Chapter 1: Discovery
Dean trudged into the cafeteria, grabbing a soda and a few slices of pizza while doing his best to ignore the bright lights and noise. Lunchtime should be quiet time.
Heading to his usual table he was glad to see Sam and Gabriel already there and to a lesser (bigger) extent Balthazar. He wasn't overly impressed with the guy, he was British (which had most fawning over his accent) and talked funny.
Worst of all he was always hanging around Gabriel's little brother Cas. Sammy had been the first to befriend Cas when the Novak's first arrived because his brother was a complete soft center chocolate. He was nice to everyone.
Since then Dean felt a little protective of him because he was shy and Dean was apparently extra in his big brother role. According to Sam, who pointed out that Cas had his own brother to look after him.
That may be true, but when that big brother was Gabriel, Dean thought extra was a good thing.
Slamming his tray down, he greets the other three before asking, "Hey, anyone up for the cinema tonight?" immediately Sam and Gabe shake their heads.
"Oh no, sorry kind Sir, but the theatre is out of bounds tonight?" announces Balthazar in what Dean is hoping is accentuated English.
"Why?" he asks slightly glaring at Balthazar, while Gabriel and Sam have become seemingly interested in the table.
"Castiel has finally accepted my proposal of a date, it's happening tonight." he must be joking, surely Cas wouldn't, with Balthazar! Since neither Sam or Gabriel had cracked up in laughter or screamed prank at him was proof it was true, leaving Dean feeling weird.
"Hey, we can do something." offered Sam.
"Nah, I should probably do my history paper," concluded Dean quickly stuffing some pizza in his mouth in part to ignore Sam's look of shock and for something to do. Because he sure wasn't feeling hungry anymore, the pizza which was pretty good for high school pizza tasted like ash.
The sound of the cafeteria came back louder than before, leaving Dean dreading his afternoon classes.
Maybe he could cut, no doubt he could convince Lisa to tag along, only he and Lisa weren't really a thing anymore. He didn't know when it had happened, they used to be so hot and heavy. Now he just felt bored toward the whole thing, and no other girl was currently on his radar.
Yeah, because you're always thinking about Castiel.
Wait, was he?
He hadn't thought so, but Cas was Sam's friend. So he wanted to be nice to the guy and not intimidating. You had to invest in Cas, he needed coaxing out of his shell, and of course with Gabriel and Sam being so wrapped up in each other it had led to them hanging out on occasion.
Times where he had learned that Cas liked bees (of all things), that he wanted a cat and they shared a love of burgers. He was a little taller than Dean, with black hair and striking blue eyes. Dean has always liked blue eyes.
Dean jumps from his seat like he's been prodded, "Dean?" questions Sam looking at him. Without a word Dean hurries from the cafeteria, with the sole focus of getting to Baby, as thoughts race through his mind.
Does he like Cas? Like, like Cas?
He'd never thought about this before, even when Sam came out, it didn't force him down a path of analysis. Sure he's always loved Han Solo, but even Sammy loves him.
Oh, Sam's gay, but Dean didn't suddenly dislike women. Pulling his cell from his pocket Dean does an image search.
Yep, still the same. Trying again he types: I think I like boys and girls. Oh, that's a lot of hits, setting down Dean reads up on bisexuality.
* * *
"What's got you so glum?" Dean looks up at his Dad as he clears the table while Mary gets dessert ready. Delicious homemade apple pie. "Come on, Dean you walked out of school leaving Sam without a ride."
"Gabriel drove me." Dean has felt odd ever since his discovery, is he meant to wear this new knowledge about himself like a badge. He has no idea, just like what to do about his feelings for Cas.
Yeah, who drives worse than Dean."
"Hey!" he wasn't a bad driver, at least when he had passengers.
"He's lovesick," announces Mary placing the hot pie dish on the table.
Dammit, he supposes a few hours under wraps was something, trust Mary Winchester to see right through him.
"So, that's never stopped him before. Don't you normally just wink at them or something Dean," teases Sam. "Oh shit, did you get rejected? The great Dean Winchester."
"Shut it Sammy!" he muttered sending a glare Sam's way, only Sam looked to be figuring something out obviously cut from the same cloth as their Mom.
"Oh my God, it's not that you got rejected. It's that you actually like this girl, you want more than a quick fumble in the janitor's closet." put like that he sounded like a jerk, but he was always respectful. Sam was right though, he definitely wanted more than that with Cas.
"Okay, that's quite enough of that language," warns Mary as she places the pie on the table.
After a few moments of silence in which lies a couple aborted attempts, Dean finally broaches the issue, "How do you tell someone you like them?" he asks directing the question at both of his parents.
"You really do have it bad, Son. It's nice to see." John is smiling at him, which is what? A form of help? Dean certainly hopes not he needs actual advice not blessings and encouraging smiles.
Ignoring it for the moment he continues, "Yeah, it's different this time, the person is really special, he's..."
"He?" oh fuck, that was meant to stay under wraps, curse his stupid brain. The new information has Sam perked up like nothing before.
"I, uh..." Dean looks at his parents before adding, "I'm sorry," his eyes finding interest in his as yet untouched pie. The sight of it highlights how horrible this lovesick thing really is, it's already got him spilling his guts and keeping him from his pie.
Sam who would have been all over this turn of events stays silent knowing how big this is for him.
"Dean, why are you sorry? We accepted Sam, why would you be any different ?" asks his Mom, her eyes filled with hurt.
"I don't know, I only figured out how I was feeling today and..." Dean can't help how his eyes flicker to John making it obvious whose reaction he was really worried about.
Because wasn't he supposed to be a carbon copy of his Dad: he was walking around his leather jacket and driving his car.
"Dean, I don't care about any of that stuff okay. I just want you and your brother happy." John gets his word across with a strong shoulder grip.
Nodding Dean looks over at Sam, who is basically jumping out of his skin in unexpressed excitement since Dean came out? "It's Cas, right?"
Sighing, Dean nods, "Yes, okay it's Cas." his parents have no reaction to this, making him wonder if they knew before he did.
"Dean this is awesome!"
"You can't tell him, Sammy promise me?" lifting his hand for a pinkie swear that Sam accepts. "Not even Gabriel." Sam looks forlorn at that but still agrees.
"My advice Dean, surprise him, use what you know about him to woo." offers Mary smiling.
"Yep, take it from me, I won a date with your Mom because I brought her a maple bacon cupcake," informs John gladly accepting a kiss from Mary.
Dean nods taking the advice to think about, he feels better, lighter and finally ready for some pie.
* * *
After cleaning up with Sam, Dean heads up to his room and straight for his stash of money that Sam doesn't know about. Uncle Bobby was nice enough to give him a job fixing cars, he enjoys it but perhaps not enough to be a long-term thing.
Happily, he finds eighty-five dollars, which will hopefully be enough to achieve what he's thinking. The story of his parents sweet get together gave him an idea, that he can woo Cas with bee-themed gifts.
Chapter 2: Dean vs Shopping
Shopping is the worst!
Dean didn't normally spend his Saturday mornings at the mall, looking for gifts. Preferring to click and wait for delivery, but that wasn't an option, it wasn't personal.
So he traipses the shops with no idea where to start, the possibility of offending Cas keeping him from making any purchases. Defeat finds him a lone chair in the coffee court drinking a creamy coffee shake thing with whipped cream.
Something no-one will ever discover. Dean was a regular coffee with milk kind of guy, none of that frou-frou shit. Only it turns out that frou-frou shit is really fucking delicious.
Beaten but not down, Dean waits for re-enforcements, luckily for him, Charlie is on her way. Only first he has to explain what's going on. Quickly placing his empty cup on a neighboring table (for appearance's sake) it was just in time too as Charlie came around the corner.
"Please tell me you don't need something embarrassing from the chemist." greeted Charlie skipping the pleasantries and sliding into the chair opposite him.
"That was one time!" shouts Dean a little too loudly, once he's certain everyone stopped staring he continues, "I need help choosing a gift, several actually."
"Ooh, is it someone's birthday, wait, is it my birthday?" she asks her eyes worryingly wide.
"It's his birthday?"
Letting out a sigh, Dean hopes for calm knowing Charlie is only being obtuse to rile him up, it's kind of their thing. "No, it's no one's birthday, I like him okay." he was the least worried about her reaction (there had been a few comments, turns out he was the obtuse one) they're best friends and in her own words she's hella gay, though he'd wished for less screaming.
"Dean! This is amazing and I'm pretty sure Cas would like anything from you." raising his eyebrows Dean supposes she along with Sam thought he stood a chance.
It didn't matter, he wasn't going to half-ass this because Cas might have - dare he believe it - feelings. He needed to keep a straight (haha) head, besides he wasn't going to use Cas' quasi-emotions against him.
"It can't be just anything, it has to mean something." with that said Charlie gave him a look that was far too gushy.
"Dean you do know him okay, so just start somewhere." taking her advice Dean looks around this time actually taking the shops in until his eyes fall on a little bookshop. Like Sam, Cas was always reading, he remembers how he didn't sneer at Dean's love of comics. Asking instead if he could borrow some.
"So are we ready to shop!" Charlie screeches jumping up from her chair, moving quickly he pulls her back down.
"Wait, I need to ask you something?" nodding her go ahead Dean starts again, "Does Cas get picked on?"
"If he did I'm sure you'd know by now."
Dean glares at her, "Come on Charlie, I don't want to freak him out by sending him gifts."
"Look, Dean I won't lie, the kid is a walking target and he may well have been if not for two reasons. The first being Gabriel, his pranks are legendary, imagine if he was after revenge." Dean really doesn't want to imagine that.
"So what's the second?" he asks intrigued.
"Yep, the day he walked up to Cas with all that boundless enthusiasm, bonding over what I imagine to be the discovery channel and dead languages. Everyone knows not to touch Sam, so anything Sam likes is safe by association because you're all uber scary when it comes to Sam, apparently," she said rolling her eyes.
"Hey, I am scary." he protested, or at least he could be when it mattered. "We're gonna start over there." Dean pointed at the little bookshop the decision made had him feeling positive.
"Lead the way, Handmaiden."
"Smiling Dean gets up, "Of course my Queen," he answers throwing in a little bow. Dean loves how goofy he can be with Charlie without any of that dudebro shit.
Entering Dean takes in the surroundings, while small the shop has been well utilized with good use of lighting. The structural pillars even have books and posters displayed, it carries a good selection spotting some comic in the back along with the usual gift items.
After a good look Dean pulls himself away from imagining bringing Cas here, spreading themselves out in the reading corner to find Charlie gone. It doesn't bother him so he heads over to the fiction area, now he's made a decision he feels planted. Knowing Cas is a reader of factual titles when it comes to his love of bees Dean hopes a novel won't be amiss. He scans the shelves eyes searching for anything yellow or gold.
It pays off surprisingly well, pulling two titles that seem interesting yet very different it's a small success that has him smiling.
"Dean, I've found something amazing." ignoring his jump in heart rate Dean turns to find his friend practically glowing.
"Did I scare you?" she asks.
"No!" declares Dean it takes more than a little redhead to scare him and he's sticking by it. Moving to follow her she puts her hand out for the books unnecessarily oohing and aahing over them.
Turns out it was perfect, after making his purchases, they're back into the echoing hubbub of the mall. Dean refuses to fail, two purchases down he needs three more.
"So did you have anything else in mind?" asks Charlie beginning to walk toward the Krispy Kreme stand quickly paying for one strawberry and one apple that Dean gladly accepts.
"Um, I thought some honey but now I'm thinking honey chocolates." Charlie nods for that idea too wrapped up in strawberry heaven to talk. "Bookmarks obviously and one more thing maybe a pin or keyring."
"What about something for his car," asked Charlie all sweetness and smiles. God, did she just butter him up with a donut? It was no secret that Dean hated Cas' car it was a 1978 Lincoln Continental or a fucking pimpmobile as Dean had taken to calling it. "It sure would mean a lot, Dean."
"Fine," he growled out "For Cas, happy?"
* * *
Dean burst through the front door, the sound making Sam jump a little, "Calm down Sammy it's me, the clowns aren't coming for you."
"Shut it, Jerk." returned Sam settling into his book again, fucking nerd.
"Sammy, I've got everything I need for Cas, wanna see?" plonking his bags down on the coffee table Dean took the chair opposite the couch, only for Sam to jump up again quicker than the first time.
"No, um I don't need to see anything, Dean you've totally got this."
"Jeez thanks for the support." guilt flashed in Sam's face (rightfully so) making him sit back down, teetering on the edge.
"Look I'd love to believe me but you banned me from staying anything from Gabriel."
"So the guy can read me like a book, he'll know I know when he tells me Cas received whatever it is." Sam sighed.
"Dude, get a poker face," honestly like it was hard.
"That won't work okay, Gabriel he'll do things." things? what the... Oh My God, was he talking about sex things? No, no, no Dean was not having this conversation because, yuk.
"Sam, I do not want to know about anything like that, ever. I'll just show Mom and maybe Dad." Dean shrugged off the cold shiver fighting it's way up his body, fucking Gabriel.
"I didn't mean that, you know what never mind." Dean wasn't going to fall for that backtrack, he'd be having a conversation with Gabriel later. "Anyway I'm sure Dad would love to see everything Dean, he's in the garage." Oh, that was a little much or too soon perhaps both not that he was trying to avoid his Dad he just felt like he was letting him down which was stupid.
Wanting to get over this and taking Sam at his word Dean walked into the kitchen to the connecting garage door and knocking pushing himself to make loud enough for John to hear. Instead of an answer the door opened revealing his Dad dressing in his typical jeans and flannel.
"Oh, Dean, why are you knocking?" shrugging his shoulders Dean went through the door to find Baby's hood up. "She's fine Son." reassured his Dad, Dean nodded knowing that sometimes his Dad missed her, it was something they both shared.
"I did my shopping, you know for Cas." might as well launch into this thing quickly, he certainly hadn't expected his Dad to break out into a smile.
"That's great I'd love to see everything," wait, what?
"Yeah Dean I would, did you get everything? Do you need some cash?" gawking Dean was unable to respond at first.
"Um I'm good I just need to get something online. Actually, you could do something for me." tried Dean never having felt so awkward before, he and his Dad got on so well talking about cars or football why should this be any different. His Dad actually liked Cas because he was a lot different than some of Dean's other friends.
"Okay, lay it on me."
"Well I didn't want to spook Cas with these gifts So I got a card to explain it all, you without saying it was me only - "
"Cas knows your handwriting." guessed John.
"Yeah, so could you copy it out for me," John nods his agreement. "I don't really know what to write though." God feelings were so hard.
"My advice keep it simple." right he could do that, it was probably best not to waffle on. In fact, Dean hadn't been around Cas since he'd realized how he felt, or since his date with Balthazar.
Chapter 3: Something Sweet to Start
Cas receives his first gift.
Grabbing some books out his locker for his first couple of classes, Cas was riding high having already enjoyed a successful study session in the library. He'd sacrificed a lie in to catch a ride with Balthazar who had a dress fitting for the school play.
Having finished his Chem paper early almost made up for his car being broken, hopefully, with a few more shifts at the petrol station, he would have enough saved to get it fixed.
"There you are, I've been looking all over for you!" Cas turned at the voice of his brother Gabriel, who bounded up to him panting. Cas would guarantee it was for flair, not due to any strenuous activity.
"Did you check the library?" asked Cas watching Gabriel's face crease up in confusion.
"The place with the books?" he asked.
"Yeah, ask Sam about it, I came in with Bal." Gabriel looked at him like he was crazy, "I like being early." he clarified expecting the eye roll he received.
"Why? They won't let you leave earlier, I could have given you a ride," suggested Gabriel causing Cas to laugh.
"Please, you would have dragged your feet even more than normal, just to make me late."
"Wait, if you got a lift with Bal why didn't he just give you this?" Cas watched curiously as Gabriel reached into his bag pulling out a white envelope and a small wrapped package tied with ribbon.
"Why would Bal give me this?" Cas asked as it was pushed into his hands, the paper was white with tiny black flowers, the ribbon was green.
"Because it's for you silly," Gabriel told him before his eyes went wide, "Oh, what the hell happened the other night? Did he upset you?" Cas having confirmed it was indeed for him had been busy looking at the polka dot gift tag written on it in a hand he didn't recognize was: First something Sweet.
"The other night?" queried Cas before understanding, "When we went to the movies? Nothing happened, it was fun." they had even enjoyed the movie which wasn't normally the case, their tastes were on opposite sides of the spectrum.
"Did you guys kiss?"
"Kiss! What the hell Gabe, we're just friends." it was the truth apart from an ill-advised attempt of the classic friends with benefits arrangement: which had been disastrous.
"Ah, if I might interject." both brothers jumped at the voice turning to find Balthazar had joined them leading them to speak at the same time.
"Bal, what did you do?" screamed Cas.
"I fucking knew it was a lie," claimed Gabriel.
"Yes, yes I'm a scoundrel, but can we please lower our voices." Bal found it a shame to ask being one who loved dramatics but it was for the greater good.
"Fine, but please tell me why my brother thinks we went on a date." growled Cas.
"Oh, I've got an idea," smirked Gabriel, as Bal turned to address his friend.
"Cas I did it for you okay, I just floated it around until it pricked a certain person's ears."
"You know that really doesn't describe telling someone outright," added Gabriel.
"Fine, I told him directly."
"Him?" Cas was furrowing his brow, it was his thinking face, "Wait, you mean Dean!"
"Got it, Bro,"
"Trust me Cas, if this doesn't get him right where you want him, it's a lost cause." Bal smiled triumphantly.
"It already is a lost cause, Dean's straight, besides he's my friend." this time Bal rolled his eyes, giving Cas the impression he was being mocked.
"Pfft, come on Cas, we both know you have a major thing for that lumberjack, I did you a favor."
"I don't want this going any further Bal, I'm not kissing you to sell this charade." just the thought of it made him shudder, he loved Bal as a friend, their sexual chemistry was zero.
"You wish, Darling," teased Bal, Cas was trying to figure how to straighten (haha) out this whole saga when Gabriel clapped his hands together.
"Gabe, this isn't funny." he reprimanded.
"Open the gift Cassie." sighing Cas went for the card first pushing the gift into Bal's hands while ignoring his brother's look of disbelief. Gabriel always went for the gift first, in fact, he wasn't even sure he'd opened his cards on his birthday. Only giving them a cursory once over along with a shake to check for cash.
This card, his card was really pretty: it was yellow with a flower and three bees in black and white, the contrast was very pleasing. Finally opening it, he was once again met with the neat writing that matched the tag, it read:
Cas, I hope this gift finds you well, it's given sincerely to show my affection not part of a prank or a cruel joke. There will be four more and I will give my name with the last.
Four more gifts? Cas couldn't figure how he'd deserved one, too busy with so many thoughts he didn't protest at the card being taken and the gift placed in his hands. It was a small rectangle, wanting to get this over with he pulled the ribbon lacing it through his fingers to proceed with the paper.
It didn't take long, thankfully only a necessary amount of tape was used, the paper fell away to reveal three cute looking chocolate bars, each a different flavor with a bee on the front, in fact, they were called Bee Bars!
"Great, someone to literally feed your obsession," commented Bal wryly, expecting an equally unfunny poke at his love for bees, Cas turned to his brother to find him looking at his newly acquired chocolate.
"Gabe?" Cas couldn't help but wonder if he knew something.
"Sammy never buys me candy, not even to woo me!" he exclaims, though it had been Gabriel chasing after Sam not that the younger Winchester had needed much encouragement.
"Come on Gabe, even if he did you would already have stacks."
"There's never too much candy!" he screamed sending Bal a frightful glare. "You want answers Cassie, I'll get them for you." Oh God, why should that sound so unsettling.
"Gabe, I really don't need you speaking to Dean for me."
"As if I could get him to talk! But my Sammy, he'll be putty in my hands, in fact, I've got the perfect plan." Gabriel didn't wait for a response before dashing off.
"Should we warn him?"
"What and miss the show, come on I can't wait to see what he's got in store." frowning at his brother's antics Cas hurried after Bal to their first lesson.
* * *
Walking toward English class Sam gasped at the sudden hand around his wrist, strong and firm it quickly pulled him in a different direction. Seeing it was Gabriel, he didn't protest though he had wanted to avoid him longer than thirty minutes.
Without words he was soon ensconced in the dark janitor's cupboard, the light flickering on to reveal Gabriel stood in front of the door looking fiery and oh so hot. No way was Sam getting out of this, it was all Dean's fault.
"Heya Sammy, good weekend?" asked his boyfriend his eyes glittering with more mischief than usual.
"Just studying and helping my Mom, nothing too exciting."
"No shopping?" Gabriel smirked at him moving closer so he could plant a quick kiss on his lips before burying his face in Sam's neck, peppering it with more kisses, Sam whimpered hoping the secret wouldn't spill. "God, Baby you smell so good."
"Gabe!" moaned Sam his hips jerking as Gabriel sucked a very sensitive spot on his neck. At once Gabriel pulled back to kiss him, this time longer and sweeter than the last, before letting go.
While they'd been together for a couple of months Sam didn't feel ready for the heavier stuff yet. Gabriel was always conscious of it, even making Sam slow down when he got carried away.
"And Dean?" Sam wasn't sure he understood feeling to dazed to keep up. "Is that mean big brother making you keep secrets from me, Baby?"
Sam nodded, Dean had blatantly ignored his pleading to let Gabriel in on the plan to woo Cas, even the puppy eyes had been useless. He hated keeping secrets from Gabe because he wanted to share himself, he liked giving Gabriel the reigns. Mainly because he got too stuck in his head reading or freaking about getting the perfect test scores.
Gabriel made that go away, before getting together Sam had felt like jelly around the guy and after becoming a couple it was the same but different. A quick internet search had him down the submissive rabbit hole (though nothing hardcore, thank you) luckily Gabriel had been quick to figure things out and was totally on board, with necessary rules.
"Cas got a gift today," Gabriel spoke his voice bringing Sam back to the here and now, once the words registered Sam's body drew tense. "It's okay Sammy, I won't ask you to tell me. I know keeping a promise to Dean means a lot to you."
"I can't," Gabriel winked at him letting him know it was okay.
"Don't worry, Dean will tell me everything or allow you to by the end of the day." Sam raised his eyebrows at Gabriel's surety. "We just need a little drama."
* * *
What the hell was it with cafeterias? Was this his life now? Revelations and awkward moments surrounded by the din of high schoolers. Wondered Dean after selecting his lunch (chili fries and a large slice of pie) after watching Cas' conversation with Bal and Gabriel earlier he needed some comforting.
He'd kept a good distance to avoid being seen only it meant he couldn't hear a word being said. Which basically was torture, now he had no choice to walk to his usual table, a table that was already hosting, Charlie, Ash, Sammy, Gabriel and Cas.
His one good fortune, there was no sign of the stupidly named Brit. What he had noticed though was the table was in absolute silence, hopefully, Charlie wasn't being too weird by staring at Cas or something.
This thing still had a lot of road to it. Only this morning he'd been dodging Sam's puppy dog eyes in attempt to break the 'Don't tell Gabriel rule', Dean hadn't broken yet.
Finally approaching he felt too weird to speak, so he nodded and caught some eyes before parking himself next to Ash. A few minutes pass leaving Dean none the wiser, he was about to ask when he noticed everyone sending furtive glances at Gabriel's plate, soon the crunchy sound of vegetables broke the silence.
Immediately Dean's eyes went to his brother, due to his love of rabbit food. Only Sammy wasn't eating, still confused he caught another glance this time from Cas and in a desperate attempt not to get caught up in those baby blues he forced his gaze in the same direction.
Gabriel was eating salad, Gabriel was eating salad.
Dean stopped the thought from forming again, mainly because it wasn't comforting or helping him understand what he was seeing. Truthfully it wasn't really a salad, it was all fancy! Sure there was a huge pile of leaves, but along for the ride was something orange, rice, mushrooms (he knew those two) and some type of beans.
Normally Gabe ate a plate of dessert followed by whatever candy he was favoring that week, while Sam pushed apple slices on to his plate, only for them to turn brown. Returning his eyes back to Sam he noticed his brother looked far from happy, in fact, he looked sick to his stomach.
Was this why Sam wanted to tell Gabriel? Because keeping secrets from him hurt? Did Gabriel suspect something and was punishing him through whatever this is?
He speaks before he can stop it coming out, his voice loud breaking the silence, "What the hell is going on here?" no one meets his eyes, Gabriel is the only one to move pointedly looking around the table.
"Lunch," he answers smugly, making Dean square his eyes, sometimes he had no idea what Sammy saw in him, which was crazy because he'd witnessed how sweet they were with each other too.
"Is this opposite day or something? Gabe you'd better not make Sam eat a load of sugar, he'll be sick as a dog."
"He's not making me do anything, unlike some people!" screamed Sam jumping from his seat before dashing out of the cafeteria. Dean watched him go feeling like the worst big brother ever, he hated that feeling.
"Should someone go after him?" asked Charlie.
"No, Sammy likes to be by himself for a while," answered Gabriel before Dean had the chance glad to know that Gabriel knew that much about his brother. Looking down at his food he found he'd lost his appetite.
Thoughts of Sam plagued him all afternoon, even during art class where his main worry should've have been making a fool of himself in front of Cas. Being the only lesson they had together he'd readied himself for it.
It was Cas who got him to sign up for the class in the first place, during one of their many comic book sessions Cas had found some of his sketches stuffed into the pages as temporary bookmarks.
Since then Cas had like the proverbial dog with a bone, wanting to get Dean into art class especially when he found out it didn't clash with anything on his schedule. So Dean said goodbye to his afternoon naps in Baby, while not completely sold on the idea Cas' excitement had been enough to dampen his fears of hours spent drawing a bowl of fruit.
Guess that should have been enough of a sign about his feelings for Cas but his brain had chosen to be obtuse about it. Go figure. Much to Dean's delight there had been no fruit or demands to draw anything else he wasn't excited about. Their teacher, Joshua was free-spirited, wanting his students to develop in their own direction.
"You and Sam will be okay, you know." Dean snapped his head up from the blank piece of paper in front of him to find Cas.
"Thanks, Cas, it's just difficult we don't fight much at least not properly."
"Yeah, it's plain to see how close you are to each other," smiled Cas "Having trouble thinking of something?"
"Uh, yeah guess my mind has gone to soup,"
"If you want to draw a cartoon you strangling my brother I won't have a problem with that." deadpanned Cas causing Dean to break out into laughs.
Thanks, Cas, I really needed that." Cas smiled walking away to his station, currently, he was working with clay on a huge angel sculpture, figuring he could draw a celestial being Dean selected a black pencil for wings.
* * *
After the final bell Dean was walking out toward Baby, hoping to smooth the way with Sam. Only his brother wasn't leaning up against his car but Gabriel's, sighing Dean changed direction to speak to his brother.
"Hey Sam," he started forcing himself to stick with Sam, "Look I'm really sorry okay, you can tell Gabriel everything."
"Really?" Dean nodded knowing it was the right decision when Sam pulled him into a hug.
"Are you all made up now?" Dean and Sam jumped apart at Cas' voice.
"How long have you been stood there?" asked Dean, his eyes going to Gabriel.
"I saw you two hugging, so I ran over," answered Cas leaving Dean to breathe a sigh of relief.
"Sorry Bro, I can't take you home cos I'm taking Sammy to the cinema." announced Gabriel, his eyes sparkling with a gleam Dean really didn't like.
"Gabe, I just can't..." began Sam.
"Yes you can, I've given Mary the heads up, I've got two packs of that trail mix you love and tickets to that nature documentary." Dean watched as a huge smile made itself clear on Sam's face, at times he may not like Gabriel and him and Sam were like chalk and cheese but he was grateful how much he understood his brother. It was good to see because Sammy deserved it.
"Have fun Sam and Gabe don't go crazy or anything."
"You kidding, I'm getting a load of candy, watching cute pandas and snuggling against Sammy's shoulder, it'll be heaven."
"You can't even drop me off?" all eyes snapped back to Cas looked dejected due to his lack of a ride.
"Honestly Dean, didn't you tell him?" screamed Gabriel
"Cassie, Dean is taking you home so he can check out that rust bucket you call a car."
"Hey it's a perfectly workable vehicle, or it will be." rebutted Cas, before looking confusedly at Dean, who was on exactly the right page.
"You see that's where Dean comes in, he's going to take a look at her and fix it, mate rates and everything." Gabriel's gleam now looked devilish "Right we'd better be off, later kids." they both waved before getting into his car and driving away.
"Dean, is that true?" well shit, Dean had the distinct impression he'd been played.
"So any more secret gifts?" asked Balthazar, Cas rolled his eyes both glad and annoyed by his friend's presence. It was Friday night and like always Castiel was working the graveyard shift at the petrol station.
"None, you should leave soon before my boss tosses you out."
"I'm a paying customer." protested Bal shaking his bag of Cheetos at him. "Besides the night is still young."
"Uh, don't remind me." groaned Castiel, eleven o'clock felt far out of reach.
"How about another date," thankfully there were air quotes around the word date. "I'm sure it'll get Winchester's ass in gear."
"No Bal, I don't want things getting any weirder, it's bad enough Gabriel asked him to fix my car. Look I'll see you tomorrow, okay." thankfully he obliged, with a quick hug he was gone. The next half hour passed with a steady stream of customers: most stopping for petrol, the occasional half dead flower purchase and luckily only one alcohol sale meaning he'd had to interrupt his bosses Netflix perusal.
Castiel was deep into his book (Hound of the Baskervilles) when the door opened to Gabriel and Sam. "What are you guys doing here?" he asked happy to see them.
"Candy hunt, we're in search of Sammy's favorite candy, he's playing guinea pig tonight though I'll be eating the majority." smiled Gabe.
"What if I don't like any of them?" asked Sam worriedly.
"No fear Sam-a-lam, I'll shower you in berries." Cas smiled watching the two of them, he loved how sweet and loving Gabriel was with Sam.
Once everything had been selected Cas rang up their purchases, "Gabe, please don't eat all these." he warned.
"Nah, it's not all for us," Cas looked at him in confusion. "We're having an impromptu sleepover at La Casa Winchester, the regular crowd. Others will be in later no doubt, we're all bringing something." oh, it was times like this Cas hated his job, only then he felt bad for complaining.
"Join us when you finish, Cas." implored Sam.
"Yeah, maybe." he thought about it as they left, sleepovers were kind of there thing spent either gaming, marathoning films or binging the latest Netflix show. Mostly they always took place at the Winchesters due to Mary's homebaked goods, sure Sam had extended the invitation but what if he wasn't wanted by everyone.
"Yo Cas! You coming over tonight?" jumping in fright Cas found Charlie entering the shop.
"Sorry man, Charlie needs to adapt her volume," joked Kevin coming in after her.
"Um, I don't know Sam just told me about it. They both got the candy covered, that's for sure," he informed since someone had to save Gabriel from himself, might as well be him.
"Cool, we're here mainly for Pringles anyway," Kevin told him coming over to the counter as Charlie went to stock up. "Ohh, great book, I love Sherlock." Cas smiled as Kevin flicked through to Cas' bookmark soon snickering to himself.
"Cas, you got any chocolate covered pretzels?" shouted Charlie her arms completely laden with food, had he any pretzels left he doubted she could pick them up.
"Gabriel took the last bag," Cas moved running to help her, "Charlie are you sure you need this much?" he asked.
"Hells yeah, I'm hungry and Gilda's away with her parents so I'm comfort eating." Cas gives a smile hoping the sleepover will be enough of a distraction. "Plus Dean likes to eat and Sam is just getting bigger. They've all got that fast metabolism bullshit." he smiled at her both of them reaching the counter where Kevin had lined up a few bottles of soda.
"Plus, it's a weekend thing, John and Mary aren't back til Sunday night so we'll need the sustenance," added Kevin.
"Please try to make it, Sam will have proper study times set up and you know Dean cooks a mean breakfast." enticed Charlie.
"Let me think about it," Charlie nodded knowing not to push any further. He did really want to go knowing all that was stopping him was his anxiety, deciding to escape his head Cas returned to his book eager to finish.
Ending a book always came with a promise of something new in whatever he next chose to read, Cas loved the feeling though sometimes sad to say goodbye to certain characters he could always return one day.
Once finished Castiel flipped to the last page, often there was something on the inside of the cover. He wasn't wrong only he hadn't been expecting a gift tag similar to the previous one only this time with bees instead of dots.
How had this gotten there? Deciding to figure that out later Cas flipped it over eager to read what it said: A late night treasure hunt follow these three clues to find items to help you create.
1. I'm nuts about you like you are about nuts in this form.
Cas smiled unable to stop himself, the effort going into this wooing was beyond anything he thought he deserved. It was certainly making him feel good, he felt boosted in fact, this was the perfect time to cheer him up since he hated this shift much preferring his Sunday afternoons.
Understanding the clue Cas walked over to the peanut butter (crunchy) where between jars he found a rolled piece of paper with a bee decorated ribbon, instantly reminded of a scroll something he had always found romantic.
Removing the ribbon he rolled the paper out, eyes scanning over it and instantly spotting his name. It was a certificate bearing the holder, him for his appreciation of bees the bottom was signed along with a cute golden bee wax stamp.
This deserved framing, retying it Cas headed back to the counter so it wouldn't get damaged before reading the next clue.
2. Your favorite is sticky and sweet, hopefully, these are too.
Cas felt his cheeks heat, quickly checking the store to make sure it was empty. He definitely doesn't need an audience for this, heading back to his first scout (the store not being very big) passing the peanut butter and jelly to reach the honey. Immediately checking the best they have to offer, Cas likes his honey clear and drizzly. Unsurprised but happy to find some stickers poking out between jars.
"Hey, Clarence!" Cas reacted fast, grabbing the stickers along with the tag shoving them in his pocket trying not to look intimidated, trust Meg to catch him now. "Ooh, is little goody two shoes stealing?" she asked sounding delighted.
He and Meg used to be such good friends until she had fallen in with Alistair and his lackeys. Seduced by what she called: their free will to do what they wanted not caring who got hurt in the process.
She wanted him to come along, only Cas had seen them for what they really were having been at the hands of bullies many times. Alistair and the others hadn't done anything yet apart from the few glares he felt now and then, soon his good luck would run out and he didn't want to give them any ammunition.
"What do you want Meg?" he asked hoping to get attention off him for a moment as he walked back to the counter, stepping behind it he closed the latch to put something between them.
"What's this?" she asked taking the scroll into her hand and causing Cas' heart rate to pick up as she began toying with the ribbon.
"A certificate," he answered truthfully hoping the word would have the desired effect.
"Lame," she uttered quickly tossing it aside, "So when do you get off?"
"Are you serious?" Cas asked watching bafflingly as Meg shrugged her shoulders. "Not till eleven, I'm sure you can go make some chaos with your new friends."
"Cas, don't be like that why can't we all be friends?"
"You know why, Meg. Now you can either buy something and leave or just leave. Besides, I already have plans later." adding that last part so she wouldn't be hanging around until he finished.
"What with the Scoobies? Will it be another night of lame ass games and braiding each others hair."
"We actually paint each other's nails." deadpanned Cas.
"Whatever! You're right I can find something more fun than that." she sauntered away as quick as she came. Something felt off though like she was merely here fishing for something, giving in to his paranoia Cas picked up his phone:
Can you pick me up when I finish?
Gabriel who was a constant texter replied by ringing his phone, "Yo Bro, sorry can't text I'm a little tied up."
"I wish! Nah we're playing twister," Gabriel clarified as shouts and screams came through the connection. "Something up?"
"I don't know, Meg just happened to pop by as did my gift giver. Guess I'm just a little on edge."
"No worries, I'll be there once I defeat all here," said Gabriel followed by a loud squeal and the line going dead.
Shaking his head once again at his brother's antics Cas remembered the stickers. Reaching for them he found a cute little bee with rainbow stripes and a circular save the bees sticker. Both were extremely apt, placing them with the scroll he read the last clue.
3. We're both dark roast kind of guys.
Cas felt relief bloom in his chest thankful that it was actually a guy doing this, Cas really didn't want to have to break some poor girl's heart. He didn't know who it could be though, Balthazar was so sure it was Dean but how could he entertain that idea seriously?
Just because Cas wanted it to be Dean didn't make it so.
His crush was already way out of control, if he believed this was Dean wouldn't he be setting himself up for more hurt. Cas shook his head hoping to rid himself of these thoughts knowing it wouldn't help in the long run, Gabriel would just tell him to shut up and enjoy it.
Maybe for now that was the right approach.
Deciding it couldn't hurt Cas made his way to the coffee, Cas loved his black and rich it was the only thing that made getting up bearable. Stopping in front of the roast beans he scanned the items, a flash of yellow caught his eye.
Reaching forward Cas found a cute pen with a metal bee on the lid and a little notebook, taking it over to the counter he looked at everything together feeling incredibly happy.
Yeah, this he could definitely enjoy.
I've deviated a little from my original plan, Meg will be bringing a little drama.
Chapter 5: At The Winchester's
The sleepover and another gift.
"Dean, please tell that's still your second beer? asked Sam alarmingly as he returned to the lounge.
Shaking his head Dean replied after accepting the controller from Kevin, "My third, I'm trying to build a tolerance, but this one's giving me a buzz." he flashed a grin while selecting Luigi as Kevin chose Toad.
"How buzzed exactly?" asked Kevin.
"Hah, not enough to lose," he replied cockily and lying completely.
"Dean, do you realize where Gabriel went?" running his eyes around the room Dean had no clue having left Charlie in the kitchen fixing herself a sundae.
"Out for more candy?" damn he should've paid more attention to the little rascal if that was the case, he was almost out of pie.
Sam ran his hands through his hair, oh boy that was his stressed signal, "Dean, Gabriel went to get Cas, he's coming over, now."
What! Cas was coming and Dean was heading toward drunkville. This was not good, he had absolutely no idea what kind of drunk he was, would he get all chatty and start running his mouth. What if he sat Cas down and spoke to him in-depth about his eyes?
They were just so blue!
"Sam, I think you broke him," said Kevin waving his fingers in front of Dean's face, "Charlie, get out here!" luckily Charlie understood an emergency shout and was right out sundae in hand.
"Gabriel went to pick Cas up, he's coming here." Dean got the words out believing the panic was beginning to sober him up.
"Dean, that's your third beer." he glared at her like pointing out the obvious was helpful. "Okay, um Sam, make some coffee, Dean take a breath and remember everything went okay Kevin pulled off the gift tag excellently." Charlie reminded him.
"You're right, so what do I do?" he asked itching to get that coffee into him.
"Play Mario Kart like normal and don't worry about staring at Cas, that's normal too."
"Hey!" he exclaimed just as the front door opened.
"I'm back, it's Novak times two," shouted Gabriel just as Sam came back with the coffee, Kevin taking the beer for himself.
Dean could totally handle this, Cas had been here plenty of times hell he'd even attended the official meet and greet Gabriel had with their parents when he and Sam became a thing. They'd even been tipsy together on past sleepovers since his parents were okay with them drinking at home.
The only difference was he hadn't been tipsy around Cas since he realized how he felt, big whoop. If he wasn't doing this bee wooing thing Dean was sure he would have told Cas by now (lie) and been what, rejected?
Dean hadn't allowed himself to think past the end of his gift giving, Bobby had offered to have the parts for Cas' car fast-tracked but he'd refused, wanting to give himself more time.
In Fact, he'd like some now as Cas strode into the lounge followed insistently by Gabriel who made an immediate beeline for his brother. God ten minutes wasn't that long of a seperation!
Cas he noticed was making his way over the distance nothing more than a few strides before he was in front of him wearing dark jeans and his work polo top with the Gas station's logo. "I hope it's okay I came over, um I brought these for you, we didn't have any pie left but these are pretty good." rambled Cas cutely.
Registering his words Dean looked down at Cas' hands to find a box of two apple tarts, "Wow thanks Cas, you didn't have to do that you're always welcome here." he smiled so far so good.
"Talk about oblivious," muttered Gabriel under his breath just loud enough for everyone to here, luckily Sam pulled him down to the sofa his hand over his mouth.
"You want to play Mario Kart or break into these?" Dean asked feeling sort or weightless, whether that was the beer or Cas he didn't much care.
"I could eat a tart," yep Cas was the best.
"Cassie you promised to play Twister and be on my team," whined Gabriel having got the upper hand on Sam for the moment. "Please, I need your flexibility."
"Gabe, Twister isn't a team game," commented Cas much to Gabriel's annoyance.
"Yeah besides we've all eaten too much to be bending weirdly," added Sam though Gabriel was not one to be easily swayed.
"So first one to hurl loses," the suggestion was met with a resounding no from everyone. Looking a little dishearted Gabriel soon cheered up with a kiss and some hidden candy from Sam.
Yeah, Dean was definitely heading to the kitchen if that was going to be in his line of sight, he was meant to be keeping his stomach. Jerking his head at Cas he passed Charlie the controller as they snuck away, Dean was happy to find Sam had brewed a whole pot of coffee rather than just one cup.
"So can I interest you in a glass of almond milk to go with that tart?" Dean asked Cas once they were alone, knowing Cas kept coffee for mornings.
"Sounds perfect," smiling Cas took residence on one of the breakfast bar stools, Dean quickly setting to work plating up the tarts - both smelling and looking delicious - and pouring a glass of milk for Cas, he would've offered hot chocolate but didn't think using the stove was a good idea.
Dean poured himself more coffee commenting "I'm really glad you made it Cas, Sam said you weren't sure earlier," hopefully Cas didn't think he was speaking weirdly, was this for the best? He thought so knowing all the glances from the others would make him more nervous.
"Yeah I wasn't sure but I had a weird night?" Dean locked eyes with Cas, green to blue, so far Cas hadn't mentioned anything to Dean about the gifts. Were they bothering him? If Cas was starting to freak out about it Dean would bare all now.
"Meg just popped in, she didn't stay long or do anything I got the feeling she was fishing for something." oh that was interesting, Dean knew they'd been pretty tight a while back she even got on really well with Sam and Meg was very particular with whom she befriended.
Suddenly a thought occurred and Dean blurted, "Oh! Maybe she was there," fuck, had Meg witnessed Cas receiving the chocolate bars, was this behind her sudden interest.
"Where Dean, I told you she popped by tonight?" Cas repeated looking confused.
Oh shit! This was turning into a real cat out of the bag situation, why had he come in here alone with Cas while inebriated, stupid beer brain.
Right at that moment Gabriel burst through the door (eavesdropping no doubt) "Silly Dean, he meant the scene at lunch, right Dean-o," Woah, was Gabriel helping him?
"Yeah, that's what I meant, I'm starting to feel those beers." Dean quickly stuffed his mouth with pie (yes, it was really good)
"Well has Sam said anything to you?" asked Cas following suit by taking bite of his own tart.
"He wouldn't want to worry us?" answered both Dean and Gabriel making Cas laugh.
"Cas, come pick a movie!" shouted Charlie, keeping with tradition of letting Cas pick the results were always unexpected and had lead to some extremely weird movie marathons.
Cas left smiling, smart enough to take his tart with him leaving Dean with Gabriel, "Listening in, not cool Gabe." to whihc he scoffed.
"Please, I just saved your ass, don't fuck this up, Winchester. I want my brother happy," he said walking out the door as Dean's heart rate kicked up, that right there was proof Dean had a chance.
* * *
Cas' nose twitched, the tantalizing scent of cooking bacon and fresh coffee making itself
known. Opening his eyes he found himself on the couch at the Winchester's, warm thanks to an extremely soft brown blanket.
As his eyes adjusted Cas looked around the room finding Charlie sprawled in what he deemed an uncomfortable position in an armchair, while Sam and Gabriel were snuggled tightly on the floor. There was no sign of Kevin perhaps he'd left already.
Quickly taking a couple of snaps (Gabriel had taught him well) Cas headed to the bathroom, once finished he happily followed his nose to the kitchen remaining quiet so he could spy a little on Dean, currently busy turning the bacon over before placing the grill back.
It was quiet moments like this when Cas couldn't deny his feelings for Dean, he watched him for a few moments more before Dean turned around a big welcoming smile adorning his face and those beautiful green eyes staring at him.
Cas smiled doing his best to ignore the shivers up his spine and frenzied butterflies in his stomach. "Cas, I hope you hungry." greeted Dean.
"Morning, of course, its bacon, I assume there's coffee?" he asked smiling when Dean chose to pour him a cup allowing Cas to settle himself at the breakfast bar. Cas loved the Winchester's place, it felt like a home whereas Cas' place lacked anything that made it one including more often than not his parents.
"Here you go a cup of dark roast goodness."
"Thank you, Dean," says Cas taking a much longed for sip, "Have you seen the others in there?" asked Cas gesturing back to the lounge.
Nodding Dean chuckled, "Yeah, I'd move Charlie only I'm really fond of breathing."
"Here look at this," Cas hands his cell over with the picture of Sam and Gabe already loaded.
"Man, they're too sweet it hurts, though I have to say Gabriel is much improved while unconscious," commented Dean before realizing whom he was talking to. "Uh sorry Cas..."
"Don't be, I know Gabriel can be too much. You don't have a problem with him and Sam, do you?" Dean was shaking his head before Cas even finished.
Moving to get a carton of eggs from the fridge Dean answered, "How can I when you show me a picture like that. Seriously though, I may have had reservations because they're so different but even I can see how they compliment each other. Much as it pains me Gabriel makes Sammy so happy, it's actually quite maddening. You want eggs Cas?"
"Two please, so it's not so much Sam and Gabriel as just Gabriel?" Cas continued to prod.
"I guess, it's just I can never tell what he's thinking," added Dean cracking four eggs into the frying pan.
"Dean, you really need to treat that as a blessing," joked Cas as Dean weighed their plates down with bacon, mushrooms and fried bread while the eggs cooked he poured two glasses of orange juice setting them down on the counter, "Dean this looks so good, you sure you're stomach can handle it?" Cas teased as Dean brought over the pan holding four perfectly cooked eggs.
"Hey! I did my throwing up before I went to sleep," protested Dean dipping a slice of bread in his egg before continuing, "Gabriel is just so cunning, like all the time."
"Hey, don't sell yourself short, Sam and I often worry about the outcome if you two pooled your resources," informed Cas watching Dean's cheeks color.
"Dean bring us some bacon!" shouted Gabriel resulting in a shriek from Charlie, "Oops, quickly guys my marvelous smile won't be enough to pacify, Red, I've pissed her off big time. Surely you don't want my death on your conscience."
"I'll protect you, Gabe."
"Sammy, my hero." Dean and Cas broke into loud laughter as Charlie made her way into the kitchen.
"Guys, your brothers are both evil and too sweet, now feed me."
"Of course, my Queen," answered Dean firing up the waffle maker.
* * *
Cas entered the Library happy to see Sam at their usual table, curiously holding court in the back were Meg, Alastair and Lilith seemingly engrossed in actual work.
"Sam everything okay?" he asked plopping down in the chair opposite his friend.
Yeah, I'm working on my English paper having finally finished The Scarlett Letter. They came in not long after, seems like they're there whenever I turn around today." answered Sam understanding what he really wanted to know, the answer didn't sound good. Surely they couldn't be stupid enough to mess with Sam, could they?
"Has Meg approached you?" he asked feeling better when Sam shook his head. Sam had been as much Meg's friend as Cas, all of them sharing a dry sense of humor no-one else understood until in Dean's words Meg had been seduced by the dark side.
"Ah, Mr Novak, I've been waiting for you." Cas turned around to find the librarian Ms Moseley looking at him with a glint in her eye, she looked really happy to see him.
"Oh God, I don't have overdue books do I?" asked Cas alarmed for Ms Moseley was not to be trifled with under any circumstances.
"No the opposite, you've had a delivery," she answered, this time her eyes were twinkling in delight normally that signaled bad omens.
"I didn't order anything."
"Again no, besides I don't gift wrap." her words didn't come that way either, she was often more scary than the actual teachers. Watching intently Cas was surprised as she placed a neatly wrapped package on the counter.
Another gift, Cas felt with certainty that books resided within, "Thank you," Cas took the package over to Sam noticing the others sudden disinterest in their books, for a moment he felt certain he saw a look of apprehension flash across Meg's face.
"What does the tag say?" asked Sam, obviously Gabriel had filled him in about what was happening.
Taking a seat, Cas lifts the tag - another spotty one - "Since you have most of the facts, enjoy an adventure and some rhyming words too." Cas reads aloud.
Feeling too eager to be gentle he rips open the paper, his love of books forever growing. Placing each book down on the table Cas regarded them closely, there were three in total and luckily he hadn't read a single one of them.
The first one was white with bees on the front, it was titled Bee Quest, non-fiction about a hunt for the world's most elusive bees. The middle was hardback, small and light blue with a golden honeycomb pattern, it was a book of poetry. The last was bright yellow and tells the story of a worker bee in a hive.
"These were really well picked," commented Sam.
Cas could only agree before burying his head in his hands, he really wished he could have his brothers attitude at times. Gabriel would lap up this kind of attention, bragging about it to all and sundry whereas Cas felt adrift.
"Cas, are you okay? Oh shit, is this freaking you out?" asked Sam the concern clear on his face.
"No, it's lovely only a little overwhelming," Cas told him truthfully.
"How many gifts are left?" asked Sam flicking through the poetry book.
"Um, two but each time I receive more than one thing. Once the person reveals themselves I'm going to have to do something back." announced Cas hoping he would come up with something half as good.
"Hey, only if you're interested back, Cas," informed Sam, "Gabriel and I have got your back, you know?"
"I do Sam, thank you, Gabriel's always had my back." Cas smiled feeling more than pleased he hadn't chosen a new book to read after finishing Hound of the Baskervilles, his eyes drawn to the bright yellow cover Cas picked up The Bees hoping he had a bookmark stashed in his locker.
* * *
Dean was getting frustrated trying to shove his books into his locker, to busy stealing looks at Castiel to pay attention to what he was doing. Bobby had texted earlier to tell him all the parts for Cas' car had arrived, along with an email telling him the car gift had been shipped.
Oh yeah, and he'd sent the books today, books that Cas was looking at right now. Hopefully, he was deciding which one to read first assuming he liked them. Gift giving had never made him so nervous before.
"Cas, wait." shouted a freshman Dean thought was called Alfie, certain Sam was friendly with the kid. For whatever reason Dean felt a frisson up his spine, something was happening.
Feeling he could watch less furtively Dean moved as if to approach Cas, when the tingle became a large slice of fear as a neatly wrapped package was passed from Alfie to Cas' waiting hands and slightly blushing cheeks.
A few words were whispered too low for Dean to make out, Alfie bounded off leaving Dean wondering what the hell was going on. He'd given Cas three books sent together because gift wrapping sucked. Feeling a little dazed Dean watched Cas regard the item with confusion before shrugging it off and moving to unwrap it, the action causing Dean to move closer.
"Cas!" he shouted.
"Dean, is something wrong?" he asked hands stilling.
"I don't think you should open that," he said pointing to Cas' hands.
"Oh, it's alright someone's sending me gifts, it's perfectly fine," answered Cas misunderstanding Dean's alarm.
"I know Cas, only I didn't send it."
Dean felt frazzled, the secret, his secret was out. He always suspected the truth to come out sooner than planned, getting this far felt like a feat in itself.
Only it wasn't meant to go down like this remembering the conversation with Charlie at the coffee shop, he never imagined his gift- giving would lead to bullying.
Whatever was in the box, Dean felt certain it wasn't anything good.
Currently, it sat in front of them on the picnic bench, unopened. After his announcement Dean had taken Cas carefully by the elbow leading him outside to the benches of the cafeteria courtyard.
Neither had spoken though Dean had sent an emergency text to Sam.
That had felt like hours ago, soon enough the silence was broken by the distant sound of Gabriel as he and Sam popped around the corner, "Dean-o, what's the sit- Cassie," Dean watched the usual jovial expression gracing Gabe's face flood away for concern as he made his way over immediately pulling Cas into his arms.
"I'm okay, Gabriel,"
Sam took the other side of the bench opposite Dean, "How did it all come out?" his brother asked his eyes down inspecting the gift, "Wait, you didn't send this."
"What there's another admirer?" asked Gabriel.
"It's a prank, we haven't opened it," Dean answered not wishing to see Gabriel's face flair with anger he kept his eyes trained on the package.
"Let us," offered Sam, Gabriel nodded finally releasing Cas to sit down. Dean wished he could reassure Cas but he couldn't think of anything clever to say, Dean was beyond freaked out at how quiet he was being.
Cas was generally quiet but he opened up around Dean, or he did. It was probably the shock.
Gabriel, ever fearless ripped off the paper off, sounding louder than it had any right to be. All it revealed was a white box, keeping it turned toward himself and Sam he opened it, Dean bracing himself for a bang or something to come shooting out.
"I can't say I'm surprised, whoever sent this are complete morons," said Gabriel closing the lid.
"What is it?" asked Cas.
"A sex toy," answered Sam keeping his voice monotone.
"Oh, I should sit down,"
"Cas, you are sitting down," informed Dean.
"Good for me," Cas looked pale, "I shouldn't be so freaked out,"
"Cas, you're in highschool besides it's creepy someone would send that to you." calmed Sam making Dean thankful his brother had such a way with words.
"Sammy's right, it lacks complete imagination. The sender was probably expecting you to scream and drop it for extra laughs." Gabriel rolled his eyes in emphasis.
"Alfie gave it to me, he found it in the library at lunch but thought it was too public to give it to me." so that was what Alfie had told Cas.
Now that was understood Dean turned his eyes to Gabriel, all the while making sure his glare wasn't too strong. Sam had a radar for it and would no doubt flash his specially reserved Gabriel bitchface back in return.
But Cas was all distraught and Dean's heart was hanging by a thread, yet Gabriel felt it necessary to debate the pranks lack of creativity.
On second thought, Gabriel deserved it, Dean was done, this half glare was about to become full on.
"You think Meg had something to do with it?" piped up Sam causing Dean's concentration to shift to his brother, friggin' bitch.
"Sam mentioned she was in the library earlier with her new pals," added Gabriel.
Cas shifted a little, his thinking face engaged, "Oh, like some gang initiation, is she shedding her old alliances?"
"Think you may have been watching a little too much TV, Cas," teased Gabriel.
"We'll go track her down," suggested Sam getting up.
Oh God, they were leaving!
"Excellent idea, Samsquatch," smiled Gabriel grabbing the box, "We'll leave you two to talk," he added with a wink.
The sound of their retreating footsteps caused silence to bloom, once again Dean felt helpless. What could he say? Anything would be better than silence else it would reign forever, ok here goes.
"So surprise," Dean's eyes went wide after the words left his mouth, what the hell! Only Cas didn't walk off he laughed, Dean was choosing to see that as a good sign.
"I hoped it was you, Dean," oh wow, he did have a shot. What would that be like, no this was no time to get ahead of himself.
"Do you want the gifts to stop? I was being over-ambitious thinking it wouldn't get out before the end."
"Let me guess you thought Gabriel would spill the beans," Dean nodded and just like that they were laughing together.
Throughout this whole plan Dean had tried his hardest to avoid Cas as much as possible (no thanks to interfering friends and brothers) but being like this he realized how much he'd missed him.
"No, Dean you're being so creative, but um maybe you could keep it away from school though,"
"Yeah Cas, that I can do,"
Smiling Cas continued, "Should we talk about everything?" Dean knew that meant himself.
"At the end, besides I got word all the parts for your pimpmobile are in, so when are you free to fix it up?"
* * *
"Guess I'll call her up," suggested Sam releasing one arm from his backpack to rifle through it for his cell.
"No need Sammo, I'm pretty sure she works at the bakery in town, um House of Carbs. Besides this kind of thing is best done on an ambush, she'll only lie otherwise." Sam stopping his search looked closely at Gabriel making the older boy feel like he was being looked at through a microscope.
"Is that so?" Gabriel nodded wondering if Sam ever wanted to take his Dom shoes for a spin, where did he get that look from anyway? Gabriel fought hard (haha) to shake off the sexy shiver he was feeling. "You sure this isn't your way to a salted caramel chocolate peanut cupcake?"
It totally was.
Shrugging Gabriel answered, "Can't say it crossed my mind, though now you mention it," Sam raised his eyebrows at that. "I guess we can't barge in and commandeer a staff member without a purchase." rambled Gabriel hoping it was enough.
"Of course," smiled Sam flashing his amused grin, yep definitely got away with that.
"Glad you agree, Sam, cos behavior like that would be well, it would be damn right unamerican."
"She really works there?" Gabriel nodded again knowing Sam was being serious, he felt certain he'd seen her in the back as he paid for his purchases, for whatever reason he felt it was something to keep quiet.
"For how long?" Gabriel thought back knowing it was a few months ago when he bade farewell to the Christmas coffee syrups quickly telling Sam as much.
"Wait, that would mean around the same time she ditched you and Cassie."
"What is going on with her?" asked Sam.
Smirking Gabriel continued "Well you know what they say honey makes a better trap than vinegar," throwing a wink at his boyfriend had him laughing.
"Fine, I'll buy three cupcakes."
* * *
Meg felt in the middle of a crisis, currently, she was behind the counter of her Aunt's bakery sporting a pink apron and enjoying herself.
Enjoying herself at work!
Saying it didn't make it less weird, was she finally crawling out of that dark tunnel she spent the last few months in? The very one that had led her away from blue eyes and a goofy giant to break bread with Alistair and Lillith?
How had being abandoned led to this? Well, that was easy, Meg had been the poster child for Daddy's little girl. Only they never showed what happened when your father found out he wasn't your father.
Stupidly Meg hadn't expected anything to change since her mother died it had been them against the world. Father dearest hadn't seen it that way, he no longer wanted to care for some brat that wasn't his, so he dumped her at Aunt Ruby's door and fled.
After the initial shock wore off Meg knew she no longer wanted to feel anything, something hard to accomplish when your friends were such bleeding hearts all the time. Alistair and Lillith offered her an escape, they put others down, weak shy kids who wanted to learn without ever spoiling their appetite.
It took Meg a while to reach that level, not naturally she kept her water bottle filled with cheap vodka and swallowed it down with pills. The bell above the door pulled her from her thoughts straight into shock at the sight of Sam and Gabriel.
She watched them having a silent conversation once it appeared over she readied herself for whatever they were going to say only they didn’t, instead Gabriel approached the counter placing a white box atop of it, one she was all too familiar with already.
She gulped this time embracing the guilt and hurt she was feeling for Cas, “Please tell me they didn’t?”
“They tried, it didn’t go exactly to their plan though,” relief washed through her something she was happy to embrace.
“So you knew?” asked Sam looking disappointed.
“They wanted me to give it to him but I refused, I thought they were doing it to torture me that if I said no they wouldn't go ahead,” spewing the truth like that actually felt good, “What happened?”
“It was left for someone to give it to Cas at lunchtime only this person thought better of it and luckily Dean intervened before it was opened.”
“Meg, what’s been going on with you?”
“Sammy, you’re skipping the steps!” reprimanded Gabriel.
“Fine, I’ll take a banana caramel muffin, a flapjack, a slice of pecan for Dean, a slice of honey and pear tart for Cas and whatever you’ll have,”
“Thanks Samheart,” Meg rolled her eyes before grabbing a box gladly picking something for herself this wasn’t the time to refuse a free pastry.
Castiel opened his eyes delighting in the fact that it was Saturday, the past week and a bit had been hard work. The constant chaperoning was driving him crazy, of course, his friends meant well and after the prank failed on the public humiliation front they’d all expected a little blow back.
Though he suspected both Gabriel and Dean of laying heavy threats at the feet of Alistair and Lillith. It seemed they were at an impasse, it was weird how they showed no qualms about hurting him but seemed afraid of going against Gabriel.
For once Castiel was proud of his brother's reputation, though he’d keep it to himself.
He made sure to get everyone watching out for Alfie too, especially when the kid confessed he was basically blackmailed into giving Castiel the gift. Luckily he was smart since the culprits never told him specifically when to give it to Cas and had since found kinship with Kevin and perhaps more with Benny.
Stranger still was Meg, he wasn’t privy to all what had been discussed between herself, Sam and Gabriel. Only that she refused to be part of the prank and believed it wouldn’t go ahead without her. All week at school he'd seen her mainly by herself and always working, certainly nowhere near Alistair and Lillith at times he’d noticed her with Sam, Charlie and even Gabriel. He wanted to speak to her badly but she needed to be the one to make the first move.
With his thoughts swimming, Cas took advantage of it being Saturday and bedded down for some extra sleep. Only minutes later the incessant ringing of the doorbell started, God, wasn't anyone else home?
Grabbing his phone from the bedside table he was shocked to find it past eleven while at the same time noticing he had a text from Gabriel. It was always a roll of the dice whether it would be useful of just another meme.
Hoping whoever was ringing the bell would soon grow bored and give up Cas settled back down opening the message.
From Gabriel: Yo Bro, place to yourself now answer the goddamn door!
Where the hell was everybody! Wait, Gabriel knew someone was at the door and whoever it was hadn't given up. Cas jumped out of bed, could it possibly be Dean bringing him a gift? The first since the unveiling.
Checking he had his good night clothes on Cas ran a hand through his hair, it didn't help any. Pulling his bedroom door open Cas dashed down the stairs flinging open the door to find Meg looking the least confident he'd ever seen her.
"Dean asked me to deliver this to you," she said skipping the pleasantries, holding out an oblong shaped gift sporting the same familiar black flower paper and tag. "And I wanted to talk so I could explain everything,"
Cas felt a little adrift, “I don’t understand! All week everyone’s been weird, I haven’t seen you with Alistair of Lillith once,”
“They’re not my friends, they never were,” claimed Meg “So are you going to let me in or what?” Cas tried to stop the smile from forming, Meg had always been snarky it was nice to know not everything had changed.
“Yeah actually I haven’t eaten so you can cook me those pancakes of yours,” he replied, pulling the door back to let her through.
Smiling she handed him the gift, it’s unlike you to be so tardy for the morning Clarence,”
“I was working last night, oh that night why did you stop by? We all thought you’d come to spy,”
“Can’t say I wasn’t curious about those chocolates but I figured it was Dean,” Cas looked at her in surprise, “I have eyes Cas, the guy's a walking closet case luckily he found the way out. Truthfully and I don’t want to get all mushy but I missed you,” Meg avoided eye contact under the guise of gathering ingredients.
“I missed you too, we all did,” Cas laughed at Meg’s look of horror at the show of emotions, “Sometimes I really think you’re Dean in female form.”
When Cas and Meg were in pancake heaven he went in for the kill, “Meg, why did you start hanging out with them? It felt so abrupt only it wasn't, not really, something must have happened.”
"My spoiled little Daddy's girl life shattered is all,"
"You're not spoiled," argued Cas to which Meg raised her eyes, "Fine you were a lot but you weren't a mean person because of it, hell Sam wouldn't ave been friends with you otherwise." clarified Cas.
"I still can't believe he's dating Gabriel, the kid's a puppy." joked Meg.
"So what happened?"
"My father found out he wasn't really my Dad, you know biologically. With that bit of information he ditched me at my Aunts and took off, I haven't heard a peep from him since." Meg delivered the news in a very monotone voice taking a sip of coffee once she was done.
"But he raised you, doesn't that mean anything?" asked Cas hoping he wasn't hurting her with the question.
"Seems Azazel Masters is a blood shared kind of guy, it was a real shock and I just felt so low, I should have told you guys but I didn't want to share my feelings, I just wanted to be over it, to feel nothing." Cas nodded his thoughts going to Dean and his relationship with Uncle Bobby, there was no blodd between them but he knew Bobby thought of Dean and Sam as sons.
"Not long after it happened I saw Alistair and Lillith picking on this kid, the boy was in tears and they didn't even look guilty or ashamed for what they were doing and in that moment I wanted to feel that kind of oblivion."
Cas could believe it knowing without Gabriel he would have been one of their targets, they really should have been expelled by now. "So what made you change your mind?" he asked eating his last piece of pancake.
"They asked me to give you their little gift in the middle of lunch, Cas I wanted no part in it and I should have told you or Gabriel. Their whole ethos never really worked for me anyway, I may have wished my feelings away but it never worked, at least not without the help of pills and cheap vodka."
"Are you okay at your Aunts?" Cas asked wondering how he'd react if his parents up and left him and Gabriel.
"Yeah, Aunt Ruby is a blast and I love working at the bakery, actually I can get you a job there if you want."
"Are you kidding, if it means no more late nights then yes please, I'm more of an early morning person. Oh, I can't wait to be surrounded by the scents of fresh coffee and bread."
"Great, you have to meet my Aunt but we're in desperate need for someone, it's getting really busy."
"Oh God, Gabriel's going to hound me for cupcakes." moaned Cas much to Meg's amusement.
"So are you going to open that? I suffered Dean's scary glare to bring it to you," Cas picked it up ripping into the top of the gift, once open he reached in pulling out two Bee wordplay bookmarks that made him smile, a save the bees badge and little wooden bees he could stick on his school board in his room.
The gift tag read: So you never lose your place and help spread the word.
There was one more gift to come, yeah Cas had to starting planning his own surprise.
"Cas, are we going to be okay?" asked Meg reading the gift tag.
"I think so but I'd say you owe me a favor and I know just the thing."
" "Bookmarks" />
Sorry it took so long but I couldn't decide what to put in the box or if it should be open at all. Probably only one full chapter left and then a little one. Also this chapter mentions Benny, he's been here the whole time just not in the written sense.
Chapter 7: The Final Gift
one fluff heavy chapter.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Cas was waiting in the School parking lot with his group of friends sans Sam and Alfie, after much discussion he had decided it was best to inform the principal of last week's prank and currently Alfie was giving a statement about the bullying and blackmail.
Sam was there for moral support, leaving Benny to pace like crazy outside with the rest of them. Otherwise things were going well Cas had gleefully quit his job at the Gas Station for afterschool shifts and early Saturdays at House of Carbs.
Baking bread was his new love, the combined aroma of fresh bread and coffee was heavenly also making up with lost time with Meg was an added bonus. Occasionally he had to wrangle Gabriel out from under his feet, though never on a Saturday (Gabriel's prime sleeping time) weirdly his brother always had cash but no job as far as he knew, honestly he didn't want to know more at this point.
More excitingly his car was almost fixed, watching Dean get greasy in a tight white vest was an exercise in torture. So he had willingly distracted himself by asking to help so now he knew more about cars than he would have ever believed.
The sound on the school door opening had Cas looking up to find Sam and Alfie heading toward them, looking distraught. Gabriel took off immediately pulling Sam into his arms once he was able, Alfie proceeded to walk over to them, Benny only managing to hold himself still, Dean was the first to speak.
"What's up with Sammy?"
"He's a little upset after hearing everything I said," Cas caught Dean's eyes nodding his go ahead for Dean to head over to his brother.
Cas often felt in awe of Dean and Sam's relationship even with Gabriel laying on his own protective streak it felt different, mostly becuase more often than not he felt he was looking after Gabriel.
"Alfie what happened with the two you know who's," asked Charlie stilling the little conversations and glances to Sam, Gabriel and now Dean.
"They've been expelled," Alfie delivered the news with a big grin as screams of excitement rang out, only Meg stayed silent seeming too shocked to speak.
"Can I give you a hug, Cher?" asked Benny moving closer to Alfie.
"On one condition?"
"You take me out on a date." Alfie asked loud enough that silence fell once again Meg was the exception.
"Bold move Alfie, I like it," she winked along with two thumbs up.
"I was going to ask," mumbled Benny bashfully.
"You were taking too long, I really like you Benny and I hope you like me too,"
"Tonight?" Alfie nods his head in agreement before allowing Benny to give him that hug sighing happily once embraced.
"Cas, can you thank Sam for me?" Alfie asks, Cas looks around at his friends they all had plans tonight either out for pizza to celebrate or at Chez Winchester to commiserate, probably with pizza too.
"Go on we can all get together tomorrow night, then these two can dish the dirt on the date," encouraged Charlie, Meg flashing him a smile to tell him she was on board.
Cas nodded before walking over to his brother, Sam and Dean (soon to be boyfriend, oh God) Sam was currently wrapped around Gabriel like an octopus, an impressive feat considering Sam's recent growing surge. His eyes were red easily noticing tear tracks on his cheeks, Sam was such a gentle boy, Cas hated seeing him so upset.
"Alfie said to thank you for being there, how are you feeling?"
He gave a weak smile that didn't reach his eyes, "Better I'm here, did Alfie get his date?" Cas nodded happy to see Sam's eyes light up at the news.
"I really wished you'd sent me a text, Baby," said Gabriel kissing Sam on the forehead, "Or even one to Dean,"
"Sorry, I felt okay when I was in the room but I felt I had to be because Alfie was trying so hard and then it just caught up with me." sniffled Sam.
"You can talk to us about it whenever you want," said Dean taking Sam's other side.
"Um, I don't really want to be around everyone, I know we all made plans, sorry."
"Actually Sam, since Alfie and Benny are having their date we postponed until tomorrow." informed Cas.
"You think you can manage the three of us or do you just want to be with Gabriel?" asked Dean.
At that moment, Sam caught Cas' eyes, he knew they were thinking the exact same thing: That now was the time both Dean and Gabriel chose to be so respectful of each other, though truly if anything was going to do it it would be Sam or perhaps maybe him.
"Brothers," said Cas shaking his head but it got a giggle out of Sam and weird looks from the other two because they had no idea they were doing it.
"Can we all go back to ours?" asked Sam.
"Hell yeah, you know one look at you and Mom will go all out with food and hugs."
* * *
"This is definitely the one, Cas," stated Meg digging in for another piece of pie.
"You really think so?" asked Cas only to be confronted with Meg's are you serious expression, "I mean sure it tastes good but will Dean think the same,"
"It's perfect, you have maple and honey working together so well with the cinnamon and the crust is so crisp."
"Seconded," shouted Ruby from the front, "Ah, Cas your brother's loitering outside,"
Cas' head popped up on hearing that, they weren't due to open for another half hour, meaning Gabriel wasn't here for leftovers it was rare for him to be up this early on a Saturday.
Making his way to the front he shot Ruby an apologetic glance before opening the door to let Gabriel in, "What are you doing up?" asked Cas slightly flummoxed.
"I need one of your breakfast muffins and a pear tart before they get snapped up, Sammy deserves a treat." Cas nodded looking at his brother easily seeing the worry and lack of sleep in his eyes.
Last night they had returned to the Winchester home for comfort food and the bigger comfort of Mary and John while watching some light comedy films. They had left Sam in much higher spirits only Gabriel had inherited their mother's knack for worrying.
"Here you go, on the house," the brothers turned to find Ruby placing an orange paper bag on the counter.
"Really?" asked Gabriel.
"That's very nice of you, Ruby," said Cas.
"I'm just doing what I can to make sure you stick around Cas, I'm putting that pie on the menu." she smiled grabbing a stool so she could reach the blackboard.
"Are you and Sam still on for tonight?" asked Cas passing the treats to his brother.
"Yeah, Sammy's really keen to hear all about Alfie's date, I think he just needed some tlc," answered Gabriel.
"I'm sure he got it," joked Meg as she placed what was left of Cas' pie in on the bottom shelf before continuing, "Actually its good you're here Gabriel, I've had an idea about tonight."
"That makes me worry,"
"Hearing that from Gabriel 'The Trickster' Novak makes me feel honoured," Cas nodded his head in agreement, normally Gabriel was up for anything, the weirder the better.
"What is it, Meg?"
"Well I thought we could host everyone here tonight, there's enough space and we even have a stone oven out the back so we could make our own pizza."
"A stone oven? Why the hell aren't you guys doing takeaway?" asked Gabriel either offended by the lack of good business acumen or that Cas couldn't bring him pizza from work, probably both.
"Do you think Ruby would let us?" asked Cas choosing to ignore Gabriel.
"Let you do what?" asked Ruby causing the others to jump.
* * *
Cas glanced once again at the wall clock everyone had made it pretty much on time whereas Dean, Sam and Gabriel were still absent.
“Cas they’ll be here,” it was Charlie this time, Meg having washed her hands of rallying support at his fifth glance.
“What if something happened with Sam?” he questioned.
“They would have called,” calmed Meg coming through the swing doors from the kitchen, “We’re all set so let’s get these guys to their stations,” announced Meg immediately moving to herd Alfie, Benny, Charlie, Gilda and Kevin into the kitchen, “Filter around guys we’ll leave this end for the late arrivals,”
Castiel made sure to stay close to the door.
“Cas don’t worry about Sam we’ve been texting all day, I thought telling him about the date would cheer him up,” informed Alfie his cheeks blushing.
“Kid, no fair we want the juicy details too,” joked Meg, weirdly since this whole debacle Meg had sort of taken him under her wing. Wanting a distraction Cas listened with his friends as Meg instructed how to ready the dough for toppings, before moving onto the sauces, classic tomato, barbeque and white sauce.
Deciding on a tuna melt Cas reached for the sweetcorn when the rumble of the Impala was heard causing him to fumble the bowl scattering corn over the worktop.
"Jeez Cas chill," joked Meg "Don't you dare move, let him come to you, Gabriel knows to lock the door."
"You all knew they'd be late," stated Cas.
"Could you repeat those instructions Meg?" asked Gilda.
"I need help," said Kevin and Alfie obviously all attempting to divert the conversation just as the others came through the doors.
"Why are you late?" he asked hoping to pull of a considerable glare.
"Um, well sorry Cassie only Sammy was taking a nap and I couldn't bare to wake him when he looked all snug and cute," rambled Gabriel as Sam blushed and Dean looked like he wanted away from the whole thing.
The others all oohed and ahhed
"I don't believe that for a second but I'll let it go for pizza," he teased watched the three breathe a sigh of relief, Gabriel moving to take the place next to him.
“Gabe swap with Sam!”
So you can share this with Dean,” answered Benny placing a meat platter in front of them, “unless you guys were planning on something other than meat feast pizzas,”
“It’s so beautiful!” exclaimed Gabriel, Dean seemed too awestruck to talk.
“Dude! Are you crying?” asked Sam only to be more shocked when Dean couldn't formulate a response, Gabriel was quick to take over the conversation.
"Meg where's your Aunt?" asked Gabriel.
"Out with the Winchesters," she replied enjoying the look of surprise from Sam and Dean,
"But I crunched the numbers,"
"You what?" asked Cas and whether it was due to voice being a little louder than normal or they could just sense something coming silence fell.
Cas caught sight of Sam looking back and forth between Gabriel and Cas as if following a tennis ball.
"He doesn't know?" asked Sam finally stopping on Gabriel.
"Sammy," warned Gabriel with no real heat.
"What don't I know?" asked Cas with no answer he turned to Sam, "Sam what don't I know about my own brother?"
"He's a math whiz,"
"Sammy you promised!"
"Hey I promised to keep it a secret from the general public not your own brother," said Sam placing a kiss to Gabriel's cheek.
"Why aren't you in Ms Harvelle's class?"
Silence again so Sam answered, "He does her work in his class, he sweet talked the teachers."
"No that I do believe," commented Dean.
"Why are you hiding yourself?" wondered Cas.
"What's 379 times by 65?" screamed Gilda.
"I'm a whiz I'm not rainman!" exclaimed Gabriel blushing from all the eyes on him, Cas noted its weirdness his brother was no stranger to attention normally he'd lap it up and look for seconds but perhaps this was a different sort.
"Gabe, I just want to know you,"implored Cas.
"I have a rep, everyone thinks my pranks are a work or ingenuity, I can't have people knowing math is on my side, it's not cool."
"It is Gabe, I admire anyone you can make math their bitch," declared Kevin with much agreement.
"Are you using this to work?" asked Cas the information dropping into place.
"Uh yeah, it um started with your Dad," replied Gabe waving his hand casually at Sam and Dean.
"Our Dad pays you for math?" asked Dean shocked.
"For the books, Brother," laughed Benny tapping his shoulder.
"It just happened, I was picking up Sam and I wanted your Dad to like me and I could see him struggling so I helped. I just wanted him to see a side he hadn’t heard about, he found me more work with his friends, Bobby for one. They don’t mind paying so they have more time at home, especially when they don’t get any joy out of it.”
“And you do!” cried Dean who seemed to be taking the news the hardest.
“Dean,” reprimanded Cas puzzled.
“It's just he’s Mr Prank Extraordinaire but this is something that could be a job! Dude you could go to MIT,”
“How do you even know that?” asked Meg.
Dean’s blush alerted Cas to the fact that Gabriel wasn’t the only one hiding, “Are you keeping secrets too?” He asked causing everyone to laugh over current events, luckily it helped break the tension.
“I was looking at Schools for engineering,” stated Dean talking mostly to the worktop, Charlie and Sam were the first to break out the encouragements.
“Dean, that’s brilliant,” offered Cas.
“You think so?”
"We all do, I know you love working with Bobby but you're very creative too,"
Dean smiled at that and the nods of agreement filling the room, "Lately I've been feeling like I don't want to be a car mechanic for the rest of my life."
"You should go for it, choose the college that speaks to you," chipped in Benny, while attempting to load his pizza one-handed, his other firmly wrapped around Alfie.
"You know they do pranks at MIT," added Alfie hardly moving his eyes away from Benny, both too wrapped up in each other to care.
"Before that becomes a topic let's get these pizzas cooking or we'll go hungry," cried Meg.
"Dean, how much meat do you need?" screamed Sam looking horrified at the towering pile.
Everyone took their pizzas outside Gabriel basically losing his shit over the pretty garden strewn with cute tables and fairy lights, "Right I want date details now," he demanded choosing not to pass comment.
Cas sensed his silence spelled trouble for Ruby later but he knew she could hold her own.
* * *
Cas had the sense he was being toyed with, on waking he found only his parents getting ready for work, Gabriel was oddly absent when normal practice was Cas having to be real inventive in getting him out of bed, he'd learned not to get too close after a hit to the face.
Weirder still, they both had first period free.
Dean had offered to pick him up between classes but he was cutting it fine, Cas hated being late but today was even more important due to it being the first Monday after Alistair's and Lililth's expulsion. Cas needed to be there for his friends during the first break, deciding to be proactive Cas dug his cell out from his pocket to call his brother, knowing Gabriel to be more likely to pick up during School hours.
"Yo, Bro! You here yet?" answered Gabriel.
"No, Dean hasn't turned up."
"Oh shit," Cas listened as he heard a lot of muted swearing and clipped conversations meaning Gabriel was on the move, soon enough he heard his voice again, "Winchester, you seen the time?" shouted Gabriel.
What the hell?
No way would his brother address Sam like that, which meant, "Shit! Blame Alfie and Benny for distracting me," he heard Dean answer before the line went dead.
It's not long before his phone trills with a text message from Dean: You didn't ask for the real answer but there was a reason we were late for pizza making.
At first Cas doesn't understand until he remembers how Gabriel answered the phone, Gabriel asked if he was here, here meaning School. Moving quickly Cas grabs his bag and heads for the garage he opens his car to find a note hanging from the rear view mirror.
Don't be mad, I fixed the car on Saturday I hope you love my final gift, Dean.
Like it he loves it, hanging from the rear view mirror is a honeycomb shaped leather that smells amazing, in the centre is a cute little bee and underneath the word mine in blue.
Castiel feels his heart or stomach (perhaps both) flip flop with emotions, this is the last gift and there's no way Cas can wait any longer to put his own plan in motion, this whole thing is coming to a head today.
Grabbing his cell once more Cas dials hoping the phone is answered.
One more chapter to go!