"I don't understand. You take a tree inside then decorate it with various coloured spheres and long strings of shredded foil?"
"Yes, Cas. That's what you do at Christmas."
"But.." Castiel paused for a moment, staring at the tinsel in his hands before raising his eyes to look questioningly at Dean "Why?"
Dean rolled his eyes "I don't know man, it's just something we do."
Sam was sat in the corner of the room by the fire, trying to untangle the Christmas lights. Continuing to tug at the wires he responded "Well evergreens have always been a symbol of life in the winter. They're mentioned in pretty much every culture. Actually using them as Christmas trees was made popular by Prince Albert in the 1800s."
"Great, thanks for that dork." Dean huffed, taking the tinsel from Cas and wrapping it carefully around the tree.
"So it's more of a tradition of sentimental value than a religious ritual?" he clarified, blue eyes burning into Dean's back.
"That's right." he mumbled in response, continuing to decorate the tree.
This was Castiel's first proper Christmas (well, Christmas Eve) with the Winchesters and Dean thought it was sort of nice. They rarely got to see Cas outside of their 'job' and it was cool for him to see the other side of them. You know, not the crazy monster-murdering side, but the normal side. They also got to see another side of Cas, who had followed the brothers' lead in thinking of Christmas as a break from work. Castiel therefore was a lot more relaxed, often smiling – which was a novelty - or asking questions. A lot of questions. A shit-ton of questions.
"What is that?" Castiel asked cautiously, eyes fixed on the window. Sam stood up to take a look followed closely by Dean. They both strained to see anything in the darkness.
"What? What did you see?" Sam questioned, breath fogging up the glass.
Castiel frowned "Don't you see?" He walked closer to the window and traced his finger across it "All of that. Falling from the sky."
Dean rolled his eyes "You have gotta' be kidding me. Cas, that's snow!"
"That's snow?" Castiel questioned sceptically.
"Yes, Cas. That is snow. And you've never seen it before?" Cas nodded "Ok that's it. Sammy I'll be back soon, I'm taking the angel for a walk."
Sam snorted and Castiel looked confused. "Where are we going?"
"Come on, Cas! You're a God-damn angel and you've never seen snow before?"
"Well not quite..."
"Exactly, come on." Dean insisted, walking into the hallway and handing Castiel's trench coat to him. "Uh you might be a bit cold in just that." He said hesitantly, glancing at the angel's sparse attire.
"Dean, I'm a soldier of God, I think I can handle low temperatures."
"Alright don't get all alpha male on me just –"Dean reached for Sam's matching knitted scarf, hat, and mittens "Here put these on." Castiel rolled his eyes and Dean suppressed a laugh at an angel of the Lord performing such a human mannerism. He pulled on his own coat and opened the door.
"Why are you not wearing many woollen layers too? You are far weaker than myself, and therefore obviously more likely to fall ill." Charming as ever. Castiel's question wasn't meaning to be offensive, he could tell. He was simply curious and mildly bewildered as usual. But it still made Dean jump a little because the truth was, he wasn't entirely sure. Castiel huffed at Dean's lack of a response "Always determined to think of everyone else before yourself." He said, sounding almost exasperated. That also caught Dean off guard.
"Uh, I, um..." Dean stuttered in an attempt to object, but he had nothing. When he really thought about it he realised all he had wanted was for Cas to be comfortable. He simply hadn't thought of himself. Dean sighed in resignation "I just wanted you to be warm, Cas." He said with a small smile.
Castiel stepped out of the house and turned back to look at Dean, a slight smile playing at the corners of his mouth. "Did it ever occur to you, that I'd want the same for you?"
Dean looked down to avoid contact with his piercing blue eyes. "I guess not." He confessed with a shrug, stepping outside and closing the door behind him. Dean's eyes found their way back to Castiel, who was obviously no longer paying attention. Instead was staring at the night sky, squinting his eyes as if he was straining to see the exact point that the snowflakes were coming from. He raised the palms of his mitten covered hands towards the sky, and inspected carefully the little flakes that stuck to them.
"It's like the stars are falling." Castiel said quietly, still staring at the bits of snow in his hand. Dean looked up at the sky and grinned. The snowflakes sparkled, reflecting the delicate moonlight, and gave the impression that stars really where floating down from the sky. Suddenly there was loud thud in Dean's ear and cold melting ice running down his neck. Dean looked up to see Castiel doubled over in hysterical laughter.
"What the hell was that?" Dean questioned brushing snow off his shoulder. He couldn't help smiling at Cas's giggling fit. He'd never seen him laughing so openly before.
"They did it on the television." Castiel said between uncontrollable bouts of laughter "And it worked. It actually worked. A snowball."
"Right, that's it." Dean smirked, reaching down and scooping up a ball of snow. Cas quirked his head then widened his eyes as he realised what was happening.
"Dean, no!" he protested, raising his hands to cover his face and turning his back towards him to protect himself. The snowball was hurtled towards Cas, hitting him in the back of the neck. He groaned and swept the melting ice off himself. "That was unpleasant." He scolded.
Dean burst out into a laugh more genuine than any other in a long time. "I'm not gonna' say I'm sorry, you started this." He said wondering over to beside Castiel and scooping out the snow that had got caught in the collar of his trench coat.
Castiel turned to face him with so little room between them their chests brushed together. Dean was about to comment on personal space but as he inhaled he could smell cinnamon and apple on Cas from the pie he and Sam had tried to bake earlier that day. Dean's lips twitched into a smile and he looked up to find Cas's eyes staring intensely into his own. A warm buzz of electricity surged beneath his skin as he became acutely aware of the mere half-inch separating their lips.
"I would like to see it in the light." Cas entreated, interrupting his train of thought. Dean took a step back. Where the hell had that come from? Since when was he thinking about kissing guys, let alone kissing Cas?
"Dean?" Cas persisted "I should like to see the snow in the light."
"Oh." Dean breathed, zoning back into the conversation "Well, it'll still be here tomorrow." he reassured. Cas nodded in understanding but shifted impatiently, not wanting to wait that long. Dean sighed "Or there's a park about a block away. Saw it on the drive here. All the trees are covered with Christmas lights, would that work?"
Cas grinned in excitement "Yes, that would be perfect."
"Come on then." Dean said, tugging slightly as the sleeve of Cas's trench coat to get him to follow.
They walked in a silence that would have been awkward if it wasn't so obvious that Cas was paying absolutely no attention. Captivated by the snow, Cas's eyes darted around his surroundings trying to take in every single detail; the way the snow fell into a perfectly flat carpet of glistening white, the way the snowflakes would be blown wildly by the slightest breeze and would get stuck in Dean's eyelashes. Castiel smiled in contentment.
He sped up when he spotted the lights and Dean silently followed his example. They paced towards the park, Castiel getting progressively faster the closer they got, until suddenly on the edge of the park he froze. Dean skidded to a standstill to stay by him and looked up to see Cas staring wide-eyed at the lights. He looked beautiful. His face was lit up by the from the soft glow of the decorative lights, so Dean could see clearly that the tip of his nose had gone red in the cold, the hair that had escaped from under the woolly hat was now covered in little snowflakes, and a shy smile was teasing the corners of his mouth. Impulsively, Dean reached for Castiel's hand. The angel's eyes flashed towards him in confusion and Dean smiled reassuringly, gently leading Cas into the park.
They walked for a little while more, just until Dean was satisfied that they were completely surrounded by trees and Cas could get the full effect of how snow looks when its lit up. But when Dean looks to see Cas's reaction he's not taking any notice of the snow, and is instead watching him. This doesn't make Dean as uncomfortable as he thought it would. A shiver runs down his spine that he can't repress; misinterpreting it, Castiel frowns "You're cold."
"No, no, I'm fine." Dean insists, but he feels a tug on his hand as he realises it's still holding Castiel's. He's pulled toward the angel and Cas uses his free hand to unwrap the scarf from around his neck. "No, Cas come on that's keeping you warm, don't –"
"Dean I'm fine." Castiel said with an exasperated laugh "Just take it."
Dean rolled his eyes but took the scarf and wrapped it tightly around his neck to appease Castiel. "Clearly you don't appreciate how important it was earlier." Dean said slyly.
Cas paused for a moment in confusion then gasped, once again realising of what he meant a little too late. "No! Dean don't you dare!" but Dean already had a handful of snow and was compressing it into a ball. He raised his arm to throw but Cas leapt forward and grabbed his wrist to stop him. Dean struggled against him but he was strong and ended up pinning Dean's arm above his head. Cas laughed and Dean felt his breath warm on his face and once again became hyper-aware how close they were causing him to crumble the snowball in his hand and let the remains fall onto both of them. The angel sighed and shook his head, angling it so all the snow that flung off him fell onto Dean. He let out another small laugh and let Dean's hands drop by his sides but kept holding onto his wrists. Dean watched as Cas's lips curved into a wide smile and gently leaned down to press his own against them before he could over think it. Cas froze before gently removing his hands from Deans wrists and wrapping his arms around his hips. Dean smiled against him as he began to tentatively kiss him back.
After a short while Dean pulled away to look at Cas who, once he had opened his eyes, looked confused and slightly smug. Dean laughed and gently pecked him on the forehead. Cas tightened his hold around Dean's waist and took a deep breath. "Dean?"
There was a pause before he continued. "What was that?"
Dean laughed "Come on Cas, you're not that naive, I've seen you watch porn."
Cas rolled his eyes "Yes, Dean, I know. But I mean..."
"I know what you mean, Cas." He said, gently placing another kiss on the top of Castiel's head.
"Actually never mind. I don't want an answer." Cas mumbled against the woolly scarf.
"Why's that now?"
"Because I don't mind. I'm just happy it happened."