It takes a week for Castiel to heal and when he does, he's not happy. He slumps into depression – he's stuck as a human, he won't ever be an angel and he's almost unreachable. It kills Dean to see him, so blank and broken.

They're still running.

It's not often something gets to them, but when it does, they're an unstoppable team. Cas fights them off with inhuman strength, Dean stands by his side and Sam's got their backs.

A month later and Cas is back on his feet. Dean and Sam just wake up one morning to see him dressed – always in his trenchcoat – and his face is bright and alive. That's when Dean touches him for the first time in what seems like forever, pulls him into a hard hug that's long overdue.

Sam comes over to hug him too, tight and strong. It surprises Cas, but he melts into Sam like a lost child finally finding his way back to his mother in the park. Dean's eyes actually water a little, but he tells himself he's not about to cry. He's a man, damn it.

Cas's obsession with romance movies continues. He has a small collection of his favourites that he carries with him and Dean still pretends that it annoys him. But it doesn't. He smiles in amusement whenever he sees Cas's small bag in the back of the Impala.

They get two rooms now. Sam's insistent on it and Dean just thinks he's being stupid, though the tension in the room between him and Cas is indescribable when they're alone. Two months after Cas almost died, he cracks. There's a lot of clattering, items strewn across the floor, colliding into walls and mindless thrusting. Groans, grunts, Cas's head tipped back, sweat slicked to their chests, open-mouthed kisses, sticky hands, skin against skin and frantic hands.

When Cas orgasms, it's like the world around him is shattering. It's the most beautiful thing Dean's ever seen, next to the Grace that still hangs around his neck, even when they're fucking each other. Throat exposed, brow creased with pleasure, mouth open in a silent scream and hands spread wide, clawing at the bed sheets. It's what sends Dean to completion.

It's at the most inconvenient moment when it hits Dean. They're finishing off a demon down a deserted alleyway, in the rain, and Cas slits its throat. His arm swings his body around with force and Dean's momentarily stunned when – almost in slow motion – Cas turns, droplets falling from his hair, arm poised and blue eyes fiery and bright.

It's that moment when Dean realises he's in love.

Castiel knows that he loves Dean the moment he comes back to the motel room with Dirty Dancing on DVD.

That's how life is for them now. Who knows how long it'll last – the Winchesters were never meant to have a perfect life, but it's when they're sitting – the three of them – at a roadside café, Sam stealing Cas's fries, that Dean finally realises.

This is good as it's gonna get.