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Marry Winchester was one more rotation around the dining room away from having a heart attack. Watching her, he couldn’t help but think of the five-point palm exploding heart technique from Kill Bill. Five more steps and she’d die. He considered mentioning that to Cas, but he knew the man wouldn’t understand the reference, so he kept it to himself.

 

Dean was honestly starting to get worried about her as watched from where he was sitting on the recliner. He had long ago tuned out her frenzied worrying and squawking, but her constant arm waving and the pacing was enough to give him an idea of what was happening on the other side of the room.

 

It had started as soon as Sam and Jess walked through the door.

 

“How are you feeling?”

“Have you been eating well?”

“Do you need anything?”

“Sam! Rub your wife's feet.”

“You look exhausted, would you like some lemonade?”

“Are you sure you don’t need anything?”

“Let me get you that lemonade…”

“Sam! Don’t lay down, rub her feet!”

“I apologize, Jessica. I thought I taught him better manners than that.”

“Make sure you eat lots of watermelons… or was it bananas? I want a grandson this time.”

“You’re sleeping on your left side, right? It’s better for your heartburn.”

 

Cas perched on the arm of the recliner and leaned in. “Is she ok?”

 

“Mom or Jess? I think they’re both about to explode.” Dean shook his head at the sight before him. Jess was clearly about to scream, and Sammy had no clue a storm was even coming. The poor guy had passed out on the couch fifteen minutes after they arrived. Jess had laughed it off, citing a late night at work as the cause, but that laughter had died down quickly enough. Now, she looked ready to murder.

 

“Should I help her?” Cas asked, his breath caressing Dean’s ear.

 

Dean shrugged with helplessness. “Wanna throw Claire at my mom?”

 

Cas appeared to think about it for a moment. “Perhaps not literally, but she may be persuaded to entertain your mother…”

 

Dean watched Cas get up and go, beginning his search for Claire. She had run off with Emma as soon as they opened the front door, and they hadn’t been seen since. Mom usually smothered Claire with attention, so he knew Claire would be more than willing to play with her Nana. Mary was the only one who gave her sweets, after all. Just as he thought this, Claire zoomed into the living room and tackled Mary in a hug. Surprised, she jumped but soon collected herself. With an indulgent smile, she picked her up — only wincing slightly at the weight of Claire’s 53-pound frame — and carried her off into the kitchen.

 

Leaving the lazy boy for Cas, Dean got up and plopped himself next to Jess with a sigh.

 

“I’m going to kill that man.” She growled, staring daggers at her sleeping husband.

 

Dean smirked. “Go easy on him, it was a work thing.”

 

“Death,” she confirmed. “A slow and painful death.”

 

Dean changed the subject for the sake of Sam. “So, how’s the bun cooking?”

 

She finally released Sam from her death beam and turned to regard Dean with a raised eyebrow. “You don’t want to know.”

 

“Hit me with it.”

 

“I’m huge as a god damn whale! I knew that you get bigger faster with the second one, but with Emma, I wasn’t so obviously pregnant! Hell, I could still suck it in at 6 months and look pretty normal! I was tiny! I only gained 23 pounds the entire pregnancy. Now? I’m only 14 weeks in and I already gained 15 pounds. I’m going to be a balloon. A big, blonde, bloated, balloon. Don’t even get me started on nausea. Thank god I’m not getting morning sickness but put me in a car and I’ll probably lose my breakfast. I’ve had to start carrying barf bags in my purse. It’ll be a miracle if I survive the drive home without puking my guts out.”

 

Wide-eyed, he could do nothing but stare. “That sucks.”

 

Jess nodded, her jaw clenched in annoyance. “Yes. It does.”

 

“Do you, uh…need anything?”

 

She squinted at him. “A spoon of peanut butter. A big one, got it? I’m talking ice cream scoop size.”

 

He scrambled into the kitchen and started digging around, the panic making him forget where anything was. When he was finally able to remember which drawer the spoons were located, he dipped the spoon into the jar of Skippy and pulled out a giant scoop of the thick substance.

 

“Look, Deedee!” Claire yelled as he retreated, brandishing an oily spatula from where she was situated in front of the kitchen's large island. “Nanna’s letting me mix da veggies! We put them with salt and other spices.”

 

“Paprika, dear.” She supplied. “A few other things too, but we don’t want to overpower the sweet potatoes.”

 

“Yeah. You don’t want ta overpowder the sweet potatoes.” She repeated with a smile.

 

Marry, who had calmed down once she started cooking, turned to Dean. “Let everyone know it will be another twenty on the potatoes. Wake up your brother, too.”

 

He nodded and left, handing the peanut butter to Jess once he made it back to the couch. She accepted it with a spark in her eye before eating half of the treat in one bite. She leaned back and sighed, placing her hand on her slightly protruding belly. “God, that’s good.”

 

“Mom wants me to wake up Sammy. Do you want the honors?”

 

She nodded and grabbed a throw pillow off of the cushion next to her before chucking it at her husband with practiced accuracy.

 

He snorted and sat upright, frantically glancing around to find the threat. “Wassit?”

 

Dean chuckled at his brother and squeezed himself into the 6-inch space left on the recliner. Cas immediately put his arm around Dean and let him more comfortably lean into his side. “Dinner’s gonna be ready soon.”

 

“Huh?” His bleary eyes turned to Dean. “Dinner?”

 

Dean nodded slowly. “Yeah. Dinner.”

 

At Sam’s blank expression, Jessica chucked a second throw pillow at his face. “Yes. You’ve been asleep for an hour.”

 

“Oh?” He stretched and rubbed his eyes. “Sorry, honey.”

 

She looked at Dean. “Did you hear that? He’s saying ‘sorry’.” Jess turned back to Sam. “You are in so much trouble.”

 

Dean turned away to hide his smile. They had made the official announcement a few days ago, but this was the first time they were in the same place as Mary. The woman was… excited. In fact, she was so excited that she had barely paid attention to anyone else. Even Claire and Emma were being largely ignored, not that they even noticed. From what he could tell, the combination of Jessica’s hormones and Mary’s constant phone calls was taking its toll on the usually harmonious couple. Cas and he planned on offering to host another sleepover just so they could rest and reset.

 

Sam turned to Dean. “What did I do?”

 

Dean just shrugged. “Mom was in here.”

 

If his wince was anything to go by, he knew what must have happened. “Sorry, Jess. Do you need anything?”

 

She squinted at him. “Your brother already helped me out.”

 

Sam looked worried. “I’m sorry, honey. Want some water? I’m going to get you some water.”

 

His brother ran out of the room, heading to the kitchen. Dean snickered to himself and elbowed Cas in the side. “Poor guy.”

 

Cas leaned in to whisper. “I told him he needed to cut back on his hours. He said he could handle it.

It's just going to get worse.”

 

Dean just shook his head. “I give it a month before he cracks.”

 

Cas shook with silent laughter. “I give it two weeks. See the fire in her eyes? She’s one more sleepless night from killing him.”

 

 “Thank god we have that spare bedroom. Sam might need to borrow it soon.”

 

“Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.”

 

Thankfully, Mary called to them from the kitchen and instructed them to get settled at the dining table. Once the food was out, Mary took a deep breath and began talking.

 

“I hope you’ll call me if you need anything, Jessica. I can’t have you overexerting yourself while you’re carrying my grandbaby. I’m more than willing to give you a ride wherever you need even if it’s just to pick up groceries. As a matter of fact, I’d be more than happy to take you to your OB appointments! Doesn’t that sound wonderful? Sam wouldn’t have to take any time off and you wouldn’t have to worry about driving! That way, I can make sure you’re staying on top of things. As a matter of fact, you’re taking your prenatal vitamins, right?”

 

Jessica just smiled politely and nodded, knowing that Mary would run out of steam eventually.

 

Dean cleared his throat and tried to interrupt. “So I was at the shop today, and this guy came in asking for-”

 

“Not now, Dean.” She chided. “Now, as I was saying… I know you reduced your hours, and that’s great, but I think you should consider cutting them even more. Nursing is such a stressful job, after all, and gosh… all of those germs! Just last month I was in for a checkup and I came down with a cold the next day! I get anxious just thinking of you being at the hospital while you're pregnant. If you could just-”

 

Dean elbowed Cas in the ribs and directed a pleading look his way. “Do something.”

 

Cas rolled his eyes. “What can I do?”

 

“I don’t know… tell her you're pregnant, too!”

 

Cas let out a snort of laughter, gathering the attention of everyone at the table and cutting Mary off mid-sentence. He tried to turn it into a cough, but once Dean joined in the laughter, it was a lost cause.

 

Dean slapped him roughly in the back. “You, ok?”

 

The slapping produced a bit of a coughing fit, but after a deep breath, he was able to smile politely at the table. “Yes, I’m fine.”

 

“Are you getting sick?” Mary inquired with a frown. “If you are, you shouldn’t be around Jessica. A cold could affect the development of my grandson.”

 

“Or granddaughter.” Sam interrupted.

 

Mary ignored Sam. “Are you feeling well?”

 

The worry on her face seemed genuine and Dean felt a stab of guilt. “He’s fine, mom. Don’t worry.”

 

Cas bumped Dean’s knee with his own and smiled sweetly at him. “I’m well. Thank you for your concern, Mary.”

 

Sam jumped in. “I’m glad you’re so happy for us, mom. Wouldn’t it be awesome if you got some more good news this week?”

 

Dean kicked him under the table. Hard. Sam jumped and glared at him, biting his lip to stop himself from yelling. Dean glared back, silently telling his brother to shut the hell up.

 

“More good news?” She smiled at her son. “Why don’t you eat another serving of potatoes, dear. I don’t think any news would be as good as hearing about my new grandchild.”

 

“Yeah, Sam,” Dean growled and nudged the side dish towards his brother. “Eat some more potatoes.”

 

“You promised me-”

 

Dean kicked him again.

 

“I swear to god, Dean…”

 

“Language!” Mary chastised. “I know I taught you better than that. We’re having a family dinner, Samuel Winchester.”

 

“But, Dean-”

 

Dean kicked him again.

 

Sam turned a glare to Dean and kicked him back hard enough for Dean to let out a low groan of pain.

 

Mary shook her head, used to her children's antics. “As I was saying, even if you don’t get sick, all of those hours are bad for your health. The stress…” she shuddered dramatically. “I can’t even imagine how much stress you’re going through right now. Before I retired, I had a problem with stress. Once I was able to stop working I took a month-long cruise to Europe and that is what I recommend. Have you heard about those families taking babymoons? You should go to Washington and go whale watching. I had a friend who did that with her husband and they loved it! Of course, I’ll come with you so I can watch Emma while you are on the excursions.”

 

“We’ll definitely consider it.” Jessica cut in. “Can you pass the ham, mom?”

 

Mary melted at that. “Of course, dear.”

 

Sam cleared his throat. “Hey, Dean. You know what is another great idea?”

 

Dean moved as if he were going to kick his brother, and smirked at Sam’s flinch. “What?”

 

Sam slid his leg back as far as he could. “I was just going to say that you and Cas should come over so Emma and Claire could play.”

 

“Uh-huh.” He grunted in suspicion. “Sure. That sounds great.”

 

“It would be the perfect opportunity for you to take your head out of your ass and ask-”

 

“Language!” Mary reached over and gave Sam a light smack on the back of his head. “There are children here!”

 

Dean smirked at his brother. “Yeah, Sam. Shut your mouth.”

 

Sam forcefully stabbed a chunk of meat with his fork and shoved it into his mouth. “Yes, mom.”

 

Cas reached down and squeezed Dean’s knee gently. Once he gained Dean’s attention, he leaned in and dropped his voice to a whisper. “Is everything ok? You two have been acting strangely.”

 

Dean shrugged. “Everythings fine.”

 

Cas frowned, but drew away. “Ok.”

 

Dean cleared his throat and resumed glaring at his brother. “Yeah, we can come over tomorrow if you want.”

 

“You sure you’re not going to be busy tomorrow?” Sam asked pointedly.

 

“No.” He replied. “Not tomorrow. I’m as free as a god damned bird.”

 

Sam leaned back in his seat and groaned in exasperation. “Come on, Dean.”

 

“I told you-” He cut himself off, not wanting anyone to catch on to what was going on between the two of them. They were already making a spectacle out of themselves. “Soon.”

 

Mary, annoyed that Sam and Dean were having a cryptic conversation that she wasn’t privy to, interrupted them with a pointed cough. “What are you two talking about?”

 

“Nothing, mom,” Sam assured her. “Just planning a playdate.”

 

“Yeah,” Dean agreed, “just a playdate.”

 

Cas took the opportunity to ask Sam about work and they were able to keep the conversation going throughout the rest of dinner so Mary was unable to continue her nagging. Dean knew Sammy just wanted Dean to propose so some of the attention would be shifted off of them, and while that had been the original plan, a small part of him wanted to wait until his mom exhausted herself before he did it. Fortunately for Sam, Dean Winchester didn’t go back on his word. He would propose to Cas, and soon. There was already a plan in the works, but he was afraid that if he mentioned it to his brother — or anyone else for that matter — something would go horribly wrong. Call him superstitious, but he just wanted to give Cas the proposal he deserved.

 

When they had returned home and Claire had been tucked in, they sandwiched themselves into the couch and flipped on the tv. After a bit of bickering, they settled on watching a nature documentary.

 

“So, what was that all about?”

 

Dean drew his attention away from the polar bear on tv. “Huh?”

 

Cas nudged him. “You and Sam at dinner. What was that all about?”

 

Dean shrugged and snuggled further into Cas’s side. “I don’t know. I think the stress is getting to him.”

 

Cas didn’t say anything for a few minutes. “You two are up to something…”

 

It was only by the grace of God that Dean didn’t tense up at Cas’s words. “Sam is just being weird.”

 

Cas shook his head. “I guess I’ll find out soon enough…”

 

Dean remained silent. If Sam would have just kept his damn mouth shut, Cas wouldn’t have been suspicious. His boyfriend wasn’t stupid. No matter what Dean said, Cas would know something was up. He just hoped that Cas wouldn’t figure it out before he finalized his plans. In lieu of answering, Dean turned and straddled Cas’s hips. Cas squinted up at him, knowing exactly what he was doing, and his expression was one of annoyance. “Dean…”

 

“It’s nothing bad, I promise.” He admitted in an attempt to reassure Cas. Dean carded his fingers through Cas’s hair, combing through any tangles that he came across. “Don’t worry.”

 

“Ok.”

 

And just like that, Cas relaxed into Dean’s gentle touch. He felt a surge of emotion at the trust Cas was giving him. Dean wouldn’t have been able to let go of suspicion so easily, and he had never been happier that his boyfriend was so different from himself. With a smile, he continued letting his nails scrape down the back of Cas’s scalp.

 

Cas let out a low groan and slouched forward, letting his head thump audibly onto Dean’s chest. “Keep doing that.”

 

Dean smiled and pressed his fingers into Cas’s neck, running his thumb down the line of muscle that connected to his shoulders. The man was too tense for his own good, so like putty under Dean's capable fingers, the knots loosened. Cas’s hands came up and gripped Dean’s hip to stop Dean from leaving. As if that would ever happen. Cas’s lap was one of Dean’s favorite places to be. He wasn’t even angling for sex. Yet. Although, if Cas kept groaning like he was then Dean would be changing his mind. He leaned in and placed gentle kisses on Cas’s forehead, covering every inch before moving down his nose and ending at Cas’s parted lips.

 

He pulled away from Cas and bit his lip, watching the man below him with hooded eyes. Cas glanced at him through his dark lashes, and that was all it took for Dean’s dick to take an interest. Returning to the kissing, Dean trailed his hands down Cas’s chest, ending at his slacks. The slight shuffle and raised hips were all the permission he needed to work the button open and uncover the growing bulge in Cas’s boxers.

 

Cas broke away from the open-mouthed kiss. “We should move this to the bedroom.”

 

Dean pouted. “Fine.”

 

Once Dean moved off of Cas, they made their way to their room, pausing only briefly in front of Claire’s open door so they could listen for any noises. It wasn’t uncommon for her to sneak a toy or two into bed and play for a while, but her silence assured them that she was asleep. They flipped off the hallway light and snuck past her room with relieved sighs.

 

As soon as the bedroom door was shut, Dean maneuvered Cas onto the bed and resumed his position. Pants still undone, Dean reached back in and palmed Cas’s boxer covered cock. “Claire’s asleep, babe.”

 

Cas smirked and lifted his hips into Dean’s touch. “Yes, she is.”

 

Dean bit his lip and moved his palm in a slow circle, applying just the right amount of pressure to have Cas’s panting. “You know what that means?”

 

“No idea,” Cas lied. “Why don’t you show me.”

 

Dean winked at him and reached for the side table, putting his nipple within biting distance of Cas’s mouth. Cas sealed his lips around the nub, pulling at it gently before giving it a teasing nibble. Dean’s arm almost gave out as he fumbled in the drawer for the little bottle of lube, unable to find it.

 

“Shit.” He cursed in annoyance. “Hold on, I gotta…”

 

Cas continued his teasing, letting his fingers pinch the other one. “What was that?” he asked innocently.

 

“Cas…” he whined, still fumbling for the lube. His fingers grazed the round bottle and sent it skittering away. “Fuck.”

 

“Get the lube, Dean,” Cas growled, arousal clear in his voice. Taking advantage of Dean’s kneeling position, Cas reached into Dean’s pants and gripped his cock.

 

Despite Cas doing all in his power to turn Dean into a puddle, he was finally able to grip the bottle and hold it over his head in triumph. “Ha!”

 

Cas chuckled into Dean's chest and gave Dean a celebratory stroke. “Good job.”

 

Dean flushed with a mixture of embarrassment and pleasure. “Shut up.”

 

He gave Dean one last lick and stared up at him. “Now that you have it, what are you going to do with it?”

 

Dean rolled his eyes but decided to play along. “Oh, I’ll show you.”

 

Without breaking eye contact, Dean smacked Cas’s hand away and slid the man's boxers down his hips. Biting his bottom lip, Dean fluttered his lashes at his boyfriend and have him a light stroke. “Why don’t we make use of all that lube we got there, and-”

 

Knock, knock, knock.

 

They both froze and turned their heads to the closed door.

 

Cas was the first to clear his throat and address the little cockblock. “Yes, sweetie?”

 

She pushed her little fingers under the door and wiggled them a little. “Can you see my fingers?”

 

“Yes, sweetie. We can.”

 

“Ok, um…” she retracted her fingers and paused for a moment. “You turned off the light in the hall and now it's too dark! Can I have cuddles because I’m scared?”

 

Cas let his head fall back to his pillow with a groan.

 

Dean pulled the blanket over Cas’s hips just in case she opened the door. “Go back to bed, sweetheart!”

 

“But the light!” She yelled back.

 

“You can reach the light switch, Claire. Turn it on and go back to bed!”

 

She was silent for a moment before the sound of crying met their ears.

 

“Oh, come on. You’ve got to be shitting me…” Dean hissed in anger and rolled off of Cas. He knew he looked petulant with his pout and folded arms, but he couldn’t help it. With a grunt, he got to his feet. “Coming!”

 

Cas sat up and handed Dean his discarded pajama bottoms. “Want me to go?”

 

“No.” he grumped, eyeing Cas’s half-hard dick. His own erection was practically nonexistent at that point. “I got this.”

 

He marched to the door and opened it, barely holding himself back from glowering at the weeping child. Dean guided her back into her room and flipped on the hallway light. With her room now softly lit, he shooed her inside.

 

“Thank you.” She sniffed and wiped at her nose with her sleeve. “Can I have cuddles?”

 

The watery blue eyes and cracked voice was what did him in. “Fine. But only for a few minutes. We want to go to bed too, you know.”

 

She sniffed again and gave him a toothy smile. “Ok. I’ll be quick.”

 

“Go.” He pointed towards the bed. “Get in there.”

 

She scampered for her twin-sized bed and pulled the blankets back for them. Once she was settled, he climbed in and fit himself in the space between her and the wall. She lay facing him, smiling widely in satisfaction.

 

He grinned back. “Don’t get too happy. You only got a minute and thirty left before it's my turn to go to bed.”

 

She giggled. “It’s ok!”

 

Dean brushed the hair out of her face. “Do me a favor.” He whispered, looking directly in her blue eyes. “Don’t grow up. Stay my little girl forever.”

 

She tilted her head, making herself look like an exact copy of Cas. “But I want to grow up.”

 

“Why would you want to do that?”

 

“I want to be a big girl.” She informed him.

 

“And just what does a big girl do that you can’t?”

 

“I want to drive,” she began, “and stay up late.”

 

He nodded solemnly. “Those are good reasons.”

 

“And I want ta go drive to the store for snacks like you do.”

 

“Don’t tell daddy about that.”

 

“And I want ta take my babies anywhere they want.”

 

“Babies?” he almost yelled before taking a deep breath and plastering on a smile. “Don’t worry about babies, ok? You don’t want babies. No boyfriends and no babies.”

 

“But I want babies like my doll Nana gave me.”

 

He silently cursed his mom. “Dolls are different from babies. You want to change diapers?”

 

She thought about it for a moment. “I could do that.”

 

He squinted at her. “Babies are hard work.”

 

“Daddy put on Puffin Rock and there was a seahorse who had babies. I want two thousand babies just like the seahorse.”

 

“You're never watching Puffin Rock again.” He warned. “You know what? Why don’t you talk to daddy about this tomorrow morning? Daddy would love talking to you about babies.”

 

“Ok!”

 

He smiled and let out a fake yawn. “Oh, man! I’m so tired. I’m going to go to bed. Can I have hugs and kisses?”

 

She pulled him into a hug and squeezed his neck as tightly as she could before pulling away and giving him a wet smacking kiss. “G’night Daddy Dee.”

 

“Goodnight, sweetie.” He pulled himself out of her grasp and left her room.

 

Cas was lounging against the headboard, already back in his boxers when Dean returned.

 

Dean flopped down on the bed and let out a groan. “What a little punk.”

 

Cas huffed out a laugh and tossed the magazine where it belonged. “She convinced you to cuddle with her?”

 

“Can’t say no to that face.” He mumbled before flipping over and poking Cas in the thigh. “My mom’s no longer allowed to buy Claire gifts. That doll of hers is making her want to have a real baby, and now with Jess pregnant…”

 

“Well, that’s ruined the mood.”

 

“It was ruined the moment she knocked.” Dean stared at the bottle of lubricant for a moment before placing it in the drawer and slamming it shut. “This sucks.”

 

“The life of a parent,” Cas replies.

 

“Don’t laugh too hard. I told her to talk to you about it.”

 

Cas narrowed his eyes at Dean. “I’ll get a few baby chicks, maybe that’ll stop her.”

 

“We do not need any more chickens.”

 

Cas ignored him. “More chickens means we can start selling the extra eggs at the farmers market.”

 

“I’m not going to the farmers market.”

 

“You say that, but you love it when I bring you home kettle corn and those specialty soaps.”

 

“Do not,” he grumbled.

 

Cas settled into the blankets with a smile. “Ok, I guess I won't pick them up anymore if you don’t want them.”

 

Dean froze. “Wait. Fine. I like specialty soap. Just don’t tell Sam.”

 

“Why would I tell Sam?” He rolled over to face Dean. “You know I love it when you smell like grapefruit.”

 

Dean smirked at him. “That one is the best.”

 

“Now that you mention it, this is good blackmail material,” he commented.

 

Dean reached out to pinch a nipple in retaliation, but Cas was able to block him.

 

“That wasn’t very nice,” Cas grumbled.

 

“I can't believe my own boyfriend would blackmail me.”

 

“Only if you deserved it.” He replied, blocking another nipple pinch.

 

With a grumble, Dean rolled away from Cas in protest.

 

“Oh, come on.” Cas shifted so he could spoon Dean from behind. “You know I wholeheartedly support your soap obsession.”

 

“It’s not an obsession.”

 

Cas snorted but didn’t say anything in return.

 

“Go to bed, Cas.”

 

Dean felt lips on the back of his neck. “Goodnight.”

 

o.O.o.O.o.O.o.O.o.O.o.O.o.O.o

The next morning…

o.O.o.O.o.O.o.O.o.O.o.O.o.O.o

 

“Love you!” Dean called out from the driver's window. Clarie, who was strapped into her car seat, repeated the same sentiments to the man standing in the doorway.

 

Cas waved in reply and watched them pull out of the driveway before heading back inside. Dean deflated a fraction, but he didn’t imagine his tense shoulders would be relaxing anytime soon. He’d be visiting a chiropractor by the end of the week, that was for sure.

 

He pulled up to the curb outside of her elementary school and walked her through the gate. Once she was lined up with her classmates, he said his goodbyes and left. Instead of going to work, Dean drove into town.

 

Cas’s parents owned a small house just outside of the city. Far enough to avoid the traffic and constant noise, but close enough to be able to enjoy all of its entertainment. Even though he knew both of them would be home, he was still grateful to see their cars parked side by side in the curved driveway. He pulled up to the curb and took a few calming breaths before getting out of baby and making his way up their walkway to knock on their front door. It was only a few moments before he heard footsteps and the unlocking of the door.

 

Chuck’s face lit up in a smile as soon as he laid eyes on Dean. “Come in, come in. Let me just…” Dean watched him make his way over to his couch, which was covered in papers, and stack them haphazardly. Once enough space was clear, he gestured for Dean to make himself at home. “You wanted to talk to us, didn’t you? Let me grab Becky. She’s working on a project right now.”

 

“It'll be quick.” He reassured him.

 

Dean had only been to the house once before, and although Cas had told him his parents were strange, Dean hadn’t believed him until he experienced it himself. It had been just past 6 pm when they had arrived for dinner at a dark house. Dean had assumed they had gotten the date wrong and Cas’s parents weren’t home, but Cas just cursed quietly and rushed to explain that his parents didn’t believe in modern lighting. To his parents, humans had relied on the position of the sun for thousands of years, and they firmly believed that using electricity at night was the reason so many people had health issues and a whole bunch more about circadian rhythms. Cas had hoped his parents would be toning it down for the night, but he had been mistaken. 

 

They spoke very openly about their beliefs, and Dean found out very quickly why Cas had been so nervous about introducing him to his parents. Chuck was an amazing author but spent most of his day high as a kite. He openly admitted over a dinner of organic vegetables and grass-fed meat, that the weed kept his creative juices flowing. Dean suspected that the man also took mushrooms, but he wasn’t willing to bring it up. Becky had an essential oil for every ailment. Dean sneezed once, and she immediately ran into her office and returned with a glass bottle for him to take home. He took it gratefully but tossed it into his glovebox the minute they returned to his car.

 

Other than a few strange ideas, Cas’s parents were pretty normal. Chuck was an author, and Becky owned her own online essential oil business. They didn’t own a tv or any other gadgets, only a desktop computer for their jobs. The word hippie had been thrown around, but Cas warned him against using that word around his parents because they despised labels of any kind.

 

Dean was sure that Cas spent the entire dinner red in the face, but he couldn’t tell under the dim candlelight. Afterward, as they drove back to Cas’s, Dean laughed until tears were streaming down his face.

 

“You think this is funny? Might I remind you of your own mother?”

 

Dean just laughed even harder. “Damnit. I’m pretty sure I have a contact high.”

 

Cas tried in vain to hide his smile. “Don’t be ridiculous.”

 

Dean was, in fact, at least a little high.

 

The candlelight dinner still hadn’t been the worst introduction to a parent he’d ever had. Lisa’s parents with his unexpected bought of stomach cramps and subsequent rush to the bathroom still took the cake in that regard. 

 

Seeing the inside of the house in daylight was a completely different experience. Colorful knickknacks rested on every surface, and the room was lined with bookshelves. Every inch of the walls were covered with Becky’s macramé projects and nature prints. The two-bedroom house was painted in neutrals and soft pastels, each room connected with the same light hardwood floors. It was a calming vibe, no doubt about that, just a little too eclectic for his taste.

 

Chuck finally returned with his wife, and they both sat down on the couch opposite Dean.

 

“So,” Becky began, a large smile on her face. The entire front room reeked of weed. “What was it you wanted to talk about? Do you need some more recipes?”

 

Dean shook his head. “No, not that. I just wanted to let you two know — well, I wanted to ask if…”

 

They waited patiently.

 

Dean rubbed at the back of his neck and blew out a long breath. “Sorry, guys. This is…”

 

Chuck nodded, his bloodshot eyes crinkling happily. “Take your time.”

 

He nodded gratefully and took a few moments to work up his nerve. “I’m going to ask Cas to marry me.”

 

Becky screeched unexpectedly. “Oh my goodness!”

 

Both men winced, but Chuck reacted first. “Darling…”

 

She fanned at her red face. “My boy is going to be getting married?” Becky jumped to her feet. “I’m getting my binder.”

 

Chuck watched his wife speed walk out of the room. “She’s been planning your wedding since he introduced you.” He explained. “It’s a very thick binder.”

 

Just as he said, the binder Becky brought into the room was three inches thick and packed full of papers. “Um…”

 

“Of course, I’ll be in charge of the favors. I’ve already perfected an oil blend especially for you two.”

 

Dean nodded and looked at Chuck for help, but he was just smiling serenely at a bookshelf, too high to care. “Ok…I guess that’s fine.”

 

“Yes! It will be wonderful, you’ll see.” She opened the clips and started taking papers out. “I’ve already chosen some options for your table settings and centerpieces.”

 

“Um, Becky?” Dean began, only to be steamrolled over.

 

“And Pinterest has wonderful examples of wedding cakes, so I've printed out the best ones for you to look at.”

 

“Chuck?” he looked to Cas’s father, but he was still staring at the bookcase, no idea what was happening around him.

 

“Now, I don’t know what you’re planning for the location, but we have a large backyard and you’re more than welcome to use it to—”

 

He cleared his throat. “So, I take it you approve?”

 

Chuck was finally pulled out of his weed-induced stupor. “What? Oh yes, of course. Welcome to the family.”

 

Dean sighed in relief and then turned his attention to Cas’s mother, who was currently trying to hold back tears. “I’m just so happy for you!”

 

He let the tension drain out of his shoulders. “Thanks, guys.”

 

“I’d like to help.” She snapped her binder shut and gave him a toothy smile. “Sam and I will team up, of course, and work on invitations.”

 

Dean nearly groaned out loud. She had been absolutely enamored with his brother since the BBQ they’d both attended months ago. “Well, I don’t know if that’ll work. His wife is pregnant so I think he’s going to be pretty busy.”

 

She looked crestfallen. “They’re expecting? Oh, that’s… wonderful.”

 

Chuck just smiled at him, unaware of his wife’s internal struggle. “That’s great! I’m sure their daughter is happy!”

 

“Emma’s very excited she’ll be a big sister.” He confirmed. “They’re only three months along so she has a while to wait.”

 

That was where the conversation seemed to dry up. Chuck was back to staring at the bookshelf, and Becky was too busy pouting.

 

“Well, I’m going to head out.” He pushed himself to his feet and smiled at the two of them. “I’ve got plans to make.”

 

“Before you leave, I have something for you.” She disappeared into her office and returned quickly with a small glass tube of blended oils “When you start feeling anxious, put this oil in the diffuser I gave you two for Christmas. It contains rose oil and Ylang Ylang. You can also dot this on your pulse points. Don’t worry one bit. Cas will be so excited when you ask!”

 

Dean took the bottle with a smile. “Thank you.”

 

She gave him a kiss on his cheek and squeezed his shoulder soothingly. “We can’t wait to welcome you into the family.”

 

He swallowed past the thickness in his throat and shook hands firmly with Chuck. “Thanks, guys. Wish me luck.”

 

“You won’t need it,” was Chuck’s easy reply.

 

It took him a few moments to pull himself back together once he was back in the car. He hadn’t expected a negative response from them, but he definitely hadn’t been expecting that.

 

o.O.o.O.o.O.o.O.o.O.o.O.o.O.o

The next day…

o.O.o.O.o.O.o.O.o.O.o.O.o.O.o

 

Dean was not sulking.

 

Sure, he was sitting on the couch, his feet curled under him, with Chili nestled between his legs. And sure, he was watching a historical drama on tv, and maybe there was a half-eaten bowl of ice cream sitting in front of him on the coffee table despite the early hour, but he wasn’t sulking. Chili pecked at his shirt as if calling him out on his bullshit.

 

He ran his fingers through her long feathers and sighed deeply. Dean had a plan. A god damn great plan. Cas’s socks were going to be blown right off.

 

They were going to go on a picnic that afternoon, at the park that hosted the very same timeline event that had led to their meeting. It was going to be cute, and romantic, and all of that shit that Dean usually wasn’t. Cas was going to say yes, and then they’d go home to pick Claire up from school and give her the news. After they had their celebratory hugs, he’d give her the necklace he bought from Missouri and then suggest the three of them get some ice cream. Finally, once claire was tucked into bed and off to dreamland, Cas and he would go to the bedroom and do some adult activities.

 

“And it’s fucking raining right now…” he cooed at Chili, resuming the rhythmic stroking that was putting the chicken to sleep. “What am I going do?”

 

Chili clucked at him.

 

“I know,” he grumbled. “It might stop raining.”

 

She clucked again.

 

“Maybe we can find a tree to sit under? It’s not raining that hard, is it?”

 

She ignored him.

 

Dean resumed his stroking and glanced at the clock. Cas was supposed to be back from his morning class in the next hour, and if the torrential downpour was any indication, their picnic in the park wasn’t going to happen. He desperately tried to remember if there was anywhere at the park that would offer them cover, but it had been too long since he’d been there and his memory wasn’t that great when it came to things that didn’t involve cars.

 

A small cluck brought him out of his thoughts.

 

“What do you think, Chili? Should I just take him somewhere nice and put the ring in his wine glass?”

 

She fluffed her feathers and didn’t pay him any attention.

 

“You’re right,” he admitted. “That’s stupid. He wouldn’t like that.”

 

Chili pushed herself up and paced across the couch a few times before coming back to peck at the ring box that was stuffed snuggly in his pocket. He shooed her away from the precious cargo.

 

“Should I just ask him when he gets here?”

 

She clucked.

 

“Is that a yes, or a no?”

 

She clucked again and then hopped back onto his lap.

 

“You’re no help. I should let you back out into the rain.”

 

Chili settled even further into his lap.

 

“Yeah, you know I wouldn’t do that to my girl.” He clutched her into his chest and earned himself an indignant cluck. “You’re my favorite.”

 

The slamming of a car door startled him out of his one-sided conversation. Through the front window, he could see Cas sprinting through the rain towards the door. He’d be coming inside any moment.

 

“Oh, shit.” He put Chili on the floor and nudged her towards the door. “Run. Cas is gonna kill me if he sees you in here!”

 

Chili just stepped forward and started preening.

 

“No! Just-” he cursed to himself as he heard the jingling of Cas’s keys in the lock. “Damnit!”

 

Cas opened the door and shook the rain off his trench coat. Once his shoes were off and his dripping umbrella was in the stand, he sighed and glanced around before his eyes settled on Dean. “Hello, Dean.”

 

Dean clutched at his shirt and forced a smile. “You’re home early.”

 

He huffed. “There was a sinkhole.”

 

That caused him to pause. “A sinkhole?”

 

“Yes.” He confirmed. “Opened up right in front of the school. With that and the rain, I let the class out early.”

 

Dean twisted further away from Cas. “Well, that sucks.”

 

“Yes. It does.” Cas walked past Dean and made his way into the kitchen. “I’m making coffee, want some?”

 

“Sure.” He forced out. Chili squirmed under his shirt and one clawed toe scratched at his stomach. “Thanks, I’m going to go outside for a second.”

 

Cas looked up from the kettle and squinted at Dean. “It’s raining, Dean.”

 

“Yeah. I wanted to check on the chickens…”

 

“I’m sure they’re fine.”

 

Dean stood up anyway and turned towards the door.

 

Cas just shook his head and changed the subject. “So, I know we had plans today, but with the rain-”

 

“Fuck!” Dean yelled loudly, cursing at the pain radiating out of his nipple. Chili dropped from her hiding space, squawking and flapping her wings on the way down.

 

“Dean!” Cas rushed over to check on Dean but paused at the sight of Chili plucking angrily at Dean’s socked feet. “What’s going on? Was Chili in your shirt?”

 

“Damn thing bit my nipple!” he yelled.

 

Cas turned his wide eyes to Dean. “Why was Chili under your shirt?”

 

Dean opened and closed his mouth. “Uh.”

 

Cas squinted at him and went over to the door leading to the backyard. “Put Chili in the coop, Dean. I need to have a word with you.”

 

Dean gulped but picked up the chicken and did what he was told. Once Chili was safely back in the sheltered run, he shuffled back to the house, uncaring that he was getting soaked. It was just one more thing to add to his shit sandwich of a day. Once back inside the heated house, he was presented with a towel.

 

“So, are you going to tell me why you were hiding Chili in your shirt?”

 

He couldn’t look Cas in the eye. “Well, she didn’t like the rain.”

 

“Uh-huh.”

 

“So I brought her in,” he finished lamely.

 

“Chickens belong outside, Dean.”

 

“But it's cold!” he complained. “And her feathers are long. I didn’t want them to get dirty.”

 

Cas sighed. “Dean.”

 

Dean put on his best pout. “I’m sorry, baby.”

 

“Chili’s not allowed in.”

 

He took another step forward, putting himself toe to toe with Cas. “I’m sorry.”

 

“You’re not being fair.”

 

Dean cupped Cas’s face and pouted. “Forgive me?”

 

Cas relented. “Of course I forgive you. Just remember, there’s a reason the chickens aren’t allowed in.”

 

“Yes, honey.”

 

Back in the kitchen, Cas was topping his steaming mug of coffee with a splash of creamer. “As I was saying earlier, I know we had plans but I think a nice day in might be better. What do you think?”

 

Dean bit his lip to keep himself from shouting. “If that’s what you want.”

 

Cas sighed in relief. “Thank you. I had a long day and all I want to do is put on pajamas and relax.”

 

It was hard to be annoyed with him when he looked so pathetic. “Sure. Let's get changed and I’ll put on House Hunters.”

 

Cas grabbed his hand and led him into the bedroom. With a smile, he pulled fresh shirts and flannel pajama bottoms out of the dresser and tossed a set to Dean. He switched shirts and then went to undo his pants.

 

Cas, halfway through getting his own pants off, turned to Dean. “I was thinking we could have soup for dinner. We have the egg noodles and that leftover chicken, so we can do some chicken noodle soup if that sounds good to you.”

 

He pulled off his jeans and decided they were clean enough to set aside and wear tomorrow, so he draped them over his arm and brought them to the dresser. “Yeah, sounds great.”

 

“Good. Let’s watch an episode and then I’ll-”

 

Dean looked up, caught off guard at Cas’s abrupt silence. He’s about to ask if Cas was alright when he noticed that Cas’s eyes were zeroed in on something at Dean's feet. Expecting to see something horrifying — a bug, chicken droppings, anything — he scanned the floor.

 

His stomach dropped. On the floor was the velvet ring box. He contemplated making a dive for it, but it was too late. The jig was up.

 

“Well, shit.”

 

Cas’s eyes met his, but he only stared at Dean with wide eyes.

 

“It’s not what it looks like?” He cringed at his tone. “Uh…”

 

“Dean,” Cas whispered.

 

He looked away from Cas, unable to maintain eye contact as he picked the small box off of the floor. He cursed at his own stupidity. Dean knew exactly how the damn thing had fallen out of his pocket, and he mentally berated himself for so carelessly folding them over his arm.

 

Cas just continued looking at him. “Is that…”

 

He nodded but remained silent.

 

“Were you planning on…” Cas paused in an attempt to pull himself together, “asking me today?”

 

Dean nodded again.

 

“Oh, Dean. I’m so sorry.” Cas pulled him into a tight hug, and Dean relaxed into his grasp instantly.

 

“Why are you sorry?” He asked into Cas’s shoulder, his embarrassment making it impossible to look Cas in the eye.

 

Cas just squeezed him harder. “Because I know this wasn’t how you wanted to do it.”

 

Dean just laughed. “Don’t feel sorry for me, feel sorry for yourself. I was going to take you to Fort MacArthur and ask you after a picnic.”

 

“You know I don’t need that.” Cas chided. He grasped Dean’s shoulder and pulled him away so he could look Dean in the eyes. “It doesn’t need to be a whole production. It only matters that it's you.”

 

“You deserve one, though.”

 

Cas just shook his head. “Well?”

 

“Well, what?”

 

“Are you going to ask me, or not?”

 

His brain wasn’t fully comprehending Cas’s words. “What?”

 

Cas just gave him a quick peck on the lips. “Are you going to ask me to marry you, or have you changed your mind?”

 

“Fuck.” He floundered for a moment. “Right now?”

 

“I don’t see why not.”

 

“But I was going to-”

 

“Yes, I know.” Cas gave his hand a comforting squeeze. “But unless you want to drag me out into the rain…”

 

Dean smirked. “I don’t.”

 

“Well?”

 

Dean just cocked an eyebrow at him. “So this is how you want it? Ten years from now, when Claire asks how I proposed, I’m going to have to tell her that I did it in the bedroom, half-naked?”

 

Cas chuckled warmly, pleasure clear in his eyes. “We’ll make something up.”

 

“Well, then…” he dusted off his boxers and hiked them up his thighs so he could get on one knee in front of Cas. “Castiel James Novak, will you marry me?”

 

Cas kept him hanging for a long moment. “Can I see the ring first?”

 

“For fuck's sake…” Dean got up and tossed the box to Cas.

 

“No, wait!” Cas said through his laughter. “I was kidding. Of course, I’ll marry you!”

 

Dean decided the best course of action was to kiss him into silence.

 

“We can still eat the picnic, I guess. The soup can wait.” He muttered against Cas’s lips.

 

Cas’s eyes lit up. “You mentioned that earlier. Did you pack it?”

 

“Gabriel did. It’s in my trunk.”

 

“That sounds wonderful. Why don’t you get it and I’ll clear off the coffee table? We’ll eat and watch tv until Claire is out of school.”

 

Dean just laughed and did as he was told.

 

Cas and Dean spent the next few hours cuddled onto the couch, eating freshly baked croissant sandwiches, Gabriel's signature pasta salad, and two large slices od apple pie. Later in the day, when the rain had finally slowed to a drizzle, Dean was able to make good on the rest of his plans.

 

Claire, wearing her brand new pink diamond necklace, couldn’t help but stare happily at the two men before her as she quickly ate her ice cream in the backseat of Dean’s car. As much as she loved her daddy, she was ecstatic that she’d be getting another one.