Disclaimer: I don't own Supernatural or any of the characters, they belong to Kripke and the CW.
A/N: Wow, it's been a long time since I posted here. Just getting a feel over in LiveJournal and thought I'd post this story here. A lil summary on it. It takes place between 5.3 and 5.4 and also after 5.4 of Supernatural, when Sam and Dean part ways and also after they rejoin. I'm pretty much making an assumption that they were apart for at least a couple months during the summer. The writing in Italic is after 5.4 and in regular font is during the time they were apart. These are just a small series of flashbacks and insights :) Also, you can see this as a slash between Dean and Cas if you want, but I mostly wrote it as friendship.
Little Things: Chapter 1
"We keep each other human," comes out Dean's answer, his head bowed down with a weariness that terrifies Sam. His brother always had an air of hollowness since his return from the Pit. Couple it with mistrust toward a brother and Sam knew that in order for either of them to regain their footing, they needed space to breathe. Alone and time to remember who they are and not worry constantly when the bomb would drop shattering their relationship permanently.
But this right here, when only a few hours ago Dean told him that they were better off apart, scares Sam. He sees that stubborn streak faltering; the fear of something makes his older brother appear old way beyond his years. Sam fingers the knife, shifting back and forth on his feet not sure of what to do next, "I meant what I said Dean, it's not about revenge this time."
The Dean of before would have grunted as the Dean before Hell would have cracked a joke. This Dean, he hints at a smile as relief bleeds in the corner of green eyes. Something's changed in his brother.
"Good to hear." The low statement is cold, like the stale air surrounding the pair. Eyes peer over Sam's broad shoulders, narrowing at the sight. "Grab your stuff; we're leaving your poor excuse of a car here."
Gathering his duffle bag, Sam listens to the rickety rack of a train groaning over the tracks a few feet away on the raised bridge. Boots cake in mud as he treks over, dumping his things into the trunk as Dean waits quietly in the driver's seat. They're brothers again but also total strangers at the same time. At least this time, they both take a step forward to bridge the wide canyon between them.
Slamming the truck shut, Sam slides into the familiar passenger seat, closing the door just as Dean starts the Impala.
And that's when they appear.
With booze down, women out of the question, the last thing on Dean's 'Last night on Earth' party is pie. Crashing at an old malt-shop off a beaten road on the way back to the decaying house, Dean perches on a stool, rubbing his hands in eager anticipation. They're the only customers, which is typical considering it's about half past midnight. Hell, he's surprised a diner's open at all.
Next to him, relief spills out on Cas's face, which consisted of eyes closing for about a minute before opening again. Only half an hour ago, the guy was about to lose his virginity acting like he was taking a stroll on the Green Mile. The drive had been quiet, Cas constantly gazing out of the window as Dean kept on laughing as the event replayed in his mind. In the background, Greg Kihn Band's song "Jeopardy" blares quietly in the corner. Trying to bit back another fit, Dean raises her arm gesturing for the man to turn towards him.
The angel obliges, the stool squeaking slightly as he turns. Blue eyes lower themselves, watching quietly as Dean reaches out to rebutton the white shirt before straightening the tie back to its loose form. Breach of personal space blares loudly in the hunter's head, but like usual he ignores it. Instead, Dean finds himself humming along to the chorus, muttering the words, "Our love's in jeopardy, baby, oooooooo."
Patting the angel's chest, Dean leans back to survey his work. He wouldn't admit it out loud, but seeing those rumpled clothes was a bit daunting. "There we go, back to normal."
"Thank you, Dean," the voice is soft, full of gratitude. Cas's shoulders slump as if the gesture was the missing key to defeating Lucifer. Eyes flicker upwards as if sending a small prayer of thanks that he lived through visiting a den of iniquity without being smitted in the process.
"No problem, Cas. I promise though, this time things are going to work out. Third time's a charm." Sending a crooked grin to the weary angel, Dean turns back to the counter, fork posed in attack position as the waitress lays down the two plates of warmed up apple pie.
"There ya go, sweethearts," muses the woman, who also happens to be the chef's wife. "We'll be in the office, yell if you want something."
"Thanks," chirps Dean, fork already digging into the pie with the giddiness of a five year old. He's half way through when he screeches to a halt. Beside him, Cas raises his first full fork and bits into flaking golden piece. Time seems to freeze as the angel's face tightens, blue eyes narrowed in concentration before widening with excitement. No terror or confusion or anger just pure, child-like wonderment.
Swallowing, he licks the few crumbs off his mouth before turning to face Dean. "I like pie," states Cas with the same certainty he speaks when declaring he's an angel of the Lord.
Warmth fills the hunter inside, his own relief spilling out that something has gone right this night. "Good, otherwise I don't think we could be friends anymore," jokes Dean.
Surprisingly, Cas says nothing in return, happily returning to eat the pie, humming his love especially when the second slice comes not only warmed but topped with vanilla ice-cream. It seems angels have a thing for sweets.
Forks clang on empty spotless plates signaling the end of the third round. Cas rolls his shoulders, taking in every bright red furniture in the fifties style diner. Rubbing his full stomach with content, Dean waves at the waitress to catch her attention. "Two root beers please." He flicks his eyes to Cas who tilts his head, puzzled at the request.
"Don't worry, it's not alcoholic." The soda comes back and as Dean slurps down his, Cas mimics him, lean fingers bending the large straw. The child-like gaze is back in full force as Cas stares into the glass watching as the fizzling drink lowers revealing glistening ice-cubes underneath. Dean finds it hard sometimes to think of his buddy as some almighty warrior when all it takes is a soda and pie to bring an angel down to child's level. It reminds him of when Sam was young and those bright hazel eyes were always shining with curiosity at this vast country called America.
Bitter happiness burns the back of Dean's throat. Shaking his head, he fights back the memories. Tonight it's all about Cas, not Sam.
Leaning back, Cas huffs out a breath, astonishment tugging a hint of a smile upwards.
"Well?" Dean presses, eager to know the results while taking another long sip.
"I like it," Cas fixes his eyes on Dean, delight shining in them, "It reminds me of a drink back in the Mesopotamia."
Dean snorts, the soda shooting out through his nose. Coughing and laughing, he blindly reaches out for a napkin.
Cas's face scrunches in confusion while he cleans his mess, that damn worried tone making itself known. "You alright?"
Gasping, Dean wipes away his tears, tossing the soaked napkins onto his plate. "I'm great man." Reaching out he clasps a hand on the angel's shoulders. "Just never heard soda described like that before. I swear you are like a library on randomness."
Cas frowns, a guarded look darkening the blue. "Well it's true."
Dean wants to respond, to stop that wall from rising up again. They're just getting to know each other, Cas opening up to him like never before. This was progress and now he's about to blow it. But then just his luck, the waitress comes back with two plates of pie.
"On the house boys, you two look like you need it."
"Thanks," Dean says, green eyes beaming with forced joy, as he smells the warm spices.
Cas curtly nods, eying his own slice, "Thank you, Susan."
Susan senses the slight depression, motherly instincts winning over. But from her won experience, anything can be cured by a slice of pie. Letting her own happiness shine through her gray curls at being in the presence of two very polite young men, the waitress gathers up the dirty dishes. "You're welcome." Then she waltzes away into the back again, letting the two enjoy their soda and pie in the warmth of the tiny road side diner.
Tilting his head, Dean pats Cas lightly on the shoulder, a quiet apology written on his face. Cas wasn't Sam, hell he wasn't human, so of course he wouldn't understand a friendly jab. It's a hard adjustment but one Dean yearns to succeed in.
"I believe ya, man. I believe ya." And as those words fall out on their own accord, Dean realizes he truly does. That despite making a few bad decisions or being a dick sometimes, Cas never truly betrayed him intentionally. Sure, he was a bit lost and made a few bad decisions, but who hasn't. Somewhere along the way of stabbing the guy in the heart to Cas dying for him, Dean trusts and believes in the angel.
As that warm feeling eases slightly into the coldness Sam left behind, fear clenches around Dean's heart that tomorrow he might lose Cas once again and that this time there wasn't going to be some miracle to save him. The unpleasant thoughts must have oozed out of him because Cas reaches over and swipes a large piece of pie from Dean's plate. In one fell swoop, the angel eats the piece, a certain glint to his eyes as Dean stares bewildered, head tilted to the side.
Then angel cocks his own head, a mirror to Dean, voice level and factual. "I believe you said earlier that I've full on rebelled against Heaven, no?"
"Yeah?" confusion racks Dean's mind, not knowing where Cas was going with this.
"You also mentioned that I should enjoy the perks. And I believe eating as much pie on my last night counts as a perk."
Dean can't fight back the astonished look blasting across his face, lips quirking into a smile. Well, well, well, maybe there was hope for the angel yet. "Guess I'll let you slide this one time." Giving a firm squeeze on the tan shoulder, Dean points an accusing finger at the angel's face, all humor gone from his face. "But the next time you try to swipe some of my pie, I'll kill ya."
Out of all things, it is this that earns a tiny chuckle from the angel. "You've tried that before."
"Yeah well, you, I," Dean falls short on words, hand falling away. Grumbling back to eating his massacred slice, the Winchester shots a dark playful look at his companion. "Just to warn ya, payback's a bitch."
"I'll keep that in mind," muses Cas, his tone still the same gruff but Dean can hear the change underneath. Shaking his head, Dean focuses back on eating while Cas does the same, both finding comfort in the simple actions despite knowing that in a few hours things could change for the worst.
Things sticking out like a sore thumb, for the entire world to see when Sam opens the fridge in the small motel room. The usual six-pack of some cheap local beer is tucked lovingly to the right side. The holy water flasks line the door as he places his water bottles on the sides beneath the freezer. But there off to the side, hiding in the shadows of the left, there's a solemn root beer bottle frosting over. And by its side is a left over slice of apply pie from dinner left untouched with a small scoop of ice-cream melting over the edge. His brother never drank soda and never left a piece of pie untouched. Never.
Dean catches a glimpse of the six-pack as he walks by Sam to take a shower. "Go ahead and treat yourself."
Sam shrugs, trying to keep a neutral tone. "I'll pass. Glad to see you haven't changed your habits though."
"Yeah, well you've always been a health freak," jokes Dean, but the humor isn't there. Straightening his shoulders, something passes over the tired eyes when they take in the other two items. Then just like that, it's gone with a whirlwind as Dean whistles out a nameless tone closing the bathroom door behind him.
As the shower groans awake, Sam stares back down at the pie and the soda pondering for another minute of its existence. Before long, cold air tickles at his bare feet. Shaking his head free of the reverie, Sam closes the fridge. It's merely soda and pie, what's the big deal. Dean's probably saving it for later, nothing to get worried over. Feeling resolved over that decision, he takes a deep breath before reaching out for mug to make himself some coffee.