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Happiness is(n't) in the Having

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On the first day of the rest of their lives, Dean and Cas will wake up not much differently than they did the last couple of months. Dean, half draped over Cas' chest, his head resting on his shoulder and one hand splayed out over his heart. And Cas, with an arm slung around Dean's waist to keep him close, breath ghosting through Dean's hair, their legs tangled together and still pleasantly aching from the previous night's activities. 

It won't be the first time they wake up like that, and it will be far from the last. What will be new though are the rings on their fingers.

Cas had finally asked about them when they were alone and peacefully tucked away in their bedroom the previous evening.

"Is that-...is that my grace?", he'd asked and pointed to Dean's ring, swallowing hard because he was pretty sure to know the answer already. 

Dean's smile was confirmation enough.

"Jack helped me."

"How does it feel?"

"Warm", Dean had answered. "Calming. Like having a piece of you with me all the time." Which, in fact, is exactly how it is. "I wanted you to have something similar, but I'm afraid it's not quite the same", he'd gone on with an apologetic shrug. "Could hardly use my actual soul or somethin'. So..."

Dean had reached for Cas' hand, traced his thumb over the ring before pointing at the middle part, a slightly rougher and darker-coloured stripe of metal, separated from the outer silver of the ring by two shallow grooves. 

"See that?" 

Cas nodded.

"That's...ah. That's a bit of metal that used to be part of Baby's old bumper. Had it still lyin' around after the last time I had to replace it. Could never bring myself to part with any of her stuff y'know. Thought I might just as well bring it to good use...might be stupid but..." He blushed slightly, eyes suddenly widening. "But don't think I'm trying to compare you to my car, because of course you're more important! Geez, I didn't really think this through." (Lie. He had thought about it for weeks) "Sorry, I just...couldn't think of anything else-"

"Dean." Cas has taken Dean's hand, stopped him from wringing them nervously in his lap.

"Yeah?" His eyes shot up, insecure yet hopeful, and Cas could feel a fond smile forming on his lips.

"It's beautiful", he'd told him truthfully, sincerely. "I know how much you love that car. Not the same way you love me, of course", he'd assured softly when Dean's hand twitched in his. "But she's been your companion, even your home for a very long time. I'm honoured you chose this as a symbol to represent your soul, something equalling my grace. It was very thoughtful."

Dean's mouth had curled into a wry smile, warming Cas from the inside.

"You really like it?" 

"I love it."

And finally Dean grinned, wide and happy.

"I love you", he'd countered and Cas chucked.

"I know. I love you too."

And Cas fell asleep with Dean in his arms and a smile on his face later that night, thinking about how he had everything he could ever have wished for. He has friends, a family, interests, passions, a husband (who happens to be his best friend and greatest passion), and this night is only the beginning of their happiness. 

Neither of them can know yet that there will be many more days just as perfect as this one. All they have to do is live them. 

 

There will be days when Dean will show Cas how to cook, or to bake pie, and it will end with Cas accidentally knocking over the flour just as Dean leans down to set the oven to the right temperature, covering him in powder. And Dean will curse and Cas will chuckle and Dean will grab a fistful of flour and throw it - and that's how they'll both end up on the kitchen floor as a hysterical, giggling, kissing mess of white.

 

There'll be many days that will find Cas engrossed in a book, and Dean engrossed in Cas. Sometimes Dean will just watch, the way Cas' face twitches, how his brows draw together, his jaw tightens, his eyes widen at particularly engaging paragraphs, waiting for the little smiles of satisfaction that occur when the story unfolds to his liking. And sometimes Dean will watch and listen, they still have to go through all of Austen's works, after all. But either way, Dean will sit quietly and smile, thinking to himself how lucky they are, and how amazing it is to feel completely and utterly content. 

 

On one day in the soon future, Cas will catch Dean playing with his wedding ring, turning it nervously on his finger like he had seen him doing so often since they got married. He hadn't given it much thought at first, but spotting it more and more frequently, especially in situations that left Dean uncomfortable, the angel couldn't help but start to worry. 

"Are you having second thoughts?", it tumbles unbidden from his lips that day, his insecurity making way even though he's more than sure that can't be the case. Dean has seemed so happy lately. He's told Cas he's happy. He's shown Cas he's happy.

"What?" The confusion on Dean's face is genuine and Cas will feel bad for asking, but he'll ask anyway.

"Marrying me." 

"Wha-" Dean's eyes will widen in shock. "No. Cas...no! Why would you think that?"

A nod to Dean's ring finger, the way he's still fiddling with it just as they speak.

"You're always...fussing with it. Taking it on and off, turning it around. I thought...", Cas will have to lower his eyes, sad to hear the words leave his own mouth, "maybe you're not comfortable wearing it after all. Which would be fine! You don't have to if you don't-"

"Cas." And there Dean will be, shutting him up with a soft smile and an even softer kiss to his lips. "I do that because it calms me", he'll explain. "Every time I'm nervous I touch the ring and I think about what it means, I think about what I have here, with you, with us. It's like..a substitute for touching you, I guess. It grounds me."

"Oh." A shy, relieved smile will form on Cas' lips, making Dean kiss them again.

"You didn't really think I could regret marrying you, right?", he'll ask, and Cas will find the answer more easily than he thought.

"No", he'll say, certain that he means it, and Dean will nod with a smile.

"Good."

 

At some point there will be a day when they leave the bunker, all of them, Sam and Eileen too, move all their stuff to the two houses they bought, close to each other, on the countryside with some lands around, fireplace and windows and white picket fences and everything. 

 

Many days will find Dean and Cas shopping together as they had before, only that Dean is confident enough to take Cas' hand on his own by now, leading him down the aisles with sure steps and a warm grip. Cas still always wears his trenchcoat when they go out, even now that Dean has been stocking the closet in their new bedroom with a bunch of everyday clothes for the angel. He likes to see Cas wearing them, not as much as he likes Cas wearing his clothes, but they can hardly share Dean's sparse wardrobe on a daily basis. The coat stayed though, and he isn't sorry Cas insisted on keeping it, knows that coat like he knows the back of his hand.

So when on one of those particular shopping days he's missing just a few coins to pay, it's no surprise he'll reach into one of Cas' pockets, doesn't even think about it twice before his hand already vanished beneath the fabric. Instead of the expected spare dollar though, his fingers will close around something solid and square, his hand producing a familiar object when he retreats it. And if the cashier will wonder about the way Dean's eyes widen in surprise or the way Cas will blush when Dean turns his watery gaze at him, fingers clutched around a mixtape he just pulled from an inside pocket of his coat, close to Cas' heart...well, then that's nobody's business but their own. 

 

One particular day will stay in all their minds for a long time. It's the day Sam and Eileen get married, once again a day filled with family, tears, smiles and laughter. And even though, in Dean's humble opinion, it will never be able to compare to their own wedding day, it gets stored away in that special place for very precious memories.

Another one of those is the day Jack graduates. Cas has been homeschooling him until he didn't need to alter his body's appearance too much anymore to fit in with the rest of the class, but Dean insisted that he makes the experience of going to a public school at least for the last couple of years. Moving around too much to ever make any real friends, he knows how it is to pass out on relationships with people your own age, and he wouldn't allow Jack to lose more of his childhood than he already had. (Only rule when making friends: Don't tell them you spend your free time being God. At least not immediately.) 

 

There will be days when Dean takes Cas to the garden centre and learns about types of soil and watering and solanums, and he'll make sure to especially inquire which flowers attract the most insects so they have bees around.

 

Then there will be days that have Dean and Cas driving in Baby, and Dean will finally be free to do what he'd imagined for so many years, driving just like this. He'll look at his fingers wrapped around the steering wheel, at the ring that resides so comfortably on one of them. He'll throw a glance at Cas by his side, at the ring on Cas' hand, then at his face, will find the angel looking back at him, smiling softly. And Dean will do what he wanted to do for so long, reach out, take Cas' hand, pressing a kiss to his knuckles with his eyes fixed on the road, then dropping their entwined fingers between the seats. And he won't look at Cas again, wouldn't be able to handle the look in his eyes he knows would be there, not if he doesn't plan on driving into a tree or something. Instead, he'll just hold on until they arrive wherever they're headed.

 

One day Cas will get a cat. It's a skinny thing, black with white paws and ears. Cas will name her Socks. She'd been sneaking around their home for a couple of weeks, greedily licking up the bowls of milk and devouring bits of sausage Cas had snuck out when Dean wasn't looking. He supposes if Cas is already feeding the damn cat anyway, it won't make much of a difference (and he couldn't have said no to those big blue puppy dog eyes anyway). The happy expression on the angel's face when the cat rolls up in his lap for the first time makes up for any cat hair woven into the armchair's cushion, and Dean can't help the laugh bubbling out of his chest when Cas will look up from the sleeping cat he'd been petting, face displaying equal amounts of alarm and amazement, and ask: "Is it supposed to vibrate?"

 

Next to the days there will be nights. Calm nights of cudding, heated nights, passionate and desperate, savoured nights, slow and unhurried. There will be few days spent apart, and no nights at all. Because nights are sacred, and even on the rare occasion of a fight, they quickly figured out that neither ever wants to sleep alone again (and that days of built-up frustration are a guarantee for awesome nightly make-up sessions...)

Most nights will be peaceful and happy though, and barely a year after they settled in their new home, Dean will subconsciously reach for the knife he's had residing under his pillow ever since he can remember, but in place of a cold sharp edge he'll find a warm soft hand there, and he won't be sure if he should be mad at Cas for removing the knife, but he won't care, because when he entwines his fingers with Cas' instead of gripping the handle, he feels safer than any weapon has ever made him feel. 

 

There will be days spent in the garden Cas tends to positively religiously (pun intended), with Dean relaxing in a chair, bathing in the warm sun while Cas checks on the beehives Dean built for him. Or Cas will be planting some new discovery he made in one of those online apiarist forums he's part of, because "Did you know that the phacelia is also called Bee's Friend, Dean?" And no, obviously Dean didn't know that, but he's just too happy to take Cas out and buy some, and he'll watch him while he plants them, and just as Cas gets up from the spot he'd been kneeling at for too long, knees aching, sweat on his brow from the sun even beneath the ridiculously adorable straw hat he wears, his hands covered in dirt - Dean will wrap his arms around him from behind and press a kiss to the nape of his sweaty neck.

"You know what I haven't told you today?", he'll murmur, Cas humming back like the bees that will soon buzz in those flowers of his.

"No", Cas will say, a pleased smile in his voice, "what?"

And Dean will tighten his hold with an equal smile. 

"That I love you."

 

Some days they'll have dinners with Sam and Eileen, and some days a few years later they'll look after their little niece and nephew while their parents go out to dinner on their own. They'll watch them grow and play and laugh, happy children with happy childhoods.

Their own children might not grow in height anymore, but Jack and Claire still grow in character, and it's just as much a joy to watch as it is to see the little ones turning into teenagers, adults, parents of their own.  

 

Some day along the way will have Dean standing in front of the bedroom mirror, smiling when he sees grey in his hair, because he simply can't believe he actually made it this far, and Cas will come up to him, hugging him from behind with his chin on Dean's shoulder and painted with some grey of his own. And he'll point out with a smile that most people wouldn't rejoice about this, but what could bear more truth than Dean replying that they certainly aren't most people.

 

And then, finally, after years and years, when their children's children have grown up, and Dean and Cas have watched it all, side by side, a day will come when they know. They won't be sure how, maybe it's something Jack arranged so they have time to say a temporary goodbye to their friends and family. And that's what they will do, returning to their bedroom after a day spent with all the people they love. 

"You ready?", Dean will ask, a wrinkly hand searching for Cas' under the blanket.

"Yes." Cas will squeeze his fingers, smiling calmly. And despite the lump in his throat, Dean won't be afraid, and he'll know neither is Cas. 

"See you soon", he'll say. "Love you."

"I love you, too."

He'll fall asleep that night with a feeling of peacefulness filling his whole body, and when he opens his eyes again, their bedroom will be gone, his body will be young and strong again and he'll look around to find himself on a bridge surrounded by woods. Baby will be there, and he'll smile but not get into his beloved car, because the picture isn't complete yet. Instead he'll step up to the bridge's railing, lean against it and watch the water flow steadily beneath his feet while he waits. 

But he won't wait for long, he knew he wouldn't. And when he's done waiting, he won't even have to turn around to know. It will suddenly be there behind him, the presence of a being he would recognize among millions. He'll close his eyes in anticipation, sure what's to come next. And there it is. 

"Hello, Dean."

And Dean will smile.