Dean’s never had a desk to place a picture on before. He’s never had walls that show his touch and lamps that don’t collect dust because they’re always being used. He’s never had a bed he’s known he can return to, sheets that will keep his smell, or a room that will remember him.
He places his mother’s picture on his desk, and for a moment he imagines that if he’d grown up in a real life and in a healthy home he might have never thought anything about this, that framed portraits of his family might be commonplace and not a travelling grave marker. His mother might have made his bed and made him breakfast in the morning, nagged him over the mess on his floor and playing his music too loud, but perhaps at least he can live a bit of that now, for her. For himself, if he can ever manage it.
Down the hall he can hear steps approaching, but he doesn’t turn into the noise; for the first time, in a long time, his guard is down. His door already stands ajar when his guest walks through it, invited in by Dean’s hidden smile as he thumbs the warn corner’s of the photograph.
"She was beautiful," a voice behind him says, and Dean’s hand falls as his breath falters.
"She was," he responds, failing to hide the tremor in his tone as he turns around to find the eyes of the stranger. Well, Cas was no longer a stranger of course, and certainly not here, as welcome in his room as anyone (and hey, Dean didn’t choose a bedroom with a queen for nothing). He clears his throat. “So, uh, what do you think of the new digs?”
Cas glances around, eyes lingering on the purgatory blade hung among the weapons on the wall before his eyes settle on the record player by the bed. “It’s very… you,” he says simply, in a way that sounds like it’s both a wry admonishment and a compliment all at once. God, Dean’s missed that over the months.
"So," Dean sighs, "you, um, sticking a round for a bit? Give me a chance to give you the whole tour?" he asks, cocky grin only a weak cloak for the loud beating of his heart beneath his chest.
Cas flicks his eyes down to Dean’s desk one last time before offering a small smile. “If you’ll have me,” he answers, with a tinge of projected nonchanlance that Dean thinks a bit sadly that he’s learned too well from him.
Dean’s grin grows genuine. “Well, then let me tell you, man, you’ve got to feel this bed.”
This time next year, Dean will perch a second picture on his desk. Perhaps it’s never too late for family portraits.