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A Little Slice of Cas

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Cas had woken up at four-fucking-a.m. on Thursday, which is supposed to be his best day of the week, because his co-worker Anna decided to ditch work at the last minute and sleep in. Generally employees of Heavenly Delight’s Café and Bakery were supposed to give at least two days’ notice before changing their shifts around, even temporarily. But being the kind and easily-taken-advantage-of person that he was, Castiel dragged himself out of bed and forced himself to think about more pleasant things than the infernal twittering of birds outside his window.

It was Thursday. Fresh pie day. And the pro’s of working in a bakery, Castiel got to bake them himself.

So he tried to focus on simpler, happier things that made his Thursday feel less like a Tuesday, because having more than one Tuesday in a week would be way too much stress for Cas to handle.

Like how quiet it was when it was still dark out, with the heavy air ridden with the chirping of crickets and the rain that had fallen through the night. He could see the mist just settling on the ground and the cloudless remnants of the speckled night that beckoned another frigid autumn day. He hurried inside the backdoor to the shop, chased by the thought of spending anymore time out in the cold humidity that was bound to hit a freezing point when noon rolled by.

Inside the bakery he enjoyed mixing the ingredients together and tasting the batter each time he added something else, just like he did with his mother when he was younger. Soon the room was filling with the smell of yeast and rising pastries, and the teaspoon of cinnamon he had knocked over, grains still settling onto the counter after their adventures in the air.

He kneaded the dough until his back ached delightfully for a moment before it actually felt like pain. But he ignored it cheerfully; focusing on how it stuck to his fingers and then slid off is palms when he added more flour and how it didn’t get under his nails anymore because he cut them just yesterday. He loved the feeling of sweat that rolled and dripped uneasily down his back in the heat of the kitchen, and how the AC ghosted cold air that made him shiver when he stepped too close to it.

That was the other pastries. The real delight of Heavenly Delights Café and Bakery were Castiel’s pies, and everyone knew that, including him. He made the entire pie from scratch, unlike some other places. Each one was a work of art, masterfully made. He was hired for the sole reason of making pies. That and because he knew how to do that artsy thing with steamed milk and coffee.

He began with the usual; a few cookie pies for those who were actually looking for something along the lines of a giant cookie instead of pie, and then a few chocolate silk and peanut butter silk pies. He paused once to consider making another lemon meringue, but there was still a half a pie from last week sitting on the pie stand.

It was when he realized he still had an hour he decided to make a pie for himself. Chuck, the shop’s proprietor (who was never there) had always allowed him to take home any stale leftovers, so he decided he could fudge on how old the pie was and take home whatever he could. Customers almost never ate the whole pie on the first day.

He rolled up his sleeves again and washed his hands for the umpteenth time that morning, before he carefully doled out the ingredients. He decided this one would be a masterpiece.

Out of all the things in life that Cas enjoyed, food was one of them. He wasn’t a foodie, but he took every ounce of pleasure he could out of the simple foods he came across. Some enjoyed runner’s high, some preferred getting high. Some people liked rainy days and books or surly-cats-turned-kind for only them, curled up in their laps. Although Cas could not admit to having experienced all of these (especially that last one, cats never seemed to like him) there was nothing that pleased him like a delicious dessert or a good burger. They just made him happy.

So it was to be expected that some of his more risqué fantasies involved food. Sometimes he wondered whether he wanted a particularly good meal instead of sex. Anna often liked to tease him about how once he had practically “made out” with a hamburger. That was one time!

He measured the flour carefully, adding in a little extra cinnamon and nutmeg than usual, carefully choosing and peeling the apples one by one. He even chopped them up exactly the same size.

Somewhere in daydreaming about how wonderful it would be to taste the finished product, he found himself slipping into fantasies brought about by general horniness. It couldn’t be helped, he didn’t have a boyfriend, and didn’t know too well how to find one without going too far out of his comfort zone. Some days he felt like a bit like a starved man in a desert, other days like impossibly thirsty whilst drowning in the ocean. He prided himself on coming up with that last metaphor.

It was becoming a habit of his, or at least a pattern he was noticing. When he was making food or eating he started thinking about what a lonesome soul he was, and he was fantasizing impossible things about whatever attractive guy he had spotted on the bus he started also thinking about food.

Somewhere when he found himself being especially meticulous about the pie crust, he was also thinking about what it would be like to have strong arms around him while he did this. He had no real requirements for what he looked for in people, but even in his fantasies he never allowed himself to be too specific, lest he later let himself down. But if he was ever really honest with himself, he would admit he wouldn’t mind someone on the stronger, taller side.
Although he would probably end up with (if at all) someone just as scrawny and awkward as he was. And the guy would probably make Star Wars and Star Trek related comments, along with a million other geeky references he wouldn’t get.

He rolled the dough out two more times, just to be sure. This pie was going to be perfect, because he was sure his love life wouldn’t be.
So he made the lattice pattern especially carefully, and checked it all around before he decided it was ready. He put it in the ovens before opening up shop, holding up a few customers in line later, while he went to get it out before it spent a minute too long baking.

And so he set it out inconspicuously on one of the harder to spot stands, in high hopes that no one would see it.

By around noon, which was the bakery half of the shop’s closing time, the door opened.

So to recap his horrible day, Castiel made a little list. He was hungry, horny, sleep-deprived and craving pie.

And this asshole seriously thought that he could walk in, flash a gorgeous smile and order up, no, swipe the last slice of delicious apple pie that Cas had been waiting all day to sink his teeth into, and walk back out the café doors leaving nothing but the jaw-dropping view of his jeans from behind and twinkling bell behind him?

Because Cas was seriously just going to let him.

Chapter Text

Dean was a regular customer. To the shop next door.

It was hella fucking dumb, and he knew it, but he just couldn’t bring himself to go into the bakery/café and say “hi” to the cute barista that always had a bit of flour in his hair and the coffee-stained apron. So everyday he bought a sandwich and a cup of coffee, black from the shop next door to Heavenly Delight’s Café and Bakery. He didn’t even know what the diner was called, but he meandered out front even on the worst weather days between the two shops, stealing glances inside. Sometimes He wandered over to the display window, feigning interest in the pastries waiting in the windowcase between glimpses at the barista. He didn’t think much of the habit until he found himself out there in the rain, and then forced himself to go back inside the diner to ponder what he was doing, while the cashier’s stares bore into his back. He didn’t venture too far into the reason why; it was his lunch break and he could do what he wanted with it. But that didn’t keep him from asking the cashier if she knew any of the neighboring shops’ employees. She didn’t know, any he didn’t speak with her much after that.

It had been that one time the door had open and the wind carried the scent of apple pie that gave him the courage, (or rather, just the unconscious need for a slice) to even enter the bakery/cafe. He had approached the counter, trying his best to suppress the urge to chicken out and pretend he had just walked into the wrong store. Even from a distance he could tell that the barista’s eyes were startlingly blue, and rather apathetic to his presence. He stepped up to the counter, glancing once at that last slice of pie sitting on the counter.

If all went wrong, at least he would get pie out of it, he decided.

He glanced at the guy, slipping his palms, already sweaty, into his back pockets as he neared close enough to read the guy’s nametag, CASTIEL. He cleared his throat, and his eyes snapped up to him, and it wasn’t until Dean had ordered the last slice of pie had he realized the barista had been eyeing it hungrily, practically guarding it like a mother tiger. Dean swore the guy would have growled at him if his boss hadn’t been standing within earshot. The clear animosity that the barista’s eyes held him in was going to make his usual pick-up tactics much more difficult.

He tried to smile, and hopefully charm his way out of the hatred the barista was clearly starting to harbor towards him, but the look on his pretty face on seemed unaffected by his charm. He disdainfully passed him the package and narrowed his eyes as if threatening him to get out before he purchased anymore reserved pastries.

Dean left the shop, trying not to think about how he had managed to mess up a relationship before he had even introduced himself. He felt rather miserable for reasons he didn’t care to examine, but when he got back to his shift at the Singer Automechanic, he didn’t even bother to eat the pie. He left it in the fridge, feeling too empty inside for any pie to fill.

Bobby didn’t question him when he worked the next four hours without a break, hardly noticing when the sun switched places with the moon. His back hurt from bending over engines all day, and the soles of his feet were wearing thin. But that was easier to endure than the disappointment digging in his mind.

He was trying not to think about it, mostly because thinking about it was what ruined his last relationship. He had managed to convince himself then, and even now, that when he got too close to people he ended up hurting them. So he talked to Lisa, and then moved his ass back to Lawrence, Kansas.

Sometime when he realized it was getting too dark to see, he returned to the communal fridge to find only a few crumbs in its place.

“Ash…” Dean growled, glaring behind him to the door to Ash’s office, which promptly closed with a locking sound. He slammed the fridge door, and made his way back to the car he was fixing. Goddamnnit if there wasn’t one more thing to make it an awful day.

Chapter Text

It would be imprecise to say that despite being very pissed off with him, Cas had started daydreaming about that customer who stole his pie.
He hadn’t even realized at first that it was the same guy who he had sometimes seen strolling around outside in front of the bakery-café until Gabriel and Chuck pointed it out.

“He should really come in for a some coffee instead of hanging out front,” Gabe stated, as if ready to suggest some plot to bring the pie-stealer back.

“Mm-hmm. Definitely. He’s probably scaring off potential customers while looking all-broody out there…” Chuck muttered apathetically, evidently missing Gabe’s point. He dropped out of the conversation quickly, returning to his in-progress novella, as if some bolt of inspiration had struck him. Cas rolled his eyes; despite being their boss, Chuck did very little actual work, at least as far as they could tell. He was always typing away in the corner, only getting up to refill his coffee. He hadn’t shaved for a week and he probably hadn’t showered in days. If anything, he was scaring customers off.

“I’d like to make a pie that tastes like him,” Anna whispered to Cas, nudging his side with her elbow. He meant to say something back to her, but he didn’t have anything to say to that, and she shoved him back into the kitchens, leaving him to continue baking bread, with only his daydreams for company.

And of course at her last comments really got him thinking, in a direction he really didn’t want to pursue, especially at work.

When handling the dough in large quantities, it was a lumps and give, but when it’s rolled out flat on the countertop, his fingers sink into it like it’s someone else’s skin and he finds himself having treacherous thoughts about the pie-thief, and no matter how many times he reminds himself that of all people to start having impossible fantasies about, this guy he already has a grudge against. He tells himself that despite sometimes seeing him stare at window display made him wait desperately for him to come inside, the guy obviously had a terrible personality or something because he stole the last slice, -even though he did technically pay for it.

Even though he keeps telling this to himself he stops listening and instead thinking about those eyes that make him think about scented herbs and honey. He imagines that that strong jaw would feel smooth as pastry but the day-old stubble would feel more like seeded rye in his palm. That tasting those lips would be something like biting into warm bread.

Around there he decides too hungry/horny to function properly. He places a hand over his empty stomach, wiping some sweat from his brow in the heat of the kitchens. He hasn’t eaten all day, and in a minute his fantasies are going to turn cannibalistic. He mutters thanks to the ceiling that everyone else has left already, because his daydreams are piquing his arousal and he still needs to lock the place up and put everything away.

Chapter Text

He reached the bar a little later than he intended. It’s a little place called the “Roadhouse” and he wishes he checked the top scores on the arcade games before he accepted a challenge to a girl not much younger than himself at one of the shooting games. By the end of it he lost two rounds and most of his drinking budget trying to cheer himself up.

This, my self, if why you are not a cop, he thought as he contemplated his glass of water. Also because he couldn’t play ‘bad cop’ for his life, but nobody had to know about it. He heard some heavy boot steps approach the bar and sit down a few seats away from him. He thought about looking over, but when he remembered he had been away nearly fourteen hours on his feet, he let his eyelids rest.

“Hon, you can’t eat that in here,” a stern voice reprimanded him sharply, and when Castiel opened one of his sleepy eyes, glancing between the older blonde barkeep, and the Biggerson’s burger and fries he brought with him. He offered her a fry, and even though she accepted it, she shrugs and continues, “And I’m not really supposed to let you stay unless you order something to drink.”

Castiel was about to open his mouth when another voice speaks for him; rough, husky and a little intoxicated.

“No problem, Ellen, his drink’s on me.”

Castiel was still placing who that voice belonged to in his mind as Ellen looks slightly surprised, but says nothing of it. She shrugs it off and asks, “What’ll it be, then?”

“Whiskey, or whatever,” he shrugs. Most liquor tastes the same to him, and being rather tall and not as scrawny as he was in his teenage years, he can’t actually remember the last time he had enough alcohol in him to feel remotely drunk. Ellen nods to him and slides a shot of whiskey down to him, and with a glance to his deep-voiced benefactor, leaves the bottle next to it. He downs the shot fairly quick, not wanting the flavor to stay on his tongue. He chases it with fries and before returning to his burger, ignoring whoever bought his drink a few moments longer.

“So,” the guy began, clearing his throat, “You gonna make more pie? At the bakery, I mean. That apple one lookin’ fantastic-”

Cas near spit-out his mouthful of burger, half choking on it. He shot a glare at him, forcing the bile back; the burger did not taste as good the second time down. That was another thing not in this guy’s favor, wasting a bite of his burger, nearly ending him in a death by charming voice.

“You have a lot of nerve,” Cas snapped, his voice low in his throat. A cocky smile started up on the guy’s lips.

“Maybe, but I haven’t the slightest idea what you’re talking about.”

Cas turned away, forcing himself to stare only at his burger. He took in a deep breath, and keeping his voice just outside of a steady growl, he said steely, “Then I’ll tell you. I only have time to make pie once a week. Today was supposed to be good because it’s a Thursday,” he didn’t expect the pie-stealer to understand what that meant to him, “and I planned to take home the extra pie. That particular pie was a masterpiece. I spent a half hour on that lattice. So it’s a bit of a disappointment that a few hours to closing time, when nearly nobody comes in anyway, that guy who always hovers at that display case, and never comes in to buy anything, breaks pattern, today of all days and takes the last piece-”He broke off as the guy started cracking up.

“What now,” he snarled.

“Nothing,” He managed around another bout of laughter, “I just didn’t think you noticed me standing out there all the time.”

“About which, I have to ask you to stop loitering outside; chuck says you’re scaring off customers,” Cas returned, ready to continue his list of why today sucked, before he realized he didn’t know where to pick up at.

In his momentary loss of speech, the guy reached across the counter, and in some crazy, obscure corner of Castiel’s mind, he started to hope this guy might be reaching out his hand to touch his. Instead he picked up the bottle and poured him another shot. “Tell you what. Consider this reparations for pissing you off.”

So Cas shot a glare at him, mutiny creeping up on his face. “You think I’m accepting this because you gave it to me?”

He could see the ‘Well, uh, yeah,’ in his face, watching him bite back the urge to respond with some snarky retort. The barkeep Ellen gave him a look that said , “oh, hon,” before she turned back to another customer.

“I’m Dean,” the guy said, giving a name for Cas to associate with his cheekbones-no, lips-no, face. Cas didn’t bother to return the favor. Instead, he took two more shots, slamming the second one down on the counter a little too loudly, but the amount that he cared verses how long he was staring at the Dean's shoulders and arm, watching as the muscles shifted and flexed when he moved.

“Dean,” he repeated the name, but he made sure Dean heard ‘asshole’ loud and clear.

Cas was only just beginning to take in other details, like how the hair on the back of Dean’s beck was still beaded with sweat, and how he was probably just about the same height as him, possibly a little taller with oil and engine grease smeared just under his slightly stubbled jaw.

His eyes caught Dean’s and he looked away abruptly, cursing himself for being caught staring. Irritated, he began finishing his burger with ruthless efficiency.

He barely paused a moment to steal another glance at Dean, who wasn’t looking at him anymore, rather pondering his own drink. Dean was letting his hot breath ghost over the glass, when he began again.

“Look, um… I’m not so good at this whole apologizing thing. But I uh, I hang outside the bakery a lot, and sometimes on weekends I drive by and think about stopping in, um, because, that is-”

Castiel felt his face flushing, but he was sure it had nothing to do with the booze. He scooped up the near-empty bottle, and left the bar without a sound. He congratulated himself on his quiet escape; Dean must have not realized he was gone until he was out of the bar. Cas glanced back over his shoulder once on his way out the door, seeing Dean looking around for him. He ducked out the doorway, but not before seeing a look of sadness set into Dean’s face.

Castiel quickly downed the rest of the bottle.

Chapter Text

Castiel reached up to rub at the headache suddenly blooming behind his right eye, unaware of how exactly he came to be awake, a query in which his state of consciousness confuses him, despite his alarm going off.

At some point between taking a shower and getting dressed anyway, he realized he had been a much larger asshole to what might have been a repeat customer than he should have been. Dean might even complain to Chuck about his behaviors. He could get fired.

It took him a few more moments to remember exactly what he did the day before, and when he did, he became overwrought with the delayed embarrassment that he couldn’t mentally deal with it until he rolled around on his bed for a few minutes longer and contemplated staying tangled up in his sheets forever. It wasn’t like forever would be all that long.

His eyes caught sight of a half-full bottle of whatever. He contemplated the effects of alcohol verses shame and since he was likely to get fired anyway, he rationalized he might as well have a bit of scotch in him when it happened.

With that thought he took a swig straight from the bottle. Nope, definitely not scotch, but he filled a water bottle with it anyway. Less suspicious.

He showed up to work with a bottle in hand anyway. He allows himself a couple sips in hopes it’ll make the headache or at least the embarrassment go away, but it doesn’t really.

By the time he got back out into the café, morning has risen and he’s all alone in the shop, except Gabriel in the back, baking like he should have been the day before. Castiel took another drink from his impromptu flask, thinking he should probably tell Chuck he should get paid for those hours he covered before he’s told to hang his apron up and never come back. Chuck would probably phrase pair it with a threat of tarring and feathering, because he likes to get a little over-dramatic when expelling staff from Heavenly Delight’s.

He hungs his apron up and without so much as looking around he began changing out of his flour-and-whatnot ridden uniform shirt, because he was too lazy to actually bring it home to wash it, and because it was easier to just leave it in the shop and change when he got there. The clock is reaching eleven and at this hour nobody came in for coffee, so Cas didn't mind changing in the shop.

After a while of waiting for the first customer of the day, he checked his phone. There was a text from Anna, asking “are you the big or little spoon?”

Her question was ridiculous and completely out of the blue. he considered just calling her and asking what made her ever ask that, but he chalked it up to curiosity.

He texted her back, “The little one that doesn’t get much ice cream out of the bowl because I’m alone.”

She replied with a frowny face.

After the first hour he considered making jello shots with the cupcake tins. His reasoning was that he could probably get Gabe to help. Actually, Gabe would definitely do that if he so much as mentioned he had brought booze to work.

By the time the bell by the door jiggles and rings as a customer walked in, he had downed the majority of the bottle he brought. He wanted to turn around and say, “Sorry, we’re closed today.”

Dean stood a moment in the doorway, pondering whether to come in. He looked up and in the brief second of eyecontact, made his decision. Cas Had half a mind to apologize to him and thank him for coming back despite how he acted, but his thoughts were quickly stolen away when Dean took off his jacket and sat down at one of the small window tables. He had on short sleeves that were by no means tight, but by all means managing to show off his fine form. Castiel was staring at his strong arms, dazed momentarily by both the booze and the unexpected display.

He hadn’t even realized that he was staring until Dean had approached the counter again, standing but a few feet away from him.

“Dude, are you sober?” Dean asked offhandedly.

“...It's eight a.m.”

“So it’s not that,” Dean said, leaning a little closer, concern in his voice. When Cas failed to answer, he gestured to the bottle. “What's that?

“Liquid courage, my friend,” Castiel answered, feeling fairly witty, as he paired his answer with a grin.

“Don't you think you've had enough?” Dean made a motion for Cas to hand it over.

“Of you, maybe,” Castiel shrugged, but let him take it anyway. He desperately tried to think of something else to say.

Oh no, stop staring. This is not good. Silent staring is not flirting.

Dean reached out and put a hand on his chest, just by the junction of shoulder and collar. All his thought processes stopped as he took in the unexpected movement, and how warm Dean’s hand was, especially through the thin fabric of his shirt.  He opened his mouth to say something, but no sound came out.  After a second or two he realized Dean was looking at his nametag, which apparently he pinned on upside down.

“I’ll be right back, why don’t you look around and see what you want,” Cas muttered, attempting to slip outside Dean’s gaze, but he only smiled back at him.

“What if I already know what I want?”

“Then…think about it again,” Cas shrugged. “Make sure you actually want it.”

“Should I check for little ‘reserved’ signs as well?” Dean asked jokingly, but Cas awkwardly shook his head and slipped into the backroom.

Well fuck that, he thought to himself, pulling his phone out again. He was really just waiting to get fired; he didn’t have to deal with this guy. So, ignoring the customer, started to text Anna.

‘The cute coffeeshop guy came back,’ He typed frantically, waiting with his head between his knees for her response.

‘What are you doing?’

‘AVERTING THE CRISIS’

‘Get back out there fucker. I’ll get Chuck to tar and feather your ass.’

‘Ass is already feathery’

So begrudgingly he dragged himself back out, Dean leaning against the counter. He looked like he made up his mind a long time ago, probably to annoy Castiel.

“So what’ll it be?” Castiel asked, striking up an air of interest, but he wasn’t really listening. He was thinking about how Dean’s freckles look like sprinkled cinnamon on a hard-baked outside, and that it would be a crime that something that looks so tasty isn’t within licking distance. He thought it might also be blasphemous that he wasn’t ladling frosting slowly onto that perfect exterior. He licked his lips when he wondered if like so many pastries, if despite the hard exterior, if the inside was as soft and perfect as it was juxtaposed.

Most of the conversation to Dean as he picked out a few different types of apple and cherry turnovers, was made without any real consent of Castiel’s brain, as he was preoccupied with the image of kneading nutmeg into the skin, then caressing it off with his tongue, nipping at the sweat-glazed flesh in crisp altering flavors of bitter and sweet, as sticky sweet limbs rubbed not so smoothly against each other.

“I could just eat you,” Castiel said without realizing, Dean’s eyes flicking up to his in surprise. A blush was rapidly spreading to his cheeks. “No, I mean, I could eat. You?”

Dean glanced away from him, no longer meeting his eyes. it took Cas a moment to realize his cheeks were tinged with red.

“Uh, yeah, sure.  We should, uh, get coffee sometime, or something,” Dean was saying, avoiding his stare, which Cas could no longer keep away from his face.

“Like, here?” Cas asked, glancing around. “Now?”

Dean’s face reddened considerably more. “N-no, I meant, uh, maybe later. Somewhere else. I know a great little place, maybe we could meet up there-”

“Sure,” Cas answers quickly, trying to smile, although he’s not entirely sure how he got himself into this mess. 

Chapter Text

The two joined at the lip in the back were really starting to annoy Dean.

Normally he wouldn’t even have noticed, but Cas was supposed to be there a half hour ago, and Dean had sat there picking at the counter, glancing at the clock every few seconds. Panic began to steal up his spine, itching into his shoulders that crept up near his ears, and he was starting to wonder why he had ever believed the cute guy from behind the apple pie and pastry stands would ever show up. But then again, he had been the one to ask.

The day before they had agreed to meet at the Roadhouse instead, and he arrived a good ten minutes early because his brother couldn’t work while he was pacing around the house. Sam had raised a skeptical eyebrow when he showered twice and checked his clothes for stains, almost going as far as to ask his opinion on what he was wearing.

He was nervous as the first time his dad let him take the Impala for a drive, probably even more so. Worrying about not hitting anything just pulling it out of the drive was cost him more nerves than he ever cared to spend, and that was nothing compared to the

But dark forces had conspired to turn everything to bullshit.

Ash was manning the bar, which meant he was reading a magazine, ignoring everyone who tried to order a drink. Dean bit his lip, and placed his hands on the table, leaning forward to hear what Ash was mumbling.

“Of course I talk to myself. Sometimes I need a professional opinion,” Ash shot back, before briefly returning to his magazine. Wires unlimited, or something like that.

After another few moments Ash put the magazine down, and took a seat opposite Dean. “What then, is makin’ you look so hella gloomy? Not enough people hit on you tonight?”

“No, actually there were a few of those,” Dean shrugged, glancing over his shoulder to check the doorway again, -nobody. But Bobby and Ellen were sharing a couple of beers rather amiably. If he weren’t so worried about his own love life he might have asked Ash when those two started noticing each other. “I’m waiting for someone.”

Ash made suggestive eyebrows at him. When Dean failed to elaborate further, he asked, “So who is she then, this so-called person?”

“He,” Dean corrected almost automatically, but Ash didn’t miss a beat.

“On a bisexual adventure then, are we?” Ash poured himself a drink, tossing his magazine to someone else at the bar. “How long you been waitin’?”

“Forty minutes,” Dean rounded off. Forty-eight minutes, but he didn’t want to seem as desperate as he probably was.

“You sure this guy ain’t just blowing you off? And not in the good way, I mean, that sounds like quite a traffic jam or something,” Ash hesitated a minute longer. “Forty minutes, that’s almost the whole hour. I don’t think he’s coming.”

“He’ll be here, I’m sure something came up at the bakery and he had to stay late or something,” Dean said quickly, voicing the theory he had been telling himself for the last twenty minutes. Ash gave him the most possibly patronizingly look he had ever seen. 

“Unless the bakery got evening hours, then I kinda doubt it, man. Sorry,” Ash looked almost sympathetic before he burped. “Tell’ya what, this one’s on me. Though it is a good idea, arrange to meet at a bar, when they stand ya’up, you can drink your misery. Awful convenient. You plan to die in a cemetery too?”

He continued chattering and pouring drinks for the both of them, and the others sitting at the bar seemed to get the hint.

“Being in love is so…horrible, innit? It makes you so vulnerable. It opens your chest and it opens up your heart and it means that someone can get inside you and mess you up,” Ash mumbled to himself, and Dean considered cutting this particular bartender off.  “Love is an awu-ful surgeon. It, it opens you up, messes around and stitches you back up. and you're still not fixed… you haven't been fixed. I wonder why we think love can heal a broken heart when it was love that broke it first,” he continued, apparently trying to sound poetic or something. He failed to accomplish that, as he hiccupped every now and then in place of punctuation.

“C'mere, you need a hug,” Ash murmured, trying to corral Dean into the circle of his scrawny arms.

“Get off me,” Dean said, pushing him back to his side of the counter. He checked his watch. “It’s been an hour and a half.”

“Have you no self-respect?” Ash hiccupped.

Dean glanced from the bottle in Ash’s hand to his less than savory haircut. “Enough to not let you dictate to me what it is.”

“Leave before you are left, is what I’m saying,” Ash said again. “You’re never going to find the right one on the first try.”

Dean rolled his eyes, but  the seemingly simple phrase threatened his composure more than he cared be let known.  “Oh really. So you’re saying you’ve fallen for the wrong person before.”

Ash shook his head and pointed at him knowingly.

“I don’t need to. My one and only true love would be me."

Dean felt a smirk tug at a corner of his mouth. “Must be for the best, then. You never have to worry about being stood up, or rejection.”

"Not necessarily. I turn myself down occasionally, just to keep it interesting. Keeps me on my toes, y’know,” Ash said, and Dean nodded, not really following the topic anyway.

“I don’t mind being alone,” Dean said in order to maybe get Ash to find someone else to bug, but the empty row of shots in front of him made him add feelings to the statement. “I just hate feeling alone,” he murmured into the last empty shot as he tried to ignore the ugly feeling of betrayal that crept steadily over his chest. And it was working wonderfully, -except for the part where he couldn't stop thinking about Castiel’s major lack of punctuality. That morning seemed so far away, a vision filled with the sugary dreams of tender feelings, now a tasteless joke of being stood up that gave him the urge to grind his teeth into dust.  The bourbon that coursed through him like liquid heat marinated the feelings of betrayal into something that tasted like anger, or just hurt. Which it was he did not know - and he found that he didn't care.

He stood on shaky bowed legs and walked out of the Roadhouse in a calm he did not feel.

There was a hitch in his breath that tugged down at the corners of his mouth. Don’t fucking cry, he told himself, Winchesters don’t fucking cry.

Chapter Text

The door swung open, revealing Dean looking disheveled in his morning state of undress.  Obviously not enough caffeine in him to process what was going on, but he could tell that Cas was standing just outside his doorway with a small box, turning redder by the second, looking like a startled cat. A sleepy smile tugged at his mouth, momentarily forgetting he was supposed to be mad at him.

Cas backed away slowly, making no sudden movements. “I, um…that is…” he stuttered and stumbled over words, obviously being seen was not part of whatever plan he had.  After a moment he shook himself and shrugged, handing over the package. “I'm not even going to bother to explain this. Enjoy.” With that he turned on his heel and began walking away.

An eyebrow raised, Dean opened the box, untying the twine knot.

It was an apple pie, with one slice missing. A smirk was spreading across his face.

“Aren't you a hopeless romantic first thing in the morning,” he said, loud enough that Cas turned around quickly to look at him.

“Actually, um, I made that last night. Just after the uh…incident.” He rubbed his cheek, where a slight bruised had purpled.  Dean’s knuckles ached in guilt and sympathy. “It’s an apology for, uhm, standing you up.”

Dean nodded dully; the pain of being left alone had left damages on tender, hopeful feelings that were stupidly looking up again.

“Y’know, this isn’t going to work if you bake me a pie everytime you want to say sorry,” Dean said sternly, walking down to meet Cas in the driveway.

“That’d be rather fattening, wouldn’t it,” Cas muttered in agreement, and Dean would have sworn he saw Cas's hand make an aborted attempt to reach out to his.

“Sure. And you’ll need to tell me what took you so long,” Dean added, and Cas nodded again, though he shied slightly away from him. He bit his lips, looking away, at the sky, the ground, anywhere but at Dean.

“Even when I find a way to explain, where do we go from here?”

“Inside?” Dean suggested hopefully, offering a hand to Cas, who looked a little doubtful. He opened his mouth to begin another apology, but Dean tugged on his jacket and led him inside.

Sam was still asleep upstairs apparently, so he placed the pie onto the counter and gestured for Cas to be vaguely quiet at least. “M’brother’s upstairs,” he whispered, and Cas nodded in understanding.

After a minute or two of Cas sitting awkwardly at the table, desparately groping around for conversation topics. 

Dean said nothing, mostly because he was supposed to angry and hurt at Cas. And he was. 

Well, yeah, that and Dean was hungry. So hungry it wasn’t even pertaining to his stomach anymore, it was just a feeling of...emptiness. He opened the pie box, a grin sneaking up on his mouth again. Pie for breakfast, and it was still warm, even. He bit down on the smile with a frown. Right, supposed to be mad. But it smelled so good, and he wasn't mad at the pie now, was he?

“You made this?”

“Yes, um, it’s a recipe my mom used to make. It’s been in the family for a while,” Cas replied, fidgeting with his coat pockets.

Dean glanced at him again, aimlessly humming AC/DC as he searched for a fork. In the spaces between exchanges Cas squirmed uncomfortably in his chair, waiting for him to say anything else, at the same time trying to construct something to amend their situation. Dean let him sit in silence, glancing at him as he cut a forkful of the pie and tried it.

Damn it, it was good. It sang on his taste buds. It was so sweet and tangy it nearly bit back, spices settling heavily on his breath, nutmeg and cinnamon mixing in harmony. He wanted to groan in pleasure from what it was doing with his tongue, he wanted to swallow and demand the recipe from Cas and start making it himself. 

“It’s not bad,” he said, tone as indifferent as he could manage it.

Cas nodded, turning his face away. Dean wished he didn’t notice how his shoulders had slumped.

“I really like it,” he amended after a moment. Cas turned around in a heartbeat, looking up at him and smiling wide with childish exuberance.

“You need to stop being so cute.” The remark left his mouth even as he was thinking it.

 Cas looked mildly surprised. “What do you mean?” He frowned.

“I, um, that is, -You took  a slice pre-empitvely,” Dean said quickly, gesturing to the box. “I would have shared it with you, y’know. I’m not a glutton.”

Cas stared, still frowning. "I didn’t take any; I made you the whole pie.”

Dean put down his fork, the corners of his mouth tugging down in confusion. Cas stood and walked over to the box, taking a look inside. He sighed, rolling his eyes.

“Must’ve been Chuck, dammit. Or Gabe. Actually,” he leaned closer to the pie, inspecting it closer. “...Dean, I wouldn’t eat any more of that if I were you.”

“Why,” Dean asked through another mouthful.

“All the sugar’s been licked off the top. Probably by Gabe.”

Dean spat out the bite, before going to rinse out his mouth. When he turned around, Cas was standing there, a little too close for someone he was still kind of mad at. He put his hands on Cas's shoulder to push him a step back, but jesus they were already too close and Cas was doing that kicked puppy face, and he couldn't remember the last time he'd seen someone besides Sam pull that off without being genuinely sorry-

Cas's eyes were wet and his breathing a little shallower than two seconds ago. Shiiiiiiiiiiit.

"I'm sorry, I just, I thought this whole pie ordeal would be resolved now, and-" Cas was muttering quickly and somewhat nonsensically and Dean didn't even really know what he meant by 'pie ordeal'.

"It’s fine," He insisted, catching his hands and holding him closer. Hadn't this started out as Cas consoling him?

"No, its not. I’ve fed you tainted pie," Cas muttered darkly, as if that were the worst crime he was guilty of. Dean nearly laughed; it was pretty damn cute, even if it was said by a nearly-grown man. "Speaking of, why would he go and do that?"

Cas sighed again, rubbing his eyes. “We sometimes do that for the customers we don’t like. At least, Gabe does that. And Balthazar. And sometimes when it’s a slow day Anna picks the toppings off and eats them. And sometimes Chuck does that too.”