Dean wasn’t sure why he was even scrolling through Craigslist. Especially not the casual encounters section. It was four days before Thanksgiving. Not like he was gonna try and hook up with someone before that shitstorm. After, sure, but not before.
He kept scrolling, though, not clicking anything until a title caught his eye.
Alone on Thanksgiving? Mad at your dad?
Dean clicked the link and read the ad copy with growing amusement.
I am a 28 year old male felon who has no degree, but has studied enough theologies of the world, behavioral psychology, and philosophy to set your whole family’s teeth on edge—no matter which way they lean, politically, religiously or in terms of neuroses. I drive a van the same age as me that’s got a mural on the side of an angel holding an orgy. I can play between the ages of 20-30 depending on whether I shave. I live off an inheritance, and sell weed on the side. If you’d like to have me as your strictly platonic date for Thanksgiving, but have me pretend to be in a very long or serious relationship (monogamous or polyamorous, whichever sounds most like it would freak out su familia) with you (and/or others), to torment your family, I’m game.
I can do these things at your request:
- openly hit on female/male guests while you act like you don’t notice
- Share inappropriate PDAs with you in front of Grandma and the underage cousins. This includes overuse of tongue, groping, humping, miming oral sex—whatever you need.
- start instigative discussions about politics and/or religion. (see first paragraph for my qualifications on this)
- pretend to be really drunk as the evening goes on (sorry, I prefer weed, so don’t drink. But! I used to. A lot. So I know how to play it convincingly). for that matter, I can convincingly play high.
- propose to you in front of everyone (while pretending to be drunk/high, if you like)
- Start an actual, physical fight with a family member, either inside or on the front lawn for all the neighbors to see. Grandpa, Uncle Marv, the cat—whoever.
I require no pay but the free meal I will receive as a guest. Some weed would be nice, though.
Dean read the ad twice. He couldn’t. Could he? Fuck, he wanted to, though. His dad had been giving him shit for months now, ever since he’d broken it off with Benny. When was Dean gonna settle down? When was he going to do this? When was he gonna do that? It was seriously pissing Dean off.
The fact that John was on his second marriage but still treated Dean’s mom like she should do as he said didn’t exactly sit well with Dean, either. Why his mom put up with his dad’s shit, Dean would never understand. Dual Thanksgivings with his dad and his mom and his step parents? Who the fuck did that shit?
He had the number dialed before he could talk himself out of it. The phone rang through to voicemail, so Dean left a brief message that said, “Hi, I’m Dean. Uh, calling about the ad for a Thanksgiving date? Obviously, I’m a guy, so I don’t know if that’s a problem, but you said male or female, right? So, just, like, gimme a call back, okay?” He left his number and hung up.
Dean tapped his foot nervously against the center leg of the table at the diner. Cas had called him back and they’d set up what Cas called a compatibility meeting. The guy was late, which might have annoyed Dean any other time, but he was sort of relieved. If he wasn’t prompt, maybe he’d actually live up to his other promises. Besides which, it gave Dean time to get his nerves under control.
The door jangled and a rumpled-looking dark-haired guy walked in, sporting well worn—and snug-fitting—jeans, a long sleeved shirt unbuttoned almost halfway, and aviator sunglasses. The man took the glasses off and tucked them in his pocket by the ear piece. Then his startlingly blue eyes landed on Dean’s. His gaze lingered for a second—during which Dean felt his pulse ramp up about twenty miles per hour faster than it had been—before moving on, scanning the rest of the diner.
Huh. Dean had been sure it was Cas. He specifically said he had blue eyes and would wear aviators, but Dean had described himself too, and the guy didn’t seem to pay any particular attention to him. He watched as the guy walked around the diner in both directions, then cautiously approached Dean’s table.
“I, uh, I don’t suppose you’re Dean?”
“Yeah, man. You’re Cas, right? I wondered why you kept walking around. Told you what I looked like, didn’t I?”
Cas’ face fell into a glare. “You said you were average looking.”
Dean’s brow furrowed. “Yeah?”
Cas continued to glare for a second and then his eyes widened. “Do you actually think you’re average looking?”
Dean held out his hands, looking down at himself. “Uh, yeah? I mean, not much special about me, really. Army green eyes, dirty dishwater hair, girly lips, too many freckles. I’m okay, but I’m no Clooney.”
Cas just blinked at him silently for a second. Then he shook his head vigorously and sat down. “I—no. Never mind. Um, did you order?”
“Nah, just coffee,” Dean said, gesturing at the cup in front of him. He raised a hand to get the waitress’s attention.
“All right, so tell me why you called on my ad,” Cas said as he perused the menu. “Coffee, please, Molly,” he said to the waitress, when she walked up to the table.
Dean had noticed her name tag, of course, but he wasn’t used to other people paying attention. Cas moved up a notch in his esteem. Dean sipped his coffee and studied the other man, noting his strong jaw, slightly asymmetrical cleft chin, long dark eyelashes and full lips. His hair was slightly wavy and looked clean, but not styled at all. Dean could detect the slightest hint of pot when the heat in the diner kicked on.
“Well, uh, I’ve got kind of a weird family situation at Thanksgiving. Mom and Dad split up years ago, when Dad cheated and ended up with a third kid. Now Dad and the kid’s mom are married, and mom’s married to another guy too, and we all do Thanksgiving together at my mom’s house. All, as in, both sets of parents. And both my brothers and some family friends that may as well be blood.”
Cas nodded, mixing cream and sugar into his coffee as soon as Molly brought it. “Okay, starting to get a picture. What else? Who are the problem people? Who are you trying to piss off and why?”
“Well, the mad at your dad thing is what caught my eye. He’s the prime target. He’s surprisingly not homophobic, but he’s always on my ass about something, usually the fact that I’m not in a serious relationship, haven’t settled down yet—like he did such a bang up job being married the first time. Speaking of, his wife Kate is probably target two because I am not a fan.”
Cas blew on his coffee and sipped it with a look of satisfaction. “What’s her deal? Wicked stepmom?”
“No, more like, closet drunk, uber-religious, mildly homophobic, and kind of my dad’s door mat. She puts up with all his shit without a peep. Just smiles and nods while he’s busy being an overbearing dickbag.” Dean sipped his own coffee. “Then there’re the peripheral people, like Aunt Ellen—who isn’t really my aunt—and her daughter Jo, who is a pain in my ass. We grew up together and she’s like my cousin, but she still flirts with me, like, constantly. Ellen is just really bossy and thinks I need telling how to live my life. Still treats me like I’m a little kid, basically.”
“What about Mommy dearest and her hubby?”
Dean smiled genuinely. “Mom is fantastic. I wish she wouldn’t let Dad run over her all the time, but she isn’t like Kate. She knows he’s a dick, she just picks her battles and usually lets him win unless it’s about one of us kids.” Dean saw Molly coming back. “You ready to order?” Cas nodded. “Michael is okay. Wish he’d stand up for Mom more, though, with Dad, you know?”
“All right, boys, you had time to figure out what you want?”
“Yeah, I think so. Cas, you go first.”
“I’ll take a cheeseburger, Molly. Medium rare, all the way. Cole slaw instead of fries, please.”
“Sure thing, sweetheart. Okay, how ‘bout you?”
“Same burger, but double fries instead of slaw, and can I get jalapenos on that, Mol?”
“You got it!” she said with a wink. “I’ll come back and refill your coffee’s in a just a minute, all right? Hey there, Ethel, how’re things at the mill?” she asked a woman at the counter who had just taken a seat on a stool.
“Same old, same old, Molly Mae,” the woman replied before Cas pulled Dean’s attention away.
“You were telling me about Michael,” Cas prompted.
“Yeah. He’s cool, just, like I said, I wish he’d tell Dad to fuck off and leave his wife the hell alone. I’ve done it a few times, but it should be him.”
“Maybe she asks him not to,” Cas suggested. “Maybe he’s actually doing what she wants him to do.”
Dean shrugged. “Maybe. Um, so anyway, then there’s Uncle Bobby. Really not even sure if he’s related or not, to tell you the truth. He’s got a thing for Jody, but he’s too chickenshit to tell her. She hasn’t been around long enough to be called Aunt Jody, but I’m closer to her than Ellen, really.”
“You like Bobby a lot,” Cas observed.
“Bobby was the kind of dad my dad never was. He played catch with me and Sammy, took us fishing, and all that other Hallmark crap. So yeah. I love Bobby. He’s not a target, unless you can use your skill set to get him to nut up and ask Jody to the prom.”
Cas laughed at that, and Dean felt himself smiling slightly in response. “And who is Sammy?”
“Oh, that’s my younger brother Sam. Adam is Kate’s kid. Sam’s the brother I grew up with. He’s my best friend slash big pain in my ass. Love him to death. He’s not a—oh, hey, thanks, Molly,” Dean said with a smile as the waitress set their burgers down. “Looks awesome.”
“You boys enjoy,” she said. After she refilled their coffees and started walking away, she called, “Let me know if you need anything.”
“Um,” Dean said, dipping a fry in ketchup and eating it hurriedly, ignoring the way it burned his mouth. “I was saying Sam’s not a target. Mom’s not really, either, but you can have a little fun with her, maybe stand up to Dad for her? And maybe call out Michael for not doing it. That’s really the only things for them.”
Cas ate his burger and chewed slowly, a contemplative look on his face. After he swallowed, he said, “So what I’m hearing is, you’d like me to be outlandish, in their face and generally unpleasant to your dad and his wife, while being charming to your mom and her husband. So that when I take your dad down a peg, your mom takes my side. Also, I need to get Bobby hooked up with Jody. Sam I leave alone, but really he’s probably in the same group as your mom and Michael?” Dean nodded. “Jo is an annoyance who needs to clue in and Ellen needs to cut the apron strings. That about it?”
“Um. There’s Adam.” Dean sighed, eating another bite of his burger and hoping its juicy deliciousness would soothe him. It helped some, but he still felt like crap. “It’s not his fault his father is a philandering fuckstick. I get that. It’s also not his fault that his dad treats his older brothers like crap and treats him like he shits gold.” Dean shoved several fries into his mouth and chewed angrily. “It is his fault that he flaunts it and gangs up on me with Dad when it comes to what I’m doing with my life.”
Cas nodded, looking wise. “All right. I have a clear picture, I think. Tell me about their religious and political affiliations. You mentioned Kate being religious, but you didn’t say about anyone else.”
“Yeah, Kate’s a devout Methodist. Dad isn’t really part of a church, but he takes all the angry parts of different religions and just sort of spouts them all. They’re both Republican. Mom is vaguely Protestant, but she’s not into church, really. She does charity work and she prays, I think, and I know she believes in angels, but beyond that, she is kind of a live and let live person.”
“How about Michael?”
Dean pondered it as he ate. “You know, I actually have no idea. He’s never mentioned anything that I can remember, one way or the other.”
Cas nodded, lips pursed thoughtfully. “All right. I think I have a solid handle on how to play it. Anyone I shouldn’t hit on?”
“Bobby and Jo. Adam. Otherwise, go for it. And, um, the PDA thing... you’re cool with that still?” Dean shifted uncomfortably, trying not to show that he was looking forward to making out with Cas.
Cas, however, grinned at him. “Now that I’ve seen you? I consider it one of the perks of the job.”
Dean could feel himself blush from the roots of his hair down to the balls of his feet. “Oh.”
Cas smiled and they finished eating in silence. When he was done, Cas threw his napkin on his plate and said, “Text me your address so I can pick you up on Thursday.” Then he fished some bills out of his wallet and tossed them on the table. “That should cover my half and the tip.”
Glancing at the pile, Dean was pretty sure it would have covered both their meals twice and decent tips for three people, but he didn’t say so. Instead, he asked the question that had been on his mind the whole time.
“Cas, why are you doing this? I mean, we talked about my motives, but what are yours? Just the free meal?”
“Yep,” Cas said, but Dean saw a wall snap shut behind his eyes and knew he was lying. “Just a free meal.”
Thanksgiving arrived and Cas showed up on Dean’s doorstep at the appointed time. His van was something else. Kate was going to be horrified. Dad might literally explode if he saw it. Dean couldn’t help the smile that stole over his face.
He’d been worried that the drive might be awkward, but they managed to find plenty to talk about. They had completely different taste in books, but they were both well-prepared to debate their opinions and each was open-minded enough to listen to the other through those debates. All in all, it was an enjoyable ride.
Then they were at Dean’s mom’s house, standing on the porch, ringing the bell. Kate answered the door, as usual—and, yeah, his stepmom answering the door at his mom’s house would never not piss him off—and as soon as it was closed behind him, Dean knew he’d made the right choice.
“Dude, your mom is hot,” Cas said, openly ogling Kate.
Dean held in his snort and tried to look flustered instead. “Oh, that’s my stepmom, Kate. Kate this is my boyfriend, Cas.” Dean then pretended not to notice when Cas kissed her hand and got into her personal space in a big way.
“Hey there, Kate,” he said in a low voice. “So nice to meet you.” Dean also pretended not to notice how uncomfortable Kate was.
“Dean, honey, is that you?” Mary called from the other room.
When she stepped through the door and Cas saw her, he dropped Kate’s hand like it was contagious and turned to Mary. “Wow, I can’t believe I thought that other lady was your mom,” he said breathlessly. “It’s obvious this is where you got your looks from.” Then he stepped up to Mary, taking both her hands in his. “You are a vision. Stunning, ma’am, absolutely stunning. Treat me right, Dean or I’m taking this one,” he said with a grin and a wink.
Dean’s mom blushed and fussed with her hair. “I, um, Dean? Who-who’s this?”
“Mom, meet Cas. My boyfriend. We’re living together.”
“Well, it’s about time you got serious, boy,” John said as he strode into the space and tried to fill it with testosterone and overcompensation.
“You must be John,” Cas said drily, not offering a hand or other introduction. “Hope you saved enough booze for the rest of us ‘cause I could use a fucking drink.”
Proper Methodist Kate looked like she might pass out, while John worked on making the vein in his forehead explode. Dean just smiled at his mom innocently, like he saw nothing amiss. Before anyone could react, thought, Mary’s second husband, Michael, walked out with a tray of drinks.
“Who wants cocktails?” he asked cheerily, unaware of the tension in the room.
“I’ll take one, but I gotta hit the head first,” Dean said, wanting to allow Cas a few moments to work his magic.
As he was almost to the bathroom door, he heard Cas say, “Goddamn, Mary, you definitely upgraded!”
Dean laughed to himself as he availed himself of the facilities and washed his hands. He grinned at the mirror and then took a deep breath, schooling his face into a serious mask by thinking of all the assholishness various members of his family so often brought to the holiday. He just knew Cas was going to take them all to task and it was going to be amazing.
When Dean came out of the bathroom, he found Cas appearing to drink whatever fancy cocktail Michael had concocted this year. He walked over and grabbed one for himself, smiling as Cas slung an arm around him. Dad and Kate were no longer in the room.
"So Cas, how did you and Dean meet?" Michael asked.
"Oh, wow, that's a great story! Dean, you want me to tell it?"
"You tell it so much better than I do, babe," Dean ad-libbed, having no idea what Cas was going to say. They'd agreed in the car that Cas would make up a story in the moment.
"Okay, so there I was," Cas said, surreptitiously pouring his drink into Dean's glass.
John came back out, with Kate just behind him. "What are we talking about?"
"How Dean and I met. So, there I was, getting arrested during a protest, right? And Dean's walking by on his way to lunch or something - "
"The gym," Dean interjected.
"Oh, that's right! Okay, so Dean's walking past and he knows this cop guy who is arresting me. What's his name again?"
"Victor," Dean said, naming a cop he actually did know.
"Yes! Good ole Vic. We should invite him over. Anyway, it wasn't a big protest or anything, just a little sit-in outside the Young Republicans meeting and so Dean comes over and starts chatting with Victor while he's trussing me up." He set down his empty glass and grabbed another.
“And just what were the Young Republicans doing that was so worthy of protest?” John asked with an edge to his voice.
“Huh. You know, I don’t really remember? Probably just their normal small-minded, oppressive bullshit, I’d imagine.” He took what looked like a long pull off his drink before continuing. “Anyway, Dean starts talking to Victor and Victor kinda puts a hold on what he’s doing with the whole arrest thing and Dean suggests maybe he doesn’t need to arrest me.”
“Well, he really didn’t. I mean, you didn’t set off the smoke bomb, right?”
Cas gave Dean a look. “Um... right.” He gave a laugh that was so obviously fake that Dean wanted to laugh for real. This whole thing was a blast so far.
“Tell them the next part!” he said with glee.
“Victor let me go. Took me out of the cuffs and everything, and when he was gone, I asked Dean why he’d done that for me.” Cas laughed again, but also had a saucy gleam in his eye. “He said he’d just gotten so hot and bothered by the sight of me in handcuffs—”
“You didn’t have to tell them that part!” Dean protested, even though he was secretly loving it.
“Oh. So I guess I shouldn’t mention how you stole the cuffs off Victor and then took me back to your room and—”
“No!” Dean managed a blush by virtue of the fact that he suddenly pictured a scenario like what Cas was describing and found he was absolutely on board with that.
No sooner had he had that thought than Cas leaned over suddenly and pressed a sloppy but chaste kiss right on the corner of his mouth. “My ferocious tiger has become a shy little rabbit,” Cas said, not quite slurring his words, but definitely sounding affected by substances. “I love it!”
Cas punctuated his last sentence by slapping the nearest person on the ass. That person happened to be Kate and if the doorbell had not rung at that very moment, Dean was certain John would have attempted bodily injury on Cas. Cas pretended to be oblivious, as did Dean.
“Sammy!” Dean called out as soon as he saw his brother’s face in the doorway. “’Bout time you made it! Come meet my boyfriend, Cas.”
“Wow, if it doesn’t work out with your mom, Dean, I am definitely banging your brother,” Cas said in a stage whisper.
“Sam doesn’t swing our way.”
Cas snorted. “Oh, yeah, like he’d be the first straight boy I managed to turn for the night.”
“Um,” Sam squeaked out, looking like a cross between a deer in headlights and lost puppy. “Hi?”
“I am, as a matter of fact. Not high enough, though,” Cas said, looking around and patting himself as though he might spot his pot-smoking paraphernalia nearby.
Sam blinked. “Right. Um, Jess, you know everyone except Cas, right?”
“Well, hey, Jess!” Dean said, surprised the Sam had brought her. They’d been just friends for about a millennium and Dean had given up on his brother ever making a move. “I didn’t know you’d be coming!” He gave Cas a look and a subtle headshake, hopefully letting him know not to fuck with Jess. Dean didn’t need that on his conscience.
“It’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance, Jess,” Cas said, taking her hand and giving it a quick kiss. He dropped his voice an octave and took Sam’s hand too. “Samuel,” he said suggestively.
Dean delighted in watching his brother squirm, but Jo and Ellen and Bobby were coming in right behind so there was little time to dawdle.
“Hey, Bobby!” Dean said, yanking the chubby older man in for a hug. “I want you to meet Cas, my boyfriend and roommate. Cas, this is my Uncle Bobby.”
Before Bobby could say anything, Ellen cut in from behind him. “Roommate, huh? You sure that’s the best thing for you right now, Dean? Joanna Beth, take my coat,” she said, turning to her daughter. “I really think maybe you should be focusing more on what you’re gonna do with your life.”
“I really think maybe you ought to mind your own fucking business,” Cas chimed in right on cue, wrapping himself around Dean from behind and resting his chin on Dean’s shoulder. Dean could hear the smile in his voice as he added, “You do you and let us do us, how’s that sound?” Then he spun away, leaving Dean feeling unexpectedly bereft, and called out, “Hey, Mikey, where are those cocktails? I need a refill!”
Bobby wanted to laugh, Dean could tell, but when he felt Ellen turn his way, he schooled his face into something gruff and stern. His mouth twitched, though, when he spoke.
“Your boyfriend there is certainly... confident,” he said, eyes twinkling. “Ellen, you want me to grab you a beer?” he asked, as if he didn’t know she was fit to be tied.
“Make it a whiskey,” she said, glaring daggers at Dean as she stalked past him.
Dean felt a little afraid they’d gone too far, but then he realized, she hadn’t pursued the topic and for Ellen that was rare. He scored it as a win. When he saw Jo looking at him, though, he sighed. She was giving him that simpering, “You’re so adorable I just wanna dress you up and have tea parties” look and he wasn’t feeling it. Where the hell was Cas?
Dean didn’t get a chance to look around and see before Jo came up and put her hand flirtatiously on Dean’s arm.
“Remove your hand if you want to keep it,” Cas told Jo menacingly, appearing beside Dean seemingly from nowhere. “I only share with mutually agreed upon third parties and I don’t like you, so you don’t make the list.”
Jo’s eyes bugged wide and she withdrew her hand. “Why don’t you like me?” she asked, a waver in her voice that Dean had never heard before. “We haven’t even met properly.”
“Hm, well, could have something to do with the fact that you heard me introduced as Dean’s boyfriend and yet still thought you could walk up and start pawing him or maybe it’s how you are obviously a strong-willed individual, but when mommy says jump you can’t get in the air fast enough.” He flung himself around Dean again and popped something into his mouth, chewing noisily. “Take your pick, it’s one of those. Dean, come show me your old room so we can make out!"
He said it loudly enough for the whole room to hear, but the only real reason Dean was embarrassed was that he realized he felt a little kick in his belly at the words. He actually wanted to be upstairs in his old bed, macking on Cas. This was not the way things were supposed to go. The ad said platonic date. He needed to remember that.
Cas gave him a questioning look and grabbed his hand. Dean put on his best flirtatious smile and led the way up the stairs, ignoring how well their hands seemed to fit together, as well as the sparks of heat that emanated from even this chaste contact. Halfway up, Cas slapped and grabbed his ass, causing him to jump and make a yipping noise he was not proud of.
Then he felt Cas’ breath in his ear. “A few of them were watching us walk up here. Thought I’d give them a show,” he whispered. Then he repeated the slap and grab.
Once they reached the room, Dean found himself feeling uncomfortable. Self-conscious, almost, like Cas was his actual boyfriend and this was actually high school and Dean was actually pathetic. He shook off the feeling and flopped backwards onto his old bed, grabbing an errant football on the way to twirl it between his hands.
Cas shut the door behind them and walked over to the window. He looked it over and then opened it a few inches. Then he pulled a bag out of his pocket and extracted the biggest joint Dean had seen outside of a parody video. Cas lit it and took a drag with his eyes closed, leaning back and exposing his neck in a way Dean did not want to acknowledge was sexy as hell. When Cas opened his eyes and those twin blue orbs caught Dean staring, his lips quirked up and his eyelids crinkled. Then he leaned over and blew the smoke straight out the window.
“That all you wanted to come up here for?” Dean asked, toying with the idea of asking for a hit. It had been a long time and he kind of missed it.
Cas shocked him by setting the joint down on the window ledge then running over and jumping up on the bed, feral grin on this face. Then he climbed on all fours from the foot of the bed up to Dean’s face and cocked his head just so, smirk just slightly sultry now.
“Why?” he asked in a hot asphalt voice. “Did you really wanna make out?” he asked, lips perilously close to Dean’s. When Dean blinked and swallowed without answering, Cas’ eyebrows climbed up, though the smirk stayed in place. “Interesting,” he said in a higher pitch, drawing the word out. Then he seemed to take pity on Dean and sat up, sitting back on his feet. “Actually, I also just generally wanted to know if I was doing okay out there. You know, giving you what you wanted.”
“Oh,” Dean said, clearing his throat. “Um, yeah. You’re doing great so far. Mom likes you, Dad hates you, Sam has no idea what to do with you... it’s pretty fucking fantastic,” he admitted, grinning.
Cas grinned back. “It’s getting trickier, pretending to drink. I think I’m gonna have to spill one on me next to get rid of it.”
Dean shrugged. “Or just be high.”
Cas’ eyes widened along with his grin. “I can do that!” he said, happily.
The dilation of his pupils was not helping Dean’s attraction in the slightest. It made Cas look like he wanted Dean back. It really wasn’t fair. Cas licked his lips.
“You know,” he said, leaning close and dropping that lava over asphalt voice again. “We really could make out. I mean really,” he said, getting so close now Dean could feel his breath. “We should practice kissing now, before we go down and do it in front of your family. Pretty sure high me is gonna be pretty handsy when we get back out there. Wouldn’t want it to look fake,” he said, lips almost brushing Dean’s now.
When Dean didn’t respond, Cas shrugged and went back to his joint. He lit it again and took a second hit. This time, he held it out for Dean. Dean hesitated, but nodded and got up, walking over to stand next to Cas at the window. When Dean moved to take it, though, Cas shook his head.
“Shot gun,” he choked out, trying to keep holding his breath.
Dean stared at him, mesmerized, then nodded. He stood still and opened his mouth slightly, waiting for Cas to lean in. Cas did, his lips barely grazing Dean’s as he exhaled the smoke directly into Dean’s mouth. Dean breathed in at the right time, but only just. Cas hadn’t broken eye contact the whole time and it almost made Dean forget what he was doing and where he was.
The smoke burned, a lot, but Dean held it together for a decent amount of time before he had to blow it out. It had been a long time, so he wasn’t sure how fast it would hit him, but as he turned his head the answer was obvious: Immediately. It had to be fairly potent pot. The word play made him snicker.
Cas grinned. “Lightweight. This is the good shit, though.”
Feeling loose and happy now, in a way he hadn’t in a long time, Dean smiled at Cas. He watched as Cas took another drag, then he stepped in close, one hand going to Cas waist and finding its way by accident between the hem of Cas’ shirt and the top of his jeans. Dean saw Cas’ eyes widen slightly, but he didn’t pay attention, just leaned forward, lips parted, and waited for Cas’ to exhale again.
He did and this time the look in his eyes held more surprise than teasing. As if maybe he was surprised that Dean was giving back the way he’d taken. Dean’s thoughts were a bit muddled, but he thought that made sense. Dean stepped back, still maintaining eye contact. He held the smoke a little longer this time and when he was ready to let it out, he stepped toward Cas again. Cas’ eyebrows shot skyward, but he opened his mouth and sucked in his breath as Dean let out his own.
As if they were both under some kind of spell, Cas repeated the shot gun one more time, but then shook his head to indicate he didn’t want it given back this time. Dean blew the smoke out the window and stepped back. Already missing Cas’ proximity.
“That offer to make out still stand?” Dean asked, in a husky voice that wasn’t caused entirely by the smoke.
Cas nodded, walking over to the bed and lying backward on it. Dean followed and lay down beside him. Cas pushed Dean back and looked over his whole face, pressing a palm against his left cheek. He licked his lips then dried them by rubbing them together. Then he came forward as if making a snap decision, moving forward almost as if afraid he was going to be stopped—or maybe scared of losing his nerve if he went too slowly.
Those plush lips met Dean’s and Dean let out a pleased sound. The kiss didn’t stay chaste long. Dean learned that Cas had a long, thick tongue just made for deep, claiming kisses. He wasn’t claiming Dean, of course. Dean wasn’t his, but Dean was willing to allow himself to pretend. Since he was high, he probably wouldn’t even remember a lot of the details later, anyway.
He wasn’t sure if they kissed for hours or days or years, but he knew it hadn’t been nearly long enough when he heard his stepmother calling out from downstairs.
“Dean? The food’s almost ready. You boys come on down, now!”
Cas broke the kiss and leaned his forehead against Dean’s. “Fuck. We’ll continue later, yeah?”
“Fuck yeah,” Dean said. He adjusted his partial erection as he stood, hoping it wasn’t too obvious.
As soon as they got downstairs again, Jody called out to him. “Dean! Hey, babe, it’s good to see you, kiddo!” She pulled him into a tight hug which he returned wholeheartedly. “And who is this handsome fella?” she asked, turning to Cas with a hand out. “I’m Jody. Dean’s favorite not-aunt,” she said with a smile.
“I’m Cas, his boyfriend. It’s a pleasure to meet you.”
“They’re living together, Jody,” Bobby said idly, walking up and offering her a beer.
She took it and gave them a bigger smile. “Well, that’s big news! You better be good to him, Cas. I don’t wanna have to shootcha!” she said with a chuckle and wink, though her face said she was perfectly serious.
Cas grinned. “I can see why Bobby likes you so much. Better make a move, old man, or I will,” Cas said, earning a scowl from Bobby.
Jody cackled. “Yeah, old man. When you gonna make a move, huh?”
She was teasing, but her eyes were soft and Bobby looked like he wasn’t sure if he was actually awake or not. He opened and closed his mouth a few times, then cleared his throat. When he plastered on a faux-cocky smile, Dean knew Cas had worked a miracle.
“Brought you a damn beer, didn’t I? Whaddya want, a sonnet?” he joked. Then he leaned a little closer, face earnest and eyes pleading as he whispered, “’Cause, um, I can do that, if, uh, if you want.”
Jody’s smile was radiant and her voice was soft when she answered. “How about we start with dinner tomorrow night and work our way up to poetry, huh, Bobby?”
Bobby smiled and nodded, apparently finding words too much. Dean grinned at them both, until Cas dragged him away and stopped him intruding on their moment. Dean turned his head around to watch them some more as Cas pulled him over to the table.
Dean looked at Cas then and kissed him on the lips with a loud ‘smack’ sound. “That was awesome, Cas! Best boyfriend, ever,” he added a little more loudly, for the benefit of those around them.
Then Cas shocked the hell out of Dean when he blushed and dropped his gaze to the floor.
They were all seated and had their plates full before the casual lunch conversation made its way back around to grilling Cas. Dean’s mom started the discussion innocently enough, but John stomped through the door she’d opened, smashing it wide against the wall.
“So, Cas, you mentioned the campus. Are you still in school, then?” Mary asked, eyes bright with curiosity and real interest.
“Yeah, Cas, are you a broke student, mooching off my son who actually works for a living?” John asked before Cas could answer Mary’s question.
Cas smiled at Mary. “I still take classes from time to time, but I have my degree already.” His eyes hardened as he turned to John. “I’m independently wealthy and I run a small business to supplement my monthly stipend. If Dean wanted to quit his job and ‘mooch’ off me, as it were, I’d happily let him.”
As if Cas hadn’t spoken, John barreled ahead with another question. “Just how long you two been a couple, anyway?”
“Babe,” Cas said, looking at Dean. “Didn’t we cover this earlier?” He turned back to John. “Anyway, we’re actually a triad,” he said, forking mashed potatoes into his mouth and shifting his attention to his plate while chewing.
John blinked. “What the hell is a triad? Isn’t that the Chinese mafia or something?”
Cas rolled his eyes and drank some iced tea to wash down his food. “It’s like a couple, except there are three people in it.”
Kate gasped and Dean had to bite back a laugh.
“Meg couldn’t make it, though. She eschews all government-sanctioned holidays.” He looked at Dean with a fond smile on his face. “Eighteen year olds, huh?” He forked up another bite and said, “So perky, but so idealistic,” before putting the bite into his mouth.
Dean couldn’t help the laugh that bubbled up. Cas was a riot and a half. Vaguely, Dean wondered if Meg was a real person and truly eighteen. He decided he didn’t want to know. Then he saw Bobby looking at him in concern, and he scoffed.
“Guys, Cas is joking,” he said, letting them off the hook a little. He didn’t want to let them off all the way, though. “Meg’s actually twenty-four.”
“So you’re in some sick threesome with this loser?” John asked, face red.
“Hey!” Dean protested at the same time Mary said, “John!”, but John didn’t let them get farther than that.
“Stay out of this, Mary. That’s it, Dean. Adam sure as hell would never pull anything like this. I am putting my foot down. You’re gonna move back in with your mother and you’re coming to work for me at the shop.”
Cas busted out laughing. He grinned at John, shaking his head as he lifted his glass. “Yeah, that’s so not gonna happen, Johnny. Dean’s gonna do whatever he wants to do because he’s an adult with his own life and job and you may run roughshod over the women in your life, but you’re not going to do it to Dean anymore.” He flicked his eyes to Michael. “I don’t know why other people’s significant others seem to put up with it, but I won’t,” he said firmly, turning his gaze back to John and staring him down.
Dean saw Michael’s expression turn conflicted, then resolute and then angry. It was like watching him grow a backbone.
“Now look here, boy—”
“Shut the hell up, John,” Michael said, standing up and throwing down his napkin. “Cas may not be right about everything he’s said today, but he’s right about this. I didn’t wanna come between you and your boys and Mary asked me a long time ago to just keep the peace with you.” He looked down at her and gave her an apologetic smile. “But this is the one thing Mary’s been wrong about since we’ve been together. You’re not going to talk to my wife like you’re in charge of her anymore. You’re not going to dictate what happens in our house anymore.”
“This is my house! I bought it!” John said, standing himself.
“No, John. It stopped being your house the day you walked out of it and slept with Kate,” Michael said flatly, earning a gasp from Kate. “And as for Adam, of course he’d never do anything to go against you, since you’ve been telling him he’s perfect since birth, instead of shitting on him at every opportunity like you have with Dean. Where is he, though, huh? Why isn’t your precious Adam here right now? Better things to do than hang out with family, right? Dean’s here, John. He always is. He always has been. And you’re an asshole,” he added, dropping back into his seat, deflated. He blinked like he wasn’t sure where he was.
Everyone at the table stared back and forth between them, trying to figure out if John was going to explode or not. No one had ever seen Michael angry before. Mary, Dean noted, looked proud and a little smug. She was the only one not paying any attention to John. Her gaze was for Michael only.
Dean cleared his throat, glancing at Cas. “The turkey’s great, Mom,” he said, shoving another large bite into his mouth.
The table exploded into nervous laughter, all except for John. He just dropped into his seat without a word and started eating again, head bent over his plate.
Dean squeezed Cas’ hand under the table. “Good job,” Dean whispered, smiling slightly without looking at Cas.
“Ma’am, this really is delicious,” Cas told Mary with a big smile. Then he turned to the other end of the table. “So, Jess, how long have you and Sam been together?”
Sam turned red and sputtered, “Oh, we’re not, I mean, we’re just friends.”
Jess sighed and rolled her eyes.
Cas just gave Sam a flat look. “Are you an idiot?”
Jess laughed and turned to Sam. “Yeah, are you? I like you, you giant dumbass.”
Sam looked genuinely surprised. “Oh. Then, um... okay. Good. I, uh... yeah. Like you back. Like, a lot,” he said.
Cas, flat look still firmly in place turned back to Dean. “I take it back. No way am I banging your lame ass brother.”
Bobby cleared his throat loudly and told the table, “I, uh, asked Jody on a date.”
Jody snorted. “You did not, you old coot, I asked you. Still, we’re going out and that’s the important bit, right?” She leaned over and kissed him on the cheek. Dean never even knew Bobby could blush like that.
Jo looked at Cas with wide, wondering eyes. “What are you?” she asked.
Cas smirked. “I’m an angel of the bored.”
Dean let out a loud laugh and grinned at Cas as he took another bite of food. He didn’t stop grinning through the rest of the meal.
The meal was over and Dean and Cas were finally in the van, about to head back to Dean’s house. Everyone had followed them out to the driveway and their reactions to the Angel-Orgy mural had been about as expected. Once they settled down, Sam corralled them all back inside and Dean and Cas were free to leave.
Cas, however, hadn’t started the engine yet. He was staring out at the street in front of them, biting up and down on his lip like a cartoon animal with an ear of corn. Dean put a hand on his arm and raised his eyebrows in a questioning expression. Cas stopped eating his lip and sighed, looking at Dean.
“Just, thanks for today. I know technically I was doing you a favor, but....” He lifted one shoulder and let it drop, turning back to the street again.
“Cas, why’d you put that ad up?” Dean asked in a quiet voice.
Cas laughed, but there was a sad edge to it and Dean could see his eyes were a little shinier than they’d been. “Because I didn’t want to be alone for Thanksgiving for the fifth year in a row,” he said, glancing at Dean and then quickly away.
“I like you,” Dean blurted, and Cas gave him a shocked look. Dean felt exposed, but he forged ahead anyway. “I mean, today was a blast, and I know a lot of the things you said were just bullshit, but I feel like I got a sense of who you are and, I mean, the kissing was nice,” he finished, knowing it was lame, but unable to find the right words, as usual.
“You think you could get along with Meg?”
Dean’s face fell. “Oh, there really is a Meg?”
This time when Cas laughed there was no edge to it. “Yeah. She’s my cat.”
Dean pulled Cas forward and kissed him again. He was pleased to find that it felt even better without the drugs in his system.
“You were right,” Cas breathed. “The kissing is nice.”
“Come home with me?” Dean asked.
Cas smiled. “Yeah, okay.”
Dean’s mouth split wide in a grin. “Happy Thanksgiving, Cas. Best one I can remember.”
“Same here. Happy Thanksgiving,” Cas said, leaning in for another kiss.
They didn’t stop kissing until Sam rapped sharply on the window and yelled, “Go home, you two!”
“Hey, roll down the window,” Dean said.
Before he could say anything, though, Sam said, “Hey, Dean? Next time you plan on bringing over a fake boyfriend to fuck with everybody, at least warn me in advance, okay?” He smiled at Cas. “And if it’s not going to be fake anymore, it’s nice to meet you. Good job in there, by the way.”