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The first thing he noticed were the sweaters. He’d had to make a detour through the art campus to get to practice on time and the flocks of art major hipsters scattered across the quad all seemed to be staring him down.


         He glanced quickly from side to side, careful not to touch any of them (A slight touch would make him fail a drug test). That’s when he saw him. He was leaning against a tree, impossibly tight black pants hugging his narrow hips, a baggy sweater hanging off his torso. It was black with a neon green wolf and made Dean cringe. A messy shag of almost black hair framed his face, bringing out the blue of his eyes. Dean could see them even from twenty feet away, shining. From the easy, effortless way he interacted with the painfully-aware-of-their-hipsterism dicks around him–– the obviously timed laughter, the way he curled his pale fingers as he gesticulated; the others clung to him like dust on a sill and Dean swallowed, feeling him drift across the sunlit quad towards the man as well–– he could tell he got laid a lot. Like, the same level as him a lot. Except his lays probably all had badly dyed hair and tattoos. And from the way he leaned towards some beaky-nosed guy in a rooster sweater, a lot of them probably had penises. How could he not get laid a lot with a mouth like that? The only part of him that wasn’t absurdly skinny. The back of his neck prickled warmly and what could Dean say, the guy was hot.


         Since when did he think guys were hot?


         Since they wore too tight pants and ugly sweaters, he supposed. The guy smirked directly at Dean, having obviously noticed his staring, rolled his eyes and crossed his arms, turning his head away from him. Shaking himself into motion, Dean continued hurrying to practice, knowing he was already late. Fuck, he hated the art college, with its faggy indie population and permanent haze of weed smoke.




         The bleachers were full today as they milled around the field. It made him feel like a goldfish. He seemed to be in a stupor and he had decided to blame his trip through the art college’s campus as he was tackled into the foul-smelling grass for what seemed like the hundredth time that day.

         The whistle blew, shrill in Dean’s ears. It made him want to punch something. Everything today made him want to punch something, especially the smug face of Sweater Guy. The team piled off him and their footsteps retreated, reverberating up from the ground. He laid there awhile, soaking in his thoughts and the damp, earthy smell of the trampled field. When the sweat had dried on his skin and his pulse had returned to normal, he pulled himself to his feet.


         “Slippin’, Winchester!” a voice teased.


         Dean watched Jo cross the field towards him. His smile at seeing his best friend froze on his lips as he saw a familiar figure sitting in the bleachers. It was Sweater Guy, brow slightly furrowed as he stared across the field, leaning back cavalierly, elbows resting on the bench above him. Now it was Dean’s turn to smirk. Who was the staring one now? Sweater guy sat up abruptly at Dean’s change in expression, knees sliding closed and hands jerking into his lap. He rolled his eyes irritably, a gesture Dean was coming to recognize as regular (since when had he seen him enough times to recognize anything he did as regular?). He got up and sauntered off. Dean had to give the guy some credit, he sure knew how to stay cool even when his big, gay crush was showing. This wasn’t the first time Dean had had to deal with guys coming onto him though. He knew how to deal with them. He’d lead them on a bit, have some fun laughing with his teammates behind their back, before making it absolutely clear he was straight. In public. He wanted to see that cool, impassive face fall, that hideous sweater unravel.




         After that day it seemed like Sweater Guy was always around, and always in a sweater and tight pants. He didn’t have much of an ass but Dean still found himself looking and seriously what the fuck? He seemed to wear a different sweater every day, always with some bizarre pattern mildly offensive in its tackiness.


         The day he wore a pastel yellow sweater with an easter bunny and eggs on it was too much.


         The day he wore a purple one with toadstools and cats on it Dean realized it wasn’t a once in awhile thing.


         The day he wore a dark blue sweater with a yellow moon, white stars, and the black silhouette of a cityscape and cat on it and his eyes were sinfully blue was the day Dean finally said something to him.


         He was sitting in the student lounge studying for his mechanical engineering test, regularly glancing at Sweater Guy reading in a chair, sometimes meeting a smirk that said, I see you looking and sometimes giving a smirk of his own when he looked up to find focused blue eyes looking in his direction. When they held each other’s gazes for longer than a fraction of a second he said, “Your big, gay, crush is showing.”


         “Excuse me?” The voice dripped with disdain and Dean grimaced.


         “I said your giant mental hard on for me is showing.”


         “Are you talking to me?” It curled inwards on the last word, low and rough.


         “Yeah, who do you think I’m talking to, queer-o? Definitely not anyone who seems remotely straight. And that would be everyone with the exception of, oh, you.”


         He made a noise of disgust, rolling his eyes. “First of all, I am not a homosexual, I am pansexual, secondly––”




         “It means I am not attracted to someone based on their gender, I’m attracted to them for their personality, the traits that make them appealing as a human being, not just as something to stick my penis into. Which leads me to my next point: that you are the farthest thing I would ever be attracted to, because whatever shred of personality or thought you have buried in your beer-soaked brain isn’t even your own, just a conglomeration of stereotypes perpetuated by your Midwestern upbringing and the mass media images around you.”


         Dean decided to let the insult go in favor of returning one. “So basically it’s a way to say you’re bi without sounding like a slut.”


         “Bisexuality implies a foremost physical attraction. If I were bisexual I suppose you could say that yes, I could have a ‘mental hard-on’ for you, as your facial measurements appear to correspond closely to those of the Golden Number, but unfortunately for you, I am attracted primarily to intellect, of which you, I’m afraid, have very little. Now, as fond as I am of redundancy and repeating myself to you with different phrasing, I am late for a blow job with a very intellectually and physically attractive poetry major so I may, or may not, see you later.” Without even waiting for a response from a gape-jawed Dean, he left, and Dean hated the fact that he probably wasn’t lying about the blowjob.


         Jo entered just as Sweater Guy left, and slid into the seat across from a still dazed Dean.


         “Yo, dimbo, what’s up? Knocked around one too many times on the football field?”


         “Hmm? Oh, no, I’m fine. Just been studying for awhile, y’know?” Dean stretched, leaning back in his chair. “Hey, who’s that dickbag who just left?”


         “The guy in the sweater?” Jo asked, pulling Dean’s slice of pie across the table towards her.


         “Yeah, him.”


         “I dunno. He looks like he’s from the art school––”


         “He is.”


         Jo raised an eyebrow at him as she took a bite of pie. “I’ll find out.”


         Dean smiled at her. “Thanks for asking for a bite of my bi––pie.”


         “What did you say?”


         “Pie. I said Pie, Jo.” Dean snatched the plate back, shoveled the last few bites into his mouth, gathered his things and quickly left the lounge.




         Jo sat down on the locker room bench as Dean was pulling on a t-shirt.


         “Castiel Collins.”


         “Jesus, Jo, what are you doing in here?”


         “I’m giving you the dirt you asked me to dig up. And it’s nothing I haven’t seen before.”


         Dean shrugged. She was right, and it wasn’t worth arguing with her. He slid his feet into his boots and began tying them. “So...”


         “Castiel Collins. Double majoring in comparative literature and music theory. Minoring in theology. Plays guitar and likes to start bands that always do pretty well in the university scene, but never go anywhere, usually because he sleeps with everyone in the band and doesn’t tell them, and when it comes out...well, you get the picture. On that note, he sleeps with almost anything that moves, provided it gets enough of his obscure references. The only thing he likes more than poetry and drugs is humiliating people he deems inferior, a category which you, my poor man, fit perfectly. He loves sweaters.”


         “So basically he’s a pretentious, slutty, genius.”










         Dean got up, closed his locker, and Jo followed after.




         The sun was barely up and his fingers were almost blue. Broken plumbing in the campus Starbucks was the last thing Dean needed. He’d woken up an hour early to give him time to study for his mechanical engineering test, and had been relying on a huge, steaming thermos of coffee to warm him up to the morning. Instead he found a dark and very closed Starbucks. Gritting his teeth and kicking at the frost stuck to the sidewalk so it shattered, he made his way to the student parking lot. He’d need to drive into town to Sacrilege Coffee, an unbearable place with way too long lines, high prices, and skinny, bearded baristas. They had about a thousand different types of coffee, one size, and patched up armchairs and sofas they definitely found at a flea market and definitely did not wash after purchasing.


         He was pissed off the entire drive and the entire wait on line, until he was handed his coffee and noticed a familiar pair of stick legs protruding from a baggy sweater with a shaggy dark-haired head on top. He quickly handed over a five, mumbling at the barista to put the change in the tip jar, and approached Castiel, heart picking up pace as he turned around. He had no idea why he was so excited to see the dick, but he smiled and said, “Hey, I’m Dean. Dean Winchester.”


         Castiel glowered at Dean for a moment before saying, “Castiel Collins.” His voice was rigid and disinterested.


         “Not for nothing, Cas, but the last person who looked at me like that, I got laid.”


         “It’s Castiel,” he said, glancing at a small table that had recently been vacated, but making no move to go.


         “I know.”


         “Then why are you introducing yourself to me.”


         “Thought you should know the name of the object of your creepy affections.”


         Castiel snorted and turned away, dodging between the cramped tables with ease to claim the empty one he’d eyed earlier. Dean hastily poured cream into his coffee, emptying a packet of sugar and stirring as he followed after him. He sat down at an available one person table next to Castiel and watched him sip his coffee and read––Dean craned his neck to see the title–– My Family and Other Animals.


         “What are you reading?” he asked. He wasn’t one for reading, but he found himself genuinely curious.


         “Nothing you would know. What are you drinking?”




         “That looks like melted dog shit.”


         Dean made a face at his suddenly unappetizing coffee. “It looks like coffee. What does yours look like?”


         Castiel turned his mug towards Dean, black coffee sloshing on the sides. “Real coffee.”


         “That’s not real coffee, Cas, that’s tar.”


         “I drink my coffee black, pure, none of that milk and sugar bullshit. And it’s Castiel.”


         “Do you like your coffee like you like your men?”


         “Again, Losechester, pansexual. Physical characteristics, especially race, have no influence on my preference for a sexual partner.”


         “Losechester?” Dean smiled.


         Cas blushed slightly, as if just realizing his nickname. If he hadn’t been so goddamn pale, Dean wouldn’t have noticed his reaction in the first place. “You’re not the only one who can use a nickname.”


         “That wasn’t a nickname. That was an insult.”


         “Just like the fact that you drink your coffee with cream and sugar.”


         “Whatever, Cas.” Dean got up to go, chugging the rest of his coffee and slinging his bag over his shoulder.


         As he left the cafe, he glanced back at the table, standing in the doorway for a moment as he watched Cas turn a page, take a sip of coffee, and lick his lips, which still looked ridiculously dry. Dean wondered if they felt dry. Cas looked up suddenly, meeting Dean’s eyes. He paused for a moment, lips open slightly as if hovering in a smirk, before he smiled at Dean. Dean winked at him and now Cas rolled his eyes, returning to his book.


         Dean may or may not have called Jo on the way to class and asked her to google the book Cas was reading at the cafe.


         “Since when did you read, Winchester?” she’d laughed.


         “Since never, Joanna Beth. Just wondering what it was.”


         “Dude, this book is ridiculous. It’s the memoir of some naturalist named Gerald Durrell who lived in Greece and did lots of weird shit as a kid. Pretty random. Who the hell do you know who would be reading this?”


         Dean didn’t answer, turning into the parking lot and getting out of the car.


         “Is it Castiel?”


         “What if it is?”


         “He’s the only person you’ve ever crossed paths with who’s enough of a fucking hipster to read this.”


         Dean still didn’t answer, striding down the frost-covered paths towards his class’s building. The ground crunched beneath him and he focused on the sound.


         “Dean, are you have a crush on him?”


         Dean knew she wasn’t teasing because she’d called him by his first name.


         “No,” he said gruffly.




         Dean cursed himself silently. Jo never said Okay unless she was playing the sympathetic best friend card.


         “Seriously, Jo, I don’t. I was just wondering.”




         A pause, and Dean entered the building.


         “I’ll see you later, Dean. Chinese at my place.”


         “K Jo. Bye.” Dean hung up and entered class.


         Two seconds later, his phone rang. “Yes, Jo?”


         “Party tomorrow. We’re going.”




             “Chuck and Pam too.”




             “I dunno, off campus somewhere. Later, Winchester.”


             She hung up and Dean rolled his eyes. He counted down five... four... three... two... one... before the third, and usually final, call back.




             “Don’t have any crazy gay sex before I see you. We need to have some quality girl talk before then.”


             “Why would I––I’m not––”


             But Jo had already hung up.




             Dean was talking to a big-eyed girl with red hair as he crossed the quad. It looked like he was just about to seal the deal when she turned and yelled, “Hey! You!” Dean followed her gaze to find Castiel, sitting beneath a tree with a guitar on his lap. He was looking up into the branches dazedly, chewing on the end of a pen when she––Anna, Dean was pretty sure her name was–– had called him, and he started suddenly, looking for the speaker. Anna moved towards him and he smiled as he noticed her. Dean swallowed because God that was just...


             Anna reached Castiel and was sitting down next to him, but it looked like he wasn’t listening at all. He was fixated on Dean and Dean had no idea how he should respond. Both a flirty grin or condescending smirk seemed out of place. He didn’t need to make the decision though, because a half smile spread across Castiel’s lips and he nodded slightly in Dean’s direction. Dean took this as a queue to come over, since Castiel was obviously far too cool to wave or call out his name. Obviously. Fucking hipster.


             He sat down next to Anna, careful to close just enough distance between them that Castiel got that his presence had interrupted some serious flirting. He would’ve tried for an arm over the shoulders or a kiss but that was definitely pushing it. Castiel’s eyes darted briefly to the narrow space, but he said nothing, meeting Dean’s eyes evenly.


             “Hello, Dean.”




             Anna snorted.


             “What?” Castiel snapped.


             “He called you Cas. I’ve never heard anyone call you Cas before. You cherish your name’s obscurity far too much to have it sullied by abbreviation.”


             Dean stared at Castiel as he reddened. Anna noticed the flush and her eyes crinkled in a smile, mouth parting in a little o.


             “Sorry, Castiel, I’ll see you later.” She got up quickly, kissing him on the top of his head and ruffling his hair affectionately before walking away, glancing over her shoulder at them several times, smiling knowingly.




             “So what’s the obscure origin of this name of yours.”


             “Hm?” Castiel looked up from jotting a few notes in the journal next to him. Dean noticed it was lined in music bars.


             “Castiel. Your name.”


             “Oh, that.”


             “Yeah, that. You almost sound as ditzy as Anna over there.”


             “Anna is extremely intelligent.”


             “Yes, but she’s also a complete airhead when she’s not discussing the liminality between trans-Mesopotamian origin stories.”


             “I’m surprised you managed to string so many words together.” Castiel’s fingers silently shifted over several strings. The edge of his sweater had ridden up against the side of his guitar and a thin strip of stomach was revealed. His hipbone protruded and Dean once again thought that that would hurt to fuck.




             Dean’s eyes shot up from Castiel’s showing skin and met his smirk. He’d caught him looking. Dean looked away, but not before he found his eyes, which showed none of the smug condescension they usually held when it was Castiel’s turn to catch Dean staring.


             “Yeah, Cas?”


             “My name. It’s the name of an angel. An angel of Thursday.”


             “I see. I was born on a Thursday.” Dean froze as soon as the words left his mouth, and from the heat in his face he had probably never been a more impressive shade of red. “Well, you obviously cherish it’s obscurity, so I’ll make sure not to call you Cas anymore,” he coughed, wishing for his words to wash away.


             Castiel peered at him intently, head tilted to the side, eyes intense and focused, indiscernible. He opened his mouth, closed it, and then said, “I don’t mind.”




             “I don’t mind your calling me Cas.”


             “You don’t? It lowers your pretentiosity meter quite a deal.”






             “It’s pretentiousness.”


             “There you go, Cas, already redeeming yourself.”


             Cas grinned broadly at him.


             “Okay, point made Winchester, now go away so I can finish this song.”


             “Is it about the ocean?”


             “No, God, everyone writes songs about the ocean.”


             “That’s the point,” Dean laughed as he got to his feet. “Hey, Cas?”


             Cas smiled. “Yeah?”


             “Are you going to that party on  Friday? The one off campus?”


             “Why?” Cas smirked. “You asking me to be your date?”


             Dean flushed. “No. I like my dates female, and I’m taking Anna. I was just wondering.”


             “Oh. K.” Cas looked down, focusing intently on one of his guitar strings.


             Why did Dean suddenly feel so guilty and awkward? “Okay, well, I guess I’ll see you there then, or around or yeah...”


             Cas nodded, not looking up. And Dean left, feeling bad and incredibly irritated that he’d ever asked Anna out in the first place.




             The clack of keys stopped as Dean glanced at the Google window just beneath his Word Doc. He resumed typing his essay for a few minutes before stopping again. He took a deep breath that echoed loudly in his empty room and ran a hand through his hair. Pulling Google to the front, he glanced around suspiciously, as if someone were watching him, and googled “Hipster music shit.” Naturally, it took him several more tries before he found a music blog that wasn’t a “hipster” hate blog. He pulled the douchiest sounding names from the pages of reviews and recommendations and opened up iTunes and Pandora. Some of it wasn’t too bad, like the Vampire Weekend and Hoosiers, but most of it sounded like someone took an acid trip, put it into sound form, and then compressed it in a bottle and sold it. The rest was so acoustic it hurt. After a few hours, Dean jotted down a short list of bands he could bear, and even a few he liked, and returned to his essay, wondering if Cas listened to any of them, or if his tastes were so obscure the bands didn’t even end up on music blogs.


             Music was spilling out onto the sidewalk in streaks of blue and purple light that snuck out the door, around the bodies twisting as they danced. Three people Dean recognized as the type of people Cas would be friends with were outside smoking and he, Jo, Pam, and Chuck skirted around them and into the house.


             At once it was all noise and colored lights and tight hot bodies and a mist of beer, sweat, and pot filling the air. Jo squeezed his arm so he knew he hadn’t lost her and Pam grinned at him, teeth flashing and said, “So where’s this little boy toy of yours?”


             “He’s not my boy toy!” Dean yelled back over the music. The hall opened up into a dining room-turned-dancefloor; the tables had been pushed back against the wall to host a variety of alcoholic beverages and a sound system squatted beneath them, the glow of an iPod’s screen discernible in the dark. Dean turned to see Pam already chatting up some well-defined guy who couldn’t stop staring at her amply showing breasts, and Chuck had wandered off, probably to find where the weed was. Jo was right behind him though and they began to dance, Dean pushing himself to get into the indie music’s beat. From the first five seconds it had become very clear that the residents of the house were part of the art school. His phone buzzed and he vaguely noticed Anna’s name: R U here yet? He closed the text and put his phone back in his pocket, smiling at Jo.


             “Who was that?” she pressed her mouth against Dean’s ear so he could hear her.


             “No one,” he yelled back. “Just Sam, I’ll call him back tomorrow.”


             She looked at him doubtfully but said nothing, pulling Dean further onto the dance floor.


             Dean heard a whoop as a new group entered and he looked to the door to see Cas, in tight purple jeans and ––Oh God, no sweater–– a thin gray t-shirt that hung off his lanky frame in a gripping way so that Dean could see the curve of his back and the shape of his chest. If he’d been hot in the hideous sweaters, Dean had no idea how to describe him now. His eyes were wide and dark and bits of hair were already sticking to his forehead and neck from the warmth of the room. His grin flashed in the blacklight as people approached to say “hi” and clap him on the back. As he and his flocking friends pushed their way into the center of the room and began dancing, in a painfully self-aware, attention-to-skinniness, jerky way, Cas noticed Dean. A slight smile crept onto his face, but one of his friends, peroxide blonde and heart-shaped face, nudged him, laughing, and Cas looked away, pressing an open, sucking kiss below her ear.


             Dean felt Jo nudge him and looked away quickly, painfully aware of how loud and hot and cramped it was, and how his jeans were tighter than the ones he normally wore. No judging. He moved them away from Cas’s group, glancing at him as he did so, and found Cas raking his gaze along Dean, and suddenly the room seemed too big and too small all at once. Too many people were between him and Cas, dancing between them because really, they were supposed to be dancing with each other, and there was nowhere near enough space for the two of them or just him because the way Cas was looking at him pushed the fact that he was a dick and a person with a dick so far out of Dean’s mind that he was elbowing everyone out of the way to get to the kitchen where only a few stragglers sipped beers mildly or grabbed a new one from a cooler.


             He’d gone for vodka instead and was downing shots trying to numb the sting of claustrophobia and jealous self-consciousness, when he heard a huff of breath behind him. He whirled around and had to slam his hand down on the counter to keep from dropping the glass.


             “Cas. Personal space.”


             Cas looked away from Dean awkwardly and took a step back.


             “Hi,” he said sheepishly, looking around the kitchen as if he didn’t know what to do with himself.


             Dean smiled, recognizing the song drifting in from the other room. He could do this. “This is Vampire Weekend, right? They’re pretty good, don’t you think?” Or maybe it was just the alcohol getting to him.


             Cas snorted. “Sure, if you’re into mainstream stuff like that. They’re such sellouts.”


             “Did you seriously just call something too mainstream?”


             Cas’s eyes met Dean’s, darted quickly to his mouth, and then were off and away. Dean gulped.


             “Maybe.” There was a smile in his voice and a tinge in his cheeks.


             “God, you’re such a fucking hipster.”


             “Does it turn you on?” Cas smirked.


             “You wish,” Dean replied. He knew this was his chance but this close to Cas in a kitchen where no one would notice or care or even talk if he pulled him the last few inches and kissed him and stuck his hand down his pants, he didn’t want to. He didn’t want to give Cas the satisfaction of being the one who turned Dean Winchester gay. The one who got away, because he could already tell that despite all of his fancy talk about personalities and intellectual attraction, he was just a slut, and there was nothing except sex that would make him stay. “Later, Cas. This party might be all art students, but the girls are still hot, and I haven’t gotten laid in awhile.”


             “Just girls?” From the way Cas’s eyes sparked in the garish lighting, he was still pushing it.


             “Bite me, Collins.”


             “Nice cardigan, Losechester.”


             “It’s a sweater jacket,” Dean snapped back over his shoulder, glad Cas couldn’t see him blushing because really, it was a cardigan, and Dean had worn it and too tight jeans to impress Cas, because he was the reason he went and he was also, coincidentally, the reason Dean wanted to get out of there as fast as possible.


             After the stifling closeness in the kitchen, the anonymous throng of bodies in the dining room was a welcome. Dean found Jo easily and she gave him one sympathetic if slightly reproachful I-know-what-you’re-up-to once over before pulling him towards her to dance again. Pam and Chuck rejoined them at some point–– a stumbling guy in a tweed jacket hanging onto Pam, Chuck’s eyes red and bleary. Dean and Jo laughed at both of them for respective reasons and Dean couldn’t help but close his eyes and smile, focusing on his here-ness, with them, his friends. He was having fun with people who made him happy, nothing else and no one else.


             His eyes snapped open as a hand snaked around his waist and a warmth covered his back. The grind of sharp hipbones against his own, the press of a nose and cheek against his jaw and along his neck and–– the scrape of stubble. Dean whirled around and Cas was so close he could see the blue of his eyes even in the dark and he was pretty sure breathing would count as kissing. So he decided not to breathe.


             The smirk was just underneath the surface of Cas’s eyes but he only said, “Let’s get out of here, Dean.”


             Dean nodded and Cas twined their fingers together and led him out of the party. Dean searched for his friends as they left, but they were dancing across the room–– rather, Jo was dancing, Chuck was doing his own thing, and Pam was falling over while trying to give her new accessory a hand-job through his jeans–– no one noticed his absence, and Dean didn’t really care if they did.


             Dean grabbed a bottle of vodka on the way out and chugged it the entire time Cas was driving down dark college town roads, lips tight when Dean sagged against him, slurring incoherently. Dean didn’t really want to be drunk for this, whatever this turned out to be, but really, he had no other choice, because drunk him’s actions were predictable, but sober him’s actions, especially around Cas, were something he was beginning to distrust.


             The sound of waves, soft in the daytime, turned into a roar in the dark as Cas parked. He got out of the car while Dean fumbled with his seatbelt, opening the passenger side door and helping Dean out. He didn’t let go of Dean’s hand and Dean began to pull away, but before it was too late, when only the tips of their fingers were connected, he tangled their fingers and pulled Cas’s palm flat against his own again. Cas’s thumb lightly stroked Dean’s wrist and he pulled him out of the parking lot and onto the beach itself, stumbling over the uneven sand, laughter building with the struggle of walking, tearing out of suddenly raw lungs and into the massive, all-encompassing buffets of wind.


             They picked up pace, running, as the ground grew wet and tight beneath their feet, more solid. Their feet met the surf and then their knees and their thighs, until they were waist-deep in the ocean, shaking and shuddering and sober, both hands clasped. The waves rocked them and Cas stumbled, falling against Dean, whose sturdier build was less affected. He lingered there, arms tangled with Dean’s, before shifting his head and without any trouble at all, pressing their mouths together. It was salty and coarse and Dean could do nothing but gasp as Cas explored his mouth quickly before moving down to his neck, sucking a quick mark, and then Dean was pushing him off, falling backwards into the water, wanting to cry for the first time since middle school.


             “What the fuck are you doing you fucking faggot?”


             Cas’s mouth opened but he said nothing, shivering in the water, t-shirt sticking to his narrow frame, hair plastered against his head. He looked lost and uncertain and liable to wash away. Let him wash away, Dean thought. Fall apart into the ocean where his big, blue eyes would merge with the Big Blue and Dean would never have to worry about any of this tightness in his chest, scrabbling at his ribs like a bird in a cage, ever again. “Was that your plan? Get me drunk and take me out here where you could have your way with me and no one would notice? Wouldn’t have to ruin your reputation by sleeping with some mainstream jock?”


             “Dean, I––”


             “Well, it’s not gonna work on me, Castiel, because I see you for what you are, a slut, a big, faggy, slut who just wants to add straight Dean Winchester to his long list of fucking accomplishments. And you know what? Maybe I’m the pansexual one, Castiel, and maybe you’re the bi one, you fa––” And then Dean supposed he wasn’t actually as sober as he felt because the world swam and the white crests of the waves, bright in the dark, turned into the frothy manes of lions and he was falling and filling with water and Cas was pulling him up and was dark.