destiny is a fickle bitch (weatheredlaw) wrote in previousdreams,

the open sky (is mine tonight) [supernatural] - part 1

the open sky (is mine tonight)
rated nc-17 - dean/castiel, dean/anna, becky/chuck, sam/ruby - supernatural fic
And Cas wants to believe that this is the way it can be.
note: 21,904 words (both parts)



Today is the last day Castiel will ever have to look at Lisa Braeden. After today, he will never have to listen to her debate with herself over lilies or roses. He will never have to call her annoyingly Midwestern baker ever again. He will never hear the tell-tale noise of her wooden clogs on the cherry wood floors of his office and he will delete her from his phone and have his assistant take a memo and throw it away, every time she calls. Because Lisa Braeden is the client from hell.

She's nice enough, really. There's nothing on earth worse than a distraught and picky bride who's a heinous awful bitch - but as nice as Lisa is, Castiel can't help but thinking she might be punishment for all the terrible things he's done for the last thirty years. Like only calling his mother after she leaves seventeen nasty voice mails once every four months, or cheating on the only guy who would have anything to do with him in college or fucking majoring in business and graduating with eighty three other soulless bastards. Lisa is punishment for moving across the country to avoid his brothers and throwing all their postcards and letters in the mail and deleting their messages from his answering machine before he even knows what they want.

Lisa is all the bad karma Castiel's collected over the years rolled into a stressed out, indecisive, anal retentive single mom turned first-time bride with a snot nosed brat for a kid and absolutely no taste in flower arrangements. He takes it all in stride and promises God, Yahweh, Allah and Buddha that, after this, he'll try to be nicer. He'll try to let old ladies cut in front of him at the grocery store and he'll try to hold the elevator for his neighbors and not lose his patience with the new barrista at the Starbucks across the street and recycle all his soda cans. Really, he will. If he can just get through this reception without a single thing going wrong, then he will do all of this and baptize his first born, after selling his soul to the devil - if only every single thing will go right and Lisa Braeden-Swanson will never ever call him again.

"Cas!" As much as he just wants this to be over, he can't help but think that Lisa really does look happy and beautiful as she comes trotting toward him, barefoot and tipsy, pulling her dress off the ground and grabbing his hand. "I want you to meet some friends of mine."

(Friends: a noun; meaning people who take up time and energy. See also, "referrals".)

Friends are the reason Cas even bothers to sit through receptions. Because friends mean other pushy, indecisive women clamoring to tie the knot, get hitched, settle down - the works. These moments are like Christmas. Because like any professional, Castiel knows how fucking good he is at this job. He knows that he's the best and he knows that every single time he smiles and shrugs his shoulders when they compliment him on a job well done that he has them: hook, line, and sinker. Done. Finished. His. And right now, Anna Milton is putty in the palm of his hand.

Anna knows Lisa's cousin who was her roommate who introduced her to a friend who had a brother who was probably made of the stuff heaven is made from because he's so fucking perfect that Anna fell head over heels and knew they were going to get married after their second date. Castiel doesn't actually care, but he asks what Mr. Perfect does and nearly cries when he finds out he's a doctor. He hands her a card and gives her shoulder a reassuring squeeze.

"Anything you want, I'll be able to do. Promise." Anna's eyes practically roll into the back of her head as she thanks him until she's nearly blue in the face. It takes every excuse he has to finally get away from her and escape Lisa's drunken hugs and professions of love and worship.

In this world, Castiel is a god. He likes that.

Someone's left a flyer beneath the windshield wiper of his car advertising a single's mixer. Cas crumples it up and tosses it into the passenger seat as he gets in, remembering his promise to the deities. From his seat, he can see Lisa through the bay window of the reception hall, one arm wrapped around her husband, the other around her surly child. And, for a moment, Castiel remembers that there's a small part of him that doesn't just do this for money or because it's a fantastic ego boost. He remembers that rush of making someone the happiest they've ever been in their entire life.

Sometimes, he's so sentimental he could fucking puke.


- - -


"Weddings by Novak, please hold. Weddings by Novak, can you hold? Cas." Chuck presses the hold button, hard, and hisses again. "Your mother left four voice mails, two of which include all the things she'll do to my first born if you don't call her, so for mine and Becky's sake, please answer your fucking phone. Weddings by Novak, thank you for holding." Cas takes the memo's from Chuck's hand and flips through them. On a good day, only half of his messages will be from his mother. She's only left four, but then again, it's only eleven in the morning, and really, she's just getting started. Chuck passes him one more before he heads into his office. A phone number for Anna Milton.

Anna is far more pleasant to talk with when she's sober, which is a godsend, because Cas is getting a headache. She only has time to talk for a few minutes because she's supposed to go to lunch with her fiancé today and Mr. (doctor) Perfect only has clinic today and can only spare thirty minutes for lunch so she'd just like to tell him she has her venue and colors selected already, so there's nothing to worry about there.

"We were thinking a classic three-tier vanilla cake, I think."

"Always a good choice."

"And we'd like the have the service be nondenominational as well. Outside, I think. It's spring and it's beautiful and I just don't want to be stuffed into a church, you know?"

"Understandable." He makes a list, which is really just a copy of about a hundred other lists he's made, of everything Anna wants and then makes small predictions about what she'll tell him later after she hangs up to have lunch with her half-angel fiancé.

What makes Cas so fucking good at what he does is that he lets every bride-to-be think that what they want is unique. What they want in a wedding has never been done before and he's the only one who can do it, when the truth is that Anna is just like six dozen other brides he's worked for over the past five years. She'll pick the same cake as four other women did last month and she'll want the same flowers and the same songs and the same caterer. And Cas will write everything down because he wants her to know that he's, of course, never done this before and he wants to get every detail perfect. Cas is the best at this job because he knows what they want before they do because he's seen it all before. But he can make them feel like the special and unique snowflake they think they are and still get paid when it's all said and done.

"Your mother's on the phone again." Chuck's voice sounds over the intercom, creating an annoying echo, because Cas can hear him talking from the front, too.

"Take a message."

"You owe me the kidney she'll be coming to my house to remove."

"Take a message and send me the bill." With a click that even sounds angry, Chuck hangs up. He can hear him repeating the message, loud and vindictive. He even brings it back into Cas's office and sets it down on his calendar with purpose. "Really, Chuck?"

"I'm changing our number."

"No, you're not."

"Then call her."

"I called her in February."

"December. You called her last in December."

"It's a new year. She can wait a while."

"It's May. It's almost half-over. Pick up the phone and call her."

"Chuck, do you call her your mother very often?"

"My mother lives with me and you know that. Call this woman now, or I will walk out."

"No, you won't." With one final glare, Chuck turns on his heel and walks from the room, returning to his desk and typing furiously. He's been writing a novel for four years now, and hasn't gotten any closer to finishing it since he decided to name the antagonist Gabriel, after Cas's brother. Annoyed, Cas gets up and shuts and locks the door, partly because the furious clacking means that Chuck had decided to torture and possibly kill his Castiel-inspired character, and partly because he doesn't want Chuck to hear him talking to his mother. He has a reputation to maintain.

She picks up on the fourth ring because she's a bitch and likes to toy with her childrens' emotions.

"I'm busy," Marie snaps, but Cas can hear the ice clinking in her glass and knows for a fact that his mother hasn't been "busy" since she worked at a canoe rental her freshman year of college. "What do you want?"

"Please stop threatening my office assistant. He's a nice kid."

"I did no such thing."

"Right. We'll play pretend, but please. Stop."

"You could call."

"But you're so busy, mother."

"Yes, well, you just have bad timing."

"Was there something you wanted?"

"Michael wants to get married."

"Again?"

"Yes, Castiel. Again."

"To who."

"I have no idea. Some young thing he met on a dig in Yemen."

"Spectacular. Have him call me when he decides that she's a bigger whore than his last lay."

"I'll pass along the sentiment."

"Please, do."

"When are you coming to see me?"

"Probably never, so don't get your hopes up."

"If I came to San Francisco, would you even come and meet me at the airport?"

"Maybe. If I was out."

"I'll let Chuck know if I'll be coming."

"Again, I ask, please stop threatening him. He's married to a sweet girl."

"I'll do my best. Love you, dear."

"Love you, too."

That's the fucked up thing about all this. In the end, the only person Cas has ever really loved in his family has been his mother, the one who's always been the most frustrating, the most obnoxious, the one who's always made him the angriest.

She told him once, when he was young and in college and falling in love, that if he ever met someone he could never get mad at, or could never find anything wrong with, to run like hell in the other direction.

"Love, honey, is about clawing someone's face off trying to get to know them. You'll never love anyone if you can't fight 'em first."


- - -


Cas's favorite restaurant is run by a sarcastic Bristish asshole named Crowley. And because he and Cas have the same taste in ties, they get along pretty well. Every few days, Cas sits outside on the cafe patio for lunch and he and Crowley silently judge the other patrons while discussing the finer points of owning a small business in San Francisco. Crowley comes from a big family, lots of brothers and sisters and a historically absentee father whom he always describes as a bit of a satanic ass with no class and no sense of responsibility. He apparently was hit by a bus in '95. No one was sad to see him go.

"Here's to Lisa. May this marriage go better than her last."

"She was never married."

"Oh! So the boy's a bastard then."

"Stop projecting onto twelve year olds. It's pathetic." Crowley cackles because laughter is beyond him and they toast to Lisa's fine departure. "She referred a friend."

"Fantastic."

"Apparently she's engaged to a marble statue. He's some kind of perfect human being, but I haven't met him yet. I almost don't want to."

"It would be hard, I think, to fuck a marble statue."

"You're hilarious, really."

"And you're being very pissy today. We need to get you laid."

"That's your answer to everything," Cas snaps, because it's true. Crowley thinks about three things: money, wine, and sex. After an hour, Crowley waves him along, telling him to take the day off and find something fun to do. Cas scowls and pays for his wine, mentally going over everything he has to do for the rest of the afternoon in his head.

That's probably why he's not paying attention while he's crossing the street. And that's probably why a taxi slams on its breaks and still manages to hit him, sending Cas rolling over the hood and back onto the street.

"Fuckin' idiot!" the man yells before driving on. Cas is still in the middle of the street, cars breaking and honking behind him, when the face of what has to be some kind of ethereal half-human god floats into his line of vision, his face taut with concern.

"Hey man, you okay?"

"Hmm?"

"My name is Dean Winchester. I'm a doctor. I'm gonna get you outta here and somewhere else so I can take a look at you, okay? Just don't move too much. Can you feel everything, yes or no?"

"S'fine."

"How many fingers am I holding up?"

"Three."

"Okay. You're fine. Up we get." He heaves Cas from the pavement and holds up a hand to the block of impatient drivers. "Sorry folks! Everything's just fine. Come on, you. Let's get you inside before you cause more trouble." Cas would snap at him if he wasn't a) afraid he'd scare him away, and b) was able to form complete sentences. His legs are hot and trembling from the pain and the headache he's been on the edge of all day suddenly explodes when Dean brings him inside and into a room filled with fluorescent lighting. "What's your name?"

"Castiel."

"No really."

"No. Really. Castiel." Dean looks up from a jar of cotton balls and smirks. "Really."

"Well, it's not the weirdest I've heard. Just weird enough to be fake. Now hold still." Cas narrows his eyes as a burning sensation spreads over his face. He grits his teeth while Dean dabs at the scrapes he didn't know he had on the side of his head. "Sorry." Cas raises an eyebrow, eliciting a chuckle from Dean. "You probably shouldn't walk out in front of a taxi in San Francisco. Or anywhere, for that matter."

"I was...distracted."

"Obviously." He tosses the cotton ball into the trash and pulls off his gloves with a rather arousing snap. Cas swallows. "Okay. Finished."

"Is there a fee?" Cas asks, fishing in his pocket for his wallet.

"Seriously? Don't worry about it. Hey-" He holds up a hand as Cas tries to open his wallet. "Really. It's fine."

"You have to let me do something."

"It'll be enough knowing you promise not to walk in front of moving traffic again."

"Please," Cas insists. "Let me buy you dinner or...or something." He wants to hit himself with how suggestive he sounds. Not that he would mind, really. Looking Dean up and down, he knows that this guy is his type, without a doubt. Everything about him screams fuck me and Cas would only be too happy to oblige. But right now, he has sixteen phone calls to make and a wedding to plan. He can't have sex right now. He shouldn't even buy Dean dinner. But the doctor looks at his shoes and then back up and nods.

"Alright. Sure. You can buy me dinner."


- - -


Cas leaves Chuck with strict orders to close early and leave all his memos on his desk and to not, under penalty of death or unemployment, ask stupid questions.

"Why?"

"Because I don't want to hear them."

"No, why are we closing early."

"I got hit by a taxi cab."

"You what?"

"You heard me. Now turn the phones over to message and go home. Say hi to Becky for me."

"What? I - you - are you okay?"

"I'm fine."

"But...you got hit by a car."

"Technically, I was bumped by a car. I walked in front of it." Chuck doesn't say anything. "Are we clear?"

"Close down early, no stupid questions. Fine." He hangs up with an angry click.

"Sounds like a keeper," Dean says, grinning from across the counter. They're in the waiting room of his clinic, which is filled with toys and Pixar movie posters and the sounds of what looks like Monster's Inc. coming from a tv in the corner. A tiny nurse turns it off before scooping up the toys into a basket and taking them into a back room.

"He does what he's supposed to do."

"Gimme one sec, I gotta make sure this kid gets into the OR before he has another seizure. Jesus." Cas nods, mostly because his equivalent of Dean's biggest worry is whether or not the caterer is going to show up with fish or chicken and if it's all going to be cooked properly. He stares at a Toy Story 2 poster until Dean sets the board down and smiles. "Done. Let's blow this place. I'm starved. Night, ladies and gents!" He waves to his flock of nurses shutting the place down before ushering Cas out the door. "I don't know about you, but I would kill for a burger right now. Hell, I'd kill for a burger every day, but still. Starved."

Cas isn't sure if all this is some kind of dream or if Dean is just being obnoxiously nice to him because he thinks he's some kind of savant that walks in front of mid-day traffic. Either way, about an hour later, he's watching Dean wipe his mouth with a napkin after taking the first bite into an enormous bacon and avocado cheeseburger, sighing with pleasure. It should be illegal to eat like that. Fucking illegal.

"What got you into pediatrics?"

"My old man. He was a cardiologist before he retired last year. Always pushed me toward med school. And you always figure out what you want to do when you get there, you know? I wanted to work with kids. It was my favorite part. I think the only other thing I liked just as much was urology, and that was because the guy I worked under was just fantastic. Really awesome doctor. I have never met anyone as excited about fucking urology as this guy." Cas laughs, loud and honest. He doesn't do it often - the only person he really ever laughs around is Crowley, and sometimes Chuck. But fake laughter he can do. Dean smiles and Cas feels a blush creeping over his neck. He hides behind his glass of lemonade. "What about you? What do you do?"

"I plan weddings."

"No shit!"

"Mmm."

"How's that?"

"It has its moments."

"Can I ask what got you into wedding planning?" Dean is still smiling and Cas can't help but tell him almost everything. He tells him about his mother and father's parties and how they were always a spectacle, but no one could put on a better banquet than his mother. She had an inherent talent for knowing where people should sit and what color the tablecloth's should be and what she should wear and how she should walk. She knew what everyone would eat and what no one would touch, but she always knew that her husband's work buddies would be the only ones to eat steak, never fish, and all her book club girls would be the only ones to eat lemon chicken, but never anything with peppers. Marie's parties were perfect and she taught Castiel everything he knew.

"Then I went to business school. They had a program on event planning, but it was child's play, you know? I knew everything already. I could have taught the classes. When I got out, my brother Michael gave me some startup money and that was that. I paid him back within two years."

"So you're successful."

"Very."

"Feels good?" Cas nods. "Why do you do it?"

"It's just...a part of me. Meticulous planning is in my blood, I guess you could say."

"Rare blood type."

"I suppose so." Dean licks a line of stray juice from the burger off his hand and Cas nearly loses his shit. He hasn't flirted and been flirted with this hard in years, and it feels good. There's a warm feeling in the pit of his stomach and it hasn't been there in years, not since...not since the last time.

Dean tries to pay the bill but Cas is faster, whipping it from under his fingers and slipping his credit card in before Dean can even open his wallet. "I owe you this."

"Please, I'm not that cheap." Cas's face falls. "I'm kidding. I just didn't want you to think you actually owed me something. Because you don't. At all." Cas nods as they get up. Cas confesses he hardly drives and he'll take the cable home, but Dean insists on driving him. "Seriously, not a big deal. No debt, okay? All cleared. This is just a friend driving another friend home."

"I appreciate it, but-" Cas freezes at the site of Dean's car. It's a '67 Impala. A fucking Impala. "Son of a bitch," he murmurs, not wanting to even breathe on it. Dean laughs. "What in the hell?"

"It was my dad's car. She's gorgeous, isn't she?"

"Fuck," he breathes. "She's the most beautiful thing I've ever seen."

"She's nicer inside." Dean opens the door and taps the upholstery, while Cas imagines all the sordid and awful things he could possibly do to Dean inside of this car. He maintains the last few shreds of his dignity, however, and manages to settling himself in the front seat without flinging himself in front of moving traffic again. He has a feeling Dean wouldn't be so forgiving the second time around.

As much as he wants to spend the rest of his life sitting in this car, watching Dean's fingers curl around the steering wheel, he's starting to get exhausted. But just when half his brain is about to shut down, Dean slams on the breaks and pulls onto the side of the road. "What? What happened?"

"Look!" Dean's shaking his shoulder and getting out of the car, staring at the sky. "I'll be damned." Annoyed, Cas gets out of the car, but stops short when he looks up and sees what Dean sees:

Shooting stars, peppering the sky and illuminating every dark corner around them. Cas stares, mouth open in awe. He hasn't seen shooting stars since...since he was at least fourteen. No, thirteen. He was thirteen and he and Michael and Gabriel weren't fighting and everyone was inside drinking and listening to their father tell another golf joke. Marie had kicked the kids outside and warned the older boys that if they tried to drown Gabriel, again, she'd skin them both alive. They spent the evening daring Gabe to mix pop rocks and coke until he vomited in the rose bushes. He was leaning over the neighbor's fence retching and threatening to tell when everything got quiet and that same soft glow fell over the yard.

"Look," Michael whispered, pulling Gabe from the fence and pointing up. They stared, fascinated, as the sky seemed to be falling around them, like the stars had shattered and were settling onto the earth. No one said anything. It was the longest the boys had ever gone without speaking to one another. And when it was all over, no one had the heart to tease Gabriel or tattle or even really move. They just sat, staring at the sky, hoping it would happen again.

"Look," Dean whispers, and Cas stares at him, wanting and wishing and needing more than he ever has before. He's lonely. He's so fucking lonely he could throw himself off a building, but instead he's watching Dean watch the sky and wondering what it would be like just to lean against his shoulder and feel an arm around him and watch the sky come tumbling down. Dean finally looks at him and tilts his head, watching Cas with mild fascination. "You're strange, you know that?"

"I've been told." And if Cas has ever felt like there is a perfect moment to kiss someone, then this is it. He leans forward expectantly, because everything about right now tells him that there are some things that just happen naturally and in the right order. Dean's leaning, too, and everything is about to happen just the way it should, for once in his life, and Cas is thanking all those gods again for shooting fucking stars -

"I, uh...I think I should just...take you home."

A long time ago, Cas might have thrown a fit. He might have grabbed Dean and kissed him anyway, just to get what he wanted. A long time ago, he might have spat, "Fuck you," and walked home. But today, he nods. He can't even feel his head moving, but he knows he's nodding. He nods and gets back into the car and Dean drives him home, clapping him on the shoulder and telling him to watch for taxi cabs. "And hey, if you need anything, you know where I work. We...we should do this again."

"Oh. Really?" Cas has one hand on the door and the other in his pocket, gripping his keys.

"Yeah. We should. I'm serious."

"I...I'd like that. Uh...here." He pulls a card out of his pocket. "It's my card, I know. But you can call." Dean takes it with a smile and as Cas watches him drive off, he doesn't feel like the night's gone too badly. If anything, he feels like, maybe, it was the best date he's been on in months. He looks only once at the bruises dotting his hip, but thinks mostly of Dean for the rest of the evening, not even bothering to feel guilty about it. He wonders if it would be wrong to think about him that way, but before he can get into a moral dilemma with his hornier self, he's unconscious and dreamless.


- - -


Cas isn't surprised that Becky is waiting with bagels and coffee at the office the next morning. She dotes in him like a mother hen, especially now that she's nearly six months pregnant and already looking like she's going to pop. She's too small for childbirth.

"They were out of poppy seed bagels, so I got the onion ones you like." She comes into his office and shuts the door on a scowling Chuck, who's been on the phone with Anna's caterer since nine. "Chuck told me you walked in front of a taxi. I was a little worried."

"I'm fine, Becky."

"Mmmm. So what's his name?"

"Hmm?" Cas stuffs an onion bagel with chive spread on it into his mouth, eyes opening wide. He can feel the back of his neck flushing and Becky laughs. She's one of the few human beings that Cas can actually smile around, now that he thinks about it. He adds her to his list because, really, he likes Becky, even if she's a tad bit touched in the head.

"You only shut everything down when there's a possibility that you might get laid. It's kind of pathetic." Cas shrugs, not having the strength to argue. "So what's his name?"

"I'm not at liberty to say."

"You didn't, did you?"

"No. We watched shooting stars and almost shared a moonlight kiss."

"You're shameless."

"That was actually the truth." He fixes her with a stare and Becky raises an eyebrow.

"Seriously?"

"Seriously."

"Wow. Casanova."

"Funny."

"But really, were you expecting to get laid?"

"Not really. I don't think I could physically do much beyond achieving an erection. Forget about maintaining it."

"I know you're talking to my wife about sex, Cas. Stop it. Now."

"I should probably go make sure he doesn't combust before I go get a checkup. Be careful, okay? No more midday traffic romps. Promise?"

"Cross my heart."

"Good." Becky leans forward and places a quick kiss on his forehead. "Be good." She opens the door to find an irked and angry Chuck loitering outside, who melts when she ruffles his hair. "Don't be too hard on him. He owns you, honey."

"I know. Call me when you're done." Sighing, Chuck collapses into one of the chairs in front of Cas's desk and rubs his eyes. "You're having lunch with Anna today. And tomorrow night, you're meeting the groom."

"I'll try to contain my excitement."

"Caruso's."

"I hate Italian."

"It's her favorite. Write that down."

At noon, Cas walks the four block to Caruso's, gazing longingly at Crowley's patio and considering stopping in for a quick glass of wine as he waits to cross the street. But he's late, and it'd be bad form to keep Anna waiting for their first meeting, so he walks on, spotting her shock of red hair from several feet away. She has all the grace of a lady in waiting, Cas thinks, and the taste of one, too. So much so he forgets that she's actually a lawyer. She's dressed in a dark skirt and soft blue collared shirt, and if there's one thing Cas appreciates in a client, it's good taste. Clothes, flowers, wine, everything. Anna may want the same things as half a dozen other women he's helped, but she's certainly one of his classiest clients he can remember having in a long time.

"If you like lamb, they have the best."

"I adore lamb."

"Is it a wedding food?"

"It can be. The sky's the limit, I can promise you that."

"I'll hold you to it."

She's organized, he'll give her that. Anna pulls out a binder and shows him photos of her dress and clippings from some magazines she stole from the library. ("I refuse to subscribe. I absolutely refuse.") Her favorite color is blue and she hates roses and daisy's and baby's breath and was hoping to just have white flower arrangements. ("White on white. Tacky? No? I don't know.") Cas nearly cries. She's perfect. If he weren't gay, he'd propose.

"I love blue. But it's outside. Blue's so...cold. I don't know, I was thinking yellow," she says, the same time Cas does. Anna covers his hand with hers. "Where have you been all my life?"

"Hiding in my office, wondering the same thing about you." She laughs and orders a bottle of wine, which is disgustingly good enough to make Cas suggest she serve it at the wedding, and he never does that. At this point, he has so much undying faith in whoever Anna chose to say yes to, he's actually looking forward to meeting Dr. Perfect tomorrow evening.

"He's dying to meet you, honestly. You'll hate him, I know it, he has no taste at all, but he says yes to everything, I promise."

"My favorite answer."

"Seven tomorrow night at my parent's house. They're having a shindig and want to meet you. Plus my mother wants to try and trick you into planning one of her charity dinners. Say no. Please, whatever you do, say no."

"I promise, I won't even consider it."

"You're a godsend, honestly. Thank you for lunch."

"I'll call your caterer about the lamb."

"It's like we were made for one another," she says, and Cas lets her hug him, because it feels good and she's made of all the perfect things he can think of. For the first time since he looked at the stars the night before, he's really and honestly happy. This is a marriage he might like to know more about. People he might want to see someday and know how everything turned out. He wants Anna and her husband to be happy because they deserve it. They really, really do.


- - -


In Castiel's first memory, he's sitting in the middle of the dining room table, clutching a wine glass in his grubby hand. Something tells him that this thing he's holding is to be handled carefully, like the way his mother sets him carefully in his bed every night. He's almost four, and the memory is faded now, but he remembers clutching the wine glass like air and the smile on Marie's as she takes it from his sticky hands and wipes it down.

"Someday you'll be mama's assistant, won't you honey?" She's almost eight months pregnant, bulbous and beautiful to Cas, glowing in a way that he always suspected the others couldn't see. Michael swings his feet back and forth while perched on the edge of the bar stool in the kitchen, laughing.

"Cas can't be your assistant mom. He's a baby."

"Well, someday he'll be all grown up and he can help me make things beautiful. We'll make people happy together, won't we Cas?" Cas remembers nodding, because nothing then could have made him happier but being with her and around all the beautiful things she did. Michael scoffs and goes back to his room to watch tv and ignore them, while Cas watches his mother with a kind of reverence it will take him many years to regain.


- - -


Chuck is happy that Cas is happy. Really, he's a bit confused, but if anything, he's happy. He knows about Dean and the stars and the almost kiss because Becky, while endearing and lovely in her own special way, is a fucking loudmouth and doesn't know how to keep anything Cas tells her a secret. He'd long ago stopped telling her things he didn't want Chuck to know because, without a doubt, she'd end up telling him sometime after, ending in only another argument between Cas and his assistant and another round of "will-they-won't-they-quit-or-fire." So Cas keeps most things on the down-low.

But Chuck knows and Chuck is happy, winking at him every once in a while and dropping not-so-subtle hints that he should ask Anna if he can bring a date to this dinner.

"Every moment I spend with Anna is about Anna," Cas reminds him for the fiftieth, maybe fifty-first, time. "Now stop hiding my blue tie and let me wear it or I will strangle you with the black one." Chuck hands over the blue silk tie he'd been hiding because he was convinced the black tie would make him seem more professional and mysterious. Cas pointed out that he didn't have to look more professional because Anna was already convince he was the epitome of class, taste, and success. The mysterious thing he could do on his own.

"I promise I won't tell Becky you still wear that God-awful coat."

"Becky is hormonally imbalanced. I don't really care what she thinks."

"You care."

"Not when it comes to this coat. Go home, Chuck. Take care of your wife. And don't tell her about the coat," he adds, narrowing his eyes as Chuck tugs on his own jacket and begins turning out the lights.

"Whatever. Just get a little tipsy for me tonight, will you?"

"Have a good night, Chuck."

"Have a better one." Cas lets Chuck leave first and then locks the building behind him. There's a certain feeling he gets when the door clicks shut and everything fits right into place, like it's all been working out too well for him over the years. Then he remembers that half the time he's miserable and alone and realizes that he's paid the price. Maybe even two-fold. But he's certainly paid it.

Anna's parents live outside the city, in one of those mountainside neighborhood that Cas has always despised. He's fairly sure his own father moved out into a neighborhood like this and things his father did don't particularly bode well with Cas. His father's decisions have always compromised Cas's list of "things I will never do, under any circumstance whatsoever." It's a good list to live by. The cab driver makes a snide comment about all the rich bastards living alongside one another on the side of a mountain, Cas tunes him out after he starts talking about global warming and government spending. If he ever gave off the impression he gave a shit, he's certainly not doing it anymore. The driver gets the picture and they ride in silence. Cas tips him well as a thank you and the driver looks less like he might back in Cas's kneecaps as he tries to get out of the driveway.

Of course, once he's actually ringing the doorbell, he's starting to wish someone had bashed in his kneecaps. He can hear the party and if he can hear it, then it's actually real and that means that he's going to actually have to do this and if there's one thing Cas doesn't like doing, it's actually doing anything, because empty promises sit better on his conscience than obligations he has to fulfill and -

"Thank. God. You're here." Anna opens the door and drags him inside. "I am drowning in ignorant snobs. You have got to help me."

"I see very little hope for either of us."

"Look. I get you, you get me-" (this is something that Cas highly doubts, despite their friendship) "-so let's just hold onto one another and hope for the best. And avoid my mother. If you can. She has this thing for you and, honestly, it's scaring me. You should watch out for my cousin, too, if you can." Cas maintains his blank look. "You're a wedding planner and you aren't married. My mother is now morally and psychotically obligated to introduce you to every single bachelorette in the family."

"Does your mother know I'm gay?" he asks, almost jokingly. But Anna stops, taking in this new information, processing it, and frowning.

"Don't tell her that. Please. I...I'm sorry. I mean, it's nothing to me, I don't mind at all. But-"

"Really, I understand."

"It's a sensitive issue. I'll...I'll tell you about it later." Cas nods, because he wants to know, really, and he wants to understand, because there's something about Anna that he can't quite place. He's had friends, he knows what it's like, but there are so few people he actually wants to care about that the feeling is just new. Anna finally smiles and the tension in Cas's chest is released. "I really am sorry."

"It's not a problem. I can keep under the radar." Anna wraps him in a hug that's just a bit too tight, but he lets it happen. "Ready to do it?"

"No, but okay." She links her arm through his and leads him into the living room. There aren't as many people as Cas thought there'd be. It's a small family, really, but they're all drunk and loud and having too much fun, things Cas feeds off of. He's hoping to catch another referral tonight, if he's lucky. But then, if he can hardly be himself around Anna's mother, who knows what the rest of her drunken relatives will be like. He's considering the idea when he's suddenly accosted by a woman in a red dress wearing so much jewelry she could sink an aircraft carrier.

"You must be Castiel. Anna's told me obnoxiously little about you, so you'll have to do everyone a favor and elaborate on yourself. I'm Donna."

"Mrs. Milton, it's a pleasure to finally meet you."

"And you! Anna's told us so much about your ideas and, of course, I looked you up right away and when she told me you'd done Lisa's wedding I just couldn't say enough good things about you to my good friend Jean. She's getting married for a third time, it's a shit show all around, if you ask me-"

"Mother. Can we not do this? Cas has to meet Dean."

"Of course."

"Dean?" The name, of course, sends Cas back two nights and an oblivion ago and he feels lightheaded and perfect. Of course she'd be marrying a Dean. Of course. Cas thinks back to his Dean and wonders when he became so fucking clingy. Anna pries her mother away from him and pulls them into a corner.

"She's a monster. I love her, but she's a monster. Especially after four glasses of whatever they're drinking."

"I won't have any."

"Good idea." She straightens up. "He's around here somewhere, probably being ripped to pieces by my uncle Luke. I bring a doctor into the family and all the hypochondriacs come out of the woodwork." Cas nods, understanding. Michael married a nurse the first time around and Cas has always suspected that it didn't last because their aunts wouldn't stop calling her at all hours of the day, asking about strange red spots and weird, mutant headaches. "I'll bring him to you. Don't move and don't make eye contact." She vanishes into a group of her relatives while Cas feels awkward and rude for still wearing his coat. He busies himself with taking it off, trying not to look anyone in the room directly in the eye. It's easier than it looks and it's why he's not really paying attention when Anna comes back, pulling her fiancé behind her.

"Cas! This is Dean. Dean, this is Cas!" Cas looks up and then back down as quickly as he can, trying to sort his thoughts. There's a sort of clamp growing over his chest, pressing down on his lungs and trying to kill him.

He really, really wishes the driver had tried to back into his knees. He wishes it desperately.

"Dean Winchester."

"We...ah, yes. I know. We, uh, we met."

"What?" Anna looks back and forth and Dean's smile widens into a rather psychotic grin.

"Son of a bitch! We did! This is that guy I told you about! The one who walked in front of the cab!"

"And you didn't mention that it was our wedding planner because?"

"Because I didn't know!" And Dean looks at Cas with eyes that tell him that this is what has to happen. This is the way things are going to be and if he doesn't go along with it, then hell will have no fury like what Dean will unleash upon him. And Cas suspects that even that won't be half as bad as what Anna might have in store. So he nods and he extends his hand.

"We should meet properly, I think."

"Agree. Dean Winchester, fiancé to the ravishing red head on my left."

"Castiel Novak, wedding planner to said red head and her very professional fiancé. Your husband took very good care of me."

"Of course he did. He's amazing. You should see him with his patients, it's like he's a different person." Dean ducks his head and smiles. "Don't do that. Not now. Don't do that 'oh I'm not that great' thing you do. He's brilliant and he's perfect."

"She's projecting."

"Well I find you both delightfully nauseating," Cas says, hoping the edge in his voice in undetectable. Anna smiles, but Dean watches him carefully, scrutinizing with his gaze, and Cas feels like he's being picked apart. They chat for a bit about how perfect Dean is, which makes Cas want to tear his fucking hair out, but he endures it until Anna's mother drags her away to meet a photographer, which Cas would object to if he wasn't interested in speaking with Dean one on one. With Anna gone, though, it's not really any easier.

"You failed to mention your engagement," he finally says, watching Dean carefully.

"Mmm, yeah, I...I, uh...I'm sorry. About that." He clears his throat. "It wasn't exactly appropriate."

"It's fine," Cas lies, concentrating on a spot he hadn't noticed staining the cuff of his shirt sleeve. "Really, it is."

"It's not, actually, but I'd appreciate it if it just stayed between us."

"Right. Of course."

"I mean, I love Anna. I do. I just...that night, I couldn't...it was all really perfect, you know?" Oh dear God in heaven does Cas know. He knows better than Dean, he suspects, but just nods. "I meant it, about us getting together again. But I guess it'll be to pick out chairs or something, right?" Cas shrugs. "I suck at this wedding stuff, I'm just gonna tell you now. I mean, I don't know the difference between this something borrowed crap or blue or new or whatever."

"Something old, something new."

"Right."

"It's a stupid tradition."

"Yeah, I'm not really a traditionalist. But Anna's mom is. Hopefully you can avoid her."

"So I've been told."

"If she asks you to plan this charity event-"

"Just say no."

"Good answer, Mrs. Reagan." Dean winks and accepts a glass of champagne one of the caterers offers him. Cas declines. "Not a drinker?"

"Technically, I'm working."

"Live a little. Here." Dean hands him his own glass and takes a new one. "A toast. To a, ah, renewed friendship. May our brief history not get in the way of what I think will be a beautiful relationship. Anna fucking loves you."

"She's a keeper."

"She's great," Dean agrees, nodding and tossing his champagne back. "Really great. And she's got this wedding stuff in the bag. Like, there's this list, oh my God. Wait until she shows you the list. It's got colors and dress styles and flowers and like all this stuff that I've never even heard of. I mean, you work in medicine for a while and your vocabulary gets limited, you know? I can't even remember the last book I read."

"College. I read some self-help book for a business class my senior year. Haven't read much of anything since."

"You just lose track of time, right?"

"You lose track of everything." Dean nods.

"Yeah. You really do."


- - -


When he gets away from it all, from Anna's clinging mother and the four single cousins he had to meet and make awkward eye contact with and the sister-in-law from Minnesota with her accent and her ugly brass earrings - when he gets away from Dean and the memory of his face so dangerously close to his own - Cas can finally breathe and process and wish he was dead. He should have known, really. Dean Winchester was fantastic. Cas had played the damsel to his knight, the handsome and selfless doctor who pulled strange things out of small children's ears and told them to wash their hands and take their medicine. He'd walked right into that and come away hoping that there could be something. But with Cas, there can't ever be something. It's not his job to make himself happy. And it's not anyone else's job to do that for him either.

His mother had warned him, when he told her what he wanted to do.

"You'll be miserable, because that's who you are. You'll be surrounded by happiness and you'll be hateful because of it, Cas. I know you."

The driver this time around is silent, and for that Cas is grateful.


- - -


"Don't. Ask."

Cas comes into work the following Monday after spending a weekend with Anna and her list. And as much as he loves the fact that she's organized and knows what she wants, there's a certain level of anal retentiveness that Castiel just can't endure. On Saturday evening, he left her apartment with several pages of notes and the realization that, indeed, Anna was going to be just as much trouble as anyone else. Probably more.

"I was just going to say that a Dean Winchester called and wanted to know if you would join him for lunch."

"No."

"But isn't this the Dean? The one who-"

"Is engaged to Anna Milton? Yes." Chuck raises an eyebrow and follow Cas into his office. "I told you. No questions."

"Just a few."

"Naturally."

"You're not going to do this, right?"

"I'm sorry?"

"You're not going to plan this wedding."

"No, I am."

"This guy makes you think he's unattached and single and totally DTF-"

"I don't understand that acronym."

"And then you find out that he is actually the opposite of all those things-"

"Chuck."

"-but is the opposite of them with your new favorite client, and you're just going to go through with this? It's sick, Cas. Sick and wrong, even for you."

"What am I supposed to do? I don't have another job."

"Yeah you do! You've got three women who have put their weddings on hold for you. Call one of them!"

"I've already committed."

"Oh bullshit. You've quit planning someone's wedding before and you can do it now."

"No, I can't."

"He's not going to leave her for you."

"What?" Cas looks up sharply from a list of possible wedding singers he and Anna compiled over the weekend. Chuck looks like he might have said something wrong, but quickly stands up a bit straighter, holding his ground.

"He's not going to leave her for you. It's just not going to happen."

"That's not what I'm expecting."

"Then what is it? You can't do this, Cas. You met this guy and you really, really liked him, enough to tell Becky every fucking detail about him. And now you find out that he lied to you, and not just a little lie, not just a white lie or anything, but he fucking lied about who he was and made you think that he was ready to kiss you and ride off into the shooting-star sunset with you and you find out he's engaged to your new best friend and what do you do? You plan his wedding. It's disgusting, Cas."

"Are you done?"

"I'm never done."

"Get the fuck out of my office." Chuck narrows his eyes and turns on an angry heel, walking briskly back to his desk. "And don't call Becky!" Chuck picks up the phone and Cas knows he's calling her, so he shuts and locks the door, sinking back into his chair and closing his eyes.

He knows this is stupid and fucked up and that he should probably see a therapist. Because Chuck is right. Dean's not leaving Anna for him and nothing it going to go the way it should, the way it deserves to go. Not for him anyway. He's sinking lower and lower into his chair and his own self-pity when he cell rings and buzzes on the desk. Frowning, because no one he's given them number to recently should be calling him right about now, he answers. "Yeah?"

"Anna gave me your number, before you flip out." Dean. Of course. Because when it rains, it actually rains fire. "Apparently you're supposed to taste cakes today?"

"It was a possibility."

"Well you're doing that with me now."

"I don't think so."

"Mmm, yeah. You can call her, if you want. But she's in deposition right now and if you do, she'll probably rip your throat out when she sees you again. She's got like four witnesses to question this afternoon and you don't want to talk to her after she's done that. Trust me." Cas finds it funny that Dean would use choice phrases like "trust me," but chooses not to comment.

"What about you? You're the super doctor, don't you have pediatric tumors to be removing?"

"One, that's not funny. Two, no, I don't remove tumors, I remove lego pieces from ear canals. And three, I had office this morning, but I've got a few hours to spare and if there's one thing I can't say no to, it's free cake. Actually, it's free food in general, among other things."

"Fascinating."

"Look, you can pretend to hate me if you'd like to, but we both know you and I are tasting cakes this afternoon. So why don't you just meet me at my office and I'll drive us there. Okay?"

"Fine." Cas hangs up because he hates listening to that tone people get when they know they're right. It's how his own voice sounds far too much for his own comfort. He opens the door to his office and watches as Chuck talks to Becky on the phone.

He didn't plan their wedding. Chuck's never told him about it, but Cas is pretty sure they were married at a courthouse with a handful of witnesses three years ago, which was about the time Cas hired him. He'd known Chuck before that, though, when he was washing dishes for a catering service that Cas stuck with until they went out of business. When Chuck came to him looking for a job, Cas couldn't say no. He couldn't say no to the newly fired newlywed who just wanted to write and make his wife proud and learn to be a good father. He just couldn't.

His thoughts are violently interrupted when Chuck mentions something about basal body temperatures, which gives Cas enough of an excuse to grab his phone from the desk and try not to run out before he gets anymore unpleasant imagery.

Everyone says that it was Mark Twain who called his coldest winter a summer in San Francisco, but Cas hasn't every really cared enough to find out. It's May and it's nice enough outside for Cas to finally wear the sweater vest Becky bought him for Christmas two years ago that's taken all this time to actually grow on him. Maybe it was the mustard tone to it, Cas doesn't know. He just knows that Chuck took a picture and sent it to Becky and her hormones made her cry, she was so happy. Chuck said she was crying over everything recently - it was extremely unsettling.

The nurses at the front desk give him the once over before going back to their work. Cas is sure they've seen stranger. Dean comes out in dark blue scrubs, brandishing a clipboard as his speaks.

"I want to know why small children shove toys in their ears. Can someone tell me this?"

"Mild curiosity," Cas offers.

"Like, 'Gee, I wonder how this G.I. Joe toy will feel if I shove it so far down my ear canal, it comes out the other side?'"

"Something like that."

"Brilliant." Dean sighs and checks a few things off the papers he's holding and hands them over to one of the nurses. "Make sure Madison gets a script for a few Z-packs? She's got an ear infection. Again. And if my brother calls, I died tragically in a hospital fire, okay?"

"Sure, Dr. Winchester."

"And if he calls again, tell him that I bought a cell phone for a reason."

"I'll do my best." Dean sighs and turns to Cas.

"Ready?"

"As I'll ever be."

"Come on. We'll have fun. And if we don't, then you don't ever have to go anywhere with me again."

"I highly doubt that."

"Yeah, you're probably right." Dean shakes his keys in Cas's face, who swats his hand away and follows him outside. He'd almost forgotten how fucking beautiful the Impala was, but tries not to show it. "Dude, is that a purse?"

"This is a briefcase, Dean."

"With a strap."

"I won't judge your clogs if you don't just my manpurse. Understood?" Dean looks at his feet, which are covered by blue hospital booties over a pair of beaten, black rubber clogs. He sighs and relents, muttering, "Fair enough," before getting into the car.

"Look. I know we had a rough start-"

"I am not going to have this conversation with you. You know the address. Drive."

"I just want to talk about it."

"And I don't. I'm fine. I'm over it. What I'm not is patient. Shockingly enough, tasting wedding cakes isn't the only thing I have to do today, so if we could get going, I'd appreciate it."

"No wonder you're not married."

"Mmm, you're right. It must be my bad attitude and not the fact that I'm a gay man living in America. How silly of me."

"Don't get snarky."

"Don't say stupid things."

"You live in San Francisco, man." Dean makes a left that he shouldn't, curses, and pulls a u-turn. "It's totally cool, you know?" Cas doesn't respond and Dean sighs, leaning his head against the back of his seat and making the turn he meant to before. "Look, I know how it feels."

"To be gay in San Francisco."

"To feel like you can't get what you want."

"No, you don't."

"I do."

"You're getting married. To a wonderful woman who loves you and thinks you're perfect and you know what it feels like to not get what you want? You'll have to excuse me if I just don't feel like listening to anymore bullshit than I already have to on a daily basis."

"She hasn't told you, has she?"

"What?"

"Look, she'll tell you when she's good and ready. It's not my place." Cas raises an eyebrow. "There was...an incident."

"Your ability to clarify while being increasingly vague is astounding."

"I told you, she'll have to tell you."

"It would be better, then, if you just shut up about it."

"Let's talk about you then."

"Dean, you're going to run that red light."

"Shit!" Dean hits the breaks and for a moment, they sit quietly, trying not to breathe too loud. Then something in Cas cracks and he laughs, the noise ringing loud in the cramped space of the car. Dean starts in not long after him and they laugh until well after the light turns green. "I guess the universe wants us to talk about cake."

So Cas sits through an hour of Dean making faces at wedding toppers and wondering if it would be inappropriate for them to be naked or possibly gender swapped. He stops tasting after four bites because, really, Cas hates cake. ("I prefer ice cream," he explains when Dean offers him another piece and he declines. Dean thinks ice cream is weird, but goes along with it.)

"I like chocolate, but I'm going to go with vanilla because that's what Anna would say."

"Imagine if she sliced it open on her wedding day, only to find the horror that is devil's food cake." Dean looks at the piece of rich, dark cake and then back at Cas. "I dare you," he whispers, only half joking.

"I can't. She'll eat me."

"Not if she's eating cake."

"She'll divorce me."

"Sign a prenup." Dean looks back down at the cake and then at the baker.

"Fuck it. Let's go with the chocolate." And that's how Cas ends up walking out of the bakery with four slices of chocolate cake and a hyperventilating Dean in tow, trying to convince him that, really, Anna won't be mad and, honestly, who doesn't love devil's food cake? "She will kill me. And eat me. And hate me. Forever."

"So go back inside. Change it and quit bitching. It's cake, Dean."

"Shouldn't you be mad as hell? It's on your little list. It even says 'VANILLA' in all caps. You underlined it." Cas shrugs and Dean continues to bemoan his situation. "Shoulda just gotten pie. I fucking love pie."

In the car, Cas pulls out Anna's list and stars at it. VANILLA is definitely written there, but for the first time, Cas realizes, he's done something a client doesn't want. And he did it because he watched Dean look at that slice of chocolate cake like it might kill him if it wasn't as his wedding. He did it because he wanted, in that second, to just make him happy. And as he watches Dean start the car, he remembers what Chuck said - he's not going to leave her for you - he tries to tell himself he believes that. And that he's only here anymore for Anna, and no one else.

When Dean stops at his favorite cafe and forces Cas to eat their strawberry rhubarb pie, he knows that he's just lying to himself. All because of a piece of pie.


- - -


He knew it was only a matter of time before Becky dragged herself back into his office with eight kinds of bagels, a water bottle flavored like bad Crystle Light lemonade, and more sass than should be humanly possible. Cas hears her before he sees her - rather, he hears Chuck yelling, "Becky, just fucking stop for five seconds," before she locks the door and throws the bag of bagels at him and collapses into a chair.

"Castiel. I am honing in on my seventh month of pregnancy. I have been drinking pickle juice for four months with no end in sight. I have put up with your shit for three years and I am not about to stand idly by while you throw away a job just because you're in love with the groom." She tears a chunk out of an asiago bagel and glares. "This is complete and utter bullshit. You know this, right? Like, you're aware of how fucking stupid you're being."

"You're being awfully snarky to the man who employs your husband."

"Oh please. I've said worse. You're just upset because I'm onto you and your little spaz attack you seem to be having. What in the hell makes you think that this is okay?"

"There's nothing going on."

"You let him get his way. You never let anyone get their way. He pouts and you go for chocolate! You buckle, you cave, you go out for pie!" She screams in frustration, throwing the rest of her bagel at his chest and sinking down into the chair. "You're hopeless, Cas. Hopelessly hopeful. He's not going to understand. You...you can't make him understand."

"I'm not trying to."

"You met him and you almost had something, but it wasn't real. It was one night. One night, Cas."

"It was the best night," Cas says quietly, staring at his hands in his lap. Becky gives him a sad smile.

"I know. But that's all it was."


- - -


"I have a theory." Cas shifts his cell phone onto his left ear as he compares color swatches for chair covers. Anna clears her throat and he prepares for the worst. "I think you and my fiancé are conspiring against me."

"In what way?"

"Dean told me about the devil's food cake."

"He was a freight train. I couldn't stop him."

"Cas..."

"Honestly? He thought you'd like it." She makes a noise that sounds like a mix between a laugh and a sob, but Cas doesn't ask why. "It's never too late. It can be fixed if we do it now."

"No, it's fine. It's just that I made a list."

"He was made aware of said list." Anna sighs. "Look, I'll be honest with you. The chocolate cake was just better."

"Now you're just patronizing me."

"I'll call and change it."

"Don't. It'll break his heart."

"He's pretty set on the chocolate."

"He is. If Dean had his way, we'd-"

"Pie. Right. He told me."

"He's an animal. I swear, he was raised in a barn."

"Because he likes pie?"

"Maybe. I don't know. Look, I'm sending him with you tomorrow to pick out the chair covers. We agreed on the mint green, correct?" Cas holds the color swatches out, realizing that he hates the color mint green and that the light blue would look a lot better next to her yellow center pieces, but finds himself nodding and agreeing and promising he won't let Dean pick out something ugly and obnoxious. Of course, he shouldn't even have to make these promises - Cas has never had this problem before, he's never had to swear up and down that he'll keep a groom in check or that he won't let said groom change everything he thinks about a wedding he's been invested in since day one.

He puts his phone back in his pocket and recognizes that he might be in deep shit. Just a little.

"Dean's in the waiting room," Chuck says, sticking his head into the doorway.

"What?" Chuck is not supposed to meet Dean. Chuck is never supposed to even talk to Dean, but that's already gone to hell, so it's all back to the fact that Chuck is never ever supposed to see Dean and talk with him and Dean is never supposed to come to his office. And he's certainly not allowed to come to his office while Becky stands behind her husband, shoveling cottage cheese smothered in Velveeta into her mouth and downing it all with more of her shitty Crystal Light drinks.

None of this is supposed to happen, but here it is, unfolding in front of Cas like some horror scene out of a bad Lifetime movie. He drops the color swatches and tries to look as calm as he possibly can as he strides into the waiting room.

"And of course I'm just standing there, trying to understand why this baby's name is Norway. I mean, yeah, I hadn't slept in three days, so I'm staring at the chart and I keep yelling 'Norway? Uh, Norway? Baby Norway?' And then this couple stands up and is like, 'Well, we're from Norway, if that's what you mean.' And then I look back at the chart and realize I've been reading this kid's country of birth for the last three minutes. I mean..." Chuck and Becky smile. "Maybe you had to be there."

"Don't worry. She won't be named Norway."

"He'll be named after my father."

"She'll be named after my grandmother."

"Uh, you don't know the gender?"

"Becky refuses to know. I'm just sitting here in the dark, pretending that I'm okay with it."

"Everyone and their mother knows you're not okay with that, Chuck." Cas finally makes himself heard, stepping into their conversation and trying to derail it as soon as possible. "Anna just called. We're going chair cover shopping."

"You might have to restrain me."

"Right. Shall we?" Cas tries very, very hard not to shove Dean out the door, and tries even harder to avoid eye contact with either Chuck or Becky, whose stares he can feel drilling holes into his back. Dean just keeps smiling, which makes him even more nervous. "I am under strict orders not to let you have your way today."

"Fair enough. But we're stopping for lunch first. Or after. You know what, after. Give me something to look forward to." Dean fishes for his keys and unlocks the Impala. "How do you feel about fish tacos?" Cas rolls his eyes and instead answers by reading the address of the fabric store and the color they're suppose to buy. "Mint green? How about we make it sage green and I won't bitch too much."

"I won't ask why you know the difference between mint and sage."

"I'm serious."

"So am I." Dean shakes his head and rolls through a stop sign, making a right and earning a disapprove cluck from Cas.

"Oh, blow me."

part 2
Tags: fiction: supernatural, pairing: becky & chuck, pairing: dean & anna, pairing: dean & castiel, pairing: ruby & sam, rating: nc-17
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