This is it - the final chapter of the Cooking with Gas 'Verse. Thanks for coming along for the ride. I appreciate everyone who took the time to read this.
Title is from a fun. song called "The Gambler".
Dean woke early and leaned over to kiss Cas's forehead, smiling at the scrunched face he made. He pulled himself from their bed, pleased at the bright fall day that greeted him. After a quick shower, and one more kiss, he headed downstairs, intent on getting breakfast going.
It was a big day, after all.
Opening the front door, he reached down for the paper, smiling when his brother whizzed past, in gym shorts and a sheen of sweat.
"Nerd," he muttered, watching Sam go by. "That is how you'd start today."
Wandering back out to the kitchen, he got the coffee maker going and started dough for cinnamon rolls. He was just sliding them into the oven when Cas wrapped his arms around him, kissing his neck.
A thud from somewhere nearby, and then little feet dashing across the wood floor. The bathroom door slammed.
"A.J.'s up," Cas said drily.
"He always makes an entrance."
"Dada, up!" A little voice demanded.
Dean reached down and scooped up two year old Jessie. "Good morning, baby girl."
"Dada make p'cakes?"
"Nope. Daddy is making cinnamon buns. Can you smell them?" Cas leaned into kiss her tiny freckled nose before turning to do the same to Dean's.
"Cinna! Yum yum!"
"I'm hungry!" A.J. yelled, yanking on Dean's leg. "Breakfast!"
"You go wash your hands and flush first, pal."
"Son of bitch," the five year old muttered, turning back towards the bathroom.
Dean flushed under the intensity of Cas's glare. "Oops," he grinned.
"I should wash your mouth out with soap, pal," he growled.
"Ooh, that sounds promising."
"Gutter brain," Cas shot back, reaching to take Jessie from his arms.
"You love it."
Cas tossed a smile back over his shoulder, blue eyes twinkling merrily.
"Yeah," Dean murmured. "Me, too."
Missouri smiled at the couple standing before her. "And with the power vested in me by the state of Kansas, and in the presence of your friends and family, it is my great pleasure to announce you husband and wife. You may kiss the bride."
Sam grinned, reaching down to cup Pamela's chin in his hand. She smiled back.
"Get 'em, cowboy," she growled, just before Sam kissed her.
"And now, for the first time anywhere, I present to you, Mrs. Samuel Winchester!"
The crowd gathered in Sam and Pamela's backyard applauded madly, and Pamela slipped her small hand into Sam's big one. "Just you and me, kid," she grinned.
"Hell yeah!" Sam said back, deciding he needed one more kiss.
No one had ever expected the day would come when Pamela would have to stop seeing Sam as a patient. They'd realized about a year and half into his treatment that they were falling in love, and making the choice to see another therapist was easy for Sam.
Pamela turned his world upside down in the best ways possible, and Sam was grateful for every minute she was in his life. It didn't hurt that the girls adored her, and the feeling was utterly mutual.
"I didn't think I'd ever get over Jess," Sam had told Dean one Saturday afternoon. "And I haven't - not really - but I think I've gotten used to her being gone. I dunno. I sure didn't expect to fall in love again."
Dean had nodded knowingly, watching as Pam and Cas chased the kids across the lawn. "I know what you mean, though. I never thought I'd be this happy."
They clinked their beer bottles together. "Me neither. I never thought I'd be this content again."
Pamela had turned right at that moment, beaming at Sam, her smile bright and beautiful.
He'd known right then and there he was going to ask her to marry him before the month was out.
"Your daughter stinks." Jo deposited a fluffy pink bundle in his arms before leaning back and supporting her lower back with her hands.
"You look like you swallowed a beach ball," Dean told her gleefully.
"Yeah? Well at least I get to keep these two!"
"Alright, love, calm down, remember what Dr. Mills said about your blood pressure?" Charlie wrapped an arm around her wife's waist, leading her away from Dean.
"Dada, I pooed," Jessie told him gleefully, reaching up to squish his cheeks between her tiny hands.
"Ok, sweet love, let's go deal with your tushy."
In the room that had once been his office so many years before, he changed his sweet little girl, smiling as her green eyes tracked the butterflies he and Cas had strung from the ceiling. A.J. had Ben's old room, and Cas and Dean had remodeled the basement into a room for Ben, though he rarely used it.
"Weird to think that less than ten years ago, this house was empty, just me, when it's so full now. With you, your brothers, Papa - this little house is bursting, isn't it?" He refastened her onesie and scooped her back into his arms, running his fingers through her dark hair.
She blew a raspberry at him, and he laughed.
"In here, babe."
"We're running low on bruschetta, and I was sure I'd made more -" Cas rounded the corner into Jessie's bedroom. "Whew. Nevermind. You were busy."
"Yes, I was," Dean grinned, lifting the nasty diaper off the changing table. "We do have more bruschetta, downstairs in the second fridge."
"Oh, perfect," Cas said, kissing Dean before heading off to get it.
Sam's wedding reception was in full swing in Dean's backyard, catered by the master team of Winchester & Winchester.
That had been Cas's terms, after all. He'd come back to Food Network, but he was bringing Dean with him. Each episode of Family Bites included Dean and often one of their children, if not both. Sometimes other family members stopped by as well.
They'd just finished their fourth season, and they were as successful as ever. Winchester and Sons moved along at a good clip, and Dean didn't miss Kansas Kustoms at all. Family Bites was so much more fun, and he loved the name - he'd picked it out, after all.
"Cas was saying something about bruschetta," Ellen told him as he stepped back onto the porch.
"Yeah, we got it."
"Good. Give me my grandbaby." She took Jessie from his arms and disappeared back into the crowd.
Over by the playground, Felicity, Mari, and A.J. were conspiring, happy smiles on their faces. Johnny, Adam and Madison's son, was building roads in the sandbox. Benny and Andrea were talking with Missouri, their beautiful teenaged girls sitting nearby, both of them staring intently at their iPhones. Rufus sat next to Missouri, and if they thought they were fooling anyone by hiding joined hands under the table, they had another think coming.
Ben sat with Ellen, tickling his little sister's tiny feet while Lisa and Vic watched proudly. Bobby, Garth, and Ash were discussing shop business, occasionally yelling things at Benny from across the yard, while Madison cheerfully told them how wrong they were about everything. Adam held Madison on his lap, happily stroking his hands across her growing belly.
Charlie and Jo were curled together on the same chaise, Jo leaning back into her wife's arms and blinking lazily. Dean thought she might fall asleep if she sat there much longer.
Off to the side, and in their own little world, Sam and Pamela were completely intertwined, staring at each other adoringly while they held hands and shared food from the same plate.
He was so happy, so content, and for once, he wasn't waiting for the other shoe to drop. Everything was as it should be.
"I love you," Cas said, stopping to kiss him.
Everything was perfect.
"Love you, too."