He doesn't see Cas right away when he gets to the restaurant, so he walks over to the hostess with a charming smile. "Hey there, have you seated a tall guy, around thirty, dark hair, gorgeous blue eyes?"
The hostess looks him over with appreciation and smiles. "Do you mean Castiel?"
Dean blinks, surprised that the hostess knows Cas by name, but brushes it off with a brighter smile. "Yeah, is he here?"
"Right this way, sir." The girl steps out from behind her podium and leads him to a corner table in the back, set apart by a half-wall divider to provide privacy. He understands right away why he didn't see Cas; he's almost completely hidden by the divider with his back to the restaurant. He lights up upon seeing Dean and stands to greet him. The hostess looks surprised when that greeting includes a kiss to Dean's cheek and a warm smile. Dean squeezes Cas' sides, momentarily lost in his sweet scent before he's able to remember to thank the hostess so she can go back to the front.
Once she's gone, Dean returns Cas' smile and squeezes his sides again. "Hey there, gorgeous. How are you?"
"I am well, Dean. How are you?" Castiel's voice is like fine sand, a little gritty, but oh-so-sinfully-soft. It makes Dean want to bury his nose in Cas' neck and drown in him.
"Awesome, now that I'm with you." He pecks Cas' lips and ushers him back into his seat before taking the seat opposite. "So, swanky table you got here. Did you make a reservation? You know that's my job, since I'm the one who asked you out, right?"
Castiel smiles, but tries to hide it behind his water glass. "I have my ways. How was work today?"
Dean tables his curiosity about Cas' statement and picks up his menu. Cas must have already chosen what he wants because his menu is folded over his dinner plate, untouched. "Great, now that I got the paperwork done for the week. I got to spend the morning working on this cherry red '68 Chevelle. You should have seen the engine on her. Ugh, man, I can't wait to hear her purr again."
"I don't think I know what a Chevelle looks like. Is it nice?"
"It's cherry. Not as sweet as the Impala, but it's pretty damn close." Dean pulls his phone out of his back pocket and fumbles through the pictures until he finds one of the exterior and passes it off to Cas.
Cas takes the phone with a tiny frown and peers at the screen for a minute before smiling. "Yes, it is very nice. I must confess I know next to nothing about cars."
"Yeah, I got that yesterday. It's okay. I'll educate you." He pauses, considers Cas for a moment. "That is, if you want to learn."
"I would like to learn more about your work, as I would like to learn more about every aspect of your life."
Dean beams at him. "Me, too, man. What made you want to sub?"
Castiel cocks his head to the side, smiling faintly. "As I told you yesterday, I like children. They have an open curiosity and thirst for knowledge that adults tend to lack. I've thought off and on about getting my teaching certificate, but I do not think I would enjoy the workload. Now it would just be pointless to try."
"What do you mean, now?"
Castiel frowns, clearly confused by Dean's question. "Now there's you to consider. I assume you will want to have children, and I will need to stay home to care for them. Getting a degree will be next to useless when I will not be working."
Dean raises an eyebrow, a little surprised, but he doesn't get to answer before the waitress, a pretty blonde beta, pops up at their table to take their orders. She is extra perky and apparently knows Cas by name, too, because she asks him how he is and insists on being introduced to Dean. Castiel looks apprehensive as he introduces them, and says something about not telling Balthazar. The waitress, Wendy, beams at him and assures him she won't, but a gleam in her eye tells Dean she probably will. She looks like the gossip type. Not that Dean has any clue who Balthazar is. Ex, maybe? The wolf hiding in the back of Dean's head growls low and long, but Dean pushes it down. It's ridiculous to think Cas has been celibate for his entire life up until this point. He kisses like a fucking pornstar, after all. There's no way that came naturally.
Finally, they're ready to order. Dean gets the rib-eye steak with mashed potatoes and some sort of green vegetable he will not be eating, while Castiel orders some sort of crazy thing Dean's not sure he can even pronounce. Once she leaves, Dean leans over his place setting to level his gaze on Cas, ready to continue their conversation.
"I do want pups, you're right, but I don't expect you to stay home if you don't want to. There're plenty of daycares out there, and I've got like an army of people who I know will help us out with babysitting if we need it. I know we don't know each other very well, but I'm not into boring traditional values. I want you to be happy. If you want to go get your teaching degree and be a teacher, then that's what you'll do. Okay?"
Castiel looks confused again. "But…"
"Nope, no buts. You want to go back to school, we'll figure it out."
Castiel is hesitant, but nods. "All right. I haven't thought about it in a serious way, yet. Teachers work much longer hours than they are paid for. I don't know if it is something I want to do."
"Well, think about it. Do you like subbing?"
"I do. I like that I walk into an entirely different environment and different challenges every day. There are some weeks I work exclusively with junior high and high school children, some weeks I alternate preschool with high school and even physical education classes. I have to admit, the latter is not my favorite, but it keeps life interesting, certainly."
"That why you only subbed for Ben's class the once? Man, you have no idea how frustrating that was. I even had Ben on alert for you. Didn't tell him why, obviously."
"Ben's teacher is rarely out. He was only absent that day because his daughter had an emergency tonsillectomy."
"Is it bad that I sort of wish his daughter needed surgery more often?"
Castiel shakes his head and chuckles. "You're a horrible person. You should be ashamed of yourself."
Dean grins, recognizing the sarcasm. "Yeah well, I'm your mate, so you're gonna have to deal with me." He leans further over the table with a flirty smile. "And I'm so not sorry for that."
"Oh? You don't feel sorry for me being stuck with such a heartless, cruel alpha, who wishes painful surgery on small children just for the chance to see me again?" Castiel flirts back, drawing a circle around the rim of his wineglass in a move so sexy it has Dean practically salivating. He leans over further.
"I'll only feel sorry for you if you don't get to spend the rest of your life with me." He feels the brush of a leather-tipped foot across his ankle and stretches it out to give Cas more room to touch. They go on like this, flirting back and forth, sharing tentative touches of hands and shod feet, until the food arrives twenty minutes later, and with it a blond man wearing a messy chef's uniform and a Chesire smile. Castiel looks extremely displeased to see him.
"Cassie, how lovely to see you in my area of the world. When little Wendy said you were in, and on a date of all things, I suspected she'd got back on the coke again, but no. Here you are. And here is your quite sexy date. Hello." The dude shoots Dean a flirtatious smile and a wink as he leans on their table. He has a fancy British accent and a smug attitude that Dean doesn't really like.
Castiel shuffles uncomfortably on his seat. Dean can smell irritation in his scent, and it sends Dean on alert. Definitely an ex, then. "Balthazar, this is Dean Winchester. Dean, this is my brother, Balthazar Milton." Not ex, then. Good. Dean didn't want to have to bring the dude out back and punch him in the middle of their date. Now that he has context, he vaguely remembers Cas saying the name when he was listing his brothers, but it was a long list, and Dean's memory for names isn't great. Now that he has a face to reference, he won't forget again.
"Dean, what a pleasure to meet you. You are quite nice to look at, I must say. Much better than that shit-storm, Zachariah. How did the two of you meet?"
Cas hesitates, looking at Dean with an expression he can't read. "Dean is my mate," he answers, almost too softly to be heard.
Balthazar raises his eyebrows. "Really? Well, this is a delicious little tidbit, isn't it? Congratulations to the both of you." He snaps his finger in the direction of a passing waiter, who abruptly stops and turns. "Get me a bottle of Moët. Celebration is in order. My little brother has found his mate." The waiter nods and quickly heads in the opposite direction he was going without a word.
"Balthazar, no, no thank you. That won't be necessary. Can you stop telling your staff, please? Dean and I only met each other yesterday, and I don't want Mother to know about this yet. You know what her reaction will be."
Balthazar nods, a knowing and slightly mischievous expression on his face. "Oh yes, that should be delicious. Zachariah is ever so rich, after all. What do you do for a living, Dean, darling?"
Dean frowns, confused by their conversation. Who was Zachariah and what does it matter how much money he has? "I'm a mechanic. I have a shop down on Belleview."
"Dean also restores classic cars. He was just showing me a picture of a beautiful car he was working on this morning. A Chevelle, wasn't it?"
The waiter returns with a bottle of champagne and three glasses. Balthazar indicates that he should pour them, completely ignoring Castiel's distressed look. He hands Castiel a glass, and then Dean, before taking up his own and sipping from it, giving Dean a considering look over the rim of the glass. "A business owner, hmm? Mother will like that. Couldn't you own something more sophisticated, though, like a bank or an investment firm?
"Balthazar, please," Castiel says, although it is unclear what he is asking, at least to Dean.
"Yes, Yes, Cassie, fine. I will leave your alpha alone." He gives Dean another considering look. It would make Dean squirm if he wasn't already so irritated by the guy and how uncomfortable he's making Cas. "You are quite enjoyable to look at, I must say, Dean. I cannot wait to tell Gabriel that our little Cassie has scored himself such a hunky alpha."
That statement does make Dean squirm, as does the look of pure alarm that crosses Cas' face. "Balthazar, NO! Gabriel cannot keep a secret. He will tell Mother, I know it. The first time she sees him after he learns of this, she will sense that he knows something and question him until he gives in. Remember your marriage to that French woman? The human?"
Balthazar shudders, giving Cas a withering look. "We were never going to mention that particular incident again. I thought we agreed."
"I apologize, but I needed to make my point. I would like to be able to get to know Dean for at least a few weeks before Mother can get her claws on him. Telling Gabriel will ensure that we get no peace."
Balthazar looks as though he might agree, but then a tiny smirk blooms on his lips. "I would have thought you would be chomping at the bit to tell Mother you've found your true mate, if only to remove the looming threat of marrying that old windbag, Zachariah."
"Marrying who? What? Cas isn't marrying anyone but me. What's going on? Who's Zachariah?" Dean interrupts them, unable to keep his tongue as soon as the word marriage enters the conversation. His inner wolf begins to growl again, low and dark in the back of his head. This time, he doesn't shut it up.
Castiel frowns at his brother, but turns a reassuring smile on Dean, covering Dean's hand with his own on top of the table. "You are absolutely correct. A year ago, my mother decided that it was time for me to find a mate and begin producing children. As I had not met you yet and I have never been permitted to date socially, she decided that it would be best for me to enter an arranged marriage. Zachariah is the alpha she chose for me. Balthazar is correct; he is very well off financially, but his money is the only attraction he affords. He is nearly two decades my senior and is rather..."
"Ugly. You can say it, Cassie. He's a hideous middle-aged balding man with a pot belly, the consideration of a Nazi, and the personality of a garden slug," Balthazar offers. Castiel nods reluctantly in agreement of the statement.
"Do I need to take him out? Cause I can challenge him, if you want. He's not getting you, either way."
"Thank you, but that will not be necessary. I wish only to keep our relationship from my mother long enough to solidify our mating so that she cannot question our status as mates."
Solidifying their status? Did that mean Cas was considering letting Dean mark him? Knot him? The very thought sent Dean's nerves alight with anticipatory pleasure. All he'd been able to think about for the last seven months was having his mate underneath him, open and waiting to be marked and knotted and full of his seed. "Okay. We can do that," Dean reassures him in a huskier voice than he intended. Balthazar raises an eyebrow at him, but only smirks into his second glass of champagne without comment.
"I hope so. It will depend on whether or not my sibling can keep his mouth closed." Cas levels a glare on Balthazar, which does not appear to faze his brother.
"No worries, Cassie, I won't tell a soul until you give me leave. Cross my heart." He uses one finger to draw a cross over his chest with a level of sass Dean can't help but admire. "It was a pleasure to meet you, Dean Winchester. I hope you make my little brother very happy." He leans over the table for what Dean is alarmed to discover is a kiss to his cheek. He lingers, whispering in Dean's ear, "And if you don't, remember I know where you work. One phone call, and it will burn to the ground. Understood?"
Dean pulls abruptly away to gawp at him. He's never had anyone but another alpha threaten him with such ferocity before. It's ballsy, but also kind of badass for a skinny British beta wearing an apron. Dean has to admire his fierce protective instincts.
"No need, dude. That's my number one priority."
Cas cocks his head to the side in confusion, and yeah, that's definitely fucking adorable. Dean waves him off with a 'don't worry about it' expression, and Balthazar leans over to kiss the lines of confusion off his forehead. "I will see you later, Cassie. Enjoy your evening, and congratulations on finding your alpha."
"Thank you, Balthazar." His brother nods and flounces away in the most flamboyant manner possible. Dean watches him disappear into the kitchen before he turns back to Cas, who is watching Dean with an expression of warmth.
"What?" Dean asks.
"I was simply admiring your profile. You are quite attractive, you know," Cas answers with a sexy smirk.
Dean returns it with a sly smirk of his own. "Why thank you. You're not so bad yourself. I'd ask if you want to get outta here, but I can't promise not to try to get you naked if we go somewhere alone together."
"Are you propositioning me?"
"If I was, would it get me anywhere?" he asks with a stomach full of hopeful butterflies.
"Maybe..." Cas' expression is still interested, but his voice and his scent hold a hint of apprehension that shuts Dean's libido down immediately. He almost forgot for a moment. They've only known each other two days. Cas isn't ready for anything more than heavy petting, Dean knows. He also knows without Cas outwardly saying it that Cas has been trained not to say no to his alpha, which means he'd go through with whatever Dean wanted to make him happy, even if it made Cas himself incredibly uncomfortable. Even the thought of it is enough to turn Dean's stomach. He wants full consent and an eager omega squirming under him, begging for his knot.
He smiles at Cas. "Maybe after dinner," he says, indicating the plates set out in front of them both. Dean is still confused as to what Cas ordered. He doesn't recognize it as any food he's ever seen before, but he can tell there are oysters and some sort of green vegetable. Weird. Whatever makes him happy though, Dean supposes.
Dean's steak looks perfectly cooked, and he can barely wait for Cas to pick up his fork to carve off a piece and devour it. He makes an undignified noise of appreciation, and when he looks up, Cas is giving him a heated look. "Like your steak?"
"Oh yeah, this is awesome."
"Good," he says. Dean watches him pick up his fork and delicately pry a bit of meat from one of the oysters. He momentarily forgets his own meal in favor of staring at his dinner companion. The careful, precise movements of Castiel's hands, the gentle way he slides the greasy bit of meat into his mouth, it mesmerizes Dean. He thinks about the ways such precision can be brought to the bedroom. Will Castiel show that kind of care when he's peeling Dean's clothes off? Or sucking him off? Or riding his knot?
Dean flushes, ashamed at where he's let his head go. They're at a classy restaurant, and his mate's brother could pop out at any moment to check on them. He shouldn't be thinking about sex. If he isn't careful, it will show in his scent. A brush of Castiel's leather sole against his pants leg tells him Cas has noticed. When Dean meets his eyes, they are dark with a heat of their own. Dean almost chokes on his own spit at the spark it sends through him. Castiel looks back at his meal with a pleased little smile that causes a ball of warmth to bloom in Dean's stomach. He goes back to his meal, but the back of his mind is filled with the heat of that gaze.
When they finish eating, Castiel attempts to insist on paying again, but Dean won't let him. "Dude, no. I invited you. I picked the restaurant. I'm paying. You got the check last time. It's my turn. This isn't like an alpha thing, it's a fairness thing."
"You've waived what was no-doubt a hefty repair bill for my car. I insist that you let me repay you," Cas continues to protest, but it is met with deaf ears.
"Nope. You paid last time—for my kid even, which you didn't have to. My treat this time, no more arguing." Castiel does not look pleased, but he capitulates. When Wendy returns for their plates, they discover that the little disagreement was unnecessary.
"Oh no, Mr. Milton insisted your meal be on the house. He's too swamped in the kitchen to come out again, but he told me to tell you congratulations on your future mating, and that he will call you tomorrow, Castiel. I would also like to say congratulations. It's probably not my place, but I'm glad you won't have to mate that Zachariah guy." She wrinkles her nose, and though Dean's hackles are up just hearing the guy's name, he can't resist getting a little dirt on him.
"Why's that, Wendy?" he asks with his most devastating smile. He sees Castiel shoot him a look across the table, but pretends not to.
She hesitates, looking to Castiel for a second before answering. "He's not a good tipper."
"Well, never fear, I am an excellent tipper," Dean assures her. She grins at him and makes sure they don't need anything else before stepping away with their discarded dishes. When Dean looks back to Castiel, he gets the feeling he's about to be reprimanded.
"Does it bother you that I was betrothed?"
Dean is surprised that he has to ask. "Well, yeah. I know I said we should take it slow, act like people or whatever, but I don't plan on this going anywhere but us mated and hanging out on a porch somewhere when we're ninety, covered in grandpups. Anyone who thinks he might have a claim on you makes me uncomfortable."
Castiel looks long and hard at him, twisting his napkin in his lap in a sign of nerves before nodding. "Good. I... believe I would like that as well."
"Really?" Dean feels all fluttery again.
"Yes." Castiel returns his smile, and Dean can't think of anything else but getting closer to him. He grabs his wallet from his back pocket and starts pulling out enough bills to cover the tip of the giant bill they won't be getting. Cas watches him with a glimmer in his eyes.
"Awesome. Ready to go?"
"Are we going home?"
"No, I thought maybe we could go for a walk?"
Cas cocks his head to the side. "Is 'go for a walk' code for making out in your very sexy car?"
Dean grins sheepishly. "It can be?"
"Then, yes." Cas stands, prompting Dean to stand as well. He drops the bills on the table while Cas pulls on a tan trench coat of all things. Dean slips his arm around Cas' waist, no longer worrying about getting permission to touch. He has it. Cas leans into his touch without hesitation, and he takes a second to bury his nose in Cas' hair as they walk towards the exit, waving to Wendy as they go. He pretends not to see the dopey smile she has while waving back at them.
When they reach the fresh air, Dean turns into Cas, looking the scant inch down at him. "So? Car or walk?"
"Walk, then car?"
Dean grins, squeezing Cas' side. "I like how you think." They turn down the street, walking at a leisurely pace. "So, I gotta ask, what's with your brother? Is he adopted or something?"
Castiel chuckles. "You are referring to his accent, I assume? He went to a culinary school in England and came back with the most obnoxious accent. He was only there for three years, but you would swear he was born there for how attached he is to the accent. Gabriel makes fun of him mercilessly."
Dean laughs. "That's not much better than my brother. Went to undergrad in California and came back eating kale." Dean shutters at the thought, wishing as he always does that his little brother ate like a normal Kansas boy.
"Is there something wrong with kale?"
"Oh Christ, please tell me you aren't in the kale fan club, too. I don't think I can handle being mated to someone who doesn't eat red meat."
Castiel smiles, leaning into his space more than necessary. "I enjoy a good cheeseburger as well as the next person, but I do have a taste for kale chips, as well. Do they have to be mutually exclusive?"
"Kale is disgusting, dude! It has like no flavor, and it's all bitter. It's worse than eating a lemon."
"You just said it doesn't have any flavor, and yet it is bitter? That is an oxymoron, Dean."
Dean shoots him a mock glare. "Shuddup, you know what I mean. It's gross."
Castiel smiles, amusement lighting his eyes. "I suppose we shall have to agree to disagree."
"Yeah, okay. I'm gonna make you change your mind, though."
"Perhaps it is I who will change your mind. I will have to ask Balthazar to make his kale chips for you."
Dean crinkles his nose. "No thanks."
Castiel chuckles again and leans up to kiss Dean's cheek. Dean feels the soft heat of his lips even after they've gone.
"So, I wasn't just talking about his accent. Wendy called him Mr. Milton? I thought your name was Novak?" Dean asks a few minutes later, after he's recovered from the kiss.
Castiel looks down at their feet, not saying anything for a moment. "Milton is the name I was born with. Novak is the name I've chosen for myself. I wished to distinguish myself from my mother and her work. The name came from the model of my car."
Dean is stuck, confused. "I thought your mom was a Biblical scholar. Who do you know who reads that stuff?"
Castiel hesitates further. "She is a Biblical scholar, but a majority of her work deals with the Biblical interpretation of lupan reproductive behaviors."
Dean blinks at him. "Huh?"
"She interprets what the Bible says about alpha, beta, and omega dynamics, particularly how each fits in the social structure. She could be considered an extremist. Anyone who pays attention to academic discussion of lupan dynamics knows her name. I did not want anyone to make assumptions about me and my behavior based on her work. They make enough assumptions about me based on my omega status as it is." The last he says quietly, almost bitterly. Dean pulls him closer.
"People are assholes," is all Dean can answer to that. He has assumptions made about his own behavior sometimes, but he knows it's a lot worse for omegas, particularly male omegas, and he's not insensitive enough to say anything.
"I don't think so. They are just taught to believe certain things, based on stereotypes and preconceived notions. It is not always their fault."
"But sometimes it is, and those people are assholes."
Castiel doesn't answer right away. Dean rubs circles into his back through his coat and kisses his temple, thinking. He wants to tuck Cas away in his arms and hide him from the world, but he knows that his alpha brain is saying that, and he's not going to listen to that side of himself. He's startled from his thoughts by Cas' soft words. "What made you decide to become a mechanic?" he asks.
"My dad was a mechanic. He bought the Impala when he first proposed to my mom, and he made me love it as much as he did. We used to work on it together when I was little. He taught me all about fixing old cars. When he decided to open his own shop, I went to trade school and get a license so I could work there. When he died, I took over the shop. I started taking on classic restorations a year later, found out I love it. I've been doing more and more restores ever since."
"When did you father die?"
"Three years ago, heart attack."
"I'm sorry to hear that. My own father left the family shortly after I was born. I can't imagine the loss you must feel."
Dean shrugs, unable to say much else. He loved his dad, but their relationship had been complicated at best. They lull into silence again, comfortable, impenetrable. They go through the park, strolling down the meandering sidewalks with no set destination. Dean would like to ask about Cas' father, but he also still wants to make out in the backseat of the Impala, and he gets the sense that the two are mutually exclusive. Half-way through the park, he feels Cas' nose nudge at his collar, hears him inhale softly, scenting. The low hum of Cas' pleasure reassures him that Cas likes his scent as much as he likes Cas'. The warmth that bloomed inside him upon first meeting Cas intensifies, and he quietly steers them back in the direction of the car.
"Can we stop here?" Cas asks, indicating a bench. Dean doesn't understand at first. Cas has to tug him down and scoot right into his personal space before he gets the idea. "I don't want to wait until we get to the car," Cas clarifies, though by now it's unnecessary. He leans in and presses his lips to Dean's, and there's a lot more heat than he would have expected. He clutches at Cas' coat, groaning as Cas slides his hot, wet tongue along Dean's bottom lip. Dean lets him control the kiss for a while, curious where he'll take things. Cas grips onto the back of Dean's neck, holding him tight and close as he explores his mouth.
His scent is sticky sweet and sends Dean's own arousal into overdrive. Before he knows what he's doing, he's pulling Cas onto his knees, lifting his hips ever so slightly to brush against Cas' clothed bottom. Cas mewls into his mouth, pressing his ass down against Dean, fingers tightening in Dean's hair. Dean thinks about stripping him, laying him out on the bench and pulling layer upon layer off him. He thinks of sliding between Cas' bare thighs, touching his slick opening, sliding into wet heat, driving his knot in and filling Cas up with his pups.
It is only when he feels his knot begin to swell that he decides it is time to calm things down. He pulls gently away from Cas' mouth, already mourning the sweet taste of it. Cas looks down at him with worried, hurt eyes. Dean reassures him with a smile, rubbing circles into the back of his vest, hands having buried themselves beneath his bulky trench sometime in the middle of their kiss. "Sorry, sweetheart, just needed to calm down a little before we get arrested for public indecency," he explains.
The worry melts from Cas' face, and he leans down to lay a soft, chaste kiss on Dean's lips. "Probably best. I was picturing the best way to rip all of your clothes off."
"Yeah? What'd you come up with?" Dean asks, unable to help the lust from seeping into his voice.
"I was going to tear your shirt down the front and then shove everything off of you."
"Were you? What if I like this shirt?"
"I'd buy you another."
"I like the way you think. Come on, let's get back to the car so at least we'll be less visible to passersby." He gently encourages Cas off his lap and stands, grabbing for his hand. Cas curls his fingers between Dean's, and they make their way back to the restaurant parking lot. If they walk a little faster than they did coming the other way, neither comments.
When Cas sees the Impala, his breath catches just for a second. It's exactly the kind of reaction Dean loves. He escorts Cas into the back seat, suddenly very interested in getting that fucking trench coat off of him, maybe even the vest, too. Cas doesn't object to sprawling out in the backseat and making out like teenagers. When Cas wraps his clothed legs around Dean's hips and thrusts their groins together, Dean has a moment where he thinks he might already be in love.
"You've been really weird lately. It's like someone shot you up with sunshine and rainbows. If I didn't know better, I might think you'd mated," Sam says over the dinner table two nights after Dean came home with hickeys on his neck and Cas' scent all over his clothes.
Dean looks down at his burrito, trying not to give anything away. He's been getting enough ribbing at the shop. He just wants a whole week to have Cas to himself before Sammy butts in and starts insisting he tell their mom or something. "Don't know what you're talking about. I'm always a ball of sunshine."
Sam snorts. "Dude, you've been an asshole for like three months. Even Mom noticed."
"She did not. Shut up."
"So you admit it?"
Dean makes a face at him, but he knows he's going to have to cave. He's not going to be able to hide the stupid smile he gets every time he gets a text from Cas for much longer. He heaves a sigh and sets down his burrito. "Fine, you're right. I scented my mate back in March, but didn't meet him face-to-face."
Sam narrows his eyes, calculating. "The mail."
Dean nods. "Yeah. He brought his car into the shop on Wednesday."
Sam stares at him as if waiting for more. Dean takes another bite of his dinner and pretends not to see. "Dude."
"Is that all? You just met your mate! Congratulations! What's he like? What's his name? Do you like him? Did you get his number? Is he an omega? Did you tell Mom yet? What about Ben?"
Dean sighs again and shoves his burrito back onto the plate for the second time. At this rate, it'll be cold before he gets to actually finish it. "Ben met him before I did. He subbed for Ben's class. We all went out for pizza together the night I met him."
"And? What's his name?"
"Castiel Novak." Dean stops, shakes his head. "Milton? I'm not really sure. I think Milton is his legal name, but he tells people it's Novak so he doesn't have to deal with anyone connecting him with his mom."
"Who's his mom?"
"Uh..." Dean racks his brain. Cas said, he thinks. Natalie? Nora? "Naomi Milton. She's some kind of fancy professor, writes a lot about how omegas should know their place and be barefoot and pregnant at all times. Bullshit, obviously. I think she really fucked Cas up. He called me 'Alpha' when we first met and thought I was gonna put him over my desk and knot him right there. It was weird." Sam's eyes are so big it's almost funny. Dean has to stop and look at him. "What?"
"Naomi Milton is a strong advocate for traditional family values. We read her paper on the Alpha right to claiming in my Omega Rights class back in undergrad. You should have heard what she thought omegas should have to do for us. It made me sick."
Dean's stomach sinks a little, but he brushes it away. He knew Cas' mom was a freak. He'll just have to work extra hard to show Cas that he shouldn't have to be a househusband if he doesn't want to be. "Well, that's his mom. He's pretty cool, though. Kinda weird, but weird in a way that's kinda hot, you know? I think Ben likes him."
"Did you tell Mom yet?"
"Not yet. I was thinking about inviting him to breakfast on Sunday. Think she would care?" Their mother had been complaining that she doesn't get to see them enough now that the summer is over, and Dean is no longer holding barbeques. As an appeasement, they started meeting for breakfast dates with her on Sunday mornings. Ben's there on Dean's weeks, and Lisa comes with Brian-the-Doctor when they can. Jess comes when she isn't working at the hospital.
Sam is looking at him like he's an alien. "No, Dean, I don't think Mom will mind if you bring your mate to breakfast. Were you gonna tell her before Sunday? She might get a little mad you didn't tell her right away."
"Didn't wanna jinx it. He's way too good for me. Wasn't sure he'd stay," Dean mumbles, eyes on his plate. Sam kicks him under the table, hard. Dean glares. "Shut up. You haven't met him yet. He's fucking gorgeous."
"He's your mate, dude. Of course he's gonna stick around. What's wrong with you?"
"I swear to God, if you don't shut up, I'm shoving that burrito down your pants, Oprah."
Sam rolls his eyes, but stops interrogating him for a while. By the time he starts up again, Cas has sent him another text, and Dean's finished with dinner. He gets up, leaving the dishes for Sam to take care of, and goes to put in a movie.
When they pull up to the restaurant, Cas looks like he might have a heart attack at any moment. Dean unbuckles his seat belt as Sam climbs out of the back, but he doesn't get out. Instead, he cups Cas' cheek across the bucket seat, forcing him to make eye contact. “Don't be so nervous, okay? It'll be alright. Mom's gonna love you. How could she not? You're amazing.”
Castiel's eyes soften, and he lets Dean pull him closer. “I don't want to be a disappointment to you,” he says, quiet and still a little scared.
Dean kisses his forehead. He hates saying this shit, but he's willing to do or say about anything to get that look off Cas' face. “You could never be a disappointment, no matter what my mother or anyone else thinks of you. Just be yourself, and I'm sure she'll think your as awesome as I do.”
“What if she doesn't?”
”That won't happen, but if we accidentally fall into a parallel universe where my mother has turned crazy and doesn't like you, she'll have to deal. I'm not letting you go any time soon.” Dean seals the promise with a kiss. Cas lifts a hand to circle his wrist as he returns it, thumb rubbing over Dean's pulse point as their tongues caress each other's in time. They're only stopped by a knock on the window from Sam. Dean pulls away with a glare over Cas' shoulder at his brother, leaning his face into the window while tapping his watch. He might have to make Sam walk home after breakfast.
”You okay now?” Dean asks Cas, not letting him go quite yet.
”I believe so. Thank you, Dean.”
”You're welcome, sweetheart. Let's go. I'm hungry for some flapjacks.” Dean's stomach rumbles as if to emphasize his point, making Castiel laugh. They share another quick kiss before getting out of the car. Sam is waiting at the edge of the sidewalk.
”We're good,” Dean says as they pass him.
Mary already has a table when they walk in, Cas clutching Dean's hand so tight he thinks he might be losing circulation. Even after their talk, Cas is still as tense as a bow string. She spots them right away. It would be hard not to with Sam lumbering behind them like the fluffy giant he is. She takes a second to look at Cas, her eyes trailing down his body to the hand holding Dean's in a death grip, and turns an upraised brow on Dean. He smiles sheepishly and tugs Cas over to the table.
"Hey, Mom, this is Cas. I didn't think you'd care if he came," Dean explains, leaning over the table to kiss his mother's cheek.
"Of course I don't mind meeting a... friend of yours," she answers, eyes surveying Cas.
Dean probably deserves the look on his mother's face. He should have forewarned her. She probably thinks Cas is a hook-up here for morning-after breakfast. Not that Dean would ever do that, but with his past, he isn't surprised his mom doesn't know that. "Cas is uh.. he's not a friend, exactly. He's my mate. Cas, I'd like you to meet my mother, Mary Winchester."
Cas takes a deep breath and holds out his hand for Mary to shake. Dean can feel him trembling. "Hello, Mrs. Winchester. It is an honor to meet you. Dean has had nothing but wonderful things to say about you."
Mary's whole face chances into a look of utter shock. She recovers quickly. "I wish I could say the same. Dean hasn't mentioned a word about you." She shoots Dean a look as she stands to shake Cas' hand properly. "It's wonderful to meet you, though. Why don't you sit next to me? You're going to be a part of the family now. I should know my future son-in-law. Is Cas short for anything?" Mary takes his arm and pulls him into the seat next to her, grinning now that she's over being annoyed with her son for springing a mate on her.
Cas looks nervously up at Dean, who takes the seat across from him. Dean moves his foot to rest against Cas' under the table, hoping physical contact will help him relax. Cas turns to Mary. "It's Castiel, actually. Castiel Novak."
"Castiel? What an interesting name. What do you do, Castiel?"
"I'm a substitute teacher at the moment, but I have also worked as a CPA and a postal sorter."
"How interesting. Do you enjoy teaching?"
Cas smiles wide and launches into a conversation about teaching and his students, and he and Mary talk all the way through ordering and the wait until their food gets there. Sam elbows Dean as he bends over his giant stack of pancakes and gives him a thumbs-up under the table, and Dean grins back. He knew their mom would like Cas.