Dean steps through the front door of their house, careful not to knock or jostles the grocery bag in his hand as he shrugs off his coat.
“Cas,” he calls out as he blithely side-steps the assortment of beartraps decorating the foyer. “Castiel?”
“We’re in the attic.” Castiel’s voice drifts down from the upper floors of the house. Dean takes a moment to toe off his shoes and place the groceries on the counter before heading upstairs. The ancient pull down ladders hangs from the ceiling, leading to the attic. It doesn’t surprise Dean that Castiel is up there; ever since they began talking about adotption and met with the agency, Castiel has been focused on turning it into a nursery. Castiel’s deep, melodious voice echoes through the cavernous space, bouncing off of the exposed eaves, as he recites an Emily Dickinson poem. Dean takes the first steps up the ladder.
“Hey Cas, you just decided to read up-” he stops mid sentence and freezes. His husband is sitting in the center of the room, poetry book open and legs tucked beneath him. Beside him, a small girl with thick dark curls in a prim burgundy dress scribbles furiously with a crayon. Her head jerks toward Dean at the sound of his voice.
“Uh, hey,” Dean says cautiously, slightly unnerved by the little girl’s staring. “Cas, who’s your little friend?” Castiel stops reading, looking at the child and then to Dean.
“Amara,” he replies, with no further explanation. The child raises a hands and gives Dean a tiny wave. Dean, instinctively, waves back.
“Ah,” Dean says, nodding. “Is she… one of the neighbor kids?”
“No,” Castiel says, turning his attention back to his book. Dean frowns, his brows drawing together.
“Is…. she a relative?” In the years they’ve been together, Dean has met an endless stream of distant Addams’ cousins, aunts, and uncles. For one to appear on there doorstep for a visit wouldn’t be entirely out-of-character.
“Well, I suppose she is now.” Dean looks back at the girl, growing more concerned, because the sudden appearance of a random kid in your house is usually accompanied by an Amber Alert..
“Cas, can I get your help for a minute in the kitchen?” he asks. Castiel makes an annoyed huff but nods and sets his book down. He rises to his feet, telling Amara to stay put, before following Dean down the stairs.
“Oh good, you went to the store.” Castiel’s face brightens as soon as they step into the kitchen, his eyes drawn to the plastic container on the counter. “Did you remember to buy the pomegranetes-” Dean turns to face him, his expression solemn
“Castiel, who is that little girl?” he hisses. Castiel blinks a few times in confusion.
“Amara,” he says. “I told you.”
“Who. Is. Amara. Cas?” Dean emphasizes each word. “Why do we have some… little girl suddenly hanging around our house?”
“She… lives here now,” Castiel replies hesitantly, looking like a child about to be chastised. “We’ve… we’ve been talking about expanding our family for so long, and you brought home the papers from the agency last week.” Dean’s jaw hangs open as realization sets it.
“You adopted her?” he asks. Castiel shrugs.
“It’s far less formal than that,” he admits. Dean’s mind is whirring with a mix of emotions and the sudden presence of a child who is now, well… their’s.
“Who is she, Cas? Where did she come from?” he asks. Castiel meets Dean’s eyes, clearly trying to choose his words carefully.
“She is a child in need of someone who understands her,” he says. “She is going to have a difficult life unless she has guidance and an outlet… the way that I did.” He looks down at his feet, an odd sort of vulnerability casting a shadow over him. Dean reaches out, running a hand down his arms until their fingers twine together.
“Castiel?” A small voice pipes up behind Dean. Amara stands in the doorway, small hands clasped behind her back. “I’m finished coloring.” She holds up a piece of paper, covered in a mess of black scribbles. Castiel takes a step forward and kneels down in front of her, carefully taking the picture from her.
“Well, that is wonderful,” he says. He turns to Dean. “Don’t you think so?” Amara looks up at Dean with big brown eyes. He recognizes something beneath them, an agelessness that he can’t quite put his finger on, but admires all the same. He has only seen that in one other person before: Castiel.
“It’s great,” Dean finally says, taking the picture from Castiel. “Do you want to put it on the fridge?” Amara gives a small, shy smile and hurries to stick her art up. Castiel moves to Dean’s side and takes Dean’s hand.
“Thank you,” he whispers, pressing a kiss to Cas’ cheek. Dean tilts his head and returns the kiss.