A/N I wanted to write something seasonal, hence this. It's basically crack, and set in some sort of post-Apocalypse AU where everyone's actually alive and happy (WOW THAT'S STRANGE), so it has no way of fitting into canon, but it was fun enough to write, anyhow.
Rated T for language, alcohol use, and sexual references
Disclaimer I don't own Supernatural or any associated characters, events, etc.
"This is a damn awful idea," Bobby growls for what's probably the sixth or seventh time, shooting a surly glare across the room. The demon on the receiving end of the accusatory expression only smirks back, raising a slim glass of red wine in a half-toast.
"You did already agree to it, darling," is Crowley's velveteen response, coupled with a delicately raised dark eyebrow. "In fact, they're probably on their way already. No use trying to call it off now."
"Don't call me that." He huffs a sigh, scowling out the window, which is obscured by a heavy buildup of pale snowflakes and frost etched with intricate patterns. The more he thinks about it, the more ridiculous the very prospect is, not to mention the fact that it's already midway through execution. It wasn't his idea, after all, to invite the Winchester boys over—the Winchester boys and their angels, as Crowley so tastefully refers to Castiel and Gabriel nowadays. He himself still can't quite bring himself to believe that Dean and Sam had ended up with partners, let alone angels, but considering the fact that he was in a "domestic partnership" with the King of Hell, he decides it really isn't his place to question it at this point.
Regardless, the holidays are entirely useless, in his opinion. Well, alright, maybe some of that is just bitterness, because they aren't useless; they're sweet enough in that they bring families together and made kids smile. But for him, for a hunter who's really getting on in his years and can't so much be bothered with getting his partner a single present, the whole thing seems rather ridiculous.
Crowley did the decorating, naturally. It's not too horrendous, actually rather tasteful—after effectively rearranging furniture to morph the library into a living room, he added a few white lights woven along the walls and around the back of the threadbare couch, a couple of sprigs of mistletoe hung in places that Bobby's trained himself to avoid, and a tree—well, alright, maybe the tree is a bit over the top. It's eight feet tall at least, draped heavily with strings of multicolored, twinkling light and glittering shapely ornaments, and waves of piney fragrance roll off of it in a yard-wide radius. Wrapped boxes are heaped underneath it—Bobby didn't set any down, himself, but Crowley was adamant that everyone invited get their share of "cheer," resulting in a small mountain of red, blue, green, silver, and gold paper-wrapped boxes and bags for their four guests.
"This is just ridiculous," he mutters—also a phrase often repeated over the past few days. "Aren't you and those angels supposed to be on opposite sides, anyways?"
"Oh, we left all that childish tussling behind alongside the Apocalypse," Crowley replied crisply. "I'd drop that attitude if I were you, though—they'll be here any second, you know."
Bobby opens his mouth to get out some sort of protest, but is brutally cut off by a sharp knock at the front door. "Balls," he grumbles instead, but heaves himself to his feet anyways, settling his beer bottle on a tinsel-fringed side table next to the couch. Crowley only chuckles.
He tries to pull on a smile as he opens the door, but it ends up being more of a pained grin, and is met by even less effort in the expressions of those on the other side of the door. Dean has his eyebrows raised as if to question why he's even here, his gaze sweeping up and down Bobby's figure and his arms folded, while Castiel is practically plaintive, his limpid eyes standing out in the dusky light and snowflakes clustering in his dark hair. A gust of cool air curls into the house, and Bobby steps back, gesturing that they enter.
"Come in, then," he mutters gruffly. He ignores the fact that the sight of the two of them sends a fond sort of pang through his chest, almost determined to remain as curmudgeonly as possible.
"You've decorated," Dean notes, kicking the snow off of his shoes as he steps inside. Bobby pretends not to notice how he pinches the edge of Castiel's coat sleeve with two fingers, guiding the angel in after him in a way so tender that Bobby feels almost intrusive.
"I didn't," Bobby denies quickly, "it was—"
"Merry Christmas!" Crowley interrupts him, slinking into the library with his wine glass raised high. "Nice to see you boys show up on time, for once."
"When do we ever not?" Dean retorts, to which Crowley rolls his eyes and deigns to remain silent. Bobby huffs a sigh, mutters a quick "take off your shoes," and returns to the couch, reaching once more for his beer bottle.
"Now, that's a rather dismal spirit," Crowley murmurs, settling onto the cushion just a couple of inches too close to Bobby, who tries his best not to look the demon in the eyes. Dean stifles a snort at the proximity, while Cas furrows his brow slightly, looking rather concerned. "Where's your holiday enthusiasm?"
"We only came to this thing because Cas wanted to try hot chocolate," Dean warns. "Don't get cocky, hell king."
"You could have gotten hot chocolate anywhere," Crowley contradicts, while Cas looks rather ashamed.
"Yeah, but Bobby says you make it especially good."
Bobby lifts his eyes to the ceiling, mentally cursing the stupid Winchester boy in a thousand very imaginative ways, while Crowley laughs and stands once more, moving towards the kitchen.
"Touché. I do make an absolutely lovely hot chocolate, though it's immensely flattering to hear that you find it tasteful enough to share, darling," he shoots towards Bobby, who grimaces notably.
Dean, also laughing lowly, is quick to fill Crowley's space on the couch, this time keeping a much more reasonably platonic distance between Bobby and himself compared to the demon. Castiel, after carefully removing his shoes and lining them up by the doorway, moves to his side, standing very stiffly with his eyes wide and a few puffs of snow still settled on his shoulders.
"So, Bobby. It's been a while," Dean begins. Bobby wonders distantly whether the young hunter's aware of his hand lifting to brush the snowflakes out of Castiel's eyes or not—the angel, at least, is acutely noticing the gesture, clear in the light flush on his cold-burned cheeks and the unmoving set of his lips. "Have you… you two been doing well in the meantime?"
"Oh, don't treat it like that," Bobby snorts. "You're probably just as surprised as I am at the fact that this demon's living in my house."
Dean chuckles, seeming to relax and warm up a bit. "Yeah, and making you hot chocolate. I mean, isn't it kind of sudden?"
"Not really," he admits, beginning to grow ever so slightly uncomfortable. "Well—" And it occurs to him then that there really is no way to explain how it happened, because even he isn't sure what had changed Crowley's status from "nuisance" to "acquaintance" and eventually to "partner." It's all rather ridiculous, and he lets a comfortably familiar scowl fall over his features to emphasize as much, taking a long, deep swig of beer. "Ain't none of your damn business anyways, is it?" he grouches upon resurfacing. "You don't see me askin' how you and your angel got hooked up, do you?"
Dean shrugs in reluctant acceptance, and Castiel takes hold of the awkward silence to speak for the first time, his voice perhaps just a hint higher than usual with stress.
"It is… good to see you happy, though, Bobby." He clears his throat.
"Same to you," he returns, contemplating whether or not to force a laugh and then deciding it's not worth it.
"Awfully sorry to interrupt your little gossip, girls," Crowley speaks up, speeding into the room and depositing a steaming mug into the hands of a very surprised-looking Castiel, "but are any of the rest of you in the mood for hot chocolate?"
"How is it, Cas?" Dean checks, and wraps his hand around the angel's, tilting the mug towards his own lips and taking a long swig before allowing his partner the chance to taste it. His eyes widen in amazement and he draws back with a wide grin on his face. "Yeah, count me in. That stuff's friggin' delicious."
"So I'm told," Crowley purrs. "Darling?"
"I do have a name, you know," Bobby shoots back, but when Crowley only raises an eyebrow, he reluctantly acquiesces. "Yeah, I suppose."
With a satisfied nod, the demon whisks back into the kitchen. Cas takes a tentative sip of his hot chocolate and comes back up with a notable swipe of dark brown forming a mustache on his upper lip, and Dean reaches up to wipe it away before proceeding to lick it off the tip of his thumb, meanwhile stretching his legs out luxuriously. Despite himself, Bobby's beginning to grow almost comfortable—this is nice, he thinks, just a couple of friends over, hot chocolate, nothing—
"Well, isn't this just delightful!" a high, jubilant voice exclaims.
…Nothing too hyper…
The door flies open of its own accord, a flurry of snowflakes joining it as well as a blast of cold air. Bobby springs to his feet, and the mug slips from Cas's hands, shattering on the ground and sending a wave of creamy brown liquid over the carpet. Moments later, a small figure parades into the room, wearing no sort of coat despite the chill—no gloves or boots either; instead, a bright blue hat is perched on his golden hair, almost mocking the weather when put next to his light jacket and jeans. Immediately catching sight of the other three, he flashes a wide grin and pulls off a wink. "Dean, Bobby, Cas. Nice to see we found the right house."
"Take your shoes off!" Bobby grouches, hurrying over to the door just as Sam steps inside, leaning down to fit his large frame through the doorway.
"Bobby," the hunter greets, smiling. In contrast to his angel, he's dressed appropriately, in a large parka with its furred hood lying around his shoulders. His cheeks are bitten red with the cold, and there are snowflakes tangled in his hair, a couple melting on his forehead. "Sorry… about him. It's really nice of you to—"
"Yeah, save your gratitude, kid. Get inside and take your shoes off."
Bobby barely has time to close the door and turn around before Gabriel is buzzing about, seeming to cause mayhem in every way that can strike him. "This is almost depressingly mellow for a holiday celebration, you know?" the archangel comments, bouncing on his heels.
"Gabe," Sam objects, reaching down to pull off his boots, "come on—"
He pays absolutely no attention, but instead sends a frown in Castiel's direction and snaps his fingers. The mug of hot chocolate gathers itself back into one piece and flies into the stunned-looking angel's hands.
"Gabriel!" Sam repeats, his tone beginning to lose its laughter.
"Hey, hey, it's cool. Just let me…" A few more finger snaps follow his words, and the room grows just a hint more chaotic with each—the lights on the tree brighten, Christmas tunes begin blasting from an unidentifiable source, several more mugs of hot chocolate as well as what appear to be eggnog and cider materialize on every surface available, and a red, puff-balled Santa hat appears on the head of a very confused Dean, who then proceeds to yelp and throw it across the room.
"Gabriel," Sam says a third time, but now he just sounds resigned.
The archangel literally spins over to him and loops an arm around his shoulder, beaming and gesturing to the scene he's created—everything is warm lights and sugary drinks and merry tunes, and—oh, hell, there's even a goddamn fireplace in the corner, crackling along like nobody's business where there's never been a fireplace before.
Bobby opens his mouth, intending to protest, then closes it again, and moves back and forth for several seconds before he manages to find his voice. "This had better be back to normal by tomorrow," he shoots weakly at the archangel, who beams back.
"Not a problem, Mr. Singer."
At that moment, Crowley chooses to step in, his eyes landing immediately on Gabriel. "Angel! I was wondering when you'd join us."
"Wouldn't ever miss something with this lovely of a host, would I?" Gabriel replies smoothly in a way that causes both Bobby and Sam to tense up. Crowley only chortles in response, though, and heads back into the kitchen again. Moments later, a noise of delighted surprise emerges from it, and then he comes out again, this time with a large serving platter held between his hands—decked upon it are all manner of cookies; sugar, chocolate chip, and everything in between, heaped nearly a foot high.
"Your trickster is showing," Crowley teases. "These just conveniently appeared in the kitchen," he adds to the others, then moves over to set the massive platter on the coffee table in front of the couch that Bobby and Dean sit on. The wood groans under the weight, and Dean stares on in bemusement, while Cas looks baffled and Bobby simply speechless. After a stifled moment, Sam releases a laugh, shaking his head.
"God, Gabe, you really don't know when to stop, do you?"
In response, the archangel leans back comfortably against his shoulder, and Sam almost instinctively loops an arm around the smaller man. Seeing the way that Sam looks at the oblivious Gabriel, it suddenly strikes Bobby that he hasn't seen the younger Winchester this purely happy for years—maybe never. Reluctant as he is to accept it, both of the boys really do seem infinitely better off with their angels than without.
"Hey, I have the right to do what I want," Gabriel replies. "It's practically my holiday, after all. All of those songs, I mean, come on…" The cheery tunes that Bobby still couldn't target the source of switched to a more minor, slow tune, punctuated by mournfully enunciated lyrics.
The angel Gabriel from Heaven came,/His wings as drifted snow, his eyes as flame…
"Can we not?" Dean whines.
"Driver picks the music," Gabriel retorts.
"And what the hell are you driving?"
"The whole damn party, Einstein."
"Can we please—" Sam begins, but he's barely gotten the words out when the music shifts to a much brighter tune, the lyrics this time barely distinguishable behind a thick layer of peppy orchestral whooshing and horrifically noisy jingling bells. "…Thanks."
"Well, I suppose I can always narcissistically bask in pop culture's horrendously skewed image of me later, right?"
"Absolutely," Sam agrees.
"Cookie?" Crowley asks to no one in particular.
Bobby can feel a headache coming on.
What Sam learns immediately is that Gabriel really, really likes candy canes.
And that's saying quite something, too, because the archangel is so seemingly addicted to every sugary confection discovered by mankind (and some that humanity hasn't reached yet) that it takes a lot to make one stand out in particular. If anything, Sam would have targeted his favorite as chocolate bars—their wrappers seemed to appear in large droves wherever he spends the night—but that would have been wrong, as is clear now.
Currently, the archangel's tongue is wandering down the length of his eighteenth full-size candy cane, in a way that Sam figures is supposed to make him throb with suppressed frustration. Still, he can't ignore Dean's accusatory eyes fixated on him as he tries not to focus on the exact way Gabriel moves his lips along the sugared red stripes—his brother is a bit of a hypocrite, though, considering that his own hand hasn't moved from a bit too far up on Castiel's thigh over the last ten minutes.
"You know," Crowley muses, forcing Sam's unwilling attention away from the archangel and onto the demon, "this all is turning out a bit low-key, isn't it?"
"No," Bobby and Dean reply simultaneously, looking rather horrified, and Sam shakes his head quickly. Low-key is the last word he'd used to describe the mess of glittering lights and blaring holiday tunes that Gabriel and Crowley have somehow managed to turn Bobby's house into, but the archangel and the demon themselves seem to be of the exact opposite opinion.
"Definitely," Gabriel contradicts, biting down on the candy cane like a pipe and holding it there between his teeth as he swings back to his feet, off of the plush chair that he crafted out of nothing a few minutes ago. "This little celebration is missing one thing for sure, and do you know what that is?"
"Relaxation?" Dean suggests, and Castiel nods emphatically from behind him, downing the last bits of his eighth mug of cider—the non-alcoholic drinks were left behind with the sunset.
Sam stifles a laugh—Dean, trying to calm them all down. It's uncharacteristic enough, and makes it painstakingly clear that Cas has been having quite an influence on him. His humor is cut off immediately, though, as Gabriel suddenly lunges forward and grasps his wrist, twirling him around in a motion that's timed perfectly with a snatch of heavy classical music blasting through the room. "Nope. Dancing."
"Hey," he protests, but then Gabriel's hands are on his elbow and shoulder, and, well, crap, they are dancing, or at least the angel is—and not very poorly, at that—while he stumbles after and tries to match his feet to the rapid pace. "Come on," he mutters weakly, "do we have to?"
"It's a party, Sammy," he reminds around the candy cane, his hazel eyes widening in a torturously adorable way. "You've gotta get into the spirit of it."
"Yeah, whatever," Sam snorts, refusing to meet the eyes of his brother or the rest as he's spun around once more. He's beginning to feel the beat of what he's suspecting to be some incredibly rich rendition of "Jingle Bells," and finds his feet moving practically of their own accord, each in front of the other, over and between one another.
"Come on, then!" Gabriel calls over to the others, who are sitting and watching, their faces painted with expressions lined along the spectrum from entertainment to incredulity. "Are we the only ones here with any holiday spirit?"
"Definitely," Dean begins, but is cut off as Crowley steps past him and extends a hand towards Bobby, grinning.
"May I?" the demon requests, and Bobby mutters some curse word or other under his breath but accepts Crowley's hand anyway. And then two of them are in pairs, the second admittedly moving a bit slower than the energetic blur that's Sam and Gabriel, but nonetheless, Sam figures he really is starting to feel a bit of holiday spirit, or whatever clichéd term is appropriate. His heart is hammering faster and faster with each swing that the two of them execute, and he's laughing, tripping over his feet but not really caring.
"This is stupid," Bobby grumbles, but Sam, glancing over, can see a glint of happiness in the old hunter's eyes, and knows that he's only complaining at this point to keep up appearances.
"Really stupid," Dean agrees from the couch, shaking his head. "You all look like Disney princesses."
"We look like princesses? Check again, anime-eyes," Gabriel taunts. Dean opens his mouth to object, but then Gabriel's fingers snap, and he's wrenched to his feet with clear unwillingness, a string of obscenities flying from his lips.
"Come on, now, Cassy's gonna be offended that you aren't asking him to dance!" He twirls Sam with apparent thoughtlessness, like the vigorous activity isn't even near trying for him. "Go ahead, Dean Bean, be a man!"
Gritting his teeth, Dean slowly gestures from himself to Castiel, who's watching with wide, dark eyes, quietly beginning his ninth cider. "Your brother's gonna kick my ass if I don't ask you to dance, so..."
"Of course I will," Castiel agrees as though it's the most normal request in the world. He takes several seconds to finish the entire mug in one gulp, and Sam can feel the light shudders of Gabriel's laughter against him, before Dean and Cas finally join hands and step out towards the rest of them. Gabriel whoops triumphantly, and a small smile fights its way onto Cas's face. Dean just looks grumpy, but Sam can't help but notice that his movements are quick and agile—his brother actually seems to have some talent with dancing, something that motivates a slight giggle from him.
"You know," Dean growls in his ear as they pass by each other, "sometimes I wish we had managed to stick that bastard before he got the chance to become your boyfriend."
"I can hear you!" Gabriel trills, sounding far from offended as he whisks Sam away again. Sam just rolls his eyes.
"You deal with death threats well," he informs the angel.
Gabriel winks up at him. "Eh, I'm used to them. You stabbed me a couple of times yourself, sugar."
"Water under the bridge," Sam mutters, and Gabriel laughs again.
They get through another song and a half with relative wordlessness before Sam is decidedly out of breath—he disengages himself from a very reluctant Gabriel and makes his way back over to the treat-laden coffee table, snatching a spritz cookie and glass of eggnog before sinking back into the couch cushions with a grin spread over his face.
"Oh, come on," Gabriel mopes, tilting his head. "You're leaving me for food?"
"Shut up and eat your candy canes."
"Hmph." Agreeably, though, he flicks his wrist and conjures up a nineteenth stick of sugar, which immediately enters his mouth, eliciting a snort of laughter from Sam.
"Alright, if he's stopping, so am I," Dean speaks up, releasing the hand of a disappointed-looking Castiel and moving over to flop onto the couch as well. "Pass me one of those cookies, will you?"
"Get one yourself," Sam retorts playfully, taking a long gulp of eggnog. The alcohol, added to what he had earlier, is a bit more than he's used to, and it's beginning to swirl pleasantly around his brain, cloaking everything in a light amber cloud.
Dean grumbles irritably, but reaches past to grab one of the cookies and stuff it into his mouth. "Oh, man," he gets out around the mouthful of confection, "this is friggin' delicious. Cas, have you tried these things?" He then proceeds to reach up towards the angel, naturally standing nearby him, and pull him down by the tie, lifting a cookie so that Cas has no choice but to nip off the edge. He chews meditatively, then nods slowly.
"It is... quite flavorful."
"Jesus." Dean takes another, meanwhile tugging harder on Cas's tie, so that the angel settles into the couch, as well, halfway on the cushion and halfway on Dean's leg.
"Lap-sitting now, are we?" Gabriel asks cheekily, and promptly proceeds to situate himself on top of Sam, lifting his legs up and cuddling in ridiculously close.
"Get off," Sam replies without heat, smacking the archangel's head halfheartedly.
"Don't mind if I do."
"Can we keep it at least somewhat PG-rated around here?" Bobby barks from across the room, where he and Crowley are conversing beside the the obscenely lit tree.
"Oh, but that'd be boring," Gabriel protests.
Dean, on the other hand, is distracted by a different thing entirely. "Are those presents?" he asks with clear interest, hefting Cas aside slightly to get a better view at the horde of wrapped boxes near Bobby and Crowley's feet.
"None of your business if they are," Bobby grumbles in response, to which Crowley looks almost offended.
"Now, no need to act like that," the demon murmurs. "Yes, Dean, they are indeed presents. Hand-picked for you."
"I had no part in it," Bobby interjects.
"Yes, darling, you've made that extremely clear."
"Hey, presents are awesome," Dean exclaims. "Bring it on."
"Patience," Crowley replies crisply, glancing down at the watch bound around his wrist. "It's barely past eight, and presents are clearly something reserved for late evening."
"Since when?" Dean whines.
"Perhaps we should just do as he says," Castiel murmurs.
"Shut up and drink your cider."
Another hour passes, during which the hunters each down around three more drinks and the angels more like thirty. It's enough, in any case, for all of them to be rather bleary, but all the more energized at the same time. Even Cas has begun to laugh rather loudly at every half-assedly humorous comment that someone will throw out, something that Dean can't help but see as rather attractive.
It's around this time that Crowley sees it fit to hand out the presents.
The demon is the only one seemingly sober at this point, and it occurs to Dean for the first time that maybe he actually can't be affected by alcohol, something that he finds vaguely disturbing, but not enough so to really distract him. Rather than contemplating the issue, he merely reaches for another cookie, disregarding the fact that his stomach is growing rather uneasy from the overload.
"Gabriel, dear," Crowley calls, crouching by the tree, "turn down the music a bit, would you?"
"Gladly." The intense bars of "Carol of the Bells" obediently lower to a more reasonable pitch, leaving an empty sort of buzz in Dean's cloudy mind.
"Hey," he protests, "how come he can get you to turn it down just like that?"
Gabriel apparently doesn't see it fit to reply, and neither does Crowley, who only smiles slightly and lifts a stack of colorfully wrapped gifts, then moves around the room, distributing them to each person in the room. Dean catches his one-handed and inspects it carefully—it's wide and thin, square in shape, papered in shimmery green with a silver bow pulled over it.
"Check it, Cas," he comments, leaning into the angel.
"I have one as well," Castiel replies, frowning slightly at the small red package in his hand, as if not quite sure how it got there.
"Well, presents are for opening, come on." Dean takes a swig of Cas's cider and then proceeds to rip the paper off of his own present, relishing the satisfying tear. The paper is glossy and thick, more expensive and luxurious than the newspaper that he always ended up wrapping things in for his and Sammy's Christmases. And inside, as is revealed moments later, is a vinyl record—AC/DC, by the label on front. He's about to say that he already owns all of their albums on tape when something else catches his eye—a slight indentation in the thick paper of the front. Then it hits him that the impression is a signature, looping letters clearly penned onto the case; Malcolm Young.
"No fucking way," he says plainly, looking up in disbelief. Crowley winks at him from across the room. "How the hell did you...?"
"I've had it for a while, actually," the demon explains offhandedly. "Never particularly liked them, myself, so I thought I might as well pass it on to someone who cares."
"Dude. Hell. I take back anything I ever said about demons, you're friggin' awesome."
Sam, on the other side of the couch, has unwrapped a certificate of membership to some high-and-mighty health club (which is so suiting that Dean nearly laughs aloud), while Gabriel is grinning down at an insanely gigantic box of gold-wrapped chocolates. As delighted as both of them are, though, Castiel simply seems confused, his own gift hidden behind his cupped hands.
"What d'you have?" Dean asks curiously, leaning in.
Cas tilts it, revealing a gift card printed with the name of a well-known burger joint, as well as a clear marking of $50. "Score," Dean laughs under his breath. "You love those things."
"I love small pieces of plastic?"
"No, dork, it's a gift card. For money. You can buy burgers with this crap."
A look of delighted realization dawns on the angel's face, and Dean snorts with laughter, glancing up towards Crowley, who's looking incredibly smug on the other side of the room. "Thanks, man," he says. "Seriously."
"I do know your interests better than you'd like to believe," is the reply; "just wait until your birthdays come up."
"Oh, so are we all one big domestic family now?"
"I don't see why not," Sam speaks up, bringing everyone's attention fully together. He seems unable to keep a smile off of his face, and Gabriel is curled up next to him, also quite pleased. "I mean, the Apocalypse is over, why shouldn't we? It's not impossible for hunters to have somewhat normal lives... and the angels and demons have all calmed down, so..."
It's a pretty ridiculous concept, but Dean shrugs rather than putting it down, because it really does sound wonderful. To be able to live the normal life that he always dreamed of—no, better than that, because he never dreamed of having Cas, like he does now. This is completely perfect, he reflects, surrounded by drinks and sugar and family and lights and music.
Rather than saying so, though, he simply stands up, pushing Cas over a bit in order to do so. "Well, I'm going to the bathroom," he declares, stretching and heading towards the kitchen, around the corner of which his destination is situated. He's halfway there when he hears a rustle behind him and realizes that Cas is following him. Frowning slightly, he stops and turns fully around. "Dude, you can give me a bit of privacy? I'm just gonna be in the other room."
"I was only coming along to get water from the kitchen," Cas begins, but his voice is cut off by a loud throat-clearing from the couch. Dean glances over in confusion to see Sam and Gabriel wearing rather alarming twin smirks, their eyes moving from Dean to Cas to the ceiling and back again.
"What the hell, guys," Dean mutters, but then he follows their gaze, and—
Hanging right above his and Cas's heads, situated so perfectly between them that it might as well have been intentionally arranged there, is a neat little sprig of mistletoe, tied with a vivid red bow, its leafy stalks long enough to nearly brush along the top of his head.
"Son of a bitch," he breathes.
"Go on, then," Gabriel taunts, "we're waiting."
"What the hell, no," Dean objects, "I'm not going to—no way, come on. Don't be ridiculous."
"It is the rules," Crowley muses.
"The rules of what, huh?"
"What is it, Dean?" Castiel asks anxiously. Dean glances back at him, and feels an unwilling twinge in his chest at the wideness of those dark blue eyes, the admittedly endearing confusion spread over the angel's almost innocent features.
"That," Dean sighs, jabbing a thumb in the direction of the offending plant, "is called mistletoe, and if two people are caught under it, they're supposed to… well…"
"They're supposed to kiss," Sam provides helpfully, his voice a bit louder than usual as he downs a glass of eggnog.
Cas's head tilts sideways. "Then there is no problem with it, is there? You and I—"
"Oh my god," Dean groans quietly, but he can feel the gazes of the other four on him, and he knows that they—Gabriel especially—probably won't let him escape without a kiss. "I am going to kill you all for this," he declares, running his hands over his face and taking a deep breath. "Okay, Cas, hold still."
"I don't—" Castiel begins, but he's silenced as Dean reaches forward and cups his hand around the angel's cheek, pressing their lips together swiftly in an action that causes heat to gather in his cheeks. He doesn't linger, but rather pulls away almost immediately, trying not to think about how warm and soft Cas's skin is, or how kissing him causes a light stirring in places entirely inappropriate for the time being.
"There," he snaps, but when he looks up and sees the surprised but gently delighted expression on the angel's face, he's unable to remain irritable.
Sam, on the couch, seems to be choking on his own laughter, while Gabriel and Crowley applaud far too loudly, causing Dean to become even more embarrassed. He's torn between a smile towards Cas and a scowl in the direction of the rest of them, and settles for just turning around, lifting a hand to flip off his brother, the archangel, and the demon (Bobby, at least, seems slightly more dignified than them).
"I'm going to the damned bathroom," he says again, and once he's facing away from them, he can let himself fully grin.
Kissing Cas really is nice, he decides.
The festivities continue on into the early hours, growing a bit more rowdy before, at around two o' clock, everyone finally begins to fall asleep. Dean is the first one to, flopped over the couch, leaning against Cas with his arm draped around the angel's shoulder. Soon after, the angel joins him, their heads tilting together, both snoring lightly. At some point, Cas somehow ended up with a bow from one of the presents on his head, and it lies askew on his dark hair, glinting purple in the low light. Sam and Gabriel are zonked out on the floor, Sam lying against the couch with his head tilted back on the cushion and Gabriel curled up on his lap, snuggled against him.
Bobby sighs. He and Crowley, it seems, are the only ones still awake. The music has faded into light background jingling, and exhaustion is really starting to hit him.
"We're never doing this again," he reminds the demon, observing the trashed state of what used to be the library—the mess of food crumbs, half-empty mugs, tangled lights, crumpled paper, stray bows, and pine needles. "I'm going to be cleaning up for days."
"Oh, I'm sure Gabriel will be willing to take care of it for you in a snap when they all wake up," Crowley contradicts, sitting back in an armchair and taking a sip of his apparently bottomless glass of wine.
"He'd better," Bobby huffs, shaking his head at the boys and their angels. They're all such idiots, and yet so valuable to him. He won't say it, not in a million years, but they mean the world to him—all of them, really, and he can't help but smile just a tiny bit under his graying beard. Fondness, he decides; he's fond of them. Rather ridiculously so.
"Merry Christmas, Bobby," Crowley murmurs.
"You, too, then," he mutters. "Idjit."