Anybody remember that tweet by one of the SPN writers or something that said “if you like ____” you’re going to love some specific episode or something? I know I’m being really generic, but I’m wondering if what was being alluded to was Meg’s return or something else. I’d like to ask but I don’t remember who tweeted it to begin with! If it helps, a lot of people were wondering if the blank meant Dean/Cas, I think?
And it’s a relationship between a human/supernatural being, too? This sounds so familiar. Like we’ve seen this a few times before or something. Huh.
As if it weren’t surreal enough, even the air is crisper here. Dean takes a deep, clean breath and tastes the winter fill his lungs. He forgets all too often that Castiel is a walking miracle passing for mundane, that beneath familiar skin and soft, dark hair is a mass of eternal energy, toiling and whirling phenomenally.
In a second, they’re gone, jolted straight out of their stuffy motel room- and Dean’s thankful too, because what even happens in Idaho, besides potatoes?- and all three of them are standing knee-deep in snow and buried under layers of winter clothes they weren’t donning before.
“Cas,” Sam asks, eyes wide and darting to every which corner of horizon, “where are we?”
“Norway,” he answers, smiling.
“When I said I wanted to have a snow day, this really isn’t what I had in mind,” Dean admits, shuffling the heavy snow off his boots and hissing when a bit of ice-cold discovers the only open space his scarf grants, rushing down his back.
Somebody hold me back before I start cheering in the campus library!
He would have walked out the door beside him, squeezing his shoulder with as much affection he could allow himself to show the angel, while Sam wasn’t looking. He would have offered some half-baked compliment and joked about the case while he opened the car, and he would’ve taken a moment there, standing across from Castiel as he sat by the passenger’s seat, waiting for the door to unlock. And Dean can imagine it very well, how his cheeks would’ve pulled up into a genuine smile and how his eyes would sort of crinkle with pride and gratitude, at having Castiel with him, still. He would’ve cranked up the volume and drummed his fingers against the steering wheel, beatingalong to the drum solo of his favorite song, taking in a breath of fresh air.
And he would’ve heard some offhand comment, some stupid little thing Castiel would have to offer, while Sam chuckled or corrected him. And after a while, Dean knows, he would’ve hummed and nodded to some cheesy song, waiting by the red light before they could drive back to their motel room, and sliver his hand down between them. He’d pretend he wasn’t terrified, like he wasn’t mustering up all the courage he could find within himself, and he would hold Castiel’s hand in his own. He’d watch surpised, wide eyes melt into a warm sort of shine, and he’d feel Castiel’s fingers lax against his palms. Dean would rub the pad of his thumb against his knuckles, he’d imagine, secretly, the day that he would reach over for more than just his hand, and Dean would’ve smiled. He would’ve been happy and it would’ve been new, fresh, and delicious- like that first inhale after holding your breath for far too long.
Would have. Could have. But-
Dean had busted out of the habit of high hopes and daydreams a long, long time ago. Without noticing it, Dean had rediscovered that childish, torturous technique when they brought the old man back to his home. Walking out the doors, not caring to look back to Castiel who didn’t promise to come back, Dean remembered very clearly why getting ahead of yourself when in love was ill-advised in the Winchester family line.
Jesus Christ, Dean’s attraction to Castiel is so freakin’ obvious in this episode- his jokes, his constant allusions to Sam flirting with Castiel or having sleepovers together where they do things inherently feminine, his wandering eyes that we didn’t see at all in any of these episodes until all these allusions to how beautiful Cas is, this is all ridiculously delicious.
A revelation in the light of day,
You can’t choose what stays and what fades away
When Castiel resurfaces from Purgatory, he is sore, broken, and blind. Everything, inside and out, spills over with searing pain and yet, he is unfeeling- a mess of pins and needles, a blunder of numbness, like the overwhelming of the senses that leaves the body helpless and distorted. But it’s Dean’s voice that wakes him, and it’s his prayers that inspire Castiel to force in a new breath of air. He wakes up in cold waters, so fitting of his deaths, and cloaked in the shadows of the winter night.
The prayers are the only way Castiel knows for sure that he still has his grace- he can’t remember if he ever lost it, he can’t remember anything- but the prayers have stayed and they fill in enough blank spaces.They flutter against his skin like cool mist running over his wounds, and they reverberate through his grace like the sounding of symbols, like the falling of bells, like the echos that dance in a frenzy, to and fro, off the walls of a dark cave. Thoughtlessly, the angel relearns how to walk, how to run, how to fly- fumbling, uncoordinated, like he were just freshly birthed. And the words, they rush over him like a flood. Three-hundred and sixty-five prayers in the dark, and a hundred more since their separation. A million apologies, a million questions, hundred upon hundred of ernest, hushed pleadings for an answer, for proof that he is okay, that he’s alive somehow, some way, even if Dean watched him die. And the closer he gets to Dean, the more space he lessens between them, the more the answers bubble up in Castiel’s throat and roll in his mouth and seep into the tears and the blood that the wind pushes away from his face.
So, when he stumbles over where the Winchesters are staying, when his heart falters and his mouth dries over knowing Dean is there, right there, waiting. Praying to him, now a painful habit, despite the time, despite the sorrow, praying to him silently as he leans over the sink and passes the running water over his face. Everything gives away, then, Castiel’s strengths, his reservations, his patience.
“Hello, Dean,” he says, voice new and strange against his sensitive ears. Hello. Hello. A million times hello, for every ‘Cas?’’, for every ‘are you there?’, for every ‘are you listening?’. A bright smile, a sincere one, a tingling yearning to clasp his hands around the righteous man right then and there and kiss the doubt away from his widened eyes until they melt against each other and fall to rest. But he holds himself steady still, and Dean stands there, livid and frozen, until he reaches out to pass a trembling, cold hand down his arm, to prove to himself that this image of Cas, for once, is not just a dream. And when they touch, the world holds its breath for a moment. Gravity lifts for an instant. The universe melts away for a second. And it all comes tumbling back, with doubling force, against the two when Dean realizes it: yes. Yes. This is Cas, his Cas, back from the dead and here to stay.
Dean catches him when his weakened knees give out, and the two slide onto the floor together with slow, bittersweet relief. It was worth a thousand wounds, it was worth the flight, the falling feathers, the dripping grace, to be there in his arms.
Finally, finally, Castiel will have the time, the life, the impossible miracle of answering each prayer Dean had the relentless faith to make, and it begins with tears, with shaking laughter, with a long, overdue embrace.