There’s a lead on the other half of the demon tablet, and Kevin demands to be brought along. The house boat (and Garth) are apparently making him both stir-crazy and regular crazy and he threatens to set Garth’s puppet animals on them unless Sam and Dean take him with. When faced with the prospect of Mr. Fizzles, they don’t really have a choice.
They pull over at a rest stop in the middle of Minnesota. Dean says he has to call Cas again, and retreats several feet away to stand with his hands on his hips, facing the other direction. Sam doesn’t know why Dean needs privacy to pray to Cas— it seems easy to just say Hey Cas, vacation’s over, flap yourself and that tablet over here pronto, Team Free Will on three. But Dean must have something else to say, because he’s praying very quietly, muttering under his breath.
Kevin, who is seated at a picnic table, looks up from the map he’s been studying and snorts.
“Is it always so intense with them?” he asks Sam. “Is it always, like, desperate prayers and long drawn-out glances, or do they ever just sit down and have a beer?”
“We don’t usually have time,” Sam admits. “There’ve been a couple times where we’ve relaxed enough to kick back with Cas, but— no, most of the time it’s like this. Just this drama.”
“So have they ever, like..”
Sam looks down at Kevin, who is making lewd suggestive movements with his hands.
“No!” Sam yelps.
Kevin drops his hands to the table, sniggering.
“Geez, sorry,” he laughs. “They just seem pretty… I don’t know, romance novel most of the time.”
“That’s just how they are,” Sam tries to explain, although he realizes right away his argument is pretty weak. “They’re, you know… intense. It’s just their relationship. Cas did Dean a, uh… a favor when they first met—”
“Did this favor include blowjobs?” Kevin asks with a completely straight face.
Sam’s eyes must get as wide as saucers as he sputters, because Kevin dissolves into chortles and gathers up his papers.
“I’m getting something to eat, Grandpa,” he says. “You need anything?”
Sam just shakes his head, still at a loss for words.
“Damn,” he finally says as Kevin enters the convenience store. “That kid is worse than Dean.”
He turns again to look at his brother, who appears to still be in the act of prayer. He watches as Dean pinches the bridge of his nose and scrubs a hand down his face. There’s a moment, a hanging breath, where Sam really, really hopes Cas turns up, and not just because of the tablet, but because it might erase that terrible, pinched look Dean has been sporting since the crypts a few weeks ago. He’s never considered that there might be something… else going on in Dean and Castiel’s relationship, but the look of Dean’s slumped shoulders remind him of a couple years back, when weekly calls to Lisa went unanswered.
“Nothin’?” he asks when Dean joins him by the picnic tables.
Dean grunts and leans over the map Kevin was reading.
“We got a route yet?” he asks.
“I think so,” Sam says, and then, risking it, he adds, “Cas’ll come back, Dean.”
Dean looks up, surprised, and Sam takes his silence as permission.
“He can’t stay away from you for too long.”
Dean doesn’t say anything, but something in his posture seems to settle, and he folds up the map with hands that seem lighter.
“Where’s the kid?” he asks, just as Kevin comes trooping out of the convenience store, balancing three cups of coffee.
“Here,” Kevin says, handing Dean a cup. “Finished calling your boyfriend?”
Sam braces himself for some scathing remark, but Dean just rolls his eyes and accepts the coffee.
“Let’s get a move on,” he says, heading towards the car.
Kevin hands Sam the third cup and they both follow Dean. Kevin slides in the backseat and immediately takes out his phone, looking for all the world like any bored teenager on a road trip. Sam slams his own door shut and stares at Dean for a second. Dean feels his eyes and looks up.
“What,” he asks flatly.
Sam smiles and says, “Nothing.”