Sam sat at one of the tables in the common room in the bunker, clicking away on his laptop, putting together his monthly email to Garth. As... unique a hunter as Garth was, no one could deny how efficient he had been when he’d taken over for Bobby. He’d taken calls, and improvised with the best of them, convincing the person on the other end that of course they were FBI/homeland security/park rangers (or whatever), and obviously they had jurisdiction, or else they wouldn’t be there. He’d pointed whichever hunters were closest to (or best suited for) a hunt in the right direction. He’d offered advice and helped with research, all while knocking out some hunts himself.
He’d even, though Sam still had no idea where he’d found the time, started his own e-newsletter. The Hunter’s Gazette had started off modest enough, just a Monster of the Month type thing, with tips and tricks and common myths about whichever big bad happened to be featured that month, and the positive response from hunters on the mailing list had been overwhelming. When Garth had disappeared, and the newsletter stopped popping up every month, the loss of morale, not just for Sam and Dean, but for hunters in general was palpable.
Once Sam and Dean had discovered the truth, that Garth had been bitten by one werewolf and then fallen in love with another, they had let him go with the understanding that he would have to pretend to be dead and stick to a human heart free diet to avoid being hunted. It wasn’t long, however, before Garth was contacting them every couple days (decidedly less dead than he was supposed to be pretending to be) with suspected hunts or news of other creatures. Sam, recognizing that Garth was having a hard time quitting the hunter lifestyle, and that he needed to feel useful, suggested he start putting out the newsletter again. Anonymously this time, of course. He had jumped at the idea, and he’d had a lot more time on his hands so the Gazette had grown.
Now, it had everything. The Monster of the Month article was still the main focus, but now there were articles titled ‘Hunter’s Safety,” and “Evading Arrest; How to Avoid Being Charged With Fraud,” and “Spring Cleaning: Ten Tips for Decluttering Your Arsenal.” Now it had Letters to the Editor, advertisements for reliable hoodoo, and classifieds. It had an advice column, a Successful Hunts section, and, of course (it wouldn’t be a hunter’s paper without one), an obituary. Last month there had even been comic strips and a crossword tacked on at the end.
Sam had set it up, in an attempt to keep anyone from knowing that it was Garth putting it out, so that any incoming content from the readers came to an email address he had made just for the newsletter, and then he would forward everything to Garth for him to deal with. It was a little tedious, but it worked, and it kept Garth happily involved, so Sam didn’t really mind. At first, curiosity had him reading everything before he sent it on, but after a few hundred emails full of stupid questions and bad grammar, he gave it up and decided Garth must have the patience of a saint.
He sorted the emails by their subject line, which separated them into which section of the paper they were headed for. He was currently highlighting each one labeled “advice” or “Dear Abby”, and froze when his eyes landed on a familiar email address.
He regarded the email somewhat suspiciously. That was Cas’ email, but he never used it. Not really. Sam had only made it for him so the angel would stop subscribing to beekeeping channels on his YouTube account... Why was he using it now? And what could he possibly need advice about? He was an angel of the lord for crying out loud. Sam moved his mouse to open it, but hesitated, guilt niggling at him. It was technically supposed to be anonymous, so Sam didn’t have any business opening it. But then again... He clicked it open.
Thank you for taking the time to address my letter. I was only wondering, how would one know if a hunter was interested, romantically speaking? I am finding the few I have come to know are difficult to read. I appreciate your input.
Sam was having a hard time breathing properly, his lungs seemed to be trying to simultaneously laugh out loud while making a strange high pitched noise of glee. He settled for violently fist pumping in triumph.
The day the next issue of the Gazette was due to come out, Sam spent a large portion of the day obsessively refreshing his inbox while researching a possible haunting. When the newsletter finally appeared, Sam scrolled until he came to the advice column. There, situated between a question regarding the ethics of killing a baby monster and what to do if you suspect your brother is dating a vampire, was Cas’ submission. Garth did not disappoint.
Thank you for your letter. It’s good to know that the topic of romance is still valid for hunters, and you’re right, we can be a hard lot to read. The job takes a toll that all too often involves pushing any emotions at all to the back burner. Even the good ones. For some hunters, even a friendly hug pushes the limit of emotional tolerance. That being said, most of the hunters I have met put people they care about above all else, but it can be hard to determine when ‘care’ moves from friendship to romantic interest. The best tell you are likely to get is jealousy. How does your hunter react when you interact with others? Simply flirting with a stranger with your intended in earshot might be enough to let you know exactly what they are thinking. Good luck.
Sam closed out of the newsletter, and then closed his laptop with a smile. Yeah, there might be a haunting in southern Illinois they could check out, but it could wait. Tonight, they were going out. This was going to be awesome.
A few hours later, Sam was virtually dragging his brother and Cas out of the bunker. “Come on guys, I haven’t found much hunt wise, and we deserve to have a little fun. Let’s go.”
Dean chuckled. “Okay Sam, geez. You need to get laid, or what?”
Sam tried to reign himself in. “I’m just a little stir crazy, we’ve been looking at the inside of the bunker for a week.”
“Whatever you say, Sammy.”
Castiel was noticeably quiet the entire ride.
Sam watched Castiel surreptitiously from the moment they entered the bar and sat down. He fidgeted and looked so nervous that Sam actually felt bad for him. When Dean went up to grab them some beers, Sam leaned over, “Cas. Relax man, it’s going to be fine.” Cas was looking at him suspiciously, so he continued quickly to cover, “We came out to have fun. It’s okay to have a little fun every now and then.” Cas nodded carefully, and when Dean set his beer on the table he drank half of it in one go.
As the evening wore on, with his brother shamelessly flirting with some brunette at the bar and Cas staring sullenly at his beer, Sam pretty much gave up on anything interesting happening between the two of them on this outing. Unless... He looked over at the guy he was currently trying to hustle some cash out of.
“How about we make this a little more interesting?” He asked.
“I’m already about to take you double for nothing, how much more interesting can it get?” The guy laughed at him.
“Humor me. You win this, you win the cash. I win... You can still have the cash, but you have to go make a legitimate attempt to flirt with that guy over there.” He gestured to Cas.
“Ew. No. I don’t swing that way.”
Sam sighed, annoyed and kind of offended. “I didn’t say you had to take him home or anything... Honestly, I’m about 1000% sure you wouldn’t live very long if you did, just some innocent flirting. ” The guy looked at him strangely. “We could just leave it double or nothing, but I don’t want to hear you complain when I kick your ass and you leave here with nothing...” Sam could see the guy working it through in his head. Sam had let him win so thoroughly the first game that he was sure he was going to win this time as well.
“Alright, you got no chance in hell anyway, so why not?”
Sam smiled. “Excellent.”
After what was probably, hands down, the best pool game Sam had ever played, he handed the guy the money with a smile. “Buy him a drink. At least ten minutes at the table. Be nice, and for your own good, don’t get too handsy.” The guy grumbled but went to the bar to buy the drink. Sam meticulously racked the pool balls again, to make himself look busy. The guys face was flushed bright red, and Sam could tell he was flustered, but he offered Cas a drink and then sat down.
Sam’s eyes eagerly flicked between Dean and Castiel, waiting for Dean’s reaction. Come on Dean. You spend virtually every other moment looking at him, look at him now. Aaaaaaannnnnd, YES!
Dean’s eyes flicked once over to Cas, and then he did a double take, his flirty smile slid just a fraction. He still chuckled and nodded absently at whatever the girl was saying, but Sam knew he was distracted by the scene at their table. Cas was smiling and blushed at something the man said. The more animated Cas became at the table, the less animated Dean was at the bar, his face a mask of confusion. The girl tried to get his attention twice before walking off in a huff, making the look of confusion all the more prominent on his face.
Eventually, the man excused himself, and when he and Sam made eye-contact, Sam nodded slightly in recognition of him holding up his end of the deal. Sam had been hoping for a little bit more drama, but with as emotionally constipated as his brother could be sometimes, he’d have to take what he could get and hope that maybe some things had fallen into place.
They had barely made it out of the parking lot before Dean subtly brought up Cas’s new ‘friend’.
"His name was Cale, and he was very nice. He bought me a drink.”
Sam saw Dean’s knuckles tighten on the steering wheel, and then asked, barely containing a smirk, “Yeah? What did you guys talk about?” He turned in his seat to look at Cas, who blushed again.
“Mostly he asked about me, and the things I liked.” Cas hesitated. “He said I had very nice eyes.”
“Nice! You, uh, you do realize he was flirting with you, right?” Sam chuckled.
Cas tilted his head. “No, I--” He paused, thinking it over. “Well, he did give me this number.” He pulled out a napkin with a phone number scratched onto it.
Sam snorted. ‘I don’t swing that way’, my ass. Him and Dean ought to get together and have a party in that closet they’ve locked themselves in. “Well, look at you. Me and Dean strike out and you knock one out of the park without even trying.” He looked expectantly at Dean, who shifted uncomfortably.
“Uh, yeah. Way to go, man.”
Almost a month had passed since the bar incident, and Sam had officially given up hope. Cas had obviously given it up, and Dean was still stubbornly oblivious. At first, Sam was sure there was going to be some sort of epiphany or confession or something, but no. The closest he got was a tense moment in the kitchen the next day, when Cas had entered the kitchen holding the napkin Cale had given him.
Sam had just returned from his morning run, and his earbuds were still in place, even though he’d paused his playlist when he came inside. He nodded in greeting to Cas, and then turned to finish making his toast, pretending that he wasn’t doing his best to eavesdrop.
Cas stood in the doorway awkwardly for a few minutes, until Dean, sitting at the table eating a bowl of cereal, huffed, “What’s up with you, Cas?”
Castiel took a step into the kitchen, and held up the napkin. “Well, should... Should I call him?”
Dean’s spoon froze halfway to his mouth. “What? Why?” He didn’t wait for Cas to answer. “Y-you want to date him, or what?”
“Then why would you call him?” Dean was not quite keeping the accusatory tone out of his voice.
“I didn’t realize when he gave it to me that he had done so out of a romantic interest. It feels dishonest not to admit to my misunderstanding.”
Dean visibly relaxed. “Cas, it might be a little dishonest, but it’s kinder to let him think you lost his number or something instead of flat out telling him you’re not interested. You know?”
Cas nodded. “I suppose.”
Sam had been sure that Cas would have seen that Dean was crazy jealous. Yeah, people that didn’t know him well might not be able to see it, but for Sam it was written plainly across his brother’s face. Sam tried to get them to go out with him again, thinking maybe he could do a little more pushing, but neither of them seemed up to it. What he needed, was a plan. Maybe he would write his own Dear Abby letter. The thought made him laugh, but reminded him it was about that time of month again, so he pulled up all the submissions on his laptop and started sending them off.
Again he stumbled across Castiel’s email address in his inbox. He opened it without hesitation.
Thank you infinitely for your swift response to my previous letter, though I must admit that your answer was not quite what I expected. I did attempt to follow your advice, but I fear it did not go as either of us imagined. It seems I am adeptly inept at flirting, and I worry the whole episode has had the opposite of the desired effect. So now I ask you this, instead of trying to discover if a romantic interest exists, how might I encourage said interest?
Sam almost felt guilty for doubting Cas’ determination. That’s right Cas, he thought, we got this.
Of course, when the newsletter came out, and Sam read the advice Garth had written, he shook his head and chuckled. There was a blurb at the beginning, thanking him for his reply and commiserating in the failed attempt, and then a short list of suggestions. Sam winced a little reading them over a second time. This could either go hilariously wrong, or hilariously right. Only time would tell.
Sam wasn’t sure how much more he could take. He wondered again if maybe he should just show Dean Cas’ entries to the Gazette. Cas had gone right down the list, and Sam had somehow managed to be present for most of it.
1. Make him laugh. Being a hunter can be downright brutal, with little to no time for personal amusement. Laughter is precious, so a sense of humor is very important.
“Why did the bee get married?” Castiel blurted randomly as the three of them were chilling in the library.
Dean looked up at him slowly. “What?”
“Why did the bee get married?” He repeated. Dean looked at Sam, who shrugged and was trying his very best not to snicker, but when Dean didn’t respond, Cas got flustered. “I understand, of course, that bees aren’t actually interested in performing nuptial rituals... It is a joke.”
“Yeah, Cas. I get it’s a joke. Okay, why did the bee get married?”
“Because he’d found his honey.” Sam chuckled. Okay, so the joke was crap, but knowing the reason behind it made all the difference. Dean shook his head, but his lips tipped upward. Cas frowned, not satisfied with his response. “It’s amusing, because bees make honey, and Honey is also a term of endearment.”
“Yeah, I get it, Laffy Taffy, but thanks for explaining it.”
Cas tipped his head, confused. “Is that another term of endearment? I’m not familiar--”
Sam lost it, laughing even harder when Dean looked at him with the same confused look Cas was giving him.
2. If you can’t bring yourself to say how you feel out loud, let your actions do the talking. Sometimes, hunters can be pretty slow on the uptake, so be sure to be clear with the body language you are using. Be attentive, make eye contact and lean towards him, so he knows he has your full attention.
Even if it perfectly described his behavior towards Dean on any given day, Sam was actually surprised at how well Cas implemented this one, at first. Cas made it a whole day and a half before deciding that subtlety must not be working, and that he needed to turn it up a notch. Sam watched, increasingly amused, as Cas took ‘being attentive’ to a whole new level. By the end of day three, Sam had secretly awarded him the ‘stalker of the year’ award.
What Sam was most interested in, however, was not Cas leaning so close to Dean he was apt to fall over, but the fact that Dean hadn’t yet complained about it. Of course, he hadn’t addressed it positively either, which pushed Cas to lean ever closer and stare even longer. Sam wondered who would break first.
It was Dean, of course. After the second time turning around only to bump into the angel, he snapped. “Damn it Cas! Can I get some space?” Cas only frowned and then disappeared. Dean looked at Sam, who was giving him a dirty look. “What? I’ve been tripping over him all day!”
Sam only shook his head and muttered under his breath, “Idiot.”
3. Nothing is more attractive than confidence, so be confident in yourself and in your body. If you’ve got it, flaunt it, and if you are comfortable doing so, don’t be afraid to show a little skin.
Cas hadn’t shown up again for the rest of the day, and Sam could tell Dean was feeling guilty about it, so after breakfast the next morning Sam pulled him into the library to distract him with some possible hunts he had stumbled upon. Both of them froze in the doorway, and Sam slapped his forehead with his palm in disbelief. Cas was reshelving the books he had pulled out the night before, stretching up to place one on the top shelf, completely naked. Sam screwed his eyes shut and turned around.
Dean stared, mouth slung open. He made a small strangled noise before demanding, “W-what are you doing?!”
“Returning the books to the proper shelves.”
Sam could almost hear the head tilt, and noted that Dean was still staring.
“I know.” He said simply.
“You can’t just be naked in common areas, Cas.”
“I-I am expressing confidence in this body.”
“Well express it with more clothes on!”
“I don’t understand. I should be ashamed? You-you don’t think this body is aesthetically pleasing?”
Sam could hear the hurt in Cas’ voice, and shot Dean a bitchface. Dean didn’t catch it, too busy gulping in response to the question before suddenly remembering himself and whirling around. “Damn it, Cas! Just... Put some clothes on! Jesus.”
4. Make an effort to learn more about and show an interest in something he likes. He’ll appreciate the effort, and you might even find you enjoy it too.
Sam carried the groceries in and set them on the counter, looking at Cas who sat dejectedly at the table and wondered what he had missed. As if in answer, a loud curse followed by a metallic bang and shattering glass echoed from the direction of the garage. Sam looked back at Cas, who winced at each curse and slam. Sam grimaced when the realization hit him.
“Oh, Cas. Not the Impala. Tell me you didn’t.”
Cas hung his head. “I- I just wanted to know how it worked. I thought...” he shook his head. “Cars are a lot more complicated than I originally imagined. I was going to put it all back, but when he saw the parts...”
Sam put a hand on his shoulder. “It’s alright Cas. He won’t be mad forever.” Another curse rang through the bunker. “It uh, might be a while though.”
5. And, obviously, the one you can’t go wrong with, great jams paired with some of your sweetest moves. Never underestimate the power of dance.
Not for the first time, Sam wondered how he had been lucky enough (or unlucky, depending on how he looked at it) to get to see this one in action. He had been totally minding his own business, looking for a particular book regarding phoenixes in the very back of the library, when he heard the tell-tale scratch of the record player kicking on. He peered between the shelves to see Castiel, eyes closed and lightly swaying in time to the jazz softly filling the room.
Sam debated whether or not to interrupt, but Dean beat him to it. “Cas, what are you doing?”
Cas froze. “N-nothing.”
Dean chuckled. “Are you sure?” He teased. “’Cause it looked to me like you were dancing.”
“No.” Cas looked at him guiltily. “Well, not really.”
Dean shrugged. “I’m just teasin’, man. Everybody likes to dance sometimes.”
“Even you?” He asked. Dean blushed lightly, but didn’t answer. “I miss it.” Castiel muttered after a while.
“Yes. It’s different, in heaven, being able to exist in multiple planes of existence at once can be very uninhibiting. I’ve been told I am quite good, but this vessel... I feel too restricted and uncoordinated to be any good at all.”
“I don’t know about angel dancing, but down here, it’s all about getting lost in the music, letting your body go with the flow.”
Cas looked up at him. “Would you show me?”
Sam held his breath, watching his brother think it over. He pushed the guilt he felt at spying away. It wasn’t like he could show himself now.
Dean was chewing his lip hesitantly, and Cas folded. “You don’t have to. I don’t want to make you uncomfortable.”
“No, it’s fine, it’s just.. I’m not a professional or anything.” Dean stepped closer, steeling himself before hesitantly placing his hands on the angel’s hips.
“Oh.” Cas said, too late to be a reply. They stood there awkwardly for a beat. “I don’t--” He held up his hands, questioning.
“Oh, um.” He took his hands off Cas’ hips and grabbed his wrists instead, bringing them up so they rested on his shoulders, and then put his own hands back to hips. He knew they probably looked like a couple of middle schoolers and their first dance, but couldn’t quite bring himself to care. “I’ve never, ah, done this with a guy before.” He sounded almost apologetic.
Cas looked at him curiously as they began to sway. “Does that make a difference?”
Dean cleared his throat. “I guess not.”
They were both quiet for a while, until Cas mumbled, “I’m sorry, about the Impala.”
“It’s... fine. I shouldn’t have gotten so mad.”
Sam, looked away, stuck somewhere between ‘oh my God, this is the most painfully awkward thing I’ve ever seen,’ and ‘if this was any more adorable, I’d die.’ When he was sure he wasn’t going to screw everything up by cheering or something, he looked back through the bookcase. They had changed position, so that Dean stood behind Cas now, his hands still firmly grasping hips. Castiel leaned back against him, one arm thrown up behind him, holding the back of Dean’s neck.
Sam looked away again, suddenly worried about how quickly this might escalate into something he definitely did not want to see. He didn’t have to worry about that for long, as soon as the song ended, Dean stepped back quickly.
“See? Nothing to it. I’m going to um, go find Sam.”
Castiel watched him go, and then turned to pull the needle from the record; when he turned back around, Sam could see he was smiling.
6. If all else fails, be honest. The life of a hunter is generally a short one, and none of us can afford to spend too much time beating around the bush.
“Does Cas seem weirder than normal?” Sam looked up from his laptop and raised an eyebrow at his brother. Dean frowned. “I’m being serious. What is up with him lately?”
Sam sighed. “I don’t know, Dean. Maybe he’s trying to tell you something.”
Dean mulled that over for a while. “Like what?”
“You can’t possibly be that dense.”
“Apparently I can, you going to enlighten me?”
Sam’s eyes flicked to the doorway. “You should probably ask Cas.”
Dean turned around to see Cas standing in the doorway, and then looked back at his brother. “Okay.” He said suspiciously before facing the angel again. “Cas, what’s up?”
The angel fidgeted, then looked at Sam, who nodded encouragingly. For once, Castiel couldn’t quite look Dean in the eye. “I would very much like to pursue a romantic relationship. With you.”
“You--” Dean paused, and sat very still, processing. “So, this last week or whatever, that was you-- You’ve been hitting on me?” Sam snickered, and Dean shushed him without looking away from Cas.
“Yes. I’m afraid I’m not very good at it.”
Cas waited for him to say something else. “I’m going to need you to expand on that.”
“I- I’m a little overwhelmed.”
“Are you averse the idea?”
“What? I- No! I’m just--” He stood and paced a little. “I don’t know what-- How long?”
Cas shrugged. “I’m not entirely sure. I have come to believe that it was my Father’s intention when he created me for me to find you, because I’ve never felt so complete as when I place my faith in you.”
Sam stood abruptly. Dean and Cas were looking at each other in a way that made him need to leave the room. “Yup. That’s my cue. I’m out.” He headed to the door, and looked back to quip something about Dean not screwing this up, but Dean was cupping Cas’ face with a light blush on his own, and it was so sweet that Sam held his tongue.
Sam cracked his laptop and sipped his coffee. He’d spent the last two weeks researching soundproofing the bunker, in an attempt to prevent any further mental scarring. Not that it would help prevent him from stumbling across his brother and the angel in compromising positions and various states of undress all throughout the bunker, which he had. Often. The laundry room would probably never be the same.
This time, instead of an email from Cas, Sam was more than surprised to find one from Dean.
For the record, your advice sucks. I guess without it, ‘Angel’ would never have annoyed me enough to make me ask what the hell was going on, and I might never have had the courage to make a move myself, so thanks.
-Hunter in Love With an Angel