"I need you, I need you to tell me it's okay," Dean begs, holding Sam's gaze please tell me I can go you have to tell me or I won't be able to , "You tell me it's okay."
Sam swallows hard and opens his mouth to respond, "Dean, it's-"
"No, it's not."
Sam jumps at the interruption, Dean slowly slides his eyes past Sam's shoulder. He knows that voice. Fuck, does he know that voice. Guess Jack must've pulled him out after all.
"It's not okay, Dean," Cas says, stepping around Sam. "You're not going anywhere, not yet, not if I have any say in it."
"Cas," Dean whispers, looking at him like he's a welcome ghost, "You real?"
"Of course I'm real," Cas affirms, or, reaffirms, as it were. What about all this is real. We are.
Dean looks awestruck, not all there enough to try to hold back the stars in his eyes that always come from looking at Cas. Cas, for his part, does hold back - he's got a job to do.
"Sam, I'm going to pull your brother off this-" Cas tilts his head a bit, "large nail, I suppose? Can you support his weight while I heal him?"
Sam nods once, finally, something I can do to help, "Definitely."
"Okay," Cas reaches his hand around Dean's back, "Dean, are you ready?"
"Ready as I'll ever be."
With that, in one swift motion, Cas wrenches Dean free from where he's staked up. Dean lets out an involuntary groan, and Sam's knees buckle slightly before stabilizing.
Cas presses his hands to the mess of a wound on Dean's back. That's certainly pierced an artery or two, Cas thinks, this will be... more difficult than I thought.
He concentrates, screwing his eyes shut, pushing as much of himself into this as he can. Dean's breathing is erratic, and, horrifyingly, it's starting to get quieter.
"Cas," Sam says, his voice drowned in worry, "Cas, it's not working. "
Cas clenches his teeth in something that could only be described as a snarl and rips his hands off Dean. Sam starts to protest before he sees Cas flick his wrist and slip his angel blade down his arm. Cas takes the blade in one hand and cuts a long slice down one palm, then gives the other the same treatment. Pure grace spills out through the cuts, casting shadows and suddenly making Castiel's hands the brightest light source in the room. He moves them back over Dean’s puncture wound. Work, please work, don't do this now, don't let this be when my grace finally fails for good.
Sam and Cas hold their breath, Dean takes out another labored one that could very well be his last, or second to last, or third to last, or-
"It's not enough," Cas shouts. He moves from his position behind Dean and nudges Sam over. He brings his bleeding, glowing hands to Dean's face. "Dean, Dean, look at me. Do you trust me?"
What a stupid question, Cas, "Course, 'course I do."
"Do you know what I'm asking you?"
Oh, oh. Shit. "I- yeah, yes, yes, I know."
Cas nods and leans in, lips slightly parted and hovering a few inches from Dean's. The glowing from his hands dims, and suddenly there's grace floating like smoke, like blood in water, from Cas' mouth - curling into Dean's. Cas' eyes light up a more brilliant blue than they already are, and Dean's half-closed eyes light up the same. It's not clear whether it's Dean or Cas who closes the distance, though realistically, it's probably both of them. Hell of a way to have a first kiss.
Dean feels the tendrils of Cas' grace wrap into him, coil around his soul, seep through his skin and stitch up the ripped muscles in his back. It's strange, Dean's been a vessel for an angel before, but it didn't feel quite like this. It didn't feel... it didn't feel so familiar. It didn't feel like coming home.
Of course it feels like that, though, Dean thinks, It's Cas. That's just what it feels like to be around Cas on a normal day. At that thought, Dean can feel Cas smile slightly against his lips. You feel like home to me too, Dean. You always do.
Suddenly, or slowly, all at once, or piece by piece, Cas disentangles his essence from Dean's. They part their kiss, and open their eyes to look at each other. They've looked at each other a lot, seen each other a lot, but this is different. Markedly different. Like the universe looked at them and decided to synchronize their heartbeats from this moment forward.
"Are you okay?" Cas breathes out.
Dean lets out a soft laugh, and nods his head.
Cas lets his hands fall from Dean's face and makes way for the crushing bro-hug that Sam pulls Dean in for a second later. He stands off to the side as the two exchange a few words of relief, followed by one, two quick pats on Sam's cheek from Dean and an understanding nod from the former as he turns to walk to the exit. Sam shoots Cas a thankful smile as he walks out of the barn, Cas returns it easily.
After Sam's a good few steps out of earshot, Dean saunters up to Cas, smiling. "That's a- that's a pretty cool trick you got there, Cas."
"Well, I hope you enjoyed it, I'm fairly certain it was my last one."
Dean furrows his brows, "What do you mean?"
Cas drops his eyes to the floor, "I- my grace has been failing for some time, Dean. Saving you just now, I think that was the last of it."
"So, you're tellin' me you're human? Again?"
"It would seem so," Cas says, still not quite meeting Dean's eye, "But-" and there, that's when he finally looks up, "But, I don't think it'll be so bad. Not as long as I have someone to pass the time with."
"Yeah," Dean laughs, moving forward and draping his arm around Cas' shoulders, "Funny you should say that, I think I might know just the guy for the job."
"Hm, I think so too."