It was the best of Times, It was the worst of Times
Dean and Cas
The day Cas entered alpha education he had been fearless, his only thought had been to get to Dean before something bad happened to him, even against his own safety.
Dean told them that everyone in alpha education left him in peace now. They didn’t tease him any more and Alistair didn’t try to provoke Dean’s popping anymore.
And to add to the good news, he heard that in his next year, Alistair wouldn’t be his teacher anymore. He had only jumped in as a substitute for the higher class until they found a replacement who’d start immediately on the first day of the next year.
The worst things that happened were that everyone with only the exception of their lunch table now picked on Dean and told him that he stank, the tale having spread to everyone in the school overnight. The betas and few omegas didn’t bully him as much as the alphas did, they mostly did it to satisfy the rampaging alphas, who were vicious in their verbal abuse.
Dean only laughed about all their comments, but they knew that deep within, he was sad. The people of Lawrence had always picked on their pack, there wasn’t a day that passed by without one of his family and friends having to deal with exclusion, but as long as they had themselves, it never was that bad. Yet, in the month that followed the alpha edu incident, Dean seemed downcast whenever they neared the school, only living up during lunch and when him and Cas were talking in front of their lockers.
When they were outside of the school, they all were happier. These days, they grew together even more closely, Meg and Cas took the same bus as the rest of them and spent their days with the pack. Meg also spent most of her nights at Jo’s, but Cas went home every night.
The minutes that Dean and Cas spent alone in the car were always the highlight of their days. They were by themselves, but didn’t have to address the pressing questions about what would happen with their mutual crush, because they were in transit and it didn‘t seem like the time and place to talk about it. Moving from one place to another always kept them grounded and just enjoying the moment of closeness without pressure as Dean drove and Cas slowly learned to hum and sing a few of Dean’s favourite songs. At the end of each drive, they hugged, held the other close for at least a minute and lightly stroked each others backs.
Dean had had to endure two more weeks of insufficient rut-suppress and Cas had pulled back a little to not trigger him, but it hadn’t helped. When Cas visited on the weekends, a touch to Dean’s shoulder or a light touch to a smudge of grease on his upper arm had triggered a rut.
When the whole pack was playing pool in teams, Dean couldn’t continue because when he handed Cas’ the queue, he touched him instead of the queue and immediately rutted. Ellen and Jo had won the game for the first time ever, to the surprise of anyone, because it was always either Dean‘s or Bobby‘s team who won.
A few weeks later, Richard had finally gotten out of the hospital bed and back into the operating room, and Missouri gave a quick party for the occasion. Only a day later, Eleanor came over and presented Dean with the sorely missed rut-suppress. Things were good after that, he didn’t need to stay away from the others and especially Cas after his dosage had been upped again and when May came, they finally took their trip to the theme park.
Dean felt light-headed the whole day, he didn’t know whether he could blame the roller coasters or Cas for it, because Cas was determined to stay close to him, now that he finally could without fear of Dean doing something he’d regret later. While they waited in line for the scariest roller coaster Dean had ever seen, Meg excitedly bouncing next to them, Cas had held him close, his arm around his waist and the other stroking lightly from his collarbone to his chest muscles. All done with the excuse to calm him down, when it did anything but that for him.
They were happy in the knowledge of what they felt for each other, showing it to the other by small gestures and touches like these, but hadn’t addressed the question how they would handle the situation in the longer run. What could they do and what would happen when Cas’ graduation and his applications to college rolled around? For now, they continued to avoid the question and just lived in the moment.
The first time Dean had kissed Cas, was in Rufus’ cinema. Dean couldn’t even remember which movie they saw because he was so intently focused on manning up to it. He shifted on his seat nervously, Cas turned to look what was wrong and Dean had lost his head and just pressed his lips to Cas’ for a second.
They had both blushed furiously, but had just continued to hold hands and stare at the screen without catching a single word spoken in the movie afterwards. They hadn’t talked about the kiss, but when Cas had visited on the following Saturday and watched Dean and Bobby work in the garage again, they both couldn’t get the thought of kissing the other out of their heads.
Lunch brought them to the granny flat again where Dean wolfed down his sandwich with great appetite, while Cas was more focused on watching Dean eat than eating his own food.
“What?” Dean had asked, with his mouth full.
“Oh nothing, I just never realised how cute you look when you eat your food so eagerly.”
“I’m not cute,” said Dean with a blush and a mouth full of sandwich that made his cheeks bulge out.
“Kindly allow me to be the judge of that Dean,” Cas said with a gleam in his eyes.
Dean just shrugged it off and continued to eat with indecent enthusiasm. After he had finished, he eyed Cas’ half eaten sandwich.
“You’re not gonna finish yours?” and Cas slid his plate over without another thought.
After Dean had finished both sandwiches, he stretched and yawned, looking into the bedroom longingly.
“Man, I could use a nap. Fixing cars all morning made me super tired.”
“Yeah that and your very big lunch,” Cas teased.
“Be nice. You like me, remember?”
“Yeah, I do.”
“Wanna take a nap with me?”
Cas gulped in terror. This was widely different from the Cas who had bravely walked into alpha edu to safe him. He looked like a deer in headlights, downing his limo in one go, his eyes big and scared. Omega education apparently put the fear of the brutality of alpha knotting inside you at all times, Dean thought.
He traced Cas’ fingers with his own soothingly. “Dude, relax. I’m not gonna jump you. I just want to have you near me.”
“Ok,” Cas said and relaxed visibly.
They curled onto the bed together, Dean threw his arm around Cas’ waist, Cas laid a hand gently on Dean’s right shoulder and they watched each other in the early afternoon light that shone in through the windows until their eyes drooped shut.
When Cas woke up, the shadow of the afternoon had lengthened and Dean was still sound asleep next to him. He had to admit to himself that he had never felt more at home than right now, and why was he to deny himself from being with Dean for good? Who cared if he never got a degree, would it really matter if he was with Dean and did not go to college?
He turned onto his back and stared at the ceiling, thinking more about it.
A few minutes later, Dean stirred against him and tightened his grip around his middle, trying to get Cas’ body closer again. Cas let himself be turned around and Dean muttered sleepily: “Morning Cas,” and smiled to himself with closed eyes.
Cas smiled as well. He’d only have to extend his hand and Dean would be his. He’d never have to wake up again without hearing those words. He longed for Dean and he knew Dean longed for him as well, he wouldn’t have kissed him otherwise.
Cas gave it another few seconds contemplation before the pressed his lips to Dean’s with firm intent. “Good morning, Dean.”
Dean ripped open his eyes now, first Cas saw shock on his face, then he saw joy.
“What a nice way to wake me up,” Dean smirked, “but I was half asleep just now and I‘m not sure that qualifies as a proper kiss. Could you do that again?”
“Yes,” he said and brought his lips closer to Dean’s again, staring intently at him before he pressed their lips together, longer this time.
They felt butterflies and little pangs explode in their stomachs while they kissed, slowly starting to do more than just press their lips together, Dean opened his mouth and experimentally pulled a little on Cas’ bottom lip, causing Cas to arch into him, and to open his mouth as well.
A soft gasp was heard when the tips of their tongues touched and they both opened their eyes at the sudden sensation. Cas pressed against Dean’s tongue a little and then with a gaze telling each other that they liked it, they continued to play with each other’s tongue for a long while.
This was great, Cas decided. He loved doing this and he wanted more. His hands crept down Dean’s arm to come to rest on his hips to pull him flush against his body. There was no sense at all to deny himself this, this was worth it.
“Cas,” Dean gasped, gripping the flesh above his hips, his fingers sneaking under his t-shirt, and Cas’ brain stopped working. He pulled Dean up, the younger boy was still a little smaller than him and continued to kiss him while Dean adjusted to his new position on top of him.
“Dean,” Cas moaned when Dean pressed his lips to his jaw without thinking, working his way down his neck, kissing and teasing his skin with the tip of his tongue. Alpha edu had been good for something after all, he thought, when Cas moaned under him and arched his back up where Dean’s hands where massaging his sides.
Cas could feel the heat of Dean’s crotch above his own and he needed this more than anything else in his life.
“Dean, I want you,” he admitted and went on to caress Dean’s shoulder blades underneath his shirt, angling his head up to catch Dean’s mouth again.
“I know, Cas. I want you too. But we can’t,” Dean held Cas’ hands now, interlacing their fingers like they had done so often and stilled on him.
“But Dean-” Cas started but Dean interrupted him.
“Baby,” he used the pet name for the first time, “please believe me. There is nothing in this world I want more than you. I want to you be my mate, and I wanna be yours. But if we do this now, if we wake up tomorrow and we’re mated, you won’t finish school and can never go to college. I couldn’t live with that. And deep down you know you couldn’t either. You’d hate me in twenty years. It would be because of me that you never got to do the things you wanted to do.”
“I could never hate you, Dean.” Cas looked up with a vulnerability in his gaze that was new to him. He didn’t want to get hurt, to be rejected, but he also didn’t want Dean to do something that he thought would make them unhappy in the long run.
“You don’t know that,” Dean pressed out and rolled off Cas’ body, leaving him yearning for his touch again, and by the way Dean’s knuckles tightened around his, he knew that Dean longed to be close to him as much as he did.
“But, Dean. It’s not fair of me to make you wait for over 7 years before we can get mated.”
“I know it’s not fair, baby. And it’s not you who’s making me wait. It’s the laws which make the both of us wait.”
Cas had to see that Dean was right. They wanted each other, they were sure they wanted to be together, but they couldn’t because some stupid old alpha president had decided against it.
“Are you sure about this? Do you really wanna wait that long? Maybe you could find someone else.” The thought had Cas throat itching as if razorblades had been shoved into it.
“Fat chance of that, Cas. Just a few minutes ago we were on our way to being mated, do you really think I would ever wanna do that with someone else?”
“Most alphas do,” announced Cas downcast.
“Yeah well, I’m not your typical alpha. I’m your alpha.” He kissed Cas again, without any heat to it. “And if you want, we can just say that you’re my mate now, I don’t care about the claiming ritual. If you want me, I’m yours. With or without a bite.”
“I do.” Cas said the old words of a time long past when mating had been about more than just biting someone in the heat of passion.
“Ah, Cas. If you say that we’re gonna have to go more official-like about it.”
“What do you mean?”
“Come with me.” Dean pulled Cas up and ran around on the whole property, drumming his pack together until they stood, confusedly, underneath the tree house in the Winchester’s back yard.
Dean grinned at them. Ellen, Jo and Meg. Bobby, Crowley and the twins. Mary, Sammy and Charlie. He began to speak.
“Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to announce the union of Dean Winchester, a.k.a. me, and Castiel Novak, a.k.a. you,” he pointed at Cas, “to be joined in holy matrimony. I pledge myself to you, Cas, in sickness and in health, through the good times and the bad times and with or without a mating bite. I take you, to be mine until we pass away into the next world.” It maybe wasn’t how the classic wedding vows went, but close enough, Dean figured.
Cas spoke up, not the only one with a tear in his eye now. “And I, Cas Novak, pledge myself to you, Dean, in sickness and in health, through the good times and the bad times, with or without a mating bite. I take you, to be mine,” his breath hitched. “Until we pass away into the next world.”
“And with the power of the eldest pack member,” Bobby spoke up with two tear traces on his face, “I now declare you, in the presence of all our beloved witnesses, to be mates.” He took their hands and laid them together. “You may kiss.”
And so, Dean Winchester and Cas Novak married each other the traditional way, the way which had little to no credibility in this world, both with tousled hair from their nap time and in Dean’s case perpetually dirty with engine grease, to tell each other that they would wait for the other for as long as need be.
Cas would go away to college after the summer and study to be a doctor, sure in the knowledge that when he finished studying, Dean would sweep him up into his arms and they were gonna be mates forever. However many miles would part them, they wouldn’t let go of each other because they knew beyond a doubt that they belonged together.
For the next few weeks, I saw little of my brother and Cas. They were keeping pretty much to themselves and none of us others minded. They were gonna be separated soon enough and everyone was sad to see Cas go.
Our pack grew after Dean and Cas had their ceremony. Cas’ weak bond with his family had completely broken after Dean and him had said that they were gonna be mates one day. Cas didn’t seem unhappy about it. He moved into our old apartment over the garage and Dean and him were cooped up there often, for hours by themselves, but we were ok with that. Mom said that that was what happened with newly weds.
Meg finally joined our pack too. We hadn’t known that that could happen, we didn’t even know Meg could rip away her pack bond. It had happened, when Meg’s mother had found a college leaflet under her bed. Since Meg was in Dean’s year and still had three years of school left, her mother freaked when she found out that Meg had plans for the future. Plans that required her to still be unmated in three years and longer after that.
I don’t know what Ruby said to her, but Meg got so angry that she packed her bags and came to us. We were just celebrating uncle Crowley’s birthday, even though he complained that you don’t celebrate birthdays the wrong side of 50, when Meg came in. She was screaming in agony, Josie and Jodie were running towards her immediately, scared she was badly hurt, but on the outside there wasn’t a mark on her.
Slowly she told us what happened, all the time groaning in pain. She had a bad headache and her stomach was in knots, and we couldn’t do anything for her. Everyone looked at Dean, who seemed concentrated.
“I’m trying, ok? I’ve never done this on purpose.” He announced to everyone when we couldn’t feel the familiar bond form.
“Maybe I can’t. Maybe she’s hurting too bad. I don’t know!” Dean got louder, as if he felt guilty for Meg’s pain, when it was Ruby who was to blame.
“It’s ok, son.” Bobby said. “Maybe some aspirin will work.” He seemed completely lost as well but the medicine he gave Meg really helped her, or maybe it was the comfort of all of us caring about her, I don‘t know.
When she wasn’t in terrible pain anymore, she started crying. I had never seen her cry before, but I guess all the pressure that she felt, now came out this way.
She was worried about her siblings and that for some reason Dean wouldn’t be able to adopt her, so mom got over and hugged her tightly.
“Don’t worry, sweetheart. We’ll find a way to help you through the pain. And even if something doesn’t work with the bond, you’re family, just like Cas is, who cares about the bond.”
Meg let herself be held by mom, and I don’t know why, but she seemed like she was finally at home and the next minute, we all sniffed the air and knew that our pack was now bigger.
Meg was really happy, now that she was finally completely ours. She moved in with Jo, who was not only her best friend anymore, but in a way her sister too. Ellen complained that the two girls didn’t stop chattering ‘til very late in the night now that they shared a room.
One day, when Charlie, Meg and me were helping with the shopping, we saw Ruby at the mall. She took one sniff at us and at her daughter and we could see shock and anger on her face when she learned what had happened, but Meg didn’t even flinch at seeing her. She just went into the other aisle with the cart.
The end of the year came. It was a year that brought change. Jo would present next year, I would start middle school, and Cas would be in a rush to get his college applications out after graduation.
We all sat there and cheered when Cas got his diploma. He graduated with the best grades ever, even in omega-edu, however much it cost him to be good in the stupid subject.
Dean was worrying me a little and I talked to Charlie about it, too. The comments about his funky scent hadn’t died down even after a few months, so we couldn’t understand at first, why he didn’t want the school year to end. If anything, he would finally be rid of Alistair next year after all.
When we saw him cry at Cas’ graduation we knew what was up with him. He didn’t want the school year to end because Cas would be gone.
I asked Mom how it felt like when someone’s mate wasn’t around anymore. She said that she was mostly relieved when our Dad had gone so she didn’t know how hard it really was for Dean. And for Cas too, obviously.
When I grow up I wanna be able to help people like my brother and his mate, so that nobody would ever have to suffer through something like the two of them are going through.
The first week after school had ended for the summer was quiet. Dean and Cas were hardly seen, until I ran into Cas one morning when I went out to bring mom the post for the Roadhouse and saw him by the mailbox.
“Hey, Cas.” I greeted.
“Dean let you out of his sight for once, ay?” I teased.
“I snuck out,” Cas admitted. “He gets so sad when he sees me put my applications into the mail.”
Just then I noticed three thick envelopes in his hand.
“Have you heard back from anyone yet?”
“No, not yet. I am really excited though. I would like to wait for the postman and see if he’s got something for me, but I fear that Dean will wake up and be sad again when he can’t find me.”
“Hey, Cas? Would you be ok if me and Charlie took over the post duty?”
“Would you really?”
“Sure. And if you have any more applications we can take them in too.”
“That’s very kind of you, but I have already applied to any omega school in the country.”
“I’m sure you’ll hear back from them soon,” I tried to encourage him.
“Yes, that is what I fear. That somehow makes it real, you know?”
I didn’t understand him.
“Don’t worry about it, Sam. And thanks for doing this.”
“Of course, Cas. You’re my big brother too now, remember? There‘s nothing I wouldn‘t do for you.”
“Same here, Sammy,” Cas said and walked back to the garage, while I waited for the postman. I was kinda sad, because Cas had sounded so much like Dean just now. We would all miss him so much.
This wasn’t right. Cas shouldn’t have to be without Dean. Suddenly I understood why the old law about mated omegas not being allowed to go to university had been laid down. It hurts them and their mate too much to be separated, if the mate couldn’t move away as well for some reason. But people used that law to say that omegas were supposed to be dumb by nature. If mating was only allowed once both partners finished school and it didn‘t matter if they were mated or not later on, it would be much easier, but I was sure that nobody would listen to me anyway if I said something.
The next week, me and Charlie took turns to go to the mailbox and handed Cas big envelope after big envelope when Dean wasn‘t looking. Every college wanted to have him. We were so proud of him, but we also knew that if Cas had so many choices, he’d choose the best one possible which could be miles and miles away.
In the end, he told everyone while we were cleaning the Roadhouse one night.
“I kinda have an announcement to make,” he said shyly. “I have heard back from all the colleges I applied to and I decided that I’ll go to Harvard-omega.”
“Harvard-Omega?” Mom asked, impressed. “Honey, I’m so proud of you. That’s the best college in the country,” and she ran over to hug him.
Everyone congratulated Cas afterwards. Dean beamed at Cas, but when his head was over his shoulder in a tight embrace, his jaw muscles twitched and he closed his eyes as if he were in pain.
When they stopped hugging, Dean had plastered the grin back onto his face.
“That calls for a party, right? Let’s get everyone here. Missouri and Richard, Rufus, Eleanor, Jim, … what about you parents, Cas?”
“Oh they can come too, I don‘t mind.” Everyone was a little quiet, the lack of pack bond Cas had lived with all his life made us sad. We couldn’t imagine how it felt to not be really part of something and always be living in two worlds at once. But that was over now, Cas had chosen us over them.
“As long as no one invites my parents,” Meg groused and everyone laughed.
I don’t remember much from the party that was on the next day, only that I overheard Eleanor and Dean talking. It sounded like she was sending him and Cas on a road trip to meet a couple that she had contacted, who would be willing to come into her practice to have some kind of test or something. It was a couple of days drive away and Dean seemed to like the possibility of having that time completely alone with Cas right before the big college preparations started.
That must have been when I fell asleep, because I just remember how Mom and Uncle Bobby had woken me, Charlie and the twins. They sent us directly to bed but reminded us to brush our teeth because we had eaten so much cake and just fell asleep at the table.
When I climbed into bed, I thought about how cool it would be to go on road trips with my big brother and I had the feeling that we would do that sooner than I expected.