Dean Winchester hates Castiel Milton.
Okay, not exactly hate, but he holds quite the grudge.
See, here’s the thing about Dean Winchester: he loves to be first. He strives to to be the best in everything; athletics, grades, contests. The only person that always seems to outdo him is Castiel. Dean runs a mile in just over 5 minutes, Castiel beats him by ten seconds. Dean gets a perfect score on a test, Castiel gets the same with four points extra credit by knowing the twenty-fourth president’s wife’s name.
The most annoying part is, he doesn’t care! Dean is constantly competing with this guy, and Castiel never bats an eye. Not even a condescending glance whenever Dean glares at him between classes.
It’s completely frustrating.
“What’s got your panties in a twist?” Jo asks with a smirk.
Dean huffs and slumps against her locker. She already knows the answer.
“What did Cas beat you at now?”
Whenever Dean is in a bad mood, it’s always because of Castiel fucking Milton. Jo is the only one who understands--mostly because Dean never shuts up about him.
“He did thirty chin ups, Jo. In less than a minute. Thirty! Have you seen that guy’s arms? They’re like twigs! How the hell does that work?” He complains.
Jo stuffs another book into her already full locker and sighs. “Dude, when are you going to get over it? There’s one person better than you, who cares?”
Dean narrows his eyes at her. “Do you not know me at all?”
“I’ve been your best friend for six years, of course I know you. And what I do know is that if you keep worrying about this guy and being the best, you’re going to fry your brain. Or worse: crows feet.” Jo mock-gasps, knowing how much Dean worries about his looks even if he pretends like he doesn’t (she’s been to his house, she’s seen how many different beauty products he has).
Dean rolls his eyes. “It’s not like I’m obsessed-”
Jo snaps her fingers. “That’s it! You’re obsessed. Head over heels obsessed.”
“You’re making it sound like I’m in love with the guy.”
Dean shoves her playfully. “No way.”
Jo raises an eyebrow. “Sure...”
She smiles. “I’m just messing with you. Maybe if you stopped being so resentful, you’d see that Cas is actually a pretty cool guy.”
Dean pauses. “Wait, are you, like, friends with him?”
Jo shrugs. “I have a couple classes with him, he’s pretty nice. I mean, quiet and reserved mostly, but nice.”
“You’re friends with my arch nemesis!” Dean scorns.
She rests a hand on her hip. “Don’t be so melodramatic, you’re not a superhero.”
“How would you know...?” Dean shows a sly smile.
“Whatever. If you actually hung out with him, I think you’d like him, too.” With that final word, she turns on her heel and walks off to her next class.
Like him? Dean thinks, internally scoffing. Never. He walks to his next class as well.
Dean zones out while he’s thinking about what Jo said--only for a moment, but long enough for him to forget where he is and run into someone in the hallway. His books fall out of his hands, as well as the other person’s, and they scramble to pick them all up.
“Um, I think this Government book is yours...” The other says.
“Yeah, and this AP Chem book is definitely not mine,” Dean chuckles, shuffling through the books in his hands.
He finally looks up and sees his arch nemesis standing across from him, holding a book out for him. Castiel glows with the hint of a smile, lifting his cheeks up a little to form a crease under his eyelashes.
His eyes are really blue, Dean thinks. He realizes he’s gawking and snaps out of it, trading books with Castiel.
“Sorry.” They say at the same time. Castiel laughs nervously.
Castiel lingers for a few beats until the warning bell rings. “See you later, Dean.”
“Huh?” Dean asks, momentarily puzzled.
“At practice...for cross country?” Castiel’s eyes grow wide.
“Oh, yeah, I just- I didn’t know you knew my name.”
“You are second in our class, I have a few subjects with you. We’ve gone to the same school for four years. So, yes, I do know your name.”
“Right.” Dean says, a little embarrassed. “I thought maybe you just didn’t care.”
“See you later, Dean.” Castiel repeats, smirks, and walks away.
Dean feels his face get a little hot, which he tries to brush off. What a dick, he tries to convince himself, but part of him is taunting him, Damn, Jo was right. That guy is nothing but pleasant.
Dean has a hard time focusing at practice. He can’t stop thinking about his conversation--is that what it was?--with Castiel earlier. He looks over at Castiel from time to time--tying his shoes, doing his stretches, running a warm-up lap. Maybe Dean has had this guy all wrong. Maybe they could be friends.
Dean thinks that for a whole fifteen minutes, before Coach starts to pair them off for practice races.
“Winchester and Milton, you’re second.” Coach calls from a list of names on his clipboard.
Dean’s throat goes dry. He’s done races with Castiel before, he doesn’t know why he’s so nervous about this one.
Dean and Castiel line up next to each other behind Derek and Chuck on the starting line. The coach blows his whistle and the pair in front of them run ahead, leaving a puff of dusty smoke behind them.
Castiel stretches his right leg in an arch behind him, and Dean mimics the same. Castiel is, wow, really flexible. Dean shakes the thought out of his head and tries to focus his mind on the race. Derek and Chuck lap back around--Derek wins, as Dean thought he would, because he’s one of the best on the team--and Dean and Castiel lean forward on the starting line. Castiel glances at Dean with an innocent smirk that seems to wish “Good luck.”
Seriously, so fucking pleasant.
Dean furrows his brow and pushes off on his heel when he hears the whistle blow. Wind rushes by his ears, through his hair, pushing against him. He surges forward, leaving at least a foot between him and Castiel. It gives him a little satisfaction, only for a moment, before he sees a blur of Castiel running past him.
Dean clenches his jaw, wishing his feet to move faster. He’s halfway around the oval-shaped track, he knows he can do this. He has to win. He has to be first.
With one more push, the only one he has left in him, he runs forward slightly, almost catching up with Castiel.
Until he forgets about his footing and tumbles forward. He feels something in his ankle pop or tear, and groans as he hits the ground face-first. Even with the pain in his neck--and cheeks and jaw and general head area--his searing ankle hurts the most.
He lays on the ground, clutching his leg and wincing in pain.
A hand rests itself on Dean’s shoulder--the one not slammed into the ground.
Dean squints his eyes open and looks up to see his competitor hunched over him. Castiel looks utterly worried, which makes Dean flutter a little.
“I didn’t win, did I?” Dean says in not exactly a questioning tone.
Castiel smiles a little. “No one did.”
Dean tries to sit up, but Castiel advises that he not. Dean agrees to wait until the nurse gets here.
Castiel’s fingers touch Dean’s ankle slightly. He looks up at Dean, “Can I, uh-”
“Don’t tell me you’re some medical genius, too.” Dean says kind of bitterly.
“No,” Castiel laughs, “My brother is a doctor, he taught me about breaks and sprains, though.”
Dean sighs. “Fine, go ahead.”
Castiel motions for Dean to lay his legs out straight, and he does. Castiel presses lightly on the bone of Dean’s swollen ankle.
He presses in a few more spots, asking constantly, “Does that hurt?”
“A little.” Dean would answer.
“I believe you’ve just rolled your ankle, you’ll be fine. You might want to sit out the rest of practice.” Castiel says, standing back up. He wipes off some of the red dirt on his shorts and holds a hand out for Dean.
“So, do you want to finish this race?” Castiel raises an eyebrow.
Dean reaches out for Castiel’s hand with a smirk. “Yeah.”
Castiel pulls him up--how strong is this guy?--and balances Dean. Dean takes a step forward, but starts to fall. Castiel holds onto him, and loops one of Dean’s arms around his neck, while Castiel puts one of his own around Dean’s waist.
“Thanks,” Dean mutters, feeling a little emasculated by having someone basically carry him.
“No problem. You’ll regain stability in a few minutes, I’m sure.” Castiel says. They start walking, or hobbling, to the finish line. It’s not too far away.
They finally make it to the line and limp across it together. A few people clap, probably because Castiel is just so helpful, such a great guy, blah blah blah. Castiel sets Dean down on the bleachers next to the track. Dean nods appreciatively and turns on his side to lay his hurt foot on the bleacher. Castiel tells him that “elevation is very important in the healing process.”
“Why are you so...good?” The words blurt out of Dean when the silence between them becomes too much.
“How do you mean?” Castiel asks, puzzled. He sits down next to Dean.
“I mean, you’re good at everything. What can’t you do? And--and!--you’re a good person. You’re helpful and nice and--what are you? Some kind of perfect robot-alien?”
Castiel cracks a smile. “I’m not perfect.”
“Ha!” Dean says aloud. “Tell me something you’re bad at.”
“Well,” Castiel thinks, “You have a lot of friends, right?”
“Sure.” Dean shrugs.
“I’m not very skilled at that. Being social, making friends, I mean.” Castiel looks at his hand resting on the cool metal.
Dean pauses. “Well, hey, we’re talking right now, Cas. You’re being social. You’re not so bad at it.”
Castiel smiles. “You called me Cas.”
“No, it’s fine. My sister calls me that.”
“Oh, okay. Cas it is, then.” Dean says.
The nurse comes over and checks out his ankle, but she just tells Dean the same thing that Cas did--he rolled it and it should be fine soon. She wraps it in gauze just to be safe.
Dean thanks the nurse and she rolls her eyes and walks back to her office, mumbling under her breath.
“What a pleasant woman.” Cas deadpans after she has gone.
Dean laughs as he rubs his ankle.
The coach calls for Castiel to come back to practice and do another lap, since he didn’t actually finish the first.
“That’s my cue.” Cas says and reluctantly starts to walk back.
“Wait,” Dean says. Castiel turns around. “Do you, uh--do you want to do something after practice?”
“Like what?” Cas asks, a smile curling on his lips.
“Um, eat? There’s this great pizza place a few blocks away, I’d drive.” Dean feels a blush creeping its way up his neck.
Cas purses his lips before answering, “I could eat.”
“This isn’t a date or anything.” Dean stammers.
“Of course not.” Cas smiles before jogging off to the track.
“Voila.” Dean sets two plates of pizza in front of Cas and himself.
Cas nods thanks and picks up his fork. Dean stops him right there and grabs the utensil from Cas’ hand.
Castiel frowns at him, which is admittedly cuter than two newborn lambs. Dean points the fork at him and says, “Forks are not for pizza.”
“I’m sorry for not knowing proper pizza etiquette,” Cas rolls his eyes.
“You’re forgiven.” Dean picks up his own pizza with one hand. “Watch carefully, young grasshopper.”
Cas props his elbows up on the table and acts very interested, wide eyes and all.
Dean folds the slice of pizza in half with his hand and uses the other to guide it into his mouth. He bites off the end with his teeth, leaving strings of cheese hanging between his mouth and the pizza.
Cas takes back his fork and uses it to tug at the melting cheese hanging from the pizza, breaking the connection to Dean’s lips.
“See, forks can be useful.” Cas muses. Dean glares at him while he chews, to which Cas can only laugh quietly at.
They sit there for hours in a booth secluded near the end of the pizza parlor. People around them sometimes stare because of their booming laughs and snorts. Their pizza is long finished off by the time they leave, with only the crust sitting on Dean’s plate--Cas mocks him for that, saying that the crust is the best part. They only decide to leave because a) Castiel’s curfew is in an hour and b) they’re pretty sure people have started to complain.
Dean drives Cas home, after some difficult directions from Cas (“Go that way” “What way? You’re not even pointing anywhere, Cas”).
“Thanks for...everything.” Cas says when they’re standing at his doorstep.
“Anytime.” Dean smiles softly. “Really, it was fun. The most fun I’ve had in a long time.”
“Me too.” Cas agrees. “More than a long time--years.” He gropes through his pockets until he finds a single house key. As he’s about to put it in the lock, Dean cups his cheek and kisses him.
On the surface, Dean doesn’t know why he does it. He doesn’t want to leave like this, there’s too many strings unattached. And you know what? He’s been unattached way too long.
Cas relaxes into Dean’s embrace and trails his fingers over Dean’s hips like he doesn’t know what to do with his hands. Dean must notice this, Cas thinks, when Dean takes his hands from Cas’ face and holds Cas’ hands to his chest instead.
Dean breaks the kiss, and Cas almost whimpers from the loss.
“You’re my first kiss.” Cas says quietly through the silence.
Dean raises an eyebrow. “I’m first?”
Cas smiles, looking coyly away from him.
Dean leans forward once more and presses another quick kiss to Cas’ lips. “Finally.”