AHHHH Sorry about taking so long to update! School is crazy and I'm about to finish this semester and graduate in the summer (YESSS) so I've been working on paintings a lot and haven't had free time.

So there's this. And it's fluffy and stupid, but these boys move so slowly it's sad. SOMETHING IS HAPPENING YES. I know where I want this all to go, it's just the getting there that's hard. So hopefully this will be updated more often (and finished) once mid-May and summer hit.


After that, Dean calls Castiel a little more regularly. Not every day he's gone, but at least once during a hunt - and, even if it is usually to ask about whatever it is he happens to be hunting or to complain about Bobby taking over too much, Cas enjoys every second. People at the library begin to ask about his girlfriend and is she pretty? and you seem so happy when you talk to her and he just nods and smiles because he feels bad correcting them and also because it gives him an excuse to talk to Dean during work hours.

He researches remedies and spells and rituals and tries his hardest not to think about Dean actually going against these things.

Most of all, though, he wonders if he should try to contact Sam.

Even if Dean is trying to hide it, Cas knows that it's killing him inside. Every now and again, he gets this far off look on his face and Castiel just wants to grip him tight and hold him and tell him that Sam is okay, he's alive - I saved him but he's not sure how Dean will react to that. Not sure if he'll be wanted anymore, if Dean's anger will be too great for whatever it is that they have now. He's not sure if Sam even knows that Dean isn't with Lisa anymore - after all, the main reason that he hadn't wanted Cas to take him to Dean was because he didn't want to ruin the life that he had hoped they had made together.

Maybe if Cas were to call him, to let him know that Dean is hunting again, is with him and Bobby and missing Sam more than anything, then Sam would come back.

One day, he starts typing out a message to him but hesitates on the send button. There is no part of him that shouldn't want Sam to come back - he has no idea if he's safe or okay or even where he is after all - but, somehow, he can't make himself do it. He loves Sam just as he does Bobby and his nightmares alternate between him in Hell and Dean in Hell - searching and searching but never finding, never fast enough. But Sam had made him promise, had made him swear he'd let Sam come to Dean when he was ready. So he closes his phone and goes back to organizing some of the religious texts in the back of the library.

After an hour or so, he hears footsteps behind him. "Oh, sorry, I can get out of your..." and he trails off because it's Dean that's standing behind him with a smirk on his face and dirt smudged on his chin. Automatically, Cas reaches up a hand and wipes it off, concerned look on his face. "Dean...I thought you weren't supposed to get back until tomorrow?" he asks, and Dean's got that strange look in his eyes again, stiff underneath Castiel's fingers so Cas pulls his hand back with a start, quietly mumbling an apology.

Dean just grins slightly though. "Eh, the hunt ended up not taking as long I thought it would, so I figured I'd come here and surprise you." He laughs. "I got some weird looks from your coworkers, though, when I asked them where you were. I think they like you, man - I had to go through all this questioning before they'd tell me."

Castiel smiles. The staff at the library is gossipy, yes, but they are all very kind. "I think they just like that I actually enjoy organizing things," he says, glancing at the ground. He hears another laugh as Dean puts a hand on his shoulder.

"They told me you got off work in a few minutes, wanna go to dinner with me?"

Castiel looks up at him and there's a faint redness to his cheeks. It takes him just a moment to realize that Dean had said go to dinner with me when a simple want to get dinner would have sufficed. This means nothing, of course. It can't mean anything. But Cas's heart starts drumming loudly anyway and he swallows hard before forcing a smile on his face. "Yes, of course, Dean. Though..." he takes the chance to touch Dean's face again, pretending to wipe of dirt but more wanting to see... "You might want to wash up a bit. I don't know if I want to be seen with you like this."

Sure enough, Dean's face flushes and Castiel can feel it under his fingers. For a moment, he doesn't push away. He simply closes his eyes slightly and leans into it, face still red but content, and Cas can feel his stomach lurching and his heart dropping and - when did this happen? - and then Dean opens his eyes and laughs again, a cue for Castiel to drop his hand and for everything to go back to normal. "Okay, okay, point taken. I'll be in the bathroom washing my face. You finish your thing and then we can go."

Dean walks away, maybe a little faster than necessary, and Castiel finishes putting up the stack of books he had abandoned on the ground.

They're at a rather nice restaurant, actually, which surprises Cas, but he doesn't say anything. Dean must have been able to read the look on his face, though, because he snorts. "Who says Dean can't choose somewhere fancy to eat once in awhile?"

"I never said that," Castiel says, quietly, but his stomach is still doing that thing and he's terrified that Dean will somehow hear it.

In the months since he's been living at Bobby's, Castiel has learned more from T.V. than from either Bobby or Dean. Sure, they may have taught him all the important survival stuff, but it was from watching sitcoms and reality T.V. and talk shows that Cas started to see a part of humans that neither man could probably show him. He found himself getting irrationally attached to characters - who will Rachel end up with? why won't they kiss already? no, that's her evil twin sister! - and discovered that there is more to being a human than just eating and surviving.

Sure, he had some ideas about love - what he had seen for 2,000 years and what he was currently feeling - but he was lost on the signs of love. He knew what happened when people were in love, what they did and how they acted when it was reciprocated - but he didn't know what people did before that. How they knew, how they told, how they could see if someone else loved them back. It took him a few months to decipher his own actions, let alone anyone else's. And it was when he realized that he was thinking about Dean constantly, worrying over him all the time, aching for days when he didn't get to see his smile - that he recognized that, yes, he was probably in love with Dean Winchester.

Perhaps this should have come as a shock to him, as it seems to always come as a shock to the people on T.V. when they make this revelation, but it wasn't really. It was a slow connection that he made - the prickling and the stomach lurching and the wanting - and once he realized that that was what it was, he actually felt a little better. It all made sense. It explained this horrible sense of devotion he had to the man, the anger at him when he thought he was going to say yes to Michael, the utter relief when he realized that he hadn't. He had Fallen for this. It wasn't so much rebellion, he thought, but the fact that he truly loved Dean more than his brothers, Heaven, maybe even his Father.

He had run from the idea, tried to hide it and forget it, but it was there. And once he accepted it, his mind rested a little easier.

Aside from the fact that he now is left to stress over whether or not Dean feels the same way.

T.V., unfortunately, is not a good guide on how to understand Dean Winchester. When Castiel thinks he's seen what television shows tell him is "a sign of attraction," his heart lifts up considerably, flittering, flittering, until Dean does something else that he knows is what's considered "friend zone." Then he gets depressed and won't talk for awhile and Dean freaks out and does more things to get his hopes up and dash them again.

Dean is not like the humans on T.V., Castiel knows (or he wouldn't be in love with him), but it would be a lot easier if he was.

"Hey feather brain," Dean interrupts. He's standing a little further from Cas now, following a waitress to a table, and Castiel is still standing stupidly in the door. "C'mon."

Castiel follows a little more quickly than necessary, probably, and they find themselves at a small, two person table in one of the hidden corners of the restaurant. "This place is very nice, Dean," he says as he sits down. Dean had hovered by the chair for a moment, as if he were going to pull it out for him, but then decided to sit in the other one to face the part of the door they could see.

"Yeah, well," and Dean hesitates, hand on the back of his neck, eyes fidgety. "You deserve to get treated to something nice every now and again, Cas. Bobby's is home, I guess, but you should be allowed to try something other than grilled chicken and vegetables for once."

Cas smiles. "Thank you, Dean."

Their knees bump under the table, and Castiel is about to apologize, but Dean stares him in the eye, freckles darkening, and moves his leg so that it's flush against Cas's, feet intertwining.

"No problem, Cas," Dean says, and it's very steady - maybe too steady. "I've been thinking...a lot."

"Which is why you went to Kansas even though there was nothing to hunt." Castiel regrets it almost as soon as he says it, but he feels like maybe it's now or never. Sam will call soon and Dean will hate him anyway, so he figures he might as well just go for broke and see what he can get out of him.

Instead of being angry, however, Dean's leg just tenses against his and he takes a long sip of his water and swallows a little too hard. "Everything's been kind of complicated, Cas. First...Sam is gone and I'm with Lisa but that doesn't feel right, you know? I mean...it was great. We could have been great. But...I didn't feel anything there."

"Because you missed Sam."

"And you."

Dean looks away as he says this, finally breaking eye contact and Castiel forgets to control his feelings and lets his face turn bright red. "...Me?"

"Yes you," Dean says with a laugh. "You're my friend, idiot. And you just poofed away without really saying goodbye and I thought I'd never see you again."

"Ah, yes, friends," and for some reason, Castiel can't keep the disappointment out of his voice. He never expected Dean to feel the same - his track record was too flawless, to consumed with the same type of person that Castiel was not - and he had come to terms with it, he thought. But he preferred the ambiguity. It was nice to hope, even if it was a fruitless and stupid hope, and Dean spelling it out like that wasn't exactly what he wanted. He had defined it. And now Castiel can't have that stupid hope anymore, can't touch Dean thinking that maybe, just maybe...

Dean's hand on his breaks him out of his thoughts. There's a determined look on his face, smothered with dark red and flushed cheeks, and his eyes are steady. "Ever since you came back, I've felt guilty because I haven't thought about Sam," he says, quietly. "I kept going on hunts and getting away because I found myself becoming too happy, even with him gone. I didn't want to be happy, Cas. I didn't want to move on or forget. Sam told me to go to Lisa and live that happy life I always wanted, but I couldn't do it. Every day, I just felt out of place and like I didn't belong. Even when I finally left and went to Bobby's, there was still something missing - and I always assumed it was Sam."

His fingers are tightening now, and the waitress has glanced at them at their table and skittered away. Castiel's throat is tightening.

"But then you call me and I sit there and I worry about you and, for the first time, I forgot to be sad about Sam. I told myself it was because you needed me and you were hurting, but even when you got better, I thought less and less about Sam and...more about you. I wanted to show you things, to talk to you and be the one to explain everything, to just...be near you all the time. And I hated myself for it, hated that I had somehow managed to be happier without even trying."

"So you ran away." Castiel's voice is shaking slightly. Once upon a time, he was an angel, was incapable of being shaken up or bothered. He can hardly remember that now, body flip flopping and tensing up under Dean's impossible and beautiful stare. He can hardly remember not being in love with Dean.

Dean nods. "I went to Kansas, to Lawrence, to that old grave yard, and I talked to Sam. Told him about how I was scared and stupid. And, yeah, I didn't get an answer back or hear anything, but I realized that Sam wanted me to be happy - to live that apple pie life with Lisa. And maybe, I can still live that life without Lisa. Maybe still hunt, you know, because I can't imagine not hunting. But the happy life - spending it with someone else? I can see that." He swallows, and his eyes are boring into Castiel's. "I still think about Sam, yeah, and it kills me to know what he's going through. But, I know I'm gonna get him back one day. I'm gonna save him, even if he told me not to. Right now, I'm not strong enough, though. Anything I do will still be out of anger."

Dean's thumb is rubbing absent-mindedly on Cas's and he can feel his skin burning. There's a point to all of this, he knows, he just wishes Dean would get to it. More than anything, this is the time when he should tell Dean that Sam is alive, but his mouth can't form the words. Something is happening, and Castiel wants it. Wants it more than anything - more than Dean and Sam being back together, even though he knows that that's how it's supposed to be. Dean and Sam Winchester are soul mates, even if it's not in the romantic sense, meant to always be together, brothers until the end. There is no room in that equation for an angel, a Fallen angel, but Castiel is grasping at whatever strings he wants because he's just so human now.

"Most of all, though, I think I was just running away from you," Dean is continuing. "I realized that when I was out there, too. I could say over and over again that I was just freaking out because I might have actually been moving on and accepting that Sam was gone, but really...I don't know." He rubs the other hand on the back of his neck again. "I realized that the only way I was ever going to be happy with anyone was if it was with someone who actually knew me. Who had gone through all that shit with me and was still there for me in the end. Like Sam, but...not Sam."

Castiel decides he's going to prod it along, still just as impatient as ever. "So you decided to ask me on a date."

Dean sputters for a moment, lets go of Cas's hand and turns a brighter red than before, up to his ears. "Um, well, uh," he attempts, but it takes him a second to remember how to talk. "Um. Maybe? I don't know. Do you want this to be a date? It's been a long time since I've done this and a...never with a...well..."

"Yes, Dean," Castiel says softly. "I would, actually."

The smile on Dean's face is hesitant at first, and then beaming, and Castiel forgets that he's being selfish, that Dean needs to know about Sam.

Because, right now, Dean thinks he needs Castiel and Cas doesn't want to let go of that, not yet.

disclaimer: supernatural © eric kripke