The house is a quaint thing, sitting low and snug under a pair of shady oak trees in a quiet suburb just outside of downtown Lawrence. Its brickwork face is weathered—definitely in need of a good power wash—and the roof is just as worn. The bottom step to the porch slants unevenly, and the porch itself has cracks in the concrete. There are chips in the paint on the window frames, the iron porch railing is rusting, and who knows when the gutters were last given a proper cleaning.
There’s a lot of work to be done, but standing there in the small front lawn, Dean Winchester can’t say if he’s ever seen anyplace else so perfect as the house at 3767 Cornelia Street. Dean’s house—his home. His home with Cas.
“Can you believe it?” he quietly says to Miracle, who has been sitting patiently by Dean’s leg. Miracle tilts her head and wags her tail. Dean looks back up at the house. “Yeah, me neither.”
The sound of a familiar car rumbling up the road snaps Dean out of his reverie. He rubs a knuckle at his eye and clears his throat and tries to look like he hadn’t been standing in his front yard about to cry while talking to his dog, christ.
The car rolls to a stop on the curb just in front of the house. The driver’s side door opens, and Sam slowly unfolds his ridiculous limbs as he gets out. It’s always a wonder how he can fit himself into a car at all. Sam gives a dorky little wave as he ambles over to where Dean is standing.
Dean peers behind Sam, trying to see into the car. “What, no Eileen?”
“Hello to you, too. Dick,” he replies snarkily. “She’s wrapping up a work thing. She’ll come over when she’s done.”
Dean sucks his teeth in disappointment. “Ah, well. Guess you can go home then.” Sam shoves at his shoulder. Dean just laughs and pulls Sam in for a proper hello hug.
“Why are you standing out here, anyway?” Sam asks when they part.
“Can’t a man just hang out in his own front yard? Accompanied by a dashing canine companion?” He leans down to pat Miracle on the head.
“I guess…” Sam looks down at Miracle. When she tips her head up and gazes back at him, Sam snorts.
“Miracle on Cornelia Street,” Sam says with mirth.
Dean squints at him. “What?” he repeats, now more incredulous.
“You know—like Miracle on 34th Street. But we’re on Cornelia, so.” He nods down at the dog. “Miracle on Cornelia Street.”
“Dude.” Dean rolls his eyes at Sam’s goofy grin and starts walking up the path to the house, Miracle trotting behind him. “Shut up and come inside already.”
Sam follows after him, pausing just inside the threshold as he spots something on the doorframe. “Oh, classy,” he says, throwing a sardonic look to where D.W. and C.W. are scratched into the wood.
“Just wait,” Dean jokes with a toothy smile, “when I got the time I’m gonna draw a little heart around it.” He was joking, but now that he said it, he kind of wanted to.
Cas looks up from the stove when they walk into the dining room. He’s wearing one of Dean’s old AC/DC tees, the logo all but worn away from being washed so many times. He’s usually in some ratty tee or other when lounging around these days. But in honor of Sam’s visit today (Cas’ words) and to seem a little more dressy short of donning his usual button-downs (Dean’s private opinion), he’s also wearing the cable-knit cardigan Sam got him as a gift last Christmas. “Hi, Sam.”
Sam leans against the counter that separates the dining and kitchen areas, craning his giraffe neck to catch a glimpse at the stove. “Hey, Cas! What’cha cooking?”
“Nothing. Dean made it. I was just watching the pot so it didn’t boil over.” He locks eyes with Dean, his intent stare very clearly communicating I did not touch the chili I added nothing I did not touch the dial I was just watching it like you asked so don’t even start.
Dean just smiles as he walks past the counter and steps into Cas’ space. “Thank you, sweetheart,” he says, and busses Cas on the cheek.
“You’re welcome,” Cas replies warmly. He’s gazing up at Dean with those summer afternoon blue eyes, standing in one of Dean’s shirts and that dorky cardigan, and Dean starts to get full of that feeling from out in the front yard again. If they were alone, Dean would probably say something recklessly sappy like I am so stupid in love with you.
As it is, Dean clears his throat and turns back to Sam, slinging an arm around Cas’ shoulders, and says, “He did the salad.”
Cas sneaks him a knowing look before, thankfully, putting his attention on Sam without commenting on Dean’s hasty redirection. “I did the salad,” Cas agrees blithely, and places the salad bowl on the counter for Sam to see, seeming pleased with himself.
Sam looks between the two of them, an amused tilt to his eyebrow that Dean implicitly distrusts. He’s definitely thinking mocking thoughts about the two of them. But he just quirks a smile and says, “It looks great.” Shrewd little diplomat.
Cas shifts to the side to see past Sam’s shoulder. Sam glances behind himself before shooting Cas a confused look.
“She’s still at work,” Dean tells Cas, guessing who he’s looking for. “Sadly.”
“What, am I not good enough?”
“Of course you are,” Cas promises earnestly, just as Dean says, “Well…”
Sam’s opening his mouth to retort, probably something absolutely scathing, when his phone chimes. He pulls it out of his pocket, a smile spreading over his face. “Speak of the devil,” he says, then tips his head with a grimace, “as it were. That was Eileen. She’ll be here soon, so I’m gonna go wash up.”
“Bathroom’s down the hall—“
“Dude, I know where it is. I did help you guys move in.”
Dean spreads his hands in assent. “Fine, christ, I swear never to be a good host to you in my home ever again. Go ahead and go take your dump now.”
“I’m not gonna—ohmygodnevermind.” He turns on his heel and huffs down the hall, Miracle trotting after him, the tags on her collar clinking together jauntily.
Dean reaches past Cas to turn the burner off, then lands his hand on Cas’ hip. “Have I told you today how cute you are in that sweater?”
“Yes.” Cas brings his hands up to cradle Dean’s face. “Four times.”
“Make it five.” Dean kisses him. He pulls Cas into a hug, pressing his face against Castiel’s shoulder. They sway into each other. After a warm moment, Dean says in a low voice, “The first family dinner in our house.”
Cas hums a soft, contented sound in agreement. “The first of many,” he responds, just as quiet. Dean squeezes him tighter. He knows they’re both thinking about Jack and Claire, their bedrooms sitting empty and waiting for whenever they can find the time to visit—and Kaia and Alex and Jody with Claire, if they can, and Charlie and her girlfriend, and Bobby, and all the other wayward extensions of their sprawling family caught out in the wind. Their house isn’t big enough to host everyone, but with Sam and Eileen up the block and the bunker just a few miles out, there’s plenty of room to put up people who come out their way. Dean has the hope that 3767 Cornelia Street becomes a common pitstop for folks—a suburban Roadhouse, a tidier (much tidier) Singer Salvage.
Dean presses a kiss against Cas’ neck, and Cas breathes a sweet little sigh that pushes all thoughts about future dinners right out the window. Fuck, this dinner could go out the window, for all he cares. He kisses a little higher up, right under Cas’ jawline, before pulling back to catch Castiel’s darkened gaze. “How ‘bout we ditch the nag and go have a private party of our own?”
“Dean, no. I worked really hard on that salad.” He sounds perfectly serious, but the playful glint in his eye gives him away. Dean snorts, mumbling oh, forgive me, Chef Cas as he leans in again.
Just as they kiss, Sam walks back in. “Hey, I think something’s wrong with your sink–- oh, sorry.”
“Huh?” Dean reluctantly pulls away as Sam clears his throat, looking sheepish. “What’s wrong with what, Sammy?”
“Uh, with your bathroom.”
“The bathroom? Oh, what, you clogged the toilet?”
“Wha— N— I DID NOT SHIT IN YOUR BATHROOM.”
“Then how did the toilet get messed up?”
“It’s the SINK, the SINK—”
“You took a shit in the sink?”
Cas pinches the bridge of his nose. “Dean…”
“What? He started it.”
Dean snaps his fingers. “The end of the world.”
“Oh! My god!”
“I guess technically, yeah, since god is our kid...” He turns to Cas. “Weird, weird lives we lead.”
Cas just shakes his head, clearly exasperated. Sam has given up on speaking completely and has fallen back on making a gesture like he’s one second away from grabbing Dean by the throat.
“I was there for all twelve years of it,” Sam says to Cas, “and I still can’t believe you stayed with this guy.”
“Well,” Cas muses serenely, “you’ve been here a lot longer than me.”
Sam grimaces when Dean throws him his best shit-eating grin. Nothing like his two favorite people bonding over how much of a pain he is.
The sound of the front door opening distracts them, and then a voice calls, “Knock knock! The life of the party has arrived!”
“Eileen!” Sam exclaims happily. Miracle takes off down the hall, Sam hot on her heels.
Dean chuckles at Sam’s unabashed excitement, then gives Castiel another peck on the cheek before moving away from him. “Can you put everything out on the table? I’ll go check out the bathroom sitch real quick.”
Cas catches his hand as he starts to leave, softly saying his name. When Dean looks back at him, Cas smiles and says, “I love you.”
Dean wonders if maybe three time’s the charm and he should just give in to what his body wants him to do. If a man has a right to stand around and cry messily anywhere in his own home, surely the kitchen would be the place to do it. The kitchen, after all, is the heart of any house.
But Dean doesn’t. He indulges in a little sniffle, Cas’ eyes glimmering with knowing in the soft light. Dean brings Cas’ hand to his mouth and kisses the neat gold band around his finger, and he kisses each peaked knuckle, and he turns Cas’ hand over and kisses his palm and his wrist. Then he lets go and puts his own hand against Cas’ cheek, and says his recklessly sappy thing: “I love you, too, sweetheart.”
And the glowing feeling inside him doesn’t settle, only grows brighter.
Whatever’s wrong with the sink will be just one more thing to a long list of shit to deal with. Their house needs work, no denying. But Dean knows they’ve got plenty of time.