log; destiel WHO: Dean + Castiel WHEN: Late April 22nd/Early April 23rd, around midnight WHERE: Dean and Cas’s room WHAT: Cas comes home and sleeps for a long damn time. When he wakes up, Dean is right there to welcome him back. WARNING(S): None. It’s just bittersweet fluff. Dean gets a little salty about Storybrooke and calls Emma a bitch without naming her, that’s as bad as it gets.
Dean and Sam got Cas home so he could sleep.
When they got back to the apartment, Dean carried Cas the rest of the way into the bedroom, helping him undress and getting him under the covers before he passed out. Then, as quietly as possible, Dean unpacked the boxes he’d had to take out of storage, returning the room to as close as Cas remembered as he could get: the shotgun on the wall, the jacket hanging on the bedpost, the books stacked against the walls. In the long stretches of quiet while waiting for Cas to wake up, Dean even sat on the floor and worked on the puzzle, knowing full well there was a missing piece somewhere and spending half the time dissuading Princess from chewing on the ones that were left (but without the heart to move him out of the way entirely).
By the time Cas was finally awake, Dean was still there. Surely he’d wandered away to eat (especially because there was food and a drink waiting on the bedside table), but otherwise there was no real indication that Dean had left his side much longer than was necessary, no matter how long Cas slept. Now he was sitting on the other side of the bed, reading something on his tablet while Princess dozed in his lap.
Cas slept all day and well into the evening, and it was almost midnight by the time he stirred. He shifted slightly as his eyes opened and came into focus, and he reached out to lightly touched Dean's knee.
“Cas—” Dean was quick to set the tablet aside, nearly dumping Princess on the floor by accident. “Hey. Hey.” He reached over and brushed his fingers over Cas’s hair. “Mornin’.”
Cas blinked slowly, casting a long glance around the room like he needed to figure out whether he was really here. He'd been living in Dean's room in his own head, shuttered away while Lucifer had control — but this was real.
Lucifer didn't have control anymore. Lucifer was gone, trapped in the Cage. He'd cast him out.
"It's over," he said with a heavy sigh, slumping back against the pillow.
“Yeah. It’s over.” Dean moved the rabbit off of his lap, leaving him on the floor so he could get closer to Cas. “You did good.” He settled in, almost close enough to touch. Cas still didn’t feel real, and Dean wasn’t even sure he’d really felt Cas’s hair against his fingers a moment ago.
Cas smiled faintly. His whole body felt heavy and limp, wrung out. It still felt strange to be in control of it again, to actually put effort into moving muscle and to feel his lungs expanding and contracting with his breaths. He'd existed metaphysically for some time, trapped in the recesses of his own mind, where it took no effort to move because the movement didn't really exist.
The pain had been real, though.
His smile faded and he glanced up at the ceiling. "He's trapped. It's done. I'm sorry, Dean."
“You don’t have anything to apologize for,” Dean insisted. “All anybody cares about is that you’re home.”
"I let this happen." Cas never could have known that it would follow them here, but he had his memories. He'd consented to this, giving himself up to Lucifer, to fight the Darkness. He'd considered himself expendable.
“Doesn’t matter. What’s over’s over. Nobody’s angry with you. Especially not me.” Dean sat up so he could look Cas in the eye. “You don’t have to beat yourself up about this, Cas.”
"No, it's not…" Cas sighed. He wasn't doing the best job articulating how he felt. Yes, he felt guilty, but looking back on his life in their home universe, he felt sad. Dean didn't understand.
"I said he could have me because we had to stop the Darkness, and you didn't need me." He'd long battled feelings of uselessness, of feeling like he was just waiting for the next time that he'd be forced to fight Dean, or the next time he'd make a fatal mistake. "I was doing nothing, I was sitting in the bunker and watching Netflix all day. I was scared to leave."
He didn't know what those fears amounted to, or why, but it was the same as the way he holed himself up playing Tetris for hours at a time or lost himself in puzzles.
“Of course I needed you. I’m never not gonna need you, Cas.” Dean had suspected this was why Cas had given up at home, and had even said as much to other people, but when it came to talking to someone directly, he always fell apart. “We get to be different here. Anything you feel guilty about, it doesn’t have to exist here.”
"I know," Cas said quietly. "I fought him, Dean. I tried to fight him and get to you, for months."
“I know. I’m sorry I couldn’t help earlier; we couldn’t risk making a move if we didn’t know it’d work, and the whole fucking plan took too long. I never would’ve left you like that if I didn’t have a choice.” Dean gestured, still frustrated with himself. Yes, the Fade crap at worked, but it hadn’t worked fast enough.
"You were gone," Cas said with a frown. "Lucifer said you were gone. All of you." After spending so much time with Lucifer, he knew what he would and would not lie about. Dean had definitely been gone for weeks, and Cas had given up on the need to fight back.
“We were,” Dean said with a scowl. “Some bitch messed up a spell and a bunch of us were stuck in some bullshit suburban alternate reality. We only got back a few days ago, the first thing we did was go and get you back.” Mentioning Alison didn’t seem smart, now or ever. Never thinking about it again felt like a solid plan.
Cas nodded, glancing away. Any longer, and he would have been dead. He just knew it.
His mind still felt sluggish and exhausted, and it took him several seconds for him to actually think about what Dean had said. He frowned, his brow furrowing, and the looked back at Dean. "Wait, what?"
"Where were you?"
“It sounds insane. We were in a New England suburban craphole, loaded up with false memories. It was like Zachariah on meth.” Dean shook his head, shifting again so he could settle next to Cas with his head on the pillow. “You were there. Sort of.”
Cas felt like he could relax against his pillow when Dean was lying beside him. He didn't feel the pressure that he ought to get up and prove he was all right. "I was there?"
“I still remembered you.” Dean actually had to laugh in disbelief. “You were my… tragically dead boyfriend that I met in the Marines. I was so fucked up that I went home to a sham marriage. If I hadn’t lived through it, I’d think it was some kind of joke.”
Cas listened in silence. He didn't respond with words, but he reached over and laid his hand heavily over Dean's.
Dean turned his hand so he could hold Cas’s, his grip almost painfully tight. The silence stretched on until Dean broke it with: “I missed you.”
Cas smiled faintly. He was exhausted, hurting, and he knew he wasn't going to recover from this for a long time. His grace was gone, his angelic power destroyed for good, but he didn't belong with angels, anyway.