Epilogue, because BobbleHeadedJesus reignited my interest in this story, (by reminding me of its existence)and god knows, we could all use a happy ending right now.
Ten years is a long time. That's the one lesson Dean's learnt from all this.
Well, that and – if hunting alone? Walk softly and wear a helmet.
He's almost sixty now, and after ten years, Castiel still won't let him forget about the accident. He hunts with Sam, he checks in, he carries a freaking first aid kit wherever he goes. And if Cas had his way he'd probably carry a flare gun too.
He takes precautions, he does his research and he always (always on pain of enforced chastity and dishwashing duty for a month) shows up at home for Sunday dinner, rain or shine, wendigo's or succubae.
He never leaves anything to chance, always knows exactly what he's aiming for. In many ways he's the best hunter he's ever been.
He has however, lost his glasses.
"Cas...you seen my..." Castiel emerges from the kitchen with the glasses (goddamn bifocals at that) and a handful of pills. "Ugh, not again."
"You have a cholesterol of almost 300." Castiel grouses, handing him the pills and glaring as he waits for Dean to swallow them. "You're basically a solid."
"Why'd you have to get better at cooking?" Dean gripes, picking up his glass of water and swallowing tablets for his blood pressure, cholesterol, back pain and poor circulation. There's probably a laxative in there too, he's lost count of the number of pills he's supposed to be on. Castiel, infuriatingly healthy as a horse thanks to the combination of his and Jimmy's record of clean living, has no such array of supplements.
And no need to pee at ridiculous o'clock at night.
"You told me to learn." Castiel points out, and Dean almost laughs at the thick grey eyebrows on his partners face, raised as they are in the hawkish expression of 'It's all your fault really' that hasn't changed in over a decade. Cas's hair too, is streaked with grey at the temples, his face more lined and his body not as flexible as it once was. He has however avoided the slight paunch that Dean has managed to acquire (and is still quite sensitive about – no thanks to Sam's teasing).
Dean takes the last pill and sets the glass down.
"Thank you Florence." He says, just as he does every morning. Castiel half smiles to himself and goes to find his boots.
"We've got to leave for Sam's in a few minutes." He calls back, and Dean checks his watch, damn, twenty five minutes disappeared on him while he was thinking to himself. He gets up and goes in search of his jacket, passing a hall mirror, he tries to control the start that his reflection causes.
He looks older than his Dad. Scratch that, he looks like his Dad would have looked like, if he'd been around to reach sixty odd years as a hunter. Mild steel grey in his hair and stubble, slight thickening not hiding the muscle on his frame, and a collection of scars and wrinkles to rival the battered leather couch that Castiel is perched on, lacing up his boots. Dean drops down next to him and bats his hands away from the shoes, pressing Castiel into the sagging folds of the aged couch. Cas goes easily enough, groaning indignantly when Dean slides on top of him.
"We, are too old for couch sex." He complains.
"Then shoot me." Dean thrusts a hand under Castiel's shirt, nipping his neck as his fingers circle a nipple. "I don't want to live anymore."
Castiel harrumphs at his partner (husband, Dean corrects, because he's a freaking husband these days) as he often does at Dean's silliness and irreverent attitude to his own advanced years. When push comes to shove though (here read – when pants begin to become undone) he ceases any attempts at making Dean aware of the decrepit state of the couch, and of both of their spines.
Some things surpassed common sense.
Dean Winchester, was one of them.