"Simply sign here Mr Novak and the settlement will be complete."
Castiel stole a glance at his lawyer, Marcus, who sat across the table from him, waving a pen in front of his face. He could almost see the gears turning in the older man's head, wondering when the rest of his money would come. Castiel had forked out a lot of his money to get a decent lawyer, knowing well enough he'd be up against a real challenge. From the corner of his eyes, Castiel watched Dean shift in his seat, letting out a sigh of exasperation. He would be keeping the house that they'd lived in for six years, so Castiel felt somewhat bitter that Dean was acting like an impatient child.
"Something to say, Dean?" he asked.
Dean's gaze didn't move from where he was currently looking.
"At least try to be civil about this," Castiel griped.
"I didn't say anything."
Castiel exhaled deeply.
"Your body language speaks for itself, Dean."
"Y'know what? I don't give a damn anymore. I just wanna' get out of here and go home!" Dean snapped.
"You and me both."
A pause followed.
"I'm taking Eve with me," he said.
"That's not what we agreed on," Castiel replied.
"But she was with you last week. I'd like some time with my daughter before this settlement goes through completely."
Castiel frowned at his ex-husband.
" Our daughter. We raised her together," he corrected.
Dean pressed his lips into a thin line.
"There's no we anymore, Castiel."
His words stung like a poisoned knife going straight through Castiel's chest, spreading and aching. The way Dean called him ‘Castiel’, no more ‘Cas’ or ‘Cassy’, despite his objections to that one. But at the same time, what they were doing was the right thing. Castiel couldn’t live another day with Dean. They’d been separated for a few months, but still lived together, for Eve’s sake. Yet, now it had become impossible for Castiel or Dean to not argue every night. Thus, they finally filed for divorce, as well as the difficult task of arranging time with their daughter.
They both settled on three weeks each with Eve, unless something prevented them from doing so. Regardless, Castiel would be happy to get away from Dean, to have space to breathe. Their relationship was never toxic, it simply fizzled out, they had loved each other, but it was time to move on. Castiel had an apartment to move into, thanks to the help of his brothers, Gabriel and Balthazar. It was only a matter of time until Castiel could relax, only having to bear seeing Dean when he took Eve to see him.
A nudge from Marcus brought Castiel back to reality, as he stared down at his messy signature.
“Just one more line.”
“Right…” he exhaled, quickly signing his name.
“Well, now that things are in order, you’re free to go. Mr Winchester, Mr Novak, it’s been a pleasure,” Marcus stated.
Dean scoffed and clucked his tongue.
“Enjoy rolling around in all that money, asshole.”
Castiel’s eyes widened a fraction at the venom in Dean’s tone, his eyes boring into Marcus’. Sure, they’d fought and said some things they’d regretted to each other. But to see Dean still get his burs up with anything concerning Castiel’s wellbeing, it showed he still cared, deep down. Dean rose from his chair, then turned away as he made for a hasty exit. Castiel followed not too far behind, his attention falling on Eve, who was sitting beside Sam.
“C’mon Eve, we’re goin’ home little monkey,” Dean murmured.
He didn’t mean to shout, nor to allow it to echo down the hallway, whilst bouncing off every flat surface there was. Sam looked at him sympathetically, yet the last thing he needed was people’s pity.
“Let me say goodbye to Eve…”
Dean was staring back at him, for the first time since they’d arrived here, his eyes sporting dark circles underneath, clearly from lack of sleep. However, he responded with a nod, let go of Eve’s hand and allowed her to run over to her father. Castiel bundled her up into a tight hug, his hand gently stroking her brunette curls.
“Why aren’t you coming with us Daddy?” she questioned.
Castiel’s heart broke for her.
“Because sweetpea, your dad and I are going our separate ways. We can’t stay together.”
“But why?” Eve mumbled.
She was only six, too young to fully understand what was happening. It was something Castiel struggled to find words for.
“Daddy and I don’t love each other like we used to. You’ll understand when you’re older.”
Eve’s eyes glistened with fresh tears.
“Will you be coming back?”
“Of course, you just have to switch between us every few weeks. I’ll make sure to call you every night. I know it’s not fair, but it is what it is sweetpea. Try and be good for your dad, please?” Castiel pleaded.
“I’ll miss you,” he whispered.
Eve’s arms wrapped around Castiel’s neck in one final embrace. He would still call Eve to check on her, but not having her company every night was going to break him. Dean knew it too, just by looking at the faraway look in the other’s eyes. Part of him felt guilty about this whole ordeal. If only it were easier to make it work. If only...they didn’t resent each other at that moment.
“It’s time we got home before it gets late,” Sam spoke up.
Castiel’s shoulders shook as he let go of Eve, tears rolling slowly down his cheeks. Eve wiped one away, then kissed her dad on the spot where the tear had been.
“Don’t cry daddy. I don’t like it when you are sad.”
Castiel exhaled shakily.
“Oh Eve, you make me so happy and proud. Now go, or else I’ll never let go.”
“I love you daddy,” Eve chimed.
“Love you too sweetpea.”
Dean’s gaze shifted to Castiel, his eyes ever telling the emotions he tried to contain.
“For what it’s worth. No matter who Eve goes to, she’ll be loved and cared for.”
Another trail of tears stained Castiel’s cheeks, as he stood up and nodded in agreement.
“She will,” he choked out.
A minute of silence seemed to pass between the two of them, with Eve and Sam talking quietly at their side. Dean aimlessly reached out to touch Castiel on the arm, the first kind of physical contact they’d had in awhile. It surprised Castiel, even more than when they’d stopped sharing kisses before bed. That was when things had started to get rough, the arguing and the occasional nights of uneventful sex, which were only a means to sate their needs. Both of them still had that fiery connection up until Castiel threw the divorce papers across the dinner table one night. That, was the start of the downward spiral that brought them here.
“Goodbye Cas,” Dean murmured, letting his hand fall back to his side.
Castiel managed a weak smile at Dean’s use of his shortened name.
Though, it never was going to be goodbye...not by a long shot.