Title: The Dilemma of Human Investment
Chapter: Four
Summary: Disgusted with Dean's inability to pay attention, Castiel takes an unorthodox action that has unforeseen consequences. Sam then overhears a conversation between Castiel and Dean and gets the wrong idea about what transpired.
Rating: M
Disclaimer: 'Supernatural' was created by Eric Kripke. No disrespect is intended.


"You ever stop to think about this situation with you and Cas?"

Dean flipped a page in the magazine he was reading. "What situation? What are you talking about?"

"Come on, Dean. The situation. You and Cas and you and Cas with the female body."

"What about it?" He looked up and Sam had the urge to shake him or something just to get that stupid calm expression off his face. Dean had been almost drugged calm since Castiel had returned in Risa's body, drifting through the days and jobs with a cavalier manner that reminded Sam of how Dean had once been years earlier, before hell and the Apocalypse had taken the joy of everything from him.

"Dean, you debauched an angel and continue to do so on a weekly basis." He shook his head. "That mean anything to you? And not just any angel, but the one who pulled you from hell and nearly ended up human a few months back because he disobeyed heaven in order to fight alongside you. It's about as wrong as you can get."

"Hey," he raised his brows, planted his elbow on the table, and pointed at Sam, "I could say a few words about a certain someone and you and glass houses and you notice I'm not. Castiel is a grown angel and he-she can decide what he-she wants to do all by her-his, he-she self."

"It's not normal."

"What are you talking about? It's completely normal for us."

"Dean."

"What?" He raised his hands and sat back. "You had a werewolf and a demon, freak-boy. Don't you talk to me about every day normal, okay? You're just jealous you don't get an angel, too."

"You have had two by my count."

"I'm just that awesome."

Sam laughed. "Whatever."

"You are jealous. Castiel in Risa…." Raising his brows once more, he whistled long and low. "That sounded kind of dirty put like that, didn't it?"

"Kind of?"

"Yeah, well, you try to deny she's smoking' hot."

"Not denying Risa is hot, Dean." Risa was a beautiful woman. Sam would admit that easily.

"Come on, Sammy, admit it. You'd do Cas in a heartbeat in that body." He waggled his brows. "Huh? Yeah? Am I right?"

"Dean." Sam looked away, a little uncomfortable by the line of questioning. Cas as a woman made him uncomfortable and in just the way Dean was suggesting. "It's Castiel you're talking about."

"Mmm-hmm. If she showed up here while you were alone, took off all her clothes, and said 'Do me, Sam', you're going to try to tell me you wouldn't be on her like white on rice?"

Rolling his eyes, he decided it was just better to give in and admit it than go through potentially hours of the same line of questioning. Dean would be relentless on the matter. "Maybe I would, but -"

"Hah!" Dean laughed and pointed a triumphant finger at him. "You would so do Cas. I knew it. You totally want in her panties."

Sam sighed.

"Speaking of her panties…. Have I told you about the lingerie that Risa chick has in her wardrobe? I think she has every naughty idea out there stashed away. Cas has been trying out the different ones she's got and I'm damn impressed with that woman's collection. It's like Christmas every visit," he clapped his hands together and rubbed them, "and Cas is a present I get to unwrap."

"You do know it's not normal to be screwing an angel, right? Especially when it's Castiel in whatever body Cas has these days."

Dean shrugged. "We're not normal guys," he said in a reasonable tone. "Let's face it. Normal ain't in our cards. Never will be."

Sam held his tongue every time Cas showed up in Risa's body. It didn't end between Cas and Dean. He couldn't see any way for this to end well for either of them. They were flirting with disaster as much as Sam had when he'd kept seeing Ruby, but like Sam had back then, Dean wasn't understanding it. He wasn't seeing the danger involved.

He held his tongue after that first conversation because Dean wouldn't listen anyway. He'd made up his mind and there was going to be a train wreck coming sometime in the future.

Did Dean even realize he treated Castiel a helluva lot differently when Cas was in Risa? That buddy manner disappeared, became more intimate, the way Dean would treat a steady girlfriend. His voice would soften and Sam could see Dean's emotions were heading in the one way guaranteed to hurt him the most: loving Castiel the way Dean had dreamed of having a woman to love.

As much as Sam wanted Dean to be happy, he knew very well that this wasn't a good thing in the long run. And as he watched Castiel very carefully, he came to the conclusion that, deep down, she knew it too.

Very soon, Sam planned to have words with her about the situation.


As the days passed, Castiel's female visits became less about the sex for Dean and more about that emotional connection they'd forged and how good he felt with her. There was a growing calmness inside him that each visit aided and he began to see the beauty in the world once more.

With Castiel around on a more regular basis, Dean thought about Lisa less. He quit dwelling on what had happened with her and the question of why he hadn't seen her brand of crazy from the beginning. He stopped wondering what he could have done differently or if it was some part of him that had set her off.

He knew Castiel. There were no surprises in store of the Lisa variety. A part of him was aware he was falling in love with her and that it wasn't a good idea, but honestly? He wanted to love her. He wanted to feel those things he'd been feeling and continue to feel them. Dean wanted to bask in them like a sunbather to the sun. His feelings were convoluted and there wasn't any way he could actually verbally explain how he could be head over heels with Castiel-Risa, yet not be so with Castiel-Jimmy when they were the same angel inside - all Castiel. It was just how it was and how it was going to be. He had a line and that was that.

Sam thought he was nuts and made no bones about it. He thought Dean wasn't aware of that separation he made or the fact that he treated Castiel-Jimmy and Castiel-Risa differently.

Dean knew he did. He had to keep them separate. There was a way to treat one and a way to treat the other. He couldn't behave the same because while they were the same, they weren't. Castiel-Jimmy reacted differently than Castiel-Risa. He'd seen it, he knew it and he behaved accordingly, although Sam probably was right. It wasn't healthy and he was nuts, but he did it anyway. Did it matter? He was actually happy and not that pretend happy he'd been for so long. He was really content with his life and with Castiel.

There was a kind of safety in loving Cas, he supposed. He did know Cas well now, whether male or female in vessel. He knew how Cas thought and could almost predict how he-she would react in situations according to which vessel was present. And Dean knew Castiel loved him with the same sort of lines he himself had drawn. Safe. In a way, it was even freeing to know he had that full definition of love from Cas. After all, his emotional and physical needs were being met.

He had Sam for brotherly things and some friendly things and Castiel for the rest, a nice, neat, clear arrangement. What else did he need? He could relax and relearn how to enjoy life with that emptiness inside him slowly being filled.

The ache of that emptiness was no longer so pronounced, the relief he felt at actually feeling something good at last making him happy.

I'm healing, he thought. It's about damn time.

Still, sometimes he found himself wondering how long it was going to last. Castiel couldn't jump back and forth between Jimmy and Risa forever. There would have to come a day when a change would need to be made. Something was going to need to be permanent, either Castiel to Jimmy or Castiel to Risa. He'd seen a glimpse of that in Cas's eyes already and logically, he knew it, too, praying that that day was far in the future because, damn it, he was happy. Wasn't it about time he had happiness as well as healing? Wasn't it about time he was whole again? He'd been broken for so long now that he barely remembered what it was like to be whole.

Please let me have this, he thought, just for awhile. Please.

During the weeks that passed, he grew curious about the woman Risa. Granted, he hadn't really been curious about Jimmy, but then Jimmy wasn't a woman either, nor had Jimmy bought racy lingerie. At least not that Dean knew about and if he had, it'd probably been for Amelia. He'd ask Cas questions about her, trying to figure out the sort of woman Risa was.

"What does Risa do anyway," he asked as they lay in bed one Saturday afternoon. Sam was off hunting down a potential leads on a job and they had the room to themselves.

"Teaches lower level religion courses at the private college in the town she lives in."

"Mmm. Bet her male students pay attention in class. So why does she have the time to let you be her anyway?"

"She's on Sabbatical for a year."

"Huh." What was going to happen when her year was up? "Okay, let me ask you something else. When Famine was out and about, Jimmy craved red meat and so did you. If Famine was affecting you again -"

"That won't happen."

"But if it did -"

"Famine was rendered ineffective."

Dean dropped a kiss onto her bare stomach and sighed. Chick's body or no, Castiel was still Castiel. "You gonna let me finish?"

"You're asking about something that won't happen."

"Cas."

"What?"

"It's pure speculation, okay?"

She touched his cheek. "Go on."

"Right. If it did happen again, even though it won't, what food would Risa crave?"

Castiel's expression made it clear she thought the question was stupid and unnecessary, but Dean really wanted to know. After a moment of staring at him, she sighed. "Cheesecake. Chocolate cheesecake with ganache and miniature chocolate chips." An odd look crossed her face, one of longing that wasn't sexual in any way, shape, or form. "Creamy smooth chocolate, sweet, but not too sweet -"

"Cas?"

She sighed and licked her lips. "I can almost taste it."

He raised up to sit beside her. "You want me to get you some cheesecake?"

"Would you?" She blinked and shook her head on the pillow. "No, I don't require food. It's unnecessary. This craving is purely imaginary. And yet I really want cheesecake, Dean. I don't understand why. A moment ago -"

"You want it, let's go get it. You get cheesecake, I'll have some pie. Let's do it. Let's be impulsive."

"Impulsive." She studied him a long moment, then bit her lip and nodded. "Alright. I'll be impulsive with you, Dean."

While he enjoyed seeing her reaction to things like cheesecake, a misgiving began to grow in his mind, a sliver at first as he observed those reactions. When he'd been in Zachariah's future, Lucifer had told him he'd always end up 'there'. Dean recalled the Castiel he'd met in that future - bitter, broken, regretting…committed to hedonistic pursuits to plug the aching hole inside him from losing his angelic identity.

If Castiel remained in Risa, that's what she'd become, exactly what Zachariah had proposed. Choosing to stay in Risa was choosing to be with Dean on a deeper, intimate, and wholly human level. It meant Cas would be turning from heavenly duties to pursue earthly things and when the grace pulled out, it'd hurt Castiel - and probably Risa and Jimmy as well.

Maybe things would be good for awhile, but someday, Cas would long for what she'd had. She'd hate doing things the human way. Dean had already experienced Castiel that way, but this time would be worse, because he'd know Cas had fallen from grace for his love. Not for fighting a war and saving humanity. For his love. His.

And that love would turn against them both.

Bitter, broken, regretting Castiel would make an appearance and stay until death. She'd do anything to keep the ache of loss inside from growing and that wonder and joy he saw now would then turn to anger and hate.

Dean already knew what would happen to her. He'd seen a fully fallen Castiel before, and while it likely had been Zachariah's imagination, the change to Cas rang true. It would happen. He was going to lose Castiel one way or another. Dean knew it as surely as he knew his own name.

Yet he couldn't find the words or strength to tell her to choose heaven and make her leave. He wanted her; wanted that happiness they had for as long as they could have it. He didn't want to let her go.


It was supposed to end. Castiel and Dean had agreed that this wasn't a good idea that first time he'd gone to Dean as Risa.

Yet again and again Cas returned in Risa's body. Once, twice, more times. Each encounter deepened the feelings Cas had and with each visit in Risa, she noticed Sam's reproachful, mournful stare. He thought Dean and Cas were making a mistake.

Maybe they were.

"Is it possible for you to have kids?"

Dean's question seemed to come out of nowhere and Castiel paused in getting dressed, considering the question. "No. Like aging, the reproductive system ceases to work properly with an angel present. In women, that means the regular monthly cycle stops altogether, essentially frozen in time, although obviously sexual arousal and desire remain intact. In men, it means that the sperm can't fertilize an egg. Again, sexual desire and arousal remain, except it's more difficult to experience."

He nodded and Castiel saw disappointment in his eyes for a brief second. "Guess that makes sense."

"Vessels, of course, can reproduce when unfilled. Risa can have children and Jimmy did have one." She drew on her shirt. "Why do you ask?"

"No reason. Just curious."

The line of questioning continued later, as they sat drinking coffee together.

"Is it possible for you to lose your powers again?"

She looked up. These questions he asked betrayed the path of his thoughts of late. "I suppose. While there's no one there in heaven with the ability to close the flow except maybe Raphael, I think it could still happen."

"Under what circumstances?"

"Choosing to become human. It's a choice that rips the grace out - what Anna did from heaven. Being already in a vessel and making that choice? I think it would hurt for both the angel and the vessel, maybe even kill the vessel's soul completely, or at least close off him or her from everything until bodily death. A death sentence either way for the vessel's soul." When she'd fallen before, it hadn't been to be human. It had been to save humanity and aid Dean, a selfless choice. Choosing to become human would be a selfish one and would, in theory, hurt far more immediately.

"Would an angel age then?"

"There would be some bodily decay, yes."

"Would the reproductive system unfreeze?" He asked it with a nonchalant sip of his coffee, as though it was purely an academic question.

Castiel ran her forefinger along the rim of her coffee cup. She'd like to be able to tell Dean that, yes, it would. She'd like to give him the answers he wanted to hear, but she couldn't lie to him. "No. An angel remains one at the very core. The body would age some, but an angel, even one mostly human, can't reproduce. It's simply how it is. We aren't infinite. I've mentioned that before. We're set in number, Dean. Finite. There can be no more of us than God initially commanded into being."

"No little Castiels running around then?"

"No. If I were to fall again and lose my powers, I still wouldn't actually be human. I'd be close to it, a hybrid if you will. Not one or the other, stuck between what I was and what I longed to be. Even Anna, as human as she was, being born into it, wasn't fully human. She'd retained her angelic identity. I very much doubt she would have been able to have children either." She took a sip of coffee. "I think for an angel choosing humanity, in the end, there'd forever be regret and bitterness for the choice, no matter the reason it was initially made, because what we are is such an essential part of us. To remove a piece of it is to be…broken."

Dean shoved his cup away and reached for the check.

That had been a week earlier. Dean had made no more mentions of angels falling to be human or of children.

Castiel sat on Risa's screened porch, shielded from view of her neighbors by the lilac bushes and privacy fence. He rocked the swing with his feet. Risa was sleeping at present, as it was still early, not quite dawn yet. She dreamed of Dean, which made Cas wonder how much she'd experienced with him and didn't realize it, for her dreams were sensual in nature.

When he went to Dean in her, he felt more alive in a good way than he ever had, which led to a conflict now inside of him. He wanted to continue to feel alive in that manner, to let the romantic love for Dean grow even more, yet he also knew that it was becoming increasingly difficult to do his job and be an angel. He couldn't concentrate, wanting to spend more time with Dean instead of performing necessary duties.

Something was going to have to give and soon.

The options Castiel faced were heartbreaking either way. He had to either stay in Risa and abandon heaven willingly or stay in Jimmy and abandon the fullness of that love for Dean. On one hand, Castiel had never wanted to be parted from what he was ever again, as becoming human had hurt on many levels. On the other, that love for Dean felt so very right and perfect. He longed to feel that way forever.

Castiel was tempted to turn away from everything he'd wanted so desperately to get back.

If he left heaven for Dean, would that love take away the pain of that fall?

If he left Dean for heaven, how much would it hurt Dean and what lengths would Cas have to go to to ease that hurt?

There was no easy answer, as both would cause pain, his own and Dean's. He was more concerned about Dean's pain than his own.

Cas ignored the issue as long as possible, but couldn't ignore it when Sam confronted her while Dean was out buying dinner. He'd left Castiel and Sam alone.

"You can't keep doing this, Cas."

"I know."

"Do you?" Sam put his hands on his hips and shook his head. "Because it doesn't look from here like you do. You're acting like you and Dean have happily ever after on the horizon and we both know that's not going to happen. You're an angel, Castiel. You're not human."

"I'm aware of that, Sam."

"No, I don't think you are. I think you've gotten carried away playing house with Dean."

Sam spoke truth. She had gotten carried away, enjoying the feelings and enjoying seeing Dean peaceful and happy. It was the first time she'd seen him in both. "Perhaps."

"You're the only one who can stop it. Dean's not going to. He's just as carried away as you are. I'm asking you as a friend, Castiel, if you love Dean in any way at all, friend, lover, whatever…. End this now before you both end up hurt." He shrugged. "If you don't, if you let this go on, he won't recover when you have to leave. You know you're going to leave. This back and forth can't go on forever."

"I know."

"You know damn well you're going to choose heaven. You'll choose heaven and Jimmy because it's the choice you have to choose, for yourself, for Dean, and for Risa, and Jimmy. The longer you wait, the harder it's going to be."

She hugged herself.

"You'll leave, Cas, and you will be the one to break him. Not the other angels, not the hunting life, not the next tragedy that happens to me or someone else human that he cares about. You, the one who saved him from hell. You will break him so completely he can't come back from it ever."

She closed her eyes, squeezed them shut, and felt tears begin to fall. "I don't want to choose, Sam."

"Then you be kind and kill him when you do leave." He was quiet a minute. "Or are you willing to walk away from all that you got back; fall and become human all over again for Dean's love? Is that what you want, Castiel? To stay in that woman's body and leave heaven to be with Dean? If that's the case, I'll shut up right now. I'll never say another word about it and I'll full support whatever arrangement you two want."

Castiel wiped at the tears and opened her eyes. "I don't want to be human again. I can't feel these things every day, Sam. They're too intense. It's why I'm only her a couple days at a time. It's too overwhelming."

"You can't have it both ways. You can't have that life with Dean and be an angel, too. You know that. Believe me, I've been there, remember? Only I went for a demon."

It couldn't go on. Cas grieved for that and knew what she had to do. Deep down, she wasn't strong enough to let herself become human again. As strong as she was otherwise, she couldn't do it, even for Dean.

She treasured another few days with him and knew it was time. The decision had to be made now or she'd never make it. If she waited, she'd only let matters go until it was too late for any of them to recover.

"Dean, I've been considering Jimmy and Risa both." She felt Dean grow still against her and hurried on before he could say anything. "Jimmy's too well-known as my vessel. I can't abandon him. Nor can I continue to take Risa from her life."

Dean was quiet a long moment, then nodded, head down. "I know."

"I've been thinking on the matter quite a bit."

"You're not the only one."

"What do you wish me to do?"

He raised his head. Tears glinted in his eyes that held so much human emotion, some contradictory Cas thought, all swirling together. Love, anger, fear. But most of all love, displayed openly, a naked vulnerability. She and Sam weren't the only ones who'd known this day was coming. She saw that all there in Dean's eyes. He'd known and he'd waited, hoping and praying it wouldn't actually come and already, it was breaking him down and reopening that terrible empty hole inside him. She could see that hole ripping open right before her. "Fix it. Somehow. I don't care how. Just…" he sucked in a shaking breath, " don't let the emptiness come back. I can't go there again." He was afraid of that, of falling back down into that despair.

The words were like a knife slashing at her and sliding deep. Dean's pain hurt to see. She squeezed her hands into fists. "I never intended to cause you pain."

"Well I never intended to fall for you in a chick's body, so we're even."

"Fall for?"

He paused, then looked away. "Love, Cas. It means love. I…I love you."

She watched him a moment, then made a decision for Dean's own good, stretching out her hand and altering his memories. She removed herself, yet left Risa, taking great care to keep the details as true to what had occurred as possible.

Taking away the pain he felt. Fixing it. Making it better for him at her own expense.

In Dean's mind now, it was Risa he'd been seeing off and on for the past few months, not Castiel. As far as Dean was concerned, Castiel kept doing a vanishing act, which was perfectly normal behavior.

When the alterations were completed, Cas made him sleep and laid him back. She caressed his face, reliving the past months in seconds, then leaned over and pressed a kiss to his lips.

"I love you too, Dean. Goodbye."

She left him there, sleeping peacefully, and went to find Sam, altering his memories next.

"I didn't want to wake Dean," she told him when the task was completed. "Would you tell him I had to go, but that I'll speak with him soon?"

"Yeah, sure, Risa. You heading home?"

"Yes." In a manner of speaking. If Jimmy's body could be considered home. Castiel supposed it could be. Jimmy would be a refuge from what Cas had had to do.

"Have a safe drive."

"Thank you."

She returned to Risa's and to Jimmy. He was lounging in one chair in the living room, watching tv and eating, looking up when Cas appeared.

"You're back. I wasn't expecting you for another couple days."

"There's been a change of plans."

He put his plate aside. "Something happen between you and Dean?"

"You warned me it wouldn't be the same."

"I did."

"How did you know?"

Emotion overwhelmed her fully and she pushed Jimmy into sleep in order to be alone in her sorrow.


When Jimmy woke, he heard crying. At first, he thought it was Risa by herself, that Castiel had left them without making the switch. A closer look revealed that it was Castiel curled up against the arm of the couch sobbing. The sight was so very wrong to behold that he was silent a moment before asking in a gentle, quiet voice, "Castiel?"

She looked up. She'd been crying for a long time already. Her face was blotchy, eyes swollen, and her sobs had a congested quality to them. These weren't plain tears she shed, but rather tears of grief - grief for something essential now gone. The pain in her eyes was deep.

How long had she made him sleep?

Getting up, he went to her and sat beside her, drawing her to him and pressing her face to his chest. To his surprise, she leaned against him. He held her like he had Claire when she was small, patting her back and stroking her hair, rocking her just a little.

Finally, the tears stalled and she drew back. "I don't want to let him go," she whispered.

"Then don't. Screw it all. Go back -"

"It's too late." She shook her head, wiping her cheeks with her hands. "It's already done."

"What do you mean it's too late?"

"I already altered his memories."

"Change them back."

"It's too late, I…. I don't want to feel like this, Jimmy!" She gulped in a breath. "I love him and it hurts! I didn't know love can hurt like this!"

He nodded. "I know, I know. It's not the love that hurts, it's the sacrifice."

"Sacrifice?"

"It's painful to leave the ones you love for their own good, or because circumstances demand it. I've been there."

She stared at him, understanding growing on her face. "This is what you felt when…."

"Yeah. When I begged you to take me so Claire wouldn't have to remain your vessel. I feel it again now because I know that my reunions with them are over."

"I did that to you. I took you away from them -" Her mouth trembled. "I'm sorry, Jimmy."

"You're not going to go back to Risa again. It's a fact. That's not going to happen. It's too painful remembering what you had and set aside. In fact, you're going to do your best to forget you ever realized she's a vessel."

"Why aren't you crying? You're human, with human emotion, and if it tears you apart…."

"I've accepted the way things have to be, Castiel. I accepted it a long time ago. Amelia is my wife and always will be whether I'm with her or not, and I'll love her just the same."

"She knows you love her?"

"Yes. She knows I love her."

She clutched his shirt. "Dean doesn't know I love him. Not anymore. I took that from him with a touch, replaced myself with Risa. He no longer knows."

"Dean knows you love him. You wouldn't have done all you did those months ago if you didn't. Maybe it's not the romantic side of love he's aware that you have, but trust me, he knows you have love for him."

She pulled away.

"Things can't be the way you want. You can't have both worlds." Reaching out, he grasped her hand and raised it to his cheek, keeping his own hand on top of it. "It's over now," he continued in the gentlest, yet firmest tone possible. "It's time for you to leave Risa and come back to me. You know that. Come back. You lessen my pain and I'll lessen yours." It was what would happen when Castiel came back to him. The heat and light would sear time and consciousness from Jimmy for ninety-nine percent of the time and, if he understood correctly, his body would help dampen those emotions Castiel felt. Cas would be numb, though not as numb as in his natural form. He would be numb and eventually, the numbness would take the sting from love set aside.

Castiel swallowed hard. "Very well, Jimmy. We'll lessen each other's pain." Beneath his hand, he felt her thumb move, sweeping across his cheekbone. "Thank you."

It was the first time he could recall Castiel saying those words to him. He nodded. "You're welcome, Castiel."

Heat flared up and Jimmy was covered over by Castiel's presence.


Castiel returned to Jimmy and uttered a sigh of relief as emotional pain sloughed away, leaving a dark shadow of it's former self. It was there still. He felt it, but it was bearable now. He could function. Castiel cleaned up the house and erased all signs of Jimmy's presence, then turned to Risa. She was sitting on her couch where he'd sat, watching him.

"We were crying. Why? What happened?"

He crouched down in front of her. "It was a personal matter."

"Are you alright?"

The final task was to alter Risa's memories as well. Castiel did that without answering her question.

There were no angels for her. No Zachariah or Castiel. No knowledge of being a vessel or even what a vessel was. There was only Dean Winchester, a man she'd met at a restaurant and begun seeing. Castiel gave her all of the personal information she would have discovered about Dean, then made sure she had Dean's number and a strong suggestion to call him later and apologize for having to leave early.

Risa would call him and maybe she could be the one to make him happy. A wholly human woman, not an angel in a borrowed body that could never really grow old with him and never give him the family he wanted.

As the days slid into weeks, he watched Dean with Risa. They looked happy when they met up. She had no qualms about driving or flying wherever Sam and Dean were just to see Dean. She claimed it was an adventure. They looked good together.

"You okay, Cas? You look a little…down."

He glanced at Sam, then returned his attention to the two across the room with a shake of his head. "No, I'm not okay. But I'll endure."

He'd given them the potential for happiness together. It was up to Dean and Risa to pursue it and make it happen. Would Dean accept Risa in Castiel's stead? Time would tell.

Castiel's own happiness was irrelevant. He was an angel. Angels weren't supposed to be happy, sad, or anything else. Angels were warriors and soldiers. They weren't human and couldn't be human.

Unfortunately, he couldn't alter his own memories. If only Gabriel were here to do it for him. As he'd told Sam, he'd endure.

Castiel sighed, ignoring Sam's curious stare. Sam had been right. Things did change, whether people, or angels, meant them to or not. Dean would never know just how much things had changed between them. Love, that full definition with all kinds combined - brotherly, romantic, spiritual - changed the way Castiel saw him and felt about him.

Because Castiel did love Dean….

Cas let him go.