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Just a New Volunteer

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It’s been five weeks since Dean Winchester first sauntered into Kansas Hospital and charmed his way into every kid’s and nurse’s heart. Actually, he stumbled in here with a blush hard to match, introducing himself as Dean , just a new volunteer, and only afterwards went on to charm everyone.

Five Weeks of Cas feeling unable to not peek into the rooms of his little patients whenever Dean is around, sneaking in to watch for a few stolen seconds how gentle Dean is with the kids. How he doesn’t shy away from games like imaginary tea parties, painting the same fairy tales over and over again, playing Uno with kids that can’t even tell the colors apart. How he doesn’t shy away from their illnesses either, from talking to them about life and health and a possible end.

He’s so patient and sweet and gentle with the kids, and it makes Cas ache for something he can’t quite name. 

The fact that he’s gorgeous and entirely unaware of it doesn’t really help Cas’ growing crush either. He runs his fingers through his dirty-blond hair and bites his lovely pink lips like he has no idea what effects it has on everyone — on Cas, mostly. He sends Cas these lovely smiles, brings him coffee sometimes, asks him about his days. Asks about the kids, whether things got better or maybe worse, what he has to keep in mind and be aware of when he spends time playing with them.

He’s thoughtful and nice and generous and he volunteers to play with sick children like it’s the best thing he could do with his free time.

It is the best thing, in Cas’ humble opinion, but from Dean’s stories about balancing a part-time job at a garage and studying mechanical engineering… Cas isn’t sure he could do all that and volunteer with the enthusiasm and care and patience Dean brings into the hospital every Tuesday and Thursday.

It’s the last Thursday before volunteering will take a break for Christmas, and Cas is already wondering how he will make it through the holidays without Dean’s soft, beaming smiles.

He’s not sure how it even happened, how he fell this quickly for a man he barely knows, but it’s been so easy .

It’s easy again today, when Dean comes in and hands Cas a steaming cup of hot cocoa with a gentle smile.

“Hey there, Doc,” Dean says, as he lets go of the cup that now warms Cas’ hands, fingers brushing Cas’ knuckles.

“Hello, Dean,” Cas answers, raising his cup to take the first sip of perfect warm sweetness. “Thank you for this, it saved my afternoon.”

Dean can only linger for a few more seconds, watching as Cas drinks his cocoa behind the counter. Jody comes by to pick him up and take him to little Sophie’s room for an hour of whatever she feels like playing today. 

Sophie has been doing better during the past few weeks, and Dean has been coming back out of her room a little happier every time he saw her, lately.

It’s the same today, as he wanders out with a soft smile and humming We Wish You A Merry Christmas under his breath. Cas is in the middle of filling out a document for a new admission when Dean comes to a stop in front of him, pulling his soft red pullover down over his hands. 

“Hey,” he mumbles, eyes flitting to Cas, then the countertop between them, and back again. 

“Hello again,” Cas answers, as always, sending Dean a smile. “I guess you’re heading out now?”

Dean just nods, biting his lower lip. “I — Well, I just wanna wish you a Merry Christmas and happy holidays, I guess. Just — I hope you’ll get to spend them with the people you love.”

Cas feels strangely hollow at those words, but manages a rather fake smile anyway. “Well, I’ll be working 24th and 25th. I don’t have anyone waiting for me so I figured I could do the work here and let my colleagues go home to their families.”

Dean’s smile drops, brows pulling together. “Oh, I — I’m sorry. But I’m really glad the kids got you keeping them company during the holidays.”

That makes Cas smile again, and this time it’s a genuine one. “The holidays are a tough time for a lot of them, yeah.” 

“Well,” Dean says, swaying a little on his feet. “Well, then, I won’t keep you from your work any longer, then! Happy holidays, Cas. See you.” 

“Merry Christmas to you too, Dean,” Cas responds, feeling fuzzy both at Dean’s smile and the way he called him by his nickname. Cas . He remembers times when Dean would only call him Mr. Novak, Doctor Novak, Sir .

Dean sends him one last grin, then turns around and leaves. And all the fuzzy feelings leave right with him.

 

The following days are a little monotonous, and the sadness that comes with having to spend Christmas in a hospital gets to Cas, too, this year.

 

It’s December 24th and getting out of bed and into work was hard today. 

It gets easier when Cas meets the first kids, finds them giddy and excited for Christmas and presents and Santa.

The day flies by, and the evening comes, and Cas’ stomach clenches a little when he thinks about going home alone and finding an empty, cold apartment.

He has an hour left and decides to leave the front desk to Jody and spend the rest of his time filing paperwork in one of their small office rooms.

When there’s a knock on the door behind Cas, he startles hard enough to drop a stack of files.

“Oh god, sorry,” Dean speaks up behind him, and Cas’ heart beats faster just at hearing his voice.

Cas whirls around, smile already stretching on his face. “Dean,” he says, and it sounds a little too breathless.

“Cas,” Dean says, a wide smile on his face. “Hey, sorry to bother you today, but I — Well, I spent the day with my brother and his fiancee and we ate a lot but had all these leftovers, anyway, and I couldn’t stop thinking about how you told me you’d be all alone today and —” he breaks off, takes a deep breath, then looks up at Cas again with wide green eyes. “God, sorry for rambling. I thought I’d bring you some food, maybe. If you want it.”

Cas can watch how the flush spreads over Dean’s cheeks in seconds.

“Dean, that’s—” He feels his heart beat overtime, throat closing up a little. “That’s so sweet of you, thank you so much.”

Dean just blushes impossibly more, the tips of his ears coloring red. “I just thought — you know, I just wanted you to be okay and well-fed.”

And then it suddenly hits Cas, that maybe that’s not how Dean treats just everyone, despite his goodness, his generosity and helpfulness. Dean didn’t come to bring leftovers for Jody, Dean doesn’t bring coffee or cocoa for anyone but Cas. He doesn’t stop to chat for a few minutes with anyone but Cas. Maybe Dean feels as fuzzy as Cas does, and maybe this is Cas’ chance. His one chance to do something about it. So he does .

“I’m off in —” He blurts, breaking off briefly to check his clock. “I’m off in 22 minutes. If you don’t have any plans yet, for the rest of your evening, would you maybe want to join me for dinner tonight? I can’t offer much but —” 

Dean interrupts him before he can even stutter about the lack of food in his house, he steps forward, into Cas’ space, and says: “Yes, I’d love that, Cas.”

 

Cas makes it through 22 agonizingly slow minutes of work.

He makes it through 22 minutes, and then he grabs his things and rushes out towards where Dean is supposed to be waiting at the entrance. 

And Dean is waiting, turning towards Cas with a giddy smile when he rushes through the hallway and towards him. And then Cas kind of just crashes into Dean’s arms and buries his face in the crook of his neck.

He thought about it for 22 minutes so now he just does what he’s been dreaming about. He pulls back a little to look into Dean’s eyes and asks, thrilled and maybe a little too blunt: “Can I kiss you, finally?”

And Dean doesn’t respond with words, just laughs softly and then leans in to kiss Cas, soft and gentle and sure. 

When they pull away a little, Dean grabs Cas’ hand, intertwines their fingers and whispers against his lips: “Merry Christmas, Cas.”

“Merry Christmas, Dean,” Cas responds, and then they hurry out towards Dean’s car, towards Cas’ apartment. 

They hurry home.