It’s something he was planning on saying all night but had been trying to hold in simultaneously. Now he says it, like breeze.
“Stay here tonight.”
Castiel turns around and looks at him. Dean thought he’d never see him again, but he’s back. Alive and real and Cas. Dean feels like he’s been constantly out of breath ever since Cas returned that morning, suddenly on the doorstep of Dean’s motel room.
Dean can’t quite seem to settle, unable to keep his eyes from Castiel. One moment, and he could fade.
“Why?” Castiel asks, curious more so than confused.
“Because,” Dean manages, “…because you’ve been gone, alright? You were dead, and we…. I thought we would never see you again. And I-” Dean’s voice falters. He walks over to Castiel and stands in front of him, his eyes gliding over his face. Every inch of him is real, solid, not like the dreams he’d been having.
Sam and Dean had been getting separate rooms ever since Dean was awake for hours every night and just paced around the room aimlessly. When Dean slept, he’d been having dreams of Castiel being alive and he’d wake up and realize it wasn’t real. He’d rather not sleep than go through that every single night. But this, he wasn’t going to let this be a dream as well.
“Take off your coat, come on.” When Cas just frowns again, Dean does it himself. He slides the beige coat from Castiel’s shoulders and drapes it over the back of a chair.
“Dean, I’m fine with sleeping in the other motel room.”
“I’m not.” Dean rasps. “Please, Cas, don’t go.” Having Castiel around is worth sharing his emotions for. “Not again.”
Cas looks down. He looks different without his trench coat, more human. Maybe he is, in fact, a little more human. Castiel said he isn’t sure, and it’s how he’s been acting all day. Insecure. Dean can feel it whenever he looks at him, and that’s also what scares him.
“I’m sorry.” Castiel looks up to him. “I tried so hard, Dean, I tried so hard to live. For you, for Sam. I tried to stay with you and I failed. I didn’t come back with a win for you.”
“Cas-” Dean grabs his shoulder, solid and real and warm. He looks in Castiel’s blue eyes and realizes how much he’d actually missed him. “Listen.” He begins unsteadily. “You coming back is a win for us, you hear me? You being here is enough.” Dean’s hand slides from Cas’ shoulder. “It’s all I wanted. And that’s why I want you to stay here tonight.”
“I don’t think I’m following.”
“Come on, Cas! What if you leave tonight and I come into your room tomorrow and you’re gone? What if something happens and you- you are gone for good? What if you die? What if- what if I can’t…” Dean curls his fingers into a fist. “What if I can’t let you go again?”
There’s something in Castiel’s eyes that change. It’s surprise, mostly, surprise and confusion and something Dean only recognizes from very few people in his life.
“The last thing I want is to leave another time,” Cas says. “And I- I understand now.”
Dean nods, suddenly empty where words should be, and swallows.
“Then stay. Come on, bed’s big enough.”
As Dean undresses in the darkness, with Castiel on the other side of the bed, Castiel suddenly speaks.
Dean turns around, with his shirt almost off but still hanging on his neck and arm. He can’t see Cas’ face, but he can hear his breathing.