"But Dean, I don't understand. How can an inanimate object such as a light be feminine? Sam would - "

"Shut it, Cas. I asked you to come along with me and we're going. I don't want to hear any of your snarky bullshit. Just get in the goddamned car, shut your cakehole, and wait until we get there."

The hunter was tense as he slid into the Impala, not even bothering to check if the angel had gotten into the car. He hadn't heard the door - but he knew, without a single doubt, that Cas was there. "Good," he added, jamming the keys in the ignition with a huff. It had been so long since he had celebrated Christmas. So long since he had really enjoyed anything as simple as a light display. So when he'd heard about the holiday light competition in the town they were currently hunting in, it had been a no brainer.

Of course he couldn't ask Sammy. The last time he'd asked for Christmas, Sammy only gave it to him because Dean had already booked himself a one way ticket to hell. And asking his younger brother to put aside his childhood problems surrounding the holiday just wasn't worth it.

Or maybe he was just afraid of seeing the look on Sammy's face as he told him about his desire to see goddamned Christmas lights.

That wasn't girly or anything. Nope.

Always willing to follow the hunter's orders, the angel stayed absolutely quiet in the front seat of the Impala. Castiel's eyes glowed with unanswered curiosity and confusion, but he knew Dean well enough to wager this was far more important to the hunter than he'd like it to be. Although what was so special about a bulb of electricity, Castiel couldn't -

The Impala was stopped, parked outside of dozens of houses, each glowing in unique, fantastical ways. Some houses were swimming in purples and blues, others in reds and greens - but Castiel's favorite, he decided, were the houses lined with white.

"Dean - "

"Shut it Cas. Just look." The older Winchester stepped out of the car, the door of the Impala closing with a soft click as the man in the leather jacket beamed, looking around him as though he were a child again, seeing his father for the first time in days.

And Castiel watched him, his eyes drinking in every single minute detail of the way the hunter's face scrunched up - the way Dean's eyes lightened, the green of them reflecting the brilliant display of colors in front of them. Maybe, Castiel thought then, his head tilting with a fond confusion, Dean had been afraid to let Sam see him this way. Perhaps - perhaps this was a moment the hunter had wanted to have with the angel.

"Dean?" Soft, low, Cas' voice only enhanced Dean's feelings of euphoria as the two of them walked through the light displays.

"Yeah?" And the hunter's head turned, slowly, but with a child-like excitement that had Castiel catching his breath, because he'd never seen the man this excited. He'd never seen Dean so -

So happy.

"I like Christmas lights," he breathed out, his lips - still chapped from the lack of lip balm - curved upwards, into the smallest, angelic smile.

"Yeah," Dean was chuckling, his hand moving of its own accord into Castiel's, unafraid of judgment, unafraid of rejection, because this was Cas' first Christmas Eve, and it had to be special. For both of them. "I thought you might."

Neither of them said a word more as they continued walking. They didn't talk about their physical contact, their slow pace, or about their wonder and excitement as both sets of eyes scanned over the glorious bulbs bedazzling house after house. And when the two men had been trudging on, for hours, their legs tired but their smiles still lingering, Castiel couldn't help but look over at the hunter, who was once again sitting peacefully behind the wheel of his baby. Dean's eyes were closing as he breathed in, and Castiel watched him, with the smallest tilt of the head - the tiniest exhale of a breath - as the clock struck midnight.

"Merry Christmas, Dean."