Cas had never understood why humans were so fond of sleeping. In his previous, brief tenure as a human, sleep came to him quickly and violently. He would fight the sensation off as long as he could until he collapsed, on park benches or alleyways, and for one luxurious month, in a warm, dry supply closet in a Gas-n-Sip. Being human was already so vulnerable, so fragile, but being a human and asleep? Unsure of your surroundings, helpless to anything that could happen to you, your mind spinning out of control all the while? Cas couldn’t understand why humans (okay, Dean ) were so happy to throw themselves down on a motel bed after a long day, or why they were so slow to wake up in the mornings, shooing well meaning angels away until they returned with a mug of coffee.
But he was starting to understand. Dean chalked it up to knowing that they were finally safe, that Cas didn’t have to sleep in a sleeping bag on the floor anymore but a real bed, but Cas would just smile, quietly knowing the real difference was no longer having to sleep alone.
“I can hear you thinking from here, baby.” Dean grumbled, his voice muffled from where his face rested, pressed into the back of Cas’ neck. “It woke me up.”
Cas cracked one eye open, but couldn’t see much beyond a head full of dirty blonde hair. Fitting two fully grown men on Dean’s bed was a squeeze, but add one lanky nephilim who refused to leave his father’s side since he’d come back from the Empty, and the three of them were packed in like sardines. Jack and Dean slept curled up on either side of Cas, bracketing him snugly on either side, like they wouldn’t let anything drag him away from them again. Dean would occasionally grumble about it at breakfast, but was always one to pull the covers back when Jack showed up in the doorway, claiming something about nightmares.
“I’m contemplating.” Cas replied with a sigh, closing his eyes and sinking back onto the pillows.
“Oh yeah?” He could feel Dean’s lazy smile against his skin. “Come to any big revelations?”
“Sleeping is quite pleasant. I understand now why you enjoy it so much.”
Dean huffed a quiet laugh.
“Good. I don’t think I’d ever forgive you if you started going on morning runs like Sammy. He’s probably back already.”
“Should we get up?” Cas turned to face Dean, careful not to disturb the sleeping child next to him. “We can help with breakfast-”
“No, no.” Dean interrupted, wrapping an arm tight around Cas’ waist. “We get to keep sleeping. I think we’ve earned it.”
“Yeah, Jack killed God and you gave up your grace and came back from the Empty. If that’s not a good enough reason to lie around in sweatpants for a few months I don’t know what is.”
“Oh?” Cas raised an eyebrow at Dean, who was looking down at him with a smug, content expression. “Well then, what have you done to earn it?”
“Me?” Dean grinned. “Well I’m the one who has to look out for both of you.”
It was meant to be sarcastic, but both of them knew it was the simple truth. Cas, never one for attitude when tenderness would do, kissed Dean’s cheek.
Cas had kissed twice before, Kissing Meg was strange and exciting, knowing Dean was looking, Cas wanted to show that he learned how to kiss right. Kissing April was just strange, trying to understand human sensations, and why he didn’t feel what he was supposed to be feeling. But it was different with Dean, of course. When Cas woke up on the bunker floor, grace ripped out and barely breathing with Dean gently holding his face, Cas realized that they’d been there before, until Dean all but knocked him down onto the floor and kissed him. Everything was always different with Dean. For the first time, Cas didn’t worry about doing it right , his mind completely empty of anything besides Dean .
In the two weeks since then, Dean was making sure Cas learned everything there was to know about kissing. But it wasn’t just the “just-saved-the-world”, grand gesture of true love that Cas was learning about. Kissing didn’t have to be saved for a big moment, it could be aimless afternoons on the couch or Dean kissing his cheek after Cas hands him a mug of coffee every morning.
He was also learning that kissing wasn’t reserved just for Dean, either. These days, Cas found himself kissing Jack’s temple when tucking him in at night, or the top of Claire’s head when she hugged him goodbye. It was some instinct he had frequently when he saw them, according to Garth, all parents felt like that. Or at least, they should. Cas was pretty certain that his own father never kissed him goodnight, but he wondered if any of his brothers or sisters did. He couldn’t imagine any of them showing that kind of affection towards him, besides maybe Gabriel.
Cas didn't realize he was drifting off again until he felt an elbow jab into his back and heard a rustling of blankets behind him. Dean grumbled a complaint as Cas turned away from him to face Jack, but wrapped an arm around his waist anyways. Jack broke into a sleepy smile when he locked eyes with Cas, who instinctively smoothed down a lock of the boy’s rumpled hair.
“Thank you for letting me stay.” Jack said, like he did every morning. Dean answered with his customary response, reaching across Cas to pat Jack on the shoulder.
“Any more nightmares?” Cas asked, and Jack shook his head.
“They’re getting better, tonight I’ll sleep in my own bed. I promise!”
“Oh Jack, you know I’m not upset.”
Cas wiggled free of Dean’s grasp just enough to wrap Jack in a hug. Dean told him once that he wished their kid didn’t have to grow up so fast, and Cas supposed that was just his human way of looking at things. Cas may be human now, but he still had thousands of years of memories, and knew that Jack still had thousands of years ahead of him. Jack had only been alive for three of them. He may look and try to act like a much older boy, but he was still a child . Despite all the terrible things that have happened to him, Jack was still young. Cas may have been haunted by all the things he couldn’t protect Jack from before, but he knew that he and Dean wouldn’t let anything hurt him ever again.
“Of course I’m not. You know, I sleep better knowing you’re safe, too.”
“Hey,” Dean interrupted, poking Cas’ side. “What am I then, chopped liver?”
“ Both of you.” Cas rolled onto his back and swatted Dean’s hand away. Which seemed to only encourage him, and Jack laughed as Dean collapsed on top of the both of them.
Cas never knew he could feel like this. That somehow every ordinary morning, doing nothing in particular, could make him happier than he was the moment before the Empty dragged him away. He fought glorious battles in heaven, watched civilization be born, betrayed heaven, saved the world from countless apocalypses alongside the man he loves, and a few more with their son, but it was nothing compared to this.
“Alright,” Dean stretched, finally sitting up. “If we wait any longer, we’re gonna have to call it brunch. And you know how I feel about brunch. You boys want breakfast?”
“I killed god, so I think I deserve breakfast in bed.” Jack piped up.
“You know, that excuse isn’t gonna work for much longer, you sure you wanna use it up now?”
“It’s not an excuse!”
“C’mon Cas,” Dean rolled his eyes. “Between the two of us we can probably drag him out.”
Cas sunk back down in the blankets. Maybe he was wrong about why he liked sleeping now. Maybe it was because of the bed.
“Ten more minutes.”