"Dean you can't keep doing this! You almost got caught," Castiel's voice lowers as he gets closer to Dean, "You can't do this anymore."
"Castiel, look, I'm sorry. I'm sorry, okay? It was stupid. I made a stupid mistake and I almost got caught, but you don't understand. I didn't go to college. I didn't finish high school. I have no skills, no experience. There's no way I'm getting a job. No one will hire me, credit card fraud is all I have. It's all I have. That's all I'm good at--besides hunting, but no one's going to pay me to kill Casper the Bloodthirsty Ghost," Dean really can't believe they're having this conversation. He really can't. Castiel knew what he was getting into when he became human.
"Dean, we have a daughter! What would she do if you were in jail? Think of her. Think of our daughter. What do you think is best for her?"
"I have a daughter, Cas. Not you. Me," Dean points at himself for emphasis, "and I'll decide what's best for her."
Dean regrets it as soon as it's out of his mouth, feels the sinking feeling in his stomach. Wishes he could grab the words out of the air and shove them back into his mind, but he can't do anything now, it's too late. The look on Castiel's face really tops the cake though. He looks crestfallen. Like he can't believe Dean would use that against him. Dean can't quite believe it himself. The despair quickly morphs into anger, though, and Castiel is shoving Dean up against a wall. "You son of a bitch," he growls, "You promised. You promised, Dean."
"Cas, I-" Dean doesn't know what to say. Doesn't know what he could say. Castiel has him by the lapels of his shirt. There's fury in his eyes. The fury of a fallen angel. It's scary, not only because Castiel himself is scary, but because Dean screwed up real bad. Bad enough to get an angel to shove him against a wall. (In a completely non-erotic way.)
"Get out." Castiel all but growls, his face inches from Dean's. "Get. Out."
After his third shot, Dean doesn't even remember why he's at the bar. A fight with Castiel, obviously, but about what he has no idea. Right now, he doesn't even care. Castiel's not his wife, Castiel certainly isn't his husband, and he's not anyone's angel--he's made that clear many times, beating Dean up in some alley or another when Sam wasn't paying attention.
Of course Dean feels bad when he's flirting with some chick, feels even worse when she attacks his lips with her own, hits rock bottom when he lets her, but it's the Dean Winchester way of dealing with things. Drink away your troubles and make out with girls. When he feels her tongue swipe against his lips, he stops her. Mumbles something about going to the men's room as he stumbles away from her and toward the door. He leans against the uneven bricks outside of the seedy place to catch his breath. He can hear Analeigh now, see her little frown. "Where's Dada?" she'll ask, and Castiel will say something that he knows isn't true.
"Fuck," Dean whispers, pressing the palms of his hands into his eyes, "Get your shit together, Dean."
He walks back to the impala, welcoming the slight groan of the door as he pulls it open. "Dean Winchester, you have three seconds to explain yourself before I smite your ass."
Dean jumps at Gabriel's sudden appearance. "Hello, Gabriel. What the fuck do you want?"
"I want to know why you're at a bar drinking yourself into oblivion and making out with blondes who aren't even hot, instead of at your house with my brother and your daughter."
"I didn't drink that much, first. And second, why don't you go talk to Castiel? Maybe he'll try to get you to come out of the archangel closet."
"Are you stupid? Listen, I'm not going to go big brother on you, because I'm technically still in hiding and Castiel will notice, and that's so not me, but think about your priorities, Winchester. Don't do anything stupid." For the first time, Gabriel doesn't look like he's planning a trick. He's serious. There had been times before when he'd been serious of course, but even then he always had a smirk on his face, he always looked like he was in on some big joke. But he doesn't now, and it's scary. Dean had always known Gabriel was an archangel, but until now, Gabriel had never used that against him.
"Thanks, Gabriel." Dean says, and if he's a little sarcastic who noticed? Gabriel leaves with a rustle of wings, and something flutters down into Dean's lap. Something Gabe had probably done on purpose, but there was really no telling with that one.
Upon closer inspection, the something was a picture. Dean had thought he'd lost this particular photograph, but it very well could have been hastily shoved in-between the roof of the car and the sun visor for protection when Dean was on a hunt. Dean looks down at his own smiling face. He was holding Analeigh, she was probably only a few weeks old, and Castiel was next to him smiling so wide you'd think he did it all the time. It was only a few months before the picture was taken that Dean and Sam had discovered Cas could actually smile.
Dean remembers taking this picture. He remembers the feeling of holding his baby for the first time ever. The emotions, the anxiety, feeling like you're going to explode or melt right into the floor. He remembers the look on Cas' face the first time he held her. The way the corners of his lips tilted up, a smile that was just barely there.
Dean sighs. Castiel is right. He needs a job, needs stability. He needs to not be in jail for his little girl. So he crawls into the backseat of the impala and tucks the picture into the pocket of his jacket. Another night of sleeping in the impala doesn't sound too appealing, but he's too drunk to drive, too proud to call Cas, and too guilty to call Sam again, so impala it is. He pulls the spare blanket he keeps in the backseat over his legs with a grunt, kicks off his boots. It's going to be a long night.
Castiel balls his hands into fists. He just wants to punch something repeatedly until his hands fall off. He presses his fists to the wall, resting his head on his forearms. He's just so angry. Why is humanity so frustrating?
Sometimes Castiel wonders if it was worth it. Was giving up his grace, everything he'd ever known, worth it? He gave everything for Dean, for feeling, for free will, but it was times like this where he doubted his decision. He had always known there was a possibility that him and Dean wouldn't be together forever, but he had never really thought he would have to worry about it.
Castiel yells some incoherent words into the wall. "Daddy..?" Analeigh's voice comes from around the wall. Her little face is poking through the doorway. "Are you okay, Daddy?" she asks.
Castiel sighs and his fists uncurl. He flattens his hands against the wall and locks his elbows. "Yeah, I'm okay, Analeigh," he assures her, his head hanging between his shoulder blades. He can't bring himself to call her baby.
Analeigh doesn't say anything for a while, so long so that Castiel had believed she'd gone back to her room, or the living room. He feels her hands on his legs, her head on his hip. "It's okay, Daddy," she says. Castiel feels like crying. "It's okay if you're not okay. But you have to work real hard to get better, because I don't like it when my Daddy's sad."
Castiel pulls Analeigh into his arms, hugs her like he hadn't seen her in years. "I'm not sad, baby, who told you that?"
"No one. You look sad, Daddy. Are you okay?"
"Hey," Castiel brushes a strand of hair out of her face, "I'm great, baby. I'm great." He kisses her cheek.
"It's getting late though, time for bed. Go brush your teeth, I'll be right there," he sets her on the floor and gives her little bottom a pat so she'll get going. She spares one last glance back before scampering off to the bathroom.
The ex-angel looks at the phone on his nightstand and debates calling Dean. If not to bring him home, then to at least find out where he is. Castiel hates not knowing where Dean is. It makes him nervous, another unfortunate trait that humans have. In the end, he decides against it. Dean wouldn't answer him anyway.
"Daddy! Daddy! Uncle Sam is here!" Analeigh yells from the living room, all thoughts of her Daddy being sad forgotten.
He hears Sam groan slightly and thinks vaguely that he must be lifting Analeigh up over his head. (He also reminds himself to talk to Analeigh about not opening the door to strangers.) Castiel sighs and sinks down onto the bed he shares with Dean. Sam is here. Sam is here. This is good news.
"Go pick out a story, angel, I'm gonna go talk to your daddy real quick," Sam says from the living room.
"Okay!" and then there's the pitter patter of bare feet running on wood floors.
Sam knocks on the doorframe lightly and lets himself in. He doesn't say anything, just sits down next to his friend and puts a hand on his shoulder. "Do I really want to know where he is?" Castiel asks, pushing away the proffered keys.
"A bar, obviously." Sam says, and well, yeah. Of course Dean went to a bar.
"You know what."
"I don't want to see it. Not this time. I can't. I can't, Sam."
"I know," Sam puts his keys away, "Go to bed, Cas. I'll tell her you're not feeling well."
Castiel doesn't say anything. He stares down at his hands, trying to think of what he would've done if Sam hadn't shown up. With one last pat on the shoulder Sam gets up and crosses the room. "Thank you, Sam." Castiel says to his back.
Seconds, minutes, hours pass. Castiel is still. He hears Analeigh and Sam around the house. Sam reading her to sleep. Sam stretching out on the couch. Castiel doesn't think actual fluid thoughts, just snippets of sentences and thoughts that he doesn't want to remember. He mostly just sees snapshots in his mind. Moments he froze in his mind so that he'd never forget.
Dean's smile when Analeigh does something cute, the faces he makes late at night when they're alone, the small smile he saves for Sam when he thinks no one's looking. He sees Analeigh the first time she saw wings, the first time she wore a tutu, her smile when Castiel comes home early to surprise her.
When he can't see the moon outside his window anymore, he lets himself think of the fight, what Dean said, what Dean's doing right now. He lets the fear that they might not make up sink in, settle itself deep in his mind. He lets himself grieve for hours, single tears slipping from his eyes, tiny noises cut off in the back of his throat. He hates every minute of it, hates feeling like this, so tiny, so human, but it hurts. It hurts to think about what Dean is doing, what he was doing, what he could be doing without Castiel.
When Castiel sees the first rays of sun peeking over the horizon, he moves. He leans back into his bed and, without pulling the sheets up on top of him, sleeps.
Dean wakes up with a sore neck and a monstrous hangover. He groans as he sits up, pushing the ratty blanket onto the floor of the impala where it'll stay until he actually wakes up. The suns is painfully bright in the east side of the sky and rather than getting out of the car, Dean crawls from the backseat into the driver's seat, which worked out a lot better in his mind.
He rubs the sleep from his eyes and jams the keys into the ignition. Apologizing to his baby for being so rough, he smoothly pulls onto the main road before flooring it back to his house. He feels like driving right into a pole, god he was an idiot, but that would do neither him nor Cas any good right now, so onward he goes. He just hopes it isn't too late, hopes Cas can forgive him.
Castiel wakes up from his sleep when Analeigh jumps onto his stomach. "Oh! Oh, baby, baby, no. No, Analeigh, what are you doing?" he groans and reaches for Dean but finds the other half of the bed cold and empty. You never really get used to that sinking feeling you get from waking up alone.
"It's 9:30, Daddy! Time for ballet!" Analeigh rolls over onto Dean's side of the bed and looks over at him. "We're still going, right?"
Castiel turns his head to see her clearly, she looks so small against the white sheets. "Of course we're going, Analeigh." Castiel says quietly.
"Great!" her voice fills the room, "I'll wake up Uncle Sammy!"
She prances out of the room, and Castiel sees that not only did she pick out her own tutu, she was already wearing her wings--the special ones for ballet lessons that were pink and quite small so they didn't hit anyone while she was doing pirouettes.
Castiel literally drags himself through his morning routine.
Dean pulls into the driveway as Castiel is opening the door. Analeigh bounds into the yard, doing jumps and twirls in the grass. “Cas! Castiel, I need to talk to you,” Dean says, taking of his seatbelt and opening the door at the same time.
Castiel hears him first. “Cas!” He shuts his eyes tightly. He didn’t want to deal with this this early in the morning. “Castiel, I need to talk to you.” He turns around slowly, opens his eyes to see Analeigh dancing in the overgrown grass. He freezes the picture in his mind. He likes to remember moments like this.
Well, not exactly like this.
He sees Dean walking towards him.
“I have to take Analeigh to ballet, Dean.”
“I know, I know, but this can’t wait,” Dean grabs Castiel’s wrists.
“Dean, come on,” Cas sighs and shifts his eyes away.
“Castiel, I’m sorry. I am. I’m sorry for what I said, I’m sorry for what I did, and I’m sorry that I wasn’t more careful. You’re totally right, and I don’t.. I don’t even know why I was so upset. I need a job, I do. And I’m going to call Bobby right now, okay? Just. Don’t be mad at me anymore, please. I can’t stand it.”
“Don’t ‘Dean’ me. Come on, Cas, I even told you that you’re right.” Dean tilts his head towards Castiel’s.
The thoughts buzz around Castiel’s mind. All the things he could say, all the scenarios, flash in front of his eyes. He probably should say “I’m sorry, Dean, but I can’t forgive you,” and walk away, but he can think of a thousand reasons to stay.
“I am right, Dean,” Castiel says with a slight smile as he tilts his head forward until their foreheads are touching, “I always am.”
And then Castiel kisses Dean like he hadn’t seen him in years. He slides his tongue along Dean’s lower lip and rakes his fingers through Dean’s hair. He tastes like stale beer and smells like the backseat of the impala, but it’s good. It’s really good, actually, and Castiel steps closer to get more. More of the impala, more of the hurt, and more of the sun. Just more of Dean.
“Daaaaaaddyyyyyy!” Analeigh yells from her spot next to the car.
Castiel jerks back, cheeks red and eyes averted. “Sorry, Analeigh,” he says.
“Do you think that Sam could take Analeigh to ballet today?”