Wait and See

Scars and Secrets

The family has a lot more than just the nation's independence to celebrate by the time the fourth of July rolls around. So in order to celebrate Martha and Taylor's new baby, Henry, Libby and Sven's engagement, and Mr. Clearwater's 75th birthday, the Clearwater Clan all rent cabins around a lake west of the Twin Cities for the holiday weekend.

Dean, Cas, Chelsea, Sam, Sophie and Dodger all go in on a cabin together, and decide, more or less collectively, that this is as good a time as any to start letting go of some of the lies. Warm the family up to the idea that they aren't all what they appear, and that Sophie has abilities that they might not believe are real.

They all agree to be themselves a little more than they usually are. Nothing major, just… not hiding the things that they might otherwise have hidden.

Oddly the thing that catches the most attention is Cas getting a tan.

Dean understands that it's Sam and Chelsea's decision to come clean about Sophie. If she was his daughter, he'd probably wait a few more years, but she isn't, and Chelsea thinks asking a four year old to keep a big secret will somehow scar her terribly.

But he doesn't think they should tell the family about Hunting, and he thinks his opinion on this front should count for more. Telling the truth about Hunting goes against all of Dean's instincts. He'd rather have Chelsea's parents think he was locked up for years than know what he really was. He knows that Hunting will always be a part of him. He knows there are things he'll never grow out of. Sophie's in the house too often for him to leave guns out that way that his father did, but he's got a jug of holy water under the bed, silver knives in the nightstand, and a container of salt. He's still got the exorcism memorized and he taught it to Cas, just in case.

But everyday that goes by he feels more and more like a former Hunter. He's starting to feel like that part of his life could be over. He can just be a boyfriend. And an uncle. And a nurse.

And be happy.

Dean's worrying is interrupted by a quick press of lips to the back of his neck. He shivers and shivers again as he feels Cas's cheek tucks close to his. "I've been talking to you for the last few minutes," he says gently.

"Sorry," Dean sighs, turning to kiss him. "Just the whole fourth of July thing. Dropping the bomb on civilians. Having everyone know our deep, dark secrets," Dean sighs. Cas edges around the couch and settles in next to Dean. He grins and settles his legs over Dean's.

"All those terrible times you saved the world. All those regrettably longer innocent lives," Castiel pretends to kick him.

"I hate it when you get snarky," Dean sighs.

"I hate it when you get gloomy," Cas replies with a playful smile.

"What's gotten into you?" Dean asks.

Cas shrugs, sweeps his legs off of Dean's and scoots closer. "It's beautiful outside. Everything's blooming. You have the day off. We're taking Sophie to soccer tonight. It's a nice day." He wraps his arms around Dean's shoulders, and presses a kiss to his lips. "I'm just happy today. You should join me."

Dean sighs and kisses him again. "I'm stewing too much about this aren't I?"

"Yes. It's very tiresome. Come do something with me. Let's take Dodger to the park."

"Alright," Dean agrees. He doesn't take his hands away from Cas's waist. They stay, for just a little too long, arms around each other, faces pressed together but not kissing, breathing each other in while Cas lets out a quiet chuckle.

"I love you."

Dean nods against Cas's forehead. "Love you too."

His thoughts flick to the ring box hidden inside a pair of ratted up socks in their bedroom. Cas sinks past him.

"Dodger!" He says in his bright voice. "Dodger! Go for a walk?"

Dean hears the thumping paws and clicking nails as Dodger goes into what sounds like paroxysms of joy.

Cas gets Dodger out to the car, Dean runs upstairs, grabs the ring box, tucks it in his pocket and hustles out to the Impala after dog and boyfriend.

It really is a beautiful day. It's just stupidly nice. They walk around the park. They go out for ice cream. They run into the old gang from the garage at the soccer game, and then take the long route home, through fields of long grass and fireflies.

It's the perfect day to propose. It's a perfect day period and watching Cas in the mirror while they brush their teeth, Dean just can't quite convince himself to do it.

They've decided to drive from Sioux Falls to Minneapolis, and somehow as part of the whole family vibe, they had all wound up agreeing to take the Impala together.

Dean can't help but make comparisons between this trip and the million other trips he's made in this car. Six years and everything is so different.

They aren't planning a 12 hour drive. They aren't staying in skeevy motels. They got rooms at a Sheraton in Stillwater to break up the drive. He's not cruising down the highway with most of a buzz rocking, Sam researching in the passenger seat.

Sam is in the backseat with Chelsea and Sophie, reading Sophie one of the books they brought to keep her entertained. Castiel is in the front seat, Dodger resting his head in his lap.

He looks up at himself in the rearview mirror and suddenly has a moment where he can see just how different everything looks and feels. Sam's shorter, but still not short hair. Cas in one of Dean's flannel shirts. Chelsea round and glowing. The way the crows feet around his own eyes are deepening.

It's one of those moments where he suddenly realizes that he never truly believed that he would live this long, and he never, ever really believed that he'd have something like this if he did.

Sam doesn't realize until he puts on his swim trunks that he hasn't thought about what he actually looks like in years.

He's been so focused on Sophie being out from under the wards and around so many people for days on end that he hasn't really stopped to consider that his and Chelsea's insistency on being more honest than usual applies to him, Dean, and Cas just as much as Sophie.

And Sophie's already gotten a couple slightly odd looks for knowing where George hid a toy from her. It wasn't a big deal, and really, neither is this, but these things add up. They slowly turn into just enough pressure on the first domino.

Sam's never been shirtless in front of Sophie's family before. He spends a moment looking at himself in the mirror before deciding that they have this whole honesty goal this weekend and that wearing a shirt in the water is going to just make everyone imagine that he's even more beat up than he is.

And it could be worse. There are a couple stab wounds that pucker out strangely from being stitched together with dental floss. There's a notch out of his arm from when Bela shot him, and a couple other bullet wounds in his arms and legs. Then there are assorted knife wounds, a couple burns and a bite mark here and there, all of which are hard to explain, but most of which he's sure his in laws won't ask about.

He definitely gets a look from Cindy when he checks in with Chelsea before he goes down to the lake. Tanya and Libby are floating on air mattresses, drinking hard lemonades. Cas, Dodger and Sophie are chasing minnows in the shallows. Dean is in the water, wearing a dark tee shirt. George is thrashing and kicking back and forth between the small space between Dean and Martha. Dean's congratulating him on getting to be a good swimmer already.

It's a fun summer day. Sophie and Cas eventually abandon minnow hunting to join the circle of those attempting to swim. They all get called upstairs when lunch is off the grill. It's exactly the sort of normal family stuff Sam used to dream about, excluding the horrified look Martha gives him when George sticks his finger into the bullet hole in Sam's arm and asks how he got that.

It doesn't get weird until after lunch. Cas falls asleep in the sun. Dean sprays an extra layer of sunscreen on him and lets him sleep. It's ridiculous, but sweet. After a popsicle, and then having most of a popsicle wiped off of her with a washcloth, Sophie climbs up on Cas's lap and sets her head to his chest. Sam watches her for a little while before realizing that she's sitting with her eyes open, a little smile on her face.

"Are you and Cas taking a nap?" Sam stage whispers.

Sophie shakes her head. "No. I'm listening," she whispers back.

"Listening to what?" Sam asks.

"Uncle Cas has pretty dreams," Sophie sighs happily.

Cindy chuckles. Sam sees Dean's face flicker through a couple expressions he's never seen before and settle on an expression that seems sort of… hopeful but sad.

"What's he dreaming about?" Dean asks quietly.

"Dean," Sam scolds. They have been trying like hell to find a way to be careful about not making Sophie feel like a freak about this, but not letting it get out of control. They'd agreed to make it a privacy issue. It was okay to be capable of seeing into people's private thoughts, but it was wrong to actually do it because they should be private. "Privacy. Remember?"

"Right. Sorry."

"Pretty clouds," Sophie answers, oblivious to Dean and Sam squabbling. "And big…nice monster people in the park."

Cindy chuckles. "She has quite the imagination, doesn't she? Do the nice monsters have names?"

"Oh, we-" Sam starts, not sure where he's going to go with that. We're trying to teach her it's rude to look into other people's heads. We all know better than to ask what's in Castiel's dreams.

But Sophie cuts in. "Inias an' Samandriel, an' Rachel."

Cindy looks a little taken aback, and her next chuckle is strained.

"Okay, kiddo, come on," Dean sighs. He reaches out to pick her up.

She grins and snuggles down into Cas. "But if he has nightmares I can wake him up."

Sam sees the way that Dean falters at that. He clears his throat and reaches down to grab her. "If he has nightmares, I'll wake him up. Okay?"


"Yeah. I promise. Come here, squirt."

Dean scoops her up, Cas's arms come up after her, with a little bit of a waking up noise. Dean shushes him and he settles, snoring a little as Dean walks back into the nearest cabin with Sophie hiked over his shoulder.

Cindy sighs and chuckles. "So… they're having a baby soon, right? Your brother and his…umm…"

"Boyfriend," Sam supplied.

"They are so good with her. And she adores them. They'd be great parents. You can tell."

"Yeah, they definitely would," Sam says. "But uh… they can't. Dean's looked into it a couple time, they are a couple paperwork hurdles they just won't be able to clear."

"Well, maybe a miracle then," Cindy sighs, pats Sam's knee and wanders off.

Sophie and George go butterfly hunting. Martha hands Baby Henry to Dean and goes to help clean up lunch. Dean wakes Cas up when his cheeks start to go pink. When he sits up, the thin white scar lines of the Angel banishing symbol he had once carved into his own chest are easily visible under his dark hair and over his newly darkened skin.

Everyone notices before Dean whisks Cas back to the cabin to get him into a shirt.

In and of itself, it's not that big a deal. Cas has a scar. They all have scars. Sam has his scars on display. Sam's scars fit into the soldier lie easily enough. He's caught a couple of his sisters in law staring over the course of the afternoon, but that's fair. He understands that most people don't see a gunshot wound very often.

But Cas's marks are different. They're creepy and ritualistic and otherworldly. They do fit into his own lie- the cult upbringing fiction- but they do it in a dark and scary way that changes the story.

Cas's scar is the first nudge on that domino, and Sam can feel it. And the weirdest part is that Sam can see the gears moving in everyone's heads. Sam has clearly gone through Hell, and has the marks to show for it. God only knows what's happened to Cas, and he's covering the marks up now that they do show. Dean's wet tee shirt suddenly seems suspicious. And based on what's clearly happened to the rest of them, it's hard not to wonder what they are all hiding.

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