Dean frickin' hates iPods. Seriously.
It's not like he could tell Sammy, the kid was ecstatic when he'd finally saved up enough money for it- and God save him, that must have taken years- but how the hell was Dean supposed to get all his cassette tapes onto the thing? Sure, he wasn't exactly the go-to-guy for technology, but he was pretty sure that was impossible, and there wasn't a damn chance he was going to waste his money downloading all his songs again. Thankfully, Sam's iTunes had a few of the great hits on- something Dean felt particularly proud of- so it wasn't completely empty and he could plug it in his ears every now and then to keep his little brother happy.
And then there was school where, and he really hated to admit this, the damn black music device thing was his saviour, because anything that could drown the sound of his failing grades was worth the sacrifice. Still, Black Sabbath doesn't sound as good coming out of plastic, crappy headphones.
Dean was slouched back in his chair, elbows resting lazily on his desk as he doodled random shit on his notebook, unaware of the pretty blond entering the classroom until she punched him playfully on the arm and yanked the wire from his ears.
"Morning." She grinned, perching on the edge of her desk, adjacent to Dean's, before she pulled his iPod from his pocket. "Mrs Elliot was outside just now," She said, unlocking the screen and raising an eyebrow at Dean's song choice, "looks like she was talking to a new kid. Well, I've never seen him before, he was wearing a trench coat."
"Who wears trench coats anymore?" Dean snorted, ripping out the page he was doodling on and quickly stuffing it in his jacket pocket.
"Who listens to Black Sabbath anymore?" Jo replied quickly, hopping off the desk and sitting in her seat as the classroom door opened.
"People who appreciate fine music." Dean grinned, but Jo's sarcastic reply was interrupted by a stern cough from the teacher's desk. Mrs Elliot was the top reason Dean no longer completely despised his iPod, because that woman could talk for hours about one thing that wasn't of interest to anyone. However, even if she found it appropriate to go off topic and start ranting about her husband, if you even turned your head to look at your friend you'd get her screeching in your ear like some sort of raging bird. Today, she shuffled in with her brown skirt and brown shirt, followed by a boy of average height, average weight and probably average everything else. Dean didn't really care, the kid could be the president's son and he'd still be just a typical high school teenager with crap taste in everything.
"Class." She announced, settling herself down at the front of the room and observing everyone through her tiny glasses. It was her unemotional, uncaring and unconventional way of welcoming everyone. Dean imagined that she was the type of woman who only became a teacher because she believed she was destined for a superior role, and there was no way she could get into politics with a charisma like that. "Today we have a new student, so would you please pay attention whilst he introduces himself."
The older Winchester didn't bother looking up, but he did glance sideways at Jo- who was staring up at the front of the classroom like a frickin' angel or something was standing there, and Jo wasn't one to idolise anyone. Whatever, what did he care.
"Erm. Hello." Said a low, gruff and yet undeniably innocent voice, and Dean could hear a few snickers echo around the room. For some unknown reason, he really wanted to punch those people- they were probably the same people who laughed when he entered the room last semester- but he resisted and just clenched his pen in his fist instead. "The name my father bestowed upon me is Castiel." He continued awkwardly, and Dean raised a confused brow because who the hell spoke like that these days? He leant sideways discretely, just far enough for Jo to hear him.
"What kind of name is Castiel? He a religious nut, you think?"
"Says the boy with the hundred or so religious heirlooms that are supposed to get rid of demons or whatever." Jo snapped back, more pissed off about his comment than Dean had anticipated.
"Don't get your panties in a twist." Dean murmured, sitting up straighter and noticing that Jo wasn't the only one who needed a lie down. Every girl in the room was on full alert, only turning away from the trench coat wearing boy to give each other that look: the look that all girls know means 'if you ever get to see him naked, you have to show me a picture or at least produce an anatomically correct sketch.' So yeah, maybe this perked Dean's interest a bit more, because perhaps he had some competition.
Castiel was biting his lip nervously when Dean turned his green eyes towards him. He was wearing a shirt and tie, with nicely fitting trousers and what looked like a blazer underneath. A suit. The guy was wearing a goddamn suit. What was he, forty? Fortunately, the majority of the suit was drenched in a trench coat that looked slightly too big for him and made him look like some sort of detective, crime-fighter wannabe. Dean's mind raced back to when Sammy had said the same thing about his leather jacket, but leather jackets are cool- trench coats aren't. Fact.
Thus it was deduced, it wasn't his fashion sense that had caused the raised room temperature. So Dean moved his gaze further upwards, noticing the light stubble littering his strong jawbone and highlighting Castiel's full, pink and chapped lips. Okay, they looked... nice, Dean thought, and really didn't want to elaborate anymore because that would be weird. Yeah, weird.
Castiel's hair was messy and untamed, a few strands falling across his face and the rest going wherever they pleased, perfecting the 'I just had sex' look. Great. A few strands rested delicately on thick eyelashes, that framed round, wide eyes.
The kid's eyes were some sort of colour that Dean didn't think could be mixed up naturally. They were an almost translucent blue- yet still so bright, cyan bright, and seemed to suck away the colour from everywhere else so that the intensity of his gaze was the only thing Dean could focus on. It didn't become apparent that Dean was in the middle of a some high level staring contest until Jo whispered a sharp "Dean" and managed to snap him out of the weird trance he was in.
"What?" Dean returned in the same tone, glancing at Jo and trying to ignore all the eyes turned on him. Jo just shook her head in an almost disappointed manner, pursing her lips before sighing.
"Stop being a jerk." She whispered. "Stop trying to intimidate or whatever you were doing, give him a chance." Dean stuttered slightly because that is not what was happening. In a second of fear, Dean looked at Castiel, who had his head tilted slightly and was studying Dean with those damn puppy-dog eyes and a furrowed brow. Before Dean could flip him off or pointedly direct him away, Mrs Elliot showed Castiel to a desk one row in front and to the left of Dean, and he obeyed silently, ignoring everyone watching him. Dean gave a sigh of relief, picking up his pen and iPod- happy to return to a day of ignoring the world.
Dean hummed happily as his teeth broke the surface of the burger and the greasy meat slipped into his mouth, the cheese was melted perfectly and the roll just the right amount of crispy. It was fucking awesome. Sam sat opposite with his friend Gabriel beside him, both watching the display with similar looks of confusion and disgust. Jo and Lisa just ignored the boys, glaring at the lunch queue where Meg Masters was leaning far too close to Castiel. The boy remained oblivious to her sultry eyes, and appeared more worried about the lunch menu than the dark haired girl that was clearly mentally undressing him.
"Should we do anything?" Lisa asked Jo, her eyes following Meg's movements from her face to her toes.
"We should invite him over here."
"No way am I getting in the way of Meg." Jo considered this, and nodded. She turned to Dean with fixed smile on her face and fluttering her eyelashes shamelessly,
"Dean." She purred, placing her hand on his shoulder and edging closer. "You should go ask Castiel if he wants to sit with us and not, you know, her." Jo nodded towards the queue and Dean shrugged her off.
"Meg's not that bad." Dean said, angry at the discussion pulling him away from the heavenly burger. "Not nowadays anyway."
"She's still a bitch." Lisa argued, and Dean glanced at her for only a second, feeling unable to respond. Him and Lisa- that's a whole box of awkward he didn't want to open.
"Look, he doesn't seem fazed by it, so let's just lay off trench coat boy, okay?" And Dean was telling the truth, Castiel looked totally at ease- well as at ease Dean figured he could look- with Meg flaunting everything she could. He looked over at Meg's normal table- Ruby, Alastair, Lilly, Crowley. Sure, Meg was bearable, but the others made his skin crawl and his heart beat that little faster because, dear lord, they were some evil sons of bitches. Maybe if Meg began dragging Castiel over there, he could find it in his heart to interfere.
"Trench coat boy?" Gabriel piped up, momentarily distracted from flinging peas from his fork at the table of girls next to them. "You mean my brother?"
"Your brother?" Jo squeaked. "Since when?"
"Well since we were both born from the same parents." Gabriel smirked, looking over to find Castiel in the room. "He's been home schooled since forever, finally got Papa to let him taste reality."
"How comes you weren't home-schooled, then?" Lisa asked, and the whole table's attention was on Gabriel. "If he's older than you."
"Let's just say I'm a bit more rebellious than Cas over there," he smiled, "so Daddy let me play. Castiel was always more interested in being the obedient one, so he never even asked to come here, not until about a month ago, anyway."
"What changed?" Dean inquired, and he wondered if this Castiel guy had ever had any fun. Gabriel shrugged, already bored of the conversation and looking for new victims for his DIY catapult.
"Hormones, probably." Was his short reply, and the whole table was left to consider that statement individually. Dean let his focus wonder back to Castiel, who had picked a bottle of water and an apple from the snack bar and stiffly paid for it, his movements robotic and unsure. When he turned around, Meg was grinning and nudging him towards the smiling faces of Ruby and Lilly, but Gabriel noticed and quickly shot a large handful of mashed potato into her back. Meg shrieked, turning demonic like eyes on the whole canteen as she tried to find the culprit with the catapult, but Gabriel had already signalled Castiel to join them and hidden swiftly under the table.
"Smooth." Sam commented, helping Gabriel back onto his seat and budging up so Castiel could squeeze in beside him. Castiel looked positively horrified by such close human contact.
"That is my middle name." Replied Gabriel happily, and Castiel frowned deeply.
"No it isn't." He said bluntly, hands in his lap and staring confused at his brother. Dean had to withhold a snort of laughter, but his lips still turned up in a small smile, unsure whether this seriousness was intentional or some sort of act. The rest of the table just looked at Castiel, except for Gabriel who was clearly used to his brother's attitude. Unaware of the awkwardness of the silence, Castiel picked up his apple and began eating quite contently.
"Dude." Dean finally said, glaring at the apple like it was poison. "Is that all you're going to eat?" Castiel seemed surprised by the sudden interaction, but he looked up at Dean and gave a small nod.
"Yes." He said, not removing his eyes from Dean's. They were falling into that weird staring thing again and Dean had to look away before the rest of the table noticed. His appetite had depleted, leaving a plate of unfinished fries, so Dean pushed it towards Castiel and sighed.
"Here, if you want."
Dean wasn't really sure why he did that- the guy was perfectly happy with just his apple and water, and had made no movement to suggest he wanted any more, especially not from the older Winchester's plate, but when Castiel's eyes widened slightly and he picked one up and placed it between those lips of his, Dean knew he'd done the right thing. Somehow. The rest of the table were looking at Dean like he was about to die on the spot, Jo even leaned closer to check his temperature wasn't out of whack because Dean does not share food, and yet here he was handing a plate of it to someone he'd only just met- someone who didn't ask for it.
"Thank you." Castiel said, munching happily on the fries, his face conveying what could possibly be happiness, or maybe it was a trick of the light.
"No problem." Dean replied, removing his iPod from his pocket and using his music to hide away from his confused friends.
Right at this moment, Dean frickin' loves iPods. Seriously.
Zach was a complete dick, and everyone knew that- even his friends. Or, more accurately, especially his friends. He saw himself as a leader amongst the school community, a higher being, a role model to all those who needed guidance. Now that would be all well and good if he possessed the qualities of someone you could respect but, like his hair, he didn't own an ounce of it. His only advantage was his size- big enough to intimidate even the strongest of students but just small enough to fit through doors. He enjoyed being known, not necessarily popular, but each and every pupil needed to be familiar with him- scared to a certain degree. And so, upon hearing of a new student, his first duty of the day was to find the kid and make sure that Zach is a name he never forgets.
Castiel had been tagging along behind Sam and Dean Winchester, feeling out of place but protected by the presence they clearly had within the corridors. He tugged at his coat, bringing it further around himself as the entire school population seemed fixated on his every move. He relaxed somewhat, when everyone's attention seemed to move from him to a large boy patrolling past the lockers, followed by a crowd of teenagers of similar size, each searching the assembly for something particular. The realisation hit Dean before it even crossed Castiel's mind, and the older Winchester tapped Sam on the shoulder and nodded towards the new boy and Zach, a knowing glint in his eye. Sam swallowed nervously, not as accustomed to confronting Zach as his brother, but he still stood by Dean loyally.
"Castiel, right?" Zach said, sidling up to the trench coat wearing boy, a toothy, unsettling smile on his face. "Cassie, Cassie, Cassie. Pleasure." Zach extended his arm out, as if to propose a welcoming hand shake. Dean felt a low growl in the pit of his stomach as Castiel looked up to Zach beneath his prominent eyelashes, trying to analyse the situation and make sense of the vicious looking teenager acting friendly. After a few seconds of silence, the collected students now eager to watch how the story progressed, Castiel went to clasp Zach's hand. The larger boy laughed a cruel, echoing laugh and grabbed Castiel's wrist, slamming his back against the lockers and keeping a firm grip of his wrist. "You're new here, so you don't get the rules- fair enough, but you need to learn who's in charge here, alright?"
Castiel seemed strangely unfazed by the confrontation, tilting his head as he stared back at Zach with more interest in his large, blue eyes than terror.
"Are you suggesting that you are the leader of this establishment?" He asked, his voice still low and emotionless. "Because I was under the impression that the person in charge was Principal Kripke."
A wave of laughter washed over the corridors, and the tips of Zach's ears began to flush red as he raised his fist, his target still blissfully unaware of the attack. Something in Dean snapped at the sight of Zach's cowardice. Ignoring Sam's shout to stop, Dean lunged forward and grabbed Zach's arm, twisting it behind his back and resting his chin lightly on the larger teen's shoulder.
"Leave off trench coat boy, okay?" He snarled, his heart going into overdrive as the adrenaline filled his veins like poison. There was a constant ringing in his ears, ignoring the gasps of a few girls near by. Zach's momentary lack of courage- caused by the surprise hold Dean had on him- left him, and he flipped Dean around, clutching the Winchester by his jacket collar and pushing him next to Castiel, dragging him harshly up the locker until they were at eye level.
"Now Dean," He smirked, "still haven't learnt your place, have you?" Dean struggled in Zach's grasp, finding it impossible to break free. His throat began to ache with the pressure the larger teen had on his jaw.
In seconds Dean was free, falling to the ground and head bashing against the floor. As Sam rushed to his side, helping him up, Dean looked to see Zach bent down, holding his face in his hands, his nose looking almost broken- and Castiel clenching his fists, a fury in his eyes that made them look even brighter. When Dean had stumbled to his feet, he was unsure whether he should thank Castiel or run away, because now he had no doubt that the trench coat hid more strength than first suggested. Castiel looked guilty at the shock apparent on Dean's face as he walked towards the Winchester, looking up at him with deep regret.
"Thank you, Dean." He said, chest nearly touching Dean's and his gaze more intense than ever.
"I...er, thank you, Cas." Dean replied, placing his hands on Castiel's shoulders and pushing him back slightly. Castiel frowned at the nickname, but didn't mention it. Instead he brushed himself down and turned to look at the the variety of stunned faces staring in his direction. At the sound of the bell, Castiel turned to make his way to class, unaware of the inner battle Dean was having with himself- because no one saves Dean, ever. Dean saves other people, that's his self-proclaimed role that he gave himself ever since his Dad died and Sam was lost without a cause. With one last look at Zach, bleeding and embarrassed but clearly okay, Dean walked the opposite way from his scheduled class, deciding he needed a beer and his Impala to help him deal with this sudden change of events.
John Winchester had left a lot for his boys to remember him by: the countless books and curious antiques, the slightly codependent, daring personality traits and thousands of cassette tapes, but Dean loved nothing more than the '67 Impala that could take him away to anywhere. He could be sitting in Bobby's yard, doors wide open and music blaring- but it still made him feel like he was a million miles away, smelling the air of a world without the constant negative crap that flooded him each day. Sometimes he'd lie in the back of the car, letting the leather seats engulf him, and imagine that his mom and dad were in the front- arguing over the radio station and discussing how ridiculous it was to do a road trip at their age. Their age. Huh. If only they'd grown old enough to use cliché lines like that.
After John's death, Bobby had fixed up the Impala, teaching Dean the ins and outs of mechanics as he went- showing him how to mend, clean and love for the car just like his Dad had. Dean had loved watching Uncle Bobby work, and- even throughout everything- his fondest memories of Bobby are still those sunset evenings treating the car to a wash and laughing as Sam would throw wet sponges at the bearded man.
Nowadays, Bobby would sit back in a deck chair with a beer and talk to Dean about nothing in particular whilst the older Winchester did all the work. But that's how Dean liked it, he liked being trusted and responsible for such an important thing, especially now that Sam was getting older and more independent.
Dean grinned at these thoughts as he drove home down a long road adjacent to a park. The park was full with parents and their kids, laughing and enjoying the late sunshine. Something in the far corner of the park caught Dean's eye, and he slowed down to a 'slow enough to look, but not slow enough to look creepy' speed, leaning out of his window slightly to make sure he'd seen correct. Castiel was sitting on a park bench, his posture upright and uncertain, as per usual, and hands placed in his lap. His head was bowed, looking at his shoes, and Dean got the sense that he was troubled. So he didn't know Castiel that well, it didn't make him allergic to talking to him, right? The guy had beat someone up for him. Dean stopped the car and hopped out, grabbing two beers from the pack on the passenger seat and glancing up to see some of the middle-aged fathers admire the Impala. At least there were some people with good taste.
Dean strolled over to the bench, his gaze flickering between Castiel's seat and the spare one next to him as he weighed up his options. Castiel seemed to be the sort of person who remained unaware of personal space, so Dean sat beside him and leaned back to admire the trees in the sunlight. Castiel straightened even more at the arrival of Dean, but he made no objections.
"Afternoon." Dean grinned, raising his beer in a friendly gesture. Castiel glanced at the beer nervously before returning to his original position.
"Hello, Dean." He replied, and Dean rolled his eyes.
"No thank you."
"I brought it especially for you." Dean smiled, waving it under Castiel's nose and trying to force some sort of emotion out of the boy. Castiel stiffened at this gesture, a blush creeping onto his cheeks and a glint of fear in those big, blue orbs of his.
"Ok." Castiel said, and Dean was as surprised as he was willing to pass the beverage.
Castiel looked almost at peace when he took a sip of the beer, the warm glow of the sun casting an attractive shadow over his features and making him look, if anything, vulnerable.
"You wanna talk about it?" Dean asked, averting his eyes from Castiel and deciding to watch the ongoings at the park instead. He almost had to pinch himself because talking wasn't a Dean thing, it was a very annoying Sam thing that he had hoped his younger brother would grow out of. Talking about problems and feelings was always uncomfortable and- for the most part- avoidable, which is why Dean was quite happy to store all of his issues deep within his brain.
"Talk about what?" Castiel asked, still not quite comfortable with Dean sitting right there and talking to him like he wasn't the weird new boy in the trench coat.
"Whatever's making you frown like that." Dean said, raising his eyebrows and staring right into Castiel's eyes. Castiel gulped, and let a light chuckle exit his lips, causing Dean to consider the thought that laughing suited him more than the whole brooding, mysterious thing. But he wasn't gonna bring that up. Ever.
"Gabriel says I have a constant frown." Castiel smiled, taking another swig of his beer. "I suppose I don't really have anything to grin about."
"Tell me about it." Dean returned, ignoring the fact that Castiel was refusing to look away. They sat in silence for, well, a very long time, neither making an effort to talk or walk away. It was strangely comforting, drinking with no need to make awkward conversation. When the sun had nearly disappeared from the horizon, Dean stretched and stood up, turning towards the other teen as he made his way to the Impala. "You want a ride home?"
Castiel tilted his head as he studied the car, before nodding and joining Dean. "Should you drive? You've been drinking."
"One beer, dude. And anyway, I could drive this baby blindfolded." A look of panic spread across Castiel's face and Dean sighed inwardly. "I won't though." He assured him, cringing at his own lack of tact. He'd never met anyone so difficult to talk to, and yet so easy to be around.
Castiel settled into the car easily, admiring the interior and jumping slightly when Dean put the key in and started the engine up- the radio automatically turning on at full volume. Swearing, Dean turned the radio down and gave the other teen an apologetic smile.
"Sorry." He breathed. "Habit." Castiel nodded again and Dean was almost becoming desperate to receive a bigger response than that small nod or puppy-dog stare. He knew if he didn't put his foot on that peddle right now, he was going to do something drastic- and drastic 'Winchester style' was never a good thing.
"So..." Dean began, tapping his fingers on the steering wheel as he stayed looking straight ahead. "High school. What made you join up?"
"Boredom, I suppose." Castiel said, the monotone voice telling Dean that this was probably true. "I began to rebel slightly, and Gabriel convinced Raphael it was due to my lack of social interaction."
"Rebel?" Dean pushed, ignoring the frickin' weird names his family seemed to have. "How?"
"I threw some things out of a window."
"So who's this Raphael dude? Step-dad?"
"Brother." Castiel replied, twitching uncomfortably. "My father left a while back and Raphael took it as his responsibility to become head of the household. He's very... controlling." Dean glanced at Castiel quickly, noticing the difficulty Castiel was having with talking about this brother of his.
"Hey." Dean said, wanting to pat the guy on his back or something, but immediately kicking that urge away. "He causes any trouble, you can come chill at Bobby's for a bit. He wouldn't care, he loves being the mother hen really."
"Is Bobby your step-father?" Castiel asked, trying to ignore the flutter he felt at that suggestion.
"Something like that. My Dad died and Bobby, his friend, has looked after us ever since. Don't know what we'd do without Uncle Bobby, me and Sam. Probably wouldn't be breathing, that's for sure." Castiel gave that infuriating nod again before returning to staring at his hands. "Thanks again for earlier, by the way. You can really throw a punch." Castiel grimaced at this, shuffling nervously.
"I probably shouldn't have hit him. I have more than likely enraged him even more."
"Yeah, but he deserves it. No one's gonna be messing with you anytime soon." Dean parked up outside Castiel's house, familiar with the street for the amount of times he's had to pick up or drop Sam off there. "I'll see you tomorrow, Cas." Castiel looked up at Dean inquisitively, and Dean was struck by the weighty, complex mixture of colour in his eyes. They continued like this, captivated in each other's eyes, before Dean realised he had begun moving forward, almost touching Castiel's nose with his own. Castiel blinked a few times, and then brought his head to the side.
"Why do you have such a peculiar expression on your face, Dean?" He asked and Dean had to shake his head a few times, thankful for the boy's ridiculous observation skills and trying to convince himself that his subconscious was not leaning in for a kiss.
"No reason." Dean snorted, "Night, Cas."
It soon became abundantly obvious that Castiel was highly academic, whether that be shown in math, where he used the most complicated of equations and formulae as if it were second nature; or in science, where he seemed to excel all others in his understanding of the most complex of theories. His brain just seemed to know the answers straight off, and Dean became fascinated with the calm nature and assertiveness of his voice when he spoke to the teachers- a certain pride and confidence shining through from behind his awkward posture. The rest of the students didn't mind if he lead the class with his knowledge because it took the weight off of their shoulders, and the teachers seemed to want to test his limits.
They weren't the only ones.
If there was one exception to Castiel's talent, it would be English. He struggled with the use of imagery and metaphorical language, taking metaphors and similes literally and becoming completely confused as to why the poet would fall in love with a girl who's skin was moulded with snow, because surely she would crumble if he touched her- not to mention she'd be extremely cold. Dean didn't like English either, not only was writing too much effort, but he thought language techniques and soppy sonnets were for chicks, and he would hardly help him out in later life. It was this common dislike of the subject that lead to the two boys sitting in the back of the classroom trying to find their own entertainment. In truth, however much Castiel wasn't fond of the lesson, he still tried his best to pay attention and learn everything he could, so it was Dean who was left to invent a new game. The game didn't have any rules or a scoring system, it was merely an experiment to test Castiel's boundaries, because Dean was becoming more and more intrigued with the other boy's lack of personal awareness. Space didn't provide a problem for Cas, and he hardly seemed to notice when someone (most of the time, Dean. Okay, all of the time, Dean) moved into close proximity. This lead to a competitive nature being forced out of the older Winchester that he knew he had, he just didn't know it to awake at such a random time.
It first began two or so weeks after Castiel's arrival: they had been analysing an extremely boring piece of literature for the double period they had English. Even Cas had become bored of the work and had begun to complete his algebra homework instead. Dean took this as his first opportunity to find out if Cas had any limits, so he moved his chair considerably closer to the other boy, knees and toes touching underneath the desk they shared. Cas reacted as if Dean hadn't moved an inch. Soon it became increasingly invasive- a hand on the knee, head on shoulder, fingers running through his hair. All the while Castiel ignored it, or made no effort to push Dean away, so he continued. He knew he should stop and he wasn't exactly sure why he was doing it- sticking to the idea that it was all a psychological investigation that he found interesting- but one day, he took Castiel's hand in his, swinging their arms lightly under the table as each carried on with their own annotations. Dean was totally relaxed with this position, aware that Castiel was practically a child in a trench coat so it was all totally innocent. Guys hold hands all the time.
Okay, maybe not.
A sharp vibrate in his pocket broke the peace, and Dean grumpily removed his grasp on Cas as he rummaged to find his phone.
Are you holding hands with Castiel under the desk?
Dean swallowed nervously, his face heating up and palms too sweaty to text back quickly.
No? They were just hanging in front of his. Probably an illusion or w/e.
Oh yeah, I must have just imagined his fingers clasped around yours. You're the sweetest!
Dean cringed again, looking up to shoot a glare at Jo- who was sitting at the front of the class with Chuck, an aspiring writer who wasn't the best at English, but was willing to try- and she sent a patronising wave back, a fixed grin that didn't reach her evil eyes. Eyes that looked like they were scheming.
Dean sat on the hood of his car, back leaned leisurely against the window and eyes closed as the sounds of Zeppelin seeped out the doors and added to the heavenly atmosphere. If it wasn't for the clenching feeling of fear in his stomach that told him Jo knew too much- more than he knew himself- he would be the happiest man on Earth. He'd been waiting longer than he had expected for Cas, who he'd offered a lift home to seeing as they'd both be staying behind longer- Dean had a detention for incomplete homework and Cas wanted to make use of the library's vast array of religious text, which he had a keen interest in for some reason Dean never bothered to find out. Castiel had promised with upmost sincerity that he'd be at the car by 5 o'clock exactly. It was now twenty past and Dean was getting worried- not that he wasn't having a blissful time in the sun, but Cas didn't seem like the kind of person to be late when a time was arranged.
When it reached half past, Dean clambered off his car and decided he was going to have to hunt the boy down. Just as he was about to make his way through the front entrance, he noticed a small figure in the distance limping down the side path. Dean wavered slightly, unsure whether to find Castiel or help this guy out, until it turned out both options were one and the same.
"Dean." Cas croaked breathlessly when they reached each other, Castiel's hand outstretched and held on weakly to the collar of Dean's jacket. "Sorry to keep you waiting."
Dean had completely forgot Castiel's lateness, and was far too focussed on the slight bruise that was beginning to appear just below his left cheekbone. Not to mention the fact that his right eye couldn't open properly- already forming a purple lump. There was a small amount of blood stained on his lips and chin, and the teen was holding his stomach and leaning forward so far that Dean could only assume whoever attacked his face had given him a few punches there too.
"Jesus Christ, Cas! Who did this to you?" Dean had placed one hand on Castiel's waist for support, the other on his neck as used his thumbs to rub circles just below the jaw line. "Where are they? Let me take 'em."
"I can fight my own battles, Dean." Cas replied, his voice raspy and his eyelids drooping. "I've done it before... punched him before... said I need to learn my place..."
"Zach? This was Zach?" Dean couldn't help but notice his grip had grown tighter, probably providing less helpful, but Cas didn't object. Of course he didn't object.
"Yes. And his friends, a lot of them."
"God, what a dick! I swear, when I see him..."
"I will make sure that stupid, shaved head of his gets a nice..."
"He'll want hair just so it hides the massive..."
"DEAN." Dean stopped, surprised that Castiel was able to shout that loud when he was used to the small, quiet voice that rarely changed tone, let alone volume. "Perhaps... perhaps they're right." Lost for words, Dean just let his mouth open slightly in confusion, hint enough for Cas to continue. "I'm not as oblivious as you think I am. I don't fit in here, for starters I think I'm the only person in America doesn't own a pair of jeans. Maybe I need to... adapt to high school. That way I won't get looked at all the time like I'm something weird."
Dean put both hands behind Castiel's neck- bringing their foreheads together and noses touching at the sides- so that Cas could get the full effect of Dean's stern gaze. He decided to forget the 'not as oblivious as you think I am' comment, fearing that it hinted of the touchy-feely phase Dean was currently going through, and instead focus on the here and now.
"You listen to me, trench coat boy." He started, and Cas let his eyes flick to his outfit with a sense of uncertainty before returning to Dean. "Never change, okay? Whatever people say to you, or how they look at you, if you change that means they've won. If you change because of them, the next step is becoming one of them, and you can't do that Cas, you're better than Zach, you're better than all of them. I know we don't know each other that well at the moment, but you have gotta trust me."
"I do trust you, Dean." Castiel's breath was hot on Dean's face, his skin burning on the place where Dean's hands clung to, and- if Dean was reading the way the other boy's eyes switched between his eyes and lips correctly- he was thinking the exact same thing. Cas looked confused, exhilarated and fearful all at once, making him look the most human Dean had ever experienced. Nose-to-nose, they stood in each other's presence in silence for minutes, neither knowing how or when to move. Dean's eyes had nearly fluttered closed when a sharp buzz from his pocket caused him to jump back abruptly, a moment of déjà vu leaving him confused- until he realised that someone was trying to call him.
"Sammy." Dean answered, reading the screen and trying to keep his voice from sounding at all disappointed.
"Hey, Dean. Bobby wants you home. Ellen and Jo are coming round for food and he's trying to be all domestic and it's freaking me out- he's wearing a friggin' apron, man."
Dean took a moment to appreciate the mental image of Sam hugging his knees and gently rocking himself to sanity in the corner, before he sighed and agreed to be home as soon as possible. He turned his eyes to Castiel, still crumpled but able to stand upright, bruises slowly blooming on his face as his stance remained weak. Dean wasn't sure if he trusted this Raphael to treat Cas correctly, or sympathise in anyway-to be frank, he sounded a bit of a douche- and he was well aware Bobby wasn't one for asking too many questions.
"Come home with me."
Castiel kept silent and just walked straight up to Dean letting his arms fall around Dean's shoulders, pulling him into a tight embrace. Dean was shocked, but wrapped his arms promptly around the other's waist, being careful of his scars and enjoying the fact that Cas smelled like vanilla.
"My God, what happened to you?" Ellen ran forward, taking Castiel by his arm and pulling him into the kitchen, pushing him onto the chair nearest the sink and quickly retrieving a clean towel from the drawer, dampening it and lightly washing away the blood stains. Castiel was too shocked by the random woman dragging him into an unknown room and putting stuff on his face that he couldn't muster the words to object. He had too little strength left to argue anyway.
Sam and Jo had rushed in, each taking a seat at the table and taking it in turns to stare at Castiel and glare at Dean with looks of worry and confusion. Bobby was just angry that Ellen had nearly knocked over the boiling potatoes in an attempt to mother some idjit in a trench coat.
Dean gave a gruff cough from where he stood, arms folded, in the doorway. "This is Cas." He said to Ellen and Bobby. "He, er... got a pretty beat, and I thought he'd be better off here then at home, just for a bit."
Jo's eyes were burning holes in the back of Dean's head, staring him down for some sort of inclination of a hidden romance or sexual desire. Both ideas completely ridiculous and had no real evidence. None. Not at all. Not even a little bit. As the evening progressed, Castiel seemed to relax into the mindset of the others in the room. He ate quite happily, even complimenting Bobby on the potatoes and inquiring about his love of hunting in the nearby forests. By the time the night was done, Ellen- slightly tipsy- was already passing comment to Jo about the now three handsome young men she has to choose between. If Jo hadn't been so preoccupied watching Dean avert his gaze from Castiel's every movement, and Cas, after saying something particularly witty or intelligent, look up towards Dean with hope of some recognition or pride, then her reply would have been simple: Two of the young men had already chosen each other.
Dean was unsure why he was so determined on finding out more about Castiel when he was pretty sure it was himself that needed to be put under the microscope. It was another ordinary Saturday afternoon: Dean woke up just before midday, stretched, flung his legs over the side of the bed and reached over to grab his outdated laptop from his desk. It was tradition- a weekend ritual, Dean would say to make it sound a lot classier- that his first duty was to log onto 'Busty Asian Beauties' and start the day right. Sam would argue that the amount of porn on Dean's laptop meant that the loading and streaming of the videos took up too much free time, but Dean would call Sam stupid and leave it at that.
The weather had taken a turn for the worse. There weren't raging storms or flash floods or anything, but everything had become considerably greyer as winter rolled round the corner- meaning there were no more evenings chilling on the hood of the impala and contemplating life. On this day, it was damp, dreary and miserable, making it extra hard for Dean to get the motivation to do anything productive. When he switched his laptop on and the rusted thing managed to connect to the internet, he felt he really didn't have the energy for porn. He just didn't feel the enthusiasm for it, no matter how busty or beautiful they were, and he begrudgingly sat back and wondered the last time he used his laptop for something other than that. He sighed when he realised no such time had existed. For a while he just stared at his Google homepage and considered logging off, but then a thought crossed his mind, a thought that had been bugging him for a long time. What was up with the name Castiel?
And Dean was thinking about him again. Oops.
Dean typed at a slow pace, his hands not quite steady what with his lack of experience in computers and what Bobby would call "fat bloody fingers." The results he received were not quite what he expected.
An angel. He was named after a goddamn angel. It was probably to be expected; Dean had suspicions that the beer he'd handed him at the park had been his first taste of alcohol. He felt slightly guilty, as if he was tainting Castiel with his rugged ways when the boy was obviously from a fundamentalist family that was so keen on keeping their child's innocence he'd been home schooled till senior year. Dean continued his research, searching the names of all the relatives he was aware of: Raphael, angel. Anna, angel. Uriel, angel- and not the little mermaid as Dean had suggested, but Cas didn't understand the reference. He said that Uriel was the funniest member of their family, but he possessed no features of a part-human, part-aquatic creature. Dean had been aware that Gabriel was an angel name, he had vague memories of his pre-school nativity days and was pretty sure Gabe was the one that told Mary of her miracle child, and he shuddered at the thought of Sam's Gabriel being blessed with that much power- he was a prime example of someone who should hold no responsibility.
Dean went back to Castiel's page and saw that he was named after the angel of Thursdays. Now, if Dean had to pick the worst day of the week, Thursday would have no competition. It was the ultimate tease- you've managed to last half the week, you're exhausted and bored of the routine and you can almost smell the sweet scent of Friday, but Thursday has to get in the way and make you wait that little bit longer. It was ironic really, somehow poetic, that Castiel was named after this guy. The hand holding, hugging, standing so close Dean had to hold his breath- the guy was either extremely skilled in the art of teasing or stupidly oblivious. For some unknown reason, the thought that Castiel was the former made him feel almost excited at the prospect of all this tension being released in a fit of unholy passion. But he ignored these thoughts because this was just his hormones trying to make a fool of him. Dean likes boobs and beer- not awkward boys that don't own any DVDs.
Just as Dean was finishing laughing at the various images of the angel Castiel, Sam knocked on the door and demanded that Dean not be naked before he entered. Dean smirked because that had been one time, but declared that he had boxers on and was listening.
"Bobby's friend Rufus is in hospital." Sam said, his large frame taking up most of the door. "He said we can have some people over tonight- the usual suspects- for a couple of beers and some movies. No parties though, not after last time."
Last time had been eventful to say the least. Sam and Dean hadn't been attending their current school for very long; they were into their second semester- Dean a senior, Sam a sophomore. Before St. Lawrence's they'd travelled around a lot, John Winchester wasn't fond of settling after the death of his wife and said he had always wanted to journey through North America, see all the sights and explore all he could. Bobby had argued with him that the boys needed stability, a normal childhood, but John was adamant that Sam and Dean enjoyed the adventurous lifestyle. In truth, they didn't. Sam had grown accustomed to their most recent school, making friends and building up a good reputation with the student body and teachers alike. When John had died and Bobby had taken the boys under his wing, he suggested that they move to St. Lawrence, but Sam didn't want to leave- and so they didn't. Dean drove them both there and back each day, on good days the trip only lasting an hour. Dean had fond memories of these days- sitting with Sammy and talking about absolutely everything, but the gas got expensive and the drives exhausting. In the summer holidays Dean sat down with Sam and tried to reason with him, explain that going to St. Lawrence was more convenient and rewarding in the long run. Unfortunately, it wasn't Dean that managed to convince him.
Sam met Ruby when he'd gone to the shops to pick up some milk. She was pretty, witty and seemed highly interested in getting to know the younger Winchester more- something that Sam wasn't against in the slightest. Dean could hardly argue- the chick was hot and obviously willing. Ruby got Sam accustomed to the town, showing him the best places to hang out and even managing to give him a quick tour of the school. If Sam wasn't so head-over-heels, downright obsessed with this girl, he might have questioned her proposition of using Bobby's house for a small gathering of friends, but Ruby assured him that she just wanted to introduce them all to the Winchesters. By half ten, the place was a bomb site, kitchen appliances and paintings smashed on the floor and at least fifty teenagers taking up all the space. Ever since that night, there have been no parties and no Ruby. The first semester was difficult for Sam- Ruby and her friends taking his enrolment as an opportunity to mock and torture him as much as possible- but along came Gabriel to teach him a trick or two to get revenge. Dean loves the little dick for that.
"Jo, Lisa, Chuck, Gabe." Dean paused. "Anyone else?"
Sam stared at Dean with one raised eyebrow and a condescending pout. "Castiel, maybe?"
Dean felt himself blush, but had no idea why because all Sam did was mention his name. "Well, yeah, I mean if he wants to- but he doesn't seem like a very sociable person, so..."
"He's not apparently. Not when he's not with you."
"And what is that supposed to mean?"
"Well Gabriel tells me Castiel has a habit of acting allergic to anything that breathes, but he seems more than happy spending every waking hour with you. Gabe said he's never seen him talk so much or grow so fond of someone."
Dean took to staring at his lap, fumbling with his laptop but not actually clicking anything. "The guy's been a hermit for the best years of his life," he argued, trying desperately to not appear defensive or over-compensating, because he wasn't. Really. "He found me and, boom, a friend, his first probably. It could've been anyone."
"Yeah." Sam agreed, making his way to sit on Dean's desk chair and folding his arms leisurely, enjoying this far too much. "But he chose you."
"He didn't choose me, I was just the first person that he came across."
"Dude, he's like, in love with you."
Dean's heart paused for a second and his throat seemed to momentarily close- causing an embarrassing splutter to emerge. "He is not." He shrieked, his voice high enough to alert any nearby dogs to Dean's distaste at that statement.
"Have you seen the way he looks at you? It's intense, man."
"I don't think Cas even has a sexuality!" Dean retorted, feeling outrageously uncomfortable.
"Maybe you're the first person he's ever liked."
"Maybe you should shut your cake-hole, little brother."
Sam stayed silent, idly spinning on the chair and admiring the various mullet rock posters that littered the bedroom walls. He was giving Dean breathing space, a vital and efficient tool to let the older Winchester analyse the conversation and come to a decent conclusion before deciding whether to share his thoughts or not- the latter usually preferred. After a few minutes of casual humming, Sam turned his face to his brother.
"If Castiel was a girl, would you?"
Dean shot Sam a glare and shuddered slightly. "It would depend how hot he, she, was."
"Shit, I don't know Sam, invent me a gender-bending machine and I can find out for you." Dean groggily threw his duvet over his head, tightly grasping the covers and grimacing. Sam inhaled, leaning back to inspect his brother, before smiling with that irritating look of knowing something he shouldn't. "What if you were a girl, would you date him?"
"I- what -that is a trick question! You've been spending too much time with Gabriel." Dean whipped the duvet off and stood up, pulling on a t-shirt and jeans that were sprawled on the floor and squaring up to Sam, even though he was significantly shorter.
"Standing a bit too close, bro." Sam shot back. "You've been spending too much time with Cas."
Perhaps it was the comment, or the fact that Sam had used his nickname for Castiel, but Dean was done with this conversation.
"I am going for a long drive." He declared through gritted teeth. "I'll be back when the guys arrive- and, yes, I'll invite Cas..." Dean strode to the door, gripping the handle angrily, "but I'm inviting Becky too."
Sam groaned into his hands. Shit.
Becky wasn't often invited places and, sometimes, she cared- but the majority of the time she'd rather be at home on the computer anyway, because no one understood her at school and, even if she had friends and acquaintances, she didn't really have anything in common with them. It was a lonely life on occasion, but the internet had given her some hope that she wasn't the only soul on Earth to like the things she did, and she was gradually beginning to take pride in her differences- whilst others were dependant on their social life to provide them with entertainment, Becky could spend hours reading and writing fanfiction, partaking in highly important ship discussions and generally being productive with the things that she loved. So, sitting curled up on the Winchester's sofa and watching 'Inception' with a group of people that could be considered popular was, to be blunt, terrifying.
Sam was sitting on the sofa beside Lisa, whilst Gabriel sat on the floor- leaning against Sam's folded legs, occasionally throwing various pieces of food to anyone who requested it. Gabe was surrounded by a mass of sweets and popcorn, keeping most of it for himself, and Chuck sat on the armchair beside Becky, sneaking her looks every now and then because wow that girl looked anxious. Cas and Jo were in the kitchen when the group heard the door slam and someone kick their shoes off. Dean stepped into he room with a fixed grin and a hand running through his hair- nodding politely at Becky, who was sitting rigidly and staring at the Winchester like he was a world famous actor.
"Where's Cas?" He asked the room. Sam rolled his eyes whereas Becky widened hers, her attention suddenly diverted from the movie and instead to the well-built, attractive Jock type teenager that had a clear interest in the small awkward new boy. She grinned- this was a story made for the internet.
"Kitchen." Gabriel answered. "Get me another beer."
Dean grunted in response before walking to the adjacent room; his eyes narrowed at the sight of Jo sitting happily on a counter and Castiel standing by the door, holding a beer and without his trench coat. Dean had to suppress a gulp because Cas's shirt was very well fitting and, sure, the white collared thing and black trousers still made him look like an accountant, but it didn't hide the fact that he had a nice, slim physique.
"Hey, Dean." Jo greeted, raising her beer in his direction. "Nice of you to show up, where were you?"
"Driving." He answered shortly. "What are you two doing in here?"
Jo dipped her head to hide her smile, Dean's possessive attitude incomprehensibly adorable. "Cas didn't understand the movie and the floor was uncomfortable."
"No one understands that movie." The Winchester grunted back. "And there's a couch in Bobby's study, we can move that one in." Jo nodded and hopped off the counter, wiggling her hips when she passed Cas and cackling at the reaction she knew she was stirring in the pit of Dean's stomach. For the first time since his arrival, Dean caught Castiel's eye and wished he hadn't. The room became considerably warmer and Dean's brain got that fuzzy feeling that meant he couldn't think straight. "Come on." He said, walking out. "Come help move the thing."
Dean spent the next few hours explaining most of the jokes and all of the references in what they were watching to Castiel. They were sat on the spare sofa, tightly packed because Jo seemed determined to take up as much space as possible. Dean couldn't help but notice that, either the timing was a massive coincidence, or Becky and Jo were texting each other from opposite sides of the room. What with Jo being a strong, independent girl who had no trouble causing mischief and Becky being, well, Becky, Dean really couldn't understand what conversation between them could cause identical snorts of laughter and evil grins shared over the noise of the television. Halfway through 'Anchorman', he felt a weight flop onto his shoulder, and groaned when he turned to see Castiel's head rested in the crook of his neck- fast asleep.
"You two would make such a cute couple!" Becky squealed loudly, and then slapped her hand over her mouth in shock. Jo, Lisa, Gabriel, Sam and Chuck all turned to stare at Cas, sleeping peacefully in Dean's presence. Dean was about to ask loudly who invited 'this creepy bitch', before realising that he did. He sighed, checked his watch and, seeing that it was almost two in the morning, stretched to get up.
"Give Cas the sofa." He nodded to Jo, and she was about to move but stopped midway.
"No can do." She said, frowning, "I bagsied this to sleep when you were out."
"Oh how convenient." Dean replied, turning to face Sam and Lisa. "Okay, you two. Off."
Lisa smirked, putting her feet up over the armrest. "Sorry, mine."
"Sam said I can have his bed." Gabriel joined in. "'Cause he's gonna use Bobby's."
Dean turned to look at Chuck and Becky, who were already curled quite comfortably in their separate armchairs.
"The guy's already asleep, we can't just put him on the floor!" He growled, quietening when he heard Cas stir behind him.
"Well there's always your bed, Winchester." Gabriel said, his face the epitome of innocent.
"And then where would I sleep?"
"It's a big bed." Jo smiled. "I've slept with you in it before." The congregation turned to look at her. "Not like that." She snapped.
"Hey, me too." Lisa added.
"Yeah, come on, he's your friend- and the guy's already asleep, you can't just put him on the floor." Dean shot Gabriel the best scowl he could, realising, with the whole room against him, there was no way he was going to win this. He stormed over to Cas, shaking him gently on the shoulder and ordering him up. Cas sleepily agreed, eyes still half closed and his co-ordination too inaccurate to walk without Dean's weight beside him.
"Where are we going?" He yawned, unhappy with being awoken.
"You need a bed." Dean replied, pushing the other boy slightly so he could get away from the victorious grins of his friends. Well, "friends".
Begrudgingly, Dean hauled Cas into his room and directed him to his bed, pulling the duvet down to reveal the mattress and hint at the other boy to lie down- the situation becoming increasingly awkward. Castiel perched on the end of the bed, head tilted as he observed Dean's room with a furrowed brow, hands on his lap nervously.
"Dean, I do not wish to intrude on your sleeping pattern." He said sincerely. "I could sleep on that chair."
Dean shook his head, not even considering it. "No, man. Look at you, you're slumping already, just get in the bed." Dean blushed as he realised what he said, but he was too tired to explain himself.
"Thank you." Castiel yawned, and the familiar silence rose again. "I-if you, er, wanted to sleep, erm, in the bed as well, I wouldn't mind." He was staring down at his feet to hide his blush, and Dean was doing the same.
"Just... go to sleep, Cas." He replied, ignoring the suggestion. "I'll join you in a sec." Dean took this promised second to convince himself that friends did this all the time- sharing beds was hardly taboo, they were both clothed, Cas was practically in a suit for God's sake. After nearly a minute of preparing himself, Dean walked to turn the light off and carefully tiptoe back to where Cas was lying silently. Dean shuffled into the covers, getting adjusted to the fact that his bed tilted towards the centre- towards Castiel. After a brief yawn and a small cough from Cas, the only sound was the creak of floorboards in the corridor and a few whispers from outside, where everyone was beginning to settle in their designated places.
Dean and Castiel started to relax in this position, their bodies were pressed together lightly, and the soft scent of vanilla, coconut and that quintessential Castiel smell mixed with the sleepy atmosphere, pushing Dean forward to close the space. Only a tiny slither of moonlight lit the room, casting a minuscule glow on the boy's features and meaning neither could see the other's movement- touch and sound senses heightened. Before he knew what he was doing, Dean's nose rubbed experimentally against Castiel's, Cas leaning into the contact and letting a small gasp leave him when he felt Dean's lips press gently onto the corner of his own. Encouraged by this sound, Dean slowly moved nearer, placing his mouth over Castiel's bottom lip, urging the other boy to move with him as his inhibitions loosening. The kiss was nervous and clumsy but oh, so worth it- Castiel's confidence was rising as the pressure and enthusiasm became more and more intense. Dean let his hand rest on Castiel's waist, just above his hip, his fingers applying varying amounts of weight and massaging the skin to get rid of Cas's nervous quiver.
When they finally broke apart, Dean rested his chin against Castiel's forehead, and Cas curled up- burying his head in Dean's chest, palms clutching at his shirt. Dean let out a low breath, trying to figure out if he was awake, if this was reality, because he had never felt more at home- so sure of his decision- than right now, but something was niggling at him. He felt wrong, torn, stuck between right and wrong and more confused than ever before. But, as Cas sighed and cuddled closer, he decided all consequences would be faced in the morning.
It would be inaccurate to suggest that Dean usually slept peacefully. In fact, he was a restless sleeper- tossing and turning, screaming and yelping, reaching out for invisible beacons of light. It would also be wrong to assume that Dean -hard as nails, no guts no glory, Dean- didn't enjoy a cuddle every now and then, especially at night when nightmares tended to invade his sub-conscious. So, it was just natural for him to hold tight to anything that promised a calm night's rest and, in this scenario, that 'thing' was a seventeen year old boy named Castiel. Dean awoke around 12 o'clock but didn't immediately open his eyes. Everything seemed to be more comfortable: the duvet softer and warmer, the mattress curved and moulded to fit his body shape exactly, even the brightness of the midday sun didn't seem to attack his eyesight as violently as it was prone to in the past.
Castiel had turned in his sleep, grabbing the covers and bringing them up over his shoulders as Dean pressed his chest into the other's back, knees against knees, arms draped over waist and holding him close. Dean's nose was pressed between Cas' shoulder blades, forehead in the dip of his neck and smiling without realising it. Screw watching chick flicks, Dean was living in one. When he became more aware of his surroundings, Dean noted that the weight on put his arm was making it ache, so he retracted it and used it to pat down an awkward hair sticking out the top of Cas' head. It was whilst doing this that Dean noticed there were thousands of strands out of place, so he began pressing them down, running his fingers through the hair and trying to make something neat of the fluffy mess.
He paused. What the hell was he doing? He considered moving, rolling out of the bed to avoid any awkward bed chat, but there was nothing to be nervous about- it's not like anything had happened.
"Dean, what are you doing?"
Dean froze, because he really didn't know how to answer.
"You had something in your hair."
"Yes, your fingers." Came Castiel's quick reply, and Dean realised their bodies were still pressed firmly together. He pushed himself out of the position and stood up, pulling his t-shirt over his head and stretching until his back gave a satisfactory click.
"No need to flatter yourself, angel." Dean replied, frowning quickly as he realised what he'd said.
"Angel?" Castiel pushed on, and Dean turned to see him tilting his head in that positively adorable manner. "You have researched my name?"
"Well... you can't blame me for being interested, I mean, Castiel, really?"
"My parents were quite religious."
"No shit, Sherlock." And Cas opened his mouth to probably complain about the use of a reference he didn't quite understand, but Dean pushed his hand to cover the other's lips before that irritating phrase rose it's head again. On noticing this, a deep blush blossomed on Castiel's cheeks and he gulped, staring at the hand wide eyed and fearful.
Something in Dean's brain clicked at this- what should be- overreaction, because weird shadowy memories of his brain started to blend together and form a blurred sort of image. He couldn't actually visualise anything, just an eerie sort of light in an otherwise pitch black room, but he could feel lips on his, and hands on him, and he could almost hear his own content sigh.
A sigh. What has he, a thirteen year old chick watching a Justin Bieber interview?
Castiel murmured something unintelligible behind Dean's palm, and Dean removed his hold hesitantly, mouth suddenly dry.
"Um." He said.
Castiel yawned and stretched his shoulders back, ruffling his own hair as the other hand rubbed one eye. Dean watched through betraying eyes as the bones in Castiel's arms moved under his skin, and his neck was so open... so available and almost begging to be touched as Cas let his head roll back. His hair was more out of place than usual, falling over his eyes and pointing upwards, sidewards and every direction possible and it made Dean want to throw up a little bit. Because he had two options, two definitive, life altering options. He could go up to Cas right now, and grab him and kiss him and do everything his hands and other limbs were urging him too, or he could walk out that door and deny everything. That was the familiar route, the safe route, and definitely the more preferable, but Cas had to ruin everything by turning his pretty blue eyes on the other boy and speaking with that mild concern he always did.
"Why did you kiss me?"
He had said it so bluntly, desperately earnest, that Dean could hardly brush it off and pretend he didn't hear the question. Instead, he gave a breathy chuckle and busied himself with searching his wardrobe for nothing in particular.
"Heat of the moment, you know." Dean said, throwing a quick grin at the boy in the bed. "Telling me what my heart meant." He sung, and Cas looked even more confused. "Asia, dude."
"I do not understand what a continent has to do with this situation."
"Never mind... look, it just happened, okay? Nothing to think about, we can just forget it."
Castiel remained sitting upright under the duvet, rubbing the material between his thumb and index finger and deciding not to reply. Dean sighed, because there was this weight in his stomach that felt like somehow his heart had dropped a few foot further down than it where it should be, and it was beating five hundred times a second and every nerve in his body was willing him to sit next to the shirt and tie wearing boy, put his hands behind his neck and bring him forward into -what Dean's dreams could only anticipate- the best kiss he'd ever have.
But Dean was an expert in denial, and he couldn't even bring himself to suggest that he even had a crush on the poor guy, let alone this unyielding desire to cuddle him and go on long pointless drives, teach him about good music and film, get him out of that trench coat and possibly a few more layers.
"Hey." Dean said, thinking that maybe he could do a few of those things without overstepping the mark. He felt insanely guilty, the type of physical guilt that made him want to smash his head continuously against the wooden door of his wardrobe. "Wanna watch some more movies? It was all Sam and Jo's choice yesterday, you need to see some classics- Clint Eastwood type classics."
Cas looked up from staring at his hands, his eyes larger and bluer and brighter than Dean had remembered. Or maybe it was to be expected, because everytime he saw him it was like a new, refreshing look at a human being that was so damn perfect, so innocent and oblivious, yet smart and strong... and it was always his eyes that reminded Dean of all this. Those deep, deep eyes that just glowed with every emotion Cas ever had. Dean didn't expect a huge reaction from Cas, and he didn't get one, because that isn't what Cas does. Instead, he gave a small nod and tugged nervously at his shirt collar. Realising that Castiel couldn't stay in those clothes all day, he yanked his AC/DC top from the wardrobe and then a pair of faded grey jeans, throwing them lightly onto the bed and walking out of the door, grabbing some well needed space and leaving Cas very, very confused.
It wouldn't take a ruler to figure out that Dean and Cas were sitting much further away from each other than they were last night. Even if Jo were there, casually stretching out to push their personal bubbles as close as humanly possible, there would still be this thick 'couldn't cut it with a chainsaw' tension that Dean didn't even realise he could feel with Castiel- what with the boy being unaware of most social etiquette.
"Dean, perhaps I should go, I feel I have outstayed my welcome."
Dean had left the room to discover Sam and the others had decided to spend the day at the mall, watch a movie and grab some pizza. They'd left a note on the kitchen table with a handy comment from Gabe informing Dean 'My brother is a fragile flower, if you blow him, he may fly away... if you catch my drift," which was extremely uncomfortable and lead to the note being ripped and thrown out in record timing.
"Look." Dean said, turning on the sofa so he was kneeling and pointing directly at Cas. "No, dude. I don't want things to be different with us because of one lousy kiss and cuddle... you're like, the best friend I've had, okay? I don't want any girly moments here, but you're... you're more to me than I could've imagined you becoming." Dean swallowed nervously because usually when there are awkward conversations, one of the participants is looking away, at their feet or at the ceiling, but both pairs of eyes were completely locked on the other and it seemed no one had the strength to turn away. "Don't go running out on me."
Perhaps Dean should have said 'don't go running into me' instead, because that's exactly what Cas did. Well, more like leaping and grabbing and kissing and gasping and moaning and moving in a way that Dean did not expect. He eagerly straddled Dean's thighs, edging closer and breathing heavily, his eyes dark with a passion Dean had only seen once before- after punching the shit out of Zach- and bruised lips and messy hair and... and Dean didn't really have any more time to admire aesthetics because he'd much rather focus on this contact and adrenaline rush poisoning his judgement, the warmth and feelings consuming both of them in a messy fight to get as close as possible without losing balance and tumbling off the sofa onto the rough, red carpet. Cas was trying his goddamn hardest to keep in control, but his movements were unsure and his confidence was wilting so Dean literally growled and pushed Castiel's back down onto the sofa, moving forward between his legs and smashing his lips against the other's in a predatory fashion, aiming to teach Cas how a real kiss should be done. A desperate moan was enough for Dean to take complete advantage of Cas' mouth, deepening the kiss and expertly biting and teasing the chapped, full lips, hands running underneath his own shirt- his own shirt- to lightly scrape Cas' chest, and dammit if Dean wasn't a little disappointed that Castiel wasn't in his usual attire because it had become an ignored, recurring fantasy to grab that tie of his and yank it off like they do in the movies.
When it was essential to break apart, Dean straightened slightly, resting on Castiel's hips as the other was lying, looking absolutely dishevelled and surrounded by the plush cushions of Bobby's sofa. His hair was pushed from his face, his lips parted and eyes lidded, hands still gripping tight to Dean's arms as if afraid to let go- scared the moment will end too soon. Dean gave a wry smile, placing a chaste kiss on Castiel's lips before a excited shriek was heard from behind the sofa and Dean froze in horror, all colour draining from his face.
"Becky." He whispered, sitting upwards and turning slowly to face the horrified looking girl who had one hand placed over her mouth and the other holding the keys from the counter that Dean had noticed earlier. Jo was stood beside her, her expression undeniably smug, arms folded and eyebrows raised. Dean's colour suddenly returned, and at full power: his ears and cheeks flushed red with a blush he'd never experienced. "Jo."
"Becky forgot her keys so I dropped her off to get them." Jo explained, and then nodded at Dean for him to provide his own story. Dean took this as his chance to leap off the sofa, scratch the back of his head and let out a nervous laugh.
"Oh, this, er... this isn't anything, Cas, he, erm. He wanted practice, yeah. Practice, not a confident kisser and you know me, I'm a friggin' expert." Both Jo and Becky looked unimpressed, Becky's gaze flickering to the boy on the sofa who just looked hurt. "A mistake. It was a mistake."
"A mistake? Dean you can't just... Dean!" Dean had grabbed his leather jacket from the back of an armchair and turned to leave the room. "You can't just leave him here!" Jo shouted, reaching out to grab his arm, but Dean quickly dodged it.
"I'm... I'm sorry."
Becky and Jo were left dumbfounded, before rushing to the sofa to comfort a quivering Castiel.
Dean, you have to speak to Castiel about this.
Seriously, he's at home now I think, go see him.
You can't run from this Dean, you're not fooling anyone. Call him!
I have lost all respect for you Dean Winchester. You call or text or send a freakin' carrier pigeon to his house right now, because the least you can give him is closure.
Fine, ignore me, ignore him, but there's not a hope in hell you can ignore yourself.
Dean clicked off the most recent message, curling up in the back of his impala and staring at the interior of the car, praying for distraction. Every time that familiar face appeared in his mind, he cringed, heart aching at the mess he'd made. He hadn't even turned to look at Castiel as he left, he didn't want to glance at another chance of happiness he was walking out on.
He never did call Cas that night, he just kept on driving.
Jo's posture suggested anything but a friendly atmosphere as she sat on Dean's adjacent desk the following Monday morning, her gaze firmly averted and lips tightly pressed together as if she was trying to suppress a vicious rant. So far, Dean's hope of falling into his original routine was failing, because it appeared none of his friends wished to share two words with him- not to mention his own brother giving him the cold shoulder.
Dean had fallen asleep in the Impala by the time the day turned into night, and he'd groggily arrived home to find Bobby's truck parked by the garage again. Fortunately, the lack of light and movement implied that both Bobby and Sam were asleep, but Dean still snuck round through the back door and up the stairs stealthily to completely avoid any confrontation regarding his whereabouts. He'd crawled into bed the same way he'd crawled out of the Impala, his limp movements and lack of motivation causing his legs to be unwillingly dragged behind, before cringing as the warmth and comfort of his covers only reminded him more of the fact that Cas had slept here the previous night, cuddled into him like Dean was keeping him safe from some unknown danger. The morning had proven just as painful, Sam ignoring his every move, only interacting by shooting him a variety of bitch faces, before sitting grumpily in the car and slamming his feet on the dashboard just to piss Dean off. So, Dean figured, Sam had been told.
One row in front and to the left of Dean, Castiel was rushing homework due next lesson, scribbling frantically on a sheet of lined paper that looked fit to rip just from a sheer overload of information. Dean was aware that Castiel always made sure to do his homework first thing when arriving home, and frowned as he saw Cas give up and rest his forehead in his hand- nursing what the unknown eye would guess was a headache. It seemed Dean wasn't the only one to get little sleep last night and this only dampened his mood, because he could live with this self doubt, but not with being the cause of others. Especially when the 'other' was Castiel.
"I hope you're happy with yourself." Jo spat at him, still looking straight ahead. Dean was just about ready to throw her desk across the room because, no, of course he wasn't fucking happy, but the arrival of Mrs Elliot distracted him from a violent retort.
The rest of the day passed much the same, Dean sat at the end of every table and was excluded from every group conversation- whether that be their choice or his- and Castiel remained silent, only replying to questions directed at him with a small nod, smile, or shake of the head. His blue eyes seemed paler, transparent enough to look through and see the emptiness inside, and it broke Dean's heart a little. Day after day and nothing had progressed; Chuck had become the most talkative towards Dean, making awkward conversation and pathetic jokes to lighten the mood- but it was much appreciated all the same. Gabriel had suddenly turned from class clown to defiant, protective younger brother, and Dean had apparently dishonoured their family in such a way that Gabriel had stopped speaking to him altogether- something Dean had prayed for, but was enjoying less and less the more he experienced it.
But loneliness and guilt were nothing compared to the jealousy swelling at the interest others seemed to be gaining in Cas. It started on Tuesday, with Zach patting Castiel's back in the lunch queue and giving him an all too friendly "What's up, man?" before questioning his thoughts on the menu. Dean was shaking in his seat, because he used to pat Cas' back frequently, as if it was his own little reward for Castiel doing something right. Yeah, that sounds condescending, but it was a handy way of touching Cas whilst still being able to refrain from doing something stupid that could hurt the both of them.
On Wednesday morning, he noticed Ruby sidle up to Cas in the corridor as he was packing things into his bag from his locker. She had a folded piece of paper in-between two fingers, and flicked it playfully for Cas to take. He did, and the blush on his face told Dean it wasn't a piece of chemistry homework he'd dropped in class.
The worst, however, was last lesson Thursday. English.
Becky was standing at the front of the class, reading her self-appointed, extra-curricular assignment on 'The homosexual sub-text of Antonio and Bassanio in Shakespeare's 'The Merchant of Venice'. Similar to her report she presented last week on "How fan-fiction can save lives', half the class had stopped paying attention pretty soon after realising she was talking far too fast for anyone to catch up with. Those that were hanging on to her words slightly, were lost when she continually used phrases such as 'OTP' and 'canon,' so reverted to whispering among themselves. The only people who remained intent on Becky's words were Jo, for moral support in their new found friendship; Chuck, who looked absolutely terrified but determined nonetheless; Charlie, a girl Becky once punched in the face for vocally arguing against incest shipping; and lastly Dean and Castiel, who were sitting in their usual seats, as far as they could away from each other, all hands on the desk and refusing to make eye contact.
After a good ten minutes, Becky let out an impressive sigh and looked above her paper, squealing so desperately it almost couldn't be heard. "I just wish they'd admit they love each other," she admitted, longingly staring at Dean and Cas' table before dramatically folding the paper in half and sitting down on her usual seat to the sound of an unenthusiastic applause. The clapping was enough to wake Mr Romans from his scheduled 'Becky-Rosen-is-ranting' nap, and he slowly picked up a list from his desk, standing to face the students with a sly glint in his eye.
"Thank you for that insightful analysis, Miss Rosen. I'm sure none of us will read 'The Merchant of Venice' in quite the same way again." Becky beamed from her seat and sat up a little straighter. "Unfortunately, it's time for some bad news. It's come to my attention that a few of you have been lacking in this class and seem uninterested in getting a decent grade. I'm sure you're all aware of the importance of English when determining your future, even if few of you aspire to be anything more than low-life no-gooders, so I've decided to rid of any distractions. We have a one week project to complete, an essay that you must present to the class- so make sure it's as entertaining as it is informative. I wish you to look in your anthologies presented to you at the start of term and research, analyse and understand one poem to the point it's engraved in your brains. Do I make myself clear?"
There was a low rumble of "yes, sir" across the room, and Mr Romans allowed himself a small smirk.
"Fabulous." he continued. "Now, these distractions. The presentation will be paired work, and so I believe a little mixing up of the tables would do just fine, wouldn't you agree, Mr Winchester?" Mr Romans was staring right at him, his gaze so intense Dean realised the question was not rhetorical.
"Great." The teacher smiled and glanced down at the list in his hand. "Then you won't mind leaving your buddy there and moving yourself next to Jo at the front." Dean's breathing relaxed, Jo wasn't his biggest fan right now but she'd suck that all up for the sake of a good grade.
Mr Romans slowly made his way through the list, dragging out the torture for all he could. Chuck was placed next to Crowley- who usually took to sitting at the back of the class shouting snarky comments- and was almost quivering with fear. Crowley took one look at Chuck and grinned mischievously, popping a piece of chewing gum in his mouth and patting his partner a little too heavily on the back.
"Meg Masters." He said when nearly all of the students had been sorted. "You'll be joining Castiel at the back, there."
Dean gulped. No, no, no, no. Not with all the flirting on Cas' first day.
The suggestive winks and comments that had grown increasingly explicit the more Castiel seemed to settle in to school life.
Dean briefly turned to see Castiel send Jo a desperate plea, budging even closer to the edge of the desk when Meg sat down and playfully picked a piece of dust from Cas' collar.
"Well," Meg growled, leaning close enough that her eyelashes almost touched his own. "We're going to be the bestest of friends."
Castiel wouldn't go as far as 'bestest of friends', but when Meg wasn't sliding her hand up his thigh or leaning a bit too far into his personal space- a habit that lead Castiel to discover his boundaries did in fact depend on the person invading his area and not him being completely immune to sensing when distance was becoming an issue- she had some rather interesting information.
"Cassie was the first." She hummed thoughtfully between sucks on the strawberry lollipop she'd snatched from Gabriel's grasp in the corridor as a 'future-sister-in-law' privilege. They had English for a double period on Fridays and the classroom was moderately relaxed, everyone on task to avoid an awkward silence. "She's a junior, one of the nice girls, you know?" Meg explained, seemingly disgusted by the 'n' word. "She would've travelled to hell and back to get the attention of a pretty senior, then Dean-y came along like she'd always dreamed."
Castiel was trying to continue his work: marking important lines and words in his notebook to reference and research further when he returned home. He needed the distraction of homework to stop him getting bored and realising his free time was frequently spent in the Impala, desperately trying to remember all the band names and album art of the tapes Dean would throw onto his lap. However, it was difficult to concentrate when Meg seemed to be such an expert in Dean's past relations.
"Of course that didn't last long, barely reached the two week mark, maybe? Then he got bored but moved on quickly enough to some chick he met down the cinema- Carmen. Hot, if I remember rightly, treated him like the king he thought he was, thinks he is. Anyway, shagged her probably, broke up soon after, most likely by text. She wasn't the same after."
"Dean doesn't appreciate the use of text messaging." Castiel said bluntly, not looking up from his anthology but pen paused on paper. Meg stayed silent and then let out a low chuckle.
"Well... you would know."
Castiel grimaced. "Why do you say that?"
"I presumed you guys had a thing, a little man-on-man action going on." Meg let the lollipop slide slowly out her lips with a significant sounding pop, before pointing it at Dean a few rows in front. "What with him getting all antsy whenever anyone gets within touching distance of you and you going puppy-eyes when he laughs or whatever."
"You presumed wrong. Dean and I were friends, nothing more." Castiel had placed the pen down and now turned to look at Meg with what he hoped was enough sincerity to convince her. Meg was never one to go down without a fight.
"Were? What happened, Dean get bored and run away like he does with everyone else?"
Castiel froze momentarily, then slowly nodded.
"Sweety, come here." Meg cooed, placing her arm around his neck and her chin on his shoulder. "He had Eve once, in a cupboard at Ash's party. He got into a fight with Michael because of it, but Dean's apparently a master of self defence because he floored him in one. Someone with that much skill has to have something to hide, no?"
Castiel didn't move.
"And then there was Lisa. Kind, loyal, witty Lisa with everything to give- and she gave it all to Winchester." Meg waited a while for that statement to settle in. "You're not the first, honey, and you won't be the last."
Castiel's breath hitched and he turned to watch Jo leaning forward, smiling so that all her teeth were showing at something Dean had just said. She flicked her hair over her shoulder and both had apparently forgotten the project and were much more interested in raising eyebrows and sharing a joke Castiel probably wouldn't understand. Jo had despised Dean recently, although she had not admitted it, and yet two lessons in his presence and Dean had charmed his way back again, as if he had some sort of charisma spell binding everyone to him.
"What about Jo?" He asked, finally tearing his eyes away from the happy, married couple scene unfolding before him. "Has he had past relations with her?"
"Who knows." Meg shrugged. "They sure seem into each other." She added as Jo punched Dean cheekily on the arm, laughing as Dean grabbed it and leant backwards in mock pain. "It's definitely not his amateur-dramatics that gets the ladies going."
"I didn't think Jo liked him in that way." Castiel said, his voice an octave higher than usual, as if something inside of him was snapping. "Perhaps I'm more oblivious than I originally perceived."
"Oblivious to your obliviousness? You're living in some sort of 'Inception' remake, aren't you?" When Castiel didn't reply, Meg allowed herself to take his hand on top of the desk. "I suppose you can never tell who your friends are these days." She sighed, and Castiel turned to look her right in the eye. "But... I could help you meet some new people, get you settled in with a larger crowd within the school community."
"What are you suggesting?"
"Say, Castiel. Are your parents home this weekend?"
"My parents are not... here, no. My brother has also had to leave on business, it is Gabriel and I left to look after the house." Meg smiled and pushed a stray hair from Cas' forehead.
"Well then, I know exactly how to cheer you up."
"You do realise what you're doing, Dean?" When Dean didn't respond, Sam moved forward to snatch the pillow Dean was hugging and throw it onto one of the armchairs. "You're being a teenage girl who's favourite band has just split up."
Dean retreated further into into the depths of the sofa, now folding his arms around his chest and gripping his t-shirt instead. He was lying down, surrounded by chocolate and blankets, watching the 'Dr. Sexy M.D' all day marathon. He had no idea what Sam was talking about.
"I'm just catching up on some television, Sammy." Dean grunted, patting the sofa until he found his duvet thrown over one of the armrests and cocooning himself in it.
"Dude." Sam said exasperated. "You're wearing the AC/DC top you leant him. You're watching mindless, shitty TV and you're sniffing that duvet like the messiah had once touched it."
Dean looked down at the top, it was creased and in need of a wash but he didn't care. Somewhere during the week Dean had moved from avoiding everything Castiel had touched to hoarding it like it was priceless treasure. He was using one of Castiel's pens to do his homework, wearing Castiel's socks he'd left behind last Sunday and even took the time to read one of the boring historical books from Bobby's mini-collection that Cas had seemed so very interested in. He didn't understand most of it, but the characters spoke a bit like Castiel, so he carried on.
So, yeah. Maybe he was exaggerating the whole 'bad-break-up' routine.
"I like this top." Dean mumbled.
"You like that top," Sam pointed out, "because Castiel hadn't washed it before he gave it to Gabriel to give to me." Dean decided to not dignify that statement with an answer. When he'd decided to silently continue his soap-opera viewing, Sam grunted and sat on the opposite end of the sofa. "You know you're the one in the wrong here and if you just went and apologised it would all be over."
Dean considered this for a moment. Either that or he was far too interested in the secret twin sister storyline. "It's not that simple." He said, focus still on the television.
"Why, Dean? Why isn't it simple to just drive over to his house and say 'I'm sorry for running out on you, I got scared, let's kiss and make up.'"
Cringing slightly, Dean sat up and turned towards his brother. "You wouldn't care then, you know, if I... got with a... dude?"
"From the moment you passed him your fries and had that weird eye thing going on, I sort of figured it out. I've had enough time to get used to the fact my big brother likes boys." Dean reached for an empty cola can and threw it at Sam's head, who promptly dodged it and started laughing.
"Not boys in general." Dean glared. "Just nerdy guys in trench coats who have no concept of personal space."
"You should go tell him that." Sam said, his face forming that pouty, serious Oprah expression it did whenever he felt he was bestowing his great gift on knowledge upon the world. "Like, now."
"He hates me!" Dean croaked. "He has no respect for me, he hates even being in the same room as me. He's not going to forgive me, hell, I can't forgive me. It's all awkward and messy and fucked up and I've practically ruined my chance at getting with the first person who likes me for me, and not for being the tall, tanned, rebellious senior that they can show off to their friends" He breathed deeply, unsure why all those words decided to fly out of his throat like some sort of projectile vomiting. Sam opened his mouth to respond, but Dean just raised his hand closed his eyes. "Just... just don't say anything, okay?"
"I'll shut up once you go out there and prove yourself wrong."
"It's dark outside."
"Gabriel won't let me in the house."
"I'll ring him beforehand."
"He hates me."
"He loves you."
"I hate you."
Sam sighed and then swiftly slapped Dean straight on the cheek. Just as Dean was about to respond, Sam's phone started ringing and he leapt up to answer it away from his brother's clenched fist. Dean resumed his previous position, huddled up and bringing the t-shirt closer around his body and feeling strangely empathetic to the woman on the television who had lost her chance with Dr. Sexy because she had moved to England, feeling Dr. Sexy's insane intellect made him far too superior to ever return her feelings. The bitch was stupid.
"What's the noise in the backgro- is that scrillex? Gabe, Gabe I can't hear you. Are you at a party? Cas... Castiel's having a party... no. No, no. Like Ruby did? Holy shit, how many? Your room? No Gabe, they'd probably enjoy that. How's Cas doing? Yeah... call him and we'll get down there too, Dean'll give me a lift. How else can I get there? Look, they need to speak anyway. I'll leave him in the car then. I am not bringing Bobby's guns. I'll be there in ten, okay, okay see you then, get Cas out the house before Crowley finds him, you know why. Yeah, okay, bye." Sam turned to pull Dean up, but his brother was already out the door, keys in hand, shouting to Bobby that they'd be back in an hour. When both boys had reached the car, Dean froze.
"So is this a repeat of last summer, or what?" Dean asked, his eyes wide and unreadable.
"Yeah, it's Ruby's lot again." Sam nodded, biting his lip as memories of his own ordeal repeated themselves in his mind. "Meg initiated it though, apparently. So much for change."
"Fucking bitch." Dean cursed, yanking the door open and sliding into the driver's seat. "And Cas, man. What was he thinking?"
Sam didn't know if he was supposed to reply, so he stayed silent, checking his phone constantly for any updates. Dean began tapping the steering wheel erratically, glancing to the side every few seconds and unable to stay still. If Sam wasn't so sure of Dean's desperation to reach Castiel, he'd have been worried of his safety but, like Dean had said a million times, he could drive his baby blindfolded.
"He better be able to explain himself or I swear to God I will destroy him and his stupid, stupid eyes."
Sam didn't see the relevance of Cas' eyes, but he let Dean carry on anyway.
"Son of a bitch." Dean hissed, pulling up in a free space a few houses down. A few neighbours were glancing nervously out their windows, curtains twitching and a few probably considering calling the authorities. It wasn't late enough for the police, Dean thought, but he still wanted to get Cas out as soon as possible just in case. There were over twenty cars parked in the road or on the lawn, crammed outside the garage or outside other people's houses. The door was open, inviting anybody in, and all the lights were on- the silhouettes of drunken teenagers visible through every window. Both brothers scrambled out the car and ran up towards the house, pausing at the steps leading onto the porch as they realised they had no plan of action.
"You find Cas." Sam said, elbowing Dean. "I'll find Gabe and we'll think of something, he's called his cousin to come help." Dean swallowed and nodded, hoping Cas' cousin had a team of men with riot shields. Sam ran up the steps and into the house, ignoring the obnoxious cheers from the party guests, but Dean decided he'd go round the back. He doubted Castiel would want to be inside.
He took a deep breath. Then another one. And again. Shit.
He couldn't do this. No, he could do this. Yeah, he totally could.
"Dean?" The voice was withered and scared and a little bit slurred. Castiel was looking the dictionary definition of guilty: eyes wide with regret, hair dishevelled, biting his lip and fingers shaking. "What are you doing here?"
The staring was so intense it took a while for Dean to remember Castiel couldn't actually read minds and he'd have to vocalise his opinion. He also had to take time mulling over the fact Cas was talking to him, and dammit he'd missed that voice, the curious, gravelly and innocent voice that made him feel heavy and light at the same time. "What am I doing here? What are they doing here?" He shrieked louder than he had anticipated, hand flying backwards to signal towards the house.
"They're... enjoying the interior of my house." Castiel replied, glancing down at his feet.
"They're- what- okay dude, seriously." Dean stumbled, words not coming easy. "What did I tell you about that group of people? They're all massive dicks, why the hell would you trust them?"
"Meg offered me a distraction." Castiel admitted. "And at the time, I wasn't one to completely trust your judgement."
"My judgement? Didn't we tell you that this exact thing happened to Sam? Didn't I tell you they're manipulative sons of bitches who literally do not care about me, or you, or anybody." Dean was walking forward now, he tried to tell himself he was moving too close but he really didn't care. Castiel's tie was wonky and his collar bent and the weird magnetic energy was pushing him further.
"I was under the impression you didn't care about me either."
Dean's pent up rage and jealousy and guilt and worry and hunger and need and loss all seemed to spontaneously erupt at that statement, and Dean didn't know what to do with it, because there was enough passion in him to punch Castiel through to next week but he hardly thought that would resolve anything- except maybe clear his head considerably.
He ran his hands through his hair, gripping and pulling his head forward as he let out a quiet, strained scream of frustration. God Cas made things difficult. Or maybe Dean was the one who had caused all of this. But right now the blame game wasn't something he particularly wanted to focus on, he just wanted to fix this.
"Cas." He sighed, bringing his head up and staring at the boy in front of him. "Cas I do care about you, you stupid asshole."
Castiel shifted awkwardly and lightly pinched the bridge of his nose, but didn't seem inclined to reply.
"Look, it's like this: it got to the point where, yeah, I figured if I had to hold someone's hand, I'd hold yours, and if I had to share a bed with someone, I'd share with you, and if I had to kiss somebody, I'd kiss you. Then that sort of... evolved, because I started thinking 'why am I considering holding this guy's hand, and sharing a bed with him, why am I kissing him and enjoying it?' Because you're a guy, and I am, was, pretty freakin' straight. I mean, I love boobs, you know?"
Castiel raised his eyebrow skeptically and Dean cringed.
"Okay, I shouldn't have said that." He muttered. "Awkward." Castiel didn't smile. "Anyway, carrying on. I began to enjoy just looking at you and touching you and being with you, and I found out that it wasn't necessarily an 'if I had to' anymore, but an 'I really, really want to'. So when you weren't there I got pissy, needy and lost. I was lost without your irritating obliviousness and bluntness. Which is weird, right? Because I'm straight and you're not a woman and you don't have... boobs." Dean blushed again and lifted his hands up to thumb at the collar of Cas' jacket. "And the two kisses we had, man. They were... they were good. But that's not all. The conversations we have, the staring, the hugging, the sleeping, the kissing- it all just adds up to create the best few weeks I've had in a very, very long time. And it's all because of you, Cas, and I know I've fucked this up good and proper and I totally understand if you never want to speak to me ever again, but I have to let this off my chest." He paused and tried to put together the write words, because this had to be the most pathetic and badly phrased love confession he had ever heard of.
Castiel breathed in the silence and tried to evaluate the situation- study Dean's movements, discover if he was being honest with him or if Dean was just highly experienced in coaxing someone into believing him. If it weren't for the way Dean was shaking slightly, gripping onto the material of Cas' coat and so scared of moving any closer, Castiel would have walked away.
Instead he kissed him.
It wasn't to show his forgiveness or admit his similar feelings. It wasn't to shut Dean up or make up for lost time. It was to share with Dean every thing he'd been feeling in the last week, force Dean to feel the desperation and aching Cas had been dealing with and make the other boy realise just how much he'd broken him. But even through all the angst and bitterness thrown in, it still managed to be the best kiss they'd ever shared.
Castiel had dragged his hands behind Dean's neck and pulled him downwards, stroking his fingertips through his hair and melting into the familiarity of it, how obviously right it was. Dean had responded immediately, though understandably nervous that this was a trick and Cas was about to kick him any minute now. Thoroughly convinced by Cas' enthusiasm, he grasped Castiel's tie and pressed their bodies tightly together, mumbling something about wanting "to grab that tie for so long," but Castiel had no time to think over the peculiarity of that statement because Dean was moaning into his mouth and his hands were at his waist, sliding under Castiel's shirt and holding him so defiantly Cas was almost swooning. "The others." Castiel whispered breathlessly against Dean's neck, hands hesitantly rested on his shoulders. "What about the others?"
"Who?" Dean muttered into Castiel's hair, eyes closed.
"Jo." Castiel said, and Dean was about to interrupt but was cut short by Castiel leaning backwards and placing his hand over Dean's mouth- just like in the bedroom last week. His eyes were dark and focussed on Dean's every move. "Lisa and Carmen and Eve."
"They're all pretty long stories." Dean said. "Well, not Jo. Nothing's ever happened with Jo, where'd you get that idea? Where'd you find out all of this anyway?"
"Meg." Cas answered shortly and Dean swore under his breath. "You don't have to tell me now, but please, soon, because I can't... not when I can't shake the feeling I'm just like them."
"You're not." Dean said, and he could have followed it with a whole load of soppy decelerations and promises, but he was still Dean Winchester and he was not a chick.
Sure, he was a little bit in love with the guy, but he also loved pie and he never sat in a diner and started reciting Romeo and Juliet quotes to the golden crust. Well, maybe once, but only Sam had heard him and he was too concerned with the fact that Dean could quote Shakespeare.
"I want you to apologise to them." Castiel sad. "All kissing and anything of the sort are postponed until you've apologised to every girl you've hurt." Dean pulled back further, brow furrowed as he tried to make sense of this ridiculous task.
"You're kidding me, right? Are you seriously going all 'collect all four' on me?"
"I don't... yes, probably. I don't know."
Dean grimaced, but nodded and pressed his forehead to Castiel's. "Fine. What do you want from them? A signed note saying I've completed my assignment?"
Not noticing the sarcasm, Cas smiled. "Yes, that would be good."
"You're killing me here, Cas." Dean murmured, edging closer. "No more kisses then?"
Castiel comtemplated this. "Perhaps one more." He decided, leaning forward, before a door flung open behind them and they heard someone mutter under their breath.
"Dude, did not need to see that right now." Zach commented, raising his eyebrows but apparently unsurprised. Zach hopped over a bin, clearly in a rush to get out. "Good party." He smiled, smacking Cas on the back. "Shame about the posh git pushing everybody out."
"When was the stick removed from his ass." Dean said, watching Zach run down the street and unlock his car, but Castiel was too busy pulling Dean towards the nearest window with wide eyes full of fear. Through the glass, the boys could see a tall man in his late twenties with sandy blond hair, a v-neck shirt and black blazer. The man was leisurely swinging a baseball bat in one hand, whilst the other gripped an elegant glass of champagne.
"Alright, you bastards. I want you out my house now."
"Balthazar." Dean said bluntly. "Balthazar. I mean, what can you even shorten that to? Balfie? Batty? Bath salts?"
"Balthazar is my cousin." Castiel said, staring at the man whilst he tap danced elegantly on the table and shouted obscenities at the teenagers Gabriel and Sam were pushing out. "He is named after an angel of the Lord."
"I see the actions fit the name." Dean snorted as Balthazar shot Ruby the middle finger.
"He is somewhat... flamboyant. He's not often invited to family occasions but he gets along well with Gabriel and I."
In that moment, Sam ran out of the house chasing two very confused girls, wielding a dustbin and brush and screaming "La Resistance!" at the top of his voice- a very calm looking Gabriel leaning against the doorframe, arms folded and eyebrows raised at the impressive sight.
"You get 'em, Sammy!" He shouted, but Sam had promptly turned to look at his older brother holding hands with a dishevelled Castiel. He paused to admire the scene, how comfortable both boys looked even though they were being in the midst of, what Balthazar had declared, war. Dean turned and blushed when he noticed Sam grinning at them like an idiot, but didn't release his hold.
"Hey, Cas." Sam called as he walked over. "He's wearing your socks you know, and he hasn't washed that t-shirt since you wore it."
Dean cursed under his breath. However, Castiel- remaining oblivious to the intimacy of Dean's actions- just tilted his head and stepped forward, gazing at Sam like he was something interesting in the distance.
"Sam." He said sincerely. "I wish to have your permission to court your brother."
The light emitting from the house was enough to highlight Sam's frozen reaction of glee.
"I see it worked then." A nasally female voice said from the porch, interrupting Sam's reply. The congregation turned to glare at Meg, who was wearing a revealing black dress with a leather jacket- clearly not hers- thrown over the top. "My ingenious plan to get the very pointed sticks out of your very tight asses." Gabriel jogged to stand beside Sam, and Meg scoffed at the sight of this ridiculous confrontation. "You mad at me?" She sighed.
"With good reason you cruel, twisted, bitch." Dean snarled, making a move forward but Cas tightened his grip and Sam grabbed his elbow to pull him back. "Why'd you do it, huh?"
"Dean-y, baby." She cooed, shrugging he shoulders and looking back towards the house. "I did you a massive favour, no?"
"By trashing our house?" Gabriel snapped back, fists clenched.
"By forcing your little brother into the arms of the boy he's been pining over." Meg sighed, looking down on Gabe like he was dirt. "Not to mention, my gang's had their fun and won't be bothering little Cas again, and Zach's lot are highly impressed with the standard of the party. I've just given you your golden ticket."
Castiel shuffled awkwardly next to Dean and moved closer, his breath hot on Dean's neck and feet touching. "Dean." He said, his voice strained slightly. "I am unsure if I should believe her- and therefore be thankful towards her- or be angered."
"Yeah." Dean replied. "You and me both."
"I don't think you'll have time to decide." Sam interjected, as a large crash from inside caused Meg to leap out of her skin and jump down from the porch, saluting to Castiel and striding quickly down the road to where Crowley's car door was open. Sam and Gabe nodded to each other, raised their weapons- Gabriel sporting two tennis rackets- and screamed an identical war cry, charging back into the house.
"I am happy my brother has yours." Castiel commented, watching Sam and Gabriel wheezing from laughter. Dean wasn't watching his brother, his gaze was fixed on Castiel and no one else.
"I'm happy I have you." He croaked impulsively. "I really, really want you."
Castiel patted down Dean's top, fondly letting his palm rest on the AC/DC logo. "I really, really want you too." He smiled, before being alerted to Balthazar, Sam and Gabriel, now equipped with frying pans and a baseball bat, shunning sixty drunken teenagers out of the house and towards the two them. "However, I do not wish to be with you until I am sure of your conviction." Castiel pulled back and straightened his clothing. "Goodnight, Dean." He nodded, an almost smile playing on his lips, and made his way back inside.
By the time they'd managed to peel the last drunken teenager from a corner of the downstairs bathroom- a sophomore named Az who, judging by the liver condition causing his eyes to have a yellow hue, shouldn't have been drinking- it was almost midnight. Balthazar had assembled them all in the living room, standing back on the coffee table with a refreshed glass of the golden liquid in hand. Sam and Dean shared a quick glance as they simultaneously noticed how low his shirt was.
"This is the last time I pull you out of trouble." Balthazar sighed, pointing his glass at Gabriel. "However much I would love to see the look on Raphy's face when he's presented with the state of the house, perhaps we should clean up. Of course, by we, I mean you. I don't enjoy getting my hands dirty." Gabriel glanced at Castiel, but didn't mention the fact that he had nothing to do with the organisation of the party. Dean was pleasantly surprised- the idiot was definitely growing on him.
"Your brother's a bit of a dick." Dean mumbled just loud enough for Castiel to hear.
"Are you not still trying to win my affection?" Castiel replied, turning towards the kitchen to grab some bin bags and begin the disinfecting process.
"I have your affection, just not the right to use it." Dean groaned as he stepped in something green and weird looking. Castiel walked over and stood firmly in Dean's personal space.
"Gabriel told me that teasing is the best way to make someone your bitch." He said with no hesitation or amusement in his tone. One peck to Dean's cheek and he left the room, leaving Dean now properly, properly fallen.
"Let me get this straight." The attractive girl said, snatching the lined paper from Dean's grip and placing it on the counter. "You want a handwritten note from me saying that I forgive you for leaving me and have every confidence that you can sustain a serious relationship?"
Dean looked around the foyer, drumming his fingers on the counter and focussing on the miniature screens dotted around showing the latest movie trailers. "Yeah." He nodded, nervously meeting her eyes. "Pretty much."
"Why, again?" She asked happily, folding her arms over her royal blue polo shirt, her name tag reading 'Carmen.'
"Because I've met someone who wants me prove myself to him or something." Dean mumbled, pushing the pen closer to the girl so he could leave as soon as possible.
"So, were you gay when you were with me? Do I look like a man? Were you over compensating? What was happening?" Dean sighed inwardly, already having explained this twice.
"I'm not gay, I just found this one guy who I like a lot. He found out about my past... experiences, and wants to be 'sure of my conviction' or some shit." He irritably pushed the pen even closer. "Look, please. I really need this, I know we ended badly but it's not like I ran off with someone else or kicked your dog or something. I can't be the worst guy you've ever met."
Carmen stayed quiet for a moment. "Not even close, Winchester." She smiled, picked up the pen and started writing.
I, Carmen Porter, officially forgive Dean Winchester for leading me on for a month and then calling me to say that he didn't have time for a relationship. In fact, at the time I made it out to be a lot worse than it was. He was the wittiest, nicest guy you could have met. He was loyal to me and made me feel special, but time became an issue: I had a job, he had Sam and family issues to deal with. With everything he's been through, he's still as brave and strong and you could hope for, he just needed to find the right person to make himself realise that relationships aren't just about going on dates and sharing kisses- they're about attachment and emotions too. So, well done you, whoever you are. Not only do you have him completely whipped, but you've turned him as well. I take my hat off to you, good sir.
She signed the note and handed it to a blushing Dean, who had been reading as she'd been writing.
"Hey," he said, "maybe you could come over to mine next time we have a movie thing?"
Carmen gave a winning smile. "It would be my pleasure."
Dean paced outside the library door, his lingering catching the attention of the nearby caretaker who was emptying the bins nearby. The caretaker waved his hand and nodded his head, urging Dean to go inside as if he knew that Dean was having an internal war between his brain and his guts.
"Go on, boy." He said. "She's only human, after all."
Dean couldn't help but think the old man had got the wrong end of the stick, but he was thankful for the advice nonetheless. With a quick smile and a deep breath, he pushed the doors open and noticed the girl sitting at a table in the corner on her own. It felt weird seeing her alone- she seemed more genuine, more mature. Her codependency with her friends had caused the break up in the first place; he couldn't go to the movies without her friends sitting the row behind, when they went to grab some food her friends were sitting a few tables down. Soon, he felt like he was on some reality dating show and every one of her mates were judging him secretly. It was a justifiable reason, but Cassie- however sweet and charming she was- didn't take it lightly. With her brother being a large, respected member of the football team, neither did the rest of the school.
"Hey, Cassie." He said, sliding into the seat opposite and flinching at the name Cassie. Cassie is what Balthazar and Gabe call Castiel, and Dean did not enjoy it. "We need to talk."
Cassie placed her book on the table and raised a questionable brow. "Dean, what the hell are you doing here?"
"Aren't we supposed to be quiet in here?" Dean grumbled, bowing his head as the majority of the library turned in their direction.
"Answer the question." She ordered, and Dean was completely confused as to when exactly Cassie became this defiant.
"Okay, okay." He said, pulling the second piece of lined paper out and sliding it and a pen towards her. "I need a favour."
Cassie faulted, glaring down at the paper. "What makes you think you deserve a favour?"
Dean bit his lip and decided it was time for the rant. "You've seen the new kid, right? Well, new-ish. Trench coat, looks forever forlorn and scared of human interaction." Cassie nodded. "The thing is, I sort of like him... a lot. He makes me happy and he's convinced he to change, but he needs me to prove to him that I won't screw him over- not like I did to you or anyone else. All I need is a note, one note, saying that you can forgive me for what I did."
Cassie straightened in her chair and peered at the paper like it was untrustworthy. "A note?" She inquired.
"Yeah." Dean breathed. "I would really appreciate it."
"You hurt me, Dean." She replied, picking up the pen and twisting it in her fingers. "But just you getting the guts to ask me this has proved you have the ability to change." She put pen to paper and began writing, to Dean's upmost surprise. "What's his name?"
"Castiel." Dean replied shortly.
"What kind of name is that?" She snorted, and Dean shook his head.
"Don't even ask."
Hey, Castiel. It's Cassie, which is sort of similar to your name- I'm happy he's found one Cas he can love, anyway. I assume he loves you, because I can't see any other reason he'd agree to this ex-girlfriend treasure hunt. I'm not writing this note because I feel happy with the way Dean treated me, but because I know he deserves someone who makes his eyes light up just by him saying their name (FYI that just happened). Plus, looking back, I wasn't the best of girlfriends anyway, and I suppose I got what I deserved. Now it's time for Dean to get what he deserves, which I believe is you. I wholeheartedly forgive Dean and wish you and him the best of luck.
Cassie read it through twice and smiled before letting Dean have it.
"I'm jealous." She smiled. "He's a regulation hottie."
Dean had planned on cornering Lisa before lunch, but she had other plans. She was waiting for him outside the science block when he came out of biology, a neatly folded note already in hand.
"Jo told me about your quest, Sir Winchester." She told him, moving close and placing the paper lightly in Dean's palm. "Go get him, tiger." She smirked, kissing him on the cheek and patting him on the shoulder before walking away. Dean's hands were shaking slightly as he opened the note, aware that this note is the one he'd been wanting to read for a long time.
Castiel, it's Lisa here. I've spent a lot of time with both of you, though you probably know the least about me than anyone else in our group because I try to avoid any discussion with Dean, and you two are pretty inseparable. The tension between us has probably been quite noticeable; this is not through Dean's fault but my own. I left Dean as soon as I felt we were becoming something serious. Not because of fear of commitment or because I didn't like him- of course I did, and you for one should know why- but because I knew I wasn't the one for him. He didn't like me touching his tapes or talking about his car, he didn't feel the need to share his movie collection with me or drive for hours on end. He liked me because I was the typical perfect girlfriend, excuse my modesty, that could give him everything he needed. That doesn't change the fact he required someone to bring him down to Earth as well as help him fly. We didn't have the essential thing that normal couples prefer to live without, but Dean absolutely needed- a weird guy in a trench coat. You're the one for him, Cas. I truly believe so.
So Dean didn't screw me over, I dumped him with no better excuse than 'you're not the one for me.' I think it broke him a little bit, but all his broken pieces fixed themselves the first moment he handed you that plate of fries. I hope you forgive him and I hope he can forgive me, too.
Dean pocketed the letter a little more carefully than he had the done the ones before. He considered finding Eve and getting a note from her too, but that was barely a kiss in a cupboard before Michael had reared his head and had come to kick Dean's ass. Plus the blond bitch would rather burn to death then give Dean any chance of happiness. Castiel didn't care about the quick flings, he cared about the people who were hurt but mended themselves- as proof that Castiel could fix it too.
Dean held the three pieces of paper in front of him, all feeling heavier than their actual weight because this was commitment. It wasn't an engagement ring or tattoo of Cas' name, but it was evidence of Dean facing up to his demons just so Castiel could trust him again.
Truth be told, Dean wasn't scared. Not at all. He was so, so ready for it.
"Remember when you were fourteen, there was that girl buying ice cream from the stand and you thought she was really pretty. You went straight up to her, leant over the counter and gave the woman the money for the cone before you even said one word to her. She was stunned into silence for a good few minutes until you held out your hand and said 'Dean Winchester, neurosurgeon' even though you quite clearly hadn't reached puberty yet."
Dean didn't see how this was relevant to whether Sam wanted syrup on his pancakes or not.
"She probably still thinks about you. Oh! When you were nine and that Tom kid who lived in the house next door stole my stick that I was using as a wand and snapped it. You punched him in the stomach then taped the twig up- even though I only found it twenty minutes beforehand- and told me that you'd buy me a new one next time you went to Diagon Alley. The next day you came back with an actual wand- Ron's- from the toy store. I still have it, you know."
"Does this have a point?" Dean asked, digging into his breakfast, but smiling slightly at the memory of Sam's face when he gave him the box.
"Yeah, you've never been afraid to approach people, stand up for what you believe in or make someone else happy, even if you have to pretend to like Harry Potter whilst doing it, so why is it taking so long for you to give Castiel those damn letters?"
Dean's fork froze in mid-air and he tried to form a response that could be seen as a valid argument, but he didn't have one, so he stuck with the truth. "It feels like it needs to be something big." He admitted. "Like, I can't just walk up and say 'here you go, now be my boyfriend please.'That's not enough."
Sighing, Sam pushed his plate away and folded his arms on the table. "What happened to no chick flick moments, man? Cas doesn't need anything fancy. The fact you've collected those letters is rom-com worthy enough, just get your ass in gear and go knock on his door."
Jesus, when did he become such a chick.
"Tell you what." Dean said finally as he polished up the last of his pancakes. "I'll do it on Monday, first thing."
"Pinky promise?" Sam asked, bringing forward his little finger and wiggling it cheekily.
"Sam." Dean glared.
"Pinky promise." Sam urged, like he was about to throw a temper tantrum. Dean didn't doubt that a second.
"Fine. Deal. Whatever." Dean said, linking his finger with Sam's and hoping to God it was worth it.
Dean leant against Castiel's locker and ignored the snickers form the various student's that acted like they knew exactly why Dean was standing there. Apparently a renowned womaniser caught making out with the nerdy new boy was highly exciting news and nobody would shut up about it. No one had anything bad to say about it though, which was pleasant.
Pleasant. He was even talking like Castiel now.
"Hello, Dean." Castiel smiled, and Dean budged out the way to give him room to put his folders away. "You're earlier than usual."
"Yeah." Dean replied dumbly. "I... er, have something to give you."
Castiel looked up at Dean curiously, and his eyes widened when Dean handed him the letters all in one neat pile. He stammered as he took them and blushed, actually blushed, when he opened the first one to check the authenticity. Dean started to fear for the worse- because Castiel could easily change his mind. It's like Dean himself had said, Dean was the first person here to show interest in Cas, once that novelty wore off then what was left? Maybe Castiel was speedily becoming aware of the fact that Dean's too abrupt and jumps to conclusions instantly. That he's rude to nice people if they're wasting his time, even if he apologises afterwards. He's impatient and loud and watches too much porn and eats too much junk food, hates most new music and wouldn't hesitate to kill everyone who wears a band t-shirt even though they've never listened to a single song by that artist. "You... you actually did it." Castiel said, stunned into stupidity.
"All for me."
Castiel threw the letters into his locker and jumped onto Dean, hugging him tighter than he had before because he wanted him as close as possible. Oh. Maybe Dean was being irrational- yet another thing to add to his list of flaws that Castiel was evidently uncaring of. "You do realise that it's highly unlikely you'll be able to get rid of me now."
"I hoped that would be the case." Dean chuckled and kissed Castiel right on the lips, ignoring the wolf whistles and shouts from the other student in the corridor. "You're awesome." He grinned against Castiel's lips. So, so awesome.
"I know." Castiel replied, and made no complaint when Dean began fixing his tie before they made their way to homeroom. "So, are you my boyfriend now?"
"If you want me to be." Dean smiled, seemingly unable to stop himself.
"I would very much like that." Castiel nodded.
Dean brought his hand to clasp Castiel's and raised his eyebrows in a sign that the time for fluffy, love-y, dove-y stuff was over. "Then I shall allow you to court me, Monsieur Castiel." He snickered, before being quickly reminded of how strong Cas was when he was punched harshly in the chest.
"Such a dick." He grumbled, as Cas strode away.
"Is it customary to wear a blanket?"
"It's not a blanket, it's a serape." Dean grinned, spinning on the spot so the patterned material fanned out behind him like he was a seven year old girl displaying her princess dress. "You." He commented when he'd stopped and spotted Castiel leaning self-consciously against the door frame. "Look hot."
Castiel blushed and looked down to inspect his attire, bringing his arms out and shaking his head uncomfortably. "I feel ridiculous."
"What are you talking about? Look at those wings!" Dean stepped forward and let his fingers run through the black feathers that decorated Cas' back. "Kinky."
"Dean. Not only is this neither witty nor attractive, it's also quite blasphemous." The angel-clad boy argued, wearing black skinny jeans, a thin, baggy white t shirt with 'touched by an angel' printed on the front, a plastic glittery halo on his head and a pair of gigantic black wings- so intricate and detailed they could be mistaken for the real thing, were it not for the straps around Cas' shoulders. "I should not have allowed you and Jo to decide my outfit."
Dean tilted his cowboy hat forward and winked, his crooked grin stolen straight from the movie screen. "Come on doll," he snickered, "a bit of blaspheme never hurt nobody." He walked closer and cupped Cas' cheek, leaning forward so that Cas' lips were hovering millimetres away from his own. "Makes everything a bit naughtier." He said, voice low, husky and enough for Castiel to swallow his pride and press his mouth hotly against Dean's, gripping his serape and tugging him closer.
"You are insufferable." He muttered against Dean's neck as he scraped his teeth lightly over the skin and licked hungrily at the the exact places he'd learned made Dean whimper.
Dean was holding tightly to his hat as he was pushed against the wall- strangely attached to the crappy, plastic memorabilia from his 8th grade school trip to 'Frontierland.' "That's why you love me." Dean muttered, and Castiel paused because- however painstakingly obvious it was- neither had voiced that opinion yet.
"Yes." Castiel said. "Yes, I do."
And then he kissed him again, and it was only a light brush of lips and it clearly wasn't going to progress- not yet anyway- to anything more, but it certified everything in the same way Dean's wide eyes confirmed it as they drew back from each other.
"Yeah," Dean breathed. "Ditto."
They were still pressed close together, chest to chest and Dean against the wall- Castiel's leg pushed between Dean's whilst the cowboy idly played with Cas' feathers- quite content with just breathing the same air and speechless in the revelations of the moment.
"Love you." Castiel whispered meekly, cheeks flushed and looking at the floor.
Dean tilted his head and kissed his ear. "Love you, too."
"Alohomora!" Someone shouted from outside Dean's bedroom, and Becky burst excitedly into the room, hands clasped tightly together as she jumped up and down. "Oh wow!" She squealed seeing the inappropriate position and Castiel's rather tight jeans and black wings. "You two look great!"
Becky was wearing thin black trousers and a v-kneck grey jumper over a white shirt. Around her neck shone a green and silver tie, with a Slytherin scarf thrown neatly over her shoulder and her dirty blond hair hidden beneath a short, white blond wig. Chuck begrudgingly followed her into the room, sporting a similar outfit but with a red and gold tie, a Gryffindor scarf, a pair of wirery circle glasses and a lightning scar drawn on in red eyeliner. His brown hair had been sprayed temporarily black. He looked incredibly awkward.
Becky leant forward and kissed him on the cheek. "This is so going on my cosplay deviantart!" She smiled, and Chuck gave her a nervous but undeniably happy grin in return- Dean was well aware that the outfits weren't Chuck's idea and the boy was probably playing that those photos were never seen by anyone ever.
Cas frowned. "When Sam showed me those films, I wasn't aware that the central protagonist was having romantic relations with his apparent enemy." He stated, brow furrowed as Chuck clasped Becky's hand.
Becky looked like she was about to recite Slash-Fan-Rule #13, blurting out "You need to read the boo-" before Chuck tugged at her wrist and began pulling her out the room.
"I'll see you guys later." He smiled, as Becky fought against his strength.
"Has he not seen Half Blood Prince? Even in the movie you can't deny it..."
"I know, I know, rapidly obsessed with him, yada, yada."
Castiel looked worried, as if he'd offended his friends, but Dean was sure Becky was used to arguing her case and most likely enjoyed it. "Do we have to go to this?" He asked, wrapping his arms around Dean's waist and burying his head in his chest. "I'm still unsure of Meg."
"Yes, but Meg's throwing the biggest party- it's hers or that Garth kid's pool party, which I'm pretty sure nobody's going to." Dean replied, resting his chin on Castiel's head.
"Why do we have to go to a party at all? We could just stay here and watch movies."
Now that was a persuasive suggestion.
"But all our exams are finished." Dean whined. "Just this once. Tomorrow we'll have a pyjama day."
Castiel tensed in Dean's arms and mumbled something that sounded like "graduation" and "college" and "distance", but he was cuddled so close Dean couldn't be sure.
"Hey, hey." Dean said, moving his hand to the back of Cas' hair and running his fingers through it. "We'll only be like, an hour apart, and I'll be at yours every day I don't have lectures or anything, making a mess and annoying all your housemates." Castiel choked a small laugh but tightened his grip. "And anytime you need me, you fly right over, you get me?" He grinned, tugging at Cas' wings as he stepped back.
"I'm an angel of the Lord." Castiel smiled. "Not your play thing."
Dean smirked and clapped a hand on Castiel's shoulder. "Yeah, well. We'll see about that."
The crack of a whip broke the comfortable silence, and both boys turned to see Jo in a rather feminine interpretation of Indiana Jones' costume that Dean was extremely thankful Harrison Ford never sported in the movies. "Have you seen Sam?" She asked wickedly.
"He didn't." Cas said.
"He did." Jo laughed.
It was that moment a Mars Bar catapulted its way into Dean's face, and a very happy Gabriel bounced into the room wearing a top hat and tails, a vast mixture of candy sticking out any possible pockets.
"Never fear, Willy Wonka's here, with his trusted first mate!" He sung, twirling around and holding his hands out to welcome Sam into the room.
If Dean could take a mental picture to remember for the rest of his life, even with every moment he's shared with Cas, Dean had no doubt that this is the one he'd save.
A very orange Sam towered over the group in white dungarees and green hair. The biggest fucking oompa-loompa Dean's ever seen.
"It's ironic." Sam snapped.
Oh, yes. It was definitely gonna be a good night.
Becky tapped the keyboard lightly so as to not actually press any buttons. She glared at the words on screen as writer's block hit like a bitch. Letting out an over exaggerated, exasperated sigh, she turned to glance over to Chuck- who was lying on her bed watching her Buffy box set and ignoring her attempts at catching his attention.
"Chuck." She groaned. "I don't know how to end this!"
Chuck paused the TV, rolled off the bed and came to stand behind Becky's desk chair, resting his hands on the back of it before leaning over to read the last sentence. He thought about his reply carefully.
"The best stories end where they began." He said, kissing her on the cheek and ruffling her hair before jogging back to resume his show.
Becky considered this, and was instantly reminded of what Sam had told Jo he'd walked into a few days back whilst they were waiting in queue for the movies. He'd run into Dean's bedroom to tell him about the advert he'd just read on facebook for an all-you-can-eat burger diner only half an hour away. What he had witnessed was Dean and Cas both lying on the bed fast asleep, Dean's arm lazily resting over Cas' shoulder as the latter was curled comfortably in the other's arms, his fingers twisted around the wire of Dean's iPod- an earphone in one ear each.
She pondered the idea that it's impossible to hate an object. You don't hate objects for merely existing, you hate them for what they can do, or the memories associated with what they've done. People don't hate guns because they're there, they hate guns because they've been used to shoot innocent people.
And Dean doesn't hate iPods. Not one little bit. Not now his very own one, brought especially for him by his little brother, can be used to teach Castiel about all the best bands in the world, and they can both fall asleep being soothed by those perfect guitar solos.
Right at this moment, Dean frickin' loves iPods. Seriously.
And so does Castiel.
If you've reached this far, than thank you so much for reading! I loved writing this so much and am thinking of following it up with a Sabriel sequel, and I might add an epilogue soon.
Anyway, thanks again for reading, you're fabulous!