“I watched you rake leaves,” Castiel says one day.
Dean lifts his head to look at him in bewilderment. He’s seated cross legged on the bed of the motel room he and Sam are staying in, cleaning his guns to pass the time. With Sam gone to the library he’s left alone with Cas, who stands only a few feet from the foot of the bed.
“What?” Dean asks, not sure he heard right.
“At Lisa Braedon’s house,” Cas clarifies, and suddenly it’s like a dam bursting. “You were raking leaves, and I was there, even though you couldn’t see me. I watched you because I-” he breaks off. “I don’t know why. But I did.”
Deans nods quietly and places his gun in front of him, giving his full attention to Castiel. He’s not sure where this is coming from and not sure where it’s going, but Cas speaks as though he’s been holding it in for a long time, so the least he can do is listen.
“When we were in Purgatory, it killed me to be separated from you. I heard your prayers every night, and every night I had to force myself not to fly to you. I thought it would get easier, but it only got harder.” Cas breaks eye contact in favor of staring at his shoes, and closes his eyes. He’s shaking now.
“Do you have any idea,” his voice is quiet and broken. “how hard that was? How much that hurt? To hear the man you raised from Hell reach out to you every night and be unable to go to him?”
Cas opens his eyes. Dean draws in a breath, unaware he had stopped breathing.
“And then when I was under Naomi’s control-” Cas sounds like he’s scarily close to tears, and Dean feels the need to pull him into his arms, to tell him he doesn’t have to say anything he doesn’t want to, but he doesn’t, because Cas has decided he should. “For my training, she… she made me kill copies of you. Thousands of them, Dean. All of them were you.”
In a remarkably human gesture, Cas lifts the heel of his hand to his eye and takes a deep breath. “Every. Single. One of them,” he shakes out.
“At first I begged for her not to make me do it. And then I cried when I realized I had no other choice. I threw up after the first time, and then it took me hundreds of times to stop crying. After that I was just… dead inside.”
Cas is talking a mile a minute at this point, but he stops and finally meets Dean’s eye, dropping his hand to his side. Dean’s heart breaks at the sight of him. He looks so small and sad, and even though Dean knows he’s millions of years old, he looks young. His eyes are wide and scared.
“And-and then-” he cuts himself off, unable to continue. When he speaks he looks right at Dean, and his voice has slowed down and dropped to a whisper.
“I watched you rake leaves.”
Dean is off the bed in an instant, and it only takes him two strides to reach Cas. Then he takes his tear-streaked face in his hands, pulls him forward, and kisses him. Hard.