They hadn't meant to make an entrance, but when the pair walked into the Great Hall at dinner time hand-in-hand, both wearing rather silly grins because they just couldn't help it, Sam and Anna over at the Ravenclaw table let out loud cheers and started to clap. A few of their other friends joined in, enough so that several people turned to stare—Gordon included, and Dean couldn't help noticing with a deep sense of satisfaction his rather aggrieved expression.
"Shut up," Cas hissed at his sister when they halted in front of the Ravenclaw table. "It's not like you didn't think it was going to happen."
"I didn't at first," Anna objected. "And then I still wasn't a hundred percent on it. Anyways, I have a right to celebrate—you are absolutely miserable to be around when you're moping. Or going through withdrawal, or whatever you were doing."
Cas did not deign to respond, grabbing a sandwich from the table without bothering to sit down and making to leave. "Oh, come on, I was just kidding!" she called after them.
"In case you haven't noticed, exams start tomorrow—"
"Please—like you two are going to study."
"You never know," said Dean cheerfully. "We might need a break." Beside Anna, Sam wrinkled his nose in distaste at the insinuation and eyed his dinner as if no longer quite so hungry.
Cas cut in quickly, "He's joking," and carefully avoided meeting Dean's gaze until they were well out of the Great Hall.
As it turned out, sitting their exams was not half as traumatic an experience as Dean had anticipated. Cas, despite his anxiety (he'd looked about to be sick, walking in for his practical Defense Against the Dark Arts examination), had unsurprisingly aced everything; and even Dean had managed to do well on most of his, with a few turning out rather exceptionally while only one (Potions) left him uncertain as to whether or not he'd managed to pass. He was thrilled: it was much better than he'd expected, and certainly a far cry from what he could even have hoped for at the beginning of the year.
And then the year was over. School was over, for Dean and Cas and Anna and Jo and Gordon and all the other seventh-year students who wouldn't be returning to Hogwarts again. Trunks were being packed, misplaced items tracked down, borrowed possessions returned, and before he knew it Dean was boarding the Hogwarts Express for one final time, and then watching the castle fade into the distance as they pulled out of the station. The sight produced mixed reactions from those who had opted to share his compartment: Ruby looked sad to see the place go, as did Anna; Cas, on the other hand, just smiled, and Dean couldn't say he blamed him. He himself had no particular feelings either way, not having been at the school long enough to form any strong attachment. It was just a place to him, somewhere a bunch of bad things had happened but where a lot of good ones had taken place, too. There'd be others. Sam and Jess, who would be returning for the next four years, were far too busy being endearingly shy around each other to pay much attention.
At the end of the summer, Dean would be going with Cas to the United States. While Dean had been focused solely on passing his exams, Cas had quietly started to look for a potential career; they'd talked about it a bit, of course, and Dean knew Cas wanted to be a Healer, but it had come as a complete (though far from unwelcome) surprise to him when Cas announced he'd been offered a training position over in America. It was in New York, not Kansas, and Dean still hadn't worked out what exactly he'd be doing himself, except that he now knew he wanted to do it in New York. He was going home.
His parents were waiting for him and his brother when they pulled into the station. He greeted them quickly before stepping back to allow Sam to introduce some of his friends (including Jess, who looked far less nervous at the prospect of being introduced to her maybe-kind-of-almost boyfriend's parents than Cas had), and took the opportunity to slip away with Cas. Not to say goodbye in private—they'd already done that back at the school, and anyways Dean had no intention of spending the entire summer apart from Cas—but, for the first time, to meet Castiel's family.
Anna was with them already, a huge crowd of siblings all older than the twins, and now that Dean saw them all together he could easily see the family resemblance. The tall dark-haired man had Cas's cheekbones and blue eyes with a shade more grey; the blond man wore the same wicked grin he'd seen countless times before on Anna's face; and all of the family's members shared the same rolling accent, though it took Dean some time to realize that this was because they were from Ireland rather than that they just spoke even more strangely than the rest of the country, as Dean had originally thought. They were all very loud, too, shouting over top of each other as they scrambled to hug Anna and Cas as well as a very surprised Dean.
"This your boyfriend, Cas?" asked the blond man, grabbing Dean enthusiastically. "Nice. Very firm."
Anna rolled her eyes. "Jesus, Gabriel, don't scare him off. It'll take Cas ages to get another."
Introductions were made, though there were so many people in Cas's family Dean doubted he'd ever remember all their names. His parents were left until last—a stern-looking man an woman who appeared greatly at odds with their noisy, excitable children, making Dean recall what Cas had said when they first met about his parents not allowing him to read Muggle books. They were courteous enough, however (or at any rate refrained from open hostility), both shaking his hand and saying, "Pleased to meet you."
And then Mary and John were waving him back, telling him it's time to go; he could see Jess kissing Sam shyly on the cheek before running off to her own family, and Sam flushing happily in response; and Cas was pulling him to the side for a kiss of his own, at which his siblings whistled and cheered. "You have to come visit," Cas said to him. "Promise."
"Just try to keep me away," Dean told him, grinning. When the Winchesters were halfway to their car he turned back one last time to wave goodbye. Then he looked away again, immersing himself in his mother's ill-disguised casual questions about Sam's "new friend", and it wasn't hard to get in the car with them and drive away from the station, away from Cas.
Because it wasn't goodbye. Not really.