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“The complex held about forty people, so far we’ve identified three bodies. Rich wants the community to take a person in for a bit if they can. I want to, but I think Jeff might kill me.”

Castiel chuckled at this, knowing Jackie’s affinity for taking in strays. “Are dogs just not enough anymore?”

“Shut up,” the driver said jokingly. “What about you and Gabe? Any space to spare?”

“It’ll be a bit tight, but as long as they don’t mind sleeping on a pull out sofa it’s possible. Gabe keeps bugging me about getting a bigger place, but I just don’t think we need it.” Castiel said with a shrug.

“God knows you can afford it,” Zach muttered, but Castiel ignored him. He focused on the man below him, his hand squeezing the bag in slow, even movements.

“How’s he doing?” Jackie asked. Castiel didn’t answer, just continued to pump the air into the man’s lungs. The had worked together long enough to know what the silence meant. The man was a lost cause. The ambulance stopped and the doors opened, and three doctors came to work on the man.

“Vitals?”

Zacharia spit them off as Castiel got out, and helped move the man to ground. “He’s not gonna make it Jess,” Castiel said to one of the doctors. Jess sighed as she took the man’s chart, finally looking at the man.

“SON OF A BITCH!” Jess yelled as she saw the man’s face. “SHIT SHIT SHIT. I NEED .5 MG OF EPI, A CRASH CART, AND 2 INTERNS. AND FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, SOMEONE PAIGE SAM WINCHESTER. THIS MAN IS NOT DYING ON MY WATCH!”

Castiel was confused to say the least, because Jess was an angelic classy girl who rarely swore, and had never seen her so worked up. The doctors flurried around him, and Castiel returned to the ambulance to go back to the apartments. They had closed the doors and were set to leave when Castiel’s eyes fell upon the box. “Shit, I, I can’t go back.”

“What the fuck? Novak get your shit together and let’s go,” Zach ordered. Castiel grabbed the box and opened the door, hopping out of the vehicle.

“I’m sorry, just, um, go without me. I’ll catch another ambulance back.” Castiel was lying, but it was believable enough to pass. He swung the door shut and made his way to the emergency entrance,  still wondering what the fuck he was doing.

 

When Dean Winchester opened his eyes, everything was subdued. The lights were off and his vision was blurred, and he could hear a faint steady beeping from somewhere behind him. He looked into the darkness, confused and scared. “Sam-” he tried to speak but his words were rough and unintelligible.

“Dean, don’t try to talk,” he heard a deep raspy voice he did not recognise say, which freaked him out more. The dark figure reached toward him and Dean tried to raise his arms to defend himself, but his arms were restrained.

“Jesus Christ calm down, I’m not letting them give you another damn sedative,” the man huffed. He turned on the lamp beside the bed, and Dean eyes blurrily adjusted to the scene in front of him. He was in a hospital, Penn Chapel Hospital, and there was a man in a seat beside his bed. Dean studied the man in front of him slowly, not fully comprehending the situation. The man had raven hair and bright blue eyes. The man’s jaw was bruised. He was tall, and muscular, but in a subtle way. He was in an EMT uniform. Dean’s eyes trailed down the man until eventually they landed at his feet. At the charred wooden box resting beside his feet.

“There was a fire,” Dean croaked, and the man nodded.

“You really shouldn’t talk. The smoke has really damaged your throat,” the man said. The man settled back into the chair, preparing himself to tell Dean what happened. “My name is Castiel. You were in a fire, found unconscious in your apartment. You were rushed back here, where your friend Jessica identified you. That girl saved your life. She’s already called your brother. He’s on the next flight back, he should be here in about seven hours.”

Dean took a second to absorb this and nodded. After a moment he gestured down to the padded cuffs, raising an eyebrow at Castiel.

“Oh, um, this isn’t the first time you’ve woken up and freaked out. There have been several false alarms. At first they kept sedating you, but once you punched me they kinda figured that wasn’t enough,” Castiel said with a laugh. Dean’s eyes softened, and Castiel could see the apology in them. “Don’t worry, it doesn’t hurt that badly.”

Dean made a writing motion with his hand, and Castiel told him to wait a second as he went out in the hall to retrieve paper. He was back within moments, handing the pad to Dean.

“I had to go through a lot to get you that, I hope you know. Nurses are unnecessarily bitchy at four thirty in the morning.”

Dean smiled as Castiel removed the cuffs, stretching his wrists and putting the pen to the paper.

Have you slept? You look like shit.

“I’m fine,” Castiel assured him. “I’ll sleep when your brother gets here.”

Is the inside of the box okay?

“I haven’t checked,” Castiel said. Dean’s face was concerned. “I thought it’d be rude, even though it’s been eating away at me for hours what’s in there.”

Is that why you stayed?

Castiel looked at the words a second too long, his lips pressing into a tight line. “No. That’s not why I stayed.”

Dean looked at him for a second, studying him.

Thank you for staying. Please open the box. I don’t know what I’ll do if it’s damaged.

Castiel lifted the box onto the chair he was previously settled on, and clicked the latch to open it. The contents were untouched by the flames. Dean breathed an audible sigh of relief as Castiel looked into the box, transfixed. There were a dozens photographs, of two little boys, of a family. There were old hot wheel cars, army men, lincoln logs. Castiel stared at the box, wondering if he dared to rifle through it. It was too personal. It was the stranger’s life, poured into a box. Dean’s hand nudged his, holding out a note Castiel hadn’t seen him scribble.

Go ahead. Look through it. You saved my life, I sort of owe it to you.

As Castiel read the words his throat constricted at the last sentence. You saved my life. Castiel felt a surge of guilt. I didn’t save your life, he wanted to say. I gave up on you.

Dean nudged him again and Castiel ignored his thoughts, turning back to the box. He set it on the bed after brushing off some of the soot, and sat beside it on the edge. He looked through the photographs coming across one of a blonde woman and a green eyed boy.

“Is this you and your mom?” He asked, holding up the photo. Dean looked up from a worn journal in the box, and nodded with a sad smile. “She’s beautiful.”

She was.

“I’m sorry for your loss,” Castiel said quietly.

It’s alright, it was a long time ago. She died in a fire when-

Dean stopped moving the pencil and stared at the words. The reality struck him and he couldn’t move, he read the words over and over again. She died in a fire. The feeling in the burning building came back to him, the fear, the hopelessness. The smell of the smoke, the struggle for air.

He felt it. He felt it all but she felt it so much worse. She burned. Dean’s body began to shake, his hands trembled and he could hear Castiel’s voice faintly, far far away, but he wasn’t there. He was in a burning building on the corner of Franklin Street. He was burning like she burned, dissolving into a pile of ash.

 

When Dean Winchester woke up, Sam sat beside his bed in the chair the EMT had been not too long ago. Or was it long ago? Dean’s concept of time was fuzzy at best.

“Dean!” His brother exclaimed. “God I was so worried, when Jess called me I freaked man and I had to wait for a flight and it was seventeen hours and the airport was hell and I’m so sorry I wasn’t here earlier I never should have gone on that conference trip who the hell goes to Switzerland-”

Dean grabbed his brother’s hand and smiled reassuringly, shutting him up.

“Castiel said you had a panic attack.” Sam doesn’t soften the words, but looks at Dean with concern. “They had to sedate you.”

Dean grabbed the paper from his bedside along with a pen, avoiding Sam’s eyes.

I really don’t want to talk about it. Where’s Cas?

“I made him go home and get some rest a couple hours ago. He’d been here for a good thirty six hours, and hadn’t slept at all. He’s nice, isn’t he?” Sam asked. Dean nodded, flickers of the end of the night before working past the sedation.

Holy shit. I fucking punched him again. The man saved my god damned life and I fucking punched him twice.

Sam laughed as he read the note, before reassuring Dean that Castiel was just fine, he just had a busted lip. “Castiel and his brother are letting us stay with them, until we find a new place.”

Dean shook his head, grabbing the pen again.

No. I’ve put that poor guy through enough already.

“Dean, you’re a teacher and all the money I’m making is going towards paying off my student loans. We can’t afford to get a whole new place and clothes and furniture right now,” Sam said. “We have insurance but it won’t cover that much, we need somewhere to stay temporarily. It’ll be tight and we might have to double up on rooms, but it’s the best option we have.”

When am I allowed to get out of here?

“Jess is discharging you tomorrow morning,” Sam said. His eyes lit up when he spoke about her, and Dean smiled knowingly. “Shut up,” Sam said, losing the smile.

I didn’t say anything. While we’re on the subject, when can I start talking again?

“Give it another couple hours’ rest. Which I know will be damn near impossible for you.”

You working today?

“I can if I want, but I figured you’d rather have me here.”

Go. We don’t both need to sit here bored out of our minds. I’ll be fine.

Sam nodded, and promised he’d be back to check in on Dean. He left, and Dean was left to watch daytime tv until he returned.

 

“I come bearing real food-” Castiel paused in the doorway, eyes landing on the tv. “Seriously?” he laughed. “Doctor Sexy MD?”

Dean quickly shut it off, cheeks turning red. He couldn’t even speak to defend himself. Castiel shut the door behind him, setting a Styrofoam box on the table beside Dean. The smell coming from inside was mouth-watering, and Dean couldn’t remember the last thing he ate.

When Dean looked up to thank him he really saw his face for the first time. In the light he could see the dark circles under the man’s vivid blue eyes, the purple splotches on the man’s chiseled jaw, the break in skin on the man’s pink, plump lips. He stared, for maybe a second too long, and grabbed the pad of paper again.

I hurt you. Again.

Castiel read it, eyes softening at the words on the page. “Don’t worry about it at all Dean, I’ve lived through worse.” As Dean wrote, Castiel moved a chair next to Dean’s bed and sat down, handing him his food.

Sam says you offered us a place to stay.

Dean began to devour the food as Castiel watched, not sure what to say to this. Castiel wasn’t sure he had ever seen a man eat something so quickly in his life.

“You and your brother would be welcome to stay with us. It’s a small apartment, but if we share rooms I think we’ll manage,” Castiel’s voice was steady and even, and Dean was too absorbed in his food to notice the way Castiel’s eyes darted to ground when he said share rooms. “I’ll have to warn you though, my brother is, well, a bit of a handful.”

Well mine has had a stick up his ass for twenty years, so maybe they’ll be a good team.

Although Castiel laughed at this, he couldn’t disagree with the thought of them being friends. With him and Dean being friends. His train of thought was interrupted when a nurse entered, changing the dial attached to Dean’s IV.

“You’re brother requested we up your morphine, he’s worried about your pain,” the woman said with a small smile. She was older, with kind eyes and soft features. She radiated warmth, which was not easy to come by in a hospital.

“Thank you,” Castiel said, even though it wasn’t for him. He felt it was necessary, and Dean was unable to say it. When she left, Castiel looked at Dean accusingly.

“You never said you were in pain.” The frown lines in his forehead had deepened, and Dean shifted under his gaze.

It’s not unbearable. I’ve inconvenienced you enough.

“Dean Winchester you are not an inconvenience.”

By the time the words finally left Castiel’s mouth, the pain medication had already pulled Dean Winchester into unconsciousness.



“You have very, very pretty eyes,” Dean Winchester said dreamily, batting his eyelashes up at Castiel. Castiel disregarded the comment and resumed reading the book in front of him, attempting to read the paragraph for the third time. “Very, very pretty eyes,” Dean continued. “The prettiest eyes in the whole wide world.”

“You are very, very stoned,” Castiel replied, trying to mask the amusement in his voice. Dean had woken up a half an hour ago, baked like a fucking cake, and had been talking about just how dreamy Castiel’s eyes were for a good majority of the time.

You’re stoned ,” Dean muttered. “Are you single? I bet you aren’t. The ladies must love you. Dark hair, light eyes, hot body. You save lives. Not to mention the ass. You have a really, really nice ass.”

Castiel wondered how much of his words were morphine induced, and how much wasn’t. From what he had gathered about Dean from his family, the man was as straight as an arrow. But there was something about the lingering glances, the subtle subtext behind Dean’s words that he wasn’t sure whether he’d imagined it or not. Maybe he was desperate, imagining it. Either way, he took comfort in the fact that Dean wouldn’t remember any of this.

“So you like my ass, huh?” Castiel asked, a smile playing at his lips.

Dean nodded. “Yep,” he said, lips popping the P. “And so do the ladies. Seriously I heard the nurses talking,” he said in a matter-of-fact voice.

“Oh man, those poor ladies,” Castiel sighed, voice overly melodramatic. “Who’s going to break it to them that I am pain stakingly gay?”

Dean’s eyes lit up, and Castiel watched as Dean tried to work things out in his brain. “You’re gay? You don’t look gay. No offense. I don’t look gay either so that’s like, really, really crazy.”

Dean rambled into just how crazy it was and Castiel listened attentively, trying to pick the bits that made sense from an ocean of babble.

“So you look straight, just like me. Are you straight?” Castiel asked, tone even. He didn’t see the harm in asking, knowing Dean wouldn’t remember anyway.

“I don’t know man. I thought I was,” Dean said, forehead scrunched like he was thinking hard about something.

“What changed?” Castiel prodded.

“You have very pretty eyes,” Dean repeated. Castiel sighed and turned back to his book. A few minutes later Sam entered, in scrubs and a lab coat. He let Dean play with his stethoscope as he talked to Castiel about him.

“He’s ready for discharge now, but I’m working tonight and he’s still hopped up on painkillers. I know it’s short notice but can we move in tomorrow morning? He’ll be discharged and I can’t keep sleeping at the hospital and-”

“It’s no trouble,” Castiel cut him off. “I could take him home tonight for you?”

“I can’t ask you to do that,” Sam said with a sigh. “You’re already doing so much and-”

“Sammy let the sexy ambulance man take me home,” Dean interrupted, and Castiel was surprised when no trace of surprise registered on Sam’s face at comment.

“Is he-”

“Into dudes? Sometimes, yeah. He doesn’t admit it though,” Sam said quietly. “I think he thinks if he says it out loud it’s real, and that scares the shit out of him.”

“Jesus,” Castiel said, running his hand through his hair.

“You’re okay with that right?” Sam asked, tone worried.

“I’d better be,” Castiel said with a laugh. A look of realization hit Sam’s face.

“Shit, sorry,” Sam said. “I’ll get his discharge papers, you can take him home whenever.”

“Thanks,” Castiel said.

Castiel worked on getting Dean dressed and ready to go. A nurse wheeled Dean out of the hospital as Castiel carried the box, and after about an hour they were on the way home. They drugs were affecting him a little less now, and he spent most of the ride home quiet. Castiel watched him stare out the window thoughtfully, and he longed to know what he was thinking.

“Dean?” Castiel asked, breaking him from his trance.

“Mhmm?” Dean looked at him curiously. They were stopped at a red light, and Castiel studied his face, marveling at the way the lights from the streets cast shadows upon his face.

“What are you thinking about?” Castiel asked.

Dean was no longer deliriously stoned, but he was enough to answer the question truthfully. “You.”

The light turned green and Castiel drove, and Dean looked back out the window. They were home within minutes, and Castiel helped Dean out of the car and into the home. He guided him into his bedroom, handing him a folded pair of pajamas and a toothbrush.

“We have two beds and a couch. One’s Gabe’s and one’s mine, so take your taking mine and I’ll take the couch. I’m buying another mattress tomorrow, so that way Sam can sleep on the couch and I’ll move the extra mattress in here,” Castiel explained. Dean did his best to concentrate and follow along, but it seemed complicated.

“Just sleep in here. With me,” Dean said, sitting down on the bed. He began to remove his shirt, and Castiel averted his eyes. Dean shucked the pants too, and put on the pajama bottoms.

“Dean, I can’t sleep in here with you,” Castiel said with a sigh.

“Why not?” Dean asked, struggling to get the shirt over his head. It was too small, Castiel was at least a size below him, and after a minute he gave up.

“It’s complicated,” Castiel said with a sigh. Dean stepped into the adjacent bathroom and started brushing his teeth, oblivious to Castiel’s reasoning.

“We’ll both fit,” Dean said, voice jumbled by the toothbrush.

“Alright,” Castiel said with a sigh. He stepped into the bathroom beside Dean to brush his teeth, and they headed to bed a minute later.

Castiel laid flat on his back, but after a few minutes Dean’s arm snaked over him, and within a couple more Dean was completely entwined around him, head buried into the crook of his neck. “Thank you Cas,” Dean whispered.

Castiel didn’t answer, just stroked his fingers through Dean’s hair, pressing his lips softly against his forehead. Castiel listened quietly until Dean’s breath evened. He then continued to do so, long after he was sure Dean was asleep.

Dean radiated warmth and comfort, and Castiel couldn’t bring himself to leave. He knew he had to, that he needed to move to the couch before morning. Before Dean woke up, morphine-free, horrified at the thought of them sleeping in the same bed. Maybe he wouldn’t be horrified Castiel thought, remembering his encounters with Dean even before the morphine. He shook the thought off and slowly, carefully, started to extract himself from Dean. He got up and moved to the couch in the living room, feeling cold without Dean’s warmth. He waited a long time for sleep to take him, mind worried about what exactly he had gotten himself into.




Dean woke up to sunlight streaming in through a window beside the bed. He sat for a moment in a daze, his mind working out his surroundings. Small pieces of the night before worked their way through his memory, and he looked beside him expectantly for Castiel. The bed was empty.

Dean sat for a while, thinking. Castiel thought he was a bit more stoned than he was, he guessed. The day before was gone, but the night, he remembered. He remembered curling up to him, he remembered Castiel playing with his hair and kissing his forehead.

He was okay with the gay part. Shockingly, that part didn’t really bug him. He didn’t care that he was into Castiel, or that he wanted to kiss him all the time. Dean was okay with that, for now. He wouldn’t dare tell Sam or anything, he wouldn’t ever act on it. Except he did. And he wanted to again.

Dean cared that he told Castiel. He cared that Castiel probably knew, and he didn’t know how the fuck Castiel felt. What if he was completely straight? What if last night was a fluke? What if Castiel just felt sorry for the guy?

So Dean decided to pretend he didn’t remember. It would be easier. He got out of bed, showered, and brushed his teeth, finding another pair of Castiel’s pajama bottoms. He could’ve worn the ones from earlier, but these were clean and these didn’t smell like a hospital, these smelled like Castiel.

He left the bedroom towards the kitchen, and saw Castiel asleep on the couch. Dean realized he had gotten up in the middle of the night, and left Dean in his room. He wondered why he hadn’t stayed, whether he felt uncomfortable or thought Dean would feel uncomfortable waking up next to him. Either way Dean didn’t like the fact that he left.

Dean went to the kitchen, putting a pan on the stove for bacon, and then another one for pancakes. He put the bacon on and got out the flour and eggs and milk for pancakes.

Within about fifteen minutes Castiel shuffled into the kitchen. Dean took in the sight of him, desperately reminding himself of his utter straightness. The pajama pants that fit Dean were too big on Castiel, and they hung low on his hips. His normally messy sex hair was ruffled up crazily, and Dean longed to run his hands through it. “I made breakfast,” Dean said weakly, gesturing to the stove in front of him. Castiel smiled sleepily, and lazily shuffled over to the coffee pot. Dean focused back on the stove, eyes trained on the food in front of him. He transferred the food onto two plates, and set them on the table, where Castiel had already set him a coffee. It felt oddly routine, but still alien, to Dean.

He sat and started on his breakfast, taking a sip of the coffee. It was sweeter than he usually took it, but it was good. He listened to Castiel talk about a book that he was reading, and oddly enough he was interested. Dean usually couldn’t care less, but his listened to Castiel attentively, asking questions and giving his opinion on a few topics.

“We should go shopping,” Castiel suggested. “We can get you some clothes, and a phone, and a mattress, and stuff like that.”

Dean didn’t answer, but thought about it. He didn’t have a particularly high amount of money in his account, and he wasn’t going to get his paycheck for another two weeks. Not to mention he was missing out on pay while he was gone. His student’s must be pissed. The subs suck at his school, and he had emailed a packet of busy work from Sam’s computer the day after the fire. He felt guilty doing that, because he had always called teachers who assigned busy work lazy.

“Dean?” Castiel asked. Dean looked up, running a hand through his hair.

“We can, but I can’t buy much,” Dean said quietly. “Like some jeans and t shirts,” he said. His cheeks tinted pink ever so slightly, and Castiel realized the issue.

“Oh, um, don’t worry about it. I’ll pay for it,” Castiel said uncomfortably. He didn’t want Dean to know he had money, he didn’t want him to look at him differently.

“What the fuck, no man. I’m not a charity case. It’s fine, I don’t need that much,” Dean said defensively. “I can pay for my own shit.”

Castiel sighed, and picked up their plates, taking them into the kitchen. He didn’t want to tell Dean, but he wanted to buy the things for him, and he didn’t see any way of doing both.

He walked back into the dining room and leaned against the doorway, eyes avoiding Dean’s. “My parent’s are very wealthy. Gabriel and I are well-off. I wasn’t implying you were a charity case. I just want to help.”

Dean filled with regret, wishing he could take back what he said. He probably sounded like a total dick. Castiel walked out, into his room and Dean was left sitting at the dining room table, alone. He sat there for a couple minutes, debating, before following Castiel to his room.

Castiel was laying on his stomach on the bed, eyes scanning the pages of a book. He looked up when Dean laid down on the bed beside him, perched up on his elbows. Dean stayed quiet for a second, remembering the two of them on that bed less than twelve hours ago. He thought about how different it was compared to now.

“I feel inadequate,” Dean mumbled. Castiel’s head tilted to the side and he stared at Dean confused, waiting for him to continue. Dean didn’t particularly want to. “You saved my life man. You saved my damn life and that fucking box and you stayed with me and you let me and my brother stay here and now you want to pay for my things and I feel like I’m taking everything from you and I’ve given nothing. I’m sorry,” Dean said quietly.

“I didn’t save your life,” Castiel admitted quietly. “I nearly ended it. I thought you were dead. I told,” Castiel’s voice cut off, and he looked away from Dean, eyes fixed upon the bedspread. “I told the doctors to move on. You almost died because of me Dean.”

A silence hung between them. Castiel awaited Dean’s anger, disgust, or something related. Dean sat quietly, absorbing it.

“Is that why you stayed?” Dean asked. His eyebrows furrowed as he tried to think back to the hospital, when he asked Castiel why he was still there.

“Initially, yes,” Castiel said, voice morose. He got up before Dean could ask why he stayed after that. “I’m going to shower, and then we’ll go. Be ready in ten,” he said, before walking into the bathroom and shutting the door. Dean was left on the bed, thoughts whirling about Castiel.



“Okay that one we’re definitely getting,” Castiel said. He was sitting on a chair in the the dressing room, while Dean tried on a huge stack of clothes. Dean had originally picked out about seven items to try on, so Castiel demanded his size before going out to pick out a plethora of clothing.

Dean examined the sweater in the mirror. “I don’t know Castiel, it’s forty dollars,” he said, tugging on it in random places. He really did like it, it was grey and simple and soft.

“Shut up Dean and put it in the yes pile,” Castiel said. He picked out the next item for him to try on and Dean peeled off the sweater. Castiel tore his eyes away from Dean’s chest when his head popped out of the sweater, and handed his a dress shirt.

“I hate these damn things,” Dean muttered, shrugging it on.

“You’re a teacher Dean, you have to have some,” Castiel said in an exasperated voice. He buttoned it up and it fit snugly, tight in all the right places.

“Yes,” Castiel said a little too quickly.

“It’s too small,” Dean said, tugging on it.

“Dean Winchester put that in the yes pile or so help me god-”

Dean raised his hands in surrender, putting it in the pile. Dean switched back into his regular clothes as Castiel paid, insisting that Dean didn’t go with him to check out. Dean met him back by the store entrance in the mall. They walked through the mall, getting pretzels and buying a few more clothing items Dean insisted he didn’t need. Castiel picked him up a phone while he bought a drink, so he couldn’t protest.

At last they were at the mattress store. Castiel looked around, laying on different ones and asking about which were best. Dean did his best to think of a reason they didn’t need another one, but kept coming up empty. Dean didn’t want another bed, at all.

When Castiel was nearing purchasing one he found adequate, Dean finally said something. “You know we probably shouldn’t buy one today,” Dean blurted.

“Why not?” Castiel asked, confused.

“Um, your car,” Dean stammered. “We aren’t going to be able to fit it,” Dean said lamely. It was the best thing he could come up with.

“Don’t worry!” The salesman said. “We have free one day delivery.”

“Fan-freaking-tastic,” Dean muttered under his breath. The salesman left to grab some papers and Dean grabbed Castiel’s arm, pulling him out of sight. “Can we not do this today?”

“What?” Castiel asked, confused. “Is something wrong-”

“I’ll explain later, can we just go?” Dean asked, knowing he would have to figure out something to say later.

“Of course Dean,” Castiel said, a little perplexed. He told the salesman that he wouldn’t be purchasing anything today and thanked him for his help, allowing Dean to lead him out of the store.

They loaded up the car and drove home. The car ride wasn’t silent, they chatted comfortably, but Dean knew Castiel was going to ask what this was about sooner or later.

Dean wanted to tell him. It didn’t have to be I want to marry you. Just something along the lines of I don’t want you to buy another bed. But Castiel made Dean fuzzy, and he knew he would never get it out that eloquently.

It wasn’t until after dinner when they were sitting on the couch, Castiel reading and Dean planning lessons, when it finally got brought up. Castiel wasn’t one to beat around the bush. He looked up from his book and said “What was that at the store today?”

“You had already spent so much today.” Dean wasn’t necessarily lying. It was the truth. “You didn’t need to spend any more.”

“But what difference does it make if I buy it today or next week?” Castiel asked, confused. He closed his book and set it down, looking up at Dean. “I’ve already said money isn’t an issue.”

“Look, just, let me buy it. I get my paycheck in two weeks, I’ll buy it then,” Dean said. He cringed internally, he really didn’t want to do that, but he also really didn’t want to tell Castiel the truth.

“Then where will you sleep until then?” Castiel asked. He wasn’t sure whether Dean was suggesting they share or not. Dean had been acting strangely all day, and he wasn’t sure if he was right in his assumptions. He hoped he was.

“We could, um, we could share?” Dean suggested meekly, scratching the back of his neck. His stomach flip flopped and he instantly felt regret.

“Okay,” Castiel said simply. He picked back up his book and resumed where he left off.

“Okay,” Dean repeated quietly. He couldn’t believe Castiel had, just like that, agreed. Then again, Dean didn’t say he wanted to date him or anything romantic. Just share a bed. In reality, they were glorified roommates.

Still, Dean felt a sense of victory. He headed off to bed first, brushing his teeth and washing his face and so on. Castiel came in right as he was about to leave, and Dean laid down on the same side he did the night before. Castiel climbed in beside him and turned off the bedside light.

It was quiet, for a minute. The silence felt heavy on Dean’s chest. He didn’t like it. He turned to his side so he was facing Castiel, whose eyes were closed.

“Cas?” Dean asked quietly. Castiel opened his eyes, his blue eyes looking into Dean’s green ones.

“Cas?” Castiel asked curiously at the nickname. Dean opened his mouth to say something, but shut it. “I like it,” Castiel said with a smile.

Dean laid there for a moment, heart heavy. “I wasn’t stoned,” Dean mumbled, eyes looking down.

“What?” Castiel asked. He couldn’t understand him, with his jumbled words into the pillow.

“I wasn’t stoned,” Dean repeated, a little louder. “I mean I was, I was high as a kite, but last night, I wasn’t that stoned,” Dean’s voice trailed off. He didn’t know what to say. He didn’t think this far.

“Oh,” Castiel said quietly, understanding. “How much do you remember?”

Dean was grateful for the darkness to mask the heat brought to his cheeks. He wished the bed would split in two and engulf him, that he would be anywhere but there. “From when we got home,” he said quietly.

“Dean,” Castiel said reluctantly, voice trailing off. “I’m not, um, holding you to anything. You were pretty out of it. It’s okay if you don’t really feel that way.” Castiel didn’t want him to not feel that way. Castiel wanted Dean wrapped around him, Castiel wanted to run his fingers through his hair. But Castiel was giving him an out. Just in case.

“What if I did?” Dean asked quietly, voice unsure. He could feel his heart beating in his chest and he was scared. This was new. Unfamiliar. "What if I did feel that way?"

“Then we would lay here,” Castiel said simply. “And we could do exactly what we did last night, and you wouldn’t have to do anything you wouldn’t feel comfortable doing.”

Dean laid quiet for a moment, thinking. “I want that,” he whispered, so quietly he wasn’t even sure if Castiel could hear him. Castiel took Dean’s arm and wrapped it over him, into the same position they were in last night. “Does this make me gay?”

Castiel noticed the shaking in Dean’s voice, the fear and uncertainty. Castiel smoothed Dean’s hair and placed a kiss on his temple, one of his hands drawing soothing circles between Dean’s shoulder blades. “Don’t worry about that Dean. Just,” Castiel stopped, choosing his words carefully. “Just be here. With me.”

 

When Castiel woke up, he felt different. Golden light streamed through the window, illuminating the man asleep on his chest, and he felt happy. He felt whole and good and he never felt alone before, but now Castiel couldn’t imagine going back.

Castiel could not imagine his life without Dean Winchester.

He started to get up, but Dean’s grip tightened around his waist. “Dean, I’ve got to get up,” Castiel said with a sigh. Dean groaned but let go, digging his head into the pillow. Castiel chuckled, throwing on a shirt as he stepped out into the kitchen.

“So are you having sex with my brother or are you guys just sleeping in the same bed?”

Castiel jumped, noticing Sam at the counter sipping his coffee. “How did you get in here?”

“Gabe let me in,” Sam said with a shrug.

“I thought he was still on call,” Castiel mumbled, turning on a kettle for tea. He wasn’t a big fan of coffee.

“You haven’t answered my question,” Sam said, lips almost smiling. Castiel turned to him, unsure of what his stance would be on his and Dean’s relationship. Well, not relationship. Castiel wasn’t entirely sure what to call it.

“I am not having sex with your brother.” Castiel’s cheeks were tinged pink and Sam busted out laughing.

“Damn it, I owe you Sam,” Gabriel said, walking into the kitchen. He handed Sam ten dollars and Castiel watched, perplexed.

“So I guess I don’t have to introduce you two,” Castiel said, looking between the two of them.