Going to see a Led Zeppelin tribute band (Letz Zep) would be the perfect way to celebrate the end of their latest hunt, so Dean thought. Sure, it wasn’t the original band, but it was as close as he’d ever get. It was amazing they were performing so close to the bunker anyway, only an eight hour drive! How could they possibly miss out on such an opportunity?
Castiel was the first to accept Dean’s offer to go. He felt tingly at the very idea of hearing this music Dean had introduced him to live. Neither Sam nor Jack wanted to go though. Sam for the fact he disliked the crowds at these things. Jack refusing as he was 14-hours deep into a 24 marathon and didn’t want to leave.
It took until the moment before the first encore for Dean to realize he’d spent the whole evening watching Castiel’s reactions to the music instead of watching the band itself – he hadn’t even noticed them leave the stage. He heard their genuinely excellent takes on some of his favorite songs though and was delighted with the skill they played Stairway to Heaven, Whole Lotta Love, Rock and Roll, and so many others, but he hadn’t actually been watching them very much.
“You really like it then?” Dean asked Castiel, not sure why he felt so nervous all of a sudden. “The music? I know it isn’t the real band but–”
“That was truly fantastic,” Castiel reassured him with a gentle smile. He looked around them with a slight frown. “The band has finished, why is no one leaving?” He had to lean in close to Dean’s ear to be heard over the crowd still roaring around them.
“Still an encore to go, dude!”
The band came back out onto the stage and picked up their instruments once more. The crowd was going wild. A few people turned on their phone flashlights and started to wave them through the air.
“Screw that!” Dean shouted pulling a Bic out of his back pocket. Some things were just worth doing right.
As the opening notes to Ramble On started playing, Dean waved the lighter through the air. A few more people around them pulled out lighters of their own.
It was Castiel’s turn to observe the look of glee on Dean’s face. The way his bright, happy eyes reflected the dancing flames. Dean was laughing as he shut his eyes and stood softly swaying, indulging in the moment, letting the music wash over him.
“Thanks to all of you for coming out to hear us play!” the lead singer rasped into his microphone. “You’ve been a great audience!”
The band started on Thank You.
“Here, you gotta give this a try!” Dean was suddenly pressing the plastic lighter into Castiel’s hand.
Castiel frowned but rolled his thumb over the striker.
He tried again, and again, and again, and still could not get the thing to light.
Dean laughed again, spotting Castiel’s frustration. He cupped Castiel’s hand with his own and flicked the lighter at a faster pace than Castiel had been doing.
“If the sun refused to shine,” flowed the music just as the lighter finally lit. “I would still be loving you.”
“Thanks,” Castiel shouted. His arm shot up in the air to join in the swaying. He didn’t quite understand the ritual happening, but felt warmed by it nonetheless.
“Mountains crumble to the sea, there will still be you and me,” the band finished. More applause and whoops came from the sea of humans around them.
“Oh man, man that was so worth it.” Dean’s grin was infectious and Castiel couldn’t help but share in it. It had been mesmerising. Castiel had felt a connection to everyone there just in their joint enjoyment of the music. He’d felt a part of something bigger than himself.
“Thank you, Dean, for inviting me. For introducing me to the music in the first place.”
“Hell yeah! Thanks for not being a stick in the mud like Sammy. He had beer splashed over him at one gig and he’s hated them ever since. Well, plus that last one didn’t turn out so well for us I guess.”
They got into the car and Dean started the engine. Many people wouldn’t think about making the eight hour drive back home immediately after, but Dean Winchester wasn’t most people.
“What was the lighter thing at the end about?”
“Tradition,” Dean grinned. He couldn’t seem to stop beaming. “Easier with a Zippo than those shitty Bics, burned my finger at one point, but still worth it.”
He pulled out of the parking lot, left hand on the wheel, right arm slumped at his side.
“Which finger?” Castiel frowned, pulling Dean’s free hand towards him for inspection. When he saw the sore spot on Dean’s thumb,
he lifted it to his lips and kissed the small burn better.
“Oh,” Dean gulped. “Um, thanks. It would have been OK.” He was very firmly looking ahead of him now, tips of his ears going red.
“It’s no problem,” Castiel shrugged. “What happened to your Zippo?” he asked out of idle curiosity. Dean was usually never without it.
Dean’d jaw tightened. “I had to, er, throw it away a while back. Sometimes when you gotta set something on fire, you want to make sure you get it right first time. No multiple fires, no partial burn.” His voice was getting distant now, frown lines appearing between his eyes. Whatever Dean was remembering, it was nothing pleasant, that much Castiel could guess.
“Shall we listen to our mixtape?” Castiel asked, hoping to distract Dean from whatever misery he was slowly losing himself to.
“That uh, that would be good.” Dean shot Castiel a quick smile. “That would be real good.”
pssst this is the fault of/written for @helianthus21 thank you for conversing with me earlier on the topics of burns and gigs and ohh yesss.