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The Graveyard Shift

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Wednesday – September 23 rd , 2015

It’s three in the fucking morning and all Dean wants to do right now is sleep. He’s pretty sure that if he let his eyes stay closed for longer than a blink, he’d drop off and not wake up for a solid eight hours. As good as that sounds, sitting behind his baby’s wheel going thirty down Main Street is probably not the best place to do that. And he has the feeling that Jo and Charlie wouldn’t appreciate it a whole lot. Being the designated drive sucks sometimes.

This is literally all their fault. He wouldn’t be this tired if it wasn’t for them and their insatiable need to party. His bedtime would have been a good two hours ago if it wasn’t for them. But apparently the songs were too good and there was no way they could just stop dancing. Especially since they both had their own hotties dancing up on them. So not only did Dean not get to drink, but he was also alone and standing on the edge of the dance room watching his two best friends get their game on.

Tonight has maybe sucked a little bit. He struck out with every girl he hit on, and he’s still too new to the whole being bisexual thing to have a functioning gaydar. It’s not like he didn’t have fun, though. Charlie and Jo dragged him out onto the floor earlier in the evening and he danced with them. He had his fun, but that ended a good two hours ago when he got tired enough to want to go home. If he’d had alcohol in his system, he probably wouldn’t be as tired as he is right now.

The worst part about all of this is that they’re supposed to be on shift in five hours. Bobby is going to chew Charlie and Jo to pieces for showing up with a hangover. Actually, Charlie’s biological make up kinda burns that shit up quick. So she might be safe from it. Jo, on the other hand, is fully human and she’s going to be a cranky bitch in the morning.

That said, despite being tired, Dean is also hyper aware of everything going on around him. He’s fully aware of how Charlie and Jo are giggling to each other in the back seat and swapping stories about their respective conquests of the night. And he doesn’t miss a damn thing on the road. Every speed limit sign and stop light are right there and he’s super careful about it. Any pedestrian that happens to be out on the street is accounted for.

They’ve just driven past the fire hall when he catches sight of a blue neon light where he doesn’t remember seeing one before. Where the old Bagitos Bagel and Burrito Café used to be, there’s a new place he’s never seen before. C O F F E E is written above the door in fresh white paint that reflects the Impala’s headlamps. In the window to the left of the door, The Graveyard Shift is written out in blue neon. The inside is lit up and Dean can make out tables, shelves, and a counter while he drives by.   

“Hey, that’s new.” He tilts his head to gesture to his right while they pass it. “That’s a pretty sweet name. It’s like they made it just for us.” Dean glances in the rear-view mirror to make sure they’re paying attention to him. “With a name like that, it looks like we’ve got a new night time café for our two AM coffee runs.”

Jo leans forward to cross her arms on the back of his seat. She laughs and flicks him in the back of the head. “You know that firefighters aren’t the only people who work overnight, right?”

A giggle bubbles up from where Charlie is slowly sliding down further and further in her seat. “Let’s not forget that there are plenty of nocturnal folks in this town.”

Dean rolls his eyes and throws a glare at them through the mirror. “Don’t sass me. I’m just saying that it’s basically made for us since it’s right beside the fire hall.” Well, it’s closer to town hall, but who cares. It’s barely a sixty second walk away.

Charlie very pointedly makes eye contact with him in the mirror and then exaggerates as she rolls her eyes. “It’s not that close.”

Bull-fucking-shit. It’s the closest pace to the hall and that means no more disgusting instant shit from the kitchen. They can have their mocha-chinos or whatever the hell fancy drinks they always order and it’ll probably be perfect. He won’t have to sit through anybody complaining about the coffee ever again and it’s going to be so sweet.

Apparently it’s not sweet enough to keep the two of them from teasing him all the way home. Or when he has to practically carry Charlie into the house, Jo stumbling along behind him. She pushes her way past to head on up to bed, leaving Dean to make sure the garage door gets closed and that the door gets locked behind them.

“Remind me again why I thought it was a good idea to room with the two of you?” Dean sighs as he helps Charlie up the stairs.

“Because we’re the only people who could tolerate you.” Charlie laughs and reaches up to pat him on the cheek. “You’d be lost without out, freckles.”

He pushes her hand away and rolls his eyes. “Yeah, no. It’s more like I’m the only one who could tolerate the two of you.”

“Touché.” She shoves herself away from him with another laugh and starts up the stairs on her own, although she has to do it with her hands on the steps ahead of her.

Dean watches her head up and shakes his head. This is the thanks he gets for buying a house and thinking his best buddy would want to live with him. Jo was an afterthought when she joined the fire team a few years after him and Charlie. The extra rent was just too sweet. If he didn’t love their money, he’d kick them out. No, that’s a lie. He loves living with them. Living alone would just be too lonely.

Despite that, he still very purposefully doesn’t bring any attention to The Graveyard Shift when they drive by it before eight AM the next morning. He’s already had his daily dose of teasing and he doesn’t want it now that they’re both a little cranky from lack of sleep and, in Jo’s case, a hangover.

Of course he should have known better than to think that would have worked.

Charlie leans over and elbows him in the arm shortly after they’ve driven past it. “So, are you going to get us coffee tonight from that place built just for us?”

He shoots her a glare as they make the turn onto Pitkin Court. “Don’t start with me.”

She flutters her eyelashes at him and tries to look innocent. “Don’t start what?”

They pull around into the parking lot behind the fire hall and directly into his parking spot. As soon as the car is in park, Dean points at the door. “Get out of my car.”

“Oh no.” Jo places a hand to her forehead as she unbuckles her seat belt. “How cruel of you to make us walk from the parking lot.”

“Ha ha, fuck you.” Dean throws his door open and gets out of the car with a huff. “Guess who’s not getting any coffee when I go for the run tonight?”

Charlie gets out too and grins at him from over the top of the Impala. “How mean! You’re going to make us walk a whole three hundred feet to the new café? Oh woe is us, whatever will we do?” She leans dramatically into Jo and fake-sobs into her shoulder.

Holy shit it is too early for this shit. How in the hell do they have so much attitude for how little they slept last night? Going to that party was a bad idea all around and he should have known better than to go with them – and he should never have let them go either.

Dean points at them both with a dramatic sweep of his arm. “You will rue this moment!”

Without waiting for an answer, he turns on his heel and stomps into the fire hall to check in. This morning he’s got engine maintenance to do with his dad, and equipment checks to do with everyone. It’s going to be a busy morning for the whole hall, even if no calls come in for them. The only thing he can look forward to today is getting to see his mom and dad, and the nap he’s going to take after supper before he has to get up and stay up for the night shift.

Because that is going to be so much fun.


Thursday –September 24th, 2015

“It’s two o’clock.” Benny announces as he walks by the couch where Dean is sprawled out and watching TV. “If you want your coffee, go get it now.”

Dean groans and rubs a hand over his face. He’s been zoning out while watching TV, balancing on the verge of falling back to sleep. They have four people in the hall overnight, two of them staying awake to man the place while the other two sleep. Benny is usually awake at night, so he always takes the night shift when he’s working. Dean, on the other hand, drew the short straw when the shifts were laid out for this month. What he wouldn’t give to be in the bunk room with Charlie and Jo and snoring away right now. His nap did fuck all for him earlier.

Benny walks by again, this time with a blood pack in his hand. With a groan, Dean rolls off the couch and gets to his feet. He drags his heels as he makes his way to his locker to get his wallet, being as quiet as he can because those are kept in the bunk room. Charlie and Jo are on the other side of the room, snoring into their pillows. Lucky bastards.

“You want me to grab you a donut or something?” Dean asks as he walks by Benny at the kitchen table. He knows that Vampires don’t necessarily need to eat real food, but they can still kinda enjoy it.

“Nah, I’m good.”

He throws a salute in Benny’s direction as he hops the pole to head down into the garage. It’s faster than the stairs, that’s for sure. The walk to the café is just as quick as Dean expected it to be and he’s pleased to find that there’s still an OPEN sign hanging in the door. The lights are still on inside and everything, so Dean definitely counts that as a win.

The first thing he notices when he walks in is the music. There’s soft instrumental being piped through the whole place. It’s at a perfect volume to not be too loud, and not be too soft. Gives the place a nice – what’s that word? – ambiance. Next up on the notice board are all the goddamn plants. The wall to his left is mostly a staircase leading up to some kind of second floor, but the whole wall under the staircase is just completely covered in a lattice with plants hung up all over it. There are even plants on top of the book case in the corner by the lattice.

And that’s a new thing for him too. How many cafés has he been to in his life where they had a bookcase? Not only that, but there are honest to goodness books on the shelves. More than that, he sees some board games stacked between them. Is this one of those game cafés that he’s heard about? If it is, it would be the first one in Montpelier. Which is all kinds of interesting. He’ll have to bring Sammy here another day so the two of them can play Mouse Trap together at one of the half dozen tables laid out around the room.

The next thing that catches Dean’s eye, besides the complete lack of people anywhere, is the shelf behind the counter with a crystal ball nestled in between stacks of mugs and baggies of what have got to be coffee beans. Now the question is, does the crystal ball serve a purpose or is it just some decoration? He’s tempted to ask, but it’s kinda rude to ask the workers if they’ve got anything to do with witchcraft. Dean’s not nothing against Witches, but he’s got an insatiable curiosity when it comes to having Creatures around.

Dean makes his way over to the counter and glances around, looking for a worker. There’s not a soul in sight. But there is a door at the back of the café just before a hallway off to the right behind the stairs. The door is partially open and Dean can hear voices in the back. It must be the kitchen and maybe they just didn’t hear the bell over the door? Time to make his presence known. Dean only gets ten minutes of grace period to leave the fire hall for a coffee run during a night shift.

He clears his throat before calling out; “Hello?”

Not two seconds after he says something, there’s a crash on the other side of the door. It’s immediately followed by some very fancy cursing and loud laughter. Dean raises his eyebrows at it, a little surprised. Now who’s going to be the one to come out and serve him? The curser or the laugher? When the door gets pulled open completely, Dean decides that he’d put his money on the curser.

The guy who walks into the front area is, in Dean’s fine opinion, super cute even though his dark hair is covered in flour and he’s scowling. His glasses are crooked and he fixes them before he actually looks at Dean. Like some kind of chick flick movie moment, Dean feels his heart flutter a little bit. He blames it on the fact that he’s tired as hell and this guy is seriously ridiculously cute. The kind of hot that would have had Dean hitting on him at last night’s party regardless of whether or not he could ping him as being open to that kind of thing.

Flour-Guy blinks a couple times at him before turning back to the kitchen. “Balthazar, we have a customer. Please deal with him while I shake off in the alleyway like some kind of dog.” He does not sound happy about that.

“You’re a big boy. Do it yourself.” The voice that answers him has a British accent and Dean immediately goes through a mental catalogue he has of people he knows who have accents. The list comes up short of anyone named Balthazar. “I’m in the middle of mixing this dough. If I leave it now, all is lost!”

Oh lovely. More people who play up the dramatics. As if Dean didn’t have enough of that with Charlie and Jo today. His heart bleeds in sympathy for Flour-Guy.

“That’s bullshit and you know it.” Flour-Guys sighs and turns back to Dean. “I’m sorry, but I’ll be with you in just a minute. I want to knock off the worst of this before I end up spreading it around more.” He gestures at his hair as if Dean would have assumed he was talking about something else.

In an effort to play up being casual, Dean leans his hip against the counter and puts on his best smile. “Oh yeah, sure. You –” And that’s when his tongue decides to tie itself into knots. “– uh – you do that. No sweat. I’ll be right here.” He even pats the counter. “When you get back, that is.” Oh God, just stop talking. “Thanks – um – dude?” Jesus Christ. Kill him now.

Flour-guy blinks at Dean a few times before turning without a word and walking back into the kitchen. As soon as the door is closed behind him, Dean drops his head back and covers his face with his hands to muffle his groan. Holy shit, what the fuck was that? He can’t even blame that horror on the time of the night and his current state of tiredness because this happens every single time. How long is he going to have to be into guys too before he’ll be able to flirt with them as well as he does with girls? Because right now, he really fucking sucks at it.

In Dean’s defense, he wasn’t expecting to be visually assaulted with a hot guy at this time of the night. And that flour just made him look awkwardly adorable. Speaking of the flour, what the heck was up with that? Was it an accident, an unhappy employee, or a prank gone awry? Dean is tempted to ask when Flour-Guy comes back, but he’s pretty sure that’s not going to help get his foot out of his mouth. In fact, it might put it in even deeper.

When he drops his hands, Dean sees something new that he missed when he walked in. He steps away from the counter a few paces so he can get a better look at what he’s seeing. There are bunch of multicolored pieces of paper hanging from the ceiling and, upon closer inspection, Dean realizes that it’s all origami. Is that a dragon? No, no, that’s a crane. It’s definitely a crane. Dean may not know a whole bunch about origami, but that’s a pretty popular fold and he’s seen it a ton in anime.

While waiting for Flour-Guy to come back, Dean counts all the cranes. There’s exactly thirty of them hanging behind the counter. It’s definitely an interesting choice for decoration and Dean kinda likes it. Now the question is, who made them? Was it the cutie with the glasses, Balthazar the bread maker, or another employee? Either way, whoever did it must have a ton of time on their hands. Good thing that they do, because it really does look super cool.

Flour-Guy comes back shortly after Dean starts investigating the display case with mostly-empty trays of baked goods. His hair and his shoulders are a little white in places from the flour, but at least his glasses and his face are clean now. Clean glasses do nothing to stop Dean from being utterly floored by a gorgeous set of baby blues. He didn’t get a good look at them when he was at the back of the café, but now that Flourless-Guy is standing at the counter just a few feet away, Dean can feel his mouth go dry.

Wow, the lust is real right now.

Dean has to bite back the urge to outright whimper when Flourless-Guy actually smiles. It’s clearly a polite for-the-customers type of smile, but it just makes him look even better. The smile isn’t too big, but it’s also not small enough to hide a set of pointed canines. Dean instantly figures him for a Vampire – which would explain him working the nightshift here. No, wait. He’s a little too tan for a Vampire. Benny is pale as fuck despite having one of those amulets made specifically to let Vampires walk around in the sun without burning. Well, bronzers do exist, so it’s possible Flourless-Guy uses that?

“How can I help you?”

His deliberation comes to a quick stop and Dean straightens his shoulders. He smiles brightly and decides on a joke to break the ice. “It’s caffeine fix time for the night shift and I drew the short straw, so here I am.” He spreads his arms to show off his boots, fire-suit pants, suspenders and his t-shirt with the station’s emblem on it to show off that he’s a firefighter. That usually impresses people, plus Dean loves his job and he’s proud to be one.

Flourless-Guy nods and puts his hand on the keyboard of the till. “I’ll be happy to get something for you. What would you like?”

Dean glances at the menu board on the wall above the shelves. Good, it looks like they serve the kind of stuff he wants. “A black drip coffee with two shots of espresso, please.”

Halfway through punching the order in, Flourless-Guy raises an eyebrow and looks up at him. “I thought you said that this was for the night shift?”

“Yup, that’s me.” He grins, pleased with his joke. “It’s just me and a Vampire doing the overnight, so he’s got his blood pack and I have –” Just before he finishes what would have been an awkward ‘you’, Dean’s phone starts to ring in his pocket. “Hold that thought. If this is a call for me to get back to the station, then I’m going to have to cancel that order.”

He fishes his phone out and swipes to answer the call. “Dean here.”

“I want coffee.”

The anticipation of a call seeps out of Dean quickly and he slumps in place. “What are you doing awake, Charlie?” He turns away from the counter so he doesn’t do anything stupid like be overly friendly with the barista by making expressions at him. “You’re supposed to be sleeping.”

“We want coffee.”

“We? As in, Jo is awake too?”

Charlie yawns loudly. “Yes. Bring us coffee.” And then she hangs up.

Dean frowns at his phone before putting it away. “Looks like the girls are awake. I guess I’ve got a couple other orders to make now too.”

Flourless-Guy just smiles and nods. “What would they like?”

“Something with caffeine.” He sighs and glances at the menu again. “It’s the season for Starbucks’s Pumpkin Spice Latte. Do you have anything like that? Jo loves that stupid shit.”

“We have something similar.”

“Cover it in whipped cream and I’ll take that and a Caramel Candy Corn, whatever the hell that is.” From the board it looks like something Charlie would normally drink, but the name of it kinda throws Dean a bit. Whoever named the drinks here gave them all ridiculous candy based names. It’s making Dean’s sweet tooth ache and he eyes the display case again.

He drums his fingers on the counter as Flourless-Guy finishes up with entering the order. “I never noticed this place before. How long have you guys been here?”

“We opened on Monday.”

Well, that sure explains some things. “It looks pretty nice. Have you been doing well here?”

Flourless-Guy nods and looks up from the cash register. “More so during the day than at night, but we’ve had our fair share of Creature and college students coming in. I suspect we’ll build a bigger client base once we’ve become more established in the neighbourhood.”

He taps the customer display on the front of the register to show the price and then turns away. “I’ll just be a moment getting all the coffee done since –” He turns his head towards the kitchen and calls out the last of his sentence; “– someone doesn’t want to help.

The Balthazar guy calls back; “Busy, Cassie! Busy!”

Cassie? Wow, that brings back memories. Dean totally dated a Cassie back in high school. She was his first girlfriend when he was a freshmen. Now the question here is whether or not Flourless-Guy is actually named Cassie, or if it’s a kind of nickname. He’s willing to bet on the nickname, but it’s hard to tell in this day and age and especially where Creatures are concerned.

With a roll of his eyes, Cassie throws Dean an exasperated look before he shrugs and starts making the coffees. Dean snorts a laugh and looks down to start counting out his change. Hopefully he’s got enough on him, or he’s going to have to resort to paying on card. Either way, the girls are going to owe him no matter what. After the party last night, they should be paying for his drink too. Actually, he just might give them the whole bill for this coffee run for that reason alone.

Thankfully, he’s got enough cash for this. The Graveyard Shift definitely has better prices than Starbucks and Dean foresees himself spending many a night shift here to get his caffeine fix. He has all of his change and bills counted out to the cent by the time Cassie has all the drinks finished.

“Could I get a tray, please?”

“Of course.” Cassie exchanges a tray for the money and Dean puts the drinks into it while his order gets cashed out.

Okay, this is it. If Dean doesn’t ask about it right now, then he’s going to be leaving the store without learning what happened and there is no way his curiosity is going to be able to stand that. If he doesn’t find out what was up with the flour, then he’s going to end up back here in thirty minutes to demand an answer. If he ever wanted to hit on the hot barista again, painting himself as the crazy fireman is totally the way to do it.

“I’m sorry, but I gotta ask.” He plants his hands on the counter and looks up to meet Cassie’s eye. “What the heck was up with the flour?”

Cassie looks up from sorting the money into the cash register. He pauses before frowning and looking back down again. “My brother thinks he’s funny.”

“Mr. British Lazy Dough?” If they’re brothers, then why does Cassie not have an accent too? Holy shit, if he had an accent and looked like he does, Dean wouldn’t stand a freaking chance.

“No, Balthazar is my employee.” Cassie shakes his head and points a finger upward. “My brother, Gabriel, is sleeping in our apartment. He runs the café during the day while I sleep.”

Alright then. That’s another point in the Vampire column. Dean doesn’t really know that many Creatures who don’t go out during the day. He really should brush up on his Bestiary knowledge. It would make guessing what kind of Creatures people are a whole lot more fun. That’s half the fun in knowing Creatures, even if he’s totally wrong the majority of the time. Take Ash for instance. Dean literally has no clue what he is. Actually, nobody does. He’s a complete and utter mystery.

No, no. Dean shouldn’t be thinking about Ash right now. He should be subtly hitting on the hot barista to get a feeling for whether or not he’s into guys too. That’s what Charlie said he should do when he encounters an attractive guy and he’s not sure if he’s gay or not. Alright, okay. Joke time. Dean is good at those and they’re all he’s got to break the ice.

“So, you could say that you’re up all night to get lucky?”

Oh God, why did he say that? That was literally the worst joke he could have made. He’s kicking himself for it before Cassie even looks at him, eyebrows drawn together in what is clearly complete and utter confusion. Oh great. Of course he had to use a song based joke on someone who’s apparently ignorant to all things pop culture.

“Never mind, sorry. That was – it’s a shitty joke.” He ducks his head and picks up the tray. “It’s a song that I just – Sorry.”

“Oh, I see.” Cassie nods and his expression clears up. “Is there anything else that I can do for you?”

His phone number would be a good place to start, but Dean at least knows enough about flirting to not ask that right off the bat. Not if he ever wants to come here again, that is. Instead, he tilts his head towards the display case. “Maybe you could start stocking pies?”


Dean nods and actually gestures at it this time. “You have none.”

Cassie leans to the side to glance at the display case. “I guess we don’t. I’ll let my brother know. He’s the baker in the family and I’m sure he’ll consider it if we have customers who are interested in it.”

“Sweet. That’s – yeah – that’s great.” Dean picks up his tray and ducks his head in a kind of goodbye nod. “I’ll – uh – I’ll see you later then.” He gets one step away before he turns back and puts the tray down only to hold his hand out. “I’m Dean, by the way. Dean Winchester; Firefighter extraordinaire. I’ll be in – um – often, I guess. For Coffee. Can’t do a graveyard shift without it. But I guess you already knew that, huh?”

A smile creeps across Cassie’s face. “I do.” He actually accepts the handshake. “I’m Castiel Novak. It’s nice to meet you, Dean.”

So it was a nickname. No wonder, too. Castiel is a heck of a mouthful, but Dean likes it. That kinda name definitely fits a guy who wears a buttoned up waist coat for a café shift. Not that Dean’s complaining of course. Castiel definitely has the form for it, because he looks good. Flour dust and all.

Oh God, Dean needs to think about something else. He can feel a blush come on and he’s going to start eyeing up the barista like some kind of pervert or something. This is Cas’s place of work for fuck’s sake.

“Y-yeah, you too. Definitely.” Dean yanks his hand back and picks up the coffee again. He backs away and bumps right into a table. “Shit!” It actually scares him a bit and Dean whips around to make sure it wasn’t a person. “Sorry!” Oh God, he must look like such an idiot. “I’m just – yeah – Bye!”

Before he can say or do anything else that will make him look like a complete dumbass, Dean gets the hell out of dodge. Well, he just made a truly stellar first impression. This is the first time he’s ever met Cas and he just went and probably made a fool of himself. If he wants to get his flirt on, Dean is going to have to build a better game plan. Maybe then he won’t be so flustered and throw everything out there right away. He can do something like come by often and get to know Cas over a period of time. Throw out some flirting every now and then to test the waters and if Cas shows a positive reception, then Dean can ask him out like a normal human being.

Of course, that plan hinges entirely on whether or not Cas is even into guys. And if he’s single. Oh, and if he’s not some kind of secret douche. Dean knows plenty of people who are all polite smiles when they’re at work, then when they’re off shift they’re some of the biggest assholes you’ve ever met.

God, Dean is making this out to be way more complicated than it actually is. And he has got to put this behind him before he reaches the fire hall. If Charlie and Jo get wind of what just happened, they’re going to lock their jaws and never let go of it until they get every single detail out of him. It’s going to be a nightmare for him if he doesn’t do something to act like he didn’t make a complete and utter fool of himself in front of a really hot guy.

Dean stops outside the door to the common room to take a deep breath and find his inner calm. When he walks into the room, he throws an arm out and singsongs; “The fuuuuun has arriiiiiived!”

Immediately, Charlie pops her head up from the couch. Her eyes are almost closed and her hair is mussed up from sleep. She pulls some earbuds out of her ears as she tilts her head to take a couple sniffs at the air. “I smell coffee.”

Jo is face down on the table, looking like she’s ready to pass out again. Dean sighs and puts her coffee down by her head. “How come the sleeping beauties have woken up?”

The only answer he gets from Charlie is a pathetic grab for her cup. “Give me coffee.”

“She woke up because she has an addiction.” Jo groans and lifts her head, purely so she can start drinking her coffee. “And she woke me up when she walked into my bed.”

“And of course you couldn’t possibly have gone to sleep again.” He teases and pats her on the back after passing Charlie her drink. “Now what addiction does Little Miss Riding Hood have this time?”

Game of Thrones.” She yawns widely and throws a dirty look in Charlie’s direction. “I tried to pry the laptop outta her so she’d get some sleep, but she threatened to set me on fire.”

Dean sighs again takes a seat at the table across from her. “I warned you guys that this would happen when we got Wi-Fi in here.”

“She has it on a flash drive.” Jo kicks back in her chair and muffles a yawn. “There’s no stopping her when it comes to her addictions. I think we need to hold an intervention.”

Charlie makes a hissing noise as she puts her headphones back in. Dean rolls his eyes and takes a sip of his coffee, biting back a moan as pure sweet caffeine bliss hits his tongue. He sits back in his chair too with a contented sigh. Cas makes some damn good coffee. If the looks alone weren’t enough to keep Dean coming back for more, than the coffee most definitely is.

“Okay, sunshine.” Jo leans forward suddenly to rest her elbows on the table. “Out with it.”

“Out with what?” He raises an eyebrow at her. What’s got her panties in a twist now?

The smile that spreads quick and wicked across her face actually sends a shiver of fear down Dean’s spine. “Out with it, Dean-o. Who are they?”

Oh God. What did he do to give himself away? Dean is practically positive that he was the perfect image of calm and collected. And he’s going to keep maintaining that or else she’s going to know exactly what’s up. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Yes, you do.” Jo wiggles her eyebrows at him and props her chin up in her hands. “You’ve got the absolute dopiest grin on your face. I’m going to hazard a guess that the barista was hot stuff. So, dish the dirt, Winchester. This coffee isn’t going to keep us awake on its own.”

“Speak for yourself.” He huffs and looks away. His coffee is perfection and her nosiness isn’t going to dull it in the slightest. “You didn’t have to wake up.”

Jo shakes her head and clicks her tongue at him a few times. “Oh, but I did and now you must face my sleep deprived wrath. Tell me about the damn barista girl before you make me pull out the big guns.”

Dean has no idea what Jo’s supposed ‘big guns’ are supposed to be, but he’s not all that interested in finding out. Plus, he’s kinda itching to tell his best friends about Cas anyways. They just don’t need to know that he was a complete and utter idiot in front of him. Okay, yeah, that sounds good. He’ll just keep that under wraps and all should be good.

“Is barista considered gender neutral?”

That wicked smile is back into play, this time coupled with a laugh of delight. Jo loves it when she wins. “A guy! Alright, I can get behind that.” She pauses mid giggle. “Or, wait. Was he a Creature? He could’ve been one of those ones that don’t have a gender.”

“You want me to jump to conclusions when I just met the guy?” Dean gives her a disapproving look and clicks his tongue at her. Oh, how the tables of turned. “He didn’t say anything about being whatever, so I dunno.” He shrugs and takes another sip of his nirvana in a couple. “My money is on Vampire, though. He’s got the teeth for it and he said he sleeps during the day.”

Jo rolls her eyes because she knows damn well that’s not a good enough reason. “Yeah, so do we after a graveyard shift, and we’re Humans.”

Charlie clears her throat rather loudly at them. “Excuse you. I am a Phoenix.”

“Yes, Charlie, we know.” She sighs and makes a shooing gesture.

A quiet cough from one of the other chairs by the TV has Jo shaking her head and rolling her eyes. “Yes, Benny, we know you’re the Vampiric exception in our ranks.” She pauses for a moment to make sure there’s no other interruptions before slapping a hand on the table. “But we’re deviating from what’s really important here! Dean, tell us all about the hot barista and how he’s the love of your life!”

Dean fixes her with a flat look. Hot barista or not, there is literally no way for him to tell if Cas is the love of his life or not. While he might love himself a good Disney movie or romantic anime every once in a while, Dean Winchester does not believe in love at first sight. Cas seems kinda cool and he’s interested in getting to know him better, but so far that’s it.

“I’m not gossiping about shit that didn’t happen, Jo.”

“Fine, fine.” She sighs and reaches for the deck of cards always left out in the middle of the table. “I’ll drop this and kick your ass at a game of cards if you can answer me one question.”

Here they go. This is probably going to be a doozy of a question and Dean is going to hate it. He can already feel his balls trying to crawl back up into him for safety. “Great. What is it?”

Jo fixes him with that slow, wicked grin again. “What’s the colour of his eyes?”

Shit. She knows damn well that if Dean paid enough attention to pick up on the colour of someone’s eyes, then he definitely has the hots for them. In this case, Dean really wouldn’t mind playing a good ol’ game of tonsil hockey with Cas. If they bumped into each other at the club that he and Charlie go to from time to time, Dean would absolutely be grinding up on that. Especially since he confirmed that he is one hundred percent into guys too.

But, yeah. That’s not a question he’s going to answer. “For your information, I didn’t notice.” He turns up his nose at her and takes a long draw from his coffee.

And of course it’s right then that Charlie has to give her two cents. “Blue.” Apparently she wasn’t watching the show at all and she’s been watching them over the edge of her coffee cup the whole time. Isn’t that just peachy?

Dean sticks his tongue out at her. “Fuck off.”

A pleased grin lights up her otherwise like-the-dead look. “Yup, most definitely blue.”

Jo straightens up in surprise and glances back over her shoulder. “How do you know?”

Charlie tips her head in Dean’s direction without moving the coffee from her lips. “He only goes that particular shade of red when the eyes are blue.”

Jesus Christ, was Dean just betrayed by his rosy red cheeks? He brings his hands to his face to cover them, and sure enough they’re warm as hell. When the fuck did he start blushing? Who gave his body permission to do that? It sure as hell wasn’t him. He feels betrayed on all accounts. Betrayed by his body and by his so called best friends.

“I’m the hottest one here. How the hell am I the one who gets picked on the most?” Dean slumps back in his chair and crosses his arms like a petulant child. If they’re going to mock him, then he’s going to milk this pity party for all it’s worth.

“Because I’m a geek and a nerd and I take no shame in being both.” Charlie shrugs and takes another sip of her coffee. “It makes me too easy a target. Jo is too scary to pick on because she collects knives. Benny can and will literally suck your blood. Bobby’s the boss, so no one messes with him. Your parents are too awesome to tease, plus they’re parents and it’s the unspoken rule that you never pick on someone who has kids.”

Okay, but that still leaves half the force for them to be assholes to. “What about Nick?” Not to mention Meg, or Ruby, or any of the half dozen other folks they’ve got in the wings.

Charlie shakes her head and fixes Dean with a very serious stare. “We call him Lucifer for a reason.”

Is there anything this girl doesn’t know? “Charlie, we joined the crew at the same time. How in the hell do you know all of this?”

She flashes him a grin full of pearly whites. “I collect information like it’s going out of style.” Clearly she’s getting a kick out of flaunting her big brain. “You haven’t even asked me about the rest of the squad. Go ahead. Don’t you want to hear why we don’t tease the others?”

“I’m scared to ask.” He shakes his head and hunkers down even more in his seat, trying to make himself look like less of a target. “You scare me.”

“The fear is why you keep me close.” She nods solemnly and pulls her laptop back into her lap. “That’s why you thought it was a good idea to move in with me.”

There is something inherently wrong with that logic. “Excuse you, but you are the one who moved in with me!” He has the dates on their rental agreements to prove it. His was signed at least a month before hers, because it took him that long to come to term with the fact that he didn’t like to live alone and it was way nicer to only have to pay half the rent. Only paying a third sounded really nice too, and that’s how they ended up with Jo.

Charlie shakes her head slowly and doesn’t look up from her computer. “That’s what you think.”

“I’m the one with the master bedroom!” Dean refused to give it up to either of the girls when they moved in. It would be way better if he had his own private bathroom instead of having to share it with the girls, but it’s got the biggest closet and that means storage space. Besides, if it wasn’t for him, their bathroom would be a complete and utter disaster.

Last Christmas Dean had gone away for a week with the rest of the Winchester clan for some vacation time. When he got back he almost broke down and cried at the disaster zone he returned to – and it wasn’t even contained to the bathroom. The whole house was just one huge pig sty. They’re girls! Isn’t it against their genetic makeup or something to be so fucking messy?

Jo starts giggling and she and Charlie share a look. It immediately puts Dean on edge. “What was that about? What aren’t you telling me?”

“We let you have the master bedroom and everything because it means that you have to pay a bigger cut of the rent.” She shrugs and tries her best to look innocent while she shuffles the cards. “Why else do you think that neither one of us fought you for the right of having that massive closet?”

“You cheap bastards.”

“Don’t sulk, freckles.” Jo taps her foot against his knee in favour of a comforting pat on the arm. “You love your bedroom too much to hate us for the reasons we let you have it.”

This is true, but he still doesn’t like feeling like he’s been played. He crosses his arms tightly over his chest and starts glowering at them. The teasing has been in full swing since last night and he’s getting a little sick of it. How long before their out of this mood where he’s the butt end of every other joke? He knows they mean well, but they get like this sometimes and he doesn’t like feeling like he’s being ganged up on.

After a stretch of silence, Benny clears his throats. “Keep up the jabs, won’t’cha? There’s nothing good on TV and this is about the only entertainment I’m getting tonight.”

Dean throws his hands in the air and tosses a glare in Benny’s direction. When Charlie laughs, Dean turns his glare on her. “Don’t you have a Game of Thrones episode you should be watching?”

Charlie nods and then holds up a little device that looks like the letter ‘y’. “I do.” She wiggles the thing at him and adopts a singsong tone to her voice. “And I happen to have this headphone splitter that might just conveniently allow someone else to watch it with me.”

And this is why he keeps her around, even when she’s teasing him. Dean downs half his coffee before fetching his headphones from his locker and making his way to the couch to join her. “Move your tiny feathered ass over.”

“How many times do I have to tell you that I don’t literally have feathers?” She rolls her eyes and shuffles over slightly.

“Let a man dream.”

One of the biggest disappointments in Dean’s life was when he discovered that a Phoenix wasn’t literally a giant fiery bird like they’re depicted in mythos. They were once upon a time, but they’ve evolved and bred with Humans too much and now they look like every-day people, kinda. Charlie’s red hair is so vibrant that anyone would think it’s fake, but it’s one hundred percent real. So are the bright red flecks of red scattered across her skin in places – mostly around the hinge of her jaw and at her shoulders, elbows, and knees. She’s got a bit around her eyes too. They start to glow when she gets mad and Dean swears he once saw fire start to flicker out from them.

On the plus side, while a Phoenix doesn’t have a feathers, Charlie does have the ability to create and control fire. She’s one hundred percent fireproof too, which makes her really useful to have as a firefighter. Aside from that, Charlie is basically immortal too. If something happens like she gets hit by a car or has a building fall on her, her body bursts into flames and she gets reborn from the ashes. At least that part of the mythos was right. Unfortunately it also means that she has to go through childhood and the teenage years all over again. And that shit isn’t sped up for them at all now that they’ve got a healthy dose of Human in their DNA.

Charlie is a pretty new Phoenix, by their standards. She’s still shiny and new from being born. No rebirths for her. Not yet, at least. Dean hopes that she doesn’t think she’s indestructible, though. He would hate to lose his best friend, even if she won’t really be gone. She’s never told him how the Phoenix thing works with memories. If she had to be reborn from her ashes, would she remember him right away? Or would the memories be lost for good? That’s a question he’s been too scared to ask. It’s a bridge he’ll cross if they ever end up getting to it.

Dean drops onto the couch next to her and wiggles to get some more room. “Shove over and share the Dothraki porn already.”

She laughs and takes the cord of his headphones to add it to the splitter. “I’m so happy that I converted you. It’s always more fun to watch with friends.”

“Oh, like it was that hard to convert me.” He grins at her and pops the earbuds into his ears. It’s no big secret that Dean is a total sucker for this kind of stuff. And it’s definitely not the only thing that Charlie has ‘converted’ him into trying (and liking) over the years.

Jo groans loudly and hangs her head over the back of her chair. “But we were going to play a card game, Dean! You can’t just abandon me like this.”

He makes a shooing gesture at her without taking his eyes off the screen, the show already starting. “Benny is better at poker than me and he’s bored. Play with him.”

She turns in her seat to set the puppy eyes on the other comfy chair in the TV area. “Benny?”

The TV flicks off immediately and he stretches as he stands. “Always happy to school a rookie. Deal the cards while I get m’self another drink.”

His crazy co-workers aside, Dean actually really loves his job and his life. He couldn’t ask for things to be better than this, but it would be nice if the romantic side of his life was a little better. And, hey, maybe that new café (and the new barista) will spice up his work and his personal life that little bit more?

“I am going to kill Gabriel.” Castiel managed to keep his temper in check while he had a customer, but he is absolutely furious with his big brother right now.

“Could you not?” Balthazar drawls as he rolls out stretches of dough to make baguettes. “He signs my paycheck and I’d rather like him to stay alive.”

Huffing, Castiel gives a vicious sweep of the broom to try and collect all the flour on the floor. “For the record, I also sign your paychecks.”

“Seeing as how he is the one who does the payroll while you sleep all day, I think I’d rather keep him, if you don’t mind.” He pauses and turns to throw an amused smirk in Castiel’s face. “And for the record, Cassie, you forgot your name tag again. No wonder the poor fireman had to introduce himself first to get yours.”

Oh the cheek to this one! Balthazar has always had an attitude since the first day they met, and sometimes it rubs Castiel’s nerves the wrong way. Perhaps that’s why he gets along so well with Gabriel. He’s lucky that he gives Castiel the respect owed him for being his boss (and an excellent one at that, he might add). Otherwise, he wouldn’t get off so easy for how absolutely witty he apparently has to be all the time.

Castiel growls low in his throat and elects to ignore Balthazar for the time being while he cleans up the results of Gabriel’s little prank. However, he does take a quick break to fetch his name tag from the little filing hutch by the stairs where all employee related items are. He does have to admit that setting a bowl of flour to drop on his head is a rather good way to stop him from sneaking some frozen treats from the walk-in freezer, but it is still an exceptionally rude way of doing it. Not to mention that it is exactly zero fun to have to dry and clean frozen flour off the freezer floor.

All Castiel wanted was just one – one – little ice cream sandwich. Was that too much to ask? Was it really such a big deal to Gabriel that he couldn’t even let his baby brother – his only brother – have just one? Regardless, the situation did not call for the need for booby traps. Oh, Gabriel is going to get quite the earful in the morning. Not only for all this extra work he’s making Castiel do, and not just for hiding the sandwiches on him so he doesn’t even get to have a frozen delight. Oh no. Gabriel is going to get a stern lecture for making Castiel look ridiculous in front of a customer.

It wouldn’t have been quite so bad if he hadn’t found said customer to be rather attractive. And that is where that line of thinking is going to end. Because that thing, right there, is never going to happen. Not ever. Nope. Castiel has had thirteen years of suppressing his physical and emotional attractions to people and one good looking firefighter is not going to undo all that hard work. This is going to be difficult at all. Especially since he barely knows a thing about the firefight, aside from his name.

Just to be sure, Castiel brings his hand to the front of his shirt and presses down on the crystal hanging around his neck. He holds on to it and takes deep, meditation-like breaths until the urge to dwell further on attractive firefighters subsides completely. After a few moments, Castiel gets back to cleaning. By the time he’s done, he’s put all thoughts of one Dean Winchester out of his mind. It would be much better for him to focus instead on how he’s going to get Gabriel back for his little prank.

“Balthazar, I need your mad genius.”

“Ah, I love it when you acknowledge my greatness.” He laughs and covers each tray of dough with plastic wrap. He slides the trays onto a rolling rack and leaves them in a corner of the kitchen to rise. “Now, what is it you need of me?”

Castiel slams the freezer door, finally finished with the cleaning. “Revenge.”

A manic grin spreads across Balthazar’s face, looking all the more devious because of his Fae characteristics. The pointed ears, other-worldly eyes, and ethereal features only lend power to it. His set of gossamer wings even flutter slightly with his delight.

“Now you’re speaking my language, Cassie.” He rubs his hands together, not just to knock flecks of dough from his fingers. “Did you have anything in mind? Do you want a traditional prank or something a little more unique?”

“Traditional for now. If Gabriel turns this into a war, we’ll have to up the ante.” Castiel tucks the broom away behind the spiral staircase in the corner of the kitchen. “Do I have your loyalty?”

Balthazar puts a hand on Castiel’s shoulder and gives him a sympathetic look. “You know me, Cassie. Fae never take sides. If Gabriel asks for my assistance, I’ll help him just as much as I’ll help you.”

This could potentially lead to disaster, but he has no other choice. “Well, it’s better than nothing.”

“Great!” With a laugh, Balthazar slaps him on the shoulder and steps away. “Now get me a bucket full of water. I’ll fetch the step stool and we’ll put together something over the door to your apartment.”

Oh, that’s a rather good idea. It’s no flour incident, but it will definitely be an excellent wake-up call for Gabriel when he comes downstairs in the morning. In a way, Castiel is just being a helpful little brother. Gabriel is always a little groggy before he’s had his coffee. It’s one of the benefits of having to be down in the bakery by five o’clock.

Balthazar is up on the stepping stool and fixing the bucket of water into place when he starts having his doubts. He drops his voice into a whisper and twists to look down at Castiel. “Are you sure you want to do this? I’m fairly certain Gabriel has magic.”

“Yes, he does. As evidenced by our licenses in the café.” Castiel shrugs and waves a hand in a go on motion. “But so do I and if he retaliates with magic, I’ll deal with it then.”

“I’m never one to walk out on a prank, Cassie, but I was under the impression that Gabriel had more magic than you.” He still sounds unsure and shifts his weight back and forth on the stool.

Castiel frowns up at him and narrows his eyes slightly. “As true as that might be, I believe I’m fully capable of holding my own against him when it comes to revenge. And if this evolves into a pranking war, then I’m going to have to play dirty because he is better at this than me by far.”

“What happens if I refuse to help any further than this for fear of getting caught in the backlash?”

He shrugs and glances at the door into the apartment. “I suppose you’ll get the cold shoulder from me.”

Balthazar nods and looks up at where he’s holding the bucket in place. “I could live with that.” He hums and shifts his weight again. “Give me a moment to weigh my options.”

Oh. Castiel thinks he might see what the cause of his cold feet might be. “I’m not going to tell Gabriel that you had anything to do with this, Balthazar.”

“You won’t?” His wings perk up and flutter slightly. “Well then, by all means, I’m in.” He finishes up what he was doing and steps down from the stool. “If he does decide to get you back for this, then I’ve got a few things in mind that we could do.”

Excellent. Castiel has nothing and Balthazar is going to prove to be quite the resourceful accomplice. He does have one question though; “Will any of your future pranks involve magic?”

Because while it may be true that Castiel has some, he isn’t even remotely as talented at is at his brother is. His magic is mostly used to help everyday tasks. He can make water boil in an instant, or perk up a plant that looks like it’s dying. Castiel can even make small objects float for a short period of time. And that’s more or less the limit of his magic. Gabriel can do so much more.

Maybe he really is getting over his head with this.

Balthazar flaps his hand at him before he folds up the stepping stool. “Don’t worry about it. I’ll take care of it if we ever need to use any magic.”

Ah, yes. Fae magic. It was practically designed to play pranks on people. Balthazar is definitely going to be a powerful ally during this prank war even though he’s promised that he’s not taking sides. Castiel can only hope that Gabriel won’t see the benefit of asking him to join along. There is also an added bonus to Balthazar using his Fae magic that neither he nor Gabriel might see, but Castiel sees it and he is very pleased with it.

“Gabriel isn’t experience with your brand of magic.” He explains as they descend back into the kitchen. “He’s going to have a harder time countering it.”

Balthazar’s wings rise up behind him, spreading to flutter excitedly. “Well, isn’t that just wonderful! Oh, this is getting exciting.” He claps his hands and turns to Castiel. “Will I be getting a bonus for all this extra work I’ll be putting in?”

“We just opened a few days ago. Do you really think that our finances has a margin for bonuses yet?” The have a skeleton crew for staff and Castiel and Gabriel aren’t even taken their own wages from the income yet. They’ve got some savings left over from before they decided to open a café together, so they can afford to not pay themselves for a little bit. Everything they make in these first few weeks needs to go towards paying their employees first, then paying off their bills and making sure the mortgage gets paid. Only after that will the two of them take their dues. Even then, the money is just going to go straight back into the business. Or, at least, into savings.

With a shrug, Balthazar brushes past on his way to check the dough. “Couldn’t hurt to ask.”

Castiel rolls his eyes and head back into the café portion of the building. He should be watching the counter anyways, in case anyone comes in. And now that he’s dealt with the flour debacle, he can sit back with a nice book or a stack of origami paper and relax for the rest of his shift. All of his cleaning usually gets done in the first few hours of his shift, so there really is nothing left but tend to the customers for the rest of the night.


The clock on the cash register reads ten minutes before five o’clock when Castiel hears a splash and a very womanly like screech. It’s followed with Balthazar uproariously loud laughter and a string of creative curses all centered on Castiel’s name. What a wonderfully gleeful feeling it is to live up to his requirements as a younger sibling. With a pleased sigh, Castiel turns to the next page of his book and calmly waits for Gabriel to make his appearance.

He maintains his calm and cool demeanor when Gabriel walks through the door ten minutes later. His clothing is dry, but his hair is still damp and sticking to his head in places. “I see you went after my pudding pops last night. Just like I knew you would.”

Pudding pops? Well, that’s disappointing. It’s a good thing he didn’t find them then. “I thought they were ice cream sandwiches.”

“I finished those off yesterday afternoon.” Gabriel huffs and heads to the cappuccino machine. “You need to leave my sweets alone, Cassie. Go buy your own.”

Castiel hums and glances up from his book to flash a smile at him. “But I like the thrill of stolen goods.”

Gabriel gives him a wounded look. “When did my sweet baby bro grow up to be so warped?”

There are a number of things that could have done it, but Castiel prides himself on not turning out as bad as he could have, considering their pasts. That doesn’t mean he shouldn’t continue playing with Gabriel like this. “Would you like a play by play explanation?”

“I’m good, thanks.” His nose crinkles and he points a dramatic finger at him. “This isn’t over, Cassie. Mark my words, I will get my revenge for this.”

“I would expect nothing less from you, Gabriel.” Castiel nods and looks back down at his book. “But keep in mind the age old saying, dear brother mine; an eye for an eye.”

Gabriel points two fingers at his eyes and turns this quickly on Castiel. “I’ve got my eye on you.”

“How is that any different from usual?”

With a huff, Gabriel turns on his heel, takes his cappuccino, and stomps off to the kitchen. Castiel waits a whole five minutes before he marks his page and closes the book. At a much more sedate and far too smug pace, he heads to the kitchen. Unlike Gabriel, Castiel stays in the doorway and leans against the frame, watching as his brother takes out the premade pastry dough from the day before.

“Are you not even going to ask how my shift went?” There’s one very important bit of news that he can’t wait to share with his brother.

There is no small measure of suspicion in Gabriel’s eyes as he regards Castiel from across his work top. “What should I be asking about, exactly?”

It’s impossible to contain his grin and Castiel fixes him with a bright, happy smile. “How about, for starters, I tell you about how I’ve won our bet.”

Gabriel very nearly drops the bowl in his hands, shock clear on his face. “You what?”

Ah yes, the bet. One of many, to be exact, but there is one penultimate wager made and Castiel barely managed to maintain his glee when the firefighter won it for him. “I said; I win. Someone made a joke about the restaurant name on a Thursday.”

“I call bullshit.” He shakes his head and crosses his arms, being about as stubborn as he can be. “I refuse to believe that it happened on the one day of the week that you actually picked. You didn’t even want any other day! I bet it’s because you set the customer up for it, didn’t you? Where’d you meet them to start your dastardly plans, Cassie? Where?”

“I can assure you that I did no such thing.” Castiel puts a hand to his chest and raises his eyebrows to portray the perfection of innocence. “I’m wounded that you would even suggest that I would do such a thing.” He truly is, actually. Castiel is plenty conniving in his own way, but he would never think to cheat to win any of their bets – no matter how sweet the winnings would be.

A loud laugh interrupts their argument and Balthazar turns from bagging the bread. “I’ll swear on my mother’s wings, Cassie honestly didn’t. The hot firefighter was as awkward as a Centaur on roller-skates. He stumbled into that joke as hard as he fell for Cassie’s big baby blues.”

“He wasn’t that bad.” Castiel frowns at him for mocking one of their customers. “And he most certainly did no falling.” Please, Balthazar, do not destroy the hard work he did earlier to put the attractive fireman out of his mind.

Balthazar shakes his head and smiles. “I’m sorry, Cassie, but he most definitely was and he most definitely did. He called you dude. Unironically!”

At that, Gabriel turns a curious look to Castiel, his eyebrows raised. No words are necessary to get across that he is now very interested in learning all about Castiel’s interaction with the so named hot firefighter. Granted, Dean was very attractive, but that’s beside the point. Nothing happened, nothing ever will happen, and there is absolutely nothing else for him to talk about on that subject matter.

Instead, Castiel shrugs and turns away. “The point of the matter is that I win the bet and I’ll be taking my prize when you least expect it.”

“Rest assured, Cassie, I’ll know if you’re lying to me and you’ve got Balthazar in on it.” Gabriel slaps his hands down on the worktop and leans over it. “I’m going to check the cameras and I’ll get the real truth about what happened last night.”

“You do whatever makes it easiest for you to sleep at night, big brother.” Castiel waves over his shoulder as he heads back to the front. He even whistles a jaunty tune, pleased to have won.

Now he gets to do one thing to their home that Gabriel absolutely can’t veto. If Castiel has lost the bet, he’s positive that Gabriel would have done something like get a fully functioning gumball machine for their apartment. Or maybe he would have bought himself an arcade game. No, no. He would have purchased a video game console. Yes, that’s more like. No matter what, it would have been something loud or in the way and Castiel would have thought it completely unnecessary.

Happily, that isn’t the case and it will never happen. Castiel can take comfort in spending the last few hours of his shift thinking about what he could get. He’s got a few things that he would like. Gabriel is already complaining about the number of plants that Castiel has filled the café, the patio, their apartment, and his rooftop garden with. There are still some blank spots in the arrangement that could use a few more plants.

Oh, but what about an apiary? A nice little beehive for the corner of his roof? The bees would pollinate his flowers and they would be so cute. Just a whole hive of little buzzing bumble bees. Ah, Castiel gets happy shivers just thinking about it. He would love to learn how to become a beekeeper. It would be so much fun!

Thankfully, there’s no deadline for their bet. No matter how long he takes to make up his mind, Castiel can and will get whatever he wants. To be honest, he’s rather looking forward to holding this over Gabriel’s head for the unforeseen future.