A/N: Okay, I'm going to let my Texan show here and say… Merry Christmas, y'all! :)
Dean woke in the middle of the night to find Castiel gone. He looked around the room groggily before slipping out of bed to go look for him.
He found him standing in the kitchen, back door open and screen door closed as he looked out on the snow-covered yard in the moonlight. He was wearing the trench coat, and with the dark-colored sweat pants he had on, in the dim light he looked almost like his old self. Like the angel Dean had let get so far past his guard. It drew Dean up short for a second and he just stared.
"Hello, Dean," Castiel said without turning to look at him.
And that was like old times, too, when Castiel knew Dean was around by picking up on the resonance frequency of his soul or some shit.
"Heya, Cas…" he moved toward the ex-angel. "Did you have a nightmare? You could have woken me, you know."
"I didn't have a nightmare." When Dean came to a stop standing alongside Cas, he turned blue eyes on Dean. There was that same soul-searching quality about his gaze that hadn't vanished with falling. Dean suspected Castiel would always have that scary ability to see right through all his bullshit. He just hoped he didn't stop liking what he saw when he did.
"So… whatcha doing?"
"Thinking." Castiel cocked his head. "Today was a very good day."
Dean smiled softly. "Yeah, it was." Dean sidled closer to Cas. "I've never seen Sam so happy."
"He's going to be a wonderful father."
"He is. Who would have thought either one of us would be here, huh?"
"Sam, engaged with a baby on the way. Me with you."
Castiel looked sidelong at Dean. "Do you regret any of it?"
Dean frowned. "Cas, man… there is so much shit I regret. But you? Not a chance in hell."
Castiel nodded distractedly. Dean could tell something was bothering him. "What is it?"
"Sam… he has what is considered the measure of human happiness. A wife. A child." His eyes skittered away. "You will never have those with me."
"Is thatwhat you've been up thinking about?"
Dean scowled. "Cas, that's not… how can you even… look, you traded being an angelfor me. Do you regret that?"
"Well, there you go." Dean sighed. "So maybe it isn't quote unquote normal, but who cares? You could offer me the entire line-up of models for Busty Asian Beauties, and I'd still pick you. As for kids… I don't know about you, but I'm going to be an awesomeuncle."
Castiel began to smile. "It'll be strange, to look upon Sam's child and know parts of me are there."
"Nah… that's just family, man."
They stood in silence together for a time, looking out at the backyard, an actual winter wonderland like the freaking song said. Dean caught himself looking more at Castiel than the snow.
"Hey, Cas… I wanted to ask you something."
Castiel looked over at him, quirking one eyebrow like Mister Spock. "You aren't about to propose, are you, Dean?"
Dean laughed quietly. "No, not tonight." Dean moved to the counter to lean against it, regarding Castiel carefully. "I've been thinking… with Sam and Zoë with a baby on the way… well, it might be kind of awkward living here with them like some freaky commune. And these northern winters are awful on my baby."
Dean paused. "That too. Between the snow and ice and road salt… that shit can eat up the body of a classic car like the Impala in no time. I'll be damned if she made it through all the crap she has just to end up getting rusted out by Ohio.
"But what I was thinking is that this really isn't the climate best suited to you… in all the continental United States, we can find someplace where you'll be happier." Dean looked down at his hands. "So I was thinking… instead of taking a vacation down south, why don't we just move?"
"You mean… you and me?"
"Yeah. I thought we could get a place together… maybe in Texas."
Castiel mulled that over. "Is that decision influenced at all by Doctor Sexy?"
Dean laughed. "No!" Then he squirmed. "Okay, if we did move to Texas I might feel some obligation to buy a pair of cowboy boots, but I'm being serious. Would you like to move with me?"
Castiel left his place at the door to go stand in front of Dean. He regarded him closely. "Won't you miss your brother?"
"Of course I will… but me and Sam, we've been unhealthily up in each other's business our entire lives. Things are different now. He has Zoë; I have you. It's time we get some distance from each other, lived our own lives. And it's not like we'd never see each other again… we'd come visit."
"In the summer," Castiel chimed in.
Dean chuckled. "Yeah, and maybe Christmas could be at our place." Dean caught Castiel's eyes hopefully. "So…? Do you want to?"
"Dean… right after I fell, I told you I wanted to be wherever you were. That hasn't changed. I'd go anywhere to be with you."
"But how do you feel about moving? If you're happy here, I won't take you away from that."
"I am happy here… but that is not Ohio's doing." Castiel's mouth twitched. "I would like to go someplace warm and sunny with you."
Dean reached out and pulled Castiel into him. Cas rested his cheek on Dean's shoulder like it rightly belonged there. Dean rubbed his hands up Castiel's back. "Fair warning… I burn and freckle up in the sun like you wouldn't believe."
"Perhaps that will make them easier to count."
Dean guffawed. "You've been trying to count my freckles?"
"It's an engrossing task, though I have yet to get far without becoming distracted." He nipped lightly at Dean's throat to illustrate his point.
Dean's hold on Castiel tightened. "I thought you knew where everything on me was, put me back together cell by cell and all that."
"I do. I know the number of freckles on you, but I haven't known each and every one with these human hands."
Dean brought up a hand to Castiel's hair, lightly fisting the dark locks. "Well, we'll have to fix that, won't we?" He nuzzled behind Castiel's ear before whispering, "Can I tell you a secret?"
Castiel's hands were worming their way underneath the hem of Dean's t-shirt expertly.
"Seeing you in that trench coat really turns me on."
Castiel drew back, meeting Dean's eyes in the dark. "I see… then perhaps we should take this upstairs… where I can grip you tight."
Dean grinned and pushed off the counter to follow Castiel to the bedroom. "Merry Christmas to me!"
On the day before New Year's, Dean and Castiel had all their things packed up in the trunk of the Impala, ready to head down south. The decision to move took Sam and Zoë by surprise when Dean told them about it the day after Christmas, but they seemed to understand that it was time for a change. Zoë thought they rushed themselves getting ready taking the mere week that they did, but she didn't realize how out of the ordinary that was for the Winchesters. Dean and Sam were used to taking off on a moment's notice, all their possessions either in the car or their duffel bags.
Dean quit his job at the shop and got his last paycheck. That and what little he'd saved up would have to get them where they were going, and from there they'd have to wing it. Dean wasn't worried. He knew how to come up with a plan on the fly.
Dean was surprised at how much crap he and Cas had accumulated just living in the Harrison house for a few months. There was barely room in the trunk for it all on top of the weapons (because Dean might no longer be a hunter, but he wasn't to the point where he could strip his beloved car of the protection it had always offered).
They hadn't specified a day they wanted to leave… they just found themselves with everything packed and no more loose ends to tie up one morning. And Dean, being the rolling stone that he was, decreed they would leave that day.
The road practically called to him, and Dean could hardly wait to go. Even still, he found himself standing at the front window, looking out at the Impala in the driveway. Cas and Zoë were out there; Zoë had insisted on packing them a lunch fit for kings. Castiel was trying to find an appropriate place in the backseat for the large basket, looking kind of perturbed about its bulky size.
"He's just worrying about it getting in the way of you two getting it on back there," a voice said behind Dean. Dean turned and saw his brother approaching.
Dean snorted. "That's a valid concern. Two men is a tight squeeze back there as it is."
Sam grimaced. "Too much information, Dean."
Dean shrugged. "You brought it up." They stood side by side a moment.
"This is weird," Sam finally commented.
"Yeah, I know. It hasn't really sunk in that when I go out there and get in the car, you won't be getting in with me."
Sam nodded thoughtfully. "But this is what you want, right?"
"What, to not be here when there's a screaming baby not letting anyone sleep through the night? Oh yeah, this is what I want."
Sam punched Dean lightly on the arm. Then he sighed. "You guys will visit, right? Once the baby comes?"
"All the freaking time, Sammy. You're not getting rid of me that easy."
"Good… I'm going to miss you, Dean."
"Me too. But this is good for us… we both need this."
"I know." Sam watched Castiel and Zoë carry on a conversation a second before he said, "Two years ago, I would never believe this would be our lives."
"I'd have laid odds on dead over this," Dean mumbled. Then that restlessness stirred in his gut, that drive telling him to move on. The same itch to go that he'd been suppressing for months. Only this time, he didn't.
"Well, guess we should head on out."
"Yeah, sure… call me when you get where you're going?"
Dean grinned, "Dude, I'm texting you from every tourist trap between here and Arizona. All those giant balls of twine you never wanted to see… I'll bet Cas'll check them out with me."
"And that, right there, is why he's perfect for you." It was meant as a joke, but it hit so dangerously close to the mark that both Winchesters just kind of went quiet and rolled with it.
The brothers walked out the front door together. Sam stopped on the porch and reached out to grab Dean's arm by the elbow. Dean turned to face his younger brother. Sam smiled thinly. "Okay, I know that no one just came back from the dead or anything, but…" Sam stepped forward and folded his arms around Dean in a hug. Dean returned it… this hugging outside of miraculous resurrections wasn't all that bad.
When they broke apart, Sam stayed on the porch while Dean headed toward the car. Zoë intercepted him. She had no compunctions about giving him a hug. "You two take care of each other," she said.
"Yeah, well, you take care of my brother and my niece or nephew."
"You know I will… don't be strangers, okay? I'll be really offended if Uncle Dean and Uncle Cas aren't a big part of this baby's life."
"You couldn't keep us away if you tried," Dean promised.
Zoë joined Sam on the porch while Dean angled for the driver's side door of his beloved car. Castiel was already sitting in the passenger seat. Dean got in and just enjoyed the feeling, the leather of the seat, the smell of the car, the gleam of her metal in the sun… fuck, he'd missed all this. He looked over at the seat that had always been Sam's, but it wasn't wrong to see Cas sitting there, either. He was wearing the trench coat, though there were warmer jackets he could have chosen. It made Dean smile… maybe the symbolism of it meant as much to Castiel as it did to Dean.
"You ready, Cas?"
Castiel splayed his fingers over the seat, as if testing the sturdiness of the Impala under him. "I am."
Dean began to reach forward to put the key in the ignition and stopped a second, just watching Castiel. As an angel, he'd given up Heaven for Dean. As a human, he was agreeing to a cross-country move to make Dean happy. No one but Sam had ever done so much for him. With Cas, it was even more astounding, because every bit of it was out of free will. The fact that no blood obligation to family compelled Castiel to do it made Dean feel worthwhile. Like he mattered. Like he was wanted. There were plenty of times when Dean felt like Sam thought he was stuck with Dean since they were brothers, but Castiel had chosenDean.
The words came out of Dean without thought. "I love you."
Castiel turned his head quickly to lock eyes with Dean. He looked shocked for a split-second, then he was beaming. One of those rare, full-blown Castiel grins that lit up his entire face and made the skin on the bridge of his nose crinkle.
Dean knew he was grinning back like an idiot, but he didn't care.
"I love you, too," Castiel returned warmly. Castiel looked over his shoulder at the street, gave a tick of his head, and said with a smile, "Let's go."
Drive to their new life together.
Dean didn't have to be told twice.