It’s not a contest.

(But if it were, Dean would totally be winning.)

He opens the game again, clicks on the catbook and scrolls through, tallying in his head. Thirty-three. Cas finally made it to twenty cats yesterday and he’s had it on his phone longer, installed after a series of enthusiastic texts from Claire. (Not that Dean’s counting.)

When Cas had explained it to him, Dean had scoffed at it. A game where all you do is look at cats in your yard?

But he caught himself watching for the soft smile Cas gave the screen each time he checked his yard. In the midst of their usually shitty days, it was nice to see that look of quiet contentment, however brief. And when Cas enticed an otherwise terrified child witness into calming down and open up by showing her the cats, Dean decided it might be a useful tool to have on hand.

And yeah, those cats were pretty cute. Stupid and clueless but cute.

But still. It hardly counts as a game. Nothing to shoot. Nothing to kill. Not even a villain. (And don’t you fucking say Tubbs. Yes, he eats all the food but he repays you. Generously. Just let Tubbs do his thing. Don’t think they haven’t already had this discussion.)

It took Dean all of thirty seconds to google “rare cats neko atsume” and find a list detailing how best to attract each cat. From there he embarked on a determined crusade to amass gold fish, buy specific items, and watch his book fill up one cat at a time.

Cas, on the other hand, bought whatever appealed to him and waited to see who would come use it. He filled his yard with a variety of toys, rotating them because (as he said in a ridiculously serious tone, blue eyes fixed on Dean) he liked the cats to have choices.

While Dean was efficiently luring and recording cats, Cas left his yard untouched for hours because he didn’t want to disturb the cats already playing by putting out new toys. He made sure to take pictures each time he found a cat using a new item and finally admitted to Dean that he had a goal of getting a picture of every cat hanging out in the warm sock.

Sitting at the kitchen table waiting for the coffee maker to finish brewing, Dean double checks his count and gives his yard a quick peek before setting down his phone and reaching for the plate of toast. Cas sits next to him, bleary-eyed, his hair the usual glorious morning wreck, and studiously prepares for the morning filling of the food bowl.

When he hears Cas draw in a sharp breath, Dean looks up from buttering his toast.

“What’s wrong?”

“The screen went dark. I’m getting a gift,” Cas says, staring at his phone in rapt anticipation.

Dean scrapes butter over an already buttered section as he covertly watches Cas watch the screen.  A second later, Cas’s expectant face softens into a fond smile.

“Whadya get?”

Cas looks at him, his eyes warm and gentle. “It’s my favorite cat. He brought me some pins.”

“Gotta love that useless crap,” Dean says, getting up to fill mugs with coffee. “I can’t believe you have a favorite, though.” (Yeah ok, everyone knows Marshmallow is the best cat but it would take a pack of hellhounds to make Dean admit it.) “Which one is it?”

Cas hesitates for much longer than the question requires. “Uh, the orange one. With stripes.”

Dean rolls his eyes. “That narrows it down. I mean its name.” He holds out a mug but Cas is too busy blinking rapidly at him to take it. Dean sighs and sets both mugs down on the table. “It says right on the screen.”

Taking advantage of Cas’s uncaffeinated state, he swipes the phone out of his hand. After a long look, he wordlessly sets it on the table and sits back in his chair.

Cas chews his lip and stares into his mug like there might be some gold fish to be found in its depths.

Dean clears his throat. “You changed that cat’s name to Dean?”

Cas lifts his eyes and tries for casual. “There’s already a cat named Gabriel.”

Dean considers this for a moment. “Did you name one Sam?”

It’s not the steam from the coffee that turns Cas’s cheeks pink. “No.”

Dean picks up his own mug to hide his smile. “You’re a nerd,” he says, even as he shifts his knee until it’s resting against Cas’s.