hot chocolate

Supernatural || Dean/Castiel || NR || 734
notes: Day 2 of the Twenty-Five Days of Fic. Today’s prompt was hot chocolate. Sensing a theme yet? It’s called ‘Steve is too lazy to come up with her own titles’.

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At the gas station, Dean bought a small box of instant hot chocolate.

He had been walking up and down the narrow aisles for no reason other than idle boredom, perusing the standard fare, when the familiar packaging caught his eye. He grabbed it off the shelf and placed it in the cradle of his arm with the rest of his purchase thoughtlessly.

Why the impulse seized him, he did not know. Maybe it was because there was a slick blanket of snow and slush on the pavement outside; maybe the brand reminded him of the quiet and good moments of his childhood; or maybe it was just because he hadn’t indulged in something sweet and frivolous since that slice of cherry pie in Santa Monica.

Whatever the reason, when Dean returns to the motel, he feels a little weird about it. He wants to use milk, because hot chocolate is always better when it’s made with the fattiest milk possible, but all he has is a battered twelve pack of cheap beer and water from the sink. There’s no stove or kettle, so he has to heat the tap water up in the ancient microwave, in the old, nondescript mugs that were stacked next to the cheap coffee maker and complimentary grounds. Then, when he adds the powder to the hot water, the clumps cling to the surface and the edges of the mug.

“Goddamnit,” he hisses. No matter how much or how fiercely he stirs, the clumps refuse to go away. It’s probably the thin, black plastic straws he’s using. “This is harder than it has a right to be—shit—"

Castiel watches the proceedings from the bed, his eyes as wide and as curious as a child’s. It would have irritated Dean, once, to let Castiel see how mundane and human he could be, but that was before.

“I hope you like powder with your marshmallows and hot water,” Dean drawls as he hands Castiel one of the mugs. Unthinkingly, Castiel grabs it around the middle rather than at the handle, and winces as the heat stings his palm. Dean feels a frown pinch at his mouth as Castiel quickly transfers his grip.

“Hot,” Castiel attempts to joke. As with most of his jokes, which have morphed from his ignorance to his vulnerability, it falls flat.

“You gotta blow on it, or you’re gonna burn your tongue,” Dean explains. “Like this.”

Dean brings his own mug up to his mouth and blows on the surface a few times before he takes a tentative sip. The hot chocolate tastes a little fake and isn’t at all what he wanted, but that’s always been his lot in life. At least bad hot chocolate is a small disappointment, relatively.

Castiel mimics his actions, pursing his mouth and blowing cool air across the surface. Dean watches Castiel’s throat work beneath his skin when he swallows, and notes in the back of his mind that the other man’s stubble could be called a beard. He’ll have to shave it soon.

“This is very good,” Castiel murmurs after a time. His tongue, pink and wet, drags across his bottom lip to capture the sheen of flavor that lingers there.

“It’s okay.” Dean shrugs, and pulls his stare away from Castiel to the watery brown of his own hot chocolate. “I remember when my mom used to make me this stuff from scratch. She’d melt down these little bricks of chocolate in a saucepan and make me stir and stir and stir so it wouldn’t burn, then add cream and milk. We’d open a bag of those mini marshmallows and let me put as many on top as I wanted. It was the best.”

“The best things are always created with love,” Castiel comments, as though it were as simple as that. Perhaps it is.

Dean doesn’t know what possesses him to promise, “I can make you some, some day,” but the words leave him nonetheless. As with every other unintentional thing he tells Castiel, the words make Dean feel raw, exposed, and oddly hopeful.

“Thank you.” Castiel looks up at him. His eyes are as piercing as they have always been, filled with grace or not. “But that is not necessary. I think the first hot chocolate I had will always be the best.”

And when Castiel sets his mug down, there’s nothing left but honesty.

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