AU - canon, H/C, romance.
temporary canonical character death, spoilers for seasons 4-7.
It took five opportunities before Sam decided it was the right time to kiss Castiel.
Sam is a caring person by nature, much like his late mother Mary. Dean’s always been more like John when it comes to dealing with emotions, crises, which is what he’s doing now. Leaving Sam to deal with Castiel and his ‘bender’.
Seeing Castiel lose hope, faith, in his Father – like Dean and Sam had so many times with John – ruins Sam. Dean isn’t around to keep them apart, to have his staring matches with Castiel, so Sam’s self-imposed leash disappears.
Sam is across the room, touching Castiel’s shoulders, arms, asking him questions, worrying. Being shot down each time by Castiel with his painful jabs and his dry way of speaking doesn’t stop Sam from trying his best to be a good friend. It doesn’t stop him from wanting to console Castiel in a more physical way either.
Castiel’s angry demeanor eases back after a bit. He’s answering the questions, making eye contact, licking his lips, and sighing a bit less frequently. Overall, it’s an improvement. Sam’s heart races, stutters painfully in his chest, when Castiel leans in. But what Castiel says (“Don’t ask stupid questions.”) makes Sam decide against giving Castiel the comfort he’s been longing to ever since that first day.
Maybe it would only make Sam feel better anyway.
Sam backs off again, leash around his neck once more, and keeps his hands shoved in his pockets to keep from reaching out for Castiel when he sways from the alcohol in his system.
The time Sam spends in Hell doesn’t change the way he feels about Castiel. He wishes it would have, but it doesn’t. He can’t shake any of it away.
When his soul comes back, Sam is drawn to the angel, calling him as soon as he has a moment alone. Castiel’s response is immediate, which is completely unexpected since Sam is not Dean.
Sam is desperate to wrap Castiel in his arms, to kiss him like he had always wanted to, to have him in a way he’s never (ever) wanted another man. But Castiel isn’t a man, not really. He’s something that has Sam fascinated and tragically obsessed.
It’s hard to recall most of the things Sam did when his soul was absent, but he knows he didn’t approach Castiel in the way he wants to now. He hadn’t done it without his soul because logic told him Castiel was dangerous, too strong to risk getting close to. Maybe that’s the only time his soul-less self was right.
Castiel is rushing over to Sam just as Sam wants him to, needs him to. It all goes wrong when Sam realizes he wants so much more than just the hug that Castiel is preparing to offer. But Sam can’t expect that from an angel; can’t demand that of a warrior of God. So, Sam sits back down, abrupt and cold, and pretends it’s awkward when it’s anything but.
Sam is the one who needs to come to terms with how out of place his feelings are for this unfathomable creature. Castiel shouldn’t be the one staring off to the side, looking unwanted and small.
Dean’s given up on Castiel, not for the first time. It’s horrible not because Castiel is innocent – far from it – but because Castiel has never once given up on Dean. So Sam continues to try, even if his brother does sound like he may be right this time.
They see Castiel on the news, and Sam is afraid. He can’t deny he’s afraid of what this means for the world. The way Castiel has humans bound, forced into obedience like cattle. But mainly Sam is afraid for Castiel. Castiel’s more-than-vessel, his skin, is withering away, falling apart, dying. Wouldn’t that mean Castiel is dying, too?
Sam doesn’t waste time, doesn’t worry about Dean telling him it’s a bad idea; he calls Castiel.
Sam could cry, he’s so happy when Castiel appears in their hotel room. All he wants to do is tell Castiel he’s family, tell him they’ve all made mistakes. He wants to clean him up – or omit that part altogether – then kiss him, hold him, keep him. Make sure he knows how much he means to Sam. He wants to say that Castiel’s proven how good he is by coming back. And maybe all that will convince Castiel to stay on their side this time.
But Dean is there, stern and angry, determined, pushing them out the door. He’s already leading them to the warehouse, so Castiel can return the souls.
Sam doesn’t get a chance to tell Castiel anything before Castiel is gone again – slipping through the spaces of Sam’s fingers.
(He wishes he hadn’t been there to witness Castiel’s vessel collapsing on itself, oozing out black liquid, and ultimately exploding in the water. It would have been so much easier to sleep at night.)
There’s not much left in the world that Sam wants, but Castiel is still one of those things.
Sam’s final chance comes after Castiel returns – sanity questionable at best – to their side.
It’s so close to go-time; too close to death again. There’s no telling if they’ll make it out alive this time, even if Castiel decides to help them.
Leviathans are strong, pure evil. Proof being the way they ripped out of Castiel like he was nothing.
Sam’s not going to risk it this time. He’s done pretending, fighting it, denying himself his last chance of happiness.
Sam calls for Castiel, says he just wants to talk, and it’s largely true.
When Castiel arrives, smile a bit too large, his clothes crisp and white, and his hair entirely too normal for how erratic he is now, Sam takes a deep breath.
This is and will always be Castiel to Sam, so he doesn’t hesitate any longer. He kisses Castiel, fingers tangling in the dark strands, dragging him closer, and taking in every second of this bliss. And Castiel – perfect, kind, selfless Castiel – only tenses for a moment before he melts into it. He seems much more normal than he’s looked in months, years, when Sam pulls away.
Castiel whispers ‘thank you’ against Sam’s mouth during the third and fourth kisses.
The next day, Castiel tells Dean he’s joining their fight against Dick Roman. He doesn’t mention that it’s Sam’s honest, strong-willed, stubborn behaviour that’s convinced him because it doesn’t matter. He wants the Winchesters to stay alive and well, especially now that he has one to keep.
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