A/N: Consider this an epilogue. The saccharine ride is, sadly, over. It soothed me through the rough patch that was season 7. Instead of going to bed miserable over the lack of Cas on the show, I'd read one of these little snippets and go to bed with a smile on my face. I hope it did the same for you.
Sam sat reading the news on his laptop before checking his watch and comparing it to the time on his computer. Cas and Dean were really sleeping late. He would go and wake them, but he had learned the hard way that it was a good way to achieve mental scarring. They'd come out when they were ready.
Half an hour later, Sam was looking at his watch for the fifth time. Surely they were awake? He was bored and the whole point of them coming here was so they could hang out together for Christmas. He walked over to their door and hesitated. He thought he heard their voices. It sounded like conversation. It didn't sound compromising. But with Dean you just never knew. He heard their voices again. It definitely sounded like normal conversation. He decided to take a risk and knocked lightly on the door with his knuckles.
"Guys? You awake?"
"Come in, Sam." Cas responded.
Sam hesitantly poked his head around the door, and stepped in when he saw they were both in bed and still clothed. Cas sat up with a book in his hands, Dean lay sprawled face down, still tucked under the blankets but, presumably, awake.
"I borrowed one of your books, Sam. I hope you don't mind." Sam saw Cas had a copy of an old poetry book in his hands. "It's intriguing. For example, all of the rules of sentence structure and grammar are broken by E.E Cummings, yet he still conveys his meaning."
"Is that what you guys were discussing? I could hear you guys talking." Sam's eyes were focussed on Dean.
Cas glanced at Dean's splayed form with good humour. "Dean just enjoys the sound of my voice." He reached out with one hand and stroked the back of Dean's head.
"Mmrr," Dean agreed from the pillow. "And the juicy bits." Dean amended.
"The 'juicy bits'?" Sam's brow wrinkled. "Dean is an astute judge of poetic imagery," Cas explained. He turned the page and read, "O Love, Love, Love! O withering might!
O sun, that from thy noonday height
Shudderest when I strain my sight,
Throbbing thro' all thy heat and light,
Lo, falling from my constant mind,
Lo, parch'd and wither'd, deaf and blind,
I whirl like leaves in roaring wind."*
He turned his face towards Dean. "Dean?"
Dean's muffled voice could be heard from the pillow, "All I heard was 'shuddering, throbbing heat' and then 'falling, parched and withered.'" He gave a quiet snort. Cas gave Sam a secretly amused look. "He does tend to strip away the romance of the imagery in the process of summarizing it."
Sam sat on the corner of the bed and smiled. He was starting to understand how these two managed to fit together. "I thought we could just …hang out today. Before you guys go again…"
Dean rolled over onto his back and rubbed his face. "Sure." He propped himself up and yawned widely. "I could stand to eat some breakfast."
"…and maybe you guys should think about … settling down. A home base. A place to call your own."
Cas put his book down. Dean and Cas looked at each other. Sam couldn't read their blank faces, but the look held most of a discussion in it. They turned back to Sam, who looked ready to be chastised. Cas placed his hand on Dean's shoulder.
"You're trying to help, or be supportive, or whatever. I get it." Sam waited nervously for Dean to continue. It wasn't the defensive anger Sam had been expecting. "Me and Cas, we're good. We're solid. Just 'cause you don't see it, doesn't mean me and Cas don't discuss… stuff. But we gotta go at our own pace, man." Cas gave Dean's shoulder a proud squeeze.
Sam stood up. "Yeah. Yeah, sorry. But you're right, I am trying to be supportive. You guys just looked comfortable while you were staying here, you know? Like it agreed with you, being somewhere more than two days in a row."
"It was pleasant," Cas agreed. "But for now, you and Bobby are our 'home base'. And we don't feel comfortable yet, living in one place, where we might be easily found." He darted a concerned glance at Dean. Sam read between the lines, and guessed it was Dean who was still nervous about making them vulnerable to attack. Even though their heads were worth much less bounty since Dooms' Day had been averted. It was true, there were enough… things… in the world that bore them a grudge. Enough that it could occasionally crop up as a problem. Maybe as the world rolled on, with its fate no longer tangled with that of the Winchesters, people would forget about them and Dean would start to feel safer.
"I've settled here and I've been okay," Sam pointed out.
Dean locked hard eyes on him. "Yeah? Think you'd be confident keeping Laura and Sophie safe too?"
Sam's lips compressed in a thin line. He breathed out loudly through his nose. "Okay. Point taken." He didn't really want to argue with Dean. Not when Dean was just trying to make him understand how he felt, without actually talking about feelings. It was about not seeing the people you cared about get hurt. Cas was as capable as Sam or Dean of looking after himself where freaks and monsters were involved, but Dean's emotions weren't going to acknowledge that. At least Dean had admitted they discussed 'stuff'. Sam blew out a breath. "I don't want to argue. I'll make us hotcakes for breakfast, okay?"
Dean grinned and clapped a hand on Sam's arm. "Finally. Something we agree on."
"You know you guys are welcome to come and stay here, any time you want a break from the road."
Then Sam ruined it all by making all of Dean's hotcakes heart-shaped.
*Part of Fatima by Tennyson.