Dean messed up and he knows it. He's an insensitive jerk. Cas deserves so much better. Dean doesn't deserve anymore chances. Cas should walk away. He should find someone else. Although the thought of that makes Dean want to punch someone. He punches a locker instead, denting it and bruising his knuckles. He doesn't care. It isn't enough.

The image of Cas crying is burned onto the back of Dean's eyelids. And knowing that he was the one to make Cas cry? If it had been anyone else who made him cry, Dean would beat that person to a bloody pulp. But himself? He already looks in the mirror and hates who he sees. He's not sure he can hate himself any more.

He wants to beg Cas to forgive him. He wants to tell him how much he loves him, that he can't live without him, that he knows he doesn't deserve him but damn it, he wants him anyway. He can't give Cas up. He tried that and it didn't work. He'd give anything to never have to do that again.

Cas is the only one who looks at Dean like he's worth something – besides Sammy, but Sammy is just a kid. He doesn't know any better. Cas should know better but he doesn't care. Cas loved Dean. Dean needs him to love him still.

Dean skips his class to wait outside of Cas'. He isn't going to miss any more chances. He doesn't know how, but he's going to fix this.

He waits forty minutes for the bell to ring and for the class to file out. Cas is the last to leave. His hair is more tossed than usual and red rings hang under his eyes. He's looked like that since their fight – just another image to file away in Dean's brain under 'I ruin all of the few good things that happen to me.'

Cas doesn't see Dean until they've all but run into each other. Dean wishes they had. God, he misses the contact. Even the brush of sleeve against sleeve would be a welcome comfort at this point. How did he ever think he could do this alone anymore? He needs Cas. If only he could get over himself and say the words. He swallows.

Say it, he orders himself. Say it.

"Dean," Cas says, and his voice breaks on the name. Dean holds his hands up in an instinctual reaction, eager to comfort, but he doesn't touch. He can't. Not without permission. So his hands hover there above Cas' shoulders. Cas looks between them like he's never seen hands before. Dean can't bring himself to remove them. If he concentrates, he can almost feel the heat of Cas' body.

"Cas," Dean says, and his voice breaks too, because it's been too damn long since he said that name aloud. Two days is too long. Hell, even one is too long.

Say it.

"I…" He tries. He gives an earnest effort. But he hasn't talked about his feelings in… well, ever. He's Dean Winchester. He doesn't do feelings. Except that he wants to. He really, really wants to.

"I'm going to be late for my next class," Cas says, though he hasn't moved. He hasn't even blinked, just staring up at Dean with that laser blue gaze.

Dean still panics. He has to fix this. He can't go another day without hearing Cas lecture him about falling asleep during class or not eating right, or having Cas sit next to him in the Impala as they drive just to drive, or seeing Cas look at him, or feeling Cas' hand in his or his mouth on his or their limbs tangled together in the backseat.

"I can't," Dean says. He immediately chastises himself. That's not enough. He knows it's not.

He feels the tear on his cheek but he doesn't know where it came from. Dean Winchester doesn't cry.

"Without you, I…" He takes an unsteady breath. "I fucked up, Cas. I can't…" He's mortified. He's doing a terrible job at this. Cas will never speak to him again, and that's just what he deserves. And his hands are still hanging there, directionless - useless. He knows he looks like a loser, but he can't help himself. He wonders if he stands still enough, if he'll become a statue. Maybe people will just move around him and forget about him. Maybe Cas will forget about him, too.

Each tear that falls from Cas' eyes hits like a hot poker to Dean's heart.

"Please, don't," Dean whispers, no longer trusting his full voice. "Don't cry."

Cas reaches out and takes Dean's hands with his own, lacing their fingers together until they are gripping at each other.

"Cas?"

Cas leads him down the hall. At the supply room, he drops Dean's hand long enough only to open the door and drag Dean inside. A single bulb lights the space and hums overhead. Cas backs into a shelf and grabs at Dean's hand again.

"I love you," Cas says. The words fall from his mouth simply and easily, like together, they form one of the universe's most basic truths. It shouldn't be that easy, calm words uttered in a supply closet, but for Cas, it is. Dean wants it to be easy for him too. Cas deserves this. Well, he deserves so much more than this, but at least this, Dean might be able to give him.

"I love you, too, Cas," Dean says. Everything feels lighter. Now, with the flood gates popped open, Dean can't help the rest. "I can't lose you. I don't deserve you but I love you, and I can't…"

"Dean."

"Forgive me," Dean says. "Please forgive me. I'll do anything."

"Dean, stop."

Cas steps forward, closing the space between them, and kisses Dean on the tip of his nose.

"Cas?" Dean leans in the touch, the warmth.

Cas drops Dean's hands to bring his palms up to cup Dean's face. Dean is complacent, letting Cas turn his face however he needs. Cas plants kisses over his eyelids, the bridge of his nose, across his cheekbones. Dean knows Cas is aiming for his freckles.

"I'm sorry, too," Cas breathes into Dean's skin. He kisses over Dean's ear to the junction of his jaw and neck. "I never should have let it go this far."

"Don't," Dean whispers. "It was me."

Cas ignores him. "You are worthy," he says, kissing down his neck. Dean tilts his head away to give Cas more access. "You are a good person."

"Cas," Dean starts, ready to argue, but Cas bites down on the bit of shoulder exposed near Dean's collar. All arguments vanish from Dean's head.

"You are mine, Dean," Cas says. He pulls at Dean's shirt, exposing more skin. "And I'm yours. I have been since the day we met."

Dean can't think, because the words at once fill his heart to the brim with adoration for Cas and send blood straight between his thighs.

"You are a good person." Cas says the words into every inch of skin Cas can find. "You are worthy." He says it like a prayer or a mantra. He won't stop, even when Dean finds that mouth and kisses it. Then, Cas whispers the words against Dean's lips.

"Broken record," Dean says with a half-smile, trying to play off how much he loves hearing the words. But Cas sees through him and continues. "How long you going to say that?"

"Until you believe me," Cas says.

"Could take a while," Dean says.

"Then it takes a while," Cas says. He looks up at Dean until all Dean can see is the depths of those blue eyes, like tiny oceans. His breath hitches when Cas adds, "I'm not going anywhere, Dean." He loses himself completely when Cas growls, "Mine."


4.17.13

Thank you for reading! :3 Cross-posted from my tumblr and Ao3, thekingslover at both.