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Bonded by Destiny

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“Sam,” Dean called out, turning the corner into the kitchen and finding a disgruntled angel standing at the island in the middle looking at something on the computer. 

Castiel looked up at the sound of Dean’s voice, a bright smile forming. “Hello, Dean,” Castiel’s deep baritone resounded throughout the small space. 

“Heya Cas, whatcha looking at?” 

Castiel shuffled and pushed his computer toward his friend, “There have been some developments regarding angelic activity in the eastern US, I’m thinking about heading out there to see if I can dig a little deeper.” Castiel mentions, “We need more angels if we are going to rebuild heaven, possibly to help in the fight against God if they are willing.”

Dean grabs two beers from the fridge, knowing Castiel probably doesn’t want one, but handing it to him anyway. He watches the way his lips touch the bottle and his throat pulses as he takes a sip. He realizes he is staring and quickly takes a drag of his beer before clearing his throat. “A road trip huh? That could be a good ass time.” Dean smiled, “If you want someone keepin’ you company…” Dean’s voice trailed off. “You know, those angels can be dicks sometimes.” He gives his friend a knowing smile.

Castiel smiled at his best friend, “Dean, I would love it if you accompanied me.” 

Dean and Castiel smiled at each other, glances shifting between each other’s eyes and lips, a thick air surrounding them. Suddenly a shuffling sound startled Dean, and both men’s eyes followed the sound to find Sam had shuffled in and walked into the pantry. He came out with a bag of veggie crisps and looked between his brother and friend, “Hey. What are you guys talking about?”

“I need to go to the east to find some angels. Dean has offered to go with me, would you like to also come?” Castiel offers. 

Sam looks between Cas and Dean, the latter widens his eyes very slightly at his brother, who gets the hint. “Thanks, Cas, but I need to stay here. Jack should be back with Billie in a couple of days so I should be here when he gets home.”

Sam gave his brother a knowing look and shuffled off, so Dean and Cas quickly packed up the car for a trip expected to last about five weeks and headed out on the open road. Dean pulled into a gas station before they got out of town and grabbed handfuls of snacks and drinks, packing the cooler with plenty of alcohol and sodas. Castiel looked back and rolled his eyes, “You are going to put yourself in an early grave if you keep eating so much junk.” 

Dean laughed, “Yeah, like I’ll live long enough to die a natural death. C’mon dude, the world's always endin’ with us, just let me eat my jerky and destroy my liver in peace.” 

Castiel stayed quiet at his best friend’s comment, not able to find a good counter-argument. They drove many miles in silence, just listening to different tapes in the Impala’s inventory. Dean would hum and sing, tapping his fingers on the steering wheel as Castiel watched the world pass by at seventy miles an hour. Things were always comfortable for the two, only now Dean was confronted by confounding feelings that he had been suppressing, watching the angel from the corner of his eye. Each bob of his Adam's apple as he hummed along with Dean’s tunes, the way his chest rose and fell with each breath, his hair twisting in the wind from the open windows. Dean realized at that moment how beautiful Cas truly was, thankful he had chosen such a handsome vessel to inhabit all those years ago. He sent a small prayer of thanks to Jimmy Novak for being born. Tasteless, but still. 

Occasionally, Cas would catch Dean looking at him, and he would shift uncomfortably in his seat under the scrutiny. He loved having Dean’s eyes on him, but today it made him feel a swirl in his stomach as if he was performing or being tested for something.  Interesting reaction,  he thought to himself. 

Dean, on the other hand, was experiencing conflicting emotions during the drive also. For Dean, Cas was his best friend, and things had shifted between them during their last stent in purgatory. They were closer in a way, more open with each other since Dean poured his heart out in prayer thinking he’d lost his angel again. On the other hand, Castiel seemed more closed off, like he had a secret burden he was shouldering, attempting to do it alone like always. Dean knew he was hiding something, but things were good between them since that last fight, so he just didn’t have the energy to bring it up. 

Dean was also withholding information, a secret he was keeping close to his heart. He and Sam had done a simple witch hunt a few weeks ago, between all of the drama with Chuck, dealing with Billie and Jack’s secrecy they had responded to a hunter who needed backup. The hunter, Fred, had ended up in the hospital after trying to take on too much for a single man, so the brothers had stepped in. It was nice, a hunt between just the two of them, just like old times. There had been an unexpected twist, and Dean recalled the night his life changed forever with perfect clarity. 

***

Tonight’s hunt really could have gone better, in Dean’s opinion. The witches they had to fight were using demonic power, of course, and the last bitch they took down had thrown a slew of curses and spells directly at him. Anything in the world could be ailing him right now, so Sam had suggested rushing them to one of his old witch friend’s houses.

Dean knew Sam was completely off his rocker, suggesting that they see this so-called “witch” help. Dean figured there was nothing a good sleep and a six-pack couldn’t cure, but Sam had insisted they go see her help with Dean’s supposed ailment.

“Dude, don’t worry, I know her, she’s a natural witch, not a demonic one.” Sam reasoned as if any witch is better than another. Dean just grunted and pulled the car into the driveway of this cozy looking cottage. The outside of the home was white with brightly colored flowers adorning the sides, climbing their way up to the roof. The lawn was cut, and to the side of the fenced-in area was a quaint little garden filled with fresh herbs, vegetables, and fruit trees. Dean’s brows knitted together, most of the witches he knew did not live quite so… comfortably. The brothers walked up the short stone path, stepping over a lounging tabby cat along the way who regarded them lazily. 

After three quick raps on the red door, a very beautiful young woman opened the door with a bright smile on her face. She was short and slim with bright green eyes, orange-red hair that hung loosely down her back in soft curls, and her face was painted with freckles across her cheeks and nose. “Sam!” The lady cheered, stretching up on her toes to wrap her arms around Dean’s brother’s neck in a familiar embrace. “Mhm, you don’t come around often enough, I wanna see you more.” 

Pink brushed Sam’s cheeks and a smile over his lips, “Hey, yeah sorry we’ve been busy with the whole, you know, God stuff.” He rubbed the back of his neck and laughed, “Oh, hey this is Dean, my brother. Dean, this is Demi.” 

“Nice to meet you,” The eldest brother extended his hand for a shake, but Demi went right for the kill, a massive hug. 

“Oh it’s so nice to finally meet the famous Dean, I swear you’re all Sammy here talks about!” The young woman gushed. “Come on, let’s see about that curse.”

Dean was laid down on a sort of futon, crystals, and different witchy materials spread around him as Demi mixed up some herbs in a bowl. “Now tell me what happened.”

“Well we were taking care of a stupid witch problem in Arkansas when the last one threw this sort of, I dunno, blue smoke at me and I don’t know what she did, but I know I don’t like it,” Dean said firmly, not letting it go unnoticed how his brother stiffened up and grunted at the use of his carefully selected words. 

Demi nodded, her face becoming thoughtful as she finished mixing her concoction up. “Blue smoke aye? Well, let’s take a look. Dean, I need you to remove your shirt please, if that doesn’t make you too uncomfortable.” Dean had never been asked so kindly and with as much concern for something like that, which shocked him and also kind of relieved him. He found himself becoming very calm and relaxed suddenly, and he couldn’t find it in himself enough to care about why. He complied with her request, tugging at the collar of his shirt until it was crumpled up on the floor beside them. She placed her hand on his chest and laid him back before reaching into the bowl and pulled out an aromatic green paste and began slathering it on his bare chest. “Okay, so I need to take a look at your soul first to see if anything was affected there. That will help me determine if anything is wrong.” Demi then began chanting in Latin, and Dean suddenly felt very warm and exposed at the same time. Looking intently at Dean’s chest, the girl hummed quietly. “How strange.”

“Wha-what’s strange?” Dean started to sit up in a slight panic, but Demi pushed him back down gently. Sam sat up curiously as if he could see what she saw. 

Demi thought for a moment longer before answering. “Your soul, it’s been through quite the ringer, hasn’t it?” Dean nodded, but before he could explain the girl continued, “I see a lot of scars, both healed and not, which is normal for a soul, they obtain average wear and tear from existence and life in general. No, that’s normal. I’ve just never seen a soul bond quite like this one before.” 

Sam leaned forward and touched her arm, “A soul bond? Is that like a soul mate?” 

“And why is mine weird?” Dean also questioned. 

Demi thought for a moment, “Well a soul bond is exactly like it sounds--a soul bonded to another. It’s similar to soulmates, however, soulmates are created by heaven whereas soul bonds are created by destiny.” Demi wove her fingers together in a demonstration. “A set of soulmates have souls that fit together like puzzle pieces, they go together, they don’t make much sense when they are apart, but they can exist individually. Soulmates can be separated in death, the survivor will go on living until they meet again in heaven. They can love again, just not as deeply.” She paused. “Soul bonds are formed when two people become so close, their lives become so intermingled, that their souls melt together into one. The lore says that they are brought together by fate, and the bond is unbreakable and eternal. If one partner of a soul bond perished, the other would soon follow, usually by their hand. Bonded souls cannot be separated for long, because it is too much for either of them to bear.” She took a deep breath.

Dean’s eyes were as wide as humanly possible, “So wait, how the hell do I have a bonded soul? I don’t even have a girlfriend.”

Demi looked at Dean’s face thoughtfully for a second, considering this. If he was a single man, the only way he could have a soul bond is with someone he considers a close friend, but he would have to have feelings for this person because that’s just how soul bonds work. Soul bonds are a deeply committed relationship between two souls, always romantic and always inseparable. Demi looked back at Dean’s soul again, it was a brightly shining aura with shimmering shades of emerald woven between Dean’s scars. A typical soul bond is the person's initial soul intertwined with that of the person they bonded with. It usually looks like braids, but with souls. Demi has seen hundreds of them over her many years as a spiritual consultant, which is why this one is so perplexing because it looks nothing like the ones she’s seen. Dean’s soul looks fairly normal, minus all of the additional scarring and trauma attached to it. The soul that it has been bonded with looks nothing like anything she’s ever seen before. She would go so far as to say that it almost isn’t a soul at all, but some type of celestial essence. Could Dean have formed a soul bond with--

“Do you guys happen to know an angel?”

Dean both looked at Sam questioningly, however Demi didn’t miss how Dean’s cheeks pinkened slightly, “Yeah, our friend Castiel, he’s an angel.” Sam answered with a knowing smirk.

Bingo. “I see. Dean, can you please tell me about Castiel?”

“Uh, yeah. Dude’s my best friend. He saved my soul from Hell a long time ago, and has been there for us ever since.” Dean began, and Demi urged him to continue. 

“Tell me, Dean, what’s he like?”

“Uh, he’s a nerdy little guy in a trench coat. When he saved me from Hell, he was originally just on a mission from Heaven, but as time went on we got closer, and eventually, he ended up sorta betraying Heaven and giving up an entire army for me-- uh, for us.” Dean began to smile and suddenly couldn’t stop himself from talking, even if he wanted to. “Since then he’s been sorta stuck with us, helping us when we need, hanging out. He’s become, family.” 

Demi could tell Dean was struggling, his soul had pulsed with Castiel’s name being spoken, yet he was hesitant. The witch could see a lot about people, just by reading their souls and auras. She was excellent at calling people out on their bullshit, which is what Dean was about to try to sell her. He had been honest thus far, but he was beginning to close in and retreat. Feelings scared Dean, he didn’t understand how to process his emotions properly, after years of being forced to repress them. 

“Verum ne sequatur.” A purple haze fell from her hands, casting a small spell upon Dean. “Tell me more about him,” Demi asked, in a hypnotizing voice. “Dean, I need you to be completely honest with me, I know it’s hard sometimes, especially when we aren’t being honest with ourselves.” She looked at Sam, an unspoken promise in her eyes that she wasn’t harming his brother. Sam nodded.

“Well, let’s see,” Dean began, a sort of faraway look in his eyes. “His favorite color is green, he likes Disney movies, I think most of them are stupid but we watch them anyway. Dude has serious road rage sometimes, he drove us on a case one time, and I swear I would hate to be on the receiving end of one of his tantrums.” Dean chuckled fondly. “He doesn’t need to eat, you know, dude’s a freaking angel, but he does love a stack of strawberry pancakes sometimes. He was human for a little while and during a case one time we went to a breakfast joint and he ate, like, three entire stacks of strawberry covered pancakes with just globs of whipped cream on top. I swear I got diabetes from watching him.” A warm smile crossed Dean’s face at the memory.

“Now, Dean, can you tell me about your relationship with the angel, Castiel?”

“As I said before, he’s my best friend. We’ve gone through so much together, I can’t even imagine him not being in my life.” Pain suddenly clouded Dean’s facial expressions. 

Sam cleared his throat, and Demi kept focusing on Dean. “Has there ever been a time when Castiel wasn’t in your life Dean? A time when you genuinely thought he was gone for good?” 

Dean struggled to keep his composure for a fraction of a second, his face contorting in pain and eyes beginning to brim with tears, “Yeah, he died once. Lucifer stabbed him in the back, literally came from behind and stabbed him.” Dean’s voice broke, more tears following the first. “I was so--lost. He always came back, after every fight, after every battle, he always came home. We always found our way back to each other. This time it was real though, he was gone. Weeks, he was dead for weeks.” Dean recalls the most miserable he has ever been in his entire life. “At one point I killed myself, it was for a case, and I came back after talking to Death, but I told her not to send me back. I didn’t wanna live without him.” The confession pulled a shocked gasp from Sam because he didn’t know Dean had asked Billie to let him stay dead. His heart broke for his brother.  

“Finis.” She broke the spell, awakening Dean from his almost trance-like state. “I see. Thank you, Dean.” Demi smiled warmly, she didn’t want to force him to re-live any more painful memories. It was very obvious who Dean’s soul bond was with. “So I don’t see any signs of a curse, you are healthy as a hunter, Winchester.” 

Dean considered this as she handed him a towel to erase the sigils with. “How can Cas and I be soul bonded or whatever? He’s my best friend, and it sounds to me like those people you described are more than just that.” Dean’s cheeks suddenly burned.

“Well, Dean, you said Castiel saved you from Hell. That would mean his celestial essence touched your soul, right from the very beginning. Then it sounds like you guys have been through quite a lot together over the last, however long you’ve known each other. Sure, Castiel is your best friend. That makes sense, most lovers usually are. I guess you guys just haven’t gotten there yet. You will, eventually. What’s curious though, is the fact that its angelic grace bonded to a human soul. It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen before, unique.” Demi whispered in awe. 

“That makes so much sense.” Sam deflated and leaned back in his chair, almost relieved. “And here I thought I was just going crazy thinking you and Cas had a crush on each other all this time.” 

“Dude, we don’t--I don’t... “ Dean paused, and he blinked like he was a blind man seeing for the first time. He thought about everything he had just said, all of the memories that had come flooding to the front of his mind, feelings that crept in after years of suppression and isolation. “Holy shit,” Dean whispered, looking frantically at his little brother, “Sammy, I think I’m in love with Cas.”

***

After about eight hours of driving, Castiel mentioned they were already in St. Louis. Dean pulled the Impala into a nice hotel, thankful to have an unlimited credit card now. “Okay, let’s stop here for the next couple of nights and we’ll keep going Tuesday mornin’. I need food and a soft bed.” Dean stretched his arms above his head, and Cas watched as the hem of Dean’s shirt lifted slightly, exposing a small amount of skin above his jeans. He looked away quickly, hoping to avoid being caught, and began to gather their things from the back seat. “Okay, I’ll be right back.” Dean continued as he hopped out of the car and almost skipped to the front desk.

The older lady at the desk perked up when she saw Dean walk in, “Hey there sugar, how can I help ya?”

Dean gave her his best smile, “Hello beautiful. Just a room for the next two nights please.” He winked at her. 

She smiled and tapped her keyboard, looking toward the Impala and noticing the man sitting in the passenger seat. “Need a double room?” 

“I just need a single with a king if you have it.” He stole a glance at Cas and grinned, “It’s my anniversary, see my partner is waiting in the car for me. You guys wouldn’t happen to have anything I could use to make the day extra special? Any recommendations for restaurants or something like that?” He looked over and saw Cas laugh gently from the Impala, obviously listening to their habitual ruse. 

The woman smiled, her eyes glazing over with kindness, “Aw, that’s so nice, how long y'all been together?” She asked as she set them up.

“Over ten years. Best years of my life.” He answered honestly, hoping Cas heard that too. 

“That’s so sweet. I recommend the restaurant we have here, it’s amazing and I can get you guys a reservation for tonight if you want. I can also have something special sent up while you’re there.” She smiled at him and winked. 

Dean thanked her and paid before heading out to park the car. Dean slid back in the driver seat and grinned at Cas, who waited until they had pulled away to park before he broke out into laughter. “All I am to you is a tool to get a free dessert.” Cas faked a pout, and Dean winked.

“Aw, c’mon it’s fun when they send goodies to us. Remember last time when they filled the room with roses and sent us a bottle of champagne?” 

Cas smirked at his companion, “Yes, you still smelled like flowers when we got home, Sam was very confused.” 

The boy’s parked the car and headed up to the room, dropping their bags on the table by the door. Dean took a look around the room, since he didn’t have to hustle pool anymore because of the card Charlie got set up for them, he’s gotten used to nicer hotels. This one didn’t disappoint, it was on the eighth floor, the balcony overlooking the St. Louis cityscape. Dean’s phone pinged and he saw they had a reservation for the Donatello restaurant tonight at 8 o’clock. It was only 5 now. “Do you want to go look around the city tonight? The lady at the desk got us a reservation for our anniversary dinner in a few hours.” Dean grinned at Cas who smiled and walked over to the bed and sat on the edge of it. “Of course we have all day tomorrow too, I don’t wanna try to drive the whole way in one sitting, gettin’ old is hell and I need a few days between trips, man.”

“I understand Dean. If my wings still functioned properly I would have gladly flown us there myself.” Cas frowned sadly at the loss of his appendages, and a sharp twist spasmed in Dean’s gut. He hated when Cas was sad. 

“Dude, I wouldn’t have let ya anyway. I love road trips, they just take a little longer these days. But I have the best company, so it works great for me.” He smiled and clapped Cas on the shoulder, letting his hand linger there longer than he should have. Dean imagined having the free reign to use that hand to push Cas down onto the bed and climb on top of him… but he cut his short-lived fantasy there. It just wasn’t possible right now, even if they were soul bonded. One, Dean was sure Cas didn’t see him as more than a brother, and two, with everything going on with God and Jack right now, it just didn’t seem like the best time. He repressed a sad sigh and moved over to the balcony, opening the double door and allowing the breeze to filter in. Nothing could happen right now, no matter how desperately he needed the Angel across the room. 

The two decided to stay in the room before dinner, just hanging out and watching tv. These moments of downtime were never awkward for the two of them, they simply fell into a comfortable silence and enjoyed being together. Dean wandered off to take a shower, and Cas let his guard down for a few minutes. As much as he loved being with Dean like this, just the two of them as best friends, Cas desperately wanted more. He knew he could never have it, but he had admitted to himself how madly in love he was with Dean many years ago when he first became human and felt the crashing waves of emotions surround him in suffocating loneliness. Since then, even after getting his grace back, part of him felt incomplete. It felt as if there was a gaping hole in his core being that only eases when he is around the human. Cas had been around for millennia, and he never felt more alive than after he pulled Dean’s soul from perdition. He could remember with perfect clarity the moment he found Dean in hell, beautiful and bright light in a dark, evil place. The righteous man, a fallen example of humanity. He gripped Dean tightly and flew with him, cradling him close to his angelic grace and bringing him to Heaven where he constructed a new body for the man, putting each atom back into its proper place. He didn’t realize at the time he left a handprint on Dean, but he felt strangely possessive over the human from the moment he laid eyes on him in Hell. He knew from the moment he met the righteous man, he was destined for so much greater than Heaven’s plan, even though he didn’t want to admit it. 

Castiel’s mind wandered, he let himself listen to Dean as he showered, feeling a deep sense of shame over the images that popped into his mind. It was almost as if he could see from Dean’s perspective, feel the water running over his skin. He let himself sink further into his fantasy, imagining what it would feel like if Dean were to allow him to run his fingers through his hair, wondering how soft the brown strands would feel between his fingers; picturing himself standing there with him, rubbing a small amount of shampoo through the short locks and massaging the scalp beneath. He could imagine the sounds Dean would make, happy little noises of contentment as Cas gave him this small, sweet pleasure. His train of less-than-innocent thoughts was interrupted when Dean threw the door open, a towel slung around his hips dangerously low, small droplets of water running down his chest toward his taut stomach. As Dean got older, he wasn’t as slim and fit as he had been as he was younger, he had soft spots between his muscles. Yet, Cas found he aged like a fine brandy, only getting better and more delicious as the years passed. He watched longingly as Dean crossed the room and opened his suitcase, reaching in and pulling a folded outfit from the top and a pair of pale yellow boxers before giving Cas a smooth grin and pacing across the room to hide behind the partition wall separating the living space from the bed. Dean quickly changed and ran the towel through his hair before stepping back out. Cas couldn’t help his reaction, the way his body moved when Dean came back into view, donning a light blue button-down shirt and a dark pair of jeans. His hair was standing up in all directions and he smelled like scented soap and shampoo. Cas gulped unconsciously as he watched Dean cross the room and take a comb to his hair, fixing it to sit perfectly to the right side in a sweeping fashion, his favorite style. 

Dean spun around and stretched his arms out, gesturing toward himself. “Whaddya think?”

Castiel smiled, “You look very handsome Dean,” The angel cooed gently, making the hunter blush gently and smile. 

“Alright, let’s grab some grub.” Dean clapped his hands together and grabbed his wallet, holding the door open for Cas as they headed toward the dining room down on the top floor. When the two entered the elevator, they were completely alone, and Cas would swear he could feel an electric current rippling between himself and the human, a deep vibrating thrumming stringing them together, subconsciously pulling them closer together in the small enclosed space. Cas looked over to find Dean peeking at him from the side under thick lashes, and he turned his face to look at him. They were mere inches apart when Dean lifted his eyes to look at Cas directly, his gaze shifting from his eyes to his lips for a few seconds before moving back up. Cas was lost in the endless forest of Dean’s stare, his head unconsciously drifting closer to the man when suddenly the elevator jolted to a stop and the doors glided open effortlessly, allowing them access to the intimate hallway leading to the dining room. Castiel was disappointed when Dean’s eyes focused and he cleared his throat before stepping off and making a beeline for the double doors inscribed  Donatello’s,  so the angel followed behind him sadly. Moments like those always made Castiel wonder if he was missing a million chances, but as soon as the moment passes Dean is as normal as ever, forcing the angel to wonder if he is reading more into the situation than is present. 

The two-step up to the host podium and are greeted by a very handsome man, appearing only about 25 years of age. The young man smiles at them warmly, “Welcome to Donatello’s, can I have the name for the reservation please?” 

“Winchester,” Dean answers with a smile, overtly looking the young man up and down. Castiel feels a pang of jealousy in his gut. 

The young man checks his list and nods, directing the two to a private booth on the patio. Dean swears this is the best fake anniversary the two have ever had. Upon the table, there is a basket of ice with a nice bottle of champagne chilling, and two glasses placed adjacent to each other. The host offers for them to sit as he takes their order for an appetizer, mentioning the champagne is on the house in celebration of their anniversary. Dean smiles and raises his eyebrows at Cas who smirks at him and looks out over the city. “Would you like a glass, Cas?” Dean laughs at the rhyme. Castiel nods and watches as Dean pours him some. If looked at from the outside perspective, this would be a date between two people who are happily in love with each other, but Dean realizes it is simply a moment shared between an Angel of the Lord and the man who is hopelessly devoted to him. He watches as Cas takes his glass and sips the drink, smiling at the taste. 

“This is very delicious Dean.” Castiel offers, placing one of his hands on the soft tablecloth between them. 

It takes everything in Dean’s willpower and then some to not reach across the table and take Cas’s hand. He imagines how it would feel to brush the back of it, giving Cas a secret smile as he laced their fingers together, two pieces of a puzzle, neither complete without the other. Dean’s smile fades as he considers the angel might not understand the romantic reference, and the disgust he would find on Cas’ beautiful face when he realized what it would mean to Dean. The hunter suppressed a shudder at the potential rejection. Instead, he decides to make plans with Castiel for the following evening, the talking dying down when their appetizer comes and they place their orders for actual food. 

“So,” Dean begins between bites, “any idea who exactly we are looking for when we get to Appalachia?” 

Castiel shakes his head, “Not exactly, I have a few vague theories that I will have to support with more research. It feels like shooting ducks in a lake.” 

“Dude, it’s fish in a barrel.” Dean laughs, to which Cas tilts his head to the side and considers this. 

“Not hunters in a bar during happy hour?” 

“Nah, it’s well past happy hour. The bartender is about to start throwing us out on our asses cause she’s been trying to close for an hour.”

“Hah, little does she know you went to the bathroom. Then when you come back everyone's gone and the lights are off.” 

“Ah, I’d just go behind the bar and pour myself another whiskey.” The two laugh effortlessly. Conversations like these, laced with happy memories during terrible times are what Dean lives for. 

The rest of the dinner followed suit, Castiel and Dean making light, easy conversation before heading down to the lobby and out the main doors looking for entertainment for the evening. Castiel--having known Dean for so long and developing a sense of his habits-- suggested they find a gentleman’s club to pass the time, however Dean declined, his heart just wouldn’t have been in it; his heart was standing next to him in a beige trenchcoat. Instead, the two wandered around aimlessly, passing busy street vendors, people from all walks of life, and different store-fronts. They stopped in at a hole-in-the-wall dive bar looking for drinks, and Dean was pleasantly surprised to find they had a selection of local craft beers--a passion of his that he never dared tell Sammy about. Castiel was safe, he wouldn’t even notice how much Dean enjoyed tasting the different undertones hidden beneath the hoppy surface. 

Castiel did notice, however. Very stealthily he was watching Dean’s every reaction, how his eyes closed when he put the glass to his lips, the way his Adam's apple bobbed as he took a sip, his eyebrows smoothing as he swallowed. Cas noticed how his soul brightened at the pure joy he felt during each first sip of a new, flavorful mixture. He felt his angelic essence swell with love when Dean smiled, nothing was more beautiful. Cas had seen billions of stars born, watched mountains form. However, nothing could compare to the way Dean’s freckles are more beautiful than the cosmos. The way his laugh sparkled, ringing like the heavenly bells that the angels played during the Neolithic era. 

“Dude,” Dean said, leaning on Cas’ shoulder and closing his eyes, “I’m having such a great time. I always have a great time with you.”

Cas smiled and resisted the urge to pat Dean on the head, “I enjoy spending time with you as well.” 

Dean sat up and looked at Cas, a familiar and terrifying ache swirling in his stomach. “Cas, I--” However Dean didn’t get to finish his sentence, as Castiel cleared his throat and turned his head, interrupting him. 

“We should probably get back to the hotel, I need to do some research,” Cas grunted, his voice laced with anguish. 

Dean’s eyes widened slightly, realizing he almost ruined everything. He fought back tears, a symptom of the alcohol if anyone ever asked him, and stood up. Castiel watched with pain in his eyes, knowing he’d hurt his friend's feelings. There was nothing that Castiel could do though, he’d made a deal with the Empty that if he ever allowed himself to finally have his happiness, he would perish. There was simply too much to get done before he left into the dark void. He just couldn’t risk it right now. Plus, Castiel considered, if he had let Dean continue, if he'd let him say something drunkenly that he would have regretted, it would have caused a fight. Just like back in Purgatory, Castiel cut Dean off before he revealed too much. 

“You go ahead man, I’m gonna stay here.” Dean pouted, sitting back down. Castiel sighed sadly before nodding and heading out the door. Both of their hearts were in pieces tonight, a sad way to end such a beautiful evening. 

Dean decided he needed the harder stuff, and ordered a double shot of whiskey. He pulled out his phone and started scrolling aimlessly through his various apps before a warm body sat down right beside him. Dean looked up to find a handsome man with shoulder-length sandy hair and piercing blue eyes had plopped down beside him. 

“Hey,” The stranger greeted Dean with a friendly smile. Dean nodded back and mumbled a hello. “I saw you earlier, but you had your friend with you… I wanted to come over but it looked like you two were together--”

“We’re not together like that.” Dean murmured, a sad whisper apparent in his gruff voice. 

“I see.” The sandy-haired man said, “Well, I’m Tony, and I’m not here with anyone either…” 

Dean looked at the guy, realizing exactly what he was offering. “How about a game of pool.” 

Tony happily agreed, the pair walking over and racking up a game of eight-ball. They chatted idly while they played, Tony giving Dean some of his best flirts and Dean accepting them greedily. He desperately wanted to get his mind off of Cas, and a hook up with a stranger was the perfect way to do just that. Dean let Tony win the first game, but before he could crush him in the second one Tony suggested they go back to his place, a little studio apartment a few blocks away. Dean agreed and the pair headed out on foot, laughing and flirting. They didn’t make it to the apartment though, as Tony pulled them into an alleyway and pushed Dean up against the filthy brick wall, crushing his lips.  

“Cozy place you have here.” Dean laughed between filthy kisses.

“Thanks, rent’s pretty cheap.” Tony grinned, running a hand up the small of Dean’s back. Dean fought back a shiver; it had been years since Dean had been touched like this by another person, man or woman. Dean slid his tongue between Tony’s teeth, tasting the whiskey and cigarettes with perfect clarity. Dean wrapped a leg around Tony’s, grinding into his growing erection. Dean was trying, using everything in his arsenal to get it up. He pictured that it was Cas between his legs, Cas’ tongue licking the inside of his mouth. All it did was cause an ache in his heart, an intense longing for something he knew he desperately wanted. 

Dean pulled off of Tony suddenly, stepping back and leaning on his knees, the pain almost too much to bear. 

“Hey, you okay?” Tony rushed over and placed a hand on Dean’s shoulder comfortingly. All it did was remind Dean of the many times Cas had done the same.

“Yeah--sorry. J-just give me a second.” Dean stammered out, attempting to catch his breath and calm the shaking in his hands.

“It’s that other guy, isn’t it?” Tony said gently, running a hand over Dean’s head sweetly. “You’re a fool for him, ain'tcha?”

Dean looked up at Tony, really seeing him for the first time, seeing the kindness in this stranger that was sorely lacking these days. “Yeah, it is.” 

Tony nodded, “I get it, dude, I’m getting over something too. It’s hard.” 

“It’s not just getting over something though, we never had anything. It’s all one-sided.” Dean whispered brokenly. The whiskey and beer in his system were forcing him to feel everything so much harder than he normally does. 

“Have you told him how you feel, or are you just assuming?” 

“I tried dude, I did.” Dean gasped, trying not to fall apart. He felt like he was tearing at the seams, every fiber in his being called out to Castiel, praying that he would hear him, begging him to see how much he loved him. “I never got the chance.”

“Go Dean. Tell him.” Tony whispered, “Before it’s too late.” He pulled Dean’s face up by his chin, giving him an encouraging smile. 

Dean nodded and began running in the direction of the hotel. He passed the lady in the lobby who gave him a concerned look, passed the elevator, and took the stairs two at a time. He found his room and ripped the key from his pocket, opening the door in a frenzy, desperately seeking out his angel.

Cas looked over at the door from the bed where he had Dean’s laptop spread out, then jumped up startled by Dean’s crazed expression, “Dean,” he whispered in his signature gravel voice. He’d felt the longing, heard Dean’s strangled prayer. He watched in slow motion as the righteous man crossed the room in three quick strides and took Cas’ face in his hands. Cas’ eyes widened, fear sparked in his chest. He knew that look. “Dean--” He began, but was cut off by two very soft lips crushing his own. Dean grabbed at Cas’ desperately, clinging to him like a man dying of thirst, and Cas was a glass of ice water. Cas held his guard, his body rigid. If he gave into the taste, the scratch of Dean’s stubble, the way Dean’s soul flared and burned brighter than he’d ever felt it, he would perish. The Empty would bubble up from the ground and swallow him whole if he gave into the crushing weight of his need for the man trying to kiss him. 

Dean realized Cas’ wasn’t kissing him back, and stepped back, wiping his mouth on his shirt sleeve then moving to stop the tears trying to fall down his already soaked cheek. “Cas’ I--I’m sorry,” Dean whispered, broken. “I just, I had to tell you--been trying to tell you.” A sob bubbled in his throat. 

Cas’ heart shattered, watching the man he desperately loved tell him everything he wanted to hear, but couldn’t reciprocate right now. “Dean,” Cas began again, but Dean cut him off.

“I get it, man, you don’t feel-don’t see me like that. I just,” Dean began to turn, and Cas grabbed his shoulder, stopping him. Dean spun back around in confusion. 

Cas sighed heavily. “Dean. Please, I need you to understand.” He began, looking for a way to explain. “Dean, I love you more than human words can describe.” Dean’s eyes lit up, shining from both tears and joy. “But Dean, I can’t let myself love you the way I want to. The way I need to.”

“I don’t understand, Cas.”

Cas looked down at the floor, then walked over to the door leading out to the balcony. “I made a deal, Dean.”

Dean’s heart dropped to his stomach at Cas’ words. “What deal?” He asked sternly. 

“With the Empty, for Jack’s soul. That’s how we got him back. The Empty wanted to take him, but I bargained for Jack to be allowed to go to Heaven with his mother.”

“What the hell, Cas you go to the Empty when you die anyway, don’t you?”

“Yes, but this deal is… different. The Empty said that the moment I allow myself to be happy, it’ll come for me.” Cas whispered, knowing Dean was about to be pissed. “And Dean,” Cas turned to look at his best friend, “In case you don’t know by now,  you  are my happiness. Just you, as you are and always have been.” 

Dean walked over to Cas, desperately wanting to kiss the ever-loving shit out of him, but rather standing a couple of feet away. “Cas’ I’m sure we can fix this, we have to.”

“It’s okay Dean. Even if I never get to be happy, or if I do and the Empty steals me away at that moment, I want you to be able to have happiness without me.” Cas whispered sadly, looking back out the window.

“Cas, I can’t be happy without you. I--” Dean choked, the words he needed to say stuck in his throat, so he prayed them instead,  I’m so in love with you it hurts, Cas. 

Cas turned to look at Dean again, wishing he could take him in his arms. “Dean, I wish there was something I could do. The best thing for you would be to just forget about me, find someone better, more worthy to love.” He said, voice hard. 

“Not possible Cas, not after--” Dean stopped suddenly, wondering if he should tell Cas what he learned about the soul bond.

Cas cocked his head to the side in his signature curious tilt, “After what?”

Dean took a steadying breath, “Well you know that case Sam and I worked in Montana? Well, we thought I got cursed--relax will ya? I didn’t-- anyway we thought I did so Sam took me to see one of his witch friends, Demi.” 

Cas nodded, “I’ve heard him speak highly of her.”

“Yeah well, she did some witchy stuff, and she looked at my soul, Cas.”

“I don’t understand Dean. What does your soul have to do with this, I see your soul every day, it looks perfectly normal to me.”

Dean laughed, “Yeah she said it would, since it’s half you, Cas.” Cas just shook his head, not comprehending. “A soul bond Cas. We have a soul bond.” As soon as the words were out Cas’ eyes widened so much Dean thought they were going to take over his whole face. It was almost comical.

“A--a soul bond? That's... Dean those are impossibly rare. I’ve only heard of six cases in all of history.” 

“Well, I guess that makes us number seven,” Dean said matter-of-factly. “Explains why it almost killed me when you died.”

“What do you mean?” Cas questioned.

“Dude, I was a wreck. Couldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep. Just--existed. Till I killed myself.” He laughed and Cas almost fell over. 

“You WHAT?” 

Dean laughed again, and Cas gave him one of Sam’s signature bitch looks. “Dude, it was for a case, but I told Billie I didn’t want to go back, that there was nothing there for me. I didn't know it at the time, or hell maybe I did, I dunno.” Dean shrugged, “But I didn’t--no--I couldn’t live without you.” 

Cas leans slightly toward Dean unconsciously, one hand moving without direction to caress Dean’s cheek. Dean leans into the touch like a starved man, feeling the sense of completeness that washes over him. 

“Dean, I don’t know what to do then. I can’t let myself love you, only to turn around and leave you.” 

“Then we’ll do what we always do, we’ll fight it Cas.” The complete surety in Dean’s voice almost breaks Castiel. 

“I don’t know if we can Dean.”

“We’ll ask Billie, we can have Sam ask her when she comes back with Jack. We’ll figure something out dammit! We’ve earned it Cas.”

Cas nods sadly. “I agree, but as I said, it could happen at any time if I don’t make myself completely miserable.”

Dean walked over to the bed and kicked off his shoes before sitting down on the edge, “You seemed happy all day man.”

Cas nodded and walked to stand nearer Dean, “Yes, I was happy in a superficial way--at the moment one would say. I’m always happy when I’m with you, Dean. But getting to have you the way I want, as a lover, I thought deep down it was just a fantasy, never something I could have.”

Before either of them could say anything else, a swishing of wings and Billie and Jack appeared right in front of them. “It’s time.” She said simply, walking over and placing a hand on each of them before flying at a million miles per hour to reach Lebanon in one second. 

Suddenly Dean and Cas were standing in a dark field a few miles away from the bunker. 

“Dude, what the hell?” Dean demanded drunkenly.

“I’m not your dude,” Billie warned before placing a hand to Dean’s forehead and purging the alcohol from his system in an instant. “Jack, go get Sam. God’s coming.” 

Dean stepped closer to Cas, who placed a hand on his shoulder. Jack popped out of existence before coming back with a disgruntled looking Sam. “What’s going on?” 

“It’s time to fight Chuck,” Jack said simply as if this was a meager chore. 

Just as he said it, the Earth quaked viciously, lightning shining in the sky and thunder rolling over the horizon. A few yards away from them, Chuck appeared, a clean Maroon suit and a fresh shave. “Hello everyone.” He said pleasantly as if he wasn’t about to destroy the world. “Hope you haven’t been waiting long.” 

Suddenly an army of creatures, neither human nor monster, angel nor demon, rose from the dirt, hundreds of them all lined up and ready to attack when commanded. Dean looked over at Sam who stared ahead with wide, desperate eyes. “Sammy, are you seeing this?”

Sam nodded, “Yeah, I think we’re outnumbered.” 

“Not so fast now,” Billie cautioned and raised a hand beside her, a signal. Suddenly a piercing bright light appeared, blinding the Winchester family. Once the light faded, they all looked over, shocked to find hundreds of angels and demons, all who’ve died and gone to the Empty. 

Cas looked around at his fallen brothers and sisters, eyes wide with shock to find them all here. Gadreel, Anna, Balthazar. Everyone he’d ever known who had perished was standing here in the flesh, armed and ready to fight. Demons as well, Ruby, Meg, Cain. All of them here, ready to fight alongside each other against a common enemy. 

A familiar voice piped up from behind them, “Hello boys.” Crowley’s familiar British drawl made them all turn around. Dean smiled at the King of Hell, happy to see him for once. 

“Enough chatting, you can all catch up later, assuming you make it out of this one alive.” Billie said, “We have you outnumbered, God.” She called out to Him. 

Chuck laughed freely, throwing his head back. “You think you can beat me? I’m GOD! I am the creator and the destroyer of all existence!” Chuck screamed, throwing his hands forward unleashing literal hell on Earth as his army of golems marched forward. So did the forces of Heaven and Hell, all gripping their blades and rushing forward. The resounding noise of the fight was deafening, blood-curdling screams, and shouts of anger and redemption. Chuck stood in the middle of it all, his eyes never leaving the Winchesters. 

“Here,” Billie said, and she materialized angel blades in their hands, “You’re gonna need those.” At that moment, two of Chuck’s creations seized Dean, and he slashed into them, disintegrating them to dust. 

“They’re weak,” Dean grunted, slashing into another few as they fell upon him. 

A flock of the creatures crowded Castiel and he found himself surrounded. He dropped his blade from his coat and began fighting, slicing into the beasts. Two grabbed him from behind, forcing him down and snapping a few of his ribs. Cas’s grace had been failing for a while now, so he was much more human, much weaker than an angel should be. The fact that these weak beings were able to cause him actual pain was concerning, and he wondered just how much grace he had left. As he fought his way out of the pile of golems, Cas felt his grace, discovering he probably only had enough left to heal himself one more time. He would save it for later. 

“They’re a distraction,” Jack remarked over the noise, eyes never leaving Chuck. “He wants us to lose focus so he can find an opening.” 

Chuck appeared before them then, eyes glowing white and full power on display. “Smart kid, too bad you have to go first.” But before Chuck got the chance, Dean lurched forward and sucker-punched Him directly in the face. Chuck looked at Dean with the most offended expression on his face. “What the hell was that?”

Dean punched again and again until his knuckles bled. “This is for us you jackass! This is for messing with our lives, for making us up for your amusement!” He screamed, throwing everything he had into his attack. Chuck staggered back just a bit, not really hurt, more so shocked by Dean’s gall. 

“Was it all that bad though?” Chuck remarked hints of amusement in his voice.

“YES!” Sam screamed, “It was! You fucked with our heads since we were children Chuck!” Sam lurched forward but was thrown back by Chuck’s sheer will, no contact ever needing to be made. 

“Don’t mess with my brother!” Dean yelled, stabbing Chuck in the shoulder with his blade.

“Ugh, you ruined my suit,” Chuck said, grabbing Dean by the throat. He gave him a wicked smile, taking the blade from his shoulder and slashing Dean across the stomach with it before tossing him across the field. 

“DEAN!” Cas screamed, anguish coating his voice. Cas charged Chuck, but the divine was quicker, using his power to throw Castiel across the field as well. 

“And just for good measure,” Chuck said, snapping his fingers. They could all hear it, the sound of Dean’s bones snapping from across the field, Dean’s agonized screams drowning out most of the noise from the opposing forces. Cas cried out, seeing his other half being tortured, the sound of his bones being crushed background noise. Cas vaguely felt his insides boiling, burning hotter and hotter as he crawled his way to Dean.

“ENOUGH!” Jack screamed, a pulse of anger shaking the entire planet. “I’ve had enough.” He demanded, “Stop hurting my family!” Jack pushed one hand out, palm facing God, and held it there, steady, bright energy pouring out of him. Chuck grabbed his head in agony, falling to his knees. “All you've done is cause pain, all you’ve done is destroy everything! You were supposed to be good, you were supposed to LOVE us!” He continued to yell, his power growing more and more ferocious, more determined. “My father was right about you, my family was right! You don’t care about any of your creations, you only care about yourself!” Chuck continued to writhe and scream on the ground, the sound of both his and his grandson’s divine Heavenly powers colliding in opposition. Jack pushed more power out, continuing to weaken Chuck, bringing his form of divine wrath upon him. 

“Jack,” Sam said gently, seeing his kid so full of pain and anger making tears form in the corners of his eyes.

“NOW!” Jack screamed, and Billie raised her scythe high into the air. 

“It’s time, God,” She said, her voice ringing with the authority only the true Grim Reaper could have. She brought her blade down, slicing into Chuck with perfect precision. There was an ear-shattering screech as Chuck’s true form was reaped. A black goo formed from the ground where he knelt and Cas recognized it as the true form of the Empty. It crawled and bubbled around Chuck, swallowing him piece by piece until there was nothing left. Jack collapsed, exhausted. Sam rushed to his side, and Cas looked down at the broken shell of Dean in his arms. 

“Dean,” Cas whispered looking at his human. Dean was crumpled into a ball and bleeding out, groaning in pain. “Hold on,” Cas took his hands and placed them over Dean ready to heal him. He poured his healing energy out, but nothing happened. Cas looked down at the still dying Dean, panic set in. He couldn’t heal. He heard Sam say something behind him, but he didn’t listen to him, the ringing in his ear too loud. Cas could only think of one thing to do, and without hesitation he pulled Dean’s head into his lap as best he could with his injuries, pulling his mouth open. Cas leaned toward him and opened his lips, pushing with all of his might, expelling his grace from within himself and into Dean. He watched as Dean absorbed the angelic grace, and it pulsed inside of him brightly, slowly beginning to heal him. Cas sat back and watched as Dean’s eyes fluttered and his wounds closed. Cas also felt himself changing, becoming human, dying. He felt the shift, could feel his grace withering within Dean, saving his life, but also burning itself up as it flowed through Dean’s atoms. Dean’s eyes sprang open, immediately searching out Castiel. 

Once Dean realized he was in Castiel’s arms his whole body relaxed and he found himself flooded with a warmth he has only ever gotten from whiskey. Dean looked around and found Sam and Jack a few yards away, and the angels and demons finishing off the remaining golems. Billie was standing beside Jack, his hand on his forehead. 

“Cas, Jack…” He groaned, trying to sit up. 

“Relax,” Billie called over to him, “He’ll be fine. I’m making sure of that.” She said. 

Sam looked over and saw Dean was okay, but panicked when he saw Cas’ broken form. “Dean!” 

Dean followed Sam’s eye line to Cas, jolting upright when he saw he was on the verge of passing out. “Cas,” he squeaked panickily. Dean sat up and reversed their positions, pulling Cas into his arms. 

“I can heal him,” a voice from behind called out. Dean looked back and saw Anna Milton standing behind him, her red hair flowing in the wind. 

“Anna,” Dean whispered. 

The angel walked over and sat beside the couple, placing one hand on Castiel’s forehead, a soft yellow glow underneath her hand. “His angelic grace is completely gone, Castiel is human now,” Anna said with awe.

Cas’s eyes slowly opened, and he looked around dazed for a moment. “Anna? Dean?” He was disoriented for a few more moments before things began to come into focus. 

“Cas!” Jack called, coming running over from where Billie had healed him. 

“Jack!” Cas cried out in relief, standing to hug his son. “You did it.” He smiled at the boy, squeezing him as tightly as he could. 

“We did it, I couldn’t have done anything without my family.” He said, happiness and relief seeping into his strained voice. 

“Well, what a fucking shit-show that was.” Crowley called from behind the group, “Can’t believe you guys brought me back for that.” He feigned annoyance. 

“Welcome back, Crowley.” Sam clapped the Demon on the shoulder in comradery. 

“Do we have to go back now?” One of the other angels said, “To the darkness?” 

They all looked at Billie who rolled her eyes, “No, I’ve brought you all back permanently.” She said, “Now if you go and get yourself killed again… that’s on you.” She shrugged and smiled. “As for Castiel, I heard about your little deal. I took care of it, you don’t have to worry anymore. It won’t be coming for you.”

Castiel smiled at her, tears forming in his eyes, “Thank you, Billie.”

“Don’t mention it.” She said, “It’s all according to plan, to destiny.” She gave him a wink. 

“What about the balance? Now that Chuck is gone?” Sam asked, “Won’t the universe fall into chaos without the light to balance out the darkness?” 

“That’s where I come in.” A voice rang out from the crowd. The Winchester clan gasped in awe as Gabriel stepped out from the mass of angels. 

“Yes,” Billie said warmly… for Billie, “Gabriel is going to be the balance. Like myself, he’s getting a promotion.” 

Dean walked over to Gabriel and pulled him into a tight hug, and the rest of the Winchester’s followed suit, everyone piled in a big group embrace. “Alright, easy tigers, there’s enough archangel to go around.” He laughed. 

The groups began to disperse slowly, the angels falling in line to go back to Heaven, shocked to find out how few of them are left. They wanted to get to work immediately, restoring their home. 

“Are you kidding me?!” Crowley yelled, exasperated. “MY Mother, the Queen of Hell?” He was shocked. “Well that’s just perfect, come on demons, we need to get down there immediately.” The black-eyed fiends followed behind their leader, all teleporting to their underworld. 

Gabriel walked over to Cas, “Castiel,” He clapped a hand on his brother’s shoulder, “I can restore your grace if you want. I’ll need some time to prepare it--” 

“No,” Castiel cut him off, making everyone look over at him in shock, “I appreciate the offer, Gabriel, truly. But I’m done being an angel. I’ve watched over humanity for millennia, I just want to be a part of it now.” He smiled, surreptitiously looking over at Dean. 

Gabriel followed his eye line and gave him his best shit-eating grin. “Alright, but you know where to find me if you ever change your mind.” 

The Winchester family joined back together then, everyone hugging everyone, just happy to be alive and mostly whole. Dean realized with a start that his car and all of his and Cas’ stuff was still in St. Louis, so he asked Billie to give them a lift over there. Billie happily obliged, leaving them in the hotel room from before disappearing with a knowing smile on her face.

Dean looked around the room, it looked the same as before, but everything was different now. He looked over at Cas, completely human. Cas was looking down at the ground, unsure of what to do. “Hey,” Dean said and he walked over and put an arm around him, pulling him in for a tight hug. Cas wasn’t as receptive as he was in the field, setting off alarm bells in Dean’s mind, “Cas, what’s wrong?”

“It’s just…” Cas trailed off.

Dean put on hand under Castiel’s chin, lifting his face to look him in the eye, “Just what?”

Cas’ was lost in Dean’s eyes, two different oceans crashing together, a mix of rain clouds and seafoam. “I just--now that I’m not an angel, I guess I won't be as useful to you; as special…” The last words dropped off, and Dean’s heart broke, because he knows exactly why Cas would think that. 

“Cas, I don’t care if you're an angel, a human, hell even if you became a demon all of a sudden!” Dean exclaimed, “I’m in love with  you  Cas, not what you can do.” 

With that powerful admission, both of their walls crumbled. Cas leaned forward and pressed his lips to Dean’s, gingerly at first, then with more heat, more passion. The two became lost in each other again, drifting along, no longer tethered to anything other than each other. At that moment, when they both finally gave into destiny and embraced each other they were complete. Two halves of a whole, neither able to exist without the other. Cas's hands traveled to Dean’s face and wrapped around his neck while Dean’s arms pulled Cas in closer by the waist. They had so many years of catching up to do, but they had an eternity to do it. 

Dean broke away first, lips puffy from Cas’ gently nibbled. Cas pouted at the loss of contact, but Dean just smiled and planted one on his cheek before walking into the bathroom and turning on the shower. “I don’t know about you, but after fighting God, I need a wash.” Dean popped his head out and winked, giving Cas his best ‘come hither’ making the former angel laugh. 

By the time Cas got to the bathroom, Dean was already behind the curtain. Cas stripped down completely, expecting to feel awkward and out of place, but instead, he found he was completely comfortable as if getting naked to get in the shower with Dean Winchester was the most natural thing in the entire world. Cas stepped in at the back and found Dean with his face against the water, letting it wash over him. The new human admired the hunter for a few moments, enjoying the way the water ran down Dean’s back muscles, his ass, his thighs. 

Cas stepped up behind him and wrapped his arms around him, planting soft kisses along his neck and shoulders. Cas reached Dean’s left arm where he pulled him from Hell all those years ago, at the very beginning of his true life. The moment his lips touched that spot Cas, Dean spun around and embraced him, pulling his face to his and kissing him again and again, a starving man. They pulled away after a while and washed each other, just taking the time to acquaint their bodies and minds, getting to know every single little detail about each other. Cas’ fantasy from earlier that day was made a reality, he squirted some shampoo into his hand and lathered Dean’s hair, pulling soft little moans of bliss from the hunter's throat. He ran his fingers behind Dean’s ears, washing, and a shiver of pleasure running down his spine.

By the time they got out, nothing had been left untouched, everything was on the table. All of their secrets, insecurities, their souls laid bare before them. They toweled off and Dean grabbed Castiel’s hand, pulling him along to the bed. Another thing that should terrify Cas, but it felt like the most natural thing in all of creation. Dean peeled the duvet and sheets back, sliding beneath the soft coolness of them, curling one finger toward his love. Cas grinned and slid in beside Dean, slotting their lips together, rolling until he was underneath his righteous man. An angel who fell, not for humanity like was prophesied, but for this one man. His Dean, the man he saved from hell, the man who saved him from an eternity of loneliness. They’ve saved each other so many times over the last decade, dancing around their fate, never feeling worthy of each other's love. Nights of silent pining, tears of regret and pain, smiles of redemption, and now, finally after all these years, they have tonight to spell their faith in each other out between these sheets. 

A tangle of limbs, twisting together, sweeter than any pie Dean has ever tasted, stars exploding more brightly than when Castiel watched the universe born from dust. A warmth spreading across Dean’s chest, most more potent than any shot of whiskey, Castiel’s back arching as he is reborn, the ache from his missing wings tingling, wishing to stretch out and wrap around them. Whispers of ‘ i love you’s’  gentle moans of years of tension finally being released. The rustle of soft sheets as they moved together in perfect rhythm, never missing a beat, knowing intuitively exactly what the other needed. 

Hours passed, Dean and Cas finally rolled apart, finally took a deep breath, the reality of their union setting in. The light was filtering in, bringing them another day closer to the rest of their lives. Sharing kisses some more, they fell asleep in each other’s arms. It was dark again by the time they woke, packing their things and climbing into Baby to go home, together as one. 

The highway passed by Castiel again at seventy miles an hour, but it looked completely different than before. No longer was he miserable, no longer was angry that he couldn’t have the one thing he craved, because as they sped down the dark road, Dean’s fingers intertwined with his own, he was finally free. Free to be happy, free to be the best man he could, knowing everything he had done for the last ten years, and everything he would do from this day forward would be for him, Dean Winchester. Castiel listened to the soft tracks of Led Zeppelin filter through the impala’s speakers and listened as Dean sang along effortlessly. Cas joined in when he knew the words, his deep baritone matching Dean’s tenor perfectly. 

They reached the bunker and toted their things in, finding it empty with a note saying Sam and Jack would be home soon. Dean fixed them something quick to eat, as Castiel now had that simple human need, rather than doing it for pleasure. They retired to Dean’s bedroom, now theirs, to unwind and watch a movie. Something so simple that they have done so many times, yet now it had a different connotation. They laid together on the bed, something they had done a thousand times before, except this time that small space between them was nonexistent, they met in the middle, Dean laid his head in Castiel’s lap as he carted his fingers through his lover's hair, the soft strands like silk between his fingers. 

The days from then passed, Dean and Cas fell into an easy dance. They spent the days just exploring each other, their minds, their bodies. They were inseparable, never leaving each other's side, never wanting to. Dean idly wondered where Sam was, but a text from his brother confirmed he would be home soon, joining them in the bunker. Wanting something to pass the time, Dean suggested they find a hunt, to which Castiel easily agreed. They did a simple salt and burn a few towns over, Dean taught Castiel proper hunting protocol and Cas drank in the knowledge as a way to please his lover, show him he was worthy of his love. They returned home the next day, Dean’s craving for the job satisfied for now. It went like this for weeks, just the two of them, doing whatever they wanted, whether that was making love or making pancakes in the morning. Another text from Sam, he was coming soon, coming home to his brother. 

It was a few days later when Sam walked through the door, Dean and Cas startled by the sudden noise, they followed the sound and exchanged hugs and happy tears with him. “Dean, Cas. I’ve missed you guys so much.” 

“Dude, it’s only been a few weeks.” Dean laughed, the sound dying down when he saw the look on Sam’s face. “What is it, Sammy?”

“Dean… it’s been almost thirty years.”

Dean and Castiel looked at each other, confusion clouding their happiness. “Thirty--what are you talkin’ about Sam?” 

Sam’s expression changed from confusion to pity, “Guys, you don’t know do you?” Sam continued when they shook their heads, Sam gave a nervous laugh, “You guys died thirty years ago. You’ve been here, in Heaven all this time.” 

Time and space stopped, narrowing in on Dean as he realized the truth of this. “We died the day Chuck came, didn’t we?” 

Sam nodded, “We tried to save you guys, Cas gave his grace to save you Dean, but it wasn’t enough and you were both hurts so badly, by the time everything calmed down Jack realized you were both… gone.” Sam teared up, clearly affected deeply by the story. “He wanted to bring you back, but after a discussion with Billie she revealed this was the way it was supposed to go, it all led to that. She explained how she brought you guys here personally, how your Heaves were one place, the place we all call home. She told me I had a full life to live, that my story wasn’t finished.” Sam recalled. He told them all about the full life he’d lead. How he had met the most beautiful woman, how she was a badass hunter and the mother of his two children, Dean Michael, and Cassandra Mary. He’d lived a happy life, peaceful after they destroyed Chuck’s toxic story and wrote their own. Earth had finally found peace, humans lived together in harmony and it was all thanks to Jack’s influence. How he and Gabriel had teamed up to rebuild Heaven, Crowley had gone to hell to rule with his mother. The demons didn’t bother Earth anymore, simply taking the souls tainted by evil and the angels took the good. 

“Wow. Can’t believe we missed world peace.” Dean joked. 

“I’m surprised I didn’t realize sooner, it all makes so much sense.” Castiel pondered aloud, Dean took his hand and laced their fingers together, pulling it to his lips and kissing it gently. Sam smiled. 

“So, where’s this girl of yours?” Dean asked his brother. 

Sam smiled, “I’m sure she’ll be here soon enough. It isn’t her time, she’s a little younger than I am, was. I’ll just wait here for her.” 

Dean clapped a hand on his brother’s shoulder, “I’m glad you’re here, Sam.” 

“Me too, Dean. Me too.” 

And so it was, they spent their days since realizing they didn’t survive the fight running around Heaven, sneaking between the walls to see everyone they had ever loved. Eventually, Gabriel caught on to their little scheme and just redesigned the entire divine realm, opening the doors between Heavens and letting families spend eternity together because if there was one thing the Winchesters knew, it was that family didn’t end in blood. Family was so much more, it was a spunky redhead nerd, a grumpy burly hunter that raised them like his own. It was two brothers who never gave up on each other, no matter what. It was a pair of mismatched soulmates who started it all, the whole story by bringing life to those two brothers. Family was the prophet of the Lord who was in advanced placement, the psychic who saw too much. It was the mother and daughter who gave their all protecting humanity, the sheriff who loved her boys. And most importantly, family was a fallen angel and the man who loved him, together at last, in eternity.