It’s only been a few weeks since Dean and Cas became… official …
Yeah, that’s what they were. Technically.
If Dean was being honest, ‘friends’ and ‘brothers’ didn’t fit what they were for the past few years now. Even though they were ‘dating’ or were ‘boyfriends’ or ‘lovers’ now, those descriptions didn’t feel quite right either.
Dean didn’t know what to call them. Nothing sounded right. Cas offered a few words in different languages, but half of them Dean couldn’t pronounce, and the other half sounded like something completely different.
Before, Cas would show up in Dean’s room every night and they would sleep wrapped up in each other’s arms.
It was comforting. Dean always slept better, at more regulated times, less nightmares, and felt well rested. Cas had commented that he also got a lot of “different positive reactions” to their nightly escapades. He’s been living with humans for years now and still can't get rid of his weird way of talking. At least it was cute.
They didn’t have to do anything sexual (though they most definitely did quite a few times and not only in a bedroom), only bask in each other’s presence.
Dean revelled in the comfort. Such things were hard to come by in a hunter’s life. So of course Dean hadn’t turned Cas away when the sort-of-Angel showed up at his bedroom door all those weeks ago. They’ve been spending nights together long before their new official status.
At first it was a bit awkward. Not knowing where to put limbs, accidentally elbowing the other, obvious morning wood that wanted what it couldn’t have. The usual unrequited love and repressed feelings induced shenanigans until everything finally exploded into the light.
This night was like all the others. Cas had shown up in Dean’s room at bedtime, already dressed down to soft bee-print pj pants and a band t-shirt that he most definitely stole from Dean’s laundry.
Things were uneventful and the two of them easily aligned together.
Dean is woken up in the middle of the night.
He has no clue why, though. He wasn’t dreaming about anything in particular, there’s no lights shining in his eyes, he didn’t hear screaming or gunshots or smelled fire... So what woke him up?
Then he hears it.
There’s a small whimper behind him and the arms wrapped around his middle tighten a fraction before loosening again.
Dean wiggles and turns so he can face Cas. The former soldier is still fast asleep, but tears are running down onto the pillow and his eyebrows are pinched with emotion.
Cas must be having a bad dream or something. NIghtmares are nothing new to the Winchesters. They’ve lived through them more times than Dean could count, let alone have one in their sleep.
But Cas? Cas was always the more stoic one of the group when it came to things like that. Yes, he could get emotional, or be a big child sometimes, and had a list of stubborn streaks and bad decisions just as long as the brothers’, but nightmares? Dean didn’t think Cas was even capable of dreaming most of the time.
Another whimper escapes Cas’s lips as he unconsciously holds Dean tighter and buries his face in Dean’s chest. Tears dampen his undershirt.
All Dean can do is hold him, whispering reassurances and calming words while rubbing Cas’s back gently. If he wakes him, Cas may not be able to go back to sleep, and Dean doesn’t want to put him through that. He deserved to rest, he needed to rest, nightmares be damned.
Soon, the nightmare seems to pass and Cas relaxes to Dean’s touch. Relieved that Cas is better now, Dean quickly falls back to sleep himself.
The next morning, while Sam is out on his stupid run, Dean and Cas sit together in the kitchen.
Dean is shoveling lucky charms while solving the riddles on the back of the box. Cas sits next to him with a few pieces of honey and brown sugar toast and a mug of hot coffee. The mug has a bubbly honeycomb design with a half hexagon shaped handle and it makes Dean want to smile every time he sees Cas use it.
He had gotten the mug for him from a flea market in Nebraska.
It instantly became one of Cas’s favorites.
Dean never stopped preening over the thought of one of his gifts being considered a favorite of Castiel’s,
but his affectionate mood sours when he remembers what happened the night before.
“Hey, uh, Cas?”
Cas hums, zoned out and staring into space while he chews slowly on his toast.
“Did you have any dreams last night? Anything… memorable?” Dean treads lightly on the subject. He doesn’t want to drag up anything too bad, but he also doesn’t want to make Cas think he’s judging him or anything shitty like that. Maybe if Cas is willing to talk about it, he can help. Seeing Cas cry so intensely in his sleep like that felt like a hellhound was tearing into his chest all over again.
Cas blinks back to reality and turns his head to look at Dean. “Not that I can remember. Why do you ask? Did you have another weird dream?”
Dean searches Cas’s eyes for any hint of a lie. It’s possible that Cas is trying to hide his pain from him like the damn Winchester he is.
Confused blue eyes tell him no, Cas honestly doesn’t remember anything.
“No, I didn’t really dream last night. Was just wondering if maybe you did.” he dismisses, shoving a spoonful of soggy charms in his mouth. Damn. Not a single marshmallow that time. He swirls the cereal around with his spoon to disperse the marshmallows more evenly.
Cas may have forgotten what happened, but Dean won’t any time soon.
A rare moment of Cas being vulnerable and Dean was the only one who knew about it.
There were many things between them that only the two of them will ever know.
Which brings his thoughts turning back to their pesky word situation….
“ Yes , Dean?” Cas’s tone is laced with amusement. The little fucker. He must be getting a kick out of Dean’s thoughtful mood.
“What are we?” he asks, plowing ahead anyways.
Cas lowers the slice of toast he was about to bite into. “You’ll have to be more specific,” he answers with a ghost of a chuckle in his voice.
“I mean,” he gestures between the two of them, “Us. You and Me. This thing happening between us. Our… relationship.”
No, that word didn’t fit either. It leaves a stale taste in his mouth and he disguises his cringe by shoving some more cereal in his mouth without looking. This time there’s a good marshmallow to kernel ratio and he low-key mentally cheers.
“Us.” Cas parrots, giving a hum in thought before taking a bite of toast. He thinks it through while he chews, not answering until after he swallows every bit.
“What do you think we are, Dean,” he asks. Dean recognises it as Castiel’s therapist tone. The tone he takes whenever he’s about to dig deep into a person’s brain and lead them into an emotionally revealing conversation.
Dean sighs. He walked right into this one. No one to blame but himself.
“Well, we’re--we’re, like, official . I know that much. But ‘boyfriends’ or a ‘couple’ or ‘lovers’ or ‘partners’ all those words don’t feel right. Nothing feels like it really fits . Nothing that covers all of our complex situation.”
Cas reaches over and covers Dean’s hand with his own. “How about just Us . We don’t need any specific labels. You and me. We. Us. Together.”
It was simple. Able to be interpreted as any number of things and easily meaning many things at once.
It’s just them . They’re in this together. Nothing seems to fit because the two of them have their own uniqueness. Nothing can describe them better than just saying they’re themselves. Being they way they are is part of who they are, and that’s all they really need.
Dean turns his hand over to interlace their fingers.
“Yeah. I think that’ll work.”