“Shit!” Dean nearly yelled through clenched teeth as he hunched over the papers on his desk.
Cas was peaking over the cubicle wall. “Are you okay?” he asked, concerned.
“I’m fine, Cas,” Dean said, waving his workmate off.
Cas hovered. He always hovered. “Are you sure?”
“Yeah,” Dean said, faking a smile. “I just need to finish this up.”
Cas frowned as he tried to catch a glimpse of what Dean was working on. “Do you need help?”
Dean huffed, his forked tail twitching nervously behind him. “Dude, I’m fine. I just need to get this finished, but I won’t get it finished if you don’t sit your fluffy ass down and let me work,” he snarled.
Cas wings drooped. “Oh, sorry,” he said, then sat down at his desk.
Dean sighed. He could see the top curves of Cas’ wings over the cubicle wall. He’d upset the angel with his gruffness. It was hard working with angels. They were so sensitive. Dean didn’t mind living amongst them, but all the sensitivity meetings were getting on his nerves.
And then there was Anna.
Dean flinched. Yeah, Anna didn’t fit the stereotype. She had beautiful gold-tipped wings, but quite a temper. And Dean knew by the tone of her voice he wouldn’t be able to charm his way out of this.
“Yes, ma’am?” Dean said as he stood up, tail flicking back and forth nervously over his papers, as if the tail thought it could finish the report before Anna noticed.
“My office, show me what ya got, now,” she said, then turned and walked away.
“Fuck,” Dean said under his breath, his stomach clenching. He gathered his papers, ignoring the concerned eyes of his workmate as the angel peered at him over the wall.
Dean stopped just outside Anna’s office and took a cleansing breath, gathered his courage, and then walked in. Anna was clicking away furiously on her computer’s mouse and barely glanced at him as he approached her desk. He set the report down on her desk, then stepped back a few feet and waited.
She finally finished and pushed her mouse to the side, grabbing the report and skimming the pages. Dean waited for what he knew was coming, reaching up and nervously running a hand through his hair, his tail tucked between his legs.
Anna looked up at him, a frown on her face. “And the rest of it?” she prompted.
“It’s not finished,” he said.
Anna looked at the watch on her left wrist. “It’s ten after four. When was this to be turned in?” she asked, wagging the papers in front of him.
“Four,” Dean admitted.
Anna sighed as she set the papers down on her desk. “Dean,” she said softly. It threw him for a moment. She’d never called him by his first name. “Your home life can’t interfere with your work. Your brother can take care of himself.”
Dean’s eyes widened. How the Hell did she know? Oh, yeah. He’d forgotten that angels could read demons without their permission. His hands clenched into fists, angered over the invasion of privacy.
“I’m sorry. It’s a habit,” Anna said with a small smile. “I need to know what’s going on with my employees, and that’s the easiest way to find out.”
Dean nodded, not so much accepting her apology as acknowledging that she’d made an attempt.
“Sam’s in law school, final year,” Anna said instead of asked. “And even though he’s got a lot on his plate right now, you need to fulfill your duties here.”
“I know, ma’am,” Dean said, forcing himself to be submissive when his instincts were telling him to dominate.
“It was your choice to take his shift at the supermarket the last few nights,” Anna said, “instead of finishing the report.”
“He’s got finals,” Dean said, even though she already knew.
“So do all the others in his class who are working part-time to pay for school,” Anna replied. “You work here, and I expect you to be a part of the team.”
“I’m sorry,” Dean said, chest burning with anger.
Sam was his responsibility. He didn’t give a shit what Anna thought. In fact, if it weren’t for the fact that the job paid so well, he’d tell her to shove her halo right up her ass. Well, if she had a halo. Turns out angels didn’t, which was a total surprise to Dean once they started integrating.
“This is the second time this has happened,” Anna said.
Dean winced. When angels and demons integrated, there had to be compromise. They each had their own views on social standards and each species needed consideration for their mental and physical makeup.
“You’ve already had a warning,” Anna continued. “So this time we’re going to step it up to the next level.”
Dean wrapped his tail around his leg, picking at the seam of his jeans absently. “I’m really sorry, Ms. Milton. It won’t happen again.”
She stood up and came out from behind her desk. “That’s great to hear. Now come over here.”
Dean watched with wide eyes as Anna sat down on her couch and patted her lap. He’d never been disciplined by an angel before. Demons? Plenty of times. It was perfectly normal. But an angel? They were so different. They were so powerful and bright. He wouldn’t admit it to anyone, even himself, but he was kinda scared of Anna.
“If it happens again,” Anna said softly, “it’ll be much more severe, but this right here is a reminder and a taste of what can happen if you don’t change your behavior.”
Demons weren’t like this. Demons weren’t overly kind and gentle. They didn’t ease you into things. If you fucked up, you got your ass beat after you were told exactly what it was for, and then you went on with your day after having been forgiven. Dean didn’t know how to handle this.
“I was only going to give you twenty swats,” Anna said, “but if I have to come get you, I’m going to double it.”
Dean forced himself to move, almost numb as he stood before her. “Um, do you want me to…?” he asked vaguely as he gestured to his jeans.
“Jeans down, but you can leave your boxers up,” she said.
“What if I’m not wearing boxers?” Dean asked with a bit of a smirk.
Anna chuckled. “You’re still going to drop your jeans.”
Dean smiled his most charming smile as he unbuckled his belt and dropped his jeans. He knew he looked good, and he looked even better naked.
“Over my lap,” Anna said, not even glancing down.
Dean felt his confidence waver again, but he obeyed, and Anna helped him move into a position comfortable for both of them. Just as Dean was about to make a snarky comment, Anna smacked his ass.
“Fuck!” Dean growled, surprised by how hard she’d hit him.
“Settle down,” Anna said as she wrapped her left hand around his side and pulled his torso closer to her.
Her grip on him was like a steel band around him. He felt trapped and vulnerable. Two things Dean Winchester hated with a passion.
“Do I need to hold your tail?” she asked.
Dean hadn’t realized he’d covered his ass with his tail. It was a poor attempt to shield himself, and he felt silly for having done it. “Um, no,” he said, forcing himself to keep his tail to the side. “Ah!” he yelped as she smacked him again.
After the fifth smack, she paused and Dean felt her grab his tail with her left hand and tuck it against his body. He felt his face heat up and knew he was blushing all the way to the tips of his pointy ears.
“You’re doing well,” Anna said.
Dean hated the patronizing tone, the way it felt as if she was coddling him. Was this how they treated each other? Why weren’t there more rebel angels?
“Fuck!” Dean roared as Anna smacked him five times in quick succession.
“You’re halfway there,” she said.
“Just get it over with!” Dean snarled. The silence following his outburst made him cringe. Angels didn’t like backtalk. Not that demons loved it, but angels considered it a problem with attitude, and it had no place in business.
“Perhaps you need a few minutes in the corner to calm down,” Anna said.
Dean shook his head. “No, ma’am. I’m sorry. It just fuckin’ hurts. I’ll watch my tone. I’m sorry.” The next moment he was straining to get away as she landed five more smacks. “Oh, fuck! Ow! Fuck!”
“Almost done,” Anna said.
Dean’s vision was getting blurry, and it made him furious that he was getting so emotional over this. It was punishment! It wasn’t the end of the world. She was correcting his behavior, and when it was over he’d get right back out there and work harder than he ever worked before. He didn’t need to cry about it!
Anna’s hand came down quickly for the last five smacks, leaving him panting and squirming. “All done,” she said, giving his ass a little pat.
Dean scrambled off her lap and yanked his jeans back into plate, his back to her as he wiped his cheeks dry on his shoulders. Once his belt was buckled, he turned to her, keeping his eyes on the floor in a submissive posture.
“Am I dismissed?” he asked.
“Not until I give you a hug,” she said as she stood up.
Dean scowled at her. “Huh?”
Anna held her arms out. “Hug. You know that thing you do when you embrace each other?”
“Why?” Dean asked. This was new. This was uncomfortable. Awkward.
“I want you to know you’re forgiven and that we’re starting out fresh, no hard feelings,” Anna said.
“You could just tell me that,” Dean said, inching his way toward the door.
Anna shook her head, sighing, then attacked him with a bear hug. “C’mon, tough guy,” she said as she squeezed him tight.
Dean froze, unsure of what to do with his arms. And then he realized how good it felt. She was warm and soft, yet her grip on him was just as sure as when she was holding him down for an ass beating. He relaxed a tiny bit, wrapping his arms around her.
“You’re a really good employee, Dean,” she said, her voice soothing. “You do wonderful work, and I appreciate it.”
Dean squirmed, then gave up fighting it and rested his head on her shoulder, soaking up the attention and warmth. He always thought angels would feel cold. He was wrong.
Anna rubbed his back, then started to pull away. Dean missed it immediately, but controlled himself. He felt raw and open for all the world to see, but the angel standing before him wasn’t taking advantage of the weakness.
“I’m sure you’ll work on getting your report in on time from now on,” Anna said with a smile.
“Yeah, definitely,” Dean said, nodding.
“Good,” Anna said, then patted his left forearm. “Now you’re dismissed,” she said with a wink.
Dean stood there for a moment while she sat back down at her desk. He felt as if his whole world had been tilted sideways. He mentally shook himself out of it and smiled at her. “Thank you, ma’am,” he said, then left her office.
“Thank you?” he said under his breath as he walked down the hallway. “You said thank you?! Yes, thank you for beating my ass and making me snot all over your damn couch,” he grumbled.
“Dean!” Cas said as Dean ran into him.
Dean stepped back. “Sorry, Cas,” he said, frowning at the papers strewn about on the floor. He bent over and helped Cas pick them up, then handed the stack of papers to him.
“Um, Dean?” Cas said.
“Would you like to get ice cream with me after work?” Cas asked. “The shop across the street lets you pick all your own ingredients, and they cater to all species.”
Dean’s mouth opened, but nothing came out. Cas was so weird. Who asked their workmates out to ice cream? In fact, what fully-grown demon got excited over ice cream? Oh, right. Angels loved ice cream. Something about having a sweet tooth.
“I’ve gotta finish that report,” Dean said, hoping Cas didn’t take it too hard.
Cas’ wings drooped and Dean felt like an asshole. He liked Cas. He was just a weird little angel who always seemed to pop up at the oddest of times, but he had a great sense of humor. He was all dry wit and awkwardly-timed jokes.
“You know what?” Dean said, changing his mind. “I do want to get ice cream with you after work,” he said.
Cas’ wings perked up, and the tips fluttered. Dean tried to ignore just how good it made him feel that he’d made Cas happy.
“Six o’clock?” Cas asked.
“Six o’clock,” Dean said, nodding.
Cas’ lips twitched into a small smile. “See you then.”
Dean chuckled as he headed back to his desk and gently eased himself onto his chair. His ass was still sore. He frowned at the small package on his desk. It was about the size of a Kleenex box, wrapped in red wrapping paper and a black bow. There was a tag hanging from the bow.
“To Dean, from Cas,” Dean read aloud, then pulled the top from the box.
Nestled down in the box was a black and red plaid material. He frowned as he reached in and grabbed it. It was very soft, but he had no idea what it was. If he didn’t know better, he’d think it was a pillow. He stood up, soft and fluffy thing in his left hand, and peered over the wall separating their workstations.
Cas wasn’t there, but the bright material on Cas’ chair caught his eye. There on the seat of Cas’ chair was a pillow the same size and shape of the one in his hand, only the material was light blue with a white cloud pattern.
Of course Cas would get him a pillow for his ass. He’d read Dean and seen that Dean was going to get his ass beat. Dean growled low and dangerous as Cas walked back into his cubicle.
“You had no right to read me!” Dean barked as he shook the pillow in Cas’ face.
Cas’ eyes widened and he held up his hands in surrender, his wings tucking against his back. “I didn’t! I wouldn’t! That’s an invasion of your privacy, and I’ve never read you!” he said, backing up against the far wall of his cubicle.
“Then how’d you know I got my ass beat?” Dean asked, probably louder than he’d intended.
“You seemed upset, and you told me you needed to finish your report,” Cas said. “I assumed that Ms. Milton called you in there for correction. I apologize.”
“You didn’t read me?” Dean asked, trying to calm down.
“No,” Cas said, shaking his head. “Most angels see nothing wrong with it, but in the short time I’ve spent with demons, I’ve seen that it’s considered an invasion of their privacy, so I’ve never read you or any of the other demons here.”
“Oh,” Dean said, the fight leaving his body as his tail twitched happily. “Well, um, thank you, Cas.”
Cas smiled, his wings perking up again as he stepped closer to Dean.
“Sorry I got a little crazy about that,” Dean said with a wince.
Cas’ smile got even bigger. “There’s no need to apologize.”
“Thank you for the gift,” Dean said with a smile. “It was very thoughtful.”
“You’re welcome,” Cas said.
“So does it work?” Dean asked as he held the pillow up.
Cas smirked. “I was corrected this morning and I haven’t had a problem sitting at my desk all day.”
“Awesome,” Dean said with a grin. “Wait, you got your ass beat this morning?” he asked, the grin falling away.
“I used the company computer to email my brother yesterday while I was supposedly working on research for the new park project,” Cas admitted sheepishly.
“Oh, sorry,” Dean said, wincing.
“I deserved it,” Cas said, shrugging.
“Yeah, you kinda did,” Dean said with a grin. “So I guess I should get back to my report if I wanna make it to the ice cream shop by six.”
Cas smiled. “I’ll leave you to it,” he said, then gently sat down on his cushion and began working.
Dean put his own pillow down and lowered himself slowly, sighing when it was much easier to sit than it had been a few minutes ago, thanks to his pillow. Dean put the lid on the box, then put the box in his drawer.
He needed to concentrate on the report, even if all he wanted to think about was how beautiful Cas’ eyes were when he smiled. Dean wondered if Cas’ eyes would be even prettier when he was enjoying ice cream.