Dean was not the type to be a ‘regular.’ Anywhere. He didn’t frequent the same shops and stores, and he certainly never stayed in the same place for long. Granted, that was due to a lifetime of moving across state lines as often as the average girl revamped her wardrobe. At least, Dean could only assume as much. All he knew for certain is that he was not a regular. Anywhere.
Times were changing, however, and after moving to California to be closer to his brother after John died… well, maybe this would change too. That didn’t mean Dean had to like it.
The coffee shop was small and cozy. Dean never liked the popular places like Starbucks. They were too… busy. Too loud. Also, too friendly. He wasn’t there to make friends. He was there to get his morning dose of caffeine and move on. ASAP. Besides, he only had to do this a few more times till he could afford a damn coffee machine of his own. Then all these shops could go straight to hell.
Dean scoffed as he waited in line, staring up at the freakishly large menu above the counter as he tried to imagine how many ways a person could fuck up a simple cup of coffee. Apparently, that answer was a lot .
It didn’t matter in the end. When he reached the counter and a beaming blond with a lollipop in his mouth asked him for his order, Dean growled, “Get me whatever has the most caffeine in the largest cup you got.”
“You got it big boy,” the man behind the counter winked. “Got a name to go with that?”
Dean grunted his response and took his number and waited. The wait wasn’t long enough to inspire murder, so Dean accepted his order quietly and quickly rushed out of the store, bouncing the burning hot cup between his hands as the chilly autumn breeze swept around him. Well, as chilly as it could get for California.
Dean grumbled as he tentatively sipped at his drink, then paused. It wasn’t… bad. Something close to the opposite, in fact. He smirked and took a longer swallow before finally glancing down at his cup. His smirk faded and a scowl took it’s place.
In a messy scrawl on the side read the name, “ DAVE ” with a heart beside it.
God damn it.
He didn’t go back on purpose. It was for the sake of time, and the shop was fast, and Dean was in a hurry. He’d gotten a job for an old friend of his father’s. Ellen Harvelle. She’s heard about his passing, and through a few more sources, learned that Dean was sneaking into town to be closer to his brother. Sam already had his own life set up, but Dean was still building. She offered him a spot in her bar to get started. He’d taken it.
Now, he was running late and was several notches too low on caffeine to make it through his shift, so naturally it was an emergency. It was only chance that it was on his route to work.
When he stepped inside it was quieter than it was before. He took in the low rumble of activity and thanked God there was barely a line. He sighed in relief when he also noticed the blond from last time was nowhere to be seen.
Instead of the blond, a dark haired man around Dean’s age stood at the front counter. His stance was very different from the blond’s, where the other had been buoyant and carefree, this man seemed much more reserved. Dean appreciated it. He wasn’t in the mood for teasing winks or hearts on his cup that Jo would laugh at.
He made it to the front of the line, but before he could speak, the employee’s eyes widened and he held up a hand of silence.
“Same order?” The man asked. His voice sounded like a goddamn wreck . Did the dude eat rocks for breakfast? Daily?
“Uh, yeah,” Dean replied, unsure if he was more surprised to be remembered or the fact that the dude’s voice was the equivalent of a rocky landslide.
The other man didn’t speak again, only taking Dean’s card to pay, and then rushing away to fill the order. The wait was shorter this time. Dean smiled and nodded his thanks, then rushed out the door. He still had his shift to get to.
It was only after he walked through the doors of the Roadhouse that Jo pointed and snickered, “Who’s Dave?”
It started to become a routine. It was far from intentional. But it was on his route to work, and they were faster than most joints Dean had ever been too, so he just kept… going. He wondered if this was how it happened to everyone else. Becoming a regular. Because of god forsaken convenience . He hated it. Sort of.
Dean saw the blond a couple more times, but never at the front counter. If he was ever seen, he was usually hidden away in the back or helping serve up orders on the busy days. The dark haired one was nearly always in front, and he always remembered Dean. Or in his eyes, Dave . Dean still hadn’t corrected them yet.
How exactly was he supposed to fix that? Was he just supposed to say, “Oh by the way, my name’s Dean and you’ve been writing my name wrong for weeks.” He couldn’t just say that, could he? Should he? Damn it.
It was only made worse by the fact that Dean was coming in almost every day before shift, and he was starting to actually… notice things. Like how the shop always smelled more like baked treats and candy than coffee. Or how there were so many windows Dean wasn’t sure he’d ever seen the indoor lights on.
He also couldn’t help but notice other things, too. Like the way the blond one was always glancing between him and the dark haired employee. Or how whenever the dark haired one turned to make Dean’s order, the blond one would wink and nudge the other playfully. The dark haired one always came back with the order, his cheeks a little more flushed than when he’d first turned away.
The dark haired one had startling blue eyes, too. He’d never really paid attention before. There was never any reason to. He wasn’t sure when he noticed either, only that once he did, it was all he really thought about. He’d catch himself looking at the sky and thinking it wasn’t nearly as blue as the ones looking back at him in that stupid shop.
It was starting to get ridiculous. He didn’t even know the guy’s name. The guy didn’t even know his name. How the fuck did that even happen?
“Dean, you’re zoning again,” Sam called, snatching Dean out of his thoughts.
Dean grumbled and looked at his brother. They were in Sam’s apartment, playing some new game Sam had been raving about for weeks. Meanwhile, Jess was out with friends and wasn’t due back for a few more hours. It was quality brotherly bonding time. Something Dean had sorely missed, and he couldn’t even stay focused on that.
“Sorry,” Dean muttered, shooting at an enemy soldier in the nick of time.
Sam was silent for several moments until the battle ended. Instead of starting up the next one, he nudged Dean with his elbow.
“Something goin’ on?” Sam asked.
Dean shook his head and stretched out his legs, groaning as blood started rushing back to the feet he’d been sitting on for the past hour.
“Nah,” Dean replied. “Just tired. Pulled a double shift last night cause of some event at the Roadhouse. It paid good though.”
“Sure,” Sam nodded, humming. “Is that why you’ve been zoning out for the past two weeks ?”
“What?” Dean snapped his gaze to meet his brother’s. “I haven’t been--”
“Uh, you have, Dean. Something’s bugging you. What gives?”
Dean sighed and glanced at the TV, their record kills glowing back at them.
“I don’t know,” he dodged. “Stupid stuff. Little stuff. It’s not a big deal.”
“Big enough for you to let me win ? Like, all night?”
“I didn’t let you win.”
“So you admit I’m better than you?” Sam grinned. Dean scowled.
“Fine,” Dean grumbled, picking up his controller again. “There’s this dude at this dumb coffee shop--”
“The one that keeps getting your name wrong?”
“How’d you know?”
“Dean, every time I see you with a to-go cup it says DAVE on the side of it. All caps. Pretty sure that’s not your name, and you keep getting the same cup with the same name on it, so it’s definitely your order and you haven’t corrected them yet. How come?”
“God damn it,” Dean muttered. “Cause the guy remembers me every time I walk through the door and always has my order ready within a minute. And he’s super hot so it doesn’t make it easy to just--”
“Dude, he’s cute?”
“Uh, not just cute. Hot. Like burn-me-at-the-stake-and-I’d-be-okay-with-it kind of hot.”
“Nice,” Sam nodded, then furrowed his brow. “So you want to ask him out but he thinks your name is…” He snickered, “ Dave ?”
“If you ask him nicely, maybe,” Sam replied. “But give him your actual name first.”
“Fuck off, Sammy,” Dean growled. “Now start the next round. I need to kill something.”
“Sure thing. As long as you promise to actually talk to this guy?”
“Fine. Fine. Start the game, damn it.”
This was stupid. God. Damn. Stupid.
Dean clenched his fist at his side and stared up at the coffee shop sign. Angel’s Touch . What the fuck kind of name was that? That should be the name of a strip club, not a goddamn coffee shop.
He took a deep breath and shoved his fists in his pockets. It was time to do this. He could do this . God damn it.
Another steeled breath, and he pushed through the doors. It was low in activity, as it often was at that hour. The blond was nowhere in sight, and only a few other patrons sat at tables around the shop.
Dean wandered up to the counter, thankful that the dark haired on was distracted with something near the back and hadn’t noticed him yet. Once he turned, however, Dean felt his resolve weaken at the other man’s intense blue gaze.
“Oh, hello,” the man smiled. It was small, but genuine. He wasn’t sure he’d ever seen a full-fledged smile from the guy. He kind of wanted to change that.
One thing at a time, Dean cursed to himself. He offered a thin smile back and braced his hands on the counter. Just be calm, man. Be calm.
“The usual?” The man offered.
“Uh, something different today, actually,” Dean replied. His palms were sweating. Fuck .
The other man’s smile grew slightly and a quizzical look crossed his features.
“Oh?” He asked. “What can I get for you?”
Dean licked his lips. He could feel his heart beating in his ears.
“I…” He started, paused. Fuck!
Finally, “Dean,” he wheezed.
“I’m sorry?” The man’s nose scrunched up in confusion. God fucking fuck. No. It’s not cute. Shut up, brain . Fuck.
“Dean,” he said again, louder this time. “Dean, not Dave. My name is Dean.”
The other man’s head tilted briefly, absorbing, then he froze. His eyes widened ever so slightly and his posture straightened.
“ Oh .” He murmured. “Oh.”
“Yeah,” Dean stated, dumbly. “Uh, yeah.”
“I apologize,” the other man continued, placing his hands against the counter as well. “I just… I saw Gabriel write your name down that day… I just thought… Oh fuck ,” the man cursed and placed a hand over his eyes. “Of course. Of course Gabriel would write the wrong name. He does it for fun. Constantly. It’s why he’s not supposed to be up front, fuck--”
Dean’s face split into a grin. God damn it he could get used to hearing that voice say fuck . But then, reality sank back in and he quickly stammered, “Uh, no, no. It’s not a big deal. I just wanted to let you know, cause… you know.”
“What?” The other man lowered his palm, staring at him with that old head tilt.
“I,” Dean swallowed. Moment of truth . “I thought you should know. In case you said yes.”
“A date.” Dean’s jaw snapped shut. “With me,” he barely added.
The man’s eyes widened once more. Pink dusted his cheeks and he glanced around the room before looking back at Dean.
“You want me to go on a date.”
“You can say no,” Dean stammered out. The other man stared at him for several long moments. Dean shifted uncomfortably, trying not to let it get to him.
The man was damn near unreadable . Until, a tick of movement crossed his face, then a smile. It grew slowly, then burst wide all at once and Dean was blinded.
“What?” Dean managed.
“Or Cas. But my name is Castiel. I thought you should know. You did ask me on a date.”
“Castiel,” Dean said, grinning madly. “Nice. When do you get off work?”
Cas grinned back at him. “At eight.”
“Can I swing by and pick you up?”
Cas smirked and grabbed a cup and a sharpie. Dean watched with rapt attention until Cas handed it over.
In bold, black letters, in all caps, read the word, “DEAN. ” Below it was a string of numbers. With a heart at the end.
Before Dean could speak, Cas stated, “Text me. I’ll let you know as soon as I’m off for the night.”
Dean beamed. “I will. Count on it.”
Cas grinned back, the pink settling to a rosy hue. Dean doubted he looked any different.
“See you tonight,” Cas replied.
Dean didn’t even make it to his car before he sent off the text. He didn’t have to wait a minute before the reply text came.
“I owe Gabriel ten bucks. He said you’d make the first move.”
“What did you bet?” Dean texted back.
“That you wouldn’t at all .”
“I’ll pitch in five bucks.”
“Don’t encourage him . ”
Dean laughed and climbed into his car.
“You know, I never thought I’d be a regular at a coffee shop. ”
“I’m glad you are.”
He never did buy that damn coffee machine. But he did keep the cup.