Summary: Dean protects Cas from things that try to kill him, be it weapons... or embarrassment. (A/N: Inspired by the end scene of Little Miss Sunshine, around the 3:40 mark. Don't worry, Dean has some better moves than the movie characters. :D Relating it to SPN is totally ridiculous, but I couldn’t help myself! Title thanks to Rick James, yo. Dean/Cas.)
They celebrate the world's hard-earned safety by sleeping for three days, consuming every edible item within sight, and—at Becky's nagging insistence—going out. She wants to be around people, see them alive and enthusiastic, so she picks a club (not a bar—according to Sam, there's a very distinct difference) one county over. Clubs aren't really Dean's scene, but Sam's already on-board with the idea, and Dean can't deny him something so small; Sam used to be a joyful, energetic kid, so what the hell? Dancing never hurt anyone, and they deserve a regular night on the town for once in their weird, gun-happy lives.
The place is packed with people: they're jumping, grinding, laughing, drinking, aware that something undefinable but imminent almost took this away from them. Sam looks pleased by Becky's choice, but Cas is wide-eyed and awkward, even without the trench coat and blue tie Dean insisted he leave in the Impala. He blends in more than usual, but his alarmed expression offsets Dean's efforts.
"Dean," he says, barely audible over the booming bass, "perhaps I should go."
"No way," Dean objects, though he nearly has to shout it. "This is all part of the human experience you worked your ass off to save. Enjoy it a little!"
Dean looks around for Sam, but his little brother is lost in the crowd, moving with and smiling at people, allowing his residual stress to bleed out in an activity that doesn't require weapons. It's a really, really nice change. Becky is gone, too, presumably having already drug a reluctant Chuck to the dance floor.
"C'mon, let's get a drink," Dean suggests, leading Cas to the bar. There are all kinds of drinks: some in bright colors, some in oddly shaped glasses—but there's also beer, thank God. Dean loves Sam, but he draws the line at drinking cosmos or whatever chick drink is in vogue these days. He orders two beers with hand motions alone, and watches as Cas desperately downs half his bottle the moment it's set in front of him. His face is an echo from their time at the brothel, though this venture is so much better: Sam is with them, for one, and the Apocalypse is over, for another. Plus, Cas feels comfortable enough with Dean to lean over and say, "Please don't leave me alone here."
It's not something that's even crossed Dean's mind. There are lots of girls around, sure, but abandoning Cas in his least favorite environment would be a shitty thing to do, and Dean kinda wants to stick with Cas anyway. His life has been filled with strangers, so having someone familiar with him, even in a place where picking up strangers is the whole point, will be welcome.
"I won't," he promises. "Scout's honor."
Cas takes another swallow of beer and says, "I do not know what a 'scout's honor' is, but I assume it is a good thing."
Dean wonders what it's like to exist in a society where most colloquialisms are alien and unfamiliar. He imagines it's a lot like being dropped into a foreign country with only a condensed phrase book to help: you'd scrape by in most conversation, but the jokes, the subtleties, the meaning behind the meaning would be lost.
Cas' bottle is nearly empty, a sure sign of anxiety. He leans over and tries again. "You will have a much better time without me. Are you sure—"
Dean cuts him off by signaling for another drink.
"Look, we'll stay for an hour. If you still hate it, we'll head back. Okay?"
Cas looks guilty, but nods and accepts the fresh bottle from the bartender. They turn and study the floor: neon lights flash to the beat of whatever's playing, and there's a low-lying artificial fog blanketing the entire place. There's a platform across the room where more outgoing patrons can get up and dance, though Dean never has (and never will) have any desire to try it out. The club is dark, too; not enough for a person to get lost, but enough that Dean can't spot Sam's shaggy head in the crowd. Speaking of which, the crowd is overflowing with low-cut tops and short skirts and flashes of skin, but Dean can't drum up any interest. He doesn't know what that means—Bobby'll probably mutter you're growin' up, boy, but whatever. Maybe growing up isn't such a bad thing.
"You know," Dean says, "there's bound to be a girl who'll dance with you. All you gotta do is get out there."
Castiel levels him with a look. His adamant no doesn't need to be voiced.
They survive an entire twenty minutes before Dean caves. Cas is still as stone next to him (apparently, the beer isn't enough to loosen him up, and it's not like this place has an entire liquor store at Cas' disposal). He polishes off his drink, takes Cas by the elbow, and nods towards the exit.
"Let's go rent a movie or something. We'll have a Die Hard marathon," he suggests, and Cas looks so grateful that Dean wishes they'd left sooner. Maybe Cas could learn to like loud music and crowds, but right now he's just a guy who's lived in silence and worked a majority of angelic missions on his own. This isn't his niche.
The song changes as they make their trek across the dance floor. Dean vaguely recognizes it, but he's too preoccupied fishing for his phone to put his finger on it. He wants to text Sam, Chuck, and Becky to let them know he and Cas have a date with Bruce Willis, but for them to stay and have fun. Christ, they deserve it.
Just as he's flipped the phone open, Cas is ripped away from him by an overly-enthusiastic crowd. It's a tough thing not to panic, to raise his hackles and get violent as he'd been forced to do during their struggle against Lucifer. Gabriel had whisked Cas away during their stint in television hell; Zachariah had forced them apart any number of times—people were always taking Cas, but at least no one was trying to kill them. He can only watch as the happy revelers shove Cas onto the dance stage.
Castiel's eyes are the size of small planets. The crowd is clapping to the music, cheering him on, but Cas is too busy frantically scanning the sea of people in search of Dean. A small part of Dean wants to laugh—Castiel, previous angel of the Lord and all-around BAMF, could wage war against the legions of Hell but not dance in public—but the more significant part feels the innate need to jump in head-first and rescue the guy.
And that's exactly what he does. Dean shoulders past the partiers and jumps onto the stage where Cas stands immobile. His face pleads for Dean to get him out of there, but Dean's been to enough of these places to know you gotta earn your right to escape—the more reluctance you show, the more the crowd wants to see you bust a move, kinda like at karaoke bars. Luckily, Dean is a far better dance than he is a singer.
"C'mon, Cas," he says. "It's Rick James, man!"
He takes Cas' hand, spins him around (to the delight of the female audience, if the catcalls are anything to go by), and starts to move. He's rusty at first, and Cas' expression morphs from terror to disbelief: You're going to make me stay here? But Dean finally feels the song—it's Super Freak, how can someone not dance?—and begins moving around Cas in hopes he'll follow Dean's lead. At first Cas doesn't move a muscle; Dean has to make two full rotations before Cas catches on. He starts to echo Dean's actions with jerky movements of his own—a spin only half-made, hands raised just part of the way—but he's trying, he gets that he needs to try. It's embarrassing as hell, but it's also kind of fun. As he and Cas finally begin to sync, Dean thinks that if they'd met in different circumstances, if they'd just been two guys on a dance floor, he'd probably pawn his number off on Cas and hope he didn't follow some stupid 36-hour rule about calling.
Cas has no sense of rhythm whatsoever. Even with Dean as a guide, he's still having trouble, and Dean sort of wishes there were more people up here to distract everyone from Cas' less-than-fluid moves. Hell, that's the whole reason Dean got up here in the first place. He wanted to keep Cas safe, if not from the usual supernatural fare, then from embarrassment or abandonment.
At the front of the stage, someone jumps up to join them. Dean feels a grin plaster itself across his face—even with the low lighting and fog, he'd still recognize Sam anywhere. It pays to have awesome brother telepathy, because Sam comes over and shouts, "It looked to me like you needed some help up here!" and that's why they won the war, that's why Team Free Will kicked ass and Lucifer didn't.
A moment later, Chuck climbs onto the stage.
"I'm not drunk enough for this!" he claims, but Becky is there one second later, golden hair flying everywhere, and it's incentive enough for Chuck to give it his best shot. Unintentionally, they form a sort of circle around Cas, jumping and dancing to hide him from the others; they know Cas is truly horrified, and they know he wants to disappear, but he can't, so they're doing the next best thing. The crowd is dancing, too, clapping to the beat and singing with the lyrics: That girl's a super freak! The line repeats itself a few times, once, twice, and suddenly the song's over. Becky's laughing, Chuck is smiling sheepishly, and Dean flips off the DJ good naturedly when he comments about their performance over the loud speaker.
He waves goodbye to Becky and Chuck, wiggles his eyebrows at Sam just as Sam is being approached by a wild blonde thing, and pulls Cas through the exit. It's cool outside; the air clears his head of beer and Rick James, and his boots make a crunching sound against the gritty sidewalk littered with old fliers and chewed gum. A laughs spills from his mouth.
"You're laughing at me," Cas guesses.
"Nah, not at you. It's just—you and Rick James are a weird combination," Dean says. "Like ketchup and peanut butter." He pauses. "You know what peanut butter is, right?"
"Yes, Dean, I know what peanut butter is," Castiel patiently answers. Dean nods, satisfied. His crusade to give Cas a full human education is finally, finally paying off.
"What is our combination?" Castiel asks, a few moments later. "Or do you and I not have one?"
"Sure we got one," Dean says. "Two guys who saved the world? We're like chocolate and peanut butter. Ketchup and fries. Milk and cookies."
"Coffee and sugar," Cas contributes.
"Yeah, see?" It's maybe not as good as Dean's examples, but at least it makes sense. Dean rolls with it. "You're the sugar, I'm the coffee. Sugar can do lots of things. It's versatile. But coffee is pretty much stuck being coffee. It's only good for one thing."
Cas considers this as they pass beneath a street lamp. It's strange how good he looks even under the unflattering yellow light.
"I do not agree," Cas finally declares. "Perhaps coffee is not as useful in all areas of culinary pursuit, but it is still very distinct and flavorful."
Dean ignores the gigantic opportunity to tease Cas about calling another guy flavorful, but he just doesn't have the heart to halt the speeding train of thought Cas has boarded.
"Coffee alone is bitter," Dean points out.
"That is why it needs sugar."
"Yeah, but sugar doesn't need coffee."
Castiel stops walking. He turns to look at Dean, who has stopped as well.
"Then perhaps," Castiel says, very deliberately, "we are not sugar and coffee at all."
What he does next must be something he picked up from a horrible chick-flick Sam subjected him to, or a scene of humanity he witnessed on his own: he hooks his elbow around Dean’s, gently tugs him onward, and they walk very close together, like lovers or a married couple, or maybe just two people in love. All Dean knows is he didn't teach Cas this, but he's kinda glad he learned it.
"Guess not," Dean agrees. "We're just something else."
"We are something else all together," Cas agrees, sounding oddly pleased, and Dean feels pretty good about it, too.