Dean’s fifty eight.
He’s pushing sixty, and that’s exactly what he’s doing. He’s pushing as hard as his back allows - but it doesn’t seem to be working, and if he’d had a stick - though he doesn’t need one, thankyouverymuch - he would’ve been using it too.
And it’s not just the number.
He’s old .
Bobby Singer’s words have never rung truer, and that man has said plenty of wise things in his life. “Old age is both - forgetting things like a drunk, and hurting all over like you’re sober.” It’s ridiculous. Dean won’t vouch for having had a brilliant brain before, but he didn’t used to forget why he went into the next room, he’s quite sure.
And, oh lord , his bones. His joints creak when he sits, and he wishes he’d given older hunters less shit for it when they’d all been whining in chorus about their goddamn hips. He gets sick easy too - Sam, the ever smart-ass says his immunity is as trash as the meals he’d have when he was thirty. He might be right. When it’s flu season, he wheezes like he might cough his heart out; and he’s sure anyone who hears him is positively scared about it too.
So, there. He’s old, and he’s grey, and he’s slow, and he’s grumpy.
But hell , is he happy.
Everyday, he wakes up on a mattress that’s known him for just the perfect span of time, under a white, fleecy comforter; all seasons of the year because they’re settled in Key West - who set their bets on Florida, ‘twasn’t him - and he wakes up next to the man he loves.
Cas is either curled around him, hands tucked around his middle, or he’s cuddled up, pressed to Dean’s front, and Dean gets to wake up hugging him close, leg slot between his, and his nose in Cas’s hair - which frankly, he’s gotten so used to, that it doesn’t even make him sneeze anymore.
And then they wake up - Dean mostly second; and breakfasts are cooked and coffees are made, newspapers are fetched and kisses are shared, until dressed in fresh clothes to go mostly nowhere in particular, he finds himself seated across Cas on their little table for two - they’d reasoned family meals are more fun on the patio anyway, and ninety percent of the time, it’s really only just them.
And every day, Dean thinks about how lucky he is, and it mostly happens while he’s staring at Cas unabashedly as the beautiful, wrinkled man solves the crosswords, and writes his lists on less printed pages to conserve paper.
Days pass slow, but years are always in a hurry - they’ve been married sixteen years, already. It had all Sam’s doing, that one, he’d never meant to have a grand big day out, with white linen tablecloths and calla lilies and a goddamn wedding photographer.
But he doesn’t need those pictures to remember. Cas, in his cobalt tuxedo, and Dean in his black blazer - both walked up the aisle because either one of them doing it had sounded unfair. He remembers the vows, the dances, and the kiss. It had been everything he hadn’t known he wished for, and he’d cried that into Sam’s shoulder a week after, when Sam brought homethe gigantic album from the studio. That day, he’d gotten to bring Cas home, and make honest men of themselves, he remembered saying - and then, they’d moved into their house together, husband and husband.
The house is close to where Sam teaches, close enough to the shelters they volunteer at twice a week, and at walkable distance from the diners, movies and parks. They have a library debossed in a wall, a garden at the back, and a study for where Dean and Cas alternate taking calls, pretending to be the FBI.
And Dean Winchester’s happier than he’d ever been - and it sucks , because it doesn’t really seem to count. Because now, he’s old.
The troubles started slow, as you’d expect them to do.
Dean misplaced the keys to the Impala one fine evening when they’d planned in advance to go play pool and darts at Wren’s. He’d found them at Sam’s, the next day. And if he hadn’t been as busy as he was, correcting Cas whenever he called it ‘losing’ the keys, because he’d ‘known they were at Sammy’s, dammit’ - he would’ve given more thought to how that had been the very start of a long line of similar mishaps.
A particularly embarrassing once, he’d forgotten the other side of the grocery list when he’d gone out - Cas had justifiably nagged him about the lack of oranges, post-it pads, and condoms for the rest of the day.
Once, he got so utterly exhausted performing Baby’s monthly maintenance routine, he fell asleep - and Cas just assumed he was staying over at a friend’s and had forgotten to inform him, so Dean spent the entire night and then some, in the garage.
Yeah, because he slept ten frigging hours a day now.
Dean occasionally complains how it’s happening all wrong for him, because this stuff’s supposed to start at eighty! And Sam and Cas both shine their intellectual scowls at him, and he’s told that he’s been mislead. Cas goes on to add, with a smirk, that since Dean hadn’t exactly allowed himself to age till forty two - when they finally took down Chuck and bowed out of the game - it might be a way for his body to compensate for the delay then. Dean tells Cas then that he’ll make him sleep on the couch, and Sam points out that it’s not Cas who develops a crick in his back from that, and Dean declares that he hates them both.
If someone had told him - and honestly drilled it into his head too, that exercise at thirty would mean surviving at sixty, he would’ve fucking joined his brother on his smug-faced morning runs. He still wouldn’t have yoga’d, to be completely truthful, but he could’ve fucking ran. (Though, he wasn’t sixty yet. That was far, far away.)
But the point stood as it did. Dean felt multiple times the old Cas seemed to be, and especially on the times he messed up and Cas turned even more thoughtful and nice - he has to seriously resist the urge to pull a Crowley and tell his ridiculously understanding husband that he has no idea what old feels like.
Except he isn’t a hypocrite, and theoretically, Castiel is older than mankind, and Jimmy’s older than Dean.
A day just so, when Dean’s home and Cas is gone visiting Claire at her new place - she’d moved in with Kaia only last month, after dating for more than a decade, with a quiet, beautiful wedding in the backyard, so Cas had taken with him a waffle maker to keep up the tradition of wedding gifts in their family - and Dean’s sat by himself on the porch contemplating the nature of being old as crap and acting like it, he’s struck with a horrifying thought.
He hadn’t realized it yet, but all the things he’d been doing wrong, have been affecting his relationship with Cas, somehow.
The keys? They’d had to postpone a date, that Dean couldn’t even remember them going on later. It wasn’t his fault, but Cas had had a busy week. The condoms? Well, go figure that one. The sleeping in the garage? He’d smelled so much of motor oil that even he couldn’t be disgusting enough to lean in for a kiss the next morning.
Perfect. So, it hasn’t been enough to ruin Dean’s dignity and his sense of normalcy. The ghost of two-years-to-sixty had to mess with the best thing in his life, too.
Though, he reasons, Cas has been nothing but accommodating all those times - well, except for when he’s a smartass about it.
Mostly, he just tries to convince Dean that it doesn’t matter, really, and that he understands - but it just irks Dean further. It isn’t fair that Cas can still walk at the same ex-angelic-pace from before, or that he doesn’t have colds and acid refluxes. He’s happy that Cas doesn’t suffer, of course he is - but it doesn’t seem fair.
Cas might be aging with him, but he isn’t growing old.
Instead, while Dean developed body aches and lines on his face, he’d just developed more pronounced crowfeet from the ever increasing smiles, and it just made him more beautiful. And he’d widened some, but Dean just likes that more.
Cas doesn’t forget keys, or sexy items on the Walmart list, or any of the shit Dean pulls. He doesn’t do things which might compromise their time together, or date nights.
Dean’s the one who does that.
He can’t believe he hasn’t noticed it before. He shudders at the thought of becoming like one of those old married guys who stop putting a goddamn effort - because he knows he’s grateful for the life he lives, everyday. Getting married to Cas is one of the best things that have ever happened to him. But does Cas know? Does Cas remember? Dean loves him, but he’s hardly able to show it anymore. He can hardly plan elaborate and adventurous dates, and he certainly can’t orgasm thrice in a night. He’s old, and he knows Cas gets it, but does Cas get it?
Suddenly very troubled, Dean takes another sip from his beer.
As the years passed by, his tolerance for alcohol has gone lower. It even tastes bitter, going down his throat.
Old age just became exponentially worse.
The last straw is something as inconsequential as a backache is at this age, and as horrid as one too.
Watching Netflix’s Queer Eye in the living room, they’d fallen asleep on the couch, in the middle of the day. Their white settee isn’t large enough for them both to lie down, but they’ve managed to settle pretty comfortably, and it doesn’t even feel like they’ve had to squeeze in, because Dean gets to have his hand around Cas, who has his head rested on Dean’s left shoulder.
The episode is long over, and owing to autoplay, Dean wakes up to the Fab Five spending the week with a completely different person altogether; and Cas stirs too, and lifts his head from Dean’s chest, having migrated downwards to hug his hips, and -
“Fuck.” Dean winces. The loss of weight had allowed his spine to straighten mostly, and a sharp pain shot through his back. He has to fight his tongue to not swear again, because Cas is looking at him concerned - albeit, still drowsy.
“Is everything alright?” He asks, in a sleep-roughened pitch, and Dean tries to focus on that instead on his back. How wonderful Cas sounds, and sure he does, but - holyshit , his back .
“It’s - I’m good, Cas.” Dean placates, trying not to speak through his teeth, still trying to ignore the pain.
“Did we really fall asleep at three in the afternoon?” Cas smiles at him, and his eyes are bright and eyebrows are up. “I’m surprised at us, Dean.” He adds, in a not very surprised tone, and scoots upwards to Dean’s level.
The pressure helps a little bit, only enough for Dean to screw his eyes shut and kiss back.
Cas is slow, soft and warm. He is half draped over Dean’s front, and cupping Dean’s face with both his hands like he wants to take his sweet time kissing today - like he has nowhere else to be, and Dean knows he doesn’t, and he wishes to dedicate all his time to Dean’s lips and Dean goddamn wants him to, too.
It’s been some time since they made out like this. It’s leading to no where - of course it isn’t, they aren’t monkeys who do it on the couch anyone; it’s just what it is, it’s very in the moment, and it’s one of Dean’s favorite things to do. Except right now, he’s not in the moment.
He tries to return the best he can, letting an arm fall over Cas, and move his lips in sync with his. Cas is adequately pleased to be the one leading, and makes a happy, contented sound as his tongue enters Dean’s mouth.
And it feels wonderful, but Dean’s back still hurts, in spite of the weight now, which means there’s really no easy way out of this.
Cas chooses that moment to let go of Dean’s face, and his left hand trails under Dean, while the right one moves up into his hair. “Dean.” He sighs, and it’s so perfectly gorgeous, that Dean begs for it to stop hurting, so he can start enjoying too, because they haven’t kissed like this in a while, and he’s missed it.
There hasn’t been a reason to not do it - they’ve obviously kissed good morning and good night, but this is still the fortnight Dean forgot the lube and condoms so they haven’t had sex, and now that Dean thinks about it, his back has been showing signs of impending doom, as well as -
“I love you,” Cas breathes out, still nice and tender on him, and his mouth still engrossed in kissing him.
“I -” Dean looks at Cas, sleepy blue eyes and soft, shaven cheeks, engrossed so completely in Dean - and feels an overwhelming wave of lucky again. “I love you .”
Shit, the least he can do is give Cas what he’s asking for - his back could be tended to, some other time. He’s been a hunter all his life. If he can’t even kiss his husband back without thinking about his aching back, what has he even been doing?
He stops thinking entirely, and gives himself up to making Cas feel good - he hums under his breath like he knows Cas likes to feel on his lips, and tugs Cas closer, and he almost feels better himself, until Cas’s wandering hand somehow snakes to the exact spot Dean’s pain is focused on, and as Cas groans, he presses, and -
“Fuck!” He cries out, almost yells, leaping a good inch off the couch. Cas is on his feet almost instantly, kiss swollen lips now frowning in earnest, studying Dean.
“Was that -” Cas pauses. “Is that an erogenous zone you’ve newly developed, and not told me about?” He asks, and he’s frank is all that matters. “Did you -” His eyes track lower along Dean’s body, where his member is definitely perking to attention, newly so under Cas’s curious stare.
“What? No .” Dean flushes, at the idea of coming in his pants like a horny teenager, from perhaps the most innocent drawn-out kiss he’s ever shared with Cas. Only because he’s been thinking about his back, that is.
“It’s -” He almost tells Cas. Then he remembers the way Cas had looked at Dean, how much he’d wanted this, and how long it’d been. “It’s nothing. Just got reminded of something, or…whatever. Come back.”
Cas squints at him.
“Don’t look at me like that.” Dean swats He still doesn’t dare to move his spine though, because after he’d sprung up in pain from Cas’s hand brushing the area, he’d managed to find a spot where he wasn’t quite feeling the pain.
Cas continues to squint.
“C'mere.” Dean motions, and makes the mistake of turning towards him to persuade Cas with full-blown puppy eyes, which usually work - because another bout of pain shoots through him, and he visibly squirms.
“Backache.” Cas declares, crossing his arms on his chest. “You have a backache.”
“S'no big deal.” Dean shakes his head.
“Okay.” Cas agrees, and sits down on the couch next to Dean, but not touching him anymore. Dammit. Cas had wanted to kiss him, wanted to keep kissing him, and Dean hadn’t even been able to get kissed. He was a complete moron, and now he knew he wouldn’t be able to get Cas to return to the kissing, till he’d dealt with the situation.
“Tell me where.” Cas demands.
“I said it’s not a -”
“Falling asleep on the couch must’ve triggered it. You’ve been stiff since Thursday.” Cas notes, ignoring him. “I’m going to shift the TV to the bedroom tonight. You’ll help me with the plugs and the chords, you always know how to get the wires right. Now, can you walk?” Dean opens his mouth to protest that he doesn’t want to, because all he wants to do is sit on that couch, and have Cas on top, kissing him. “Because if you can’t, I’ll have to pick you up and put you on the couch which can be pulled into a bed, and you can stretch out.”
“Cas.” Dean whines.
“Dean.” Cas replies, matter-of-factly. Dean can’t tell if he’s pissed because Dean’s killed the mood by getting a stupid backache, or because Dean didn’t tell about it before.
Who’s he kidding, though? This is Cas. It’s the latter.
“Well, I haven’t tried to walk yet.” Dean finally gives in. Cas smiles, and it’s not a triumphant smile, Dean must have imagined it. But the fond twinkle in his eyes, he couldn’t have imagined.
Cas gives him a hand in getting up, and hooks Dean’s arm around his own shoulder to mostly drag him into bed. He plants Dean on his side, almost with a nonexistent grunt, and rewards him with another smile.
“Lie down. On your front, if you can.” He instructs. “I’ll come back with some ointment. Do you need help flipping to your front?”
“Y'know, you may wear a coat all the time, but you’re not a doctor.” Dean’s only trying to be annoying because Cas is a goddamn dream, and it is a miracle he loves Dean, so Dean must test his patience to make up for it.
“I used to be able to heal - I think I’m close enough to one.” Cas replies, if a bit sad. “And if nothing else, I’ll kneel next to you, and rub the ointment into your back.”
Dean involuntarily sighs at the thought of that, because while the change in setting is helping, it still hurts like a bitch. And a massage sounds like heaven, right now.
But he realizes instantly after, how he just sighed at that thought like an nineteenth century actress, and grumbles. “Never thought I’d be this happy about a massage. And it’s not even a sexy massage.”
“I’ll have to take your shirt off. I could take my shirt off too,” Cas offers, from the other room, and now he’s moved on to the part where he’s snarky about it instead of kind. “We’ll bag the sexy, don’t you worry.”
“Shuddup. I’ll be lying on my front, anyways. Won’t even get to see ya.” Dean’s cranky, but Cas’s laugh comes across the hallway to him and makes him smile. Cas walks back into the room, sporting a smirk, as he unbuttons his shirt and gestures at Dean to flip over. Dean steals a proper glance. He gets to look at Cas everyday, naked if he wants to, but Cas never stops looking good to him. He’s got the toned abdomen, though you can’t see the formerly well-defined abs. Plus, he’s got chest hair, and there’s his pecs, and the shoulders, and his collarbones - and Dean has a flashback of the time he drunkenly confessed that he’d totally sleep with him, even if he hadn’t been around to see the coverboy model looks he’d had before, or even if he wasn’t the best man Dean had ever known, just because of those arms.
So, sulking, but without his heart in it, Dean adds. “Sixty six’s not your fucking prime, you massive show-off.”
“Ouch.” Cas deadpans, and it’s not even funny, but Dean just loves his wisecracking idiot so much, so he laughs.
But this episode just reaffirms his fears. This newly-old thing is really trying to fuck up his marriage. That stupid backache - which subsided the next day, because Cas’s fingers are magic, and not just when they’re around Dean’s dick or up his ass - had cut into his quality time with Cas. He doesn’t want to let another old-person problem interrupt his time with Cas. He can’t possibly keep this up.
Even if he has to put in more of an effort, he’s going to make it through this.
Cas raises his eyebrows as means of asking Dean to go on.
“Wanna go out with me friday?” Dean proposed, putting on his most charming smile. Cas looks at him properly, as if analysing his face. Dean reruns his own words through his head, and suddenly realizes how much he sounds like they’re both in highschool. That’s what you say to the cute guy you have a crush on in the boy’s locker room. Or, in the case of Dean’s very heterosexual adolescence, the chick you share fries with in the lunch hall. In any case, it’s not what you say to your husband, suddenly and without preamble, when you’re both in the same bed, having ice cream for dessert while you watch Bohemian Rhapsody.
But Cas’s smile lights up his entire face, when he answers Dean. “Of course, Dean.” And he proceeds to slip a little closer to the middle, so that Dean can have his arm around him while they watch the movie. Dean feels a warmth blooming in his insides as well. Maybe the old thing won’t ruin this for him, after all. He can still make it right.
“It’s a date.” He mumbles, squeezing his hand.
“I thought so too.” Cas replies, and Dean can hear his amused smile in his voice. It’s wonderful.
“Good.” Dean beams. “I’ll meet you in the living room at seven.” After changing clothes beside you in the bedroom at six thirty, he doesn’t add, because it sounds cheesier this way, and one thing Dean’s always loved about Cas, is that the guy really does dig the textbook chick-flick moments. Almost enough that he converts Dean into it.
It’s a goddamn wonder that he doesn’t look as old as he feels, Dean thinks, adjusting his tie in the bathroom mirror. He can’t remember the last time he had to wear one.
He may have wrinkles now, but when he smiles, they look just like the smile lines he’s had since forty. Got to smile more then, he notes, grinning at the mirror, and feeling satisfied with the results.
He’s wearing a blue shirt, which is a much lighter color than Cas’s eyes are - he’s not even trying to be cheesy, but when you spend all your time looking at your husband’s spectacular eyes, you develop tendencies to compare it to everything else blue you see. And he’s trying out a new-ish fad, and wearing a tie without a blazer. It’s too hot for a blazer. But Cas likes him in ties, so he’s wearing the one Cas got him for his fifty sixth birthday.
It’s indigo, with grey stripes. Cas is wearing grey, he knows. He caught a peak when Cas picked it out of their closet. He likes that shirt.
Dean looks at himself one last time.
For all his whining, he can still clean up nice. He marches out of the bathroom, feeling a little proud of himself, and excited to find Cas. Sure, blame him for wanting to see Cas’s reaction when he checks him out.
He reaches the living room, and is stunned, momentarily. "Cas.“ He just says, without meaning to. The word rolls off his tongue, like it does a thousand times each day, and Cas turns towards him.
He is in the grey shirt Dean anticipated, but he hadn’t been prepared for how it looked on him, and he’s rolled it up to his elbows in just the way Dean’s told him multiple times he likes - and he’s wearing jeans instead of trousers, and he’s done something to his hair that Dean has no time to process, because Cas is soon walking up to him, and Dean’s definitely losing his peripheral vision too now, fucking presbyopia - or maybe all his eyes want to do is focus on the eyes, and tune all else out.
He has no time thinking about Cas’s reaction on seeing him, not when Cas looks like this, does he?
“Good eve - Okay, hi .” Dean abruptly ends, eyes widened, as Cas reaches him, stopping unbelievably close. It’s stupid how he’s literally done everything there is to do, with this man - and his proximity still gets Dean flustered sometimes.
“Good evening. You look breathtaking.” Cas tells him, having to look just the little bit up to meet his eyes.
“Well, I - uh, we still got it.” Dean corrects, leaning downwards to close the gap. Cas hadn’t been expecting it - why not, Dean has no idea; but it’s fun to take him by surprise as Cas slowly melts into the sensations, and Dean only pulls away for air.
He’s never going to get tired of kissing this man. He’s never going to have had enough. Even if it had been all he did in all of his life, till the day he breathes his last, it’s not going to be enough. Dean’s gonna get old and Cas is not, because he might not be immortal anymore, but he never learnt to start aging - and Dean’s gonna wither and fucking die someday, and all things in the world are gonna get old, but kissing Castiel? That’s never going to get old.
Cas inhales slowly, deeply, and looks at Dean in that particular way which he reserves for Dean. Dean really fucking loves it.
“I thought we were going to go out.” He says, and the teasing is loud and clear. Dean almost gives in too. As if he’d turn down an offer to stay back in bed with him.
“Yeah, but we aren’t roleplaying a first date.” Dean says, instead, his upstairs brain getting the better of his downstairs one. “We’re still going to be married. We still get to kiss.”
“Then why was I looking up icebreakers, earlier?” Cas grins back.
“Because you’re a weird, dorky little guy.” Dean offers, but pulls back too. The further away he stands from Cas, the lesser is the risk of them not being able to make it to the date.
“I’m hardly little .” Cas looks satisfied enough by pointing that out, to not respond to more, and instead goes to pick up his trenchcoat. “Are we leaving now?”
“Sure, big guy.” Dean rolls his eyes. He puts on his own coat, having to stretch his back to get in it. It’s a pleasant surprise, but none of his body parts are aching presently. He’s hoping it stays this way. “I’ll drive the car out to the front. Wait outside for me?”
Cas nods, and Dean goes. He settles in the driving seat, and slides his hands down the cover of the steering wheel. “You ready to charm my date for me, Baby?” He mutters, affectionately, as the engine roars to life and soon subsides to a purr as he drives it out of the garage.
Cas gets in next to him.
“That’s fresh air.” He points out.
“I know.” Dean grins at him, sideways.
“You used an air freshener.” Cas adds. “In your car.” He pauses, as if to process. “This doesn’t smell like the house either. You used a car freshener.”
“I know .”
“You must really love me very much,” Cas jokes, and Dean’s stomach almost drops because hell, that was quick. And of course he does, kind of why he orchestrated the entire thing. He doesn’t know what to say, so he does the one-shoulder-shrug - the universal sign for, I guess .
Cas ducks his head at that, and it’s all sorts of adorable. “So.” He starts, as Dean starts to drive. “Will you tell me where we’re going?”
“You’ve had plenty of time to ask me before,” Dean remarks. “I know you like being surprised. Are you sure you want me to tell you, or is this just one of the icebreakers Buzzfeed taught you?”
Cas chuckles. “Both? And I’m not an amateur. I used Bustle.”
“Well,” Dean grins back. “It’s this newish continental place, near the bowling alley we went to on my last birthday. I looked it up on the internet after hearing of it from various sources, and they have pretty good reviews. We’ll have to try the thukpa.”
“Then we shall do so.” Cas answers.
“Yeah, place is real busy too.”
“Oh.” Cas bobs his head. “What time did you book for us?”
“Yeah, funny thing, I had a problem getting - oh, son of a bitch!” Dean suddenly pauses, horrified. The car swerves as he realizes, and stops thinking entirely. Then he’s pulling over, taking an acute turn from the middle of the road, and Cas is staring at him, trying to figure out the cause for the strange behavior. Nothing had happened on the road.
“Fuck!” He swears, still gripping the wheel. Cas is beginning to panic, asking Dean what’s wrong, on repeat. Dean doesn’t know where to begin. Horrified at himself, absolutely whitening rage - he turns to glare at Cas, though he’s only furious at himself.
“ Fuck .” He repeats, for emphasis. “I forgot to make the fucking reservations.”
Dean storms into their house, having parked the Impala on the road, trusting Cas to follow. He keeps up, indeed, constantly asking Dean what was up with him. Dean unlocks their door frustratedly, and prances inside.
“Please sit.” He motions, waving his arm in the direction of the couch.
“We could just have driven around!” Cas protests. “Dean, I get that you’re irritated at yourself, but -”
“No.” Dean states, flatly. He sits gingerly down on the armrest of a couch, as Cas takes the other sofa. “I need to do this. We need to talk.”
For a fraction of a second, Cas’s eyes widen, and they’re a little bit worried. Frightened. It must be the pop culture affiliations that phrase has.
Dean leaps to correct himself. “No! Not like that - Never like that. You’re perfect, Cas.” He sighs. “You’re everything I could ask for.”
“And you’re upset about that.” Cas points out, blinking.
“No, idiot. I’m fucking thrilled. But I’m not.”
“So, you’re thrilled, and you’re also not thrilled.” Cas repeats, squinting at him now. Cas is leaning towards him, and Dean gets up from the armrest, and begins to walk around, to avoid Cas’s eyes.
“No. I am thrilled. I’m just not everything you could ask for.” Dean admits, with resignation. He’s tried to fight it, he’s tried to be better, he’s tried everything, but he’s old and pathetic and cannot even keep Cas assured that he loves him - as was just exhibited. He’s been doing everything wrong, for everything right that Cas does.
Cas opens his mouth to say something, but Dean goes on. “I don’t remember stuff, and I can’t do things anymore - and I creak , Cas - and you’re always so fucking okay with all of it, but you shouldn’t have to be with someone who can’t even remember to book a table for a date!”
“I told you we could’ve driven around the town, and then microwaved leftovers for dinner.” Cas throws back. “I liked that car smell.”
“You shouldn’t have to compromise!” Dean argues. “You give me everything I want. You should get everything you want too, Cas! That time, we had to cancel a date cause I lost my keys -”
“You didn’t lose them.” Cas tells him, cutting him off. Dean can’t tell exactly what mood Cas is in right now, but he sure sounds annoyed. Wow, so now Dean’s managed to do that too. Kudos to him. “And I don’t even want to go there now. Claire told me the owners were loud Republicans.”
“That’s not the point.” Dean complains, trying to remember what the point was, himself. “That afternoon! You wanted to make out, and my back was killing me, and we couldn’t -”
“I could always just kiss you now.” Cas declares, standing up, as if to prove his point.
“ Not the point.” Dean hurriedly passes the opening to postpone this conversation. “Cas, I just want you to know that I wish I could be more. Like before. Or better yet. I was never enough -”
“Stop.” Cas positively yells, at this point. “I don’t care about the 'point’ you’ve conjured up, Dean. I get a say in this.” Dean’s silenced by the glare he receives. “I love you.” He begins, softening.
“I know.” Dean sighs.
“And I could not have asked for anything more than you are, Dean Winchester.” Cas takes a step towards him. Dean - okay well, he doesn’t move away, as much as he shuffles his weight to the other hip. He wants Cas to get there. “Because you’re everything.”
Dean blushes, though it’s a stupidly common line, because Cas isn’t just saying it. He’s practically emanating it. “Cas, no -”
“And you talk about not putting in an effort?” Cas rolls his eyes, and his neck goes with it. “Well, what have I been doing, then? I’ve been so comfortable with what we have, that I haven’t been initiating newer things, or asking you out, or -”
“That’s not your fault.” Dean says, shortly. “We’re not a week into dating. We’re settled, and domestic, and those are good things. If you were on your toes about us doing new things all the time, what’s the meaning of all the time we’ve spent together?”
Cas looks appalled, though Dean thinks he’s done a good job explaining it. “Awesome. You can whip out thoughtful lines like those when I talk about not putting in an effort anymore, but when it comes to you, I suddenly seem to want more?”
“Don’t you try to Dr Phil your way outta my fuck-up, Cas.” Dean warns, knowing exactly where Cas would take this.
“I don’t have to.” Cas replies. “Because it’s not your fuck-up. It’s mine. Somehow, I’ve failed to make you realize how much I -”
“You’ve not failed at anything!” Dean frowns. “I know you’re going to say you love me, and I -”
“What, you think I just say it?” Cas retorts. “There are millions of words out there, Dean. I have an exquisite vocabulary. I adore you, and I’m bewitched by you, and I cherish you, and I’m devoted to you, and I’m enchanted by you. But at the end of it all, I love you, for nothing could say it better.”
Dean doesn’t know what to say to that.
“Now, you’re going to let me apologize for allowing you to let such insecurities fester.” Cas tells him, having caught Dean in a daze. “You’ve always made me feel loved, Dean. And in these last sixteen years, you’ve made me happier than I could ever have known. You’ve smiled my bad days into better ones, and cooked meals for us to share on that little table, and you’ve let me kiss you, and make love to you, and be wedded to you, and you’ve never once let me feel alone. And since that’s what I’ve most felt, before you , I am more grateful for you than you could ever imagine.”
Dean feels his throat clog up.
“And every day, Dean, I’ve woken up knowing I love you, but gone to bed at night, next to you, somehow even more deeply in love.” Cas emphasizes. He’s standing much closer to Dean now.
“And I cannot believe I’ve never said this aloud, for I think about it all the time.” Cas swears, his tone delicate. “But you’ve grown and changed so much, that it’s that much easier to love you now. It was always too simple, but little by little, you’ve molded into all my nooks, and filled every strange-shaped crevice of everything I ever wanted.”
Dean’s lips tremble, as he buries his face in Cas’s neck, and lets Cas hug him close. He feels a tear slip down his face, but it doesn’t matter, because Cas’s arms are around him, pulling him close, and he can just pause, and listen, and breathe Cas in.
“I don’t know how long it took, the first go-around, as you call it. Maybe I fell in love with you when I rebuilt you, or when I fought with you against Heaven, or by that river in Purgatory.” Cas whispers, words a little garbled as they’re spoken into the fabric of Dean’s shirt. “But if I had met you today, I would’ve fallen in love with you in a day.”
Dean lets out a choked sound, he wants to believe is a scoff. “You only had to ask if you wanted me to have a dad-bod, buddy. Back then, I mean.”
“You’re nicer to hug.” Cas justifies, and on cue, holds on tighter. “But it’s all the other things too. Now, you -”
“Please. Stop, Cas.” Dean begs, and it’s only a little bit of a joke. “If you go on anymore, I’m going to have to sit down, and then I’m not going to be able to get up, without being vastly unattractive about it.”
“You’re ridiculous.” Cas informs him, pulling away to look at him better. “But fine. We can finish this conversation later.”
“And I can tell you more of my side,” Dean looks down at the floor, embarrassed. “Without you rambling off poetry about our relationship, and making it all sappy like you love to do.”
“Only if you aren’t determined to fault yourself.” Cas conditions, smiling now. He’s so beautiful.
“But I -”
“Dean.” Cas scowls, and Dean shrugs, quieting down. “Only if you swear to skip to the part where we talk about how to help you overcome this. Because, I’m sorry, but it’s not me who feels what you think I feel, at all.”
“Shuddup.” Dean mutters.
There’s a silence, a warm and comfortable one. Cas smiles, again, little but pleasant - and Dean mirrors it. He loves Cas so much. And Cas loves him.
“Date nights.” He blurts. “We could do date nights.”
“Of course.” Cas looks amused, but in a good way. “I think we could pull those off.”
“Let’s have them thursdays.” Dean smirks, and Cas grins.
“And let’s go on a vacation.” Dean suggests, suddenly. The pressure is gone, but the adrenaline hasn’t worn off. Their entire future seems to be a sky of possibilities. To make each other feel loved, and to be happy. To put in efforts, without making it a big deal. They can do this. “Let’s go to a beach. Out of the country. We could go on a cruise.”
Cas beams. “I would like that, yes.”
“And -” Dean stops himself, blushing.
“Yes?” Cas urges.
“- would you like for me to choose more panties for you?” Cas says, tentatively, at the same time that Dean says, “I want to dye my hair.”
Dean lets out a nervous chuckle, as Cas’s eyebrows go up. “Both?”
“Both.” Cas nods, stepping closer again, but this time it’s not a hug, as his hands go around Dean’s middle, but his head doesn’t go on his shoulder. Dean’s the one who closes the gap, exhilarated.
They’ve got this.
And as they eventually fall back on one of the couches, Cas straddling Dean because he’s the only one of them who can still do that - Dean remembers that they never pulled the curtains down, and moves to stop Cas.
“Curtain.” He pants. “Could you -” Cas doesn’t seem to get it, and continues to lavish kisses on his clavicle. “ Cas .” Dean groans. “The window, please. No one wants to see two old geezers getting sweet on each other through the window.”
“Maybe exhibitionism would rekindle the spark you claim is dead for me.” Cas mocks. “And I prefer lovely, married couple. Less old, less geezer.”
“Sure you do.” Dean laughs back, burying his face in Cas’s chest. “You’re a billion years ancient ex-wave, and I’m definitely a geezer, but sure you prefer lovely, married couple.” Cas’s laughter rumbles through him, and Dean can feel it too.
And just like that, it’s pretty frigging perfect - the sixty 'round the corner be damned.