“You can ask if you want,” Sam says. “I hope he does.”
Castiel smiles. “Are you sure it wouldn't be burdensome for me to take him? I imagine you could use some help.”
“It'll be fine, Cas. Good luck.”
Cas makes his way down the hall to Dean's room.
“Hello, Dean,” he says. It brings a smile to Dean's face, because that's how it always starts, isn't it? 'Hello, Dean'. When Castiel isn't around, Dean can still hear it in his head. The warm low rumble of his voice rolls through Dean's mind without prompting, but it's never unwelcome.
“Hey, Cas,” Dean replies. He unfolds his legs from where he has them wrapped in his arms, and turns away from the window of his bedroom to look at Cas.
Castiel seats himself in the chair near Dean's, placing his arms along the armrests and his back flush against the back. Dean thinks Castiel looks regal.
“How are you feeling, Dean?” Cas asks.
That's right, Dean thinks. I'm just the sick brother of Sam, just the headcase.
He looks back out the window. “I feel fine."
Castiel shifts, scooting up in the seat a little and sighing.
“Do you think you feel like going out?”
Dean's head snaps in Castiel's direction again. It's possibly the most amazing thing Dean has heard in a long time. Obviously, his answer is no. He doesn't go out there. He finds, though, that it's the most normal question he's been asked in a long time. “Dean, can you please take a shower?” and “Dean, will you please come out of the closet?” are the regular inquiries, or at least some of the most recent.
“I don't think so, Cas. Why?” he answers. Castiel doesn't react extremely, but Dean can see the smallest turn at the corners of his mouth.
“I thought you might go to the store with me. It's Thanksgiving,” Castiel explains.
Is it? Dean thinks.
“-and I was going to make some foods to bring tonight.”
“Tonight?” Dean asks. Castiel nods; now he looks hurt.
“Yes. I'm coming here for dinner with you and Sam,” he says and Dean guesses he knew that. Sam told him at some point, but he thinks he must have been working. He never hears when he works. Of course, Sam should know that by now.
He wants to kiss the sad expression off of Cas's face, he decides, but he'll settle for talking it away. “That sounds like it'll be nice.”
Castiel does smile a little, making Dean feel victorious.
“Sam said you like pie. Do you have a preference?”
Dean's toes curl in his holy white socks.
“You're making pie?”
“Yes,” Castiel responds.
Dean licks his lips, thinking, before he gets up, going into the closet. Castiel sits, wondering what he's done wrong and decides he'll wait for a while, hands folded in his lap. He'll wait all day if he has to. He'd wait an eternity for Dean Winchester, he believes.
The closet opens and Castiel's eyes go wide, making Dean feel odd. He's traded in his large white T-shirt and his paint-slathered light blue jeans for a flannel shirt and a dark pair of jeans that hug his bow legs. He sits at his chair again and pulls his boots from where they're hidden beside the radiator.
He looks up to see that Castiel is smiling and he smiles back as he puts the boots on, tying them up tight and then pulling the bottom of the jeans down over them. He and Castiel stand simultaneously and Castiel hesitates before stepping toward Dean and hugging him. Dean is unsure for only a second before he returns the gesture.
The hug ends without a shred of awkwardness and Dean grabs his leather jacket from where it's been hung on the post of his headboard since he and Sam moved into the apartment. He tugs it on and throws a smile to Castiel.
The pair leave the room.
As they make their way through the living room and out the front door, Castiel exclaims a goodbye to Sam. Castiel contemplates how attractive Dean looks. It's the first time Cas has seen Dean out of a t-shirt, and the first time he's seen him in jeans thast didn't have something on them.
Dean takes Castiel's hand as they make their way down the stairwell to the bottom floor of the apartment building, surprising the other man. He smiles at Dean and gives a squeeze of reassurance.
“I like apple pie,” Dean finally tells him and Castiel nods.
“I will make apple then,” he assures him. They walk through the lobby of the building past their PO boxes and Castiel and Dean press through the double doors leading out into the world. Cas feels Dean's grip on his hand tighten and Dean swallows thickly as it occurs to him that this completely fucking terrifying.
They walk down the steps of the building onto the sidewalk and people go past without taking any notice of them. Dean stands on the sidewalk for a second, eyes wide as he takes in the sight of his baby parked on the street. He really should've taken her to a garage instead of leaving her for someone to hit, but he just hasn't. He lets go of Cas's hand for a split second before taking it again and deciding to bring him along. He touches the hood of the car, trailing his fingers up toward the door.
"This is yours?" Cas asks. Dean gives a silent nod.
After Dean snaps out of his awe, he looks to Cas. "Uh, lead the way."
Cas tugs Dean in the direction of the mini market nestled between Gabe's candy shop, Gabriel's Delights, and a record store called 221Beats. Dean watches in quiet wonder as people go past on cellphones with children in tow or with heavy briefcases and cups of coffee. He looks into the windows of the stores they pass, admiring the shiny electric guitar in the pawn shop and a sharp black suit in the tailor's. Although it is all a bit magical, he's very glad when they get to the grocery store. Inside, he feels a little safer and loosens his grip on Castiel's hand. The cashier smiles up from his magazine.
"Heya, Mr. Novak," he lilts, and Castiel smiles back fondly.
"Good morning, Samandriel."
Castiel picks up a basket and then smiles at Dean.
“Basket or shopping cart?”
Dean shrugs. Castiel sticks with his previous decision and carries the basket into an aisle, bringing Dean along with him. Dean helps Castiel pick out ingredients for the pie as well as fresh green beans and a bag of potatoes.
It's not the worst thing, Dean thinks, to be out again. It's been a while and the world's a little brighter than he knows it to be from the window of his bedroom, but he doesn't feel crowded. He feels safe with Cas by his side. Maybe what happened was a one time thing. Maybe the world's always been this not bad.
Dean can't wait to get home though. There's a picture in his mind of he and Cas in a foreign kitchen getting high off of the smell of apple pie and each other. Dean's not touchy feely type, but the thought of baking with Cas is so domestic it makes him giddy.
Once their basket is brimming and Castiel has switched hands a thousand times, eventually giving it over to Dean when the Winchester is insistent, they go to the front of the store to check out.
“Happy Thanksgiving,” the cashier says, smiling softly at him. He looks at Dean with big doey eyes. “Hi.”
“This is Dean,” Cas says. Dean notices his features are now graced with a grimace. “Why are you working?"
"Oh, me and Anna are having dinner with her folks later tonight. Basically no one wanted to work today, so I figured I could do it," Samandriel replies. Castiel smiles, the corners of his eyes crinkling.
"Well, that was thoughtful of you," he says. He pauses and then turns to Dean. "I forgot something. Do you mind if I run and get it?"
Dean smiles. “Sure, Cas.”
Castiel hurries off, and Dean watches as Samandriel rings up the various ingredients. His nametag says Alfie, Dean notes.
“How are you today, sir?” Samandriel asks. Dean grins at him.
“I'm great; thanks. How are you?”
“I'm working on Thanksgiving, but I'm pretty great, too. Thanks for asking,” he replies. “Are you spending the day with Castiel?”
Dean pauses a little, hesitant. “Yeah.”
Samandriel smiles. “Good. He's got a big heart. He needs great people to fill it.”
Dean's own heart swells. He's not sure if he should thank him or agree with him, because, goddamn, truer words have never been spoken.
“Yeah. He does,” Dean decides. Samandriel finishes ringing up the last thing just as Castiel comes trotting back, putting a bottle of orange juice on the counter.
“What'd I miss?” he jokes. Dean smiles and takes Cas's hand again as Samandriel bags the items and tells Cas the total. When Castiel needs his hand back to open his wallet, Dean grips his trenchcoat and Cas leans in a little, like he's searching for a little contact.
Samandriel finishes bagging and sets them on the counter, giving Castiel his change. Cas pockets the money and gathers a few bags, and Dean does the same.
“Have a great Thanksgiving, guys.”
Castiel and Dean smile back at the cashier. “You too.”
Dean is glad that the apartment building is so close, because, honestly, it sucks to have to carry those bags. Castiel looks very happy, though, and he's begun chattering on about how much he enjoys cooking.
They arrive at the apartment building soon enough and go back up stairs to the second floor where Castiel's apartment is located. Cas unlocks the door, switching bags to free up a hand and Dean steps inside, looking about in wonder. It's an absolutely spectacular apartment, he thinks, because it's absolutely Castiel (and, reluctantly, Gabriel). It smells vaguely like bourbon and butterscotch and in the late morning light, the living room is shining. The yellow curtains thinly covering the window above the couch filter the light. His black leather couch is reflective and golden, the white carpet is pale cream. The glass coffee table is nearly barren save for a small bowl of autumn-themed potpourri in the centre. Castiel leads Dean to the kitchen and they set the bags on the small dining table.
“So, I guess we can start with the pie since it'll probably take the longest,” Castiel says as he begins removing items from the bags. “How familiar are you with making pie from scratch like this?”
“My mum used to make pie with me when I was little,” Dean explains. “So, I'm basically an expert.”
Castiel smirks. “Well, I guess I'm pretty lucky to have an expert to help me out then, hm?”
Dean laughs. “You bet you are.”
They start on the dough for the crust. Castiel dices the butter as Dean whisks the correct levels of sugar, salt and flour together. When told, Cas puts the tiny chunks of butter into the bowl and Dean works the mixture with his fingers as Castiel watches in fascination.
Castiel gets a fork and an egg out, waiting for Dean to remove his hands before cracking the egg into the bowl and mixing the ingredients with the fork. Dean sprinkles a little cold water over the dough, watching with admiration as Cas finishes up. Castiel takes the dough from the bowl, working it into a disc over a sheet of plastic wrap and then covering it with another sheet.
It goes into the freezer and Dean searches the cupboards for a moment before Cas hands him a large skillet with a charming smile and Dean sets it on one of the burners of the stove. Castiel begins to wash the three pounds of apples on the counter. Dean stands beside him, scrubbing the apples under the lukewarm water from Cas's sink.
“Thank you for going shopping with me, Dean. I'm really proud of you, you know,” Castiel pipes up, setting an apple on the towel to the left of him. Dean stands to his right. The Winchester reaches across Cas's back, placing his apple next to the one before it.
“It was kind of nice, I guess, to go out. I didn't have a panic attack or anything, so that's something,” Dean says. Castiel is looking up at him and Dean takes notice, staring back. He's constantly surprised by the lack of pity in Castiel's blue eyes. They're always, instead, filled with admiration. He sees Dean as a strong person.
They continue on through the apples and talk while they do so.
“Do you like the city?” Dean asks. Cas has only just moved in months before, though Dean is not sure where from.
“I do,” Castiel replies, “but I think that when I can, I will move back to Washington.”
Dean nods. Washington, Pennsylvania is smaller and quieter than Pittsburgh, and largely rural. The city of Pittsburgh is quite the opposite, known for its football team and it's steel. It's big and bright and at night, Dean can look down from his window and see the stars.
“Why are you here?” Dean inquires and Castiel's eyes light up.
“Well, Gabriel mostly. This 'candy shop' business had been his dream for a long time before he came here. I was surprised he wanted me around, but I couldn't turn him down. I'd missed him since he'd left. I pay half the rent, but it's much easier to get by when I don't have to do it all alone. I'm trying to save up right now to buy a house back home,” he explains.
“Lawyers get paid pretty well, don't they?”
Castiel frowns a little in concentration on his apple. “Yes, in most cases, but business here is much more- existent, which means competition is as well. Back home, it was steady work and I was one of the best in the area. Here, I'm just another face.”
Dean smiles and intentionally bumps his elbow against Castiel's, making the Novak look up. “I'm sure it'll only be a matter of time before they realise how great you are.”
Castiel huffs, but he's grinning.
"Where is Gabriel today?" Dean asks. He's hardly asking for his sake. He and Gabriel work together like fire and water, but Sam gets that smile on his face and his whole person brightens when the guy's around. If he had a tail, he'd probably wag it.
"Well, right now he's working, but he can't join us tonight because he has a date," Castiel answers. "It seems like a bad idea to me, honestly, for him to go on his second date on a family holiday, but I haven't dated anyone in at least a year, so I might be in the wrong to make judgements."
A date, huh? "Sam's got a crush on him, you know."
"Gabriel?" Castiel says, looking up in surprise. Dean gives a nod.
"You bet. You haven't noticed that whole 'notice me, senpai' thing?" he replies. Castiel tilts his head.
"I don't know what that means," he admits. "It's clear that Sam enjoys my brother's company, but I don't think it's fair to assume he has a crush."
"Oh, it's definitely a crush. And when me and Sam are hangin' out, I swear to God every other sentence is 'oh, and then Gabriel said the funniest thing'."
Castiel seems to contemplate Dean's words for a while, then supplies, "Gabriel has confessed that he has feelings for Sam, as well."
Dean's jaw drops. "Why haven't you said something?"
"It's not my business and, in fact, Gabriel informed me it was a secret," Castiel defends.
"Oh my God. You have to get him to come to dinner tonight," Dean demands. "We have to get them together."
Castiel sighs and sets down his apple, wiping his hands on his pants. "If this goes wrong, it should be made known that it is your idea."
"Yeah, yeah," Dean says. "And if it goes right, I'm sure you'll take all the credit."
As he pokes at his phone, Castiel rolls his eyes. He turns off the screen and goes to return the device to his pocket.
"Wait, wait. Did you text him? Let me see what you said," Dean enthuses. Castiel laughs as he hands the phone over.
"You're like a gossipy teenager," he mutters. Dean opens the messages and reads Castiel's last sent.
Cancel your date. You're coming to dinner tonight.
"Dude," Dean says, giving Cas a skeptical look. "You should've bribed him or something. He's not just going to cancel a date just because you tell him to."
Cas tilts his head a little and Dean looks down at the phone as it buzzes with reply.
Is everything ok??????
"See, this is a prime opportunity. I'll tell him that-"
Cas takes the phone from Dean's hand and scowls at him. "We are not lying to my brother."
He types a reply and presses send before handing it back to Dean.
Yes. Dean says Sam likes you and that we're going to get you two together.
Dean looks up, mouth open, looking appalled.
"How- Why- You shouldn't tell him the truth!! You could have at least avoided a few facts. Sam's gonna kill me if Gabriel tells him this, which he will of course," Dean exclaims. The phone buzzes again.
Dean is a lying little shit.
Dean gasps. "I am not!"
Castiel takes the phone, smiling at Dean's shock.
Then do it for me?
"Yeah, because brothers are just bursting with a weakness for the 'do it for me'. Jesus, you sound like a chick," Dean laughs. Castiel sighs at Dean, and the phone buzzes. Without even looking at the text, he faces the screen toward Dean.
"It says, 'Cassie, that won't always work on me'," Dean reads aloud. He gives Cas a look of 'told you so' and the phone buzzes again.
But yea ill be there. Need me to get anything on my way home?
"No way," Dean mumbles. Castiel shrugs and answers a 'No. Thank you.' before putting the phone back into his pocket and returning to his apples. "How does that work?"
Castiel shrugs. "It just does. Moving on, what's your situation, Dean? I've been talking to you for such a long time, yet I know so little about you. How long have you been living here?”
Dean stares at him for a moment, amazed at his easy change of topic. He turns back to the apples and thinks about it for a moment, “We've been here for about two years. I came from Lawrence with Sam when he decided this was where he wanted to come since our Uncle Bobby was here. You know about my dad. When he died, we thought it best we just go, you know? Then Sammy started going to school here for his lawyer stuff and I worked at a friend's garage for awhile, and then... I stopped, you know?”
Dean chuckles humourlessly, glancing up to see that Castiel has finished with the majority of the apples and is looking up at Dean with sad blue eyes.
“You are getting better, Dean."
Dean inhales. Cas is so close.
“Yeah, I know,” he answers quietly. Castiel's breath smells like a pleasant mix of mint and coffee and his eyes act like magnets, forcing Dean's face to get closer subconsciously. He swallows thickly and he decides that there's no reason not to make a move. He licks his lips and leans in prepared to stick a landing and his heart leaps as he sees Cas move closer to receive.
They both jump at the sound of a knock at the door, their lips just inches apart. Castiel blushes, looking down.
“Yeah,” Dean mumbles. Castiel hurries to the door.
“Sam! Hello. What can I do for you?”
Dean goes to the doorway of the kitchen, peering at his smiling younger brother.
“Hey, Castiel. I was hoping I could take Dean back for the rest of the day? You were right about me needing help,” he says. Cas gives a brilliant smile, nodding and stepping back.
“Yeah, no, of course! That's alright,” he promises. He looks up, eyes meeting Dean's, and the Winchester smiles, cheeks flushed.
“I guess I'll see you later, Cas," he says.
Dean peels his eyes open and finds a plane of white suspended above his head. He sits upright, scratching at the honey hair at the back of his neck. He throws the covers off of himself and his feet land on the floor between the couch and the coffee table. He finds out what woke him up when there's a knock on the door again.
“Sam?” he hears. He smiles, standing and making his way to the door.
“Hey, Cas,” he greets, opening the apartment door.
“Hello, Dean,” he replies. It only takes a second before Castiel has made his deductions and has abandoned his bag of foods on the floor, favouring reaching up to straighten Dean's collar. Dean doesn't remember changing into a dress shirt, but he imagines Sam talked him into it before he crashed on the couch. “How did you sleep?”
Dean smiles, watching Castiel's mesmerising blue eyes dance across the collar of the shirt, trying to perfect it.
“Alright,” he answers. “Sam and I finished the turkey and I just felt exhausted. That big, bad world out there is pretty tiring.”
Castiel grins, soft pink lips turning up in a ways that begs for Dean to kiss them.
“I'm still proud of you.”
There's eye contact now, the classic Dean and Cas, green and blue.
“Hey!” Sam greets, appearing in the doorway of the kitchen. “I'm sorry; I was right in the middle of cutting the turkey, my fingers were gross... Happy Thanksgiving, Cas.”
Castiel smiles and Dean suddenly becomes aware that Cas's hands never left Dean's chest. Dean takes a step back and allows Cas past him, closing the front door. The trio gather in the kitchen and Castiel unloads his haul onto the counter.
“This looks great!” Sam exclaims, grinning at the pie that Castiel quickly puts in the fridge.
“Thank you, Sam. Your brother helped me until you stole him back. He's quite knowledgeable.”
Sam looks at Dean with a smirk and the older Winchester swears the moose winks.
"Gabriel texted me a couple minutes ago and said he was on his way home, so it shouldn't be too long," Cas says offhandedly. Sam blinks, eyes wide.
"Wait, I thought he wasn't coming," he half-asks. Castiel looks at Dean.
"Oops," Dean responds eloquently. "I forgot to tell you he changed his mind."
"We changed his mind," Cas corrects. "Why didn't you tell me you had feelings for my brother?"
Sam shoves Dean's shoulder before he even knows what's happening. "Are you kidding me, Dean?"
Dean laughs, trying to wipe the smile off his face long enough to look a little apologetic. He repeats, "Oops."
There's a knock on the door and Sam huffs, looking a little mortified before he hurries off toward the door.
"Dude!" Dean scolds. "You are terrible at keeping secrets."
"That's very true," Castiel admits. "I honestly don't know why anyone trusts me with anything."
Dean laughs, shaking his head. He's not mad about it. It was going to happen sooner or later.
Gabriel and Sam come into the kitchen, chuckling about something, and Sam's face is incredibly red.
"So, let's plate some food up, huh?" Dean suggests, clapping his little brother on the shoulder.
Eventually, they settle down at the table and Dean watches with fascination as Castiel, Gabriel and Sam manage to be 100% genuinely fascinated by the minute details of the lives of each other. That's something Dean thinks he doesn't miss about being out there. He remembers all those people talking and never really saying anything. He guesses, though, that Castiel makes the words he's saying worth it, just because they come from him. It should also be noted that Dean cares about Sam's words about a fourth of the time, which is more than he can say for most.
Then, just like that, Sam's looking at Dean and Castiel is looking at Dean (and Gabriel is gazing lovingly at Sam. Honestly, he doesn't know how they haven't realised they're into each other yet) and Dean is looking back wondering why they're looking at him.
Castiel smiles softly and repeats, “Are we boring you?”
“Well, you're not,” he answers honestly before he can completely stop himself. Sam laughs as he gets up, finding wine glasses and pouring Merlot for the four of them.
“Hey, thanks, Dean,” he chuckles, looking at his brother with a loving expression. Dean checks up on Castiel, who's also looking at Dean. Suddenly, it's there again, like overused art to represent a widely skilled artist.
Winchester, Dean, and Novak, Castiel. Green and Blue. 2014. Two humans. Mills Apartments #23, Pittsburgh.
Sam sets a wine glass at the upper right corner of Dean's faded, construction paper place mat. Dean smiles down at the mat. Sam made four in gradeschool for Thanksgiving: one for John, one for Dean, one for mum, and one for himself. The teacher taught the kids how to weave the strips of paper together to form a pattern and legend has it that Sam made his first two before the other kids made one. That's what the teacher had told Dean when he'd swung by to walk him to the bus, at least, but Sam was fairly modest, showing the laminated mats to Dean only once before sliding them between the text book and the folder in his backpack.
He can't help but give his baby brother a smile. He loves that boy more than anything. He looks over at Castiel again and adds in his head- Hey. You're a very close second, sweetheart.
Sam licks his lips and lifts his glass, the symbol of proposition of a toast.
“To best friends," he says, and Dean wants to add something snarky like 'and your boyfriend gaybriel', but he's going to see if they can figure themselves out on their own tonight instead of making things awkward now. The four raise their glasses, clinking them together and drinking the blackberry liquid, then Dean watches as Sam and Gabriel launch back into something highly important about something that happened at the candy store today. He thinks of all the years those place mats didn't get used, all the family dinners missed with mum in the hospital and then gone, and dad drinking himself into oblivion, and it occurs to him that he's not sour. He thinks maybe the dinners will be made up for over time with his blue-eyed angel and the dorky little brother and, ugh, Gabriel. It's really nice, actually.
The food on the plates eventually fades and Sam finally ends the chatting with their guests in favour of cleaning up. Despite the fullness in his stomach and the drowsiness threatening to consume him, Dean helps the three clear plates away and wrap up the excessive leftovers and wash dishes. The dish washing ends up like the system of a middle school home economics room with Sammy washing, Castiel rinsing, Gabriel drying and Dean putting away. Although he desperately doesn't think it will, it ends soon enough and Castiel pulls out the apple pie from the fridge. Sam hands him a knife and Dean and Gabriel watch with anticipation as Cas cuts it, Sam shaking his head at the both of them.
As it turns out, the pie is absolute heaven. Dean has a bite in his mouth before he's even back in his seat, and he's practically moaning around the sweetness. Pie, man, is truly the best thing ever.
He finishes first with Gabriel coming in at a close second and Sam and Cas eating at a normal, human pace.
"You're allowed to have more, Dean," Cas offers, and though Dean's very full stomach protests, he does have another slice, even being kind enough to get Gabriel more. When those plates are cleared and cleaned, the very stuffed foursome settle onto the couch, stifling yawns and arguing over what to watch.
“You really want to watch football, Dean?” Sam whines as the older brother picks up the remote, turning on the television and bringing up the DVR list.
"I recorded the game just so we could eat later in the day like you wanted," Dean counters.
“I agree with Sam on this, Dean,” Castiel chimes in. Dean rolls his eyes.
“You always agree with Sam,” he grumbles. Sam gives bitchface and Cas gives 100% done, and Dean sighs, looking to Gabriel for some assitance.
"I want to watch a scary movie; maybe see some people get hacked up," he admits. "Sorry."
"Gabriel and I have traditionally watched horror films for holidays," Castiel agrees, and Sam seems to think it's a terrific idea as well, grinning as he watches Dean's face give in to an expression of defeat.
After scouring the DVDs of Dean's for a century, they decide on a bloody movie called Pathology. It's only on for a few minutes before Dean's blessed with Castiel's head resting against his shoulder. He glances over at Sam, who's biting back a smile as he watches the screen. Dean readjusts the Novak, throwing an arm across his shoulders and laying the other man's head against his chest, reclining by throwing his feet on the coffee table.
"Cas tried to get me to come over by telling me you liked me," Gabriel whispers to Sam some halfway through the movie.
"Oh, yeah?" Sam mumbles. "Did it work?"
"He said Dean told him that," Gabriel continues. "So, no. I'm not betting on a rumour from your brother."
There's a pause. "So, if it had been true?"
Another pause. "Well, yeah."
"So, you," Sam takes a minute that has to be for effect, becuase there's no way he's getting all flustered over Gabriel. "You wouldn't be weirded out if I liked you?"
"Well," Gabriel drawls, "I think more than anything I'd be, like, super psyched."
Dean hears Sam giggle and he wishes Cas wasn't snoozing against him so he could go throw up.
"Yeah," Gabriel says. And then it's quiet, with just the TV talking. Dean screws up his face. It's not quiet. Those are kissing sounds he hears.
"Oh, come on!" he whisper-yells. "Get a room."
Sam and Gabriel both look over with surprised expressions in the blue light of the TV. Sam lets out an awkward laugh, "I thought you went to sleep."
He stands carefully, trying not to disrupt Cas, and nods in the direction of his bedroom before going toward the hall, Gabriel prompted to follow.
"Dean," Sam whispers, giving Dean's shoulder a gentle shake. Dean opens his eyes wide, locking up.
"Oh," he mutters, relaxing. He looks down. It seems Cas has found a new place to sleep with his head in Dean's lap.
“I didn't think you'd mind him,” Sam says. Dean rests a hand between Cas's strong shoulder blades, massaging below his neck.
“I don't,” Dean agrees and he's surprised by an overwhelming feeling of freedom, as though he's just admitted something huge. Out loud he's never admitted any feelings for Castiel, so maybe he has.
"Movie's over. I thought maybe I should wake you up and send you off to bed," Sam explains. Dean gives a nod.
"Thanks. Could you just turn off the TV and, you know, scram?"
Sam snorts a laugh and grabs the remote, turning it off, leaving the living room with the light from the hallway to the bedrooms.
“Goodnight, Dean,” Sam whispers. Dean's begun readjusting, trying to lay down without waking up the angel in his lap.
“G'night, Sammy. Use protection,” he replies. The younger brother gives a glare before he disappears down the hall and the pair on the couch are left alone. As Dean thinks he's succeeded in getting Cas to lie on top of him, he sighs. He looks down at Cas, who opens one and then the other.
“Hey, Cas,” he replies. “I tried not to wake you.”
“Nobody sleeps through that much movement, Dean."
Dean chuckles and cards his fingers through Cas's hair. He finds himself wide-eyed and breathless when Castiel has lifted himself with his arms to be eye level with Dean.
"So, earlier," he says softly, holding himself just above Dean, "you were going to kiss me, weren't you?"
Dean stares slack-jawed for just over a second before grabbing the back of Cas's neck. He brings the other man down, crashing their lips together. At first, it's not much, just lips against lips, before Dean's pressing his tongue through and they're kissing.
Dean has thought about this for a long time, often. He's thought about how he could make it happen, thought about the build up and the reaction. He's thought about rejection and acceptance and how much he loves Castiel, but this is really something else. This, within a millisecond, has exceeded any and all of his expectations. Castiel eases up, looking down at Dean with loving eyes.
“It's about time,” he breaths. Dean captures his lips again, leaning up a little to give Castiel's arms a break from holding himself up. Dean slides his arms around Castiel's waist and they kiss fervently, Cas's hands gripping Dean's hair. When Dean pulls away this time, he kisses the corner of Cas's mouth and squeezes him tight. “Dean?”
“You're suffocating me,” Cas mutters. Dean releases the other man.
“You're perfect, Cas. I've wanted you to know that for forever,” he says. Castiel's cheeks look a little pinker in what little light Dean has.
“God, Dean, you're,” Castiel begins, he huffs a laugh, and looks away, before looking back grinning wide, eyes sparkling. “I've loved you for so long."
Castiel presses his lips to Dean's again and then pulls back, looking up through his eyelashes. “I don't... I don't want to do anything with you, you know, yet, but I'm pretty tired, and I think you're tired and your bed is just down the hall and-”
Dean kisses the words away. “Say no more.”
They find their way to Dean's bedroom. He only has a twin bed, but being close doesn't bother either of them. Castiel nestles in next to Dean, head finding a place against his shoulder, and wraps his arms around Dean, long fingers tracing the other man's hips.
“Goodnight, Cas,” Dean says.
“Goodnight, Dean,” Castiel responds and Dean smiles into the darkness, feeling warm.
Dean's a little unhappy to find that Castiel isn't beside him when he wakes up to the white light of morning. He stares at the squares scattered across the floor from the panes in the glass, stares at the way they bend against the recliner and the armchair set up as lookouts. The door opens a crack and Dean looks up at Sammy, poking his head in.
“Hey, Dean,” he rasps. “Cas made breakfast.”
Dean smiles, pulling his covers over his head. “Tell him to come in here.”
“You do it, jerk.”
Dean huffs, rolling away from Sam. “Bitch.”
A few minutes later, Castiel shows up. He sits at the edge of the bed, looking down at Dean with that sweet, sleepy face full of fondness.
“Mm. Hey, Cas,” Dean replies. Castiel looks down expectantly and Dean forces himself to sit up. “I wanted to give you something.”
Castiel smiles, excitement in his eyes. “Alright.”
Dean stands, leading Castiel to the closet. He can see the other's surprise already, just because Castiel has never gotten this far in the room before. Dean opens the door.
Dean disappears inside for a second and Castiel waits. He tries briefly to smooth down his rumpled shirt, but decides the clothing and his backwards blue tie are a lost cause. Dean re-emerges from the closet holding a large sheet-covered recangle in his hand. He rests it against the closet door and leans in, smiling at Castiel.
“You still- like this, don't you?” he questions, voice low with his face inches from Castiel's. The other man smiles, showing perfectly white teeth and crinkling the corners of his eyes.
“Of course,” he consents. Dean presses on, touching his lips to Castiel's. Cas kisses back frenziedly, forcing his tongue through the barrier there.
“Ugh, come on, guys!” Sam exclaims, suddenly appearing at the doorway. Castiel blushes, looking down at his toes, and Dean glares at Sam. "Gabriel wants to eat, like, now."
“Get outta here. Go play with your boyfriend. Keeps him occupied for a coupla minutes,” he grumbles. Sam rolls his eyes, huffing, and disappears again.
"Jabs at each others' love lives are going to be a reoccuring theme around here," Castiel says.
Dean presses another kiss to Castiel's lips and then turns away, pulling the sheet off of the canvas hidden there. “I made this for you.”
Castiel's blue eyes are wet, making Dean blush. The rectangular canvas, which is about half the height of the Winchester, has been slathered with different shades of blue and yellow and green, forming the distinct form of an angel, large wings stretched out to the edges of the canvas. He holds a long blade in one hand and the other has a large burst of yellowy-white from the palm. His face is clear and familiar.
“You're amazing, Dean,” Cas chokes out. Just like that, Dean is wrapped in a hug. The taller man laughs and squeezes tight. “It's really beautiful, even if it is just me.”
“It's beautiful because it's you, dummy,” Dean mutters, pressing his lips against Cas's ear.
Dean releases Cas, grinning like a madman. “How 'bout breakfast then, huh?”
Castiel sniffles, looking again at the painting one last time before they hurry off to the kitchen. He'll be seeing it again, every time he goes into his apartment where it'll find its place above his and Dean's TV. “Yeah, okay.”