Actions

Work Header

High Trails Over Low Valleys

Chapter Text


 

Sometimes…I feel like people want to watch the world burn to the ground, just for the hell of it.’ Dean thought, as countless fields of countryside stretched before him. Similar thoughts had plagued his head all day, the man having been placed into a perpetually bad mood for the week. He sighed with the grace of a slight smile as the hearty notes of “T.N.T.” from AC/DC reverberated out of the stereo of his car.


At least my Baby’s always by my side.’ He thought, stroking the dash of his 1967 model Impala. His father had given it to him before he passed a few years back, and Dean thought it was honestly the best thing his godforsaken father had ever given him.


Dean Winchester, a man with only thirty dollars to his name, and a brother making it big in New York in some law firm, had nowhere to go and not a place to call home. He had just lost his job as on an on-duty police sheriff that very day, having “knocked some sense” into a cocky teenage punk that had stolen from an elderly woman. He gave the kid a chance, he really did, but when the kid had pulled a knife on him, Dean’s fight or flight instincts had kicked in to overdrive. Needless to say, the kid wouldn’t be coming out of the hospital for a few weeks.


Dean honestly felt the kid had it coming to him, but that obviously wasn’t up for him to decide. Released, luckily without criminal charges of assault, Dean found himself having to move out of his small town of Fernari, Kansas. He had caught his girlfriend Stephanie sleeping with another guy, some “tall, brunette, freckleless stud” as she had so eloquently called the guy, so it was apparent to him that staying there wasn’t an option.


Wanting to put as much distance between him and his past as possible, Dean thought it the best to take a road trip to any place the winds took him. Or rather, where his baby took him at least.


It wasn’t until around 8 o’clock at night that Dean figured he should probably stop to get some food and refuel his baby’s tank. Signs for a local rest stop caught his interest as the nearest food and gas stop for the next thirty miles. Figuring that it could be worse, he decided to take the next exit to the small haven in the middle of nowhere, the light of the stars and moon helping to illuminate his drive through the bumpy country roads and wide expanses of corn fields.


Half an hour passed before roadside lights finally made a reappearance, and Dean let out a small, content sigh at the promise of a small reprieve from countless hours of driving. ‘Finally. Jesus Christ, I thought I’d never see civilization again.’ The man thought to himself. Being twenty and still young came with its advantages, but no one’s youth could save them from the aches of a long car drive.


Pulling into the gravel parking lot, Dean steered his car into one of the nearby open gas pumps before turning off the engine, hopping out of the car, and stretching out. He groaned with delight as he felt his back pop in a wave of relief. Closing the door, he headed into the cozy looking home-style roadside café.


A neon “Open” sign greeted him as he went through the door and was instantly greeted with the aroma of fresh food cooking on the stove. A few content and already sated customers inquisitively looked up when the doorbell rang at Dean’s entrance, while others were too enamored with their own food and company to pay much attention. Dean’s stomach grumbled with the promise of food, and he crossed the checker-tiled floor to an open red-leather seat booth that had a dim light hanging overhead.


Dean took to looking out the window of his booth to the calm darkness of the night. He often enjoyed nights like these, when for once everything seemed at peace, and even the universe appeared to be in harmony with itself if even for a moment.


The clack of blunt heels against the ceramic floor tiles brought Dean out of his trance as he looked up to greet the newcomer. A woman that glowed with beauty and a vitality that screamed youth greeted Dean, as her cherry red lips spread into a pretty smile to show off her impossibly white and straight teeth. She was a petite and fair skinned beauty, hidden by gaudy waitress clothes, but she somehow made even the lemon-yellow color of her button up blouse and skirt appear like sunshine in a storm.


Dean smiled back at the girl as she gave him a flirty smile, and she then nervously brushed the fallen strands of her auburn-brown, messy bun out of her face. Dean thought she was beautiful, yes, but wasn’t feeling up to any flings or relationships at the moment, after what had happened with his last one.


“What can I get for ya, honey?” The girl asked with the gentle lilt of a Midland American accent, bringing out a notepad and pen from the pocket of her apron.


“I am inclined to tell you that the house special is a grilled burger over an open flame with freshly baked fries, and a substitutable side of a garden salad or baked beans, if you please.” She said with that same flirty smile.


Dean leaned forward with his head propped on one of his hands and gave a similar smile to humor the girl. An eyebrow rose with his knowing look of the game she was playing.


“The house special with beans sounds just fine, thank you very much. But tell me, sweetie, what’s for dessert?” He asked with a smirk. It was a genuine question, but also a jab at trying to fluster the girl as well. Dean purposefully eyed up and down her body to prove his point.


“Cause, right now, I think I see what I want.” He said with a wink to the girl.


The waitress took the bait and a bright blush that was red enough to rival her lipstick spread across her pale cheeks. She was persistent though and flirted right back.
She leaned forward and whispered into his ear, “Cherry pie with a dollop of whipped cream, if that’s what you’re into.”


Dean leaned back and quirked a smile, amused by the exchange. The girl had spunk, he’d give her that, and if his breakup had been perhaps even a week sooner, he might’ve thought of entertaining the notion of a fling with her.


“As a matter of fact, I am into that.” Dean answered back. “However, I think I’m in more of an apple pie kind of mood tonight, if you’ve got that, darling.” He said.
The waitress looked at him for a few seconds, recognizing the turned down offer. She gave him a hint of a sad smile before nodding and writing down the order.


“Coming right up, sugar.” She said, before turning back towards the kitchen, walking away with the clacking of her heels once more.


Dean sighed softly before returning to his prior activity of staring out at the night sky. He wondered what had gotten into himself. Usually he would have jumped right at the opportunity of a rebound or one-time fling without strings attached, especially after the kind of week he had had. But Stephanie had struck a chord in him. He had cared about the girl a great deal, and it had hurt to walk in on her cheating.


‘I can’t pretend I’m not getting older as well,’ Dean thought to himself. ‘And lately I can’t get the thought of Saturday barbecues, a white picket fence, and two rascals running around out of my head. Damn, what I wouldn’t give to settle down…’ His thoughts trailed off.


Most of the friends he had, had already settled down and married beautiful girls and had a child or two by this point. Dean couldn’t ignore the fact that lately anytime he called his brother or had friends over, they’d be asking when they’d be hearing church bells or if Dean had legitimate plans to settle down and get a nine-to-five job, instead of working the odd hours of a police officer. Even Benny Lafitte, one of his friends at his former police firm, had settled down and moved away to live with his boyfriend.


Dean inwardly frowned at the memory of Benny. They kept in contact from time to time, and Dean was one of the few friends Benny had trusted enough to tell that he was in a romantic relationship with another man. Everyone else at the station just believed Benny had gotten tired of the job and moved away to find something bigger and better.


‘Poor sap, with the hysteria the country is going through…Old fool can’t even get an official marriage. Can’t imagine going through that kind of hell.’ Dean shook his head at these thoughts. It was something Dean was glad he didn’t have to go through, but he did feel for his friend. He shivered at remembering some of the few choice words his own father had spat just before kicking the bucket, when stories of Stonewall hit the news.


It’s not that thoughts of settling down and marriage weren’t thoughts that ran through Dean’s head, however, it’s just he had wanted to save up a bit of money and make sure he had found “the one”, instead of rushing off into a big wedding.


The freckled man stared into the eyes of his own reflection and fingered at a small box in the pockets of his jeans. Being his girlfriend for a little over a year, Dean had seriously felt that Stephanie was the one.


What a load of bullshit that thought turned out to be.


The sound of heels clacking against perpetually loud tile brought Dean back out of his musings, and he turned to see the waitress from earlier bringing back a tray with his food and a glass of water on it. He pulled his hand out from his pocket and set both on the table in front of himself, accepting the food given to him.


“One flame-grilled burger, fries, and a side of beans with a fresh glass of ice water, just for you hon.” The waitress said with a kind smile, losing all of her flirty nature from earlier. Placing the tray under her arm, she gave a slight nod.


“Thank you awful much, sweetheart.” Dean said with a smile to the girl. The kind waitress gave another nod, before turning to leave.


“Dessert will be out shortly, along with your bill.” She finished, before turning and walking off once more.


Dean watched her as she left, before turning and picking up his burger, taking a large bite into the meat. The man groaned softly in delight as the flavor of fresh burger with even an added extra slice of bacon washed across his taste buds. Heaven may not be real, but Dean would be damned if he didn’t think that he hadn’t just taken a bite of it.
Having nothing better to do while he ate, Dean decided to take that moment to look around at his surroundings in detail, for the first time. The café really was quaint and dainty, but in an endearing way. Little lamps lit each corner of the room as soft tunes filled the room from the jukebox in the back of the room. Quiet conversations filled the remaining silence as those with company talked about the small things in life, just enjoying each other’s presence. A small juice bar with red stools sat at the front of the room where those looking for something to drink could get refills on anything they ordered, and pictures of modern music legends filled the open spaces of the baby-blue wallpapered walls. The floor was a classic black and white checkered-tile pattern, while the seating arrangements varied from red leather booths to wooden chairs and tables. All in all, it felt homey.


Dean continued to study his surroundings before someone in the distance caught his attention. A man that appeared to be only slightly older than Dean stood up from his seat and walked over to the jukebox, plugging in a coin before the soft chords of Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” filled the room. Some diners noticeably groaned at the immensely popular song, while others gave an appreciative nod at the selection.


‘There’s a lady who’s sure, all that glitters is gold, and she’s buying a stairway to heaven…’ The melodic notes sounded out.


Dean quirked an impressed eyebrow, obviously being one of the appreciators. The self-proclaimed music selector caught his attention though, and Dean found himself studying him from the corner of his eye.


The man had clean raven-black hair that seemed soft to the touch and looked like it would forever suffer from a case of bed-head. On a closer examination, it seemed to glow with hints of brown and red highlights when any light refracted from it at the right angle. Stubble made its home on a strong jaw line, and a black leather jacket covered broad shoulders while a pair of ripped jeans and handed down cowboy boots covered his lower half and feet. When he turned to look at Dean, who had forgotten he was trying to hide his assessing of the mystery man, he was instantly enraptured by deep, royal-blue eyes that embodied the essence of clear waters on a cloudless day. He looked like trouble, in all the right ways.


‘There’s a sign on the wall, but she wants to be sure, ‘cause you know sometimes words have two meanings…In a tree by the brook, there’s a songbird who sings, sometimes all of our thoughts are misgiving…’ The song trailed in the distance.


Dean did a double take at his own thoughts, coughed awkwardly, and looked away when he realized he had been caught. The mystery man paid no mind to it though, and a hint of a smile graced his lips when he walked past Dean, back to his own table. The blue-eyed man went back to talking to the other man and woman at his table, biting into a fry drenched in ketchup and quietly laughing at something the two must have said. The second guy had slightly longer brown hair parted to the side, wore flannel over a plain shirt, and seemed to radiate a cocky vibe that was only enhanced by the crap-eating grin he seemed to be flashing the mystery man. The woman seemed the lesser annoying of the two of blue eyes’ friends, but at the same time seemed to emanate a constant supply of energy and enthusiasm that couldn’t be quenched. She had dark red hair and also wore plaid and jeans; perhaps they were lumberjacks stopping in from a local lumberjack convention.


Dean huffed in his seat, rolling his eyes at himself as he finished up his burger, fries, and beans.


When the waitress came back bearing the gift of pie and a bill, Dean found small reprieve in the sweet treat. Something had soured in his stomach and he found himself feeling slightly more drained now than when he first arrived at the diner. Occasionally he met the eye of the blue-eyed man when he had been finishing his food, and he felt confused, more than anything.


‘If the guy has something to say to me, then he needs to just get on and say it.’ Dean had grumbled to himself.


The Winchester grabbed his pie, asking for a box to take it home in and went to the front cashier at the juice bar to pay for the bill, after setting a quarter down as a tip for the waitress. She may have been initially persistent, but Dean had still admired her spunk.


When he got to the cashier, he noted the bored expression on the elderly looking man but paid no mind to it. It seemed a lot of people were in irritable moods lately.


“Hey, can you give me a dollar’s worth on pump number two?” Dean asked neutrally. If the old man was going to be sour, he didn’t see why he had to go out of his way to be nice for the both of them.


The old man nodded and took the dollar, before also accepting the dollar and thirty-five cents it took to cover Dean’s dinner. Dean bid the man a goodbye with a wave of his hand, before he walked towards the door.


Noticing that he’d have to go directly past the blue-eyed man’s table in order to exit, Dean sighed and turned his gaze straight ahead. He wasn’t going to let some stranger unnerve him into not even being able to exit a simple door.


The black-haired man glanced at Dean, as expected, when he went through the door, but didn’t do anything else.


When Dean finally made it outside, he stood out in the parking lot for a second, pie in one hand, car keys in the other, and took a deep breath, inhaling the sweet, brisk air of the summer night. He stared up at the stars for a second before turning to the gas pump and grabbing the nozzle to fill up his car. It had been one hell of a week, and all he wanted in this moment was to fall asleep in a shitty motel bed and forget about his sorrows.


When his car was done filling up on gas, Dean put the nozzle back and climbed into his car before turning the keys in to start the ignition. He heaved a sigh of relief when he felt the soothing rumble of the engine through the seat and dash of his car. Placing his arms and head on the steering wheel, Dean sat there for a moment, taking a second to think and process what to do next. He had no family that lived in the area, and any friends he had, he didn’t want to burden them with the addition of his presence. He needed to look for another job, and most importantly, a place to live until he got back on his feet.


‘I suppose if worst comes to worst, I can just live inside the Impala for a few months until I work up enough money to afford a permanent home. Sleeping’s gonna be a bitch in here though.’ He thought dejectedly.


With those thoughts in mind, Dean sat up and put his car into drive, pulling out into the open road once more, in search of the nearest motel.


Small dips and valleys in the earth encompassed the poorly paved road as Dean drove onward. He had been driving for another solid half an hour and still had not seen any sign of advertisements for nearby temporary living arrangements. Small houses every now and then could be seen off in the distance, but the man had no intention of going out of his way to strike up any shady agreements just to get a good night’s sleep.


He was just about to call it quits for the night when he passed by a long driveway and couldn’t react quick enough to brake and stop his car from plowing into the medium sized truck emerging from the driveway, without any taillights on to alert Dean of its appearance.


Dean let out a shrill yell as he slammed on the brakes, but it was too late as his car clipped into the bed of the truck, sending the Impala and Dean in it spiraling a few more feet down the road, and denting the front of the car and bed of the truck.


When the car finally stopped spinning, Dean was gasping heavily for air and clutching to the steering wheel for dear life, with his head pressed to the wheel once more. He had his eyes clamped shut as he willed the blood to stop rushing in his ears and for his heart to stop pounding out of his chest.


The initial shock finally subsided after a few moments, and Dean rubbed a palm down his face before looking around the inside of his car to see if any damage had made its way to the inside. Seeing none, Dean unbuckled his seat belt and exited the car, closing his eyes as he prepared himself for the damage he knew he would see on the exterior. Taking a deep breath, he opened his eyes and gulped upon seeing his baby in its injured state.


The paint job had been ruined in the front, the headlight on the right was dangling from a few cords, and part of the front grill was dented in. Dean ran his hands through his hair before throwing them down quickly.


“Son of a bitch!” The man yelled in anger, livid that he, for one, had not paid close enough attention to notice the truck backing out of the driveway, and then also knowing that he’d have to pay out more money than he could probably afford at the moment.


“You’re telling me, son.” A voice sounded from behind Dean, that was gruff and meant business. “Now, would ya mind enlightening me what in God’s green Earth a boy such as yourself is doing, speeding down these highways at this unholy time of the night, and ignoring their surroundings, you enormous idjit!” The man steadily rose in tone until he was yelling, himself.


Dean winced as he turned around to face the man, not wanting to face his wrath, but knowing there was no other way. He ran another nervous hand through his hair, eyeing the man in a red shirt, jean jacket, and trucker’s hat, before attempting to pull off a charming smile.


“Sir, I am terribly sorry. I’ve had a really rough past couple of days, and I was in a rush to find some place to crash and didn’t see you pulling out.” Dean tried to quickly explain.


“Crash? Well good fucking job on that, you idiot. You sure as hell did a number on my truck, by rushing and crashing into the wrong place.” The man said in return. It was obvious that Dean’s boyish charm wasn’t going to save him this time, so Dean conceded defeat and dropped his hands, grabbing his wallet.


“How much do I owe you? Give me a second and I can grab my credit information from my car as well, Mister, ahh….” Dean trailed off with a sigh. This day couldn’t get worse.


“Singer. Robert Singer, but all my friends call me Bobby.” The old man said, before scoffing with a slight humorless laugh. “Not that it matters to you though son. At this moment, I’d rather be friends with a decomposing rat, than you. I mean seriously, are you that blind?” He asked incredulously.


Something in Dean snapped at Bobby’s words. Maybe it was the lack of sleep, maybe it was the long week, or maybe he was done with everyone and everything. In any case, he found himself not caring anymore what this old geriatric thought.


“Okay, listen here old man. You’re acting like this is my entire fault when you’re just as much to blame for this as I am.” Dean started in on him. “I already fucking apologized for crashing into you, and I offered to pay everything; what more do you want?! My car gained just as much damage as yours, if not more. Do you see my baby?? You can see her insides!” Dean yelled right back, pointing to the front of his car to broadcast the damage and emphasize the light hanging out of the it.


“Yes, my actions were negligent, but do you really want to keep bickering about this like a bunch of teens, or do you want to accept my damn offer before I decide to say screw it and let the insurance companies take care of this?” The freckled man seethed.


Bobby stared after a Dean with a look of icy contempt and anger. Never in his life had he met someone so rude and unruly.


“Five hundred.” Bobby said, crossing his arms over his chest.


Dean stopped mid-tirade to blink at the old man, not quite understanding if he had heard him correctly or not. Surely he was not hearing this correctly.


“Wait, did you just say five-hundred? As in five-hundred dollars?” Dean asked incredulously.


Bobby scoffed, before standing his ground.


“What, are you deaf as well as a blind idiot? I surely didn’t mean five-hundred pennies, nickels, or cantaloupes.”


Dean stood there with his mouth agape, completely in shock. Five hundred dollars was more than he made in a few months, let alone an amount he had stored up or just on hand.


“Are you fucking kidding me? I barely have thirty dollars to my name, I just got fired today, and I don’t even have a place to live anymore because of my bitch ex-girlfriend. How the hell am I supposed to give you five hundred dollars?!” Dean almost had an aneurysm at the thought. Five hundred dollars would have had to have been the sum of earnings, for the solid past half a year or so. There was no way he could pay that back.


“Well then, I do presume you should get a job and start saving up.” Bobby retorted.


Dean just looked on in dismal despair, absolutely floored at the idea of having to pay five hundred dollars of what would equate to a small fender-bender for the old man. Dean’s car had taken the brunt of the accident.


“It’s… a little harder than just getting a job …” Dean said more to himself than anyone else.


Bobby had caught on however and eyed the expression of the man in front of him. The man looked young to him, in fit health, and while cocky and brash on the outside, he seemed to have a good heart. Call it intuition, but the older man could read a person like no other. Bobby sighed with the knowledge of what he was about to do.


“About ten miles from here, if you keep going straight and then take the first left, you’ll find Singer Farms. Be there at ten o’clock sharp in the morning. I don’t like tardiness, and you’re already walking on thin ice, idjit.” Bobby said finally.


Dean looked up at the man with an astounded expression. If he had heard Bobby correctly, the man had just offered him a job- something he had been looking for from the moment he was discharged from the police force.


“Are you…Are you seriously offering me a job?” Dean asked with a bright sense of hope.


“Don’t get used to it son, but I do have a good heart.” The older man started. “You’ll be working for me until you pay off your five-hundred-dollar debt. I’ll let you park your car in my yard for you to sleep in tonight, and then in the morning you’ll go to Singer Farms to start your first day. From then on, you’ll be lodging in the workers’ cabins there and working every day except Sundays.” Bobby said.


Dean couldn’t really believe what he was hearing. To hear he was being given a job to pay for their damages was one thing, but to hear that he’d also be provided lodging was a completely different thing.


“Thank you…Mr. Singer. That is… very kind of you…” Dean trailed off, still surprised at his turn of luck.


Bobby rolled his eyes before heading back to his car.


“It’s Bobby. I feel old being referred to as “Mr. Singer” anyways. Mr. Singer was my father after all. Now follow me so you can rest up. I hope you like horses; you’ll be dealing with a lot of those for the next while.” Bobby said.


Dean raised his eyebrows at the news, before shrugging it off to get in his car to start it up as well. Beggars can’t be choosers, and the fact that Bobby wasn’t pressing charges was a miracle in itself. Starting up his car, he was pleased to find it still purring just as it always did; the damage seemed to be mainly external. Dean followed Bobby’s car into his driveway until the older man stopped to park and exited back out of the truck. Before Dean could do much, the older man was already at his rolled down window.


“Get some rest, son. You’re gonna need it. Remember, ten o’clock sharp. Don’t be late.” The man with the trucker hat said, before heading up the long driveway to his own house.


Dean blinked a little before smiling slightly and sighing in relief. As he reclined his seat back, Dean already felt himself starting to drift off into sleep. It had been one hell of a week, and he couldn’t be more eager for sleep and a chance at new beginnings.

Chapter Text

The sound of a rooster yelling, and nauseating sunlight were the first things Dean woke up to the next morning. He groaned in annoyance as he slowly lifted himself into a sitting position, arching himself to attempt to pop his aching back. ‘Thank god for that crash I guess. My back would never be able to survive months of this.’ He thought to himself.

Yawning slightly and rubbing the crust from his eyes, Dean looked at the watch on his wrist before a moment of sheer panic came over him.

“Nine-twelve…SHIT! I’m gonna be late!!” Dean yelled out, immediately in a frenzy. It wouldn’t do well for him to be late on the first day, Bobby had said as much, and he was already on thin ice with him as it was.

Shoving his keys into ignition once more, the man tried desperately to start up his car. It seemed luck was not on his side however as the engine kept stalling; apparently more damage had been done to his car than he thought.

Yelling out his frustration, the man quickly stripped off the shirt he was wearing to replace it with a cleaner one he had in the pile of clothes in his backseat. Jumping out of his car, he quickly slammed the door shut before taking off in a sprint in the direction Bobby had directed him last night. Dust blew up with the wind as he ran down the dusty road.

Luckily all the training he had from the police force he had retained, but he would still be a few minutes late if he didn’t pick up the pace. Dean’s lungs burned, and he started sweating profusely as he continued down the lonely road.

The minutes ticked by as Dean continued his brutal pace, cursing himself for oversleeping on such a critical day. It was with great relief and few happy choice words uttered when the man finally came upon the split in the road that Bobby had directed him to turn left at. Fueled with determination more than ever before, he gasped out shuddering breaths as he pushed himself even further.

“Nine fifty-nine…I’ll make it!” He cried out after looking at his watch and seeing the gates of the old man’s ranch in the distance. A few men paused at the entrance of the ranch as they walked by, having spotted Dean’s frantic form. It was with great enthusiasm and happiness that Dean sobbed his relief when he stumbled through the forbearing of Singer Farms.

Crashing to his hands and knees, he was a spectacular sight to behold for a few passerby as the seemingly strange man gasped for air with glistening skin from the sunlight. He looked truly like a mess with his sweat soaked shirt and hair sticking to his forehead, and some of the men voiced their surprise and concern as they dropped their bales of hay to go check on the man.

To one man in the distance however, he was a spectacle to behold. Dropping his shears and hay as well, he went to the gated entrance to see what the commotion was about and why the man was collapsed.

Dean winced in pain as his breathing labored and only worsened, and he felt his throat constrict, stilling the air he was trying to breathe. He wheezed pitifully as he tried to look up and request for help. The other men looked at each other frantically as they realized something wasn’t right.

“Shit, you okay man? What’s wrong?” One man called out, dropping down beside him. Two others followed suit and tried to pat Dean’s back to no success.

“Dude, I think he’s trying to say something! What is it, what can we do?” Another called out.

Dean gasped horribly and fell into a coughing fit, looking at them frantically as he felt his throat close up even more. ‘Goddammit, you knew this would happen, Winchester! No job is worth pushing yourself this far!’ He yelled at himself inside his mind. Clutching a hand to his throat, he continued to cough as he pressed his head to the ground and tried to calm himself down.

Hearing the man’s gasping coughs, the one hay carrier sprinted in the direction of the man on the ground, and dropped to his knees to slide to him, yelling at the other men to give them space. The others backed off as he gently took ahold of the collapsed figure into his arms and flipped him to be upright and with his back pressed to his chest.

Dean, following along easily, wearily looked up at the man who was handling him, and his eyes widened in realization of it being the mysterious blue-eyed guy at the restaurant. Small world after all, he supposed.

That only offered a moment’s reprieve from the problem at hand however, as Dean took rasping breaths and looked at the blue-eyed man in fear.

The mysterious man gave him a calming and beautiful smile, in a reassuring gesture. Setting his hand on Dean’s chest, he began to rub calming circles from his breast bone to the start of his throat as his other hand pushed Dean to sit up by himself slightly and worked on rubbing soothing circles to his back and lung area.

“Dear, I need you to focus on my voice please. You have asthma, don’t you?” He asked calmly.

Dean could only nod shakily as he rasped for more air and focused on the man’s voice and the ministrations being worked into him.

The man gave a small chuckle, and continued, shaking his head.

“And from the looks of it and ripe musk of you, I can imagine you ran quite the distance, didn’t you?” He asked. Dean could do no more than just nod his head once again.

A small sigh escaped the man as he adjusted himself to be closer to Dean, as he pulled him into the open space between his legs on the ground.

“What kind of stupidity could cause you to do such a thing is all I can wonder, dear. What with you having this condition, probably without medicine at the moment and you’re running around trying to kill yourself it seems.” The man said in a slightly admonishing, motherly tone.

Dean just focused on the man’s voice and touch and was surprised to find he did feel like he was thrown back into the past and in the gentle care of his youth when he experienced these attacks frequently.

The man behind him continued his ministrations, as he spoke in that same gruff, yet soothing baritone Dean had quickly come to know. Dean found himself enraptured in the man’s voice and leaning back into the touch as he let his eyes flutter shut to focus on the calming effects the man had on him.

“That’s it hon, just relax. You’re safe and alright, I got you…” The man said, gently soothing him. “Listen to my voice and take slower breaths…Yeah that’s right…In for three, out for four… There you go, just like that…” He continued like that for a minute or so more before Dean was finally taking calm breaths on his own.

When Dean finally was in a rational state of mind and able to breathe alright again, it instantly dawned on him what position he was in and how it looked. He jumped forward at that moment and whipped around to look at his resuscitator as a blush slowly spread across his cheeks, remembering that it was, in fact, a man that just brought him back like that. Some of the men that were around to ensure Dean’s health, and had witnessed the scene, gave a slight shake of their heads and a concerned look, looking in the mysterious man’s direction as if they suspected something that Dean obviously didn’t.

“Well, now that we know you’re alright son….” One of them started. “We’ll leave ya to it.” Another continued, before the small group tapered off.

Dean blinked in astonishment, staring at the man as they sat together on the ground, in shock and alarm. The man gave a small smile, nodding his head in acknowledgment, but surprisingly silent. It was as if all courage that had been given to him with the incident had suddenly left him.

Dean continued to stare a moment longer before the sound of shouting in the distance brought him back to where he was. Now being able to recognize the old voice anywhere, he sighed softly, knowing he was about to get an earful.

“Where the hell is that idjit! What does he think he was doing, trying to get himself killed like that, oh when I find him…” The voice trailed off as Dean looked towards where it was coming and jumped to his feet in shock and worry as he saw the owner of it barrel towards him.

Standing at attention, Dean gulped slightly as he looked down at the red face of Bobby Singer. The man with the trucker hat gave himself a few seconds to compose himself before speaking.

“Son…” He started off wearily. “I know this situation may not have been ideal, but please, do not go trying to get yourself killed on the first day.” Bobby seemed impossibly older as he took that moment to sigh and rub a hand down his face.

“You had me scared shitless, boy. Imagine my surprise when one of my farmhands came rushing in to tell me a face they had never seen before was collapsed in an attack just inside our gates. I just knew you had to be the only idjit to do something like put yourself in an attack. Asthma, was it?” He asked.

Dean gave a slight nod and looked down in shame.

“Yes sir…I can explain though. You see, I overslept a bit and when my car wouldn’t start up…I panicked and ran the whole way.” He says with a cringe, realizing how stupid it sounded now that he thought about it. “I’m sorry, sir.” Dean relented sadly, bowing his head.

Bobby stared at the man who had just enough lack of a brain cell to not think about his actions before he had done them. Seeing that he felt truly reprehensible for his actions, however, the man relented with a shake of his head and a small laugh.

“I gotta admit, you got spunk kid. I like that.” He says with an appreciative nod. Bobby looked over at the man still sitting on the ground at that moment, watching the scene curiously and who obviously seemed to not know what to do in that moment. He gave him a smile before looking back up at Dean.

“And I suppose Cas here was the one to save you, huh?” He shook his head once more with a slight smile. “Cas always was of the nurturing type, weren’t ya son?” He asked.

The man, who Dean now understands as “Cas”, finally looked up at that moment and gave his boss a kind smile before standing to his feet and dusting his pants off.

“Anything to help a kindly stranger in need, sir.” Cas said, his attitude doing a complete 360. Gone was the quick thinking and overly soothing and sweet man that saved Dean. It was replaced by what appeared to be an awkward, albeit kind, man that seemed to want to get out of there as soon as possible; or at least be away from his boss’ scrutinizing gaze.

Dean quirked his eyebrow once noticing the change but took that moment to look at ‘Cas’ and truly study him up close for the first time.

Up close and personal, the Winchester noticed he was a man of average build and stature, but there seemed to be something about him that just gave him an ethereal glow. Although shorter than himself, Cas was dazzling under the sunlight, and his eyes seemed brighter than they ever were under the light bulbs of the restaurant.
The man still had that bedraggled hair and days’ worth of scruff, but Dean noticed for the first time a muscled frame that wasn’t apparent when covered by a leather jacket. The cowboy boots and ripped jeans still remained, but after a morning’s worth of work, an aura of pride and hard-earned sweat emanated from him. Dean chose to ignore his assessment of the man in favor of sticking out his hand in appreciation.

Cas blinked in confusion before understanding dawned upon him, and he took it and shook it with a smile.

Dean returned the smile and gave a nod of appreciation. “Thank you for helping me this morning. God knows what would’ve happened if you hadn’t been there.” He said.

Cas gave a chuckle that lit up the features of his face, before shaking his head.

“You’d probably either be passed out from lack of air or six feet under, once someone discovered your body. In any case, it wasn’t a problem sir.” He replied, giving Dean a reassuring smile.

“Dean Winchester. But please, just call me Dean.” Dean replied with a smile of his own.

Cas laughed openly and nodded. “Alright, Dean. You got it.”

Dean looked back to Bobby, who he remembered was still standing there. The older man looked amused before just shaking his head with a smile himself.

“Alright Castiel, since you’re already here, I’m appointing you to train Dean today. Show him the ropes, get him started, and for god’s sake get him some grub first and a new shirt. I don’t need him passing out again nor causing any of my other workers to pass out from his stench.” Bobby said with a laugh.

Dean gave an indignant “Hey” before shaking his head and turning to Castiel once Bobby walked off, while still laughing.

Cas shook his head and ran a hand through his hair before he looked to Dean to nod his head in the direction of a large mess hall building and some smaller looking buildings nearby.

“Follow me please, Dean. I will be your personal tour guide for the day, and apparently your trainer, too.” The man said, already heading off in the direction of the section of small cabin-like buildings.

“So your full name is Castiel, huh? I think I’ve heard it before, but maybe only once.” Dean quickly caught up to the man and walked in stride with him. Cas looked up at him before giving a smirk.

“A ‘slight’ bible reader, huh? I imagine it’d sound a little familiar if you’re religious. My mom was a fanatic herself, however. I guess I was named after an angel of some sort, if I remember correctly.” He said with a smile, placing his hands into the pockets of his jeans.

“My full name is Castiel Shurley. And before you ask- no, I do not really follow my mom’s inclinations.”

Dean looked over at the man and quirked his head. He himself was no preacher, but he did try to attend church every Sunday at least. Although, if he was being honest with himself, he only did it for appearances. He himself really had no idea what to think on the matter any longer, not after what happened to his brother’s girlfriend from his early college years. The poor girl died in a too horrific matter, and his brother remained broken for far too long. Being raised in a small community where church was one of the only constants in his early life however, it was one of the few things he knew, so it was surprising to find a man that publicly did not have inclinations towards religion.

“I wasn’t really gonna ask, but that’s cool to know.” Dean replied, thinking over everything that’s happened so far. It’s already been far too long a day for his liking.

Soon they were in front of rows of small cabins that looked comfortable to house in. Castiel led Dean to one labeled ‘18’ and walked up the stone steps before opening the door for Dean and standing to the side.

Dean entered the room and looked around curiously. It really was a quaint room, with a single bed and dresser next to it, and a writing desk presiding against the wall across from the bed. A small window was across from the bed as well that allowed sunlight to stream in. From the clothes strewn everywhere, it was apparent Cas must have had a rushed morning as well. Dean looked back at the man who entered and headed straight towards his dresser.

“I think I may have one dress shirt that will fit you. Since you have yet to be fitted for a uniform, this will have to do.” The man said, lifting a shirt that looked like it’ll just barely fit Dean.

“That’s fine, man. Again I can’t thank you enough for all you’ve already done for me, so a shirt is the least of my concerns. Anything will work.” He said with a smile, catching the shirt proffered to him.

“It was really of no trouble. I am just glad I got you in time to be able to help you.” Cas said with a bit of cheer in his tone.

Dean chuckled at that and stripped off his sweat soaked shirt, balling it up and setting it to the ground momentarily. Cas blinked a bit at that and stared at the younger man’s bared chest before turning away with a blush.

Once dressed and ready to go, Dean grabbed his old shirt and stuffed a corner of it into his pants. Casting Cas a cheeky grin, he headed towards the door.

“C’mon man, where’s that food I’ve been hearing about? I dunno about you, but I am starved!” He said with a bright grin and small laugh.

Standing in the sunlight from the doorway like that, Cas didn’t think he’d ever seen a more ironically holy visage and lost himself in the sight of a man that promised nothing for the future, but every bit of the present. Shaking his head, he trailed after the exuberant blonde.

Closing the door on the way out, Cas looked towards the sky.

This man may turn me religious yet, for the Lord must be testing me...’

Chapter Text

Sunlight streamed through the mess-hall as Dean entered the building, and Cas followed shortly behind him, closing the door along the way. A few heads turned towards them upon hearing the door open and close, and Dean looked around with a nod in greeting. As they walked towards the line to get lunch on the far side of the building, a new voice caught their attention.

“Cassie, Cassie there you are! Did you hear about the numbskull that passed out at the gates this morning, it’s all around the farm!” An energetic voice shouted out, coming closer. Dean rose an eyebrow at that and stopped to turn and look at the newcomer, who was stopped right in front of them now and looked a bit sheepish at having realized the man he was talking about was right in front of him. Dean quickly recognized the short man as the same guy he had also seen in the diner the night before, sitting next to Cas. He quirked an eyebrow at the nickname the guy had given Cas however, and turned to Castiel with an inquisitive look.

“‘Cassie’, huh? That’s a new one.” He said with a hint of a smile. “So which one am I supposed to really call you?” Dean asked with a bit of a laugh.

Castiel’s cheeks slowly turned a pale shade of pink as he sent a glare to the increasingly nervous looking newcomer.

“Cas or Castiel will be just fine, Dean. And I would be highly appreciative if my oh-so-elegant brother would be willing to adhere to my wishes and call me either of those as well.” The raven-haired man said, crossing his arms over his chest.

The short brunette just chuckled nervously and rubbed a hand through his hair before steeling himself and sending a shit-eating grin to his brother.

“But what would be the fun in that?? You know it is my duty to make you feel welcome and loved, little bro.” The man then threw his arm over Castiel’s shoulder with a grin, leaving him in an awkward pose due to the height difference.

It took a second to register before Dean quickly looked between the two with a stare of confusion.

“Wait, little brother? You two are related?” He asked in surprise.

Castiel let out a sigh before giving up and relaxing into the shoulder hug.

“Unfortunately, yes. Although not by blood. My father was very involved in the community and often took in foster children that needed homes.” Cas explained.

Dean nodded in understanding. “So this shortstack here was adopted when you were younger and you’re related through that, right?”

Castiel and the shorter brunette looked at each other before the shorter man turned to Dean with a hint of an empathetic look.

“Not exactly… You see, our dad is my biological dad, but not Cassie’s.” He said, earning another pointed glare from the younger brother due to the nickname.

“I was adopted, while Gabriel here had lived in that home his entire life. My biological parents are long gone.” Castiel explained with a slight shrug. “My life as a Novak, before the life I had with the Shurleys, is one I don’t try too hard to remember. The Shurleys gave me a warm bed, roof to live under, food to eat, and love when I needed it. That’s all that really matters.”

The Winchester winced slightly at the realization he was way off the mark and felt bad for assuming.

“Damn, I’m sorry man. I didn’t know.” He said in a genuine apology. He didn’t know what happened with Castiel’s biological family, but he knew better than to prod in tender subjects.

Cas just shrugged once more and gave a reassuring smile.

“It’s fine, really. You didn’t know, and plus it’s not something that really bothers me too much anymore.”

Dean nodded in understanding and dropped the subject before turning back to Gabriel and giving a chuckle.

“So you’re his older brother? I’m surprised you two are working in the same business.” He said with a hint of curiosity. Usually siblings didn’t follow each other in the same line of business or jobs.

Gabriel stood up straighter and looked on proudly. “How else am I supposed to make sure my little bro is not getting himself into trouble? I gotta protect him from all the bad guys out there, you know?” He said, ruffling the blue-eyed man’s hair fondly.

Castiel heaved a slight sigh and shook his head, the slight blush returning. “I’ll be fine on my own you know…” He mumbled under his breath before looking between the two. “Oh, my apologies, I haven’t introduced you two to each other. Dean, you already know this is Gabe. But Gabe, this is Dean Winchester, the “numbskull” that’s the new gossip all over the farm apparently.” He said with a shit eating grin himself, knowing Gabriel would fall back into embarrassment.

His plan worked perfectly, and soon Cas’ older brother was letting go of his shoulder, blushing himself, and rubbing his hand through his hair nervously.

“Yeah, about that…Sorry, Dean-o. No hard feelings? We don’t get much excitement around here, if you couldn’t tell.” The man explained, looking a bit bashful. Dean just shook his head with a smile.

“No hard feelings, it’s alright. I imagine I probably did stir quite a few people with the entrance I made.”

“Yeah, it’s not too often we see sweaty men collapsing in the entrance to our humble farm. But that’s in the past now. How about we get you some food?” Gabriel said, before pulling his brother’s arm and shoving him into Dean with a laugh.

“Cassie, be a dear and show freckles the food, alright? I got a date with Betsy I’ve been aching on getting to.” He said, pulling the horse brush from the holster on his belt. He gave his younger brother a wink, glancing between the two, and then a salute as he ran off and out of the cafeteria.

Castiel spluttered as he regained his footing and quickly righted himself, out of the hold Dean had him captured in when the push Gabriel gave him had caused him to fall into the taller man.

“S-Sorry!” He quickly yelled out after righting himself, straightening the barely noticeable wrinkles in his clothing. Dean gave a laugh before patting the man’s back.

“Hey, it’s alright man. Your brother did literally shove you into me after all.” He said with a smile, before turning towards the line for food. “Care to get some food with me?”

Castiel looked at him intently for a few seconds, before giving a small smile himself and nodding.

“I haven’t heard a better idea all day.” He said, following the blond as they made their way through the line for food.

“So…Castiel and Gabriel, huh? Got any other angelic siblings I should know about?” Dean asked with a teasing lilt in his voice. He figured Cas’ family really must have liked the Bible, given the namesakes.

Castiel turned to him and handed him a tray with a laugh.

“Oh, you have no idea. It’s a wonder we don’t have a brother named Jesus himself.” He said, handing him some cutlery that had been laid out as well.

“I have a few more siblings, yes. Michael, Lucifer, but we call her Luci, Samandriel, Anna, and Raphael just to name some of them. They’re all older than me though, except for Sam. Sammy just turned seventeen this past year.” Cas said with a fond smile. It was obvious he had deep connections with his family, which was endearing to know.

“Sammy, huh? I have a Sam myself. He’s my younger brother as well, and I couldn’t be prouder of him.” Dean said with a fond smile, before something clicked to him.

“Hey…not to be intrusive, but isn’t Lucifer a guy’s name though?” The Winchester asked in confusion. Castiel was quiet for a few moments before he set down his tray on the counter and pulled his wallet out of his back pocket and handed a small family picture to Dean. In it was a picture of all of Castiel’s siblings, with himself in the front next to Gabriel. Cas pointed to a person directly to the left of himself and gave a smile. Next to Cas was Lucifer, or rather Luci, in a nice formal dress for the occasion, short but styled hair, and a hint of makeup with her arm wrapped around Castiel’s shoulder, and a jubilant grin on her face as an obviously proud older sister; even through the dress, the body figure was apparent, however. Dean blinked a little before it finally set in. ‘Ohh….’

Castiel left the picture out for him to see for a few more moments before quickly putting it back away. Something in his demeanor had changed as he looked at Dean with a guarded expression.

“Look Dean, you seem awfully nice…But if I hear even a hint of disrespect or biased bigotry in your next words, then…” But Castiel was quickly cut off with a grin from Dean, and a hand on his shoulder.

“Cas, calm down buddy. All I saw in that picture was you happy, an ecstatic Gabriel, and a proud older sister on your left, with the rest of your siblings surrounding you. I thought it was a great picture.” Dean said with a genuine smile. He didn’t know Luci or the rest of Castiel and Gabriel’s siblings, but he’d be damned if he even thought about judging someone for who they were. Ever since his father’s passing, he made it his goal to live with the kind of understanding his father never once showed. He wanted to make his mother proud, the woman who told him to be himself and love who he was, not his father.

At hearing Dean’s words, Castiel visibly relaxed and the smile he wore before returned.

“Thank you, Dean…you have no idea how much that means to me.”

They both looked on at each other for a few moments, Dean with a kind and understanding smile on his face, and Cas with a similar smile, but one laced with growing adoration. He was definitely being tested, he was sure of it.

A cough from the man serving the food quickly interrupted them however, and they grabbed the bowls of soup and plates of sandwiches proffered to them, before heading to a table to sit and eat. They ate in a few moments of companionable silence before Dean finally broke the silence.

“So…how long you been working here? I can’t help but wonder seeing as this is the second time I’ve seen you around in the span of a day.”

Castiel reclined back in his seat and finished the bite of food he had in his mouth before responding.

“About ten years, give or take a year. Imagine my surprise though to see a familiar face the next morning after seeing the stranger around in this small town.”

Dean chuckled before finishing his bite as well.

“Yeah, well I guess this is a small world. I had just lost my job and caught my girlfriend cheating on me, so decided to leave my town and try to start over.”

“Oh, damn I’m sorry to hear that. It sounds like you got at least one of those back though, considering you’re working here now.” Cas replied back.

“You are right, I guess. Although I don’t see myself getting the other part back anytime, considering the almost nonexistent female to male ratio here.” Dean remarked back with a humored laugh.

Castiel looked away at this and stared out the window for a few seconds, as if in deep thought. He then turned back to Dean with a small smile.

“And you are right on that part as well. Although…if you’re looking for company…there’s a small neighborhood a few miles down the road if you go to the crossing and take the right instead of taking the left that leads to here. I’m sure the ladies over there would love to see a fresh face around.” He said.

“Really? I suppose I’ll have to check it out one of these days. Although, since you graciously told me about them…Do you have a girl around yonder?” Dean asked with a wiggle of his eyebrows. He was curious if the girl he saw at the table in the diner the night before happened to be Castiel’s flame.

Castiel’s cheeks seemed to heat up at this however, and he quickly shook his head no before taking a drink of his water.

“Ah, no. I myself haven’t had much time for a girlfriend, nor did I ever see the need for one. I’m quite content tending to the horses around here for now.”

Dean rose his eyebrows at this before leaning back once again. This was new to him; all of the friends he had in the past would have jumped at the opportunity to hook up with a girl, especially one in such a close range to their work.

“Looks like we’ll have to fix that then. How about you accompany me to this place when we have some free time?” He asked. Castiel visibly stiffened at this and gave a slight shake of his head.

“No, I think I’ll be fi-“ “C’mon Cas, there’s no harm in having some fun. Besides, I’m not familiar to these parts of the state. I need someone to show me around, if you’d be willing.” Dean asked in almost a pleading voice. He was curious as to why Castiel seemed so averse to the idea, and really wanted to go exploring anyways.

Castiel gave a quiet sigh before finally acquiescing. “Fine. I’ll show you around when we have some time, but that’s it.”

“We’ll see about that. Thank you, Cas.” Dean said before gathering his trash left over from his meal with his tray.

Cas nodded without saying another word as he finished him meal. Once he was done, he joined Dean in disposing their garbage. Stretching to relieve an ache in his back, Cas turned to Dean with a new smile.

“Now that food is out of the way, how about we get you started on your first day here at lovely Singer Farms. It shouldn’t be too difficult to get you up to speed here.”

“Sounds good to me, Cas. Let’s get going!”

With enthusiasm and good nature, Dean sprinted out of the mess hall to start his first day. With a sigh and smile, Cas ran after the blond to make sure he wouldn’t get lost.

Chapter Text

“So, the first thing I’m going to teach you is how to groom the horses. Might as well get one of the harder things out the way first, right?”

Cas had finally caught up to Dean and led him to the stables that made Bobby’s ranch renowned. After a bit of careful moving and laughter as Dean almost slid through a pile of horse dung that had yet to be taken care of from the morning rounds, they finally made it to the stall of a beautiful Clydesdale stallion.

“This is Sefir. He’s my personal buddy and has a bit of stubborn streak to him.” Cas said, gesturing Dean closer as he took out a brush from the work belt and pouch he had on.

“He doesn’t really race anymore, but I still enjoy taking him out for strolls every once in a while when he’s feeling up to it.”

That piqued Dean’s interest a bit. “So I’m assuming the majority of these horses are racing horses then?”

Gently working the brush through Sefir’s mane, Cas briefly looked back at the man.

“Correct. Singer Farms houses people’s horses that can’t be kept on their owners’ own properties. Most of those people are usually racers, and it’s our jobs to take care of these beautiful creatures in their owners’ absence.” Cas said, continuing the gentle stroking motion through the stallion’s mane. Sefir appeared to be enjoying it at the very least, having nudged into Cas’ touch a few times.

“However, we also operate as a breeding farm as well, and sell high quality racing horses. Mr. Singer’s farm is renowned in the racing community not only for the quality care of the horses, but also for the excellent quality of horses we sell or rent out as well.” He paused to put away the brush when he was finished, and gently started stroking Sefir’s head with his own fingers instead.

“If you stick around long enough, you’ll see a man that goes by ‘Crowley’ stop by the farm as well. He does inspection for this farm, but also checks around for any stallion or mare that catches his eye to participate in racing competitions, as he’s also a jockey coach.” Cas explained.

Dean nodded with understanding before gently reaching out his hand to try and stroke through Sefir’s mane as well. The horse jolted a little and seemed to fix Dean with a glare, before snuffling and relenting to the new man’s ministrations. This caused Dean to smile some.

“I think I get it. So, we bathe the horses, brush their hair, and make sure they’re in perfect shape for when their owners visit. Doesn’t sound too hard.” Dean said with a smile. If that is all he had to do while staying here, then it would be the easiest pay he’d earned in awhile.

Cas only laughed at that and smiled as he patted Sefir’s head one last time.

“That’s a simplified way of putting it, yes. But it’s also so much more. Come with me.” Cas said, exiting out of the stable and heading over to a pile of sacks near the entrance.

“Obviously we also feed and give them water as well. But we also have to clean their hooves, give them daily walks, free time in the pastures of which we also have to monitor, and keep an eye out on them during their ah, mating sessions.” Cas carried the sack of horse feed over to Sefir’s stable again and doled him out some food before returning and tossing the sack back into the pile.

“Honestly Cas, if watching two horses get it on is the worst thing I have to do at this farm, I think I’ll be okay.” Dean said once Cas returned.

Cas sighed softly before giving Dean a smile and set his hands on his hips.

“We’re not going to have you do too much today as it’s your first day. Grab one of those bags of feed and follow me.”

Doing as told, Dean went over to the pile and grabbed one bag and followed along next to Cas.

“Since I’m imagining you’re going to be here awhile, we might as well get you acquainted some with the horses.” Cas said.

Going along down the line of stalls, Dean noticed a multitude of beautiful mares and stallions. They were of simple colors and patterns, but stunning, nonetheless.

“So I’m guessing you just want me to give them some food right now?” The blond asked.

“Yes, exactly. Those bags are about three pounds of grain and you’re going to give one of these beauties the whole bag. Around here they get fed about four times a day and are given as much hay as they like.” Cas went over and started stroking the head of a black coated mare.

“Here, as your first feeding, come give Ama some food. She’s eyeing your bag there, so I imagine she’d like some grain.” The raven-haired man said with a laugh.

Dean smiled once he saw the look on the horse’s face. She did look like she was eyeing Dean and his bag of food up, so he happily obliged.

“Is she someone’s racing horse?” He asked, doling out the food and gently stroking Ama’s mane once he was done.

Backing away a little to give Dean space, Cas nodded and smiled.

“She sure is. Ama here is one of Crowley’s favorite horses. She was specially bred for him a couple years ago, and she’s at the end of her training. We don’t know her rider yet though. Crowley only allows the best of the best to compete under his name, and as she’s still young, she still needs a rider.”

The Winchester took this information in and watched with a hint of a smile as Ama finished up her food. She truly was a sight to behold.

“I like her. She’s calm and seems to be a gentle one.”

“Oh yes, she isn’t as outgoing as her siblings, but her talent is unquestionable. She’s a part of the Byerley Turk line of thoroughbreds, and a descendant of the legendary horse, Ahonoora. I’m sure with the right rider, she could be a champion.” Cas said.

Dean nodded and patted her one last time before following Cas to the next horse.

The day passed along in much a similar matter; through Cas’ tutelage, by the end of the day, Dean was successfully feeding, grooming, and caring for the horses in the stables. It was an understatement to say that he was good at it; Dean was a natural with horses.

By dinner time, Dean was beyond ready for a break and some good food, and Cas felt the same way.

“So is there anything else we do after suppertime?” While Dean enjoyed the events of the day, he would be lying if he didn’t say that he was wiped, and just wanted a shower and a good night’s sleep in an actual bed for once in the longest time.

Taking a bite of his food, Cas shook his head no.

“No, not for us. Since we’re day shift people, after dinner time, we’re done for the day and let the night shift people take over. Bobby loves his farm and treats us like his family, so he always wants to make sure we’re happy here and have time to ourselves too.” Taking a sip of water, Cas gave Dean a small smile.

“It’s the same for the night shift people. They have the whole day to themselves until after dinner, and then they take over the duties for the night and pick up where we left off. They’ll start at seven once dinner is over and work until three a.m, so that they can get some sleep too.” He continued.

“So everything’s done here after three in the morning?” Dean asked.

“Yes. After three, all of the day’s duties for everyone are done. Since we work during the day, we start at seven in the morning and work until three in the afternoon, and then have the rest of the day off.” The raven-haired man replied.

Dean was confused by this. If he’s going to be a day worker, then why had he and Cas worked right up until dinner at six?

“If we’re working in the day then, how come you and I worked until dinner started?” The man asked.

Cas let out a chuckle at this and finished off his food, before standing up.

“Because I had to catch you up on all of your duties in a lesser amount of time than what we usually have. You started at ten, so we worked the extra three hours to make sure you had everything down.”

Standing up, Dean grabbed his trash as well. He thought it odd that Cas had worked overtime just for him.

“Cas, you didn’t have to do that man. You still started at seven, so that was like another three hours you had to work. I could’ve caught on from someone else.”

Cas just sent Dean a smile and patted his back.

“Don’t worry about it Dean. I was glad to be of assistance.” Cas replied.

Dean blinked a little before shaking his head and following after Cas. After throwing away their trash from their meal, the two men exited the lunch hall, sated from the food.

Following Cas for a bit, Dean eventually stopped and looked around the entirety of the ranch. All around him people were bustling as the night workers took over the spots of the day workers and got to work right away. It was really a quaint ranch, and Dean figured he wouldn’t mind staying here too much.

Cas stopped walking once he realized Dean had and looked around at the scene as well. This had been his home for ten years of his life, and he couldn’t be happier. He had his brother, a few old friends, and now a new friend as well again. He looked up at golden orange hues mixed with blue, cascading across the sky. When a breeze passed through his hair, Cas smiled. This is home, and this is him.

“Dean, come follow me to your cabin. Earlier this morning Bobby mentioned the new guy would be sleeping in cabin 24, so since you’re the only new guy, I’m figuring that’s you.” Cas said with humor in his voice.

Dean frowned a bit at this. He figured he’d be staying with Cas in his cabin, and as he didn’t really know anyone else at the farm yet, he was a bit annoyed that he’d be staying with someone he didn’t know.

“Cas, are you sure I can’t stay with you in your cabin? It didn’t look like you really had anyone staying with you...So if you wouldn’t mind...” He trailed off. The prospect of dealing with someone he hadn’t met yet didn’t appeal to the blond in the slightest.

Cas turned his head to give a reassuring smile to Dean.

“I wish I could Dean, but I’m not the one that makes the rules. Don’t worry though, I’m sure you won’t have too many troubles with your roommate. If you do though, be sure to talk to me.” Cas said, giving Dean a knowing smile as they rounded the corner to Dean’s new cabin, and opened the door.

The first thing that hit Dean was the immense smell of sweets and candy. The second thing that hit him was the miscellaneous mess of posters and tapestries strewn across the wall, and the clothes tossed everywhere. And the last thing that hit him is the annoying, loud exclamation of a short, short man.

“Heyy, Dean-o!! Welcome to Casa de Gabriel, make yourself at home buddy!” Gabriel said, practically dragging Dean into the cabin. The pure ecstatic joy flashing across Gabriel’s face was terrifying, and Cas almost wished he had a camera on him to capture the moment.

A look of pure horror and disappointment washed across Dean’s face as he gave Cas a pleading look. There was no way in hell he was going to be staying with this sugar high terror over his sane brother. Cas just laughed behind his hand and offered a look of condolence as he stepped out of the doorway, back outside.

“I apologize Dean. I have some things to take care of, but if you’re not busy around nine tonight, you can join me outside at my cabin. See you later, Dean.” Cas said, walking out into the yard and towards his own cabin.

Dean sighed softly before turning to Gabriel, and rubbed a hand down his face. It was going to be a long night, and he had a feeling that he was not going to get that chance to hang out with his friend later.

Chapter Text

A month passed in the same routine. Wake up at six, shower, brush teeth, eat breakfast, spend time with Cas, then go to work tending to the horses for the rest of the early day till three, and then spend more time with Cas. He found that Cas was a good, but shy and quiet guy. He was funny when he let himself relax, considerate, and kindhearted by nature. Dean found himself drawn to all of this and enjoyed his first few weeks at the farm. By the end of the month however, the only thing stopping Dean from killing Castiel’s brother, was Castiel himself, and the respect he had for his friend.

If I have to step in one more pile of melted chocolate, I swear to god and every other deity that exists...’ That was all Dean could think before the familiar feeling of squishy, rich paste running between his toes, and an unmistakable squelching sound broke him from his thoughts, and he saw red.

“C’mon Dean-o.”

“No.”

“Please?”

“No.”

“Pleaaassseee??”

“Oh for fucks sake, I said no, Gabriel! I’d much rather sleep in the woods, buck naked, covered in honey, waiting for a bear attack to put me out of my misery, before I’d ever want to sleep here again!”

Currently, the day found Dean frantically shoving the little amount of clothing and personal supplies that he had into a small carry bag. He just could not do it anymore. Gabriel was nice and all, but Dean could not go through one more day living in a practical pig pen. After a long day at work, stepping in melted chocolate and tripping over dirty underwear was the last thing he wanted to come home to. He would never understand how someone could live with molding food, dirty clothes, and melted chocolate and sweets literally covering every inch of the small room they lived in, and he would be damned before he’d stick around to find out.

Dean Winchester was about two feet out of the door before a hand tugging on his arm stopped him. He looked back at Gabriel, and noticed the almost sad, pleading look in his eyes, and stopped for a moment. He’d never seen the man with a look like that on his face before.

Looking skyward, the tall blond sighed and settled himself into his place in the doorway.

“What, Gabe? You’re gonna be hard pressed to change my mind, man. I can’t stand dirty rooms.”

Gabriel looked down at the floor for a moment before he looked back up at Dean with a conciliatory smile.

“I’ll tell you what. Will you stay if I promise to keep the room in tip top shape?” He asked.

Dean choked out a laugh. He highly doubted Gabriel could even clean the room to healthy standards, let alone maintain it. That kind of uncleanliness is usually deep-seeded into a person’s personality, from years and years of living like that in the past.

“Dude, no offense, but I’d be surprised if you can even get the room clean at all, let alone keep it that way. From the way the cabin looks now, it looks like you’ve kept it this way the entire time you’ve lived here.” The Winchester retorted back. Since his dad never kept things clean when he was young, he often found himself the resident housemaid. As such, anything not kept clean often angered the green-eyed man in a way that even he couldn’t explain. Dirt, messes, and garbage just upset him.

Gabriel took no offense from Dean’s comment however and waved it off with a shake of his hand.

“No offense taken. Just give me a chance, Dean. I promise I can get it done. Please?” He said, batting his eyelashes at the taller man. He couldn’t explain it, but there was something about the Winchester that Gabriel just felt he needed to keep him around for.

Dean was one of the few friends Cas actually made around the farm, and Gabriel couldn’t be more relieved that Dean was actually a decent guy. Call it a brother’s intuition, but Gabriel knew Dean was special. That effervescent man was going to make even the heavens tremble, and once Dean discovered his full potential, there would be nothing that could stop him. Gabriel only hoped that when the sun rises on that day, that Dean remembered the companions he’s making now.

Dean eyed Gabriel for a few moments before he felt himself relent. He didn’t exactly know too many other people on the farm besides Gabriel and Cas, and he didn’t want to be a bother to Cas anyhow.

The only other guy he had somewhat become friends with was some guy named Curtis, and he seemed sketchy at best. Curtis worked the night shift, so Dean would have the cabin to himself for most of the night, but the man also gave off a vibe that nagged at Dean a bit. He seemed like the kind of guy Dean used to beat up in his high school days to put them back in their places, regular Class-A bullies.

Giving a loud sigh, Dean threw his small bag back to his bed and gave Gabriel a look of annoyance.

“Have it cleaned by tomorrow. If I step in or trip over anything suspicious by tomorrow night, then I’m out of here man.”

Gabriel’s face lit up and he ran over to the taller man to wrap him in a hug. He was glad. Living by yourself did get lonely after awhile, and plus he would always be able to make sure his little brother was doing alright, through Dean. He loved Cas, but sometimes his brother didn’t know how to defend himself.

“Thank you Dean-o! You won’t regret this decision, I promise!” Gabriel broke away, giving Dean a mock solute.

“Now go on and meet up with Cas. I’m sure he’s waiting for you now.” The short man said, with a glint in his eyes. He was just so glad that Castiel had at least one good friend to go to besides himself. Dean and Cas seemed to be bonding pretty quickly, after all.

Dean rolled his eyes before sending his probationary roommate a wave, then headed down the steps of his cabin, and towards the direction of Cas’ cabin.

It was around suppertime, and just late enough in the day that the sun was starting to head into the west side of the sky. Dean smiled as he noticed that there were only a few fluffy clouds hanging out in the sky, and that the rest of the sky was as blue as a sparkling aquamarine gem. As Dean neared Cas’ cabin, a light breeze kicked up the scent of the gardenia and heliotrope flowers that his friend had planted in front of his home. He would never admit it, but he himself actually enjoyed the splash of color that flowers brought into a homey scene. The heavenly scent was just an added bonus.

The Winchester bent down when he got in front of Cas’ cabin, and gently plucked a heliotrope to hold in his hand. He smiled as he inhaled the sweet scent and fingered at one of the soft petals.

“It’s definitely known as the “cherry pie” flower for a reason...” He mumbled, before jumping back as Cas opened his door and stepped out onto the little porch of his cabin.

Cas quirked his head upon noticing Dean with one of his flowers in his hand and shot the flustered man a smile. He looked like a man just caught in the act of robbing someone, but Cas couldn’t care less if Dean had plucked one of his flowers.

“Enjoying the heliotrope, I see?” He prompted.

Stepping down the little staircase, Cas headed towards his bush of gardenias and bent down to gently pluck one of the flowers off of the stem as well. Dean watched as his friend closed his eyes and bent his head to smell at the floral bulb, before nervously looking at the now crushed heliotrope flower in his hand. He hadn’t meant to, but in his shock at Cas’ appearance, he had accidentally crushed the flower in his hand.

Cas looked up at Dean and gave him a reassuring smile before he moved to stand in front of him, and took the crushed flower from his hand. Tossing it to the side, Cas gently placed the new flower into Dean’s hand, and closed the blond’s fingers around the stem. Looking up at Dean, he gave him a small smile.

“Smell this one now. I find I’m more drawn to this one, myself.” Cas said. “To me, it smells like summer evenings under the night sky, and wishing upon stars for a future of love and happiness, of peace and health.” The raven-haired man bent down one more time to inhale the intoxicating floral scent. “It smells like home.”

Dean blinked in surprise as he watched the scene unfurl in his mind’s eye. He could see the stars speckling the night sky, as the crickets chirped, and the lightning bugs buzzed all around him. He could feel the young, tender hope that only youth could feel for the future. Dean could hear the soft laughter of his brother that he hadn’t seen in a few years, talking himself about what the future could possibly hold. He could smell the campfire, the melting marshmallows, and the faintest hint of that sultry gardenia. He could feel the heat radiating off of his baby, having just recently been turned off so they could sit outside and enjoy the scenery. Dean could see it, just as well as he could smell it.

It smelled just like home.

Finally opening his eyes, Cas was standing there, giving him a knowing smile.

“What does home smell like to you, Dean Winchester?” The man asked, before finally letting go of the hold he had on Dean’s hand.

Dean looked down at the flower, and then back up to Cas.

“I think it smells something just like this.” He said.

Cas nodded once to Dean, not once relenting that ever-knowing smile. But Dean didn’t care. Cas was right, and Dean knew Cas knew he was right.

“It’s almost suppertime. Let’s get going before all of the good food is gone.” Cas said.

Dean smiled and nodded, before looking at the gardenia one last time. It was odd how just a simple scent could bring him all the way back to his teenage days. It wasn’t a bad thing, however.

With these thoughts, Dean carefully tucked the small flower into the breast pocket of his shirt. He’d find someplace to put it when he got back to his cabin.


 

“So, I know you’re a hard worker. You’ve done phenomenal with all of your training and are becoming one hell of a rancher.” Cas said, taking a bite out of his turkey sandwich. “But in the past month you’ve been here, I don’t actually know as much about you as I feel like I should by now. So tell me, what makes up the enigma that is Dean Winchester?” He asked with a quirked eyebrow and smirk.

Dean quirked an eyebrow of his own at that and finished his own bite of burger. He took a moment to look around at the mess hall. Ranchers bustled in and out of the food line, content with food from workers that looked like they hadn’t slept in weeks. Light streamed in through high windows at the top of the wall, and overall the entire place smelled like an unholy mixture of body sweat and food that also smelled suspiciously like that as well.

Turning back to Cas, he gave him a shrug.

“There’s not much to me, to be honest. I’m Dean Winchester. I was born on September 18th, 1958, to an asshole father that became a drunk after my mom passed when I was four. And I have a little brother, Sam, that I raised his whole life, who is two years my younger.” Dean shrugged once more. “Not much more to tell.”

Cas quirked his head to the side at this and gave a small smile.

“Well, that’s a start. You have a birthday coming up soon, isn’t that exciting? You’ll be twenty-one and able to have your first beer or drink above the four percent.” He said, taking another bite out of his sandwich.

Dean snorted and laughed at that. He supposed that was a bonus, not that he ever planned on taking advantage of it. He saw what alcohol could do to a person firsthand and didn’t plan on copying his father’s mistakes.

“Yeah, I guess so. You act like a man that’s already been around the beer bus a time or two though. How old are you, Cas?”

“I’m twenty-seven, turning twenty-eight this December.” Cas replied. “I guess it is kind of odd to think I am one of the youngest of my family, now that I think about it.”

Dean blinked in surprise at that. He knew Cas was older than him, but he didn’t expect it to be by that much.

“Damn Cas, you sure don’t look like a man nearing his thirties though.” Dean took a sip of his milk and grimaced. It appeared as if it had sat out just a little too long and became lukewarm.

Cas laughed a bit at that however and gave Dean a warm smile.

“You flatter me, Dean. Trust me, I’ve been dreading the big three-oh each year it gets closer,” Cas said, “I’m sure you’ll look just as great as you do now when you get there, however. Trust me, with looks like yours, I’m sure you’ll be fine.”

Dean’s head whipped up at that, and he let out a bit of a cough. He was used to flattery, sure, but usually it came from a thin, curvy framed person rather than someone that rivaled himself in build.

“Thanks, Cas. That’s nice of you.”

Cas seemed to catch on to the awkward atmosphere his words had created, however, and quickly changed the subject.

“I’m sure there’s more to you, Dean, than just your birthday and family. So, why don’t you tell me?”

“Well, what would you like to know then?” Dean asked, relaxing back to normal and shrugging off the awkward moment.

“Well, I guess the basic things? Why’d you decide to work here? Your hopes for the future? Favorite color? Favorite song or band?” Cas asked. He had finished his food a few minutes ago but was too caught up in the conversation to care. Dean was one of the few friends he had made in years, and he really wanted to get to know him more.

Dean laughed heartily and settled down into his seat. He supposed conversation was good, and he should really try opening up more.

“I didn’t decide to work here, I was kinda forced into it, but also offered the position to pay off a debt to Bobby. You see, I was on my way to a motel when I accidentally plowed into the back end of his truck, at the end of his driveway.”

“Oh no, that’s horrible Dean. The both of you were okay, right?” Cas asked. He leaned forward on the table, fully engaged in the talk now. Genuine concern and worry showed on his features, however.

“Oh, yeah we were both completely fine. I can’t say the same about my car, however,” Dean laughed, “Sadly, she took the brunt of the damage so she’s still in Bobby’s driveway a few miles back.”

“Well at least the both of you came out of it safe and unscathed. That’s the main thing that matters.”

“I suppose so, yeah. So until I pay off the five hundred dollar debt I owe Bobby, I’m staying here.” Dean said. Cas nodded at this and smiled to prompt him to continue on.

“For the future, I hope to settle down someday with someone and have a little house in the countryside with a picket fence, open land for miles, and maybe a rugrat or two messing things up around the house. I hope that my brother gets to the position of his dreams, and that he’s well off. I just hope, that whoever I end up with, loves me for me, and I’ll love them for them, unconditionally.”

Straightening up a little in his seat, Cas’ smile returned bigger than before, and he let out a little laugh.

“That’s funny, that’s almost exactly like my hopes for the future. Great minds think alike, I suppose?”

“They’re called great minds for a reason, Cas.” Dean said, returning his smile.

“Your favorite color, then?”

“Hmm...probably cobalt or admiral blue.”

“Those are nice shades. Very royal.”

“I only pick the best.” Dean said with a laugh. He began to tap his fingertips against his glass of milk, to occupy his hands with something else to do. He found he could focus better that way.

“You haven’t answered possibly the most important question yet though.” Cas said.

“And what’s that?”

“Who’s your favorite singer or band?” Cas asked, tilting his head once more to the side in that puppy dog way. Dean was starting to wonder if it was a nervous tick. A part of him had to admit, it was kinda cute in a way.

“I guess I’d have to say Neil Diamond.” Dean said, taking a moment to glance at the rays of sun cascading into the room. “I grew up with his music, so it holds a special place in my heart.”

When Dean looked up at Cas after a few moments of silence, he found that Cas was also staring up at the rays of sun filtering through the room. When Cas looked back at him, something...beautiful shown bright in his eyes.

“Did I pick a good choice then?” Dean asked, for some reason feeling slightly anxious for his friend’s response.

“You picked a wonderful choice, Dean.” Cas replied, relaxing back into his seat. He looked back up to continue to stare at the gleaming windows.

“When I was younger, my dad would sing me to sleep with some of Neil Diamond’s songs. I don’t remember it too well, but I remember the feeling of unconditional love. I guess you could say his songs hold a special place in my heart too, if you can get what I mean.” Cas explained, finally looking back at Dean.

Dean just gave Cas a soft smile, to convey that yes, he understood perfectly what Cas meant.

After a few moments, the sound of the bell ringing from the ranch speakers to signify the start of the night shift broke the two out of their reverie. Cas placed his hand on the table a moment before he stood up and grabbed his plate and silverware.

“Let’s get going, Dean. They’re going to be closing this place up soon.” He said.

Dean grabbed his own plate and silverware and made his way with Cas to the table collecting all of the dirty dishes. Something nagged at the back of his mind though, and he found himself a bit saddened that he and Cas would be parting ways in a few moments.

“Hey Cas?”

“Yes, Dean?”

“If...If you’re not doing anything else tonight, would you like to hang out and just chat? Maybe start a little bonfire or something?” Dean asked, placing his dishes into the collection, and turning to look at Cas.

Cas set his plates down and then turned to look at Dean as well, giving him a nod and a smile.

“Of course. I would love that, Dean.”

“Okay, awesome! I guess I’ll catch up with you later tonight then. After sunset?”

“Yes, that’s fine.”

“Alright, I’ll catch you later then, Cas.”

“I’ll see you later, Dean.” Cas replied, leaving out the mess hall doors after sending Dean one final smile.

Dean stood there with a smile of his own for a few seconds. When he finally left the mess hall as well, a strong scent in the breeze caught his attention, and he couldn’t help but smile wider.

It smelled like gardenias.

Chapter Text

After leaving the mess hall, Dean slowly made his way back to his and Gabriel’s cabin on the other side of the farm. On the way, he nodded to some passing fellow ranchers, but really paid them no mind. He was still focused on the conversation he had had with Castiel back during supper.

The way Cas had acted during their meal had seemed...Odd to Dean. While he knew Cas pretty well, he supposed just the whole interaction was different than what he was used to. Cas was a quiet guy, and if that was what Cas was like when he started opening up more and coming out of his barriers, then Dean supposed he wouldn’t mind at all. Perhaps he would work on getting his friend to open up more later that night.

Upon getting back to his cabin and opening the door, Dean was surprised with the sight that greeted him. All of the dirty clothes strewn everywhere were put away, he couldn’t find a trace of moldy food anywhere, and upon closer inspection, it looked as is the surfaces were even dusted.

A grinning Gabriel sat perched on his bed when Dean finally noticed him. Hopping down from his seat, he walked over to the Winchester and then spread one arm wide, inviting him in.

“Bienvenidos a la Casa de Gabriel y Dean 2.0, mi amigo. I hope you’ll find everything to your liking.”* Gabriel said with a wide grin, waiting for his friend’s reaction.

“No way. You seriously did this in just the short time I’ve been gone?” He asked. Dean was in disbelief, there was no way someone could possibly clean up a mess like that in just a short hour.

Walking around their now clean cabin, Dean was impressed and shocked. Gabriel had actually managed it, he had cleaned everything up like he had asked him to.

“Of course I did. It’s really not that hard when you get a system going.” The shorter man replied.

Dean stood still and looked at Gabriel for a moment, before he nodded his head in appreciation, and walked over to pat him on the shoulder.

“I’m impressed and proud, Gabe. Thank you for doing this, I’m really appreciative. Just please, keep it this way from now on.” Dean said, walking over to his own bed and promptly flopping down and spreading out on it. He sighed in relief when hit the mattress, and closed his eyes, letting himself relax.

Gabriel followed suit on his own bed and groaned happily at the soft mattress.

“Not a problem, Dean-o. I said I’ll keep it in tip top shape, and that’s just what I plan to do.”

A few minutes passed in silence before Gabriel started to fidget around. Keeping still never was his specialty, and he was curious about how the dinner went with Dean and his baby brother.

“Sooo….How’d things go tonight with Cassie?” He asked.

“They went pretty good. Also, you know he hates being called that, Gabe.”

Gabriel laughed at that and sat up on his bed to be able to look at Dean.

“He’s just saying that cause he doesn’t want me to embarrass him in front of you. Trust me, he hates it no more than I hate being called ‘Gabe’.” The shorter man said.

At this, Dean sat up on his bed to be able to look at Gabriel too. He quirked an eyebrow at him in confusion.

“Really? He seemed pretty bothered by it from my standpoint.”

Gabriel scoffed at that and laid back on his bed, with his arms crossed underneath his head.

“Dean-o, I’m the older brother here. Trust me on this okay? If it actually really bothered him, I wouldn’t do it. But right now, he thinks you’re nice but doesn’t know you too well and doesn’t want me to embarrass him in front of you. In private, he couldn’t care less if I call him Cassie or not.”

Dean still wasn’t sure but wasn’t going to press the matter any further. If Cas really didn’t mind it behind closed doors with his family, then that was Cas’ decision and he wasn’t anyone to fight something further on a family matter.

“Okay then...In either case, I’m sure he’s got a better idea of who I am now. That was actually one of the things he wanted to talk about while at dinner.” Dean said.

At this, Gabriel’s attention was piqued once again, and he sat up to be able to study Dean once more.

“Oh really? Do tell. What exactly did my little baby brother want to know more about?” He said, wiggling his eyebrows up and down.

Dean blinked a little but laughed at the odd expression on Gabriel’s face. He was a jokester, he’d give him that.

“Nothing much. He just wanted to know common stuff you tell your friends, like why I’m here, my favorite color, hopes for the future, and favorite singer and stuff. That was really all we got to talk about.”

Gabriel let the information sink in before a knowing smile crossed his face. He nodded, before slapping his knees and standing up.

“Sounds like some good friendly bonding to me. That’s good. Was there anything else?”

Dean was about to shake his head no before he remembered that he’d asked Cas to hang out later tonight.

“Nothing more on that regard, but I did ask if he wanted to hang out after sunset so we could hang out and talk some more. Maybe have a bonfire. That’s all.”

Gabriel nodded once before he smiled and headed towards the door.

“That sounds like fun. I’m glad you two are getting along so well. I’m gonna go snatch some food before they completely lock up the mess hall.” Gabriel said.

Before he exited the door, he turned to Dean.

“Oh and Dean?”

“Yeah?”

“Please, look out for him okay?”

Dean was a bit confused by this. Cas seemed to take care of himself pretty well from what he’s seen so far, but if that’s what Gabriel wanted, then who was he to say no? He knew what it was like having a little brother.

“Of course. As long as I’m around, I’ll look out for him.”

“Thank you.”

Gabriel gave him a smile before he exited out of the door.


 

Dean fell asleep soon after that, and if it wasn’t for an odd tickling sensation on his nose, he wouldn’t have woken up the rest of the night.

The tickling got worse however, and soon Dean was sneezing and cursing whatever it was that was giving him allergies this late in the season. Upon waking up, Dean was greeted by two bright blue orbs with whiskers looking down at him, and promptly yelled his surprise by jolting awake and shoving the furry mass off of him.

“What the hell is that thing?!”

“Her name is Marigold, or just Mari.” A voice sounded from out of the corner of his vision.

Looking over, Dean sighed in relief when he found it was just Cas there. He was confused as to why his friend was in his cabin though, when he realized there wasn’t any light streaming through the windows anymore, and that the cabin was nearly pitch black.

Cas walked over to where Dean was half laying, half sitting up in his bed, and scooped up what Dean could then make out to be a cat. That definitely explained his sudden bout of allergies.

“Shit Cas, I’m sorry man. I didn’t mean to oversleep on you. I must’ve been more tired than I originally thought.” Dean said, rubbing a hand at the back of his head.

Cas stood there and stroked at Marigold in his hands, happily cooing to her before he chuckled softly at Dean’s worry.

“No worries, Dean. I figured you had probably fallen asleep after about an hour or so, so little Mari here and I decided to pay you a visit to make sure you were alright,” Cas said, “I was going to let you sleep in, but it appears this little troublemaker had different ideas.”

Dean laughed a bit himself once it finally all set in. He got scared over a little kitten that, at least in the dark lighting, looked to be no more than two months old at best.

“You said her name was Marigold? Where’d you get that little fuzzball anyways, Cas?” Dean asked, standing up and stretching, before moving over to be able to pet at the little furry thing.

Cas gently perched the kitten higher up on his breastbone and kept her level with his one hand to allow Dean more access to pet her as well before turning to him with a smile.

“I found her in a bush of marigolds when she was about a month old. Her mother wasn’t around, and I couldn’t find any other kittens, so I figured she was probably the runt of the bunch and left behind,” Cas said, “So I decided to take her in to feed her and take care of her. Bobby already said I could keep her as long as I keep track of her, so she’s been keeping me company.”

Nodding, Dean pet at the little thing from her tiny head all the way down her spine. The kitten purred happily at the attention and stretched her small body to push into the touch. The blond man smiled at this.

“She’s a sweet little thing, isn’t she?” Dean said, completely enraptured with Marigold. “I’m gonna have to take about three showers after this though. I’m pretty allergic.”

At this, Castiel quickly jerked away to be out of Dean’s reach. He had completely forgotten that Dean literally almost died at the doorstep of the farm due to his asthma.

“Dean, why didn’t you remind me?! You still don’t have any medicine, she could trigger your asthma right now and it isn’t a guarantee that I’d be able to stop it again!” Cas yelled out. It wouldn’t do either of them any good for Dean to suffocate to death.

Dean, however, just laughed at the look on Cas’ face and shook his head.

“Whoa, calm down there buddy. I may be allergic, yes, but I’m not allergic enough that just petting her is gonna kill me. You can’t get rid of me that easily.”

Cas eyed his friend suspiciously before he took a cautious step closer. The way Dean had been gasping for air and on the brink of death while in his lap was something Cas wasn’t about to forget anytime too soon.

“If you’re sure...Then I guess it’s okay. Just scrub extra well when you take a shower tonight or in the morning.” Cas said, stepping close to Dean once more. “Actually, better yet, take that shower tonight. That way you won’t risk rubbing her fur all over your bedding tonight, if it gets stuck on you.”

Dean rolled his eyes but still had a smile on his face.

“Yes, mother.” He said in a placating tone.

“You promise?”

Giving a small sigh, Dean retained the smile and placed his hand over his heart.

“Scout’s honor. I promise.”

Cas finally relented and smiled at this, and gently handed over the kitten to Dean’s awaiting hands.

“Be careful, Dean. She’s still just a baby and is rowdy sometimes and can-”

“Cas, I got this. It’s okay.”

Sighing softly, Cas stepped over to the side to watch Dean and Mari.

Taking the kitten into his hands, Dean gently supported her and rubbed his fingers through her fur.

“Aw, would you look at you...Look at how cute and beautiful you are already. Your fur is just so silky honey, and you got the cutest little blue eyes!” Dean held the kitten carefully to him and continued cooing to the kitten in a baby voice. He just couldn’t help it; the little fur ball was too cute for its own good.

Standing to the side, Cas couldn’t help but watch with a fond smile. He loved all animals, and always enjoyed watching the happy interactions others had with animals too. He would be lying if he didn’t acknowledge the speeding of his heart either, though.

After a few moments of Dean coddling Mari, Cas finally stepped forward to put a hand on his shoulder.

“I’m sorry to interrupt a precious moment, but would you like to take this moment outside with me? The sky is clear and beautiful out tonight, and I believe you promised a bonfire?”

Dean laughed at this and nods, still refusing to hand over Mari, however.

“I didn’t exactly promise it, but yeah we can still do that Cas. I’d love to.”

“Let’s get going then, Dean.” Cas said, leading the way out of the cabin.

Dean followed after him, making sure to protect and coddle Mari from the breezy night air. He’d never admit it out loud, but he had a major soft spot for babies of any kind, including furry little balls of fluff like Marigold. Allergies be damned, Dean would hold and love on any cat or kitten that would let him.

Dean and Cas walked in silence for the following few minutes until the porch lights from Castiel’s cabin could be seen in the distance. Once getting close enough, Cas took off at a run to his cabin so he could get to the fire pit in the back and start prepping the fire.

“I’m gonna go on ahead Dean! Just follow me to the back of the cabin when you get there!” Cas yelled.

“Hey, wait, Cas-” Dean didn’t really want to walk by himself in the pitch-black night, but sighed as Cas didn’t wait to hear him out.

Looking down at Mari, Dean shook his head with a sigh.

“I’m starting to see what your Uncle Gabriel meant when he said to look out for your daddy, honey...”

The little kitten just raised her head to look up at Dean briefly and let out a little mewl, and then went back to laying down in his palms to fall asleep. Dean smiled at this, and took his time getting to Castiel’s backyard as to not disturb Mari.

When Dean finally made it to Cas’ cabin, he headed straight to the back where he saw the starting flickers of a fire emanating from the fire pit.

“Hey, you’re getting it started! Do you need any help, Cas?” Dean asked.

Looking up from this place of flicking a small pocket lighter to catch the rest of the wood on fire, Cas smiled and waved him over.

“No, I think I’m good,” Cas said, while catching more of the wood on fire, “However, if you want to go inside my cabin and put Mari to sleep in her little bed at the foot of my mine, and grab some marshmallows from the cabinet in there, I’d be highly appreciative.”

“Of course. I’ll be right back, Cas”. Dean said and headed around the front to do as he said he would.

Upon entering Cas’ cabin and switching on the light, Dean was able to take in Cas’ room in detail for the first time.

It was set up in the same way that his and Gabriel’s was, except it had some notable Cas touches. His bed was kept and tidy, covered in a red plaid bed set and comforter. The curtains drawn closed on his windows were of a similar red color, without the plaid, and of a satiny quality. A little doormat made its home in front of the door, while a small beige carpet made its place underneath the bed and extended to cover a good foot or two away from the bed as well.

Dean found the little makeshift bed Cas had been talking about for Mari, and set her down comfortably inside it, giving one last stroke to her fur, before looking for the cabinet Cas had been talking about. He didn’t have to look far as the cabinet had been hung pantry style directly a foot or two above his bed.

Kneeling on to the bed, Dean opened it and looked for the bag of puffy tooth-rotting goodness. After pushing away a few cans of perishable food, a box of cereal, and a couple bottles of water, Dean finally found the bag of marshmallows Cas had been talking about. Closing the cabinet door shut, Dean stepped back onto the floor and made his way back to the door. However, before he made it out, a picture on the dresser by Cas’ bed caught his attention.

It looked like a similar picture Cas had originally shown him all those days back, except this one appeared to be updated. In this picture, Cas was standing in the center, looking proud as he held a certificate of some kind in his hands. Gabriel was standing directly next to him with the biggest grin on face, while Luci stood on the other side. A few other older looking guys that Dean could only assume were also Cas’ brothers, all stood around him as well, looking proud and happy for their little sibling.

Dean smiled as he took in the scene for a few seconds before finishing the route he had left to exit the cabin. Heading around to the back of the cabin once more, he found Cas sitting in front of the fire, watching the flames flicker back and forth. Once he noticed Dean, he turned and gave him a smile.

“Found the marshmallows I see. I hope they weren’t too hard to find?” Cas asked.

“I found them easy enough. Mari is all good and snoring away in her bed though,” Dean replied, tossing the bag of marshmallows over to Cas, “God she has got to be one of the cutest things I’ve ever seen though.”

Cas smiled and caught the bag.

“She is, isn’t she? I was pretty lonely before I found her, so I guess she’s my little blessing in a way.”

Dean grabbed one of the skewers sat on the ground that he assumed Cas had brought out in preparation from earlier and twirled it in his fingers.

“That reminds me, Cas. Why are you sleeping alone? From what I understand, it seems like most ranchers have to have a roommate as to help cut down on expenses around here.”

Opening the bag of marshmallows and tossing one to Dean, Cas stared quietly into the fire for a few seconds, before breathing a sigh.

“I’m guessing you’ve figured by now that I don’t have too many friends here. There’s a reason for that….that I’d honestly rather not tell you right now. You’ll figure it out eventually, I’m sure, as everyone at this godforsaken farm loves to gossip.” Cas said, mumbling for the most part and looking dejectedly at the fire for the rest.

Dean’s curiosity was piqued at that. What secret could Cas have that would be so bad that no one would want to sleep in the same cabin with him? He wasn’t one to pry, however. He figured that Cas would tell him when he’s ready and didn’t want to push the matter that much.

“Cas, I’m sure it’s not that bad...I haven’t seen anybody being mean to you or anything. If anything, all the interactions I’ve seen you have with the other guys seemed to have been pleasant.”

Cas only sighed once more at that. Dean would have to figure it out for himself before he fully understood. He already knew that that would have to be the case.

“That’s because you haven’t been watching them, Dean.” Cas retorted. “They’re only acting that way because you’re around me most of the time, and they don’t want to mess with you yet.”

Cas tossed another marshmallow to Dean, before grabbing one for himself and twisting the bag to close it. He stuck one marshmallow on his skewer and thrusted it aggressively into the fire. All of his anger seemed to dissipate at that small show of aggression however, and all that was left was a slouched, tired man that looked thousands of years older than he was.

“Tomorrow, watch your surroundings and you’ll see what I mean, Dean.” Cas said. “Pay attention. Watch the looks in their eyes when they look at me. Watch the way most of them seem to steer the other way when I even come close to them.”

Dean sat in silence and watched the flickering flames as Cas continued.

“Yeah, some of them are genuinely nice to me. Some of them actually care about me. But that’s only behind closed doors. They’re too afraid to show genuine concern in public, for fear of what the others will do, all because of rumors.” The raven-haired man sighed once more, before straightening up and giving Dean a sad smile.

“Give it time, and you’ll see.”

“Cas, why don’t you just tell me what’s up? You can tell me, you know. I won’t bite.” Dean said. He was genuinely concerned as to why Cas felt he had to hide something so important from him.

Cas sat there in silence for a moment before shaking his head no. Dean could see in his eyes that the man desperately wanted to tell him, but there was something holding him back.

“Why can’t you tell me, Cas?” Dean looked at him desperately. As his friend, he truly did care for him, and plus he promised Gabriel that he would always look out for him.

“Because, Dean,” Cas said, “I care about you. You’re one of the closest friends I’ve got, and I’m afraid as soon as I tell you, you’ll turn out to be exactly like them. You’ll start to treat me like them. And...And I just don’t think I could handle that Dean.” Cas turned to Dean with sorrow filled eyes. Dean could only imagine what kind of hell Cas must’ve went through to be able to have that expression on his face.

Dean looked on sadly at Cas, before he scooted closer to him so that their arms were touching. He waited a moment before fully turning towards him and opened up his arms, to let Cas into his embrace.

Castiel stared at him with wide eyes for a few moments, before he slumped and fell forward into his friend’s embrace. Dean could feel Cas take shallow breaths in his arms, and all he could do was sit there and hold him and offer comfort by rubbing his hand up and down Cas’ back.

“Shh….Hey Cas?” Dean asked, waiting for the man to look up from his face buried in his shoulder.

“Yes, Dean…?”

The Winchester took a deep breath and gathered his nerve for what he was about to do. Looking up at the night sky, he gained a bit of courage from the glowing lights.

Dean began to sing soft and slowly, wanting to make sure Cas could understand him.

“...I let time go lightly when I’m here with you...I let time go lightly when the day is through. I keep watch on time when I have work to do...But I let time go lightly, with you..”

Dean felt Cas’ breathing start to improve, but that didn’t stop him from continuing on. He knew Cas was going through a rough patch, and he wanted to make sure Cas knew he’d always be there for him.

Morning, a time for breaking ground and sowing seeds... And yet we give up our sunshine so we can buy what we need... That leaves the evening, to share a fire with a friend or two, to lose sight of the hours…. To go lightly with you”

Cas finally lifted his head up off of Dean’s shoulder at that point and sniffled a bit. A small smile graced his lips as he began to quietly sing along with Dean. When Dean noticed this, he smiled right back.

I let time go lightly when I'm here with you, I let time go lightly when the day is through... I keep a watch on time when I've got work to do..But I let time go lightly, with you...”

The final notes of their singing seemed to echo in the distance, through the night sky. Cas smiled at Dean with fondness while Dean kept him held in his grasp with a similar smile. For both of them, time seemed to stand still as they stared into each other’s eyes.

After a few moments in their reveries, Cas finally broke away and sat back a little, to give Dean some space. He shot Dean a grateful smile before speaking quietly to convey his gratitude.

“Thank you for that, Dean. You have no idea how much that meant to me.”

Dean sat back as well, and placed his hands on his lap, offering a small smile in return.

“Not a problem, buddy. I’m just glad I could help.” He coughed awkwardly once with a hint of blush covering his cheeks, before continuing on. “And, just so you know, I meant every word from that song. Time really does go lightly when I’m with you.”

Cas chuckled at this, before his fond smile returned.

“Likewise, Dean.”

After that, Cas let out a small sigh, before looking off to the side. He wasn’t sure if what he was going to say next would be the right thing to say.

“I’m...still not comfortable with telling you just yet. But...how about I show you instead? Just watch out for the other ranchers...But, I myself, will show you what I mean in the upcoming days. Okay?”

It was Dean’s turn to quirk his head at this. It was a strange request, and he was more curious than ever to figure out what Cas meant, but if that’s the way he wanted to do it, then that was fine by him.

“Of course, Cas. I’d never force you to tell me something that you’re not ready to tell yet. If showing me is easier, then by all means, show me.” Dean said in turn.

At this, Cas let out a sigh of relief and bent forward to give Dean another hug.

“Thank you, Dean, for understanding.”

“Of course, Cas. What’re friends for, after all?” Dean said, returning the hug and patting Cas on the back.

When Cas broke away once again, he looked as if he had just dropped ten thousand pounds off of his shoulders. Giving Dean a pat on his shoulder, he stood up and stretched, groaning softly as his back popped in protest. Afterwards, he offered a hand to pull Dean up with, which Dean gratefully accepted. By this point, the fire was starting to simmer out and only crackling embers were left to keep their space barely lighted.

“The fire’s almost out and we have to be up early. Would you like to call it a night, Dean?” Cas asked.

At the offer, Dean couldn’t help but yawn. It was way past the time he was usually in bed by, and he knew trying to get to his bed without waking Gabriel up from the creaking floorboards was going to be a pain. That man was like an emotional teenager when woken up in the middle of his “beauty sleep”.

“Yeah, that sounds like a good idea to me, man. Thanks for tonight.” Dean said. “I’ll see you in the morning, alright?”

“Of course. I’ll see you bright and early, raring to take care of Ama.” Cas replied with a wink.

Dean chuckled and shook his head. That horse really had grown on him during his time at Singer Farms, and he had grown on the horse as well if the whinnies of happiness whenever she saw Dean, were anything to go by.

“Sounds like a plan to me. Goodnight, Cas.”

“Goodnight, Dean.”

When Dean left to head back to his cabin, he couldn’t help but look up at the stars shining bright in the night sky. Tomorrow was a new day, and he couldn’t help but look forward to it.

Chapter Text

The next morning, Dean had somehow managed to wake up around the time he usually does. He had been lucky enough the night prior to avoid waking up Gabriel when he got in, although that man’s snores could probably cover up the sound of a bomb going off.

Looking over to the opposite side of the room, it appeared as if Gabriel had left early that morning. He knew that his roommate usually liked to get to sleep early so that he could wake up early, but often more times than not, Dean usually had to wake the man up when he himself got up.

Shrugging it off, Dean went over to his dresser and pulled out a fresh work shirt, pants, and underwear for the day, and then grabbed his usual shampoo and bar of soap from his supply bag on top of his dresser.

Heading out the door, the first thing Dean noticed was how beautiful the sun looked when just rising in the distance. The orange hues of the first sunlight melded beautifully with the pale baby blue pigment of the morning sky. Wispy, fluffy clouds further blended into the aerial landscape, and Dean couldn’t help but grin at what an alluring backdrop that mother nature had created for the day. While personally Dean much preferred the night over the morning, he did have to admit that it was moments like these that made waking up early all worth it.

Snapping out of his thoughts, Dean resumed his journey to the shower house. Luckily his cabin happened to be in relatively short distance from the showers, so within a matter of seconds he was opening up the door.

The sound of running water and humid steam fogging up the entire room alerted Dean to the presence of someone else in the shower house with him. He preferred it when he had the house to himself, which oddly happened more often than one would’ve thought, but he supposed as there were multiple located throughout the farm, that this one was probably one of the least favored of the bunch. The Winchester didn’t mind sharing the showers with someone else, as they were all blocked off by curtains, it just still bothered him a little as he enjoyed his privacy.

Dean started to travel the hall of showers when he figured the guy currently using one was probably at a shower all the way at the end, which was where he usually went. He sighed softly, resigning himself to a shower closer to the doors, and was about to make his choice when he noticed that the water hadn’t been on for a while, and heard the sound of someone singing very softly.

I let time go lightly, when I’m here with you...”

Dean recognized that song quite well. He felt his stomach drop but also his heart pick up the pace when he realized just who it was in the showers with him.

The sound of the curtain opening surprised him, and he jumped a little when he noticed the naked form rounding out of the stall with a towel in his hands.

His suspicions were confirmed when he realized it was Cas, who was currently drying his hair. Upon realizing that, he felt all of his worry and anxiety strip away.

“Oh, hiya Cas! Good morning!” Dean said, waving to him to catch his attention.

Cas looked up from his previous activity, and a small smile appeared on his face before Dean watched it to turn to something more...sultry, right before his eyes. That immediately set a small buzzer off in his head, but Dean ignored it in favor of greeting his friend.

“Hiya buddy. How’re you doing today? Feeling any better from last night?” Dean asked, leaning against the wall at the entrance of his chosen shower.

Cas smirked at that, and made his way towards Dean, putting a bit of flair in his steps.

“Oh, good morning Dean. Yes, I’m doing much better. Especially now that you’re here...” Cas said, his voice deeper than usual.

Dean blinked in surprise but found himself frozen to the spot. When Cas got about a foot away from Dean’s space, Dean couldn’t help but let his eyes wander. His friend...no, his best friend was absolutely stunning with water droplets running down every curve of his body, and his normally raven-black hair turned pure ebony by the water, casually sticking up everywhere. This close, Dean could make out every dip, curve, and crevice on Cas’ body, and he felt himself heat up with each passing second.

Cas was gorgeous. From just taking a shower, he had tousled hair that dripped sex, and he smelled of lilac and honey. Dean found that he was surprisingly toned underneath all of those layers of work clothing and had abs and definition in each one of his muscles; it was very apparent that he worked out. Dean gulped and wetted his lips when his eyes traveled lower and landed on a part of Cas’ body that surprisingly had a very strong impact on his own body. Dean felt himself harden in his pants as he realized just how well-endowed Castiel truly was.

And of course, Cas noticed this himself.

“You see something you like, Dean?” Cas started, gently draping his arms around Dean’s neck. He craned his body to press against Dean’s so he could whisper in his ear, and Dean could feel the stirrings of Cas’ own arousal against his own. He couldn’t fight the shiver that ran down his spine.

“I would love to continue this, but we both have places to be, honeybee.” The shorter man whispered.

Dean found himself uncontrollably wrapping his hands around Cas’ waist, clenching his fingers into the softer, meaty flesh.

“Cas...”

Dean could feel every vessel in his body humming, could feel his blood pumping, and could hear his ears ringing. This guy was stunning, and Dean just knew it. Cas was the man that was going to flip his world upside down, and Dean was completely ready to fall. As long as it meant falling into Cas’ arms, he’d always be ready.

And that completely terrified Dean.

Castiel was able to press a kiss to Dean’s cheek before Dean quickly removed himself, and the bell signaling the start of the day worker’s shift resounded around the shower house.

“I’ll see you later, Dean.”

The stunning man offered Dean a wink before he quickly gathered his clothes he had placed on the sink counter, put them on in a rush, and then ran out of the door.

Dean stood there dumbstruck before everything that just happened hit him like a freight train; Cas had just flirted with him. He couldn’t believe it; there had to be a different explanation for this. Perhaps it was just a joke? But Cas’ emotions seemed too genuine for it to be a joke. Maybe he was a really good actor then? Did Gabriel put Cas up to that? ‘Why do I even care? I’m not queer, after all’

The idea that Gabriel had put Cas up to it clicked and sounded better than all of the other reasons, so Dean went with that one. There could be no other explanation, right?

But then...why does it hurt to think that is was Gabriel’s fault?’ Dean shook his head and decided to push back all of those thoughts for later and take a rushed shower. Hopefully no one would notice his absence that quickly.

Stripping off his clothes, Dean rushed into the shower to take the quickest “scrub-and-go” of his life. He sighed when he noticed the very prominent problem his lower half was experiencing and decided to crank the shower to ice cold.

Even though it was hell and Dean was sure he’d have hypothermia by the end of it, it got the job done.


 

By the time Dean finally showed up, most of the workers were already half way through their usual schedule, for whatever they were assigned to do for the day, and Dean’s hair was still spiky and soaking wet. Today, Dean was assigned to take a couple of the horses out on walks, Ama included.

Going to the stables, he passed by Curtis who was on food duty for the day and sighed when the man let out a low whistle and dropped his food to head on over to Dean.

“Well look what the cat dragged in, if it ain’t Dean Winchester, fashionably late as ever, I see.” His tone was cocky and teasing, and Dean wanted nothing more than to kick him in the dick and call it a day. He knew if he wanted to keep some semblance of mutual respect with him however, he wouldn’t be able to do that.

Curtis was a tall, strappish man with a similar body build as Dean. Although, while Dean only had lean muscle on his body from years of hard work, Curtis had some small pouches of fat here and there that made it obvious that his job at Singer Farms was probably about the only thing keeping him lean. He kept his hair longer on top and shorter at the base, and gelled it to resemble spikes. He had an angular face with a curved jawline, thin lips, a pointy noise, and brown eyes. One could say he had a pretty face, until they actually got to know him.

Curtis lived to only benefit Curtis, and it showed in all of his actions. It was very obvious in the way he carried himself that he was probably a “star” back in his high school days, and perhaps the leading quarterback on his alma mater’s football team. Apparently, that didn’t get him too far however, if all of his accomplishments amounted to him working for a living at Singer Farms. Curtis was a bitter, selfish person, and his shitty attitude probably stemmed from all of his failures.

Picking up a set of reigns from the hook by the stalls, Dean sighed when he felt an arm sling over his shoulders. Apparently, it was going to be one of those days.

“So tell me Dean, my buddy, my pal, what had you so late today?” Curtis asked, with the biggest shit eating grin Dean didn’t think was possible, on his face.

“Were you, ah, shacking up with some of the ladies over east? Huh? Huh?” Each “huh” was punctuated with a jab to his ribs, and Dean felt his patience slowly slip as the man just got progressively more annoying.

“No, I was not shacking up with any ladies. If you have to know, I was hanging out with a friend and overslept.” Dean said, picking up the pace so he could end the conversation as soon as possible. He was already too far behind, and had a lot to catch up on. Each horse took about half an hour to fully walk, so at this rate, he’d be working past dinner.

Curtis didn’t seem to take the hint, however, and continued on.

“Oh really? Which friend was this? I haven’t seen you hang around too many people except for either your roommate or...that one guy. And I would really hope you didn’t mean him.”

Dean heard it this time. He paid attention, and he was astounded that he could actually hear the disgust dripping off of Curtis’ voice. He bristled at this, and stiffened up. He knew who Curtis was talking about, but for Curtis’ sake, he really hoped he was wrong.

Turning his full attention to the annoying man, Dean fixed him with a cold glare.

“And what do you mean by “that one guy”? Do you mean Castiel? Cause if so, he has a name, fucker.”

Curtis’ eyes widened at that and he stepped back from Dean an inch, with his hands out in a placating gesture.

“Whoa, calm down there buddy. I’m just trying to warn you. You know the rumors about him, right?” Curtis said, stepping closer to Dean once again.

Dean took one step back and grimaced. He felt his temper rising, and knew it would be no good to get into a fight and kicked off the farm this early.

“Curtis, I’m warning you right now. Cas is my friend. Whatever rumors circulating I’m sure are just rumors, and I want no part of it.”

Curtis shrugged and crossed his arms over his chest.

“Fine. You wanna go and be with your faggot friend, be my guest. Hell, maybe you and him and his brother will shack up one day and have one big ole’ queer orgy-”

That was all Curtis got out before Dean’s fist made contact with his face, and he went stumbling down the stalls. When Curtis got his bearings, he was livid.

“What the hell man?! What was that for!!”

“If you know what’s good for you, I’d suggest you zip your mouth shut, and leave me alone.” Dean said, approaching Curtis before taking him by the collar of his shirt and lifting him off of the ground.

“And if I ever find out it’s been you spreading the rumors about Cas, then it’ll be the last thing you ever do. I was in the police force before I came here, so trust me when I say I know how to hide a dead body and get away with it.”

The Winchester threw him to the ground before going to pick up the reigns he had tossed earlier. Curtis stood up shakily and spit out the blood collecting in his mouth, before sending a glare to Dean, and then limped out of the stall house.

Dean sighed as he stared at the reigns in his hands. He fingered gently at the leather and tried to refocus on what he had to get done for the day, but that guy had really pissed him off.

From the corner of his eye he saw a figure tentatively move towards him. He turned to face the newcomer, and sighed in relief when he realized it was just Cas.

“Hey, Cas.”

Cas moved the rest of the distance and stood next to Dean, before he bowed his head down. Dean could see from his height that the man appeared to be biting his lip, and he frowned.

“Hey, what’s wrong buddy? Did...did you overhear?” Dean questioned, placing his free hand on Cas’ shoulder.

Cas looked up at Dean, and his features softened into a small grin, and he nodded.

“Yes, I...I heard everything. And...thank you, Dean. That meant a lot to me.”

Dean gave a smile back and dropped the reigns to the side, before he pulled Cas into a hug. Castiel sighed happily, melted into the embrace, and wrapped his arms around Dean’s stomach. The taller man still smelled like a hint of the bonfire they had the prior night, and the classical ulster scent of an Irish Spring bar of soap. He could smell the clean shampoo in Dean’s hair, and he felt safe. If even for a moment, he felt loved.

“Don’t worry about it Cas, I’d do that for anyone. I can’t stand bullies. Besides, no one needs a rumor like that spreading around about themselves.”

He felt Cas tense in his arms a bit, and was a little disappointed when his friend started to move away from him.

Dean looked down at him and noticed the nervous, downcast look on Castiel’s face. There was a storm brewing in the ocean blue eyes, and he was sure he was about to get caught in it.

Looking back up at Dean, Cas shifted a bit where he stood, and averted his eyes before looking back to the ground.

“Dean, can I ask you something?”

“Yeah, of course. Anything, Cas.” Dean said.

There was a few seconds pause before Cas steeled himself, and met Dean’s gaze head on.

“Would it be that bad, if those weren’t rumors?”

The question caught Dean by surprise. Dean stood there, a bit dumbfounded to speak, before the question finally sunk in. Cas was asking if he thought it would be bad, if Cas actually was homosexual. Suddenly the floor seemed to drop underneath Dean, and he felt put on a spotlight.

“What? No-, no way. Wait- really?” The taller man didn’t know what to feel in that moment. He knew all the signs were there, especially after that moment they had in the shower, but suddenly everything else clicked. The reason why Cas didn’t have too many friends. Why Gabriel asked him to look out for him. The way Cas had been acting lately.

“That means, you, the shower, we, we? You?” Dean was at a loss for words. He ran his hand heavily through his hair, and willed himself to calm down. He didn’t want to frighten the man, after all.

Cas placed a hand on Dean’s shoulder slowly, and spoke in a calm voice.

“That moment in the shower was for show, Dean. I told you I would show you what I meant last night. That’s not how I actually am, you’ve been here long enough to know that I’m usually calm demeanored.” Cas said jokingly and with a nervous smile, trying to lighten the mood.

Dean heard that, but his mind was going a mile a minute, and he couldn’t focus. Because suddenly, all of his problems were brought to the forefront as well. He didn’t care that Cas was into guys. He cared what it meant for himself. Because suddenly, all of the feelings he had been suppressing the last few weeks- from the moment he made eye contact with the man in the diner, could become validated. The feeling he got in the shower when Cas touched him shook him to his core.

But I’m not queer...I’m not. I can’t be.’ The harsh voice of Dean’s father rang out in his mind, and Dean felt his throat constricting in that familiar way.

What the hell do you think you’re doing, boy? Who is this queer bitch?’ Slap.

I didn’t raise a cock loving son. I didn’t raise a faggot.’ A belt lash.

If I ever see that boy around you ever again, I’ll shoot him first and then you second.’ The gun cocking.

Don’t you dare corrupt Sammy. You keep this faggot shit away from him.’ Sammy crying.

Dean could hear Cas in the distance, but he was breathing too fast and was too far gone to care.

If I ever see you with another man, let alone taking it up the ass like some cheap faggot whore, that man will be the last thing you ever see.’ The press of the blade against his cheek. The warm, sickly sweet and sticky blood running down his face, and over his Adam’s apple, mixing with the trail of salty tears. The smell of cheap whiskey, from a mouth that grinned with all too yellow teeth.

Dean could feel the bile rising in his throat, and before he could stop himself, he was dropping to his knees and losing what was left of dinner last night all over the hay ridden floor.

“Dean!” Cas dropped to the floor next to him, and ran his hand up and down his friend’s back. Cas had expected a negative reaction. That was all he was ever used to, anyways, whenever he came out to somebody. But a part of him had really, really hoped and wished that Dean was different.

He supposed not all dreams come true.

When Dean was done dry heaving and had cleared his mind somewhat, he took a few deep breaths to collect his bearings, felt the tears running down his face, and then felt horrible. He knew how this must’ve appeared to Cas.

Looking up after wiping his mouth confirmed his suspicions; as Cas was doing his best to comfort him, he himself had a defeated look on his face. But it was the other emotion written in his expression that really made Dean feel like an ass.

It was the deep-seeded tiredness etched in every line and frown on Cas’ face, that told Dean everything he needed to know. He had just over-reacted like a lot of people had, and this wasn’t the first time Cas had gone through that rodeo.

Trembling some, Dean turned around to pull Cas into his lap, taking them both down onto the ground, and crushed him in a bear hug.

“This has nothing to do with you Cas...” Dean said, holding him closely, and spoke softly.

“I...I have some things I’d much rather wait to tell you as well. But just know, my reaction just then was nothing to do with you.” Cas looked up at this with a wary expression, but it held a bit of hope too.

“I don’t care if you’re homosexual, bisexual, transsexual, or all of the above. You’re still just Cas to me, and Cas is my best friend. That won’t ever change, buddy.”

A moment of silence passed before a broken laugh made Dean pull away slightly to look at what was wrong. Cas had tears running down his cheeks, but he was smiling one of the most radiant smiles Dean had ever seen. With the sunlight hitting his hair just like that, and with him sprawled in Dean’s lap, smiling so carefree and joyfully, Dean tried to but couldn’t lie to himself anymore. Cas looked just like an angel.

With these thoughts, Dean gave a chuckle of his own before he pulled Cas closer once more, and ran his hand down his back.

A few more moments of quiet laughter passed, before Cas finally sniffled and calmed down.

“Once again, you’ve astounded and amazed me, Dean Winchester. Thank you.” Cas said, pulling away slightly to look at him with a fond smile.

“I’ll never be able to thank you enough for everything you’ve done for me today.”

“Then don’t.” Dean said. “Just remember that I’ll always be here for you, and we can call it even.”

Cas gave Dean a once over look, and his eyes twinkled as if they were like stars from the night sky.

“I think I can manage that.”


 

“So what do you still have to do today, Cas?”

A few days later had found the two men, once again, trying to finish up their jobs before the end of their work day. Cas had left earlier to the breeding pasture to finish watching on one of the mating pairs for the day, and had met back up with Dean when the couple was finished. Dean had been given walking duties again, and currently they were both walking side by side with one of the last horses that Dean had to get out for a walk. The last one after that would be Ama.

“I’m actually done for the day.” Cas said, falling behind Dean so he could be next to the stallion and place his hand on its side to give it encouraging pats. “I had the easy shift, all I had to do today was “watch two horses get it on” as you had so elegantly said. After that all I had to do was get them back to their stables.”

Dean laughed at that and stumbled on a rock, almost losing his footing until Cas reached out to catch him by his shirt to keep him upright, and Dean nodded his thanks. The trail that they had to take horses out on walks with was quite beautiful; it had flower fields surrounding it with a splash of large trees every now and then to allow shade for the horses to cool off under, but the path itself was pure dirt and gravel, and easy to trip over.

“You’re lucky, Cas. The other day, I myself ended up being late after that little peepshow you gave me, and had gotten one of the duties that takes the longest, to boot.” Dean said, casting his friend a playful glare over his shoulder. He didn’t want to live down the memory from the showers so he could pretend to have something to poke fun at with, with the man.

The blue-eyed man chuckled at that, however, and moved to be walking side by side with Dean once more.

“Come on Dean, I may have made you late, but you know you enjoyed it.” A wink followed this statement, and Dean found himself coughing on his own saliva as he felt the blood rush to his cheeks.

Worried that he might have went too far again, Cas patted at his friend’s back frantically while spewing out apologies a mile a minute.

“Oh god Dean, I apologize, I didn’t mean to take it that far, I was only joking; Seriously I-” A firm hand on his shoulder silenced the frantic man, and Dean shook his head with a smile.

“Don’t worry about it Cas, there’s nothing to apologize for. It’s all good.”

Giving Dean a smile, Cas was still worried, but acquiesced. He didn’t miss the man secretly eyeing him up when he thought Cas wasn’t looking, however, and Castiel felt his heart flutter in response.

The path was set up in a way that it was like one giant loop; eventually they could both see the stables appearing in the distance, and Dean felt a great sense of relief that he only had to walk one more horse after that.

The last few minutes were spent in companionable silence, and when they finally got through the entrance of the stables, Dean sighed in relief, while Cas was just happy that they were almost done.

While taking the brown and white stallion back to his stable, Dean had an idea.

“Hey Cas, would you mind reigning Ama up for me, and getting her a saddle?”

Cas tilted his head at the request, but still did as asked.

“Of course. Why would you want to get her a saddle, though? We’re just supposed to be taking her on a walk.”

When the horse that Dean had previously been walking was safe and sound back in his stable, Dean dusted off his hands, and then grabbed the reigns Cas had proffered to him. Dean stood back to admire and look at the majestic beauty that was Ama, and gave Cas a sly smile.

“Look at her Cas, she’s a beauty. You said her training was already almost done, and that was a few weeks ago.” Dean said, stepping up on the saddle, and tossing his leg over. Ama huffed a little in protest at the extra weight, but Dean shushed her and stroked his fingers through her mane to help calm her down.

“So how about we kill two birds with one stone? She needs a walk, but we both want to get out of here quickly.”

“Dean...”

“Instead, how about we see just what this baby can do, with me as the test dummy? That way not only will her walk be done and over with, but we can assess how well she’ll do for the season!” Dean concluded, with a wide grin on his face.

All Cas could feel, however, was his stomach drop, and an overwhelming sense of fear that came over him.

“Dean, no, don’t do this. You haven’t been trained, you won’t know what to do if she tries to throw you off or gets spooked, and plus you’re not even wearing a helmet or gear!” This had to be one of the most stupid ideas Cas had ever heard, and all he could see was Dean getting hurt, or worse, killed.

“Don’t worry Cas, I’ll be fine!”

“Dean, I’m begging you, please, don’t!”

“It’s okay, I got this. I’ll see you in a few minutes!” Dean said with a wink and a grin, before he nudged Ama’s side with his foot and snapped her reigns to set her off.

Cas tried to grab after the reigns before Ama started running, but it was too late. All he could do was watch in horror at the entrance of the stables’ building. His stomach dropped even further when he saw a familiar sleek looking black car pull into the gateway of the farm nearby, and a man in a similar black suit step out to watch as Dean galloped away on Ama.

“Oh no...” Castiel mumbled under his breath.

Dean paid none of his surroundings any attention when Ama set off. As soon as she started her gallop, Dean felt like he was at the top of the world. He leaned forward as to lessen the wind resistance and not be thrown off, and grinned as he felt the wind through his hair. While Ama was running, it felt as if nothing could touch him. The power of her body beneath him as they soared down the path filled Dean with an inexplicable sense of happiness and adrenaline. When he finally opened his eyes, time seemed to slow down, and he could see every blade of grass, every flower, every fleck of blue in the sky in a way he could never before; everything was so much brighter and clearer. Dean felt like a god among m en, and as if nothing could stop him.

About halfway through the path, Dean wanted to see what Ama really could do.

“Alrighty, baby,” Dean said, leaning closer to speak to Ama, “We’re gonna see just how fast you can really go.”

Returning to his former posture, Dean snapped Ama’s reigns once more and nudged her with his foot again. The mare let out a loud whinny before Dean felt her really kick it into high gear.

He was completely astounded. He had to squint his eyes as to not get any dirt or debris caught in them, and to protect them from the harsh wind. The speed they were going was incredible, and the rush he was getting rivaled the ones he got whenever he raced his Impala to its limits.

The moment seemed to pass too quickly, however, and soon enough Dean was guiding Ama to a slow gait before they crashed into the stables. As soon as they got to the entrance, Cas immediately grabbed part of Ama’s reigns and guided them into the stables’ house. When they were inside, Dean hopped off of Ama and let out a loud whoop of happiness.

“HOLY SHIT, CAS! Did you see that man?? Did you see that?? We had to be going every bit of like, forty miles per hour!” Dean laughed and spun around with his arms outstretched. His adrenaline was still rushing from that ride, and he felt as if nothing could ever take him this high again.

Cas, however, did not have similar sentiments, and Dean found himself being lifted into the air by the collar of his shirt with two strong hands, and shoved into the wall behind him. Castiel shoved his knee onto the wall to prop up Dean’s body onto, and when Dean looked into his eyes, all he could see was pure worry, fear, and anger.

“Do you have any idea of the severity of what you’ve just done?!” Cas started, “Of what could have happened?! You could have been killed, Dean, killed!!”

“Well, actua-” Dean attempted to interrupt, but the furious man wasn’t having any of it, and he shoved into Dean to prove his point.

“No, Dean, you don’t get to have a word in this! Not when you just so carelessly tossed away your life on a whim!” Dean started to get a bit annoyed by this point. He could understand why Cas was upset, but he didn’t know why he was this upset. It’s not like he put anyone else’s life in danger.

“Okay Cas, no, you need to chill the fuck out alright? I don’t see why you’re getting so worked up about this! No one else was put in danger, it was just me!”

“You absolute IDIOT!!”

In the matter of seconds, Dean noticed a direct switch in Cas’ expression, while they were both panting heavily. Dean was able to spare a moment’s glance at Cas’ lips, and notice just how soft they looked, before suddenly those lips were on his.

Cas couldn’t take it anymore. If his friend was going to be so oblivious to his burgeoning feelings, and how he felt for him, then he was going to take the dive and make a point to just let it be out in the open and known.

When Castiel’s lips made contact with his own, Dean’s brain shut down, and all he could think of was just how soft they were, how warm Cas was, and how secure he felt with Cas’ knee under him. Every other thought flew right out of his brain.

Dean instinctively wrapped his legs around Cas’ waist, and his arms around his neck as the shorter man worked to deepen the kiss. Placing his hands securely under Dean’s bottom, a small gasp was ripped from his throat when he felt Dean travel his hands all over his body, and slip them under his shirt to feel and rub at the silky skin of his back and shoulder blades. He flicked his tongue out to try and gain access to Dean’s mouth, and Cas began to kneed the soft skin of his posterior, successfully drawing a moan that granted Castiel access.

When Cas felt his tongue graze with Dean’s, he felt his heart pound out of his chest. He could feel every inch of Dean all over him, surrounding him, engulfing him, and sending little sparks throughout his whole body. Dean was everything Cas wanted and more, and when he felt the blond pump his hips a little against his own, to try and gain friction, he was lost.

Soon after Dean broke away from the kiss for air, panting, shaky, and feeling an intense variety of emotions. Castiel had pressed him gently back against the wall, and had his head buried against his shoulder.

“Don’t you get it, Dean? You’re an idiot,” Cas said, in between pants for air, “I got so worried, because I care about you. I like you, Dean. I like you more than just friends. I really like you.”

Dean heard every word Cas was saying, but was also frozen to the spot. The reality of what had just happened was crashing down on him, tenfold. He began to tremble in his friend’s hold. He was scared of what Cas was saying.

“When I first laid eyes on you in that restaurant, I was lost, Dean. I was like a comet, and you brought me crashing down through the night sky, right to earth, right to you.”

“C-Cas...no….We...we can’t...” Dean said. He felt Castiel tremble next, and knew he was about to break the man. He wasn’t good for Cas though. Not right now, he was too scared. He needed to keep Cas safe, and he also needed to keep himself safe, too.

It would be better for the both of them, if they just remained friends.

“Cas, I need to keep you safe. We’ll both be targeted if we take this anywhere past friendship.” Dean said, quietly.

His heart ached with his words. Castiel was a great guy. He was sweet, loyal, kind, selfless, and endearing. He was the type of guy to give a beggar on the streets his last dollar, because he just knew that person could use the money more than he could. He was the type to take a random kitten in and become its mother, and nurse it to health in its own mother’s absence. He was the type to light up at even the simplest act of kindness, because he was just so appreciative and grateful that someone cared to do something for him. He was thoughtful. He was cute, he was handsome, and he was goddamn sexy without even trying.

Cas was everything Dean wanted in a guy.

But no matter what he did, Dean couldn’t get his father’s harsh words out of his head, and he couldn’t erase the image of his battered ex, laying in the streets of his childhood city.

“Dean, I can take care of myself quite well, and you can take care of yourself beyond well too.” Castiel slowly raised his head up to stare at Dean with tired, watery eyes. He gently removed his leg and lowered Dean to the ground, keeping a hold on his hands in his own.

“What is the real reason you can’t do this? I think the truth is the least either of us deserve.”

Dean took a deep breath before he clenched his eyes shut, and bowed his head.

“I’m not ready. I’m afraid, Cas,” Dean said, clenching Cas’ hands, “I know my asshole father is long gone, but his words still ring in my head. I can’t get them out of my head. And I can’t get the images of the couples we see all the time in the news out of my head either. I think it would be best, if we just stayed friends, Cas.”

The Winchester took a shaky breath, before he opened his eyes back up. Cas was staring at him, but this time he was giving him a sad smile. The look of resignation was clear on his face.

“I can respect your wishes,” Cas said, “But, somethings in this life are worth fighting for, Dean. Never forget that.” Castiel gave Dean one last final squeeze to his hands, before he let them go, and stuck his hands into the pockets of his jeans.

Dean straightened himself up against the wall and watched as Cas slowly walked out of the stables, into the warm orange light of the setting sun.

A gust of wind picked up and blew through the stables, ruffling Dean’s hair.

For some reason, he couldn't smell the gardenias anymore.

Chapter Text

Dean stood still for a few moments contemplating everything that just occurred and felt an overwhelming sense of sorrow come over him. What Cas had said struck a chord in him; he himself remembered telling his little brother Sammy those exact words when they were younger.

I don’t think I’m fit for it, Dean. Dad wouldn’t like it if I just left and went away to college.’ Sam had said, holding the acceptance letter to Stanford in his hands.

Sammy, you are not gonna let our father rule your life, you got that?’ Dean remembered placing his hands on his brother’s shoulders at that moment and forcing him to look into his eyes.

You’re gonna go to Stanford for the couple years it takes, get that degree of your dreams, and become the best goddamn lawyer this side of Kansas,’ The older Winchester had pulled his brother into his arms at that moment, ‘And you’re gonna live out your dreams. Don’t worry about me Sam. Somethings in this life you gotta fight for, and that is one hell of an opportunity you got there. You better not give it up.’

Sam, already a couple inches taller than Dean had been, had to lower his head to look at his older brother.

Are you sure, Dean?’

Hell yeah, man. Now go out there and kick some ass for me, alright?’

Sam had given Dean one of the happiest smiles he could ever remember seeing on his brother’s face. It was times like these that Dean really missed having his brother around. He missed him, and even though he wouldn’t say it out loud, he appreciated the advice Sam would give.

Deciding there was no use in living in the past, the Winchester let out a sigh before he went over to grab Ama’s reigns. She was munching at the scattered hay on the floor, but Dean figured it was probably time to get her back in her home.

Giving her mane a few good strokes, he led her back to her stable.

“Here you go, girlie. You did great today, get a good long rest.”

Once Dean had secured Ama back into her stable, he made his way towards the exit. Before he could get too far, a man in a black suit with a well-kept beard, bald spot, and dark circles under his eyes stopped him. Bobby was standing right next to him, looking both a mixture of anger and neutrality, and Dean felt his stomach drop a little. Men in business suits usually always spelled trouble.

“Hey there Bobby. What’s up?” Dean asked, opting to confront his boss first.

Bobby stood silent a few seconds, before he sighed and shook his head.

“Boy, I should’ve known you’d stir trouble the moment I met you,” He said, before glancing at the man in the black suit, “However, as it were, I suppose today’s your lucky day. Crowley here would like to have a word with you over something I think you’re gonna like.”

The man in the suit, which Dean could finally place a name to, spoke up for the first time.

“Yes, Dean was it? I’d like to discuss a few topics concerning your future at Singer Farms. Follow me, if you will.” Crowley said, before promptly turning around and out of the stables.

Bobby followed next to him, and Dean followed after the both of them as well. An uneasy feeling settled in his stomach before he took a deep breath and sighed. Bobby had said he’d thought Dean was going to enjoy whatever was going to be discussed, but he could very well be being facetious. He started to regret taking Ama out for a run; Cas had been right, it was stupid, and it could very well be costing him his job.

He took a moment as they passed by the mess hall to glance at it. It was nearing six-thirty, so dinner was well under way, and this fact was punctuated by a loud grumble from the blond’s stomach. He wondered what Cas was doing; if he was eating dinner now, who he was sitting with since they usually sat together, if he was talking to Gabriel. He hoped his friend was doing okay, if he could even still be called his friend.

Eventually they passed the cabins and followed the path into a section of Singer Farms that Dean had never been through before. A few old trees lined the dirt path, and Dean could make out a large, ornate house down the path.

“So, where exactly are we going?” Dean asked, curious about the new scenery.

“The main office where I work and spend most of my day,” Bobby replied, “Usually workers don’t come through here unless they’re in trouble or something’s wrong.”

Dean looked towards the sky. It figured he’d be getting fired a month into his job; his day was already ruined beforehand, might as well drive that final nail into his coffin.

“Great, that fucking figures...” He mumbled under his breath.

“But,” Bobby said, turning his head to give his worker a pointed look, “Sometimes there are special cases.”

“Yes, you’re not getting fired quite yet, Dean,” Crowley spoke up, “Count your lucky stars that you have talent.”

This only made Dean more confused. If he wasn’t getting fired, then what was happening? He didn’t think he’d done anything remarkable during the day to show talent.

“Uh, I think you have the wrong guy, sir. All I do is just take care of the horses.”

Crowley opened the door for all of them once they got to the entrance of the house. Upon entering, Dean noticed just how much bigger it was on the inside than it seemed on the outside. The foyer was grand with two large couches on either side of the room, next to the large windows that allowed the sun to stream into the room. The ornate carpet started at the doorway and continued up the main staircase to the second floor, where Dean could see a multitude of rooms, closed off by dark mahogany doors. A single chandelier hung in the center of the room, and it’s many bright lights gave the room a very serene feeling when mixed with the sun’s natural light, casting almost a dream-like glow. Dean noticed the others removing their shoes, and followed suit, setting them underneath the coat rack by the door. The cool marble felt heavenly under Dean’s heated feet, overworked from the long day at work, and Dean turned to give Bobby a wide grin.

“This is one hell of place you got here, Bobby. The decoration is minute but in a beautiful way, so I suppose this is what they mean by “less is more”, huh?”

Bobby took off his hat and hung it on top of the coat rack before letting out a small chuckle at Dean’s remark.

“I’ve never been too fond of gaudy things, so I’ve always thought less is better, son,” He said, while hanging Crowley’s black suit jacket as well. “But we ain’t here to talk about interior decorating. Go on and follow Crowley, he’s the one wanting to talk to you after all. I’ll have food brought up shortly.”

Crowley already had a head start towards the direction of an off-shooting door past the staircase. Dean nodded his thanks to Bobby, highly grateful that he’d be getting food after all, before he ran to catch up with Crowley. Not knowing what to say, he followed after the man in silence. Crowley gave off a very “no nonsense” kind of vibe, as if one wrong word would set him off, and he figured he really didn’t want to be on this man’s bad side.

They passed through a small hall before turning right into a different doorway. Upon entering the room, Dean figured it was a meeting room of sorts as it contained a desk with a chair on one side, a couch on the other side, and bookshelves on each wall.

“Close the door behind you, Dean.” Crowley said, making his way to the opposite side of the desk, and taking a seat in the singular chair.

Dean did as told, and then approached the couch and touched one hand to its posterior. He didn’t know if he should sit down or not but figured he might as well as Crowley was already sitting down in his seat, and looking at him expectantly.

When he sat down, the man across from him leaned back in his seat with his hands folded over his stomach.

“So, Dean Winchester is it?”

“Yes sir.”

“I don’t suppose you know why we brought you here, do you?”

“No sir,” Dean said, frowning. The superfluous questions were unneeded, of course he didn’t know what he was doing there. “I’m not in trouble, am I?”

At this, Crowley let out a raucous laugh, and Dean straightened his posture in surprise.

“No, boy, quite the contrary,” The man said in between laughs, “I brought you here, to give you a promotion of sorts. That is, if you’re feeling up to the challenge.”

That piqued Dean’s interest. A promotion usually meant more money, and more money meant the quicker he could work off his debt to Bobby. Dean leaned forward in his seat, and placed his elbows on his knees.

“I’m listening. What’re we looking at?”

Crowley smiled, and resumed his previous posture.

“Well, you see Dean, you’ve caught my interest,” The man said, leaning down to pull out files from a drawer at his desk, “And I want to be your agent. That little stunt you pulled earlier was actually quite impressive, and I wish to train you with the rest of my horse jockeys.”

Crowley sat the papers down in front of Dean, and Dean stared in mixed confusion and hope at that man. This sounded too good to be true.

“Wait wait wait, you’re telling me, you actually want me to race with other professionals? Why?” Dean was floored. He had only ever ridden a horse once, and that was earlier that day just as a way to get his job done early so he could slack off the rest of the day.

“Because, Dean,” Crowley said, placing a pen in front of the blond “We’ve been having other jockeys come out to try and ride Ama, and no one has been able to accomplish that, except you.”

Crowley leaned back in his chair once more and kicked a foot up on the desk.

“While I will admit that what you did was incredibly dangerous and idiotic,” He said, continuing, “I saw a spark in you that I haven’t seen in any jockey in a long, long while. You have natural talent Dean, and I really think with your talent and my training, we could make you and Ama champions.”

Dean stared in shock at Crowley, before tentatively picking up the papers to finger through them.

“And what’s in it for me?” Dean said, glancing up at the man, “Cause right now, besides the possible fame for me, this sounds like it’s really only benefiting you. You get the majority of any money I win after all, right?”

Crowley chuckled at that and gave Dean a cocky smile.

“Quite the intellectual, are we?” The black-haired man said, “I can guarantee however, that your part of the deal is much better than mine.”

“How so?”

“Well, for starters, I’m letting you keep ninety-five percent of your earnings. The other five percent is going to Bobby to help further pay off your debt.”

Dean sat down the papers at that, and crossed one leg over his other. That sounded really suspicious to him, and he wasn’t sure what to feel about it.

“That means you don’t get any part of my earnings.”

“Oh look, the boy can do simple math! How wonderful.” Crowley said, his accent thick and mocking.

Dean felt his eyebrow twitch and had to remind himself that the man was just trying to get him worked up on purpose.

“So tell me then, how does this equation add up?” Dean started, “You’re spending your time and resources on me, but you’re not keeping any part of my profit. That doesn’t make sense.”

“It does when you already have enough money that you don’t have any idea what to do with it,” Crowley said, stroking his fingers through his partly nonexistent hair, “I’m retired Dean. I made a killing as a jockey myself back in the day, and now I just help manage Singer Farms and work as some of the up and coming jockeys’ agent.”

Crowley removed a small flask from inside his breast pocket and took a swig of it, before putting it back.

“You should count yourself lucky. I only choose those that truly show potential as my proteges after all.”

The blond went back to looking through the documents. They mainly seemed to be simple binding statements and an agent-jockey contract. Dean picked up the pen and sighed.

“What’s the catch?” He asked.

“No catch. You still have to live here and work for Mr. Singer Mondays through Thursdays, but on Fridays you will spend the day with me, learning how to be the perfect jockey.”

Dean quirked an eyebrow at that.

“What about Saturdays and Sundays?”

“You’ll be getting Saturday off from both training and work as an added bonus, since we both figure you’ll be too exhausted to actually be of use to the farm after the Friday training session. Sundays you’ll get off like usual, so I’m not taking that away from you.”

Dean looked at the man before him, and then to the papers. From what he could tell, taking the offer would be a completely positive thing. He couldn’t find anything that wouldn’t be a benefit to him.

“The choice is up to you, Dean,” Crowley said, turning to glance out the window, “In either case though, I’d suggest you get things straightened out between you and your partner, and listen to him from now on. You lucked out this time, but he wasn’t wrong when he said you could’ve been killed.”

The blond whipped his head up and flushed at the man’s words.

“Cas? He, He’s not my-,” Dean started, defensively,with accusation in his tone, “Wait, how’d you even know?” He was confused; as far as he knew, both he and Cas had been alone during that whole ordeal.

“Sound travels really easily in open spaces, Dean,” Crowley said, turning to him with a smirk, “And wipe that frown off your face. I couldn’t care less who you like to make out with in your free time.”

Dean froze up and sat there staring at the man like he had two heads. He felt his blood go cold and braced himself for the insults.

“As long as you’re dedicated with your work, that’s all I care about.” The man in the business suit said, but gave a little sigh when noticed the look on Dean’s face.

Dean was surprised, to say the least. That had to be one of the first times he actively heard someone show nonchalance over the subject of being queer, and it felt very refreshing. He felt as if some weight was slowly being lifted off of his shoulders, as if, maybe, there were truly supportive people in the world. That perhaps, even he had hope.

“Poppet, there are people out there that care about you as you are. You are not alone Dean, and your feelings are just as validated as anyone else’s.”

The Winchester sat there listening to the man he had just met. A small smile graced his features as he let it sink in. If a total random, rank stranger could think this, then maybe there actually was some hope for the future.

Taking the pen into his hand once more, Dean nodded his appreciation to Crowley, and Crowley gave a nod and a small smile back. He signed all of the lines that required his signature, and then handed the papers and pen back to other man.

“Thank you, Crowley,” Dean said, leaning back in his chair for once, “Your words meant more than you’ll probably ever know.”

Crowley gave a small laugh and bent down to put the papers away in a different drawer. Standing up, he bent over the table and stuck out his hand for the blond to take.

“Welcome to the team, Dean Winchester.”

Dean took the hand into his and gave it a firm shake. What started out as a horrible day was quickly becoming quite a great day.

“I’m glad to be here.”

At that moment, the two heard the distant yell of Bobby, calling them both to the foyer for dinner.

Crowley gave another nod to Dean before heading out the door, and Dean stood up and soon followed. He paused a moment to smile to himself a second more. He still had a few hangups over what Crowley had said, but for the most part, things were starting to look brighter once again.


 

When Dean finally made his way back into the foyer, the delicious scent of home-cooked chicken and dumplings permeated his olfactory senses. His stomach seemed to be in agreement and let out a loud rumble when he finally got to the set up table that housed Crowley at one end and Bobby at the other. Taking the one empty seat, Dean took the bowl and spoon proffered to him and waited to grab his own helping of food once the other two were done grabbing theirs first from the kettle centered on the table.

“Bobby, did you make this yourself?” He asked.

“Yep, I sure did. It’s my mom’s old recipe, so I just hope I did it justice.” Bobby said, topping off his own bowl before handing the ladle off to Crowley.

“I’m sure you did, man. It smells heavenly.” And Dean really did mean it; he felt like he could eat a horse with how hungry he was.

Dean let out a small chuckle at his passing thought.

I’m in the right business...I wouldn’t have to look far to find a horse, not that I’d actually ever eat one.’

Crowley quirked a curious eyebrow at Dean, and Dean sheepishly shrugged it off.

“I’m sorry, just thought of something,” He started, “I’m just really hungry. I overslept again and I didn’t get to eat breakfast or lunch, so this is gonna be my first meal for today.”

Bobby passed a frown towards Dean, who didn’t appear to notice, as he was focused on the ladle that Crowley just passed to him and the food currently filling his bowl.

“You can’t keep doing that Dean, it’s not good for your body to get into a habit like that,” Bobby said, in between bites of his own food, “Besides, why were you late anyways?”

Dean paused his ladling, before thinking carefully what to say next.

“I was just hanging out with a friend last night, is all.” He said, before resuming filling his bowl.

“Oh yea, with Cas right? You two doin’ alright? We overheard the last bit of your scuffle in the stables, and figured something must’ve gone wrong for poor Cas to come out lookin’ so depressed like that.”

Dean cringed upon hearing his fears confirmed. He knew Cas was going to be upset, but he was hoping it wouldn’t affect him that much.

“Y-Yeah...We kinda had a bit of a disagreement, and I might’ve said something that...hurt him.”

Bobby gave Dean a thoughtful look, and took another bite of his dumplings.

“You know, I’m not dumb, son. I know you already talked about this with Crowley, so now how ‘bout we have a talk.”

Dean took his first sip of the soup, and hummed in pleasure at the taste. After about a month of repetitive lunchroom food, the new tastes were ecstasy to his tongue. He gave a small sigh once Bobby’s words registered, however.

“Look, I already know about Cas, Dean. So let’s get that out of the way right now,” He said, setting his bowl down on the table, “I love him just the way he is. Everyone here is my family, including him, including you. And like family, I will always be there for you guys.”

“I’ve seen the way he looks at you when he thinks you ain’t looking, and I’ve seen you do the same goddamn thing, even if you don’t want to admit it right now.”

Dean sat his bowl back on the table, and pushed it away slightly. Part of his appetite had already left him.

“Bobby, look, I’m really sor-”

“Ah- ah, no, you’re gonna let me finish, son.”

Dean promptly closed his mouth and sat there, preparing himself to weather out the storm.

“What I was gonna say, ya idjit, is that I don’t know what kinda hangups you have goin’ on, but I saw the way they affected Cas, and it wasn’t something pretty,” The man with the trucker hat sighed, and slumped back in his chair, “That boy is probably beatin’ himself up right now, worrying about whether or not you two will still be friends, and hatin’ himself for taking a chance where he though he had a shot at real happiness.”

“And let me tell you son, if you gave it a chance, I’m sure you could have that happiness too.”

The Winchester looked up at this, and gave the man a suspicious look. He paid no mind to the slurping sounds of Crowley finishing his soup, as his whole attention now focused to his boss.

“Are you saying...That you wouldn’t care if..” Dean took a deep breath and let it back out. “If Cas and I were ever to be...you know...a thing?”

“Shoot, son, you really are an idjit aren’t ya?” Bobby gave a small laugh, and slapped one palm of his hand on to the table. “Dean, as long as you two are happy, I couldn’t care less who you’re with.”

The man took off his hat, that at some point had found its way back onto his head, and rubbed his hand through his hair before replacing the hat and fixing Dean with a smile.

“You and Cas though? Well, I think you two could really be something beautiful.”

Dean let the words of his boss sink in, and truly gave himself a moment to contemplate what being with Cas could be like.

He could see them on sunny afternoons, spending the day’s last rays of light laughing and talking. And when the sun finally turned over it’s control of the world to the moon, he could see them cuddled in each other’s hold underneath the sparkling night sky. He could see the holiday seasons spent in each other’s embrace, stealing sweet kisses and “I love you’s”.

He could see the first time they truly kissed, with himself fully into it and wanting nothing more than to share his love with Cas, and that sent butterflies fluttering around his stomach. The stars would sing about their love to the heavens, and the sky would cry and shower them in the warm embrace of intimacy.

Dean supposed, they truly could be beautiful.

A soft chuckle to his side broke Dean out of his thoughts, and he found himself shooting a glare at Crowley for making the noise.

“Sorry, sorry, it’s just. I forgot what a person in love looked like. The expressions truly are amazing.”

A quiver ran down the blond’s spine, and he cast a frown to his soon to be agent.

“I’m not in love.” Dean said, before that familiar uneasy feeling settled in his stomach again. He wasn’t ready to take on everyone else yet. He wasn’t ready to confront his past, and he was especially terrified of what his brother would say.

Bobby gave a sigh and shook his head as soon as he saw the expression on Dean’s face change to uneasiness and sadness.

“You’re still not gonna do it, are you, ya idjit?”

Dean gave a sigh of his own before he let his head drop.

“I’m...Sorry, Bobby. I’m just not ready yet. And quite frankly, I don’t know if I’ll ever be.”

The older man sat there for a few long seconds, before he shook his head once again. Standing up, he grabbed his dirty dishes to take in the kitchen to be washed. Crowley grabbed his own as well, and stood up to follow him too.

Before he left however, Bobby turned to Dean one last time.

“I know this has got to be hard for you, son. I don’t know your past, but I’m guessing that’s where some part of your hangups are comin’ from.”

Dean turned his head to look at him, and opened his mouth to ask how he knew that. Bobby stopped him however, and just gave a smile before pointing to his head.

“I can read people like a book, remember?” He said, before straightening back up. “In any case though, I just want you to know that if you ever need someone to talk to, you can always come to me. And...If you ever choose what your heart desires, that you got my full support.”

Crowley turned to Dean this time, and nodded his agreement.

“You have both of our support, Poppet.”

Dean sat there for a few seconds before he gave a small smile of his own.

“Thank you, you two. I’ll be sure to let you know if my choice ever changes.” He said.

Bobby gave a chuckle before he started walking away again.

“You can just leave your dishes and head out when you’re done, I’ll clean up after you. Crowley and I have some business to talk about.”

“Alright, gotcha Bobby. Thank you for the food.”

“Anytime, son,” Bobby said, before stopping to look at him one last time, “Oh and Dean?”

“Yeah?”

“I look forward to the day when you do tell me.” With that, Bobby and Crowley walked the rest of the distance to the door leading to the kitchen.

Dean stood up after they left, and looked out the window facing towards the cabins in the distance.

It looked like he had a lot of things to think over.


 

Heading back outside, Dean sighed a bit when he noticed the sun starting to set below the horizon, and figured he had spent more time in there than he originally thought. Letting his feet guide him back to his cabin, he let his thoughts wander back to Cas.

Over the last month, Dean had really gotten to know the guy. Through tending to the horses together, he learned that Cas was more of a morning person rather than a night person, that he enjoyed long walks down the riverbank that was about five miles west of the farm, and that he had a weakness for honey. He learned that Cas was more of a cat person but still loved dogs, and that he dreamed of owning a guinea pig someday. He knew he’d name the furball Nutmeg when he got him, cause Cas loved the smell of the spice; it reminded him of his family and Christmas mornings, on his birthday, when everyone would be cheerful and happy. Cas had an affinity for nature and any kind of animal, big or small. He wanted a farm for himself out in the countryside one day, with a kid or two when he finally settled down. Cas loved life, and it showed in everything he did.

Dean, look at that cloud.’

Which one, that one?’

No, Dee. The one next to it.’

Ohh. So the one that looks like a big old turd?’

Dean smiled as he remembered that scene from a week ago. He and Cas had finished up their jobs early, so they had had some time to kill, and decided to laze about on a hill and watch the clouds pass.

Cas had laughed and scooted close to him so he could lean in close and point to the cloud for him.

Not quite. Look at this one here.’ He said, guiding Dean’s hand to point in the right direction.

Do you see it, Dee?'

Yeah, I can see it Cas. What’s so great about it though?’

Dean couldn’t see what was special about it. It looked like any old cloud to him.

Look closely. I want to know what you see.’

Dean chuckled lowly at that. He didn’t really see anything in it.

I’m sorry Cas, I can’t really see anything in it; it just looks like a regular cloud to me. What does it look like to you?’ He asked, giving Cas a grin.

Cas gave a small smile back, and relaxed back into his prior position on the ground.

A guinea pig.’

Dean quickly turned his head to his friend and laughed.

A guinea pig? How the hell did you get that?’

Cas just turned back to Dean, and gave him a small smile.

That’s the beauty of nature. It can be anything you want it to be, and the only limit is your imagination.’

Dean turned his head back to continue looking at the clouds, and smiled.

I think it’s just cause you want one of those little furry fuzz balls so badly.’

He heard a laugh come from his side.

Perhaps so.’

Dean snapped out of his thoughts when he finally made it to the steps of his cabin. He was exhausted from the events of the day, and was really looking forward to a good night’s sleep.

Upon entering the room, however, it became apparent that another one of his wishes would not be coming true that day if the look on Gabriel’s face had anything to say about it.

Sighing, Dean closed the door behind him as he made his way to his bed, and promptly face planted into it.

Gabriel stared at his roommate the whole time, gaze unwavering, as he eyed him down.

Dean tried to ignore the eyes burning into the back of his head but gave up when it became clear that Gabe would be staring at him the whole night.

“Alright, Gabe,” Dean said, voice muffled by his bed, “Give it to me. Tell me how much of an asshole I am.”

Silence rang around the room for a few long seconds, before Dean finally heard a sigh from the other man.

“I mean, you’re not wrong. And you said it, not me bud,” Gabriel started, “But you do realize when I said look after my little bro, that making him cry was not one of the ideas I had in mind right?”

Dean cringed into his pillow. As the day went on, he felt worse and worse on how he handled the situation with Cas. The guy had been through enough, and deserved better than what Dean did to him. Running a hand through his hair, Dean felt frustrated, sad, and lost; he didn’t know what to do.

Frustration won out though, and he promptly sat up to be sitting, and stared back at Gabriel.

“Okay, look, what the fuck do you want me to do man? I told him I still wanted to be friends, I’m just not interested in him that way!” He felt his temper building, and it snapped before he could stop himself, “What do you people not fucking understand about that?!”

Dean’s yell reverberated through the cabin, and silence won out. Gabriel sat there, and stared at him for a few moments longer, before he stood up and walked to be standing in front of his roommate.

“Really? Is that the real reason, Dean?” Gabriel bent down to lean close into Dean’s face. His eyes squinted in scrutinization and Dean could see the fire in them, “Cause right now, all I see is a scared little boy, lost without his daddy’s guidance.”

Dean fixed Gabriel with a glare, and stood up to tower over him. He was not going to be intimidated by a man almost half a foot shorter than him.

“And what would you know about my ‘daddy’, Gabriel?”

Gabriel did not falter, however, and squared his shoulders. His eyes roamed all over Dean, as if analyzing him.

“I know that you were abused by him in your adolescence. You carry a small scar on the left side of your cheek that most people would glance over, but upon closer examination, from how fine the line is, it’s obvious it’s from a knife,”

“Your right shoulder is higher than your left, which hints to an injury from your youth. This leads me to believe that either you got into a lot of fights when you were younger, or your father got into a lot of fights with you,” He said, before pausing a moment. His eyes roamed over Dean once more, and the blond felt a shiver run down his spine.

“And based on the way you carry yourself, you always point your uninjured shoulder slightly outwards, as if to defend your weakened one from any possible attacks. An ingrained action like this only comes from years and years of abuse, which I can then confidently conclude was due to your father, as well.”

Gabriel took a second to look him over one final time, before he continued.

“You cannot stand messes or anything dirty as cleanliness was about the only thing you had control over in a childhood ruled by your daddy’s whims, and I imagine he himself was not a neat person,”

“You followed your father’s orders to the “T” and always tried to live up to his expectations in hopes of earning his love, when the sad truth was that he was the type of man who only loved himself.”

Dean stood in half anger, half surprise as he listened to Gabriel speak. The man was reading him like a book, and it highly unnerved him.

“And based on how Cas said you kissed him back, and then how you reacted, I would say your father was also very homophobic,” Gabriel said, before glancing to the faint scar on Dean’s cheek, “To the point of physical abuse.”

“Shut up, Gabriel.”

“You used to look up to him until the abuse started, and then you went to war with yourself. Even though you hate him now, his words still haunt you-”

“Shut. Up. Gabriel.” Dean said, each of his words punctuated sharply. He then clenched his fists and his breaths came out in fast, rapid bursts.

“-And now you don’t know whether to listen to the hate that was spewed by the man that was supposed be your father or let down your walls for once.” Gabriel could see something darker in the man’s identity, and he knew he had him pegged. “And then when he raped you in a drunken haze, you swore to never again-”

I SAID SHUT THE FUCK UP, GABRIEL!!

Grabbing Gabriel by the collar of his shirt, Dean propelled his body weight to slam him into the floor.

“Who the hell do you think you are?!” Dean yelled, his voice cracking mid-sentence.

“Who exactly do you think you are to, to say all of that out loud?! To bring up years upon years of trauma, and how dirty I felt, and how unlovable I knew I was?!” Dean slammed his fist into the floor next to Gabriel’s head, and cried out.

“You don’t get to sit there and psychoanalyze me and treat me like some fucking experiment!! Some fucking book to just sit and read for your pleasure!” His other hand slammed into the ground on the other side of Gabriel’s head, and Gabriel laid there, flinching as it happened.

“Dean...Dean, I’m sorry, okay? Dean-o?” The shorter man realized too late that he had taken everything too far, and felt horrible for it. It wasn’t right of him to open up old and new wounds like that, and now he’d have to bear the consequences.

“Do you know how many times I thought something was wrong with me?” Dean continued, “How I just knew I was a freak, and I didn’t deserve to be loved because of it?!”

I fucking hate my father. He called me a disgrace to his blood, and for the longest time, I thought he was fucking right. Because I had feelings for another man, he no longer saw me as his son, but a monster,”

Dean trembled over Gabriel as his voice cracked once again. The shorter brunette felt the tears land on his shirt before he heard them, and when he did hear them, he felt his heart break for his roommate.

“And then one night,” The Winchester dropped his head, taking one deep, shaky breath, “One night when my dad came home from the bar, I knew he’d had one too many that night. He, He came into mine and Sammy’s room, and,” A sob ripped from Dean’s voice, and he dropped his head to his roommate’s chest. All Gabriel could do was just hold him and try to offer as much comfort as possible.

“He came in and said ‘You gon’ act like a cheap faggot whore, then I’m gonna teach you what it’s like to be one. On your knees.’” Another sob came from Dean, and it shook Gabriel to his core. “‘And if you make one noise, if you wake Sam, I’ll kill you where you lay, you cock-sucking bitch.’”

Dean grasped his hands into the fabric of Gabriel’s shirt, and all that could be heard were the broken man’s sobs.

“Dean...I’m...I’m so...” Gabriel tried to say, before he was cut off again.

“And the next morning? The next morning he beat me again cause I was limping. He couldn’t remember the night before, what he did to me, and said instead that he knew I couldn’t be trusted. That I had slept with another man, and betrayed his trust for the last time,”

“So no, you don’t get to say anything.” Dean shakily sat up to look at his roommate, and sniffled as more tears streamed down his face.

“You think I tried to hurt Cas on purpose? Well then you would be a fucking idiot. I like Cas, Gabriel; in fact, I like him just as much as he likes me, you asshole!” He covered his face as his body shook with more sobs, and Gabriel’s heart ached for the man. Any amount of anger he had felt towards Dean had dissipated, and all that was left was an intense sorrow and sympathy for the man.

“I would love nothing more than to ask him out. To treat him right and take him on dates. To love him. But,” The blond fell off his roommate, to sit on the floor next to him, “But I just can’t do it right now! I…I need...” Dean took a shuddering, shaky sigh, before he wiped at his eyes.

“I need to talk to my brother. I need more time.”

Gabriel, now free from Dean’s weight, grabbed a handkerchief from his back pocket and handed it to the man. Dean accepted it gratefully and wiped at his eyes before blowing his nose.

“Dean...How do you actually, truly feel for my little brother?” The shorter man asked softly.

Dean was staring at the ground, and gave a soft, ironic chuckle as he thought it all over.

“I...I really like your brother, Gabe. And...I’m not ready yet, but...If he would have me when I am, whenever that may be...Then I would love to be his boyfriend. I would love to be his, and for him to be mine, and for me to love and cherish and to hold him.”

A dejected sigh fell from the blond’s lips.

“I just….need to get things straightened out.”

Gabriel thought all of what Dean said over in his mind for a few seconds, before he fixed him with a small, knowing smile.

“You’re worried and scared over what your brother is gonna say. Is that what’s really holding you back, Dean-o?”

The Winchester paused as he thought over the question, before responding.

“That’s...one of the big reasons, yes. You were right though, my father was the other part.” Dean slumped as he placed his head in his hands.

“I’m a fucking coward, is what I am.”

Gabriel shook his head and tsked before sitting closer to his friend, and wrapped an arm around his shoulders.

“You have a lot of baggage and trauma, and that’s to be expected for someone that went through what you did. For the most part though, it seems you’ve worked through a bit of the biggest part of your problems with your dad, if you calling him an asshole, saying you hate him, and not wanting to be like him is a little indication.” Gabriel said, giving him a small smile.

“You’re not a coward Dean. You are strong, and brave.” He continued, patting Dean on the shoulder. At this moment he really wished Cas was there; his little brother was better suited for consoling Dean than he was. He felt terrible for the guy.

“I had a lot of time to think when Sam left for college after our dad died,” Dean looked up at this and gave Gabriel a similar smile, before chuckling a bit, “I guess his death was catharsis by proxy though.”

Gabriel laughed at that as well, and shook his head.

“Well damn, I imagine and hope it would be, Dean.”

Dean nodded once before silence fell over the room. Gabriel rolled over all that had happened in his head, before an idea popped in his head.

“Hey, man, I’m really sorry for what I did. I didn’t mean to upset you like that, truly,” Gabriel explained, “I was just really upset cause Cassie was really upset.”

Dean shook his head and waved it off with one hand.

“Don’t worry about it man, I can get that. Remember that I have a little brother too, right?”

Gabriel nodded with a smile.

“Of course. That’s where my plan to make it up to you is coming from, actually.”

“Gabe, you don’t gotta try to make it up to me. Trust me, it’s alright, okay?”

“Oh shush Dean. I feel horrible so this is the least I can do” Gabriel replied, “So you said you needed to talk to your brother, right? Well how about I take you on Saturday or Sunday to the phone booth down a few miles south so you can talk to him, eh?” Gabriel said with a wide grin on the expanse of his face.

“Are you sure about that man? I wouldn’t want to waste your gas or anything.” Dean was shocked. If Gabriel had a car and was willing to take him, and truly didn’t mind, then that was definitely an opportunity he wasn’t going to to pass up.

Gabriel patted one of his hands to Dean’s back.

“Of course I’m sure. Like I said, think of it as an apology gift. I truly am sorry for what I did, man.”

Dean gave Gabriel an appreciative smile.

“It’s okay, Gabe. Thank you. Although,” Dean said, “I do gotta admit that whole thing you did was pretty impressive. Where’d you learn to read people like that?”

Gabriel laughed once more and gave a smile.

“Oh, you tend to pick up on things when your dad is a profiler for the police. Although most of it is mainly just because I’ve always been able to read into people well.” The shorter man said with a shrug.

Dean chuckled some before he stood up and dusted himself off.

“You’ll have to teach me that trick some day.”

Gabriel gave a small nod, and internally sighed in relief. Things were gonna be okay.

“Anytime, man. We only live with each other.”

Dean laughed for a few seconds before sobering up. After the moment passed, he remembered once again the circumstances surrounding him and Cas, and let his smile slip a bit.

He moved to his bed and plopped down on it, then glanced at the window and sighed upon realizing the sun was just about fully set. It would be too late to try and get anything resolved that night.

“Hey Gabe? What do you think I should do about Cas?”

Gabriel sat down on his own bed, and sighed a bit. That was a tough question.

“Honestly? Until you get things sorted out and decide where you wanna take your guys’ relationship, I’d really suggest treating Cas no different than you have been,” Gabriel said, “Be his friend and show him that you’re still there for him. His main concern was that he just ruined the friendship between him and his best friend, after all.”

Dean felt those words punch him in the gut, and sighed softly before nodding. Gabriel was right; the best thing to do for Cas at the moment would be to treat him like he always had, and act as if nothing happened.

“Alright. I guess you’re right. I just...hope Cas is alright.”

“You broke his heart, Dean. That kinda pain takes time to heal.”

Dean frowned and stared intensely at the ceiling.

“I know it does.”

Gabriel sighed once more before he lightly threw a pillow at his roommate, and then stood up to walk over to the door and switch off the light switch. Pitch black darkness quickly swallowed up the remaining traces of light, and Dean heard Gabe’s bed springs squeak as he laid down.

“Get some sleep, Dean-o. It’s been a long day for all of us, and tomorrow’s Saturday so we still got work.”

“Yeah, I guess so.” Dean turned in his bed to get into a more comfortable position.

“Goodnight, Dean.”

“Goodnight, Gabe.”

Tomorrow was always another day, he supposed.

Chapter Text

The next day passed along much slower than Dean wished it would’ve. He woke up at the normal time, got showered, dressed, ate a small breakfast of peanut butter and toast, and then went about his job for the day. He had feeding duty and stable cleanup for the day, which usually allowed him some free time in between horses and their stables to wander about. Dean never ventured far away from the stables though, and nodded to Gabriel when he saw him, and a few other farmers. He found himself getting a bit worried as it drew closer to lunchtime since he had yet to see Cas, however, and kept poking his head out of the stables to try and get a glimpse of the man.

Cas always made it a point to come visit Dean at least once or twice before lunch to stop in and say hi; before, they would grab a quick bite to eat, resume their duties, and then find each other and go to the mess hall together for dinner once they were done with their duties for the day. The fact that Cas had yet to even say hi to Dean once by noontime was alarming, and he knew it was over the fight they had the day prior. He tried to not let the absence of his friend get to him, but by the time he was cleaning up to grab lunch, it was all he could think about.

After he got the last horse fed, Dean closed up the stable barn and headed towards Cas’ cabin. Dinner was really the only thing that the farm actually provided for its workers in terms of food; breakfast and lunch were at their own expenses more often than not, but luckily they could get as much as they wanted during dinner. Usually Cas would take Dean back to his cabin and they would munch on whatever Cas had in his pantry for the day, which was more times than not either canned food or cereal. He couldn’t get out that much to local stores, so they made due with what they had.

When Dean got to Cas’ cabin, he walked up the steps and was about to open the door before he caught himself. He wasn’t sure if his once friend would be happy if he just barged in on him after everything that had happened. The other thing that had caught his attention, however, was the gardenias and heliotropes that Cas kept planted in front of his cabin. The gardenias were wilting, and looked like they hadn’t been tended to in a few days, while the heliotropes appeared as if they were right on the brink of death. Dean frowned at this, and decided he’d do Cas a favor later by watering them and tending to them for him.

He paused a few seconds before he finally knocked on the door. He was nervous, and had absolutely no idea what he was going to say, but figured that he went through most of his life without a plan so why start now.

After a few moments and no response, Dean frowned. The mess hall wasn’t open in general until supper, so he knew he couldn’t be hanging out there. He tried knocking on the door one more time, but there was still no response, and this really started to worry Dean.

“Cas? You in there buddy?” Dean asked, before knocking on the door again.

“Look, I know you’re probably still upset, and you have every right to be, but I’d like to straighten things out and apologize if you’d let me?”

After a few moments, Dean could hear shuffling in the cabin as if someone was moving around, and sighed in relief when the door opened to the face of his best friend.

Cas rubbed at an eye in tiredness, before he looked at Dean with a neutral look. Sighing, he stepped aside to let the man inside, and Dean gratefully followed.

When Cas closed the door behind himself, Dean watched with a frown. The look on Cas’ face was not one he was used to, and quite frankly, it was already one he didn’t like seeing on the man’s face.

Cas should be smiling, happy, and looking at the world with a gleam in his eye, like he usually was. He shouldn’t be shuffling around his cabin with the lights off, by himself, with the glimmer gone from his eyes and a frown on his face. Dean felt horrible, a feeling that was only made worse by the knowledge he directly caused that look on Cas’ face.

The raven-haired man plopped down on his bed, and gently picked up the little furball that was Mari and placed her in his lap so that he could pet her. Dean watched him habitually stroke through the kitten’s fur, before shuffling back and forth on his feet awkwardly. A few moments passed in silence like this before Dean couldn’t take it anymore, and he walked to stand next to his friend.

“Hey Cas...Do you mind if I sit next to you?” Dean asked, before Cas looked at him and nodded his consent, scooting over to give the man room.

“Yes, of course. Go ahead Dean, I apologize for my rudeness.” Cas said, refusing to make direct eye contact with him. He himself felt horrible over everything that happened, and was going stir-crazy with how much he was worrying.

Dean smiled a little and then sat close to Cas. A few more moments of silence passed before Dean finally broke, and started the conversation.

“Look...I just wanted to say...I’m really sorry, Cas,” Dean said, setting a hand on the man’s knee, “I never meant to hurt you. That was the last thing I wanted to do.”

Cas sighed softly before he finally turned to Dean and looked at him. He stared at him for a few seconds before he finally gave him a small smile.

“Dean, it’s okay. Really,” Cas said, not breaking eye contact, “I should be the one apologizing for my actions yesterday. It was out of turn and out of line of me.”

“No, Cas, you have nothing to apologize for. You can’t help who you like and who you have feelings for,” Dean sighed and shook his head, “I should have handled that a lot differently than I had.”

“You opened yourself up to me, and I hurt you really badly. And I can’t apologize enough for that.”

Dean looked up when he felt a hand on his wrist. Cas was holding his arm, and still giving him the same, small smile. He looked tired, but he looked more than just physically exhausted. Castiel looked done, and like he wanted to just move past everything.

“It’s okay Dean, really. I forgive you,” The raven-haired man gave a small chuckle, “And besides, I’m a strong, grown man. I can take a little rejection.”

Dean chuckled at that and gave him a smile back.

“You sure?”

“I’m sure Dean,” Cas nodded his reassurance, before a look of worry came over him, “Just, do you think we could still be friends?”

The blond nodded, before he pulled Cas into a hug. Being his friend was the least he could do for him.

“Of course, Cas. Like I said, I’ll always be here for you, and I’ll always be your friend.”

He felt Cas relax and slump into his hold, and let out a sigh of relief.

“Thank you, Dean.” He said, quietly.

Dean smiled softly, and held his friend close, patting his back.

“You’re welcome, Cas. Anytime.”

This lasted a few moments before Dean finally let his smile fall. For some reason, his heart hurt and the new start felt something like saying goodbye.


 

After their conversation, Dean had asked Cas if he would like to come back to his cabin for lunch and Cas had said yes. Once they got there, as Gabriel was still working, they had the whole cabin to themselves to enjoy their meal of leftover cereal Castiel had left in his pantry. Food was food though, and Dean couldn’t complain.

“So, I have a bit of good news.” Dean started. He realized he had yet to tell anybody about his promotion, and felt his mood improve when he remembered it.

Cas looked up from his bowl of cereal to quirk his head at Dean.

“Oh, and what would that be?” He asked.

Dean set his bowl aside and fixed Cas with a large grin before continuing.

“Apparently my reckless stunt yesterday wasn’t as reckless as we thought. Crowley wants to train me as a jockey, and have me compete in racing!”

Cas choked on the bite of food he had his mouth before pounding his chest to try and clear his throat. He coughed and sat his bowl aside as well, and looked on at his friend incredulously.

“Dean, that’s amazing! But, how? No offense, but he only accepts the best of the best, and well you’ve never raced before.”

Dean laughed before rolling his eyes. He didn’t take that as an offense at all.

“No offense taken, Cas. But I just happened to luck out I guess! He saw me riding Ama and decided that I was good enough, and wanted to take me under his wing. It was an enormous act of luck.”

Cas laughed and shook his head. Only Dean would somehow manage to get a promotion, of all things, over something he did so recklessly.

“Dee, that’s amazing! I’m so happy for you!” Cas said, before something clicked in his head. If Dean was promoted like that, then that meant he’d have to leave for training.

“Wait, Dean? Doesn’t that mean you’ll have to leave for training…?” Cas felt his blood go cold, and tried to hide his change in emotion. The idea of permanently losing Dean like that hurt him; he’d much rather keep him as a friend than not even be around him at all.

Dean shook his head, however, and gave Cas a smile.

“Nah, man,” He said, “Part of the agreement between Bobby and Crowley is that I have to still live and work here to keep paying on the debt I owe old Bobbert. I leave on Fridays with Crowley for training, and then have the weekends off to recuperate.”

Cas let out a sigh of relief and gave him a smile. That lifted a huge weight off of his shoulders.

“That’s really good to hear, Dean. I’m happy for you.” Cas said, finally resuming eating his cereal.

“So, do you know when your first competition is?”

Dean shook his head and shrugged.

“I know we’re already well into the racing season, so I’ll have to work hard to catch up. I imagine he’ll probably enter me into the first competition available around here when I finally live up to his expectations.”

Cas nodded, and finished his bowl of cereal before setting it aside.

“I know you’ll do great,” Cas said, giving him a smile, “And, I’ll come out to support you at all your competitions.”

Dean chuckled and patted his friend’s shoulder.

“Thanks, buddy. That means a lot to me, and I’ll look forward to seeing you there.”

Cas nodded, before standing up to stretch. He let out a groan of satisfaction, and a sliver of his shirt rode up to reveal part of his hipbones. Dean watched the shirt slide up, and unconsciously wet his lips at noticing the jutting skin. Cas relaxed and straightened back out his shirt, and took the empty dishes and sat them on his dresser to be cleaned for later.

When he turned back around, Dean was still staring at him, and Cas pretended not to notice.

“We should probably get back to work, Dean,” The shorter man said, turning towards the door, “I still have some horses to walk and I imagine you still got some work to finish as well.”

Dean shook himself out of his thoughts and stood up quickly, heading towards the door as well.

“Yeah, you’re right. I’m gonna start exercising tomorrow to get into better shape, so I should try and get finished so I can turn in early tonight.”

Cas gave a smile and headed out the door, holding it open for him.

“Sounds like a good plan. You’ll need your rest after all.”

Dean followed out after him, and closed the door behind them.

“Yeah,” He said. He didn’t want to go back to work, he wanted to keep talking to Cas. “I’ll see you at supper?”

Cas turned towards his friend and gave a bright smile that was reminiscent of the ones he used to give Dean, and the Winchester felt his heart speed up a little.

“Of course. I’ll see you at supper, Dean.”

Dean stood there for a moment and smiled back.

“I’ll see you soon then, Cas.”

Cas smiled and nodded, but there seemed to be something off in his expression. He looked like he wasn’t feeling too well.

“I’ll see you later, Dee.”

Dean was concerned, but decided to shrug it off. His smile widened, and he walked back towards the direction of the stables. Things were looking up after all.


 

After their talk, Dean felt a bit better with how things were between him and Cas. He knew it would take time for things to return to the way they were before, but at least they were closer to normal than they had been.

Ama was the last on his list for who he had to feed for the day, and when he got to her stable, food in hand, he sat the bag down so he could pet her.

“Hey there girlie. Looks like you and me are gonna be doing some real bonding soon.”

Ama looked at him and snuffled before she nudged her nose into his hand. Dean smiled and continued petting at her.

“I’m glad you and I became friends. I don’t have too many besides Cas and Gabe, and it’s nice to be able to talk to someone once in awhile that can’t make smart remarks back, you know what I mean?” He asked.

The horse just gave her caretaker a plain look, and blinked her eyes at him, but it still made Dean smile.

“Yeah, you know what I mean sweetie,” He patted her head gently once last time, before picking up the bag of food, “Now let’s get you fed. You must be starving.”

Dean tore open the back and poured it into Ama’s feeder, and smiled when she started eating the grain right away. He rolled up the bag in his hands, and stood in the stables, looking around at all the horses, and sighed happily. He found he much preferred the company of animals than he did with most humans.

Giving one last pat to Ama, he headed out the large doors and threw away the bag in the trashcan in front of the building. Looking up to the sky, the sun was just starting to cast that special orangish hue to the sky, and Dean made his way towards the mess hall in the center of the farm.

Dean’s stomach grumbled as he walked, and he patted at it to try and quiet it. When he felt it however, he frowned at noticing just how skinny he had gotten. He could feel his ribs through his thin shirt, and sighed, knowing that he’d probably lost a lot of the definition he’d gained while in the police force. While he enjoyed the food the mess hall served most of the time, what he really missed were the carbohydrate ridden dinners he used to make for himself back at his old home. Since he didn’t have a car, he couldn’t even leave during his free time on the weekend to go and stock up on food he could fix for himself. Beggars couldn’t be choosers, however, and he was never one to turn down a free meal.

Walking to the door of the mess hall, Dean grunted when it was suddenly slammed open and a very angry looking Curtis with a few of his friends came stomping out, bumping into him on purpose.

“Hey, what the hell is your problem, man?” Dean yelled. While he could get someone having a horrible day, he couldn’t get them being rude about it and taking it out on others.

When Curtis turned around, however, Dean grimaced. The man had what looked like bile and partly digested food dripping down his shirt, and the smell hit him all at once. By the look on the man’s face, however, he was guessing that wasn’t his own sickness.

“I don’t know, why don’t you go in there and ask your little bitch ass friend? That is if you can even get a word out of him at this point.” At that, Curtis turned around and continued stomping away with his buddies.

Dean felt his stomach drop at the man’s words, however, and turned around and rushed into the dining area. From the looks of it everything seemed to be in order. That was, until he noticed a cleared out corner all the way in the back and a familiar tuft of raven-black hair resting against the table, with a worried Gabriel rubbing at the man’s shoulders.

Quickly running to where Cas and Gabe were, Dean sighed in relief when he got to them, and then almost gagged at the smell.

“Whoa, holy shit man. Are you doing okay, Cas?” Dean asked. He noticed the foul, small plastic bag that Gabriel was precariously holding with his wrist, and tentatively sat next to Cas. When Gabriel first saw Dean, he just about cried with relief.

“Thank god you’re here, Dean-o. I don’t know what’s wrong with Cas.” Gabriel was still rubbing his brother’s shoulders.

“I was halfway through the lunch line when I noticed Cas sitting by himself over here, and Curtis and a few of his other goons harassing him. I started walking over, and then I noticed Cas looked a bit green, before he spewed all over the dude.”

Cas groaned into the table and Gabriel gave a small chuckle, smiling worriedly at him.

“At this point, I don’t know if I should be worried, or proud at the distance my little bro hit them with.”

Dean rolled his eyes at Gabriel, before he sat his own hand on Cas’ shoulder and rubbed at the little space between the man’s shoulder and neck.

“Hey, Cas, buddy? You doing alright?” Dean asked.

Cas slowly lifted his head to look at his friend, and Dean could notice the sheen of sweat covering his forehead. He was pale, his eyes were bloodshot, and he was trembling horribly. Dean’s heart clenched in pain for his friend.

“I don’t feel very good, Dean. I really don’t know what’s wrong with me.” Cas paused to gulp heavily, and Dean flinched when he heard the man’s stomach roil in protest.

“I was doing fine during lunch, and then by the end of my shift, I was sweating terribly. Now my stomach’s killing me, and I can’t stop shaking.”

Dean frowned and placed his hand against Cas’ forehead, and whistled lowly. Gabriel took a seat on the other side of Cas, and kept a protective, reassuring hand on his back. Castiel was absolutely burning up, and felt like he had a severe fever.

“Cas, we need to get you to bed, buddy. You’re burning up, you need rest.” Dean said.

A small whimper came from the man’s lips, and he shook his head.

“Can’t move.”

Dean gave him a small smile, before he stood up and held his arms out.

“C’mere then. If you can’t move, then I’ll be your legs and carry you.”

Cas sniffled a little and nodded, giving a weak smile himself. He felt like crap, and wanted nothing more than to get some rest. Cas held out his arms, and Dean chuckled a little at realizing he wanted him to pick him up.

Dean bent down a little to pull him, and Cas got two inches out of his seat before his eyes widened and he shot his hand out to push Dean away. It all happened so fast that Dean didn’t get a chance to budge however, and he had a split second to recognize the green tint in Cas’ cheeks before suddenly his friend was hunched over, spewing his guts up once more, this time over Dean’s jeans and shoes.

Dean cringed a little, but having had to raise Sammy through multiple flu seasons, he was used to that kind of thing by this point. Instead of freaking out, Dean crouched down to Cas’ level and gently rubbed one hand up and down his friend’s back, and the other through his hair as he lost the contents of his stomach, all the while Gabriel placed his hands on his brother’s hips to keep him steady and from toppling over. He heard a small cry break through the retching, and Dean felt his heart break a little for Cas. Stomach bugs were never fun.

“Shh….It’s okay Cas, you’re okay. I’m right here...” Dean said to try and comfort Cas. He heard a few exclamations of disgust at the mess around him, and a general clamor as people tried to escape the vicinity, but paid no mind to it.

When Cas seemed to be done and sat there panting heavily, Dean kept his hold on him and kept up the comforting ministrations. Gabriel patted Cas’ back a couple times in reassurance before he got Dean’s attention.

“Hey Dean, would you mind taking Cas back to our cabin? I’ll get the mess cleaned up, I just don’t want to leave him alone tonight.”

“Of course, I’ve got him. Thanks Gabe.” Dean said, before he bent down to pick Cas up once more.

This time Cas went easily, and laid limp in Dean’s arms as he carried him bridal style. Gabe nodded his own thanks.

“I’ll see you there in a few, Dean.”

“See you there.” Dean replied.

Cas groaned weakly as Dean adjusted his hold on him to be more secure, and carried him out of the mess hall. The Winchester noticed a few disapproving and judgmental looks tossed his way as he left the vicinity, but found that in that moment, he didn’t care. All he could focus on was getting Cas back to the cabin, and making sure he was safe.


 

When Dean finally made it back to his cabin with Cas in tow, he kicked open the door and rushed to get Cas to be laying in his bed. He gently placed the man down on top of his covers, and worked to take off Cas’ shoes and pants. It was too hot out with the midsummer heat for Cas to be in such heavy things, and right now Dean needed to work on lowering the man’s core temperature before he overheated.

Castiel was like putty in Dean’s hands, and didn’t protest or complain at all when Dean worked to get him more comfortable. When he was finally stripped to his undergarments, he gave a shaky sigh of relief at the feeling of the cool air from the open window rushing over his fevered skin.

Dean walked a few steps around the room anxiously before he ran his hands through his hair, and finally kneeled by the bed. Taking one of Cas’ hands into his, he gently ran his fingers over his friend’s calloused knuckles. Dean smoothed the pads of his fingers over each crack and crevice, and gave a small smile when he noticed Cas staring at him with hazy eyes.

“Hey buddy. You feeling any better now without all that gunk in your stomach?” He asked.

Cas gave a weak laugh before nodding his head some.

“A little. I definitely feel better without all those layers on.” He said through a hoarse voice.

Dean smiled at this, and nodded before standing up and heading towards his dresser. He pulled out an old, tattered shirt that he hadn’t used as anything but a night shirt, and ripped a large strip of it off. Tossing the rest of the shirt back in his dresser, he grabbed a bottle of water sitting on the top and headed towards the open window. Opening up the bottle, he poured a generous amount of the water onto the makeshift cloth, and then recapped the bottle and shook out the cloth to be further cooled by the air from outside.

Heading back over to where Cas was laying, Dean smiled when he noticed the man snoring softly with the side of his face pressed into his pillow. Dean bent down once more to place the cool cloth over Cas’ forehead, and shushed him gently when he groaned in protest at the sudden cold.

Dean stroked Cas’ bangs back so they weren’t caught underneath the cloth for a few moments before standing up to kick off his shoes. After they were off, he quietly and carefully crawled onto the empty side of the bed next to where Cas was laying, and laid himself down next to his friend, placing a hand securely on the sick man’s arm for comfort. Dean laid there for a few minutes, rhythmically rubbing his thumb back and forth over the skin of Cas’ arm as he tried to stay awake for Gabriel to get back, but found himself dozing after a few minutes. The events of the day finally caught up to him, and it was with resistance that Dean finally succumbed to his exhaustion, and passed out like that next to Cas.


 

When Dean finally woke back up, it was suddenly and out of nowhere. The first thing he noticed was the pitch-black state of the room, and the loud snores of Gabriel in his own bed across the room. The second thing he noticed was the fact that both he and Cas were covered in a blanket that he had a nagging suspicion that Gabriel was the one who had placed the blanket over them. And the third thing he noticed was that Cas was wrapped around his body, on top of him, holding to him tightly, and very actively trying to suck a large mark into the side of his neck.

He corrected himself. This had to be a dream.

“C-Cas...No, what...what’re you, ahh, doing?”

“T-Too..Ah, hot, Dean...Needed...Needed, ahhh...cool down..” Cas had tried to get out, but it was obvious his voice was still scratchy with illness and sleep, and his eyes were glazed over and not focused in the slightest, making Dean figure this really was just a dream after all. There was no way Cas would have the energy to be doing this otherwise, anyhow.

Dean, still ensnared in what he thought was the last vestiges of dream sleep, let out a shaky moan and bared his neck further to Cas. He could feel his own body throb with want and desire, and could feel the very prominent erection of his friend twitch against the front of his jeans. Dean ran his hands down the nape of Cas’ neck all the way to his ass before he grabbed ahold of it in his hands, and pushed Cas’ hips down to grind against his own growing erection as he pushed back up to meet the motion.

Cas’ breath hitched loudly before he sunk his teeth lightly into the skin of Dean’s neck, and picked up on the hint and started grinding against Dean on his own. His hands traveled down Dean’s sides to his pants, and Dean could feel his warm fingers slip inside the waistband of his pants and underwear, and moaned louder this time in want. Removing one hand from Cas’ ass, he slipped his hand in-between their bodies so he could unzip his pants. Cas broke away momentarily so he could help wiggle the blond’s jeans down to his knees, and sent Dean a heated, glazy eyed smile before he bent down to be level with the blond’s dick. Cas blew slightly at the top of the bulging underwear before he wrapped his mouth around the bulge through his garment, and licked at the tent.

“A-Ah..” Dean hissed loudly at that and uncontrollably bucked his hips into the warmth. Moving his hands to grasp into the soft tufts of hair at the top of his partner’s head, he shuddered when Cas moaned around the tented underwear.

The raven-haired man continued this for a few moments before he moved back up Dean’s body and rushed him into a heated kiss. Dean readily kissed back and fought for control over the kiss, before winning out. Slipping his tongue into Cas’ mouth, he moaned into the kiss when he felt Cas resume his grinding from earlier. Lowering the front of his underwear with one hand, and tugging Cas’ hair with the other, a bolt of electricity ran through his body when he felt Cas do the same. When Cas’ cock made contact with his own, both men let out shaky gasps at the slick, heated friction. Cas broke away from the kiss to rest his forehead on Dean’s, and Dean could feel the sweat, heated skin, and could see the look of pure adoration and arousal on Cas’ face. Cas looked wrecked, disheveled, and absolutely perfect.

Dean gave the man a tender smile before he brought up one hand, and spit into it. The blond reached down to wrap both of their cocks into his hand, and both hissed in pleasure when they moved against each other.

“D-Dean...please...” Cas groaned out, before picking up the speed of his thrusts.

Dean moaned softly and tightened his grip, allowing both of them a moist, warm cave to fuck into.

“I got you sunshine, shhh….” The blond encouraged as Cas whimpered softly from the stimulation, “C’mon, just like that...”

Cas’ breath came out in heavy, soft pants as he worked his hips faster, and Dean met him thrust for thrust. They were both so focused on each other and the moment, that it went beyond their recognition when the door opened and closed quietly, signaling the departure of their other roommate.

Soon enough Cas’ rhythm grew erratic and Dean felt himself near closer and closer to the edge. Cas closed his eyes and his mouth fell open as he panted and breathed the same air as Dean, and Dean could feel them share their sweat. The Winchester let go of his hold on their cocks as he resumed their original position, and wrapped his hands around the globes of Cas’ cheeks, pulling and pushing the man up to grind harder into each other. Enough precum was leaking from their tips that, combined with their sweat, their cocks slid across each other easily, and each thrust of Cas’ hips was punctuated by a broken exclamation of Dean’s name.

“Dean, Dean, Dean, Dee...” The man repeated like a sacred mantra, and Dean could feel the adoration and care radiating from his partner. Sticking two fingers into his mouth to wet them as lubricant, Dean kept up his encouragement.

“That’s it….You’re doing so good Cas...There we go, just like that baby...So close, so close...” Each word was broken by a pant, and Cas moaned softly and whined at the encouragement. He felt loved, and cherished, and overwhelmed as he also felt tears prickle in the corners of his eyes.

Even though Dean knew it was just dream, he wanted to make the most of it, and let Cas know just how much he actually meant to him through his actions.

“C’mon sunshine...You’re so close...” Acting on instinct, Dean rimmed his slicked fingers around Cas’ opening before he gently pushed the tip of one in, and stroked at the inner wall. “Come for me, Castiel.”

Tensing up, the sensations were too much as Cas yelled and unraveled over Dean. He felt his body stiffen all at once before it broke like a bow string, and he let out a loud moan in ecstasy and relief. Words couldn’t describe what he felt in that moment as he saw stars explode behind his eyelids, and the tremors wreaked wave upon wave on his body.

Dean felt the hot spurt of Cas’ cum rush over his stomach before his own orgasm hit him like a freight train, and he moaned loudly into Cas’ shoulder. His body shook and trembled as string after string of his pleasure rushed out of him and onto Cas’ stomach as well. Dean felt as if his whole life had been him orbiting around aimlessly, until this exact moment. Cas was his anchor, and he brought him crashing to the ground, tethering him to reality, as he felt his very existence unravel. Both rode out their orgasms, grinding into each other until they rode all of their pleasure out.

When it was over and Cas stopped trembling over him, and Dean could think straight again, he chuckled softly and ran a hand through Cas’ hair.

“You’re amazing….stunning….and beautiful, Cas...”

He noticed the soft, slow puffs of breath coming from his partner, and gave a soft smile at realizing Cas must’ve passed back out again, the exhaustion over their pleasure having been too overwhelming for his already weakened body, due to the summer flu. Dean grimaced slightly when he felt the evidence of their pleasure becoming cold and sticky over their stomachs, and reached for the tattered strip of shirt he had used as a cloth for Cas earlier in the day. When he finally located it, he tenderly wiped Cas off first, paying close attention to be gentle with his already sensitive stomach, before he cleaned off himself.

Tossing the rag to the ground next to his bed, Dean situated his underwear and jeans to be buttoned and covering himself again as he pulled the covers back over the both of them, and wrapped his arms around Cas’ body to bring him close to him. Dean felt himself become saddened a little when he acknowledged all of it was too good to be true, and probably just what he was dreaming, of something he desired. He wished in his heart that someday he would have enough courage, and it could become a reality. Cas was amazing, loving, and tender, and deep down, Dean wanted nothing more than to just have Cas be his.

The soft, even breaths of Castiel’s sleeping lulled Dean, however, and he felt himself tire more.

“I don’t think you’ll ever know how much you truly mean to me, sunshine...” Dean whispered to Cas, before planting one last kiss to the top of his partner’s head. Closing his eyes, he let the tranquility of the moment lull him the last bit into deeper dreamland.

And as a dream, Dean figured this one probably had to be one of the best he’s had.

Chapter Text

Soft rays of light filtered through the window, and Dean winced with agitation as the beams landed over his eyes. Groaning softly, he slowly woke up and yawned before using one hand to rub at an eye. He couldn’t feel his other hand, and opened his eyes to see why. There he saw Cas laying on his blocked arm, cuddled around him, and snoring softly, completely oblivious to the day trying to wake them. Dean smiled tenderly at the scene, and used his free hand to gently stroke through the soft strands of hair on his friend’s head. The man grunted softly at the attention, and rubbed his face on Dean’s chest in response before settling down once again. Dean shifted a little, and his eyes widened as he felt Cas’ morning wood poke into his hip, instantly jolting his memory of the dream he had last night. It was amazing, and the Winchester felt his cheeks flush a little with each glimpse of Cas, panting and debauched over top of him, that flickered through his mind’s eye.

A small chuckle off to the side of the room caught Dean’s attention however, and he turned his head to look at the intruder. Spotting Gabriel on his bed, wrapped in his blanket while drinking a cup of coffee made Dean roll his eyes at him. However, Gabriel just kept on smirking, and that caught Dean’s attention.

“What are you so smug about?” Dean asked by whispering.

Gabriel just shook his head before pointing one finger at Cas. Dean looked back at the man currently using him as a human pillow, and chuckled quietly.

“I suppose he’s just really tired.”

“After last night, I would definitely say so.” Gabriel replied, with a wink.

This only confused Dean, however, and his eyebrows scrunched up as he studied the man. Gabriel was a smug bastard on the best of days, but this seemed more like he was hiding something. Like he knew something that he himself didn’t.

“Okay, what’s really up, Gabe?” The Winchester asked, raising his voice a little louder.

It was just enough to stir Cas awake however, and with a soft, tired moan, Cas stretched out in his hold on Dean. Still in a dream like haze, he unconsciously bucked his hips into the warmth of Dean’s thigh to try and relieve a little pressure from his straining erection, and Dean yelped in surprise before sitting upright to try and distance himself a little. His cheeks flushed bright red, and this gave Cas the last needed boost to fully wake up.

Sitting stark straight as well, Cas blinked tiredly to try and gather his bearings and make sense of his surroundings. Noticing Dean, he too yelped in surprise, grabbing a pillow to cover his lap in embarrassment, and tried to hide his face upon feeling the blush set in.

“O-Oh god Dean, I’m so so sorry, that was inappropriate of me!”

Dean blinked a little before he calmed down and gave a hardy laugh.

“Dude, don’t worry about it. It happens to the best of us.” He said, rubbing his friend’s shoulder reassuringly.

Cas planted his face into the pillow he had in his lap and groaned loudly. This had to be the worst day ever, and he wasn’t even fully awake yet.

“I still apologize Dean, I didn’t realize where I was...”

Dean shook his head and continued to rub his shoulder. It was really no big deal, people wake up with morning wood all the time and all he knew was that Cas was comfortable and next to something warm. Nothing to fret about.

Meanwhile, Gabriel was dying from laughing on his bed, and the two friends both turned their head to see what the commotion was about. Cas’ eyebrows furrowed in confusion while he tilted his head to the side, and Dean felt his agitation rise and sighed loudly.

“Seriously man, what the hell is up with you? You’ve been acting squirrely all morning.” He said, crossing his arms over his chest. Something was up, and he was determined to get to the bottom of it.

“Y-You two!” Gabriel exclaimed, pausing in his laughter with broken speech, “Y-You’re both just so f-funny!!”

Both Cas and Dean turned to look at each other when they heard this, and held varying levels of confusion. Neither of them knew what the man was talking about.

“I’m sorry, Gabe, but you’re gonna have to clarify.” Dean said.

“Yes, I’m afraid neither of us know what you think is so funny.” Cas replied as well.

After a few moments Gabriel’s laughter finally calmed down, and he wiped a finger at his eye to flick away the lone tear. Turning to both of them, he gave them a large, knowing grin.

“Oh come on you two, you know what’s up!” He exclaimed, “And let me just preface this by saying I’m so proud and happy for you guys! You both got your shit straightened out, and Dean, I couldn’t be happier to welcome you to the family.”

Whatever Gabriel was saying still wasn’t clicking for either of the men, and they both looked at each other before turning back to the crazy man.

“Gabriel, while I’m glad you’re so willing to let Dean into our family….Can I ask why out of nowhere?” Cas asked, growing more confused by the minute. He knew Dean and him had gotten everything worked out, and he was just as glad as well, but he didn’t think it warranted such a huge reaction from his brother.

Gabriel laughed once more before shaking his head.

“C’mon Cassie, don’t play dumb! I may have lost some sleep last night cause of you two, but if results in this, then it was definitely worth it!” Gabriel exclaimed happily.

A few moments passed before something clicked in Cas’ head, and his expression turned to one of horror. He paled and gulped deeply as he felt his stomach roil again.

“Oh my god,” He said, “That wasn’t a dream, was it?”

Gabriel stopped laughing, and his smile dropped as he took in the expression of his brother’s face. His brother looked horrified.

Dean sat there in confusion, looking between the two, and frowned when he saw Gabriel’s smile drop as well.

“Oh god Castiel...Only you could’ve...” Gabriel said, before running a palm down his face, “Look, I am so, so sorry for even bringing this up.”

Dean looked at Gabriel and shot him a quirked eyebrow, before he looked at Cas and frowned. His friend had his head buried in the palms of his hands, and was hunched over. Dean set his hand on Cas’ back, and gently rubbed it.

“Hey buddy, what’s wrong? What’s got you looking like you were just told your favorite puppy died?” Dean asked, joking lightly to try and lighten the mood.

A few seconds of silence passed as Cas slowly straightened up. He took a deep breath and steeled himself, before looking pleadingly at Dean. There was something more in his expression though; he looked like he was begging for forgiveness as well.

“Dean...” Cas started slowly, “Do you remember anything about last night? Anything at all?”

Dean quirked an eyebrow at the odd question. He remembered getting Cas to sleep, then hopping in bed with him. He remembered…the dream he had last night. And then he remembered waking up, but that was about it.

“I remember helping you to bed, falling asleep next to you, and then waking up to you grinding against me this morning, which by the way, I forgive you for buddy. That’s about it though.” He said.

Cas sighed deeply and looked towards the ceiling and closed his eyes. His stomach made an even louder grumble of protest, and he flinched as he sat his hand upon it. Slowly, he looked back towards Dean, and gave him a very guilty, pleading look.

“Do...do you remember anything else?”

Dean frowned and shifted awkwardly.

“Well, I mean...I had a pretty weird dream last night, but that’s about it. Truly.”

Castiel sighed softly as he closed his eyes once more. He didn’t want to see the look on Dean’s face for what was coming next.

“Did it...Did it involve us doing, er, things, Dean? Such as...inappropriate things?”

Deans stomach dropped at the question, and felt himself go pale. No. He knew exactly what he was talking about, and no way in hell that was anything but a dream.

“Cas...How...How did you know about that?” He said, grabbing firmly onto the man’s wrist. “That was just a dream, man, you couldn’t possibly know about that.”

Cas trembled under Dean’s hold, and fell silent a few moments. That was all Dean needed, to know.

“No. No. Hell no, no way that happened. It didn’t. We didn’t do that.” Dean stumbled, and scooted away from him quickly.

“Dean, listen to me, I am so so sorry. I thought it was a dream myself, and we, we got caught up-” Cas said, reaching out for him to hold on to the man somehow. Dean jerked away from him and felt his throat constrict. He was panicking; he felt himself drowning and didn’t know what to do anymore.

“And, and it’s all my fault Dean. I’m so sorry.” Cas continued, pleading with him. Dean jerked his arm away from the man and balled himself up into the corner of the bed he was on, burying his face into his arms as he wildly stroked his fingers through his hair. That couldn’t have been real. But it felt so good. He had felt so cherished in the moment, and his heart ached for more of that feeling. A broken sob came from Dean, and the bed shook with the movement.

Cas stared at his friend, and couldn’t stop himself as he felt the warm tears roll down his face. Slowly, he scooted towards the man, and gently sat his hand on his shoulder.

“Dean,” He said, gently and softly, “Please, look at me. I’m so sorry. I thought it was a dream, I never would’ve taken advantage of you intentionally.”

Dean didn’t budge, and more silent sobs came from his balled form. So many thoughts were rushing through his head. What would Sam say, what would his friends back home say? What would Bobb-…

Bobby wouldn’t care.

What would Crowl-…

Crowley wouldn’t care.

You have both of our support, Poppet.

What would Gabriel sa-

Gabriel wouldn’t care.

I may have lost some sleep last night cause of you two, but if it results in this, then it was definitely worth it!

Dean knew he was sobbing, but in his mind, he felt numb.

What would his Mom say? She would car-….

Dean, baby, you are the most important thing in my life, besides Sammy. If there ever comes a day where I’m no longer with you guys, just know that mommy will always love you, no matter what.” Dean had been four at the time, and couldn’t imagine a world without his mommy.

The world is harsh, baby. You’re gonna find a lot of nasty people out there. But one day you’re gonna find your other family. The one that you make, not the one you were born into. You’re gonna find the love of your life. And they’re gonna heal every little scar you’re ever gonna get, and make the world turn again on the darkest of your days. They’re gonna love you, and cherish you for who you are. And that’s all that’s gonna matter.”

Will they be beautiful like you, mommy?” Little Dean had asked, grasping at one of his mother’s long blonde curls.

Mary had chuckled, and stroked her thumb tenderly across Dean’s chubby little cheek.

Honey, they’re gonna be more beautiful than me. They’re gonna be your whole world.” At that, she had kissed the band-aid covering the scrape on Dean’s knee, from where he had fallen after being pushed by a kid at their local playground.

And, baby,” She said, “They’re gonna love every little bit of you. Even the parts you may not like about yourself” At that, she had gently ran her fingers across Dean’s pink, messily and brightly painted fingernails, and given her baby a proud smile.

You’re perfect just the way you are, sunshine. And when you find someone that shows you everyday just how much you mean to them, and who thinks that your imperfections are just your beauty marks, then you’ll know you found the one.”

Dean had given his mom one of the brightest smiles he could muster, before he fell asleep in her arms.

Somehow, he had forgotten.

I am perfect, just the way I am. And I am not alone. I’ve found my family.

Dean slowly lifted his head up at that moment, and stared at Cas in shock. Everything Cas had done so far, he had done with care and support for Dean. In the time he had been at the farm, Cas was always there, right next to him, helping him and supporting him along the way. Cas was willing to make a huge sacrifice to be with Dean, because he cared for Dean. And Dean cared for Cas.

Wiping at his eyes, Dean gave Cas a small smile, and suddenly a weight was lifted off his chest and he could breathe again. When Cas paused and slowly returned the small smile, Dean felt it. The world started turning again.

“Cas...” Dean started, taking the man’s hand into his, and holding it.

“Yes, Dean?” Cas replied, closing his fingers to hold the man’s hand right back.

“You didn’t take advantage of me. I...I enjoyed it. I enjoyed all of it.”

Cas stared in shock at Dean, before he scooted closer to him and outstretched his other hand to hold the man’s other one. He didn’t break eye contact as a small, shaky smile graced his features.

“Yeah…?”

“Yeah. And also,” Dean continued, linking his fingers between Cas’ other ones, “I really like you, Cas. And..I’m terrified, and scared, and I’m shaking. But...”

“Yes, Dean?” Cas held his breath and held onto Dean’s hand’s like a life preserver.

“But, I’m done running away from all of my fears, sunshine. Cas,” Dean said, pulling Cas closer to practically be in his lap, “Being around you these past few weeks, you’ve taught me a lot of things. And steadily, I’ve felt myself fall for you ever since that day at the gates of the farm.”

“It’s going to be a long journey, but I can’t deny my feelings any longer, Cas. I want to be with you.” Dean removed one hand so he could gently run his fingers through Cas’ hair, and fixed him with a tender look. Cas felt his heart hammer out of his chest, and couldn’t contain his smile as he let Dean continue.

“That’s not to say we won’t have our ups and downs. Just like any couple, we’re gonna struggle sometimes, and that’s okay. But Cas,” Dean said, pulling away a little to fix him with a pleading look, “I want to go through all of that with you. I want to wake up next to you every morning, and kiss you to sleep every night. I want to go on dates with you, and shower you with all the love and affection that I can.” The blond took a shaky breath, and gently cupped Cas’ face into his hands.

“I want to fall in love with you every day, and learn all over again what it means to truly love someone. So Cas, if you’d let me, and give me a chance...” The Winchester said, trying to convey as much emotion and care into his words as possible, “I’d really like to call you my boyfriend, and for you to call me yours as well.”

Cas gently cupped Dean’s hands on his face, before he chuckled softly and bowed his head. His voice hitched with his laugh, and he slowly nodded his head once, twice, three times., before he looked up at Dean, and Dean swore he could see the stars in his eyes.

“Yes.” Cas said quietly.

“Yes?” Dean replied, hopefully, leaning in closer to him.

“Yes, yes, Dee,” Cas said, leaning forward and capturing Dean’s lips in a sweet kiss.

This was nothing like any of their other kisses. This one was slow, and sweet, and burned like the last ember in a fire, just waiting to reignite but not quite getting there yet. It conveyed every hope, and desire, and amount of affection that they had struggled putting into words. Dean felt it all, and in that moment, he could feel the slow, beautiful blossom bursting into love that had he yearned for, for so long. He could already feel himself beginning to fall, and knew that for once in his life, he’d made the right choice.

When they finally broke away, Cas gave Dean a smile that could make the angels cry, and Dean felt his heart thump more than ever before.

“I would love to call you my boyfriend, Dean.”

Dean smiled slowly, and tenderly, and pulled him into a loving embrace.

“Then I think you just made me the luckiest man alive, Cas.” The blond replied quietly, his head pressed into the nook of Cas’ neck.

And Castiel smiled, and gave his brother a jubilant look. Gabriel felt his heart explode for the new couple, and wiped at an eye. They were truly something beautiful, and Gabriel already knew that he’d be hard pressed to find a better couple.


 

The morning went by slowly, and in general bliss once the new couple had finally worked everything out. Gabriel left soon after to grab some lunch for everyone at the local fast food joint, and Dean almost cried from happiness at the prospect of a nice, juicy burger. After they finish lunch, he offered to drive Dean to a phone booth so he could finally talk with his brother, so the couple had some time to kill until then.

Cas was still feeling under the weather a bit, but nowhere near as bad as he had felt the day prior. Dean lent the man an old AC/DC shirt he had brought with him, that was a little snug on him but seemed to fit perfectly on Cas himself. Cas smiled when he put the shirt on, and noted that it smelled like soft soap and cinnamon, exactly like Dean. He gave him an extra pair of jeans to wear as well that fit snugly on his bum, and when Cas was fully dressed he turned around slowly to look at himself, and Dean gave a low whistle.

“Well howdy there par’ner, you sure do look mighty fine if I must say so myself.” Dean said in a country drawl, closing the distance to stand behind Cas and wrap his arms around him.

“Tell me,” He continued, whispering into his partner’s ear, “Have I seen you around somewhere? You look awfully familiar. Stunning, like my boyfriend, Cas. I was a sheriff back in my old town, so I could have you arrested for looking too damn good.”

A shiver ran down Cas’ spine and he found himself chuckling uncontrollably, before turning around in the hold Dean had on him so he could lean up and cusp Dean’s face in his hands.

“Oh really? Then I must say, this ‘Cas’ of yours has remarkable taste, and is damn lucky to have caught someone the likes of yourself.” Cas replied, imitating the southern accent Dean had put on.

It was Dean’s turn to shiver, and he bent down to capture Cas’ lips in a kiss. The shorter man went along willingly, smiling into the kiss, and letting out a contented sigh. Dreams were made of this, and he was happy.

Soon enough they broke away, and Dean fixed Cas with a tender smile, setting his forehead against his partner’s. He felt calm, at peace, and joyful for once.

“Oh really? Cause right now, I think I’m the lucky one.” Dean said softly, and Cas melted under the tender look in Dean’s eyes.

And he truly was lucky. Cas was giving him a chance when he had done nothing but reject him before. He gave him time, and that’s all Dean needed. He felt like the luckiest man alive that Cas was still willing to date him after all the pain he had caused him, and wasn’t going to ruin this chance. Things just clicked into place whenever he was around Cas, even though it took over a month for him to figure it out.

And now Dean truly understood what Cas meant when he asked what home smelt like to Dean. Home was moments like these, with Cas in his arms, and the gentle scent of gardenia wafting around the room, emanating from the man.

The loud rattling of the door alerted the two to a guest, and they both turned their heads to see Gabriel coming into the cabin with four greasy bags of fast food in one hand, and three soft drinks in the other. He paused upon noticing the two wrapped in each other’s arms, and kicked the door closed, grinning widely.

“Sorry guys, did I interrupt something?” He asked, setting the food down on his nearby dresser.

Dean rolled his eyes and Cas shook his head with a smile, before breaking away to go and help his brother.

“No Gabriel, you didn’t interrupt anything. We were just talking.” Cas said, grabbing the bags to look through them.

Gabriel shooed him away with a laugh and went through each to make sure everything was in them.

“That’s good then. I don’t mind being kicked out of my cabin every once in awhile, but a moment’s notice would be much appreciated, for future reference.” He said with a wink.

Dean groaned softly and smiled, before heading over to see which bag was his. Gabriel handed off two of the bags to Cas.

“Those two should be your guys’. I know you like a double bacon cheeseburger Cassie, so that’s what I got for you,” He said, turning to also hand them their respective fry cartons from the last bag, “But Dean-o on the other hand, I had not a clue, so I just got you the same thing.”

Dean’s eyes widened before he gratefully took the bag, and gave Cas a wide smile.

“Looks like once again great minds think alike, sunshine. I love bacon cheeseburgers.” He said, and Gabriel laughed and took his own burger out of his bag.

“You two are like two peas in a pod, I swear,” He said, grabbing his soft drink and taking a long sip, before gesturing to the other two, “Those two are yours as well. Help yourselves, guys.”

And with that, Gabriel took his burger, fries, and pop and plopped down on his bed, getting to work on devouring his burger.

Cas grabbed his bag of food and then passed Dean his soft drink, before he grabbed his own and led them back to Dean’s bed. Castiel sat down on one end while Dean sat down next to him on the other, and opened up his bag. The savory scent of grilled meat made his mouth water, and his stomach rumbled in excitement at the prospect of unhealthy food.

“God, it’s been so long since I’ve had one of these,” Dean said, groaning as he bit into the tender meat, “I haven’t been able to make food runs cause my car is still broken down in Bobby’s front yard a few miles back, and while the food here is okay, it’s really been hell.”

Cas chuckled some and bit into his burger, smiling happily at the delightful tastes. It had been awhile since he’d had one of those as well, so he knew exactly what Dean meant. The trip would’ve been too much to do just for himself, however, so he often just dealt with the sub-par mess hall food.

“Sorry, Dean. I would’ve gotten this a lot sooner for us if I had known you were craving one that badly. Your car won’t be fixed for awhile, right?” Cas asked.

Dean shook his head and took another bite of his food.

“I’ve gotta pay off Bobby first, and then use whatever left over money I have to do repairs on her,” He said.

“Trust me though, when I get my old girl running, we’ll be making late night food trips all the time.”

Cas gave Dean a small smile, and nodded his agreement.

“That sounds really nice, actually.”

In his corner, Gabriel chuckled and started in on his fries.

“Until then, you’re forgetting that I, Gabriel Shurley, happen to love anything unhealthy and will be very willing to make fast food runs any time you guys want it.”

Dean finished off his burger before also starting his fries, and gave his roommate a wide grin.

“Dude, I think you just became my second best friend. After Cas, that is.”

Cas shot Dean a soft smile, and Gabriel pumped his fist into the air.

“Hell yeah, you know it! I knew I’d grow on you, Dean-o. No one can resist my charm, after all.” He said with a wink.

Dean groaned and made a gagging sound before he just rolled his eyes playfully, and leaned his body weight into Cas’ side.

Cas finished off his food before tossing his wrappers back into the bag, wiped off his hands, and then relaxed back so he could turn and let Dean rest his upper body in his lap. Dean went along happily, and continued eating his fries as Cas gently stroked his fingers through the man’s bangs. The Winchester looked up at Cas from his low level, and held his hand up with a couple of fries to offer to the raven-haired man. Cas originally shook his head no, until Dean wouldn’t stop persisting, so he finally bent down and grabbed the fries into his mouth, sending him an appreciative smile.

Finishing off the rest of his food, Dean groaned happily and fully relaxed his upper body back into Cas’ lap, carefully resting his head against his partner’s belly, and unbuttoning his jeans to allow some breathing room.

He shut his eyes, with the soft, repetitive motion of Cas running his fingers through his hair soothing him. Soon enough Dean was dozing asleep, and Cas was watching with a loving smile.

Gabriel chuckled lowly in his corner of the room, and spoke quietly.

“I wish I had a camera to capture the moment.”

Castiel allowed himself to relax back a little without stirring Dean, and sighed happily. Looking down at Dean, he felt his heart swell with a happiness that he hadn’t known in quite awhile.

“Yeah, me too.”


 

Dean woke up a couple hours later to the sun high in the sky, blazing through the window in the cabin. He opened his eyes and smiled when he felt the soft and slow up and down motion of Cas’ belly under his head, signaling that he must’ve fallen asleep as well.

Turning his head slightly, he could see Gabriel on his bed, with reading glasses on, reading some heavier looking book. On closer inspection, it looked like an old copy of To the Lighthouse, and Dean was surprised that Gabriel would be interested in a book such as that.

Gabriel looked up upon feeling like he was being watched, and gave Dean a small smile once he realized it was him.

“Well hello there sleeping beauty,” He said, quietly and teasingly, “Did you get enough beauty rest?”

“Oh ha-ha Gabe, you’re one to talk.” Dean replied, just as hushed and with good nature. He did feel refreshed and more energized than he had earlier.

“Has Cas been asleep long?”

Gabriel closed his book and took off the reading classes, before setting the two items aside.

“Nah, he’s been out for maybe half an hour. He spent most of the time just watching you and stroking your hair, the goofy sap.”

Dean smiled at that and glanced up to see Cas’ sleeping face. He looked peaceful and content, and Dean didn’t want to be the one to break the quiet spell.

“Do you know what time it is?” He asked, instead.

“A little after two in the afternoon. I don’t know what plans you had for tonight, but we should probably get going soon to that phone booth if you wanna catch your brother before late at night.”

Dean nodded his agreement, and gently lifted himself up, trying not to disturb Castiel. It didn’t work that well however, as it was obvious that the man was a very light sleeper, and soon he was groaning softly and rubbing at an eye.

“G’morning Dean..” He said groggily, “Di’ you sleep well?” His voice was deep and laden with sleep, and Dean found himself grinning widely before flipping over to lay back down and bury his face in the man’s stomach, wrapping his arms around Cas’ waist.

“I slept well, sunshine, thank you. Did you sleep well?”

Cas smiled happily and rested his hands on Dean’s shoulder blades, taking the time to gently rub at them. He yawned loudly though, and spoke with a groggy voice.

“I slep’ really well, Dee. Thank you.”

“Really honey? Cause to me it sounds like you’re still sleepy~”

Cas chuckled and shook his head, but had his eyes closed.

“No no, I’m awake Dee, I’m awake. Trust me.”

“Oh really...Well let’s just see about that!”

Dean chuckled and yanked up Cas’ shirt, using one hand to push him down gently and the other to keep him pinned as he blew raspberries into his stomach. Cas’ eyes popped open and he immediately let out a squeal that he would deny later, and kicked out his legs over Dean as he began tumbling around the bed.

“No no nonoo, not that Dean, not that!!” Cas yelled, laughing and giggling and pushing at Dean.

Dean was stronger though, and kept Cas pinned underneath him as he continued his onslaught of raspberries into his partner’s stomach.

“You awake??”

“Yes yes I’m awake now Dee, I’m up!”

“You sure?”

“Yes I am, please please stop!’

“Hmmm that doesn’t really sound too sure to me, Cas~”

“Dee, Dee I’m begging you, puh-lease!!” Cas had happy tears streaming down his face from laughing so hard, and was squirming violently on the bed to try and get away from his boyfriend.

“Dean I’m gonna pee myself, please stop!!” Cas exclaimed, laughing even harder.

“Hmmm….”

Dean made a show of giving a thoughtful expression while tapping his finger against his chin. He smiled, and decided to have mercy on his lover, chuckling as he scooted up the expanse of Cas’ body to give him a gentle kiss. That calmed Cas down almost instantly, and he closed his eyes as he kissed him back.

Dean broke away, and propped himself up on a hand to look down at Cas laying on the bed, and used his other hand to stroke the raven-haired man’s bangs out of his face.

“I suppose I can let you go for now, then.” He said, giving Cas a tender smile.

Cas returned the smile, and leaned up to kiss him briefly once more, before relaxing back down.

“Thank you, Dee.” Cas said, and Dean nodded his welcome.

“Not a problem. Good morning, sunshine.”

“Dobroye utro, Lyubov’ moya.”* Cas replied, gently, with a hint of an accent.

Dean smiled softly and quirked his head.

“I don’t even know what you said, but I can still feel the love in it,” He said, before chuckling, “I didn’t know you could speak a different language.”

“It’s Russian, hon,” Cas said with a wink, “My mom was Russian while my dad was French, and I learned it from her before they left me on the streets. English, in a way, is actually my third language even though I grew up using it the most.”

Dean shook his head in amazement, before he bent down to kiss Cas’ forehead.

“Does that mean you can speak French as well?” Dean asked. Cas quirked his head before looking up at the ceiling in concentration. After a second, he looked back towards Dean with a sultry smile.

“Ah, oui je peux, mon amour,” He said, thickening the accent for exaggeration, “Je suppose que j’ai beaucoup de talents cachés dans ma manche, n’est-ce pas?”*

Dean felt a shiver run down his spine, and gave the man a heated look.

“You never cease to amaze me, Cas.” He said, smiling, “You’re gonna have to speak to me like that again sometime, you know that right?”

Cas chuckled, and leaned up to hug onto him.

“I’ll speak to you however you want me to, Dee.”

The closing of a book interrupted their moment, however, and both turned their heads to look at Gabriel, who seemed oblivious to what he had just done. The man stood up and stretched with a groan, before he walked over to his dresser and grabbed some keys off of the top of it. Turning to the two left on the other bed, he fixed them with a grin.

“I’m sorry to interrupt this, but Dean-o, we got places to be if you want to get going. Cas, you’re welcome to come if Dean doesn’t care.” Gabriel said.

Dean rolled his eyes with a smile.

“Of course I don’t care, Gabe.”

“Then let’s get going you sack of potatoes; you can make out with my brother when you’re in the car or some shit, but we gotta go.”

Dean quirked an eyebrow but shrugged off the man’s desire to leave so quickly. He gently removed himself from Cas’ hold and stood up, rebuttoning his pants before offering him a hand to him to pull himself up with. Cas gratefully obliged, and nodded to his brother.

“Let’s get going then.” He said.

Gabriel nodded with a smile, and led the way out of the cabin. Dean followed after him, and Cas behind him, closing the door behind all of them.

Dean took a moment to look back at Cas over his shoulder, and gave him a small, nervous smile. He was worried and excited to talk to his brother, but was glad that Cas was going to be right there with him.

Cas caught on and slid up closely next to him so he could hold on to Dean’s hand inconspicuously as they walked out of the gates of the farm, and towards the car lot to the left. Dean felt himself relax and held Cas’ hand back. Whatever they face from then on, they could do it together.

Chapter Text

Gabriel led the two out to a sleek looking, four-door, dark-blue Chevy Chevelle. Dean whistled when they rounded the parking lot corner to the beauty and walked hand-in-hand with Cas until they got close to the car. Breaking away briefly to admire the car, Dean ran his hand down the trunk of the car and gave a nod of appreciation.

Gabriel stood back by his brother and gave Cas a proud, knowing look. Cas just shook his head with a smile, and stepped to be closer to Dean, watching him admire the car. The short brunette stepped next to Dean’s other side and sat a loving hand on the hood of the car.

“She’s a beauty, ain’t she? I just got her last year.” Gabe said.

Dean looked at Gabriel and gave him a grin, showing his approval.

“She is beautiful, Gabriel. Damn, now I really miss my old girl,” Dean replied, staring at the Chevelle in appreciation, “My Impala got me through a lot. Can’t wait to get her fixed up and back on the road.”

“I know the feeling, man. I don’t know what I would do without my girl.” Gabriel said, giving it a loving pat before taking the keys out of his pocket.

Opening the door to the front seat, Gabriel hopped in and honked the horn of his car to get the two’s attention.

“Get in bitches, we’re going driving!” He said, slamming his door shut and revving the engine.

Dean broke down in laughter and opened the backseat passenger door up for Cas.

“I can’t believe you’re actually related to him, Cas.”

Cas shook his head with a smile and slid into the backseat with Dean following right after.

“Only legally, Dean. Only legally.”

This only caused Dean to break out laughing more, and he slid up close to Cas and grabbed onto his hand to hold.

Gabriel shot the two of them a playful, pointed glare as they drove off down the highway, and put on a mock motherly tone.

“You two settle down back there. Don’t you dare make me kick you two out, cause I’ll do it.”

Dean laughed more and used his free hand to flick him off from where he sat. Cas only shook his head and sighed with a smile at his brother and boyfriend’s antics. A few moments passed and soon Dean settled down and relaxed his body against Cas’. The blue-eyed man followed suit and leaned his own body weight against Dean’s and looked at him, giving him a smile.

“You said your brother is a lawyer in New York, right?” Cas asked.

Dean turned to look at him and gave a small nod and a smile in return.

“Yep, he sure is. Graduated from Stanford, and I couldn’t be prouder of him,” He said, relaxing further back into the seat, “It’s hard sometimes, though. I don’t get to hear from him as much, and sometimes he can’t come down for the holidays. But we get through it though.”

Cas nodded in understanding and glanced at his own brother. At least he had one sibling with him; he couldn’t imagine not having any of them at all with him.

“That must be rough, and I’m sorry to hear that, Dean. It gets hard sometimes without all of my other siblings around, and I miss them every day, but at least I still have Gabriel with me. I can’t imagine what you must go through.” Castiel said, stroking Dean’s thumb between his fingers.

Dean nodded, and looked out towards the window, watching the sprawling plains stretch before his eyes.

“It really is, sometimes. I raised the kid, after all,” He said with a sigh, “But, I know he’s happy and thriving. And that’s all that really matters.”

Cas stared back at Dean, and then leaned forward to press a gentle kiss to his cheek. The Winchester turned back to him with a smile, and bent forward to give him an actual kiss. Breaking away, he rested his cheek against his boyfriend’s, and chuckled softly.

“I’ll be fine though. I get to talk to him every once and awhile, like this, and it makes it better.”

The Shurley nodded against his cheek, and sighed softly as he watched out the windows.

“Speaking of siblings,” Gabriel started from the front seat, “Mike, Luci, and Raph are coming down in about a couple weeks or so to celebrate my birthday a little late, Cas. The others couldn’t make it, but wanted me to tell you they send their regards.”

Cas perked up at this and smiled widely.

“Really? How long are they staying?” He asked.

Gabriel chuckled and sent a fond smile back to his little brother through the rear-view mirror.

“Don’t get all worked up now Cassie. They’re only staying for a day cause they still have work and lives of their own.” He said.

Cas didn’t deflate though, and only seemed to get happier.

“That’s alright, Gabe. Any time they spend with us is better than no time.”

Dean was confused, however, and quirked his eyebrow in question of what was going on.

“Wait, when’s your birthday Gabe?” He asked.

“My birthday just so happens to be September 4th, Dean-o. From what I hear, you have one pretty close to mine?”

Dean blinked a little as the gears turned in his head. If Gabriel’s birthday was the fourth...Then that means he had missed his roommate’s birthday by about three days. ‘That son of a bitch!’

“Gabe, you bastard!” Dean said incredulously, “It was your birthday and you didn’t even tell me??”

He heard Cas chuckling at his side and turned his attention to him.

“And you, mister, are just as much to blame! Why didn’t you tell me either??” Dean said, putting on the most hurt expression that he could.

Castiel only laughed more, and turned to him with a wide grin.

“Because, Dee,” Cas started, “Gabe doesn’t like to celebrate his birthday until all of his friends and family are around.”

“Which is why,” Gabriel said up front, “You’re invited to the birthday bash at the bar in a couple of weeks. And Cas is driving you that day, Deanie.”

Dean sighed softly but relented. Cas tried to look away, but Dean saw the small, knowing smile on his partner’s face. He turned back to Gabriel and smiled some.

“Okay, thank you then, Gabe. Can I ask when this ‘bash’ is, however?”

Gabriel looked into the mirror with mirth in his eyes.

“Oh, September 18th. That won’t be a problem, will it?”

Dean blinked a little before he quickly looked back and forth between the two brothers, and saw the excited look in Cas’ eyes. ‘That sneaky little…’

The Winchester broke out into a wide grin and kissed Cas’ cheek heavily. When he broke away he fixed his roommate with the same grin.

“Gabriel, are you sure?”

Gabriel shook his head and gave Dean a deadpan look. The taller blond could still see the underlying playfulness, however, and smiled right along.

“No, Dean, I’m not sure at all. In fact, I’ve made a mistake. Just the thought of celebrating my birthday with yours appalls me, and I think I need to cancel the whole thing.” He said, sarcastically.

Dean let out a loud laugh and shook his head right back. His roommate really was something else.

“Sorry Gabe, I just wanted to make sure,” He said, before giving him a genuine, appreciative smile, “Thank you so much though. Both of you.”

Castiel turned to give Dean a fond smile himself, and then bent himself up to give him a quick kiss. Dean sighed happily into it, before breaking away to stare out of the window with a grin. He had some really great friends, and an amazing boyfriend.


 

The scenery rolled on for about twenty minutes until they finally arrived at a quaint little gas station. Gabriel drove into one of the parking lots, and parked the car, turning off the engine, and turning around in his seat to give Dean a smile.

“Alright Dean, this is your stop. Do you have money to feed the phone?”

Dean, who had been dozing off and on peacefully with Cas’ hand in his, perked to attention at that and felt around his pockets with his free hand. Pulling out a few coins, he examined them and then gave Gabriel a reassuring smile.

“It looks like it. Thank you though, Gabriel.”

Gabriel nodded and stretched in his seat, popping his back, before relaxing once more and reclining the seat some.

“Alright, well whenever you’re ready, the phone is right over there.” He said, pointing to a box like structure with a phone residing inside at the start of the line of the gas pumps.

Castiel looked at Dean and squeezed his hand in encouragement, giving him a proud smile.

“I’m right here if you need me, Dean. Just call for me, and I’ll come.”

Dean felt encouraged by his partner’s words, and bent forward to press a soft kiss into the man’s forehead. Cas leaned into it and smiled happily, before Dean pulled away and gave his hand one last squeeze.

“Wish me luck, sunshine.” He said, finally letting go of his hand and exiting through the door.

Dean walked the short distance to the phone booth, and quietly sighed when opening the door into it.

Pulling out the coin to put in the slot, Dean rolled it in his fingers. This was really it. He was really going to call his brother and talk to him about, well everything. Nothing in the world could’ve prepared him for this moment, but he also figured that it’s best that he isn’t prepared at all. It’s just his brother, after all.

Dean grabbed the handle of the phone and pulled it off it’s deck, before he slid the coin into the slot. He spun the dial to the numbers he had memorized by heart, and put the phone to his ear. Hearing the ringing tone filled him with excitement and fear, and when he finally heard his brother pick up, many emotions hit him all at once.

Hello? Sam Winchester speaking.

“S...Sammy?” Dean asked with trepidation.

A few seconds of silence fell over the phone, until the man finally picked the conversation back up.

“Dean, is that you?” Sam asked with confusion and surprise evident in his voice.

“Hiya Sammy, yeah it’s me. How have you been doing?”

Dude, I’ve been great! It’s been forever man, how are you doing??”

Dean chuckled at his brother’s enthusiasm. Still the child at heart as always, he noticed.

“I’ve been doing pretty well. Er, better than what I had been at least. Steph and I broke up though and I’m no longer an officer of the law.” He said, relaxing back against the glass wall of the box.

Oh damn, Dean. I’m sorry to hear; are you alright? Do you need me to come down for a bit?” Sam asked. That did not sound like Dean was doing well at all.

Dean gave a small smile and shook his head to himself.

“Nah, it’s okay man. I’m fine, really. I found Stephanie cheating on me so I guess I dodged a bullet on that regard, and plus I was looking to start anew anyways. I already got myself a new job working at a horse ranch.” He said. He would save the details surrounding him getting that job for another time, however. He didn’t want to overwhelm his brother after all.

Dean heard a deep sigh come from the other end of the telephone, and his brother paused a few seconds before continuing.

If you’re sure, man...Then okay. But I can always spare a weekend or so to come down anyways, you know that. Your birthday is coming up, so unless something comes up, I should be able to make it down to Kansas. You just gotta give me your new address.”

“Alright. I look forward to seeing you then, Sam,” Dean said, already starting to feel a bit better, “I’ll send you a letter when I get home and you can grab the address that way.”

That sounds good, Dean,” Sam took a few seconds pause before continuing, “So, how is this new job? Made any new friends? Meet a prospect for a future ‘lady friend’?” He asked, and Dean could hear the playful tone in his brother’s voice.

He gave a nervous laugh, before steeling himself to continue on.

“Actually, that’s one of the things I wanted to talk to you about, man,” He said, rubbing a hand through his hair, “The job is great, I get to tend to horses all day, and I even got contracted to be trained as a jockey.”

Sam let out a low whistle from his side of the phone.

Wow, Dean! That’s great, man, really. It seems losing your old job might just have been one of the greatest things to happen to you; jockeys make a lot of money from what I hear.”

“Yeah, it’s definitely good. My boss is even letting me keep almost all of my earnings cause he’s retired and has no use for them.”

Damn, I’m really happy for you! I’ll definitely be sure to come down to see some of your races, alright?”

Dean gave a soft smile at that, and stared out of the glass box into the distance. He could see Cas and Gabriel standing outside of the car, chatting, and laughing over something. Soon enough Castiel caught his eye however, and gave him a bright smile and waved at him. The Winchester couldn’t help it, and grinned as he waved right back. He could feel his heart hammering in his chest from his nerves, but knew he might as well treat this like a band-aid by ripping it off and getting on with it.

“Thanks, Sammy...” He said, before taking a deep breath and readjusting his posture, “That’s actually...Not the main reason I called you though.”

Dean heard the pause over the line and could practically see the gears turning in his little brother’s head.

Oh? Then what was the main reason you called, Dean? An unexpected call is always appreciated, but it appears you have something deeper on your mind.”

“Well, it kinda has to do with something you asked earlier. About how if I had a new “lady friend” in my sights?”

Oh yeah! So what’s the news on that dude, am I gonna be meeting a new girl when I come down next?” Sam asked, and Dean could hear the frivolity in his tone once again.

“Well...” Dean started, “Not exactly, Sam.”

Not exactly? So you haven’t met someone yet then?”

Dean scrunched up his eyebrows and looked down at the floor, scuffing his shoe against it lightly.

“Er...No, I have, Sammy.”

A moment of silence rang on the other end before he heard his brother’s voice again.

Then, I don’t get what you mean by that, Dean. You just said that there was no lady friend. But you’ve met someone? Then doesn’t that mean you do have a lady friend?”

“Sam...” He said with a sigh, trying to cut into his brother’s words.

Or have you just not asked her out yet? Ohh, you probably haven’t asked her out yet, is that what it is?”

“Sammy, no, listen to me okay?” He tried breaking in again.

It’s okay Dean, I get it! Everyone gets cold feet every now and then, there’s nothing to be ashamed of! I’m sure once you take her out on a date or two, then-”

“SAM, no, shut up and listen to me!!” Dean yelled into the telephone, and cringed when Sam immediately shut up, and silence rang through the box. A few moments passed before Sam spoke once again.

Okay, I’m sorry Dean. I’m all ears. What’s really up, man?”

Dean looked down at the floor once again, before he took a shaky breath.

“I did meet someone, okay? I...I met a guy. And...I really like him. I really, really like him,” He said, pausing, and gulping once before continuing, “And we’re dating now, Sam. He’s my boyfriend.”

A few long, agonizing moments of silence encompassed the telephone line, before a soft chuckle broke the quiet, and Dean almost sobbed in relief that his brother was making any noise at all.

I was wondering when you’d get the courage to come out to me. I’m so happy for you, Dean. And above anything else, I’m extremely proud, and grateful that you’re calling me to tell me this.” Sam said, and Dean felt many different emotions rush over him, with relief winning out, and he gave a grateful laugh.

“Fuck, Sam, are you serious? How...When….How the hell did you figure it out?”

Another small laugh came from the other end of the telephone and Dean honestly didn’t think he could feel more joyful at such a sound.

I know Dad tried to hide a lot of things from me, and trust me, I’ll never forgive him for what he did to you, but even he couldn’t hide that from me, Dean. We’re brothers, remember? It’s my duty to snoop into your personal life when you least expect it.”

“So...you read some of my letters to my exes or something?”

Well, yes, but I also might’ve snuck up on you in your room when you were with some of them cause I was bored and wanted to know what you were doing. I did it once and never did it again though, cause trust me, even though I love you Dean, there are some things a little brother should never see of on their older brother.”

Dean felt the heat spread across his cheeks and rubbed the back of his head as he gave a nervous laugh.

“Shit, man, I’m sorry. I tried to keep my door locked but I guess I must’ve forgotten.”

It’s all good Dean, no hard feelings. I’m just glad you finally came to terms with yourself after well...Everything with dad.”

Dean sobered a little and nodded his head.

“Honestly I am too. I was getting there after he passed, but it really accelerated when I met ah...Well a special someone and some good friends.”

Ahh yes, the boyfriend right~?” Sam asked, and Dean could hear the curiosity and teasing in his voice. “And does this special boyfriend of yours have a name?”

Dean shook his head once more and laughed.

“Yeah, his name is Castiel. But everyone just calls him Cas.”

Ooh, religious, how about that. So who would’ve known that my own brother would be into defiling preachers’ sons.”

Dean laughed even more at that and grinned.

“You shut your mouth. And I’ll have you know that Cas is not religious himself, nor was his dad a preacher,” He said defiantly, before adding a bit more quietly, “Although you wouldn’t be too far off on his parents...He was adopted and I guess his mom’s a bit of a religious fanatic. Named all her children after the angels of the lord.”

Huh, who would’ve thought. In any case, I’d really love to meet this ‘Cas’ the next time I come down. Give him the ole’ Winchester Welcome, you know?” Sam said, and Dean could hear the grin in his brother’s voice.

“You better not suffocate my boyfriend with that bear hug of yours, you old moose,” Dean said, the grin now practically plastered on his face, “But yeah, I can introduce you guys. Heck, if you were ever into guys yourself, I’d say I could even try hooking you up with his brother, Gabriel. The dude’s my roommate, open minded, and seems like he’d be your type, if either of you guys were up for that.”

Sam gave a hardy laugh over the telephone line, and Dean’s smile softened.

Thanks, Dean, the offer’s much appreciated but so far I’m pretty happy with Eileen. I’ll tell you though if that ever changes.”

Dean blinked a little and quirked his head curiously. That didn’t sound like denial of other admissions.

“So...If you weren’t dating Eileen, you’re saying you’d be interested in the idea of hooking up with a dude, Gabriel to be more specific?”

A moment’s pause resounded on the line before Sam chuckled once more.

You got me, bro. I’ve never tried to limit myself, regardless of what the world seems to think in the moment,” Sam started before giving a slight pause, “What I’m saying is that I currently consider myself heterosexual. However, I’m also saying that if the opportunity ever presented itself, and I found myself falling for someone of the same sex, then I wouldn’t limit my possible happiness on something so arbitrary as gender.” He took another pause.

So no, I wouldn’t have any qualms in dating a dude, and if the feelings were there, then I’d actually be quite open to it. But as of right now, I’m currently quite happy with Eileen.”

Dean took a moment to let that all digest, before a wide smile appeared on his face.

“Damn, Sammy. Thank you for sharing that with me,” Dean said, “Can I ask when you figured out you felt that way though?”

When I overheard one of the first fights you got into with dad over your sexuality. Something you said stuck with me, and it was that love is pure and beautiful and shouldn’t be judged based on the reproductive organ someone has in their pants.”

That really stuck out to me, cause while I know I have a preference more towards women, I also realized in that moment that if I ever met the right guy, then I shouldn’t be scared or limit myself to miss out on a possible life filled with happiness and love, just cause I didn’t open myself up to the possibility cause the dude has a dick in his pants. I guess I should probably thank you for that, Dean, cause as such I’ve made it a point to try to lead my life in a way I hope is unbiased and loving towards everyone and their circumstances.”

Dean couldn’t wipe the grin off his face if he tried, and even felt a small tear prick in the corner of his eye.

“Not a problem, man. I’m glad I could help, and I’m proud of you. I’m sure mom would be even prouder.”

You should use those words for yourself, Dean. She’d be just as proud of you. I’m just sorry dad tainted your perception of yourself for so long, and it kinda does sadden me it took you this long to be comfortable enough to tell me. In any case, I am glad and happy for you, and the leaps and bounds you’ve made recently.”

Dean chuckled softly, and gave a bigger smile when he noticed Castiel staring at him again, with a smile of his own.

“Thank you, Sammy. I definitely had some help though, that’s for sure…”

You’re welcome, Dean. And yeah, you’re definitely going to have to introduce me to Cas when I come down there.”

“You can count on it.” Dean said. He heard the sound of someone calling for Sam in the distance from the telephone, and smiled some.

Hey listen man, this heart-to-heart has been nice and I’m really glad to have gotten to talk to you and that you’re doing fine and are happy, but I really gotta jet. Eileen is calling me for dinner and you know what it’s like keeping them waiting.” Sam said with a bit of a laugh of his own.

Dean smiled and nodded, even though he knew Sam couldn’t see it.

“It was really nice talking to you too, Sammy. I’ll write to you soon, alright?”

Alright, that sounds good man. I’ll talk to you soon!”

“Talk to you later, Sammy. Bye.”

Bye, Dean.”

With that the dial tone rung out on the telephone, and Dean set it back in it’s cradle. He walked out of the box and towards the awaiting visages of Castiel and Gabriel, both of whom were giving him hopeful smiles.

Dean stuffed his hands in his pockets and gave them a wide grin of his own, and when the two siblings saw that, their smiles widened as well. When Dean got within a few inches of Cas, he hesitated before he threw caution to the wind, and pulled Cas against himself and pressed a deep kiss against his lips. Castiel let out a “mmf!” of surprise, before he placed his hands on Dean’s hips, and kissed him back happily.

Gabriel looked around the empty parking lot make to sure there were no hidden onlookers, and then back at the shop window to see if anyone was looking outside. When he didn’t see anything suspicious, he sighed in relief and then adjusted himself to block the view of his brother and Dean from the glass windows of the shop a little better, and gave them a happy look.

When Dean broke away, he gave Castiel a large, happy grin, and looked up at Gabriel to give him the same one.

“Thank you guys, so much. He was so supportive and understanding, and even wants to meet you, Cas.”

Cas chuckled softly and quirked his head a little with a large grin of his own, while gently rubbing his thumbs across the partially exposed skin of Dean’s hips.

“I’d love to meet your brother, Dean. I’m glad I was approved by him,” Castiel said happily, “You’ll have to tell me the full story later.”

Dean nodded, and Gabriel gave the man a hearty pat on the back as he gave them a grin of his own.

“I had a feeling it would turn out well. I think this calls for a celebration,” Gabriel started, pulling out his wallet, “How bout we head back to the farm and relax and freshen up a little, and then we all go out to a diner and enjoy this fine Saturday night.” He said with a grin.

“Cas, I’ll even invite Charlie out so you can tell her all about “Mr. Freckled Green Eyes” from Ma and Pop Jones’ diner down south and what has become of him.” The shorter man said with a wink.

Castiel’s eyes widened, and he groaned as he pressed his face into Dean’s chest to cover his embarrassment.

“God Gabe, why do you do this to me?”

“Only cause I love ya, little bro!” He said, ruffling Castiel’s hair.

Meanwhile Dean was casting them both confused looks, before it all clicked. He remembered Castiel from the diner, but only just then did it finally sink in that the other man with the trio was Gabriel, and the woman must’ve been this Charlie they were talking about.

“Holy shit, that was you, Gabriel?!” Dean exclaimed, “I only caught you from behind, I didn’t know that was you with Cas!!”

Gabriel quirked an eyebrow and laughed.

“C’mon Dean-o, of course it was me, duh. The fiery redhead with us is Charlie, just so you know. And I know she’s going to be dying to meet you, after how much Cassie here talked about you when you left the diner that night.” Gabriel said, grabbing his keys and twirled them around his index finger.

Castiel groaned even louder and clenched his fingers into Dean’s hips a little tighter.

Dean however laughed happily at this though, and wrapped his arms around Castiel to pull him into a tight hug.

“I’m glad I made such a lasting impression, then. I’d love to meet her, too.” He said, before letting go of his boyfriend and moving his hand to intertwine their fingers, close to themselves.

“We should probably get going soon if we want to get changed and relax however.” Dean said, and Gabriel and Castiel both nodded.

The Winchester turned and opened the back door for Castiel, and he gratefully entered and sat down. Gabriel followed into the driver’s seat, and when Dean got into the backseat next to Cas, he noticed the man staring at the floorboards with a blush.

Dean chuckled at this and scooted close next to him, gently wrapping an arm around him to pull him snug against his chest, before lowering his head to whisper into his ear.

“Hey, no need to be so embarrassed sunshine. I’m actually kinda touched in a way that I made such an impression on you, especially since that was the night I got fired, kicked out of my house, and dumped by my fiancee. I could’ve sworn I probably didn’t look too friendly in that moment.”

Castiel looked up and smiled a bit, leaning into the warmth of Dean. He shook his head with a grin.

“You caught my eye, what can I say?”

Dean smiled at that, and bent down to kiss the top of his head. Gabriel started up the car and soon enough, they were pulling off onto the highway, back towards Singer Farms.

A few moments of companionable silence rang through the car, before something clicked with Castiel, and his eyes widened. He whipped his head up to Dean to look up at him as best as he could from his angle.

“You were engaged??” He blurted out, before his eyes widened at the fact that he really had just blurted that out of nowhere.

Dean quirked an eyebrow at that and looked down at Cas with a smile.

“Yeah, to Stephanie. I thought I told you about her before?” He asked with a bit of confusion. He knew in one of their many talks together, that he had to have told Cas about his engagement to her before. The small frown on Cas’ face told him otherwise though.

“You told me that you had a girlfriend named Stephanie, and that you were kicked out by her when you caught her cheating on you, yes. I didn’t know that you two were engaged, however.” The raven haired man explained.

Dean frowned a bit at this himself, before settling back more comfortably into his seat, and adjusting Cas with him.

“I’m sorry, sunshine. I could’ve sworn I told you,” Dean started, “I guess I didn’t cause I suppose it didn’t really matter as much to me. Yeah I was upset, but the more that I think about it, I don’t think I ever truly was happy with her, nor was she ever really happy with me. I honestly just popped the question to her cause I thought I wasn’t going to meet anyone else, and I was pressured by friends for news of wedding bells.” He said with a sigh.

Castiel frowned even more at this, and supportively sat a hand on one of Dean’s wrapped around his stomach.

“I’m sorry to hear that, Dee. A union made out of mutual dissatisfaction only results in resentment and a life of unhappiness down the line, so I suppose it was a good thing that you caught her cheating on you.” Cas said.

Dean looked down at him once again and gave him a tender smile.

“Yeah I guess it was. Plus, if I hadn’t then I never would’ve gotten to meet you. In the time I’ve known you, you’ve already made me a thousand times happier than I ever was with her.” He said, pressing another kiss to Castiel’s head.

Castiel chuckled and gave him a bright smile.

“Things do happen for a reason, don’t they? I’m glad, as well.” He said. From the front seat of the car, Gabriel gave a fond smile as he listened, and watched the road as he drove. He really was happy for his brother and his roommate.

Both of them settled in for the ride, and Dean smiled when he felt Castiel twine their fingers together.

Yeah,’ He thought, ‘Things really do happen for a reason, don’t they?’


 

Soon enough the trio was pulling back into the parking lot of the farm, the crunch of gravel underneath the tires making the car a little bumpy.

When Gabriel killed the engine and pulled his keys out, he let out a bit of a yawn, stretched, and then turned back in his seat to look at the couple. Dean had a lapful of Castiel’s sleeping upper form and was stroking the fingers from his free hand through the man’s hair. Soft snores came from Castiel, and Dean turned to look back at Gabriel with a grin, and whispered softly.

“Is he always this sleepy?”

Gabriel shook his head with a grin.

“Not at all. He doesn’t let himself relax like that unless he’s around people he really likes and trusts, which is usually just family. You should be flattered, Dean. He’s like putty in your hands.” Gabriel replied, just as quietly, and with an equally silent laugh afterwards.

Dean grinned wider and gently untwined the fingers of his one hand, and untugged Castiel’s shirt from his pants gently to expose part of his bare stomach and side. He nodded to Gabriel with a mischievous look.

“I’m gonna do it. I’m gonna tickle him awake.” He said quietly.

Gabriel laughed even more at that, still taking care to remain silent, as he gave him a quirked eyebrow afterwards.

“Good luck with that, he’s a fighter. I hold no responsibility if my brother breaks your jaw.” He said.

Dean rolled his eyes before using his hand to gently cascade his fingertips slowly up Castiel’s bare side, and then back down again. He took care to apply no more pressure than that of a feather, and continued the repetitive skirting motion until Cas started to groan and stir.

“Cas...~” Dean called out quietly and in a sing song voice, “Time to wake up, baby...”

Castiel groaned softly and squirmed as Dean continued the back and forth motion with his fingers. When he picked up the pace however, Castiel let out a loud yelp of surprise and Dean had a split second to pull away his fingers before everything went black for a moment, and he felt agonizing pain coming from his nose.

“Fuck!!” He yelped out, and covered his nose quickly.

Dean felt Cas scramble upright and turn to him, and spew out a string of apologies that he couldn’t even begin to focus on as he held Dean’s face gently in his hands. He vaguely heard Gabriel laughing as well, but was too focused on his throbbing nose to care.

“Fuck, shit shit shit I’m so sorry Dean!!” Castiel exclaimed, trying to get Dean to uncover his nose, “Here here, let me see okay, let me see?” He said gently, and Dean groaned in pain and uncovered his nose.

Castiel let out a small gasp as he saw the blood running down his boyfriend’s face, and felt horrible knowing that he caused that. He quickly pulled off his shirt and balled it up, and gently cradled Dean’s face with one hand as he used the other to press the shirt against his nose to try and stifle the blood.

Gabriel took a sharp intake of breath when he saw the blood, and unlocked the doors.

“I’m going to go grab some ice for you Dean, alright? I’ll be right back.” He said, before he quickly bolted out the door, closed it, and ran towards the direction of the farm.

Dean’s eyes widened slightly and he cringed a little when Cas pressed the shirt against his nose, but placed his hands on the older man’s hips to have something to hold on to.

“Cas...That’s a good shirt babe, I feel bad that you’re ruining it like this since you probably won’t be able to wear it again after this...” Dean said weakly. To be honest the shirt did concern him, but the throbbing of his nose made it difficult to concentrate on anything other than his nose.

Cas shushed him and used the hand holding Dean’s face to gently stroke the man’s bangs back.

“A shirt is the least of my worries right now, Dee. I’m so sorry. I’m so very sorry, I didn’t mean to hurt you...” He said, and the Winchester could see the beginnings of tears appear in the corner of his eyes, and he knew Castiel was being completely genuine.

Dean’s gaze softened as he let Cas tend to him, and he used the non-bloody back of his hand to gently rub at Castiel’s cheek.

“Hey, no tears, sunshine. Gabe warned me this might happen, so honestly it’s my fault for still waking you up like that, knowing what could happen.”

Castiel chuckled softly and used his free hand to rub at his eyes.

“Yeah, I guess I am a bit of a fighter when woken up, aren’t I?” He said, jokingly.

Dean laughed some right back, but cringed more when it put pressure on his quickly bruising nose.

“I guess you are, honey. But I’m a really grumpy morning person, so I guess it all balances out.” He said, joking about himself as well.

Castiel gave Dean a soft smile before gently removing the shirt from his nose to see if the blood was slowing down. Noticing that it seemed to be stopped for the most part, he sighed in relief and gently rubbed Dean’s nose to get the last bits of blood off.

Dean winced and groaned quietly, and Cas softly shushed him as he dabbed at the last remnants of blood.

“Shh..shh..It’s alright love. I’m almost done...” Castiel said, and soon enough the blood was all wiped away.

Dean gave him a tired smiled and nodded, but Castiel grimaced upon noticing the bruising set in a bit.

“I’m so sorry again, Dean. I really didn’t mean to do that.”

The Winchester laughed a little and shook his head, gently pulling his boyfriend closer on his lap.

“Cas, really, it’s okay. I knew the risks and still tickled you. So thank you, for helping get me cleaned up.”

Castiel smiled and relented at that, and nodded before leaning forward to press a gentle kiss into the man’s lips.

Dean smiled and leaned into the kiss as well, but broke away when the sound of the driver’s door opening interrupted them.

Gabriel panted, seemingly out of breath as he kneeled in his seat and handed Cas a small bag of ice and new shirt over the back of his seat.

“There you guys go,” He said in between pants, “I tried to be as quick as I could, but I’m not in as great of shape as I used to be.” Gabriel admitted.

Castiel shook his head and sent his brother an appreciative smile.

“It’s alright, Gabe. Thank you for grabbing these and helping.” He said, before wrapping the bloody shirt with the clean side facing outwards around the bag of ice, and carefully pressing it to Dean’s nose.

Dean hissed in pain before settling down, and closing his eyes.

“Thanks, Gabe. And thank you too, Cas.” He said tiredly.

“Not a problem, Dean-o.” Gabriel said with a smile.

“Do you think you can hold the ice while I put the new shirt on, Dee?” Castiel asked tentatively.

Dean nodded, and kept his eyes closed as he lifted one hand to hold on to the bag of ice. With this, Castiel was able to quickly put on the new shirt, and took the bag of ice back to hold for his boyfriend when he was done.

The Winchester groaned once again, and a few more moments of silence passed before he broke it once more.

“We should probably get going soon though, guys...As much as I love your car, Gabe, I would much prefer being in bed for the moment.” He said, opening his eyes and giving them a smile.

Gabriel shook his head with a smile of his own, and nodded.

“Alright, that sounds good to me. Cassie, I’m assuming you can take him back to our cabin alright?”

Castiel shot his brother an annoyed look before nodding.

“That’s an easy answer Gabe, but yes I can.” He said, removing the ice pack and grabbing Dean’s hand to carefully guide him out of the car after opening the door.

Dean went along tiredly but easily, and closed the door behind him when they both were out. Gabriel closed his own door behind himself and turned to the couple.

Castiel had gone back to tending to Dean again, and was carefully holding the ice bag to his nose with one hand, and holding his hand with the other.

Dean chuckled softly and took the bag into his own hand and shot Cas an appreciative look, saying that he could hold his own bag of ice.

Castiel smiled and nodded, but kept holding his hand, and Gabriel clapped his hands together once, smiling at the both of them.

“Alright boys, I’m going to go to Charlie’s place to invite her down for the celebration. Meet me back here at nineteen-hundred, alright?” He asked.

Both Castiel and Dean gave a nod in understanding, and Gabriel nodded back, before looking at their conjoined hands with concern.

“And... just be careful, okay? Remember, while I love and support you guys with my whole heart, not too many people here share my sentiments. So just...stay safe, alright?” The shorter brunette asked in concern. He hated even having to tell his little brother and roommate that, but he knew what people were like in this day and age, and many of them were not too nice at all.

Castiel gave a frown, but nodded in understanding, and Dean did the same, and hesitantly let go of the blue-eyed man’s hand.

They both gave a sigh of resigned acknowledgment, and nodded once again to Gabriel.

“Don’t worry Gabe, we know, and we’ll be careful,” Castiel said, before Dean picked up for him, “And I’ll make sure Cas stays safe, okay? We’ll see you back here soon.”

Gabriel smiled a bit sadly at the two, before nodding as well.

“Thank you, you two. I’ll see you back here soon.” He said, before hopping back into his car and starting the engine.

Dean and Castiel stood out of the way together and watched as Gabriel pulled out, and waved at him as he headed back out of farm.

The blond looked over at his boyfriend before giving him a grin to try and lighten the mood.

“So we have about three hours to kill. Wanna head back to my cabin and see what to do from there?” He asked.

Castiel chuckled lightly before giving him a nod.

“Let’s get going then, Dee.” He said and walked towards the direction of the gate of the farm, and Dean followed along at his side. As they entered the gates of the farm, they both smiled softly to themselves. Even though they couldn’t hold hands in public, it still filled them both with mutual joy as they thought over the events of the day. Perhaps, miracles really did happen after all.

Chapter Text

The duo had made it back to Dean and Gabriel’s cabin without much incident, and easily enough. They had been stopped a few times on the way as some concerned farmhands asked if Dean was alright, being a mixture of both concerned and inquisitive over the light purple bruises forming at the bridge of Dean’s nose and under his eyes. The Winchester brushed them all off easily, saying that he got into a fight with some gang at the gas station over a taken gas pump and loose change, and that it was nothing to fret over. Obviously, Dean had won the fight, and Castiel got to stand off to the side with a knowing smile as one of the younger farmhands, Adam Milligan if he remembered correctly, stared in awe and surprise as Dean recounted how he had single-handedly taken down three guys twice his size.

It was clear that Dean had made a lasting impression on the youngster, who was still seventeen, young and bright-eyed at the world, and in needing of a role model to look up to. Dean had given the kid a bright grin and ruffled his hair, and had obviously taken a liking to him. He told the kid that if ever needed help or wanted to hang out that he’d always be willing for a new friend, and with a bright smile, Adam had walked away after nodding his consent and agreement, promising to see them later after he got done cleaning up his cabin.

When Dean and Castiel got back to the blond’s cabin, he had closed the door shut, drawn the curtains, flicked on the lights, and dragged the blue-eyed man to bed with him where they promptly spent the better part of ten minutes making out with each other and enjoying the other’s company.

After settling down, Cas laid back against the Winchester’s pillows and dragged the tired blond’s form against his chest, wrapped his arms around him comfortingly, and buried his face into the soft tufts of hair atop his boyfriend’s head, soothed by the familiar scent. Dean hummed in contentment and let his eyes fall closed as they spent the moment just enjoying each other’s presence.

“That was a real nice thing you did for Adam out there,” Cas said softly, “He’s new around here and doesn’t seem to make friends as easy as he is so young. I tried once to be his friend, but he’s just so shy.”

Dean chuckled and rested his cheek against Cas’ chest, adjusting to wrap himself around the tender stomach of the man.

“It wasn’t too long ago that I was his age, and I still remember it vividly. What can I say, I have a soft spot for youngsters. It was kinda like speaking to a little brother again.”

“That was still great, Dee,” Cas replied, using one hand to run through Dean’s hair, “Speaking of which, how was your brother? You said you’d tell me the full story later.”

A smile broke out on Dean’s face as he remembered the conversation with his younger brother earlier.

“Turns out the brat knew about me and my inclination towards guys the whole time. He was just waiting for me to come out to him,” Dean said, while rubbing his cheek against Castiel’s chest gently as to not disturb his bruises more, “God, I’m so glad he’s my younger brother. He was really supportive and understanding.”

“That sounds like me and my brothers. This was before Luci came out as a girl, and I was so terrified that my brothers were going to disown and hate me,” Cas said, with a bit of wistfulness to his voice, “But I told Gabriel first, as I’ve always been the closest to him, and he wrapped me in the biggest hug and told me that just because I like guys and not girls, that that doesn’t make me any less his little brother.”

The blue-eyed man took a pause before he continued on, and Dean gave his full attention, turning and lifting his head to look on at him.

“So with his help, I told Michael, then Luci, then Sammy, then Raphael, and then Anna. And each one of them gave me a hug and told me how much they love me, and that nothing would change between them and me. It was honestly one of the greatest days of my life.”

The Winchester smiled as he listened to Castiel, but he was curious about how his parents took it.

“That’s awesome, sunshine. I can’t help but ask though, how did your parents take it? They weren’t too upset were they?”

He heard a long pause before Cas took what sounded like a sigh, and he knew that was probably not a good sign.

“My dad wasn’t too upset or against it, however…I can’t really say the same about my mom.” He said, before continuing, “That’s part of the reason why I’ve been working here since I was seventeen. My dad tried to stop her, but she threw a raging fit, accused me of committing one of the greatest sins and said she would refuse to keep an abomination under her care. So she kicked me out, disowned me, threw away all of my stuff, and refused to let me back in.”

Dean winced and felt his heart fill with sorrow for his boyfriend. The man had already been through so much, and then to be thrown out by the family that had taken him in because they wanted to adopt and care for him? The only family he had ever really known? That was inexcusable.

“Damn, Cas...I’m...so sorry babe. That’s just...horrible.” Dean was at a loss for words, and stared on at him, hoping to convey just how much his heart went out to him.

Cas gave him a soft, reassuring smile and shook his head, telling him it was alright.

“It wasn’t so bad, Dee. Gabriel threw a fit almost as big right back at our mom, and told her that if she disowned me, then she might as well disown him as well because he refused to live with a “mom” that would do that to their own child,” Cas supplied, “I tried to persuade him against it but he wouldn’t listen.”

“So that same night, Gabriel packed up his bags, got my belongings out of the trash and packed them as well, and we said our goodbyes to our siblings and dad. They were against what my mom was doing as well, but had to stay there. Sam was too young, and the three had to look out for him as they knew mom probably wasn’t far from a mental break, and my dad had to stay to look out for all of them.”

“Michael and Luci got jobs, Luci moved out, and then along with my dad, they continue to send money to us each month. It’s not much, but it helps a lot.” Castiel finished, and gave Dean a tired smile.

“But, that’s ultimately a large reason I’m not religious. If religion can do this to a family, tear it apart and turn a mother against her own child...” The raven-haired man said, shaking his head, “And then if there is a god, and he and his followers can preach about love and how he “loves” all his children, but apparently not homosexuals? When we’re supposed to be his children as well? All because we love someone that has the same thing in their pants as us?” Cas’ voice got a bit louder, and the built up anger was palpable. Dean frowned and stroked a reassuring finger across the man’s knuckles.

“That’s not love, Dean. That’s conditional love, and love should never come with conditions.” Castiel finished with a tired, broken sigh.

Looking at him now, Dean felt and saw the weight of a decade’s worth of pent up sorrow, regret, and anger built up in the man, and saw it slowly simmer and fizzle out. He agreed with Cas, on everything. A family should never be split like it had with Cas’ over something such as religion. The only reason he ever really went to sermon in his teen years was due to his father, and then he continued the sessions as it had become what he was used to, until recently. He felt horrible for Castiel though; at least his life had been shitty from the time he was four. He was used to it. Cas had actually grown up in a loving household for almost his whole life, only to have it stripped away all without a second thought when he was seventeen. That’s not something easily recovered from.

“God, Cas…I don’t even know what to say...I’m so sorry, sunshine….” Dean said, pulling himself up on Castiel’s body to wrap his arms around him as he laid on him. Castiel held him close and stroked his hands down the man’s back, almost as if he was trying to comfort him over himself.

“My mom died when I was four, but I remember that she always loved me for who I was, and always said that no matter what happened, she’d always be proud of me and would love me. From the time I was four, however, my dad took over the parenting duties...and well...he was abusive to say the least. Which only got escalated when he found out I liked boys as well as girls.” Dean took a sigh himself and continued on.

“It didn’t matter that I like them equally, all that meant to my dad was that I was still a “cockslut”, “whore”, and a “faggot” that needed to be taught multiple lessons and “straightened out”. To him I was no more than a monster that leeched off his income, even though most of it went out in beer and alcohol while I quit school and worked to make sure bills got paid and Sammy got fed and could go to school.”

Cas looked on at Dean with sympathy and sorrow for him as he continued to rub his back soothingly, giving him his full attention.

“But I mean, at least I lived with that my whole life. I got used to it, and yeah I still have some issues to work out in myself cause of that, but I’m getting there. I can’t imagine what you must’ve went through Cas. You had a loving family for basically your whole life, that got taken away from you the moment you decided to come out to your parents. That’s just…fucked up.” The blond finished, and used one of his hands to gently knead at Cas’ side.

Cas shook his head and gave his partner a sad look.

“Dean, both of our situations are fucked up. But you really got the bad end of the deal, love,” He said, using one of his hands to stroke back Dean’s hair, “At least I still have a father that loves me, and many siblings that would do anything for me. While you have Sam, that still doesn’t change the fact that you, in essence, never had a parental figure that loved and raised you. You had to raise yourself, and your little brother.” Castiel said, and shook his head.

“And...I’m so sorry you had to go through that, Dee...I really am...” He finished softly, and leaned forward to kiss the top of his head.

Dean relaxed into the touch and closed his eyes as he sighed. He supposed his life really was fucked up, when he got to thinking about it.

“It’s okay Cas, really. That all is long in the past, and I still have a brother that loves me exactly the way I am,” He said, lifting his head to give Castiel a fond look, “And I have you now too, an amazing boyfriend. And a few great friends around the farm, one of which being your brother. I have a good paying job, a roof over my head, and a warm bed. I would say my life is pretty great right now.”

Cas gave a small laugh and shook his head, closing his eyes in turn.

“I can’t wait for you to meet the rest of my family. They’re going to love you, especially my dad. Although you may have to wait a little longer to meet him, since he can’t get down here too often.” The shorter man said softly.

Dean smiled against Castiel’s chest, and closed his eyes back as well.

“I can’t wait. I’m excited for you to meet Sam as well; I could tell from the phone call that he already likes you.” Dean said.

“I’m glad, then.” Castiel replied, before opening his eyes and looking towards the draped window. There was barely any light breaking through the curtain anymore, and his eyes widened when he realized they must’ve been laying around longer than he originally thought.

“Hey Dee, I think it’s close to seven. We should probably get changed so we can head down to meet Gabriel.”

Dean groaned softly and reached underneath his pillow past Castiel for a pocket watch that he usually always carried on himself. His mother had left it for him in her passing when he was younger, and he never went anywhere without it. Flipping it open, his eyes widened and he groaned when the hands read ‘six forty-eight’.

“Shit, Cas. We got twelve minutes to be down there.” He groaned softly as he placed the watch into the pocket of his jeans, kneeled to hover above Castiel momentarily, and then grinned as he lowered himself to give him a quick kiss. Castiel responded happily, and then blinked when Dean threw himself off the bed quickly. The blond stretched, casting the shorter man a cocky grin before he headed towards his dresser to grab a new shirt and jeans.

“Do you need new jeans or are yours good?” He asked.

Castiel looked down at the jeans he was wearing that Dean had lent him earlier that day. They looked in perfect shape, so he shook his head no, and stood up to stretch as well.

“No, I should be good. Thank you anyways, though.” He replied, and Dean nodded with a smile.

The blond quickly tugged off the blood stained shirt he was wearing and threw it into the laundry basket he had in his corner of the cabin. Shucking off his shoes, he unbuttoned his jeans and unzipped his pants, before he looked up at his boyfriend with a grin. Castiel was staring at him with a look that spelled wary desire, almost as if he wasn’t sure if it was appropriate for him to be staring or feeling the way he was.

Dean laughed softly and waltzed over to him, before he sat the shorter man’s hands on the loosened waist of his pants.

“I think I’m stuck...Do you think you can give me a little help, Cas?” He asked, never losing the grin.

Castiel still seemed a bit wary, but gave a smile himself and nodded as he took both sides of the waist of Dean’s pants, and slowly lowered them down, bending down on his knees as he shucked the jeans to the blond’s ankles.

Dean kicked the jeans off his ankles, and Cas took the jeans in his hands and tossed them in the general direction of the man’s laundry basket. Looking up at Dean, he stared at him with contained heat as he stayed down on his crouched level.

The Winchester gave his boyfriend a seductive smile that still held fondness to it as he stepped closer to Cas so his crotch was level with the man’s face. Using one hand, he ruffled his fingers through the raven-black tresses, and teased at them before he bent down slightly to Cas’ level to grab at his hands. He fixed Cas with his own heated stare, before he let it turn completely fond.

“I’m your boyfriend now, Cas,” He said softly, and the man stared at him like he was his whole world, “Never feel afraid to touch me if you want to. I’ll tell you if I’m not feeling up for it.” Dean continued before chuckling.

“Although, knowing me and my libido, I’ll always be up for it,” He said with a wink, “I’m yours though, just as much as you’re mine. Never forget that.” The Winchester finished, giving him a reassuring, loving kiss, before breaking away and placing Cas’ hands on his rear encouragingly.

Castiel took the hint and stood up quickly, pressing his body against Dean’s as he rushed him into a heated kiss. He kneaded at the blond’s rear with his fingertips and turned them around to push Dean back onto the top of his bed. Dean fell with a loud “mmf” of surprise, and laughed joyously as Castiel worked his way from his neck, down his body, plastering him with kisses and nibbles at each bit of exposed skin. Dean threw his legs up to try and wrap them around Cas, but Castiel caught them and placed them over his shoulders, before he broke away panting, and staring at him with desire.

“This is not what I intended, I just wanted to touch you...” He said with a grin, before continuing, “But it appears as if I couldn’t help myself...You’re just so perfect...In every way...”

Dean smiled flirtatiously before he adjusted himself in his underwear.

“I tend to have that kind of affect on people, I’ve noticed,” He said, before gasping when Castiel quickly bent down to suck a dark spot into the side of his hip. The shorter man held onto the blond’s legs over his shoulders as he did so, and Dean dug his hands into the dark hair, moaning out softly.

When Cas broke away, both men were panting heavily and staring at each other with glazy-eyed desire.

“How much time did you say we had again?” Cas asked.

“About eight or nine minutes now, by this point.” Dean replied.

“So enough time to finish this?”

Dean felt a shiver run down his spine and his cock twitch in anticipation. He wet his lips and sent Castiel a wide grin.

“Oh hell yes,” Dean replied, “Now get your ass down here so you can ravish me correctly.”

Castiel gave a predatory grin, and Dean felt his heart thump out of his chest. He was so fucked, in every sense of the word.

“As you wish, Dean.”

Castiel adjusted Dean’s legs around his shoulders before he quickly took hold of the waistband of the blond’s underwear, and ripped it down the middle and through one of the leg holes. Dean’s eyes widened and he hissed a little when his erection was hit with a gust of sudden cool air from no longer being confined in the tight cloth.

“Fuck, Cas,” He said airily, “That was a good pair of underwear, babe.”

Castiel looked up and Dean saw his eyebrow twitch in amusement before the man used one hand to yank the underwear off of his rear and cast it to the side.

“I’ll buy you two new pairs the next time we go out,” He said with a smirk, before lowering himself to be level with his boyfriend’s cock, “One, for each time I make you cum in the next eight minutes.”

Dean’s eyes widened.

“Shit, Cas, I’m not a teenager. My refractory period isn’t that great anymore, and- FUCK!” A quick wink was all the warning he got before wet warmth enveloped his aching dick, and Dean shouted out his surprise as he bucked into the heat.

Castiel was quick however, and grasped his hips to stop him from bucking in too far, and shot him with a pleased look. Dean shuddered as he gasped for air and stared down at the man with glazed eyes. He wove his fingers gently back through his boyfriend’s hair, and sucked in a quick breath when Cas slowly rose up his cock, taking care to swirl his tongue around the base and up to the tip. He repeated this motion on the way back down, and Dean swore if he died right then and there, that he’d die a happy man without any regrets. The blue-eyed man continued the similar motions for a few agonizing moments, before out of nowhere, he kicked it up a notch and sped up. Dean yelped and bucked into the feeling once more, but was stopped again by the hold his partner had on his hips. He moaned and writhed as he tugged gently at Castiel’s hair, completely at the mercy and whim of the man. The Winchester feebly tried to thrust into wet warmth, but didn’t manage to get far.

“Cas...Please, babe, please…” He managed to croak out.

Castiel looked up at him and slowed down, before slowly ascending up Dean’s erection, and giving the tip one last loving lick as he popped off of it. Dean whined pitifully as he removed his hands and laid them on his stomach.

“Caaasss...That’s not what I meant...” He whined out, and Cas smiled softly down at him.

“I know, love, I know...” He replied, before grasping Dean’s dick in his hand and giving it a few long strokes, “I think you’re going to like this though.”

Dean opened one eye to quirk an inquisitive eyebrow at his boyfriend, before nodding to prompt him to continue.

“I’m going to start sucking you off again, and I want you to lose yourself in the feeling. Thrust as hard and as fast as you want. I’m not going to stop you, love.”

Dean opened both eyes at this, and stared at him in confusion, scrunching up his eyebrows.

“Are you sure, Cas? I don’t want to hurt you...”

Castiel gave him a reassuring smile, and nodded, continuing the languid stroking motions with his hand.

“I’m sure. Just focus on chasing your pleasure, okay? Don’t worry about me, I’ll be fine.” He said.

Dean opened his mouth to protest once again, but was stopped when Cas suddenly wrapped his lips around his cock once more, held onto the legs still on his shoulders, and quickly deep-throated him into the back of his mouth.

Dean let out a loud yell and bucked harshly into warm cavern, and panted when Castiel stayed there, looking at him with mirth in his eyes, and quite clearly unaffected at having a dick shoved down his throat. Dean’s eyes widened in understanding, and he gave a shaky grin himself.

“You….You don’t have a gag reflex,” He said, running a hand through his own hair, “Fuck, Cas, that’s so hot.”

Castiel smirked around Dean’s cock and purred from the back of his throat to send vibrations through to Dean’s erection, and the Winchester moaned loudly at the feeling before he allowed himself to get lost in the sensations, and began thrusting into his mouth. Castiel stayed still as he let him, and kept eye contact with his boyfriend, both of them equally glazy-eyed and enjoying the moment.

Dean’s breath hitched as he kept pumping his cock into his boyfriend’s stationary mouth, and he gasped when he felt Cas’ tongue snake to lick around it with each thrust. Castiel removed one of his hands from Dean’s legs to gently roll the man’s balls in his hand, and Dean let out a loud moan in response. He picked up the pace, and soon enough he was thrusting deeper and deeper until his dick was hitting the back of his partner’s throat with each pump.

His hips and thrusts began to stutter as he felt himself edge closer and closer to the edge, and he gently tugged at the hair of his boyfriend to get his attention.

“Cas, Cas..” He breathed out, “I’m not going to last much longer sunshine.”

Castiel nodded his acknowledgment before he decided to help Dean along, and out of nowhere met Dean thrust for thrust by deep-throating him even further than what the blond was able to get by himself.

“Fuck!!” He yelled out, and his back bowed into the air as he clenched his eyes shut at feeling the start of his orgasm.

Castiel, however had different plans, and as soon as he felt the man’s dick twitch and the first shot of cum hit the back of his throat, he popped off and grabbed Dean legs by the back of his knees, and rolled Dean back to be balanced on his upper back by his ribs and shoulder blades. He raised the blond’s rear into the air and launched forward to lick quickly at his perineum, gently yet efficiently working it open with his saliva and the cum caught in his mouth as aid, before he shoved his tongue into Dean’s opening all at once and licked at his inner walls.

Dean screamed and thrusted back against the new sensations Castiel’s tongue was bringing him as his hole fluttered around the intrusion, and his vision went dark when he felt his second orgasm slam into him like a tidal wave. The Winchester stopped breathing and threw his head back as the new wave of pleasure washed over him, and he clenched his fingers tight enough into his bedspread that his knuckles turned white. Castiel kept up the licking to help him through his orgasm until he felt Dean finally start to slacken against him, and soon enough the blond let his legs fall to the side, and Cas removed his tongue.

When Castiel moved away from him to let the man’s legs rest against the bed properly, he giggled when he noticed the dazed and blank stare Dean was giving the ceiling as he laid there, panting with his stomach covered in his own cum.

Castiel kneeled down once more in front of him so he could gently work at getting the man cleaned up, licking up the remaining evidence of his pleasure till every last drop was gone. When he was finished, he rested his body over top of Dean’s, placing his elbows on either side of his body so he could rest his head in his hands. When Dean finally came back down from his high, he blinked at Castiel in awe and adoration as he continued panting.

“Fuck...Cas...”, He said in between gasps for air, “You...you just fuckin’ ate me out...”

Castiel smiled at him and winked, licking his lips for show.

“I promised you two orgasms, didn’t I?” He asked with a coy look in his eyes. “I don’t break my promises, Dee.”

Dean breathed heavily as he stared at him, and grinned widely as he ran a hand through his hair.

“That was fucking amazing, Cas.” He said, looking on at him with adoration.

Castiel felt his heart flutter and rubbed the back of his own head.

“It was really nothing, Dean. I’m glad you enjoyed it though.” He replied.

Dean was incredulous, and leaned up on his own elbows.

“You’re glad I just enjoyed it? Fuck, babe, that was the single best sex I’ve ever had. And I’ve been around the block a time or two. Cas-” Dean said, before he heard Cas hiss a little when his knee brushed against a bulge in his boyfriend’s pants.

The Winchester stopped and blinked a little, before a seductive grin came over him, and he pulled Castiel more up on to his body.

“It looks like we’re not quite done yet.”

Cas looked down at Dean from where he was now sitting on his stomach, and a slight blush came over him.

“No, it’s alright Dean. We should be heading out to meet up with Gabe now anyways, I’m sure by this point he’s waiting for us.”

Dean paid his boyfriend no mind however, and quickly unbuttoned and unzipped the man’s jeans, before using one hand to guide Cas to lift up a little, and then the other to shirk down the man’s pants and underwear.

Castiel drew in a quick breath when the sudden cool air hit his throbbing erection, and he looked on at Dean with heated look.

“Then,” Dean said, gently guiding Cas to get off of him and stand as he lowered himself to his knees, “I guess I should be quick then, huh?”

Dean took Cas’ cock in one hand, and he felt his boyfriend’s breath hitch when he gave it a few languid strokes, and rolled a drop of precum around the tip.

The Winchester smiled cockily up at him from his place on the ground, and Castiel looked back down at him with wide eyes.

“Gabe can wait a few minutes, but if you want to be quick, then we’ll be quick, nothing to worry about,” Dean continued, “So, I want you to fuck my mouth.” He felt Castiel’s breath hitch once more, and his grin widened.

“No holding back. Go as quick and as hard as you can, until you’re finished. I don’t want you to stop until then.”

Castiel blinked a little, and Dean noticed the blue-eyed man’s dick give a twitch in anticipation.

“Are you sure Dean?”

Dean smirked and positioned his boyfriend’s cock at the front of his mouth.

“No holding back, sunshine. We don’t want to keep your brother waiting, after all,” The blond said, before nodding once, “Go.”

With that, Dean took the dive and sucked Castiel’s cock to the back of his throat. Cas’ knees buckled and he almost fell right there, but he caught himself by holding onto Dean’s shoulders. Straightening himself back out, he stood back up and kept his hold on the blond’s shoulders as he gave a hesitant thrust forward.

Dean took it easily enough, and encouraged him with a nod and a wink, keeping eye contact with him. Castiel’s breath shuddered again as he moved his hands to tangle his fingers into the now messy mop of blond hair on top of Dean’s head. He gently stroked his fingers through it comfortingly as he picked up the pace, and soon enough he was a gasping mess as he slammed his hips into the waiting hole.

Dean aided by licking at the underside of Cas’ erection as it slid back and forth over his tongue, wincing only slightly when his boyfriend started losing himself to the sensations, and slamming his dick to the back of his throat.

Castiel’s eyes slid closed, barely cracked open as he tried to keep eye contact with Dean, and Dean gave him soft looks of encouragement right back.

Soon enough Castiel’s breathing became more labored, and Dean watched with fascination as the man’s mouth fell open. For the most part the shorter man seemed to be a quiet partner, until Dean angled his tongue just right so that it got caught briefly on the slit at the top of his dick when Castiel was thrusting back in. At that, Cas let out a loud moan and closed his eyes as he picked up the pace even more, letting out breathy moans every few seconds.

Dean reached up and gently started rubbing his hands up and down his boyfriend’s legs in encouragement, and soon enough his thrusts started to become erratic. Castiel began to pause every few thrusts and dig his erection into the spot it was stopped at like his life depended on it.

“I...I’m not gonna last much longer, Dee...” He managed to breathe out.

Dean nodded his encouragement and began meeting Castiel thrust for thrust with his mouth, just as the man had done for him. He could’ve sworn he heard footsteps at the small steps leading up to the door, but paid no mind to it when Castiel’s hips stuttered for the last time.

“Fuck, Dean!!” Castiel yelled out, and slammed his hips into Dean’s mouth.

The blue-eyed man bowed over Dean’s body, his upper half lurched over Dean’s head as his hands grasped tightly into his shoulder blades and back. Dean kept him steady by holding on to his legs, and he shivered as he felt Castiel’s cum rush down his throat.

His eyes snapped open when he heard the door open, however, but knew there was nothing he could do now.

“Hey guys, are you almost read- OH HOLY FUCK MY EYES!!” The voice of Gabriel had called out to them, and as quick as the door had been opened, Dean heard it slammed shut, and he felt his cheeks heat with a forming blush.

Castiel hadn’t seemed to notice the intrusion his brother had caused however, and rode out his orgasm, panting heavily over top Dean. The blond swallowed down his cum easily enough, and when he felt Cas give a couple weak pumps of his hips, he rubbed at the man’s legs reassuringly as he straightened up slowly. Dean rolled his tongue around his boyfriend’s softening dick, and Castiel’s breath hitched as he pumped his hips once more from over stimulation. When Dean released it with a pop, he looked up at Cas with a wide grin.

Castiel looked back down at him with a fond smile of his own before he tenderly stroked his fingers through Dean’s hair a couple times, trying to straighten it back out.

“Was it good?” Dean asked tentatively.

The raven-haired man’s smile turned more fond as he dropped to one knee, and pulled him into a deep kiss.

Dean could taste himself on his boyfriend’s tongue, and his cock gave a weak twitch of interest as a valiant effort, but didn’t do anything else. He was too spent and sated as he kissed him back with as much adoration as he could.

When they finally pulled away, Cas held Dean’s face in his hands, and nodded, never once breaking eye contact or losing his smile.

“That was beyond good, Dean. That was perfect,” He said, “Thank you.”

Dean chuckled softly and shook his head, leaning his cheek into the touch of his boyfriend’s hand.

“You don’t gotta thank me, babe. I’m just glad you had a good time.”

Castiel shook his head with a smile, and kissed him briefly once more before standing back up, pulling his underwear and pants up along the way, and rezipping and buttoning them.

“Like I said, Dee, that was perfect. I had an amazing time.” He said fondly, before helping Dean up, and then going over to his dresser to grab him a new pair of underwear.

Dean chuckled and shook his head no, that he didn’t need the underwear.

“It’s okay, Cas, I don’t need the underwear. I think I’m just gonna go commando tonight.”

Castiel gave an interested look and quirked his eyebrow, before smiling wider.

“Oh, so you can tease and taunt me the whole night we’re out as I’m the only one that will know you’re wearing nothing underneath those pants?”

Dean smirked and gave him a wink, before turning back to his bed to grab the jeans and shirt he had tossed in their hurry to disrobe him.

“You know it, baby.” He said, pulling on the jeans and zipping them up, before shaking his rear teasingly at Castiel.

Cas chuckled before he strode over and wrapped his arms around Dean from behind him, pressing his cheek into the man’s shoulder.

“You’re evil, Dee.” He said.

The Winchester chuckled as he leaned back into the hug, the shirt in his hands as he fingered at the soft material.

“You know it. But that’s one of the things you like about me.”

A moment’s pause passed before a fond sigh passed behind him, and Dean grinned.

“Yeah, you’re right Dean.”

The blond chuckled before he turned his head as far back to get a glance at Cas.

“See?” He asked, before turning around in Cas’ hold to face him, and hold him back as well, “Although, I think your brother legitimately thinks we’re evil right about now.”

Castiel quirked his eyebrow at that, and turned his head to the side inquisitively.

“Why do you say that?”

“Oh, only cause he walked into you passionately fucking my mouth,” Dean said with a laugh, “He screamed something about his eyes before he left though.”

Cas’ eyes widened and a blush of his own covered his cheeks, before he groaned and buried his face in Dean’s chest.

“Well,” He said with an exasperated sigh, “He’s never gonna let me live this one down.”

Dean fondly rubbed his fingers from one of his hands through Cas’ hair, and nodded his head in agreement.

“Yep, he’s never gonna live it down.”

Castiel lifted his head then and gave a small smirk of his own.

“Yeah. At least I’m not the one that has to live with him though.” He said with shit eating grin.

At that, Dean’s eyes widened tenfold, and he groaned and let his head fall downcast as well.

“Fuck.”

“Yes,” Cas said with a laugh, “Fuck indeed.”

Dean sighed softly before lifting his head, and smiled down at Castiel. Even so, everything was still worth it.

“It was still definitely worth it though.” He said.

Cas lifted his head to look up at him as well, and his smile turned fond once more as he nodded as well.

“Yes, it was.” He replied.

They stood there starting at each other with fond looks in their eyes, and Dean felt his heart flutter again. Deep down, he knew that it would always be worth it, as long as he was with Cas. And that thought filled him with joy, and made him smile for once.

“Alright,” He started after a few moments, “We should probably go check on your brother and make sure he didn’t gouge out his eyes.”

Castiel rolled his eyes before giving him a soft grin.

“Highly doubtful,” He replied, “We wouldn’t be that lucky.”

Dean’s eyes widened and he gave a hearty laugh at that, and soon Cas joined in on the laughter.

When they calmed down, they both looked at each other with wide smiles, and Dean broke away so he could toss his shirt on. Nodding at him, he headed towards the door and opened it for him. After exiting the cabin and closing the door behind them, Cas and Dean stood next to each other as they slowly blinked at the sprawled out form of Gabriel, laying in the grass next to the steps of the cabin, and staring blankly at the sky.

Castiel and Dean looked at each other and shrugged before looking back at Gabriel.

A few moments passed in silence before Dean stood in front of him and gently kicked the man’s leg. Gabriel did not flinch, nor did he even look at them as he continued staring at the sky.

Dean grinned at this and looked back over his shoulder to Cas, and broke out in laughter.

“Cas, I think we broke your brother!”

Castiel blinked a little before he looked skyward, grinned, and then walked to stand next to Dean. He looked down at Gabriel’s form, and tilted his head in his normal way.

“Gabriel, are you okay?”

A few seconds passed and the short brunette did not blink or acknowledge them. Soon enough, however, he took a shuddering breath, although he continued staring aimlessly at the sky.

“I...I have met the devil. And he walks among us.” Gabriel said conspiratorially to the two men.

“He exists in the form of my roommate deep-throating my baby brother, guys.” He said quietly, looking up at the sky, lost and foggy eyed.

Dean looked at Castiel before he hunched over and busted out laughing.

“S-Shit, Cas, we scarred him.”

Castiel sighed and a small blush covered his cheeks as he rubbed his hand down his face. He frowned at his brother, and crossed his arms over his chest defensively.

“Gabriel,” He said, “I’ll give you five dollars right now if you promise to never mention this again.”

At the mention of money, Gabriel shot right up and sat on the ground staring at him.

“Shit Cassie, I’d keep my mouth shut for just a candy bar. Five dollars can buy so many of those!” The short brunette exclaimed with a wide grin, before pulling himself off the ground and dusting himself off.

Gabriel looked at the two of them briefly before shuddering and looking away with a look that said he’d seen some shit.

“Damn,” He muttered under his breath, “I feel like I need to be re-baptized and soaked in a tub of holy water just to feel clean again.”

Castiel frowned at him while Dean laughed louder, practically busting a gut by this point.

“Gabriel...” Cas said admonishingly.

Gabriel looked up and grinned playfully, rubbing the back of his head.

“Sorry Cassie, as much as I love you, seeing you get sucked off was probably the last thing I ever needed to see in my life.”

Castiel’s eyes widened and he covered his face with one hand as he groaned. Dean stopped laughing soon after, and shook his head happily. He knew the antics of an older brother and knew he’d probably treat his brother the same way if it had been him walking in on Sammy in a situation like that.

He gave Gabriel a knowing smile, and they both nodded to each other in mutual understanding.

Castiel, however, pulled out his wallet and handed over a crisp looking five dollar bill to his brother, replaced his wallet, and pointed at him with narrowed eyes.

“We never speak of this again.” He said quietly.

Gabriel grinned widely and pocketed the money, before reaching out and ruffling his brother’s hair.

“Of course, little bro. Now let’s get going before we burn anymore daylight.” He said, stuffing his hands in his pockets and whistling as he walked towards the direction of the car lot.

Castiel looked on at his brother briefly before he looked back at Dean, and blinked in surprise. He had seriously thought Gabriel had been bothered by what he saw, and felt horrible for it.

Dean grinned knowingly at Cas, knowing exactly what Gabe had done, and patted him on the back before nodding in the direction of the car lot as well, and motioning him to follow as he himself followed after Gabriel.

Castiel tilted his head slightly as he watched for a second, before catching up and following alongside Dean.

The Winchester glanced at Cas from the side of his eyes, and his grin widened. He caught the exact moment Cas seemed to recognize that he had been played by his brother, and chuckled under his breath when Cas glared on at Gabriel.

Oh Cas...’ He thought fondly, ‘My poor, adorable babe.’

And they followed on after the older Shurley.

Chapter Text

The car ride passed by relatively quickly; after setting off, it had felt like mere minutes before the trio was pulling into a parking space at the diner that had started a spiral of events in Dean’s life.

Once parked, Gabriel cut the ignition and grabbed his keys, turning to grin back at the couple.

“Charlie said she’d be here around seven, so we may be a couple minutes late, but what’s life without some spontaneity, am I right?”

Dean shook his head with a small laugh, and looked to Cas, squeezing the hand that had been firmly in his own for the entirety of the ride.

“Is there anything I should know before meeting her?” He asked.

Cas turned to his partner and squeezed his hand back reassuringly, and shook his head.

“Charlie is very...vibrant, I guess is the right word. She’s energetic, and loves people in general, so I don’t imagine you should have any problems with her.” He said, giving a smile.

The Winchester looked back towards their driver, who nodded his head in agreement.

“She’s a spitfire that’s for sure, but you’re gonna love her, Dean,” The older Shurley said with a grin, before patting Dean’s knee. “Don’t tell me you’re getting cold feet now. I would’ve imagined asking my brother out to be the biggest of hurdles for you to pass.”

Dean rolled his eyes and sighed in response, prickling a little at the teasing. With Cas becoming a more permanent structure in his life, it was only to be expected he would be overcome with slight nerves at the prospect of meeting a close friend of his. He wanted to make a good impression, after all.

“I just want to make a good impression is all. It’d kinda suck for a close friend of your guys’ to hate me, when I’m you know, dating a very prominent part of your social circle.”

At this both of the Shurleys laughed, and Cas nudged Dean in the side playfully with a smile, wanting to head into the diner already.

“Come on Dee, let’s get going. I don’t think it’s physically possible for Charlie to hate anyone, so you’ll be fine.” He said.

Dean spared Cas a cursory glance before cracking a small smile, and nodded. He was over-worrying, he knew, so he figured he might as well man up and not keep them waiting any longer. He leaned forward and gave Castiel a kiss on his cheek, before reluctantly breaking his hand away from Cas’.

“You’re right, sunshine. I’m sure this will be a great night.” He said, before opening his door and holding it open for Cas to exit out of.

When the whole gang finally exited out of the car, they headed into the diner and waited to see if they could spot Charlie, both of the Shurley siblings on either side of Dean. Dean held his hands in the pockets of his jeans, and leaned closer to Cas to share his space. The raven haired man ducked his head slightly to hide the smile creeping on his face, aware of the action.

Soon enough, Gabriel spotted the familiar short red hair and grinned as he grabbed a hold of Dean’s arm, who in turn grabbed onto Cas’ arm, as the short brunette dragged them all in direction of the female.

“Charlie, hey Charlie! There you are, we’ve been looking allll over for you, girl!”

For a short man, Gabriel was a lot stronger than he seemed as he effortlessly dragged the two men behind him. Dean grunted softly as he followed after the energetic man, and looked back to make sure Cas hadn’t gotten hurt as they’d been forcefully moved. The older man gave Dean a smile of reassurance as he chuckled at his brother’s antics, and quickly followed after Dean.

The red-head in question perked up and jolted to her feet when she saw the trio approaching her, and ran over to meet them half way and greet them. She threw herself in Gabriel’s arms when she got to them, and laughed joyfully.

“Gabe, it’s so good to see you! And what do you mean you looked all over for me?? I’m the one that has been waiting like ten minutes for you guys!” She said with a grin after breaking away.

Gabriel chuckled and rubbed the back of his head.

“Sorry about that, my little bro and ah, Dean-o” He said suggestively with an eyebrow wiggle that did not go unnoticed by Charlie, “Got caught up in some stuff that delayed our arrival.”

At that moment Charlie turned to the blond in question and gave a large, mischievous grin as she moved to stand in front of him, her hands planted firmly on her hips.

“Ahhh, so mister sexy green-eyes has a name, does he?” Charlie said, looking at Dean appraisingly before giving a wink to Cas.

Dean broke out in a grin of his own as he sent a side glance to his boyfriend, who was effectively trying to shrink up in himself over the nickname, before turning his attention back to the woman.

“I do, actually. It’s Dean Winchester, as a matter of fact, and it’s a pleasure to meet you.” He said, never breaking the grin threatening to split his face as he held out his hand for her to shake.

Charlie stared him down for a few moments with a grin just as large, before she rolled her eyes and threw herself at him, effectively trapping him in a bear hug.

“What’s up with this formal crap, man? The name’s Celeste, but if you call me that I might break every bone in your body. New life, new me, so just call me Charlie.” She said, breaking away to give him a grin.

Dean gave a small laugh and returned the smile, nodding his understanding.

“Duly noted. In either case, it’s still nice to meet you, Charlie.”

Charlie’s smile widened and she gave the Winchester a pat on his shoulder, before turning to Castiel.

“I like this one, you got good taste dude.” She said quietly before giving Dean a friendly wink, and throwing herself at Castiel.

Cas grunted in surprise before giving a laugh of his own, and returned the hug.

“It’s nice to see you too, Charlie.” He said, trying to regain the breath that was knocked out of him.

Charlie broke away with a pout and crossed her arms over her chest.

“Aw it’s been weeks and that’s all the greeting I get?”

Castiel rolled his eyes fondly before he leaned forward to place a kiss on her cheek. Charlie preened and gave a wide smile, having leaned into the touch.

“That’s better,” She said, before grabbing onto all of their shirts and pulling them into the booth she had been occupying, “Now, let’s sit and get acquainted! I dunno about you guys, but I’m starving!”

The trio laughed at the red-head’s eagerness, and Gabriel happily sat by Charlie as Dean and Cas took the booth seat opposite them.

A waiter came by to place complementary waters on the table and to take their orders soon after they sat down, their noise having attracted a lot of attention. After the man had left, Charlie smiled widely at the couple across from her, noticing how close the two were sitting next to each other, and leaned forward in her seat.

“Sooo, is it safe to assume you guys are, you know,” She started, before discreetly making a circle with the fingers of her one hand and then pushing a finger from her other hand through it repeatedly, “riding the rodeo, down at Singer Farms?”

Dean almost choked on the drink of water he had taken, while Cas flushed a deep red and sent her a mild glare as he gently patted on his partner’s back. Gabriel on the other hand broke out in to a loud laugh and snorted with a grin.

“That’s one way of putting it...” He said, underneath his breath.

Charlie held her hands up in defense from the look Cas gave her, and gave a playful smile.

“Hey, might as well break the ice right? Besides Cas, this a judgment free zone, and I figured you’d be all over talking about it considering the way you smoldered over freckles over there after he left when we were last here.”

When Dean had finally regained his breath, he sent Cas a shit-eating grin and leaned back in his seat.

“Damn Cas, I guess I did make a great impact on you.” He said, gently rubbing the man’s knee underneath the table.

Castiel flushed more and ducked his head a bit, before he let out a small sigh and hid a smile from the blond.

“I already told you I liked you from the first day I saw you, hadn’t I?” He said quietly, and more to himself than anyone else.

The look in Dean’s eyes softened at that, and he gently squeezed the man’s leg reassuringly before he turned back to Charlie and fixed her with a devious grin.

“His father ain’t the only one that gets called “Daddy” now, if that’s what you’re wondering.”

“What the hell-” “Ohh hell yeah, way to go Dean!” Both Cas and Gabriel broke out at once, respectively.

At the same time, Gabriel leaned forward and gave Dean a proud high five, before he sat back down and a look of confusion overtook his features as what Dean had just said truly sank in.

“Wait a second, what the fuck that’s my dad too.” The shorter brunette started, before quickly looking back and forth between the couple.

“WAIT a second, what the fuck that’s my bROTHER!” Gabriel exclaimed a little more loudly, before his eyes gained a far-away look to them, and he blankly stared off into the distance.

Charlie sputtered and broke out into a disbelieving grin and laughter as she covered her face with her hands once the words sunk in, and she took in how dead inside Gabriel looked.

“Oh hell no Gabe, you really just congratulated the man for screwing your brother!” Charlie exclaimed as loudly as she could in a whisper, lightly pounding her fist on the table as she tried to keep her laughs as quiet as possible.

Cas groaned loudly and face palmed as he bent forward to rest his forehead on the table.

“Please... don’t tell me he actually calls you ‘Daddy’, Dean...” Gabriel said in a sad, broken whisper only achievable by a man that had died inside more times in one day than anyone should ever have to. At this Charlie’s laughter reached a point where she couldn’t even make a sound anymore, and the only giveaway that she was still laughing was her quaking shoulders and face.

Castiel’s only response was a loud, sad groan that also sounded like a borderline whine and sob.

“I know I don’t believe in god, but why has he forsaken me...” The raven-haired man managed to croak out.

Dean chuckled and gently rubbed at Cas’ back, before wrapping him in a half hug.

“Don’t worry Gabe, he’s never called me that before,” Dean easily replied, “Although I’ll let you guys know if that changes.” He finished with a playful grin.

Castiel whipped up at that and sent Dean a heated glare, saying he better not.

“Our intimate life is none of their concern, Dean, especially not my brother’s.” He said in a hushed, grumpy voice.

Dean laughed and gave his boyfriend a playful smile before leaning forward to whisper in his ear.

“I know sunshine, I’m just playing with all of you. I’ll make it up to you later, I promise.” He broke away with a wink, and Castiel relaxed at that, before returning a smile of his own.

“I’m going to hold you to that, Dee.” He replied just as quietly, and Dean had to restrain himself from leaning forward to give him a kiss. Instead he opted to just nod and keep the smile up, but inside he was a bit saddened that that was all he could do.

Soon enough Charlie’s laughter calmed down, and Gabriel looked slightly less dead than he had before, even offering the couple a small smile.

“Alright, I’m not gonna lie dude, I like Dean. He’s a total keeper, and if I weren’t batting for my own team, I’d say you’d have to watch out Cas.” Charlie said with a good-natured smile.

Cas turned to the woman and gave a smile of his own.

“Oh you’d have a fight on your hands then, I definitely wouldn’t give him up for anything.” He replied easily, and Dean beamed a little on the inside from the remark. It felt good knowing and hearing that he was cherished.

Charlie sighed dramatically and blew a piece of her hair out of her face.

“Ugh, damn that’s so sappy and I love it. Seriously though, I’m so glad you guys ended up together.” She said genuinely. “You both seem to work well with each other, and this is from me just watching you guys for a few minutes.”

Dean smiled and rubbed the back of his head.

“I’m glad I’ve been accepted then. And thank you, I think we work out quite well together as well.” He said, sending a wink towards his boyfriend.

Castiel smiled and shook his head fondly before turning back towards Charlie.

“Thank you, Charlie. That means a lot coming from you.”

The redhead waved him off with a nod and a smile, before taking a sip of her water.

“It’s no problem, dude. He definitely has the Charlie Bradbury seal of approval,” She said, shooting Dean two thumbs up, “Buuuttt, if he ever hurts you, I will kick his ass.” At this, she narrowed her eyes at the Winchester and pointed two fingers at her eyes then to him, saying she was watching him.

Dean held up his hands in a placating gesture.

“No worries there. If I ever hurt him, I myself give you full permission to kick my ass.”

Gabriel snorted and twirled the straw in his cup of water, before putting his free hand to the side of his mouth.

“Deanie’s in lovveeee...” He said with a grin, before continuing, “But it’s a cutesy, good thing. Seriously, I’m glad for you guys too.”

Dean and Castiel both looked at each other and gave a small smile before turning them on the two opposite to them. A moment of silence passed over them before Charlie chuckled and quirked her head at them.

“I’m sorry, I have to ask. How did you guys hook up?” She asked.

The couple turned to each other once more and Dean let a small frown come over him. He didn’t exactly know how to explain that he had originally cast aside Castiel and vehemently denied liking him, to then confessing in a post panic attack induced speech that he romantically liked him, after doing some soul searching. Cas saw the worry etched in Dean’s face and turned to Charlie to take over.

“I kind of got sick and threw up all over him, slept with him in his bed while he took care of me, and then we confessed our feelings in the morning after some…prompting from Gabriel. You know, nothing too special...” He trailed off with a small smile. All of that technically was the truth, just with some omitted facts.

Charlie seemed none the wiser however, and accepted this easily. She snorted while taking a drink of her water and fixed the ravenette with a smirk.

“Leave it to Castiel to woo over a man by spewing his lunch on his love interest,” She said, pausing to take her drink, before turning to Dean with delighted eyes, “Ooh, this means he’s a nurturer though! This works out perfectly!”

Dean quirked an eyebrow at the energetic girl and took a drink of his water as well to clear his throat a little.

“I raised my little brother, what can I say? Although I don’t really see what you’re trying to get at...”

Gabriel laughed good naturedly and gave a pointed look to Castiel, who was remaining oddly quiet. Dean turned to look at his boyfriend and quirked his head when the man seemed to be ignoring the conversation, and chose to be staring out the window with a tight look on his face.

“I mean that Cas over there really likes being cared for. He’ll adore you for the rest of his life if you do stuff like giving him massages, cooking him meals, and just being all lovey and affectionate.” Charlie explained.

“While he loves taking care of people, he has a major soft spot for people that nurture him back.” Gabriel finished for her.

Dean quirked an eyebrow at the two of them and gave a soft smile towards Cas, who looked at him hesitantly.

“I’m sorry Dean, I know it’s not exactly the manliest admission, but I really do enjoy small things like baths and massages and...cuddling at night under a blanket… And...” Castiel started but only shut in on himself the more he continued, until Dean clasped his hand into his own, and stroked the man’s fingers soothingly.

“Hey, calm down sunshine. There’s nothing to be ashamed of in that, it doesn’t make you any less of a man or anything,” Dean said, offering him a kind smile with Charlie and Gabe nodding their assent, “In fact, I think it’s rather awesome that you enjoy those kinds of things, cause I love doing that kind of stuff for my partners. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be affectionate with your significant other, and do sweet things, regardless of gender.”

Gabriel and Charlie awed softly in the background as they watched Castiel light up with a small, concealed smile in return. The younger Shurley met Dean’s eyes and nodded his understanding, doing his best to hold back his fondness.

“Thank you, Dee.” He said after a few moments.

“You’re welcome, sunshine.” Dean replied, before he was broken out of the moment when plates were abruptly sat down in front of them.

The waiter shot them an awkward but knowing look that held a tinge of judgment and disgust when Dean finally realized that he was still holding Cas’ hand, and said hands were quite visible from where the waiter was standing. He tried pulling away his hand but a bolt of anxiety ran through him when Cas tightened his hold on his hand, and refused to let him let go. He quickly turned to his boyfriend with wide eyes as a hundred thoughts ran through his head, the question of why he was still holding on being at the top of the list. Castiel shot Dean an apologetic look as he steeled himself and fixed the waiter with a knowing, sickly sweet smile, and squeezed Dean’s hand in reassurance.

Charlie and Gabriel looked on at the two in confusion as they saw Dean’s barely concealed panic shoot across his face, and then the smile on Cas’ face. The waiter shuffled uncomfortably as he straightened himself up and lifted his nose in the air, turning towards Charlie and Gabriel to address them instead.

“Can I get you guys anything else today?” He asked kindly.

Charlie and Gabriel took a glance at each other before they both said no, and then stopped the waiter as he tried to scurry away.

“Wait, excuse me sir, you didn’t ask our friends if they wanted anything else. They’re almost out of water so I’m sure they’d like another glass.” Gabriel said.

At this point Dean knew there wasn’t any chance of Castiel letting go of his hand now, so he clenched it for support as his nerves ran through him. He really wasn’t looking for a confrontation when he was just trying to enjoy the company of his boyfriend and friends.

“Yes, I’m almost out of water and I’d really appreciate another, if you wouldn’t mind.” Castiel spoke up, politely.

The waiter turned around at this and sneered at Castiel, adjusting his carrying tray underneath his arm.

“If you really need water that much, then get it from one of your friends. I don’t have to get you nothin’.”

The air around the table seemed to tense as a dark look came over all four inhabitants of the group. What anxiety Dean had felt about a confrontation quickly dissipated as he heard the man be rude to his boyfriend. Gabriel and Charlie shared a look of understanding as they cautiously watched Dean and Castiel; they already knew Cas had a proclivity to lash out, rightly so, in situations such as these, and Dean was a wild card in himself.

“Oh really? And why would that be, if I may ask?” Castiel said calmly, but his words held an underlying tone of danger and suppressed rage. He really had been through this rodeo so many times in his life that he practically had the waiter’s next words memorized.

“Because,” the waiter started, sure in his posture and stance, “Your kind isn’t welcome, nor wanted here. You’re lucky I don’t have you and your whole group thrown out right now.”

Something in Dean snapped at the waiter’s words, and he abruptly stood up, disrupting the table and causing the dishes to shake and clatter. Castiel quickly stood up with him, and seeing the rage in his boyfriend’s eyes snapped him out his own stupor.

“Dean, wait, no I know what you’re going to do, don’t do it Dean-” He tried getting through to Dean quickly, but the Winchester paid him no mind and took a step towards the waiter.

The blond knew about and took pride in his physique; he knew he wasn’t a small guy, even with his skinny frame, and used that to his advantage as he went for an intimidation factor while confronting the waiter, intentionally straightening to his full height.

“So,” He started, crossing his arms over his chest as he glared the man down, “Did you know that I can have you arrested for harassment charges and discrimination? We are paying customers at this establishment, and you have no proof of any accusation that you just made. What “kind” of people are you making us out to be, exactly?”

The waiter blinked a little and backed away as Dean got closer to him. The Winchester recognized the attention of other restaurant goers that he was attracting, but paid them no mind, with only his anger fueling him and his actions.

“For all you know that could be my brother, and he could’ve been having a panic attack that only physical touch can calm him down from. How stupid would you look at that point to be throwing accusations left and right in places you have no business sticking your judgmental nose into.”

“So tell me,” Dean leered over the waiter, close enough to breathe the same air as him, “Can you give me one reason right now as to why I shouldn’t arrest you myself? Being the sheriff of a town certainly does come with its benefits, after all.”

“Y-You’re a sheriff?” The teen had managed to squeak out. Dean laughed at that and fixed him with a steely, knowing grin.

“Oh, so now you care about the circumstances surrounding me. Only when it concerns or benefits you, am I right?”

The waiter, that Dean now recognized to be named Darrin as told by the name tag sloppily clipped to his shirt, gulped and didn’t say anything. Dean sneered and shook his head.

“That’s the problem with the world. No one cares about each other, what they say, or how they affect people until suddenly it’s biting them in the back. Then it’s ‘Oh I’m so sorry’ this, and ‘I didn’t know, I wouldn’t have said what I had’ that.” Dean said, his voice dripping with years of built up anger.

“I..I’m sorry, sir. It won’t happen again.” Darrin spoke up for the first time.

Dean looked at the teen once more, and saw the shaking, scared look in his eyes. He let out a sigh before he shook his head.

“Don’t tell me sorry, tell it to the man you just disrespected with your biased assholry.” He said, stepping aside to give the waiter a clearer view of a tense Castiel, who was also looking at them with a frown.

Darrin stepped forward and bowed his head slightly.

“I apologize, sir. I did not mean to wrongly accuse you of something you weren’t. I’ll gladly refill your drink for you.” He said, stepping forward with a ducked head to grab Cas’ glass, and then scurrying off to the kitchen to refill it.

Dean watched the teen scurry off before he turned to the table with tired eyes, and ran a hand down his face. He walked over to his seat and flopped back down with a sigh, before shooting the onlookers who were still trying to be nosy, with a glare.

Not even a few minutes passed before Darrin was presenting Castiel with a refilled glass of water. He glanced away as he apologized once more, and Dean shot the teen with another warning glare.

“Thank you, Darrin. If this happens again though, or I get word of it happening again to a different set of people, I will not hesitate to have you taken in.” He warned.

Darrin gulped and then nodded.

“Yes sir. Enjoy your meals.” He said before quickly hurrying off, looking scarred for lack of better words.

When they were all sure that the kid was out of earshot, Cas turned to Dean with a conflicted smile, while Charlie and Gabe gave him proud smiles.

“That was….amazing, Dee, but highly irresponsible.” Castiel started.

“Yeah, you’re not actually a sheriff, are you dude? Otherwise I highly doubt you’d be working at Singer Farms this whole time.” Charlie asked, and Gabriel let out a small laugh.

“Yeah this guy right here isn’t even in the police force and just pulled that, what a man.” Gabriel said with mirth in his eyes.

Dean rubbed the back of his head and gave an embarrassed laugh.

“Sorry, Cas. I couldn’t just stand by and let him say all that to us,” Dean explained, taking a sip of his drink, “And I used to be a sheriff, so I mean it wasn’t a total lie. I still have buddies in the firm, so I probably could get him arrested if I really wanted to. We could pull files and bust him for something.” He finished, and both Charlie and Gabriel shook their heads in amused disbelief.

Castiel chuckled softly and shook his head as well, but still looked at Dean with conflicting emotions. Dean took notice, and quirked his head.

“What’s wrong, sunshine?” He asked. It took a few moments before Castiel finally worked himself to figure out what to say.

“Dean...I really appreciate what you did. Truly. But...we are in a gay relationship together. While what you did diffused the situation, it also felt like all you really did was lie.” Cas said, staring at his hands in his lap sadly.

“How are we ever going to gain the respect and acknowledgment we deserve if we never fight back for who we truly are? If we instead fight by trying to fit into the parameters they set, and as someone we are not?” Castiel let out a little sigh after saying this.

“We’re lying to them and ourselves, just to keep the peace, and I don’t feel comfortable doing that anymore. I’ve lived my whole life doing that, and I’m sick and tired of it.”

Dean listened to his boyfriend and frowned. He understood what Cas was saying, and agreed with him, but...He also knew that acting on feelings like that often got people hurt or killed. He saw it in the news, in the papers, hell even in his streets, and that scared him.

“Cas, baby, I see what you mean, and I...I’m sorry.” Dean said, scooting closer so he could confidently hold Cas’ hand without risk of someone else seeing.

“But I’ve seen what acting on feelings like that can do. I’ve seen the body count, I’ve seen the bloodshed, and I’ve seen the lives ruined in the wake of it. I just...didn’t want to get us hurt, I just wanted to keep us safe.” He said softly, and Cas couldn’t help but smile softly at Dean.

“I know Dean. I know,” He started, “I’m just...sick and tired of having to pretend to be someone I’m not. Of having to hide being with you, or any other partner I’ve had, from public eyes. I want equality in every sense of the word, and I’m just tired of waiting by idly for it to happen.” Castiel looked up at Charlie and Gabriel, and gave them a small smile as well.

“So, I’m not asking you to do anything you’re uncomfortable with, but… I just want you to know that I’m not going to stand by and just let things like this happen again, if we encounter it once more, and you don’t have to participate if you’re not comfortable with doing so. I’m going to fight back as the person I truly am, not the person society wants me to be.” He said.

“I just...really hope for a day where people like us will be able to walk hand in hand together, and just be. Be happy, be together, be in love, and be treated equally with everyone else.”

Dean listened as Castiel spoke on about his dreams, and stroked his hand tenderly, before offering him a shaky smile.

“Well, it all starts with us then, doesn’t it?” He said softly, and Cas looked up at him with wide eyes.

“We have to be the change we want to see then, right? It all starts here then, Cas,” Dean continued, and Castiel squeezed his hand to feel closer to him, “I too wish for a world where we can be together and just be in love and happy. I want a world where our children will be safe, and can be whoever they choose to be, and love whoever they want to, without having to worry like we do.”

“If we want to pave the way for a future of equality, then we have to be the ones to lay down the stepping stones. It all starts with us...and I’m with you one-hundred percent, Cas. If there’s even a chance at a future where we can freely be together, where our children can freely be who they want to be, then I will gladly die for that cause. I will gladly support you all the way, for this.” Dean finished, and offered his partner a loving, shaky smile.

Castiel stared on in shock as he listened to his boyfriend, so nervous around judgment and confrontation, adamantly declare his support to fight for them and people like them when the time arose. He looked up when Charlie and Gabriel pushed their hands forward on the table, and nodded at him with smiles.

“Hey, if we’re gonna be doing any world changing shit, you better not forget about us.” Gabriel said with a smirk, and Charlie laughed happily.

“You all know I’ve always been outspoken about my beliefs, so if it involves ruffling some feathers in society, you can bet I want to be apart of it too.” She said, laying her hand over top of Gabriel’s.

Dean laughed and gave a fond smile himself as he set his free hand on top of Gabe’s and looked at Cas.

“It looks like we’re all in this together then, huh sunshine?”

Castiel felt his eyes swell with tears and couldn’t contain himself as a bright smile broke across his face. He chuckled to himself and wiped at an eye before setting his free hand on top of Dean’s, and carefully weaved his fingers to interlace with his partner’s.

“I guess we are. Here’s to a better future for us and our children.” He said, his voice cracking with emotion.

“To a better future!” They all said at once.

And for once in his life, Dean felt like he had a true purpose in the world, together, to be with his other family.

The one his beloved mom had told him about, all those years ago.


 

Dinner went on without much commotion afterwards and soon the moon beginning its ascent into the sky alerted the group that they should probably head back towards their respective homes.

Charlie had made sure to envelop each one of them in a massive hug, much too sad for her liking to have to part from them once again.

“We really need to make time to hang out once again, you guys. I’m free on most weekends, and I know you guys are too, so we could always meet together then.” She said, after breaking away from Gabriel, the last of the group she had hugged.

Gabriel chuckled and ruffled her hair, which earned him a stuck-out tongue from the redhead.

“Well it goes day by day for us, but that should work. If anything you know you’ll be seeing us again soon for Dean-o and I’s birthday party.” He explained.

“Ugh that’s still a few weeks away thoughh!” She replied with a bit of a whine, before sighing and shaking her head, a sad, somber look coming over her, “And, I sadly can’t make the eighteenth anyways. My boss is sending me out of the state to give a lecture to some students at a university on the rising importance of computers and electronics. It’s sadly mandatory.”

All three of the men shared a sad look, but nodded in understanding. Jobs were wild cards like that.

“It’s alright, Charlie. We’ll all share a drink in your spirit, instead.” Gabriel said with a laugh.

“That sounds good to me. In all seriousness though, it was really great seeing you guys and I’m glad it all worked out between you and freckles here, Cassie,” Charlie said with a giggle, “You two really are too cute for your own good.”

Dean laughed a bit and wrapped a comforting arm around Cas’ shoulder as Cas gave her a happy smile.

“Thanks, Charlie. We’re glad you think so, and it was great seeing you too.” Castiel replied, leaning into Dean’s touch.

Gabriel smiled and clapped the couple on the back, before waving at Charlie.

“We should be heading back soon. Even though there’s no curfew, old Bobbert gets grumpy when workers stay out too late cause it wakes up the horses when we drive in. Personally, I think it’s just he’s a worried dad and that’s all.” Gabriel said with mirth.

Charlie chuckled and nodded, waving them off as she started heading towards her own car.

“That definitely sounds like him. Send him my regards, alright? I’ll see you guys soon!” She called out as she stepped into her car.

Gabriel, Dean, and Castiel all yelled their goodbyes as they piled into Gabriel’s car, and he revved up the engine. Charlie’s laugh could be heard through the air as she revved up her engine in turn, and sped off down the road.

The older Shurley chuckled and shook his head as he took off down the road himself, and Dean and Cas got settled in their seats together. The sun had just lowered behind the horizon, and the last of its gentle orange warmth tinted the inside of the car as the majority of the sky took on its dark blue hue from the night sky.

Gabriel shot a look in his rear-view mirror so he could glance at the couple, and a small smile overtook his features. Cas was laying back against the seat, staring out of the window with half-lidded eyes and an arm over Dean’s shoulders, as Dean was curled up with head on the man’s chest, eyes closed, and presumably passing out.

“It was nice seeing Charlie again,” Castiel quietly spoke up after a few minutes in silence, “She really seemed to like Dean.”

Gabriel chuckled to himself and kept his eyes on the road.

“Told you dorks there was nothing to worry about.”

A grumble from Dean directed both of their attention to the man.

“S’ old Winchester charm, what can I say?” He said groggily, before rubbing his cheek against Castiel’s chest once, and settling in once again.

Castiel snorted back a laugh and ran his fingers through Dean’s hair, while Gabriel smiled to himself.

“Definitely charm of some sort, I’ll give you that Dee.” Cas responded after a few seconds. The younger man grumbled in reply and soon his soft snores were rumbling around the cabin of the car.

The rest of the car ride was spent in silence as they made the trip back to Singer Farms. By the time Gabriel was pulling into the gravel driveway the sun had long set behind the horizon, and the only illumination provided was from the bright moon and stars.

Gabriel turned back to look at his brother and roommate, and smiled when Cas was looking back at him with a smile of his own. Dean was long passed out on top of the man, arms sprawled over him, and a small puddle of drool gathering on Castiel’s shirt.

“I don’t think he’s making it back to your guys’ cabin on his own.” Cas said after a moment, and Gabriel nodded in agreement.

“I’ll open the door for you, but I think he’d much prefer to be carried in by his boyfriend over his roommate, if he stirs awake.” The shorter man replied.

Castiel nodded his agreement, and carefully placed one arm underneath Dean’s legs and the other underneath his torso. He nodded at Gabriel to signify he was ready, and once the man had gotten out of the car and opened the door open for his brother, Cas carefully scooched both himself and Dean out of car, and frowned slightly once he was standing in front of his brother with Dean laying limp in his arms.

“He barely weighs anything…” Cas said after a moment’s contemplation, “He should weigh a lot more than this with how much he has to work and eat to keep up his energy.”

Gabriel frowned and moved forward to gently push up Dean’s shirt, and tsked when he saw the man’s hip bone jut from his pants.

“I’ve seen him naked before, obviously, but...I guess I was too caught up in the moment to realize just how…malnourished he had gotten.” Cas said with sadness and guilt, remembering when Dean had first come to the farm and how strong and healthy he had seemed then.

“Hey, it’s not your fault Cassie, don’t even start blaming yourself. I guess this just means we all need to go on more late night food runs and stock up that pantry of yours, huh?” Gabriel said, trying to lighten the mood and cheer his brother up.

Castiel offered his brother a small smile, but the shorter man could still see the guilt in his brother’s eyes.

“Seriously Cas, it’s gonna be alright. Dean’s said he used to be a sheriff, right? I imagine he probably had a lot more money to spend then to buy the food he needed, and then also had to maintain perfect shape to keep up with the job,” Gabriel explained, “All he can really do here is tend to the horses and eat a small meal when it’s given to him. Not the most healthy lifestyle in itself if you ask me.”

The younger Shurley looked down at his boyfriend with sad eyes, but nodded his understanding. He still felt horrible for it taking him this long to realize Dean had gotten so unhealthy, when he spent literally every day with the man.

“C’mon buddy, let’s get him to bed alright? I’ll give you some extra money so you can take him to grab some healthy, good food later, alright? And I can always run out and grab some fast food for you guys when he’s hungry too,” Gabriel said, placing a comforting hand on his brother’s shoulder, “Does that sound good?”

Castiel looked up and gave him a soft smile.

“You don’t have to give me money, Gabe, but I appreciate it. We’ll figure something out, thank you though.”

The shorter man fixed his brother with a knowing stare, before he shook his head with a smile.

“Well, don’t hesitate to ask for help when you need it, alright? He’s my roommate and friend too, so I do care for him as well.”

Cas gave his brother one last smile and nod of his head, before he started heading off in the direction of the farm.

“Alright, thank you. Let’s get going though, I can already hear Bobby preparing one of his “dad speeches”, as you know he probably knows we just pulled in.” Castiel said.

Gabriel chuckled and nodded, placing his hands in the pockets of his jeans before following after Cas.

“Me too. Hopefully it’s not like the last time.” The shorter man replied, grinning to himself at the thought of the last time they came back late. Bobby had mother-henned them for the whole next day.

Castiel laughed quietly to himself and turned his head back to look at his brother for a second.

“You know it’s probably going to be like that, don’t try to kid yourself.” He said, but couldn’t force the grin on his face to go away. He honestly enjoyed the way Bobby cared after him and his brother, and couldn’t thank the man enough for taking the both of them in when they had nothing. For all intents and purposes, the old man had become his and Gabriel’s new father once they had been kicked out.

“Yeah you’re right, what am I saying?” Gabriel replied with a laugh of his own.

Soon they had made the trek back to Gabriel and Dean’s cabin, and Castiel had deposited Dean into his bed with little trouble, except for when the younger man tried to cling to Cas like an octopus.

Castiel giggled softly and gently tried to pry the groaning man’s hands from around his shoulders.

“Dee, you got to let go. I got to get to bed myself, honeybee.”

“Stay...Bed’s here...” Dean had groaned out.

“Oh Dee...I wish I could, but Bobby’s going to get suspicious if he notices me not coming out of my own cabin in the morning for the second day in a row...”

At this Dean cracked his eyes open a little bit and looked at Cas with glazy eyes.

“Please, stay...”

Gabriel chuckled from his place on his own bed, and relaxed back into his pillow.

“I don’t think he’s letting you go anytime soon, Cassie.”

Castiel sent a playful glare back at his brother and shook his head.

“You know, you could be helping too, Gabriel. You know Bobby’s going to start asking questions. Even the guy and girl couples here aren’t allowed to sleep with each other.”

The older Shurley chuckled and closed his eyes.

“Sorry Cassie, your boyfriend, your problem. Besides, as long as you guys don’t try to blind me again in the morning, I have no problems with you sleeping next to your...octopus.” He said with a chuckle, looking at the way Dean was refusing to let go of Cas.

“He’s usually not this clingy. I’m usually the clingy one...” Castiel mumbled underneath his breath, still trying without much progress to pry off his boyfriend who had seemingly passed back out again.

He couldn’t hold back the coo of affection he felt when Dean buried his head into the crook of his neck, however, and felt his heart clench at having to pry Dean off of him. While Bobby knew about him and his sexual orientation and didn’t mind or care, he didn’t want to break his rules. All couples weren’t typically allowed to sleep together at night, as to keep the drama down. Any other time they could do as they pleased, but Bobby had enforced that one rule when too many fights had broken out in years passed over cheating lovers sneaking off in the night to the cabins of the people they were secretly seeing.

Horses weren’t being taken care of properly, and people were turning on each other and refusing to work together. Bobby had put a stop to it all by instating that all couples had to be in separate cabins while together and everybody couldn’t sneak around at night to other cabins that weren’t their own.

With a sad sigh, Castiel carefully managed to pry Dean’s arms from around his neck and settle him down into bed. He took his shirt off and placed it in Dean’s arms so he could hold onto something, and went over to the man’s dresser to grab a pair of underwear. Turning back to Dean, he unlaced the mans shoes and set them next to his bed before he carefully unbuttoned and unzipped the man’s pants, and slowly shimmied them down to his ankles and pulled them off, tossing them into the nearby laundry basket. He politely averted his eyes with a slight blush as he worked the underwear up onto the sleeping man, not wanting to rudely look without permission, and then pulled the blanket onto Dean, up to his neck.

He gently stroked his fingers through Dean’s hair a few more times before he bent down to place a soft kiss on his temple, and smiled when Dean snored softly, completely knocked out.

“Goodnight, Dee. I’ll see you tomorrow, honeybee.” He said, before he turned around to head towards the door.

The sight of Gabriel staring at him with a fond smile stopped him in his tracks however, and he tilted his head to the side.

“What’s wrong? You’re not going to ask me to read you a bedtime story, are you?” He asked with a playful smile of his own.

“Ha, no Cassie. Although I wouldn’t be opposed to it,” Gabriel started quietly, leaning up on an elbow to get a better look at his brother, “It’s just, even with past boyfriends, I’ve never seen you act this...tender, and affectionate to them. I mean, you literally just gave the dork your shirt and took off his pants, put underwear on his bare ass, and tucked him in with a kiss just so he’d be comfortable.”

“The Cas I know would’ve stopped at the blanket, without everything else.” He finished, eyeing him curiously.

Castiel took in his brother’s words, and looked back at Dean to stare at the man with a serious, contemplative look, before it softened and he turned back to his brother with a sparkle in his eyes.

“I told you I liked him from the first day I saw him, hadn’t I?” Gabriel nodded at this, and waited for him to continue, “Well, would you believe me if I told you there’s just...something different about him?” He resonates with me for reasons I don’t understand. “That...he just feels...right?” I have never fallen this quickly before. “And perfect?” I can imagine a future with him, was left unspoken, but hung in the air nonetheless, all visible from the look in his eyes.

Castiel sighed softly and looked down to stare at his feet with a beaming grin that he tried to conceal. It was fond, and soft, and tender, and happy. When Castiel looked back up, Gabriel’s eyes widened before they softened and a knowing smirk overcame him.

“Oh Cas…I think you know why this is different with him, don’t you?”

And all Castiel could do was stare at his brother with a different smile. It was nervous, even shaky, but it was also understanding, and hopeful, and Gabriel knew Castiel knew as well.

Castiel turned to avert his gaze out the window, before he chuckled to himself and turned towards the door once again.

“Get some sleep, Gabriel. I’m sure you don’t want to sleep away your entire free day tomorrow.” Cas said, smiling as he heard the soft chuckle from his brother, saying goodnight as well.

As the younger man stepped off of the porch and into the night sky, he took a moment to stare up at the stars painting the night sky and made a wish. Heading to his own cabin, he closed the door behind him and smiled at the gardenia sitting on his nightstand, plucked from its siblings.

Love truly is a funny thing, isn’t it?

Chapter Text

The next week passed in a similar pattern during each of its days for the couple; wake up, eat breakfast together, find out their jobs for the day, hang out when not busy, sneak kisses or a hug occasionally, eat dinner, relax together and chat at night, and then part to their respective cabins. Gabriel would pop in every once in a while, with either fast food for the group, or a suspicious amount of “good food” that Dean loved but hadn’t seen in months that he happily scarfed down when proffered to him. Soon the Winchester was smiling as he recognized his muscle definition coming back from all of the manual labor and being able to fill out his pants better than he had in quite a while; if Castiel and Gabriel shared secret smiles with each other at this, then the blond was none the wiser.

Soon the week had passed, and the dreaded Friday that Dean would be taken away for a day of training had arrived.

Despite his conscience, Castiel had allowed himself to break Bobby’s rule just once the night before Dean was due to leave, to sleep with his anxious boyfriend. He was sure the man would understand if he ever found out, and he’d argue if he didn’t.

“It’s alright, Dee. Everything’s going to be alright, and you’re going to do great out there tomorrow.” Castiel had said, holding his boyfriend in his arms in his dark cabin and trying to be quiet enough as to not wake Gabriel.

“I know...” Dean started, “It’s just, I’m going to be training with people that have been doing this for probably their whole lives. What if I’m not good enough?” He had gently squeezed his hands into Cas’ side, and scrunched up his eyebrows in worry. Castiel was the only person he would ever show this side of himself to; not even Sammy had seen him like this, as he always tried to remain strong and confident in front of the public eye and for his brother.

But Castiel was different. He felt safe and respected around the older man- he felt genuinely loved. He didn’t have to put up a charade to save face with him, and he didn’t have to always be strong like he would with Sam. He could just be himself and lay his soul out in the open and know Cas would have his back.

Castiel had chuckled softly and ran his fingers gently up and down the man’s shoulder.

“Then you’ll get better and become good enough. Don’t worry what other people think, honeybee. Crowley chose you because he saw something in you. He has confidence in you, and I have confidence in you. Now you just need to have confidence in yourself.”

Dean hummed softly and felt a bit better at that answer. Cas was right, Crowley did choose him for a reason. He had Castiel’s complete support, and felt like perhaps maybe he could do anything he set his mind to, if he just tried.

“You’re right, Cas. Thank you, I’ll try my best.” He said after a few moments.

Castiel bent down to press a kiss at the top of his head, and relaxed back into the pillows.

“I’m going to miss you though, I hope you know that.” Dean said after a few more seconds, and Castiel gave a small chuckle.

“It’s only for a day, love. You’ll be back here before you know it, and I’ll be here waiting for you, eagerly anticipating all of the stories you’re bound to have.”

The Winchester whined softly before laughing, himself.

“Damn Cas, you’re taking this better than me.”

Castiel tilted his head to look at Dean and gave him a wink.

“That’s because I’m not stressing over it like you are. You’re going to go out there, have fun, and be back at night. I already have some things planned for what I want to do when you get back.” He said teasingly.

Dean perked up at this and turned to rest his head on Castiel’s chest in a way that he could look at him comfortably.

“Ooh, and what would that entail, sunshine?” He said, intentionally flirting.

Castiel cracked a smile and rolled his eyes.

“And wouldn’t you like to know?” He said with a laugh, “It’s nothing like that though, at least not yet. I actually had something more like a date night planned.”

Dean’s smile softened and he closed his eyes, resting his cheek on the man’s chest.

“That sounds perfect, babe.”

“I’m glad you think so. Now get some sleep, Dee. You have a long day ahead of you tomorrow.”

“G’night sunshine...” Dean had said, already verging on passing out.

“Goodnight, Dean.”


 

The morning had come around quicker than either of them would have liked, but both knew neither of them could stop it.

Light streamed in through the cracks of the curtained window, and Castiel woke up with a yawn and looked down at Dean, who was sprawled all over his body. He smiled softly at the man, and rubbed a hand up and down the expanse of his back. Dean seemed to recognize the feeling, and groaned as he stretched out over Cas, and then promptly continued his sleep.

Castiel snorted softly with a grin before he used his other hand to gently tickle at Dean’s ear.

“Deeaann...It’s time to wake up, honey...” Cas said, a slight lilt in his voice.

Across the room he could hear Gabriel groan loudly in his sleep before his bed creaked from the sound of him flipping over to his other side.

“Daaadd...Too early...” The older Shurley had whined out.

Castiel didn’t try to hide his laugh as he threw a pillow over at his brother.

“Gabriel, time to wake up, you lazy bum.” He said, before turning back to lightly tickle at Dean’s ear, who only grunted in response.

Gabriel popped up on his bed when the pillow collided with his face, and grabbed it and cocked it like a rifle.

“Okaay, which one of you mothafuckers did that?” He asked, voice much too groggy and slurred for someone that was supposed to be cognizant of their surroundings.

Castiel quirked an amused eyebrow at Gabriel before he deepened his voice for effect.

“This motherfudger who’s about to beat your kiester for cussing at me like that.”

Gabriel jolted a little in surprise at the voice, and squinted his eyes in confusion.

“What the fuuuu-...” Was all he got out before he conked out once again, and fell face first off of his bed and into the floor.

“Fuck.” Gabriel said, clear as day this time and groaning in pain, butt firmly stuck in the air above him from the way he fell.

Castiel looked at his brother on the floor and laughed with a snort at his predicament.

“Serves you right for being a dork.” He said.

A loud, exaggerated whine was his only response as Gabriel stayed there, face stuck to the floor.

The younger of the two brothers turned back to Dean and gently started to rub his hands up and down the man’s shoulders.

“Deaann, c’mon honeybee, it’s time to wake uppp...” He said quietly and with a touch of fondness tinting his voice.

Gabriel groaned even louder at that and whined pitifully.

“Hey, I’m your brother, why don’t I get to be coddled like thaaatt?” He said and slurred his words, before he lifted his face slightly to fix the man with a half-hearted glare.

Cas turned back to his brother and quirked an unamused eyebrow at him.

“Because, if I treated you like the way I treat Dean, I would hope you’d send me to therapy. I love you Gabriel, but not like that.”

Gabriel huffed and sat up, rubbing at his face with a pout.

“That’s not what I meant and you know it, asshat.”

At this, Dean groggily lifted his head to glare at Gabriel with squinted and unclear eyes.

“Hey asshat, no one get’ta call my boyfriend names essept for me.” He said, sloppily slurring his words together.

Gabriel squinted his eyes right back at Dean, and crossed his arms over his chest.

“Oh yeah, and whacchu gonna do about it, asshat?” He replied, words almost as equally slurred.

Dean sat up at this, half on Cas and half about ready to fall off of the bed, and continued trying to glare the short man down.

“You wanna fight, asshat? I’ll throw down with you. Put em up, I’m gonna kick your ass.” He said, valiantly trying to lift his arm’s in a boxing pose but failing and requiring Cas to hold onto his waist just so he wouldn’t topple over the edge of the bed.

Castiel watched and couldn’t hold back a laugh as Gabriel stumbled to his feet, standing at an angle as he put up his own arms.

“C’mere you bitch, I’ll fight you sooo hard. C’mere, I’ll take you both on.”

“Gabriel you can barely stand straight let alone take us both on. I’m not even sure you’re awake.” Castiel said with another laugh, trying to be the voice of reason.

“Stay out of this Cassidy!” Gabriel yelled out petulantly, squinting tired eyes at his brother, “This is between me and your hot boyfriend.”

Dean grunted and tried to throw a punch from his place on the bed, which ultimately resulted in him falling forward, making Cas lunge to catch him from falling into the floor.

Dean smiled dreamily at Castiel and placed a kiss on his forehead.

“My hero….” He said, before turning squinted eyes back at Gabriel.

“Wait, this asshat thinks I’m hot? Ha, that’s gay.” He said with a snort of immature giggles.

Castiel upturned an eyebrow at Dean and patted his shoulder.

“Dean, you’re gay too. Well, bisexual, but you’re currently dating me so I mean, you’re in a gay relationship.” Castiel said with a smile.

Dean’s foggy eyes widened as he stared at Cas, and then hesitantly reached his hand out to touch the man’s face.

“So pretty...” He said after a few moments of intense staring, before he averted his gaze somewhere over Castiel’s shoulder with wide eyes as if he had just discovered something world shattering.

“Holy shit, I am gay.” He said in a quiet whisper, before turning back to Cas with a dazed grin, “But goddamn, if it means I get to be with you, I don’t want to be anything else.” He said, closing his eyes once more and snuggling his face back into the crook of Cas’ neck. Castiel’s eyes widened as he heard the man’s snores filter through the room, and he broke out into laughter.

“Dean, Dean. Wake up hon, you were sleepwalking. Or talking. Both, maybe?” Cas said, more to himself than anyone else, and then laughed once more, “Just, you gotta wake up, honeybee.”

By this point Gabriel had passed out once more on the floor, but the younger man paid him no attention. Dean was going to be late to his first day of training if he wasn’t careful.

Dean groaned into Castiel’s shoulder, and the older man sighed softly. Desperate times called for desperate measures.

He gently flipped Dean onto the mattress underneath him, and lunged forward as he planted a firm kiss on the side of Dean’s neck, running his tongue along the vein underneath there. He sucked at the spot, intent on leaving a colorful bruise, and smiled as he felt the man tense under him and let out a soft keen.

Castiel broke off, satisfied with the mark he had left, and focused his attention to Dean’s mouth. He hastily moved his mouth against Dean’s, nudging his tongue inside, and smiled when he felt the man grab onto his arms and move against him.

Dean hummed softly as his tongue danced with his partner’s and arched his lower half to rub against the thigh firmly planted against him.

When Castiel broke away after a few moments for air, he smiled down at Dean who had finally cracked his eyes open part of the way.

“Well damn Cas,” He said, voice groggy with sleep but clearer than it had been before, “Where’s the fire at?”

“Hmm...” The raven-haired man smiled knowingly at the younger man beneath him, “Probably in your pants, right about now. If I had to take a guess?”

Dean chuckled deeply and wrapped his arms around his boyfriend’s shoulder, drawing him down and closer to him to gain more contact.

“Oh yeah? And are you planning on doing something about that?” He asked, punctuating his question with a slow grind against the man’s hip, making his problem known.

Castiel smiled softly and bent down to give him a tender kiss, this one different from the last and slower. He dragged his own growing erection down against Dean’s and shivered when the man bucked up in return.

A few moments passed before he finally broke away once again, and gave Dean a tender smile.

“Maybe later tonight when you get back. Does that sound good?” He asked softly.

Dean groaned but still had a smile on his face as well.

“You’re killing me, Cas,” He said, chuckling to himself, “But...I guess that does sound perfect. I suppose I have to get leaving soon, don’t I?”

The fact that he should have been getting ready to go didn’t stop him from languidly grinding himself against his boyfriend. Dean figured that a few moments of indulgence wouldn’t kill anyone, and if the look on Cas’ face and the returning thrusts of his lower half were anything to go by, he figured the man felt the same.

A gruff, new voice in their cabin seemed to have different thoughts however.

“I would say so, son. You’re only a few minutes late, after all.”

Both men whipped up at the voice in shock and fear, and Castiel just about threw himself off of the bed in surprise.

Dean threw a blanket over his lower half and stared on in wide-eyed shock as he watched Bobby cross the room to nudge at Gabriel on the floor.

“You dead, son?”

“Bobby! I-I, didn’t know what time it was, and, me and Cas here, we-” Dean rushed out in a flustered blur. He honestly didn’t know what he could say, or should say. He knew Bobby didn’t care if they got together, in fact he supported it, but it still felt like he was a teen being caught about to have sex again by his parent.

Gabriel awoke with a start and sat up as he took in Bobby in front of him, Dean on his bed trying in vain to cover his lap, and Cas breathing heavily next to him, looking like he had seen a ghost. He processed this all in about three seconds, recognized the situation, and felt second-hand embarrassment for the couple as he gave them an apologetic smile.

“Ah, shit.” Was all he could manage to say.

Bobby snorted back a laugh and shook his head, fixing the couple on the bed with a grin.

“Stop giving me that deer-in-the-headlights look, you idjits. I’m gonna leave to let you guys say goodbye, but for Christ’s sake please make it a quick goodbye you two.” He said, giving them a pointed and knowing look before glancing at Gabriel, not really knowing what to tell him to do.

Bobby turned to head towards the door, not dropping the smile he was giving them as he opened it. He turned his head back to give Dean a knowing smile and nod.

“Oh, and Dean,” He said, pausing for a second to take in the shaken man, “I’m proud and happy for you, son.”

With that, he gave them one last nod and smile, before he exited out of the door.

It took a few moments for Dean and Castiel’s breathing to slow down, but it was Gabriel that ended up breaking the silence.

“So...what the hell just happened?” He asked, eyeing the two on the bed suspiciously. It appeared as if he had no recollection of trying to fight Dean, either.

Dean took a moment to glance at Cas, who looked at him with a nervous grin, and rubbed the back of his head.

“Uh…” Castiel started, “It appears as if...Bobby might’ve...”

“Walked in on us about to have some fun.” Dean finished, matter of factly.

Castiel groaned and hid his face in his hand as he let out a disbelieving laugh.

“That’s one way to put it, yes.”

Dean grunted as he had a pillow thrown in his face from the man on the floor. When he looked back at Gabriel, he was met with an agitated smirk.

“That’s for trying to have sex with my little brother. In front of me, no less.”

The Winchester huffed and threw up his arms.

“Hey man, I didn’t even know you were in the room. Cas was the one that started it, and you weren’t on your bed and I couldn’t see you down there, so you can’t blame this one on me.” He said in defense of himself.

Gabriel snapped his head to his little brother and his eyebrow twitched a little.

“You know, I don’t know whether to be proud of you or to ground you to your cabin, Cassie.”

Castiel lifted his head from his hands and gave his brother a flustered glare.

“We weren’t actually going to have sex, Gabriel. I knew you were there the whole time, and plus Dean needs to get ready to leave,” He said, taking a moment to sigh before he realized the other part of what his brother had said, “Besides, I’m almost thirty. You can’t ground me, Gabe.”

Gabriel chuckled at this, stood up, and walked over to where his brother was sitting and ruffled his hair.

“I’m just playing with you guys. And don’t be so cocky young one; being seven years your senior comes with its advantages.” He said with a wink, before he started heading towards the cabin door.

“I’m going to grab some food. I’ll see you later tonight, Dean,” The older Shurley said, turning to give Dean a wink, “Or, you know, I won’t if you decide to live a little and spend the night with my little bro over there.”

Castiel groaned loudly, and Dean laughed and waved his roommate goodbye.

“See ya, Gabe.”

The closing door resounded around the cabin, and left the couple to themselves. Dean sat up in his spot, and rubbed at his eyes before he turned to Castiel to give him a good morning kiss. Castiel happily returned it, and when he broke away he fixed Dean with a smile.

“Quite an interesting morning already, wouldn’t you say?” He asked, leaning his head on Dean’s shoulder.

Dean let out a laugh at that, and used one hand to stroke his fingers through Cas’ hair.

“That’s one way of putting it. Your brother is around thirty-four though?” He asked, a bit incredulous at the fact. Gabriel didn’t seem that old in any sense of the word; he was playful, had spunk, and immature enough to rival that of any young adult. Plus, for being in his mid-thirties, he had to admit that the man looked really good for his age.

Castiel chuckled and lifted his head to look at Dean.

“Oddly enough, that is correct, although most would never be able to tell it. You should see Michael and Luci though, they’re both nearing their forties.” He said with a grin.

Dean whistled lowly and rubbed at one of his eyes once more.

“Damn, Cas, you weren’t kidding when you said you were one of the youngest, were you?”

“No, I was serious,” Castiel said with a laugh, “Michael and Luci are a year apart at thirty-nine and thirty-eight respectively, Raphael is a two years older than Gabriel, Anna is thirty, and I’m twenty-seven. Samandriel is really the youngest, ranking in at seventeen.”

Dean smiled at that, and nodded. It was nice to hear Castiel talking more about his family.

“That’s kind of funny, actually. My Sammy just turned nineteen a few months ago, so it looks like both of our Sam’s are around the same age.”

Castiel nodded, and stretched back out on the bed. He stared at the ceiling in contemplation for a few moments, before he gave Dean a look of confusion.

“You said he was in a lawyer firm in New York awhile ago though, didn’t you?” He asked, as the math didn’t seem to be adding up in his head, “He would’ve had to have at least two years of college for that. If you don’t mind me asking, how is he already a lawyer at such a young age?”

Dean was not offended in the slightest however, and shot Cas a proud grin as he stood up and walked over to his dresser to grab some clothes.

“Sam...is a bit of a genius. I mentioned before that I dropped out of school so that he could go to college, didn’t I? Well, he worked hard, studied all the time, and graduated high school early, at sixteen. Now he’s living his dreams in New York with his girlfriend, and I couldn’t be prouder of him.” He said, putting on a pair of fresh jeans and a simple graphic t-shirt. He had no idea what he should wear to his first day of training, but figured something simple would do fine enough.

Castiel nodded his understanding and gave Dean a bright smile as he stood up to pull him into a hug.

“That’s astounding Dean. I don’t even know him yet, but I can tell you I’m just as proud of your brother as you were, and I can’t wait to meet him.”

Dean chuckled and pulled Castiel closer to himself, and buried his face into the crook of his neck as he held him.

“Thank you, Cas. He’s excited to meet you too, and I’m sure you guys will get along great. He should be coming up for my birthday in a week, so you’ll be able to meet him then.”

“I look forward to that day, for quite a few reasons now, then.” Castiel replied.

A few moments passed before Cas broke away and gave his boyfriend a fond smile.

“I think you’ve kept Bobby waiting long enough. Let’s get you going.” He said, and Dean nodded before he leaned down to give his partner a sweet kiss.

When they pulled apart, Dean nodded, returned the smile, and grabbed a hold of Castiel’s hand as they walked towards the door. He reluctantly let go as they exited the cabin, but Castiel left him with one last squeeze of reassurance.

They walked next to each other as they headed towards the gates of the farm, where they could see Crowley’s sleek car waiting in the distance with Bobby and Crowley chatting in front of it. When they got within talking distance of the two, Bobby fixed the two of them with a smile, and Crowley gave his best version of a happy yet knowing one.

“You ready for your first day of training, Dean?” Bobby asked, clapping a hand on the man’s shoulder.

Dean shrugged and gave the two of them a small smile.

“I’m as ready as I’ll ever be, I suppose.”

Crowley chuckled, and leaned back against his car.

“Come now Poppet, there’s no need to be worried. You’ll fit right in with the others.”

“You mean they’re inexperienced and have only ridden a horse once in their life too?” Dean asked with a hint of playful sarcasm, although it held a bit of his feelings of truth within it.

Castiel gently nudged Dean with his elbow and gave him a disapproving look, trying to convey that he would be fine. Both Bobby and Crowley ended up chuckling a bit, and sent each other knowing looks.

“You’re going to be fine, Dean. I’m a coach for a reason, and everyone that is there has been in your shoes at one point or another,” Crowley explained, “When I said I only pick the best of the best, I meant that in many ways, including my jockey’s dispositions and attitudes.”

Dean gave a reluctant sigh, but relented. He knew he’d have to man up and face this head on, and that’s exactly what he planned on doing.

“Fine, let’s get going then.” He said, looking at Crowley with determination.

Crowley however tsked and shook his head, before he shot Dean with a look of teasing disappointment.

“You’re just going to leave without giving your boyfriend a proper goodbye? For shame, Dean. Perhaps I did peg you incorrectly in the attitude department.”

Dean looked at Crowley with wide eyes before he looked down at Cas, who had caught onto everything quickly enough and was holding back a laugh and staring at him expectantly.

He took a moment to grin appreciatively at Crowley and Bobby, before he turned to Cas and pulled him to his chest, wrapping him in a tight hug. The Winchester lowered his had so he could speak quietly into Castiel’s ear.

“I’ll see you later tonight, sunshine. Wish me luck, okay?”

“You’re going to do great today, Dee,” Cas replied, hugging to him tightly, “But good luck, love. I look forward to seeing you tonight.”

It was Castiel that reluctantly broke away from the hug first, and fixed Dean with an encouraging smile.

“Go get them, Dean.” He said, stepping back next to Crowley.

Dean returned the smile and nodded, stepping towards the car that Crowley had already gotten inside of.

“Don’t let Gabriel burn down my bed, alright? I’ll see you all later!” He said with a grin as he hopped in the open passenger seat.

“See you later, Dean!” Castiel yelled, never dropping the smile and waving as he saw Dean wave through the window of the car.

“Make me proud, ya idjit!” Bobby yelled after him too, waving as well as the car headed down the road, towards Crowley’s training grounds.

When the dust cleared up from the wheels of the vehicle, and Bobby and Castiel could no longer see the car, Bobby turned to Castiel with a knowing smile and sat a hand on the man’s shoulder.

“It seems you and I have a bit of catching up to do, doesn’t it Cas?” He asked, the smile turning teasing.

Castiel felt his cheeks flush as he rubbed the back of his head and gave Bobby a bashful smile in return.

“I guess it does seem so...” He said, and looked after the road longingly.

It was about to be a really long day, he could just feel it.


 

The journey to Crowley’s training center was spent mostly in silence, until the man driving finally decided to speak up.

“So, Dean, I see you finally took our advice after all.” He said.

Dean had been staring out the window for the majority of the ride and watching the scenery pass him by, so he startled a bit at hearing the older man’s voice.

“What do you mean?” He asked, confused. He did not remember anything that Crowley had recently given him advice for, and the man hadn’t been to Singer Farms in awhile anyways.

Crowley scoffed a little as he kept his eye on the road while driving.

“Don’t play coy with me, Poppet. I’m talking about your current situation with you and blue-eyes, of course.”

Dean blinked a little as the conversation he and the two older men had had while eating dinner in Bobby’s house finally came back to him. He rubbed the back of his head as he turned back to look out the window with a small grin.

“Yeah, I guess I did. I finally let myself try to be happy for once, and so far it’s working out pretty good, actually.” Dean said, thinking back on all of the time he had spent with Cas already. He had enjoyed every second so far, and couldn’t wait to see what the rest of their relationship held for them.

Crowley let a small smile come across his face, and nodded his contentment.

“That’s good, Dean. I’m glad to hear things have been going well for you two. I know Castiel certainly seems happier; he was practically glowing when I saw him today, by your side.”

“Heh, you think so? Well, he makes me really happy, so I’m glad I do the same for him.” Dean said quietly, inwardly radiating at the news. His relationship with Cas could confidently be called the first time he’s been this happy, in many years.

“I don’t think so, son, I know so. I’ve been around those farms many times in the years Castiel has been there, so I can say with assurance that today, he seemed a completely different man than what I had became accustomed to. And I mean that in a very good way.” Crowley said, glancing away from the road for a second to shoot Dean a serious look.

All Dean could do was smile to himself and continue to watch as the scenery passed by. He knew he made the Shurley happy, but to hear it confirmed by another person felt all the better. Looking back on all of his years of dating, he was really grateful that Castiel had been the one to turn his life around for him. As long as he had that raven-haired man by his side, he felt as if he could do anything, and he hadn’t felt that way in a long, long time.

The ride continued on without a hitch until finally Crowley was pulling the car into an expansive lot with stables and horse racing tracks as far as the eye could see. Pulling into the driveway of a small building at the front of the lot, Crowley cut off the ignition and sent a smile to the awed man beside him.

“Welcome to Crowley’s School of Horse Jockey Training, Dean.” He said, after a few moments.

The Winchester turned to the man and blinked once before he broke off into a laugh.

“This is all impressive, but that’s quite a mouthful don’t you think?” He asked, mirthfully smiling at the older man.

Crowley gave a sigh and roll of his eyes that gave the impression he’s probably been asked that question many times in his life.

“Yes, which is why we also go as the “CSoHJT”, or “Casahjit”if you don’t want to spell out the acronym.”

This caught Dean’s attention, who promptly stopped laughing as he realized that Crowley was being serious.

“Ohh...You weren’t kidding, were you?” He asked, flinching a little at how awkward he sounded.

Crowley in turn fixed him with a deadpan look before saying “No, I was not,” and then made his exit out of the car.

Dean sighed to himself as he pinched the bridge of his nose, and groaned at the interaction.

“Great, not even my first day and I’m already making an ass of myself.” He mumbled under his breath.

A tap on the hood of the car caught his attention, and he heard the older man call for him from outside of it.

“Come on Dean. You can sulk about your awkward American mannerisms at another time, we’re already half an hour late and still have much to cover.” He said, heading towards the stables behind the building he had parked in front of.

The Winchester sighed softly before he quickly rushed out of the car, careful to not damage the vehicle somehow as he got out. He chased after the older man who seemed to move quicker than his age should have rightfully allowed him, and caught up to him once he was finally stopped in front of a cabinet in the stable room.

Dean panted softly as he stood by him, and looked inside the contents of the cabinet curiously.

“What’s all of that?” He asked.

Crowley turned to him as he pulled out a backpack that seemed packed full of items that Dean could place no name to, and placed it in his arms.

“That, my dear boy, is your entire life while you are my jockey.” He said, turning to one of the boxes underneath the shelf, “Inside you will find your clothing, your riding crop, your helmet, and your goggles. Lose any of it and you’ll be paying for it out of your earnings.”

Dean took a moment to look at the bag and then nodded his understanding. Specialized clothing like that wasn’t cheap, he supposed.

A few moments later Crowley let out a quiet “Aha” as he came back up with a pair of riding boots that looked like they would fit Dean.

“I took a guess at the size of your feet, but do you think these will fit well enough?” He asked, gesturing the boots to the Winchester’s feet.

Dean took a glance at them before looking down at his own feet, and then nodding his agreement.

“That should be fine. Thank you, Crowley.” He said, offering the older man an appreciative smile.

Crowley smirked and handed the shoes off to him.

“Well don’t thank me yet, son. I highly doubt you’ll be feeling the same sentiment when I’m through with you.” He said, and Dean couldn’t help but feel his smile waver a little.

“Come now, though. I have a little surprise for you.” He said, leading Dean further back in the stable house.

They passed many beautiful horses that Dean was sure he’d enjoy riding, but the one they stopped in front of in particular had him grinning from ear to ear.

“Ama!! No way, you brought her all the way out here??” He asked in awe, dropping his supplies to the ground so he could pet the girl’s nose and fawn over her appropriately.

Crowley stood back to watch, and crossed his arms over his chest. He let a small smile overcome his features, and gave a short nod.

“You were the one to bond with Ama, and she was the one that you rode those weeks ago, so I figured it was only fitting that she be the horse you get to share your journey with.”

Dean cooed over Ama, who licked at his hand in return, seemingly happy to see him as well. He continued to place loving strokes to her head as he turned to the man to give him a wide grin.

“I can’t thank you enough, man. I really do like her.” He fondly said, chuckling when the girl let little snuffles out over his hand.

Crowley chuckled softly before he turned to leave.

“Get dressed Dean, and bring your horse out here when you’re ready. We have much to get done today.”

Dean watched as the older man left, and then looked to Ama and shrugged with a smile. He figured the stables would probably be just as good a place as any to get changed in, so he did as such, quickly stripping down and pulling on the new clothes awaiting him in his bag.

The clothing was standard jockey-ware that he had seen many others wear before him, consisting of long white pants, a checkered long-sleeve shirt that clung to him in a way he supposed that was supposed to create as little air resistance as possible, and the hat and goggles that he promptly put on after switching out his shoes for the riding boots that did fit quite well. Dean crammed his old clothing in the bag provided as to not lose them, and then pulled the goggles to rest on top of his hat before turning to Ama with a wide smile.

“Look at us now girl, we’re really in the business aren’t we?” He asked the horse, and chuckled when she only offered a little snuffle in reply.

“Well, we shouldn’t keep them waiting any longer,” He said, placing the bag next to Ama’s gate after pulling out the riding crop, “Let’s get going, girlie.”

The soon-to-be-jockey opened the gate for Ama, reigning and saddling her with the supplies provided on her stable wall. Grabbing a hold of her reigns, he carefully led her out the gates and stable house out in the open, towards the start of the race tracks where he saw Crowley and other jockeys and their horses waiting.

As he approached the group, he noticed the four other people, all dressed in similar clothing as he was, turn their attention to him. One of them was a girl, and he rose an eyebrow with intrigue at that fact as he hadn’t heard of too many girls who joined the sport. When he was finally within speaking distance, he waved his free hand at them and gave them his best ‘Winchester Charm’ smile.

“Hello there, sorry to keep you all waiting,” He said, coming to a stop in front of them, “The name’s Dean Winchester. Pleasure to meet you all.”

Crowley stepped aside to give Dean room in the group, and nodded at the rest of his jockeys to introduce themselves.

The girl was the first one to step forward, and Dean noted that the checkers on her shirt were a dark pink as opposed to the dark blue, almost black, of his and the other guys’. From what Dean could tell, she had long blonde hair, brown eyes, and a cheerful smile. She fixed Dean with the same friendly smile, and offered her hand out to shake, of which Dean took gratefully.

“It’s a pleasure to meet you,” She started, “My name’s Joanna Harvelle, but you can just call me Jo.”

Dean grinned and nodded, releasing her hand.

“I look forward to competing with you this season.” He said, and Jo crossed her arms across her chest with a grin.

“The feeling’s mutual. I’m curious to see what this “natural talent” of a boy Crowley went on about can do this season. You better not let us down, Dean.”

Dean laughed and nodded once more. The girl had spunk, and he could appreciate that about someone.

“I’ll do my best to impress.” He said, and Jo nodded in return, never breaking eye contact.

The guy standing next to her was the next to introduce himself.

“Hey man, it’s good to meet you. I’m Elijah, but I prefer to go by Eli.” He said, grasping Dean’s hand firmly and shaking it.

Dean looked at him appraisingly, and noticed he had blue eyes that were similar to Cas’, but not quite as beautiful. Elijah had a weak jawline, but Dean could tell the man was handsome in a cute kind of way, and seemed to reek of energetic innocence. He couldn’t see what kind of hair the man had underneath the hat, but he also noticed he seemed to be sporting a light tan from training in the sun for so long.

“It’s good to meet you too, man.” The Winchester said, breaking contact but not his smile.

“If you ever need help learning the ropes around here, you can always come to me! I’ll be more than happy to help you around.” Elijah replied, and seemed to light up like a Christmas tree as he spoke.

The taller man standing next to Eli stepped up and placed a hand on the younger man’s head, giving him an amused smile.

“Alright, calm down there sparky, you don’t want to scare the newcomer off so soon.” The older man said, and Dean guessed from the look in his eyes and his disposition around Eli, that he was probably the older brother of said energetic male. He had a similar facial structure to that of Eli, but he carried himself in a more guarded and closed off way that Eli would probably never be able to achieve.

The older man turned to Dean, and he could tell right away what kind of person he was; the cold and guarded eyes gave it right away. Silent, brooding, but tender and gentle inside if the way he was treating his brother was anything to go by. While Dean had gone through a phase in his adolescence where he was cold to everyone but Sammy as well, he had eventually come out of it when he met a few good friends after dropping out of high school. Perhaps this man had never had such opportunities.

Dean wasn’t one to judge though, and so he fixed the older man with a warm smile, and stuck out his hand to him.

“It’s nice to meet you.” He said, short and polite.

The man kept his one hand on Eli, before he reached out with his other to shake Dean’s with a half-smile.

“Nathaniel. But I’ll kill you in your sleep with a grape and the lace from one of your shoes if you call me that, so just call me Nathan.” Nathan said, with complete seriousness in his voice.

Dean blinked a little and nodded slowly, not too sure he wanted to keep shaking the man’s hand anymore.

“Duly...noted.” He said hesitantly.

Nathan removed his hand after a moment longer, and then sighed softly, removing his other hand from the top of Eli’s head.

“I apologize in advance for any trouble my little brother causes you. He can be a handful sometimes, but he means well.”

Dean relaxed a little and gave a little laugh. He already knew the troubles of having a younger brother, so it was no problem to him.

“No worries, man. I have a little brother myself that I raised from the time he was baby, so I’m sure your brother can do nothing to me that I haven’t already dealt with before.”

Nathan looked down at Eli before shaking his head, loosening up just enough to give Dean a more genuine smile.

“I’m not too sure about that, Dean, but thanks for trying to reassure me in any case.”

The Winchester nodded his reassurance and turned to the one person who had yet to address him.

The man standing behind Eli and Nathan seemed hesitant to step forward, but finally did so when the other members of their little group all looked towards him, all almost encouragingly. Stepping closer to Dean, the Winchester had a moment’s notice to take in everything about the man and process it before he said anything.

While at a distance Dean was sure he was addressing a guy, up close he suddenly lost that confidence. The last person to address themselves wore the blue or black checkered shirt that Dean had assumed Crowley sat aside for males, but inherently seemed to carry more feminine attributes. They had a figure that was slightly curvy, slim, and was the shortest out of all of them. Up this close Dean could not see any hint of a chest like he could with Jo, but the facial structure of them was softly curved and more angular than any guy he had met so far. They had soft, green eyes, much like Dean’s own, and seemed to have short, curly red hair underneath the hat.

He noticed they seemed to not be confident in greetings, so took it upon himself to initiate it with a smile.

“Hello there, it’s really nice to meet you.” He said, holding out his hand.

The redhead turned to look up at Dean, having been wanting to look anywhere besides him, and gave him a small smile.

“Hello,” they said, soft-spoken and obviously trying hard to deepen their voice past what must be comfortable, “My name is...Adalynn. And it’s nice to meet you, too.” They said, and suddenly it all clicked into place for Dean.

Dean softened his smile, and a look of understanding came over his features as he nodded down to the youngster. They couldn’t have been more than seventeen, eighteen at most, and probably terrified by the prospect of new people after being adjusted to a group that most likely took them awhile to get used to as well.

The Winchester gently let go of the handshake, crossed his arms over his chest, and gave himself a moment to collect his thoughts, before he finally spoke up again.

“That’s a very nice name, Adalynn,” He started, fixing them with a kind look, “But tell me...Is there something else you would prefer me to call you?” He asked gently, and noticed when the other members of their jockey team, Crowley and Nathan included, all shifted and seemed to fix him with a knowing smile.

Adalynn quickly looked up at Dean with a look of surprise, before one of the most exultant smiles Dean had ever seen graced their face. They shifted underneath the man’s gaze, a bit shy and hesitant, but decided to trust him after a moment.

“I’d...really be grateful if you could call me Andrew, or Drew for short.” They said, and Dean nodded in understanding with a smile.

“Do you prefer to be referred to as a “he” as well?” He asked, and smiled more when Andrew nodded his agreement.

The Winchester stuck his hand out once more, and grinned at Andrew.

“Well then, I believe an official greeting is in order. Hello Drew, it’s nice to meet you, and I look forward to working with you and everyone else this racing season.” Dean said, and couldn’t help but return the smiles of the other members who were watching on.

Drew passed up the handshake and instead tackled Dean into a quick hug, taking the older man by surprise.

He let out an “oomph” at the impact, and smiled down at the redhead, wrapping his arms around his shoulders in return.

“You are a great person, I can already tell, Dean.” Drew said quietly, only loud enough for Dean to hear.

Dean’s features softened as he held the younger man, and he gave a quiet chuckle.

“I just try to be a good person and treat others with the respect and kindness I’d want to be treated with.” He said in return.

Drew broke away a little at this, and gave him a shaky smile.

“Not too many people can say the same thing and genuinely mean it, so I thank you for truly being one of them. It’s people like you that give people like me hope for the future.” Andrew said, completely grateful with his words.

Dean shook his head and kept the same, soft smile.

“I only hope that one day everybody is treated with the equality and respect they deserve.” He said.

Andrew let go and stepped back a little, nodding his head in agreement to Dean, and keeping up the smile as well.

“Me too,” He said, “I look forward to racing alongside you this year, as well, Dean. Thank you.” Drew spoke his gratitude softly, before he stepped back in line with the rest of their group. At this point the whole group was sending Dean bright smiles, and the blond didn’t really know what to do with so much attention directed at him, so he chuckled and rubbed the back of his head.

“Is there anyone else for me to meet, or is this the whole gang?” He asked after a second.

At this, Crowley stepped forward and took over.

“That would be everyone, Dean. Now that everyone is situated with each other, I think it’s time we get this training started, wouldn’t you guys?”

He clapped his hands two times, and fixed them all with smirks.

“Everyone mount your horses and assume starting position. We only have so many hours left in the day.” He said, and the whole group rang out with a “Yes sir!” as they all scurried to the respective horses standing by them, and mounted them.

Dean was the last one to mount his horse, and trailed slightly behind the others as Ama decided she wanted to be a bit stubborn. After a few moments of coaxing, he finally managed to get her in a free lane at the start of the track, next to everyone else.

He huffed slightly as he gently stroked one hand through her mane, and whispered to her.

“C’mon girl, I really need you to work with me today. If we’re going to bring home first place, we really gotta work as a team.” He said, a little anxious but also mainly excited. Dean had no doubt that he and Ama were a dynamic duo, he only worried about whether or not she was really going to cooperate with him.

Ama snorted softly at him, and flicked her tail as the only hint she acknowledged anything Dean had said, and as such, Dean found himself sighing softly at the horse. You could lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink, as the saying always went.

Once everyone was lined up and settling in, Crowley took a position to the side, and called out his directions.

“Alright you heathens, as always I want you all to give nothing but your absolute best today. No slacking, no crying, and no horsing around, and YES that pun was intended!” He yelled out.

“Your goal today is to treat this like a real competition and show me what you all can do with your horses. As of right now you’re all nothing but sniveling maggots, but my hope is that by the end of these training sessions, you’ll all take away something that benefits you in life, or your careers as jockeys at the very least, and become BEAUTIFUL! FUCKING! BUTTERFLIES!” The short, old man roared.

Dean had to cover a snort of laughter as a cough, and shot Jo, who was the one placed to race directly by him, a knowing smile. She returned the smile and rolled her eyes as Crowley went on.

“The winner of this race will be treated to a dinner of their choosing as reward for their hard work, and crumpets and tea.” Crowley said, and shot Dean a knowing look when the man’s stomach chose that moment to growl out at the prospect of food.

The Winchester felt his cheeks heat slightly, but paid it no mind as he turned his attention towards the racetrack, leaning forward into Ama and propping his butt a bit in the air in the same position he saw his teammates start to do. The race suddenly became serious; food was no laughing matter.

“The jockey that comes in last place in this race will have to clean the stables at this establishment until the next training session. If rides to get here are a problem, then I guess that just gives you all even more incentive to try and win, now doesn’t it?” Crowley continued, a hint of cockiness in his voice that made Dean flare up. The old bastard was purposely calling him out now.

The sound of his name being called from the side made the blond turn towards Jo, and he quirked his head curiously.

“What’s up, Jo?” He asked quietly.

“Nothing much, just good luck, alright?” She offered with a genuine smile, and Dean returned the smile.

“Good luck to you too.” He said, then turned his full attention back towards the track. He could not lose the race.

“Alright, that’s enough of my jabbering I believe. Remember though to have fun out there.” Crowley finished up, and pulled out a small flare gun. He covered one ear, before he started the countdown.

“On your marks!”

Dean gripped Ama’s reins tighter, and adjusted his stance.

“Get set!”

He felt the adrenaline firing through him, and shivered as a gust of wind blew over them. He needed to stay focused. He had this.

“GO!”

The sound of the gun shooting off into the air ignited all of them, and suddenly Dean was soaring across the paved track.

Dean hated doing it, but he used the riding crop to propel Ama faster and quicker down the path. Once she had moved into a steady gait, Dean held the crop at his side as he leaned forward and grinned widely as they zoomed on by.

It was like the first day riding her all those weeks ago, and the Winchester couldn’t help the laugh of glee that escaped him. The wind felt wonderful across his skin, and the colors of the passing ground and trees in the distance all melded together to create a kaleidoscope world of color that Dean didn’t want to leave. The steady ‘clomp-clomp’ of Ama’s gait fueled Dean with confidence, and he whispered encouragements in her ear.

“C’mon beautiful, you got this! Look at us go, we’re doing so great, Ama! You’re so amazing!!” He cooed out with child-like glee, and didn’t even notice as Ama steadily got faster and faster, enough so that they overtook the group of racers that had maintained their position in front of Dean for the majority of the track so far.

Elijah looked on in bewilderment, followed by Drew, Nathan, and then Jo as Dean overtook them all.

Jo grinned as she watched Dean surpass her to take first place, and then gently nudged her own horse along.

“Oh no you don’t, not on my watch buckaroo.” She mumbled to herself.

Dean was too caught up in his own enjoyment that when Jo and her horse finally gained enough of a gait to run equally with him, it took him by surprise.

“Oh, hi Jo!” He yelled across the whisking wind, grinning widely.

“Well hello to yourself, Dean! You’re doing great, buddy, but I’m sorry I’m going to have to take first place from you! That dinner is mine!” She yelled right back, and then waved once as she leaned forward and nudged her horse faster, smiling as her stallion followed as such and they slowly overtook Dean.

Dean’s eyes widened as he realized what just happened, and he laughed once again and shook his head. He had almost forgotten that he had a race to focus on.

“Alright, Ama,” He said, leaning forward to talk to her once again, “Let’s show her what we can really do. I know we can do better than this, baby girl.” With that, he gently nudged her with his crop, and then used his hand holding the reigns to stroke at her as best as he could. Ama whinnied once, and then set off after Jo.

Soon enough Dean and Ama had gained back their gait, and had matched speed with Jo and her horse. He grinned at her as they stayed neck and neck, and Jo grinned right back.

The last stretch of the race came quicker than either of them had anticipated, and Dean focused all of his attention on trying to win.

“C’mon beautiful, you got this, we got this baby...” He kept repeating, almost as a mantra.

Ama pushed herself to keep up with her rider’s requests, but they did not take into account the effect wildlife could have on a new racehorse.

It was the last hundred feet of the race when a bunny from a bush off the edge of the track and towards the woodland portion of the facility decided to make an appearance. As Dean and Jo both neared the finish line, the bunny jumped out close enough to the track that Ama took notice of it, and was spooked terribly.

Time slowed down for Dean as he felt his horse tense, and only had a few seconds to brace himself as she lifted into the air and bucked him with her. She tried to regain her footing, and Dean tried to hold on as she fell over and slid across the last fifty feet of the finish line that Jo had long surpassed, but instead he was propelled even further across the finish line, rolling across the ground and only slowing down when he had thrown out an arm to try and grab into the track to slow himself. Ama was able to shake the fall off and stand up a few seconds later.

Dean, however, yelled out in pain as he crumpled in on himself, and laid on the ground, hand shredded from the pavement and arm twisted slightly from the brunt of trying to stop himself. He could vaguely hear the sound of Jo and a few of his teammates yelling his name, but he blacked out before he ever got to address them.


 

When Dean finally came to, all he could recognize was the fact that his hand felt like it was quite literally torn to pieces and was burning like crazy, and that he seemed to be on a bed of some sort. It was with great strength that he finally opened his eyes, and blearily looked around the room, trying to focus his vision.

The first thing he noticed was a mass of familiar dark, thick hair resting on his chest that he could have recognized anywhere.

“C..Cas…?” He asked, voice deep and laden with sleep.

At the sound of Dean’s voice, Castiel instantly jolted up, and stared down at Dean with wide, teary eyes.

“Dean, Dean you’re awake?? Are you okay, how are you feeling love?” He asked quickly, grasping Dean’s face into his hands and looking like he was about to break down in tears any second.

Dean tried to blink the tiredness out of his eyes, but only got so far, so he finally chuckled and used the hand that didn’t feel like it was on fire to gently cup his boyfriend’s face.

“I’m alright, sunshine, no need for tears. I’m just, really, really tired for some reason,” He said, pausing, for a second, “Is that pie I smell?”

Castiel looked at Dean for a second before he started laughing, hunched over his boyfriend with one knee resting besides him on the bed, and tears started streaming down his face.

“Y-You’re okay, you’re okay...” Was the only thing Cas managed to get out as he crumpled in on himself, and covered his face with one hand. The other formed a vice grip in Dean’s shirt as if it was the only thing tethering him to this world, so Dean forced himself to sit up in the bed, and winced as he jostled his bandaged hand.

“Hey, hey now sunshine, what’s with the tears, honey?” The blond asked in a soothing voice, “I’m right here, nothing’s wrong. My hand is the only thing that hurts, nothing else, hon.”

Castiel only cried harder, and Dean felt his own eyes water and tear up at seeing his boyfriend in so much pain. He carefully pulled the man into his lap, wrapped his arms around him, and used his uninjured hand to rub comforting circles in his partner’s back.

“Shh…Shh...You’re alright Cas. I’m alright too. We’re both alright, and everything’s going to be okay...” Dean said, trying his best to calm down his boyfriend who was falling apart in his lap.

“Bobby, he had gotten a call from Crowley, and he called me down and rushed me over because he said you had been in a racing accident, Dean. Do you know how easily people are killed from accidents like that?” Castiel managed to say through broken sobs.

“I knew you hadn’t been killed, Crowley confirmed that much, but I was so worried. I was so so worried. You could’ve been crippled your whole life, you could’ve retained brain damage and had to be put on permanent life support. Anything can happen when an accident occurs, Dean.”

Dean listened to Cas and felt his heart clench in pain. He had never meant to worry him this much, and much less had expected to get into an accident. All he could do was just pull his boyfriend’s shaking form closer to him, and try his hardest to convey that he was still here, and still okay.

“I’m so sorry, Cas...I never meant to make you worry like this...” He said quietly, and Castiel laughed sadly as his tears didn’t show any sign of letting up.

“Don’t you dare apologize, Dean Winchester. You had no control over this.” He said, taking a deep breath before he continued, “I’m just...so relieved you’re okay. I was so scared, so worried...”

“I know sunshine, I know...I’m right here though, and everything’s gonna be alright...” Dean said softly to Cas, and pressed a kiss to the top of the man’s head, and let his mouth rest there as he rocked them back and forth.

Almost three minutes had passed before Castiel finally showed signs of calming down, and Dean resolutely hummed to him and comforted him the whole time. When Cas had finally stopped shaking, he lifted his head and pulled back to rub at his eyes to clear the blurriness, and fixed Dean with an ashamed, apologetic smile.

“I’m so sorry, Dee. You’re the one that got hurt and I’m sitting here, falling apart and needing comforted when it’s you that should be the one being cared for. I’m so sorry for this.” He said, sniffling slightly.

Dean could only chuckle and he leaned forward to give him a sweet kiss. When he pulled away, Castiel looked at him with a bashful smile in place of the ashamed one.

“Maybe you should take your own advice, and not apologize for something you can’t help, sunshine.” Dean said, and the smile was quickly wiped from Castiel’s face and replaced with a frown of confusion.

“But...Dean...you’re hurt, and I...I just broke down in your lap...”

Dean laughed softly and rolled his eyes, before he pulled Castiel into his chest once more.

“You’re smarter than this, Cas. I’m fine, my hand is only scratched up a little bit, and it feels like I sprained my arm, but that’s it,” He started, “You, on the other hand, were put through emotional whiplash and turmoil in the span of a few hours as you learned I was in an accident, didn’t know the severity, then found out how bad it was but still had to wait for me to wake up to confirm that I was okay.”

“It only makes sense that you acted the way you did. I know I would’ve done the same if I had been in your place, and our roles were reversed.” Dean finished quietly, and smiled when he saw the frown on his boyfriend’s face slowly turn back into a smile as well.

Castiel gave a fond, tired sigh as he leaned his head forward to rest against Dean’s collarbone.

“What did I ever do to deserve you…” He asked, more to himself than anybody else, and smiled more at the rumble of laughter he felt reverberate from Dean’s chest.

“You didn’t give up on me. And really, I should be asking you the same thing, sunshine.”

Castiel chuckled softly and he leaned into the comfortable warmth of his boyfriend.

A knock at the door to their room, which Dean realized seemed to be just a plain old bedroom, drew both of their attention, and Dean smiled at Jo as she entered the room.

“Hey there, am I interrupting something…?” She asked carefully, taking in the position of Castiel and Dean.

Castiel straightened up so he could look at the newcomer, but didn’t remove himself from his place in Dean’s lap. He gave her a cautious smile, but shook his head to say her intrusion was alright.

Dean kept his hold on Cas, and shook his head as well.

“No, it’s alright Jo. You can come in.” He said, and gestured with his head to a chair by his bedside.

Jo nodded her appreciation and closed the door behind her, before she sat down at the proffered seat. Silence rang out through the room for a few moments, before Jo turned her attention to Castiel, and outstretched her arm and hand in a gesture for a handshake.

“I don’t think we’ve met yet. The name’s Joanna Harvelle, but you can just call me Jo. It’s nice to meet you.” She said kindly.

Castiel slightly let his guard down, and offered a more genuine smile as he shook her hand.

“Castiel Shurley. It’s a pleasure to meet you, too.” He said, not quite sure why she was there, but not going to be rude enough to ask.

Dean noticed the confusion plaguing his boyfriend, and gently squeezed him in reassurance.

“She’s a friend of mine, Cas. We just met today as she’s a part of the racing team Crowley is training.”

A look of understanding overcame Castiel, and he nodded as he took in that new information.

“Ah, that makes sense. Well, I’m glad to hear you’ve already made some new friends.” Cas said, and offered Dean a supportive smile.

Jo smiled at the interaction, and chuckled softly.

“Excuse my brashness, but I can’t help to ask if you two might be dating…?” She trailed off, not wanting to make any quick conclusions, but also genuinely curious. Their positions with each other did seem to hint at such, after all.

The couple turned to Jo and hesitated before they both nodded at her question. Dean kind of figured she wouldn’t mind if he went off her accepting attitude of Drew, but you never could tell with people, so he kept his guard up.

“We’ve been dating for a little over two weeks now.” Castiel said, and turned to Dean with a happy, fond smile. Dean returned it and set a quick, sweet kiss against his partner’s cheek.

Jo chuckled happily and clapped her hands together once, before she fixed them both with a bright smile.

“Good. I didn’t want to make assumptions, but I also really wanted to tell you guys that you both make such a cute couple with each other, so I’m glad to hear my suspicions were correct.” She said.

Dean laughed and shook his head, while Cas just offered her an appreciative smile.

“We’re glad you think so, Jo. That means a lot.” Dean said, after a few seconds.

Jo nodded and smiled kindly, before she rubbed the back of her head nervously.

“Hey, you’re doing alright though, right Dean? You took a pretty hard fall out there.” She said, concern lacing her voice.

The Winchester held up his bandaged hand and shot her a reassuring look.

“My hand is about the only thing that hurts, and I think that’s cause it feels like I’ve lost a couple layers of skin out there. Besides that, I’m in tip top shape.” He said.

At that, Jo let out a sigh of relief and gave him a smile.

“I’m so glad to hear that, the gang’s gonna be relieved to hear you’re alright. We were all worried about you, after all.”

“Ah you can’t take me down that easily Jo. Hell, I’d be fine getting up and going back out there once again today, if you guys would let me.”

Jo opened her mouth to speak but was cut off by the sound of Crowley at the door.

“And that’s the kind of spirit I like to hear, Poppet.” He said, leaning against the door frame.

“I’ll tell you what; if you’re in good enough shape and can get up and ride Ama for one more lap around the track, then I’ll call it even and split the victory dinner between both you and Jo, and we can call it a night until next week’s meeting. How does that sound?”

Castiel scrunched up his eyebrows in disagreement and frowned at the man.

“Crowley, he’s injured. You can’t possibly expect him to want to-”

“I’ll do it.” Dean said, cutting off Castiel.

Cas looked quickly to Dean and set him with an incredulous look.

“Dean, you lost a layer or two of skin off your hand. Don’t you think you’ve had enough for today, love?” He asked in concern.

Dean looked down at Cas and winked as he pressed a kiss to his forehead.

“I’ll be fine, Cas, you don’t need to worry about me. I’m well enough to finish a race, it’s just my hand that hurts. Besides, everyone falls every now and then. That just means I have to get back up and try harder next time.” He explained.

Castiel stared at his boyfriend for a few long seconds, before he finally slumped in his hold and relented.

“You’re not going to accept no or any other answer, are you?” He asked in vain hope.

Dean shook his head, determined to finish his race that night.

“Nope. I really want to do this Cas, it means I can prove to myself I can do anything as long as I set my mind to it. I got this.” He said earnestly.

Castiel cracked a smile and shook his head. He knew his boyfriend was stubborn, but it was one of the things he adored him for.

“Alright, fine Dee. But only on the condition that I get to watch you, and we still go on that date I promised for later tonight.” He said, lifting his head to look at his boyfriend.

Dean gave Cas a large, happy smile before he leaned forward and captured his lips in a kiss. Castiel leaned into it, and finally cracked a smile of his own.

When Dean broke away, he looked more energized than he had the entire time of sitting in that bed.

“It’s a deal, sunshine.”

So, who was Cas to say no to a smile like that, after all?

Chapter Text

Standing at the start of the racetrack with Ama by his side, back in jockey clothing, Dean felt a rush of excitement come over him. His hand was still sore, and he imagined it would be for at least a few days, but it was nothing he couldn’t handle.

He spared a glance at Ama and stroked his fingers through her mane encouragingly. She snuffled at him in turn and turned her head slightly to look at him, and he gave her a fond smile. Ama was in fine shape, and didn’t seem affected by her fall at all, and for that Dean was entirely grateful. He had been worried that she had gotten hurt, but seeing her dispelled those fears.

Castiel came up to his side and placed one of his hands on his shoulder and smiled up at him.

“You ready to go?” He asked, and Dean smiled in return at him.

“I’m always ready, sunshine.” And he really was. It had been years since he felt so sure about something he was doing; he hadn’t even felt this secure in his actions concerning his work, when he had joined the police force.

A few whistles and shouts of encouragement drew Dean’s attention to his side where the rest of his jockey group was standing in the grass, excited and cheering him on.

“You got this Dean!” Jo had shouted.

“Better not let me down, rookie.” That had been Nathan.

“Yeah, if you can outrace Jo, you can outrace any-” “Hey it was an even race, pipsqueak!” “Ouch, Jo!!” Eli and Jo had yelled out, and Dean laughed when he watched Eli nurse a quickly forming bruise on his head, and Nathan shoot Jo with a glare that could’ve killed.

“We’re rooting for you, Dean.” Drew’s small voice called out, and Dean felt his heart fill with affection for his new teammates.

Castiel smiled fondly at the scene, and looked up to Dean with a knowing look.

“I told you that you had nothing to worry about, Dean.” He said quietly, and Dean nodded his agreement. Castiel had been right all along.

“Yeah, you were right, sunshine. I really did have nothing to worry about.” He replied, just as quiet, and with a touched smile.

Castiel leaned up to press a gentle kiss on the side of Dean’s cheek, and both men blushed and gave each other goofy grins when the group in the grass let out a few whistles.

“Good luck, Dee.” Cas said after a moment, and stepped back to join the group of jockeys at the side. He looked at them questioningly and rubbed the back of his head when Jo and Eli clapped him proudly on the back, and Nathan and Drew just gave him a smirk and smile respectively. Dean couldn’t help but laugh at the flustered look on his boyfriend’s face.

He took a deep breath and mounted Ama when he noticed Crowley finally make his appearance, and join the group on the side of the race track, out of the way of Dean’s line.

Crowley stopped and pulled out the same flare gun again, and fixed Dean with smirk.

“Alright poppet, I already gave my big speech earlier today, so just know that the same rules apply. Give it your best, have fun, and show me what you can do. Since you and Jo tied even before your horse fell, if you can finish this race without a similar blunder, then you both will be rewarded with a dinner at next week’s training. Any questions?” He said.

Dean shook his head no, and gripped his crop and the reigns securely in his hands, and got into position. This race would be a lot easier as he didn’t have to focus on trying to actually win. All he had to do was let Ama do her thing, and finish the track.

“Alright then, then let’s get this show on the road! There’s pie inside for all of you, and frankly, I’m really craving a slice right about now.” Crowley said, and lifted the gun into the air.

Dean quirked his head to Crowley with wide eyes.

I knew that was pie I had smelled!’ He thought to himself, and tuckered down, smiling at the yells of encouragement Castiel and his team were sending him.

“Get ready..” Crowley started off, for the second time that day.

“Get set...” Dean felt the familiar rush of adrenaline come over him once again, and he couldn’t stop the smile cracking his face.

“GO!” The sound of the flare gun shooting off reverberated around the facility, and Dean and Ama set off down the track once again.


 

Dean’s second race for the day went along much smoother than his first one had, and it was over before he could even blink an eye.

When Ama crossed the finish line, properly this time, Dean panted as he carefully had her slow her gait, and smiled widely when his team surrounded him to congratulate him. Ama whinnied with delight at all of the extra attention, and Dean didn’t properly register it as the blood rushed through his ears, heart still racing with exhilaration and excitement.

Only one person caught his attention, and that was his beautiful boyfriend sending him one of the proudest, happiest smiles he had seen on him. Dean quickly dismounted his horse and his team stepped aside to give him space as he grabbed Castiel and pulled him against his chest, lifting him off the ground and twirling him around.

Castiel sat his hands on Dean’s shoulders and looked down at him from his position, laughing in glee at the man’s antics.

“Dean, I’m so proud of you,” He started in between laughs, “But what’s this about, honeybee?”

Dean chuckled in delight and buried his face in the man’s shoulder, slowing down to gently sway him back and forth in his arms.

“I’m happy, Cas.” He said after a few moments, “So, thank you.”

Castiel smiled softly at the man and ran his fingers through his short hair, under his hat, and placed his cheek against the top of Dean’s head.

“What’re you thanking me for? I don’t think I’ve done anything to deserve gratitude for.” He said with a chuckle of his own.

“Just… thank you for existing. Thank you for being with me. Thank you for supporting me,” Dean said, eyes glinting with overwhelming happiness as he pulled his head up to look at his boyfriend, “I think I’ve found my life calling. So thank you for being the best boyfriend ever, and joining me on this journey.”

Castiel’s eyes softened as he looked on at Dean. He gently sat a hand on the man’s cheek, and rubbed his thumb at the soft skin underneath the blond’s eye.

“Oh Dean...” Cas said, and felt every beat of his heart thrum underneath his skin, “Thank you for choosing me to go on this journey with you, love.” He finished softly, and swallowed deeply. Every day he felt himself fall more for this man that almost died in his arms at their first meeting, and every day he started to thank any deity out there that his life had ended up like this.

Dean chuckled and tilted his face into the warmth of Cas’ hand, and closed his eyes in delight. If he was told even a year ago that his life would turn around, he’d start dating the single most amazing person in the world, and get the job of his dreams, he would’ve laughed in that person’s face and walked away. It was funny how the universe worked sometimes, but Dean would never be one to complain, not now, after he was gifted with such a blessed life. He cracked his eyes open to give Castiel a loving smile, and he stayed like that for a few moments, staring at the man that he unknowingly was steadily falling in love with every day.

A small whisper to their side broke them out of their reverie, and Dean couldn’t help hold back a small laugh when he heard Eli say “So why haven’t they kissed yet? Isn’t that what always happens in the movies?” followed by Nathan tugging at his younger brother’s ear and scolding him for interrupting them.

Dean smiled at Castiel, who smiled in return and gave him a quick wink, mouthing the word “Later.” Dean nodded his agreement, and carefully sat the man back on solid ground, but slipped his hand into Cas’ to twine their fingers together.

Crowley stepped forward a few seconds later to clap a hand on Dean’s shoulder, and fix him with a proud look.

“That was...fantastic, Dean. I told you you’d fit right in.” He said quietly, and Dean nodded his agreement, looking back at Ama to give her a happy smile. The horse snorted upon noticing them looking at her, and flicked her tail once, causing Dean to laugh.

Crowley cracked a smile and shook his head at them, before he turned towards the building at the front of the lot, and waved them towards it.

“Come now everyone, I think this calls for celebratory pie. It should be ready by now.” He said, walking towards the building.

The whole group shouted their excitement and gave Dean supporting high-fives or claps on the back as they headed after Crowley. Castiel looked at Dean and quirked his head.

“Aren’t we going to follow after them?” He asked.

Dean nodded and grabbed Ama’s reigns with his free hand, before he sent him a smile and led them towards the stable houses.

“Of course. You can go ahead if you’d like, I just have to get Ama back to her stable and change out of these clothes.” He said, gesturing to his jockey gear.

Castiel shook his head and tightened his grip on Dean’s hand, and followed after him.

“It’s alright, Dean. I’ll follow you.” He said with a smile.

Dean shot Castiel a grin and nodded his understanding, and with that, they headed back to the stables to get Ama situated and Dean into some better clothes.


 

Pie with his new friends and boyfriend turned out as great as Dean hoped it would be, as they spent a few hours chatting and getting to know each other. Jo turned out to be a rebel, as she was off living by herself a few miles back, having left home to pursue her dreams of being a jockey, of which her mother was initially against. According to her, they were on slightly better terms, but it still seemed as if they had some unresolved issues.

Eli turned out to be an even bigger ball of excitement and energy when given copious amounts of sugar, and practically started to bounce off of the walls. His pie intake came to a halt when he boisterously challenged everyone to arm-wrestle matches, saying he could beat them all, and then getting himself hurt when he decided to put his full weight into one match with Crowley, and breaking the table underneath them.

Nathan had to do damage control, and promised Eli a grounding and hell to pay when they got home, but everyone had suspicions that Eli would probably get away with just a scolding. It turned out Dean’s and Nathan’s situations were similar, if not a little reversed; his father died when he was young, his mother turned to drugs and alcohol, and Nathan was left fending for himself and his brother until he had finally had enough when he turned sixteen and took Eli away with him, dropping out of school so he could work full time and provide for their living situations. As such, he and Dean quickly bonded over stories of their youth and what they endured growing up, with Dean giving many fond stories of Sammy while Nathan loosened up and did the same with Eli.

Drew finally came out of his shell after a few slices of pie, made great friends with Dean, and quickly bonded with Castiel as he told them stories of his own family, and Luci was brought up. It was comforting to the young man that he made friends with someone who was so open and understanding, and even had relatives himself that were in the same situation as himself. Dean smiled on as he watched the two talk, Drew lighting up and smiling so carefree as Cas told him he’d be more than happy to introduce him to Luci if his sister came up and Drew happened to be around. Dean wasn’t too sure, but with the look in Castiel’s eyes, he felt like if both of them had a more stabilized home to themselves that the man would be declaring Drew his son and begging Dean to let him adopt him. Once Drew was finally talking more, Dean had to admit that the guy was like a pure embodiment of sunshine, warmth, and sweetness.

As the day wore on and afternoon was quickly turning into evening, it was with a heavy heart that all of them had to part ways and say goodbye for the moment. Castiel and Dean had prior plans that they were adamant on keeping, Jo had to go make sure her apartment was still alright as she lived in a shadier part of town, Eli and Nathan had to do much the same, and Drew’s sister was there to pick him up.

With a heavy heart, they all said their goodbyes, and gave each other parting hugs, anticipating next week when they’d all meet up once again. Jo promised that next time she’d be sure to beat Dean, even though she was glad she’d get to share the dinner with him.

When it was just Dean and Castiel left, Crowley turned to them and twirled his keys on his finger.

“Well, I do believe it is time I get you two home, isn’t it? From what I overheard, you both have some plans that you’d like to get to, correct?”

Castiel looked up from the dish he was washing in the sink, being a good guest and trying to clean off his plate as he glanced at Dean and smiled.

“Yes, that is correct. Dean and I have not had an official first date yet, as we spend our work days together for the most part anyways, so I decided to throw something special together that I’d really like to get to.” He said, and Dean stood up with a stretch, nodding his agreement.

“I’ve been looking forward to this all day.” He said with a grin.

Crowley moved towards the door and opened it for them with a smirk.

“Then what are you two idiots waiting for? Feathers, stop cleaning that dish, I’m more than capable enough to wash a few dirty dishes when I get home.”

Castiel hesitantly turned off the water and set the dish down in the sink, before he waved his hands off, and sent the older man a confused look.

“’Feathers’? Where is that coming from?” He asked.

Crowley smirked and started heading out the doorway.

“You’re too good and act like an angel, just like your namesake. I couldn’t resist.” He said as he headed towards his car.

Dean looked back and forth between the two before followed after Crowley, arching his head so he could look at Cas while he walked.

“It actually does fit. I don’t see how I hadn’t come up with that sooner.” He said with a shit-eating grin.

Castiel groaned and rolled his eyes as he caught up with his boyfriend, and slipped his hand into the taller man’s.

“If you start calling me that, I’m not kissing you for a week.” He said, and Dean looked at him in betrayal.

“Cas, babe, I’m crushed!” He said in mock offense, “You’d deny me, your precious boyfriend, your lips for a whole week?”

“I can make it two weeks if you’re feeling particularly daring.” Cas replied, and had to hide a grin when Dean pouted at him.

“That’s cruel, sunshine. That’s real cruel.” The blond replied, and Castiel let out a small laugh at that before they got to Crowley’s car, and he opened the backdoor for Dean.

“Yeah I know, I’m just so evil. Now get your butt in there before I force it in there.” He said playfully, and Dean wiggled his eyebrows at him.

“Ooh kinky~ I mean I wouldn’t be opposed to that...” He trailed off with a suggestive wink.

Castiel laughed louder as he playfully shoved the taller man into the seat, then fell in on top of him, and curled up on his chest.

“You’re such a dork, you know that?” He asked, and Dean smiled as he wrapped his arms around the smaller man.

“Yeah, but I’m your dork.” Dean retorted, and Castiel smiled to himself as he closed his eyes, and felt the car rumble to life when Crowley started it up.

“Yes, yes you are Dee.” He said softly, and felt his stomach flutter when Dean gave him a gentle hug and leaned his head down on top of his.

The scenery rolled on and passed them by as they made their way back to Singer Farms, and both men felt excited anticipation fill the air as they got closer to their date night.


 

It was around six at night when Crowley had finally dropped them off back at the farm, and both men thanked the older man quickly before they split up to head back to their cabins and get ready for the night. Castiel agreed to meet Dean at his cabin when he was ready, and they shared a mutual smile of anticipation before they went their separate ways.

When Dean entered the cabin, he was surprised to see Gabriel laying around in his bed and reading. The older man looked up when he noticed Dean, and took off his reading glasses to give the man a smile.

“Ahh, Dean-o lives! Are you alright, buddy?” He asked, standing up and popping his back with a stretch.

Dean laughed and tossed his jockey bag on his bed before he headed towards his dresser, holding up his injured hand.

“I’m completely okay. Just tore up my hand a bit, but I’m still good to go riding. I can’t talk much right now though, I gotta find some clothes for tonight.” He said.

Gabriel leaned against his bed frame with a smile, his arms crossed over his chest, before he nodded towards Dean’s bed.

“Already way ahead of you buddy. I went ahead and picked out some clothes I thought that you’d like. Cas told me ahead of time about what he wanted to do with you, so those should be fine for tonight.” He said, and Dean turned towards his bed, and held up the plain black shirt with red flannel that had been laid out for him.

He grinned appreciatively at the clothing, and quickly shucked off his old shirt to put on the new ones.

“I got to admit Gabe, you have great choice in style.” Dean said, rolling up the sleeves of the flannel when he got it on.

Gabriel walked over and sat a hand on Dean’s shoulder, sending him a grin.

“Just wait till you see Cassie, dude. Your pants should be fine, so I think you’re good to go.” He said, and Dean nodded.

“He said for me to wait for him here, so I guess I should just sit around for a bit.” Dean said, and flopped back onto his bed.

Gabriel followed suit on his own bed, and they both stared up at the ceiling in silence for a few moments before the older of the two finally spoke up again.

“I know you guys are grown adults, but be careful out there tonight, alright? It’s easy to get lost or hurt when it gets dark.” He said, his words gaining a serious tone.

Dean propped himself up to spare a glance at the man, and nodded with an understanding smile.

“Don’t worry about us man, we’ll be alright. Thank you though.” He said, and Gabriel laughed.

“You better be. It feels odd saying this cause I am your roommate and friend, but I should probably give you the stern older brother speech. Be good to him, use protection, treat him well, don’t make him cry or I’ll kick your ass, bla-bla-bla, you know the gist right?” The brunette said with a playful tone.

Dean snorted back a laugh and got comfortable in his bed, but took on a serious tone.

“I don’t plan on hurting him, Gabe. Never again. So it’s all good, I definitely got the gist.” He said, and smiled at Gabriel’s hum of approval.

A few more minutes of companionable silence filtered through the cabin before Castiel was knocking on the door, and then entering.

“Dean, are you ready?” He asked as he came in, and stopped with a snort of laughter at Dean’s sprawled out form on the bed.

“Well, you look ready, but you also look really comfortable.” Cas said behind his hand, trying to cover his mirth.

Gabriel had gone back to reading his book and was quietly smiling to himself as he overheard the two talk.

“Nah I’m ready to go Cas,” Dean said, standing up and heading towards the man with a grin, “And might I say, you look great, sunshine.”

Castiel smiled softly at the man, and held open his arms for him, of which Dean happily went into. He had dressed up in a plain grey t-shirt and black jacket that he also rolled the sleeves up for, but still looked stunning, nonetheless.

“You don’t look so bad yourself, Dean. Red suits you perfectly.” He said, fingering the soft plaid material attentively as Dean smiled.

“I guess I have your brother to thank for that. He was the one that picked out these clothes for me, after all.” The Winchester replied, and Gabriel held up a thumb of approval.

“All in a hard day’s work, my friend.” He said, and both Dean and Cas chuckled in return.

Castiel smiled and broke free of the hug before he grabbed Dean’s hand and pulled him towards the door.

“Well, we should get going. We’ll see you later, Gabe!” He called out, and Dean laughed as he was practically dragged by the man.

“Be safe you two!” Gabriel yelled in return, and Dean reluctantly let go of Cas’ hand as they exited into the yard.

He turned to the shorter man, and quirked an excited eyebrow.

“So, if you don’t mind me asking….What does the stunning Mr. Shurley have in mind for tonight’s activities?” Dean finally asked after a minute of walking. He noticed they were heading in the direction of the car lot, but decided not to comment on it.

Castiel smiled slyly in return and sped up his walking, excitement practically bursting from him.

“I guess you’ll see when it happens, won’t you?” He said teasingly, “I will say though, it does involve the outdoors.”

Dean quirked his head at that, but smiled nonetheless and decided to be patient. Cas had been planning this night out for awhile, so he figured it was the least he could do was to just wait and be surprised.

Soon they had made it to what Dean recognized as Gabriel’s car, and he looked at Cas in surprise. The older man simply pulled out a set of keys from his pocket and fixed Dean with a smirk before he opened the passenger door for the Winchester.

Dean smiled in understanding as he climbed in with a “thank you” and got situated in the front passenger seat.

Castiel moved his way around to the driver’s side and climbed, buckled up, and then put the key in and started up the vehicle. Soon they were pulling out of the gravel path, and heading out on the paved open road.

The blond couldn’t keep a smile off his face as he watched the road pass them by, and the sky start to slip into the first bits of an orange-hued sunset.

“Alright, I’m not going to ask what we’re doing,” He said after a few moments in silence, “But can I ask where we’re going?” Excitement laced his voice, and Castiel chuckled upon hearing it.

“Patience, Dean. All I can tell you is that I think you’re going to like it.”

Dean huffed slightly at that, but didn’t continue to pester the man. He knew they’d be there soon enough, but never was great with surprises as he usually preferred to know what to prepare for. Excitement and anticipation roiled through his body though as he watched the scene change to roads and paths he hadn’t been down before, offering completely new sights.

Kansas was truly a beautiful place once you got used to it. At first it seemed barren, and even Dean had to admit he would’ve preferred living anywhere else, but it grew on him over time. Even old dirt paths could be something completely new, if you just paid attention to the little details. The world was always changing, just like the people inhabiting it.

A few moments passed as they continued down the plain, dirt road, before Cas turned to Dean and offered a smile for a second.

“Would you like to listen to any music?” He asked, “I typically drive in silence, but I know a lot of people prefer to have something going on in the background.”

Dean looked to him and shook his head.

“No, it’s alright sunshine. If you don’t usually play music while driving, then I don’t want to disturb your norm.” He replied.

“Besides, it’s actually kinda nice to just watch the world pass by and listen to the rush of air through the windows.”

Castiel chuckled at that, and nodded his agreement.

“I agree. That’s part of the reason why I always preferred the silence over the music. It really made you pay attention to the little things of nature and life that you might’ve otherwise overlooked.”

Dean nodded in return and settled back into his seat, content to just enjoy the company of his boyfriend and watch nature.


 

Around ten minutes passed before the plain land gave away to a visage of densely packed forest and lush grass. The paved road became less even and became a dirt path as Castiel drove them through what appeared to be a hidden passage.

Dean watched in delight as they slowed down to as not disrupt or hurt the many woodland creatures that were making their presence more and more known. Castiel made sure to not hurt any of them as he dropped the car to practically a snail’s pace.

Soon enough they had reached a clearing in the forest, and Cas parked the car to the side of the clearing, craning to make sure the path was clear. When he was satisfied, he killed the engine and then turned to Dean with a wide smile.

“Do you like it so far?” He asked tentatively, and Dean turned to him with a wide smile.

“Cas, do I like it? Babe, we haven’t even gone exploring yet and I can already tell how beautiful this place is.” Dean said giddily.

Cas chuckled fondly as he unbuckled his seat belt and turned to the back seat to grab a large looking picnic basket. Dean hadn’t even noticed that when he got into the car; he had been too curious and preoccupied with the passing scenes and trying to figure out where they were going, the whole ride.

“Do you need any help?” He asked, itching to take the heavy-looking basket away from his boyfriend to be of assistance.

Castiel shot Dean an amused smile before he shook his head and exited out of the car.

“I’m a grown boy Dean, I think I can manage to carry a basket for us.” He said jokingly.

Dean smiled and laughed a bit as well as he followed after Cas, and closed the door behind himself.

Castiel came around the front of the car with the basket hanging from the crook of his elbow as he reached for Dean’s hand with his own. Dean happily took a hold of it, and he looked down at Cas fondly.

“This place is beautiful, Cas. I haven’t been to a forest, or park even, for fun in many years.” He said.

“Well, it gets better love. This isn’t where I want to set up dinner.” He said, and led Dean further into the forest, away from the clearing.

“Oh, there’s more?” Dean asked, and Castiel gave him a smile.

“There’s always more, honeybee. Hush now, we’ll scare away the deer.” He said, quietly nodding towards a buck that had crept out to watch the newcomers with curiosity.

The Winchester’s eyes widened when he saw it, and he cooed in a whisper about it.

“Oh man, he’s beautiful Cas. Deer are always so majestic and stunning.” He said with a hint of whimsy in his voice. He’d always had a soft spot for nature.

Castiel smiled and nodded in agreement, and led him deeper into the woods. It wasn’t long before Dean finally recognized what Cas had really wanted to show him, as they slowed down to a stop in front of a small, but beautiful waterfall and stream that cut off their path to the other side of the forest. The trees gave away just enough to give a clear view of the orangeish-blue sky above them, and Dean could make out the beginning traces of stars starting to speckle the ozone.

The soft scent of flowers wafted through the air, and Dean could pick out the musty undertones of earth and grass. He looked on in awe at the setting, and turned to Cas with wide eyes as the calming stream of water echoed in the background.

“Cas, this place, it’s stunning...It’s beautiful...How did you find this?” He asked in delighted shock.

The man in question gave Dean a joyful smile before he pulled away and kneeled down to set the basket on the ground, and began setting up their spot in front of the stream.

“I’ve lived at Singer Farms for almost half of my life now. Some days were rougher than others, and in the beginning, there were many a day where I just wanted to run away from it all, and escape.” He said, pulling a soft blanket out of the basket, and spreading it out on the ground before them.

“So I did. I ran away one day, took Sefir with me, and we ran until he couldn’t run anymore. So then we walked.” He said, and Dean kneeled down, listening intently as he helped straighten out the blanket.

“We had gone much further than the location of this forest originally, and I found this place on my way back to the farm, when I reluctantly knew Gabriel and Bobby would be worried sick so I had decided to head home.”

Once the blanket was straightened out, Castiel smiled as he recounted his memories, and started pulling out containers of food.

“I fell in love with this place the second I laid eyes on it, and it quickly became my sanctuary. Any time I was feeling stressed, overwhelmed, angry, or upset, I always came here for a few hours and returned in a better mood. I guess you could say it’s my private happy place. No one knows about it, not even my brother.” He said with a chuckle, and handed over a few bottles of water and soft drinks for him to space out.

Dean smiled fondly at Cas when he finished telling his story, and bashfully rubbed the back of his head.

“Gee Cas, I’m absolutely touched and thrilled you decided to share all of this with me...But this is a lot for you to give up for me. It’s no longer just your place, and I feel kinda bad about that.” He said. It was true; while he had already fallen in love with everything about the forest as well, he also felt bad now that he knew how much it meant to Cas. A safe-place all to yourself is something big to share with another person, even if he is his boyfriend.

Instead, Castiel whacked him on the knee with a spoon, and gave him an amused look.

“Dee, I’m not giving up anything. I want to share this with you, that way it’s not just my place. It’s our place now, and I’m not going to sit here and listen to you try and feel bad over something I wanted to give you,” He said with a wink, “Besides, if I had really had second thoughts or concerns, I wouldn’t have brought you here in the first place.”

Dean sat there rubbing his knee with a pout, but he did feel better after Cas clarified that to him, so he relented with a nod instead. He then looked at the multitude of boxed dishes sitting in front of him, and smiled at Cas in excitement.

“So, what’s on the menu besides you, tonight?” Dean asked with a wink of his own.

Castiel chuckled at that and rubbed a hand down his face before he turned to the dishes and started opening the lids on the containers one by one.

“I don’t know, why don’t we have a look?” He said, and Dean’s eyes widened as he took in the food.

Homemade cheeseburgers, bacon, grilled cheese, a platter of french fries, grilled kielbasa, sauerkraut, pickles, dill relish, mashed potatoes and gravy, a cubed cheese platter, and a Boston style cheesecake and mixed-berry pie with a tub of whipped cream were all laid bare in front of Dean’s eyes, and he clutched his heart as he stared to the sky.

“Holyshit, god is real.” Was all he could manage to rush out in a high-pitched voice that he would deny later.

Castiel broke out in laughter and hid his mouth behind his hand as he watched his boyfriend salivate over the food.

“I mean,” He said in between laughs, “I usually go by Cas, but sure, you can call me that too.”

Dean looked at his boyfriend and smiled widely as he watched him wipe his eyes from tears caused by laughter.

“I’m serious, Cas. This all looks fucking amazing, I really don’t know what to say.”

“You don’t have to say anything,” Cas said, once he had calmed down, “As long as you enjoy the food, then that’s all that really matters.”

Dean shook his head with a disbelieving smile, and stared at him fondly.

“Seriously, what did I ever do to deserve you...”

Castiel smiled, grabbed a paper plate, and piled one piece of each food item on to it before he passed it off to Dean.

“You were you. That’s all.”

Dean accepted the plate and stared at Castiel with all of the love he felt for the man bursting out of him. The older man returned the look when he finished piling up his own plate, and uttered only a few words afterwards,

“Let’s enjoy this meal, Dean.”

And that was all he had to hear before he gave him one last smile, and dug in.


 

After almost every bit of food and an entire pie had been devoured by the two men, they laid together, snuggled up against one another on the blanket as they stared up at the starry sky.

“That was amazing, Cas. You really cooked that all by yourself?” Dean asked, curiously.

Castiel was laying on the blond’s chest, arm wrapped around his torso, and had to look up in order to see him. When he did, he gave him an affirmative smile, and nodded.

“Well, the majority at least. Gabriel helped make the mashed potatoes as I’m pretty terrible at getting all of the lumps out, but everything else was me.”

Dean whistled lowly and rubbed his hand up and down the expanse of Castiel’s shoulder. That was quite a banquet for just one man to prepare.

“How’d you have time to even get all of that food, let alone prepare it?”

A soft hum came from Cas in reply, before he actually spoke.

“A good chef never reveals his secrets, Dean,” He said, playfully, “But if you must know, I had spent the few days prior stocking up on the food when I went with Gabriel on food runs. Bobby knew of my plans and let me have the day off so I could spend it cooking and getting this all ready, for when you got home.”

Dean was surprised and touched when he heard this. Nobody he had ever dated before went this far for him, to make sure they both had a perfect date. An overwhelming wave of affection came over him, and he felt his eyes water from unshed tears. He held Castiel closer, and pressed a long kiss to his head.

“You’re amazing, sunshine. I can’t thank you enough,” He said, after pulling away from the kiss, “But I don’t think I’m ever going to be able to one-up this date.”

Castiel chuckled and held closer to Dean, before he pushed himself up so he could look at Dean properly.

“You don’t have to try to. I’ll be happy with anything we do, as long as it’s with you.” He said genuinely, and Dean smiled and rubbed at his eyes as he felt a couple tears escape down his cheeks.

The older of the two softened his smile as he leaned down and captured Dean’s lips in a proper kiss.

Dean couldn’t help but melt into the gesture, and he pushed himself up so he could have more leverage. This kiss was soft and gentle, slow but packed full of emotion that threatened to overwhelm his senses. It was perfect, and Dean found himself never wanting to let go.

They needed to break away after a few moments, but did so hesitantly, and Castiel cracked open his eyes to look at Dean with affection.

“Perfect...” He mumbled, and Dean cracked a small grin. The Winchester leaned forward to rest his forehead against his partner’s, and they both sighed in delight.

“You know, I think I know something that would make this night even more perfect.” Dean said, after a few moments.

“And what would that be?” Castiel asked, opening his eyes once again to look into Dean’s.

“A dance,” The blond replied with a small, tentative smile, before sighing, “But we’d need music first.”

At this, Castiel broke away with a knowing grin, and pecked his nose before he scooted back over to the picnic basket, reopening it to rifle through it.

“Wait just a second.”

The green-eyed man leaned back on his hands and gave his boyfriend a confused smile.

“What else you got in there, sunshine?” He asked, although he had a guess or two.

A moment later Castiel straightened back up and presented Dean with a small pocket radio that he had seen in ads everywhere a few years back. A sense of giddiness overtook the blond, as he scooted over to be closer to Cas and inspect the small gadget.

“Oh, no way Cas. You really planned for everything, didn’t you?” He asked incredulously.

All Cas could do was chuckle and give a half-hearted shrug.

“Ask and you shall receive, my dear.” He said, before he turned on the radio and static buzzed through the speakers.

Dean watched on fondly as his boyfriend switched the dial through the channels, trying to find one that wasn’t complete white noise. He gave a soft hum as a thought occurred to him.

“How about this,” He started, “Whenever you find a channel that works, how about if the first slow song that comes on, that becomes our song?”

Castiel looked up for a second and thought about it, before he nodded his approval with a smile.

“That sounds perfect, Dean. Give me a second and let’s see if I can get this to work.”

Dean nodded and watched as Cas fiddled with the small radio. It took a few moments, but he felt joy pass over him when he heard the first hints of stabilizing music. It seemed to be some older rock song, but both men expressed glee when the machine evened out, and they could clearly hear the music and words.

Castiel turned up the volume on the small device and carefully sat it down as to not jostle or mess with its sensitivity, and looked at Dean with playful delight.

“I don’t think this counts as a slow song. I guess we’re lucky that it’s coming to an end soon.” He said, and Dean nodded with a laugh.

“As much as I love my rock songs, this definitely isn’t a worthy enough song for us.” He said.

Both men stared at the device, almost as if trying to will it to play the song faster, and subsequently grinned at each other when the song’s last chords rang out. The dull voice of the announcer soon followed it, and Dean circled his finger in the air as if trying to tell him to hurry it up.

When the announcer finally finished their speech, the couple looked at each other in surprise when a familiar soft tune started from the speakers. Castiel gave Dean a big smile, and Dean returned it as he stood up and offered his hand to his partner.

“I think we can work with this song, what do you think Cas?” The Winchester asked, as he carefully pulled the other man to his feet.

“I think it’s perfect, love.” He said, and chuckled when Dean pulled him closer to his chest and assumed the role of the male dancer.

Carefully intertwining the fingers of their hands in the air, Dean smiled when Castiel placed his free hand on his shoulder, and he subsequently placed his opposite hand on Cas’ hip. As the lyrics started flowing from the speakers, they gently began swaying with each other.

Oh, my love, my darling
I’ve hungered for your touch
A long, lonely time…

Swaying together, they stared into each other’s eyes with adoring smiles as the man’s voice lilted through the speakers.

Time goes by so slowly,
And time can do so much-
Are you still mine?

The clear night sky basked the couple in glittering light from the twinkling stars and moon, and cast an exotic spell over the forest. Time didn’t exist here, and nothing mattered outside of the two occupying it.

I need your love,
I need your love…
Godspeed your love, to me

As the two swayed together, they made love. Not in the physical, lascivious sense of the word, but something completely different. Something as old as time itself, yet new, all-consuming, and momentous.

Lonely rivers flow,
To the sea, to the sea,
To the open arms of the sea

Just as the moon cast its glow upon the world, the river rebounded it back and bathed the forest in its effervescent light. The shadows of the couple played with those of the woodland creatures, spreading their warmth to any and all that would accept it, while the trees protected their clandestine endeavors with thoughtful care.

Lonely rivers sigh:
‘Wait for me, wait for me’
I’ll be coming home, wait for me...

If a kiss was stolen here or there, no one was any the wiser. For two people whose hearts beat as one, nothing mattered more than what was right in front of them. If the world would cease to exist- be wiped out in a righteous fury of fire or ice- then so be it. There was never a guarantee for tomorrow; the only thing guaranteed was the paramount adulation in that moment that transcended all possibilities.

Oh my love, my darling,
I’ve hungered, for your touch
A long, lonely time

The couple swayed around their small space, the taller of them softly singing along to the words that touched their hearts, making moonlight promises of together and us, while the shorter let the words wash over him, returning them with caresses of too soft lips that breathed adoration and exhaled endearment.

Time goes by so slowly,
And time can do so much,
Are you still mine?

Time started back up as the song arose in its melodic crescendo, and the lovers felt it when it did. Warm hearts, filled to the brim with promises and wishes, grasped each other tightly and refused to let go. They rejoiced in exaltation as the gentle breeze of the ensnaring forest captured the scene forever and played it back for the couple. In the form of the flowing stream, in the wafting scent of fresh foliage, and in the cries of the night birds watching overhead.

It played it back in the form of life.

I need your love
I need your love
Godspeed your love, to me

The two souls undulated around each other long after the song had come to an end, not wanting to break away from the enchantment of the forest just yet. Like the moon and the sea, they danced around each other, pulling and receding in perfect balance, until eventually the lines separating one another blurred, and they merged to become one.

This singular entity was not a whole new life form; no, It was still the two souls, distinctly themselves, yet coalesced in every way. It was something that had existed long before the couple had even been a passing thought within the microcosm that is the prodigious universe.

It was love.

Terrifying, Passionate, and Beautiful.

Chapter Text

As far as first dates went, Dean could have confidently said that his one with Cas was the best first date anyone could have ever asked for.

They ended up staying in that forest, their personal piece of heaven, for an hour more after that incredible dance. The couple talked about life, their dreams, and anything and everything in between. Both of them were reluctant to go but agreed that it would do no good to stay out there and risk catching colds or worrying Gabriel and Bobby.

When they had arrived back home, Castiel had been the perfect gentleman and walked Dean back to his cabin with Gabriel. Dean had tried getting Castiel to stay but relented when the older man said he wanted to do things perfectly with Dean, which included the whole “dropping the date off at their home and giving them a kiss before they leave” cliché. The Winchester could only chuckle and call Castiel a tooth-rotting sap, but he’d be lying if he didn’t admit he felt like every teenager’s fantasy come true when Cas had silenced him with a soft kiss on his doorstep.

It was late enough that they didn’t have to worry about any intruders or wandering eyes, and the night workers were well occupied with their shifts, so Dean took comfort in that. Gabriel, apparently, did not seem to follow everyone else’s sleep cycle however, as when Dean turned around to enter the cabin after Castiel had bid him goodnight, he was jolted with shock to see the older man staring out the window next to the door, holding a box of tissues and sobbing dramatized tears as he pointed at the retreating form of Cas, yelling something along the lines of “My baby bro’s growing up!!”.

With a heavy sigh, Dean had entered the cabin and mentally prepared himself when Gabriel threw himself onto the man and sobbed into his shoulder for a good minute before he did a three-sixty and started pestering him on how his date went, the box of tissues long forgotten.

The night progressed well into late night before either of them got any shut eye as Dean admittedly recounted everything that had happened, with enthusiasm. Gabriel had hung onto each word, and even squealed a few times for the couple when Dean remarked on some of the rather cute parts of the date, and Dean found himself appreciating the man’s presence more than he usually did. They ended up passing out soon afterwards however, and Gabriel ended up oversleeping on his work shift while Dean could sleep in as per the agreement made by Crowley and Bobby. When Dean found Cas later that day while the older man was on breaks, and they shared fonder looks and sweeter conversations than ever before, well then no one else was any the wiser.


 

The following week passed by in quick succession, and the training sessions with Crowley already started becoming easier as Dean got the hang of things and bonded more with the group of jockeys. Crowley had made Dean and Jo a pleasant dinner as promised, and the two were able to bond more with the older man as a result. The days merged together so easily that Dean had completely forgotten the day of his own birthday until Castiel had yanked him aside during breakfast in his and Gabriel’s cabin to give him a very heated birthday kiss.

Dean gave an ‘mmf’ of surprise, but quickly got into it when Cas raked his fingers through the Winchester’s hair.

When they finally broke away for air, Dean stared at his boyfriend with wide eyes and flushed cheeks as he tried to slow down the hammering of his heart.

“Damn Cas, that’s one hell of a way to wake a guy up.” He said after a few moments, and with a laugh following it.

Cas just smirked and leaned forward to give him a gentler kiss, before breaking a hair’s width away from his lips once more to whisper to him.

“Happy birthday, honeybee.”

Dean’s eyes widened in surprise as the words clicked in his head, having completely forgotten that he turned twenty-one on this day. He gave the shorter man a wide smile as he pulled him into his chest and hugged him tightly.

“I completely forgot that it was today,” He said after a moment, “Thank you, Cas.”

Castiel leaned into the touch and gladly returned the hug given to him. He then chuckled fondly as he listened to Dean and shook his head. Only Dean could forget his own special day after having a constant reminder of it through his letters to his brother.

“You’re welcome, you big goofball. Come now, we still got work to get done before your co-party later tonight.”

The Winchester had a look of shock pass over him as he remembered what exactly that party meant. Not only would Sam be coming down to visit him, but he’d also finally get to meet Castiel’s other siblings as well.

“Your brothers and sisters are coming down today, aren’t they?” He asked in shock, watching as Cas ruffled through Dean’s drawer to pull out some clothing for himself. At this point they shared almost everything else, so they figured it made sense to move some of Castiel’s clothing into Dean’s dresser drawer, as he more times than not ended up hanging around their cabin anyways. Mari and her bed had even been relocated to the corner of the room by Dean’s bed, and even though Dean was sometimes suffering for it, he didn’t regret the decision in the slightest.

Castiel shucked off his old clothing and put on the new ones as he sent Dean a grin.

“They’re actually already here. I think Gabriel’s pestering them right about now, as he wasn’t in your cabin when I snuck in this morning.”

Dean sat on the bed and stared on at Castiel with a bewildered look before he finally spoke up.

“Babe, why aren’t you with them then? You only get to see them a couple of times a year, right?” He asked.

“Well, that’s a question with three answers, my dear,” Cas started, handing off clothes for Dean as he spoke, “One, Bobby would get suspicious if both Shurley brothers were missing from work today, and as such I always have to be the responsible one. Two,” He continued, as Dean changed his jeans for work pants, “My siblings like to mess with me, and as they know this party is mainly for you, they would be really disappointed if I went to see them without bringing you around as they are probably going to tell you a lot of embarrassing stories from my childhood tonight. And three,” Castiel continued on, gently helping Dean tug his shirt on as he leaned forward so their lips were centimeters apart, “I’d much prefer the company of my amazing boyfriend on his special day over the siblings who I know are going to do their best to get me wasted tonight so they can take pictures for ‘posterity’.”

With that, Cas closed the distance and gave Dean one last sweet kiss before he broke away and nodded towards the door, and all Dean could do is blink and nod in return. A smile finally came over his features when all of the words sunk in, however.

“Let’s get going, Dee. The quicker we get our work done, the quicker we can go to your party.” Castiel said, with a wink.

That sounded like a perfect plan to Dean, and he made his thoughts as such known as he followed after his boyfriend, out of the cabin.


 

The work day went by surprisingly quickly for Dean, and soon enough he was meeting up with Cas back at his cabin so they could change out of their work clothes and back into more comfortable ones. When they were both changed and ready to, Dean turned to Cas with an excited grin.

“If I go by the letters Sam has sent, he’s supposed to be arriving here around six, and it’s five-thirty right now. Do we have any plans until then?”

Castiel turned to Dean with a smile and quirked an eyebrow at him.

“Dee, it’s me you’re talking to. We can make plans appear out of nowhere.” He said and grabbed him by the collar of his shirt to drag him to his bed. Castiel flopped down on it first, and he dragged the Winchester down on top of him with an “oomf” of surprise.

Dean chuckled when he raised himself up slightly to look down at Cas, and bracketed his arms on either side of Cas’ head.

“You know, I think I like this plan...” He mumbled out, and Cas gave him a wink.

“Dinner and cake is at the bar, along with the presents I got for you, so I figured we could spend the rest of the time in a more...creative manner, if you’re feeling up for it.” The shorter man said, running a hand down Dean’s side.

Dean shivered in anticipation and fixed the man with a predatory look.

“I’m always up for any new creative idea you’ve got.”

“I’m glad to hear that, Dean.” Cas mumbled, before he pulled the man down into a gentle kiss.

The blond eagerly returned the affection and situated himself more comfortably in his boyfriend’s lap. They had only been able to just start deepening the kiss, however, when a knock on the cabin door caused Dean to jolt and look towards the intruder.

“Dean, it’s just Bobby. I wanted to tell you you had a visito- Oh hell ya idjits, you didn’t even lock the door.” Bobby had only peeked his head into the cabin to talk to him when he was blindsided by the site of Dean in a very provocative pose over top of Castiel.

Dean laughed nervously and moved off of his boyfriend when he heard his boss grumbling outside about “not locking the doors, dammit” and “I coulda been given a heart attack, I’m not getting any younger”, but perked up when heard a familiar laugh come from the other side of the door.

“Sammy?” He called out, wide-eyed and with excitement.

At the familiar name, Castiel sat up into a sitting position on the bed, and looked at Dean curiously.

“Is it your brother?” He asked, tilting his head to the side. Dean gave him a quick, excited smile before he rushed to the door and opened it wide.

“Sammy, it is you!” Dean called out, rushing down the few steps to yank his brother into a bone-crushing hug.

Sam let out a yelp of surprise as he was suddenly pulled into almost two-hundred pounds of muscle but laughed joyously nonetheless and hugged his brother right back.

“Dean, man, it’s been so long! Too long, actually!” The taller Winchester said, leaning down to rest his face in the crook of his brother’s neck. Dean laughed and nodded his agreement, it had been almost a year since the last time he had seen his little brother.

Bobby watched on for a second before he noticed a smiling Cas leaning against the cabin doorway, and he tipped his hat to the man as a goodbye, not wanting to intrude upon such a touching scene. Castiel waved as he watched his boss leave, and then smiled as he watched his boyfriend with his brother and took in the other man’s appearance.

It surprised him to find that Dean’s brother was almost a full head taller than the blond himself, which made Cas himself small in comparison. From what he could tell from the awkward angle, the younger Winchester had short, fluffy brown hair that poofed up and feathered off in the back, and longer bangs that swept all the way across his forehead, making it obvious the man probably hadn’t had a haircut in awhile, but it still looked good on him. He seemed to be lankier than Dean himself, but it was obvious through the crew-neck t-shirt and grey jacket that the man was pretty well built himself, he just didn’t have as much muscle as his older brother.

Castiel blinked a little in surprise when Sam looked up over Dean’s shoulder to make eye contact with him, and hesitantly held up a hand in a greeting gesture. Sam said something to Dean that he couldn’t hear, but it seemed have the intended effect as he watched Dean rile up and shoot Sam a playful glare with a blush. The younger Winchester broke away from the hug and stepped forward with Dean in tow.

“Hey there, you must be Castiel, am I right? Dean never shuts up about you in his letters, so it’s a pleasure to finally meet you in person and put a face to the man I had built up in my head. I’m Sam Winchester,” He said, offering his hand out to shake with a grin, “And before you ask, yes, you meet all of my expectations for who I imagined you to be, I can already tell.”

Castiel laughed and took the proffered hand, shaking it in return while he gave Dean an amused smile. It was nice to hear that his boyfriend enjoyed talking about him so much.

“It’s nice to meet you, Sam. And yes, I’m Castiel, but you can just call me Cas if you’d prefer,” He said, before adding, “I hope I was built up as a good man then, if I met all your expectations.”

Sam snort-laughed as he let go of the handshake, and shot Dean a knowing look.

“Dude, by the way Dean described you, I wouldn’t have been surprised if I had met an angel in the flesh today. The only expectation you didn’t meet is that I don’t see a halo or wings sprouting from your back.”

This only made Cas’ smile grow as he sent a glance to Dean, and watched the man flush, look away, and grumble underneath his breath about “loose-lipped little brothers”.

“Well, I’m glad I lived up to the image you built of me then,” Cas replied, “It flatters me that you think so highly of me, Dean.”

Dean looked up when Castiel said his name, and gave him a small smile and nod in acknowledgment. Cas moved aside when Dean started up the steps into the cabin, and made room for Sam to follow as well. Sam closed the door behind him when he entered and briefly looked around the room, before shooting the two of them a smile.

“So I’m assuming this is not your shared room with Dean, is it Cas?” Sam asked, moving to a chair to take a seat in, “Instead it’s shared by someone named...Gabriel, right?”

Dean moved to his own bed and dragged Castiel with him, flopping down on it and dragging the older man with him. Cas grunted when he made contact with the mattress, and smiled when Dean shot him a playful look, before he adjusted himself into a more comfortable position and focused on answering Sam’s question.

“That is correct, although I might as well live here as well by this point. Couples aren’t supposed to share cabins at night, but by now I’ve passed out in here more times than my own cabin since Dean has gotten here.” He said, and a devious chuckle from the man in question made Castiel roll his eyes fondly.

Sam nodded along with a smile, listening to him with intrigue. He was excited to finally be talking to the man that Dean had raved on about in almost all of his letters to him.

“And yes, you got it right. Gabriel is Dean’s official roommate, and I’m his adopted brother. You’ll probably get to know him better tonight however, if he doesn’t show up sooner, since he has a knack for-”

“WHAT’S UP BITCHES?”

“...Showing up when people mention his name...” Castiel finished off slowly, looking on incredulously at the brother in question, who had just quite literally kicked the door open for what Cas could only assume was dramatic effect.

Dean had let out a shriek in surprise that he would later deny as anything but manly, and held his hand over his heart, willing it to return to a normal speed. He sent a glare to the man who was standing in the doorway with sunglasses and Bermuda shorts on, nonchalantly sucking on a straw stuck in a coconut.

“What the fuck Gabe, do you have our cabin wired with microphones or some shit so you can just know when someone mentions you?” He grounded out through clenched teeth.

Sam had stood up in shock at the loud intrusion and was staring down the newcomer with disbelief, also holding his hand over his heart as he watched the man step further into the room with a shit-eating grin, while he kicked the door closed with his foot. Sam turned his attention to the two on the bed with wide eyes.

“Whathefuck-” Was all Sam could get out in a hushed whisper before he was interrupted by the short man, who laughed with a snort.

“Wouldn’t you like to know, Deanie-pie. A true spy never reveals their secrets, but the answer is no, nonetheless. I just have great timing.” Gabriel said, so matter-of-factly that all three stunned men could do nothing more than stare at him for a few moments in silence.

It was Dean who broke the silence when he spoke with deadly intent.

“Gabe, if you call me “Deanie-pie” again, I’m going to fucking cut off your left nut in your sleep, shove it down your throat, gag you, and then hog tie you to the fucking flag pole out front.”

Gabriel continued to carelessly suck on his coconut before he sputter-laughed and took off his sunglasses to look at the blond.

“Ha, jokes on you bitch, I’m into kinky shit and about three of those four things would be a major turn on for me.” He said, before cupping his mouth and saying in a hushed tone, “It’s up to you guys to figure out which of those four is the odd one out. Here’s a hint: I like being tied up, but not like a hog on most days.” He said with a wink to the couple on the bed, and Castiel looked a mixture of scarred but ten seconds away from committing fratricide, nonetheless.

“I did clarify that I’m adopted, right?” Castiel asked after a few moments.

Dean on the other hand had his face scrunched up in horror and looked like he wanted to forget everything that had happened in the last ten minutes.

Silence rang out in the cabin again until it was Sam that broke the silence once more.

“Whathefuck.” He said in a hushed whisper once more, as he too stared in abject horror at the man.

Gabriel’s attention was finally caught by the tall man, and he turned his head to look at him with wide eyes when he realized it wasn’t just him and his brother and roommate in the cabin.

“Oh, shit.” He said more to himself than anybody else, and breathed a sigh of resignation. He had already fucked up his first impression, so he figured he might as well roll with the punches.

“Welp, I probably just fucked up any chance of you seeing me as a respectable adult, so tell me, tall and sexy, what would your name happen to be?” Gabriel asked, taking a sip from his coconut and wiggling his eyebrows at Sam.

Sam blinked in surprise as a small blush came over him, and he opened his mouth to respond, but was cut off by Dean.

“Wait, what the fuck Gabe? You touch my brother and I’m fucking murdering the shit out of you.”

“Haha you’d have to catch me first, bitch~” Gabe replied cheekily.

“You have to sleep sometime, Gabriel.”

Sam rolled his eyes at his brother’s antics, and sighed, finally calming down enough to respond rationally.

“My name is-” He tried again.

“No Sam, don’t tell him your name!”

“You just told him yourself, Dean” Castiel cut in.

“Son of a bitch-”

“Thank you for the info Dean, you blond dumbass” Gabriel said in between laughs.

“Alright that’s it bitch, come here so I can kick your ass!”

“Dean, wait no-” Cas tried to cut in.

“Cas, you see this face right? This is my ass-kicking face. Someone’s ass is about to get kicked, those are the rules.”

“Again, you’d have to catch me first you asshat-”

The sound of a belt being cracked in the air rang around the cabin as Dean scrambled out of the bed.

“Oh SHIT!” Gabriel yelled, and ran towards the closest window.

“Come back here you bitch and take your ass kicking like a real man!” Dean yelled and cracked the belt one more time against his thigh.

“That’s a belt you crazy fucker, all bets are called off!”

Sam watched as the whole interaction derailed around him, and didn’t know whether to burst out laughing or to start yelling at everyone to calm down. Castiel seemed to be taking the first route and was cackling on the bed, clutching his stomach as he watched Dean terrorize Gabriel with his belt, so Sam decided to be the voice of reason in this situation.

“Okay, can everyone take a moment to calm down and kindly SHUT THE FUCK UP, PLEASE?” He yelled out, and watched as everyone stilled around him. He sighed in relief at gaining their attention

“Well...” Gabriel started, slowly lowering himself back inside the cabin from the window, “Since you asked so nicely...~” He trailed off, sent Sam a wink, and then yelped in surprise when Dean took the opportunity to crack the belt against his ass one good time.

“The fuck, man?”

“That’s for flirting with my brother, asshat.” Dean said, finally unfolding the belt to loop it back in his pants.

“Dean, you’re literally dating AND fucking my brother, but you’re still gonna use the belt on me for flirting with yours? Dude, I’ve literally had to leave my own cabin THREE times now, to give you guys private time. What the hell.” Gabriel retorted, sending the man a pout.

Dean finished looping his belt and gave the man a shrug, but the grin he also gave him let him know he was playing with him.

“Do as I say, not as I do, man,” He said, taking his seat next to Cas once more but sighing upon noticing the frown of disapproval that both his boyfriend and brother were shooting him.

“Alright, fine. I’m sorry Gabe. I was just messing with you,” He said, rubbing the back of his head bashfully, “I am really appreciative though of everything you’ve done for me and Cas. So I know I don’t say it enough, but thank you.”

Gabriel hopped off of the windowpane and closed it back before fixing Dean with a smile and a wink.

“Apology accepted, Dean-o. Don’t worry about it.” He said before turning his attention back to Sam.

“I think we haven’t had a proper greeting though, handsome.” Gabriel said as he stepped towards the tall Winchester. He grabbed one of Sam’s hands and bent down as he brought it to his mouth to press a gentle kiss upon his knuckles.

“Gabriel Shurley, at your service. It’s a pleasure to meet you, doe eyes.” He said, turning the flirting up to max.

Dean sighed softly as he watched them, and leaned against Castiel.

“I...don’t know if I should tell him that Sam has a girlfriend, or let him figure out that he’s taken, for himself.” He said softly.

Castiel grimaced and watched on as well, feeling bad for his brother.

“Oh, ouch...” He started, “Gabriel learns through experience better than he does from being told. We should probably just let Sam tell him, himself.”

Dean nodded against his partner’s shoulder, and watched on, not interrupting this time.

Sam chuckled at the man’s boldness and felt the blush from earlier return to his cheeks. It had been awhile since anyone had treated him so dauntlessly, and it was honestly refreshing for him.

“The name’s Sam Winchester, and it’s nice to meet you too.” He said, and gave the shorter man a smile when he straightened up and fixed him with a genuine one of his own.

“I’ve heard many good things about you from Dean during the time he’s been my cabin buddy, but one thing he apparently forgot to mention was just how attractive you are, Sam. I mean I can get his interest in my brother, but he should also acknowledge the good genes in his family when it’s there.” Gabriel said, fixing the other man with a playful glare before it clicked what he actually had just said, and he felt himself cringe up on the inside.

Shit, I just rambled and made an idiot of myself again, didn’t I?’ The short man thought to himself.

Dean slowly rose up from his spot against Castiel’s shoulder and fixed his roommate with a stupefied, incredulous look.

“Gabe, please rethink what you just said there for a second. Think really hard about what you just said, and then get back to me when you figure out why what you said made me honestly want to consider counseling and therapy.”

A low, long whine escaped Gabriel’s throat as he stared blankly at the wall beyond Sam’s shoulder.

“Mmmmm already way ahead of you, buddy.” He finally said all at once in a way that sounded like it was punched out of him. Castiel sighed softly and cringed as he watched his brother.

Gabriel took a deep sigh and shook his head at himself, before he turned back to Sam who was staring at him with a knowing smile and his arms crossed over his chest.

“Take a deep breath, Gabe. You don’t have to try so hard to impress me, man.” Sam said, setting a reassuring hand on the man’s shoulder, “I do also appreciate the compliment though, no matter how horribly botched it was.”

The older Shurley felt himself relax a little at the brunette’s words, and gave him a small smile.

“Thanks, Sam. Sorry about that, I’m usually a lot more smooth, trust me,” He said with a laugh, “I guess I must be coming down with a cold or something.”

Sam nodded and gave him an understanding smile as he removed his hand.

“Yeah, or something.” He said teasingly and with good nature, before he moved to sit back down in the chair he had previously occupied.

“Now that we’ve all been acquainted however, do we have any plans to set in motion..?” The younger Winchester asked curiously.

Dean looked around at the men and shrugged his arms. He hadn’t expected Gabriel to show up when he did, and figured it was just supposed to be him, Cas, and Sam heading down to the bar for the party all together. The appearance of the oldest member of the group threw a kink in those plans.

“I dunno man, I just thought we’d be driving down to the bar when you showed up, but now that Gabriel’s here, that probably changes a few things.” He said, leaning back against Castiel once more.

The younger of the Shurley brothers leaned back against Dean as well, and quirked his head at his brother.

“Yes, Dean does bring up an interesting point, Gabriel. Not that we don’t mind, but why are you here so early?” He asked.

Gabriel smiled before he winked at all of them.

“That’s for me to know, and you guys to find out.” He said, before he headed towards the cabin door.

“Although, I will tell you that we can all head down to the bar now, if we’re all ready.”

The three sitting men all looked amongst each other other and gave a respective shrug before they all agreed that they were ready to go.

“Alright, I guess we’re following after you then, Gabe.” Dean said, standing up and sending the short man a look.

Castiel stood up with him and nodded his agreement, while Sam took his time standing up once again, giving himself a moment to crack his stiff back. Plane rides were always terrible, and often left him stiff and sore for at least a day or two.

Gabriel looked back at all of them as he opened and stepped out of the door, and gave them a grin.

“Alright, then let’s get going you lazy butts. We have a party to get to for the birthday boy!” He said with a grin, and took off towards the parking lot.

Dean, Cas, and Sam all shared a collective look of amusement and a smile before they followed after the short man, albeit a bit slower than he had started out at.


 

As it turned out, Castiel had been holding out on Dean in the automobile department, and the blond was shocked when he was led to what he found out to be his boyfriend’s car. The Winchester figured Castiel knew how to drive, but as they had only ever used Gabe’s, he assumed that Cas didn’t have one of his own.

It was a simple 1970 Dodge Coronet, and was obviously well loved and had some miles to it, but it got the job done in any case. Gabriel took off in his own car and waved to them as he drove by, while the trio piled in to Cas’ car and took off in the same direction as the exuberant brunette.

The bar was not as far away as Dean had figured it would be, and they made good time in arriving at the quaint building only a little after six-thirty. It had coincidentally been next door to that one building that housed particular “lady company” that Castiel had mentioned to Dean awhile ago, but it didn’t matter anymore though, as Dean had all the company he could ever want with Cas, and made sure to tell him as such when he was made aware.

Sam took in the scenery with mild interest as the group exited out of Castiel’s car, and was surprised to notice that the bar seemed to have a western aesthetic to it, with the sign of “Rodeo Dan’s Bar & Grille” very apparent. He looked to Dean and smiled to himself when he noticed that the design had not gone over his brother’s head.

“Cas, you didn’t tell me that the bar had a cowboy theme!” Dean said, running over to Castiel once he had had gotten out of the car.

Sam chuckled as he joined the two, and looked on at the establishment with growing enthusiasm.

Well,’ He thought to himself, ‘Tonight ought to be interesting.’

Castiel watched as his boyfriend grinned with barely contained enthusiasm, and gave a knowing grin in return.

“There’s a ranch, that we just so happen to work at, just a couple of miles back. What else did you expect? You just happened to luck out that you work in business with what you say, ah, what was it, something you ‘enthusiastically admire’?”

Dean felt himself flush slightly but couldn’t be deterred in his enjoyment. The bar was a fucking western themed bar, and he was going to enjoy every second of it, dammit.

“Ha-ha tease all you like, Cas,” Dean said, stepping closer to whisper in the man’s ear, “But I’m going to enjoy this bar goddammit, and you get to take pleasure in knowing that when I snatch a cowboy hat from here, that I’m sure as hell gonna wear it during one of my races, Crowley’s wishes be damned.”

Castiel blinked a little at what Dean had said, before he turned to him with a raised eyebrow.

“Dean, I know that was probably meant to rile me up or upset me, but honestly I don’t see how that’s not a win for me. I imagine you’d look great in a cowboy hat. Besides,” He said, turning to smirk at him, “We both know you’d probably chicken out at the last second and ditch the hat as soon as Crowley started yelling.”

Sam snorted and grinned at both his brother and new friend.

“Cas, you underestimate Dean. There’s many stories I could tell you from when we were kids that would all point to Dean absolutely wearing that hat during his first race.” The taller Winchester said, and Dean laughed in agreement at that.

“Yeah, Sammy’s got a point there,” He said, before he leaned in to whisper in Cas’ ear once more, “Besides, you didn’t let me finish. I could think of a few ways of making that hat more of a “win” for you, if you catch my drift.”

Castiel pulled away with a disbelieving but not disapproving smile, and winked at him.

“I’m holding you to that then, Winchester. I’ve rode horses all these years, so now I’m kind of curious what riding a cowboy would be like.” He quietly said.

It wasn’t quiet enough for Sam to not hear, however, and the taller of the Winchester brothers groaned and rubbed a hand down his face to hide his smile.

“Gross you guys, I don’t want to hear about my brother like that.” He said playfully, and Dean shot a wink to him.

“I can snatch a hat for you to take back to Eileen, if you’d like to have some fun with her as well.” Dean offered, and Sam groaned even louder and pushed his way through the couple, to the doors.

“No thanks, Dean. The offer is appreciated, but I don’t find myself hyper-fantasizing a time when the country was ridden by tuberculosis and gunfights like you do.”

“Aw c’mon Sammy, you know that’s not what it’s about! Lighten up a little, why don’t ya?” Dean said, following after his brother with Cas by his side.

Sam rolled his eyes before turning to the duo, and crossed his arms over his chest.

“Yeah I know, which is why you should spend less time yapping out here, and more time in there, enjoying yourself.”

“Sam is right, Dean. You still have a whole night of celebrating yours and Gabe’s birthday to get through, and we still have work tomorrow as it’s a Tuesday today. So I agree; less ‘yapping’ and more partying.” Castiel said with a smile, nudging Dean towards the door.

Dean smiled at the two of them before he relented, and pushed his way through the door. Rodeo Dan’s was everything Dean expected it to be, and more. It was a large establishment with country and old west trinkets lining almost every inch of the walls in the form of old yellow pictures of cowboys and horses, news clippings, bull horns, cowboy hats, and saddles. A large pool table resided in the corner furthest from the door, and small wooden tables that used barrels for seats were interspersed throughout the entire room. The upbeat, rhythmic melodies of an old country song wafted through the air from a dusty looking jukebox that made its home close to the door, right by the long, mahogany bar table that housed many forms of alcohol with varying strength behind its bench.

The Winchester whistled lowly as he took the bar in, and shot both Cas and Sam a smile when they moved up to stand by him. Castiel gently nudged the man with his elbow and gave his partner a special, soft smile when he looked at him, and then nodded towards the bar where it seemed everyone had congregated at.

A few seconds passed before Gabriel, who was talking to a taller, dark haired man, turned around and noticed the trio. A large grin overcame his face as he waved excitedly at them, causing the rest of the group that was surrounding the bar to look at what he was gesturing at.

“Hey there’s the birthday boy! Look at him guys, all grown up, charming, and legally allowed to be in here!” Gabriel yelled, causing an amused look to come over Dean’s face.

Castiel sighed, pinched the bridge of his nose, and looked away while Gabriel shuffled his way over, probably well on his way to becoming wasted if the way he was stumbling was anything to go by.

“Gabe, you’re going to hate your life tomorrow when you wake up and have to go to work at six a.m. while you’re throwing your guts up, if you keep up the drinking like that.” Cas said, fixing the older man with a disapproving look.

Dean let out a grunt of surprise when his roommate threw himself on top of the blond and tackled him into a vice-like hug, and grumbled when he heard Sam laugh at his side.

Gabriel fixed Castiel a sober wink over Dean’s shoulder and pressed a finger to his lips, shushing him, and mouthed the words “I haven’t drunk anything yet” before he pulled away just enough to talk to Dean.

“Happy birthday, Dean-o. I’d give you a big ol’ birthday smooch to ring in the night, but I feel like Cassie wouldn’t be too happy if I did that.” He said with humor in his eyes.

Dean laughed and shook his head, before he looked up and noticed a few people standing directly behind Gabriel, looking on with knowing smirks and switching their gazes between Dean himself and Castiel.

Castiel turned his attention to the trio behind Gabriel, and fixed them all with a tender smile.

“Michael, Luci, Raphael. It’s good to see you all.” He said, and Gabriel pulled away to stand between Dean and Sam, leaving a hand on the blond’s shoulder.

“Ahh how rude of me, how could I forget! Dean, meet the significantly-less-cool-but-pretty-okay trio of the Shurley children! They’re the reason why I was at the cabin earlier; I needed to keep you guys occupied while they made their way here.” Gabe said, shooting said group a shit-eating grin as they all collectively glared at their younger brother.

The Shurley furthest on the left stepped forward with a sigh and held out a hand for Dean to shake, of which Dean did so with a smile. He had slicked-back, dark brown, almost black hair, grey eyes that held a bit of an edge to them, and pale skin, even more so than Castiel’s own. The man was dressed in a simple long-necked grey shirt, a sleek-looking, black leather jacket that had the collar popped, and simple jeans with low-rise sneakers.

“I’m Michael,” He started before he gained a smile that held humor to it, “And I can only assume that you’re Dean Winchester, boy prodigy that has claimed our younger sibling’s heart with his “amazing hair” and “charming smile”… A certain short younger brother of ours has, ah, spent a few minutes filling us in. On everything.” The man continued, with a wink.

Dean blinked a little in surprise and glanced at Cas to his side, only to hold back a laugh when he noticed the heated glare and pink-tinted cheeks that the man was shooting Gabriel. The blond turned his attention back to Michael, and returned the smile.

“That would be me, yes, but I wouldn’t exactly call myself a prodigy.” He replied with a laugh, and slowly returned his hand to his side.

Michael shook his head but still kept the smile, and crossed his arms over his chest.

“I do not flatter people, Dean. I only speak the truth,” Michael said, before giving a slight chuckle, “It’s good to meet you nonetheless, and I look forward to getting to know more about you as the night goes on. Happy birthday, Dean.”

Dean nodded his thanks and smiled as he watched the man step aside to wrap Castiel in a tight hug, and spoke to him in what he assumed was French, but couldn’t be for sure. The look on Castiel’s face spoke volumes however, and Dean was glad that Cas was already having a good time and reuniting with his siblings for the first time in awhile.

Movement from the side redirected Dean’s attention to the other Shurley siblings, and he smiled upon noticing Gabriel at Sam’s side, chatting with him.

The girl in the center stepped forward to greet Dean, and wrapped him in a hug when she finally got Dean’s attention. Dean smiled in surprise and hugged her back, and sent her the same smile when she pulled away to speak with him.

“I’m so glad that Cassie finally found someone after all of these years, we were worried he was going to just become a crazy cat person and live by himself for the rest of his life if he didn’t find someone soon,” She said quietly, “I’m Luci, by the way. It’s good to meet you.”

Dean smiled as a moment of recognition passed through him, and he was reminded of when Cas had brought up Luci all those months ago. She seemed to have grown out her sandy-blond hair from the last picture Dean had seen of her, as it was just now at about shoulder length, and styled in wavy curls. Luci had vibrant blue eyes that were lined with makeup, fairer skin that appeared to be tanned from days out in the summer sun, and was wearing a simple short-sleeved lavender pantsuit with an unbuttoned, black short-sleeved jacket, with simple converse high-tops. She seemed to be glowing, and Dean couldn’t help but give her a happy look.

“Don’t worry, as long as I’m around you won’t have to worry about that,” He said with a chuckle, “And it’s good to meet you, too. I gotta say, I love what you got going on with your hair, by the way. It looks great like that.”

Luci gave Dean a beaming smile and gently brushed a couple of fingers through it.

“Really, you think so? I decided to try it out and I like it too; I gotta admit it’s pretty high maintenance though, I kinda miss having shorter hair for that reason.” She said with a laugh.

Dean laughed with her and nodded.

“I can only imagine; I hate taking care of my own hair, and it’s barely an inch thick in some places. But yours definitely looks worth the effort, so I think it looks great.” He said.

The older woman fixed Dean with a soft, appreciative smile and nodded her thanks. She said “happy birthday” and that she also wished to get to know him more before she stepped away to wrap Castiel in a loving hug when she noticed the last one remaining in their group itching to address himself.

The Winchester fixed his attention to the last Shurley to be introduced, and gave him a smile. He had dark skin, short, neatly cut hair that joined together in tight curls at his head, and warm, brown eyes that gave off a feeling of everlasting patience. He extended his hand for Dean to shake, of which the Winchester did, happily, and noticed the t-shirt he was wearing with a smile. It looked nice on him, and was a solid dark red color. Over top of it he was wearing a black leather jacket, much like Michael was doing, with black slacks and simple dress shoes to match.

“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Dean. My name is Raphael, and I have to share my siblings’ sentiments- If what Gabriel said about you is true, then I, too, am glad that Castiel has found a partner such as yourself.” He said, leaning in to speak to him with more privacy.

“Just to warn you though, you’ll probably get at least one “If you hurt our brother, we’ll track you down and kill you” speech before the night is over, birthday notwithstanding.” Raphael finished, pulling away with a teasing smirk.

Dean chuckled and rubbed the back of his head as he sent the man an understanding smile.

“Trust me, Gabe’s got you guys covered on that base. The dude’s my roommate, so he knows everything before it even happens, I think.” He said with a laugh.

“Besides, you really don’t gotta worry. I don’t ever plan on it, but if I ever hurt Cas, I’d give all of you full permission to hurt me in any way you guys see fit. Your brother is an angel, I swear, and I ask myself everyday what I ever did to deserve him.” The blond finished softly.

Raphael sent him an understanding smile before he glanced towards Cas’ direction, and watched him laugh with his other brothers and sister. At some point Gabriel and Sam had maneuvered to join Cas and the others, and were now animatedly conversing with them about something that must’ve been funny, if the raucous laughs were any indication.

“He saw something in you that he must’ve liked.” The older man finally said, turning his gaze back upon the Winchester, “Castiel hasn’t had a partner in...many years. He chose to take a break from dating to focus on saving up money to one day move away and live out his dreams on a farm of his own in the countryside.” He took a moment to pause before a small smile came over him.

“Actually, now that I think about it...This was supposed to be his and Gabriel’s last year at Singer Farms. Gabriel has long had enough money saved up to move out on his own, and even offered to help Cas as well, but the youngster was set on making it all himself, and Gabriel refused to leave his side.” Raphael loosened his posture a little the more he talked, and Dean listened tentatively.

“You, however, coming into the picture sort of tosses things up in the air,” He continued, raising an amused eyebrow at Dean, “He was supposed to be leaving at the start of March to coincide with the renewal of contracts for the horses when new ones come in and old ones leave with their owners, but that might have changed. I guess the question now is whether or not he’s going to wait for you, or bring you with him to the next phase of his life.”

Dean frowned a little as he took in all of what Raphael said. If that was true, then he felt horrible for even the thought of him holding Castiel back, and hoped the man would not choose to give up his life dreams if he himself had to stay behind. Albeit he knew he should have his debt to Bobby paid off at that point, he also knew that a lot of things could change in half a year.

“I...He never told me about that.” Dean said, after a few moments of hesitation. Raphael blinked a little, before he sighed and fixed the man with a placating smile, and sat his hand atop his shoulder.

“Dean, I was teasing you. Well, not about his plans, but that last part,” He started, rubbing his other hand across his head, “If what Gabriel said is true, which I’m assuming it is by the number of times Castiel has looked in your direction with love-struck eyes in these five minutes alone, then you don’t have anything to worry about. I can almost guarantee he’d choose to take you with him.”

The blond turned his head slightly over his shoulder to glance at Castiel, and couldn’t help the smile that spread across his face when he found what Raphael said was true, and made eye contact with the man. Castiel sent him a shocked look at being caught at first, before it melted into something soft and tender, like Raphael had said, and Dean felt his heart flutter.

He turned back to the Shurley in front of him, and rubbed the back of his head with a goofy smile as he laughed. Raphael shook his head with a smile of his own, and lowered his hand.

“You’re something else, Dean Winchester. I know they’re waiting for us to finish up, so happy birthday, and let’s get this show on the road.” He said with a wink, and Dean nodded his agreement and thanks, as they joined the larger group of their combined families.

Raphael broke away to give Castiel the last hug he had been waiting for, and the other Shurley siblings watched on with endearing smiles as Castiel melted into the embrace. Sam moved to rejoin Dean, and smiled with him as they watched, before he addressed him quietly.

“They’re a beautiful family, aren’t they?”

“Yeah, they are,” Dean said after a few moments, “Kinda reminds me of us.”

Castiel broke off into laughter as Raphael whispered something in his ear, lost to the Winchester brothers. The duo watched as Raphael smiled proudly at making his younger brother laugh, and the rest of the Shurley siblings slowly devolved into fits of giggles as well, leaning on each other for support when Cas’ laughter turned infectious and they fully succumbed to it. Sam looked at Dean with a matching grin, and nodded his head after a moment when countless memories of late night talks and teasing sessions passed through his mind.

“Yeah, I can see what you mean. Happy birthday, Dean.”

“Don’t go getting all soft on me, Sammy. You know I’m not about that sissy shit.”

“Hey all I said was ‘happy birthday’; I was just trying to be nice, you jerk.”

“That’s better, bitch.”

A snort of laughter.

“Love you too, Dean.”

“Yeah, yeah.”

I Love you too, Sammy.

Chapter Text

After Dean had been introduced to the members of Castiel’s family that could make it down to visit them, they all maneuvered to an open table towards the back that would accommodate their group’s large size. Castiel sat in between Dean and Gabriel while Sam sat on the other side of Dean, and Michael, Raphael, and Luci sat across from the four of them. After getting situated, Gabriel left to grab drinks from the bar, and promised to bring back a couple of drinks for Dean to try, to see what kind he would prefer. A waitress came by a few moments to take their orders for dinner and left once everyone gave their selections; Michael ended up ordering for Gabriel as he knew what his brother would want the most.

“So, Dean,” Michael started, capturing the attention of everyone at the table, “Gabriel mentioned that you all originally met at a diner close by, but didn’t officially all meet until you had, and I quote, “Almost died, gasping and sputtering in my brother’s lap on the first day of the job”, which I assume Cas saved you from.” He said with an interested look, before continuing.

“What I’m curious about, however, are the details behind what Gabe said. So, Dean, I think we’d all be appreciative if you give your own accounts on what happened that “fateful day”.” The oldest Shurley finished, with playfulness in his expression.

Dean groaned softly and let his head fall to his chest as he hid an amused smile. Of course, it would be just like Gabriel to over-dramatize what had happened. He lifted his head when he felt Cas grab hold of his hand underneath the table, and felt fondness come over him when the man sent him a reassuring smile. He turned his attention back to the trio across from them, and vaguely noticed when Sam leaned forward in interest, curious to see how his brother would recount the tale.

“I wouldn’t say I almost died, but I will admit I was in Castiel’s lap when he helped me,” He started with a chuckle. Castiel shot up an eyebrow, not agreeing with the first part, but he let his boyfriend continue.

“You see, I had just lost my job from the police force, found out my fiancee had been cheating on me, and then she had kicked me out of my house, which truth be told, I wasn’t too upset about. Long story short, I was pissed, went to the diner Gabe was talking about, went to find a motel, crashed into Bobby’s truck, and then was given a job working there with housing until I paid off the debt to him.” Dean said, watching the varying expressions flicker through his audience’s faces.

“I kinda overslept the first day on the job, and my car wouldn’t start up due to the prior night’s events, so I decided to sprint the ten miles it took to get to the farm.”

“With asthma.” Both Castiel and Sam cut in at the same time, and shared a look of knowing.

Dean sighed and dropped his head a little, and then nodded it.

“Yes, with asthma. But hey, I’m a full grown man, I could’ve handled it.” He added with a grin to Castiel, “I just needed a few moments to calm down, is all.”

The deadpan look his boyfriend shot him told Dean that he wasn’t taking any of his shit, and so Castiel quirked a challenging eyebrow at the man.

“Yes, so that’s why you were gasping and collapsed in my lap, on the verge of blacking out, right?” He said.

Dean pouted when a few laughs from the siblings across from them interrupted his train of thought, and also told him that they agreed with Cas.

“That...Definitely is one hell of a first meeting, I have to give you guys that.” Michael said after a few moments.

“I think it’s kinda sweet that Cas saved your butt on the first introduction. Maybe he really is an angel after all.” Luci added in with a wink to the couple.

A small snort of laughter from Raphael made it known that he thought otherwise.

“Cas? An angel?” He said, his eyes lighting up with playfulness, “That kid was a spitfire when he was young, always breaking rules and refusing to listen to anyone. I’d be more inclined to think he’d fit the position of the devil himself, and should swap names with Luci’s namesake.”

Castiel huffed and rolled his eyes at his brother as Dean squeezed his hand once with an amused smile.

“Yes,” Castiel started, “But are you forgetting of when Luci set your first car on fire just for the hell of it? And then sold Michael’s vintage car keys to a friend just to see how long it would take him to notice they were gone?”

Raphael deadpanned when Castiel brought back the memory, and sent a glare to Luci, who was loudly laughing in her seat. Michael shared the same expression, nodded at Raphael when they turned to look at each other, and then both playfully hit the girl in between them once on her shoulders.

Luci stopped laughing and gave an indignant “Hey!” before she rubbed her shoulders and pouted to herself for a few moments. Her somberness didn’t last long, and soon she was back to grinning happily at her siblings.

“Cas gives a good point, you know. I wear the name of the devil with pride.” She said, returning the punches to them with a smile.

Dean laughed and shared a smile with Cas and Sam when they looked at him. Michael and Raphael grumbled to themselves before they perked up a bit at seeing Gabriel finally come back with all of their drinks.

“Okay, next time one of you guys are getting the drinks. That was a huge pain in the ass that I don’t want to repeat.” He grumbled, setting down a tray of varying colorful alcoholic beverages.

“Or, you know,” Michael started, swiping what looked like to be a shot of plain vodka off of the tray, “You could’ve just waited to place the order when the waitress stopped by instead of getting ahead of yourself.” He finished with a smirk, downing the whole drink in one gulp.

“Yeah, yeah, fuck you too, Mr. Perfect and Logical. Now shut up and get wasted.” Gabriel grumbled, dispersing the drinks around the table in a way that he felt would give equal opportunity and access.

“Hey, that’s no way to talk to your father, Gabriel.” Raphael teased, grabbing a plain beer. “He works hard to give you the life we never had.”

Gabriel raised an amused eyebrow at his brother, swiped a fruity cocktail off the tray, and shot Raphael a grin.

“So what, that makes you the mother then, right Raph? I gotta admit, that’s kinda gross, bro. I mean, I know Mike is devastatingly handsome and we’re all adopted for the most part, but still.”

Castiel groaned and ran an exasperated hand down his face as his brothers bickered, and tried to hide the grin threatening to appear. He had to admit, he missed the banter that he and his family used to share all of the time.

Luci grabbed what seemed to be a glass of bourbon before she smirked at them.

“Hey now, everyone knows that I’m the mom in this dysfunctional family. I only let Raphael share that title when he’s being particularly bitchy.”

Laughter rang out around the table, and Dean grinned as he watched the interactions. He felt at ease and a part of the rag-tag team of siblings, and while he always felt at home and loved with Sam, it still felt nice to expand upon just them to more people as well. Turning his head slightly to look at his brother, they shared an understanding smile, and Dean knew he felt the same.

A nudge at his side brought the older Winchester’s attention to his boyfriend, and he gave him a happy smile.

“What’s up, buttercup?” He asked quietly. Castiel sent him a smile back, and squeezed his hand gently.

“Would you like to try any of the drinks? I’ll understand, and I’m sure my siblings will as well if you decide not to, if you or I explain to them the circumstances that occurred with your...father.” He said carefully, not wanting to inadvertently bring up bad memories.

“Or, we don’t even have to do that. Your reasons are your own, and you do not have to share them if you do not wish to.” Castiel continued, verging on starting to ramble. Dean squeezed his hand once more to catch his attention, and gave him an appreciative smile.

“It’s okay Cas, really. Thank you though,” He said, turning his head to look at the drinks in front of them, “I’m fine enough to try something. I just, honestly can’t decide what to try first, actually.” He said with an embarrassed laugh.

Castiel eased up at the response, and then let go of his hand so he could sit half way up, and get a better look at the selection of drinks.

“Do you prefer something with a kick, something sweet, something bitter…?” He asked, perusing the drinks.

Gabriel and their other siblings took notice of this, and all looked up. The shortest Shurley bent forward so he could look at Dean and Sam with a grin.

“Ooh, is someone having a hard time deciding what they want to try first?” He asked with a grin, before the other Winchester caught his attention with alarm, when he noticed him not grab anything.

“Wait a second, Sammy, how old did you say are again?” He asked, and had a sinking feeling in his stomach.

Sam looked up at the man beyond Dean and Cas, and leaned forward to meet his gaze.

“Huh? Oh, I’m nineteen, so that’s why I haven’t grabbed anything yet, if that’s what you’re wondering.” He said, casting him a curious look.

Gabriel’s eyes widened as a choked sound came from his throat, and he slowly sat back down, staring off into the distance.

“Fuck.” He said, after a moment’s pause. The trio across from him shared confused looks among one another, while Dean and Cas shared an understanding one, and the older Winchester nudged at his brother.

“Go talk to him, alright? It should help clarify some things between you two.” He said, quietly. Sam shot him a confused look, but nodded and stood up to do so.

“Alright, if you say so...” Sam said, going over to Gabriel and setting a hand on his shoulder to get his attention. Dean didn’t catch it all, as Sam spoke too quietly for him to hear, but he saw his brother gesture towards a restroom, and Gabriel sheepishly nod, stand up, and follow after him.

When the two were gone and out of earshot, the three older Shurleys all turned their attention towards Dean and Castiel.

“What...was that about?” Michael finally spoke up, voice laced with confusion.

“Gabe being Gabe, like usual.” Castiel said with a soft sigh, looking towards Dean for support.

“Yeah, we’re pretty sure he had a crush on Sam, or at least liked him to some degree, and it probably just now set in how young he is,” Dean said, quietly, before a small chuckle came from him, “I can’t believe it took Sam not being able to grab a drink for him to realize that though.”

A small “oh” of understanding formed on Raphael and Luci’s lips, as Michael chuckled and shook his head.

“Figures as much, that’s typical Gabriel style. He has a good heart, and good intentions, but often doesn’t realize when a problem arises until it’s directly spelled out for him.” He said.

Raphael nodded his agreement, before he continued with his opinion.

“I’m surprised though. Gabriel doesn’t usually seek partnership from men, unless it’s really special.” He said, and Luci nodded her agreement.

“That’s true; He may flirt a lot with really anybody, but I think I can count on one hand the number of relationships he’s had with guys over the entirety of his life.” She said with a look of concern.

Castiel sighed softly with a nod, and looked on in the direction of the bathroom.

“More like one finger, if you want to get more specific.” He said with a mumble, and Dean listened on in concern as well.

While the guy may get on his nerves sometimes, Dean still didn’t want to see him hurt.

“I mean, Sam is nineteen and an adult now, and honestly probably a hell of a lot more mature than I’ll ever be,” Dean started, “So, while...I would advise him to wait until he’s a little older to pursue a relationship like that, I wouldn’t stop him if that’s what he truly wanted.” He said, looking down at his hands on the table, “I mean, the kid’s smart; he graduated high school AND college early. I would venture to say he’d know more than anybody else if he would or wouldn’t mind, and could handle being in a relationship with someone fifteen years his senior.” He said, pausing for a moment.

“Plus, I trust Gabe. I know him, and even though he’s a pain in the ass most days, I know he would never do anything to intentionally hurt Sam. Or I’d kick his ass if he did, and I’m assuming he knows that too.” Dean finished with a laugh.

The remaining group of people nodded in understanding, before Castiel spoke up once more.

“You are right, Gabriel does have a good heart and would never intentionally hurt anyone. But I suppose it doesn’t really matter in any case, however. You said he has a girlfriend back in New York, right? Eileen?” He asked, and Dean turned to him with a nod while the others at the table let out varying sounds of empathy for their brother.

“Yeah, you’ve got it right, Cas. He met her at the end of his Stanford career, so they’ve been dating for about the last seven months. As far as I know, he seemed really enamored with her so I don’t think he’s gonna leave her unless something really tears them apart.” Dean said, looking at Cas seriously.

“I’ve met Eileen once before and they seemed like a good match. From what I could tell, she really cared for him as well.” He finished with a sigh.

Castiel and his siblings nodded their understanding, before Michael grabbed another drink and started in on it, casting them all a small smile.

“Hey, lighten up, you guys. I know we all care for Gabe, but he’s a big boy. No need in tensing up the atmosphere,” He said, and Dean cracked a smile in return, “Besides, they’ve only known each other for what, like three hours max? He’ll be fine. If anything he’s probably just feeling embarrassed right now from flirting with someone almost half his age that he thought was older.”

Raphael snorted back a laugh, and took another drink as well, hiding his mouth behind the glass.

“Reminds me of the time when Gabe himself was nineteen and he almost hooked up with a woman in her sixties,” He said and the other Shurley siblings lit up at remembering the situation, “He swore up and down he was in love with her, was imagining a future with the lady, and then found out her age. I’ve never seen a man do a complete three-sixty of feelings that quickly in my whole life. He wasn’t rude or anything, just a bit embarrassed.”

Castiel chuckled with Dean as the other three smiled behind their drinks, and shared a comforting look with one another. Gabriel would be fine, they knew that. They just cared for him and felt bad for him in some ways.

A few moments passed and the group looked up as the short Shurley made his way through the crowds of people of the bar, back to their table, grinning and laughing with the taller Winchester following behind him doing the same. Dean and Castiel looked at each other with similar looks, and knew they’d be fine.

Gabriel plopped back down in his seat, patting Sam on the back once with a smile as the younger Winchester smiled back at him, and reclaimed his seat next to Dean.

“What’s going on, you guys? Why are there so many drinks still left on the table?” He asked, before plucking another colorful drink that smelled like mint and had a vibrant color to match.

Gabriel turned an accusatory squinted eye to Dean, and crossed his arms over his chest.

“Dean, have you had anything to drink yet?” He asked with a parental tone, making the birthday boy turn to him with raised eyebrows.

“Dude, I only know what most of these are because my dad was an alcoholic, and none of them smelled good back then. So,” The blond replied, crossing his arms over his chest as well, “How about you give me a suggestion, and I’ll down it in front of you.”

Luci chuckled from her spot, already on her third glass of what Dean assumed was still bourbon.

“You’re gonna regret that, Dean. Gabriel can out drink all of us on a bad day; he’s gonna pick something to waste you from the word go.” She said, and both of the brothers sitting by her nodded their agreement.

Dean blinked in wariness, looked to Castiel for his opinion, and got a smirk in return.

“Why do you think I haven’t grabbed anything yet? Mike, Raph, and Luci have been drinking longer than me and have a better tolerance. I can almost guarantee all of these drinks have been spiked with something stronger than itself,” Cas said, sending an accusatory look to his shorter brother, “As I know for a fact that these should not have taken as long as they had for him to get, and most likely why he called it a pain in the ass.”

Gabriel rubbed the back of his head with a grin, and shrugged.

“Hey, what can I say? It’s Dean birthday and my belated one, I wanted all of us to have a good time.” He said, and Dean laughed in amusement in return, turning to the trio across from him.

“So what’s the verdict, are they all spiked like Cas said?” He asked.

Michael fixed him with a serious stare, vodka firmly in his right hand, and a small smile overcame him.

“The only reason why I haven’t keeled over yet is because my overwhelming ennui for this world far surpasses any mortal pain I could ever hope to experience.” The oldest of the siblings said, voice monotone.

“The thing is, you gotta go into this hoping you’ll meet the sweet embrace of unconsciousness. Kiss her, or him I suppose, like a long lost lover.” Raphael said, nodding his agreement as he took a sip of his own drink.

Dean blinked slowly before he leaned next to Cas, and spoke quietly.

“Cas...Are your brothers...okay…?”

“Honestly? I don’t think they’ve ever been okay…?” Castiel said slowly, turning towards Dean with a concerned look. Sam looked at Cas and his brother with equal concern, before turning back towards the opposite trio.

Luci rolled her eyes and smacked both of her brothers upside the head and fixed Dean and Sam with a smile.

“Don’t listen to them, they’re just upset since they got promoted at the office and get yelled at by the bosses more than ever now.” She said, shaking her head as the two men rubbed their heads and glared at their sister.

“Ah god I almost forgot why I didn’t actually mind being kicked out of the house; I definitely would’ve never been able to work a nine-to-five job like that. Good times, good times.” Gabriel laughed and quickly downed a drink of his own as he smiled at the trio, before he turned to Dean and handed him a relatively bland looking drink.

“Here Dean, we need to finally baptize you into the adult world,” Gabriel said with a laugh, “It shouldn’t knock you out, at least not until the second or third glass, but if you’re a lightweight…Then good luck, buddy.”

Dean quirked an eyebrow and looked at the glass set in front of him. It looked like a relatively plain drink compared to some of the ones he had seen Gabriel down in the last hour they had been there, but picked it up regardless, and stared at it with confusion.

“What is it?” He asked, smelling it first and wincing at the pungent scent of burning alcohol that assaulted his senses.

Castiel scooted closer to get a better look, and scrunched his eyebrows up in confusion before he leaned forward.

“Do you mind?” He said, asking Dean if he could have a sip.

Dean shook his head and gave him a smile.

“Not at all, sunshine.” He said, and tilted the glass towards Cas so he could give him a small drink.

Sam watched in interest, having no idea what most of the drinks were either, while the oldest Shurley siblings watched in amusement, already knowing what concoction Gabriel had proffered Dean. Gabriel sat in his seat, watching with a smirk and his arms crossed over his chest.

As the cold liquid washed over Castiel’s tongue, his eyes widened in alarm when the especially strong alcohol burned its way down his throat while he swallowed. He quickly turned his head to glare at Gabriel, and grimaced in mild anger.

“Gabriel, what the hell are you thinking? If you actually kill my boyfriend, I’m going to eviscerate you in the most painful way I can think of.” He said, and Gabriel broke out in laughter.

Dean eyed the drink in mild confusion, turning his gaze upon it and his partner and roommate a few times, before he fixed the trio across him with a shrug.

“I’m sure it can’t actually be that bad.” He said, before he downed the small glass in one go, and immediately regretted that decision. The bad decision was verified as everyone at the table all collectively stared at him with gaping mouths, and Michael had an outstretched arm to him, as he had attempted to stop him when he realized what Dean was about to do.

The drink had had a somewhat sweet quality to it that Dean assumed came from added sugar, but it also tasted bitter. The continuous burst of bubbly, burning pain that rushed down his throat completely blindsided any feeling of delight Dean would have had for the drink, and he started coughing harshly as his eyes watered while he tried to regain his breath.

Castiel turned to Dean’s aid as Sam jumped up as well, and the opposite trio stood up and leaned forward, not exactly knowing what to do to help, but not wanting to sit still and watch. Cas placed a hand on Dean’s chest and used his other to gently pat at the man’s back.

“Breathe, love. It’s alright, you’re okay. Shh...” He said to the choking blond, and didn’t comment as Sam sat a comforting hand at the base of Dean’s neck to rub small circles into the skin there.

“Seriously, Gabe, what the hell are you thinking, giving someone Death in the Afternoon for their first drink??” Cas said, through clenched teeth, “Hemingway be damned, It’s literally in the title for a reason.”

Gabriel ran a nervous hand through his hair and shoved a glass of water towards the two.

“Here, have him drink this. Shit, I’m sorry guys, I didn’t expect him to just go straight in and down it all in one go like that.”

At this point the commotion had attracted the attention of a few other bar-goers, all of them wondering what the fuss was all about, but not wanting to reach out and ask.

Dean continued to cough and winced at the feeling of his throat constricting slightly, and gratefully accepted the glass of water as Cas grabbed it and handed it to him while he kept a comforting hand on his back. The Winchester swallowed down the cool liquid quickly, and sighed in relief when it cleared his throat enough that he could catch his breath again.

Blurry tears from the stress of coughing so much scattered his vision, and he wiped at his eyes as he sat there wheezing quietly for a few moments, just focusing on trying to even out his breaths. When he felt he could speak without coughing again, he raised his head to first give Castiel an appreciative smile, before turning to his brother and the rest of them to do the same.

“I’m fine now, I think,” He said soon after, “It just took me by surprise, is all. I didn’t expect it to be that strong, and thought I could just down it all and get it over with.”

A collective sigh of relief resounded from the members of the table, as they all slowly settled back down. Castiel moved his hand to slip into Dean’s once more underneath the table, and laughed softly.

“No, love. Drinks like that are supposed to be taken slowly, not thrown back like a common shot.” He said, and Gabriel spoke up in return.

“Yeah, that was one of the first things we probably should’ve told you. I’m sorry, Dean. That really wasn’t my intention.” He said, regret genuinely coloring his voice.

Dean waved it off and shook his head. He knew Gabriel didn’t intend for any of that to happen, and that it was probably his fault for being a dumbass and trying to show he could take it just like someone who has had years of drinking experience.

“It’s fine man, no hard feelings,” He replied, honestly, “It really wasn’t a bad drink in itself, actually. I could probably enjoy it if I actually did what I should’ve and taken it slowly.”

Sam laughed and gently clapped his brother on the back, shaking his back.

“Dean, I’m not even old enough to drink yet and I already knew that was a bad idea.” He said, making the others surrounding the table grin.

“I have to admit, it was pretty impressive though. You didn’t spit it back out the moment it all hit your throat.” Michael said, giving a nod of approval.

Raphael and Luci agreed, stating that they had seen men older than Dean knock themselves out for less, so they were genuinely impressed.

Castiel nodded with a smile of his own, and looked at Dean as he chuckled.

“All scary moments aside, I think it’s safe to say that Dean isn’t a lightweight. It’s been a few moments and it doesn’t seem like it really affected him that much, besides almost choking himself on it.” He said, and Gabriel laughed from his seat.

“Damn, it looks like we just gotta keep giving him more until he starts getting drunk then. Now I wanna see where his tolerance level is at.” The shorter man said.

Dean’s eyes widened as he held up his hands in a placating gesture.

“Whoa there, how about we actually give the guy involved some input, alright?” He asked with a laugh. All eyes turned to him expectantly, and he relented with a sigh soon enough.

“Fine, just so long as any future drinks don’t run the risk of killing me.”

“Aww but where’s the fun in that, Dean-o?” Gabriel asked, but was already starting to sort through the drinks left on the table to pick out another one for Dean.

Castiel sent another half-hearted glare to his brother, and squeezed Dean’s hand subconsciously.

“I wasn’t kidding when I said I’d kill you if you kill him, Gabe.” The raven-haired man warned.

Dean laughed and shook his head when Gabriel grumbled in reply, but didn’t say much as another drink was placed in front of him, this time of a warm, sunset-orange colored variety.

The Winchester picked up the small glass and eyed it warily, before he shrugged and rose it in the air slightly in a “cheers” gesture.

“Bottom’s up, I guess.” He said, and took the next drink.


 

A few hours, about four Sazerac’s with a few beers, and two cheeseburgers later, Dean had found himself properly wasted. As it turned out, he presented as a cheerful, affectionate drunk, and clung to Castiel like his life depended on it.

“Caaasss, you’re amazingg, yew know tha’?” He said at one point, clinging to the man’s arm and nuzzling his face into the crook of Cas’ neck affectionately.

Sam completely regretted not bringing his Polaroid, and could only grin as he sipped on his fruit juice, and watched his brother slip slower and slower into delirium.

Castiel gave the man a fond smile as he let him cling to his arm, and he ran his fingers through the short blond hair. Knowing he would have to drive them home at the end of the night, he had refused to take any drinks for himself, and firmly stuck to water and juice like Sam had. He wasn’t as concerned for any of his siblings, well accept for Gabriel, as he knew that his older siblings (for the most part) were old and mature enough to know not to get wasted when they had to drive as well.

Gabriel, as always, was the exception to that rule, and Castiel sighed as he watched the man across the bar fumble to stand straight while playing a few strangers in a high-stakes game of pool. It was with great relief that he knew the man somehow performed better at such things while under the influence of alcohol, than he did sober. He felt bad, however, as he knew he would end up having to ask Sam if he could take Gabriel’s car and drive him back to the farm to make sure he didn’t get into a wreck and kill himself.

Castiel gave a small chuckle when he felt the man attached at his hip wrap his arms around his torso and slump his upper body down into his lap, and he moved his arms so he could sit them on top of Dean’s back comfortingly.

“Mm’ just gon’…relax here a secon’...” The thoroughly smashed blond said, closing his eyes in confirmation that he was two seconds away from passing out.

A few chuckles from the remaining siblings at the table made Castiel look up, and he found Sam, Mike, Luci, and Raph each giving him a small smile.

“I haven’t seen him this carefree since the time we were children.” Sam said after a few moments.

Luci leaned back in her seat and let her head fall back a little, closing her eyes with a smile.

“Yeah, alcohol does have a tendency of doing that.” She said, and Michael and Raphael nodded their agreement.

“They do call it liquid courage for a reason,” Michael spoke up, and Raphael finished for him, “It has a way of removing any and all inhibitions, that’s for sure.”

Castiel chuckled and looked down fondly at the man snoozing away in his lap, nodding his agreement. Dean had been so cheerful, laughing and smiling while Castiel’s older siblings told embarrassing stories from his youth, getting to know each other, and cracking jokes at every turn. The alcohol had done what it’s label intended for it to do, and Dean had let go of any and all worries he had for the night, and just had fun. Cas was glad for this, as that’s all he really wished for, for his boyfriend’s birthday.

He turned to Sam and gave him a hesitant smile, feeling bad for asking his next question, however.

“Sam, you do know how to drive, correct?” He asked, and was relieved when the brunette nodded his head.

“Of course. That’s how I got all the way to the farm from the airport, after all. I didn’t just decide to sprint the distance like some blond idiot we know might’ve done.” He replied, teasingly.

Castiel let out a little chuckle at that, and nodded his agreement. It wouldn’t surprise him if Dean did do something like that again, if the need ever arose.

“Well, I was wondering if you could do me a big favor, and it’s okay if you say no,” He started, running his fingers through Dean’s hair to give his hands something to do, “But as you can probably tell, Gabriel didn’t think this night through, and is in no state to drive himself home. I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind taking his car and driving in his stead? My brothers and sister all have to get home tonight themselves for work tomorrow, so I would be highly grateful if...” Castiel had wanted to continue, but was cut off when Sam lifted a hand to get his attention, and fixed him with an understanding smile.

“Say no more, Cas. I don’t mind in the slightest, as my flight doesn’t leave until tomorrow morning anyways. Besides,” Sam said, with a laugh, “I sorta figured you’d ask that anyways when I saw Gabe down his fifth Sangría for the night.”

Michael chuckled from across the table, and finished the last of the water he had decided to switch to halfway through the night.

“Gabe always did have an affinity for sweet things. I never really understood how he could consume so much stuff that could rot his teeth out.” He said, and Sam laughed before turning towards Castiel once again.

“That reminds me, Cas, you decided not to drink so that means we never got to see your preferred poison. Which drink do you like to fall back on?” He asked with curiosity, and Luci perked up with a laugh, becoming interested in the conversation once again.

“After all this time with Gabe, I wouldn’t be surprised if he rubbed off on Cas, and he prefers sweet things as well now.” She said, quirking her eyebrow at her little brother.

Castiel lowered his head with a small smile, choosing to ignore his sister’s remark before he turned to Sam once again.

“I have a fondness for Daiquiries or a good Mai Tai.” He said after a second, and a whoop of happiness came from his sister.

“Ha, knew it!”

Sam laughed a bit before he fixed Castiel with a grin, and cupped his hand to whisper in his ear.

“Don’t tell Dean cause he’d kill me if he ever found out, but I may have experimented in college and found something I like as well...Sea Breeze’s are good, what can I say?” He said with a chuckle, and Castiel pulled back with a surprised grin.

“Don’t worry Sam, I won’t tell Dean. But you aren’t wrong, those go good after a nice meal and a bonfire on the beach.” He said.

Sam leaned back in his seat and nodded, agreeing with the man. It just so happened that that was actually how he had been first introduced to the drink, and Eileen as well. His preference for the drink had two different reasons for it, but he decided to just leave the conversation where it was.

“It’s a little unfortunate Dean only got one slice of cake and didn’t get to open his presents yet, however.” Castiel said after a few moments of comfortable silence, “I suppose I can just give them to him when he wakes up in the morning.”

“That sounds like a good idea, Cas. It’s already well past ten and I’m sure all he’s going to want to do when you guys get back home is to keep sleeping.” Michael replied.

“Just make sure to stock up on some aspirin for him in the morning, he’s going to need it.” Raphael said with a bit of a laugh, and Castiel nodded.

The younger Shurley didn’t want to really leave just yet, wanting to catch up with his brothers more, but knew he’d have to get going sooner rather than later if any of them had a chance at getting up on time for work the next day. It also didn’t help that the amount of judging, uncomfortable looks passed his way kept increasing the longer he stayed holding Dean in his lap, and he was starting to get tired of glaring right back at the people.

“I’ll make sure he’s taken care of,” Castiel started, before he sent his siblings a regretful look, “I’m sorry I’m cutting this off so early, but we should probably get going soon. Gabriel, Dean, and I all have to be up at for work by six in the morning, and I know they’re going to be pains to get up. Especially Gabe.”

The three siblings across the table straightened up to fix Castiel with an understanding smile, not looking offended in the slightest.

“Hey, don’t worry about it Cassie. It was really nice seeing you and your partner, and any time spent with you and Gabe is time well spent.” Michael said, starting to collect the scattered glasses in stacks so they’d be easier to clean up

“Yeah, besides, we’ll be coming back out here again for your birthday of course, so you can’t get rid of us too easily.” Luci added with a wink.

“Yes, don’t think of a this as a goodbye, Cas. It’s simply a “see you later”.” Raphael finished, sending him a reassuring smile.

Castiel sighed softly before he allowed an appreciative, fond smile to come over his face. He was never one for partings, and it always hurt a little each time he had to see his siblings off, especially when they rarely got to see each other much as is.

“Thank you guys for understanding, and coming down in the first place. It was really nice to see all of you again.” He said after a moment, and the three nodded at him with their own respective smiles.

Sam finished off the rest of his juice concoction before he turned to Castiel to offer his help.

“Do you need any help getting Dean to your car?” He asked, and Castiel shook his head no.

“No, I should be fine. However, you might need help getting Gabriel to his car, so I’d be appreciative if one of you guys can help Sam coax Gabe out of here.” He replied, turning to look at his brothers and sister.

Michael gave a sigh and stood up, shrugging on his jacket slowly.

“I’ll grab him, don’t worry about it. I can’t guarantee he’ll be returned in one piece, however.” The oldest brother said, shooting Cas a smirk.

Castiel returned the look with a smile and a small laugh, knowing Michael probably meant it.

“As long as he can still walk, I’m sure it’ll be fine. Bonus points if you cut off his tongue, however.” He said, and both Luci and Raphael let out a laugh. Cas placed one arm underneath Dean’s torso and the other under the backs of his knees, and lifted him in his arms as he stood up.

The blond was knocked out cold and hung limply in his boyfriend’s arms, unconscious to the world around him.

Sam smiled at this as he stood up and pushed in his chair, and headed around the table to join Michael. Said man shook his head with a smile and turned to grab his younger brother, and Luci and Raphael stood up to follow as well.

“It was nice seeing you, baby brother. We’ll see you soon, alright?” Michael asked, and Cas nodded with a smile.

“Of course. I’ll be sure to keep in touch. Goodnight, you guys.” He replied, and all of them said their respective “goodnight’s” before Cas headed towards the exit.

The shorter man adjusted his grip on his boyfriend and smiled down at him with a soft look in his eyes when the blond grumbled and turned his head to rest against Cas’ chest. He pointedly ignored the sneers of men and women far too drunk to form coherent thoughts around him, and the last thing he heard before he left out of the doors was Gabriel grumbling about not wanting to leave yet, and a hateful mumble of ‘fuckin’ queers poluting the atmosphere...’ a few feet away.

Castiel stiffened and was about to turn around and address the man, but a soft snore redirected his attention down to the sleeping form of his love in his arms. He took a deep breath and shook it off, knowing that now was not the time to deal with hateful people who meant nothing to him. He had a lovely boyfriend he had to get home and into bed, after all.

So the assholes could keep on hating on him, just this once, for all he cared. He had more important matters; rather, a more important person, more so than anything else, to attend to.


 

When Dean woke up the next morning, the last thing he was expecting was an intense throbbing in his head, and for everything to feel like it had been dialed up to eleven when it should’ve been at a three at most. The light cracking through the curtains only seemed to make everything worse, and he groaned when he tried to pull himself to sit up in his bed. A jostling to his side made the bed dip a little, but Dean shot out one hand to still it as the motion had felt like he was being bounced around on a ship in the sea. The blond kept his eyes closed and groaned loudly when his stomach roiled in protest, and he lowered his head to rest in his other propped up hand.

“Dean?” A voice spoke softly to his side, and the man in question just barely registered it as Cas.

“Huhh..? What do you need, Cas?” He asked in a gruff, sleep-laden voice. The man besides him shifted a little, which only made his nausea spike as he fell slightly to his side with the motion.

“Please, Cas, stop moving.” Dean asked, clapping a hand to his mouth and willing his stomach to stop doing somersaults.

Castiel was already awake when Dean had started to wake up, and was correct in his assumptions that the man would have a massive hangover when he woke up. He grimaced as he took in his boyfriend’s state, and felt bad when he had unintentionally shifted and caused him distress. Unfortunately, he had not thought through everything, and ended up sleeping on the side of the bed pressed against the wall, while he should have slept on the free end so he could have swiftly gotten up to help Dean.

“I’m sorry, Dee,” He said quietly, and carefully sat a hand on the man’s back to rub gentle circles into it, “If you’re going to be sick, then be sick. It’s better to get all of that gunk out of your stomach, anyways, and you’ll feel better afterwards.”

“Just gimme a moment, babe,” Dean grumbled, refusing to move the hand off of his mouth, “This isn’t a cold. I don’t think I’m going to feel any better when I’m done than I do now.”

Castiel sighed softly, and glanced at the bucket he had sat on the nightstand next to his bed. He had brought Dean back to his and Gabriel’s cabin, and let Sam sleep in his own so the man didn’t have to go out of his way to spend money on an overpriced hotel. If the empty bed across from them was anything to go by, he figured clingy, drunk Gabriel had refused to leave Sam once they had gotten back. Secretly, he was grateful for that as one hungover boyfriend was going to be a handful in itself; a hungover boyfriend AND brother would’ve been hell to deal with.

“That’s true, but it’s still not good to leave it in your stomach in any case. It’s roiling in protest for a reason, Dee.” He said after a moment.

The Winchester remained quiet at this, and Castiel counted the seconds while he rubbed his back, tensing and anticipating grabbing the bucket at any second.

A few tentative moments later, and Dean relaxed and fell back against his pillows, tiredly turning his head to give Cas a small smile.

“See? I’ve got a stomach of steel. Nothing to fret over.” He said, and Castiel shot him a wary look.

“Ah, I see. I guess you’ll be ready soon to clean up some ripe horse feces or watch a mare be born and possibly assist in it’s delivery, then?” Castiel asked with a knowing look, and leaned up when he saw Dean’s face pale.

“Y-Yeah, life is beautiful, you know. I can do that.” The blond said, and absentmindedly clutched at his stomach.

Castiel frowned inwardly, and felt horrible trying to force Dean to be sick, but knew it would benefit him in the long run.

“That’s great then, Dee. Maybe I’ll even let you help tug the baby out; but you’d have to be careful, you could slip from all that blood and amniotic fluid oozing out and getting in the wa-” Cas couldn’t even finish the sentence before he was jolting upwards and grabbing the bucket, setting it in front of Dean with quick reflexes.

He grimaced in sympathy as he listened to Dean lose the contents of his stomach, and he leaned forward to sit next to him as he stroked a comforting hand up and down the blond’s back.

“Fuck, Cas,” Dean said, scratchy voiced and in pain, “You did that on purpose.”

Castiel winced and stayed silent for a moment as he continued to try and comfort his boyfriend. He’s had a hangover quite a few times in his life, and knew the worst part was always the first couple of hours; he only hoped that Dean would feel better after clearing his stomach a bit.

“Yes, that’s true. But I only have your best interest at heart, Dean.” He said, and Dean groaned pitifully.

When the wave of nausea had passed, the Winchester sighed in relief and sat the bucket on the ground next to the bed. He rubbed at his eyes as he let himself fall sideways into his boyfriend’s lap, and whimpered from his throbbing head.

“Everything hurts and is too bright and loud, Cas...Make it stop...” He said, and Cas smiled at him sadly.

“I wish I could, honeybee, but the most I can do is give you some aspirin and water. Those are the joys of making yourself blackout drunk.”

The Winchester sighed tiredly and rested his head into his partner’s stomach, closing his eyes and willing the world to stop spinning.

“It was only worth it cause of you and everyone else that was there. I’d really appreciate some aspirin right about now, though.” Dean mumbled out, and Castiel nodded his understanding, and leaned a little to grab the pill bottle he had also set out.

The raven-haired man removed two of the capsules from the bottle before he replaced it in its previous position, and handed them to Dean, who took them gratefully. When he popped them into his mouth, Cas handed off a bottle of water to him that he had also set out the night prior, and Dean took the medicine and drank the water.

When Dean had finished, he set the bottle aside and made himself comfortable in his boyfriend’s lap, closing his eyes once more with the hopes of passing out. He grunted when Castiel gently nudged him in his side, and blearily creaked his eyes open once more.

“I know I have work, but I really don’t want to go in, today.” He said, and Castiel fixed him with a sympathetic smile.

“I know honeybee, but you have to. If it makes you feel any better, you still have some presents from me that you didn’t get around to opening last night.”

This piqued Dean’s interest, and he opened his eyes a little wider to shoot him a weak smile.

“Oh? I’m always up for opening some presents.” He said with a chuckle, and Cas laughed quietly.

“Then I guess you’ll just have to stay up a little bit longer then, huh?”

“Mm you drive a hard bargain, baby,” Dean’s said tenderly, and buried his face into Cas’ side, “But I suppose I can make that work.”

Castiel smiled down at the man in his lap, and sat a hand on his chest to keep him steady as he bent over the side of the small bed, and grabbed a bag that had been underneath it. Dean cracked open his eyes a little when he heard the crinkling of wrapping paper and watched as Cas pulled out three presents wrapped in newspapers. One was large-looking and odd shaped, the next one was medium shaped and looked like it could be a book of some sort, while the last one was small and fit in the palm of Cas’ hand, also square shaped, but also box-looking. Dean moved to scoot up a little and lay his back against Castiel’s chest, and the man happily let him, uncrossing his legs to open them up so Dean could move in closer.

“Cas, sunshine, you really didn’t have to get me anything...” The Winchester said, trailing off. He hadn’t received an actual wrapped present in years as Sam usually just sent him money in a birthday card since he refused to let his brother buy him anything, and hated that he still got the money, but knew it would upset Sam if he didn’t accept it.

“I know I didn’t, but I wanted to, Dean. Now hurry up and open them, already.” Cas replied, with excitement in his voice. He was eager to see the man’s reactions to his gifts that he had picked out for him.

Dean chuckled a little at his boyfriend’s eagerness, and grabbed the largest one first. When he tore into it, he was overly delighted to find an actual cowboy hat in it.

“Oh hell, no way Cas! You actually got me a real cowboy hat!” He said excitedly, running his fingers over the flexible yet stiff material, “I guess it was a good thing I didn’t end up snatching one of the hats from Rodeo Dan’s, after all.”

Castiel laughed and wrapped his arms around the man’s torso, leaning down a little to press a kiss to his cheek.

“I’m glad you like it. Gabriel actually helped me pick it out as I was stuck between getting you this one and a different one, but I have to admit that I’m glad I chose this one for you. It just suits you better.” He said, watching as Dean tried it on with a smile.

The younger man grinned widely, headache long forgotten as he ran his fingers over the hat on his head, and then took it off after a moment, beyond ecstatic.

“It’s perfect. Thank you, sunshine.” He said, lovingly.

Cas smiled softly and nodded once, before he grabbed the medium package and handed it to Dean.

“Open this one next,” Castiel said, and re-clasped his hands together over Dean’s torso when the blond took the present with a smile.

When he had finally removed the object from its covering, Dean was surprised to find a simple, small, leather-bound notebook. He opened up the book and quirked his head when he saw the blank pages, before it clicked that it was a journal for him to write in.

“I figured since I always saw you writing to your brother so much, that maybe you’d like a journal for yourself to write down anything you’d like throughout the day. Or you could use it to write more letters as well; the paper is better quality than most.” Castiel said with a smile.

Dean fingered carefully through the pages and was delighted to find that yes, the paper was in fact better quality than what he had seen in a while. Craning his head back, he tried to send his boyfriend a delighted smile.

“I love it, Cas. I’ve always wanted a journal for myself, so I think that’s what I’ll use it for. Thank you, hon.”

Castiel nodded in reply and gave him a gentle hug in delight, happy that he liked his presents so far.

“You’re welcome, honeybee,” He said, before grabbing the last present and eagerly placing it in Dean’s hands, “Here, here, open your last gift!”

Dean laughed at his partner’s eagerness, and eyed at the present in curiosity. It was small, fit perfect in the cusp of his hand, was light, and now that he was holding it, he could definitely tell that it was a box. The Winchester knew what it looked like, but he also logically knew that they were still really early into a relationship to be expecting anything like that. Still, against his better judgment, he couldn’t completely silence the thought that was trying to yell over the others in his mind.

What shocked him the most though was that he found he didn’t actually mind if it turned out to be a ring inside that box. The shivers of anticipation and fluttering in his stomach weren’t from anxiety or fear; no, they were from excitement and eagerness at the idea. He knew they couldn’t legally get married, but the thought still made his stomach flutter. At the same time though, logic won out, and he knew that it probably wasn’t that underneath the wrapping paper.

When he tore open the wrapping paper, Dean let out a breath he had been holding when he found a box underneath the newspaper, but not a ring box like he had fretted over. Confusion took over at that moment, and with a tilted head, he opened the box to look inside.

What the younger man found inside the box took his breath away just about as much as a ring would have, however, and he let out a quiet gasp. Inside of the small box was a silver necklace laying on a bed of cotton, with a small north star pendant attached to the chain, that cradled a small, light-blue sapphire embedded in its center. The pendant itself was no larger than the tip of Dean’s index finger, and the man felt his eyes well up a little when he looked at the gift. It was beautiful.

“Cas…Sunshine...There’s no way I can accept this…It’s...It’s way too much...” Dean said, gently picking up the necklace to look at it in his hands.

Castiel leaned his head forward to rest on Dean’s shoulder, as his hold on him tightened a little to a hugging position.

“Do you like it?” The older man asked, voice soft.

“Cas, it’s gorgeous. How could I not like it?” Dean replied, craning his head to the side to look at the man incredulously.

A small shrug followed Dean’s response.

“Then, it’s yours, Dee,” Castiel said with a smile, “I picked it out because...That night in the woods meant a lot to me, and I hope it meant just as much to you, that you enjoyed it just as much. The sky was so clear that night, and I could see the north star dazzle so brightly. I just... wanted to get you something, so that when you look at it, you’ll be reminded of that night, too, and how much you mean to me.”

It took every bit of Dean’s willpower to not let the tears spill out of his eyes, so all he could do was stare at the necklace with adoration, too choked up to put his feelings to words. He leaned forward and unclasped the chain, before he put it around his neck and re-clasped it, and gently held the pendant with his fingertips, and stared at it. When he felt like he could speak again without embarrassing himself, he turned his cheek to press against Cas’, and let out a shaky, happy sigh.

“I love it, Castiel. I don’t even know what to say...I just...Thank you. This means more to me than I think I’ll ever be able to express in words.” Dean said, quietly, voice raw with emotion.

Castiel chuckled softly and nuzzled his nose against the crook of Dean’s neck, and pressed a soft kiss there. He didn’t have to verbally say it, Cas already knew what he meant just by his actions and body language.

“I’m glad you like it, honeybee,” He said, quietly, pressing another kiss into the man’s neck, “Happy birthday, Dee.”

Dean let a tender smile cross his face, and he tilted his neck to give Cas more space. He sat his hands on top of the arms crossed over his torso, and closed his eyes, just letting himself soak in the moment.

A passing thought crossed through his mind as he sat in his boyfriend’s warm arms, and he let himself ponder it, welcome it, even. He felt his heart speed up as the thought of late-night talks, vacations to the beach, and moonlight strolls with the man holding him crossed his mind. His eyes opened once more, and they widened as he finally placed a feeling to the emotion coloring all of his thoughts. He realized for the first time what it actually was, but it didn’t scare him like he thought it would have; instead, it comforted him.

Dean Winchester found himself falling in love with Castiel.

Chapter Text

The couple spent another half an hour, just lying in each other’s arms and enjoying each other’s presence before they both realized they should probably get up and at least try to start the day. If they weren’t careful, they’d end up being late for work again and while they knew Bobby was a lenient and understanding man, they didn’t want to take advantage of him. With a sad sigh, they both agreed to get ready, and then head over to Cas’ cabin to wake up Gabriel and Sam.

Once they were fully dressed for work, Dean quickly changed the bandages on his hand and let Cas rub antibacterial ointment on it beforehand. The Winchester pressed a gentle kiss to Castiel’s lips as they stood before the door, and they both smiled at each other for a second before opening the door to head out of it.

On the way over to Castiel’s cabin, they ran into Curtis who was carrying a bale of hay in his arms, already sweating under the warm autumn sun. He should’ve been done with his duties from the night, but it appeared as if he must have slacked off. The man glanced at the couple, and his eyes narrowed at Castiel before they set upon Dean, and a fake smile came upon his face. Dean saw the look on the man’s face and tried to walk quicker, quietly urging along Cas, to try and avoid a conversation with their coworker. His hopes weren’t answered however, and soon enough Curtis was setting down the bale and running to catch up with the pair.

“Hey, wait up guys, what’s with the rush!” Curtis called out, quickly catching up to them.

“I know you guys have to head to work, but I’m sure it won’t hurt to spare a couple seconds of conversation.” He said, and Dean rolled his eyes skyward, praying that the talk would be short. He turned around to the address the man, and Castiel followed suit, looking at Curtis with a neutral stare.

“What’s up, Curtis?” Dean asked, fixing a fake smile to his face. The man across from them crossed his arms over his chest with a wide grin.

“What, can’t a guy just stop to catch up with a couple of old pals every once in a while?” He asked, glance switching between both Dean and Cas, as if searching for something.

“I don’t remember you ever being my ‘pal’, Curtis.” Castiel replied smoothly, “In fact, the nicest thing I can recall you saying to me was something around the lines of ‘I hope a horse tramples you to death!’” He finished, raising his voice in a surprisingly accurate copy of Curtis’ own.

Dean’s eyes widened in alarm before they fixed upon Curtis with dangerous anger, and he stepped closer to the man.

“Oh really? Is that true, Curtis?” He asked, and the man quickly glanced between the two, before settling on Dean once again. More specifically, the new chain hanging around his neck, dipping beneath his shirt.

“Hey, water under the bridge, am I right?” Curtis laughed with a shrug, “Besides, I’m more curious about how things have been going on with both of you lately. That’s a new necklace, Dean,” He continued, fixing the blond with smirk, “Meet a new girl lately? Cause if so, I’d love to meet her.”

Dean tensed up and unconsciously picked at a stray piece of fabric on his bandaged hand. He didn’t let his nerves show though and narrowed his eyes at the man.

“Who I meet and date is none of your concern, Curtis. Now, if you’ll excuse us, we have to go wake up a couple of people. They’re going to be late if we don’t.” He said, and gently grabbed Cas’ elbow to tug him along as he turned around.

“You guys sure are chummy, aren’t you?” Curtis called out loudly, making the duo stop in their tracks, “I’d be careful, people are already talking. They’re going to start thinking you’re both something...more.”

The Winchester felt his partner tense up and start to turn around to confront the man, and he clenched his elbow in return. Castiel turned his head to look up at Dean, confusion written over his face. Dean shook his head no, and slowly turned around instead, and shot Curtis a cocky grin.

“What, are you jealous, Curtis?” He called out, and saw the man’s eyes widen, “Your girlfriend not giving it to you like she used to? Maybe you’re startin’ to wonder what it’d be like to play for the same team, if even for a night?” Dean laughed and continued on.

“I’ve seen the way you look at Ralph, that buddy of yours, when you think no one’s looking. And you say that we’re the ones that have to worry about what other’s think?” Dean shook his head and moved his body to turn back around but kept looking at the man.

“I’ll give you a word of advice, Curtis. How about you fuck off and stay out of other people’s business that you have no fucking right putting your nose into, alright?” The Winchester finished, with a sickly-sweet smile.

Curtis’ face was multiple shades of red, a mixture of anger, embarrassment, and frustration. He opened his mouth and closed it multiple times as if he wanted to say something, but Dean cut him off once again.

“With love,” He said, sticking up one middle finger, “Fuck,” and then the other one, “You. That’s all, goodbye Curtis~” Dean finished with a laugh and quickly turned around, grabbing Castiel’s arm as he dragged them to the shorter man’s cabin.

Dean and Castiel laughed and smiled as they ran, and when they were on Cas’ doorsteps and out of view and earshot of Curtis, they turned to each other with similar grins.

“You know that Curtis hates Ralph with a passion, right? He can barely stand the ground that man walks on.” Castiel said with an amused look on his face.

Dean laughed with a snort and shrugged his shoulders.

“I know, it just felt good getting underneath his skin. The dick has it coming for him, he’s gonna piss off the wrong person one day, and get the shit beaten out of him.”

“If he’s not careful, that person’s going to be me.” Castiel said with a laugh, making Dean raise his eyebrow.

“Oh really, mister “I grow gardenias and heliotropes outside my cabin door and raised an abandoned kitten back to health”? I don’t think you could harm a fly, even if you tried.” The blond challenged.

Castiel raised an eyebrow himself in return to this, and stepped closer to Dean, backing him into his door.

“Oh, is that so?” He started, speaking quietly with a smirk, “Because, I think you’re forgetting that I was the one able to so easily overpower and pick you up and pin you to that stall wall, all that time ago,” Castiel tapped a finger against his mouth, before a predatory grin overcame him and he leaned forward to whisper into his ear, “Maybe I should give you a reminder of just how strong I am...”

Dean gulped and stared at Castiel with wide eyes, feeling his body heat up with interest. He was about to open his mouth to reply, but the door baring his weight that he was pushed against opened, and he quickly found himself falling backwards into a firm chest.

He yelped with wide eyes as he tried to catch himself, but instead the familiar laugh of his younger brother greeted him, and he pushed Dean back to standing.

“Am I interrupting something here…?” Sam asked curiously, noting the flushed look on his brother’s face and the amused one on Castiel’s.

“No, not at all, Sam. We were just visiting to make sure you both are up so that you don’t miss your flight, and Gabriel doesn’t oversleep work.” Cas explained, and Sam moved to let them inside.

“Yeah, we’ve been up for about an hour now. Gabriel was grumpy at first, but uh...After like, maybe five minutes, he perked up and has been...hyperactive ever since?” Sam said, standing by the wall as Castiel and Dean entered, and stared on unsurprised as Gabriel was cheerfully flipping pancakes in a pan over a somehow contained fire in a small makeshift pit.

Dean shook his head with a sigh as he moved to stand by Sam, and Castiel pinched the bridge of his nose as he watched his brother.

“Gabe, are you serious right now? This is my cabin. My wooden cabin, and you’re making pancakes over an open fire in it.” Castiel said exasperatedly, slumping down on his bed as he watched his brother.

Gabriel looked over at the people watching him cook and sent his brother a bright grin.

“Goood mooorrning, Cassie and Dean-o!” He greeted, much too enthusiastic for someone who had almost drunk himself into a coma the prior night, “Would you guys like some flapjacks as well? I’m already making Sammy a bunch, so I figure I might as well.”

Dean laughed as he watched his boyfriend stare on, too used to his brother’s antics but also still exasperated at the same time.

“I want three, with butter.” Dean said with a grin.

“Give me four. And if you burn anything of mine, you’re banned from my cabin.” Castiel finally relented, and Gabriel rolled his eyes, playfully.

“You have such little faith in me, dear brother of mine. I only singed your carpet just a little.” He said, and laughed when Castiel shot up to look at the damage with wide eyes. Seeing that there actually was none, Cas groaned and fell back down into his seat.

Sam sat down next Dean and Cas on the small bed, and gave them both a curious smile.

“So you guys have known him longer...How is he in such a good mood right now?” He asked quietly, not wanting to disturb the brother making pancakes.

Dean gave a shrug and leaned his body weight into Cas’, throwing an arm around the man’s torso.

“I’ve known him for a few months now, and that’s still a mystery to me, Sammy.” He said, and Castiel shot the younger brother a grin.

“I’ve known him almost my whole life, and I still don’t know either. Sometimes I swear he’s not actually part of this world. My favorite theory is that my father actually didn’t have him and found him from a meteor in the woods instead.” Castiel said with a chuckle.

Gabriel turned around to Castiel’s pantry and grinned as he pulled out some paper plates.

“The world may never know, Cassie. Maybe I am an alien. Or maybe I’m just a cool dude who likes to mess around with people. I’ll let you guys decide that one,” Gabriel said with a wink to the trio on the bed and began plating the fluffy pancakes.

Dean, Sam, and Cas all shared bewildered looks before they each accepted a plate stacked with the delicious-looking breakfast. They decided not to ponder the subject much longer, and Sam and Dean groaned softly when they took the first bite of the food.

“Holy shit, Cas. You grew up a blessed life if you had Gabe around to always make you breakfast.” Dean said in between mouthfuls, and Castiel let out a laugh of his own.

“I didn’t used to always make breakfast,” Gabriel started, taking a sip of coffee from a mug he had prepared earlier, “I learned from our dad, and just took over the duty when we came here to Singer Farms.” The man finished with a shrug.

Sam smiled around his mouthful, and gave a shrug himself.

“It’s still really good, Gabe. Thank you.” He said, and the other two nodded their agreement and gratitude.

“Are you not going to eat any?” Castiel asked after a moment, realizing that his brother had yet to start in on a plate and had put out the fire.

“Nah I’m good, baby bro. I had a chocolate bar before you guys came over.” He replied, and Sam’s eyebrow twitched. Dean laughed when he noticed the look on his brother’s face.

“Which, just so you know, I strongly tried to persuade him against as chocolate is not a suitable breakfast.” He said, grumpily stabbing another chunk of pancake and popping it in his mouth.

Castiel quirked an amused eyebrow at the younger Winchester, and looked at Dean with a questioning look. Gabriel chuckled in the background and turned to start cleaning up the mess he had made.

“He’s a bit of a health nut,” Dean supplied with a playful grin, “Can’t stand when people eat stuff extremely unhealthy with nothing else to help balance it out.”

A grumble from the nineteen-year-old confirmed just as much, and all members of the cabin broke off into soft laughter at his dismay.

Comfortable silence rang out in the cabin, and after a bit Sam turned to Dean and Cas as they all finished their meals.

“So, did you guys have a good morning?” He asked with an eyebrow wiggle. Dean almost choked on his last bite of food, and Castiel sent Sam and amused smile as he gently pounded on the man’s back.

“I thought it was quite enjoyable.” He supplied honestly, and Dean quickly spoke up once he stopped coughing.

“I threw up and then got presents and hugs. So, yeah it was pretty good.” He finished with an honest smile.

Sam blinked a little at his brother’s awkwardness but couldn’t help but smile when he saw the same one break across his brother’s and Castiel’s faces.

“That’s good then, I’m glad.” He said, standing up to throw away his paper plate and plastic fork in the waste bin near the door.

“It’s been really good to see you again, Dean,” Sam said, placing his hands in the pockets of his jeans, “And a pleasure to meet you and your brothers, Cas.” He continued, fixing them both with a happy grin, and sending one to Gabriel as well when he caught his eye.

“But, I have a flight to catch in about an hour, and it takes half of that to get to the airport, so I should probably get going soon.” He finished with a somewhat sad smile. He didn’t want to leave just yet; the younger Winchester wanted to spend more time with his brother and get to know his partner and Gabriel better. But life sometimes didn’t always give you exactly what you wanted, and he knew that.

Dean let a similar smile come over his face, and he walked forward to pull his brother into a tight hug. Sam fell into it easily, and wrapped his arms tightly around his older brother.

“I’m going to miss you, Sammy.” He said, softly, and Cas and Gabe shared knowing, empathetic looks. They knew what it was like to say goodbye to a sibling when you wanted to do anything but that.

Sam gave a watery chuckle, and closed his eyes, pulling the man closer. He always hated this part of his visits the most.

“Hey, what was that about how you hated “sissy shit”, man? I’ll be back soon, and you know that.” The younger Winchester replied, just as soft, trying to lighten the mood.

“You bitch, you’re gonna make this harder than it needs to be.” Dean laughed and buried his face into his brother’s shoulder.

“Not if you don’t make it that way, jerk.” Sam shot back, but his words were soft and playful, and held no poison to them at all.

A few moments passed as they stayed in each other’s arms, before Dean pulled away just enough to look at Sam with pride. He set his hands atop his brother’s shoulders, and smiled at him.

“You better send more letters when you get home, to keep in touch.” The blond said with a grin, and Sam laughed in return.

“You know I will, Dean,” Sam started, giving him an apologetic look a moment after, “I can’t guarantee I’ll be able to make it down to most of your races, but I swear I will come to at least one of them this season.”

Dean gave him an understanding look and chuckled, shaking his head.

“It’s alright, Sammy. I know it’s hard trying to line up work and everything else to try and find days to come down here, so the thought means a lot to me. Thank you for coming down for my birthday, man.” He said, stepping back and finally releasing his brother.

Sam replaced his hands in his pockets and nodded with a smile.

“Of course. I haven’t visited in almost a year, you know I couldn’t miss your birthday.” He said with a chuckle.

Dean nodded, returning the laugh with a smile of his own.

“Drive safely, Sammy. Don’t be a stranger, alright?” He asked, and Sam laughed as he stepped towards Cas to wrap him in a hug first.

“You know I couldn’t be a stranger if I tried, Dean,” Sam replied, before he bent down to wrap Cas in a big Winchester hug.

Castiel’s eyes widened in surprise, but softened as he held the younger Winchester closely.

“It was nice to meet you, Cas,” Sam said, quietly, “Please make sure to take care of my brother, alright? He has a good heart, but is an idiot sometimes and can get himself into trouble easily.”

“Don’t worry, Sam. As long as he’s with me, I’ll always look after him.” Castiel replied, closing his eyes with a smile, “It was nice to meet you, too. I look forward to seeing you when you visit once again.”

Sam pulled away with a fond smile himself, and patted Cas on the shoulder with a nod, agreeing with him. He turned to Gabriel and grinned at the man who was looking out the window, trying to pretend like he was oblivious to the scene.

“C’mere Gabe, you can’t cuddle to a man an entire night and expect to get out of goodbye hugs the next morning.” Sam said teasingly and with a laugh, finally catching the shorter man’s attention.

Gabriel laughed and sat down his coffee cup on the table he was leaning on, and opened his arms up to the younger Winchester.

“Alright, alright, bring it in Sammy.” He said, and smiled when the behemoth of a man eclipsed him and pulled him into a hug that knocked the breath out of him.

“Holy shit, Dean wasn’t kidding when he said you were moose.” Gabriel said through a wheeze, and let himself relax into it after a moment.

“I shoulda called you ‘Sammoose’. It would’ve fit you way better than ‘Sammy’.” The short brunette said upon catching his breath, and Sam chuckled in return.

“Maybe next time when I see you guys again, alright?” The Winchester asked, and Gabriel closed his eyes with a smile as he nodded and rested his head against the man’s shoulder.

“Next time, for sure.” He said and smiled sadly when Sam pulled away to look at him with a smile of his own.

“It was nice to meet you. I’ll see you around soon, okay?”

“Of course. It was nice to meet you, too,” Gabriel replied, and then pat him on the side as it would’ve been an awkward angle to try and pat his shoulder, “Now get out of here, you big sap. You’re gonna be late for your flight.”

Sam laughed and nodded his agreement, plucking his keys off of the bedside table and heading towards the door.

“I’ll see you all around, okay?” He said to all of them, and all of them nodded their agreement.

Opening the door, he turned back one last time to wave at them with a smile, making sure to shoot Dean a special one.

“You all take care!” Sam said, grinning ear to ear as he waved his goodbye, and the trio in the cabin followed suit, yelling their own goodbyes and waving with sad smiles.

The door closed behind the young Winchester, and Castiel moved to wind his fingers into Dean’s hand, while Gabriel stood by his side and sat a comforting hand on the man’s shoulder.

Dean smiled sadly and let his head fall to stare at the floor for a few seconds. He lifted it again moments later, and looked at both his boyfriend, and then his roommate with an appreciative smile. He knew it wasn’t ‘goodbye’ forever, but partings still were always the worst for Dean.

He knew Sam would be okay though, and that sent a smile to the older Winchester’s face.

Chapter Text

Life continued on for the trio at Singer Farms, and routine became a norm as the days, weeks, and soon months, went by. The work week was spent with Dean and Castiel going about their normal habits; Gabe pestering them more times than not with the gift of talks or fast food, and then working around and with each other and sneaking dates in every Saturday or Sunday when Dean had come back from jockey training. Drive-thru movie theaters, walks around a nearby park, and that special forest had all become hot-spots for their dates, but each time they went brought something new to the table. May it be a new movie, new sights, or new dinners, life was never dull or boring for the couple, and both of them returned to their cabins each night, happier and hearts brimming with more tenderness and affection for each other, than the last. Sefir, Castiel’s gentle old stallion, even managed to accompany them on a few dates every once and awhile, providing the duo transportation when they grew tired of just driving everywhere.

The Fridays spent with Crowley and the team of jockeys always went by too quickly in Dean’s opinion, as he grew to know his teammates better, and bond with them. Jo opened up to Dean quicker than the others had, and he soon found himself looking out for her and giving her advice when she needed it, much like he did with Sammy. He ended up being the reason for why Jo finally took the dive and went to talk to her mother for the first time in a year, and the subsequent reason for why Jo no longer had to live in sketchy parts of neighborhoods and had a warm meal to come home to every night. Jo’s mother, a kindly older woman named Ellen, had almost broke when she saw Jo and Dean at her porch one late night, and gave the young woman one of the biggest hugs of her life as she quietly cried in her mother’s arms, apologizing for running away like that. Ellen accepted her apology easily, and they came to an agreement that Jo could keep being a jockey and could (obviously) move back in, as long as she at least try to go back to school as education and knowledge are priceless. Jo accepted easily, and Dean had soon found himself being engulfed in a hug by two women, invited inside, and given pie for his troubles.

Elijah had always been an open book around Dean, and Dean had soon become an older brother figure for the young man, becoming in a sense “the good cop” of his “two brothers” as he felt he could tell things to Dean easier than he could with Nathan sometimes. Eli loved Nathan to pieces, but he also felt like the man was suffocating him, and dictating too much of his life as he got older. Dean listened to him willingly and offered his advice, as he had once been in Nathan’s shoes, but with Sammy. He tried telling Elijah that the best thing to do was to just make his feelings known to his older brother, as it would only hurt them both later on if he let his feelings fester into disdain and hatred over Nathan’s overprotectiveness.

It worked for the most part, but Elijah still held some of his true feelings back, and it all came to a head one day during practice when he had wanted to go visit one of his friends after training, and Nathan had said no as he didn’t trust that particular friend. Elijah had blown up on his brother, saying that he was “overbearing” and that he was “never allowed to do anything” even though he was nineteen and could make his own decisions on who he was friends with. The younger man had stormed off, leaving a confused and heartbroken older brother in his wake, and Dean had gone to check on Nathan when the group collectively agreed to take a break. The Winchester had found the man sitting in the stable house with his head in his hands, and that was the first and only time Dean had seen him cry.

So, Dean had sat down with him and let him cry as he hugged him, understanding and knowing what Nathan was going through as he had experienced much the same with Sam. When the younger man had calmed down, Dean spoke to him and tried to get him to understand that while he might have the best intentions for Eli, that sometimes it’s best to let his younger brother make his own decisions. He explained that Elijah was an adult now, and could take care of himself; that if Nathan didn’t let him, then he’d never be allowed to mature and grow up like he should, and he’d just be hurting Elijah more than helping him. After about an hour of talking and Nathan getting his own worries off of his chest, Nathan took Dean’s advice and went to go apologize to Elijah. Dean watched as the two brothers talked to each other and made up, hugging it out and crying as they both felt horrible for what they had done. Things got better soon after that, and Nathan thanked Dean greatly once everything was calmed down. In subsequent training sessions, the Winchester had found himself sharing smiles and laughs more often with Elijah, and Nathan especially, as the older of the two gradually let himself be himself around the team. The three bonded greatly after that, and Dean found himself as a mentor, older brother figure of sorts for the two.

Drew was the last one to open up to Dean, but when he did, Dean couldn’t go a second by himself until the younger man was fluttering through and talking to him about anything and everything. Drew had kept to himself for the most part until one day when Dean had noticed the man seemed oddly more quiet and fatigued than he usually was. When they were grabbing their horses to reign up, Dean had pulled Drew aside when he noticed the man stumble and almost fall while grabbing his saddle. Taking him to a restroom, Dean had tenderly asked if he was alright, and was taken by surprise when the young redhead burst into tears in front of him. Dean had instantly grabbed the man into his arms to give him a hug, but was surprised when Drew recoiled and tried to pull away, scratching at his rib area in protest. The man had already been taking deep breaths before, but was verging on hyperventilating at that point. The Winchester, not knowing what else to do, had asked if he could remove the man’s shirt to check what was wrong, and was given all the answer he needed when he had quickly nodded his head yes.

When Dean carefully removed Drew’s shirt, he was surprised to see angry red, swollen marks puckered from the edges of where his makeshift chest binder laid. Without thinking, Dean had stretched his arms forward, but stopped himself before touching, and asked if it was alright if he removed it for him. Drew, sobbing and covering his face, could only nod his head yes. So with great care and dexterity, Dean had carefully found a small gap where he could fit his fingers underneath the binder, and tore it in half and threw it to the side. He sighed in relief when Drew started drawing in clearer, less shallow breaths of air, and gave him a small, comforting smile as he kept eye contact, and gently drew his jacket more closed to give the man some coverage. It took Drew a few moments to calm down, but when he did, Dean had set a comforting hand on his shoulder, and asked why Drew had made his binding so tight, to the point of cutting off his airways and making the skin swell in agitation.

Drew had stared down until he started sobbing again, and recounted the situation from the night before, when his mother had snapped and yelled at him, telling him to “stop pretending” and that he’d “never be a boy, that he would always be a girl”. His mother had gotten physical with him, had slapped him when he protested and broken out a switch to punish him with when he proclaimed that he was a boy and that he was never a girl.

It hadn’t stopped until his sister came home from work to visit and rescued him from the situation, and had taken him back to her place to live. Drew explained that while he was grateful for his sister, he couldn’t get his mother’s words out of his head, and as such, had tried to prove to himself that he actually was a boy, and tightened the binder to the point of being hazardous. Dean felt his heart break for his friend, and wrapped him in an embrace, careful to make sure he didn’t agitate his wounds further.

The Winchester explained to Drew that it was brave of him to stick up for himself, and that he was proud of him for that. He also had reassured Drew that he can be whoever or whatever he wants to be, and should never allow any one to tell him otherwise and stop him from being happy, but to try to be careful with his binding as he could’ve seriously hurt himself. Drew had collapsed in his arms and started sobbing harder than before, and Dean was there to hold him, speak words of comfort, and tell him that if he ever needed help or someone to talk to, that he could always come to him.

When Drew had split away from Dean after long minutes of just being held, and absorbing all of the comfort he could, he had given Dean a shaky, appreciative smile, and expressed his sincere gratitude. Afterwards, Dean had grabbed a medical kit hanging from the wall in the restroom, and with Drew’s consent, had helped him clean the angry red marks that had mildly split his skin from irritation. Drew had allowed it when Dean asked if he could help rebind him, and together they carefully replaced Drew’s binder with multiple layers of rolled medical gauze, but this time in a less tight and more comfortable, breathable way. When they reemerged from the restrooms about forty-five minutes after they had went in, Drew had a happier look on his face, and was breathing a lot easier while they went back to training. Ever since then, Drew had practically glued himself to Dean’s side, and loved talking to the older brother figure he had made of him about all of the things that went on in his life that made him happy, and even the things that had upset him, when they happened.

Dean had found a third family with his teammates, and loved training with them on Fridays more than ever before.

As such, training passed quickly for the group, and it wasn’t until halfway through November when the temperatures were chilly enough to require jackets, that Dean had been told he was finally ready to compete in his first race with the rest of his teammates. Unfortunately, they wouldn’t get to race together, per-say. Crowley had trained all of them together for efficiency, but to also instill them all with a sense of sportsmanship and camaraderie. All of them would be competing in different racing counties within the state, and Crowley had managed to get Dean set up to race in the most local county, Sparinster, about a few miles out. His first race was set to November 17th, a Saturday, at three pm.


 

The Friday training session before his race had been a particularly emotional meeting, and the group had given each other hugs and words of encouragement when Dean was ready to head back to the farm, as the other four also had a race to attend in their respective counties.

Drew was the first one to hug Dean, and Dean hugged him back just as tightly, relieved when he didn’t flinch in pain anymore from healing wounds.

“You’re gonna do great out there, Dean. You’ve quickly become one of the best of us.” Drew whispered, and Dean felt a smile take over his features.

“Nah you’re just over-exaggerating there, Drew. You’re pretty good yourself, so don’t sell yourself short, alright?” Dean said, and chuckled when the smaller man giggled and nodded against his chest.

“You got it. I can’t wait till next week when we get to tell each other how we did.” He said, and Dean nodded his agreement.

“I’m looking forward to it too. That better be a ‘gold medal’ hanging around your neck when you come around to tell me all about your day, alright?” Dean asked in a playful, fatherly tone.

“Yes sir!” Drew said with another giggle, and then relaxed to pull away, fixing him with one last smile. “But there better be ‘gold’ around your neck as well, then.”

“You can count on it.” Dean said with a wink, and smiled when Jo came up to greet him next.

“So I know Drew already gave you a talk, but he’s right. If I don’t see something hanging on that neck of yours next week, I’m gonna be disappointed, Dean.” Jo said teasingly, and with a smile.

“Then I guess I’ll just have to be disappointed in you if you don’t come back with that as well.” He replied, equally teasing, and pulled her into a hug.

“C’mere you. The least you can do is give me a hug after all the hell you put me through these last few weeks.” The Winchester laughed, and Jo laughed right along with him.

“Hey, I just wanted to make sure you were prepared, is all. Everyone else here has been in many races before; you’re the only one going into this new.” She said, relaxing into the embrace.

“I’ll be fine, Jo,” Dean replied, soft-spoken and with fondness, “You just make sure to kick some ass out there, yourself.”

Jo pulled away to sit a hand on Dean’s face, and chuckled while patting it in a motherly fashion.

“Will do. You’ll do great, Dean.” She said, stepping away with a smile.

Elijah was the next one to step up, and he tackled Dean into a hug, knocking the air out of him.

“Whoa there, Nate doesn’t call you sparky for nothing, kiddo.” Dean said with a laugh, and hugged him back.

“You make sure to have fun out there and be safe, alright? We don’t wanna come back to see you with another skinned hand or broken bone this time.” Eli said, voice muffled from his face hiding in Dean’s chest.

“I’ll make sure to be safe, I promise. Cas would probably kill me if I wasn’t.” Dean replied with a chuckle.

Eli pulled back his head to look at Dean, and fixed him with a grin.

“And he would have every right to. If I see your obituary in the newspaper one day, I’m just assuming you fell and broke an arm, and Cas finished the job for you.” He replied, and both of them laughed at that.

A few moments passed before Eli finally let go, and stepped back a bit with a smile.

“In all seriousness though, I’ll be fine. You can’t get rid of me that easily.” The Winchester said, winking with a grin.

Eli laughed and shook his head, before finally looking back up and giving him a nod of solidarity.

“Good luck, Dean.”

Dean nodded his thanks, and smiled when Nathan took his brother’s place in front of them. The two of them stood there, staring at each other for a few moments, before Nathan broke and a half-smile came over his face. He closed his eyes and stepped forward, giving Dean a soft hug.

The blond’s eyes widened in surprise when he felt the younger man hug him; he honestly had only expected a few words of encouragement and nothing else. Not one to forsake something though, he quickly wrapped his arms around the man, and smiled.

“You’re going to do great out there, Nate.” He said after a few moments.

“The same goes to you, blondie. Make us proud, alright?” Nathan replied, and stepped back out of the hug.

Dean gave the man a bright smile, and nodded his understanding.

“I’ll do my best.” He said.

And with that, Nathan smiled a little wider, and nodded back once before stepping back to the rest of the group.

Dean took a moment to share a moment of comfortable silence with his teammates, and made eye contact with all of them once, sending each of them an encouraging smile. A car honk interrupted the moment, however, and he waved at them.

All of them waved their respective goodbyes, and Dean yelled one back as he climbed into the passenger seat of the car. He didn’t stop waving until the group was in the distance, and he could no longer see them.

Relaxing back in his seat, Dean had a few moments to himself before Crowley spoke up once.

“You’re going to do great, Poppet. I know you don’t like to disappoint, so you go out there and make us all proud, alright?” He said, and Dean was surprised to hear the tenderness in his voice.

The Winchester stared at the older man for a few moments, before he turned back to stare out the windshield with a smile.

“I won’t disappoint you guys.” He said, and Crowley nodded.

There was nothing else to be said; Dean had trained weekly for months, had kicked his own ass to get to where he was.

He wasn’t about to let that all go to waste.


 

When Dean arrived back at the farm, he thanked Crowley for the ride, and quickly headed towards the cabins, set on finding Castiel. The sun had started setting earlier and earlier each day, and Dean felt a shiver run through him from the cool night air.

As it was well past suppertime, he figured the man would probably be hanging around his and Gabriel’s cabin, as he didn’t usually leave for his own until he had to in order to keep suspicion down. Unlocking the door and entering the cabin, Dean’s suspicions were confirmed when he noticed the sprawled out, sleeping form of his boyfriend on his bed, with Mari curled up on his chest. A fond smile came over him as he headed towards the bed, and gently stroked his fingers through Castiel’s hair. Mari looked up at him and yawned, stretching out her tiny form before aptly curling back up in a ball to fall asleep once more.

A creak of the other bed drew Dean’s gaze over to Gabriel, and he sent the older man a smile.

“How long has he been out?” He asked, quietly, and Gabe placed a bookmark in his book before turning to him with a smile.

“About an hour or two. He wanted to wait for you to come back, but he had stable cleaning duty today, and the other person that was supposed to work with him in the other stables called off sick, so I imagine he’s pretty beat.” Gabriel replied, before standing up to stretch.

Dean nodded his understanding, and carefully sat himself on the edge of the bed, and continued stroking his fingers through the man’s soft hair.

“I’m going to leave you guys alone for the night, alright?” Gabriel said, already heading towards the door, “I know tomorrow is the day of your first race, and you stress out so easily, so Cas will probably be better company than I will.” He finished with a wink.

“Good luck, I’ll be there to see you at your race tomorrow, Dean-o. Get some rest.”

Dean opened his mouth to say thanks and that Gabe didn’t have to leave if he didn’t want to, but the brunette had already made his way out the door, closing it behind him.

The Winchester sat in silence for a moment, before he turned to stand up and shuck off his shoes and pants. He grabbed a small, cube-like box out of the pocket of his pants and smiled at it tenderly, looking from it to Castiel, before he took it and quietly placed it in the first drawer of his nightstand. Leaving his comfortable t-shirt on, Dean sat a kiss on top of Castiel’s forehead before he carefully maneuvered a hand underneath his pillow. He pulled out the journal Castiel had given him for his birthday a few months ago, and took it to the desk he and Gabe had set up next to his nightstand. Sitting down, he grabbed the pencil on the desk, and began writing in the book that was already starting to show signs of gentle wear and daily use.

Dean had just finished his entry for the day when a soft grumble to his side alerted the blond to his awaking partner. Closing the book and setting it to the side, he turned in his seat to look at Cas, and sent him a soft smile. The older man blearily opened his eyes, and cracked a smile at Dean upon noticing him looking at him.

“Dee...you’re home...” He said softly, voice deep with sleep.

Dean chuckled as he stood up and pushed his chair in.

“Yeah, I’ve been home for a little bit now. Go back to sleep, honey. You need your rest.” He said softly, and head over to sit on the edge of the bed once more.

Castiel smiled tiredly and softly as Dean sat a loving hand on one of his own, and rubbed gently at the calloused skin there. He shifted a little and carefully grabbed Mari to set her down on the floor, and then scooted over to be against the wall, giving space for Dean to lay down.

“Come here, honeybee. You need rest more than I do...You got a big day tomorrow.” Cas said, and opened his arms for the younger man.

Dean laid down easily into them, and smiled as Castiel hugged him to himself. The blond rested his head on the older man’s chest, and was comforted by the soothing and rhythmic sounds of his beating heart. He carefully hiked his left leg over Castiel’s legs, and adjusted himself to practically be using him as a human pillow. Castiel waited until Dean was comfortable with a little smile, and adjusted one of his arms so that he could stroke his fingers through the younger man’s hair a little while he held him with his other. He pressed a kiss to the top of the Winchester’s head, and rested his cheek against it happily.

“Comfortable?” He asked when Dean had finally settled down, and Dean nodded against his chest.

“Yeah, I’m good. Thank you, Cas.” He replied, and closed his eyes. “I’m just...worried about tomorrow.”

“That’s understandable, Dee. But, you’ve trained every week with Crowley and your team, and Crowley has spent countless hours training Ama in the time you’ve been doing your job here. I think you’re going to do just fine tomorrow.” Castiel said, softly, with words full of hope and encouragement.

“I know, it’s just what if I let them down? They’re all expecting me to bring home first place tomorrow. What if I don’t do that?” Dean asked, and with this, Cas gently gathered Dean in his arms and sat them both up so he could look at him.

“Then you did the best you could do, and had fun while doing it. At the end of the day, that’s all that really matters, Dee,” Castiel said, looking at him with loving eyes, “If you can come home tomorrow and say that you had a great time racing, then first place or not, that’s worth a gold medal alone. I’m sure Crowley would tell you the same thing.”

Dean listened to him, and smiled softly as he felt some of his worries disappear. Talking to Cas always managed to make him feel better. He was right; Dean had spent months, each week dedicating his Fridays to improving his racing and training to be the best jockey he could be. Even if he didn’t bring home first place, well, then there was always the next week’s competition to improve upon.

“Besides,” Castiel continued, “It’s supposed to be a bit of surprise, but Bobby has a celebration waiting for you when you get home, regardless of how you place. The whole farm is shutting down for the night, just to throw you a party for your successes, and tell you how proud of you we are.” He said, leaning forward to give the blond a gentle kiss.

When he broke away, he continued, giving Dean a look of adoration.

“It doesn’t matter if you get first or not, Dean. You’re already a winner in our eyes. In my eyes, love.” Castiel finished, and Dean felt his heart flutter with love for this man. A man that he had never thought he’d find himself falling for, never thought he could let himself fall for, but had been proven wrong.

Just like each passing day, nothing was guaranteed, and everything changed by the second. While at one point he would have recoiled at the thought of himself falling for a man, he openly embraced it every day now, never wanting to look back. He couldn’t imagine a future without Castiel in it anymore.

“Hey Cas?” Dean asked, after a moment of silence.

“Yes, Dee?” Cas replied, tilting his head with a smile.

“I love you. I love you so much, sunshine.” The blond said, voice tender and soft with emotion.

Castiel’s eyes widened for a moment, before they completely softened with mutual love and affection. He leaned forward and captured Dean’s lips in a passionate kiss, hands holding either side of his face, as he poured out his soul to the man, conveying every bit of love and cherishment, and every bit of fondness and adulation he felt for the man. When he pulled away, he rested his forehead against Dean’s, and opened his eyes to look into Dean’s.

“Oh Dean...” He said, a smile of overwhelming happiness and adoration forming over his face, “I love you too, honeybee. Maintenant, et pour toujours.”*

Dean had completely fallen in love with Cas. And by some miracle, Dean pondered as they drifted off to sleep together, Cas has completely fallen in love with me.

That night, Dean fell asleep with a smile on his face.


 

The next morning, Dean and Cas were both awoken by slight nudges on their shoulders.

“Dean-o, Cassie? It’s time to wake up, lovebirds. Bobby said Crowley’s here already and you need to get going, Dean.” Gabriel said, trying his best to wake them up without getting hit, knowing they both had the tendency to be violent wakers.

Castiel was the first one to stir, and he gave a grunt of disapproval as he held Dean closer to himself. The two were still thoroughly entangled in each other’s arms, and Dean had a pretty decent sized puddle of drool collecting on Cas’ chest from where he had been laying.

The blue-eyed man lifted his head slightly to see what was disturbing them, and groaned when he realized it was just Gabriel.

“Too early. Sleep more.” He said, and promptly let his head fall back and went back to sleep.

Gabriel sighed softly and grabbed one of his pillows from his bed, before chucking it at the sleeping couple.

“It’s twelve o’clock, also known as noon. Dean, your race starts in three hours, and you have to be registered by one. It takes a good forty-five minutes to get there.”

A few disdained grumbles came from the couple, before both simultaneously shot up to stare at each other with wide eyes. Dean scrambled to sit up, and yanked the pocket watch he kept underneath his pillow, rubbing his eyes to clear them. His eyes widened in alarm when he realized that it was in fact noon, and Gabriel hadn’t been lying.

“SHIT!” The blond yelled and scrambled to his feet, rushing to his dresser to toss on new clothes.

Castiel jumped up to assist getting together his jockey bag, and Dean made record time in getting dressed and ready for a day. Somehow, in all of the haste, he had remembered to grab his cowboy hat, and was able to sneak the ring box he had hidden in his nightstand back into the pockets of his pants.

When Castiel handed him his jockey bag, Dean took it gratefully and pulled the man by the front of his shirt into a heated kiss. Gabriel whistled somewhere from the sidelines, but neither of them paid any mind to him. After a few moments they reluctantly pulled away, and stared at each other similar smiles.

“I love you, sunshine.” Dean said after a moment, and Castiel grinned his giddiness.

“I love you too, honeybee. You’re going to do great out there.” Cas replied, and Dean gave him one last quick kiss before he broke off with a smile, and headed towards the door.

“I’ll see you there, right?” He asked, and Cas nodded his head with a smile.

“Of course. I said I’d go to each of your races, and I meant it.” Cas replied, and Dean relaxed with a grin.

“Then I’ll see you guys down there.” He said, knowing Gabe would be there as well.

“Go out there and kick some ass for me, Dean-o!” Gabriel called, cupping his hands around his mouth.

“You got it, Gabe!” Dean laughed, and waved to them as he stepped out of the cabin.

As Dean made his way to the farm’s entrance, he smiled as his coworkers came up to offer him words of encouragement or to simply pat him on the back as they passed by, telling him good luck. When he finally made it to the front, Bobby and Crowley were both waiting there for him, the latter ready to get on the road already.

Bobby had a disgruntled look on his face, but it lightened when he stared at Dean for a few moments.

“I can’t even be mad that you’re late cause you’ve always had a penchant for showing up past when you’re supposed to, even when working.” Bobby said after a moment, and then smiled at him, setting a comforting hand on Dean’s shoulder.

“You’re gonna do great out there, Dean. Just give it your best, have fun, and remember that we’re all really proud of you,” He continued, giving Dean a wink, “And, when you come back home, you may just have a surprise in store for you.”

Dean gave the man who had once shown such strong dislike for him, to now becoming a father figure of sorts, a big, grateful smile.

“Thank you, Bobby. That means a lot to me, and…I’m very appreciative for everything you’ve done for me. Truly.” The Winchester replied, and he saw Bobby look away a moment with emotional eyes. The older man pulled Dean into a hug, and it was all Dean could do to hug him back, letting himself enjoy the moment.

They pulled away after a few moments, and Bobby tipped his head with a nod and a smile.

“I’ll see ya up there, alright?” He asked, and Dean nodded with a glad smile. He truly was glad to hear that Bobby would be joining them up there to watch the race.

“I look forward to seeing you up there with Cas and Gabe.” Dean replied, and looked to Crowley when the man straightened up from against his car.

“Well, now that farewells are taken care of, we really should be heading out on the road. Registration is always a pain in the ass, after all.” The older man said, good-naturedly.

“We’ll see you up there, Bobby.” And with that, Crowley got into the driver’s seat.

Dean gave Bobby one last nod of appreciation and as a goodbye, and then headed around the car to jump into the passenger’s seat.

When Crowley started up the car and they headed out on their way, Dean waved at the older man waving back at them.

Focusing his attention on the road ahead of them, a rush of adrenaline and excitement fell over Dean. He was truly about to enter in his first race.

And he was ready now, more than ever before.


 

The two made good time in getting to the track field the race was being held in, but that was mainly accountable to Crowley doing twenty over the speed limit the whole time. Upon arriving, Crowley had instructed Dean to go get changed in one of the restrooms while he took care of filling out his prerequisite entry forms. He did as such, and when he came back out in full jockey garb, with an added cowboy hat hung around his neck, hanging off his back, he was surprised to see the sheer amount of people that had shown up to watch in the stands.

The track itself was simple enough; it had eight lanes, one for each horse that would raise that day, and a white starting line. The Winchester maneuvered his way through a few people dressed in similar garb as him, of whom he assumed he would be racing soon, and quickly found Crowley once more. Upon spotting Dean, the older man slapped an adhesive sheet on the man’s outer arm, which he quickly realized to be his number, of which was 7, and then handed him a special cloth for Ama, also with the number 7 on it.

“Alright, Dean, that’s your number, don’t lose it. I have you all registered and ready to go, so all we have to do is wait for Bobby to arrive with Ama, and then get that number on her. When they get here, you’re going to want to quickly reign and saddle her up as the race is supposed to be starting in a little under half an hour.” Crowley said, all in one breath, before taking one and continuing on, “Don’t mount her just yet, instead get her used to the new settings in as little time as possible. When the announcer calls for you to bring her to the starting gate, you’re going to want to guide her to your indicated lane, seven, and then mount her. Keep her behind the line like we practiced, and then set off when they say so. Any questions?”

Dean opened his mouth to say something, but was cut off quickly.

“None? Good, good. Oh, and for the love of God and all that is holy, what in the bloody HELL IS THAT THING HANGING OFF OF YOUR NECK?!” Crowley growled out, and Dean chuckled as he rubbed the back of his head, trying to hide the cowboy hat more.

“What are you talking about, Crowley? I don’t see anything,” Dean rushed out quickly, and then inwardly sighed when he saw Bobby’s familiar truck pulling around Ama in a singular mobile stable, “Oh hey, would you look at that, Bobby and Ama are here! I gotta go grab her!” He finished, and ran off to where Bobby had parked nearby.

Crowley grumbled and rubbed a tired hand down his face as he slowly followed after the energetic man. It was going to be a long day, he could feel it in his bones.

“Bobby, hey there! Thanks for bringing Ama out!” Dean greeted the man, and quickly went around to Ama’s holding stable.

Bobby chuckled as he followed after him, pulling out a key to unlock the padlock keeping the door closed.

“Not a problem, she is my horse after all. I just let ya guys use her.” Bobby said with a wink, and replaced his key back in his pocket when the door unlocked.

“Correction. Technically she is my horse now, as I paid to have her bred those years ago. But, sure, I don’t mind a co-ownership.” Crowley spoke up, standing next to them with a teasing smile.

Dean had led Ama out of the mobile stable, and lovingly stroked her head as he cooed to her. He loved the girl, and it appeared as if the girl loved him too, if the little delighted snuffles and little lickings she was giving him were anything to go by. After a few moments, he grabbed the girl’s saddle and reigns from the trailer, kept a hold of her number, and quickly went about getting her ready.

The sound a few car doors closing shut in the distance alerted them to newcomers, and Dean smiled widely when he saw his boyfriend and Gabriel make their way towards them.

Gabriel swung his car keys around on his index finger, and smirked at Crowley as he addressed them.

“I propose a further correction- I think that horse belongs to Dean-o right about now. I mean, look at her. You remember how hard she was to break, and how much she used to hate interacting with us.” He said, gesturing with his hand to the horse and human team, “Now she’s practically putty in Dean’s hands.”

Crowley grumbled underneath his breath and Bobby laughed with a nod as they watched Ama be affectionate with Dean. Gabriel did have a point, even though the jockey trainer didn’t want to admit it.

Dean perked up and fixed the newcomers with a happy look.

“You guys made it.” He said with a cheerful grin.

Castiel made his way to stand by Dean, and gently stroked his hands down Ama’s sides as he fixed him with a loving look.

“Of course we made it. Did you really think we were going to miss your first race?” He said, and Gabriel gave a short laugh.

“I don’t think we could’ve missed it for anything. And I’m being serious about that, Dean-o,” Gabe said, before lowering his voice into a conspiratorial whisper, “Cas would’ve killed me if I had even suggested that I didn’t want to go.”

Castiel leaned back a little to raise an eyebrow at his older brother.

“And I can still make good on that promise if you aren’t careful.” He said, before correcting his posture, and smiling once more at Dean.

Dean laughed as he watched Gabriel throw his hands up in the air in exasperation, shrieking that “I didn’t even say that and he’s already making promises!”. He turned back to Cas with a fonder smile, and leaned down to whisper to him better.

“I’m really glad that you guys did show up, though. I know you all said that you would, but still.” The Winchester said, and Castiel laughed softly.

“We wouldn’t have missed it for the world.” He said, and they both shared equally loving looks for a few moments, until the announcer’s voice came over the loudspeaker.

Two minutes to post! All racers, please make your way to the track and line up in your designated lanes. Mount your stallions and mares once you are lined up, and wait for further instruction.”

“Well, it looks like that’s my cue to go.” Dean said, giving Cas one last smile and grabbing a hold of Ama’s reigns.

“You’re going to do great, Dee. Good luck.” Cas said, and Dean nodded his appreciation. When Dean turned around, Castiel’s eyes widened in surprise at first when he saw he was actually wearing the cowboy hat, but it quickly turned to humor as he clapped a hand over his mouth to stop himself from laughing.

Turning to the other members of his small group, Dean nodded to them once as well, smiling in appreciation at their words of encouragement, but not really processing it all. He was focused on the race now, and made his way over to the track after giving his thanks to them all.

Once he had guided Ama into their lane, he gave her one last pat of encouragement before he mounted her swiftly, and steadied her to stay behind the line. He took a moment to take in his competition, and wasn’t surprised to see the rest of the eight racers were also all male. To calm his nerves, he took a deep breath and tried to focus on clearing his mind. He lowered his goggles to cover his eyes as he took a moment to adjust his racing hat, and then gently ran his fingers through Ama’s mane.

“Alright girl, today’s the big day,” Dean started, speaking to Ama in a whisper, “But we got this. This is what we’ve been training for, for the last few months, what we’ve sweated and cried over. Well, maybe you didn’t cry, but I probably cried enough for the both of us.” He continued with a chuckle.

“But the point is, that win or lose today, that I’m so proud of us. We’ve come a long way girl, and I’m so glad it’s you that I get to share this experience with. You’re a good, beautiful girl.” Dean finished, patting her gently, one last time on her head.

When the announcer stepped forward in person and called for all of them to get into position, Dean did as such, and closed his eyes to clear his mind. They had this. They were going to do good.

The announcer said something about how they would be racing on a one furlong track, as per requirements, and that their goal was to try and beat everyone else to make the fastest time, but Dean wasn’t listening. He was only tuned into certain few words, and directing the rest of his attention to calming his nerves.

When the man asked if everyone was ready, Dean’s attention tuned back in, and he set his gaze to the path ahead of them. He didn’t hear when the announcer started prepping them to set off, but heard when the buzzer went off, signifying the start of the race. As soon as he heard that, he and Ama set off in a blaze down the track.

Dean let the energy and momentum of the race come over him as he guided Ama, keeping a tight hold on her reigns to keep her from expending too much energy at the start. The wind flowing over them felt like cold stings compared to the warm air he had been used to training in, but it didn’t deter him; if anything, it kept him more alert. The Winchester noticed he was one of the last ones in the race at the moment, but paid no worry to it; he was still in the clubhouse turn and only just crossed the 7/8 pole, after all. Dean noticed that Ama’s ears were pricked, and smiled to himself, glad that she was alert and paying attention.

The world flashed by in a blur, the landscape a cold mixture of indistinguishable faces of those watching the race, and the browning foliage of leaves that had long ago fallen to the ground. When Dean noticed them approach the 3/4 pole, he lessened his restraint on the reigns, and let Ama pick up speed, but still kept a bit of a grip on them. He smiled in delight when he and Ama surpassed a few of the fellow racers, bringing them in fourth place overall. Dean paid the announcer no attention as he played back the events to the audience, and felt his nerves melt away from him as he grew more comfortable with the race. Soon it felt like he was back to that one fateful day all those months ago, when it was just him and Ama racing through the trail of Singer Farms, and Crowley had taken interest in him for his program.

He remembered the exhilaration and complete euphoria he felt while speeding through the wind, and with an excited grin, he started feeling the same emotions all over again. When they crossed the half-mile pole of the backstretch, Dean heard the announcer call out that he and Ama were “half in forty-eight seconds”, signifying that they were still on the slower side of the race. He decided it was not much to worry about, and just let themselves enjoy the feeling of the race for a little longer. Dean could tell Ama was enjoying herself as well, based on the little snuffles she was letting out every once in awhile. He could feel the raw power accumulating underneath her, just begging to let her let loose and show everyone what she could really do.

As they neared closer towards the end of the race, Dean noticed Crowley and Bobby watching from the sidelines, giving small smiles. He craned his head a little to see where Gabriel and Castiel were, and his eyes lit up in delight when he spotted them, and noticed them cheering him on. His eyes locked onto Cas’ and time slowed down for a split second as he watched the man send him a yell of encouragement. Filled with energy, Dean let a wide grin cover over his face as he moved the flapping cowboy hat over top his head, and bent forward in anticipation. When they crossed the 3/8 pole and began the far turn, Dean completely loosened his restraint on Ama, and encouraged her to pick up to her full speed. As they sped by, Dean watched the shocked look on his fellow competitors’ faces as he quickly moved into third, second, and finally first place. He vaguely heard the announcer call out something about him and Ama “going away” in the course, noting the “loose reign” Dean had on her reigns and that Ama appeared to be “on the muscle”.

The crowd let out loud cheers and screams when Dean made his way into first place, but all he could hear was a singular cry of “GO DEE, YOU GOT THIS!” that fueled their last stretch. As they crossed the 1/16 pole of the homestretch, it was clear that Dean and Ama would take first place by a wide margin. The Winchester recognized this, and grinned widely, still urging Ama on.

Castiel, Gabriel, Bobby, and Crowley all watched on in amazed shock and astonishment as Dean passed by them from their spot outside of the tracks; however, as he passed, all they heard was a loud “YEEEHHAAWWW” that had sounded distant at first, gradually gotten louder when he passed them, and then grown distant once more as they watched him cross the finish line and take first place.

Crowley and Bobby shared equal looks of bewilderment, while Gabriel stood blinking for a few seconds, before he broke down in a complete fit of laughter, and doubled over on himself, having to rest his hands on his knees as he wheezed through his laughs.

“No fucking way!!” The man said in between gasps.

Castiel had much a similar reaction as Gabriel had, except his laughs were much more contained. When Crowley finally turned to ask “What the hell just happened?”, Castiel could only turn to him with a big, goofy grin and say “My boyfriend is a huge dork, that’s what happened.”. Bobby shook his head with a fond smile, and didn’t say much besides a grumble of something around the lines of “what an idjit.” while they watched Dean circle around, and finally reign Ama in to normal gait.

When the rest of the racers had finished, Dean waited impatiently to accept his prize for first place. He gave his thanks when he was handed his prize and smiled when his picture was taken with Ama, but the whole time he could only focus on Castiel. The small group was off to the side with the rest of the crowd, watching as Dean was praised and awarded for his accomplishment. Castiel grinned widely the entire time, never breaking his gaze on his boyfriend, and wanting so badly to congratulate him, himself.

After a few long minutes, the racers were finally released to go on their own way. Dean had rushed his way out of the gates with Ama to get into the crowded area, and when he saw Castiel and the rest of them waiting for him, he couldn’t contain himself. He had quickly hopped off of Ama and handed the reigns off to Gabriel as he ran to Castiel and swept him off of his feet. Not thinking of what he was really doing, he bent forward and captured Cas into a heated kiss, setting him back down on his feet so he could bend him backwards. Dean entwined their fingers together, and was so caught up in the moment and pouring his love into the kiss, that he was unaware of when quite a few surprised gasps had broken out, and the once bustling crowd had become eerily quiet.

Dean broke away after a few moments, but only by a little, and stared down lovingly at Cas. They shared a tender moment and smiles, but Gabriel tried to get their attention.

“Um. Hey, guys?” He said, voice oddly devoid of any playfulness like it usually had.

Dean didn’t hear him however, and whispered “I love you.” while Castiel replied “I love you too, Dean.”

“Guys. That’s really sweet, but I need you both to focus right now.” Gabriel spoke up once more, this time his voice deadly serious and commanding in a ‘You need to listen, right now.’ kind of way.

It caught Cas’ attention however, as he had only ever heard his brother use that tone of voice once before in his life. Turning his head to his brother, he quirked it in confusion.

“What’s wrong, Gabriel?” He asked, straightening up in alarm upon feeling Dean go oddly rigid and stiff in his hold.

When Cas looked up at Dean, the man was petrified to his spot, and gripping tightly to his hand. Dean’s eyes were widened in fear, looking at the crowd beyond Castiel. The shorter man turned his body slightly to look at what Dean was looking at, and only then was it that he noticed the numerous amount of people slowly starting to crowd them with looks of horror and disgust, with hatred.

“Well,” Gabriel said, speaking up once again, “The fact that you both just outed yourselves in front of a thousand people might be a start.” He said quietly, finished with a sigh, and turned to give both men a soft, understanding smile.

“Remember when we said we wanted to ruffle society’s feathers? Well, I think we might have ripped at a few wings instead, just now. So, Castiel, Dean?” Gabriel continued, looking both of them in the eyes and hardening his gaze, “Get in the car. Both of you, right now.”

Castiel flinched at the tone Gabriel had used, but he understood. He saw the look of worry and fear cross over his brother’s features, all of it directed towards them. Gabe was right; there was a time and place to stand up for what you believe in, but this just wasn’t it. There were too many people, and all of them looked ready to fight. If they even attempted to do anything but get in the car as they were told, they would be attacked on the spot.

The crowd started sparking up once more, but this time the things they were yelling were not cheers, but rather horrible, disgusting things. Bobby had moved to grab Ama, and slowly loaded her back into her trailer as to not provoke the crowd. Crowley was pinching the bridge of his nose the whole time, and mumbling something about “having to do PR damage control”.

Get the queers!’ Someone had yelled out.

They don’t belong here!’ Another person.

I knew it was too fuckin’ good to be true!’

You can’t root for anyone anymore without risk of this!’

How dare they show up here and ruin this sport!’

That poor horse!’

The shouting eventually devolved into nothing but shouts of senslessness. When Castiel moved with Dean’s hand in his, he frowned when he noticed his boyfriend refusing to budge.

“Dean, what are you doing?” He asked in an increasingly frantic voice.

“We’re going to get killed if we don’t get out of here!!” Castiel said, trying once again to tug his boyfriend towards the car.

Dean’s eyes were narrowed however, and he looked towards the crowd and back to Castiel. At some point during the hysterics, something had snapped Dean out of his fear, and had instead filled him with rage. Castiel saw the look on his face though, and had known his boyfriend long enough to recognize what he wanted to do.

“Oh no you don’t, not today Dean Winchester. We need to get out of here, right now.” Castiel said through clenched teeth.

Dean looked at him, and a frown overcame him.

“Cas, you said you wanted to be the change we see in the world. It’s gotta start somewhere.” He replied, looking on unperturbed by the crowd.

“Dean, NO. I’m not letting you die a martyr today, or any day. Like Gabe said, this is not the time or place,” Cas yelled, grabbing his face to make the man look at me, “Look at me, Dean. That’s a crowd of a thousand or more people, all wanting to tear into us. Us, Dean. If we even try to provoke them, we’re dead. We’d just be another statistic in that book of yours that you hate so much!”

At this point, worried, angry tears were forming in Castiel’s eyes. He saw the moment that what he said started to click with Dean, and so he continued on.

“When I said I wanted to be the change we wanted to see in the world, I didn’t mean like this, Dee. We’d never stand a chance against something like this alone. I meant for us to start small, you know, ruffle the feathers. What we just did provoked the whole goddamn bear, Dean.” Castiel finished with a worried laugh.

Dean’s eyes widened in understanding as he looked back and forth between Castiel and the crowd, and he nodded, starting to back away towards the car with Cas in tow. Gabriel had been trying to calm down some of the crowd members, but as he turned back to make sure his brother and his friend had gotten to safety, his eyes widened to see them still standing there.

“What the fuck are you guys still doing standing here?! Castiel, when I said get in the fucking car, I fucking meant it. For once in your life, please, do as you’re told!” The shorter man yelled out, voice booming with anger.

Castiel flinched back once more, feelings slightly hurt, but he knew his brother didn’t mean to hurt him. The man was completely worried for his younger brother and Dean. As such, Cas gave a short, understanding nod, and grabbed Dean’s arm as he dragged him into Gabriel’s car, and locked the doors.

They watched as Bobby quickly finished loading Ama, and then take off down the highway. Crowley was delivering speeches to the crowd, garnering their attention and also the attention of the officials of the race. They overheard bits and pieces as Crowley smooth-talked his way through all of their questions, making excuse upon excuse for what had just happened. Unsurprisingly, he turned out to be a marvelous public speaker, and after about an hour of questioning, the crowd had come to accept the story that Dean was an incredibly nervous racer, and overall just overly affectionate. They accepted that he was a foreigner and came from a country where a kiss on the lips is a sign of good camaraderie and spirits, regardless of gender, and nothing more. It was obvious that there were quite a few people that did not believe Crowley, however it was enough to quell their anger and offer a reason for as to why that had happened.

The officials of the race agreed after these talks as well, that it was enough of a reasonable explanation that Dean could continue racing in Kansas, which offered relief for everyone involved. Everyone was still on edge, however, and it was unspoken but made clear that they’d be keeping an eye out on Dean for any further races.

Once the crowds had finally started disperse, Crowley had tiredly walked back to his car, and nodded at the couple staring at him from the back of Gabe’s car. He gave them a tired, but understanding smile, and mouthed ‘I’m still proud of you, Poppet.’ to Dean, before hopping into his own car and heading down the highway.

When Gabriel finally made it back to the car, he unlocked the door, slumped in the front seat, and let out a sigh of relief. Castiel and Dean had not moved to hold each other while in the car, as they were afraid that a crowd member passing by would spot them.

As Gabriel started up the car though, that fear was quickly dispelled, and they moved to hold each other’s hands. The journey back home had been spent in partial silence, before Gabriel looked up to see the couple looking tired and shaken in his backseat.

“Hey, guys. I’m sorry for yelling at you like that.” He said, quietly, “I never meant to hurt you guys. Please, try to understand that I was so scared and worried for you both...I saw the looks on those people’s faces. They wanted blood,” Gabriel continued, averting his gaze back to the road, “And all I could see was me, in a black suit, having to bury my baby brother’s, and then my best friend’s bodies.” He finished, voice watery.

Castiel and Dean looked up at the man, and then looked towards the floorboards with eyes filled to the brim with conflicting emotions. They didn’t regret what they had done; they would never regret being in love with one another. But they regretted that they had left Gabriel, Bobby, and Crowley to clean up the mess they had made. They regretted that the man in the front seat was now on the verge of tears over something they had almost caused. And above all, they regretted that they all had to live in a world where bloodshed was the norm, and hatred was a given.

“It’s okay, Gabriel…We understood,” Castiel started, voice heavy with tiredness, “I’m...sorry you had to do that. Thank you for sticking up for us.”

Gabriel looked back up in the rear view mirror, and his eyes softened when he met his brother’s gaze. For a second, all he could see was the scruffy, trouble-making youngster that so loved to play and get underneath his siblings’ skin. He saw the lopsided toothy grin, and the too bright, blue eyes that had stared at him in awe and love when he had given the kid his first chocolate bar. He saw those same eyes, blubbery with big tears, as he held him and treated his scraped knee after he fell off of his bicycle for the first time.

And now, in the present, he saw all that, but more. He saw the scars barely concealed, beneath the surface of a man who had been through hell for just being himself. He saw the man who had grown, and matured, and learned to love everyone regardless of who they were. He saw the fragile heart, worn on his sleeve, that bared countless traumas but still kept beating. And he saw those same, big tears, threatening to spill over his cheeks as they spoke, but for something completely different than a scraped knee. His brother was no longer a kid, and it showed in every move he made.

“And...I’m sorry I...caused all of that to happen.” Dean spoke up, breaking Gabriel out of his thoughts, “That was...the wrong time and place. And it was all my fault.” He finished, looking away and angrily rubbing at his eyes as they spilled unwanted tears.

Gabriel chuckled from the front seat, and Castiel pulled the blond into his arms. Both of them looked up when they heard his laugh, and Gabe shot them both a fond look.

“You two are such doofuses. Listen to me Dean, never apologize for wanting to express your love to the person you’re in love with. Never apologize for being yourself,” He said, turning his gaze back to the road with a smile, “It’s not your fault that the world isn’t ready yet for your guys’ beautiful story.”

A pause rang over the car, before Gabriel spoke up once more.

“But someday it will be. And then, there will be nothing that can stop you two.”

Dean and Castiel watched Gabriel for a few moments, before they turned to each other with small smiles.

He was right. They should never apologize for loving each other. It’s their lives, and well if everyone else doesn’t agree with it? Then they could not care less. Life was what you made of it, for good or for bad.

“Thank you, Gabe.” They both spoke at once, and then chuckled with each other for copying the other.

The two laughed and leaned into each other, and Dean buried his face into Castiel’s shoulder, letting his tears flow freely as the events of the day finally caught up to the both of them. Castiel continued chuckling softly, bent his head to rest against the top of Dean’s, and closed his eyes as quiet tears ran down his cheeks.

Gabriel watched for a moment through the rear-view mirror, and a small smile came over him. They were shaken, but they’d be alright.

Chapter Text

As Gabriel pulled around into the parking lot of Singer Farms, just as the sun was starting to slip below the horizon, the trio was surprised to see banners stringing across the entrance, and what appeared to be the majority of the workers surrounding the gates, with even a few people they couldn’t place names to. The crowd started cheering when they noticed Gabriel’s car pull into the parking lot beyond the farm, and as Gabriel parked the car, they all shared collective looks of surprise and humor.

“So...I don’t suppose they know what happened. What do you guys think?” Dean said, looking at Castiel and Gabriel with a half-quirked smile.

Gabriel looked back at him and chuckled, shaking his head no.

“No one here has tv’s, so the only way they’d know is if they were there, or got a newspaper. And considering it takes a few days to type up events, they probably won’t know for at least a couple of more days.” The older man answered, and Cas nodded his head in agreement.

“They just know what Bobby told them. And considering he supports us, he most likely only mentioned the fact that you took home first place and that Gabriel was driving you home.” Castiel said, fixing Dean a smile.

Dean looked back at the crowd, bustling about with what appeared to be smiles and excitement, and he turned to the two with a grin.

“Well, how about we try this a second time, then. Let’s go have some fun.” He said, placing the medal around his neck before giving Cas a quick kiss on the cheek, and then exiting out of the car.

Gabriel and Castiel followed suit and walked by his side. As they headed out of the parking lot, Dean grinned to the two of them, and they smiled back. They all figured they could just enjoy the moment for once, especially after everything that had just happened.

When Dean made it to the entrance of the farm, the group of people erupted in louder cheers, all shouting their congratulations at him. The Winchester grinned widely and felt his cheeks heat up a little, but preened at the attention. He waved to them and a few of the workers came up to to congratulate him personally, while others sat friendly hands on his shoulders or gave him quick hugs.

This went on for a few minutes, and Castiel and Gabriel ended up being shoved to the side by people wanting to either chat with Dean or personally give their congrats. Dean noticed when the two were no longer by his side, and frantically lifted his head around the crowd to search for them. When he finally spotted them, they gave him happy, supportive smiles, and nods to tell him it was alright, and to enjoy himself.

The Winchester gave a bit of a sad smile in return, but nodded and went back to talking to everyone else. After a few more minutes, the crowd started to steadily disperse, and Dean was grateful that Curtis and his group of friends had not been among the group to talk to him. The last of the group finally dispersed when Bobby stepped forward, and stood in front of him with his arms crossed over his chest.

Dean felt some of the color drain from his face when he saw his boss, and they stood there in silence for a few long moments. He offered the older man a tentative, apologetic smile, and rubbed the back of his head.

“Hey, Bobby...I’m sorry for-” But that was all he could get out before Bobby was pulling him into a tight hug against his chest.

Dean’s eyes widened in surprise, and he stood there stiffly, until he finally started to relax and returned the hug.

“Don’t you ever apologize. Never.” Bobby spoke up quietly, and placed a hand on the back of Dean’s head before pulling him closer.

The blond felt his eyes water slightly, but he ignored it, and let out a small laugh instead.

“I’ve been getting that a lot, today...” He replied, just as soft.

Bobby pulled away after a few moments, and looked at the younger man with a fond, proud look. His eyes were noticeably watery, but he paid no mind to it as he set his hands on Dean’s shoulders.

“I’m proud of you, son. For everything you did today.” He started, giving him a small wink, “So I know your story is gonna be circulating around here in a few days, once the newspaper hits. I just want you to know, I have your guys’ back.” Bobby continued and smiled when Dean started smiling as well.

“I won’t let ‘em harass or attack you. I promise you, you’ll be safe while you’re still here, and hatred won’t be tolerated.” The older man finished, and Dean grinned so widely, that he felt like his face was going to split.

He pulled Bobby back against him for another hug, and broke away again after a few more moments.

“Thank you, Bobby. That means a lot to me, and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to repay you.” Dean said, and Bobby shook his head with a chuckle.

“You continuously being a hard worker and a good person is all I could ask for, and you’re already doin’ that.” The older man said, clapping a hand on his shoulder once more, “Now, go have fun, son. The farm’s closed up for the night, and the mess hall is cleared out for the party. There’s games, dances, music, and food, all for you, so go get changed and head down there, Dean.” He finished, and pulled away with a smile.

Dean chuckled and nodded his head, sending him an appreciative smile.

“Yes, sir.” He said, and then headed off towards his and Gabe’s cabin, sending him a wave as he walked.


 

When Dean stepped through his cabin door, he was surprised to see Castiel standing there, waiting for him, with a bouquet of flowers from his porch in his hand. The flowers at the front of Cas’ cabin had already started to die off from the cooling season, but it appeared that Cas was able to save just enough, the last of them he supposed, to make a beautiful bouquet out of his gardenias and heliotropes.

Dean closed the door and sat his jockey bag down on the ground with a grin, and moved towards the man, who was smiling right back at him.

“What’s this all about, sunshine?” He asked, closing the distance between them and cupping his hands over the ones holding the bouquet.

“Well,” Cas started, gently passing the flowers off into Dean’s hands, “Everyone else was congratulating you, and I just wanted to congratulate you in my own way, since I haven’t really gotten the chance.”

Dean chuckled fondly and accepted the flowers, and bent his head down to smell them. When the scent permeated his senses, he smiled as he was taken back in time to the first day Castiel had given him one of his gardenias to smell. He remembered when he had asked what home smelled like to Dean, and it was then that the Winchester realized he had been correct, even all those months ago.

Home was this. Castiel, a man that Dean fell asleep against every night now, and woke up every morning to, had quickly become his home. Living together at Singer Farms with the love of his life had been some of the best months of his young life, and Dean couldn’t help but thank any god that was listening for having him crash into the back of Bobby’s truck all those nights ago.

The Winchester fixed the man standing in front of him with a loving smile, and bent forward to give him a long, gentle kiss.

When they broke away, Dean felt his heart flutter in adoration for the man.

“You’re amazing, Cas. Thank you.” He said, moving one hand to cup the shorter man’s face with.

Castiel leaned his face into the contact, and returned the smile. He placed his own hand over top of Dean’s, and stared at him, eyes full of emotion.

“You’re welcome, Dee.” He replied, and then broke away with a chuckle.

“Now, I think we have a party of yours to attend. I know Gabriel is waiting for us there, so we shouldn’t keep him and the others waiting too long.”

Dean nodded his agreement, and kissed Castiel on the forehead one last time before he moved to pick up his jockey bag, and set the bouquet gently on his bed.

“You’re right. I’ll get changed really quick, and then we can head out.” He said, and quickly shucked off his uniform and tossed the clothing to the floor, opting to deal with it later.

He made record time in grabbing the clothing he had from his bag back out, and redressing in them. Castiel stood off to the side, bending down on the ground to pet Mari in her bed as he waited for Dean to finish.

When Dean had finished dressing in his simple shirt and jeans, he patted the side of his pocket to make sure the ring box was still securely in there.

Smiling at feeling the familiar shape, he grabbed Castiel’s hands as the man stood up, and guided him towards the door.

“Ready?” He asked, and Castiel chuckled at the man walking backwards.

“As ready as I ever am.”

“Well, then let’s get going.” He said, breaking away reluctantly to open the door.

And with that, they headed out towards the mess hall in the distance, lights flashing out of the windows and music reverberating through the ground as they drew closer.


 

When the duo entered through the mess hall, their senses were assaulted by the dark room, contrasted with brightly lit multi-colored flashing lights, the smell of alcohol and food wafting through the area, and booming music playing some progressive rock song.

Dean and Cas shared a look of surprise at seeing their coworkers dancing around so care free and enjoying themselves. No one seemed to be paying any mind to the newcomers, as they were all enraptured by the activities that were taking up their attention, most of which being dancing. Giving a shrug, they made their way over to the food table, and each grabbed a small sandwich from the platters that had been laid out with a variety of foods that were never served in the cafeteria before.

A loud voice in the distance caught their attention however, and both found themselves turning to see who it was.

Gabriel weaved his way through the throng of people, holding a glass above his head to avoid having it knocked out of his hands. At some point he had redressed himself into a similar outfit much like the night of Dean’s birthday, but this time he was wearing bell-bottom jeans, and had sunglasses on- in the dark building.

The short man eventually made his way to Dean and Cas unscathed, but he laughed and hunched down to his knees when he finally did make it.

“Holy shit you guys, this party is insane! I haven’t ever seen these people let loose like this; hell some of these people are from neighboring counties!” He said with a laugh, eyeing the variety of fellow workers all lost in themselves and having fun, “Have you guys tried the cake yet? It’s fucking good.” Gabriel finished with a laugh, taking a drink from his cup.

Castiel bit into his sandwich and eyed his brother with a quirked eyebrow, while Dean gave a laugh and leaned against the food table.

“Nah, not yet, man. You doing alright though? You’re going to be really wasted if you’re not careful.” Dean said, eyeing at the man with a look that said he really didn’t want to deal with a drunk roommate later tonight.

“Dean-o, that’s the plan! Maybe you should get some of the beers too, before they run out. Just don’t set your drink down,” Gabriel said, before leaning forward to speak quieter, “Rumors goin’ around that someone’s spiking the drinks already.”

Dean sighed and shook his head, but fixed his roommate with a smile after a few moments.

“Don’t worry about it, man. I don’t plan on drinking tonight. Not feeling up for puking my guts up tomorrow.” He said, and Castiel nodded his head in agreement.

Gabriel pouted and groaned in exasperation.

“Man you guys are no fun!” He whined out, but was quickly distracted by a pretty looking woman passing by with a group of her friends, “Well hello there~”

Gabriel bounced a little on his feet as he watched them walk away, and the woman shot him a smirk. Looking back at his brother and roommate, he gave them a mock-salute and a grin as he walked backwards.

“Well ah, I’m just gonna leave you guys to it then..I got uh, some things to attend to,” He said, pointing his thumb towards the direction the women went.

Castiel rolled his eyes with a smile, and Dean just laughed and shook his head.

“Go ahead and have fun Gabe, we’ll catch up with you later.” The Winchester said, and smiled when Gabriel squealed in delight.

“You guys are the best! See ya later Deanie, Cassie!” The short man yelled, and ran off after the girls.

Dean and Castiel shared a mutual amused look, and shrugged it off before they both grabbed another sandwich, and headed towards the dance floor.

In the distance, cheers could be heard as someone got a good shot in a corn-hole station that had been set up, and shrieks rang out elsewhere as someone else stupidly set up an alcoholic version of “pin the tail on the donkey”, and had apparently just pinned it to someone.

Dean and Castiel made their way to a more cleared out section of the dancers, and gently moved back and forth on their feet to the beat of the music as they ate their sandwiches.

A piece of ham fell out of Castiel’s, and Dean laughed as the man had tried to futilely catch it. The shorter of the two pouted at Dean, and so Dean in turn smiled and pulled out his slice of ham, and gave it to Castiel.

The blue-eyed man shot him a fond grin, before taking the ham and popping it in his mouth happily.

“So, I got a letter in the mail from Sam saying that he’s coming up next Saturday to see my next race.” Dean started, raising his voice louder than usual so he could be heard over the music.

Castiel’s eyes lit up with delight when he caught on to what Dean had said, and he covered his mouth as he chewed, but a smile came over him. When he had finished his bite, he fully smiled at Dean, and expressed his happiness.

“That’s good, Dee! It will be a pleasure to see Sam again, especially sooner than we originally thought!” Castiel said, raising his voice as well to be heard.

“Yeah, I know right? I’m just as surprised that he’s coming down so soon. I guess his boss decided to give him a break for working so hard, and it just so happened to fall during one of my races.” The blond replied gleefully, and Castiel shot him a smile.

“Will he be able to stay longer than last time?” He asked, and Dean nodded his head yes.

“Yeah, he was given three days off so he’s spending the weekend with us.” Dean said, grinning from ear to ear.

“I’ll be sure to clean my bedsheets then, so he has a place to stay.” Castiel said, and Dean gave him an appreciative look.

“Thanks, Cas. I’m sure he’ll appreciate that.” The Winchester said, finishing his sandwich. Castiel nodded, and was about to speak up in response, but a voice a few feet away stopped him.

“Well well, would you look at what we have here,” The voice said, and both Dean and Castiel tensed upon recognizing it as Curtis’, “Our star child of the night, and the mediocre stable man to boot.” He said, looking at Dean and Cas respectively.

Dean frowned and crossed his arms over his chest as he fixed the man with a disapproving look.

“What do you want, Curtis? Anytime you come around, it’s always to insult us in some way or stir shit.” The Winchester said, voice cold and devoid of emotion. He kept an eye on Cas out of the corner of his eye, and frowned at being in a position where he couldn’t go by his side without raising suspicion.

“What, can a guy not stop by to congratulate a champion on his win? We kinda left off on a bad note the last time, didn’t we?” Curtis said, smirking and taking a drink out of the cup he was holding.

“Okay, you came by to congratulate me. The intention is acknowledged; can you leave us alone now?” Dean asked, exasperation clear on his voice.

“Not yet,” Curtis replied, looking between the two, “You see, I’m just curious why two handsome, young men such as yourselves aren’t moving around trying to get laid by some of the ladies here. Hell, there’s even some that came in from out of county to celebrate with us.”

“Any time I see either of you, you’re always glued to each other’s hips. You guys really aren’t helping your cases any.” The shorter, cocky man finished with haughtiness.

Castiel’s eyes narrowed, and Dean stepped closer to Curtis with a glare.

“And you aren’t helping your case any on being the resident asshole.” Dean spat back, stepping into the man’s space and glaring down on him, helped by the head of height that he had on the man.

Curtis smirked and wasn’t intimidated this time, however. He narrowed his eyes as well, and leaned up to whisper in Dean’s ear.

“I’m just trying to say that I know, Dean Winchester. I see you both exiting your cabin every morning, and I see the looks you two share. Now,” He said, voice mocking and pretentious, “I just have to catch you guys slip up once, and then you’re done.” The shorter man finished, pulling away to fix Dean with a smirk, before continuing once again.

“And the sad thing is, is that I thought we could’ve actually been friends when you first came here,” Curtis said, before sneering at him, “I’m glad I dodged a bullet on that one.”

Dean hardened his gaze at the man, and sneered at him as well, unaffected by his words.

“Wanna know something sadder? We could’ve been friends, if you had actually gotten to know me. But no, just like everyone else, you let your hatred rule you.” The Winchester moved to stand by Cas, and stood by him protectively.

“I would say I’m the one that dodged the bullet this time, Curtis,” Dean continued, “Because, I could never be friends with someone full of so much hate and egotism. I have my friends, but I wonder- do you truly have any real ones?”

“Or,” Dean took delight in the flicker of hurt that crossed over the man’s face, “Do you just control them like you try to with everyone else, and force them to stick by you?”

Castiel stayed quiet during the whole time, but watched as the insecurity flashed behind Curtis’ eyes for a split second, and then hardened once again.

“In either case, I couldn’t care less. Now, for the last time, could you please fuck off and leave us alone, before I make you?” Dean finished with a growl, eyes showing that he intended to follow his words if provoked.

Curtis stood a moment and glared at the both of them, before he focused on Dean once more.

“This is not the end, Winchester,” He said, and then turned around to walk away, before he paused and turned his head back one last time, “Oh, and there’s a woman here that’s been looking for you all night. Says she knew you from awhile ago and wanted to catch up.”

With that, Curtis quickly turned on his feet and walked away in a bout of concealed anger and rage.

Dean had quirked his eyebrow at his last statement, however, but let it go and turned to Cas with a sigh of relief. He relaxed and smiled at the man, before gesturing his head towards a set of empty chairs in the distance.

“That was random. Do you want to go sit and relax for a moment?”

Castiel chuckled and nodded his head, already heading towards the empty seats.

“That sounds good, actually. Today has been hectic as is, and it seems like it just keeps getting worse as the night goes on.”

Dean nodded his agreement, and flopped down in one chair, while Castiel took the other.

“You’re telling me. One second I’m racing and winning a medal, the next I’m having crowds chase after us, and now coworkers are threatening us. I don’t think tonight can get any crazier.” The Winchester said with a laugh.

Castiel grinned and opened his mouth to say something, but was interrupted for the second time that night, by a high-pitched, excited voice.

“Dean, it is you!”

Cas’ eyebrows clenched together in confusion when he heard the voice, and connected it to the young woman with long, bleach-blonde hair standing in front of them. When he turned towards Dean, more confusion washed over him as his boyfriend stared on at the girl with wide-eyed surprise and concealed disdain, as if she was the last person Dean ever hoped to see tonight.

“Stephanie,” Dean said after a few moments of heavy silence, “What’re you doing here?”

And everything clicked into place for Castiel. This was the woman that had cheated on Dean, kicked him out of his own home, and insulted and hurt him.

This was Stephanie.

Dean’s ex-fiancée, Stephanie.


 

Laughter rang out after Dean’s question, and both men tensed as they continued to stare at the woman. Castiel noticed that she held herself in a very loose way, and seemed as if she may have had a drink or two already this night. She was in a loose-flowing, floral printed dress that hung low to her body, and had pale skin, with cheeks tinged pink from either embarrassment or the alcohol.

“Well, isn’t that a rude greeting? So, how about we start over, alright?” She asked with a laugh, and grabbed a chair to pull over in front of them.

“Dean, it’s been so long since we’ve last seen each other! How’re you doing?” She asked with a smile.

Castiel watched as Dean sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose, before he looked back up at her with exasperation.

“I’ve been fine, Stephanie. But I’m kind of wondering what you’re doing down here, or how you even found me.” He said, confusion written over his face.

“Oh, don’t be silly, Dean. They post the racers in the newspaper the week before the event, and I saw your name listed for Sparinster! I came down to see how you were, as it listed you in conjugation with Crowley and Singer Farms, so imagine my surprise to come upon a party hosted in your honor!” The blonde said, with a giggle.

Dean groaned and looked skyward for a few moments, before he stared back down at the woman.

“So, essentially, you tracked me down. Great. Now tell me the real reason you’re here, Stephanie.” He said, tone clipped.

A frown overcame the woman’s face, and her eyebrows scrunched up in confusion.

“What’s this ‘Stephanie’ shit, Dean? You’ve always called me Steph.” She asked, voice becoming less flirty, and more coherent.

“You lost that nickname the moment you decided to fuck some guy in our bed while I was out on duty.” Dean replied, voice harsh. His face was hardened in what appeared to be quickly forming anger, and Castiel felt a rush of anxiety over the situation; he had no idea what to do to diffuse it without causing more problems.

“Okay, that was a mistake, I can admit that. That’s part of the reason why I’m here though, and- and why the hell is this guy still sitting here?” Stephanie said, her focus turning to Castiel in his chair, “Can’t you see we’re trying to have an important talk?”

Castiel’s eyes widened and a look of awkwardness came over him. He felt on one hand, offended, as he was there first, and Dean’s boyfriend to boot, but on the other hand, he felt that she was right in some ways as it was clear the two still had some things to resolve between them.

Dean, however, had other ideas, and quickly sat a protective hand over Castiel’s elbow, to hold him there. He glared at the woman, and spoke through clenched teeth.

“He was here before you, Stephanie. He stays.” The blond said in a voice much like a growl.

Castiel laughed nervously and ran a hand behind his head, as he turned to Dean to give him a comforting look. He gently tapped the man on his hand, and Dean’s gaze immediately softened when he looked towards him.

“It’s okay, Dee. You guys get things sorted out, I’ll go grab us some drinks.” Cas said, voice soft and understanding. Dean was hesitant, but relented with a sigh, and let go of Cas’ elbow. The shorter man sat a comforting hand on Dean’s shoulder for a second, holding his gaze, and then left towards the food table to go grab drinks as he said.

When Castiel was out of earshot and sight, Dean renewed his glare towards Stephanie, and the woman sat there with a scowl of confusion.

“What the hell was that, Dean? ‘Dee’? Who the fuck calls you ‘Dee’?” She asked, voice rising in anger.

“It’s none of your fucking business, that’s who.” Dean said, equal anger evident on his face, “You have no right coming here and stirring shit up after we ended things. So, I’m going to ask one last time- Why the hell are you here, Stephanie? Cause frankly, I could’ve gone the rest of my life without seeing you, and been happy.”

“Wow, thanks Dean, that’s a real nice “how the fuck do you do”. Anyways, I came here to see you after I saw you were around these parts.” She said, starting to calm down a bit.

“Like I said, I screwed shit up, Dean, and I’m sorry.”

Dean laughed and stared at the blonde incredulously. After a year of dating and engagement, she threw it out the window, and kicked him out of his home. And now she’s sorry?

“Oh, so now you’re sorry? Stephanie, sorry doesn’t cut it, but I’m sorry too. I’m sorry that I ever fucking thought that I liked you. I’m sorry I wasted a year on your sorry ass. And I’m sorry I wasted so much fucking money on your deadbeat ass for a future with you, that I realize I never wanted.” Dean said, standing up abruptly to try and walk away.

Stephanie stood up as well, and shot a hand out to grab at his arm, stopping him.

“Dean, wait!” She yelled, and the Winchester whipped back around to stare at her.

“What, what the fuck do you want?” He growled out, “You already ruined one part of my life. I’m happy now, so I’m not about to let you ruin another.”

“I miss you, Dean.” Stephanie said after a moment, eyes brimming with tears, “I fucked up, and I know sorry doesn’t cut it. But..I miss you...I love you! And I want to start over again.” She said, voice raw with emotion.

When she looked up at the man, all she saw was pity and anger.

“Then you should have thought about that before you cheated on me, and threw away everything. I do have to thank you though,” He said, giving her a fake smile, “Because of you, I’ve finally met the love of my life. I have a great life now, with friends that support and love me, and all because you did what you had. So thank you for that.”

At this, Stephanie’s temper flared, however, and her eyes narrowed in anger at Dean.

“Who is she?” She growled out.

“That is none of your business.” Dean replied, voice dangerous and low.

“Whoever she is, I can guarantee she can’t give it to you like I used to.” Stephanie replied, a confident smirk coming over her face.

A snort of ironic laughter passed over Dean, and he shook his head.

“You weren’t a tough competition to beat,” He said, and watched as Stephanie’s cheeks tinted red with anger, “But in any case, if you think that’s all I cared about in a relationship, you’re largely mistaken. They love me for me, and care about me, and that’s all I ever wanted.”

“So, if that’s all you came here to do, to try and vainly win me back, then I’m sorry Stephanie. You just made a wasted trip, because it’s never happening.” The Winchester finished, and turned to walk away once more.

“Dean, no, wait!” Stephanie called out once more, and caught his attention.

Dean felt his temper flare as he turned around once again to address her, but was caught off guard when she pulled him into her. Time slowed as she grabbed him by his shirt and pulled him to her level, and he couldn’t react quick enough to pull away. Her chapped, warm lips covered his, and he stood there, frozen in shock; neither reacting to it nor stopping it.

He was broken out of his stupor however, when he heard a familiar gasp, and then a crashing sound as two glasses dropped and spilled over the floor. The Winchester quickly broke away from Stephanie, and with wide eyes he had turned to see Castiel standing close by, with open hands from where the glasses once used to be. He saw countless emotions flicker across the man’s usually stoic face, and felt part of his heart break as he watched Cas’ face settle on one in particular: resigned pain.

Dean quickly scrubbed at his lips, and blinked as he set a foot towards his boyfriend, and outstretched his arm.

“Cas, wai-” But Castiel was too quick. With a neutral look on Cas’ face, Dean watched as his boyfriend quickly stepped through the crowds, and made his exit.

The other part of Dean’s heart broke when the man left.

“See, Dean? Wasn’t that good?” Stephanie spoke up, flirtatious once again, “Now how about you come over here and forget about her-”

“Him.”

“I’m sorry, what?” Genuine confusion colored the woman’s voice.

With restrained, calm anger, Dean slowly turned around to face Stephanie, and spoke through gritted teeth.

“I said ‘him’.” He said, his voice growing louder, “I’m not dating a fucking woman. I’m dating a man, and his name is Castiel.”

Stephanie blinked in bewilderment, before clarity came over her face, and she laughed.

“Oh Dean, you always were a kidder. Now be serious, would you, and tell me what-” She couldn’t even finish, before Dean’s fists were clenched and he was trembling as he screamed in anger.

His fucking name is Castiel, Stephanie! I’m dating Castiel, and have been for months!”

Stephanie stepped back and blinked in astonishment, before confusion came over her face once more.

“Wh-, what? But you’re, you’re not...-”

Queer? 'I’m not fucking queer', is what you’re going to say? Well, I’m sorry to disappoint, but guess what? I AM queer, and I have been for as long as I knew what it meant to be attracted to someone!” The blond yelled, completely unaware to the hushed silence that fell over the crowd. Only the gentle music played in the background, as the party-goers all turned their stunned attention to the fuming man.

“And you,” Dean said, angry tears streaming down his face, “Just fucking ruined another part of my life, so congratu-fucking-lations. That man that you yelled at to leave? That was my fucking boyfriend, you bitch, and your selfishness just hurt him.” He continued, teeth gritted, and he swiped angrily at his cheek to cast the tears away.

“I never fucking loved you. That man is the only person I have ever truly been in love with in my life, and he just had to witness my fucking ex-fiancée make out with me.” Dean’s voice was cracking at this point, and it was taking all of his restraint to not slam his fist into someone or something.

“Now I get to go try and pick up the pieces, and fix what you fucking destroyed. So, congrats, you got to hurt me one last time, Stephanie.” The Winchester said, voice slowly calming compared to what it had been, “Now get out of my life, and never come back.”

And with that, Dean Winchester stormed through the crowd that had built up around them, shoving his way through the throngs of people. Most of them were too drunk to fully comprehend what had happened, but for the few that were cognizant enough, such as Curtis and a few others, they all watched on in disgust as the blond pushed his way through.

Dean paid them no mind, however. The entire town could be swept up in a tornado, for all he cared. He was only focused on finding Cas, and making things right again.


 

It didn’t take Dean too long to find Castiel; after running around the farm for a bit, he found the shorter man sitting in what used to be the flower field of the trail area, not too far off from the mess hall. The flowers were long dead, however, as the chill of the autumn season had wiped them out.

When the Winchester found him, Castiel was sitting on the ground with his knees up to his chest, arms wrapped around his legs, and was staring at the night sky. His eyes were tired, and his cheeks were tinged pink from sitting out in the cool night air for so long.

Dean stepped up next to him with hesitance, and gently sat a hand on the man’s shoulder. Castiel turned his head up to him, and his eyes widened slightly at seeing that Dean had found him, but Dean could only give him a shaky smile.

“Do you care if we talk?” He asked, and Castiel lowered his head to fix his gaze straight ahead, but gave a nod.

It was all the permission Dean needed, however, and he quickly sat next to his boyfriend, not touching him in fear of angering him. A few moments of silence passed, and Dean squirmed in anxiety over the quiet.

“Cas...” He started, and picked at a patch of grass underneath him, “I’m so sorry you had to see that. It...I know this is going to sound fake, but I can promise you that it wasn’t what it seemed.”

At this, Castiel turned his head to look at Dean, and a small smile graced his lips before he turned away once more.

“I didn’t think that kiss was your idea. In fact, I could tell just by the look on your face, that it was all her.” Castiel explained after a few moments. This brought mixed feelings of relief and confusion, however, and Dean quirked his head as such.

“That’s- I mean, I’m glad, cause obviously I would never cheat on you, but then- why...” Dean took a deep breath, and sighed softly, “Then why did you run off like that, baby? I thought...That I had just broken you.” He said, confusion and sorrow genuinely tinging his voice.

Castiel stayed quiet for a few long moments, and stared off into the night sky once again. When he spoke up, he didn’t turn his head to look at Dean.

“Can I ask you a question?” He said, and Dean leaned forward, eagerly.

“Yes, of course sunshine, you can-, you can ask me anything, darling.” He said, rushed but managing to get it out.

“Why are you with me?” Cas finally asked, and Dean had to blink in surprised silence for a few moments, before he realized Castiel was asking a legitimate question. Once he realized this, he crawled on the ground quickly, to sit in front of his boyfriend to look him in the eyes.

“Cas, baby, are you-, okay, I know you’re serious, but where is this coming from?” Dean said, eyebrows scrunched up in scared confusion, “I thought the answer was as clear as day, honey. I love you. You’ve known that for awhile now, baby.” The Winchester was scared. Countless reasons for why Cas could possibly ask a question such as that ran through his head, and they all pointed back to the answer of he wants to end things.

Castiel stared into Dean’s eyes, and watched as all of those emotions passed through him. Above all though, he saw the truth in his words, as clear as day. He could almost feel the love and fear radiate off of the man, and that brought tears to his eyes. He looked away as a soft sob broke from this throat, and he felt the warmth radiate through his bones when Dean had immediately grabbed him and held him in his arms.

“Oh no….No no no, Cas, sweetie, I’m so sorry…Please don’t cry, sunshine, I’m so sorry for everything that’s happened today,” Dean said, having pulled the man into his lap. He slowly rocked his boyfriend back and forth, and stroked his fingers through the man’s short hair.

“Shh…I’m so sorry...Shh….” The Winchester continued, which only made the short man cry louder.

“Don’t be sorry, Dean,” Castiel said through broken sobs, “It’s not your fault. It’s just...I saw the way she looked at you, Dean. She did love you.” He continued with a sniffle, “And, she was gorgeous, Dean. And it made me realize, that- that, you could actually have a future with her. You wouldn’t have to hide with her- you could have a family with her, and not have to live in fear of being hurt one day, just because you’re dating her.”

Dean felt his heart clench and break as he listened to Castiel, and he held him closer as the man cried his heart out.

“You...could be so much happier with her. You could have everything with her, or someone like her, and all you can have with me...Is just me.” Cas finished, and buried his head in the junction of Dean’s shoulder and neck.

Dean pulled away slightly so he could look at Castiel, and he smiled sadly when the man refused to look at him as the tears rolled down his face.

“Cas, sunshine, look at me. C’mon, look at me, baby.” He said gently, and smiled warmly when the man finally relented and made eye contact with him.

Dean gently cupped the man’s face in his hands, and used his thumbs to carefully stroke away the tears streaming down his face.

“Oh sweetie, when are you going to realize that you are all that I want?” The Winchester said softly, “I don’t care if I never get anything else. As long as I have you, Cas, then my life is complete.” He continued, and smiled lovingly as his boyfriend closed his eyes with his own broken smile, and his body shook with renewed sobs.

Dean continued to hold him, and stroke away the tears.

“Listen to me, alright? It’s okay Cas, we have each other,” The Winchester continued, and Cas cracked open his eyes to look at him once more, “As long as I have you, I’d defy heaven and embrace hell just to see your smile.”

And Castiel laughed a watery laugh, because that’s all he could do. He fell forward once more in Dean’s hold, and the blond let him. The couple held each other, the taller of them mumbling words of comfort to the shorter one, until his tears had long subsided.

When Castiel had calmed down, and his tears had completely subsided, Dean laid them both down against the grass, and held him as they watched the starry night sky.

“I love you, Dean.” Castiel had said quietly after a few moments in quiet.

Dean had chuckled, and pulled the shorter man closer to himself.

“I love you too, sunshine.” And they both smiled softly to themselves.


 

The party could still be heard going strong from the couple’s spot in the flower patch, but the two of them really paid no mind to it. The music was nice to listen to, but Dean was content to hold his love in his arms and watch the stars glitter in the sky, and Castiel was content to do the same, and offer little facts here and there about the constellations when asked.

When a familiar slow song came over the radio from the mess hall, however, Dean and Castiel shared a similar smile. It was the same song that they danced to as their first, all those nights ago.

“You know, we never did get to have a dance with each other in there.” Dean started, and Castiel sat up to look at him, with a chuckle.

“That is true, honeybee,” Cas said, and stood up to dust himself off, before he offered his hand to the blond still sitting on the ground, “Would you care to share this dance with me, Dee?”

A loving smile came over Dean, and he let Castiel pull him up.

“I would love nothing more than to share this dance with you.” He said, and the grin stuck as Castiel assumed the role of the male dancer this time, and placed his hand on Dean’s hip.

Dean placed his hand on Cas’ shoulder, and their opposite hands held each other as the music continued on. The couple grinned to themselves as they swayed together, closely, and they bowed their heads together so that their foreheads touched.

“You know, I don’t think I tell you this enough, but you’re beautiful, Cas.” The Winchester said, quietly.

A soft chuckle came from the shorter man, and he intertwined the fingers of their one hand together.

“I’ll never disagree to hearing it more,” Cas replied, teasingly, but then his voice softened, “But you’re beautiful as well, Dean. Truly.”

Dean felt his heart flutter with love for the man as he swayed them across their small patch, and he chuckled when Cas twirled him in his arms.

The song continued in the distance, and the couple actually felt it when it rose to a crescendo. Castiel bent forward to place a soft kiss on Dean’s lips, and when they broke away, the blond stared at him like he had painted the stars in the night sky.

“I love you, Castiel.” He said after a moment, and Cas grinned his happiness.

“And I love you too, Dee.” He said, and they continued to sway to the song.

As they twirled around their small patch of grass for the third time, Dean felt the north star necklace hang heavily from his neck. It wasn’t something that weighed him down; no, it was a physical reminder of how much Dean meant to Castiel. Everyday he woke up and admired the pendant, never forgetting that remarkable night in the forest.

And now, as the song started to draw to close, Dean wanted to give Castiel a physical reminder as well. He wanted to show the man how much he meant to him, too, and even though it wasn’t the original way he had planned this night going, it still worked perfectly, in his opinion. Just as things were never a guarantee in life, the whole day had been a waking reminder of that, and as such, the circumstances surrounding the night matched their lives perfectly. Things always changed, but as long as they had each other, there was nothing they couldn’t get through. The entire day had proved that.

When Castiel dipped Dean inches above the ground when the final chord of the song rang out, he held onto him by his back, and arched over him. The two stared at each other intently, and Dean felt all of the love that Cas had for him, through his gaze. He felt his body warm with that love, and he had no worries for what he was about to say. He knew that that man, holding him so close to the ground but completely trusting that he wouldn’t let him fall, was the man he wanted to go through time with. The Winchester took a deep breath, and smiled shakily as he stuttered out two monumental words.

“Marry me.”

Castiel stared on in stunned silence, before he blinked his eyes quickly, and they widened in surprise.

“Wha-?” Was all he could get out before Dean was placing his hands on the ground, and lifting himself up.

Castiel let go of him when he was sure he wouldn’t fall, and then he watched as the man got down on one knee, pulled out a small box from his pocket, and then presented him with it.

“Castiel, I know we can’t get legally married right now, but I couldn’t care less. Over the course of my stay here at Singer Farms, I’ve steadily fallen in love with you.” He started, and watched as Castiel looked between him and the ring box with wide eyes, it slowly setting in that this was really happening, “You’ve taken a broken man, and completely turned his whole life around. And, if there’s one thing I can ever be sure about, it’s my love for you. I have never loved someone so goddamn much as I love you, sunshine.”

Dean took a shaky breath, and opened the box to Castiel. The standing man’s mouth dropped open slightly when he saw the ring, and drew in a sharp intake of air. It was a beautiful, plain silver band that had small, intricate, patterned swirls engraved on the surface.

“So, Castiel, will you make me the happiest man alive and let me spend the rest of my life with you? Will you marry me?” Dean asked once more, the nervousness shown clearly on his face.

Time stood still for a few long moments as Cas stared on, completely in shock at his boyfriend on one knee. Dean watched with shallow breath as he waited for his reply, and just about cried when he saw a smile start to make its way onto Castiel’s face.

“Yes.” Cas said quietly, so many emotions flickering across his face. But when he finally looked into Dean’s eyes, he nodded once, and gave him a shaky, loving smile.

“Yes, Dean. Yes..” He repeated, and Dean shakily stood back up.

“Y-, Yes?” The Winchester asked tentatively, and Cas shook his head once more, his smile now threatening to crack his face.

“Yes, definitely, Dean! Always, yes!” Castiel said happily, and threw himself into the taller man’s arms.

When it finally sunk in that Castiel had accepted his proposal, Dean laughed loudly and picked up the shorter man in his arms as he spun them around.

The couple laughed joyously, completely enraptured with themselves and their happiness as they spun around. Dean sat Castiel down after a few moments of this, and plucked the ring out of its bed to gently place it on his partner’s ring finger.

Castiel spent a moment to look at the ring admiringly, before he lunged forward and drew his new fiance into a fierce kiss, of which Dean eagerly returned.

The Winchester chuckled softly as he felt Castiel clench his fists into the front of his shirt, and pull him closer. When they pulled away, Cas stared at Dean with heated desire, and nodded towards their cabins.

“Cabin. Now.” He commanded, and Dean felt a shiver run down his spine from excitement.

“Yes, of course, darling.” Dean replied, and laughed when Castiel grabbed him his hand and quite literally dragged him towards the cabins.


 

The distance to the cabins took a lot shorter than expected, but that most likely had to do with Castiel booking it and dragging Dean right behind him.

As soon as they made it through the doors of Cas’ cabin, the raven-haired man locked the door behind Dean, and pushed him against it as he attacked his mouth once more. Dean smiled into the kiss and allowed the man access inside, as he gripped into the shirt covering his sides.

When Castiel broke away after a few moments, he panted and rested his forehead against Dean’s.

“Would you like to top or bottom, Dee?” He asked, voice already wrecked. Dean thought about it for a moment, before a smile graced his lips.

“I’d prefer to bottom this time, Cas. Erase any hint of my ex’s touch from my skin.” He said, and Castiel leaned back to look at him with a predatory smile.

“I’ll do more than just make you forget about her touch; I’m going to make you forget your own name.” The shorter man said huskily, and bent down to scoop Dean into his arms easily.

Dean let out a yelp of surprise as he clung to his fiance, but it quickly turned to a joyful laugh when the man deposited him onto the bed.

Castiel stood at the side of the bed and stared at Dean with hooded eyes as he slowly pulled his shirt over his head, and threw it to the side. He kicked off his shoes, and Dean followed suit with his own, before he pounced on top of the blond and placed his hands on either side of his head.

The older man stared at Dean for a few moments with heated love and desire for a moment, before he caved and captured the man’s lips into a searing kiss once again.

Dean had a moment to enjoy it, but it was short lived as Cas broke away to start trailing kisses down his jawline, and then to his neck. The blond’s eyes popped open when he felt the man run his tongue along the length of a vein underneath his throat, and his intake of breath soon enough turned into a drawn out groan of pleasure as Cas started sucking and kissing at the spot, gently scraping his teeth against it.

Cas moved his hands down to tug at the hem of Dean’s shirt, and the younger followed easily when his partner tugged it up and off of his body. The ravenette stared admiringly at the smooth expanse of his chest, and he moved to sit back in the blond’s lap as he ran his hands down his chest and abdomen.

Dean hissed out in pleasure when Cas sat down in his lap, the weight putting pressure and friction against his quickly forming erection. The Winchester shivered as he felt the cool hands work their way down his body, and he lifted his hips slightly in response to it.

Setting his hands against Castiel’s hips, Dean stared up at him with half-lidded eyes and a smile.

“See something you like?” He asked teasingly, and Castiel chuckled and flicked his gaze up to meet his partner’s, a fond look overcoming him.

“Yes, actually. I’m sorry if I can’t help but admire my exquisite husband; you truly are handsome, and perfect, Dean.” He said, and Dean felt his cheeks heat up as he looked away. The little thrust of his hips was involuntary, but Castiel caught into it regardless, and an endearing smile came over him.

“From every little freckle, to the acne scars of your youth and everything in between, you’re perfect Dean, and I love everything about you.” Castiel said, and a low whine came from the back of Dean’s throat as he refused to look at him.

Castiel leaned forward to tilt Dean’s head to look at him, and he gave him a fond smile, so full of love and affection.

“There we are. Look at you, honeybee. So precious and lovely. With such beautiful green eyes, and thick, blond eyelashes that fall over to touch some of the perfect freckles on your cheeks. There isn’t an imperfection on you.” Castiel mumbled, and watched as Dean’s cheeks turned an even brighter shade of pink.

“Caasss...” He whined out, and dug his fingers a little into the man’s hips, “I thought you wanted to have sex.”

Castiel chuckled and shook his head, placing his hands once more on the man’s chest.

“But we are, Dean. Can’t you see? I’m making love to you right now, as we speak.” He said, and punctuated his remark by grinding down on the blond’s now prominent arousal. Dean’s breath hitched and he met the grind with a thrust of his own, and almost whimpered when his partner moved just out of reach to deny him friction.

“Not fair, you’re teasing now, Cas...” The blond grumbled out, and threw an arm over his eyes.

Castiel in turn, chuckled and moved himself down slowly so that he would sit on Dean’s thighs instead, and placed his hands on the man’s waistband, subsequently unbuttoning the jeans.

“Maybe just a little.” He admitted, and Dean removed the arm from his eyes, “I can’t help it, though. There’s just so much to love and admire about you.”

Dean allowed himself to crack a smile at that, and he fixed him with the fond look.

“Yeah, well you’re pretty perfect too, you know. Don’t sell yourself short, sunshine.” He said quietly.

Castiel returned the look, and focused his gaze back to the blond’s jeans. He carefully unzipped them, and with a flourish, he grabbed both them and the underwear and moved so that he could pull both garments down to his partner’s knees.

Dean groaned a little at the sudden coolness, and his cock twitched upon being freed.

The older man sent Dean a smile as he bent forward to grab a bottle underneath his pillow, and Dean chuckled upon recognizing it as standard lube.

“We use your cabin so little that I didn’t even know you keep lube underneath your pillow.” He said with a grin, and Castiel smirked as he uncapped the lid, squirting some into his hand.

“It was a lonely life before you came around, Dee.” He said jokingly after a moment, although it held a bit of truth to it.

Dean allowed his smile to somber a bit when he realized that, and he gently placed a hand on Cas’ arm in return.

“Well, you don’t have to worry about that anymore, Cas.” The blond replied, and Castiel sent him a fond look.

Nothing more was said as Cas rolled the gel around in his hand for a few seconds to warm it up, and then grabbed Dean’s length in his lubricated hand to give it a few languid strokes.

The blond hissed in pleasure as soon as his partner wrapped his around around him, and he lifted his hips in time with the strokes. He let his eyes fall closed, and his arms as well to the bed, as he clenched his fingers into the bed sheets.

“Shit, Cas, that feels good.” Dean groaned out after a few moments of this, and Cas sent him a smirk in reply.

“I aim to please.” He said, and Dean groaned softly when the older man removed his hand.

The Winchester cracked open his just in time to see his fiance click open the lube once more, and dollop a generous amount in his hand. This time, he coated his fingers in the lubricant, and Dean trembled in surprise when Cas moved one of them down to his entrance.

“Relax, love. It’ll feel good soon enough.” He said, and Dean let out a breath he had been holding as he did as told.

One finger didn’t hurt as much as Dean thought it would, it just felt a little uncomfortable more than anything else. Soon enough, he was getting used to it and urging Cas to add more.

“C’mon Cas, I can take more than this.” He said, and Cas nodded once, before inserting his middle finger.

Dean tensed slightly at that one; it was definitely more uncomfortable than the last one, but still not unbearably so. He opened his eyes to look down at the man, and shifted a little in anticipation, his erection straining against him and begging for touch.

When he shifted however, it caused Cas’ fingers to brush against something inside of him that sent sparks behind his eyes. Dean tensed up with a sharp intake of breath, and let out a moan from the sensations that little spot sent through his body.

Snapping his eyes open once again, he eyed Castiel with wide eyes, and the man stared back with a smirk of his own.

“Do it again, please, touch it again.” The blond keened, and Castiel gave a small laugh, but soon enough he was nodding and brushing his fingers over the man’s prostate once again, harder this time.

“SHIT!” Dean yelled out, and slammed his hips back against his partner’s hand.

Castiel gave a pleased smile of his own, before he carefully inserted a third finger, and started up a steady pace thrusting them against that little bundle of nerves that set Dean alight.

Dean didn’t even notice when Cas had added a third finger, too wrapped up In his own pleasure as his partner continued up the motions. The blond started to pant as he clenched his hands into the bed sheets, and began moving in time against the man’s fingers.

“Shit, please Cas, harder, more, please, please,” Dean moaned out, already drawing closer to the edge than he ever had before.

Castiel chuckled to himself as he watched his partner lose himself in his pleasure, but watched carefully for the tell-tale hints of approaching orgasm. When Dean started to lose rhythm in his grinding, and instead was stuttering and pausing every few thrusts, Castiel carefully withdrew his fingers and chuckled when Dean whined out and fixed him with a half-hearted glare.

“I was so close, Cas, why’d you stop?” He grumbled out, but couldn’t complain much when Castiel leaned forward and silenced him with a kiss.

When he pulled away, Castiel worked at removing his jeans and boxers as he spoke.

“I’m sorry Dean. I promise it’ll feel so much better when I start back up again, though.” The older man promised, and quickly kicked off the garments, tossing them to the floor.

A shiver ran through him when the cool air hit his own straining erection, and he smiled down at Dean who was eyeing him hungrily.

“Less talking, more making love to me.” The blond said in a husky voice, sitting up to give him a kiss.

Castiel smiled into the kiss, and grabbed the lube while Dean was distracted. He managed to coat his length in the gel while they made out, and soon Dean was yelping in surprise when Castiel grabbed the man by the back of his knees to replace them over his shoulders.

“Is this comfortable?” Cas asked, lowering himself over top of Dean so that the man’s legs could rest more easy.

Dean stared at him with hazy eyes, and nodded with a grin.

“This is perfect. Now please, fuck me Cas.” He said with a groan, and let his head fall back when his partner grabbed a hold of his hips.

“Well, I’ve never been one to deny you anything, have I?” Cas said with a grin, and then used one hand to guide himself to Dean’s entrance. When he felt the head of his cock slip in, he replaced his hand back to Dean’s hips, and clenched them tightly as he slowly eased the rest of himself in.

Dean had clenched his eyes shut and was biting his lip to avoid yelling out, but his hands clenched into Cas’ shoulders bit angrily into the skin. When Castiel bottomed out, both men released moans in the form of the breath they had been holding, and Castiel rested his forehead against Dean’s.

“Are you okay? Do you need me to remove myself?” He asked tentatively, and Dean shook his head no, quickly.

“Don’t you dare. Just gimme a second to adjust, alright? You’re-” He said, before breaking off with a short laugh, “You’re not exactly small, sunshine.”

Castiel chuckled softly along with him, and did as told. He stayed completely still the entire time, but couldn’t help the little involuntary thrusts he gave when Dean started to clench down on him.

“A-Ah, Dean, it’s hard to,” He started, but broke off in a moan, his hips stuttering when the blond clenched down especially hard, “To stay still, when you do that. You’re really fucking tight.”

When Castiel opened his eyes, he looked down in surprise at the shit-eating grin Dean was giving him.

“I made you curse.” He said with a laugh, and then languidly thrusted down against Castiel.

Castiel’s eyes widened even more, and he bit off a loud moan as he thrusted forward as well to meet with Dean, making the blond grin even more.

“God, I love you so much, Cas.” He said after a moment, and Castiel looked up to give him a fond smile. “That’s your cue to move, sunshine.”

“I love you too, Dean.” Castiel replied.

He slowly pulled out of the blond and watched as the man shivered underneath him, before he slowly thrusted back in. Both men trembled at the motion, and Castiel did it once, twice, three more times before he fell into the steady rhythm.

“Cas, sweetie, I’m not gonna break. You can go fas-AH!” Dean had started to say, when at that moment Cas brushed across that sweet bundle of nerves once more, and sent a spasm through his body.

Castiel chuckled softly as he readjusted his grip on the blond’s hips, and then positioned himself to keep hitting that bundle of nerves.

Dean keened and dug his fingernails into his partner’s shoulders as he began to meet the man thrust for thrust once again, basking in the powerful shots of pleasure that spread through him.

“Cas, ah pleas-AH, go faster. Harder, I can take more!” Dean cried out, and both men moaned when Cas did as asked, and sped up his thrusts.

“Dean, you feel so good,” Castiel, moaned out, and leaned forward to capture the blond’s lips in a kiss.

Dean moaned into the kiss when his tongue met his partner’s, and they fought for dominance. Castiel soon won out, however, and Dean was content to let him as he scraped his fingers down the older man’s back.

Castiel soon moved one hand from Dean’s hip to his aching erection, and stroked it in time with his thrusts. The Winchester broke away for air and whimpered from all of the stimulation, having a hard time deciding whether or not to thrust back in time with Cas’ cock, or jack up with his warm hand.

Soon Castiel’s thrusts started becoming more erratic and out of rhythm as his eyebrows scrunched up in concentration, and he tried to stave off his orgasm.

“Dean, are you ah, almost close?” He asked in between gasps, and was relieved to see the blond nod quickly.

“Yes, just, just a little more!” Dean groaned out, and not even a few seconds later he was drawing in a deep gasp of air as his back arched off the bed, and he was spurting his release in Castiel’s hand.

Castiel was able to last a few more moments, before his hips stuttered and he came to a stop when his orgasm ran through him with lightning-like intensity. He groaned as he let his head fall to Dean’s chest, and panted as he felt himself release into his partner. His hips gave a few weak stutters as he rode out the most intense part of it, and he collapsed against the blond when he felt his orgasm start to taper off. The older man panted softly as he moved his cum-stained hand to his bedding and wiped it off on top of it, too tired to do anything else.

He closed his eyes in delight when he felt Dean move his hands to his head, and start rubbing his fingers through his hair. A few moments of comfortable silence passed between them, before Dean finally spoke up.

“That was...amazing, Cas. You’re amazing.” He said, and Castiel finally lifted his head slightly to look at his partner, fixing him with a loving smile.

“Thank you, but I should be the one telling you that, Dee,” Cas replied, nuzzling his face back down against Dean’s chest, “I love you.”

Dean continued to stroke his fingers through the man’s hair, gently tousling it, but he allowed a fond smile to come over himself as well.

“I love you too, sunshine.”

Castiel let himself bask in the afterglow for a few moments, before he carefully lifted himself up, and pulled out of Dean. The blond hissed a little from the over stimulation and rush of cool air that followed, but didn’t say much as he watched his husband stand up and grab a washcloth from his dresser drawer, and pour some water onto it from a bottle he had laying around.

When he returned, he carefully went about cleaning Dean off, making sure not to be too rough around his sensitive hole, and then wiping off the drying release on his stomach for him that had been from his own orgasm. After finishing, Castiel tossed the cloth in the direction of a laundry hamper, and then stood up once more to grab two sets of warm pajamas sets for the two of them, suitable for the chilly autumn air. When both of them were redressed and comfortable, Castiel climbed into bed next to Dean, and pulled the man into his chest. Dean happily situated himself comfortably against him, wrapping an arm around the man’s torso as he rested his head against his chest, underneath Cas’ chin.

Castiel drew his blankets up and over them, and they both let out content little sighs, relaxing and calming down after a long day. A few moments of silence passed over them, before Dean spoke up.

“G’night, sunshine. I love you.” He said quietly, and was comforted by the rumble he felt come from Castiel’s throat when he replied.

“Goodnight, Dee. I love you too.” Cas replied, just as quiet, and rubbed his hand softly over the expanse of Dean’s shoulder, just once.

That night, the couple slept more soundly than they had in quite a while.

Chapter Text

When the couple woke up the following morning, they took some time to themselves to enjoy each other’s company before deciding to get ready for the day. Dean ended up explaining with guilt that he had unintentionally outed them to the whole farm, but Cas had taken it gracefully. He explained that he figured they would all find out eventually, as the workers had suspicions about Cas as soon as he had started working there anyways, so it had really only been a matter of time. Dean had still felt horrible about it however, and so Castiel dispelled his worries with a kiss, and reassured him that he wasn’t upset or angry, and that he understood.

Figuring that the whole farm was already aware at that point, as gossip travels quickly in any and all social settings, Dean and Cas, for the first time in their relationship, had stepped out of the cabin hand-in-hand. Fellow workers were bustling about aimlessly, enjoying their free day, and for the most part, they just treated Dean and Cas like they were ghosts. The few people that did acknowledge them either did so with a hesitant scowl, as if they wanted to say more but were being held back by something. The only person that hadn’t outright ignored them or scowled was Adam, but even his actions seemed dialed down as he didn’t talk to them as much as he usually would’ve. He was still kind and polite though, and the partners couldn’t thank the young man enough for that.

The duo walked back to Dean and Gabriel’s cabin, and had been taken by surprise when the exuberant shorter brunette had engulfed them both in tight hugs, after dragging them inside the cabin. When Gabriel sat them down to talk to them, he explained the chain of events that Dean’s outburst had caused the night prior. Apparently many of the workers had been too drunk to really comprehend what the commotion had been about, but there were just enough that were sober enough to remember, and then remind the whole farm about it in the morning. Gabriel explained that early in the morning, Bobby had called a farm meeting, and woke up everyone but Dean and Cas to strike the fear of god in them.

The older man had told the entire farm that if anyone so much as thought of speaking out of turn or trying to hurt either of the couple, that they would be fired effective immediately, without the last two week’s pay. Apparently he had barred down on verbal harassment in general as well, and stated that complaints of harassment, on any form to any body would not be tolerated, and that the offender’s pay would be cut in half if reported. Gabriel said that Bobby had finished off by saying that everyone at the farm was family, no matter of race, gender, creed, or sexuality, and that he did not tolerate hatred in his stables.

Dean and Castiel had listened on in touched astonishment; that definitely explained why everyone had avoided them like the plague, and why even Adam had been guarded while speaking to them. On some hands they felt bad as everyone else was being held on such a tight leash, but then they remembered that it wouldn’t have had to be that way if those people wouldn’t have been shitty people; as such, they both just opted to try to not think about it all too much, and just be grateful that they wouldn’t be harassed.

News aside, Gabriel had been delighted by Dean’s actions the night prior, and glad he had stuck up for not only himself, but for Castiel; as such, he had given him a hug as a show of appreciation. Afterwards, they all had made small talk, until Gabe noticed the small, silver band on Cas’ ring finger. Upon figuring out that yes, it was exactly what Gabriel thought it was, he had been overjoyed and squealed in delight and pulled them both into a massive, loving hug, congratulating them and welcoming Dean into their family, officially. Gabriel insisted that the three of them all celebrate, but as they all agreed they’d had enough excitement the day before to last a lifetime, they ended up celebrating by fixing a home-cooked meal later that night, and playing some old board game together that they scrounged up. It ended up being the perfect way to celebrate, in both Dean and Castiel’s opinions.

Castiel slowly started moving more and more of his stuff into Dean and Gabe’s cabin as they practically lived together regardless, and in turn the younger Shurley had offered his brother complete access to his own cabin whenever Gabe wanted, especially for times when things got a little...heated between the couple.

Work the following week had returned in normal fashion, and went by just as quickly as it ever had. Both of the partners had noticed that their fellow workers had stuck by Bobby’s speech, afraid of him following through with his threats, and actively avoided either of them when possible. During times when they were forced to work with other workers, the farmhands did so reluctantly, and refused to speak with Dean or Cas unless necessary, which was oddly enough how it usually was before that night at the party anyways. Dean and Cas didn’t mind, in any case; the lack of talking usually made the work go by faster as it offered less distractions. Dean was surprised to notice that even Curtis was actively avoiding them, apparently following Bobby’s instructions for once, as the shorter man had walked the opposite direction the moment he had seen either Dean or Castiel. What Dean didn’t notice, however, was that the man was still seething beneath the surface, and often spent an abnormally larger amount of time in the stables with the horses, and all of the riding gear, than he ever had before.

The week passed by quickly enough, and sooner than either had realized, Friday had come once again, with Dean leaving early in the morning to go train one more time before his next race, the next day.

Training went by without a hitch, and all of his teammates complimented Dean as he appeared to be even more on top of his game than ever before. Dean had laughed with a bashful smile, and explained it might’ve had to do with his great mood. When questioned, he explained his recent engagement to Castiel, and all of the team had given him their own form of congratulations; Jo had given him a fist bump and word of congrats, Elijah had given him an intricate high-five that Dean had messed up more than once, Nathan had given a simple nod of approval with his verbal congratulations, and Drew had tackled the older man into a tight hug, expressing how glad he was for him. Even Crowley had stopped by to offer him his congrats with a smile, and then offered pie for everyone in celebration.

The pie had been delicious as always, and soon enough, it had been time for all of them to go their separate ways once more. Each member of the team had given Dean a hug this time before he left with Crowley, wishing him luck once again, having been overjoyed when they found out he had won his first race the prior week. They had heard about his loving kiss with Castiel through the newspaper, but the paper had done what Crowley instructed, and mislabeled it as show of hyper-excitement, nerves, and foreigner mishaps. The whole group knew the full story however, having already met Cas, and had given Dean smirks of approval or friendly claps on the back. The Winchester waved to his friends as they drove off, and upon arriving back at the farm, had been engulfed in the big, familiar hug of his younger brother who had just drove in a few hours prior.

As such, Dean, Castiel, Sam, and Gabriel had all found themselves crammed in Dean and Gabe’s small cabin once again that night, catching up with each other. Sam had been overjoyed to hear that Dean had proposed to Castiel, and had given the younger Shurley a big Winchester hug to initiate him into the family as well. Dean had been ecstatic to hear that Sam had gotten the promotion he had wanted, and was now reliable enough to travel around the country and take cases that he was interested in, instead of having them assigned to him. He didn’t make any promises, but Dean figured the man would probably be moving out to Kansas in the next few months, to work closer to Dean.

When night fell, Dean and Cas had settled into Dean’s bed together like usual, while Sam slept in Cas’ old cabin, and Gabriel passed out in his own usual bed. The race was set for the next day at one in the afternoon this time, and each of them were excited to see how Dean would do.


 

Dean woke up the next morning to Castiel idly stroking his fingers through his hair, and he smiled in delight at the feeling of it.

“Mm, good morning, sunshine.” He said, voice heavy with sleep. Dean turned his face into the man’s warm chest, and sighed contentedly when Castiel chuckled, and the sound vibrated against his cheek.

“Good morning, Dee,” Cas replied back, “Did you sleep well?”

Dean let out a loud yawn, and stretched out in his partner’s hold, groaning softly in delight.

“Better and better each night I’m with you.” Dean finally said after a minute, and he cracked his eyes open to look at the blue-eyed man staring back up. The two shared a loving smile, before Castiel leaned forward to give him a soft kiss.

They broke away when a knock at their door interrupted them, and Sam walked through.

“Hey guys, I’m sorry to barge in, but Bobby and Crowley wanted me to check and make sure you’re awake, Dean.” The tall man said, closing the door behind him.

Dean groaned softly, and let his head fall back against Castiel’s chest.

“I’m awake, but the true question is whether or not I’m functioning.” He said, tiredly. Sam let out a laugh at this, and walked over to sit down on Gabriel’s empty bed.

Sam noted that it appeared as if being engaged to Dean gave Castiel special benefits, as he was allowed to sleep in with him, but Gabriel still had to go up to get to work.

“Well I guess you better go grab a cup of coffee or something then, cause Crowley’s wanting to get on the road soon. You have to be registered by noon, and it’s half past ten now.” Sam said, standing up once more to throw a pillow at the lazy man.

Dean groaned out loudly and petulantly when the pillow made contact with his face, and he slowly sat up in return to fix his younger brother with a pout.

“That wasn’t very nice.” He grumbled out, and Sam laughed with a shit-eating grin.

“Sorry man, they’re gonna be upset if you’re late again.” The taller Winchester said, heading back towards the door.

“You better get ready soon, I know they’re wanting to leave as soon as possible.” Sam finished, and gave them both a grin as he stepped out of the cabin, and closed the door behind him.

Dean yawned once again, and scratched his head a little before he turned to give Castiel a grin of his own.

“You excited to see me race again today?” He asked, a hint of excitement coloring his own voice.

Castiel smirked and flopped back on the bed, stretching out over the mattress.

“Oh, I suppose so. I guess I didn’t have anything else planned for today.” He said, teasingly, and laughed when Dean threw a pillow at his face.

“I was just kidding, Dean. Of course I’m excited to see you race today. I know you’re going to do so great again, and I’m so proud of how far you’ve come as a jockey.” Castiel said, genuinely, and sent the man a smile.

Dean couldn’t stay upset at him too long, and he relaxed as he returned the smile.

“Thanks, Cas. That means a lot to me.” He said, and yelped in surprise when Castiel pulled him back to lay against his chest, as he hugged him.

“Good. Now,” Castiel pressed a kiss into his partner’s lips, “Let’s get ready so you can get going.”

Dean nodded his approval, and they both moved so that they each get dressed and ready for the day, one in jockey gear, the other in regular street clothes.

They both met up with Sam and Gabe outside, and when Crowley caught sight of Dean, he promptly shoved a bagel in his face before telling him to say goodbye, and then whisked him away to head towards Bumerola, the city the race was being held.

Sam, Castiel, and Bobby waved and said they’d meet up with him there, and then he was off on the road with Crowley once again.


 

Much like usual, the majority of the ride was spent in quiet until Crowley finally spoke up after a long period of silence.

“So, Dean, I need to talk to you for a moment.” He started, and the Winchester pulled his attention from outside the window, to his boss and mentor.

“Sure, what’s up, man?” Dean asked, and watched as Crowley stared straight ahead at the road, before glancing at him.

“After last week’s performance, the public eye is going to be on you more than usual this week. And by ‘more than usual’, I mean they’re going to be looking for any reason to mess you up or disqualify you.” Crowley started, and Dean listened with rapt attention.

“So, while it bothers me to say this, I need you to be on your best behavior today. That includes how you act around Castiel, unfortunately,” The older man continued, before pausing with a sigh, “You can’t be kissing on him or hugging him as they’ll remember who he was from last week. Bobby’s going to have the same discussion with him, and trust me Poppet, it pains us just as much to tell you this as it probably does for you to hear it.”

“But, to keep your lives safe, it has to be done. Kiss and hug and cry all you want when you guys get in the car, but please, just do not do it in front of a crowd of a thousand or more people. It was by some miracle or act of god in itself that they didn’t attack you last week, and actually halfway believed the story I spun for them.”

When Crowley finished, Dean sighed softly, but nodded his head in understanding. He truly did understand it, but that didn’t mean he had to like it.

“It’s alright, Crowley. I promise we won’t do anything to endanger ourselves today.” Dean said, and Crowley turned to give him a regretful smile.

“Thank you, Dean,” The older man said, and returned his gaze back to the road, “We truly do care about you two. So thank you for understanding that we just don’t want either of you hurt.”

The Winchester nodded once, and returned his own gaze to the road ahead of them. It really did suck, but Dean understood it. He’d do anything to keep Castiel safe, so he would follow what Crowley had asked of him.


 

The duo made good time, and soon enough they were pulling into the parking lot for the racing track of Bumerola. Crowley and Dean stepped out of the car, and as Dean was already dressed in his uniform, the older man instructed him to stay by the car while he got all of his forms and registration filled out for him.

Dean followed his boss’ instructions, and looked around with interest at the racing track. It was larger than the last one, and the stands were bigger and appeared to be able to fit more people. The track itself also seemed to be different as well, in that it seemed nicer than the one at Sparinster, and not just loose dirt; it looked like solid turf. This acted as something to be concerned about for Dean, as he and Ama had not trained as much on grass, which acted as an equivalent to plastic turf. They had trained just enough on it that Dean was not completely worried, but it still concerned him the slightest.

The Winchester was brought out of his thoughts, however, when Bobby’s truck with Ama’s trailer wheeled into the parking lot, close to Crowley’s car where he stood. Dean waved with a grin at the man when he honked his horn, and felt even more excitement rush through him when he spotted Gabriel’s familiar Chevelle following along the highway, not too far behind. The blond watched as Gabriel parked right next to Crowley’s car, and he walked over to it with excitement.

When Sam, Gabe, and Cas all stepped out, he fixed them all with a happy grin.

“Hey you guys. I’m really glad you all could make it down here.” He said, and Castiel rolled his eyes with a chuckle as they had already been through that conversation just that morning.

“Of course, Dean-o. I figure as Cassie’s coming to all of them anyways, that we might as well tag along too for moral support.” Gabriel said with a grin.

Sam rolled his eyes however, and shook his head at the shorter man with a smile.

“I’m betting that Gabe’s just tagging along so he can get out of work.” He said teasingly, and Dean laughed.

“Yeah, that sounds about right, and wouldn’t surprise me if it were the case.” The blond said, and smirked when the short brunette put on a look of mock offense.

“Why, I am offended, sirs! How could you possibly think that little old me, could possibly use this as an excuse to- okay yeah you’re not not wrong, but that’s not the full reason.” Gabriel had quickly switched around his words when he noticed all three men fixing him with unamused looks, “I truly am also here to support you, Dean-o. You’re my best friend, after all.” The man finished with a shrug and a smile, and Dean couldn’t help the smile that come over his face in return.

“Apology accepted, Gabe.” He said, and chuckled when the man let out a small ‘whoop’ of glee.

The rattling of Ama’s trailer caught the blond’s attention, along with everyone else’s, however, and they all turned to see Bobby trying to calm down a neighing, annoyed-looking Ama.

“She’s been actin’ off all day,” Bobby called out, addressing the onlookers, “I don’t know what’s wrong, but she’s been jittery since before I even put her in her trailer. Getting her out of the stables was a pain when it usually isn’t.”

Dean frowned and crossed his arms over his chest, before he headed over to carefully stick his hand through the bars of Ama’s trailer.

“Hey, hey there girlie, what’s the fuss about?” He asked, sweetening his tone and gently stroking her nose through the bars, “You’re not usually like this.”

Ama seemed to calm down when Dean started petting her, but still seemed at least somewhat agitated. She let out soft snuffles of contentment at the attention, but it was obvious that something had been bothering her for quite awhile, to get her worked up like this.

When she had calmed down enough that she was no longer trying to buck in her trailer, Dean slowly tapered off his ministrations, and stepped away to look at her with a smile. Afterwards, he turned back the group and gave them all a confused shrug.

“I dunno. She wasn’t acting like that a few days ago when I last saw. Or at least, not in the short time I interacted with her.” He explained, a worried look coming over his face.

Sam, Cas, and Gabe all shared similar looks of worry, and Bobby took off his hat to wipe his forehead, before replacing it and fixing Dean with a concerned look.

“I don’t know son, but whatever it is, it’s really upsetting her. I’d be extra careful out there today, alright? An irritated mare is somewhat of a wildcard, and never somethin’ you want to provoke.” The older man said, and Dean nodded his understanding.

“Of course. I’ll be sure to watch out.” He said, and looked up when he saw Crowley approaching them.

When the older man got close enough, he fixed the mare with a frown as she butted against the bars of her trailer, before turning back to Dean and Bobby.

“She shouldn’t be agitated like that. Someone was tampering in the stables to get her riled up.” He said, as he took Dean’s adhesive number, three this time, and stuck it against his arm. Afterwards, he handed him the numbered cloth for Ama as well.

Bobby let out a growl of agitation, and then adjusted his hat.

“Someone’s gettin’ an ass kicking when we get back to the farm, as soon as I find out who did it.” The older man said, and Dean frowned as he listened. Something caught his attention out of the corner of his eye, however, and he turned to watch the lines of people start gathering into the stands; he could’ve sworn he saw Curtis somewhere in that mix.

Castiel and Sam took notice, and they gave the blond a worried look.

“Is everything alright, Dean?” Castiel spoke up after a second, and Dean turned back to look at him with a reassuring smile.

“Everything is...fine. I just thought I saw someone from the farm, is all.” He explained, and Bobby looked around with a frown.

“Unless it’s a night worker, no one should be here right now besides Cas and Gabe.” Bobby said, and Dean gave a shrug.

“I’m sure it’s nothing to worry about.” Dean said, and looked up when he heard over the speakers the announcer say that there were “five minutes to post”, and for all racers to start lining up at the tracks.

The group all looked towards Dean, and gave him smiles of encouragement.

“Well, I guess you should get going, Dean-o. We’ll be out at the sidelines rooting for you.” Gabriel spoke up, and everyone nodded their agreement.

Sam, Gabe, and Cas all moved forward to give Dean a group hug, and the blond chuckled as he was almost crushed under their holds.

“You’re going to do great, Dee,” Cas mumbled quietly to him, and Dean shot him a fond smile.

“I love you,” He finished, and Dean replied with a similar “I love you, too.”

Sam smiled on at the sweet scene as the they all held each other, and gently squeezed Dean in his own hold.

“I’m excited to see how you do, Dean. From what I hear, you’re quite the racer.” The taller Winchester spoke, teasingly.

“Well I guess you’ll just have to wait to find out and see like everyone else, Sammy.” Dean chuckled, before hesitantly pulling away from them all.

He fixed them all with a small smile, and nodded to them.

“Well, wish me luck, you guys.” Dean said, before turning to Ama’s trailer and unlatching it, to gently coax her out.

Bobby and Crowley both clapped a friendly hand on either side of his back, and nodded to him.

“You be careful out there, son.” Bobby said, before Crowley spoke up too.

“We’re rooting for you, Poppet. Just remember, you are the jockey, and she is the horse. Don’t let her control you, you are the one in control.” He said, and Dean turned back to give them smiles and a nod of understanding.

“Got it. Don’t worry, I’ll be alright.” The blond said, and smiled upon finally coaxing his horse out.

Ama went along hesitantly, but still followed nonetheless. As Dean saddled, reigned her, and placed her number over her, he frowned as something felt...off about the saddle. When he adjusted it on her, it didn’t seem to want to tighten as much as it should’ve.

He didn’t have time to fret over it, however, as the announcer called “two minutes to post! Make your bets now, folks!” over the speaker, and most of the riders had already lined up in their lanes.

Dean sent his brother, friends, and husband a friendly wave and joyful grin as he guided Ama through the gates and into the track field, quickly moving them to their spot in lane three.

The mare followed along more willingly as she calmed down, but Dean could still feel her resisting a bit to being handled. When Dean mounted her, he held her reigns in a firm hand, and leaned forward to talk to her.

“Hey sweetie, it’s okay. I don’t know what happened, but there’s nothing to be agitated about, alright? I really need you to try and work with me, baby.” He started, running his free hand through her silky mane. Dean heard her give a snuffle, her own little confirmation that she understood, but he frowned when she moved around anxiously.

“Okay, it’s okay, you’re having a bad day, I get it. Just know though, that that’s okay. No matter what happens today, I’m proud of you, girlie. I’m proud of us, and I’m honored to call you my mare.” Dean finished softly and fondly, and then guided her back to position before the start line, and got into position on her as the announcer stepped down to address them.

The Winchester frowned when he felt the saddle begin to slide one way or the other, and he had to clench his legs tighter than usual in order to stay balanced. His eyes widened, as he realized what was wrong.

“Shit, the buckle must’ve broke.” He muttered under his breath, and sighed as adjusted himself to be able to hold on to Ama more comfortably, but well enough to not fall off.

Nerves flooded Dean once again, but this time it wasn’t for anticipation of the race. It was for worry over the saddle, and how agitated he already knew Ama was. Once again, he ignored the announcer as he listed off what they would be racing, as per usual, and clenched his hand into the reigns, and set one gentle hand on Ama’s neck. This man moved through instructions quicker than the last one had, and soon enough the buzzer was going off, signifying the start of the race.

Dean set Ama off, and he smiled when she let out a snuffle and started off at a decent gait. The Winchester watched as more of the other seven racers started to gain speed ahead of him, but he wasn’t worried. Ama was a slow start, but that was their style. Let the others gain a sense of safety, and then yank it all away in the last quarter mile. The blond let out a happy laugh as Ama zoomed down the lane, and gently pat her with his hand.

“There we go girl, there we go! You got this, you’re doing great!” He yelled to the mare, and smiled brightly. She was doing better than he expected her to, but he could still tell she wasn’t as loose or easygoing as she had been in all their past races, on the track or off the track.

The Winchester grimaced when he felt the saddle starting to slide sideways, and had to lift up slightly to adjust himself into a better position. It didn’t help that even though he had a tight hold on Ama’s reigns, she was still going faster than she should’ve, already telling him that she was going to be difficult to control for the two minutes the race takes. When she threw her head about as she ran, Dean set his lips into a tight line as he tried to get her back under control.

“C’mon girl, we got this...Calm down, it’s alright.” He mumbled to her.

The announcers seemed to catch notice of that as well, when he heard them announce that Dean did not appear to be on his a-game today, and that Ama appeared to be acting “fractious”.

Dean focused his gaze ahead, and as they started to cross the half-mile pole of the backstretch, he let his grip lessen on the reigns, and allowed Ama to set off earlier than he would’ve originally.

Ama let out a loud whinny in response, and sped down the track. Dean smiled when he felt her start to get comfortable with the race, and appear to calm down enough to listen to him more willingly. He heard the crowds boom in a mixture of cheers and boos when he began to overtake the rest of the racers, and quickly speed up to second place. Dean smiled triumphantly when they crossed the 3/8 pole, and heard the speakers boom that Dean and Ama were quickly gaining speed to first place.

The duo ended up staying behind the first place jockey for a few seconds, until Dean urged Ama on once more, and they quickly eclipsed first place. Dean felt the adrenaline rush through him, and noticed Castiel, Sam, and Gabriel all cheering him on in the distance from the far turn. He heard his little brother yell encouragements to him, and Cas and Gabe equally screaming that Dean had this. In return, Dean shot them a goofy grin, and let himself soak in the moment. As he turned his attention back ahead of him, however, his eyes widened when a figure stood up from the crowds. Time slowed down for Dean as he zoomed by, and watched as Curtis, devious grin and all, stood up from his seat and raised a gun in to the air. He watched as the man covered one ear, and shot the gun into the sky, creating a chain of events as the crowd around him screamed, and the boom echoed around the field.

Time didn’t start back up for Dean, and he felt every second that passed weigh heavily on his body. He watched as the crowd ducked in alarm. He felt as Ama bucked into the air, and let out a loud whinny of shock and displeasure. He watched the terror wash across his husband, friend, and brother’s faces, as he was propelled forward, off of Ama, and down a good ten feet of turf as he skid against the ground. Dean felt the crunch of his radial and ulna bones in his left arm, completely crippled under his weight, but it didn’t register. He laid in dazed numbness, and watched as Ama, too caught up in her fear, raced forward and trampled over his body.

Dean didn’t register it when a sickening crunch came from his chest cavity, nor when parts of his lungs were punctured as a result. He didn’t feel his hip shatter under the weight of an almost two-ton horse, nor did he feel it when part of his lower spine snapped from such stress and trauma. He hadn’t felt when his helmet had come off of his head, nor the subsequent intense impact his head had with the ground. All Dean could feel was the icy coldness of the turf seeping into his skin, and the taste of copper from sickly warm blood filling his mouth. He felt as the cold turned to odd warmth, the trauma of his injuries sending him quickly into shock.

The last thing Dean saw before he lost consciousness was the sight of his husband, face struck with terror and pain, being lifted from the air by Sam and restrained when he tried to hop the fence to get to Dean. He saw Castiel kick and shove at his younger brother while in the air, screaming his voice raw. He saw the rush of what he thought might be nurses, surrounding him, getting ready to load him into an ambulance. And finally, he watched the love of his life stare at him, on the verge of hysteria, and finally heard him as he let out one loud, heartbreaking scream.

DEAN!”

Dean managed to pull enough energy to give him a tired, but warm, loving smile.

And then, he let himself succumb to the darkness.


 

Castiel had thought he knew what pain was.

He thought he had been through hell and then some, when he was left on the streets by his biological parents at the age of five.

He thought he had felt it again, when his adoptive mother had looked at him when he was seventeen, after so many years of love and care, and had called him an abomination for loving differently than her.

But, when he watched Dean- the most important person in his life- be thrown ten feet across the track and crushed by his horse…He realized that no.

He had never felt pain before this. He had never felt true agony, until he watched his husband be carted away in an ambulance, bloody and broken.

And he could do nothing, but scream and be restrained by that man’s little brother, as his own brother forced him to look away and focus on him and his voice.

Crowley and Bobby had forced Sam, Gabriel, and Castiel to Gabe’s car as they promised to address things at the track, with a heavy heart.

Castiel hadn’t stopped screaming for Dean until he had made his voice bloody raw, and all he could do was let out little croaks instead. He didn’t even realize he had been crying until he was being held by his brother and Sam in the back seat of Gabriel’s car, and he saw the wet tracks form on his brother’s button down shirt from where his face had laid.

When he had just about cried himself dry, Castiel finally let himself slump into the two men’s hold, and held them back as well, clenching a hand into each of their shirts.

They stayed in silence for a good hour, and Cas didn’t say anything as he felt the two men shake and tremble with their own silent sobs; there was nothing to say.

Gabriel and Sam pulled away after a few longer moments, and each fixed Castiel with a shaky, supportive look, trying to convey that everything would be alright. They each sat a hand on the blue-eyed man’s back, and Cas returned the look with his own of trembling appreciation.

Bobby and Crowley had came back soon after that, and notified them that Dean had been taken to the hospital a few miles north of where they were at now. They still had some things to attend to, such as police reports, but they urged the trio to go see Dean as soon as they could.

Nothing more had to be said, before Gabriel was crawling into the driver’s seat, and they were flying down the highway, bouncing with each bump on the highs of the trail, and the low dips of the valley.

Castiel held Sam in his arms when he noticed the younger man trying so hard to be brave. Cas had had his moment, and so he let Sam have his. He could be brave for the both of them now.


 

When the trio arrived at the hospital, they all rushed into the main lobby and asked to see Dean. It was with a great sigh of relief that they were told he was stabilized and had just been removed from the ICU and surgery, but the way the desk attendant fixed them all with sad, sympathetic looks made it obvious there was something she wasn’t telling them, or couldn’t tell them.

Only one person was allowed up at a time to see him, and Sam and Cas had shared a look before Sam gave him an understanding smile, and urged him to see Dean first, promising that he’d have a talk with the doctor about Dean’s condition.

Castiel wrapped Sam in a tight hug, before he released him with an appreciative smile and was led upstairs to Dean’s room.

When the door was opened for Castiel, his heart almost stopped when he saw the multiple casts and bandages littering his body, and then the ventilator that was hooked up to him. The soft beep of the heart rate monitor put the finishing touches on the unnerving scene.

Walking slowly into the room, the older man felt his heart break when he was up close, and saw just how bruised and hurt Dean was.

The blond on the bed had his eyes wearily open, but wasn’t able to move to look at him. When Castiel came into his line of sight, however, he fixed him with a tired smile. It was barely noticeable with the tube running down his throat, but Cas could still see it well enough.

Taking a seat by the blond, tears filled his eyes when he took him all in. Dean had casts on his left arm and right leg, bandages peeking out from the ruffled gown, wrapped around his head, hips, and ribs, and bruises littering the skin not covered by his hospital gown. Dean watched as Castiel covered his mouth with his hands, and stared down at him. Not able to speak, a raspy grunt came from his as he slowly moved his right arm to open his hand to him.

Castiel gave a watery smile, and sniffled as he intertwined his hand in his husband’s. Leaning forward, he ran his opposite hand through the short tufts of hair on his head, and watched as Dean let his eyes fall closed.

“Oh Dean...” Cas said, giving him a fond look when he cracked his eyes open again, “I’m so sorry this happened to you, honeybee. I’m so sorry.” Dean scrunched his eyebrows slightly, and Cas laughed as he knew that the man was protesting against his apology.

“I want you to know though, that you’re going to be okay. You’re going to be okay, and I’m so proud of you. And I love you so much.” He said, and smiled when Dean weakly clutched his hand.

A spark of worry shot through him when he felt Dean let go of his grip on his hand, and let his own hand fall as he closed his eyes, but the steady beat of the heart monitor provided him comfort that it was just him falling asleep.

At that moment, the nurse that led him in knocked and entered through the door, followed by a doctor. Castiel stood up to greet them, and the doctor gave him a smile in greeting.

“Mr. Shurley. Would you mind joining me for a second in the hall?” He asked, and Castiel nodded his agreement. He watched as the nurse checked on Dean, a neutral look on her face, and then hesitantly followed after him.

When they stepped outside, the doctor, a tall, friendly looking man in his forties, clasped his hands in front of him and a professional look came over him.

“I already had this discussion with the other Mr. Winchester, but I wanted to personally tell you about Mr. Winchester’s status.” He said, face betraying nothing. Castiel felt his breath become shallow as he nodded at him to continue.

“Mr. Winchester…has suffered immense blunt trauma to his coxa and acetabulum. The lumbar and sacral segments of his spinal cord have split and broken away from each other, and as such, I am sorry to say that the odds of him walking again are...slim to none. We set his broken leg, but it won’t be of much good as Dean won’t be able to feel it anyways.” The doctor said, taking a moment to look at the clipboard he had carried with him.

“The radial and ulnar bones of his left forearm were not as damaged as his lower body, and we successfully set them back in place.” He continued, and with each word, Castiel had felt his face pale. He tried to find the good in that at least Dean’s arm would be alright.

“Unfortunately...He suffered sustained puncture wounds to his lungs, from his broken ribs. When his horse had trampled over him, it had smashed the bones into the soft tissue of the pleura. During surgery we set the ribs and operated on his lungs, draining the blood that had filled them and fixed the pleura layer as best as we could. However, I am sorry to say, he will never be able to breathe on his own again. The damage had punctured deep enough and long enough to render his lungs incapable of normal function without support.” The doctor said, fixing the clipboard back underneath his arm, and giving Castiel a sympathetic look.

Castiel stared on at the doctor, and felt when all sensations had seeped away from him. All he could process was a familiar sense of numbness, as he felt his world start to fall away from him.

“Luckily, the brain trauma he suffered wasn’t life threatening, but there is a very good possibility that he could fall comatose, and not come out of it. Normally, that wouldn’t be as big of a worry if, say a healthier patient fell unconscious. But in Dean’s case...With all of his other injuries, his quality of life...would virtually be inexistent. There’s only so much trauma the human body can take.” The man continued, before he sat a hand on Castiel’s shoulder, forcing him to look up at him with dull, weathered eyes.

“As it is, Dean’s quality of life right now is already exceptionally low. If he’s cleared out of here, it will improve, but he’ll always have to have someone help him. He’ll never be able to walk again, and will have to live on a ventilator so he can breathe.” Lowering his eyes slightly, he looked back up with a compassionate face. Castiel couldn’t feel any of the warmth the man was trying to send him.

“That is why I’m telling you that Sam Winchester has turned over power of attorney to you in this situation. If Dean falls into a coma, when...all brain activity ceases, it is your call now, whether you choose to...pull the plug or not.” The doctor finished, and Castiel felt his heart stutter to a stop.

This couldn’t be happening. He had woken up with Dean in his arms that morning. They had joked and kissed and laughed and had fun. They were supposed to be heading out later that night to celebrate with Sam when Dean had completed his race.

But that had all been ruined, in just a few seconds. As soon as the gun had went off, everything had changed.

Castiel wanted to say so many things, but nothing could come to him. So instead, he looked up at the doctor, and nodded his understanding.

“Thank you. I understand.” He said, voice devoid of all emotion.

The doctor gave a small nod, and a look of empathy. He led Castiel back to the rest of his family, and he stood there, staring blankly at Sam and Gabriel when he approached them.

None of them said anything as Castiel stepped forward and fell into their waiting arms. They guided him to a chair in the lobby, and he sat there, listening to the old tv buzz in the distance as first Gabriel talked to him while Sam visited Dean, and then Sam talked to him while Gabriel visited him.

An hour later, they all piled into the car when visiting hours were over, and made the half an hour drive back home.

Bobby and Crowley both offered their heartfelt condolences, and it offered a little comfort when they brought the news that Curtis had been arrested for his stunt at the race, and his position at Singer Farms was terminated. The man later confessed to tampering with Dean’s saddle and irritating Ama to obstruct Dean’s race, with the knowledge and intention that Dean could have been killed; not that it mattered at that point.

That night, Castiel tossed and turned as he tried to fall asleep, alone in his and Dean’s bed, discomforted by the all too cold side of the bed.

For the first time since he was seventeen, he prayed. He prayed to anybody that would listen, that Dean would be alright, that he would pull through. Promising that he would willingly take any troubles that came with Dean once he was dispatched from the hospital, because an injured, immobile Dean was better than a dead one. Dean would be able to heal over time, emotionally and even physically, to some degree. If he was dead, then there would be no chance of that. He loved Dean, and while he appreciated that Sam gave him power of attorney, thus entrusting his brother’s life in his hands, he didn’t think he would ever be ready to make a call such as that.

Castiel was eventually able to force his racing thoughts away, and fall into a dreamless, fitful sleep. All he could do now was hope and pray that Dean would pull through.


 

For the next few days, Castiel, Gabriel, and Sam all spent their days at the hospital, visiting Dean. Sam had called home to Eileen and notified her that he would be staying in Kansas until further notice due to the circumstances surrounding Dean, and she had understood and sent her condolences. He called his place of work as well to notify them, and they had understood and let him have the time off.

Castiel watched Dean deteriorate with a breaking heart, as each day he grew more and more unresponsive, and it became harder for him to keep his eyes open during his visits.

But Castiel pretended not to notice while he was with Dean. With Dean, he joked and laughed, told him about his day and offered words of love and comfort. He held his hand and stroked his fingers, and took immense delight in the small things, such as when Dean’s lip curled up at the corner, or he saw his eyes crinkle slightly in delight at something Cas had said. It still didn’t cover up the pain that the fourth day brought, however, when the doctor pulled Castiel to the side to tell him to expect a phone call one day soon that Dean was not going to wake back up, and to start preparing for the worst.

They monitored Dean each day, and as the days wore on, it was evident that it was becoming harder and harder for Dean to wake back up from the slumber he fell into. His brain activity showed signs of merging from just regular sleep to a coma.

That night, Castiel cried himself to sleep as he clutched Dean’s pillow in his arms, hanging on to his scent and just wanting something that reminded him of the man.


 

The next day, on November 29th, Castiel’s world shattered as his heart broke in irreparable pieces.

Bobby had gotten a call from the hospital, and had given the phone to Castiel immediately upon recognizing it.

The doctor called to offer his condolences, and to notify Castiel that he was needed up at the hospital as soon as possible as Dean had slipped into a coma over the night, finally succumbing to the trauma and internal injuries he had suffered, and that his brain activity had essentially ceased to exist. The only thing keeping him alive was his IV’s and the ventilator hooked up to him, so he was for all intents and purposes, brain dead.

Castiel felt cold as he went to grab Gabriel and Sam, and tell them what had happened. His older brother had offered to drive, but Castiel only shook his head no, and silently grabbed his car keys and led them to his car, taking them to the hospital.

When they arrived at the hospital, the doctor that had been taking care of Dean greeted Castiel, and offered his sincere condolences. He looked back at Sam and Gabriel, and then looked away when Sam gave him a nod of understanding, both of them watching with tears streaming down their faces.

As Castiel was led to Dean’s room, every step weighed heavily against his soul, and he felt his heart slow more and more as they made the trip. So many emotions were running through him, but he couldn’t express it. He felt numb.

The doctor opened the door for Castiel, and the blue-eyed man stood in the door way, staring at his husband, as the heart monitor’s steady beeps filled his ears.

“Have you...made your decision, Mr. Shurley?” The doctor asked after a few moments.

Castiel stood silently and did not say a word, until he finally lifted his head to the man and gave him a short nod.

“Yes. Do you...mind if I can have a minute, though?” He asked, and the doctor nodded with understanding.

“Of course. I’ll be back in a few minutes.” He said, and shut the door for Castiel.

Castiel stood stock still in the front of that room for a few moments, until he slowly made his way to the chair next to Dean’s bed. He slowly lowered himself into it, and took in the sight of Dean.

His cheeks were pale, and he had a blanket pulled up to the chest of his gowned body. The Winchester’s eyelashes fell softly against cheeks once full of color and life. The freckles that once blended in against his tan cheeks, now made a stark appearance against the skin devoid of color. The rest of Dean’s skin had bruises surrounding the entry points of the needles that supplied him with life. The only sounds were that of the heart beat monitor, and the loud, raspy noises of the ventilator supplying him with air every few seconds.

From where he sat, Castiel could almost fool himself into thinking that Dean was just sleeping, and he’d wake up any second now to give him a tired eyed smile, shown through just the crinkle at the sides of his eyes.

But he knew that wasn’t the case.

So instead, he gently grabbed one of his hands, so careful in fear of breaking him, even though there was nothing left to break. Castiel shivered when he felt how cold Dean’s skin felt against his own, but he paid no mind to it. He rubbed his thumbs across knuckles that were still calloused from months of hard work. Months that had been spent with him, and the horses.

Castiel watched as Dean just laid there, and a small smile overcame his face.

“You’re going to leave me, aren’t you Dean?” He started, knowing the blond wouldn’t hear him. Even though he had hoped this day would never come, he had silently prepared himself for it all the same.

“It’s okay if you do. You’re tired, and you deserve the rest, honeybee,” Castiel continued, rubbing circles into skin in a way that comforted him more than it would the blond at this point, “You don’t have to worry about me, so go ahead and rest. I’ll always be by your side.”

Cas saw the tears drop onto his pants before he ever felt them. As such, he chuckled at himself and rubbed at his eyes to quickly dispel them, before replacing his hand. He looked at Dean, and smiled when he noticed the north star necklace on him, the one he had given the man for his birthday.

“Do you remember how we’d always watch the stars? And how much you loved them?” He continued, and paused as he felt his lips quiver, “I made a wish on one of those stars, many nights ago, around the time we first got together. Do you want to know what I wished?” Castiel asked, shaking his head at himself with a wistful smile.

“I wished that we could spend the rest of our lives together, happy and in love. I wished for everything that you gave me, Dean. And I can’t thank you enough.” The man rubbed at an eye once more, and sniffled. He took a few moments to calm himself down, and stared down at Dean with all the love he felt for the man, and put it into a smile.

“So I’m going to give you one last gift, Dean, to thank you as best as I can. I’m letting you go.” Castiel said, softly. He stared at the man’s hand for a few moments as he stroked it, and then looked at Dean’s face once more.

“I’m letting you get the rest that you deserve. So it’s okay to let go, Dean.” A knock at the door interrupted his train of thought, but he paid no mind to it.

“I’ll be like the north star, and guide you home.”

The doctor from earlier stepped into the room, along with a few nurses. They stopped for a moment and waited for Castiel to notice them, however.

“The sun could burn out today, or the planet could stop turning. But just like the summer breeze, I will always be here to wrap you in my warm, loving embrace.” He said, squeezing his love’s hand once before finally looking up to acknowledge the medical staff.

“We’re sorry to interrupt, Mr. Shurley. Have you made up your mind?” The doctor asked, voice full of empathy.

Castiel stared at him for a few moments, before he looked back at Dean. All of the memories he shared with the man passed before his eyes. From the moment he saw him in the diner, to resuscitating him at the farm. He remembered their first hug, the night he came out to the younger man, and then the subsequent days when he admitted his feelings for him. Memories of their first kiss, of getting together, and the first time they made love passed through his mind.

Above all, though, he remembered when he first realized he was falling in love with the man, and the first time they had said “I love you” to each other. Castiel remembered the proposal, and he remembered the laughs, the hugs, and Dean’s vibrant, loving smile that lit up his whole face.

He didn’t want to say goodbye.

But he knew he had to. He knew it was time.

Castiel gave one last smile to Dean, and turned back to the doctor to nod his head.

“I’m ready. Pull him off of life support.” He said, and took the paper on the clipboard the doctor presented him with.

Castiel signed his name quickly, and handed the clipboard back, not wanting to think about what that signature meant. Instead, he turned his attention back to his husband on the bed, and he stared back at Dean, before a watery smile came over him.

He didn’t pay attention to the nurses as they went about unhooking the heart beat monitor. Instead, he grabbed a hold of Dean’s hand once more, and counted the seconds in his mind while he spoke.

“I’m right here, Dean, you’re going to be alright.” Castiel said, and felt his own heart stutter when he heard the nurses take out the IV’s they had once put inside of him.

“Please Dean, you don’t need to hold on anymore. I’ll be right with you the whole time.” He said, shakily, and clenched his hand when he heard the ventilator be shut off.

Three seconds.

“I love you.”

Two seconds.

“Don’t you ever forget that.”

One second.

“I love you, Dean Winchester.”

As the nurse removed the tube from Dean’s throat, Castiel heard him draw his last breath, and then saw his chest decompress for the final time.

He took a moment before he stood up and stroked back some of the sandy blond bangs cascading over Dean’s forehead, and pressed a kiss into his chilling skin.

“Thank you, for everything.”

And Castiel felt part of him die with the younger man, when he exited the room.


 

They say that when a heart stops, a dozen more break with it.

That saying held more truth than ever before, when Castiel stepped back out into the lobby to address his brother and Sam.

Both of them had known it was coming, from the moment they had gotten the phone call that morning. It still didn’t make the news any less hard to take, however, when Castiel announced that Dean had passed on. The raven-haired man had held Sam as he wept into his shoulder, and offered him as much comfort as he could. After Sam had calmed down, they all wearily went to the front counter and finished filing the paperwork. When they arrived back at the farm, Bobby had hugged them all with tears running down his face, and decided to shut the farm down for the rest of the week to give everyone, but mainly himself, Cas and Gabe, time to grieve. The trio ended up heading back to Gabriel’s cabin, and spent the rest of the night with each other.

Gabriel had tried to be the bravest of the bunch, but when Castiel got up later that night to head to the restrooms, he had stumbled upon the trembling form of his brother underneath his blanket, quietly sobbing with one of Dean’s shirts in his hands. Sam had woken up not too long after that, and both Castiel and Sam hugged the older man, and formed a pile on the floor of blankets and pillows, for all of them to sleep together in.

Dean’s funeral had been set for the following Friday, and Sam and Castiel had set about arranging the majority of it. When the day came, it was a warm, sunny day, not befit for the occasion but almost as if Dean himself had wished it, to remind everyone that there was still light in even the darkest situations. More people had shown up than Castiel, Gabriel, and Sam had expected to, given his status with the farmhands. Among those that showed up included Adam, Ralph, and a few other workers that they thought odd to appear, but didn’t say anything. Michael, Luci, and Raphael couldn’t make it back down to the farm, so instead they had sent their condolences. The trio didn’t hold any hard feelings however, they had understood.

Charlie, Jo, Elijah, Nathan, Drew, Bobby, and Crowley were all among the audience as well, however, and they made little speeches in behalf of Dean. Cas, Gabe, and Sam had made the longest speeches, to celebrate the life of a man that had affected their lives so profoundly, and of whom had meant so much to them. To Sam, he was the greatest older brother anyone could’ve hoped to have. To Gabriel, he was an amazing best friend that had brought joy to his and his brother’s life when they needed it most. And to Cas, he was the love of his life, and the most caring, loving, and affectionate person he had ever met.

Castiel had let the funeral arrangers keep the north star on Dean’s body, and had dressed him in his comfortable street clothes, as they knew he would’ve liked that. When his casket was lowered into the ground, in a small plot of land at a graveyard a few miles east of Singer Farms, Castiel felt tears slip down his face for the first time in awhile. He quickly brushed them away, however, and fixed Sam and Gabriel with reassuring smiles. As the funeral came to a close and everyone went their separate ways, Sam and Gabriel felt immense worry for Cas. On their way home, they shared respective looks of that worry in acknowledgment of their mutual distress.

Castiel had been taking Dean’s death a little too well. Sam and Gabriel had cried freely, and had been there to support one another during the especially rough moments throughout the days. Castiel, however, had done nothing but comfort and support the two since the day they came home from the hospital. Neither of them had yet to see the man actually cry, since the day Dean had been hurt in the accident. He plastered a comforting smile on his face whenever addressing Sam or Gabe, but both of them could see the look of pain in the man’s eyes, just waiting to burst free.

When they returned home, Castiel had set about completely dusting and cleaning the cabin till it was spotless, but refused to upturn or touch anything that was Dean’s, and stated that he wanted Sam to have the items, since it was his brother’s possessions after all. The blue-eyed man, for the next few days, had made breakfast everyday for the trio, and seemed to always have a smile on his face that never reached his eyes. When Sam or Gabriel asked if he was okay, he always brushed them aside and said that he was fine, that there was nothing to worry about. More times than not, the two were awoken in the middle of the night to Castiel exiting out of the cabin, only to sit on the porch and stare at the stars until sunrise, when he would return inside and pretend to be asleep, only to “wake up” when Sam woke them all up for the day.

As the days wore on, the man only seemed to run himself ragged in tending to chores and the horses when he was told that he should have been spending time with his loved ones instead. Anytime Gabriel would pull him aside and ask how much sleep he had gotten lately, his younger brother would always shrug and say “Enough.” before heading back to whatever task he had been doing before.

The cycle finally broke, however, a week after Dean’s funeral when Sam had picked through all of Dean’s belongings and decided what to keep, and what he felt Cas should have.

Among the materials that Dean had left behind included a small, well-loved journal that Sam had never seen before. He read through a couple pages before he realized that it was something Cas should have, more than him.

As such, when he closed the journal, he turned around and headed out of the cabin to find Castiel. As it had just turned noon, he figured the man was in the stables, tending to some of the horses, and was proven right when he entered through the stables, and spotted the shorter man.

“Hey, Cas. How’re you doing?” Sam asked, stepping closer to the man.

Castiel rose his head to give Sam a small smile, that once again did not reach his eyes, and then turned back to doling out food to a stallion Sam had never seen before.

“I’m doing fine, Sam. How are you?” He asked quietly. That was another thing that was bothering the Winchester; the emotion had all but been drained out of his friend’s voice.

“I’m...alright. Just getting there, you know?” He replied, and frowned when all Castiel did was nod his head in understanding.

A sigh passed through the Winchester’s lips, and he stepped forward to set a gentle hand on his friend’s shoulder, the frown returning when Cas tensed up at the action.

“I found something I think Dean would’ve wanted you to have, buddy.” He said, and placed the journal into one of Castiel’s hands.

For the first time in weeks, Sam saw surprise pass over the face that had otherwise been emotionless.

“This is….The journal I got Dean, for his birthday.” He said, quietly, dropping the horse food in order to rub his hands gently across the cover.

“Well, it looks pretty well loved and used to me,” Sam said, letting a chuckle pass through him, “I’d give it a read if I were you. It might...help.” He finished, and placed his hands into his pockets, heading out of the stables.

Castiel breathed deeply and stared in shaky awe at the journal he had gifted his beloved what seemed like so long ago. He gently fingered the pages and the binding of the book to find that yes, it was well loved, and Dean had written quite a bit in it. When Castiel flipped to a random page, and skimmed through its contents, he felt his heart beat out of his chest and what felt like a thousand emotions slam into him all at once. Tears rapidly streamed down his face, and he let out a choked sob as he snapped the book shut and held it under his arm so he could release Sefir from his stable. Cas didn’t bother with a saddle, and only reigned his horse before he was hopping over his back, and setting him off at a quick gait through the stables, yelling at Sam that he was going to the forest when he tried to stop him, and then riding through the farm, and then out of the gates and down the highway.

He forced his mind to shut down as he guided Sefir down the familiar trail towards his forest, away from everything, away from everyone.


 

When they made it to the forest and to the stream, Castiel leaned into his horse and buried his face into his mane as he felt the emotions he had suppressed for a few weeks fighting to be free, all at once. He took a shaky breath to calm himself, and then slid down off of Sefir, and mindlessly walked to the edge of the flowing stream, and listened to the trickling waterfall off in the distance.

Castiel removed the book from under his arm, and flipped to the first page, rubbing at his eyes so that he could read better.

September 19, 1979

Yesterday was my birthday, my 21st to be exact, and I got to spend it with my brother, my boyfriend, and my roommate, who just so happens to be my boyfriend’s older brother. They took me to out for my first drink, and I even got to meet most of Cas’ other siblings! It was a really great time, and I’m so glad I got to spend my day with them.
Well, this is probably awkward. I’ve never had a journal before, but I’ve always wanted one. I guess this will be a learning experience for me, until I get into the groove of writing. Cas gave me this journal though, along with a cowboy hat and a beautiful necklace.
I think I have the best boyfriend in the world.

Until next time,
Dean.

Castiel couldn’t stop a shaky smile from covering his face, and had to rub at his eyes as more tears flowed down his cheeks. He decided to flip forward to a random page.

November 16, 1979

Tomorrow’s the day of my first race, and I probably won’t ever admit it, but I’m very nervous. Well, that’s not true, cause I tell Cas everything. He’s a ray of sunshine though, and I’m so damn grateful and lucky that I have him. He doesn’t know it, but I’m writing this after he helped calm and reassure me; he’s passed out right now, so probably figures I’m asleep as well.
God, he’s so cute when he sleeps. He doesn’t realize it, but he snores just a little in his sleep, but I don’t mind it. If anything, it’s comforting to me.
Speakin of Cas, though, I realized something crazy a bit ago-
I’m in love with him.
Insane, right? Honestly, after everything that happened when I was teen with my dad and all, I never expected to really find a “one true love” like those cheesy romcom flicks always go on about. But maybe they were onto something, because...I am in love. That man has turned my whole world around, and...I’m so glad he’s the one that did it. I couldn’t ask for a better partner.
So, in light of the mood, I went out and bought a ring the other day. (Don’t ask how I got it, it took a lot of stealth to sneak Gabriel’s car keys from him. That man keeps things in places I never want to think about again.)
Cas isn’t aware about it, but I want to surprise him with it after my race tomorrow. It’s a beautiful ring, but not as beautiful as him, sadly.
I honestly don’t think there’s anything that compares to his beauty though (I’m kinda jealous, that pretty bastard)
In any case, I know we can never actually get married, but maybe someday when we’re older, we’ll be able to. Until then, I’m happy to wait with him and call him my husband regardless, if he’ll accept me.

God, I hope he says yes.

Until next time,
Dean.

Castiel fell to his knees, into the mud of the bed of the stream, and covered his mouth as he openly sobbed. Hiccups caused by watery tears came from his mouth with every word that he read, and he could feel his heart shattering all over once more; he didn’t think he could handle it again.

When the book fell from his hands, a dried gardenia fell out of it and landed to the ground, while it flipped to a different page near the end of the book. As Castiel trembled, against his better judgment, he picked up the flower and read the page.

November 23, 1979

I know that I already told you that Castiel said yes to me, but I can’t help but repeat it! He said yes to me, and I’m just...the happiest man on this planet. Hell, even as I write this, I know it’s girly, but I have tears streaming down my face. And that was a week ago, dammit. God, I wish my mom was still around so she could meet him. I’m sure she’d love him just as much as she loved me and Sam.
I feel bad, though, because I feel like I never really express to him just how much he means to me. I’m just really shit at expressing emotions, but he means so much to me. He means everything to me, if I want to be more honest with myself. I love Castiel so much, and I don’t think there is a thing I wouldn’t do, to keep him happy and to see him smile. I fall more in love with him, every day I spend with him, and it’s so crazy. But, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I never told him, but I kept the gardenia he had given me from his bushes all those months ago, because it reminds me of him.
So I guess I finally found the person my mom told me about, all those years ago.
And she was right.
Castiel is the most beautiful person I’ve ever met.
He turned my scars into beauty marks, and showed me what true love is.
And for that, I can say without a doubt, that any day I spend with Castiel is one worth cherishing, and that I will gladly spend the rest of my life with him.
He deserves all of the love in the world, and I plan on giving it to him.

Speaking of which, I was thinking of what kind of songs I would want to include in our wedding ceremony. He doesn’t know this either, but around Christmas, which just so happens to be his birthday, I’m putting together a surprise makeshift wedding for us that’ll hopefully make do until the U.S. gets its head out of its ass and actually lets us marry for real. It won’t be legally binding, but that’s okay. Love isn’t just about a small piece of paper. It’s so much more than that, and we got it.
Of course I’ll use the first song we danced to, but I was thinking of using another song too. I heard it just a little bit ago on the radio, so let’s see if I can remember the lyrics.

Castiel felt a scream of pain, and sorrow, and agony rip from his throat as the sobs rocked through his body. He covered half of his face with one hand as he sat hunched over the book, and his other hand clenched into the stem of the flower. He couldn’t stop himself from reading the song Dean had heard and written into the page. He recognized it. It was Time in a Bottle.

If I could save time in a bottle
The first thing that I'd like to do
Is to save every day
'Til eternity passes away
Just to spend them with you

He missed Dean. He missed his love so much.

If I could make days last forever
If words could make wishes come true
I'd save every day like a treasure and then,
Again, I would spend them with you

He could feel himself breaking all over again. He had tried to stay strong for Dean’s brother, and his own brother, and had forced himself to be okay when he really wasn’t. He had numbed himself to the pain, and it hurt more than ever to feel every scar reopen.

But there never seems to be enough time
To do the things you want to do
Once you find them
I've looked around enough to know
That you're the one I want to go
Through time with

Dean was the man he had let into his life, the man he had bared his heart and soul to. He wanted to grow old with him, and spend the rest of their lives together, and live out their dreams. If Dean were to pass before him, he had wanted him to be grey and old, having lived a full life. Words would never be able to describe how much he loved him, and now he was gone.

If I had a box just for wishes
And dreams that had never come true
The box would be empty
Except for the memory
Of how they were answered by you

Castiel shook as every pent-up emotion he had numbed himself to violently erupted forth. Dean took a piece of his heart with him the day he died, and more so now than ever did he feel its absence, how absolutely alone he felt. He trembled and he shook, he wept and he broke, he screamed and he cried.

As he sat there, clutching that salient gardenia in his hand, he finally let himself have his own moment where he didn’t have to be strong for someone else. He could let himself shatter, and pick the pieces back up on his own time. He didn’t notice, however, when a pair of familiar, strong arms wrapped him up into a hug, and pulled him against a warm chest.

But there never seems to be enough time
To do the things you want to do
Once you find them
I've looked around enough to know
That you're the one I want to go
Through time with

The song was right. There was never enough time in the world to spend with someone, once you build a home for them in your heart and soul. Castiel had looked forward to spending years and decades with Dean, but now all he could do was what the song said, and look upon the days of the past as treasures to relive in his memories. Even though they did not spend decades together, it was all Castiel could do to be grateful that he had spent the time he had, with Dean. Dean had gotten to spend the rest of his life with Castiel, so with a heavy heart, Castiel acknowledged that he could at least be grateful that one of them lived out their wish.

The Shurley looked up at the man holding him and tried to force a sad smile as his breath continued to hitch through his sobs. Sam fixed him with an understanding look, and gave him a sympathetic smile, as he held him closer. Gabriel emerged slowly from behind Sam, and then sat by Castiel’s side, and wrapped his arms around him too.
Castiel rubbed at his eyes as his sobs started to peter out, and hiccupped with a sad, broken grin when he turned to read the last section of the page.

It would take a while to heal, and he would always miss Dean, but sometimes you had to break first in order to start the process of healing. And after reading the last paragraph of the page, he looked at his family, and they gave him similar looks of sympathy and love.

Eventually, he knew he’d be okay.


‘I think this song describes my feelings for Cas perfectly.
There will never be enough time in the world, but for the time I have left, he’s the only one I want to go through it with.
I know it’s not much, but I also plan on giving this journal back to him when I fill it all out one day.

So Cas, baby, if you’re reading this?
I love you, sunshine.

Forever in my heart,
Dean.’