Summary: Dean and Cas strike a deal to pretend to be a couple in order to escape their friends taking pity on them for being the only single ones during the holidays. And what ensues is just what you'd expect to happen.

Fandom: Supernatural

Pairing: Dean/Castiel

Sidepairings: Sam/Jess, Balthazar/Meg, Gabriel/Kali, Lisa/OC

Warnings: m/m, nothing explicit.

A/N: Don't forget to review, and favorite if you feel so inclined. Happy Reading!

Dean hated the holidays. Not because he was some uptight scrooge who hated the idea of charity or happiness or all around joy, no, it's because ever since Sam married Jess, he's had no one to spend it with. No one single anyway. Everyone he knew, was either in a serious relationship, engaged, married, or in their honeymoon stage and were too busy fucking to leave their house. Well everyone besides Cas, that is. But Dean can't just spend every single minute of every single day with Cas, the dudes busy.

So, when Lisa invites Dean to a Christmas/house warming party for her and her new husband he spends about five minutes after he's said he'll go reevaluating all of his life choices and deciding he must have done something wrong along the way. He needs to complain about this to someone, so he calls the only person who can relate.

"Cas, please tell me you haven't met the love of your life in the past twenty four hours since I've seen you." He says the second Cas answers.

"I have not… Why?" Cas sounds dubious, which, in his case is pretty fair as it's Dean Winchester he's talking to.

"I want to complain to you about how I'm the only single person I know, besides you, and how the holidays suck because everyone is parading around giving gifts to their fuck buddies and I'm sitting wondering why I just accepted an invitation to my ex-girlfriend's Christmas party to celebrate that she just bought a new house with her husband. Realizing also I'll probably be going to alone and it's going to be awkward and uncomfortable and the holidays suck."

"If you'd be uncomfortable going… why didn't you just decline the invitation?" Cas asks, voice crackling over the phone line.

"I don't know… then she wins, I guess. Then she's happy and I'm a sad miserable sap who won't leave his apartment because he doesn't have anyone to drag him out of it occasionally." Dean sighs; he knows how ridiculous he sounds he just can't find the means to care.

"Then, find a date." Cas huffs, he has little to no sympathy for Dean in this situation because he's in the same boat, invited to a party at Balthazar and Meg's place, both of whom he has history with but as he's managed to maintain a good friendship with Balthazar (not so much Meg) he's expected to attend, and there he is, sad and alone, and being bitched at by his best friend, who is also sad and alone. Dean knows this too; he also knows that Cas was never the type of person to take his crap. And yet he continues,

"Easier said than done, Cas."

"Not for you." Is the quick reply, and it's true enough, Dean is an attractive man and attractive men get dates.

"But I can't ask someone I don't know to a Christmas party, it'd just be weird. Besides, then I'd have to do the same for New Year's and then people, namely Lisa and Sam and Jess will be looking through their pictures years from now and say things like, 'And there's Dean with whatshername or whatshisname to our party, they were really nice I wonder where they are now.'" Dean's rambling, and neither of them are quite sure where this is going until Cas says,

"Then ask someone you know." And Dean says,

"Cas, you're the only single person I know." And there's a pause before Cas replies,

"Then ask me," a deafening silence follows. Because yes, they've both been known to date men and yes the thought has crept up on both of them in the middle of the night while their guard of "No, he's my best friend." Is softened by exhaustion. But saying that shit out loud? No way.

"I.. I mean as a friend, of course. Why don't I accompany you to Lisa's and in return you can come with me to Meg's party and then we'll have each other to talk to and won't have to spend our holidays with whatshisname." Cas rushes out in one breath.

"You know what. That's not such a bad idea…"

And that's how it started. But it didn't really start until they walked into Lisa's house and Dean saw how perfect her and her husband looked together. It's not that he was jealous, it's that he wanted her to be the one staring at him and his wife or husband, whichever, and thinking, damn I want that. So when Lisa starts to make her way toward them it's purely Dean's competitive nature that makes him turn to Cas and whisper urgently. "Pretend we're dating." This earns him a confused look so he adds, "Just go along with what I'll say I'll explain later." After another short crumple of eyebrows Cas nods and takes Dean's hand in his own, just before Lisa reaches them. They exchange small talk, Dean introduces Cas as his boyfriend, and Lisa says she remembers meeting him a long time ago, before joking that it must have been him that stole Dean away from her. They laugh uncomfortably before her husband calls her into a different room to help with the food.

They settle into one of the larger couches and Cas turns himself towards Dean expectantly. He doesn't need to say anything Dean is already explaining in a hushed tone.

"I just… I couldn't let her be the one who got married and lived happily ever after while the other awkwardly brought his friend to a party because he couldn't get a date."

Cas nods, understanding.

"Cas, you're welcome to refuse this, but… I have an idea. Let's pretend to be dating until New Year's, after that everyone will be out of the love all around, kiss your loved ones crap and things will go back to normal. But until then, just to survive in this mass of couples?" Cas considers it.

"Okay, I was actually hoping that you'd suggest it, it'll make Balthazar's party more bearable. The look on Meg's face will be worth it, anyway." Cas smiles to himself and Dean rolls his eyes and put his arm around the back of the couch, behind Cas.

"Looks like we've got ourselves a deal." He says. "But come the New Year, strike of twelve, we're free men again, yeah?"

"Yeah." Is the quiet reply next to him.

The rest of the party is uneventful, mostly small talk and cookies and eggnog and they're on the road home by twelve. Dean thanks Cas as he drops him off at his house, and Cas tells him to save his thanks for the next weekend, attendance at Meg's party will be thanks enough. Dean nods with a smile and drives home. Surprisingly happy and much more satisfied than he usually is after a night of small talk with strangers.

Meg's party is a little more interesting, if interesting covers what Dean would call, completely unnecessary embarrassment, major awkwardness, and unexpected arousal. Balthazar's giant mansion is filled with what must almost one hundred loud people; it takes Dean and Cas ten minutes to find their hosts. Balth and Meg are found in the kitchen, they're surrounded by a small group of people taking turns telling parts of a story. It's prototypical couple behavior, not typical at all for either Balthazar or Meg. Cas pales at the two of them; they used to be both so unique, so against the grain. But there they are, and he thinks he can actually hear one of them say, "No, you. You're better at telling this part." It shames Cas in a way he can't really describe. There's a voice in the back of his mind that reminds him he didn't make either of them as happy as they make each other. Partly this scares him because if Meg can make anyone happy, being a crazy, demanding, borderline abusing bitch, why can't he? And secondly because he truly values Balthazar as a friend, and doesn't like the idea of being pushed out of Balth's life in favor of fucking Meg, of all people. Balthazar stops talking animatedly to the group when he spots them, and waving them over with a loud, "Ah! Cassy, you're here."

Balthazar knows Dean relatively well, in the spectrum that he knows him in relation to Cas. Knows that they're best friends and have been since college and knows that the reason his relationship with Cas didn't work was that Dean always came first. Meg knows Dean too but was a far too possessive girlfriend to ever socialize with Dean beyond the occasional small talk Dean would attempt when they happened to see each other because of Cas. Balthazar then sees Dean and raises an eyebrow with a smirk,

"I see you brought Dean, good to see you as always." By this time they're standing with only Balth and Meg, the group of people having dispersed. Dean glances over to Cas, sees the uncomfortable nervous look on his face, wide eyes not meeting either Balth's or Meg's and frequent gulps, as he can't seem to say anything. Without thinking about it Dean takes Cas's hand in his, squeezing it softly for reassurance. Cas looks at him with a small smile and turns back to his two exes, a little more confident.

"Yes, it's good to see both of you. You seem to be doing well." He says, it's an attempt at his usual brovado, but he just can't seem to make it sound believable. Not to Dean anyway, but then, Dean's known Cas for so long maybe it's just something he can tell after all these years. Either way, neither Balthazar nor Meg seems to notice.

"We are indeed, and I see you're not doing so bad yourself?" Balthazar nods down to where their hands are still intertwined and before they have time to say anything Meg continues.

"It's about damn time, I'd say. I had enough of 'Dean this' and 'Dean that' when Cas and I were together to last a lifetime. I'm surprised it took you two this long." She smirks, and Dean decides that if he didn't like her before he really doesn't like her right now.

"No, indeed, I thought you two would've made it to this point ages ago." Balth laughs. Cas and Dean are both wearing equally fake smiles and blushing furiously, because pretending to be your best friend's boyfriend is embarrassing and awkward enough without people telling you they aren't surprised by it at all.

So Dean decides the universe hates him, and he manages a,

"Well, what can I say, lots of competition for this hot piece of ass." He meant to say it about himself, he did. But it came out like he was talking about Cas and just… Wow even more awkward. Yeah, the universe definitely hates him, with a totally unjustified passion. This, of course, is when Gabriel comes dancing into the room and spots Dean and Cas, his face lights up like the Fourth of July and Dean gets a hunch it would be a good idea to drag Cas bodily out of this party because nothing good ever comes from Gabriel looking that excited.

"Dean-o! Cassy!" Balth and Meg turn to see who's talking and share a glance before exiting the room as fast as they can without attracting attention. Dean doesn't know why Gabe is at this party, but it isn't that surprising, because it's a known fact that basically everyone in the greater Chicago area knows who Gabriel is. And those who don't have no idea how lucky they are.

"I see you two have finally gotten past the giant brick wall of emotional stupidity you had between you and did the dirty. Friend of mine saw you at Lisa's party and I just had to stop by to say congratulations." He says with a smarmy grin. But then he pauses studying their faces (which are both a shade of red somewhere in between "Jesus fuck I'm mortified" and "help I'm sweating profusely") before adding, "Or I would say it if I didn't know you both since we were all in college and know better than to assume you actually worked through your feelings by your selves. You're pretending and it's really obvious. Not to mention disappointing." The grin slides off his face and his expression turns to something more like how a teacher would look at two students he knew were about to pull a prank.

"We're really together, you underestimate how motivational Cas can be in the feelings department." Dean says, face set, he can't bring himself to admit they were caught, not only would it be super embarrassing, he can't stand to see Gabriel be proven right about something. Besides, he wouldn't understand, he's got Kali, and has for years; he's probably forgotten what it feels like to be alone during the holidays.

"Oh really? Then you'll have no problem kissing under that mistletoe right above you?" the smarmy grin returns. Dean looks behind them to find Balthazar holding a small branch of the stupid plant above them, twirling it between his fingers, a stupidly self-satisfied grin on his face. Dean knows if he hesitates for even a second it'll be obvious. So he looks at Cas and in one of their typical nonverbal conversations he expresses this and Cas nods, saying he understands. So with a

"If you don't believe us, fine, believe this," from Dean they're both lunging at each other and kissing and…

Wow. That's all Dean can think, and all Cas can think. Kissing your best friend is supposed to be weird, and uncomfortable and awkward. And the first second might have been a little stiff but after that second they'd both relaxed against each other and their lips were moving and one of them sighs into it and hands are on necks and hips and it's like they've been doing it for years. When they break apart Gabe is silent (there's a first) Balthazar looks kind of sorrowful and Meg, who appeared behind Balth just raises her eyebrows. If Dean hadn't been to focused on the sight of Cas in front of him to notice all these expressions he would've had the pleasure of feeling triumphant over three of his least favorite people. But Cas is in front of him... looking like that and it's all Dean can do to deny the urge to kiss him again.

"Well, I… guess I was wrong. Huh. It would be you two to finally prove me wrong about something, I should've guessed!" Gabriel is back to laughing, and he pushes himself around Dean and Cas who are still holding each other by the neck and hip, to puts his arms around Balth and Meg and walk them into the next room saying something about thanks for participation. Meanwhile, Dean and Cas who are still starring into each other's eyes realize simultaneously how long they've been standing there and pull apart too quickly with a few coughs and attempts to straighten their clothes.

"Well, we convinced them." Dean says.

"Yes… uh… thank you." Cas says to the floor.

"Hey, you okay? Did you not want to? I'm really sorry I-"

"Dean, relax it's fine. We needed to. I'm glad we did, they're all convinced now, that's what we wanted." He sounds sure so Dean just nods and doesn't push it. "Come on, let's see if anyone else we know is here." Cas takes his hand and leads him from the room.

Over the next two hours they run into a few more of their friends, Benny, Samandriel, Ruby, Bela, Andy. And each and every one of them tell them how happy they are that they got together and how it should've happened a long time ago. So by the time eleven rolls around they're both had enough and are very eager to leave, they make some excuse about how it's supposed to snow a great deal and they don't want to get caught in it, so they ditch, and begin to leave even hastier when Gabriel starts saying what he thinks they're really going home to do.

They get into Dean's car and sit there for a moment, waiting for it to heat up in the bitter cold of a typical Chicago winter when Dean turns to Cas,

"Why does everyone think we're together?"

"Because we told them we are-"

"No, but I mean why did they all say they weren't surprised? It's not like we're all over each other, or flirt that much… What the hell? Where in the hell would anyone get that idea?" Dean cuts him off and frowns, picking at the upholstery.

"If it bothers you we can stop. Tell them it didn't work out, or that it was a joke." Cas replies coldly, not really wanting to deal with Dean and his weird obliviousness to how much he flirts with people, besides, would it really suck that much to be Cas's boyfriend? Or have people think they're a good couple? Is it that shaming?

"No, it's fine. It's just weird. Anyway, we just have to get through one more party, right? Sam and Jess's for New Years and then we can just tell everyone we called it quits."

"Right." Cas replies shortly and they drive to Cas's house where Dean is dropping him off in near silence, besides the soft hum of Led Zeppelin playing.

The night ends on the same note for both of them. Because that deep corner of consciousness, usually blocked out by the reality of platonic friendship comes crawling to the front of the brain, into clear consciousness, powered by the memory of the kiss they shared earlier that night. They both try a shower to clear their head. Cas ends up jerking off quickly in resignation to it, trying so hard to get the image of Deans thick eyelashes shut tight as they were about to kiss out of his mind. Dean ended up stubbornly not touching his boner for a good five minutes, half heartedly hitting his head against the tile of the shower, trying to forget the feel of Cas's hand gripping his hip firmly. But he caves and strokes himself slowly, cherishing the feel and imagining Cas doing it for him.

Either way they both fall into bed with a head full of confusion and frustration and fall fitfully to sleep.