Wait and See

I'm Not Your Ward

Cas finally finds a hobby. He likes to cook. He likes food. He likes directions. It's a perfect combo. He makes fancy, fiddly, multi-ingredient things- many of which are very green. Most of it's great, but Dean's sure a man can't live on that many vegetables, so every once on a while he sneaks out for a cheeseburger.

Dean goes out with Chelsea again. She takes him to a horror flick and they go out for drinks afterward. They wind up in the back seat of the Impala, making out a little bit before Dean realizes that the shot of whisky he talked her into when he found out that she had never tried it went straight to her head. He drops her off at home.

Dean gets a job. A guy at a body shop down the highway found the old car frames that Dean was trying to sell online and asked to interview him, when Dean showed up in the Impala the deal was pretty much clinched already. It seems a little silly to be employed somewhere else when he lives in what was a body shop at one point, but he doesn't have the money to start Bobby's business back up and he doesn't know how to run it if he does.

Working a regular job like a regular guy is bizarre. It's the limitations that stick out at first. Dean has never had to be at the same place at the same time every day before. He's never had a supervisor or a lunch break either. It's a little suffocating at first. He spends the first few weeks very aware that if he got in the Impala and drove away there would be actual consequences.

He wonders if it's just a little bit of what Castiel feels like now.

Cas has clearly realized that this job means that Dean is in every way supporting him, and Dean tries as best he can to make sure Cas knows he's contributing too. Cas does all the cooking, most of the cleaning, and he's the one who's home now when people call and need to talk to a Hunter's superior at the CDC, or need to know where to find a Valean Amulet in Oklahoma.

Far from just wanting Cas to know he's a part of the team, Cas goes a little "Guardian Angel Overboard" when he feels like he's being taken care of too much and then Dean suffers the consequences.

The thing that Dean really does enjoy about being a regular Joe is having coworkers. He's never had coworkers before, unless you count Sam and Cas-which, really, you can't- and he enjoys the experience. He likes joking around with the guys at work. Eating his lunch in the break room and jabbering about their weekends and the last game.

Even after you account for the still slightly emotionally unstable former Angel of the Lord at home and the phone calls at three am where some one yells "Shit, Winchester- how do you kill a Djinn?" and then hangs up after the answer, it's a pretty normal life.

For him anyway.


The first time someone at the body shop asked him if Cas was his wife he'd only been there for four days. He should have seen that one coming. A single guy does not bring his lunch every day and he definitely doesn't bring himself good cooked lunches with a little slice of every piece of the food pyramid. A single guy also does not check in at home on his afternoon break everyday just in case someone there has flipped out and set a beat up old car door on fire again for no discernible reason.

"Wife?" Dean asks blankly before realizing that on top of all these things "Cas" is also not a name people come across regularly. "Oh. No, he's," Dean fumbles for a just a moment before deciding to dive into the army buddy who needs a caretaker story. It's just enough of a fumble to make him sound suspicious, and he knows it.

Thomas, the guy that asked, just nods along though. Apparently his question was less about the lunches and the phone calls than just about the fact that Dean talks about Cas all the time. Dean probably should have realized that Cas is his only constant topic of conversation. Before he started this job Cas and Chelsea were the only people he'd exchanged more than a few minutes conversation with in months, and when the guys asked "So whatchya do last night?" Dean can't answer "spent three hours trying to translate a twelfth century Italian grimoire with the use of a very suspect translation website so I can spring my brother from Hell. You?" but he can answer, "Hung out with Cas."

And once he's explained that Cas isn't quite all there, he even feels less awkward about talking about what they do. They made dinner together. They went to the wetland by the park and fed the ducks. They sat around and listened to albums.

Most of the guys don't pry. Dean looks out for an army buddy who needs to stay with him. Fine. A few of them obviously think Dean's not being entirely truthful about the nature of the relationship, but they don't say anything and Dean doesn't care what they think.

It's a weird little life. Job. House. Acquaintances that could become friends. Woman he's been out with more than once. Cas.


The guys at work play soccer. They invite Dean along. Dean doesn't know how to play, due to never having completed an entire unit in gym in his patchy high school career, and Cas is having a really off day. But Cas insists that he go. Apparently it's very important for them not to be isolated from Dean's coworkers. Dean doesn't want to leave him in the house alone when he's like this, and drags him along.

Apparently just pick up in the park soccer on Wednesday night is a big deal. Everyone has brought their wives or girlfriends and their kids. There's a huge patchwork of blankets surrounding the field.

Cas agreed that him coming with was the most sensible solution to get Dean to go without Dean needing to worry about him being alone, but once they get into the park the two-fingers-to-the-elbow starts up again.

Thomas spots them and waves them over as they pick their way through the blankets. His girlfriend, Sophie, and his two young sons are spread out on a huge blanket with an honest to god picnic basket on one corner.

Thomas is an enthusiastic guy, to the point where he's a honestly a little too much before that first cup of coffee in the morning hits Dean's blood stream, but he's friendly and he shakes Cas's hand like the suddenly glaring fact that only Dean didn't bring a girl isn't weird at all.

Cas shakes Thomas's hand, staring at the park around him as he does. His eyes are bugged out and as soon as Thomas drops his hand he touches his fingertips to Dean's elbow again and asks quietly, "Why are people eating out of a basket out here?"

Dean grits his teeth. He was right about this being a bad idea. "Because it's a nice night. It's a picnic, Cas. It's fun."

"Oh."

"Do you want to play soccer or should we go get you a blanket from the car?"

Cas looks around the park again. "I didn't bring a picnic."

Thomas smile gets a little worried. He shoots a look at his girlfriend who smiles sweetly. "Cas? You're more than welcome to sit with us. There's plenty. Do you like pasta salad?"

"Umm… I've never tried it." Two fingers to the elbow again. He gets a little out of it in crowds sometimes, but usually if he's outside he's fine.

Sophie looks at Dean, for permission, Dean's gotten used to that.

"Here, try some." She hands him a little portion sized Tupperware and a plastic fork. Cas takes them, takes a bite and chews it contemplatively. Everyone watches him. He realizes this.

"It's very good." Something seems to occur to him and he perks up a little. "I would enjoy having the recipe."

"Oh, it's simple. I'll write it out for you."

"Thank you."

"Alright, Cas, let's go get you a blanket from the car."

"I…. I thought I was invited to sit here?" Another elbow touch. What is going on today?

"Of course," Sophie answers.

"We'll get it for you and set it next to Sophie's so there's more room." Dean sets his hand to the small of Cas's back and starts guiding him back to the car. Cas realizes that he still has the Tupperware and fork and sets them down carefully on the blanket before coming with.

"What's wrong, Cas?" Dean asks.

"I didn't expect the park."

"What do you mean?"

"I don't want to tell you yet. It's fine."

Dean's a little taken aback by that. They've been operating with this unspoken rule that they explain everything. Sam was the only forbidden topic for a while, and now even he's back on the table.

"Do you want to go home?"

"Dean, I don't want you to miss a social function for me. This is important."

"You don't seem fine, and you're worrying me."

Cas sets his hands to his head for a moment, like he needs to squeeze it back together, then drops them to his sides. "I am fine, Dean. I'll sit with Sophie and she will be kind to me and we will eat cold pasta in the park."

"Cas-"

"And-" Cas cuts him off. "If I am not fine I will tell you."

Dean doesn't push, even though he wants too. He digs a blanket out of the backseat and tosses it to Cas, who quietly points out there is blood on it. The other blanket is clean.

Back at her blanket Sophie has set out a whole meal for Cas. Fried chicken, pasta salad, and a little Tupperware of strawberries.

One of the things that's surprised Dean most about his quiet suburban life is how kind people have been.

Dean lays the blanket out for Cas, who drops onto his stomach and picks up the container of pasta salad.

"Alright," Dean drops down to his haunches and sets a hand on Cas's shoulder. "You hang out with Sophie, swap recipes, watch me get my ass kicked."

Cas gives him a brittle smile and Deans goes out onto the field.

"So… That's Cas huh?" Thomas says, as he shows Dean the best way to move the ball between his feet.

"That's Cas."

"What's… different about him?"

Dean quirks his head. "You mean what kind of crazy is he?"

Thomas's shrug is uncomfortable and apologetic. Dean realizes he was a little harsh. "Sorry. It's hard to explain. He's usually a lot better than this. Something about the park is setting him off and he's trying to pretend it's not," Dean huffs out the last part. It feels good for a second to admit that Cas frustrates him, and then he instantly feels bad about it. Taking care of Cas is what's kept Dean from blowing his brains out or turning into a drooling mess, but that doesn't mean he doesn't occasionally get cabin crazy.

"Sophie'll watch him. Her brother's autistic. Cas'll be fine with her. Come on. Let's teach you to kick a ball around."

Dean picks up soccer pretty quickly after the guys find out he doesn't know how to play and they all help him warm up. He doesn't have enough control of the ball to play offence, but he's good at kicking the ball away from people and getting it to someone on his own team. Despite the slight chill of the night Dean's red and sweating by the first time they break. He jogs over to the patch of blankets, which now includes Jose's wife Marta and their twin girls. They are both sitting in the grass with Castiel, all intently focused on something between them. Dean shrugs out of his jacket and drops it on Cas's blanket.

"How's he doing?" Dean asks Sophie quietly.

"Honey, he's fine. We've got this covered, go play."

It's not a game so much as a picnic with intermittent periods of soccer. All the players break after a couple more goals and spread back out amongst their families. The breeze feels good on Dean's overheated skin, but it must be getting cold out. Back at the blankets Cas has pulled on Dean's jacket and the kids have been tucked into sweaters.

Cas is still sitting with the twin girls. They're all watching something in the air.

Sophie hands Dean a few containers of pasta salad and chicken. Marta pushes over an enchilada that's still warm.

"This is amazing," Dean says, though a mouthful of chicken. "I feel bad we didn't think to bring anything."

"Don't worry about it," Marta shrugs. "You boys will bring something next time. Right, Cas?"

Cas doesn't reply and when Dean looks over at him his head is craned further back, staring at something in the sky with his mouth and eyes wide open.

Dean reaches over and shakes Cas's knee. "Cas? What is it?"

Cas stays silent, but Carla, one of the twins, leans out from the other side of him. "He's watchin' the kite. He got real quiet, but it's not even doin' anything."

Dean shakes him again. "Cas? What about the kite?" Still nothing, and Dean's starting to worry. This is new, and doesn't exactly bode well. "Castiel? Cas?"

Cas tears his eyes away from the kite for a moment, and looks at Dean. Cas's face is tear streaked. He doesn't look good.

"Cas, you okay?"

"What?"

"Dude, you're crying," Dean says this in a whisper, as though the group of people around them might not have noticed that Cas is having some sort of episode.

Cas looks surprised by this information. He palms over one eye. "I just..." he puts his other palm to his other eye, and Carla puts her little hand over his knee. "I really like this park."

Dean sits up. This is going nowhere good.

"Okay. Okay…I think we might need to head out."

He sets a hand on Cas's shoulder and Cas bats it away. "No… no I don't want…. I don't want to leave."

"Cas-"

"No I just… I think I used to come here in heaven."

Even Sophie is giving him a sad look now.

"Cas, come on."

Cas drops his hands from his eyes and looks back up at the kite, still a little dazed. "Dean, can we go sit in the Impala for a few minutes?"

"Yeah, good plan, come on."

He grabs Cas around the arm and hauls him up. Cas comes along willingly and Dean walks him along to the car, dropping him into the passenger side.

"So… this is a Angel memory/human mind issue right?"

Cas drops his face into his hands and nods. "It's very… overpowering. I don't… I'm sorry. I think I scared Sophie and Marta."

Dean shrugs. "Don't worry about it. You didn't do anything wrong. They kind of get it."

Cas rubs his hands over his face and down his neck, holding his hands just under his ears for a moment before tugging at the buttons of Dean's jacket. "I'm not sure if it's the same park, and it looked different in heaven. It was the memory of a man… the heaven of a man who thought differently. It's different, the colors are…"Cas runs his hands over his forehead and closes his eyes. Even out of the cool breeze his cheeks are still flush and pink. There's sheen of sweat across his forehead. Something occurs to Dean.

"Cas? Hold still I'm gonna touch your forehead."

"Why?" Cas asks, leaning back in his seat so Dean can reach.

Dean sets his palm over Cas's forehead. He's roasting.

"I think you're coming down with something."

"What?"

"You're irrational and moody and burning up. You're sick. Come on. We've got to get you home. You need… soup and cartoons and to lay down."

Cas rubs his hands over his face again. "Dean… I'm not your ward," he growls. "I'm not your obligation."

"No, you're family!" Dean barks. "So just wait here while I get the blanket and your pasta salad recipe. And don't throw up in my car!"

Cas sighs, sounding defeated, but doesn't say anything else.

Dean books back to the field, makes their excuses, thanks Sophie and Marta again and goes back to the car. Cas gets sick on the way home and Dean winds up holding him up in a ditch while he loses the pasta salad and the chicken.


Cas's opinion that Dean isn't obligated to take care of him and should be out engaging with their community apparently doesn't apply when Cas is sick.

Dean can't even blame him. He's never seen anyone so miserable. He spends a couple of hours sitting in the bathroom with Cas while Cas throws up. For some reason Dean feels like this is his fault. Like if he'd realized that Cas was sick earlier then he could have kept him home and he wouldn't have gotten this sick.

He does what he would have done if Sam was sick. Gets him an ice pack for the fever, some juice to wash away the taste. Cas won't drink the juice because he doesn't want to throw it back up. Dean starts rubbing his back after Cas has been almost constantly upchucking for about forty five minutes and starts muttering about how this is the worst part of being mortal so far.

He doesn't fall asleep so much as pass out in the bathroom. He won't go back to his bed in case he has to throw up again and he's only out for an hour before he does just that.

By morning the dry heaves set in. Cas looks like death warmed over. Dean calls into work. By the afternoon Cas is getting delirious and Dean is getting scared.

He can't shake the feeling that the flu isn't something you can go to the ER for, and, starting to panic, he calls Chelsea, who basically orders him to get Cas to the hospital. Now.

He is surprised that Chelsea meets them at the ER, but more surprised when he's told he should have brought Cas in last night and they'll have to admit him.

Apparently, not only did the poor bastard get his first flu, it compounded with some food allergy that they're going to have to figure it out, and then throwing up that much made him dehydrated, which, perversely, made him throw up more.

"I have to stay here by myself?" Cas asks woozily while Dean fills out his paperwork. He's still dehydrated with a wickedly high fever and he's not all there. Chelsea's sitting on the other side of his bed, holding his hand. Cas keeps looking down at it, as though continually just remembering that she's doing it.

"They're going to make you feel better, and you can get some rest. Then you can go home with Dean. Couple days of movies and soup and you'll be good as new," Chelsea tells him.

Cas looks at her critically. "I had to stay in the hospital the last time I was human. I got pain medication."

"No pain medication, Cas," Dean says absently as he wonders how suspicious it is going to look if Cas has no medical history. Then he remembers the miracle of the insurance card and wonders if there is a way to find out if he already has an invented medical history and if there is a way to get to it and find out what Cas is allergic too.

Cas sighs and looks back at Chelsea. "You're very lovely. You remind me of the Angel of Coronations. But only your face. Because she is a bitch."

Chelsea laughs awkwardly and brushes Cas's hair back from his forehead. "That's sweet. I think."

Dean checks the last box and tosses the clipboard onto Cas's nightstand. "Chelsea? Could we get a minute?"

"Yeah."

Dean waits for the door to close behind her before leaning over.

"Cas? Listen to me, this is important."

Cas nods dourly.

"If I leave you here, you need to be as normal as possible. Got it? No talking about demons or angels or monsters or ghosts."

"Why?" Cas asks. "I mean… I know…but… why are you so worried?"

"Because there are things that can happen if they think that you're crazy and or that I can't take care of you. They might try to take you away from me."

Dean's not sure how this works with someone like Cas who doesn't seem like they can take care of themselves, but he remembers his father bending down to talk to him very seriously the couple of times he and Sam wound up in the hospital when they were young, with those same words. They might try to take you away from me.

Cas grabs his hand, squeezing it before Dean can pull away in instant, embarrassed instinct.

"Okay. I'll be normal."

"Okay."

"You'll leave me here by myself?" Cas asks again.

"Visiting hours are only until nine. I'll hang till then. Watch some crappy TV. Go acquire some jello. You need to get some sleep. And let go of my hand."

"This is a pleasant gesture of affection," Cas says with no feeling behind it. His eyes are starting to drift shut.

"Not when you're a dude," Dean tells him. Cas lets go.

"Okay. No affection for dudes," Cas sighs. His eyes are shut and they don't open when the nurse comes in and grabs the forms. Dean makes a jello request. The nurse, youngish with a Swedish blonde face and box black hair smiles at him and promises to be back with a few.

Chelsea comes back in, drops into her chair and wraps her hand back around Cas's. Dean turns on the news quietly. They're both a few bites into their jello and Cas is breathing steadily by the time Dean speaks.

"Hey, Chelsea?"

"Yeah?"

"Thanks. For dropping in with us. It's really… nice of you."

"Well. You did save my life."

More silence.

More jello.

Cas starts to snore lightly.

"Dean?"

"Yeah?"

"There's… something else going on here isn't there?" Her tone is quiet, more like she doesn't want Dean to hear her than she doesn't want to wake Cas. "With Cas?"

Dean digs at his Jello. "You're not going to believe me."

"Try me."

"It's all true? The stuff he's been fever dream mumbling?"

"What?" She looks confused more than surprised, even when Dean clarifies "The guy whose hand you are holding is Castiel. A former angel of the lord. The angel of Thursday, actually."

Chelsea looks down at her hand. "And how did he become human?"

"I don't know. He came back from the dead that way. Remember all those storms and gang wars earlier this year? That was the apocalypse. Cas, my adoptive father Bobby, my brother Sam and I stopped it."

"How?" Chelsea's look of cautious patience is being changed into something Dean can't quite place.

"It's hard to explain. Sammy… let Lucifer take over his body. Lucifer killed Bobby and Cas. Sam managed to get control of the wheel back and he threw himself into Satan's special cage in hell, along with the Archangel Michael, and stopped the whole war."

"Satan. The Devil killed Cas?"

"Blew him up like a water balloon of guts hitting the pavement and then he showed up asleep in my yard dressed like any random armchair quarterback a few weeks later."

Chelsea doesn't reply. She thumbs over Cas's knuckles.

They eat more jello and turn their attention back to the news.

If the mysterious deaths in that gated community in Phoenix aren't another changeling infestation Dean's the Queen of England. Dean knows that Carver and McGee are in Tuscon, he stands, whips out his phone, remembers Chelsea and stops, then realizes that she knows what's going on, and now that she knows about Angels, she knows more than most Hunters do.

He calls McGee, asks if they can go check it out, walking around a little bit like he was just going to stretch his legs a little. Cas shivers, Dean pulls his blankets up.

He and Chelsea eat another jello cup. Cas wakes up. Dean forces him to pick at his own jello cup. Cas seems deeply suspicious of the concept of flavored gelatin, so they open all of them until he finds a flavor that makes up for it.

Chelsea leaves. She presses a quick kiss to Dean's forehead this time. "I'll bring you guys some of my famous soup once you get home. Bye."

Nick at Nite is having a Three's Company marathon. Dean stays until the nurses kick him out.


Cas makes a full recovery. It turns out he's allergic to arugala, which Dean is convinced isn't a real food anyway.

Chelsea brings them soup and doesn't kiss him at all when she leaves that time.

McGee calls back, it was a couple of changelings working together, a few kids and two mothers did die, but they saved most of them, more than they would have if Dean hadn't called. They tell him that they heard about a vamp nest in Connecticut and ask if he knows if anyone's in the area. Dean makes calls.

He and Cas go to the next soccer night. Thomas and Jose teach Cas to play. He's truly terrible at kicking the ball, but winds up to be a surprisingly good goalie.

Things go normal. They stay normal.

And then one day at work, Dean gets assigned a car for an oil change, finishes his work, notes the shoddy cabin filter, and goes to the lobby. He calls out the name like a nurse coming out into a waiting room and chokes halfway through it.

Bobby Singer.


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