The only reason he was in the Laundromat this late at night was because the moving company hadn’t shown up at his apartment like they were scheduled too. So, Cas only had the clothes on his back and an empty apartment to his name until the moving truck showed up. Unfortunately, he also had to start at his new job in the morning. He had just planned on wearing the khakis and button up he was currently wearing, but during the quick meal he had grabbed at the diner near his apartment ketchup had dripped from his hamburger bun all the way down the front of his shirt and onto his pants. Not really the best way to make an impression on the new faculty he would be working with at the University.
He walked into the long, brightly lit room with walls lined with row and rows of silent machines, except for a few in the corner spinning through a cycle for some missing clientele, and fished the handful of quarters he’d found in the cupholder of his Prius, slamming them down into the top of an unused machine. He opened the door to the front loading machine, removed his cell phone from the front pocket and quickly unbuttoned his shirt and tossed it in, toed off his shoes and pushed them under the hardbacked chair at the end of the row of machines and pulled off his socks, throwing them in with the shirt. Cas looked down at the ketchup stain on his pants and sighed, making quick work of his belt, tossing it with the shoes and pulling his wallet from his back pocket, tossing it onto the top of the washer with the pile of quarters. Reluctantly, he unbuttoned his pants and slid them off quickly, placing them in the washer with his socks and shirt. He sighed, thinking there wasn’t really anything he could do with his shorts. He couldn’t very well stand around the Laundromat naked, waiting for his clothes to finish. As it was, if it wasn’t nearly 2 A.M., he wouldn’t dare stand around only in his underwear.
Clothes loaded into the machine, he turned to look for a detergent dispenser. There was a large metal box mounted to the wall next to the change machine that dispensed detergent, fabric softener and other laundry related items. He quickly counted the change he would need for the washer and dryer and then realized he didn’t have enough quarters left over for detergent. He walked back and grabbed his wallet, flipping through it and pulling out the lone single he had left. Fan-fucking-tastic. He thought to himself. Thankfully, he still had his bank card and the detergent was only a dollar. He slid the bill into the change machine and with a whir and four metallic klinks, quarters rained down into the little metal bowl.
He slid the quarters in the slots, barely registering the beeping from the machines in the corner that signaled they were through with their cycle. He pushed the little button next to the Tide label and waited for the box to drop. There was a whirring sound, a thud and then nothing. With a frustrated growl, he kneeled down and peered into the little slot at the bottom of the machine. He could see the corner of the orange and blue box tilted at just the wrong angle near the back. Too far into the narrow space to reach with his hands. Cas scowled and slammed his hand into the front of the machine. The frustrations of a long day of traveling and mislaid plans washing over him.
Dean returned to the Laundromat with a Big Gulp, a bag of M&Ms, a well-worn paperback, and a box of dryer sheets. He had left shortly after putting the laundry in the machines to pick up Sammy from his girlfriend’s house and drive him back to the apartment. He'd grabbed the dryer sheets while he was home at their tiny shoebox and after giving Sammy strict orders to lock up behind him and go to bed, he ran to the convenience store to grab some snacks to keep him occupied while the clothes dried. The nice thing about doing laundry this late at night, the only time he could find after classes at the university in the mornings, working at his Uncle Bobby’s in the afternoon and the occasional shift at The Roadhouse helping out his Aunt Ellen, was that no one else was ever around to mess with their stuff.
He walked into the Laundromat, ready for a chance to sit and zone out while watching their clothes tumble around in the dryer. He was tired. Working two jobs, attending classes and still trying to find time to spend with Sammy, making sure he was eating right, showering, doing his homework; all of the responsibility was taking its toll. He was only twenty for fucks sake. Carrying a load that was more akin to that of a single parent. And tomorrow, he would just start the whole thing over. Like his own personal Groundhog’s Day. The only change would be starting a new course at the University. Somehow his counselor had talked him into taking a course labeled Romantic Lit and Culture. While Dean was studying a major geared toward professional writing, he had been hoping to get into a course aimed more towards modern lit or fantasy. But those had already been filled by the time he could squeeze a meeting with his counselor into his busy schedule.
He pushed through the double glass doors, not realizing there was another occupant in the room until he heard muttered cursing. Stopping short, he turned, stunned at the sight of a tall, lean, man in his late twenties to early thirties with a runner’s build, messy dark hair and an angular face, trying to jimmy the laundry supplies dispenser with an unfolded wire hanger, while clad only in his boxers. Dean couldn’t stop himself before blurting out, “Dude, are you trying to McGuyver your way into some laundry soap?”
The man, startled, yelped and dropped the hanger, standing up quickly and clipping his shoulder on the edge of the coin machine. He bit his lower lip with a grimace and grabbed the shoulder - that probably hurt like a bitch, while he appeared to fight back a curse.
Dean stood there dumbly, clutching his candy and the Big Gulp, box of dryer sheets squeezed between his elbow and his ribs. After a moment, the other man unscrewed his eyes and looked over at Dean with what Dean would later swear were the biggest, bluest eyes he had ever seen. And at that moment, they were practically shooting angry sparks in his direction. The man took a steadying breath and closed his eyes once more. Dean was pretty sure he was mentally counting to ten and doing some sort of calming exercise. Dean tried not to smirk, but he couldn’t help it. So when the man opened his eyes once again, and looked over at him, he narrowed his blue eyes in irritation but spoke calmly in a gravelly, deep voice Dean was shocked to hear come out of the body in front of him.
“The box is wedged into the back and I can’t get it out. I would put more quarter into the machine, but I used my last dollar on that box and I believe it would just compound the problem.”
Dean, with the usual cocky arrogance he could shrug on like an old coat, set his things on top of one of the folding tables and strolled over to the machine to peek inside. He turned and grinned at the other man, “Yeah, this one does that all the time.”
With a quick, calculated punch to the top of the machine, the box dropped into the chute and the other man stared at it for a moment before slowly reaching out and grabbing it.
“I spent twenty minutes trying to get that out.”
Dean flashed another grin and winked at the dark haired man, “I’ve been coming here for a few years now. I know all the tricks.”
The other man’s eyes widened at the obvious suggestion in Dean’s voice and a flush crept up his neck. Dean’s grin grew wider and after a quick lift of one eyebrow he turned to retrieve his things and walk over to the machines containing his and Sammy’s clothes, fighting back a laugh at the obvious discomposure the other man was fighting.