Questions and Answers
Chelsea can tell that Sam is super tense about this whole weekend and it's making her tense for him on top of her own tenseness. And she is too damn pregnant to be this tense.
She wishes they'd tried harder to convince Bobby and Karen to come along. Bobby had been very supportive of her plan to 'come out' to her family about the whole Hunting part of their lives.
Maybe they just shouldn't have started so big. Maybe she should have gone to Martha's and broken the news about the whole psychic thing. Maybe she and Sam should have just visited her parents and come clean. She just wants the secrecy to be over though. It's just been too long, and she hates that he has been keeping secrets from her family for so long.
Also- Cas and Dean are driving her crazy. They've been together longer than she and Sam have, they've fixed each other in ways that she and Sam weren't even broken and it's just stupid that they aren't married with a damn litter of cute little things with big pretty eyes by now. But instead they are dancing around, each hiding rings from each other, each worried about the other leaving, when the other has no intention of ever doing that.
"Mom! Mom!" Sophie's voice cuts into Chelsea's moping. "Can I put some water in Dodger's bowl? He's thirsty." She has her hands wrapped around Dodger's collar while the poor guy pants.
"Yeah, let me carry it though, I don't want the floor all wet."
"Dodger likes to chase the fishes with me," Sophie says while Chelsea fills up a bowl. "He likes it here. He likes the birds."
Chelsea reaches down to scratch Dodger's ears. "Do you like it here?"
"I went swimming with Daddy," Sophie replies. She climbs up onto a kitchen chair and grabs her crayons. "He held me up so I could kick big splashes."
"Big splashes, huh?"
"Big!" Sophie confirms. Dodger barks in agreement and Chelsea sets his water bowl down for him. She wonders a little bit about just how much of Sophie's connection with the dog is just basic four year old stuff and how much she can actually understand him.
"How's your head?" Chelsea asks carefully.
Sophie pushes her palms to her temples. "It's all bright and loud."
"Too loud?" Chelsea asks.
Sophie shrugs. "No. Dodger and Uncle Cas make it quiet."
"Uncle Cas makes it quiet?" Chelsea asks.
"He's all mmmmHmmmMMMmmmhmmm," Sophie says, humming lightly. Chelsea smiles. She worries about Sophie, but not as much as she would if she didn't know what was really going on out there, or if Sam wasn't her father. And sometimes she's a little jealous that she'll never see the world the way her daughter does.
"And what is Dodger like?"
Sophie holds her hands out her little fists and flashes her fingertips outward. "Boooooommmmaaahhhhbommmmahhh h" she whispers. "I try not to listen. You said it was rude to listen. But Dodger… I don't think he thinks it's rude."
"I know, baby. I'm just trying to understand," Chelsea says.
Sophie nods. "Okay. Mrs. Roach says that you should ask questions when you don't understand."
"That's smart. So Uncle Cas and Dodger are quiet. Is everyone else loud?"
Sophie's forehead wrinkles. "No, they're not loud. Well… sometimes they're loud. Aunt Tanya is loud. She hurts my," –her forehead wrinkles again and she puts her fingertips right above her eyebrows– "right here."
Chelsea nods. Sophie goes back to coloring. "Uncle Dean is bright green inside," she says casually. "And sometimes he goes 'whoosh' with lights."
"What about me?"
" 'Ping!'," Sophie responds. "With sparkles an' blue."
"What about Daddy?"
Sophie's mouth twists, like she's really concentrating. "Daddy doesn't make noise. It's weird. And it's really dark."
"I thought you could see what people were thinking about," Chelsea says.
"No, have to touch them for that," Sophie sighs. "Because it's… umm… it's too far away? I don't know."
"What are you guys talking about?"
Chelsea's head snaps up. Libby is standing in the doorway, looking puzzled. Sophie scoots around in her chair. "I'm telling Mom what people look like in their heads."
Libby chuckles. "That's nice sweetie."
"She doesn't believe me," Sophie stage whispers.
Chelsea leans back in her chair. The logical thing to do is let it go… but this is what they came to do and Libby already knows most of the truth.
"Sophie? Do you want to show your aunt?" Chelsea asks.
"Okay," Sophie says. She holds out her little hand. Libby takes it and shoots Chelsea a wink.
"Concentrate on something," Chelsea suggests.
Libby looks like she's starting to think she is in over her head, but swallows and nods.
"Okay, what am I thinking about, sweetheart?"
Sophie giggles. "Pink Elephants. You're silly."
Libby's smile freezes. Sophie's giggle cuts out like the power to it shorted.
"No…" Sophie says. "No, now you're scared." Her bottom lip trembles. "No, don't be scared."
Chelsea heaves herself out of her chair and cups her hands around her sister and her daughter's joined ones. "It's alright. It's fine. That's my fault. It wasn't nice of us to surprise Aunt Libby like this. It's all fine."
And God bless Libby, because she clears her throat and smiles. "Right. Right. It's fine. It's just a little shock. Like when you watch a scary movie for fun."
"Right!" Chelsea agrees instantly.
Libby sits down and strokes Sophie's hair. She offers her hand again and watches Chelsea carefully while she thinks of a few more silly things for Sophie to pull out of her head until Sophie is smiling again.
Sam checks in to grab a beer, and Chelsea silently indicates that he should take his daughter and his beer outside with her own brand of non-supernatural, but still totally effective psychic communication.
"So… psychic," Libby manages. "Cause you're life isn't weird enough, with the gay Angel-in-law, house full of graveyard dirt, pulling dividends from the book sales of the Prophet of the Lord, and of course, trying to find ways to explain why your husband looks like he's been through a meat grinder and duct taped back together."
"Yeah… I know."
"Mom thinks Cas got sliced up when he was young as some sort of cult god sacrifice."
"Well," Chelsea sighs. "That tracks."
"And I'm guessing that Dean's walking around in a tee shirt like a chubby girl at the beach because there really is a handprint burned into his shoulder? Just like the books?"
"You got it," Chelsea nods. "What does every one think about Dean?"
"That they don't even want to know what he looks like if Sam's walking around shirtless with three visible gunshot wound scars."
"Maybe he can try to pull it off as some sort of chemical burn branding type thing. That he got in prison."
"You know about that?" Libby asks.
"Cas overheard Mom and Dad talking." Chelsea gets up and pulls a popsicle out of the freezer. "I guess… I thought the truth would come up sooner. I mean… I know about the ghost thing from the second I met Dean and Cas… the Angel thing came up a couple months later. Cas got really sick and was rambling about Heaven and Dean told me… I thought that it would just come up one day. And now, it's years later, and I sort of feel like I'm sitting on this bomb. And I can't ask my four year old to lie to her family, or make her feel like this part of herself is some big shameful secret. It's gotten too big."
Libby sets her hand on Chelsea's knee. "Well. I know. Sven knows. Let's… talk. Figure out what we'd need to do to convince everyone else."
Chelsea sighs. "Thanks, Libby."
"What do you dream about?" Dean hears himself ask. He curses a little internally. He hadn't mean to ask that. It's all the moonlight and the soft noise of the waves starting to get to him. A whole day of swimming and grilling and walking and playing with the kids had ground him into a state of hyper relaxation.
Cas's stubble pricks through his shirt and he adjusts his head on Dean's shoulder. "What do you mean?"
"Sophie said that she likes to listen to you dream because you have pretty dreams."
Cas yawns. "Oh. I didn't know that. That's potentially problematic."
"Problematic?" Dean asks.
"Mmm. My dreams are often about you. Naked." He pinches Dean's side playfully. "The pretty ones anyway."
Dean slaps Cas's hand away. "She said you dream about clouds and monsters in the park. She threw out some names. Angel names. Is that… Heaven? Do you dream about Heaven?"
Cas picks at Dean's shirt. "Yes."
Cas keeps picking, then lifts himself up over Dean and kisses him. "Dean? I'm millennia upon millennia old. I'm actually older than time. I was only stationed on earth for a few thousand years. I have a lot of Heaven to dream about."
"Right," Dean says quickly, feeling shitty about pushing the issue.
"It upsets you that I dream about Heaven, doesn't it?" Cas asks, settling back into his spot in the crook of Dean's arm. Dean wraps his arm tighter around his boyfriend and tries to think of a way to answer.
"Not exactly? I …. I can't… It… the…"
Cas is quiet and patient as Dean starts his sentence over and over again, trying to get the admission out.
"I get upset thinking about you there instead of here," Dean finally manages. "Instead of here with me."
Cas taps his fingers on Dean's stomach. "But I'm not going back to Heaven without you. And we were brought together by God, so it's safe to assume that we'll be together in Heaven."
Dean's entire body has that pins and needles feeling, like he's made entirely of waking limbs as Cas keeps talking, calmly and matter-of-factly telling Dean what he's wishing he just asked to hear months ago.
"I mean, really, we've only got 50 or more years together on earth. It's very little time, all things considered."
Dean can feel his heart throbbing and he can tell by the way Cas's hand creeps up his chest that Cas has noticed.
"What's wrong?" Cas asks.
"Nothing," Dean replies. He swallows hard and digs his heels down into the sand. "I got you something."
"Is it something that makes you very nervous?" Cas asks, laying his palm over Dean's pounding heart.
"Umm… sort of," Dean admits, wishing that it wasn't true. Cas doesn't move and after one of the longer pauses of his life, Cas replies, "I bought something for you as well. I brought it with me."
"Yeah, yours is in my suitcase inside…Do you… wanna go inside for your present inside?"
Cas nods against Dean's chest and Dean is eternally grateful that he didn't try to plan a cheesy speech. His entire proposal plan from the time he bought the damn ring has been to shove it at Cas and try not to run like hell in the other direction. So far, so good.
"We can exchange," Cas agrees.
Neither of them moves for a few moments more. Dean finally steels himself, squeezes Cas quick and moves to sit up.
The handful of yards between the beach and their cabin feels like miles. Dean, clenching Cas's hand in his own, feels like he's trudging through molasses.
The cabin is quiet and dark except for the light left on for them in their room and the soft light in Sam, Chelsea and Sophie's room. Dean breathes deep, convincing himself that, yes, he really is going to do this. Tonight he's going to officially ask Cas to be around for the next 50 or so years.
Cas squeezes his hand and Dean eases the door open. His breath catches in his throat. His ring box is sitting, open, on their bed, glinting in the lamp light.
And another box is sitting next to it. Also open. Also with a ring inside it.
"Cas… did you plan this?" Dean manages.
Cas, wide eyed, shakes his head.
"Sam!" Dean yells, "Did you plan this?"
"I did!" Chelsea responds from the other room. "You're both ridiculous!"
"Ridkless!" Sophie chimes.
"You bought me a ring?" Dean asks. He's a blindsided by this. It doesn't seem like the kind of thing Cas would think about.
Cas steps forward and scoops his ring off the bed. "You used to wear a ring very much like this one. I thought it would appeal to you."
"Yeah. Yeah. It does."
"It's traditional to get down on one knee, correct?" Cas asks. Dean grabs his upper arm preemptively. Cas doesn't actually look like he'd been planning to drop down, but it's not a chance that Dean is willing to take.
"Umm.. .yeah, but we're… nontraditional. Is this an engagement ring, Cas?"
Cas draws inward and stiffens in Dean's hand. "Isn't yours?"
"Yes!" Dean assures him immediately. "Yes, it is. Come here." He kisses Cas, slightly panicked at having made Cas think Dean would reject him. "Of course it is."
Cas smiles. Dean grabs his own ring off the bed. Cas grabs his hip as though he's steadying himself. "Shall we exchange?"
Dean plucks his ring out of his box with shaking hands, Cas mirrors him and holds the ring out. Dean hesitates, then takes Cas's hand and slips the ring he'd bought onto Cas's fingers. Cas carefully takes Dean's hand and does the same.
"Mine is a gesture of permanence," Cas says, voice a little wobbly. "It's a promise to stay here. With you."
Dean pulls him close.
"Well. Not here, but at our house. Or anywhere else we would go."
Dean kisses Cas to shut him up before he continues to ruin a nice moment. He hears the door creak open. Sophie bursts in with a "Yay!" and wraps herself around their legs. It's a couple more moments before Sam's enormous form envelops them both in a hug, and Chelsea tucks between them when they finally pull apart.
"Thank you," Dean whispers as she kisses him on the cheek. She smacks his shoulder affectionately before pulling back.
"So, do we get to throw you boys a party now? Tuxes, dinner, cake?"
"Yeah… we'll see," Dean laughs. "You already planned the proposal, don't get that far out ahead of us."
"We should have a drink to celebrate." Sam says. "Sweetie? Can you share your fancy juice with Dean and your Mom?" Sam asks, picking Sophie up.
"Are we having a party?" Sophie asks.
"You bet. You even get to stay up late."
Dean chuckles to himself as they all head out to the kitchen. A benefit of a psychic niece that he had not previously considered was the ability to act as an emotional weathervane. Sophie is practically vibrating with glee.
Dean drank juice at the kitchen table with his family, his arm draped over Cas, trying to think happy family friendly thoughts until Sophie finally sagged into Sam's chest and he took his girls back to their room.
"So, what should we do now?" Cas asks.
"We should go for a drive," Dean says, leaning in to brush his lips over the streak of gray at Cas's temple.
"Yeah. Somewhere quiet. And private. Away from thin walls and psychic toddlers and… our clothes."
"Ah," Cas chuckles. "A drive."
"Yeah. How about we peel out of here so I can prove that a ring doesn't make me an entirely honest man."
"But you are an honest man," Cas protests.
"It's an expression, Cas," Dean says, kissing down the side of his face and down his neck.
"What does it mean?" Cas asks. " 'an honest man'?"
"Umm… married. It means a married man."
Cas does one of his little slow bloom smiles, the type that crawl carefully across his face like they could be chased away.