Characters: Dean, Castiel, Sam, Kevin, Charlie, Jody Mills
Summary: Season 9 canon divergence: The first time Dean and Cas got married was during one hazy night in Vegas, with some crappy Elvis impersonator performing the ceremony and several other couples waiting in line behind them. Cas was so drunk he barely remembered it in the morning. Well not this time. This time, they're doing it right.
Word Count: 3920
Disclaimer: Supernatural and its characters are the property of Eric Kripke. Sadly, I do not own any of these guys.
Disclaimer: Supernatural and its characters are the property of Eric Kripke. Sadly, I do not own any of these guys.
A/N: This was written as a prompt fill for absenthe_wrae. The prompt was as follows:
"The first time Dean and Cas got married it was one hazy night in Vegas with an Elvis impersonator performing the ceremony and Cas was so drunk he hardly remembers it.
This time they intend to do it right."
Dean Winchester was not a man who cherished commitment. That much was very clear to just about everyone who knew him from the get-go, especially since most of the people he had ever known were women he slept with for one drunken night and then left alone the next morning, never even bothering to remember their names. Attachments were dangerous things to have; with the exception of Sam, who had been Dean's reason for living since the age of four, there were very few people the hunter ever bothered giving a second glance. Friendships and love could only weigh him down.
It wasn't his fault for thinking that way though, at least not entirely. He hadn't exactly had a wonderful role model in John Winchester, whom he had emulated to an almost obsessive degree since the night all of their lives were changed dramatically and irrevocably by the nursery fire that stole Mary away. John was committed only to the hunt, never bothering to make lasting friendships even with his own sons for fear that it would interfere with his revenge-driven mission. And when Sam left for Stanford, shattering the heart of the young man who had practically raised him, it only reinforced for Dean the idea that being emotionally tied to someone, even family, was trouble.
The older Winchester had struggled to balance family and independence for years afterward, so it was no surprise that now, when he had finally found someone who he knew without a doubt he would love for the rest of his life, he would find a way to royally fuck it up.
The first time Dean and Castiel got married was only a few months after the fall of the Heavenly Host, when the newly-human angel had come to live permanently in the bunker with Dean and Sam. It was during one hazy night in Vegas, with some crappy Elvis impersonator performing the ceremony and seven other similarly-soused couples sitting in the pews waiting for their own turn at the altar. Sam was off at another casino with Kevin, knowing Dean and Castiel would probably be up to some X-rated activities later that night and having no wish to be anywhere near them at the time.
Dean and Castiel staggered up to the altar – Castiel swaying so much that he actually leaned on Dean almost the whole time – and drunkenly slurred the vows the Elvis guy told them to repeat while an obnoxiously bright spotlight shone down on them. After that, the night completely dissolved into a blur of booze, sex, and more booze.
Cas was so drunk he hardly remembered the ceremony the next day, but Dean would never forget the crushing panic he had felt when he saw the marriage certificate sitting beside him on the table, the names "Dean Michael Winchester and Castiel James Novak" typed in some fancy cursive font across the middle. That wasn't how it was supposed to happen; he and Cas were lovers, sure, and he had no plans to leave the ex-angel any time soon, but marriage? Dean Winchester was not the marrying type – and he told Castiel as much when the angel blinked up at him in confusion from the other side of the bed, obviously hung over but lucid enough to realize something was freaking Dean out.
Castiel just smiled sadly at him and said, "I know," and by the end of the day the marriage was annulled, almost like none of it ever happened. It was an incredibly easy fix; no harm, no foul. Sam and Kevin didn't even know about it yet, since the briefly-married couple had mutually agreed to keep it secret.
So then why, months later, did it still feel like Dean had done something awful to his angel that day?
It wouldn't have been obvious to an outsider, but Dean and Castiel had been together for years, so he knew when something was bothering the blue-eyed man. And something was definitely wrong now. It was obvious that Cas still loved Dean the way the hunter loved him; he still touched Dean softly every time they passed in the hall, still kissed him tenderly and slept beside him each and every night. But something about it felt different now. No matter how close Cas might have been physically, the hunter could tell there was a distance between them that had never been there before – not even right after the angel had come back from Purgatory without so much as a hint of remorse for letting Dean believe he was gone forever.
But no matter how many times he had tried to talk to Castiel, to explain that it wasn't lack of love but panic over their surprise marriage that had made Dean act the way he had that morning, the ex-angel wouldn't hear it. He cut Dean off every time, telling him, "It's alright, Dean, I understand. You don't have to lie for my sake." And then he would disappear into some deep recess of the bunker for hours, ensuring that that was the end of the conversation.
And it had to stop.
Dean knew he'd screwed up that day. However unintentionally, he had essentially told Castiel, "I love you but I would never want to marry you," which would undoubtedly have been a terrible blow to the other man. Cas had pulled Dean from Hell and fallen from Heaven out of nothing but pure love and devotion for him, and to hear the hunter essentially reject the idea of ever acknowledging those sacrifices with something as simple as marriage must have been heartbreaking. But Dean had no idea how to fix it if he couldn't get Cas to let him explain himself.
So, desperate and completely out of other ideas, he did the only other thing he could think of: he went to Sam for advice. The younger Winchester was actually very sympathetic and understanding, once he took a few minutes to get past the shock of the whole "We got married and divorced in Vegas without telling you" thing. And he actually turned out to have some good answers, even though they were hard to hear.
"You're never gonna get him to talk about it, Dean," Sam said as the two of them sipped from their cups of coffee in the bunker's pseudo living room, long before Cas or Kevin would be awake. "It hurt him way too much to hear you didn't want to be married to him. He won't want to hear you justify it, because that part won't matter to him. All that matters is he thinks you rejected him."
"But I still tell him I love him every day!" Dean said, exasperated. "We still kiss, and sleep together, and –"
"Okay, TMI," Sam interjected before Dean could scar him for life more than he already was. "I know all that. But the thing is, even if it's not true, to Cas it probably seems like you're just doing that out of obligation now. When you tell someone who literally loves you enough to fall from grace for you that you're not interested enough for marriage, he's probably gonna think that means you still want to keep your options open in case you meet someone you like more – or that you might already have someone else in mind."
"Oh, shit," Dean choked out, realizing how much that made sense and how completely untrue all of it was. There would never be anyone else for him but Castiel – there hadn't been for years, and he knew that would be true until the day he died. And if he had truly managed to make Cas think there was, then he was undoubtedly the worst boyfriend on the planet.
"Sammy, that's not – I didn't mean – I really messed up this time, didn't I?" He was so frustrated and scared right now he felt like he could cry, and he could barely get his voice above a whisper when he tried to speak again. "What am I supposed to do? I don't want him to think… H-how can I fix this?"
"First, calm down," Sam said gently, moving to sit closer to his brother so he could lay a supportive hand on his back. "You and I both know Cas isn't going anywhere unless you do first; he loves you too much to ever do that. So what you need to do is show him how much you love him, and prove you don't intend to ever leave him."
Dean sighed and ran a hand down his face, a classic sign of distress Sam had been seeing less and less often since the dark-haired angel had been in a relationship with his brother. "How?"
"I think you know," Sam answered firmly, patting his shoulder and standing up so he could take their empty mugs to the kitchen and wash them.
Dean sighed and laid his head in his hands for a few moments, and when he lifted it again his eyes were hard with determination, lips pressed into a thin line. He did know what he needed to do, and he was more than willing to do it if it would bring back the closeness he had shared with Castiel for so many years. He only hoped it wasn't already too late.
It took nearly two weeks to get everything in order, but finally, Dean was ready to prove his devotion to the angel who had already given up so much for him. He had made dinner reservations at a local Italian restaurant in Lebanon – Castiel adored the place's chicken cacciatore so much that whenever it was the blue-eyed man's turn to pick a place to eat out, no one even had to ask where he wanted to go. He had also called Charlie and invited her to stay the weekend with them, giving some lame excuse about needing help with the technological aspects of archiving the documents in Library Number Three of the bunker.
Now the entire group was sitting around a large table, munching on garlic-butter-smothered breadsticks and laughing as Charlie told them all of the things she had been doing in the last few months – all of them, that was, except Dean, who had so many butterflies fluttering around in his belly that he doubted he could fit so much as a sip of water inside. His hands shook as he placed his order, and he hoped Cas hadn't noticed the way he kept nervously touching the ring box in his jacket pocket just to make sure it was still there. If he started asking questions now, Dean knew he was going to lose his nerve completely.
Luckily, though, dinner passed in a blur of conversation and the scraping of forks on plates, and no one seemed to notice anything odd about the fact that Dean was barely picking at his food. Right before dessert, though, he realized that there were only about fifteen minutes remaining until the time he planned to propose. And he was suddenly completely terrified.
Muttering something about needing to stretch his legs, he excused himself from the table, ducking into the remarkably clean restroom as soon as he was out of sight of their table. He strode over to the row of beige-colored, pebble-filled sinks and gripped tightly to the edge of the last one, trying to will his heart to stop beating so painfully hard. It wasn't working, and he bent forward over the basin, suddenly dizzy and nauseous and confused by the way his breaths were hissing in and out of his chest as fast as they would if he'd just been running from a Wendigo.
He wasn't sure how long he had been standing there trying not to pass out when he felt a hand on his shoulder, and he gasped loudly, nearly jumping out of his skin before he realized it was just Sam. The younger man moved slowly, almost like he was trying not to spook him, and rubbed his back soothingly with one hand while the other grabbed a paper towel from the basket by the faucet and started running it under cool water.
"Okay, easy Dean," Sam said quietly, placing the cool paper towel on the back of Dean's neck and guiding him to sit down in a chair near the door. "Take it easy."
"Guh… I think… I'm gonna throw up…" Dean moaned, feeling the butterflies in his stomach start thrashing around wildly in a bid for freedom. The fact that he couldn't seem to catch his breath was definitely not helping matters.
"No you're not, relax," Sam coached, pushing his head down between his knees and rubbing the wet towel up and down the flushed skin on his neck. "Calm down, breathe."
"What if… he says no?" Dean was starting to gain a little more control, fighting valiantly to match his breathing to the slow, steady inhales and exhales Sam was exaggerating next to him. "What if he… doesn't want –"
"Stop. Just stop there." Sam squeezed his shoulder hard, standing up to get another paper towel so Dean could press it to his face. "He's gonna say yes, Dean. You know he is. Just get out there and tell him how you feel, and I know you won't regret it."
Dean nodded, taking a few more minutes to pull himself together before standing and giving Sam an embarrassed grin.
"Thanks, Sammy. I owe you one."
"No problem. Now get back out there before Cas starts thinking you fell in. I told them I had to take a phone call from another hunter taking down a Shtriga, so I'll hang out here another minute or two and then meet you back there."
Dean took a slow, deep breath and willed himself to relax before opening the door, making his way back to the table and hoping he looked as normal as he always did when returning from the bathroom. He must have, because other than Cas giving his hand a squeeze under the table once he'd sat down, no one said much of anything when he came back; they all just continued their conversations as if he had never left.
After another minute or two Sam returned, and when the waiter brought them all individual plates half-filled with tiramisu and half with cannoli, Dean steeled his nerves as well as he could and stood up from his seat.
"Excuse me, everyone, could I have your attention please?" he asked, happy that his voice didn't shake the way it felt like it should. "I have something very important to say tonight." When the entire restaurant suddenly fell silent, he tuned out the multitudes of eyes on him, waiting until the one pair of sapphire blues he cared about finally rose to meet his. Then he dropped down on one knee, producing the black clamshell box he had been guarding all day long and opening it so Castiel could see the gold wedding band inside. The room collectively gasped, and the ex-angel's eyes immediately widened.
"Cas," he began, "you and I both know I'm not perfect. I've screwed up in my life more times than I can count. But ever since you pulled me out of the Hell I was trapped in five years ago, I've felt myself slowly changing for the better. We've been through more together in that time than most people can claim to endure in their lifetimes, and we've come out stronger every time.
"I know recently I might have given you reason to think I didn't acknowledge that fact, and I'm so sorry for ever giving you reason to doubt it. Every bit of my happiness over the last five years has come from being with you, and I know for a fact that you're the only one I want to share the rest of my life with. So, at the risk of making this the biggest chick-flick moment of my entire life, I ask you: Castiel Novak, will you marry me?"
Castiel, whose hand had drifted up to cover his mouth soon after Dean had started speaking while his eyes got wetter and wetter, still hadn't said a word. When a few more seconds passed, Dean felt his smile start to falter. This was it. Cas was going to reject him here, in front of all these people, and he'd deserve every bit of it.
But then Cas's hand fell away, revealing a smile so wide that Dean could practically count his teeth, and two streams of tears finally broke free from his eyes an instant before he launched himself at Dean, kneeling on the floor as well and wrapping his arms around the hunter while he buried his head in his shoulder and trembled.
"Yes," Cas choked out, his voice several octaves higher than usual as he tried to make his voice come out around the tears of joy. "Yes, of course I will. I love you, Dean."
"I love you too, Cas." He took the ex-angel's left hand in his and slid the ring onto his finger, and the entire room burst into applause. After a while Castiel pulled himself together, still beaming while he wiped his streaming eyes, and Dean grinned at him while Sam and Kevin slapped the couple's backs in congratulations. "And we're gonna have a real wedding this time," he whispered into the dark-haired man's ear. "With guests we actually know, and an overpriced white cake and nice clothes and the whole nine yards. It'll be the most beautiful and embarrassingly sentimental thing ever, I promise."
Castiel's answering chuckle was music to Dean's ears. "I can't wait."
Dean Winchester was nothing if not a man of his word.
On November 15, 2013, Castiel became an official member of the Winchester family.
The ceremony was held on the grounds where the Moondor LARPing group was based, and as Queen, Charlie had ensured that the hunter and the ex-angel had all the best that her kingdom had to offer. The leaves were just beginning to drop from the trees, covering the cobblestone roads in shades of red and yellow and brown, and although the air was a little chilly, there was enough bright sun shining over them that no one was cold. The sky was blue as a robin's egg, with only a few wispy clouds dancing across the breeze and occasionally casting small shadows over the browning grass.
The back half of the grounds buzzed with people assisting in the wedding, from decorators to caterers to musicians, and Charlie had made sure that there would be no LARPing today so that the enormous silk tents could be opened up and used for the reception later that afternoon. At that moment, though, everything around the ivy-covered stone altar was still and quiet. Dean Winchester stood at silent attention, Sam and Kevin positioned on either side of the aisle, as he waited for Castiel to be escorted to his side. Jody Mills stood at the very front, having been asked to marry the two of them and gladly accepting, and she smiled at Dean when he sighed in anxious anticipation.
All of them were dressed in traditional Renaissance-era clothing, courtesy of Charlie. After all, she had pointed out, one couldn't be married in Moondor without looking the part. Sam and Kevin wore simple blue-green tunics with baggy white long-sleeved undershirts and brown leggings, while Jody wore a Celtic-looking dress with long, trailing sleeves the same color as their shirts.
Dean was dressed a bit fancier, with black leggings and leather boots, a white silk undershirt, and a black vest over it all. And the strange thing was, he was actually enjoying it. He had thought he would be nervous on his wedding day like he was the night he proposed, but surprisingly all he felt now was excited. It just seemed right somehow, having a non-traditional wedding like this. After all, what could be less traditional than a monster hunter marrying a fallen angel of the lord?
Suddenly he heard the musicians start playing just out of sight, and he immediately trained his eyes on the vine-covered arch Cas would cross under to come to the altar. After a few nerve-wracking moments, he finally saw him, and it was all he could do to keep his jaw from hitting the ground in awe.
Castiel was dressed in a white Roman-style sarong trimmed with gold, completely bare from the waist up except for a golden circlet nestled around his wavy black hair. The silk swayed around his knees and thighs with each step he took, the quiet swish-swish-swish accompanying the soft slapping of his gold-colored leather sandals as Charlie escorted him down the leaf-covered path to where Dean stood waiting. It wasn't until he reached the hunter and turned around to briefly reveal his bare back and shoulders that Dean truly understood the significance of his unusual costume: Charlie had painstakingly painted a pair of black wings on his skin from shoulders to hips, each feather perfectly shaded and so lifelike he expected to see Castiel spread them and fly any second. For this moment, at least, she was helping him remember what it was like to be an angel again – to be Dean's angel again.
The hunter was so overwhelmed by that gesture that he could barely concentrate when Jody had them recite the standard vows to one another. All he could focus on was the way Castiel never stopped smiling, his eyes shining like precious gems and a slight flush of happiness coloring the apples of his cheeks. When Jody stopped and asked them if they had any of their own vows they'd like to add, though, Dean knew exactly what to say. He'd been practicing so much he could say this in his sleep now.
"Castiel," he began, taking Cas's hands in his and watching the ex-angel cant his head slightly to one side the way he had always done when he couldn't quite tell what Dean was thinking. "Castiel, olani hoath ol." Cas's eyes widened immediately, stunned by the fact that Dean was reciting his vows in Enochian without so much as a stutter. "Olani gemeganza hoath ol niis oiad page ol malpirg. Gemeganza ol noasmi in niis loncho olani?"
There was not a second of hesitation before the angel answered, "Noib, Dean. Ol elzap olani gemeganza. Olani hoath ol."
With a proud smile, Jody gestured to the two men and winked. "You may now kiss the groom."
The small group of gathered people erupted into applause, and Dean tugged Castiel close, dipping him backwards and kissing him sloppily before laughing and pulling him upright again.
"Congratulations!" Sam said, beaming and hugging his brother and brother-in-law. "I'm really happy for you guys."
"Yeah, me too," Kevin said, winking at the two of them. "Now you can finally make an honest angel out of him, right Dean?"
"Kevin!" Castiel gasped, the tips of his ears coloring pink.
Kevin laughed and started walking in the direction of the reception tent, leaving Dean laughing as he kissed the reddened tips of his now-husband's ears.
"Come on, Cas, we have a reception to attend. Oh, and that reminds me, everybody chipped in to get us enough money for a honeymoon pretty much anywhere in the States we want to go. We'll take Baby out of here as soon as this party's done. You got any preferences?"
Castiel chuckled quietly in response.
"Anywhere but Las Vegas, please."
Wedding Vows Translation:
Dean: "Castiel, olani hoath ol. Olani gemeganza hoath ol niis oiad page ol malpirg. Gemeganza ol noasmi in niis loncho olani?" = Castiel, I love you. I will love you for the rest of my life. Will you be mine for all time?
Castiel: "Noib, Dean. Ol elzap olani gemeganza. Olani hoath ol." = Yes, Dean. Of course I will. I love you.