He hadn’t meant to drink as much as he had. He hadn’t even meant to return to the bar but Dean had always been good at convincing himself that he had time for things he didn’t. Like drinking. He knew that he was only prolonging the inevitable, knew he would have to confess his indiscretions to Anna sooner or later, but Dean found himself pushing it off for as long as he could. Still he found himself standing outside Anna’s apartment a bit too soon for his liking.
His knocks fell too hard on the door and Dean quickly realized that it would have been better to be sober for the conversation. He took a deep breath and tried to steel himself, tried to stand straighter and look more sober than he felt. He knew he had failed when Anna opened the door and her bright smile faltered at the sight of him.
“Dean? What’s wrong?” She opened the door and led him in and to the couch, worry etched across her brow. Dean felt like shit for making her worry. He felt even worse when he realized how much he was about to hurt her. He felt his face crumble at the thought and rubbed a hand over it, trying to hide. “Dean?” Anna’s arm wrapped around him and pulled him close, her small hand rubbing soothing circles between his shoulder blades. He reveled under her touch and then quickly shrugged her off, forcing himself up off the couch and stumbling away from her, putting distance between them, either to protect her or himself. He was almost positive it was the latter.
“I need to tell you something.” He sighed, trying to steady himself. He found himself staring at the floor, at his scuffed up boots against her pristine hardwood floors and forced himself to look up, to look at her. Anna met his gaze easily, her brow furrowed, a frown turning down her usual steady smile. She looked too much like Castiel and Dean found his gaze wondering again.
“I guess whatever you’re about to tell me is pretty bad,” she said softly. She stood up and took a step towards him and Dean stumbled back, shaking his head. “What is it? Did something happen?” He nodded and took a deep breath.
“I slept with your brother.” The sentence seemed to echo throughout the apartment and Anna stood stalk still in the following silence, disbelieving. She shook her head and even backed away from Dean before she seemed to stop herself. She opened her mouth and then promptly shut it and Dean knew she was searching for the right words though Dean didn’t know what the right words were. “Anna?” he started cautiously, softly but Anna shook her head and looked around the room for a moment longer, eyes settling on pictures on Castiel, pictures Dean had never noticed before.
“When?” she asked softly and Dean shrugged his shoulders, surprised by the question. He had figured that when he told her he would be berated with shrill yells about trust, monogamy, and love while random objects hurtled at him. Neither happened.
“Over a year ago,” he replied, trailing off and realizing that it had sounded more like a question than a statement when Anna turned her gaze back to him, her lips pursed. “A year ago,” he nodded, confirming it. She sighed and sat heavily down on the couch behind her, nodding along with him.
“So before we started?” Dean nodded and took a step towards her but didn’t go further when she grimaced and buried her face in her hands. “When did you,” she paused, her voice muffled by her hands. She took a deep breath and let her hands drop, settling her eyes on Dean. “When did you realize?"
Dean sighed heavily and began to pace the room, raking his fingers through his hair as if the touch could somehow give him the right words to fix it. “About a month now. I recognized him from the pictures.” Anna nodded and Dean watched as her knuckles turned white against her knees. He stood still, instantly sobered by her reaction, taking in every detail, the way she held her breath as she turned the information over in her head, the way her eyes flickered as new questions burst forth in her mind, the way she slumped forward as she finally exhaled before taking another breath to steady herself against the onslaught of questions that begged to drop from her mouth.
“So when we had dinner with them the first time, you knew.” Dean nodded. “And you didn’t tell me because?” Dean shrugged helplessly and knew he had giving the wrong answer when Anna pursed her lips once more and nodded harshly, her brows crinkling. “Did you want to see how he’d react? Were you using me to get to him again?”
“No!” Dean exclaimed, propelled forward by his own admission as he dropped to his knees before her as if to plead for mercy. “No, of course not. I didn’t tell you because I was afraid.” Anna scoffed and Dean grimaced, understanding her disbelief. “Anna I like you a lot. I haven’t felt this way about anyone in a very long time and I know you were taking a leap of faith of me when we started. I am well aware of my reputation.”
“I never cared about your reputation, Dean,” Anna interrupted, her face falling and Dean’s heart fell with it at the sight of her.
“I didn’t want to ruin this, whatever this is, was.” Anna huffed a forced laugh.
“Is this your way of breaking up with me?” she asked, incredulous. Dean quickly shook his head in the negative, reaching forward and grasping her hands in his.
“No, not at all. I just thought-“ he paused and bit his lip, trying to find the words but failing miserably. He had never been good with words, especially when it came to relationships. “I don’t want this to end. I just couldn’t keep it from you anymore.”
Anna nodded and pulled her hand out from under his, rubbing at her knuckles absently as she ran over the conversation in her mind. Dean sat back on his heels, his shoulders slumped forward as he bit at his lip and wondered if he had just ruined the first good thing he had managed to grab a hold of in a long time. “Do you want to?” he asked softly after another moment of silence.
“Do I want to what?”
“Break up,” Dean shrugged helplessly and Anna warily shook her head and Dean let out a breath he hadn’t realized he had been holding. “Good,” he nodded, gaze trailing over Anna’s clasped hands before looking up at her. She frowned and shook her head before standing up and maneuvering around him, putting space between them once more. Dean sighed and stood up along with her, shoving his hands down into his pockets. “Should I leave?”
“Yeah,” Anna nodded, biting her lip again, turning it bright red. “I’ll call you later. I just need time to process.” Dean nodded along with her as he slowly shuffled towards her, resting a tentative hand on her arm. He leaned forwards and ducked his head to kiss her and immediately felt awkward when she titled her head away from him. He sighed and kissed her forehead, wishing he could take the entire conversation back. “Go, Dean.” Dean nodded and made his way out of the apartment.
The keys to the impala clinked in his pocket and he patted them carefully before pulling out his cell and pressing number one on his speed dial. It took two rings before the call was picked up as Dean exited the apartment building and stared at his car, it’s front passenger wheel up on the curve. “Hey, Sam,” he paused and listened as his brother snipped at him for the late call while he looked over the gleaming exterior, noting no visible damage had been done in his reckless, drunken haste to get to Anna. “Yeah, man, I know, I’m sorry. Could you pick me up?” He leaned up against his car and felt the cool metal seep into his skin. “Yeah, I’m outside Anna’s- yeah I told her.” Dean closed his eyes and listened as Sam empathized profusely over the phone. “Yeah, dude, this can wait till you pick me up.” He could practically hear Sam’s bitch face through the small cell and he smiled. “Bitch. And thanks again.” He flipped the cell shut and shoved it into his pocket with his car keys. He debated briefly about trying to re-park her but decided against it, not daring to risk any damage to her and counting himself lucky that he hadn’t on his drive over from the bar. He sighed and sat down on the curb next to her as he waited. He desperately wanted another drink and hoped Sam would be abiding when he asked.
The ringing of his cell shattered any hope Castiel had of delving back into a peaceful sleep cuddled up in Balthazar’s side. He tried to ignore it, willed it to go away as he nuzzled his nose into Balthazar’s armpit and pulled the other man closer, twining their legs together as Balthazar snuffed in his sleep and scratched absently at his chest. The ringing didn’t stop and soon Balthazar was pushing Castiel away and turning over, grumbling as he did so. Castiel sighed and forced himself up on his elbows, twisting in the sheets to get a look at his cell on his nightstand. He wondered absently who would be calling him at three in the morning but his thought was cut short at Balthazar’s curt grumble, “If you don’t answer it in the next three seconds I will break it.”
Castiel chuckled and pressed a soft kiss to the nape of Balthazar’s neck before he pushed himself up off the bed and grabbed his cell, exiting the room as quickly and quietly as he could. He frowned as he read the caller ID and swiped the cell’s touch screen to answer it. “Anna?” he whispered with a yawn as he settled into the couch, curling his legs up underneath him.
“Did you sleep with Dean?” Castiel jerked backwards and away from his cell, looking at it confusedly for a moment as if it could answer his questions before he brought it back up to his ear.
“What?” he asked, frowning.
“You heard me, Castiel. Did you sleep with Dean?” Anna curtly replied. Castiel sighed and shook his head, wondering why Dean had decided to tell his sister without him and why he had apparently waited until three in the morning to do so. “Well?”
“Yes, Anna. Dean and I had sex.” He heard Anna curse, her voice slightly muffled as if she had pulled her phone away from her. “It was also over a year ago, I had been spectacularly drunk and confident I would never see him again.”
“He told me that,” Anna whispered and Castiel could imagine her nodding, sitting curled up in her bed, her lower lip caught between her teeth as she tried to make sense of everything. “Not that you were drunk, but that it had happened long before us.” Castiel waited patiently for Anna to continue but she sat silently on her end. Castiel sighed after waiting three minutes and looked towards his bedroom, craving the warmth of his covers and Balthazar’s arms.
“Anna, I don’t mean to be rude, especially after this, but isn’t this something that should be discussed in person?”
“Since when are you aware of social norms?” Anna sniped and Castiel resisted the urge to hang up on her then.
“Anna you woke me up at three in the morning on a school night to ask me whether or not I had sex with your boyfriend over a year again before you even knew him. I answered and I’ve been patient while you’ve sat and thought but I’m tired, I have an eight AM lecture in the morning and this is something we should talk about in person not over the phone.” Anna huffed and sat quietly on her end for another minute before she answered.
“Fine. Tomorrow. And I want all the details Castiel, everything.” Castiel sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose, nodding silently as he responded.
“Of course Anna. I’ll see you tomorrow.” Before he could ask for a time, he heard the dial tone signaling the end of the call. Castiel heaved a sigh and clutched his cell tightly in his hands, wishing he knew what to expect from Anna and wondering how much he would be willing to tell. He stood up and stretched, dropping his cell onto the coffee table before making his way back into the bedroom.
He crawled onto the bed, stretching out next to Balthazar, his arm wrapping around Balthazar’s stomach to pull him closer. Balthazar grumbled and turned towards Castiel in his sleep, his steady breath ghosting across Castiel’s lips. Castiel sighed and closed his eyes, willing all thoughts of Anna and Dean out of his mind.
It had taken Dean way too long to locate the office, let alone the building and the campus maps really did not help in directing him anywhere. The fact that the woman at the front desk was automatically dismissive of him simply because of the grease under his fingernails didn’t exactly help his mood either. Still, after the woman sniffing at him for five minuets, he found himself following students down a long hall until he finally stopped beside a plaque that read Room 1108 - Prof. Castiel Novak Ph.D.
Dean stopped and took a deep breath, cataloguing everything he wanted, needed, to say to Castiel before Anna confronted him about what Dean had told her the night before. The door to his office stood slightly ajar and soft voices filtered through it. H wondered briefly if Castiel was with a student, and thought for a moment that he should come back later but knew if he left he wouldn’t gather the nerve to come back again. He reached forward to knock when he heard Castiel. “Maybe you’re right, maybe I should tell her everything.” Dean leaned forward, almost pressing his ear to the door.
“Of course I’m right! I mean come on Cassie, what do you think is gonna happen? Do you think this is going to end well for you if you don’t?” Gabriel asked and Dean cringed inwardly. It would be his luck that the one person who probably hated Dean, and with good reason to, would be there. A twenty-something brushed past him and nearly knocked him into the door. He glared after her but quickly returned his focus to the conversation inside.
“Frankly Gabriel, it’s not me I’m worried about. I can handle anything Anna dishes me and we both know I deserve it after what happened.” Gabriel scoffed loudly and Dean couldn’t help the scowl that pulled at his lips due to the sound.
“I told you. I told you that this would happen but you wouldn’t listen.”
“Jesus, Gabriel! It was just a kiss!” Castiel sighed out, exasperated. Dean could just imagine him slouched over a cluttered desk, those long fingers raking through his dark hair.
“It would have been more if Anna hadn’t been there and you know it.” Dean frowned and wondered just how much Gabriel thought of his younger brother. Castiel sat silent under the accusation and Dean quickly found himself wondering if perhaps what Gabriel said was the truth. “Damn it Cas, you’re supposed to tell me that I’m wrong. Do you actually like this guy?”
“Gabriel,” Castiel growled as if in warning. “You need to let go of this idea, right now.”
“Well you’re not exactly denying it!” Gabriel exclaimed loudly and Dean leaned back from the door. Another student passing by raised an eyebrow at him and he gave a small smile as if to reassure the stranger he had every right being there.
“Fine Gabriel, I won’t deny that I find Dean very attractive and that yes, under different circumstances I probably would pursue a physical relationship with him.” Gabriel gave a derisive snort. “But he’s dating Anna and I would never purposely do anything to damage my relationship with her and frankly Gabriel, I’m offended that you think I would stoop so low.” It was silent for a moment and Dean mulled over Castiel’s words in his head, finding himself stuck at Castiel’s admission.
“I know you wouldn’t, Cassie,” Gabriel said softly and Dean found himself straining to hear. “Look, tell her, don’t tell her, it’s up to you. Just really think about who you’re trying to protect here. Are you really doing this for Anna?” Silence once again filled the room and Dean pulled away from the door and pressed up against the wall as his mind raced.
He had little time to gather his thoughts though as the shuffling of footsteps gave way to the door opening and Castiel stepped forward. His eyes widened when they took in Dean’s presence and Dean noted he was right when he pictured Castiel’s hands raking through his hair as it stood up at odd angles about his head. “Dean.” Dean nodded and shifted from one foot to the other as he shoved his fisted hands into the pockets of his leather jacket.
“Hey,” he mumbled, watching as Castiel’s face went from surprise to curious in a matter of seconds that seemed to stretch into minutes. He titled his head to the side and leaned into the door jam, his sleeves rolled up his forearms and his blue tie pulled loose around his neck. Gabriel peered out from his shoulder and frowned.
“How long have you been there, Dean-o?” he asked, raising an eyebrow as his gaze flitted between both men. Dean shrugged and forced his gaze from Castiel’s face, his squinted blue eyes and pink lips, to Gabriel.
“I dunno, a couple of seconds?” Gabriel nodded, the left corner of his mouth pulling up in disbelief.
“Yeah, and how much did you hear?” Dean’s eyes widened and he took a step back, shaking his head to deny the implication of eavesdropping though he was very much guilty of it.
“Gabriel,” Castiel sighed, shaking his head before dropping his forehead to the door jam and pressing it there. Dean watched, frowning as the man before him seemed to age five years. “I’ll talk to you later, okay?” Gabriel huffed but nodded, shrugging on the coat he had been holding.
“You better.” He paused, taking a deep breath and eyeing Dean up and down before he stepped forward into the other man’s space. “I’m watching you,” he stated, pointing a finger and taking immense pleasure in jabbing it at Dean’s chest. “You do anything to hurt Anna or Castiel and I can promise you they’ll never find the body. You understand me?” Dean frowned, his brows furrowing as he pursed his lips.
“Gabriel,” Castiel huffed. He tugged his older brother away and shook his head. Gabriel bit his bottom lip and nodded before making his way down the hall towards the exit but not before shooting Dean his deadliest glare. Dean watched as the other man sauntered down the hall and realized that Gabriel probably meant to hurt him no matter what Dean did. Any thought of the elder Novak quickly disappeared when Castiel touched his shoulder and Dean found himself once again face to face with the man who had been haunting his dreams for nights now, months if he was honest.
“Come on, Dean,” he said softly, gesturing to his office with a nod of his head. Dean nodded numbly and followed him in, taking in the cluttered desk, the shelves filled with numerous texts and Castiel’s waistcoat draped across the plush leather couch to the left. Castiel seated himself down behind his desk, his hand raking through his hair before he motioned for Dean to take the seat across from him. “How can I help you?”
“I was hoping we could talk,” Dean answered, frowning as the other man refused to make eye contact with him, instead focusing on trying to organize the mess of papers on his desk. Castiel nodded and looked up at him once as if to say ‘continue’ and Dean shifted awkwardly in his seat before leaning forward and grasping one of Castiel’s hands, stilling his movements. “Kind of hard to talk when you’re not focused on the conversation.”
“Sorry,” Castiel murmured, slowly pulling his hand out from under Dean’s before clasping them together on the desk. “My apologies. What did you want to talk about?” Dean sighed and found himself running a hand through his own hair as if it would force his thoughts to his mouth.
“About Anna.” Castiel nodded and his eyes once more darted about the room before finally settling on Dean, his face grim as if he knew their conversation would not be pleasant but was steeling himself for it anyway. “Has she talked to you?” Castiel nodded and Dean cursed softly, frustrated with Anna but more with himself. “You-“ he paused, trying to get his thoughts in order, trying to figure out how to best word his next question. “Did you tell her? About the other night?”
“No,” Castiel sighed, shaking his head. “Not yet.” Dean’s eyes widened and he shook his head.
“Shit. Fuck, Cas, you want to tell her?” Castiel nodded.
“Of course. She’s my sister Dean. No matter what you think or Gabriel thinks, I’m going to do what best for Anna.” Dean shook his head and gave a soft growl behind closed lips. “What exactly do you propose I do, Dean.”
“Don’t tell her! It was a fluke, it’ll never happen again.” Castiel’s eyes narrowed and he leaned forward as if to get a better look at Dean. Dean forced himself to look back but fidgeted in his seat as he did so. “It won’t happen again,” he repeated, whether for his benefit or Cas’ he wasn’t sure.
“Dean, I cannot stress how bad it would be for both of us if Anna found out on her own.”
“You think it’s gonna be okay if we tell her?” Dean scoffed, raising an eyebrow. “Cause I can tell you right now, it’ll just make things worse. And not just for me. Yeah I’m the asshole boyfriend who she can break up with and never see again. But you? You’re the asshole brother who betrayed her.” Castiel rose from his chair slowly, his hands fisted, knuckles turning white, as he leaned towards Dean, his gaze piercing and harsh.
“You know nothing of my relationship with my sister, Dean Winchester, and if this is how you think you can convince me to keep this a secret you are sorely mistaken,” he growled and Dean leaned back in his chair as if to put more room between them. “If that is all, I suggest you leave before I make you.” Castiel sat back down then and turned his attention towards his desk once more, dismissing Dean entirely.
Dean got up from his chair and made his way over to the door but halted once his fingers touched the doorknob. He looked back at Castiel who had given up at organizing the mess of papers in front of him in favor of dropping his head into his hands. He took a breath and turned around. “You’re right. I don’t know anything about your relationship with Anna and if anyone had tried that line on me about my brother, I’d be pissed to.” Castiel dropped his hands to the desk and looked up, brow furrowed in confusion, lips sealed tight. “Whatever you decide, I’ll deal with as it’s my own damn fault anyways. I just-“ He paused and looked upwards to get away from Castiel’s heavy stare. “Outside of my brother she’s the only good thing I’ve got,” he said with a shrug.
Castiel’s eyes widened only a fraction but it was enough to let know that what Dean said hit home. He nodded, frowning even more. “Okay.”
“Okay? You mean you’re not gonna tell her?” Dean asked taking a step forward. Castiel huffed and shook his head. “Then what?”
“I won’t lie to her Dean. Whatever she asks, I’ll tell her the truth. What happens next is up to her, you understand?” Dean nodded and realized that Castiel was right, what happened next was up to Anna. He turned to leave and paused when Castiel made a soft sound. “For what it’s worth Dean, I’m sorry that this has happened.”
“Yeah, me too, Cas,” Dean replied with a soft smile before he left. Castiel sighed and rested his head on his arms, wondering how he was going to make it through the day.