Here’s that fic I wrote that I don’t like. It’s untitled, but it’s inspired by the song Unanswered Prayers by Garth Brooks.
Even though the sun hasn’t quite reached halfway to its zenith, the day is already hot enough that Dean is eyeing the pond on the far side of the park with serious consideration. The fact that it’s brown and muddy, and the surrounding land is torn up by ducks and geese and stinks of bird shit is only slightly off putting. Which means he’s either suffering from heat stroke, because gross, or it’s time to head over to the lemonade stand for some cold liquid refreshment.
“Hey, babe?” He calls over his shoulder.
“I’m going to get a lemonade. Want one?”
“Get me one with raspberries?”
Dean smiles. “You bet. Back in a few.”
Before he leaves the shade under the awning, he presses a kiss to a warm cheek. He gets a distracted smile in response, but doesn’t stick around for more. He’s caught in the siren song coming from the stand at the other end of the Farmer’s Market that sells fresh squeezed lemonade. His mouth is already watering at the thought.
It’s even hotter outside the shade, and he can feel the sun’s heat sinking into his shoulders and arms, making him glad he remembered sunscreen this week. He’ll probably still end up with a slew of new freckles, though. At least there’s a slight breeze cooling his skin where it’s bared by his shorts and tank top. He plucks at his shirt, encouraging a little air circulation under the sweat-damp material.
The line at the lemonade stand isn’t too long, at least. He steps up behind the others waiting their turn, and hums under his breath, letting his mind wander over the latest notes he’d received from his editor. It’s a little frustrating that he’s going to have to cut a scene he’d been planning for so long, but also a relief that Charlie agrees with his decision. As usual he’d gotten caught up in writer’s block due to being stubborn about the direction of the story, but after talking it out with her, his mind is already racing ahead to the next five scenes.
He’s almost to the front of the line when a voice he hasn’t heard in years breaks him from his musings.
“Lisa?” Dean grins as he turns to greet her. “Holy shit, hi!”
It’s as natural as breathing to accept the hug she offers him with outstretched arms. Although there’s the slightest twinge of oddness when he realizes she’s not quite as tiny as he remembers her to be.
The hug is tight, but short and she steps back to look up at him, her dark eyes alight with happiness. “Wow. Dean Winchester. I wasn’t sure sure it was you at first. How long has it been?”
He purses his lips as he digs through old memories. The last one he can vaguely recall is a lazy Sunday spent fishing on a summer day just like this one. “Man… I think it was the summer after graduation? So seventeen… eighteen years?”
Lisa rolls her eyes with a groan. “Oh god, has it really been that long? Now I feel old.”
He chuckles at her distress. “Well if it makes you feel better, you look great.”
And she does. A quick glance reveals that she’s still fit and trim. Her hair is still glossy and thick, and her skin smooth. Only the faint laugh lines around her eyes and the sharper edge of her cheekbones show her age at all. When he was a kid, his eyes would have lingered on her body or her mouth, but while he still finds her beautiful, she no longer makes his heart race the way it did when he was in high school.
Her cheeks flush under the compliment. “Well thank you. You’re looking good too.” She circles her fingers in the direction of his eyes. “The glasses are cute.”
Striking a dignified pose, he reaches up and pushes them up higher on the bridge of his nose. “I’ve been told they make me look distinguished.”
Lisa laughs, light and melodious. “I guess that’s better than ‘nerdy’.”
He waves a dismissive hand. “I’d take that as a compliment these days.”
She blinks at him, and he can tell she’s surprised. But before she can respond, the last person in line ahead of him leaves with their lemonade, and the young man running the stand calls for the next customer.
“You want something?” Dean asks Lisa, hooking a thumb towards the menu hanging next to the stall. She nods, then immediately tries to talk him out of paying, but he won’t hear it. “It’s just a lemonade, Lis’.” The old nickname rolls of his tongue. “It’s not like I’m buying a fancy dinner.”
After a moment she relents, and Dean orders two large lemonades and a large raspberry lemonade. When Lisa lifts a questioning brow at the third order, he grins. “That one is for the ol’ ball and chain.”
Her eyebrows go up. “You’re married?”
“Yeah, going on ten years now.” He accepts the first drink from the kid making them, and passes it over to Lisa. She looks so flabbergasted that he laughs. “What? Didn’t think anyone would want me?”
She accepts the cup, but gives him a stern look. “It’s not that. I’m just surprised you finally settled down.”
With a wince and a nod, he accepts her explanation. “Fair point.” He accepts the other two drinks, and steps away from the stand to give the next customer room to order. “Want to meet ‘em? We have a booth over that way-” he gestures with his own drink, “-selling honey.”
She smiles brightly. “I’d love to.”
He tilts his head in a motion to follow him and sets off across the market, weaving through the empty spots in the crowds. Despite the heat, he’s not in a hurry. The ice in his lemonade chills it enough that he’s worried about brain freeze if he sucks it down too fast, and now he’s able to actually enjoy the day. As well as the company.
“So you sell honey now?” Lisa asks in between sips of her own drink.
“Yeah, we have a bunch of hives. Although that’s just fun money. I pay the bills with my books.”
Lisa almost misses a step, and she looks up at him with wide eyes. “Your books? Are you saying you’re a writer?”
“Published and everything.” Okay, so he may be bragging a little bit, but he is kinda famous now.
“What do you write?”
“Horror mostly.” He grins down at her. “It’s cathartic to turn all the noise in my head into bloody death and destruction on the pages.”
She pales slightly. “Really?”
“Most of my stories have a happy ending.” Not his first few books. It took finding his his own happy ending - and beyond - to learn how to write them for his characters.
“Huh. Maybe I’ll have to check them out.”
He can tell from her tone that she’s not really interested. It’s a little bit of a bummer, but he knows the horror genre isn’t for everyone. Especially for someone as optimistic as Lisa. So he decides to change the subject. “What about you? What’s been going on in your life and what brings you back to Lawrence?”
She visibly brightens. “I’m moving back here to be closer to my family. Plus I’m opening a yoga studio.”
“Oh yeah? That’s pretty awesome.” The crowds part and he can see the honey stand not too far away. There’s a young couple sorting through the jars, pointing out different flavors to each other as they try to decide which one they want. Dean always suggests the blackberry. It’s his favorite.
“I’m excited for it,” she says. Then her voice turns shy. “I also… have a son.”
That grabs Dean’s attention, and he turns his head so he can focus on her again. “Wow, really? Tell me about him.”
“His name is Ben, and he’s thirteen.” Lisa goes on to tell him about how Ben is a little flirt with the girls, and loves classic rock. She laughs and points out how it’s funny that her son is turning out so much like the bad boy type that she’s always been into. “His dad’s not around,” she says with a shrug and a grin, “So apparently I’m the bad influence.”
Dean scoffs. “Sounds to me like you’re the best influence.”
She laughs. “Thanks, I guess.”
They’re stopped just outside the stand now, and the couple picking through the honey has made their decision and are walking away with their purchase. Dean leads Lisa into the empty space they leave behind. He meets curious blue eyes over the table still half full of honey jars. Ten years, and those eyes still make his pulse race as if he’s looking at his crush instead of his spouse. “Hey, babe, there’s someone I’d like you to meet.”
With a nod, Castiel stashes the money he just made in the cash box and gently closes the lid. As if it’s a delicate piece of crystal and not a clunky metal box. Dean’s eyes follow the movements of his long, delicate fingers before turning to Lisa to gauge her reaction to his husband.
She looks slightly confused, her smile not quite as full as it was before, and he bites his bottom lip to suppress a grin. It used to be hard to come out to people. But now, he enjoys the shock factor. It’s almost as good as hearing fans talk about how scared shitless they are when they read his books. And Lisa hadn’t been a part of his life for several years by the time he came to terms with his bisexuality, so she had no clue about the secret he’d been keeping from the world when they were in high school.
Castiel comes around the table and stands next to Dean. He accepts the raspberry lemonade Dean hands him with a grateful smile, and then turns his attention to Lisa. “Hello.”
“Lisa, this is my husband Castiel.” Dean snakes an arm around Castiel’s waist and pulls him close. The back of his shirt is even more damp than Dean’s despite the fact that he’s stayed in the shade the whole time they’ve been at the Market. “Cas, this is Lisa. We were a thing way back in highschool.”
Lisa looks back and forth between them for a moment, disbelief clear in her eyes. But it fades quickly when she realizes Dean is serious. “Hello, Cas. It’s nice to meet you.”
“It’s good to meet you as well,” Castiel says, all formality, because heaven forbid he shed his private schooled, silver-spoon-in-the-mouth, upbringing. Not that Dean minds. He thinks it’s sexy. “Dean has talked about you, and I’m happy to put a face with the name.”
“Oh no!” Lisa laughs. “That doesn’t sound good.”
Castiel’s smile is gentle, but his eyes shine with good humor. “I’ve only heard good things, I promise.”
Lisa laughs again and expresses her disbelief, but Castiel is insistent. Eventually their conversation turns to the honey sold at the stand, and Dean stands back and watches them interact while sipping his lemonade.
It’s odd, seeing his past and his present standing side by side, talking about the pollination habits of bees. Lisa had been his everything when they were kids. Eighteen had seemed so grown up at the time, but looking back on it now from the comfort of his mid-thirties, he can only shake his head at how young they’d truly been. It’s no wonder their relationship hadn’t worked out. Despite wanting the apple pie dream of a marriage, kids, and little house with the white picket fence, Dean had the heart of a wanderer and hesitated to promise to plant roots. Not to mention the fact that he still had a lot of growing up to do, although he hadn’t realized it at the time. Lisa was ready to settle down, and kept turning Dean down when he asked her to hop in the car and go adventuring with him. When they both realized that things between them weren’t going to go past a promise ring, they’d drifted apart.
Dean had prayed every night for a long time that she’d change her mind. But when he came back to Lawrence after a year on the road, he’d learned that she’d moved away. With no way to find her he’d finally given up hope that they’d get back together and give life together a go. And he’d gone back out on the road, looking for the happiness he longed for.
Eight years, thousands more miles on the Impala, and a couple published books later, Dean met Castiel. He’d been out trolling for a one night stand, but he’d been hooked by Castiel’s dark messy hair, passionate blue eyes instead. And he discovered a man to love under the thick layer of sexy. One night turned into two, which turned into a week, and somehow it spread into the last ten years. And hopefully their whole lives to come.
They had the marriage part of Dean’s childhood dreams, but instead of a house in a nice neighborhood they had a little farmhouse with a small orchard on the edge of town Dean had grown up in. They weren’t sure yet if they wanted to expand their family past their siblings and nieces and nephews, but it wasn’t off the table yet. In the meantime Dean had his books, Castiel had his bees, and most of all, they had each other. Maybe it wasn’t “apple pie”, but since pecan is his favorite anyway, it worked out perfectly.
At eighteen he hadn’t known this kind of happiness could exist.
He wonders if he could have found it with Lisa. Perhaps. He’d definitely loved her. But with almost two decades between their time together and now, he certainly can’t imagine what his life would have been like if he’d gotten what he’d prayed for back then. He doesn’t even want to try.
“Well, I’d better get out of here,” Lisa says. “It’s almost time for me to pick Ben up from baseball practice.”
Dean shakes away his thoughts, and focuses on her. “You should bring him around some time. I’d love to meet him.”
“I’d like that.” And she looks like she genuinely means it. Which is great. Dean would love to rekindle their friendship.
Castiel and Lisa exchange goodbyes, and then Castiel leans into Dean’s side while they both watch her disappear into the crowd.
“She seems very nice,” Castiel murmurs.
“Yeah, she’s cool.”
He feels Castiel’s eyes on the side of his face. “Just cool? Wasn’t she the girl you prayed to God you’d get to keep forever?”
Dean chuckles and turns to meet Castiel’s eyes. His husband’s lips are just barely turned up at the corner, a sure tell that he’s teasing. “I can’t believe you remember that. We were both wasted when I told you about her.”
“You were wasted,” Castiel counters. “My tolerance for alcohol is higher than yours.”
“Yeah, yeah, don’t brag.” Dean leans in and presses a kiss to Castiel’s lips.
When they pull apart, Dean sighs. He’s not sure it’s possible for him to ever get tired of Castiel’s kisses.
“I’m pretty thankfully actually,” Dean murmurs. He traces shapes against Castiel’s chest through the soft fabric of his t-shirt. His finger brushes over the little golden cross hidden under the shirt’s collar. Castiel has rarely taken it off since Dean gave it to him on their five year anniversary. Dean’s firmly settled into being an atheist, but Castiel still has his faith, yet it’s not something that’s ever come between them. “For not getting an answer to that prayer.”
“Hmm… yes, I’m rather grateful to Him for that myself.” Castiel pecks him on the lips again, and then pulls away. His fingers curl in the hem of Dean’s shirt, and he pulls him around the table and back under the shade of their booth.
They don’t have more than a minute to sip at their drinks together before another customer comes up to the stand. Castiel sets his lemonade aside so that he can assist them, and Dean watches him fondly.
His relationship with God had always been tenuous, even before he decided he didn’t believe at all. But right then and there, he sends up a prayer of thanks for all the good things in his life. You know, just in case someone is listening. He may not have gotten what he asked for, not exactly. But he wouldn’t trade what he has now for anything else in the world.