Actions

Work Header

Enchanted Tea Emporium

Work Text:

 

Castiel has seen many captivating sights in his life.

An entire family of mermaid sisters braiding each other’s hair in a cove off the Oregon coast, a large and sentient venus fly trap feasting on a swarm of mosquitoes, even a unicorn giving birth to twin foals that survived the unforgiving process. He’s seen vines twist and grow from nothingness to cover an entire building in minutes, he’s seen a pixie village built in the bones of a dragon, he’s seen the glee on his niece’s face when she conjured her first ball of light at five years old.

None of those things had him quite as entranced as the sight of the man in the store across the road, unloading items from the back of a truck. He’s wearing rubber boots and gloves, sweat pants, a torn baseball tee, and a filthy apron. He’s also carrying a very large cactus into the shop, and he’s about the most beautiful thing Castiel has ever seen.

Not long ago the store directly across from Castiel’s was still an upscale purse store, but that went out of business because apparently not a lot of people in Spearfish, South Dakota were looking for six hundred dollar purses. Now the sign outside reads “Rhythm & Blooms: Flowers, Gifts, & More!”, and this handsome man is loading the store up with flowers and other plants. A couple of times the man glances over at Castiel’s window, and Castiel almost dives out of the way to hide before remembering the window is spelled; anyone looking from outside will see what is essentially magical stock footage of Castiel’s store appearing empty.

“How long have you been sitting here staring out that window?” Castiel’s brother says from behind him. He turns to glare at Gabriel, frowning when he sees a caramel colored manx peering up at him from the floor.

“Why are you a cat?” Castiel asks, resisting the dreadful urge to reach out and pet him.

Gabriel’s tone is quite sour when he responds. “I got stuck.”

“How long ago?”

“It’s been two hours,” Gabriel whines, ears flattened in agitation.

“Transmogrification has never been your strong suit, has it?”

“Hael wanted to see Daddy turn into a cat, okay?”

Of course. Gabriel is something of a single father, and has trouble denying his little girl anything. She has him wrapped around her little finger, and unfortunately she’s well aware of it. “I see. How did you even get here?”

“I walked.

Castiel does his best to not laugh, clearly Gabriel is in a mood over this. “I suppose you’re here for a cure?”

Obviously.”

“I have something… it’s several types of ginseng blended with dragon root. It’s very slow acting, but your body is quite small, I’d say you’ll be back to normal in about an hour and a half?”

Gabriel’s fur bristles. “Why can’t you just use a spell? I left Hael with Joshua, you know. She’s probably tearing up his vegetable garden as we speak.”

“I try to limit my use of spells in public spaces.”

“Public? There’s no one here!”

Castiel sighs. “You know I don’t like performing spells on other people, Gabriel.”

“I’m asking for the spell, and it’s to turn me back into a damn human!”

“Do you want the elixir or not?”

Gabriel hisses at him. Actually hisses. “Yes, fine, go make me the damn elixir.”

Castiel rises to his feet, setting the wide brimmed pointed hat he favors onto his desk by the window and moving over to his shelves. His herbs and teas are labeled and organized meticulously, and he grabs the ones he’ll need; ginseng from Brazil, Korea, Peru, and Russia, dragon root, and licorice root, which he failed to mention to Gabriel, because Gabriel hates licorice root. He crushes the herbs with a mortar and pestle, then goes down to the basement to where his cauldrons are.

A lot of modern witches eschew the use of a cauldron, finding it old fashioned, but the spell power of a good, cast iron cauldron can’t be matched when it comes to brewing potions, elixirs, and even poisons.

He works over the smallest cauldron with ease, slipping into the familiar near-trance of spell work as he combines distilled water, rainforest dew, and his herb blend in the pot. It’s not immodest to say Castiel is good at what he does, he has an innate affinity and connection to magic that most witches would die (or in some cases kill) for. It’s why his store receives regular business from South Dakota witches in addition to people just in the store to buy tea.

The concoction is ready in twenty minutes, and then Castiel is shuffling back upstairs to where Gabriel is perched on his desk.

“I’ve got my ass on your desk, Cassie!” Gabriel says cheerfully.

“You’re awfully antagonistic to the person you’re expecting to cure you,” Castiel replies. He plucks a large bulb syringe from a drawer, approaching the surly cat. “Open your mouth.”

“Can’t I just drink it from a bowl?”

“Have you ever watched a cat drink? This will be faster.”

“Ahhh…” Gabriel says, mouth hanging open. Castiel fills the syringe and squirts it into his mouth, wincing when his feline shaped brother starts coughing and hacking. “Licorice root! I hate licorice! That was awful!”

“Just three more doses,” Castiel says, smiling wide.


*


Castiel’s at the window again, though that’s nothing new. He likes looking outside at the world, it’s why he put his desk here in the first place. The scrolls and parchments in front of him are mostly ignored, however, as Castiel has spent the morning watching the man across the street. He’s still setting up his store, receiving deliveries and bustling about tending to the planter boxes set out front. He’s in a grey t-shirt and overalls today, and Castiel is entranced by the sweat he can see gathering around the man’s hairline. It’s August, and apparently a fairly hot day today, perhaps Castiel should offer him something to drink. He glances at his shelves, running through the lists of herbs and spells sitting around in his mind. Something to cool him down, perhaps? Or maybe something to soothe sore muscles; the man has been doing a lot of work on his own. Maybe something to calm his nerves. It must be close to time for this store to open, he might be jittery. After several minutes of debating, Castiel decides on a fruit smoothie, blended with knotweed and lion’s mane. He chooses strawberries and raspberries, hoping the man doesn’t have an allergy. He bought these fruits weeks ago, but they’re still quite fresh, one of the benefits of white magic. Castiel blends the fruits and herbs with ice and a splash of orange juice then pulls his hat off, attempting to fluff his hair a bit before rushing outside.

The first thing he notices is that it is indeed quite warm outside. His store is spelled to a moderate temperature year round, an easy charm any witch can do with some scraps of parchment and the right symbols. Outside of his door, though, it’s hot, humid, and Castiel wishes he wasn’t dressed in his robes in addition to the jeans and t-shirt he has on underneath. Gabriel likes to tease him about dressing like Harry Potter but Castiel likes the robes and the hat, they hold fond memories for him, and he likes to wear them when he’s working spells or dealing with magical studies.

The man is already looking curiously in his direction, so Castiel keeps going, shuffling across the road clutching his glass.

“Wow, you some kind of monk or something?” the man says, wiping his forehead with the back of his hand.

“No,” Castiel says, feeling self conscious as he looks down at his clothes.

The man frowns, and oh, he has freckles. Beautiful, beautiful freckles. “Hey, I didn’t mean anything by it, just curious.”

“I’m uh… you looked hot, so I brought you this,” Castiel says, holding out the glass.

The man’s eyebrows shoot up on his forehead, and he slowly grins at Castiel. “I looked hot, huh?”

Ah, Castiel sees his error. “You’re sweating, I mean. It’s surprisingly hot out today, you looked affected by the heat,” he tries, sounding awkward to his own ears.

The man accepts the glass, eyeing the mixture curiously. “Well shit, thanks! Yeah, it’s hot as fuck today, isn’t it? I mean I have the store pretty cool for the plants, but that doesn’t mean shit when I keep walking outside and moving things around, you know?”

“Oh yes, I know. Very warm out.”

“It’s the humidity, you know? Gets way hotter in other parts of the country, but on a day like today, all that heat and wet air makes it feel like a hundred degrees.” The man takes a sip from the straw, eyes lighting up. “This is amazing, what is it?”

“An herbal and fruit smoothie,” Castiel says, feeling a small glow of pride. “You don’t have any allergies, do you?”

“Just cat hair, nothing a good nasal spray won’t fix,” the man says, tapping his nose. “I’m Dean, by the way,” he adds, sticking a hand out. Castiel stares at it for a long moment before taking it in his and giving it a firm shake. The hand is sweaty and calloused, but beautiful.

“I’m Castiel, it’s lovely to meet you.”

“So, you work in the… Enchanted Tea Emporium, huh?” Dean says, taking a long pull from his smoothie.

“I own it with my brother, but I’m usually the one there,” Castiel says.

“Well, I hope you’re selling these babies in your store, because this is fuckin’ incredible, Cas.”

Castiel’s blushing, he just knows it. “Ah, no… only herbs and tea, I’m afraid.” Also spells, potions, and charms for those who know to ask.

“Tea, huh? Sammy’s always telling me I should drink more tea, says it’s good for the body or some shit.”

“Sammy? Is that your… girlfriend?”

Dean chokes slightly on a laugh, grinning as he wipes a bit of smoothie-drool from the corner of his chin. “Oh man, I can’t wait to tell him you said that.”

“I apologize… boyfriend, then?”

“Sam’s my brother, man.”

“Oh,” Castiel says, blushing for sure now, “I apologize.”

“I’m willing to forgive you on account of this being the best damn smoothie I’ve ever had. Man, it’s really taking the edge off, what’s in here?”

“Ah, you know… fruits… um… herbs… ice.”

“It’s heaven in a glass, dude,” Dean says, chugging the rest of the drink.

“Well, I’m glad you feel revitalized,” Castiel says, suddenly anxious for the comfort of his shop, where he doesn’t feel so awkward trying to converse with this incredibly beautiful man. “I should, ah…” Castiel snatches the glass out of Dean’s hands and flees back into his store.

“Be seeing you, Cas!” Dean yells.

*


Castiel spends the next several days carefully not looking out the window at the store across the street, going so far as to spell his side of the glass when he’s alone so that he sees a deserted beach whenever he dares glance outside. It’s a nice view, though not nearly as nice as looking at Dean.

“What’s with your window?” Gabriel says, about a week after Castiel’s embarrassing encounter with Dean. Gabriel’s in his robes and pointed hat, which is rare for him. Unlike Castiel, Gabriel only seems to wear his robes when he’s feeling a bit homesick, and he never does it when strangers might see him.

“I wanted fewer distractions,” Castiel says, scribbling away on the academic scroll detailing known faerie allergens that he’s been refining.

“From what?”

“From… my studies. My potion making.”

“I don’t buy it.”

“There’s nothing for you to buy, Gabriel. You asked, I answered,” Castiel says, feeling agitated.

“Sure. What happened?”

Castiel growls, tugging on his hat and frowning deeply. “I met someone.”

“Ohh, you met someone?”

“No, not like that. I met a person, and everything that came out of my mouth was wrong and awkward, and I spoke to him wearing my robes and it was all terribly embarrassing, so I would love the opportunity to pretend it didn’t happen.”

Gabriel paces back and forth for a few moments while Castiel watches him warily. “Nah,” he says eventually.

“Nah.”

“You need more friends, Cassie, and when’s the last time you got laid?”

Castiel glares. It’s been a very long time for that indeed. It’s not all that often Castiel can connect with someone to the point where he wants to explore them on a sexual level. “Is that any of your business?”

“You’re being ridiculous. OSTENDO!” Gabriel shouts, flicking his fingers at the window and dissolving the spell Castiel had placed on it. It works immediately, which is rare for a spell cast by Gabriel.

“It’s incredibly rude to unravel someone’s spell like that, Gabriel,” Castiel hisses, eyes drawn to the window anyway. Dean is outside, of course, talking to the lovely woman that runs the yoga studio down the block while he tends to the planter boxes outside his store. The woman laughs with her whole body at something Dean says before shaking her head and heading back towards her business. Dean turns to go back inside, glancing briefly at Castiel’s store, then doing a double take and looking again. He’s staring, head slightly tilted, eyebrows furrowed, and if Castiel didn’t know any better, he’d think Dean was looking right at them.

Dean lifts his hand, slowly waving, and Castiel grimaces, turning to glare at Gabriel. “You idiot! You unraveled both of the spells on my window! He’s looking right at us!”

They both turn to look at Dean, who’s still watching them, looking baffled. And why shouldn’t he be? Two men wearing robes and pointed witch hats are standing in front of a window of a tea shop, arguing.

“Hide!” Gabriel shouts, and Castiel doesn’t even have a chance to react before Gabriel is leaping forward and tackling him to the floor.

This day is hopeless.


*


It’s nine on a Monday morning, and Castiel watches from behind his spelled window as Dean finally flips the sign on Rhythm & Blooms from “CLOSED” to “OPEN”. He smiles proudly from behind the glass door to his shop, Castiel can practically feel the sense of accomplishment radiating off of him.

A few minutes tick by, and Dean watches people walk by his shop with a slowly growing frown. Castiel can’t help but chuckle at that. He remembers opening the tea store with Gabriel, and how they both expected customers to flood in through the front door the moment they opened on the first day. They didn’t receive a single customer that day, and they returned home feeling defeated and embarrassed. It makes him sad to picture Dean feeling that way. By ten Castiel is pulling off his hat and putting up a sign that says “back in fifteen minutes” on the door to his shop.

He crosses the street, smiling as he spots Dean watching the door and abruptly tearing away to try and look busy as Castiel approaches the store.

Castiel steps inside, and for a moment he’s lost. The colors, the smells, it’s overwhelming. Creeping vines spill from planters, roses, tulips, lilies, and more beckon from vases and from within refrigerators with clear doors, even the shelf stocked with flowering cacti looks inviting. There are sample arrangements all about the store, vases with carefully placed azaleas, roses, tulips, sunflowers, hydrangeas, dahlias, chrysanthemums, carnations, irises, and those are just the ones Castiel recognizes right away. The colors are many and varied, but each arrangement looks handled with care. Though the flowers have been cut from their roots, this room is still suffused with life, Castiel feels energized being in this space, and astonished that he’s never thought to add more than the twin ferns he keeps on the front counter.

He meanders from display to display, eyeing things thoughtfully and pretending not to notice Dean’s intense staring as the florist wipes the same spot on a vase over and over with a dust rag. He already sees several arrangements that would look wonderful in his store, but for now he grabs a small brown teddy bear from a display and walks up to the register. Dean darts over to the counter, straightening his apron and giving Castiel a warm, if not over-enthusiastic smile.

“Welcome! Will this be everything for you, or would you like help picking out some flowers?”

“Just the bear for now,” Castiel says.

“And would you like it wrapped?”

“Perhaps a gift bag? It’s for my niece.”

Dean nods, ringing up the bear and rifling behind the counter until he produces a purple gift bag. “This a good color?”

“Oh yes, Hael loves purple.”

“Hael, huh? That’s a pretty name,” Dean says. Castiel can’t help but beam at that; he picked her name himself, back when he and Gabriel found themselves nearly a thousand miles from home with a screaming infant to look after.

“I am sorry to not be purchasing any flowers, but I’d like to give my store another look, then decide tomorrow.”

“Don’t be sorry,” Dean says, arranging the bear in a cocoon of white tissue paper, “I’m so glad to have a customer.”

“It’s your first day, I hope you won’t feel despaired by a lack of business.”

“I won’t. Thanks, Cas.”

Castiel pays with cash, because he knows the sentimental value of that first dollar, or ten dollars in this case. Sure enough, Dean’s hands tremble and he grins wide at the ten dollar bill Castiel hands over. The transaction is over much too soon for Castiel’s liking, but tomorrow will be better for him to come and browse the flowers. He can plan for Gabriel to watch the shop so he can take his time and not worry he’s missing customers.

“Thanks for shopping with us, or uh… with me, I guess, since it’s just me here right now. But my delivery guy’s starting soon, and he’ll be helping when I’m busy, so then it’ll be us… uh. Anyway, thanks.”

Castiel is endeared by Dean’s awkwardness, it makes him feel better about how he stumbled over his own words in their last encounter. He leaves the shop with his purple bag, resisting the urge to turn and look back at Dean one more time.

 

*

 

He’s back in his store for all of ten minutes before he hears a tapping at the front door. Puzzled, Castiel abandons his desk and goes to the check it. Unlike Dean’s shop, the door to Castiel’s store isn’t glass, so he has to open it to see the source of the tapping. He pulls the door open slowly, surprised when he sees Dean sprinting across the street and back into his own store. Castiel opens the door wider then, smiling when he looks down and sees a bouquet of three chocolate roses resting on a small bag of ice. There’s a note attached, written in a messy and hurried scrawl.

Cas,

Free gift with purchase for my best (or only) customer. Hope you like chocolate, be sure to share one with your niece.

Dean

Castiel’s heart is doing crazy, rapid movements in his chest as he reads through the short note a few times. If he smiles any wider, it’s probably going to start causing him physical pain. He keeps right on smiling as he takes his gift inside and closes the door behind him.

It’s probably a bit early in the day for chocolate, but Castiel is thirty-five years old, he can have chocolate whenever the hell he wants.

 

*

 

On Tuesday, Castiel leaves Hael in charge of the shop. Well, he leaves Gabriel in charge, with Hael and her new teddy bear perched on the counter while she pretends to sell the bear a sample bag of tea. Today he’s wearing soft, worn jeans and an old grey t-shirt, robes folded up and waiting behind the register. His hair isn’t flattened by his hat, and he’s wearing sneakers instead of the loafers he often has on under his robes. He’s going for approachable; what some might call “normal”. He smiles as he crosses the street, there’s a paper taped to the door of Dean’s shop with “DELIVERY SERVICES BEGIN MONDAY” written in large letters, and a hasty drawing of a smiling daisy to the side.

His heart sinks a little when he steps inside and sees Dean chatting with the woman from the yoga studio again; they look very attractive together. She’s flipping through a large, white binder on the counter and gesturing to something, which Dean writes down on a notepad.

Castiel feels a prickle of jealousy, but it would be silly for him to turn around and leave over it, so he browses the flowers like he planned to, keeping the earthy browns and greens of his store in mind. It dawns on him that if he wants things that will blend well with that scheme, he’s going to be somewhat limited; perhaps it’s best for him to just choose what flowers he likes. So far he’s very drawn to an arrangement of sweet autumn clematis and ivory hydrangeas in a glazed white urn-shaped vase. There’s also a yellow bowl populated with vibrant orange, purple, and yellow dahlias (and something called asparagus fronds, according to the description in front) that Castiel is interested in. The arrangements don’t quite go together, but maybe that’s fine. Maybe he can keep them in different parts of the store. He spots another arrangement with clematis and hydrangeas, these violet in a teal vase, and he thinks they’d look wonderful in the basement with his cauldrons. The prospect of sprucing up the store a little is terribly exciting.

He gets distracted by a clear vase full of pink carnations. Not because he’s interested in buying them, but because one of the buds has withered and died instead of blooming. It displeases Castiel. Dean has this… aura about him, something warm and bright. It makes Castiel want to make him happy, even though he doesn’t know anything about him other than his name, his occupation, and the name of his brother. Castiel reaches out, stroking the bloom with the backs of his fingers, coaxing it to life. Most plants have energy, a few have spirits, but very very few of them have souls. It makes them easy to revive when all Castiel is doing is reanimating. A felled mighty oak, that sentient venus fly trap in Colorado, things like that are harder to bring back. The carnation blooms, bright and pink like its brethren and Castiel smiles. Much better.

“Woah, thought that thing was moving on its own for a second there.”

Castiel jumps back from the display, heart beating hard. Dean is standing next to him, eyeing the vase with mild interest.

“W-wouldn’t that be something,” Castiel mutters.

“Are you looking to buy some carnations?” Dean asks, gesturing to the vase.

“Ah, no… but I see some other arrangements that I’d love to purchase.”

“Oh, thank God,” Dean says, grinning. “I would have been heartbroken if you were a carnation guy.”

Castiel glances back at the carnations. “They seem like a pretty flower.”

“They’re funeral flowers,” Dean says, insistent. “I worked with a florist in Kansas and man, everyone wanted carnations for their funerals. And hey I get it, it’s a funeral, I wouldn’t want to spend a ton when the guest of honor isn’t gonna see it. But they’re just cheap and tacky, and low effort! I’ve seen the kinds of guys that come to buy carnations for their girlfriends. They wanna say ‘I care about you, but only kinda’ with as little money as possible.”

Wow, Castiel didn’t realize anyone could find something like carnations to be abhorrent. “So… why do you stock them?”

Dean shrugs. “Some people like em’?”

Castiel feels oddly bad for the carnations and their apparently unflattering reputation.

“So,” Dean says, eyes bright, “what arrangements are you interested in?”

 

*

 

Castiel’s never spent this much money on flowers before, but he’s happy. He and Dean carry the three arrangements right across the street to Castiel’s shop and set them on an empty counter for Castiel to deal with later, along with packets of flower food and a pamphlet on flower care that Dean insisted Castiel take with him.

“So,” Dean says, looking around, “this is Enchanted Tea Emporium.”

Castiel nods, oddly nervous. The store is modest and not at all modern in its decor, Castiel and Gabriel chose aged, weathered woods to lacquer and make into shelves, picked faded mossy greens for the wallpaper. They wanted it to look like the paintings they’d seen of their great-great-grandfather’s apothecary shop, and they mostly succeeded, in Castiel’s opinion.

“Is the tea enchanted?”

“It can be,” Castiel says. Dean snorts and grins, because he’s not a witch, so he doesn’t realize Castiel is telling the truth.

“It’s nice. Very mellow. What made you open a tea shop with your brother?”

“Oh, that is a… very long story,” Castiel says, glancing over to where Gabriel is playing patty cake with his daughter. A long story that would be tricky to tell if he’s leaving out things like blood feuds, magical battles, and a beautiful little girl with two very scary, very dead parents.

“Hey, I love a good story. Maybe you’ll come by the shop again sometime and we can trade life stories, huh?” Castiel can only nod dumbly in the face of Dean’s warm smile, and he find himself biting his lower lip as he watches Dean all but saunter out of the store.

“Jesus, put it back in your pants, Cas, there’s a child present,” Gabriel says, sliding over with a shit-eating grin.

Castiel glares at Gabriel, growling, “Tu frater meus es tu nunc cattus,” and clapping his hands three times.

“Cassie, no!” Gabriel yells, but it’s too late, his body is already shrinking, teeth lengthening, skin erupting in caramel fur. He yowls in dismay. His magical abilities in his cat form are usually non-existent, it’s why he had to come to Castiel to turn him back. “Casting without even tools or potions, are we? Mom was right about you. Too much power in one man. One touchy man with no sense of humor.”

“I have a sense of humor. In fact I find the massive power disparity between us to be quite humorous, as well as the fact that you’re now a cat.”

“Come on, this isn’t cool. Turn me back.”

“You said Mother was right about me.”

Castiel’s never seen a cat grimace before, it’s an odd look.

“About you being powerful, Cas! Not about anything else.”

“Mhm. Well, you’ve hurt my feelings, Gabriel, accept your punishment.” Before Gabriel can answer, Castiel calls out to Hael. “Daddy turned into a cat for you, Hael! Come play with him!”

Hael comes flying over in a flurry of long, dark hair, her bright eyes wide with delight at the sight of her father.

“I’m going to shit on your shoes later whether I’m still a cat or not,” Gabriel says, ears flattened against his head.

Hael giggles. “SHIT! You can’t say shit, Daddy! It’s a bad word!”

Castiel snickers to himself and goes to set up his new decorations while Gabriel bemoans his life and his apparently foul-mouthed child.

 

*

 

Castiel loves having flowers in his store. The ivory arrangement goes next to his register, where he can glance down at them and smile as he rings up customers. The violet arrangement sits on a stool in the corner of his basement, far enough to not be disturbed by the heat from his cauldrons when they’re in use. The bowl of dahlias goes on his desk, where he can glance at the vibrant colors while he’s working on his parchments.

Castiel could use a bit of magic to keep the flowers alive indefinitely, but he chooses not to. He tells Gabriel that he wants to do things the old fashioned way, but really he just wants to be able to go back to Dean’s store in a week or two to buy new flowers. He follows the daily care instructions, changing the water every couple of days, regularly cutting a bit off the stems at an angle, sprinkling in flower food, pruning away dead leaves, making sure scum and bacteria don’t build up in the vessels. The violet hydrangeas and clematis in his basement go the fastest, because they get so little light, so Castiel cheats just a little and conjures a sun-ball spell every so often, letting the ball of light hover above the arrangement for a few hours a day.

Still, flowers die. Within about two weeks the flowers are starting to reach the point of no return, so Castiel bundles them up and hangs them upside-down to dry out before they start to go too bad to properly dessicate. The petals will do well in his stores of spell reagents.

On Monday, Castiel waits until things have been slow for a while then puts up his “be back soon” sign, shuffling across the street holding the vases. When he steps into Rhythm & Blooms, he’s surprised to see someone new behind the counter. A rather tall man is at the register, ringing up a bouquet of roses for a ridiculously nervous looking teenager.

“Relax, Kevin,” the man behind the counter says. His voice is warm, kind… like Dean. “People love getting roses on their birthday, I bet Channing is going to flip out when she sees them.”

“Oh God, I hope not,” Kevin says, practically shaking as he puts his wallet away.

“I mean flip out in a good way.”

“Oh. Right. I knew that. Sorry, I’m just freaking out. This is kind of our first date, and it’s her birthday, and oh God, what if I make a mistake?”

“You sound scared of her. Relax, she’s someone you like. Just remember that. If you like her, she must be a good person, and a good person is going to be thrilled that you went to so much trouble.”

Kevin sighs, nodding slowly. “Yeah. Yeah, you’re right. Channing’s the best. How do I look?”

The man grins. “Like you’re sweating through your shirt. Go home and change before you meet up with her, okay?”

Kevin looks down at himself. “I forgot deodorant! I’ve gotta go!” Kevin snatches the roses off the counter and goes tearing out of the store.

The man turns to Castiel as he approaches the register, smiling. “Wow, aren’t you warm in that?”

Castiel tilts his head, confused, then horrified. He left the store in his robe and hat, because of course he did. “I, uh… a little. It is a bit warm outside.”

“Are you a cosplayer? Or a LARPer? My brother used to get dressed up to do this medieval role playing thing back in Sioux Falls, he wore a long wig, and—”

Sam, why are you boring this nice customer with nonsense?” Ah, so this is the brother. Dean comes rushing out from the back, all but shoving Sam out of the way. His eyes light up when he sees Castiel. “Cool, you look like a sexy version of wizard Mickey Mouse.”

Castiel can feel the heat rising to his cheeks as Dean suddenly looks away, blushing.

“I can’t believe you said that,” Sam says, grinning.

“Shut it. Cas here works at Enchanted Tea Emporium across the street.”

Sam glances out the window then back at Castiel. “Oh! So it’s like a uniform?”

“Uh… yes,” Castiel says slowly. It’s a better explanation than he could come up with himself, anyway. Anxious to change the subject, Castiel smiles at Dean. “I’ve seen LARPers back where I used to live. Did you carry a cardboard sword?”

“It was um… high density foam,” Dean says awkwardly, shooting a glare at Sam. “What can I do for you?”

“I’m here to purchase a… refill?” Castiel says, setting his vases on the counter. “Is that something florists do? I confess, I haven’t bought flowers from a florist before.”

Sam is chuckling, but Dean smiles wide. “Sure! You know it’s five dollars off the arrangement when you’re recycling the vase.”

Sam looks over at Dean, confused. “Since when is it five—”

Sam cuts off when Dean elbows him in the stomach, hard. “Are you looking for the exact same arrangements?”

“I… guess?” Castiel didn’t really consider the fact that there’s a whole world of flowers here. Should he be trying something different?

“You don’t have to… but depending on your budget, I could just… surprise you?” Sam starts snickering and Dean elbows him again. “Sam, why don’t you take these and wash them out for the new flowers?”

“Yeah sure thing,” Sam says, tone affectionate if not a bit sardonic. He gathers the containers and disappears into the back while Dean beams at Castiel.

“I wouldn’t mind being… um… surprised,” Castiel says carefully. Dean has such a wonderful smile, and Castiel finds that it’s making his insides feel fuzzy.

“Awesome! I’ll make you something a little different, something not in the store. It won’t be expensive, I promise.”

Castiel feels compelled to mention that money is not really an issue for him; the teas he sells are barely enough to keep the store afloat, but the spells, potions, and charms he sells on the side keep he and his brother quite well taken care of. He gives a small nod of assent.

“That sounds like a fine idea, I’m sure what you make will be lovely.”

“Great! Come back in…” Dean pauses, looking at his watch, then staring up at the ceiling as he makes some calculation in his head. Castiel finds himself staring at the long line of Dean’s throat, and just barely shifts his gaze away in time when Dean looks back at him. “Come back in an hour, I guess?”

“Until then,” Castiel says, giving Dean a nod of goodbye.

*

Castiel spends the hour puttering about in his store, cleaning shelves that don’t need cleaning, replacing a few of the older labels on his tea selection, playing with silly trick spells. He spends several minutes debating with himself on whether or not he should change out of his robes, and manages to knock over the same jar of honey orchid oolong tea three times. No customers come in, so the time drags, and drags. When an hour has passed, Castiel stands, rushing for the door. His hand is on the knob when he stops. He wonders if it will look too eager if he shows up after exactly an hour. Eagerness is a turn off, he’s been told. But he’s also been told enthusiasm is attractive. He has no idea whether Dean is someone that will be put off if Castiel has too much zeal for punctuality.

Castiel doesn’t make new friends that often. Or date. He feels awkward, like he can’t remember how to properly interact with someone that isn’t a customer, his brother, or his niece.

Castiel once brought down a ten story building in a flurry of fire and quaking earth. He defeated an entire room of sorcerers sent by the Styne family. He faced off against his own family and came out the victor. Now he’s worried about coming off too eager to a cute florist with a disarming smile.

Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

Sighing at his own social ineptitude and frustrating insecurities, Castiel pulls the door open and makes his way across the street, frowning slightly when he sees the woman from the yoga studio through the glass. She’s talking to Dean, in addition to laughing and touching his arm.

Since Castiel hasn’t dated all that often, feelings of jealousy rooted in romance aren’t a very common occurrence for him. It makes him feel angry, weak.

This is silly. Castiel is here to buy flowers, not feel hot pangs of longing when he watches how well the woman and Dean seem to be getting along.

Despite Castiel’s insecurities, Dean smiles wide when he sees him coming back into the store, even going so far as to wave enthusiastically from behind the counter as though they’re in a crowded room with Castiel trying to locate him. The woman turns to look at Castiel. She looks perplexed by his outfit, but she’s polite enough not to say anything. Castiel is unsure whether or not he should approach the counter so he meanders about the store, coaxing a few dead blooms back to life when he sees ones that are fading. Eventually he hears a cheerful “Bye, Dean!” and the woman is heading out, hair swishing, heels clicking. Castiel watches her leave, and when he looks back toward the counter, Dean is making a beeline for him, an odd sort of smile on his face. It’s not quite friendly.

“Alright eyes to yourself, buddy, she’s spoken for,” Dean says, waggling his eyebrows a bit.

Castiel’s jaw drops. “I-I apologize, I wasn’t watching her in an inappropriate way, I’m not even attracted to her,” he babbles, taking a few steps back. “I mean she’s lovely, but I’m not personally… I’ve never really been sexually attracted to a woman. But if I were, I’m sure I would find her… I… uh, I should go.”

“Woah, woah,” Dean says, reaching out and grabbing Castiel’s arm. Castiel stares at the point of contact, slightly awed. He feels… warm. “Just relax, Cas, I wasn’t mad, I was just joking around.”

“I just don’t want you to think that I was oogling your girlfriend. Or that I think she’s ugly.”

“Woah, girlfriend? Lisa’s not my girlfriend.”

“Oh, I… I see you talking often, and you said she was spoken for, I thought…”

“No, man, I’m doing her wedding flowers! Girlfriend, ha! She runs a yoga studio and she’s on a raw food diet, she and I would be doomed from the start,” Dean says, leading Castiel over to the counter and disappearing into the back while Castiel is still trying to think of something to say. His people skills have gotten rusty since he left Chicago, it would seem.

“First you think I’m dating Sammy, now Lisa, huh?” Dean says, coming back with the yellow bowl. It’s filled with yellow dahlias now, carefully arranged into a dome, with one white dahlia in the center. Castiel smiles at the sight of it; it’s like a ball of sunlight. Dean sets it on the counter then leans on the glass, grinning at Castiel. “Wouldn’t it be easier if you just asked me if I was single?”

“I’m sure that’s none of my business,” Castiel mutters, staring at the bright flowers. When he chances a glance back at Dean he realizes he’s alone, and Dean has gone to fetch another of the arrangements. After a moment Dean comes back, holding the teal vase this time. He’s tied a magenta ribbon around the vase, perhaps to match the assortment of stargazer lilies and a few white lilies mixed in, along with tiny flowers that Castiel thinks might be angelicas. Oh, he likes this very much. Castiel finds himself utterly enchanted by the pink and white; this one will go on his desk for certain.

The third vase is the white urn, and this one Dean has filled with heather, white foxgloves, lilacs, and sprigs of thyme. “So? Yay? Nay?”

“Oh, these get a ‘yay’ from me. They’re so lovely, Dean, thank you.”

“You know, Cas,” Dean says, ringing up the arrangements in the register, “not to shoot my own business in the foot, but if you’re that into having flowers around all the time, you might want to get some potted flowering plants, they’ll last so much longer.”

“I’m not concerned with longevity,” Castiel says. If he was worried about getting the most for his money, he’d spell the flowers and keep them alive.

“Hey, it’s your money. Plus my arrangements are beautiful if I do say so myself.” Dean has a confidence that Castiel finds both refreshing and irritating, because Castiel wishes he had that sort of confidence himself. He knows his spells and potions are top notch, knows he makes wonderful tea blends, but none of that translates to him feeling confident in social situations.

Castiel pays for his flowers, and once again Dean helps him carry them across the street to his shop.

“Should I be paying a delivery fee?” Castiel asks as they set the arrangements down on a counter.

Dean snorts. “For a brisk walk across a two lane road? I think we can waive the fee, Cas.”

Castiel nods, fidgeting with the ribbon on the teal vase. He has something he wants to say. He should just say it, right?

“Are you seeing anyone, Dean?” Castiel finally blurts out, eyes still on the vase.

There’s a subtle shift in the energy in the room; Dean is smiling, even if Castiel can’t see it. “As it happens, I’m pretty new to this town and currently unattached as they say.”

“Oh, that’s… good to know.”

“Isn’t it?” Dean pats Castiel on the shoulder and strolls out of the store, whistling what Castiel thinks might be an old AC/DC song.

 

*

 

Castiel learns that Mondays are the day Dean gets fresh flowers delivered, so it’s the best day for him to come in. He also learns the hard way that keeping his flowers close to a bowl of fresh fruit will kill his flowers faster due to the ethylene gas being released.

He learns that if he leaves a few business cards for Rhythm & Blooms on his front counter, people will take them.

He also learns a lot about Dean. He learns that Dean is thirty, and loves pie more than just about anything. He learns that Dean’s original delivery guy flaked, and that’s how Sam ended up moving in with Dean and helping him run the store. He learns that Dean and Sam’s parents live in Kansas, and that they have some extended family on the other side of the state in Sioux Falls. He learns that Dean got his beloved car from his father, and his love of flowers from his mother. He learns Sam dropped out of law school after a rough breakup and an existential crisis, and while Dean has been working for florists since he was eighteen, Sam has been bouncing from career to career looking for the right fit. Dean tells Castiel about how he’s hoping Sam will decide this is the job for him and they can run this business together for good.

In turn, Castiel shares what he can about his own life, the non-magical bare bones of his situation. Controlling family, a job that didn’t make him happy, and an explosive confrontation that lead to Castiel leaving Chicago. He tells Dean about Gabriel moving out to join him with his daughter, but he leaves out the part about Hael being the daughter of two dark wizards who killed each other in a feud, leaving their infant in the hands of their wholly unprepared employee. He tells Dean that he used to work for some unsavory people, but he doesn’t explain that his family were dark witches for hire. He tells Dean that his last relationship ended poorly, but he doesn’t care to mention that Bartholomew died after trying to kill Castiel for his powers. Dean gets the gist of his life, he supposes, but it would be nice to share more.

Castiel has told his true nature to people before. Sometimes it goes well, sometimes it doesn’t.

He’ll always carry the pain of being eighteen and in love, and telling his biggest secret to his boyfriend, Uriel. Uriel did not take the news well. First, he thought Castiel was being delusional, until Castiel proved his powers. Then Uriel was afraid. Afraid of Castiel, afraid of his powers, afraid that Castiel had bewitched him with some sort of unseemly love spell, as if that were a thing that Castiel would do. Castiel had tried to assure him that he would never do something like that, that such a continuous level of mind control would be near impossible to maintain anyway, but nothing helped his case.

Fortunately for Castiel, memory charms were another matter, and after five exhaustive hours, Castiel had no choice but to erase the entire encounter. He was loathe to use anything that would influence another’s mind, but Uriel swore he would tell everyone what Castiel was, and Castiel’s family… they wouldn’t begrudge him the love of a mortal, but they would sooner kill Uriel than let their secret be exposed to the world at large. Castiel didn’t know what hurt more, having to use such an unsavory spell, or how crushed Uriel was when Castiel broke up with him. After all, Uriel no longer remembered that Castiel had a reason to end things.

But… that was over fifteen years ago. Right now, it’s the middle of November, and Castiel has been buying flowers from Dean every two weeks for three months.

He’s ended up with quite a collection of vases in that time. Sometimes he uses ones he already has for the flowers, but sometimes he buys brand new ones in Dean’s shop. He keeps them clean and in a cabinet in his basement when they’re not being used.

Dean’s store is doing well now, enough that Dean and Sam have been thinking about taking on a third employee and opening up on Saturdays. But no matter how busy the store is or isn’t, Dean always has a big smile for Castiel. It makes Castiel’s heart speed up in his chest, makes him feel warm.

Castiel hasn’t made a move, though. Dean flirts pretty regularly, the kind of flirting that’s so obvious even Castiel can pick up on it, but Castiel just blushes and babbles and shuffles out of the store. Maybe if he’s feeling particularly adventurous he’ll bring Dean a smoothie, but the noises Dean makes when he’s enjoying food have Castiel’s cheeks heating up in no time. He’s pretty sure Dean does it on purpose, but he can’t prove it.

Today is a Thursday, and since Castiel just bought flowers on Monday, it’ll be another week and a half before he has a real excuse to speak to Dean again. He drums his fingers on his desk, staring at the arrangement of white and coral roses in a tall, clear vase. Dean’s arrangements are always so beautiful, so carefully composed. Castiel finds he smiles more often since he started buying them.

“Jesus, why don’t you just go see him?”

Castiel turns, glaring at Gabriel. There’s no real need for the two of them to be here at the same time, but ever since Hael started school, Gabriel’s been hanging around more. There’s a sight Castiel never could have imagined seeing when he was younger; Gabriel moping around because his child is off at school and he’d rather be at home with her. The world is so very full of surprises.

“I’ll see him when I go for new flowers.”

“You know, instead of spending close to three hundred dollars a month on flowers, you could just ask him out.”

“He doesn’t know I’m a witch,” Castiel grouses, drumming his fingers harder. He can see someone in a green apron moving around in the store from here, but he can’t tell if it’s Dean or Sam.

“Well he’ll never know if you don’t tell him.”

“No.”

“Why the hell not?”

“Don’t you remember Uriel?”

“They’re not all Uriel, Cas. They’re not all Bartholomew either.”

“I know that. Don’t you think I know that?” Castiel hisses, glaring at the roses. “They’re not all like that, but what if he is?”

“Well he’s not a witch, so he’s not going to be trying to kill you and steal your magic with an ancient blood ritual…”

“And if he fears me? If he believes I’ve cast a love spell on him?”

Gabriel sighs, and Castiel realizes he’s moved over to the desk. “Then you’ll know who he really is, you can cast a damn memory charm, and you can stop pining over him.”

“I hate using memory spells.”

“Then I’ll do it.”

Castiel looks up at Gabriel, eyebrows raised. He loves his brother dearly, but a gifted sorcerer Gabriel is not. “And when he forgets all of his memories after the age of twelve?”

“Hey, I’m offering solutions! We could skip the charm altogether and move, then. Lots of places to sell tea in the world, bro.”

“You wouldn’t just pick up and move.”

“No. But I really don’t think it’ll be an issue, Cassie. Just tell him, put us all out of our misery.”

Castiel turns his attention back to his roses. “I’ll think about it.”

Gabriel groans. “Yeah, I’m sure you will.”

 

*

 

Rhythm & Blooms closes at seven, but it takes a while for Dean to clean up, balance the till, things like that, so he usually ends up leaving at eight. Unsure of when Dean will actually be leaving, Castiel goes outside at seven-thirty on Friday and waits until Dean comes out. He’s wearing a pair of jeans and a blue sweater, partly to reduce his “otherness”, and partly because Gabriel told Castiel he saw Dean looking at his backside when he saw Castiel in the jeans last month.

Dean has to exit through the store’s back door after he locks the front, so Castiel is waiting in the lot behind the store, leaning against Dean’s car. Dean comes out at a little after eight, expression shifting from confusion to surprise to delight when he sees Castiel.

“Well, I can’t say I was expecting to see you.”

“I hope this isn’t a bad time.”

“Never a bad time for you, Cas.”

Castiel nods, staring down at the ground as Dean saunters over. Dean has such a carefree energy, but Castiel knows how much he worries. He worries that Sam will leave, that his father will have another heart attack, that his business will go under. He doesn’t let those worries drag him down, and Castiel envies him so very much.

“I wondered if I might talk to you about something… uh... in private.” At Dean’s startled expression, Castiel hastens to add, “it’s nothing sexual, I assure you.”

“Uh, I didn’t think it was. Well. Not really.” Dean unlocks the back door and leads Castiel into the store. They go into Dean’s office, which is mostly just a desk and a pile of boxes labeled with things like “TAFFETA RIBBON”, “PLASTIC VASES”, and “FRAGILE VASES - BE CAREFUL SAM”.

“So,” Dean says, “is it serious?”

“I suppose that depends on your openness to the paranormal.”

Dean’s eyebrows are practically in his hair now. “My openness to the paranormal?”

“I really like you, Dean,” Castiel says.

“Yeah?” Dean’s face splits into a grin. This man is so effortlessly, infuriatingly beautiful.

“Yes. I would like it if we could be… closer.”

“Well it’s about t—”

“But there is something I need you to know about me before we can… escalate anything.”

Dean nods a little. “Oh… like an STD?”

“What? No. Nothing like an STD.”

“Hey I’m just trying to help you get it out!”

Castiel sighs. “I’m a witch.”

“I kind of figured that,” Dean says. “It’s cool. My friend Charlie’s a Wiccan. Her coven’s real nice.”

“That’s… not quite what I mean. I’m not a Wiccan, though many tenets of Wicca are important to my kind. I’m a magical witch. I make potions. I have actual magical powers.”

Dean’s eyebrows are furrowed together. “No offense to your beliefs, but I don’t think anyone has actual magical—”

Dean stops when Castiel raises one hand. “Flos lucis pro dilectione mea,” Castiel murmurs, chanting. “Flos lucis pro dilectione mea. Flos lucis pro dilectione mea.”

They watch Castiel’s open palm together, watching as a small ball of light forms in his empty hand. Dean gasps but doesn’t move, doesn’t speak as the ball of light grows and wavers, twisting and bending as it turns into a glowing white carnation blossom. Castiel holds it out toward Dean, trying to will his hand to not shake. Dean reaches out slowly, fingers pressing against the stem, seeming startled that he can actually touch it. He examines it in his hand, expression neutral. Now that the spell has completed the light has gone down, but the white petals still glow faintly, and the golden stem still shimmers. He brings it to his nose and sniffs, though Castiel doesn’t think it will smell of anything.

“Well, I can honestly say this is the most beautiful carnation I’ve ever seen,” Dean says slowly. Castiel wants to smile, but he’s not sure if this is acceptance or just Dean trying to relieve a tense situation.

The bravery that Castiel summoned to get him to this point leaves him abruptly, and suddenly all he wants is to get out of here before Dean can reject him.

“You should… take a night. Think about it,” Castiel says, even though leaving Dean with his secret might not be all that wise.

“Now hold on,” Dean starts.

“You should think about it. I will understand if this is outside your comfort level, I only ask that you not expose me, I do so love this town.”

“I would never betray someone like that,” Dean says, affronted.

Castiel nods. “I apologize, I didn’t mean… I know you’re a good man. I will… I should go.”

“Cas…”

Castiel’s not overly proud of what he does next, but… he runs. Out the door and down the alley and not even in the right direction if he wants to get to his car.

He tries not to notice that Dean doesn’t follow.

 

*

 

Castiel is in a foul, foul mood. Gabriel tried to talk to him of course, but that just resulted in an argument, which resulted in several cracked jars and one broken light bulb.

“Have you ever thought about binding your stupid powers so your temper tantrums don’t cost us more money?” Gabriel grumbles from the counter.

Castiel glares, but he can’t help but wonder if Gabriel has a point when he sees the way the flowers on his desk are visibly wilting in his presence.

“I’ll think about it,” he says sadly.

“Woah, woah, woah. I’m just bitching, Cassie, don’t take my advice. Your powers are why we’re living our own lives in South Dakota and not acting as magical lapdogs for Chicago’s rich and powerful monsters. Your powers are why Hael is going to grow up learning white magic and not wading waist deep into the dark arts. Your powers are why this tea shop gets enough customers to stay open.”

“You resent my powers. All the others did.”

“So I’m jealous that you can visit the faerie realm without an entire coven to work the spell, and that you can turn into a cat and not get stuck, and that your hair has never caught fire while trying to summon a light spell. I can be jealous and still love you as you are, you know,” Gabriel grumbles, sounding incredibly offended.

Castiel feels like a jerk. “You’re right. I’m sorry, Gabriel, I’m just… sad.”

“I know, baby bro.”

 

*

 

Gabriel leaves at one to pick Hael up from kindergarten, and then it’s just Castiel alone with his thoughts. His frustrated, nervous, lonely thoughts about how he never should have told Dean, he should have left things as they were. He had a friend that liked him, why did he have to ruin that?

After twenty minutes or so, Castiel starts to hear a thumping on the right wall of the store. Thump, thump, thump, it sounds like a basketball hitting the side of the building. There’s no window on that side, since the only thing out there is the alley between his store and the shoe outlet next door, so eventually Castiel decides to get up and check the source. He hears what is certainly a ball dropping as he comes outside, and he gets to the alley just in time to see someone running away; a tall someone with hair that looks an awful lot like Sam’s. He’s about to follow Sam when he looks down at the ball, and notices there’s a piece of paper stuck to it with duct tape.

The paper reads “THIS IS A DIVERSION :)”. Castiel stands in the alley, grasping the ball and staring at the note in confusion. Is this a prank? Did Dean put Sam up to this? If it is a prank, Castiel can’t for the life of him tell if that’s a good sign or a bad sign.

He’s about to leave the alley when he notices the first petals falling. They drift down slowly, silently, rose petals in white and various shades of pink landing on Castiel’s hat and robes, scattering around his feet. He looks up, and it’s beautiful. It’s an overcast day out, and the sight of petals falling like snowflakes toward him from a grey sky makes Castiel’s heart skip a beat. He sees a flash of a hand over the side of his roof, dropping more petals. The alley he’s in is narrow, but Castiel still holds his arms out and allows himself a few twirls underneath the falling petals, giving himself over to the childlike wonder he feels.

Traffic, street chatter, birds, the noise of the world around him fades into the background until all Castiel hears is his own breathing and the faintest of sounds as the petals land on the ground.

Minutes pass. Castiel remains in the alley, smiling at the mess around his feet long after the petals have stopped falling. It takes him a while to realize that he’s not alone. He turns his head, and Dean is standing next to him, smiling. He’s wearing the apron he often has on in the flower shop, and Castiel’s carnation is fastened to it, still just barely shining.

“Hey, Cas.”

Castiel can’t help but feel shy and afraid even in the face of this gesture. “Hello, Dean. That was...beautiful.”

“Just wanted to show you a little magic of my own,” Dean says. He’s smirking, but his voice is gentle. “I know I was a little surprised last night, but you didn’t have to run away, Cas.”

“I’m sorry I ran, Dean. I was afraid.”

“Of what? You’re the one with the cool powers, you could probably kick my ass.”

“When I told my first boyfriend about it, he accused me of using a love spell on him.”

Dean frowns. “Shit, Cas, I wouldn’t do that.”

“My last boyfriend tried to ritually murder me in order to possess my magic.”

Dean’s face freezes in a twisted grimace. “I wouldn’t do that either.”

“I just… wanted you to understand why I’m apprehensive about pursuing something with you, even though I want to. I promise I want to.”

Dean reaches out, grabbing Castiel’s hand. His hand is so warm and gentle, Castiel feels more at ease almost immediately. “Well, I don’t think you’re the kind of guy that would force someone to love them with magic, and I don’t even know how to ritually murder someone, but it sounds messy, so I can’t say I’m interested.”

“That is comforting, thank you,” Castiel says. “I realize that sounds sarcastic, but I mean that sincerely.”

“So, the bottom line here is that you want to pursue something with me, right?”

Castiel looks away, feeling himself blush, but Dean holds onto his hand. “If you want.”

“I want.”

Castiel nods slowly. Is it really going to be this easy? “So what do we do now, Dean?”

“Anything?” Dean steps closer. “We can clean up these petals, we can make out, we can go back to our stores, we can make out, you can show me some more magic, we can make out, or we can make out.”

Castiel smiles then, meeting Dean’s gaze head on. “Those are a lot of compelling options, it will be tough to decide.”

Dean looks fidgety and impatient now, and it makes Castiel smile even wider. The anxiety he felt about becoming friends with Dean, about telling Dean how he feels, about sharing his secret, he can’t believe he was going to let it hold him back.

He leans in a little closer to Dean. “I think I’ve made a decision.”

“Yeah?”

“Apparently you are a ‘carnation guy’ after all,” Castiel says, gesturing to where the flower is fastened to Dean’s apron.

Dean scowls, “Hey, this one is special—”

Castiel reaches out with his free hand, grabbing Dean by the front of his apron and pulling him into a kiss, letting his eyes flutter closed. Dean’s arms go around Castiel’s neck, and one kiss becomes two, then three, and Castiel marvels at how he can feel Dean grinning into the kisses.

“I still think carnations are tacky,” Dean mumbles between kisses.

Castiel just nods enthusiastically.


*end*