"Please state your name for the record."
Dean stood facing the advisory board, ten humourless shrinks in expensive suits, along one side of an oval table. They were in a meeting room in Small Claims Court, with a justice of the peace and a stenographer. Dean had on his best suit, and was sat between Cas and his advisor, Garth. At the other end of the table sat Ruby, wearing a business suit and a deep, deep frown, and her lawyer, an oily, creepy looking guy who'd introduced himself as Alistair. Whether that was his first name or his last was unclear.
"Mr Winchester," the head of the board was talking, "could you also state for the record your relation to Dr DiAngelo."
"I'm his boyfriend."
And so the afternoon wore on. Dean and Cas were asked to leave the room whilst the board reached their verdict. They sat on the wooden benches in the hall outside the meeting room, and tried to put the words together to ask each other if they wanted to go get food of some kind.
The words weren't there, though. They both felt like they'd used up all their words inside the hearing. So they sat there, pressed together from toe to shoulder, Castiel knitting his fingers between Dean's and leaning his head on his shoulder. Dean pressed a kiss to Castiel's forehead, and squeezed his hand From somewhere, in the recesses of his brain, he found the words for just one sentence.
"I hope we're gonna be alright."
The office was small, with most of it given over to the actual office, but a small space inside the door which was a waiting room, a reception of sorts. The walls were white, the carpet was that odd, short pile carpet in a speckled blue-green-grey that only appears in offices. There were some dusty rubber plants either side of a big bookcase, which sat against the wall behind a reception desk.
Dean was currently stood by the door that would lead to the waiting room, working up the courage to go inside. He was waiting to go into a waiting room, and as far as he was concerned, it was all his own fault. He couldn't blame Sam for this one.
Dean used to be uncomfortable around head-shrinkers. It was understandable, he'd seen enough of them when he was a kid. But he wasn't uncomfortable any more.
Dean hadn't been uncomfortable since Sam had told him to see this one, particular shrinker. The guy was Sam's date's brother, and a lecturer at the college Dean had dropped out of two years previously.
Maybe Dean had been uncomfortable at first, and undoubtedly it was because he had secretly thought that Sam was right.
Dean gently but firmly escorted these thoughts from his mind, gripped the door handle, and pushed his way in. Once he had escorted the inappropriate thoughts away, he quietly closed the door and thought about himself. About everything and nothing in particular.
He'd been doing a lot of thinking lately.
Dean was gay. Sam was gay, or bi, or whatever, and he'd long since accepted that. But Dean had taken a while longer to accept his own sexuality. He had this one guy to thank for that. The guy who'd finally got through Dean's pig-headed, stubborn fear of being anything other than the perfect son.
The receptionist, a blonde girl with wide eyes and a far-away gleam in her eye, jumped out of her skin as she walked through from the psychiatrist's office and saw Dean.
"Dean! You scared me!"
"I was just… thinking about stuff. Nothing."
"You sure?" Dean quirked an eyebrow at her. "Boys giving you trouble again?"
Becky sat behind the receptionist desk, giving him a world weary look.
"Why is it that it's completely fine for a guy to have more than one girlfriend, but as soon as a girl is non-monogamous…"
"Guys are possessive." Dean shrugged. "We're all fundamentally insecure about one thing or another, right? Guys tend to be territorial, make up for it."
Becky frowned, unconvinced, Dean patted her on the shoulder.
"Yeah, deal with it. Is he free?"
Becky waved him on in, tapping uninterestedly at her computer. Dean left her to it, and went through to the psychologist's office, throwing himself down on the black couch.
"You know Doc, I think I found myself the other day, you know, really found the reason I am the way I am. I think it started with my mother, she always burned the spaghetti."
"And hello to you too, Dean," the voice came from across the room. The owner of the voice was average height, slightly shorter than Dean, fairly slender, with pale skin and dark hair, which was scruffy on his head and scrubby on his cheeks and jaw. He wore a white shirt with a blue tie, and didn't turn to look at Dean until he had finished putting books away on the shelves. When he did turn, he was wearing that weary smile that Dean loved. The one that said "I'm trying to give you the impression that your antics don't amuse me, purely because one of us has to be the mature adult, but you make it very difficult for me".
Dean had missed him. After the hearing, Castiel had been cleared, but had gotten snowed under with all of his work at the college. After months, though, he was finally free from grading papers.
Not that Dean hadn't stayed over, made meals, generally sorted out Castiel's scatter-brained-academic ass, but he'd felt like he hadn't had Castiel's full and undivided attention for a while. Plus, he may have been OK with being gay, but he was still Dean, and being romantic in public (or, you know, actually telling people anything) was something he was still working on. Which meant that it was May and he was only just actually using Castiel's name when talking about his "guy… friend".
"So are you ready?" Dean reclined further on the couch.
"Almost. Just let me shut down my computer."
"Do it fast. I'm hungry."
"I can only tell the computer to shut down. The speed of the processing is entirely beyond my control."
Dean laughed. "Dork."
Castiel smiled at him, almost shaking his head, before returning his attention to the computer. Dean cleared his throat, sitting up.
"So, Sam got his results yesterday. Passed the bar."
"Ah, my congratulations to him. It's a shame I couldn't be there in person."
"Yeah, and, uh… we realised that our lease is up on the apartment in like a month." Dean stood and put his hands in his pockets, walking over to where Castiel sat, suddenly very still.
"Oh," Castiel managed.
"Yeah, Sam and Gabriel are probably going to move in together. Which is cool, but I still need a place to stay, at least, you know… while I find somewhere permanent."
Castiel stood, turned off the computer screen, turned to face Dean and wrapped his arms around his neck, pulling him in for a deep, long kiss.
When they parted, Dean smiled at Cas, who slapped Dean on the ass and walked over to his coat stand, pulling on his billowy trenchcoat as he swept out of the room.
"Dinner first, Dean, you know I won't make decisions on an empty stomach."
Dean knew. He waved goodnight to Becky, and caught up with Cas at the top of the stairs. They walked down to ground level together, before walking out into the evening.
It wasn't perfect. It probably wasn't what his Dad would have wanted.
But to Dean, things seemed pretty ok.