Angel Wings Arcade was Gabriel Novak's pride and joy. He'd restored the place about five years ago, just after high school when the old man who owned it before died. The guys daughter (totally clueless) had closed on the space for a cash offer of 4,000 dollars. It was a total steal, the young woman had just wanted the dreaded place gone.
Once everything was settled and the place finally belonged to Gabriel, his first official act was to test the games. Surprisingly, all worked. It was dirty, grimy and the place reeked of stale air and old drywall. It hadn't taken too long for the place to be polished up with the help of his siblings.
He'd gotten new black and gold splattery carpets, painted the walls in blacks, golds and whites. He added a brand-new glass display case, new lights that were pretty dull as to see the screens easier, some vending machines and brand-new coin dispensers and ticket counters. He'd also decided to purchase a boat load of new Angel themed tokens that had a pair of wings with a halo above them and the arcade's new name sprawled across the edge of the tokens. It wasn't too hard to find prized that would be of interest to those of all ages. After all, having seven siblings had to have some perks.
The arcade was been a success, no matter what his parents said. The grand opening had been huge: cake for everyone, drinks, twenty-five free tokens to play. The laugher was music to his ears as youth of all ages (and some adults) enjoyed the new arcade in town.
With time, Gabriel would purchase some new games. He'd replace some of the older, slower ones and add a couple claw machines.
And now, five years later, business was booming. Children from all over town came to spend the afternoon after school. Kids requested to come for their birthdays, a majority of allowance money was spent here. Gabriel got to spend his time snacking on candy from the prize buckets, socializing with the kids (because adulting was hard) and making a serious killing on it.
Gabriel even employed some of his siblings. His three younger siblings had been voluntold that they would work the prize counter one various days of the week. Cassie had gotten more than Anna and Samandriel because quite frankly, the kid had no life.
Today, Castiel was working by himself. Gabriel was in the back working on the adult end of owning a business, while he was stuck manning the counter. It was pretty slow, considering it was a Friday in the early evening. It was just after four, but kids didn't start coming until after five. In due time, the place would be packed, and he'd be overwhelmed by children wanting prizes.
Cas leaned against the counter, lifting his hand and letting a slinky prize slink down to the counter in his boredom. Gabe had a strict 'no doing homework on the job, ya dork' rule, so there was nothing to do during the slow hours. Gabriel was never too concerned about his siblings eating or taking a couple of the prizes, as he himself was guilty of pocketing suckers and popping gumballs into his mouth when he had the chance.
Castiel hadn't been interested in this. He'd helped Gabe clean the place out, of course, but he'd never wanted to work there. Hell, he barely visited the place before he was assigned Monday evenings, Friday evening and all-day Sunday.
There was, however, a plus side to this job. And, here comes that plus side now. Dean Winchester. Dean was in all of Castiel's classes. They sat beside each other in most classes, and in the others, he sat one space behind the boy.
Dean Winchester was a regular at the Angel Wings Arcade. Well, Dean and his little ten-year-old brother Sam.
Cas' hand came to a rest over the slinky which had fallen to the counter the second the Winchesters walked in. His eyes followed Dean to the token dispenser and he watched Dean insert a twenty-dollar bill. Sam jumped around, animatedly pointing out games he wanted to play, and Dean merely ruffled his hair and followed the boy to wherever he wanted to go.
The brothers were surprisingly good at air hockey, which they always spent a couple dollars on, and were remarkably good at the coin pusher machines. Each visit, the Winchesters racked up thousands of tickets and claimed many prizes.
Dean aced Skee-Ball and Cas was always completely mesmerized as he watched, often forgetting he was assisting someone at the prize counter. When he wasn't helping someone, Cas would watch the brothers play games.
He'd liked Dean for years, since the older Winchester had been transferred into his fifth-grade class. Dean had moved from Lawrence Kansas to Pontiac Illinois about halfway through the year. It was odd, but Dean had been accepted quite fast. The girls swooned over his looks, and the boys liked him for his cool clothes and the 67' Chevy Impala he was always dropped off at school in.
Cas had just silently studied the boy. He'd grown to love how dedicated the boy was. He wasn't the best at school, but he made up for it in effort. Cas fell for his love for his little brother. It wasn't too often one saw a teenaged boy spend just as much time with his younger brother as Dean did, and actually like it. He liked Dean's personality. All the stupid jokes he'd mutter during class, or innuendos that got the teachers riled up. And, of course, Dean's looks only added to the equation.
Cas was smitten. He knew that. He also knew Dean was way out of his league. This, however, never stopped Cas from watching the two brothers. He watched how patiently Dean showed Sam how to play a certain game, or gave him pointers. He stared as Dean lit up with pride after his brother completed a task and excitedly asked Dean if he had seen (to which Dean would congratulate him and high-five the younger). He smiled at the way Dean would grin and laugh as he scored a damn near perfect score on the Skee-Ball machine.
Dean was... Well, Dean was perfect in Cas' eyes. Way too perfect for Cas. And Cas knew this. Cas accepted it. Dean was miles out of his league.
Cas had barely noticed Gabriel coming out of the backroom, a frown on his face. Gabe, however, grinned when he noticed his little brother staring at a certain regular customer.
"Cassie," he drew in the boy's attention, "what'cha lookin' at?" he teased happily in a sing-song voice, even though he already knew the answer.
"Shut up." Cas groaned, his eyes shifting back to Dean for a second before he looked towards Gabe. He watched Gabriel dip his hand into the licorice bucket, pulling out two prepackaged packs of two, then into the gumball bucket, carefully selecting a pack with a red and a blue gumball set, then lastly, into the sucker bucket, pulling a handful and pocketing them. Suckers were Gabriel's favorite. Gabe pulled another sucker, but ripped the plastic off and popped it into his mouth.
At times, Castiel questioned how Gabriel was the older brother and he was the younger.
"Staring at lover-boy again?" Gabe continued, pulling the sucker from his mouth to give it a suggestive lick and wiggle his eyebrows seductively at his younger brother.
"I don't know what you mean." Cas said blankly. His voice an octave lower, which was a clear sign he was lying.
"Sure, you don't," Gabriel rolled his eyes. Gabriel was the most involved with all of his sibling's love lives. Well, not Michael or Raphael, because they always had sticks up their asses. The only one Gabriel could really tease was Cas, since he was the only one who was interested in anyone. Not that the little nerd would do anything about his crush.
"Leave it alone, Gabe." Cas pleaded.
"Come on, Cassi-"
"Hey Cas, hi Gabe." Both brothers turned to see Dean smiling at them, Sam staring wide eyed into the display case in front of his older brother.
"Hiya, Dean-o, Hey-a Sammy." Gabe greeted first. He grinned at Dean, then down at Sam, who waved at him.
"Hello Dean." Cas said, "Hi, Sam."
"Sammy here would like to cash this," Dean passed over a ticket to Cas with the bolded number 1885 printed at the top. Gabriel dramatically gasped, slapping his hand to his chest.
"You two are going to put me out of business," Gabe whined loudly over Sam's howl of laughter.
"Sure," Cas threw over his shoulder before glaring at Gabe and pushing the older man towards the backroom.
"Okay, okay! Bye guys!" Cas huffed out a breath before returning to the brothers.
"What would you like, Sam?" Cas asked, avoiding looking at Dean since he knew now that Gabe was gone he'd blush. Hard.
"The gun!" Sam pointed excitedly to the back wall where a blue, medium sized water gun was hung up. The gun was 1800 tickets, so Cas pulled it down and handed it over to the young boy, after glancing at Dean for permission.
"What about the last 85 tickets?" Cas questioned, easily doing the math in his head.
"Hm, whaddya think, Sammy, what kind of candies?"
Cas picked out each 5-ticket candy Sam rambled off until their balance was cleared. Cas supplied as Ziplock bag to Dean, who ordered Sam bag the candy so they could hide it away at home.
"Thanks a lot, Cas," Dean beamed, Cas flushing slightly at the way Dean purred his words. Dean was a total catch. A lady's man, it was obvious.
"No problem, Dean," Cas said with a small lopsided smile.
Dean glance behind, seeing Sam waiting at the door with a sucker stick in his mouth, "I gotta go, Cas. I'll see you around." Dean flashed another charming smile before following after Sam who wondered out of the arcade. Cas sighed heavily, leaning on the counter tiredly.
"Cheer up, Cassie. He's here almost every day." Gabe called from right behind Castiel. Cas startled, turning to glare at his older brother. "You could always take more shifts to watch your boy-toy?"
"Not going to happen." Cas huffed, eyes travelling back to the door to stare longingly for another second before pushing off the counter and helping the boy holding out a hundred ticket receipt.
It was Saturday morning when Gabe noticed the usual (strictly Friday evening, Sunday and occasionally Monday evening) patron walk into the arcade.
"Hiya, Dean-o" Gabe greeted. He was a little confused why the teenager had made a beeline for the prize counter once he walked into the arcade. He didn't have any tickets... so... "Where's Sammy?" He asked quickly, noting the loss of the younger Winchester.
"Hey, Gabe." Dean greeted easily, eyeing the back wall behind the counter where all the costly prizes were hung on display. "Sammy's at a friend's today." Gabriel nodded, turning to also look at the collection of toys and stuffed animals. "I just had a... well, kind of strange question to ask you."
Gabriel paused his movements, turning to look at the sandy haired teenager.
"Well, I'm intrigued now," he leaned against the glass countertop, chin resting against his palm as his fingers curled into his chin and he tilted his head slightly, "continue."
"Anything behind the counter... can be bought with tickets, right?"
"Yes," Gabe narrowed his eyes, no idea where this conversation was going.
"How many tickets for... let's say... one date with one of your employees?"
"One... a date with one of my siblings?" Gabriel asked shocked. Gabriel wasn't sure what to say to that. Even though he knew Castiel was into Dean, his mind still flashed to Anna, who was a year older than Dean. Dean had never given off the 'bi' vibe, so it was a safe assumption. Now, how dare he ask to date Anna? "Listen kid, Anna-"
"No, no! Anna's great and all, but.. I was- uh I was talking about Cas..." As Gabriel was about to open his mouth again, Dean back-pedaled even further, "And! And, I mean, I wouldn't force anything. He could turn me down. I just, I'm not sure how to... you know, ask him out... If he says no, nothing will- Nothing will change. Sammy still loves it here... and he could spend the tickets and yeah..."
By the end of it, Dean was staring at his shoes, his voice losing all traces of the confidence he'd walked in with.
"You know what, this was stupid." Dean turned, "I'm sorry, Gab-" Gabriel grabbed the boy's shoulder over the counter before Dean could stride away. When Dean turned to look towards Gabe, the other man had a mischievous grin plastered on his face.
"Woah, Dean-o. Sorry, just protective over the only younger sister, ya know?" Dean nodded slowly.
"I understand," Dean replied, bouncing on his toes in nervousness.
"So, you wanna date my Cassie? You're trying to purchase my Cassie? Dean-o, Cassie ain't no-"
"I-I know!" Dean cut off Gabe's teasing chides, wildly waving his hand in front of him. "I don't wanna buy Cas, I want to... buy his company for a couple hours..." Dean gulped, tugging at his plaid shirt sleeve in nerves. "I like Cas a lot... he's great... and I just don't know how to ask him to go out with me."
"You know Dean, I just might be able to help ya. I like you, Kid." Gabriel grinned, leaning against the counter. "But, someone as cute and funny as my baby brother, that ain't come cheap. Cassie is worth a lot. If you want his company, you've gotta work for it." Gabriel replied, he was serious about this. He needed to see just how dedicated Dean was to Cas. He knew Cas was all over Dean, but was Dean just as into it?
"I'll pay anything," Dean stared at him, eyes wide with anticipation.
"Okay, 20,000 tickets." Gabe stated firmly, "when you collect 20,000 tickets, I will help hook you up with Cas. No promises though." Gabriel had expected Dean to try and get the number lower, because 20,000 tickets was a lot... especially since the largest prize they had was only worth 10,000 tickets.
"Done." Dean agreed firmly. Gabriel took a shocked step back at the dedication in Dean's voice. His eyes were lit up with sheer determination. "I will get you 20,000 tickets. Anything for a shot with Cas," Gabriel almost wanted to gag at the love-sick puppy look in Dean's eyes, but it was actually pretty cute that Dean was willing to collect 20,000 tickets for a maybe chance to take Castiel out on a date.
After all, Gabriel could set this whole thing up, plant a price on Cas without him knowing, but Cas had the final decision in the end. And Dean clearly knew that.
"I better get started if I want to have the tickets before the school dance," Dean grinned. Gabriel watched Dean turn on his heels and trudge towards the coin dispenser, depositing two twenty-dollar bills and sliding all the tokens into one of the black plastic cups by the dispenser.
He watched Dean throughout the evening. The teen hovered around the Skee-Ball games, ticket claw machines and coin pushers.
It was only when Dean called it a night (ten minutes before closing) did Gabriel remember Anna droning on and on about the dance that was on the 20th, exactly two weeks from tomorrow.
"Wow, Dean-o," Gabriel laughed quietly to himself as he shut off the lights and made his way out the door, locking it carefully before clambering into his car and heading home for the night
Cas wasn't sure what was up with Dean the following Sunday during his shift. Dean and Sam were there first thing, as Gabriel unlocked the doors, giving Dean an odd look as he pushed the doors open and allowed the boys in. That had been different, Dean never really seemed like a morning person, especially on Sunday mornings.
Cas watched Dean deposit two twenty-dollar bills, which wasn't unusual, before he and Sam dispersed.
From there, it only got worse. Sam and Dean totally skipped Air Hockey, and went straight to the ticket games. Sam played pinball (which he was amazing at) and Dean gravitated towards the coin pusher games. Cas kept tabs on the brothers, even as he helped those who wished to cash out. They only played ticket games. No racing games, nor dirt bike games. No candy claw machines, prize games or old games like Pacman or Mrs. Pacman. Just ticket games? And not just any ticket games, only ticket games they were good at.
Throughout the course of the day, yes, they stayed the whole day, Dean had cashed out seventy dollars' worth of tokens.
Cas was looking forwards to the boys coming to claim prizes, so he could see just how much they's managed to win with that much money, but it never came. They fed the lines of tickets into the ticket counter, but they left soon thereafter. Cas was a little devastated. This was the only time he actually talked to Dean... And Dean just left.
Dean was still weird Monday morning at school as well. He looked... tired? Worn out, maybe? He wasn't the usual ball of energy and it was weird seeing him so... not Dean like. Dean was weird the whole day.
Even when he appeared at the arcade that evening, Sammy in tow. The two split like the day before and continued playing the ticket games. Forty-five dollars switched to tokens, and still no cash out. What on earth were the Winchester brothers up too?
This continued for a week and a half. Although Cas was not there the other days of the week, he was quite sure the boys never cashed out their ticket slips. And from what he'd heard from his siblings (only Anna and Samandriel as Gabriel was being weird) was that Dean was spending an awful lot of money at the arcade each day.
Cas didn't know how to feel about this. He was quite certain it was just him that Dean was avoiding. He'd come to ask Gabriel for a ride home from the library that evening after the Arcade was closed only to see Gabriel and Dean chatting up a storm while Sam playing the coin pusher machines.
Anna had mentioned that both she and Samandriel had both had conversations with the sandy-haired boy and his adorable younger brother. Cas was puzzled. Maybe Dean had noticed that Cas was crushing on him? What if Dean was freaked out? But... that wouldn't explain the ticket games thing.
Cas continued as if nothing happened. He continued to watch Sam and Dean. He watched them come in. Cash their money for tokens. Play ticket games. Cash the tickets for receipts. Then leave.
Friday evening came faster than Cas had expected. Cas was frustrated over Anna. All she did was talk about the stupid dance that was Sunday evening. Cas had heard enough about the stupid thing through the buzz at school. He'd heard rumors upon rumors of girls asking out Dean.
Cas was certain he would not be seeing Dean Winchester on his usual Sunday arcade adventure. He was sad about it, because this would be the first Sunday Dean didn't show since he'd started coming to the arcade.
At least he'd have Dean here tonight, as a saving grace like usual. Except...
Dean didn't show up at his usual time.
Dean didn't show up twenty minutes after his usual time.
Dean still didn't appear two hours after his usual time.
By 8:45 Castiel had to accept that Dean wasn't going to show up. The arcade closed at nine. Cas didn't bother turning to look at who'd come in for the final fifteen minutes of game play before Gabriel and Castiel would have to shoo them out.
He didn't bother turning around, until someone cleared their throat.
When Cas turned on his heels, he was practically nose to nose with Dean Winchester. Dean Winchester. After almost two weeks of barely glancing in Cas' direction, Dean was stood infront of him.
The arcade was like a ghost town. Gabriel was there, but his exact location couldn't of been further from Cas' mind.
"D-Dean, hello." Cas greet, stumbling backwards.
"Hi-ya, Cas." Dean grinned.
"I- uh haven't seen you in a while." Cas mumbled, stepping forwards again. A small guilty frown crossed Dean's features, and Cas never wanted to see that look again.
"Sorry, Cas, I've been... well-" Dean paused, "I wanted to cash in some tickets," Dean smiled.
"Okay." Cas nodded thoughtfully.
Dean set two tickets on the counter. The numbers were kind of large, so Cas grabbed himself a calculator, just to be sure he'd done the math correctly.
The first ticket had 2093 and the second 1954. "You have-" Dean slipped another ticket onto the counter. 1087. Cas added it quickly, but Dean slipped another ticket.
2998 which would total to be 8130 tickets.
Then he added another. 1067.
And another. 998.
Two more. 2291 and 1032.
And another. 1254.
Three more. 1009, 894 and 1032.
And a final ticket. 3021. Dean had 20,733 tickets.
"Dean... why did you need so many tickets?" Cas asked slowly.
"I've had my eye on one of the prizes for a while, finally saved up enough for it."
"Nothing costs twenty thousand tickets, Dean," Cas deadpanned. He glanced behind himself to look up at the vast selection of winnable prizes.
"I'm pretty sure something does. I'm looking at a twenty thousand ticket price right now," Dean mumbled. Castiel watched Dean's eyes travel up and down his body. Cas shied away a little, suddenly feeling naked to Dean's observant eyes.
Castiel felt the need to glance down at himself, when Dean's gaze still on his chest. The left side of his chest, just below his shoulder. Cas groaned half-heartedly.
He should've suspected something when Gabriel had walked by, patting Cas' shoulder (well, just below it) and telling his younger brother he'd been doing a swell job. Gabriel was a weird guy, so it hadn't even fazed Cas.
The darker haired teen peeled the piece of white duct tape from his shirt, then his eyes widened and he stared mouth agape at the bold '20,000 tickets!' Scribbled on with black sharpie.
"Cas, I'd like to trade my 20,000 tickets for a date with this lovely 20,000 worth prize." Dean smiled. It wasn't a smirk, or a fake grin Dean would flash to the girls crowding him in the hallways. This was a real, honest to god, beautiful smile. And Cas felt his knees go weak.
"This... this isn't a joke? Did Gabriel put you up to this?" Cas asked, red faced. He blanched at the thought of Gabriel pulling a prank on him. If it was, Gabe had gone too far.
"No, I put Gabriel up to this..." Dean blinked, quickly defending the older Novak sibling. Castiel opened his mouth to tell Dean that that wasn't much better, but Dean beat him too it, "I asked Gabriel how much something behind the counter was... everything behind the counter can be traded for tickets, right?" Cas nodded hesitantly.
"Gabriel gave me the price of 20,000 tickets, which I thought was a steal for such a beautiful prize." Dean continued, leaning on the counter and giving Cas a half smile, "I was just wondering if I could trade my tickets for a couple hours of your time, a date, if you will." Dean paused, but Cas didn't have time to mutter a word before Dean continued. "This Sunday, 6pm to 9pm. I'd like you to accompany me to the school dance as my date. You don't have to say yes, I know this is a stupid idea bu-"
"Yes." Cas blurted, surprising himself and by the look on Dean's face, surprising him as well.
"You... really?" Dean sounded so hopeful.
"Yes, Dean, I'd love to go to the dance with you." Cas grinned. "I would've gone with you if you'd just asked," Cas informed with a laugh, pulling Dean into an awkward hug across the counter. Dean wrapped his arms around Cas as well.
"Come on, Cas, the whole grand gesture?" Dean whined, "I made Sammy play pin ball for days~"
"That's really sweet of you," Cas whispered. Dean grinned. For a second, they sat in silence. It was past nine now. "Dean... I work tomorrow-"
"Oh, Look I am just going to schedule Samandriel in for Cassie's shift on Sunday. I very much hope he doesn't mind." Gabriel called loudly, overexaggerated from the backroom.
"That's his way of telling you, he's giving you time off Sunday," Dean whispered to Cas.
"No," Cas scoffed quietly, whispering back to Dean, "that's his way of telling me he's been eavesdropping the whole time."
Dean laughed out at that. Agreeing with Cas as small tears prickled the corners of his eyes. Cas smiled with pride, at making Dean laugh like that.
"You know, you still have 733 tickets left." Cas informed Dean, placing his hands flat on the counter and crossing one ankle over the other. "Anything else you'd like?"
"Actually, yes." Dean grinned, reaching into his jacket pocket, and extracting another ticked receipt. "One of those angel bear," Dean pointed. Cas turned to look at the bear. Gabriel had been thrilled when he'd found them online. They were perfect for the arcade theme. Just teddy bears with various coloured shiny wings with cute little golden halos. The bears were 1,500 tickets.
"Sure, what colour?"
"The dark brown, with the black wings," Dean pointed, as he said this, smiling brightly when Cas' hand landed on the bear he requested. With the bear on the counter, and Dean's fingers lightly tracing across one of the wings, Castiel unfolded the ticket receipt. Exactly 767 tickets were on the receipt. Dean's total was exactly 1,500 tickets.
"Wow," Cas whistled lowly.
Dean picked the bear up, inspecting it, before holding it out to Cas. Castiel stared at it, confused for a second.
"It's for you, Cas. I wanted something for you to take home tonight," Dean said with a small smile, his cheeks tint in pink as he ducked his head away from Cas' calculating look.
Gabriel chatted happily to Cas the entire drive home. Cas remained silent, a stupid smile on his face and he held the angel bear in his lap. Gabriel congratulated Cas when they were parked in the drive way, telling his little brother how happy he was that he'd finally hooked up with Dean (although he'd called Dean that hot piece of ass, but whatever)
The teddy bear has lived on Cas' bed since.