Castiel sucks at giving gifts. Or at least he sucks at giving Dean gifts. Sam gets an iPad, like the one he had given Bobby the year before. "Wow, where did you get the money for this?"
"I got the deposit back on the empty alcohol containers I drank last year," Castiel tells him picking up the gift Sam got him. It's not even that Dean and Sam make a big deal out of Christmas, Castiel is basically that one douche bag that goes over the 20 dollar gift giving limit. Castiel gingerly unwraps his present, carefully not to rip the colourful paper, and pulls out a a joke book. Castiel thanks him, Sam and Dean snicker that Castiel doesn't get the slightly mocking gift. Sam knocks over his beer and curses before walking into Bobby's kitchen to grab some towels.
"Dean," Castiel coughs, drops to his knees and picks one of the presents up "I wanted to give you this in private."
Dean raises an eyebrow and takes the long but thin wooden box in his hands. He smiles because he can always use a new knife but when he opens it he finds pretty much the exact opposite. Inside, laid on velvet, was a single feather. It was long and pure white except for a few Enochian symbols written on it and the red string tied around the end. "Uh, this is…"
"Is it acceptable?" Castiel asks eagerly, inching forward till he's pressed against Dean's knees.
"Yeah, it's great," Dean lies. He flicks the box closed and grabs Castiel's present, the angel looks a little flustered when Dean shoves the gift into his hands but he smiles gratefully and opens it. It's a bottle of cheap tequila which Castiel eyes a little wearily but thanks Dean regardless.
Next year Dean will give Castiel a rundown of proper gift giving.
Something is up with Castiel, he's got a bigger stick up his ass than usual.
It starts on New Year's Eve when Dean is using Castiel's fancy bookmark to keep his place in an old Latin book. Castiel takes one look at the feather in-between the old pages and flutters off.
The next day, Dean reading the same book and absently chewing at the end of the feather like he would a pen. Castiel is sitting on the other side of the room, just staring at Dean with a twisted expression, after a few minutes of shooting Dean dirty looks he leaves again.
Two weeks later, Dean's forgotten all about the feather, he accidently stepped on it and by them it was so ruined he just threw it in the trash. Castiel's gotten over whatever had upset him before and things go back to normal, hunting, drinking, laughing every once and awhile.
Until Castiel finds the feather in the trash.
He practically shoves Dean out of bed in the middle of the night. "What is this?
"Look man, I'm sorry I tossed your crappy gift but I need my four hours." Dean rolls back into the center of the bed and pulls the blanket back on.
"You could have just said something," Castiel says hurriedly, crushing the damaged feather in his fist. "I didn't realize this would be an issue for you."
"What are you going on about?" Dean asks but Castiel is already gone at that point.
Damn, damn, damn
"Castiel, please, can we just talk?" Dean begs to the empty sky above him. Dean had run out into the junk yard as soon as Sam had finished reading out loud a passage from an old book.
To solidify a relationship, an angel will present one of his feathers to his chosen mate. If he wishes to join with the angel he will take the feather and the two are considered joined for life.
"This isn't totally my fault," Dean runs a hand over the back of his neck. "It's not like you explained the situation to me first. I'm not an expert on angel stuff."
"You never explain human culture to me," Castiel huffs, suddenly behind Dean.
Dean takes Castiel's hand in his and teases, "so you want me to be your mate, huh?"
"Well, not anymore." Castiel tugs his hand free from Dean but the hunter just grabs the angel's other hand.
"Don't be such a baby," Dean chastises and wraps an arm around Castiel's waist. "Now, how about I show you what humans do when they start a relationship."