It had been weighing on him. He didn’t know when it started, but he feels that it never really started that it just always had been a part of him. The longing, the anger, the hurt, the joy, and the fear. All of it had been a part of him for so long, written into his DNA that when he had learned that he was in love with the one that saved him from the pit, it was as if nothing had changed. He got up out of bed, went to the kitchen, greeted him, and drank his cup of coffee as if a life-changing moment of truth had not occurred within him. He was at peace so why bother with it?
However, the peace in him started to demand more and more. It hurt when he saw him tied to the chair dead, it hurt when he saw him dissolve into the water, it hurt when he saw him bleed out on the floor of that barn, it all hurt so terribly much.
Despite their long, terrible history of losing each other and betraying each other, he knew that it was meant to be. He knew from the bottom of his heart that it was destiny the moment they betrayed God’s plans and heaven itself. When Castiel put his hand on him and saved him from hell, it had released something from the universe that it so desperately wanted back. It wasn’t written in the stars, but they decided to change that.
But still, they were only ‘best friends.’ But still, they had to remain a safe distance away in fear that they might fall into each other. But still, they had to settle for the few moments of weakness they’ve had together. The moments of non ‘I love you’s and moments of hugs that screamed ‘stay with me forever.’
Dean had had enough of it. It was time. He couldn’t keep pretending like his hands yearned to close the distance and laced with his. He couldn’t keep pretending that everything was alright. He couldn’t keep pretending to himself.
Why he chose the worse moment to confess everything, he doesn’t know.
They creeping through the dark woods, wooden stakes at the ready. He follows Cas, close enough to jump in front of him if anything were to happen. With a final look around to clear the area, he stops.
“Cas,” he softly says against the better judgment of the experienced hunter he is. Cas turns, his face crippled in concern. “Cas,” his lips dances, toying with the words. “I lo-”
Cas is on him, his hand covering his mouth, forcing the words to return back, to be left unspoken as he pins him into a nearby tree. “Don’t.”
Dean’s eyes, wide open in surprise, shift between the lips and the eyes of the man in front of him. He sees how serious he is, with this face set in stone, but his eyes full of hurt and betrail. He can physically feel in that moment when his heart is split in two.
“I already know.” He steps back, a safe distance that Dean had to once explain to him was expected from men. He sends one last look of grief and pain before stating that they need to keep moving.
Left there, dazed and confused, Dean pulls himself off of the tree. The suddenness of his movements and his abrupt return to normalcy makes him question if the whole thing was dreamt. The almost love confession. The closeness. The look in Cas’ eyes that lingers in his mind.
He is reeling from the events of the last two minutes as he steps quietly through the woods with the man who rejected him only two paces ahead. It takes the gunshot noise of a stick being broken to break the silence as the two men turn to see the vampires on their trail. Cas dashes forward, taken on the two that lunge forward, as Dean is knocked back by a third. He hears the grunts of the other two as he takes a kick to the gut. Slashing forward with the machete in his hand, but the vampire is faster. He’s tripped and knocked to the ground, but he’s able to gain control and slash off its head ending the fight.
Laying on the ground with a bloody machete in his hand and his mind racing, he takes a moment to catch his breath. Cas offers a hand, but he ignores it, choosing to pull himself up and send Sam a message letting him know they’re alright.
Dean holds his stomach where he was kicked and gives the vampires a lookover before turning and retracing their steps back to where Sam was, urgently trying to get out of there.
Cas follows him silently as he picks up his pace through the trees and branches. The silence is defining, what was almost said still lingers between them.
“Dean,” he gives in, but he is met by the sudden speed change of his steps. “Dean?”
“You’re hurt,” he grabs his arm, pulling him to a stop.
“I know.” He yanks his arm away and takes is able to take a couple of steps before Cas is in front of him, blocking the way.
“Don’t.” He growls stepping away from him as quickly as possible. Cas stares at him with that same look in his eyes that has burned itself into Dean’s memory. “Don’t.” With that he surrenders, letting Dean step away with a limp and him holding on to himself.
Sam waits by the Impala, having cleaned up the scene and was just waiting on the two to return. He rubs the pain that started in his shoulder the other day, in which the fight did not help with. He sees them appear from the thick line of trees and he pushes himself off of the car. He notices the cuts and bruises on Dean with curiosity.
“Let a couple of vamps get the best of ya?” He teases Dean, expecting to be met with some sarcastic remark, but the other has his eyes set and his eyebrows low.
“Whatever.” He opens the door with that and gets in the car without another word. He sends Cas a look but is met by the angel with downturn eyes and a face that reads like an apology. He hesitantly gets in the car and Dean wastes no time revving the engine and taking off on their trip back home.
Within the first thirty minutes, Sam notices the tension between the two. Dean is sat in contemplation with his eyes glued to the road and his knuckled colored white with its grip on the steering wheel. Meanwhile, Cas is sat in the back, his mouth turned down in the corners as he watches out the window, on occasion he tries to make contact in the mirror, but the other refuses to acknowledge him. At first, he had tried to make attempts at conversation or anything to ease the tension, but his failure lead to him staring out the window, counting down the miles to go. After an hour he’s about to pull out earbuds and being a podcast when Cas speaks up from the back.
“Dean, I’m sorry,” he says.
“I said I’m sorry!”
“But why didn’t you say it back?” Dean’s eyes snap to the reflection of the angel’s in his mirror. “Why did you didn’t you allow me to say it? Why did you stop me?” He shakes his head and turns back to the road. “You know what? Nevermind, I don’t care.”
Sam watches them, looking back and forth as he tries to piece together what had happened between the two. But when the silence and the empty stares are settled he returns back to his phone, wishing for release from the catfight.
“I made a deal with the empty.”
“You what?” Dean almost turns completely around in his seat.
“To get Jack back, I made a deal. Me for him.”
“But you’re still here.”
“I know. It said that it will get me when I am at my absolute happiest,” he takes a deep breath, “and when I am at peace.” The confession resonates in the car, looming over the three of them with questions that cannot be answered.
“We are getting you out of that deal, I am getting you out.”
“Remember Dean, we’ve already tried. It isn’t possible.”
“We will.” He looks at him in the rearview mirror. “I meant what I said.”
Upon their arrival at the bunker, Dean excuses himself to the kitchen where he will undoubtedly get himself a beer and drink it out of victory and pity. Sam joins Cas in the war room where he sits reading over a book laid out in front of him that he doesn’t seem to be interested in.
“Hey.” He takes a seat across from him.
“Please, I do not need to hear about it, not now.”
“Don’t worry man, I feel that Dean is going to give you enough of that already.” They sit quietly stretching out and relaxing from their hunt and ride back home.
“You think Dean is mad at me?”
“Not mad, no. Maybe hurt, He gets why you did it, he just wants you to be out of it.” Cas wonders if Sam could somehow know what happened between them if he knows more about them than he lets on.
“Are you upset?”
Sam shakes his head, “I’m concerned, for the both of you. I understand.” He thinks before shifting to lean forward in his seat. “Is what he’s been running from, happiness in fear that it will end in pain.”
“I just want Dean to be happy.”
“I think he could only have that with you.” Cas shifts his eyes down to his hands resting on his lap. They sit together for a few more moments, existing in solidarity, deep in thought. “I’m going to hit it, ‘night.”
After a few beers, Dean is ready for bed. After tossing the last on in the trash, he leaves the kitchen. He finds himself, however, confronted by Cas. He holds up his hand, silencing him.
“Before you say anything, I get it. I really do,” Cas stares at him, his lips pressed in a downturn of a frown. “It’s just, it really sucks. But you know, and I know you know and-” he’s at a loss for words. Instead, he places a slow, steady hand on Cas’ cheek and the other seems to melt in it. He strokes his thumb across his cheekbone before pulling their foreheads together.
They stand there in the hall, foreheads pressed together, Cas grabbing on to the hunter’s coat before pulling away. Dean shakes his head, trying to pull himself back together as he pats the other’s cheek and drops his hand.