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Just as lost as I

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Dean's phone is ringing. The shrill chirping echoing through the room and rousing him from his slumber. If it is a telemarketer, they will be dead before the next sunrise.

 

Dean doesn’t do mornings. He barely does afternoons.

 

Groaning he pulls his blankets higher around his shoulders. Cocooning himself inside the thick wool. Trying to get some warmth into his skin. The ringing ends. Then starts again immediately. Huh, so not a telemarketer then.

 

Dean sighs and emerges from his nest. Hitting the thick curtains of his bed away and pushing his hand into the light. He doesn’t quite open his eyes to the glare of the sun. It couldn't hurt him anymore, but old habits die hard. Fumbling blind, he grabs his phone and swipes the screen. "This better be good," He says, his voice too thick with sleep to sound like a real threat.

 

Someone swallows down the line. "Dean, it's Charlie." The voice says. Dean blinks awake in surprise. Charlie knows Dean well enough to not call him before 3 pm. 

 

"What's wrong kiddo?"

 

"Dean... it's Cas… he's missing." Charlie says and suddenly Dean's more awake than he's been in years.

 

"I'll be right there." He says hanging up. He stares at the blank screen for who knows how long before he throws off his blankets. Cas is missing. Cas is missing and Dean doesn't know what to do. 

 

When Dean was bitten, his heart stopped. It never began beating again, even though he was 'alive' enough to feel it. For months, he felt the empty ache in his chest. The stillness. Bathed in an eternal cold that haunts Dean to this day. Hearing Cas is gone? Feels worse than that. 

 

Dean packs a bag, trying not to panic. It's a fifteen-hour drive from Chicago to Boston and he doesn't even blink at driving it. He'd do anything for Cas. Even if it means driving when the sun is high in the sky. He hits the road in his precious Baby and floors the pedal.

 

It's raining when Dean drives into Boston.

 

The cold air removing whatever lingering warmth Dean has left to spare. Cas always lived in rainy cities, claiming the rain was soothing when he made his charms. Dean hates the rain, which is why he lives so far away, or at least that's what he tells Cas. The truth is, it's because it's safer that way, for Dean at least. It keeps him from visiting too often. He doesn't want Cas to get sick of him, but it's becoming harder and harder over the years to stay away.

 

Nothing about Dean's life has been easy, but finding love has always been the hardest part. Humans lives are too short, Dean learnt that the hard way, in the beginning. He had loved Lisa, but when Dean got shot in France he thought he would lose her. Then Sam, his brother, had appeared at his bedside. Taller than Dean remembered him, paler too. His hands were so cold, his teeth sharp and white as snow. He made Dean an offer and in his delirious state, Dean had taken it. Lisa called him a monster when he came home.

 

Since then Dean has tried to build a life with many humans. Those who found his fangs exciting or thrilling. The first time he came too close to killing one of them, was the last time he tried. He lost decades watching his brother and his maker, Ruby fall in love. Wishing he could have what they had. 

 

Then Benny had come along. 

 

Benny was a vampire, like them. He spoke in a southern drawl and captivated Dean from the very beginning. But Benny had gotten bored with him after a measly thirty years together. Immortality, Dean discovered, doesn't guarantee forever.

 

Then he met Cas. It was sometime during the 1820s. Sam wanted to study law in England so off they went. He can't remember the details, but he remembers that pub. The smell of human blood beating under miles of warm skin. He was on the prowl, trying to pick up some young thing for a simple nibble when he felt eyes on him.

 

Turning around Dean had met inhuman blue eyes at the back of the bar. Dean moved closer, trying to appear confident. The man had said, "I know what you are," and Dean stopped in his tracks. He had met a few hunters during his travels, and he thought Cas was one of them.

 

But Cas was something different, something Dean had never heard of before. "A Warlock,' Cas said over his ale. An Irish brogue clear in his voice. Dean had questions and Cas had answered them all. Watching Dean as the drinks flowed, their knees knocking under the table.

 

It was almost dawn when Cas looked at Dean under his lashes, a smirk on his face. "I wouldn't be adverse to you biting me, Dean. However, I would ask for some venom in return. I would like to test its healing properties." Cas had said because he was weirdly forward like that.

 

(Dean did not find it endearing. No matter what Sam said. For one, he would never use that word, and even if he did he wouldn't use it on a guy that tried to make a potion to fight his insomnia and ended up sleeping through a full decade. Cas was weird. The definition of a mad scientist and Dean didn't sigh over him like a schoolgirl. At least not when he was sober. He had standards.)

 

Still, for all his weirdness, something about Cas was charming. Dean had spent a week in his company before getting on a boat to America with Sam and Ruby. His legs still shaky and the taste of Cas's kiss on his tongue. From then on they kept in touch. Dean didn't have an address for months after he moved, but Cas didn't need one. His letters always found Dean. Over the years, Dean has collected a variety of stamps from all over the world. Along with lengthy letters in Cas's cursive. 

 

It was almost half a century before Cas joined them in America, but Dean still kept his distance. He told himself Cas wasn't as beautiful as he remembered. Convinced himself that Cas's eyes glowing when he came wasn't the hottest thing he had ever seen. Then he cracked and made the journey to see him. A pattern emerged from there. Every thirty years or so, Dean would show up and spend some time with Cas. Mostly in his bed. Cas never once came to him. So, Dean never brought up his feelings on the matter.

 

It was obvious from his constant moving that Cas got bored easily. Every time Dean left, Cas seemed to find a new house. So why would he want an immortal boyfriend? He'd drop Dean quicker than Benny had. It was safer this way, keeping it casual. Even if Dean's heart said otherwise.

 

Dean sighed, shaking off the thoughts that had been following him the whole journey. He has bigger worries than his unrequited feelings. Warlocks were almost impossible to kill. A trade-off from their demonic parents. But that didn't mean that Cas wasn't in danger. Containing a warlock as powerful as Cas would be impossible for a hunter, but not for one of his own kind. Cas wasn't exactly loved in the warlock community. Dean didn't know the full story, but he does know that if Cas is gone, there has to be a reason behind it. 

 

Parking his car in front of Cas's townhouse Dean rushes up the familiar steps and tries not to throw up. Not even three-day-old blood had made his stomach churn like this. He raises his hand to the knocker and hits it twice. Bouncing on his toes as he waits for Charlie to answer. Of course, the door opens on its own, because warlocks are like that. 

 

Dean shakes his head and cups his hands around his mouth. "Charlie you have to invite me in!"

 

Dean hears a scramble, a dish smashing in the distance, then feet pounding down the staircase. 

 

"Sorry Dean, come in, come in," Charlie says once she reaches the bottom. Her red hair in disarray. Her brown horns are visible. Long and curling past her chin. Dean doesn't know if it's intentional, or if she forgot to place a glamour on them. All warlocks have something that marks their otherness, but Cas has always hidden his. It's strange to see the ram-like appendages on Charlie's forehead, but they suit her somehow.

 

Dean had first met her on his last visit five years ago. She was a baby compared to Cas but he had taken her under his wing anyway. Accepting the redhead as his new apprentice without hesitation. Even though it meant he had to install the internet. Cas always forgot the world evolved sometimes. Dean had to introduce him to the concept of electricity, for god's sake. Hell, he still wrote Dean letters by hand. Charlie was the embodiment of recent generations. For some reason, she didn't fit in with the magical crowd either. Dean never asked, but there was always a haunted look in her eyes. Cas loved her like family, that much Dean could see right away. He would never abandon her. Something has to be going on with him.

 

"How are you doing Charlie?' Dean asks, taking in the dark bags under her eyes.

 

"I've been better," Charlie says her shoulders slumped. "C'mon in, I've got tea inside."

 

Despite the situation, Dean tries to bite back a smile. It's impossible to be friends with Cas and not get addicted to tea. Stepping into the house, Cas's incense hits his nose. The smell always clung to Cas's skin, like it was a part of him. Warm amber and roses. It's stupid, but it feels like coming home. He looks around the room, expecting Cas to be here, his stomach sinks when he remembers that Cas is gone. 

 

Charlie doesn't seem fazed by Dean freezing in the doorway like a mad man. Instead, she pulls out cups and sachets of homemade tea. Clicking her fingers so the kettle starts to boil. Dean raises an eyebrow at it. Charlie laughs, "It took me a while to convince him to get an electric one but it saves the stovetop for his potions. What's with his technology thing by the way? Are all immortals like this? Because I'm telling you now, the second they invent better space travel I'm breaking the trend."

 

Dean chuckles, leaning against Cas's cabinets and avoiding the herbs drying overhead. "Sometimes it's hard to keep up. I mean I still have cassettes in my car, but I have an iPhone. Cas is a special case. I had to bully him into installing the rotary phone last time. He's used to relying on his magic for everything."

 

Charlie sighs, her smile fading. "Look I'm really sorry I called you all the way out here Dean. I mean he's only been gone a week, but this isn't like him. I hoped he was with you, I mean your Cas's oldest friend." Dean raises his eyebrow at the title making Charlie giggle. "Although friends might be stretching it a tiny bit. I mean I live here, and Cas tries, but not everything's soundproofed."

 

"We are friends -" Dean says ignoring the way his ears are burning. "Mostly anyway."

 

Charlie doesn't look convinced. "You know, you have the same look Cas gets when I ask about you."

 

"What look?"

 

"Kicked puppy," She says, summoning the kettle over to fill her mugs. "It's painful to watch really. How long have you two been pining over each other?'

 

"I'm not - I have no idea what you’re talking about," Dean says grabbing his mug, so he can hide behind it. "It’s just sex."

 

"Yeah, I write novel-length love letters to all my sex partners," Charlie says watching Dean take a sip from his mug.

 

It's blackberry, which was always Dean's favourite, but there's something else too. Copper and roses. The exact taste Dean gets in his mouth drinking Cas's blood. He swallows heavily, feeling warm for the first time in days. "Is there blood in this?" Dean asks, looking at his mug suspiciously.

 

"Dried blood I think," Charlie says, Dean raises his eyebrow. "God, did Cas teach you that look? I didn't ask questions okay? Cas had insomnia and was going through a tea phase after your last visit. I mean this place was nothing but herbs for months. It got to the point where I didn't even question him when he started bringing out needles."

 

Dean smiles imagining Cas in this space, his hair fucked up, as he grinds down tea leaves. He takes another drink trying not to feel touched that Cas was thinking of him.

 

Charlie smirks, "That tea is for you by the way. Specially made. Which is something he does in his spare time. At least when he's not writing you a novel every month."

 

"Look that's - huh - Cas likes letters okay," Dean says taking a longer sip than necessary. "It doesn't mean anything. Besides, this has nothing to do with why I'm here."

 

"Yeah, you're right," Charlie says somberly, stirring her tea. "I just don't know what to do. I mean everything was fine one minute and then that exhibit opened and suddenly poof. No more messy warlock going crazy in the kitchen."

 

"What exhibit?"

 

"Oh, Cas didn't tell you? Someone from the museum found something in one of his old places and decided to show it off. Cas went to check it out, see if it was magical and or dangerous, the usual. Anyway, when he came back he was weird."

 

Dean raises an eyebrow because, for Cas, weird is his neutral setting. "Weird how?"

 

"Way weirder than usual. He's a brooder, y’ know?” Charlie said with a shrug, Dean nods. “But this was different. He seemed kind of sad, so I left him alone. But when I came down the next morning... He was just gone."

 

"He didn't say anything?" 

 

Charlie sighs, "No, but there was an empty bottle of whiskey." 

 

Dean frowns, Cas isn't one to drink by himself. At least not in Dean's experience. "Which one of his places was the exhibit based on?"

 

"Hardgate, I think."

 

Deans stomach flutters. Hardgate had been one of Cas's bigger houses. A large farmhouse by the coast. Dean had spent a whole year there during the 1930s.

 

It was a bad time. Sam hadn't been speaking to him and Dean was reckless. He was tricked and tried to feed on a hunter. She attacked him with silver and dead man's blood before Dean even realised what she was. Dean had run for days, barely escaped a beheading, before making it to Cas's place and passing out.

 

Cas had taken care of him, nursing Dean back to health with herbs and potions until Dean recovered. It was practically domestic. Well, as domestic as it could have been for creatures like them. Cas began to study vampires, concocting the potion that let Dean spend time in the sun. Just so they could walk by the coast. 

 

Dean remembers the sea at his feet, the sun on his face and feeling more alive than he had in centuries. That year was bliss. He got a chance to be with Cas the way he has always dreamed of. A single feeding from Cas was enough to keep Dean going for months, but it wasn't about that anymore. Dean was more satisfied having Cas in his arms every night. Dean hadn't wanted to leave. At least until Sam sent him a letter begging for his forgiveness.

 

The night Dean had left had been different from before. Cas had taken Dean slowly, their hands entwined above his head. Dean remembers how the incense had hung around in the room. Cas's accent was long gone, but Dean felt him whisper Galilee into his neck. All the while he was fucking into Dean like he was going to make it last forever. Dean had been useless after that. His heart soaring. It took him fifty years before he was able to show his face around Cas again. Constantly aware of how close he was to blurting out an "I love you" in the heat of the moment.

 

"Oh, so that was a good memory, huh?" Charlie asks over the rim of her mug.

 

Dean stares at her. "Psychic?" He guesses, trying not to flush at what she might have seen in his head.

 

Charlie makes a see-saw gesture with her hands. "A tiny bit empathic, I don't get pictures just the moods. Which is why this whole Cas thing feels off. That night, he had his walls up hard. I'd need a lot more practice to see through that thing."

 

"You think he left on his own?" Dean asks. It's not in Cas's character to just up and go, but Dean has a hard time imagining someone capable of capturing him. Cas is old. Older than Dean by a couple of centuries. His magic has only grown with his age. It would take someone pretty powerful to knock him out.

 

Charlie frowns, "I don't know, Cas was acting shifty. I mean he could have just left on his own, but the Grand Coven's has had it out for him for years. Maybe they found something in his old journals to use against him, but with Cas, it could be anything."

 

"Yeah, you got that right." Dean scratches the back of his neck. "I think I need to see this exhibit, so we can figure out what's up with him."

 

"Already got you covered, I hacked their page this morning. You should be able to break in without any issues."

 

"Have you tried tracking him?"

 

"I did three spells this morning before I called you. No dice. If Cas left on his own, he doesnt want to be found."

 

Dean tries to hide his face behind his mug. He knows Cas wouldn't leave her here alone on purpose, but who knows where his head was at. "We'll get him back," Dean says, trying to sound convincing.

 

"How can you be so sure?"

 

"Cas is a tough guy. Wherever he is, he's probably fine," Dean says scrubbing his hand down his jaw. "Sure this looks bad now, but knowing Cas, he could have meant to leave for a day and not notice the time."

 

"You’re right," Charlie sighs, "I'm just worried about the guy. He means a lot to me. I don't like the idea of him being alone and hurt out there."

 

"Everything will work out okay Charlie. I promise," Dean says and for the first time in his immortal life, he prays that he's right. He spends another few hours consoling her, trying not to think about all the awful places Cas could be. 

 

Breaking into the museum is almost too easy.

 

Charlie knows her way around a computer and made sure all the tripwires wouldn't pick him up. So Dean took his time. He normally wasn't one for museums, Sam often wandered the halls of places like this. Claiming it was for nostalgic reasons, but Dean didn't get it. He lost his mortality in the Seven-Years’ War, and it was barely a blip in comparison to the wars to come. These places glorified them. Often stacked with war memorabilia and uniforms. It always left him feeling pissed off. Here he is a walking, talking monster, but humans surprise him with their brutality.

 

He avoids the dozens of war exhibits. Trying to figure out where Hardgate would fit in amongst the signposts. "Where am I headed?" Dean whispers into the earpiece Charlie had given him.

 

From across the line, Dean can hear the clicking of keys. "Ah - okay if you keep going straight ahead for another twenty feet then make a left. You should see it then."

 

Dean nods, trying not to read too much into the smile he could hear in her voice. At least until he turned the corner and saw the pride flags. "Charlie, what the fuck?"

 

"Well, it is June, Dean," Charlie says like that would explain everything. Dean rolls his eyes.

 

"I'm aware, Charlie, but why is Cas's stuff in amongst all this?" Dean said, frowning as he looks over the cases. He swallows, taking a step forward into the room and lets his eyes adjust with the moonlight. "Charlie, are these all letters?"

 

"Okay, so in my defence, Cas didn't tell me what the exhibit was about. He said something from Hardgate wound up there, and he wanted to check it out."

 

"Stop avoiding the question, Charles," Dean says walking past page after page. Little information boards placed beside every case. He stops when he gets to the center of the room and sees the exhibit's name. Love through the ages. "Why is Cas's stuff mixed in with this?"

 

Charlie huffs under her breath, "Maybe you should look around and find out Dean." 

 

Dean looks at the cameras, wondering if she could see him frozen in the middle of the room. All this time he thought Cas didn't believe in love. But now if Cas has a letter in here, it means Cas met someone. Cas met someone in Hardgate, maybe right after Dean left and wrote them love letters. Dean almost throws up Cas’s tea. His sweet blood now tasting sour in his mouth. He scans all plaques again picking up the word Hardgate even from across the room. If he had a pulse, it would be pounding.

 

He walks closer, picking out more details in the case. It's a single letter. Cas's stamp; bright red and chipped in the middle; placed beside them. Dean broke it’s wax seals dozens of times. It never entered his head that Cas was sending it to other people too. He takes a deep, unnecessary breath and looks inside.

 

My Dearest love,

 

I know this letter will never reach you. I never plan on sending it, but as the days go by I miss you more and more.

 

You left me.

 

I understand it was not out of spite. You are rarely spiteful, but you are loyal to a worrying degree. I understand it was duty that compelled you to leave. Truly I do. And yet I yearn to see your face. The bed feels too warm without you by my side. You are always so cold, but I have always loved it.

 

Perhaps that's a bit abnormal, but what about us isn't? The people would burn us for being two men that lie together as we do. Which would be the least likely thing I would be burned for. Believe me, they've tried. We aren't normal, you and I. We are hunted for what we are, and because of that I almost lost you.

 

All these years, all these dalliances, I assumed it simply lust between us but now I know how wrong I was. I care about you and it hurts. Because you were doing the impossible. You were dying. We were supposed to have forever, but I watched as the life drained from your eyes. I am not a praying man, for obvious reasons, but I prayed for you that night. I don't know if it was my efforts that saved you or that prayer. I don't care. I got to keep you and at that moment I realized I never wanted to lose you. Not to death or illness. Not to boredom or the passage of time. I want to keep you, always in my love.

 

I love you. Somehow, despite our very natures, I am under your spell. I am completely bewitched by you. I have seen every oddity the world can possess, but you look at me, and I want to spend the rest of my life inside your gaze.

 

I am a wanderer, my very being aches to take flight, to run away, but you ensnare me. I never want to lose you.

 

There was a moment on the beach when the light hit you for the first time. You were so happy. So beautiful under the rising sun, and I ached so badly for the light to solidify. To encase your happiness in amber for I know how rare it is.

 

I like to think you were happy here with me. But you left, and you took all the happiness with you.

 

I've been trying to look back at the time we spent together fondly. But every word I never said haunts me. I know you didn't understand me that final night, but even then, I couldn't bear to tell you how much you meant to me. Admitting my love for you is perhaps the most terrifying obstacle I've ever faced. My cowardice shames me. Next time, I will tell you. I promise. But for now, I've packed my entire house up after a measly year without you. I couldn't bear to walk down the corridors and not see you there. I hope I see you soon Dean. I hope you visit before I once again lose my courage.

 

Yours forever, 

Castiel.

 

Dean reads the letter, then he reads it again because holy shit. Holy. Shit. It's about him. Cas wrote a love letter to him. Dean doesn't even think about it. He reaches out and punches through the fucking glass.

 

"What the fuck Dean!" Charlie yells from the earpiece.

 

Sirens start to flash, red lights warning the night guard that there's a robbery in progress. Dean doesn't care. He shakes the glass of his hand and grabs the letter. "Where's the nearest exit?" Dean asks Charlie, carefully placing the letter in his inside pocket.

 

"Through the Dinosaurs." Charlie squeaks her fingers moving rapidly over the keyboard. Dean’s keen ears pick up the footsteps approaching him. Guards racing to stop the robber. Too bad even the fastest man alive couldn't catch up with him. So Dean runs. He runs like he hasn't in years. The world blurring past him and in seconds he's out of the museum. He doesn't pause till he's three streets away. Right where he parked his car. 

 

"Dean?" Charlie asks through her earpiece. "Where did you go? I can't see you on the cameras." 

 

Dean laughs doubling over like he's been punched in the stomach. The giggles pour out of him, along with gasps he doesn't need to take. He scrambles to find the letter, reading it one more time, because he has to be sure it's true. Cas said he loved him. Cas loved him. Christ. He wasn't expecting that. 

 

"Dean, what the fuck is in that letter?" Charlie asks slowly like Dean’s lost his mind. Maybe he has. All these years he's been aching for Cas to want him and now he has proof that he does. It feels like a dam broke inside him and all his emotions are pouring out. Eventually, he manages to get it together and gets into his car. He forces himself to take a deep breath before he answers her. 

 

"It was for me, Charlie. Cas wrote a love letter, and he wrote it for me." 

 

"Yeah well no shit!" Charlie yells, years of frustration pouring out of her. "I've seen the love eyes, Dean. There is eye-fucking and then there is slowly-caressing-my-every-burning-desire-into-you with my eyeballs. And you two -” She pauses, taking a deeper breath than Dean did. "- You two do the second one. All. The. Time. Like over tea, while I'm sitting in the middle, wanting to die!" 

 

Dean thinks he should be offended, but he laughs again instead. If Charlie is this pissed off he can't imagine what Sam's going to be like. "I didn't know Charlie, all this time I thought it was just me but now -" 

 

"-Now you know, but he's still missing," Charlie says, her voice cracking at the end. 

 

Dean looks down at the letter. "I think I know where he is. If Cas really left because of this letter I have to talk to him. Alone." 

 

Charlie sighs, "Yeah, yeah okay. Just keep me updated okay." 

 

"I will," Dean says and starts the car. 

 

Dean drives into Maine just as the sun is rising. His gut twists, the instinct to hide till it's dark again rearing its ugly head. He ignores it, Cas's letter is burning a hole in his pocket. They've both put off this confession long enough. Dean knows he never would have had the courage to do it first. He's gotten so good at denying his feelings. Hell, he convinced himself the reasons he's been celibate for 30 years is because he was getting older. There was no point in hunting like he used to. Not when he didn't need to. When really it was just about Cas, and how every person he slept with after Hardgate, felt like a betrayal. They've both been idiots and Dean’s so tired of it all. He misses Cas like a phantom limb. His frozen heart aches for him.

 

It gets worse when he drives into South Thomaston. The smell of the ocean hits him like a punch in the gut. God, he missed this place. Rolling down his windows, Dean breathes it in. Driving past the houses and cottages, trying to see what's different. Cas burnt his place down after he left, because Cas is dramatic like that. At the time he told Dean it was to prevent other warlocks from finding him. Now Dean wonders if it was because Cas was missing him. Dean wishes he never left. 

 

Sam needed him, he knows that. Things had been going crazy with Ruby for years and when she killed someone Dean couldn't be around her. Sam had taken her side in the beginning, that's why they fought, but she killed again and Sam left her. He needed someone to support him, to help his heart heal and Dean had to be there for him. But he can't help and think of how lonely Cas sounded in that letter. How he seemed to need Dean just as badly. He can't change what he did back then, but he can make it up to him now. He can deal with the rain and Cas's technology aversion if it means he gets to wake up to him every day. 

 

Dean drives up to the beach, hoping his hunch is right. That Cas is here and that he hasn't teleported halfway across the world. He parks the car and walks the coastline alone. His boots sinking into the sand. With the sound of the waves beside him, Dean feels like he's transported through time. He walks and walks, hoping that Cas will be here and eventually, he spots something. A feather sticks out of the sand, longer than his arm. 

 

Dean frowns down at it. He can't remember if some birds are just that big, but he doesn't think so. He picks it up, twirling it between his fingers as the smell hits him. Amber and roses. Cas. Dean searches the beach for more feathers and comes up empty. He shakes his head, wondering where else Cas could be. If he was wrong about Cas coming back here, Dean doesnt know what he’d do. He looks down at the feather again, then jerks his head up to the sky, so sharply his neck clicks. 

 

In the distance, a shadow is soaring, silhouetted in red with the morning sky. Dean stands there, spellbound, as the shape swoops down to the ocean. Gliding along the waves before sharply turning upright. Heading towards a far-out cliff. Dean drops the feather. Then he runs towards the soaring shape, sending sand flying around him in arcs. He doesn't know for sure if it’s Cas, but his gut says it is. 

 

Reaching the top of cliff Dean stumbles, barely managing to catch himself from face planting the ground. Cas stands on the edge, staring at Dean with his hands raised in defence. "Dean?" He says tilting his head. It's such a birdlike gesture that Deans mocked for years, but now. Now, it's starting to make sense. 

 

"You've got wings," Dean says like an idiot, his mouth half-open. Fuck, Cas has always been beautiful but now, without his glamour, he's something else. Long dark feathers spill from Cas's back. The sunlight shimmering on the green and blue feathers hidden amongst the black. His wingtips are white, touching the ground by his feet. To make matters worse, he's shirtless. Dean has seen him naked hundreds of times, but he feels like it's the first time.

 

Cas's wings rise under Dean’s gaze, almost hiding Cas behind them. "Yes, yes I do," Cas says, his voice deeper than Dean remembers. "You know all warlocks have an abnormality." 

 

"They're beautiful," Dean says without thinking. His fingers suddenly itching with the need to touch. 

 

Cas's cheeks pinken as he ducks his head. "What are you doing here, Dean?" He asks, watching Dean warily.

 

Dean licks his lips pulling out the letter from his pocket. "I ah - I got your letter." 

 

Cas stills, every feather suddenly standing to attention. "Oh," He says after an eternity. 

 

"Oh!" Dean yells, the frustration from the past few days catching up with him. "That's all you've got to say? Oh!?" 

 

"I don't know what you want me to say, Dean. I never meant for you to find out about it." Cas says his wings fluffing up. 

 

Dean realises if this conversation goes south, Cas can just fly away and leave Dean behind for good. The thought turns his stomach. "Yeah well, why not?" 

 

"Because you don't want me that way!" Cas yells like it's been torn from him. Years of pain suddenly clear in his voice. "I know you don't Dean. I know my feelings make you uncomfortable." 

 

"Uncomfortable?" 

 

"Yes. I know I didn't do a good job hiding my feelings in Hardgate." Cas bites his lip, ducking his head to look at his feet. The gesture is so un-Cas like it breaks through his shock. Cas is never ashamed of anything, but now he looks like a misbehaving kid. "I forced my affection on you and you avoided me, Dean. I waited for you to come back, so I could tell you how much you meant to me. But you didn't Dean. You didn't come near me for fifty years. I got the message pretty clear after that." 

 

"I didn't come back because I was scared Cas!" Dean yells, his own pain suddenly overwhelming him. All this time Cas thought that Dean never wanted him? How could he be that stupid? 

 

"Yes, I know, of my feelings..."

 

"Of losing you dumbass!" Dean interrupts, unable to stomach Cas bringing himself down like this. He's using his wings as a shield for fucks sake. Dean never wanted Cas to hide from him. "I was scared I'd blurt out how much I love you and scare you off!" 

 

Cas blinks, his wings dropping to his side. "You love me?"

 

"Of course I do, Cas. Do you think I would have come all the way out here for anyone else?"

 

"Oh." Cas steps forward and grips Dean’s arm instantly calming him down. Dean looks into Cas's eyes and sighs. Cas shakes his head. "Dean I had no idea, I -" 

 

"Yeah, well now you do. So what are you going to do about it."

 

"This,” Cas says, then kisses him softly. 

 

Dean melts into it, cupping Cas's jaw and sighing into his mouth. They've spent years avoiding this, but now it finally feels right. He licks into Cas's mouth, dying to get the taste of him on his tongue. Fuck he's missed this. Cas groans, pulling Dean’s jacket, so they're pressed up against each other. Darkness covers them both and Dean pulls back. Blinking up at the feathers surrounding them. He smiles and rests his head against Cas's. "So, maybe we've both been a couple of dumbasses."

 

Cas sighs, tilting his head to kiss Dean again, "I think I'd prefer the term cautious," He says against Dean's mouth. "Less dumb, less ass." 

 

"But I like your ass," Dean jokes, Cas glares up at him under his eyelashes. Dean winks back. 

 

"It's very frustrating to love you sometimes." 

 

"Yeah well, you’re one to talk. What were you thinking? Running away like that? You had me and Charlie pretty worried man." 

 

Cas sighs, "I saw the letter and it brought back how I felt at the time. I kept thinking about how you'd react and what you'd say. I ran before you could find out, maybe that was stupid of me." 

 

“Yeah no shit, if you hadn’t pulled a disappearing act I wouldn’t have ever stepped foot in the Boston museum.” 

 

"It's possible I wasn't thinking straight. I did drink a whole bottle of whiskey before coming up with my master plan." 

 

Dean snorts, "Please tell me you didn't teleport drunk." 

 

"I wound up in Phoenix the first time I tried, but I got here eventually." Cas shrugs, his feathers shifting along Deans spine. He looks up at the sky with a wistful expression. "I missed it out here." 

 

"Yeah well, we made some good memories out here," Dean says smiling down at him. "Besides it's not like you can fly like this out in Boston." 

 

Cas ducks his head hiding underneath his wings. "You don’t think it's weird.” 

 

"What, that you can fly?"

 

"You've never seen my wings before, Dean," Cas says like he isn't aware how beautiful his wings are. "You don't find it weird that I have them?"

 

“Cas, when you get bored you try to cure lycanthropy. When you have insomnia, you make teas for vampires and you probably haven’t brushed your hair in three years. Face it, man, everything about you is weird. It’s why I’m in love with you.” 

 

Cas laughs happier than Dean's heard him in years. “You know I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of hearing you say that.” 

 

“Yeah well, you’re in luck,” Dean says smiling. He’s 300 years old, but this is the first time he’s felt this happy. He’s tired of keeping everything bottled up. “Because I’m happy to say it for however long you want.” 

 

“Forever’s a long time, Dean.” 

 

“I know. That’s why I want to spend it with you,” Dean says kissing Cas’s smile.