To Dean these big all-purpose department stores were hell. Full of witnesses. Full of security cameras. Too bright, too noisy, too big, too busy. Even when he was just there to shop. Especially when he was just there to shop.
He turned to Castiel and pointed to the far end of the warehouse-sized store.
"You head to the snow supplies and get us a couple of huge bags of salt, the stuff they use on sidewalks. I'm gonna get some lighter fluid and some flares. We'll meet back here. Any problems, use your phone and call me. Okay?"
Castiel nodded half heartedly. He was still sulking a little because he had wanted to go and fill the car with gas instead of Sam, but Dean had argued that he wasn't an experienced enough driver yet. He knew Dean was right, but the human learning process was slow and frustrating.
Dean gave his shoulder a pat as he repeated the question.
"Okay?" The tone was softly questioning, not demanding.
"Yes. I did not mean to argue with you about the car." Cas put his hand on Dean's shoulder, mirroring Dean's action.
"Hey, don't mention it. Seriously, let's just move on, alright?"
Cas wanted to say more, but the strained expression on Dean's face said 'No chick flick moments'.
Dean gave his shoulder an extra squeeze and gave him a smile of approval, then turned and wandered down one of the aisles. Castiel sighed quietly to himself and walked in the opposite direction to fulfil his part of their shopping list.
Dean roamed down the aisle, figuring he must be getting close because he was surrounded by barbeque supplies like briquettes. Maybe he should check the paints and solvents section? His confusion was diverted by a girlish voice, pitched high and playful.
"Hey. You don't happen to work here do you?"
Dean turned to see a petite woman tanned to a deep orange with hair that was a dead blonde from over bleaching. She looked like she'd gone to a plastic surgeon and asked for 'the lot'. Dean was a good judge, and with so much of them on show, he was pretty sure those weren't real. The tan wasn't real. The hair colour wasn't real. The overlong, bright pink talons studded with a diamante each, weren't real. She wound a skein of her dead hair around her pink-taloned finger as she smiled with her pink-slicked, surgically plumped lips. He stared and wondered what she looked like when she was still … herself.
She took the staring as a compliment, because any kind of male attention was good.
"Can you help me?" He realised even her voice was fake. She was putting on an extra high, helpless, girly voice. Stiletto heels, a tattoo winding its way up her thigh and disappearing under her tiny denim cut-offs, slice of midriff showing a pierced belly button, before the brief top that displayed her 'assets' for all to see. She was trouble alright. And not even the fun 'it was totally worth it' kind. More like the high maintenance kind who kept you paying for it, even after she'd already reeled you in and landed you.
Dean tried to smile but suspected it was more of a grimace.
"Depends. What do you need?"
She pouted and batted her mascara-clumped false eye-lashes. She pointed coyly to the top shelf. Dean's eyes followed the action. On the top shelf were turkey seasoning kits, complete with turkey basters. Dean shuddered.
"Sure." He snagged a nearby step ladder left by staff who had been stocking shelves, and grabbed one of the turkey molesting kits. He was pretty sure she was ogling his ass. It wouldn't be the first time, he smirked to himself, or the last. He stepped off the ladder and turned to hand her the kit. "Here -"
She was right in his face.
He was engulfed in a cloud of her cloying, sweet, vanilla perfume. Dean hoped he didn't look as startled as he felt. That would not be cool. He really wanted to be honest and tell her "Honey, you're trying too hard on all fronts", but he didn't even know how to begin a conversation like that, not without getting kicked in the family jewels.
She brushed his fingers as she took the turkey basting kit from him and smiled from beneath her awning of lashes.
"I'm Amber… and you are?"
There was a double thump as Cas dropped a large sack of salt from each shoulder, making Dean jump.
"He is spoken for."
Cas had inched slightly in front of Dean and his tone held a definite edge of smiteyness. He was wielding the mightiest scowl Dean had ever seen him muster (except that time he'd been hung over).
Dean put his hand to the small of Cas' back hoping to prevent a scene.
"Dude. It's okay. She just wanted a hand."
Amber put her hands to her barely clad hips and took her time giving Cas a once-over. Then she looked Dean over.
"Oh. I get it. Fags."
Cas' scowl narrowed even further. Dean felt the hair on his neck stand up. Oh man, there was going to be violence.
"That, is an ugly word." Cas took a step towards her, eyes narrowing an extra fraction of an inch. "So is whore."
Amber looked slightly surprised. Dean suspected she was registering shock, but surprise was as far as the botox would let her go. Dean went into damage control mode.
"Okay. We are out of here," he said, turning Cas around and steering him away as fast as they could go without running.
Cas looked back over his shoulder. "But Dean… the salt."
Cas allowed Dean to tug him along until they got to the men's wear section of the huge store. Dean snagged two t-shirts without pause, as he passed a rack, and led them to the dressing rooms.
No-one seemed to care when Dean dragged Cas into the room with him.
Dean hung the t-shirts from a hook and stepped forward, pinning Cas' shoulders against the mirror. Cas blinked at Dean, confused.
"Am I? … Spoken for?" Dean asked, suddenly looking uncertain.
Cas smiled, because now he understood. He cupped a hand at the back of Dean's neck.
"Yes…I don't enjoy watching you flirt with jezebels, hussies, strumpets or harlots."
"Dude, I told you. I was just helping her out. There was no flirting."
"I am sorry I was so distracted that I didn't listen."
Dean chuckled. "You were awesome. 'So is whore!'"
He leaned in and gave Cas a lingering kiss on the forehead and a fond smile. Dean guessed they were 'a thing' now. Whatever that meant. There wasn't exactly a rule book for their kind of weird.
"Come on. Let's get our supplies and get out of here."
When Sam finally picked them up he noticed Cas had a new t-shirt. Dean had picked it. It read: "I'm a lover, not a fighter."