“Yeah, and we know how that turned out.”
“He refused to destroy the world.” Castiel’s foot moved to stroke up Dean’s leg. “For love.”
“Yeah, well,” Dean muttered and felt his eyes sting.
“So I am asking you, for love, let me stay with you.” He sat up a little, supporting himself on his elbow. “I came back to be with you,” he said earnestly. “I could have been born. I could have started over fresh, with no memories of what I was. But in the end, I could not make that choice. I would rather be with you than be . . . anywhere.”
Dean looked away a moment, overwhelmed by this. He cleared his throat. “Seriously, do you want to be a hunter? Because this life sucks. It’s exhausting. We get hurt every job, we break bones, I’ve had tons of stitches, I’ve been shot, for God’s sake.”
“I want to be with you,” Castiel said patiently. “And if that means being a hunter, then I’ll be a hunter.”
“You have no training, no skills, no strength — I feel like I could bench-press you.”
Castiel looked at him, still patient. “Would you like to arm wrestle?”
Dean narrowed his eyes. “I should never have taught you to joke.”
“Yet you did.” He looked away, still faintly smiling. That smile was Castiel’s smile, just like the dry, quiet tone and the way he said Dean’s name. It was weird to look at that face and not see the Castiel he knew, but his Castiel was inside that body, somehow. “I remember things I knew. I have knowledge and certain skills — perhaps not the strength that I had before, but enough.”
“But, Cas,” Dean began.
“Don’t leave me behind,” Castiel said. “Bobby and Sam are good men, but I want to be with you.”
“I want to be with you, too,” Dean muttered and wound his arms around Castiel’s neck to pull him close. Castiel gave a quiet laugh and leaned into him, his head resting against Dean’s neck and his arms going around Dean’s waist. “The two of us in the Impala, driving from one corner of the country to the other . . . is that what you want, Cas?”
“So long as I am with you, I don’t care where we are or what we do.” He raised his head to look at Dean. “Be with me, Dean. Let me stay with you.”
“Yes,” Dean whispered, “God, yes,” and he kissed Castiel.
In the morning they didn’t need to say anything — it was in their faces, in the way they hands brushed each other as they ate. Sam had said before that he could deal with the two of them together, and now that it was right in front of him he kept smiling at them like he couldn’t quite believe it. Dean smiled back and shrugged, hoping he wouldn’t have to explain it out loud. It was just — it. Castiel was It. He was home, he was always, he was just It.
“Castiel is coming with me,” he told Bobby, who was making an effort not to make any comments on the new development.
“Are you sure you’re ready for this?” Bobby asked Castiel.
Castiel nodded, wide-eyed. “I am. I know Dean will teach me well.” He smiled at Dean, and Dean couldn’t help but beam back.
When they went out to the Impala and Dean tossed their duffel bag into the trunk, Sam looked from one to the other. “Promise me you’ll take care of him,” he said to Castiel.
“With my life,” Castiel said.
Dean grinned at that and opened the driver side door. “Get in.” Castiel started to go around the car but Dean stopped him. “Get in this side.”
“It’s time for your first lesson,” Dean said, beaming at Castiel’s delighted smile as he understood what Dean meant. He put his keys in Castiel’s hand. “I’m teaching you how to drive.”