Whistling as he made his way through the base from his room, Dean faltered as he passed Cas’ open door. Standing in the doorway, he regarded the scene before him, brows furrowed and arms crossing over his chest.
Cas was laying on his bed, fingers interlaced on his chest as he stared at the ceiling. What gave Dean pause was the music coming through the speakers of the of the iPod dock, the female vocalist’s singing upbeat and cheerful, but frustrated.
Sometimes I hate every single
Stupid word you say
Sometimes I wanna slap you
And your whole face
Woah oh oh
There’s no one quite like you
You push all my buttons down
I know life would suck without you
Clicking his tongue, Dean gestured idly to the device he was pretty sure was Charlie’s, while Cas only slid his gaze to glance in Dean’s direction before regarding the ceiling again.
“Dude,” Dean started. “The hell are you listening to?”
At the same time
I wanna hug you
I wanna wrap my hands around your neck
You’re an asshole
But I love you
And you make me so mad I ask myself
Why I’m still here
And where could I go?
You’re the only love I’ve ever known
Those blue eyes, filled with irritation, slid over to regard Dean again, Cas’ whole head rolling into the look he now cast at Dean.
“She speaks to me.”
“Are you serious?”
He regarded the ceiling again. “I can appreciate her frustration and anger.”
But I hate you
I really hate you
So much I think it must be
It must be
Nothing else can break my heart like
No one else can break my heart like you
Oh oh oh oh oh
Dean stared at the device dubiously, brow arching higher as the woman continued to sing, then turned his head to look at the former angel again.
Cas’ eyes closed. “My room, my music, Dean. You know where the door is if you don’t like it.”
The angel had gotten a lot sassier since he’d become human, snapping in irritation when his patience frayed. He was less tolerant as a human, and rightfully going through mood swings as he tried to cope with everything that had been dumped on him or violently stripped away. This was, after all, his first time fully experiencing his own emotions, and it was like having to relearn them all over again. He was having to learn everything about being human, which included having a taste in music.
Lifting his chin, Dean smiled. “Well, I’m glad you found something you like, Cas.” He paused, looking at the ipod dock. Charlie would head back home in the morning and more than likely end up taking it back with her, leaving Cas with the record players and albums around the base. Green eyes sliding back over to the newest resident of the house, Dean hooked his thumb over his shoulder. “Well, I’m about to head out and run some errands. I don’t suppose you need anything while I’m out, do you?” he asked, jingling the keys to his baby.
Castiel’s perception of wants and needs was another thing that set him apart. He had the bare bones that met his needs, and didn’t think about indulgent wants. Cas made due with what he had and was content, a soldier, so that when he shook his head in response, Dean hadn’t expected anything else.
Dean’s first stop was to the used music store in town, tiny and cramped, with posters and novelty items throughout on display. The bell jingled at his entrance, causing the sleepy-eyed clerk to look up in greeting.
“Hi. Can I help you find something today?”
Opening his mouth to automatically brush off the offer, Dean paused and pointed at him. “Actually, you can,” he said, approaching the counter, which seemed to catch the clerk off guard as well. “I have a friend that has developed an appreciation for female singers, or maybe there are singers of both genders, I dunno, I’m a classic rock fan, anyway but singers that, like...” His gaze cast about as he tried to find the words he needed. “Dude, ‘angry chick music’ is all I can think to call it,” he looked up sharply. “Not the yelling incoherently kind, though he may like some yelling. Do you have any artists that basically use their music as their own form of therapy to help them, I dunno, deal?”
“Are we wanting emo music here or-“
Dean held up a hand. “God, no. If that were the case, I’d just loan him Sam’s music and there’s already enough of that in the house. No, like I said, angry and frustrated would be best. That’s the bulk of what he’s working through at the moment, I think.” He cast his gaze about. “Also, maybe some classical and a church music cd, though he might throw it at my head.”
Making a knowing sound as he came around the counter, the clerk motioned for Dean to follow him. “Lost his religion, huh?”
“Way more complicated than that, but yeah.” He looked around again. “And do you sell used cd players?”
He called Charlie while he was out shopping, making sure he could get a copy of whatever CD Cas had been listening to on her iPod, so he could listen to it once she left. He was happy to see he had the rest of the artist’s albums already in his hands.
“I’ve got a spare mp3 player he can have, too,” Charlie said. “So he can listen in the safety of his own head when he wants. I can even make him some playlists and mix cds. I’ll have it all set up by the time you get back.”
Dean made another stop before home, and was pleased with how seamlessly Charlie moved herself over into Cas’ space, blocking Dean and his purchases from sight as he moved through and to the corridor of rooms.
Removing Charlie’s dock, he replaced it with the small silver cd player and stand for his small collection of music. Darting across the hall, he returned Charlie her things and got the items she’d put together for Cas. For extra flare, he went ahead and put in a mix cd and put it on repeat so that it would be waiting whenever the angel made it back to his room. He set the mp3 player by the cd player on Cas’ chest of drawers, before removing the final item from the bag and placing the bag of foil-wrapped chocolate against Cas’ pillow.
Balling up the plastic bag and tossing it in the trash, Dean stood a moment, hands on his hips as he regarded his handiwork, before pivoting sharply to go start on dinner for this motley household, since it was his turn to cook.
He froze at the sight of Castiel standing in the doorway, regarding Dean and the room with a puzzled expression.
“You aren’t suppose to be here,” Dean blurted, and then immediately wanted to kick himself.
He was gonna be cool about this, smooth, no big deal. If Cas thought he was making a big deal, the angel might get offended thinking they were trying to coddle him in his new human form, thinking they thought he didn’t have what it took. Cas had a mess of insecurities in his new human state.
“It’s my room, Dean,” Cas said pointedly, before eyeing the gifts in confusion. “What are you doing?” he wondered, moving into the room, Dean revolving around him to the point where they basically switched positions and Dean stood warily at the door peering in.
The hunter let his gaze take in the other man’s appearance, the faded jeans and soft pullover sweater paired with a button down shirt. Curious fingers moved over the spines of the cd cases, inspecting them and the player, before ridiculously blue eyes drifted over to Dean again, soft with wonder and warmth.
“These are for me?”
Tongue darting over his bottom lip, Dean broke eye contact and shuffled his feet awkwardly. He cleared his throat. “It’s, uh, a house warming present. People do it when you move into a new place or something, I-I’m not very familiar with it myself.” He glanced up at Cas. “It means ‘Welcome home’.” He could feel his face heating up, and quickly looked away, coughing and nodding his head toward the bag of chocolate. “And, uh, you might want to find a drawer to hide those in. If Sam finds out you have them, they aren’t safe.”
Smiling, the angel gave a nod. “Thank you… Dean.”
Returning the expression, Dean nodded and hooked a thumb over his shoulder. “Okay, well, I have to get started making dinner-“
“May I help?” the other man asked quickly, then seemed to wince, like he hadn’t actually meant for the words to come out.
Smile spreading wider, Dean gave a single nod, reaching out to wrap an arm around the angel’s shoulders and lead him toward the kitchen. “Sure. I need all the help I can get with cooking around here. If Kevin had his way, we’d been living on ramen noodles, and Sam only knows how to make chili. And sadly, Charlie hasn’t agreed to just move in yet.”
The angel was nodding. “Yes, I’ve notice we all look forward to nights when you cook the most.”
“It’s because I’m awesome.”
Cas turned his head to look at him, their eyes meeting, and Dean saw that some of the haunted expression that had been lurking in them was gone. “You are awesome,” he agreed, and Dean squeezed his shoulder affectionately and launched into an explanation of what they were having for dinner and where they had to start.