"Shit." Dean said looking over the balcony, turning to glare at his brother with a glare. "You didn't say he was going to be here! I wouldn't have agreed to come if I had known!"
Sam just rolled his eyes and grabbed Dean's arm, dragging him down the stairs. "I know, that's why I didn't tell you."
Dean tried to wriggle out of Sam's grip, but he held tight, not giving Dean even a millimetre.
"Hey Sam!" Charlie said, walking over. She looked spectacular in her glittery dress and high heels, with her hair done in an updo. She looked calm, at ease, like she fit in here and for a moment Dean allowed the pride he felt towards the girl who was basically his little sister by now. "I see you managed to get Dean here." She continued, reminding Dean why he was angry in the first place.
"Yeah, by tricking me and not telling me he would be here." Dean muttered
"Well, you’re here anyway, how you got here doesn't matter." Charlie said, clearly not bothered by Sam's methods.
"Thank you, Charlie." Sam said. "Now project GIBT is a go, where is I2?"
Charlie laughed at their code while Dean just looked confused "I2 is milling around, if we walk around a bit, I'm sure we'll find him."
Sam nodded while Dean just frowned. He was getting a bad feeling about this.
"Come on!" Sam said, dragging him around the room.
They had been walking around randomly for a few minutes when Dean spotted him, and he felt his heart stop. He had been avoiding Cas for years, because he knew if he saw him, he wouldn't be able to leave again.
Cas was just across the room, looking drop dead as always. His black suit was fitted, showing off his muscles and his figure. His hair was just as messy as when Dean used to be able to run his fingers through it and his eyes were just as blue, if not slightly dimmer.
It hurt Dean to see Cas' eyes dimmed, the eyes which used to glimmer and shine and used to be filled with joy and love.
"Come on!" Charlie said with joy "let's go congratulate him on his newest film!"
Dean did want to, he had watched Cas' film, all of his films in fact. It was the one small indulgence he allowed himself, he wouldn't allow himself Cas, but he would allow himself to watch the films.
Before Dean even realised it, Sam had dragged him over towards Cas.
"Castiel!" Charlie yelled "long time no see!"
Cas laughed as he said "Charlie, we worked on this film together, I saw you this morning for the premiere!" However, Cas' laugh died in his throat as he looked up and he made eye contact with Dean.
In a sudden bust of strength, Dean ripped his arm out of Sam's grip, running off to the nearest bathroom.
He heard Charlie yell "Dean!" After him, but he ignored it, she didn't understand, he had to go before he couldn't anymore.
As soon as he was inside a cubical, the door locked behind him, he finally allowed himself to relax, to breathe.
He and Cas used to date. They had gotten together midway through high school and had stayed together for a while. Dean had loved Cas, more than he could ever say, but he had broken it off. He had too.
Cas and Charlie had both gone into the acting world, and they both made it big. Dean was proud of them both, but he knew he would just drag Cas down if he stayed. Cas deserved better than him. So, he broke up with Cas and had avoided him ever since, he knew that if he was in the same room as him, Dean would probably just beg Cas to take him back, and Cas still deserved better.
Obviously, it was easier said than done when he had interfering brothers and friends trying to get them back together.
"Dean?" Came a voice from behind the door.
"What Sam?" He snapped, not moving, he wasn't going to leave the cubical until he was sure it was safe.
"He deserves an explanation!" Sam said "I know that's you've been avoiding him since you broke up, but he just wants to know what he did wrong, can't you just tell him why you broke up and then you can do whatever you want - you can leave if that's all you want to do."
Dean sighed "he didn't do anything wrong! You know that. It was me. I'm the one who wasn't good enough for him, that's why we broke up. I'm sure I've told you this before."
"Yes. You have." Sam said
"But you haven't told me." A new voice spoke up. Cas.
Dean quickly unlocked the door, shocked to see Cas' really was standing out there with Sam.
"Don't you think I should be allowed to decide what I deserve?" Cas asked, a glimmer back in his eyes.
"Of course you do" Dean said quietly "but I knew that sooner or later you would get sick of me, I decided I might as well leave before I got thrown out."
He wanted to run, to escape before he got ensnared by Cas' blue eyes and gentle heart, before he got stuck again. He knew this time he wouldn't be able to leave and when Cas threw him out, it would break him.
"Let's take this outside." Sam said gently "Charlie will be freaking out stuck out in the corridor."
Cas nodded while Dean just looked at the floor. This was it. No escaping now.
Cas walked out first, then Dean and finally Sam. Dean felt like he was being frog marched outside and he felt it even more when Charlie joined their group so she was walking beside Dean, to be fair, they were probably making sure he didn't bolt. Also, to be fair, if he could, he would bolt.
He knew that coming here would be a bad idea, he just wanted to support Charlie.
He could have just said no, just not come.
He knew that there was a chance that Cas would be here, he had pretended to himself that he didn't know, that Sam hadn't told him. But he knew. Deep down he wanted to see Cas. Just very, very, deep down.
And now, he was regretting it. Because this would just remind Cas why Dean was a fuck-up, why he shouldn't want anything to do with him.
And Cas would leave, just as he had always feared.
They came to a stop outside, in the gardens. Dean avoided looking at anyone, choosing instead to peer around.
There were bushes, trees and flowers in every direction and every colour. Trees bigger than houses and some wider than his table at home. He was certain that three people working together wouldn't be able to hug some of them, they were that wide. Weeping willows with benches under them were dotted around as well as huge towering oak trees, which the big child inside Dean was sure were just asking to be climbed.
Bluebells and daffodils and geraniums and roses filled every flowerbed and there were multiple bushes shaped like animals. There was even a pond, with a fountain in the middle and huge koi fish swimming slowly inside.
All of this reminded Dean of two things. The fist was that this venue was being used to celebrate Charlie and Castiel's newest film. The second being that this huge, expensive looking venue was being used because Cas was a huge name actor with everything he ever wanted. Adoring fans? Check. Directors queuing up to add his name to their movie? Check. A bazillion options for live interests from every walk of life? Check.
So why would he ever want Dean?
Eventually, Dean knew he couldn't stall forever. It was like a plaster, it was best to just rip it off quickly - he could worry about the aftermath later.
"What do you want to say?" Dean asked, "I'm assuming that's why I was dragged out here."
Sam and Charlie both turned towards Cas, so Dean took the hint and turned his attention to Cas as well.
"You broke up with me because you didn't think I would want you? Because you thought I would just get bored of you and throw you out?" Cas asked, somehow managing to keep his tone even, Dean guessed it was all the acting he did.
"You deserve better than me." Dean whispered, not managing to keep his tone even like Cas had. He carefully avoided looking up, he didn't want to see the agreement in Cas' blue eyes. Knowing that something was true, and seeing it echoed by someone else, were two very different things. "You deserve the world, and I'm just one small failure." Cas was a famous actor, Dean barley managed to scrape his way through high school.
"What do you mean I 'deserve better than you'?" Cas asked
Dean almost bust out laughing at Cas' confused tone, how could he not already know. Dean would suspect that Cas was just trying to force him to say it himself, but that didn't seem like Cas. "Cas, you're a famous actor, but more than that, you're the best man I've ever known. You're smart, your handsome, your kind - and you could have anyone you want. Why would you choose me? I work in my uncle's garage, have a high school education and have a list as long as my arm of things messed up about me."
Cas sighed before turning to look at Sam and Charlie "Has he been thinking like that since I left? I know things weren't great before but I thought we had made some progress since then. I guess our split has undone some of that work."
Charlie spoke up "yeah, he hasn't said anything, but I think he thinks like that most of the time."
"And you didn't tell me because?" Cas asked, when neither Sam nor Charlie replied, he sighed "never mind." Before turning to Dean, "Dean Winchester. You are smarter than you think. You practically raised Sam all by yourself. You work really well with cars, and love your job as well. And I've never cared about your past, or about the things you count as 'messed up'." He took a deep breath, "I love you, I always have. I will never stop. I could have anyone I want, but all I want is you."
Dean stood there, frozen. "W-what?" He choked out.
"I love you Dean. Breaking up with me and trying to avoid me for years won't change that." Cas' voice still didn't waver, didn't tremble. He was sure in what he was saying, surer than Dean could ever hope to me.
"But…. Out of everyone. Why would you choose me?" Dean asked. He was confused, his head hurt. Why was Cas acting like he wanted Dean? Like Dean was worth anything.
"Out of everyone, I choose you because I love you. I've loved you since I first met you and always will. You are worth everything."
Dean just blinked. It was an act, wasn't it? It had to be a huge joke. Cas practicing his acting. It couldn't be real. Could it?
"It's true." Charlie spoke up "you're so much better than you seem to think."
"Dean. You deserve to be happy." Sam said "you already gave up your childhood for me, you deserve to have an adulthood which makes it all worth it."
Dean just shook his head. No. It wasn't possible. Was it?
"Charlie, Sam, could you give us a moment please."
The two of them nodded calling a quick "we'll see you inside!" as they walked back through the doors.
"Dean." Cas said as soon as the other two had disappeared around the corner. "Is there any chance of me convincing you that what I'm saying is true?"
Dean stood there, still frozen. He felt vulnerable, exposed.
"Oh Dean." Cas said sadly "how about this, do you still love me?"
Dean just nodded. There was no point in lying, it was beyond obvious that he loved Cas.
Without saying anything, Cas leaned forward and cupped Dean's face. "I love you." He whispered before he closed the gap between them, kissing Dean.
Dean stood there for a moment, frozen, before he melted into Cas, kissing him back keenly. He was sure that if Cas hadn't been holding him up, he would have collapsed onto the ground.
All his self-loathing got pushed backwards to the back of his mind. Shoved there by Cas' love. It would be probably be back before too long – but for now, Cas was here.
They both pulled back when they needed to breathe, but Cas didn't let him get far, only moving back far enough for their foreheads to rest together.
"You are worth everything Dean," Cas whispered against his mouth "and I will tell you that until you believe it. Now, will you get back together with me or can we at least go back to being friends, I've missed you these last few years."
Dean took a deep breath, revelling in Cas' taste as it slipped passed his lips. "I would love to get back together with you, if you really want me." He paused a second before he said "I missed you too. And - and I love you."
Cas smiled wide, Dean could tell that this wasn't a fake smile, nor an actor smile, this was real. And it was directed at him.
"Come on, we probably need to tell Charlie and Sam that it worked." Cas said.
Dean smiled, pressing their lips together quickly in a short, sweet kiss and linking their fingers. He was shocked by how well they fitted together, it was like not a day had passed since their high school sweetheart days.
They were both grinning madly when they walked back inside, quickly finding where Sam and Charlie were lurking in a corner.
Sam noticed them first "Yes! Project GIBT worked!" He gasped with a smile.
Charlie joined him with her own mad grin "yay, I1 and I2 finally sorted themselves out!"
"Ok," Dean said with a smile, "that's great and all, but what do those acronyms mean?"
Charlie laughed as she said "project GIBT, stands for project 'get idiots back together'."
"And I1 and I2 are idiot 1 and idiot 2." Sam added.
Dean wanted to argue, wanted to tell them off for interviewing. But he was back together with the love of his life and it was thanks to them.
"Yeah, thanks for that." Dean said, swinging his and Cas' joint hands. "Now, aren't we here to celebrate Charlie and Cas' success?"
Sam quickly nodded in agreement. "Let's go celebrate!"
Dean smiled to himself, maybe today hadn't gone as awfully as he had expected when he first saw Cas. Clearly agreeing to come was the best decision he had made in a long while. Thank goodness for interfering brothers and best friends.
Now he could be happy. Truly happy.
Keeping his grip on Cas' hand, they disappeared deep into the party along with Sam and Charlie. Dancing, drinking, eating and celebrating.
Today had been a good day.