Cas’s favorite thing to do as a human was read books. He’d never had time for it as an angel, but since losing his grace, Cas had read nearly every book he could get his hands on. He was not like Metatron. He didn’t like it just for the stories. He didn’t like to watch people squirm and suffer. He liked to watch people fall in love, he liked to watch people find their happy endings.
So far he’d read The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. Charlie recommended those. He read all the Harry Potter books in a week. Dumbledore was his favorite character. He read some of what Sam told him were the classics. Romeo and Juliet, which he didn’t like very much. It was too depressing. Pride and Prejudice, which he did like. He read Oliver Twist and a couple Sherlock Holmes mysteries.
Just lots and lots of books. It was like making friends with people you’d otherwise never get to meet, and Cas liked it a lot.
He was sitting on a couch in the bunker when Dean came into the room. Cas fell still like he always did when Dean was near. He liked to watch Dean because Dean made him feel safe. Dean was a rope connecting him to gravity, keeping him from floating away when he felt like being human was too much for him.
Dean carried two coffee mugs in his hands. and he was wearing a black t-shirt and pajama pants that were a bit too long for him. “Hey man, whatcha reading?”
“To Kill a Mockingbird,” Cas said, putting the book down on the side table.
Dean sat down beside Cas and handed him one of the mugs. Cas took a sip of the steamy, marshmellowy hot chocolate. It was his favorite drink, and it made him happy Dean remembered.
“I think I was supposed to read that book when I was in school,” Dean said.
“But you didn’t?” Cas asked.
Dean shook his head. “I was a little focused on the family business… you want to read me some of it?”
Cas swallowed. He felt kind of silly reading out loud, but he would if Dean asked him to. He found his place in the book again, cleared his throat and began reading. “I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It's when you know you're licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.”
Suddenly, Cas stopped reading.
“Why’d you stop?” Dean asked.
Cas wasn’t quite sure what to said, so he said his favorite word. “Dean.”
Cas felt himself blush. If only he wouldn’t get so nervous around Dean. Why did he get nervous anyway? He’d known Dean for years. “Do you think I’m brave? Because you’re brave, but I’m-“
“Stop.” Dean put a hand on Cas’s shoulder. Cas looked down at his hand. At the chewed fingernails and the freckles between his thumb and his pointer finger. “You’re one of the bravest people I’ve ever met.”
Cas looked at Dean, right at that face he’d come to know so well. Come to find such overwhelming comfort in. “What if I wasn’t brave, Dean? What if I was scared?”
Dean laughed. “You’re a 100 billion years old. You have to know that all brave people are scared.”
“I never felt scared when I was an angel. Well, until I met you.”
“I scared you? You terrified me.” Dean chuckled. Cas had always loved the sound of Dean Winchester’s laugh.
“I’m sorry,” said Cas quietly. “Was it because I was an angel?”
Dean paused for a moment, the space between his brows wrinkling. Then his lips turned up into a small smile. “No.”
Cas was confused. If it wasn’t because Cas was angel, what would have scared Dean about him?
Dean smiled and let out a shaky breath. Then he leaned in and lightly touched his lips to Cas’s lips. Cas shut his eyes as his heart jumped in his chest. It was one of things you didn’t know you wanted until you had it.
“That’s what scared me too,” Cas whispered. “Me and you.”
Dean put his hand on Cas’s cheek. “So what do you say? Want to be brave with me?”
Cas nodded. He wanted to be brave like the characters in his books. He didn’t know if he and Dean could have a happy ending, but that was okay. Cas would rather a sad ending with Dean than a happy ending with anyone else.