mount weather log; dean & castiel WHO: Dean & Castiel WHEN: Backdated to sometime before the Lucifer fiasco started WHERE: Their room WHAT: Dean and Cas are up super late (or super early?) and they talk about the state of things and how humanity works, and it’s very bittersweet. WARNING(S): Nnnnnone I don’t think? It’s kinda depressing.
Cas had hobbies while Dean slept.
He dozed, sometimes, but now he didn't need to. He'd hold Dean at night, but sometimes he'd wander, or he'd spend hours on the other half of the room doing jigsaw puzzles or reading books. He had little projects here and there, things to do with his hands. He build houses of cards, he tinkered with dominos, he took some art supplies and he started painting.
Maybe it should have been disconcerting; Cas hadn't taken an interest in such things except during his time in the hospital, when he'd been out of his damn mind, but he hadn't had this kind of free time since then, either.
And yet …
There was always an element of Cas that was hiding these days. He tended to disconnect from difficult conversations, particularly when it was something to do with the safety of Mount Weather. No matter his power, or his skill as a soldier or tactician, no matter his experience, he kept his head down and he dealt with the animals. When he wasn't doing that, he was buried in something else.
Tetris, a lot of the time. He'd play Tetris for ten hours straight. He'd zone out of conversations because he was playing Tetris.
He was avoiding a lot. He seemed comfortable with Dean, but a piece of him always seemed missing.
Dean woke up not to an empty bed, but to the glow of Castiel's tablet as he played Tetris for the fifth hour in a row.
Dean had fallen asleep in Cas's arms and flopped onto his stomach once Cas moved. He still didn't sleep well, but he slept better these days, and he suspected that Cas might have been quietly using his powers to make it that way once Dean had drifted off.
He naturally woke up early, unable to stay asleep for more than about five hours to start with. He was deaf to the Tetris noises by now even if Cas had the sound on. He groaned, waking up like he was being dragged out of it and turning onto his side. Without really opening his eyes, he groped for Cas's clothes and pulled himself back into his lap, resting his head on Cas's thigh.
"What time is it?"
Cas shrugged. "No idea," he said, without looking up. He still struggled with precise time as a concept; angels didn't have clocks.
Dean looked up and squinted at the light of the tablet. He poked at it, just enough to angle it toward him so he could see the time on the corner. "Ngh. No. I don't have to get up."
"You can go back to sleep," said Cas gently. He was barely involved in the conversation. He'd hit level fourteen and was tapping rapidly at the screen. It was almost freakish how good he'd gotten at the game, but that was the natural conclusion of being obsessive.
"How long have you been playing that?" Dean lifted his head again, pushing at Cas's arm with his forehead and worming his way into the space between Cas's elbows. "You'll go blind like that."
"Dean, stop. I'm busy," Cas muttered. He always was busy with something. Busy, so he didn't have to talk about things. It wasn't that he wasn't affectionate with Dean, but he rarely gave himself any kind of idle time to just sit and do nothing, and the fact that he didn't eat or sleep just meant he could hide in his hobbies.
"So like, hours." Dean felt for Cas's leg and squeezed his ankle. "Just put it down for a couple minutes."
"Dean. I said, not now."
Dean was enough of a distraction that he lost control of the game, and the pieces stacked up on top of each other until he got a game over screen. "Damn it."
Oblivious to exactly how annoyed Cas was, Dean fidgeted closer and thoroughly invaded Cas's space. He was usually more affectionate in private, but especially just before or after sleeping, when he seemed to forget that there was anything to be self conscious about. "Sorry, buddy."
Cas made a disgusted sound and tossed the tablet to the other side of the bed. He pinched the bridge of his nose. "Fine, you win. What."
"It's just Tetris. It doesn't go away if you lose." Dean pressed his face to Cas's belly. They shared clothes so often now that Cas didn't smell so much like Cas as like them when Dean pressed his nose into whatever shirt Cas was wearing.
"I haven't beaten my high score in three weeks. It's a problem," Cas muttered, laying a heavy hand on Dean's head and lightly scritching at his hair.
Dean snorted. "Must be a nice problem."
Cas sighed. He settled into silence, but his gaze kept drifting toward his tablet again. A minute later and he was reaching for it, picking it up once more.
"You know," Dean said, stubbornly pushing the tablet to the side and resettling so he was sitting up a little straighter. "I've got time before I have to go anywhere."
Cas slumped back to lean against the headboard, letting his head clunk. It wasn't that he wasn't interested in Dean. They'd talked about this, they'd settled, they were content with one another. Cas just seemed … damaged. That was nothing new, really. He'd been breaking in all sorts of different ways ever since he pulled Dean out of Hell, but he was worn down, and it was nothing he wanted to talk about.
"Or… you could tell me what's got you looking so beat." Dean sat all the way up so he could pull his fingers through Cas's hair, ruffling it so it was askew. "You look upset, Cas."
"I'm … fine."
He wasn't. Cas wasn't fine, but he didn't know how to articulate this feeling of not being fine, of feeling unsettled. He was teetering between being grateful that he wasn't useful and feeling useless, between feeling like he didn't fit in and not caring, because he was settled with Dean and his family.
This relative calm was unsettling. Being with Dean for long periods of time was unsettling.
"You don't seem fine." Dean let his hand rest on Cas's shoulder, gently squeezing. "You can talk to me. Seriously."
Castiel's eyes drifted to Dean's hand, focusing on it for several moments before he finally spoke. "When is this going to end?" he asked. "How long does this last?"
Dean took a long time to think, settling against the headboard and letting his hand drop. "How long does what last?"
Mount Weather had its problems, but he and Dean were happy. Safe. They'd never gone this long without something in the way, or without one turning on the other. They didn't just face the world together, they'd harmed and betrayed one another so many times. They'd each almost killed the other through beatings alone.
"I…" Dean had to look away, instead choosing to stare at the wall opposite the bed. It wasn't something he liked to think about, because the answer he always came up with (next week, tomorrow, the next ten minutes) was depressing. "Man, I dunno."
"How long is it going to be before one of us makes another mistake, Dean? How long before we're trying to kill each other?" Dean wanted to know what was wrong, so Dean was hearing what was wrong. Cas hadn't wanted to talk about it.
"I don't know," Dean said, painfully honest. "Hopefully never, but realistically…" He gestured vaguely and let out a long breath. "This is the longest anything good's ever happened to us. I don't know if looking it in the mouth is smart or if it'll just jinx us."
"It helps that we're not at home, but it's going to catch up with us," Cas said quietly. "This whole place, we're just waiting for the time when we go home. Turning on you hurt before, but it's going to be worse now."
"Doesn't have to be that way." Dean glanced back, drawing in a nervous breath. He had a difficult time talking about his feelings, but they were usually right there on his face anyway. "We keep telling fate to go screw itself. Maybe this is where we get to be."
"We may not be able to control it, Dean. We haven't controlled it before."
"All the bad shit that keeps happening to us is our fault — Sam's and mine." He was quick to clarify, and he meant it. "We keep our heads down here. We do our jobs, we stay out of trouble. There's no reason for anything to happen."
Cas nodded, but he didn't seem convinced. "You're probably right." It meant he didn't feel comfortable doing anything but staying out of trouble, for fear of jinxing it all.
"Yeah." Neither of them sounded like they believed it.
All Dean knew was that he wanted this. He didn't want to go home where all of his friends were dead and he seemed doomed to failure. He wanted to stay here with Cas, with the possibility that people he'd lost could arrive any day and he could have even the smallest chance at fixing his own damage.
He didn't want to leave here and be alone again.
"I try not to think about it," Cas admitted. "Then I do. All this time waiting and watching from Heaven and it never felt like this." Cas hadn't been so human, then. Years could pass and it meant nothing. He felt time now. He understood what it was like to have a crisis fall on his shoulders, to feel crushing guilt, to be afraid that every mistake he made would destroy the world. Ignorance had been bliss.
"Yeah, well." Dean let out a breath and let his head fall onto Cas's shoulder. "Being human is mostly just an endurance run."
Cas huffed out a breath that might have been a laugh if he were anyone else. "This is a sprint, Dean. You're here for a blink of time. You're alive for a moment. There's so much to try and finish before it ends."
"It's not like that for us. Humans can't exactly…" Dean gestured. "See the cosmos or whatever."
"I know. That's how it feels without my grace," said Cas. "Blind, deaf, I don't know how to explain it to you. I can't show you." And yet, Cas had said that he was willing to give it all up and live a mortal life with Dean. He'd meant it.
Dean frowned. "If it's that miserable, why bother giving it up?"
Cas smoothed Dean's hair. "You're worth it."
Dean didn't have an answer for that. He rarely ever did when it was an issue of self-worth, right back to their first meeting ("You don't think you deserve to be saved?"). Instead, he pressed his mouth to Cas's shoulder, the gesture too quiet and too solid to be a kiss.
"I miss food." Cas missed a lot of things, actually, that were uniquely human. He'd lose his cosmic consciousness, his senses dulled, but that meant he could enjoy food the way it was supposed to be enjoyed. It meant he'd enjoy sex more than he did now. Being human meant he could enjoy the things that were meant for humans. Food, sex, sleep, even drugs and alcohol.
"The food here's been getting better, too. " Dean had gone a little tone deaf to some of Castiel's more awkward moments around other people. They were together often, which meant a lot of Cas sitting around and watching people while they ate or drank or did something he didn't understand. It was unnerving to new people, but Dean had just naturally evolved around it, carrying on conversations with him as if he didn't notice, stealing food off of his plate when Cas would occasionally take food and become immediately bored with it because it tasted wrong.
The real disconnect that bothered him was sleep. Dean tended to fall asleep while Cas was in bed with him and would almost always wake up alone.
Cas's mouth twitched into the ghost of a smile. "Don't tell me that."
Dean snorted. "Jealous?"
"Very. I thought hamburgers were good before I spent time without my grace. Now it just doesn't compare."
"That's the catch, though, isn't it? Food tastes awesome, but eventually you die." Dean smiled crookedly and reached over to squeeze Cas's knee.
Cas furrowed his brow. "You can stop now."
Dean trailed off, almost dozing on Cas's shoulder. Finally, he said, "Don't think too hard, all right? Things will happen or they won't. We always get through it."
Cas shifted, just enough to pull Dean closer against him. It was a nice sentiment on Dean's part, but the fact that they always got through it only meant that at some point, they wouldn't. At some point, the scales wouldn't tip in their favor.
But for now, if it made Dean happy, they could pretend that wasn't true.