rons_pigwidgeon (rons_pigwidgeon) wrote,

FIC: The Substitute - Part I, NC17

It's sort of hilarious watching Sam try not to make an ass of himself in front of Jess. He almost falls out of his chair tripping over his gigantor limbs to go get her another drink. Jess laughs at him and pulls him in for a kiss before letting him go. Charlie leans over Dean's shoulder to whisper into his ear, "Dude, I can't stop staring at her hair. All those curls bouncing around every time she moves. It's hypnotizing."

"Pipe down, Bradbury. We all know you have a lady boner for Sam's girl," Dean says, smirking at her.

She scowls and hits his arm, but doesn't deny it. "She's hot."

"She can hear you," Jess says, giving Charlie an amused but sinister look across the table.

Charlie attempts a winning smile and quickly guzzles the rest of her beer. "Sorry, I'll just be taking what's left of my dignity up to the bar now."

Dean laughs, shaking his head at her and shooting Jess a wink. She smiles back. She really is a beam of sunshine. Sam only brought her home a month ago, but Dean hasn't found one flaw in her. Dean could not be happier for Sam. "So, when are you gonna let Sammy down gently and admit you're really in love with me?" he asks, leaning his elbows on the table.

"Oh you know, I thought I'd let him dangle a little longer. You can wait, right?"

"For you? Most definitely."

She shakes her head, but Sam's back before she can say anything else. He slides a bubblegum-pink martini in front of her and puts an arm around the back of her chair. "What'd I miss?"

"Not much, Dean's just plotting to steal me away in the night. The usual," Jess says, picking her drink up and taking a sip.

"I'm sure he was." Sam gives Dean a look.

Dean shrugs with a smirk and turns his eyes to the bar. There's a red-head sitting alone, pretty, he thinks maybe an omega. He's surprised Charlie hasn't swooped in yet, but he sees her on the other side of the bar, chatting up a tall brunette. He gets up with a knock on the table. "I'll be back in a bit." He doesn't even hear Sam or Jess' response, not that they made any. They're already making googly eyes at each other again. He heads over to Jo, mixing a martini. "Hey, do me a favor and buy that pretty little omega over there a drink for me."

Jo gives him an unimpressed look. "How do you know she's an omega?"

"Am I wrong?" he asks with a knowing grin.

Jo rolls her eyes and turns to hand the finished martini to a beta a few seats away from where Dean stands. He watches her cash the customer out and pocket his tip before returning to Dean. "Fine, but you owe me a beer when I get off."

"Of course. I wouldn't mind a beer myself," he answers with a telling glance at the tap. She narrows her eyes at him, but complies with the unspoken request. He watches her pour a glass of Jameson as well and take it over to the woman. She hovers a minute there, talking to the redhead and indicating Dean at the other end, who dutifully waves with his winning-est smile. Some alphas would go directly up to an omega and start talking, but he doesn't like to make them feel cornered. The redhead looks him over as though he might make dinner out of her, then smiles a coy little smile that lights up her eyes. Dean takes it as a welcome and heads over with his beer. Jo doesn't wait until he's there before she's off helping another customer.

One whiff of the woman, and he knows he was right. She smells sweet with a tang of bitter, like the red sauce he likes to douse his egg rolls in when he eats Chinese. He slides up next to her stool and leans his elbow on the bar so he can face her. "Hi there, I'm Dean," he says.

"Hi," she says back, twisting her stool around to face him. It's a good sign. "Thanks for the drink."

"You're welcome. What's a pretty lady like you doing here all by your lonesome? Hasn't anyone snapped you up yet?"

"Maybe I haven't met anyone interesting enough to let catch me," she flirts back, leaning into him in indication that she might be interested in letting him try. Dean grins, pleased at how well this is going. Sometimes omegas are a little cagey around him. Jess tells him it's because his scent can be overpowering. Dean can't help how he smells, but he always treads lightly around omegas, worried he might scare them. The redhead shows no hesitation, flirting shamelessly with him and finding excuses to touch him.

He's thinking about asking her to get out of there when he spots Jo, standing at the other end of the bar, and—No, no way! She's flirting. With a guy. And she doesn't even look like she's angling for a tip. Dean gives the guy a once-over, but decides he isn't a threat. Not that Jo can't take care of herself, but Dean wouldn't be a good friend if he wasn't protective. He decides to wait a little longer to see how things develop, and asks his companion to join him at the table with his brother, Jess, and Charlie, who has returned from her own flirting expedition sans pretty brunette.

She goes easily and doesn't protest when he pulls his stool out for her to sit on. Charlie and Jess swoop onto her like puppies with a new toy, and they're off talking about hair color or something. Dean glances at Jo touching the guy's chest at the bar, smiling at him with a genuine flirtatious smile. Dude doesn't look like he's planning on making her into a Jo suit, which is good. Dean indicates what's going on to Sam and gets a surprised eyebrow raise in return. It's rare for Jo to show interest in anyone. Dean can't remember the last time she went on a date.

"Hey, you want another drink?" Dean asks, leaning over the omega's shoulder, realizing that she hasn't told him her name yet.

"Maybe just a water? I love whiskey, but if I have another one, I might fall off this stool," she tells him with a cheeky smile.

Dean laughs, rubbing a hand down her back. Her skin is warm and soft under her thin shirt. He feels her shiver just a bit at his touch, but it's enough to get his eye back on the prize. Jo can flirt all she wants. He leans over the redhead's shoulder to whisper in her ear, enjoying the way her breath catches at his proximity. "You know where they have great water?"

She smirks and raises an eyebrow at him—so sexy. "Where is that?"

"My house. Wanna get outta here and try it?"

She giggles, leaning her shoulder into his chest. "You have superior water, huh?"

"Oh yeah, guaranteed to cure what ails you."

"Well, then, I think I'll have to try this miracle water. Lead the way, Alpha." She hops off the stool and turns her body into his. She's at least a foot shorter than him, a fact he had not noticed when they walked over from the bar. He has thoughts of picking her up and carrying her through the house as they say goodbye and head out to his car. He opens her door like a gentleman and has to fight off the stupidly proud smile when she gapes at his baby and tells him how beautiful She is. By the time they get to his house, his thoughts have turned into full-blown fantasies. He doesn't waste time once the front door is open in lifting her into his arms and kissing her, kicking the door closed behind them.

He doesn't knot her, but it's still as awesome as he thought it would be. And she makes him breakfast in the morning, which is kind of the best part.

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"Jo, what the hell are you talking about?" Dean asks, wedging the phone between his ear and shoulder as he fumbles for his keys to lock up the house.

"The guy from the bar the other night, he thinks The Phantom Menace is the best Star Wars movie. I can't date him. I can't even look at him. I don't care how good he smells," Jo answers, sounding as indignant as Dean feels.

"Okay, first of all who even considers the prequels as part of Star Wars? Second, where does this douchebag live? Because I need to sit him down and talk sense into him." Dean opens the passenger side of the Impala and deposits his lunch and the bag of movies he needs to take back to the library on the seat before closing the door and heading to the mailbox. Jo is responding to him, but he loses the meaning of her words as he approaches the street and is overwhelmed with the most intoxicating scent he's ever smelled. It is pecan pie and clean sheets and leather polish and mate all in one.

He immediately checks the street to see where the scent might be coming from, but there's no one but Missouri down the street eyeing him from her own mailbox, and he knows this wasn't her. He waves absently at her, frowning, phone completely forgotten. Missouri waves back with a smile, but he can see her concern from here. He looks down the street again, but there's no one else in sight. Frustrated, he pulls the stack of junk mail and bills from his box and slams the lid shut, at the same time finally hearing Jo saying, "Dean? Dean, are you there? Is something wrong? Dean?"

"Sorry, I just… I think I just smelled… you know what? Nevermind. I haven't had enough coffee this morning. I gotta go or I'm gonna be late opening the shop. See you tonight?"

"Sure, maybe by then you'll tell me what the hell just happened, nutcase."

"Yeah, yeah, see ya." He hangs up with a shake of his head and gets in the car, freezing as he shifts his mail from one hand to the other and gets a whiff of pecan pie again. He holds the letters up to his nose and sniffs. The smell is all over them. He frowns, sniffs again, puts the letters down. Why would his mail smell like his mate? His mail carrier is a weird little beta who always smells like chocolate and frosting—nothing like this.

He sits in his car, staring at his stack of mail like an idiot for way longer than he should, long enough for Missouri to have crossed the street and walked the half-block down to his driveway to knock on his window. When he opens it, she's looking down at him with concern. "You alright, baby boy? You look like you just saw a ghost," she asks, lifting his chin up to force him to look at her.

"Yeah, I'm good. I just, I think I might have scented my mate? But I don't know where it could have come from, and it's sort of going away now."

Missouri smiles and leans into the car window to kiss his forehead. "Don't worry, baby, you'll find him again, probably where you least expect it. Now snap out of it and go on to work. Victor Henriksen's waiting at the garage for you, and you know he's not a man you want to make wait," she tells him.

Dean nods and starts the car, forcing a smile. "You're right. Thanks, Missouri. See you on Saturday?" he asks, purposely not mentioning the Henriksen thing. He learned long ago not to question Missouri Moseley's psychic statements. No matter the situation, she's always right.

"Wouldn't miss it. Have a good day, now." She waves him off with a warm smile. He waves back as he backs out of the driveway. When he looks back at the end of the block, she's still standing in his driveway, watching after him. Ten minutes later, he arrives at the shop, and sure enough, the silver '68 Firebird is parked out front.

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The mail is sitting on the kitchen counter when Dean gets home from the shop the next afternoon, but as soon as he picks it up, he smells it again: mate, home. It's faint and a little masked over with Sam's scent, but it's there. He taps the letters against his nose, scenting, thinking. Sam gives him a look when he passes to get to the fridge. "Something wrong?" he asks, pulling a beer out and tossing the top into the trash can.

"I don't know. I keep smelling something… Did you happen to see the mailman today?"

"Nope, I think he was late. The mail wasn't in the box until after I got back from my morning class. Why?" Sam's still sporting the confused bitch face that usually means he thinks Dean might be cracking up.

"Just wondering. Does the mail smell off to you?" Dean tries to put the letters up to Sam's nose, but he dodges, giving Dean an incredulous look as he steps back.

"Dude, what are you doing? I'm not smelling the mail, ya weirdo. I'm gonna go write a paper in my room." Sam gives him a wide berth as he exits the kitchen, and Dean knows he's being crazy, but he can't help it. He also can't come right out and tell Sam he thinks he's smelling his mate because Sam will either make fun of him until Dean has to hit him or go on some kind of sappy crusade to try and find the guy, neither of which is an appealing outcome for Dean.

Dean leans over the counter, holding the letters up to his nose again to scent that delicious smell. It's only when the next door neighbor starts his lawn mower that he is shaken from his reverie.

The next day, Dean reschedules all his morning appointments to stay home, but the mailman never comes.

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Dean doesn't do a lot of things well, but he can grill a mean burger, and he doesn't mind bragging about it. He flips the first batch on the monster Weber his mom, Sam, and Bobby bought him for Christmas and takes a swig of his beer, surveying his backyard with pride. Half the neighborhood is here, as they are every other Sunday during the spring and summer. He watches him mom come out of the house carrying a giant bowl of potato salad, Jess trailing behind her with a couple of bowls of chips, both of them talking animatedly about something Dean can't hear from this far away. Sam's rolling around in the grass with Ben and a couple of the neighbor kids, throwing them playfully around like they weigh nothing. They all gang up to knock him over, but he doesn't stay down for long. Dean shakes his head, laughing. The only thing missing from this scene is his mate. His stomach drops a little, and he takes another, deeper gulp of beer.

"What did I tell you about patience, Dean Winchester?" Missouri scolds, coming up behind him with a tray full of hamburger buns.

Dean jumps, not having heard her approach. "Didn't see you there, Missouri."

"I know you didn't. Too busy moping over that missing mate of yours. I told you, you'll find him when you find him. No use sulking about it."

"I wasn't... sulking," Dean lies. Missouri's look tells him she sees right through him. "I know, I get it, okay?"

"Don't you sass me, boy. I don't need to be your mama to whoop your butt." She swats him over the head with a pile of napkins. He mumbles a sorry and looks down in shame. No one can make him feel five-years-old like Missouri Moseley.

"What is my son saying to get himself in trouble this time?" Mary asks, walking up to them with a look leveled at Dean. Great, two of them.

"He's fine, just being his usual stubborn self."

"Is that so? And what are we being stubborn about?" Mary asks.

Dean scratches the back of his head with the hand holding the spatula. "I uh... I sort of smelled my mate the other day?"

"And I told him he'll meet him when he's supposed to, but here he is, moping anyway."

"You smelled your mate? That's excellent news!" Mary exclaims, smiling brightly.

"Not really. I didn't actually see him. He's our new mailman, I think, but I stayed home on Friday morning to try to catch him, and he never showed."

Missouri fiddles with putting the napkins on the picnic table near them. "That might have been my fault. I had him in for tea, and we got to talking."

Dean narrows in on her like a dog on a bone. "What? You talked to him? What's his name? Where does he live? Did you tell him about me?"

"Oh baby, it's not my place to tell you any of that. We talked about things. He's a very nice man, but he's definitely not ready for you yet. You'll meet him when you're supposed to, and no sooner."

Dean gapes at her, trying to keep himself calm so he doesn't grab her and shake the information out of her. Intellectually, he knows that he'll never get her to talk if she doesn't want to. If Missouri wants to keep something to herself, she's harder to crack than the Federal Reserve. Mary looks from Dean's clenched fists to Missouri's immovable expression with furrowed brow.

"Missouri, this is his mate. Are you sure you can't tell him? That's not something you should really keep from someone. Dean deserves to find his mate."

Missouri gives Mary a kind smile, ignoring Dean's irritation. "He does, of course he does, but like I said. His mate isn't ready for him yet. He needs to be patient. When it's time, he'll come to you, Dean." She pats his arm, massaging some of the tension from him. "I can tell you he is very handsome. You won't be disappointed, I promise." With that she walks away to find a seat next to Lisa and her boyfriend, Brian-the-Doctor, as Ben calls him.

He gets distracted by his mother's hand rubbing his back. He turns to her in time for her to reach up and kiss his cheek. "It'll be okay, Dean. You know how Missouri is."

"Yeah, I know, but come on. She's met him. She knows his name. She could tell me where to find him. That crap about him 'not being ready' is just that, crap."

"Missouri is a very smart woman. If she thinks that it isn't time, then it isn't. You might want to check on the burgers before they burn. They smell delicious." She kisses his cheek again and walks away, leaving him to stew in his own annoyance. He frowns down at the grill and opens it up again to see that his mother is right. He starts plating the burgers and replacing them with the second round. In the meantime, Benny and Andrea show up and Dean is able to let Benny distract him with talk about the baseball game they're going to next Saturday. It isn't long before his good mood is returned, and he is able to push thoughts of his mate and what Missouri told him to the back of his head.

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When the mail smells like chocolate and gummy worms again, Dean is disappointed. He goes to the post office on a whim, unable to stop himself from trying to find out who the guy is. The lady at the counter looks like the entire world is out to annoy her. "How can I help you?" she asks in a pleasant enough voice.

"Yeah, I live on Pontiac Dr., and I…"

The woman doesn't let him finish before she's holding up a hand with a pained expression. "If you are here to lodge a complaint against the substitute mail carrier you've had for the last two weeks, you are welcome to do so, but you should know that we have already let the individual go, and your regular carrier has returned from his vacation."

Dean is taken aback by this. "Huh? Why would I lodge a complaint? I just wanted to know who the guy was."

"There have been several dozen complaints filed against the individual in question. Even if he were in our employ, I would not be able to disclose the individual's identity. Is there anything else I can assist you with today?"

Dean's not giving up this easily. He braces his hands on the counter and gives her his most intimidating look. He stopped a mugger once with that look. "If he doesn't work here anymore, why can't you tell me his name? I'm not some psycho. I'm pretty sure the dude's my mate."

"I'm sorry, sir. I can't help you," the woman deadpans, expression flat. The intimidation face clearly has no effect on her.

Dean scowls and slaps the counter in frustration. "Fine, whatever, thanks for nothing." It's rude, he knows, but he can't help himself. How is he supposed to find the guy now? Fucking humans. He leaves quickly, restraining himself from slamming the glass door behind him.

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Dean loves his son, but he hates picking him up from school on Thursdays and Fridays. The line is always forever long and completely unavoidable. Dean used to have Ben walk a block over and meet him on the corner, but ever since the school got a complaint from one of the parents and had to tighten security, the teachers are required to see the students get into their respective cars. It's a pain in the ass.

Twenty minutes after pulling into this parade of boring, Dean's finally close enough to see the front doors. He spots Ben standing next to a guy Dean's never seen before. Ben's actual teacher is nowhere in sight, which means this must be a sub. The guy is tall and thin and wearing a neon yellow suit vest that sort of hurts Dean's eyes over a gray button-down and a white tie. Dean normally wouldn't have noticed, except that the guy is hot, like nuclear explosion hot, and the dark hair and tan skin makes him exactly Dean's type. Dean is so distracted by the guy that he misses two cars pulling away ahead of him until the line of cars behind begins honking and jerks him out of his trance. He pulls up to the curb, and Ben hurries over with a grin. He drops his backpack in the back seat and slides into the front seat, pulling on his seat belt as Dean pulls away from the curb.

"Hey Dad," Ben greets him, turning to face Dean. "Can we have McDonald's for dinner?"

"How about we make taco pizzas instead and go for ice cream after?"

"But that means we have to cook, and then I have to do the dishes. Can't we just get fast food, and then we only have to throw the wrappers away?"

"Sorry, dude. I bring home McDonald's for dinner and you know what Uncle Sammy'll do."

"'Do you know what kind of garbage you're putting into your bodies?'" Ben quotes in a perfect imitation of his uncle.

"Exactly. I don't know about you, but a twenty-minute lecture isn't worth it to me."

"I guess. Can't Uncle Sam just marry Jess and move out already?"

Dean chuckles and ruffles his son's hair. "He'll be done with school next year, don't worry, kid."

They pull into the house a minute later, and Ben bursts out of the car with the kind of look that says he's going to try to weasel out of doing his homework so he can play video games instead. Dean grabs the backpack out of the back seat and calls after him, "Homework first, then Minecraft."

There's a lot of grumbling, but Ben eventually comes back for his backpack and sulks into the house, Dean following close behind. Dean starts browning the taco meat while Ben sets himself up at the kitchen table, but it isn't long before a loud sigh has Dean peaking over his son's shoulder at a worksheet of Spanish phrases. "What's wrong?"

"Spanish is stupid," Ben says unhelpfully.

Dean picks the worksheet up, intending to read the instructions, but he freezes as soon as the smell hits him. He hasn't smelled it in over a month, but it hits him just as hard as the first time. Clean sheets, pie, leather polish. Mixed in with his son's scent, it's even more enticing. He feels himself stir, images of his mate sitting next to his son, helping with his homework; the three of them curled up on the couch watching Indiana Jones; his mate leant into his side for warmth on the bleachers at one of Ben's baseball games. His mate's belly swelling with pups of their own. The feeling longing is so strong he has to momentarily grab onto the back of Ben's chair for balance.

Ben glances up at him with a worried frown. "You okay, Dad?"

Dean pushes aside the fantasies and hands the paper back. "Yeah, dude, sorry. Don't know how to help you on this. I didn't pay much attention in Spanish class back in the day. The teacher was hot, though."

"Ew, Dad."

Dean laughs and goes back to the skillet, turning the meat just in time to keep it from burning. "So, you had a sub today?" he asks, trying to sound casual. He knows he fails at casual, but thankfully Ben's too distracted by his homework to notice.

"Yeah, Mr. Wadley's daughter had to go to the hospital."

"What was the sub like?" Dean remembers the smoking-hot man he'd seen next to Ben at the school and prays to whatever god is listening that the mate scent belongs to him.

"Weird. He kept telling us random stories about like the dude who invented the printing press and stuff, and he didn't know what Star Wars was."

Dean turns from the stove, frowning. "What do you mean?"

"Our teacher's been reading The Strange Case of Origami Yoda to us, and Mr. Novak picked it up and asked who Yoda was."

Mr. Novak, huh? Dean thinks, but he says, "Weird."

"I know. Plus he wore this really ugly vest that practically blinded me."

"Yeah, I saw him when I picked you up. I think he might have been our mailman for a couple weeks. Dark hair, tallish?"

"Not as tall as you, but yeah."

"Other than the weird stories and the Star Wars thing, did you like him?"

"I guess. He was nice and everything, and he gave us candy when we got a question right."

"Candy, huh? Sounds cool to me. You should ask him if he's ever been a mailman." He wanted to ask more, but just then Sam lumbered through the door carrying a stack of file boxes so tall it threatened to engulf him, and all talk of the substitute quickly ended.

Dean planned to get out of the car and meet the mysterious man the next day, but when he pulled up to the school the next afternoon, Ben's normal teacher was there again, and there was no sign of the dark-haired substitute.

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Dean's head is buried under the hood of a gorgeous '55 Chrysler C-300, but he's too distracted to appreciate it. His skin feels itchy and too tight for his body. He can't seem to concentrate on installing the transmission correctly. He finally throws a towel at it in frustration, as though that will solve his problem. "Motherfucker!" he curses under his breath.

"What's got your panties in a twist now?" Rufus growls back from the next bay over, glaring at him from underneath the Focus he's servicing.

"Fuck off, Rufus," Dean says without any heat, scowling down at the C-300.

"Someone woke up on the wrong side this morning…" Rufus mutters as he rolls himself back under the Focus.

Dean wipes his hands off a little more roughly than necessary and stomps off to get himself a cup of coffee. Maybe some caffeine and a bite of the pie he has waiting with his lunch will settle his nerves enough to let him think clearly again.

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"I saw Mr. Novak today," Ben announces, not looking up from his math homework. Dean is immediately on alert.

"Yeah? Did you ask him about the mailman thing?"

Ben shakes his head, looking apologetically up at his father. "No, I didn't get to talk to him. He was subbing for Mrs. Lanister."

"Creepy lady with the cat thing you had two years ago?"


"Well, thanks for remembering anyway. How's the homework goin'?"

"I hate math," is all Ben says in response, making a face that is so close to Sammy's annoyed bitchface that it makes Dean choke back a laugh.

"Me, too, buddy, me too," Dean says, patting his son on the back and heading to the fridge to start dinner.

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GINGER FURY: movie night?

DEANO: got the kid tonight


DEANO: nothing r lisa will kill me

GINGER FURY: captain america?

DEANO: done bring beer


"I brought beer!" Charlie calls out as she sweeps in through the front door, arms loaded with grocery bags.

Ben abandons his tablet to run for the front hall. "Charlie!" he greets her, loud enough for Dean to hear him over the sizzle of meat in the pan.

"Hey, little dude. Way to kick my ass last night."

Dean hears the slap of a high-five and has to look around the corner at them. "What were we doing last night?" he asks with more than a little suspicion.

"Mario Kart. Your kid destroyed me. It was kind of embarrassing, actually."

Last night, Ben had had so much homework that he hadn't finished it until a little after ten, well past his 9:00pm bedtime. Dean had sent him to bed with strict instructions to go to sleep. He was generally pretty lenient on the parenting front, but he'd been burned before when Ben didn't get enough sleep. He levels a glare at his son. "Dude, you were supposed to be in bed!"

"I was! The controller's wireless," he protests. Dean continues to stare him down. He looks only a little guilty when he says, "Sorry, Dad, couldn't sleep."

"Layoff, Dean-o. The kid's been under siege by the homework overlords for like a month now. He deserves to let off a little steam every now and again."

"School will be over in less than two weeks. He can let off steam then," Dean answers. Belatedly, he realizes that maybe he's being a little harsh.

"Woah, there, Dean-o. Take a chill pill. Maybe we should get you a beer." Charlie pats him on the back as she passes, her expression saying she thinks he might have lost it. Dean's not sure he hasn't.

Ben frowns at him as he snatches his tablet back and heads in the direction of the living room. Dean goes back to the stove, stirring the meat around and adding a little more cayenne pepper. He hears the sound of a beer bottle being opened and looks up just in time for Charlie to hand him one. "Rough day at work?" she asks with a raised brow.

"No, sorry, just feeling a little tense lately. Tacos alright for dinner?"

"Tacos sound and smell delicious," Charlie assures him, popping the top off her own beer and leaning against the counter near him. "So, I met this hot girl at work today. Her name's Bridget and she works in sales."

"Yeah? How hot we talkin'?"

"Oh so hot! She's got huge blue eyes and a white-blonde pixie, and she's short and petite. She looks like a little fairy, like Tinkerbell or something. And she was soooo sweet! She got me a coffee and offered to take me out for drinks for cracking an encrypted file for her. And oh my god, her smell was amazing. Like rainbows and sunshine and daisies and fresh honey. I almost melted at her feet."

"Sounds awesome. She an omega?"

"No, beta, which is fine. Not like I want kids of my own, anyway." She shrugs as though the thought doesn't bother her, even though Dean knows it does. Heterosexual betas could mate, no problem, but same-sex couples were only fertile if they were alpha and omega. Dean wasn't entirely clear on how that worked for ladies, but he knew Charlie would need an omega mate to have kids of her own.

"Was she your mate?" he asks, tentative. The thought of mates has been on his mind nearly constantly lately, and bringing it up seems like a good way to let his discovery spill to Charlie, something he definitely does not want to do. Charlie's almost as bad as Sam with the feelings crap.

Charlie frowns at her beer. "No, but I'm not gonna let that stop me from going downtown on her. I told you she was hot, right?"

Dean smiles, shaking his head at her over-enthusiastic tone. "Yeah, you did." He pulls the meat off the burner and turns it off, wiping his hands on his apron. "Grab the plates and stuff, will you? We should be ready to eat." He walks around her to grab the rest of dinner out of the fridge, taco shells, cheese, sliced tomatoes from the garden Sam's been cultivating out back, lettuce, and fresh-made guacamole Dean cannot wait to dig into. Charlie has the plates and napkins ready on the counter and starts making her plate as soon as he sets the rest of the food down. Dean sticks his head into the living room. "Dinner's ready. Grab your uncle from the office and come make your plate. Charlie brought Captain America to watch."

Ben's up as soon as he hears the movie title and calls down the hall for Sam—not exactly what Dean was aiming for, but whatever. Sam pops into the kitchen just as Dean's finishing smearing guac all over his soft shells. "That smells awesome, Dean. Hey Charlie," he greets them. His hair is standing up on the sides and makes him look a little bit like a lion. Dean's fingers twitch for the kitchen scissors.

"Hey there, Samsquach. Gonna watch the movie with us?"

Sam frowns down at her. "What movie?"

"Captain America and the Winter Soldier."

Sam narrows his eyes at her. "Winter Soldier isn't available on dvd yet."

Charlie throws a chip at him. "So, I pirated it. Big deal? It's not like I didn't already pre-order a digital copy. Technically, I already own it."

"It's still illegal, Charlie. Besides, I can't anyway. I have depositions to work on for tomorrow." Sam grabs a plate and starts making his own taco, heavy on the lettuce and tomato, Dean notices. Dean finishes his own tacos and gets out of Sam's way, heading to the living room where Ben is already sitting at the coffee table, devouring his own food. Charlie joins them, followed soon after by Sam, who tells them all about the legal case he's working on during his internship. Dean's proud, even though he has no idea what half of what Sam is talking about means.

When they finish eating, Sam offers to clean up while the rest of them settle in to watch the movie. Ben even puts his game away to watch, laying on his stomach with a pillow on the floor. Dean and Charlie take up either side of the couch. They spend half the movie arguing about whether or not Steve and Bucky ever hooked up, while Ben yells at them for being 'gross'. Dean is able to relax for the first time in a long time, and he gives Charlie a longer-than-usual hug at the door in thanks. Charlie gives him a weird look and pats his shoulder again, but doesn't say anything.

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Summer has officially started for Ben, which means Dean has little to no chance of catching another whiff of his mate until September at the earliest. He would be lying if he said he wasn't crawling the walls with the knowledge. The guys at the garage are all giving him a wide berth and even Sam has been trying to encourage him to go out and find a hook-up, but his heart just isn't in it. He finds himself comparing every potential partner with the vague specter of his mate, and the touch of others is starting to irritate his skin.

He almost refuses when Benny asks him to grab a beer after work, but Benny's no-arguments attitude doesn't give him room to get in his excuses. When they get to the Roadhouse, Jo already has a whiskey ready for Dean. He takes it gratefully, sinking onto a stool in front of her. "Thanks, Jo. How'd you know we'd be coming in?"

"I hear things," Jo says, flashing him a mysterious smile before turning away to help another customer.

Benny clinks his beer with Dean's glass and mutters, "Cheers, brother."

Dean nods and takes another swig of his whiskey. He nearly jumps when Charlie pops up on the stool next to him, a beer half-finished in her hand.

"Charlie? I thought you were spending the weekend at a hacker retreat or something," he asks, unable to hide his surprise.

"Yeah, I lied," Charlie answers without shame.

Dean frowns at her. "Why?"

Charlie sends a look at Benny over Dean's shoulder. "This is a crankervention."

"Excuse me?"

"You've been a beast for a good month, brother," Benny says with an unimpressed look.

"I have not been."

"You almost punched a guy out the other day for saying the Blackhawks suck," Benny says.

"Last Saturday a sexy lady tried to get in your pants, and you acted like she was asking to castrate you," Charlie offers.

"I did not..."

"You turned down pie last Thursday," Jo interjects from the other side of the bar. He hadn't even realized she'd come back over to join the conversation. Dean gives pause. She sort of has a point.

He sighs and swallows his whiskey down. Jo doesn't hesitate to refill his glass. "Okay, so maybe I've been a little tense."

"Just a little," mutters Charlie.

"What's going on, brother?"

"Nothing, I'm fine, just off my game a little."

"You're practically Oscar the Grouch. What is it?" Charlie pokes him in the side.

"You're not letting this go, are you?"

"What part of crankervention did you miss? Spill." Another poke and Dean's spilling.

"Fine. I scented my mate, okay?"

"You did? That's awesome!" Charlie squeals, flinging her arms around his neck. Benny pats him on the back hard.

"Congratulations, brother. When do we get to meet her? Him?"

"Him. I don't know. That's sort of the problem. I haven't met him yet. I keep smelling him, and I saw him once, but I haven't actually talked to him or touched him or anything. I don't even know his first name."

"But you know his last name?" Charlie whips her tablet out of her bag and starts tapping at it. "Where'd you smell him? What's his last name? Is he hot?"

"What, are you going to google him?" Jo snorts, eying the device.

"I'm gonna do way more than that. Spill, Winchester."

Dean swallows a mouthful of whiskey. "I first smelled him on my mail a couple months ago. I figured out he was delivering our mail while our regular was on vacation, but every time I tried to catch him, he didn't show up. I went to the post office once the regular dude came back, and the stupid mail lady wouldn't tell me who he is."

"In her defense, that would be a gross invasion of the guy's privacy," Charlie says with an apologetic smile. She's still poking at the tablet.

"You think my mate doesn't want anyone telling me how to find him? That sound right to you?"

"No, but I understand the mating instinct. Or I would, if, you know, my mate would show up. Maybe the woman you talked to is a human."

"She was. Didn't make me like her any more."

"That was racist of you." Jo gives him a look.

"Not racist, speciest." Charlie doesn't even look up as she corrects.

"Whatever, like you have any human friends."

"There are five humans in my WoW Guild."

"Have you met any of them in person?"

"Shut up. What's the last name already, and how'd you get it?"

"His name is Novak. After he was fired from the post office, he must have started substitute teaching because I picked Ben up from school one day like two months ago, and this hot guy was waiting with him. I didn't get out of the car, 'cause I didn't know who he was, but I smelled him later on Ben's homework. Ben spilled the beans about his name."

"Not a problem. I can hack into the Department of Education and find the list of registered subs. There can't be more than one Novak. Give me two minutes."

Dean swallows more whiskey and stares into his glass without saying anything. Missouri's voice pops into the back of his head. He's definitely not ready for you yet. You'll meet him when you're supposed to, and no sooner.

"So, he's hot?" Jo prompts.

Dean smiles at his glass. "Yeah, he was smokin'. Had on the ugliest vest I've ever seen, but it didn't matter. I wish I'd known he was my mate. I would have gotten out of the car. Now I've got no way of contacting him or finding him. Ben sees him at school sometimes, but he only subbed for Ben's class the once, and school's out for summer now. Missouri knows him, but she won't tell me anything about him."

"Missouri knows him? How?" Benny asks, brow furrowing.

"He was our mailman, remember? She said she had him in for tea a couple times. I think that's part of the reason he got fired.'"

"And she won't tell you anything about him?"

"Nope. Said he wasn't ready to meet me yet. I don't get it. Who isn't ready to meet their mate?" He looks to Charlie, hope fluttering in his stomach. Her expression is serious and a little concerned. She's even biting her lip. "Anything?"

"I uh… are you sure, Dean? Missouri's never wrong about this kind of stuff."

Dean frowns at her. "You're taking Missouri's side, too? Thanks." He downs the rest of his glass and Jo sets him up with number three.

"I'm not taking her side, Dean. I just know when I was hiding the stuff with my mom, Missouri knew to have you talk to me about it. I don't think I would have been able to let her go without your help, and you wouldn't have known to say anything without Missouri. She knows her stuff, Dean."

Dean turns to Benny, unable to believe what he's hearing from his best female friend. Benny looks just as serious as Charlie. Dean growls and turns a glare on Charlie. "Can you find him or not?"

Charlie looks hesitant, but doesn't cower from him. "Well… I found the database, but there aren't any Novaks listed. Are you sure that was his name?"

Dean stares at her, unable to comprehend what she's saying. He was so close. How could Ben have gotten the name wrong?

"No, that's the name Ben said."

"Well, unless he spells it some weird way I've never heard of, he's not on this list. There are fifteen substitutes who registered around the time your guy would have, but none of them are named Novak."

Frustration flares up in Dean for a second before he deflates. It isn't Charlie's fault that the name isn't on the list. Maybe Missouri was right. He takes another drink and closes his eyes. "Okay, fine, whatever. I guess I'll just have to wait, then."

"I'm sorry." Charlie pats his back with a pout.

Dean shrugs. "What can you do? I'll just have to trust Missouri. He'll show up when he's supposed to. Just don't bitch if I'm asshole until he does."

page break

Sam is upside-down, holding himself up with one straight arm. Dean would be impressed if he wasn't so disturbed. "Is this Inception?"

"Yoga. You should try it. Maybe it'll calm your nerves." Sam's voice doesn't even waiver as he lowers his entire body into a one-handed push-up without touching his feet to the ground. It makes Dean a little nauseated to watch.

"My nerves are just fine, thanks. You want breakfast, Stretch McAdams?" Dean says, 'accidentally' knocking Sam over with a foot to Sam's hip.

Sam glares up at him from his forest-themed yoga mat and shoves at Dean's shin. "You're such a jerk!"

"At least I'm not a yoga-loving bitch," Dean counters as he walks passed into the kitchen.

"They use yoga in tantric sex, you know!"

"Yeah, I'm sure you're getting all kinds of sex doing one-handed hand stands. You realize you look gayer than me, and I have sex with dudes, right?"

An indistinguishable string of curses follows, but Dean's too busy getting breakfast started to bother listening. He turns on the radio to his favorite rock station and hums along as he cracks four eggs into the pan, smiling to himself the whole while.

Tags: dean/castiel big bang challenge 2014, fandom: supernatural, fest_entry, fic, fic: challenge, fic: creature, fic: fest entry, kink: alpha/beta/omega dynamics, length: 26k - 50k, pairing:dean/cas, rating: nc17
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