"Finally! Did you get- what the hell is that?"
Cas grinned and clutched the bear closer to his chest. "Hello, Dean!" He held out the bear to Dean, presenting it like Simba in the Lion King. "Look what I made."
Dean was looking. He was still processing what he was looking at.
It was a stuffed animal that Cas was raising up to proudly. A bear. A black bear in what looked like blue jeans and a green army jacket over a black t-shirt. It had a gold charm around it's neck.
"It's you!" Sam said unnecessarily, smiling smugly from the doorway. He came fully in the kitchen and dumped the bags on the table. "While we were at the mall, I just couldn't pull Cas away from the window at Build-a-bear until he had a look inside."
Dean wasn't sure how he was supposed to react to this. Cas was still grinning and Sam still had his stupid little smirk on. "I don't have the amulet anymore and-" He looked more closely. "What the fuck, is that a heart?"
Cas pulled the bear close again, fingering the necklace. His smile fell a little as he turned sheepish. "Yes, well the amulet you wore is one of the rarest on heaven or earth, Dean. This small one for the bear most closely resembles the one Sam gave you that I then borrowed and you, subsequently, threw away." All three of them shuffled a bit awkwardly at that, still uncomfortable these years later. "I could have left it off, but I've always felt that the amulet was something that bonded you and Sam together." He looked between them, eyes full on puppy, clutching the Dean-bear, even closer. "I've always felt guilty for tainting it with my fruitless search for God. If not for me, you'd still have it."
Cas looked so sad now. Dean wished he hadn't said anything. "No, no Cas. "He reached out to pet the bear awkwardly. "It's great, really." He fixed the bear's lapel, quirking his mouth in the approximation of a smile. "It's like lookin' in a mirror!"
Sam snorted while Cas's smile turned back up to 10,000 watts. "I used a black bear because the Asian Black Bear is one of the most dangerous breeds of bear and I wanted something that conveyed your degree of deadliness."
Dean smiled for real at that. Maybe this stuffed monstrosity wasn't so bad.
But Cas wasn't done. "Conversely, the American black bear is of a more timid temperament." Dean blanched. "Historically, it was a black bear that Theodore Roosevelt let free that resulted in in the development of the Teddy Bear. This way I could also represent your tendency to cuddle."
Sam didn't even wait for Dean's look of abject horror before bursting out laughing.
"Cas," Dean choked. "What the hell, I don't cuddle."
This wasn't completely true. It only took a couple nights of Cas sneaking into Dean's bed in the middle of the night when Cas first started living full time in the bunker for Sam to tell them "you're both being idiots, just kiss and move in with him. Christ." Which was rude as fuck but, otherwise, exactly what they ended up doing.
They weren't one of those gross couples. Actually, Dean got hives whenever he even thought the word couple in relation to themselves. They just made out and had sex and slept in the same bed and brought each other coffee in the morning and sometimes Dean fell asleep on Cas's shoulder while they were watching TV and Cas liked to rub Dean's belly which Dean complained about but secretly loved and Dean stole food from Cas's plate and Cas liked to come up behind Dean while he was cooking or doing the dishes and hug him from behind and Dean sometimes reached for Cas's hand while he was driving-
Okay so they were one of those couples but Dean didn't cuddle!
Sam was still laughing. "No, Dean's right." Cas allowed, affectionately tugging on bear-Dean's ear as he smiled affectionately at the real Dean. "Technically, since he's the little sp-"
"Alright!" Dean interrupted as Sam laughed louder. "Okay, enough, Cas. You know what?" He snatched his keys off the table and stomped towards the stairs for the door.
"Dean, wait!" Sam and Cas ran out after him. Sam looked like he was trying to sober up. "Come on, I won't laugh."
"Nope." Dean yanked on his jacket. "Cas questioned my manhood. I can't take that sitting down."
Cas came forward, almost hugging the stuffing out of little Dean. He looked legitimately distressed. "Dean-"
But Dean didn't want him to apologize. He didn't want Cas to be sad either. He reached forward to stroke Cas's cheek and smiled gently when Cas leaned into it. "I'll be right back," he straightened up and glared at Sam. "It's a matter of honor! Man's gotta do what a man's gotta do." And with that, he kissed Cas's forehead, flipped off Sam, and slammed the door.
By the time Dean got back, Sam and Cas hadn't moved much. They both sat opposite of each other at one of the long tables. Sam looked bored, fiddling distractedly with his phone, his feet on the table. Cas was glaring intently at the Dean bear which sat on the table in front of him. It didn't look as if he'd moved in several minutes.
When he heard the heavy bunker door swing closed, however, Cas's gaze shot towards Dean and he gathered the bear up in his arms and hurried to Dean. Sam just rolled his eyes with a grumbled 'finally' but this wasn't about Sam so Dean ignored him.
"Dean! You were gone a long time and I was worried. I didn't mean to upset you and-" Cas finally seemed to notice the large box Dean was carrying by the handles in his left hand. "What's that?"
Dean snorted. "You know exactly what this is." He swung the box dramatically on the table, knocking Sam's feet out of the way to make room. He opened the box with a flourish to 'Vanna White' the contents inside.
Cas looked uncomprehending while he took in what it was. Sam, on the other hand: "Really? That's your come back about the bear thing?" With a bitchy eyebrow raise.
"Okay, Samsquatch, I don't need to explain to you the brilliance of my plan, or my revenge bear." He shot a glance at Cas who, while not looking confused anymore, definitely wasn't looking the satisfying shade of embarrassed Dean had been hoping for. The same shade he'd been feeling.
Instead he looked... affectionate. Which was not what Dean wanted.
"I will explain it to Cas, though."
"No, I understand, Dean." Cas turned his eyes away from the bear Dean was displaying maybe less proudly than before. Now Dean was stuck under the heart eyes and soft smile which, no, abort abort. "It's me."
And, yeah, it was Cas. The bear sported an outfit from the toy-detective department, with the trenchcoat (unbuttoned) and the white shirt and slacks. He had to get the tie from the show-tunes section, though. It was the only one that was the right shade of blue.
What the bear was wearing didn't matter, though, that's not really what made it Cas. It was Cas because the style of bear Dean picked was white covered in red and pink hearts.
Dean flushed. It literally hadn't 'til now occurred to him how that might look: Dean giving Cas a bear covered in hearts.
"No! Well, yeah, it's you, but it's got hearts all over it because 'too much heart was always your problem.'" Cas tilted his head. Dean flushed a little more. "Oh, yeah, you wouldn't know. That's what Samandriel said about you when we first met him. Before you came back from Purgatory."
Castiel smiled sadly at the mention of his fallen brother. (Fallen because Cas killed him when he was under mind control but water under the bridge). He nodded slowly in understanding. "Yes, I'm sure that's what many angels think of me. And they're not wrong. My, as he said, excess of heart is certainly why I'm in this state. Fallen. Powerless." He sniffled. "Catching a cold, it seems."
Dean took in Castiel's sorry appearance. Still clutching his damn bear. The one that looked just like Dean.
No, this sad thing is definitely worse than the heart eyes. Dean glanced back at Sam (still sitting there, the freak) and Sam just looked at him meaningfully. You're a dumbass. Dammit.
"Shit." Dean shuffled forward and wrapped an arm around Cas. "Dammit, I'm sorry."
"Shhh" Cas nuzzled his head to Dean's cheekbone, his hair tickling Dean's nose. "I'm not upset with you. Too much heart is also why I'm here," he pulled slightly away from Dean to look at him, resting his right hand on Dean's shoulder, over where his hand print had long since disappeared. "here in the bunker, safe and happy, with you." A cough from behind Dean. "And Sam." Dean didn't turn around to see Sam's smirk but he knew it was there just like he knew he wasn't getting out of this bear-thing with his machoism in tact.
He coughed gruffly and flexed his shoulders, anyway, breaking the goopy sappiness that was holding his and Cas's eyes together. He thrust the heart-bear into Cas's arms. "Well, you might as well keep them both safe. They should stay together, you know."
And while trying to brush the sappiness off, Dean had managed to say the most disgustingly romantic thing possible. He groaned inwardly as Cas turned his delighted eyes back to him, holding both bears close to his chest. "Thank you, Dean." And Dean had to smile. He hadn't managed to get revenge on Cas by embarrassing him but, now that Dean thought about it, that was never going to happen anyway.
He reached forward, past the heads of the bears, the cup Cas's jaw, stroking his cheekbone with his thumb. "You're welcome, Angel." and he leaned forward to kiss his forehead.
Dean heard, but didn't acknowledge the disgusted groan from Sam at the table. He did, notice, the ruffling of papers when Sam started rifling through the box.
"Okay, Sammy, leave it alone-"
Sam let out a bark of laughter. "Dean, the bear you got is literally called 'sweetheart bear'." Sam squinted down at the receipt. "In what world was this not embarrassing for you?"
"Because I'm comfortable in my relationship and masculinity, shut up. Now hand me the box."
"No, I had to do this with Cas so I know there's a- got it!" He pulled out an official looking paper which Dean knew was- "The birth certificate!" Sam crowed, proudly. "Now let's see what Daddy Dean named his precious little…" and that's when Dean knew Sam had seen it.
At Build-A-Bear workshop, you couldn't just build a bear. You had to 'adopt' your creation. There was a special heart thing and a stuffing birth and, yes, a birth certificate. Dean could have bullshitted the whole thing but, even though it was kind of a prank, it was still for Cas, so Dean took it seriously. It had the height and weight and eye color of the bear (Dean had put blue even though the bear's eyes were black) and it listed the name of the bear and who the bear belonged to.
There was no rule that you needed a first and last name for a bear so there was no reason Dean couldn't have just left it at Castiel. But that's not what he wrote. He wrote 'Castiel Winchester'. This bear was 'Castiel Winchester' belonging to Dean Winchester.
And now Sam knew Dean was a giant sap.
But, for whatever reason, Sam didn't bust him on it. Instead: "Dude, your stuffer's name was 'Starlight'? I didn't think names like that existed outside of strippers."
Dean hid his sigh of relief by shoving Sam's shoulder and snatching the birth certificate out of his hands. "How dare you, she was a nice lady."
Sam just winked and pushed away from the table. "Well, I was only waiting here to make sure Cas didn't have a nervous breakdown while you were gone. So, now that you're back, I'm going to see if there's literally anywhere else in the bunker I can be that's not in earshot of you two."
Sam's grin disappeared through the doorway to the hallway beyond with a "Jerk." called over his shoulder.
Dean turned back to Cas, where he was still standing holding both of the bears. But now, he was holding both of them in one arm while he held Dean's bear's birth certificate in the other hand. Dean sighed. He didn't mind so much if Cas saw it, but he knew this meant they were going to have to, like, talk about it.
But again, he was spared the sappy moment when Cas only said "I wish I had thought to put Castiel Winchester. Under belonging to, this bear has 'Castiel, former angel of the Lord'. It barely fit on the page."
Dean snorted and snatched the bear that looked like him out of Cas's arms, not without a sound or protest from Cas.
"Yeah, and I definitely captured your likeness better, too. I mean, I would never wear this shade of green."
Cas huffed in indignation. "Dean, that is army surplus: you only wear that shade of green." He tried to snatch the bear back but Dean wasn't done.
"And I was there, man. There was a Batman bear! Why didn't you make my bear Batman! I'm totally Batman!"
Cas rolled his eyes, still moving aggressively towards Dean. "That's what Sam said: he said you'd want to be the Batman bear. But-" he leapt for the bear again, just managing to brush its head. "This one is softer!"
Dean groaned. "Come on, Cas! You don't sacrifice Batman for fluffiness."
"No, Dean, try rubbing it on your face."
Dean squinted at him but lifted the bear up to his face, where he nuzzled it's head. He involuntarily let out a sound of contentment. "Ooh, that is nice." His eyes slipped closed.
Which is how he didn't see Cas come up right in front of him and nuzzle the other side of the bear. He sighed. "Isn't it magnificent, Dean?" Dean chuckled but opened his eyes to look at Cas. The heart eyes were back. Dean wasn't confident to say he wasn't shooting heart eyes right back. "For the heart ceremony. Where did you rub the heart? What did you want to infuse the bear with?"
What a dumb, sentimental, absolutely-something-his-angel-would-ask question. Dean blushed, hiding it by nuzzling deeper into the Dean bear. "I rubbed it over my heart. Just to keep in the theme, you know?"
Cas hummed in agreement, putting his free arm around Dean's waist and laying his head on his shoulder. Dean wrapped his own free arm around Cas's shoulders, trapping him there and both of the bears between them.
"What about you?" Dean asked, after a moment of contented shared space. Which definitely wasn't cuddling except for that it totally was. "Where'd you rub your Dean-bear-heart?"
"Over my genitals."
Dean choked. Cas had said it so casually, it was as if he said, well, literally anything else. "What?"
"Well, we were supposed to infuse the bear with a special trait. I was hoping by centering the bear's energy over my genitals, it would mean we could be more intimate." Cas said, reasonably.
"So you just rubbed your junk in the middle of a kid's shop?"
Cas frowned. His head was still on Dean's shoulder so Dean couldn't see it but he could feel it. "I'm not completely naive, Dean. I can be subtle. Sam didn't even notice."
"Thank God for that!" Dean relaxed. "The kid's already smug as a motherucker, he doesn't need any more material to rag on me."
Cas humphed but let it go, settling closer to Dean. As close as they could with those damn bears in the way but neither Cas nor Dean seemed willing to put them down.
"So," Cas said, breaking the silence again. "Did it work?"
"Did what work?"
"Do you feel like being more intimate?"
Dean hesitated. There was one of two places this could go. Cas could mean intimate like 'we should share our feelings and talk about what our relationship means and who we are as people and former-angels/demons in this relationship and then snuggle and probably cry'.
"You wanna go back to our room? Maybe tuck the bears in and see how, uh, effective your junk rubbing was?"
And it looks like Dean lucked out because Cas's eyes darken and he takes back the bear Dean's holding to set it snugly against the Castiel bear on the table. He grabs Dean's hand and leads him back to their room where they discover that, yes, the build-a-bear exercise had been very effective.
Dean would never add any accessories to his car. His baby didn't need any body kits or spoilers or bumper stickers or stupid heads for the antenna. She didn't need a steering wheel cover or dashboard hula girls or fuzzy dice. And God help him if Sammy tried to put one of those douchey iPod docks in the stereo again. The impala was perfect as is: no decoration required.
But, if there were maybe two stuffed bears snuggled together in the back window of the impala - if there was an overly fluffy black bear with a gold heart pendant with it's furry head tucked into the chin of a white bear covered in pink and red hearts dressed in a tan trench coat, just so they were around wherever the boys might go - well, Dean's sure his baby wouldn't mind too much.