“We. We together. One being.
Flow together like water.
Till I can't tell you from me. I drink you. Now. Now”
- The Thin Red Line
Cas held his drink high as he navigated the crowd. It was as if the room were made of nothing but elbows as people pushed past him and into him, the threat of beer being sloshed onto his clothes an all too real danger. He jostled past Anna Milton, all long red hair and even longer legs, and she smiled at him, stopping a moment on her way to the back of the house
“Killer party, huh?” she said over the dull drone of people talking and the music flooding from the dining room. Cas nodded, grinning a little, using the back of his hand to push his glasses back into place. She giggled and touched the white collar of his shirt, kissing him on the cheek.
“It’s so good to see you out of the library. Finals are torture!” she laughed and Cas shrugged, pulling his drink down to chest level now that he wasn’t moving so much.
“Tell me about it.”
“You think you did ok?” she said, stepping closer, and he could smell her perfume and the powder she had used on her neck. It stood out on her white skin as a delicate film from the heat of the party and all the bodies packed into the tiny Sorority house; he was tempted to wipe away a smudge that hadn’t blended correctly out of some absent desire to fix it.
“I did as well as I could. You?” he answered, watching her roll her eyes to the ceiling, moving one shoulder casually.
“Same, I guess!” she suddenly smiled, pushing him slightly, “Don’t be so modest! We all know you aced!”
Castiel could feel the blush creeping up and coloring his ears, but he continued to shrug the compliment off.
“Well, enough talk about school. I’m glad you’re having a good time,” she tucked a strand of red hair behind her ear, “there’s lots of girls here, you know,” she pushed him again with her hand and Cas laughed nervously.
“Yeah,” he trailed, looking around. She was right. There were plenty of girls.
“Here,” she stepped forward and straightened his collar and his tie a little, smoothing her hands over his shoulders, “and remember to smile! You could get lucky tonight!”
“I doubt it,” Castiel coughed, and she let her hands swing back down by her sides. She gave him a long look and smiled.
“I don’t know,” she sing-songed, “Come on, for you it’ll be like shooting fish in a barrel!”
Castiel scoffed, taking a sip of his beer while she laughed at him. Finishing his swallow, he was just opening his mouth to say something else when there was a displaced roar from the front of the house.Several people turned to look, some fidgeting nervously.
An engine gunned and from the archway to the foyer, Castiel could see a bright beam of yellow light spearing through the front window.
“Cops?” someone said, a girl, her voice nervous. A friend shushed her and everyone was quiet, the music pouring out of the dining room seeming louder than ever in the gathered silence. A group of guys moved to the window, and though he could barely see over them he craned his neck to watch as they crowded around it, their hands on the glass.
“Who the hell invited him?” one of them said, pulling back from the pane to glare behind himat the party goers. Cas frowned and the engine cut off, the light going with it. “He parked right on the lawn!”
Cas’ eyes widened and his mouth fell open. Parked on the lawn? So that was the light he had seen. He felt his pulse quicken – whoever it was, they had guts parking on the Delta lawn in the middle of the night, especially when they were apparently not welcome.
“I can’t believe she did it,” Anna said, and Cas turned to see her shaking her head, sighing as she crossed her arms over her chest. She looked at Cas and raised her eyebrows. “If you heard it from me, I told her not to tell him about tonight. It’s going to be nothing but trouble.”
“Who?” Cas asked, looking back to what little he could see of the foyer.
“You’ll see,” Anna laughed, and when Cas turned to continue speaking to her, she was already half way across the room, slipping away into the kitchen. Cas blew a breath out of his mouth and then glanced back at the foyer, still curious. Two girls had replaced the boys at the window, and were whispering to each other as he approached. He stared over their heads, but it was too dark to see from his distance what they were looking at.
“Did you see him?”
“Martha, don’t look!”
“Oh, I can’t help it! He’s so bad! Would you look at that bike?”
“Can you even believe it? He and Lisa?”
They giggled into their hands, attempting tokeep their breath from fogging up the glass, and one of them began tugging on their skirts a little in anxiety.
Cas’ brow furrowed and he tried to look past one of their heads to understand, but he could only manage to make out was a shadowy group of people in front of what must have been the motorcycle they were referring to. It was too dark to tell the model, but the group was really two – four Fraternity brothers that Castiel knew from school and one individual a little taller than them, his back angled towards Cas. Castiel blinked and then rolled his eyes as the girls squealed.
“Do you think they’ll fight? Rich looks like he’s just spoiling for one!”
“Beth, don’t talk like that! If there’s a fight someone will call the police for sure!”
Cas snorted at the conversation and turned away, trying to remember if he would end up in the dining room if he went past the staircase on his left.Someone had changed the album and now The Beatles was filtering through the house. Abandoning the otherwise uninteresting stranger, Castiel made his way past the stairs, itching to dance. He bounced a little on his toes and hummed to the beat as he turned a corner – and excellent. The front parlor had been transformed into a makeshift dance floor, the sofas pushed to another room (one was even outside) to make space for the people already jammed inside, rocking with the music.
In the sea of people he could see Hester laughing and bobbing her head as a boy whispered something in her ear. She was looking in Cas’ direction though, and he waved and she grinned, lifting her hand to beckon him over. He looked around for a place to set his drink and settled for the mantle already littered with bottles, and then hurried to her, pardoning himself as he knocked against the dancing people who were too engrossed in the music, or their partners, to care much.
“Cas!” Hester said, tugging his arm, coaxing him into a twist. He followed her example and soon the two of them were dancing, working into the groove of the group.
“Oh my gosh, so have you heard?” Hester said suddenly in an interlude, pressing herself close to him. Cas bent his ear instinctively to her, still moving his feet and she repeated herself, louder. “Did you hear?! About who came?”
Cas pulled back and rolled his eyes again, shoving his glasses back up his nose. He really needed to get the frames adjusted…
“I heard. Who is it?” he asked and Hester gaped at him, her arms swinging in time with the music.
“You mean you don’t know?”
“Well, I mean, I guess it’s someone Lisa knows?” he continued, barking a laugh, and Hester shook her shoulders in rhythm, even as she gave Cas the most incredulous look he’d ever seen. He frowned, annoyed.
“You just finished your first year and you don’t even know who Dean Winchester is! Honestly!” She huffed, “I mean, he’s only the top racer in the county – and the cutest repeat offender in the city. I think it’s true he’s got a record, but a lot of people think it’s just rumors.!”
Cas laughed at her, his curiosity piqued.
“So what about him?” he teased, twisting again. Hester bent closer.
“Well, you know, Lisa and him were together in high school! There’s all this scandal about it because he’s so bad and she’s a Delta girl, you know?”
“Anna said she told her not to invite him!” Cas added. “I did know that much!”
Hester nodded enthusiastically.
“I’d believe it! A boy like Dean at a Delta party? That’s asking for trouble!”
“He parked on the lawn.”
“He did not!” she shrieked, blushing, “Oh, gosh, he’s just so bad, don’t you think? Did Rich fight him? He said he would if he showed – those two hate each other…wait, did you see it? His bike?”
She grabbed his arm and Cas smiled at her, shrugging.
“Did you? Cas, did you?”
“It was too dark,” he admitted and Hester let his arm go with a disapproving noise.
“You awful tease! That bike has won him so much money – he’s going to be state champ this year, I just know it. We’ll read about him in all the papers and then he’ll win the big cup and take some lucky gal.”
“You hoping it’s you?” Cas prodded, stepping closer to her to get out of someone’s way. She tossed her head.
“Not on my life! He’s beautiful, but he goes through girls like seasons! Well, and all those rumors! Not on my life!”
"What rumors?" he stepped back again even though Hester held tight on his arm.
"You mean you haven't heard? Where have you been?" She laughed, getting nearer to Cas, her movements slowing so she could get a better look at his face. "You really haven't heard?"
Castiel shook his head and Hester tugged at his arm, dragging him through the waves of people and out, placing them near the stairwell where it was less crowded. She motioned for him to get closer, and he did so, ducking his head so that he could hear her more clearly.
"Apparently he's been raising his little brother since he was a kid himself, and his dad was a deadbeat or something like that."
Cas frowned and pulled away, holding his drink at his chest.
"That's what I heard, and people say it's a rumor, but I think it's actually true."
"Well, if it's true, that doesn't really make it a rumor, does it?"
Cas didn’t say anything, placing his drink on one of the steps behind Hester instead. She picked up a cup beside it and held it up to her nose, sniffing and making a face as she put it back. She coaxed him down to her level again and he followed, moving slightly closer.
"I also heard the reason why he and Lisa broke up was because he's a homosexual," she whispered it right in his ear, and Cas jerked his head back, his eyes wide behind his glasses. She shrugged again. "Only rumors again, Cas! Could go either way!"
Castiel pushed his glasses back onto the bridge of his nose with his finger. Hester smiled and laughed at him and grabbed him by the wrist to drag him back into the mob of people before stopping near the kitchen.
"Wait right here-I want to get something to drink and then we can dance some more, okay?"
"Yeah, okay," Cas smiled and leaned against the wall, watching the bodies in front of him move along with the music. A few minutes later Hester came barreling out of the kitchen, grabbing Cas by the arm again, surprising him and causing him to jump.
"Oh my God, Cas! I love this song!" she exclaimed, "Don't you just love The Beatles?" she moved her body and bobbed her head, holding Cas' wrist in her hand as he moved with her.
"Yeah, they're great!" he grinned, and Hester grinned back.
"We should go see them one day, huh? Maybe they'll play around here and we can go see them together!"
"That would be cool, but-"
"But you'd rather see Elvis. I know, I know. Jeez, Cas, who are you? My mother?”
“Hey, without him your precious Lennon would never have gotten over here,”
“Don’t be so bitter! Elvis is fine… if you’re ancient!”
Castiel rolled his eyes and moved along with Hester, bobbing his head, and Hester wouldn't stop grinning, but then Cas' attention was drawn elsewhere when he saw someone walk out of the kitchen. Hester stopped when she noticed that Castiel wasn't dancing anymore, and she followed his eyes.
"That's him," she spoke low and jabbed Cas with her elbow, and he snapped his attention to her.
"Dean Winchester. Oh my God, isn't he just so handsome?"
Castiel watched as Dean walked through the crowded room, right past them, and he could feel the brush of his leather jacket against his arm, and it sent a sort of chill through his body. Dean continued walking without looking back, and he rounded a corner and disappeared.
"Hey!" Hester waved her hand in front of his face and he jumped back, bumping into someone behind forcing him to apologize quickly before turning back to face Hester. "Hey, are you okay? You sort of drifted off there for a moment."
"Yeah, yeah, I'm okay," he said, pausing for a moment, pushing his glasses up the bridge of his nose. "He looked angry."
"Rich probably tried to fight him, but he was probably asking for it. I heard he likes to start things, you know?" She shrugged and tugged at Cas' sleeve, pouting. "C'mon, let's keep dancing; this is the only thing keeping me from going insane here."
Cas stared at the spot where Dean had turned for a moment longer before nodding and letting his body start to reacclimatize acclimate to to the music, his attention back to Hester. "Yeah, okay." He smiled and Hester swayed in front of him, moving her arms at her sides, and he matched her motions, keeping beat with the song.
It didn’t take very long before he had lost himself in the music and the drifting movements of the other people around them. He smiled at Hester and she bit her lip coyly, sneaking his hands to her waist. Cas stalled for a moment when his palms brushed over her dress, his throat growing a little thick. His fingers twitched and he settled them on her body, her own arms coming up over his shoulders. He took a breath and tried to look over her shoulder even as she tried to peer right in his eyes. He knew how Hester felt about him. She was constantly trying to get him interested, and it wasn’t her fault. It really wasn’t.
Cas wished, with every part of him, that he could reciprocate. He stiffened and kept rocking with her, trying his best to be at ease, but he felt so suddenly clumsy, and even though he didn’t trip or anything, he felt supremely out of sync. It was maddening to be so offbeat, and yet he had to keep dancing anyway, regardless of how he felt.
It wasn’t even like he could explain himself -the reason Hester was barking up the completely wrong tree. He wanted to just stop her as she experimentally slid her hand over his neck, but he couldn’t. He couldn’t do anything about it because he was a boy and she was a beautiful girl and it was a Delta party and even if he knew the reason he sure as hell couldn’t show it.
Hester tilted her head shyly at him and he smiled, and he hoped the pity he felt for her wasn’t too obvious. She was one of the best friends he had, and he was desperate not to lose her. Things at school had been going so well. So much better than he’d ever anticipated and he would do anything not to ruin it like he had at home. He must have frowned because Hester suddenly looked concerned, blinking at him, his gaze zeroing in on her cat-eye liner. She had been poring over magazines for hours, probably, just to look as good for him as possible and it made his stomach drop.
“Something wrong?” she said loud enough for him to hear.
“Oh, no, just thinking,” he answered quickly and she giggled, playing with his sweater.
“You know, you can tell me what’s wrong…” she continued
No,I really can’t, Cas thought desperately, but he just laughed a little, pushing away from her as the record transitioned into a faster song, one that didn’t require any intimate touching.
“I know,” he replied instead, Hester giggling nervously, fiddling with the ends of her hair. She was smoothing it down as she let her eyes drift over the room and she grabbed Cas’ arm, her face suddenly scarlet.
“He’s staring right at us,” she squeaked, looking up at Cas.
Cas furrowed his brow. “Who?”
“Dean,” she stressed, glancing around Cas’ body again. “Right at us I can’t even believe it – oh gosh, here quick, switch with me,” she babbled, twisting and shoving Cas so that he was standing where she had been previously. He stared at her face, voice incredulous.
“Hester, I hardly think he’s looking right at us,” he began, but she wasn’t listening, her face bright red. She peered up at Cas, starting to turn her head over her shoulder, but stopping herself.
“Is he still looking? He was looking right at me, it was horrible!”
“Horrible? Hester, really…” Cas teased, and he finally lifted his eyes.
Cas sort of moved his head towards the sound of her voice, but only out of reflex. He couldn’t have done much more.
It was frightening; slightly horrible, just like Hester had said, but not entirely. No. It couldn’t have been all horrible because, while he felt trapped, he didn’t want to run. He didn’t want it to stop. His heart hammered and he immediately felt his palms start to get clammy as he held his breath. Dean Winchester held his stare and wouldn’t let it go. Just watching him from the back wall of the room, his one hand fiddling with a bottle cap, the other holding a beer, and Cas finally remembered to inhale, and he smiled.
Cas’ lips felt uncomfortably dry, and he was just about to dart his tongue out to soothe them when Dean finally broke the contact, his eyes flitting to Hester and then right back to Cas with no time for any sort of recovery.
Cas opened his mouth to say something, and he could feel Hester digging her nails into his sweater, but it was like he was experiencing it from very far away. Dean raised the beer to his mouth and took a pull from it before lowering it and giving Cas a deeper smile, the corners of his mouth digging into his cheeks. Cas’ fingers twitched and Dean stepped forward from the wall.
Cas immediately feared that he was going to come straight for him, but Dean walked around to the other side of the room instead. Cas followed every step, still reeling, waiting for the young man to stop and turn around and – Cas’ imagination didn’t get any farther than that.
“When did Lisa come in here?” Hester whispered, and Cas found reality piling down on him as he was thrust back into the moment. Lisa…he saw where Dean stood now and there she was, in her yellow party dress, her dark hair laying perfectly on her perfect shoulders, and Dean was leaning his arm over her on the wall, smiling down at her bright face.
Cas blinked at the sight of Dean grinning at her. She laughed, moving to half cover her red lips with her hand, and whispered something into Dean’s ear before catching Cas’ eye and holding it for a moment. He watched Dean shift backwards and look over his shoulder. He winked.
Cas’ whole face ignited and Hester scoffed.
“He winked at me,” she breathed, scandalized, and Cas shook his head briefly trying to clear his thoughts, but his brain was too cloudy in the loud room with so many people.
“You’re flushed red, Cas, are you too hot?” Hester asked, and Cas pushed her hand gently before she could start her worried touching.
“Yeah,” he rasped, willing himself not to look at Dean again. “Yeah.” He coughed, lightly into his hand.
“I think I’m going to go,” he mumbled, and Hester put her arm back by her side, confused.
“Cas, really? It’s only 11 o’clock.”
“Oh, really?” He felt dazed, already trying to wade through the crowd, Hester following him.
“Cas, who’s going to walk me home?” she called, trying to catch up with him, stopping at the door to the house, hand on the doorframe.
“Sorry Hester, I’m not feeling well,” he muttered, and she sagged.
“Cas, you know, that’s not fair. You said you’d walk me home! Something’s all funny about this!”
“It’s just stress!” He insisted, standing on the front walk, her suspicion of him too much of a worry to leave hanging. “Finals. Really, Hester. You know how hard I was working…I guess it just sort of hit me.”
Hester stared at him for a long moment and seamed her lips together.
“Get some rest then,” she said blandly after a moment and Cas smiled half-heartedly, glad to hear she was simply unimpressed with him and not accusing him of anything. “I’ll tell Anna you left. I’ll just stay here for the night.”
“That’s a good idea,” Cas finished. He waited for her to go inside after a brief goodnight kiss on her cheek that had her blushing too hard for him to be comfortable, and then he started up the walk again. He paused for a moment, looking at the bike still parked on the lawn. He took a sharp breath, eyes roaming on the handles and the seat, and then began the long trek to his apartment off campus. He hated the commute, and his apartment wasn’t so much an apartment as a hole in a leaking wall, but it was better than being at the mercy of the guys in the dorms. He’d had enough of being teased as a kid, and he wasn’t about to make his ventures into adult life as bad as elementary school if he had anything to say about it.
Besides, he liked the privacy. No one to stare at him, to try and figure anything out. Just him and the endless studying he did to keep his dreams of being a doctor alive.
He shoved his hands in his pockets and tried to think of something other than Dean’s eyes, or the sharp curve of his jaw, or the way his shoulders were set when he was at ease, or how he had never felt the bolt of lightning shooting down his spine the moment they looked at each other with any other human being in his entire life. It was living that Lou Christie song. All his life he’d heard about chemistry and he’d thought he’d had it once or twice, but it was obvious he was very, very, wrong.
Forget looking angry; Dean Winchester was positively predatory.
He walked down the sidewalk, the only light coming from the streetlights lining the road and the occasional car passing by, headlights streaking past and flashing in his face, blinding him for a moment before he was able to see again. The cool air of the night blew past and nipped at his skin, and he tugged his hands out of his pockets to pull his sleeves over his fingers, crossing his arms over his chest. He passed a couple of people on his way home, a small group of men and women making their toward the Delta house, toward the party back where Dean was, probably still talking to Lisa. It shouldn't bother him that much, and he tried to ignore the small sinking feeling he got when he thought about Dean speaking with Lisa, leaned against the wall and smiling down at her.
He breathed and walkedtoward his apartment, kicking at stone on the sidewalk, watching as it veered off and landed in the grass. He walked on, passing lamp post after lamp post, and after the small group of people, there was no one else in sight. It was lonely, and a little frightening, to be walking home by himself in the dark, but he could handle this. Plus, it wasn't too far to his place, and if he quickened his pace, he could make it there in no time.
The streets were quiet and Castiel pulled his arms closer to his body, stopping for a brief moment to look behind him before he turned around to start walking again. Okay, so he was nervous, but you would be too if you had to walk home by yourself in the middle of the night. He laughed softly, shaking his head, and started to hum, attempting to keep himself busy and worry-free.
"Well shake it up, baby, now," he began to sing, but before he could any further, he was interrupted by the roar of an engine that nearly had him jumping out of his shoes. He stopped abruptly and turned on his heels, his eyes first meeting a wheel, and the further they traveled up, the more he recognized. It was a motorcycle, the color dark, but he also recognized who was on it. His eyes continued up, and he stopped when he reached the face, and even in the dull light of the street lamp he could see the green eyes of Dean Winchester.
"Need a ride?" he spoke loud enough to be heard over the engine, and Cas blinked, looking around him before looking back at Dean. "Yeah, you. You're the only one standing there."
Immediately, Cas could feel his face grow hot and he looked down at the ground, taking a step back. "No, no, that's okay."
"What?" Dean planted both feet on the ground and cut the engine, sitting low in the seat. "I couldn't hear you."
"I said, 'No, that's okay.' I can walk home on my own, thank you," Castiel turned and shoved his hands into his pockets, but he only made it a few steps until he stopped.
"Wait!" Dean shouted after him, and Cas turned around. "C'mon, it's pretty lonely out here, and walking home alone is a bummer."
He shouldn't trust this guy, because he only just saw him at the party and he’d never talked to him before, but there he was, offering him a ride on that fancy famous bike of his.. Castiel shifted on his feet, worrying his bottom lip between his teeth before nodding and taking a step forward. And Dean grinned, the most wolfish thing that Castiel had ever seen in his life, and started up the engine of the motorcycle as Castiel threw his leg over the back and seated himself behind him.
"Hang on - !"
Tentatively, Castiel wrapped his arms around Dean's middle and held on as Dean revved the engine and kicked off, sending them flying down the street. Castiel remembered with horror that he had never been on a motorcycle before. He’d just gotten on – he hadn’t thought much about it really, but he had never been on one before this moment.
He squeezed his arms tighter as they lurched forward, and it was obvious that Dean wasn’t paying much attention to the speed limit.
“Relax!” he said over his shoulder as they crossed an intersection, still smiling a little, and Cas grimaced, swallowing as he let the tension in his shoulders go. He slid his hands back a little, hovering right by Dean’s waist, just above the hem of his jacket. He felt Dean’s sides jump as he laughed, probably at him, and he leaned into a turn, Cas trying his best not to freak out about how close it felt like they were to falling. Under his fright there was a hint of exhilaration though, something fluttering and new. Dean was so at ease - they hadn’t said hardly two words to each other, but Dean either didn’t care or was too practiced with giving random lifts to people to be bothered.
By the time Cas realized they had gone way past his apartment, he was too caught up in the moment to speak up about it. At some point he vaguely understood that Dean probably had no intention of taking him back to his apartment in the first place. His heart jumped in his chest and his breath caught at the implications. He licked his lips nervously and let his fingers skim under Dean’s jacket. He felt Dean chuckle more than he heard it, and Cas stalled his movements, shocked when Dean leaned into the touch.Cas felt the firm muscle under his palm and tried to look at anything around them to keep himself from blushing. He’d never touched another person like that – not like this.
Not with the butterflies swelling so much in his stomach he thought they’d burst out of his mouth and fly away.
He watched the buildings streak past. If people followed them with their eyes it was only for a moment before they kept walking or driving.In a random burst of anxiety, Cas worried that someone would recognize them only to calm himself with the understanding that it was dark and they were probably going too fast anyway – besides, all the people who knew him were back at Delta House.
Here he was, with Dean Winchester, who didn’t know him at all. Who, last he had seen, had been acting extremely interested in Lisa Braeden, but was now taking him somewhere on the back of his motorcycle.
A second later, he felt them slow down, coasting to a stop beside a lit diner that he had been to maybe once before with a few friends when they had ventured this far into the city.
Cas didn’t understand.
He had thought …he blushed and Dean cut the engine, turning around, eyebrows raised.
“I don’t know about you, but I could go for a milkshake,” Dean said, grinning, and Cas tried to swallow the lump in his throat again.
“P-pardon?” he replied, and Dean smiled wider, wilder, if that was possible.
“A milkshake? You know what that is, right?” Dean laughed at him, green eyes searching his face. Cas felt his face heat up even more as “I’m sorry, I don’t really have any money…” Cas stammered and Dean waved him off, shoving his keys into his pockets.
“Good thing I plan on paying.” Dean sighed, holding an arm out at the curb. “After you.”
Cas reluctantly climbed off of the bike, trying not to squeeze too hard when he used Dean’s shoulder for balance. He stood a foot or so from him watching as Dean stood, humming to himself. He oozed confidence, and Cas had to try his best not to just check him out every time he got the chance.
Dean just smirked, pulling a cigarette from a pack stowed in his jacket, the matches balanced in the other hand. He lit up and took a pull, offering it to Cas as they stood right outside the diner, the lights from inside casting shadows on the street.
“Not really,” Cas replied. Dean shrugged and surged ahead, still humming to himself, singing a little under his breath, Cas following behind him, the bell above the diner door jingling as they entered.
“Ellen!” Dean called, and a woman turned behind the counter, smiling at him.
“Well, look what the cat dragged in!” she said, pouring coffee into the mug of the man hunched over the sports section of that day’s paper. Cas fidgeted with his sweater as Ellen’s eyes slid over him and then back to Dean, questioning.
“The usual?” she asked, but her voice held a tone that Cas knew was asking more than that.
Dean smiled at her, not bothered in the least, and then looked at Cas, waving him forward.
“Two please,” he responded, and then he indicated for Cas to follow him to a booth towards the back, Dean sliding in on one side and Cas sliding in on the other.
“Jo working tonight?” Dean said to Ellen, leaning back, tapping his smoke out in an ashtray by the window. Cas watched him, astounded thatDean hadn’t even asked for his name but was buying him a ‘usual’.
“No, she’s off. I’ll have that right out for you boys…” Ellen trailed off, jotting something down and going through to the kitchen to put their order in. Dean smiled and brought his cigarette back up to his mouth, finally turning his eyes to Cas.
Cas took a breath and twisted his hands together on his lap.
“You’ll like this place. Food’s great,” Dean started, blowing smoke out the side of his mouth. Cas nodded.
“I’ve been here before,” he replied shortly, suddenly irritated with how presumptuous the whole thing was. He just wanted a ride home, and now he was out of his comfort zone and the idiot smiling at him was to blame.
“Have you?” Dean laughed. “Well, then you know.”
Dean looked at him with hooded, lazy regard, eyes smoothing over Cas’ face and then down, to where the table cut his torso off. Cas cleared his throat and Dean flicked his eyes back up to him.
“You know about me?” Dean said all at once, , his smirk back, careless and curious. He pulled on his cigarette and Cas shifted a little, glancing out the window.
“Not much, really.”
“That’s surprising,” Dean exclaimed, a little more animated. “Most people know all about me. Especially if they’re at a Delta party. But you don’t look like the usual. You must live in the library.”
“I’m studying to become a Doctor,” Cas interjected and Dean grinned, bared his teeth, almost like he was impressed or something.
There was a pause and Cas counted the grains of salt spilled on the table, distracting himself from Dean’s eyes, until Dean leaned forward, palming his chin.
“So, you queer?”
Cas’ face shot up and he inhaled sharply, staring at Dean who was smiling softly at him. Cas glanced away, his cheeks no doubt stained with red.
“So what if I am?” he whispered, and he couldn’t believe he’d actually said it out loud. To Dean Winchester of all people. Fuck he was stupid. There was no reason for him to admit that, but – Dean didn’t look offended. He didn’t even look excited about it. It was as if he’d asked what classes Cas was taking or what records he listened to.fuck, he was stupid.
Dean nodded and shrugged. “I figured. Last time someone looked at me like you did at Lisa’s, I got laid.” Cas’ eyes widened. “I don’t even know you!” he hissed, “I just was trying to walk home, and you picked me up and – !”
“Now I’m buying you a milkshake,” Dean finished for him. “And fries too.” He tapped his cigarette out. “Pretty good for a first date, if you ask me.”
"Wha- First date?" Cas choked out, turning to look at Dean with wide eyes, his mouth hanging open.
Dean only grinned at him, shrugging again "First date.”
He said it so matter-of-factly, like this is the only reason why he offered Cas a ride- just so that he could take him to this diner and buy him some french fries and a milkshake, and then claim it as their first date. They didn't even know each other. Cas only knew about Dean from what Hester had told him back at the party, and Dean hadn't even asked for his name yet.
"You don't even know my name."
"Then tell me."
Castiel narrowed his eyes and leaned back in his seat, but Dean didn't falter at all. He just sat there, watching Castiel \. The way Dean was staring at him made him nervous and his voice faltered as he spoke.
"Castiel," Dean repeated, easily rolling his name off of his tongue, and the way that he said it sent chills down Castiel's spine. It made his cheeks grow red and butterflies flutter around in his stomach.
"So is this why you picked me up? To bring me to a diner to get a milkshake and some fries?"
"Basically." Dean leaned back in his seat too, and he just looked so nonchalant, like he didn't have a care in the world. He didn't seem to care about being out in public with Cas, buying him food and claiming this to be their 'first date' out loud. "I saw you at the party and you looked, well, interesting. But then you left before I could talk to you. I was going to let you go, but, I figured, 'Hey, why not?' You only live once, right?
"You weren't even planning on taking me home, were you?"
Castiel laughed softly, shaking his head as he turned back to look outside of the window. The street lights were barely illuminating the sidewalk, and a car passed by.
"That's not how you ask to take someone out."
"What?" And this time, Dean faltered.
"It's better to ask politely. Not offer them a ride a home, and then just not take them home."
"Well, I am actually planning to take you home afterward, if that makes anything better."
"I don't think that counts."
Dean didn’t say anything for a few moments, and Castiel turned to look at him again, smiling softly when he saw that Dean had his mouth slightly agape, as if he didn’t even know what to say.
"But, y'know, this is kinda nice. I was pretty hungry anyway." Castiel shrugged and Dean straightened up, grinning the way he had been before, bordering on feral.
Castiel pushed his glasses up with his finger and tapped his nails on the formica, a tense silence falling over them.
“So, tell me Castiel, what’s your story?” Dean asked after a moment, jamming the remainder of his cigarette into the ashtray, one arm thrown over the back of the booth. He tilted his head at Castiel, inclining him to speak. Castiel stopped drumming on the table top and tried to think of something to say. He wasn’t really the kind of person with a story – he was just going to school. He was going to become a doctor. He lived alone in a shitty apartment and pretended to touch girls at parties.
This was probably the most interesting thing that had ever happened to him, so he supposed he might as well tell the truth.
“I’m sitting at a booth with you, and this is the first time that has ever happened,” he began, noting the way Dean’s eyebrows shot up. “Ever.”
Dean huffed and squinted at him.
“Don’t tell me this is your first date ever.”
Castiel stared at Dean despite the flush rising up his collar. Dean’s eyes widened.
“You’re kidding. Face like yours?”
Castiel remained silent and Dean covered his mouth with his hand, chuckling and looking at the counter for a few seconds.
“Well, damn,” he said into his palm, looking back at Castiel, his smile peeking out between his fingers. “Guess that makes me kind of special, huh.”
Castiel rolled his eyes and crossed his arms.
“Just because it’s my first ‘date’ doesn’t mean I’m an idiot. I could have had my first date with anybody,” he growled and Dean leaned forward, elbows on the table, slowly entering Castiel’s orbit.
“Oh, I’m sure you were pick of the litter with all the girls. You’ve got that blue blood look. Too bad you weren’t interested…”
Castiel opened his mouth, but just as he was about to retort, a milkshake and a plate of fries were set down on the table.
“Behave yourself. And sit up!” Ellen said, slapping Dean lightly on the shoulder before she smiled at Castiel. “Don’t worry, hon, he’s all bark no bite.”
For a moment Castiel was stunned at having been interrupted, but soon relief washed over him because he really was not in the mood for arguing at the moment. Especially with Dean Winchester, who was already starting to get under his skin. He quietly thanked Ellen, pulling his milkshake closer and staring down at the tabletop, because what if she had heard what they were talking about? She seemed down to earth enough, so maybe she wouldn't care?
But he'd been wrong about that sort of thing before.
"I mean it, Dean," Ellen warned, placing her hands on her hips and staring down at Dean as he pulled his milkshake toward him, staring up at Ellen with a sort of sheepish grin. "If I see you causing any trouble, I'm not letting you in here anymore."
"Okay, okay," Dean grumbled, pushing his straw around in his milkshake, taking a sip from it. "I'll behave myself."
"You better." She turned to Castiel and smiled at him, and he smiled nervously back before she turned around and walked through the doors back into the kitchen.
Castiel turned his attention back to Dean, only to find that Dean was staring directly at him, his eyes falling to rest on his lips, which were casually poised over his straw. Castiel jerked back, and Dean laughed.
"Oh, don't mind me, just enjoy your milkshake."
Dean pulled a fry from the plate and pushed it between his lips, chewing it slowly, his eyes never leaving Castiel. And Castiel awkwardly put his lips around his straw, looking anywhere but Dean. The sight had to have been hilarious, but really, he didn't give a damn.
"So," Dean started, pushing another fry into his mouth. "Have you lived in California your whole life, or did you just move here for school?"
"Why are you talking with food in your mouth?"
Castiel looked up at him, pushing his glasses up, and Dean swallowed, staring down at him.
"Happy? And are you going to answer my question?"
"Yes… And I've lived here my entire life." He moved the straw around in his glass, pushing the whipped cream further down into the milkshake, mixing it up. "I'm planning on leaving when I graduate, though."
"Oh, where to?"
"The east coast, maybe. I don't know. New York's always seemed interesting."
"New York? Pretty expensive up there, and it snows a lot, I heard."
"It snows here, too."
And Dean blushed, actually blushed, and Cas couldn't help but laugh.
"Yeah- Well, whatever."
Castiel picked up a fry and chewed at it, humming softly. "So, what are you planning on doing?"
Dean sipped at his milkshake, pushing it away afterward.
"Nothing, really. Well, hoping to go pro with the whole racing thing. I am pretty good at it, after all."
"Yeah. And I'm really wanting to buy a better place when I save up enough money. That is, after I send my brother to school. He's been going on and on about wanting to become a lawyer."
Castiel found himself perceiving Dean with a soft sense of surprise. He didn’t think that Dean Winchester was that kind of person – Hester had mentioned him taking care of his brother, but sending said brother to law school?
That was a commitment.
“What’s your brother like?” Cas continued, still twirling the fry in his fingers, watching Dean, before taking another bite.
“Sammy?” Dean said, and his eyes lit from the inside out at the name. “He’s a good kid. Real good kid. Smart.” He trailed off, taking a fry and dipping it into his milkshake, considering the combination before eating it in one go. “…Well, you know, smarter than me, but that ain’t so hard.”
He shook his sleeve out and took his fries two at a time from that point on, always swiping a bit of milkshake onto them. Cas snorted at the action and let himself have another sip of his own drink.
“What about you?” Dean continued between helpings. “You got family?”
Cas pecked at his plate nervously before sighing at the question; he flicked a grain of salt off of the table while he went about forming a decent answer to the query.
“Not exactly,” he began, reaching to pull a napkin out of the dispenser and wipe his hands with it. He heard the sound of Dean eating, and the buzz of the light overhead and the metallic clank of someone putting quarters into the jukebox at the back of the restaurant.
The melancholy sound of a man’s voice on the radio, speaking in the night time slowness about the war slowly faded out. The needle scratched on the record and some old Julie London song came on, filling the diner with a sweeping, sad, sound.
“I mean, I do,” Cas spoke, trying to explain but failing at it, “but we don’t talk.”
“Cause you like men?” Dean said seriously, the tone of his voice countered by him biting off the cherry on his milkshake. Cas, without thinking, put his own on a napkin and slid it across to him, watching as he bit that too, laying the stems side by side.
“Yes.” His voice was quieter than it had been. He stared at the stems and, subsequently, Dean’s fingers where they rested nearby, noticing the calluses he had and the slightly more tanned areas of skin caused by his gloves.
Dean lit another cigarette and drew on it, the smoke floating across the table when Cas waved it away with the back of his hand. Dean didn’t respond, and Cas didn’t continue, and Cas was glad for the cleansing silence.
“You done?” Dean mumbled around his smoke, gesturing at Cas’ half-finished food. Castiel smiled, shaking off the dull sense of hurt from thoughts of his family, focusing instead on Dean. His heart thudded a little with that spark of attraction and his mouth felt too dry and there was that strange left over taste of sugar on his teeth.
“Are you bored with me?” he teased, unable to keep the slight tremble from his voice, watching Dean pull out his wallet and leave a few bills tucked under a plate.
Dean smirked, but remained silent, standing up, Cas followed the movement, his knee knocking awkwardly on the edge of the table. Ellen wasn’t at the counter – some other waitress was, and Dean didn’t bother saying goodbye to her and made his way out of the diner instead, the bell jangling. He was being so quiet, and it made Castiel uneasy – had he done something wrong?
He probably shouldn’t have mentioned his family like that. Dean’s own dad was some kind of deadbeat, right? Maybe he should have been more sensitive. Lied or something. Cas felt the chilly, damp air hit him and his stomach flipped.
That had been his first date and judging by his host’s silence it had gone just swimmingly.
Cas stopped walking when Dean didn’t immediately go to his motorcycle. Maybe the date wasn’t over. He froze. The implication rose up around him like the smoke pillowing from Dean’s cigarette. His shoes crunched on the concrete as he toed at it and he swallowed thickly. Dean pushed one of his hands into his pockets, gazing at him, his face illuminated by the diner’s neon sign.
“You sure you don’t want a smoke? I have plenty.” Dean broke the quiet and Cas shook his head.
Dean grinned at him, the end of his cigarette glowing dull red. “If you really want to know why I brought you here it’s because I wanted to see what you’d do.”
Cas blushed, hoping the shadow of the diner covered it.
“What was I going to do?” Cas responded. “It’s not like you did anything unsavory. You took me to a diner.”
Dean tilted his head back, laughing, and he dropped his smoke, stubbing it out with the toe of his boot. “Unsavory.” His eyebrows rose. “Did you think I was going to be unsavory?” Cas didn’t say anything immediately, blush darkening, and Dean laughed again, harder this time. Cas was feeling panicky and cornered by the sound of it and his chest was tight from the embarrassment, his face hot.
“You thought I was going to take you home with me or something, didn’t you – oh, I can see it, I bet you did. Oh, I’m sorry baby. Not tonight,” he cackled, utterly amused, it seemed, by Cas’ ignorance.
“I didn’t ask you for a ride,” Cas grit out. “You asked me, you jackass!”
He watched for some sign of remorse but Dean just laughed harder, and Castiel was not going to be made a fool of by someone who barely knew him. He shook out his fists and pulled out his own wallet, picking out a bill and crumpling it furiously. He walked forward and shoved it at Dean’s chest. “Here’s for gas, and for a shitty milkshake. Hope you’re proud of yourself. You really know how to treat someone.”
Dean seemed to scramble for a moment, his laughter cut off and replaced by a sharp, “Hey!” as he attempted to grab the money, almost dropping it as Cas turned and started walking the other direction.
Idiot. He was a fucking idiot. And Dean Winchester was an even bigger idiot. He’d just wasted time he could have spent sleeping; he’d been up all week studying and this was going to be his night for a break, not a night to get patronized by some pro motorcycle wannabe wearing tight jeans and some kind of beautiful smile.
He was smarter than that, and Dean Winchester was trouble, and the attraction he felt was just a side effect of his distrust, he was sure. His heart was skipping beats because Dean was an asshole, not because he was someone worth getting on the back of a motorcycle for.
“Hey!” Dean called, and Cas heard the thump of his boots as he ran up the sidewalk, trying to catch up, cursing under his breath as he backtracked. The engine of the motorcycle ripped through the dark, but Cas kept walking, even as he heard Dean slide out onto the empty street, speeding up and walking his bike alongside the curb, keeping one eye on oncoming traffic, the other on Cas.
Cas stopped and stared at him.
“You’re on the wrong side of the road!” Cas shouted, crossing his arms, and Dean stalled, staring at him, still keeping a watch for cars. “You’re going to get yourself killed!”
“Yeah, well, I wanted to explain!” Dean called back. “Besides, I probably deserve to get hit,” he continued, relaxing when he saw the streets were still clear, “because I know I’m a dick, ok? I shouldn’t have said that. But you’re cute, and I don’t know…” He trailed off and looked shyly down the street.Cas swallowed, arms tightening over his chest. “You don’t know what?”
“It’s been a while, ok?” He glanced back at Cas. “It’s been a while since I’ve been interested in someone and you’re just – you’re really cute. You’re really cute and when you’re all worked up you’re even more cute, and I don’t know, it’s just been a while.”
He shrugged pathetically, and then put his hand on his head, petting his hair nervously, still looking down at his speedometer.
Cas took a deep breath and fidgeted. “You were rude.”
“I know, I’m sorry.”
Cas squinted, and he could tell that Dean was being sincere; his eyes said it. He deflated a little, scuffing his shoe on the sidewalk.
“I know I fucked up, but can I ask you something?” Dean said, leaning back on his bike, and when Cas looked up again, Dean was back to smiling, though it wasn’t nearly as confident.
“Sure,” Cas conceded with hesitation.
Cas took a few steps forward.
“I don’t bite, come closer,” Dean laughed, and Cas worried the inside of his cheek, moving up alongside the rumbling motorcycle. “I wanna make it up to you,” Dean continued in a rough whisper once Cas was near enough, placing his hand on Cas’ waist. Tingles slithered over Cas’ skin at the proximity, from the base of his skull to the weak spot at the back of his knees.
“You wanna,” Cas exhaled, trying to remember what he was going to say - but the words got lost as his eyes roamed over Dean’s chest and down towards his pelvis. His body felt strange and cottony with that frightening thrill again. Dean didn’t waste time with explanations, his curious fingers doing most of the talking as they played with the buttons of Cas’ sweater, walking up his stomach that jumped under the touch. Dean’s eyes followed his fingers all the way to Cas’ neck where he tugged at the collar of his undershirt.
“You ever kissed a boy before?”
Cas stopped breathing, staring at Dean’s face for an immeasurable moment. He saw the question swimming in front of him, and he had figured this was where this was going, but just like every time before it didn’t hit him till it was staring him down. His first kiss – god, he’d been oblivious to it until the other boy’s mouth had been on his. He nodded once, and the gravity of the question, the growl of Dean’s voice, seemed to roll over him in a delayed wave. His eyes went heavenward and Dean tugged at his tie, pulling him closer, down towards his mouth.
“It’s been a while,” he stuttered, attempting to be funny and mimic Dean’s excuse from earlier. God, it had been – not since high school; his thoughts started to scatter, his eyes still on the sky above them until a hand tilted his chin down. “Relax. It’s just like riding a bike,” Dean hushed, kissing the corner of his mouth, and Cas exhaled sharply again, attempting to let the tension in his shoulders go.
"Just-" Cas breathed, and Dean pulled away enough to look at his face, his eyes unnaturally bright in the dark.
“You don’t -?”
“No!” Cas blurted, a little too loudly, “I mean – yes, I mean…”
Dean stared at him questioningly.
“I do, I do, I do,” he shook his head, Dean was so attractive it was really unfair, “Just, not here, anybody…anybody could see.” Dean looked past him at the alley between buildings and after a moment of consideration nodded.
“Move,” he said gently, and Cas stepped back, watching as Dean maneuvered his bike over the curb, pulling into the dark space. He cut the engine and it purred and popped for a moment before going silent and Cas heard him step off of the bike, his shadow a darker outline against the shadows of the dim corridor. He raised his hand and beckoned Cas over. Cas looked up and down the street and crossed the short distance towards Dean. His breathing picked up as he got closer and Dean smiled at him reassuringly.
"I’m rusty," Cas laughed nervously, once they were close again, and he could feel heat creeping up his neck. He couldn’t see Dean’s reaction because he was currently brushing the very top of his throat with his mouth, and Cas felt his the butterflies beat their wings at the walls of his stomach. Dean continued his way up, pressing his lips to the corner of his mouth again. He must have made a face because Dean was laughing against his cheek, and walked him backwards until Cas’ back pressed up against the wall of the alley. He gasped and Dean put his hands on his waist, rubbing circles with his thumbs through his sweater, Cas’ fingers pulling at his jacket, eyes squeezing shut.
"Relax," Dean repeated, a rush of breath on his skin, and Cas shuddered; his fingers tightened on Dean's jacket, the leather soft and pliant beneath his fingers, obviously well worn. “Go with the flow,” Dean continued, the words ending in a chuckle. Cas tried to do as he was told. He loosened his hold and melted against the wall, and as he acclimated his smile surfaced, Dean pressing in closer, the heat rolling off his body making up for the April chill.
He gave a short nod, and then Dean's lips were over his, and Castiel’s hands involuntarily tightened on Dean’s sleeves before he remembered to loosen them. His fingers fluttered for a moment before coming to rest on Dean’s hips, sliding beneath the hem of his shirt. Dean made a soft noise, a sort of groan, and Castiel slipped his fingers into his belt loops, tugging him closer. Dean moved so easily; in a blink they were flush.
And it was sort of weird at first, because Castiel didn’t remember what he was supposed to be doing, but the way that he could feel Dean smiling against his lips made his legs feel weak, and the way that he could feel Dean's hips against his own made his head swim. Dean laughed softly and pulled away, fingers searching beneath Cas’ sweater and then un-tucking his shirt until they were sliding on skin, leaving hot trails where they skated.
"It's alright, just- we'll take it slow, okay?"
Cas nodded and Dean grinned, hands finding a firmer grip beneath his shirt and resting on his hips, the cool air against his skin making Cas shudder slightly. When Dean moved in to kiss him harder, Cas moved with him, leaning forward the slightest bit and capturing Dean's lips with his own. It spurred Dean on, hands moving and gliding over his sides and lower back, and Cas slid his fingers through Dean's hair, gasping, giving Dean the chance to lick into his mouth. His glasses smushed against his face, angling awkwardly across his eyes, but Cas couldn’t find it in him to care.
Their tongues tangled and Cas let his hands rest on the back of Dean's neck, holding him close, Dean pushing his hands farther up Cas' shirt, ghosting over the skin of his stomach, fingers bumping over his ribs, pulling a shudder out of him. Cas moaned when Dean withdrew one of his hands only to pull on his hair, tugging in just the right way that had Cas pressing against him, chin angling so they slotted together more fully. His shoulders were biting into the brick, his nails scraping at the short hairs at the base of Dean’s skull. Something was lit under him, he could feel it – a sudden, devouring, need to be closer. He panted against Dean’s mouth, but Dean only allowed him a second before he was pulled back into the slick slide of his tongue, their breaths passing into one another, their hands gripping hard at each other. It went on and on, until finally Cas realized they had stopped and he was staring at Dean and Dean was grinning, obviously pleased.
"So much for going slow," Dean laughed, his voice deep and hoarse, and Cas could feel his cheeks grow hot with embarrassment.
"Well," Cas coughed lightly. “I may not have been on a date…but I guess I have more experience in that department.”
He slid his palms down Dean's chest; fingers curling around the front of his leather jacket, glancing up through his lashes.
“You’re good though,” he nearly purred, leaning in just a hair, considering what it would mean to kiss him again, “very good.”
"Well, 'm glad that I could appease you."
Cas let go of Dean’s jacket, but before he could move to do it himself, Dean had already adjusted his frames, straightening his glasses on his face.. He let his hands linger on the sides of Cas’ face, gazing at him adoringly, making Cas’ stomach squirm.
"So, are you going to take me home now?"
"Hm, I dunno. Maybe we could go back to my place."
"I just met you, Dean. Don't be an ass about this."
"Okay, okay," Dean laughed and pulled away, moving toward his motorcycle while Cas straightened himself out. He ran a hand through his hair, smoothing it back down, and smoothed his hands over the front of his sweater, attempting to make himself at least a little presentable just in case they ran into someone he knew.
Dean started up his motorcycle, and Cas moved over to climb onto the back of it, wrapping his arms around his waist and holding tight when Dean pushed off. His arms tightened when they went over the curb, and he swore that he could hear Dean laughing over the roar of the engine.
Lights streamed past quickly, Dean obviously ignoring the speed limit, but the ride was smooth and exhilarating, and Cas leaned back slightly to actually enjoy the ride. They drove for a ways before Dean spoke up, and Cas almost had to struggle to hear him over the engine.
"So where do you live?"
"Where do you live?"
Cas glanced around, trying to focus on a street sign before they passed it before his attention was caught by the liquor store that marked a block from his apartment. Its neon sign flickered up ahead, about two streets away and Cas put his hand on Dean’s shoulder to get his attention as they approached.
“Make right on 10th,”Cas directed, and Dean nodded, drifting into the other lane, cutting around the corner in an effortless turn. Cas watched for his building, pointing down the block at the bleak, grey, building on the corner.
“That one,” he instructed, “way down there where that truck is parked.”
Dean slowed, pulling towards the curb. He turned towards the building once they’d stopped, looking up, and Cas watched him, fixated on his profile.
Cas glanced upwards and chuckled, not bothering to remove his hand from Dean’s waist just yet.
“You can’t see it from the street. I have a very nice view of an empty lot,” he explained. “Very exclusive.”
“Ahhh,” Dean exhaled, sweeping his eyes back down to Cas’. “Well, let’s walk around. Show me.”
Cas stared at him intently.
“Why?” he answered cautiously, trying to gauge Dean’s interest. He pulled his hand off Dean’s hip and scratched an invisible itch on his knee, blunt nails scraping on the fabric of his pants. Dean scoffed loudly and elbowed him, physically insisting he get off the motorcycle, which Cas did, still unsure when Dean followed, tucking his keys back in his jacket.
Dean nodded at the spot where the sidewalk curved around the block.
“Go on. Show me.”
Cas put his hands on his hips, blinking at Dean.
“You are stupidly bossy, did you know that?” he started, shaking his head as he gave Dean a once over.
Dean stared at him, his head going forward expectantly, holding an arm out towards the other side of the building. He waved his arm.
Cas rolled his eyes and started walking, shoving into Dean’s shoulder as he went by him.
“If you are doing this so you have a discreet place to kill me, I’ll never forgive you,” he grumbled, listening to the scrape of Dean’s shoes as he followed.
They walked in silence, and then the field appeared, stereotypically urban with its discarded tires and half-down chain link fence that rattled as Cas stepped over it and into the shin-high grass.
“Be careful, there could be all sorts of fun things,” Cas said conversationally over the sound of crickets. “Broken glass, old nails, rabid dogs lying in wait.”
“Wait, there are dogs?” Dean exclaimed, and there was a crunch as he stopped and Cas turned over his shoulder. Dean had his hands out of his pockets and held up in defense, “I don’t do dogs.”
Cas shook his head briefly.
“I was joking,” he began, waving him on until they’d gotten to the point where Cas could show off his so luxurious apartment. He gestured to the top left corner, jolting as Dean pressed right up behind him, dropping his mouth to his ear and then his neck, any notion of personal space neglected.
“I’m showing you,” Cas yelped. “Stop, stop, what if someone sees?” he hissed, conscious of the windows right there. Anyone could look down and see, but oh, that was part of the thrill, wasn’t it? Dean pulling his collar aside to run his lips against the skin there and the risk of someone opening the window and seeing, and Cas had to open his mouth again. “Dean,” he rushed, and Dean laughed darkly, lifting his head to follow Cas’ hand.
“Sorry,” came the breathy reply. “Got distracted.”
Cas cleared his throat and pointed at the window.
“That one, fourth floor,” he muttered and Dean made some low noise of approval.
“Fire escape,” he breathed. “That’s good. I can do a fire escape.”
“What do you even mean?” Cas retorted, trying to worm out of his grip, but Dean held him and he gave up and gave in to the lazy kisses right below his ear. His hand found Dean’s on his torso and he covered it, Dean sighing into his neck.
“When can I see you again?” Dean whispered, and Cas opened his eyes, not realizing that he’d closed them. Dean’s hand slid up his side and then back down, Dean bending over his shoulder, pressing his face against Cas’. “I wanna take you home - come home with me, please.”
“I can’t,” Cas interrupted sharply. “Not tonight. I’m tired and if we stay out here someone will see us and call the police.”
“Let ‘em,” came the reply, stirring something in Cas’ insides, and Dean’s hand went up and down again and Cas tilted his head, nosing at Dean’s cheek, “Let me take you home. I’ll make it so good. I’ll make it so good you’ll forget all about being tired.”
“I barely know you,” Cas hushed. “I’m no good at casual sex.”
He laughed it self-deprecatingly but Dean didn’t seem to care. Dean was too busy ducking his head, playing with the edge of Cas’ sweater.
“Well, then when can I see you again?” Dean repeated, bashful, and Cas cocked his head in curiosity.
“Why do you want to see me again?” Cas marveled, and Dean pulled back, staring at him in confusion. Cas turned and broke free from his arms, “Why would you want to see me again?”
Dean ran a hand over his mouth and glanced at the grass.
“I know I’m not perfect,” he shrugged, “I know I’m far from it, but,” Cas watched him swallow – Dean Winchester was being shy – and then meet Cas’ eyes with complete sincerity, “I’ll be good to you. Give me a chance. I’ll be really good to you. I want to be good to you.”
“But why?” Cas stressed, and Dean’s eyes darkened.
“I don’t know why,” he bit, “but it seems worth it.”
Cas’ mouth fell open.
“You don’t know anything about me,” he sighed rubbing his eyes, “you just met me, I could be everything you hate.”
Cas risked a look and he took a deep breath, the grass shivering as Dean walked towards him, taking his face in his hands.
“You don’t know that,” Cas continued shaking his head, pulling at Dean’s wrists. “This is stupid. You just met me. I just met you. We made out. So wh-.”
“So maybe I’m crazy about you,” Dean insisted. “God, if you weren’t so stubborn I’d change your mind.”
“This isn’t about sleeping with you,” Cas grumbled, and Dean breathed a laugh, pushing their foreheads together.
“Listen to me,” Dean whispered, “I don’t know what it is about you but I’m already going nuts. I can feel it. I could do so good by you, baby - give me the chance to do good by you.”
“You’ll hate me,” Cas interrupted, and Dean shook his head.
“I could never.”
“You will. I’m stubborn and cold and I get irritated –!”
Dean kissed him, hard. You never fucking shut up.”
“See?” Cas whispered, and Dean kissed him again, stealing all the breath out of him.
“When can I see you?”
“Friday,” Cas conceded. “You can see me Friday. That’s one day to wait.”
“What kind of music do you like?” Dean asked, melting against him, “Tell me everything; tell me everything about you.”
Cas pulled back, his arms around Dean’s neck. He brushed the hair out of Dean’s face with the flat of his hand.
“I like Elvis,” he grinned, and he felt crazy and reckless as he did so. Dean dipped down and kissed him as gently as Cas had ever been kissed in his life, and Cas curled towards him.
“Elvis,” he repeated. “I can dig Elvis.”
Cas swore as the kiss deepened, the grass rustling with a cold breeze, Cas only finding a reason to stop when light broke the dark from someone’s window.
“You’ve gotta go,” Cas muttered against Dean’s persistent mouth and frantic hands, his lips tingling and feeling too-warm. “You can’t, you have to go.” His voice felt slow and syrupy, and Dean resisted when he tried to push away, but he released him, finally. Cas stood breathing heavily, Dean leaning in to touch his lips one last time, incapable of denying himself.
“Friday,” he said, and Cas nodded, and then he was watching Dean’s back as he left. His mind was blank for a blessed moment, Dean disappearing around the corner. He remained still until the roar of the engine faded down the street, Cas following, staggering up the stairs to the fourth floor.
He paused right outside his door and leaned his head against it, forehead pressed to the wood. The hinges let out a slight, rusted, squeak.
He pulled his keys out of his pocket and crammed the right one into the lock, fighting against it for a moment, having to force it open when the hinges refused to budge; it creaked as he pushed it open, and he locked it behind him once he was across the threshold. The cool air nipped at his skin, and he shivered slightly, immediately moving over to the thermostat in the shirt hallway, tapping at it.
It wasn't working, as usual.
Cas sighed and moved around his small apartment, turning lights on and straightening things out before moving into the kitchen to rummage through the cabinets. He pulled a mug out and a bag of tea, setting a pot of water onto the stove to boil after struggling to light a match with his cold fingers. The warmth from the fire was enough to keep him in place in front of the stove, grumbling to himself about speaking to the landlord to get the thermostat fixed because he was not going to go another night having to bundle himself up in blankets just so he could sleep comfortably. He longed for the balm of summer.
Once the water began to boil, he turned the fire off and carefully - very, very carefully - poured the water into his mug, setting it into the sink when it was empty. Someday he’d buy a kettle, but he'd never had the time to make much tea lately with having to study for finals, or the money to splurge on something like a kettle. But now he’s done, and maybe he could scrape up a little to get a used one. He made, his way into the living room, setting his mug down onto the coffee table, and moved to the turn table on the far wall. Rubbing his lip he flipped through his collection of vinyl’s until he found the one he was looking for.
He smiled down at the record and set it up, gently placing the needle onto it before turning away and walking to the couch, picking his mug up off of the coffee table along the way. He grabbed the blanket from the back of the couch as he sat down on it, pulling it around himself as he settled in. The gentle sounds of Elvis' voice filled the room, and Cas hummed softly as he pulled at the string on the teabag in his mug, moving it around before blowing at the hot liquid, taking a small sip to test the temperature.
It wasn't long before he finished the tea, his body warm and content as he set it back down on the coffee table and settled against the couch, closing his eyes and enjoying the music as it played throughout the room. His thoughts drifted though. For a moment he swore that he could feel hands on him, and he jerked slightly, opening his eyes, but soon he settled back down. His mind wandered to the previous events of the night, meeting Dean, Dean taking him to the diner, and everything afterward. Dean's hands on his body, his lips on his own, and it was thrilling at the time; it had his pulse quickening, his breathing speeding up, and he wanted it again.
He woke up the next morning with his face pressed into the cushion of his couch, his neck stiff and sore from sleeping in one position for too long. He groaned and rubbed at his face with the back of his hand, stretching his legs out on the couch and wincing when his joints protested. There was a soft sort of hum coming from the speakers of the turntable, the record spinning and the needle back in its resting position.
With another groan he pushed himself off of the couch and wrapped his blanket around himself, the hard wood of the floor cold against his feet. He soldiered on to the turntable to turn it off;with a flick of a switch, it was silenced. He absently scratched at his stomach, yawning, as he made his way into the kitchen, passing the thermostat on the way to give it a couple of taps; nothing happened.
He opened the fridge but then he froze, remember the events of the previous night. It was a little fuzzy at first, his mind sluggish from sleep, but the images surfaced. The diner, a motorcycle, and Dean Winchester; Dean Winchester's hands, and his mouth, the half-moon of his smile in the dark, the spark of his eyes caught against the end of his cigarette. Cas pressed his fingers to his lips, and he could feel heat crawling up his neck at the thought of Dean kissing him. He hadn't kissed anyone since high school, and the first guy he kissed since was someone that he hardly even knew.
"Dammit," he hissed, closing the fridge, trudging back to the couch in the cold of his apartment, keeping the blanket tight around him as he flopped down onto the hand-me-down sofa, lying across it and pressing his face into the cushion once more, huffing. Dean wanted to see him again, and Cas had promised him Friday, which was growing closer every second. Tomorrow. Cas made some embarrassing sound, pulling the blanket over his head.
He was an idiot.
He shouldn't have agreed to it, but he’d been so caught up in the urgent tone of Dean’s voice at the time and the way his body seemed to bend effortlessly under his hands. Cas couldn't have said no to him. Cas rolled over and rubbed his face. He needed to shower. He’d spilled something on his sweater – it smelled like booze – and he was in dire need of shave.
Maybe Dean was just being impulsive. Maybe he’d forget about it and not show up.
Something snagged at his heart when he thought of that; he didn’t want Dean to forget about him. It didn’t seem fair that Dean might get to brush him aside and Cas would remember him for the rest of his natural life.
He hadn’t been kissed like that in a long, long, time; maybe ever.
He hoisted himself off of the couch. There was no sense in acting like anything was out of the ordinary. The most he could do was go about his day and then deal with whatever Dean decided to do.
He glanced at the clock on his night table, picking it up to check the time without his glasses. Quarter past ten. He hadn’t slept too late. He sighed and set it back down and unbuttoned his sweater, pulling the shade down on his window as he did. He had to wait by the shower for at least five minutes for the shrieking pipes to warm up, and even then it was lukewarm by the time he actually got in. He cursed, yanking the curtain behind him, and soaped up as fast as he could, letting the water hit his head and the back of his neck. As he acclimated he started to sing a little, working the soap into his hair, blinking it out of his eyes as he did.
He stopped, hesitating for a moment, tilting his head.
“What?” he said, yanking the curtain aside, turning the water down to hear better. The sound came again and, confused, Cas quickly rinsed and grabbed a towel, struggling to dry himself off as someone pounded on the door.
“Hold on!” he called, attempting to find his glasses in the mess of his apartment, pulling his clothes on at the same time. His shirt was wet and clung to him and he had to seriously work to get into his pants, shimmying into them, yanking his shirt down, not bothering with the button or fly. The persistent knocking kept coming and Cas finally found his glasses where they were stuck between the couch cushions and shoved them onto his face as he went to the door, hoping they weren’t too smudged up from his fingers. After nearly knocking the mug off his end table as he ran past it, he undid the deadbolt and heaved it open.
“Yes!” he exclaimed, and then he cut off, his whole face suddenly lost to confusion. “Excuse me?”
Dean Winchester grinned back, stepping forward, forcing himself into the apartment.
“I know you said Friday,” he began, closing the door behind him. Cas glanced over Dean’s shoulder at the door, and then let his eyes return to Dean’s face. He was still grinning, hands shoved in his pockets, rocking on his heels almost boyishly, “but I couldn’t wait.”
Cas opened his mouth, trying to find an appropriate response, and a trickle of water slithered down his temple and landed in his collar.
“You decided,” he kept his voice even despite his shock, “to just come today. Because you couldn’t wait.”
Dean nodded and then frowned, leaning forward to pinch a strand of Cas’ hair between his fingers.
“Why are you wet?” he asked, wiping the water on his jeans. Cas sighed and adjusted his glasses more comfortably.
“I was just getting in the shower when you started knocking,” Cas explained, and Dean smirked.
“Well, don’t mind me if you’d like to get back to it,” he joked, but Cas could see the lingering seriousness under his words. He blushed and rolled his eyes.
“No thank you.”
Dean walked past him, looking around Cas’ dingy flat, his face approving. He went to the turntable and looked at the record, and then to the cupboards, sifting through them, and then, Cas following his every move, he peeked into the bedroom before coming back out and going back to the turntable. Cas’ mind was wrought with things he meant to say to break the silence, but Dean didn’t seem bothered by the quiet. He merely seemed curious, taking in everything that Cas apparently had to offer. He clicked on the light in the kitchen and then clicked it off again, smiling and wheeling on Cas with a smooth turn of his body.
“Nice place,” he commented and Cas narrowed his gaze suspiciously.
“It does the job. The thermostat doesn’t work though,” he added, gesturing to the little dial on the wall.
Dean laughed, sidling over and tapping at the little metal fixture.
“I’ll fix it for you.”
Cas snorted and Dean lifted his head.
“What? You think I can’t?”
“I think you’re bold,” Cas scoffed, “just showing up without asking – didn’t even call…”
Cas trailed off, Dean advancing on him, putting his hands on Cas’ hips. He lifted his shirt a little and Cas flushed scarlet when Dean saw his pants were undone. He raised his eyes to Cas’ and moved his eyebrows suggestively.
“…I didn’t have time to do it up properly,” Cas tried to cover, but Dean’s deft fingers were already wiggling the zipper up and buttoning them for him. He smoothed his hand over Cas’ lower abdomen and then Cas’ head was tilting back as Dean pressed their mouths together. He sighed happily and Cas’ fingers fluttered around his forearms, the leather familiar but still such a new sensation.
“I don’t have your number,” Dean said, pulling back, his smile crooked and carefree. His hands wandered around Cas’ waist, dipping down over the top of his ass and Cas sucked in a sharp breath. “Besides, I figured I’d be a nice surprise. I couldn’t sleep all night.” His words were muffled as he pulled them closer, rocking slightly, his mouth ghosting over Cas’ neck. “You had me up all night, you know.”
Cas shifted, his body giving in, moving to give Dean more access. His breath panted against Dean’s shoulder and he moved his hands from Dean’s forearms to his back, lost in the sensation of Dean’s arms around him.
“You’re crazy,” he marveled. “I’m not anybody special, and, even if I were, what makes you think you can just come around here whenever you –ah-” Dean bit gently at his lip and Cas clutched him, head swimming.
“Cas, I’m mad about you,” Dean whispered, and he kissed the skin he’d nipped at, soothing it. Cas felt a little more coherent and wiggled away.
“That’s the first time you’ve called me that,” he said, and Dean blinked at him before his face split into another sunny grin.
“Huh,” he laughed, and Cas put some distance between them, scratching his arm nervously. Dean registered his change in mood and jumped a little, going back to the turntable. He played around with it and then put it on, Elvis swelling back into the apartment.
He bobbed his head experimentally and Cas coughed a laugh as he tried to get into it.
“He’s not for everybody,” Cas explained, pointing at the boxes full of records he had shoved up against the opposite wall.
“There’s more if you would rather listen to them.” Dean shook his head, suddenly determined, “no, you like Elvis, and I can dig it.” He wandered to the boxes anyway, dropping down to the rug to sift through them, shaking his head at Cas’ selections, no doubt. He probably listened to harder stuff.
Cas came behind him and leaned over his back, peering down at the boxes, his arm winding around Dean’s shoulder. He flipped through a few shyly and Dean looked up at him, tugging him down to sit beside him. Shoulder to shoulder they sat, Elvis bleeding into every crevice of the apartment.
Cas realized with wonder that he wasn’t cold and when he glanced at Dean’s profile he couldn’t help but smile softly at how calm Dean’s face was, how simple it seemed to sit on the floor and flip through records.
Dean caught him staring and stopped, his hands still resting on the edge of some album, his eyes wide and beautiful. Beautiful-the word came so easily to his mind.
“You were up all night?” he said softly and Dean’s eyes changed in a way that made Cas feel almost too-warm, like the emotion they conveyed radiated straight into his bones. Dean’s mouth hinted a smile, but it was like he was too serious to let it come all the way through.
“Yeah,” Dean replied, shrugging, looking away, playing with the corner of a cover. “Sounds really stupid.”
A worry appeared between Dean’s eyes and he shook his head a little, laughing it off. Cas didn’t think it sounded stupid. He heard Elvis, and he stared at Dean, and it was so strange, the strangest feeling he’d ever had. Butterflies, but something more solid than that, something beating and persistent, the same kind of terrifying feeling he’d at the party, the first time he’d seen Dean.
Dean looked back at him, concerned.
“I’m sorry I didn’t wait till Friday, and I’m sorry if I’m…I just, I saw you, and you know…,” He paused, and Cas nodded.
“I saw you,” Cas continued, smiling a little, understanding, and he reached up a hand and touched Dean’s cheek, moving his hands over the skin there, and Dean moved just so, pushing into his palm. There was so much more, wasn’t there? There was so much to this, but it all made so much sense that Dean was there. That he was listening to Elvis, like his whole life he had just been waiting for this small moment.
Dean touched the inside of his wrist, staring at Cas’ neck.
“I saw you, and I knew I would never really say goodnight to you,” he finished on a murmur. “Not really. It just didn’t seem right to say goodbye to you, or goodnight…”
Cas leaned and pushed them together, cutting Dean’s words off. It felt easy this time, like he’d been kissing Dean for a long time, and maybe it was because of last night, but Cas was beginning to think it wasn’t that entirely; maybe it had never been about that. That first dizzy moment he’d laid eyes on him, the way his body fit against Dean’s, like the effortless lean of Dean’s motorcycle. Thick and sweet, like milkshakes, like Dean’s smile, so much better in the daylight. Dean forgot about the records, and Cas helped him out of his jacket, shoving it behind them, Dean easing his back to the floor, unwilling to separate their mouths for long. Cas spread himself over him, and it was oddly peaceful. Dean’s hands were slow, and their mouths were slower, searching, timid sometimes, but thorough. Cas framed Dean’s face, running his thumbs down his jaw, over his cheekbones.
Dean laughed, a small, tripping sound, and Cas looked down at him, his hair still damp and he touched Dean’s lips, his collar bone, his brow, Dean looking up at him with something akin to adoration. They fit seamlessly.
“Where have you been?” Dean said after a moment, and Cas laughed.
“Right here,” he answered and Dean shook his head.
“Don’t go, then,” he whispered, seriously, and Cas smiled reassuringly.
“Doesn’t seem right to say goodbye, does it?”
Dean pulled him down, closer, wrapped his arms around him, buried himself in his mouth, and Cas supposed that was his reply.
It was almost surprising how well they actually fit together, how their bodies seemed to slide together and lock into place like puzzle pieces; fitting together to make a whole. How Cas' fingers seemed to fit so well when they curved around the nape of Dean's neck; their lips slotting together, working together, and the thought alone was enough to make Cas' head swim. Dean's hands moved over his back, resting just above his ass, and Cas pulled back, just enough to where their lips were barely touching.
Dean's hands bundled the hem of his shirt, pushing it up, fingers pressing against his skin, and his touch felt searing hot, the sensation prickling just beneath Cas' skin. He breathed out, and Dean inhaled, and Cas smiled; he could feel the returning smile on Dean's lips.
"What is it about you?" Cas watched as Dean's eyes opened, staring back at him lazily. "I just met you, and already, I just- I don't know."
"I don't know either." Dean moved one his hands to slide his fingers through Cas' damp hair, pushing it back from his eyes. "But I can't get enough of you."
Cas laughed and pressed his face into Dean's neck. "I don't understand why. I'm just average; I'm nothing special."
"Would you stop saying that?" Dean grunted as Cas pushed himself up, knees on either side of Dean's body, straddling him.
Cas rolled his eyes and pressed his palms flat against Dean's chest, fingers tugging at his shirt just slightly, occupying his hands. "I'm not. I'm dull, and boring, and- Look at you!"
"What about me?"
"You're gorgeous! You're attractive, and handsome, and you have a motorcycle, and you make all the girls swoon."
Dean's hands moved to rest on Cas' hips, fingers slipping beneath his shirt to push it up.
"And you're beautiful."
Cas' breath caught in his throat, and he could feel his cheeks heating up. He turned away, pulling one of his hands away to wrap his fingers around one of Dean's wrist, stopping him from pulling his shirt over his head.
"I'm not. I'm boring."
"And stupid, obviously."
"I'm not stupid!" Cas shot back, turning to face Dean again, and Dean was laughing beneath him, breaking free from Cas' grasp. He trailed his fingers over Cas' chest, moving up until he held his cheek in his hand, thumb skimming over his lip.
"Hmm, maybe not." Dean grinned and pushed his hand completely beneath Cas' shirt, fingers pressing into his skin, and Cas hummed softly, closing his eyes.
He wasn't used to all of this attention, having hands all over his body, \, and if this is what Dean wanted to do with him every time they saw each other, then he was more than on board with Dean showing up at his apartment at random intervals.
They stayed like that for a moment, until Dean trailed his fingers over Cas' side, ghosting over his skin. Cas laughed and leaned forward, grasping at Dean's hand beneath his shirt and pulling it away. Dean grunted and slid his other hand beneath Cas' shirt, tickling over his skin, and Cas laughed again, pressing his face into Dean's neck.
Dean just pulled his hand away from Cas' grasp and pushed it beneath his shirt again, both hands working at his sides, and Cas wasn't able to stop himself from laughing.
"Your sides are ticklish, hmm?" Dean purred, and Cas shook his head. But Dean grinned and continued to tickle Cas until he was just a laughing and giggling mess over him, panting against his skin and struggling to breathe. He laughed and curled his fingers around Cas' hips, pushing and moving until Cas was on the floor and Dean was over him. Knees bracketing his body and hands on either side of his head, Dean smiled down at Cas, and Cas frowned, glasses crooked on his face.
"I hate you."
"No, you don't." Dean balanced on one hand, adjusting Cas' glasses with gentle fingers before pushing his hair from his face.
"Fine, I don't. But you're rude, I hope you know that."
Dean laughed and shook his, and Cas rolled his eyes, pressing his hands against his chest, but Dean wouldn't budge.
The music stopped playing and the silence was almost deafening, save for the steady crackled of the speakers. Cas tilts his head back, looking at the turntable for a moment before turning his attention back to Dean.
"Get off. I wanna listen to something else."
"So demanding." Dean moved to get off of Cas, stopping for a moment to wink. "I like it."
Cas squirmed out from beneath Dean, pushing himself off of the ground so he could stand and brush off his clothes. Dean sat on the ground, watching him as he moved to the turntable to flip the record over, carefully placing the needle onto it. The apartment filled with the sound of Elvis again, and Cas hummed to himself, turning around to look at Dean. Dean smiled up at him, sitting on the floor Indian-style, hands in his lap; he looked so innocent sitting there, like he hadn't even been tormenting Cas by tickling him just minutes prior.
"Are you hungry?"
"I could go for some food."
"Well, I hope you're not looking forward to anything amazing." He thought for a moment. "I could make macaroni and cheese."
"Macaroni and cheese is good."
Cas could feel Dean watching him as he went to his cabinets, poking around. His heart dropped when he realized all he had left was a lone container of noodles and some bread and a few cans of tuna. He pulled the spaghetti out, listening to the dry rattle they made as they tumbled in their box when he tossed them on the counter. He turned next to his icebox, not surprised when it was pathetically empty.
He eyed the milk and his half a stick of butter, sighing.
“I’m sorry, but, we’re all out of the macaroni,” he apologized in his most stately voice, hoping that if he acted like a pretentious waiter Dean would at least get a kick out of it and forgive him for being dirt poor. Dean glanced up at the sound of Cas talking and grinned.
“Oh, well, do you have any other specials this evening?” he played along, and Cas cleared his throat, straightening his shirt where it had been rucked up by wandering hands.
“We have the sea bass on a bed of rice and steamed vegetables, the petite filet with garlic mashed potatoes – red skin – and also stale spaghetti with butter, and our own special ingredient.”
Dean nodded, considering his choices, even going so far as to rub his chin thoughtfully.
“What’s the secret ingredient?” he questioned, narrowing his eyes in suspicion.
“Salt, sir,” Cas responded without pause, tilting his chin up haughtily.
“Salt?” Dean asked with mock excitement. “I love salt.”
“Shall I put you down for noodles then?”
“Please,” Dean replied, cocking his head, his boyish smile growing even wider. Cas held his pose and nodded sharply, making Dean laugh and shake his head in some disbelieving way. He turned back to the stove, lighting the burner, pleased with how easily he could light the match with Dean watching his back. Moments went by, and Cas heard the distant rustle of Dean standing and the soft sound of his boots coming across the floor until he was beside him, staring at the water with a sort of detached interest.
“Watched pots won’t boil,” Cas scolded, but Dean just shrugged, chuckling, and leaned against the counter, watching Cas instead.
“If I watch you will you boil?” he teased, making Cas roll his eyes as he measured out the spaghetti, trying to gauge if he could scrimp on his own serving to save some for later.
“You wish it was that easy,” Cas shot back, and Dean’s eyes widened and he broke into a full-body laugh, his head tipping back, back arching. Cas smiled at him, glancing at the pot to see if the water had begun to bubble yet – it hadn’t.
“Oh, really now?” Dean laughed, wiping the corner of his eye as if there were some tear there. It was Cas’ turn to shrug, listening to Dean’s wrist pop as he shook it out. Dean looked around the apartment, back to leaning on the cabinets. “Do your friends know how funny you are? Or am I just the lucky one?”
Cas scoffed, taking a knife out to cut the butter into more manageable chunks.
“Well,” he began, thinking about it, his brow worrying as he cut, “I don’t know if they think I’m that funny…but I hold my own.”
Dean made some approving noise, fiddling with a fork Cas had left on the counter. Cas heard the record stop and didn’t pause as he pushed the butter aside, dumping the noodles into the pot.
“Go put on the one with him in the hula shirt,” Cas asked, and Dean gave him a questioning look. Cas flushed, pushing his glasses up. “Just go do it.” “A hula shirt?”
“Well, you’re certainly not busy,” Cas snapped, and Dean’s mouth quirked. Cas exhaled and stepped back, handing a wooden spoon to Dean. “Fine, you get to cook and I’ll go change the record –!” He stopped as Dean grabbed his wrists, holding him firmly.
“How many times do I gotta tell you to relax?” Dean said, breathing a laugh, pushing the spoon back into his hand. “I’ll put your damn record on.”
Cas watched him go over to the boxes, crouching down to flip through them. His shirt rode up quite a bit, showing a strip of smooth skin just above his jeans and Cas caught himself staring and turned back to throwing the meager meal together.
“Hula shirt, right?” Dean called, and Cas nodded before remembering Dean couldn’t see him with his back turned.
“Blue something…” he said absently, breaking up the noodles so they wouldn’t clump.
Dean got up and changed the records out, tapping his foot on the floor impatiently as he did. He moved a lot, Cas had noticed. Maybe it was because of his racing, his occupation thriving on speed and movement; maybe it was just him. Cas staggered at the thought that he might be around Dean enough to find something like that out.
The songs started up and Cas smiled in appreciation, turning the burner off. He carefully walked the pan to the sink, using the lid to sift out as much water as he could, a risky business but he didn’t have a sieve.
Dean wandered back over at some point, lurking just out of his view, like he wanted to help but didn’t know how to ask. Cas shook his head; this kid was a mystery.
He put as much butter in as he could get away with and a healthy helping of salt, churning it together before he shoveled it into the only two bowls he possessed, putting the fork Dean had been toying with in one and his last clean one in the other.
Dean watched him turn, holding the steaming food and immediately looked for a place to sit, to which Cas gestured to a tiny little space beside the radiator.
“Table,” he directed, and Dean went, clearing the books and newspapers off of the second chair, sinking into it.
“These all for school?” Dean asked, flipping through one of the brick-like tomes. Cas nodded, wincing from the heat of the bowls and shaking his hands out once he put them down, and sliding Dean’s towards his side of the table.
“Most of them, yes,” Cas answered after seating himself, looking down to see he’d forgotten napkins – like he had any. He sighed and picked up his fork, turning over the spaghetti to let it cool. Dean hadn’t touched his, still looking at the book, fingers trailing over the spine and gold embossed title. “Some of them are just the ones my brothers didn’t want that I took with me and then a few more were my Father’s from when he was in school.”
“Your old man a doctor?” Dean continued, stopping on some anatomical diagram, his eyes dancing over it. Cas could see over the table that it was a cross-section of lungs.
“Biologist,” Castiel said curtly, raising the food up, wet steam wafting in his face. “He worked for a time and then he taught at the University, but he retired before I came here.”
Dean nodded along, like he understood the words he was reading, thumbing to another page.
“What’s ‘pulmonary edema’?”
Cas leaned forward, letting his fork rest back inside the bowl – the pasta was still too hot to eat anyway.
“It means fluid, but I can’t remember if it’s inside or out…” he searched the page as much as he could, and Dean held it up to him, letting him get closer. He tilted the book in his direction, “…inside. Yes. It’s fluid in the lung.”
Dean turned the book around and stared at it for a long time.
“Huh,” he said finally, putting the book down at his feet with the others, trading it for his fork. Cas watched him blow on his food before shoving it unceremoniously into his mouth, not even wincing at the temperature. Cas, impressed, took a hesitant bite of his own.
“Not bad,” Dean said, having made sure he’d chewed and swallowed, offering an eager smile and Cas shrugged. It was about as bland as he’d expected, but it was better than rice. He’d been eating rice for days. Dean stared at him for a while, still eating, and Cas glanced up at him shyly every once in a while, only to watch Dean’s fork slow and his smile grow.
“You have brothers?”
Cas nodded, sucking a noodle up, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand and sitting back.
“And a baby sister – well. She’s seventeen, which is only two and a half years younger than me,” he couldn’t help but smile when he thought of her. “Her name’s Rachel.”
Dean moved his leg under the table, but hung to his every word.
“She a good kid?”
Castiel laughed, the fond look still on his face.
“Very good,” he replied, twirling his fork absently. “She’s the only girl. We had an older sister, but she died when she was still an infant. But Rachel is a good girl. She’s spoiled though – what with three doting older brothers.”
“Three?” Dean asked, blinking.
“Well, counting me. Michael and Gabriel are my older brothers,” he said. “I didn’t dote very much. I mostly irritated her.”
Dean laughed at that, taking another healthy bite.
“There’s bread too if you want,” Cas added, gesturing behind Dean at the kitchen, but Dean shook his head, insisting he was fine with what he had.
“When’s the last time you talked to them?”
Castiel paused his eating and pushed the remainder of his food around.
“I don’t want to talk about that,” he said quietly, but his voice quickly took on a more intense quality – more strung out – as he continued, “really, I don’t. My brothers made it very clear that they weren’t thrilled with my choices, alright? They sent me to school and that was the end of it.”
Dean stared at him. He could tell he was lying.
“I wasn’t trying to upset you,” Dean’s voice was gruff, almost perplexed, “so don’t give me that look, like I was trying to compare myself to you.” His stare briefly melted into something harder. “I know what you must think about me. They all run their mouths at those parties and they think they have dirt on everybody, but they really don’t.” He tossed his fork aside; like he was done with the idea of it, and Cas was surprised when he didn’t flinch like he usually would.
“My dad found out I was a fag, but honestly it didn’t make any difference; he was drunk at the time, so I doubt he even remembers it happening. He’d heard it from some asshole running his mouth at the liquor store said he saw me sucking some guy’s dick outside a theater like I’m some kind of idiot on top of being queer. I was more pissed that Sammy found out from him because he was being so goddamn loud.”
Cas narrowed his eyes in confusion.
“How did the guy at the liquor store know you were queer then?” he asked, trying to follow. Dean shrugged.
“He had it the wrong way – some guy was sucking my dick.”
Cas felt his face crumple into some indiscernible emotion, and the longer he looked at Dean the more ridiculous the statement sounded and the more he thought of Dean’s matter-of-fact tone the more hysterical it seemed to be.
He laughed, and the laughter grew and grew until Dean was laughing with him and Cas was gasping for air, tears clouding his vision. He rubbed his eyes under his glasses, curling forward, trying to catch his breath.
“Jesus Christ,” he wheezed, his laughter stuttering along with Dean’s, the two of them red faced and panting. Dean ran his hand over his mouth shaking his head.
“It was something’.”
“Well, what happened?” Cas probed, curiosity piqued. Dean sighed, picking up a cooling noodle and then dropping it back in his bowl.
“Well, my old man laid me out, but I broke the guy at the liquor store’s nose and he hasn’t said much – man’s got too much shit on his record to press charges.” Dean pursed his lips, the subject old news to him and Cas marveled.
“See, this is why I don’t get it. You have this colorful past full of getting your dick sucked in alleys and riding motorcycles and getting into fights, but you see me at a party and somehow decide I’m the one worth going after,”
“You talk like you’re disappointed!” Dean grinned, all devil-may-care, his eyes sparkling, “I gave you a prime night on the town.”
Cas let his chin rest in his hand, elbow on the table.
“You could have any girl at that party. You could have had Lisa, but you decide to follow me down the street to take me to a diner and then ravage me outside of it – but that’s not the part I don’t get. I don’t get that you’re here. That you’re here to hear me talk about my boring, middle class, childhood – well, I guess I should say I don’t believe it.”
“Your bullshit is what’s boring,” Dean said simply. “I’ve already told you how I feel about you. It’s not that complicated. Haven’t you ever heard of love at first sight?” he finished, giving Cas an imploring look.
Cas sighed. “I didn’t think you were going to reciprocate, that’s all,” he explained, pushing his bowl away. Dean folded his arms on the table and rested his cheek on them, looking up at Cas through his lashes. Cas reached one hand out and combed his fingers through Dean’s hair, pulling it away from his face, looking at the spread of freckles he hadn’t been able to see in the dark last night.
“Well, I’m reciprocating,” Dean said, smiling lazily up at him, like a sated dog.
"I guess you are." Cas smiled, smoothing his thumb over Dean's forehead and down the bridge of his nose, cheekbone, tracing over the his freckles. Dean hummed softly, closing his eyes, and Cas carded his fingers through Dean's hair before stiffening. He looked at the turntable past Dean in the living room, and then looking back down at Dean to see him staring up at him.
"What were you staring at?"
"Oh, uh, the turntable." He paused for a moment, continuing to comb his fingers through Dean's hair. "This is my favorite song."
Dean lifted his head slightly as if to hear the song better, and he nodded to himself before laying his head back down on his arms, and Cas closed his eyes, listening to the song. He slipped his hand out of Dean's hair, trailing his fingers over his arm as he pulled his hand away, but Dean stopped him, fingers gently curling around his wrist, and Cas opened his eyes, staring down at him.
"So this is your favorite song?"
Cas nodded, and Dean made a sort of approving noise, smiling.
"I've heard it on the radio before."
"That's not really surprising."
Dean snorted and sat up straight, still holding Cas' wrist. He pulled Cas' hand toward himself, and Cas stretched his fingers out, fingertips brushing against Dean's chin as Dean pulled him closer.
"So why is it your favorite song?"
Cas could feel the stubble on Dean's chin as he grazed his fingers over his skin, and the feeling of it made goose bumps stand on his arms. Dean grinned his wolfish grin.
"I just - I like songs about love," he breathed a laugh, like it was the dumbest answer he could give. But really, songs about love were his favorite because they had just so much meaning behind them, and that's just the only way that he knew how to explain.
"I guess that's a good enough answer," Dean smiled and pulled Cas closer by his wrist, fingers moving to hold his hand as he pressed his lips to his palm, still smiling. He gently kissed along Cas' palm, eyes watching him the entire time, and Cas swallowed thickly, fingers twitching.
"But I can't help falling in love with you," he sang softly, almost a whisper, and Cas could feel his cheeks going red; he felt almost giddy.
"You baffle me, Dean Winchester."
Dean paused, eyes focusing on Cas. "Why?"
"Because… You just have this tough exterior, and you have a motorcycle, and you get into fights, but you're really just sweet, and kind, and-"
"Hey, don't get all sappy on me."
"What I'm trying to say is that you're different."
Cas pulled his hand away to push Dean's hair out of his face, and Dean captured his wrist, standing and leaning over the table to capture Cas' lips with his own. Cas smiled against Dean's lips, slipping his hand through his hair with his free hand.
"Different, huh?" Dean spoke as he pulled away.