“Cas.” Dean’s voice was shaky as he stepped forward. “Is that really you?” He reached for his silver. Castiel took it from him, testing himself. His eyes were wide and blue, an expression there that Dean knew so well. Castiel looked lost.
They silently tested Castiel until they were out of tests to do. Dean forced himself to do the tests. He had to know if this Castiel was real or not because part of him didn’t care, the part of him that just needed Cas back. “Cas.” Dean managed to choke out before wrapping his arms around his friend. Castiel clung to him, like he was drowning and Dean was the only one who could save him. Maybe that was just how Dean felt. He knew he was crying, he could feel the hot tears streaming down his face. An uncharacteristic sob ripped from his chest and into Castiel’s strong shoulder. Sam was there too, long arms gripping them both, a steady warmth around them.
Dean wasn’t sure how long they stayed like that. He didn’t want to let go of Cas in fear he’d be ripped from him again.
“I’m here.” He finally heard Castiel’s raspy voice saying over and over again in his ear. “I’m here, Dean.”
They went back to the bunker, introduced Castiel and Jack for a second time, and settled in. Dean didn’t go looking for any hunts, content to be at home with family. He was different. He had changed. Losing Cas for a second time had opened his eyes to the truth.
The hunt in Dodge City showed even more of Dean. It didn’t go unnoticed that he loved cowboys. It also didn’t go unseen that he got Castiel to wear a cowboy hat. Sam noticed how Dean took more care around Cas now, hell, he took more care around Sam, and even Jack too. Jack seemed to do well under his positive attention and Dean wondered if maybe Sam had been right all along. Maybe all it took was some faith. Maybe all it would take with Cas was some faith. Chuck knew that Castiel was the one Dean had the most faith in.
“Cas, can I talk to you?” He leaned against the doorframe, rapping his knuckles on Cas’s bedroom door. It had been two weeks since Jack left. The world was quiet, as if it was holding its breath to see what happened next. Dean didn’t want to wait to see what happened next. He needed to talk to Cas.
“Dean.” Castiel appeared next to him, pleased to see him if the happy smile on his face was anything to go by. “Is everything all right?”
“Yeah.” Dean couldn’t stop the dopey feeling as he gazed at Castiel, his cheeks heating up. “I was going to make some burgers. Did you want a couple?” Okay, so that was not what he had planned to say, but it was still good. It set up the atmosphere, set the mood.
“It’s 1 in the morning. I’m not sure it’s an appropriate time for burgers, but yes, Dean, I would like a few. You make the best burgers.” Dean smiled slightly at the earnest compliment.
“Come on.” Dean nodded, He held the door open for Castiel, letting him lead the way to the kitchen. Castiel still had his trench coat draped around him as if it was protecting him. “Hey Cas, I know you don’t sleep, but you don’t have to wear those clothes all the day.” Cas chuckled at that, sinking down to sit at the bar while Dean rummaged for ingredients in the fridge.
“I know. I just—“ He hesitated. “I don’t know what else to wear. This is very practical.” He glanced down. “I can see that it’s not very relaxed.”
“No.” Dean shook his head, laughing softly to himself. “No, it’s not.” It was the rustling of fabric that made him glance back to see Castiel peel off the trench coat and ball it up on the counter. He nearly dropped his armful of food as Castiel undid his tie and slid it off as well. Carefully, Dean eased the food down as Castiel unbuttoned his shirt. “Not that I’m complaining,” Dean kept his tone light, “but what’s with the strip tease?” Castiel blushed but he continued with the buttons until he was fresh of the white, pressed dress shirt.
Dean reminded himself to swallow as he took in Castiel’s lithe body. He was slender and muscular--
“Dean?” Dean blinked quickly, trying to look away. Castiel also had eyes that could see what he was doing, deep, bright, blue eyes…
“How many burgers you want, Cas?” Dean asked with a forced smile, making himself only look Castiel in the eyes. He could feel his cheeks burning with shame and something else.
“Dean” Castiel sighed. Dean felt that sigh like a resounding blow. He had been wrong. He had showed too much and now the angel would have to correct his… feelings. Dammit. Dean wiped his hand over his face, turning back to the stove. Life would be so damn easier if he didn’t have these feelings.
Dean braced himself, waiting for correction that never came. Instead he heard the distinct sound of a zipper. He might have conditioned his own cock to twitch at that sound, but honestly, it was probably because it was Cas. Just like so many other things.
“Cas.” He turned to see Castiel standing at the corner of the bar, naked. “Cas, I love you.” He breathed. It was supposed to come out firmer, but his brain stopped functioning at the sight of Cas’s nude form. Dude looked like one of those Greek gods. Then Dean’s brain remembered that he had just confessed his feelings to the one person who could destroy him with one word, just like his father had all those years ago.
“Dean.” Castiel’s voice sounded tight, relieved even. “As a celestial being, I still have wants. I still have desires. I can love.” He trailed off. “You love me?” He gave a strangled laugh into the hands he cupped to his face. “He said I could never have that-- I almost listened-- I would have missed this, I would have missed you.” Castiel stopped talking, took his hands down from his face, and looked at Dean. There was fire in those blue eyes that Dean had not seen in a long time: that righteous fire back when Castiel made every decision like it was the best, possible decision. He stepped those four steps with ease and confidence, taking Dean’s face in his hands. His hands were gentle as if he knew how close Dean was to breaking. “I love you too.” He exhaled almost giddily before he pressed in for a kiss. “I’ve always loved you.” Castiel’s hands slipped down to grip Dean’s shoulders as he confessed, stepping back and searching Dean’s eyes. Dean nodded. He had known. He had always been too scared to acknowledge how he felt in return. Fuck. All that wasted time.
“I’m sorry you had to die a crapload of times for me to man up.” He whispered, not able to meet Cas's eyes as he admitted one of his greatest regrets. Castiel pressed a gentle hand under Dean's chin, guiding him to meet his gaze.
“You, Dean Winchester, were always worth the wait.” Dean let out a sharp sound at that affirmation. He closed the distance between them this time, pressing a hard, needy kiss to Castiel’s mouth, one that was more than returned.
“Um, guys?” Sam and Jack stood in the kitchen door, Sam looking as if he was about to cover the almost all-powerful Nephilim’s eyes. “Something’s burning.” Dean realized now the shrill fire alarm shrieking over their heads and the acrid scent of burning burgers.
“Are you all right?” Jack asked. Dean was oddly touched that the kid came back to check on them.
“Shit.” He grinned. He honestly really couldn’t be bothered by anything right now.
“Your burgers!” Cas, however, was concerned for Dean’s sake, and that was adorable beyond words as Cas grabbed his trenchcoat and smothered the flames.
“That’ll be a bitch to clean up.” Dean observed the still smoking pan, stepping up alongside Cas. “I’ll worry about it tomorrow though.” He added, looking meaningfully into Castiel’s eyes. Cas rolled his eyes and waved his hand at the mess, cleaning up instantly. “I have a Led Zepplin shirt I’d love to see you try.” They stepped around Sam and Jack after retrieving Castiels bundle of clothes, heading for Dean’s room.
“I have a Led Zepplin shirt I’d love to see you out of.” Castiel was his matter-of-fact self and Dean loved him all the more for it, taking his hand and hurrying down the hall.
“Well, I’ll be damned.” Sam laughed after they had disappeared into Dean’s room. “He actually, no, finally did it.”
“They love each other very much.” Jack nodded his head. “But why was Castiel naked?”
“Let’s have that talk tomorrow.” Sam clapped Jack on the back.”I’m glad you’re back.”