Dean gripped the cassette tightly in his hand, glancing back and forth between the tacky human version of a love confession and the waste bin in the hall. How stupid was it to think of giving Cas a mixed tape?
Epically stupid? Or just monumentally stupid? Dean exhaled deeply. What was he thinking, making this for Cas, for a wizard? Giving mixed tapes as gifts was a no-maj tradition. Not for the first time, Dean cursed himself for having such unimaginable interests. If he spent half as much time learning about magical society as he did dabbling in human pop culture he wouldn't have this problem. Hell, he'd been the Defense against the Dark Arts teacher for nearly two years. As the token muggle on staff, he'd had plenty of time to get to know the habits of the wizards and witches he worked with and taught everyday.
It wasn't like he didn't think the magical world was amazing. Before this gig, he'd been a hunter. A lonely one. His brother had packed up and left for good—headed off to Stanford. He's dad was in the ground, victim of a demon attack the year before. Dean had been out of luck and out of friends and at the end of his rope. Truth be told, three years ago, he was a barely functioning alcoholic. Dean Winchester was just another run-of-the mill, washed-up, human. Only thing that made him special was that he was clued in to all the evil shit that haunted the shadows—or at least he thought he was… Until Bobby opened the door for him to a whole new universe.
Bobby, a man who'd helped raise him, had a secret, one he’d kept from Dean and John for decades. Bobby was a wizard—and an important one. He was Defense against the Dark Arts teacher at the most prestigious school of magic in North America, some place called Ilvermorny. After laying that on Dean, Bobby casually mentioned that he’d put Dean's name in as his replacement since he wanted to retire.
Lucky for Dean, the pencil pushers in the US Department of Magical Education determined that each school wanting to receive federal funding had to meet quotas by hiring at least one no-maj, elf, and goblin. According to Bobby, Affirmative Action meant that Dean could get ‘a real damn job and stop being an idjit and a goddamn drunk.’ It also meant, according to Bobby, that Ilvermorny’s students would get the expertise of one of the best hunters in the US—mag or no-maj.
For the first months at Ilvermorny, hell, for nearly his first full year being part of this new world, he'd walked around with his mouth open. Although Dean had spent his life fighting monsters, slack-jawed amazement was his new default setting.
After a small adjustment period, it turned out that Bobby had been right about Dean and the job. Dean was well-versed in the monsters, in spell-work, and he had a desire to know more. A couple of times the last year, he’d even been able to surprise the students (and their pain in the ass parents) by correcting their textbooks and teaching the kids some practical skills. Bobby and Sammy loved books, and Dean loved doing, and it seemed most of his students preferred to be up and casting spells rather than reading books and writing essays. Despite Dean’s success with most of the kids, a lot of the parents still had sticks up their asses, and his coworkers hated him. Since day one, his colleagues’ whispers of mud monkey, muggle, and no-maj followed him everywhere. His peers and supervisors barely tolerated him—all of his coworkers save one.
Herbology Professor Castiel Novak had been the only warm smile he’d seen at faculty meetings and the lone staffer willing to share a lunch table with him. Without Cas, working at a magical boarding school would have been purgatory. But instead of being a pathetic loner, Dean now had a home and a best friend, for the first time in his life. And he’d never been happier.
He stared at the tape and shook his head. Making a mixed tape for Cas was an epically bad idea. Apocalyptically bad. Tacky and juvenile and likely to risk the best relationship—friendship—he’d ever had. Dean sighed again and tossed the tape in the trash.