I assume that whats *actually* going to happen is that we are going to see Dean grieving irreparably for 5 episodes, broken, inconsolable, empty, missing his everything, and then when Castiel reappears they will pat each other on the shoulders, fist bump, and say something like “Glad you’re back, bro,” and “me too, bro.”
But imagine what it *could* be:
–Castiel embraces Dean, like he always does, desperate, wrapping him up, hiding in his body.
–At first, Dean is just happy, just the same look he had when Castiel hugged him before he went to fight the Darkness.
–But Castiel doesn’t let go, and after a moment, Dean just… he *breaks*. The same way he did when he was wrapping Castiel’s body. His face breaks, and his body breaks, and he buries his head in Castiel’s neck.
–“Thought you were gone,” he says, so quietly. Castiel wouldn’t be able to hear him, if the sound wasn’t rumbling against his chest. “I thought…”
–“I will always come back to you, Dean. Always.”
–“But I thought…”
–“Always.” Like a growl. Castiel holds him tighter, more possessively.
–“Ok Cas. Ok.” But Dean still doesn’t let go.
–After that, Dean hovers around Castiel in the bunker. He doesn’t let Castiel out of his sight. He touches his elbow to help him up and down, when he sits in a chair or stands. He touches the small of his back when he goes in or out of a room. He sits on the arm or back of whatever chair Castiel sits on. Or on the floor, at his feet. He is always touching Cas, always. Some part of him, his hands, or his knees under the table, or his back against Castiel’s legs when he sits on the floor.
–All day, Dean is touching Cas. All day, Dean can’t stop watching him.
–Castiel understands. He lets him.
–Dean follows Castiel into his room, in the evening, when Castiel goes there.
–“But you don’t sleep,” Dean says, when they are inside and his hand is on Castiel’s waist and Castiel has closed the door behind them.
–Why has he never asked about this before? Almost a decade, and Castiel has never slept, and has never watched over him, after he asked him not to, and he never asked what Castiel does, in the night, before.
–Why has he never asked? Why? “What do you do, in the night?” Hand still on Castiel’s waist.
–Castiel looks at him. “I read. Or I listen to music. The tape that you made me…”
–“The tape that you made me. Or I rest, and release some of my grace, to power the wards of the bunker.”
–“You do that?”
–Castiel nods, solemnly. “Or I extend it to… check on you and Sam. To make sure you are ok. If you are having a nightmare, and I am… extended in that way, I stop it.”
–“That’s what you do, every night?”
–Castiel nods again. “Every night.”
–Dean looks at the floor. He shifts nervously on his feet. He knows what he wants, but he doesn’t know how to ask for it.
–Castiel understands. Dean has been touching him all day. Dean was afraid that he was gone, and that he wasn’t going to come back.
–“You can sleep here, tonight, if you want to.”
–Dean looks up at him quickly, almost startled, and his eyes are big and green and round and wet.
–“Ok, Cas,” he rumbles. His voice is like big gray stones rolling over each other.
–He doesn’t have his pajamas but he would have to let go of Cas to go get them. So he doesn’t. He toes off his shoes, his socks. He pulls off his jeans, and his flannel, while Castiel watches him, sincerely. Until he his just in his boxers and his tshirt.
–Castiel has not taken his eyes off him.
–Dean blushes, looks away. Rubs his hand on the back of his neck.
–“You too,” he says, looking at the ground, and then, still not looking Castiel in the eye, starts to tug at Castiel’s trenchcoat.
–Until Castiel understands, and shrugs it off. And his suitcoat, his tie. His overshirt, his pants.
–He stands there in front of Dean, in his white boxers and his white undershirt. His eyes are so deep where they look at Dean. So full of emotion. He reaches out and takes Dean’s hand. He raises it to his mouth. He presses a kiss to Dean’s knuckles.
–“Ok, Dean. Ok.”
–And when Dean hears his voice he crumbles, crumbles into Castiel’s embrace again, like he did in the morning. His face is wet. “Cas,” he says. “I thought you were…”
–“Shh, Dean. I know. I know, love.” And he lifts Dean, gently. Dean wraps his arms around Castiel’s neck, though Castiel only carries him a few feet. To the bed.
–He lays Dean down, so gently. He lays Dean down and climbs in after him.
–Dean turns so he can face Castiel’s chest. He buries his head there, again. “Cas. I thought you were….”
–“I know, Dean. I know. It’s OK. I’m here.” Castiel kisses the top of his head. “It’s OK. I’m here. I will always come back to you. Always.”
–“I thought… I had to dress your body, Cas. I had to…”
–“I know. I know, Dean. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.”
–Dean hiccups. “I thought… Don’t leave me again, Cas. Please. Not ever again.”
–“Never again, Dean. I promise.”
–Dean cries for a while longer, but Castiel holds him tight to his chest. He presses soft kisses into his hair. His thumb rubs circles into the small of Dean’s back.
–“I’m here. Dean. I’m here. I promise.” He keeps repeating it until Dean stops crying. He keeps repeating it until Dean falls asleep.
–Castiel doesn’t sleep. He holds Dean. He soothes him every time is face twitches in his sleep. He holds him and he kisses him softly, and he keeps him safe.
–And even after Dean is asleep, even when it is the full dark of the night and when it is beginning to flower with dawn, he repeats it, over and over. “I’m here, Dean. Never again. I promise.”