The doorbell rang for what seemed like the hundredth time that night. Dean grabbed the bowl of candy - of which he'd probably eaten more himself than he'd given away - and headed to the door. Opening it, he found that, instead of looking down at yet another little girl dressed up as some kind of Disney ice princess, he was staring at a pair of knees.
"Trick or treat," a deep voice said.
Lifting his gaze, taking in the sight of the gorgeous full-grown man before him wearing a trenchcoat and fairy wings, the corner of Dean's mouth turned up in a flirtatious smirk.
"Aren't you a little old to be trick-or-treating?"
A faint blush coloured the man's cheeks. "My daughter is shy," he said, moving so that Dean could see the little blonde girl peering at them above his gate. "I didn't want her to miss out, so volunteered to trick-or-treat on her behalf."
"So you decided to dress up as, what?" he asked, looking at the man's plastic sword. "A warrior fairy?"
The man cleared his throat. "I'm an angel of the Lord," he corrected Dean.
Dean laughed. "No, of course you are," he grinned, waving an arm at him.
"Da-ad!" a quiet voice piped up.
"What's her name?" Dean asked.
"Claire. I'm Castiel. We moved in recently, a little further up the street."
"Good to meet you, Cas," he smiled, shaking the man's hand. "Hi, Claire!" called over to her, giving her a little wave.
She squeaked and disappeared from view behind the gate.
"Shy," her father repeated, with a fond smile.
"Well, uh..." Dean held the bowl of candy out, letting Castiel take a handful.
"Thank you," Cas smiled, dropping the sweets into his pumpkin bag. Looking over his shoulder, he asked, "Do you want to say thank you to the nice man?"
"Thank you!" a small voice shouted.
Castiel sighed. "Claire, would you like to come here and say thank you?" he tried again, patiently.
Dean laughed and leaned against the doorframe. "My ex and I, we had a little boy. He went through a phase like this. Wouldn't speak to anybody, hid behind our legs when we met people in the street... Now we can't get him to shut up."
"So you still see him?" Cas asked. "That's good."
"Yeah." Dean rubbed a hand across the back of his neck. "He's a good kid. Thought for a while I was gonna lose him, but for better or worse his mother's job offer fell through. What about you?"
Castiel bit his lip. "Her mother was a surrogate. We don't stay in touch."
"Oh. Sorry, dude."
"There's nothing to be sorry about. I lost my boyfriend when he changed his mind about having a baby, and I gained a beautiful daughter."
Castiel's face fell. "That... That's not a problem for you, is it?"
"Hell, no!" Dean said, straightening in the doorway. "I mean I'm bi, so, it'd be pretty stupid of me to hot gays. I mean hot. Hate gays!" Now it was Dean's turn to blush.
Cas smiled at his feet, though Dean couldn't guess whether it was amusement at his expense or if he was flattered that Dean might find him attractive.
"Dad, can we go home now?"
"Claire, we've only stopped at three houses. Don't you want more candy, and maybe meet some new friends?"
"No. I want to go home."
Dean was eternally grateful for Claire's timing. "It's tough being a single dad a few weekends and holidays a year," he said. "I mean I love it, but at the same time I dunno how you or Lisa cope all year round."
"Lisa, is she your ex?"
Castiel's shoulders dropped. "I really wanted her to have fun tonight."
"I'm sure the two of you'll be able to find something fun to do at home," Dean assured him.
"Like unpacking or redecorating?" Cas asked dryly.
"Playing dress up?" Dean shot back.
Cas chuckled. "I'll see you around, Dean."
As Cas turned to go, Dean threw the bowl of candy on a table and grabbed a pen. "Hey, wait!" Opening one of the bills he'd ignored that morning, he scribbled his phone number on the envelope and gave it to Cas. "I figure you won't see much of the candy, so here's a treat for you."
Castiel stared at the phone number so long that Dean thought his pounding heart might jump out of his chest. Had he misread Cas's body language? He had, hadn't he? Cas hadn't been flattered, he'd been laughing at Dean. Mentally, Dean face-palmed. That had been a terrible line, and now he was going to move—
"Is that a one or a seven?"
"What?" Dean asked, belatedly realising that Cas was holding the envelope out to him. "Oh, a seven."
Cas nodded, and carefully folded the envelope before pocketing it.
"Oh, thank fuck," he breathed.
Castiel frowned, tilting his head. "What?"
"Good luck!" he exclaimed quickly. "With Claire. I hope you find something fun to do."
"So long as fun doesn't include watching Tangled for the millionth time. Still, I suppose it's better than Frozen."
"Frozen, is that the one with the ice princess?"
"I feel for you. I swear, every time Ben drags me into the Disney shop to look at Marvel toys that freakin' song is blaring out from the speakers."
"I'm just thankful she doesn't sing along."
Dean visibly cringed. "Yeah, okay. You've got me there."
"Maybe we could arrange a play date sometime?"
Castiel smiled. "Good night, Dean. And Happy Hallowe'en."
"Happy Hallowe'en," Dean replied, waiting until Castiel had reached the end of the path and taken Claire's hand to give them a final wave. As he closed the door and walked back to the living room, wondering how much more of his movie he could watch before the doorbell inevitable rang again.
Later that night, when the credits had just started to roll, his phone vibrated in his pocket. He opened the message to see a selfie from a smiling Castiel and Claire (who had chocolate all round her mouth) with the message, Thank you for the candy.