Title: Under the Milky Way
Word Count: 1064
Summary: Dean, Sam and Castiel go to the county fair.
Disclaimer: I do not own nor am affiliated with any personage or company that could conceivably (or inconceivably) earn profit from the posting, promotion, or distribution of this fan work.
Author's Note: This is a deleted scene from the growing-ever-more-epic-in-length Kingmaker 'verse that I co-author with quantum_witch. Originally I saw this occurring towards the end of the story, but things changed along the way and this scene ended up being cut.
This, therefore, is technically a stand-alone, and no knowledge of the Kingmaker verse or the story this section was originally intended to be set in, Somewhere to Elsewhere, is necessary. But, if you have read Somewhere to Elsewhere and want to place this, it could be considered AU from post Chapter 10 or so of that story.
And lastly, the title of this is from the song by The Church.
They parked in the meadow for lack of anywhere else to. The gravel lot next to the fairgrounds was full, as were the slightly-more-civilized-than-a-field roadsides. Barely, Dean was able to maneuver the boat that he called a car into the meadow through a miniscule gap between the other, later model vehicles. Castiel held his breath, knowing what Dean would say if his side mirrors got so much as scratched or—heaven forbid—knocked off due to bumping another car. Nevermind that coming to the small-town fair had been his idea; if damage came to the Impala while Dean was squeezing it through a too-tight spot, it would suddenly become either Sam or Cas' fault.
The stress of parking in the meadow was worth it, though, once they were able to gain admittance. Castiel walked through a freshly painted gate, Dean a step behind. Yes, the air smelt of animal dung, but Dean had warned him about that, and it was overlaid with the more tantalizing scents of frying bread dough, sugar, and excitement. A small midway split out to the left, a promenade of carnival games to the right.
Dean surprised Castiel by easily taking his hand and tugging him towards the games, claiming that Cas wouldn't have a proper experience unless he won a goldfish with a ping pong ball. Knowing Dean was still uncomfortable with public affection, the small gesture was more pleasing than Castiel would have ever expected it to be, if he'd thought to expect such a thing. Sam tried to argue that if they were attempting to win a live animal they should save that for the last activity of the day (for the sake of the fish) as Castiel tried to reason with Dean—after he had already parted with ten dollars for ten small plastic balls--that it would be much more frugal to simply acquire a fish from the pet store if he wanted one.
But Dean was determined. He won Castiel's fish (or so he called it, with a broad smile, flashing white, white teeth) after using only five dollars worth of the plastic balls. He handed the rest over to the Cas.
Dean seemed quite put out that Castiel won what he decided to dub Dean's fish on his first throw.
Sam was more so when Dean gleefully shoved both fish at his brother and informed him that, as he'd been so concerned with their comfort before, he could watch them for the rest of the day. Then Dean grasped Castiel's hand again and pulled him to the midway. Cas found the sound of his laughter, even at Sam's expense, particularly gratifying.
The rest of the afternoon passed into evening with a rush of colored lights, music, and the sweet-slick slide of spun sugar. Dean insisted on riding the ferris wheel at dusk despite his fear of heights, saying it wouldn't be the same if Cas didn't ride. The same as what, Castiel didn't know, but he'd learned to not question Dean when he said such things. The whole day had been filled with such proclamations, and when Cas asked him, Dean gave this small frown that furrowed the space between his brows that Castiel found upsetting. So he urged the hunter to forget he said anything, which Dean was seemingly happy to do. Such was the case here; Castiel didn't know why it was important to Dean that he do this, only that it was and questioning why might distress him. So Cas simply followed him.
They settled into their seats and lowered the chilly metal bar across their laps. Dean had been happily chatting until the ride began to move, then lapsed into silence. Castiel assumed Dean was taking in the sight of the fairground opening beneath them the same as Cas was. He could suddenly see what Dean meant about Castiel needing to experience this to make his 'fair day' complete; he could not only see the bright lights of the rides and fairy strings set up by various vendors, but the outline of the meadow beyond, the sea of glimmering the cars roofs reflecting the brilliance of the midway back to them.
When they reached the top Castiel spotted Sam, not too far from where they'd left him. He was holding both bags of goldfish in one hand and a half-eaten caramelized apple in the other, talking to a young woman with a shy smile and small hands. She was blushing. Castiel went to point this out to Dean and found his eyes were clasped tightly shut, hands grasping the safety bar in a white-knuckle grip. Knowing better than to say anything and silently chastising himself for forgetting the other man's fear of heights, Cas simply pried one of Dean's hands loose and held it in his own until they reached the ground once more.
Dean stumbled as he exited the ride, and Castiel wanted to thank him but knew such a gesture would make Dean uncomfortable. He settled for squeezing his hand. When Dean just stared into his eyes for a long stretch (long enough that another patron cleared their throat to get past them and broke the moment) and pulled Castiel close, still clinging to his hand instead of letting go to allow the person behind them to pass, Cas knew his thanks was accepted and returned.
As the last traces of twilight gave way completely to night, Castiel convinced Dean to ride the carousel. They sat side by side, Dean on a spotted palomino, Castiel on a biologically improbable ostrich; a half-rotation into the ride, and fireworks began to burst overhead. Dean clearly forgot his embarrassment over being on a “kiddie ride” as he stared upwards, enraptured by the exploding lights. His smile was wide, toothy, full of little boy excitement. Castiel found himself watching that smile just as much as the display above.
After, they were told by an older gentleman with kind, tired eyes that the fairgrounds were closing for the night. They thanked him, and, sliding off their mounts, joined hands again. Sam was waiting for them by the exit when they finally found their way there. He didn't say anything about their hands, just passed the goldfish to Castiel, and with a small, exhausted grin, asked if he'd had fun that day.
“Yes,” Cas said, staring up at Dean's profile. “Yes, I did.”