Dean looks at himself in the bathroom mirror and smiles. For someone who’s not used to wear suits, he nails it. His tie hangs just the right way, his jacket fits him perfectly, and his black belt shines under the light, matching his polished shoes. Really, Sam chose well.
He adjusts his tie a bit, passes a hand through his hair and leaves the bathroom. He grabs his car keys and the bouquet of flowers lying on the table in the living room and heads out, gently closing the door behind him. The sun shines bright in the sky, the warmth of its afternoon rays comforting Dean. He takes a deep breath as he locks the door, trying to relax.
Dean jumps in his Impala and starts the engine with a roar. No matter how many years will pass, the sound it makes will always send chills down his spine. There is nothing like it. He swiftly drives out of the parking lot and sets his route for a spot just outside of town. He turns on the radio, and softly sings to the beat, windows down.
It doesn’t take long for him to reach the area. He parks his car near the gates, grabs the flower bouquet and gets out, the door screaming in protest as he closes it. He walks through the metal gates on a small sidewalk, swaying between headstones on each side until he reaches a particular one he knows well. When he finally sees it, he walks to it and kneels down.
“Hey, beautiful” he whispers, his fingers brushing the side of the stone. “Long time no see.”
His last visit was over six months ago. He feels guilty for not visiting more often, but life got in the way.
“I missed you” he says. “You know, the last few months have been real busy. Jess is pregnant. I can’t believe Sam and her are going to have a baby. I feel like he’s still a baby himself, even though he’s almost 35. I guess he’ll always stay my little brother, even when we’ll be 60.”
He looks around, the wind blowing gently on his skin, the sun warming his soul; this couldn’t be a better day. He sits on the ground, his legs getting cramped from being folded underneath him. As he does, he lays down the bouquet in front of the headstone.
“Those are for you. I know you love white Calla Lilies, so I made sure the florist put some in there. I hope you like it.”
Dean keeps talking alone for a few minutes, marvelling at the beautiful weather, at how work is always a pain in the ass even though he knows Bobby isn’t doing anything wrong, how he came across a customer wanting him to repair a really cute baby blue 1965 Sunbeam Tiger. He talks a bit about Sam too, and how well the kid is doing in life. After a while, he looks at his watch and decides it’s time to go.
“I need to leave again, but I promise this time there won’t be 6 months between now and my next visit. I will come back soon with the answer to the grand question.”
He kisses his hand before putting it on the stone of his mother's grave. He gets up and walks back to his car, humming softly. He starts the engine, and make his way to The Angel’s Hive.
Castiel tastes the sauce he just made and closes his eyes. It’s perfect, just like he needs it to be. He searches for his utensil, wanting to pour it into a giant bowl so they can all have access to it.
“I can’t find my spatula, Benny.”
“It’s on your left, about an inch above your hand” a rough voice says beside him.
Castiel lifts his left hand a bit until he encounters a chill plastic handle that he grabs. With his spatula in hand, he fumbles to find his bowl, and when he’s pretty sure he’s not going to pour the whole thing on the ground, he starts tilting his pan.
“Charlie, how’s that chicken going?” He asks as he finishes pouring his sauce.
“2 minutes left, Chef” she says from his left.
“Good. How about those salads?”
“All ready, waiting for Charlie before putting the dressing in!” Says Kevin, a young Asian cook Castiel hired a few months ago.
“Perfect. Doing a good job guys, keep it up.”
People had frowned upon Castiel’s plan at first for wanting to open his own restaurant. It is true that after what happened with Raphael and all that ensued didn’t make things easier, but he wanted to do try anyway.
He had luck, no matter how bad it was in the beginning. When he opened his eyes for the first time after the attack and the doctor explained to him that he would be blind for the rest of his life due to the blow to the back of his head was… hard to accept. He wouldn’t be able to see Dean’s face ever again, he wouldn’t be able to see Charlie’s fiery red hair. He wouldn’t be able to see the food he prepares, or the flowers outside, or even just the sky. All he had left were memories, and he realized how quick they could become blurry.
But he learned how to see with his hands, and how to surround himself with people he could trust to be his eyes. He’s learned how to cook without his eyes (thanks to Dean and his fucking amazing way to reward him when he’d be able to cook a meal from A to Z). He’s learned how to choose clothes or shoes without seeing them; his walk-in is separated in colors, and he knows exactly where each color is. He’s learned to live with his blindness and to make the most out of it.
Benny had wanted to open his own restaurant for a while too, so they decided one day to just go for it. Benny had the money, Castiel had the concept, they both had the talent, and they already had a team building itself up. They’ve decided Benny would be Castiel’s eyes in the kitchen, keeping him informed on what was going on, who was where, what was where, along with making sure it was all a safe environment for Castiel to work in. A year later, The Angel’s Hive opened its doors for the first time and it has been a success since then.
“Your prince is here.”
Benny’s voice pulls Castiel out of his thoughts. Castiel turns around, and he feels the warm hand of Dean on his. He knows every inch of Dean. He could be able to tell, between five hundred different hands, that this one was Dean’s.
The ruffle of fabric tells him Dean is leaning in to kiss him, so he closes his eyes and waits for Dean’s full lips to touch his. Kissing is the kind of thing you don’t realize you need your eyes to do it properly until you experience kissing someone in complete darkness. It’s hard to find someone else’s lips when you can’t see his or her entire face, so it’s clumsy most of the time.
But Dean still sees, so he plants a soft kiss directly on Castiel’s lips before pulling away.
“I brought you clothes for tonight. Are you ready to leave soon?” Dean asked.
“Yes. Benny can take care of things before Chuck gets here.”
“Good.” Dean grabs Castiel’s hand and places the hook of a hanger around his fingers, the cold metal biting his skin. “Here’s what you need. Now come with me, I’ll guide you to the bathroom so you can change.”
They walk together through the kitchen and the staffroom, Dean leading Cas to a small opening between the lockers.
“If you need anything, yell, I’ll be right here.”
Castiel closes the door without turning on the light. There is no point anyway. He finds the hook behind the door and hangs his clothes on it, before starting to undress. A few minutes later, he comes out of the bathroom, wearing his favorite dark blue three piece, and he asks Dean for help with his tie.
“God you look hot” Dean whispers as he knots Castiel’s tie. “If it didn’t take me 6 months to get this reservation I would take you back home…”
“Going to this place doesn’t mean you can’t take me back home after.” Castiel smiles and leans in to kiss Dean, using his hands to find his lips.
“I love you” Dean whispers.
“I love you too.”
The restaurant is close enough from Castiel’s workplace; in less than 30 minutes, they are both standing in the small hall, waiting for the hostess to find their table. Castiel is holding Dean’s arm with his left hand, his right hand tightly wrapped around his white cane. He can hear a band playing a soft melody, making the place feel really cozy and intimate. The smells coming from the kitchen are making Castiel’s mouth water.
“Tell me what it looks like” he asks.
“The walls are painted in the tones of beige and brown. The sealing is high, and there is a magnificent chandelier on top of us, with hundreds of crystals hanging from it. The way the light goes through them makes the walls shine with tiny rays and rainbows. The tables are small and round, with dark drapes around the chairs. There’s a flower bouquet in the middle of each table. And there is a band in the far back, playing I don’t know what.”
Castiel could hear the smile in Dean’s voice. The first time he had asked Dean to described something, it was as precise as a 4 year-old would have described.
“That’s me” Dean says beside him.
“Your table is finally ready. Please follow me.”
They get to their table near the band and Dean helps Castiel choose his meal. He refuses to tell him how much everything costs, though. They also order a bottle of champagne, and when the waiter comes back with the bottle and two already filled flutes, they both rise their drink.
“To nine years of happiness” Dean softly says.
“To nine years and many others to come.”
They talk as they wait for their plates to arrive, Dean asking how Castiel’s day went, Castiel asking if Dean finally got his vacation for next week. They had planned a small road trip to go see Castiel’s family in Massachusetts, and they were just waiting for Bobby to approve Dean’s vacation.
“I’ll know tomorrow. Now if you’ll excuse me, I gotta go to the bathroom.”
“You went to the bathroom before leaving, how come you gotta go again?” Castiel asks.
Dean kisses him on the forehead and whispers, “I’m getting old.”
Castiel laughs and pats him on the shoulder as Dean walks away. He sits alone, closing his eyes and enjoying the music that plays just in front of him. The melody is soft, and calm, and he takes a breath as it comes to an end.
Someone clears his throat in front of the mic, breaking the moment of peace.
“Huh, Hi.” The voice seems unsure.
“Sorry for bothering you all but I have a little something to tell to a little someone that is really important to me. So here goes…”
Castiel could recognize this voice everywhere.
What the hell is happening?
The first note of his favorite song start to resonate in the room, the guitar sounding amazing as the song moves between tables.
“When your legs don’t work like they used to before
And I can’t sweep you off of your feet
Will your mouth still remember the taste of my love
Will your eyes still smile from your cheeks”
Castiel puts a hand on his chest, the smile on his face as wide as could be. This couldn’t be happening. Dean singing in front of all these people, just for him? He could have done that at home, with his own guitar, but no. Apparently, he was going all in for their anniversary.
Castiel sways with the song, enjoying every single word Dean sings, every single note escaping the guitar. He still can’t believe Dean is up on stage for him.
“‘Cause honey your soul can never grow old,
Baby your smile’s forever in my mind and memory”
There’s suddenly a hand softly grabbing his arm, and a woman’s voice tells him to get up and follow her. Castiel does what he’s told, and the waitress gently pulls him towards the stage, warning him when they get to the stairs to climb on it. Castiel stands there, where he thinks he’s face to face with Dean who keeps singing. The moment is surreal. It’s probably the most romantic gesture Dean has ever done for him, and considering the fact Dean is a hopeless 14 year old girl when it comes to Cas, it means a lot.
The song comes to an end, to Castiel’s desolation, and he feels Dean grab his hand.
“Cas, the moment I saw you in that restaurant nine years ago, I knew my heart wouldn’t be able to live without you. We’ve been through our highs and lows, and God knows they were higher and lower than the vast majority. The first year was tough. But after all that, we remain together, and that made us stronger.”
Castiel is breathing hard, his free hand on his mouth in a vain attempt to keep a minimum of composure in front of everyone.
“I know we are meant to be together. The last nine years are a proof of that. I’ve never been so happy in my entire life, and I know you are feeling the same. It would be an honor for me to cherish you, and to dedicate the rest of my life to your happiness.”
Tears are flowing down Castiel’s cheeks. He can’t speak, he can’t move, he can’t breathe. This is the most beautiful thing someone has said to him. He hears a ruffle of clothes and he feels Dean kneeling in front of him.
Oh God, have mercy.
“Castiel Novak… Will you marry me?”
Castiel falls to his knees in front of Dean, sobbing.
“Of course, you crazy!”
They kiss, both sitting on the stage, as everyone in the restaurant claps and screams for them.
Yes, it’s been hard in the beginning. Yes, life threw some real shit at both of them. But the beautiful thing about love is that there will always be someone behind you, helping you back on your feet, helping you brave everything that life can throw at you. Dean was that person for him, and Casknows they will forever have each other’s back, through the good and the bad. So of course, the answer is yes. The answer will always be yes when it comes to Dean.