When one of John Winchester’s oldest friends called, convinced that something had taken over his town, the Winchesters had made a beeline toward western Nebraska. Sam, Dean, and Castiel had arrived and quickly discovered that a ghoul had indeed taken up residence as the local priest. Not only that, it seemed that an entire group of ghouls had descended upon the town.
All had assumed leadership roles within the church and community at large, taking advantage of both the ample feeding ground the church’s graveyard provided and relative seclusion of the town. Recently however, the ghouls had gotten a taste for fresher flesh, resulting in a dramatic uptick in the town’s disappearances.
Indeed, Roosevelt Lowd had been correct in his suspicions. After a few failed attempts to get the ghouls properly alone, more drastic measures seemed to be in order. Castiel still isn't sure who came up with the ridiculous idea in the first place. All the angel knows is that, by the end of their strategizing session, Dean had agreed to pretend to be the long-distance boyfriend of Lowd’s eldest daughter Dianne, who was close to Dean’s age and a prime example of what Castiel knew human men to consider “beautiful.” A “wedding,” it was decided, would be the easiest way to get all the ghouls in one place at the same time.
Sam and Castiel had been given, at least in the angel’s opinion, the dubious honor of “planning” the “wedding.” Hastily, they set about getting together what the younger Winchester dubbed the bare minimum required for a believable wedding. Soon, Castiel finds himself standing in one of the aisles of the local flower shop. Sam slowly inspects row after row of flowers as Castiel follows closely behind, completely at a loss as to how he was supposed to be useful in this situation.
“What do you think, Cass? Would Dean like tulips or calla lilies better?” Sam asks, holding up specimens of both flowers.
Shaking his head, Castiel says, “I don’t…”
“Come on, man. Humor me,” Sam interrupts, smiling.
Sighing, Castiel thinks for a moment then says, “Snapdragons and mistletoe.”
Sam stares at him for a moment before visibly shaking himself, “That’s not… Um, why those two, Cass?”
“Both have magical protective properties,” Castiel says.
For some reason, he neglects to tell Sam that they were also a few of Mary Winchester’s favorite flowers. Dean had once told Castiel that he remembered Mary had always kept some of each throughout their home for decoration, or so he'd originally thought. After finding out that his mother had been raised a hunter, Dean had decided their uses in protective magic must have been why.
“Well, that’s a very uh, practical idea Cass, but mistletoe is mostly used at Christmastime.”
They end up buying a few armloads of flowers, for the “bride’s” bouquet and to modestly decorate the church. Sam's purchase mostly consists of roses and calla lilies, but Castiel notices a few snapdragons scattered throughout the bunch.
Next Sam drags Castiel to numerous craft stores. They make their way through aisle after jam-packed aisle searching for white candles and some absurd fabric called “tulle” that the angel finds himself completely entangled in on more than one occasion, much to the amusement of Sam.
“You’ve fought everything from monsters to fellow angels, and it turns out 'Hobby Lobby' is your weakness.”
Castiel simply glares at Sam, who continues laughing as he makes his way through the store. They move on to ribbons and what appears to Castiel to be other types of fabric that could be of actual use.
“All right, we’ve kept everything white so far. I think we should get a little color,” Sam says, thoughtfully.
The younger Winchester picks out a few yellows and purples.
Castiel cringes, “I really don’t think Dean would approve of these color choices, Sam.”
“Oh?” Sam looks back at the ribbon in his hand and sighs. Rolling his eyes he says, “Yeah, you’re probably right… Any ideas?”
“Black, brown, silver, and green,” Castiel replies immediately.
Sam raises an eyebrow, “Do I even want to know?”
“Black for the Impala. Brown for the leather jacket your father gave him on his 16th birthday and silver for his favorite gun. Green for Dean’s eyes,” he says simply. Sam stares at him in confusion. The angel is unsure why these choices would be strange. It seems perfectly obvious to Castiel.
Sam stares at him a moment longer before turning back to the endless wall of ribbon, “Err, all right. Let’s go with green, silver, and… This blue.”
With the colors decided, they move on to the local bakery. It’s run by a kindly, elderly woman named Mrs. Havens. She takes to them immediately, most especially after Sam informs her that they are planning a wedding for his older brother. She calls them “precious” and “adorable” which seems to make Sam highly uncomfortable. For the next hour, Mrs. Havens takes a ridiculous amount of delight in making the two of them eat far more of her products than Castiel believes is strictly necessary for this task.
At least this chore is relatively enjoyable for the angel. Castiel finds Mrs. Havens’ presence oddly comforting and her bubbly personality enjoyable. Eventually, Sam seems to take to her even more than he does, grinning as he chats amiably with her. The angel even finds that he rather likes cake.
“I think we’ll take a small red velvet cake.”
Eyeing an apple pie sitting on top of the nearby counter, Castiel turns to Sam and asks, “Why not that pie?”
“What? Cass, you have cake at a wedding,” Sam says, laughing, “It’s tradition.”
“But, Dean prefers pie.”
“Oh, how sweet you are, looking after your groom like that!” Mrs. Havens chuckles, causing Castiel to give a small, but pleased smile, “You must know him very well, dear. And what a good friend you must be.”
Castiel looks away quickly, giving a small non-committal shrug, a gesture he’d long ago picked up from the Winchesters. In the end, Mrs. Havens gives them the pie for free and sends them on their way, baked goods in hand.
Castiel doesn’t get to see much of Dean as they continue to make the necessary arrangements. The elder Winchester spends most of his time playing the happy groom for the locals, in an attempt to keep suspicions to a minimum. In the short moments he does see him, Castiel tells Dean of his adventures in wedding planning and finds himself taking great pleasure in the laughter his tales generate.
“God, Sam is such a girl! He’s probably been planning his wedding since he was a kid. I wouldn’t be surprised if he has scrapbooks lying around somewhere at Bobby’s,” wrapping an arm around Castiel, Dean grins, “Sorry, you have to put up with that, man.”
Castiel stares at Dean for longer than he probably should before remembering that he needs to reply.
“The experience has not been entirely unenjoyable,” he mumbles, glancing away, “At any rate, your brother did most of the work.”
It takes them a few days to make sure all the ghouls will be in attendance, to gather all the necessary weaponry, and to get a large enough group of hunters to act as “guests.” To that end, Sam calls Bobby to have him send some of his hunter contacts to help. After hanging up, Sam tells them that the old hunter wanted to know who he needed to send the dowry to for finally taking Dean off his hands. Dean is less than pleased.
The “ceremony” itself is set in the evening. It is to be short, with a “reception” following immediately after in the hall located next door to the church. Sam and Castiel, along with a few of the other hunters make sure the two locations are sufficiently decorated, making the other necessary preparations as they go. When everything is ready, they block all possible exits, not wanting any of the ghouls to make it out once they gather them in the hall.
Soon Castiel finds himself standing in a little room with Dean. The elder Winchester frowns at his reflection in the mirror, tugging at the bow tie around his neck.
“Sammy really went overboard on this whole wedding thing,” Dean grumbles, glaring at the mirror once more before turning to Castiel. He grins, “Well Cass, how do I look?”
Clothing has never held any interest for Castiel. To the angel, it’s simply another layer that functions as a barrier to protect a human’s body from the elements, which in turn provides cover for a human soul. A soul holds far more interest for Castiel and is more beautiful than anything mankind could ever clothe their bodies in. Dean’s soul, in particular, has always attracted Castiel. Despite all that Dean has suffered and all that he has done, the man’s soul still shines far brighter than any other human the angel has ever known.
Still, Castiel has to admit that Dean does look good in his rented tuxedo.
“Your tie is crooked,” he murmurs, moving forward and coming to a stop right in front of Dean.
He reaches up and adjusts the offending garment, knowing full well that he has once again violated the hunter’s “personal space” rule. Much to his surprise, Dean says nothing. His task complete, Castiel drops his hands, but doesn’t step back. They stare at each other. Whatever this is, seems to be a thing with them. It’s as if they’re struck by the marvelous strangeness of the other or it’s some kind of power struggle between the two of them, each daring the other to backdown first. The angel really isn’t sure which and really doesn’t care.
It would probably carry on longer, if Sam didn’t choose that exact moment to come barreling through the door.
“Come on, Dean. Everyone’s ready,” he says in a huff, before disappearing once again.
Dean rolls his eyes, but heads toward the door, “Let’s go get me fake married, Cass.”
The “ceremony” goes smoothly. Everyone is all smiles, chuckling politely at all the right parts, and Sam only has to bring Castiel’s attention to the fact that his grip on the pew in front of him is in danger of breaking the wood four times. Shortly after, everyone is ushered into the hall and once in, the hunters attack.
Weapons are pulled from suit jackets and out from under dinner tables. It’s absolute madness for what feels like only a matter of seconds, until all the ghouls lie motionless on the floor. Blood splatters accentuate Sam’s carefully chosen decorations as everyone sets to work cleaning up the mess.
It’s well past midnight before all the work is completed. Sam brings out food and beer from the kitchen, apparently foreseeing the assembled hunters being ravenous after a job well done. Music fills the air after someone finds a radio and Castiel imagines this is probably much closer to the atmosphere of a real wedding reception.
Castiel steals away from the festivities, seeking quiet and finding it in the nearby church. The dimmed lights cast a warm glow through the church. The candles Sam had lit earlier in the evening still burn brightly, lining the length of the aisle. The dancing flame even manages to make the yards of Castiel’s most hated tulle look better. The angel finds himself standing in front of the altar, close to the spot where Dean had stood a few hours before.
His eyes travel to the flowers placed on the altar. It’s a simple arrangement of the snapdragons Sam had purchased the day before, held together by a mix of green and blue ribbon.
“Sammy told me you picked those.”
Castiel turns to see Dean slowly walking towards him, hands in his pockets and his bow tie hanging undone around his neck. As he nears the altar, Dean jogs lightly up the steps. He stands next to Castiel, smiling fondly at the angel.
“How come you’re over here? I didn’t interrupt you kuymbayaing with your dad or anything did I?”
Castiel frowns, “We do not need to be in a church to speak to God.”
Dean rolls his eyes and leans against the altar, “All right, then why did you ditch the party?”
Castiel looks away, unable to put into words what exactly he’s feeling. Emotions are something the angel knows on an intellectual level. His experience is both varied and limited, but he is also aware that many humans never get a precise handle on them. More than once, Sam has complained to the angel about Dean’s emotional immaturity.
“Look, I know you weren’t exactly thrilled by this whole wedding thing-”
“It made a mockery of a sacred rite, Dean. Yes, you could say was not “thrilled” by it,” the response comes out far more heated than the angel had intended.
Dean’s eyes flash as he leans closer to Castiel, “Well, it's not like there were any better ideas floating around. Did you want us to just let these people keep on dying?”
“Of course not,” Castiel says, turning away from Dean. He moves around the altar, needing to put some space between him and his charge. He comes to a stop opposite Dean, but still refuses to look at the man.
“Look, this was the best we could come up with on such short notice,” Dean says, angrily, “I don’t get it, Cass. It’s just some words! The preacher told me what to say and I said it. Hell, it wasn’t even a real priest, it was a goddamned ghoul! Are you telling me that those stupid vows mean so much to your dad that-”
“It means something to me!” Castiel shouts as he slams his hands down on the on the altar, jarring the bundle of flowers.
His voice echos through the church, falling away into the shadows as it disappears up in the dark of the rafters. Dean’s eyes widen in shock, but Castiel can’t be bothered to care. He leans toward Dean, gripping the white fabric covering the altar.
Castiel’s tone is softer this time, but it’s teeming with rage he didn’t even know he felt, “You promised to honor and obey that girl. To-to love her until the day you die-”
“It was fake, Cass!” Dean bellows.
He moves from the front of the altar, but Castiel moves too. They end up still facing off, glaring at each other from opposite sides of the altar. Dean reaches across and grabs Castiel’s arm, in a laughable attempt to keep the angel rooted to one spot.
“It was an act, you stupid son of a bitch! I didn’t mean any of it.”
“Then that’s even worse!” Castiel yells back, “How can you stand up there and bind yourself so fully to a person you don’t even know?”
“Don’t you dare tell me again how it didn’t mean anything, you of all people know the power of words.”
Dean stops for a moment, angel and hunter staring each other down. Finally, Dean sighs, “What the hell do you want from me, Cass?”
It’s like the wind is abruptly taken out of Castiel’s sails. He stands there, blinking dumbly at his charge, unable to say one word in the response. He’s not supposed to want anything. He’s an angel. He’s less than he once was certainly, but still…
What Castiel wanted had never been part of the equation.
Castiel looks down, unable to meet Dean’s gaze. He’s unsure how this got so out of hand. He feels more than a little like the fool that he most certainly is. He hears Dean sigh and feels the hunter’s grip on his arm lessen. Dean is going to leave, as he probably should. It’s not as though Castiel could blame him after his strange outburst. But out of all the things the angel doesn’t know, the one thing he does is that the last thing he wants is for Dean to turn and walk away.
He closes his eyes and prepares himself for the inevitable.
“You know, I never did understand the parroting of the vows thing.”
Castiel tentatively raises his head, completely at a loss as to why Dean is still here, “What?”
“The “do you’s” and “I do’s” and whatever,” Dean shrugs, “Always seemed so impersonal to me.”
A grin tugs at Dean’s mouth as he walks to the front of the altar, tugging on Castiel’s sleeve as he goes. The angel follows reluctantly.
“I mean,” Dean continues, “If you’re gonna make a fool out of yourself being all sappy, you might as well do it right.”
Castiel sighs, “I have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about.”
Dean just smirks, “Humor me, Cass.”
The angel rolls his eyes at the hunter, coming to the conclusion that Dean has finally lost his mind, “What is it you think humans should say to one another, Dean?”
“Humans as a whole? I have no idea,” Castiel huffs in irritation. He begins to turn away from the hunter, but Dean gently grabs hold of him, tugging him closer until they’re only a few inches apart, “If it was me, though? I’d say something like, I know I’m an idiot and I know I make a mess of things sometimes…”
Castiel raises an eyebrow, causing Dean to chuckle, “Okay, a lot of the time, but I promise I’ll do my best to fix it. I’ll never stop trying to get it right,” Castiel feels Dean’s arm wrap around his waist, pulling the angel against him. Dean leans in, resting his forehead against Castiel’s, “I’ll never stop trying to get this right.”
They stand there like that for a long moment, content to be in each other’s company. It’s a beautiful moment. So, of course Dean ruins it.
“Well? I’m waiting.”
Dean pulls back slightly. He’s glaring at Castiel, but there’s laughter sparkling in his eyes, “Come on, man! I pour my heart out to you and you don’t have anything you’d like to say to me?”
Castiel pauses for a moment, “I agree. You can be an idiot.”
“That wasn’t exactly what I was going for.”
“I harrowed Hell for you. I turned my back on Heaven for you. I’ve died for you, Dean. I was under the impression that humans believed actions speak louder than words.”
Dean opens his mouth to speak, closes it, and considers the angel for a minute before saying, “Well, damn Cass, I’ve got nothing to say to that.”
“Miracles never cease.”
“Shut up,” Dean murmurs, grinning as he leans toward Castiel.
Castiel closes his eyes when their lips are inches apart, anticipating the feel of Dean’s lips brushing against his for the first time. What he gets instead is something small and hard pelleting his face. Actually, it feels like a thousand little somethings and not only are they hitting his face, but his entire head.
“What the hell?” Dean asks to no one in particular, as both open their eyes and turn to the church at large.
“It’s about time you two! I thought I was going to have to lock you guys in Bobby’s panic room or something,” Sam says, smiling from ear to ear.
He’s standing in the aisle, looking up at Dean and Castiel, holding a bag of what appears to be rice in his hand.
“What is wrong with you, Sam?”
“I bought this stuff. I didn’t want to let it go to waste.”
Dean glares at his younger brother, “The rice comes after the kiss, genius.”
“It’s not my fault you’re so damn slow, Dean,” Sam says, as he flings another handful of rice in his older brother’s direction before taking off down the aisle.
“Bitch!” Dean calls after him.
A muffled “Jerk!” echoes back at them from somewhere in the darkened church.
Dean shakes his head and turns back to Castiel, “Anyways…”
Castiel barely has time to turn back towards the hunter. Dean grabs Castiel’s tie, giving it a gentle tug as he presses his lips to the angel’s. It’s surprisingly tender. Dean’s lips feel soft against Castiel’s slightly chapped ones. It’s warm, welcoming, and it’s as close to a feeling of home as the angel has ever felt. Castiel wraps his arms around his charge, holding him close. The kiss is over far too quickly for the angel’s tastes, as Dean pulls back to look at him.
“Does this mean we get to do more of that now?” Castiel asks, the breathless tone to his voice catching him by surprise.
“Liked that, huh?” Dean asks. When Castiel nods, the hunter grins and nuzzles at the angel’s neck, “Well, if you liked that Cass, you’ll love what comes next.”
“What comes next?” Castiel swallows hard as Dean lays light kisses along his jaw.
“The wedding night,” Dean says, looking up long enough to wiggle his eyebrows suggestively.
“Oh my god, Dean!” Sam’s voice calls from the back of the church, “I can’t believe you’re saying stuff like that in Cass’ dad’s house!”
“That’s it! Sammy, you’re dead!”
Dean turns to chase after his brother, but stops in mid-step. He pauses only a moment longer to give Castiel a quick kiss on the cheek before grinning at him and taking off, bellowing Sam’s name all the way down the aisle.
Castiel stares after him until he disappears, a bemused but contented smile on his face. He reaches up a hand and shakes the rice that is still stuck in his hair out. Looking around one last time, Castiel’s eyes fall once again on the snapdragons on the altar. Carefully, the angel gathers up the bundle of flowers, carrying them with him as he makes his way out to his waiting family.