Of Use to You
“What the hell were you thinking, man!?” Dean bellows, fist knotted firmly in the lapel of his trench. “Disappearin’ off for three weeks, no phone calls, no texts, no nothing? Again!? Dammit, Cas, we already covered why you can’t do that!”
Cas swallows, looking sheepishly down at his dress shoes. He wishes he could make Dean understand the existential guilt he feels for not being good enough, for failing so often and causing so much trouble. He doesn’t want to be a burden.
“I only wanted to help, Dean,” he argues softly. “I wish to be of service to you, to the greater good, and the best way I know how is sometimes in Heaven.”
“Oh, so you want to help?” Dean inquires, nodding sarcastically. “Is that it, Cas? Really?”
“Yes, Dean,” Cas whispers. He feels childish for feeling so close to tears.
Dean lets out an exasperate huff, releasing the lapel of his coat. “Well, that’s just peachy, Cas. ‘Cause from where I stand, you’re so desperate to get away from us that you’re willing to run back into your dick family’s open arms just to get there.”
Cas stares at him incredulously, eyes wide. “No, Dean! That isn’t true. I swear with every fiber of my being, on the name of my Heavenly Father, that I only want to be here with you.”
“So who the hell’s stoppin’ ya?” Dean scoffs, arms folded dubiously.
“I am!” Cas cries, feeling frustrated to the point of tears that he can’t make Dean understand. “I…I fail so much, Dean, at everything I do! So often, you and Sam are forced to come to my aid. I can’t be a burden to you, Dean!”
Cas feels tears prick the corner of his eyes as he concludes his little tirade. Now it’s Dean’s turn to stare at him incredulously.
“The hell you talkin’ about, man?” he huffs, the hostility dropping slightly from his tone. “Nobody’s a burden here. You’re family. Haven’t I told you that already?”
“So you say,” Cas sighs, fiddling with his cufflink. “But you and Sam are so…useful. You’ve saved the world on numerous occasions, and are of service to it with each passing day. I…I can’t allow myself to be in the presence of two such heroic individuals without being useful to them.”
Cas expects Dean to make some other argument, to shout or contradict him. Instead, he feels a gentle arm on his shoulder, guiding him to sit down next to him on the bed.
“Look, buddy,” Dean sighs. All hostility is gone now, and Cas hopes that means he understands. “I know what you’re feelin’ right now, I swear I do. But you gotta understand, Cas, you’re not a burden. Not to me, or Sam, or anybody.”
“But-” Cas starts to protest, but Dean’s index finger pressed to his lips silences him.
“You pulled me out of Hell, Cas,” Dean says emphatically. “And I don’t care if you only did it ‘cause God told you to: you saved me, and I owe you everything. Everyone I’ve saved since then would’ve been dead if it wasn’t for you.” There’s a pause. “You tried to do the same for Sammy, too, if memory serves.”
“Well, I did a pretty piss poor job of it,” Cas points out.
“Yeah, but you tried: he was in the Cage, man. With Lucifer. All the king’s horses and all the king’s men wouldn’t of touched that thing with a ten foot pole, but you still went down there and you tried to get my little brother out for me. That means something, even if I couldn’t see it back then.”
Cas says nothing this time, so Dean continues, “And you’ve saved the world too, you know.”
“I helped,” Cas corrects. “Yelled profanities at an archangel before setting him on fire. It’s hardly comparable to what you and Sam did.”
“You sacrificed your life, like, three times over, but that ain’t the point: Raphael was gonna re-open the Cage if he ran the show. I didn’t take it too seriously then, but I should of. Point is, you stopped him, Cas. All on your own.” A million arguments about Sam’s wall and the Leviathan jump to Cas’s mind, but Dean interrupts preemptively, “And yeah, I don’t feel all too good about the stuff you did to get there, but…at the end of the day, Cas, it needed to be done. You…” He shrugs his shoulders. “…You saved the world.”
Cas stares down at his lap, expression unreadable. Dean pivots his legs to face him fully.
“Point is, Cas, you’ve already done more for us and the world than anyone could ask for. Yeah, a lot of the time it blows up in your face, but that’s just the consequences of playin’ big: hell, Babe Ruth struck out more than any player in major league baseball.”
Cas looks up, brow pursed in confusion. “Why was an infant playing major league baseball, Dean?”
Dean ignores the question, not wanting to get sidetracked from the matter at hand. “And even if you weren’t, do you really think I’d care? I don’t want you to be useful, Cas. I don’t want your accomplishments. I’m not your dickhead family. I just want you, here, with me. That’s all.”
Dean’s sure this will get through to him, and feels hopeful when Cas appears to pontificate on it.
“You didn’t want me when I was human.”
Dean blinks, taken aback by the statement, and Cas continues, “And moreover, in your own words, without my powers I am a ‘baby in a trench coat.’” He encapsulates the phrase with air-quotes, but even that doesn’t detract from the sting of what he’s saying. “I mean no offense, Dean, but all signs point to the fact that you don’t want me here unless I can be of use to you.”
Dean gapes for a moment or two, jaw flapping silently open and closed like a fish. “Cas, that’s not true,” he manages finally. “I was a dick when you were a human, okay? I made a lot of mistakes and I wasn’t all that considerate of your feelings, but I never didn’t want you. I wanted you when I told you to go, I wanted you when I found you at the Gas-n-Sip, and I especially wanted you when I had to watch you leave again. I just blew my chance, is all.”
Cas looks only moderately convinced, but Dean goes on, “And the same goes for the things I said to you about you not having powers. If I was dick to you about being out of juice, it was because I was being just that: a dick. And I’ve always wanted you, Cas, as long as I can remember. I swear I did.”
Cas still says nothing, but his posture softens slightly. Dean breaths a quiet sigh of relief when Cas’s hand finds his, squeezing it gently.
“Thank you, Dean,” he says softly.
“Don’t mention it.” There’s a brief pause before Dean clears his throat, and adds somewhat awkwardly, “I love you.”
“I love you, too.”
There’s a long moment of quiet before Dean recollects himself, remembering why he was “angry” to begin with.
In a sudden burst of passion, he reaches up and grabs Cas by the tie, pulling him in for a rough, aggressive kiss that makes him blink in (not unpleasant) surprise.
“I’m still pissed with you, you know,” he growls, breath hot against his angel’s lips as he aggressively undoes his tie. “You left -” He yanks his khaki trench coat off of his shoulders. “-for three full weeks, without so much as a peep. And by morning, your ass is gonna regret it.”
Cas has no idea what to make of this as Dean goes for his buttons, pausing briefly to look him in the eye. “Safeword?”
“G-garrison,” Cas manages, voice uncharacteristically low.
“Good. Mine’s Impala. Tonight, for a change, I’m gonna be the one on top.”