"I worry about your safety, about you being Michael's vessel. How you will fulfill the prophecy. I worry about Sam. About him saying yes to Lucifer and everything that my Father created being destroyed. I think about God and whether Raphael was right, if He truly is gone."
Dean looked back down at the gun. Picked up the rag and started to wipe. His strokes were rough, messy, unlike the smooth rhythm he had before. "That's it? You think of me and you think 'What's his role in all this? How can I keep him safe so he can fulfill the prophecy?'"
"Well thanks for the sharing and caring Cas but…"
"What?" Dean snapped.
Castiel squinted his eyes, tilting his head in what Dean had dubbed his Confused Angel look. He wasn't sure how to continue, how to make Dean understand what he was trying to say. He didn't have the words, yet. He was only familiar with the emotions Dean and Sam had explained to him. Emotions that were common in a Hunter's life: fear, nervousness, anxiety, frustration, anger. With this, he could only describe what he experienced. What he thought.
"There was a food establishment," Castiel replied after a beat. "It had the sign 'All You Can Eat' displayed on the front window. I found it confusing, misleading, but I wondered what you would think. How you would like the food. What you would order." Castiel turned to look at Dean. Green eyes met his. His gaze returned to the window. "I find that I am forced now to interact with other people, and I often think about what you would do. How you would describe them. A 'biker chick,' a 'nerd who lives in his parent's basement,' an 'easy lay.'"
The words that came out of Castiel's mouth sounded weird to Dean. Too improper. Too human. They were evidence of the impact Dean was having on the angel. He was corrupting an angel of the lord. Memories of his trip to the future flooded his mind. A drugged out Cas, fucking and laughing through the pain. That was his influence, too. Dean shook his head, shoving out thoughts of that future. Cas only became that way because of what Dean had become and he wasn't that Dean. This was different. Innocent. Good. This was his Cas showing Dean how much he meant to him.
"I think about finding God," Castiel continued, his voice softer, quieter. "What you would hold him accountable for. Questions you would have him answer."
Dean felt like he'd been punched. The wind knocked out of him. Because this… this meant everything. More than the angel picking up some of Dean's choice phrases or thinking about what Dean liked. This meant that Dean was in Castiel's head. He was a part of him. A voice the angel turned to for not only the small decisions, but the more important ones, too. Dean had never been that person for anyone, besides Sam.
Something inside Dean clenched tight and he was struck with an overwhelming urge to see Castiel's face. He was tired of looking at the back of Castiel's head. "Come here," Dean whispered. "Sit back here with me."
Castiel stood, turning to face the hunter. He looked down at the bed and glanced up at Dean, his hands opening and closing at his side. For a minute Dean thought he wouldn't sit down, perhaps the prospect of being that close was too much for him. Dean was about to tell Castiel to sit wherever he wanted when the angel bent down, pushed aside a few of the guns, and slid onto the bed next to him. Castiel positioned himself straight against the headboard, his feet stretched out before him. A perfect mirror image of Dean.
Dean removed the gun from his lap, placing the pieces on the side table. He let his arms drop to rest at his sides, his left arm lying palm up against the bed next to Castiel. Castiel shifted, let his arms drop from his lap as well. His right arm settled next to Dean's, once again mirroring Dean's position as his hand rested on the bed, palm up. Castiel could feel the heat from Dean's body. Dean's hand twitched, and their thumbs brushed lightly against each other.
Castiel stared at their hands, gaze settling on their touching thumbs. "I am not used to this. Feeling."
Dean's eyes roamed over the side of Castiel's face. Eyes, nose, mouth. When he spoke, his voice came out rough. "Yea." 'Cause yea, Dean knew all about that. Coming back from Hell, there were a lot of feelings he wasn't used to either.
"The longer I am separated from the Host, the more human emotion I feel. Anna was wrong when she said angels don't experience emotion. We do experience feelings. But it is different. They are…" Castiel lifted his hand and ran his fingertips lightly over Dean's palm. His eyes followed the path of his fingers. "…beyond human comprehension. Here on Earth, emotions are messy, impulsive, overwhelming. Chaotic. I am not sure what to do with them."
"That makes two of us." Dean stared down at their hands, afraid to move. Castiel seemed to be in a trance, captivated by the feel of Dean's skin beneath his fingers. Moving might make him stop and Dean didn't want him to stop.
"What I feel for you is human." Fingers moved from palm to arm with the same light touch, stroking up and down as he traced Dean's veins.
Dean shuddered, swallowed hard. "Human."
"Yes. There is a physical aspect to it that I am not accustomed to." Castiel switched his focus from Dean's arm to his eyes, blue meeting a sea of green. "I want to be near you. Touch you. I have never wanted that before."
Dean brought his arm up and grabbed Castiel's hand, stopping his movement. He knew what came next. What they could do now. Castiel staring and stroking his arm would lead to kissing, and rubbing, and grinding, and fucking. All amazing things Dean would love to do with Castiel. And yet, he had stopped.
This was new for Dean. Wanting a partner, a real partner who fought and fucked and lived with him. And for Cas, everything was new for him. Not just the relationship part, but the wanting and feeling. Everything that made human emotions messy and complicated and confusing as hell. Now wasn't the time for a crash course in sex. Not with them facing Lucifer soon and all of this still being so new, fresh, and unfamiliar.
Dean laced their fingers together, pressing his palm into Castiel's. He squeezed, tight. Hoping to get across all the things he didn't know how to say either. Don't Die. Don't Leave. We will definitely take this further. Castiel squeezed back, a warm smile on his face. It reminded Dean of the smile Castiel gave him after his trip to the future. He had been so relieved to see the angel and something about Castiel's smile at that moment had made Dean think Castiel was just as happy to see him.
Dean closed his eyes, laid his head back against the headboard. He could just picture what they looked like. A hunter and an angel holding hands on a bed covered with guns. It was the perfect image of his life. Everything surrounded by death and violence with him caught in the middle. He smiled, his thumb caressing the back of Castiel's hand. At least he wasn't alone.
They sat in silence. Castiel watched Dean, the steady rise and fall of his chest and the way his shoulders slumped, losing the tension they had been holding all night. After some time, Castiel laid his head back as well but kept his eyes open, a smile still on his face. He stared up at the ceiling and sent a prayer of hope for their journey. While he was no longer positive that his prayers were being heard, at the moment he didn't care. For all the confusion and doubt choosing this path had brought him, it had also given him Dean.
Castiel moved closer to Dean so that their shoulders touched, their clasped hands held tight between their legs. Dean let out a sigh while Castiel settled against him, and for the first time that night, they both relaxed.