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songs to sleep to

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When it’s all over, Dean sleeps.

Bobby had made coffee this morning, stale grounds in a stained carafe. Dean thinks in an over-tired, punchy sort of way that it’s the only cathedral he would ever worship in. Stained glass colored in coffee-oil browns and yellows instead of the bright depictions of saints and – he thinks with a snort – angels; the java inside could be made of actual holy water for all he knows. Hell, at the end of the world, blessing the well had probably been the first thing on Bobby’s to-do list.

The first sip burns away all of his taste buds, which was probably a good thing, because this stuff is so strong you could stick a spoon in there and it would stand straight up. Just the way he likes it.

Dean pours another mug for Sam and douses it with milk. It curls its way down to the bottom of the mug and then blossoms at the top, turning Sam’s coffee a creamy brown. Kid always wants to cover up the bite.

Sam’s sitting up on the couch, talking to Bobby, when Dean hands over his mug. Sam smiles, and that’s when Dean knows it’s really all over. That smile is all Sammy.

Two cups of coffee and a few hours later, the caffeine buzz drops way too soon – a lifetime building up a tolerance – and Dean crashes. He doesn’t need any alcohol to fall asleep this time. Bobby offers him the bed (Sam doesn’t need it anymore) and Dean just sinks into sleep, deep and dreamless.

The shifting mattress wakes him hours later in the gloom of night, and it doesn’t take long for his eyes to adjust. Cas is sitting on the edge of the bed, toeing off a pair of Dean’s old boots. Jimmy’s old clothes didn’t hold up so well at the end of times with no angel mojo to fix them. When he’s wearing only boxers and a cheap gray undershirt, Cas slides into the bed, his hair a dark shock against the pillow.

Dean feels weightless and restless like he hasn’t felt for a long, long time, back when a simple nightlight out in the hallway made him feel safe in the dark. Safe and trusting, when the monsters in the dark were only imaginary. Nightmares. Angels are watching over you.

He shifts to his side and reaches out, wraps his fingers in the hem of Cas’ t-shirt, soft the way new clothes are, a contrast to the way Dean’s old battle-worn clothes feel, washed dizzy in countless quarter Laundromats.

Cas’ eyes are closed, just shadows in the darkness, but he’s not sleeping.

“Hey,” Dean tries to say, but there’s no sound. He clears his throat and stretches his legs down to the cool part of the comforter. Doing so earns his arm a fraction of an inch closer to Cas, knuckles brushing against the smooth skin underneath. Dean settles his hand onto the flat plane of Castiel’s hip, passes his thumb over the skin there. Cas’s eyes are dim in the gloaming light when he finally opens them.

“You should sleep,” Dean says around his sleep-thick tongue, feeling like he could still take his own advice.

When Sam was tiny, still only a baby by rights, he could never settle down. Dad said the kid never learned how to put himself to sleep, always letting the rocking of the car or sheer exhaustion pull him under during a time when most kids are just learning how to sleep through the night on their own. Dean remembers, like trying to see through the fog, sitting up and telling Sam nonsense stories until he slept. His voice was rusty then, too, silent unless he needed to say something to Sammy.

Cas doesn’t know how to put his new human body to sleep.