September 17th, 1986
One year, three months, and two days. So much had changed since his mother’s death. And still some things were exactly the same. Chuck was still “working on his next masterpiece”. Castiel would sit outside his home-office, but there were never any keyboard sounds, only soft sobs.
It was this particular day that Chuck caught Cas peeking in from around the doorframe. Chuck let him think he wasn’t caught, Cas disappearing from view. Chuck quietly stepped to where his son was hiding. “Is the birthday boy trying to get a sneak peek at his present?”
Cas erupted into a fit of giggles. “No!” His dad gave him a mock-serious look which ended in another fit of giggles. Once he had calmed down, Cas asked, “What you doing in there?”
“Daddy’s doing some work. I’m writing the sequel to that one book you love me to read to you.” Castiel’s face lit up, and he could barely contain his smile. “Oops, I wasn’t supposed to tell. You think you can keep Daddy’s secret, Castiel?”
Cas nodded vigorously. “Pwomise!!”
Chuck stroked a hand through his son’s dark hair that he had inherited from his mother. No doubt if he was a girl, he’d be a spitting image. The dark hair that almost appeared black, the brightest-blue blue eyes that reminded him of the seas. Tears welled up in his eyes remembering her. “Why don’t you go play with Gabriel, Castiel. So I can finish this up.”
Cas nodded again, a look of hurt crossing his face. “Gabe is busy talking to that girl.”
“What about that boy next door? Dean? You play sometimes, “Chuck suggested. His eyes were getting red, and his throat burned from the tears trying to fight their way up. He didn’t want to cry in front of his son.
“Okay… but I don’t think he likes me much, I stole the stwaberries ‘member?” Chuck nodded, unable to speak in fear his voice would crack. He gave his son his best smile he could offer. Castiel got the hint to leave his dad alone, and started his way down the hall. A few feet away, he heard the door close behind him, and the soft sobs coming from his Dad’s office again.
Cas did what he always did when he heard his dad crying, he put on his best smile in hopes it would make him feel happy. It didn’t.
As expected, Gabe was still chatting away to that girl from school. Cas couldn’t remember her name, he thought it started with a K maybe. But he shrugged it off, Gabe said it was “Just for a school project, Cas. Now get out of the room”.
The young boy made his way to the backyard. He didn’t like going to Dean’s house through the front door, Dean’s mom always wanted to give him kisses and food. It didn’t bother Cas, but Dean didn’t like it. And afterall, he was going over there to hang out with Dean.
As usual, no one was in the backyard. Castiel always found this weird -- they had so many toys, even a swingset they got this past year, yet Cas never found anyone out here. He decided to do what he always did when Dean wasn’t here. Scream.
“Dean… Dean!!” Cas waited a few seconds between each ‘Dean’. “Dean!!!” Sure enough Dean came out on the third scream like always. He was laughing when he came out.
“What did I tell you, Cas? You can’t scream like that.” It was true, Dean had told him multiple times to not scream his name to get his attention. Dean said his mom always thought someone was in trouble and that the neighbors would think that too.
A slight blush crossed Castiel’s face, but he buried his face in his hands so Dean wouldn’t see. “Well, you heard.”
“I did.” Dean was still laughing, but after a little bit Cas started laughing too. “Isn’t it your birthday ‘morrow?”
“Yeah.” Cas stopped laughing. “But I dowt know if I’m gonna celebrate.”
Dean sobered himself up from his laughing, placing a hand on his friend’s shoulder. “Why not?”
“Gabriel is talking to this girl non-stop, and Daddy’s -- he’s not awound right now.” Dean nodded, listening to Cas. “And if my family isn’t awound, why should I?”
“My mom could bake you a cake, or pie! She has the best pie,” Dean could taste the pie in his mouth. He loved pie more than anything else, but his mom’s was the best. “And Sammy and I could make you a present. Dad could… do something.”
The blue eyed boy shook his head, looking down at his untied sneakers. “No, Dean.”
“A--and we can get you a whole bowl of strawberries, you’ve always loved them. Strawberry pie!” Dean was bouncing a little, excitement from being able to hang out with Cas tomorrow (and the hope of pie) beaming off of him. He was smiling his megawatt smile. He was so happy he almost didn’t realize when Cas slumped to the ground; his knees up to his head, blocking his face. “Cas?”
“I don’t want to celebrate ‘morrow,” Castiel’s small voice almost broke Dean. “No one wants to, and I dowt.”
Cas was crying, that much Dean knew. He got down on the overgrown grass with his friend. “Okay… We don’t have to celebrate.”
Castiel picked his head up from his lap. His eyes were red from crying, but it made the blue stand out in the prettiest way. “Really?” Dean nodded, moving some of Castiel’s hair out of his eyes.
“We don’t ever have to. You don’t ever have to celebrate your birthday again.” Cas thought it over; he loved getting presents, but it had never been the same since his mother passed away.
“Let’s just not make a big deal about it. My dad would get mad if I said I didn’t want to ever again.”
“So pie?!” Dean got the megawatt smile again, hoping against hope it would rub off on Cas. It did, and with an enthusiastic nod, Cas agreed to never make his birthday a big deal. Dean agreed to never bring it up before Cas did, but he made a secret promise to himself to always do ‘something’ for Castiel.