Sam had been in a court room before so this wasn’t entirely new. The last time John had gotten out of the charge with just probation. This time he’d been sentenced to three years in prison for possession and intent to sell. That was a half hour ago and now they had been moved to another court room with another judge to decide where Sam was going to go.
Family court was new to Sam. Dean, who sat at his right, had been through this before. Sam fidgeted in his chair and Dean reached over, putting his arm over Sam’s shoulder.
At least Dean was here. Dad was across the room, staring at them both angrily. It was out of John’s hand though. He was the one going to prison so he got no say in who got custody of Sam. That was the judge’s decision and Sam knew that it was going to go to Dean.
“Custody of the minor child has been granted to Dean Winchester until the child is eighteen,” the judge said from up front. “Child protective services will follow up with the family following the court proceedings.”
“No way!” John shouted out. “I don’t want Sam with him. It’s not right to force Sam to live with Dean’s sick disease.”
“Mr. Winchester, you are out of order. Your son is better off with his brother so keep your mouth shut.”
Sam slumped down even more, moving closer to Dean so he couldn’t see John. “I’m sorry,” he murmured to Dean.
“Shh,” Dean said just as softly. “This isn’t your fault. None of this is your fault.”
“I should have checked his things, known how much he had on him when he left the house.” Sam pressed his lips together tightly. “I should have checked.”
“It wasn’t your job to take care of him. He’s the adult,” Dean forced Sam to look at him. “He’s the one who was supposed to take care of you.”
“I’m fine,” Sam mumbled, tearing his face from Dean’s hand.
“Dean Winchester,” the judge said and Dean looked back at him, standing up. “You are Sam’s legal guardian now. It falls on you to make sure he is safe. I don’t want to see either of you back in my courtroom until it is time to dissolve the guardianship when Sam turns eighteen.”
Dean nodded. “Yes sir.”
“Case closed. Court is dismissed. Please take Mr. Winchester into custody.”
Sam stood up quickly, watching as John was taken away in handcuffs, an angry, hurt expression still on his face. Dean put his hand on Sam’s shoulder, squeezing firmly. “Let’s go home, Sammy.”
Sam flung his duffel bag on Dean’s couch with a heavy sigh. It was one thing to visit Dean on the weekend when Dad was too drunk to care what Sam did. It was an entirely other thing to realize he was going to be living with Dean until he was at least eighteen. He hadn’t lived in the same house with Dean since he was eight and Dean was sixteen. Now he was sixteen and Dean was twenty-four and Dean was essentially his parent.
Dean rubbed the back of his neck as he looked at Sam. “I figured we could go get you a bed next. I cleaned out the spare room.”
“I know you did,” Sam said wearily. “Child Services made you.”
Sam saw Dean’s jaw clench out of the corner of his eye and he knew he had struck a nerve. He also knew that Dean wasn’t going to fight back, at least not now. “A bed would probably be good.”
“Sam,” Dean trailed off before giving a short, sharp nod. “I meant to have the bed here before you came.”
“Happened faster then you thought. Should have known that Dad couldn't get out of this one.” Sam sat on the couch. “Did you get internet in here yet?”
“They’re coming Friday.”
Sam slid his laptop back into his backpack at that, slumping with his arms crossed over his chest. “Great.”
“Right so we gotta go to the school tomorrow and get you registered for classes. I think you can start the next day,” Dean said, plowing ahead. “Basically we gotta get you all settled before next Tuesday when CPS comes to check out the place.”
“Dean I know all of this. I’m not stupid,” Sam glared up at him. “I’m just going to go call Meg, okay.”
“Yeah, you can use my room if you want. Until we get you a bed.” Dean paused. “And Sam, I’m glad you’re here for good.”
Sam grabbed his duffel and backpack, stomping out of the living room. He doesn’t look back, but he knows that Dean is watching him. He should feel worse about being mean to his brother when really, all Dean is doing is trying to help, trying to take care of him since Dad can’t. Dean’s been doing it for years after all.
The spare room was small, but clean. Dean used it to store books mostly. The ancient desktop that Dean used for his bills had been moved into a corner of the living room, but he’d left the desk. Now it was Sam’s, empty except for the desk and a dresser.
Sam’s shoulders slumped and he slid to the ground, leaning against the door. His eyes burned with tears, but he refused to let them fall. It could be a lot worse and he knew it. He could have ended up like Dean.
The bed they bought wasn’t bad, long enough for Sam to grow into and the mattress was comfortable. Dean’s ex-boyfriend Victor came to help them put it together and he brought pizza with him. Victor was the only boyfriend Sam had ever met and most likely the only one Dean actually still talked to. Probably because Victor was as big a dick as Dean so they enjoyed spending time together.
He didn’t sleep much though, the light coming in from the streetlight outside distracted him. He tossed and turned, fiddling with his cell phone and wishing Dean’s apartment had internet already. At around 3, he gave up and went to the living room, falling asleep on the couch.
The scent of coffee woke him up, the thick, rich smell wafting from the kitchen into the living room. Sam lifted his head and looked over blearily to where Dean was standing, watching him with a cup in his hand.
“Creepy when you watch people sleep,” Sam mumbled, getting up awkwardly, his arms stretched over his head as he yawned.
“What?” Dean seemed to shake himself out of whatever thought he was having and actually looked at Sam. “Sorry. Bed no good?”
“Couldn’t sleep,” Sam said as he slipped into the kitchen, getting his own cup of coffee. “Streetlight is kind of annoying.”
“We can get better shades,” Dean promised. “We have to get going soon. Go grab a shower and we’ll head out.”
“Can’t I eat first?”
“I’ll make you something,” Dean said, giving Sam a gentle shove. “Go shower.”
Breakfast turned out to be an egg sandwich with cheese and a travel mug of coffee. Sam ate on the drive, careful not to spill anything or get any crumbs in the Impala. Dean was a stickler about his baby.
The school was only about ten minutes away from Dean’s apartment and halfway to Dean’s library branch. It looked like any other school and Sam really, really didn’t want to go inside.
“Do we have to do this today?” Sam asked tiredly.
“Like ripping off a bandaid. Might as well do it quickly.”
“Great,” Sam slammed the car door shut, not waiting for Dean as he headed up the steps. Dean caught up quickly, but didn’t say anything as they walked to the office.
An older woman sat behind the desk, pushing a lock of hair behind her ear when they came in. “Can I help you?”
“Yeah,” Dean said easily, calmly. “We’re here to register Sam Winchester for classes. You should be expecting him.”
“Ah yes,” she said, rummaging around on her desk. “Mr. Singer is in his office. Let me just give him a buzz.”
“Thanks,” Dean flashed her a winning smile before turning back to Sam who was holding onto the strap of his bag and scowling a little. “I’ve been through this part before, Sam. It won’t take long.”
Sam felt a flash of guilt at that. Yeah, Dean had done this before - but for himself - and without anyone there to help him.
“Mr. Winchester?” A gruff looking man poked his head out of the office wearing a slightly rumpled suit and a crooked tie. “Come on back.”
Sam went first, Dean following him closely. The principal closed the door behind him, holding out his hand to Sam and then Dean. “Robert Singer. Welcome to Macall. We’re glad to have you join us, Sam.”
“Thanks,” Sam said, sitting down and not looking at the man. Dean sat down as well, settling in easier than Sam.
“I’ve got all your transcripts,” Mr. Singer said before handing over a piece of paper to Sam. “This is your schedule. The only class you had that we can’t replace is Russian. We don’t teach that here.”
“That’s fine,” Sam mumbled, looking at his schedule. It was normal, all the same classes he was taking at his old school.
“Now,” Mr. Singer turned his attention to Dean. “You are Sam’s legal guardian, correct?”
Dean nodded easily. “I’m his brother. I’ve got all of the requested forms filled out already.” He took a folder out of his messenger bag and handed over all the forms he and Sam had filled out with the social worker. “I work over at the Henderson branch of the library so I’m not far if there are any problems.”
“Good, good,” Mr. Singer said a little absently as he scanned the forms quickly. “Everything seems to be in order. Sam, you are welcome to join us today if you’d like.”
“We’ve got a few - ”
“Yeah,” Sam said quickly, interrupting Dean and getting to his feet. “I’d like to start now.” He waved his schedule a little. “I’ll just head out.”
“You sure, Sammy?” asked Dean, his voice low, concerned. Sam bristled at it, setting his shoulders.
“I don’t need to sit at home while you go through the checklist from CPS again. You can do that just fine on your own.”
Mr. Singer stood up with a little nod. “Let me take you to your homeroom. One of the students there is assigned to help you out the first few days.”
Sam nodded jerkily, not looking at Dean. “I’ll see you at 3?”
“I’ll be here,” Dean got to his feet as well. “Could I have a few words with you when you’re done taking Sam to his class, Mr. Singer?”
“Of course, I’ll be back shortly.”
Sam took a quick look at Dean once more before he followed the principal out. Dean gave him a small smile of encouragement which just made Sam feel inexplicably angry as he walked away.
“It says that you play soccer on your transcript,” Mr. Singer said conversationally as they walked. “What position?”
“Midfielder mostly,” Sam tried to keep his voice neutral, not let his anger bleed through. “Sometimes forward.”
“We have an excellent team here. I’m sure Mr. Novak would like to see if you’d be interested in playing. He’s your history teacher as well.”
Sam shrugged. He hadn’t given any thought to still playing soccer to be honest. It might be nice to have something to get him out of the apartment. “I guess I’ll ask him.”
Mr. Singer stopped in front of one of the classrooms. He gave Sam a warm smile which looked a little odd on his gruff, whiskered face. “Come by my office before you leave for the day. We’ll have all your books for you then.” He held out a hand to Sam. “It’s good to meet you, Sam. Please come to me if you need anything.”
“Thanks,” Sam said, shaking the principal’s hand. He straightened his shoulders as Mr. Singer opened the door to the classroom, motioning for the teacher to come outside. Sam heard her excuse herself before she stepped out.
“Good morning, Mr. Singer,” she said with a smile. Sam swallowed nervously. She was really pretty, big blue eyes and a wide smile and bright red hair.
“Ms. Milton, I have a new student for you. This is Sam Winchester.”
Sam held out his hand, hoping it wasn’t too sweaty. She shook his hand firmly, giving him the same warm smile she had given to the principal. “Very nice to meet you, Sam. Why don’t you come on in and we’ll get you situated.”
“Ava should be able to take him around today,” Mr. Singer said. “Her schedule is pretty much the same as his.”
“Sounds good.” Ms. Milton gestured for Sam to follow her into the classroom which fell silent as he stood in front. “Hey everyone, this is Sam Winchester. He’ll be joining our homeroom this year. Ava, give me a wave.”
A girl near the back with red-blonde hair waved her hand in the air as requested. “Go have a seat next to Ava, Sam. She’ll be taking you around to your classes today.”
Sam gave Ms. Milton a little nod and threaded his way through the desks to the back of the classroom. Ava smiled sweetly at him as he sat.
“I’m Ava,” she said holding out her hand. Sam took it, shaking it gently. “And you’re Sam. So let me see your schedule.”
Sam handed her over the piece of paper without a word. She looked it over with a nod. “Okay, we’ve got all but two classes together and I can drop you off and pick you up at your classroom for those. We’ve got the same lunch as well so you can eat with us.”
“Okay,” Sam said, taking back his schedule. He set his backpack on the ground, chewing on the inside of his cheek as he looked at the front. Ms. Milton had sat back down and was going over some papers. “So now what?”
“Now we wait until the bell rings. Homeroom is just for announcements and stuff,” Ava said as she started to play with her phone. “Oh and it’s the only time you can use your phone.”
“I left mine at home,” Sam admitted. “I wasn’t allowed to have it at all at my old school.”
Ava made a face. “That sucks. So where did you used to go?”
“Parker,” answered Sam quietly. He liked his old school. All his friends were there. Now he lived almost an hour away from all of them. “In Milltown.”
“My aunt lives in Milltown.” Ava offered. “So how did you end up here?”
Sam felt his face heat up. There was no way he was telling her the truth and he hadn’t really thought of what he was going to say. Oh, well my father is in jail so instead of ending up in the foster system my brother who I haven’t lived with since I was eight decided to take me in. That sounded like a great way to break the ice.
“New job. You know how it is.”
Ava nodded and the bell rang. She grabbed her bag. “C’mon Sam. Off to Geometry.”
Sam was exhausted by the time the final bell rang. He ran his hand through his hair, pressing at his temples to push back the headache that had formed. Ava got up and gave him a smile. “You okay getting out of here?”
“Yeah, I have a ride,” Sam said, standing up. “Mr. Singer mentioned that Mr. Novak was the soccer coach. I thought I would talk to him about playing.”
Ava gave a quick peek up at Mr. Novak then grinned. “He’s nice. I’ll see you tomorrow, Sam. How about I meet you out front at 7:40 so I can show you to your locker and how to get to homeroom without having to go past Mr. Singer’s office?”
“Thanks,” Sam said gratefully. “I appreciate all the help today.”
“That’s what I’m here for,” Ava said before heading out of the classroom after the other students. Sam took another deep breath before grabbing his bag and heading up to the front. Mr. Novak was busy erasing the chalkboard, whistling a little.
Mr. Novak turned immediately, putting down the eraser. “Hello Sam. I hope everything went well for you today.”
“It was fine. A little overwhelming I guess.” Sam rubbed his wrist. “Mr. Singer said you coach the soccer team.”
“I do. Do you play?”
Mr. Novak had really blue eyes and for some reason Sam thought they looked familiar. He had no idea why. “Yeah, I do. I’d like to keep playing if you’d let me try out.”
“What positions do you play?” asked Mr. Novak, rummaging around in his desk for a datebook. “I really need another sweeper.”
“Midfielder and forward, but I know how to play sweeper,” Sam said quickly even though he really, really didn’t. He crossed his fingers behind his back. “I played at Parker. We were number two in the State last year.”
“Yeah, you guys crushed us,” Mr. Novak said with a laugh. “Eight nothing.”
Sam winced a little, remembering that game. “Yeah. If it helps, I only scored once.”
Mr. Novak laughed again at that. “No hard feelings. How about you come to practice on Thursday and we’ll see what you’ve got?”
Sam smiled brightly at that, holding out his hand. “Thank you, Mr. Novak. I really appreciate it.” He turned to go before stopping. “Um where is practice?”
“Come to the gym so you can change first and I’ll show you where we play.” Mr. Novak had picked up the eraser again, going back to cleaning off the chalkboard.
“Thank you,” Sam said again before hurrying out and standing in the hall, a little lost.
“Where do you need to go?” asked Mr. Novak, watching him.
“Mr. Singer’s office,” Sam said sheepishly. “I need to get my books.”
“Take the steps on the left to the first floor and it’ll be at the end of the hall.” Mr. Novak smiled at him. “Have a nice evening, Sam.”
“You too. Thanks.” Sam rushed down the steps and hurried to Mr. Singer’s office. The secretary, Janet, gave him his books and directed him to the entrance of the school. He shoved them all in his bag, wincing a little under the weight as he headed to the front. Dean was already there, the car idling at the curb.
Sam wrenched open the back door, dropping his bag on the seat before sitting in the passenger side. “Hey.”
“Hey,” Dean said, waiting until he was buckled in before pulling away from the curb. “How was the first day?”
“Fine,” Sam said, looking out the window as they drove away from the school. “I’m going to try out for the soccer team after school Thursday.”
“Any idea when that gets out?” asked Dean.
“No, I didn’t ask. Why?”
“Just trying to figure out if I can pick you up or not. Victor can if I can’t.”
“I’m sixteen, not six.” Sam rolled his eyes and crossed his arms over his chest. “I can take the bus.”
“Actually there’s not a stop near us,” Dean admitted. “Not for Macall at least.”
“Then why am I going here instead of the school that I can take the bus to?”
“This is a better school and it’s on my way to work.” Dean tapped his fingers against the steering wheel as he drove. “I don’t mind dropping you off and picking you up. It’s just a late lunch break for me.”
“What if you’re off or sick? Are you still going to want to drive me to school then?” Sam knew he was picking a fight, but Dean was making decisions for him without asking. Dad did crap like that all the time. “Or is Victor going to do it?”
“Sammy,” Dean said, trying to sound calm. “I know you’re pissed off and angry about pretty much everything right now, but you think you could maybe believe I’m trying to do the right thing by you here?”
“The right thing for you maybe,” Sam shot back. “I never asked to come here.”
“I wasn’t letting you go into the system. Not when I’m capable of taking care of you,” Dean said decidedly not calm this time. “I know what kind of shit goes on in there and you don’t need to be a part of it.”
“I’m not you, Dean. Dad didn’t kick me out!”
“That’s right he didn’t,” Dean shouted back. “He got himself arrested for drug possession and intent to sell instead. He didn’t give enough of a shit about you to stay straight long enough for you to graduate high school so instead you get me! So deal with it.”
Sam slumped down in his seat, turning his face away from Dean. His face was hot and he could feel tears welling up, his throat tight. Dean swore softly and reached out a hand, squeezing Sam’s shoulder. “I didn’t mean it like that. Dad loves you. He just messed up.”
“He always messes up,” Sam said, his voice thick. He wiped a hand over his burning eyes, clenching his other hand into a fist. He was too old to cry over this. “He just got caught this time.”
“I should have taken you out of there years ago.” Dean’s voice was full of regret and guilt.
“And what? Stuck me with Chuck?”
Dean laughed a little, the sound hollow and sharp. “I never would have subjected you to living with Chuck.”
The car fell silent after that, neither of them willing to keep talking. Sam played with the hem of his shirt and watched the houses go by.
“Did Dad ever tell you why he did it?” asked Sam softly. “The drinking and the drugs?”
“Dad and I didn’t talk much before...” Dean trailed off. “He started after Mom died. Uncle Jim took care of us a lot when you were little because Dad couldn’t deal.”
“I don’t really remember Uncle Jim,” Sam admitted. “He wasn’t around after everything happened.”
“Yeah because he thought Dad was wrong to kick me out,” Dean sighed. “And Dad wouldn’t talk to him anymore because of that.”
“You know I don’t care, right? I mean, I’ve never said anything, but I don’t. Care that is.”
Dean chuckled dryly. “Yeah I figured that out when you would sneak over here on the weekends to hang out. I really should have just made the spare room yours when I moved in.”
“Do you have a boyfriend?” asked Sam for the first time ever, letting the room comment go. He didn’t care about that. He just wanted to be with Dean when he came over. “Because he can come over. I don’t care.”
“I’m not dating anyone,” Dean assured him. “It’s pretty much just me and Jo hanging out. Sometimes Victor.”
Sam had never met Jo but he had heard a lot about her. She was Dean’s best friend in college and had stayed that way after they graduated. Dean said that her mom made a mean apple pie which was high praise from him.
“Are you dating anyone?” asked Dean.
Sam thought about Meg and how they had fooled around a few times, but they weren’t dating. Not really. He shook his head. “Nah. Just me and Meg.”
“I thought you liked Meg.”
“I do,” Sam said, wrinkling his nose. “Do we have to talk about this? You’re my brother.”
“Who are you going to talk to about it?” asked Dean with a laugh. “I know stuff about girls.”
Sam gave him a sideways look. “Really. Like what?”
“Well I don’t know anything that involves taking off clothes,” Dean said quickly. “I just know how you want to treat them. What they like.”
“Dad gave me this talk already. I have to treat them like a lady and not pressure them about anything. And you know, listen when they talk.”
“Well at least he did that,” Dean said as he pulled into the apartment complex. “And yeah, do that stuff. You can ask Jo what you do when you take off their clothes. She knows. She’s a lesbian.”
“Do you have any straight friends?” asked Sam with a sigh.
“Chuck,” Dean offered. “But I would not take advice about women from him. I don’t think he knows what to do with a woman he doesn’t have to call an 800 number for.”
“Chuck is weird,” Sam commented as he got out, hauling his bag over his shoulder. “What’s for dinner?”
“I’m making lasagna.”
“You can cook?” Sam looked at him skeptically.
“Yes I can cook. How do you think I survived the last six years living with Chuck and then on my own?” asked Dean. He unlocked the door, reaching down to push Edgar inside with his hand.
Sam wrinkled his nose at the cat. The cat looked back at him and immediately disappeared, high-tailing it out of the room like Sam was out to kill him.
“He’ll get used to you eventually. He almost lets Jo pet him now.”
“After how many years?” asked Sam. He toed off his shoes, leaving them by the front door.
“Well four,” Dean conceded. “Go throw your stuff in the bedroom. I’ll get you a snack.”
Sam grinned at him, idly thinking that maybe things are okay. Then he thought back to the fight in the car and the smile slipped off his face as he thought about Dad and Dean. He unpacked his books on the desk, lining them up before setting his notepad down.
There was homework to do and Dean was getting him a snack and he probably should be social with his brother. But Sam was tired, really tired from his thoughts. He flopped down on the bed instead and tried not to think of anything but the feel of Meg’s breasts in his hands.
“Good hustle guys!” Mr. Novak called out from the sideline. “Sweepers, I need a little more coverage. Try to stay alert to the location of the ball.”
Sam blew out a huff of frustration. He had made the team partially because Mr. Novak knew what he had done at Parker and partially because Mr. Novak really did need another sweeper. Except Sam really stunk as a sweeper.
He pushed his hair back with his hand and decided that he either had to cut his hair or get a sports headband. Soccer players wore them. It was totally okay.
Mr. Novak blew a whistle and the next play began. Sam kept his eyes on the ball and followed the coverage as best he could, falling back into place to play defense. And the ball sailed past him again and the goalie made a dive to catch it.
“Fuck,” Sam swore softly, staring at the goalie who gave him a glare. This was not working out well at all.
“Okay, we’re done for the day,” Mr. Novak said with a smile. “Good practice today, guys. I’ll see you on Thursday to go over the game plan for Saturday. Sam, could I see you for a moment?”
Sam dragged his feet but made his way over to the coach. He gave him a tight smile. “Yeah coach?”
“You’re really not a sweeper,” Mr. Novak said bluntly. “I’m sorry, Sam, but that’s not working. Why did you tell me you could play the position?”
“I really wanted to play.” Sam admitted. He pushed back his hair again and felt guilty and nauseated and really worried that he was going to be cut.
“I’m going to move you to midfielder as a reserve. We’ll work on your skills at sweeper when we can.”
“Thank you,” Sam said, feeling incredibly grateful and relieved. “I really didn’t want to be cut.”
“Next time tell the truth,” Mr. Novak urged him gently. “It usually works out better in the end for everyone.” He reached up to squeeze Sam’s shoulder. “Go shower. You have a history paper due tomorrow.”
Sam snorted. “That’s been done for a week.”
“Wow a teenager who does their homework ahead of time,” Mr. Novak said dryly. “Will wonders never cease.”
“You’re kind of a smart ass.” Sam flushed red immediately even though Mr. Novak was laughing. “Sorry. I shouldn’t have said that to you.”
“It’s okay, Sam. Just try to remember that I’m your teacher when other people are around.”
“Sam! There you are,” Dean called out from the gym door before jogging over. His steps faltered and he stopped dead, staring at Mr. Novak.
Sam looked over at his coach who had also stopped walking, his face suddenly pale like he’d seen a ghost.
“Cas,” Dean said softly, his voice pained.
O...kay. Sam looked between the two of them, at Dean’s strange expression and Mr. Novak’s stricken one. Dean squared his shoulders and stepped forward again, walking to Mr. Novak and standing in front of him.
“I didn’t know you worked at Macall,” Dean said softly. He reached out for Sam, putting an arm around his shoulders. Sam was even more confused. Dean was kind of clinging to him while trying to appear nonchalant.
“Four years now,” Mr. Novak said just as softly. “I guess your brother would be sixteen. I never put it together - Sam Winchester.”
“He lives with me now.”
“Good. How’s Edgar?”
“Still hates everyone except me.”
And then they stopped talking and just looked and Sam was so done with this. He squirmed out of under Dean’s arm. “I gotta shower. I’ll be out in a few minutes, Dean. See you tomorrow, Mr. Novak.”
“Yeah,” Mr. Novak said absently before stepping forward and hugging Dean who returned the hug just as fiercely. Sam gave them both a skeptical look before jogging inside.
Obviously Dean knew Mr. Novak - Cas. Sam had no idea who Mr. Novak was to Dean, but he would hazard a guess that they knew each other pretty well. No one looked that hurt seeing someone they barely knew.
Sam showered, trying to think if he had heard Dean ever talk about someone named Cas. If it was at least four years ago, he would have been eleven or twelve, and yeah. When he saw Dean, usually by pretending that he was going to play at Andy’s and instead going to Chuck’s when he knew Dean was there and not in class, they didn’t exactly talk about Dean’s friends. Mostly Dean asked about him and he was just so happy to see Dean he never thought about asking about him.
So yeah, he was kind of a self-centered kid at that age. And maybe a little now. Dean had been nothing but helpful and supportive since Sam had moved in. Sam was kind of a jerk about things even when he didn’t mean to be.
Dean was sitting on the hood of his car when Sam came out, Mr. Novak nowhere in sight. Dean looked lost, his expression faraway.
“So you know Mr. Novak,” Sam said, tossing his bags in the backseat.
“I don’t want to talk about it right now,” Dean said as he started the car. Sam felt his frustration rise and he sat back in the seat heavily.
“Yeah. Cause it obviously doesn’t affect me at all.”
Dean’s fingers were clenched around the steering wheel. “You’re right. It doesn’t. So let it go, Sam.”
Sam crossed his arms over his chest and frowned, staring out the window. Nothing new then. Dean still wouldn’t talk about stuff that was important to him. Status quo.
Ava handed Sam an apple, sitting down next to him in homeroom. He took the apple with a smile. “Thanks.”
Ave waved a hand at him dismissively. “I had an extra and I swear you always look hungry. Do your parents even feed you?”
Sam felt a flash of guilt before nodding. “I’m a growing boy.”
“Obviously,” Ava rolled her eyes. “Do you have a girlfriend, Sam?”
Sam choked on the piece of apple he was trying to swallow and Ava pounded his back as he coughed. She laughed at the same time.
“If it makes you feel better, I’m not asking you out. I need someone to go out with my friend Jess on Friday. I promised her I would find someone so she wouldn’t complain all night about being out with me and Brady.”
Sam smiled his relief and put the (evil) apple back down on his desk. A date would be nice. Getting out of the house on Friday would also be nice. Dean had been staying home which had earned a couple of phone calls and a snide voice mail from Victor calling him a virgin who couldn’t drive. Which Sam really didn’t understand, but Dean had laughed before calling him back and telling Victor he was a mentally challenged airhead.
Sometimes Sam really didn’t understand his brother at all.
Ava looked at him curiously. “Well? I promise Jess is nice.”
“Oh, yeah. I can do that.”
“Good,” Ava looked pleased. “So you think you can drive?”
Sam chewed his lip. “I’ll see if I can borrow the car.”
Shit, Dean was never going to let him drive the Impala. Hell, Dean didn’t like to admit Sam was old enough to have a license even though he had been the one to take him to the DMV because Dad was too fucked up to care.
“Thanks.” Ava grinned at him widely. “You’re a good friend, Sam.”
“I try. But you better not be using me for my good looks and possible use of a vehicle on a Friday night,” Sam teased, flicking Ava’s shoulder.
“I’m not. Brady’s grounded from borrowing the car because of one tiny accident. The car was barely scratched.”
“Dea- Dad is totally overprotective of his car,” Sam said with a nod, hoping Ava hadn’t caught the slip up. No one knew about Dean. Well, except for Mr. Novak. Speaking of -
“Hey Ava. What do you know about Mr. Novak?” asked Sam. He picked up the apple again, taking a cautious bite and hoping Ava wouldn’t come out with something shocking again.
“What do you mean?” asked Ava curiously. “He’s been here for four years. My brother had him his senior year which was Mr. Novak’s first year. I know he’s really hot.”
Sam made a face at that, an image of Dean and Mr. Novak hugging immediately coming to mind. “Not my type.”
Ava laughed. “I kind of guessed you were straight. Your fashion sense is atrocious.”
Sam looked down at his flannel shirt, Led Zepplin T-shirt (Dean’s) and worn jeans. “What’s wrong with what I’m wearing?”
“Flannel? Led Zepplin?” Ava made a face. “Promise me you have something nicer to wear for Friday.”
“I’ll have you know my gay brother gave me this shirt,” Sam protested. “He wears stuff like this all the time when he’s not at work.”
“Are you sure he’s gay?”
“Well he likes dick,” Sam said bluntly. “So yeah.”
It’s was Ava’s turn to make a face apparently. “I am never going to be able to look your brother in the eye now. Thanks for that.”
“He picks me up most days if you want to meet him,” Sam offered softly. “Not today though because his friend Victor is picking me up.”
“Why don’t you take the bus?”
“I don’t live on the route. Apparently this is a better school so here I am even though it’s more work to get me here.” Sam shrugged and finished his apple.
“It is a better school,” Ava said with a nod. “So why do you want to know about Mr. Novak?”
Sam gave a little shrug. “He’s been really nice to me since I got here. He even let me stay on the team when I lied about being able to play sweeper.”
“I guess I have to come to soccer matches now.” Ava let out a dramatic sigh. “I suppose I can do that.”
“Really?” Sam felt astonished and happy that Ava would do that. “You don’t have to. I mean, none of my friends came at my old school. Just Dean when he could get away.”
“We’re friends, Sam. I’m keeping you.” Ava grinned at him gently and Sam felt his heart swell. “And that means going to soccer games and you coming to my play and doing stuff for each other and with each other. Okay?”
“Okay,” Sam said softly, his cheeks flushing. “Thanks, Ava.”
Ava punched his shoulder lightly. “What? Haven’t you had a friend before?”
Sam thought of his friends, thought of Meg and Andy. He had called Meg once and Andy twice since he had moved. They never called him back. So yeah, maybe he didn’t really have a lot of friends who cared when he left. He’d never invited anyone back to his house, not after he was eight and Dean left. Maybe his friends thought he didn’t care either. Maybe he hadn’t. Not like he’d cared about Dean.
“Not like you apparently,” Sam said with a warm smile.
Ava smiled back.
When Sam opened his bedroom door in the morning and stumbled into the kitchen, he managed to notice that Dean was at the table on Sam’s cell phone. His expression was tight and he was barely talking. He looked up at Sam and seemed to let out a sigh of relief.
“Hold on.” Dean covered the phone with one hand. “It’s Dad. He would like to talk to you.”
Sam felt guilt roll over him. He had only talked to Dad twice, making sure that he wouldn’t call Dean’s phone and instead his cell. “Yeah.”
He took the phone and headed back to his bedroom. “Dad?”
“Sammy,” John said gruffly. “How come you didn’t answer?”
“I was still asleep. It’s Saturday and Dean let me sleep in since I was out last night.”
“Did you have a date?” John sounded pleased at that. Almost excited. “Tell me about her.”
“Kind of. My friend Ava needed someone to go out with her friend Jess. It was fun. Jess is really nice and I might see if she wants to go out again.”
“Does she go to your school?”
“No,” Sam looked up as Dean entered, handing him a cup of coffee silently. His expression was still stiff but he gave Sam a slight smile before leaving again. “She and Ava have been friends for years though. Dad, how are you?”
“I’m okay, Sammy. Shouldn’t be in here. Wasn’t planning on selling that shit.”
Sam closed his eyes, fighting the urge to say that he knew that. This was a conversation they had every time they talked and John never listened when Sam told him that it didn’t matter anymore.
“Do you need anything? Are you eating okay?”
“I want to see you,” John said in a quick rush. “Please Sammy. It’s been too long.”
“I’ll see what I can do. I might be able to borrow the car from Dean.”
John let out a snort. “He’s not turning you into a fruit, right? Not doing anything to you? Because if he touches you, Sammy, you tell me.”
“Dad!” Sam burst out angrily. This always happened. Always. “You can’t say shit like that about Dean. Gay does not mean pedophile. We’ve talked about this.”
“I’ll say whatever I damn well please. You shouldn’t be with him. You should be somewhere wholesome and not with him ruining your idea of what a real man is.”
“Oh like living with you was so wholesome,” Sam blurted out. “You spent all your time drunk or high, Dad! I raised myself and tried to keep you alive in the process. If Dean hadn’t helped out without you knowing, I probably would be in jail too!”
“I did my best!”
“No you didn’t. You did what was best for you from the moment Mom died!”
“Don’t you bring her into this,” John shouted back.
Dean walked into the room and took the phone from Sam. “John, I’m hanging up now. If you want to call and talk to Sam like a civil human being, you can. If not, don’t bother calling him.”
Dean snapped the phone shut and handed it back to Sam. Without thinking Sam threw the phone across the room.
“Why did you hang up on him? I barely ever get to talk to him!”
“Because he was being an ass. If you’re shouting like that, he’s being an ass and you don’t need to talk to him.”
“I’m allowed to fight with my dad!”
Dean folded his arms over his chest. “He’s my dad too, Sam. And you better believe I don’t want you hearing the crap he was saying to me before you came into the kitchen.”
“I want to go see him.”
“Why?” Dean sat down on Sam’s bed heavily. “Why do you want to go see Dad in prison?”
“He asked and I’m allowed to see him if I want to. I can borrow your car or take the bus. Something. You don’t have to come.”
“Yes I do,” Dean said wearily, all the fight out of him. “You’re sixteen. You have to have your guardian with you.”
“You don’t have to see him,” Sam said hopefully. He sat down as well, leaning into Dean. “Please Dean. I want to see Dad. I need to see that he’s okay. You don’t understand what it’s like, watching him all these years and then not seeing him, not knowing if he’s okay.”
“You don’t need to take care of him anymore. You never should have.”
“I need to know he’s okay,” Sam’s voice turned pleading and he meant it. He really needed to see if Dad was okay, needed to touch him, make sure Dad wasn’t hurt. “I need to.”
Dean sighed heavily and put his arm around Sam, pulling him close. “Yeah Sam, okay.”
“Do you have dirt on your shoes?” asked Victor before Sam even got in the car.
Sam rolled his eyes and lifted his feet to show Victor that no, he did not have dirt on his shoes. “I swear you are worse then Dean with your car.”
“I treat my princess like she deserves to be treated,” Victor said with a fond pat to his dashboard. “I make Dean check his shoes too.”
Sam turned to put his bag in the backseat, careful not to touch any of the unidentifiable bags that could contain human remains for all he knew. Victor was a pathologist and had a weird fascination with dead things.
“Can I ask you something about Dean?” asked Sam.
“That depends on what you want to know. Some things you have to ask your brother about.”
“I did. He doesn’t want to talk about it.”
Victor looked over at him warily. “I’m not telling you about our former sex life.”
Sam made a face. “I do not want to think about you and Dean having sex. Ever. Thanks.”
Victor shrugged as he pulled out of the parking lot. “Suit yourself. I don’t want to think about you having sex ever either.”
“That’s because there’s a vagina and boobs involved.”
“And because you’re Dean’s little brother.” Victor was deadpan. “So what do you want to know?”
“Do you know anything about a guy named Cas?”
Victor looked over at him sharply. “Who told you about Cas?”
“No one. He teaches at my school. Dean saw him when he picked me up from practice two weeks ago.” Sam looked at him curiously. “So you know about Cas?”
“Castiel actually. And yes. Only because Jo said if I was anything like him, she’d kill me. I believed her.”
“What did Castiel do?” asked Sam, leaning in.
“Broke his heart apparently. I don’t think he’s ever really tried to date someone since then. Even me.” Victor sounded almost sad and Sam wondered whether the break-up had been Victor’s choice at all. “Jo hates him.”
“So you never asked what happened?”
“I think he’s still not over Castiel. Jo and I decided never to ask him. She knows more because she was there, but I don’t think she’s asked him about it in years.”
Sam fell silent after that, thinking about how broken Dean had looked when he saw Mr. Novak. Castiel. Cas. Dean hadn’t even looked that way when he saw Dad in court and Dad told him it was an abomination to let Dean have custody of Sam. And Mr. Novak looked heartbroken.
“Do you think he loved him?” asked Sam softly.
“I know he did,” Victor said just as softly. “Don’t ask Dean about it again.”
“But Castiel is here now,” Sam protested. “Maybe they could make up and be happy again. They hugged when they saw each other.”
“And Dean hasn’t left the house except for work and picking you up since. I pick you up whenever you have soccer practice, Sam.”
“I just want Dean to be happy.” Sam murmured, looking down at his hands. “He’s always gone out of his way to make me happy. Even knowing what Dad would do if he found out.”
Victor sighed and reached over to squeeze Sam’s knee. “You know what is making your brother happy right now?”
Sam shook his head, his eyes on Victor’s profile as they drove towards Dean’s apartment.
“You being here and being safe is making him happy. Ever since I’ve known him, Dean’s talked about getting you out of there, wishing he could take you away. Circumstances are terrible and obviously he didn’t want your Dad to end up in jail, but knowing you’re here and no one can take you away from him makes him damn happy.”
“Oh,” Sam said softly, looking out the passenger side window. “Okay.”
Sam decided there was no need for subtlety with Jo. She was straightforward and appreciated when other people were too. Plus, even though she was absolutely tiny, Sam was a little scared of her. He didn’t want to piss her off by beating around the bush.
“Why did Dean and Castiel break up?” asked Sam, leaning over the bar while Jo was washing dishes.
Jo dropped a glass in surprise and then swore, shooting Sam an angry look. Sam blushed and hurried behind the counter to help her clean up. “Why do you want to know about that?”
“He’s my history teacher and soccer coach so he lives here too. Maybe they could get back together.”
“I know he lives here,” Jo sighed heavily as she dropped the large pieces of the glass in the trash. “In case you haven’t noticed we’re the only gay establishment in the area.”
“You knew and you didn’t tell Dean?” Sam poked her shoulder. “He would have wanted to know.”
“Actually he wouldn’t have wanted to know which is why I didn’t tell him,” Jo shot back, smacking Sam’s hand. “And Castiel asked me not to.”
“So Cas knew he lived here?” Sam sat back on his heels, puzzled. Why did it look like Cas had seen a ghost if he knew Dean lived in the same town he taught?
“I may have kept in touch with Castiel,” Jo said a little reluctantly. “It was a hard break-up for all of us. He was one of my best friends, Sam.”
“What happened?” asked Sam. “Victor didn’t know. He just knew that Dean was broken hearted and wasn’t over Cas even when they dated.”
“Cas is in the closet. No plan on coming out ever if he can help it. Dean didn’t want to live that way, for good reason,” Jo murmured, giving Sam a look of regret. “No one should have to, but Cas wants to.”
“So they broke up over that?” Sam furrowed his brow. “Dean couldn’t get past it?”
“I think Dean could have given the chance. Cas wouldn’t let him. Told him it would be easier if they broke up because Cas didn’t want Dean to have to hide himself, not after what he went through with your Dad. Dean called him for weeks, begging him to reconsider. Cas changed his number and refused to talk to Dean. I only ever got emails and that wasn’t until about two years later.”
“And this was four years ago?” asked Sam softly.
“Longer. Five years. You were just a kid when this all happened. Dean was just a kid when it all happened. I doubt you even knew Dean was dating someone much less that they broke up.”
“Dean loved him, didn’t he?”
“I think you’re the only person he’s loved more.”
“Why are you telling him this, Jo?” asked Dean from behind them.
Sam jumped, as did Jo. Ellen, Jo’s mom, was standing next to Dean with a scowl on her face. “Joanna Beth. What have I told you about gossiping?”
“Twenty-five years old, Mom.” Jo just shot back before turning to Dean. “He asked. You told me what happened when you saw Cas. He was right there, Dean. He may be a teenager, but even he can tell when something is up.”
“Hey,” Sam protested. “I’m observant.”
“Come in the kitchen with me, Sam,” Ellen said, gesturing at him. “Leave these two to talk. I’ll make you a burger.”
Sam wanted to protest, but Jo shoved him gently towards her mother. Dean looked hurt and angry and - Sam couldn’t be sure, but he looked a little scared.
“We’ll talk later,” Dean said gruffly as he walked past. Sam nodded, bestowing a quick one-armed hug on his brother before following Ellen into the kitchen.
“Wash your hands,” Ellen said, pointing Sam to the sink. “What do you want on your burger?”
“Cheese and mushrooms,” Sam replied, washing his hands. “Thank you.”
Ellen got the burger started before she turned and looked at Sam with a curious expression on her face. “What is going on in your head, Sam Winchester? Why are you digging up the past?”
Sam shrugged. “Curious, I guess.”
“Your curiousity is doing nothing but hurting your brother. And I’m sure if he knew, Castiel as well.”
“It’s this whole big part of my brother that I don’t know,” Sam blurted out. “Is it so wrong to want to know about him?”
“No, it’s not,” Ellen’s voice softened. “But Sam, digging into his past is just going to upset him. There’s a lot of stuff that happened to Dean that he doesn’t want you to know about. Castiel is one of those things.”
“Dean doesn’t want me to know that he was in love with someone? What’s so bad about being in love?”
“Oh honey,” Ellen said with a sigh. “Love is wonderful and painful. In Dean’s case, it’s still painful even after all these years.”
Sam chewed his lip, looking down at his hands as Ellen went back to cooking the burger. “Ellen? Should I not like Castiel then? Because I do. He’s a good teacher and a good coach.”
“Not at all,” Ellen said firmly before sliding the burger on a plate and handing it to Sam. “But maybe you should go back to thinking of him as Mr. Novak.”
Sam let it go. He didn’t push Dean to talk about it on their way home, didn’t ask him what he and Jo had talked about. He stopped asking Jo and Victor about Castiel - Mr. Novak. He stopped looking at Mr. Novak and wondering what he had been like when he was dating Dean, what Dean had been like in love.
He knew better then to push. He should have known better from the start. This was too much like when Sam would get curious and ask about his mom. Dad wouldn’t want to talk and Sam would push and then Dad would explode and Sam would be picking up after a drunk John for a week. He didn’t think Dean would explode and spend a week in the bottom of a bottle.
It was all tempting fate in the end.
Then he had seen the picture and it all came back to the forefront and he couldn’t keep his big mouth shut.
The worst part was that instead of pushing Dean about his past, he did it to Mr. Novak.
Dean flipped out at him, told him to leave Mr. Novak alone. Mr. Novak told him that he wouldn’t talk about it, that it was improper to talk to a teacher about his personal life. He was both grounded and unofficially suspended from the soccer team for two games. He could go to the games, but he wasn’t allowed to play.
Dean had refused to budge, saying that Sam had to know actions had consequences, blah blah blah. Sam knew that actions had consequences thank you very much. Being raised by John proved that.
But yeah, he’d fucked up and blurted out something to Mr. Novak that he never should have even thought much less said out loud.
Do you still love him?
All because of a picture on Mr. Novak’s desk that had Dean in it.
Sam sat at the small table, looking around the non-descript room at the other prisoners and their families. He turned to look at Dean who was at a table on the other side of the room. Dean gave him a warm smile and a quick nod. Part of him wanted Dean next to him because this was weird and uncomfortable and more then a little scary.
The rest of him wanted to be able to spend time with his father and enjoy it, not listen to the two of them fighting. The door opened again and Sam looked over, hoping this time it was John.
It wasn’t and he slumped back into the chair, playing with the small package he had brought. It wasn’t much, just some warm socks and a book. There were rules about what he could bring and he wanted to follow them.
Sam looked up and saw John standing there, blue jumpsuit and a beard. He jumped up and threw his arms around his father, hugging him tightly.
“Dad.” He kept his arms where they were, John holding onto him just as tight. “I miss you.”
John pulled back and put his hands on Sam’s jaw, looking at him with a smile. “I missed you too, kiddo. You look good.”
“You too,” Sam said honestly. John looked like he had gained back a little weight and his complexion wasn’t grey anymore.
John let him go and sat down, Sam following him. He briefly looked back at Dean who was watching with a sad expression on his face. John followed his gaze and saw Dean but didn’t say anything.
Sam looked back at him. “It’s good. I’m doing well and I made friends. More then I had before. There’s this girl, Ava. She’s really nice and we’ve hung out a lot and her friends like me too.”
“I thought there was a Jess.”
“Ava’s a friend,” Sam said immediately. “I’m kind of dating Jess. She’s Ava’s friend.”
“Good, good. And soccer?”
“I’m kind of suspended for another game,” Sam mumbled, looking down. He shoved the package at John. “This is for you.”
John took it, but didn’t open it. “Why are suspended from playing?”
“I said something to my coach that I shouldn’t have said. I deserved to be suspended. It’s not a big deal.”
“Sammy, you have to respect your coach. I’ve always taught you to respect authority.”
Sam’s face burned at that, thinking about John’s lack of respect for authority, and he gestured to the gift. “Open your present.”
John looked over at Dean again before opening the package. He took out the socks and the book. “Thanks. I needed these.”
“Dean thought you would,” Sam said softly. He looked at his father. “I know you don’t want to talk about Dean, but you need to know that things are good. He’s taking good care of me. Everything is good with him, easy.”
John looked sad, but gave Sam a weak smile. “I wish I could have taken better care of you.” He looked over at Dean. “And your brother.”
“Do you want to talk to him?” asked Sam hopefully. “He’s staying in the room because he has to be here while I’m here, but he thought you wouldn’t want to talk to him.”
John shook his head quickly. “No. It’s probably better he’s over there.”
“What’s so bad about Dean being gay?” asked Sam softly. “He’s still Dean.”
“It’s wrong,” John said just as softly. “I’m sorry, but it is. Your Mom … maybe if she was here, I’d be better about it.”
Sam set his jaw at that. “Stop using her as an excuse. You’ve done that all your life, Dad. She loved Dean and you know that.”
“She knew,” John played with the socks. “She knew and I think she tried to tell me when Dean was little, but I didn’t believe her. She told me Dean was different from other little boys, but he was still our little boy and we needed to love him just the same.”
“Then why didn’t you?”
“I do love him.”
“So the drugs and booze were the ones saying he was a sinner and an abomination? You called him a pedophile less then a month ago. You kicked him out of your house and signed away your parental rights. How can you do that to someone you love?”
“I don’t have to explain myself. I made mistakes, okay. I can’t change that now.” John looked over at Dean again and this time Sam did as well. Dean was reading a book, appearing not to be watching, but Sam knew better. Dean was always going to watch when he was with John. “He’s keeping you safe and I’m thankful for that.”
Sam slumped and brushed his hand over his eyes. “We’re never going to be a family are we?”
“No. I can’t give you that. Dean would, but I can’t.”
Sam let out a shuddering breath and nodded. “Okay.” He clenched his hands into fists and took deep breaths until he felt his tears recede. “You’re okay in here, right?”
John nodded. “I am. I think I need to be here.”
“When get out are you going to stay clean?” asked Sam hopefully. “I want you in my life, Dad. But I can’t take care of you anymore.”
“I’m going to try,” John promised. “I’m really going to try.”
Sam used to dream about Meg when he was sleeping, the way she felt on top of him, the warmth of her breast in his hand, the way she tasted. He enjoyed those dreams and frankly, wished he still had access to easy sex - well almost sex.
Now Sam dreamt about Jess. And occasionally about Dean pressing Mr. Novak against a wall which just freaked him the fuck out. He chose to focus on the Jess dreams and not any involving his brother and teacher - both of whom still kind of hated him anyway.
Dean had been going out again though and taking phone calls in his bedroom. Victor was still leaving messages on the machine at random times calling Dean Chi-Chi Rodriguez and Mr. Kinney. Jo had been over twice in the last week and she had chewed Sam out as well.
It was suspicious to be sure (well it was to him), but Sam was hiding out in his bedroom and taking his own phone calls in private. It was usually Jess or his Dad. One was generally better then the other, John asking when he was coming to visit again and Jess asking if he wanted company while he was grounded. Dean nixed that idea but was still planning on taking Sam to see John again.
One afternoon, Sam was walking out of the school with Ava to meet Dean and he saw Dean and Mr. Novak talking over by Dean’s car. Dean was smiling and Mr. Novak was laughing and Sam was kind of weirded out. They looked happy together.
“So Mr. Novak knows your brother?” Ava asked as she walked beside him.
“They went to college together,” Sam replied, figuring that was the best explanation. “I always thought they didn’t get along.”
“Sure looks like they get along now,” Ava remarked as Mr. Novak put a hand on Dean’s shoulder. “Ooh. I wonder if Mr. Novak’s gay. Do you think he likes your brother?”
“Ava, that’s just ridiculous,” Sam said quickly and hopefully without giving away that he hoped for the very thing. “I don’t think Mr. Novak is gay anyway.”
Ava looked over at him shrewdly. “You’re lying.”
Sam looked down at her. “What?”
“You’re lying. Your voice gets higher when you lie and you’re lying to me.” Ava hooked her arm around Sam’s. “See if Dean will let you come over. We need to have a chat.”
“I can call my Dad to ask. Dean just drives me.”
Ava looked at him again like he was an idiot. “I know you live with Dean.”
“What are you, psychic?”
“No,” Ava said gently. “I listen to you when you talk, Sam. You never talk about your father. You only talk about Dean and what you do with him, how he takes you places, you borrow his car.”
"No one knows, okay Ava. Please don't tell anyone, not even Brady," Sam whispered, his face red. "No one needs to know."
"Scouts honor," Ava said, patting his arm. "So come over this afternoon and you can tell me everything. I bet you need someone other then Dean to talk to."
Sam snorted. "Dean's not much of a talker when it comes to feelings."
"So your brother kind of skews the gay stereotype on a lot of levels," Ava grinned and Sam looked at her line of sight. Dean wasn't dressed for work, wearing beat-up jeans, scuffed motorcycle boots, a t-shirt and a brown leather jacket that had seen better days. It was how Dean normally looked so Sam didn't really notice. Dean dressed nicely for work and Ava had seen him then, but yeah, this was really more Dean.
Sam thought of the picture on Mr. Novak's desk - Dean in his typical clothes, Mr. Novak dressed just as comfortably with mussed hair and scruff, Jo cuddled in Cas's arms with Dean behind them both, Chuck was even in the photo, looking as weird and uncomfortable as always - and wondered if that was how Mr. Novak really looked when he wasn't wearing pressed pants and collared shirts with sweater vests. He smiled softly, walking over to the car with Ava.
"Hey Dean," Sam interrupted as he walked up, making sure Ava didn't hear any of the conversation Dean and Mr. Novak were having even if they looked okay. "Is it okay if I go to Ava's?"
Dean looked between Ava and Sam and then shrugged. "Sure. Or Ava can come to our place if you want. I made pot roast for dinner."
"Thank you, but I have to watch my little brother," Ava said. "I can have my dad drive Sam home though."
"Just call," Dean said with a smile. "I'll pick you up. So you're taking the bus then?"
Sam nodded. "I'll see you later, Dean." He looked over at Mr. Novak. "Bye Mr. Novak."
Mr. Novak smiled at both Sam and Ava. "Goodnight, Sam, Ava."
"Night Mr. Novak," Ava said before she and Sam turned away.
Sam heard a quiet "Do you..." from Dean followed by a quick "Yeah" from Mr. Novak. He smiled to himself at that. Maybe getting in trouble and forcing Dean and Mr. Novak into the same room was actually a blessing in disguise.
"Go play in your room," Ava said, lightly smacking her little brother's arm. "Sam and I have to talk and I'm not allowed to take him in my room when no one else is home."
Ben groaned and gave Ava a glare before dropping the video game controller and heading to his room. Sam momentarily felt guilty, but then he remembered Ben had a computer in his room so he wasn't deprived by not being able to play video games.
"So spill." Ava flopped on the armchair, looking over at Sam. "Tell me your deepest, darkest secrets."
"It's not really a secret," Sam protested. "It's just not something I talk about."
"So tell me then. Why are you living with your brother?"
"My dad's in prison. Dean didn't want me going into foster care so he applied to be my legal guardian and moved me here." Sam shrugged. "That's pretty much it. Dean and I haven't lived together in awhile so it was kind of weird at first."
"College," Ava said sagely. "My older brother is in college. He only comes home on holidays."
"No, my dad kicked Dean out when he was sixteen. So eight years ago. He has a problem with the gay thing," Sam mumbled. "Dean was in the foster system until he turned eighteen and moved in with his friend Chuck. That's why he didn't want me to go into it."
Ava stared at him, her eyes wide. "What the hell is wrong with your father?"
"A lot of things," Sam said ruefully, thinking of his father and not feeling angry or guilty for once. Just tired. His father made him tired. "My mom died when I was really young and he never got over it. He wasn't that stable to begin with according to Dean and Mom dying pushed him over the edge. He's an alcoholic and a drug addict, mostly functional but not always. I've kind of taken care of him since Dean left, but this time the cops found him with the drugs before I found him and yeah, he got arrested. The gay thing. I don't know why he has such a problem with it. I’ve asked. Hell, I asked when I saw him a few weeks ago. He just keeps saying he can’t accept it.”
Ava continued to stare at him. "I didn't think things like that really happened."
Sam waved his hand around at Ava's house a little. "I didn't think homes like this really existed."
"Oh Sam," Ava said with a heavy sigh.
Sam shook his head quickly, wanting to head off any pity. "Don't. Dean and I are good. He went to college, got his bachelors and masters in four years, and has a job he loves. I got Dean to watch out for me now. I'm good."
Ava nodded and thankfully changed the subject. “So are you going to tell me the truth about Dean and Mr. Novak?”
Sam groaned and flopped back against the couch. “I really shouldn’t. I mean, he’s our teacher.”
“Please tell me the two of them are together. They would be gorgeous together.”
“Ava! That’s my brother,” Sam said as he closed his eyes tightly and resolutely not thinking about those dreams where Dean and Mr. Novak were kissing. “Gross.”
“They’re both very pretty.”
Ava laughed and Sam looked over at her. “You are an evil and cruel woman. I don’t want to think about my brother being pretty.”
“You never answered. Are they dating?”
“No,” Sam said honestly. He paused for a moment. “If I tell you something, you have to swear not to tell anyone else.”
“I swear. I can keep a secret,” Ava promised.
“Mr. Novak is completely in the closet and doesn’t plan to come out from what Jo told me so really, you can’t say a thing.”
“I swear.” Ava rolled her eyes. “So he’s gay. Most people thought that anyway.”
“They were together in college. Like full on totally in love, but Mr. Novak broke it off because he didn’t think Dean should have to live with being in the closet. Dean’s still pretty broken up about it. When he first saw Mr. Novak, he didn’t leave the house for two weeks except to go to work and take me to school.”
Ava let out a soft sigh. “Do you think Mr. Novak still loves him?”
“Yeah,” said Sam immediately. “There’s a picture on his desk. It’s not just him and Dean. It’s a lot of other people, their friend Jo, Dean’s friend Chuck that he lived with, and a whole bunch of other people, but they’re looking at each other, Ava. And yeah. They’re just in love. I’ve never seen Dean look at someone like that before.”
“Why would have the picture on your desk if you didn’t still love the person?” Ava moved over to snuggle up to Sam. He threw an arm around her easily.
“That’s why I got into trouble a month ago. I saw the picture and asked. He was so mad at me, but he never said he wasn’t.”
“I’m telling Brady you’re snuggling with Sam!”
Ava sat up immediately, turning to look at Ben with a glare on her face. “Brady knows I cuddle with Sam. Being a brat won’t get you video games sooner.”
“I hate you!”
“Tell someone who cares!”
Ben stomped back upstairs, his door slamming loudly a moment later. Ava settled back against Sam. “We should totally get them back together.”
“Mrs. Harvelle told me to leave it alone.” Sam sighed a little, stroking Ava’s hair. This was so weirdly comforting and non-sexual he was almost confused. “I really tried, but the picture. I saw it and I want Dean to be happy. Jo said that he and Mr. Novak were really happy when they were together.”
Ava let out another sigh. “Has Dean dated anyone since?”
“Victor’s the only one I’ve met and I think Dean was still hung up on Mr. Novak. He and Victor are still really good friends, but Victor’s said a couple of things that make me think they broke up because Dean couldn’t let go and not because Victor really wanted to.”
“Victor’s cute too,” Ava said, looking up at Sam. “Your brother has good taste in men.”
Sam wrinkled his nose again. “Does Brady know you lust after all of my brother’s gay friends?”
“Brady is open-minded. So how do we get them back together?”
“Soccer?” Sam suggested, unsure of whether they should even be considering this. “That’s the only time they’re together.”
“What if you got hurt?”
“I don’t want to get hurt!”
“Not seriously,” Ava smacked him lightly. “I mean, like a sprained ankle or something.”
“I could sprain my ankle,” Sam admitted. “I could ask Gabe to trip me. He’d do it.”
“Oh Gabe totally would! We should do this. You have a game Saturday, right?”
“Yeah, but I’m not sure, Ava.”
“Look, Gabe trips you, you go down and pretend to sprain your ankle. Mr. Novak and Dean come rushing over and have to check you out and voila! True love reigns.”
Sam looked at her skeptically. “I think you read too many romance novels.”
“Mr. Novak will check up on you afterwards,” Ava sighed, looking at him like he’s an idiot. “Dean’ll have to talk to him and that will get the ball rolling. Jeez, do I have to do all the thinking?”
“That could work,” Sam said thoughtfully. “They talked after I got in trouble. They would definitely have to talk if I got hurt.”
“Exactly. Let’s put this in motion for Saturday. We can talk to Gabe at school tomorrow,” Ava said before sitting. “Hey brat! You can play XBox now!”
Ben’s feet thundered on the steps and slid into place in front of the TV. He turned to look at Ava and Sam. “I’m so telling Mom and Dad that you didn’t help me with my homework.”
Ava leaned over and smacked him upside the head. “You don’t have any homework and you’re not even supposed to be playing XBox so quit it and keep your mouth shut.”
Ben glared at her, but flipped the game back on and went back to playing. Ava settled back against Sam and hummed thoughtfully.
“This is so going to work.”
Sam opened the door to the apartment, taken aback by the fact it was dark. He tripped over Edgar who mewled loudly and flipped on the light before shrieking at the sight of bare flesh and holy
, his brother’s dick. He covered his eyes with his hand immediately.
“Oh my god, Dean! You have a bedroom!”
There was a yelp and Sam heard someone, he didn’t care enough about who it was to look, hit the floor. He fumbled around and found the armchair, throwing the blanket that was on it in the general direction of the couch without removing his hand from his eyes.
“Seriously? I sit on that couch!”
“Christ, Sam! You were supposed to call me for a ride,” Dean shouted back. Sam heard fumbling and he lifted his hand, his eyes on the floor. On a sweater vest. That was red. And looked a lot like the one Mr. Novak had worn that day.
There was a groan and Sam looked up to see Dean in his boxers and Mr. Novak wrapped in the blanket.
“I think under the circumstances you can call me Cas.”
Sam whimpered a little. “Mr. Wilson gave me a ride home.”
“I got that.” Dean sighed, looking between Castiel and Sam. “Could give us a few minutes to put on clothes?”
“Yeah. Bedroom.” Sam motioned with his hand and stumbled away from the scene of the crime. Holy
, he had just seen Dean’s dick. He flopped down on his bed with a groan. How the hell was he supposed to look at his brother and teacher now?
It was one thing to plan stuff with Ava that he knew wasn’t really going to amount to much. It was an entirely other thing to see his brother on the couch naked with his teacher. Sam shuddered and thought hard about boobs.
There was a light knock and Dean opened the door. “Sam? You want to come out or should I just apologize many, many times and tell you that you hit your head and were hallucinating?”
Sam turned to look at Dean. “I’m not hallucinating though, am I?”
Dean shook his head and came into the bedroom, sitting on the bed next to Sam. “No. I really was having sex on the couch with my ex and your history teacher slash soccer coach.”
Sam groaned again. “Ava’s going to be so pissed that we’re not going to be able to use her plan.”
“What plan?” asked Mr. Novak from the doorway, sweater vest thankfully in place.
“I was going to pretend to get hurt so you and Dean would have to spend some time together and hopefully you would get back together beause of that.”
“Yeah, asking Cas if he still loved me did the trick,” Dean said dryly.
“I do. Love you.”
Dean and Sam both looked over at him and Dean gave him a soft smile. “I know. And I know you loved me when you ended it too. You did it because you loved me.”
“Are you talking about
?” Sam poked Dean in the side. “You have actual feelings, Dean?”
“Oh shut up.”
Sam laughed and grabbed his brother, pulling him down into a rough hug. Mr. Novak chuckled softly in the doorway.
“So you’re dating each other again?”
“Yes,” Mr. Novak said seriously. “But I’d really prefer if you kept it to yourself. And Ava I suppose.”
“I can’t even talk to Victor and Jo?”
“They know,” Dean said with a heavy sigh. “Why do you think Victor keeps calling me Mr. Kinney?”
“I have no idea who that even is. I got the Clueless reference eventually, but I don’t know what the hell Victor is talking about most of the time,” Sam admitted. “They knew before me?”
“Apparently they thought it was a good idea to hook us up again too,” Dean said almost reluctantly. “So congratulations, you being a nosy little fuck got everyone involved in my love life.”
“And now you’re dating the guy you’ve been in love with for years,” Sam said proudly and not the least bit smugly. Nope. Not at all.
“I kind of hate you right now.”
“Liar,” Sam crowed, hugging Dean again. “You totally love me.”
Dean kissed the side of Sam’s head, hugging him back. “Yeah, I totally do.”
Sam slid into his desk at homeroom, waiting for Ava. She sat down a few minutes later and handed Sam half of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
“Morning,” Ava looked at him blearily. “What’s wrong?”
Sam looked back at her sadly. He reached out and touched her hand. “Ava, I’m sorry but we’re not going to be able to go through with the plan.”
“But the plan was foolproof! It would have worked.”
“Probably,” Sam said with a nod, his expression still solemn. “However, I really should have called Dean for that ride instead of letting your dad drive me home.”
“What does that have to do with anyth - ” Ava stared at him, her mouth open wide with shock. “No way!”
Sam nodded. “And I am scarred for life.”
Ava clapped her hands together happily. “That’s awesome. Not the scarred for life part, but the rest of it.”
“Don’t say anything. Remember your promises.”
Ava mimed zipping her lips, her face still aglow. She took a bite of the sandwich and bounced happily in her seat. Sam was tempted to do the same, but really, that would be over the top. So he just ate the sandwich and inwardly cheered.