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O Captain, Not Our Captain

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“I don’t understand why they keep the peace with you. I mean you slept with damn near every female on the ship, they know it, and they don’t say anything. They don’t claw each other’s eyes out. They don’t throw drinks in your face in the mess. Hell they don’t file sexual harassment complaints against you.” Castiel said as he did up the last of the buttons on his crisp uniform shirt.

“Hey, complaints like those would be unwarranted since they are never innocent in the seduction part.” Dean pointed out with a finger as he tucked the edges of his shirt into his pants, straightening them out with jerky motions. “And anyway,” tightening of the belt, “I’m a great lay.” He ran his hands over his uniform, smoothing out wrinkles. “They think if they keep the peace there is a chance I’ll make my way back to them at some point. I’m a hot commodity and they all want a piece.” He smirked and held out his arms as if displaying the goods. Suddenly Castiel was in his space, hands gripping his shoulders as he pushed the other man back against the wall of the small room.

“None of them are getting a piece anymore.” Castiel’s voice was low, rough, firm.

“Of course not, babe.” Dean smirked and leaned forward as much as he was able to kiss the man pinning him. With a barely there moan Castiel leaned into the kiss, his hands moving over Dean’s shoulders, up his neck, and into his hair. Dean lifted his hands to work his fingers between Castiel’s, tugging the hands from his hair. “Shit.” Dean breathed as he pulled back. “I would really like to keep this up.” Dean laughed breathlessly. “Maybe go for another round. But babe, I got to report to duty.” One more quick kiss and then Castiel took a step back to give Dean room to straighten himself out once more.

Both men made themselves presentable, making sure no one would suspect what they had been doing in their brief break, quickly moving about the cabin. Finally Dean reached a hand out to the keypad, hesitating to touch it as he looked back at Castiel.

“Go. I’ll see you again soon enough.” Castiel’s lips twitched with the hint of a smile.

“But we won’t be able to touch. You should kiss me once more to hold me over.” Dean smirked and lifted his chin. He waited as the other man took a step to close the distance between them and give him a chaste kiss on the lips. “It’s not enough.” Dean breathed.

“It’ll have to do.” Castiel sighed. “Go or you’ll be late. And you know Sam will ask questions.”

“You’d think being the older brother would warrant me some privacy from the little snoop.” Dean murmured, kissed Castiel once more on the cheek, and touched his finger tips to the keypad. The door hissed open and Dean stepped out into the hall beyond with a brief salute. Castiel lifted his hand in return just as the door closed once more, leaving him alone in his quarters.

“Cutting it a little close, aren’t you?” Sam said quietly, leaning into his brother as the older man took his spot at the briefing table.

“Close, but on time.” Dean said as he adjusted his uniform once more out of habit.

“Occupying yourself with yet another crew member, Dean? Really?” His words were more hissed this time, disapproving.

“None of your business, Sammy.” Dean turned a frown on his younger brother before turning his attention to the door leading to the Captain’s private office just as it slid open to admit the man into the briefing room, followed closely by his First Officer Lieutenant Commander Rufus Turner and Chief of Security Castiel Novak. The men and women gathered around the table stood at attention before a nod from the Captain sent them back into their seats.

The meeting was the standard morning briefing, each Lieutenant present there to give the Captain a rundown of the day’s schedules, any issues in their departments, needs for the people under their command. It was a meeting Dean Winchester firmly believed could be summed up in a handful of written reports sent to the Captain, he was even willing to sit through a one on one meeting with the leader of the ship, anything other then the hour long, nap-inducing rundown of the ship’s departments and passengers. But he had to admit it gave him a legitimate excuse to stare across the table at a certain blue eyed Security Officer for the better part of an hour.

Finally the Captain gave a brief nod, thanked those gathered, and sent them off to get back to the work they had already been in middle of when the meeting had started. Dean was getting ready to stand with a stretch, already thinking up a line to throw at Benny to avoid any further conversation with his brother, when he made one final glance at Castiel to find the man looking at him intently. Dean hesitated a second, hands on the edge of the table to give himself leverage now gripping tight at the slight shake of the other man’s head.

“Lieutenants Winchester.” Captain Singer stood looking at the two men. “I need a word with both of you, please.” He waved a hand, motioning for them to join him in his private office.

Sam, already standing, began to follow immediately while Dean took his time standing, eyes still on Castiel. As he took slow steps around the briefing table to follow, Dean let his eyes sweep the room quickly to see the last of the others leaving out of the opposite door, attentions turned elsewhere, so as he stepped even with Castiel, who had not moved once he had stood up, he reached out a hand.

“The report came in while I was talking with him before the meeting.” Castiel said quickly, leaning into the feel of Dean’s hand on his forearm.

“What report?” Dean tried to stay calm, but begin to fail miserably. They heard the gruff clearing of Captain Singer’s throat and turned to see the doorway blissfully empty, but knew they were being waited on.

“You better get in there. I’ll find a reason to come down to the Engineering bay as soon as I can.” Castiel spoke as Dean began walking past him to the Captain’s ready room. With one last glance back to the other man to give a small smile of reassurance, Dean nodded once in acknowledgment before crossing the threshold of the other room, the door whispering shut behind him.

“Sir? What is this about?” Sam spoke up from his position at attention in front of the Captain’s desk.

“Not in here, boy. At ease.” Bobby waved a hand in frustration and nearly collapsed into his chair.

“What’s going on Bobby?” Dean was quickly beginning to panic.

“Got a report not an hour ago; your father is coming to visit the ship.” Bobby looked from one man to the other, trying to gauge their reactions. Dean barely held in the curse he wanted to utter, hands seeking the edge of the Captain’s desk for stability.

“What? Why?” Sam looked up at his brother for reassurance before looking back to the man across from him.

Captain Bobby Singer had been like a father to the brothers from an early age, taking them into his home more and more often over the years after the death of their mother, when their father had thrown himself into his military space career. His wife Karen jumped at the chance to take care of her late friend’s boys in the wake of finding out she would never have any of her own. Bobby had been considering retirement, a chance to go home permanently to be with his wife and the boys when Karen had fallen ill. Taking leave, Bobby had been there when his wife passed away. The boys were teenagers then, and all three were eager to leave the house with too many memories. Instead of retirement, Bobby took the boys with him as he was given a ship of his own, raising them among the stars when John still refused to step up.

It had taken little to no convincing for the boys to go to the Academy when the time came; both wanting to make their surrogate father proud by joining the fleet and ascending in the ranks. There was a lot of talk of Dean making Captain some time soon, but neither brother listened to the hype, content to follow Captain Singer in his orders and serve under him as Lieutenants of Engineering and Science.

While they had seen their father sporadically over the years, the Captain of the Impala, legendary forward fleet destroyer, mostly kept to his own and away from his sons. What could possibly bring him out this way to visit a standard colony ship making runs between planets keeping the peace?

Bobby took a deep breath before leaning forward placing his arms onto the edge of desk. “The official report says he is coming by to take a look at a few of my officers, looking to recruit.” He looked each boy in the eye. “His byline is that he wants to visit his sons.”

“You don’t think the two things are related, do you?” Sam’s voice was starting to tremble. Dean took a step closer, laying a hand on his younger brother’s shoulder.

“He hasn’t tried to get us on his ship this far, Sammy, I am sure it’s nothing.” Dean looked up at his Captain. “Just a line to make him seem more sympathetic to those granting his visit.” Bobby’s lips tightened in a frown as he nodded stiffly, offering his agreement.

“Report says he’ll be here a week.” The older man leaned back in his chair with a sigh. “It’s not too long, and then he’ll be on his way again.”

“Yeah.” Sam nodded as his eyes shifted over the tabletop in front of him before looking up at his brother with a faint smile and a firmer nod. “Yeah, just a week. We can handle that easy enough. Right Dean?”

“Don’t look at me, Sam. Can you handle not arguing with him for that long?” Dean smirked at the bitch face that question earned him.

“I’ll have plenty of work to keep you busy.” Bobby offered, his eyes shooting to look at Dean. “Both of you.” Both boys nodded. “Good. He’ll be here in two days.” Bobby stood up, his old joints popping at the sudden movement. “Best be getting back to your jobs, this ship ain’t going to run itself.” He stepped out from behind the desk.

“Thanks for the heads up, Bobby.” Sam nodded as he stood and made his way to the door a step ahead of Dean. “I’ll be down in the labs, reviewing those research reports I told you about, if you don’t need me on the bridge.”

“Of course.” Bobby waited until the door slid open and Sam had already stepped outside with a salute to his Captain before clearing his throat to get Dean’s attention. Dean stopped inside the doorway, letting it close ahead of him quietly once his brother had stepped down the hall.

“Something else?” Dean asked with a slight frown.

“Tell Castiel to keep his guard up while your old man is here. That boy is too damn good at his job and you know John is going to be keeping a very close eye on him. Recruiting officers my ass, he is coming to look at you boys and my chief of security. And I ain’t in the mood to let any of ya go just yet. And I am especially not in the mood to hear how Castiel is always just five minutes ahead of or behind you.” Bobby looked pointedly at Dean. “You boys are fooling a lot of people, but you know your daddy is going to be keeping watch. Don’t need to go setting off his alarms.”

Dean opened and closed his mouth, meaning to say something in his defense but could think of nothing. Of course the Captain knew about Dean and Castiel’s relationship, they had never tried to hide it from him, knowing it would be better if their superior knew. He was the only one they told, but then Benny had seen one long look too many and figured it out on his own, but the rest of the crew had been kept in the dark. It wasn’t that it wasn’t allowed, being out here in space, crew members brought their families along or where known to have relationships while aboard ship. It happened. The two men where even sure that most of their peers would be ok with the little detail that they were both men. But the relationship was still new, still a little unsure, and both men would rather keep it to themselves for the time being. So they told their Captain in the interest of honesty, but kept the rest to themselves.

John Winchester would not take to the news of his son’s activities well, his old fashioned military views were widely known. No keeping time with crew mates. No homosexuality. And sure as hell no close relationships with another species, least of all Angels. John would look at Castiel as an asset as one of the most respected and praised security officers in the fleet, but he would be weary since he was an Angel.

“He’s coming out here for Cas, isn’t he?” Dean’s words were barely above a whisper. “He wants him in his crew for prestige or even because Cas is damn good at what he does. But because he’s an Angel he doesn’t trust him enough to ask for the transfer outright.” He looked up at the older man just as Bobby let out a heavy sigh. “He’s coming all this damn way to see if Cas is worth it because he is an Angel. But he can’t say that outright because if he doesn’t like the look of Cas and leaves without him everyone will know it was because John Winchester is a bigoted asshole.” Dean was nearly shaking with anger by now. “Using Sam and me as a cover.”

“That’s just what I am thinking, boy. It ain’t confirmed.”

“Yeah it is. We know him.” Dean shook his head and his shoulders sagged. “Thanks for not saying anything in front of Sam.”

“Of course. Boy doesn’t need another reason to be mad at John.” Dean huffed out a dry laugh at Bobby’s words.

“Sure.”

“Look, just tell Castiel to keep his nose clean and on guard. John will be here and gone in no time at all and life can go back to normal on this boring ship.” Bobby clapped him on the shoulder, gently nudging him toward the door before touching the keypad. The door hissed open and they stepped out into the short hallway beyond. Instead of making for the end leading to the rest of the ship, the left Sam had made earlier, Bobby directed Dean to the right, toward the bridge. “Better be getting back to work then.” A firm squeeze of his hand before Bobby released him gave Dean a little bit of comfort just before they stepped into the open space of the bridge.

“Attention on deck, Captain Singer is present.” Castiel’s rough voice filled the room, quieting everyone as they snapped to attention, and Dean couldn’t stop the slight uptick of his lips at the fact that, of course, Cas would be watching the door and would be the first to see the Captain step in.

“At ease everyone.” Bobby took a deep breath and strode to his chair, confidently the Captain of the ship once more. Immediately Commander Turner was by his side to speak with him. Dean gave a brief nod to Castiel with that same small smile to reassure the other man before turning back the way he had come in. After all, he had to be down in Engineering doing his job, not wasting time up on deck with his boyfriend. Castiel had promised to see him later anyway, they could talk more then about the report he had heard while in the Captain’s ready room before the briefing.

Dean wasn’t surprised at all to find his brother standing outside Engineering waiting for him. Running his hand over his face with a heavy sigh, Dean stepped closer to his brother.

“Aren’t you a level short? Get lost, Sammy?”

“Don’t call me that.” Sam hissed as he looked around, making sure none of their crew mates heard the nickname. “What took you so long? I thought you were right behind me.”

“Bobby just wanted to have a word.” Dean shook his head and walked past his brother into the Engineering bay.

“What did he want to talk about? Is he worried about Dad’s visit? What are you not telling me, Dean?”

“No, he’s not worried, and you shouldn’t be either, just calm down.” Dean stopped and turned to face his brother. “You know, I get that this is the new, big problem, but there are other issues on this ship. Issues that someone, such as the Chief of Engineering, has to take care of to keep this ship running as smooth as it does.” He clapped his brother on the shoulder. “Don’t you have your own department to take care of? Didn’t you mention some experiments taking place on the deck separate and below this one?”

“That was so vague I can’t tell if that question means you were actually paying attention during the briefing or is further evidence that you weren’t.” Sam’s words made his brother laugh.

“Am I interrupting something?” Castiel’s sudden appearance startled the brothers.

“Does anybody know where they work?” Dean threw up his hands. “What are you doing down here?”

“You mentioned running sensor checks today. I thought I would aid you in that seeing as I am not strictly needed on the bridge at this time.” Castiel tilted his head slightly to the side and Dean had to remind himself that his brother was standing right there, so he needed to keep from kissing that innocent look off the other man’s face.

“You want to help with sensor checks?” Dean asked skeptically, crossing his arms over his chest. “It’s not exactly your area. And very routine, boring work.”

Castiel hesitated only a moment, enough for only Dean to notice, before he puffed his chest out a breath and answered. “I believe in continuing one’s learning when given the opportunity. And with the ship currently between assignments, my own work is “routine” and “boring” right now.” Dean also saw the way the other man’s hands twitched, wanting to make actual finger quotes but he refrained since the last time Dean had laughed at him for the gesture.

“You should hang out with Lieutenant Novak more, learn a few things from him.” Sam said with a small laugh. “Ok, I do need to get down to the labs.” He turned back to his brother for a moment. “I’ll talk to you later, then?”

“Of course.” Dean nodded and waved his brother out of the room. Waiting until his brother was out of earshot, he leaned into the other man’s space. “You hear that, Cas, I can learn a lot from you. We should get together more often.”

Castiel’s eyes roamed the area, taking in the other crew members working at their stations not paying any attention to the two officers in their midst. Finally he turned back to Dean with barely contained lust in his eyes. “I would gladly accept such an undertaking.” Dean felt a shiver run down his spine as Castiel’s eyes roamed his body.

“Dammit, Cas.” Dean took a deep breath and turned to his office, motioning for the other officer to follow. “You make it really difficult to keep my hands to myself.” Dean shook his head and waited until Castiel was in the office to motion the door closed, giving them privacy. As soon as Castiel had turned to him Dean pulled him into a quick but heated kiss.

“Are you ok?” Castiel breathed out when they had finally separated, looking Dean in the eyes. “You’re worried about your father’s visit.” He let his hands run down from their position on Dean’s shoulders until he gripped the man’s hands in his own.

“A little.” Dean let out a sigh and leaned against the edge of his desk, tugging Castiel a little closer. “I think, and Bobby agrees, that he is coming to visit to check you out, looking to recruit you for his unit.”

“Are you sure?” Castiel frowned. “Are you aware that John Winchester has turned down many Angels Starfleet has tried to assign to his command in the past? Why would he suddenly want to recruit one now?”

“Yeah, trust me, I know all about the long list of good soldiers he has turned away. The best we can figure is he is getting pressure from somewhere, higher up or political platforms, I don’t know, and he doesn’t have much of a choice but to diversify his crew.” Dean rubbed his hand over the back of his neck. “You are a damn good soldier, praised by a number of Captains you have served under, and you’re not on a military vessel at the moment.”

“Dean, surely he is aware that there is a reason I do not serve on a military ship. I am no longer a soldier in the traditional sense of the word. Serving as Chief Security Officer for Captain Singer was a welcome reprieve as I wanted to help people rather than fight.”

“I know.” Dean’s words were hushed and he held on tightly to Castiel’s hands. “And Bobby isn’t going to let you transfer, even if you decided to join my father. John Winchester will visit the ship for a week, watch how you work, probably make snide comments, act like he gives a shit about his sons, and then leave just as empty handed as when he arrived. Got it?” He waited for Castiel to nod once in acknowledgment. “Anyway, Bobby told me to warn you to be careful while Dad is here.” Dean grinned. “He said we were being too obvious for anyone really watching.”

“And your father would not approve of us together.”

“Hell no.” Dean squeezed Castiel’s hands once more before letting go and stepping around his desk to begin gathering a few tools for the sensor checks. “But then, it’s been a long time since I cared what he thought.”

“Maybe Captain Singer is right, we should be more careful. I would go so far as to suggest keeping our distance from one another while your father is on board.”

“A whole week of not touching you?” Dean stepped in close again, his body pressing close to the other man’s. “That’s asking a hell of a lot from me, Cas.” The smile Castiel gave him was small, but for the man that always so stoically hid his emotions it was a wonderful sight indeed.

“I am sure you will survive.”

“That makes one of us.” Dean pulled Castiel into another kiss, this one lasting longer with neither man willing to end it until the need to breath was greater. “Ok, I really do have to get those sensors looked at.” With a small sigh he stepped away and toward the door to his office. “Are you really here to help or just making excuses to see my pretty face?”

“I’ll help.”

“Didn’t answer my question.” Dean grinned and touched the keypad to the side of the door.

“Dean!” A young voice startled both men as they exited the office, making them turn to find a boy quickly walking their way. Seeing Castiel, eyebrows raised at the familiar greeting, the boy slowed down and corrected himself. “Sorry, Sir.”

“It’s ok, Ben. What are you doing down here?”

“Mom sent me down here to find something to do. She was hoping you would have a job I could occupy myself with and stay out of her hair.” The boy shrugged, looking at the officers before him hopefully. For only a brief moment Dean thought of inviting the boy to join him and Castiel in the routine checks, but then thought of how he would have to watch his every move with the boy in the room with them and thought better of it.

“I can’t think of anything off the top of my head. But if you talk to Garth, I am sure he can find something for you to do around here.” Dean pointed out one of the men hovering over a computer panel.

“Thank you.” Ben grinned and left to talk to the Ensign at work.

“You’re ok with the boy being down here, possibly tampering with the systems, while you are not?” Castiel asked as they made their way through the main engineering bay.

“Not leaving the kid alone in the place, Novak.” Dean nodded at a few others working at their own stations as they passed. “And he’s a good kid, knows when to keep his hands to himself, and real smart.”

“He’s the son of Ms. Braeden, the teacher? The one you personally asked Captain Singer to bring aboard?”

“Yeah, that’s the one.” Dean saw out of the corner of his eye Castiel turn back one last time to see the boy before they turned down another corridor, but the Angel said nothing more. They remained silent for a while after that, making their way into one of the rooms housing control panels, computer components, and other systems. With few words Dean described what they were doing, what they were looking for on their handheld scanners, and gave the very emphatic command to “just tell me if you find an abnormality. I’ll handle it.” Castiel gave a firm nod, knowing it was best that he not touch too much since he was far out of his depth with the ship’s systems. The two men worked comfortably together, moving around one another with ease as they studied the screens in front of them. The work should have taken all morning for Dean, it was a large ship after all, but with Castiel it was taken care of quickly.

“Awesome.” Dean grinned as he tapped on the last relay, confirming the system was in working condition. “Thanks for your help, Cas.”

“Of course, Dean.” That rare twitch of a smile made an appearance just as they exited the room. “Would you like me to take your report back to the Captian? I can wait while you type it up.”

“You really are trying to horde my time, aren’t you?” Dean smirked and shook his head. “Nah, it will take me some time to get it typed up. I’ll give it to him tomorrow morning.” He glanced around once before leaning into the other officer. “I’ll see you later, yeah?” A quick brush of finger tips. “You should get back on deck. Never know when Bobby may need life saving.”

“Highly unlikely.” Castiel’s lips twitched once more and Dean couldn’t contain the laugh that burst from him, proud that the Angel got the joke. “And yes, I am sure we will have time later.” With a small nod Castiel turned as they came to Dean’s office and headed in the opposite direction, leaving Engineering behind quickly.

Dean had managed to keep himself focused enough on his report and the basic running of the starship that the planned visit from his father actually slipped his mind. It wasn’t until he was sitting at the officer’s table across from Castiel and Samandrial that evening for dinner that it was brought back to his attention by Lieutenant Milton.

“I heard we have a very special visitor coming for a short visit.” The small red head had begun talking before she even sat down, catching the men’s attentions quickly from their own conversation about Samandial’s helm computer.

“Being Chief Communications Officer, I would imagine it is specifically your job to read such communiques and relay them to the Captain.” Castiel said with a frown and barely there glance at Dean.

“Actually I didn’t catch the transmission myself since it came in as I was gathering my reports for the briefing.” Anna shrugged off the man’s comment with a literal movement before turning to Dean sitting quietly beside her. “Your father is coming to check out recruits?” Her voice was filled with awe and it made Dean’s skin crawl. She turned to Samandrial and Castiel, as if they were interested in hearing all about the man planning a visit. “His ship, the Impala, is part of the forward fleet and he has the most victories of any Starfleet Captain in two decades. He only takes the most skilled and his standards are so high, but it’s such an honor-”

“Ok, I’m going to stop you right there.” Dean held up a hand, not even bothering to look up from his tray of food. “You want to petition for a transfer you can take it up with Captains Singer and Winchester. We don’t need to hear the man’s praises while some of us are trying to eat.” Contrary to his words, Dean pushed his tray away from him before standing. “I need a drink.” He left the table and the other officers without another glance. Samandriel hesitated only a moment before reaching across onto the abandoned tray and spearing a piece of food for himself.

“Do you think Captain Winchester is looking for a new Communications Officer?” Anna brushed off the dismissal from Dean with little effort. “I have extensive combat training.” She turned big, curious eyes on Castiel.

“I suppose you have as good of a chance as any of the officers gathered on this ship.” While Anna tried to figure out if Castiel was being sincere or not, the man stood, pushing his tray closer to Samandriel who had run out of things to poach from Dean’s tray.

Dean had made his way straight to the bar, motioning for a drink from Ellen before he had even taken a seat on one of the stools. The bartender motioned for one of her workers to serve up two crewmen sitting at the end of the bar as she stepped to Dean, grabbing up a glass and a bottle of whiskey from under the counter.

“Hear your Dad is coming to visit.” Her words were low, a private conversation for the two.

“Dammit, does the whole god damned ship know?” Dean growled and downed the drink, pushing it in front of the woman for more.

“Don’t give me that attitude, boy. Bobby had to warn me that I may go dry this evening because a certain officer would be tossing them back with a purpose.” She raised an eyebrow, poured more whiskey out, but held onto the glass for a moment.

“Sorry.” Dean mumbled out, running a hand over his face. With a little nod, Ellen passed over the glass. Ellen Harvel understood. Her husband attended the Academy with John and Bobby back in the day, all three going on to fight together in the forward fleet, bravely combating the more violent alien races. They remained close even when all three men married and became captains of their own ships. Dean is sure that Bill Harvell would have gone much the same route as Bobby had he been given the chance, commanding a peaceful ship to keep his wife and daughter close and safe, maybe even retired early to teach at the same Academy he had graduated from. But the man never got the chance. They had been sent far out to deal with a fleet of Romulans encroaching on Federation planets, terrorizing colonies. The Federation had sent out five ships to deal with the menace and only two came back. Dean and Sam had been young and Karen Singer did everything in her power to keep the details of that fight from the boys. While in the Academy himself, Dean had looked up the records, read about how his father had been far too reckless in the wake of his wife’s death, and while not blamed, the man had probably been the reason for his friend’s death. Bobby stepped down, asking to be put on a peaceful ship and took Ellen into his crew without hesitation, little Jo in tow being the first of the youths to travel in space. It had become far more common for families to accompany crew members when Bobby took the boys onto his ship, leading Dean to have justification for bringing his friend Lisa on as a teacher for the many youths among their passengers.

Ellen didn’t say anything through Dean’s second glass, hesitating for only a moment before pouring a third, this time slipping the bottle back under the counter and stepping away in a very obvious silent statement.

“Perhaps we could ask Captain Singer for some shore-leave.” Castiel’s deep voice had a surprisingly calming effect on Dean as the man sat on the stool next to him. “We are coming in close to Aldephious Four, a beautiful planet with much to help one relax.” He nodded in the direction of Ellen. “I do believe Mrs. Harvelle and her daughter are do for some R and R as well.” He seemed to have an idea. “I do believe Lieutenant Lafitte would be open to the idea as well.”

“You asking me to run away with you, Cas?” Dean held the glass of whiskey, keeping it on the bar as he turned a small smile to the man beside him.

“I prefer the term strategic relocation.” Castiel turned those impossibly blue eyes of his to Dean. He was still laughing, the ghost of a smile on Castiel’s lips only making it worse, when Benny approached the bar.

“What’s so funny over here? I didn’t think you would be smiling for quiet a while after the news I heard.” The burly cook set a plate of pie in front of Dean. “Handmade, had the computer give me the ingredients and did the rest myself. Even told the others to stay the hell away from it until you decided you didn’t want no more.”

“Benny, I would kiss you if I wasn’t sure Cas could kill us both before I got to enjoy the pie.” Dean smirked and Benny belted out a laugh. Quickly taking in a bite, Dean let out a small moan around the fork before shoveling in two more bites. “Cas here suggested we make for the closest planet to wait out the storm.” Dean pointed the tip of his fork at Castiel before scooping up more pie.

“Aldephious is a mere fifteen hours away on our current heading. There would be no chance of crossing paths. And Captain Singer could find an assignment causing him to come back this way in eight or so days.” Castiel looked from one man to the other.

“Your boy has it all figured out.” Benny raised his eyebrows at his friend.

“He’s kinda awesome like that.” Dean’s smile turned soft for a moment before he pushed the plate back to Benny. “Could I get another slice?”

“Of course, brotha.” When Benny had disappeared back into the kitchen, Dean turned just the slightest bit to the man next to him, not wanting to draw too much attention.

“You know I can’t. If he is coming out here to see you he would just make an excuse for another visit or extend this one. He gets what he wants, Cas. And running away just isn’t my style.” Dean shot a quick look around the bar, making sure no one was paying them any attention. “But thank you.” He reached over and grabbed Castiel’s hand in a firm grip. “Maybe after all this blows over, we could make that trip. Just you and me?”

“I think it would not go unnoticed if you and I were to take shore leave together, alone.” Castiel’s eyes were wide as he stared at the man still holding his hand.

“People are going to notice if you two keep playing grabby hands and making eyes at each other.” Benny broke up the moment as he put the plate down once more, a larger slice than the first on it.

“Yeah, well, maybe it’d be a good thing if the crew knew.” Dean refused to look up, taking his hand back to pick up his fork.

“Is Dean Winchester suggesting he publicly acknowledge a relationship?” Benny’s voice was low, but the surprise was very clear. “Castiel, you may have made the Lieutenant grow up.” He gave a small chuckle and shook his head. “Good for you, brotha.” With a quick rap of his knuckles on the bar, Benny turned and left the men alone in silence. Dean stared fixedly down at his barely touched dessert and Castiel stared at him in shock.

“Are you serious about that, Dean?” He had never heard the Angel anything less than sure, confident, outside of the bedroom at least. It made Dean pause.

“Yeah, I am.” He nodded and his smile grew.

“You are what?” Sam’s voice startled the two men.

“I am serious about taking a vacation after this is over.” Dean said honestly, recovering quickly from the shock of his brother’s arrival. He turned to face the newcomer, brushing against Castiel in the process.

“If you will excuse me, I must check in on the bridge. Must ensure Officer Danielles has everything under control so that I may go off duty.” Castiel stood with a nod at the brothers, his gaze lingering on Dean for only a moment.

“Novak.” Dean said with a small tilt of his head in farewell as Sam lifted a hand in salute. Castiel left the two to talk and made his way to the bridge, a small smile tilting the corners of his lips in what could be considered barely contained happiness for the Angel.

“A vacation, eh?” Sam asked with a hint of skepticism.

“Yeah, I think it’s about time I got off this ship. Took some time to myself. Maybe with a little someone special to keep me company.”

“Ah, there it is.” Sam nodded with a frown. “I suppose it’s a step up, taking someone off the ship with you rather than spending your time in a brothel.” Dean pursed his lips tightly, not letting his brother’s words visibly ruffle him.

“I don’t pay for sex, Sammy.” Dean let his fork clatter to the plate still holding most of a slice of pie as he stood. With a short wave of his hand at Benny who was approaching once more, Dean threw back his whiskey and left his stunned brother without another word.

“Don’t know how you managed to upset him enough to give up pie. Ain’t never seen that happen before.” Benny frowned down at the plate before turning his disapproval on the younger Winchester. “Guess it’s a special skill younger brothers have. Makes me glad I don’t know of any family I may have.” The burley man shook his head and collected the plate, giving Sam barely another glance before he walked back into the kitchen to put away the pie, intent on saving it for Dean. “May have to make another if he has to deal with both that boy and John.” Benny muttered under his breath as the door slid shut behind him. Sam was left to himself at the bar for only a moment before he was joined by a small, blond vision.

“What did you do this time, Winchester?” Jessica Moore smiled sweetly up at her fellow officer; even sitting, he towered over the tiny Chief of Medicine.

“I don’t even know. Said something wrong I guess.” Sam shook his head with a sigh. “I think the prospect of our father’s visit is putting more stress on Dean than he needs. He’s even talking about going off ship afterward.”

“Oh wow. I don’t think Dean has been off the ship for anything other than away missions in the five years I have served under Captain Singer.” Jessica said wide eyed.

“I know!” Sam huffed. “I thought he could get all the R and R he prefers on ship, too. Never had the need for going down to a planet.”

“Hmmm.” Jessica frowned.

“What?”

“Well, it’s gossip is all it is, I shouldn’t say anything.” She shook her head.

“What is? Jessica, what’s gossip?” Sam leaned an arm onto the bar’s edge and gave the woman his full attention.

“Working in medical I hear a lot of talk, not only from my own staff but you know, women coming in. There seems to be a lot of hushed talk about Dean. Mainly the way he hasn’t been seen with anyone in a while.”

“What do you mean?”

“It’s a small ship, Sam, and women notice things. And they really notice when the ship’s biggest flirt stops making the rounds.” She waggled her eyebrows and the sight may have made Sam laugh if he wasn’t so confused.

“Are you sure? Just this morning he was running behind schedule, was almost late for the briefing.” He gestured a thumb over his shoulder as if pointing at the bar would show the conversation he had just had with his brother. “And he made a crack about taking someone special with him when he went on leave.”

“Well unless he is keeping it real secret for some reason, he hasn’t been entertaining lately. Lisa Braeden even said she saw him brush off one woman’s flirting.” Jessica shrugged.

“How long has this being going on?”

“Well, a while now I suppose. It took a bit for the women to notice and then for them to start talking. And you know I don’t partake in the gossip, so it’s gotten a little out of hand if I am hearing about it.”

“I wonder what is going on with him.” Sam’s shoulders slumped as he thought about his brother.

“Ok, I didn’t mean to upset you.” Jessica bit her bottom lip. “Well, no I guess I did since I came to ask how you are handling the news of your father’s visit. But I didn’t mean to add to the list of things to worry about.” She reached out and laid a small hand on his arm.

“No, actually it’s good. I’ll be busy wondering if Dean is sick, won’t have time to think about Dad making a scene over anything.” He tried to offer her a smile, but it was forced.

“Ok, no, you know what. I think you need a good massage, a day at the holodeck spa.” Jessica smiled and squeezed his arm. “Tomorrow, right after the briefing, I want you to go down to deck five and visit holodeck C for some relaxation.” She stood and placed a small kiss on the man’s cheek. “Doctor’s orders.” She was gone before he could respond, although he wasn’t sure what he would have said given the chance.