"Hello! Welcome to the Cafe of Dreams. What can I get ya?" the barista asks. Or at least, that's what Cas thinks he said. The tall man looks at Cas expectantly. Cas hates having to read lips.
Prepared for this moment, Cas hands his credit card and business card to the man. He waits patiently for the man to read it.
Hi! My name is Castiel Novak. I'm Deaf.
I would like a large coffee and a chocolate muffin.
I will be paying with credit card.
It was a temporary solution. He had run out of his personalized cards earlier that week and is still waiting for more to come in. In the meantime, he is using the generic kind he hands out at the center.
Cas expects the man to squint and peer over the register at him, like people usually do. Instead, he starts signing, fumbling on the words with the cards still in his hands.
Cas nods. Yes. He hopes this little interaction will pass quickly, but there's nobody behind him so he isn't holding up the line.
Cool! Do you know ASL? My brother is deaf, the man continues, in fluid and practiced motions.
Cas is surprised. Plenty of people know enough sign to say hello or spell their name, but it's rare to meet someone fluent. He nods absentmindedly.
Here you go! Enjoy! The man hands back his cards and turns to say something to his coworker. The man, Dean by his nametag, is laughing. Cas can't tell if they're laughing at him or not, but he leaves to sit down anyway. He finds a seat in the corner and sets out his laptop.
He's only just opened up his email when Dean walks over.
Here's your coffee and muffin! Dean is grinning from ear to ear, which confuses Cas a little bit. Is the man flirting with him? He gives Dean a weak smile, and returns to his work. Dean hovers for a second before turning around and walking back.
When Cas packs up an hour later to go home, Dean is still working. He gives Cas a little wave, which Cas returns. It's been nice to sign with a stranger, he always enjoys learning other people's mannerisms. The cafe is close enough to his work that he just might come back.
Dean leans against the counter and sighs. That guy was cute. He hopes he'll see him again, and not just so he can give him his number. It was awesome to be able to sign again, since Sam is away and they only text. He's rusty, but he vows to himself to brush up in his limited free time.
The little voice at the back of his head reminds him that he'll never come back, he could never be interested in you, you're not worthy of love, but at this point Dean just drowns it out as he does the dishes. Maybe he will never see the man again, but maybe he will, and maybe they'll become friends, and maybe...
Just maybe this would be the beginning of something good for once?
Cas stops by a few times. Dean's only been at the register the once, but he always chats with Cas when he brings him his drink and muffin. He always gets the same thing, always shows the same card, only ever stays for an hour before leaving. But now the days are getting longer and colder, and Cas is staying later. One time he came in with a bright-red haired girl who was talking and signing a mile a minute, but Cas seemed unfazed.
Dean hopes she wasn't a girlfriend.
It's a friday night, and Dean would rather be anywhere but here. There was a poetry reading earlier, which Dean interpreted for. Cas had signed up this time to read a poem, and had asked Dean to interpret for him. Dean was happy to oblige, he'd done it before, and he'd do it many times over if it meant he saw the blissful look on Cas' face again. He looked so in his element, Dean was surprised he'd never noticed him at the poetry nights before.
But it had been over an hour since that ended and the crowd of hipster students dispersed. It's getting late, and he should be announcing closing. He will. In a minute.
He grabs the tray of treats which he'd just finished making, and walks over to what he'd been referring to as "Castiel's corner" in his head. He gives Cas a nervous smile as he sits down opposite him.
Is everything alright? Cas asks. He looks confused to see Dean.
Yes. Yes, everything's great. Dean stumbles. It's just, it was great to sign for you tonight. I'm a little rusty, I hope I did a good job...
It was perfect, you were perfect, Cas signs with a smile. Fuck, is Cas flirting with him?
Dean blushes and looks down. He fidgets with the tray of treats, afraid to ask his question. I um, this is so forward, I'm sorry-
Cas leans across the table and grabs Dean's hands. You're babbling.
Dean blushes again, but sits up straight. I have some samples I'd like you to try. And be blunt. Crowley says I can't sell them until they're edible.
I think I can be blunt, Cas replies with a glint in his eye. Dean could get used to this Cas, so comfortable and at ease in his surroundings.
They dig in, dividing up the treats. He'd made up small squares, and Cas had to ask what some of the pieces of pastry were supposed to be, but Dean thinks it went well.
At least, until they get to the chocolate fudge cake. Dean is proud of that one. He usually prefers pie, but he'd give up all pie forever for this cake. So moist and rich and -
"Mmmmm," Cas moans. It's borderline pornagrafic. Dean almost chokes when Cas makes the noise again. He glances around to confirm that they're alone in the cafe.
Cas opens his eyes slowly, completely blissed out. What is that?? Cas signs slowly.
It's just chocolate cake, Dean laughs.
It's heaven, Cas corrects, laughing silently.
Sitting there in the silent cafe, laughing about cake, Dean maybe falls a little bit in love.
Cas hasn't been this relaxed in a long time. He usually has to keep his guard up, since he can't hear dangers before they happen.
And of course, he doesn't much care for having his heart broken.
But today he doesn't care. He'd finally participated in a poetry reading, with Dean's help of course. And now he's hanging out with the younger man in an empty cafe with the best cake he'd had... ever.
Dean is looking at him strangely. His lips make to form words, but can't seem to finish them. Instead, he reaches across the table for Cas' hand.
Oh no, Cas thinks. He was worried about this. He likes Dean, had warmed up to him. But he knows how this ends. They would kiss, go out, and when it came time to go home to a stranger's bed, Cas would balk and ruin everything. He always ruined everything.
Stiffening and pulling his hand away, Cas stands up abruptly. All of his stuff is already in his bag, and he'd already payed. Not daring to look at Dean, he signed a quick I have to go, goodbye and bolts right out the front door.
At home, lying in bed he can't help but think, what if you hadn't run? What if you'd finally given someone a chance? He knows Charlie will be asking him about Dean tomorrow at work, but the thought just depressed him.
As he falls asleep, he thinks of Dean, his smile, chocolate cake smeared on his face.
It's a good thought.
Should I write some poetry for Cas? I can't write pretty for shit, but maybe something will come to me...
Sam comes to visit!
*Throws garbage* Enjoy the schmoop! :D
"Sam, I told you not to ask about-"
"About what, the crush you've had on this guy for a month?" Sam signs as he talks, too loud in the quiet cafe.
Dean shushes him, dragging him behind the counter. "This is the thanks I get for inviting you to town."
It's not often that Sam visits. They lived together pretty much their whole lives, but now that Dean's in graduate school an hour away from Sammy's college, the commute just isn't worth it. Now Dean rooms with Benny, and Sam is staying with his girlfriend Eileen for his last year of undergrad. Dean tries not to tear up thinking about his little brother all grown up.
"And you gave him your chocolate cake? The one that you call your-"
"Yes, I gave him my sex-cake. Jeez, I can't believe I told you that. But it doesn't matter, he hasn't been back for..." Dean trails off.
Sam snaps his fingers in front of Dean's face, trying for his attention. But Dean shrugs past him and to the register. "I got this one," he tells Meg, who just shrugs and walks to the back.
"Hey," Dean signs.
Cas nervously waves hello, before trying to hand over his usual cards. But before Dean can talk or grab them, his sasquatch of a brother barrels up behind him.
"Is this Cas?" Sam bellows. "Hi, I'm Sam!" He says to Cas.
"This idiot is my brother, he's also deaf," Dean supplies, noting how uncomfortable Cas looks. How about you take a seat and I'll bring you something. On the house.
Cas looks a little startled, but eventually nods and heads to his usual spot.
"Dude! He's hot! I mean, he's so your type, all tall dark and brooding..." Sam gives Dean a wicked grin.
"Shut up! Go somewhere else - oh here's Eileen now, go talk to her!" Dean practically pushes Sam around the counter and toward his girlfriend. He gives Eileen a wave hello before going back to make Cas some apology tea.
Tea in hand, Dean approaches Cas, making sure to catch Cas' eyes before sitting down.
I'm on break. Here's some apoli-tea, Dean finger spells, which garners a laugh from Cas.
It is I who should apologize. I was very rude last time I was here. Cas sips the tea carefully, smiling at the minty taste.
No, I crossed a line, and I'm sorry. I didn't mean to make you uncomfortable. I actually wanted to tell you something, though. Because I like you, and I think of you as my friend. Dean takes a deep breath and catches Cas' eyes. I'm trans.
Cas hadn't expected that. He'd expected, I wanna go out with you, or what's your number, baby? or any number of flirtations or attempts to date him. He certainly hadn't expected such a personal confession from a man he really didn't know that well.
I'm trans, Dean repeats, like he hadn't seen it. Dean looks nervous, so Cas reaches across the table to sooth him, rubbing a thumb over his hands.
Thanks for telling me. I know it can be hard to come out to people; you never know how they'll react, Cas tries not to be bitter. So many people laugh at asexuality, saying he just hasn't met the right person, or that he isn't queer, or any number of things.
Dean gives him a look like, *how do you mean?* You don't have to tell me anything if you don't want to.
I do want to tell you. I'm... I'm ace. Cas finger spells it out, trying to be as clear as possible.
Oh, cool! That's awesome, man. Dean grins from ear to ear. Cas smiles back. It's always a relief to meet other accepting queer people outside of the center, it makes him feel less alone.
They spend a moment just enjoying each other's company, Cas sipping his tea and Dean rubbing Cas' other hand absentmindedly. It's a good moment.
Of course, such moments tend to get interrupted, in this case by the tall shaggy haired man and a young woman. Dean introduces the woman as Eileen, who is also Deaf, and Dean makes a half-hearted joke about being left out. But soon enough, the four of them are laughing and signing together, and Cas feels almost okay. When Dean's impromptu break ends, he squeezes Cas' hand and promises to bring him something.
That something turns out to be a free coffee with "friends? 555-555-5555" scribbled across the side. Friends, Cas signs back. And he's happy. He is.
The pang in his chest when Dean walks away is just an echo of the pain of heartbreak, he reminds himself. This is better. This is okay.
Cas has his first big event.
I have no experience with LGBTQ centers in large cities, but my university has one so that's what I'm basing Cas' center off of.
HRT (hormone replacement therapy) and/or surgery are not a requirement for being trans. Passing is not a requirement for being trans. Dean chooses to tackle his dysphoria by binding and planning to go on T (testosterone) because that is what makes him the most happy.
Even though Cas has Dean's number now, his visits to the cafe do not become any less frequent. In fact, he's in the cafe more often.
It's getting closer to the holiday season, which means lots of students cramming for exams and needing a caffeine fix. Dean's been working on a daily challenge leading up to finals to give his classmates a little bit of fun amongst the drudgery of studying. Or maybe he's just procrastinating on his own exams.
Today's challenge is to find someone who's name starts with the same letter at your own and ask them a series of questions that Dean's written on the board. It's early afternoon and he's already given out 20 free drink vouchers to sets of Inias/Ishams, Jack/Jakes, Mary/Michaels and many more. He'd casually peaked over to see the pairs exchange numbers or continue their conversation over their free tea. Finally he had some ammo to convince Crowley to make this a more regular thing.
He's standing at the board to add to the names of pairs who've met so far when Cas walks up with his red-haired friend.
Hello, Dean. Cas looks a little nervous, but maybe excited? The woman beside him is practically jumping up and down.
Before Dean can respond, the woman frantically signs and speaks at the same time, "I'm Charlie and this is Cas! Now give me coffee!"
Dean grins. Mostly because Cas looks so embarrassed and is blushing prettily, but also because this Charlie is so excited. What, it's contagious!
Wait, does it count since we already knew each other? Cas asks, looking genuinely concerned. Charlie makes to shush him with her hands, but Dean just grins.
"The idea is the meet someone new, but I'll give you a freebie just for being adorable," Dean signs, giving Cas a wink for good measure. Cas blushes even brighter.
Over the next few weeks, Cas comes in almost daily, bringing new people every time. Dean can't begrudge him the business and new repeat customers, but it means he hasn't had much chance for conversation with his new friend.
Hey, Cas, wanna hang out sometime? It's been hella busy at the cafe but I'm free this Saturday
Dean doesn't have to wait long until a reply is buzzing in his pocket.
I'd love to see you, but I'm actually busy this Saturday.
Wait, this is actually perfect
I know we haven't talked much about your transition, but there is an info session about trans friendly doctors and professionals this Saturday that I'm running
It's true that he and Cas haven't talked much about his transition. Actually, beyond coming out as trans, they haven't ever brought it up. Dean tells himself time and again that he is just saving a bit more money, or saving up his vacation days, but in reality, he is scared. And overwhelmed. Going to this event might be the push he needs.
That sounds great! Where/when?
Dean feels giddy when Cas sends him the details. He's finally doing this. He's been living at male for years, but HRT and surgery always felt so... big and unnecessary. He is also saving up for a cochlear implant for Sam, if he ever wants to get one. Sam being able to hear is much more important than Dean getting his breasts chopped off.
At least, that's what Dean tells himself when his binder cuts into his skin, whenever he forgets his packer at home, whenever he gets misgendered. He tells himself that it doesn't matter, that he doesn't matter, because if he lets those thoughts and feelings in, the dysphoria just might drown him.
Cas is nervous. Not about the event; it had been planned for weeks, all of the doctors and professionals had confirmed their attendance, and tidy little stations were being created around him as he watched his minions go to work. All he has to do was stand with a clipboard and tell people where the extra chairs are kept. It is all under control.
No, Cas is nervous about Dean coming. Though they've texted some about video games and queer related topics, they've never seen each other outside of the cafe before. The event is so obviously not a date, it's almost like Cas is trying a little too hard. But Cas doesn't want to mess this up. He always had a hard time making and keeping friends, and he's proud of his relationship with Dean. For once, Cas has met someone not through the Center or his family; Dean is the first person that Cas has met all on his own.
Not that Cas is being possessive or anything.
Cas doesn't care if Dean will walk in with a beautiful woman on his arms. Or even a gorgeous man. Or an attractive nonbinary date. Nope, not at all possessive of his strictly-platonic friend.
In the end, Dean does bring a friend, but it appears that that's all they are. Once Dean finds him, hiding away in the corner, he introduces him to Billy, a tall and frankly intimidating black woman. She doesn't sign, but she speaks clearly enough that Cas can easily read her lips.
I met Billy at my school's LGBTQ group, Dean explains. Billy is already wandering off to meet with some of the doctor's on the other side of the room, leaving Cas and Dean alone.
This is great, Cas. You did an awesome job, Dean signs, looking out over the auditorium.
Cas preens under the attention, ducking his head. All I did was set it up, these people are the ones doing all the good work in the community.
Hey, now, what you do is so good and important! It's hard to find trans affirming care, and here you've grouped all these people in one room. You're doing a lot of good here, Cas. Dean looks genuinely proud of Cas, giving Cas an odd look full of affection and pride.
Thank you, Dean, even if I think you are too kind. Cas waves at Charlie as she passes by, but she's busy with her girlfriend Dorothy, so Cas turns back to Dean. What about you? I don't think you came just to be Billy's moral support.
Dean looks uneasy suddenly, avoiding Cas's eyes. What if I'm not ready, you know, for surgery or T? I've been out for years, but it all seems...
Like too much all at once, Cas supplies. He meets Dean's eyes, capturing them and hoping he conveys some semblance of calm and hope. You deserve everything you want Dean. I don't like to see you in pain, and if I can do anything to help, just let me know.
Dean smiles weakly. He responds to Cas' hand on his arm by leaning in, and Cas transitions the motion into a hug. He's been afraid of being too intimate and touchy with Dean, but he thinks the moment calls for it. As they pull out of their embrace, he swears he can see Dean sniffle.
How about you just walk around with me, as my interpreter seems to be otherwise engaged, Cas smiles, pointing at Charlie sneaking out with Dorothy right behind.
Dean laughs, head thrown back and his whole body shaking. It makes Cas happy to give Dean some joy.
They make their way around the tables, stopping by occasionally to talk to those who aren't busy with visitors. Dean reluctantly takes some business cards and pamphlets, and when he thinks Cas isn't looking, goes back to grab a card from the table of a therapy group that specializes in gender therapy.
The event was planned to last all afternoon, which gives Cas and Dean plenty of time to visit each table. At each table, the representatives who've been sent by each company or shop enthusiastically thanks Cas. Sometimes Dean teaches them a few signs, and Cas gets thanked in sloppy ASL a million times in a few hours. It's honestly a little overwhelming.
This event is the biggest Cas has ever organized. His old boss, Gabriel, used to organize the larger events, but since he'd moved to another city, the responsibility has been given to Cas. He hasn't exactly been hired for the position yet, but he enjoys the work.
He explains all this to Dean as they stand back and watch the end of the event. A couple of visitors interrupt them to thank Cas for organizing the event and it makes his heart swell with pride. He'd seen countless families supporting their trans loved one, and the occasional couple, but most of the visitors came alone and left with new friends. Being able to facilitate that connection... it is everything to Cas.
Hey, buddy, you okay? Dean touches Cas' arm, looking concerned.
Cas realizes he's crying softly, and perhaps making some sniffling noises. He wipes his eyes and nose dignifiedly and gives Dean a smile. I'm just glad this event was so successful. Did you like it? Even though Cas knows the event had been objectively successful, he still cares about Dean's opinion.
Are you kidding? It was amazing. I learned a lot, I mean, it's a lot to think about, but now I'm more informed, and that helps a lot, Cas. It really does. Dean grins, and it almost feels like they're alone, instead of in the corner of an auditorium full of people.
Eventually Billy finds them, and since Dean is her ride, he reluctantly leaves. Cas needs to help oversee cleanup anyway, but he promises to stop by the cafe the next day.
Waving goodbye to Dean is always difficult, but today he feels like they've grown closer than ever before. Being able to help his friend... that's everything to him.
I know nothing about how catering or bakeries work. This is why I work in magical au worlds without safety inspectors...
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Christmas time is always calmer that Dean ever anticipates. Finals are over, and students are going home for the holiday. There's a moment of calm before the holiday season completely sweaps them off their feet.
Dean takes advantage of the lull by taking a much needed break. He cuts a few slices of pie and plates them before bringing them over to Cas. He's hard at work at something, and he's obviously not having much luck.
Fuck, Cas mutters. He never speaks, except an occasional mumble here or there. But damn is it hot when Cas curses. Dean tries not to cherish it.
What's wrong? Dean asks, offering the pie that Cas gratefully takes.
Our catering service just canceled. Says they're overbooked! Now we don't have any desserts for our annual donor party... Cas looks beaten down and tired, more tired than usual. Dean wants nothing more than to kiss that worried look off his face.
He can't, so he does the next best thing. I can do it, he offers.
I can cater the event. Or, the cafe can.
Dean, it's in three days. There's no way-
I can do it Cas! I might have to work overtime, but if you give me the orders and I can get Crowley to approve them...
In the end it was a non-issue. Crowley was becoming more and more hands-off on the cafe, spending his time with more exciting ventures like the popular strip club and BDSM hotspot off the highway. He waved his hands and said "do what you want, but if you fuck it up, it comes out of your paycheck." Dean gets the message.
It was going well at first. Cas had given him the orders and he'd sent out Alfie to man the counter while he prepped. He was planning to do all the actual baking the next day to keep everything as fresh as possible, but he still has to figure out what to make, and what ingredients to buy in bulk, and how he'll transport it all to the Center...
Okay, he's a little overwhelmed, but he's never done a catering job this big before.
Dean? He looks up to see Cas knocking too softly on the doorway to the small office. Glorified closet with a computer more like. I came to help. Alfie said you seem... stressed.
Dean shoots Cas his most prize-winning smile, but he knows Cas can see right through it. I'm sorry Cas, I'm in a little over my head in here.
Together, the whole thing ended up being quite fun. Cas and Dean strategized and planned out the foods they'd make. Cas even came along in the van when they drove to the store to buy special ingredients they didn't have in stock. At one point, Dean abruptly turned to Cas and asked, Don't you have a job to be doing?
Cas just shrugged. I work too much already, they can't afford to pay me overtime. I'm technically off the clock. Then he picked out some fresh raspberries and placed them in the cart.
They manage to make a fun afternoon out of it. Cas ends up covered in flour by the end of the night, but all the pastries and pies are prepped and ready to be baked.
Dean hasn't had that much fun in... well, it'd been a while. As they lay flopped down on the ancient couch in the tiny break room, Dean heaves to breath. Stupid binder.
Cas returns the next night to help pack up all the food and together they drive the food to the fancy venue the center has picked out for this year's event. They didn't quite manage to get Ellen, but all the important and big names in the local queer community are there with their pocketbooks.
The desserts are a big success, and noises are made about hiring the cafe again, but Dean is just happy to see Cas, well, happy. He had to give a small speech about what he does for the center and gave a short powerpoint about their most successful (and expensive) events, using Charlie as his interpreter. It is so compelling, Dean wanted to pull out his own wallet to donate. Instead, he nabs the last slice of his cherry pie from the table and meets Cas at the back of the room.
You were great. I'm proud of you, Dean signs as he hands over the food.
Thank you, Dean. And thank you so much for doing the catering, it was all so good and you bet we got more donations because of that pie.
I'm sort of your knight in shining armor, Dean jokes, making a hokey motion for a knight riding a horse, before he has to finger spell it out, since Cas is so confused.
He gets a soft smile in return. How can I ever repay you, Dean?
Before he can lose the nerve, Dean signs, Go on a date with me.
As he'd anticipated, Cas freezes, but Dean hurries on. I've been researching asexuality and Queer Platonic Relationships and I want to try it with you. If you want, I mean. I like you, Cas, a lot, and maybe I was hoping you like me to. If you decide it's best we stay friends, I... I'll be okay. But Cas, I can't stand by and not even try this.
Cas feels like a deer in the headlights. It's the moment of truth. He could reject Dean out of hand again, or he could take a chance. Maybe it'll fail spectacularly, but feeling the love and affection from Dean's green eyes staring at him, he can't help but say-
Dean's smile seems to light up the room, and Cas feels... he feels like he's going to kiss Dean.
He leans in, smiling at Dean's surprised look before capturing Dean's mouth with his own. Cheers and applause erupt around him, because, duh, gay party, but Cas doesn't let Dean notice, dragging him back in for another kiss.
You taste like cherry, he signs, a little wobbly. He feels drunk.
Dean laughs, a grin splitting his face into a million dimples. Not for the last time, Cas wishes he could hear that laugh. He imagines it sounds like angels singing. Instead, he grabs Dean's hand and leads him out of the ballroom, away from the crowds, and towards an uncertain future.
I did change my username, so don't be confused about that. I am the same author writing this fic, just got a new nickname :)
Enjoy the schmoop!!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
As Sam watches, Dean tries on half of his wardrobe, running frantically around the small apartment. He's already showered... three times that day, and now he's tentatively spraying himself with some ancient cologne. Sam smiles to himself when Dean reaches for his old bottle of hair jell and slicks up his hair.
"Dude, why are you freaking out so much? You never get this worked up about... anyone!"
"Sammy, this isn't just anyone, this is Cas! And this is our first date, it has to be perfect." Dean checks himself out in the mirror, squinting and frowning.
"Hate to break it to you Dean, but you and Cas have been basically together for a long time."
"What? Shut up. I gotta go."
Dean flips Sam the bird on his way out the door, before running back in to grab his coat ("stupid... forgot my... okay, bye," Dean mutters) and running right back out.
Cas, surprisingly, isn't feeling nervous at all. He's... calm. The few relationships he's had with men in the past hadn't worked out well, and the one he'd tried with Meg were awkward, to say the least.
But he'd never felt a connection to any of those people, though in college he'd been desperate enough to try and prove himself wrong. He couldn't be asexual. He just couldn't.
Now he's resigned himself to that fact. For a long while he'd assumed he was also aromantic, but with Dean... Well, Cas isn't about to go shutting any doors. He likes Dean and is willing to give it his best effort.
Which means dinner at his favorite Thai restaurant followed by an open air concert in the park. The concert is famous in the deaf community for being very, very loud. When Cas goes, he could feel the music in his bones. Earlier that day he'd picked up some earplugs for Dean.
As it nears 6 o'clock, when Dean said he'd pick Cas up at his apartment, Charlie and Dorothy flutter around Castiel. He's wearing a band t-shirt and jacket, but can't decide if he should wear a hat. He isn't nervous. He's just... well-prepared.
When the lights of the apartment flash, signaling the doorbell being rung, he shoos a giggly Charlie out of his way. Glancing at the hallway mirror one last time, he opens to the door to find -
Hello, Dean, Cas manages to sign, taking in the sight of Dean dressed in a leather jacket and something other than flannel.
Hot damn! You clean up good, Dean, Charlie signs, butting her way through the door on her way out.
Have fun boys! Dorothy signs crudely as the pair race down the hall.
Cas sighs, but Dean is laughing softly.
Hey, there, handsome, you ready to have some fun? Dean gives Cas an exaggerated wink.
Cas just rolls his eyes, pulling the door shut behind him and meeting Dean in the hallway with a short kiss.
Dean should have never been nervous. But just driving down the road to the restaurant calms him.
Cas is signing a mile a minute, talking about his work and upcoming projects. Dean can't respond except at street lights, but that suites them fine. Eventually they settle into a comfortable silence, and Dean drops his right hand on the seat.
He squeezes when he feels Cas' hand join his, smiling softly. Cas lets out a sigh and leans back, content to let Dean drive and play whatever music he chooses.
Dinner goes well. The waiter seems to recognize Cas, and after he leaves, Cas explains that he used to hang around the Center a lot. He'd been in an abusive relationship, but with Cas and the Center's help, he now had his own apartment and job far away from his ex. Cas looks prouder than Dean's ever seen him when he talks about the man.
You're good at your job, Cas. You help so many people, it's amazing, Dean smiles and reaches across the table to take Cas' hand.
They fall into a rhythm of stealing from each other's plates and feeding each other bites. Dean can feel the stares of strangers, but he ignores them, instead staring fondly at Cas as he signs a mile a minute about the concert they're going to.
They haggle over who will pay, but Cas wins when he says he has a loyalty card there. Their waiter laughs at what seems like an inside joke, but quickly explains that Cas just goes there so often that they made him a little punch card. Like the ones at your cafe, Cas explains.
Dean laughs. It's such a Cas thing to do, he can't help but pull him in for a quick kiss.
"You too are disgusting. Have a good night." Their waiter makes a gagging noise as he leaves their checks, but Cas just smiles. He looks happy.
The concert is packed. They end up parking very far away, since Dean doesn't want his "baby" to get scratched. He treats his car with such reverence, Cas is almost jealous. Instead, Cas just finds it amusing.
Hand in hand, they walk to the ticket office, where Cas hands Dean his ticket and ear buds. So you don't hurt your ears, he signs.
As soon as they walk in, Dean quickly pulls apart the package and puts in the ear buds. Cas can feel a thrum in the air already, and by the time they make it to the bottom of the park, where hundreds of people are gathered, Dean has his hands over his ears and Cas can feel a steady beat in his veins.
He's been called a bookworm and a nerd often in his life, since he usually prefers to hang out in quiet areas like libraries or cafes, but this is the one exception. Ever since he found out about the concert, he's been going every year. Dean doesn't know it, but this concert is very special to Cas. And he wouldn't rather be there with anyone else.
As the warmups stop and the band start their set, the crowd goes wild. They are more on the edges, and in no danger of being separated, but Dean still clutches Cas' in his. Cas decides Dean needs a little loosening up.
Pulling Dean toward him, they press chest to chest, and Cas can see a nervous look in Dean's eyes. Smiling mischievously, Cas wraps a hand around Dean's neck and pulls him in for a kiss. It's their first dirty kiss, sloppy and with tongue, and Cas pulling at Dean's hair. Finally, Dean gets the memo and wraps his arms around Cas' back, kissing right back.
This is fun, right? Cas signs. The good thing about sign language, you don't have to shout to be heard against deafening music.
Let's get closer, Dean signs back, grabbing Cas' hand and pulling his along.
The concert was epic. It was almost too loud for Dean to think straight. What little mental capacity he had left was shot by Cas' kisses, which occurred frequently through the night. At one point they got drinks, and Cas got a little tipsy.
Cas blushes so prettily when he's tipsy.
Dean knows how to hold his own, but Cas is leaning heavily on him as they wander around the parking lot trying to find a black car in the darkness. When they do find the car, Cas presses Dean against the car, kissing him sloppily.
Okay, let's get you home, buddy, Dean signs, laughing as he straps Cas into the seat.
Did you have fun, Dean? Cas signs, looking like he's moving through syrup.
I did, Baby, I had a great time.
When they reach Cas' apartment, Dean helps Cas up to his door. Cas is apparently a sleepy drunk, because he can't seem to manage to put the keys in his door. Dean giggles as he helps Cas with the keys, but yelps when Cas grinds back against Dean's hips.
Baby, you're drunk, Dean signs quickly as he backs away. He opens the door, but Cas won't go inside.
Dean, I wanna be with you but I'm scared, Cas signs. He looks scared. Giggly, floppy Cas is gone, replaced by a stone statue of a man. What if I fuck this up and lose you? I can't lose you, Dean. I think I love you.
Dean starts at the confession, but reminds himself that Cas is still drunk, probably drunker than he should be. Come on, let's get you some water and go to bed.
Not sorry about the cliffhanger ending!
Cas and Dean have a talk
There are many kinds of asexuality and not everyone is sex-repulsed. I'm writing Cas as sort of demi (only has sex when he has a close emotional relationship) and sex-neutral (could take it or leave it).
Cas blinks his eyes open to blinding lights. When he tries to move his head, a splitting headache pierces through his head.
Oh, right. The concert.
His first thought is Just how much did I drink last night?
His second thought was Dean???
Cas sits up, collecting his thoughts, trying to remember the previous night. They got to the concert right on time, made out in public, got a few drinks, drove home and-
Hey, baby, about time you got up. Dean waves a hand in front of Cas, getting his attention.
Oh, good morning, Dean. Did you... sleep here last night? Cas looks beside him, but the other side of the bed is still made. Or perhaps newly made?
Ah, no, well, I slept on the couch. It was pretty late when I dropped you off. Um, I made breakfast? Here, try this. Dean holds out a fork with what looks like a piece of pancake on it.
Cas leans forward and takes the food right in his mouth. When he looks up, a lazy grin on his face, Dean is laughing softly. Dean, that is amazing.
Good. Now, come on, there's more where that came from in the kitchen.
Getting up proves a little difficult, since Cas' balance isn't the best, but soon enough he's dragging himself into the kitchen, guided by the tempting smells of fresh food.
Dean had gone all out. On the small kitchen table, he'd prepared pancakes, bacon, freshly squeezed orange juice, and even got the paper from outside. I hope this is all right, I kind of took over your kitchen, Dean signs shyly.
Cas just walks over to him to press a kiss to his lips. It's perfect. Thank you.
Breakfast is delicious, and they sit enjoying eachother's company. Cas is still in his pajamas, and Dean is in his t-shirt and boxers. It's more domestic than Cas is used to, but he finds he likes it.
If only there wasn't this odd tension hanging over them. Cas knows Dean is keen to ask him something; he keeps putting down his fork and beginning to ask something, before changing his mind and sipping his juice.
Dean, what is it?
Startled, Dean looks over at Cas, who is staring at him unblinkingly. What's what?
Nothing! Nothing, everything is great, Cas.
Then why do I have this feeling that something happened last night that I can't remember?
Dean stiffens, averting his gaze. After a moment, he picks up his plate and Cas' and brings them over to the sink. He runs the water to start washing them when he feels a presence behind him. Before he can turn, Cas gives him a hug from behind, wrapping his arms around Dean's waist.
Trying his best not to melt into the loving embrace, Dean turns around to face Cas. Concern is written all over his face.
Dean, I want you to be able to talk to me. But... I also don't want to pressure you to talk until you're ready. I'm here for you.
Thanks, baby, but it's not like that. It's... you said some things last night. Before we got back.
Dean looks down, placing his hands on Cas' waist, spreading his hands. Cas reciprocates, running his hands along Dean's arms, all the way up to his face, where he turns Dean's head up to look at Cas.
You said you were scared, Dean says, ripping the band aid off. Is that true?
Cas looks away, his face giving away nothing. He stays silent, but his hands remain on Dean's shoulders, gripping him tightly, like he's afraid Dean will let go.
You didn't say much, but I think... I think you felt like we should have had sex last night.
As Dean watches, Cas seems to remember the previous night.
It comes back to him quickly, in a flash. His fear, his dread. Dean's kind arms, practically carrying him to bed.
Oh, Dean, I'm so sorry, I-
Cas, what is there to be sorry about? I'm not going to pressure you into anything, and anyway, we were both pretty drunk last night. Dean gives Cas a half smile, hope in his eyes.
Cas smiles back, wiping away a loose tear. I guess we should talk about that, huh?
I guess we should.
The talk ended up being easier than ever before. Cas' previous partners had never tried to pressure or force him, but he'd always felt like he was being judged, like he was choosing to take this away from them.
No such feelings with Dean. In fact, he has his own boundaries to discuss relating to his body dysphoria. It makes Cas feel better about asking so much of Dean.
In the end, they both make a want, will, won't list, with all the things they want to do, are willing to do, and definitely won't do. In fact, most of their wants and wills overlap, with only a few things in the won't list to be discussed.
They both have the day off, and spend it watching cheesy movies and making out on the couch. It's fun, but by nighttime, Dean looks unsure.
Wanna stay over again? Cas asks, nervously. You wouldn't even have to stay on the couch.
Dean gives him a smile in return. I'd love that.
That night Cas learns how much Dean loved to cuddle. Cas finds himself enjoying the intimacy as well, and feels something new stirring in his belly he's never felt before. It's something new to explore, and it looks like he'll have plenty of time to explore it.
"Thank you for coming in, Mr. Winchester. We'll see you again next week."
"Thanks Dr. Tran. Have a great day."
Dean is grinning from ear to ear when he walks into the waiting room where Cas is sitting. Cas smiles back at him, signing, So, how did it go?
It went awesome! The finished all the bloodwork and stuff, and next week I can come pick up my first batch of shots. Now I just gotta... get used to giving myself shots. Dean shudders dramatically, but Cas knows Dean isn't worried about that.
I'm so proud of you Dean. I'm sure you'll do fine.
A week later, Cas walks into the clinic with Dean. He's obviously very nervous, and Cas instinctively grabs his hand. Dean smiles weakly, but the wait in the waiting room still seems excruciating.
When they call his name to come back, Dean hesitates. Do you wanna, maybe, come back with me?
If you're sure, Cas squints at Dean.
It's just, they mentioned I might need someone else to give me my shots until I get used to it? Dean rubs the back of his neck, his usual tick when he's nervous.
Of course, Dean. Whatever you need.
In the end, the nurse gives Dean his first shot, showing both him and Cas how to prep the area and administer the shot. The needle is fairly small, but Dean still squeezes Cas' hand harder than necessary, just for the principal of it.
Not so bad, Dean manages, giving Cas a wobbly smile. Do I look any different to you?
Cas smiles back. You look very handsome, honey.
And kisses the remaining worry off of his face.
Dean's testosterone schedule is set for weekly shots, and when time for his second shot rolls around, Cas is expecting the text.
So, wanna come over and watch a movie? Dean texts.
You just want me to do your shot for you, Cas teases.
Guilty. Bring ice cream?
In the end, they have a romantic evening with homemade pizza and ice cream on the couch. But once all the food is gone, Dean just about fidgets himself right off the couch.
Honey, you don't have to do this today. You can wait for tomorrow, or go to the clinic and get it done.
No, Dean insists. I'm gonna do this.
"Doing this" ends up being 15 minutes of staring at the needle without opening the package. Finally, Cas turns off the TV, which was still running in the background, and settles to the ground in front of Dean.
Cas snakes an arm up to cup Dean's face, rubbing his cheek with his thumb. Do you want me to do it?
Dean nods and hands the package to Cas. He prepares the syringe and Dean's skin as per the instructions, going through the procedure rapidly.
The whole process last less than 2 minutes.
Afterward, Cas presses a bandaid to the spot, but it was barely bleeding. Finally, he kisses the spot dramatically, signing, all done! for Dean.
Thanks, baby. You rock.
I'm a rock? Cas jokes.
Dean just laughs, pulling him in for a kiss. Cas straddles Dean's legs on the couch, wrapping his arms around Dean's neck. After a hot and heavy moment, Cas leans back to take a breath, and to admire his handsome boyfriend.
Is that a hair I see? Cas points at Dean's face. It's the wrong thing to say, because Dean is up and dumping Cas on the couch in a flash, running for the hall mirror. Dean huffs back with a jokey frown on his face.
Don't mess with a guy's facial hair!
Or lack thereof, Cas giggles.
Gosh, you're worse than Sam.
Over the next few weeks, Cas manages to coax Dean to administer his own shot.
What if I'm not in town? Or you go out of town? Cas reasons. But if this doesn't work out, we can look into pills or gels. I hear there's a nasal thing now.
Dean just grumbles, muttering that can take a damn shot like a real man. Cas just kisses the frown off his face and calls him adorable.
The effects of testosterone start taking place pretty rapidly for Dean. Unfortunately, it's like a second puberty. Acne blooms on his face like he's 13 years old again, and his voice cracks like nobody's business. But at least Cas can't hear that.
A side effect Dean hadn't anticipated (though Cas would later say he'd seen this coming) was weight gain. Before T, he'd had a high metabolism, but apparently working at a bakery doesn't do wonders for one's figure. It also doesn't help if that person is stressed and going through a big change in their life.
Cas doesn't care. He actually likes the little pudge Dean is developing on his belly and thighs. When Dean blushes and folds in on himself, Cas suggests he start running if it really bothers him so. But Dean always shrugs and leans further into Cas' arms. Cas likes to think he gives pretty good cuddles.
Since going on T, and Dean's school work picking up, they haven't had much time to themselves. And definitely no time to... go further. But Dean doesn't mention it, so Cas just lets it be. Cuddling and kisses are enough for the two of them for now.
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