It's kind of funny to realize that you're in love with your best friend, and then to find out the next day that they're dead.
The first time that Castiel met Dean Winchester was when he was being shoved against his own locker during passing periods, Uriel's arm pressed against his neck, his windpipe. Castiel fought against him, struggling to breathe. None of the teachers could see because Castiel's locker was farthest from any of the classrooms, the perfect place to become target for Uriel's bullying. It wasn't fair really, because Uriel was bigger than him, older than him, and could throw him around however he wanted like a rag doll. Castiel was small, thin and frail, and couldn't fight at all. He had been raised a pacifist, and he was still trying to get used to the fact that not everyone else had been.
It was a Tuesday in March, with Castiel being pressed against his own locker, struggling for air, when a boy - older than him, probably the same age as Uriel – stopped as he was passing by. He stopped and stared for a long second before he moved toward them. Castiel noticed him in an instant, and his flailing and kicking stopped when the boy stopped right beside Uriel.
"You got a grudge against this kid or somethin'?" the boy asked, his green eyes – God, they were so green – full of amusement, and for a second Castiel dreaded that he was going to join Uriel in his little game. But the light in his eyes turned into cold anger as he spoke again before Uriel could respond. "Because if you don't, I suggest dropping him or you're going to have to deal with me."
Uriel shot him a look, and God, if looks could kill, this beautiful green-eyed, freckled boy, would be dead on the spot. Uriel grinned and pulled his arm from Castiel's neck, leaving Castiel to fall on the ground, hand going to his neck as he coughed and sputtered, tried to catch his breath. And before Uriel turned to leave, he heard him speak to the boy.
"Kid's a queer, Winchester. Best leave him be."
And then Uriel was gone, his footsteps heavy on the floor of the school hallway, but they were the only pair of feet leaving. Castiel caught sight of the boy's sneakers, the dark blue Converse in front of his face, and he couldn't help smile. The ends of his jeans were frayed and torn, too long for him, worn from scraping against the ground and cement so often. Castiel's eyes traveled upward, taking in the holes in the jeans of the boy; higher, the faded blue; and higher, his belt buckle, a Chevy emblem. Castiel blushed and moved to sit back on the floor, his back against the wall and his hand still around his throat, rubbing it softly, hoping that there won't be any sort of bruising that would lead to questions from his father.
The boy smiled at him when he looked up, caught his eyes, and held his hand out toward him. Castiel sighed softly, reached a shaky hand out, and the boy grasped it; the skin of his hand was warm and soft, and Castiel could feel the flush of his cheeks travel down his neck and across his chest when the boy hauled him up off of the floor and onto his feet. The boy gave him a sharp pat on the shoulder, and the smile he wore on his face could light up a room. His teeth were perfect, his lips looked soft, and Castiel couldn't stop thinking about how it would feel to kiss him, how it would feel to run his tongue along those teeth. His flush deepened and boy laughed, almost as if he could read Castiel's mind.
"The name's Dean," he said, giving Castiel another pat on the shoulder, and Castiel only nodded before turning away from him and walking down the hall, leaving his books and belongings in his locker. That was the reason he had been there in the first place, but he was too embarrassed to get them, because this boy - Dean - just saved him from one of the biggest assholes in the school, and Castiel didn't even have the guts to speak to him, let alone say thank you. As he was walking down the hallway, he glanced behind his shoulder just in time to see Dean shrugging to himself and turning around to head down the opposite way of the hallway. God, Castiel Milton was the biggest coward ever.
Castiel never had a lot of friends, and what friends he did have, he kept close. Gabriel and Anna were his best friends, and they had known each other for years, but there were often times when they didn't speak to each other, let alone sit with each other at lunch, and today was one of those days. Castiel sits alone, eating the sandwich that he had thrown together that morning: tuna fish. Plain and boring just like Castiel; he laughs to himself at the thought, smiling bitterly into the sandwich to hide it from the rest of the school, because who would want to be friends with a kid that laughs at themselves? And then there's someone sitting across from him, throwing their backpack onto the table along with a tray, and when Castiel looks up, he gasps.
It's Dean, and he's smiling at Castiel, pulling his slice of pizza off of the plate on his tray and taking a bite of it. The smile doesn't leave his face as he chews and swallows, and after a couple of more bites, and drink from his bottle of water, he clears his throat and speaks.
"So, I never got a thank you for saving your ass."
Castiel averts his eyes and looks at the tabletop, kicking his feet beneath the table, and squirming in his seat; he flushes, unable to help it, and he internally kicks himself. "Thank you," he almost whispers, and Dean grins, the smile spreading across his face, and Castiel swears that his teeth are shining in the light. It's a funny thought and he laughs again, setting his sandwich down on his paper sack. Dean gives him a curious look, but laughs softly himself and gently kicks Castiel's shin beneath the table. Castiel sucks in a breath and quickly drags his legs away.
"No problemo, man. Uriel's known for causing trouble, and if he ever messes with you again, just come find me, okay?"
"Why are you doing this?" The words are out before Castiel even has a chance to think about that's he saying, and he quickly throws a hand over his mouth, his cheeks growing impossibly red.
"What do you mean?" Dean raises and eyebrow and tilts his head to one side, and it's adorable, it's the most adorable thing that Castiel has ever seen, and he has to close his eyes to stop thinking about it, but he can't. He can't stop thinking about it because it's all that he sees in his head.
He pulls his hand away from his mouth and opens his eyes, sighing softly.
"I mean, why are you being so nice to me? No one's ever nice to me. I'm the outcast of the school, a bully's chew toy, and what friends I have, I don't see a lot of. I'm just a nobody; Castiel the nobody."
Dean laughs, and the sound of it is warming, like sitting in front of fire place in your favorite sweater on a winter day. Castiel loves the sound of it, and he leans forward slightly.
"You've got to be kidding me. Dude, you're a junior, right?" Castiel nods and Dean continues on, leaning forward just a bit himself. " Just because you don't really have friends doesn't mean you're a nobody. C'mon, I bet you're a great guy. I bet you're funny if you want to be, or hell, even if you don't want to be."
Castiel smiles at that, and laughs softly, and Dean's face lights up because he had just made Castiel smile and laugh. Castiel can't help but laugh more at the thought of that, and he picks up his sandwich off of the paper sack and takes a bite of it, chewing thoughtfully before speaking.
"Well, I mean, I can be funny sometimes."
"See? There you have it! Alright, so why don't you really have any friends?"
"I mean, I do, but they just don't hang out with me a lot. They're seniors, and I guess they just have better things to do than hang out with a junior." Castiel shrugs and Dean frowns as he picks up his slice of pizza and takes a bite of it, and at that moment, Castiel takes another bite of his sandwich.
"Well, that sucks, man. I don't have many friends either, and I don't hang out with them all of the time, but they're still my friends," Dean pauses and his eyebrows knit together. It's the cutest thing that Castiel's ever seen, and he laughs to himself before stifling it with another bite of his sandwich. "How about this: you and I become friends, and we'll try to hang out with each other all of time, more than our other friends hang out with us. Plus, I can keep Uriel at bay."
It sounds like a great plan, making a new friend that he can see every day, someone that will try and see him every day. Someone that can keep his bully at bay, and just someone to talk to and hang out with. Castiel smiles and sets his sandwich down, reaching his arm across the table and holding his hand out. Dean takes his hand and gives it a firm shake as Castiel says a quiet, "Deal."
Dean and Castiel don't have any classes together because Castiel is a junior and Dean's a senior, but at lunch, they exchange numbers and text each other through the rest of their classes for the rest of the day. Mr. Singer, Castiel's History teacher, threatens to take Castiel's phone away within the first thirty minutes, so he presses himself against the wall in the back of the classroom and turns his body just slightly to hide his phone from the eyes of his teacher. He manages to text Dean through the rest of class that way, and he learns more about Dean than he ever thought he would.
Dean lives with his father and has a younger brother named Sam, who's a freshman this year, but he doesn't get to see him a lot during school because he goes to the freshman campus behind the main campus. He has his own a car, a car that his father gave him for his birthday that year; a 1967 Chevy Impala, a car that Castiel would absolutely kill for - Castiel doesn't look like it, but he does have a love for classic cars. Dean almost dropped out of school his junior year but his younger brother talked him out of it because he really wants Dean to go to college, even though Dean just wants to be a mechanic. Mr. Singer, Castiel's history teacher, is actually really good friends with Dean's dad, and it was a little weird because Dean had him for history his junior year as well.
There's a lot of other things that he learns about Dean, but Castiel doesn't tell him half as much as Dean tells him, and he especially doesn't tell him that he prefers guys over girls, and that he may have a tiny crush on Dean. But of course he wouldn't tell, because Castiel doesn't tell anyone that he likes them, because he's awkward, and a coward, and he just can't work up the courage to tell anyone anything; which is why he's been continuously bullied by the same person for years, because he doesn't have the guts to tell him to stop.
The last text that Dean sends Castiel reads: Meet me after school by the tree near the student parking lot
Castiel's heart feels as though it's lodged itself in his throat.
Castiel meets Dean exactly where he's supposed to. His backpack is heavy with books, and he struggles slightly across the tarmac to the tree that Dean's leaning against. There's a boy sitting on the ground with a Nintendo DS in his hands, his tongue sticking out between his lips in concentration, and his hair flopped over in front of his eyes; Castiel guesses that it's Sam, Dean's younger brother. Dean smiles when he sees Castiel approaching them, and he nudges the kid with his shoe gently; the boy looks up and smiles when he sees Castiel, shutting his gaming device and shoving it into his backpack. Castiel smiles back and throws his backpack onto the ground with a heavy thud.
"You must be Castiel," the boy - Sam - says and he pushes himself up off of the ground, holding his hand out to Castiel who takes it, and Sam shakes it. The formal greeting's a little weird, but Castiel doesn't mind, because Sam seems like a sweet boy, and kind of like a polar opposite of Dean. Castiel drops his hand to his side, and Dean claps his hands together before reaching into his pocket and pulling out a keychain, fumbling with it until he has one key in between his fingers.
"Alright, so I was thinking that maybe I could give you a ride home, since you like classic cars and all."
Castiel flushes, a smile creeping onto his face, and he can't help the small laugh that bubbles out of his chest. He's never been up close and personal to a classic car, and he's seen Dean's car around before, but was only able to admire it from afar, like most classic cars that he's seen. It's crazy that he's actually going to be able to sit in it, feel the roar of the engine, the vibrations of it when the car's idling. It's almost like a dream come true. Castiel pulls his phone out of his pocket and sends a quick message to Michael, his older brother who usually picks him up after school, and he doesn't even wait for a reply before he's nodding and repeating, "Yes, yes, yes."
Dean picks up Castiel's backpack off of the ground before Castiel can get to it himself, and he lifts it so effortlessly that it surprises Castiel, because he had been struggling with the weight of his books, and then here's Dean, lifting his backpack with one arm and slinging it across his shoulder with that toothy smile. Sam picks up his backpack, and then they head across the parking lot toward Dean's car, where it's parked away from the rest of the cars, and Castiel thinks it's because teenagers are idiots who like to throw their car doors open without any consideration for the car next to them, and he can't blame Dean for parking all the way in the back of the parking lot, because Castiel wouldn't want a dent in his door if he had that car.
The Impala looks more beautiful close up, the black of it shiny and clean, and Castiel can almost see a perfect reflection of himself in it. He leans in, smiles, and hears Dean laughing behind him before he turns around and fixes him with a look.
"Never seen one up close?"
Castiel shakes his head and turns back around when Dean walks past him to unlock the front door, unlocking the back and moving toward it to open the backdoor and throw Castiel's backpack inside. He jerks his head toward the front seat, and Castiel freezes. Dean actually wants him to ride shotgun? Shouldn't Sam ride shotgun? He is Dean's brother after all. But before he can protest, Sam's throwing his backpack into the backseat with Castiel's and pushing past Dean to crawl into the back, flopping down and strapping himself in.
Dean climbs into the front seat and reaches across to unlock the passenger side door, and Castiel moves to the other side of the car and opens the door to climb in. The leather's warm from the sun beating down on it all day, and the car's a little stuffy, but it smells like leather, and oil, and it's actually comforting. Castiel takes a deep breath and leans against the seat, the leather warm against his back, and Dean starts the car without warning; the roar of the engine causing Castiel to jump, and both Dean and Sam laugh together at him. Castiel laughs himself, and it's surprising that he can feel right at home with these two brothers, how he can feel like he belongs.
They pull out of the parking lot and Dean turns the radio on, a classic rock station that Castiel's heard before, and turns it up louder than should be allowed. In the backseat, Sam puts his earphones in and listens to whatever kind of music he has on his iPod; Castiel catches sight of him briefly when he turns around, and then he turns his attention to the road. Dean drums his fingers on the steering wheel along with the song, and Castiel smiles at that, turning slightly to face him. The way that the sun shines through the windshield and into the car, the rays spreading across Dean's face, make the freckles on his face stand out more, his eyes almost glowing in the light. He looks beautiful. Castiel swallows and turns his attention from Dean, fisting his hands against his jeans and looking out straight at the road.
There's a long moment of silence, Sam listening to his iPod in the backseat, the radio playing a song that Castiel thinks that he's heard, but probably hasn't. And then Dean speaks, turning to look at Castiel as they pull up to a stop sign, smiling at him, all teeth, and Castiel relaxes against the seat, uncurling his fingers and rubbing the sweat from his palms off against his jeans.
"So where do you live?"
"Uh, off of Hill Street. The last house on the road."
"That big house? The one with the big garden out front?"
Castiel nods, a flush creeping up his neck, and Dean pulls forward and continues to drive down the road. After that they don't speak again, but the silence isn't awkward; it's comforting. The music fills the car, the scents of it linger, and Castiel sighs softly relaxing against the seat and stretching his arms out in front of him. Dean takes a turn, the turn down Castiel's road, and parks along the curb outside of his house. He lets out a whistle, and Castiel can tell that he's marveling at his house. It's huge, three stories with an attic, but it's not all that it's cut out to be. There's plenty of empty rooms, and it's just him, his brother Michael, and their father; all three of them living in a house made for six, or more. There's a large garden in the front, a large pool in the backyard, a piano in the main room, and well, that's pretty much it.
It really isn't all that great.
Castiel spends most of his time in his room, reading or studying for school, and he doesn't venture much farther than that. There's a bathroom in his room, and only time he ever comes out is to eat; it's actually kind of lonely because he has the whole third story to himself, but he keeps himself occupied most the days. The days when he's bored though, and doesn't want to be cooped up in the house, he takes walks, long walks. Walks to the park, walks to the river, just anywhere he feels like going. Because it's nice to get out and enjoy the fresh air, because he can't live in his room forever without going crazy. Castiel gives Dean a small smile and pulls the seatbelt from around himself, and Dean does the same thing, opening the driver side door and getting out. At first, Castiel's confused as he steps out of the car as well, and he's met almost immediately with Dean standing at the backdoor. He's hauling Castiel's backpack out of the back seat.
Castiel lets out a small, nervous laugh and reaches toward his backpack to take it from Dean, but Dean's pulling it away from him and staring at it.
"Jesus, Cas. You got the whole library in here?"
Cas? Castiel stops breathing for a brief second before his brain catches up with him. It's nice to have a nickname, and the way it rolls off of Dean's tongue sends shivers down his spine. He laughs again and takes the backpack from Dean, smiling.
"No. Just a lot of advanced placement books. I have a lot of studying to do."
"Advanced placement? Smart guy, huh?"
"You could say that," Castiel hauls his backpack over his shoulders and turns to face Dean fully. "Thanks for the ride, Dean. I really appreciate it." Sam waves to him out of the door, yelling a, Bye! Castiel ducks slightly and waves back before straightening and facing Dean. "Well, I'll see you tomorrow, then."
They say their goodbyes and Dean gives him a small pat on the shoulder before he moves past him to the other side of the car, getting into the driver's seat and throwing the car into gear. Castiel watches the impala disappear down the road before he turns around and trudges up the long walk to his house. He passes the garden, the short rose bushes in full bloom, and other flower sprouting from the ground. When he was a kid, he and his mother used to garden all the time; it was an escape from reality, and he loved it. He loved being with his mother, doing anything with her. When he reaches the door, he pushes the it open and heads straight for the stairs, not even bothering to check in on his father or his brother, if they're even home.
Three flights of stairs, and he's to his floor. He's out of breath, and he drops his backpack in front of his bedroom door, pushing the door open and kicking the bag the rest of the way in. It's too heavy, way too heavy to haul around anymore, and when he makes it into his room, he closes the door behind him. It's dark, with only one light source - the small fish tank on his dresser - and he turns the light on. His room is covered in posters, band posters, posters from shows, all kinds of posters. And art, because, y'know, Castiel loves art. He opens his backpack and pulls a book out and flops onto his bed with it, toeing his shoes off and sighing softly. He digs his phone out of his pocket and sets it on his nightstand as he scoots up his bed and leans against the wall, kicking his feet over the edge and wiggling his toes.
An hour into reading the book, his phone vibrates on the nightstand. It's weird, because no one ever texts him, so he stares at it for a few minutes before moving to reach over and grab it. He opens his phone, the text message is from Dean, and he can't help the smile that tugs at his lips.
"I hope you're studying. Don't want those brains of yours to go to waste"
Castiel sets the phone on the bed beside him and continues to read the book, flipping through pages slowly, though he's not really taking in much information. It's a just a bunch of stuff that he already knows, and even though he has a test tomorrow, he's sure that he's going to ace it even without studying. AP Science is a piece of cake. He starts when it phone vibrates again, and he picks it up off of the bed and opens it, and not surprisingly, it's another text message from Dean.
"I'll see you at lunch tomorrow. Oh, also, need a ride home again?"
Castiel smiles and sets his book down, typing out a quick message to Dean and sending it.
"Yes, Dean. That would be nice"
Over the last few months of school, Dean and Castiel grow incredibly close. Uriel stops bullying Cas and stops calling him a queer, well, at least in front of Dean, but Castiel takes it as it comes and appreciates that much. Dean's always there with Cas at lunch, talking about what he's done over the weekend, what movie that he's recently watched, or how he's going to work on the impala the upcoming weekend. Gabriel and Anna don't spend as much time with Castiel during school now that he has Dean, and to tell the truth, Castiel's a little glad, because the two of them were just so full of themselves and cared more about themselves than anyone else; Gabriel was a prankster, a trickster, and loved to play tricks on Castiel. Anna, Castiel didn't even know that well. She was quiet, a sort of rebel, and just, well, he liked her, but she was a little stuck up. But Dean? Dean's great. He's nice, and he cares about Castiel, and he loves his little brother to no end, and Castiel swears that he's actually in love with his car.
Dean doesn't deny it.
They spend almost every weekend together, Castiel sitting on a lawn chair outside of Dean's house as Dean stays under the hood of the impala, the sun beating down on them. Castiel realizes that the more that Dean's out in the sun, the more his freckles stand out, and the longer that he's out in the sun himself, the easier he burns. Castiel doesn't tan like Dean does, and most of the time, he always ends up with red tinged cheeks that begin to peel after a few days. Dean laughs at him, pokes fun at him, but it's all in good fun, and Castiel laughs as well.
But in June, Dean graduates.
Castiel's there in the bleachers, watching Dean as he crosses across the stage, watches him take his diploma in his cap and gown, and it's wonderful. After so much talk of dropping out, here's Dean Winchester, graduating from high school with a diploma. Afterward, after everyone's already headed home, Castiel meets Dean at the impala. Sam's already in the backseat half asleep, and Dean's pulling the gown over his body and tossing it through the back window onto Sam. He looks up when he notices Castiel approaching him, a smile pulling at his lips, those perfect teeth revealed, and Castiel's heart soars. And before he has time to think, he's wrapping his arms around Dean's middle and pulling him into a hug.
Dean wraps his arms around Castiel, holding him against his chest, and Cas buries his face in the crook of his neck. Dean laughs, a soft rumble in his chest, but he doesn't pull away, not like Castiel thought he would. They don't separate for what feels like ten minutes, and then Dean's pulling away just barely, looking down into Castiel's eyes with those beautiful green eyes of him, and then he's moving forward until they're face to face, nose to nose, breathing each other in. Dean looks away briefly before looking back, and Castiel can feel Dean's heart hammering in his chest - or is that his own heart?
Castiel nods, and then Dean's moving forward, pressing his lips to Castiel's and moving his hands up to rake through his hair. Castiel gasps softly when Dean tugs a little at his hair and crowds him against the car, pressing his back against the hot metal; his hands find Dean's hips and he curls his fingers into the cotton of his shirt. Dean's tongue slips into his mouth, grazing along the roof of it, along his teeth, and Castiel can't help the soft moan that rips from his throat. And then someone's clearing their throat, and they push away from each other in a heartbeat; Dean smoothing out his shirt and Castiel running a hand through his hair to smooth it down. Sam pokes his head out of the window with a childish grin, hair flopping in front of his eyes.
"Jesus, guys! Think you can save that for later?"
Dean clears his throat and Castiel blushes, his face turning an unbelievable shade of red that spreads down his neck, and he can even feel the heat on his chest. He laughs nervously and shoves his hands into his pockets, moving away from the car to stand beside Dean. Sam laughs and gives him a wave before popping back into the car. Leave it to Sam to snap back into reality at the least opportune times. Dean shuffles beside him and Castiel laughs softly, jabbing him in the side with his elbow, a smile tugging at his lips; Dean looks down at him, a smile on his face as well. He leans down to kiss Castiel briefly before getting into the car and starting the engine up.
"Need a ride, Cas?"
"No thank you; I'll walk. It's a nice night."
And after that, everything changes.
Castiel sees a lot of Dean after that night, and even though Dean had planned to go to college, he hasn't yet. He's claimed that he's taking a year off, taking a year to enjoy life without having a job and without going to school. Basically, he's just being a bum. But that's okay, because at least Castiel gets to see him whenever he wants to. He goes to bed with text messages from Dean, wishing him a good night and hoping that he sleeps well and has good dreams; he wakes up in the morning with text messages from Dean, wishing him a good morning and hoping that he has a nice day. And it's surprising that Dean's up before Castiel is, but it's probably because Sam's woke him up, or his father's woke him up.
But of course, Castiel always has good days, because when he sees Dean, his day just seems to immediately get better. Dean, with his perfect smile, his tanned and freckled skin; Dean with his perfect personality, his wonderful outlook on life; Dean, so full of love. Castiel just feels so much better when he's around Dean, and he feels like that he can be himself because Dean is; Dean always is. They spend their days together, from the moment that Castiel leaves his house, to the moment that Castiel leaves Dean at night, parked by the curb in front of his house. And Castiel realizes that he really loves kissing Dean; his soft lips and the way that his tongue slides around Castiel's, across the roof of his mouth. It's perfect.
They go see movies together, go to the park together, or walk along the river together. Dean even invites Castiel over to his house where they watch movies on Dean's bed in his bedroom, leaned against the wall, Castiel with his head on Dean's shoulder, arm around his waist, and Dean smoothing his fingers through Castiel's too long hair - "You ought to get it cut, Cas, or you're gonna end up looking like Sammy. And then that's just gonna be awkward." - but Castiel loves his hair, and it feels amazing when Dean rakes his fingers through it when they're kissing. They watch movies with Sam in the living room, all three of them on the couch together, and Dean's father even invites Castiel to stay for dinner a few times. It's comforting, to have somewhere to go where people acknowledge you, talk with you, and even joke with you. The Winchesters are great, and Castiel likes to think of them as the family he never really had. Because truth be told, Michael keeps to himself and hardly speaks a word to Castiel, and their father, he's more interested in his work than his family.
They spend countless hours with each other, Castiel at Dean's house more than Dean at Castiel's, but it's fine that way, it really is. Until one day, Dean asks Castiel why he's hardly invited him to his house, and Castiel stutters, he stammers, and he blushes.
"My father doesn't.. He doesn't know about us, and my brother doesn't either. They wouldn't believe what we have is real.."
"Do you believe it's real?"
"Of course I do.."
"Then that's all that matters."
And then Dean kisses him like Castiel's the air that he breathes.
Summers don't last forever, though Castiel wishes they could. Because then he could spend every day with Dean, going to the park to the river, swimming in the pool in his backyard, and laying in the grass in his front yard, pointing out constellations and naming them for Dean. "You're such a nerd." Dean would say, but then he would smile and kiss Castiel senseless, and Castiel would smile and kiss him back. The summer was perfect, the months spent with Dean were perfect, but then school starts back up, and Castiel is a senior. Dean is still taking a year off, but he returns to the school to hang out with Castiel during lunch, and pick him and Sam up after school.
He still gets to see Dean every day, so going back to school isn't such a bad thing.
Castiel and Dean still spend all of their time with each other on the weekends, either at Dean's house or at Castiel's, and Castiel swears up and down that he wants to spend all of his time with Dean, forever. It's a Saturday, and they're in Castiel's bed; the light from the small fish tank on Castiel's dresser is the only light in the room, and it sends a faint glow throughout the room, but Castiel can still see the green of Dean's eyes, the way the light reflects off of them and makes them look like they glow. They kiss, Dean's hands gentle as they roam Castiel's body, Castiel's hands balled into fists in the front of Dean's shirt. And then Dean pulls away, leaving Castiel cold, but then he wraps Castiel in his arms and pulls him against his chest.
"I wanna tell you something, but promise me you won't laugh."
There's a long pause, Dean's breath comes quicker than normal, and Castiel can feel his heart hammering against his chest. He presses a soft kiss to Dean's neck, another to the line of his jaw, and Dean relaxes against him, loosens his grip on him.
"I love you."
Castiel's world stops. He stops breathing, he stops moving, and he stops kissing along Dean's jaw. He stammers, fumbles over his words even though he doesn't even know what he's trying to say. Dean's grip loosens even more and Castiel gently pushes away from him, looking up into his face and into his eyes. He doesn't know if Dean's telling the truth, but why would he even say those words if he wasn't? It doesn't make sense, nothing makes sense. Castiel's breathing speeds up, his own heart is hammering against his chest now, and he closes his mouth. He breathes through his nose and closes his eyes. Who knew that those three words would have such an impact on him? Dean doesn't move though; he just looks back at Castiel, eyes wavering, and they look sad; they're pleading, and Castiel can almost hear Dean's voice in his head - Tell me that you love me. Castiel's heart sinks down into his stomach.
A smile breaks across his face and he presses his lips to Dean, a little harder than necessary, and he can't help the laugh that bubbles from his chest. Dean laughs along with him as he pulls Castiel back against his chest, and Castiel can't stop himself from repeating the words over, and over, and over again.
"I love you, too. I love you, too, Dean."
It's three o'clock in the morning when Castiel gets a phone call.
His phone rings, and rings, and rings before he's even coherent enough to throw his blanket back and reach over to his nightstand and grab his phone. He doesn't even look at the caller id to see who's calling him, but when he answers it, the voice on the other line is frantic. The boy, whoever it is, is screaming, and Castiel can tell that he's crying. For a moment, he's confused, but then he recognizes the voice, and it hits him like a ton of bricks.
"Sam? Sam, what's wrong?"
"He's gone, Cas! He's gone! Oh, God!"
There's a crash, the sound of glass breaking, and Castiel's out of bed and pulling on a pair of jeans before Sam even has a chance to start speaking again.
"Sam, I'll be there shortly. You can tell me what's happened when I get there."
He hangs up before Sam replies, and he's pulling a sweater over his head and shoving his cell phone into his pocket as he grabs the house keys off of the nightstand; he quickly slips his shoes on, not even bothering to tie the frayed laces. There's no use telling his father, or Michael, where he's going, because it's too early in the morning for either of them to be awake, and there's use waking them up just to tell them that he's going to Dean's. So he makes it down the three flights of stairs it takes to get to the first floor, and he pulls the door open, slides out of it, and closes it behind him, locking it before he walks through the front yard and onto the sidewalk. The walk to Dean's takes longer than he thought it would, and he crosses his arms across his chest, pulling them close against his body as to keep the cold out. It doesn't work too well, and by the time he reaches Dean's street, he's freezing. But he stops dead in his tracks when he rounds the corner and sees Dean's house. The front of it is illuminated with lights, red and blue, and there's two cop cars parked outside.
He runs the rest of the way, and when he reaches the front door, he doesn't even bother to knock. He pushes the door open, and before he even makes it into the house, Sam has his arms wrapped around his middle and buries his face into the crook of his neck. Over the past few months, Sam's been growing taller by the day, and he's a lot taller than Castiel now, but like this, he looks vulnerable and so small. His tears soak the shoulder of Castiel's shirt, and it's uncomfortable, but he reaches his arms up and wraps them around Sam and holds his close, rubs his back, and whispers soothing words without even realizing it.
"Sam," he croaks, staring past Sam's shoulder at John, who's on the couch with two cops standing in front of him. He has his face in his hands, and his shoulders are shaking. "Sam, please tell me what's happened."
Sam shakes his head against the crook of Castiel's neck, and he mumbles wetly against his skin, words that Castiel can't quite catch. Sam's voice is hoarse, his words slurred, and Castiel gives him a gentle shake and asks him to speak again because he didn't quite catch it.
"He's gone, Cas.. Dean's dead.."
Castiel freezes and drops his arms to his sides as Sam clutches him tighter; his breathing speeds up and his heart hammers in his chest, feeling as though it's about to break free and fall onto the floor. His throat feels tight and it hurts, it feels like he's choking, but he can't be, right? He's choking on air, the air that won't stay in his lungs, and by the time he slips out of Sam's grasp and falls to the floor on his knees, he can't breathe. He falls forward and clutches at the carpet, pressing a hand to his chest, trying to catch his breath. Sam's there in an instant, pulling him into his arms and back against his chest, but Castiel pushes away from him, wrenches his body from his grasp and stands up. He stumbles out of the front door and slips over his shoelaces on front step, falling onto the cement walkway on his hands and knees. His hands burn, his knees burn, and when he sits back, he realizes that his hands are scraped and bleeding.
He pulls his knees against his chest and buries his face into them and cries. He cries until he can't breathe, and then he cries some more. His eyes burn, his throat hurts, and his hands and knees are bleeding. But none of that compare to the pain that he really feels, because the man that he loves is dead. The man that he admitted his love to just a day prior is dead. He heaves a great sigh, sobs against his knees until his jeans are soaked completely through, and then he falls backward and hits the cement with a thud. There's an ache in his head, and there's an ache in his chest, but he ignores them, because at that moment, he watches the sky; he watches a star shoot across it and then disappear.
The life of Dean Winchester was taken by a man who was too drunk to be behind the wheel of a car. Dean was returning from a friend's house when the man hit him head on; they say that he was killed on impact, but it doesn't do much to relieve Castiel.
The funeral's a week later, and it's small. Dean's father and Sam are there, some people from school, and Castiel. Dean doesn't have a lot of family, or a lot of friends, but Castiel's thankful, because he doesn't think that he can be around more than ten people without having a panic attic. He's missed an entire week of school, hasn't eaten for days, and is running on probably less than ten hours of sleep from the entire week. John and Sam look no different, and Castiel's glad that they look as bad as he does, because then he would feel less like shit. It's a funny thought though, to be glad that someone is in as much despair as you are. He goes to the funeral in jeans and an old t-shirt that he stole from Dean, but after realizing that Castiel had stolen it from him, Dean gave it to him. It's an old Led Zeppelin shirt, with holes in the front of it, and it smells like leather, and oil, and best of all, Dean.
Castiel hasn't washed it since the day he got it from Dean.
Sam gives Castiel a sad smile when he sees him, his gaze drifting from the shirt that he's wearing to his face. Sam and John are dressed somewhat decent, clean button up shirts and clean jeans, and Castiel feels a little out place in his jeans and old shirt. But he knows that Dean wouldn't have wanted his funeral to be the same as everyone else's - suits and ties, polished shoes and black dresses. He would want it to be casual, to not be the norm. Sam approaches him and pulls him into a hug, crushing Castiel against his body before pushing him away at arm's length and giving his shoulder a firm pat. He reaches into the pocket of his jeans and fishes around before pulling something out. The light reflects off of it just barely, and he pushes it in Castiel's direction. Castiel holds his hand out and Sam drops Dean's amulet into his palm. The bronze is warm against his palm, and the cord hangs down from the side.
"He was going to give it to you anyway. He told me he was."
"Thank you, Sam.."
Sam gives him a sad smile.
"He loved you, you know."
The sun hangs high overhead, and it's warmer than it should be this time of year, but the trees are still sprouting leaves, and the flowers are still blooming. Birds fly across the sky, dart across and nearly crash into each other before landing in a nearby tree. They sing, and the song rings in Castiel's ears; he smiles and slips the cord around his neck to let it hang down his chest. He lifts the amulet up and holds it in his palm, closes his eyes, and presses his lips to it.
Tell me that you love me.