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11 June 2010 @ 12:04 pm
The Baking Angel: Day Four - Sandwiches  
Title: The Baking Angel (4/7)
Author: tiptoe39 , with art by bumblee
Fandom: Supernatural
Pairing(s): Dean/Castiel, some Sam/Gabriel
Rating: PG-13
Warning: No major warnings apply
Word Count: ~ 27,000
Summary: Castiel and Gabriel have been running their bakeshop for thirty years, waiting for the Vessels to show and signal the end of the world. When the waiting ends, the two brother angels find their loyalties -- and their world -- changing. Romance, brotherly love, and a hefty dose of brown sugar.


Day Four: Sandwiches


Sunday morning was the busiest morning of the week. Before the local churches began their services, The Baking Angel was packed with the very finest of Sioux Falls society. Dressed up to the nines, with hats towering to the ceiling, they came in and gulped down coffee in the hopes it would help keep them alert during the lullaby of that morning's sermon. Ties were loosened and shirts untucked as sinners indulged in high fat and cholesterol before confessional absolved them of the calories. Then, after church got out, there was another wave of chatting crowds. All generations, grandmas to toddlers, came in feeling closer to God and ready for a taste of sweet sugar.

There was that time in between, though, when the cafe was silent. Between the pre-church and after-church crowds, while mass was going on, they had no customers. "Ironic, isn't it," Gabriel pointed out once in a while, "that we're the only ones not at church on a Sunday?"

"There's that Jewish man who lives on Pine," Castiel would say, and Gabriel would pooh at him and accuse him of having no sense of humor.
 
But it was a good opportunity for some rare down time. Gabriel would wipe down the tables and hum to himself, and Castiel would sit in the back and do the week's accounting. The math reminded him that everything was, in the end, just a calculation. Black and white, following the laws of the physical world. Only Creation, only God, was beyond his comprehension. Everything else could be figured out.

He wasn't feeling that way today. He looked at the numbers and thought to himself that the axioms beneath them didn't seem nearly as stable as they usually did. The bottom line was this: They were here to find the Vessels. Once they'd found them they were to report back to their superiors, and that was the end of the story. No more bakeshop, no more customers. They'd just blow off the face of the earth and nobody would ever know where they disappeared to. Their job wasn't to be custodians of the peace of mind of the humans they knew. They had a mission. The only ambiguity had been when the Vessels would actually appear. And now that that question had been answered, everything should be laid out as simply as a multiplication problem.

It wasn't. It wasn't at all. He kept hearing Gabriel's voice encouraging him to take his time. And he kept seeing Dean Winchester's face. And nothing seemed clear at all.

"Castiel."

He turned. It wasn't a voice he'd heard in many, many years.

She filled the room with her presence, all flaming red hair and long, white limbs. She looked nearly as glorious as she did in her true form, and Castiel stood and walked toward her, warmth in his eyes. "Anna."

"I'm not here on a social call, Castiel," she warned, and he remembered what had made her not just beautiful but formidable back in the days they'd fought together. Her face was a crisscross of severe lines. "I've been watching you. I know."

A twinge went through Castiel's heart. So it was to be decided for them. He didn't have to decide when to turn the Vessels over, after all. Anna was here for them. "I'm glad they sent you," he said with some relief. "I was worried..."

"They didn't send me," she said, and her tone betrayed an urgency he hadn't seen from her. Perhaps this form was not just her way of saving the entire kitchen from destruction. Perhaps...

He didn't have another perhaps. He had no explanation for what she'd just said. And then her words came, like a sledgehammer, and smashed a fracture into the already-battered walls of his reality.

"I've fallen."

He covered his mouth with his hands. Speechless, mindless, he just stared.

"Shocking, I know," she said. "But it's the truth. I'm stuck in this body. Graceless.  For doubting. For coming here to warn you."

"Warn me?" His words were still coming only haltingly. "Warn me of what?"

"That this whole thing, the apocalypse, the Vessels-- it doesn't have to happen."

"What?" She might as well have said two and two made three.

"It doesn't have to happen," she repeated. "If you can hide them, if you can protect them, the angels never have to know. If I were you, I'd fill this whole town with warding magic. Keep the others away."

"Anna." He crossed the room to her and touched her hand. "Why would you want this?"

"Because I've been human," she said. "I've been human, and I've felt things. Castiel..." Tears sprung to her eyes. "Destroying these people would be the most foolish thing in the universe. God loves these creations. Loves them more than He loves us. That's why Lucifer fell. It's what started this whole thing. Do you really think it is His will to destroy them?"

He was seized with the urge to dry her tears. "You're not talking about Him loving them. You're talking about you."

"And you, too. Castiel, look into your heart." She clasped his hand. "I don't have the power to fight this. But you do."

"I don't know what you're talking about." He jerked his hand back. "You were always much more powerful than I."

"It's not that kind of power," Anna said. "It's something else. Bind this town, Cas." The familiar nickname sounded strange in her voice, and for the first time he could believe she was human. "Bind it and keep those two from leaving. As long as they're here, they will be safe."

Outside, the revving of motors warned that the town was about to come back to life. Anna kissed Castiel on the cheek. "Please," she whispered, and walked to the back door. Castiel watched her go, sure that all the axioms that lay beneath the structure of his life had been tossed aside. Nothing made sense anymore.



Dean was in the kitchen.

This in itself was a revelation. The grocery bags on the counter were just further proof that something extremely weird was going on.

Sam came downstairs with his arms in the air, halfway through a yawn. He blinked, rubbed his eyes, squinted, and still failed to comprehend the concept of Dean in a kitchen. At all.

"Good morning, Sammy!" Dean looked up, beaming. "You slept late this morning. Kinda surprised."

"You're surprised?" Sam rubbed the back of his neck, massaging out the kinks. He descended into the kitchen and looked around. "What are you doing?"

"What does it look like? I'm making sandwiches."

He was surrounded by all the fixings that made a deli counter what it was. Slabs of meat, hunks of yellow and orange cheese, a long loaf of bread with the soft white slices arranged in a fan across the countertop. A jar of mustard sat open with a yellow-daubed knife lying across its rim. Lettuce crinkled brightly in a plastic bag.

Sam walked up to the counter and had a long look at the contents. "Um... okay." He reached for one of the sandwiches, and Dean batted at his hand.

"Not for you." The scowl of a schoolmarm.

"What, you're going to eat them all yourself?"

"No, dumbass." Dean fixed him with an are you stupid? look. And then, weirdly enough, he sort of withered. Bunching his shoulders together, he avoided Sam's gaze and, almost shyly, said, "They're for Cas, OK? I figured, since he's usually the guy who makes everything, I'd make something for him. Just because."

"Dean." The smile had gone out of Sam's face the minute Dean had said Castiel's name. Now, his jaw set and his hand closed into a fist on the counter.

"Shut up, yeah, I know." His tone was blustery, but Dean looked supremely unsure of himself. He glanced out the window.

Sam huffed a sigh. "Look, I'm saying it for your sake. We're still leaving town. Right?"

"Well, can you blame me?" Dean recapped the mustard and tossed the dirty knife in the sink. "I don't know, Sammy. For the first time since Dad died I'm feeling OK about life, you know? Like something's worth doing."

"I thought the hunt was worth doing. Dean, you're the one who was so anxious to go."

Dean set the jar in the fridge, closed the door and leaned against it heavily. "I was. I am. I just..." His lips twisted to one side, bunching up in an uneven pucker. "One more day. Just, give it one more day. We can do that, can't we?"

"And what happens then?" Sam's voice was firm. "What happens after one more day? You bring the guy sandwiches, you spend more time with him, you get more attached, and then what? Will you need one more day after that? And then another?"

"I don't know!" Dean snapped at him, then drew back, biting his lip. "I don't know. I just... I don't want to leave. Not yet. Sam, you've got to understand."

Sam watched him move, watched the anxious way his weight bobbed from side to side, and exhaled. He couldn't think of the words to say. In the end, he just turned, grabbing his bag from the side table, and headed out the front door. He could hear Dean's footsteps behind him, but he didn't look back. He just had to get out of the house.




It was, of course, too late to keep the angels out.

Uriel watched Anna leave. He didn't much care for her, but he didn't begrudge her talking to Castiel, either. Let her do what she thought would keep him away. All he had to do was sit around and wait for the time to be right.

He'd originally started following her only because he wanted the credit for himself. So his superior officer thought she had a line on the Vessels. He would follow her, find them himself, and surely the glory would go to him. He hadn't expected her to rebel, much less find Castiel and try to convince him to rebel as well. Now he had all sorts of new motivation. He'd never liked Anna, and the chance to show her up completely and gain new respect among the Host? Too good to pass up.

Now he hovered just outside the bakeshop and tuned in to the conversation taking place there. Anna had done her job well. He'd never thought of Castiel as the rebellious type, but then again, Castiel had always been the good child, following orders because there were orders there to follow, never bothering to wonder what lay behind it all. If this meant Castiel would begin to grow up, that could be a good thing. Assuming Uriel let him live, of course.

Gabriel was in there too, and that gave Uriel a little more pause. Gabriel could end him with a whisper, if he ever got serious enough about doing so. But it was common knowledge by now that Gabriel wasn't terribly serious about doing anything, much less randomly killing angels. Uriel didn't have the time to waste fearing someone so capricious.

He would wait to see what they did now. If Castiel decided to rebel, it would be a laugh to get in his face. Uriel was in no hurry. He'd make the acquaintance of the Vessels soon enough. Right now, he was much more interested in satisfying his curiosity. Which way would the baking angels go? It was the sort of drama he relished watching unfold.

As Gabriel left the shop, and a familiar black car rolled up to the front curb, Uriel settled in for the long haul. It would be an entertaining sort of day.




The barn was a dingy shade of yellow, like one of those old fire trucks that'd been mottled by age and wear and now sat like a tossed-out tin of mustard atop the forgotten field. In earlier years, Sam would sit up in the loft on the second floor, writing out a few scraps of thoughts in a journal, but mostly just sitting. Thinking. Being alone, except for a flight of birds in the rafters.  Watching the sun set slowly through the cracks between the wooden slats.

The loft creaked more now that Sam had grown up, but it still held firm. And it still felt nostalgic, comfortable up there. The sight of the sunset was the same as it had always been, orange bleeding through the dull wood, familiar and unchanging. Some things were still constant, and Sam settled into the sort of reverie he reserved for this favorite, private place.

Dean was in love. It was pretty damn obvious. But Dean had never been in love, would never be in love. Not the way Sam had loved Jess. And here he was, falling harder than a ship's anchor, so convinced it could never happen to him that he didn't know how to fight it, didn't know how to keep his head above water. It was a mess, a king-sized, bloody mess, and it had bad scene written all over it.

How were they supposed to keep doing their job? How, when he was sure Dean would resist leaving?

A crash in the musty hay below perked him up, and he leaned over the edge of the loft to look down. Straw-colored hair was flying everywhere, as were curses. Sam's eyebrows flew up into his hairline. He grabbed the wooden railing and flipped himself over it in a single, swift motion, leaping down to the ground with an oof.

The mess of yellow hair flipped back, and Gabriel's sharp eyes met his.

Sam didn't know whether to laugh or just goggle at the sight of him there, all flying hair and messy hands. "What are you doing out here?"

"Doing?" Gabriel looked decidedly guilty. "What are you doing out here?"

"Nothing, just thinking."

"Sure, sure, likely story." Gabriel pointed a finger at him. "Tell you what, I won't ask if you won't ask. Okay, Tin Man?"

Sam promptly forgot everything. His jaw dropped. "What... what did you just call me?"

Wiping his face with the back of his sleeve, Gabriel grinned and put one hand on his hip. "Tin Man," he repeated. "You know, you're eleven feet tall with these big long legs and these creaky joints..."

He walked a few steps, his arms swinging robotlike by his side, in a fair approximation of a man made of metal. Sam couldn't help but laugh. "Really? I walk like that?"

"More or less, yeah." Gabriel smirked.

"You've been paying a lot of attention to me, to come up with that."

The expression of triumph vanished from Gabriel's face. "No, I haven't. What... what the hell does that mean?"

"Nothing."

"Good." Gabriel reddened, and the look on his face made Sam vaguely uncomfortable himself. Silence hung in the air. A harvest mouse ran between Gabriel's feet and darted across the length of the barn, squeaking as it disappeared.

"Look, um..." Gabriel started and stopped again.

"Yeah?"

Sam watched a peculiar expression creep across Gabriel's face. "My brother's an idiot," he said, "but he's a good guy. He's trying." He took a breath and met Sam's eyes. "Don't... don't judge him too harshly, OK?"

He looked almost sheepish. A smile dawned on Sam's face. "I could say the same about mine."

Gabriel answered his smile. "They kind of deserve each other, don't they?"

"Yeah." Sam gave a short laugh. "Yeah, I think they do." He leaned against one of the wooden posts that held up the loft. The birds in the rafters were still fluttering about in a rush of song and noise. He grinned a sunny grin up at them.

"Which leaves us." Gabriel's voice was abrupt, blunt, too loud.

Sam shrugged. "I guess it does."

He could feel Gabriel's eyes on him, but Sam kept looking up at the rafters. He was a little afraid of what he'd see if he met Gabriel's gaze.

After another moment of silence, Gabriel turned around and kept rooting around in the hay. Sam climbed back up into the loft, aware of Gabriel's presence below him but not disturbed by it. Actually, it was oddly calming, knowing there was someone there who was just willing to let him be.

It wasn't until Gabriel headed for the exit that Sam decided to speak again. "Gabriel," he called out, and the name felt funny, unnatural, on his lips.

Gabriel turned. His gaze, all the way across the barn, bored into Sam's eyes.

"I come here sometimes. You know, just to think. So, if you need a place to think..."

The smile he got in return did funny things to his insides. "Thanks," Gabriel said.

Sam blushed. "Sure," he blustered. "Sure. No problem."

Gabriel raised a hand. "See you, Tin Man."

Leaning over the edge of the loft, Sam grinned at him. "Does that make you the Cowardly Lion?"

And Gabriel went red. "What? Heck, no!" he exclaimed before slamming the barn door shut. Sam collapsed into a heap of laughter.




Dean came into the Baking Angel one pointed finger first. "You," he boomed. "You're coming with me."

Castiel looked up from behind the counter, butter knife halting in midair. "What?"

"Call your brother. Where is he?" Dean propped himself up by his hands on the counter, feet leaving the floor, and leaned over the counter to holler into the back room. "Hey, Gabriel! I'm borrowing Cas. Get out here and mind the store."

The lady in front of the counter, who had been waiting patiently for her bagel, started to shift from foot to foot. Castiel reddened. "He isn't here. What is this about?"

"What do you mean he's not here? He's never not here."

Castiel refocused on spreading cream cheese on the bagel and avoided Dean's eyes as he hastily wrapped it in paper. "I mean he's not here. He's running an errand."

That had better be a good enough explanation for Dean, because Castiel wasn't about to tell him that the guy Dean thought was a harmless baker was actually out crafting some of the most powerful spells in existence, using magic even Castiel himself couldn't fathom. Time on earth had rendered him harmless-looking, but Gabriel was still an archangel, and the powers he wielded were truly formidable. It made Castiel a little nervous to think of them, to tell the truth.

He was lucky Gabriel had finally agreed to set the traps. He'd thought it would be easier to convince him than it was, considering Gabriel had been trying to convince Castiel to take it slow just a few nights ago. But Gabriel had given him the third degree, especially when he heard Anna had been by. Apparently he resented the fact that after he'd been riding Castiel to stand back from his destiny for so long, Anna could come in within five minutes and bring his brother around.

It wasn't just Anna, Castiel had told him. It was Gabriel, too, and quite honestly, it was Dean himself. Castiel had found himself unable to think of much else since he'd first come in and scarfed down that croissant like it was the be-all and end-all of existence. He'd spent all morning wondering if Dean would show up today. And now that he was here, Castiel found himself both giddy and anxious. It was an amazing, whirlwind feeling, and he wasn't used to it. It distracted him. So much so that now, he very nearly didn't hear Dean speaking to him. He gritted his teeth and refocused on the present.

"Well, when's he going to be back?" Dean was asking him. "Because we're going on a picnic."

"A picnic?"

"Sure. I even made food for you for a change. Well, just sandwiches. And I brought a cooler, some beers. It'll be fun. We'll just wait for him to come back."

The way he said it, the rakish grin and the devil-may-care gaze, made Castiel want to leap over the countertop and insist they leave right now. It wasn't an urge that he'd ever had before. He found it refreshing.

But he didn't. "Gabriel won't be back until later," he said mournfully. "And we're catering a meeting tomorrow, so I have to bake all evening long."

"Then call me when you're done and we'll go then." Dean grabbed a napkin from the dispenser and started scrawling his phone number.

Castiel blinked. "I'm going to be up until midnight."

"So?"

"You want to have a picnic in the middle of the night?"

"Sure! Why not? Do you need your beauty sleep?"

Castiel didn't require sleep at all. And if Dean kept looking at him like that, he didn't think he'd ever be able to sleep again. "Okay," he said, cringing at the shake in his voice. "I'll call."

Dean gave him a grin that seared itself into Castiel's brain. "You damn well better." He pressed the napkin into Cas' hand with his own. The grip lingered, and the grin faded. Castiel could feel his own blood zinging quick beneath his skin. It was a good thing he didn't actually need to breathe, because for several seconds, he forgot how.




It wasn't quite midnight when Castiel finally called. Gabriel was home shortly before closing, and the minute he heard Castiel admit (through a red face) that Dean has asked him out, he'd forcibly pushed him out of the kitchen. Castiel didn't dare resist. Gabriel was formidable even when he wasn't evidencing his otherworldly powers.

Dean came roaring up in the Impala that Castiel remembered seeing driven by his father. He wondered immediately how John had died, what on Earth had happened to bring the two of them back here. All pettiness, all insignificant. All that mattered was the way Dean was grinning from the driver's seat, window rolled down, saying, "Come on, don't just stand there, we're wasting moonlight."

Castiel eyed the car warily. "Does it still work?"

"What the hell does that mean, does it still work?" Dean looked mortally wounded. "It's in perfect condition."

"It's fifty years old."

"Closer to forty, and you're asking for it, you know." Dean frowned at him. In the darkness, he looked sort of like a demonic thing. Like Castiel ought to be afraid of him.

Castiel laughed at himself inside for even considering such an absurd possibility. "Fine," he said, with bravado that someone might surmise was Dean's influence at work. "Let's go."

He climbed in. Dean glanced at him, sized him up, as though seeing how well he fit there. "How was the catering-ish cooking-ish stuff?"

"Busy."

"You look happy."

"I'm always happy when I'm cooking."

"I shouldn't have torn you away, then?"

It was meant jokingly, but Castiel rounded on him. "Don't say that. I'm... I'm glad you called."

"Still, I'm impressed you can do so much in such a short time."

Well. That wasn't exactly the case. Gabriel had pushed him out of the kitchen. Still, Castiel wasn't about to tell him that. "I can do a lot."

"Oh?" Dean raised an eyebrow. "Like what?"

It was unwise, but Castiel couldn't resist the urge to try and impress him, or at least make him smile. "Well," he said, playing with the seatbelt strap, "I can fly."

Dean spat, he laughed so hard. "You're too funny."

"I'm dead serious." Castiel said it so deadpan that there was no chance he'd be taken seriously. But for an instant, Dean eyed him like he might just believe him. Like it wasn't a totally unprecedented thought.

Then they pulled onto the highway and Castiel lost track of anything but sheer, unadulterated terror.




For a minute-- just a minute, there -- Dean had entertained the idea that Castiel was more than met the eye. Bragging about how he could fly and stuff. But.. but he'd seen plenty of iron and silver implements in the kitchen the other day during their impromptu cooking lesson. Besides, what kind of fucked-up demon would open a shop called The Baking Angel, of all things?

And then the final proof came when Castiel gripped the passenger-side door, white-knuckled, and said, "You're going too fast."

Yeah. The guy was definitely one hundred percent human.

"There is nobody on the highway but us!" Dean said, and when he took his hands off the wheel to gesture at the empty road, Castiel jerked forward nervously. His eyes were huge, ever-blinking white eggs. It made Dean laugh. "You're too much, man," he said, shaking his head. "I can't figure you out."

"I don't want you to lose control of the vehicle," Castiel mumbled.

"Did you just say vehicle? Man." Dean chuckled again and flipped on the radio. The local classic rock station was pretty decent, and they had some Stones on now, old-school stuff but pretty good. He drummed his fingers against the steering wheel, raised his voice in an off-key chorus. Castiel glanced at him, an expression of discomfort on his face.  Then he went back to staring out the window as though he were convinced they were going to die in a fiery crash.

"Jeez." Dean rolled his eyes. "You don't like the way I drive, you don't like my music... this isn't going to work out at all, is it?"

He hadn't thought it was possible, but Castiel lost even more color in his face. "Are you serious?" he said, and swallowed hard.

Dean laughed. "Of course I'm not serious. Would you relax?"

"I'm sorry." Castiel looked at his lap. "I think I'm nervous."

And then he froze up again -- this time because Dean had brushed his fingers against Castiel's leg gently. "Look," Dean said, feeling a mite shy himself. "I'm the one who asked you out, remember? I'm the one who's worried you're going to say something like that."

Castiel looked at him with something soft in his eyes. "I won't."

"Good." Dean turned down the music. "Then let's just enjoy."




The spot outside of town was at the top of a hill that overlooked the lights of the city. It was a perfect locale, but as they hiked up the hill toward it, the glimmer of the stars slowly faded beneath an obscuring patch of cloud. Wind rustled the trees at the base of the hill, and Dean was laying out the picnic blanket when a sudden gust gave them both the chills.

"Aw, geez." Dean looked up. "It's gonna rain. Isn't it?"

"Do you not want it to?"

"You gonna stop it?" Dean flashed him a grin.

Castiel's chin tilted up. "I could." He stepped forward.

Dean gave him a look that said oh, this again. "Right. I'd like to see you try."

For a few minutes Castiel just watched him set things out and unpack. He didn't do anything to back up his boast; this moment was too perfect to go uninterrupted. Something would eventually come-- be it the rain or the end of the world-- and upend everything he held so very tenuously in his hands. There would be time for action then.

If only that moment never had to come. If only Castiel could come out and say just what he really was, what Dean really was, what destiny was conspiring to tear all their expectations of normality to shreds. Maybe there was a chance they could stave it off, or run from it, or outwit the forces of Heaven in all their infinite knowledge. Maybe there was a chance he could avert the oncoming storm.

"Have a seat," Dean said, turning to look up at him.

Standing stock-still, paralyzed by the churning of his own thoughts, Castiel took a moment to recognize he was being spoken to. He shook himself out of it. "I'm sorry," he said, and moved to take a seat beside Dean on the blanket.

The sandwiches were overstuffed monstrosities that looked to be just up Dean's alley. Castiel might have made them differently himself, but that wasn't the point. This was a piece of Dean's personality, meat and cheese and lettuce layered with a thousand sauces, and the bread, he realized, was his own -- the loaf that they'd bought the other day on their way out. It felt like a compliment, and he beamed. "You recognize it, huh?" Dean nudged at him with an elbow. "Did you think I was gonna feed you sandwiches with Wonder Bread?"

"Never," Castiel said. He munched happily on thick layers of bread and fillings. He wanted to devour this piece of Dean as much as he did every other piece of him. He wanted to taste until his tongue couldn't stand any more. It was delirium, sensation to the point of mindlessness, and it was more than he'd felt in thirty years of being in this body. Contentment seeped through him. The world could spin on forever, if he could just stay here with Dean.

"You know," Dean said while he was still enjoying, "you're kind of a mysterious guy, Cas. I feel like I don't have any idea where you came from. Like you and Gabriel have just always been there behind that counter until we showed up. What's your story?"

Castiel stared at him a long, long time. He had the story of his life down pat -- he and Gabriel had told it over many, many years -- but he just didn't feel like lying to Dean any more than he had to. More than that, the question had been weighing on his mind for a while now. "It's nothing extraordinary," he said. "I'm sorry if I'm imposing, but I have to ask. What happened to your father?"

Dean's face went sober. "Car crash," he said. "Sam and I barely survived. Dad just... wasn't so lucky."

"Oh." Castiel's features darkened into a scowl. "He always seemed so resilient."

"He was." The bittersweet smile that lit Dean's face at that moment made Castiel ache in some very vulnerable place, somewhere between his body and his soul, where he hadn't thought to put up walls. "He protected his kids right to the end. Just before he died, he told me..." Dean shook himself. "Why am I opening my big mouth?"

Castiel leaned forward despite himself. "What?"

"Nothing." Dean ran one hand along the back of his scalp, ruffling his short crop of hair. "God, two minutes with you and I want to start pouring my heart out. You just have that kind of face, I guess." He pasted on a grin, but it faded rapidly. "Cas," he said. "There are things I want to tell you. But I have to be sure it's the right thing to do. I can't just talk to you because I feel the need."

A breath found its shaky way into Castiel's ribcage. "I know exactly what you mean," he said.

They ate silently for a minute. Dean's hands shook as he reached for a beer.

"So you're leaving town." Cas took a can, but shifted it from hand to hand, feeling the chill seep up his wrist.

"Tomorrow." Their eyes didn't meet.

"When will you be back?"

Dean caught his breath. In the silence of the night, Castiel could hear the choke of his throat around the cold air. "I don't know. Days, maybe. Weeks, more likely."

"Don't go."

It came out faster and louder than Castiel intended it to.

Dean dropped his beer, let the can roll to the side. "Don't say that."

Distance was growing between them. Castiel could feel it like a gap opening in the ground. He had to say something. He had to tell Dean something. Whether it was the truth or some anxiously constructed lie, he didn't know. But the closer he looked at Dean's face, the more he thought he'd never be able to keep from telling him everything.

"It really is gonna rain," Dean said. His chin was angled up toward the sky.

Smart man, Castiel thought. He knew to look away. Castiel himself couldn't tear his eyes away from the upturned face, the sharp angles of his profile and the wide eyes. "Should we go back to the car?" he asked, carefully. He couldn't trust his own tongue right now. Truth was trembling on his lips.

Dean looked down and met his eyes. All the air, all the sounds of the night, and all the distance between them faded away.

A hand, at first hesitant, moved with increasing confidence up from Dean's side to touch Castiel's face. "Nah," Dean said. "I can live with a little rain."

"I have something important to tell you," Castiel blurted out.

"You don't have to." Dean's other hand came up to match the first. The drag of his fingertips against Castiel's skin was so achingly good that Castiel had to close his eyes to handle the sensation. "I already know."

"You can't know." Castiel touched the back of Dean's hand with one fingertip. A thrill went through him.

"Shh." Dean's lips were less than a breath away from his. Castiel's eyelashes fluttered, but he didn't open his eyes. This sensation -- the warmth, the closeness, the almost-kiss -- he didn't want to let go of it. He felt he could see Dean's expression from beneath his eyelids.

"Dean." The name, broken, falling from his mouth -- and then caught, crushed between them in a bruising kiss. Castiel groaned and wound his arms around Dean's neck, pressing in as close as he could. Dean's chest was solid and everywhere, so broad Castiel could drown in it. The night's chill dissipated. He was so, so warm.

They broke apart, and Castiel's eyes finally opened.

The look on Dean's face -- bewitched, half-lidded, his lower lip trembling with the heaviness of a kiss still lingering there -- was intensely beautiful.

"I've wanted that for a long time," Castiel said, his words tumbles of emotion such as he almost never showed. Now he couldn't hold it back.

Dean's lips turned upward. "Yeah," he said. "Yeah, me too."

Castiel leaned forward, let his cheek rest against Dean's. He smiled, and he felt Dean's cheekbones lift with an answering smile. The night had cleared and opened above them. He hadn't even tried.

To Part Five...
 
 
 
Hallie Jade: kisstime1angelshandprint on June 12th, 2010 03:48 am (UTC)
Something would eventually come-- be it the rain or the end of the world-- and upend everything he held so very tenuously in his hands.
You really caught my heart right here. This is what I've been seeing in Dean all along in your story since he met Cas, and now it's in Cas too. Well... man, I can't even begin with words. I'm usually good at reviewing people's awesomeness, but this story..., it just hurts a lot everytime they're together and know that all they've got are going to be torn away from them soon.
I was gonna read it all and leave a comment afterwards but, well, it's just...
Tiptoe39: dean/castiptoe39 on June 12th, 2010 03:54 am (UTC)
Oh. hon. This is one of those comments that I will just read over and over and just be touched and humbled and amazed every time I read it. This means the world to me. I agree with you about the feeling of stolen moments of happiness every time they're together... even in canon... like, if they only had a little more time or room, something really wonderful could bloom, but they don't... and it just hurts my heart. <3

Tl;dr, thank you so much <3
Laurenjabber_moose on June 12th, 2010 05:01 am (UTC)
That last part killed me dead
Tiptoe39: castieltiptoe39 on June 12th, 2010 05:02 am (UTC)
Ono! *hires cas to resurrect you* :)
Captain Nommers of the Tastypants Brigade: dean/cas - upside down heartsecondplatypus on July 11th, 2010 01:49 pm (UTC)
That right there is the textbook definition of a beautiful first kiss.
You've got building slow, delicious tension between those two down to a fine art. The pacing of this fic is a marvel; it's leisurely and rich and gorgeous.

I adored your description of Sam's favorite spot. I had a similar one when I was a child, and I think anyone who had a wonderful, cozy place to sit and just be when they were younger would feel the same nostalgic glow reading that passage.

You've somehow managed to weave experiences that everyone has in common - the joy of food, the anxious, dizzy high of falling for someone, the happy little moments that make life worth living - together in a way that immerses your readers completely (and leaves them feeling utterly warm and fuzzy).
Tiptoe39tiptoe39 on July 12th, 2010 02:49 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much. I'm loving your comments and I'm so grateful that you're enjoying this world that's sort of wrapped me up and refused to let me go. I really love writing falling in love and attraction and that wonderful feeling... so I'm so glad I can convey it. <3 Thank you again!
mancrave: Nikemancrave on February 4th, 2012 12:26 am (UTC)
This is going to make me seem really special I know but, for me, this chapter really drove home the fact that they don't know each other, don't know what the other is, what the other really does. Logically, I knew that from the start but there is something about this chapter that really drives home the fact that Dean doesn't know Cas is an angel, that they don't share the same background as their canon counterparts. I don't know why but that is all I can really focus on right now. I think it is something to do with Dean and Cas going on this date and yet not being able to be as free with each other as they'd like. I'm weird, I know. And as much as it is driving that fact home, I also love the fact that they're basically starting from scratch, that they don't have the weight of their canon situation hanging over them, influencing everything they think about each other, say to each other. Does that make sense at all? I don't think I can really explain myself so I'm just going to stop trying!

My crazy aside, another fantastic chapter. Like I said, I really enjoyed their first date. It was sweet and easy and nervous with a kind of underlying tension, just simmering below the surface, that weight of what really is and what could/will be about to happen.

On a lighter, more coherent note, the banter between Sam and Gabriel is as amazing as always.
Tiptoe39tiptoe39 on February 4th, 2012 12:30 am (UTC)
There is that sense, most definitely, and it is going to come into play in a big way. There is a level on which they don't know each other at all, and then there is another level on which they know everything that's truly important. Circumstances notwithstanding, they know how much they're truly drawn to each other and that almost makes the background facts irrelevant... if only they could stay that way forever!

I'm so glad you liked it!
misaki_kaitomisaki_kaito on March 12th, 2012 01:58 am (UTC)
I just had to leave a comment halfway through the chappie- just made a connection, if the Tin Man's Sam, The Cowardly Lion's Gabe, is the Scarecrow and Dorothy Dean and Cas? Or is Dorothy Dean and Toto Cas?