A/N: Written for comment_fic over on LiveJournal. Hope you enjoy!
Sam is gone when Castiel arrives in the Winchester's motel room, and Castiel would have expected the quarters to be quiet. They're not.
Dean's in the kitchenette, frying something and singing, loudly. His voice is not unpleasant, nor is the smell from what ever it is that he's cooking, and Castiel finds himself frozen, watching.
He's noticed almost immediately. Dean stills, then turns, hand going for the pistol in his waistband. The hand drops.
"Jesus, Cas," Dean says. "Seriously, we've talked about this. Would it kill you to knock?"
Castiel can see the expressions flit across Dean's face: wariness turning to annoyance mixed with a tinge of something else. He wonders how he can recognize each one, and still not understand Dean, the one human who should be an open book to him.
"I have information on a Seal," he says, and Dean sighs.
"Let me get my jacket." He turns of the stove, and brushes past Castiel.
Castiel edges closer to the stove. Dean was cooking hamburgers, his favorite, or so he understands. Castiel reaches out, breaks off a crumb.
It's actually not that bad.
It takes Dean a long time to wake up. He'd drunk quite a bit the night before at the brothel, and even more after that. Even to Castiel, the last night is a bit of a blur. When Dean does wake up, he spends half the morning stumbling around and cursing, something about tequila being the work of Lucifer. Castiel doubts that, but he can understand the sentiment.
Finally, Dean fries them both eggs. Castiel's not sure why eggs, or why Dean made him one too, since he's perfectly fine, but he eats it anyway. It's somehow slimy and crispy at the same time. He doesn't think he likes it.
Dean seems happier afterwards, which is probably because Castiel took his headache away with a casual brush of his hand that Dean barely even noticed.
Castiel's not going to tell him. Dean needs something to believe in, even if it's just a hangover cure.
Castiel's not sure what's so funny. Dean looks perfectly respectable in the white jacket he's wearing for their latest job.
"You should be the one doing this," Dean growls at Sam, shoving a plate piled with chicken and steamed vegetables at him.
"Dude, you know I can't cook." Sam stops laughing long enough to take a bite of the chicken. He nods, makes a small noise of encouragement.
Dean rolls his eyes, but Castiel can see him smile as he turns away from Sam. "What about you, Cas?" Dean asks. "Want anything?"
There are so many answers to that, most of while boil down to you, but Castiel just shakes his head.
"I don't want to inconvenience you."
Dean shoots him a full-powered grin at that, and Castiel tries to ignore the spark of pleasure that gives him.
Dean ends up giving him a slice of pie anyway.
They're in the cabin in the mountains, and Dean's fixing dinner. He's still not happy about giving up his fast food, but apparently the desire to not turn into a brainwashed zombie is enough reason for Dean to go healthy. Sam's somewhere outside, Castiel thinks, getting away from them. He doesn't blame Sam at all; the atmosphere has been oppressive.
Dean's chopping vegetables, and Castiel wants to volunteer to help, but talking to Dean isn't as easy as it used to be. He misses Australia, misses the quiet, and the bees, and the way, so long ago now, that Dean could just be with him, without this awkward silence.
"You can set the table, if you want," Dean says finally, and Castiel almost jumps.
There's plates on the counter. Castiel takes them, brushing past Dean on his way to the table. They touch, just for an instant, and Dean doesn't jerk away.
Castiel counts that as a victory.
They've learned that fire keeps the monsters away.
Dean had lit a fire using practically nothing, because, according to him, "I'm badass like that." Castiel left to gather more wood, and when he got back, Dean was roasting small rodent-like animals on sticks.
"Look!" Dean says, sounding far too happy. "I found dinner!"
Castiel's not sure they need to eat here, but the fire is warm, and Dean's grin is warmer. He sits carefully next to Dean.
"How did you—"
Dean shrugs. "They jumped me when you left, tried to bite my face off. Thought I'd repay the favor." He turns the spits. "Want one?"
Castiel nods. They sit like that for a long time, side by side, watching the flames, while the creatures of Purgatory scream and wail around them.
They've been back topside for two weeks, and Dean's still weak. His injuries from Purgatory are healing, slowly, and Sam's able to take care of them. Still, when Jody Mills calls to tell Sam she found a surviving nest of Leviathans, there's no question about Dean going with him—he probably can't even make it to the car unsupported.
"Just change his bandages," Sam tells Castiel. He's talking and packing at the same time, shirts carefully folded, guns and machetes nestled between the layers. "Feed him, it'll be fine."
Castiel's not sure about that.
Sam left cans of things for them to eat, since Castiel hasn't progressed much beyond sandwiches. When Dean wakes up, Castiel carefully opens a can of soup, heats it to what he hopes is the right temperature, and brings it in to Dean.
"Thanks, dude," Dean says. His voice is hoarse, and one eye is still swollen shut. He smiles at Castiel, though.
Castiel helps Dean eat, helps him steady the bowl, and once, he swipes a line of soup away from Dean's mouth with his thumb, the contact sending pricks of heat along his hand.
When Dean's done, Castiel makes to leave, but Dean grabs his arm. "Hey, stick around?" Castiel must look torn, because Dean goes on, "Come on, all I've got to watch is crappy daytime TV. It's no fun by yourself."
Castiel shakes his head. "If I don't put water in the bowl, it'll dry."
"And Sam will bitch at you." Dean nods, like he knows the drill.
"I'll come back," Castiel promises. I'll always come back to you.
Dean smiles, like maybe he knows that.
Castiel thinks that might just be enough.