Post Hunting Lives
Cas moans and shudders as Dean moves his mouth down Cas's shaft. He flattens his tongue against the soft skin. Cas's fingers tighten in his hair. Dean's let it grow out a little since he started school. Not like Sam or Cas's ridiculously long hair, but long enough to grip. Cas likes it.
And Dean won't be making an announcement about it or anything, but now that he's chilled out a little more about the gay thing- he loves this. He likes the weight on his tongue. He likes the way Cas pets his hair and cheeks while he does this. He likes the sounds Cas makes and the way Cas's thighs shake under his hands when Cas is fighting off an orgasm so he can be in Dean's mouth just a little longer. He loves the greedy, desperate way Cas kisses him when Dean finishes him off with his hand, and the way that Cas lies completely still except for his heaving chest and his fingers in Dean's hair while Cas comes down. He loves the way Cas laughs before he rolls Dean onto his back for another round. And he loves that there's no chase or come-on or seduction. He wakes up with Cas next him and wants to feel like this, so he can.
"Your turn?" Cas sighs, already moving to roll Dean onto his back.
Dean laughs but makes a small noise that basically means, "I don't want to say no, but I have to."
Cas groans in recognition. "But Sam's gone this morning. So you don't have to be quiet."
Dean's on his back. Cas starts kissing down his torso.
"And I love it when you don't have to be quiet."
It's Dean's turn to groan. "That's exactly what you said on Monday and I was twenty minutes late to class."
"You did very well on your exams. You can be a little late."
It sounds like such a convincing argument with Cas's breath warm against his navel, but Dean musters up some self-control. He sits up and pulls Cas's face up to his. "No. I've got to go."
"You should at least shower first," Cas wheedles. "You're sweaty."
"I do have to shower. Alone. That's how you got me last week."
Cas has the decency to look as though he regrets what a bad influence he's become. "Fine." He rolls back to his side of the bed. "I can wait until you get home."
"I remember when you were this incredibly innocent little thing who was horrified to be in a brothel on the night he expected to die."
Cas smiles brightly. "I'd expect you don't remember that very fondly."
"Sometimes I do." Dean smiles at him
Cas kicks him gently. "Go shower. You'll be late. Besides. We'll have the house to ourselves all weekend."
"Right. Thanksgiving. Sam's big trip."
Cas closes his eyes and doesn't respond. Dean takes the opportunity to escape the temptation of naked Cas and heads for the shower, scrubbing up quickly while grousing mentally.
Sam's going to Chelsea's for Thanksgiving and it shouldn't be weird, but it sort of is. Sam's meeting her family. Because after months of lying and sneaking around and a few more months of being crazy and just recently a couple months of dating like normal people, they're officially serious. Really serious. Meeting her entire family so that they can announce that they're moving in together serious.
And Dean's happy for them. Mostly. Chelsea's a great girl. Sam's his brother. They seem happy. Dean of all people gets that you can really love someone without quite being able to shout it from the rooftops or anything. He's just… wary.
Part of it is pure negativity. It's hard for him to believe that the other shoe isn't still waiting to drop. Sam's been perfectly normal for almost six months and Chelsea and Bobby's "Hunter Therapy" plan had been doing him a lot of good even before Gabriel had come through with some sort of "vessel-detox" tea, and the excuse that "Look, I'm God now. The prayer voicemail fills up. Take your fucking tea and quit your bellyaching."
It's just still a little weird that it started when Sam was so broken. Even though they all met Chelsea when they were broken. But this is different. Sam is as important to Dean as Cas is… and then Bobby is a close second and then Chelsea is like a second and a half. For all Sam and Chelsea's soft eyed glancing at each other, and the fact that they've already been together for a year, it's scary to Dean that if something happened between them, he'd lose Chelsea.
And it still stings that Sam lied to him about this. Like he thought Dean would flip out or not understand. Dean's willing to get over Sam and Chelsea never owning up to the little fling they had when he and Cas were on their anniversary vacation. Mistakes happen. It had been a strange time for everyone. They hadn't let anything get awkward afterward. But they'd been together for almost four months by the time Cas had walked in on Chelsea and Sam doing it in the panic room with Sam strapped to the cot.
And then they'd asked Cas not to tell Dean yet. Cas had refused, but they'd still only told Dean first because Cas had given them a twelve hour window to own up before Cas told Dean himself.
Also- Dean wasn't quite ready to let this go- one blow job on the kitchen and the world's going to end, but porno crap in a creepy basement is A-okay?
They do seem happy. Really happy. Happy like Dean is with Cas. And he wants his brother to have that. And he wants Chelsea to have that. And if things are good between them… Chelsea's already family. And if Sam's going to move in with a girl at least it's a girl who lives and works in town.
It's not like when Sam ran off to California. They'll still see each other all the time. Sam had started talking about getting his own place a couple days after Gabriel's stupid heaven tea had started working. Dean knows Sam feels like he's squatting in Dean and Cas's house.
But Dean's not ready for Sam to move out. It changes too much. And as petty as it sounds he's harboring a little resentment about Thanksgiving in particular. About Sam running off to do Thanksgiving with Chelsea's big normal family in Minnesota (and the time that he ran off with some other girl's family for Thanksgiving being some Heaven-worthy memory) when Bobby and Karen are hosting a big bizarre Hunter's catch-all Thanksgiving for Dean, Cas, Ellen, Jo and any Hunters within driving distance.
Any Hunter except Sam… who's got to go meet his soon-to-be-live-in-girlfriend's parents.
Dean dries off and is very careful to get dressed before he grabs his backpack and kisses Cas goodbye.
"Just be yourself," Chelsea says, leaning over to kiss him as she pulls her key tab thing out of the ignition.
"Right. I can be myself. No problem," Sam puts on a voice, pretending to be her father. "So, Sam what do you do?" Then in a voice that sounds more like Dean's impression of him than his real voice replies "Oh, I live on a percentage of Carver Edlund's royalties because I'm the real Sam Winchester and I'm working on a lore database that can be accessed from anywhere in the country and searched by keyword. You have a lovely home."
Chelsea pats his cheek with mock condescension. "It'll be fine. We have our stories worked out."
"And the only person who ever sounds sane in any of our made up backstories is Dean. And a long grift- like you know, eventually marrying you and settling down with you and doing this every year- gets you caught." Sam realizes what he just said. They still haven't used the m-word like it's a thing they think about… but he has been, especially since he started boxing his things up.
It's not like he expected Chelsea to freak out, but he's still surprised that her only reaction to the newsflash that he thinks about marrying her is a soft smile. "I think we could tell them the truth eventually. Just not… you know- the very first time they meet you."
"Right. I'll just have to find a ghost to hunt in front of them. I'm only nearly two years out of practice. It'll be fine."
"We could call the Prophet of the Lord and get him to back you up?"
"Call it plan b?"
"Libby might buy it. She reads the books. She called me to freak out about the Trickster turning out to be Gabriel at the end of the new one and she can't believe that I once beat Carver Edlund at poker. If she only knew that Gabriel was at that game too."
"You've got to stop reading those books," Sam laughs. "Remember how upset Cas got about his drugged up, orgy hosting future self?"
"I didn't realize that Dean had never told him about that. Come on. You're just stalling because you're nervous."
"Yeah. Nervous like you wouldn't believe," Sam answers.
Chelsea laughs. "You'll be fine. Little bit of tryptophan, little bit of wine. You'll just charm the crap out of everyone. It'll be great."
The Impala smells like pumpkin pie for the whole drive to Mitchel. Warm and sweet and spiced. Sam had found the recipe for him online. Castiel curls comfortably against the window with his stocking feet on the seat. It's snowing softly, thick flakes whip past the window and halo around the street lights. Dean's playing AC/DC quietly and staring out at the road with his jaw set just a little too hard.
"You seem agitated," Castiel says.
"I'm not agitated," Dean replies. "I'm just tired and I've got a paper to write this weekend."
"Right," Cas says, turning back to the window to watch the snow. "So, this isn't about Sam moving in with Chelsea. You're completely fine with that."
"Yeah," Dean agrees.
Castiel doesn't believe him. "You are not in anyway upset that Sam's moving out of our house and not coming to Bobby and Karen's Thanksgiving."
"You're not still annoyed that they kept their relationship a secret?"
"Pretty much. That pie sure smells good."
Dean blows a breath out between his lips, making an odd noise. "It's not like I'm mad at them for dating. My brother and our best friend happy together- that's a good thing. I get that. And I suppose that I can understand why they lied to us for a couple months. Sam was crazy. They didn't want to make it awkward… whatever. I'm just… I don't see why Sam always has to be so secretive and why Chelsea eggs him on."
"I don't understand how Sam and Chelsea telling us that they are moving in together is secretive."
"Because they decided to do this like a month ago and just told us now because of the whole meet-the-parents deal."
"Sometimes we make decisions as a couple and don't tell Sam right away. We talked about you going to school for weeks before you told Sam what you intended. "
"That's different," Dean insists.
"Why?" Castiel asks.
"Because I'm the oldest."
Castiel settles back more comfortably against the door. "That argument carries very little weight when you're both grown men. Also, if age is how we'll be deciding things, I still want a cat. And I should get one. Because I'm always going to be the oldest."
He was hoping that would make Dean smile. Or get him to agree to get a cat.
But Dean just turns the tape up a little bit as they reach the exit for Mitchell. Cas decides to let it go for now. It takes a few tries to get Dean to admit what's really bothering him when it's about Sam. He'll talk to Castiel about it eventually.
All things considered, dinner could be going worse. They dive head first into the disturbed but treated and recovered Afghanistan veteran story, which is fine, because Chelsea had talked to her mother about that before they'd even admitted to Cas and Dean that they were together. They have to bring up Supernatural and the inspiration of John Winchester way sooner than they hoped, but Libby and her boyfriend Sven shuffle that off the radar by getting really excited about their favorite book character being at the table. Chelsea adores Sven. He's a skinny little Swedish thing who treats Libby like she's a Goddess and doesn't have a macho bone in his body.
They are both delighted when Sam tells them that Castiel is also based on someone he knows, he's actually his brother's boyfriend. Chelsea does notice the slightly uncomfortable expression that Martha's husband Clyde pulls at that.
The conversation slips from Sam to Martha, Clyde, and new Baby Georgie. Chelsea finds herself with a new worry that she'd never thought of: Chuck's still cranking out books. There's no real word on whether or not he's back to prophesying, and Chelsea can't imagine that Dean and Sam's lives as they are now would be all that interesting to people who were all gung-ho about monsters and ghosts and the apocalypse… but she suddenly can't shake the image of Libby and Sven sitting somewhere, reading about this dinner and wondering how in the hell some writer knows so much about them.
It really makes the reality that, for this whole thing with Sam to work, they'll need to tell her family the truth at some point, hit home that much harder.
Maybe she should start praying to Gabriel for some proof now.
"So she's coming after me, big ratted up hair, one of those huge civil war hoop skirt dresses, and she's screaming, nails out like claws, and I hit the coffin with the shovel, wrench that bastard open, drop the salt, drop the gasoline, jump out of the grave, drop the match and just go- 'you've been Garth'd, bitch'."
Garth mimes sliding on a pair of sunglass, sits back in his chair and grabs his wine glass. Everyone around the table laughs. Jo- red cheeked, applauds lightly.
"Famous ghosts." Rufus shakes his head. "You want famous ghosts? I'll see your Sarah Fox and I'll raise you Jim Bowie."
"No!" Jo cuts in. "No, I got this. Sam and Dean and I once hunted H.H. Holmes."
Ellen covers her eyes. Garth whistles. Rufus raises his glass to her.
"Tell 'em, Dean," Jo insists.
Dean just shrugs. "We once hunted H.H. Holmes."
Jo rolls her eyes at him as though he's just being annoyingly modest.
Famous ghosts moves to biggest kill, then to most gruesome injury. Dean isn't really contributing to the conversation, but he's listening and realizing that no matter how far the subject wanders, he can trump everyone's story, every time. He just doesn't have the desire to do it. Partly because he doesn't really feel like discussing the time he and Sam shot Lucifer in the face and Lucifer barely noticed, or the time Hell hounds ripped his intestines out. But also because everyone here knows all of his stories. Apparently he's a Hunter legend and there is still the constantly annoying fact that anyone who doesn't know all of the stories can pick them all up in paperback.
Cas doesn't contribute. He just listens with this fond little smile on his face and his hand tucked into Dean's.
It's so freaking normal. Yeah, no one cares about the football game, and yeah, they're talking about kill counts and whose dead and if anyone's been able to track down the magic amulet of what in the hell… but Dean's warm and full and watching Cas's head droop over and over as he tries not to fall asleep. Dean's worrying about schoolwork and getting Debbie, a foxy, but-not-for-him blonde twenty-two year old to not hit on him. Not about death, demons and the apocalypse.
And he is thankful.
Thanksgiving has been survived, Chelsea thinks to herself. Sam's mental health issues, abusive father, and mysterious couple years off have been addressed. Her parents don't seem thrilled, but her father also hadn't started to do that weird try-to-catch-him-out thing he sometimes tries when he really hates someone one of his daughter's brings home. The fact that Sam lived with Dean and Cas got him some points too. She's talked about them more than she realized in the last couple of years and her parents remember them as the guys that she stayed with for a couple weeks when some creepy guy was stalking her. They only have to survive two more days and then they just have to deal with how badly Dean doesn't want Sam to leave.
The guys had all gone out for a walk. Her mom had gone downstairs for a nap and left the sisters and Baby Georgie to get desert ready.
"So…" Chelsea starts, knowing that she might be getting herself in over her head. "What do we think of Sam?"
Tanya's face darkens. Martha busies herself with the baby. Chelsea's stomach, already upset from nervously overeating so much rich food at dinner, roils. Libby is the only one to smile.
"I think he's great. And I think you two are really in love. And you've been in love for a while too. You've got a little bit of happy relationship pudge creeping in."
Chelsea's used to weird shit like this from Libby. "I'm choosing to hear that as a positive thing."
"It is positive. You're cute and round and the most ridiculously gorgeous guy I've ever seen in real life loves you."
Chelsea laughs, Libby laughs back, but Tanya expression doesn't lighten.
"What, Tanya?" Chelsea asks.
"Chels…" Martha cuts in. "We all know that you didn't bring him here on a whim. There's something big you want to tell us and you wanted us to meet him before you made a final decision. And I'm… sure he's a really lovely young man… underneath it all... but…"
"But?" Chelsea prompts.
"But there's a lot of 'underneath it all'," Tanya supplies.
Baby Georgie makes a happy gurgling noise in Martha's arms as Tanya continues.
"I'm just saying… dating him, hanging out with him… okay. But you sound… serious, and have you really thought about marriage and kids with someone who grew up like he did? With someone who is fine now… but isn't exactly guaranteed to stay okay?"
"You are so unforgiving Tanya," Libby huffs. "Doesn't the guy get any credit for the things he's done? He grew up the way he did and went to Stanford on a free ride. He came back from Afghanistan with some mental injuries and recovered and is trying to help other people. I like him. And I like the way he looks at you," Libby declares, patting Chelsea's shoulder. "He looks smitten."
"Martha's right. You had a big reason to bring him home for a holiday." Tanya's mouth drops open. "Georgie's not getting a little cousin is he?"
"No!" Chelsea says immediately. "No. That's not it."
"So what is it?" Libby asks.
"We're moving in together. And just because you're all going to be so skeptical of that isn't going to stop us… but I was hoping for a little more support."
Libby hugs her. Tanya purses her lips in a way that Chelsea recognizes. Tanya thinks this a phase that will run it's course in a few more months. Martha just seems too tired to pay much attention to anything.
Chelsea tells herself that it will all be easier after they've known Sam for a while. He'll make more sense when they know the truth about him. When they know him like she does.
But the promise of things working in the distant future doesn't make the present less awkward, and when Martha yawns for the thousandth time since dinner Chelsea seizes the opportunity to kill the awkward. She scoops up Baby Georgie and shoos Martha off for a nap. The baby distracts everyone from talking about Sam until Sam comes back from the walk with the guys. Everyone couples back up.
Clyde sees Chelsea with the baby, yawns, gives her a thumbs up and heads directly to the spare room, presumably for his own nap. Libby and Sven curl up in a chair together and whisper to each other in Swedish because they're nauseatingly cute like that. Sam comes into the kitchen like he's retreating and they compare notes.
"Sven likes me," Sam concludes.
"Not to burst your bubble or anything sweetie, but Sven likes everyone."
"I kind of figured."
"You want to hold Georgie?"
Sam looks hesitant, like he really doesn't want to, but feels like he can't refuse. He holds his hands out anyway. Chelsea settles Georgie into Sam's arms.
The baby looks at him wide eyed for several moments before it's clear that it's terror more than any other potential baby-emotion.
Sam looks at Chelsea nervously and chuckles, "Kids are really more Dean's thing," seconds before the wail starts. Chelsea takes him back and it only takes a little bit of swinging and patting before Georgie's calmed back down.
"Okay. Well. Baby doesn't like me either. That makes it just Sven." Sam makes a check mark in the air and heads to the fridge.
Cheslea looks down at Baby Georgie. He sniffles and turns his head toward her, which is cute until she realizes that he's trying to get a meal off her and that she now has a pressing tits and drool situation going on. She sighs in resignation.
She looks up at Sam grabbing a beer from the fridge, then back down to the baby, still adamantly attempting to get something that isn't there.
And that's when the thought occurs to her.
Cas finally succumbed to turkey fatigue a couple hours ago and is lying down. Karen and Bobby are sitting together on the couch, talking to Ellen. Rufus is showing Garth a press he tweaked to get a better silver bullet.
Dean wanders back to the kitchen for another piece of pie. Jo, a little more sober than she'd been a few hours ago, is at the kitchen table with her computer.
"Whatchya working on?" Dean asks.
Jo shrugs. "Research."
"Yeah? What's the MO?"
"No. Not a case. Homework. Grad schools. Normal stuff."
"On Hunter's Thanksgiving?
Jo laughs. "Yeah. I guess."
"You want some pie? Cas made it."
Dean dishes up a plate for both of them and settles across the table from Jo. "So, grad school? Really?"
Jo shrugs. "I don't know. I like college this time around. Being the freak with the knife collection seems a lot less dire when no one knows you're the freak who got killed by Hellhounds and magicked back to the land of the living by an Archangel playing god."
"So Gabriel really did magic you and Ellen back, huh?"
"If he didn't he's still taking credit for it. He dropped by my dorm in his new body for no reason. My roommate was insanely jealous for weeks. I had to tell her that he was a gay cousin to get her to calm the fuck down."
Dean chuckles. "In my experience that doesn't do much to deter those girls."
Jo snorts and covers her mouth to save herself from spraying pie. "So how about you? How's higher education treating you?"
Dean's about to shrug and give her the same answer he gave over dinner- simple. Non-committal. Non-detailed. Because Rufus and Garth and Ellen hadn't really wanted to know. They had conquests to compare and news from the front lines to deliver. The little that he had said about his whole nursing thing had made him feel like an interior decorator in an old west saloon.
But Jo's different. She's in school too, and graduating this year.
"It's really good." Dean tells her about finally being in classes where he doesn't feel stupid. About how he's got enough field experience that he usually catches on first. He also admits that he gets a little bit of a strange thrill from being utterly irresistible.
"Irresistible?" Jo challenges.
Dean grins and ticks his points off on his fingers. "I'm older. I'm experienced. I'm the only guy in all of my classes and on top of everything- I'm taken."
He jumps at the feeling of a hand settling over his shoulder. Jo snorts again and he looks up into Cas's amused blue eyes.
"You're also very handsome," Cas says, almost teasing. He kisses Dean's temple, yawns and shuffles toward the pie.
"You forgot modest," Jo taunts the both of them. Dean shrugs. "Cas, you don't get jealous of these little girls fawning over your guy?"
Cas returns to the table with a slice of pie. "No. Dean loves me. Why would I be jealous?"
It's the kind of thing Cas says, but it still brings Dean up a little short. He squeezes Cas's knee under the table. Jo gives them a glowing smile.
"I don't want to sound like a big dork or anything, but it's nice to see you like this, Dean. Happy and successful in your, ya know, post-hunting life. Gives me some hope for mine."
Post-hunting life echoes weirdly in Dean's mind and he's brought up short for the second time in two minutes.
Chelsea and Cas basically force Sam and Dean to go out on the town for a night of brother bonding and Dean's grateful, because it's exactly what he wants, and now it doesn't have to be weird to ask for it. He and Sam end up going out to some greasy diner on the interstate, just like old times.
But not really. Dean realizes halfway through his meal just how much he's going to have to pay for it later in heartburn. Without a case to talk about like they normally would have, even someone else's case that they're just running the legwork on they end up just talking about Cas and Chelsea. Sam laughs about how much he does not fit in with her family at all, and how he's a little worried about her solid belief that one day they'll be able to come clean about who he really is. And how he's happy, but nervous about the fact that her solid belief that there will be a one day makes him believe it too. Dean admits that he's been delaying getting a cat with Cas because he thinks Cas would probably prefer a dog, and Dean hasn't quite decided if he's over the Hellhound thing enough to have a dog in his house.
"You're not scared of the commitment at all then, huh?" Sam asks.
"Cas and I have been together for almost two years already. This would be a weird time to freak out about it." Dean replies. They're walking back out to the car, but it's late and the large parking lot is absolutely deserted.
"You talk about him like you're expecting to be tottering around with him when you're both eighty."
Dean shrugs. "I umm… I guess that's cause I am. If you don't feel that way about Chelsea, we might have to kick your ass."
Sam and Dean drop into the car. Sam yawns.
"I do feel like that about her, but it's different. We're still… I feel right now like I want to be with her until I'm old and senile and drooling, but I just don't have your solid- yeah, this is how it's going to be. I don't know, man. That could just be that it's different for us. You've known Cas for like triple the time I've known her and he pulled you out of hell and you had this whole heavy bonding year just the two of you."
"Maybe… moving in with her… you'll have something like that. With less anguish and whiskey."
"Yeah," Sam laughs. "Yeah maybe."
"Listen, Sammy, I've been thinking."
"I haven't been as supportive as I should have been about you and Chelsea."
"I wasn't as honest as I should have been," Sam counters.
"It's not like I admitted to Castiel the second you got back."
"That's different," Sam allows.
Dean pulls the car keys out of his pocket, and just squeezes his hand around them. "I guess you moving out just… makes it all official, you know? We're not… we're not gonna be how we were. You and me and the car and the monsters. It's gonna be me and Cas and my job. And you and Chelsea and your jobs."
"And that's so terrible? Having relationships and not having to worry that we could die on any given night?"
"It's not that it's terrible it's just… you and me. We've been each other's go-tos all these years. I spent… the year you were missing I spent everything I had looking for you. I can't believe Cas put up with how much of a maniac I was about it. And now… you have Chelsea. I have Cas. Other people have the monsters. You and Chelsea might get married and have babies. It's a brave new world out there. I guess it's just… it's a little scary to have the world move under my feet. Again."
"At least you've still got the car," Sam teases him. "And trust me, babies are a long, long way off. Look, I get what you mean. But… this is good. This is more than we ever could have hoped for all those years. We got out of Hunting. We're grown men, we need to be able to… operate outside of each other's bubbles a little more. And it's not like I'm taking off across the country again. I'm not dropping by in a stolen car to give you a heads up that I'm going to college and not coming back."
"Right. I know. You'll come over to play catch with Cas's dog and we'll all still research together and we'll pick some damn holiday that we do over at Bobby's."
"Yeah, yeah. I know."
"Okay. This is going to be good. Post-hunting lives." Dean sighs. He slots the key into the ignition and they go back to his and Cas's house. "We're ready for this."
Sam goes back to his place with Chelsea when he and Dean get home. Dean goes upstairs, pops three tums and goes back to Cas in the kitchen. They have a weird rash of murders in Louisiana to look into, but Dean's got a gut feeling that it's just a psycho of the non Supernatural variety and there's nothing specific to research yet.
Cas is standing in the kitchen, just staring out the window when Dean comes back. He pulls his Angel into his arms. Cas wraps his arms loosely around Dean's waist and they just stand like that for a little while in the kitchen. There's no other noise in the house. No creaking floorboards upstairs, no books being shuffled around in the living room.
"House to ourselves," Dean says.
"Chelsea's pregnant. I'm not supposed to tell you," Cas replies.