Sometimes, I get the feeling that Cas always wants to touch Dean, but he always holds himself back. Look at the way he takes his hand off of Dean’s shoulder, almost as if he had to force himself to snatch his hand away. He keeps himself from hugging Dean as well, clenching his fist to keep from wrapping his arms around him and never letting go. He touches Dean in the context of healing and getting his attention, and it’s always on the forehead or on the shoulder, safe places. The one time he doesn’t, the one time he puts his hand on Dean’s cheek in a lover’s touch, it’s both to heal him and to reassure Cas that yes, Dean is there, Dean is real, Dean is not dead- but he’s still holding himself back (and I will forever love 8x17 for showing just how much Cas keeps inside; there’s such as stark difference between the raw emotion in his internal struggle with Naomi, and the quiet reserve he shows Dean when he apologizes). Just as he keeps himself from saying “You broke the connection,” he also keeps himself from collapsing into Dean’s arms and clinging to him for the rest of his life. Because Cas has convinced himself that he doesn’t deserve Dean, his affection, his touch, his love. Cas is so sunk in his self-loathing that he’s constantly restraining himself around Dean, keeping his hands to himself, not seeking out anything from him, not telling him how he feels, in fear that if he does, he’ll end up getting everything that he wants but should never get.