Dean surprises everyone when he hands Cas the iPhone, brand new in its pristine white box. The angel is overwhelmed; he knew his flip phone was outdated but this…
“And wait,” Dean smiles, grabbing another package from the bag. “I haven’t even shown you the best part yet.”
They’re headphones, large ones in a big box and a little plastic container of smaller ear buds. They both have the label Shure on the side, a fact that has Sam’s hazel eyes wide and Castiel blushing under the lavishness of the gifts. “Dean, I don’t need–”
“I know,” Dean says. His smile, though hesitant and shy, is beautiful. “I, uh, I wanted to. ‘Sides, can’t have you listening to shitty tunes on shitty headphones, y'know?”
The phone has already been set up, a fact Castiel is eternally grateful for. The angel watches as Dean explains how the device works, tapping at the screen and plugging in the huge headphones and carefully placing them over Cas’s ears. Castiel flinches in response: “Sorry.”
“Nah, don’t worry about it,” Dean replies. His smile is brave and fake, and Cas hates it. He wishes he could relax. He wishes he could stop being anxious and sad. But ever since he expelled Lucifer and killed Amara, things have been—different. Loud noises make him jump, unexpected touches make him cringe and flinch, and he often loses himself in his own thoughts.
“Hey, here, I wanna show you something.” This time, Dean warns him before touching him, his calloused fingers smoothing over his arm as his other hand hovers over the phone. “I’m gonna press play, okay? You’ll like it, I promise.”
With the knowledge that the song will be a surprise, Castiel tenses up, his shoulders almost touching his ears. He nods and bites his lip, almost to the point of blood.
Dean’s green eyes become dull and worried in response, and the hunter gives a little nod of his own. He presses play. Cas flinches pre-emptively.
And then it’s just… alright. Good, even.
In the place of music, the sound of rain filters through his headphones. It’s a little bit of a shock at first, he has to turn the volume down because the bouts of thunder make him jump, but after a while, it becomes—relaxing. The sound is repetitive, soft, the thunder is low and grumbly, and it soothes Cas until he’s comfortable enough to slump in his seat. Dean, who at some point has sat down beside him, easily takes Castiel’s weight against his shoulder. When he wraps an arm around the angel, Cas doesn’t even flinch.
Soon after, the rain changes to the hum of a washing machine, but instead of another ten minutes of blissful white noise, the sound is soon interrupted by something sharper. It’s still a low sound, though, and with how relaxed Castiel is, the angel doesn’t startle.
So, uh, hey Cas, it’s me. Ah… Dean.
A smile begins to creep across Cas’s lips.
Shit. Fuck, of course it’s me—um, yep. So, it’s Dean. And I just. I just wanted to talk, I guess. I know it’s been kinda, uh, tough since you got back, and I know we don’t talk about it, but I’m… I’m worried, Cas. And I know I’m a coward. And I know I’m probably bein’ selfish right now, but it’s killin’ me to watch you waste away to nothing, man. I, ah, I love you too much for that. Like, I love you a lot, a-and—fuck. I’m not… doin’ this right.
Look, what I, I guess what I’m tryin’ to say is that… I don’t care why you did it. I don’t. I care about you, Cas. And if you don’t love me back, that’s cool, and if you do, well… A shaky breath. Well, then, we move at your pace. But you’re all I care about. You gotta believe that.
Kay, um, well, I love you.
Cas doesn’t know he’s crying until Dean is wiping at his cheeks, freckled skin drowning in ruby red warmth as the hunter coos and hushes him. Castiel grasps Dean’s wrists tightly and carefully leans in, his breath shaky and laboured and nervous before he presses the sweetest of chaste kisses upon the other’s lips. Immediately after, Cas buries his face in Dean’s neck and hugs his hunter tightly. “Thank you,” he breathes.
Dean’s small, relieved smile presses against the top of Castiel’s head. “Yeah, god, anytime, Cas,” he breathes. “L-love you.”
It takes a handful of seconds before Cas can gather up the air to answer—before he’s absolutely certain this is real. Fingers twisting in the material of Dean’s shirt, the angel nods, throat clicking with his swallow. His lips part.