Title: Pie
By: nancy
Pairing: Dean/Castiel
Rating: PG-13
Summary: Turns out, Dean's not the only one who needs a break.

Castiel didn’t normally spy on people, but he couldn’t help keeping an eye on Dean. He never told Dean about his visits, that would simply invite suspicion and anger he was sure, but he watched Dean as often as his duties allowed. He’d done so since going down into Hell and pulling him out. In leaving his mark on Dean’s body, burning his handprint onto Dean’s shoulder, Castiel had somehow tied himself to the man far more deeply than he could have imagined.

With the battle ongoing in Heaven, he didn’t get to see Dean as much as he would like. A quick glimpse here and there to be sure that Sam hadn’t harmed him or that some other monster hadn’t done irreparable damage. He didn’t trust this Sam. Without his soul, the younger Winchester had no compulsion to keep Dean safe. He might even find it more expedient and self-serving to kill Dean.

It was that thought which kept Castiel distracted and unable to put his full focus on the War. Or so he thought. Because when Sam suddenly got his soul back thanks to death, nothing changed. He still thought often of Dean and checked in on him whenever he could.

Not long after Sam got his soul back, Castiel found Dean alone in a hotel room. He was sitting on one of the beds fully dressed and staring into space. He wasn’t hurt that Castiel could see, nor possessed or bespelled. He simply sat there with an occasional tremor running through his body. He looked exhausted, but that was nothing new. Castiel did not know what the problem was, just that there was one and it was big.

Uncertain, Castiel made himself visible across the room from Dean, in his direct line of sight. Dean blinked a few times, focusing momentarily on him, but then his gaze turned distant again. Walking closer, Castiel asked, “Are you all right, Dean?”

Silence was his answer.

Frowning, Castiel walked closer, stopping right beside the bed. This garnered no reaction from Dean, nor even any sign that he noticed. It was very atypical behavior and worried him. Then again, Dean had been under great strain for so very long. It was possible, however unlikely, that it had finally become too much now that nothing propelled him. That maybe Dean needed a purpose given to him in order to go on.

“I haven’t snapped,” Dean finally said. His voice was rusty, as if he’d been screaming recently, and he didn’t turn to look at Castiel. “I’m just tired and spacing out. Too tired to get pissy about a spying angel.”

Castiel hesitated and then said, “You can rest now, Dean. You have Sam back as he was. The apocalypse is averted. You no longer have the world upon your shoulders.”

Dean sighed and gave him a faint grin. “Yeah. Now I just have Death riding me.”

Castiel froze, an icy chill working its way down his spine. “What do you mean?”

Dean made a face. “I mean Death. Skinny dude with a scythe. He wants us to find out something about souls, but of course he didn’t give me any details to go on. Never fuckin’ fails. Save the world and what do you get? Not a trip to the Grand Canyon or Disneyland.”

Castiel relaxed slightly, as much as he could with Dean being on Death’s radar again; at least it didn’t seem in a menacing fashion this time. Or, not as much. And then Dean’s words sparked curiosity in him and he questioned, “Do you want to go to Disneyland?”

Dean’s grin was a little more natural then as he said, “Nah. But the Grand Canyon would be really cool. I always wanted to go. Even tried to talk Sam into it once, but…well.”

It was such a simple thing, an unexpectedly humble wish. This, Castiel could give. He closed the scant distance between them and gripped Dean’s shoulder. In a blink they were in the middle of the Grand Canyon just as the sun was setting. The fading light sparkled over a light snow covering, creating a magical, awesome sight.

Dean’s jaw dropped on taking in the panorama. He slowly turned in a complete circle, eyes wide and a look of such innocent pleasure on his face that Castiel wanted to preserve the moment forever. Dean didn’t say a word, he just stood there and looked all over for as long as the light lasted. He finally smiled at Castiel and said, “Thanks.”

The smile sent a flush of warmth through Castiel, though why couldn’t exactly say. He was tempted to make light of the moment, but didn’t. He replied gravely, “You are welcome, Dean.”

Dean shivered and said, “We should get back.”

Castiel nodded and gripped Dean’s shoulder again, though it wasn’t really necessary. Instead of returning to that dreary motel room, though, he brought them to the diner that Dean claimed had, “the best pie in the world.” It was snowing firmly in Brooklyn and everyone who was out, huddled deep into their jackets and coats. No one noticed two men simply appearing on the sidewalk.

“Dude! Is it my birthday, or what?” Dean crowed, hurrying inside.

Castiel followed and then said, “You deserve…” he almost said ‘everything,’ but changed it to, “…a break.”

Dean gave him a brilliant smile and said, “You rock, Cas.”

Castiel allowed himself a small smile in return and then they followed the hostess back to a booth. He agreed to a slice of cherry pie and pretended not to understand why Dean kept laughing to himself at odd moments, watching him slowly eat it. He knew it was due to his as yet virginal status in Dean’s estimation. It was worth it for the relaxing of stress from Dean’s eyes and honest laughter…a sound he hadn’t heard in far too long.

Dean had put away three slices, one each of apple, blueberry, and peach cobbler, by the time Castiel heard Sam calling for him. The other Winchester wasn’t panicked yet, but there was genuine distress in his voice. A petty part of Castiel wanted to ignore him for how he’d treated Dean, but the more honest self knew that without his soul, Sam had treated Dean as well as he could have.

He reached across the table and covered Dean’s hand with his own, the gesture instantly wiping all levity from Dean’s face. For a moment, he remained like that, drawing strength from the contact. Human touch. It was a frighteningly potent thing.

Castiel said at last, “Were I free…if I could, I would give you pie every day, Dean.”

Dean seemed to understand, because his hand turned to clasp Castiel’s, fingers lacing with his. They sat that way for another moment before Dean said, “That’s okay, Cas. If I had it every day, it wouldn’t be nearly as good. It’s the wait that makes it so awesome.”

Castiel swallowed against a suddenly tight throat, unable to speak. Simple, yet too true words.

There was an intensity to his voice when Dean spoke next. “Don’t take too long cleaning house, Castiel. I won’t live forever.”

Nodding slowly, Castiel said, “Understood.”

Dean held his gaze a bit longer, allowing Castiel to soak him up, to memorize him in that moment; green eyes, dark bags under them, so direct and warm all at once. Then he stood up, releasing Castiel’s hand and saying, “All right then. Get me back before Sam has a cow.”

Castiel frowned, distracted by the imagery, and then brought them back to the hotel room.

Sam gave them each a bemused look and then asked, “What did I miss?”

Dean said smugly, “Best. Pie. Ever. Loser.”

“Field trip, huh?” Sam said, half-smiling.

Castiel was surprised at the grateful look Sam flashed his way when Dean turned to put down the box of cherry pie Castiel had ‘zapped’ into his hands before they’d left. Then again, if Dean had been acting like that, ‘spacing out,’ for a while, it wasn’t so surprising. He said, “I muse return. Be well,” and went invisible. He watched them bicker amiably for a few minutes before returning home to the War that awaited him, fortified and renewed.

It looked like Dean wasn’t the only one who’d needed a break.