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Cooking Together

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It's Friday and that means Cooking class. It's Dean's favorite if he's honest with himself. He loves to cook. He does it every time for his family. Even his dad, the grumpy bastard, enjoys Dean's lasagna, though he never says so. And Sammy says he's the best cook in the world, which is not truenot that Sammy knows many cooks, as he's only thirteen, but it's a compliment Dean's willing to take.


The only problem is his cooking partner, Castiel Novak.  Castiel is in his year, and he couldn't be more opposite to Dean.  The boy is a nerdhe's always reading a book and doesn't talk to anyone.  He's always scowling, but not in an annoyed-by-everything sort of way, more like a perpetually confused way.  It's kind of endearing.  Wait, no, it's not!  Of courseit's not!

Anywaytoday they have to bake a cake.  Nothing too elaborated, but Miss Mills says a good cake is a perfect choice for any occasion.  Dean himself prefers pie, but he knows that he needs to perfect his cake-baking skills.  Sammy would love to have a homemade birthday cake for his next birthday.  

Castiel is a bit late, but Miss Mills doesn't even look his way when he enters the classroomlooking a bit scared and strangely downcast.  Dean thinks of making a snarky comment about it but refrains at the last minute because Castiel just stands there next to him, looking down at his hand on the countertop.  Dean tries not to worry too much about it.  It's not like they're friends or anything.  And maybe if Castiel's too distracted by being sad he won't distract Dean by asking him "what should I do? " all the time.  

So after Miss Mills explains what ingredients they should use and how to use them, Dean starts to work.  Castiel hasn't moved an inch and it doesn't look like he'll do it for the next hour.  Dean huffs in annoyment, but at least it's quiet.  

After a few minutesthoughDean can't stand it.  Castiel is still staring down at his hands, and he looks really, really sad and disappointed and Dean only wants to change that.

"HeyCaspass me the vanilla essence, please?"  he asks with a tentative smile.  

Castiel looks up at him and his huge blue eyes shine in surprise.  He blinks a couple of times and then goes for the vanilla.  He puts it on Dean's side of the countertop and comes back to his previous posture.  Dean frowns.

"Are you okay, dude?"  

Castiel turns to him again with the same surprised expression.  "Why do you ask?"

"Dunno, you're usually more... eager about this class."

"I'm not good,"  Castiel says with a shrug.  Understatement.  Still, Dean wants to comfort the guy somehow.

"Well, you can always get better."

"You hate it when I try to help."

Dean feels himself flushing from embarrassment.  "No!  Of course not!  It's just that - okay, I guess I haven't been very patient with you, I'm sorryCas. "

Castiel is looking at him, astonished.  Dean never apologizes, why would he?  But this timeCas is right, in a sense.  He hasn't been a good cooking partner.  Dean shrugs and Cas smiles briefly.

"Come on, Cas, you're making the frosting, alright?"

"Oh, but I don't-"

"Don't worry, I'll help you.  Orange or strawberry? "

"Um...  orange?

"Good choice, I love orange.  I'll get the ingredients.  You prepare the bowls. "

They work together.  Dean guides him step to step, trying not to overwhelm the guy.  And the thing is, maybe Cas isn't that bad at cooking after all.  Maybe Dean was just being too selfish to consider that he had a decent cooking partner that only wanted to do help.  

"You're doing great, Cas,"  he comments with enthusiasm and is rewarded with a carefree grin.  Dean had never seen a grin like this and he can't wait to see him again.

"Y'know, these classes are good and all. But if you want to learn how to cook, we could meet at my house..."

"Oh," 

"It was just an idea. You probably don't want to-"

"No!  I mean, yes, Dean, I want to.  You're an excellent teacher. "

Dean blushes again, but this time he doesn't feel bad about it.  "ThanksCas."

Miss Mills says their cake looks amazing, and they get an A. Castiel is beaming.  

"So. Tomorrow at mine?  We can prepare whatever you want. "

Castiel smiles.  "All right."

"Awesome."  Dean wants to add something like 'it's a date, then', but that would be scandalous.  He watches Cas as he gathers his things and exits the classroom with a slight smile on his face.  

- --

"You're unusually happy this evening,"  Mary Winchester says with a knowing smirk.  Ugh, he should be more cautious with his facial expressions while making dinner with his mom.

"It was a good day," Dean comments nonchalantly." This needs a bit more salt. "

"Yeah?"

"Oh, yeah?"  

"Yep, but not too much.  And maybe more pepper.  Though dad doesn't like it-"

"I was talking about your good day,"  Mary said, raising one of her blonde eyebrows.

"Oh, uh," he clears his throat, hoping he's not blushing." It's just that...  Nah, it's stupid. "

"Tell me, Dean.  I want to know about your day, especially if it leaves you with that grin. "

Dean's grin intensifies despite himself.  "Okay.  I told Castiel to come here tomorrow for a cooking lesson. "

"Castiel?  Your extremely annoying cooking partner? " Mary points out, intrigued.  Dean snorts a laugh.  

"Well, yeah.  He is a bit annoying, but it looks like he just wants to be good at it.  And today he was really sad for some reason.  So I'm just trying to help. "

"Uh-huh"

"Mom!"

"What?"

"Just- don't be weird tomorrow when he comes.  He's kinda shy, and I don't want to scare him off. "

"I'm not weird," Mary gasps, falsely offended.  Dean rolls his eyes.  

"Whatever, mom."  Mary laughs and they continue making dinner.

That nighthe sends Cas his address via text and asks him if he wants Dean to pick him up.  Cas says it's not necessary and that he'll be there at 5:30.  Dean sleeps particularly well that night.

- --

"HeyCas," Dean greets the other boy.  

"HelloDean."

Castiel looks good.  He looks better than he looks on school days, anyway.  Maybe it's because he looks a little less stressed out.  And that blue shirt really brings out his eyes.  

"May I come in?"

Oh.  Dean wants to slap himself.  "Of course, sorry."  

Castiel smiles and he steps in.  He's carrying a bag of groceries, although Dean told him it wasn't necessary, he had everything they needed at home.  Castiel goes into the kitchen and leaves the bag on the countertop.  Thenhe turns and waits for Dean.  God, his hands are sweating.  

Mary had convinced John to go out, but Sammy had stayed.  Dean didn't want to make Cas nervous, thinking they were completely alone.  

"Sam!  Come say hi to Cas! "Dean shouts towards the stairs.  A few minutes later, Sam comes down running.  

"Hi, Castiel!  It's good to see you.  Did you read the final chapter already? "

Apparently, Sam and Cas go to the same book club or something, and they start talking about books as Dean gathers all the ingredients they will need to prepare the pasta with marinara sauce that they'd agreed on making.  

After a few minutesSam excuses himself saying that he has to finish his homework and went back to his bedroom.  Dean smiles shyly at Cashoping that the other boy doesn't find it awkward to stay alone with Dean.  Cas seems to be just fine, though, he even returns the smile, his eyes bright.  Perhaps Dean is the only one who was having bit of a freak out here.  He sighs and went full Master Chef mode on.  

"Okay, Caslet's get started."

Castiel does almost everything by himself under Dean's patient instructions and advice.  Dean has to show him how to chop the onion, though.  He had thought Castiel would've wanted to step back a little when Dean got closer but the other boy stays right there.  Their arms press together and Castiel leans in so he can see better what Dean is doing to that poor onion.  Dean can't afford to get distracted by this fact, so he starts talking again.

"I always thought you didn't like the cooking class."

Cas looks at him with an embarrassed expression on his face.  "I do like it.  I'm just too bad at it.  I'm sorry you've had to put up with me all this time. "

Dean grimaces.  He hadn't been the best partner.  "No, CasI'm sorry.  I was being selfishI only thought about how good I was at it. " Castiel nodded, thoughtful." You're really good, too,"  Dean addshoping he can cheer the other boy up.

"Thank youDean."

There's a moment of silence, and Dean went to check the sauce.  It looks delicious, but they'd have to wait a couple more minutes.  

"Do you plan on going to Cooking School when we graduate?"  Cas asks then, looking curiously at him.  

"What?  No, of course not," Dean lets out a little laughhoping it doesn't sound like a nervous laugh.  

"Why not?"  Cas asks innocently.  Dean sighs and closes his eyes for a second.  "Because y'know, cooking as a hobby is fine.  But this is not a real career, not for men, at least. "

"That is a ridiculous way of thinking," Cas comments with a frown.  Dean doesn't want to think of it as cute, but well, it is cute.  

"Yeahtell that to my dad,"  Dean mutters and oh, he hadn't wanted to say that at all.  

Castiel takes a step closer to Dean and put a hand on his shoulder.  Dean's eyes widen.  "I know what's that like.  My mother has her own plans for me.  That's why I'm taking this cooking class at school. "

It's time for Dean to frown.  "Does your mom want you to be a chef?"

Castiel snorts and Dean grins despite himself.  

"No.  On the contrary, She wants me to stay here and takes off after the family business.  But I don't want that.  I want to be independent, do things for myself, so her when I leave for college to study Psychology, I won't need to contact her out for help.  She says I won't make it, that I'm helpless. " The sad tone in Cas' voice says he's started to believe that.

"Jesus Christ, Casyou're not helpless.  You're doing just fine!  You're not bad at all, you just need the chance to show it. "

Cas' blue eyes shine in a special way as the boy stares at him in surprise.  They are closer than they were before if that is even possible.  Dean doesn't register who moves first and then they're kissing.  

They.  Are.  Kissing.  In Dean's kitchen.  As they wait for the sauce to...

"The sauce!"  Dean jumps, alerted by the bubbly sound and goes to remove the saucepan from the stove as Cas laughs delightfully before apologizing for being distracted.  Dean waves it off.  

They eat in front of the TV.  Sam is there, watching them somewhat suspiciously, so they have to put a decent distance between them but sometimes Dean can't help his little idiotic smile to appear.  He hopes he's not being too obvious.  

Dean insists on driving Cas home despite the boy saying to not bother.  They kiss a little more before Cas enters his house.  Dean drives back home slowly, the twinkling stars watching over him.  

That night he reflects on everything that happened that evening, especially what Cas says about going to college to study what he wants and being independent.  If Cas can defy his mother, surely Dean can do the same thing with his dad.  He dreams of the idea of living in a big city with Cascooking for him and enjoying his freedom.