Where beta!Lisa, engaged to alpha!Dean, has her heart set on a specific wedding planner. Omega!Castiel is the best of the best. He’s in high demand, and people from all over the country flock to his office for consultations. He’s even planned multiple celebrity weddings. Everyone who attends his events raves about “transcendence” and “beauty beyond belief,” and Lisa is determined to have that for her wedding. And her father, the owner and CEO of a large international corporation, agrees to hire Cas for her at any cost.
The first time Cas and Lisa meet is at the reception for one of his weddings. They discuss cost and what she’d want in the ceremony and how many people would be attending. For whatever reason, they never bring up the fiancé.
And at one point, when Cas pulls out his phone, Lisa sees the picture of the young girl on his phone background.
“Oh, your daughter’s just adorable! And would you look at her eyes! They’re so green!” Lisa exclaims, trying to butter up the wedding planner.
“Thanks. She got them from her father.” Cas explains, but then immediately changes the topic.
“Sounds perfect!” Lisa exclaims once they’ve discussed prices and fees. And for a little while, it seems like it will be.
That is, until the next appointment when Cas goes down to the lobby of his office building to meet Lisa and her fiancé and comes face to face with…
“Cas! You’re our wedding planner?” Dean’s shocked; apparently, he’s one of those grooms who doesn’t get very involved in the planning.
“I guess I am.” Cas says as he reaches out to shake the alpha’s hand. The second their hands meet, he feels it; that same old spark that he used to feel every time his childhood crush had so much as looked at him.
“Cas and I were neighbors growing up.” Dean explains, and Lisa grins. This is better than she’d hoped. If Dean and Cas were old friends, then the wedding planner was sure to make her special day even better,
“That’s amazing!” She says, but Cas’s attention is suddenly on his phone.
He’s busy texting his assistant, Hannah. “CODE RED! HIDE ALL PICTURES OF MARY.”
“Sorry, another client needed confirmation of a venue.” He lies smoothly, smiling at the couple as he pockets his phone, “Why don’t we head up to my office and discuss some details.”
He breathes a sigh of relief in the elevator when Hannah texts him back with a simple “Done.”
It’s not that he ever planned to hide Mary from Dean. He’d tried telling him when he found out about the pregnancy seven years ago. But before he could say anything, the alpha had said, “It didn’t mean anything, Cas. We were drunk and stupid.”
And Cas had nodded and smiled, fighting tears as he said, “Right! Of course. I just wanted to make sure we were on the same page about that.”
It had been hard enough to go through the pregnancy alone, his body yearning for a mate to take care of it. But when he’d thought about the callous way Dean had acted, it only made it worse. So over the years, he’d stopped thinking about it. He’d never planned on seeing Dean again, much less telling him they had a daughter.
But now here is the very man, in the flesh. Heading up to his office with his fiancé. Cas briefly considers dropping the wedding, but realizes that it would be too suspicious if he did. Plus, Lisa’s father is paying double his usual rate; Cas would be stupid to throw away that kind of money. It’s not like he ever brings up Mary with his clients, and Dean’s just another client, right?
So he continues to plan the wedding for them. He schedules venue viewings and dance classes. He arranges bouquets with Lisa’s favorite flowers. He selects color swatches to complement her skin tone. He forces a smile the whole way through it.
But as he spends more time with Lisa, he begins to realize that the wedding is more her parents’ idea than hers and Dean’s. She often drops comments like, “That’s why Dean is dad’s favorite,” or, “Dad wants Dean to take over the company when he retires; it’s one of the main reasons he set us up.”
Until one day, Cas finally asks her, “Do you really want this?”
And she shrugs. “I don’t need really mind it.”
And Cas is hurt, for her and for Dean, because they both deserve so much more. And he’s also hurt for himself. The selfish part of Cas’s brain cries, ‘I deserve him! Mary and I need our alpha!’ But he says nothing.
And throughout all this, Dean tries to revive some of their old friendship; he invites Cas out to drinks with Sam and Crowley so they can all catch up on old times.
“Not a word about Mary!” Cas warns Crowley before they go inside to meet the brothers, and although Crowley drops a couple of hints, nothing is said about his daughter. Instead, they talk about Sam’s new mate, Jess, and Crowley’s successful business, and Cas’s lack of a mate. But Dean never finds out about their little girl. And as the wedding draws nearer, Cas starts to feel like he actually might make it out of this unscathed.
What he doesn’t count on is Sam. Sam picking up Jess from her new teaching job at the school where Mary attends; Sam seeing Cas walk out of the building with Mary; Sam realizing who Mary’s father is the moment he sees her big green eyes. But Cas doesn’t see Sam, so the younger Winchester decides to investigate before making any wild accusations.
He takes Dean out for drinks one night and asks him casually, “So, did you and Cas ever have sex?”
And Dean chokes on his beer and almost spews it over the bar. And as Sam claps him on the back, he knows that the answer is yes.
Once Dean regains his breath, Sam asks his follow up. “Did he ever talk to you about it? Like, say, maybe nine months later?”
Dean spits out the water he’d been gulping down.
And so that next day, Sam takes Dean with him to pick up Jess. And they sit in the car, watching the front doors as students and parents emerge in the end of school rush. And then Dean sees Cas walk out, holding a little girl’s hand, and his heart, which had been hammering nervously, stops.
She’s the most beautiful thing Dean has ever seen. She keeps looking up at Cas and talking animatedly, her face full of trust and love. Dean takes in everything about her, from her wild brown hair to her bright green eyes. She likes yellow, that much is obvious from her outfit. Her tennis shoes light up as she jumps around and waves at the other kids.
And before Dean realizes what he’s doing, he’s out of the car, crossing the parking lot toward them, ignoring Sam’s warnings. He stops right in front of them, and Cas’s eyes widen.
“I think we need to talk.” Dean growls, and Cas visibly pales.
“Of course. Why don’t we meet…”
“Now, Cas!” Dean demands. But then he hears a soft growl and he looks down to see the little girl, his little girl, standing in front of her papa, glaring up at Dean fiercely.
“You’re supposed to say please, Mister!” She chastises, and Dean can’t help his smile.
“Right. Cas, can we please go talk? All of us?” He asks, and Cas can sense the quiet desperation in his eyes. And he knows this is a bad idea; dean’s about to marry someone else, and this will not help with Cas’s broken heart. But he knows how selfish that would be, to keep Dean away from his daughter just because of some unresolved feelings.
So they all go out for ice cream. And a few days later they go to the park. And a few days after that they go to the zoo. And as time passes, they start spending a lot more time together. And the more time Dean spends with Mary, the more he falls in love with her. And the more he falls in love with his daughter, the more Cas falls back in love with him. And the more time they spend together, the more Dean realizes what he’s missing in his relationship with Lisa.
But he can’t do anything about it. He’s engaged to Lisa; he gave her and her father his word, and Dean Winchester doesn’t back out on his word. And yeah, neither of them is really keen on the whole marriage and mating for life, but they don’t hate each other, and the sex is pretty good. And even though neither of them is the jealous type, Dean doesn’t trust Lisa to understand the situation with Cas. So he doesn’t tell her about it.
He doesn’t explore his motives behind the decision, maybe because he knows that if he does, the life he’s worked so hard for will completely unravel. Because he’s starting to realize that he likes Cas, a lot. He liked him a lot back when they were just friends, but now it’s growing into something more. And if he thinks about it too much, he will leave Lisa. He’ll probably lose his job, and his whole fucking life is wrapped up in that. So he keeps a tight rein on his emotions toward the omega but not toward their daughter.
But Cas, he doesn’t know why Dean does this; he assumes the alpha hates him for keeping Mary a secret, for pulling him into this mess at all. So he keeps drawing in further to himself, putting up those emotional barriers between him and the alpha. He keeps telling himself that he has to if he’s going to survive.
And then the day of the wedding arrives, and Cas is hurrying about the church, making sure that everything’s running smoothly. He gives Lisa his usual cold-feet speech; he makes sure her father isn’t too drunk. He knows that he’s supposed to check on Dean, but he can’t, because he’s a chickenshit who can’t face the man he loves.
Instead, he sends Hannah to check on Dean. But right before she goes, Cas gets a call from Mary’s school. She fell off the monkey bars during recess and broke her wrist, and an ambulance is taking her to the emergency room. Cas needs to meet them there. So Cas hands off the wedding to Hannah and rushes away to the emergency room.
And when Hannah goes to check on Dean, the alpha asks where Cas is. And without thinking, Hannah tells him about Mary’s broken wrist. And Dean is stunned at the overwhelming instinct that floods through him. It’s not just an instinct to protect his daughter, even though she’s a major part of it. It’s the instinct to protect his omega. His body demands that he go to his mate and take care of him, and suddenly, nothing else matters.
So he runs over to the bridal suite and tugs Lisa out into a quiet alcove, despite her protests that the groom isn’t supposed to see the bride before the ceremony. And he finally tells her everything. He tells her about the hookup that he wasn’t actually drunk for and the years of radio silence from his friend and the shock of discovering he had a daughter and the thrill of being back with Cas.
And Lisa has tears in her eyes, because she truly does care for Dean, when she whispers, “Dean, why the hell are you still here with me when your family needs you?”
So Dean rushes to the ER, fighting his way through lunch time traffic. When Dean steps into Mary’s examination room, Cas’s head shoots up, his eyes wide.
“What the hell are you doing here, Dean? You’re supposed to be getting married!” He demands, but Dean shakes his head as he bends down to kiss his omega.
“I’m here to take care of my family.”
And it’s not like things get magically better after that. There’s still Lisa’s father to deal with; which, he doesn’t fire Dean, but things are pretty tense around the office for a few weeks. And Cas and Dean still have their own personal issues to work through; years of separation still stand between them. But Dean is determined that they’re going to make it, and he eventually convinces Cas of that, as well.
And after months of Sunday dinners and late night kisses and snowy days in and weekend trips and movie nights—months of them being a family together—when Dean asks Cas to marry him, the omega readily says yes. And they both know that they’re not doing it for anyone else but themselves, for each other. Okay, maybe they’re doing it a little bit for Mary and her new little brother or sister that’s still in Cas’s tum.
So when their wedding planner goes to give Cas the cold feet speech, the omega just shakes his head and assures her with a content smile, “I’ve never been more sure of anything in my life, Hannah.” And when he sees Dean beaming at him from the front of the altar, eager to start their new life together, he knows that his alpha feels the same way.