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Castiel looked up as someone tapped lightly on the divider of his cubicle. Anna smiled at him, but Castiel only tilted his head in response. Anna's smile faltered slightly, but she still kept strong.

"Several of us are going to get drinks after work," she started, "celebrating the end of the week and all. Would you like to join us?" Anna looked so hopeful that Castiel almost said yes. Almost.

"I'm afraid I can't, I've got a prior engagement." He said. It wasn't a complete lie. Castiel had been planning a grocery run since Wednesday, though he didn't strictly need to go today.

"Oh, I see." Anna said, clearly disappointed. "Next time?"

"Possibly," Castiel answered, attempting to smile placatingly at her. It fell short, if Anna's frown was anything to go by.

Castiel left work precisely at 5:30. He avoided his coworkers as he left, not wanting to be drawn into anymore unwanted conversations. They were all perfectly pleasant people, but, frankly, Castiel had no interest in getting to know them outside of work. For the most part they left Castiel alone, but one could never be too careful.

Castiel succeeded in getting to the parking lot without any confrontation. He quickly unlocked his car and got in, feeling a bit excited at the prospect of going home to read uninterruptedly for the weekend. He placed his key into the ignition and turned and -

Nothing.

Castiel frowned and tried again. The engine spluttered for a moment and then went out. Groaning to himself, Castiel angrily fished out his phone from his coat pocket and looked up nearby mechanics. There was only one open at this hour, Singer's Auto Service. Castiel pressed the call button and waited as his phone began to ring.

"Singer's Auto Service, this is Bobby. How can I help ya'?" Came the gruff voice. Castiel cleared his throat before speaking.

"Hello, my name is Castiel Novak. I own a Lincoln Continental, and I'm afraid that my engine won't start." He said.

"I'm sorry to hear that. I could send a tow truck your way, if you'd like. I will need your address." Castiel quickly gave the address of his company's building and listened as Bobby explained that someone would be by to tow his car soon. Castiel gave his thanks before hanging up. He wasn't sure if he should get out or stay in the car as he waited. He would rather be sitting, but any coworkers who noticed him might wonder what he was doing in his car. Castiel frowned, then he looked back at his phone to try and calculate how long it would take for the tow truck to arrive. Castiel figured his coworkers would assume he was texting or something.

Castiel only had to wait for about ten minutes before the tow truck entered the parking lot. Castiel got out of his car and waved at the truck. A few of his coworkers glanced at him curiously as they passed to their cars, but their interest faded quickly. Castiel watched as the tow truck stopped in front of his car. Then the driver's door opened and the driver stepped out.

Castiel could swear his heart stopped.

The driver was perhaps the most attractive man Castiel had ever seen. He had dirty blond hair, freckles, and, God, absolutely gorgeous green eyes. Castiel blinked and glanced away from the man's attractive face. Big mistake. The rest of the man was handsome too. He was tall and muscular, and Castiel thought he might die.

"Are you Castiel Novak?" The man asked, and, honestly, his voice was the hottest thing Castiel had ever heard. Castiel swallowed, mouth suddenly dry.

"Yes, I - " he coughed and cleared his throat, "I am." The man smiled, absolutely beautiful, and held out a hand.

"I'm Dean Winchester, nice to meet you." He said warmly. Castiel reached out to shake his hand, proud that he managed to keep his own steady. Dean was quick to attach Castiel's car to the tow truck.

"You can hitch a ride with me." Dean offered kindly. "If you'd like."

"Yes, thank you, that would be helpful." Castiel said, stumbling over his words. Dean only grinned at him, seemingly oblivious to how flustered Castiel was quickly becoming. Castiel joined Dean in the front of the tow truck.

"Any requests?" Dean asked, gesturing to the radio. Castiel normally listened to Classical, if anything at all. Something told him that Dean did not listen to Classical.

"No, I'm okay with anything." Castiel answered, biting his lip when Dean flashed him another grin.

"Hope you don't mind Classic Rock, then." He said as he pressed a button. The radio began to play some song Castiel was sure he had heard before, though he didn't know the title. Dean, however, clearly knew the song well. He hummed along and tapped against the steering wheel in rhythm with the song. Castiel tried not to stare, but it was a challenge not to. Castiel didn't believe in love at first sight, but he'd be lying if this wasn't close.

"So Castiel," Dean started, startling Castiel out of his thoughts, "whatcha do?"

Castiel frowned and furrowed a brow, "Pardon?" Dean laughed and amended his question.

"What do you do for a living."

"I'm an accountant." Castiel answered. He felt as though he should say more, but he didn't know what else to add.

"That's neat," Dean hummed, "lots of numbers, I'd guess."

"Ah, yes, there are quite a few of those." Castiel replied. Dean smirked at him.

"What about you, Dean?" Castiel said. He immediately felt like slapping himself.

"Or - I mean, obviously you work at Singer's Auto Service, I just meant - what is your official job title?" Castiel stammered as he tried to correct his mistake, feeling as though he was only making it worse. Dean only laughed and waved a hand at him.

"Don't worry, man," he chuckled, "I understand. I'm a mechanic, and I like to fix up cars in my free time too." Castiel nodded, blushing and looking down at his lap.

"Got any fun weekend plans?" Dean asked, and Castiel appreciated that he was still trying to make conversation.

"I'm going to the grocery store," Castiel answered, "or, I was. But I suppose I won't since my car isn't working. I'll likely read a book."

"Nice, man. What's your favorite?" Castiel thought to himself for a moment.

"I don't really have a favorite book, they all seemed interesting to me." He answered.

"How about a favorite genre?" Dean continued.

"No favorite genre either." Castiel answered. "Though my least favorite is probably tragic romance." Dean chuckled at that.

"I'm right with you there." He said. "Though I can't say I read much. What about a favorite movie?"

"I don't watch much television," Castiel admitted, "only the News." Dean shot him a shocked expression.

"Not even documentaries?" He questioned. "I feel like you're the type to enjoy Blue Planet or something."

"I haven't really seen any documentaries, so I wouldn't know." Castiel shrugged. "My brother is a fan of slapstick comedies, but I've never understood the appeal."

"You've got a brother?"

"I've got three."

"Three?" Dean gasped. "Shit, man. That sounds like a lot. Are you the oldest?"

"Youngest." Castiel corrected with a small smile. Dean whistled.

"I've only got one younger brother." He said. "He's in college now, at Stanford. He's going to be a lawyer." There was a note of pride in his tone that made Castiel grin wider.

"That's quite impressive." Castiel commented. "Good for him."

"Yeah," Dean said, smiling, "he's worked hard for it." He didn't say anything after that, seemingly in thought, and Castiel made no move to rekindle a conversation. He was content with the silence, for once experiencing one that didn't feel awkward.

Singer's Auto Service consisted of a small building in front of a large scrapyard. Dean parked, and he and Castiel exited the tow truck. Castiel watched as Dean unhooked his car and began to work on it.

"Main office is in there," Dean said, pointing to a door to the side of the building, "there's seats for waiting."

"Thank you, Dean." Castiel said. Dean grinned at him.

"No problem, dude." He said. Castiel felt himself blush, and he turned away quickly to head to the main building. Damn that beautiful man.

 

Chapter Text

Bobby Singer looked exactly as Castiel would have expected him to. He sat behind a desk with his arms propped up, a nearly ancient computer sitting in front of him. He looked up as Castiel entered the office.

"Are you Castiel Novak?" He asked.

"Yes," Castiel answered, standing awkwardly in the doorway.

"Go ahead 'n take a seat 'till Dean's done with your car." Bobby gestured to the three chairs against the wall. Castiel nodded at him and took a seat, while Bobby went back to looking at something on the computer. Castiel fiddled with the sleeve of his coat awkwardly before taking out his phone. He didn't have any games, or really any apps at all, but he did have a book or two downloaded on it. He tried to entertain himself with reading, but his thoughts kept slipping to Dean.

'Get a hold of yourself, Novak' Castiel thought to himself. He didn't normally drool so much after an attractive man, but it seemed Dean was an easy exception. Eventually, Castiel sighed and turned off his phone. Bobby glanced at him, an eyebrow raised.

"Sorry," Castiel murmured, embarrassed. Bobby stared at him a second before shaking his head and looking back to his computer. Castiel found himself growing anxious, an emotion he rarely felt in his uneventful life. After a moment or two, Castiel stood up and approached Bobby.

"I don't mean to be rude, but do know how long this will take?" He asked, hesitantly. Bobby met his gaze again, and Castiel couldn't help but feel intimidated.

"I've got no idea, Mr. Novak, but you're welcome to be with Dean as you wait." Castiel nearly choked on his quick intake of breath.

"Uh, no," he said hastily, "I'm okay, thank you." He sat down once again, ignoring Bobby's inquisitive look. If Castiel spent even one more minute in Dean Winchester's presence he may just combust.

It turned out that Castiel did not have to wait long before Dean entered the office.

"Fixed it." He announced with a winning smile. Castiel managed to smile back. He waited as Dean explained to Bobby what was wrong with Castiel's car. Castiel tried to follow along, but apparently this mechanical jargon was too complicated for him to understand. He waited patiently for Dean and Bobby to settle on a price, already conceding to the fact that if they overpriced him he would have no way of knowing.

Soon, Dean looked up at Castiel and gestured for him to come forward. Bobby told Castiel the price, which seemed reasonable, and Castiel paid it.

"Thank you for all your hard work." Castiel said, looking to first Bobby and then Dean. He stared just a bit longer than he meant to, and then he looked away.

"It was no problem, Castiel." Dean softly replied. "Come back anytime." Castiel stayed still for a moment, almost expecting something to happen. When no one said another word, Castiel waved awkwardly and left to return to his car.

He felt a little disappointed, and he despised that.

What did you think would happen?

Castiel shook his head as he entered his car and shut the door, and if he closed it a little rougher than he should have no one needed to know. He tried igniting the engine again, and this time it started. Castiel moved to put his car in reverse, and then he stopped. He turned on the radio, which hadn't been touched in years, and turned the channel to Classic Rock. A little indulging would do no harm.

Castiel drove straight home, deciding to get groceries at a different time. He lived in a small house at the end of a cul-de-sac. It was one story with large windows in the front and a beautiful yard with a white picket fence. It was a family house, in all honesty, and Castiel had bought it years ago believing that he would, one day, have a family to fill it. He wasn't so sure about that nowadays. The backyard and front yard were both well-maintained, Castiel hired a gardener to come weekly. He had entertained the idea, briefly, of getting a dog. Castiel found them cute and sweet and lovable, but much too high-maintenance. Maybe a cat, or a fish. Really a plant would do.

The inside of his home was impeccably clean and bare. The only luxuries or decorations he kept were books. He had packed shelves into any open space and they were filled with books. Castiel picked a book at random to read for the evening. He looked to the title curiously and nearly laughed aloud at the irony. The Great Gatsby. Talk about tragic romance, and he was not referring to Daisy and Gatsby.

Castiel went to bed at 11:00, as always. He stared at his ceiling for a while, mind churning. Just one small change in his life and suddenly it's all he can think about. Castiel scoffed and turned on his side. He literally had only known Dean for ten minutes. Dean could be completely different from how he acted in front of clients. He probably wasn't even gay. The hot ones never were. Castiel turned on his other side.

You're being absolutely ridiculous, Novak.

Castiel's life was truly so mundane that ten minutes with a hot mechanic had become the highlight of his entire existence. Castiel shifted so he lay on his stomach. Maybe he should get a dog or a cat. It would do well to distract him and keep him company, because maybe it was just a loneliness sparked by Dean's presence that caused Castiel to keep thinking about him. Cats were easier to care for than dogs, so he would feel less terrible when he had to work. Maybe he could go to the shelter in the morning, give a pet a nice home.

God, I met one hot mechanic and now I'm turning my whole world around.

Finally Castiel gave up on attempting to sleep. He made his way to his living room and curled up on the sofa with a blanket. He didn't feel like reading The Great Gatsby, and no other book was really appealing at the moment. Castiel sighed. Perhaps television? He did not care for television, but maybe a documentary? A quick look through the cable channels showed that there wasn't much to watch. Perhaps Netflix, then? Gabe had forced him to try it out when then last saw each other, around two months ago. Netflix didn't have Blue Planet, but it did have Blue Planet II and some other BBC documentaries. Castiel chose the first episode and then settled into his couch.

* * * * *

Castiel woke in the morning with his leg asleep and a pain in his neck. He felt groggy and gross. His television was dark, it had probably shut itself off sometime last night. Castiel yawned and stretched, then stood and glanced at his clock. 7:23, almost perfectly on schedule. Castiel brewed himself a cup of coffee and drank it as he leaned against the counter in his kitchen. A few shelters opened at 8:30, so he just needed to be ready by then.

Castiel showered and dressed in a blue button-down shirt with black pants. He always dressed a bit formally, as Gabe enjoyed to point out, but Castiel believed it made him look professional and that that was always important for first impressions.

Castiel checked his alarm twice after setting it, just to be safe, and then locked his front door. His neighborhood was quite safe, but better safe than sorry. The car was cold when Castiel entered, and he quickly turned on the heater. As he did so, his eyes noticed the white of a small piece of paper. Castiel inspected the card and saw it was a business card for Singer's Auto Service. Frowning, Castiel flipped it over, and his eyes were suddenly drawn to hastily written words.

Call me :)

Underneath was a number. Castiel felt his heart rate speed up when he realized it was Dean's phone number. He couldn't stop the grin that spread across his lips. He took out his phone and typed in the number as quickly as he could. It began to ring, and Castiel, wincing when he remembered it was early on a Saturday morning, waited impatiently. The phone picked up just as Castiel thought it was going to go to voicemail. A voice, rough from sleep, answered.

"Hello?" Castiel nearly swooned.

"Hello, Dean."

 

Chapter Text

A blaring noise shocked Dean out of his slumber. He shot up in bed, gasping and clutching his chest. The noise came again, and Dean realized it was his phone. Dean groaned and reached for it on his nightstand before laying back down. He kept it on vibrate almost always, especially on the weekends, but he must have accidentally flipped the switch at some point. Dean frowned when he saw it was a call from an unknown number. Dean debated for a second, wondering if he should just let it go to voicemail. He almost ignored it, but at last second he sighed and answered.

"Hello?" He asked, wincing at his gruff voice.

"Hello, Dean." Dean sat straight up in bed once more, eyes wide and heart pounding. Since Castiel hadn't called him yesterday, Dean had figured he had just thrown the card out. Dean had instantly fallen for the man, even if he seemed a bit awkward and stiff at first.

"Dean?"

Dean hastily answered, "Yes! Castiel, hey!" He ran a hand through his hair and swung his legs over the edge of his bed. "What's up, man?"

"I hope I didn't wake you, Dean, I realize it's quite early for a Saturday morning."

"You didn't!" Dean swiftly lied. "I'm glad to hear from you."

"I am also glad, Dean." God, there was something about the way that Castiel said his name that made his insides all gooey and his cheeks go warm.

"So," he said lamely, "how are you?" Castiel chuckled and Dean melted.

"I'm quite well, Dean, thank you for asking. I'm calling to see if you would like to join me for a cup of coffee?" Dean almost forgot to breathe. He jumped up from bed, rushing to get his clothes on before realizing Castiel hadn't said a time, let alone date. Idiot.

"I'd love to, Castiel." Dean said. "When do you want to go?"

"Whenever you'd like." Castiel answered. "I'm free today, if you're available so soon."

"Yes!" Dean said, much too fast. "I mean, yeah, man. I'm good whenever." He was fucking this up. Yesterday he'd manage to keep his head but apparently any chill he'd had was used up for the foreseeable future.

"Would you like to meet this morning? Around nine?"

"Sure, dude." Dean answered, resuming his task of getting ready. "Where do you want to meet?"

"Um," Castiel seemed sheepish now, causing Dean to pause and glance curiously at his phone. "I actually don't know any coffee shops outside of Starbucks. Do you know a place to go?" Dean smiled.

"Yeah I know a place. I can text you the details, if you'd like?" Dean hopped on one foot as he tried to pull his pant leg up.

"That would be perfect, Dean." said Castiel, happily.

"Great, I'll - uh - I'll see you later, then?" Dean said, glancing at the phone expectantly.

"See you then, Dean. Goodbye."

"Bye, Castiel." The phone beeped once Castiel hung up, and Dean let out a breath. He had a ... date? Was this considered a date? Castiel had invited him to coffee after all, but did he need to say the word 'date' for it to be a date. Either way, Dean was excited. He checked his phone and saw it was 8:34. Twenty-six minutes to get ready. Well, eighteen minutes to get ready and eight minutes to drive to the coffee shop. Dean wasn't normally one for being exactly on time, but he figured his punctuality had to do with the fact that he would be meeting Castiel.

The coffee shop that Dean knew was actually a bakery as well, and it was called Stairway to Leaven. It played Classic Rock in the background, so it was no surprise that Dean liked the place. He opened his phone to text Castiel. He entered a contact name before typing out the message.

To: Blue-Eyed Angel
8:34 >> it's called the Stairway to Leaven
8:34 >> srry I don't have the actual address

Dean shuffled out of his room and into the main room of his apartment. Dean had been rooming with his friend Charlie Bradbury for years, and even though they both could afford real houses of their own, neither wanted to leave. Charlie was already up when Dean entered the kitchen, and she looked very surprised to see him.

"You're up early." Charlie commented.

"Felt like going to get coffee." Dean shrugged, trying to sound nonchalant but not quite succeeding.

"Okay..." said Charlie, slowly. "Get me one too, then." Dean winced and ducked his head, rubbing his neck awkwardly.

"I might be a while." He said. "I feel like hanging out a bit."

"Oh," Charlie said, squinting her eyes at him suspiciously, "I'll join you then."

"No!" Dean said quickly. "I, uh, want some alone time to, uh, think." Charlie stared at him and Dean flushed.

"So," he said, "are we still on for our Star Wars marathon tonight?" It was obvious to both of them that Dean was desperately trying to change the subject, and for a second it seemed as if Charlie was going to ask about the coffee some more. Luckily, she chose to take the bait.

"Of course, Winchester." She said.

"Cool," Dean said, "so I guess I'll see you later." Charlie nodded slowly.

"Bye, Charlie!" Dean made his hasty retreat and decided he'd stay in his room until it was time to go. He checked his phone and felt his heart flutter when he saw Castiel had replied.

From: Blue-Eyed Angel
3:37 << It is no problem at all, Dean. I can't wait to see you.

Dean felt nervous the entire drive to Stairway to Leaven. He arrived a little earlier than he needed to, but he didn't want to make Castiel wait.

"Hey, Dean!" Benny's boisterous voice called as Dean entered the bakery. Benny Lafitte was the owner of Stairway to Leaven and he had befriended Dean almost as soon as Dean had moved into the city.

"Benny!" Dean greeted with a wave. There weren't any customers at the counter, so Dean went straight up to his friend.

"How ya' doing, Dean?" Benny asked, smiling widely.

"I'm good, Benny." Dean answered. "It's good to see you."

"We've missed you around here." Benny commented. "You want a piece a pie?"

"I'm actually waiting for someone." Dean said. "So I'll take that pie in a bit, and I'll get a cup of coffee too, just not quite yet."

"Got a hot date, hmm?" Benny teased, smirking at Dean. Dean blushed.

"Um, not exactly." He mumbled.

"Whatever you say, Chief." Dean made his way to a small table in the back. He looked up eagerly each time the bell ringed, only to be disappointed at the sight of a random customer. Dean checked his watch. 8:56. He was still technically early. There was no need to be nervous. Castiel would come, of course. He had been the one to invite Dean in the first place. Dean could relax.

Dean could not relax.

He checked his phone again and saw only a minute had gone by.

Come on, Dean, get a hold of yourself! He's not even late and you're already acting like such a girl.

Dean scowled to himself and fidgeted in his seat. Castiel would come and everything would be completely fine. They would have a lovely date and then a lovely second date and then a lovely third date. Never mind that Dean hadn't actually been on a third date in a while. He hadn't been having much luck in the dating field lately.

The bell dinged and Dean looked up hopefully. Castiel stood in the doorway, eyes scanning across the room. His face lit into a beautiful smile when he caught sight of Dean. He walked over and Dean stood to awkwardly hug him.

"Dean," he greeted, "I'm glad you could make it."

"I'm glad too." Dean said. Castiel beamed at him and Dean thought it was the most amazing thing in the world.

"It's such a clever name." Castiel mused, glancing around the bakery.

"Yeah, it's a bakery and a coffee shop, a café, really. I hope that's alright."

"Of course, Dean." Castiel replied. "It's perfectly acceptable. Shall we order now?"

"Yeah, okay." Dean answered, taking a step towards the counter and Benny's knowing look. Castiel smiled fondly at him and Dean could hardly walk straight.

 

Chapter Text

"What can I do for you today, sir?" Benny asked Castiel, winking only once in Dean's direction. Castiel stared at the menu for a moment.

"Dean had better go first, I'll need time to decide." Castiel mused. Benny looked to Dean expectantly.

"The usual for you, Dean?" Benny asked.

"Of course," Dean answered, smiling slightly. He moved to take out his wallet, but Castiel reached out and stopped him.

"I asked you on the date, Dean." He said, tone sweet and almost amused. "It only makes sense that I'll be paying." So then, it was a date. Dean's heart fluttered.

"Are you sure, man? Because it's honestly not a problem-"

"Dean," Castiel interjected softly, "I am quite sure." Dean nodded and then looked away in an attempt to hide his blush.

"Thanks," he said gruffly. Castiel smiled, and Benny looked like a cat who had caught the canary. Castiel turned back to Benny.

"I suppose I'll have a tea of the day." Castiel said. Benny nodded, typing the order in the register.

"9.37." Benny said. Castiel handed over a ten dollar bill and then placed his change in the tip jar. He looked back to Dean and smiled again.

"Shall we sit?"

"Sure," Dean led the way back their table and took the farther chair. Castiel sat across from him. He leaned forward and placed an elbow on the table so he could use a hand to keep his head propped up.

"So, Dean," he started, "tell me about yourself."

"Well," Dean began, "I grew up with my brother in Kansas. My dad moved us around a lot when we were kids. I moved here five years ago, and started working with Bobby."

"I also moved here somewhat recently." Castiel said. "Around four years ago. Most of my family live back east, though my brother Gabriel lives only a few hours away."

"My family lives here," Dean said, " 'cept Sammy. But he visits over breaks and he'll probably move back when he's done with college." Castiel tilted his head slightly, eyes squinting. He was so cute. Dean was absolutely fucked.

"Sam is your brother, correct?"

"Yeah, Sammy's my baby bro." Dean answered, smiling as Castiel nodded in understanding.

"How much younger is he than you?"

"Sammy's four years younger than me, and I'm twenty-nine."

"I'm thirty-one." Castiel said. "When will your brother finish school?"

"He'll be getting his degree in the spring, sometime in June." Dean answered. "I'm real proud of him." Castiel smiled.

"I find it sweet you care for him so much. I'm afraid my brothers and I have never really been "close" with one another." God, Castiel used fucking air quotes, and not even in the correct way. This man would surely be the death of Dean.

"Must be hard being the youngest of four." Dean said sympathetically.

"You've got no idea." Castiel said, shaking his head. "My eldest brother, Michael, is quite the control freak. He and my second oldest brother Lucifer were always fighting and bickering with one another. Gabriel is the only one who I've ever really gotten along with. We talk occasionally, when he's not being an ass." Dean laughed at that.

"Oh, Sammy can be quite the ass too." He chuckled. "He got worse when he was, like, fifteen or sixteen and got his growth spurt. Dude towered over me, and I'll never hear the end of it. He's a real sasquatch now."

"Is he?" Castiel asked, looking mildly surprised. "I thought you were tall."

"I am tall." Dean responded. "He's just taller, as much it pains me to admit." Castiel smiled. Just as he opened his mouth to reply, Benny arrived with their drinks and Dean's pie.

"Sea-salt caramel milk tea for Castiel." Benny said, placing the drink in front of Castiel. "And a regular coffee and piece of apple pie for Dean." Benny put the pie and coffee down and then placed his hands on his hips.

"Hope you two have a wonderful time." He said, though he directed most of the sentence towards Dean. He walked back to the counter without a second glance, luckily for Dean.

"Pie at this hour?" Castiel asked teasingly. His eyes twinkled when Dean pretended to take offense.

"It's always pie time, man." He scoffed. "Come to the Dark Side, we have pie." Castiel furrowed his eyebrows and frowned.

"I'm afraid I don't understand that reference." He said seriously. Dean gaped at him, not sure if he was telling the truth.

"It's from Star Wars." Dean said, watching Castiel's face closely for the understanding to come across it. That never happened, causing Dean to gape again.

"Have you never heard of Star Wars?" Dean questioned, his pie forgotten. Castiel looked pensive.

"Star Wars?" He said it slowly, as if it were a different language. "I don't believe I ever have."

"Cas, man, you're missing out!" Dean exclaimed. "Are you busy later?" Castiel's eyebrows raised, and he looked a bit surprised as he replied, "No, I am not. Why?"

"My roommate and I are having a Star Wars marathon tonight." Dean explained. "You should come watch it. Watching Star Wars is basically a necessity in this day and age."

"I wouldn't mind coming," Castiel said slowly, "as long as your roommate is okay with it. I wouldn't want to impose."

"It's no trouble, Cas, really," Dean insisted as he took out his phone, "I'll text her now and ask, if it'll make you happier." Dean already knew it would, no matter was Cas might try to claim.

"Cas?" Cas said curiously. Dean froze, mid text, when he realized that was what he'd called Castiel.

"Oh, I'm sorry. Castiel." Dean corrected himself. "It's a shorter version of your name, easier to say."

"No, don't worry," Castiel replied. "I like it. Well, I think I only like it when you call me it."

"Oh," said Dean, eloquently, as warmth spread through his body, "good." Castiel grinned at him, then glanced pointedly at Dean's phone. Dean blinked a few times, coming out of his daze.

"Right," he murmured, "Charlie."

To: Roomie
9:09 >> is it okay if I bring someone along for our marathon ??

"What's Charlie like?" Castiel questioned curiously.

"She's great." Dean answered, placing his phone down. "She and I have been friends for years. She's really smart with computers, even owns her own company doing something with them. I'm not entirely sure what she does, to be honest, but I do know she's good at it. She's really cool. Hella gay." Dean wasn't sure why he added that last part, but it made him feel better to clarify that he was not attracted to her.

"Well, we have that in common." Cas joked. Dean let out a laugh, mostly astonished that Cas had humor. Cas has been so quiet and awkward before, but now he was charming and sweet. Smooth fucker.

Dean's phone buzzed several times, and he looked down at it.

From: Roomie
9:12 << of course dude
9:12 << r u on a date rn
9:12 << u so r
9:12 << is she hot
9:12 << is he hot
9:22 << he or she, winchester ???

Dean smirked to himself before replying.

To: Roomie
9:12 >> he's the hottest man I've ever laid my eyes on

Then Dean turned on silent mode and slipped his phone into his pocket. Charlie could wait. Castiel had, obviously, seen the motion.

"I've got all your attention, have I?" He asked playfully.

"You got more than my attention." Dean flirted back, delighted when Cas's eyes widened and he blushed. Yes, this date was going well.

Chapter Text

Castiel found himself relaxing around Dean. It surprised him a little, how easy it was to talk to and open up to Dean. Castiel had never been great at first dates before, always too afraid he'd say something wrong and make his date uncomfortable. But Dean seemed to be genuinely enjoying Castiel's company. Dean did appear a bit nervous at first, which Castiel found rather enduring after witnessing how collected and confident he'd been the day before.

They ended up talking for a couple of hours. Castiel learned more about Dean's brother and Bobby, who was a sort of pseudo uncle to Dean and Sam. Dean obviously loved his family greatly. His eyes seemed to light up when he talked about Sam's accomplishments or when he recalled something fun he and Bobby had done in the past. Castiel admired him all the more. He wondered, almost bitterly, what it was like to be close with one's family members. Probably it was really nice, as seen through Dean's happy retelling.

Castiel also learned about how Dean loved Classic Cars and Classic Rock. It suited the man, really. Castiel himself hadn't really taken interest in such topics before, but now he found himself interested and wanting to know more. Something about Dean intrigued Castiel. Everyone seemed so dull and shallow, but Dean was bright. Castiel quickly began to love the way he smiled shyly and ducked his head. Castiel wanted to everything he could to bring out that reaction more.

Castiel didn't have much to tell about bus own life, nothing meant for the first date, at least. Dean didn't seem to mind, instead focusing on what Castiel's interests and hobbies were.

"I watched Blue Planet II yesterday, at your suggestion." Castiel told Dean. Dean looked surprised.

"And did you like it?" He asked.

"Very much so." Castiel answered, watching a pleased expression cross Dean's features. "The footage is incredibly, and I find the show interesting and educational."

"Yeah, that's kinda the point." Dean said with a laugh. He had a beautiful laugh. "You should check out the other documentaries too, they're all really good."

"I look forward to it." Castiel replied. "I hope Planet Earth II has a segment on bees."

"Bees?" Dean raised an eyebrow, and Castiel felt himself blush.

"They play an intricate and important part in the world's ecosystem." Castiel answered, almost defensively. "And I admire their work effort." Dean smiled fondly and rose his hands in a placating manner.

"Hey, no worries, Cas," he said, "I've just never met someone who actively likes bees. I'm not sure if Planet Earth talks about bees, but there is a part on ants." Castiel relaxed. He hadn't even realized he'd grown tense.

"That would be acceptable as well." He said. Dean grinned brightly at him.

"I'm glad you liked the show so much." He said. "I actually didn't mean to suggest it, but it's good you ended up watching it."

"Have you seen it all?" Castiel questioned.

"Nah, just an episode or two."

"Then perhaps, would you like to watch it with me sometime?" Castiel asked, a bit bashfully.

"Netflix and Chill?" Dean asked, smirking.

Castiel frowned and stared at him, head tilting, "What is that?" Dean spluttered for a second.

"It's, uh, a dumb metaphor." Dean said. "Don't worry about it, Cas. I'd love to watch it with you."

"Excellent." Castiel said. He glanced around, realizing how the bakery was beginning to fill up. Dean had noticed too, and he smiled bittersweetly.

"Guess we should probably get going," he said, "we aren't even eating anymore." Castiel nodded. He felt a tinge if disappointment, but he quickly reminded himself he'd be meeting Dean and Charlie tonight. They stood and pushed their chairs in. Benny had a busser or two, so there was no need to take their cups or plate up to the front. Benny waved to them as they left.

"See ya' later, Benny!" Dean called.

"How long have you known Benny for?" Castiel asked. They exited the bakery and started for the parking lot.

"Since I've moved here." Dean answered. "I'd come around so often that it was easy to get to know him."

"He seems like a nice guy." Castiel commented. Dean smiled at him.

"I'll introduce you two properly sometime, okay?"

"That would be lovely, Dean." They paused and looked at each other. It was time to go.

Should I kiss him? Is it too early? We he be upset if I do? Will he be upset if I don't?

Castiel hadn't been on a date in such a long time, he'd practically forgotten the etiquette. Dean hesitated, biting his lip, then gently pulled Castiel into a hug. Castiel was stiff for a second, but then he quickly relaxed and hugged Dean back.

"See you later, Cas." Dean said, stepping back and towards his car, what Castiel now knew was a 1967 Chevrolet Impala. Castiel stood still a second. Dean was still staring at him with those beautiful, green eyes and -

Castiel took Dean's arm, pulled him forward gently, and kissed him lightly on his lips. God, Castiel was absolutely doomed. Dean felt so perfect as he melted against Castiel. Castiel drew back slightly, watching Dean's eyes flutter open.

"Goodbye, Dean." He said softy. He watched as Dean swallowed.

"Bye, Cas." Dean breathed, eyes darting down to Cas's lips and back to his eyes. Castiel kissed him chastely once more, then pulled back completely. He smiled and waved, then turned and began to walk to his car. He glanced over his shoulder once, and saw Dean still staring at him. Dean recovered and waved. Castiel smirked and looked back to his car. He could hear Dean close the Impala's door and the engine start. He listened as Dean drove off, all the while getting into his own car.

The drive home was a complete daze for Castiel. He could still feel Dean's soft lips against his own, and he could help but brush his fingers against his lips. It was like he was drugged, or something. Though Castiel wouldn't know what that was like so he supposed it wasn't a perfect analogy.

He did not bother to turn on any lights when he entered his home, the windows let in enough light for the time being. Castiel shuffled around for a bit, still stunned by his own actions.

Snap out of it, Novak. Just keep yourself busy until tonight.

Castiel, forcing himself not to think about the kiss (the absolutely perfect kiss) took a seat on his sofa and reached for The Great Gatsby again. He barely read a page before he had to put the book down again. Now that he was not thinking about kissing Dean (not completely, at least), he couldn't help but remember the way Dean had been talking about Sam. There was so much brotherly love between that Castiel was almost jealous, and wasn't that a ridiculous thing to be jealous of? Before he could really process what he was doing, Castiel was taking out his phone and dialing Gabe. Gabe picked up almost immediately.

"Cassie! Baby bro! To what do I owe the pleasure?" Castiel inwardly groaned.

I have made a mistake.

"Hello, Gabriel." Castiel said, suppressing a sigh. "I wanted to ask how you're doing?" There was a pause on the other end, and Castiel marveled at the fact that he'd make Gabe go speechless.

"I'm fantastic, Cassie." Gabe's tone was suspicious. "How are you doing?"

"I am quite well, thank you." Castiel answered. He cringed more with every breath. "Anything exciting happen recently?"

"My life is always exciting, you know that." Gabriel answered. "What about you?"

"Um," Castiel was not ready to share about Dean and subject himself to endless teasing, "not really, no. I might get a cat."

"That's... interesting." Gabriel definitely suspected something now. "Cassie, what's going on? You never call." His voice took on a worried tone, and Castiel felt a sting of regret knowing that simply calling his brother was so out of character that it caused panic.

"I just wanted to hear about how your life is going." Castiel replied. There was another pause, and Castiel feared Gabriel would press some more.

"Alright, Cassie, whatever you say. Just wait until you hear what this old hag said to me the other day!"

 

Chapter Text

To say that Castiel was nervous would be an understatement. He was anticipating his meeting with Charlie. What if she didn't like him? It was clear Dean cared for her as he would a sister, so would Dean reject Castiel at her disapproval?

You're being ridiculous. Why would she not like you?

Castiel paused in his pacing and forced himself to take a deep breath. This worrying would get him nowhere. As long as he made a good impression he should be fine. What did normal people do when meeting someone new? Castiel quickly looked it up on his phone. He read through a couple of articles before determining that most people brought some sort of wine, plant, or candle when visiting someone's house for this first time. But most of these examples were for formal events, and Dean's description of a - what was it called again? Space Wars? Star Trek? - movie marathon seemed to be a more causal gathering. Castiel decided to ask Dean about bringing something.

To: Dean Winchester
4:22 >> Dean, is there anything you would like me to bring?

Surely if Dean wanted wine he would tell Castiel. Right? Castiel looked through more articles, focusing more on ones discussing casual meetings. He didn't think needed to bring anything for a movie marathon, but maybe he should anyways? His phone buzzed and Castiel fumbled to open the message.

From: Dean Winchester
4:26 << just yourself and your favorite snack !!
4:26 << does 5 work for you ?

Castiel just needed to bring snack food. He could do that (never mind that he rarely bought junk food).

To: Dean Winchester
4:26 >> 5 is perfect. I'll see you soon :).

He sent the text before he could overthink it. Was the smiley face too much? He saw the three small dots appear on his screen, signaling that Dean was replying.

From: Dean Winchester
4:27 << can't wait ;)

Castiel's heart jumped. A winking emoticon was good, right? Another quick internet search revealed that, yes, it was good. Smiling to himself, Castiel began to look up different snack foods to help him think of what to bring. Eventually he decided that Oreos would be appropriate. He would drive to the store on the way over to Dean's house.

Another text alert chimed on Castiel's phone.

From: Dean Winchester
4:31 << you should probably wear comfy clothes btw
4:31 << not that I think your normal clothes are bad or anything
4:31 << it's just that we're going to be sitting on a couch with pillows and blankets for like at least seven hours so yeah
4:31 << if you want to wear your normal clothes that's totally fine too just a suggestion

Castiel smirked to himself; Dean was rambling.

To: Dean Winchester
4:31 >> Thank you for the suggestion, Dean. I will see what I have.

Castiel did change into softer, more appropriate clothing. This was definitely something casual, then. Castiel hadn't done anything outside work for such a long time, it was refreshing to do something different. He left the house at fifteen till. It would only take around ten minutes to arrive at Dean's apartment, but Castiel like to be as punctual as possible.

Castiel arrived at Dean's house with three minutes to spare. He didn't think Dean would mind too much that he was early, so he walked up the stairs to the correct apartment and knocked on the door. He could hear shuffling and muffled curses within, and then the door flew open to reveal Dean.

"Cas!" He exclaimed, stepping forward to hug Castiel in greeting. "Good to see you!"

"We saw each other just a few hours ago, Dean." Castiel replied mildly, then smiled shyly. "But it is good to see you too." Dean flushed and moved so Castiel could enter. The apartment opened up to a living room. A large couch faced one wall, with a television attached to the wall.

"Charlie's getting snacks and drinks ready in the kitchen." Dean said. "Is pizza okay?"

"Pizza is great." Castiel answered.

"Any toppings you'd prefer?" Dean asked as he lead Castiel to the kitchen.

"Well, yes," Castiel hesitated, a blush crossing his features, "I like pineapple on pizza." Dean stopped suddenly and Castiel nearly knocked into him.

"You like pineapple on pizza?" He asked seriously. Castiel nodded, blush deepening. Dean smiled.

"Me too," he said with a laugh, "Charlie hates it. But now we outnumber her so we can force her to get it." Then Dean was moving again and Castiel found himself falling just a bit more.

Charlie had her back to them when Dean and Castiel entered the kitchen. She turned around, though, when Dean called her name. She had bright red hair and a feisty expression, and Castiel knew she'd be the type to be a great, if overprotective, friend.

"So you're Castiel, hmm?" She said, arching an eyebrow as she looked him over. Castiel felt very intimidated.

"I am." He answered. He looked to Dean and Dean merely shook his head and rolled his eyes. Castiel supposed this meant Charlie was only trying to make him nervous. She was good. After another moment of awkward scrutinization, Charlie apparently deemed him worthy. She grinned.

"Dean hasn't shut up about you since this morning." Charlie announced, smirking at Dean's reddening face as he spluttered a denial. Castiel felt warm and he couldn't help but smile at Dean.

"Shut up, Charlie." Dean grumbled. He refused to make eye contact.

"He would not stop gushing about you." Charlie continued.

"Charlie, why are we friends?" Dean groaned as he ducked his face into the bend of his arm. Charlie looked quite pleased with herself, and she winked conspiringly at Castiel. Castiel relaxed a bit in the friendly atmosphere.

"So," Dean said loudly, changing the subject, "Cas has never seen Star Wars." Charlie looked at Castiel with such an offended expression that he grew worried again.

"We're fixing that tonight." Charlie said decisively. "Dean, go set up the films. I'll call for pizza."

"Get one with pineapple." Dean said, flashing a triumphant grin at Charlie's look of disgust. "Cas likes it." Charlie turned to glare at Castiel.

"Gross." She said, lips curling. "Fine, you freaks. Just go get the movies already." Dean laughed and grabbed Castiel's forearm to tug him back into the living room. Castiel watched as Dean pulled out a set of dvds. Castiel frowned as he read the title of the set.

"Dean," he started, "there must be a mistake. This says it contains Episodes IV, V, and VI." Dean laughed, much to Castiel's confusion.

"That's right. We start with those movies and then go to I, II, and III." He explained.

"Why?" Castiel asked, completely bewildered.

"That's the way it is." Dean replied. Then he smiled softly and Castiel decided it didn't matter. They sat on the couch, with Castiel on one side and Dean in the middle, and waited patiently for Charlie to finish the order. She brought the snacks in on a tray that was placed on the coffee table in front of the couch. Castiel saw there were various chip brands, a bowl of different chocolates, Cheez-Its. Castiel had put his own Oreos down on the coffee table before entering the kitchen earlier. He had gotten regular Oreos, Double Stuf, and the type that had chocolate creme.

"Ooh, good choice, Cas." Charlie praised. She opened the resealable tab of the Double Stuf, an ingenious invention in Castiel's opinion, and took a couple. "You've just earned yourself some brownie points."

"Those are Oreos, not brownies." Castiel pointed out, feeling a bit bewildered when both Dean and Charlie laughed. Dean took the remote and looked at Castiel and Charlie.

"Ready?" He asked. Charlie nodded eagerly as Castiel replied an affirmation. Dean pressed play and then settled back in the couch, moving inconspicuously towards Castiel. On screen the movie started, and Castiel watched intently as he learned about a galaxy far far away.

 

Chapter Text

Dean probably spent more time watching Cas than watching Star Wars. Cas watched the movie was an intensity one would not expect for such a film. Dean couldn't say he was surprised.

"You okay there, Cas?" Dean asked, nudging him with his shoulder. He wouldn't deny the fact that he had sat a little closer to Cas than strictly necessary, but with those breathtaking blue eyes and that adorably mussed hair who could blame him?

"I'm perfectly fine, Dean." Cas answered, still staring at the screen with an inhuman-like intensity. "It's a very fascinating film." His voice was so monotone, and Dean found that immensely amusing.

"Can't argue with that." Dean shrugged. He looked back to the screen just as the Han Solo returned to help Luke destroy the Death Star. Dean watched for a bit, then his gaze was pulled, once again, to Cas. This time, Cas seemed to realize Dean was staring, and he looked to Dean. His eyebrows furrowed in confusion, he was fucking cute, and his mouth pulled into a tight line. Dean watched, taking in Cas's features. Subconsciously, he licked his lips, still gazing at Cas. Cas's eyes followed the movement and then darkened, and if that wasn't the hottest thing Dean had ever witness he didn't know what was. Cas started to inch closer, and Dean mirrored the movement. 

Dean startled and pulled back when Charlie cheered suddenly, joining in with the men on screen, apparently oblivious to Dean and Cas. Dean looked away and let out a breath he hadn't realized he'd been holding. He could feel Cas's gaze on him for a moment longer before Cas looked back to the TV.

"Great movie." Charlie said, glancing at Cas. "How'd you like it?" Castiel cleared his throat before answering.

"It was very engaging and interesting." He said, voice somehow deeper than normal.

"Damn right." Charlie said. "Time for Empire!" She jumped from the couch and began to change the discs. Dean stayed on the couch, very aware of Cas's body next him to him. Charlie settled back down on the couch as the intro music began to play. Dean watched the screen, he definitely paying attention. Cas shifted next to him, and then his arm was wrapping around Dean's waist hesitantly, like he expected Dean to protest. Dean did not protest, but instead he settled against Cas, feeling warm and very full with emotion. He saw Charlie smirk inconspicuously for a brief moment, though her eyes were still trained on the screen. Dean was very grateful she did not comment.

They watched as Luke summoned his lightsaber with the Force.

"It seems that his only ability is to use the Force." Cas murmured thoughtfully. "He flew the plane, but used the Force to aim."

"Not a plane, an X-Wing." Dean corrected. "But yeah, I don't really care for Luke." Cas squinted at the television, still engaged.

* * * * *

"I think I enjoyed the second film more." Cas said.

"Yeah, a lot of people like The Empire Strikes Back the most." Dean replied.

"At least we didn't watch the newer version of A New Hope." Charlie commented.

"What do you mean?" Cas asked.

"A New Hope has been rereleased a couple of times." Dean explained. "It gets changed a bit, but we don't like it."

"Like what?" Castiel asked.

"They change it so that Greedo shoots at Han Solo first." Charlie said. Castiel frowned.

"But, that takes from his roguish persona." He said. "At the beginning, Han Solo is merciless and self-serving. If they change it, he's more of a hero right away, and there's less character development." Dean stared at Castiel and decided it would be very easy to fall in love with him. 

Castiel seemed to enjoy the movies, though he did not look satisfied with the end of Return of the Jedi.

"I don't feel as though Darth Vader should be completely redeemed just because he turned good in the end." He said. "He still killed many innocent people."

"Eh, it's not great but you kind of understand later." Charlie said with a dismissive wave of her hand. "We're watching the prequels now anyways."

"It's nearly 2 in the morning." Castiel pointed out.

"Oh, shit." Dean said. "I didn't tell you how long it takes. Usually we keep watching until we pass out at, like, 6 or 7. You don't have to stay, man. I hope you don't have work tomorrow." Castiel looked thoughtful.

"I do not have work tomorrow," He said, "and I would enjoy staying if you don't mind me sleeping on the couch afterwards."

"It's no problem." Dean assured him.

"You're a keeper, alright." Charlie said, smirking as they both blushed. "Prequel time!"

"Fair warning, Cas," Dean said, "the Prequels suck."

"Then why are we watching them, Dean?" Castiel questioned.

"It's part of the experience." Dean replied. "You've gotta watch all of 'em, even the ones you don't like."

"Including the Disney ones," Charlie added, "I don't care for those ones really."

"I think Rey is cool." Dean shrugged. "It is pretty different from the ones by Lucas, though."

"Rey is badass, not cool." Charlie argued. Dean rolled his eyes.

"Yeah, yeah," he said, "just get on with the movies already, Bradbury." Charlie stuck her tongue at him immaturely, and then she got up to start Phantom Menace. Dean turned back to Castiel and found an amused expression crossing his features.

"What?" Dean asked.

"It's nothing," Cas shook his head, "it's just very sweet the way you and Charlie interact with one another."

"Sweet is one way of putting it." Charlie snorted. "Dean bullies me."

"I do not!" Dean bickered back. "You bully me, you're the alpha female."

"Alpha female, hmm?" Charlie said, perking up. "I like the sound of that."

"Of course she does." Dean grumbled to Cas.

He added a bit louder, "Don't let it get to your head."

"I would never." Said Charlie as she came back to the couch. "But, I do expect you to bow to my every wish from now on." Dean groaned in an over-exaggerated manner.

"You see what I have to deal with?" Dean asked, nudging Cas with his elbow.

"Please," Charlie scoffed, "you love me." Dean fell silent, unable to argue, and Charlie grinned victoriously at him.

"I guess I am the alpha female." She marveled.

"Whatever," Dean grouched, though his tone was still warm. Dean turned to Cas for consolation, and the man tightened his grip on Dean's waist.

"Suck it up, Winchester." Charlie teased. The movie began to play on screen, effectively shutting down anymore of the conversation. Charlie still shot Dean a smile, and Dean reluctantly grinned back at her. Charlie really was the best. Dean looked back towards Cas, and his breath caught in his throat at the fond expression Cas was giving him.

"You are something else." He said quietly, and Dean's heart fluttered. Dean glanced quickly at his roommate and saw she was pointedly staring at the screen. Feeling daring, Dean surged up and quickly caught Cas's lips with his own. Cas froze for a moment, surprised, but then he was kissing back. Charlie coughed loudly at them, and Dean pulled away slowly and reluctantly. Castiel licked his lips as he and Dean parted, and Dean could barely refrain himself from kissing Cas again. Instead, Dean opted to smirk and turn back towards the TV, snuggling into Cas's side as he did. 

Yes, this felt right.

Chapter Text

"Hey, Dean!" Sam voice greeted Dean cheerily, and Dean smiled.

"Heya, Sammy." Dean replied.

"It's 'Sam', Dean." Sam corrected (pointlessly).

"Sure, dude." Dean said, rolling his eyes. "How's it going?"

"It's going well." Sam answered. "Finals are coming up real soon, but I'm excited for Christmas." Dean's grin widened.

"Me too." He said. "We've all missed you. Bobby and Ellen always ask how you're doing, and I just tell 'em they need to call you themselves." Sam chuckled from the other end.

"It's my last year." He said. "And then I'll be back for good."

"Can't wait, Sammy." Dean said softly. "You bringing Jess with you?"

"She's not coming for Christmas," Sam said, "but she will be moving back with me. I was really scared of what was going to happen, to be honest, because I'm moving back and I didn't know how to tell her. Long distance is hard, ya know? Plus, I'm moving back permanently and we haven't really talked about moving together. I know she loves her family a lot. But then, like, a month ago asked me what I planned on doing after school and I told her I was moving here, and then she asked why I never asked her to move with me. I told her I wanted her to come with me, but I didn't want to ask her to leave her family. She called me an idiot and -" Sam's voice broke off momentarily, "and she said I am her family too." There was a small choked noise, and Dean figured his overemotional and sweet brother was crying.

"That's really great, Sammy." Dean said. "I'm happy for you, for Jess too." There was a silence for a moment.

"I'm going to marry her." Sam said, voice determined. Dean blinked. He suspected, of course, but hearing Sam actually say it was very different. This was the boy that Dean had raised, he was an adult now. Dean was so happy for him.

"Congrats, Sam." Dean said. "You deserve one another."

"Thanks, De." Sam croaked, then paused for a second. "You know, you deserve someone too."

"Sam," Dean groaned, "we've talked about your noising before."

"I'm just saying, Dean!" Sam said. "You can enjoy things for yourself, you know?"

"I do enjoy things for myself." Dean groused. "Just because I don't tell you, doesn't mean I don't."

"Do you?" Sam asked, a challenge in his tone.

"Well," Dean hesitated, "yeah?"

"Dean!" Sam exclaimed. "Tell me!" Dean shifted where he sat on his bed.

"I, uh," he cleared his throat and rubbed the back of his neck awkwardly, "I may have met a guy."

"Dean!" Sam said again, voice so loud that Dean winced and had to pull his phone away slightly. "That's great! Tell me everything."

"Well," Dean started unsurely, "his name is Cas. Castiel, actually, but I call him Cas. He's an accountant. He's kind of awkward, but it's really cute and endearing. He hadn't seen Star Wars before, so last weekend he, Charlie, and me had a marathon. I haven't seen him since, but we text and stuff. I'm eating dinner with him soon."

"Aww," Sam said, and Dean huffed.

"Shut up." He grumbled, and Sam laughed.

"What's he look like?" Sam pressed. Dean leaned back and hummed.

"He's smoking hot." He said easily. "He's got blue eyes and black hair, but it's always messy. He's kind of shorter than me, but he's got really broad shoulders. He's so hot."

"Sounds like you really like him." Sam commented, and Dean could practically feel him smirking.

"You can't possibly tell already." Dean argued, flushing. Sam chuckled.

"Sure I can." He said. "I know you, Dean."

"Shut up, Sammy." Dean spluttered, and Sam chuckled again.

"Am I going to meet Cas during Christmas break?" He asked. Dean thought for a moment.

"Maybe, I don't know." He answered. "I haven't asked him what he's doing yet."

"Okay, well, let me know." Sam said. "I need to give him the 'protective brother' talk."

"You can't do that, Sammy." Dean scoffed. "That's something big brothers do."

"I can and I will." Sam replied, determined. "I'm excited to meet him."

"Whatever, man." Dean said fondly. "I'll see if he can."

"Alright, Dean." Sam replied. "Okay, man, I've gotta go."

"See ya' soon, Sam." Dean said. "I'll talk to you later."

"See you, Dean." Sam said. "Bye!"

"Bye." Dean hung up and put his phone down. He really loved that kid.

Dean hadn't seen Cas in person since Sunday, and it was now Thursday. He was really looking forward to seeing Cas in a few hours. Charlie had told him the day before that she had a date and wouldn't be home till late, so he had offered to cook Cas dinner.

Dean made his way to the kitchen and began to pull out the things he'd need. He was going to burgers, obviously. He was lucky that Cas wasn't a vegetarian.

Charlie entered the kitchen about an hour after Dean started cooking.

"Smells good." She commented. "Maybe I should stay home and join you for dinner." Dean shot her a scowl and she giggled at him.

"Okay, okay, Dean." Charlie said. "I'll leave you two lovebirds alone. Stay safe, now, and make wise choices." She smirked at him and then ducked back out of the room.

"See you, Charlie!" Dean called after her, shaking his head. His phone chimed, and Dean wiped his hands on a towel before looking at it.

From: Blue-Eyed Angel
6:17 << I'm on my way now, Dean. See you soon.

Dean smiled to himself and quickly typed a reply.

To: Blue-Eyed Angel
6:17 >> k man see ya soon

Dean had timed this well. The burgers were finished and the pie would be out of the oven soon. Dean fiddled around in living room, setting the table in a much nicer way than it normally was. He went as far as to set a candle to be romantic. Then he changed his mind and blew it out. Too much. After another thoughtful second, Dean lit it again. A candle always made things better. Dean took a step back to observe the table. Perfect.

He was feeling nervous again, for some reason.

C'mon, man, shake it off.

Dean took in a deep breath and then went back to the kitchen monitor the pie. It was  finished just when the doorbell rang. Nervously, Dean brushed his hands up and down his shirt, quickly checking for any lint or mess. He went to the front door and opened it slowly.

"Hello, Dean." Castiel said with his gravelly voice. Dean could feel his heart soaring, and he ducked his head.

"Hey, Cas." He said, moving so Cas could enter.

"I missed you." Cas said. He took his coat off and put it on the coat hanger.

"I missed you too." Dean said, feeling bashful. Cas smiled at him, then gently cupped Dean's face so they could kiss. Cas's lips were so perfect against Dean's, and he could get lost forever. They pulled apart slowly. Castiel's eyes roamed over Dean's face, eyes dark.

"It's very good to see you again." He said lowly. Dean swallowed.

"Yeah," he said breathlessly. Cas smirked and kissed him again, briefly. 

"Right, are you ready for dinner?" Dean asked, clearing his throat and shaking his head to clear his mind. Cas was fucking intoxicating. "You can sit down and I'll get it."

"Of course." Cas said. "It smells quite good."

"That's what Charlie said." Dean told, heading into the kitchen to get the food. When he returned, Cas eyed him carefully.

"Charlie is here now?" He asked in a not-quite-casual way. Dean put their plates down and shook his head.

"Nope." He said, popping the 'p'. He looked at Cas slyly. "It's just us." Cas smirked.

"Perfect."

Chapter Text

The phone was dialing. Castiel paced around, feeling impatient.

"Cassie! Twice in one week, I'm starting to feel special." Castiel gritted his teeth and breathed in deeply.

"Hello, Gabriel." He said seriously. "How are you?"

"I'm fantastic, bro. How are you doing?"

"I am well." Castiel answered. "How has your week been going?"

"Not too shabby," Gabriel replied, "that old hag-"

"Gabriel," Castiel sighed, "how many times have I told you not to call our mother an 'old hag'?"

"I'm just stating facts, bromigo." Gabriel replied, and Castiel had to agree with that. "Anyways, she's being a bitch again."

"What has she done this time?" Castiel asked, feeling very tired suddenly. Naomi Novak was a forced to be reckoned with, and Castiel did not enjoy thinking back on the days when he feared his mother.

"She's planning a family Christmas gathering." Gabe sounded bitter, and Castiel arched an eyebrow.

"Oh?" Castiel said. "She does that every year, what makes it different this time?"

"She's planning to use my house." Castiel would have thought him joking if his voice wasn't so serious. Naomi adored hosting everything from formal business dinners to baby showers. What was unique about her love for hosting was the fact that she did not strictly need the gathering or party to be held at her own house, she only needed to be the host. In the past years, Naomi had rotated their family's Christmas party between her house and Michael's and Lucifer's houses, but never Gabriel. Castiel had always assumed it was because she did not approve of Gabriel's choice to move away and to 'abandon' his place working for the family firm. She had always invited Gabriel to attend, however, so it's possible she was still trying to keep the family connected (more likely to keep up the family's public image).

"Why your house?" Castiel questioned. "They would all have to fly out."

"She said it's time I take part in the tradition." Gabriel grumbled. "She said Michael and Lucifer won't care." Castiel pursed his lips.

"I'm sorry to hear that." He said sincerely.

"Yeah, so, Cassie," Gabriel's voice had taken a shifty tone that had Castiel tensing, "you could not have called at a better time."

"What does that mean, Gabe?" Castiel asked warily.

"I'd like you to come." Castiel froze, eyes widening. Ever since Castiel had come out, Naomi had refused to speak to or of her youngest son. She was a very conservative religious woman. Naomi had been outraged by his 'announcement,' and had practically kicked Castiel out of the entire family. Castiel did not care too much, if he were being honest with himself. The only one of his siblings that Castiel actually liked was Gabriel, and Gabe had completely ignored their mother's homophobic ranting and ruling. Castiel had felt some loss knowing that he would likely never talk to his father again. Chuck Novak was an absent man. He'd always been locked away in his study, writing, or out doing book signings across the country. Though, when he was home, Chuck was a warm and loving soul, if a bit awkward. He had at least made an effort to connect with his children, and Castiel was glad for that. Castiel had never understood how his parents' marriage prevailed. His father avoided Naomi at all costs, and they never appeared even casually interested in one another. Unfortunately, Chuck was loyal to their loveless marriage and a of a pushover when it came with Naomi's ruthless and nonsensical demands (in his defense, Naomi was a bitch when she didn't get her way, or just always). Since Naomi had ordered Castiel never be mentioned or communicated with again, it was highly unlikely Chuck would ever talk to Castiel again. Castiel knew his father loved him and missed him, just not enough for him to go against Naomi's wishes.

"Gabe," Castiel started slowly, "I would not be welcomed. Naomi would-"

"Fuck Naomi," Gabriel snarled aggressively, "I don't give a fuck what she says. It's my house, anyways." There was no love between Naomi and her two youngest boys, Castiel doubted she was capable of loving anything. Any sort of attention or affection had been doted on Michael and Lucifer, the eldest brothers. Castiel knew that Gabriel still loved their father, and that's why he put up with their family drama.

"I don't know." Castiel said. "I don't want to be involved in any drama. My being there would only make Naomi mad."

"Cassie, I'm begging you." Gabriel replied. "I need you here, bro. There's no way I can stand that woman for the entire holiday."

"You've done it before." Castiel pointed out.

"That was different," Gabriel argued, "I was able leave whenever I wanted and get wasted. I can't do that this time." 

 "You could still get wasted."

"Cassie."

Castiel sighed. He really did not want to come into contact with Naomi or his older brothers again, but Gabriel really did seem to be at wit's end, and seeing Chuck again might be nice.

"I'll think about it." Castiel promised.

"Thank you so much, bro." Gabriel said. "I swear I'll never ask for anything of you again." Castiel rolled his eyes, a small smile crossing his features.

"That's a lie, and we both know it." He said, feeling lighter with the topic change.

"How dare you assume I'd break my promise to you." Gabriel replied in mock offense. "I would never betray my dearest baby brother in that way."

"Of course not," Castiel scoffed sarcastically, still smiling, "you're the kindest soul I've ever met, practically an angel."

"Archangel." Gabriel corrected. Castiel couldn't help but laugh.

"My mistake." He said. "Archangel."

"That's better." Gabriel said with a pretentious sniff. "Now, what had you calling me today?" Castiel fidgeted, becoming tense once more.

"Nothing, Gabriel." He answered. "I've just been wanting to catch up."

"Not that I don't enjoy our phone calls or anything," Gabriel paused, "but you've never really made an effort to call me before."

"I had a change of heart." Castiel said. At Gabe's silence he continued, "I wanted to know what it was like," he paused and cleared his throat, "what it was like to be close with one's family. You are the only person I still have left to call family, and it felt like we were close before as children. I thought I might give it a try." Castiel waited for Gabriel's reply, feeling awkward. Normally, he'd rather be caught dead than admit something this personal to Gabe of all people, but Castiel figured that honesty was the best approach to restoring their relationship.

"That's really good, Castiel." Gabriel said, voice soft. "I miss being close with you too." There was another pause, and Castiel still felt overwhelmingly awkward. This was much too deep of a conversation for him.

"So, uh, tell me," Castiel said, changing the subject, "how's your shop doing?" Not long before Castiel had come out, Gabriel had quit the family business and moved states to begin his career as a candy shop owner. It was an odd thing to want to do, and Naomi had firmly disapproved, but Gabriel had gotten fed up with the Novak family and had gone after his dream, not caring in the slightest that he'd been cut out of the will and trust fund. He'd already been working as a lawyer for several years, and so he'd had the money to start up a candy shop. Gabriel made his own sweets, and, as far as Castiel could tell, he was having the time of his life creating different sugary foods to sell and eat. Castiel would likely  never tell him, but it was Gabriel's bravery that encouraged Castiel to come out.

"It's doing great!" Gabriel replied cheerfully. "I'm making lots of Christmas candies and they sell pretty quickly as decorations and stocking stuffers. I've started selling drinks too, and my peppermint hot chocolate is really popular." Castiel listened, genuinely interested, as Gabriel bragged about his shop. Castiel could tell his brother was truly happy, and this in turn made Castiel happy for him.

It was some time later that Castiel realized he had to go.

"It was nice talking to you, Gabe." He said. "I'll be sure to call you again soon."

"You too, Cassie." Gabriel said. "And yeah, call back soon. I'm glad I got to talk with you. See you sometime, bro."

"Goodbye, Gabriel." Castiel said, hanging up the phone after a beat. Castiel did nothing for several moments, only listening to his own steady breathing and quiet ticks of his watch. Eventually, Castiel stood from his place at the dining table and stretched. It was nearing 6, and he had a date to prepare for.

Chapter Text

Dean was an amazing cook. The burgers he'd made were quite possibly the best Castiel had ever had.

"These are amazing." Castiel told him enthusiastically. Dean smiled and ducked his head, a light blush crossing his freckles features.

"Thanks, man." He said. "Glad you like it." Castiel's only response was to take another big bite of the burger. He chewed quickly, barely sparing a moment to wipe his mouth with a napkin. Dean watched him, his lips quirking ever so slightly.

"Slow down there, buddy," he said, "don't want you to choke." Castiel paused and carefully swallowed the bite he'd taken.

"Sorry," he murmured sheepishly, "I find red meat delicious and irresistible, but I try to limit my intake."

"Oh," Dean said, "I didn't realize, my bad." He looked put out, and Castiel hurried to comfort him.

"I quite like it, Dean." He said. "It'll be my red meat of the week. It's very good." A hesitant grin crossed Dean's features, and he relaxed again.

"So," Dean said conversationally, "are you excited for The Rise of Skywalker?"

"Pardon?" Castiel questioned.

"Episode IX, dude." Dean replied, watching him intently. "It's coming out soon."

"Oh," Castiel hummed, "I hadn't heard that." Castiel had stayed over at Dean and Charlie's apartment after their marathon, and in the morning they had watched Solo, Rogue One, and the first two of the Disney trilogy. Castiel knew there was supposed to be a third movie, but he hadn't thought about when it would be coming out.

"Cas, it's coming out in, like, five days." Dean told him. "Charlie and I are completely freaking out." He paused and gave Castiel a thoughtful look. "Would you like to come with us?" Castiel smiled, heart fluttering with the knowledge that Dean would want him there. Dean and Charlie clearly bonded over Star Wars, it was something they shared together. It was true that Dean had invited Castiel to their marathon, but Dean and Charlie had had many marathons. This was, no doubt, a more important event than the marathon. Dean wanted to include Castiel, wanted Castiel to share this exciting time with him. This made Castiel very happy.

"I would love to." Castiel said. "What time?" A sheepish look crossed Dean's features.

"Uh," he paused and rubbed the back of his neck, making Castiel greatly curious, "it's at 11 in the evening. It'll probably end after 1 in the morning."

"Oh," Castiel said, frowning, "I'm not sure. What day did you say it was again?"

"December 19." Dean answered, looking hopeful. Castiel broke into a wide grin.

"Fantastic timing." He said jovially. "I'll be off on my paid holiday leave." Dean smiled back, sweet and shy, and Castiel just had to lean across the table and pull him into a gentle kiss.

"I look forward to it." Castiel said, breathing against Dean's lips. Dean's eyes fluttered opened, they had closed at the contact. Dean was absolutely gorgeous. He sat back in his chair, cheeks flushed. Castiel couldn't help but smirk as he sat back in his own chair. Dean blinked a few times.

"You're so fucking hot." Dean finally manage to choke out, and Castiel felt his cheeks heat up.

"You as well." He replied, causing Dean to roll his eyes and laugh.

"You're ridiculously formal too." He said, but he was smiling so Castiel figured that it wasn't really a problem. They were silent a moment longer, both still blushing.

"Uh," Dean started, breaking their silence, "got any Christmas plans?" A bitter feeling swept through Castiel, and his lips pulled into a tight line.

"I do." He said. "Unfortunately."

"What do you mean?" Dean asked. Castiel sighed.

"My brother, Gabriel, has invited me to spend Christmas with him." Castiel explained.

"I thought you got along with Gabriel," Dean said, "when he's not being an ass." Castiel smiled slightly.

"That's true." He said. "The problem isn't Gabe, it's actually my mother. She'll be there too."

"What's wrong with your mother?" Dean asked. "If it's not too much to ask."

"It's alright. My mother is homophobic." Castiel said bluntly. "She more or less kicked me out of our family. Gabriel ignored her, but my two eldest brothers have not. They are also homophobic, those less obvious about it."

"That sucks, man." Dean said sympathetically. "I'm really sorry your family treats you that way." Castiel didn't know why Dean's words made him feel better.

"It's not terrible." Castiel shrugged. "I wasn't close to them in the first place. Gabe really was the only one, and we talk still."

"Are you going to go?" Dean questioned, slyly shifting his arm across the table to hold Castiel's hand.

"I don't know." Castiel sighed. "I want to support Gabe. Gabe hates our mother and is dreading the holiday. On the other hand, I do not want to have to listen to my mother's slurs and passive aggressive comments." Castiel looked down at the table, frustrated and confused.

"What if," Dean paused, hesitantly meeting Castiel's eyes, "what if I go with you?" Castiel blinked rapidly several times.

"Excuse me?" He said, tone bland. Dean fidgeted.

"What if I go with you?" He repeated, sounding uncertain. "To your brother's place." Castiel stared at him blankly.

"Why would you want to come with me?" He asked, utterly puzzled. Dean shifted.

"Because I feel like it would help." He answered. "I could offer, um, moral support, I guess. And it would be a big 'fuck you' to your mom." Castiel was completely shocked by the offer. Dean could be spend time with his family and friends, and yet he wanted to go with Castiel to give him moral support. God, Dean was incredible.

At Castiel's continued silence, Dean continued, "I mean, I don't actually know if you'd look to me for moral support. I know we haven't known each other for long, but I want to help. I don't mean to be too forward or anything." Castiel squeezed his hand to cut off his rambling.

"Dean," Castiel said, "I would love it if you came with me. I'm just surprised that the thought even crossed your mind since we just started dating." Dean's eyes widened and it was Castiel's turn to become an awkward, bumbling mess.

"I mean, if you count this as dating, if you'd even like to date." Castiel stammered. An amazing grin crossed Dean's face, and he nodded vigorously.

"Yeah, man." He said. "I'd like that."

"Wonderful." Castiel breathed.

"When would we be going?" Dean asked.

"I don't know." Castiel admitted. "Likely Christmas Eve or Day. What about your family? When are you celebrating?"

"Christmas Eve or Day." Dean answered. "We could split up the time, though, or go to both on the same day if we have to. How far away does your brother live?"

"Two hours." Castiel said. "It's doable, if a bit exhausting."

"Are you sure it's okay that I'm coming?" Dean asked. "I know we met, like, not that long ago."

"It's completely acceptable, Dean." Castiel answered. "It's true we haven't known each other long, but I already feel quite strongly towards you."

"Me too, Cas." Dean said, lips quirking upward. Dean squeezed Castiel's hand.

"I think," Castiel said, "we should clean up so that I can kiss you again." Dean flushed to his ears and was suddenly very busy with gathering their dishes and utensils. Castiel helped him and they moved the mess to the kitchen. Then Castiel was able to embrace Dean again and press more kisses against Dean's lips. Dean wrapped his arms around Castiel's neck. Dean was incredibly addicting.

They ended up cuddling on the couch, sharing short and small kisses as the Mandalorian played in the background. Truthfully, Castiel wasn't paying attention, but he figured he'd have plenty of opportunities to give it another watch. Right now, though, he was much more occupied with Dean (and his lips).

Chapter Text

"What do you mean you won't be spending all of Christmas with us?" Bobby asked, eyes drilling into Dean. Dean grimaced. He knew the rest of his family might be a bit opposed to the idea. "Why the hell won't you?"

"Do you remember that guy Castiel Novak?" Bobby's eyes narrowed, suspicion evident.

"Yeah," he said gruffly, "what about 'im?"

"Well, he and I are dating now." Dean watched for Bobby's reaction, but his expression was carefully blank. "I'm going to spend part of Christmas with him and his family."

"You two met almost two weeks ago." Bobby said. "Seems a bit soon to be spending the holidays together."

"Well, it's not just to spend the holidays together." Dean said. "His family are homophobic assholes, so I'm coming to spite them and offer moral support." Bobby stared at him, and Dean shifted.

"He'll be coming to our stuff too." Dean added. "And we're always taking in strays."

"I see." Bobby said. "It's nice of you to do that."

"Yeah, well." Dean let out self-depreciating laugh. "I know what it's like to have a homophobic parent. I don't want him to have to go through it alone." Bobby observed him.

"You know that we all love and accept you, right?" He said seriously. Dean nodded and averted his eyes. He didn't care for these types of caring conversations.

"Your dad is an asshole." Bobby continued. "Nothing he's said or done has ever been right. It's real good of you to help out your boyfriend. I gotta meet him, make sure he's worth all that."

"Bobby," Dean groaned, "don't try to scare him away." Bobby raised his hands in a placating manner.

"I'm not scaring anyone." He said. "Just wanna make sure he treats you right." Dean sighed and rolled his eyes. It was pointless to argue with Bobby.

"You know," Bobby started, smirking, "you're going to have to tell Ellen you're not comin' over for all of Christmas." Dean felt himself pale. Ellen Harvelle, Bobby's wife, was a frightening and strong woman.

"Ah, Bobby," Dean said, definitely not whining, "could you tell her, please? She's your wife."

"Not a chance in hell." Bobby replied. "I ain't gonna face her wrath."

"She'll understand though, right?" Dean asked hopefully.

"She'll come around." Bobby said. "But she'll be upset for a while."

"That's fine, I guess." Dean conceded.

"When're you telling Sam and Jody?" Bobby asked. Dean winced.

"When Sam gets here, I guess." He said. "Sam'll get here the twentieth, and he's staying till past New Years."

"That's good." Bobby said and with an approving nod. "We all miss the kid, it'll be good to see him. He bringing anyone this year?"

"No," Dean answered. He wasn't sure what Sam would want him to keep to himself, so Dean refrained from adding anything else.

"He works too hard." Bobby said, fondly.

"He does." Dean agreed. "But he's almost done, and he'll be back."

"Good." Bobby said. "I suppose you'll introduce him to Castiel?"

"I plan to," Dean said, "before Christmas. I know we haven't known each other long but something about him is just..." Dean trailed off, struggling for words.

"Special?" Bobby suggested.

"Yeah," Dean said, starting to smile, "yeah he's special." Bobby let him stare off wistfully for a second or two, then he rolled his eyes.

"Alright, enough with the gushing." He said. "We've got work to do." Dean sighed and nodded, heading back to the garage. It was a busy day. Many people, off from work because of the holidays, were taking time to get all their errands done. Most of the cars brought it were only there for a checkup, or to get the oil changed. Dean was rather bored.

After work, Dean drove over to the Roadhouse, a bar that Ellen owned and ran with her daughter Jo. Ellen and Bobby had been married forever, and though Jo wasn't his biologically, she was just as much his as kid as Dean and Sam were. The whole family had taken Dean and Sam in. They were really the only family that Sam and Dean had ever known.

It was nearly 7 when Dean arrived at the Roadhouse, and the bar served food so there was a bit of a crowd for dinner. Dean went straight to the bar, where Jo was making drinks.

"Hey, Dean." She greeted. "What can I get you?"

"Jo," Dean returned, taking a seat on a stool. "I'll have an El Sol." Jo nodded and handed over the beer, cap off. Dean took a long drink.

"You mom here?" Dean asked.

"In the back." Jo replied. "You want me to get her?"

"Yeah, if you don't mind." Dean said, taking another sip. Jo left for a moment, and returned with Ellen.

"Dean," Ellen said, smiling, "it's been a while."

"It's barely been a week." Dean said, grinning back. Ellen rolled her eyes good-naturedly.

"What brings you around?" She questioned, leaning against the bar. Jo continued to make drinks for customers, but she still stayed near them to listen in.

"I wanted to let you know that I won't be spending all of Christmas with you guys this year." Dean said. Jo paused in her work to stare at him, and Dean could practically feel the air around Ellen grow ten degrees cooler. Dean shifted.

"Why not?" Ellen demanded.

"I'm going with my, uh, boyfriend to visit his family." Dean answered. "We won't be there the whole time."

"Boyfriend?!" Both women exclaimed, eyes widening.

"Yeah," Dean said sheepishly, "met him almost two weeks ago." He felt stupid just saying that. "But we've been texting and hanging out a lot." He cringed. He sounded like a teenaged girl.

"You've just met him and you're already going to spend Christmas with him?" Jo asked, incredulous.

"Yeah, his family is homophobic so I'm going as emotional support, and to piss them off." Dean said. "You'll get to meet him too. He's really great." Jo and Ellen were still staring at him.

"He'd better be great." Ellen grumbled. "Taking you away from your family like that."

"Oh, no," Dean hurried to correct, "I offered. I mean, I know how much it sucks to have judgmental family members." Jo's gaze softened, though Ellen's did not.

"I'm sorry I can't spend all of Christmas with the family," Dean tried, genuinely apologetic, "I will be there for at least half of the time, though."

"It's really soon to be spending Christmas with your boyfriend's family." Ellen said.

"I know." Dean replied. "But, I really want to help him out."

"You'd better be participating in the ugly sweater contest this year." Ellen finally sighed. Dean nodded quickly.

"Of course," Dean said, "I'll be extra festive this year."

"You'd better be." Ellen grumbled. "Can't even be upset with you, you're doing something selfless."

"Thanks, Ellen," Dean said, relieved. Ellen was the closest thing he had to a mom, and he really did not want her to be upset.

"Can't wait to meet your lover." Jo teased. "What's his name again?"

"Castiel Novak." Dean replied. "He's an accountant."

"So serious." Jo said. "How'd you even meet?"

"Fixed his car." Dean said. "We hit it off."

"Cute." Jo said. "What do you guys do?"

"We've gone to get coffee." Dean said. "He's come to a Star Wars marathon, and I made him dinner. Tonight we're going to see The Rise of Skywalker."

"He loves Star Wars like you and Charlie?"

"Not really, but enough." Dean answered. "I'm looking forward to seeing the movie with him though."

"Yeah, because you can't wait to make out with him in a dark movie theater."

"No!" Dean said, flushing. "I would never disrespect a Star Wars film like that. I will be watching the whole time."

"Mhm." Jo hummed. "Sure."

"I'm leaving." Dean said. "I don't have to deal with this." He gestured at Jo, who laughed.

"Whatever, Dean." She said. "Have fun on your date!"

"I will!" Dean replied fiercely. He matched out of the Roadhouse and started home, it would be time to see the movie soon anyways.

Chapter Text

"Cas really agreed to come with us?" Charlie asked. She was sitting on Dean's bed and watching as he got ready. Dean was too focused on his own reflection to look at her.

"Yeah, he seemed excited." Dean replied, brushing his shirt.

"He doesn't know we're cosplaying, does he?" Charlie asked. Dean faltered and cast a glance to look at her through the mirror's reflection. She was dressed like Rey, of course, and Dean dressed as Han Solo, from the original trilogy.

"No," Dean admitted. Charlie laughed.

"Better let him know." She said. Dean sighed and took out his phone. He sat down next to Charlie on his bed and started typing, pretending to ignore the way she read over his shoulder.

To: Blue-Eyed Angel
7:34 >> hey Cas, just wanted to let you know that charlie and me are gonna b dressed up like our favorite characters
7:34 >> obviously you don't have to... just wanted to tell you now so you're not too surprised / embarrassed by us

Charlie watched Dean text and then send the message.

"Looks good, dude." Charlie commented, shoving him playfully. "Keep getting ready." Dean pushed himself off the bed and went back to stand in front of the mirror. He started messing with his hair again.

"You look great." Charlie said. "A perfect Han Solo." Dean's phone buzzed and his took it outs

From: Blue-Eyed Angel
7:37 << Sounds exciting, Dean. I won't be embarrassed by yours and Charlie's costumes.
7:37 << Will we be meeting at the theater?

"Can I invite Cas to stay over?" Dean asked.

"Sure," Charlie answered, "he's a cool dude."

To: Blue-Eyed Angel
7:38 >> that works
7:38 >> you can stay over if you don't mind sleeping on the couch again

From: Blue-Eyed Angel
7:38 << I appreciate your generosity. In that case, I would like to stay over. I'd rather not drive alone at that hour.

To: Blue-Eyed Angel
7:38 >> sounds good 👌🏻 just drive over around 10:30 and we'll drive over together
7:38 >> Charlie and me r eating dinner late at like 9 if you want to come then
7:38 >> you don't have to eat either if you come

From: Blue-Eyed Angel
7:38 << I would love to join you both for dinner. What's for dinner?

To: Blue-Eyed Angel
7:38 >> I'm making spaghetti

From: Blue-Eyed Angel
7:38 << Sounds lovely. If it's half as good as your burgers, it will be the second best food I have ever tasted.

Dean blushed.

"What?" Charlie demanded, getting up and trying look over Dean's shoulder at his phone. "Why are you blushing? What did he say?" Dean shielded the screen from her.

"Nothing." He mumbled.

"Bullshit." Charlie replied, still trying to get a glance.

"He likes my cooking." Dean said. Charlie looked up at him.

"You're blushing because he complimented your cooking?" She said, and Dean nodded. "I compliment your cooking all the time!"

"S'different." Dean murmured. Charlie rolled her eyes.

"You're fucking whipped, Winchester." She said, flopping back on his bed. Dean didn't argue with her.

He and Charlie moved to the kitchen so he could get started on dinner. They had been excitedly anticipating this movie for two years now.

"You think they're going to do more after this?" Dean asked.

"It's Disney." Charlie replied. That was a valid answer. There was a small table and two chairs inside the kitchen against the wall, so they could eat breakfast or a snack, or dinner even, without going to the dining table. She sat and watched him, then took out her phone and started doing something on it. Dean had no idea what she did with her devices, but he knew it wasn't really normal. She was a genius with technology. Dean made spaghetti with both white and red sauce, and then he made garlic bread. They filled the kitchen with a delicious aroma as they baked in the oven.

"Smells good." Charlie commented. "I'm so fucking hungry."

"Almost done." Dean said, chuckling. Charlie grumbled something close to 'hurry up' and Dean chuckled again.

"Can you set the table, Charlie?" Dean asked. "I'm almost done, and Cas is coming."

"You're so fancy for him." Charlie grumbled. "Set the table up and everything."

"We only have two seats here in the kitchen." Dean pointed out. "Would you like to stand at the table?"

"You should be the one standing!" Charlie said. "Be a gentleman."

"I made you dinner." Dean said, smiling smugly when she shut up and glared at him. Charlie did set the table, and she finished just as Dean did with the meal. They brought the food to the dining table.

"Do we have to wait for him?" Charlie asked.

"I guess not." Dean shrugged. "I'm going to, though."

"Suit yourself." Charlie said, already reaching to serve herself food. Dean jumped when there was a knock at the door. He hurried from his chair and flung the door open.

Castiel looked surprised when Dean opened the door so forcefully, but he smiled warmly. Dean gave Cas a once over and -

Dean stared.

Cas smiled nervously, and fidgeted.

"I know he's only in the prequels, but I really enjoyed his character." He explained. Dean continued to stare. Cas had dressed up as Obi-Wan Kenobi from the prequels, a young Jedi Master. He had the robes, and even a lightsaber. The lightsaber was admittedly a cheap one, but still, Cas no doubt had to have bought one. He seemed to wilt under Dean's observation.

"If it truly displeases you I can go home and change." Castiel said, and Dean's head snapped up so he could meet Cas's gaze. "Though I admit I was hoping you'd enjoy the ensemble. It's not nearly as good as your costume, I put it together in a hurry and-"

"Cas," Dean interrupted softly, "I love it. That's so awesome, man." A hesitant, yet pleased smiled broke across Cas's lips.

"I'm glad." He said, obviously relieved.

"You're amazing." Dean blurted, suddenly, but Cas's smile only grew. Dean had not expected this at all. He knew Cas did not love Star Wars as much as Dean and Charlie did, and not enough to dress up just on his own whim. He must've done this for Dean.

"Stop staring, we haven't got all day!" Charlie called, yanking Dean from his thoughts. Dean hastily moved to let Cas enter.

"Hello, Charlie." Cas said. "You look incredible." Charlie beamed at him.

"You're lucky Cas and I are both gay." She told Dean. "He's well-mannered and hot as hell." Castiel blushed and Dean shot Charlie a glare before reaching over to grab Castiel's hand in a definitely not possessive manner. Charlie only smirked at him.

"It smells very good, Dean." Cas said, taking a deep sniff.

"Oh, yeah." Dean replied, moving so they could sit at the table. "Have some spaghetti."

"Thank you." Cas said. They both took seats opposite of Charlie so they could continue to hold hands.

"This is delicious." Castiel declared after only one bite.

"Thanks." Dean said quietly, blushing. Charlie rolled her eyes at him.

* * * * *

[Spoilers start here]

Dean thought the movie was absolutely fantastic. Charlie did not. Cas seemed to like it, though not as much as Dean.

"That was so good!" Dean said excitedly.

"Stupid Reylo." Charlie grumbled. "First they make him badass and then they make them kiss and then they make him die, that's bullshit."

"That part where she put it behind her back was so fucking cool." Dean said.

"I enjoyed the scene where Rey heard all the voices of past Jedis." Cas said.

"And all the fighting was amazing!" Dean continued to gush.

"Having Palpatine come back was stupid as hell." Charlie said.

"True." Dean admitted. "That was not the greatest."

"And the whole 'granddaughter of Palpatine' thing." Cas added. "How old was Palpatine when he sired Rey's parent? They looked to be the normal age of parents. Palpatine was already generations older than Anakin, and Kylo is Anakin's grandson." Dean and Charlie both made noises of agreement.

"Palpatine is creepy." Charlie said.

"Fuck yeah." Dean said. "Still a good movie though."

"Sure, Dean." Charlie said. "You're driving us home since you're so chipper."

"As if anyone else would be driving my Baby." Dean scoffed.

"The golden lightsaber was incredible." Castiel mused.

"Oh, yeah that was cool." Charlie agreed. "Cosplaying her will be fun with that. What did she see in Kylo though?"

"What do you think Poe was going to say?" Castiel asked.

"That he loved her." Dean answered. "It's always something like that."

"Always." Charlie said in agreement.

"I suppose so." Cas said. "Though we shall never know."

[Spoiler End]

Charlie went straight to her room when they got back to the apartment. Dean lingered behind to make sure Dean was settled for bed.

"That was very fun." Cas said. "What was your favorite part?"

"Holding your hand." Dean said teasingly. Castiel grinned shyly. He took a step towards Dean. Dean was not surprised, but still pleased, when they kissed. They were doing that more often now. Dean was not opposed.

"Goodnight, Cas." Dean murmured, pressing his lips against Cas's once more.

"Goodnight, Dean." Cas replied, running his hand through Dean's hair. Dean stared at Cas for a moment, then he started for his own bedroom. Just before entering his room, Dean looked back at Cas and saw the man still looking at him. Dean offered him a small smile that grew when Cas grinned back. Cas gave a little wave that was so fucking cute, and Dean had to go into his room before he combusted. He shut the door quietly and then leaned against it, sighing. Fuck, Cas was so amazing.

Chapter Text

Castiel woke much too early in the morning. He blinked, feeling groggy. His eyes burned and his head felt full of cotton. A quiet clank came from the direction of the bathroom and drew Castiel's attention. Castiel forced himself to stand, wincing when his muscles ached, and started for the bathroom. The door was open, and Dean stood inside brushing his teeth. He waved at Castiel as Castiel approached. Then he bent over the sink to spit. He ran the water and washed it over his brush.

"Morning, Cas." Dean said.

"Good morning, Dean." Castiel replied. "What are you doing up at-" Castiel took a glance at his phone, "9:30 in the morning." Castiel already knew Dean was not a morning person, and they'd been up late last night.

"Gonna pick Sammy up from the airport." Dean explained. "He likes getting places early, the fucker." Castiel smiled.

"Would you like company?" He asked. "Unless, you'd rather he and I meet at a different time?"

"No, this would be great. I was going to wake you to see if you'd want to leave or something." Dean said. "We can get breakfast. Sammy's a health freak, but we can find someplace we all like. I've got to leave in, like, twenty minutes, if you can get ready by then. If not, Sam can wait a little bit."

"I'm on it." Castiel replied, moving back towards the couch where he had left his bag. He was quick to change and brush his teeth. Charlie was still asleep, so they made sure to leave extra quietly.

"Where will your brother be staying?" Castiel questioned as they walked towards the Impala.

"Bobby's house." Dean answered. "S'where we stayed as kids anyways, so Sam will just be put up in his own room."

"I'm sure they'll be glad to have him." Castiel said, sliding in through the passenger's side. "You seem to be a very family-oriented group."

"We are." Dean agreed. "Bobby and Ellen have always been very welcoming people."

"So, they will be okay if I join you for Christmas?" Castiel asked.

"Of course." Dean agreed. "People are always joining us for Christmas. Benny and his wife Andrea, Charlie, this kid Kevin, the Sheriff Jody, the list goes on, man."

"What do you do for Christmas?"

"Christmas Eve we have an ugly Christmas sweater party. We all make Christmas cookies too, like hundreds of them. It smells like cookies for a good month after. Then, almost everyone sleeps in the living room around the tree. Some people leave, and Bobby and Ellen go to bed, but the rest of us set mattresses and blankets up around the tree. Christmas morning we do our gift exchange, of course, and then we eat breakfast. Ellen always makes Bobby, Sam, Jo, and I wear matching Christmas pajamas. She's being doing that for years and none of us ever dare to argue with her."

"That sounds very fun." Castiel said, smiling wistfully. "Will I be participating too?"

"Yeah, man." Dean said. "If you want to."

"Excellent." Castiel said. "Who's Jo?"

"Jo is Ellen's kid." Dean answered. "And Ellen is Bobby's wife. They practically raised me and Sam, and Jo's like a sister to us."

"Your family sounds amazing." Castiel said softly. "I look forward to meeting them."

"I'm excited for them to meet you too." Dean said. "They're going to love you." Castiel smiled, feeling warm. Family was clearly important to Dean, and Castiel was honored to be included.

"By the way, Cas," Dean said, "what do you want for Christmas?" Castiel startled. He hadn't even thought of getting presents, he hadn't given or received any in years. He and Gabe normally only exchanged a short phone call.

"I don't know." Castiel said. "Cat toys?"

"You have a cat?" Dean asked, shooting Castiel a look of surprise.

"No," Castiel said, "but I've been considering getting one."

"Huh." Dean said. "Cat toys it is, then."

"What about you, Dean?" Castiel asked. "What do you want for Christmas?"

"I don't know." Dean shrugged. "Nothing, I guess."

"You can't want nothing, Dean." Castiel said. "There must be something you want."

"I guess I'll have to think about it." Dean said. "I'll let you know what comes to mind."

"What will you be getting Sam?" Castiel asked.

"Probably some nerdy book." Dean answered with a fond shake of his head. "You getting Gabriel anything?"

"I wasn't planning to." Castiel said. "Though, I've never seen him in person for Christmas, so perhaps it would be appropriate for me to purchase something like a candle-" Castiel's phone buzzed and he glanced down at it. "Speak of the devil. Pardon me a moment." Castiel took the call.

"Hello, Gabriel." Castiel said.

"Baby bro!" Gabe said. "What's happening?" Castiel sent Dean an apologetic look.

"Not much." He answered. "How are you doing?"

"I'm perfectly swell." Gabe answered. "I was hoping to hear you're going to be joining us for Christmas."

"I will be attending, yes." Castiel said. "At least for part of the time. What will we be doing?"

"We're meeting Christmas Eve for brunch." Gabe said excitedly. "Fuck, I can't believe you're coming. Castiel you're the absolute best." Castiel rolled his eyes.

"You don't have to flatter me, Gabe, I'm already coming." He said. "What time on Christmas Eve?"

"11 o'clock in the morning." Gabriel answered. "It's brunch but Naomi likes to stay later and 'chat'. I have no idea how long that will take."

"Sounds good, Gabriel." Castiel said, casting another look at Dean. "Listen, Gabe, I need to tell you something. I'm going to be bringing someone."

"You're bring someone?!" Gabriel repeated. "Ooh, Cassie-boy, do tell!"

"It's my boyfriend." Castiel said, watching Dean grin. "He's coming with me."

"Boyfriend?!" Gabriel nearly shrieked, and Castiel winced. "Fuck, bromingo, I had no idea you had it in you! Finally getting laid, huh?"

"Goodbye, Gabe." Castiel said, not waiting one second longer to hang up the call. He glared down at his phone for a moment longer.

"Was he being an ass today?" Dean asked.

"A bit, yes." Castiel answered. He pocketed his phone and turned to look at his boyfriend.

"Hopefully he'll behave himself in front of my mother and father." Castiel said. "But it's not likely. He's always been... wild." Dean laughed.

"What's the plan for Christmas?" He asked.

"Brunch at 11 in the morning, Christmas Eve." Castiel answered. "I'm not sure when we'll finish, though it'll likely be mid-afternoon."

"That works." Dean said. "And we can spend the rest of the time with my family, if that's alright."

"It is." Castiel said, glancing out the window. "I'm dreading brunch, in all honesty." Castiel jumped when Dean's hand grasped his suddenly.

"You've got this, man." Dean said, squeezing his hand and flashing Castiel a winning grin. "I'll be there for you too."

"Thank you, Dean." Castiel said softly. "I greatly appreciate you." Dean's cheeks and ears reddened.

"I appreciate you too." He mumbled, eyes pointedly on the road. Castiel stayed quiet, content to just sit in silence. The ride didn't last much longer anyways. Dean parked and they both exited the Impala. Dean had made a sign that said "Sam Winchester" in a giant font in order to attract attention. It was an attempt to embarrass Sam. They waited by the escalator leading to the baggage claim. Dean was obviously excited. He searched the crowds and fidgeted slightly. Castiel had only seen Sam's image twice, but he knew to be looking for someone tall with long brown hair.

"Sammy!" Dean called, raising the sign. Castiel followed his gaze and saw Sam making his way through the crowds. His hair was somehow longer than in his pictures, and he was tanner. Taller, too. Dean hadn't been exaggerating.

"Dean!" The giant exclaimed, nearly toppling into Dean. Sam pulled Dean into a hug. Castiel stood to the side, feeling a bit out of place.

"Good to see you, man." Dean said, hitting Sam's back as they pulled away. Sam looked from Dean to Castiel, and suddenly Castiel found himself in a bone-wrenching hug. Castiel suppressed a gasp. He awkwardly hugged Sam back.

"You must be Cas!" Sam said as he released Castiel. "I've heard so much about you."

"I have much about you as well." Castiel said.

"It's good to put a face to the name." Sam said, smiling. "Thanks for keeping my brother in check."

"Hey!" Dean protested while Castiel chuckled.

"It's rough at times," Castiel said, pretending to serious, "but very worth it at the end." Dean flushed and Sam let out a loud, boisterous laugh. He clapped a large hand on Castiel's shoulder, and Castiel shrugged not to bend under the force.

"Anyone who can shut my brother up is a good person in my book." He said, grinning at Dean.

"Alright, enough." Dean said, holding up his hands. He was glaring, but Castiel could tell it was fake. His eyes still shined, and Castiel knew he was happy with the situation. "Who's ready for breakfast?"

"I'm starving." Sam said. "Let me get my suitcase, and then we can leave."

Dean and Castiel waited patiently for Sam to get his bag, and then all three of them walked back to the Impala. Castiel sat in the back to let the brothers catch up.

"So, Cas," Sam said, looking at Castiel through the review mirror, "Dean said you're an accountant?"

"Yes," Castiel answered, "I've worked with my firm for the past four years."

"I considered becoming an accountant." Sam said. "But that was before I really looked around."

"Dean told me you'll be graduating law school soon." Castiel said.

"That's the plan." Sam replied. "I'd like to move back here and start my own firm."

"I used to work for a lawyer firm," Castiel said conversationally, "before I moved here."

"Would you be interested in being hired as a consultant or account for me?" Sam asked, turning in his seat to face Castiel. He had a sort of eager puppy dog face that was very persuasive.

"I would consider it." Castiel answered seriously. He really couldn't care where he worked; in all honesty he had been saving since he began working. His house was paid off, and because of his family he had no school debts. If he wanted to, he could stop working for a bit. He knew Sam's firm would likely be rough for a few years, as most new businesses were, but Castiel still was enticed by the question. Dean's family was clearly full of motivated and successful people, not to mention kind. Working with or for Sam would likely be a positive change.

"It could be quite beneficial." Castiel mused. Sam's face lit up.

"We should discuss this more, later." Sam said. "I'll be done in June, so we've got half a year to figure it out."

"That would be acceptable." Castiel said, nodding. He caught Dean's eyes in the review mirror. Dean was smiling softly at him, and Castiel's heart fluttered.

"Eyes on the road, Dean." Sam said teasingly. Dean rolled his eyes and looked back at the road, but he was still smiling.

They chose a small diner to eat. Sam ordered a salad, Dean ordered a burger, obviously, and Castiel ordered a turkey sandwich. Sam was clearly a happy person, and he brought out this joy in Dean that Castiel thought was beautiful.

"Sam's girlfriend is way out of his league." Dean told Castiel, smirking at Sam's affronted look.

"Cas is way out of your league, Dean." Sam retorted, and both Sam and Castiel laughed when Dean's expression turned sour.

"I'm not way out your league, Dean." Castiel said, reassuringly. "I'm only a bit out of your league." Sam barked a victorious laugh and Dean scowled at the table. Castiel took Dean's hand under the table and gave it a small squeeze to let him know he was just teasing. Lunch with Sam ended up being a very enjoyable time for Castiel. He was nervous about meeting Sam, it was obvious how much Dean loves him, and Castiel wanted to make a good impression. Sam was a really kind and interesting person, and he liked Castiel. This easy acceptance and the fun company left Castiel feeling full of emotion. He could not stop smiling on the ride back. Dean went straight back to his apartment. Sam would be spending most of the day with Dean. Dean invited Castiel to join, but Castiel declined. He knew it would be nice for Dean to have time with his brother before the chaos of the holidays. Dean gave Castiel a kiss before Castiel left, and Sam whistles in the background until Dean went over to shove him.

It was a good day. Castiel was glad he got a chance to relax and be happy with Dean before braving the holidays, and his family.

Chapter Text

Castiel paced anxiously next to his front door. He was close to chewing his nails, a habit he thought he'd broken ages ago. It was nearly 9 in the morning, and Dean would be there any minute. Gabe had asked that Castiel and Dean come early so they could mentally prepare for the arrival of their parents. Castiel's anxiety was only growing.

Castiel nearly jumped when his doorbell rang. Dean stood outside. He smiled widely when he caught sight of Castiel. Dean was wearing a nice jacket with a button up shirt and a tie, perfect for the formal family brunch that Naomi insisted on having. His jacket was black and his shirt white, but his tie was a festive green and red. Castiel stared at the tie, a clear 'fuck you' to his mother, and fell just a little bit more for Dean.

"Merry Christmas Eve." Dean said, leaning forward to press a kiss to Castiel's lips.

"Merry Christmas Eve." Castiel replied, guiding Dean inside.

"You ready to go?" Dean asked.

"Yeah," Castiel said, "I just need to get the gifts." Castiel had purchased a different candle for each of her family members. It seemed distant, yet polite. Castiel had also gotten a nice bottle of wine for Gabriel. He knew his brother would appreciate the alcoholic pickup. Castiel had signed the gifts as from both he and Dean, to further emphasize the fact that he had a boyfriend. Dean had been all for it.

Dean waited by the door as Castiel retrieved the gifts. Castiel would be driving them both to Gabriel's house. Dean helped Castiel put the gifts into the car, and then they started off.

"How are you doing?" Dean asked, eyeing Castiel. Castiel tensed at the question.

"Fine." He said, even though he was stressed as hell. Dean let out a sardonic laugh.

"You're not." Dean said. "But I won't push." Castiel tried to relax, but the thought of seeing his family again, after four whole years, was really getting to him.

"My mother said she never wanted to see me again, the last time I saw her." Castiel said quietly, hands gripping the steering wheel. He could feel Dean's eyes on him, but he did not look away from the road.

"She said that what I had 'chosen' was unforgivable, and unlovable." Castiel continued bitterly.

"Cas," Dean said softly, hesitantly placing his hand just above Castiel's right knee and squeezing gently, "I'm sorry."

"We weren't close." Castiel said. "Not even a little. She was never a mother to me. I don't know why it hurt my feelings."

"She's your mom." Dean said. "Your family, the person who's supposed to accept you no matter what. Of course it hurts still." Castiel was silent for a bit.

"You don't have to go, Cas." Dean said. "If you don't want to, if it's hurting you, we don't have to go. We can get coffee or ice cream, or whatever the fuck you want."

"I have to go." Castiel said. "Gabriel is annoying and rude at times, but he's my brother. He's the one member of my family who stayed with my after my mother disowned me. He offered to put me up, if I needed it. The least I can do is help him out. He acts like he's fine, but I know he's just as stressed about our family coming as I am." Dean nodded slowly.

"Whatever you do," Dean said, "I'll be there as long as you need me." Castiel felt himself loosen. He felt so relieved to know that he had some sort of support. Dean would be there for him, Castiel wouldn't have to face his mother alone.

"You're amazing." Castiel said. "Thank you." Dean smiled, then leaned over to brush the back of his hand gently against Castiel's cheek. He put it back on Castiel's thigh, a reassuring weight.

"Would you like to talk about them?" Dean asked. "Would it help to talk trash?"

"Maybe." Castiel said. "I could try."

"Whatever you want, dude." Dean said.

"My two eldest brothers are lawyers." Castiel said. "Michael and Lucifer Novak. They're excellent lawyers, but absolute jerks. Michael is still single, but Lucifer married this woman, Lilith. Michael tries to act like it's his dedication to his work that keeps him from having a family, but truthfully it's because no woman wants to date him. He's got a reputation of being a sexist asshat, and so no woman 'worthy' of him will even spare him a minute. It's immensely satisfying. Mother, Naomi, tried to set him up with the daughters of her business partners, but they all were conveniently taken. Lucifer may be married, but it's far from a family. Lilith is ruthless woman. She married for money and power, it was clear. They spent their wedding night in separate rooms. It's amusing to watch them interact at public functions. They pretend to be the perfect couple, but they loathe it."

"Two lawyers?" Dean asked. "They both worked for your family's firm, right?"

"Yes," Castiel answered, "it was started by my grandfather. My mother is also a lawyer. She had Michael, Lucifer, and Gabriel become lawyers, and she had me become an accountant for the firm. She was not pleased when Gabriel quit. It was entertaining to watch. He went to her office, which is in the center of the building where everyone can see, a sort of power play I think, threw the door open, marched up to her desk, and loudly announced that he was quitting effective immediately. Everyone was staring, and, Dean, Naomi's face was so damn red. I could practically see the steam shooting from her ears! It was the only time I've seen her speechless, and it was amazing. She was finally able to ask Gabriel what he planned on doing, and he was so smug when he told her he was going to open a candy store. It was his dream for ages and Naomi was pissed. That was, perhaps, my favorite memory of her."

"Did anyone get footage?" Dean asked, grinning. Castiel nodded.

"Many people snuck out their phones during the exchange. Videos were posted online, and Naomi was mortified." Castiel said, and they both laughed.

"What happened with Gabriel?" Dean said.

"He moved here." Castiel shrugged. "He still talks with our mother, but not often. She calls him. I think she at least had some hope for him, seeing as she had him become a lawyer. He wasn't as favored as Michael or Lucifer, but I was still only the one to be made into an accountant."

"What's the age difference between you and your brothers?"

"Gabriel is five years older than me, Lucifer two years older than him, and Michael two years older than Lucifer."

"Very precise." Dean commented. "Except for you."

"I suspect I was the backup child after Gabriel proved to be a difficult baby." Castiel said. "Clearly that worked out well."

"Their loss, my gain." Dean said sweetly.

"Smooth." Castiel commented, and Dean sent him a flirty wink.

The drive took two hours, as expected. Castiel had only been to Gabriel's house once before, when Castiel had first moved. Gabriel usually visited Castiel, or they met up at a restaurant somewhere halfway. Gabriel's house was big and two-stories. Castiel was almost surprised Naomi hadn't requested to stay with Gabriel, but he figured his mother wanted to be put up in a nice hotel where people had to be nice to her. Gabriel was throwing the door open before Castiel and Dean were on the porch. He, like Castiel and Dean, had dressing in a nice jacket and pants with a button up shirt and tie. His shirt was white, and his pants and tie were black. His jacket, however, was a bright gold.

"Castiel, my favorite brother!" Gabriel exclaimed theatrically, pulling Castiel into a big hug. "My brotato chip! It's good to see you again!"

"You too, Gabriel." Castiel said, hugging Gabriel back. "Merry Christmas Eve."

"Merry Christmas Eve!" Gabe said, looking over to Dean. "Is this your boyfriend?!"

"Dean Winchester." Dean said formally, offering his hand for Gabriel to shake. Gabe grabbed Dean's hand and pulled him into a hug. Dean flailed a bit before finding his balance.

"So you're the little minx adding spice to my baby bro's life, huh?" Gabriel said, slapping Dean on the back.

"Uh." Dean stammered, looking to Castiel for help.

"Leave him alone, Gabe." Castiel sighed. Gabriel made a displeased face and rolled his eyes.

"So uptight, this one." He said. "Whatever, Cassie, let's head inside." Gabriel led them inside to the main room, where a large Christmas tree was set up. The decorations were nothing less than chaotic.

"Nice tree." Castiel said, grimacing.

"Don't you love it?" Gabriel said, grinning widely. "It's going to piss Naomi off with the disorder. By the way, Deano, I like your tie."

"Deano?" Dean asked. Gabriel failed to elaborate. Castiel only shrugged when Dean gave him a questioning look.

"Naomi and the others are riding here together." Gabriel said. "So we have roughly 45 minutes to get ready. Brunch is catered, as per Naomi's orders." Gabriel continued to list off things he'd done in preparation for their family's arrival.

"Why does he try so hard when he doesn't like them?" Dean whispered to Castiel.

"I think he does it for my father. My father doesn't like conflict." Castiel told him quietly. Chuck had often left rooms or conversations once they became arguments. He always let Naomi win, as well. He was quite non-confrontational, but also somewhat passive aggressive. If he were home and Naomi made a decision regarding Gabriel or Castiel that he didn't agree with, he would find some way to sneak them sweets or soda, just anything, really, that was small and that Naomi would not approve of.

"Your father?" Dean said. "You didn't mentioned him."

"Yes, well," Castiel said, "there's not much to say about him. He's a writer, not a lawyer. He's not an over-controlling bitch like Naomi, and he did try to be a good dad, but he still wasn't the best."

"Oh," Dean said, "will he be here?"

"Yes." Castiel said, nodding. "Naomi always required him to come to events, unless he was traveling. I don't think he's traveling now."

"What are you two kids whispering about?" Gabriel asked, hands on his hips.

"We're not kids, Gabe." Castiel said reproachfully. Gabriel rolled his eyes.

"Whatever. Do you want a house tour?" He asked. "People do that in movies and shows."

"Yes, that would be good." Castiel said. Dean nodded and Gabriel began to lead them around. Dean took Castiel's hand in his own as they walked.

"Is this okay?" Dean asked. "PDA and all that."

"I don't mind it." Castiel said. It was a grounding and comforting presence. Gabriel showed them the two bedrooms and one master bedroom, along with the master bath. He also showed them the two other bathrooms, the kitchen, the dining room, and the backyard. It was an impressive house. Castiel knew Gabriel had saved much of his money while working as a lawyer for their family's firm. Before, Castiel hadn't understood why his brother wasn't indulging in his own elaborate tastes, but now Castiel realized Gabriel must have been planning his getaway for years. They ended up back in the main living room.

"Do you play?" Dean asked, gesturing towards the mini grand piano that faced the window.

"Nope." Gabriel said cheerfully. Dean stared blankly at him.

"Then why do you have a piano?" He asked.

"Because it looks good." Gabriel answered. "I'm sure someone who I invite over will eventually be able to play it." Dean looked to Castiel with a helpless expression, and Castiel only shook his head. Gabriel was one of a kind.

The air seemed to leave the room when the doorbell rung. All three froze. Gabriel was the first to recover. He swallowed and straightened his stance, squaring his shoulders like he was preparing for a fight (he was), then walked to the door. Dean moved so his shoulder was brushing Castiel's. Castiel tried not to tremble.

This was a mistake, fuck, this is a mistake!

"Mi familia!" Gabriel cried as he swung he door open violently. "Bienvenidos! Come in!" He moved to the side, flashing Dean and Castiel a fake look of happiness, and allowed the others to enter. Michael entered first, with Lucifer and Lilith right behind him. They were all dressed very nicely, though Lilith's dark red dress was rather tight and revealing. Michael's and Lucifer's eyes widened when they noticed Castiel, and it would have been comically to see the way they looked back and forth between Dean and Castiel if Castiel wasn't panicking. Dean moved to take Castiel's hand, and Michael's jaw partially dropped.

"Gabriel," Castiel winced at his mother's grating voice, "how lovely it is to see you."

"Yes, mother." Gabriel replied tightly. "You as well. Merry Christmas Eve."

"Merry Christmas Eve." Naomi said, walking into the room with Chuck behind her. "Your house is simply lovely-" Naomi's eyes landed on Castiel's and she went quiet. Castiel stopped himself from looking away or licking his lips. He was hyper aware of his every movement.

"Gabriel." Naomi demanded dangerously, her tone cold, "what is he doing here?"

"I invited him." Gabriel said confidently, and Castiel was very impressed with how Gabe was holding it together. "He's family." Naomi dropped her piercing gaze to Castiel's and Dean's clasped hands, and then she turned it to Dean. Castiel felt his boyfriend tense.

"Who are you?" Naomi asked, voice still hard and bitter.

"Dean Winchester." Dean answered. "I'm Castiel's boyfriend." Naomi's eyes buggered, and she looked back to Castiel.

"Boyfriend?" She repeated, nearly growling.

"Yes, mother." Castiel answered. "This is my boyfriend Dean." There was a silent standoff as Naomi seemed to process all that was happening.

"Castiel," Castiel blinked, surprised his father was addressing him, "it's good to see you. Merry Christmas." Naomi whirled around to face her husband, but Chuck's eyes remained firmly on Castiel. Castiel nodded his head.

"It's good to see you too, Father." Castiel said.

"You should not be here." Naomi said, looking back to Castiel. "You are not welcomed here."

"With all due respect, Mrs. Novak," Dean said, stepping forward, "this is not your house. You have no control over who is or isn't welcomed here." Gabriel looked proud as Naomi spluttered. She turned to Gabriel expectantly.

"He's right." Gabriel said. "Now, who's ready for food?" Naomi looked absolutely outraged, but Gabriel began to guide everyone to the dining room anyways. Gabriel had put out place-settings, and they all took their seats. Gabriel sat at the head of the table, with Castiel on his right and Chuck on his left. Dean was next to Castiel, then Lilith, and then Lucifer. Naomi was next to Chuck, and then came Michael. This was clearly not how Naomi wanted to be seated, and Castiel could feel a tug of admiration for his brother. These small details worked well in pissing Naomi off. Gabriel had hired a few servers to bring them their food, so they only waited briefly before receiving their meals.

Everyone was silent as they ate. Naomi switched between glaring daggers at Castiel, Gabriel, and Dean. Dean, and, God, that man was incredible, remained calm the entire time. He even held Castiel's hand under the table, even though it required him to eat with his left hand.

"So," Naomi started, and instantly everyone was alert, "Dean, what do you do for a living?"

"I'm a mechanic." Dean answered easily. "It's how I met Cas, actually."

" 'Cas'?" Naomi repeated slowly. She never did like when people used nicknames. She claimed that names were important because they meant something, and nicknames took away the value.

"Castiel is a mouthful." Dean said, smiling at Castiel. "It's easier to call him Cas."

"Or Cassie." Gabriel chimed in.

"I see." Naomi said. "So, you're a... mechanic. What else does your family do?"

"My uncle owns the auto service shop I work at, and my aunt owns a bad." Dean answered. "My brother is in college."

"How diverse." Naomi said. "And how long have you and Castiel been... together."

"Long enough for me to know that he's an amazing and wonderful person, and I'm lucky to be with him." Dean answered smoothly, and Castiel felt himself blush even as he smiled at Dean.

"I see." Naomi said. "What about your parents? What do they do?"

"My dad travels," Dean said, "and my mother passed away when I was four." Castiel hadn't known that. He ran his thumb over the back of Dean's hand.

"How unfortunate." Naomi said. "My sincerest apologies." Dean tilted his head in acknowledgement.

"Mr. Novak," Dean said, and Michael and Lucifer perked to attention, "I hear you're a writer?" Chuck seemed stunned to be directed the conversation, and Michael and Lucifer looked furious. Good job, Dean.

"I am." Chuck answered unsurely.

"Anything I would have read?" Dean asked.

"The Supernatural series?" Chuck offered.

"You wrote the Supernatural series?" Dean said. "My brother and I loved those books growing up! I haven't had much of an opportunity to read now, but I know those books are amazing." Chuck beamed and Naomi looked angry. Dean looked to Castiel.

"Cas, you shoulda told me your dad is famous." He said. "You must be proud of his success."

"Of course." Castiel said, enjoying the way that Naomi's, Michael's, and Lucifer's faces reddened. They hated not being recognized for their talents or success, and Dean was amazing at subtly picking on them.

"Mrs. Novak, what is it you do?" Dean asked, voice taking on a polite tone.

"I am a lawyer for the Novak firm." Naomi said proudly. Dean stared at her for a beat.

"Oh, well, that's nice." He said, sounding uninterested. "A good way to pass the time, surely." Castiel thought he might laugh at the rage he saw in Naomi's expression. She looked angrily to Castiel, as if she expected him to rebuke Dean or something.

"It certainly beats working on cars all day." Michael said scathingly.

"Oh," Dean let out a chuckle, "I don't know about that. I enjoy making a difference in people's lives."

"Are you saying that lawyers don't make a difference in people's lives?" Lucifer bit out. Dean shook his head condescendingly.

"I'm saying only good lawyers make a difference in people's lives." Dean corrected.

"We are excellent lawyers." Michael snarled. Dean blinked at him.

"Oh right," he shot Castiel a secretive, but still obvious, grin, "of course you are." He sounding so patronizing, and Castiel loved it.

"We are." Michael said again.

"How good of a lawyer can you be if you can't even convince me that you're a good lawyer?" Dean scoffed, rolling his eyes. This was very effective in shutting Michael up.

"Castiel," Naomi said warningly, "you should not let your partner insult our family."

"He's only telling the truth." Castiel shrugged. Dean shot him a grin. Gabriel looked ecstatic.

"Mr. Winchester is an obvious example as to how boys without mothers grow up to be uncivilized and unruly deviants." Naomi spat, and Castiel's eyes widened. He looked worriedly to Dean, because that comment had to hurt him. Dean looked at Naomi cooly.

"Castiel didn't have a mother, and he's still incredible." Dean said. Naomi stood up, violently flinging her chair back.

"I am Castiel's mother." She said darkly. Dean looked to Castiel.

"You're not." Castiel said, and he felt Naomi's enraged glower. "I was raised by the nanny and by Father. But, how Michael and Lucifer turned out, I'm grateful for it."

"Castiel!" Naomi snapped. "You are an absolute disrespect to this family, and I will not tolerate your presence for one second longer!"

"Then leave." Dean said, smirking. He pointed to the front door. "Go. Leave." Naomi hated being told what to do. Castiel could see the battle within her. Either she stayed here with Castiel, or she listened to Dean and left.

"Naomi," Dean said, "Gabriel, Castiel, and I are having a perfectly lovely brunch, thank you, Gabriel, if you would like to join us, then you are welcomed to. If you continue to throw this tantrum, then I suggest you leave before you ruin this Christmas Eve brunch."

"Tantrum?" Naomi snarled.

"You're standing and screaming." Dean said calmly. "Much like my brother did as a toddler."

"I have never been so insulted-"

"As I said before," Dean interrupted, "you can leave." Naomi stared at him for a second, then she marched straight out of the house, slamming the door behind her. Michael, Lucifer, and Lilith were quick to follow. Chuck paused for a moment.

"It was lovely to see you again, Castiel and Gabriel. It was a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Winchester." He said, leaving before they could respond. Castiel and Dean stared after them.

"That was my favorite Christmas ever." Gabriel said, starting to clap.

"Was that okay?" Dean asked Castiel. "Did I go too far?"

"That," Castiel said, "was absolutely perfect." He pulled Dean in for a crushing kiss, ignoring how Gabriel whooped.

"I suppose we'll be going to Bobby's a bit earlier than expected." Castiel said.

"That works." Dean said excitedly. "Gabe, would you like to come?" Gabriel tilted his head.

"Where?" He asked.

"My uncle's house." Dean explained. "We have Christmas traditions for tonight and tomorrow. You're welcome to come." Gabriel looked pensive for a moment.

"There's lots of cookies and chocolate." Dean added.

"Fuck yeah, Deano!" Gabriel said. "Count me in! What do I need to bring?"

"Ugly Christmas sweater and Christmas pajamas if you have them." Dean answered.

"Of course I do." Gabriel scoffed. "Should I grab them now? There's not real need to stay here."

"Sure." Dean said. Gabriel jumped up from the chair and rushed out of the room. Castiel smiled, then looked at Dean.

"You're fantastic." Castiel said. "And I need to give you your Christmas present now." Dean raised an eyebrow.

"Okay," he said. They waited for Gabriel to come back, then decided what the plan was. Gabriel would drive himself to Bobby's house, stay over with everyone else, and then leave Christmas Day. Castiel and Dean went back to the car after taking back the Christmas gifts they'd brought, except for Gabriel's. They waited in the car for Gabriel to get his stuff together.

"Here." Castiel said, leaning over to the back seat and pulling out a hastily wrapped gift.

"You're getting yours tomorrow." Dean warned, ripping the gift open. He stared down at it, and Castiel felt a surge of panic.

"Since you like classic rock." He said. "And with the traditions of tonight, I thought you might like this." He waited desperately for Dean to say something.

"I love it." Dean said, voice full of awe. "It never crossed my mind to get something like this." He took the gift out completely. It was a Guns N' Roses ugly Christmas sweater. Dean looked up to Castiel.

"Thank you." He said, leaning forward to kiss Castiel. "This is fucking perfect." Castiel smiled against Dean's lips. He lifted a hand to clasp the back of Dean's neck.

A horn blared, and both jumped apart. Castiel saw Gabriel in his car, smiling and waving. Dean sighed and flipped him off, and Gabriel pressed the horn again. Castiel rolled his eyes and started the car. It was time for a nice Christmas, for a change.

 

Chapter Text

Dean pulled the ugly Christmas sweater over his head. He'd always disliked this particular tradition, but this year it'd be much more enjoyable. Castiel had brought his own change of clothes and he too was getting ready to go into Bobby's house. Gabriel had changed before they left. Dean thought Gabriel was kind of eccentric, but well-meaning. Castiel had said Gabriel only put up with the rest of his family so that he could see his father, which led Dean to believe that family was important to Gabriel. That was why Dean had invited Gabriel to come that night, and because Dean figures Castiel would like to spend more time with his brother. Gabriel seemed the type to enjoy parties, even if they were filled with only strangers, so he would fit in just fine.

Gabriel waited for them impatiently at the front door.

"Took you two long enough. What, were you making out?" Gabriel asked.

"No." Dean said, scowling as Cas blushed, no matter the fact that there may have been a few kisses shared. Dean rang the doorbell and waited expectantly for the door to open.

"Dean!" Jo exclaimed. She was dressed in her ugly Christmas sweater, and she hugged Dean tightly. Then she looked to the others.

"Dean mentioned a boyfriend, but not two." Jo said, and Dean spluttered. Gabriel laughed and threw Dean a flirtatious smirk.

"I'm his boyfriend, Castiel." Cas said, stepping towards Dean. "This is my brother Gabriel. Dean was kind enough to invite him." Jo's eyes flickered to Cas appraisingly.

"He's a hottie." She declared, shoving Dean's shoulder. "Good job, Dean."

"Shut up, Jo." Dean groaned, rubbing his head with a hand. She was so embarrassing. Jo rolled her eyes.

"Cas, Gabe, this is Jo Harvelle. Jo, this is my boyfriend Castiel and his brother Gabriel." Dean said, gesturing between the three of them. Gabriel dramatically took Jo's hand in his own and placed a kiss against the back of it.

"Simply lovely to meet you, Ms. Harvelle." He said. Castiel sighed and shook his head.

"Ignore him, he's an idiot." Castiel said, shoving Gabe away lightly. "It's a pleasure to meet you."

"It's good to meet you too." Jo said. "You know, I almost didn't believe Dean when he said he had a boyfriend."

"Hey!" Dean said, affronted. Jo ignored him.

"Jo, is it Dean?" Sam's voice called, and all three turned.

"Oh, come in guys. Dean can introduce you to the rest of the family." Jo said. Dean followed Jo in to the house, and was quickly met with an armful of Sam.

"Dean!" Sam exclaimed, hugging him tightly.

"You literally just saw me yesterday, dude." Dean said, but he still smiled. Sam pulled away to look at Gabriel and Cas.

"Hey, Cas!" Sam said, hugging Cas too. He quirked an eyebrow at Gabriel.

"Well hello." Gabriel purred, sauntering up to Sam. "And this tasty, hunk of a man is?"

"Taken." Sam answered blankly. Gabriel frowned.

"Pity." He said. "Are you faithful?"

"Gabe!" Cas scolded, while Sam sent Gabriel a scandalized look.

"I'm joking!" Gabriel said, putting his hands up and grinning widely. "Only joking, don't worry. I'm no home-wrecker."

"Okay," Sam said slowly, "how was Christmas brunch with Cas's family?" He looked at Dean expectantly, and Dean looked to his boyfriend. Personally, Dean thought it had gone as well as it could have, but he didn't know what Castiel thought.

"It was better than expected." Castiel answered, smiling and taking Dean's hand. Sam immediately smirked at Dean, but Dean couldn't find it in himself to yell at Sam, Cas was more important.

"These lovebirds and their PDA." Gabriel scoffed. "Dean, are you going to introduce us off, or what?"

"Oh," Dean said, remembering, "yeah. Come on." They traveled further into the house to the large living room where a Christmas tree was set up. There were many people talking and chatting with one another, and they did not immediately notice Dean and the others. Bobby saw them right away, however.

"Ah, look who's decided to join us." Bobby said, raising his glass in Dean's direction and guiding everyone's attention to the new group. Dean glanced at Cas when he felt the other tense. Cas looked at the crowd, lips pulled into a tight line.

"Thanks for gracing us with your presence, Dean!" Charlie called. Dean rolled his eyes.

"Everyone, this is my boyfriend Castiel, and his brother Gabriel. Be nice to them." Dean gestured to each man in turn. Gabriel smiled, looking right at ease with all the attention. Cas, however, was starting to look uncomfortable in the spotlight. Dean gently and quickly guided Cas across the room and into the kitchen, away from prying eyes. Cas visibly relaxed when they entered the kitchen, and Dean smiled to himself.

"How're you doing, buddy?" Dean asked softly, rubbing his thumb lightly over Dean's wrist.

"I'm well." Cas answered, voice strained.

"Sure," Dean said, "I know what'll help." The kitchen was already filled with Christmas cookies on the table and counters, and there were hundreds to come, it all smelled heavenly. Dean chose a few of the prettier cookies (likely Ellen had made them, she always made the best ones, both visually and tastefully) decorated as a Christmas tree, a present, and mistletoe. Then he got a glass of milk. He put the cookies and milk on a spare spot on the table in front of Castiel, then leaned against it and waited. Castiel raises an eyebrow at him.

"They're really good." Dean promised, stealing the present-shaped cookie and taking a bite from it. Castiel skeptically dipped the Christmas tree cookie into the milk, then took a bite. A blissful expression crossed his face, and Castiel quickly ate the rest of the cookie.

"Good, right?" Dean asked. Castiel nodded, still eating.

"Those are for later!" Ellen said, entering the kitchen. Dean and Castiel froze, cookie only partially in Cas's mouth. Dean nudged him, and Castiel shoved the rest in his mouth and swallowed. Dean noticed his boyfriend was tense again.

"Cas, this is Ellen." Dean said. "Ellen, this is Cas."

"So you're the young man I've heard nothing about." Ellen said, shooting Dean a cross look.

"Yes, ma'am, I'm Castiel." Cas said.

"Hello, Castiel." Ellen said. "It's good to meet you." She reached out to shake Cas's hand.

"It's good to meet you too." Castiel said.

"It's nice you're joining us for Christmas, even if it means you had to steal Dean away for a bit." Ellen said.

"I really appreciate Dean coming with me." Cas said, smiling at Dean. Dean found himself grinning back, heart fluttering. "He made it tolerable, and interesting."

"Well, don't take him too often." Ellen said. "And you're always welcomed here, Castiel. Merry Christmas. Don't eat all my cookies, they're for Santa!" Ellen looked sternly at each of them, then she rejoined the others in the living room. Castiel shifted towards Dean and slipped his arm around Dean's waist, pulling him gently so they were against each other. Dean was instantly aware of the heat coming from Castiel's body. Castiel moved so their heads knocked softly against another.

"Thank you." Castiel said quietly. "Thank you for coming with me, and for inviting Gabe and me here. It's not Christmas yet, but this has already been the best I've ever had." Dean felt his throat tighten and his eyes burn with emotion, and, fuck, why was he being such a girl?

"No problem." He croaked. Castiel turned them so they were chest to chest, then leaned forward to kiss him. Dean slotted perfectly against him, and his arms hooked around Castiel's neck.

"Best Christmas ever." Dean agreed, licking his lips. "You taste like Christmas cookies." Castiel laughed and shoved him. Dean smirked at him and took another of Ellen's cookies. There were hundreds and more to come, they could spare a few.

Dean and Cas went back to the living room to mingle for the rest of the evening. Dean introduced Cas to the rest of his family, and they all took a liking to him (as he knew they would). Gabriel was obviously enjoying himself, and he even won the ugly Christmas sweater with one with a Christmas tree that lit up and played "O' Christmas Tree." He was delighted to learn that the prize was was a bag of chocolate truffles.

Mingling in small groups obviously put Castiel at ease. Ellen continued to make Christmas cookies with anyone who wanted to join. Dean and Castiel helped for several dozen. For such a serious and productive man, Cas was crazily bad at decorating cookies. He had frosting all over his hands, his face where he'd brushed his hands, and, somehow, in his hair. Dean chuckled as he pointed it out, and Cas futilely tried to get it off.

"Shall I lick it off?" Dean purred suggestively, smirking and leaning towards Cas. Cas blushed wonderfully and scowled at him. If Ellen had heard Dean, she gave no reaction.

Later, the guests began to dwindle. Kevin's mother left, as did Jody, Benny and Andrea, and Dean's coworker Garth and his wife Bess. Eventually only Dean, Cas, Sam, Charlie, Jo, Kevin, and Gabe remained, besides Bobby and Ellen.

"Aren't you all getting too old for this?" Ellen asked, as she did every year, her arms crossed and an eyebrow raised.

"No!" Dean, Sam, and Jo chorused. Bobby rolled his eyes and shook his head, but he smiled nonetheless.

"So you end the night with a sleepover?" Gabe asked. "How exciting!"

"We're full grown adults." Dean protested. "It's not a sleepover. There's just no point in driving home if we're going to be coming back in the morning." He and Sam set up the many air mattresses around the tree. One person could sleep on the couch, and the twin bed mattresses from Sam, Jo, and Dean's old rooms were used, but the rest were air mattresses. In the end, Jo, Dean, and Sam took their own mattresses, Charlie, Kevin, and Cas took an air mattress each, and Gabriel took the couch. He claimed he was too old for an air mattress, and, truthfully, no one wanted to hear him complain.

They fell asleep with the tree twinkling merrily, and Christmas movies playing in the background.

 

Chapter Text

Dean woke early in the morning. He stretched on his mattress and pushed himself up into a sitting position. The others were asleep, and Dean took a moment to take several pictures for future blackmail. It was just after seven, so it would likely be a couple of hours until everyone was truly awake. Dean quietly stood and slipped out of the room and into the kitchen. He could make breakfast while everyone was asleep, surely Ellen would at least appreciate it. Dean started with eggs, bacon, and hash browns. There would be a lot to feed, but Dean was up to the challenge. He liked cooking. Years ago, a younger Dean would be disgusted with himself for working in the kitchen. His father had said, over and over, that it was a woman's job to cook. Dean still made food for Sam, but usually microwaveable meals if possible. Now, Dean was comfortable with his love of cooking.

It was around an hour later that Ellen entered the kitchen.

"Merry Christmas, Dean." She said, and Dean smiled back warmly.

"Merry Christmas, Ellen." He replied.

"I see you've started breakfast." Ellen commented. "Is this my Christmas gift?"

"Yes, ma'am." Dean replied. It wasn't really, he'd gotten her a real gift.

"I'm going to start on the French toast." Ellen decided. "When you finish, work on the pancakes." Dean nodded his assent. He and Ellen worked quietly and contently. He knew Ellen appreciated the fact that Dean enjoyed cooking with her. Jo had never liked it, and Sam had tried but had failed miserably (and Dean had to admit that it was kind of nice to be proficient at something Sam struggled with, for once). Dean also valued this time with Ellen. They didn't always speak, but it was a nice way to be around each other, and at the end they had delicious food to share.

By the time everyone had gotten up, Ellen and Dean finished with breakfast. Everyone took a plate, filled it with food, and then went back to the living room. Christmas morning, they ate as they opened gifts. There was no real order to it all, each person just handed their gifts out and then everyone started opening gifts. Dean felt bad that Gabriel and Castiel didn't get any, but they seemed to be enjoying themselves anyways. Dean had a gift for Castiel, but he didn't want to bring any attention to them by giving Cas his gift now, in case Cas didn't like it.

It was near noon when the rest of Dean's family friends returned for breakfast. Ellen and Dean had made a lot, so there was plenty to go around. Christmas morning was very casual. Everyone could eat when and where they wished. Ellen also finally allowed them to eat the rest of the Christmas cookies. Ellen had this magical talent of being able to warm up the cookies just enough in the oven before the frosting got messed up, which was good because Dean preferred them warm.

"I don't know why we can't just eat them when we make them." Dean complained, serving himself four of the ones that Cas had made. They weren't very good looking, in all honesty. A reindeer one was beginning to look like an ugly stocking, and the snowman was more of a white blob than anything else, but Cas had made them, so of course Dean was going to eat them. They tasted good, anyways, and Cas blushed when Dean said so. Dean knew he would be complimenting Cas more often.

"So, Castiel," Ellen said, and Dean inwardly grimaced, "what do you do for a living?" Dean had thought that after the meeting in the kitchen, he'd escape Ellen's interrogation of Cas. Apparently not, though. Ellen was very frightening, more so than Bobby even, not that Dean would ever say that out loud. She had a habit of scaring Dean's boyfriends or girlfriends, claiming she was just protective of her boy. In the end, Dean was just glad she cared, even if he did have to comfort his crying datemates.

"I'm an accountant." Castiel answered. "And I heard you own the Roadhouse?"

"That's right." Ellen said, with a sharp nod of her head. "Any brothers or sisters?" Cas pursed his lips.

"Three older brothers. You've met Gabriel, I believe." Cas answered, nodding to Gabriel, who was trying to see how many cookies he could fit into his mouth at once. Sam was watching him in fascinated horror. Cas rolled his eyes at them.

"Yes, you're brother is very... zestful." Ellen said, also eyeing the pair. Gabriel noticed their staring and paused to wave at them, mouth grotesquely stuffed with cookies, and frosting smeared over his face. Sam sent Dean a look of pure terror.

"How do you plan on swallowing them all?" Dean asked. They watched as the thought struck Gabriel, and his face contorted into one of regret. He shrugged his shoulders helplessly, making Dean snicker. Gabriel glared at him and grunted his displeasure. Ellen was successfully distracted, so Dean took the opportunity to lead Cas away from the living room and to Dean's old room.

"I forgot to warn you about Ellen." He said. "She likes to interrogate whoever I bring over, but I thought she hadn't remembered."

"It's fine." Cas replied, and Dean smiled at him. "Where are we going?"

"My old room." Dean answered. "I have something to give to you." Cas raised an eyebrow, but allowed Dean to pull him forward and guide him to Dean's room. It was practically empty inside, just some old posters and trophies collecting dust on otherwise barren shelves. Dean led Cas to his desk and urged him to sit on the chair. Then Dean begin to ruffle through his things. He'd put his overnight bag in here once they had arrived the day before.

"Here it is." Dean said, pulling out two poorly wrapped packages. He shoved it into Cas's hands and then stood back, feeling anxious.

"Open the bigger one first." Dean instructed. Cas nodded and begin to unwrap the present. He didn't tear the paper, like most would, but instead removed it as delicately as possible. He eventually got the paper off, still in one piece, and stared down at the box.

"A box," he remarked drily, "how thoughtful." Dean blinked, at first thinking Cas was serious, but then Cas sent him a teasing grin and Dean couldn't help but return it with one of his own. Cas opened the box and peered inside, and Dean watched expectantly.

"Cat toys." Cas marveled, taking one out. "I wasn't sure you would get them." Dean watched as played around with the toy. It looked like a plastic fishing pole with feathers at the end.

"Why wouldn't I?" Dean asked.

"It was such an odd request for a Christmas gift." Cas answered. That was true.

"Open the second one." Dean said. Cas placed the toy back in the box, and began his ritual of carefully opening the next. The discarded wrapping paper revealed another box for Cas to open, and he paused upon seeing the gifts.

"Do you like them?" Dean asked. "I mean, it's fine if you don't, they aren't what you asked for. You can return that one, if you want."

"No," Cas said, "they're wonderful, Dean." He looked at Dean with such adoration that Dean nearly melted from the warmth of Cas's expression. Dean had gotten him a jar of honey that was locally made; Charlie had helped to guide him through the crazy Farmer's Market. Additionally, Dean had bought a phone case for Cas. Cas current one was clear, and maybe Cas liked it that way, but Dean figured his boyfriend wasn't the type to look for phone cases in his free time. The phone case that Dean had gotten for Cas was light blue with a cute cartoon picture of a smiling bee. It would be considered a bit feminine, but Dean hoped that Cas didn't care about stereotypes.

"It's cute." Castiel said, in a monotone voice. Dean couldn't tell if that was good or bad. Castiel ran a hand over the case.

"It's adorable." Castiel said, voice becoming softer and more reverent, and Dean let himself relax. Cas liked it.

"Yeah, well, you like bees." Dean said, lamely.

"I love them." Castiel replied. He quickly removed his current case and replaced it with the bee one.

"Looks good." Dean commented, happy he'd gotten the gifts right.

"Dean," Cas said, "no one has ever put this much thought into a gift for me, you're absolutely incredible!" Then Dean found himself with an armful of Cas as the other man hugged him tightly.

"Glad you think so." Dean said, face heating. He hugged Cas back, smiling into Cas's shoulder.

"Am I interrupting something?" Gabriel drawled, and Dean sighed and pulled back. Gabriel stood smirking in the doorway, his face a mess of crumbs and frosting.

"You can talk again," Dean said, "bummer." Gabriel scowled at him, but it was a bit hard to take the man seriously when he mouth was covered in red and green.

"Come on, Deano." He said. "Everyone loves to hear me talk."

"Debatable." Castiel sighed, standing. Dean followed him as Gabriel grumbled to himself.

"We're watching more Christmas stories." Gabriel said. "Your presences have been requested."

"Alright, alright." Dean said. "We're coming."

"Fantastic." Gabriel said. "You know, I offered to come find you both. I snooped through a lot of rooms looking for you." Dean groaned and followed the brothers out. Before they left the hall, Dean snagged Cas's wrist and then pulled him close. He pressed a kiss lightly to Cas's lips.

"Oh come on!" Gabriel complained. "Not this again." But Cas was smiling and blushing, and his eyes were bright, so Dean was happy.

Chapter Text

Castiel woke up at 7:30 in the morning, as he always did. It was a Monday, but Castiel didn't have to go back to work until after New Years. He went through his morning routine. First, he got dressed. Breakfast consisted a piece of toast and a cup coffee. After, he brushed his teeth and took a seat at the table. Dean wouldn't be up for a couple of hours, so Castiel would busy himself until Dean's good morning text. He'd seen Dean several times since Christmas the week prior. Castiel found himself growing more and more fond of the man. Even with things they disagreed on, Castiel enjoyed talking with Dean. He was such a sweet and caring man, if a bit self-depreciated. Some of his comments about himself were less than optimal, but it did give Castiel an opportunity to compliment Dean and insist on how great he was.

Castiel busied himself with reading. He'd gone book shopping with Dean, and Dean had suggested his favorite books. Castiel was reading the first one, and so far it was interesting. He was finding Dean's interests entertaining. Dean had certainly been right about the BBC documentaries, Castiel adored them.

After Christmas, Castiel had spent time reorganizing his bookshelves. It turned out he had multiple copies of different books, and that was completely unnecessary. He'd donated any spares to the local library, then worked on moving his bookshelves around to make his house feel less crowded. It was always clean, but being surrounded by books still gave the feeling of being crowded. Castiel was going to visit an animal shelter. The choice to get a cat was rather impulsive, but it was still well thought out. He could use the remainder of his holiday to grow the cat accustomed to its new home before Castiel had to return to work. Dean had helped him purchase cat supplies, and a worker from the shelter had already come to inspect his house and confirm that it was cat-appropriate.

Castiel hummed to himself absentmindedly, some classic rock song Dean liked. He read for a few hours, only breaking in his concentration when his phone buzzed.

From: Dean Winchester
9:46 << good morning 😃

To: Dean Winchester
9:46 >> Good morning to you too, Dean. How are you?

From: Dean Winchester
9:46 << great dude
9:46 << when do you want to go to the shelter ??

To: Dean Winchester
9:46 >> Whenever you are ready, if that works.

From: Dean Winchester
9:47 << of course !!!
9:47 << i'll let you know when i'm ready

To: Dean Winchester
9:47 >> Would you like to drive together? I could pick you up.

From: Dean Winchester
9:47 << yeah that works

Castiel smiled to himself and turned his phone off. Dean got ready quickly, and Castiel had just enough time to finish the chapter.

Just as Castiel was bookmarking his place, his phone vibrated.

From: Dean Winchester
10:09 << i'm ready dude

To: Dean Winchester
10:09 >> On my way.

Castiel was quick to gather his things, set the alarm, and leave his house. He was excited, both to see Dean, and to look for a cat. He'd never had pets as a child and had often fantasized finding a stray and raising it without his mother's knowledge. Naomi had said, over and over, that pets were dirty, distracting, and completely pointless. Gabriel had often begged for a dog, but Naomi had always sternly denied the request. Castiel knew better than to ask. It only put his mother in a bad mood, and when she was in a bad mood, Michael and Lucifer were in a bad mood. A domino effect.

None of that mattered now. Castiel could run his household however he wished, and if that included owning a cat, then so be it.

Once he arrived at Dean's apartment, Castiel sent him a quick text to let him know he was here. He watched as Dean exited his apartment and made his way to the car.

"Hey, Cas." Dean greeted, sliding into the passenger's side.

"Hi, Dean." Castiel leaned over to press a kiss to Dean's cheek. Dean blushed.

Castiel waited for Dean to snap in his seatbelt before he drove off.

"The shelter's pretty close. Only around 10 minutes away." Castiel said.

"Any type of cat you looking for?" Dean asked.

"No, I don't think so." Castiel answered. "Nothing that comes to mind."

"C'mon, man, you gotta give me something." Dean said. "Long fur or short?"

"Furless." Castiel replied, waiting for Dean's reaction.

"What?" Dean exclaimed, outraged. He turned in his seat to stare at Castiel, and Castiel kept his face blank.

"You want a hairless cat?" Dean asked.

"Yes, Dean." Castiel said, trying to sound serious. "What's wrong with hairless cats?" He kept his eyes on the road, though he could still see Dean in his peripheral vision. Dean's jaw opened and shut several times in quick succession, as if he wanted to say something. Finally he clenched his teeth and shook his head.

"Nothing." Dean manages to choke out. "Hairless cats are great." Castiel smiled to himself and let Dean stew in misery for a few moments.

"Only joking." Castiel said. "I do not want a hairless cat, nor have I ever wanted one for a pet." He felt Dean's stare.

"You fucker." Dean said, and Castiel laughed.

"You're actually the word." Dean grumbled.

"You was hilarious." Castiel chuckled. "You completely believed me."

"That's because I didn't expect my boyfriend to be a liar." Dean said, though he still smiled. Castiel had never been one for jokes or pranks, that'd always been Gabriel's deal and Castiel had never been around people where joking felt appropriate, but he found it felt rather rewarding and entertaining. He decided he would have to try it more often.

The shelter was a bit small, but that didn't matter to Castiel. He and Dean were led to the cat area. There were four different rooms. Two of the rooms had several adult cats, the third room had a few juvenile cats, and the final room had kittens. Castiel and Dean could enter any room they wished, they only had to use hand sanitizer and make sure no cat got out. There was a separate area for cats that didn't get along with other cats, but Castiel thought he might get another cat sometime in the future, if all went well with this one.

He and Dean entered the first adult cat room. There were laminated papers pinned to the walls, each showing one cat and giving a brief description of it. The papers also gave a health description of the cat it pertained to. The room was the size of an average bedroom, Castiel guessed. There were two cat trees, each one filling the space of a wall. Chairs lined the wall with the entrance door. Their was another door that led to an outside porch, completely enclosed. An open cat door allowed the cats to move in or out freely, and there were many toys scattered around, both inside and outside.

One cat immediately walked up to them and brushed against Dean's leg. Dean leaned down the pet it, and the cat butted it's head against Dean's palm.

"I like this one," Dean said, "it's friendly." The cat was a brownish yellow with bright blue eyes. It's fur was short, though almost a medium length. It's face was rather flat-looking, and it had smallish ears. Castiel thought it was very cute. He checked the wall with the papers to find the one that matched the cat.

"His name is Adam." Castiel said. "He's a golden shorthair."

"Hello, Adam." Dean said, still petting the cat. Castiel continued reading.

"It says that he's calm for the most part, but to chew on papers." He said. He knew that cats chewed things, of course, and had gotten several toys in addition to the ones Dean had got him. Castiel wasn't sure he should take Adam home, not when the majority of his decorations were books. Books had paper.

"Probably best not for a book nerd, then." Dean said, coming to the same conclusion as Castiel. "Sorry, bud, guess we're going to have to leave you here." Dean stood and stepped away from Adam. The car sat down and began to clean himself, obviously not upset with Dean's withdrawal.

Castiel and Dean looked around at the others cats in the room, trying to spend time with each of them, but Castiel didn't really feel any connection. They decided to try the second room. It was decorated the same as the first.

Castiel wandered through the room for a bit before finding a cat sleeping on the highest bed of the cat tree. It was a ginger tabby with long fur. Cautiously, Castiel brushed its forehead. The cat woke, blinking blue eyes lazily, and then yawned. Castiel offered his hand for it to inspect. After a few sniffs, the cat pushed its head against Castiel's hand, asking for pets. Castiel happily obliged.

"That one's name is Claire." Dean told him. "She's friendly and sweet, adventurous but not problematic. She's got a high rating from her past foster parents, Jimmy and Amelia."

"She does seem rather sweet." Castiel mused, still rubbing Claire's neck. She started to purr softly, and Castiel smiled.

"Do you want to look at the other cats, or have you already made up your mind?" Dean asked. Castiel flashed him a grin. They left briefly to tell the desk worker of Castiel's choice. He purchased Claire and signed the paperwork. Dean went back to the car to get the cat carrier Castiel had bought, and he gave it to another worker. This worker went to get Claire. It took only a few minutes, and then the worker returned and passed the cat carrier to Castiel. Claire meowed from inside, nudging at the bars of the carrier inquisitively.

"Pretty girl." Dean said, petting Claire's nose through the bars. Claire meowed again.

"Thank you, Mister Novak, for adopting today." The desk worker said politely, nodding his head. "Enjoy your new pal."

"I will." Castiel answered. He and Dean went back to the car and carefully loaded the carrier in the backseat. Dean drove them back to Castiel's house, while Castiel sat in the back with Claire. She meowed several times, clearly confused, but did not seem upset.

Once home, Castiel released Claire into the bathroom, where her food and litter box were. She walked around, sniffing and poking at things. She held her tail high, and she seemed content. Eventually Claire seemed to grow bored of the bathroom, and she made off to explore the rest of Castiel's house. Castiel had already made sure that any areas Claire could squeeze herself into were blocked or easily accessed. Everything had been cat-proofed. Claire was more content to just jump on the couch and take a nap.

"Good choice, dude." Dean said. "She's cute." Castiel nodded, strangely proud.

"Thanks for coming with me, Dean. I greatly appreciate it." Castiel said sincerely. Dean shot him a warm look.

"Anytime, dude, anytime."

 

Cat Jack 

(Adam and then Claire... also I don't own these images I just found them) 

Chapter Text

Castiel loved having Claire around. She had been a bit stubborn for the first few days, but she was starting to settle in nicely. She was active and curious, though content to play with the many toys Castiel had for her. She liked him too, always joining him on the couch and purring as she kneaded the pillows. She wasn't messy like Castiel had expected (Naomi had said it over and over that pets were messy, he was bound to believe it). The only thing he had to clean was the litter box, and even then it wasn't too much work. She was a perfect addition.

Dean had been coming by in the past few days after work. He liked Claire too and enjoyed playing with her. He'd mentioned offhandedly that he hadn't been allowed pets when he was younger, either. Claire obviously relished the extra attention, especially since Dean brought her treats. She was spoiled already.

Castiel perked up when the doorbell rang, then glanced at his clock. It was 7. Perfect timing.

Dean was waiting patiently outside the door when Castiel opened it for him. He smiled at Castiel, and Castiel moved to let him in.

"Good evening, Dean." Castiel said. Dean took off his coat and hung it on the rack.

"Heya, Cas." He replied. "How was your day?"

"Rather uneventful. How was yours?"

"Not too bad, but better now that I'm with you." Dean flirted. Castiel rolled his eyes, but still allowed the other man to kiss him. Claire meowed loudly and butted her head against Dean's leg, demanding his attention.

"Pushy thing." Dean said, bending down to pet her. "You only love me for my treats." Claire meowed again and moved her head so Dean was petting her neck. Castiel watched them fondly.

"Have you had dinner yet?" Dean asked, standing. Castiel shook his head.

"Good." Dean said. "I'm making dinner."

"You really don't have to, Dean." Castiel said.

"I want to." Dean replied easily. He kissed Castiel once more, then headed for the kitchen. Castiel trailed behind him, a bit stunned. The kitchen was opened to the dining room, allowing Castiel to watch Dean as he cooked. It was obvious how much Dean enjoyed cooking, and Castiel found himself admiring Dean.

"I'm making calzones, unless there's something else you want." Dean said.

"No, calzones sound amazing." Castiel replied honestly. He hadn't had a calzone before, but if Dean made it, it was bound to be delicious. Dean was an amazing cook.

Claire weaved around Castiel's legs and meowed.

"I'm going to feed her." Castiel announced before getting up to do so. He filled Claire's bowl with the appropriate amount, watching as the cat quickly began to munch away, then he returned to the dining room.

"What are your New Years plans?" Dean asked as he cooked.

"I haven't thought about it." Castiel admitted. "Gabriel did mention getting together, though. What are you doing?"

"Everyone's coming over." Dean answered. "Do you want to come too? Gabriel's welcomed of course."

"That would be fun, I think." Castiel said thoughtfully. "I'll ask Gabriel. I'm sure he'll be ecstatic."

"Should I he worried about him?" Dean asked, grinning. "He gonna bring illegal fireworks or anything?" Castiel grimaced.

"Probably."

"I'll be sure to the warn the others." Dean said.

"It won't be nearly as bad as the Fourth of July." Castiel said, shuddering. "He would set the fireworks off so close to our house, and then Mother would have a fit. He thought it was funny."

"Remind me not to be around him on the Fourth, then." Dean said.

"I will." Castiel replied gravely.

Once Dean finishes cooking, Castiel helped him set the table and serve the food. They sat across from one another at the table, sharing smiles in between bites.

"Dean, this is amazing." Castiel said. He stuffed his mouth full with another bite. Dean blushed and looked away. He was so modest.

"I'm glad you like it." He said, shyly taking his own bite.

"You could be a cook if you wanted." Castiel continued. The calzone was truly delicious.

"I thought about it." Dean admitted. "Never really got into it."

"Why's that?" Castiel asked. Dean fidgeted a bit before replying. Castiel's curiosity peaked.

"My father wasn't very, uh, supportive of careers like that. He liked careers that were straightforward and reliable, I guess. He worked at a garage, and he kind of expected me to also work at a garage. S'how we know Bobby, actually." Dean explained, and Castiel frowned.

"I believe cooks and chefs have remarkable and demanding jobs. It's interesting that he did not see it so."

"Yeah, I guess." Dean said evasively, and Castiel wasn't sure whether or not he should press. Dean seemed to be struggling with what to say, so Castiel decided to give him a moment in case there was anything he wanted to add.

"He didn't care for careers that represented a traditional woman's role." Dean finally said. He looked away as if he were ashamed. Though, maybe he was ashamed.

"I see." Castiel said. "Have you considered going back to culinary school?" Dean looked at him with an expression of surprise.

"A little, but not really." Dean admitted. "I've never been much of a student, it's a surprise I even got a degree."

"What's your degree for?" Castiel asked.

"It's an Associate Degree in Automotive Technology." Dean said, flushing. "Nothing too interesting or important, just practical."

"Dean," Castiel said, almost chidingly, "the mere fact that you went to college and got a degree is important, no matter what the degree is. You went for something and you accomplished it. You don't have to have a degree to be a mechanic, but you pushed yourself to do more. I find that admirable."

"Oh," Dean said softly, "if you say so." Castiel pursed his lips and stood slowly from the table. He would show Dean how admirable he found it. He crossed over to Dean's side, watching Dean watch him. Castiel gently took Dean's chin in his hand, then he dipped forward and pressed his lips against Dean's. He felt the other man sigh against him, and Castiel brought his other hand to grasp the back of Dean's neck, flicking his tongue against Dean's parted lips.

"Fuck, Cas." Dean panted, pulling away. He looked up at Castiel, bright red and wide eyed. "You're so fucking hot." Castiel smirked momentarily, then gained a serious expression and took a seat next to Dean.

"Dean," Castiel started, "I know we haven't known each other long, but I find myself longing to become more... more intimate with you. Is that something you would want?"

"Fuck yeah." Dean replied, startling Castiel with his enthusiasm.

"Oh," Castiel said dumbly, "that's good. You hadn't made any implications that you wanted to go farther, so I wasn't sure." Dean blinked at him, then grinned.

"Yeah, well, you give off a strong vibe of a chaste holy man, and I didn't want to offend you." He said. "Apparently I was wrong about the chaste thing, though."

"Very." Castiel said, growling low in his throat. He watched in satisfaction as Dean swallowed and his pupils dilated.

"You gonna prove to me how wrong I was?" Dean challenged. "Show me how anti-chaste you are?" Castiel pulled Dean up by the collar of his shirt and into a forceful kiss. Dean melted wonderfully against him, and Castiel wrapped his arms around Dean's waist. Dean moaned against his lips and brought his hands to tug at Castiel's hair. Castiel's hands stroked Dean's side and slipped beneath the hem of his shirt, allowing him access to Dean's toned body. Heat stirred low in Castiel's belly. Castiel broke their kiss briefly.

"Do you have anywhere to be?" He asked. Dean shook his head rapidly, and Castiel smirked.

"Excellent."

* * * * *

Something soft was tickling Castiel's nose. He shook his head, but the feeling persisted. Castiel tiredly rubbed his nose with his hand. It did not help. Castiel breathed out and opened his eyes, wincing when the morning light burned. He felt groggy and exhausted, but immensely content.

Dean lay bare-chested and curled into Castiel's side, his head resting on Castiel's chest. His hair had been tickling Castiel's nose. Castiel stared at Dean a beat longer, and suddenly the memories of the previous night were flooding Castiel's brain. He couldn't help but smirk and shift down to kiss Dean's forehead. Even sleeping, Dean was beautiful. And hot. Dean was beautiful and hot.

Not as hot as he'd been the night before, but, well, it was hardly a fair comparison.

Dean shifted against Castiel and sighed. His eyes blinked opened slowly, then peered blearily up at Castiel.

"Good morning." Dean's morning voice was deep and extremely attractive.

"Good morning, Dean." Castiel said. "How are you?" Dean smiled slyly at him.

"I'm sore as hell." He said. "S'good, but I'm in need of a shower."

"How convenient," said Castiel, leering, "so am I."

"Let's go, then." Dean said, pushing himself up. Castiel followed him out of the bed and into the bathroom. He had a roomy shower anyways.

* * * * *

Come New Years, Dean had spent many nights at Castiel's house. Castiel knew Dean only came over to his house because he didn't want to make Charlie uncomfortable, and Castiel totally supportive of that. It was nice to spend time with Dean. They ate dinner together almost nightly. At first, Castiel had wondered why he never had any other engagements. Then, he'd figured that Dean saw his friends and family either daily, at work or the Roadhouse, or weekly, when they'd get together for Sunday Brunch. On the other hand, Castiel didn't have any friends or family to begin with (except Gabriel, but he lived two hours away and could only be tolerated in short increments of time), so he had a lot of free time. There was only so much he could do with Claire before they both grew bored. It was only natural how often he and Dean saw each other, and Castiel was not about to complain.

"I'm cold." Gabriel whined, and Castiel barely refrained from rolling his eyes.

"Be patient, Gabe." He said. They were waiting outside of Dean's apartment, waiting for someone to answer the door.

It turned out to be Sam who finally opened the door for them. Gabriel immediately shoved himself in, not even bothering to flirt with Dean's younger brother.

"Hello, Sam." Castiel greeted. "It's good to see you, I hadn't realized you were still in town."

"Yup." Sam grinned. "I leave in three days. It's been so nice, though, being back here with my family." He closed the door after Castiel had entered, and both walked to the living room, where the majority of the party was happening.

"I'm sure they love seeing you." Castiel said.

"Yeah, it'll be good to move back here in the summer." Sam said. "Then we can talk more about hiring you for my firm."

"I would like that." Castiel replied, nodding. Sam paused just as they reached the rest of the party, so they still stood at the outskirts of the crowd. Castiel didn't like crowds, but since it was only people he knew, he thought it would be okay.

"Cas," Sam started seriously, effectively gaining Castiel's attention, "is it okay if we talk quickly?" Castiel nodded, curious and a little concerned. Sam took a deep breath and looked into the living room, eyes searching for someone.

"You know," he said, "Dean raised me. I mean, we have Bobby and Ellen and Jo, of course, but it was really Dean who raised me. He's always been there for me, helping me and supporting me. He's a great brother, and person in general, and I love him a lot." Here he glanced sideways at Castiel. "Dean doesn't have much good luck when it comes to who he dates, somehow he's always picking up douches. He really seems to like you, though, so I just wanted to make sure that you're not one of them. It may seem dumb or stupid that I'm the one giving the old 'shovel talk,' but I really need to make sure that you're not here to fuck with my brother's feelings. He doesn't need that toxicity in his life."

"I feel very strongly for Dean." Castiel said softly. "I swear, I'm not in this relationship for selfish reasons. I find Dean so incredible and bright, and I am truly honored he would deem me worthy of his time. I promise you, I care for your brother."

Sam smiled at him, then clasped Castiel's back.

"That's good." He said. "Bobby, the Harvelles, Charlie, and I can only be there for him some of the time. It's good that he has you to lean back on too. Take good care of him, okay?"

"I will." Castiel answered solemnly. Sam met his eyes briefly, then nodded. They stood there for a while, until Dean finally approached them.

"Whatcha guys doing over here?" He asked.

"Talking lawyer stuff." Sam lied easily, and Dean's nose scrunched as he made a face of disgust. "Don't worry though, dude, I was just leaving. Have a good time with your boyfriend." Sam slipped away. When he was out of sight completely, Dean turned to Castiel.

"Will you be my New Years kiss?" He asked, leaning forward.

"It's only seven, Dean." Castiel replied blandly. Dean smirked up at him.

"It's New Years somewhere." He said. Castiel rolled his eyes and leaned forward to kiss his boyfriend. Technically, Dean was right, and Castiel would never pass up to the opportunity to kiss Dean.

He was just too amazing.

 

Chapter Text

Castiel was absolutely amazing, there was no doubt in Dean's mind about that. He was sweet and soft and sassy and so fucking hot. Dean absolutely adored the way Cas would talk to Claire. He didn't use a baby voice, like most pet owners did, but instead spoke as if he were talking to another human. It been confusing the first few times, sure. Dean had thought Cas was on a phone call or something. Afterwards, though, it was adorable.

"Earth to Dean." Dean blinked and became around of his surroundings. He noticed Sam and Charlie's amused expressions and scowled at them.

"Dude, can't you pay attention for, like, five minutes?" Sam asked.

"Yes." Dean grumbled. "You're just boring." Sam rolled his eyes.

"He's just daydreaming Cas again." Charlie said. "What, the sleepovers weren't enough?"

"Charlie!" Dean hissed, blushing, just as Sam exclaimed, "Sleepovers?" Charlie nodded smugly.

"How many nights of the past week have you slept at home, Dean? Two, maybe?" Charlie teased, obviously delighted in his embarrassment.

"Shut up, Charlie." Dean mumbled, glaring.

"I mean, not that I blame you, Dean, he's hot as fuck." Charlie continued as she smirked. "I bet he has a massive di-"

"Charlie!" Dean interrupted. His cheeks were flaming. Sam looked both amused and disgusted. "We're not having this conversation."

"Fine." Charlie conceded, but she and Sam snickered quickly.

"Now that that's over with," Dean said loudly, "what are we talking about?" This time, both Sam and Charlie rolled their eyes.

"We're talking about spring break, Dean." Charlie said, as if it were obvious.

"Trying to decide if we want to go somewhere." Sam chimed in. "I know Jess would enjoy a vacation. It'll be the last one before our final stretch of school." Dean tilted his head in acknowledgment. It was crazy to think about how Sam would finally be coming home, permanently. Sure, it was good to see him during the breaks and over summer, and it was simple to call or Skype, but Dean still missed him like crazy. Sam had been so important to Dean growing up, and it had been hard adjusting over the past few years. He was happy that his brother would be returning soon.

"Speaking of vacation," Dean said, "when's your flight?"

"7:30, I think." Sam answered. He glanced down at his watch. "Like 8 and a half more hours."

"We'd better make the best of it." Charlie said. "Movie marathon?" Sam groaned as Dean grinned.

"Guys, we do a movie marathon every time!" Sam said, exasperated. "Can't we do something fun for once?" Both Dean and Charlie gasped.

"Movie marathons are fun, Sammy." Dean said. "Have I taught you nothing?"

"Sam thinks that jogging is fun." Charlie added. Her nose scrunched and she stuck out her tongue.

"It is fun!" Sam said defensively.

"Alright, Sam, fine." Dean said. "We won't have our movie marathon. But we're not doing something boring, either! What do you want to do?"

"I don't know." Sam shrugged. "Let's just hang out. I won't see you guys in person for a few months." An unexpected warmth blossomed in Dean's chest. He had practically raised the kid, after all. It made Dean happy that Sam liked hanging out with him.

"Your call, dude." Dean said. "Tell is about Jessica." He enjoyed the vicious glare that Sam sent him.

"Jessica is amazing." Sam said. "She'll come back over spring break if we don't go anywhere else."

"It'll be good to see her again." Dean said. He'd met Jessica many times over phone and Skype, and he'd spent much of the past summer with her and Sam. She was a snarky and beautiful woman, and Dean took great joy in letting Sam know that he was lucky to have had met Jessica before Dean had. It was especially amusing to see the look on Sam's face when Jessica teasingly agreed with Dean. Yeah, she was a good addition to the family.

"Ugh," Charlie groaned, "enough with all the romance. Let's talk about something more exciting!" Sam and Dean glanced at her, not knowing what to say. Charlie stared back at them expectantly.

"Fine weather we're having." Dean tried.

"Come on, guys." Charlie groaned. "You're adult men, and you don't know how to hold a single conversation?"

"Let's get a cat!" Dean said, and both Charlie and Sam stared at him. He shifted uncomfortably.

"Where the fuck is this coming from?" Charlie asked.

"I just thought it would be nice." Dean answered lamely.

"It's because of Cas, isn't it?" Charlie said.

"Does Cas have a cat?" Sam asked.

"He just got one." Charlie answered. "Dean's been spending lots of time with them."

"I didn't know I like cats until I met her, okay?" Dean said defensively. "She's awesome."

"So you're a cat person now." Charlie said, eyeing him.

"Jess and I are going to get a dog." Sam chimed in, blessedly taking the spotlight off of Dean.

"Aww, what type?" Charlie asked.

"Hey, how come it's cute for him to get a dog and not for me to get a cat?"

"Because you, Dean Winchester, can hardly take care of yourself, let alone another creature. Plus, Sam has been wanting a dog for years."

Dean stayed quiet, pouting. This was true, unfortunately.

"We're thinking a Border Collie-Golden Retriever mix." Sam answered. "Jess's friend's dog will be having a litter soon."

"That sounds cute." Charlie said, already searching the mix up on her phone. "Boy or girl?"

"Doesn't matter." Sam shrugged. "Border Collies are really smart, though. Smartest dog breed, I think. And Golden Retrievers and Border Collies can go running with me, so a mix should have no problem."

"An athletic and smart dog for an athletic and smart man." Dean said, rolling his eyes.

"At least I won't be dying of a heart attack at thirty-nine, Dean." Sam said.

"At least my food tastes good." Dean snarked back.

"Alright, shut up already." Charlie said, rolling her eyes. "That sounds fun, Sam. Make sure to send us loads of pictures." Sam was already nodding his head enthusiastically.

"Of course." He said. "It'll be a lot of work since we're both graduating soon, but it'll be worth it."

"Can I call it Sam Junior?" Dean asked. Sam sent him a bitch face that had dean deciding he would call the dog Sam Junior no matter what it's actual name turned out to be, if only to piss of Sam.

"Very funny, Dean." Sam grumbled. "Hey, since I'm the one that's leaving soon, can we play board games?"

"Yeah!" Charlie said excitedly. Dean only sighed.

"More like bored games." He said.

"Just because you lack the patience to play the game, doesn't make it any less fun." Sam said. "Risk or Acquire?"

"Acquire!" Charlie exclaimed. Dean made a face. She always ended up beating him in monetary games like Acquire and Monopoly.

"Risk." Dean decided. "At least that one involves fighting." Charlie rolled her eyes but conceded.

In the end, hours later, Charlie kicked both Dean's and Sam's asses. Sam came in second place, and Dean was dead last.

"This is a dumb game." Dean grouched, but he gave a small smile to let the others know that he was joking.

Dean drove Sam back to the airport. He'd already said his goodbyes, so they went straight there. Charlie stayed behind, letting the brothers have one last time together before Sam was gone for another two and a half months.

"It was really good seeing you, Dean." Sam said, when Dean pulled over to drop him off. "I can't wait to move back."

"Yeah, me neither." Dean said, allowing one chic flic moment. "I like having you around." Sam grinned at him.

"I'll call you when I land, okay?" Sam said.

"Sure thing, Sammy." Dean agreed. "Say 'hi' to Jess for me. Take care of yourself, dude."

"You too, Dean." Sam replied. "Have fun with Castiel, he seems like a nice guy. He'll be good for you." While Dean spluttered, Sam got out of the car and got his bags from the back. He leaned in through the window to offer Dean once last smile.

"Bye, bitch." Dean said, waving (and definitely not tearing up, thank you very much). Sam returned the wave.

"Bye, jerk." He said. Then he pulled away from the car and began his walk to the airport. Dean watched him go, an incredibly glum and depressing feeling washing over him.

When Sam was completely out of sight, Dean pulled away from the curb and drove home. He didn't listen to any music, feeling too dejected. He kept the engine running once he'd parked in the apartment parking lot and took out his phone.

To: Blue-Eyed Angel
7:47 >> hey dude can I come over ??

Dean had to wait only a few seconds for the reply.

From: Blue-Eyed Angel
7:47 << Of course, Dean, anytime. You are always welcome here.
7:47 << Also, I think Claire misses you.

Dean smiled as he typed a reply.

To: Blue-Eyed Angel
7:47 >> of course she does
7:47 >> coming over now, I'm making dinner if you haven't had it

From: Blue-Eyed Angel
7:47 << That would be perfect, I can't wait. :)

Chapter Text

January flew by faster than Dean could process. He busied himself at the garage, then, in the evenings, joined Cas and Claire for dinner. Afterwards, they'd spend time talking on the couch or watching movies and shows. Dean had been happy to introduce Cas to the best shows and movies, and Cas seemed to enjoy them.

Dean had been very excited to show Cas Die Hard. Emphasis on the had. Now, Dean was absolutely miserable.

He had woken up feeling groggy, cold, and achy. It didn't take a genius to figure out that he was sick. Dean had tried to go to work anyways, but Bobby had sent him home immediately.

So now, Dean was groggy, cold, achy, and bored. Charlie had quickly grown tired of his whining complaining and had left to spend the evening with her girlfriend, after making sure Dean had everything he needed, of course. Dean had grumbled and started reading some Cup Noodles for dinner. It was the closest thing to chicken noodle soup that he could eat for dinner. He'd already told Cas that he wouldn't be coming to dinner. When Cas asked why, Dean only said that he was tired from the day. Technically, it wasn't a lie. Dean was tired, but he didn't want to let his boyfriend know he was this way because of a tiny cold. It was fucking embarrassing.

Dean jumped when the doorbell rang. He groaned, paused the tv, and pushed himself up from the couch, blanket wrapped around him. Dean waddled to the door and started opening them up.

"Whoever's here better have a fucking good reason for making me get up, otherwise I'm going to be so pisse-"

Dean broke off abruptly at the sight of Castiel standing in the hallway. He smiled and ran his eyes over Dean. Dean was suddenly extremely aware of how gross and sickly he probably looked.

"Cas." Dean said, still stunned by his boyfriend's presence. "What the fuck are you doing here?" He winced. That had come out more aggressive than he intended. Cas didn't seem to notice, or he simply didn't care.

"I heard you were sick, so I brought you some food." Castiel said, sounding hesitant. He held up his arm, and Dean then noticed the full plastic bag he held. "May I, uh, come in?"

"Hmm?" Dean said, looking up. "Oh, yeah. Yeah, sure." He moved so Cas could come inside. Fucking Charlie probably ratted him out.

"You didn't have to do this, man." Dean said.

"Don't be ridiculous." Castiel replied. "I wanted to. You feed me every evening, the least I could do is tend to my boyfriend in his time of need." Dean felt his face redden.

"Okay, if you insist." He wobbled back to the living room, leaving Cas to close the door. He plopped down gracelessly on the couch.

"Where are your bowls?" Cas asked, walking past Dean to go to the kitchen.

"Top left cupboard. Spoons are in the drawer right of the sink."

Cas disappeared into the kitchen, and Dean settled himself more on the couch.

"Dean, you seem to have left some food in the microwave." Castiel called. Fuck, the Cup Noodles.

"Shit, yeah." Dean called back, wincing at his croaking voice. "It's Cup Noodles, I'll throw it out." Castiel appeared in the living room briefly.

"No need." He said, then paused thoughtfully. "You really shouldn't microwave your Cup Noodles, Dean, it says to add hot water only." Dean waved a hand dismissively.

"I've been doing it for ages, it's fine." He said. Castiel regarded him.

"I suppose." He said, sounding unsure as he went back to the kitchen. He took only a few minutes before he returned with two bowls of soup.

"Thanks." Dean said, taking his bowl.

"It is chicken noodle soup." Castiel said as he sat next to him on the couch. "Charlie said you wanted some, and I have heard that it helps when one is sick." Dean started eating quickly, reveling in its taste and warmth.

"This is so good." Dean said. "Did you make it?"

"Unfortunately, no." Cas said. "I went to the store after work and got it to go." Dean shrugged.

"It tastes hella good anyways."

Cas and Dean sat quietly, both enjoying the food. Cas glanced at the tv, which was still paused.

"What were you watching?" He asked, already reaching for the remote and pressing play. The screen showed the name of the movie as it returned to life.

"You've Got Mail?" Cas asked.

"It was on!" Dean said hastily, cheeks burning. He didn't add that he was enjoying the movie, that was completely irrelevant.

"Of course." Castiel said, smirking at Dean. "You'd never willing watch a romcom."

"Nope." Dean agreed. He nodded vigorously and reached for the remote. "We can change it to something else." Cas moved the remote beyond Dean's reach.

"Actually, I wouldn't mind watching it." He said. "Would it be alright if I kept it on?" Dean stared at him, suspicious.

"I guess." He said. "If you want." Castiel smiled at him, then rewound the movie to the start and pressed play. He watched intently as Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks interacted on screen.

In the end, both Cas and Dean liked the movie, though Dean was silent about his preference.

"Even though it was rather unrealistic, and somewhat problematic, it was very cute." Cas said. "What do you think?"

"It was, uh," Dean cleared his throat, "fine." Cas grinned at him in way that made Dean feel like he knew Dean liked the movie, but was too polite to say anything.

"What do you want to watch next?" Dean asked.

"I wouldn't mind another romcom." Cas mused. "Though if you'd rather watch a more "masculine" movie, that would work too."

"No, man, it's fine." Dean said, already selecting the next romcom. "You'll probably like this one too." Cas, bless him, did not comment on Dean's knowledge, or question as to why Dean had the movie recorded. He only waited patiently for the movie to load, then sat back with Dean.

"This is called Serendipity." Dean said. Cas nodded his acknowledgment, then he moved so he was pressed against Dean's side with his arm wrapped around Dean's shoulders.

"I'm going to get you sick." Dean said, taking a tissue and blowing his nose pointedly.

"It's worth it to be here with you." Cas said. As if to prove his point, he leaned forward and kissed Dean's cheek. Dean blushed and muttered to himself about how unhygienic that was, but Cas just smiled at him with a soft look in his eyes.

"Shut up and watch the movie." Dean grumbled. Cas's smile widened, but he obediently looked back at the movie. His arm tightened a little around Dean's shoulders, and Dean relaxed into the touch. He hadn't even realized he was falling asleep until his eyes were closed. He felt Castiel shift against him, then Dean was moved lightly so he was laying with his head on Cas's lap. Long fingers began to stroke through Dean's hair and play with it. He murmured a thanks.

"Sleep, Dean." Cas said. Dean didn't need to be told twice.

* * * * *

Dean awoke to sunlight in his eyes. He groaned and threw and arm over his face. Dean felt even sicker today, which meant he'd likely be sick for the upcoming weekend.

"Fuck." Dean growled, then immediately he began to cough out his lungs. Dean's eyes streamed as he pushed himself up and patted his chest in an attempt to dislodge the mucus.

"Dean, are you alright?" Dean glanced to his doorway and saw Cas looking at him with an expression full of concern. Dean nodded, still coughing, and waved him off. Cas entered Dean's room instead. He approached Dean and started inspecting his face.

"Say 'ah'." Cas said, and Dean opened his mouth for Cas to inspect. Cas make a tsk noise and then began to check Dean's eyes.

"I should take your temperature." Cas murmured, and Dean pushed his hands away.

"I'm fine, dude." He said, throat stinging. Castiel ignored him and placed his hand on Dean's forehead.

"You're a bit warm." He said. "I'll get you some medicine."

"Fuck, fine." Dean said. He lay back in his bed and stared at the ceiling, trying to ignore his pounding headache. Cas returned with ibuprofen, along with scrambled eggs, toast, and orange juice.

"Here, I've made you breakfast." He said, unnecessarily. Dean pushed himself up again and took the plate and cup from Cas.

"Thanks, Cas." Dean said. "You didn't have to." Cas rolled his eyes.

"I know, Dean." He said. "But I wanted to." Dean smiled and took a bite of his eggs.

"I didn't make you bacon. Greasy foods can make you feel worse and nauseous." Castiel said.

"Honestly, I'm just happy I don't have to make anything. It's good too. You're the best boyfriend." Dean replied, grinning as Cas blushed. He quickly swallowed the ibuprofen with the orange juice.

"There is," Cas paused, "one more thing I have to give to you." Dean watched him go, curious. Castiel returned with his arms behind his back and he approached Dean warily, like he thought Dean might get mad. Was it something bad? Dean put his plate and cup on the nightstand.

"What?" He asked. Cas studied him for a moment, then moved his arms from around his back and placed something brightly colored on Dean's lap. He only needed a second to look at it before he recognized wrapping paper.

"Happy birthday, Dean." Cas said softly.

"How the fuck did you know it was my birthday?" Dean asked, shocked. He didn't make a big deal about his birthday normally, years of being disappointed by his dad's forgetfulness had trained him not to care about it so much.

"I'm your boyfriend." Cas replies confidently. "It's my job to know these things." Dean stared at him, absolutely touched. Charlie usually gave him something in the morning, and the rest of his friends would too when he saw them. Sam would call and Dean would likely get something small in the mail a few days later. But it felt different that Cas had gone out of his way to learn Dean's birthday and get him a gift. Hell, the only reason the others knew Dean's birthday was because Charlie had found it online somehow and had told the others.

"Thanks, Cas." Dean said, voice wavering. He unwrapped the gift, feeling a rush of excitement he didn't normally get on his birthday, and threw the paper to the side. It was a cookbook titled, "The Pie Cookbook. Over 100 Delicious Homemade Pie Recipes You Can Easily Make."

"I know you like pies and cooking." Cas explained. "I thought you might enjoy having them together."

"This is awesome." Dean said. He started looking through the cookbook, pausing at pies that caught his eye, and there were so many. "Dude, I love this."

"I'm glad." Cas said. He leaned over to give Dean another kiss.

"You're actually going to get sick." Dean said.

"I have a very strong immune system." Cas shrugged.

"Whatever, dude." Dean said. "Thank you for my gift. I'm going to have to try all these recipes out on you." Castiel's eyes seemed to sparkle as he smiled.

"I'm excited for that." He said. Cas moved to sit on Dean's bed with him, once ignoring Dean's protests about health and hygiene, and pressed another kiss to Dean's cheek.

"Your funeral." Dean said, finally succumbing and laying back on his boyfriend.

"I won't get sick." Castiel nearly scoffed.

Needless to say, Cas was sick with a fever and a cold for the next three days.

 

Dean's new cookbook

Chapter Text

Castiel was having a very bad day. He started the day by finding a hairball on the couch. Then he'd realized he'd forgotten to go to the store and get more coffee. Castiel had gone to Starbuck instead for his morning brew, even though he didn't care much for it. Of course, everyone had had the same idea as him, and he'd been stuck waiting in line for ten minutes, and then another ten waiting for his actual coffee. This had in turn made him late to work, which meant Castiel had to stay late to work. When Anna approached him, he was unable to pack up and leave like he normally did. Instead he had to listen to her talk the entire time he was finishing his work. Honestly he couldn't care less, Castiel only wanted to go home and see Claire and Dean.

Castiel's phone vibrated for the fourth time and his hand twitched. He wanted to see who was texting him, but he really did not want to delay his work any further and spend more time listening to Anna go on and on about clothes sales and things like that. He despised that she still flirted with him after all this time.

"Castiel, I have to say, you've been looking rather ravishing lately. Ever since we came back from break, actually. What's your secret? New shirt size? New haircut?"

"New boyfriend." Castiel said, quite unintentionally. He tried not to let his own surprise show on his face.

Anna only let out an obnoxious giggle.

"You're so funny, Castiel." She said, a hand squeezing his arm. "You make the best jokes."

"I'm not joking." Castiel said. He turned to face her. "I have a new boyfriend."

"What?" Anna asked, her voice uncertain, like she still thought he was joking but now wasn't sure. "What are you talking about?"

"I have a boyfriend." Castiel said clearly. "His name is Dean Winchester."

"Dean Winchester?" Anna repeated, her mouth curling into a sneer. "From Singer's garage?" Castiel blinked.

"Yes." He said. "How did you know that?"

"He and I fucked." Anna said bluntly. "Several times. Poor boy thought we were really a couple, too. Anyways, there's no way Dean Winchester's gay. He's as straight as an arrow."

"He most certainly is not." Castiel said, now glaring at her heatedly. "He is my boyfriend."

"You're only saying that!" Anna said, her cheeks reddening and eyebrows angling downwards in her angered state.

"I'm not." Castiel said, taking out his phone. He ignored the messages and went straight for his camera roll, then chose a picture where he and Dean were asleep and holding one another. Charlie had taken it of them and Castiel had saved it. He showed her the photo, a triumphant grin on his face.

"What the hell?" Anna took Castiel's phone and Castiel made a noise of protest. He reached for his phone but Anna moved out of the way, her eyes intently scanning the screen. Then she looked at him with an angry expression.

"You're gay?" She asked accusingly. Castiel crossed his arms.

"I am. Not that it's any of your business."

"It is too my business!" Anna argued. "You've been leading me on!" Castiel gaped at her.

"I have not!" He said, voice fierce.

"You have too!" Anna said.

"I've been trying to get rid of you since you took notice of me." Castiel said, not at all caring that it might be rude. "I have been gay since I can remember. I have not ever been attracted to you!"

Castiel startled when Anna burst into tears. She shoved the phone at him and dashed off. Castiel watched her go, a bit confused by the sudden change, and then looked back to his work. He really just wanted to get home.

Luckily, no one approached Castiel for the remainder of his time there. Unluckily, Castiel was stuck in the traffic he usually avoided by leaving promptly. It was all very irritating.

When Castiel did finally get home, it was dark outside and difficult for him to see where the key should enter the lock. The inside of his home was dark too, and Castiel struggled to switch the light on. Claire meowed out urgently and pressed against him.

"Hello, sweetie." Castiel said, petting Claire's head. "Let me get settled." He put his things away and then filled Claire's bowl. Then he checked his phone.

From: Dean Winchester
6:12 << im running a little late today
6:12 << ill let you know when im on my way, k?
6:33 << im done now can i come over ?
7:12 << everything okay ?

To: Dean Winchester
7:28 >> I am very sorry. I too was running late. I'm home now, if you're still up to coming.

From: Dean Winchester
7:28 << okay cool
7:28 << be over in a bit, gonna make us dinner :)

Castiel sighed and put his phone away. He began to tidy up his home absentmindedly. Claire followed him around curiously as Castiel organized his books and put away various objects.

Castiel yawned. The day had been very demanding, and he didn't want to deal with anything anymore. He considered, briefly, texting Dean and tell him not to come. But, Dean was already on his way, and Castiel always felt better when Dean was here with him. Claire could use the extra attention too.

He switched the television on as he waited, flipping it to some random documentary. He watched, only half interested, as some bird flew around on screen.

Castiel was still in a mood. His conversation with Anna still stuck with him, picking at his thoughts and making him grit his teeth. Honestly, she had some nerve trying to get with him. He'd been quite clear that he was rejecting her advances and not interested in her. Working with Sam would be nice. Castiel hoped Sam would be able to start up his firm soon so that Castiel could quit his current job.

There was no point thinking about it now. Claire meowed at his feet and then jumped up onto the couch. She dropped a mouse toy on the couch and crawled onto his lap. She started kneading and looked up at him.

"I'm sorry I've been so tense tonight." Castiel said. "I'm just tired, but I'll feel better tomorrow. Today's been rough. You're such a good girl." He scratched under Claire's neck and she started purring.

They both looked up when the doorbell rang. Likely Dean. Castiel regretfully moves Claire off of his lap and stood. He walked over to the front door, already smiling with the knowledge that Dean would be there.

"Hey, Dean." Castiel said, opening the door. "How are yo-"

Castiel cut himself off and stared.

"Hey, Cas." Inias said, smiling sheepishly. "Can I come in?"

Castiel's bad day somehow grew worse.

Chapter Text

"Inias." Castiel said, shocked. "What are you doing here?"

Inias's smile faltered slightly.

"Can I come in?" He asked. Castiel stared at him for a moment, then slowly moved so that Inias could enter.

Claire meowed at the stranger and went up to inspect him.

"I see you got a cat." Inias commented, a bit pointlessly. "You always wanted a cat."

"I did." Castiel agreed.

"How long have you had her for?" Inias continued, bending down to stroke a hand down Claire's back. She meowed and brushed against his leg, demanding more love and attention.

"About a month and a half." Castiel answered. "Got her from a nice shelter."

"That's very like you." Inias said.

"What's that supposed to mean?" Castiel asked, bristling. Claire seemed to sense his discomfort, and she scampered away.

"Nothing." Inias said quickly. "Sorry, I didn't mean that in any offending way. It's just a very kind action that I can picture you doing."

"Oh." Castiel said. "I see."

Inias straightened and shifted, eyes wandering around.

"You still live here, huh?" He asked. "I have to say, I'm pretty surprised."

"Why?" Castiel demanded.

"C'mon, Castiel. It was a nice dream: the house, the yard, the kids, but back then it wasn't realistic."

"It was plenty realistic, it just wasn't your dream." Castiel corrected angrily. "I understand that now. Just because it wasn't your dream, didn't mean it wasn't mine. I had thought, with you talking about our future, that eventually we would live in a house like this together."

Inias looked abashed at least, and that gave Castiel vindictive pleasure.

"I'm sorry I misled you." Inias said quietly. "It was really nice to think about back then. I didn't realize how far you were willing to take it."

"You talked about kids in our future all the time, Inias." Castiel snapped. "What was I supposed to think?"

"It was wishful thinking, Castiel." Inias protested. "I had thought you understood that."

"Why would I think you were wishful thinking?" Castiel questioned.

"Because I wasn't out yet!" Inias replied bitterly, frowning and crossing his arms. "I wasn't out and you suddenly bought a house and-"

"This house was for me!" Castiel cut in. "I told you that!"

"You said that I could move here someday." Inias argued. "I wasn't ready to come out yet, why would I be ready to move in with you?"

"I didn't ask you to move in with me!" Castiel protested. "I said that maybe someday we could live here together! I also said that I would wait as long as you needed me to!"

"How long would you wait? Two months?"

"I would've waited forever! I just didn't want to miss the chance to buy the perfect house, Inias! I told you that there was no pressure!"

"There was pressure though, Castiel." Inias sighed. "I expected you to move here and rent an apartment while I worked through my issues."

"Why would it matter if I waited in an apartment or a house? We would've moved into a house eventually anyways."

"It just felt too fast."

Castiel looked away, frustrated.

"Why are you here?" He finally asked, quietly.

"I've come to make amends." Inias answered.

"What, after three and a half years?" Castiel replied dryly.

"Yes." Inias said. "I just... I wanted you to know that I'm out now and everything, completely comfortable with who I am. I felt like you deserve to know." Castiel softened a little at that.

"I'm happy for you." He said genuinely. "I don't understand why you had to come here, though. Surely, if you knew my address you must've known my number. Why didn't you call or text?"

Inias scratched at the back of his neck and let out a long breath.

"Could we sit down?" He asked, voice meek. Castiel nodded and led him to the dining room. They sat opposite of one another, both staring at the other.

"I'm sorry, Castiel." Inias said. "I made a mistake."

Castiel's heart stumbled in his chest and he swallowed thickly. "What?"

"I made a mistake." Inias repeated, eyes downcast. "I was so angry with you for buying this house, and I thought you were pushing me for something I wasn't ready for. I thought that you didn't respect me or my wishes, and so I broke up with you and ran. I thought about you everyday, though. At first I was angry and hurt, but then after a few months I began to cool off. I realized this was something we could've worked out together. I wanted to come back, beg for your forgiveness, but I still wasn't out yet, and I was ashamed for how I acted. So, I put it off. Every time I thought about you I told myself I'd tell my family. I finally did tell them two months ago. Since then, I've been trying to get the courage to speak to you. I know I hurt you a lot, and I feel so fucking bad, you've no idea. But I miss you, and...

"I still love you."

Castiel gaped at the man before him. Inias was saying the words Castiel had literally dreamed he'd say. He'd wished for this moment so many times before. He'd waited to hear this.

Every night the first year after their breakup, Castiel had pictured Inias returning so that Castiel could ask for forgiveness. Rarely did he ever picture Inias doing the same. A part of him had longed to hear those words from Inias, to know that he still loved Castiel. Hearing them now, however, they made Castiel sick to his stomach.

"What?" He choked out. Inias smiled faintly, a soft and sad smile.

"I still love you." He said. "I've been in love with you for all these years, and I never had the balls to do anything about it. I want to fix that now. I don't deserve your forgiveness, not after the way I treated you, but I still need to apologize and be truthful with you. I want to be with you again, if you'd give me a second chance."

"Inias," Castiel started, voice harsh, "I accept your apology, of course, but you have to know that I-"

"Cas?" Dean's voice called, front door opening, and Castiel watched Inias stiffen. "The door was unlocked, so I let myself in. I hope that's alright."

"You said you'd wait forever." Inias said, sounding more shocked than accusing.

"I said I would have waited forever." Castiel corrected softly. "Past tense."

"Cas, is someone here-" Dean's voice, closer now, died off. Castiel turned and saw his boyfriend standing in the entrance to the dining room, eyebrows furrowed as he looked between the pair. "Um, am I interrupting something?"

"Not at all, Dean." Castiel said. "We're just finishing up, but you can stay if you'd like." Inias looked like he wanted to argue with that, but Castiel held up a hand.

"I'm sorry." He said to Inias. "I forgive you for everything, but I don't love you, not anymore. I have a boyfriend, whom I care for dearly, and I won't be leaving him anytime soon, as long as he still wants me." Castiel's voice was firm but hopefully not cruel. He did feel badly for Inias, but he wanted to be clear that he and Dean were a couple.

"I understand." Inias said, standing. "It was worth a try, though. I'm sorry I wasted your time." He moved to the door, pausing once by Dean.

"You're a lucky man." Inias said. "Don't mess it up."

"I know and I won't." Dean replied curtly. Inias nodded once, then let himself out. Dean looked to Castiel.

"Should I be concerned?" He asked, sounding small and insecure.

"Of course not." Castiel assured him. "I meant what I said. I don't plan to break up with you."

"Good." Dean's voice was relieved, and Castiel stood and walked over to Dean.

"I'm sorry that that happened." Castiel said. "I didn't expect it."

"Me neither." Dean said, a half-smile crossing his features. "I'm glad you're mine." Castiel smiled back at him.

"And I'm glad that you are mine." He said. Dean leaned forward and brushed his lips lightly over Castiel's in a chaste kiss. 

"How about we order takeout and relax for the night?" Dean suggested. "I have a feeling that you're going to bit tense."

"I've had the worst day imaginable." Castiel said in agreement. Dean took his hand and ran his thumb over the back of it.

"Tell me about it." Dean said.

God.

I love this man.

Chapter Text

Dean had to admit that seeing Cas and Inias together had shaken him. Cas had reassured him, of course, that Cas had no feelings for Inias anymore. Dean believed him, he trusted Cas.

But, Dean still felt insecure. He couldn't help but wonder if he were truly the best option for Cas. Cas was amazing and smart, and Dean was just a mechanic with baggage. It made him anxious and stressed to even think about.

Something must've been off in the way Dean was acting, because, midway through dinner, Cas sighed and looked him.

"You want to talk about it, don't you?" Cas asked. Dean swallowed.

"I don't know." He admitted. "Seeing him here really threw me off."

"I apologize."

"Don't apologize, it's not like it was your fault. Plus, it shouldn't matter to me. I trust you." Dean replied.

"But it still makes you uneasy." Castiel said, and Dean glanced down. He felt ashamed for not being able to show Cas that he trusted him, which he did, because of his own insecurities.

"I don't mind having this discussion." Cas said slowly. "As long as you don't mind sharing too." Dean looked up and tilted his head, considering.

"Okay." He said. "Who first?"

"Since it is I who began this conversation, however indirectly it may have been, I will go first.

"Okay." Dean said. Castiel paused, looking thoughtful and unsure.

"I met Inias six years ago, two before I moved here. He was working for my family's firm at that time, not as a lawyer, as a legal secretary. I thought him attractive, and we unintentionally became friends. I wasn't out yet to my family, at the time, and neither was he. Somehow we came around to admitting to each other that I was gay and he was pan. It felt natural for our relationship to progress into a more romantic state.

"We dated in secret for a year and a half. We would drive an hour away just to eat out, and we would park a street away from each other's apartments so no one would know we were there. He spoke a lot about the future, about having a home and a family with me. I had thought that had meant it was what he wanted.

"Once we'd been dating for a year and a half, I felt more confident to come out to my family. He did not, but that was completely fine for me. I came out and, well, you can imagine how Naomi reacted. She fired and disowned me on the spot. I was not exactly surprised, some part of me expected it, but it was still hurtful. I decided to move here, both to be closer to Gabe and to be farther from my family. Inias said he would move with me, and then we could be together without the fear of being caught.

"When I moved here I bought this house. I thought it would be perfect for a family. Inias was unhappy with my decision, he accused me of moving too quickly. I assured him that this a way for me to urge him to go faster, I only wanted to do something for me. You see, I had never indulged in my dreams before, and so I was eager to do something I thought would make me happy. This house was perfect for a family, and I was excited to have a family someday. Inias did not understand that I was only preparing for the future, and that I did not expect anything of him in the near future, or even the distant future. I would have waited as long as he liked.

"Inias only grew angrier with me when I refused to move into an apartment. I thought we would work it out, but he broke up with me the next day, over text, and said he'd already moved back. I tried to call and text him, but he had blocked me or changed his number. I was devastated. It took another year before I even thought about moving on. I tried to get out there, but I never felt a connection, that is, until I met you."

"Oh." Dean breathed. "What an ass." Cas cracked a smile.

"Yes, I suppose he was." He said. He watched Dean expectantly, waiting for Dean to say more.

"Am I," Dean paused, a sinking feeling in his stomach, "a rebound?"

Cas's eyes widened significantly.

"No!" He exclaimed. "Not at all! I had no romantic feelings towards Inias at the time of our meeting."

"Okay." Dean said, relieved. "Does this house remind you of him?"

"No." Cas answered after a moment. "It did in the beginning, but more than anything it was tied to the idea of having a future family, rather than a life with Inias. Does that make sense?"

"Yeah." Dean said. "Thanks for telling me all of this."

"You mean a lot to me, Dean, and you deserve to know about my past." Castiel replied. "May I ask about yours?"

"Sure." Dean said. "What do you want to know?"

"How many serious relationships have you been in?" Cas questioned. Dean had been expecting a question like this, but it was still greatly difficult for him to think about.

"Two." He said, continuing with Castiel inclined his head. "The first was with a woman named Lisa Braeden, about five years ago. She was very independent and strong, and I was attracted to that. She had a son named Ben. He was a great kid, and honestly I loved them both. We had a pretty good relationship, I even moved in with her. But, there was always something unfulfilled. Neither of us could pinpoint what it was. In the end, we broke it off. It was mutual, but still difficult. It wasn't that we didn't love each other, it just was that we weren't right for each other. We've stayed in touch since then, and we see each other from time to time. It was probably the best way a couple could break up, and even if I knew we weren't meant to be, it was tough to get over her.

"I realized I was bisexual after we broke up. I began seeing this guy named Michael. It started off as casual, but then it developed more. It was good for a about a year, and we would talk about our future together, but then he started getting sort of possessive and creepy. He really wanted me to move in with him, kept saying he'd keep asking until I said yes. He'd get upset whenever I'd go out and spend time with my other friends, even if it were Charlie. He knew I'm bi and he'd use that against me by saying I'm more likely to cheat because I like both. Anyways, I broke it off after that. It was hard because I hadn't dated a dude before, and we had been pretty serious."

Dean looked away, tears prickling in his eyes. He didn't want to talk about how Michael had promised him so much in the beginning, and their relationship had finally felt right to Dean. It was no secret how attracted he was to women, but when it came to relationships, Dean preferred to be with men.

Cas's hand enveloped Dean's, and he was brought back to the present.

"Thank you for telling me, Dean." Cas said softly. "I appreciate it."

"I appreciate you sharing too." Dean said, attempting to smile. Castiel gave a small smile back.

"Perhaps we should retire to the couch." Cas said. "It seems to have been a tough day for the both of us."

"Yeah," Dean breathed, "sounds good." He and Cas cleaned up and put the food away, then they settled on the couch. Claire meowed and jumped up. She circled around before plopping down on Dean's lap and brushing her head against his stomach. Dean grinned and began to stroke her head. She let out soft purrs and tilted her head in whichever direction she wanted Dean to focus on.

"You're so good with her." Cas said. He pressed a kiss to Dean's cheek and Dean felt himself blushing.

"She's a sweet cat." Dean said. "She makes me want to get one."

"You should." Cas said, and Dean had to shift to look at him.

"Yeah?" He asked.

"As long as you really want to, and Charlie approves, you should. You're good with pets."

Dean hummed thoughtfully to himself and stared down at Claire. He had to admit that he'd been thinking about returning to the shelter for a while. Cas had inspired him.

"Okay." Dean said. "But only if you go with me."

"Whatever you want." Castiel chuckled.

"Good." Dean said with a sniff, shifting immediately after when Cas poked his side. Claire meowed in protest and moved to Cas's laugh with an affronted huff.

"Now look, you made her mad." Dean said. Cas rolled his eyes and leaned forward. Dean met him halfway and pressed their lips together gently.

Cas's hand came to cradle Dean's face and Dean melted into him further.

"You're truly amazing." Cas said as they broke apart. Dean flushed and looked away.

"Okay, enough of the sappiness." He said. "Let's watch something."

"As you wish." Cas said, his eyes twinkling. He looked like there was something he wasn't saying, but before Dan could question him, Castiel turned to the tv on and Die Hard flickered to existence on the screen. Dean was quickly distracted with explaining to Cas why it was such a great movie.

Chapter Text

"What are your lunch plans, Dean?" Castiel's voice asked through the speaker. Dean absentmindedly moved the phone from one ear to the other, using his shoulder to hold it against the side of his head as he read through some report Bobby had given him. Technically, Dean's break wasn't for another five minutes, but he didn't think that Bobby would care if Dean took it a little early.

"Uh," Dean leaned back in his chair as he thought, "nothing. Why?"

"I would like to take you out to lunch." Castiel said.

"Sure, that sounds nice." Dean said. "We meeting there, or what? What's the plan?"

"Would it be okay if I pick you up?" Castiel asked.

"Okay." Dean said. "What time?"

"Would 12:30 suffice?"

"Yeah." Dean nodded, even though Castiel  couldn't see him. "I'll see you then."

"Good. Goodbye, Dean."

"Bye, Cas, love you."

Dean ended the call before his brain could process what he'd said. He froze, his cheeks heating.

Fuck!

Dean stared at the wall in front of him, slowly filling with horror. He had told Cas he loved him! They'd only been going out for a few months, this was too soon.

What will Cas say? Fuck!

Dean groaned and dropped his head into his hands.

What if Cas broke up with him? Maybe he would think that Dean was moving too fast. Dean did love Cas, but he hadn't meant to say anything!

"What's wrong?" Bobby asked, and Dean groaned again.

"I told Cas I love him." He said, voice mumbled through his hands.

"Does he love you back?"

"I don't have a fucking clue." Dean said. "I hung up before he could say anything."

"You told him over the phone?"

"I didn't mean to!" Dean exclaimed, almost whining as he finally looked up at Bobby. Bobby only raised an eyebrow at the display and crossed his arms.

"So you don't know what he thinks." He said. "You ought to talk with him, then."

"I'm going to lunch with him." Dean replied. "I mean, unless he decides to break up with me before then."

"He's not going to break up with you." Bobby said with a scoff, shaking his head. "Just get yer ass back to work, it'll keep your mind off of it."

Dean grumbled as he did as he was told. It did not help him at all, though. He stomach still knotted with anxiety. Why had he said that?

Sometime later, Dean's phone buzzed. His heart leapt into his throat and his hands trembled as he reached for his phone.

From: Blue-Eyed Angel
12:17 << I am on my way to pick you up. I will let you know when I arrive.

Dean stare at the simple text. It did not mention the love incident, as Dean had began to refer to it in his mind, at all. There wasn't even anything saying that they should talk. Dean swallowed. What did that mean?

To: Blue-Eyed Angel
12:17 >> okay 👍🏻

Dean received another text about ten minutes later.

From: Blue-Eyed Angel
12:29 << I am here.

Dean took a deep breath as he gathered his things and told Bobby he was leaving. Castiel was waiting for him in his car, and Dean slid into the passenger's seat. He took his time buckling in his seatbelt, then he looked anxiously to Cas.

"Hello, Dean." Castiel said, smiling. "Are you ready for lunch?"

"Yeah." Dean nodded. Castiel only smiled and started driving. Dean could not help but stare at his boyfriend. Why hadn't Cas said anything? Maybe he hadn't heard Dean. Surely, Castiel would've brought it up if he'd heard.

Castiel took Dean to a small restaurant, nothing fancy, but still nicer than a diner. Dean felt a bit embarrassed in his grease-stained clothes, but Castiel gave him a reassuring smile.

"Dean, you would absolutely love the burger here." He said once they'd been seated.

"Yeah?" Dean asked.

"It's simply splendid."

"Okay." Dean said. "What are you getting?"

"Well, I love their chicken Caesar salad." Castiel answered, smirking. "I suppose I'll have that."

"Uh." Dean said. He felt like he was missing something. "So why did you want to come here?"

"I love the ambience here." Castiel replied. "It's quaint and sweet. Of course, I love their food as well."

It finally clicked for Dean, that Castiel was teasing him. Dean felt his cheeks heat and stared back into Cas's twinkling eyes.

"Oh-h." He stammered, swallowing. Castiel took pity on him then, thankfully. Dean tensed as Cas reached across the table to take Dean's hand.

"Dean," Cas said softly, smiling, "I love you too."

Dean gasped at the sudden onslaught of warmth and absolute joy that filled him at those words. He'd loved and had been loved in return before by Lisa and Michael, but this was different somehow.

"Dean?" Castiel tilted his head. "Are you okay?"

"I'm good, man." Dean rasped.

"Good, I'm glad." Castiel said. He released Dean's hand and went back to looking at the menu, as if he hadn't just dropped a bombshell on Dean.

"It's not too soon?" Dean finally blurted, startling Castiel.

"For lunch?" Cas asked.

"For love." Dean said. Castiel closed the menu and put it down, his full attention on Dean. Dean tried not to squirm.

"Dean," Cas started, "we may not have known each other long, but that doesn't change the fact that I am in love with you. It may seem soon to others, but this is our relationship, and we decide how it proceeds."

"Good, because I fucking love you." Dean said, quickly and without taking a breath. Castiel smiled at him.

"I know." He said. "And I love you. Now, dear, please let me decide on what I want to eat." He opened the menu again and held it out in front of him.

"I thought you loved the chicken Caesar salad." Dean said.

"I do." Cas replied, not looking away from the menu. "I also love trying new things."

"And me." Dean couldn't help but add.

Castiel met Dean's eyes above the top of the menu. "Yes, beloved, and you."

Dean's hands trembled even after Castiel went back to the menu. When the waitress came to take their order, Dean could only just manage to tell her that he wanted a burger and fries. Castiel just smirked knowingly at Dean. They ate their lunch quickly to give them more time to enjoy each other's company before returning to work. In reality, this meant making out in Cas's car before Cas drove Dean back to the garage.

Dean's boyfriend was hot.

They made plans for Cas to come over for dinner. Dean would make fettuccine Alfredo, and Charlie would be out with her girlfriend, leaving the apartment all for them.

To say that Dean was absentminded for the rest of the workday would be an understatement. Bobby caught on quickly, it wasn't hard since Dean looked like he was doped up and kept staring off into space instead of actually focusing on the cars he was supposed to working on. Bobby sent Dean home early since it was dangerous to not focus at the garage and it was unlikely Dean would be able to regain his mind.

Dean stopped by the store on the way home in order to pick up ingredients for dinner. Then he went about cleaning his apartment and readying everything for a romantic evening with Cas. He started cooking after everything was absolutely perfect, and luckily the timing worked out so that the pasta would be done just before Cas arrived. Dean would never admit how he smiled stupidly at nothing as he cooked.

Cas loved him.

Just as Dean was putting the pasta onto two plates, the doorbell rang. Dean hurried to straighten his clothes and run a hand through his hair before going to open the door. He couldn't keep the wide grin off his face.

Dean opened the door.

"Hey, Ca-"

That was most definitely not Cas.

"-Dad."

John Winchester took a step into the apartment, uninvited, and sniffed loudly.

"What're making, son?" John asked, already moving around the apartment.

Dean stared at his father, a mixture of worry and confusion. Why was John here?

"Pasta." Dean said slowly. "Dad, what the hell are you doing here?"

John rounded on Dean, his eyes flashing. "Don't take that tone with me, boy!"

Dean shrank away instinctively and looked down.

"Sorry." He murmured. "I'm just surprised to see you, is all. What brings you into town?"

"I wanted to see how my boys are doing." John said.

"I'm good." Dean said, still not meeting John's eyes. Unfortunately for Dean, John noticed the set up in the dining room and started for it. Dean followed helplessly behind.

"Ah, you got a hot date?" John asked, smirking.

"Yeah." Dean answered meekly.

"Good man." John said as he gave an approving nod. "What's her name?"

"Cas." Dean answered, though he bit his lip.

"She coming over soon?"

"Yeah." Dean said. He glanced anxiously at his clock. Cas would be there any minute.

"I can't wait to meet her."

"What?!" Dean gasped. "No, Dad, c'mon, you can't stay for my date."

"I'm not going to stay for the whole time." John said, rolling his eyes. "I just want to meet her. She's obviously a good woman if she's got you all jumpy like this. She taming you, son?"

"I guess so." Dean said. "Dad, please, you should just go. I'll introduce you two a later time, but not now."

"Don't be stupid, Dean." John said. "I'm staying." He took a seat to emphasize his point.

Dean stood, twitching, next to the wall. He already knew that this would not end well for anybody.

"Dad, I really thing you should go-"

Dean froze when the doorbell rang for the second time. John only arched his eyebrows and sent him an expectant look. Dean swallowed as he forced himself to move to the front door. He had to take a deep, preparing breath before opening it.

"Hey, Cas." He said, moving to let Cas enter.

"Hello, Dean." Cas said. "You're looking lovely."

Dean did not see, but he heard John's noise of outrage. Just as he heard John stumble to his feet and stomp towards Dean.

"What is the meaning of this?!" John demanded. He grabbed Dean roughly by the shoulder and whirled him around so they were face-to-face with one another.

"Dad, this is my boyfriend, Cas. Cas, this is my dad." Dean said.

"Hello, Mr. Winchester." Castiel said, his voice polite and wary.

"You're dating my boy?" John practically snarled, and Dean could not look at Castiel. He was much too embarrassed.

"I am." Cas answered, certain.

"Dean," John growled, "is this true?"

"Yeah." Dean answered.

"You fucking queer!" John spat, and he shoved Dean's shoulders. Dean was caught off guard by the force. He stumbled backwards and landed awkwardly on his ass. He heard Cas's alarmed cry of, "Dean!" but Dean was completely focused on his father, who towered above Dean.

"How could you do this to me?" John hissed. "How could you become a fag?!"

"That is quite offensive!" Cas snapped. "There is nothing wrong with your son!"

"Don't talk to me, queer!" John yelled, turning towards Cas, and Dean finally found his voice.

"Leave him alone!" He shouted, pushing himself up. "Just, fuck off! You came in here uninvited after five years and start yelling at me for living my life!"

"Because you're fucking a man!" John responded, eyes blazing.

"He's fucking me, actually." Dean said. He watched as John seem to grow in his outrage.

"You piece of shit!" John yelled. "I did not raise you this way! Your mother would be disappointed."

Dean swallowed, stung, and tears prickled in his eyes.

"I don't care." He said lowly. "I love Cas."

"Fucking faggot." John sneered. "You aren't my son." He marched to the door and slammed it behind him, making Dean wince.

There was a moment of silence.

"Dean?"

Castiel moved so he was in front of Dean. Dean stared resolutely at the far wall, his hands clenching uselessly at his side as he tried not to cry.

"Are you alright?"

"Peachy." Dean growled, his teeth gritted. Castiel frowned.

"Clearly, that is not true. Now, love, I'm not trying to push you, because I know this is difficult, but I really think that we should talk about this and-"

"I think we should break up." Dean interrupted. He did not need to look at Cas to know that the other man's face shown with confusion and hurt.

"What do you mean?" Cas asked, a bit desperate. "Dean, this isn't something that has to negatively affect our relationship. It's something we can grow through together. I can be here for you-"

"We're done, Cas." Dean cut in once more. "Just go."

"Dean-"

"Go!" Dean yelled, finally looking at Castiel. The other man's eyes were red and it hurt Dean's chest to see him that way. Castiel turned and left, exactly like Dean had told him to. Dean looked around his now empty apartment. The dinner was still set up nicely on the table, with candles flickering.

It all blurred beneath tears.

Chapter Text

Castiel was shaking and crying as he left Dean's apartment. He didn't understand what had happened, but he knew that Dean had been completely serious. A part of Castiel ached and urged for him to return to Dean's apartment, but he ignored it. Dean obviously did not want Castiel there.

Castiel sat in his car for a while, simply staring into the distance as tears rolled down his cheeks. Dean was such a beautiful and bright part of his existence. Castiel had been content before Dean, but he'd been dull. Dean made him happy. Dean supported Castiel when visiting his family and made Castiel feel welcomed in Dean's own family. Without Dean, Castiel wouldn't have tried to reconnect with Gabriel.

Without giving it much though, Castiel took his phone out and dialed Gabriel. His brother picked up almost immediately.

"Well hello, Cassie." Gabriel said. "To what do I owe the pleasure?"

Castiel let out a stuttered breath, hiccoughing a sob.

"Castiel?" Gabriel sounded concern then. "What's wrong?"

"Dean," Castiel choked, "broke up with me."

"What?" Gabriel asked, tone shocked. "Fuck, Cassie. Shall I beat him up for you?"

"No!" Castiel cried out, eyes wide. "It's not his fault! His asshole of a father showed up."

"What happened?"

"John Winchester is a despicable human being." Castiel spat. "He yelled horrible things at Dean."

"Why?"

"Dean wasn't out yet, to his father." Castiel said. He wondered if Dean would be upset with him for saying this, but it did involve Castiel, so he continued. "They're estranged, I believe, but he showed up out of no where and was a complete dick!"

"Damn." Gabriel said. "So, why did he break up with you?"

"I don't know!" Castiel sobbed. He was inwardly disgusted with himself for crying this way, he was a grown man. "He told his dad he loved me, but then he broke up with me!"

"I don't know." Gabriel said quietly. "I'm sorry, Cassie. That seems like something you should talk to him about, though."

"He doesn't want to see me." Castiel replied bitterly. "He threw me out."

"I'm sorry, bro." Gabriel was uncharacteristically soft. "Is there something you need me to do?"

"No," Castiel rasped, "I just wanted to talk to you."

"I'm glad you did." Gabriel said. "I'm sorry I couldn't be more of a help to you."

"It's okay." Castiel said. "I feel better now." 

A lie.

"I'm going to go."  

"Okay, well, call me later."

"I will. Goodbye, Gabriel."

"Bye, Cassie."

Castiel let his phone drop somewhere into the cracks of his car. He didn't care. He wanted so badly to go back to Dean's apartment and hold him. Dean was probably feeling hurt and sad as well, his father had just disowned him, after all.

Castiel chewed on his lip briefly, then dug around the car in an attempt to retrieve his phone. His fingers grazed it underneath his seat, and he had to twist and stretch to grab hold of it. Castiel dialed a different number.

"Hello?"

"Hello, Sam." Castiel said.

"Oh, Cas. What's up, man? Everything okay?"

"I have, um, unfortunate news." Castiel said.

"What?!" Sam's voice was alarmed. "What happened?"

"No one is physically hurt." Castiel quickly said, not wanting to give Sam the wrong idea. "In all honestly, I don't believe it is my place to tell you this, but I am worried for Dean."

"... Okay?"

Castiel took a deep breath. "Your father visited Dean this evening, and John got rather angry and verbally abusive."

"Shit!" Sam said. "What happened? Why was he there?"

"I think he just wanted to check up on Dean." Castiel said. "Look, this is obviously something that Dean should talk to you about, but I'm worried about him now. I wish to comfort him but-" He interrupted himself with a sigh. "But, we're not together anymore, and I don't know how welcome my presence would be."

"You guys broke up?" Sam asked, astounded. "When?"

"About, uh," Castiel glanced at his watch, "fifteen minutes ago."

"What the fuck?"

"Look, Sam," Castiel sighed, "your brother obviously does not want see me right now, I just want to make sure there's someone there for him. I know you're not in town, but I felt you were the best option, and I don't have Charlie's number."

"Yeah, thanks for telling me, Cas." Sam said. "But you just broke up, right?"

"Yes."

"Please, don't take it to heart, Cas, I swear he didn't mean that. Dean's... emotionally constipated, but he really cares for you, okay? I can tell. I don't think he really wants you gone, he's just not thinking straight." Sam sounded desperate, and it made Castiel inhale deeply. He could still feel the residue tear tracts down his cheeks, but he wasn't crying anymore.

"Please, just wait a bit for him. It's not really my place, and all, but I know my brother. You mean a lot to him."

"Okay, Sam." Castiel swallowed. He did not want to get his hopes up, but he really did love Dean, and he didn't mind getting hurt again if there was a chance that Dean still wanted him.

"Thanks for telling me, Cas." Sam said. "I can't call him now, but I will as soon as I can."

"Of course." Castiel said. "I hope Dean feels better."

"Me too." Sam sighed. "I gotta go, man, but I'll talk to you soon."

"Okay, Sam, goodbye."

"Bye."

Castiel listened to the dial tone for a few seconds before he put his phone down. He let out a long exhale and grasped the wheel of the car. He knew he should go.

Castiel put the key into ignition and started the car. He drove out of the parking lot slowly, his heart feeling low in his stomach. This was not at all how he had imagined the night to go.

When Castiel got home, he walked around aimlessly. Claire meowed and rubbed against his leg, but it did nothing to distract him. He couldn't calm the anxiousness inside of his that made him pace and fidget.

He glanced at his phone, thinking that maybe Dean had texted him. There were no notifications.

"Meow?"

Castiel looked down at Claire. "I know, I'm home early."

Claire wound herself through Castiel's legs and purred. Castiel sighed and kneeled down to pet the cat.

Castiel thought about what Sam had said. If it was true that Dean was acting irrationally, then could Castiel do anything to help? Dean loved him still, that much Castiel was sure of, but he was pushing Castiel away. 'Emotionally constipated' was what Sam had called it. Castiel felt like he was giving up, and he didn't want to give up. He wanted to fight for him and for Dean.

With a sudden change of spirit, Castiel left his house and got into his car. He sped back to Dean's house, his fingers gripping the steering wheel determinedly.

Castiel parked his car and practically ran to Dean's house, feeling more certain than he'd ever been. He needed to do this.

Castiel knocked loudly on the door and waited. The door unlocked and Dean's face appeared around the side. His eyes were watery and puffy, he'd clearly been crying.

"Cas?" Dean asked, his voice rough. "What're you doing here?"

Castiel swallowed and squared his shoulders firmly. "You listen to me, Dean Winchester. I love you. I will not allow you to push away the people you care for. I know you're feeling vulnerable and insecure, and that is making you lash out. I don't care. I'm not going to leave, because I care for you and I need to make sure you're okay. You need to know that there's someone who loves you. If afterwards, you still want me gone, I'll go. But I love you too much to leave you when you are clearly going through something and-"

Castiel was cut off with an 'oof' as Dean surged forward and tackled Castiel to the ground. Castiel blinked up in surprise, his back and bottom aching. Dean was crying, which alarmed Castiel at first. Dean must truly want Castiel gone. 

Dean leaned forward and kissed Castiel.

Castiel immediately sat up and grasped Dean's waist to pull him closer. Dean slipped down so he was straddling Castiel's lap and Dean let out a breathy sigh against Castiel's lips. He pulled away, gasping, and Castiel took the opportunity to kiss along Dean's neck. He felt Dean's arms wrap around his neck tightly.

"Fuck." Dean gasped. "I love you and I'm sorry."

"I figured as much." Castiel replied, just as breathless. He took in Dean's dilated pupils and red lips. "Perhaps we should go inside?"

"Fuck, yeah!" Dean stumbled off of Castiel's lap and pulled him up by his tie. He took Castiel's hand and yanked him inside. Castiel slammed the door shut behind them, not even bothering to see if it was locked. A quick look showed him that everything was still set for dinner.

"Do you wanna eat?" Dean asked.

"Later." Castiel said.

Dean gave a short not. "Good."

Then Castiel was crowding against Dean until Dean was backed up against the wall and sliding his hands down Dean's toned abdomen to grip his waist.

"I fucking love you."

"I love you too." Castiel said. "We should probably talk."

"Yeah, but, later. We will, I promise." Dean replied. "I want to talk about it with you, I swear, but I want to kiss you more."

That sounded like a good idea to Castiel, and he quickly nodded. He kissed Dean's delicious lips again and got very carried away.

This was more like the night Castiel had imagined.

 

Chapter Text

"Sam Winchester."

Castiel jumped to his feet and started clapping. Next to him, Dean cheered and hollered. Gabriel had shared his noise-makers, air horns, and silly string with Charlie, and the two were going wild. Sam smiled as he held up his diploma and shook the hand of Stanford's president.

They all cheered as Sam left the stage, then took their seats. Dean glanced over at Castiel and grinned, making Castiel's heart flutter. Even after all this time, Dean still gave him butterflies in his stomach.

"I can't believe Sammy's graduated already." Dean marveled. Castiel smiled and took Dean's hand.

"I'm sure you're proud of him." He said.

"I am." Dean replied, his eyes suspiciously wet. "He's done well."

"He has." Castiel agreed. Ellen shushed them and they both quieted, politely watching as the few students with surnames after 'Winchester' graduated.

They congratulated Sam in person soon after and stood around taking hundreds of videos and pictures. Sam's graduation party was set to take place back home the following week, since he wanted to move back as soon as possible and get everything ready for his firm. He was starting right away, a bit of a bold move, but Castiel was certain Sam could handle it.

Sam was with his friends and Jess following his graduation, celebrating. So Castiel and Dean relaxed in the hotel. They left for home early in the morning.

Dean had moved in with Castiel only a few months back. Castiel had wanted to change something in his house to make it Dean's too, but Dean had insisted that just adding his things was enough. They compromised and had gone back to the shelter to bring home Adam.

"We can't leave him in that Hell." Dean had said.

Adam and Claire got along well, and she did not take any of his attitude. It certainly seemed to make Dean feel at home.

The next week was spent preparing for Sam's new firm (and, of course, the graduation party, which would be hosted at his and Jess's new apartment in town). Castiel spent a lot of time with Dean visiting Sam and getting to know Jess. She was a bit of a spitfire, and she and Sam were obviously in love. Dean teased them relentlessly, only stopping when Sam turned it around to tease him. It was rather amusing to see Sam shut Dean up like that.

Dean and Castiel also spent a lot of time with Charlie. Living with Castiel had been a little hard for Dean at first, Castiel could tell. Dean had lived with Charlie for a while, and he obviously missed her. Though, the timing turned out to be perfect, because Charlie's girlfriend Gilda moved in with her. Castiel did his best to distract Dean from missing Charlie. Castiel was proud to say that Dean immensely enjoyed his distractions.

Castiel had thought that he would have problems with Dean's level of cleanliness, but he was happily surprised to discover that Dean was as just as much of neat freak as Castiel, if not more so. So far, the only real issue they'd had so far had revolved around John Winchester. They had, of course, talked about John and Dean's impromptu breakup with Castiel. Castiel understood that Dean had reacted poorly because he had felt vulnerable and embarrassed, but it had still hurt Castiel. It took them a while to be able to discuss the matter completely without one of them (Dean) storming off to the bedroom and slamming the door or the other (Castiel) employing a passive aggressive modification of the silent treatment, in which one only answered in curt, one word answers (or two at the most). Eventually, though, they were able to come to an understanding that involved Castiel forgiving Dean and Dean promising that he would actually speak his emotions out loud instead of running away from the problem.

Castiel thought they were very good at this whole relationship thing.

Dean thought the same.

This equated to many enjoyable nights.

The graduation party finally came around, and Dean and Castiel were the first to get there. They helped Sam and Jess set everything up. Technically, the party was for Sam, though they would be celebrating Jess too so she wouldn't feel left out (Jess had, however, already had a party with her family back in her hometown that she and Sam had attended).

Many people arrived, and Castiel marveled at the fact that he truly felt like he belonged there with that family. Ellen greeted him with a tight hug, and Bobby a tip of the head. Castiel had never felt so accepted before. He had Dean to thank. What was even sweeter to Castiel was that Dean never made Castiel feel like it was Dean's family. He always sort of made it to be their family.

The party consisted of lots of food, fun, and alcohol, and it was greatly entertaining. Gabriel enjoyed himself (though, Castiel suspected it was because he spiked the punch). Castiel found himself in a few intellectual conversations with Sam's peers. Dean stood next to Castiel the entire time and held his hand, even though Castiel insisted that Dean go talk with others if he wished. Dean only kissed Castiel to shut him up.

It worked.

Castiel and Dean left a little before midnight. Dean was surprisingly sober, so he drove them home in the Impala (another thing that Castiel had gotten used to: Dean driving them everywhere in his Impala).

They took their time with one another that night, making love sweetly and lovingly before falling asleep cuddled together.

Castiel woke first in the morning. His first awareness focused on the way that Dean's hair tickled his chest and under his chin. He secondly realized his left arm was numb because it was snaked underneath Dean's body and wrapped around his waist, pulling him closer. Castiel didn't really mind. He relished Dean's warmth and touch.

Castiel let Dean sleep, content to simply watch the rise-and-fall of his boyfriend's bare chest. Dean must've sensed the attention, though. He stirred to wake and stretched against Castiel's body, creating friction and heat that had Castiel swallowing. Dean noticed this, of course, and he smirked at Castiel.

"Ready to go again?" He teased.

"Always." Castiel replied in kind, though neither of them moved. It was nice to relax for a bit, too.

"I'm really glad 'm here with you." Dean said softly. He leaned forward so that his nose almost touched Castiel's, and Castiel's felt his heartbeat quicken. He licked his lips.

"I'm glad too." He said. Dean looked so gorgeous and perfect, that Castiel couldn't help himself. "Marry me."

Dean's eyes blinked several times, his face quickly going from happy to blank to confused in a matter of seconds. Castiel grabbed Dean's hands.

"I love you, and there's no one I'd rather spend my life with. You're it for me." He said, kissing against the corner of Dean's lips.

"You're it for me too." Dean replied.

Castiel made a purr-like noise and nuzzled against Dean's throat. As an afterthought he added, "I don't have a ring though, unfortunately. This is all very spontaneous."

He felt more than saw Dean's rumbling laughs.

"It's okay." Dean said. "I don't need a ring to know that I want to marry you."

Castiel smiled and kissed his boyfriend, fiancé, once more.

"I love you, beloved." He said, tenderly. Dean met his gaze and grinned in return.

"I love you too."

Castiel's life had never been brighter.