golden brown delicious

Kiss the Cook

A smutlet. Written from a CS Writer’s Hub sin den prompt. 

Rated E

1930 Words - Read it on AO3


Emma entered through the front door, expecting to hear blessed silence after a long day at the office. Instead, she was greeted by laughter and chatting from the kitchen. Tossing her keys into their bowl near the door, she peeked around the corner to find her mother and her fiance working at pouring something vaguely cheesy into a casserole dish.

“Uh, hey,” Emma muttered, running a hand through her hair. She shrugged off her red leather jacket and let it hang on the back of a chair at the kitchen table, “you two look…busy?”

Killian looked up with a smirk. She only then noticed his usual leathers had been swapped for a ‘Kiss the Cook’ apron, smattered with varying bits of ingredients. He gestured to the dish in front of him. “Look, Swan! Your mother has consented to teach me about cooking those lovely tubers we had at dinner the other night.”

“Ah, the cheesy potatoes,” Emma nodded, recalling his fondness for her mother’s side dish.

“Yes,” Snow grinned, wiping her hands on a dishtowel, “we were just about to put them into the oven!”

“Don’t let me stop you,” Emma smirked and moved toward the refrigerator, from which she snagged a bottle of water and twisted the plastic top.

“Now,” Snow continued, her attention turning back to Killian, “you’ll want to cover these with aluminum foil and bake them for twenty-five minutes at 350 degrees. Then, uncover them for the next ten minutes and they will be golden brown and delicious.”

Unlike her mother, Emma had little enthusiasm for cooking. Luckily, Killian seemed to be blossoming in the practice. The couple’s waning presence at local takeout establishments was likely to provide a major hit to the Storybrooke economy.

Snow’s phone buzzed atop the kitchen table and she picked it up with a frown. “Ugh,” she sighed, “your brother got into my shoe closet and unboxed everything. I’d better get going and sort it all out.”

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“Double Stack” Frittata and Spinach-Garlic Oat Bars

Most frittata recipes I see around have an “egg per serving” ratio, but I’m over here all like “muh protein” so the obvious solution was to make mine “double stacked.” You guys also know that I cannot resist using breakfast as a vegetable delivery system. I simply love waking up and having a rush of vitamins and fiber right in morning instead of only getting macros in. I really like savory oats. Some people think it’s nuts, but oats are just another grain! If it were quinoa or rice no one would bat an eyelash. What you get is dense and chewy–lovely and garlic-y. Don’t expect bread because it’s not bread. What it is–yup, my vegetable delivery mechanism. 

“Double Stack” Frittata

  • 12 eggs
  • ½ cup cheese or cheese substitute of choice (I used Daiya)
  • 3 oz of a crunchy vegetable such as green beans or asparagus, chopped
  • ¼ onion, diced
  • 1 large clove of garlic, minced
  • 2 TBSP olive oil, divided (butter would be great too but I don’t do the whole dairy thing)
  • salt, to taste
  • black pepper, to taste
  • ½ TBSP dried parsley

Directions: Set your oven to broil. In a bowl whisk together the eggs, cheese, salt, pepper, parsley, and half your oil. Now, on your stove top heat up a lightly oiled skillet over high heat and saute the onion, garlic, and vegetables you picked out. Add the egg mixture and do not disturb, or you’ll get scrambled eggs! Not necessarily a tragedy, but y’know. Keep an eye on it. It will take anywhere from 3-5 minutes for the bottom to set and for the edges at the top to start setting. Once you see that, stick it in the oven and keep a hawkish eye on it. Check every minute. It will probably take no longer than two minutes for the top to start getting golden, brown, and delicious. Then pull it out and let it cool slightly. Serves 6-8.

Spinach-Garlic Oat Bar

  • 2 cups oats
  • 2 large zucchinis (about a lb), roughly chopped
  • A large handful of spinach
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 3 TBSP chia seeds
  • ¼ cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder

Directions: Preheat the oven to 375F. In a food processor, mill your oats into a fine powder and then set aside in a mixing bowl. In that mixing bowl also put the salt, chia seeds, and baking powder. Whisk it all together. Then, put the zucchini chunks, garlic, spinach, olive oil, and water into the food processor and blitz that all together until it’s pureed and well-combined. Add that to mixing bowl, as well your almond milk. You may or may not need it. Be the judge of whether your mixture needs more wet ingredients. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until the center has a nice bounce to it. It’s best to let it cool down on the counter and then in the fridge overnight before cutting. Chia will continue their magic.

Hi there!  So.  I’m doing a thing.  And I do not want to make any promises about the thing.  I am not even sure I will finish the thing.  But this is the first chapter in what I hope will be a Matthew Morgan based, Past Gen fic about Matt, Joe, and Rachel (and probably a lot more special guests).  I’m excited about it.  I dont know how often Ill get to write it.  But if you’re interested in Matt like I am interested in Matt, then I hope you’ll join me.

Also available on Archive of Our Own

Chapter One

Everyone has three things.

Everyone has three things that pull at the heartstrings, that are engraved into their most primitive instincts, that make up the very air that they breathe.  Everyone has three things that define them in a way that is equal parts undeniable and unregretted, and once you know someone’s three things, you know them as well as they know themselves.  Sometimes you can even know them a little bit better.

For example:

  1. Matthew Morgan is, inexhaustibly, a mama’s boy.
  2. There exists, in the depths of his mother’s dustiest photo albums, a picture from Matthew Morgan’s very first birthday in which he grins at the camera, chocolate cake covering him from head, to fists, all the way down to his belly button.
  3. When the question is one of family and friends, Matthew Morgan’s answer is always, without exception, yes.

Of course, these are only guidelines.  Knowing a person’s three things can help you predict their behaviors, it can help you understand what they might be thinking, but it is never a certainty.  More than anything else in the world, it is people who posses the greatest capability to surprise.

Another example:

     4. One year ago, just before the summer of his junior year, Matthew Morgan spoke to a recruiter about enlisting in the United States Army.

It is an act that had surprised even himself.

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yo Scottish followers, settle something for me - what are tattie scones supposed to look/taste like? the ones i used to eat in wales were golden brown and delicious, but the ones i’ve picked up since being in scotland are pale and taste like floury asswipes 😂 trying to figure out if i’m just unlucky with them in scotland or if they’re actually supposed to be like that

50 Helpful Cooking Tips

Everybody can use a helping hand in the kitchen once in a while! I have been collecting tips and hints and I do hope you will enjoy finding out just how much simpler your cooking tasks can be!

  1. To peel thin skin fruits and vegetables easily, place in a bowl and cover with boiling water, let stand for one minute then peel with sharp paring knife.
  2. For an easy dressing for fruit salad, try a grated orange rind and orange juice added to sour cream.
  3. Cream won’t curdle when pour over fruits if you add a pinch of baking soda with the cream before serving.
  4. If you add a small pat of butter when cooking fruit for jams and jellies, you won’t have any foam to skim off the top.
  5. If you have a problem with fruit jellies not setting, place the jars in a shallow pan half filled with cold water, then bake in moderate oven for 30 minutes.
  6. For attractive individual butter servings, squeeze butter through a pastry bag or plastic beg onto a cookie sheet, set in refrigerator to harden.
  7. To keep your pizza crust crispy, try placing the cheese on before the sauce.
  8. To save leftover wines, freeze them in ice cube trays. They can be used for any dish you would season with wine or can be also used in coolers.
  9. Cottage cheese can be used in place of sour cream when making dips. Just place it in the blender until it is creamed.
  10. Cream cheese can be coloured with liquid food colouring as a filler for dainty rolled sandwiches. Try a different colour for each layer and slice as you would a jelly roll.
  11. Freeze red and green maraschino cherries in ice cubes. You can also do this with cocktail onions, mint leaves or green olives for martinis.
  12. French fries will be deliciously golden brown is sprinkled with flour before frying.
  13. To bake the perfect potato, rub butter over potatoes before baking to prevent skin from cracking and to improve the taste.
  14. For the best gourmet French fries, let cut potatoes stand in cold water an hour before frying. Dry well before cooking. The trick is to fry them twice. The first time, just fry them for a few minutes and drain off the grease. The second time, fry them until golden brown.
  15. To tell how old an egg is, place the egg in a pan of cold water. If it lies on its side, it is fresh – if it tilts on an angle„ its approximately 3-4 days old – if an egg stands upright, it is probably about 10 days old. It an egg floats to the top, it is old and should not be used.
  16. To easily separate an egg yolk from whites, poke a small hole in the end of an egg and drain the white through the hole. After you have drained the egg white, just crack the egg open for the yolk.
  17. To tell if the egg is hard boiled or raw, place the egg on it’s side and spin it evenly on a level surface. If it wobbles – it is raw.
  18. When you poach eggs, try adding a little vinegar and salt to the water. This will set the eggs and keep them in shape.
  19. When beating egg whites, add a teaspoon of cold water and you will almost double the quantity.
  20. Add food colouring to the water before boiling eggs, then you can tell the hard boiled ones from the fresh ones.
  21. To keep egg yolks centered while cooking hard boiled eggs – stir the water while cooking.
  22. When handling eggs or removing them from the carton, try wetting your hands first and the eggs won’t slip away.
  23. Hard boiled eggs will slice better if you wet the knife in water before cutting.
  24. To test whether hot oil is still usable, drop a piece of white bread into the pot. If the bread develops dark specks, the oil is deteriorating.
  25. Fat from soup and stews can be eliminated by dropping ice cubes into the pot. Then stir and the fat will cling to the ice cubes. Remove the ice cubes after a few seconds.
  26. When you are broiling meats, place a few pieces of dried bread in the broiler pan to soak up the dripping fat. This will eliminate the smoking fat and it also reduces the risk of the fat catching fire.
  27. Butter will go farther and have fewer calories per serving if you beat it well. This increases the volume by adding air.
  28. Cottage cheese will remain fresher for longer period of time if you store it upside down in the refrigerator.
  29. To keep cheese longer without it forming mould, place a piece of paper towel that has been dampened with white vinegar in the bottom of plastic container hat has a good seal before adding cheese.
  30. Another way to prevent mould form forming on cheese is to store it in a sealed container with two lumps of sugar.
  31. A dull knife works better to cut cheese. Warm the knife and the cheese will cut like butter.
  32. Tomatoes added to roasts will help tenderize them naturally. They contain an acid that works well to break down meats.
  33. To eliminate bacon curling, try soaking in it cold water for about 2 minutes before frying. Dry well with paper towel. If they still curl, sprinkle them with flour. And if they still insist on curling, poke some hole in them.
  34. If you scorch meats, soak it in a towel in hot water and wring out as best as possible. Cover the meat and let it stand for about 5 minutes before scraping off burned area with a knife.
  35. To prevent fat from splattering when frying sausage, try flouring them lightly.
  36. To avoid your meatloaf from cracking, try rubbing a small amount of cold water on the top and sides before placing it in the oven.
  37. If venison is soaked in a cola beverage overnight, it will not have a strong gamey flavour.
  38. Placing meats in white vinegar and water for about 5 minutes before cooking will make them more tender.
  39. To reduce shrinkage in sausages, they should be boiled for 3-5 minutes before frying.
  40. For a too-salty ham, partially bake it and drain all juices. Pour a small bottle of ginger ale all over it and bake til done.
  41. When re-heating meats, try placing the pieces in a casserole dish with lettuce leaves between the slices – they will then be tender and moist.
  42. To keep poultry from sticking to the bottom of pan, try placing few stalks of celery in the bottom to act as a rack. This will add flavour and moisture as well when cooking.
  43. To keep meatballs from falling apart when cooking, try placing them into the refrigerator for 20 minutes before cooking.
  44. To tenderize chicken and give it a unique flavour, try basting it with a small of amount of white wine while it cooks.
  45. When stuffing your holiday turkey, place a piece of cheesecloth inside the cavity before the stuffing. When you remove the cloth, the stuffing will come out at one time.
  46. Defrost a chicken by soaking in cold water, this will draw out any blood residues and will leave the breast very white.
  47. Have you ever wondered how restaurants serve very tender, moist chicken breasts all the time? They submerge the breast in buttermilk for 3-4 hours under refrigeration before cooking.
  48. When stuffing a turkey or chicken, try sealing the opening with a small raw potato.
  49. To double the freshness of fish, place it in cold water – if it floats it has recently been caught.
  50. You can thaw fish in milk. The milk will draw out the frozen taste and provides a fresh caught flavour.

Really nice recipes. Every hour.

Show me what you cooked!

We confess to some difficulty in getting a recipe outof Rincewind, one of Unseen University’s best-known wizards. It involved a considerable amount of travel, much of it at high speed, since Rincewind’s major talent is to run away from anything that is frightening and this, when you come to think of it, is a pretty good definition of the universe. 
The original suggestion,shouted over his shoulder, was ‘Potatoes! Lots of potatoes! In their jackets! In great big baths of butter!’ This seemed to us to be too close to the Librarian’s recipe, although it uses a vegetable rather than a fruit (except that the potato is technically a nut). 
However, we understand that Rincewind has been so long away from the one thing that makes life worthwhile (potatoes) that he will eat anything if it has a potato in it.
Nanny Ogg’s Cookbook

When life brings you delicious potatoes and fresh eggs (thanks mom!), what’s better than mix them all and make some potato cakes? Probably nothing. I usually don’t cook anything breaded or fried, not that I dislike fried foods but for some reason the process stress me out. However this time I forced myself to give it a try, and I have no regrets at all.

The whole preparation does not present any difficulty, but is a bit longer than expected for a recipe with so few ingredients: forming and breading the patties does take some time after all.

Two advices: 1- mash the potatoes while they’re still hot, or they’ll get sticky, and you don’t want that. 2- the recipe doesn’t mention any seasoning, except for sage. Adding salt and pepper won’t hurt, and if you want to vary/adapt the recipe to your taste, go for it! Nutmeg, coriander, cumin, parsley… Is there anything  you’d like to add, do it. It’s worth it.

Rincewind’s Potato Cakes

1 onion, chopped - 350g potatoes, cooked and mashed - 1 teaspoon sage - 1 or 2 eggs, beaten - l00g white breadcrumbs, dried - sunflower oil

Fry the onion in a little oil until softened. Stir into the mashed potato with the sage and allow the mixture to cool.
Then form the mixture into patties, about the size and shape of small, thick beefburgers. Brush the patties with the beaten egg and then turn them in a bowl containing the breadcrumbs.
Heat some more oil in a frying pan and fry the potato cakes until they are golden brown. They are quite delicious and can be eaten on the run

I served them along with green beans and some tomato sauce. The whole family really enjoyed the meal, and I’m sure the kids won’t wait for long before asking me to make some more…

Tomorrow I should be able to test the recipe that was initially planned for today. After that I’ll have to see how to continue that Discworld cookery project, probably at a slower pace. But I promise i won’t stop!

More Discworld cookery

virtusferocia replied to your post: Came for the portrayal, staying for the portrayal…

omg u nugget

no , no , no. nuggets are made from chicken. i’d be more along the lines of a red potato , or a wedge , or , in the most extreme of cases , a steak fry. but not a nugget. the only golden brown deliciousness i’m able to turn into is a well crafted french fry. common misconception , i understand.

He’s The Teacher? (22/?)

I woke up at around 9 am, my arms still securely wrapped around y/n’s waist as she slept blissfully. I’m still quite shocked about the pregnancy, but I’m also excited to be having a family with y/n.
I quietly removed myself from the bed, pulling up my boxers and a pair of sweats before making my way down to her small kitchen.
after making a few phone calls, i mixed up some pancake mix and poured the circles of batter into the pan, waiting for the golden brown deliciousness to cook. Speaking of deliciousness, I felt two warm arms wrap around me from behind, along with a head resting on my back, occasionally giving me a few kisses
“Morning, love” i greeted, turning around and kissing her lips quickly before bringing her into a tight hug.

“Aren’t you meant to be teaching a class right now Mr. Howell?” she questioned

“Aren’t you meant to be IN a class right now Miss Y/L/N?” I replied with much sass

“touche” she giggled, the sound warming my heart.

“I called in sick, they’ve got someone to cover for me. I want to spend time with you” I explained properly to her, causing a smile to take over her gorgeous features.

“thank-you” She said as she stood on tippy toes, kissing my cheek

“I’m going to the doctor to have an ultrasound today if you’d like to come?” Y/n asked me.

“I’d love to” I kissed the top of her head before turning and flipping the pancake.

Breakfast was delicious (obviously, I made it. and they weren’t just any old pancakes, oh no. They were freaking Delia Smith pancakes!)
and once y/n and I had both gotten showered and dressed, we were on our way to the doctor.
I could tell she was nervous the whole time we waited in the hospital room, so I did all I could to calm her down.

The first ultrasound was over and to be honest, there wasn’t much to see. It’s far too early in the pregnancy but it was still exciting to see where our baby was… our baby. Just those words make me smile.

After a long, joyful day of food, park time, and walking endless streets, it felt good to sit down on her sofa. And it wasn’t long for her to be cuddled up into my side.

“I love you y/n” i reminded her

“I love you too Daniel” she replied, giving my lips a soft kiss.

“will you move in with me?” I blurted out. I had been thinking about it all day, but I could have come up with a smoother way of asking her… well done brain.

“what?” she asked, looking into my eyes, clearly a little shocked.

“I totally understand if you don’t want to… But I’ve just been thinking, and honestly I hate the mornings I wake up and your not there in my arms and well.. I can take care of you easier if we live together. And considering we will be raising a little family together, it would be easier moving now, before our baby decides to grow bigger and-“ my rambling was cut short when y/n placed her perfect, sweet lips on mine.

“I’d love to Dan” she smiled happily at me. I mirrored her smile and attached my lips to hers again, kissing passionately. I felt tears rolling down Y/n’s cheeks, and quickly pulled back, panicking about whats wrong. But she was sat there with the happiest smile i had seen on the gorgeous face.

“why are you crying, baby?” i questioned, very confused

“i don’t know” she giggled

“bloody pregnancy hormones.” i complained sarcastically

“shut up!” y/n exclaimed as she slapped my chest playfully

“I think we should keep your bed when you move in”

“why’s that?”

“mine squeaks a lot and i don’t think the neighbours will appreciate the continuous squeaking when I’m fucking you”

“oh my god… Dan!” I laughed as Y/N’s cheeks went bright red and she buried her face into my shoulder

“Hey, at least if warning you now” I said as i kissed her temple

“Your an idiot” she mumbles

“I’m your idiot though” i replied in a cheesy way, giving her a big grin.

We sat in comfortable silence, enjoying the others body against our own.
“have you told your parents y/n?” i questioned

“um… well i thought that they should meet you before telling them..” she replied nervously

“well, we better meet soon then"


Previous Chapters Here! 

Oh My God You Sleep With That? Pt. III {bucky x reader}

Plot: A loud noise at the base has you checking out the source of the ruckus in the middle of night. You clutch your stuffed toy cat Charlie (whom you’ve been sleeping with since you were young) for some moral support as you hunt down the intruder.

In this chapter: the morning after + lots of Avengers interactions

Pairing: Bucky x Reader (it’s more friendly though, maybe flirty)

Wordcount: 1.5K+

Warnings: mild swearing but its super PG don’t worry kids

Tags: @matteblackvevo @5secondsofmerrick  

In case you missed it: Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four | Part Five (final)


Originally posted by assetandmission

Ah, pancakes. And bacon.

Even with last night’s shenanigans, the smell of Vision’s cooking wafting through the living quarters of the base brought you out of your slumber easily. Brushing your teeth only seemed to whet your appetite more and more. You waddled to the dining area, groggy-eyed and yawning between steps.

Steve, Wanda and Natasha were already seated and digging into those pancakes, golden-brown deliciousness stacked tall (much like Thor). Soon after, Sam who had finished his morning jog joined you at the table.

“What took you so long, Sam?” Steve smirked. The two often worked out together in the morning.

Steve had a sense of humour, but he always reused his jokes. Sam probably heard it every morning. Rolling his eyes, he replied curtly, “ahha ha ha.”

You were waiting for them to ask about last night. The elephant in the room. Or rather, the broken windows and furniture in the room. Vision’s pancakes were clearly more important. There was no talking whatsoever, only the sounds of metal scratching against ceramic plates, and munching, lots of munching.

“Good morning, Midgardian comrades! I made coffee,” Thor popped into the dining area with a tray of white mugs. “Extra strong for Lady Widow, and with almond milk for the Captain.”

Sam cocked Steve an eyebrow and smirked.

“Thanks, Thor,” Nat began, “so I’m guessing you’re the one behind this mess?” She took a generous sip of the coffee.

“Yes, surprise! I am back from Asgard!” Thor was as chirpy as always, even though he had crashed through a window about six hours ago.

Sam shook his head gently, talking through a mouthful of pancakes, “hohoho Tony’s gonna be SO FRICKIN’ PISSED.”

“So, last night…  ” You told them the story of the night before – how you thought the base was under attack, how you found the intruder in the kitchen but it turned out to be Bucky, and how you both found Thor in pantry with fruit loops in his hair.

“And it turns out, Thor just wanted coffee! I can’t believe none of you woke up last night, he was really loud. I was scared SHITLESS,” you admitted.

Wanda smiled at you, she knew how you were afraid to fight on your own because she was too. She once confided in you after her first mission alone with Steve where they had to split up. Without someone by her side, she couldn’t stop worrying about overusing her powers on someone, or worse – freezing up when she really needed to.

“Why don’t you join me in combat classes! Steve’s a great teacher, I beat Bucky the other day,” she offered.

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voyageboots  asked:

Oh wise creator of the toaster!verse, which is the optimal toast cooking setting?

Here is my toasting procedure:

1. Put bread in slots.  Wander away, confident that you will return to golden brown deliciousness.

2.  Return a minute later to find that toaster has spit out the bread, still sad and pale and not at all toast.  Check the settings, realize that toaster is still set for when you made pretzels, which means that the bread is so cold needs a jacket.

3.  Sigh

4.  Change the setting on the toaster.

4a. Changing the setting on the toaster will guarantee that next time you make pretzels, they will end up charred and black because you will have forgotten you touched the settings because YOU ARE AN IDIOT.

5.  Stare at the toaster this time, sure that you will be aware of the exact moment that toast nirvana will occur.

6.  Miss that moment, remove kind of charred toast.

7.  Sigh.

8.  Scrape black bits off into the trash, or, if you’re feeling super lazy, into the sink.

9.  Realize you should’ve taken the butter out of the fridge when this process started, but nope, hard as a brick and your toast is cooling rapidly.

10. Give up, eat toast.

There is a reason why I invented a technological marvel of a toaster that CAN DO THIS RIGHT WITHOUT MY INPUT.

Salmon, rice and beans

Submitted to MasterChef by sayattheexplorer

Balsamic glazed salmon bites, salmon chicharron, seared salmon loin, mint basil rice, cilantro bud beans, lime mint yogurt, basil and cilantro flowers

The mystery box arrived when I was running from the test kitchen to class. Let’s at least get the wheels turning, I thought. Constrains are the greatest fuel for creativity — this is why I always get excited about mystery boxes. 

I saw the salmon cuts, and I concluded immediately ”well, the belly is on, I’ll probably want more even cooking than that will allow but it’s a beautiful piece of fish, I don’t want to use it all up in a meat ball.” My box had rice, canned beans, yogurt, mint, basil, salmon, balsamic vinegar. I was thrilled. 

I wanted to get more flavor into the rice and beans but keep them separate; use the yogurt as a sauce and a bright element and the balsamic vinegar as a glaze. 

This season since the advent of spring, I made a conscious effort to taste herbs at every stage of their development . Magic happens when cilantro goes to seed for instance. You can add it to hot preparations but still retain that bright cilantro flavor. So, that’s what I did with the beans to bring the season onto the plate. I also garnished with basil, cilantro and borage flowers. 

Here is the recipe for the beans — click here for the rest of the recipes and more photos. 

Ingredients

15 oz can of beans, washed, drained

1 slice of bacon, minced

1 jalapeno, deseeded, pithed, and minced

2 oz onion, minced

1 clove garlic, minced

½ red bell pepper, medium dice

2 T cilantro buds

1/4 C vegetable stock (optional)

salt to taste

  1. Render the bacon until the minced bacon bits are golden brown and delicious on medium to high heat, stirring as necessary. Discard half the rendered fat if desired. 
  2. Lower the heat to medium. Add the minced onions and sweat until translucent. Add the garlic, the jalapeno, and the red bell peppers to the mix. Let it sweat until garlic is fragrant. 
  3. Add the cilantro seeds and incorporate by stirring. Add the vegetable stock and reduce by half. Add the beans and warm in the pan. Pay attention not to overcook the beans. Keep them whole. Season with salt. 
A Comedy of Errors

A Birthday Fic!

read it here on AO3 :)

Cas squinted down at the piece of paper in front of him, his forehead wrinkled in concentration. He read over the line he’d just written, and then drew a neat line through the last word, hovering his pen over the page whilst he tried to think of a replacement. He glanced at the clock; he’d been working on this for most of the day so far, and had only managed to grind out two pages. It should flow easily, he thought distractedly, after all this time – but somehow, when he tried to write it all down, it just wouldn’t come out right. And it was important, incredibly important, that it did come out right: for one thing, this was the only present that Cas had got Dean for his birthday this year. And for another, if he did it wrong, if he said too much or too little, if he wrote too blandly or too melodramatically, Dean would probably scoff at the whole thing. He was probably going to do that anyway, Cas thought to himself. He was probably going to throw it in the trash and never talk about it again. Maybe he’d even go as far as throwing Cas out of the bunker, because it would be too awkward to live with him after reading it. Maybe…

Cas sighed frustratedly and scrubbed out the whole of the last line he’d just written. He began the sentence anew, but after a few words, the pen he was using ran out of ink, and he was left scratching indents into the paper to no avail. With a roll of his eyes, Cas got up and went in search of another pen. This was the second time it had happened; maybe Dean’s gift was going to be an embarrassment, but at least it would be a multi-coloured one.

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