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Reckless Faith

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RF

Chapter One

In the affairs of this world,
men are saved not by faith,
but by the want of it.
-Benjamin Franklin

 

Castiel Novak was not a stranger to the world although he would consider himself somewhat of a novice on things that most people found important. For example he wasn’t up to date on television shows and he preferred classical music over anything else. Sitting quietly with a good book and a cup of tea sounded like a nice afternoon to him while others would probably disagree. His people skills weren’t amazing but he was always being told what a good listener he was and what a large heart he had. He cared about people and just wanted them to be happy. And if he could ease their pain in any way he felt good afterwards.

If he hadn’t joined the priesthood he figured he would have become a social worker or doctor; something that dealt closely with healing or just being a friendly shoulder to lean on.

It was odd to like people and yet not really understand them but he supposed he got an A for effort.

For him being a priest was about having faith and loving God, two things that he’d done most of his life. After losing his parents at a young age his older siblings—who became his legal guardians—thought it was very important to keep up the traditions and teachings their parents had instituted all of their lives. Religion had been as much a part of his day as learning about history and math. They said grace, they said their prayers and they attended church services every Sunday. They were also expected to confess their sins and to pray for absolution. While several of his older brothers soon grew tired of such a strict regime he’d never exactly minded. Believing in something bigger than himself that looked out for him was comforting, not stifling.

Though he suspected he would have reacted differently had he been extremely interested in girls and sex like Gabriel and Balthazar. Such interest would have led to perhaps a more normal life but it wasn’t like he had a bad life. He’d had everything he’d needed. Maybe not the emotional support other families thrived on but the Novaks had not operated that way even before his parents died. Besides being a twin meant he was never truly alone.

Well…

Sighing deeply, Castiel pulled at the white collar around his neck and stared at the ornate painted glass windows of his church. The pew was hard and cold underneath him, the area quiet save for a few people whispering to themselves with their heads lowered. An elderly woman was clutching her rosary in one hand while lighting candles with the other, her lips moving with the same phrase over and over again. Usually someone would be fidgeting beside him with the need to talk but they were giving him a bit of space and had been for at least three days now. He was thankful. He honestly wasn’t sure he would have been able to soothe their souls when his own was in utter turmoil.

Castiel belonged to a big family. He was the second youngest of eight children with his little sister Hester being the baby. And yet the only one who had kept in touch regularly was his twin sister Anna. Growing up they’d been the best of friends, though Anna had been carefree and popular while he’d mostly kept to a select group of friends. Maybe it was that often talked about twin bond but Castiel had always felt like he could tell her anything and she would understand no matter what. In fact she’d been the first person he’d confessed being attracted to boys to. And she had hugged him tight and told him everything was going to be alright.

But that was Anna. Sweet and usually wearing a big pair of rose colored glasses even though she hadn’t had the easiest life. Pregnant at a relatively young age while not being married; she’d found judgment from their elder brother and sister while not having many of the options other women had because of their religious beliefs. Well because Michael and Naomi would have never consented to an abortion even if she’d been thinking about having one. In the end however she had managed to raise her child and attend college where she met the man she later married. Together they had three more wonderful children.

Swallowing hard, he bit into his bottom lip to keep the tears at bay. He didn’t want members of his parish to see him crying—they had issues of their own that they were dealing with. Not to mention Father Uriel would consider it unseemly. It was just hard to rein in his emotions when the one person he typically talked to about his problems wasn’t there anymore. It was bad to say—especially because of his profession—but he just couldn’t talk to God this time. His faith was unfortunately on very rocky ground at the moment.

Faith. It was a word Castiel was quite familiar with, one that he talked about at great length to many people. At its core faith was a belief in something bigger than yourself whether it be God or something else entirely. It was a feeling, something you couldn’t see or touch but just knew existed because the very thought of it filled you with a sense of peace. Faith was a powerful thing and when it was shaken even a little bit, well, some people never recovered.

As a priest Castiel had a close relationship with God but lately he was finding it difficult to continue believing. Much like when a child discovered there was no actual Santa Claus, he felt thrown for a loop. Those feelings mixed with the overwhelming grief slowly consuming his nights and days left him exhausted and questioning everything he once felt to be one hundred percent true. He knew that bad things happened to good people all the time but when it hit so close to home that saying lost its meaning. It left him wondering why. Why did bad things have to happen to good people? Or any people for that matter?

Why was there so much suffering?

Uriel told him that it was all a part of God’s plan and that questioning it was not their place. They were supposed to uphold the tenants of the church and lead the wayward back into the arms of the Lord. Yet he didn’t think he could lead anyone with such a dark cloud hanging over his head. He wasn’t certain he wanted to and that scared him. He loved the church and he loved serving God but what frequently brought him tranquility just wasn’t working right now. Left him with more questions than answers like why was his sister and her entire family dead while murderers and rapists remained?

God works in mysterious ways.

Indeed.

The horrible continued their reign of terror while other things would just stop. Anna used to send him pictures every holiday or birthday of her children with funny little notes on the back. Now there would be no more pictures, just an empty house full of memories like ash stains on his fingertips, so easy to erase. Six lives snuffed out in the blink of an eye; a deep connection instantly terminated because some man refused to let the bartender call him a cab home. Castiel knew they were in Heaven and happy with his parents but that only brought him a small amount of solace.

He just felt so alone…even with God supposedly with him.

Perhaps it wouldn’t be as bleak if Uriel were willing to talk with him about his grief but there was a reason people chose him over Father Uriel when they needed a friendly, understanding ear. Uriel tended to be more about the fire and brimstone side of the Lord rather than his forgiving nature. He could deliver a sermon about eternal damnation if you didn’t live a righteous life with more zeal than was necessary, it was the gentler side he could never put into inspiring words.

Castiel knew he could always visit another parish to seek council with another priest but he knew what they were going to say because once upon a time he’d probably said the same thing. He’d consoled more than one person suffering through grief and on a technical level he realized things would eventually get better. At the current moment however he was just angry and devastated that his sister had been taken away from him. That he would never see her again or hear her full belly laugh when something really amused her. And it didn’t help that his other siblings weren’t trying to offer any kind of support. Gabriel hadn’t even attended the funeral.

No. He didn’t need soft placated words about plans and better places. Honestly he wasn’t sure what he needed.

++

The bar was called Billy’s Pub and Castiel had passed it once or twice on the way to the farmer’s market what with it not being a part of his direct route and everything. As far as he knew none of his parishioners frequented there and that was why he was able to walk aside—dressed as a civilian—after sitting in his old car for a full fifteen minutes. Why he was able to sit down at the bar and order a beer. He wasn’t much of a social drinker and preferred wine if he must but he also didn’t want to stick out like a sore thumb.

In all honesty he wasn’t sure why he was even there but seeing as how none of his other coping techniques were working he was willing to try whatever irregular idea that popped into his head. Perhaps just sitting in a room with a bunch of people who didn’t know him would somehow make him feel better. He wouldn’t have to suffer their looks of pity or know that they were whispering about him behind his back. He could be just like everyone else.

Country music was twanging from an old juke box in the corner and a group of laughing men and women were playing pool near the bathrooms. At the very end of the bar was a couple engaged in an intimate conversation; the female swirling her straw around and around in her tall glass. Castiel vaguely wondered what they were talking about. If they had came together or just met. Before becoming a priest he’d never really been able to connect with people. Naomi told him it was because of his fierce intelligence but he always chalked it up to being an old soul. It was hard to have a conversation with a bunch of teenagers when you’d rather talk about Russian literature than the latest reality show.

Talking about God and religion though came easy to him. As did wanting to believe the best in people. So far the only thing he’d been able to do was forgive the man that had taken his sister away from him. Martin Palmer would never walk again and was currently awaiting trial, and Castiel prayed for him with utter sincerity. After all alcoholism was a demon in its own right and blaming him for vehicular homicide—while truthful—wouldn’t bring Anna back. His ultimate punishment would be living with what he’d done. If he were indeed a good man that had made a bad choice, it would be something he carried with him for the rest of his life. Castiel didn’t feel it was cruel or out of place to hope he did.

Grasping the cold bottle with both hands, Castiel peeled at the white label and idly thought about his childhood. While stricter than most he’d been happy. His parents died when he was four and Michael had immediately stepped up to assume responsibility of him and the others, with Naomi’s help of course and that of their wonderful neighbors. Castiel still wasn’t certain how Michael had managed but somehow he had. Granted not all of the Novaks turned out to be upstanding citizens—especially not in Michael’s eyes—but things could have been worse. They were all mostly successful in their chosen careers; Gabriel and Balthazar the self appointed black sheep of the family. They were no blacker than Lucifer however.

But the point was that he hadn’t wanted for many things. And Michael had not been cruel even if because of his upbringing he judged what he didn’t understand quite harshly. Such as homosexually. After explaining to his family his feelings for young men Michael had deduced he was gay and suggested very strongly that he join the priesthood. Homosexually on its own was not acceptable but with Castiel’s “affliction”…as he’d often called it? Well it was a sentence straight to Hell as far as he was concerned. Balthazar thought him mad but Castiel had—at least—been able to realize his outspoken-ness on the subject came from a place of love. Not wanting to hurt the man who’d basically raised him…he’d joined the priesthood.

There were no regrets over his decision. He was doing God’s work and helping people but he would be lying if he said he didn’t get lonely. No more so than he was right now. Others had the luxury of family to get them through tough times but he did not.

Not anymore.

“Hey. Anyone sitting here?”

Castiel started and blinked at the man suddenly standing beside him. He was gorgeous for lack of a better word; tall and tan and currently flashing a rather charming smile with delectably plump lips. Castiel had seen attractive men before but never one like this, one so effortlessly beautiful. His eyes were bright green and sparkling with amusement out from under long thick lashes. He had a perfect profile; a strong jaw with a slender nose and slight scruff. It was a little un-nerving to be honest, or at least the warm pleasant feeling this stranger’s looks caused in his stomach was a little un-nerving.

It was something Castiel hadn’t experienced since he was a teenager.

Realizing he’d been asked a question and yet never replied, he slowly shook his head. “No it’s…vacant.”

The stranger chuckled and perched on the leather stool, sitting his own beer on the bar in front of him. “Good thing I don’t have a bad leg. Guy could fall over waitin’ for you to state the obvious.”

Castiel snorted. “I wasn’t aware you needed my exact permission to sit down in a public place.”

Green eyes smirked with a small shrug. “Wanted to make sure you were okay with me gettin’ in your personal space. Some guys will punch you for that shit.”

Castiel nodded. That actually made sense. “I do not mind.”

“Cool. I’m Dean by the way.” The newly named Dean held out a hand to be shook.

“Fa—Castiel. My name is Castiel.” He said shaking the offered hand, finding it to be warm if a bit work rough. “It’s nice to meet you.”

Dean took a sip of his beer and Castiel tried not to stare at the way his lips hugged the top. “So Castiel, what brings you out this time of night?”

Castiel considered his answer. “I just…wanted to go somewhere where no one knew who I was. I have a lot on my mind and I’m having difficulty sorting out my thoughts.”

Dean hummed. “Sounds heavy. This a relationship kinda thing? Cause I gotta tell you I’m not much for chick flick moments.”

Castiel smiled. “No. It’s…family related.”

Dean grinned easily. “Ah family I do know. They get on your nerves and you wanna smack them most of the time, but if anyone else tries to smack them you see red. Funny how that works.”

His words made Castiel chuckle. “My brothers and sisters could always take care of themselves.”

Dean tapped his fingers on the bar. “Mine too but that’s not the point and you know it. Only we can mess with our family. When outsiders do it—well it’s stupid.”

True. “Are you close to your family?”

Dean nodded. “Yeah…for the most part. My little brother and I are pretty close, and I’m close to my mom. Still go to hers for Sunday dinner sometimes, that kinda thing.”

Castiel wondered what a normal family dinner was like. He hadn’t participated in one for many years now and it wasn’t easy for the Novaks to spend time together. Michael used them as reports on their progress with their life goals. “May I ask you a question?”

Turning to face him, Dean waved a hand. “Go for it.”

“Do you believe in God?” From the way Dean’s brow arched Castiel could tell he’d asked something loaded but he couldn’t help himself. Not only was Dean easy to talk to for some strange reason, but he was the first person Castiel had spoken to who didn’t know he was a priest. He could get honest answers by someone not worried about offending him.

“Whoa you don’t waste any time, huh?” Dean snickered but he didn’t appear offended. “Uh, yeah. I believe in God. Do I go to church and all that crap? Nope. But I believe in the big man upstairs.”

“Why don’t you go to church?” Inquired Castiel innocently.

“Just not for me. I don’t like being preached at. My mom used to take us when I was little but after I got old enough to say no she didn’t make me go.” He explained. “She still goes sometimes I think.”

Castiel exhaled deeply and tried to figure out how to structure his next question. “So, you have faith? Is that difficult?”

Dean studied him closely for a moment before saying, “Sometimes. It’s not something I think about really until I have to think about it.” Pause. “Don’t really consider myself a religious person but, when I was four our house caught on fire and my mom got trapped inside. Dad tried to go in and get her but the smoke was too thick and the flames were too high. The firemen arrived and they went in to get her but ya know; everyone was expecting the worst. To this day we don’t know how she survived.”

Castiel touched his neck and the collar that wasn’t there. “Divine intervention.”

Dean made a noncommittal noise. “Eh maybe. Whatever it was I’m just glad it was looking out for my family that night.”

Swallowing hard, Castiel couldn’t silence the niggling little voice that asked why wasn’t it there for mine before it made his stomach twist unpleasantly. He didn’t wish to have those types of thoughts but he couldn’t help himself. “Why are you here?”

And just like that Dean was grinning again. “Usual place had an unfortunate accident in the form of a mullet wearing idiot plugging too many things into one outlet. It caught fire and now I gotta drink here until it’s fit to be opened again. I don’t mind though.” He winked. “Company’s pretty interesting.”

Castiel flushed as the back of his neck and cheeks grew warm. He took a big gulp of his beer to help calm his nerves. “Even though I have asked you invasive questions about your faith?”

Dean bumped his shoulder. “Yup. I’ve been asked worse. You should hear the stuff my mom bugs me about.”

It was clear that Dean was charismatic and used to talking to people, perhaps he even did it for a living. It made Castiel wonder why he had picked him of all the patrons inside to strike up a conversation with. Maybe he’d sensed his loneliness and wanted to do a good deed for the night. “Well we can change the subject if you like. Though I must warn you I am not up to date on television shows and such, but I do follow current events.”

Dean signaled the bartender for two more beers. “Nah it’s cool. We can talk about whatever you want, dude. “

In truth he wanted to talk about Anna but he wasn’t sure how to broach the subject without bringing himself to tears. And he sort of liked the air of mystery between himself and this handsome man. He could pretend to be anyone he wanted. “This is my first time out in a while,” he admitted, now sipping his beverage, getting used to the bitter taste.

“And you picked a bar to go to?” Dean teased. “You don’t really strike me as the lonely drinker type. But I guess everything else is closed or whatever.”

“Yes. If I could I would have went to the park or the community garden and watched the bees.” Castiel bit into his bottom lip, feeling silly for saying as much.

But Dean just nodded without a trace of sarcasm. He leaned in close to Castiel, so close that he could smell his cologne and the scent of real leather. His left arm brushed Castiel’s shoulder and for one single solitary moment Castiel thought Dean was going to kiss him. His breath hitched and he went still, eyes wide and lips slightly parted in shocked anticipation. Dean noticed his reaction of course and smirked, motioning to the bowl of pretzels he was actually reaching for.

Castiel watched him toss a few into his mouth with a face that felt like it was on fire. Was Dean flirting with him? And if he was…well wasn’t that wholly inappropriate? Considering his own orientation and the support he received in his younger years from Anna, Castiel didn’t hate himself or think of himself as a sinner. He did subscribe to the mantra of hate the sin not the sinner but only at its basic level because deep down he didn’t feel it was actually possible to hate the sin without such a view affecting said sinner. If someone identified as gay or lesbian then that was a big part of who they were and hating it meant—in essence—hating them. He was not like Uriel; he didn’t want anyone hating themselves.

While Michael and Naomi had never outright told him he was wrong or going to hell, he got the sense being attracted to men wasn’t their main issue. It was what it could lead to that they feared. That they said his parents had also feared. Gabriel thought it was “cool”.

Still more pressing than the maybe inappropriateness of being flirted with by a good looking man were the vows that he’d taken upon giving himself to the service of God.

Instead of allowing himself to focus on that too closely, he drained the rest of his first beer and started on his second. It settled warm in the pit of his stomach, sending out a pleasurable heat that had him slouching forward to rest his arms on the bar top. Alcohol was nothing but a numbing agent and not one he recommended to fix your problems, but he couldn’t deny that it muddled his mind enough to put it a little at ease. At least when it came to Anna and his chest crushing grief.

“You a bee keeper?” Dean picked up their stalled conversation as he crunched on pretzels.

“No I—I just like bees.” Castiel chuckled at the absurdly of his statement. “I guess I should clarify that I like animals in general. I always wanted a dog but was never allowed to have one. Now, I take care of the strays when they come around.”

“My brother is the animal fan in my family. I mean I like ‘em just fine but I’ve never thought about getting one. He got this annoying mutt with blue eyes his junior year of college only to learn he couldn’t keep it in his apartment. Kid practically begged me to take it until he graduated so I did.” He rolled his eyes fondly at the memory. “The damn thing was a terror. He’d wake me up at the crack of dawn for walks, hog almost all the bed when he had his own and always seemed to be hungry. His name was Riot and man did it fit.”

“Something tells me you like him more than you are letting on.”

“Eh he’s not so bad once you get used to him. In the beginning though I wanted to literally punch him in the face.”

The image made Castiel laugh, deep and smoky with amusement. It reminded him of the things Gabriel would get up to when he became a teenager. Although Castiel was young and his memory filled with so many things, he would never forgot his older brother painting one side of their house lime green or shaving his teacher’s cat until it was almost completely hairless. Those had been happy if chaotic times.

He missed them.

Blinking slowly, he smoothed a hand over his tired eyes and shivered from the chill let in by the door opening. Dean was funny and entertaining but at the end of the night it wouldn’t matter because he would be back in his room at the church with nothing but old photographs to keep him company. And he would be expected to be okay by Sunday for Mass. Uriel would consider a week an acceptable time to flow through the stages of grief before coming out on the other side alright. He’d fake it if he had to.

Swallowing several more mouthfuls of his beverage, he pushed the bottle away so that he wouldn’t finish it all. He was already buzzed or tipsy as they said and there was no way he was driving back to the church. Fumbling into his pocket for his wallet, he caught sight of his reflection in the mirror behind the bar. His skin was flushed and his eyes a bit glassy, his brain chugging slowly along on what it could. He was in the moment; stringing together thoughts of paying, home and sleep.

In the morning he would say a prayer for all of those ensnared by the grips of alcohol addiction.

Counting the bills and wondering if leaving a tip was suitable, Castiel jerked when a warm hand settled onto his thigh, giving it a squeeze. His big blue eyes tracked down to it and although it was just a normal hand, he swore he could feel it burning through the old denim of his jeans. Wetting his lips, he looked to the owner of said hand. “Dean.”

Dean appeared totally in control though the blush of his cheeks could have been from anything. “You wanna get out of here?”

Castiel’s throat was dry. “You mean…”

Dean grinned; a slow stretch of his pouty lips on one side as his eyelids lowered to slits like a cat. “Do you wanna come home with me, Castiel?” His hand tightened but Castiel was enraptured by the way his name had been said. Like it belonged in the verse of the soft bluesy song now droning from the juke box.

“I…” He exhaled deeply. No was on the tip of his tongue. It was one thing to flirt and converse but having sexual intercourse would be—it would be turning its back on everything that he believed in. Everything he had faith in.

Faith.

Faith… that he could not see or touch. That currently wasn’t warm and grounding like Dean’s hand.

Dean’s hand. That was currently keeping him from floating into the ether of his own depression.

Castiel didn’t allow himself to want…but that didn’t stop him from needing. And the voice inside his alcohol inflamed mind whispered he could always repent later. Right now he needed physical comfort like he never had before.

Before he could talk himself out of it, he nodded. “Yes.”

Dean threw a few dollars onto the countertop and stood, shrugging into a dark blue jacket. He grabbed Castiel’s hand and pulled him out the door and across the parking lot to a beast of a black car, opening the passenger side door like a gentleman. Castiel slipped inside and spared a glance to his own vehicle, promising himself that he would return tomorrow for it.

There was a single moment of clarity as Dean climbed in that what he was doing was wrong and against everything he stood for. He turned to apologize and decline the invitation when Dean’s fingers slid around to the back of his neck and pulled him in closer, pressing their lips together. It wasn’t Castiel’s first kiss or his second but it was the first in many years; warm and wet and perfect. He didn’t have technique but Dean didn’t seem to mind. It silenced every dissenting thought he could remember having, replacing them with simple bursts of nonsense words as Dean bit and nipped at his lips. As he sucked on his tongue and combed his fingers through Castiel’s dark hair.

So Castiel let himself be swept away by a tide of desire and calming silence.

++

A crooked beam of sunlight shining through a break in the curtains pulled Castiel out of his gentle slumber as it passed over his eyes. He groaned softly and pressed his face into the fluffy pillow, fighting away the tiny headache throbbing at his temples. He stretched and winced at the soreness of his backside before snuggling back down to the downy mattress. It was a nice soreness; that type of pain that actually felt good.

Dean was budged up behind him with an arm around his waist and well that felt good too.

There was shame over what had transpired the previous night but there were also amazing memories. Dean had taken him apart at the seams and sowed him back together with suckling kisses on every part of Castiel he could reach after Castiel had quietly admitted he’d never had sex before. Dean decided he should experience it all or at least all that he was up for. He’d taken great pleasure biting and licking down Castiel’s naked body before settling between his spread thighs, nuzzling at his crotch before sucking his cock down like he had been paid to do it. The sensations had been unlike anything Castiel had ever felt and he found it hard to keep quiet. Hard to keep still and not try to get closer.

Dean hadn’t wanted him quiet though and that had worked out perfectly because Castiel had wanted to make noise; to let out all of those sounds he’d kept bottled up. By the time Dean’s perfect pink mouth had him close enough to orgasm he’d been white knuckling the sheets and whining for it, begging gibberish and undulating his hips on the bed. One hard suck later and Castiel had come with a shuddered cry, pulsing into the wet warmth of Dean’s eager mouth.

He remembered melting afterwards and mewling as Dean continued to lick him even though he was super sensitive. He remembered Dean crawling the length of his body and kissing him, and not being disgusted by the salty taste on Dean’s tongue. He’d kissed back with total abandon, asking for more.

And Dean had given it to him. Worked him open with slick fingers until he was nearly mad with need yet at the same time not wanting Dean to stop thrusting and curling his fingers inside of him. Castiel had masturbated before but he’d never touched himself where Dean had, never pushed inside and stroked until he was gasping for air.

Castiel had watched with hooded eyes as Dean kneeled between his legs and ripped open a condom. He couldn’t stop himself from reaching out and touching Dean’s dick, from tracing his thumb across the leaking head and smiling when Dean moaned. “You can suck it later,” Dean had told him with a devious grin and the thought had excited him more than he’d wanted to let on. But he’d done it during their second round. Let Dean guide his movements with a hand buried in his thick hair. And he’d loved every moment of it—of the taste and the feel.

Dean inside of him—fully seated—had been somewhat of a revelation. Nerves he hadn’t even known existed were set on fire and burned down to nothing as Dean rolled his hips and found a rhythm that let him thrust into Castiel fluidly. In and out over and over again as he whispered filthy things into Castiel’s ear. Never could Castiel had imagined sex to be like that, so consuming and intense. He’d missed it without having ever had it before and it didn’t make sense, but he knew it to be true down to the very marrow of his bones. There was just something right about Dean’s weight pinning him to the mattress, about Dean’s lips on his neck and Dean’s fingers entwining with his own.

Castiel came arching off the bed with his legs wrapped around Dean’s waist and his nails digging into Dean’s biceps. The pleasure exploded inside of him and left him panting for air, nuzzling at Dean’s strong jaw as Dean grunted and shook and continued to pound into him. He looked amazing when he finally let go and came, face twisted in bliss, body trembling and damp. A few minutes later he had stumbled out of bed and discarded the condom only to return with a wet cloth to clean them both up.

And then they had cuddled and talked before Dean’s stroking hands turned exploring and possessive once again.

Sleeping with Dean had been a colossal mistake and a desertion of everything he believed in, but he couldn’t deny it had also been therapeutic in a way. Just being held by someone for the first time since he was a child; letting the feel of their skin divert his mind away from melancholy thoughts. Psychologically he knew how much human contact could help a person, how much holding someone’s hand when they were going through a rough time could make all the difference. He just hadn’t realized how much he’d been missing it; that sort of intimate connection.

But he was a priest and he had defiled himself for one night of comfort, and it was something he would have to come to terms with. Unlike other priests that could commit atrocities and feel no guilt, he did feel badly for what he’d allowed himself to do. Especially since it was with a man. Perhaps it would be his one and only indiscretion that he would lock up inside and never think about again. He was certain he could do it—he was quite controlled, last night notwithstanding.

Biting his bottom lips, he slowly moved Dean’s arm and eased out of bed as silently as he could. Dean snorted but slept on, looking peaceful and adorable with the sheet slung low on his hips, revealing the top of where dark blonde pubic hair begin. Castiel wanted to dive back under the covers and snuggle in close but it was a new day and the time for that sort of thing had passed. He’d given himself into temptation once—well technically twice—and now it was time to face the consequences. To confess and pray for absolution.

As quietly as he could he sought out his clothes and dressed, making sure not to bump into anything. He was tying up his shoelaces when he spied the notebook on the bedside table and wondered if leaving a note would be okay. After etiquette dealing with a one night stand wasn’t something he was or had ever been up to date on. However as a common courtesy he decided it wouldn’t be a horrible idea. He was sneaking out after all.

Grabbing up the pen, he jotted down a quick message and then fled.


Thank you for an amazing night.

-C

++

Life went on as usual for Castiel and if he was a little more devoted to his parishioners than usual no one appeared to mind. He preached about love and forgiveness with so much sincerity that a few of the elderly women had been moved to tears. Although he knew he should have confessed his night with Dean to someone—perhaps Uriel—he hadn’t said a word. He’d prayed to God for forgiveness and continued on as he would like everything was the same. And if Uriel noticed anything he didn’t comment on it.

Missing Anna got easier after a while but it never truly went away. There were times when he would be getting ready for dinner or bed and be expecting her to call only to remember she never would again. Her disappearance from his life spurred him into contacting Balthazar, and despite having to hear all about his brother’s lucrative profession of masturbating on webcam for money (he had a personal website) it had been a nice conversation. Made him think that maybe reconnecting with the others a bit more wouldn’t be such a bad idea. It was something Anna had always wanted for him anyway.

“Our family is crazy Castiel, but they are still our family.” She would say with a smile in her voice.

He was thinking of making visiting her grave a yearly tradition.

It had officially been six weeks since his encounter with Dean when the smell of Mrs. Sawyer’s apple pie crumb cake made his stomach roll distastefully. Usually it was one of his favorites to sample from their charity bake sale but standing over it now he found the dash of cinnamon she used to be more like a pound. He held his breath and took a few steps back, making sure that no one noticed. He didn’t want them to think there was anything wrong with it and then not buy a piece. Though he was sure if he even attempted to eat some he’d be sick.

The truth was he hadn’t exactly been able to keep anything done except stale salty crackers and ginger ale. The flu was in full force for the time of year but Castiel never got more than a cold, and this just didn’t feel like the flu. It felt like something that happened maybe every other morning; a green about the gills sort of nausea that could easily push him to vomit if he weren’t careful.

He had a sneaking suspicion what was wrong with him but it wasn’t something he wanted to even whisper about. The very thought terrified him more than he could ever remember feeling before. Avoiding it had been the main reason he’d joined the priesthood in the first place. Well that, coupled with his sexual orientation.

This is your punishment for forsaking your vows. God is punishing you.

Frowning, he pushed down the horrid little voice and excused himself from the chattering group to make his way into the rectory. He hurried into his bedroom and shut the door, nibbling on his bottom lip as he opened an old oak cabinet and pulled out a metal lock box. There were several things he kept inside under lock and key so that Uriel couldn’t snoop, not that he ever would but Castiel felt he could never be too careful. Most were childhood pictures and a few books he knew the other priest wouldn’t approve of. However tucked in a velvet pouch off to the side was one of three pregnancy tests he…mostly owned.

Mostly because about a year ago a young man had showed up on the church steps in need of serious guidance and just someone to talk to. He revealed he’d been having an affair with a married man and feared he was pregnant, and had no one to talk to. Castiel being Castiel he’d listened patiently as the man explained his situation and the suggested he take a test to know for sure. The young man—Alfie—confessed he already had some but was too nervous to find out the results by himself. So Castiel had stood outside the bathroom with him as they waited for the outcome. Long story short Alfie had been pregnant and Castiel had tucked away the other tests in his hurry to hide them from Uriel. He was staunchly against pregnant men.

Staring at the box in his hand, Castiel shook his head but moved into the bathroom. The tests were gender specific since women and men emitted different hormones during pregnancy. Doctors still weren’t certain of the mechanics since men did not have a uterus, not how females did anyway. In fact “male pregnancy” had a rather odd term known as Seahorse Syndrome. Not all men could get pregnant of course but the ones that could had a sort of pouch that allowed them to incubate a child and eventually deliver through C section. However the process of scanning all males at birth for the pouch was something that wasn’t started until the 1930s.

That was how the Novaks came to find out that he could carry a child. So could his first cousin Inias but Inias was straight so it hadn’t mattered.

If Castiel had been straight it would not have mattered either.

Sighing deeply, he ripped open the box and set about following the directions on the side. When he was done he washed his hands and waited, pacing from one side of the bathroom to the other. He didn’t know what he would do if the test was positive. Having an abortion would require major surgery and as such, it was against his beliefs to do so. Yet could he really bring those up considering him pushing them aside was how he was in this situation in the first place? Not to mention Dean had used protection both times; if he were pregnant the chances were insane. It took men considerably longer to conceive than women—it happening through a layer of plastic…

Women get pregnant when protection is used.

Oh god what if he was pregnant? Michael and Naomi would be so disappointed in him. There was a chance they would even disown him. And the one person who would possibly understand and offer a sympathetic ear was now dead. Gabriel and Balthazar wouldn’t shun him but they weren’t children people, not yet anyway. They wouldn’t have any reputable advice for him besides name it after me and don’t drop it if you have it.

And then there was Dean. What if anything was he going to say to Dean? What if he couldn’t even find him again?

Ten minutes later and Castiel forced himself to look at the test. Just as he’d been dreading there was a big blue plus sign in the little window; his hand was shaking as he touched it. He was pregnant.

He was pregnant.

The room tilted and he grabbed the counter to keep from tipping over. His stomach rumbled and he had to inhale and exhale slowly, pushing down the bile that threatened to rise up. What was he going to do? What was he going to do!?

“Castiel.” Uriel was suddenly looming in the doorway; Castiel hadn’t even heard him enter his room. “Mrs. Baxter is looking for you. What are you doing? Are you still ill?” His big dark eyes flittered down to the test before narrowing slightly. “Castiel?”

Castiel swallowed hard. “Uriel I—I must confess something to you. I have betrayed your trust and that of the church. I…sinned.”

Uriel sighed, his expression stoic. “I see. When did this happen?”

Castiel shrugged. “About six weeks ago. I was so upset over Anna’s death and that of her family. I felt isolated and went to a bar for a drink. I know it was wrong but I wasn’t thinking clearly.”

Uriel grunted and folded his arms over his chest. “I always suspected you were a…homosexual but I didn’t know you could create abominations. This is troubling. You could be defrocked for this. Or worse.”

“I’m sorry. I have failed myself and God.”

“Yes. However, you are not the first priest to make an indiscretion. We have known each other for a long time and I…would be willing to help you deal with this problem.”

Castiel blinked at him. “What do you mean deal with it?”

Uriel grumbled. “Get rid of it in secret. We can tell everyone you had a family emergency while you recuperate.” Pause. “It is a disgrace, Castiel. It shouldn’t be here. Imagine the scandal if people found out. Think about how they would feel knowing the man who once guided them and gave them the tools to save their souls, allowed himself to be infected and debased. They’d lose all hope.”

“But we teach that abortion is wrong.”

“Under normal circumstances. This isn’t normal.” Uriel told him. “Now I will make arrangements for you to purge that thing as soon as possible.” He reached out and patted Castiel’s shoulder. “And then you shall ask and be forgiven, having seen the error of your ways.”

Castiel watched his fellow priest walk out before running a hand through his hair. That was not the reaction he had been expecting from Uriel at all. He thought his friend would be angry and disappointed, not so despondent to the point of being willing to cover everything up. He supposed he should be a little happy Uriel cared enough but it just made him feel strange. Uriel was devout and if he were willing to turn a blind eye…

Feeling claustrophobic, surrounded by church goers and crosses, Castiel grabbed his car keys and sneaked out the back door. He just needed a few moments alone. Uriel would make excuses for him if anyone asked; apparently he was good at that.

++

By the time Castiel needed to stop for gas it was heading into the afternoon and he was no closer to a decision than he had been hours before. There was a tiny headache throbbing behind his eyes and although the thought of real food made him feel green, he was still hungry. Maybe he could stand a bowl of plain chicken broth or something. Though the thought of returning to the church to be badgered for an answer by Uriel didn’t appeal to him at all. No, he needed more time. He needed another opinion on the situation. He needed…

Exhaling deeply, he left the gas station and drove until he was surrounded by freshly mowed lawns and houses that more or less all looked the same. He couldn’t remember exactly which house he’d visited on that fateful night but he knew he would never forget the black car; it wasn’t something that one saw often.

He spotted it parked in front of a white two-story home with black shutters, standing out like a sore thumb.

You can always turn back, whispered the voice inside his head. What he doesn’t know won’t hurt him.

Which was true but his reaction to Castiel’s news could make all the difference on going with Uriel’s plan and venturing into the unknown. “If he’s a jerk about it then…that is that.” He said aloud. “And it’s for the best. Perhaps it is even what God wants.”

It wasn’t exactly fair but he couldn’t be choosy, not with his situation. He was a priest, a man of God and he was pregnant. Honestly he wasn’t sure what was more upsetting; that he was pregnant or that this was some type of physical reminder of his transgression. Other men got pregnant—it was as taboo as unexplained things had ever been—but where some didn’t accept it others thought of it as a miracle. In the current day and age it was almost normal. What wasn’t normal however was a priest having a child. Showing off his utter lack of restraint to the world. The last high profile man to become with child—who beforehand claimed to be straight no less—had been a Senator and the media had covered the story relentlessly. Castiel wasn’t so important but he didn’t want to be in the local news either.

Frowning and resisting the urge to run away, Castiel climbed out of his car and slowly made his way up onto the porch. He stared at th0e door like it might attack him before lightly knocking. It wasn’t until he heard a gruff voice yell coming that he remembered how he was dressed.

Oh no.

The door opened and there was Dean. Still handsome as ever Dean looking at him like he’d seen a ghost. As his eyes swept up and down Castiel’s body they grew even wider. “...Castiel?”

Castiel managed a small smile. “Hello Dean.”

“Wh—I—um…” Dean rubbed the back of his neck. “What’s with the monkey suit? It’s not anywhere near Halloween.”

“I’m a priest.” Castiel straightened his jacket and poked at his white collar. “May I come in? I’ll explain everything. I—I’m sure you have quite a few questions.”

Dean snorted but waved him inside before closing the door. “Understatement, dude. I mean if you’re a priest I’m pretty sure what we did is against your moral code or whatever. Not that that has ever stopped anyone.”

Castiel nibbled on his bottom lip and slowly sunk down onto the couch. “Yes sleeping with your or anyone for that matter is breaking my vow of celibacy. I shouldn’t have done it but I—well I was in a bad place and overcome with grief at the loss of someone very dear to me. You made me feel better.”

Dean arched a brow. “Um, you’re welcome?”

Blushing, Castiel looked down at his hands. “It’s hard to explain. I suppose the basics would be that when I needed someone—something more than I had—you were there for me. I knew what I was doing and how I would be judged but I did it anyway. I have since sought forgiveness for what happened though I am not certain it will be granted.”

“Why not?”

“There have been complications. A fellow priest found out about…things.”

“That sucks. So he’s going to rat you out for a one night stand? I know you have rules and all but guy sounds like a dick.”

“It’s more than that.”

Dean cleared his throat. “Well man I’m sorry if this gets you kicked outta the church or whatever. Had I known… Well honestly I probably would have done it anyway if you were game because you’re smoking hot.” Pause. “Just sucks that you got caught. So many others that do worse than consent to sex don’t.”

In the fresh light of day Castiel could see sparse freckles across the bridge of Dean’s nose. Shaking his head, he pushed down the tiny part of him that was pleased to know Dean thought he was attractive. “My faith has always been very important to me and it still is. However I guess if it were so easy for me to question it, maybe I need to put myself under the microscope a bit longer. I don’t regret what we did. I should but I don’t.”

Dean smiled cheekily. “I don’t either. But now I get why you ditched me the next day. With God as your dad I guess I can let it slide.”

Chuckling, Castiel rubbed his forehead. He could do this. He could be honest. “Okay. I hadn’t expected to ever see you again of course. That would be insane. I was going to pretend it never happened but…” A beat. “I. I’m pregnant.”

There, it was out in the open.

“Huh?” Dean looked like he’d been slapped in the face. It was almost comical. “You’re pregnant? Are you—you saying I knocked you up?”

“Not exactly in those terms but yes.” Castiel stared at him. “I guess you could call to question whether it’s yours but—”

“No I wouldn’t do that. I don’t think you of all people would lie about this. Jesus. Shit, sorry. I mean…” He was babbling. “Wow. But we used protection. Lots of protection. Be—because ya know, herpes and other nasty shit that’s floating around out there. Granted those condoms were old but—fuck. I should sue the hell outta Trojan.”

“So you’re upset?” Castiel inquired.

Big green eyes stared at him. “I’m…shocked. This—this is shocking. I’m gonna be dad. Wow.”

Castiel blinked. “How do you feel about it? I mean I am a man and pregnant men aren’t widely accepted. Not to mention we’re not married or even together. Doesn’t this ruin your life?”

Dean shook his head. “What? No. It’s unexpected, way unexpected but hey, it is what it is. I’d feel this way even if you were a chick and it’s not like I’m some stupid kid still in high school. I take it though it does ruin your life? I mean you can’t still be a priest and pop out a baby, right? Guess they frown on that sort of thing.”

Right and quite heavily. “You think I should have it?”

“I think that’s up to you.” Dean said softly. “But if you’re here asking me what I think or if I want you to get rid of it, then the answer is no. This doesn’t screw up my life it just puts it on a different path. A kid? Might be fun.”

That was not the reaction Castiel had been expecting at all but it actually made a sort of sense. Dean did appear to be the nurturing type; the kind of guy that would want to have a family of his own. “If I keep this child I will have to uproot my entire life. Leave the priesthood and get a regular job and find a place to stay. What if I can’t do any of those things?”

“I’d help, duh.” Dean replied. “With whatever you needed. I’m not some deadbeat. Hell I’ve got a guest room—you could crash here until you found something better. No strings attached.”

Okay what was really not expected. “You’d do that for me?”

Dean rolled his eyes playfully. “Don’t sound so surprised, Cas. You’re carrying my kid. And I’d be lying if I said seeing you again wasn’t something I wanted. Never thought this is how it would happen but…there ya go. But look, it’s up to you. No pressure.”

Castiel focused on Dean’s words. He was touched and a bit excited to know Dean had thought about him after their night together. The fact that he wasn’t kicking him out and demanding he get an abortion both made his decision harder and easier. Dean wanted to be a father, but did he? Could he handle all of that? Uriel would no doubt condemn him if he didn’t go along with his plan.

What about my plan? “You’re given me a lot to think about.”

Ripping a piece of paper from a notebook by the phone, Dean scribbled down his phone number. “Here. Call me if you need anything, okay? And when you make up your mind.”

“I will.” Castiel stuffed the paper into his pocket. “Thank you for being so understanding, Dean.” He took the chance of squeezing Dean’s hand before standing. “I’ll be in touch soon I promise.”

“Okay.” Dean walked with him to the door. “Take care of yourself.”

Castiel smiled. “I’ll try.”

Chapter Text

Chapter Two

Three hours later and the news still hadn’t sunken in for Dean Winchester, not really. On the surface he realized that there was a very good chance he was going to be a father but when he said it out loud, it just didn’t make any sense. He’d managed to be calm for Castiel because obviously he’d been having his own freak out and with good reason. And what the hell with him being a priest? Like an honest to God, white collar wearing priest! If Dean had known he was hitting on a priest—okay so he would have probably continued, he’s going straight to hell obviously—but at the very least he wouldn’t have coaxed him into sucking his dick. Fuck when his family found out he was going to be up shit creek without a paddle. He could already hear his dad bitching.

Back on track however…there was going to be a baby. Maybe. He was going to be a dad. There was going to be a floppy headed little person that depended on him for everything. That would eventually grow into a smart mouthed little shit that talked back and whined to drive his Baby. That he would forever be connected to. Oh, shit.

Pacing back and forth in front of the television, he rubbed the back of his neck and tried to calm his nerves. His brain was running a mile a minute with different scenarios on how things could end up going. There was a good chance Castiel wouldn’t have the kid, what with everything in the mix, so he could have been stressing for nothing. Not that he was exactly stressing—he was just in serious shock over the whole damn thing. He used condoms for the very reason of not having random kids with random people. Though if one of his boys managed to escape to the promise land, well he couldn’t help but feel a sense of misguided pride.

It was kinda awesome.

At thirty-one Dean considered himself a man with his life more or less together, though it hadn’t been easy getting to the place he was now. He had a good job that he enjoyed and his own home; he’d moved into his parents’ place after they moved into a smaller house a few blocks over. He made good money and was currently single now that his bitch of a cheating ex girlfriend had moved out. So…in theory he wasn’t in a bad place to support a child. Emotionally? That was a bit trickier.

He wasn’t a basket case but there was shit he’d rather have sorted out before having to deal with a kid. Family shit.

Is anyone ever ready for a child though?

With a groan he plopped onto the couch and smoothed a hand over his face. As terrifying as being a dad was to him he wouldn’t lie and say it wasn’t something he hadn’t thought of before. But then most people probably thought about whether or not to have kids at least once in their life. Things were different when you were faced with the real life possibility of it. There would be decisions to make like how involved in the child’s life should he be and where would they live after the fact. Freaked as he was Dean wanted to be a hands on dad, he honestly couldn’t see that playing out any other way unless Castiel told him to back off. Considering how worried he’d looked, he didn’t think that would happen.

If possible Castiel knew even less about being a father than he did. At least he had a little experience, what with helping out with Sammy when it was needed in the past. Dean knew nothing yet about Castiel’s family but he kinda got the impression they weren’t exactly the Waltons.

Staring up at the ceiling, Dean couldn’t help but remember that one false alarm from a few years ago. He’d been banging Lisa Braeden on the weekends whenever she came to town for a yoga thing and during one of their more…acrobatic stunts, the condom broke. At first it wasn’t a big deal until a few weeks later Lisa called him up and told him she was late. Back then he’d been downright horrified at the thought of being a father so young. Not to mention as fun as Lisa was it was obvious she wasn’t the one, and a kid would have meant no clean break when they were tired of each other. Thankfully however her test came back negative and that was the end of their bendy times together.

He didn’t feel that apprehension this time around. There were scared butterflies in his stomach but there were also excited ones too. He wasn’t a big believer in destiny but he always felt like a dude getting pregnant had to be that kinda hand of God shit you heard about on the news. Like when a tornado ripped through a town but there was a toddler found alive in a tree. If one of his boys managed to break through plastic and succeed in getting into a man womb, well so be it. The science of it made no sense to him and basically amounted to a confused birds and the bees conversation, but he kinda dug it.

At least Castiel was respectable—that would go a long way with his mom. Until of course he brought up the whole priest thing.

“Okay. Next step.” He said aloud to the empty room.

If Castiel did decide to keep the baby hopefully he would take Dean up on his offer to move in. That meant he would have to buy baby stuff and maybe even turn Sam’s old room into a nursery. He doubted the Sasquatch would mind; he only stayed over on holidays or the odd vacation and even then he could take the couch. Nowadays he was too busy trying to make a name for himself as a shot hot young lawyer at Moore, Roman and Stern. Still he would ask him just in case he got all chick and sentimental about his Gandalf poster being taken down.

I should call Sam.

He stared at his cell phone on the table before picking it up and scrolling down to a familiar name and number. He didn’t have to wait long for his brother to answer.

“Hello?”

“Hey Sammy.” Dean said slowly. “What’s up? Are you busy?”

“Hey Dean.” Sam replied easily. “I’m just going over some case files and notes I got from a briefing we had earlier. I can take a break though. The words are all starting to melt together and not make much sense. What’s going on?”

As an overachiever, Sam was determined to stand out at his law firm and so far he had managed to get his name circulated among a few of the higher ups. They knew him to be reliable and trust worthy, if also a little cocky but apparently that was praised in his profession.

Dean smoothed a hand across his furrowed forehead. “I just uh—I kinda needed to talk to someone about something. Something important and I didn’t wanna go to mom with this yet.”

Sam hummed to show he was listening. “Sure. What’s on your mind?”

Dean grunted. “I…seem to have…knocked someone up.”

Sam sputtered and started coughing. “Wh—ugh—what? Please tell me I didn’t almost choke on my Cappuccino for a stupid joke.”

Dean snickered. “No. As funny as that would be I’m totally serious. And before you give me the protection lecture, I used it and it didn’t work.”

Sam coughed again. “Can I give you the condoms have expiration dates lecture? Jesus Dean, this is huge. What are you going to do? What is her name? Where is she from? Mom and dad are gonna flip out.” He cleared his throat. “Though it’s a grandkid so you’ll probably be able to sway her to your side faster. And she’ll be too busy thinking of baby names and stuff that she won’t have time to badger me about Jessica so…this doesn’t have to be all bad.”

Hah! Asshole! “I’m not too sure about that, especially if she ever finds out the dirty details. It’s a guy for one thing. Name’s Castiel.”

“He’s named after an angel?” Sam mused. “Interesting. Where did you meet him? Is he a stripper? Is that his stage name?”

“You’re a dick and no. I met him at a bar. I picked him up.”

“Of course.”

“Oh shut up. He’s not like the usual people I’d bring home. He’s…nice.”

“Nice?”

Dean scowled. “Yeah he’s nice. Respectable even. Which is why I wanna do the right thing if it comes to that.”

Sam was quiet for a moment before saying, “You’d do the right thing even if he were a dick because that’s just who you are. But okay.” Something creaked in the background. “You know all teasing aside you’d make a great dad. You took good care of me when mom and dad were busy with their stuff.”

As true as that was it wasn’t the same as having a child of his own to look after, though it had been good practice. But he couldn’t just put it on a pillow and shove it into the kitchen when it got on his nerves like he’d done when Sam was a baby. “I guess we’ll find out if he keeps it. Man…” He chuckled at the absurdity of the situation. “Whenever I randomly thought about having kids I just assumed they would be with Lydia. Funny how life ends up working out. She cheats on me because she doesn’t think I’m totally committed to the relationship, and I end up impregnating the hot guy I seduced from some bar.”

“Lydia was an idiot and you can do so much better than her.”

Dean wasn’t so sure. He’d honestly tried to make a real go of it with Lydia; put in actual effort to be understanding and engaging like he was supposed to be. He’d taken her out on fancy dinners and remembered to buy her flowers for Valentine’s Day. It just seemed like he had been doing everything a boyfriend was supposed to do. So if that were the case and she still looked elsewhere for companionship, well, what did that say about him? That even his best wasn’t good enough? What if the same thing applied to him being a dad? What if he ended up screwing this poor kid up even more than he was?

He’d never forgive himself if that happened. “I guess.”

“Dean.” Sam sighed. “Look let’s forget about Lydia and go back to your exciting news. You’re gonna be a dad and I’m gonna be an Uncle and that’s cool. When do I get to meet this Castiel?”

Happy for the subject change, Dean bit his bottom lip. “I don’t know. To be honest I’m not totally sure he’s gonna have the baby. He—it’s complicated on his end so he’s taking some time to think about what he wants. I just made my side of the situation clear. I’m here for him and he and the baby can live here if they want.”

Sam made a tiny noise in the back of his throat. “You’re letting them move in with you? Well him. Don’t you think you’re going a little fast? I mean you don’t know anything about him. What if he’s weird or a pyromaniac?”

Dean got up and strolled into the kitchen, peering into the fridge for a snack. “I hardly think he likes to set things on fire. And in any case if he doesn’t live with me he’ll be homeless.”

That naturally got Sam’s attention. “Why would he be homeless?”

Cursing himself, Dean pulled out a leftover ham and cheese sub before sliding it into the microwave. “Okay. If I tell you this you can’t tell anyone.

“Dean—”

“No I mean it Sam.” Dean interrupted. “Cause—cause this is big. This is possibly the worst thing I have ever done, except at the time I didn’t know I was doing it so I don’t know if I can really be held accountable for it.”

“Um, alright.” Sam hesitated. “What did you do?”

Watching his sandwich go around and around, Dean huffed. “Castiel. He—he’s sort of a—a priest.”

Silence.

Dean rolled his eyes and leaned against the counter. “Go ahead and let me have it.”

Sam sniffed. “No I uh—I’m not completely connecting how things all went down. Or why you thought it was a good idea to hit on a priest. You’ve done some screwed up things Dean but this takes the cake.”

Don’t I know it. “I didn’t know he was a priest when I came on to him. He was sitting at the bar, drinking a beer and dressed like a normal guy. We had sex. I woke up and he was gone. Cut to a few weeks later and he shows up today to tell me he’s pregnant complete in his little holy outfit. Trust me when I say I was shocked.”

Sam managed a small laugh. “Only you, Dean. But catching up. If he has the baby he has to leave the priesthood, which means leaving where he is living.” A beat. “Can I please be there when you tell our parents about this?”

Dean couldn’t stop the snort that escaped his lips. He didn’t even want to think about that. He especially didn’t want to think about his dad’s reaction to him knocking up a dude. Not that he had any room to be making any sort of judgments. “You joke but we both know I’m gonna get an earful and maybe worse. Mom still takes church seriously and dad will be pissed he won’t be able to pretend I’m straight anymore after he learns I knocked up a guy. And that’s if he believes it’s mine anyway.”

Knowing he spoke the truth, Sam exhaled deeply. “Well I’m here for you. If you need me to fly out I can say there is a family emergency. It would probably do me some good to take a few days off anyway. I’ve been working nonstop since last Christmas.”

While Dean didn’t want his little brother putting his life on hold to help him with the mess he’d made, he couldn’t lie and say that wouldn’t make him feel better about the situation. But Sam was busy hurtling towards his dreams. It wouldn’t be fair to derail him. “You don’t have to, man. I’ll be fine. Besides this could all be for nothing.”

“Yeah, but what if it’s not?”

“Then it’s not…”

“Right. And if it’s not you’re gonna need my support even if I’m just the person who tells you the truth. Or stops you from punching dad in the face.”

“Heh fine, whatever. I’ll call you again once Cas makes up his mind.”

He could tell Sam was smiling just by the pep in his voice. “Great! Take care Dean and tell mom and dad I said hi if you talk to them.”

Dean muttered that he would and they echoed their goodbyes before hanging up. He knew that Sam would be on his side no matter what because that was just the nature of their relationship. His little brother would never admit it but he’d never grown out of that my cool older brother phase, and sometimes it flared up whether he wanted it to or not. Sam would often be proud of him for things that he himself considered lame. When he’d finally opened his own auto shop Sam had thrown him a small party to celebrate. And when he had graduated with a degree in Mechanical Engineering Sam had cried like the giant girl he was, right along with their mom.

Sometimes all of their arguments and fights seemed like they had happened to other people instead of them. They were in such a better place now. Yeah sometimes Sam badgered him about his diet or his drinking—which had trailed off a lot since he hit thirty—but it was nothing to write home about. Their big throw downs only happened when it came to one particular subject, and Dean was more than happy to pretend it didn’t exist.

Even if it did.

Even if it was a giant glaring reminder that his father wasn’t the perfect man he thought he was.

The microwave stopped with a loud series of beeps and Dean removed his food, putting it on a simple white plate. He grabbed a bottle of beer and made his way back into the living room, flopping down in front of the television. Thinking about the past just made him angry so he decided to focus on the future. His future with Castiel if that is how things worked out.

Dean had no expectations when it came to Castiel but it was kinda hard to think of him as the man he’d met at Billy’s after getting a glimpse of that collar. Bar Castiel had been quiet but sexy as hell with those wide blue eyes that had grabbed him the moment he saw them. Dean had been loitering near the pool table for lack of anything to do, watching two truckers play when he’d first noticed Castiel sitting alone at the bar, half nursing a beer. He’d seemed…troubled. Like whatever was on his mind was some heavy ass shit. Since he’d been the hottest dude in the place and—as bad as it sounded, clearly ripe for the plucking—Dean had sauntered over and tried his luck. At worst he might have nearly gotten punched in the face but the pros had outweighed the cons.

And to think just hours before he had been cursing Ash for being a dumb ass and nearly torching the Roadhouse. Another laptop wouldn’t hurt that circuit breaker his tight ass.

Anyway obviously one thing led to another and here they were. It was odd because any other time the Jesus stuff would have turned him off almost immediately. He hated being preached at in any capacity. But Castiel had come off all doe eyed and deep voiced about it though now of course he understood why. It made him wonder about details however. Castiel hadn’t been trolling for a lay; that much was freaking clear. So why had he allowed himself to be artfully seduced by one Dean Winchester? ‘Cause yeah Dean was good but he wasn’t that good that he could sway a priest if said priest hadn’t wanted to be swayed.

Grinning, he bit into the ham and cheese as his mind wondered back to that night. Man it had been great—the best night he’d had in a long time. Cas was shy but energetic, and vocal. Waking up to an empty bed and a note was a little brutal when you actually wanted to have a morning after. Make breakfast and maybe go again in the shower. Hell maybe even dinner later on or whatever. But nope things had not gone down that way.

Two weeks later Dean thought fleetingly about trying to find him but ultimately decided he wasn’t a stalker. Who knew all he had to do was wait a while to see Cas again?

Chewing and swallowing, he twisted the cap off his beer and took a long sip. In truth he was a bit worried about his parents’ reaction to the news, if there was news. He wasn’t in the mood to be judged or looked down upon because Castiel was a guy. Him sleeping with dudes was a sore spot for the great John Winchester; it was that thing they pretended didn’t exist until it did. Also it was no surprise to anyone that John thought pregnant men were freaks of nature and totally unmanly. Dean could remember him being so happy that neither of his boys could have kids that way, not like Christian their cousin on their mom’s side.

Sometimes John had slipped and made fun of him, especially if he was buzzed and shooting the shit with his friend Bobby. He was the type of drunk to use the word seahorse as some kinda slur against a pregnant guy even though it wasn’t meant to be a bad word. But that was drunk John for you.

Maybe he’ll react differently since I’m his kid and this’ll be his grandkid. Heh and maybe pigs will fly out of my ass.

Finishing off his food, he drained more of his beer and stared idly at the carpet. It could be nice…being a dad. Having someone that loved him unconditionally no matter what and smiled simply because he entered a room. And perhaps he could pawn all of the dirty diaper duty off onto Castiel.

What was he gonna do about Cas?

Priest or not he was fucking hot and Dean was only human. And okay so the collar thing might have made him even sexier in a corruptible sort of way, but it was presumptuous as hell to assume anything would happen. At best if there was no baby anymore they could probably be friends until that sizzled out. Either Castiel would want to distance himself and act like it never happened, or being so close to something he couldn’t have would turn Dean into a dick.

Wouldn’t be the first time.

So he supposed he wouldn’t think about anything until decisions were decided. In fact…Pushing himself off the couch he dumped his plate into the sink and put the half empty bottle back into the refrigerator. He fished his keys out of his pocket and headed outside to his car, locking the door behind him. Once he was behind the wheel and cruising down the street in his Baby, he turned on the radio and let his mind wander as he took the familiar road to his job. It was his day off but as boss he could pretty much do whatever he wanted.

Winchester Auto & Repair was something he always assumed he’d do with his dad. Something they’d talked about when he was a tween and shit like that still sounded good. After all the bullshit though Dean had took out loans and struggled to get it off the ground without any family help. The beginning was hard but Dean wasn’t the type of person to give up easily or at all when he could help it. Being stubborn paid off, so did letting his work speak for itself. He wasn’t a genius and there was a lot of stuff he didn’t get, but cars he got one hundred percent. Their insides and their outsides, what made them tick and how to make them beautiful…he just understood it all.

The building itself was sturdy and thick brick with square windows and his name in big bold letters hanging from the roof. Two garages had been converted into three once things took off, with a wide back area where he did custom remodels.

Parking in his personal spot like he always did, he exited the car and jogged inside, passing the front desk where his friend Charlie Bradbury was perched on a stool reading a magazine. She could be a real pain in the ass when she wanted to be, but she was great with computers and had revamped his entire system, so he could put up with her.

Noticing him come in, she grinned. “Hey home slice. Isn’t today your day off?”

He nodded. “Yeah but I thought I would stop by and see if everything is okay.”

She snorted. “We’re not a bunch of toddlers, dude. We can run a business without you lurking over our shoulders like Severus Snape.”

He arched a brow. “Right. I’m sure Ash said the same thing to Ellen right before they started screaming fire!”

Charlie laughed, flipping her long strawberry red hair over her shoulder. “He’s such a doofus. I can’t believe he forgot the surge protector! It’s like technology 101.”

Dean moved behind her desk so that he could open the blinds and peer into garage area one. There he saw Rufus Turner in dirty overalls bent over the hood of a small Honda while Joanna “Jo” Harvelle changed the oil in a convertible. “What’s the schedule for today? Any surprises?”

“Nope,” Charlie replied, popping the P. “Jake and Andy are almost done with the tire rotation on Mrs. Lambert’s giant Cadillac and Kevin Tran moved his appointment to six because he needed more time to study for some test.”

Dean smiled, happy that everything was in order. Not that he had ever been truly worried. One good thing about having your friends work for you was that they understood how much something like this meant to you. Well his did anyway, thankfully. “Great. Thanks Charlie.”

She waved a hand. “No worries, Captain. I’ve got it all under control.” Picking up her magazine, she waved it around in front of his face. “What do you think of these slippers shaped like hobbit feet? Aren’t they totally cool?”

Dean made a noncommittal noise. “I’m sure they will make you very happy as you get coffee in the morning.”

Her face lit up with a big grin. “I’ll buy you a pair too.”

Charlie was a huge geek and enjoyed basically anything other people would consider dorky. Expect technically most of that shit was now popular thanks to the movies and the internet taking over everything. Dean claimed he didn’t know anything about Lord of the Rings or that stupid Moondoor festival Charlie babbled about every year but he did. He was kind of into it—it was good harmless fun.

Of course there was a huge chance his kid would find it incredibly lame.

“Hey, you okay?” Charlie nudged his shoulder. “You’re not giving me grief over my nerd-fu like you usually do.”

“Got a lot on my mind right now.” He admitted softly.

“You wanna talk about it? I can break for a donut.”

“Nah it’s fine. Trust me if anything happens you’ll know. Everyone will.”

Charlie’s Bambi eyes eyed him critically. “As long as it’s not something…bad?”

He wet his lips. “Not bad I promise. If it were I wouldn’t be this cool about it.”

Satisfied with his answer, she sat back down. “Alright but just know that I am here if you wanna rap about anything.”

A part of him wanted to seek her advice because she was the annoying little sister he’d never wanted but in the end he just said he was fine and went to check out the work his employees were doing. He was supposed to be taking his mind off of stuff anyway.

Waving away questions from Rufus and Jo about why he was in on his day off, he headed into the back and plucked a pair of overalls off a hook. He flipped on the lights and pushed his fist against a large red button, watching as the back door slowly lifted with a low hum. In the middle of the room was a used red Camaro that he was restoring to mint condition for a man named Roger who went a little nutty after his divorce. Money was no object so Dean was sparing no expense to make it one gorgeous machine when he was finished. Not that he would slack off either way but…well ya know.

Staring at the car, he exhaled and forced his mind to go blank as he picked up a piece of cardboard to tape over the windows. It was time to get to work.

++

After sleeping fitfully the night before with a crowded mind and upset stomach, Castiel found himself yawning his way through the next morning. He desperately wanted a cup of coffee but he wasn’t sure he would be able to stand the smell, let alone the taste. So far he’d only been able to sip bland tea and eat salty crackers. He hoped as they day wore on the morning sickness would get better. There were chores he needed to get to and people that would probably want to talk to him about their issues.

As for his own issues? Well he was no closer to a firm yes or no than he had been the previous night. Except now he had Dean’s quiet reassurance that he wasn’t alone swimming in his brain. He had prayed before bed and asked God to help him in this difficult time, to provide him with the answers that he was seeking. Foolishly he’d hoped a miracle would occur with a soft voice telling him exactly what to do. But naturally it had not and as it had always been the choice was up to him. A choice he was having real trouble making regardless of what Uriel strongly suggested he should do.

He didn’t know if he was strong enough for a child. Strong enough to endure not only the changes in his body but the way people would come to see him. There would be talk and most of it terrible; he would be accused of many things and perhaps even sneered at as he walked down the street. Could he withstand his so-called flock turning on him like that once he was just a normal person? He dreadfully wished that he could seek council from Anna because she had always helped him in the past. In an odd way however he had an idea of what she would say to him.

What do you want more, Castiel? Your child or your collar?

What did he want more? He’d been a priest for most of his adult life; it was what he knew best in the world. It was comfortable and he was helping people.

Biting his bottom lip, he took another sip of his tea and glanced out the window. That wasn’t an answer to the question however. It was more that if he kept on the road he was traveling now, there would be no more surprises. He would grow old within the confines of his church, with every day the same. And that didn’t sound horrible or boring to him. He liked his quiet little life.

On the other hand if he chose to have his baby it would be the result of making up his own mind, without Michael and Naomi whispering in his ear. Suggesting while actually pushing. Or outright saying the only option would be adoption since he didn’t think they would support abortion even in this case—even though they wouldn’t consider it pure. Maybe that would be for the best. Letting them sequester him somewhere remote until the baby was born and then giving it to a loving, deserving family. I don’t think Dean would like that though. He wants to be hands on.

“Castiel.” Uriel knocked on the inside of his door as he leaned into the room. “Have you given any more thought to my offer? The sooner you take care of it the better. It is my understanding after a while doctors refuse to do it.”

Castiel sighed and rubbed his forehead. “It has been a day, Uriel. This is not a decision I can make lightly.”

Uriel thought otherwise. “There should be only one decision to make. You know the scripture as well as I do. If you do not want to burn in hell you will get rid of it as soon as possible.”

Bristling, Castiel stood and pushed his chair back in place under the table. “I am going for a walk.” He ducked out the back door before Uriel could say anything else and headed towards the park. It was only about three blocks away and while he was a bit nausea, he figured maybe the cool air would do him some good.

As he strolled along the sidewalk people waved and greeted him, and he felt a sense of sadness at losing all of this. And yet he would be gaining something too; a new little family of his own.

The park was mostly empty with everyone at school or work so he was able to settle down on a wooden bench and exhale deeply, letting the sounds of singing birds and passing cars lull him into calmness. Not all of the flowers were in bloom so there weren’t a lot of insects or butterflies around, and sadly no bees for him to watch. But he felt at peace without Uriel’s presence stalking him through the hallways, barking at him to do the right thing.

Uriel didn’t care about his feelings or the toll such a thing would take on him. He just wanted everything to go back to normal. Castiel understood that but it wasn’t really fair to him. Of course Gabriel and Balthazar thought Michael inching him towards the priesthood wasn’t fair either. He still didn’t think of it that way but he could now see how they did.

Footsteps sounded and jerked him out of his thoughts. He watched as a plump yet attractive black woman strolled over to the bench and sat down beside him, giving him a warm smile. “Hello Castiel. Didn’t think I would see you here,” she said, sitting her bag down by her feet. “Not at this time anyway.”

“Hello Missouri.” He returned her friendly smile. “I am getting some air.”

Missouri Moseley wasn’t a member of his church but she was sort of infamous in their neighborhood as their resident psychic. Whether she actually was or not he didn’t know, but he liked her just the same. She was nice and always had a kind word for him whenever she saw him. People seemed to gravitate towards her; could be her no nonsense approach to life.

“Hm. Tired of Uriel’s big old grumpy face huh?” She shook her head. “How that man can incite anything but the fear of God in people I will never know.”

Castiel chuckled. “He usually sticks with the harsher side. It works for those that believe in a wrathful, fearful God. I prefer to focus on the all forgiving side.”

She hummed. “So how are you?”

He shrugged. “I’m alright.”

Her dark eyes rolled his way. “Castiel Novak don’t you lie to me. You might be a man of God but I’m not scared to smack you right upside your pretty head.” She placed her hands daintily in her lap. “Besides, I already know you are going through something big, honey. I sensed it the moment I saw you sitting here and I knew I had to come over and help. It’s alright. I won’t tell anybody.”

Suddenly his mouth was dry. There was no way she could possibly know. Right? “I—what are you talking about?”

Her expression was gentle. “Well, that there is new life in you. For someone like me it’s one of the easiest things to spot.”

Castiel swallowed thickly. “So—so you really are psychic?”

She waved a hand. “If that is what you want to call it. I don’t have a crystal ball and I can’t tell you what will happen next year, but I do know things.” Pause. “I know you are pregnant.”

“I am.” He blurted out. “I am. And I don’t know what to do. Uriel thinks I should get rid of it and—and the other father would be okay with raising it and I’m just so confused.”

Missouri took his hand and gave it a squeeze. “Calm down, sugar. Everything is going to be okay. Now, what do you want to do? It’s your body after all.”

“That’s the problem.” He whispered. “I don’t know what I want to do. I’m…scared.”

“There is nothing wrong with that. I’m sure lots of first time parents are scared.”

“But it’s more than that. I’m a man and pregnant men still aren’t widely accepted. People would judge me or worse.”

“Oh who cares if a bunch of strangers look at you funny? What you do and who you do it with is none of their business. You can’t let their backwards views control you.”

“But—”

“Castiel there are always going to be people out there that disagree with the choices other people make. A bunch of nosy idiots if you ask me. You can’t live your life by their rules if it means you don’t get to be happy. So look into your heart and answer this question, would having this child make you happy?”

Castiel licked his lips and stared at his feet as he thought about her words. He had never saw himself as a father before but now that it was a real possibility, he couldn’t help but want to follow that thread. Anna was gone and he wasn’t close to anyone else in his family—not really. It was more than that of course, not a simple replacement. This baby was his. The fact that it existed at all was a miracle and it would be wrong to destroy it or give it away. It would be hard and there would be days when he would wonder if he made the right choice, but he wouldn’t be alone. Dean would help him; he had faith that he would.

“Yes.” He replied after a few minutes. “Having this child would make me happy. And frightened but happy.”

Missouri grinned. “There you go. You do what you want and don’t let anyone else make you feel bad for it. And if you need anything, well, you know where I live. You are always welcomed there.”

Slouching back to the bench, Castiel breathed a sigh of relief at the weight that dissolved from his shoulders. He touched his stomach and thought about the tiny life growing inside of him. Of whom it would eventually become and what it would eventually do. His family wouldn’t approve and would try everything in their power to change his mind. He expected it though he wasn’t looking forward to it. Michael would ask him if he was crazy and Naomi would remark that he was incredibly selfish. But perhaps, it was okay to be a bit selfish if it were for the right reasons.

Chapter Text

Chapter Three

It was well into the next afternoon when Castiel finally worked up the nerve to tell everyone his decision to keep his child. While Missouri’s advice helped him a great deal, he had thought a bit more well into the night to be absolutely sure, because once he revealed his new delicate nature there would be no going back. Everything he knew was about to change and while he was terrified he was also sort of excited. Or rather he was allowing himself to be excited. For once he was choosing something that he wanted, not what others thought he should have.

Still there were serious nerves as he made his way into Uriel’s office where his friend sat behind his large desk, glasses perched on the edge of his nose as he read the newspaper. His dark eyes looked up when Castiel entered and he slowly folded the paper, sitting it aside. “Castiel,” he said clasping his hands together. “Am I to guess this visit means that you have reached a decision pertaining to your…predicament?”

Castiel slowly sunk into one of the high back uncomfortable chairs. “Yes. I have thought long and hard about this, Uriel. I know you think it should have been—as they say, a no brainer—when it came to deciding what to do but I felt I owed it the consideration I would have given anything else. After all no matter how you view it, there is a life involved and we are supposed to believe that every life is sacred.”

Uriel arched a brow. “Perhaps that is true but not in all cases. We tell women it is a sin to abort their unborn children and I firmly believe it is. However with men it is a different situation entirely. It is a sin for men to lie together in the first place; naturally the fruit of their union is just as rotten and sinful as the act itself.”

Castiel couldn’t stop the frown that marred his brow. “All children are born innocent except for Original sin. Surely whatever you are implying is not true.”

Uriel waved a hand. “In this case I think they carry the sins of their parents. I think there is no doubt they will grow up to be corrupt.” He exhaled deeply. “I however am more interested in hearing what you plan to do. There is a lovely facility in Montana that deals with discretion in these matters. You can be on your way there within the hour if you wish.”

Wetting his lips, Castiel sat up straighter. “Actually I—I will be keeping this baby and therefore leaving the priesthood.”

There, it was out in the open and possibly to one of his toughest critics, his family notwithstanding. Uriel was quiet and seemingly contemplative but Castiel knew he was gearing up to make his stance on the matter crystal clear. Hearing his friend condemn the actions of others in such a harsh way would be something he would never miss about him.

Folding his arms over his chest and staring at Castiel critically, Uriel hummed lowly. “I think you are making a very big mistake, Castiel. You are willing to give up a flourishing career in the priesthood for something brought about by one night of indiscretion? You are throwing away all that you have already accomplished.” He shook his head from side to side in disappointment. “Not to mention your soul is most assuredly damned to Hell if you go through with this. And where will you live? How will you support yourself?”

All good questions. “The father—the other father—has already agreed to help me with whatever I need, including a place to stay. I am holding him to be a man of his word. As for the rest of it…” Castiel ran his fingers through his dark hair and then patted down the errant tuffs. “I understand your views and I respect them, but they are not in line with my own. This child is a miracle. Male impregnation is not as successful as it is with females and that is when a couple is actively trying. This happened after one night so I choose to believe it was supposed to happen. It is a gift and I am happily accepting it.”

Uriel scoffed. “You always were an idealist one, my friend. However in this instance I think it will lead to your downfall. Not only are you giving up your position in the church, but you are also giving up the support of our community. Do you really think any of our parishioners will see you as they do now? As a man of conviction and moral fortitude?” He smiled and it lacked any sort of warmth whatsoever. “No. You will simply be a heathen that allowed himself to be defiled by an even worse heathen. They will shun you and it will be rightly deserved. You won’t even be able to attend Mass here anymore.”

That made Castiel start in surprise. The possibility of not even being able to attend church like everyone else because of his pregnancy had never crossed his mind. He realized things would change but to be ostracized on that level? Uriel would do such a thing without a second thought but the people he once considered his flock? Would they really be that cruel? He honestly didn’t know.

Nothing of import had been decided about the baby other than there would be a baby, but Castiel knew he would want to share his faith with it in some way. Dean wasn’t much for religion and he wouldn’t push, but there would be a christening and if the child ever had questions about God Castiel wanted to be able to take it to church for a better explanation of things.

He wanted to be able to take it to his church.

“That hurts me to hear and I hope that is not how things turn out. I would hope for more thoughtfulness from people I have advised through hard times; that they will not let his new development change their entire opinion of me.” He sighed forlornly. “However as a good friend reminded me I cannot continue to put everyone’s needs and opinions before my own. Truth is I want this baby very much.”

“And I suppose there is no chance you will see reason?” Uriel’s mouth turned down at the corners. “Seek council from another of our peers?”

“Well seeing as how they will probably urge me in the same direction you are doing, there is really no point. My mind is made up.” Castiel stood and smoothed down his pants. “I will contact the Bishop to let him know that I am leaving so that the process of laicization can formally begin. I also plan to finish my duties for today, and I am willing to remain a few days if needed.”

“I think it’s best if you leave as soon as possible.” Uriel replied. “I’m sure a suitable replacement will be offered, and until then I can manage on my own. Go with God, Castiel.”

Conversation over apparently, Castiel smiled regardless of the cold rebuff and slowly made his way out of the office, closing the door behind him. It wasn’t Uriel’s fault that he saw things differently and Castiel would never blame him for being brutally honest. He was of course entitled to his views and usually honesty was the best policy. He wouldn’t lie though and say he wasn’t somewhat hurt by the cruel treatment he had just received. But he supposed he should get used to it just in case Uriel turned out to be right about other people.

Making his way back to his room, Castiel took solace in the small space and released the breath he had not realized he’d been holding. He lowered himself onto the edge of his bed and glanced around the room, remembering all of the times he’d sat quietly at his desk reading his bible and penning sermons for the day. How would he occupy his time now until the baby arrived? Perhaps he could help Dean at his work—at the very least he could do paperwork.

Dean.

Nibbling on his bottom lip, he stretched to the simple white phone on his bedside table and picked up the receiver, dialing Dean’s cell phone number. He couldn’t help but fidget with his bedspread as he waited for someone to pick up or for it to go to voicemail. He didn’t know why he was nervous; Dean would be the last person to give him grief for his choice. In fact if anyone was going to be on his side it would be Dean.

“Hello?” Dean was breathless when he answered. “Dean Winchester.”

“Hello Dean.” Castiel said slowly. “I—it’s Castiel. I hope I am not interrupting anything.”

“Oh no, hey Cas. I was just getting my gloves off so I could pick up.” Pause. “What’s going on?”

Castiel smiled at the sound of his voice; it was gruff and soothing even when the conversation was normal. “Well, I have come to a decision concerning the baby and I wanted to tell you.”

There was another pause before all of the sounds on Dean’s end disappeared. “Okay. Lay it on me.”

Uriel’s words circled his brain but were ultimately beaten down by Missouri’s. “After much thought I’ve—I’m keeping the baby, Dean.”

“Really?” Castiel could hear his smile. “That’s great! I—I’m mean dude are you sure? I don’t want you to feel pressured into this or anything.”

Castiel chuckled. “I am sure. I weighed the pros and cons, and to be honest I want this child. It won’t be easy and I dread telling my family what has happened but my desire to be a father is bigger than my fear over being judged. Mostly.”

Snickering, Dean hummed happily and something squeaked in the background. “Eh screw what other people think. They’ll get over it and if they don’t, who cares? Our kid is gonna be awesome.”

Our kid… “I’m glad that you’re okay with this. Everything is changing and I am a bit overwhelmed. I told my fellow priest what I had decided and he basically told me that I was going to Hell. I wonder if the Bishop will say the same thing when I call to resign.”

Dean grunted. “Fuck that shit, man. Crap! Sorry.” Castiel laughed and Dean continued. “You’re not going to Hell. All you’re doing is living your life the way you wanna do it now. People are just shocked you’re breaking the mold. Making waves.” He cleared his throat. “So uh, when do you think you’ll be moving in? I mean if you still wanted to move in and everything. If not we could get you an apartment.”

Perhaps living on his own would be the wiser choice, but truthfully Castiel felt better about moving in with Dean. Also it would be easier for them to get to know each other if they were around each other a lot. “My friend thinks I should leave the church as soon as possible, so tomorrow maybe? I don’t have much to pack up and I plan to start on my clothes in a few moments. You could come in get me tomorrow afternoon around seven pm. If your guest room is prepared and all.”

“So you’re moving in with me?”

“If the offer is still on the table, I would like to yes.”

“Of course it is.” Dean shuffled like he was switching the phone to his other ear. “I want you to live with me—that way I won’t miss a thing and I can help out a lot. Probably safer too.”

Castiel frowned. “Safer? You think someone would attempt to hurt me?”

Dean sighed. “People can be assholes, Cas. It’s happened before in other places; pregnant dudes getting beat up so they’d lose the baby or whatever. I wanna say people in Kansas aren’t that backwards but who knows? I know I can’t be with you 24/7 but if someone comes after you I can find them and kick their ass.”

Castiel snorted. “Violence against violence solves nothing. However I suppose in there somewhere was the meaning that I would be well looked after.”

Although he couldn’t see Dean he got the feeling he was grinning. “Heh yeah I’ll take excellent care of you. You can call me Doctor Winchester if you want.”

Castiel’s cheeks flushed red. He wondered would he have more of Dean’s flirting to look forward to. That would be okay now, right? “Shall I remind you of my official title then?”

Dean sniggered. “Depends. Do you want me to call you Father Castiel all the time? Like what do you want for dinner tonight, Father Castiel? Are you allergic to peanuts Father Castiel?”

“You are a horrible person.” Castiel couldn’t stop smiling. It was just so easy to communicate with Dean even when they were talking about nothing. He really loved his free spirit sort of take on life. “Teasing a priest…really.”

“Is that worse than knocking one up?” Dean countered jokingly. “Seriously though, I think you’ll like it here. And if you need anything all you gonna do it ask. I’m totally down with doing the three o’clock cravings thing.”

A few of his nerves completely disappeared. “Thank you, Dean. I am not sure other men would be as open to this as you are.”

“Yeah well…” Dean trailed off. “I think I’m up for it.”

So do I. “What time should I arrive for dinner?”

Dean clicked his tongue against the roof of his mouth. “Six? I gotta hit the grocery store for some supplies.”

Cutting his eyes to the clock on his wall, Castiel figured that would be alright. It would give him time to pack and have what was sure to be a long conversation with the Bishop. “Six will be fine. I—I’ll see you then, Dean.”

“Looking forward to it. Later, Cas.” And then he was gone.

That was probably the easiest this thing will go.

Rubbing his hands together, he got up and went over to his closet, pulling out a tattered old suitcase. He hadn’t touched it since first arriving all those years ago, tucking it into the very back after removing his clothes and pictures. There was a layer of dust on it that made him sneeze so he brushed it off with a cloth and slowly unzipped it, hoping there wasn’t a spider hiding inside. At least not a huge one anyway. Thankfully nothing but lint flew up to greet him.

Well, this was it.

There was no turning back as far as he was concerned. Actually leaving the church—walking down the steps, and driving away—would be difficult but he knew telling his family would be more so. Michael would not understand no matter how many times he explained it, and naturally Naomi would take his side because she always did. There was no doubt in his mind that they wouldn’t gang up on him to get him to do whatever they wanted him to do. He wasn’t sure how the others would react though with Gabriel and Balthazar anything could happen.

Telling them that he was pregnant and moving in with the father was a conversation best left for another day. He needed to get his story straight; not that he was going to lie. It was just…saying he met him in a bar and had sex with him that same night would probably scandalize his brothers and sisters. Balthazar and Gabriel did that sort of thing—and worse— but not sweet little obedient Castiel. He supposed he could blame the lapse in judgment on his grief over Anna’s passing but he didn’t wish to sully her death that way. Even if it was more than a little true.

He wished so badly that he could call Anna right now; she would know exactly what to say.

In a perfect world a new niece or nephew would soothe the ache of losing four. Or would that be in a perfect family? Not one where ideals like Uriel’s were more or less front and center.

Castiel honestly thought about not telling them anything. They never visited him and if he gave Michael a cell phone number, citing issues with the rectory phone, that perfunctory call he usually received would carry on as usual. He could just leave out everything else. He could live happily with Dean and learn all there was to know about him.

Speaking of Dean, there was the matter of his family that should be addressed. He had no real information about them except that his mother enjoyed church, and that he and his brother had once had a small falling out. What of his father then? And how would they react to the news of a new member of their family? The amount of things that could go wrong was suddenly staggering and Castiel swallowed down the awful taste in his mouth. Dean would handle his side just like he had to handle his. Though he honestly felt like Dean had it easier.

Taking his street clothes out of his drawers, he folded them neatly and squared them away into his suitcase. Next were his pajamas, his socks and the few winter clothes he’d gotten. He removed his toiletries from the bathroom, shoving them into a plastic for the time being. Last he placed his pictures on top so that they hopefully wouldn’t get broken, as well as the cards he’d saved from Anna’s children.

His whole life; able to fit in a box. He wasn’t sure how he felt about that.

Soon people would be arriving to seek council or confess their sins. He felt bad that he couldn’t tend to people today, or rather that Uriel wouldn’t let him. In truth he’d wanted to give a going away speech but that didn’t appear possible now. Maybe a letter pinned to the church bulletin board would suffice. Just something before Uriel was able to spread his version of events.

Castiel rubbed his tired eyes and longed for a nap but pushed his fatigue away to go over to his desk and sit down. He took out a clean sheet of lineless paper and plucked up his ink pen before beginning to write.

To the members of my beloved congregation…

++

Dean was driving to the supermarket when Sam finally answered his phone all Sam Winchester speaking. “Hey bitch. What took you so long? Were you in the can or something?”

Sam sighed, exasperated. “No. My boss had called me into his office to talk about a case he wants me to consult on. I had my phone on vibrate. Why didn’t you just leave a message?”

Dean drummed his fingers on the steering wheel. “Thought this was too important to leave on voice mail. So…Cas is gonna keep the baby. I’m officially going to be a dad.”

“That’s great Dean.” Sam’s happiness flowed easily over the line. “I’m glad that you’re excited about this. To be honest I kinda am too. I mean I get to be the cool Uncle first who tells your kid all the embarrassing stories you don’t want him or her to know.”

“Oh screw you.” Dean laughed as he stopped for a red light. “It’s weird. I was waiting for him to say he was going to get rid of it and when he said he wasn’t, this grief I didn’t even know I’d been carrying lifted. Or whatever…”

“Wow. I think that is the most open you have been in a long time.” Sam mused. “Do you need to lie down? Should I call someone to check on you?”

Rolling his green eyes, Dean continued down the street. “You are an asshole and see if I ever tell you anything again.”

His little brother chuckled. “Right. So what’s next? He’s going to quit the priesthood and stuff, right?”

Turning into the grocery store parking lot, Dean searched for a park. “Yup. And he’s moving in tomorrow afternoon. Shit…are you okay with that by the way? “

Sam snorted. “Why wouldn’t I be?”

Dean chewed on the inside of his cheek. “Well ‘cause I’m giving him your old room and using the smaller room for the nursery. And ya know when you come home you stay with me.”

“Oh. Nah it’s fine.” Sam said, probably shrugging. “The couch is a pull out and I don’t mind if my feet hang off the end. They do that anyway. Besides if it gets to be that horrible I’ll just get a hotel room or stay with Charlie.”

Guilt welled up inside of Dean’s chest and he swerved into a parking space, cutting the engine. The last thing he wanted to do was put his little brother out. Contrary to what he joked he loved it when Sam came to visit. He liked cooking breakfast for him and dumping his laundry onto his head while he slept. “I could put the crib in my room and turn the smaller room into a guest room. Might be easier anyway since the kid will be waking up at odd hours and shit.”

As if he could read his brothers mind, Sam tsked him. “No, Dean. Well actually that’s a good idea but no to not having a nursery. If Castiel stays with you long term you’ll need one. It’s fine I promise.”

Maybe I can add on an extra room downstairs depending on how much it costs. I’ll have to look into it. “Okay. If you’re sure…”

“Very.” Pause. “Heh so uh, when are you gonna tell mom and dad?”

That made him grunt out an ugh of discomfort. “I don’t know. It’s a bitch move but I’m gonna put it off for as long as I can. I’m just not in the mood to hear dad’s mouth.”

Sam hummed thoughtfully. “Well if you’re gonna put it off for a few days anyway, you could wait until I get there. I…might have implied that there was a slight family emergency back in Kansas. Mr. Moore has given me a few days off as long as I Skype with Jessica about our cases, and don’t fall behind on my work.”

Dean smirked because of course it would be Jessica’s dad. “Will do then. You can use your lawyer skills to be mediator.”

“You really think it’s gonna be that bad?”

“I think it’s gonna be my twenty-first birthday bad.”

Sam cursed lowly. “Hide the alcohol then.”

Dean scratched at his scruff and climbed out of his car. “Maybe it won’t get that bad since Cas will probably be there. I don’t know I’ll ask him if or when he wants to meet them. And if he wants me to meet his people.”

A muffled voice sounded on Sam’s end and he replied to them before saying, “Sorry about that. But yeah sounds like a plan to me. Technically you’re supposed to wait until the second trimester to tell people anyway because the chance of miscarriage is lower then. So it’s not like you’re doing anything wrong.”

Nerd. “Did you look that up?” When Sam didn’t answer Dean knew he had. “I will take that under serious consideration. When you gonna be blowing into town?”

“Um in a few days. I have to put some things to bed here and get someone to water my plants.”

“Okay you do that, Samantha.”

Sam snickered. “Talk to you later Dean. And congratulations.”

“Yeah yeah…” Dean hung up without saying good-bye and strolled into the store, grabbing a small blue basket.

He was smiling to himself though like an idiot as he tried to decide what to cook for dinner. No doubt Castiel was probably still feeling a little funky so, something bland yet not like cardboard. He supposed he could do a type of soup but soup never tended to be any fun. And if he was going to be that lazy he could just throw some chicken broth into a bowl and pretend he had made it. No he needed something else. Burgers were out of the question, unfortunately, so maybe a lightly seasoned baked chicken. Yeah with baby potatoes and butter soaked peas as the sides. He could buy dessert since he didn’t think he had time to bake a pie though he wanted to if just to show off. Cooking was something he enjoyed doing just like fixing up cars.

Dean wandered the store getting the stuff he needed and ducking a few of the older people he knew, like Mrs. Charles who was incredibly nosy when it came to his social life. She was a nice old broad but it was apparently her mission in life to get him married to her granddaughter Jamie. Now Jamie was totally hot and they’d had one awkward lunch date where all she talked about was old black and white movies. Needless to say he hadn’t called her for a second date. That didn’t stop her grandma though.

Heh everyone is gonna flip their shit when they find out about Cas.

And yeah he was already thinking of himself as off the market for some reason. But it would just be rude and stupid to go out with other people while Castiel was at home growing their kid. He didn’t see Cas going out and it wasn’t like it would be a hardship to stay home with the hot guy he’d knocked up.

Standing at the checkout about thirty minutes later, he yawned his way through Star magazine when a fluffy bee shaped toy—complete with tiny wings—caught his eye. It was the type of thing they put at the front for kids to notice and whine to have, along with all of the candy and chips. Without thinking he reached across the conveyer belt and pulled it off its rack, staring into its round black eyes and feeling its softness against the palm of his hand. It was a weird looking little thing and yet he found himself sitting it with his other stuff.

Maybe Cas will get a kick out of it.

After paying and having his stuff bagged, he hurried back out to his car to sling everything into the backseat. A familiar shop across the street and a few stores down called to him so he jogged to it; the bell over the door ringing loudly as he walked inside.

“Well well look what the cat dragged in.” Drawled a tall man in a stained apron behind the counter. “What brings you to Benny’s this time of day, brother?”

Dean smiled at his good friend Benny Lafitte. He’d known Benny for quite a while now and they had become fast friends over their shared love of good food and war movies. Benny had been just another friend until one night he’d herded a drunken Dean into his spare room and listened to him let out a slurring rant about what an asshole his father could be, just because he liked guys as much as girls. The next morning they’d talked over coffee and Benny had confessed some things about his old man too—mainly how he used to use him as a punching bag whenever the mood struck. After that talking to him about fucked up shit just became easier, so he was moved into the good friend category.

Benny owned a pastry shop—slash—gumbo canteen. Odd mix but it worked for him.

“I need two slices of your apple pie.” Dean motioned to said pie behind the glass. “Big ones.”

Benny chuckled but opened the case. “Too lazy to fix your own damn dessert, huh? Or do you want some of mine so that it’s done right?”

Dean laughed and flipped him off, not caring who was around to see. “If you must know I’m having a guest over and I only have time to make the dinner.”

Benny took out the round pie, crust flaking and crumbling, and sat it on a platform behind him as he got a knife. “Ooh really now? What’s her name? It’s about time you stopped worrying over Lydia and got back into the swing of things.”

“Actually…” Stepping up closer so as not to be overheard, Dean grinned. “His name is Cas. I met him a while ago. He’s really cool.”

“Well ain’t that a ringing endorsement?” Benny teased. “But aight. Cas is it? Well I hope Cas likes cinnamon because you know I like an extra pinch.”

Dean pressed his lips together. Cinnamon might be a little too hearty for Castiel’s stomach but that was okay. Apple pie never went to waste in Dean’s house. “He will.” The urge to tell someone else about his impending fatherhood suddenly swelled up inside of him and he rubbed the back of his neck. It was a bad idea. It was a bad idea but it was also Benny and Benny could keep a secret like nobody’s business. “Remember how you said you don’t tell Andrea everything otherwise you would have been divorced within a year?”

Benny arched a brow. “I do. Mind you I tell her the important stuff. I’m not an idiot.”

Dean snickered. “Of course. But uh, so if I asked you to keep something to yourself would you do it?”

His friend nodded. “Sure thing, brother. After all your secrets are not mind to tell.”

Dean smiled. “Cas? My dinner date? He’s—he’s more than that. I mean we aren’t official but we might as well be since—well since I knocked him up.” At Benny’s shocked look, he held up a finger. “You can’t tell anyone. So far the only other person who knows is Sam. I wanna keep it low key for now.”

“Woo.” Benny shook his head as he boxed up the slices of pie. “How you feel about it?”

“Happy.” Dean said honestly. “Scared to death but happy.”

“Then I guess nothing else matters.” Benny shrugged. “Congratulations. Feel free to name the kid Benny.”

I’m sure that won’t get old anytime soon. “Benjamin maybe but with orders that anyone who calls him Benny be shot on sight.”

Throwing his head back, Benny let out a hearty laugh and snatched Dean’s money from his hand after ringing up the pie. “Remind me to charge you double next time.”

Dean winked. “You love me.” He picked up the box. “When things are settled we’ll all get together and have dinner, alright?”

Benny nodded. “See ya later, brother.”

++

By the time Castiel arrived the food was just coming out of the oven. Dean met him at the door and ushered him inside, offered him a drink before leading him into the dining room. He even pulled out his chair though he felt a little silly afterwards. Castiel however for his part just smiled and sat down.

“I hope you didn’t go to a lot of trouble, Dean.” He said softly. “I don’t want to be a bother.”

Dean poured him a glass of Sprite, hoping it was okay and then placed the chicken platter in the middle of the table. “No bother, man. Besides I like to cook anyway, when I have the time. Now you can see how amazing my cooking skills are and not be worried about starving while you’re here.”

Castiel chuckled. “Even if you burned water I know how to dial for take out.” He gave a cursory sniff. “It smells wonderful however.”

Dean beamed at the compliment. “Help yourself…unless you want me to serve you?”

Waving him away, Castiel picked up his fork and transferred a breast onto his plate, followed by several potatoes and a few shillings of sweet peas. “I do not need you waiting on me. At least not until I can’t see my feet.”

Grinning, Dean sat down and got his own food. “So, how are you feeling?”

Castiel reached for the salt. “Tired but I suppose that is natural. Honestly I am ready for all of this to be over. I will miss the church but being away from Uriel’s scowling will surely make me feel better.”

Dean pried the cap off his beer. “Did you quit or whatever?”

“Yes. The Bishop was…well he was more understanding than I assumed he would be. He didn’t ask for specific but I’m certain Uriel will inform anyone who wishes to know. He seems determined to destroy my good name because I didn’t go along with his idea.” A beat. “Though perhaps I destroyed it myself when I—when I allowed myself to give in to temptation as it were.”

“Your name is still good and anyone who considers you a real friend will think so.” Dean hated the thought of assholes giving Cas a hard time because he was doing what he wanted to do. He hated how some people twisted religion and used only the bad parts to push their fucked up agenda. They didn’t care that Cas was obviously amazing, just that he wasn’t fitting into their stupid little mold anymore. “Yeah some people are gonna be assholes but not everyone will.”

“I know.” Castiel nibbled on a potato. “I wrote a letter to the members of my church explaining why I was leaving and posted it for all to see. I was honest with them. Most of them were upset but a few praised my decision to have the baby and…practice what I preached. Others were just angry.”

Dean grunted. “Of course they were,” He said sarcastically. “I don’t know if you should have told them the whole truth though. Lot of freaks out there.”

There was warmth in Castiel’s eyes as he gazed at Dean from across the table. “Yes I remember you saying as much earlier. But they deserved answers if nothing else. If they wish to think of me as a sinner or as weak, then it is within their rights. However I feel that my conscious—if not my soul—is clean. I didn’t lie.”

Usually Dean wasn’t so much for lingering looks but he couldn’t have glanced away from Castiel’s big baby blues if he’d wanted to. They were caught in the light and shining, and so freaking earnest that he could have swallowed a potato whole from the emotions churning in his stomach. He felt bewitched and kinda unworthy. “You’re a good man, Castiel. And yeah maybe hooking up with me wasn’t priestly but with what some priests are out there doing, it was hardly the most horrible thing either. We were two consenting adults after all.”

Castiel suddenly found his food very interesting but that was okay to Dean. He had no problems carrying the bulk of a conversation. “Heh so yeah you getting knocked up wasn’t part of the plan but it’s working so far. You’re gonna move in here and I’ll help you find a job or whatever you want. This is gonna work out.”

I will make it work.

They both ate in silence for a few minutes before Castiel replied, “I know you are nervous about this just like I am. But…thank you for trying to make me feel better. It means a lot.”

Dean’s cheeks heated; he hated it when he blushed. “Well…I said we were in this together and I meant it.” Rolling his eyes, he shoved a chicken leg into his mouth. “Gonna set up my brother’s room for you and turn the smaller room into the nursery. Least that’s the plan anyway. Might try to add another room on if I can do a lot of the work myself or bug my friend Sid to help.”

Castiel sipped his drink. “The nursery? Oh there is going to be so much to do, isn’t there? My sister had four children and I always wondered how she managed. She seemed so happy though.” Smiling, he ate another potato. “I’ve been wondering lately how she would have reacted to my news. Probably with a laugh. Her support would have been nice since I am sure the rest of my family—barring two—will be highly disappointed in me.”

Dean could relate. “Not sure how my parents will react either. My brother is excited for me which goes a long way. Mom and dad—well they’ll find out when you’re ready for them to.”

“Using me as an excuse not to say anything yet?”

“Just a little.”

“I suppose I will permit it just this once.”

“Good looking out, Cas.”

Castiel laughed and the rest of their dinner was spent with idle chit chat about the future. Dean wasn’t the type of person to warm up to people easily—it had taken him a while with most of the people in his life who weren’t family, or didn’t grow up with him—but with Castiel it was different. He couldn’t exactly put his finger on why but they clicked. There were no awkward silences or feelings like things were going to be too tough to handle. Things with Lydia had never been this uncomplicated and there wasn’t even a baby involved.

Of course Lydia had been a demanding psycho so that could have been why.

After dinner, he took Castiel upstairs and showed him Sam’s room which would soon be his room. They talked a little about what to change though Castiel was hesitant to say he wanted to change anything. Dean coaxed him into admitting a bigger bed would be nice and perhaps a desk for the corner. He didn’t tell Castiel but he was going to buy him two big pillows and the fluffiest sheets he could find. Next it was on to the nursery which was currently filled with boxes of winter clothes and Christmas ornaments. They talked about what could go where, what would be practical such as a shelf to put the baby crap on and where the crib should go. It had been many years since Sam was a baby but Dean remembered his crib had been against the far wall, across from the window. Safe enough distance away but close enough to feel a breeze or catch a beam of sunlight.

The image had Dean smiling as Castiel afforded him another gentle look.

Truthfully it made Dean feel all dopey.

Guiding Castiel to the door with a hand on his lower back, Dean shoved the other into his jeans pocket. “We don’t have to get started right away. First you’ll move in and we’ll handle family shit.”

Castiel chuckled. “Alright. Dinner was lovely by the way, thank you.”

Dean shrugged. “You’re welcome. Oh…” Spying the plush little bee on the couch, he yanked it up and handed it over. “I uh—so I saw this earlier and it made me think of you. You said you liked bees, right?”

Castiel took the toy and stared at it so long that Dean grew a little self conscious about it. He was about to apologize or laugh it off when Castiel wet his lips. “It’s perfect. Thank you.”

Castiel opened his arms for a hug but seemed to think better of it, slowly lowering them. Dean said screw it and pulled him in for one anyway, rubbing his back soothingly until his stiffness evaporated and he returned the hug with a soft sigh. It was nice. It was more than nice; it was comfortable in a way Dean still needed in his life, especially when his dad got up his ass. I will never be like that with my kid.

“I’ll see you tomorrow afternoon.” Castiel pulled away, blushing but smiling. “Do you remember where I said my church was?”

“Yeah yeah I remember.” Dean muttered. “See you tomorrow.” He watched Castiel until he was safely in his car before closing the door.

Tonight had been a good night.

++

Lying on the couch a few hours later with his eyes glued to a rerun of Dr. Sexy, Dean yawned loudly and tried to work up the energy to go to bed. He groaned as he swung his feet to the floor and turned off the tv, rubbing at his slightly itchy eyes. He was tired but the food was put away and the dishes would keep until morning. Hopefully so would he because he was going to skip showering.

He was just about to plug in his cell phone so that it could charge when it went off in his hand, making him jolt. He snorted at himself and answered with a smooth hello, wondering who would be calling him this time of night.

“Dean?” It was Castiel. “Did I wake you?”

Dean frowned. “Cas? No I was just watching some tv. What’s up?”

Castiel was quiet. “I—I do not want you to get alarmed but there has been an accident. Well I guess it wasn’t so much an accident as…attempted mugging.”

“What?!” Dean exploded; it sounded extra loud within the quiet of his living room. “You were mugged? What the hell? When did it happen? Are you okay?”

“Dean please calm down.” Castiel whispered. “It happened about an hour ago and I am fine. I was taken to the hospital as a precaution and the doctor wishes to keep me overnight to make sure that everything is okay. He—he asked if I had anyone I could call so I called you.”

There was a moment of happiness at being Castiel’s in case of emergency right before reality came crashing down upon him again. “Fuck. Okay I’m coming to see you. Just sit tight.” He didn’t wait for Castiel to reply because there was nothing he could say that would keep him from going.

He was grabbing his jacket and car keys and out the door, sliding behind the wheel of the Impala before he remembered to hang up the phone.

And things had been going so well. Fuck his life.

Chapter Text

Chapter Four

Dean made it to the ER within fifteen minutes when it usually took thirty. He was thankful that no cops had been sitting in blind spots but honestly wasn’t sure he would have stopped even if they threw the siren. It reminded him of the time Sam fell out of the tree house in their back yard and broke his wrist; how their parents had ran two red lights to get him to the hospital. It was weird to think but that had actually been a rather normal time in his life. Too bad everything sort of went to shit two years later.

Straddling a white parking space line and effectively taking up two spaces, Dean cut the engine and ran through the sliding doors into the Emergency Room. He apologized to the sneezing woman he bumped into—what if Cas catches a cold from being around these sick people?—and hurried up to the front desk. The woman sitting behind it looked up as he approached, her long light brown hair up in a tight bun. She had a friendly face though so he hoped he wouldn’t have any trouble getting help.

“Hey. I’m looking for Castiel Novak. He was brought in about an hour ago.”

The receptionist tilted her head to the side. “Are you family?”

He thought about lying but decided maybe the truth would actually work this time around. “I’m…his baby’s father.”

She pressed her lips together. “We’re only supposed to give this information to next of kin or spouses. However since I don’t wanna be the asshole who kept a guy from his baby daddy, he’s in room 103. But if anyone asks I didn’t say a word.”

Dean grinned. “Thanks…” His eyes scanned her name plate. “Annie. I owe you one.”

She winked at him and he was off towards the elevator, riding up to the second floor and trying not to fidget. Castiel was fine—he said he was fine so he was fine. And it’s not like he would lie about that or anything. Of course if anything was really wrong he also wouldn’t say that over the phone either. Shit. Get a grip, dude. You’re blowing things way out of proportion. Wait until you see what’s up.

The elevator doors opened with a low swish and he stalked down the clean hallway, minding the room numbers until he spotted the one he wanted. Wetting his lips, he pushed open the wooden door just in time to apparently startle Castiel and his doctor; they both jumped and stared at him like he had two heads. The doctor—a short brown skinned woman with long black hair arched a brow—but Castiel appeared rattled. From their hushed-hushed conversation Dean couldn’t help but wonder if he was in for the worst.

“Hey Cas…” He said warily, heartbeat accelerating. “I um, I got here as soon as I could.”

Castiel smiled and gestured for him to come closer. “You didn’t need to come at all Dean but I’m glad you did. This is Dr. Flagstaff…she is one of the ER doctors on call for tonight. She was just reiterating that everything is fine.”

Dean glanced to the doctor, expecting confirmation but she just nodded to Castiel and left the room. He snorted. “Well ain’t she a peach.” Sighing, he sat on the edge of Castiel’s bed and looked him over. “So, what happened?”

Biting his bottom lips, Castiel rearranged his blankets before speaking. “I was changing the bible quote on the church notice board, Uriel didn’t want me to help out but I was bored just sitting in my room doing nothing. Anyway this man approached me and asked me if I had any money. I told him no but he didn’t believe me. He grabbed me by the collar and shoved me back into the sign before throwing me to the ground. I fell onto the cement and he stepped onto my chest, demanding money. He was chased away by a good Samaritan and 911 was contacted.”

Dean felt his face twitch and he had to exhale deeply to keep from getting too angry. Seriously who the fuck tried to rob a priest? “Were you wearing your collar thing?”

Castiel shook his head. “No I was in plain clothes.”

“Had you ever seen this guy before tonight?”

“No.”

“And uh, where was Uriel when all of this was going on?”

“Dean. Surely you don’t think Uriel had anything to do with this?” Castiel asked with a little frown. “He may have his objections to my pregnancy but even he wouldn’t stoop to such measures. He is a man of God. Besides my assailant didn’t go for my stomach.”

“Yeah maybe ‘cause he didn’t have time or didn’t want it to seem like that was his main target.” Dean cursed. Sometimes he really hated people. “I’m not saying it’s some kinda conspiracy but you never know these days. And since I’m guessing they didn’t catch the asshole we won’t get the chance to ask him.”

Castiel hummed. “Yes but I am alright and that is all that matters to me. Hopefully that young man gets the help that he needs. Had I had money I would have given it to him.”

Of course you would have because you’re a freaking boy scout. “I’m glad you’re okay, Cas. I was really worried.”

Placing his hand over Dean’s, Castiel smiled. “I’m fine and the baby is fine too; they did an ultrasound to make sure. I will admit the situation played havoc with my nerves but I think anyone else would be saying the same thing.”

Dean squeezed his fingers; a little bummed he’d missed a chance to get a look at the baby. But there was still time. “Yeah. Heh so you got to see the kid huh? Does he share my handsome good looks?”

Castiel snickered. “Actually he or she is the size of a peanut but it was a very nice looking peanut. Strong heartbeat too.”

That made Dean smile widely. “That’s good to hear.” Pause. “You’re moving in with me when you’re released right?”

Relaxing back to his thick white pillows, Castiel nodded. “Yes. If I am not too bruised I will bring my things over around lunchtime. I’ll have to call a cab—no doubt Uriel will want my car. It was purchased for church needs after all.”

Making a face, Dean huffed. “Dude how about you let me help you move in? I’ll pick you up here when you’re released, take you to the church and help you with your stuff. To be honest I’d feel better doing that anyway.”

Castiel’s expression painted his thoughts all over his gorgeous face; he was touched. “That would be wonderful, actually.”

Dean was leaning over and kissing his forehead before he could talk himself out of it. From the shocked yet pleased reaction it gave Castiel he figured being impulsive with his affections could be a good thing. He wanted Cas to know that he cared about him and not just because he was having his baby. But because he was…Cas. “Good. I’ll call Charlie in the morning and tell her I’m not coming in.”

“I don’t want to stop you from working.” Castiel blinked and yawned, his eyes drooping. He looked kinda adorable.

“I’m the boss remember? There is no one to report me.” Glancing to his watch, he cut his eyes to the empty bed off to his left. “I could crash here if you want. Commandeer that bed and just hope no one breaks a hip before morning.”

“Dean I’m perfectly safe here.” Yawning, Castiel rubbed his cheek against his pillow. “Go home and I’ll see you in the morning.”

He didn’t want to leave but he knew Castiel was right. No one would try anything in a hospital unless they wanted a major lawsuit on their hands. “Okay but if you need me don’t hesitate to call. I’ll come right back.”

Castiel nodded sleepily and Dean stood, brushing his thumb across his cheek. He watched pretty blue eyes close and then made his way quietly to the door, clicking on the light over the sink and off the light for the main room. With a final look back, Dean stepped out of the room and closed the door behind him.

++

The coffee in Dean’s cup smelled a mixed between heavenly and horrible, and Castiel was tempted to ask for a little taste. He honestly wasn’t sure though whether it would settle nicely in his stomach or cause him to lose the meager breakfast he’d had earlier. The last thing he wanted to do was be sick in Dean’s car, so he cracked the window and reframed from even looking at the cup. While he hadn’t gotten sick a lot with morning sickness he sometimes felt even the smallest scent that disagreed with him could set him off.

“You okay?” Dean asked, noticing his expression. “You look a little green.”

Castiel nodded. “Yes it’s just…I can’t decide if your coffee smells good or bad. I love coffee but I haven’t been able to drink it since becoming pregnant. It would make me nauseous.”

Dean motioned to the window. “Do you want me to pull over and dump it out? I’d try to chug it but it’s still hot.”

Castiel laughed. “No that’s okay. Even if I could drink it I probably shouldn’t. I have always heard it’s not good for the baby.”

Humming, Dean made a right turn and continued down the street that led to his church. “We should probably start reading parenting books and stuff, huh? Or I guess we could do like my nerd of a brother and look everything up on the internet. I could print stuff out at the office.”

Dean’s enthusiasm over their impending fatherhood would never cease to amaze him. Being a priest he often heard stories of men that refused to step up after finding out there would be a baby. He wasn’t sure because Alfie had never returned but he got the distinct impression that he would be raising his child alone. That Alfie’s married lover was just in it for the sex, not a lifetime commitment as children tended to be. Castiel was uncertain he would be as calm as he was without Dean’s soothing presence. He supposed although his life was now unclear for the first time he could remember, he was fortunate that Dean had hit on him in that bar and not someone with less sincerity.

Reclining back to the warm leather seat, Castiel rubbed at his sore chest. He would be sore for a while but was otherwise alright. In the moment he was attacked he’d almost begged to not be kicked in the stomach. It had been on the tip of his tongue, but then he’d feared by drawing attention to the area, the mugger might have done so out of spite in the hopes of getting money. He couldn’t help but be curious as to what type of situation the man must have been in to attempt to rob a priest.

Either way I hope he gets some type of help. Financial or otherwise.

The Impala roared to a stop in front of the stone steps of Castiel’s church and he sighed deeply, biting his tongue to keep from wringing his hands. Whenever he had idly thought about his future it had always included living to be Uriel’s age or older and helping to guide the younger priests that would eventually come. Now he could dimly see PTA meetings, finger paintings and science projects. It was sort of remarkable how one night could change everything.

“I shall apologize in advance for Uriel.” Castiel said as they exited the vehicle. “I doubt he will show us anything but disdain.”

Dean shrugged. “It’s cool. I don’t care what some whacko thinks about me. Especially one I’ll never have to see again after today.”

Castiel smiled and made his way through the front doors, glancing at the bulletin board to see if his note was still there. It was—thankfully—and no one had written anything horrible on it so that was a plus. He noticed a few of the elderly women fretting at the pews with feather dusters and for a moment he was frozen solid when their eyes landed on him. To be honest he was expecting to have something thrown at him or worse. It was hard to gauge the different reactions people might have. However the women just offered up tentative smiles before returning to their work.

Mollified, Castiel tugged on Dean’s jacket sleeve and directed him down the aisle and off to the side where the rectory was found. He made his way into what was going to be his former home; his things were still neatly arranged on his bed and waiting for him.

He noticed Dean looking all around. “Not what you were expecting?”

Dean grinned. “Actually it kinda looks like what you’d see on tv. Nice though.” He gestured to the furniture. “You taking any of that with you?”

Castiel shook his head. “No just the suitcase and two boxes on the bed. I didn’t arrive with much and throughout the years I only bought what I felt was necessary.”

Dean ran his fingers through his hair, making the front stick up adorably. “Makes sense to me. I’ll take the boxes since they look heavier.”

His words made Castiel smirk lightly but they weren’t unpleasant. In fact they secretly made warmth bloom in the middle of his chest. “To show that you are a strong man or because of my delicate condition?”

A cheeky look transformed Dean’s face and he winked. “Both of course. Feel free to watch my muscles flex and how tight my ass looks as I walk out of the room.”

Castiel’s cheeks reddened just a little but he scoffed. “Dean, you are in a house of the Lord. Such language isn’t right.”

“Really Castiel? Do you think you are the best person to be judging someone else?” Came Uriel’s stern voice as he suddenly loomed in the doorway. “Who is this man anyway?”

Wetting his lips, Castiel gestured to Dean. “This is Dean Winchester and he is—he is the father of my child. We are just here to get my things.”

Uriel was unimpressed. “Dean Winchester.” His dark eyes looked Dean up and down in distaste. “So it is you who will be dragging Castiel down to Hell.”

Dean arched a brow. “Heh so you must be the asshole giving him grief.”

Castiel balked; he could see this escalating quickly. “We should be going.”

Uriel ignored him. “When Castiel confided that he had given himself into carnal pleasure with another man I imagined someone different. From what I know of Castiel and his upbringing, slumming it is not in his vocabulary. Am I to infer you got him very inebriated before you took advantage of him?”

Dean bristled at the implied accusation. “Screw you, Ken Doll. I didn’t take advantage of nobody. Besides I always heard things about those without sin casting stones. From where I stand you should be guarding your glass house before I kick the bitch down.” Pause. “Oh by the way? Cas is fine. I’m sure you were real bent out of shape hearing he was attacked an all…”

“You got something to say to me, boy?” Uriel frowned, folding his arms over his chest.

“I don’t know. You in a confessing sort of mood?” Dean countered. “We’re all ears.”

“Dean. Uriel. I would ask that you stop this at once.” Castiel’s brows narrowed. “You have made your stance on my life choices very clear, Uriel. You do not agree and think I will burn for eternity, which is your right. However disrespect does not become you.”

Pushing his nose up into the air, Uriel appeared to concede. “Your life is your own, Castiel. My conscious is clean because I offered you an alternative. It is not my fault you did not take it.”

Castiel picked up his suitcase and watched Dean gather up his boxes. “Regardless I enjoyed serving with you. Thank you for being a friend to me these many years.”

Uriel’s hard expression didn’t change but he did seem to soften just a little. “I will pray for you, Castiel.”

Figuring it could have been so much worse; Castiel nodded and exited the room. He didn’t stop walking until he was standing beside Dean’s car and opening the door to slip his stuff inside. Uriel was harsh and had been from day one, but there had also been a sort of camaraderie between them. At best they had been some type of friends and Castiel was not the sort of person to look upon those years with scorn. Uriel had been a big part of his life and it would be strange not seeing him every day.

He would visit but he did not think it would be wise or welcome. The truth of it was painful.

The trunk of the Impala opened with a light creak as Dean sat his boxes inside. “Dude came off like an extra in the Omen.”

Castiel tilted his head to the side. “What do you mean?”

Dean shut the trunk with an audible thump. “He’s sketchy. People that are always so concerned with what others are doing always turn out to be freaks if you ask me. Why’s he so pissed you’re keeping the baby? I mean really, how does it affect his life?” Grumbling, he threw himself behind the wheel. “It’s just like those assholes that don’t want gay marriage. How does two dudes getting married make a straight person less straight?”

Slipping inside as well, Castiel put on his seatbelt. “Well be that as it may, the part of my life that contained Uriel is over. I will miss certain aspects of it, like helping people.”

“I’ll bet you were good at that.” Dean gazed at him gently. “I’m sorry that this is uprooting you and everything.”

“It’s different but that doesn’t mean it’s bad.” Worrying his bottom lip, he took the chance to squeezing Dean’s hand. “I don’t think it’s bad.”

The grin Dean gave him was bright with just a hint of guilt around the edges. Perhaps in time that would fade away too.

The ride to Dean’s home—their home?— was peaceful with the sounds of Dean’s music playing in the background. Castiel watched the scenery go by and felt a sense of accomplishment at withstanding the hurdles he’d faced in the past few days. Though there was a major one left and it could possibly be the biggest one. But he didn’t want to think about that right now. He’d rather focus on things that made him happy.

Like Dean…

As soon as they were inside Dean’s house and his things were settled, Dean ushered him onto the couch and removed his shoes for him. He pushed a fluffy pillow under his head and covered him with a soft throw. He made it quite clear Castiel was not to strain himself doing anything and to only get up if he had to use the bathroom or if the living room was on fire. It was amusing and also…nice. Castiel had never been doted on before and he quite liked it. That feeling of being warm and safe and secure with someone who cared about your wellbeing.

Still… “Dean I’m fine. Just a little sore but the doctor said it was to be expected.”

Dean adjusted his blanket for the third time before sitting down on the coffee table. “I know but there is no reason for you to be messing about. And rest is good for you and the baby. So if you need anything just let me know.”

Castiel allowed his body to sink into the cushions. “What about work? I know you’re the boss but even the boss has to show up sometime.”

Dean chuckled. “True but they’ll be okay for another day without me. I hope.” Exhaling, he scratched his scruffy cheek. “Anyway when you feel up to it we can start on your room. Like uh, going shopping for a new bed and dresser. There is a furniture store on the other side of town that might have something you want. I can borrow my friend Benny’s truck to haul back whatever you get.”

Placing his clasped hands on his tummy, Castiel bit the inside of his cheek. “I—I would like to contribute anyway that I can. I have money in my savings.”

Dean eyed his hands. “Don’t worry about it Cas. You can buy all the weird food you’re gonna want soon. Leave the other stuff to me.”

Selfless, self-sacrificing Dean. He would never admit to not being able to afford things even if that was the case. He is determined to take care of me—us—like he promised. “Alright but if you need help, please let me do so. This is supposed to be a co situation.” Fidgeting, he swallowed. “Would you like to…touch?”

That got Dean to sit up straight. “Huh? Heh isn’t touching what got us in this situation in the first place?”

“Ha ha.” Castiel motioned to his stomach. “I know I am not showing yet but if you wanted to touch I don’t mind. In the future I won’t mind either.”

Debating with himself, Dean inched closer and slowly lowered his palm down onto Castiel’s stomach. It was slightly heavy through the blanket but warm with an odd sort of grounding about it. “I still can’t believe there is an actual kid in there,” He whispered. “Wish I could have seen the ultrasound soon.”

“There will be others. Better ones where the baby actually looks like a baby.”

“Sweet, I can’t wait. I also can’t wait to find out if it’s a boy or a girl.”

“Do you have a preference?”

“Not really. Though with a boy I’d have less reason to need a shotgun. Well unless he has your eyes and likes dudes.”

Castiel laughed, happy Dean hadn’t removed his hand yet. “You’re going to be that father, hm?”

Dean snorted. “Hey I was a teenage boy once so I know how they think. They’ll hump anything pretty with two legs.”

Another laugh had Castiel wincing at the tiny ache to his side the action caused. “I was not like that as a teenager. I was what you would have called a good boy. Or…I believe lame is the term?”

With his eyes dancing with mischief, Dean moved his hand in a soothing circle. “Yeah…I would have loved that. Probably would have made it my mission to get in your pants. On the down low of course since I didn’t come out as liking guys until I was an adult.”

Seeing as how easily Dean got into them now, Castiel could not have said he would not have given in then too. “Was that painful for you? I—I’ve always known I was gay; it is the reason I joined the priesthood. So that I would not be tempted to sin.”

“My coming out didn’t go well.” Dean replied vaguely. “There was yelling and shit, mostly between me and my dad. It’s kinda still a sore spot—the whole guy thing. But don’t worry. If he tries to get stupid over us starting a family together I’ll put him in his place.”

In a way it was odd to think of Dean worrying about that sort of thing because he seemed so confident, but Castiel supposed that was the whole point. Dean projected the persona he wanted people to see to better keep his fears hidden. From the sounds of it there was a lot of hurt there, something he’d pushed deep yet could never really escape.

It made Castiel put his hand over Dean’s and slowly entwine their fingers together. Dean met his eyes but didn’t say anything, though he did appear to be put at ease just a little bit. I think a shotgun will be needed if the baby has his eyes too.

Naturally it hadn’t escaped Castiel’s keen notice that while they’d been talking about living arrangements they had yet to address the status of their relationship. Were they just two roommates having a child? Or were they together? He wanted to bring it up but he didn’t want to upset Dean and make things awkward for the both of them. In truth he wasn’t sure which he wanted it to be, though he knew he really liked Dean and felt something for him, otherwise he wouldn’t be so comfortable around him. But he didn’t want the fact that they were having a baby to be any sort of pressure in a romantic direction. Not to mention having never been in a relationship before he wasn’t exactly clear on the specifics.

He found Dean to be very attractive and quite kind-hearted, and it would be a lie to say he didn’t still think about their one night together. He would make a clueless boyfriend but for Dean he would attempt it. And for himself too. Obviously Dean was a catch and had many attributes a partner would find worthy. Either way he was not going to be looking for love any time soon.

Dean’s cell phone going off broke their quiet, comfortable moment and he fished it out of his pocket with a grunt. “Yeah? What? No I’m busy today let Rufus handle it. Well tell him I have a family emergency, Charlie.” A beat. “Grr stupid—fine, fine. I’ll be there in fifteen minutes and you tell that leprechaun he’s paying extra for dragging me away from something important.” He snapped his phone shut angrily.

“Something wrong?” Castiel inquired. He just called me important.

Dean huffed. “This rich asshole named Crowley wants me to come and give him an estimate on one of his cars. He collects the vintage ones and often wants them fixed up. Thing is he’s a squirrely son of a bitch and only lets me touch them so…I gotta go see what he’s yapping about.” Groaning, he stood and stretched his arms out. “I’m sorry, Cas. If he wasn’t such an important client I’d tell him to go to hell.”

Admiring the pull of Dean’s muscles under his black t-shirt, Castiel smiled. “It’s fine Dean I understand. You go and deal with this man and I will lay here and do nothing. I’ll probably nap. I promise.”

Snickering, Dean hurried into the kitchen and pulled something out of a drawer. “Okay I’m gonna put these food menus on the coffee table so you can just order something if you get hungry later on. No weird fiddling until I get back. At best I’ll be gone a couple of hours, any later and I’ll call. And if you need me, you call. Alright?”

“Yes sir.”

“Smart ass.”

Fluffing Castiel’s pillow one last time, Dean brushed his lips across his forehead and was out the door in a blur of dark blue.

Castiel hummed gleefully and closed his eyes. Time for that nap and hopefully sweet dreams.

As luck would have it he was asleep an hour before his cell phone chimed. Yawning, he fumbled along the coffee table until it hit his hand and answered with a sleepy hello. Surely Dean wasn’t checking on him already?

“Castiel.”

At the sound of his eldest brother’s voice he was suddenly wide awake. “Michael? Is everything alright?”

Michael Novak took his time answering which was never a good sign. “I received some troubling news about you, Castiel. I am calling so that you can either confirm or deny what I heard. So tell me, is it true that you are pregnant with some strange man’s child?”

Castiel’s breath caught in his lungs and he could feel the panic clawing its way up his throat. He wanted to ask how did Michael find out but it was fairly obvious considering only a handful of people knew. And only one of them had contact with Michael. “I—I assume Uriel called you.”

Michael sighed. “You would be correct. Was he telling the truth? Are you quitting the priesthood?”

Lying would have bought him some time, but in the end probably just complicated things more. “Yes. I have already spoken to the Bishop and moved out of the rectory. And yes I am going to have a baby.”

“I see.” Michael replied. “Well I was hoping this was some type of odd joke but Uriel is not exactly the joking sort. Naturally I am very disappointed in you, Castiel. This is just the kind of thing we were hoping to avoid when we found out about your…condition. How did this happen and I don’t need details.”

“I was grieving Anna’s death and the death of her family so I decided to go out for a drink. I met a very charming young man and…he offered me comfort and I took it.” Castiel explained. “We used protection but it didn’t take.”

“Was this some tawdry one night stand with a stranger?” The dismay coated his brother’s voice.

“No.” Castiel cringed at the lie. “I knew him. We would often meet at the Farmer’s Market in the mornings while doing our respective shopping. We were acquaintances at best.”

Michael murmured. “That doesn’t make it any better but at least you’d had some contact with him.” A phone rang in the background which meant he was at work. He ignored it. “What are your plans? Never mind. You should come home as soon as possible so that we can take care of you. I can wire you the money for a plane ticket—first class of course.”

Thinking about going home made his stomach rumbled unpleasantly. “I am being taken care of already. I’ve—I’ve moved in with the baby’s other father and things are going well.”

Michael paused again, and Castiel frowned. “I want to meet him as soon as possible. I want to know all about this man and what makes him qualified to provide for you.”

Castiel’s frowned deepened. “He is a good man, Michael. One of the best I have ever met. So far he has been nothing but wonderful to me and about the baby.”

Michael ignored his statement. “You should make arrangements to visit this weekend or we will come to you, little brother.”

“We’ll come.” The words were out of his mouth before he could stop them. “The father and I will be there.”

“Good.” Michael was chipper. “The family and I look forward to seeing you. And meeting your…friend. Until then.”

A dial tone sounded in Castiel’s ear and he groaned loudly just as bile tripped into his throat. Throwing back the blanket, he lurched off the couch and ran into the bathroom where he emptied the contents of his stomach into the toilet. It wasn’t fear causing his current reaction but nerves though sometimes he wondered if they were one in the same. Worse he would have to tell Dean about this and they were just getting their footing underneath them. He loved his brothers and sisters but they were harsh critics of things they deemed unworthy. Well Michael, Naomi and Hester were. They would dislike Dean on principle no matter what. And if he couldn’t win with them what was the point of even going?

Besides Michael making good on his threat…which on second thought was perhaps the best point of all.

And yet by the time Dean got home Castiel was still a bundle of nerves, curled under the throw on the sofa. He hadn’t been sick again but he hadn’t been in the mood for food either. Dean took one look at his distressed expression and immediately knew something was wrong. First he ordered dinner for the both of them and then he sat down beside Castiel, kicking off his boots.

“Okay, Cas. Talk to me.” Dean reached out and rubbed his back after he sat up. “What happened while I was gone? Did someone come here and say something to you? Because if they did I’ll break their nose.”

Castiel leaned into his side. “No one came here but…Uriel told my older brother about the baby. I was going to tell him and the rest of my family eventually, when I had a better handle on everything. Anyway he called me earlier and the conversation went exactly as I figured it would, with him giving me orders and expecting me to follow. Dean he…” Wetting his lips, he continued. “He wants me to fly up there this weekend or he’s coming here. And he wants you to come with me.”

Dean exhaled slowly. “I see. Well we knew meeting the family was gonna happen sooner or later. Sounds like it’s just sooner.”

That is one way to put it. “I don’t necessarily want to go. I love my family but they can be difficult especially when it comes to a different point of view. Make no mistake they will not be happy about this and they will let it be known. Burdening you with this was never my intention.”

Dean shook his head. “Hey, no it’s cool. We don’t live in a bubble where it’s just us and the baby. I’ve got family and you’ve got family, and say what you want but sounds to me like your brother wants to make sure I’m not some bum. As a big brother myself I get that.”

Castiel’s mouth turned down at the sides. “I am putting you on the spot though. This was supposed to be our time of getting to know each other better. There is a good chance after meeting my siblings you will never want to see me again.”

“Bullshit.” Dean snapped, not unkindly however. “I’m committed to whatever we are doing here, Castiel. And trust me when I say I don’t scare easily. I’ve dealt with assholes before.”

“We don’t have to stay long. Just the weekend.” Hearing Dean use his full name made him smile and he wasn’t sure why. Perhaps because it was meant to show how serious Dean was. “Any longer and I might go insane.”

“Sounds okay to me.” Dean snickered. “I’ll tell my lovely employees and leave Rufus in charge while I am gone. But for now you are going to eat and then take a nap.” Reaching over onto the table, he grabbed up the bee plushy and jiggled it. “If you don’t you’ll make him sad and he might fly away in the middle of the night.”

Scowling playfully, Castiel took the bee and rubbed it along his cheek. When Dean had given it to him he couldn’t believe the sentimental wave of emotion that had coursed over him. It was such a little thing—kind of odd looking—but he was in love with it already. “I named him Guinea, like guinea pig. I’ve always wanted a guinea pig.”

Dean grinned; he looked amused. “You have huh? Maybe I’ll get you one when we get back from—where are we going again?”

“Pontiac, Illinois. My hometown.”

++

With being a hands on kinda boss Dean wasn’t used to sleeping in late, at least not Monday through Friday anyway unless he just really needed a couple of more hours to get himself together. Like after a night out partying or something. However he had no trouble getting up at five am Thursday morning to start the trip to Pontiac which would take about nine hours and that’s if traffic was good. But he was always game for a road trip and thankfully Castiel had only smirked when he’d begrudgingly admitted he hated flying. Dude was okay being stuck in a car for hours on end because it made Dean more comfortable; he was like magic or something.

Anyway after getting some coffee into himself, putting their bags in the back and packing a sleepy Cas into the front seat they were off. He was allowing the GPS to help him though Dean had a good sense of direction in general. When Sam had been bouncing to go check out Stanford’s campus it was Dean who drove the two of them and they had not gotten lost once.

In all honesty he didn’t want to meet Castiel’s siblings. Well he wanted to but he had assumed it would be way later. Hell maybe even after the baby was born. He just…he wasn’t in the mood to be judged by people that thought they were better than him. And from the way Castiel had mentioned them that was exactly how they would behave. Dean could take the heat—he’d taken worse—but he didn’t wanna upset Castiel. Their relationship was still so new and any bump could turn things around. Any slight could have Castiel deciding he only wanted child support from Dean, not active involvement in their baby’s life.

Castiel didn’t seem the type to do that but well things changed.

Dean was going to try and be on his best behavior but he also wasn’t going to let some asshole walk all over him. He didn’t tolerate it at work and he wouldn’t tolerate it in his everyday life. All he had to do was get through the next three days without punching someone and he would count that as a win.

There was a bit of excitement under the nerves though. Any chance to find out more about Cas was a good thing, even if he had to put up with a bit of bullshit in the process. He just wondered if it would be easier than when he introduced Castiel to his own family. Which he was planning to do when they returned to Kansas. As far as his parents or anyone else knew he was skipping town for the weekend to help a friend move. Benny was probably the only one who’d be able to work out the truth if he really wanted to.

For the first few hours Castiel dozed in the passenger seat while Dean enjoyed letting the Impala stretch her legs. They had been on the road for three hours when nature and his stomach called, so he pulled off at the first diner/gas station he came to, filling up the tank again before easing into a parking space. After paying for said gas, he gently shook Castiel awake and led him sleepily into the diner.

They visited the bathroom first and then sunk down across from each other in a blue booth, menus laminated with tiny dancing pigs on the front. Castiel was in one of his jackets and he looked completely at ease as he tried to decide what he wanted to eat. Their few days of living together had been nice; Dean had forgot how good it was to have someone to come home to. Especially someone that was happy to see him. He’d taken lesser hours—screw Crowley’s bitching—so that he could at least get Castiel the bed he’d wanted. He would get the desk and maybe repaint when they got back.

But Castiel was an uncomplicated sort of guy who still sort of lived like he was at the rectory. As in he was okay with not having a lot or waking up early to help out. There was some leftover soreness to his body however so Dean made him relax as much as he could. Threatened him with expensive gifts if he didn’t listen—though the king sized bed he had bought for him had been anything but cheap. The point was however they got along great and it was just so…easy. Like they had been friends for a long time instead of shaky acquaintances.

“I think we’re making good time.” Dean mused. “Traffic isn’t too bad yet.”

Castiel smiled at him. “Sorry I haven’t been much company. I’m not usually this exhausted early in the morning.”

Dean shrugged. “Don’t worry about it, dude. Even sleeping you’re miles ahead of Sam. With all the burritos he ate on our road trip I was waiting for him to fart us to California. We had to go windows down for five miles.”

Castiel laughed and the corners of his eyes grew crinkly. “Your brother sounds…interesting.”

Thinking about Sam made Dean grin. “He’s alright. I’m sure he can’t wait to meet you though.”

“I can’t wait to meet him either.” Shifting, he tapped his menu. “Can you get me the breakfast special with oatmeal instead of sausage just in case the smell of the eggs makes me sick? I have to use the restroom. Again.”

“Sure.” Dean watched him walk away just as his cell went off. “Hello?”

“Hey Dean.” It was Sam. “Just letting you know that I am flying in later this afternoon.”

“Ooh Sammy if you’re calling for a ride, no can do. I—I’m on my way to Illinois to meet Cas’ family.” He put his hand over the phone to give their orders to the waitress when she ambled over.

Sam hummed. “No it’s cool I can ask Charlie. But wow that sounds…important. And fast.”

Dean grunted. “Tell me about it. But whatever his douche bag brother stressed him out over it so we’re going. We’ll be back Sunday evening though. Will you still be around?”

“Of course. I’m not leaving until I meet him.” Sam yawned loudly. “Anyway I’ll let you go. See you Sunday.”

“Bye little brother.” Dean hung up and smoothed a hand across his eyes. Man he hoped Sam was smart enough to know he hadn’t told their parents anything.

Castiel returned a minute later and they talked about nothing important until their food arrived. Thankfully the eggs didn’t make Cas sick but he did turn his nose up at Dean’s pancakes, which was just wrong. Pancakes were awesome.

Dean was reaching for the maple syrup when he noticed a young man waddling through the front door. He was obviously pregnant but carrying it well, holding his head up high even as a few people frowned at him. It hit Dean that that would be Castiel soon. He would be showing and glowing and the proof of what Dean had done to him would be there in big round letters. He kinda couldn’t wait.

Some asshole in a dirty t-shirt with a belly bigger than the knocked up dude’s mumbled something to his friend and they both laughed, eying the pregnant guy like he was a part of a freak show. Dean rolled his eyes; he could see where this was headed.

It was too early and none of his business, but he also just wasn’t in the goddamn mood.

Getting up, he strolled over to the counter and tapped preggo on his shoulder. For his part the guy didn’t look worried but it was there under the surface so Dean used his best charming smile. “Hey, you wanna come eat with me and my friend? I mean you don’t have to but if you do it’ll really help me out because it’ll keep me from punching those assholes about to give you a hard time in their fat faces.”

The stranger blinked. “Oh um, okay.” He slowly edged off his stool and made his way over to the booth. “I’m David by the way.”

Dean sat back down this time beside Castiel. He pulled his plate over and continued eating. “I’m Dean and this is Castiel.”

“How far along are you?” Castiel inquired.

“Uh almost seven months.” David chuckled. “Though it feels like a year.” Pause. “Thanks for letting me eat with you guys by the way. I don’t mind eating alone and I am used to people saying stupid things, but it was really nice of you.”

“No problem.” Dean replied. “No one should give you a hard time for having a kid.”

David tilted his head to the side. “Are one of you expecting?”

Castiel lifted his hand. “I am. Is it that obvious?”

David grinned. “No but your boyfriend reminds me of my husband, Ennis. After I found out I was pregnant he got protective of me and any other pregnant man he saw. In a punching sort of way whereas at first he would have went for the talking route. He’s a cop so punching random people is very bad for him.”

When Castiel didn’t immediately correct David about the boyfriend thing, Dean had to shove a forkful of pancakes into his mouth so that he wouldn’t smile like an idiot. He would sort through his feelings on it later.

Anyway the conversation with David was actually pretty nice and enlightening as he shared his experience with being pregnant and what to expect. All in all he seemed to be enjoying it though he couldn’t wait to meet his baby—a little girl they were thinking about naming Sabrina. After they were all done eating and their respective checks paid, Dean walked David to his fancy BMW just to be safe.

He was driving away when Castiel touched Dean’s shoulder. “That was very sweet of you, Dean. I’m sure his husband would have thanked you had he been here.”

Dean headed to his own car. “Yeah well, it was the right thing to do. I hate assholes and the dude wasn’t bothering anybody.”

Castiel slipped a white card into his pocket. “David gave me his phone number just in case I have any questions about things.” A beat. “And I know you find injustice to be particularly offensive but I think it’s more than that. You like to take care of people and it’s a wonderful trait to have.”

Dean could feel his face heating up. “Yeah yeah, I’m a saint.” Smirking to let Cas know he was teasing, he motioned to the bathroom. “You gotta pee again or are we good to go?”

“I…will be right back.”

Chuckling, Dean slid behind the wheel. This was going to be an interesting trip.

Chapter Text

Chapter Five

It was nearing three thirty in the afternoon by the time they finally made it to Castiel’s family home and as they parked in front of the large three story house, he realized he was experiencing an odd mixture of nervous excitement. He had not been properly home in many years; Anna’s funeral did not count since he’d arrived the day before and stayed in a hotel because the memories had been too much to bear. Even before that his family had never been the visiting for the holidays type and returning to Pontiac would have opened him up to more of their “gentle” prodding when it came to his life. Besides before her unfortunate death Anna had always kept him up to date on what everyone else was doing.

However sitting in the front seat of Dean’s car and gazing upon the house he had grown up in, well he couldn’t help but feel a sense of sad nostalgia for his childhood. It hadn’t been amazing or particularly happy, but at the time being surrounded by family had been nice. Even if Michael was too strict and Gabriel pushed every single boundary he could. At least he’d never been lonely. Anna had made sure of that.

Dean whistled from his place behind the wheel. “Now I get dick priest’s swipe about you slumming it. This place is something else.”

The house itself was snowflake white with black shutters and large windows. The porch wrapped around towards the right side, with a bundle of small furniture so that you could sit and admire the flourishing rose bushes or enjoy afternoon tea. Everything was pristine from the thick branched trees lining both sides of the wide front yard to the colorful bushes tucked alongside the cement walkway. And Castiel knew from experience that the back was just as immaculate with a little garden that his sister Hester always tended to, and a white circular gazebo where he used to escape so that he could read in peace.

It was an old place but Michael had kept it up to date, getting it repainted every year after wind and rain battered it from storms. He used to say it was what their parents would have wanted, but Castiel suspected it was also what he wanted. To keep up the persona they continued to project to the outside world. Appearances were very important to Michael and always had been—something he’d passed on to most of his siblings.

Or attempted to anyway. Nothing annoyed him more than when Balthazar and Gabriel would promptly disregard his suggestions to do whatever they pleased.

“Cas? You okay?”

Sighing deeply, he smiled at Dean. “I’m sorry; I was just remembering some of my time here. Yes I’m alright.”

Dean’s brows narrowed and he stared at him as if he didn’t believe him. “Okay.” Licking his lips, he motioned towards the house. “We don’t have to do this if you don’t want to. We’ll make up some excuse on why we couldn’t come and go home.”

Castiel wished it was that easy but Michael had made it perfectly clear either they visited him or he would visit them. “Michael will simply follow us back to Kansas if we do not go inside. And I doubt you want my family interacting with your family right now.”

The very idea made Dean pale a little. “No that—that sounds terrible. Especially since my parents don’t know what is going on yet.”

Nodding, Castiel put his hand on the door handle and squeezed before pushing it open. “Exactly. Thank you for the sentiment however. You can leave our bags for now if you want and we’ll get them later after we figure out the sleeping arrangements.”

Once he made up his mind to get out of the car Castiel did so with a surefire stride that didn’t betray just how nervous he really was. He was happy to have Dean matching his steps as he made his way up onto the porch. Dean who appeared probably less calm and collected but who also had one hell of a poker face.

It’s just your brothers and sisters, Castiel told himself as he slowly rung the doorbell. Somehow that idea had the power to make him feel worse though he tried to push down his trepidation.

The door opened and there was Michael in his so-called casual attire; a gray tweed jacket over a navy vest and white crisp shirt—sans tie—with black pants. He was forty two years old but quite youthful with neatly styled dark hair and barely there facial hair sporting just a touch of gray. He was distinguished looking—almost regal—thanks to his sharp blue eyes and straight Roman nose.

“Castiel. How wonderful to see you.” His arms opened and he embraced his younger brother affectionately, his smile with just a hint of edge.

Castiel didn’t take it personally though; that was just Michael. Gabriel had always called him lethally charming much to Michael’s chagrin, saying he was handsome and deadly much like a predator stalking prey. “Hello Michael. It is nice to see you too. You’re looking well.”

Michael continued to grin. “Thank you. You look...I suppose I thought you would look different considering your condition. But here you seem well cared for despite the uncomfortable position you have allowed yourself to end up in.”

Castiel shrugged idly. “The morning sickness is still a bother but I am managing.” Stepping to the side, he gestured to Dean. “Michael this is Dean Winchester. He is the father of my—he is the father.”

Dean stood up straighter, shoulders tightening as if worked with a crank. “Hey. It’s uh…nice to meet you.”

Michael’s quick eyes raked over Dean critically before he extended a hand to be shaken, which Dean grasped. “Michael Novak. It’s nice to meet you as well. Although the circumstances leave much to be desired.” Turning his attention back to Castiel, he slipped an arm around his shoulders. “Come. The others are in the living room and they are anxious to see you. Even Gabriel and Balthazar are coming to visit.”

With Dean trailing behind them, Castiel let Michael steer him into the living room where Naomi and Hester were sitting. All of the furniture had been changed since he’d been home; the pristine white set exchanged for a deep violet colored one. There were expensive looking paintings on the wall and a large flat screen television sitting on a dark mahogany tv stand. Twin bookcases snuggled each corner of the room, filled to the brim with books and high-priced sculptures. The sense of family was severely lacking. If not for the framed photos over the fireplace Castiel would have wondered if he’d ever lived there.

Upon noticing him enter the room, Naomi and Hester both looked up. Naomi was two years younger than Michael but perhaps just as…engaged in making sure her siblings were at their best. She shared their traits of dark hair and blue eyes, but her personality was a bit more conservative, at least by Michael’s standards. While he would stand his ground on whatever the issue if he felt he was one hundred percent right, she could perhaps be persuaded to see another view when presented with facts to the contrary. But she always tended to side with Michael first no matter what.

Hester on the other hand was the baby of the family at twenty seven and pale blonde. She was the first to stand and pull him in for a big hug. “It is good to have you home, brother. Michael told us what has happened and I want you to know that we are here for you. We will help you get through this.”

He kissed her cheek. “I am fine, Hester. There is nothing to get through…not really.”

She looked at him. “But you’re a pregnant unwed man. I do not know if there is anything worse.”

Sighing, Castiel patted her shoulder. “How is your medical training going?”

Hester frowned but allowed the subject change. “Well, thank you for asking. I have entered the Intern phase of my career and I am learning a lot.”

He nodded. “I am sure you will make a wonderful doctor.” Pause. “Hello, Naomi.”

Naomi snapped her book closed and stood, putting both hands on his face. “Hello Castiel. Oh, Castiel.” With an air mixed with pity and disappointment, she hugged him. “How are you feeling?”

The pleasantries while hollow were better than outright yelling. “A bit tired but otherwise fine.” Clearing his throat, he drifted a few steps back to where Dean stood taking in the whole scene. “Hester, Naomi I would like for you to meet Dean Winchester. He is the father of my child.”

Twin expressions of distaste focused on Dean but to his credit he didn’t flinch. “Hey,” he said gruffly. “Nice to meet both of you.”

Naomi folded her arms across her chest. “So…you’re the man who got Castiel pregnant. Michael said you would be coming but I figured you wouldn’t have the nerve.”

Dean arched a brow. “I’m here to support Cas. He wanted me to come so here I am.”

Naomi’s face was blank but there was trouble in her eyes. “Hm I suppose it is just as well. All parties should be present for the conversations that must be had.”

Dean glanced to Castiel. “What conversations?”

“Let’s all sit down, shall we?” Michael crossed the room and sunk down into a chair facing the others. “Would either of you like a drink?”

“No thank you.” Castiel sat down, smiling when Dean joined him. “Michael, Naomi I know that you feel you need to protect me but I am fine. Not only that but I am also an adult capable of making my own decisions. Our child is a surprise but we are both happy that it exists.”

“Are you really?” Hester inquired. “Castiel, after Anna’s funeral you were all prepared to go back to your life as a priest and to help guide lost souls back from the brink of destruction. Now you’re pregnant by some strange man who so obviously took advantage of you that it would be ludicrous for you to say otherwise.”

Dean’s jaw tightened and Castiel hurried to speak up. “Dean did nothing of the sort. Do you really think me so naive?”

Hester pressed her lips together in irritation. “I think there is much of the world that you don’t understand. You’ve always looked for the good in people, more so than any of us. I think that blind faith left you open to this man’s…charms.”

Dean snorted. “Lady, I get that you wanna paint me the bad guy here but it’s crap, okay? I didn’t lure Cas into my car with the promise of candy. He came willingly.”

She glared at him. “Did he? Thirteen years he’s been devoted to spreading the word of God, yet he willingly threw away all that he had accomplished for you? Who are you?”

Dean smirked. “Guess I’m just a fantastic lay.”

Hester gasped and the determined set of her facial features alerted all that she was about to unleash a verbal tirade for that remark.

Oh goodness. “The point is…” Castiel interrupted. “I consented. Besides it’s done now so it doesn’t really matter how it happened.”

Michael leaned back into his chair, legs crossed and fingers steepled. “So what is it that you do, Mr. Winchester?”

Dean exhaled tiredly. “I own my own vehicle restoration and auto shop. People bring me their cars and trucks, and I fix them or give them custom remodeling jobs.”

Michael appeared amused. “Is that a lucrative business?”

Dean’s eye twitched. “I think so. Never had any complaints before.”

“Dean does amazing work.” Castiel replied sincerely. “He has clients from all over the United States. Some that refuse to work with anyone but him.”

“Interesting.” Michael responded. “I remember hearing about a television program where men did that. Of course they were working with celebrities so they were able to go above and beyond to support their families. But one little shop in Kansas, well, let’s just say I have my doubts on how profitable it could really be.”

“Well we can’t all be born with a silver spoon shoved up our ass, can we?” Dean countered, perfectly unruffled. “But if taking on a second job is what I needed to do to support Cas and our kid, I’d do it. I’ve been working since I was sixteen years old—I’m no stranger to it.”

Smoothing a hand across his forehead, Castiel couldn’t help but he horrified at the way his family was treating Dean, and yet in awe of how steadfast Dean was carrying himself. Even if what was being said was getting to him he wasn’t showing it. Castiel knew that Michael especially was not used to being spoken to in such a manner. The Novaks were old money and reaped the rewards that were supposedly entitled to them.

Wetting his lips, he flexed his fingers and slowly took Dean’s hand. He honestly wasn’t sure however if it was for support or strength but it felt comforting none the less. “Michael you are being rude.”

Michael didn’t apologize of course, but he did let out a put upon sigh. “Fine. Perhaps we should skip to the real matter at hand. Castiel I—I must say I am at quite a loss here. We would expect this sort of thing from Gabriel or Balthazar but not you. What about the priesthood? Are you simply content to throw all that you have accomplished away?”

Castiel slouched. “The alternative was to have an abortion and I decided against it.”

Michael tilted his head to the side. “Actually you could always do adoption. In fact even with your career over Naomi and I think you should do this anyway. That way not only are you solving your problem but you would be helping a couple that can’t conceive have a change to be parents.” He brushed imaginary lint off his slacks. “A heterosexual couple hopefully.”

Being used to his family’s idiosyncrasies Castiel just stared at his older brother, trying to formally process what he was talking about. Dean however cracked like too hot concrete; the usual light in his green eyes flickering out like a dying star. When he spoke his voice was rough as if the anger he was holding in was slowly seeping out by way of his vocal chords. “What the hell are you talking about?”

Naomi chose that moment to jump in. “Michael and I have been talking about this and we think Castiel should give his child up for adoption. We can get everything set up and make sure the baby goes to a proper, loving home where it can be well cared for.”

Dean blinked. “I’m sorry did I hit my head at some point and drift off into a coma where I’m surrounded by crazy people? The baby already has a proper home with me and Castiel. Giving it up is thankfully not up to any of you whack jobs. It’s up to Cas and he wants to keep it.”

Naomi and Michael shared a look at the name calling. “Be that as it may, statistic show a child fairs better when raised by a man and a woman.”

Dean huffed. “So I guess all those murderers running around were raised by cats?”

Castiel inched closer to Dean until their sides touched. “Dean and I are keeping our baby. Case closed.” Shaking his head, he pinched the bridge of his nose. “I understand that this is not what you wanted for me. That you think I am making a horrible decision and throwing my life away, but you would be wrong. Yes I was terrified when I discovered I was pregnant but things are different now. I’m…happy. For the first time in a long time I’m happy. If my happiness means anything to me you’ll treat Dean with respect.”

“He hasn’t earned our respect.” Hester snapped. “In fact I am questioning what you see in him at all, Castiel. Looks aside he appears utterly unacceptable. Surely there were better men to fornicate with if you just had to do so.”

This is a nightmare. I can only imagine what Dean must be thinking. “Actually, I consider myself lucky to be going through this with Dean and not someone else. He isn’t perfect but he’s been nothing but generous to me. I would not trade him for a thousand of what you deem acceptable.”

Hester flinched as if he had struck her and Castiel realized that he’d never exactly stuck up for himself before. Or argued this strongly about anything before. In the past he would nod and let the others have their way because it was easier, especially when it came to Naomi and Michael. They were relentless in the pursuit of getting what they wanted, and Hester often mirrored them once she learned it worked.

Everyone was staring at him and it made him squirm; he could almost hear the judgmental thoughts of his siblings and for a brief moment he felt guilt over being so cross with them. When their parents died Michael pulled himself together to take care of all of them, Naomi included. And although he had been closer with Anna he’d always harbored great affection for his little sister. Perhaps he should not have spoken to her in such a way.

Suddenly Dean’s arm was slipping around his shoulders and Castiel melted into the sideways embrace, letting it soothe his already frayed nerves. “I apologize. It’s just—I have spent time with Dean so I know the person he is. I think you are all being very unfair to judge him without knowing anything about him. I would never do that to you or someone you brought home.”

“Well…” Michael clapped his hands together. “That is what this weekend is for. Getting to know the enigma that is Dean Winchester.” He stood fluidly. “Dean why don’t you get yours and Castiel’s luggage from your car? Your rooms have already been prepared for you and Zachariah will show you to them.”

Zachariah appeared in the doorway as if summoned and Castiel could honestly say he had forgot the man existed. He wasn’t their butler—not exactly—but he did whatever Michael requested of him and was paid a handsomely sum to do so. Whether it be running errands for him at his job or filing clerical work in his home office.

“You gonna be okay?” Dean whispered into his ear, making him shiver.

“Yes I’ll be fine.” Castiel said slowly, unable to hide his smile. He was really starting to like the way Dean looked out for him.

Nodding, Dean got up and ignored the others as he left the room and headed outside to the Impala. Castiel exhaled deeply and waited for his siblings to start badgering him about Dean, but their words never came. Instead Michael made a small motion with his head and Naomi and Hester silently left the room, though Hester did look very annoyed at having to do so.

Michael regarded his little brother for a second before chuckling, which was surprising. “Dean is not what I expected at all when I heard about your situation. I figured he would be…different but this is even beyond my reach or imagination. He isn’t even like the friends you had in school.”

Castiel played with his sleeves. “You mean he doesn’t come from money.”

Michael frowned without frowning, the action entirely in the way his eyes darkened. “Money doesn’t automatically mean class, little brother. I believe Dean could be a millionaire yet he would still be quite uncouth. Or did you miss the part where he called us whack jobs?”

Castiel had to bite the inside of his cheek to keep from snickering. “Well you were being very rude to him. Why do you expect him to just let you say such horrible things without a rebuttal? He has every right to defend himself.” Pause. “I can assure you though if you would just get to know Dean you might actually come to life him. He has many of the qualities that you admire—that you see within yourself. For example he is devoted to his family just as you are.”

“Have you met them?”

“No. We were settling into our new arrangement before involving our extended families. However he speaks fondly of his younger brother Sam and his mother.”

“What about his father?”

“He has a father, yes.”

Michael laughed softly. “I am not sure whether I should be appalled at your new sense of humor or just pleased that you seem to have let go your grief over Anna’s passing.

Castiel sobered. “Apart of me will always miss Anna. She was the first person I wanted to tell that I was pregnant and I desperately wanted her advice when I was agonizing over what to do. I just knew she would have said something comforting.” There was silence so he continued. “Anna’s death is still a fresh wound on my heart but Dean and the baby do make me feel lighter. I am excited about my future.”

Michael arched a brow. “What about your soul? You were taught the same things that I was. You know where sin leads.”

Exhaustion hit him all at once and Castiel yawned lightly. He wasn’t in the mood for such heavy conversation but he knew this would be a weekend of heavy conversations. “Uriel wanted me to abort, did he tell you that? He offered to make arrangements and to cover for me until I was well enough to return to my duties. Perhaps lying with Dean and having this child will be a mark against my soul but I honestly do not see it that way. Out of all the horrible things people do on a daily basis I hardly think starting a family is one of them.” Footsteps sounded in the foyer signaling Dean and Zachariah were back with their bags. “Besides it is by God’s design that I am able to have children. So unless you are saying he made a mistake I think my soul will be fine.”

Smirking, Michael adjusted his thick golden ring with the family crest stamped onto the front. “It’s early and yet I can already detect this Dean Winchester’s influence in you. Interesting. Is this your phase of roughing it?”

Blushing, Castiel scowled. “No. Dean may not be as sophisticated as you’re used to but he’s sweet with an enormous heart. He’s…real and I appreciate it. And because I know what you are implying, Dean is very intelligent. He attended college and graduated with a degree in Mechanical Engineering.”

“So he just acts like a thug because…?”

“Well he would say he just doesn’t give a shit what other people think of it. I’m starting to approve of his philosophy.” Castiel stood, head held high. “You will make an effort with Dean or I will never speak to you again. This is not an idle threat.”

“I’ll try.” Michael mused. “But we’re not done here. I want to talk more with you about your choices. However that can wait. Why don’t you go get a nap before dinner?”

Effectively dismissed, Castiel nodded once and left the room, making his way up the wide staircase onto the second level where his room had been. He followed the sound of clipped voices until he found Dean and Zachariah in the guest room sniping at each other. Thankfully Zachariah stopped once he walked inside and left, but not before casting Dean a dark look which Dean returned with his middle finger.

“I see he has put you as far away from my room as possible.” Castiel chuckled. “If you would like to be closer there is another guest room right across from mine.”

“Hell yeah, man.” Dean gathered up his things. “For what it’s worth Jeeves is a real asshole. I don’t trust him not to poison my food and shit.”

Laughing, Castiel showed Dean to another room and sat down on the bed while Dean rooted through his bag. “Zachariah is Michael’s personal assistant. You don’t have to bother with him if you don’t want to. However Dean I am so sorry for the way my family behaved. They—when they get it into their minds they know better they refuse to see any other side of the situation.” He sighed sadly. “I am ashamed at how they are treating you.”

Shrugging off his jacket, Dean tossed it into a chair and flopped down beside Castiel. “No disrespect to you but fuck ‘em. I knew they wouldn’t accept me with open arms. I haven’t been punched in the face yet so that’s good at least.”

Castiel grinned. “No I am certain there will be no violence. Michael is above that after all.”

Dean hummed; it didn’t sound like he believed him. “Speaking of Michael, you didn’t tell me your older brother was Superman.”

Castiel was confused. “What do you mean?”

Dean smiled. “He just sorta looks the part. I can see the family resemblance though.”

It was true that most of them looked alike in some way, whether it be the blue of their eyes—all different shades however—or their nearly black hair. They tended to look more like their father than their mother, who was blonde and fair like Hester. Balthazar was also blonde (as was Lucifer) while Gabriel was somewhere in between. Anna had been the odd child out with bright red hair.

Yawning again, Castiel slowly took off his shoes. “I—I would ask that you be prepared for more nonsense from them. But you appear to be holding your own pretty well. I can’t tell whether Michael is impressed by you or appalled.”

Dean winked. “I have that effect on people sometime. Anyway you look tired and I guess I could use a nap too.”

Remembering that this wasn’t in fact his room, Castiel shuffled towards the door. “Yes. Someone will wake us for dinner. Um…” Trailing off, he licked his bottom lip. “Thank you for coming with me Dean. As strange as it sounds I feel stronger having you with me.”

“That sound doesn’t strange.” Dean shrugged. “I get what you’re saying. See ya in a few hours, Cas.”

“Yes.”

Dinner was going to be a trying affair but Castiel was weirdly looking forward to it. Being together with his family for an occasion not about death made him feel oddly happy, maybe because he was looking forward to hearing about their lives. There would be more snide remarks from his side and from Dean but as long as Dean wasn’t truly offended he would try not to worry that much. In another lifetime he would have preferred Dean not rise to their bating, but now he was actually sort of charmed by it. He liked that Dean not only stood up for himself but for him as well. It made him feel…treasured.

He would have to get used to being the center of attention for the next few days. And to putting up with Michael and Naomi’s outlandish reactions to his pregnancy. Afterwards however he would return home with Dean and start the next phase of his life, with or without his siblings’ blessing.

++

Michael spared no expense for dinner, having one of the chef’s from his favorite restaurant make a special house call to cook for them. The table in the dining room was artfully set with their best china and silverware, placemats trimmed in gold with a beautiful flower arrangement for the centerpiece. Michael took his seat at the head of the table with Naomi and Hester on his right, which meant Castiel and Dean were expected to sit on his left. And they did.

They were served by Zachariah.

The chef had made some fancy French dish that basically translated into chicken and Castiel watched with an amused expression as Dean poked at his before slicing into it and taking a little bit. Thankfully the smell wasn’t offending so he didn’t have to worry about getting nauseous. He ate slowly though and focused more on the steamed vegetables just in case the baby decided it wasn’t up for even baked chicken just yet.

“So Castiel,” Naomi began. She had changed out of her beige pantsuit and into a simple baby blue pencil skirt and white blouse. “How far long are you? Are you seeing a suitable doctor?”

Castiel took a sip of water. “I am about seven or eight weeks. And with everything going on I haven’t exactly had time to find a doctor. But everything is progressing as it should be. There…was an incident and I was taken to the emergency room just to be safe. The doctor on call told me things were fine. When we get back to Kansas I will find one.”

Hester frowned. “What sort of incident?”

He waved his fork. “Some unfortunate man attempted to rob me and I was mildly injured in the process. He shoved me down quite hard so I was taken to the ER after I told the EMTs that I was pregnant.”

She shook her head. “How horrible! I swear I do not know what is happening to the world today. Things are out of control.”

Castiel reached for another roll. “He was just down on his luck. I don’t think he meant to hurt me.”

Dean snorted which naturally caught Michael’s attention. “Do you have a counter argument, Dean?” He asked.

Dean glanced around the table before saying, “I think someone got him to go after Cas. It just seemed weird that he’d never had any trouble, and then suddenly he’s knocked up and Uriel disapproves like his ass is on fire and then some mystery robber appears.”

Hester’s brows rose. “You think Uriel hired someone to attack Castiel? But Uriel is a man of faith; he would never do such a thing.”

Dean didn’t argue. “Hey, just telling you how I saw the situation. I could be wrong.”

Naomi cut artfully into her chicken breast. “Pregnant men are targeted for violence more than pregnant women. I am not saying I agree that Uriel had anything to do with it, but well, we all see it on the news and in the newspaper.” Her big blue eyes lifted to Castiel’s face. “You are putting a large target on your back dear brother. Aren’t you worried about that?”

“If anyone even thinks about hurting Cas I’ll kill them.” Dean muttered darkly.

She wasn’t impressed. “And then you’ll be in jail and your child will be fatherless.”

Dean chewed loudly and obnoxiously. “Good thing I got rich in-laws to get me a great lawyer.”

Castiel couldn’t hide his tiny smile; the sight of it apparently making Naomi even more exasperated. She opened her mouth to reply when a tall, nicely dressed figure stepped through the doorway.

“Someone pour me a drink, preferably red wine. Though let’s be honest at this point I would probably drink a beer.” It was Balthazar. He took one look at Castiel and a bright grin broke out across his face. “Cassie! I hear congratulations are in order. You finally let someone till the soil in your garden.”

Michael sighed. “Balthazar, we have a guest.”

Castiel—face red and cheeks warm—motioned to Dean. “Balthazar this is Dean Winchester. Dean this is my brother Balthazar.”

Balthazar sidled up next to Dean and shook his hand. “My you are a pretty one, aren’t you? Am I to assume you’re the one who got our little Cassie pregnant? Good for you.”

Blinking, Dean seemed at a loss of what to say. “Uh, thanks?”

“Indeed.” Balthazar sat down. “Unlike my lovely siblings here I removed the stick from my ass a long time ago and do whatever I want now. I think it’s great you’re starting a family together. Someone with your amazing lips should want to pass them on. If I could have children the way Cassie can, well, I can’t say I wouldn’t be tempted.”

“You’re embarrassing Dean.” Castiel chuckled softly at Dean’s flushed face. “But thank you for your well wishes.”

Balthazar signaled Zachariah for wine. “Of course, what kind of brother would I be if I said anything different? I mean I can’t really see myself ever having kids but you’ve always had a calm temperament. You won’t shake them for no reason.” He snickered. “Besides you are positively glowing right now. Anna would be happy that you’re happy.”

Castiel ducked his head and shoved a forkful of sliced carrots into his mouth to keep himself from tearing up. It wasn’t easy because of his hormones and such but he managed. “Thanks…”

Michael shifted to get everyone’s attention. “I’m surprised you were able to pull yourself away from your computer to actually join us. I didn’t expect it when I informed you about Castiel’s situation.”

Balthazar sighed happily once he received his wine glass. “Like I would miss this for the world! Besides I can just as easily jerk off through web cam here as I can in Paris or London.” Dean coughed and sputtered as his water went down the wrong pipe, making Balthazar laugh. “Do fill him in later on my type of employment, Cassie. He might want a peek.”

Hester made a face. “You have no manners. We are trying to eat.”

Michael tapped his fingers on the table. “If he hasn’t learned them by now I doubt he ever will. As the saying goes you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”

Balthazar smirked. “Could it be that you’re just jealous of all the delectable legs I’ve humped? Hell even our saintly Castiel is getting more than you are. Must chafe those tightly wedged Fruit of the Looms of yours.”

Even though it was played off with a cough, Castiel hadn’t missed Dean’s sudden uncontrolled sliver of laughter. It wouldn’t endear him to Michael but he was glad that the tension had obviously transferred to his brothers and their many issues with each others. As he listened to Balthazar and Michael trade barbs, he couldn’t help but feel a sense of normalcy for the first time in a long time. His family wasn’t the conventional type and before Sunday he would probably regret having driven all this way, but for right now he could honestly say he had missed this.

Castiel would never regret entering the priesthood but it had been a lonely sort of life even with Anna’s frequent letters and calls. He wished he had been more involved in planning his future before now but everything happened for a reason—so people kept telling him anyway. And had he not moved to Kansas he never would have met Dean or be starting a family with him.

Perhaps things worked out exactly as they had always meant to, Anna’s death aside. That would never be something he figured was supposed to happen no matter how many times it was said.

Dinner carried on with more back and forth between his brothers, with Naomi and Hester occasionally offering their own input, usually to chastise Balthazar. Dean was obviously amused that someone else stood up to Michael but Castiel didn’t see him and Balthazar becoming good friends. Balthazar was a good man but he was also an acquired taste. Still an ally was an ally as far as he was concerned. And they needed all that they could get.

++

Standing outside on the front porch of the Novak house the next day with his cell phone still dangling in his hand, Dean exhaled deeply and replayed his brother’s words in a loop inside his mind. To just be as calm as he could and not to start any unnecessary drama that would devolve into some type of fight. He was only there for one more day and surely couldn’t he be on his best behavior until then? Honestly? Dean was kinda leaning towards no. The Novaks were crazy as hell and he could feel his blood pressure spiking every time he was forced to interact with them.

Michael was a smug son of a bitch.

Naomi was a condescending shrew.

Hester was just plain balls to the walls crazy and Balthazar was apparently some type of webisode pervert. Which the latter he could deal with more than anything else. At least he was genuinely happy for Cas and not trying to get him to give their baby up for adoption. Which, what the hell?!

So breakfast had been more of the same bitching and Dean had tuned most of it out to enjoy his eggs and French toast. Balthazar’s arrival had taken the heat off him and it was funny listening to him rag on Michael while Michael’s brows drew so close together they started to look like one long uni-brow. But anyway afterwards Dean and Castiel had been in his old room, looking at old yearbooks and talking about Cas’ childhood when their presence was requested downstairs. In the living room they found some dude neither of them knew who was introduced as a therapist. He was there to help Castiel come to terms with his pregnancy.

Right then Dean knew whatever came out of his mouth would be bullshit and it was. He just pushed the same party line Michael did, that the best thing for the baby would be to give it to someone else. Dean realized he wasn’t the smartest man or the richest man, but damned if he wouldn’t be an awesome father. There was no real doubt in his mind about it. Sure he would screw up sometimes. And yeah maybe he didn’t know about all of the things he should but he could learn. He could learn about diaper rash and potty training.

What he already knew however was that he loved that kid so much. He just did. Just like he’d loved Sam from the moment the idea of being a big brother was put into his head. As long as there was love it didn’t matter where the kid came from, and he couldn’t get why Michael couldn’t grasp that. Yelling at him and the therapist—Ion—probably hadn’t helped the situation but he just couldn’t take anymore bullshit.

Thankfully Castiel had asked Ion to leave and Dean had followed him out to get some air so that he wouldn’t try to put his fist through Michael’s face. A part of him wondered if Michael wanted him to hit him; maybe to prove what a fuck up he was to Castiel.

The Novaks didn’t like him and that feeling was pretty damn mutual. Well Balthazar appeared okay with him and he could deal with his flirting—it was better than being told he wasn’t good enough for Cas. But Cas was great, sticking up for him and everything. It was hard to go against your family sometimes and it meant a great deal to Dean that he was willing to.

He would do the same when it came to dealing with John.

After the mess with Ion Castiel suggested they get out of the house for a while and Dean was more than happy to do so. First they made a rather personal trip to the cemetery where Castiel’s parents and his sister were buried so that he could visit their graves, and Dean had stood off to the side as he brushed away leaves and spoke lowly to the thick headstones. He thought he heard his name once or twice but he hadn’t wanted to pry.

When Cas was done they headed into town to just mess around and do a bit of window shopping. As probably with most expecting people they migrated to a store that sold baby stuff. Nothing was bought but it was nice looking at stuff and getting an idea of what they might want for the nursery.

Slipping his phone back into his jacket pocket, Dean tried to gather up the willpower to finally go inside. He and Cas had technically been back for fifteen minutes but he’d stalled outside, saying he’d wanted to check in with Sam. It hadn’t been a lie but he’d expected a longer conversation with his brother and now that it was over, he was tempted to pretend he had another call to make. Better to find out how things were at work from Charlie than to risk body slamming Michael onto the carpet.

As he was waffling he noticed a sleek red car making its way towards the driveway before pulling up behind the Impala. A short guy wearing dark sunglasses hopped out, pulling a cake box out of the backseat. He smoothed a hand over his brown hair and strolled up the walkway, removing his shades when he caught sight of Dean. His eyes were sort of honey brown and practically brimming with trifling-ness.

“And who might you be?” He questioned, looking Dean up and down. “Wait. Are you him? Are you Castiel’s baby daddy?”

Great, another Novak. “Yeah. Names Dean Winchester.”

The newcomer grinned widely. “Gabriel Novak. Well this is just great. You’re all…” He snapped his fingers. “Oh Michael must love you! C’mon, let’s tell everyone I’m here!”

Before Dean could reply he was being dragged inside and Gabriel was announcing very loudly that he was in the building. He was greeted by his family with Michael, Naomi and Hester being more or less subdued while Balthazar and Castiel each gave him a hug.

Guess he’s another black sheep.

Gabriel placed his cake box on the coffee table. “I met your boy toy, Cassie. Bet he’s a tiger in the sack, huh?” Castiel punched him in the arm but he just laughed. “I made you a cake to celebrate your being knocked up!”

He flipped off the top and Dean snorted so loudly he felt it in his temples. Nestled on pretty pink paper was a large vanilla penis shaped cake, complete with round testicles. Written across the shaft was Yay! You’re Pregnant! Now Eat Me! Needless to say Michael wasn’t amused but Dean couldn’t help himself. He threw his head back and laughed; the sound building in his stomach before erupting out of his mouth.

How in the world was Castiel related to these people?

“Get that thing out of my house.” Naomi muttered.

“I think I know him.” Balthazar ducked down to stick his finger into the frosting.

“Who wants a ball?” Gabriel asked excitedly. “I’ve got two of them!”

Dean laughed harder.

++

Dinner with Gabriel and Balthazar had been a wild evening with neither guy giving a shit about what they said, or Michael’s pretenses about being fancy. They cursed and talked about sex and asked inappropriate questions about their niece or nephew’s conception. It was kinda annoying but Dean liked it better than being grilled or called some type sexual predator.

Stretched out on his bed later that night when everyone else was most likely asleep, he hummed along to the song playing on his phone and just let his mind drift. Assholes aside he was doing okay here. He figured he could have been some big shot business dude and they still would have found some reason not to like him. Probably the fact that he had a penis instead of a vagina.

Knock! Knock!

Frowning and praying that it wasn’t Michael, he removed his ear bids and bid whoever it was to come in. Surprisingly Gabriel entered in honest to God silk pajamas, snacking on a candy bar.

“Sup Deano.” He said looking around. “I didn’t wake you, did I?”

“No.” Dean replied, turning on the bedside lamp. “I was just listening to some music.”

Gabriel nodded. “I just wanted to chat a little bit. I know Michael and the other cyborgs gotta be giving you hell for what happened with Castiel. You shouldn’t take it personal though. They’re dicks like that.”

Dean snickered. “I’m okay. I…get that they just want what is best for Cas.”

Gabriel made a face. “I guess.” He moved over to a chair and sat down. “Michael and Naomi have always been strict ever since our parents died. Mom and dad were religious and stuff but I honestly don’t know if they’d be acting like those two are. But ya know, they died and Michael became our legal guardian. He can be a real asshole but he does love us in his own asshole way.”

I can understand that. “Makes sense.”

Gabriel huffed. “He just—he has this picture of what we should all be like and we ain’t it. I think Balthazar and I were lost causes right from the start but Castiel was different.” He frowned. “After finding out he could have kids and that he liked guys they immediately sought out to help him not give into his homosexual urges. Bal, Luke and I all called bullshit but Cassie was young and he wanted to make people happy.”

Dean filled in the blanks. “So he became a priest because they wanted him to…”

“Bingo.” Gabriel licked chocolate off his fingers. “He liked it but I think if given a real choice he wouldn’t have joined up for all that. But they were proud of him for being so strong and resolute and blah blah blah. Meanwhile Lucifer was in and out of juvy—he’s in jail now by the way and Bal and I rained terror at every turn. Heh no wonder Castiel wanted to be the good kid.” Pause. “But you wanna know something funny? I haven’t seen him smile the way he does with you since he was little.”

Something in Dean’s chest expanded and he swallowed hard. “Yeah?”

Gabriel smirked. “Yeah. My baby bro is into you and hey, I’m cool with it. Have ten kids…I don’t care. You hurt him though and I’ll be using your nut sac as the model for my next cake. I haven’t always done right by Castiel or had time for him but I want him happy.”

The big brother speech was something Dean could always respect since he was a big brother after all. “You don’t gotta worry about that. Though I’m kinda glad you are…”

Getting up, Gabriel saluted him. “Yeah I’m gonna try to be better about that sort of thing. And give up the strippers.”

With that he was gone and Dean was left sniggering to himself. He waited all of five minutes before tiptoeing out of his room and across the hall to where Castiel’s was. He knocked as quietly as he could, prepared to leave when the door opened moments later to reveal Castiel and his adorable bed head.

Dean grinned at him. “Were you asleep?”

Castiel rubbed his eyes. “No, I was reading some old book I found on my bookshelf. Is everything alright?”

“Yeah just uh—thought I’d come over and see if you wanted to fool around.” He teased. “I can be quiet.”

“Hester would turn the hose on us.” Castiel laughed, biting his bottom lip.

“Ah damn.” Dean pretended to be upset. There may have been a tiny bit of truth in it. “Guess I’ll just say goodnight then and hope for pleasant dreams.”

Castiel smiled. “Goodnight, Dean.”

Their eyes met in the dim hallway and for a second they just stared at each other. Usually Dean hated when people stared at him or looked him in the eye for too long, but with Castiel it was different. Somehow comforting and scary all at the same time, like Cas could see all the parts of him he tried to hide, yet he wasn’t repulsed by them. He already trusted Dean and thought him a man of his word while having no idea of Dean’s screwed up family dynamic. Of things that he wished he could forget.

Licking his lips, he said screw it and placed a soft kiss to the corner of Castiel’s mouth. “Night, Cas.” Turning, he made his way back to his room and tried not to think about everything that could go wrong.

Because things were never easy for Dean Winchester and he didn’t expect them to get that way now.

Chapter Text

Chapter Six

While Michael and the others didn’t agree with his decision to keep his baby—and said so every chance they got—they were not about to let him tire himself out doing anything strenuous. So when he had expressed interest in taking a few things from his room back to Kansas, Michael had snapped his fingers for Zachariah to get boxes and do all of the packing for him while he supervised. Castiel didn’t really want Zachariah touching his things but he conceded, knowing he would never hear the end of it if he didn’t. Zachariah was surprisingly gentle however as he wrapped up Castiel’s things and securely packed them in the boxes he’d found.

There was no real conversation between them however which was fine with Castiel. No doubt Zachariah would have parroted whatever Michael said and he wasn’t in the mood to hear that from someone who wasn’t a member of his family.

After they were done and his things were in a neat pile by the door for when he left, Castiel meandered downstairs to see if Dean wanted to perhaps go out again. The kiss from last night had been such a small thing but even now as he thought about it, it made him smile. He also wondered if Dean had been joking when he suggested that they fool around. Most likely but the idea didn’t upset him, not that he ever thought it would. And well things were still new between them and seemed to be on a path where they made it up as they went along. However he would be lying if he said he hadn’t thought about being with Dean again, like that. It was hard not to considering how gorgeous Dean was which was just one of his attractive qualities.

And their time in the bedroom had been quite…enlightening.

Instead of Dean he found Balthazar stretched out on the living room sofa talking pictures of himself with his phone, and thankfully he had all of his clothes on.

“Have you seen Dean?” Castiel inquired with a hint of amusement.

Balthazar glanced at him before snapping his picture. “Gabriel took him out for some guy time. Don’t worry I’m sure he will return him in one piece. Honestly I’m surprised your dear Dean doesn’t want to blow his brains out by now, what with having to put up with Michael and Naomi. And when did our Hester become such a pill?”

Castiel chuckled and lowered himself onto the loveseat. “They are just behaving in the way they assume is right.”

Balthazar rolled his eyes. “They are judgmental assholes. But they are also my siblings and I love them. It’s just best that I love them from afar.” Putting his phone down, he grinned. “So Cassie, tell me more about this Dean. Michael hates him so naturally I approve of him one hundred percent.”

Castiel pulled a pillow into his lap. “I like him a lot. I mean he’s very sweet and he has been great since finding out I was pregnant. Michael is being unfair about this whole thing because Dean is just a normal person. They don’t seem to want to look beyond his surface, which means they are missing the truly amazing man that he is.”

His brother shrugged. “Actually Michael is being unfair because you dared to go against his wishes of never touching a penis that wasn’t your own. I hate to say it Cassie but he thinks you’ve somehow brought some type of shame upon the family.”

Unfortunately that was exactly what Castiel expected. “Yes well, there is nothing I can do about that now. Besides I will be returning to Kansas and then he can pretend this never happened. I doubt anyone knows.”

Balthazar smiled deviously. “I…may have texted the news to a few old friends of mine. It’s a wonderful thing and it should be celebrated, not hidden away like some dirty little secret.”

Castiel frowned slightly but he wasn’t angry. “Be that as it may, it will just make things more awkward while I am here. Once the rumors get started and get back to Michael, he will push even harder for me to allow him to handle everything.”

Balthazar appeared contrite. “I’m sorry, Cassie. But even if he does get up his own ass—as he is wont to do—who cares? He can’t make you do anything and if he tries I will smack him.”

There were things Michael could theoretically do if he were so inclined, one of which making the new life he was trying to begin that much harder. Michael had friends in high places; judges, lawyers, doctors…one phone call and he could turn the situation into something very difficult. Castiel didn’t think Michael was that cruel but he honestly didn’t know. Years had passed since they lived together and there was a chance he could do things under the mantle of doing what was right.

Such as try to get his baby taken away from him.

No. Not even Michael would be that cruel.

Still the thought had him wrapping a protective arm around his stomach. Upon noticing the change in his demeanor, Balthazar turned to face him. “I realize I haven’t been the best brother lately, or ever I suppose. But trust me when I say you have nothing to worry about when it comes to Michael. If he even tried to do something you didn’t want, I’d lock him in the basement and refuse to let him out until he saw reason. Naomi and Hester too.”

Castiel smiled. “Hopefully it won’t come to that.” He wet his lips. “So um, how is your web business going?”

Balthazar laughed. “Quite well. I know it seems tasteless to some but the money is great. And it’s not like I’m doing porn or anything. Not really anyway.”

“I would be too embarrassed to…perform sexual acts knowing someone is watching me.”

“That’s half the thrill. Uploading a new video and then seeing the little counter tick up and up. I’ve even considered adding a request box so my viewers can ask for what they want to see.”

Castiel nodded slowly. “I hope that all works out for you. And that you are being careful with your privacy and such. I hear that being online can be dangerous if you don’t take the necessary precautions.”

Balthazar hummed. “Yes but I tend to move around so much I doubt anyone could find me unless they were actively looking. To this day I have never encountered what I would consider to be a fan. Which is slightly horrid for my ego. If it weren’t for the numerous emails I get telling me how sexy I am I would feel unloved.”

Castiel snorted. “Unloved even with that counter ticking up?”

Balthazar waved a hand. “Just a little. But enough about me and my job. Let’s talk about you and what you plan to name your baby. I know for a fact Gabriel is going to ask you to name it after him whether it is a boy or a girl, however I think you should name it after me. Balthazar is such an odd name—I would feel better knowing there was another in the world.”

Castiel nibbled on his bottom lip. “I will take it under consideration though Dean also has say in what our child is named. Perhaps he even has one picked out.”

Balthazar pouted. “Hm I suppose you could always save it for your second child then.”

The thought of more children had honestly never crossed his mind. He was still trying to deal with the one that was forthcoming. And even now he wasn’t being entirely honest with Dean about it—hadn’t been since the night of his attack. He wanted to tell him the truth but he was more than a little terrified at how he would react. If Dean left him he wasn’t sure what he would do or how he would survive without help. Gabriel and Balthazar would probably help him financially so that he didn’t have to go to Michael, but they would have nothing to do with the hands on aspect. And he needed that. He needed a partner to help him with the things he didn’t know.

Putting off telling the whole story would only make it harder later on but he just wasn’t ready to reveal his secret yet. He had already gone to quite a lot of trouble to keep it hidden, even within his own mind.

“I’m not sure there will be more children.” He admitted.

“Of course there will be.” Balthazar sounded so certain about it. “Dean looks like the type that would want more than one.”

“Perhaps but who says he would want more with me?” Castiel questioned. “At best Dean and I are friends by the necessity that we are having this baby together. There are still quite a few months to go and he may discover it to be a situation he doesn’t wish to repeat.”

“Bullshit. It might be early but I would bet money on dear little Dean being sprung on you. And if he isn’t already he will be soon enough.” Pause. “Because you are a kind, sensitive person and anyone not related to you would fall in love with you so fast it’s insane. Mark my words little brother. I know these things.”

Castiel wanted to point out that he knew many things but he didn’t. Speaking anything like that out loud felt like a recipe for disaster; something the universe would screw up simply because it could. He was just happy that Dean was with him one hundred percent when it came to their child. He wasn’t going to push for the white picket fence type of life that some people were lucky enough to have.

“We’ll see.” He said eventually.

The rest of their conversation was decidedly much lighter as they reminisced about their childhood and all of the naughty things Balthazar used to get. Castiel had forgotten some of it and found himself laughing very hard as he was reminded of the time Balthazar ran completely nude through one of the church picnics on a dare from a friend. Mrs. Penny—their eighty year old neighbor—had thrown dollar bills after him much to the surprise of everyone. Michael had been livid and grounded Balthazar for a month, but that didn’t stop him from sneaking out whenever he pleased. Usually with Gabriel as some type of lookout.

Castiel had never been that brave though he often envied his brothers’ bravery at doing whatever they pleased whenever they pleased. They often got into trouble but the fun they had beforehand always appeared worth it. He could attest to that now in an odd way. After all his night with Dean had been extremely fun but with what could be considered dire consequences in the aftermath. Except everything was apparently working out…just like it usually did for his brothers.

He hated to think of the lesson his younger self would have taken from this.

About an hour later Balthazar announced that he was going to meet some friends for midday drinking, kissing Castiel loudly on the cheek before he left. Hoping that Gabriel was behaving himself and not causing too much trouble for Dean, Castiel migrated into the study where Michael kept their family photo albums in a big glass cabinet. He pulled out one that he remembered looking through when he was younger and flopped down onto the leather sofa in the corner.

He didn’t remember much about his parents but he knew they were good people. He knew they believed in being there for family and that they had a strong belief in their faith. Still he couldn’t help but wonder how differently his life would have turned out had they not died. Michael had faith but he also expected others to follow his lead without question. Perhaps he had learned it from their parents but Castiel doubted it. The others would have said if that was the case.

They would never know their grandchild just like they never knew Anna’s children—unless they had now all met up in Heaven—and that made him sad. As did the thought of Anna never playing with her new niece or nephew. She would have been an amazing Aunt because she had been an amazing mother. I can only hope that she is watching over me and providing whatever help she can.

As he was turning the pages slowly and scanning over the photos with a tiny smile, Michael poked his head into the room. “Ah there you are Castiel. There is someone I want you to meet.”

Castiel arched a brow. “I hope it’s not another therapist. Dean might hit this one when he returns.”

Michael smirked. “No.” He escorted a young women into the room with strawberry blonde hair and round if slightly vacant blue eyes. “This is Daphne Allen and she is a member of our church.”

Sensing it was time to pay attention; Castiel closed the photo album and left it resting on his lap. “Hello.”

She smiled. “Hi. It’s nice to meet you. Michael has told me a lot about you.”

Castiel glanced to his brother. “Ah. Well unfortunately Michael has not told me anything about you. Are you here to pray for me or with me?”

Michael gestured to Daphne. “Actually Castiel I informed Daphne of your situation with the baby and everything, and she was quite interested. Apparently she would be very willing and open to marrying you and passing the child off as her own. Providing you stay out of sight for the remainder of your pregnancy.” He actually grinned. “Daphne has a nice job and she is a respectable member of our community. I think you could make a new appropriate family with her.”

When it was clear that Michael wasn’t joking, Castiel wet his lips. He reminded himself to remain calm and civil because this wasn’t Daphne’s fault. Even if she agreed to the madness his brother was saying surely Michael had approached her first because that was how he was. He would have no qualms about pulling her aside and asking her thoughts on the whole thing. Or possibly goading her into thinking anything about this would be a good idea.

So he decided to start with her. “May I ask why you would be okay with entering into a marriage in name only? I—I am gay so…”

She continued so smile serenely. “I believe the affliction of homosexuality can be managed or even cured with the right dose of prayer and self perseverance. And if not well, I cannot have children of my own so raising a child together would sustain me if that is all I you could give me.”

Castiel felt his ire fade a little. “I am sorry that you are not able to conceive but playing house would not solve anything. It would make more issues and I do not want to put a child into an environment like that. So it appears Michael asked you here for nothing. Good-bye.”

Michael frowned. “Daphne would you wait in the living room while I speak with Castiel.” Nodding, she ducked out into the hallway. “Really, little brother you are being unreasonable. I am trying very hard to make your life easier. Why won’t you let me help you?”

“Because this is not the way I want to be helped. Bringing a strange woman to me and expecting me to be all for marrying her? That does not make any sense.” Castiel huffed. “Besides the fact that I would never want to pretend just for the sake of my reputation, I have Dean.”

“What about the family’s reputation?” Michael inquired, stone faced. “Already there are rumors swirling about you and what has become of you. People will turn into horrible little gossips that will be whispering about it for months to come. None of us deserve that.”

“So this is less about making my life easier and more about the family name.” Castiel shook his head sadly from side to side. “I am offended that you care more about the persona you want people to see than your own flesh and blood. However if you had not ordered me to come home they would be none the wiser.” Pushing the album aside, he stood. “And I can just as easily leave if what is being said about me is such an inconvenience.”

He didn’t wait for his brother to reply. Instead he stalked out of the room and through the house until he was outside heading towards the gazebo. He sat down on the wicker sofa and exhaled, brows narrowed in thought. He loved his family and would do anything for them, but their need to live up to some impossible standard they had set for themselves was not his problem. Michael probably meant well but it was clear he wasn’t listening, perhaps never would. Returning to Pontiac was a mistake—he should have put his foot down when he had the chance. Seeing Balthazar and Gabriel was wonderful but he could have invited them to Kansas.

Next time he would know better. Because there was no way he was going to let Michael dictate one second more of his life. He certainly wasn’t going to marry a woman just to keep the neighbors from talking.

He supposed it could be worse; his brother could not care at all instead of being dreadfully overbearing.

Too bad there wasn’t a type of solid middle ground where they could both get what they wanted. For Michael that would be knowing the family name was safe. For him it would be his siblings realizing he was capable of planning and controlling his own life without them going to extremes to make it better.

“Hey.”

Castiel looked up as Dean made his way around the side of the house. He was still in one piece; apparently Gabriel hadn’t dismembered him and thrown him into a lake. Which of course was a good thing. In fact Dean looked happy and relaxed, skin lightly flushed to the point where his lovely freckles were even more noticeable. “Hello Dean. How was your outing with Gabriel?”

Dean smiled and dropped down beside him, spreading an arm out behind him. “Not bad. We had a few beers and played darts, then a little pool. He’s kinda obnoxious but he cares about you so he’s not so bad. Promised to bake me a dirty apple pie made to look like boobs or something.”

Castiel chuckled. “I am happy you two are getting along.”

Dean nodded. “So what’s up? Why you out here all by your lonesome?”

He knew telling Dean about the incident would anger him, but he didn’t want to carry the burden alone. “Michael tried to give me a wife. He brought some poor woman here thinking I would agree to marry her and pass the child off as hers.”

Dean’s shoulders tensed. “What is wrong with that prick? I mean I get he’s your brother but geeze.”

Indeed. “In his own very weird way he is trying to be helpful. But my happiness comes last to protecting the Novak name and all that entails.”

“Dude, ya know I’m glad you’re the one I knocked up. I mean you’re a little socially awkward but it’s kinda adorable. I’d be pulling my hair out right now if I had to deal with anyone else in your family long term.” Dean tugged at him lightly until he was leaning against his side. “I hope that made sense—I’m kinda buzzed.” He gave a warm sloppy smile.

“Yes it did.” Castiel mused. Dean was a strong presence beside him, his body warm and smelling faintly of leather and whatever aftershave he had used that morning. It was very comforting. “I love all of my siblings but coming here has reminded me why we never really connected anymore after I left. I—I was the strain upon the family. More so than Anna, Gabriel or Balthazar. At least they weren’t…like this.”

“There is nothing wrong with you, Cas.” Dean said softly. “Being gay is just how God made you and for them to say otherwise makes them hypocrites. Same for the baby thing. Seriously, would they rather you were a straight serial killer as long as you didn’t like dick? That makes no sense to me.”

Castiel blushed. “I’ve—well I guess they’ve always made me somewhat ashamed of desiring men. It was something I tried to pretend didn’t exist and I was doing a good job until recently, as you know. I would look and then pray for forgiveness. Confess my sins in the quiet of my own room and hope I was forgiven.” He swallowed thickly. “Anna however would always tell me I was fine. Normal. She never said an unkind word against me or my choices. I so wish you could have met her, Dean. She would have really liked you.”

Though if she hadn’t passed away I wouldn’t have questioned my faith and ultimately met Dean. An impossible situation it seems…

Dean kissed his temple. “I’m sure I would have liked her too.”

++

By the time mumblings about dinner began Dean’s buzz had worn off and he was back to thinking about just how damn annoying most of the Novaks were. In the past he was protective of Sam and offered to pretty much beat up anyone that looked at him funny, but he could never imagine going to the lengths Michael was currently doing, all under the bullshit reason of making things easier on Cas. Because he wasn’t making things easier by bringing weird women in to be his wife or suggesting they not raise their own baby. Like, Dean got the urge to want to keep your little brother safe but sometimes you had to let them live their own lives and make mistakes.

And yeah he realized he was calling himself a mistake but…oh well. He was still better than some strange chick. At least he knew some of the things that Cas liked.

Anyway since it was a nice afternoon—not too hot and not too cold—Dean let himself be cajoled into grilling up some burgers. He’d blabbed to Gabriel earlier that he made the best burgers ever and now Gabriel wanted him to put his meat where his mouth was. Heh. Of course the Novaks had one of those huge grills with tong holders and a little shelf for condiments; it really put his modest one back home to shame. Still he was excited to use it and got started as soon as Michael begrudgingly gave him the go ahead.

He had just got it fired up when Naomi appeared at his side with several long kabobs of vegetables. “I trust you know what to do with these,” she said, face blank.

Shove them up your already stiff ass? “Yup. Thanks.” He took the platter from her and sat it on a small table off to the side.

Seeing that it was just them outside at the moment, Naomi folded her arms over her frill-less white blouse. “So you plan to take Castiel back to Kansas with you Sunday night?”

Dean arched a brow. “Uh, yeah. We’re going home.”

She hummed. “Michael and I don’t think that is a good idea. He should remain here where he can be well looked after.”

Dean picked up a pair of silver tongs, using them to transfer the kabobs to the grill. “Well Castiel thinks it’s a great idea and he’s the one who is actually pregnant so…”

She rolled her eyes. “Castiel is living in a fantasy world where he will have this baby and live happily ever after with you. However I think we both know that’s not the case.”

Dean frowned at her. “Why isn’t that the case? Cas can stay with me forever if he wants. In fact I—I’d be totally fine with that. I’m committed to raising this kid with him.”

She looked towards the house. “Yes. Until you meet someone else and get married, and he is ultimately left out in the cold. I don’t think that is beyond the realm of reason considering the kind of man you are. He thinks you are so noble because you are willing to meet his family and cater to his midnight cravings, but Castiel isn’t looking towards the future.” Pause. “A future in which he has to contend with more children from a stable home. A future in which he is forever barred from being a priest again or finding a suitable wife of his own because of you.”

He had to inhale and exhale slowly to keep from snapping at her. “Look lady I get it. You and your jacked up brother wanna pretend you’re Pontiac royally or something. And you have got it into your head that Cas having a baby or liking men will somehow mess that up. Well, tough shit. Because this is happening and it’s gonna be awesome.”

Naomi’s eyes lowered to slits like a cat. “How much would it take to get you to sign away your parental rights and walk away right now?”

Dean blinked at her. “Excuse me?”

“I will write you a check for the amount you desire if you leave Castiel here and never contact him again.” She replied seriously.

“Are you on drugs? You can’t just pay me off like I work for you.” He said through clenched teeth. “Jesus Christ you guys are a piece of work.”

Naomi grinned. “Oh please. I would be doing both of you a favor. You’re not father material Dean. You might try your best but your best will never be good enough. At least this way you can do something good for your child and for Castiel. Take the money and leave, let Castiel have a fresh start without you. The fresh start he deserves.”

Before he realized what he was doing, he was pointing the tongs at her face. “Okay pants suit you listen to me because I am only going to say this once. I don’t want your goddamn money. All I want is Cas and our baby. We are going back to Kansas and we’re gonna be happy, and all of you can just fuck right off. I’m serious. You get in my face again and I’ll make sure you never see your niece or nephew.”

Dean wasn’t sure whether Naomi believed his threat but he was being one hundred percent truthful with it. He would do whatever he could to make sure they never had any contact with his kid. He’d try his best to explain to Castiel the reasons why, hoping he would understand. Their baby didn’t need people like Michael and Naomi when it had a Sam. And a Benny and a Charlie because no doubt they would want to be involved as a surrogate Uncle and Aunt.

God they have no respect for anyone and especially none for Cas. It’s like they think he’s too stupid to make his own decisions. I bet if he had decided to marry what’s her face they’d be praising him though.

Naomi was still standing beside him, probably about to say something else. The only reason she didn’t was because Castiel exited the kitchen with a big bowl of salad. He stopped and looked between them before placing it on the patio table and moving up beside Dean.

He rubbed Dean’s lower back soothingly. “That smells good.”

Dean smiled, letting their conversation freeze Naomi out. “Thanks. Wait until I get to the main event. You’ve been doing good with food so hopefully you can take a bite. It would be a shame for you to miss out on my world famous burgers.”

Castiel laughed lightly. “I will do my best. What makes them world famous?”

Dean nudged his side. “If I told you that I would have to tie you up and throw you over my shoulder. Take you some place secluded until you forgot.” Castiel grinned even as his ears pinked and Dean relaxed just a little. He returned the grin with one of his own and for a few moments they just smiled at each other like idiots.

But it was nice and it pissed off Naomi which was an added bonus. She stalked away, veering back inside just as everyone else started to file out.

Castiel glanced after her but didn’t comment or seemed too phased by her behavior. He pulled out a chair at the round table and sat down, content to wait until the food was done. Dean couldn’t wait until they were back home and away from this craziness. He knew his parents would have stuff of their own to say but no way would they be this bad.

“I got your meat.” Gabriel snickered. “Hey my favorite porno started that way.”

“Yeah I don’t think this is like that.” Dean teased. “In fact I know this isn’t like that.”

“Your loss sailor.” Gabriel blew him a kiss and dropped the plate of raw burgers onto the table. “Forget that veggie crap and get to the good stuff! My belly needs a-fillin’!”

“I’m sure your arteries are already filled.” Hester mused with a rather spiteful tone. “Castiel. I figured you were thirsty so I made you some iced tea.”

As he reached for the tall glass of iced tea she held out to him, Gabriel swooped in and all but snatched it, spilling a few drops onto the ground. “This looks great. I hope it’s sweet though because I hate the unsweetened shit.”

Hester scowled. “That is not for you. I made it for Castiel. Give it back to him.”

Gabriel shrugged. “I don’t think Cassie minds if I have a sip. I mean I don’t have kooties or whatever. Well okay there was that one time but I took some antibiotics and they cleared it right up.” He grinned and brought the glass to his mouth when suddenly she grabbed for it, tipping most of it down the front of his shirt. “What the fuck?!”

“Look what you did!” She shouted. “Look what you did! Why must you ruin everything? I made that especially for Castiel and you—you just spilled almost all of it!”

Everyone stared at her but it was Castiel who replied, “It is alright Hester. I’m sure it was delicious. You could always make me another.”

Gabriel dabbed at his shirt with a paper towel. “Jesus it was tea not ambrosia. Just go make some more.”

She threw her hands up. “I wouldn’t have to make more if you respected boundaries. Seriously. Our brother is pregnant and you steal from him? What’s next? Will you take food I prepare for him as well?”

Dean tilted his head to the side. “What was so special about that freaking tea? Lipton doing something different with the recipe or something?” A dark thought crossed his mind. “Did you do something to it? Something weird?”

Hester blinked at him. “What? Of course not. What are you talking about?”

He turned away from the grill. “You tell me. You’re mighty upset over it.”

She waved him away. “I will go make more.”

The niggling feeling in the back of Dean’s mind wouldn’t go away, so he put down his tongs and picked up the glass. There was enough left for a hefty swallow. “Gabe, drink this.”

Gabriel’s eyebrow cocked into his hairline but he reached for the glass anyway. “Okay…” He moved in a sort of stilted slow motion, bringing the rim to his mouth bit by bit.

Dean nearly expected the Jaws theme song to starting playing. Gabriel was turning it up and the liquid was rushing towards his lips when Hester winced and yanked it away, pouring the remaining fluid out onto the grass. She looked guilty as hell.

“What did you do?’ Dean asked heatedly. “Did you drug it? Did you put something in there that would hurt him?”

“Dean I don’t think she would do such a thing.” Castiel wet his lips.

Dean wasn’t buying that. “Then why did she freak out when Gabriel was gonna drink it? Huh? No one loves tea that damned much.” Feeling his anger getting stronger, he stepped closer to the woman in question. “What did you do? And don’t try to play dumb because it’s obvious you did something. Tell me or I swear to god I’ll call the cops on your crazy ass.”

“That’s enough.” Michael replied just as Hester said, “I—I was only trying to make things right for Castiel!”

Son of a bitch! “You spiked it, didn’t you?”

Hester took a step back. “You don’t understand and why would you! You’re just a stupid loser set on locking Castiel into a life he shouldn’t have to go through. And what’s worse is that Michael and Naomi are letting it happen! They aren’t trying nearly hard enough to get rid of the real problem. Well, I am not scared or ashamed to do what needs to be done.” A beat. “It’s not a sin to get rid of an abomination.”

Dean’s fingers twitched. “If you were a guy I would knock you the fuck out right now.”

Hester ignored him. “Castiel would not have been harmed, not long term. I simply crushed two Cytotec and put it in his drink. People take them all the time to prevent stomach ulcers.”

Dean stared at her like she was crazy because as far as he was concerned, she was. He’d heard about people forcing miscarriages but he’d never thought he would be able to say he knew one. It wasn’t something he wanted to be able to say. “You’re a psycho and a hypocrite. All of you spout off about God and religion but you’re just a bunch of crazy dickheads hiding behind the bible so that you can do and say fucked up shit.”

Michael sighed. “Dean, we do not condone Hester’s behavior anymore than you do. She knows this is not what we are about.”

“Does she? Because I don’t think she does.” Dean snapped. “I think crazy eyes got it into her head to fix stuff and apparently getting rid of the baby was the way to do it. Granted I’d take your adoption bullshit over this but ain’t none of it good.” He dragged a hand over his face. “I think it would be best if Cas and I just left. Right now. I don’t trust her not to drug his toothpaste.”

Castiel stood. “Dean. I know that you are upset and you have every right to be, but what Hester attempted to do—she thought she was doing right. It’s behavior that is learned.”

Dean frowned. “Cas, I know she’s your baby sister and you don’t wanna think badly of her but she tried to kill your kid. Now is not the time for excuses.”

“I am not excusing her. I am just trying to see the situation from her side.”

“Why? Her side is raining crazy cakes!”

“Dean—”

“No seriously. Why aren’t you like, upset over this? If you had drunk that tea you could have lost the baby.”

“I know that.”

“Right. So, how are you so calm right now? I feel like I could explode out of my skin I’m so fucking mad.”

“Anger won’t solve anything. I would like to speak with Hester alone.”

Maybe it was the two long days of snippy bullshit finally catching up to him but Dean felt like he just couldn’t take anymore nonsense, especially not from Castiel himself. With the exception of Balthazar and Gabriel, the Novaks had been trying to beat him down since he stepped foot in their house. They were rude and intolerable and that would probably never change. He could have handled all of that though. He could have handled their sneering and their muttering because it was never about them. It was about him and Castiel. Yet now he wondered if that was really the case.

He and Cas were gonna have a baby together but Cas didn’t seem to have any objections about pushing him out into the cold for his sister. And yeah perhaps that was how it was supposed to be but not when said sister was fucked up in the head. If it was so easy for Castiel to overlook the major stunt she had just tried to pull, who was to say he wouldn’t eventually give in to Michael’s demands. Would it take a month of needling? Two months before he came to Dean saying he was going back to Pontiac because in hindsight he realized marrying some woman was actually best for him?

The thought of having Castiel and their kid for any amount of time only to lose them made something twist painfully in his gut. If he wasn’t good enough to pick now he guessed he never would be. It made sense; he’d never been good enough before—not with Lydia or anyone else—so why would things suddenly change now?

He should have never let himself get attached.

“I gotta go.” Tightening his jaw, he hurried into the house as fast as his legs would carry him, ignoring whoever was calling his name. His bag was half packed and he tossed the rest of his clothes in, leaving whatever he’d put on the counter in the bathroom because he could easily buy more. He was out at his car in minutes, throwing his duffle into the backseat with more force than necessary.

He slumped behind the wheel and started up, jerking the car into gear and sending it forward with a lurch of his foot on the gas pedal. Congratulations, Naomi. I guess you got what you wanted after all.

++

Hester was repentant for her actions and Castiel forgave her but he didn’t think she was being completely honest. She was sorry but he was certain there was a part of her that was upset she hadn’t succeeded. Michael however said he would not tolerate her actions again, and sent her to stay in a hotel for a while so that she could think about what she had done. Castiel was relieved; he wouldn’t have been able to eat or drink anything she had prepared.

As it was he would never look at her the same again.

Now that he didn’t have to deal with Hester or hear her rash reasons for doing what she had done, his thoughts turned to Dean. In no shape or form had he wanted Dean to leave and he hated the thought that he’d pushed him into it. He’d just—he’d just wanted some time with Hester to sort out what was going on and he hadn’t been able to explain his feelings to Dean.

He wanted to call him but he was nervous. What if Dean hung up on him or didn’t pick up at all? Also did this mean he no longer lived with Dean? Was Dean already on his way back to Kansas without him?

Castiel could still see the look on Dean’s face when he’d requested an audience with Hester instead of leaving with him. He’d appeared utterly devastated and it made him question the things he didn’t know about Dean. Not bad things but things dealing with his self esteem and such.

Sighing deeply, he stared out of the window in his room from the window seat, knees against his chest. His appetite was all but gone thanks to the drama of the evening and he’d fought down nausea at the smell of whatever Michael had ordered. Instead of sitting at the table with his family he’d retreated to his room for some peace and quiet. It was almost ten pm—surely Dean as far away from him by now.

The thought of never seeing Dean again made his chest hurt. He wanted their baby to know his or her other father. Things like that were important.

“Castiel, are you aware there are leftovers for you in the kitchen?” Michael asked as he appeared in the doorway. “There is also a plain salad if that is more to your liking.”

Castiel nodded. “I know. I’m not hungry right now.”

Michael clasped his hands behind his back. “I suppose things seem terribly upsetting right now but I think it’s all for the best. It was only matter of time before Dean left; better he does so now before you are in too deep.”

Castiel huffed. “I am having his child. I would say that is already pretty deep.”

Michael watched him. “Perhaps. However now you can forget about him and focus on the next stages of your life. I think you should meet with Daphne again and get to know her. Once you’re on friendlier terms I’m sure you will change your mind about marrying her. In the meantime I’ll take care of all your medical needs and we can start thinking of things for your nursery. None of those dancing bears or waving turtles.” He smiled. “Everything is going to be alright, Castiel. You’ll see.”

Castiel watched him go and realized this was how it would always be. Michael would continue to make decisions for him, push him to go along with them for the rest of his life. He would probably choose what school his child went to and who he or she could be friends with. It would have a semblance of freedom and that’s all.

No.

If Gabriel and Balthazar could be brave and rebel, he could do the same.

He was quiet as he packed up his things and threw the bag out the window, listening as it landed in the bushes. He crawled out onto the roof and scooted over to the drainpipe, hoping it was still as strong as it had been when Balthazar used to sneak out. Slowly he climbed down it with shaky legs, his shirt ripping on a nail before he reached the ground. There was an odd exhilarating thrill running through his veins as he fished his bag from under thick leaves and started towards the driveway.

That was until he noticed Gabriel sitting on the porch steps looking extremely amused.

“Really?” Gabriel chuckled. “Did you just shimmy down the drainpipe like a teenager?”

Castiel shrugged. “You and Balthazar used to do it all the time. I was careful.”

Gabriel smiled thoughtfully. “So where ya going? And how do you plan to get there?”

Good question. “I—I guess I am walking. I want to go back to Kansas. I can’t stay here, Gabriel. Michael is planning the rest of my life and I can’t take it.”

Gabriel’s expression could only be described as devilish. “Awesome. Though you probably wanna make a pit stop at the Comfort Inn since that’s where Dean is staying. I called in a favor with one of my cop buddy’s and he saw his monster of a car there.”

He hasn’t left yet! “Yes I’ll go there. Thank you.”

Snickering, Gabriel stood and hugged his brother. “Go to the end of the street while I call a cab for you. I’ll stall Michael for a while too and get Bal to help. He’ll enjoy it.”

Castiel smiled. “I’ll call you when we get back to Kansas. I—we should keep in touch better than we did.”

“I agree.” Gabriel said, patting his back. “Now go on before Zachariah sees and tattles or something.”

“Oh! Gabriel can you have my other things shipped to Dean’s once I am settled?”

“Yeah yeah. Go.”

He did not have to tell Castiel again.

Fifteen minutes later and Castiel was knocking on the second door he thought might be Dean’s room. The first being an old man going on a fishing trip tomorrow. He’d been surprisingly nice about the mistake. Castiel however knew he had the right door when a gruff one second barked out before the door was swung open and there was Dean, holding his shirt in his hand.

Castiel stared at his naked chest and the definition of it; at the dusting of hair disappearing beneath his jeans and the two jutting hip bones peeking out over the band. “Hello Dean.” He waited for the door to be possibly slammed in his face.

Dean pulled his shirt on. “How did you find me? Wait never mind. It had to be someone in your family knowing something.”

Castiel cringed. “Yes. Dean I want to apologize for the way I reacted earlier. I wanted to talk to my sister but I didn’t want you to leave. I just wanted to make sure Hester was okay.”

“Nah man I’m sorry. I was upset but I’ve cooled down now and I shouldn’t have run off like I did.” He stepped to the side and let Castiel in. “Guess it’s why I didn’t leave town.”

“You were upset and I understand. I should have left with you.” Castiel put his bag down and sat on the edge of the bed. “My family has its good qualities but it also has its bad ones. They treated you unfairly from the moment they met you and I should have did more to stop it. I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay. We can’t pick our families. I’m just glad you’re here now.” Dean bit his bottom lip. “I wouldn’t have left without you. I wouldn’t have gone home without you.”

And just like that the weight lifted from Castiel’s shoulders. “I am happy to hear that. I am realizing that we are starting our own family unit and that I should pay more attention to your concerns. Thankfully though we won’t have to deal with Michael and Naomi anymore. I suggest we leave in the morning.”

Dean smirked. “Are you saying they don’t know you are here? Cas, did you run away?”

“I snuck out and Gabriel helped me get here.”

“Huh. I guess Michael’s right—I am a bad influence on you.”

“No you’re a good influence. I like how you’ve helped me change.”

Dean’s face flushed. “So uh, do you wanna get something to eat before we turn in for the night? We can share the bed if you don’t mind lying beside me.”

Castiel didn’t mind at all.

++

Impulsive was something Dean had been accused of being since he was a child. He didn’t always think before he did things but most times everything turned out okay, so he didn’t see the harm. And it wasn’t like he would run out into traffic chasing a ball or whatever. Usually he would just bring home hurt animals without thought as to where they would stay, or make some type of grand gesture for whoever he was dating without thought to how they would react.

But this could possibly be the stupidest thing he’d ever considered doing.

After eating a quick breakfast early Sunday morning and leaving the hotel, Dean watched as Castiel fell asleep with his head against the window as they drove along. He looked very peaceful but all Dean could think about was Michael’s anger at finding Castiel was gone and Naomi wanting to sic the cops on them. He was kinda expecting to run into a roadblock at any moment.

Three hours later and they were in Iowa—a detour on the way to Kansas—with no road blocks in sight. Dean felt like he was going to shake out of his skin as he parked in a little parking lot and cut the engine. He exhaled and stared at the brick brown building before gently reaching over and nudging Castiel awake.

Castiel’s eyes opened and he blinked slowly. “Where are we? This doesn’t look like Kansas.”

Dean grinned nervously. “No uh, heh. We’re in Iowa. Okay.” He cleared his throat. “I’ve been thinking—that is while I was driving I was thinking and your brother and sister are kinda scary. And they don’t like me. Hester probably hates me the most but its clear Michael calls the shots so… Anyway he’s not gonna be happy that we ditched them without saying goodbye. Frankly I don’t trust him. He has money and money talks. He could do shit if he really wanted to do.”

Castiel tilted his head to the side. “Dean, you’re rambling.”

Yeah… “I don’t want your asshole brother dipping in our lives again. And if he does I want it clear he can’t kidnap you and take you back to Pontiac and make you marry some girl you don’t know.”

“Dean—”

“Let’s get married.” Dean interrupted. “Here’s the courthouse, we can be in and out in an hour. I know it sounds crazy and we haven’t known each other that long but… I’ve done some screwed up shit in my life that didn’t feel half as right as this does. It won’t be legal in Kansas but I don’t care. It’ll be real and legal for us. So…” He licked his lips. “What do you say, Cas? Will you marry me?”

Chapter Text

Chapter Seven

Dean was exhausted by the time they finally got back home, dropping their bags off to the side the moment he was inside his house. But there was also a weird sort of delirious adrenaline running through his veins as he watched Castiel yawn and slouch down onto the couch, giving a sleepy smile to the bee perched on the table. He looked about ready to pass out for a long nap too and Dean was going to suggest it when he suddenly let out a rather hysterical giggle.

And damn it—it was a giggle no matter how he tried to slice it.

But it was like the fuzz was finally lifting from his brain and he could think just a little bit clearer. He could focus on the fact that he was now a freaking married man. He was married. Sure they’d had to use his rings for the ceremony and yeah it didn’t matter so much in Kansas because same sex marriage still wasn’t legal, but in his heart he knew that he was married. The marriage certificate helped too of course.

In a way it was weird because he’d idly envisioned marrying Lydia one day, back when things between them were good. He’d always assumed he’d propose over some fancy dinner with a big ass ring he couldn’t really afford. And she would cry and quote Pride and Prejudice because that was usually how it happened on tv. In any case the end result would have been them happily engaged for a while before finally planning the wedding. Instead he’d gotten married without any of his family in the office of a nice old man who smelled like smoked cabbage, while his secretary threw flower petals at them.

If anyone knew what he was thinking he’d never live it down, but it had actually been kinda perfect. They’d chuckled through their vows—which they recited from the justice while adding their own spin—and Castiel had promised to get him a real ring once they got home. Afterwards there’d been the kiss…a really great kiss and then they’d gone on their merry way. No frills or tuxedos or food—bummer!—just the two of them staring into each others’ eyes and promising to always be there for one another.

Right about now would be the time when Dean would ultimately curse and realize he’d just made a huge mistake. But he didn’t feel like that. He was just happy. Sleepy and a little hungry but happy. Maybe he had rushed into it and maybe the future was uncertain but obviously Castiel felt the same way about everything as he did. Obviously Castiel had faith they could be more than what they were. Together.

And yeah there were practical reasons to getting married such as parental rights in case something happened to Castiel—god forbid. Even without their marriage being recognized in Kansas just knowing it existed would give his name more meaning on the birth certificate. Specifics were sketchy when it came to male pregnancies but there had been laws put in place to protect the donor father’s rights just in case something happened to the other guy during childbirth. Like not letting his partner’s homophobic parents swoop in to take the baby or what have you.

At least this way the Novaks would have no claim to his kid. Damn good thing too especially after the Hester bullshit.

Fuck was he glad to be home and away from all that madness. Sure Balthazar and Gabriel hadn’t been that bad but the others were eighteen levels of crazy, and he never wanted to go through that again. He could take them thinking he was a bum but he drew the line at adoption shit and forced marriages. Heh Cas doesn’t have to worry about that anymore.

Grinning, he kicked off his boots and pushed them under the coffee table. “So, are you Novak-Winchester or just Winchester?”

Castiel chuckled softly. “Winchester. It would take entirely too long to sign any important documents Castiel Novak-Winchester. I suppose I will have to put in a formal notice to have my name legally changed.”

That thought made Dean happy for reasons he didn’t dwell on. “Cool.” He noticed his mail on top of the dvd player and figured Sam must have brought it in for him. “Cas I um, well I’m a little curious about something. Blame the lack of sleep if you want but…so this whole marriage deal. Is it real? I mean is it real or more for tax breaks?”

Castiel tilted his head to the side. “I would say both. Our legal issues will be handled better now that we have a certificate to fall back on—even in this state—however it doesn’t change the fact that we were joined together by God so yes it’s very real. And…” Ducking his head, he smiled. “I meant the things I said to you before in the car and then again in the justice’s office. I—we haven’t known each other for a long time but it’s clear you’re a wonderful person with a big heart. And I believe you care about me, not just because I am pregnant but because. I…have faith things will work out. I believe in us. In you.”

Dean exhaled shakily and glanced down at his hands, smoothing his palm across his knuckles. He didn’t take compliments well for reasons dealing with his family history, mostly his father. His mom treated him like he was her little boy because he always would be but there were things his dad had done that just, well they’d screwed him up. Things he’d said over the years before Dean came out that had really made him question his place in the world. After all according to John if men who liked other men were somehow less because of who they loved—no matter what else they could do—what did that say about him?

“I’m gonna try my best to be what you think I am, Cas.” He said fiercely. “This is gonna work out.”

“I know it will.” Castiel squeezed his fingers. “We will help each other.”

Dean closed the space between them and kissed him. He hadn’t realized he’d done it until their lips touched and Castiel sighed softly. Before Dean figured he didn’t have the right to touch Castiel like this even though Castiel was obviously into him. But someone liking you didn’t mean they wanted to be groped by you and considering how their last groping had went; he didn’t wanna cross some invisible boundary. Now they were married and after the sweet things they’d said to one another, he couldn’t help testing the waters. In truth he’d wanted to kiss Castiel again since the moment he’d walked back into his life.

And now he could because he knew Cas would be into it.

Slipping forward, Dean gave a little push and reclined Castiel back onto the soft couch cushions. He crawled up behind him and settled on top of him, keeping most of his weight onto his elbows. “This okay?”

Castiel ran his fingers through Dean’s hair. “Yes. I’m not showing so you’re fine.”

Dean smiled and nuzzled his neck, placing light kisses down towards his collar bone. “Heh so…it’s technically our wedding night.”

Laughing, Castiel shivered and locked his legs over Dean’s thighs, effectively trapping him in place. “Yes that is correct. Are you implying that I am the blushing bride?”

Dean wiggled his brows. “Maybe not the bride but you’re definitely blushing. It’s okay though, I think it’s sexy.”

Castiel’s expression became a mix between gentle and wanting, and he slowly guided Dean down for another kiss. Dean was more than happy to oblige him, flicking his tongue until Castiel parted his lips and let Dean in. It wasn’t as tame as the previous one but it wasn’t as heated as the ones from their one night stand either. It was comfortable and engaging; like reunited lovers getting to know each other all over again. But Dean wouldn’t be Dean if he didn’t push just a little.

With the knowledge that he wouldn’t hurt the baby, he shifted his hips down, dragging his crotch back and forth along Castiel’s. Cas’ breath hitched but he didn’t push him away. Instead he shifted and arched up, head tipping back to bare that long perfect neck. Dean was nibbling and nipping at it immediately, picking a spot that could just barely be hidden and sucking until a mark appeared. Castiel moaned softly and wiggled against him; his lovely hands sliding down Dean’s back to roll up the bottom of his shirt so that he could touch hot skin.

There were whispers of the shy man Dean had taken to bed weeks ago but like back then, Castiel was able to lose himself to pleasure and just enjoy. He was hard within seconds but Dean could relate because the friction was great, especially with Castiel trying to match his movements. They were dry humping like teenagers; the otherwise quiet living room filling with the sounds of their panting and moaning. Castiel’s voice was even deeper and it made Dean growl as he bit down into his pulse point.

“Dean…” Castiel breathed. He tilted his face down for another kiss and Dean captured his lips happily, turning it wet and deep and passionate until air became an issue.

“Fuck.” Dean gasped, fingers brushing Castiel’s pants. He tugged on the zipper, pulling it down slowly. “Can I?”

“Yes.” Castiel was flushed and beautiful. “Please…”

Dean’s hand was sneaking through the open zipper of Castiel’s jeans when a soft knock sounded on the front door, followed by it opening and a feminine voice calling out hello! Before he could figure out what the hell was going on his parents were standing in the doorway, staring at him and Castiel like they had seen a ghost.

Well this is going to be great…

“Mom! Dad!” He scrambled off of Castiel, nearing tripping over his own two feet. “What are you doing here?”

Mary—always the diplomatic one—managed to school her surprise much better than John. “Sorry if—if we knew you were entertaining company we would have waited outside. But we were driving by and saw you were back. Thought we would stop in to say hello. See how your trip went.”

Dean nodded. “Oh. It was okay I guess. I was gonna call and do the whole home safe thing later.”

She smiled and pulled him in for a hug. “Well I’m glad you’re okay. So…” Her blue eyes rolled towards Castiel. “Are you going to introduce us to your new friend or do we have to guess?”

Dean took a step back. Oy. “Heh uh, mom and dad this is Castiel Novak. Cas this is my mom Mary and my dad, John.”

Jeans fixed, Castiel smiled politely as he stood. “It’s nice to meet you both. Dean speaks quite highly of you.”

John arched a brow. “Really? He hasn’t told us a damn thing about you.”

And here we go. “I just told you his name is Castiel. What more do you wanna know? His social security number?”

Castiel blinked. “Dean, it’s alright. I apologize that we haven’t met before now, Mr. and Mrs. Winchester.”

Mary waved a hand. “Please, call me Mary.” She squinted. “You look so familiar to me. Have we met before?”

Dean felt like his head was on fire. The last thing he wanted was for his mother to connect the dots to Castiel being a priest. “I doubt it. Cas hasn’t been in town long. Anyway…I’m really tired. Been driving all day and stuff.”

Mary hummed. “Okay, okay we’ll get out of your hair. However I want to see you for dinner tonight, both of you. We can all get to know each other. Obviously you’re not just fishing buddies or whatever, unless you make out with your fishing buddies in which case...”

Dean cringed. “Mom geeze. Cas and I are together, yeah.”

She smirked. “Thought so. Dinner then and I’m not taking no for an answer.”

It was a disaster in the making but also the perfect opportunity to get everything out in the open. “Sure. We’ll be there.”

Mary kissed his cheek. “Good. See you then.” She gave a cute little wave and headed outside with John trailing behind her, looking like he’d just sucked a very sour lemon.

Dean expected him to be a dick and he supposed that hadn’t been the best first impression to show of Castiel, but he knew in the end it wouldn’t matter. Cas could have rode into town on a tank draped in guns and John would still be cold towards him because that’s just how he was. In all honestly Dean didn’t think his dad was a bad guy just set in his old ways. He saw no need to change and drag himself into a different century, not even for his oldest son.

“If I wasn’t tired before I damn sure am now.”

Castiel rubbed the back of his neck. “We should get some rest before dinner. Your parents seem nice.”

Dean snorted. “My mom is amazing. My dad can be a real douche when he wants to be. Don’t worry though if he starts any shit I’ll get him straight.”

Castiel chuckled. “I’m not worried Dean. After my family, yours will be easy.”

Dean wasn’t so sure about that. “Maybe. They won’t talk about putting the kid up for adoption but there might be yelling. Punches might get thrown.”

Castiel was alarmed. “Dean, I absolutely don’t want you fighting over this. Let them say whatever they wish it doesn’t change anything.”

“I’m not gonna let my dad run his mouth about things he doesn’t understand.” Dean frowned, rubbing at his bloodshot eyes. “He lost that right a long time ago.”

“Still we should try to remain civil.” Putting both hands on Dean’s shoulders, Castiel slowly wrapped him up into a hug. “I don’t want my new in-laws to hate me.”

The whole emotions thing weren’t Dean’s strong suit but he buried his face into Castiel’s neck and sighed. He smelled like the inside of the Impala, like cool leather and faint grease. “Dad is pretty much a lost cause, but Sam and mom will love you. And you know if Sam doesn’t I can hit him until he does.”

Laughing lightly, Castiel gave him a squeeze and then spun him around towards the stairs. “It’s your nap time.”

Dean let himself be steered to his room. Once inside, he fumbled his way out of his jeans and left them in the middle of the room, throwing himself onto his big bed. “You gonna join me?”

“I will if you want me to.”

“Dude we’re married now. What’s mine is yours and blah blah blah.”

“Yes well, I thought perhaps you wanted me to continue sleeping in the guest room.”

“Why would I want that?”

Instead of answering, Castiel removed his clothing except for his t-shirt and boxers before turning down the sheets, forcing Dean to crawl under them as. “Are you going to set an alarm?”

Dean pawed at his clock, setting it and turning on the alarm. “Done.” Yawning, he inched closer to Castiel and slipped an arm around his waist. “This okay?”

Castiel melted back into him. “It’s more than okay.”

++

A Winchester family dinner wasn’t as extravagant as a Novak family dinner but it was way more intimate. Everyone was gathered around the table with Mary’s delicious home cooked food on top and her tasteful yet affordable china. They drunk whatever they wanted to instead of wine and had fresh rolls in a fabric lined basket to reach for. The table cloth was plaid to match the curtains, the chairs comfortable with thick cushions and wooden backs.

Dean remembered helping his mom unpack after they had moved into their new home. He remembered her excitement at getting to buy new things and enjoying an entirely new view. She even had a little garden with a couple of gnomes standing guard.

Their decision to more or less give him their old home had completely taken him by surprise. But Mary insisted they no longer needed so much room and that he should have it so that he could eventually raise his family there. Dean had briefly considered saying no but the thought of some stranger living there and changing things (or breaking them) nipped that in the bud. So he’d gave them three thousand dollars like they’d asked for, promised not to cut down the tree in the backyard and moved in.

He had to admit it was way better than his previous little dinky apartment.

Anyway Mary had made a lovely dinner of string beans, friend chicken with potatoes and mac and cheese with apple pie for dessert. Dean could smell it where it cooled in the kitchen; he’d had to switch seats with Castiel who’d started to look a little pale because of it. But that was okay because it put Castiel next to Sam instead of John, who hadn’t said much since they’d arrived. Luckily Mary and Sam talked enough for all of them.

“It’s not a huge firm.” Sam was saying as he fussed over his salad. “But we get some interesting clients and I think if we keep going like we’re going, we’ll make a real name for ourselves.”

Castiel was being genuinely attentive. “That sounds lovely. Are you expecting to make partner one day?”

Sam beamed. “Maybe. Jessica said I have what it takes but I don’t know. I mean if it happens then that’s great but as long as I’m helping people I’m okay.”

Dean snickered. “That’s because you’re a big girl.”

Sam rolled his eyes. “So Castiel, you are extremely polite and well spoken. What are you doing with my jerk of a brother?”

Dean threatened to throw a roll at him while Castiel laughed. “Besides Dean’s questionable taste in diner food he’s very sweet. I think we have things in common.”

“Like we’re both awesome.” Dean grinned widely and Castiel patted his thigh under the table. “And we’re both handsome sons of bitches.”

Mary snorted. “Gee, thanks.” Pause. “How did you two meet?”

Dean pouted at her. “You know what I mean! And we uh, we met at a bar. We got to talking and things just clicked. Opposites attract and all that.”

She hummed happily. “That’s so cute. Now if I could just get both my handsome boys squared away. Seriously Sam, when are you going to bring Jessica home to meet everyone? Have you even asked her out on a date yet?”

Sam blushed. “I don’t want to rush into anything. Besides her dad is sort of my boss and I don’t want things to get weird. We…hang out.”

Mary’s brow arched. “Away from the office?”

Sam huffed. “Yes. We’ve gone jogging a few times together. It might sound lame but it’s actually pretty fun. She’s the only person who can beat me in tennis too.”

Dean could tell that his baby bro was sprung on Jessica and he approved. From everything he’d heard about her she was sweet, funny and totally not afraid to bust Sam’s balls when he needed it. As far as Dean was concerned Sam should skip dating and just propose, not like she wouldn’t say yes. If what Sam said was true about her helping him she went above and beyond sometimes in way more than a friend kinda way. Not to mention she was a gorgeous Amazon; perfect for his Jolly Green giant of a brother.

Huh. Dean couldn’t remember the last time he and Sam had been good romance wise at the same time. Not that he was tooting his own horn of course. Anything could still happen with Cas but he was trying to be optimistic for once. After all that had been an amazing nap.

Wetting his lip, he exhaled deeply and decided to bite the bullet. There was no reason to keep putting off telling everyone the news. Best to do it when they were in a relatively good mood. “So uh, I—I kinda have some news.” Chatter stopped and everyone gazed at him. Crap. “I. It’s just that—well you see—okay. It’s about Cas. And me. We’re, actually pretty serious. This isn’t some rebound sorta thing.”

“I didn’t think it was.” Mary mused. “Especially since you’ve been making adorable eyes at each other all night.”

John who had been blessedly quiet grunted, his silverware hitting his plate as he cut into a potato. “How come you’ve never talked about him then?”

Dean twitched. “We wanted to make sure it wasn’t a fling before we did the whole, meet the parents’ thing. Didn’t want anyone getting attached and stuff getting awkward later on.”

John took a sip of his beer. “Interesting. I figured you were still hung up on Lydia or something. I mean you hadn’t dated since breaking up with her. Or brought anyone home…”

Sam’s eyes widen a little. “Um Dean, you were saying? Serious?”

You can get through this. Just put it out there. “Yeah.” He took Castiel’s hand, the one wearing his ring. “We got married.”

“What?” Three voices echoed in unison. John’s was the loudest.

Mary touched her cheek. “When did this happen?”

Dean shrugged. “Cas and I went to Iowa and got it done. I wasn’t really helping some dude move I was meeting his family. After we left we decided to just do it.”

He could tell his mother was trying not to be judgmental. “Dean. Don’t you think you moved a little too fast? I mean how long have you two known each other? Marriage is a big commitment and it shouldn’t be taken lightly. I’m not saying that is what you did but this is just a shock.”

“It’s obviously what he did.” John replied angrily. “He ran off and married some guy we don’t even know. Which is stupid because it’s not even legal here so what was the point? Why would you do this Dean? You’re too old to be acting out.”

“I’m not acting out.” Dean snapped. He could feel his temper rising. “And I know marriage is a big deal. Well it is to some.”

John’s brows narrowed. “So what then? You met some random dude at a bar and apparently he was such an amazing lay you decided to marry him? Is that it?”

“John—”

“No Mary I want to know.” He turned his attention to Dean. “Were you drunk? Did you get drunk married like people do in Vegas? Or did you do something really stupid like knock him up?” He laughed but when Dean didn’t deny it, John’s face turned solid red like a tomato. “Jesus Christ, Dean!”

Mary gasped. “There’s going to be a baby? I’m going to be a grandma?” There was happiness in her voice that she wouldn’t have been able to hide had she attempted it. “Okay I think we all need to calm down and talk about this like adults.”

John shook his head. “Adults don’t jump head first into screwed up situations without all the facts. At least real ones don’t. I can’t believe you would be this stupid Dean. Marrying a man you hardly know and now there’s a baby? Or was there a baby first? I get wanting to step up and do the right thing but how do you know it’s even yours?”

Before anyone could say anything else, Dean slammed his palm down onto the table, causing the dishes to rattle violently. He stood so quickly that his chair skidded back with a loud grating sound on the hardwood floors but he didn’t care. To be honest he wasn’t even that surprised that his dad had gone there; it was the logical progression of John’s mind. Or maybe anyone’s mind if they didn’t know what he knew. But hearing him of all people use it as a slight against Castiel’s character? Well fuck that.

“This is bullshit!” Dean exclaimed. “And coming from you it’s the worst kind of bullshit. You know I knew you’d be an asshole about this and I said I wasn’t gonna start any shit but fuck it. I don’t even care anymore.”

“You watch your tone.” John warned.

“You lost the right to tell me what to do a long time ago.” Dean muttered. “Besides you’re the one who wanted a confrontation otherwise you wouldn’t have been acting like there’s been a bug up your ass all night. For the record, dad, I know the kid is mine. I’m one hundred percent sure so I don’t really care what anyone else thinks. And you know what else? I’m fucking thrilled to be a dad because I’m gonna be a damn sight better than you’ve been!”

He was stalking towards the front door seconds later, ignoring the sounds of his brother and his mom calling him. With his keys in his hand, he threw himself behind the wheel of the Impala and was happy to see Castiel had followed him. He hadn’t meant to leave him but it was either get out of the room or possibly punch John in the face.

The ride back to his home was quiet with Castiel letting him stew and Dean was thankful for it. He hated when people offered up stupid platitudes that never really helped. Seriously, why even bother if you had nothing original to say?

Once they were parked and inside the living room, Dean sighed deeply and smoothed a hand over his face. On a scale of one to ten he really wanted to know where this ranked with the Novak dinner. Better or worse? “Fuck. I’m sorry you had to witness that, Cas. My dad is a real asshole. He wasn’t always this bad but…”

Castiel grasped his wrist and pulled him down onto the sofa beside him. “You have nothing to apologize for, Dean. I more than anyone understand how difficult families can be. He was—he was honest which is more than I can say for the riddles Michael or Naomi usually speak in. Disguising elitist thoughts behind fake concern.”

Dean groaned. “Yeah but that’s not the point. He didn’t—he wasn’t even going to give you a chance. He was going to sit there and judge you because you’ve got a dick. It’s crap. You’re one of the most awesome dudes I know and he wasn’t even going to allow himself to find that out.”

Castiel smiled lightly and stroked his thumb across the apple of Dean’s cheek. “Perhaps he will come around.”

Yeah when pigs fly. “I doubt it. He’s set in his ways about some things. We uh, we didn’t used to be like this. My dad and me I mean. We were pretty damn close when I was growing up; I thought he was like a freaking super hero.” Clasping his hands together between his knees, he snorted. “A part of me wishes I could have gone on believing that. I was in my senior year of high school when he and my mom had this huge ass fight about something or other. I’m talking yelling and screaming, the whole nine. Dad stormed out and didn’t come home for two days.”

Castiel remained quietly supported so Dean continued. “When he did he and mom made up and for a while things were normal. Then about a month later we started getting these weird calls where someone should hang up immediately after we answered. Well come to find out he’d fucked some random nurse he met at a bar and she was knocked up. My parents’ marriage imploded and they got a divorce.” Pause. “I was so disappointed in him. Like I—I couldn’t even be in the same room with him without things turning into a fight. I guess you could say I took my mom’s side but… Anyway since then we’ve never been the same.”

“I’m sorry Dean.” Castiel whispered. “However since your parents are now married I suspect there is more to this story.”

“Oh yeah.” Dean’s jaw clenched. “All senior year things sucked between us. Sam tried to play both sides and do the whole divorced kid thing where he’d go visit dad but I didn’t wanna go. When I did go it was awkward as hell. I went to college to get away from the madness. I mean I could fix cars before the fancy degree but you know what I mean. Heh while I was gone apparently my mom and dad starting reconciling, and by my senior year of college they decided to get remarried. Sammy and I thought they were both on crack but we tried to be as supportive as we could. Especially because of my mom—she wouldn’t have made the decision lightly.”

“That was very sweet of you both.”

“I guess. Would you believe when I came out as bisexual my dad didn’t return the favor?”

“Is this the fight you mentioned and how he didn’t take it well?”

“Yup. He said a lot of fucked up shit about no son of his yadda yadda yadda and I threw his cheating back into his face. Eventually he mellowed out to where he could look at me without picturing me with a cock in my mouth but nothing between us is…normal. I’m not the son he thought I was and he’s not the father I thought he was.”

“He loves you though. Even I can see that.”

“Well it would be nice if he showed it once and a while instead of constantly goading me.”

Castiel brushed his fingertips across Dean’s temple. “Does—does he see his other child?”

Dean licked his lips. “Adam? Yeah he visits him. Kid is fourteen now I think. He’s not really into having big brothers and that is fine with me. Sam thinks we should make an effort to be closer to him but he’s kinda a dick. I dunno whether that’s because he’s a pre-teen or what, but it’s true. And his mom is a bitch. I know for a fact she doesn’t like any of us and the feeling is mutual.”

Giving a barely there chuckle, Castiel nodded. “There is still a chance that your father might change his mind once things settle down. We did blindside them with our marriage and the pregnancy. Perhaps once the idea of grandchildren becomes more real he’ll see things differently. However if he doesn’t I want you to know it’s okay. He is entitled to his opinion but it won’t change what is happening between us. I would like to be on civil terms with your parents but if I can’t be, then I can’t.”

“I think mom will be alright.” Dean smirked a little. “She’s been bugging me and Sam for grandchild for a while now. She’ll give you a chance.” Cracking his tired muscles, he took off his boots and socks then did the same for Castiel. “Kinda funny how we both have family problems, huh? We’re kinda perfect for each other in that way.”

Curling his legs under him so that he could learn more to the back of the couch, Castiel grinned. “That is one way to look at things. But our turbulent pasts still helped us become the men we are today. My brothers and sisters judge me but I know they care about me, just as your father cares about you. I guess sometimes it is just hard to say as much. To give up control to someone that you find precious out of fear that it will be damaged beyond repair.”

That could be the case but after the crap Dean had been through all he could focus on was the bad shit. Yeah he loved his dad and didn’t want anything to happen to him, but he also wanted to hit him sometimes. It was like John was sometimes a bitch just because he could be. He was that way with Sam too about school and his choice of job, but it always seemed more personal when it came to Dean. Not to mention he’d pulled some low fucking blows that night Dean had come out, calling him shit he thought only assholes would say.

Stuff like that was hard to get over. And then tonight just…ugh.

And he hadn’t even finished his chicken.

Scratching the back of his head, Dean dug his cell phone out of his pocket and put it on the table. “Maybe we’ll give it another go later.”

Castiel hummed. “That would be alright with me.”

The sounds of a car pulling up made Dean arch a brow and he listened as footsteps crushed across the gravel and up to his front door. There was a knock and he yelled come in, not too shocked to see Sam’s gigantic self duck inside.

Sam pushed strands of long brown hair out of his face. “Hey. Hope I’m not interrupting anything.”

Dean grinned at him. “We were just about to rip each others’ clothes off but it can wait a minute.”

Sam made a face. “You’re an asshole. But I uh—I just wanted to say I’m cool with everything. And I wanted to officially welcome Castiel to the family.” He moved around the table to shake his hand. “Hope tonight didn’t scare you away.”

Castiel laughed, clasping his wrist. “No it was fine. Besides I don’t scare that easily.”

“Cas is a lot tougher than he looks.” Dean joked, but was utterly serious. “For a nerdy little dude.”

“He kinda has to be to put up with you.” Sam taunted. “Anyway though, yeah. Mom and dad sorta got into it after you guys left about everything, so I snuck out. I’m going to meet Charlie for a few drinks but I thought I would stop by and offer my support.”

“You’re a good brother, Sammy.” Dean said honestly. “You’ve got shit taste in food but you’re a good brother.”

Sam sniggered. “Thanks. I’ll see you two later. Again it was nice meeting you Castiel.”

“Likewise Sam.” Castiel replied.

After he was gone, Dean heated up a few of the leftovers from his fridge and he and Castiel enjoyed them while watching some weird monster movie on tv.

Castiel looked pensive while they watched and Dean assumed he was trying to figure out the plot until Castiel sighed and wiped his mouth with a napkin. “Dean there is something I need to tell you.”

Dean motioned at him with a spoon. “What’s up?”

Castiel cleared his throat. “The night of my attack, do you remember the doctor that I was speaking with in the emergency room when you came in?” Dean nodded and he stared at him. “You assumed she was just an unfriendly person but I suspect she left to keep from accidentally revealing the information she had just given me. In truth I—well I have been keeping something from you Dean. I know it was wrong especially considering the way you obviously hate secrets but I didn’t know what else to do. I was scared you wouldn’t understand.”

Now he had Dean’s full attention. “What are you talking about, man? Did the doctor give you bad news or something?”

“Not exactly.” Castiel responded softly. “I want you to know it has not been easy keeping this from you. I’ve had to alter my own thinking so that I wouldn’t inadvertently say anything before I was ready. I meant to tell you sooner but…” Biting his bottom lip, he frowned. “Doctor Flagstaff informed me that I—that she heard two heartbeats on the ultrasound. The image was quite grainy but she was almost positive that I’m actually having…twins.”

Dean’s stomach dropped. “Twins? As in more than one?”

Castiel’s mouth turned down at the sides. “Yes. This entire time I’ve been thinking of baby—singular—so as not to blurt out babies. It wasn’t easy but as you know I have the discipline when need be. I know it was wrong and strange but I was nervous about your reaction. You didn’t sign on for two children.”

“What? Dude, no.” Dean rubbed the back of his neck. “I’m uh, this is surprising but it’s not like I’m gonna kick you out because it might be twins. You’re a twin so it makes sense. I’m just kinda ticked you didn’t trust me enough to tell me from the beginning. Did you think I wouldn’t notice when they pulled a second one out of there?”

“It wasn’t that I didn’t trust you. It was my own fears over the situation. We had just agreed to co-parent and for me to move in. I suppose there was a little voice in my head telling me all of that would change if you knew there was a chance one baby was actually two.” Castiel explained. “In hindsight it does seem ill-advised but I was stressed and not thinking clearly. I am very sorry.”

Twins. Jesus. Dean scratched at his scruffy cheek and let the news sink in. It was a lot more daunting than just one baby bit it wasn’t like he could return the second to the store so, yeah. Besides two for one and all that. Not to mention his boys must be like Hercules. That or something really wanted him to get Castiel pregnant. Either way it just meant he had to adjust some stuff. Instead of one crib they would need two; that sort of thing. He could do this.

Heh his dad was going to flip even more now. Good.

“Well, okay.” Dean shrugged. “So we’re having twins.”

“I will know for certain at my next appointment, whenever I make one.” Castiel watched him intensely. “Are you sure you are alright with this?”

“Yeah.” And he was. “One kid, four, they are still mine and how I feel hasn’t changed. It’s kinda funny and whoa but that’s life. We’ve made it this far and we’re freaking married; I think we can handle two poop machines. I used to help change Sammy when I was little because I thought it was funny so I’m kinda a whizz at diaper changing.”

Castiel hugged him. “Thank you Dean.”

Dean squeezed his shoulder. “There is nothing to thank me for. Now how about some dessert?”

After they were finished eating, Dean knew that he couldn’t put off not going to work tomorrow, so he decided to turn in around eleven and was happy Castiel agreed he should as well. He didn’t have to sleepily ask Cas to join him this time and once they were freshly showered—separate showers—they snuggled under the covers together.

Lydia slept like the dead and often star-fished across the bed, hitting him in the chest or throat by accident. Castiel was more of a side to side person and he didn’t seem to mind Dean’s body heat at all. Sometimes Lydia had but the point was; Dean could let his inner cuddler out without shame. His inner cuddler was buried deep, deep down of course but it was nice to be able to drag him to the surface every now and then. He hadn’t realized how lonely his bed had been until he got Castiel in it again.

Content, he kissed the back of Castiel’s neck. “You okay?”

Castiel turned slowly to lie on his back. “Yes. Why wouldn’t I be?”

Dean propped his head up with his elbow. “I don’t know. First time sharing a bed with an incredibly handsome man might be too much for you.”

“I assure you I am fine.” Castiel deadpanned. “And this is not our first time sharing a bed.”

Smiling haughtily, Dean nudged him with his knee. “That reminds me, you gonna stick around this time and not ditch me the next morning?”

Castiel pretended to think. “Well we are married so that would be problematic. Also I live here now.”

Laughing, Dean pressed a kiss to the skin under his jaw. “You do. You’re my super sexy husband who lives here.” He thought Castiel would laugh but instead he appeared thoughtful. “What? I’m allowed to call you sexy now.”

Castiel cupped his cheek. “That first night? I didn’t want to leave the next morning. I wanted to stay but…”

Dean shook his head. “Don’t worry about it, man. I get it. I was just messing with you anyway.”

“Can we have a, I believe you call it, a do over?”

“You mean you wanna…again?”

“Yes. We can…finish what we started before your parents interrupted us.”

Dean was not someone that needed to be told twice. He grinned and kissed Castiel as he undressed him, pulling away only when he had to, to remove pieces of their clothing. Unlike last time Castiel helped, yanking Dean’s shirt over his head and arching his hips so that Dean could pull his boxers off. They were naked within minutes and touching each other; Castiel’s long fingers tripping over Dean’s back and down along his chest. He brushed his nipples and traced the indention of his abs before dipping lowers, raking blunt nails through the beginnings of dark pubic hair.

Slipping one of his own hands down to Castiel’s cock, Dean stroked him lazily from root to tip, feeling him harden, watching as Castiel shivered and his body jerked. He liked the way Castiel reacted to being touched. Liked how he gave himself over to the feelings and just enjoyed them until there was nothing else. And it didn’t hurt that he looked freaking hot while doing it.

When Castiel was panting and twisting to his satisfaction, Dean pulled a bottle of lube out of his bedside drawer—he didn’t bother with a condom, there was no need really— and dipped down between Castiel’s spread legs. He poured a good amount onto his fingers and tilted his head down, catching Castiel’s cock between his lips and sucking. Cas moaned and pressed his head back into the pillows, his fingers gripping the sheets tight. For a second Dean just stared at him, the sight of him trying to buck up into the delicious suction making Dean grind down shamelessly into the mattresses. He hummed and Castiel gasped his name, grabbing at tuffs of his hair for support.

Dean slowly worked a finger into him and Castiel sighed, spreading his legs wider. Dean gave him time to relax and get used to the feeling, muddying his mind more by licking at the vein on the side of his dick and tonguing the slit until Castiel was whimpering loudly. Then he eased in another finger, dragging two in and out, letting Cas’ hips settle into the easy back and forth rhythm. That had his heels digging into the mattress. By the time Dean slipped in a third Castiel was mumbling nonsense, crying out in pleasure when his prostate was struck.

“I’m ready, I’m ready.” He chanted over and over again, straining against the fingers inside of him.

Dean withdrew and lifted up onto his knees, grabbing a fluffy pillow to wedge under Castiel’s behind. He poured more lube into the palm of his hand and slicked up his own erection, hissing and biting his lip hard to control himself. It was difficult because Castiel looked perfect all laid out and bare for him, blue eyes nearly black with lust. He left himself be manhandled and pulled into Dean’s lap, long legs winding around his waist, ass resting on the stops of his thighs. Dean got a good grip on his already slightly damp hips and gently slid inside of him, moaning at the tightness and the heat.

From this angle he could see everything and it was freaking awesome. He thrust forward while yanking Castiel to him, finding a slightly rough pace that had them both moaning. Over and over again he drove into him, biting at his thumb when it brushed his lips. Castiel beckoned him for a kiss and Dean went willing, swallowing Cas’ desperate cry when the motion jostled his prostrate again. Once Dean found it he zeroed in on it and Castiel howled, his hips rocking the best they could as his flushed chest heaved for breath.

Neither of them was going to last very long and that should have been embarrassing but Dean figured they’d been building up to his moment since Castiel showed up on his doorstep a second time. Besides they had time for the sweet stuff later. For now they just rocked and shuddered and rode the blade’s edge of pleasure until Castiel’s muscles started to squeeze around him and his heels dug harder into Dean’s lower back.

“C’mon Cas.” Dean wrapped a hand around his cock and squeezed, jerking him harshly.

“Ah, yes!” Castiel clenched his eyes shut and his back lifted from the bed, nails raking red marks along Dean’s thighs.

He came with a wild fierceness that caused him to let out a low sob, his cock spilling warm and wet over Dean’s fist. Dean seized and followed soon after, finding his own brain melting release a few moments later that was so good he left a little lightheaded immediately afterwards. It took them a bit to collect themselves, for Dean to get his arms and legs to do what he wanted them to do. He untangled their limbs and fell to the side with a thump, smiling dopily at Castiel’s blissed out expression. He knew the feeling all too well.

Castiel fumbled the few inches across the bed and rested his head to Dean’s shoulder. “Dean…”

Dean kissed the dampness of his dark hair. “Mm.”

There was probably more that needed to be said but both were asleep before they could bring themselves to say it.

++

Castiel’s things arrived from Pontiac the next day thanks to Gabriel and expedited shipping. With Dean gone to work after making him promise to call if he needed anything, Castiel decided to unpack what he could and store the rest in the guest room until he figured out what to do with it. It was pretty clear after last night that he was going to be sharing Dean’s room and Dean’s bed—which he was happy about—but he didn’t want to just take over. So perhaps just clothes and a few of his knick knacks until Dean told him what else he could put away.

There was a part of Castiel that felt slightly ashamed that he didn’t have guilt over sleeping with Dean again, but it was easy to push away. They were married no matter what Kansas said and he wasn’t a priest anymore. He had made peace with his mistakes and his broken vows, and he truly believed he was or would be forgiven. And that there was nothing wrong with enjoying sex with his husband. Maybe falling into bed together again while trying to make an honest go of it wasn’t the best course of action, he couldn’t help but feel it would bring him and Dean closer and make them stronger. He already cared about Dean a great deal and it was nice knowing the feeling was mutual.

Now that his odd little secret about the baby—babies— was out in the open he could really focus on the next stage in his life. Apparently that would be fixing up the nursery and—unbeknownst to Dean—finding a job he could do from home. He refused to not contribute to the finances.

As he put a few of his pictures on the mantle to blend in with the Winchester ones, he bit his bottom lip as thoughts of last night drift through his mind. He was pleasantly marked with hickeys and finger imprints, and he felt much like he did their previous time together except there was no remorse. Only thoughts as to when they could do it again and what would it be like to do it in different places.

Gabriel would be so proud of me…

Knock! Knock! Knock!

Castiel’s brows narrowed and he moved over to the door slowly, wondering if it was Sam. He couldn’t imagine who else it could be and was quite surprised to see Mary on the other side when he pulled it open. Mary Winchester was a beautiful woman with flowing blonde hair and sparkling blue eyes. Dean got much of his looks from her except his skin was a bit darker like his father’s. Still Castiel swallowed hard at the sight of her.

She sent him a comforting smile. “Hello Castiel. I know that Dean is at work but there is no need to look so frightened. I’m not that scary, am I?”

He gestured for her to come in. “No…”

She placed her purse on the table. “You sound unsure but it’s okay. I’m not here to fight or anything like that. In fact I came to apologize for my husband and the way he reacted last night. John is a good man but he’s—he’s from an old sort of military family that see things differently. He is also as stubborn as a mule if he thinks he is right.”

Castiel nodded. “It’s alright. Dean and I did spring this on everyone.”

Mary sunk down into the recliner. “True. It was a shock and I’m still sort of in shock over it but I don’t think this has to be a bad thing. It’s obvious you and Dean care about each other a lot, and that’s all I’ve ever wanted for my sweet boy. For him to find someone who’ll be there for him and make him happy.” She looked at him. “And if that is you then I’m okay with it.”

“I care about your son a great deal.” Castiel admitted as he sat down. “Dean has been wonderful to me since I re-entered his life and we are both taking this marriage seriously. He even stood up for me against my own family.”

“Oh? Are they…” Mary hesitated. “Difficult?”

Castiel grinned. “Not exactly. They don’t approve of my pregnancy and think I should marry a woman so that people think she had the baby. They mean well in their own…ways.”

Mary chuckled. “Ah I understand. I can see how Dean would rebel against that. He hates anything he considers an injustice.” A beat. “Still we should all get together one day and meet. We are basically family now.”

That would possibly end in the cops being called. “Yes, one day.”

Mary laughed. “How are you feeling by the way? Any morning sickness? I was fine with Dean but Sam seemed determined to keep me glued to the toilet.”

“Just a little.” He said easily. “In the beginning it was worse but now it’s manageable if I avoid triggering scents.”

“Have you been to a doctor yet?”

“Not officially. Things have been so hectic I haven’t had time to find one.”

“Oh I can help with that! Let’s see there is Rachel Garrison who is a bit cold at first but excellent once you get to know her. And there is Ion Silva, he’s very handsome and charming and explains stuff in a way you can understand. But if you want someone a little older there is always Anthony Gaines. His wife is in my book club.”

“I—they all sound very nice.”

“You can look them up on the internet if you need help deciding.”

As their conversation continued Castiel found that he actually liked Mary quite a bit. She was warm and inviting and so willing to help him with all things baby that he could have chuckled at her enthusiasm. But it was also clear she was the mama bear type and had she picked up on anything bad, she would have let him have it. He wondered if his mother would have been the same way.

By the time Mary left Castiel felt like they were perhaps on the way to becoming friends. He wasn’t certain but she had offered to go with him to the doctor whenever Dean couldn’t make it. She was going to be very excited when she learned they were possibly having twins.

I wonder if John will ever come around? It will be awkward if their grandfather pretends they don’t exist.

Sighing, he arched a brow at a little black box stuffed among his stuff and slowly opened it. Nestled inside was a cell phone with 215-555- 4832 -call me scribbled on a post it. Tilting his head to the side, he dialed the number and waited.

“Cassie!” It was Gabriel. “I see you got the stuff and your new phone.”

“Hello Gabriel.” Castiel said wryly. “And yes I did. Thank you.”

“So, how are things? You and Dean shacking up?” Gabriel inquired cheekily.

“Actually…” Castiel began. “We got married in Iowa.”

There was silence and then, “Are you shitting me?! Please tell me you’re serious.”

Castiel huffed. “Yes I am serious. Dean and I are married.”

Gabriel whooped. “That is great! Oh my god Michael is going to be so pissed off, I can’t wait to tell him! You should have seen his face when he realized you were gone. He wanted to go after you but someone slashed his tires. Hee this is gonna be epic! Bro totally coming to see you as soon as I can, might bring Balthazar if he can tear himself away from the internet. Gonna go ruin Michael’s day! Laters!”

A dial tone sounded and Castiel shook his head as he hung up. He expected another call from Michael very soon.

Chapter Text

Chapter Eight

By the time Castiel was twenty-six weeks along or six months as Dean told everyone because that was way easier, they had settled into a nice little routine. Dean was sort of shocked how easy it was to live with and be married to Castiel, and how natural it felt. Things with Lydia weren’t horrible but in the beginning they were both on eggshells around each other. He’d felt like he was intruding in his own home sometimes whenever she had people over or her own shit going on. It wasn’t like that with Cas though. Once he was told he could do whatever he wanted, he did.

And mostly what he wanted was to hang his pictures and have separate drawers for his underwear and regular clothes.

Things weren’t always great between them of course. They had fights just like any other married couple but Dean was so stupidly happy that even those were interesting to him. And besides they were never really bad, just things you would expect from two people getting to know each other. If they hadn’t fought he probably would have thought something was wrong or that Castiel was hiding things from him. However as it were Castiel was not afraid to say what was on his mind. He was never cruel—though he could be a bit blunt—and he graciously apologized when he was in the wrong. In a way he was better than Dean because Dean tended to hold a grudge when he felt he was justified.

Still he couldn’t help but think now that Cas was doing things he wanted to do without his family hanging over his head like a knife, he was really blossoming. For example even though Dean had told him he didn’t need to contribute financially, Castiel had gotten a job anyway where he could work from home. It was called Medical Coding and basically what he did was insurance billing for a doctor’s office in town, submitting claims to the insurance companies and getting explanations of benefits back from said companies so that he could update patients’ accounts. He typed fast when motivated and had a terrific head for numbers—all he needed was a computer. It had not been a hardship to let him use his laptop.

He also did a bit of accounting for Dean’s job when things got backed up.

In any case he was making good money without ever leaving the house and he just seemed happy to be good at something. Dean knew he’d been worried about fitting into the real world after being a priest for so long but quirky personality aside he was great at it.

One of the first things he’d done with upon getting a paycheck had been to buy Dean a real wedding ring. Nothing too fancy, just something to let others know he was taken. Dean would have been alright wearing his own ring as a wedding ring but Castiel wanted him to have a real one. The gesture made Dean entertain the idea of getting Castiel a better one but Cas wouldn’t hear of it. He liked that his ring—formerly Dean’s ring, formerly Mary’s ring—had a history behind it.

After his parents decided to get remarried again John had wanted a complete do over and that meant new rings. So Mary had given her old wedding rings to Dean for whatever sentimental reason and Dean had pulled off the diamond and welded the two together so that it looked more masculine. For a long time he treated it as just a ring but now it was so much more.

Sam had returned to California a few days after the dinner blow up but he wanted to keep in touch until he was free on vacation, so Dean had agreed to Skype with him even though he thought the whole thing was kinda nerdy. At least that is what he told his little brother because he liked busting his chops. It was nice keeping in touch though and showing him ultrasound pictures and then teasing him when he admitted to looking up fetus progress on WebMD.

Dean could still remember the first time he’d actually saw his kids. And what a mind fuck that continued to be. Apparently Doctor Tight-Ass had been right and Castiel was indeed having twins. Two babies. There had been two gray blobs on the screen with strong heartbeats and Dean had been mesmerized by them. He had taken the picture home and framed it like a goofball before putting it on his desk at work. Charlie had teased him about it along with everyone else but he knew they really just wanted to see it.

Benny and the gang liked Castiel which was great. Charlie especially had taken a shine to him, often cajoling him to go out with her and her girlfriend Glinda. While Dean was a little leery about that he liked that his friends could also be Castiel’s friends too. Castiel didn’t have a lot of friends so it was nice seeing his people rally around his new husband. Even Rufus and Bobby liked him though they also liked telling him embarrassing stories about Dean.

As the months had passed Mary had inserted herself into their lives more, not that Dean had minded. She was a godsend sometimes especially since she knew almost everything about babies and being pregnant. After finding out Castiel was having twins she had practically did a little dance in their living room. She was beyond happy to be a grandma though she insisted the twins would call her Nana because she wasn’t that old. But she wanted to do whatever she could to help and often did. It was because of her Castiel had a good doctor and felt welcomed into the Winchester family.

John was keeping his distance and that was fine with Dean. Better to stay away than say something stupid. Again.

With a groan, Dean grabbed a beer from the fridge and threw himself onto the couch. He wasn’t exhausted but since finding out one baby was actually two, he had taken on extra remodeling work just in case. After all they needed two of everything now and restoring classic cars always brought in more dough. However that meant working for bigger assholes—like Crowley—because people who could afford the vintage shit always had an opinion. But he figured it was worth it. Thanks to Crowley and his asshole of a friend Alistair, the nursery was already finished and Dean had been able to buy the two mahogany cribs Castiel had fallen in love with.

He was also considering starting a college fund but he figured that could wait a while. Best to focus on the present; let the kids be born first and all that.

Sighing and glad to be finally resting, Dean kicked off his shoes and nursed his beer as his mind wandered. He was thinking about what to order in for dinner when soft footsteps sounded and Castiel made his way out of what was now his office, heading into the kitchen so that he could wash the ink off his hands. Dean smiled as he watched him, eyes glued to Castiel’s round stomach. He wasn’t huge like some people who were having twins—probably the whole male, pouch thing—but his stomach was round like a big basketball and noticeable. He carried it well though and only griped once and a while about losing the ability to see his feet.

When he had first started to show Dean had felt an odd sort of excitement in his gut. He had always wanted kids and figured one day he would have some, but it was different when that idea became proof. When he could cup the little bulge and know for a fact it was that way because of him. He’d decided that possessive sense of pride was the balancing act to whatever Castiel was experiencing at being able to make life.

It was really bad ass.

Not to mention Castiel looked freaking adorable. He had opted out of wearing maternity clothes for men and instead got shirts and pants for big dudes. Dean would never admit it (except to maybe Cas himself) but so far there was nothing cuter than Castiel waddling around the house in a Captain America t-shirt with the shield stretched to the limit and sweatpants. He knew more about pop culture stuff now thanks to Dean and his massive movie collection.

However nothing could really beat the first time he’d felt the babies move. He couldn’t remember exactly how far long Castiel had been but he did remember they’d been curled up on the couch watching tv. Castiel loved any show dealing with cute animals so it was something on the Discovery Channel, and was with most times Dean was spooned up behind him with a hand on his stomach just cause. He’d been rubbing and poking during a commercial when boom, this tiny little thump hit his hand. At first he’d jokingly asked if Castiel had gas or was hungry again but then Cas had explained it was the babies moving. Still light but man it had been amazing. And made everything so freaking real.

For a while he’d went out of his way to try to get them to move just so he could feel it.

Now that they were more actually like babies they moved a lot more, especially at night time. According to the info from their books and pamphlets the twins were about a foot long and could open and close their eyes. There were little people with eyes inside of Castiel right now.

Freaky.

Castiel hummed and strolled over to the sofa, easing down slowly. “Is everything alright? I didn’t hear you get off the phone.”

Dean nodded. “Oh yeah everything’s fine. Just Alastair calling again to make sure his car had the headlights he wanted. It’s like he thinks I can’t read an order form or something.” Rolling his eyes, he put his bottle on the table and smoothed a cool hand across Castiel’s tummy. “I was thinking maybe Italian for dinner? That place next to Benny’s delivers.”

Castiel smiled. “That sounds good. Though…I think I would also like some eggrolls.”

Dean snickered. “Then I will get you eggrolls and they will be awesome.” Pause. “Did you get your weekly call from Michael today?”

“Yes I did and it was much like the others. I had to give another status report on the state of our relationship and my pregnancy.” Castiel snorted humorously. “But he’s trying to be open minded and I commend him for it. I know it’s not easy for him.”

“Yeah.” Dean wet his lips. “It’s the thought that counts and shit. I’ll take his weekly calls over throwing strange chicks at you any day.”

“He knows it would be a moot point now considering we are married.” Castiel chuckled.

The crazy Novaks had not been happy to hear about their marriage but it took some of the heat off the whole situation. Michael, Naomi and Hester were old school so they didn’t really believe in gay marriage but it was hard for them to argue with a priest who did, and who had performed the ceremony. It might not be legal in all states but once God was brought into it all bets were off for some people. And it showed them that Dean was serious about being there for Castiel which was just an added bonus.

“One day you guys will have to meet your crazy Uncle Mike.” Dean said to Castiel’s bump. “He’s a handsome son of a bitch but don’t let that fool you. And don’t take any candy from him either. In fact you should treat him like a stranger and scream.”

Castiel laughed and ran his fingers through Dean’s hair. “You are not being a very good role model for them.”

Dean shrugged. He dipped down and pressed a kiss over Castiel’s bellybutton. “But taking candy from strangers is bad. All the shows say so.”

Castiel massaged the back of his neck, causing Dean to shift so that he could rest his head in Castiel’s lap. “My relatives will behave themselves. Michael didn’t agree with Anna’s lifestyle but he loved her children…what he saw of them.”

I’ll believe it when I see it. “I could see that I guess. Hope it’s true for everyone.”

Grabbing their take out menus from the table, Castiel offered him a soft smile. “Your father will come around, Dean. I honestly have faith that he will.”

Naturally Dean wasn’t so sure. He could still see their last conversation in his mind as clear as day.

It took John Winchester a week to get his shit together enough to visit Dean…at work of all places. Dean had been bent over the hood of a Cadillac, removing the fan belt when someone had cleared their throat behind him. Looking back he’d been surprised to see his dad and a little annoyed at being interrupted doing his job. But in the end he’d nodded to show he was listening and continued working.

“Look I know I was out of line the other night and I’m sorry.” John muttered. “You just caught me off guard with all this.”

“I know.” Dean stood straight, shoulders tense. “I had wanted things to go smoother than that but, what are you gonna do?”

John shoved his hands into his jean pockets. “Your mom tore me a new one for how I acted and she was right to do so. It’s just—you know this isn’t what I wanted for you Dean. And I—I don’t mean a family ‘cause of course I want you to have a family of your own. I just wish it was more…normal.”

Dean resisted the urge to snap at him. “It might not be the normal you’re used to but it’s normal to me. I mean I’m married with a kid on the way. That’s pretty normal.”

John sighed. “Yeah it is, except your wife is a guy we barely know having a kid by means we barely know anything about. Isn’t that dangerous or something?”

Pulling a rag out of his pocket, Dean wiped his hands. “He’s my husband for starters. And childbirth is dangerous no matter who you are. But ya know some dudes can do it so I think everyone should just roll with it.”

Scratching his scruffy beard, John smirked. “I guess it’s easier for some than others. Are you sure this is what you want though?”

Dean looked at him. “Yeah. I didn’t jump into any of this. I mean I did a little bit but so far it’s turning out pretty awesome. I get it; Cas is a dude and you can’t wrap your head around it. You probably won’t be the only one but frankly I don’t care. I’m happy.”

John nodded. “I’m not unhappy that you’re happy, son. I want you to be happy I’m just worried about the future. Also there are some real assholes out there who might try to give you shit for your choices. I know you can take care of yourself but...you know.”

Opening the grease stained mini fridge, Dean pulled out a bottle of water. “Can I ask you something?”

Obviously wary, John waved a hand. “Go on then.”

Taking a few sips of his water, Dean licked his lips. “Do you regret Adam? Not the whole...sleeping with his mom thing but that he exists.”

John’s expression was guarded as he replied, “No. I don’t regret that he exists though I do regret the circumstances. I love your brother just as much as I love you and Sam.”

“Right. I’ll be honest the whole knocking up Cas thing wasn’t planned but now that there is a kid, I don’t regret there being one. I’m excited to be a dad. You wouldn’t take back Adam being born and I wouldn’t take back my kid being here either.” Dean explained slowly. “People might be bitches about it but so what? This is my life and I’m gonna live it how I want. Screw the rest of it.”

“You get that stubbornness from your mother.” John smiled lightly. “But okay let me ask you this. Do you love Castiel?”

“Honestly? I don’t know yet.” Dean exhaled deeply.

“I know you’re gonna do what you want but maybe figure that out sooner or later, yeah?” John grimaced. “ It’s uh—I think it’s gonna take me some time to come to terms with everything though. I won’t promise you that it’ll be some big turnaround but if I don’t try your mother will make me wish I had.”

“Alright.” Dean exhaled deeply. That was more than he’d ever expected of his dad. “That’s cool.”

“I’ll see ya around, Dean.”

And he had but not in any meaningful sort of way. He didn’t show up to dinners but he was more or less civil when they talked to each other, though he avoided the topic of Castiel and babies altogether. It was weird not being able to tell his dad things or talk to his dad about stuff, and he did feel like he was being blacklisted but whatever. John had issues and maybe he would come around sooner or later. That would be nice but Dean wasn’t gonna put his life on hold waiting for it to happen.

A nudge against his cheek brought him back to the present and he grinned, pressing his face closer against Castiel’s stomach. “Was that code for get us food now?”

Castiel patted his forehead. “Possibly. Or they could have been kicking each other and it has nothing to do with you.”

Dean pouted. “You’re awfully mean to the guy who makes you root beer floats at four in the morning.”

Laughing, Castiel slouched. “Well I suppose it is the least you can do considering I am carrying two of your children. One of which seems to love kicking me while I attempt to work. I assume he or she thinks it’s amusing.”

That does sound like my kid. “Heh I could see that. You know Cas we’re gonna have to start thinking about names really soon.”

Castiel slid his fingers along Dean’s collar, touching the necklace he’d given him after finding it in his things. It was a silver medal of St. Joseph; round with pray for me at the bottom. Dean wasn’t religious of course but he’d liked the whole patron Saint of fathers deal and decided to wear it. “I’ve been searching for some online but nothing has grabbed my interest.”

Dean arched a brow. “Are we talking regular names or angel names?”

“Both.” Castiel admitted truthfully. “I was thinking they could have one of each.”

“Okay.” Staring up at the ceiling, Dean let his left arm dangle to the floor. “If you see any you like let me know and we’ll decide on something. I—I’ve been thinking Oliver.”

“Oliver? Oliver Winchester. That’s cute. Why Oliver?”

“I don’t know. I’ve heard it a lot lately and it’s kinda grown on me. I also like Henry. It’s my grandfather’s name on my dad’s side and my middle name.”

“I like Henry as well.”

“You got a middle name?”

“I have two middle names. Emanuel and James.”

“So your full name is Castiel Emanuel James Nov—Winchester?”

“Yes.”

“That’s a mouthful.”

Castiel chuckled. “Yes it is. But I suppose it looks nice on documents and such.”

Smiling, Dean forced himself to sit up just in case he was hurting Castiel’s thighs. “Maybe. I think I’m gonna get a quick shower while you order dinner. Get me something meaty, I don’t care what it is.” He dipped in and kissed Castiel, lingering just a little. “Mm. Okay not getting distracted by how hot you look.”

Castiel snorted playfully. “Go shower. I’m hungry.”

Dean grinned as he winked and strolled towards the stairs. He took off his shirt as soon as he was in the bedroom and dropped it onto the floor to pick up later. Castiel was more of a neat freak but since he’d begun to show more he just scowled at things on the floor until Dean tided up. It was funny. His crap not being put away in a timely manner was one of the things they got into tiffs about. Dean wasn’t messy and by the end of the night things would be square but Castiel was the type of person who immediately folded up his clothes after wearing them.

As he finished stripping, he slipped into the bathroom and stared at himself in the mirror. He hadn’t been lying about thinking Castiel was hot. Even with his bump and sometimes swollen feet or crabby attitude he was still a gorgeous looking dude. And the sex was great. Dean had been a little skittish about it at first for obvious reasons but once he was sure he wouldn’t hurt the babies and that Cas was having a good time, he stopped worrying. They had to get creative with positions but man was that a fun time.

Smiling, he shook his head and turned the water on in the shower.

RF2

++

Castiel didn’t eat lunch on the normal lunch schedule but he appreciated Dean coming home on his lunch hour every day just to spend more time with him and the babies. There was something infinitely sweet and sincere about it, especially since he knew how hard Dean was working to make sure they had everything they needed. He never seemed worried but Castiel knew he had to be even if just a little bit. Perhaps not for diapers or bottles but as the years passed their children would need vaccinations, school supplies and the cost of living was only going up. However Castiel had faith that they would be alright.

And if things ever got dire he knew he could always gain access to his trust. He would have to consult Michael about it first but the money there was rightfully his. All of the Novak children had one. But until then he was going to continue working from home and help out anyway he could.

Being pregnant was not as terrifying as he assumed it would be, but he wouldn’t say it suited him. At times he felt awkward in his new body and some people weren’t very discreet with their staring, but he knew the outcome outweighed any distress he might feel. And Dean usually went out of his way to assure him that he was still very handsome and desirable. Still he was ready for it to be over even though he was nervous for the birth. He was nervous about being cut open though David—the young man from the diner—had assured him with all of the drugs they used he wouldn’t feel a thing.

Dean had just settled down at the kitchen table with a giant meatball sub when someone knocked on the front door. Despite uttering he would get it, Castiel waved him away and crossed over to it himself. He didn’t mind Dean fawning over him and offering to pull all of the household chores but he was hardly an invalid. He just moved a little slower than he used to. Besides exercise was good for him and the twins.

Pulling open the front door, he blinked at the sight of Gabriel standing on the other side, his arms loaded down with expensive shopping bags. “Gabriel? What are you doing here?”

Gabriel’s eyes were stretched wide at the sight of him. “Whoa look at you! Cassie you’re huge! Hah wait until I send Bal a picture.”

Castiel frowned and itched at his abdomen. “I am not huge. There are plenty of people who are not as far along as I am and yet are bigger.”

Gabriel grinned. “Oh c’mon you know I’m just teasing you. You gonna let me in or what? I brought presents!”

Sighing, Castiel waved him in and shut the door. “What are you doing here?”

Gabriel shrugged. “You know me I like to ramble sometimes. I decided to blow off work for a few days and come see my favorite little brother. Annnd I wanted to give you some things for your nuptials and stuff. They are belated but good.”

“How did you find out where I live?” Dean asked as he exited the kitchen.

“I Google mapped your ass.” Gabriel said happily. “You’re looking spry. Hear you’re having twins. You must have some pretty good swimmers huh?”

“You brought gifts so I’m gonna let your asshole behavior slide.” Dean smirked. “Just this once.”

Gabriel snickered and sat down. “Hopefully you guys like them. Not all of them are inappropriate either so, there ya go. I went a little overboard on the kid crap but since I didn’t hear anything about a baby shower…”

Dean sipped his soda. “We’re not really into that. We told people if they wanna get us stuff then have at it.”

Castiel rested his hands on his stomach; feeling a series of pedaling kicks. “So Gabriel, have you kept in touch with everyone else?”

Gabriel made a face. “Yeah. You being knocked up has started some kinda family outreach program where Michael calls to make sure I haven’t choked on an almond nipple or something. He wants to come visit you so bad it’s like he has ants in his designer pants.”

That surprised Castiel. “Really?”

His brother nodded. “Yep. I don’t know but I think you getting pregnant and running away when you didn’t like how he was doing things did something to him. He’s been less of a dick than usual. And like he’s not even dying so it’s pretty interesting.”

Castiel wet his lips. “Well that is good I suppose. Unexpected but good.”

Gabriel yawned. “Heh yeah. And you know Naomi will basically do whatever he does. She’s like his clone but with boobs. Hester is…well she’s Hester. Enough said. Oh Balthazar is fine though. He got some kinda sponsor for his website. Something about flavored lube or whatever.”

“I see.”

“So!” Gabriel clapped his hands together. “I am starving. Let’s go get something to eat.”

Before Castiel could protest, Dean spoke up. “Hey it’s cool I gotta head back to work anyway.” He pressed a kiss to Castiel’s temple. “Have fun with your bro. I’m sure I’ll see you later, Gabe.”

Gabriel saluted him. “Yep! I’m hanging around for a few.”

Dean snorted. “Lucky us.” And then he was gone.

A few moments later Castiel and Gabriel made their way into town in Gabriel’s rent a car with Gabriel talking the entire time, mostly about Dean and their relationship. It was good to know that he was happy for Castiel even though he admitted there might be more teasing. He also mentioned a young woman named Kali and how he hoped things eventually got serious between them. After so many years of vague phone calls that felt more like obligation than anything else, it was nice to be reconnecting on such a personal level.

He just wished Anna was a part of it all. Though in an odd way she was just not the way he wanted.

Rather than getting a real lunch Gabriel announced that he wanted candy first so they stopped at a grocery store. He inquired as to if Castiel ever had problems with people being dicks about the babies, but Castiel revealed that besides a few evil looks from strangers everything was fine. He told him about seeing Uriel and receiving a very icy glare to which Gabriel responded screw him.

With his little black basket, he all but skipped to the sweets aisle and started loading up.

“You are going to need dentures if you keep this up.” Castiel mused, watching him grab a second bag of Snickers.

Gabriel gasped. “Rude! I take excellent care of my chompers.” Pause. “What? You haven’t been craving anything weird?”

Castiel tilted his head in thought. “I have wanted more red meat than usual. And root beer floats. But nothing too strange.”

His brother smiled. “Even your pregnancy is straight laced. By the way do you know what you’re having?”

Now it was Castiel’s turn to smile. “Yes but it’s a secret. Dean and I want people to be surprised.”

Gabriel groaned. “No I wanna knoooow! Tell me!”

Castiel laughed just as someone called his name. He glanced down the aisle to see Missouri pushing her cart towards them. “Hello Missouri.”

Missouri hummed at him. “Well look at you. Don’t you look adorable? How are you feeling, sweetie?”

“Pretty good.” Castiel said. “Not long now thankfully. Missouri this is my brother Gabriel.”

They explained pleasantries and Missouri smiled. “You look so happy Castiel, and I am happy for you. I knew everything was going to work out.” A beat. “Can I touch your stomach?”

Since he had begun showing quite a few wanted to touch him for whatever reason. However he was always happy when they asked instead of just acting. More than once he’d reacted without thinking and slapped a hand away, which was actually less than what Dean had done. “You can and thank you for asking.”

She gave him a sound pat. “Ooh double trouble I see. You are going to have your hands full.”

Castiel blushed. “Would you believe that I am looking forward to it?”

“Of course.” She replied gently. “Like I said before you look happy. Now I want you to come see me after they are born, and bring that husband of yours too. And if you ever need a babysitter I am free.”

“Thank you, Missouri.”

“You are very welcome, Castiel. It was nice meeting you Gabriel.” She eyed him speculatively. “I hope you don’t mind me saying so but that young lady you’ve got your eye on feels the same way. But don’t expect her to make it easy for you.” Clearly amused by Gabriel’s expression, she squeezed his shoulder and continued on about her merry way.

“Um, what?” Gabriel was confused. “What was that all about?”

“Missouri has a special gift that allows her to know certain things about people. For example I had not told her I was having twins.” Castiel tugged him towards the checkout counters. “So you should be happy that apparently Kali likes you.”

Gabriel whined as he put his candy on the conveyer belt. “Yeah but she’s gonna make me work for it. But god she is so hot! I’m gonna bake her a sexy cake to grease the wheels.”

Castiel’s laugh was cut short when the front doors slid open and John Winchester stepped through wearing a pair of dirty overalls. He fully believed that one day John would come around and accept things as they were, but there was always that niggling voice that said otherwise. John wasn’t exactly making it easy and appeared to be perfectly fine ignoring Castiel’s existence unless it was completely necessary. Dean pretended he wasn’t worried but Castiel knew otherwise. He wanted his father to be more like his mother; wholly interested in what was going on.

When their eyes met Castiel felt his lungs close up and a small trickle of fear roll down his spine. He honestly wasn’t sure that John wouldn’t start a scene, wouldn’t come over just to yell at him and tell him what a horrible person he was for stealing his son away. Although it was just a brief moment, it seemed more like an eternity until John visibly exhaled and nodded at him stone faced. Shocked, Castiel managed a timid wave before John disappeared around a corner.

I can’t wait to tell Dean about this. Maybe it is stupid but I chose to look at it as progress. He could have ignored me altogether.

Gabriel poked him in the side. “You okay?”

Snapping back to attention, Castiel nodded. “Ye—yes. Let’s go.”

++

Mornings weren’t hectic in the Winchester household—heh, household—but sometimes Dean tended to run late. Yeah he was the boss and could basically stroll in around noon if he wanted to, but he liked to put forth a professional front so that everyone else did as well. They opened at seven and usually he was there thirty minutes before getting things ready and making coffee for everyone. However the next morning it was 6:55 and he hadn’t left the house yet because Castiel had woke up seriously horny. And Dean figured what type of husband would he be if he left him like that? A totally bad one of course!

So he had graciously let Castiel ride him like a pony until his hearts’ content before finishing them both off with Cas on his knees and Dean driving in from behind. And now he was going to be late…but it was so worth it.

Castiel poured rich smelling coffee into a steel thermos and twisted on the lid. He was in nothing but a fluffy gray robe, cheeks flushed and a serious case of bed head going on. “Do you have your keys? And are you sure you don’t want breakfast? I could butter you a bagel.”

Dean shook his head. “No, no I’m good. I’ll order a breakfast burrito or something.” Grinning, he grabbed the thermos. “Go back to bed and get a few more hours before you go to work okay?”

Castiel smiled. “Yes Dean. See you for lunch.”

Dean’s watch beeped and he growled, hurrying over to kiss Castiel on the lips. “Yup. Love you.” Keys in hand and he was jogging out of the front door and towards his car.

It was until he was actually behind the wheel that he realized what had just happened. His poor post orgasm brain kicked back into gear and he blinked, smoothing a hand along his slightly scruffy chin. Whoa. Okay. Very slowly, he exited the Impala and walked back into his house to find Castiel still in the kitchen in much the same stupor he’d just been in. Obviously he’d noticed the slip and was trying to figure out how to deal with it.

“Heh so…” He cleared his throat. “That just happened.”

Castiel ducked his head. “Yes it did.”

Dean watched him. “Does it weird you out? Want to pretend it never happened?”

Castiel met his intense gaze with one of his own. “No. Do you?”

Dean could tell his grin was goofy but he didn’t care. “No. It uh—it felt pretty natural.”

Castiel agreed. “It felt natural to me too. I…love you too.”

Neither of them had uttered the words before this morning and Dean couldn’t speak for Castiel but he knew he meant them. It had only been a few months but deep down he just knew. In the past he would have made a big deal out of saying as much perhaps to the point of trying to sabotage himself beforehand, but this time it was different. It was so easy and normal that they had flowed out of his mouth without any thought whatsoever. And that—well that had to mean something. Right? The fact that he wasn’t freaking the hell out right now.

“So we don’t need to talk about it or anything?” He asked.

“I don’t think so.” Castiel whispered. “We can if you want to but I’m alright with it simply being an added level to our relationship. I—I’d hoped perhaps something like this would happen; that we would reach a deeper understanding especially since we got married. Now that we have I’m perfectly fine with it. More than fine.”

Crossing the open space, Dean cupped his cheeks and kissed him. It wasn’t as passionate as he would have liked because of morning breath and all, but it was lovely just the same. Sweet and a little understated just like their revelation but oh so important. “Cool. In that case I will get my ass to work before Charlie calls me to yell at me.” Another kiss. “Go back to bed.” And another. “Love you.”

Castiel laughed and pushed him away, shooing him outside. “Love you too.”

Chapter Text

Chapter Nine

Gabriel stayed for three days. Three days in which he met Mary Winchester and somehow managed to burn one of their pots black while claiming he hadn’t been in the kitchen at all. Thankfully his meeting with Mary faired a lot better than their poor pot and Castiel had to admit it was nice spending some quality time with his brother. Even though he got the distinct impression Gabriel got on Dean’s nerves—probably on purpose—he was much nicer than Castiel had expected him to be. And his gifts were actually wonderful and quite thoughtful. He also promised to call every day until Castiel told him the sex of the babies and Castiel mused he could get let him go to voicemail.

“Wow, look at you being all sassy and shit.” Gabriel had laughed. “I approve!”

After he was gone their life more or less got back to normal. John Winchester hadn’t miraculously come around, not that Castiel expected him to but Dean was happy to hear about their brief encounter. He also seemed surprised that his father had not given Castiel some type of attitude but wasn’t going to push things.

Sitting on the couch while taking a break from coding, Castiel smoothed a hand across his tummy and tried to tape down his craving for a sausage pizza with pickles. He felt fat and lazy and didn’t even want to reach for the phone. To make matters worse Dean wasn’t coming home for their lunch date because he was swamped at work; Alistair put a rush order on his car and offered up an extra five hundred if Dean could do it. Naturally he was going to try.

Castiel knew his hormones were having one of their wreaking havoc days and that he wasn’t some whale of a guy, but he couldn’t help feeling unattractive and slightly held hostage by his own body. Gabriel—as good natured as he was—thought making fun of his waddling and trouble bending was rather hilarious. It had not been malicious by any means but Gabriel didn’t know when to quit. Of course after seeing how badly he was affecting his brother he had apologized profusely and offered to let Dean punch him in the face. Dean had been more than ready to do so.

Sighing deeply, he considered just heating up some leftovers when the doorbell chimed loudly. Frowning at it, he rocked forward with the help of the sofa arm and peeped out the window to see a fancy black car in the driveway. He hadn’t even heard anyone drive up. He unlocked the door and slowly pulled it open, his surprise evident on his handsome face. Although Gabriel had mentioned that Michael wanted to visit he never suspected it would be this soon.

No wonder Gabriel left when he did. He probably knew all along when Michael was coming. “Michael. This is quite a surprise.”

Michael smiled at him, his eyes tracking down Castiel’s form. “Hello Castiel. May I come in?”

Castiel nodded and stepped to the side. “Are you alone?”

Michael looked around. “Yes. Someone had to stay back and handle the household duties.” He turned to face Castiel. “You look well. I am happy to know you weren’t lying to me during our calls.”

Castiel chuckled and gestured to the couch. “Why would I lie to you?”

Michael unbuttoned his suit jacket before sitting down. “So that I would not have the pleasure of saying I told you so in regards to Dean.” There was humor in his voice. “I would have but I, well I am glad to know there is no need. It’s nice that you are being well taken care of.”

Biting his bottom lip, Castiel smiled. “Thank you. How are things back in Pontiac?”

Michael shrugged effortlessly. “Business wise things are going great. Family wise well…Hester has decided to move out. Apparently she doesn’t agree with the way I am handling your situation.”

A brow rose. “How exactly are you handling my situation?”

Michael appeared smug. “I am letting you do as you wish of course. There are any number of things I could have done to get you to come home. I could have contested your marriage, tried to get you declared unfit or even threatened Dean.” At his little brother’s horrified expression, he touched his arm. “I know how it sounds but I am just being honest. All crossed my mind yet in the end I decided to let you do what you wished. Hester believes I should have tried harder to get you to see her way of thinking.”

His wording did not escape Castiel’s notice. “I thought it was your way too…”

“Perhaps. However Gabriel and Balthazar reminded me—several times—that your happiness should be all that matters. That for years you did what I wanted because you thought it would make me happy. I believe it was Balthazar who said in no uncertain terms I would be a dickhead if I did not return the favor.” Michael picked a piece of lint off his pants. “I do want you happy, Castiel. I—I honestly thought you were before but maybe that is because that is what I wanted you to be.”

Castiel couldn’t remember the last time he’d had such an open conversation with Michael. Probably when he was still a boy and struggling to make sense of his attraction to men instead of women however it had not been this easy. Michael while claiming to be considerate had also been judgmental but Castiel did not see any hint of that right now. All he saw was his older brother reaching out to him. It didn’t negate their rocky past but it was a start towards a smoother future.

“It’s alright. I have always understood why you pushed me into the seminary.” Castiel explained lightly. “In your own way you wanted me to be safe and saved. I don’t think any of that has changed and those are things I still want for myself. I just think I can have them and a family with Dean.”

“I will try to keep an open mind. I still have—my views haven’t changed but I think they should come second to family.” Michael promised. “Truthfully I am excited about my soon to be nieces or nephews. I didn’t take advantage of the time I could have spent with Anna’s children and now I regret it. And I suppose Dean isn’t that bad but he could use some etiquette training.”

Castiel laughed. “Actually I like him just the way he is. He speaks his mind and I admire that about him. He’s very charming and sweet…to people he likes.”

Michael snorted. “I get the hint. Well I will have time to make a better impression each time I visit. I took the liberty of buying a small house in town so that Naomi and I have somewhere to stay when we come to see you. Nothing too extravagant; just three floors.”

Just three floors… “It sounds delightful.”

“I like it and Naomi approved of the pictures I sent her. If Hester reconsiders her stance on things I think she would like it as well.”

“You should give me the address so that I can go see it. If there is anything that needs to be done Dean would know and be able to recommend someone.”

“I will do that.” Pause. “Unless you think Dean would let the roof cave in on us because of the way we behaved.”

Castiel couldn’t hide his grin. “Well he might think about it but I won’t let him do that. Dean will give you a second chance if he feels it is earned. And he—he’ll trust my opinion of the situation and how it has changed.”

Sliding a hand through his jet black hair, Michael pursed his lips. “He is good to you, then?”

“Very good.” Castiel said without hesitation. “Dean loves me…and I love him.”

Michael’s didn’t smile but the look in his eyes was kind. “That’s honestly wonderful news. I’d rather you were well taken care of then not especially under these circumstances.”

Castiel shifted, slipping a pillow behind his back. “Excuse the subject change but when are you going to stop monitoring our lives and start thinking about your future. Don’t you want to get married and have children?”

Startled, Michael huffed playfully. “I will have you know that I do date. Maybe not as much as I could but I enjoy myself. Besides it is my duty as the oldest to make sure everyone is alright. I even visit Lucifer when I can.”

I hope Lucifer finds peace one day and overcomes his demons. I should send him a care package. “It occurs to me that I have never thanked you for raising me. You could have let relatives take us after our parents died but you didn’t. You kept us together and although we drifted apart being in the same household helped.”

His brother actually appeared embarrassed. “I could not have done anything else.” A beat. “Speaking of family how is Dean’s? Has his father come around to the idea of you yet?”

During one of their weekly phone calls Castiel had told Michael tidbits of John’s reaction, enough to get the layout of the situation. He had been surprisingly sympathetic. “No but he doesn’t go out of his way to be cruel either so I have hopes that he will accept the marriage soon. I can tell there are things Dean wants to talk to him about concerning fatherhood so preferably sooner rather than later would be nice. I don’t think he needs to—it’s obvious Dean is going to be a great father.”

Michael pulled out his cell phone. “Would you like me to speak to Mr. Winchester?”

Castiel balked. “No. The last thing we need is another stubborn man in the mix.”

Snickering, Michael put away his phone. “I guess you are right. You have done a good job with things so far; I’ll let you continue to handle it.” His fingers lingered in his suit pocket and he pulled out a medium sized black box. “I almost forgot. I…picked this up for the twins.”

Taking the box from him, Castiel slowly opened it, his heart clenching at what he saw. Nestled inside on the soft suede were two beautiful silver rattles with elegant swirls all around. In the middle of each was the engraving Novak-Winchester in looping script. “Michael, they are lovely.” And expensive.

Michael hummed. “Yes well as you know it is a Novak tradition. Ours are back home in the family safe, along with Anna’s and those of her children. I thought your children should have some as well. And once you pick out names you can have them added.”

Slipping closer, Castiel gave him a light sideways hug, much to his shocked amusement. “Thank you. This was extremely thoughtful of you.”

“You’re welcome.” When Castiel’s stomach growled loudly, Michael blinked at him. “Have you eaten yet?”

Shaking his head, Castiel’s cheeks pinked just a little. “No. I’m afraid laziness has been winning out over the need to feed myself.”

Michael gestured to the front door. “Would you like to go get something? I could drive us.”

Castiel briefly snickered to himself at the thought of both his brothers arriving during lunch before nodding. “That would be nice. And you can see more of the town as well as where Dean’s work. I don’t think we should visit but I can point it out to you.”

“I would like that.”

After finding his shoes and grabbing a coat Castiel followed Michael outside and climbed into his luxury rental car. As Michael drove Castiel pointed out places of note such as Benny’s shop, the park where he would go to reflect while writing his sermons and the farmer’s market where his brother still thought he originally met Dean. He had no plans to ever tell the truth. He also took great pride in showing Michael where Dean worked, explaining that the shining cars sitting out front where all remodels Dean had performed that were now waiting for their owners. He couldn’t tell if Michael was impressed but he didn’t say anything rude so he figured that was just as good.

They ended up at a nice little restaurant in the flashier part of town where Castiel still ordered his pizza with pickles. It wouldn’t be as good as a regular Pizza Hut pizza since the fancy ones rarely were but he was going to eat it anyway.

It was odd being out with Michael and having such a normal lunch with him but it wasn’t bad. They talked like equals and it made all the difference to feel like he was actually being heard instead of just placated. He also sort of fully expected Balthazar to show up tomorrow claiming to have just been in the area.

“Castiel.” Michael said pulling him out of his thoughts. “Don’t you think it’s time you told me whether you’re having boys or girls?”

Castiel sipped his lemonade. “Dean and I want people to be surprised.”

Michael arched a brow. “Doesn’t that make the gift giving difficult?”

Castiel shrugged. “Not really. Besides there is no rule that says a boy can’t wear pink and vice versa. Besides most of the people giving us things are Dean’s friends and they have interesting tastes. His friend—our friend Charlie gave us two little onesies with I heart Geeks written on the front. And most of what Gabriel brought is fluffy or zebra print so…”

With as near to a pout as he could muster, Michael sighed. “I want to know what they are the minute after they are born. Tell Dean to call me and leave it on my voice mail if I don’t answer.”

“Yes sir.” Castiel teased. “Maybe we will send a mass email to everyone.”

“I would permit that too.” Michael ate his salad. “How things have changed for our little family, hm? You’re married, Anna is unfortunately no longer with us and Hester is separating from us for the first time ever. I do not know what to make of it.”

“Well, change can be good sometimes.” Castiel replied. “Perhaps Hester will learn some things about herself that she didn’t know beforehand. She—she does tend to follow whatever path you lay out for her. As I did. This will be a test of the kinda woman she is.”

“I worry she is not strong enough to make it on her own.” Michael said honestly. “She isn’t like you.”

Castiel had not felt particularly strong. “You think I’m strong?”

Michael reached for his water. “I do. I know I’ve never acted as such but you’ve proven how strong you are in the past few months. You’ve never been like Balthazar or Gabriel in terms of telling me where to get off when I get on a tangent. And neither has Hester but when something was important to you, you did what you wished. I’m not sure Hester will.”

That makes sense. “If she can’t function without your guidance she will return when she has calmed down. All you can do is wait.”

Michael hmped. “I hate waiting.”

“Really? I never would have guess.”

“Shut up and eat your food.”

Suddenly Charlie was bouncing over to their table. “Hey Castiel! Didn’t expect to see you here.” Her big blue eyes drifted to Michael. “Dean sent me here for their giant cheeseburgers; he’s totally splurging. Is this another brother? Or perhaps a secret boyfriend?”

Castiel chuckled. “No Michael is in fact my brother. My oldest. Michael this is my friend Charlie Bradbury. She works with Dean.”

Michael shook her hand. “It’s nice to meet you.”

She swooned just a little. “Man, Novak guys are totally dreamy. But don’t tell Dean I said that because he’ll give me a hard time about it.”

Michael flashed her a grin. “It will be our little secret. So do you like working for Dean?”

Charlie fiddled with her sleeve. “Yeah, Dean’s the best. He’s like a big brother to me. We’ve been friends for about three years now—he hired me after my mom died even though I don’t think he needed a receptionist slash computer genius. He saw that I was in a bad place and helped. And I’m not just saying that because you’re Castiel’s brother, this honestly did happen.”

Amused, Michael nodded. “That is good to know. I’m certain after you tell Dean I’m in town he will drop everything to come see me so feel free to wait until after lunch. And make sure he knows I’m not kidnapping Castiel and dragging him back to Pontiac.”

Charlie giggled and then saluted. “Will do! See you later Castiel!” Humming, she darted back over to where the hostess stood, presumably to request a takeout order.

Castiel made sure his cell phone was on before reaching for another slice of pizza. No doubt Dean would be calling him the moment Charlie told him about Michael. Dean still didn’t trust him though their phone conversations leaned towards things being okay. He had once voiced that he didn’t want Michael and Naomi teaching their children to judge others like they did because he didn’t want them carrying that weight. Castiel had assured him that he would never let them hurt their children in any shape or form. If they couldn’t respect his rules then they didn’t deserve to know their nieces or nephews.

He stood by that decision even now. “After we are done eating we can visit your new house if you wish.”

Michael checked his watch. “Sure.”

They had just paid the check and were heading out to the car when Castiel’s phone rung and he pressed Send without even checking the caller id. He already knew who it was. “Hello Dean.”

“Hey.” Dean sounded suspicious. “Is uh—is everything okay? Say funky town if you’re being held against your will.”

The laugh that Castiel let out was deep and he had to abruptly stop it or risk accidentally urinating on himself a little. “I am perfectly fine, Dean. Michael and I had a very nice lunch during which we talked about a lot of things. He has not attempted to kidnap me once.”

Michael snorted as Dean responded, “That’s good I guess. When Charlie told me she saw you guys I honestly thought the worst. I thought I was gonna have to have a big car chase or stop a plane or something to rescue you.”

Castiel smiled and leaned against the passenger side door. “My hero. None of that is needed however and I will explain everything tonight when you get home.”

Dean sighed. “Okay but you call me if you need me.”

“I will I promise.” Castiel whispered. “Love you.”

“Love you too.” Dean echoed before hanging up.

++

Castiel went into labor on an early November morning three months later before the sun even thought about coming up. They had been nice and warm in bed when Castiel woke up complaining of sharp pains running through his stomach. Male labor wasn’t exactly like female labor of course since there was no way for the baby to come out so the pains usually centered in where the pouch was and apparently felt like someone was trying to knife you in two. So needless to say Dean and Castiel had immediately known what was up and hauled their asses to the hospital.

Dean had been fitted with a gown, mask and gloves to keep the area safe before he was ushered into the delivery room. He’d like to say he was a macho sort dude who could handle anything but the brief glimpse he’d accidentally got of the doctor cutting Castiel open had made him a little dizzy. Thankfully though he was quickly able to get his shit together and reassure Cas that everything was going fine. He’d been drugged and loopy at the time but mostly aware of what was going on.

And then a loud cry had broken through the air and Dean’s heart had stopped for a minute. Watching someone pull a human out of another human was the freakiest thing he’d ever seen, and yet also kinda mind blowing. There was his first kid flailing and covered in goo before his umbilical cord was cut and he was whisked away to be cleaned up and checked out. And just like that Dean had a son. He had a son.

Ten fingers. Ten toes. One penis.

Next the doctor had removed his daughter—he had a daughter!— and she was beautiful just like her older brother. Squirming and screaming and generally kicking up the biggest fuss about being born. Dean wasn’t ashamed to say he had cried while watching his children be weighed and measured and all that stuff. He’d praised Castiel for being amazing—well he’d called him a BAMF to be honest—and kissed his forehead through the mask.

The whole labor thing had been relatively easy though at one point Cas’ blood pressure got low and everyone was concerned but eventually it leveled out and he was able to be moved to a private room. Dean didn’t like to think about what could have happened had things gotten worse.

Reclining on the edge of the bed where Castiel was resting, Dean stared down at the baby in his arms with undisguised awe. He was tired and had forgotten all about calling work to say he wouldn’t be there but he didn’t care one bit. All he wanted to do was keep looking at his kids and stay by Castiel’s side. Charlie was smart she would figure it out.

Besides he’d managed to remember to call his parents so that was something, right?

His daughter was wrapped in a simple blanket with a tiny bracelet on her arm. She had soft dark, nearly black hair and big green eyes that were lowered to mere slits and light freckles across her cute little nose. He could see his lips on her face and he was pretty sure she had his ears too. Her tiny fist was clutching his finger for all it was worth and he couldn’t resist kissing it.

Although he was obviously exhausted and probably sore even with the pain killers, Castiel was awake and holding their son with the help of a pillow. The little boy had slick dirty blonde hair and round blue eyes with Castiel’s eyebrows and chin. His mouth stretched on a wide yawn and it was the cutest thing either of them had ever seen.

“I can’t believe we have babies.” Dean shook his head. “Real live babies.”

Castiel hummed happily. “They are the most beautiful babies. This must be what love at first sight is like.”

Dean nodded. “Yeah. Man…” He kissed Castiel’s clothed shoulder. “Today is our kids’ birthdays. Heh we have kids.”

Castiel chuckled. “That we do. Are you happy, Dean?”

Dean blinked, stunned by the question. “What? Of course I’m happy. I’m like deliriously happy right now. Aren’t you?”

Castiel met his gaze. “Yes I am. You have made me happier than I ever thought possible. I…don’t know what the future holds for us but I have faith we’ll keep making each other happy for a very long time.”

Dean could feel the emotions about to overtake him again as his cheeks warmed and he idly thought how Sam would have a field day with how much sap was being produced. While it made him a little uncomfortable—something he would probably never get over, it’s just who he was—he powered through so that he could enjoy the wonderful cards life had dealt him.

When Lydia left he’d honestly assumed he’d spend years trying to come to terms with what went wrong before even beginning to look for someone else. And while things with Castiel went farther than he’d ever thought they would he was glad for it. Sometimes shit happened that took you by surprise but that didn’t mean it had to be bad. Knocking up a priest wasn’t a one way ticket to hell after all. Well, at least he still really hoped it wasn’t because that would just be a damn shame.

Anyway Dean was about to cobble something profound together when the door to their room opened and a pretty nurse made her way inside. Her name was Sarah and she was all smiles as she looked at them. “How are you guys doing?”

“Not too bad.” Dean joked. “They haven’t pooped or screamed their heads off yet though so ask us in a few hours.”

Sarah snorted humorously. “Oh we’ll take care of all that if you want to keep them in the nursery. Most new parents do so that they can get some rest and recharge.”

While Dean didn’t want to be parted from them he thought that was a good idea. “Sounds good. Cas?”

Castiel yawned. “Hm? Oh yes that sounds like a terrific idea. As long as they are well taken care of.”

Sarah didn’t seem offended in the slightest. She was probably more than used to new parent worries. “They will be I promise.” She motioned to the hallway. “There are two excited grandparents in the waiting room however that are dying to meet their new grandbabies. I think if I try to hold grandma back any longer she’ll tackle me and make a run for it.”

Sounds like mom. “Oh man have they been here long? I kinda forgot about them. Is it okay if they come see the babies?”

Sarah nodded. “Sure but only for a little bit. I’ll go get them for you.” Disappearing around the corner for about five minutes, she returned with John and Mary trailing being her.

They were both in simple jeans, shirts and coats but Mary’s was bulkier like she also had on a sweater. Her long blonde hair was in a ponytail and she was makeup free save for cherry chap-stick. John looked like he always did except he had on his glasses that he usually only wore for reading. Maybe he’d been browsing a magazine in the waiting room.

Upon seeing the twins, Mary let out what sounded like a cat being strangled before slapping a hand over her mouth. “Oh my goodness! Oh look at how precious they are. Look at their fat little cheeks! Oh…”

John—who could be as stoic as possible—grinned. “Wow. So can we finally know what they are?”

Dean beamed. “Mom and dad I would like for you to meet Isabel Remiel Winchester…” He brought the baby he was carrying over and gently slipped her into his mother’s arms. “And over there is her older by a minute brother Oliver Zadkiel Winchester. The angel names are Cas’ doing.”

Castiel rolled his eyes. “Mr. Winchester would—would you like to hold Oliver?”

John hesitated for a moment before nodding and slowly taking Oliver from him. As Dean watched he saw the exact moment his parents fell in love with their grandkids, even his dad. His mom of course was cooing at Isabel and kissing her face and most likely plotting ways to kidnap her. John was more subdued but there was a little smile on his face as he swayed Oliver from side to side. Dean could tell neither of them gave a damn how the twins had gotten here, just that they were here. It was new grandchildren glow but Dean hoped it lasted forever. It would no doubt make family gatherings easier.

Unless Adam shows up but screw him. Today’s a happy day.

Dad might never warm up to Cas but that’s okay. It’ll just be an in law thing. “They’re adorable huh?”

“They are way past adorable.” Mary replied sincerely. “It’s like someone smashed you and Castiel together and made clay dough babies of your leftover parts. Oh I just wanna eat them up!”

John laughed gruffly. “You did good, son. Congratulations…to both of you.”

Dean squeezed Castiel’s hand and pressed their foreheads together. “Thanks, dad.” Pause. “I guess I should call Sam and tell him what’s up.”

“We already did.” Mary said in a sing song voice. “Left him a message. Ooh look at your little feet. I’m gonna eat these feet. Uncle Sam is gonna get so many pictures of these feet.”

“Heh okay.” Dean rubbed his eyes. “Crap, alright I should tell Cas’ family then.”

“You can leave Michael a message.” Castiel suggested, head listing to the side. “He would appreciate that.”

Without saying anything else Dean slipped out of the room and stretched his arms high over his head, hearing his bones crack. He followed the scent of coffee down to the lounge area and poured himself a cup, hoping it was at least halfway decent. Taking a sip he found it passable and lowered himself into a chair, glancing up when a guy with about ten it’s a boy! balloons skipped by gleefully. He could relate.

Taking out his cell phone, Dean dialed Michael and waited until his voicemail clicked on to say, “So uh, hey. It’s Dean. I’m sure you’re asleep right now which is cool but I just wanted to tell you Castiel had the twins. Everything went smoothly and he and the babies are doing fine. It’s a boy and a girl by the way; Oliver Zadkiel and Isabel Remiel.” A sudden laugh escaped. “Sorry I’m just—I’m exhausted and happy and yeah. Anyway give us a call when you can and we’ll send you some pics. Later.”

Dean finished off his coffee and tossed the paper cup into the trash. It would almost certainly make him jittery than more awake but he was okay with that. There wasn’t much he wasn’t okay with at the moment though.

Today was a very good day.

Chapter Text

Epilogue

Three Years Later

Castiel had come to love the Fourth of July as a Winchester because they tended to go all out. He still wasn’t sure why besides the fact that Dean loved fireworks but he supposed it was just a habit masquerading as tradition. It had passed more or less quietly when he was pregnant because they’d had too much on their plates, but the next year with the twins stumbling around attempting to walk and being adorable Dean had threw a tiny July 4th party for their close friends. And then another for the second year.

Now here it was their third year of being married and Castiel could hardly believe how time had flown. The twins would be three years old in a couple of months and they would have to start looking into preschools, because apparently the earlier they got started the better things would be. Dean considered that line of thinking to be bullshit because he and Sam had skipped preschool altogether but he was willing to look for the benefit of their children.

Just as Castiel had suspected Dean was a wonderful, hands on sort of father. He was loving and attentive and patient, even when the twins were screaming their little heads off or generally misbehaving as kids were wont to do. He took to being a dad rather effortlessly; able to push aside his nerves and do what he thought was right. Luckily however they’d only had to deal with normal parental situations such as high fevers and checking for monsters under the bed.

In the beginning when the twins were babies there was an odd kind of comfortable chaos about their lives. Mary came over to help whenever they needed it no matter what time it was. John had even shown up a few times, saying his diapering skills were rusty but he was willing to put them to good use again. And of course Charlie popped up whether they had requested help or not. But juggling two babies and everything that had entailed had been exhausting but also kind of fun. Especially after Castiel could really help—or well after Dean deemed him well enough to help. For the first few days he had barely been able to lift a finger without Dean looming over his shoulder and fussing about taking it easy.

It was a well known secret however that Castiel loved when Dean fussed over him and vice versa.

Their marriage was a happy one. There were fights and hardships but overall Castiel was very happy and he felt confident saying Dean was as well. Things could have turned out so horribly wrong for them, what with jumping into everything but they had not. It was easy being together and when they weren’t—when Dean had to go out of town for work—Castiel missed him terribly. He missed his corny jokes and his bright smiles and his grumbling about stepping on toy cars at six in the morning. If anything Castiel knew they were more in love now than they had been. It was sappy but true.

The sound of some upbeat song was slightly muted as it drifted from the battery operated radio sitting on the small picnic table. Loud enough to hear but not to drown out the conversations that were going on. Everyone had already arrived with Sam and his fiancée Jessica showing up only moments before. As far as Castiel could tell Mary was trying to pry wedding details out of them but they’d only been engaged six months so they weren’t exactly thinking that far ahead. All of the Winchesters—himself included—liked Jessica though and were looking forward to her joining the family.

Speaking of which… Castiel cut his eyes to where Gabriel was sitting with a gorgeous brown skinned woman on his lap, smiling brighter than Castiel had ever seen him as she popped a piece of chocolate into his mouth. Apparently he had finally managed to convince Kali that he was worth of her affections. Now when it came to her he was a giant pushover. But he was also very happy.

Balthazar was close by with a beer in his hand, laughing at whatever Benny had said to him while Benny’s wife Andrea looked on with amusement. Michael had even managed to show up with his girlfriend Bela who appeared perpetually bored no matter the occasion. Castiel figured she was a nice person but he didn’t talk to her unless he had to though Dean assured him she was definitely Michael’s type. It was strange to have so much of his family actually around but nice as well. Their promises to keep in touch still going strong; Castiel had even taken to writing Lucifer in prison and sending him pictures of the twins.

Anna would be proud…even if Hester mostly pretended they didn’t exist until she needed something and Naomi still turned up her nose at Dean.

Smiling to himself, he stirred idly at the bowl of sour cream dip before dumping a bag of chips onto the platter around it. People had been snacking on the finger foods while waiting for the burgers to get done, and Castiel had appointed himself in charge of making sure they didn’t run out. The air smelled like charcoal and summertime, and Mary’s tasty apple pies which Dean had been eying from the minute she set them out. No doubt one was already hidden in the back of the refrigerator for later.

“Papa! Papa look!” Isabel squealed and raised her little arms to get Castiel’s attention from where she sat, high on Sam’s shoulders. “I’m so high!”

Castiel laughed. “I can see that. Don’t float away on us.”

She grinned, dark curls bouncing. “I won’t! Ollie look!”

Oliver was perched on John’s knee and clapping happily, probably waiting for his turn. He was a bit mellower than his sister but funny enough when he was upset he made a face Dean swore looked like Sam’s when he was about to have a bitch fit. Isabel on the other hand had perfected Dean’s pout to a tee when she didn’t get her way. If you asked though Dean would no doubt say the reason he was so wrapped around their fingers was because of their puppy dog eye stares, which they’d obviously inherited from him.

It was so amazing to watch them grown and come into their little personalities. To learn what they liked and didn’t like, what they thought about things as small as fruits and cartoons on tv. Gabriel had likened it to watching a dog discover its tail for the first time and Dean had threatened to punch him in the face. Remembering that conversation still made Castiel laugh to this day.

A hand slid around the back of his neck and he jumped a little, smiling when soft lips brushed his temple. “Taking a break from the grill already?

Dean sidled up close to him, giving his neck a squeeze. “Rufus talked me into it when he claimed his will be less chewy. I’m watching him though.” His hand moved down so that he could wrap his arm around Castiel’s waist. “Came to check on you.”

Castiel smirked. “What trouble do you think I can get into at a cookout?”

Dean wiggled his brows. “Well we could slip into the garage and see if you want…”

Castiel rolled his eyes playfully. “No. We are not scarring our guests. Though…if your parents wanted to take the twins for the night I would not be against it.”

Dean nuzzled him and kissed his pulse point. “I’ll make it happen. If they say no I’ll just drop Ollie and Izzy off on their porch. Not like they’ll let them just sit out there forever.”

Chuckling, Castiel wiped his hands on a napkin. “I’m sure that would go over well for all parties involved.”

“Well if we told them our big secret they’d agree to it quick because their brains would be all juiced.” Dean discreetly smoothed a hand across Castiel’s flat stomach. “More grandkids is like catnip for my mom, you know that.”

“I do but I want to wait a while.” Castiel whispered as he caressed his face. “Make sure everything is okay first.”

Dean’s expression softened. “Hey it will be. We’re only three years older and your doctor said you’re in great shape. Plus we have some experience this time around and know what to expect.”

Castiel hugged him, breathing in the smell of Dean’s cologne as his cheek brushed the cool metal of Dean’s necklace. “I believe you. Give me another month and I’ll be ready to tell.”

“Sure thing, Cas.” Dean said easily. His green eyes scanned the faces of their friends and family before drifting up to the sky as the first boom sounded, sending a red streak of light darting across the dark. “Fireworks have started.”

Without waiting for a reply, he pulled Castiel over to a patch of dry grass and sat down with him. Oliver crawled off John’s knee and toddled over to them, plopping down on Castiel’s side with his face turned up in awe. Once Isabel noticed she had Sam put her down so that she could join them, wedging her small body in the middle of her parents. By now everyone’s attention was turned towards the fireworks; they happened every year but there was just something about them.

As the sky lit up and painted their faces green, blue, red and white Castiel sighed happily and took Dean’s hand in his. He entwined their fingers together and mouthed I love you when Dean looked over, smiling when Dean replied with the same.

Their lives weren’t perfect but Castiel honestly couldn’t see himself anywhere else. When he thought of everything that had to happen to get him to this point, well it seemed like a miracle in and of itself. And while he missed Anna every day and wished she was alive to be enjoying all of this with him, he was glad her death had not been in vain. That it wasn’t just one of those things. He couldn’t prove it but he just knew deep down she had somehow worked the magic only she could to help him achieve this level of happiness. To help him meet Dean and alter the course of his life forever.

He had faith that he would see her again one day though hopefully not for a very long time. He wanted many more years with Dean, their children and their large circle of family and friends. He wanted to watch his kids grow up while he grew old with the man he loved.

And the thing funny was? Castiel had faith he’d get to do just that.

The End