"Two double-bacon double-onions double cheeseburgers, three plain hamburgers, and one shake-it-up salad with Italian balsamic dressing," Dean announced, kicking the front door shut behind him and dumping two greasy paper bags on the coffee table. Sam wrinkled up his forehead and pursed his lips as he delicately pushed the bags away with the tip of one finger, saving his papers from the grease stains.
"I found some more info on the high school while you were gone," Sam said. "I think your idea about the math teacher is right. Everybody definitely hated him, like we already knew- there's a million posts on Facebook and blogs from students talking about what a terrible teacher he was- but it turns out the guy actually always wanted to be a university professor. He applied to, like, every open position in the Great Lakes region for the last 25 years. Even some in the rest of the country. Nobody ever even gave him an interview, though, because the pass/fail rates in his classes were so bad and he never published any really significant work."
"So he's our vengeful." Dean eyed Sam with a quick once-over, making sure nothing had happened in the short time he'd been gone to pick up dinner. Sam had dressed up a little to go talk to people at the school and his white shirt just made his shoulders look even broader. He looked completely ridiculous sitting on a low purple loveseat with his knees nearly up to his chest.
They were squatting in the home of one of the high school teachers. She'd gone on a week-long vacation for the Thanksgiving break, leaving her little one-bedroom bungalow vacant and full of school records, intranet passwords, and other goodies they hoped they could make use of to figure out what had apparently 'cursed' the math teacher position after the old guy died. It was definitely the home of an aging single woman. Purple and red furniture, flowery curtains, lace placemats on the two-person dining table. Dean was just relieved there weren't any cats.
Without looking up from his laptop, Sam fished his salad and a plastic fork out of the bag.
"Where's Cas?" Dean asked. He'd only sort of just noticed that the angel wasn't there. To be fair, he'd been disappearing to weird places ever since they came to the house, completely fascinated by things like refrigerator magnets and the collection of Harlequin novels under the bed.
"He's up on the roof," Sam said, shovelling lettuce into his mouth and sounding like this was a perfectly ordinary thing to say.
"Why is he on the roof?"
Sam looked at him like he was the one being strange. "He wanted to watch the sunset."
"Right," Dean said. Sam shook his head and went back to his notes. "I'm just gonna…." He picked up the bag with Cas' hamburgers. "Yeah."
Sam ignored him.
He grabbed his own burgers, too, and headed out the back door.
There was a sturdy Adirondack chair that he could stand on to get a good grip on the eaves, so Dean held the bags between his teeth and hauled himself up with only a little scrambling and scraping. Cas was sitting up on the peak of the roof. Watching the sunset. I TOLD you, stupid, the annoying Sam-voice in his head said.
"Hey, Cas," Dean called, crawling up and swinging one leg over to straddle the peak line. "I brought lunch. Late lunch. Linner." He held out the paper bag.
"Thank you, Dean," Cas said quietly. He took the bag and set it in his lap, pulling out a burger. Dean did the same, and they ate in silence for a moment.
"So," Dean said, through a mouthful of half-chewed food just because he was used to repulsing Sam at mealtimes. "Watcha doin' up here?"
"I am watching the sunset."
Dean rolled his eyes. "No shit, dude. But you can do that from inside the house, through this thing called a window."
There was another quiet pause. Then Cas said, out of nowhere, "Did you know that you can see the sunrise and sunset from Heaven?"
"Uh, no," Dean said, feeling kind of startled. "I didn't."
"We see through different…wavelengths, in our angelic forms," Cas said, still staring at the sun. Dean wondered if his Grace would protect his vessel from cataracts. "We see the light waves dance, and all of Heaven sings and dances with them in joy."
Dean didn't really have anything to say to that. He'd known Cas had to be missing Heaven at least a little bit, because it was his home and his family. But he hadn't thought about the specifics of that. "Huh," he said finally. "Sounds cool."
"It is beautiful," Cas said, and it sounded- as much as Cas' voice ever sounded like anything- like he was agreeing with Dean instead of contradicting him.
It was nice having someone who acknowledged Dean's self-limited vocabulary as a fact of life instead of calling him an emotionally constipated, highly repressed asshole. Sam.
"The autumn season of Earth was always my favorite," Cas continued. "The colors of the air become softer, the songs are quieter. The dances are slower and more…of the earth, more…warm and melodic."
Dean tried to picture Cas dancing. Then he had to stop, because he was afraid he'd laugh and ruin the moment. "Listen, Cas," he said. "I know this isn't home for you, and you had to give up more that I can ever imagine to come down here with us. But…you got us, you know?" He reached out and gripped Cas' shoulder, shaking it a little. "You're family now. So we might not be able to give you sunset dances, or whatever, but whatever we can give you, you got it."
Cas stared at him. His eyes softened and went warm. Then, his lips crooked up in a tiny little smile.
There was a squeaking noise and the skylight a few feet away popped open and Sam's shaggy head stuck through. Dean quickly dropped his hand from Cas' arm. Sam cleared his throat, propped his elbows up on the edge of the skylight frame, opened the paperback book in his hands, and began to read.
"Sebastian felt the magic of the evening rise around him as streaks of plum, indigo, and scarlet painted the evening sky. Something greater than himself made him draw her closer. 'Even a sunset as beautiful as this cannot compare to you,' he said, and leaned forward until their lips met-"
"SAM!" Dean bellowed. At least, he tried for a bellow. Something about Sam's smirk made him suspect it came out more as a shriek.
"What?" Sam said defensively. "You didn't seem to know what comes next, I was just helping you along!"
"Oh, I'll show you what comes next, you-"
Sam ducked back through the skylight and somewhere in the house a door banged shut. Dean shoved his lunch bag at Cas and slithered down off the roof, shouting for his brother.
"Sam! Sam, don't even try to hide, you fucker, I'm gonna string you up and slaughter you! How the fuck did you even find that so fast?! Have you been reading those for real?!"
Sam's laughter echoed up. There were more bangs, then crashes and swearing and yelps mixed in with the laughing.
Up on the roof, Cas smiled into the last glowing edge of the sun.