“So,” Dean begins, closing the car door with a little more care than needed. “'Administrative Leave', huh? Guess they can't have us running round showing anyone else up.”
Cas was giving him a smile, a small, soft one Dean had seen once or twice and committed to memory. “I forget that most people don't get told to 'cool off a while' after every case.”
“And thank fuck for that! There'd be no force if we were all getting paid holidays every time we did a good job. Seriously man, I'm gonna go stir-crazy before the two months is out. I'm already missing work now.” And wasn't that a sad pronouncement on the state of his life, if he had pretty much nothing outside of his work? “What do you do, Cas?”
He gave a small shrug. “Work on some new security project, usually. Re-order my music collection by different parameters. Tidy my apartment, when things get really boring.”
“And god forbid that place doesn't have clutter on every surface.” Dean sighed. Really, he was grateful for the time off. Everything had been so messed up by the case, he knew it'd take him a while to really sit down and process it all. Re-evaluate his priorities, maybe. He tapped his fingers across the steering wheel, but made no effort to start the car. For the first time since this mess started, he didn't have anywhere to be. They didn't.
They. Huh. Maybe he could start the whole re-evaluating business with them.
“Listen, Cas. I-” he what? The pause hung in the air long enough to make it uncomfortable for most, but Cas had never really got to grips with which silence were comfortable or not. Dean closed his mouth, resisting the urge to sigh again, and really thought about what it was he wanted to say.
'I've had this really inappropriate crush on you since forever' didn't seem the way to breech this, and didn't cover the way his heart had stopped when Cas had fallen off the map, the effort it had taken not to just pull the trigger the minute Michael had been in his sights, the relief that had washed over him not when Cas had said it was over, but when he'd smiled and said 'Well done'.
Cas strung him around, and lied to him more often than not; insulted him without meaning to; he had no concept of personal space, and he couldn't cook, and his idea of tidying was like blowing the settling dust off a bombsite, and when he got in a mood he ate and drank and smoked too much; he'd never seen Ghostbusters, for Christs sake! Cas hated cars, and he hated driving, and he hated Dean's favourite beer, and he made all Deans old favourite songs seem new again, and he was so damned earnest it broke Dean's heart a little, and he could quote any adaption of Sherlock Holmes back to front, and when he smiled or laughed it was like the dawn breaking after a long, dark night, and holy fuck.
“Listen,” he repeated, and can feel the flush in his cheeks, the wobble in his tone. “I liked working with you. Like, really liked. It was horrible, and you suck at teamwork, and this whole case was fucked from the start, but it's been the most fun I've had in years. And seriously, how are you single? I mean, look at you! And you're funny. And you know, your kissing is a little hokey, but hell, we could work on that.”
“Dean,” Cas says, with a face and tone somewhere smirking and confusion. “Are you propositioning me?”
Dean dragged a hand over his face, and couldn't contain the little shock of embarrassed laughter. “Man it'd be a hell of a lot easier if that was all I was doing.” He put a hand to his mouth momentarily, trying to work out how he was going to say this, but the moment he opened his mouth to say “Cas, I-” he was silenced by a finger on his lips.
Who does that? Seriously, who does that?
Cas smiles, smaller and closer and softer than before, and removes the finger. “I watched the thing you told me about, with the man eating everything,” he says, and what the hell, that is the most inappropriate non-sequitur Dean has ever had the displeasure of being interrupted for. And he's had Sam bust in on him mid-coitus. Dean gapes at Cas, whose smile is unchanged. Was he being shot down before he even got that chance to say anything?
The silence stretches on, Dean feeling the flush that had painted his face draining to his shoes, Cas looking at him expectantly with a hand caught between rubbing his neck and staying resolutely on his knee. Oh. He was meant to respond. Dean hardly recognised his own voice at the choked-out “And?”
The hovering hand stands down, and Cas taps out a pattern on his knees. Dean thinks he recognises it. “There's a place in Maine that does good lobster rolls.”
All Dean can think is where the hell is he going with this? Something of this must show on his face, because Cas abruptly faces away, looking straight ahead like they're going somewhere. “I've never had a lobster roll,” he says placidly, and there is something of the 'definitely dropped on your head' in his tone, but his eyes are twinkling as he glances toward Dean. “Never been to the coast, either.”
And just in case it hadn't twigged already, “Driver picks the music?”
Dean puts his foot, and the handbrake, down with a little more force than he intended, and his baby jolts to life. “Damn right I'm picking the music if you're picking the destination. 'Sonly fair.”
Cas nods in agreement. “If nothing else, I have faith in your tastes.”
Dean wants to say something more. He wants to find it in himself to ask if there's a future in this, if Cas understands just what Dean wants to say, if this is a diversion or the first mile on some great emotional journey they're going to have together. He wants a solid stance on this. Instead, he pulls out of the carpark and aims for the highway. If they don't have everything they need for this trip already, they'll just have to pick it up along the way.
"Y'know, there's a chocolate moose in Maine, too," Dean says, glancing over. "In some ice cream shop. Think it's on the way?"
Cas leans over to jam a tape in the stereo, fastforwarding it unbidden. "If it wasn't before, it is now."