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Frowning Your Way Through Love

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Sam’s best friend is a quiet guy called Castiel. Probably one of the weirdest names Dean’s ever heard, but it works on this guy. Dean doesn’t know much about him other than he’s a little quiet and a lot awkward. He sits very still and stares a lot, in a way that makes people uncomfortable, which he seems completely clueless about. Dean thinks it’s awesome.

Also, he’s fucking hot. Blue eyes, dark hair and the sort of mouth that makes a person think about kissing and licking until it looks red and wet and fucking debauched. Castiel is the kind of hot where he doesn’t seem to notice it, but everyone around him does. Well, Dean notices. He notices it way too much. In a way that might, maybe, be a little creepy. Or it would be, but Dean has an excuse. A very good one.

Dean is possibly in love with him.

It might not actually be love. It might be a really weird and prolonged crush on someone he doesn’t actually know. Because he doesn’t really know Castiel all that well. He knows he and Sam met in high school and that, now they’re in the same college, they share a really crappy and tiny apartment just outside campus. He knows, and only because it’s the only thing he’s ever seen Castiel eat, that he loves cheeseburgers. Which surprises Dean, considering Sammy’s preference for gross vegetables and all that organic crap.

He also knows that Castiel doesn’t like Dean. At all. And doesn’t even bother pretending, which stings a little. Dean’s cool. He’s funny. Hell, Dean’s fucking awesome! But all Castiel does is sit and frown at Dean. Like Dean’s presence is bothering him and he doesn’t know what to do about it.

It sucks. Because Dean was hoping that eventually they’d stumble into some making out, maybe more. Fuck, Dean’d even love to actually have a conversation with Castiel, without Sam’s mediation, to hear Castiel speak about himself and his feelings, or whatever. And Dean hates conversations about feelings. But he wants to hear everything Castiel might have to say. And doesn’t that sound worse that wanting to debauch him.

Dean will probably end up arrested for standing outside the guy’s bedroom window, petting the glass and whispering all the things he wants to do with Castiel – or his underwear – or some creepy shit like that.

*

For all that Sam really cares about healthy eating, he’s a young guy living without parental supervision for the first time. Dean knows his diet consists of a lot of sugar and salad shakes, and not a lot of protein. So after the third time their mom calls Dean asks him to please ‘take care of Sam, I don’t think he’s eating right,’ Dean decides to help them in the most unsubtle way he knows.

Which is by invading their apartment on a Monday afternoon, stocking their fridge while no one is home, and leaving a vaguely threatening note telling them both to eat it all or else. As if anyone needs to threaten college freshmen into eating actual food. But he makes sure to buy things he thinks both Sam and Castiel will eat, and pretends that he wasn’t thinking about Castiel’s tastes at all.

Dean’s actually surprised he was able to restrain himself from buying a bunch of bacon cheeseburgers to try buying Castiel’s love with food. This is something that has crossed his mind a few times, but that would be way too lame even for Dean.

He’s just finishing putting away his own food in his own fridge, and is thinking vaguely about cheeseburgers, when Sam calls him.

“Dude, seriously?” Sam is laughing. “You bought us food?”

“Bitch, I’m the best big brother in town.” Dean really is, no competition.

“So this has nothing to do with the fact that Mom Is trying to find a way to control my eating habits all the way from Lawrence?”

“Well, she did call three times, Sammy.” Dean grabs a beer, it’s not cold yet, but it’ll do. “What did you want me to do?”

Sam just laughs again.

“Well, anyway,” he says. “I got home from class and Cas was just standing by the fridge, staring at your note. I think he thought it was a real threat.”

Oh, shit.

“Shit, really?”

“Yeah, he was just frowning at it. You know how he is.” And that part Dean knows. Way too well. “Maybe he thought it would be human remains inside the fridge and you wanted us to eat them.”

“Your imagination is scary, dude,” Dean says, which is better than ‘do you think he’d give me a chance if I bought him a lifetime supply of cheeseburgers?’

“I’ve explained that it’s the way you show your love, but I don’t think he believed me.” Sam sounds amused, and Dean wants to hang up on him.

“You know what? You should be calling to say how awesome I am. I went to the store and spent my hard-earned money on food for you. You should thank me for being this great to you.”

“As if.”

“Bitch.”

“Jerk.”

Dean hangs up.

So now Dean’s not only a bother, but also a threat. Awesome.

The last person who made Dean feel this eager to please was Rhonda Hurley, when he was nineteen. At least she had sex with Dean. Castiel won’t even talk to him.

*

On Friday he gets a text from Sam.

cas is a james bond virgin, we’re doing a marathon. we’ll order pizza and you can bring beer.

Dean texts ur too young for beer.

bring it anyway Sam texts back.

*

Dean buys two six-packs of beer and a few of apple juice boxes just to mess with Sam, who only rolls his eyes when he sees them, but goes to take them to the fridge anyway.

Castiel is sitting on the couch, straight-backed and reading the cover of the Dr. No DVD. He’s wearing a faded black shirt that says Rock is Dead, Paper Killed It. Castiel has a subtle sense of humor and it’s not the first time Dean’s seen him with a funny shirt, but it makes him laugh anyway, which startles Castiel.

“Oh. Hello, Dean.”

“Nice shirt, Cas.” Dean greets.

“Thank you.” Castiel says, looking very serious.

Dean sits on the other end of the couch and tries to look as normal and non-threatening as possible. They sit there in the most awkward silence Dean’s ever seen. Awkward is a normal thing around Castiel, but this is pretty pathetic.

He licks his lips and tries for a smile, and maybe start a conversation but notices that Castiel is staring at him, with that confused cartoon owl tilt of the head and a fucking frown. Seriously? Dean didn’t even say anything. His smile fades.

“So, uh—” What the hell. A nineteen-year-old is making him nervous. Dean should buy a teddy bear and call it Fluffles, he’s no longer cool. “You’ve never seen any of the James Bond movies?”

“No. Sam says I’m lacking in movie education.” Castiel glances at the DVD cover again. “I’ve also never seen The Godfather, nor any Indiana Jones movie, which Sam says is a crime.”

“Seriously?” What’s Castiel been doing with his free time? Dean really, really wants to know. “You’re not a big movie fan, then?”

“I like movies.” Castiel looks so confused for a moment that Dean wants to pet his owl head. “I didn’t know there was any educational importance to James Bond.”

“He’s a cool spy,” Dean says easily. “It’s important.”

Castiel just nods and it’s awkward again until Sam comes back with three beers and says the pizzas have been ordered. Cas looks more relaxed now that Sam’s around. And Dean thinks he might be pouting, so he downs half of his beer just to keep his mouth occupied.

The night sucks. They are halfway through Dr. No, and Dean feels jittery and weird, like he’s at an interview for a job and failing miserably. He has a good gaydar and he knows Cas is gay, and if he were any other guy, Dean would have charmed his pants off ages ago.

But every time Dean opens his mouth, Castiel will frown at him and Dean ends up never finishing any sentences, to a point where Sam pauses the movie to stare at Dean. “No more beer for you, ok?” he says.

*

Dean ends up agreeing to do another marathon next Friday, just because Sammy said please. It’s the magical word to make Dean do anything for him. And Dean didn’t have the courage to say what he was thinking. Which was hell, no. He doesn’t think his self esteem will survive another night with Castiel.

Worse, he’s pretty sure his dick will chafe from so much jerking off. Yeah, it’s that sad. He’s twenty three. He should be getting laid. He shouldn’t be mooning over a guy who hardly ever talks directly to Dean.

He decides then to just get over it.

On Thursday night, Dean goes out after work. He knows he’s hot and he knows it won’t take long to get someone willing to spend a night with him. He thinks maybe getting laid will help him forget this pre-teen crush. So it’s just his luck that the first guy who flirts with him has blue eyes and dark hair. And for some fucked-up reason, it just makes Dean angry.

He goes home and gets straight to bed. Angry and jealous, thinking of Castiel flirting with guys at a random bar, wanting to punch something.

Maybe his own face.

*

The next movie night is even worse.

They had meant to watch all three of The Godfather, but by the time Woltz finds the horse head, Dean’s had enough. He’s sitting between Sam and Castiel, impossibly uncomfortable, like someone’s shoved a pine tree up his ass and told him to sit still. The worst part is that Castiel has simply refused to look at Dean ever since he’s sat down. Like maybe if he ignores Dean, he’ll go away.

So Dean does the logical thing and excuses himself to pretend to answer his phone. Which he pretends is vibrating, the brave, brave guy he is. He goes into the kitchen and stands there, in the dark, with his silent phone pressed to his ear for a minute, thinking of how awesome he was once. A lifetime ago.

“Sorry, Sammy.” Coming out of the kitchen, he tries for nonchalant, but he thinks he might sound maniacal. “Gotta go.”

“What? Why? You love the Godfather.” Sam asks and Castiel doesn’t even look up or pretend to be sorry to see Dean go. Just stares at the TV.

“Well, it’s Friday night.” Dean smiles. “My people need me.”

“Fine.” Sam huffs. “Go out, get laid. Unleash the kraken.”

“See ya, Sam. Bye, Castiel.”

Dean finally breathes when the door closes behind him. Alright. That’s it. Move on.

The next day, he promptly refuses to participate on Castiel’s movie education again when Sam calls.

*

On Sunday morning, Dean wakes up to the smell of coffee and Sam sitting on his couch, eating cereal and watching what looks like a whale special on cable.

“You know, when I said you could visit any time, I didn’t expect you to do it all the time.” He croaks.

“Yes you did.” Sam says around a mouthful of Fruit Loops. “That’s why you gave me key.”

“Shut up.” Dean goes to the kitchen and pours himself some coffee. It’s strong and awesome, just the way he likes it. “You know I hate watching small animals being eaten by big animals, right?” he says, flopping beside Sam on the couch. “It’s just wrong.”

“It’s how nature works, Dean.”

They sit there and watch it. It’s pretty gruesome, and when the killer whales start ganging up on a seal, Dean steals the remote and changes the channel.

“I was watching that.” Sam says, but it doesn’t sound like he really cares.

“So. How’s that girl of yours?” Dean asks, just to see Sam blush. And, yeah. There it is. It’s so easy.

“Jess and I are friends, Dean.” Even his ears are red. “We’re hanging out.”

“Right.” Dean smirks. “So you’re not in love with her?”

“Blow me.”

“You’re not thinking about marrying her?”

“Just shut up, ok?” Sam is smiling now. “I’m actually just thinking about asking her out.”

“I knew it!”

Sam keeps on smiling, eating his soggy cereal. He looks happy and Dean’s glad for it. He wanted to keep an eye on Sam, but Sam needed to learn to take care of himself. And Dean’s glad that Sam visits all the time, because he’s pretty sure it would be impossible to keep himself from constantly dropping by Sam’s. And if only one of them was clingy, it would be pretty lame.

“Hey, Dean? Did you say something to Cas on Friday?”

Dean’s stupid heart starts beating way too fast. “What? No. Why?”

“It’s just.” Sam puts his empty bowl on his lap. “He acted weird the rest of the night. And he looked really upset when I mentioned your name. You sure you didn’t say anything?”

“No. I don’t think so.” He scratches his head. “It’s just the way he reacts to me, Sammy. Don’t worry about it.”

“Really?” Sam sounds dubious and Dean did not want to get into this. Ever. ‘Specially not with Sam, who likes to talk about feelings and shit. “Wait. How do you mean?”

“He’s not my biggest fan,” he mumbles.

“Did you do something to him?” Sam’s squinting at him now, apparently trying to read Dean’s mind.

“What? No! Why do you think it’s my fault?”

“Is it? Your fault?”

Dean deflates, his indignation replaced by pure shame. “Maybe. I think he knows I’m into him and doesn’t like it.”

Sam stares at him, mouth open, for what feels like a long, long time. “Oh my God, you like Cas!”

“Yes, ok?” Dean gets up from the couch, feeling his face heating. “I like him and he hates me!”

“I’m sorry, man. That sucks.” Sam’s got that look now. That sympathetic look. “Do you—“

“I swear to God, Sammy. If you try to make me talk about it, I’ll beat you up.”

Sam smiles, “Fine.”

Dean relaxes a little and goes to get himself another cup of coffee, maybe some cereal too.

“Do you want to watch Titanic and cry in my arms?” Sam shouts from the living room.

“Shut the fuck up!” Dean shouts back.

He can hear Sam laughing.

*

For the next three weeks, Dean only sees his brother when Sam comes to visit. And Sam doesn’t question it.

Sam doesn’t mention Castiel again, and Dean wishes he would. Sam’s the only person Dean knows who knows Castiel, and he always had a story to tell about him, or about people’s reaction to him. Now, Sam only talks about his own stuff, and Dean’s glad to hear about it, he is. But fuck, he kind of wants to hear about Castiel too.

He doesn’t ask, though. He thinks it might be better to stay away.

He sees Castiel twice more when he’s stocking their kitchen, and both times neither of them says anything. The second time, Castiel’s shirtless.

The horse is down, stop beating it.

Dean goes home, thinking about the small mole above Castiel’s left nipple and refuses to be the creeper who gets horny because of a mole.

He jerks off anyway.

*

Dean’s trying to figure out where to start with the most beaten up 1989 Audi 200 Sedan he’s ever seen, when Sam calls.

“Sammy, when you make enough money to get yourself a car, promise me you’ll treat it well?” Dean says instead of hello.

“I promise to let you take care of it for me, how about that?” Sam answers.

“It’ll have to do. So what’s up?”

Sam sighs into the phone. “So, ok. Listen. Jess is coming over on Saturday night. And I was thinking of, you know.” He coughs. “I want you to meet her.”

Dean laughs out loud.

“Dean!” Sam says, a little too high. “Please. I’d like you to meet her and she’s not working this Saturday, so could you please come?”

“Are you scared I won’t approve of her? I swear I’ll only ask for a few cows in exchange for your hand.”

“Ha ha. You are so funny,” Sam deadpans.

“Ok, ok. I promise I’ll give your hand in marriage. I know you love her.”

“So you’ll come?”

“Yes!” He really wants to meet this magical amazing girl Sam’s been talking about for months.

Sam’s silent for a while before saying, “Cas will be there too. Is that ok?”

It’s not, but whatever. “It’s fine. I’ll be there, I promise.”

“Remember that for every story about my childhood, I’ll have two about your pre-teen years,” Sam says, and the bitch hangs up.

*

Dean gets to Sam’s place, and Jess is not there yet.

“She should be here any minute now.” Sam is fidgeting and trying to flatten his hair. “We just ordered Chinese. I thought about ordering pizza too. Or maybe some burgers, but Cas says it’s unnecessary.”

“Yeah, I agree.” Dean smiles. “Dude, breathe.”

“He is freaking out, it seems.” Castiel says from the kitchen door. Today he’s wearing a green shirt that says So far, this is the oldest I’ve ever been. Dean can’t help but smile at him, and Cas nods back, with a small frown.

Dean holds Sam by the shoulders and forces him to sit on the couch. “Sammy, relax.”

Sam does, but not much. “I can’t believe I did that. I asked her to meet you guys.”

“If she thinks this is awkward, my awesome personality will charm her worries away.” Dean says.

“Or your modesty will scare her,” Sam mumbles, but he’s smiling.

“Impossible.” Dean smiles back.

When Sam gets nervous, he talks a lot. It’s his tell. He’ll start rambling nonstop, about anything, until someone shuts him up. Dean thinks that, someday, Sam will talk until he just runs out of air.

Castiel sits by Sam and listens calmly to whatever he’s is talking about, nodding at the right times and generally being a good friend, and Dean feels sort of bad for wanting to mock Sam, but he does it anyway, just to distract him. It works too, because ten minutes later, Sam is actually silent. Good. Dean was about to smother him.

They try watching TV for a while, but they aren’t paying attention to it, so Sam gets up to put on some music, which Dean has a terrible feeling is going to be some emo indie crap, when Sam’s phone rings.

His face lights up when he sees the caller id. “Hey, Jess,” he says, quietly, and seems to forget about the music. Thankfully.

Dean makes mocking faces at Sam, who rolls his eyes and leaves the room, talking quietly. Dean thinks he catches a “stupid brother” there.

And suddenly Dean’s alone with Castiel, with nothing but painfully awkward silence for company. Dean can hear Sam’s quiet voice from the kitchen, laughing at whatever Jess just said on the phone. So she’s probably running late with all the phone flirting she’s doing with Sam.

Castiel is looking at anywhere but Dean and it’s honestly pissing him off. It’s not like Dean can just get up and leave. He promised Sam he’d be here, and he won’t leave it just because the guy he likes hates him. He’s not thirteen anymore. He can suck it up.

The bitch of it all is that he doesn’t even know what the fuck he did to twist Castiel’s panties. He thinks maybe he stared too much at the guy’s mouth the day they met. Or maybe he’s one of those super-closeted gay guys that are pretty homophobic, though he’s sure Castiel isn’t closeted or actually homophobic. Just very much anti-Dean.

He’s thinking about all the horrible things Sam might have told Castiel about him, when Castiel suddenly gets up from the couch. He stares at Dean for maybe half a beat and stalks out of the room, looking upset. Shit, maybe Dean was staring again and didn’t even realize, great.

Dean sighs.

Castiel is back a minute later, looking very serious. He opens his mouth, probably to tell Dean off, then closes it. He frowns again and Dean is so fucking tired of seeing that frown!

He gets up and stares back, hoping it’ll make Castiel spill it out already.

Instead, Castiel grabs two handfuls of Dean’s shirt and kisses him. Like, full on the mouth, his chapped lips sliding slowly between Dean’s own. A second, maybe two later, Castiel lets go of Dean’s shirt and breaks the kiss.

He steps back, leaving Dean feeling dazed.

“What?” he says, or maybe thinks.

Castiel smells like soap.

“I thought perhaps I’d kiss you,” Castiel says, voice rough. He’s frowning again and not looking at Dean. “Since I know you avoid all contact with me. I thought I’d try it once. While I had the chance.”

“No, seriously. What?”

“I apologize. It won’t happen again, I give you my word.” Castiel goes to the couch, and sits as far away from where Dean is standing as possible.

“You wanted to kiss me?” Dean feels this ridiculous ball of happy inside his chest. It might be death coming to take him, but it feels like hope. “You wanted to try it.”

“Yes.” It’s all Castiel says.

“Cas.” Dean’s heart is beating hard now. He sits beside Castiel, who goes even more stiff and looks scared. Holy shit. Holy fucking shit. “Cas, don’t you hate me?”

“What? Why would I hate you?” He’s still not looking at Dean, but he looks confused now.

“You’re always frowning at me.” Dean says, and he can’t help smiling. “You never talk to me.”

“I frown at you?” He looks at Dean now. “I didn’t realize. You make me feel a lot of different things.”

“But you still never talk to me.”

“Because you dislike me.”

He glances at Dean’s mouth and frowns. Dean licks his lips and the frown deepens. Oh. Oh. Castiel frowns when he’s horny. Oh, God.

Dean laughs, and Castiel looks surprised.

“Jess is running late,” Sam says coming into the room, but Dean isn’t looking at him. “She said—”

“Back in to the kitchen, Sammy.”

“Oh. Wow. Okay,” Sam says, and Dean thinks he can hear him laughing.

“Cas,” Dean whispers, holding Castiel’s face into his hands. “I like you. A lot.”

Castiel smiles. It’s the first time he’s smiled at Dean and he can’t even appreciate it, because they’re kissing again, hard and open-mouthed. And fuck. It’s better than Dean expected. Cas tastes awesome and his mouth is hot and wet and fuck. He’s been thinking about kissing him ever since they met. Castiel grabs Dean by the neck, no inhibitions, and kisses so deep Dean might be moaning into it.

“Guys?” They break the kiss, to see Sam standing by the kitchen door, hands on his eyes. “I’m really glad you guys found each other’s tongues, but Jess is downstairs and I’m about to buzz her up.”

Dean chuckles. Apparently they’ve been kissing for a while now. Castiel nods at Sam, and oh, man. His hair is messy and his face is flushed and his mouth, damn it, is red a little swollen and Dean wants to bite it.

“No, no! Stop.” Sam exclaims, waving his hands to get their attention. “You can look for his tonsils later, Dean.”

“Okay,” Dean breathes. He bumps Castiel’s shoulder. “Later.” He tries to put all he means into the word and he thinks Cas gets it, because he blatantly stares at Dean’s mouth, licks his lips and frowns.

“Later, yes,” he whispers back.

And he keeps on frowning.

Dean thinks it’ll be really fucking awkward to get a boner every time Cas looks at him like that.

Well, he’ll live.

 

The End