Sam shakes his head, laughing at his brother. “Always with the scissors, Dean.”
Dean doesn’t even dignify him with a response. Rock-Paper-Scissors is a sacred, binding contract for laundromat duty and he’s lost fair and square. He picks up the duffles full of dirty clothes and hoists them over his shoulder.
Cas, who has been watching this exchange with interest from the far bed, gets to his feet. “I’d be happy to assist you.”
“Oh, how sweet,” Sam practically chirps. “A laundry date.”
“Shut up, Sammy.” He looks at Cas. “C’mon if you’re coming.”
They try to time things to be back at the bunker before they’re out of clean clothes, but an unexpected addition to their last case had them heading four hundred miles in the wrong direction.
Dean slings the bags into the back seat while Cas searches for to the nearest laundromat. It’s not far from the motel and, from the pictures on the website, it looks fairly bright and cheery
as far as coin laundries go.
Dean parks out front and they each grab a bag. Inside, the washers stand in rows while dryers line the walls. Dean drops his bag on a high counter meant for folding clothes and goes to find the change machine. By the time he returns, his jacket pocket heavy with quarters, he finds Cas standing between two open washer doors carefully studying one of Sam’s t-shirts.
He looks to Dean with the same face he uses when he’s making sure a sigil is correct. “Is this considered a dark or a light?”
“What are you doing?”
“Well, stop it.”
“Dean,” Cas says with the utmost concern, “the label says to wash separately.”
“They all say that, Cas. Time to live on the edge.” He reaches into the second washer and grabs the couple of things that are in there and throws them in with the other clothes.
Cas frowns, but pulls some more clothes out of the bag.
Dean sighs. “The trick is to not touch any of this nasty stuff. Have you met Sam Winchester?” He shudders; there’d been Mexican food recently.
“Of course I have, Dean,” Cas grouses. “And he said I should sort the laundry.”
Dean takes the bag from Cas’s hand and dumps it into the washer, then slams the door shut with a flourish. “Ok, maybe at home that’s fine, but on the road it’s all about cheap and efficient. And as long as there isn’t anything—“ he glances around at the other patrons before continuing, “unnatural on the clothes, you can wash them all together in cold water.” He’s still pissed about the ectoplasm that ruined one of his favorite band t-shirts. Sam knows that shit needs to be treated with vinegar first.
“I don’t understand why clothing comes with rules if you’re just going to ignore them.”
“You,” Dean says. “Mr. I Rebelled From Heaven. You’re judging my laundry law-breaking.”
Cas’s scowl lightens into something close to a smile.
Grinning, Dean hands Cas some quarters. “Go get some soap.”
When the soap is added, Dean slots the quarters one by one into the washer. “This used to be Sam’s favorite part. I had to lift him up so he could reach.”
“You spent a lot of time in laundromats as kids.”
“Yeah, and let me tell you most of them weren’t nearly as nice as this one.” He ushers Cas to a couple of empty seats where they can keep an eye on their washer. He nods toward the sign announcing free wi-fi that hangs over the row of vending machines. “Plenty of times Dad left us in one and went off to a bar.”
Cas gives him that same pinched-brow look he always gets when Dean talks about John, but Dean waves it off. “It was actually kind of fun. Sam and I played a lot of hide and seek in these things.” He nudges the wheeled laundry cart with his foot. “Raced around in these when the place was empty.”
It hadn’t been all bad. Even without a door to lock between them and the rest of the world, laundromats felt safer than motels a lot of the time. They were mostly populated by moms and old ladies and sometimes they shared snacks or gave quarters when John left them lacking in one or the other. The swishing sounds of the washer, the hum of the fluorescent lights, even the startling buzzers from the timers. These were all soothing, familiar sounds that led to the simple joy of clean, warm-from-the dryer clothing. Even after the years of having the bunker to call home, Dean still finds himself hoarding quarters just in case.
It’s funny to think that he learned all this as a child, but now he’s teaching an older-than-dirt angel how to do it. But it’s kind of nice to have him here, tagging along not because he has to but for the sheer sake of keeping Dean company. That’s been a happy realization, since the two of them became…well, whatever the hell they are these days. The way that having someone by your side can make even the most mundane tasks fun. Things like grocery shopping, where Cas studies coupons like they’re instructions for defusing a bomb, or washing dishes, which was inevitably followed by instructing Cas on how to snap a dishtowel. (Cas had gotten surprisingly good in a short amount of time with Dean’s ass as his target.) Not to mention the unexpected bonus of decreased nightmares that came with having this particular warm body next to his each night.
They sit in comfortable silence as the washers whir and the dryers tumble. Cas keeps his knee pressing against Dean’s, and sometimes Dean still can’t believe he spent all the time lecturing him on personal space. Especially now when he’d like nothing more than to pull him onto his lap and kiss him until they are both gasping for breath. But that’ll have to wait. They’ve still got a few more days on the road before they can head home again. He tries not to think about how they’d be spending their time alone at the motel if Sam had been the one banished here.
Dean’s eye is caught by their washer accelerating into the final spin. Checking that the row is empty of people, he tugs Cas by the hand, leading him over to it. There, mostly hidden from view, he backs Cas up against the washer and kisses him, pressing against him so that the vibrations tingle through them both.
“Soon,” Cas whispers.
“Soon,” Dean agrees.
There’s time for one more kiss before the buzzer sounds.