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Looking for: Alpha to Match Swimsuit

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Castiel loved his family, he really did, but he was thinking about taking drastic measures and block their numbers. They had been very supportive of his decision to quit his job, they had also been supportive of moving in with Dean, but the moment the words "buy a house in Chicago" had passed his lips, all hell had broken loose.

And he understood them, to a certain degree. Buying a house meant settling down, but it also came with a host of other implications that his family was – as it turned out once Jimmy came over for a friendly interrogation– irritatingly good at picking up on.

"You're just two people, why do you need a house?" Jimmy asked suspiciously, when he came around to help Cas pack up his apartment to put it into storage until the move. Castiel faltered in his cleaning out of his closet, unsure how to answer. He barely had any time to actually processed the fact that he and Dean decided to have children together. They had only talked about it a couple of days ago and neither of them had brought the topic back up since Thanksgiving.

"Uhm… Dean wants a yard," he settled on saying, turning back to his cleaning. He was aware that the sounds of Jimmy moving his things had stopped.

"Right. How many rooms were you thinking?" Jimmy asked and Castiel dropped his head with an internal sigh.

"I don't know yet. Enough."

"So… a family home," Jimmy concluded and Cas could hear the smirk in his voice. He turned to look over his shoulder, finding Jimmy grin at him. "Come on, Cas!" Jimmy said. "What's up with the dark expression? It doesn't surprise me that you two would think about starting a family."

"Right…," Cas muttered, turning around to face his brother. "We only just talked about it. That doesn't mean we'll have kids." Jimmy dropped all pretense that he was still putting Cas' books into boxes.

"Did you tell Dean about the issues you had?" Jimmy wondered, his voice careful. Cas nodded even though he hadn’t really gone into any detail. "Even if you couldn't get pregnant again after Jack, doesn't mean there was any issue on your end… You did have to try a bit for Jack too and back then Luke was more invested…"

"I know… But I'm almost 20 years older now. What if it's even more difficult now?" Cas wondered with a sigh. "Imagine we get a big house with room for kids and then it remains empty?" That thought, randomly as it had popped up in Cas’ mind, instantly sunk to the pit of his stomach like a heavy stone.

"Get yourself to a doctor before you stress yourself out about it unnecessarily," Jimmy told him. "And there are plenty of options from IVF to adoption. You and Dean will find a way to have kids, don't worry." Castiel breathed in deeply, trying to shake himself out of this unnecessary moment of anxiety. Jimmy was right. There was no point in worrying in advance.

"So… seen any houses you like?" Cas gladly took the distraction, pulling out his phone to show Jimmy some listings he had seen.

In hind-sight, that had been his mistake. Because once everything was in storage and Cas was on the drive to Dayton, the messages started coming.

Responsible driver that he was, he dutifully ignored them until he was in the garage to Dean's apartment building. When he checked the phone he found that the Novak family chat was blowing up. He frowned and scrolled through it, finding link after link to house listings which his family then extensively debated.

"Uhm," Cas muttered to himself, standing by his car and scrolling, when he could already be in Dean's arms instead.

"Mission find Dean&Cas a good house! Enough space for kids!" was the message by Claire that had started it all.

"Damnit Jimmy," Cas grumbled, then he put his phone into his pocket, where it continued to buzz.

Cas had of course told Dean about his family's interest in their house hunting, but Dean didn't quite know how intense the Novaks could get about things (and how bored Jimmy and Amelia apparently were, considering how much time they must be spending on the internet, looking for houses). Dean had merely smiled and nodded, asking Cas to forward him any houses that looked interesting.

That was until they were actually in Chicago a week later to check out some listings.

The real estate agent greeted them with a smile.

"Nice to meet you, Mr. Winchester and Mr. Novak. I let you daughter go on ahead to get a first impression," she said. Dean and Cas exchanged a look. While Dean was puzzled, Cas had a good idea what was going on. His suspicions were confirmed when the real estate agent opened the door and Claire was there poking her head back into the foyer, grinning at them.

"Took you long enough to get here!" she said cheerfully. Cas knew there was absolutely no point in arguing with her (though Cas was pretty sure she was skipping classes to be here and if he should rat her out to Jimmy. He didn’t want to lose the spot of favorite uncle to Amelia’s brother though, so maybe not.).

“Yeah well, if we knew you were joining us, we might have hurried up,” Dean said, effortlessly playing along with Claire. “Initial thoughts, kiddo?”

“It’s alright,” was all Claire said, pretending to be bored, but then she grinned and darted back into the house. The real estate agent smiled encouragingly and while Cas heaved a sigh (or sent a prayer for strength up into the sky) he let himself be pulled into the house by Dean.

Dean and Cas ended up looking at about ten houses in the following couple of days, their real estate agent well prepared and patient with them when Dean or Cas found one or the other thing they didn’t like. Cas was amused to learn that Dean definitely wanted his own room to use as a walk-in closet (which he refused to elaborate on even though Cas didn’t even ask, which turned the room from a simple walk-in closet to a mystery), that he was unwilling to budge on a big garage and that he had plenty of opinions on “creepy basements” and “spooky attics”. Cas had not nearly the same amount of demands and was therefore happy to let Dean (and Claire, who tried to participate in as many viewings as she could) decide.

Eventually they settled on a nice three-story house with a big garage, a reasonably sized fenced in backyard, and plenty of rooms. Cas hadn’t been a fan of all the open space in Dean’s apartment, so he was glad that this was an older house and that the walls had not been sacrificed to the modern obsession with big empty spaces. The kitchen was especially nice. It was ever so slightly dated in its appliances which was a big departure from Dean’s state of the art chrome kitchen, but it had windows and plenty of storage space. Dean had agreed to a dated kitchen because it was easier to keep clean when there were children in the house. It wasn’t a pretentious looking place (which, no offense to Dean, but his Dayton apartment had been) compared to the one or the other mansion they had been shown. Dean had vetoed them quickly, citing that he might be rich, but not that kind of rich. No, this was a good, big, solid house, in what seemed to be a great neighborhood with easy access to schools and shops, and Cas really liked it. But it felt big and empty in a way that Luke’s home never did.

“Maybe this is a bit of an overkill,” Castiel offered when they were standing in their new home, the proud owners of a lot of empty rooms.

“Eh… Maybe a bit ambitious,” Dean eventually said as he surveyed the wooden floors and freshly painted white walls. Cas snorted. Ambitious was one way to put it. Not counting their shared room, Jack’s room and Dean’s mystery walk-in closet, they had another 5 rooms. Cas would probably grab one of the smaller ones as an office, but that still left 4 rooms. He doubted he’d be able to fill that up with kids. Cas’ expression must have looked rather funny, because Dean burst out laughing.

“Relax. I’m sure we’ll figure it out. The house is great! So what if we’ve got some extra space! This is a good excuse to get everyone to come to us for family holidays,” Dean assured him, then he slapped Cas’ ass. “Come on! Let’s christen this place!”

“Dean, we don’t even have a bed!” Cas complained, but he did follow Dean up into what was going to be their bedroom. It had plenty of windows and access to a pretty balcony looking over their yard. Dean laughed, then he plopped down on the floor, assuming an enticing pose and sending Cas an exaggeratedly sexy look.

“Ugh, fine,” Cas laughed.

The move ate up pretty much all of Cas’ attention span and by the time Christmas was around the corner he was still all over the place. All of the furniture they wanted to keep had found a place in their new home, but it still looked pretty mismatched in a not very charming way. Neither Dean nor Cas could be bothered to really figure this out at the moment and despite Dean’s income, buying this house had taken a good chunk out of their savings. And even though Dean and Cas hadn’t talked about it in detail, they knew that they would have to pay for their wedding and children in the near future. So while they weren’t hurting for money in any way, they weren’t quite ready to buy totally new furniture just for the visuals. Cas would simply have to live with Dean’s monstrosity of a glass dining table and designer chairs, huge leather couch with its “no food” rule and weird modern art Dean somehow had found necessary to take from his apartment for the foreseeable future. Their bedroom was pretty nice though and neither had to make any compromises there.

Occupied as he was, Christmas passed in a blur, though Cas had a great time in Kansas and was amused to see Jack take an instant liking to Sam and Jess. Some strategic use of puppy eyes (both by Sam and by Jack) had secured Jack a trip to California during his spring break which Cas had to be fine with even if it meant not having Jack hang out with him in Chicago. He felt that ultimately this was one more step to tie the families together and confirm Cas’ place among the Winchesters. Because this was Cas’ family now and he loved them all (and yes, he got a bit too sappy with some cups of mulled wine warming his stomach and told them as much). It had been an all-around great time.

Not long after Christmas Cas started a new accounting job that he was able to do mostly from home and things were really starting to fall into place by mid-January. He had a nice home with a lot of potential, he had gainful employment that he enjoyed, his son was doing great at college and he had a wonderful partner. He was happy, something he couldn’t have imagined just a year earlier.

But truth to be told, now that Cas finally had some room freed up in his brain to think again, the worry he had been carrying around unacknowledged reared its ugly head again. While he was putting up another shelf in his home office, with Dean being secretive in his “walk-in closet”, Cas let his thoughts stray to the many other rooms that still stood empty and unused.

“Daydreaming?” Dean asked, calling Cas out of his thoughts. Dean stood in the open door to Cas’ office, a box in his arms.

“I suppose,” he said with a frown, but then he tilted his head, taking in Dean with yet another box. “Just how many boxes of clothes do you have? And where did you have them in Dayton?” Dean colored right away.

“In the basement. It’s…” Dean wrinkled his nose but he then heaved a sigh. “It’s LARPing stuff.”

“And why are you being so squirrely about it?” Castiel asked, abandoning his shelf. Dean frowned at Cas.

“Because it’s embarrassing,” Dean muttered, then he shifted the box and then walked on. Castiel huffed, following Dean out. He never tried to be super nosy, since it was clear that Dean was being secretive about his room for a reason. Dean was allowed to keep things to himself, but Cas was a bit curious. He poked his head into the room when he saw the door ajar.

“I don’t think it’s embarrassing. It’s a creative hobby,” Cas told him and when Dean didn’t shriek and kick him out, he took this as an invitation to step inside. He had a look around the room. Dean had put up two wardrobes on one wall, with a tall mirror on the opposite end and a tailor’s dummy standing in the corner. He had some decorative fake swords and shields mounted on the wall, as well as a red flag with a golden moon on it. But there was still a lot of empty space for more shelves and decorations to be put up. Dean let him look around, though he seemed a bit nervous even though he appeared to be busy putting things into drawers. Cas was fascinated by a little mannequin head with a long blond wig set on it. “LARPing means that you play a character, right? Do you wear this wig?”

“Yeah…” Dean said, heaving another sigh. Cas really didn’t understand why Dean was so insecure about this.

“Could I also play?” Cas wondered, taking Dean by surprise. “I played some tabletop role playing games as a teen. I’m not good at acting at all, but it seems like fun.” Dean studied him with an expression that Cas found hard to read. “I don’t mean to overstep; you don’t have to share your hobbies with me.”

“No, that’s… that’s okay I guess. It’s just… you know…,” Dean gestured vaguely and even though Cas waited patiently for Dean to explain, he didn’t offer anything else. After a while he sighed. “Sure. I’ll show you the website later so you can check out the story and the campaign we’re currently doing. Though I’m a bit out of the loop. I haven’t been since before I met you.”

“Is that bad?”

“Not necessarily. I just miss out on the fun and can’t really develop my character if I’m not playing,” Dean said. Cas nodded, then he helped Dean put things away and hang elaborate looking maps in big glass frames on the wall. The LARPing game looked to be medieval, but Cas also spotted some items which looked Wild West related to him and then there was the horror movie and Anime box that Dean had made disappear before Cas could peek inside. Since Dean was still a bit on edge and nervous about allowing Cas to see all of this, Cas decided not to ask anything else. They worked in silence and while Dean was gradually relaxing, Cas’ thoughts circled back to what he had been pondering earlier.

“I think I might visit a specialist,” he finally said and Dean instantly turned to him. “I haven’t been to an omega health clinic in years… I think it’s time for another check-up.”

“Okay? Is that something you’re worrying about?”

“I guess?” Cas offered, feeling insecure. “I’m 44 and I’ve had fertility issues in the past. I just want to know what to expect going forwards.” Dean studied him but eventually he nodded.

“Sure. But you know there’s no rush, right? Just because we bought this house doesn’t mean we have to have kids right away. I don’t want you to get the impression that I’m… I don’t know. Expecting it.”

“No, you don’t give me that impression, Dean. It’s just my own insecurity that I’ve been trying to ignore for 15 years,” Cas admitted. “And now that I have a boyfriend I want to have kids with it’s all coming back.”

“Okay, do you want me to go with you?” Dean wondered but Cas shook his head.

“No, that’s fine. It’s just a check-up,” Cas told him and Dean nodded, then he leaned down to give Cas a quick kiss. “What was that for?”

“Just a little supportive kiss,” Dean said with a grin and Cas smiled at him. “Let me know if you change your mind about needing support.” Cas agreed to that and then they continued working.

Two weeks later, Cas fidgeted in his seat in Dr. Mia Vallens’ office. He was way more nervous than he had anticipated before actually stepping into the office.

“What can I do for you today, Castiel?” Mia asked, her expression friendly and encouraging.

“I’m worried about my ability to have children,” Cas answered promptly and Mia lifted her eyebrows. “I have a son, he’ll be 19 in May. But I had complications during his birth and when I tried to have a second child, it didn’t work. My ex-husband and I eventually stopped trying,” Cas explained. Mia nodded along.

“I see. And now you want to try again?”

“Yes… I have a new partner. A wonderful man who I instantly connected with. We’ve been together for half a year and are thinking about the future. I’ve been unable to have a second child and the worry about disappointing Dean and myself is taking a toll on me,” Cas admitted, looking at his fingers instead of facing Mia.

“Is your partner framing it this way? That you would be disappointing him? Or is that thought coming from you?” Mia wondered. Castiel instinctively bristled at the suggestion that Dean would pressure Cas this way.

“It’s me… Dean doesn’t think of it this way.” Mia nodded.

“Hm. How about we just have a look at you. You said on the phone that it’s been a while since your last check up,” Mia suggested and Cas nodded. Mia asked him to get on the examination chair and got through her check-up, chatting with Cas along the way, which did help soothe Cas’ nerves.

“How are your heats? Any issues there?” Mia wanted to know.

“They’re fine. Very regular and easy to manage. I’ve never had to take suppressants.”

“Did your past partner ever get a check up when you encountered issues with having children?” Mia wanted to know. Cas snorted and shook his head.

“The thought that the issue might be him never crossed his mind and he was offended when I suggested it. But he was also not really interested in having a second child since the chances were pretty good that our son would be an alpha, which is what he wanted.”

“Oh wow, one of those alphas then,” Mia said with a snort. Cas could only agree. Mia wrapped up her examinations.

“Well, as far as I can say everything looks fine. I’ll run some more tests and will get back to you in about a week or two,” she said and Cas sagged a bit in relief.

“Oh, good,” Cas said feeling somewhat lightheaded. Mia wrapped the meeting up quickly after that and Cas was free to go, feeling like a weight had been lifted off of his chest.

Dean had to attend a two-day training event at his new job, which left Cas all alone in the new house. It was somewhat odd to be alone, different than it had been back in his sad little apartment or in Dean’s luxurious place. But he had work to distract himself with and after he wrapped it up for the day, he read through the internet page for the Moondoor campaign, which seemed a lot more complicated and detailed than Cas had previously thought. Dean had given Cas Charlie’s number and they had texted a bit about the game, giving him some ideas about his potential character, though Cas felt he wasn’t creative enough to make a good character. Charlie’s answer to that had been:

“Dude. Dean had no idea what to do when he showed up. I made him his character and while he regularly grumbles about it, he’s really into it. So whatever you will pick, the other players will make it fun for you. Don’t worry! 👍”

Castiel was still going to worry, but he did send her a thumbs up back. The moment he put his phone down to read up more on the “lore” for the various Moondoor races and classes, it rang. Cas saw the caller ID and instantly felt nervous. He picked it up after a moment of hesitation.


“Hello, Castiel. This is Mia Vallens,” the caller said. “I’ve got your results if you have a moment?”

“Yes, of course,” Cas answered promptly.

“I only have good news,” she said and Cas relaxed instantly. “Everything looks great, no obvious reasons why you should encounter any problem conceiving.” She paused a moment to allow for her words to sink in. Then she continued: “You know the drill; increased fertility during your heats. Synched cycles make it easier, mating even more so. But nothing’s a guarantee.”

“Yes,” Cas said, feeling giddy now.

“If you and your partner share a couple of heats without success, then I’d like to see both of you and we’ll go from there, alright?”

“Yes, alright. That is wonderful, thank you so much,” Cas said.

“Good luck, Castiel,” Mia said, her voice warm, then they said their good-byes. And now Cas was full of nervous energy. He wished Dean was here to tell him the good news. Should he call him? No, no that would be silly. Dean would be back tomorrow, he should be able to wait that long. So instead he texted Jimmy:

“Green light from the doctor, it seems there is nothing wrong with my reproductive organs.” It took a moment for Jimmy to reply but once he did Cas had to laugh:

“Great! How about we get drunk in celebration. Remember that you can’t drink once you get pregnant.”

“Sure. If you let me crash on your couch afterwards.” Jimmy promised that the couch was all his and then their plans were made.

Spending the night with his brother and sister-in-law had been just what he needed. And even though some mistakes were made and Cas regretted that last drink when he had to step out of the house into the offensively bright and cheery afternoon, it had been great fun. The rest of his hangover dissipated as he made the drive back home to Chicago and he still got some hours of work in before Dean was supposed to be back.

Cas ordered some take out and got a pie from the bakery, glad to be able to welcome Dean back home. Shortly before 6 he saw Dean pull into the driveway and get his car into the garage.

“Honey I’m home!” Dean called through the house, clearly in a very good mood. “And I’ve brought some goodies!” Cas met him in the hallway, finding Dean with his suitcase and a bag with the Roadhouse logo.

“Hello Dean,” Cas greeted, going in for a lingering kiss. Dean grinned against his lips. “What did you bring?”

“Fluffy bathrobes,” Dean said with a grin and then presented them proudly. They were a charcoal color, with the roadhouse logo stitched on the front. Then he turned them around to show Cas the lettering on the back. One Winchester and one Novak.

“I like them,” Cas said with a smile.

“Well, lets put them on. I smell take out so this seems like a good moment to relax and eat on the couch.” Dean really must be in a good mood to allow eating on the couch but Cas wasn’t going to ruin it with a comment about Dean’s usual no food on the couch rule. Dean dashed off to put away his suitcase and Cas took the moment to undress and put on the robe (it was very fluffy) before he prepared the food in the living room.

“Ah, perfect!” Dean said, letting himself fall on the couch with a pleased groan. He closed his eyes, just relaxing, but it was only a moment before he sat back up, rubbed his hands and then grabbed the food. Cas watched all of this with a fond smile.

“It’s good to have you back,” Cas said, taking the plate Dean handed him.

“I was only gone for like 2 days, babe,” Dean laughed, then he sat back, cuddling into Cas’ side. “But same.” Cas still looked down at Dean, watching his face, studying his freckles and the stubble on his chin. After a while he too started eating.

“And what were you up to while I was gone?” Dean asked after he had launched into a lengthy recount of the training (apparently his boss fell asleep on the pool tables in a local bar and almost missed the morning program on the second day).

“I visited Jimmy and Amelia yesterday,” Cas said. “We celebrated because Dr. Vallens called me back and gave me the green light.” Dean stopped eating and looked at Cas with a small frown. But after a moment he was evidently able to place the name.

“That means everything’s okay down there?” Dean asked, pointing his fork towards Cas’ stomach.

“Yes. But sometimes things should work and still don’t. If we spend a couple of heats together and pregnancy doesn’t stick, then she wants to see both of us,” Cas explained. Dean listened attentively, then he grinned.

“That’s great news, Cas,” he said warmly and kissed Cas softly. “Are you relieved?”

“You have no idea,” Cas admitted, laughing. “I feel so much better.” He looked up at Dean, finding him studying with a soft smile.

“Does that mean you want to start trying?” he wondered and Cas couldn’t tell by his tone of voice if Dean was hoping for a yes or a no answer.

“I… I’m actually not sure,” Cas admitted after thinking for a while. Dean brushed some of Cas’ stray hair out of his face. “What about you? What do you want?”

“I think I want to wait until you can give me a very obvious, very enthusiastic yes,” he said with a smile. “I do hope it’ll happen sooner rather than later, but we just uprooted our lives. We just moved, we just got new jobs. We’re not really in a rush here.”

“Hm, I suppose you’re right,” Cas decided, not sure if he should be relieved. His next heat was some months off, maybe he’d be ready by then. Or maybe he wouldn’t be. But he agreed with Dean regarding wanting to get started sooner rather than later.

“I’m on suppressants anyway,” Dean added. “If you want I can stop taking them now, so that my hormones get some time to adjust. But it will take some months… There might be a chance of us synching up though. I read that this make it easier to conceive?”

“Hm, yes…,” Cas said. “Okay. Go off your suppressants. Just in case I will be ready.” He then tilted his head. “I wonder what you’re like during rut.” Dean groaned.

“Not very coherent. There’s a reason I’m taking suppressants,” he said.

“I don’t want to make you uncomfortable,” Cas said, trailing off though when Dean just came closer until they were nose to nose and Cas had to go almost cross-eyed to still look at him.

“If you’ll take care of me, I’ll be anything but uncomfortable,” he said, his voice low. Cas felt his face heat up, especially when Dean’s hand went under the hem of his bathrobe, trailing up his leg.

“Of course, I’ll take care of you,” Cas whispered.

“Good,” Dean said, then he licked the tip of Cas’ nose. Cas pushed Dean off the couch in retaliation.

For the first time in roughly 20 years Dean regretted the Winchester family alpha-vaganza birthday tradition.

“It’s silly actually,” Dean said with a deep sigh. “Just Dad, Sam and me getting drunk off our asses and calling it a manly bonding experience. I could spend it with you. Make it the special omega birthday bash with you and mom?” Castiel laughed but never stopped folding the laundry.

“Since when are you an omega?”

“For you I’d be anything, babe,” Dean said with a wink that had Cas momentarily pause. He sent Dean a long contemplative look that Dean didn’t know what to do with but in the end Cas huffed.

“I like you just fine as an alpha,” he finally decided. Dean had to laugh at that. “And don’t worry Dean. It’s good to have things you do with your brother and father. Jack and Luke have bonding rituals too, tough I hope the trip to Vegas thing he and Gabriel tried to establish won’t make it as a tradition…”

“Even if, I don’t really see Jack going on a bender,” Dean said and even though he tried, his brain immediately blocked out the mere though. Nah, that wasn’t Jack. Cas made a non-committal sound in the back of his throat that came across as somewhat doubtful, but then he finished folding the laundry and handed Dean the hamper to carry up to their room.

“It’s just… 40th birthday and all that. Shouldn’t I be spending it with my boyfriend?” Dean asked.

“Dean, you should spend it exactly like you want to spend it. You don’t have to feel guilty,” Cas told him as they walked out of the basement. “You’ll still be 40 when you come back.”

“Ouch,” Dean laughed though he actually didn’t care. He had his midlife crisis behind him, now he was looking forward to the next decade together with Cas. He knew his 40s would be amazing. “But I guess…” Cas helped Dean pack his luggage to haul to the airport later. They were gonna go to New York, mostly because his dad hated New York. The last time they went as a family Dean came home with some funny but inappropriate stories that still made John cringe to this day. Truth to be told, bothering their dad was one of the main attractions of the Winchester alpha-vaganza unless it was his birthday and he tormented them with either softball or camping in Uncle Bobby’s cabin.

Once he was actually at the airport with Cas, Dean was jittery both with excitement but also nerves about having to fly and he was glad that Cas kept a level head, taking over the handling of the luggage and figuring out where Dean had to go. He even let Cas’ jokes that he clearly still needed an assistant to manage his flights pass.

“Just don’t drink too much,” Cas warned Dean, using his dad voice on him. Dean found it in himself to roll his eyes.

“I’m not 25 anymore and Dad no longer drinks. It won’ be too bad,” Dean vowed. “Once Jack is of age, he can join and keep an eye on me. We’ll make it a three generations thing.” Cas smiled at that and Dean felt very reluctant to leave without Cas. “You can join too. It’s not like it has to be an alpha party.”

“Dean, I said it’s fine,” Cas said with a laugh, then he pulled something out of his jacket. Dean looked at the envelope curiously. “Your present. Don’t open it before your birthday.”

“Aww, thank you,” Dean said and kissed Cas. “I love you.”

“I love you too.” They hugged until Dean’s phone pinged with an alarm that told him if he didn’t get his ass moving, he’d miss his plane. But would that be so bad? He was very comfortable in Cas’ arms. Cas gave him a nudge.

“Have fun, say hello to John and Sam,” Cas said, waving at Dean when he reluctantly started moving. He lifted his hand, then he had to turn around. But it was fine, he knew he wouldn’t be gone for long.

Dean started his 40th birthday with a light hangover and multiple messages to go through. He had splurged on a great hotel and he felt like he was on a cloud, the bed was that nice. He had breakfast delivered and decided to spend the morning in his bathrobe until Sam (who had certainly had way too much to drink yesterday) and his dad were up. With probably still an hour to leisure around his room, he fetched Cas’ present from his suitcase and turned the thick envelope around, trying to get a clue of what was inside. Eventually he gave up and opened it up. The first thing he pulled out was a thick piece of paper with Cas’ neat handwriting. The paper was decorated in a way that gave it a distinct dated feel for Dean. Surely that was simply coincidence and Cas was trying out being creative again.

“My dearest Dean

I hope you have a wonderful birthday. I thought about getting you something that you could use on your journey to the big city, but then decided that I’d much rather see you enjoy your present.

I hope to see you return to our family farm soon and await your return.

I love you,

Yours faithfully Castiel

P.S. Yee-haw”

“Yee-haw?” Dean asked out loud, frowning, also at the weird things the letter said. Family farm? What? Then he pulled the other paper out of the envelope. A couple of words in he started laughing and things clicked. Cas had gotten them reservation for something Cas called a “cowboy experience” in the margins of the print out. A romantic get-away in a retreat that had been built to mimic a wild west town, where Dean could wear cowboy boots, shoot at cans, ride horses and watch reenactments of the Wild West life to his heart’s content. And wow, he had no idea that Cas knew about his interest in cowboys (not that he tried to hide it, but he was not obvious about it either!)

“I love you,” Dean said the moment Cas picked up his phone. Dean’s heart swelled more when he heard Cas laugh into the receiver. If someone offered right now to fly him back to be by Cas’ side just to see him he would ditch his dad and Sam.

“I guess you opened your present?”

“I loved you before as well, but yes,” Dean said with a grin. “How did you know that I’d be into this?”

“I asked Charlie for some ideas,” Cas said. Charlie, of course. If someone knew about all of his nerdy interests, it was her. They talked some more, until Sam rose from the dead (okay, he didn’t look that bad, but his grimace was still hilarious) and they had to plan their day. Both Sam and Dean were actually not super enthused about another day of drinking, so they decided to simply have some fun, look at some touristy stuff, be cultured. All of them (even his dad) enjoyed themselves.

They were walking down the street to find a nice place to eat when Dean slowed down his walk, captivated by the window of a jewelry store. They promoted their wedding ring selection and Dean couldn’t help looking.

“Do you want to go in?” John asked, startling Dean. Of course, he wasn’t here alone and shouldn’t be spacing out like that but Sam was grinning at Dean and his dad wore a small smile too. And suddenly Dean felt himself blushing.

“I don’t know,” he muttered. “It’s just… You know. Cas is the love of my life and he got me a great present and I just… you know.” Dean made some vague gestures, hoping that they would distract the other two from his babbling.

“Relax, son. There’s no reason to be embarrassed. I was in your shoes, Sam was in your shoes. It’s all fine,” John said, then he marched past Dean and into the store.

“Just have a look around, maybe you find the perfect ring right away. And just because you have the ring, doesn’t mean you’ll have to ask yet,” Sam said, which Dean supposed was a good enough argument, so he let himself be pulled into the store as well. Dean didn’t end up finding the perfect ring and had absolutely no idea what the perfect ring even was, but he knew, for sure, that he had to find it.

He knew, right there in some random New York street, that he would ask Cas to marry him soon. He carried that knowledge with him the entire day, feeling light and almost drunk on happiness the entire day. It did of course falter a bit when he had to get in the plane that night taking him back home.

It was close to midnight when he finally wheeled his suitcase out, feeling grimy and exhausted and still slightly nauseous because of the flight, but then there Cas was, slightly rumpled and bundled up in his puffy winter jacket, holding a giant bunch of flowers. Dean’s heart swelled immediately and this urge to drop to his knees right away, beg Cas to take him as his husband and mate was almost overwhelming. Luckily for his dignity he had no ring yet, so all he could do was said a wobbly:

“Hey Cas.”

“Welcome home. Happy birthday,” Cas said, giving him a soft kiss before exchanging Dean’s suitcase for the flowers. “How was your trip?”

“Amazing. Eye-opening,” Dean admitted, putting an arm around Cas’ shoulder, and Cas sent him a gentle smile. “But I can’t wait to get back home.”