Warnings/Rating: SPOILERS FOR 5.13, GEN, PG13 for language.

Disclaimer: Not mine. Just for fun.

Summary: There's something Sam needs to know. (Tag for 5.13)

A/N: Someone had to go and poke the friggin' bunny. I have deadlines, dammit!

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A Plant of Slow Growth
by CaffieneKitty
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"Sam."

Sam looked up from the laptop to see Castiel, still in his rumpled and blood-stained trenchcoat, staring at him blearily from the bed.

"Hey, you're awake! How- uh, are you alright?"

Castiel's gaze drifted sideways before twitching back in Sam's direction. "Sam," he repeated.

"Okay, I'll take that as a 'not yet.' Do you need anything? First aid or food or something?" Sam got up and moved closer, jerking a thumb towards the hotel room door. "Dean's out getting-"

"In confronting Anna at the warehouse," Castiel interrupted, trying to prop himself up on his elbows and finding it far more challenging than anticipated, "I became aware of something I think you should know."

Great. What now? Sam braced himself for some new dire detail about just how screwed they all were. "What?"

Weaving on one elbow, Castiel locked eyes with Sam. "Sam Winchester. You are my friend."

Sam blinked and almost laughed. He didn't know what was more bemusing about Castiel's statement; that he'd said it with the intense gravity of someone far too drunk to be upright or that he'd said something like that at all. Maybe the trip through time and back had addled the angel's brain. Jimmy's brain. However that worked.

Actually, Castiel sounded like that kid that seemed to be in every third grade class Sam had ever had; the one that talked to chairs or brought a raw potato for lunch or smelled like mothballs. The one who latched onto him as the 'new kid' and fellow outsider. Castiel had that same earnest stare too. The lonely kid.

In siding with the Winchesters, Castiel had lost everything he'd known. Sam knew that, but it hadn't quite sunk in, since, y'know. Angel. He'd unconsciously been thinking angels were beyond social bullshit.

Castiel wobbled in his half-propped-up position, still trying to get his other elbow to cooperate, staring at Sam and squinting.

"Uh. Thanks?" Sam smiled, not sure what to say.

Castiel lost his battle with his elbows and slumped back onto the bed. His eyes, released from staring at Sam, tracked randomly across the water-stained ceiling. "I would have killed Anna to protect you. I would have died."

That hit Sam hard, like being stabbed with a pipe again. "Wow." He swallowed and nodded. "Okay. Thanks."

"All of Heaven and Hell targets you and your brother now, and yet you-" The angel reached out vaguely and patted the side of Sam's knee. "You're a good human, Sam. A good person. And you are very tall." Castiel fell unconscious again, eyes sliding closed.

Sam stared down at the comatose angel for a minute, wondering if he'd hallucinated the entire conversation. He'd spent most of last year drinking demon blood. He'd broken the final seal, let Lucifer out of Hell, and started the Apocalypse. And an angel had just called him his friend. A rebellious and lightly scrambled angel at the moment but...

"Hunh," Sam said after a while. He pulled the edge of the hotel blanket over Castiel's trench-coated form and patted the angel's shoulder.

"You too, Cas."

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(that's all.)

Post A/N: Pretentious title from a quote by George Washington - "Friendship is a plant of slow growth and must undergo and withstand the shocks of adversity before it is entitled to the appellation."