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Though The Course May Change

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The ferry ride off the island feels faster than the ride there. Though Cas still looks a little green around the gills, he’s nowhere near as bad as he had been the first time.

An admittedly vain part of Dean wonders if it might have something to do with the way their hands are wound together on the bench between them.

“You doing okay there?” he asks, and smiles when Cas looks over at him with a tense jaw.

“Mm,” Cas replies, then immediately closes his eyes.

Dean rubs his thumb along the side of Cas’ palm.

“The dock is in sight,” he assures him.

He can already make out a few couples milling around, waiting for the boat to arrive and take them to the island.

“Mm,” Cas says again. Dean tries not to laugh.

His cell chimes as the boat comes to a stop, but he waits until they’ve both made their way through the waiting crowd before he pulls it from his pocket. It’s a text from Charlie.

“They’re running a little late,” he says as he shoots a message back. “Got stuck behind a camper van coming up the mountain. Gives us a few more minutes of alone time, so I’m not complaining.”

He gives Cas a wink, but Cas only nods and looks away, dropping his hand and sinking down onto a bench at the edge of the parking lot. Dean sits beside him.

“You still queasy?”

“Not really.”

Still, it sounds like he’s pouting. After watching him for a moment, Dean stands, heading over to the vending machine by the check-in office door. There’s no ginger ale, so he settles for Sprite. It takes three attempts for the machine to accept his dollar bill.

When he gets back to the bench, he finds Cas with a furrowed brow, twisting the ring he’s been wearing all week around his finger.

“They were out of the ginger ale you like,” Dean says, holding out the bottle, and Cas looks up at him.

“Thank you,” he says, and his delivery is so stilted that Dean starts to feel something trembling and uncomfortable in his chest. He watches as Cas opens the bottle and takes a small sip before screwing the lid back on and putting it on top of his bag.

“You sure you’re feeling okay?” Dean asks him.

“I’m fine,” Cas insists. “ I’m not queasy.”

Dean chews on the inside of his cheek.

“Then what is it?”

A muscle in Cas’ jaw twitches as he looks away, and Dean watches him take a breath. Deep, like he’s steeling himself for something unpleasant. It makes his stomach flip restlessly.

“It’s stuck,” Cas finally says with an apologetic frown, lifting his hand to show him the ring before he drops it back into his lap. Dean could laugh if Cas didn’t look so forlorn. “I know it’s important to you, and--”

That’s what you’re pouting about?” he cuts him off, and Cas shifts from miserable to annoyed in an instant.

“I’m not pouting.”

Sitting back down beside him, Dean huffs through his nose as he reaches for his hand. He touches the ring with his thumb and forefinger, grazing over Cas’ knuckles before taking a deep breath and linking their fingers together.

“Keep it,” he says before he loses his nerve, still looking at their joined hands, and feels Cas tense beside him.

“It was your mother’s.”

“Yeah, well. Who else am I going to give it to?”

“Dean, I--”

“I mean, this isn’t like a proposal or anything,” Dean blurts out, though he’s painfully aware that in every way that counts, it basically is. “But, Cas, you’ve gotta know that I-- You’re-- There’s nobody else who could ever-- I mean. Fuck. You’re the only person I could even think about giving this to. I want this.” He forces himself to look up from their hands, meeting Cas’ eyes despite how scared he is of saying this. “I want us. For as long as you can stand to be around me.”

“I hope you don’t have plans for the next sixty or so years, then,” Cas says. “Because I don’t intend to leave your side as long as we’re alive.”

Dean lifts his free hand to cover his eyes.

“Why do you have to say shit like that?”

“Because it’s true,” Cas says, tugging Dean’s hand away and pressing his palm to Dean’s cheek until he relents and looks him in the eye again. “And because I love you.”

“You do?” Dean asks, and hates how pathetic he sounds. How much he needs to hear it.

“I do,” Cas says.

“Save it for the altar,” Dean jokes, then gulps, because he did not mean to say that at all.

“The altar?”

Cas’ mouth lifts in a smirk.

“Shut up,” Dean groans.

“I thought you weren’t proposing.”

Dean tries and fails to glare at him.

“You’re such a dick.”

“Well, it did sound a lot like a proposal.”

“That’s just because you’re getting vague in your old age,” Dean says, giving up on the glare to smile back at him even as his heart thunders in his chest. “It’s a tragedy, really.”

Cas grins ear-to-ear, and he pulls on Dean’s hand until Dean has to lean forward and kiss him. It’s unfair how easily Cas can distract him.

“Just so you know, I’m yours with the ring or without,” Cas tells him when he pulls back. “For as long as you want me.”

“Sixty or so years, then,” Dean says, and because he’s come this far, he lets the rest out too. “I love you, Cas.”

“You do?”

Dean huffs.

“Yeah,” he murmurs. “I do.”

When Cas kisses him again, Dean can feel his smile.

The familiar rumble of the Impala’s engine is right beside them before Dean considers what that means, and he slowly lowers his hand from its place on the back of Cas’ neck. Turning, he finds Sam and Charlie watching them through the open window. Dean clears his throat.

“Uh, hey,” he says.

Charlie looks like she’s about to burst with joy, her eyes visibly tearful even at a distance. Sam, meanwhile, just gives them the kind of smug look he gets when he thinks he’s about to be hilarious.

“You guys do realize you’re not at the resort anymore, right?”

“Seriously?” Dean asks, unable to keep from laughing. “That’s all you’ve got?”

Sam grins.

“For now.”

“Asshole,” Dean laughs, and catches Cas’ hand, hauling him to his feet.