References to 6x19 Mommy Dearest and 5x14 My Bloody Valentine. =)
"Are you gonna go apologize to him?"
Dean looked up at his brother from the Colt 1911 he was currently cleaning on the trunk of the Impala. "To who? What for?"
Sam raised an eyebrow at him, and Dean wondered how his brother had gotten so good at looking like a disapproving mother. "To Cas. For making another 'baby in a trench coat' comment when it's obviously not his fault that his grace is malfunctioning."
Dean slid the magazine back into the gun with a click and set all the supplies back into the trunk's secret compartment. They had been on another hunt somewhere in Arkansas, when suddenly Castiel had popped in and then been unable to pop back out, hinting that something more powerful than a wendigo was in the vicinity. It didn't help that Cas had tried and failed to zap the thing and had to be side-tackled by Dean when the wendigo started to charge the confused angel. The beast escaped into the woods in the ensuing shuffle, which ultimately resulted in some choice words from the hunter towards Castiel. The now-human had pouted and shut up for the remainder of the hunt, and Dean had known that his tirade was uncalled for but he was hesitant to label the feeling in his gut as 'guilt'. Plus, Sammy was there and he wasn't about to apologize in front of his brother. "Cas is a big boy – he can take a hit."
"Yeah, that's why his face is stuck in a permanent scowl and he's currently moping back at the motel."
Dean shut the trunk and turned to mirror the glare Sam was giving him. They stayed like that for a few moments until- "I'm hungry. I'm going for a burger."
"Yeah, you do that. I'm going into town to see if anything could be causing Cas's…impotence," Sam intoned, like he knew full well where Dean was actually going. Sam might have been the little brother, but he'd be damned if his stupid bitch-face didn't work all the time, every time.
Dean walked into the motel room wielding a paper bag and two cups with the Hardee's logo emblazoned on them, and found Castiel sitting on the bed a mere foot or two away from the television. A deep-seated maternal instinct from his caring-for-Sammy days made Dean consider telling Cas not to sit so close to the TV, but he supposed whatever ocular damage his angel buddy sustained would reverse itself once he got his mojo back.
"Hey Cas, your wings still tied-up?" Dean inquired, the euphemism his best attempt at empathy. It wasn't enough for Castiel though, who just turned his head and glared at Dean.
"If you're referring to my current defunct state, then yes, I am still just a 'toddler in big boy clothes', as you so put it earlier."
Dean quickly covered a snort as he sat down at the little motel table. "Aw, come on Cas! I didn't mean it - I was just frustrated because of that fugly sonofabitch that was wreaking havoc on this town and how your mojo tank is suddenly running empty. No need to get your diaper in a bunch."
Castiel's default frown for dealing with callous Dean deepened impossibly, and he suddenly stood up.
"I'm going to get some air."
Dean realized that Plan A: apologize like a normal human being had failed, per usual, so he resorted to Plan B. He reached into the paper sack he'd brought with him and brought out two sandwiches, the wave of greasy food smell wafting across the room and stopping Castiel just as he was opening the door to leave. Dean witnessed an internal battle play out before him just by watching the tension ebb and flow from behind Cas's back. At last, the out-of-commission angel turned around and his gaze honed in on the sandwich in Dean's right hand.
"That's a Hardee's one-third pound cheeseburger thickburger in your hand," Cas stated, matter-of-factly.
"That you are, my angel friend, do you want it?" Dean knew he should be impressed by Cas's exemplary red-meat identification skills, but he figured a couple hundred burgers in the span of a few days combined with divine olfactory senses probably made it less remarkable. But Dean still thought it was awesome. He began wondering if there were any taste test contests he could enter Castiel in, just to see him school some wannabe gustatory experts.
Cas's wary 'yes' shook him from his reverie, and the poor soul inched over to Dean's outstretched hand like it was a trap and he'd been burned before. After a moment of Castiel just rocking back and forth, Dean finally just grabbed his wrist and plopped the sandwich into Cas's hand, scooted the diet Coke across the table (because for some unholy reason, Cas prefered diet to original even though his vessel clearly had no need for it), and kicked the open chair opposite him out a few inches.
Castiel took the hint and sat down, though the furrow in his brow suggested that his main focus had moved to unwrapping and consuming the burger as quickly as possible. His teeth sank into his first bite, and Dean swore he saw the angel's pupils dilate before the rest of Cas's face broke out into a contented smile. The corners of his eyes crinkled up as he stared down into meaty heaven, and his lips pulled out towards his ears, revealing pearly white teeth and pink gums. Cas had a gummy smile…how had Dean not noticed this until just now? He reckoned it was because the angel never smiled, and the last time he did see him crack one was during a dark stake-out when they had first discovered his vessel's love for red meat. Dean sent a quick prayer of thanks up to Jimmy for that one – because without his predisposition to burgers, it didn't seem like Castiel would ever have a reason to express joy, and the guy most certainly deserved to. It almost pained Dean to see Cas so easily satisfied, when it was clear that in reality, few things had such an effect on him. Even still, Dean couldn't help but grin back at the man-child sitting in front of him that had gone back to devouring the sandwich like it had done him a personal wrong.
When the last bit of burger disappeared into an already full mouth, Castiel finally looked up to see his friend's mirth-filled eyes gazing back at him. As if caught between remembering that he was supposed to still be angry, and feeling like he had just had his greatest weakness exploited, Cas's face scrunched up as he grabbed the diet Coke and swung around in the chair to face away from Dean.
The hunter sighed as he heard Cas start nursing, nursing the beverage out of his view. And he didn't know why Dean called him a big baby?
"Cas, I'm sorry, all right?" he said exasperatedly at the trench coat-swaddled back. "I know you're just as frustrated as everyone that you're stuck in beginner-mode like the rest of us, and I didn't mean to make you mad, so can we just go back to–"
"I'm not mad."
Dean pauses. "Well…you're clearly upset about me calling you an overgrown infant, so…what can I do to make this better?"
It was Castiel's turn to sigh, and he slowly turned back around in his seat, keeping his eyes averted.
"I feel…upset. But it isn't anger – I have felt righteous fury before, and this is not the same."
Cas set the cup down and wrung his slender fingers, his eyes still boring into the table in front of him.
"At present, I am powerless, dispensable, and even a liability to you, Dean. I cannot assist you or protect you, and it makes me…anxious. I am well aware of the inconvenience that my situation poses, and you continually make it clear that in my current state, I am nothing more than an albatross in need of babysitting. What I feel…is that you only keep me around for 'mojo-ing' you and the others out of precarious situations, and that thought – it hurts.
Dean had known that his own behavior towards Castiel could be construed as 'ungrateful', 'dismissive', and at times, straight-up 'just-being-a-dick', but he never thought that Cas took things personally. The guy was an angel, for crying out loud. Self-confidence shouldn't be an issue when the reason your true form would burn out someone's eyes wasn't because you were ugly, but because it was the size of the Chrysler Building and glowed brighter than a million suns, or whatever. Regardless, Dean was struck by the need to console the self-doubting angel, to make him stop hurting as a result of his own misdirected anger. But he didn't get to, because then Cas opened his mouth again and proceeded to confuse the hell out of Dean.
"It wouldn't be so bad if Sam or Bobby called me names…my own brothers have been disparaging me since the dawn of time. It's only when you do it, Dean. It's just…I can't stand being worthless to you. You are all that is good and righteous to me in this world now, now that my Father is gone. I have given everything just to be close to you…but you keep pushing me away the moment I'm not able to be of service. If ever my power doesn't come back–," Castiel faltered. "Dean, please let me stay…I have nowhere else to go."
Dean rushed forward out of his chair and placed his hands on either side of Cas's face, because Cas still hadn't looked him in the eye and Dean needed him to look him in the eye. He wasn't sure what he wanted from Cas, but he knew that he needed to put an end to all the lies and assumptions that Cas was spewing about himself. The last thing Dean wanted was for him to leave, and he tilted Cas's face up to his to tell him so. Deep blue pools welling with moisture met Dean's own eyes, and the hunter's instinct from a lifetime of seeing weeping women in need of comfort kicked in.
He did the first thing that came to mind and pulled the angel's face towards his own, lips crashing before he even registered whose tears it was that he was trying to quell. It was when he realized that the lips beneath his own were rougher than any woman's he'd ever kissed, and that stubble not-his-own was prickling his face that Dean pulled back with an expression of panic mirrored by Cas's own.
"I don't…that's never…" but when Cas read his hesitation and suddenly looked as though he was about to cry again, Dean thought what the hell, and pulled Cas back into his arms.
Their lips met again, but Dean deepened the kiss, opening Cas's mouth with a swipe of his tongue and running his hands down over his shoulders and through his dark hair. Cas made a sound between a sob and a sigh and his body relaxed, relief evident in the way he gripped back at Dean, having interpreted the turn of events as a gesture of acceptance.
Dean finally drew back after a time and laid his forehead against Castiel's, eyes closed and hands still gripping sections of trench coat.
"Cas…you're the one that's never allowed to leave me. Hell, I feel like I don't even deserve to ask that of you, not when you're constantly saving my ass, and the asses of all the people I love, and I've never even asked you to. I'm just a puny human…and not even a nice one, at that. I don't know how someone like me could ever mean so much to you." Castiel's grip on him tightened, and he breathed in to reply but Dean continued. "Cas, I acted like a fuckin' asshole back in the woods because you almost got yourself killed. Wendigo be damned, I don't know what I would do if something happened to you. And I don't know what I would do if I called you one day and heard that you've moved on to more important things, ones that don't involve me and my damaged self. I just don't want to let you in and then have you tear your way out. But damn it all Cas, if it'll keep you here, you need to know that I love you. I'm a coward, and a dick sometimes, but I love you."
With his heart on the line, Dean cautiously blinked his eyes to look at the object of his affection, bracing himself for the frown he was so accustomed to provoking in the angel. Instead, Cas was beaming like he'd been promised unlimited cheeseburger thickburgers for the rest of eternity, tears glistening in the corners of his crinkled eyes.
"Dean," is all Cas managed before searing his lips back onto his human's, and Dean could feel the smile still fixed on Cas's face.
As he sank into the yet unfamiliar warmth of Castiel, Dean still couldn't help feeling astonished.
"How'd I end up being one of the few things that makes Cas smile? He thinks I'm more awesome than burgers. Sweet."
A/N: I hope this made you…very happy.