A/N: I am sorry to announce that this is the last chapter.
I know, I know, commence the weeping and flailing and gnashing of teeth. But it had to end sometime, didn't it?
I won't stand in your way. I won't delay you any longer. Read the chapter, and enjoy.
Dean bent down and rummaged through the fridge. "Got any eggs in here?"
Cas walked up behind him and rested his hand along Dean's back. "Lower shelf."
Dean bent down further, peering past the Tupperware containers.
Cas's hand drifted downward.
Dean stopped. "There aren't any eggs on the lower shelf, are there?"
Cas drummed his fingers. "No."
Dean sighed. "You just wanted me to stick my ass out, didn't you?"
Cas slid his hand down and squeezed his butt. "Yes."
Dean stood up and closed the fridge and fixed Cas with a reproachful look. "Here I am trying to make you a nice breakfast, and you're just objectifying me."
Cas smiled, and patted his cheek. "Yes, and what a lovely object you are."
Dean narrowed his eyes. "I'm not lovely. Knitted tea cozies are lovely."
"Hmmm." Cas trailed his hand down Dean's chest, following it with his eyes. "Would you prefer 'fuckable'?"
So they ended up making out against the fridge for several minutes.
"Seriously though," Dean finally interjected. "I'm hungry. Let's find some food."
Cas groaned and extracted himself from Dean. "Fine. I do have eggs, they're just on the door." He walked to the table.
Dean opened the fridge again and spotted them. "Aha. Perfect." He took out the carton and turned to Cas. "You like 'em scrambled?"
Cas was standing at the window, the curtain pushed aside with his hand, staring. "Dean," he said. "Come look."
Dean went to the window.
Across the fence, outside of his house, an entire flock of newscasters had assembled. Several vans, cameras of all kinds, men and women with microphones, all clustered on his front lawn around the doorstep like a gaggle of schoolchildren circling an impending fight.
"Shit," Dean uttered.
"Someone told," Cas said.
Dean looked at him. "What do you mean?"
Cas kept staring at the crowd, his brows knotting. "The new phone book isn't out. You're not listed yet. You said your company didn't release your information. So someone who knows told someone else, and they told others where you live. That's probably how your name got out in the first place."
Dean exhaled heavily. "It was bound to be discovered sooner or later. I knew this was coming, I just didn't know it would happen so fast."
Breakfast was forgotten, and Dean reluctantly groomed himself, combing his hair and shaving. He looked at himself in the mirror and winced at the large hickey on his neck. He momentarily considered borrowing one of Cas's scarves, but then –
He turned down his collar, and popped a button so the second one farther down was visible as well.
Meanwhile, Sam had appeared on Dean's front step, no doubt in response to all the knocking. Cameras began flashing; reporters jammed microphones in his face. He appeared apologetic, probably explaining to them all that Dean was not in at the moment. They pushed their mikes insistently, prodding him for information.
Dean and Cas walked to the door and stepped outside. No one noticed. They were all so intent on Sam.
"Well." Dean scratched his chin. "Time to face the music."
Cas started to reach toward him, then caught himself. He pressed his lips together. "I should be more careful," he commented. "You're a celebrity now."
Dean's chest twisted tight.
Suddenly Sam noticed the two of them, and he looked right at them. The reporters followed his gaze.
A collective cry of excitement rose from the crowd.
They swarmed toward Cas's house, and Cas said, "That's my cue," and turned and reached for the doorknob to go inside –
And Dean grabbed his arm. "Wait."
Cas gazed at him with wide blue eyes, confused. The reporters descended on the lawn, chattering and jostling and yelling questions.
And Dean pulled Cas close and swept him into a long, deep kiss like a black-and-white film star from the 1940s.
For a moment, there was complete silence.
And then the crowd burst into exploding camera flashes and frantic shouting and noise, circling tight around them and closing in.
Dean released Cas. "You can go inside now, if you want," he shouted over the commotion.
Cas just nodded dumbly, completely bowled over, and he fumbled at the doorknob. Once he got it to turn he looked back at Dean and said, "Someday I'm going to marry you."
Dean grinned stupidly and replied, "You can take it up with the governor."
Cas nodded sagely and slipped inside. The flock of paparazzi finally crashed upon Dean and jammed their foam-covered mikes in his face, the cameramen hoisting their camcorders higher, until he raised his hand and shouted, "Quiet down! Quiet down!"
They settled and quieted, a few last calls echoing in the air.
He smiled charmingly. "To answer your questions: Hello. I'm Dean Winchester, and yes, I'm the guy from the Texaco."
"Well, this sucks," Dean told Sam.
They were on the couch watching Cartoon Network again, neither bothering to pretend they had better things to do.
"What?" Sam asked. "Robot Chicken? You picked the channel, dude."
"I'm back together with Cas, but now I have to move," Dean explained.
Sam rolled his eyes. "The paparazzi isn't that bad, Dean. It'll die down in the next couple days, and by next week it'll be forgotten."
Dean snorted. "No, not because of that. Because I lost my job. I can't afford this house." He sighed. "And it's really way, way, way too soon to move in with Cas."
"I told you you should get a roommate," Sam said.
"I don't want to live with some stranger," Dean replied grumpily. "I'm too old for that."
Sam pursed his lips. "What about me?"
Dean twiddled his thumbs. "Actually, that was… that was my idea in the beginning, but it doesn't really help me right now with the 'can't afford it' angle."
"Well, it just so happens…" Sam cleared his throat. "I got a job."
Sam smiled guiltily. "I just found out today."
"You got a job? Here?" Dean asked. "How?"
Sam laughed. "You really think I was just sitting around all day while you went to work? You're such an idiot. I was looking the whole time, and a position opened up at St. Vincent DePaul."
Dean blinked. "The thrift store chain?"
Sam nodded. "It's not just a thrift store, though, it's a charity organization, and… The pay won't be great, and neither will the hours, but I'll be able to work my way up. And I feel like I'll be doing something worthwhile."
"That's great, Sam." Dean was… more than impressed. "That's awesome."
"So I can pay my rent." Sam smirked. "Help out my deadbeat brother."
Dean punched him in the arm and then asked, "So you always knew I wanted you to stay here?"
Sam chuckled and rubbed his hands together, admitting, "No. But I knew I wanted to be – around you, you know? In the same town, at least. You're my family, Dean."
Dean smiled and swallowed thickly and said, "Yeah. Winchesters gotta stick together."
Sam smiled back, his eyes a little shiny.
Then Cas burst in the front door, kicking his boots off into the hallway. Under his arm he was carrying a big translucent plastic tub. "Dean!" he gasped, "I found the queen! The queen turtle!"
Dean and Sam craned their bodies around to see.
Still catching his breath, Cas carried the tub into the living room, setting it gingerly on the coffee table. He lifted off the lid, and Dean and Sam peered into it. "Careful," Cas warned. "They're devious."
Inside was a bed of dirt, a heat lamp, a hollow half of a log, a slice of watermelon, and small box turtle who was diligently working on a lettuce leaf.
"I have to keep her separated from the rest of the hive," Cas explained. "Eventually, they'll leave my house in search of a new queen."
Dean narrowed his eyes. "Wait, are you saying you want to keep it here?"
Sam petted the turtle's head. "It's kinda cute. What's its name?"
"Don't give it a name!" Dean protested. "Then we have to keep it!"
"Ornata," Cas answered. "After her species, the ornate box turtle."
Sam looked at Cas strangely. "That's the state reptile of Kansas."
"I don't care where it's from," Dean interjected. "We don't need a turtle."
"I explained it already," Cas said. "This is the only way to keep turtles from chewing off my toes in the night, Dean. The queen must be isolated."
Dean groaned and rubbed his forehead. "Fine. But it better not escape that tub."
"Right," Cas affirmed emphatically. "I made sure her containment center is turtle-proof. We don't need a second infestation."
Dean's cell phone buzzed, Bobby's name on the screen. He stepped away from the other two and flipped it open. "Hello?"
"Why am I watching you on TV locking lips with another man?" Bobby demanded.
Dean froze. "Oh."
"It's a hell of a stunt, Dean, but you can't pull that kind of crap for attention," Bobby continued to rant. "Of all the childish – I can't believe you'd charge a man with a loaded gun, of all the damn fool things to do – and then when the cameras show up, you're draggin' in some man for a tonsil hockey session! Are you making a statement, is that it? Did some political civil rights bug crawl up your ass? Well, maybe you should've considered that perhaps your pal there didn't want his face plastered across the national news! You can't just –"
"Bobby." Dean took a deep breath. "It wasn't just some guy. And it wasn't just some statement. That was my neighbor, Castiel, and we're – together."
A long silence.
"Dammit, boy," Bobby said. "Why am I always the last to know about these things?"
Dean laughed in relief. "Remember when I snuck out of the house at night?"
"Jesus Christ, it all makes sense. And this shooting? Why the hell didn't you call? That was the night I flew home!"
"I just – I didn't know what to say. It all happened so fast. And I was fine."
"Well, you idjit, next time you better get on the a goddamn phone, alright?" Bobby demanded.
"Alright," Dean agreed. "But I'm hoping there won't be a next time. And… Sam got a job up here. He's moving in with me."
Bobby paused, and when he spoke again, his voice was softer. "I'm glad to hear it, Dean. I'm glad you boys are doin' good."
Dean cleared his throat. "Thanks, Bobby. I… I oughta go now."
"Take care, Dean."
Dean went back to the living room, where Sam and Cas were still playing with the turtle.
"It really likes the watermelon," Sam noted.
"It's best to please her," Cas said. "So she doesn't try to burrow out."
"Alright, alright, stop getting attached," Dean interrupted. "This is just temporary. Eventually this – this Ornata thing is going to go back to live with Cas."
Cas and Sam looked at each other. "No one's getting attached, Dean," Sam said.
"I loathe turtles," Cas chimed in.
"You're the one using its name," Sam added pointedly. "Ornata."
Cas leaned in and said in an exaggerated whisper, "I think Dean likes her."
Dean pursed his lips, and turned to walk to the kitchen. "You guys are children."
"You're children!" Sam called after him.
"A child," Cas corrected. "He's a child. What's for dinner, Dean?"
"I don't know," Dean shot back. "What are you making?"
Cas nodded. "Soup. Soup is a good idea. Let's all make soup."
So they piled into the kitchen and made soup, and somewhere between Sam chopping onions and pretending to weep inconsolably, and Cas threatening to put tofu in the pot unless Dean consented to green beans, Dean realized that he was about to have a very good year.
A/N: Thank you all so very much for reading. I love you all dearly, and I appreciate you more than you will ever know. Please, please, please - if you smiled even once during this story, please review and make my day. Thank you.