Dean likes Sarah. He does. He couldn't be happier that his baby brother's happily engaged, and he's about to get an awesome new sister in-law. It's just, well, she's kind of ruining Christmas.
Okay, maybe, that's not fair.
But Dean holds the Christmas Eve traditions that he, Sam, and Bobby have come up with over the years as completely sacred.
And right now, he should be elbow deep in flour and dough, listening to the best of AC/DC on mixtape as Ellen, Jo, and Sam bicker over poker chips and eggnog in the next room. He should be rolling his eyes as Bobby brings back Galas instead of Granny Smiths, on his last minute run to the store, for the sixth year in a row. He should be considering getting the cooler out of the garage for the six pack they're going to set out for "Santa" - that they will drink as they lounge around the tree in their robes and boxers tomorrow morning.
Instead, because Sarah's a respectable church-going Catholic, who gave him and Bobby some serious puppy eyes over Christmas Eve mass, he's shuffling awkwardly to the end of the last empty pew at Saint Christopher's, trying not to breath in the too heavy incense or Bobby's too strong cologne, wondering if he's suppose to pray to the big guy before the show starts.
He judges, by the way people are starting to line up against the walls, that he wasn't the only one that more or less got dragged here, and decides Sarah was actually smart for making them get there nearly an hour early. It stops him from having to sit or stand next to the almighty pious and be judged for not knowing the words to the iOur Father/i.
He's got a pretty good seat - one with a good exit strategy - in the back row next to the wall. He's guessing that being preached to when he could be home tasting the fruits of his labor isn't going to make him want to stick this out any longer than he has to.
What he doesn't account for, though, is the possibility of Castiel Novak, the local librarian, who has helped him find many an old, obscure car manual, appearing with cheeks flushed from the cold and hair damp from the snow, raising his gravel deep voice over the choir's warm up of i The First Noel/i to ask sheepishly if there's any room left at the inn.
Once Cas confirms that it's just him, too dumbfounded to do anything else, Dean scoots over, leaving the tiny amount of room left for Cas, ignoring the twin looks that Bobby and Sam are shooting him, because they know that he has a Chrysler Building sized crush on the guy. And they're in a church.
They wish each other i Merry Christmas /i as Cas sidles too close - not that he really has a choice - and places his coat over the bench, letting its sleeves dangle over Dean's. He doesn't quite smile, because Cas never quite does, as he straightens. "It's good to see you, Dean. I have missed you at the library."
"Been a while, huh?" Dean asks as though he's not fully aware of that - that he stopped going because Cas changed shifts and the new night guy, Garth, didn't know a VIN number from a jungle vine. Not that Cas had either, before Dean had started asking. But Dean doesn't want Garth going to the trouble. Garth isn't Cas.
Garth doesn't make Dean want to test just how open and accepting Sarah's longtime place of worship really is.
"I haven't had a chance to show you the new 60s car magazine I ordered in. I think you'll like it," Cas says. "You could consider it your Christmas present...from the community."
"Yeah, sure thing," Dean says breathily, desperately wishing Cas' knee wasn't brushing against his thigh. "'But I don't have anything for you... from the community."
"But you do... you just prevented me from standing against the wall for an hour after walking four miles in the snow," Cas says. "I am quite content with that."
"Four miles? Dude, it's barely above zero!" Dean says. "Can you even feel your toes?"
"I was not missing Christmas Eve mass because my car chose an inconvenient time to break down," Cas says before glancing down at his boots. "And no, not really. They are rather numb."
"Okay. Giving you a ride home. No arguing," Dean says. "Not gonna let you turn into a popsicle."
"It's Christmas Eve, Dean," Cas says. "I'm sure you're family would like you to be with them."
At that, Bobby leans over Dean and puts his hand out. Cas takes it hesitantly as Bobby introduces himself, "Bobby Singer. Dean's Dad in all the ways that matter. Nice to meet you, Castiel. I've heard a lot about you from this one."
"You have?" Cas asks, his gaze drifting back to Dean, who is rubbing at the back of his neck as his cheeks flush. Bobby nods nonchalantly.
"Now Dean says he's giving you a ride, he's giving you a ride. It's Christmas."
Seemingly satisfied with that, Bobby turns back to Sam and Sara.
"You've told your family about me?" Cas asks, his eyes wide with surprised awe.
Dean manages an eloquent 'uh' before the sound of the opening hymn being played on the organ drowns out anything he might have said. So he just shrugs and smiles sheepishly before very deliberately facing the altar.
When they're a verse into i Away in a Manger /i, Cas whispers i share with me/i and thrusts half his hymnal into Dean's hands. Their hands brush on the pages as Cas traces his fingers across the lyrics.
When the priest asks for the congregation to be seated, they smile tentatively at each other before scooting back onto the bench.
Dean thinks that they'll have to put the book back and lose the additional closeness, but it turns out that the readings from the Bible are in the book too. They lean over it together until the priest gets to the sermon, during which Cas wordlessly takes Dean's hand in his own and Dean realizes he and Cas might kind of accidentally be on a date. In a church. On Christmas Eve.
He doesn't really register what's going on for most of the rest of the ceremony, since most of his headspace is absorbed by Cas' hand tugging him between the bench and the kneeler, quite frankly, an unreasonable amount of times.
He does almost get jolted back to reality when everyone is shaking everyone else's hands, telling them i Peace be with you /i and i Merry Christmas /i - since his focus shifts, if temporarily, away from Cas. But, after they've shook hands with everyone in the vicinity, Cas leans in and pecks softly at his cheek.
"That...uh...can, can we do that, here?" Dean stutters as Cas pulls him back to the kneeler.
"I don't see why not," Cas says as he glances slowly from side to side. "It was merely a show of affection, and I don't see anyone objecting."
"Well, I'll, uh..." Dean ducks his head, because, really, they are in a church. "I'll have to show you some affection, when we get to the car."
"I look forward to it," Cas says before bowing his head over his hands. "I look forward to it very much."
Dean thinks he'll have to forgive Sarah for dragging him here. Maybe even thank her.