It all began with Spiderman.
Dean had worked as a radiologic technologist at the Lawrence Children's Hospital for nearly five years when he started to take notice in the characters that would come visit the children.
Every so often, somebody in a costume would show up to the delight of the children, their smiles, laughter and cheers always managed to put a smile on Dean's face, but otherwise, he didn't pay much attention to the people behind the costumes except for his respect for what they did.
It was only when Jo was running behind in bringing the next child, he decided to help her out and get the little girl himself that he found his interest had spiked.
He looked down at the doctor's instructions to find the pertinent information he needed as he maneuvered the wheelchair one handed down the hall. He was still looking down at the file when he walked into the patient's room. He could hear the chatter of a little girl as he entered.
When he received no answer, he looked up. Dean's eyes first landed presumably on Aubrea's mother. Mrs. Tellington was leaning against the wall, her brown eyes wide and a hand over her mouth, clearly trying to suppress her laughter.
Dean spared her a look of confusion before he looked around the room, his eyes grew just as wide as Mrs. Tellington. A cute six year old African American girl sat cross-legged on her bed as she excitedly talked away to Spiderman.
Dean could see now that Mrs. Tellington's laughter was more of the nervous variety. While Spiderman's costume wasn't obscene in anyway (it was a children's hospital for god's sake) but the costume did not disguise the well built body that lay beneath it.
Dean swallowed roughly and licked his suddenly dry lips. Mrs. Tellington caught his eye, no longer hiding her smile, and winked at Dean. Dean could feel heat start to bloom across his face, but he viciously tamped it down.
He was a professional damn it.
Dean noticed how stiffly the man was standing, embarrassment clearly written in his posture and suddenly Dean felt like he had swallowed a brick. The man took time out of his day to make somebody's brighter and all they were doing was making him uncomfortable.
Dean gave Spiderman an apologetic smile which the man simply nodded, recognizing it for what it was causing the stiffness in his body to release.
The man bent down to whisper something in Aubrea's ear too low to be heard causing the girl to giggle and then waved at Dean and Mrs. Tellington as he left the room.
Dean resolutely focused his attention on Aubrea and not how the man's backside looked in the costume.
Despite the man's obvious embarrassment about wearing the Spiderman costume, it was clear he was a huge hit with the kids. He would show up once a month, much to the excitement of the children and amusement of the parents.
Dean absolutely did not take the long way to the cafeteria to walk past the playroom on the day Spiderman was in residence. He also didn't slow down so he could look through the window at how the little patients crowded around Spiderman as he sat on a low stool, reading to them. Dean would always let out small chuckle at the kids' shining faces. Every time, the man seemed to have a sixth sense about him because he would always look up from the book and would slowly raise a hand to wave or nod in greeting.
God, he was so fucking pathetic. He had a crush on a guy playing a superhero and it wasn't even Batman.
"Do you know anything about the people that come in to entertain the kids?" Dean asked Jo one day at lunch.
Jo bit into her apple and shrugged. "Usually it's volunteers that do it. Why?" she asked, her eyes never leaving her book. She was currently a nurse's assistant, studying to be a RN.
Dean tore at the bun of his burger, not for sure why he got one today since the cafeteria made horrible burgers, and said nonchalantly, "I just noticed this one guy that seems to volunteer a lot. I was just curious."
Jo's eyes finally left her book as she stared intensely at Dean for a moment before a smug smile tugged at her lips. Dean hated how Jo had perfected her mother's look, the same one that always made Dean wary and nervous.
"You want to know who Spiderman is, don't ya?" her smug smile turned into a cocky grin at the look on Dean's face.
For a split second, he thought about denying it, but Jo had been his best friend for too long, she would catch him in the lie in a heartbeat.
Jo threw her head back and laughed, causing a few people from the surrounding tables to look their way.
"God, keep it down," he hissed, looking around and giving everybody one of his smiles that head nurse Mosely called his ass kissing smile.
"Sorry," she gasped out, finally her raucous laughter was down to quiet chuckles. "I was just wondering how long it would be before you asked. I can't believe you lasted nearly four months."
"Shut up Jo," he growled, "so, do you know who the guy is or not?"
"Yeah, everybody does…what rock have you been livin' under?" Jo snorted, going back to her book.
"I've been busy." Dean defended and when Jo remained quiet, he sighed loudly, "Are you going to tell me or not?"
"Not." Jo said breezily before taking another loud bite from her apple.
"Oh Dean, this is too much fun, you think I'm going to spoil it?" Jo looked back up, eyes sparkling. "I will give you a hint. He's part of the staff and he's noticed you too."
"Wait, he works here?" he asked in disbelief before the second part of what Jo said kicked in, "What do you mean he's noticed me?"
Much to Dean's frustration, Jo waited until she was done eating her apple before answering. "Good lord, the guy has a hard on for you. Kept asking who you were, what department you work in, all the usual questions that indicate interest."
"That's all you're going to tell me? You just want to torture me, don't ya?"
Jo smiled. "Basically."
The first time Dr. Castiel Novak met Dean, Dean was crouched down next to a wheelchair talking to a patient.
"See this here?" Dean asked the nine year old girl in the wheelchair, holding the X-ray up to the light, "When we took an x-ray of Minnie Mouse, she has a piece of wire in her chest just like you!" He pointed to the bright white line on the image.
The little girl, Natalie, clutched Minnie Mouse closer to her. "She does?" she asked, her hazel eyes big in her small face.
"Seems like Minnie is a fighter just like you." Dean smiled at the rapturous look on Natalie's face as she continued to stare at the x-ray.
"Can I keep it?" she asked timidly.
"Of course you can, squirt." Dean ruffled her long brown hair before picking up the paper sleeve off the floor to put the x-ray in.
"What do you say Natalie?" her mother gently prompted as Dean handed the x-ray over to the girl.
"Thank you, Mr. Winchester." she said shyly before her mother started to push Natalie back to their room. The mother stopped long enough to squeeze Dean's shoulder and mouth "thank you" before leaving. He simply patted her hand and smiled.
"You were very good with Natalie." a rough voice said from behind Dean.
Dean turned around only to come face to face with one of the most stunning men he had ever seen. A dark haired man roughly Dean's height, leaned against the wall of the hallway, wearing blue scrubs that seemed to bring out the brilliant blue of his eyes.
"Well, she's a good kid. She's been having a rough time, so I thought I'd try to cheer her up."
Dean was trying to cheer her up after overhearing her talk to her mother. The girl had just got out of intensive care after having open heart surgery. He had overhead Natalie telling her mother that the kids were going to make fun of her scar when she went back to school. When he took her in to get an x-ray, it was a spur of the moment thing to do one of her stuffed Minnie Mouse as well.
It was a coincidence that there was actually a wire in the toy's chest, just like in Natalie's that was used to close her breastbone. He knew he would catch hell for wasting time and materials doing that, but it was worth it to see Natalie's mood shift to the better.
"I'd say you succeeded. I haven't seen her smile since the surgery." The man straightened away from the wall and walked over to Dean. "I'm Castiel Novak, the child psychologist for the hospital." He held out his hand to Dean.
"Dean Winchester. I'm just a tech here." Dean grasped Castiel's warm hand and resisted the urge to shiver at the contact.
Castiel's hand tightened at Dean's words. "Please don't say that as if it's meaningless. Everybody's job here is important and necessary. Besides, I don't think "just a tech" would go beyond their duties to make a little girl happy." Castiel gave Dean a warm smile that seemed to settle deep in Dean's chest.
Dean felt his face grow warm from the compliment and the realization he was still holding Castiel's hand. He reluctantly let go.
"Well, just trying to make their stay here better." he mumbled, embarrassed by the praise in Castiel's eyes.
"That's very admirable of you." Castiel smiled again, his eyes crinkling at the corners. Castiel started to say more before he was paged over the PA system.
"I guess I should go. It was nice meeting you Dean. I hope to see you around." His smile turned regretful as he turned to walk away.
"You too!" Dean called out, his brows furrowing as he watched the man walk away. Something was familiar about him, but Dean couldn't figure out what it was.
Dean knew he was screwed though. He now had a crush on a superhero and a psychologist.
And both of them were hopelessly out of his league.
After the first meeting with Castiel, Dean seemed to see him everywhere.
He would bump into Castiel in the hallways, in the cafeteria and one time in the men's restroom.
Every time, Castiel would kill him by giving him a soft, almost bashful smile before going on his way to where ever he was going.
As time went on, with each encounter, they would linger a little longer just to talk. Castiel eventually would hint around at which child might benefit from a little extra cheer and Dean would in turn tell Castiel which child he was concerned about, like the thirteen year old in room 403 that got her first glimpse at her face after a car wreck. Nobody could console her as she cried into her mother's chest.
Then one rainy Saturday, it was Jo's day off, Dean was sitting at his usual table alone when he heard somebody clearing their throat behind him. Dean looked over his shoulder to see Castiel standing almost awkwardly with his tray.
"Mind if I sit with you?"
Dean grinned and pushed out a seat with his foot. "Sure Cas. I could use some company."
Castiel gave him a small, crooked smile as he sat down and started on his food.
"Baked potato, huh? Guess that's better than the burger." Dean nodded toward Castiel's food.
Castiel sighed as he looked down at his lonely potato and then his eyebrows rose when he looked over at Dean's tray.
"I didn't take you for one that enjoyed salads." Castiel's gruff voice held a hint of amusement.
"Trust me, I don't, but I promised Sammy I'd attempt to eat something healthy once a week. If he found out I wasn't doing it, he'd have my head." he grumbled as he speared some lettuce and an onion with his fork.
Castiel was quiet for a moment, showing an unusual amount of attention to his baked potato. "Well, it's good you have a boyfriend that worries about your health."
Dean stared at Castiel's profile, taking notice of the clenched jaw before he started to laugh. "Cas, Sam's my baby brother, not my boyfriend. Even if we weren't related, I would never date him. He's too much of a princess for me." Dean stated, still chuckling.
Blue eyes flared with embarrassment. "I'm sorry, I shouldn't have assumed…"
Dean grabbed Castiel's shoulder and gave it a comforting squeeze. "It's not a big deal. It's kind of refreshing actually. At least it wasn't the assumption about Jo and me dating like it normally is."
"Oh, I knew that. Jo told me you were gay." Castiel blurted out and then his face turned a faint shade of red.
Dean's fork stopped halfway to his mouth at Castiel's words. "You two talk about me?"
"I was simply curious about you. I wanted to know more was all. You are very well respected here and I'm still fairly new. I wanted to get to know people."
Dean couldn't stop the grin that broke across his face. He put his fork down and leaned a little into Castiel's space. The man refused to look Dean in the eyes.
"You know Cas, whatever you wanted to know about me, all you had to do was ask."
Castiel looked up at him and bit his lower lip as if contemplating his offer. Dean shifted in his chair as he watched white teeth bite into the plump lip, wishing it was him that was doing the biting.
"You said the burgers here aren't any good. Do you have any recommendations for a good burger in this town?"
Dean gave Castiel a slow grin, the one that Mosely named the Winchester panty dropper. He felt a deep sense of satisfaction as he watched Castiel swallow roughly.
"I do actually. I know the perfect place." An idea popped into Dean's mind. "I know tomorrow is Easter but I didn't know if you were going to be here for the Easter egg hunt for the kids? I got voted to dress up as the Easter bunny." Jo had laughed her ass off when she had found out. She had hoped the costume was pink in which Dean remarked with a great amount of dignity that he could rock the shit out of pink.
"Yes, I'll be here. I'm volunteering tomorrow. I didn't know you were going to be the Easter bunny." he grinned at Dean, making his stomach swoop.
"You know, it's for the kids," he shrugged, now not wanting to stare too long at Castiel's grinning face. The man had propped an elbow on the table and was leaning in also. "I was wondering, maybe after, I can take you to that diner that serves those burgers we were talking about."
"I have no plans. All my family is back in Illinois and I didn't feel like driving out this time. What about you, don't you have plans with your brother?"
"Nah, Sam lives out in California with his wife and besides, we were never that religious."
"Well, in that case, I would love to, Dean." Castiel's hand slid over Dean's to give it a gentle squeeze. Dean let out a slow breath at the touch.
"I've got to go, but I look forward to tomorrow." he said, his hand trailing up Dean's arm as he stood up.
Dean shivered and looked up at Castiel who was staring down at him, his signature crooked smile back in place.
"See you tomorrow." Dean said, knowing his voice was full of anticipation, but didn't give a shit.
He just asked Castiel on a date. And he had said yes.
Spiderman was back.
Of course he was back when Dean was wearing a pink and purple bunny suit.
Not that it mattered because Spiderman didn't make Dean's heart thump like Castiel did.
But damn it, it still fluttered.
They were outside in the grassy court yard, the Easter egg hunt was about to end. While the children that were able to go outside hunted for the eggs, Dean had visited the rooms of the children that couldn't, giving them treats, not knowing that he had a shadow until he was almost made it back outside.
Spiderman was stalking him, following him room to room, and handing out additional treats to the ecstatic children. It was only after Dean had made it back outside that he realized Spiderman was there.
He found out when he felt a hard tug at his tail. He whirled around to see the red mask and could practically feel the person smirking behind it as he ran off through the laughing crowd of kids and parents.
So, the spider wanted to play. Dean chased after the red and blue suited figure, lobbing plastic candy filled eggs at him. Most of them missed him because he couldn't see too well in behind the big bunny head. The chase went on for several minutes as everybody cheered encouragement. Dean gave a whoop of victory when one of the eggs hit the back of the man's head.
However, that didn't seem to slow down the superhero as he turned around and actually got Dean in the face with synthetic web.
The fucker actually had a web shooter. Dean couldn't help to be impressed.
Dean gave a fake roar of fury, at least one that he thought a mad bunny would give, but between the spider webs blurring his vision and the big cumbersome bunny feet, he face planted into the, thankfully, soft grass.
The sound of the laughter was deafening as the rest of Dean's eggs rolled out of his basket and scattered across the ground. He could hear the muffled sounds of squeals and pitter patter of little feet as they raced to grab the eggs.
Dean heavily flopped over onto his back, spread out like a starfish on the ground.
"You win this time, Spiderman, but I'll get you next time." he announced dramatically as children started to run over to him, getting on the ground to give him hugs. He patted their backs and their heads as they all shuffled back inside one by one.
When the court yard was quiet, he felt somebody straddle his waist as they worked to get the bunny head off.
Dean blinked as the light hit his eyes to stare up at Spiderman, the sun behind his head appearing as a halo.
"You know, Dean," Dean jumped slightly at the voice behind the mask, "we really need to stop meeting like this." Castiel finished once he pulled his mask off, his dark locks going in crazy directions due to the static, his blue eyes bright as he smirked down at him.
"Cas, you're Spiderman?" his voice came out as a croak.
"The one and only." he laughed, not making any move to get up or to help Dean off the ground.
"I didn't think you would like running around in tights." Dean gave Castiel a smirk of his own.
Castiel's laughter warmed Dean's insides. "I was only supposed to do it that once because a little girl desperately wanted to meet Spiderman, but then, I was hooked." Castiel's eyes became hooded and he looked at Dean from underneath his lashes, "It also helped that a handsome technician would constantly watch me and blush. Who could stand up against that kind of temptation?" Castiel teased.
Dean groaned. "I did not stare and I definitely never blushed!" Dean ignored the heat that snuck up his neck to his face.
"Of course not." Castiel smiled indulgently before shocking Dean by leaning down and placing a gentle kiss on Dean's open mouth.
Dean's body jerked at the contact of Castiel's lips against his own, but the kiss was over before he could reciprocate.
"Come on," Castiel stood up and offered his hand to Dean, "let's get cleaned up and go get those burgers you promised me."
Dean got up and without Castiel releasing his hand, bent down and grabbed the bunny head and followed Castiel back into the building.
Dean wondered if he could convince him to start dressing up as Batman.