Cas laughed as he spun Dorothy around on the dance floor, her skirt and her hair flying about as they whirled. The little girl squealed in delight, the sound carefree and happy and everything Cas ever wanted to hear. He lifted her up and she immediately wrapped her arms around his neck and gave him a hug, letting him twirl them a few more times before the song ended.
“I need something to drink, princess. You are wearing me out,” he panted, still smiling as he set her back down to the floor as the song changed. “Think we could get your Daddy out on the dance floor?”
Dean had already been making his way across the dance floor when he saw Cas and Dorothy stop their movement. “I’m sorry to interrupt, but may I ask for this dance?” he asked as he joined them.
Cas kissed his cheek and Dorothy giggled and took his hand. “Let me just get a drink of water first, I’ll meet you guys out there.”
“Sure.” Dean found Cas’s lips for a soft kiss and then took Dorothy’s other hand too, starting to dance with her, spinning her in a circle with him before gathering her up in his arms. “So, are you having fun?” he asked.
“I am!” Dorothy smiled as Dean gestured for her to step up on top of his shoes so he could guide her more easily around the dance floor. “Papa is a very good dancer! Did you see how he spun me, Daddy? My dress went all poofy and huge!”
“Oh, yes, I did see. You two were the best dancing couple on the dance floor, little bear. And the second best looking,” Dean winked.
“Who’s the first?” she asked, confused.
“Well, no one is allowed to look better than Bride and Groom at the wedding, right?” Dean replied.
“Oh! You’re right Daddy!” Dotty looked over her shoulder to where Sam was spinning Jess around the dance floor. Jess had her head thrown back, a few blonde curls had fallen loose from her twist and were bouncing free against her shoulders as she pulled back up laughing before sealing her lips with Sam’s. “I don’t think anybody could be prettier anyway, ‘cuz Jessica looks like a princess.”
“Yes, she does. And you look like a little Princess.” Dean smiled.
“Thank you, Daddy!” Dotty looked back up at him and smiled. “You and Papa look really, really good too! Like… like handsome princes!”
“Aww, really? Thank you.” Dean leaned down and kissed Dorothy’s forehead.
“I love you, Daddy,” Dorothy said and gave her dad’s hands a squeeze. “Do you think you and Papa will have a wedding like this?”
“Oh… we… Well, we haven’t thought about anything like this yet. But I think if we did, it would be a little less fancy. Probably something a little smaller than this… with just you and Uncle Sammy and Jess, Grammy and Grandpa, Uncle Bobby and Grandpa Chuck, I think. Is that okay with you?”
The little girl smiled broadly. “So that means you gonna’ marry Papa…again?” She asked, cocking her head to the side as she watched her father’s face carefully. “ ‘Cuz I would really like that, Daddy. And I bet you Papa would too!”
Dean smiled, dipping Dot down once, chuckling as she let out a peal of childish laughter. She wrapped her legs tighter around his waist and clung to his neck with her small arms. Dean leaned forward and whispered against her ear, “I am thinking of remarrying Papa… yes, I am. But don’t tell him okay?”
She nodded quickly and smiled wider and hugged him tight just as Cas approached them and wrapped his arm around Dean’s back, holding the two of them close.
“May I have this dance?” Castiel asked, smiling as Dean leaned back into his chest.
“Course, Papa!” Dorothy giggled, gripping the lapels of Cas’ suit jacket over Dean’s shoulders and holding on tightly. The song changed to one with a slower tempo and the three of them danced to it, circling slowly in the center of the dance floor.
Dean was getting his second piece of wedding cake when his father joined him at the buffet. He smiled at him, genuinely smiled at his son, not just the general happy-for-Sam, wedding smile. Dean couldn't remember the last time he had seen that look directed at him.
"Dean, do you have a minute or two for your old man?"
"Sure," Dean nodded and waited for his father to pick up his own piece of cake. "Looks like our table is all busy dancing, if you want privacy?" Dean suggested. John nodded and they headed to their seats at the abandoned head table. "So, what can I do for you?" Dean asked once he had sat down, picking a corner of the cake off with his fork.
John cleared his throat, his hands nervously smoothing over the linen tablecloth. He stared out at the crowded dance floor, his eyes following the dancing couples. Dean was about to ask his dad again what was up when John swallowed hard and looked down at his hands. "Dean..." he started, sighing once before pressing forward. "Your mother is right... about how we feel and all. I know we haven't..." John stopped, the tips of his ears turning pink. He cleared his throat again glancing over at Dean and meeting his eyes for only a moment before looking back down at his hands once more. "We missed you, Dean." John’s voice was a whisper.
Dean looked at his dad, confused. The fact that his mother had apologized and wanted to be part of his and Castiel's life was one thing, a very beautiful thing even... But his father feeling the same way was huge. Dean didn't know what it was that he was feeling exactly. Of course there was relief and joy, but there was anger as well, all overwhelming as he stared down at his slice of cake and poked and pushed it around on his plate. Why couldn't his father just have accepted his life, Cas and their love all those years ago? Dean sighed, trying to push back the vast wave of emotions coursing through him at that point, and gave his dad a small smile. "I've missed you too, Dad. There… there were so many times during the years past I could have used advice from you."
"I know," John whispered, hands stilling on the table cloth. He looked up slowly, eyes finding Sam and Jess on the dance floor. "Your brother told us Cas might be coming back into your life... I didn't believe him at first. But... you seem happy."
"I am very happy. God, Dad, I didn't think I could be happier than with Dotty in my life, but then Cas came back into it..."
John reached over and gave Dean's hand a quick reassuring squeeze. "For what it's worth, son, I’m sorry for the way we acted back then. We were scared for you because we thought you were too young. We believed you would never be able to have kids or a real life and would end up divorced with your heart broken. And in the end, all of us lost... You lost Cas and we lost you.
“I regret that, Dean, I regret that so damn much. Even if the worst was going to happen between the two of you, you were my son and I should have been able to support you and speak with you like an adult instead of shoving you away. I apologize for that."
Dean felt his throat tighten and he shoved away from the table, turning in his chair and reached for John, pulling his dad into a quick hug. "I forgive you," he said honestly. He leaned back in his chair and caught a glimpse of his daughter, bouncing over the dance floor with one of Jess's younger cousins. "And a tiny part of me kinda’ even thanks you, I guess. Without all that, there would never have been my little Dot of sunshine, and I might not have matured the way I have, into a man who's able to give Cas the life and love he deserves," Dean admitted thoughtfully.
"I'm proud of you, Son," John clapped Dean on the shoulder. "Damn proud."
"Thank you, Dad." Dean smiled, honestly happy about his father's words. He watched John’s face carefully, smiling to himself before turning his attention back to the crowd of people around them celebrating his brother and sister-in-law’s new life.
Cas looked over his shoulder as he moved down the hallway, crossing his fingers that Dean hadn’t decided he needed to use the bathroom too and had followed him. When he saw the main hallway was clear, he turned down the next hall and hit the call button for the elevator, punching the ‘3’ button when he stepped into the car.
He checked his pocket again for the keycard and when the doors opened, he turned towards the room they’d rented for the weekend. There had been no point in worrying about driving three hours back to Lawrence after the reception was over. Both Dean and Cas had decided they could make a full weekend out of their trip and let Dorothy spend some extra time with her grandparents while they were there.
As he let himself into the room, he couldn’t help but smile. Dean and Sam had gotten ready in this room and their clothing pieces were strewn about on the floor and beds. Seeing the zipper on his bag open Cas’ heartbeat did a small skip and he almost tripped over Sam’s jeans in his haste to reach its spot on their bed so he could check it the contents.
Apparently after returning to their room from a night of drinking, Dean had placed his bracelets and neck-chain in the top part of Cas’s bag for safekeeping. It didn’t look like Dean had gone through his bag more than unzipping it and Cas sighed in relief. He pulled out Dean’s jewelry and placed it on the nightstand before digging under his clothes and pulling out the folded papers he’d stored there.
Petition for Divorce was written in thick block letters across the top of the stapled pages and it made Cas’s stomach twist as he stared down at them. Everything was there-- the terms of their divorce simple and laid out in plain words, and at the bottom of the page were two signatures screaming up at him.
Castiel N. Shirley and Dean Winchester… Signed... Dated... Ready to file.
With shaking hands, Cas folded the papers back up and slid them into his inner jacket pocket before reaching back into the bottom of his bag and grabbing the other item he’d shoved in there. He smoothed out the clothing once more and laid Dean’s jewelry back on top before turning away from his bag.
His heart was pounding as he made his way back out of the room and into the elevator. He could feel the papers pressed warm against him almost like they were on fire, their presence a heavy weight against his chest. He thought of what Dean’s face would look like as he handed them to him, he could already imagine the way his eyes would widen, his lips would part slightly and his brow would furrow as his green eyes stared at the pages in his hands, questioning every single second until Castiel would speak.
He knew that it would cause Dean’s heart to skip a beat, would cause the other man pain, and for a moment Castiel wondered if he was making the right choice. He inhaled deeply as the elevator dinged and the door opened, he straightened his shoulders. The decision had already been made.
Back in the reception hall, people were in various states of dancing and talking, the room mildly smelled of alcohol and heat, but it was the sound of laughter, of happiness and love that really registered with him. Cas scanned the room quickly and smiled when he saw Dorothy bouncing on Sam’s lap, telling him and Jessica some story that involved both of her hands waving about wildly.
Beside them at the table, Dean was leaning on his elbow, slowly eating what was probably his third piece of cake, as he listened to Bobby talk. He was nodding every few seconds and then Dean let out a laugh, throwing his head back and Cas could hear the sound from across the room. It made Cas’s heart squeeze and he pushed himself into gear and started walking across the dance floor.
When he arrived at Dean’s side, Dean looked up at him, his eyes shining, a smile still playing out on his lips.
“Hey babe, what took you so long?”
Cas swallowed hard and tried to give him a smile, but his face wasn’t cooperating and his stomach was clenching almost painfully. Dean blinked once, sensing that something was off and he excused himself from Bobby and walked around the table, wrapping an arm around Cas’s shoulders and leading them away.
“Dean… can I talk to you? Outside?”
“Yeah, of course,” Dean answered, reaching down to take Castiel’s hand in his own and lead him out the French doors on the side of the hall. Beyond the doors was a small courtyard with stone benches and a garden, lit by romantic small solar lights, but Cas needed something different. He didn’t want anyone walking out on them…
Without saying a word, Cas tugged on Dean’s hand and pulled him through the yard to the gate that lead to the parking lot. They moved towards the Impala and Cas leaned against it, waiting for Dean to settle beside him. After a few moments of silence, Dean spoke.
“Cas? Are you okay?”
Slowly, Cas reached into his jacket, not trusting himself to speak. He unfolded the papers and then pressed them into Dean’s hands, looking at him from the corner of his eyes to see what his response was.
Dean swallowed hard as he recognized the papers Cas was handing him. It didn’t matter that the parking lot’s lights were dim and he couldn’t read the words if he wanted to… he knew what he was holding. He just didn’t know why he was holding them. He hadn’t known that Castiel even still had these papers, and he sure as hell never expected Cas to bring them along to the wedding.
A million thoughts swirled through Dean’s head as he stared down at the papers in his hands, shaking slightly and he tightened his grip to stop the pages from fluttering. The biggest question of all was what had he missed? How had he not seen that Castiel was unhappy? He felt his throat and eyes burning and slowly, he let his eyes trail up to Cas who was watching him carefully.
“Will you marry me, Castiel?” Cas had been asked that before, too many times in his opinion, and he wasn’t going to go down that road again. It had been too painful and every time he thought that he was happy, that he had a man who truly wanted him for who he was, something had ruined that.
He reached for the papers in Dean’s hands and looked up to meet Dean’s confused eyes, glassy with unshed tears as he searched Cas’s face. Without saying a word, Castiel wrapped his hands over Dean’s fists and slowly pulled, effectively ripping the pages in half. As the sound of the papers tearing, Dean gasped softly, now looking even more confused as he opened his mouth once then closed it again.
“I…” he said, but Cas shushed him and pulled the pages free from Dean’s grasp. He tossed the ruined documents onto the hood of the Impala and moved so he was standing right in front of Dean, boxing him in and pressing him against the car.
“Dean, I’ve spent so many years asking myself what I did wrong, what I could have done better, what happened to us back then. More recently, I’ve asked myself why I waited so long before I tried to really be happy, and why did I try to settle for someone that never, truly, made me feel that way.” Cas paused, shifting as he reached into his pocket and closed his fingers around the second thing he’d brought with him.
“I’ve always let someone else be in control. Even when I came here, asking for you to sign those papers, I was following what Balthazar wanted, then when I stayed and refused, I was following what you wanted.” He shook his head when Dean opened his mouth to argue and covered his lips with a finger.
“I thought I was ready before, but I wasn’t Dean. I wasn’t ready to be married when we were teenagers, neither one of us was… And … in all honesty… your parents were right. We weren’t ready then. I thought that I was happy and content when I was living and planning the rest of my life with Balthazar, but I wasn’t.
“Now, Dean, I am. I am ready and I am finally happy with a man that is everything I have ever wanted and ever needed. As much as I wanted you to be that for me back then? You weren’t. You hadn’t become the amazing, strong, confident man that you are today.” Cas reached out for Dean’s hand and pressed something into it, waiting until Dean opened his palm to reveal two gold bands before Cas continued.
“Dean, will you wear this ring again? Will you be my husband again? I’m sick of answering awkward questions about what our relationship is and wondering what I should call you when in my heart, and in every other sense of the word, you are my husband. You have accepted me into your life, into Dorothy’s life, and I don’t doubt that I am a part of this family or doubt the love I feel for that little girl. I think of her as my own, and I am so humbled by that.”
Dean turned the rings in his hand, a small smile on his lips as he glanced up and met Cas’s eyes again. “So… you really want a Winchester again?” he asked softly, leaning into Cas’s chest, bringing them closer.
Cas smiled and took one of the rings from Dean’s hand, slipping it slowly onto Dean’s left ring finger before holding out his own hand to let Dean do the same. They joined hands, and Cas smiled at the two glinting gold bands in the dim light before he met Dean’s lips in a kiss.
Dean reached for Cas, one arm curling around his waist as the other pulled his hips closer, reeling him in. Dean leaned back onto the hood slotting Castiel between his legs. Cas reached for Dean’s face, holding it between his palms and deepening their kiss.
Near the building, they could hear Dotty calling for them in the courtyard and Cas broke away, pulling Dean back to his feet with a smile. He kissed him once more, soft and quick before he found his hand.
“A Winchester… ? Yes, Dean. I’ll take two.”
A/N: What a ride! Never would we have expected something so big to come out of just a tiny prompt and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for sticking this out with us, even after we fell off our posting-schedule wagon. Thank you to those who came in at the start, those who came in during the posting, and for those to come for all of the feedback you've given us! We appreciate it so very much.
Although we will still have timestamps, both pre and post Take Two, we are sad, proud, and happy to say that this installment has been completed.
I want to say thank you to Bibi for writing with me -- I missed this, just like I missed you, and reconnecting and writing together once more was such a blast ♥
Thank you all! Dani xx