Wait and See

Of All the Weird Things

Dean starts trying to get Castiel to like things after the incident in the kitchen. He didn't realize before that he was just trying to get Cas to like the things he liked, and now he is making a concentrated effort to find things that Cas likes all by himself.

This would be easier if Cas knew what he liked.

Cas likes listening to music with Dean. They sit in Bobby's living room and listen to Bobby's records and Dean's tapes. So Dean takes him to a record store in town to pick out his own music. Cas actually knows most of the old music. Classics. Boring piano and harp stuff that Dean would never listen too. But apparently there were fewer musicians back then so Cas can remember some of them. He picks out a few records and he and Dean listen to them, but wind up going back to Lynyrd Skynard.

Dean points out the flowers by the house and asks Cas about starting a garden. Cas seems to like the idea, but is hesitant about actually making it happen. Dean doesn't push but he slips a few packets of seeds in his pocket the next time he's at the grocery store.

Dean wakes up one night to screaming, and he's got a knife, his handgun and the rock salt rifle already in his hands before he knows what's happening. He's out of bed and ready to hunt in seconds.

Then he realizes that the screamer is Cas. He bounds over to his room, throws the door open and has the gun up and ready. The room is empty except for Cas, wailing and writhing around in this sleep. Dean grabs his shoulder and shakes him awake. He has to get pretty rough before Cas finally comes to.

He presses two fingers against Dean's forehead as he comes out of it. Dean flicks on the light. Cas is white as a sheet, clammy and cold to the touch. He shakes his head and pulls his hand away.

"Nightmare?" Dean asks.

"Um… yes. I suppose it was," Cas replies breathlessly. "I've never…. Uhmm…"

"What about?" Dean asks.

Cas gives him one of those looks. The trapped sort of look he used to give Dean when he wanted to give him some kind of hint or information and couldn't.

"Umm… Hell," Cas finally admits. "When the garrison… came for you."

"Oh," Dean replies.

"But now it's over."

"Yeah. It is."

"Yes. I'll go back to sleep now," Cas says.

"Yeah. Alright." Dean pats Cas's knee, grabs the weapons he set on the nightstand and leaves. He goes back to his room, sets the guns and the knife somewhere that makes them easier to get too and lays back. He stares at the ceiling, half dozing for a little while before guiltily getting back up.

He finds the whole concept of a 'first nightmare' unfathomable. And then he realizes that he finds the whole concept unfathomable, and then he feels weird. Maybe he should have done more for Cas, but he can't think of what. Writhing, screaming, sheet twisting nightmares are, and have always been, a fact of his life. He and his father had gotten to the point where they would just shake each other awake across the space between motel beds. They barely even woke up to do it. Dean can't imagine not having nightmares.

He wanders around the house for a little while, then goes to check on Cas. Cas is lying stock still in bed.


Too still to actually be asleep.

"Yeah. Just checking on you."

"I can't sleep."

"Well. You were conked out in the yard for an hour today."

"Right. I only need a certain amount of sleep," Cas sighs rubbing his hands over his face, the bandages on his forearms flashing white even in the dark room.

"Right. Come on. There's still left over Chinese. You're losing weight."

"So are you," Cas tells him.

It's true. All of Dean's weight came from muscle. You lose muscle when you're not garroting monsters and digging up graves every day.

Cas throws his blankets off and crawls out of bed.

He and Dean go out to the kitchen together. Dean tosses the Chinese food in the microwave and sets out plates for both of them. Cas scarfs it down like he's starving and Dean makes a mental note to keep a closer eye on when he actually eats.

He considers asking Cas about coming into Hell for him. He'd always pictured it as Cas dropping out of the rocky outcropping overhead and grabbing him by the shoulder, but he's never actually asked.

He looks up at the struggling, mortal, trying man in front of him, nibbling at a shrimp as though there is something about it that he doesn't trust, and decides not to ask.

After all, he knows what he has nightmares about.

Dean steals a couple of long sleeve shirts for him and explains to Cas that he has to wear them and that they don't want people to see the bandages. Cas cottons on to the concept a little too quickly for Dean's peace of mind.

He takes Cas out running errands.

Of all the weird things- Cas likes the grocery store. He keeps picking up strange looking fruits and going "What is this? Is this good?"

And it's the first time that Dean's really seen him look interested since he came back. He lets Cas get whatever he wants. He doesn't know what half of it is. There's a kind of fruit that looks like a nerf ball, yellow and spikey. Another that looks like it's made out of wedges of wax all stuck together in the middle. Stuff he's heard of but never tried, like mangoes or passion fruit.

Cas finds the bags of marshmallows fascinating. Dean gets smore stuff.

They are in the grocery store for over an hour. Dean leaning heavily on the cart handle while Cas walks along in front of him, peering at everything as though they are in a museum.

Dean's trying to figure out what in the hell they are actually going to make out of their bizarre collection of fruit and cans. And what he's going to do if Cas develops expensive tastes. Their cash situation is starting to worry him. He's got fake cards, but they've been in town too long to start relying on them for anything.

He's going to have to think of something. He's got a slightly mentally unstable angel to support after all.

"But I could help," Cas argues as he buttons up the shirt that Dean had laid out for him. He'd given up on trying to get Cas to do something-anything- else with his hair, which Cas refuses to cut and has started combing back with product he found in Bobby's bathroom. He looks like he runs a speakeasy.

Dean doesn't usually care how Cas dresses or what he looks like when they go out in public, but they are going out to hustle pool and cards tonight. Bobby's house costs money, it's too dangerous to run credit card scams when they've been in one place so long and a sales girl followed him the last time he ran to shop-ko, so he needs to cool it on the shoplifting too.

"Look, man, you're good at playing cards, but you're not good at playing people. We're not going to play, we're going to scam. You're not good enough at talking to people yet."

"I talk to people all the time," Cas huffs. "People are very kind to me." He drops down on the floor and starts tying his shoes slowly and methodically.

"Yeah, Cas… that's because they think you're retarded."

"What's retarded?"

Cas asks a question like "What's retarded?" in the same reasonable, measured tone that he asks questions like "Why aren't pennies gray too?" or "What flavor is bubble gum flavor?"

"Like… slow, mentally. Mentally childlike."

"Oh. Why do they think that?"

The full answer is long and hard to explain. It's also pointless because even if Cas knew why people thought that there isn't anything he could do to change it yet. He's learning and he's doing so well considering what he's going through. He's only flipped out once again since the plate thing and the bandages are already off. He tries to be normal in public, but he's still a grown man who takes several minutes to tie his shoes, has no concept of personal space and has developed a tendency to touch two fingers to Dean's shoulder or elbow as though making sure he is still there.

He'll get shoelaces figured out. Personal space is a problem that they are working on. Dean has given up on getting any personal space for himself for a while until Cas doesn't need to ask so many questions or stops needing to do the arm touching thing. Personal space as it applies to women is difficult as well. Women tend to crowd Cas and middle-aged potato-mother types, the ones who assume he's retarded the fastest, are forever touching his shoulder when they talk to him, like he's a child.

And Dean's not sure exactly why the arm touching thing developed, but he does know it started after Cas started having nightmares and after the night Dean had blown out a tire on the highway and gotten home three hours after he'd expected to be back. He'd come home to find Cas, sitting silent, still and starch-white on the couch. He'd expected it to stop, and not put any further thought into it when it didn't.

"Don't worry about it. It's simpler if they think that. Until we… get you used to things.

"Dean, I am several millennia old. I am used to all kinds of things."

"Human things, Cas. Like shooting the shit over cards."

Cas looks at him suspiciously. "What is shoo-"

"It's an expression," Dean cuts him off.

"Cas? Two beers and that's it, all right?" Dean says, handing Cas a few bills. Cas has been drinking a lot, and while Dean understands just how glass his house is on that front, he's seen a little too much of future Cas's dead grin on Cas's face after he has overdone it and it scares him. Earlier in the week he hid all of Bobby's meds in the panic room. God knows Castiel deserves to drink himself through a spot of depression, but after the demon blood detoxes of the last year, Dean can't handle the idea of trying to wean Cas off pills.

"Can I have a shot?" Cas asks.

"Is that enough money for a shot?" Dean replies.

"Right. I'll ask the bartender."

He folds the money into a tidy square and tucks it into his breast pocket, then he reaches out and taps two fingers against Dean's elbow. Dean's about to ask him not to do that in the bar. Out in public during the day it's an odd enough gesture and goes along with enough of Cas's other quirks that people assume "retarded". In a bar, on top of the ongoing personal space issue, it's going to read "lovers".

Well. Whatever. Dean'll work it into the scam. The kind of mark he's looking for, at this kind of bar, would freak at being wiped out by a fag. It'll make them bet stupid.

Dean walks around the bar a little bit, relieved that there is a game in process tonight too. He wasn't sure if a game was a regular feature here and he doesn't want to try bringing Cas to a casino quite yet. Big crowds still make him jumpy and it kills Dean to drag Cas through them. As an Angel, it didn't matter if Cas got lost, or was surrounded by people. Cas has explained that Angel's don't get lost, they are all seeing, and of course there were always the wings. As a human, mortal and impotent, Cas is terrified of getting lost.

So, a small local bar it is.

They drop into a booth and the waitress- cute, blonde, curvy- bustles almost immediately over with water and menus.

"Start you boys off with anything?" she asks, turning to Cas, who looks at her blankly.

"Cas?" Dean prompts him. Cas turns the blank look on him and the waitress's smile gets a little fixed. "She wants to know what you want to drink."

"Oh." He tugs the little square of money out of his pocket and holds it out. "Could I have a beer, please?"

Dean grabs his wrist and pushes it gently down to the counter. "Not yet." Dean didn't realize he's only really ever taken Cas to a bar, not to a bar/ restaurant. New scenario, new skill set.

The waitress's smile goes from fixed to soft as she looks at Cas in the same way the older potato mother women do. " 'Course. What kind, sweetheart?"

Cas looks at Dean again. Usually Dean would go over the options with him, like a bizarre kindergarten teacher, but he's got to work.

"Two Millers," Dean says.


Dean narrows his eyes at her in surprise. "No?"

"Coming right up."

"I don't pay first?" Cas asks. They're having trouble with the concept of money, and Dean knows that he is over complicating it with their reliance on theft and cheating.

"Not when there's a waitress. She'll come back with a check when we're done," Dean tells him, trying to keep one eye on the poker game. Cas scoots a menu toward himself.

"Can we get something to eat?"

Dean wanted to avoid spending any more money than what he'd already given Cas, but he can't remember if Cas ate today.

"You hungry?"


"Fine. Stay under eight bucks." Dean shows him where the prices are and tries to gage the progress of the game while Cas picks something out, and seeing if anyone is giving them any weird looks. An old guy at the bar looks pretty skeptical of them, a woman is sizing them up, the other waitresses are shooting them slightly sad looks.

Their waitress brings them their beers. Somebody at the card table finally pulls their winnings toward themself.

"Kay. I'm gonna go play. If you have a question ask our waitress, if you need something, come get me."

Dean decides on his way over to play himself a little soft. He knows what he looks like, he's going to have to sit somewhere where he can keep an eye on Cas and the likelihood of Cas coming over and needing to whisper something in his ear is too high. He might as well play into the situation.

It works. They let him into the game. There are two guys his age, two that are probably mid fifties, and one real old codger who always deals and doesn't talk.

Dean's first hand is playable but nothing special and the guys all know better than to be reckless with a new player in the mix. The pot's barely enough to pay for Cas's onion rings, and Dean decides to just take it.

Talk opens up on the second hand. The older guys are going deer hunting. One of the younger guys is shopping for an engagement ring. The other's going to Afghanistan.

Dean tells them that he's moved into his father's old house after he passed and he's getting it fixed up. He loses a little money on the second hand.

Over at his and Cas's table the waitress is checking in on him. She points the jukebox out to him, then, when he looks interested actually takes him over and shows him how to use it. She even makes change for him so he has quarters. Dean mentally triples her tip.

The bets begin to creep up. Going-to-Afghanistan raises too much not to be a bluff. The other's call. This pot is shaping up to be a solid win. Dean realizes that he's going to eventually need to either leave Cas home for a night to go to the casino's or just suck it up and drag him along. This is way too friendly, way too small time.

A girl from the bar slinks over to Cas. Dean keeps any eye on her but his cards are good. The younger guys are getting sloppy. He draws the four he needed. One of the older guys folds. The girl puts her hand on Cas's shoulder. The old codger raises.

The girl takes both of Cas's hands in her own and sets them at her waist. She presses a button on the jukebox. Hotel California starts to play.

Dean calls the raise. Getting-Engaged raises again. The girl steps closer to Cas. Dean shoots a look at their waitress, who is watching Cas and the girl with her lips pursed. Dean calls the new bet, pulls another card and winds up with a flush he'd be willing to start betting heavily on if this weren't the only time the codger had raised and if the man weren't completely unreadable.

The girl is sort of dancing with Cas. More spinning slowly with him. Cas actually looks like he's following the rhythm well, which falls so far out of Cas's general awkwardness that it sticks out to Dean. The other older guy folds. So does Going-to-Afghanistan. The girl presses her face to Cas's ear and Dean see's Cas's eyes go wide. He takes a large and sudden step back, and hits the jukebox with a crash, when he tries to move away he's too crowded by the girl to move. People are watching.

"Shit," Dean sighs. "'Scuse me, fellas."

He sets his cards down and lopes over, grabs Cas's forearm and pulls him out into breathing room.

"Geez, touchy," The girl taunts.

"Okay, just move along," Dean tells her. He's giving her the benefit of the doubt. Coming on to a guy in a bar isn't a crime and Cas seems pretty normal until he hits some sort of roadblock.

"Fine, princess, he's all yours."

"Back off," Dean barks. If she's going to be a bitch then fuck her. Cas reaches out and presses two fingers to Dean's shoulder. The girl scoffs and stalks away.

"You gonna be alright?" Dean asks. This is not a good time for Cas to have an episode. People are watching them and Dean's got a lot of money on this hand.

"Yes. I'll… I'll just sit back down and finish my appetizer."

"Okay. I'll finish this hand and we'll leave."

Cas goes back to their table. The waitress appears instantly.

Dean goes back to the game. At least now they all know that he's planning to win this hand. The last younger guy folds as Dean sees the waitress returning to their table with a little plate full of different types of dipping sauces.

"That guy a buddy of yours?" The codger asks. It's the only thing he's said all game.

Dean hears the implication. It bothers him more than he though it would.


"And where'dya meet him?"

Dean's done. He looks up at the Codger, and with just a little bit of an edge answers, "Fallujah."

Codger nods and taps a finger to the side of his head.

"Not when he got there," Dean replies.

Codger nods, and then folds. Dean takes his winnings, leaves behind enough for a round of drinks. He goes back to his table, asks for the check and he and Cas polish off the last of the onion rings, trying all four of the different types of dipping sauce that the bar offers.

"So... what did she say to you?" Dean asks as they settle into the Impala.

"That I was cute and that I should go back to her place so that she could swallow me down."

Dean snorts. "Do you know what that means?"

"I would assume she was referring to oral sex," Cas replies. "If her intent was to actually eat me I doubt she would have advertised it in that manner."

"How did you learn about oral sex?"

"Sam's computer."

Right. Cas uses Sam's computer. Dean's still surprised at how easily Cas gets around the internet for a guy who needed a couple of tries before he got buttons down. Cas can't type, but he's been pretty good with using the computer for research.

All kinds of research, apparently.

"Oh. Sure," Dean laughs. "You should have seen the look on your face though. You looked like you though she was going to eat you."

"She grabbed my penis through my clothes. I was startled."

Dean laughs. Cas echoes and they turn on the radio.

Dean counts out his winnings on the coffee table. After his and Cas's bill, the round of drinks for the other players and the thirty dollar tip he left for their waitress they're up about a hundred and fifty bucks. Not too shabby for a night's work.

As he's folding up the bills and tossing them in the coffee can where they keep their cash Cas holds out a couple of crisp, folded twenties.

"Where did you get this?"

"That woman put my hand in her pocket. I took this."

Dean nods. Cas managed to life almost a hundred bucks. "Nice man. I'll have to teach you to pick pocket."

"Can we listen to music?"


Cas puts on one of his classical records and sprawls out on the couch. Dean sits at the coffee table, researching, until he hears Cas star to snore lightly, then goes upstairs to get some shut eye himself.

In the morning Dean spends half an hour looking for Sam's computer before finding it in Cas's room.

When he opens it up, it's very obvious how Cas learned about oral sex.

Dean suddenly realizes that Cas takes weirdly long showers and tries not to think about it.

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