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First Comes Marriage

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"Come on, it's not like you'll actually have to be my husband, you can just pretend," Dean says.

Benny rolls his eyes. "Really? That's how you're trying to sell this to me?" Benny's sleeves are rolled up to his elbows, and he's kneading bread, his thick forearm muscles flexing. 

Dean leans over the counter and rubs his eyes. He can't believe that he's trying to convince Benny of this either. But he needs the job. He wants the job. And the school wants all of their faculty to be married. So Dean has two choices: find himself an actual spouse, or turn down the position.

Neither one of those choices is actually an option. 

Which is why he's in Benny's kitchen trying to convince his friend that this is a sane idea.

It's not a sane idea, not by any stretch of the imagination.

Benny puts the dough in a bowl and covers it with a damp cloth. "Brother, you know that this is stupid."

Dean nods miserably. "I know, but this is a really good school, and a great opportunity, and... come on, you don't have to actually do anything except show up at a few faculty functions with me, and then you can come back here."

Benny raises an eyebrow as he washes his hands. The yeasty smell of the bread he's working on fills the kitchen, and Dean's mouth begins to water. "And what will you tell them when I stop going to the functions with you?"

Dean slumps even further onto the counter. "I'll..." he pauses and thinks for a moment, because he hadn't really planned that far ahead. "Ok, so you'll be my fiancé, and I'll just tell them that you called off the wedding. Left me at the altar."

Affronted, Benny puts his hands on his hips. "Brother, I would never leave you at the altar. I'm not that kind of man." Of course Benny's right, he's not that kind of man. He's the kind of man who will stick by your side no matter the problem, and he won't leave until everything has been fixed. This is a bad idea, and it has disaster written all over it.

"Look, um. Just forget I said anything. I'll figure something else out."

Benny doesn't reply, wiping down the counter with a stern expression on his face. He cleans up the spilled flour and puts away all of the clean utensils. There's a tense silence as he finishes up. He wipes his hands on the towel before folding it neatly and hanging it over the rail for the oven. "I'll do it."

"What?" Dean asks.

"I'll do it. I'll pretend to be your fiancé for some faculty functions and I'll make you look "family friendly" and I'll even do a couple of public displays of affection for you." Benny pauses. "On one condition."

Dean ignores the swooping in his belly at Benny's mention of public displays of affection and tries to focus on what Benny's saying. "What's the condition?" Dean winces at the eagerness he hears in his voice.

"You have to call Sam." Benny folds his arms over his chest and sends a challenging look at his friend. 

Dean's mouth is already open to agree, because he needs this job, he wants this job, but when he hear's Benny's condition, he shuts it with a click. He shakes his head while he tries to find his voice again. "What? No. He's the one who left, he's the one who needs to call me."

Benny stands in front of Dean and puts his hands on Dean's shoulders, looking him square in the eye. "He's your brother, and you miss him. You've been moping around for months. You're older, you're the adult. Act like it."

Dean scowls, irritated at the route the conversation has taken. Because he knows all of this, he's told himself it over and over again, but that doesn't mean that he actually wants to hear it from Benny. Even if Benny's right. Benny's frequently right, and it's annoying sometimes. It's annoying a lot of the time. But he's asking Benny to do a pretty big favor, so this is probably a small price to pay. 

Besides, Dean knows what's going to happen - he's going to call up Sam, and Sam's not going to answer his phone because he'll recognize Dean's number. And things will continue as they have been all along. 

"Fine," Dean says. Benny startles, like he hadn't been expecting Dean to actually agree, and then a broad grin breaks out across his face.

"Perfect. So, when's our debut as a couple?" Benny asks. Dean tells him about the faculty reception that's in a few days, and Benny promises to clean up and put on his best pair of jeans.

"Benny," Dean says. "It's a black tie affair." Benny complains about having to wearing a tuxedo for about ten minutes, but Dean knows he's secretly pleased - Benny's been wanting to find an excuse to wear his tuxedo again forever.