And maybe tomorrow is a better day
Dean woke up to the sound of Sophie barking like it was her last chance to ever make herself heard. He groaned softly, rolling over to bury his head in the pillow. “No.”
Beside him, Cas sighed and slowly stretched, making the bed creak beneath his shifting weight. “Yes.” He pressed a dry kiss to the back of Dean's neck, raking his fingers through the graying hair at the nape. Sam was downstairs, already pounding on the door; he had his own damn keep, but some weird rule of politeness or whatever kept him out there making an ungodly racket with his stupid dog. Maybe he just wanted to make sure Dean and Cas were both dressed. He'd been through enough Naked Morning Times to make him cautious when he came over first thing in the morning.
“Sun's not even up yet,” Dean grumbled, but still he rolled over to look up at Cas. The angel smiled, a second kiss brushing Dean's lips. Dean caught his hands in Cas's hair, still dark and completely unchanged by the years, just like the rest of him, and pulled him into another kiss. Cas allowed it for a few moments, then pulled away.
“We're supposed to meet Zoe,” Cas reminded him, rolling out of their bed before Dean could catch him again. “If we hurry, we can catch her before breakfast.”
Dean perked up, swinging his legs over the edge of the bed, ignoring the twinge in his hip. “She's not gonna like that,” he noted brightly, ignoring Cas's dirty look. “C'mon, I gotta have my fun somehow.”
Cas rose with considerably more grace than Dean, tossing clean clothes onto the bed for Dean to put on before heading downstairs to let Sam in. For a moment, Dean felt a twinge of envy to go with his stinging hip; Cas remained untouched by time, physically unchanged by the decade they'd known each other, while Dean had not. The years of abuse his body had taken were catching up with him. There was gray in his hair and an ache in his joins that wouldn't go away; he dressed slowly, mindful of the arm that he couldn't quite raise above his shoulder anymore.
The smell of coffee lured Dean downstairs, where Sophie had taken up residence on the couch. She raised her head as Dean passed and tumbled off, following him with her awkward, three legged gait hopefully. Where there was Dean, there was usually meat to be shared with hungry dogs.
“Dog ain't coming with us, Sammy,” Dean announced when he hit the kitchen. Sophie hopped past him, going straight to Sam and looking hopefully up at her human.
“I know,” Sam conceded easily. “Just thought I'd give Sarah and Johnny a little peace and quiet today. Sophie'll be fine here.”
Dean Winchester had decided that it was the little things that made fatherhood worthwhile. Hanging the A+ essay on the front of the fridge, watching your baby girl rebuild her first engine, that post-clearing-out-a-vampire nest beer with his family, Cas by his side. Having someone else dig up the grave while you got to relax.
Seeing your angel mojo open a motel room door and toss the guy your daughter had taken back with her last night out, with the poor naked guy's clothes following a few moments later and hitting him square in the face before the door slammed shut.
"Dean." Sam's tone was a warning, and Dean didn't need to look at him to know that his brother was rocking an epic bitchface. And Dean did not give a single damn; he was going to enjoy every moment of this.
He ambled over to the poor boy; he was clearly still mostly asleep, and struggling to get his clothes on in the motel parking lot. "So you're my baby girl's new boyfriend!" Dean called out with a hearty laugh and a big, toothy smile. And oh, the look of raw panic spreading across that boy's face.
It really was the little things.
Cas left the motel room, the door slamming behind him, as the boy he'd thrown out fled before Dean's terrifying grin, looking pleased with himself. Dean caught his arm, pulling Cas forward and into a quick kiss. “We should do this more often.”
Dean tried to rap his fork on the filching fingers, but still his bacon disappeared from his plate and right into Zoe's mouth. She grinned crookedly, chewing with her mouth open. “You're supposed to cutting back on the fatty foods.”
“I haven't had bacon in weeks!” Dean protested. Cas raised an eyebrow, and he amended, “A week.” The other eyebrow went up. “A few days- look, just stop stealing my breakfast, huh? You got your own!”
“But it tastes so much better when I take it from you,” Zoe teased, flipping her braid over her shoulder and snatching up another slice of bacon. “Of course, if I let you have it, you die of a heart attack, and Cas comes on the road with me.” She studied the bacon thoughtfully, then put it back on Dean's plate.
“You're horrible, you know that?” Dean jabbed a finger in Zoe's direction, letting the bacon stay on the side of his plate as he attacked his omlette.
“I learned from the best. Now, about that werewolf-”
Castiel didn't stick around to hear about the werewolf; he'd already heard all the details Zoe had to share, and could have recited them back without missing a beat. He'd been eying the Claw Grab next to the bar where truckers sat scarfing down their breakfasts without having to wait to get a booth or a table, and specifically the purple bear near the top of the pile of stuffed animals and other prizes. He'd gotten very good at the Claw Grab machines the last few years; Zoe didn't much care for stuffed animals, save for a rather tired and worn bear Sam had given her that she would deny the existence of until she was blue in the face, but Cas's prizes still always found their way into the hands of people who would love them. Over the last year, most of them had ended up in the gummy embrace of Sam's son, John Robert.
Castiel dropped two quarters into the coin slot and nodded a quiet hello to Chuck Shurley, who sat there nursing a cup of coffee.
“I take if you don't want them to notice you.”
Chuck smiled into his cup. “Just checking in, thought I'd say hello.”
Castiel grunted, maneuvering the claw so it was over the purple bear. “No dire warnings to deliver? War in Heaven, uprising in Hell, plagues to sweep across the Earth?” He let the claw drop, just barely catching the bear and watching with baited breath as is slowly slipped between the claw's tines, almost dropping back into the pile of toys rather than down the chute.
“Not today.” Chuck finished his coffee and laid down a twenty for the waitress, brushing his hands on his slacks.
Castiel took the purple bear from the chute and went back to his family.