A/N: So this is it. The final installment of this fic. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did writing it.
The man is huge, broad shoulders, paw-like hands, a mane so shaggy that birds could nest in it, but the moment Castiel lays first eyes on him, he seems deceptively small. "Dean?" His voice is shaking and he drops the bucket he had been holding in his hands. His eyes are hazel and wide, and he looks at them as if they were ghosts- Castiel can see him tremble, burdened with the urge to move, yet he remains rooted on his spot.
His eyes dart between them, stumble Dean's face as he takes in the eye patch, only to dart back to Castiel, struggling to take it all in, to understand why they are here. Finally though his eyes settle on Dean and there is a vulnerability to his stance that moves Castiel.
"Hey Sammy." Dean's voice is rough, heavy with emotions and Castiel steps back to give them some space. The journey had been long and slow, both of them hindered by their injuries and a slow healing process. Castiel's wounds are mostly healed, a thin white line on his neck, a raised red line on his chest and an ugly red spot on his side where he pulled the sutures a few days ago. Dean is in similar shape, covered in new scars and old ones, and a black eye patch that makes him look like a bandit.
Castiel watches as the brothers finally hug, all the tension flooding from Dean's shoulders as he's welcomed home. The sight is bittersweet. Dean had told Castiel a lot about his brother during the past two weeks, eyes bright with memories as he recalled their childhood. He can see now that Sam must feel similar, if the way he's shaking, crying and smiling all at once is any indicator of how he feels. But Castiel can't help the feeling of longing in his chest, for his own family to welcome him home like that.
But then Dean pulls away and turns half around, eye bright and wet with tears and he stretches out an arm and Castiel comes, will always come when Dean calls. "Sam, this is Castiel." Dean's eye is wet, and he's almost shaking as badly as Sam, but his smile is brilliant when he laces his fingers through Castiel's to pull him to his side. "He saved my life."
Castiel stretches out his hand for Sam to take, but Sam bypasses it to pull him into an enthusiastic hug. He's beaming and Castiel can't say if it's because of what Dean said or if he generally has a welcoming personality.
The hug is firm and longer than even Castiel knows is appropriate. He pulls away and there are new tears in Sam's eyes, but he's smiling and Dean is smiling too, so Castiel pulls his own lips into a smile, and it all must look rather dumb, three grown men standing on a patch of grass in front of an old house, smiling and crying.
A gruff looking man appears from the house, eyes shadowed by an old cap, but the way Dean lights up even further at the sight tells Castiel that he's a friend. "Bobby." Dean is grinning now, tears all dried and forgotten and before he can say anything more, he's pulled into a firm hug accompanied by a few very choice expletives.
Somehow they all end up inside the house, seated around a rickety table on equally rickety mismatched chairs. Each has a steaming hot cup of what Castiel assumes to be tea in front of them. The moment of melancholy is gone from Castiel's mind. This is Dean's family, and while Castiel isn't related, he feels like he's already a part of it. It might help that Bobby had grumbled something about family not ending with blood when Castiel protested being called 'son' after being pulled into a rather awkward one-armed hug.
It might have helped that Dean told him the same he told Sam.
Dean is currently talking; hands clasped around his cup as he watches the steam rise steadily. Castiel already knows the story, most of it at least, and sometimes when Dean falters, Castiel is there to pick up the thread. Bobby and Sam stay silent throughout the story, but Castiel can read it clearly in their faces what they're thinking. Sam is particular upset, but Dean smothers any attempt at an apology. And there's no lack of conviction when Dean tells him that he would all do it again, if it means Sam is save.
Bobby cooks them dinner later, and they eat it together in an atmosphere that Castiel has missed for years. His family had always been rather cold and distant, but he did have a few friends at the guild and they would eat together, laughing and reminiscing. It is similar now. Bobby and Sam tell them about what happened during Dean's absence. Sam confesses to having worked on a recue plan for Dean while he was still in the mines, but Dean beat him to it, breaking himself out and subsequently getting caught and sentenced to death.
Bobby grimly adds that it would have been more of a suicide mission, which has Sam deliberately avoiding Dean's eye.
It's an awkward moment, but then Dean smiles and takes Castiel's hand. He doesn't say anything more, but everyone present understands what he's saying. There's still a hint of guilt in Sam's eyes, but he keeps looking at their joined hands and Castiel can see that he's working over it in his head.
Dean had told him that neither Sam nor Bobby would make a big deal out of it. Castiel knows that while homosexuality is rather common in bigger cities, especially with aristocracy, country folks aren't as accepting. But Dean seemed to have been right.
They decide to go to bed shortly after, it had been a long journey and both Dean and Castiel are exhausted.
Bobby's house is rather small, not built to hold a family of four, but no one really cares that they have to crowd. Both Bobby and Sam offer up their beds, but after one short exchange of glances with Castiel, Dean refuses. After sleeping on the floors of old cabins or on grass patches out in the open, a blanket on Bobby's kitchen floor is more than enough. Besides, it's nice to sleep next to a warm fire place. Temperatures are decreasing rapidly after the summer glow is over and the nights have been uncomfortably cold, even with each other as a heat source.
The house is quiet, except for the crackling of the fire and Dean's soft breath that tickles Castiel's ear. Dean is asleep, but Castiel can't quite find rest yet. He spent the last two weeks constantly on edge and it's hard to let go of the vigilance. But there is something about this place - and the people that live here - that intrinsically feels safe. The house itself is in a remote area, the next village a considerate distance away. It's peaceful and simple, but Castiel thinks it might be exactly what they need.
And while the hours slowly pass, Castiel thinks of the life they could build here. Dean told him that Bobby is a carpenter like Dean's father had been, and even though he's way outside the surrounding villages, people regularly come over to ask for his services. Dean could help him, or he could find something else to do. Dean is crafty and Castiel is sure he would like the peace.
Castiel himself could work as a doctor for the village folk, usually remote areas like this have no access to medical treatment. They couldn't stay with Bobby of course, his house is too small. But considering that Bobby is a carpenter and Dean has the experience, that shouldn't be a problem.
He falls asleep eventually, lulled into pleasant dreams by Dean's warmth and his own exhaustion, dreaming of a future that finally looks bright again.
The next morning Castiel is woken by Dean's straying hand in between his legs. It's a nice feeling to wake up with his body already buzzing pleasantly, feeling suffused with warmth that reaches into his fingertips. Dean gently pushes his hands away when he tries to reach for him, pressing a gentle kiss to his temple while he continues his strokes. It's lazy and sweet, and Castiel is soon gasping softly into the insistent press of Dean's mouth.
His orgasm is like a slow wave, sending a tingle through the whole of his body until he feels like he's floating. Dean keeps kissing him through the entirety of it, and for a long time afterwards.
"Morning." He smiles down at Castiel, skin crinkling slightly around his eyes - the eye patch removed for comfort. Despite the ugly scar running through his left eye it's the most beautiful sight in the world to Castiel.
If Bobby suspects them of doing anything inappropriate on his kitchen floor, he doesn't let on. Dean and Castiel help with breakfast, and while it's still cramped around the table, Castiel feels very much at home there. After breakfast Sam asks Castiel about his profession, and after Castiel mentioned he used to collect his own herbs, he insists on showing him the herb garden he's been growing at the back of Bobby's house, mostly for cooking but he also got a few medical herbs in Case they might need them. Castiel is unsure, but Dean smiles at him reassuringly and Castiel lets Sam lead him out the back door.
The garden is small, barely more than a square meter, but Castiel can tell that it is tended to with care. Castiel is well-known when it comes to herbs and their medical use, but he knows little about what they actually need to grow. He asks Sam about it, who in return wants to know everything about their medical use - as far as there is one. He has known Sam for barely more than a day, but he can already feel a familiarity form between them.
He finds he really likes Sam.
"We don't have a doctor here, you know." Sam is crouching down, one hand buried in a patch of parsley, that he only grows because Bobby is apparently addicted to the stuff, but grows like weed and survives long into the winter. 'A real pest' as Sam had put it. Castiel raises a questioning eyebrow and Sam shrugs noncommittally. "All I'm saying is, there is a place for you here. Not just because of Dean." Sam looks up at him, smiling warmly and even in his crouched position it is evident how tall he truly is.
Castiel doesn't quite know what to say. So he simply inclines his head and Sam's smile widens. "Good." And just like that they have an understanding.
There's a tense silence in the house when they come back in. Bobby is drying the last of the dishes, while Dean sits in the small living room and stares a hole in the wall, but looks up the moment he hears them entering. Dean smiles at Castiel, a bit tight-lipped but his eyes are soft.
"Don't tell me he got it all in the wrong stomach?" Sam asks without any preamble. Bobby just snorts.
"What did you expect?"
Castiel looks from Dean to Bobby and from there to Sam, but neither of them yields any answers. Dean is frowning darkly and glowering at his brother, who has thrown on what must be his most impressive scolding glare. "Dean." He says sternly and Dean visibly shrinks in on himself.
"What is going on?" Castiel asks quietly, not sure if he wants to draw any attention to himself at the moment. Both Bobby and Sam stare at Dean who glares at them before turning back to Castiel.
"Bobby offered me to help build us a house nearby."
Castiel raises an eyebrow at him. "So?" He would have been pretty shocked, but after what Sam just offered to him it only seems to be the logical consequence. Still that doesn't quench the enormous feeling of gratitude currently blooming in his chest. But Castiel understands that Dean has made a big deal out of this for some reason, and what little Castiel knows about this makeshift family, it's that they would go very far for each other. Dean just didn't seem to have understood that yet.
Dean gapes at him. "So? This is fucking huge Castiel."
"It is." Castiel quietly agrees. He looks up at Sam, whose eyes are bright and faintly wet and he can't help the smile on his lips. There's something going on here, he can't quite grasp, but he already knows that Sam has accepted him into the family. And judging by the warm look on Bobby's face, he's not far behind.
"It is." Dean echoes dumbly, slumping back in his chair with an awestruck expression on his face.
"Of course if you don't want to stay around…" Sam starts and Dean just groans and collapses his head into his hands.
"You can't all live here." Bobby grumbles from the kitchen door, annoyance not quite masking the fondness. "I merely suggested helping you build something for the two of you. I built my own house after all, I have the experience and I can't let you put four posts in the ground, put a board on top of it and call it a house. I think our new doctor deserves better than that." With that Bobby stomps back into the kitchen, clearly put off by this much affection displayed at once. Castiel feels very warm all of a sudden.
"I can build my own house, thank you very much." Dean calls after Bobby, with a tone that very closely borders on pouting.
"Then prove it." Bobby barks back and Dean's face falls.
"I walked right into that one, didn't I?" He asks no one in particular.
"You did." Sam grins and claps a hand on his shoulder. "You'll be fine. You have Cas." He winks at Castiel when he says the last words and Castiel smiles back half heartedly, still overwhelmed with what just happened. The dreams he indulged in last night seem very much real all of a sudden.
"I guess I'll have to build us a house then." Dean says weakly once Sam has walked out, beaming and with a certain spring to his step.
"You better." Castiel smirks and leans down to kiss him.