The words feel like jagged pieces of glass as he pushes them out his throat.
“You can’t stay here.”
Cas looks up at him, hurt, confused, unbelieving.
Dean can’t fucking believe it himself. Cas is finally here, finally home, he’s human and can’t fly off, and Dean is telling him to leave. He’s fighting against every fucking instinct to hold tight, to beg Cas to stay, and he hates it.
What he hates even more is the way Cas’ face evens out, goes smooth and blank, as he looks down at his hands. Resigned to it all.
“It’s…temporary, I promise,” Dean starts, desperate to make Cas understand, without revealing why. “We just have to figure-”
“It’s fine Dean.”
No it’s not. It’s not fine at all, and Dean wants to scream and down a bottle of whisky and punch someone, or get punched himself. He wants to get Ezekiel out of his brother’s body. He wants his brother happy and healthy and whole. He wants Cas here, with them, while they figure out the world together. He wants to reach out and touch the potential that’s been simmering for the last five years.
Instead, he softly replies, “Okay.”
He fucking hates this.
Cas seems to rouse, pulling his spine straight and gives a short nod to Dean as he flatly says, “I’ll just collect some things and be on my way.”
“Cas, wait, just, sleep, spend the night, and we can get you somewhere in the morning. Okay? Please don’t-just, stay. Stay for tonight.”
For a moment, Dean is truly terrified that Cas will refuse even this. That he’ll gather up his things and leave immediately. That he’ll leave forever. But Cas relents, softly murmurs assent, and they both stand, an awkward shuffle before they move towards the hallway of bedrooms.
Even as they walk, Dean can’t help but notice the way they still move in sync, stepping together, bodies turning to leave room for each other as they walk through doorways. He has to hold his breath for a moment, hysterical laughter threatening to burst out with how stupid everything is. Dean slows at a door, across the hall and diagonal from his room, pushing it open to reveal the sparse space.
“This is,” the room I picked for you, “where you can sleep. It’s not much.”
It isn’t. A bed, a bookshelf, a desk with a lamp perched on it. It doesn’t have the decoration of his room, or even the lived in look of Sam’s. But there are two soft pillows on the bed. There’s a small collection of books on the shelves, picked out especially for him by Sam from the Men of Letters library. It’s a place that Dean chose for Cas to make his own. Cas looks around the room, expression blank as he takes a step in the door. Dean doesn’t move out of the way just yet. He lingers, pressed close into his friend’s space, the very tips of his fingers barely grazing the back of Cas’ hand. He wants to be selfish. He wants to slide his fingers up, skim across Cas’ face as he softly presses their lips together, wants to hear the gasps and sighs that he can pull from Cas. Wants to hear what noises Cas might pull from him.
He fucking aches for it.
But he steps away, lets the tension filled moment break as he says a soft parting word and moves to his own room. And when he’s closed the door, deposited his weary self on his bed, he wonders. Five years of missed opportunities and almosts and he’s left questioning if he failed to seize the last chance he’ll ever have.