“Heeeeeeee-at of the moment…”
Dean grunted, the ringtone driving itself into his head like a surgical strike, and he fumbled on the floor next to him, trying to find the source of pain and noise and awakeness. He dragged it towards himself and swiped randomly, trying to squint through bleary eyes, but he had to answer it because it was Sam’s ringtone. He managed to answer it and then immediately dropped it on his face.
“Dean? You there?”
“Yeah, Sammy, what’s up?”
“It’s Sam. Are you coming to the farmer’s market or not? We’re outside.”
Shit covered about everything: how he was feeling, the situation, the farmer’s market. And yet…
“Yeah,” he grunted. “Gimme a minute.”
From the couch above him, a dying elephant seal called out. Dean spared a moment to wonder how something as small as Charlie could make such a huge noise.
“This is your fault, Char,” Dean said. He smacked his mouth, which felt like it had been stuffed with dead things wrapped in cotton wool. The puddle of drool on the floor under his face explained why his mouth was so dry, and the piles of empty junk food bags and beer bottles explained the taste. “I’m too old for this,” he groaned, and tried to heave himself upright.
The room didn’t spin as badly as he’d thought it might, which meant most of this shitty feeling probably came from staying up most of the night and sleeping on the floor. Fuck it.
“No,” Charlie, moaned. “What’s happening? Why are you awake? Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal.” Big words, considering this sleepover party was her idea in the first place.
“Sam’s outside,” he explained, hauling himself to his feet. Everything hurt. “We gotta go to the farmer’s market.”
“We gotta what?”
“Not you,” Dean said, stumbling, half-blind, to the bathroom to brush his teeth at least. “You can stay here and sleep all you want, princess.”
“Queen,” Charlie corrected, sounding increasingly more awake. “And since when do you go to a freaking farmer’s market?”
“They have pie,” Dean said, and started scraping fuzz off his teeth.
Charlie leaned in the bathroom doorway, because she had no boundaries, and squinted at him. “Why don’t you just make Sam bring you pie?”
“‘Ause ee’s uh ‘ittle i’ch,” Dean answered, then spit.
“Does this have something to do with why you have so much freaking honey?”
Dean immediately stuck his head under the faucet and almost drowned trying to clean his face long enough that Charlie forgot about her question.
“That’s it,” Charlie said. “Move over and gimme my toothbrush. I’m coming, too.”
“Hi Dean! Hey, Charlie!” Jess beamed at them. “I didn’t know you were coming, too! Late night?”
“We need coffee,” Dean grunted as he and Charlie buckled themselves into the back of Sam’s car. Sam and his stupid eco-ride-share-thing. He cast a sad look at Baby in the driveway, but he didn’t want to risk driving her without caffeinating, anyway.
“Wow, you guys look rough,” Sam said, pulling away from Dean’s house. “What kind of marathon was it last night?”
Dean felt a flutter of apprehension— if he looked that bad, maybe he shouldn’t go…? He was just going to embarrass himself anyway.
“Call of Duty,” Charlie answered.
Dean let her handle the questions— he couldn’t do any serious thinking until he had at least one cup of coffee in him.
Once he had a coffee cup the size of his face in hand and was strolling with his family in the fresh air, he started to feel a little better. Enough to start worrying that he still looked like shit. He’d put on a fresh shirt but the jeans had been on for like 24 hours and he definitely hadn’t showered. Or shaved. Not like people got dressed up to go to the farmer’s market— there was a lot of flannel and fuzzy boots and yoga pants.
“Mmmh, yoga pants,” Charlie sighed happily, knocking into Dean in a friendly nudge-nudge-wink-wink way, but Dean barely noticed. They’d let Sam and Jess peel off to look at kale or something similarly disgusting, and the butterflies had started up in earnest.
Maybe he wouldn’t even be there. Maybe Dean had rushed out here for no reason— well, not like he’d come here for this, he’d definitely come for the pie, and the good coffee, and not—
Oh god, he was there. Of course he was. The honey stand was always there.
Dean bee-lined (ha!) his way over and Cas looked up at him, big blue eyes widening in recognition and he smiled wide— and Dean felt a matching smile take over his face, wide and helpless.
“Hi,” he said, like he hadn’t breathed for the last five minutes (which, come to think of it, he might not have).
“Good morning,” Cas replied.
And then they stood there and stared at each other. Smiling. It was kind of creepy. Charlie looked back and forth between Dean and farmer’s market guy— who, okay, even she could admit was a hottie. Dean had this stupid grin on his face that she had actually never seen before, and farmer’s market guy had lit up when he’d seen Dean, less like a light bulb and more like the giant light on top of the Luxor in Las Vegas. She looked at the jars of honey on the table between them— jars which exactly matched the four jars of honey she’d boggled over in Dean’s kitchen only last night.
Charlie’s brain was sleep- and caffeine-deprived, but even so there was only so long it could take her to figure this out.
“Oh my god,” she said, way too loud. Now both Dean and farmer’s market guy were staring at her, Dean with growing horror and the farmer’s market hottie with polite puzzlement. She looked at Dean, looked at the hottie, and looked at the jars of honey. “This is why you have four jars of honey in your kitchen!”
“Yeah, thanks, Chuckles,” Dean hissed and shoved Charlie away.
He turned to honey hottie with a forced laugh. “Friends,” he said. “Can’t live with them, but for some reason it’s frowned on to kill them and bury them in your backyard.” And Dean gave the world’s most awkward laugh. Charlie actually felt bad for him. And she, at least, was an excellent friend. And an excellent wingman.
Dean was dying. He was dying, he was going to kill himself, something. “Do you… need more honey?” Cas asked hesitantly.
Dean didn’t need more honey. No one needed five jars of honey. “Yes,” he said.
Cas beamed at him, and Dean was not dying. Floating up towards heaven, maybe, but not dying.
“I don’t think you’ve tried the lavender yet,” Cas said, hopefully, and looked up at Dean with a shy smile through his lashes and yeah, Dean was definitely dead now, but it was fine.
“That sounds great,” Dean said, although he wouldn’t have been able to answer questions about what sounded great.
Cas beamed at him again, and chatted about bees and flowers and Dean had no idea what else, who cared, Cas was talking and his face was lit up and he was the actual cutest thing Dean had ever seen, like a vise closing on his chest and stealing his breath and Dean was just going to let it happen because Cas.
Cas put the jar carefully in a little paper bag, along with the business card that was the only reason Dean knew his name, and handed it to Dean. Dean was careful to not let their fingers brush, because the one time that had happened accidentally, Dean had dropped the jar.
“I got this!” Charlie hollered in Dean’s ear, so that he flinched and almost dropped the jar anyway. “On me!” she grinned at Cas, a huge, creepy evil grin— at least to Dean, who knew her, but to anyone else it just looked over-friendly. “My thanks,” she continued, unnecessarily, “for letting me sleep on your couch last night.”
Dean glared at her. “You slept on my couch because you kicked me off it and—”
“Right!” Charlie chirped, and shoved him away from the table. “That’s why I’m thanking you!”
Cas took her money and handed her her change, a weird look on his face.
Dean was too mortified to not let her hustle him off and he was also still riding the talking-to-Cas and Cas-smiling and Cas-generally-existing high, and the coffee was really only now kicking in.
Twenty times he resisted the urge to look over his shoulder at Cas, and only gave in twice. He wasn’t looking up at Dean either time, but down at something in his hand.
“Wooooooow,” Charlie said, dragging Dean away by the arm.
“Shut up,” he said immediately.
“Deeeeean,” she cooed. “You’re so gone!”
“You’re gonna be gone, permanently,” he growled.
“Let’s get you some pie, loverboy,” Charlie laughed. “And you can thank me by making me your best man at the wedding.”
“I said shut up,” Dean said.
Castiel stared down at the scrap of paper in his hand. “Dean” it said, followed by a phone number. The red haired girl had passed it to him when she’d paid for the honey, and when he’d seen it and looked at her, she’d pointed to Dean with exaggerated, silent movements. Then she’d pointed to Cas, mimed the universal “phone call” sign with her hand by her ear, and pointed again to Dean. And then, just in case Cas had missed the rest of it, mouthed “CALL HIM”. It was somehow in capital letters, even without sound.
Castiel had found himself blinking down at Dean’s number as his friend led him away, and then he carefully put the paper in his pocket. A moment later, he took the paper out again and put the number in his phone, just in case he lost the paper. Cas found himself smiling the rest of the morning.