It's nothing. It isn't a big deal. It's just a fake id. Dean has hundreds of them. He keeps telling himself that anyway. It doesn't help.
Because this isn't one of the badges in the cigar box he keeps under the dash. It isn't a trick. It's the serious, got a real social security number, got a birth certificate and a driver's licence, exists in federal databases, and has a credit history, kind of full on fake identity. It cost a mint. Dean and Sam both have two of these. Their real ones which are both long burned and legally dead, and their new fakes with similar names, for just in case. This very kind of 'just in case'.
And now Cas has one too. Or he will once Dean man's up and gives it to him anyway. He took the trip up to New York two weeks ago to pick it all up. The guy, Mozzie, is spectacular at what he does and it was worth every cent and every conspiracy theory Dean had to listen to during the exchange.
Dean had ordered it a month before that and he should have been ready to hand it over the moment he got it. He knows deep down he is ready. But... sometimes knowing isn't enough. Not with something this big.
The fat envelope full of paperwork has been sitting in the lockbox in the map room ever since he got back. Dean has taken it out every morning, for two weeks. And every morning he has looked at it, bitten his lip, and chickened out. Every morning he's put it away, along with the other even scarier box. Every morning he's gone out to the kitchen and made breakfast, and coffee strong enough that it'll wake the dead - or in this case strong enough to wake a fallen angel with a serious anti-morning problem even worse than Dean's. Every morning, for two weeks, Sam has given him this amused, half-pitying look over eggs and bacon.
In the end it's the thought of that look that gets him to finally take the envelope out to the kitchen with him. Today will be the day. Even if it kills him.
Sam spots the envelope immediately. Of course. Sam has his own like it, recognises Mozzie's hand writing on the front. Not to mention Sam helped Dean plan all the details of it. Assured him dozens, maybe hundreds of times, that this was the best thing to do, and that he had it right for once, and that Cas would love it. So Sam knows what the envelope is, knows what it means. Knows exactly what kind of paperwork Dean is currently nervously tapping his fingers over.
"You want me to…" Sam shrugs towards the door. Give you some 'privacy' is what he means but knows well enough that saying it might just tip Dean off the edge and back into hiding.
"I don't know," Dean admits half hopelessly.
"Good luck, man," Sam says. He comes over and takes his breakfast plate right out of Dean's hand. Finishes dishing up for himself. Then he pats Dean on the back, hard because he's still a stupid little brother even when he's being excessively supportive, and leaves the kitchen. Leaves Dean alone with breakfast cooking, and coffee brewing, and a thick envelope of very expensive paperwork, and worst of all the other box sitting on the kitchen island pretending to be innocuous and non-life changing. Dean stares at the treacherous little box while Cas's eggs cook - poached solid just the way he likes them and the way Dean thinks defeats the whole purpose of eggs anyway.
Dean makes the hollandaise sauce last. Took him months to get this stuff just right, but Cas loves the stuff. And it is a pretty neat trick. Cas still isn't up by the time Dean is whisking in the lemon juice and finishing the sauce. In fact he's just thinking about going full chick-flick on this thing and digging out to tray for breakfast in bed, when Cas finally does emerge.
"Dean?" Cas asks from the kitchen doorway. Like it might be anyone else. Well, knowing their lives it could be a shifter or a siren or something. But still.
"Morning Cas," Dean says through a mask of false cheer. "I, ah, I made your favourite." He holds up the tiny saucepan and whisk as proof and Cas's eyes light up in a way that makes the extra effort totally worth it. And maybe makes the other box a little less scary too.
Dean will maybe never get used to this. When he looks up Castiel, former angel of the Lord, former rebel, former God for hell's sake, is standing in Dean's kitchen wearing nothing but one of Dean's old Led Zep shirts and a pair of pyjama pants with bees on them. His hair's a mess, and he hasn't shaved yet, and there's a bruise on his neck that makes Dean smile. He's breathtaking. Literally. Dean actually forgets to breathe sometimes when he looks at him. Like this, in fact. When he's looking at Dean like he is right now with those huge too big and too blue eyes, with that dopey affectionate expression. Even if the affection is for the eggs benedict more than it is for Dean in that moment he doesn't care. It's worth it. It's worth just about anything.
"You're dressed?" Cas asks, voice sleep edged and rough in a way that still makes Dean's skin hot and almost distracts him from the question itself.
"Oh, yeah I was, you know, up-" and trying to distract myself. Dean shrugs.
Cas frowns at him but gets his coffee, pours a buttload of sugar in it, then sits down and waits to be allowed to consume his breakfast. Dean maybe takes a little longer than necessary to pile everything up, fusses a bit over the sauce and puts a stupid little parsley garnish on it. Cas seems to have guessed there's something up though because he doesn't complain. Not that he actually complains much anyway. Not as much as he could. Not as much as he should.
Oh shit. What is Dean doing. He's going to ruin- no. He stops himself. Sam told him he'd do this. And he's not going to prove the sasquatch right. He can do this. He wants to do this. Cas is going to love it. He is doing the right thing. Dean checks the stove is off. Again.
"Oh, shit, sorry." Dean shoves the breakfast plate over to Cas and watches him start to carefully pick at it. He treats every meal like a complex ritual, or maybe a biology experiment - and maybe it is sort of both when you were born an angel and being human is still so new. Dean taps his fingers on the envelope again and watches Cas eat.
"Aren't you going to eat, Dean?" Cas asks when he notices Dean watching him.
"Yeah, soon." Dean is way too nervous to actually eat anything. Cas accepts that though and keeps on eating happily enough. He must be getting used to Dean acting odd, he's learning to take it in stride, which is probably good all things considered, but it forces Dean to prompt the conversation again. "Cas, uh, can we talk?"
The look Cas gives him is not what Dean was expecting. His eyes go wide and he almost drops his fork, his skin even loses color and that wasnot what Dean wanted. He looks freaking scared. And sure, Dean is terrified but Dean's always been kind of terrified when it comes to Cas, in one way or another. Cas isn't meant to be scared of Dean. That isn't how this works.
"What's wrong?" Dean demands, heart beating fast. Envelope forgotten in the face of Cas looking like Dean's about to punch him.
"It's- it's nothing." Cas shakes his head as if he's refusing the truth of it. "You've said that to me before, is all. It's… nothing."
Dean stares at him. It takes him longer than he's proud of to remember. To search through the mess of pain and darkness that is his memory and find the last time they sat like this. In the library, Cas freshly fallen, eating a goddamn breakfast burrito.
"Shit," Dean says. He runs his hands over his face. He hasn't even started and he's already fucking this up.
Cas is still watching him intently, almost warily. And that won't do. It just won't.
"This isn't like that at all, man." Then Dean laughs. "This is exactly the opposite of that."
Cas still looks confused. So Dean gives up on speeches and any of the platitudes and other crap he'd half thought of saying. He just passes Cas the envelope instead. And maybe he holds his breath. A little. So what if he does. This is a big moment.
Cas wipes his hands on a napkin first, because sometimes he learns stuff off Sam instead of Dean, and then slowly opens the envelope. He gives Dean another curious glance before he looks at the papers.
"Oh," is the first thing Cas says. Dean frowns. That was a bit anticlimactic.
Dean takes a risk and moves around to Cas's side of the table so he can look over his shoulder. It's the birth certificate first. Castiel Winchester, born September 18th 1974.
There's other stuff in there too that probably doesn't mean a lot to Cas. There's a transcript and a copy of a diploma for a degree in Classics and Ancient Languages from the University of Michigan. There's a drivers' licence and a passport. A credit check, a clean police record, and health insurance information. There's even a goddamn swimming certificate and for one sinking moment Dean realises he's not even sure if Cas can swim and maybe he should know that, or find that out, or fix that or something. But then Cas is looking up at him with that awful and awesome and awestruck expression and that's all Dean can really think about at all.
"Winchester?" Cas asks. And if that bit's taken him by surprise, well it means Dean's a bit of a jerk, which he knew, and the next bit is probably going to floor him.
There's a tiny scared little part of Dean that tells him to skip the next bit. Tells him he could pretend he's giving Cas time to adjust to the idea before he springs the big bit on him. But he's heard that voice before. He's heard that voice for years. And he listened to that voice for years too. Listening to that voice has only ever hurt him. He wasted years and years because of that little voice. So he pushes it down and reaches over Cas's shoulder to find the last few documents. They're paperclipped together and a notarized copy of Dean's fake birth certificate is on top.
Dean Barrett, born January 26th 1979. It's two days out which had annoyed him at the time but it makes the next bit a lot simpler in the long run.
"Well," Dean says looking back at Cas and willing him to understand. "I kind of want my last name back? Thought maybe you could help me out?"
Castiel squints at him. Confused angel and suspicious boyfriend look kind of the same on Cas. Dean has to bite his lip because otherwise he's just going to end up kissing him right then and there, and they'll get distracted and Dean will never get around to actually asking the damn question.
"Oh," Cas says, at freaking last. Realisation dawns, and watching his expression change really is like watching the sun rise. "Oh!"
Dean rolls his eyes but can't help grinning while he does so.
"You sure say that a lot, Cas." Dean laughs, it's nervous and fractured at the edges but it helps. It relieves some of the building pressure in his chest. Because Cas still hasn't said yes. But then again Dean still hasn't really asked, either. Shit.
Cas looks at the second sheet of paper in the bundle. The one under Dean's fake birth certificate. The one with room for two not so fake signatures. Then he looks back at Dean. He still doesn't say anything though.
Dean looks away from the endless depths of Cas's eyes and grabs the other box. Fumbles with it for a moment then hands it over. Can't look away from it. Can't look Cas in the eye. Can't even really breathe right now. The box is a dusty, dented thing, an old cigarette tin - just about the least romantic package ever. This is the box it has been in for twelve years though. It was all Dean had to hand at the time. At the time it had never occurred to him that he might want to give this away. Never even occurred to him that he might want to look at it again.
Cas doesn't open it. Just holds it and looks at it. Dean sighs and opens it for him.
"It was my dad's," Dean explains. "Mom even put demon warding on it… old bastard never noticed I suppose… never took it off… I mean Azazel got through it but, it's the thought that counts right… and it's good for lesser stuff and I suppose we could upgrade… um… that wasn't really the point..."
When Dean rolls to a halt he looks up and Cas is smiling at him. It's that soft private smile that makes Dean's heart jump. The one Dean will never really believe he deserves but he gets to see anyway.
"So, what do you say, Cas? You wanna get hitched?" Dean can feel the heat of his blush and the sheepish tilt to his smile. And hope. He can feel that dangerous beast in his chest, telling him this might just turn out okay. Might just turn out perfect.
Cas doesn't answer. Well, not in words. He reaches over, pulls Dean towards him and kisses Dean instead. Frantic, and needy, and all kinds of hot. It's enough to distract Dean from his nerves and his ramblings and narrow the world down to nothing but Cas. Cas's lips on his, and Cas standing up and pressing into him, Cas's body lined up with his own like they were always meant to fit just like this. And it doesn't matter how many times they do this every time it takes him by surprise how good this feels. How right. How kissing Cas feels like coming home and running away and saving the world and saving himself all at once.
"Was that a yes?" Dean asks, gasping when their lips break apart but pulling his fallen angel closer.
"Yes, Dean. Of course it is. I think you'll make a very good Winchester." He says it solemn and dry in his angel of the Lord voice. And it's hilarious and perfect.
"Yeah?" Dean laughs and this time it's real and honest and it makes him feel like he might break on it. "Thanks. You too."
Dean kisses Cas this time, pulls him in close as he can in the kitchen at 9:00 am. Holds on to him like they're leaving Hell again. Kisses him in a way that he hopes says all the things he never gets the words for. Things like, thank you, and I forgive you, and I can't believe you forgive me but I love you for it. Things like, I'm sorry, and stay, and I'll never leave you again.
They're still there like that half an hour later when Sam walks in. Dean pressed back into the counter with Cas standing in between his legs and slotted up close. Dean's hand in the silky mess of Cas's hair, and because Dean is still Dean he's also got the other hand on Cas's seriously fantastic ass. And it may have turned into making out like teenagers at some point - but they've been making up for lost time since this started. And maybe they'll be making up for lost time their whole lives.
Sam clears his throat. Dean manages to stop kissing Castiel, he may make a little half-sobbed sound when Cas pulls away but he figures he's earned that one too.
"So," Sam says, casual as you please. "Am I gonna need a tux for this thing or what?"
Dean is about to protest that one but then he looks at Cas and realises that a tux might be even sexier than the goddamn bee pyjamas. Cas is still smiling at him, so sweet it must hurt his teeth. That smile might be everything Dean has ever wanted.
"Yeah," Dean says. "Yeah, Sammy, I think you will."
Barrett is a gun manufacturer too - they make kind of drool worthy sniper rifles. If that's your kind of thing.
In Thy Name is from the hymn Forth in thy name, O Lord, I go - which is kind of lovely and quite often sung at weddings.
This is sort of a sequel or prequel to An angel walks into a bar. Kinda. If you want. They don't gel perfectly but it still kinda works.