The Mixtape (with heaven on our side);
Dean/Castiel, (Sam, Bobby);
Castiel makes Dean a mixtape for his birthday. Dean freaks out. Sam thinks it’s hilarious.
And Castiel isn’t nearly as confused about these things as they think he should be.
- - -
Life was good, Dean decided as he leaned back against the hood of his car. He had the warm, mid-afternoon sun shining lazily down upon him, a bottle of chilled beer in his hands and, even as he watched, the entertaining view of Sam being beaten to death with the spatula Bobby had only moments ago been using to flip burgers. Dean let his lips curl upwards in an easy smile as he observed his brother laughing and dodging another whack as he tried to steal a burger off of Bobby’s barbeque.
Dean felt the air around him shift slightly, like a cool breeze touching at his sun-warmed skin, and turned his head to find that Castiel had appeared beside him.
“They look happy,” Castiel commented in lieu of a greeting, nodding his head in the direction of Sam and Bobby.
“Yeah,” Dean grinned, feeling that good feeling wash over him again. “They do, don’t they?”
“You look happy too,” Castiel said, turning to look at him, his head tilted just a little in question.
“Yeah,” Dean ducked his head with another smile. “We’ve got sun, beer, good company, what’s not to be happy about?”
“I haven’t seen you smile for a long time.” Castiel moved, sitting himself on the hood beside Dean and nimbly snatching his beer from between lax fingers.
“Ain’t been anything to smile about before now,” Dean agreed.
“I hear saving the world can do that.” Castiel smiled a little around the sip he snuck from Dean’s bottle.
Dean laughed. “Yeah, I guess it could.” He leant himself back on his arms and tilted his face upwards, eyes closed and mouth smiling.
“Where’ve you been anyway? Did you get things sorted with the big man upstairs?”
“The ‘big man upstairs’, as you say, has still not been found, but Michael and Gabriel are doing a good enough job of restoring order now that you’ve sent Lucifer back to Hell.”
Dean slid an eye open and saw Castiel’s frown, “You’ll find him,” he assured him, reaching out to touch at his shoulder, “one day you’ll find him.”
“I believe that God will be found when he wants to be found.” Dean squeezed his shoulder before pushing up again and snatching his beer bottle back.
“So, what’s happening with you then? They let you back into heaven okay?”
“I am a fully fledged angel once again, yes.” He slanted his gaze towards Dean.
“Oh. I, uh, I guess that means you’ll be saying your goodbyes soon, huh?”
“I have orders I must follow,” Castiel agreed, “and they will take up most of my time, but I have not been forbidden from seeing you, Dean. I don’t have to leave unless you ask me to.”
“Really? I thought-,” he drifted off.
“As did I. It seems, however, that I am to be rewarded for staying with you even at the risk of disobeying and falling from grace.”
“That’s… unexpected,” Dean said and Castiel nodded his agreement.
“Unexpected, but greatly appreciated at the same time.” He took Dean’s beer again and sipped lightly from the bottle.
“I’ll bet,” Dean laughed. “You want me to get you one of those?” he nodded towards his beer.
Castiel smiled a little sheepishly, tilting the bottle a little and seeing that it was more than half-way finished. “I won’t be staying long enough, I’m afraid.”
“Just long enough to finish mine, then?” Dean needled and Castiel ducked his head, offering the bottle back to Dean who laughed and told him just to finish it.
“There’ll be plenty more for me once you’re gone,” he assured. “What’s the visit for anyway?”
“I can’t just want to sit in the pleasure of your company for a few moments?” Castiel asked with faux innocence and Dean laughed, both at Castiel’s attempt at looking angelic and at the question itself.
“Spit it out, Cas, I’m here to enjoy some downtime without any of you pesky angels interfering,” he nudged Castiel with his shoulder and delighted in seeing the angel roll his eyes. It was nice to see that Castiel was determined to retain the human side he’d discovered whilst helping them to save the world, especially now that he’d been invited back to heaven with open arms.
“It’s your birthday today, is it not?” Castiel asked, drawing his thoughts.
“It is, yeah,” Dean agreed.
“I am lead to believe that humans enjoy celebrating this day,” he waited for Dean’s nod before continuing. “I wanted to wish you a Happy Birthday, and to give you a gift.”
Dean sat up a little straighter. “Thanks, Cas, really, but you don’t have to give me a gift. I’m more than happy with the visit.”
Castiel smiled at him and reached into the pocket of his coat- still the same damn trenchcoat, even after everything- anyway. He handed over a neatly wrapped, rectangular shaped present.
“I hope you enjoy it.” Castiel said before fluttering out of sight in the blink of an eye. When Dean blinked again his empty beer bottle was sitting on the hood of the impala beside him. He snatched it up quickly and tossed it into the pile they’d started near the back door of Bobby’s place, too content to bother with cursing Castiel for leaving it on top of his car in the first place. This time at least.
“Dean!” Sam’s voice rang out towards him and he looked up from the gift in his hand to see his brother beckoning him over. Lunch, it appeared, was ready.
Dean pushed up from the hood and moved towards Sam and Bobby as they sat around a small, wooden table, laden with the burgers and buns and beer, as well as a salad Sam had insisted on. Dean slipped himself onto the bench opposite his brother and twisted open another beer.
“What’d Cas want?” Sam asked, munching on something green and crunchy. Dean scrunched his nose and took great delight in slapping a great hunk of cheese and too much sauce onto his own burger.
“Dude, gross,” Sam commented before nodding to the present Dean sat beside his plate. “He give you something for your birthday?”
“Yeah,” he smiled, frowning at the same time as he looked at the gift.
“Well, aren’t you going to open it?” Bobby asked, peering at him from beneath his baseball hat.
“I guess, yeah,” He put his burger down and wiped his hands against his jeans, feeling a strange tingling sensation in his belly as he reached for the present and picked at the tape sticking it all together.
He tried to tell himself it was silly to feel nervous over a gift, but, nevertheless, nervous is exactly what he felt as he ripped the paper open enough to pull out a… cassette tape?
Dean frowned at the tape a moment before he felt his eyebrows rise up into his hairline as he read what was written on the front of the case. THE MIXTAPE, it said in big, bold capitals, and then beneath that the words, WITH HEAVEN ON OUR SIDE.
“Well, what did he get you, boy?” Bobby asked and Dean’s head shot up, his face flushing suddenly as he gaped, speechlessly at Bobby.
“Dean?” Dean turned at the sound of Sam’s voice.
“He… he made me a mixtape,” Dean said, his voice a little breathless, a little confused, as he looked back down at the cassette tape sitting quite innocently in the palm of his hand.
And that’s when Sam started laughing. Big, guffawing sounds of amusement as he looked at Dean and the astonished expression on his face. An expression that quickly morphed to one more defensive as Sam choked out, between breathes, that he didn’t think the angel would actually do it.
“You put him up to this?” Dean asked, stomach twisting just a little as he watched Sam wipe tears from his eyes as he struggled to contain his laughter.
“He wanted to give you something you’d like.” Sam defended with a grin.
“Dude, did you tell him-,”
“Relax, Dean, he doesn’t know what giving a mixtape generally means.”
Dean swallowed heavily. He closed his fingers over the cassette tape and pushed to his feet, pocketing the tape as he stepped away from the table.
“Hey, Dean, I didn’t mean-,” Sam’s look turned suddenly contrite and Dean forced a smile.
“Nah, just nipping into the house for a bit, had too much to drink, you know?” He avoided looking directly at either Sam or Bobby as he moved away from the table.
It was stupid really. He didn’t know why the thought that Sam had put Castiel up to making him a mixtape should… well, it didn’t bug him, not entirely. It just… it was kind of a personal thing for him. He was used to making them for girls he wanted to actually spend time with, girls he wanted to get to know, instead of just taking what he wanted and leaving like he usually did. It was his way of showing someone he was more than a little sweet on them. It… irked him somewhat to have Sam make Castiel do the same to him when clearly the angel didn’t know what it meant to him.
Dean pulled out and flipped over the case but found that there was no track list written on the back as he’d expected. He bit his lip a moment before shaking his head and shoving the cassette back into his pocket. It was probably just filled with all the shit in Sam’s personal collection. And if Castiel didn’t know it was supposed to mean something, then he was pretty damn sure it wasn’t going to mean anything.
With that conclusion reached, Dean stepped back out of the house and headed towards the table and his waiting burger. If he accidentally on purpose squirted Sam with the ketchup as he went to add even more to his burger, then that was entirely not his fault.
- - -
In what he’d thought would be revenge on Sam for putting Castiel up to it in the first place, Dean decided to put the cassette tape into the player the very next morning as they hit the road en route to the destination of their first big hunt since bringing the apocalypse to a staggering halt.
The last laugh was clearly Sam’s however as one by one the songs filtered through the car and Dean became acutely aware of the fact that his brother was sitting right beside him.
It has been easy at first to ignore the lyrics of the songs; he could quite easily have put Castiel’s choice to include them on the mixtape down to his own ignorance of these things. He could even dismiss the general tone of the songs, choosing to believe that perhaps the angel preferred a softer tempo to the music Dean generally liked. But when Foreigner’s “I Want To Know What Love Is” filtered through the stereo, Dean felt the first stirrings of uneasiness. He shifted in his seat, mouth dry and eyes staring determinedly at the road ahead, trying to pretend that he was completely unaffected by Castiel’s song choice.
And then Sam turned to him, a grin the size of the Cheshire cat’s plastered across his face as he said, with all the glee he could muster up, “Dude, I think your angel’s a little bit in love with you!”
“Don’t be ridiculous!” Dean retorted the instant Sam finished speaking, before kicking himself for sounding so defensive.
“He’s not my angel.” Dean said next, then thought about how that sounded as a reply to Sam’s original question and pressed on with, “He probably didn’t even realise what he was picking. Hell, you probably picked this shit for him seeing as it was all your idea in the first place.”
“I didn’t tell him what to pick, Dean, these songs are all on him,” Sam laughed, “I just told him-,”
“Whatever, Sammy,” Dean punched at the stereo and popped the cassette out, stopping the music and plunging the car into silence.
He resolutely ignored Sam’s sniggering, as well as his under-the-breath chanting of “Dean and Castiel sitting in a…”
Dean slanted an angry glance at his brother, glaring at the grin splitting Sam’s face.
“One more word, Sammy,” he warned, turning his eyes back to the road. Sam turned to look out his window, but when Dean shot him another look a few minutes later it was to see that Sam was still grinning widely.
- - -
The week following on from his birthday and the receiving of the mixtape from Castiel, (a week in which Dean had spent equal amounts of time both thinking and trying not to think about Castiel’s intentions (if indeed there had been any) in giving him such a gift), saw Sam and Dean exorcising your typical, run-of-the-mill, ghost-with-unfinished-business; a task they found themselves delighting in if only for the simple fact that there was nary a demon to be found.
Their days during the hunt were filled with teasing banter, diner dinners, and- the bane of Dean’s existence- research. He grumbled and bitched about every hour Sam made him waste poring over newspaper articles and aging books, but secretly he was kind of enjoying the downtime.
With the hunt finished, and Sam searching his laptop for their next job, Dean found himself falling back into his thinking. He lay on his bed, one arm tucked beneath his head and the other holding the mixtape Castiel had given him. Sam had ceased making comments whenever he saw Dean idly turning the tape between his fingers, but he still shot Dean all multitudes of amused looks whenever he spied the cassette out in the open. During one of his periods in thinking about any deeper meanings to the whole thing, Dean wondered if he shouldn’t just ask Castiel if he’d picked the songs he’s chosen for a reason. Sam assured him he’d had no say in Castiel’s song choice but Dean wasn’t entirely inclined to believe him; Castiel had to get the music from someone in the first place after all.
It was either that or he could just not mention the tape at all and just pretend like it didn’t exist the next time Castiel happened to call in. It’s not like Castiel would actually ask him. He twisted the tape around, seeing the title scrawled across the front, and felt his stomach give that damn little lurch it tended to give whenever he thought about the angel.
No. He couldn’t say anything. He couldn’t say anything at all. Castiel wouldn’t understand and Dean would just screw everything up and it just wasn’t worth it. There. He’d made up his mind. He closed his fingers around the tape and pressed his mouth into a thin, determined line.
And that’s precisely when Castiel appeared.
“Hey, Cas!” Sam was the first to notice the angel’s entrance and threw him an overly welcoming greeting as Dean jerked himself up from the bed and hurried to stash the mixtape in his back pocket.
“Hey,” Dean said, flashing Castiel a quick smile. “To what do we owe the pleasure?”
He didn’t miss the look Castiel turned to share with Sam, nor the encouraging hand gestures Sam waved Castiel’s way, which seemed to prompt Castiel to turn to him, a small smile on his lips as he asked, “Did you like your gift?”
Dean didn’t bother to temper the glare he shot Sam’s way, a glare only deepened by the sight of Sam sniggering into the palm of his hand.
“Sam?” Dean called, and waited for Sam to meet his gaze. “Take a walk.”
“Yes, sir!” Sam laughed, snatching up the bag beside him and saluting Dean with all the glee he could muster before stepping out of their motel room. The door closed with a snick and Dean felt his heart stutter a bit as he turned to look at Castiel. The angel was watching him, not quite expectantly but with more than a little curiosity, as though he wanted to ask something but wasn’t entirely sure how to phrase the question.
“Thanks for the… the gift,” Dean said, breaking the silence. He rubbed awkwardly at the back of his neck. “It was really, thoughtful, of you.”
“I’m glad you liked it,” Castiel replied slowly, still staring, still… smiling?
“Yeah. Um… yeah.” Dean breathed and before he could stop he found himself blurting out, “Why’d you pick them, Cas? Why those songs?”
“Your brother suggested-,” Castile began.
“-Sam.” Dean interrupted with a short laugh, “I knew it.”
Castiel stepped closer. “Your brother suggested that I pick songs that meant something,” Castiel pressed on, his eyes finding Dean’s and holding his gaze. “I wanted to tell you something, Dean.”
Dean licked his lips, glancing away. “Oh, right. And… what was it you were trying to tell me?”
“Was I not successful?” Castiel asked, cocking his head and peering intently at Dean.
“You were telling me that…” Dean hesitated, “that you have feelings?”
Castiel smiled then, a soft upwards turn of the mouth that nevertheless inspired Dean to return the look despite the twisting of his stomach.
“I’ve always had feelings, Dean.” Castiel said with an infliction of amusement to his voice. “I just haven’t always been permitted to express them.”
“And you are now?” Dean hazarded. Castiel’s smile grew softer.
“I care for you, Dean. Very deeply. More deeply perhaps than I should. I wanted you to know that.”
“Oh. I. Um…” Dean swallowed heavily, his mind whirring with the admission even as his hands fumbled at his pockets for the mixtape which he pulled out and held towards Castiel.
Castiel took it from him without prompting, though his smile did wane and a small frown appeared, creasing his brow with the confusion he felt.
“I understand,” Castiel said, stepping away from Dean.
“No, wait!” Dean grabbed at Castiel’s arm, knowing that if the angel disappeared on him now then he’d have ruined everything. “You don’t understand,” Dean said, moving closer.
“It is alright for you to not return my affections-,”
“-look at the tape, Cas,” Dean urged, fingers squeezing at his arm as he met Castiel’s gaze openly and honestly.
Castiel looked down at the cassette in his hands, seeing the words he’d written upon the front and frowning again.
“Turn it over,” Dean said, softly. Castiel did, his eyes widening as he saw that Dean had written the titles of the songs he’d included on the back. But not just his songs, there was another set of songs Castiel had never even heard of before scrawled out right beside his own.
“I made a mixtape for you too,” Dean said, “it’s on the other side of the tape.”
Castiel looked up at him, “How will I listen to it?”
“I guess you’ll just have to find some time in that busy schedule of yours to come hang out with me,” Dean said, breathing a little easier when Castiel’s face lit up in another smile. He felt his face split into a grin an instant later as Castiel leant in and pressed a quick and unexpected kiss to his lips.
“Thank you, Dean,” Castiel said, holding the tape to his chest.
Dean smiled, “No, thank you,” he said, leaning in and kissing Castiel.
- - -
a/n: if you’re so inclined, I’ve made an accompanying mixtape with a few of the songs I thought Castiel and Dean would share! [ click here for The Mixtape ].
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