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Never to suffer would never to have been blessed

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THIS IS A SECOND STORY IT WILL NOT MAKE SENSE WITHOUT READING THE FIRST STORY

February 27th

Dean Smith wanted to go home. He was bone tired. He should have sprung for first class, he thought for the seventh time as he shifted in the cramped airline seat, but this was the first flight out of Taipei, and he yearned to be home more than he needed comfort. The lights overhead were off. Encouraging the passengers to sleep. He shifted again in the seat. The man in front of him had his seat fully reclined, he kept bashing his knee on the back of his seat and the man had the audacity to shoot him a dirty look.  He’d been on this particular plane for eight hours, but he was already twelve hours into his nineteen hour trip.  He felt bedraggled. His eyes itchy, his clothes felt rumpled and stained, and on top of all that physical discomfort was a whole lot of guilt. He’d gone to see Cas’s brother.

He glanced out the window, he could see an engine of the airplane beyond that was a sea of hazy blue clouds. They were flying through a layer of clouds, fluffy layers of clouds above and below them. It felt like the entire world was a reflection of itself.  He was going back in time. Taipei was thirteen hours ahead of him.  He’d gotten on the plane from Tokyo at 6:30, but he’d land at Chicago O’Hare  around 3. Then finally home around 7:30.

He fished his phone out of his pocket. It was set to airplane mode,but he could easily browse through it.

He missed them.  

He’d only intended on being gone for a few days, when he got the call from Mr. Adler saying they needed him to personally handle a sales account out of Taiwan. It wasn’t a unique experience. He’d handled sales negotiations before but never an account this big and never half way across the world. Mr. Adler called it veting. Could he handle the pressure and travel requirements of a promotion. It was an extreme example. He knew normally he wouldn’t be more than a few hours from home, but Taipei was on the rise and they needed building materials . The market was competitive and, Sandover was trying to branch out into overseas sales. Mr. Adler had made it seem life or death. When ultimately it was a simple deal they wanted to buy from them, because the bid was impossibly low.

Dean unlocked his phone and begun to browse.    

The first photo was sent by Sam, it was a selfie of Cas and him eating ice cream.  It was staged, but they looked happy. Happier than Dean had been without them. A two day trip to California, turned it to a three week jaunt to the other side of the world.

He’d barely spoken to either of them in nearly a month, because of the time difference. They communicated predominantly in photos and texts. Dean snuck pictures of himself at board meeting and at dinner with clients. They sent him pictures of their days.

They were sitting in the little metal tables outside. Bundled up against the cold, but still eating ice cream. Sam wore a forest green toboggan holding his bowl of mint chocolate chip with gloved hands. Cas wore long hoodie like jacket he had the hood down. Beneath that he wore long sleeves and spiked leather fingerless gloves. They were smiling at the camera each taking a bite of ice cream. Cas was doing his a mite bit more suggestively than Sam licking the length of his plastic spoon.

Dean flipped to the next photo, it was one of Cas, he’d been laying in his bed texting him till he fell asleep. Begging him to come home and join him in bed. It was low lighting, he must have just turned on a lamp to get the picture it was mostly of his face. He was curled up on his side in front of the phone, a coy lingering sleepy smile on his face, but he could see his chest and arm that held the phone. He’d confessed that he was naked in Dean’s bed. Sam having gone home leaving him alone, but Cas’s late night three am texts were Dean’s four pm I really can’t get an erection in the middle of this meeting texts.

He was frustrated, more than just sexually. He wanted to be with them. Yet he was in exile, it was self imposed to be sure,but nonetheless he was removed from where he wanted to be.

He wanted to go home.

Until now his job had been his only goal in life it had fulfilled him, challenged him, kept him going, only now it didn’t feel challenging. It felt stifling and if he was being honest it had felt like that for the last four years. He’d lost himself to this job. To the person he was supposed to be. He wasn’t sure he could change, or if he wanted to. He was thirty. Somehow that felt ancient and still young and full of vigor at the same time.  

Cas’s brother was younger than he was,and he made sure that Dean knew it. There was that guilt again.

The roar of the engine surrounded him. Aimless whitenoise. Punctuated by the shifting and coughing of his fellow passengers. This yearning for home, wasn’t an entirely new emotion, but it was real this time... In his childhood,in foster care, he’d yearned for a home that didn’t exist, with a family that was just an illusion. His entire life, home had been an abstract construct. He had never suffered the way Cas did. He alway had four walls around him and a roof over his head, but even with Bobby he’d never really had a home. Not in the same way, by that point he was an adult, he couldn’t call singer scrapyard a home. With Bobby he finally found family, but home was meant to be a shelter a place where he could relax and be himself. Really be himself. He had that, with Cas and Sam. time away had only cemented that feeling, he loved Sam and was well on his way to loving Cas the same way.

He shifted in his seat again bashing his knee against the back of the seat before him. The man whirled again straining to look behind him.

He was glaring at Dean,

“Sorry.” he groused.

Slowly lowering his leg. Getting off this damn plane couldn't happen soon enough.

He lay back in the seat, closing his eyes. He just hoped that Cas could forgive his meddling he just wanted the same thing for Cas. Safety, happiness, home… and a family.

***

Sam Wesson wanted to get high. Was planning on it actually. He’d given up on hydrocodone, and switched back to good old fashioned codeine, the switch had not mattered to Dillan, he was willing to supply him with whatever he wanted, for a price. Sam was in the darkened kitchen of his apartment. He had a light on in the living room, he didn’t want to sit entirely in the dark, he needed to see what he was doing, but the overhead light was oppressive. There was a plethora of containers spread out before him on the cabinet.  He was using a cold water extraction to remove as much of the APAP as he could. This process couldn’t be rushed. Not if he wanted to do it safely. It wasn’t like making meth where one wrong move could blow the place sky high, but the goal of this process was to separate the acetaminophen from the codeine and gain a set amount of water laced with codeine. That process took exact measurements, patience and time.

The method itself was relatively simple. Dissolve the pills in water and then filter the water, codeine, and acetaminophen. The filter would allow the water laced with codeine through, but trap the harmful APAP. It wasn’t enough for Sam to have inaccurate amounts the risk still outweighed the benefits. It was the difference between a user and an addict. He was concerned about the safety. So he carefully measured and tested his method. He was making a batch.

He used 68 pills, and set his measurements for 500mg of codeine  based on a loss of twenty percent. He didn’t crush the pills, as far as he was concerned it created more waste, and didn’t speed the process along by any noticeable degree. He used 1 ml of water for every 2mg of codeine. It took roughly fifteen minutes for the pills to dissolve,he would stir continuously till the pills dissolved.  

The waiting was the worst part of it. Not because he couldn’t wait to get high, he waited, he had rules for using. He didn't get high during the day. He would go to Sandover stone cold sober, suffer through the day. He didn’t get high around Cas. He would go over to see how Cas was doing and spend time at Dean’s place with him before coming home to get high. No the waiting was the worst because his mind would wander. He didn’t like his unfiltered thoughts, he prefered them to be filtered through codeine.

.  All of his doses were premeasured in small glass swing top bottles he kept in the fridge. He kept his dose at 30 ml of water 60mgs of codeine. It was a dose that he had slowly been raising up from 30mgs, without the APAP it was a lot safer to take higher doses. The highest dose he would ever take would be 100mgs but he didn’t want to take it there yet. He also only took one dose at night. At least so far. He was in control, that was the most important aspect of it. He was a user, not at addict. He wasn’t doing it to fill a hole in his life anymore he was doing it as an enhancement on his life. Self medicating.

After letting the pills disolve the next step was freezing the APAP, he wanted to have the top layer just crusted over not actually frozen leaving it easily able to be separated. Then filter and bottle just the water and codeine.  He used two glasses splitting the water between to speed up the process, two coffee filters over each glass. He watched the milky liquid drip ever so slowly past the coffee filter becoming clear as it dripped  into the glass container below.

Dean was coming home. He’d be home in less than an hour. Thus the reason Sam wanted to have his batch ready and hidden before Dean got home. He felt guilty.

He wasn’t sure if it was because he was doing something he knew Dean wouldn’t understand, or approve of, the man wouldn't see a difference between controlled usage and being an addict, or if it was because he hadn’t told him. Sam continued to watch, drip drip drip.

It was hard to talk to Dean, about how unhappy he was. He always felt like he was letting him down somehow, because he was still depressed. He’d never really talked to Dean about his struggle with depression.

With Cas it was different.  In the nearly three weeks that Dean had been gone, they had developed a rapport. He could talk about his depression with him without feeling like he was betraying him and in turn Cas would tell him, About how difficult it was when in the middle of a sentence he would just forget the word, he would talk about his own struggle with depression and cutting. He hadn’t talked about his mother yet, and Sam understood his hesitancy, it was a painful topic. They were becoming friends. They discovered that while they may not share the same tastes in music they liked the same type of movies. Cas adored the strange indie movies he showed, him. Cecil B. Demented seemingly his current favorite.

After work Sam would come by and they would watch movies together or talk about the things that Cas watched during the day. It was becoming clear to Sam that the speed of his recovery was grating on him. He was getting stir crazy from just waiting at the apartment for someone to arrive. Jo spent a lot of time with him there as well. She was encouraging him to get his GED so far her efforts were met with mirth or apathy.

Sam still was uncertain about Cas’s mood most of the time. He was difficult to read, but there was at least no more talk of him leaving.  

Sam bottled the codeine water and pushed the bottles to the back of the fridge. There wasn’t a whole lot of food in his fridge for them to hide behind. He barely stayed at home anymore since he spent most of his time over at Dean’s hanging with Cas, or work.

Then again it wasn’t much different from how things used to be. Instead now he spent time at Dean’s place rather than out at bars getting laid.

That was still an issue in their relationship. Sam didn’t want to be that guy, but he wanted Dean. Dean said that he loved him. That he wanted to be with him, but they never really sorted out how. Sam was fine with polyamory in fact he was growing more and more enamored with the idea of being open especially with Cas, who clearly deserved the love, but he was still so unsure of Dean.

He didn’t know how to create the shift in their relationship, from friends to lovers. It seemed Dean felt the same way. Even sexting seemed awkward.

Sam wasn’t uncertain that he loved Dean, had loved and lusted after the man for half his life, but moving past the pedestal he’d placed Dean on was hard.

***

Castiel Novak didn’t know what he wanted. He was laying in bed arm tossed over his eyes shielding them from the overhead light. He had black earbuds in his ears, that were gently reminding him that you actually could turn the music up too loud. He kept his eyes closed as he fumbled for the control lowing the volume slightly, although it felt like a sinful thing to do to Metallica.

His heart was beating faster than he would like to admit. A squirming sensation in his stomach had less to do with the bouts of nausea that he suffered from his first week out of the hospital and instead was something else entirely.

He was nervous.

Dean was on his way home. He’d texted from the airport. He’d be home soon. Maybe half an hour.

Cas was debating on getting off.  Maybe that would help ward off these feelings.

He tried to focus on his breathing. Deep even breaths.

His lungs had healed. He still needed to be careful, probably shouldn't be running any marathons anytime soon, but he was in much better shape. The bruising had healed and in maybe another two to three weeks he’d be getting his cast off his arm.

He still had problems with short term memory, or finding words, he noticed that he was much more easily overwhelmed like he was at the moment.

Cas knew that nothing had changed… that Dean wouldn't rush him into anything. A few sexts and racy pictures wouldn’t change anything, but what if it did?

Cas had never been in this position before. Trusting people didn’t come easy to him never had. Now he didn’t exactly expect Dean to burst through the door and rip his clothes off and fuck him right there, and part of him didn’t exactly hate that image either.Which was so confusing.

He didn’t know what to expect thus the nervousness. Things had been going so well with Dean before all of this happened, and by this he meant Malik kicking the shit out of him, and Dean going on his business trip.

Now he wasn’t sure if things would be the same or not. He wasn’t sure if he was the same or not. As long as he could remember he had a wall around his emotions. There was the apathy sarcasm and snark he showed the world and the way he truly felt. Now it felt like there was a crack in his wall and all the dam water was trying to surge forward. Emotional reciprocity wasn't his strong suit.

He hated staying home all day. It is one of those things that looked a lot more fun than it actually was. Sure  bingeing on tv is fun for a weekend, but day in and day out, it was exhausting.

He couldn’t sleep, so he’d stay up texting Dean, it was easier to talk dirty to him when he was twelve thousand kilometers away than when he was in the same room.

He’d always been pretty good at talking dirty, egging people on to fuck him, but it was different when he actually wanted to have sex with the person, apparently then he sucked at it.

Sam was probably here, by now. He respected his privacy when he was in his bedroom and rarely bothered him. Cas tried to find the energy to get up, and get ready.

He was already dressed. He’d been getting ready when Dean texted. Cas didn’t have that many clothes to switch between trying to decide what to wear. Up until recently all his possession had to fit into a duffel bag. Sure Sam bought him some winter gear, he’d ditched most of his when summer hit, but it hadn’t taken him long to get ready.

He wore the same thing he wore the night he met Dean, it was a month ago, nearly to the day and his life was greatly changed for it. It was times like this when he thought about sending Sal at the hotel a thank you note or something, but so far Hallmark didn't have a “hey thanks for not letting me stay at the hotel in exchange for a blow job” card.

The electric blue had quickly faded so had the black. It lingered at his tips, but his roots were quickly becoming chocolate brown, the hair had grown back at the sides of his head as well leaving his hair a messy flop of black and dark brown. He’d taken his piercings out before the fight. Something he was grateful for. When googling pictures of torn out piercings on the internet, but the downside of that was that now they had all grown in.

He felt like it was more than just his wall that had changed, he’d lost most of his armor.

He wanted to meet Dean cocksure and confident, not afraid and unsteady.

He licked his lips nervously. Again he wasn’t sure if he could do this. Be with someone, open himself up to the idea of affection… let alone love if it ever got that far.

He felt guilty.

Like he was leading Dean on or something. Promising something he wasn’t even sure he could do.

Cas grabbed his eyeliner.

He didn’t have much in the way of armor, but he would make use of the little he had.

***

Dean took a cab back to his place. Sam had offered to pick him up at the airport, but Dean declined, he just wanted to go home. He wanted a shower, and a fucking burger… no pizza… he’d probably just have a salad, and to sleep.

His loosened red tie still hung around his neck. When he got off the plane he’d stuffed his suit jacket in his suitcase. That might have been a mistake. He’d forgotten that it was slightly colder here than what he’d been used to for the past couple of weeks.

Still after the cramped quarters of the plane he was more than happy to feel the cool air on his skin.

He had the cab drop him off a block away. He was tired, but he needed to stretch his legs, and he needed to think. It was a topic that he’d had nearly three weeks to mull over and he was no closer to having an answer now than he was when he walked into that room with Gabriel Novak.

He took a deep breath, he still didn’t have an answer.

Maybe after he got some sleep things would be easier. He doubted it, but he could only hope.

Sam hesitated knocking on Cas’s door. He knew he would be upset if he missed Dean’s homecoming,but he didn’t want to intrude.

He was dithering in the kitchen, just as something to do while he waited for Dean to return. He was trying to find an outlet for all his anxious energy.

Jo had class tonight and honestly Sam was grateful, he wanted to keep this to himself or at least just the three of them.

He wasn’t high. He wanted to be, but he wasn’t going to be high in front of Dean.

He was excited to see him, he’d missed him.  He could feel the butterflies in his stomach take flight at the idea of seeing Dean again, of being able to touch him again.

He was interrupted by the sound of the keys being inserted into the door.

He felt oddly childish in his excitement. He took a quick breath trying to calm himself.

Dean tossed his keys into the tray by the door and kicked off his dress shoes, before turning to see him, he looked tired, he had at least a day or two’s worth of stubble across his face and dark circles beneath his eyes. His hair was a mess and his suit rumpled, but he looked fucking fantastic.

Dean smiled.

“Heya Sammy.”

Somehow it broke the chains holding him in place. Sam quickly crossed the room and wrapped his arms around Dean. pulling him in close.

Dean closed his eyes at the contact. Sam was warmed compared to the slight chill from his walk here.

Dean tipped his head forward ready for the kiss before Sam even moved.

Sam and Dean both reveled in the contact for a brief moment before pulling away.

Sam cleared his throat.

Stepping back putting some distance between them.

“I got that Eliot Ness, beer you like from Great Lakes Brewing Company.” Sam muttered moving quickly to the fridge. Dean tried hard not to show that the simple kiss had elevated his breathing.

“Yeah.” he replied usure what else he was meant to say.

There was still things left unsaid between them. He would need to address that soon, but he could only handle one problem at a time.

Dean accepted the microbrewed amber lager Sam pressed into his hands.

They clinked the bottles together briefly before taking a deep swig.

He’d needed that.

Dean’s phone chirped.

He pulled out his phone and glanced at the text.

[ Suck or a fuck?]

Dean glanced up Cas was lingering in the hallway propping himself against the wall his broken arm mostly hidden at his side. He was wearing  the same black short sleeved band shirt he wore the first day they met. His eyeline was thicker now that it was then creating a smoky sultry look.

He was smirking, the private joke written all over his face.

The raised brow meant the same as it did then, challenging him.

“Hey Cas.”  Dean acknowledged with a nod of his head.

Cas peeled himself off the wall and strutted over to him.

Grabbing his tie in his fist pulling him down for a kiss pressing his entire body flush against him.

In the background he heard Sam scoff.

“Drama queen.”  he muttered, but his tone was one of mirth not malice.

Cas released his tie only to drag his good hand down his chest before cupping him quickly sending waves of awareness prickling through him. He nearly dropped the beer that was still precariously clutched in his hand.

Cas stepped back with a wink.

Dean glanced over to Sam who was rolling his eyes and shaking his head.

“Pay up Wesson.”

Cas muttered turning towards him.

Sam was shaking his head still.

“You are cruel.”

Dean was blinking unsurely.

Can turned back to him again.

“Sam didn’t think I could surprise you, when you got home.”

“I didn’t know you were going to play dirty.” Sam teased taking a sip of his beer.

Cas snatched the beer from Sam’s stunned hands stepping past them into the living room the bottle dangling in his hand before taking a quick swig.

“I always play dirty.” he shot over his shoulder with a lascivious smile. The beer in his hands was shaking… he hoped the quiver wasn’t noticeable.

He spun back to face them they were both frowning. Ok so he got a bit carried away with his charade.  

“Oh come on. One sip won't melt my brain.”  he assured them although one sip wouldn’t fortify him like he needed either. He was shaking. He was dancing around like an organ grinder’s monkey so no one would notice that he wasn’t really ok.

Properly chastised by a glance alone he handed the beer back to Sam.

Still Dean was smiling warmly

“I’m glad you’re doing better.”

Cas returned his smile he was glad Dean was home.

Cas found himself staring at Dean smiling like a fool for several moments till Dean cleared his throat.

“Well I need a shower.” he called out to no one in particular.

“A cold one.” Cas teased.

Dean didn’t disagree, he just moved to shower.

Cas found himself relaxing slightly. He wasn’t sure why there was this pressure there, now when it wasn’t there before. Maybe it was the time apart that set things back. He was nervous around Dean.

He wasn’t sure why

Dean had seen him naked. Hell he’d seen him more vulnerable than that. Unconscious in the hospital. Cas had no real memory of the hospital or the week after it, and honestly the last few weeks were still spotty in places.  His short term memory was shot to hell, it took several tries to make anything really stick.

Maybe that was the reason things were so difficult for him. He wasn’t used to being vulnerable with anyone. Sam had asked him to trust Dean. He remembered that at least.

He was trying.

Cas cleared his throat. Once he heard Dean shut the bathroom door.

“So ah show of hands, who thought Dean coming home would end in group sex?”  he asked aloud raising his hand.

Sam rolled his eyes again. He wasn’t sure if Dean saw through him or not, but he’d quickly grown to see through Cas’s bullshit. He just hoped his own wasn't that transparent.

“Totally.” he shot back sarcastically. Sipping his beer thoughtfully.  

“Pizza?” he asked

Cas nodded.

***

He would wait, Dean decided. Stepping out of the shower pulling the towel off the shower rack. He had a little bit of time before he had to make a decision regarding Cas or his brother. He would take all the time he had.  He was at least that selfish, he wanted Cas to have a family, but he didn’t want him to hate him. He walked towel wrapped around his hips to dress in his bedroom.

He walked out of the bedroom in time to see Sam paying a pizza delivery man.

Sam knew him, sometimes too well.

Sam had stuck his half drank beer in the fridge while he showered. He handed it to him now and a plate piled with meat lovers pizza.

The noise he made after biting into the pizza was almost obscene.

Both Sam and Cas were looking at him strangely

“It's good.” Dean insisted defending himself over the mouthful of pizza.

They glanced at each other.

“Yeah maybe a bit too good” Sam muttered suspiciously.

Dean smiled again pulling Sam closer.

He was home, this was his home. Sam and Cas, a shower, a pizza, a beer. He was a simple creature.  

“Wanna watch a movie?” Cas asked.

He was watching him. Dean wasn’t sure what his avid stare meant.

“Sounds fun.” Dean agreed.

Sam moved to pull up the movie.

Dean plunked himself before the TV one last piece of pizza in his hands.

Cas joined him on his left.

Dean had scarfed down the pizza before the opening credits had even finished.

“Buffy the vampire slayer?” he asked.

Sam smiled.

Dean shrugged more than willing to watch a cheerleader kick some campy vampire ass.

Sam turned off the lights before joining him on his right tossing his arm over his shoulders pulling him close. Tingles of awareness prickled across his skin. Maybe he’d needed to have talk with Sam a little sooner than he thought.

Dean froze as Cas shifted laying his head in his lap.

Dean glanced over trying to gauge Sam’s reaction. He didn’t react. He seemed comfortable.

Dean relaxed. He nodded off sometime half way through the movie but they didn't wake him till it was over.

Dean went to bed after the movie, but he vaguely remembered making plans for Friday.

He was so glad to be home.

Chapter Text

February 7th

It was the night Dean left. It was late. After 3 am. Sam was laying on the couch. Shifting uncomfortably. It was self inflicted his perdition. He knew  Dean had said that he could have his bed,but the thought of laying in Dean’s bed smelling his cologne, remembering the last time he was in that bed, it would just lead to a night where he was achingly hard and frustrated. This way at least he was sore and frustrated in a socially acceptable way. He’d been watching a movie, but that had switched to infomercials around 12, and switched back again around 2.

At first he’d thought the sound was the tv. He’d left it on as background noise. It was flashing lights and some black and white horror film.  The noise was a high keening sound. Like a wounded animal, a sharp wine. He bolted upright listening. It was coming from Cas’s room.

Sam deftly leapt up from where he sat poised on the edge of the sofa. He rushed towards his room, genuine fear kept him from heeding his promise to respect the sanctity of Cas’s privacy. He burst through the door. His eyes scanning the room for any obvious threat. He knew it wasn’t very likely that someone had snuck past him into the house but the lamenting wail that came from the bed made the hairs on the back of his neck stand on edge.  

Cas was struggling against an invisible assailant. Animalistic whines, of fear and pain wrenching their way from his chest.  He was sobbing. Tears streaming down his face as he tossed his head side to side.  His was struggling to breath between the sobs that shook his whole body. Sam didn’t know if waking him up was the best decision,but he couldn't bear to see him suffering.

Sam grabbed one of his flailing limbs, but that only seemed to further exacerbate the problem, he jerked away on a scream.

Sam shot across the room towards the lightswitch.

“Cas” Sam shouted reaching for the light.

“Cas!” he tried again. As the light chased away the shadows.

Cas jerked awake. He was surprised by the light.

His face was wet. His muscles tense. His pulse was racing, he couldn't seem to catch his breath.

Sam was standing over him, his own chest rising and falling faster than normal. He was watching him with clear signs of distress. They were frozen in the moment. Poised uncertainly.

Cas panicked.

“Get out!” he shouted.  Feeling overexposed all of his nerves felt raw. His heart was beating rapidly, his entire  body was shaking over the flood of adrenaline

Sam flinched at the lash of his words.

“Get out!” Cas shrieked. Throwing the pillow from behind him. It struck Sam harmlessly as he scurried from the room.

Cas lurched to his feet shaking his legs barely supported his weight. As he stumbled towards the door. Sam had left it open in his haste. Cas slammed the door shut.

A barrier between him and Sam, a barrier between him and his weakness.

He dropped to his knees before the door. He was sobbing. He felt the bile build up stinging the back of his throat making his jaw ache. He pressed his hand over his mouth, but it didn’t stop the natural reaction. He vomited. His eyes watered, his nose burning, his stomach clenching. Disgusted with himself. As the warm mass pressed passed his hand running down his arm. He dropped down on all fours.  The convulsions rocked his body. He had no choice, but to spew on the floor.

His body shook till he had nothing left but stomach acid.

He was coughing, and sputtering he spit the last bit of bile on the floor, it didn’t matter at this point.

He heard a soft tentative knock.

Cas ignored it at first, panting as he tried to catch his breath.

The sour stench of vomit permeated the room, but Sam was persistent.

“Cas?” he asked.

“Yeah?” he called out defeated

“You ok?”

“Yeah, just peachy.” he called back.

“Can I open the door?”  he asked gently.

Cas wanted to say no. he wanted to tell him to fuck off, that he’d be fine, he’d just sit in his own filth till he was able to stand.

“Yeah.” he agreed resolutely.

He still felt raw, the dreams always took him back, the same sense of fear, the same vulnerability and weakness.

The door slowly creaked open.

Cas was slouched on the floor. Supporting his weight mostly on his broken arm which was beginning to ache, his legs curled beneath him, wearing a pair of black cotton boxers.

“Here.”

Sam handed him a glass of water. Gratefully he took it. The vomit was cooling on his skin.

He felt wretched.

Sam turned away.

As Cas carefully sipped the tepid water. He knew from experience if he drank too quickly it would all just wind up back on the floor.

After a moment. Sam returned with a damp washcloth.

He knelt down on his level.

Cas refused to meet his eyes as he ran the brown washcloth, down his arm and over the hand that still clutched the glass. Cas's hand was shaking.

He wiped away the sick from his chest and face.

He looked pitiable, Cas knew it, he felt as strong as a newborn kitten. He could barely keep his head up as the adrenaline that flooded his body began to dissipate, leaving him shaky    

Sam didn’t say anything as he helped clean him up.

He didn’t lie to him, and say this was normal. Cas knew it wasn’t. The dreams, the nightmares, were so vivid, so real. It was like reliving his childhood all over again each time it happened. It had been years since he’d gotten this worked up over one. Normally he would wake up covered in sweat, but he’d know that he had been dreaming, this time he’d been in a complete fog, he blamed it on the pills. He couldn’t take them anymore. Not after tonight. He couldn't do this again.

The pain was welcome in comparison, to this.

Sam reached for him, helping his to his feet.

Cas kept his eyes downcast.

“Don’t” Sam snapped at him.

Cas’s eyes shot up to him, defensively he gathered the tiniest bit of his strength.

He might be pathetic, but he still had claws.

He raised his chin up

“Don’t what?” he demanded.

“Don't be ashamed”

Those three words splintered his resolve.

He felt his steps falter.

“What?” he found himself asking.

“Go take a shower I can clean up here”

Sam insisted rather than answering his question.

Cas found him staring at Sam confused.

Why would he do that? He didn’t owe him anything.

Dean wasn’t here, he didn’t have to earn brownie points being nice to the ‘other man.’

Hell if Cas had his way he would never tell Dean about this. So it didn’t benefit him at all.

“Why are you doing this?” Cas demanded. He was holding on to the door frame.

Sam had already knelt down on the floor and had begun using a washcloth and carpet cleaner.

He glance up assessing.

“You can barely stand, do you really wanna get down here and clean up?” he asked

Cas shook his head.

“Then don’t look a gift horse in the mouth”  he insisted  turning back to the mess. He proceeded to ignore him and focus solely on cleaning.

Cas watched him for several moments before he turned to leave.

Once Cas was gone Sam leaned back on his haunches.

He released the breath that he’d been holding.

That scared the living hell out of him.

He’d never seen anything like that.

A nightmare? A night terror? He wasn’t sure which was worse, but Cas had looked like he’d been fighting for his life.

Sam wasn’t sure his reaction was what Cas needed or not, but it was clear, and he’d made it clear that he didn’t want pity, so Sam fought that instinct.

He heard the water start running.

Sam redoubled his efforts on the carpet. He wanted to get rid of the evidence.

The carpet was clean by the time Cas stepped out of the shower. The room smelled like citrus air spray, but it was still preferable to the smell of vomit.

Cas climbed into bed.

His ribs were aching, he focused on the pain.

Sam was standing by the door. He watched him get into bed before he turned off the light.

The light from the tv in the living room illuminating him from behind.

“I’ll be in the living room if you need me.” he murmured.

Cas bit his lip, against the plea to have him stay.

He’d been alone every other time, now shouldn't make a difference.  

Sam begun to close the door, but paused.

“I was watching a movie.” he began his segue seemingly not connected to the situation at all.

“An old artsy horror film.” he added.

Cas blinked at him.

“Would you wanna join me?”

Sam waited with baited breath as several different emotions swirled across Cas’s face.

“Sure.” he agreed.

“Let me get something on real quick.” he agreed.

Sam nodded. Closing the door to give him some privacy.

Sam went back into the living room. He started the film over. After a few moments. Cas came out he was fully dressed. Sam accepted his hesitancy, as Cas joined him on the sofa placing a pillow between them.

Last night they’d shared his bed albeit not in a sexual way, tonight Cas was wedged into the furthest corner of the sofa curled into a protective ball his feet tucked beneath him.  

He was leaning his right arm on the couch arm propping up his chin in his hand.

“So what’s this film about?

“A surgeon who kidnaps women as a means of using their faces to replace his daughter’s disfigured face.”

Cas nodded slightly

“It's in french.”  

Cas nodded again this time less certain.

“Subtitles are in english.” Sam assured.

Sam sat on the sofa accepting the fact that he wasn’t going to sleep anytime soon, and pressed play.

***

Present

Sam was high. He was laying on his bed, music playing on the stereo in the background. The room felt warm, but it wasn't unpleasantly so. It was like floating in a warm bath, the waves of the water lapping against his skin swirling his perceptions. He wished Dean was here. His warmth adding to the heat of the room. His skin against skin... It was amazing cuddling with him on the sofa. He missed him. He was too warm. He sat up and awkwardly pulled his shirt off over his head tossing it across the room.

His phone beeped. Sam fumbled on the bed till he realized that his phone was sitting on the night stand next to the bed

[You still up?]

Sam stared at the name on the screen. It was Cas.

{Yeah} he shot back.  Tossing the phone briefly to the side.

He closed his eyes and let the music carry him away for a moment.

[Can’t sleep?] Cas asked?  Sam stared at the phone for several seconds trying to decide if he should go with the honest answer or the easy one… he chose honest.

{Don’t want to}

Sam watched as the little grey dots moved across the screen.

[I get it.] and Sam knew that it was true, Cas did. He understood, not wanting to sleep because then it is one more day closer to work, or whatever particularly shitty thing he was mentally avoiding at the moment.

Before Sam could respond Cas continued the phone alerting him with a little blip.

[You should come back over]

Sam stared at the screen for much longer than necessary. He wanted to just float away, but he was still tied down with worry. He worried about Cas, worried about Dean.

{Can’t}

{Been drinking}

Sam watched the grey dots flash on the screen for several moments

Before they disappeared.

Sam waited and the dots didn’t reappear. He laid back down against the pillow.

He knew Cas was worried about Dean, worried about how things would progress between them.

He hadn’t talked about it a’lot, but he’d shared briefly his frustration over his inability to be touched.

Sam had some ideas on that front, but was hesitant in sharing them with Dean. He wasn’t sure what he wanted.

Sam sighed

Tossing over in bed.

That was really it in a nutshell.

He didn't know what Dean wanted.

Right now it seemed like he either didn’t notice or wanted to ignore any awkwardness between them, which really was par for the course. Dean always like to keep the emotional discussions out of play, no chick flick moments where they actually addressed the problems, like how Dean ignored his feelings for him, or men in general.

The last time they’d been together was amazing, but then he barely talked to him for days afterwards.

Sam knew it was Dean’s own internalized homophobia that kept him at bay, that kept him uncertain how to move forward, but he wasn’t sure how to combat it.

Sam had never really had the same inner struggle.  

He knew he was gay, he’d never really doubted that, he’d questioned everything else about relationships, because of his feelings for Dean, but his sexuality had never been a mystery to him.

Time seemed to be his enemy. Before Dean left on his trip it felt like they had built up a momentum. Maybe in hindsight they had been going a bit too fast given Dean’s reaction to being intimate, but they at least had something.

This time apart felt like everything had come to a grinding halt. It was weird. He felt like he had a much better understanding of Cas then he did of Dean at the moment.

It was in his head, of course. He knew Dean more than anyone, but it just felt like he’d taken a step back from everything. Dean was the one pumping the breaks. He wasn’t sure if it was a reaction to Cas being hurt, or maybe he was second guessing their relationship, but he’d been preoccupied when they talked lately.  Yeah it was just on the phone, but they never had trouble talking before, except when it came to the one thing they always ignored.  it didn’t even seem to be about his work.

Maybe it was about the drugs. Maybe Dean knew and was just waiting for him to come clean.

Still Sam knew that wasn’t really true.

If Dean found out he wouldn’t wait for Sam to come clean he’d have dragged his ass back to rehab by now.

No, whatever Dean was preoccupied with it wasn't work and it wasn't about him. Maybe they can talk tomorrow. The thought held him as he drifted off

***

Cas tossed away his phone on the bed, as he paced his bedroom. It had been a long shot anyway. Once Sam got home, he’d usually stop texting pretty quick.

Cas couldn’t sleep. He’d laid in bed, staring at the ceiling for a few hours before he decided he’d never sleep again.

He was fine with never sleeping. He’d never really been lucky enough to get good dreams, he usually had nightmares.

Honestly if he could subside on coffee alone he would, not because he found it particularly substantial but because it would be easy and efficient.

Part of him thought about crawling into bed with Dean and waking him up, but he wasn’t ready. As much as he wanted to be. He wasn’t. He was still scared. It was this strange mix of emotions. He knew he was desirable. In fact he put most of his self worth into that fact. He knew what he was doing in the sex department, if he was the one doing the deed,but when it came to every other aspect. He wasn't sure.

He flopped back on the bed. He thought about sending another message to Sam. Just to drag out the inevitable,but he knew that he should just go to bed. He was frustrated. He wasn’t used to this inactivity, it left him so restless, and anxious. He’d never had peace long enough to get fed up with it. He assumed it was temporary, it always was. He supposed he should be happy while it lasted, but that wasn’t in his nature. He’d always gone looking for the other shoe.

He hopped up and went into the living room. He'd watch a movie till he fell asleep.

***

Sixteen years ago

Dean was doing the dishes. The water against his hands was almost painfully hot, but he needed it that temperature to get the burnt chili off the bottom of the pan. Kubrik had made dinner. At least it was edible, this time. Last time he’d feed it to the dog Sam had brought home and even that bag of skin and bones hadn’t liked it, Kubrick hadn’t let them keep it, tossed the poor thing back outside as soon as he found him hiding in the room, Dean had gotten hell over it. He’d had the belt marks for two weeks straight. He didn’t even really like dogs. Dean set another dish into the blue dish caddy, sneaking a glance into the living room. He’d been drinking… again... So Dean was on edge. The less there was to piss him off the better. Sam was sitting at the table. His legs barely scraping the ground. He was finishing his chili. Scraping his spoon loudly against the bottom of the bowl. Each sound jarring Dean, Jo was still in her high chair. Why her mother thought it was a good idea to leave her with her father he would never understand, but he’d never met the woman. He assumed she saw an opportunity to leave and she took it. He understood the sentiment.

She was messily eating chili and little bits of hot dogs. He hopped he cut the hot dogs small enough. He kept glancing over his shoulder to make sure she wasn’t having any trouble. She was eating the chili with her hands versus the spoon he’d given her but it was honestly what he’d expected.

He could hear the TV, blaring in the background. Wheel of fortune most likely, it was one of Kubick’s go to forms of entertainment. As long as he stayed in there everything would be ok. He could get the dishes done, and Jo all cleaned up, then maybe he’d have time to get his homework done now versus waking up early. Then in the mourning he could hang out Vanessa.

She was the only bright spot in his life at the moment, he threw every ounce of himself into being with her.

She was a sophomore. A year older than him, and for some unfathomable reason she liked him. He thought maybe because was tall for his age and he was beginning to fill out some,  She was beautiful, long blonde hair blue eyes. Curves in all the right places, it sounded cliche but she blew him away.

Still he had no idea how to talk to her. They came from two very different worlds. He’d tried some, when they first started hanging out, but their life experiences were very different.  

Her family had money, it wasn’t her fault, just the same accident of birth that made him poor made her rich, but it was hard to relate to her complaints of having to wake up early on saturday so the maid could make the bed, versus his worry that he and Sam wouldn’t get dinner some nights that Kubrick was too drunk to go to the grocery store.

Sometimes he thought she was with him because she wanted her parent’s attention, it was the only thing they didn’t give her. So mostly they just made out. She seemed fine with that and he was definitely fine with that.

They had just started dating a few weeks ago. He hadn’t told anyone about her yet. He liked the idea of being able to keep something to himself. He shared everything with Sam, a house, a bathroom, food, sometimes even a bed, when Sam was scared and most of the time he didn’t mind. He didn’t need much, but sometimes it grated on him, He would ride his bike over to her house all the time. She kept trying to get him to run away with her. He had to admit sometimes the idea appealed to him. She was nice, and equally as damaged. Her parents were a piece of work. They weren’t abusive at least not from what he’d seen. Just neglectful. Neither of them had time for their daughter. How they made money he had no idea, but they spent most of the day gone, they rarely were home for her, if they were gone overnight sometimes they send a babysitter, but oftentimes she would just be alone.  A regular latch key kid.

Vanessa had sex before. Dean hadn’t. She wanted to have sex with him, but they hadn’t found the right time yet. Her parents didn’t seem to care about much in her life but that was the one aspect they were vigilant about. They made out sure, but with the door open and Dean didn’t have a car like her last boyfriend did.

Sam dropped his empty bowl into the sink and returned to the table pulling a science book out of the backpack that hung on the back of the chair.

Kubrick was behind him he could feel the little hairs on the back of his neck rise. He could feel the man breathing over him.

“What are you doing?” he demanded.

Fear crept along his spine. He firmly tamped down the urge to be a smart ass. He had a lot of experience doing that.

“The dishes.” He replied quietly not bothering to turn his head to face him. Often times he felt that eye contact exacerbated the situation, Kubrick saw it as a challenge. He’d want to make sure and put Dean in his place.

“And what about your sister?” he demanded indicating the happy baby now merrily playing in a messy blob of chili.

“She’s eating” he muttered quietly. She was still sort of eating some of it.

Kubrick stood beside her. Gestured to her quickly. His movements erratic almost violent with their intensity.

Her face was entirely covered in the red brown concoction, so were her arms up to the elbow.

“Does she look like she’s still eating?” he demanded quietly. There was a chill in his voice. Dean could see Sam stiffen, he’d stopped swinging his legs beneath him and stood perfectly still. He may not fully understand the situation Dean was never sure how much his foster brother grasped but he knew that a storm was brewing.

“You’re right.” Dean insisted quickly scooping baby up. It was as much pacification as it was defense.

The look he gave him said it all. It was pure contempt. Before he walked to the cabinet and pulled down the whiskey. Dean didn’t care what he thought of him, but he hesitated leaving Sam alone with him.

“You ok Sammy?” he asked hesitantly meeting his eyes across the room.

He nodded softly.

So Dean brought Jo to the bathroom and held her while he ran the water so that the most she could do was get her grubby little hands over him.

He plopped her down in the water she splashed pleasantly. He let her be. Versus putting a dedicated effort into getting her clean. She was having fun. At least one person in this house deserved to be happy.

He’d been thinking about it a lot lately. About leaving. Kubrick wouldn’t hurt Sam, or Jo. He was fairly certain of that. He knew the man didn’t have the same feelings towards him.

Dean knew he was lucky. There were plenty of kids who had it worse off. Kubrick was mostly just a religious nut bag. They prayed before meals, and before bed,and when they woke up in the morning. He had assigned reading from the bible that he would read to Sam, then he’d quiz them on what they learned. Him more often than Sam since he was younger.

Still he was tired of walking on eggshells.

There was a loud crash coming from the other room. Panic clutched at his chest he scooped Jo out of the water wrapping a towel partially around her as he ran back to the kitchen Sam was on the floor. His legs still in the chair he’d been sitting in, his arms supporting the weight of his upper body as he was sprawled across the floor.. A mark that could only be a handprint on his face. He wasn’t crying, but his lips were trembling. He was holding them back

“What happened?” Dean demanded he was looking at Kubrick who was completely ignoring him.

“I just corrected the boy.” He replied quietly moving with his back to them. A loud tearing sound followed by a slight thump and pages turning. He was ripping up the book that Sam had been reading from.

“We are studying evolution.” Sam murmured quietly. His eyes on Dean.

Dean didn’t need any more explanation than that. He wanted to get angry. He wanted to yell and throw things he wanted to beat the much larger man, but he didn’t. They would have to pay for that book, it belonged to the school, but the older man didn’t think of that, he just destroyed.

“You alright?” he asked Sam extending his hand out towards him. A squirming Jo still sitting on his hip.

Sam ducked his head.

“Yeah.” He agreed. He was quiet.

How was this better than living with his bastard of a father Dean wondered?

It wasn’t. He knew that, and yet he wasn’t sure what else he could do.

“She’s still covered in chili.” He muttered angrily.

Taking a swig from his glass gesturing towards her face and neck.

“Yeah I had to stop.” Dean mumbled off handedly making sure that his body was between Kubrick’s and Sam’s

“Why?” The man asked clearly spoiling for a fight.

“I heard a noise.” He admitted quietly.

Dean turned away stepping up so that he could help Sam to his feet. He still had one hand stuck to his face. Cupping his cheek.

“Don’t you turn your back to me!” he growled shoving him forward slightly.

Dean shoved the toddler into Sam’s awkward hands turning to face the larger man.

Sam could barely hold her. She started to fuss. Screeching slightly at her inability to move, but Dean couldn’t focus on that. He needed to keep all of his focus on the man before him.

“Why did you come in here boy?” he demanded.

His eyes slid over towards Sam over Dean’s shoulders

“Don’t like the way I discipline my children?”

He prompted cocking his head to the side.

“You hit him.” Dean mumbled his eyes still downcast, but his fist was clenched at his side. He was biting his lip. He could taste blood he wanted to scream, he wanted to tell him what he really thought of him. That he was a fucking bully that he didn’t like him because he knew that Dean was smarter than him and he would amount to more. He was jealous.

“Spare the rod and spoil the child.” He muttered contemptibly

He stepped forward. He could feel Sam backing away behind him.

“Go to your room Sam.” Dean ordered, carefully, his arm was extended trying to keep him from passing him.

“Do you think you’re in charge here?” he asked his voice was tense he felt threatened alright.

“Lock the door.” Dean added.

Kubrick stepped forward trying to use his height difference to intimidate Dean.

Dean was already 5’6 so the difference wasn't as great as he would like.

“Why don’t you go back to your shows?” Dean asked still trying to deescalate the situation.

“Listen you little punk.” Kubrick begun the words coming through clenched teeth.

His breath was wafting towards him. It smelt like whiskey.

“Nobody tells me what to do in my own home.” he jabbed him in the chest with his finger.

“You’re drunk.” Dean told him. All he got for his honesty was a slap in the face.

It wasn’t painful per say, just sudden the warmth that radiated across his face only served to piss him off.

“Fuck you.” Was Kubrick’s response. He turned away. Dean could have kept his mouth shut and that would have been it. Kubrick would have wandered back into the living room, and probably passed out in his lazy boy.

“Don’t like the truth?” Dean called out.

He whirled faster than he thought it was possible for someone so drunk.

He grabbed him by the back of his shirt collar.

“What did you say to me?” he growled.

Dean looked down, his eyes resting on his feet.

“That’s what I thought you fucking faggot.”

“I’m not a faggot.” He replied.

Kubrick backhanded him across the face. The blow much harder than the slap from before he saw white light from the impact.

His lip was throbbing, his teeth aching.

“You are whatever I say you are in my house. Now get back in there and finish those dishes.”

He insisted shoving dean towards the sink.

“And clean up that mess.” He continued pointing to the pages of the book scattered in front of the cabinet.

Numbly Dean did as he was told. He finished the dishes all the while thinking. He would do it fuck it. He was going to leave. Find a new place to live with Vanessa. Once he was far enough away he’d call CPS he was sure they wouldn’t take Sammy back to his Dad, he’d go to a better safer home, everything would be better.

He set the lash dish in the drainer. He could here Kubrik snoring in the background. Dean found himself standing before the man. His head was tilted back the glass still dangled precariously from his fingers. There was plenty of stains on the beige carpet from nights where Dean let him keep his drink, he’d been whipped with his belt for every stain. Honor your father and mother. Was Kubrick’s reasoning. Kubrick never let him try to clean the stains just whipped him. They stayed mocking him.

He wanted him dead. Maybe it was a terrible thought. One he would never say aloud, one he would never act on, but one he couldn’t deny either.

His life would be easier if he was dead.

Dean turned around grabbing some baby wipes. He went to Sam’s door knocking softly.

“It’s me” he called in.

Sam opened the door. Jo was in her bed. Dean took the wet naps and did the best he could to get the chili off of her without waking her.

Sam saw his split lip but he didn’t say anything. This wasn’t the first time it happened. Normally Kubrick was fine with just hurling insults his way or corporal punishment but every once in awhile he took it a step farther. Today was one of those days.

“Let me see?” Dean asked

Sam stepped forward.

Dean tilted his head so that he could examine his face in the shaft of light from the hallway. Dean’s room was across the hall. He supposed he should feel lucky, but he didn’t. It was harder to keep an eye on Sam and his bed was smaller and Sam still had a tendency to crawl into bed with him at night.

Still he would have to get used to it.

“You look ok, I don’t think it will bruise.” He muttered quietly.

Sam nodded sullenly.

This wasn’t the first time the kid had ever been hit but Dean felt bad that it happened under his watch.

“It will be alright.” He told him softly.

***

He left after Sam went to sleep. It had started raining by that point which made him wish that he’d left sooner but he’d wanted to say goodbye. He’d packed everything he wanted in the black backpack slung over his shoulder. It wasn't much just a few sets of clothes, some books and a picture of his parents. He walked his bike out the garage. Hoping the sound wouldn’t wake anyone. The rain was pelting his back, but he didn’t want to ride it till he got to the road. He tossed his leg over the bike and tried to stabilize it he took one last quick glance at the house he wasn’t sure if it was to see if anyone was awake or if he was saying goodbye. He rode his bike to her house. The trip wasn’t very long but he was drenched by the time he made it to her  2,400 square foot 2 story white brick house. The bottom of his jeans were covered in mud. There was water streaming down his neck. Her bedroom was thankfully on the ground floor. He knew her parents weren’t home neither of their cars were in the driveway. He felt awkward as he crept up to his window he had no doubt that she would let him in not really, but it still made him hesitate. He tapped on her window. Nothing happened. After a few more moments he tried again. This time her bedroom light flashed on. He saw her pull aside the curtains to peer out the window. He stepped forward. She started surprised.

“Dean?” she gasped.

“Let me in.” he pleaded. She quickly pulled up the window pane.

He climbed in. Dripping water on her floor.

He was sniffling, the cold seeping into his bones. Grinning like a fool. Just seeing her bemused face had already eased some of the weight off his shoulders.

“What are you doing here?” she asked unsurely. She was glancing around the room  she’d never been alone with him before and was waiting for someone to suddenly pop out of the closet.

“I wanted to see you.” He answered keeping his focus on her room the décor reflected her age . The posters reflected the bands she liked. All very different from what Dean like. He didn’t think he’d see and Zeppelin in her future. There was a box with make up by the vanity. Little cutesy knick knacks were lined up neatly across the dresser. Dean didn’t have anything like that. Her room smelled like lilacs and lavender. Her purple bedspread was clean and pressed even. This was a whole different tax bracket from what he was used to.

She was slightly mollified, but still curious. He didn’t want to say the truth. That he got into a fight with Kubrick and wanted to run away with her. It was too pathetic to voice aloud. Why would she want to leave this place? He knew her threats were mostly that just threats. He was the kid from the wrong side of the tracks. The fact that he was younger didn’t really enter into the equation. She wasn’t serious about him. He tried to remind himself of that.

Instead he smiled.

“I missed you.”

She grinned back at him. This he could do. Be charming. He hadn’t told her about Kubrick. Who would want to? It wasn’t like he wanted it known that he still got spankings. Not to mention it wasn’t exactly something he was proud of. Every time he stood up for himself somebody got hurt, mostly him, but if god forbid he hurt Sam… he did hurt Sam.

“What aren’t you glad to see me?” he asked.

She cocked her brow at him.

“You’re soaking wet and dripping mud all over my floor I’m overjoyed.” She muttered sarcastically.

“Don’t be like that, I’m freezing over here.” He teased already feeling better. This is what she meant to him. A release. A freedom. He could forget all the bad things going on in his life for a while and just be with her.

She grinned. She was wearing a nightgown. A long white t-shirt. With a teal collar and sleeves.

She stepped closer and he kissed her. It hurt his split lip but it didn’t matter. He wanted something to distract him. He needed this.

She kissed him back, and it was good. He didn’t care how far he got he just needed something to hold on to.

She pressed forward and he hissed.

“You ok?” she asked.

“Yeah.” He insisted brushing her off. Lightly touching his hand to his mouth.

“You’re bleeding.” She gasped.

“Ran into a door.” he insisted quietly not meeting her eyes. He didn’t want to know if she believed him or not.

“Can I get out of these wet clothes?” he asked trying to change the subject.

She nodded. He shucked his clothes down to his boxers and she helped pat him dry with a towel from the bathroom. She took the towel back to the bathroom and he found himself in her room alone. It was a surreal experience. It was clean, and smelled nice, it was quiet,the very antithesis of his home.

He sat on the edge of her bed wrapped up in a blanket.

“Now what?” he asked.

She pulled the nightgown off over her head. He couldn't help but stare. This wasn’t what he expected when he came over.

He was fourteen. He pretty much constantly thought about sex. It wasn’t always with girls, but that was beside the point. He might not have expected it but he wasn’t upset about it.

She straddled his waist kissing him. Pushing him back against the bed. It was awkward. Her weight settled easily over him, but he wasn't sure what he should be doing right now.  He didn’t know if he should let her set the pace or try to take over. He was uncertain of the motion of his hips or where he should put his hands. He wasn’t sure at first how to put the condom on and she had to show him, but it was perfect. In that moment he knew her in a way he didn’t think was possible for two human beings to connect, and yet he didn’t have to say a word. He could just let go. Let go of all of it. In the moment he didn’t need words didn’t need to think about his feelings.

Afterwards he lay next to her, just filled with bliss.

“We should run away together.” He murmured staring up at the whiteness of her ceiling.

She didn’t respond at first.

“What about your siblings?” she wondered, hesitantly.

The pang intruded unbidden.

“They’ll be fine.” He insisted quietly. He could think about himself for once.

She rolled towards him leaning on her elbow.

“We could call CPS on your guardian. Then you wouldn’t have to run away.”

“What are you talking about?” he asked uncomfortably.

“Kubrick, he’s abusive right?”

“What makes you say that?” he asked for some reason ashamed.

“He used to beat his wife, everybody knows but he’s friends with the sheriff.” The last part she added as if it meant nothing to her with a little shrug that spoke volumes.

Everybody knew….

“I thought you wanted to leave.” He murmured sitting up.

She sat with him the blanket settling around her waist.

“I want to piss my parents off I don’t actually want to run away, live in motel rooms or whatever.”

He knew it was the case he wasn’t sure why he was surprised

“Except they would probably send you all to different homes.” She continued adding on to her thought and Dean had to admit she was right. He lay back down. He’d thought about calling CPS but he knew what that meant. A new home for Sammy and Jo, maybe no better than this one, but this time he wouldn’t be there to protect them.

***

He left her around four thirty in the morning. The ground was soaked so he had to walk his bike home. It took a long time to get home. It left him plenty of time to think. He got home an hour later. He wasn’t running away. He came in the front door. He knew Kubrick wouldn’t be up. He walked quickly so that he wouldn’t drip mud everywhere.

He wasn’t sure if he felt any different now that he’d had sex or if it was just in his head.

He was stiff and cold from his walk home he shucked his muddy jeans into the bath tub. He’d need to get them out before he left for school, so Kubrick wouldn’t see.

If he was lucky he might be able to get an hour’s worth of sleep.

Sam was sleeping in his bed. He stared at the boy lying diagonally across his bed as slipped on some flannel PJ bottoms.

“Shove over.” He insisted pushing him slightly.

Sam curled into himself giving Dean maybe an extra inch of mattress.

Dean wiggled in the best he could until he got to a place where he could lay out.

Sure he could go sleep in Sam’s bed but it was the principle of the matter nobody was kicking him out of his bed.

“I thought you’d left.” Sam whispered apparently more awake than Dean realized. He was pointing to the backpack Dean had left in front of his closet when he came in.

“I wouldn’t leave you guys.” He admitted Sam’s hand found his he held it.

“I’m going be around for a long time.”

***

Present day

Dean woke up in his own bed, there is nothing quite like coming home after an extended time away. Everything was familiar. The way the sheets felt against his skin, the way the daylight fell upon the ceiling. Dean was so glad to be home. He was ready to pick things up where he left off. He wanted to go out to dinner tonight with Sam and Cas. He needed to have that talk with Sam, about what he wanted, and he needed to have a much harder talk with Cas, but for the moment things were good. Sam had already texted and said he was on his way over for breakfast, Dean dressed quickly.

Cas was passed out on the sofa, the blanket pulled up over his face blocking out the light from the large windows by the porch.

Dean wanted to kiss him, the kiss Cas had given him last night had lit a fire inside him that had never really died, but it was too soon for that in a lot of ways, he still had the cast on for god’s sake, he didn’t need Dean pawing at him during his recovery. Yesterday he’d been so happy to see him that he ignored the little things, like the way his hands tremored around him. Cas had always been two people, the real him and the bravado he tried to fight the world with. He was weaker than he let on, he was still recovering.

Dean let him sleep, as he went over into the kitchen the battered Mr, Coffee was still sitting where it had been before he left, he loaded it up with coffee, his expensive coffee still tasted pretty damn good from a drip coffee maker, when he was being lazy. He had to admit he wasn’t sure if he wanted to leave the house after all, the idea of staying in with his lovers watching movies all day in pjs appealed to him just as much going out.

Part of it had to do with the fact that he wanted to keep his relationship with Sam to himself.

He wasn’t exactly ashamed of being with Sam, but it would be hard to explain, he could picture talking to the guys at work, yeah not only am I into men one of the men I’m dating is my foster brother.

He’d tell them. He promised Sam that he wouldn't keep the relationship a secret, but it was something he would have to work up to,

Dean was in the middle of making pancakes, when someone knocked on his apartment door. He was surprised, that Sam left his key at home, he was usually really good at that kind of thing.

Dean dashed to the door, spatula still in hand, he was wearing his kiss the cook apron, so he wouldn't ruin his favorite Bad Company shirt, but it wasn’t Sam on the other side.

He’d already started his greeting when he stopped his words dying.

“Get on in here the foods almost….”

“Hey Dean, sorry I didn’t call,” she murmured wringing her hands sheepishly.

He could feel whatever happy expression that had graced his face melt upon seeing her.

“but I wasn’t sure you’d agree to see me.”

Lisa. The woman who tore his heart out. No that was too big of a role for what she really did. The woman who shredded his cookie cutter image of his future into little pieces.

She was standing there before him. Her long dark hair splayed out behind her. She was dressed in pair of dressy black slacks and a sapphire  blue low cut blouse there were little holes showing a hint of shoulder, and frills in the front and back giving her a flowing look. She wore the small golden heart necklace on the thin delicate chain that he’d got her for her birthday, and her good blue heels. She looked good, and she knew she looked good, that was half the point.

“Lisa,” he choked out surprised.

“Did I catch you at a bad time?” she asked again seemingly sheepish.

Dean was staring, at a loss for words. It had been what three years since he last saw her, nearly as long since their divorce was finalized. He swallowed heavily

He heard Cas groan as he tossed on the couch.

He stepped forward crowding her till she stepped out of his way and he closed the door.

He wasn’t sure why, but he didn’t want Lisa to know about Cas. it was the same type of panic that had grabbed him at the restaurant.

“What do you want Lisa?” he asked, because he knew she didn’t drive all the way over here just to see what he looked like.

“Do you have someone over?” she asked he couldn't tell if it was jealousy or just curiosity.  

“What do you want?” he asked again. He wanted her gone, because as much as he didn’t want her to see Cas he also didn’t want Cas or Sam to see her.

She sighed heavily.

She was acting too, she knew how awkward and unprecedented this was. It was then he noticed how world weary she really looked. There were circles under her eyes that she’d tried to hide with makeup.

“Ben got stopped by the cops yesterday”

Ben wasn’t really Dean’s son, there had been moments where he questioned it, where sometimes even it was easier to pretend that perhaps Lisa was mistaken over her son’s parentage, but that didn’t mean that Dean didn’t care for the boy. He loved Ben, the last couple of years it had been hard to show it with the way things had ended between him and Lisa, but he still talked to him, he sent him a card for his birthday with a $100 gift card, a paltry effort perhaps but he had not be able to bring himself to go to the party.

“Jesus, what for is he alright?”

Lisa sighed heavily shaking her head,

“He’s beyond grounded, but yeah,he is alright, but the chargers are serious.”

Dean frowned.

“What happened?”

Lisa covered her face with her hand. Her voice quavering

“I don’t know how I didn't see it, he’s been withdraw lately and moody, but he never skipped school”

“Drugs?” Dean asked hazarding a guess, by Lisa’s reaction.

“He was selling…”

Dean hissed there was a greater penalty for sale

“Behind the school.”

Dean shook his head. Ben was looking at possible jail time. Depending on how much he was selling and to whom, if he had paraphilia on him, he could spend up to a year or possibly eighteen months in jail not to mention a few thousand dollars in fines.

“His court case is in three months.”

She kept her eyes down, this was the part where she needed his help.

“He’d get a public defender…” she continued leadingly then it all clicked into place.

“You want me to get him a better lawyer?”

He could see that she had a whole speech prepared he watched her draw her self up.

“I’ll do it.”

The surprise registered on her face.

“This thing between us… it's not Ben’s fault, He shouldn't suffer for it.”

Chapter Text

***

February 8th

Cas kept his eyes closed. The pain was easier when his eyes were closed. Maybe it was because he couldn’t see how pathetic he looked in the mirror.

He was curled on his bed, his knees drawn up to his chest held in place as he huddled into the fetal position. He wasn’t going through withdrawls, at least not proper withdrawal, he hadn’t been on the drug that long, but there was still pain which the pills were meant to treat, he’d been in pain before. He could deal with pain, it was the betrayal of his own mind that he couldn’t stand.

Memories of her, memories of his brother, he’d buried them a long time ago or at least he’d thought he had. After last night, he’d swore he wouldn’t take the pills any longer, but that left him here. In his bed holding still against the pain. Sweat formed on his body, he knew the pain was temporary, physical pain always was. He just needed to endure it, to outlast it.

The throbbing in his head was barely halted by the Tylenol he popped about an hour ago.

It didn’t help his arm or ribs at all.

Sam was at work, he’d woke on the sofa curled into the arm when Sam left for work.

He couldn’t have gotten more than three or four hours of sleep, the pain hadn’t been that bad yet.

It wasn’t until about midday that the pain became unavoidable. It wasn’t just the largest injuries. His muscles still ached, his bruises were fading but still tender.

Still he was safe, here.

He could lick his wounds in peace, heal. His life up until this point had been a series of reactions. He reacted to his mother's abuse, by closing himself off, by pushing it away.

He reacted to his brother’s disbelief by trying to pretend it didn’t matter, that none of them mattered.

He reacted to Cooper, by running away.

He reacted to life on the streets, by building up his wall higher and stronger than ever before. He’d laid each brick by hand.

Even now he wasn’t doing anything different.

He was scared.

Every time he tried to trust things never worked out like he expected.

Still he wanted this. This shot at happiness, this shot of making something.

Forging a connection, being more than the kid with the fucked up past. Maybe he could be someone with a future as well.

***

Present  

Cas watched Dean stepped out into the hall and closed the door. Little alarm bells went off in his head. He was talking to someone. From where he sat on the sofa he had not been able to see who he was talking to, but he’d seen Dean’s face. It someone he didn’t want to see him, or perhaps he didn’t want him to see the person. Either way Dean’s pancakes were burning.

Cas easily stood and dug another spatula out of the drawer beneath the stove. He wasn’t much of a chef, but he could flip pancakes. There were three tan circles on the griddle, one was irreparably burned he still flipped it any way. Maybe he could just cover it with syrup.

Dean opened the door. From where Cas was standing he couldn’t see who was on the other side.

“I’ll make a few calls.” Dean told the person on the other side, they either nodded or made some form of response that he couldn't hear because Dean shut the door at this point.

“Who was that?” Cas asked offhandedly.

He watched Dean’s reaction closely. He was curious on if he was going to tell him the truth.

Dean frowned, looking at the burnt circle on the griddle.

There was this strange moment of silence between them.

Then Dean sighed heavily, and told him the truth.

“My ex-wife.”

Cas instantly sensed the truth in the words.

“So were you hiding me from her or her from me?”

Dean hissed slightly, nobody really liked getting called out on their bullshit after all.

Cas laughed.

“I have brain trauma, but I can still pay attention.” he admitted calling Dean out.

He removed the pancakes from the griddle mostly still edible, and placed them on a plate.

“Both, I guess.” Dean admitted again opting for honesty.  

Cas nodded, absorbing the information.

He honestly didn’t give a fuck if the world knew about them, he just wanted Dean’s partners to know, he didn’t wanna be the other man, the dirty secret.

While he’d never really done the whole coming out bit but, he knew it was something that had to be done at your own pace. There wasn’t really a whole lot of people clamoring to know who he was dating and what not growing up, he honestly thought his last foster mom must have been relieved, when he left. His sexuality had always been a sensitive subject was was better left not spoken of.

“What did she want?” he asked curious.

He bit into the pancake, it tasted like charcoal clearly it couldn't be saved after all.

Dean took the third pancake and plated it for him.

“I’ll make more.” Dean assured.

Cas shrugged indifferent he wasn’t really hungry anyway.

Sam opened the door.

He glanced around

“What burnt?” he wondered. As he walked into the room

“Pancakes,” Cas supplied but his eyes were focused on Dean.

He was waiting for Dean to answer his question.

Sam noticed the tension as he approached

“Whats with you two?” Sam asked. Grabbing the last pancake rolling it up in his hands taking a bite out of it. Dean looked away first.

“Lisa was here.”

Cas had never see someone choke before, he watched as Sam coughed heavily, he’d tried to inhale that first bite of pancake.

“What did she want?” Sam asked his tone venomous, it was clear there was no love lost between the two of them.

Cas didn’t know the history between the three of them, until recently it hadn’t seemed to really matter much.

This thing with Dean had seemed so fleeting, so temporary that it hadn’t been worth getting too invested in. it was a nice dream, if he looked too closely into he’d wake up.

He’d be lying if he said he wasn’t invested now, he wasn’t sure when it happened but he felt jealous, and out of the loop that he didn’t know about a history he’d never cared to ask about.

“It’s personal.” he deflected.

Cas watched as Sam’s hackles rose.

“I'm, your boyfriend...we’re you boyfriends” Sam continued correcting himself.

They’d been dating a month, but how much did he really know about the man?

“Can we not do this, in front of Cas?” Dean asked his tone hushed almost as if Cas wouldn't hear him or understand him even though he was sitting right there.

Cas sucked on his teeth, rushing to his feet “Yeah, I can tell when I’m not wanted.” he insisted spinning to leave the room

“Stop!” Dean shouted.

“This got blow way the hell out of proportions, ok?” he insisted holding his hands up.

“She wanted me to get a good lawyer for her son.”

Sam was frowning

“Why didn’t you just say that?” he asked. His posture was defensive, arms crossed over his chest.

Dean shrugged. “ I didn’t wanna bring Lisa into this.”

Cas noticed that he’d said her son not their son, but it never really occurred to him till then that Dean might have more family than what he knew of, he had more family than Dean knew about, it was a fair bet.

Being in the hospital had stolen a lot from him, more than he really realized.

It had stolen his strength and his certainty, but it had also stolen his time.

Sam didn’t say anything.

Cas wandered into the living room, he wanted to remove himself from this situation, he needed the distance to think.

“You ok?” Dean asked, the concern in his voice was oddly grating on him.

“Yeah.” he shot back quickly.

He sat on the sofa, and turned the tv on, he was just using it as a barrier.

Dean felt his face pinch as he watched Cas. He was kicking himself, this entire thing got blown out of proportion, he did not wanna talk about  Lisa, it was a sore spot.

Partially because he knew that Sam wouldn't approve of him helping her.

“Do you want me to make you more pancakes?”

He asked.

“No.” Cas replied flatly. He was pulling away and Dean wasn’t sure how to bring him back. It was like spinning plates, he needed to keep both Sam and Cas happy, but sometimes the two things felt like they opposed each other.

It was clear he was trying to ignore him. Dean nodded.

Sam was still watching him as if he expected Dean to say more.

“I’m sorry.” Dean added trying to ease some of the tension, but his words felt thin to even his own ears.

Sam shrugged. Vaguely accepting his half hearted apology.

And suddenly there it was. The same tension that killed his relationship with Lisa. The space between filled with the things he couldn't say.  

Sam was surprised when Dean stepped around the island counter and pulled him into a hug.

He leaned into him. The smell of his cologne enveloped him, the pressure of his body against him was comforting, pulling him in.

“I love you.” he whispered against him.

“I’m trying.” he added

That was all it took,

It soothed the jagged edges in his mind, Dean loved him and he was trying to make this work, he was trying to make things clear, but there was still a lot feelings left between Lisa.

Sam wasn’t scared of Cas’s relationship with Dean, in a weird way he felt like they were on even footing compared to he and Lisa.

Sam never really believed that he loved Lisa as much as Dean should've, but she was his wife. There was history there that sometimes he wondered if he could compete with.

Dean took a deep breath. Before pulling away.

“We need to talk.”

Sam nodded.

They turned towards Cas who seemed to be engrossed in the tv.

“We will be right back” Sam called out.

“Don’t mind me.” Cas responded.

Dean felt a strange pang of uncertainty.

Was Cas ok? He wondered, but he followed Sam to his bedroom.

Dean shut the door and watched as Sam simply stood before him.

Dean tried to relax this shouldn’t be an awkward thing. He was just talking to Sam, it shouldn't be difficult and yet somehow it was.

Sam watched as Dean fidgeted awkwardly before the door. He knew what he wanted to say,but he was going to let Dean have his say first.

Dean moved to sit on the bed his hands clasped in his lap.

He was staring at his shoes.

“I wanna go to your place tonight.”  

It wasn’t what Sam expected.

“What are you saying?” Sam wondered.

Dean ran his hand through his hair.

“I don’t want Cas to hear.”  he continued.

Dean kept looking at his shoes. Sam wasn’t sure if he should feel offended or not.

He knew Dean was talking about them fucking, and maybe he was being presumptuous, but Sam couldn’t exactly get hurt that Dean was expecting them to have sex. It was something he’d be anxiously looking forward to himself for the past three weeks, he was well past ready, he’d been waiting for Dean.

Still, the way Dean said it felt like he was more concerned with what Cas thought of it.

“ Yeah, ok.” Sam agreed slowly.

“It will be easier to relax if I don’t have to worry about him.” Dean continued trying to explain himself.

Sam nodded, he got it to a certain degree, he was sure Cas didn’t exactly want to hear them fucking especially since Cas wasn’t at the having sex stage himself, but he could have phrased it a little better.

Sam tried to look on the brightside.

Dean still wanted to have sex with him. They might have lost momentum and gotten a little awkward, but Dean wanted to keep trying.

He still said he loved him.

A little kernel of guilt niggled at him, he thought about the batch of codeine water that was just sitting in his fridge.

He knew he had no right to be upset with Dean, not after what he did.

He wondered if Dean had looked at his credit statement, he wondered if he saw the cash withdrawal.

It had been stupid of him, to take the money from Dean, he didn’t have an excuse other than he’d wanted to get high. He wasn’t completely in denial, he knew it wasn’t an ideal situation.

He was walking a tightrope.  He was going to fall, it was only a matter of time, but it was too late, He couldn't get down, he couldn't go back the way he came he could only move forward and hope that he made it to the end.

He focused on control, he’d already been high when he took the money, it was a bad decision one he wished he could take back.

He wasn’t ashamed about the drugs, not really, he had them under control now, but that wasn’t what control looked like.

Dean was botching it. ‘The talk’ had never been his strong suit, and rather than focus on his own insecurities he felt when it came to sex he focused on the practicalities of them having sex.

He could tell by the disappointed look on Sam’s face that all he was accomplishing was digging himself a deeper and deeper hole.

“Dinner?” he asked, softly.

That got Sam’s attention. He perked up slightly, the man acted like he hadn’t known him nearly his whole life, like he couldn't tell when he was just going along for the ride.

Dean knew he was messing shit up between them, but he was hoping that he could make it up to Sam.

“I’ll cook.” he offered softly

Sam smiled, Dean really was a good cook.

“I’ll even watch a movie with you.”

Sam raised a brow Dean and he didn’t always share the same tastes in movies.

“One I pick out?” he teased back softly.

Dean couldn't help but smile, he was back on the right track with him.

“Yep.” he agreed empathically.

“It doesn’t even have to be in english.” he added with a charming smile.

Sam chuckled. “Oh you are in for it now.” he grinned

He would need to take a few precautions before Dean came over but it was easily fixed.

“Sounds great” Sam admitted softly already looking forward to tonight.

“What's on the agenda for today?” he asked.

Dean raised up his broken hand.

“I get to see if this sucker can come off.”

Sam nodded, stepping up to him.

“Then I’m open, but I've got a dinner date with my boyfriend later so we need to be discrete.” Dean teased pulling Sam even closer.

Sam shook his head at Dean’s playfulness.

“I’m not very good at discrete,” he teased running a hand along Dean’s jaw.

“Why’s that?” Dean asked his voice an octave lower than normal he was staring at his mouth.

Sam couldn't resist.

“I’m a screamer.”  he taunted leaning in to kiss Dean’s neck.

“Son of a bitch.” Dean hissed.

Sam moved to pull away, but Dean grabbed him back pulling him in for a quick kiss.

It was quick passionate and over too quickly, it was a promise for tonight.

“Let’s go check on Cas.”  Sam whispered as he pulled away.

Dean nodded his pulse elevated.

***

Cas texted Kemp the moment Dean and Sam left the room. He needed air, he needed to think.

Cas heard the bedroom door open as he slipped out the front door, the sound increasing the speed of his steps. Sky was waiting downstairs,with Kemp, they didn’t have their own car.

He felt a twinge of guilt that he was leaving with talking to anyone first, but he’d been cooped up here for the past three weeks, he hadn’t left the house without Sam or Jo in toe, and he needed a moment to process his thoughts.

They hadn’t been keeping him prisoner or anything, he’d just been weak.

He hadn’t wanted to admit the truth that for the first time in his life he hadn’t been able to make it on his own.

He slung his backpack over his shoulder. He wasn’t running away. At least he didn’t think he was he just needed time to think he’d be back later tonight.

He shot Dean a quick text so he would know that he was hanging with Kemp

Judging by the tension in the room, Cas had expected their conversation to go on a bit longer.

He took the stairs, his heavy steps echoing through the stairwell.

He had to remind himself to go slow, he was unimpressed with his lack of strength. He was slightly winded by the time he reached the bottom, he slipped out the side door and walked up the street to where Sky had parked the car.

Their car was a mid ranged blue sedan, he didn’t really know more about it than that, but with a quick perusal of the street he was able to find it.

He approached the car slowly

Sky was driving, Kemp sat shotgun.

Cas easily slid into the backseat behind Kemp.

Sky wore wide white sunglasses. They obscured her eyes, to Cas they looked like weird alien eyes.

“Hey” Kemp called out.

Cas nodded to them acknowledging.

“So what do you wanna do?”

“Let's go get a tattoo.”  

***

Four years and four months ago

Jimmy glanced at his reflection in the mirror. Cocking his head first to the right then the left examining his wet darkened locks. So far he thought the color came out evenly.  He’d gotten a bit of the dye on his scalp mostly behind his ears, but the black splotches weren’t enough to bother him. The dark color somehow made him look paler. It pronounced the dark circles under his eyes, but he didn’t look like his dad so he counted it a win.

It was technically a natural color so it shouldn’t be a problem with dress code. He’d painted his nails black,which was technically a grey area as far as dress code was concerned.  His actions with the snowglobe, quickly made the rounds throughout the school, if not the actual reasoning behind them, giving him a certain level of infamy, that he wasn’t sure was a good thing or not.

No one bothered him, but no one talked to him at all really.  

He’d been lucky, his caseworker talked to the judge, he had to pay for the repairs to the glass wall, was placed on probation, and the worst part ,they wanted him to start seeing a shrink regularly again. He’d gone to his first meeting,but he didn’t really talk about anything. He knew he wouldn’t be able to get away with it for very long maybe a session or two,but eventually she’d press. She’d want to talk about his mom or his brother, or his sexuality. He was dreading that day. Still it wasn't that bad.

Mrs. Jones switched from a very hands off approach to a very hands on, you only go to school and straight home, approach. Mr. Jones was about the same. Civil, but distant, Cas didn’t really take it too personally he took the same approach with his own two kids.

Jimmy could tell that the fostering idea was really Mrs.Jones passion and he had to admit, sometimes he felt bad that she was saddled with the likes of him. She was nice. There was a lot of kids out there who could use nice, he was too fucked up and mistrusting to be one of them.  

The snowglobe incident, which was what it was now being called, happened five weeks ago.

He didn’t take the bus anymore.

Mr. Jones dropped him off at school on his way into the office, which meant he got at the school around six.

He was expected to work for an hour before school and an hour after, to clean up the campus as part of his recompas.

Jimmy didn’t really mind. He’d pull on the blue overalls they gave him put his headphones in and zone out till it was time for class.

It wasn’t that different from the way things used to be except he missed out on sleep. He rarely slept anyway. The nightmares, still were a big part of his life.

He found it funny, while it was happening he’d been able to sleep, now that it was in the past he couldn't close his eyes without seeing her looming over him.

Jimmy snuck out of the bathroom down the hall to his bedroom, so he could get dressed. The dye job hadn’t exactly been a sanctioned activity, and he’d likely get shit for it but he didn’t really give a fuck.

The light was off in his room, he had his own room at this house. The eldest of the Jone’s had gone off the college before he arrived, He’d yet to meet Chrissy, but he assumed he’d be sleeping on the sofa when she came to visit at Thanksgiving.  At his last home he’d had to share with a two year old, and while he liked to think he had eccentric tastes, jungle themed with cartoon lions wasn’t exactly what he wanted.

Here he had space to stretch out. He had his posters on the walls, he’d picked out the black bedspread, she wouldn’t let him have black sheets, but he was fine with the dark navy blue.

He even had a few books on the tiny bookshelf in the corner.

He had a picture of his mom and brother, but it was in a box in his closet he wasn’t ready to display it yet, but it was a reminder of where he came from. Not that he’d  ever be likely forget.

Jimmy walked into his closet. He didn’t have a lot of clothes,but what he had was hanging up in the space.  He easily pulled on his long sleeved T shirt, a skull and crossbones decorated his chest.

He couldn’t wait for it to actually get cold, it was the end of September and everyday he was burning up, he’d abandoned the heavy hoodie to the heat, but it hurt him to lose it.

It was a barrier, even if someone accidentally touched him he could barely feel it through the fabric.

It got cold in Montana, it was perhaps the one thing he missed about his home there. The weather. He missed the cold. Winter had always been his favorite season which made sense since his birthday was the tale end of summer. The winter he spent in Mississippi was nothing in comparison the what he was used to. He felt cheated by it somehow.  

He was dressed and scarfing down cereal, by the time Mr. Jones made it down stairs, he was older than his wife by maybe ten years, there was a lot of grey in his tawny brown hair, but he still was resisting the gut that a lot of older men developed.

He wore a grey suit, and clark kent glasses. He didn’t really acknowledge Jimmy just poured himself a glass of coffee.

Jimmy hand already helped himself to the pot he’d made, before he came down. They didn’t really want him drinking it, but again his answer was fuck that.

It was dark, so Jimmy hopped that he wouldn't be able to tell the difference in his hair color.

“You ready?” he asked staring at his phone, he was probably checking the news. He was glued to his phone half the time. Jimmy wasn’t sure why he was nervous about him noticing his hair, he barely noticed when his wife got a haircut or fucked her yoga instructor.

They got into his silver sedan and drove to the school, it was five till six when Jimmy stepped out of the car.

He tossed his black backpack over his shoulder and soldiered over to the back of the school by the bus drop off. It was the only door open at this time.

The cafeteria served a limited breakfast of eggs or pancakes, but the Jone’s didn’t qualify for free lunches, and never gave him cash to buy his own food thus the cold cereal he scarfed before he got here, he was fine with that really.

He might be defensive about it, but the Jone’s really were the best family he’d ever had.

He wasn’t really a part of the family, he lived on the fringes of it, but it was better than anything else he’d ever known, his grades were improving all on their own, because he was able to focus on learning and he was actually interested in his classes.

Sure he sat in the back of the class and pretended that he couldn't care less, sometimes he even laid his head down and pretended to sleep,but his teachers stopped giving him shit about it when they noticed that while it looked like he was sleeping in class, his test scores told an entirely different story.

He even sort of had a boyfriend.

He didn’t know what it was yet.He told him it was casual just some experimentation, Jimmy decided to take his word on on it, he knew he wasn’t exactly in the position to decide what was normal.

They hung out, kissed. He liked doing things to him. He didn't want to think too hard on his sexuality or what it meant wanting to suck someone’s dick, but being terrified of them returning the favor.

The janitor’s closet that he was supposed to use was behind the auditorium. The room was a cold bare concrete square. Chairs were stacked into every available corner. Cleaning equip barely fit into the back of the space, a large yellow wheeled trash can and a tanish grey mop bucket he searched his pockets for his earbuds and swore when he couldn't find them he sighed and pulled the ugly jumpsuit over his clothes. He was off double check the bathrooms, before he cleaned up after breakfast.

He wheeled the trashcan out. There weren’t many kids who came to breakfast this early, the cafeteria only held about twenty or so kids, that would change in an hour.

He quickly made the rounds with the bathrooms, no real problems there. He emptied a few trashcans. Refilled the paper towels.

He made it to breakfast before the trouble started. This was why he brought headphones it was a lot easier to ignore the hecklers when he couldn't hear them.

“Nice dye job Novak.” someone sneered Jimmy turned to see Mrs Jones's son, his girlfriend and two of their friends.

Mrs. Jones's son took after his father, the sixteen year point guard, was tall slightly taller than Jimmy was, with the same tawny hair his father was graced with, but his youth only added to his good looks, complimented by his athleticism,but,it was the girlfriend who’d called him out.

she was tall, thin with too much bubble gum pink lip gloss on.

“Better than yours.” he tossed back, idly. She smoothed a quick self conscious hand over her honey blonde locks, which probably cost triple the price his box dye job did.

“You wish.”  she shot back snidely.

Jimmy tired to focus on his work. Turning his back to them, glancing down at the table.

He took the half eaten plate full of pancakes and dumped them into the trash can.

“Blondes  have more fun anyway.” she cooed.

Jimmy turned back to them. Mrs. Jones's youngest was clearly trying to stay out of the conversation he wasn’t meeting his eyes. He was purposefully glancing around the room at anything but Jimmy. His distance pricked at his pride and caused Jimmy to strike back.

“Is that true Cooper?”

Jimmy asked. Eyeing the other man. His eyes swung to meet his, his cheeks tinged pink.

Does she have more fun?” he asked dragging out the implication with a brow raised keeping his tone clear.

His friends snickered and Laurel elbowed the nearest of the two in the stomach.

“Are you gonna let him talk to me like that?” she asked affronted.

Cooper turned to her his hands on her shoulders.

“It’s not like he’s lying.” Cooper insisted awkwardly.

His response didn’t exactly help his case. She made an inarticulate noise that was somewhere between a screech and a scream and stomped off which what could only be considered a flounce.

Jimmy’s smug expression was quickly cooled by Cooper’s stare

“Not cool man.” he insisted before following her.  He flinched.

Cooper’s friends retaliated in the only way possible. They pushed past him and begun knocking the remaining plates of food into the floor, laughing as they did so.

Their jeers were nonsensical as they shoved the food on to the floor.

“Fucking queer.” they insisted puffing out their chests bumbing painfully against him, causing a tingling of fear to whip through him.

“Nobody wants you around anyway.”  

Jimmy stood and watched dispassionately, he wouldn’t given them the satisfaction of a reaction. It was clear that wasn’t what they expected as the last plate hit the floor they looked over at him with a burgeoning sense of unease.  One of them clipped him with their shoulder as they left.

“What is wrong with you?” he asked. The question wasn’t meant to cut as deep as it did. It was meant to be a quick parting insult.

He had no inkling at the inner turmoil Jimmy was experiencing. The bully had no idea that his heart was pounding, the blood roaring in his ears, that his hand clenched at his side was sweating.

That since the moment he touched him, his body had gone into a defensive overdrive.

Jimmy stood stock still trying to regain control of his emotions as he watched as the other students filed slowly out of the cafeteria. He stood  till the cafeteria was empty before getting down on his knees and cleaning up their mess.

The maple syrup had congealed into a sugary sweet glue, trapping the styrofoam plates to the floor. They ripped when he tried to remove them leaving blots of white styrofoam in their wake.

He was ten minutes late for class by the time he was done cleaning up.

The teacher said nothing as he slunk in past the curious faces of his peers.

He wanted to make a statement by changing his style, he didn’t think they’d stare so much.

He hiked his backpack higher on his shoulder as he made his way to the back of the classroom.

He slid into the chair pressing back into the back wall hoping he could just disappear.

The day drug by, he didn’t really have any friends. He sat at the smokers table during lunch. Outside on the patio. The kids who sat there were the rebels. They wore dark clothes, they didn’t fit in. They weren’t any more fucked up than the popular girl with her eating disorder, or the jock who was too scared to come out to his parents, but they liked to think they were. Being the outcasts made them feel special, it became a part of their identity.

Jimmy didn’t disabuse them of that, because being fucked up was a large part of his own identity.   

***

Jimmy was in the storage room after school, he’d been trying to get the long duster out from behind the stack of chairs so that he could get the cobwebs of the the corners when Cooper walked in. Jimmy hadn’t been facing the door, all he heard was the scrape of the door opening as he turned.

“You’re an asshole.”  Cooper accused as the grey steel door slammed shut behind him. Jimmy tensed as he entered the room,but relaxed when he saw that his friends weren't slinking in behind him. It was just Cooper. The storage room was the one place in the whole damn state that was actually cool, the bare concrete in combination with the proximity to the air conditioner had the room perpetually freezing cold.

“You’re one to talk.” he admitted. His eyes not meeting the other man’s. Jimmy had to admit he was still hurt from before. It was one thing his friends being dicks, he had pretty thick skin, it was another thing him joining in.

“Do you know how much trouble I’m in with Laurel?” he asked angrily. Warning bells went off in the back of Jimmy’s brain.  Jimmy didn’t reply he feel bad about that, but what about him?

“I don’t care, she was being a bitch.”  he tossed out looking away. “You should worry about being in trouble with me.” he added childishly.

Cooper frowned. He didn't need to see it to feel it in his voice.

“That’s not fair.”

Jimmy laughed bitterly.

“You wanna talk about what’s fair now?” he demanded brow raised. Turning back to face him.

“What about me? I'm your boyfriend just as much she's your girlfriend.”

Cooper flinched at his words.

“That's not fair” Cooper muttered looking at his toes again.

Iit was exactly what he'd been saying.

“Just because you don’t want anyone knowing about us doesn't give you the right to be a dick.” he complained crossing his arms over his chest.

“I was just keeping up appearances.” Cooper assured.

“Can you imagine what would happen if my mom found out.”

A cool pit begun to form in his stomach.

Jimmy knew what would happen, he was already on thin ice when it came to his standing in the family. If they found out that he ‘corrupted’ their son he’d be out on his ass faster than he could even explain that Cooper started it. He licked his lips nervously. Jimmy hadn’t spent too much time till recently thinking about his sexuality, but having Cooper there in the same house, really put things into perspective.

Cooper was the opposite he spent way too much time thinking on his sexuality, and he’d come to the conclusion that he only occasionally liked dudes and that didn’t make him gay.

Jimmy sighed. “What do you want?” he demanded annoyed. Keeping his eyes on the ground, but watching Cooper carefully in his peripheral vision.

Cooper stepped closer to him, stepping around piles of equipment as he weaved his way further into the room.

Jimmy stood his ground. His fists clenched at his sides.

“I want you to make it up to me.”  His demor had shifted, he wasn’t angry anymore. The flirty tone was easy to read, it wasn’t the first time he’d heard it. He instantly knew what he wanted from him.

Jimmy met his eyes before slowly dropping down.

The cold bare concrete was rough on his knees, they ached,but he tried not to focus on the pain.

He glance up at Cooper, he’d already closed his eyes. Jimmy reached for his fly. Something niggled at him, a tiny corner of his brain told him, it wasn’t fair that Cooper was mad at him for being mean to his girlfriend when he wasn’t mad at her for being mean to him.

“What about her?” he asked

Cooper opened his eyes, they were green like his mother’s

“What about her?” he asked clearly confused.

“She’s a bitch.” Jimmy spat out.

Cooper rolled his eyes.

“So?” he asked as if it was the most obvious thing in the world.

“What do you see in her?” Jimmy wondered.

“The same thing I see in you,she's hot.” the words short straight through him

Jimmy couldn’t move as Cooper’s words resonated within him.

If he was being honest with himself he knew Cooper didn’t give a shit about him. He could see as much by how he treated him,but hearing it was another story.

Sometimes he wondered if this kind of thing happened to him for a reason. He wondered if there was some imperceptible flaw within him that led people to see him as something to be used.

He felt like it was all he was really good for. To be used and abused, physically, mentally, emotionally, sexually it didn’t matter because he didn’t matter.

He was only useful to others because of what he could do for them or be for them.

It was the only way people noticed him, the only way anyone bothered with him.

Jimmy unzipped Cooper’s fly massaging him through his boxers,

It was the only value he had to anyone.  He grinned up at Cooper stroking him forcing his attention on him, he didn’t want Cooper thinking about anyone else when he touched him.

Jimmy slid a flirtatious confident mask into place, trying it on for size.  

“Yeah,I am. Which is why you won’t take your eyes off of me.”  he teased with a wink.

Cooper smiled down at him, his grey eyes, locked on his face.

Jimmy could do this, be this, it was a lot easier pretending to be ok than actually being ok.

Chapter Text

***

Two and a half years ago

Sam woke, or maybe he was still asleep. He was in that weird place in between waking and dreaming. Either way today was going to be a bad day. He could feel the prevailing sense of dread at the thought of facing the world today. He wasn’t sure what triggered it. Sometimes it was nothing. Some days he would just wake up feeling lower than muck scraped off the underside of a garbage can. It was like alarm bells went off in his brain, a cacophony of urgency urging him to abandon all hope and stay where it was quiet, where he didn’t have to fake smile or use his brain, or worse interact with other humans. People think depression is monochromatic, varying degrees of sadness, but sadness is only one of the defining characteristics. If he was given the chance to rename it, for himself at least, it was a mixture of ennui, apathy, anxiety, dread, soul-crushing emptiness, and paralyzing sadness without any real source. Sam swung out of bed, he was alone. He wished it weren’t true. It wasn’t even about the sex. It was about not being lost. He felt alone so much in his everyday life.

Sometimes it felt like he was just collecting triggers. He was fine mostly now in the summer months, no real triggers there except for the heat, forcing him inside. Left to his own devices he had a tendency to spiral down into his own mind.

It was around November when the worst of it hit, the weather was bleak, the holiday spirit grew oppressive, it was three long months of cheer ending in Dean’s birthday at the tail end of January, still it didn’t really end there, valentine's day in February, last April he got a new trigger when Dean kissed him. That was four months ago. The ink was still drying on Dean’s divorce papers, it was uncontested. She didn’t fight for money, he settled with what Sam thought a generous sum and left it at that. It seemed both of them were more than happy to just move on with their lives. Everyone had their coping methods, he didn’t know what Lisa’s methods were she was able to walk away from the destruction she caused.

Dean’s coping methods usually involved a nice pair of tits… he knew was being uncharitable and petty, still it stung that the first thing Dean did hours after kissing him was fall into the arms of yet another woman.

Admittedly Dean didn’t know that he kissed him, but Sam knew.

It became his daily trigger. The yearning for Dean that he’d spent so long suppressing combined perfectly with his general lack of satisfaction for the way his life was turning out.

He didn’t know what he wanted out of life. He’d tried college. Several times. He liked the collegiate atmosphere, the people, but nothing really came from it. He didn’t know what he wanted from that either. It had just been a box that he felt like he was meant to tick.

Graduate highschool, go to college, get a good job with his degree and in there somewhere meet the man of his dreams and get married to start a family. That was the way life was supposed to work. There was a path laid out for him, maybe he and the nuclear family did things a little differently since he was gay, but it wasn’t that big of a difference. He still wanted a normal life.

He wanted to feel something besides this crushing depression. It felt like it had been there his entire life. Taunting him. Reminding him of his failures and shortcomings.

When he was little he wanted to be a vet, he’d always loved animals, dogs especially. He wanted to grow up and take care of them.  He was probably about ten or eleven when he lost his way. He was held after school to work on his math homework, the teacher casually asked what he wanted to be when he grew up.He told her then, she told him he wasn’t good enough at math to pursue a career in veterinary science. It was off handed, it was late in the day, and now he was sure that she was trying to motivate him, but all he heard was he wasn’t good enough. He was aware that most people don’t actually pursue their childhood career options, but for so long it was the only constant in his life. Between his father and Kubrick he was fairly beaten down.

Giving up on that dream changed him.

As stupid as that sounds it did. All the other bullshit he could deal with, because it was just more of the same. Life kicking you when you were down. He finally found a family with Dean, the courts send him back to his father. He finally gets to go back to Dean, but he has to live with Kubrick and watch him beat the shit out of the man for years.

They finally escape  except now he’s lost the Dean he used to know, first to Stanford, then Lisa, now to Sandover, and worse still he has no idea who he really is.

Sure he has convictions and beliefs, he knew things about himself, but not what he wanted. He’d moved to Ohio to be near Dean, but he didn’t really have any other ties here. He started out as a lawyer because he wanted to help people, he wanted to be an advocate to fight for those who needed it.

He started out doing well, he went to class the repetition and scheduling helped him cope, sometimes it helped getting out of his apartment being around other people, but sometimes that was the hardest part of his day. He’d have a bad day. He’d lock himself in his bedroom,listen to music, binge watch tv, read, play games anything to keep his mind occupied. sometimes one bad day turned into five. Then he was failing and it was so much harder to go back so he’d withdrew. In a lot of ways he withdrew.

His phone chirped again. That must have been what woke him.

He rolled on his side. So that he could glance at the screen. It was his friend Brady from college. They hadnot hung out in a about a year. He’d slowly drifted away from all his friends. He mostly just hung out with Jo and Dean.

He was inviting him to a party. Part of Sam wanted to refuse. That the thought of getting up and being sociable was more than he could bear, but another smaller part of him missed people, was tired of isolating himself, was tired of living for paying bills and dying. He felt like he was trapped in this cycle of mediocrity where he wasn’t living for much of anything.

He wasn’t suicidal, not really.  He just thought it would be easier sometimes if he wasn't alive.  He glanced at the clock, it was only ten thirty, he’d gone to bed because he had to work in the morning and nothing else seemed to hold his attention.

[see you there] Sam texted. He got up and dressed as quickly as he could.

It took him about thirty minutes to drive out to the party.The location wasn’t exactly what he expected. It was a four bedroom house in the burbs. Tan and red, brick exterior, a privacy row of bushes separating them on both sides from their neighbors.  The little walk way up to the house was lined with little terra cotta bricks. Inside the house was the living room, kitchen, dining room and three bedrooms downstairs with master on the second floor.

If Sam didn’t know better he would say that it was a high school party, but the group of people varied too much in age. Sure some of them looked young enough to go to the local high school, but he’d known several of them from different classes.

The party was centralized mainly by the living room and dining room. The dining room table had been wedged into a corner and an array of red solo cups had been arranged on the surface of an elongated white table.

Sam wasn’t much of a beer pong player so he walked past the setup into the kitchen.

The bar was cluttered with different sizes of liquor bottles, and a keg was smothering the trash can.

Sam grabbed a red solo cup and poured himself a beer, while he was waiting.

It tasted like piss, very reminiscent of a high school party… beer pong and cheap beer.

Sam might not have been the most popular kid at his school, but for a while there he’d been dating a football player, he’d made the rounds with him. He wasn’t sure why Brady was at a party like this. If he was being honest he wasn’t sure why he was here. He hadn’t seen Brady in a long time, plus he had work in the morning. He was working in an office. Data entry, it was mind numbing, but it paid alright.

He was here because he wanted something different. He wasn’t happy. It was more than his near constant yearning for Dean, he was lost.

Brady startled him when he clapped him on the shoulder.

“Sam you made it.” he enthused.

He was just as handsome as Sam remembered. Too late Sam started to think that maybe this was a booty call. There had been a few nights of cramming for tests when, they took their frustration out in bed, but they had never been more than friends. It had never been Brady who initiated it before.

Sam surveyed him, he was holding a bottle of beer, that looked a lot nicer than the piss water. He wasn’t looking at Sam at the moment. He was surveying the crowd.  It was calculated. He wasn’t just looking for someone.

Sam found it curious.

He leaned in drawing Brady’s attention back on him as he pressed his palm on his chest

He leaned in to whisper conspiratorially casually brushing his lips against the lobe of his ear. The other man shivered. He was still interested.

“Whats a guy got to do to get the good beer around here?”  

He pulled back licking his lips.

He was grinning.

“Clearly drive half an hour to my subpar party.” his teeth looked stark and white against the tan of his face.

“So this is your party?” Sam asked glancing around again.

Brady shrugged.

“It serves it purpose.”

He stepped over to the fridge and pulled the good beer out of the crisper drawer.

“And what’s that?” Sam wondered.

“A diversion.”  Brady admitted.

He took the magnetic beer bottle opener from the fridge before handing Sam the opened bottle.

“Thanks” Sam offered.

He understood that more than he would like. He wanted something to keep him busy, to fill his day with meaning, or at least make the meaningless of it more bearable.

“So what have you been up to?” Sam asked.

“Pharmaceutical sales” Brady muttered casually leaning against the bar watching him.  The music come from the living room made it harder to hear, forcing them closer together, but it wasn’t loud enough that some over anxious neighbor would call the cops.

He took a quick sip from the beer, the taste was much improved.

“What about you?” he asked. “I heard you dropped out too.”

Sam felt his mouth stiffen into a resolute line.

“Data entry.”

“How soul crushing.” Brady teased, but he wasn't far off the mark.

Sam just found himself nodding quietly. He took a drink of his beer to prevent him from having to comment.  He’d dabbled in activism, but it didn’t pay the bills didn’t keep him busy. It just made him feel better about doing nothing at all.

Brady was watching him as he took a long swallow of his drink. He still wanted him.

Sam wanted to fuck Brady. If for no other reason because it was something to do.

He’d been about to proposition him when another man came up to him.

The kid was tall and skinny, with blonde hair and piercings.

He moved to speak, but Brady cut him off.

“Shut up.” he muttered rolling his eyes as the guy handed him a twenty.

“Have you never heard of subtle?” Brady complained.

The kid looked at him like he’d lost his mind.

Brady handed him a small baggy. Sam couldn’t see what was in the bag, but he could guess.

“Pharmaceuticals?” Sam asked with a brow raised.

He had no problem with people doing drugs, he understood the impulse and as far as he was concerned whatever consenting adults got up to in their own free time was none of his business.

Brady grinned.

“What? it’s still better than your job.”  he teased.

Sam nodded again. Trying to decide if Brady was always this astute or Sam was particularly open tonight.

Sam took another sip of his beer, saving himself from speaking again.

“Did you want something?” Brady asked.

Sam turned to him.

He was frowning. Brady wasn’t asking as a businessman,it seemed like he was just asking.

Sam typically didn’t take drugs. He’d smoked a joint now and then at a party, but who hadn’t,still actual drugs.

“I don’t know that’s...not usually my thing.”

Brady nodded “That's fine.” he assured. He was still smiling at him, maybe they should just have sex, but if he was working he might not be interested.

Sam didn’t feel any better for refusing,  he rarely felt better.

It wasn’t even just about Dean, he’d wanted the man for years, yes it made things harder because being around him had always helped in the past now he couldn't even have that succor. It was more than Dean, he wanted to stop feeling this way.

“Actually, you know what I’d love a trip.”

“I’ve got the perfect ride for you.”

***

It stung, but he had to admit he liked the pain.  Cas was lying back in the leather chair at the tattoo parlor. While most of his piercings, had closed his industrial had only partially healed the guy regauged it for him. His ear was throbbing. Kemp was looking at him like he’d lost his mind. Large square black tiles decorated the ceiling It gave the room texture that the otherwise flat black walls were lacking, the black paint highlighted the artwork on the wall. Framed photographs of tattoos.

He wanted a tattoo. He’d been thinking about it while he let the guy finish the piercings, he settled for eyebrow and ears, as much as he missed his lip ring and tongue stud, he’d rather use his tongue sooner than later.

He wanted something to represent the place he was in his life. Represent what he lost.

“Sooo.” Kemp begun trying to start the same conversation they’d begun in the car on the way over here.

“You sure nothing is wrong?” they asked.

“Why?” Cas asked growing annoyed.

“You usually don’t poke so many holes in yourself if you're ok.”

They’d said the words low, but the artist still heard them, he’d finished with the piercings and was just waiting for him to finish the paperwork on the tattoo.

“I’ll give you guys a minute.”

“I told you I’m fine.” Cas insisted. And for the most part it was true.

He wasn’t suffering to feel something.  This was about his armor, his aesthetics, this wasn't about pain.

Kemp was giving him that look, they gave him the same look when he’d wanted to try IV drugs, and if Cas was being honest he wasn’t sure if what he wanted this time was any less self destructive.

“ I want to be in a relationship with Dean.” he muttered to get Kemp off his back.

Sky was talking to the tattoo artist. Gesturing to her arm and pointing to the art on the wall, but Kemp brought his attention back on them.  

“You are…?” Kemp continued they looked like they wanted to press their hand to his forehead to check and see if he had a fever.

“No, like the kind of relationship where you want to meet their family and you actually care what they think about you, where you wanna know about their history and what they do when you're not there.”

Cas frowned. This whole thing had snuck up on him.

“I don’t really do relationships.” he admitted. “ Fuck buddies sure, I might class it up by calling them boyfriends but I’ve always had one foot out the door.”

Kemp raised a brow.

“Well I’ve got news for you, you’re in a pretty serious one.”

Cas nodded.

“I noticed.”

“Aannd you’re freaking out.” Kemp supplied sagely.

“And I’m freeeaking out!” Cas agreed urgently.

Cas leaned forward cradling his face in his hands.

“So you’re getting a tattoo…?” Kemp asked curiosity tinging their voice.

Cas glanced up.

“I need to think.” he continued.

Kemp continued nodding , but they didn’t get it. clearly what he was saying wasn’t adding up to them.

“Look some people go to church when they need counsel. I go to Gary.”  

Cas continued.

Kemp nodded slightly the flop of faded red hair falling into their eyes.

“I’ll leave you to it then.”

Cas leaned back, he was getting the tattoo on his left shoulder just above his cast.

“You ready?” Gary asked.

Cas nodded.

Kemp and Sky waited on the other side of the room.

Cas didn’t like to be crowded. When getting tattooed he had to let someone into his space, but the pain usually helped with that. Gave him something to focus on other than being pressed against another person.The pain felt more like one continuous cat scratch as he watched Gary work.  

He decided on a reminder.  There was a reason, he didn’t get too close to the people he fucked. He could barely handle fucking, he didn’t need emotions on top of it.

He was here to live in the moment. Till the moment was gone.

He didn’t need more than that.

When Gary was done he backed away to allow Cas to study the tattoo in the mirror.

His own eye looked back at him, vivid blue, the white of his eye was dulled with red and tears clogged his lashes, in the center of his pupil was a white infinity symbol. To remind him. It always ended there. He could have fun now, learn about Dean grow closer, but not to lose himself in the moment, never again.

***

Four years ago and two months

Jimmy was tapping his foot on the pale wooden floor. He felt like it echoed off the walls, the sound was in opposition to the tick of the clock. He tried to match its rhythm, but fell short. The noise made him nervous. The room was filled with natural light, streaming across the room, the soft mint green wallpaper.

He shifted in the chair, he could have sat on the white sofa, it might have been more comfortable, but he had no interest in relaxing.The woman before him, looked nothing like his mother, but still here she was assessing him.  She was african american, maybe in her thirties, her dark brown hair was short, the springy curls only an inch around her head.    

She had thick black rim glasses, but she only wore them when she was reading or writing so they were casually abandoned on the gold chain around her neck.

“James?” she murmured softly  he flinched. She did that to get his attention. Over the past meetings he'd never responded to the name.

“James was my father.”  he muttered, staring at his shoes, his black boots were getting scuffed, but he couldn't really afford more.

“Jimmy then?” she asked he just shrugged.

“You changed your hair.” he shrugged again. Listening to the tick of the clock, the more ticks the less he had to stay and pretend to have a break through.

“Why was that?” she asked softly.

He gestured to his clothes.

“I like black.”

She nodded. Lifting her glasses to her face to examine the clipboard she held.

It’s existance made him nervous. It was funny to him that his entire list of problems fit on that little clipboard. He wasn’t sure what would be on it. His mother of course, but he wasn’t sure what the other shrink’s thought about him.

“Tell me how you’re settling in with the new family.”

“S’all right.” he muttered.

She set her pen down, moving the clipboard to a side table. Shifting in her seat leaning forward to study him.

“You know I need more than that.” she told him candidly.

He nodded, he knew he needed to show progress for his probation, but he’d never liked getting his head shrunk. He prefered to stay out of it whenever possible.

“I sort of have a boyfriend.” he muttered throwing her a bone to devour, that wasn’t as painful as his past.

She leaned back in her seat again.

“Tell me about him.”

“He’s on the basketball team.” Cas admitted. He didn’t want to talk too much, about Cooper he knew she wasn’t supposed to share what he talked about, but he wasn’t too sure.

“What makes him sort of your boyfriend?” she wondered.

Jimmy licked his lip, maybe this wasn’t such a good subject after all.

He averted his gaze, he was studying the bookshelf. She was a child psychologist, several of the books on the shelf were for much younger children.

He knew the chest in the corner held an array of kids toys, but it was tucked out of sight for his sessions now.  She didn’t see him as a little kid.

“He doesn’t want anyone knowing about us.” Jimmy admitted besides himself.

He shifted his gaze to the windows, he could see the tops of the oak trees outside from the slit between the curtains. He watched the green leaves dance in the wind between the slit in the matching curtains. Winter finally decided to show up to Texas last month late January in intermittent fits of cold rain and wind, but so far no snow. Today it was warm again.

“How does that make you feel?” she asked.

His eyes met hers, she wasn’t writing on her clipboard. It was still abandoned on the table.

“I don’t know.” he admitted crossing his arms over his chest before he realized what he did. He purposely uncrossed his arms and lowered them.  

He shifted making sure his  back was straight, his ass was against the back of the chair, his feet were flat on the floor, and his knees bent at a right angle. He didn’t want to convey defensiveness, just confidence.

“Everybody deserves to have secrets.” Jimmy muttered trying again.

“Are you talking about him or yourself?” she asked.

“I haven’t told him if that's what you mean?” he continued.

“Kind of a mood killer.” Jimmy taunted winking.

Her expression changed.

“Are you two having sex?” she asked.

He straightened again keeping his expression neutral.

“No.”

“Why not?” she asked.

Her response surprised him.

“Cause I’m fourteen.” he muttered. Giving her the answer she expected

“Never stopped people before.” she continued almost taunting him in return she crossed her arms and raised her chin.

He couldn't read where she was going with this.  Which surprised him, he knew he didn’t know all the tricks, but this one wasn't in the main playbook.

“Cause we are taking it slow.” he insisted trying again

“Really?” she asked “You don’t seem the type.”

“Yeah.” he insisted feeling like he was the one who ought to be surprised.

“So have you two even kissed yet?” she wondered

“Yeah…” he insisted

“What do you think of it.?”

“It’s nice.” he admitted if he was being honest it was the part he liked best.

“No problems?” she prompted.

Not with kissing. He admitted to himself.

“Like what?” he asked.

“Like mental withdrawal, numbing of body parts, sweating, inability to experience orgasms or erections,Low self-esteem, sleep disorders,self-mutilation.”

Jimmy fought the urge to make sure his sleeve was pulled all the way down over the bandage. He wasn’t certain if she noticed it or was making an educated guess.

“Triggers are part of a natural fight or flight response. Sometimes we can see what triggers us and discover what is damaging us.”

“I give him blow jobs ok?” he answered her. Tired of this tedious back and forth.

“Why?” she wondered.

He frowned.

“Cause that’s what boyfriends do?”

“What makes you say that?”

He stood up frustrated.

“Why do shrinks answer everything with a question?” he started to pace.

She remained mute just watching him.

“Why not?” he continued with his previous thought.

“Because you don't want to.” she murmured.

“Don’t try to tell me that.” he sneered.  

“I’m not saying I’m gay, but I like dick you don’t have to try to talk me out of it because my mommy touched me”  she didn’t react to his words like he’d hoped.

“I'm not, it's just a reason not to give someone a blowjob.”

“What?” he asked stopping in his track.

“I asked you why you did it. If you had said it was because you wanted to I wouldn't have said anything. Unless I thought it was damaging.”

Jimmy blinked, he didn’t see the distinction.

“There is a difference between doing something because you want to and because you feel like you should want to.”

Jimmy took a page from her book.

“Why would I want to?”

“Lots of different reasons.  You wanted an emotional connection with someone, you desired them,”

Jimmy scoffed.

She paused, tilting her head.

“Let me tell you what sex is like for me, since you shrinks always seem so obsessed with talking about it.”

“Sex isn’t about me, or what I want.”  he said the words into the room, like it was empty.

“Sex isn’t about pleasure for me, it’s about control, it either happens to me and they are in control, or I make it happen to me and I’m in control.”

“So yeah, I blow Cooper, because I’m not ready for him to fuck me.”

She flinched at his language, and he couldn't help by smile. He loved the word.

He loved how visceral and violent the word was.

He loved when people used it for what it really meant. It wasn’t the lie people talked about when it came to sex. Connection and love and feelings,utter bullshit.

When someone said life fucked them, they never meant life made them feel good. That life was trying to connect with them that it gave a damn about them.  

They meant life bent them over and took what it wanted. It beat them down, it used them. It fucked them over it took advantage of them.

“I’m not ready to feel like that again.”

“Like what?”she was practically whispered.

He tried to search his vocabulary for a word to encompass all the shame and mixed feelings he had. Objectively he knew that sex could cause pleasure, he’d seen it in movies, he’d seen it from his mother, from Cooper, they experienced it. When he came he only felt shame.  He hadn’t been able to since he left her, and it was sick.

She took even that from him.

He couldn't even fucking touch himself. He couldn't let Cooper touch him. He was fucking contaminated.

He wasn’t even allowed to have the good parts, the only fucking good part of sex.

That left him with everything else. Pain, shame, disgust, weakness.

“Tainted.” he supplied. Naming his feelings. Sex made him feel sick, scared.

“Sex doesn't need to be like that.” she murmured he could see the pity on her face.

She thought everything he’d learned was wrong. Maybe for her it was. Hell maybe for the whole god damned world it was wrong, but it was his truth.

He liked Cooper, he didn’t trust him, but he didn’t trust anyone. He blew him so he could get to know him. Afterwards they would talk, he’d tell him about his day, what the cool kids did, he’d complain about Laurel.They’d watch reality TV and make fun of the people the way they acted. They’d go outside and play Horse, with the fixed hoop over the garage. Cooper sometime even let him win. They’d kiss and he didn’t need be anxious, because he wouldn't want to push him further.

He blew him,because that was what made him his boyfriend.Laurel fucked him, but he didn’t talk to Laurel. Whenever she was around they’d make out till she let him fuck her. They’d talk too afterwards, but never about anything real. He’d already got what he wanted from her.

Cooper told Jimmy his dreams, he wanted to go to college out of state so he could date guys and girls and his parents wouldn’t find out. He was in basketball so he could get a scholarship. He didn’t really care about the sport. He told him about his first crush, a boy from their class. He talked about how he was afraid his friends wouldn’t like him anymore if they found out he liked guys, that his parents wouldn’t accept him.

At night Jimmy would sneak into his room and blow him then he’d lay in bed with him they would cuddle,he felt safe, and warm, and it was about the only real pleasure he had in life and if that meant he had to get on his knees first what did it matter that he didn't really want to do it.

“Times up.” Jimmy muttered glancing over at the clock.

“Jimmy I really think we need to continue this conversation,” she insisted. Grabbing her chart off the table

“Work towards you developing a healthier relationship with sex, to help overcome your trauma.”

Jimmy shook his head.

“No.”

She was frowning at him,

“I’m done talking.”  

Chapter Text

February 9th

Jo didn’t know. Sam watched her straighten Dean’s livingroom. Haphazardly cleaning in a slapdash effort to have the room neater before Cas woke up. Jo had never been the most domestic person. Her foster mother Ellen was a no-nonsense, but giving person. Jo had always pulled her own weight as it were, she knew how to clean, but this was something different.

She thought Cas was Dean’s boyfriend. Which wasn’t wrong, but she didn’t know the truth. There was an almost nervous energy about her, as she dithered about. Sam stalled by the door, he almost didn’t feel a part of the scene.

“You sure You're ok ?” he asked. Maybe for an excuse, to stay.

She glanced up from the already straightened pile of magazines.

“Yeah it will be fine, plus it will give me a chance to get to know him.”

Sam frowned. He was jealous. Not of Cas, but of the fact that he was Dean’s boyfriend to Jo.

They had not even told her, she just assumed. He could tell by the way she was acting.

Denying it would just be counter productive, because after all it was true, but so was he.

He’d promised Dean that they wouldn’t tell anyone until they were certain what it was, but he had not expected this. Objectively he knew he could wait a day, Dean would be home tomorrow, and tell her together. He was sure she would have questions and as of right now he had no answers. He loved Dean, and Dean had claimed to love him, but they hadn’t talked about what that meant to either of them.

Where they were going, beyond the fact that they were done lying about their physical attraction.

Sam frowned.

“Because I can stay, it won't be a problem.”

It would though, which was why Dean had asked Jo to stop in occasionally, Cas hadn’t taken his pain medication yesterday. Sam had counted when he got back from work, same amount of pills. Three less now. Sam wasn’t actually sure that he had eaten while he was gone. He knew at least for a few more days someone needed to be here to check on him, to make sure he ate, and didn’t just sleep all day, but he wanted to stay.  He wanted to be the one to care for Cas, his boyfriend. That was another relationship he was working towards figuring out.

He found Cas attractive, he was only human, but he was starting to like the man behind the looks as well. That rarely happened for him.

Technically boyfriend wasn’t the right word, he was Dean’s boyfriend, Sam’s metamour.  

Still he was curious. He liked him.

“Alright then.” Sam muttered more to himself since Jo wasn’t really listening.

“Just go easy on him alright, he has just be in an… accident.”

Jo scoffed.“I don’t do that.” she insisted

Sam raised a brow

“Grill SO’s like you're about to start Sunday barbecue? Yes you do.”

She crossed her arms over her chest.

“How would you even know Sam Wesson, you’ve never brought home anyone.”

The pain shot through Sam, but he continued to smile.

“And now you know the reason why.”

Her eyes blew wide and the glared at him.

“Now I know you're lying. Get to work.” she insisted gesturing.towards the door.

Sam turned to leave before pausing.

“Don’t go in his room.”

Jo frowned confused.

“He needs his space.”  was all Sam said.

Cas took a deep breath before stepping out, into the living room. His pain was manageable, but he was beginning to suspect that the dull ache in his head was also partially to do with lack of caffeine, and he was going to take advantage of  the fact that he was alone, to procure some.

Except he wasn't alone.

His heart leapt into high gear when saw her at the table her back to him. Her blonde hair laid out over her shoulders.

He knew it wasn’t her. Couldn't be her, she was dead, but for a moment he wondered if maybe he was too,and this was his hell

She turned and Jo smiled over at him.

“Good morning”

Cas relaxed slightly, but couldn't slow his rapid heartbeat.

“Hey.” he replied hesitantly.

“Coffee?” he asked. He could smell the pot, he needed the sweet succor of caffeine.  

 “Just a little bit.” she warned him.

He filled his cup up anyway.

“What are you doing here?” he found himself asking.

He wasn’t trying to be rude, not really, but what the fuck was she doing here?

He needed to be alone. His head hurt too much to be around other people, he wanted to retreat to his room. He had no armor at the moment and about the strength of a newborn kitten, he wasn’t up to being around others.

“I’m here to help.” she replied, she wasn’t looking at him she had moved to the kitchen cabinet.

She took down a bowl and a box of cereal.

“I’m good, thanks” Cas insisted besides himself, he crossed his arms over his chest. He tracked her movement around the house. She moved so much faster than he could at the moment. He wasn’t sure what to make of the tingle of unease that went through him at that notion.

She sat the bowl of cereal down before him, it was some all grain flaked thing, with bits of yoghurt.

She turned to fetch the milk.

He had to admit he was hungry.

Pain had stolen his appetite for much of yesterday.

She poured the milk into his bowl setting the spoon before him.

He watched as she returned the milk to the fridge before she plopped herself in the seat across from him. It wasn’t until she sat down that he lifted the spoon from the table and turned his focus back on the food.  

He’d placed the first bite of food in his mouth when she spoke.

“So tell me about yourself?”  she prompted.

Small talk was it?

Cas liked Jo, setting up for the party had been entertaining and diverting, but that didn’t mean they were friends, that didn’t mean he trusted her. He’d seen too much to trust someone just because they seemed nice.

He slid the spoon in and out of the bowl several times shoveling bits of cereal and milk into his mouth before he spoke.

“Not much to tell.”  he insisted.

She frowned softly, like she wasn’t even aware that she was doing it. She hadn’t expected opposition.

“I’m a freshman at OSU.” she volunteered.

“What about you? Where are you going to school?”

Besides himself Cas stared at her.

“I’m not.” he muttered around his spoon.

There it was again. The little frown, that brought her brows together, not an angry frown, just a perplexed one.

Her eyes lit up.

“Of course you had to take a medical leave because of your accident.”

Was that what they were calling it?

Cas was torn on disabusing her or letting her believe whatever she wanted about him.

He knew on many levels he wasn’t a typical boyfriend for anyone let alone someone like Dean. it might be easier to just keep the facade for the brief amount of time that he’d be in Dean’s life.

“I dropped out.” he informed her pragmatically scooping the last bit of cereal from the bowl. He’d never been the best at conforming to other people’s image for him.

“Oh I'm sorry to hear that.” she began but he continued tipping the bowl upwards drinking the milk.

“Of high school.”

“Ohhh…” this time the word was longer, the pause afterward more significant.

“When I was fourteen.”

She leaned forward. Her palms flat against the table abandoning all pretense at politeness.

“Is that even legal.”

“Probably not.” he agreed  “I ran away.”

“Why?” she wondered aghast.

He balked. He should have known it would get there, but he was having too much fun shocking her.

He shrugged.

“I hated math.” he supplied flippantly.

“Excuse me.”  he continued pushing his chair out. He wobbled slightly when he stood. His balance was still off. He righted himself with a quick hand against the table before taking his bowl to the sink.

She was still studying him.

“ How did you meet Dean?” she wondered switching gears.

Cas bit his lip against the graphic truth, behind a gay bar where I offered to suck his dick, his urge towards shock and awe, needed to stay directed at his own secrets.

He wasn’t about to spill the beans on Dean.  

“Work.” he muttered.

She glanced at him. He wasn't wearing his normal clothes, he couldn't get his tight black T-shirts on with the cast so he wore one of Dean’s loose button up sleep shirts. That was far too large on him, but she’d seen him that first day, she knew he didn’t work with Dean.

“My job not his.” he added with a quick smile.

“And that would be?” she wondered.

“A moot point now had to quit because of this.” he insisted raising his arm.

Cas made his way over to the sofa, intent with putting something on the TV as a buffer.

She followed him.

Sitting next to him on the sofa making his skin prickle, she was a bit close for comfort.

She pulled her legs up beneath her.

“Have you ever thought about getting your GED?”

She wondered.

Now it was Cas’s turn for the perplexed frown. Not particularly if he was being honest, but mostly because he never really thought he would be in a place long enough, or if he was being brutally honest safe enough to, focus on something so non-essential to his survival.

He shrugged in response, hoping the half hearted effort would be enough of a response.  

Clearly it wasn’t

“I’m sure Dean would help with any fees.” she said offhandedly.

“Pass.” he mumbled growing annoyed, he was getting a headache again that the coffee would not soothe.

“Why.”

“I don’t really do the whole sugar daddy thing.” he insisted trying to enforce a greater distance between them by scooting away.

“But...”

“I said no, ok?!” he found himself shouting. She jerked away surprised

He took a deep breath trying to calm himself.

“Look I get it, you’re his sister, you wanna fix me to be good enough for him, but don't bother ok? It’s just about the sex. When he gets me out of his system I'll be gone.”

He stood quickly, regretting it instantly when the room spun, but he forged ahead regardless.

He was at the hallway when he paused. Glancing back at her. She was still seated on the sofa. Her mystified expression also held concern, he wasn’t sure if that concern was for him or her brother, but he wasn’t really in the mood to find out.

“Thanks for the cereal.”

***

February 7th

Balthazar chose to set his clandestine meeting at his office. The location served him on two fronts. He didn't want to risk Gabriel becoming aware of the procedure sooner than necessary. He wanted to verify his information first. Secondly it was a power play. He wanted the stranger to be honest, and to believe that they could sue or subpoena his ass into surrendering the information he needed.

It helped when the law firm had your name on it. Benedict & Roché. While he may not have taken after his father, he was much more willing to claim that he took after late his mother Naomi Roché. The woman was the greatest inspiration of his life, she never backed down from a fight, never let anyone belittle her, not even the General. She’d died at home in London.

Rather than dwell on thoughts of his mother he glanced at his watch, it was mid afternoon, he’d agreed to meet with Mr. Smith at three, which gave the man plenty of time to arrive and check into a hotel.

Balthazar had to admit he had no idea what to expect from this meeting.  Most of his information regarding Jimmy had come from unreliable sources, second hand knowledge, or was months old.

Finding out about his trip to the hospital was a stroke of pure luck to begin with, that it might possibly pan out was even greater.

While out of the office his own personal style might lean more towards a nice pair of slacks a blazer and a v neck, he wore a gunmetal grey suit and a black and silver tie, with a matching  silver rolex. He could play the power card well when he was forced to use it.

He was nervous.  He wanted to laugh at himself. He never got nervous, not even when he proposed to Gabriel. He’d known the man’s answer after what they had been through together. Yet he was uncertain now. He was uncertain because ultimately the outcome was beyond his control. It was up to Jimmy Novak, an unknown entity, whatever decision the man made it would be done, he’d been searching for him, for four years. Whether he chose to accept his brother or not it was the end of it.

He tried to think back to the man Gabriel was when they met, angry and more bitter than, at the time, Balthasar thought he had a right to be, he didn’t want it to go back to that.

Dean arrived precisely on time, in the foulest mood, he’d suffered through for months.the scotch he’d imbibed for lunch wore off on the plane, which left him with a nasty headache.

Once he got off the plane he saw the email directing him to the law firm, he checked into his hotel,and proceeded towards the meeting place.

He wasn't one easily intimidated by shows of power, but he changed his assessment slightly when he stepped into the offices of Benedict & Roché. This display of force was telling in its own, it was defensive.

It was one thing to put your armor on when going into enemy territory it was another thing entirely making a show of force on you home turf.

Dean chose not to sit when he entered the waiting room, his flight here had been mercifully short, but in his agitated state sitting was the last thing he was in the mood for.  He paced the length of the small waiting room, he could see the conference room past the desk, where the lawyers might meet with multiple clients at a time. The long table gleamed in the low office light.

Balthazar entered the waiting room when Angie paged him.he wasn’t sure what kind of man he’d been expecting to see when he received the email, but the sales shark waiting in his lobby was not it. He shifted his thoughts, this meeting wasn’t about negotiating a reward fee as he’d initially believed, and there was a reward. He’d posted the money himself. Ten grand. Nothing to a man like this who wore Hugo Boss as if it were his everyday attire, but to someone living on the streets it was an unimaginable amount.

He wasn't sure what this was about.

Dean spun, the man before him didn’t look like his typical image of a lawyer. The expensive italian cut suit wasn't surprising but the roguish air around him was. He was tall thin, with stubble, tousled hair.

“Balthazar Roché he murmured extending his hand. He was British.

Dean frowned, uncertain, he’d been expecting some world weary public defendant, not this Eurotrash, shark.

“Dean Smith.” he said introducing himself, he squeezed the other man’s hands slightly harder than he needed to.  Balthazar rolled his eyes as soon as he turned to enter his office.  Of bloody course, he had more than his fill of the alpha male type in his life, but he was used to dealing with them.

Balthazar led the man into his office.

“Have a seat.” he offered, but the man remained standing while he stepped around to sit in his own chair. They sat at the same time.

Dear god were they really playing this game?”

“Did you want a drink?” he asked, thinking of civility alone.

“Scotch if you have it.” the other man replied.

Balthazar paused, a man after his own heart after all.

Balthazar opened the bottom draw of his desk.

He removed the two glasses and bottle of scotch.

Dean gladly accepted the glass of single malt scotch. He sipped it gingerly, impressed with its taste.

“Now let's get down to business.” Balthazar began.

Dean nodded.

“What do you want?” Balthazar asked

Dean cocked his head to the side studying the man.

“Excuse me?”

Balthazar leaned back in his chair crossing his arms across his chest.

“What do you want, in exchange for the information, I had assumed it was money, but then you show up,” he nodded indicating his clothing and overall demeanor. “Now I know that isn’t that case. So what do you want? Name it.”

Dean was surprised by his words. They showed more than just ruthlessness of a deal, he was willing to give him whatever he wanted, that meant it was personal.

The door of his office was flung open. Slamming back against the wall. A man stormed in. He hand sandy brown hair his beard was a shade darker than his hair. He wore faded green denim jacket over a navy dress shirt open at the neckline, and blue jeans. He was angry. Dean could see it in the way he clenched his fists. He rushed over to him looking agitatedly between him and the man behind the desk.

“Is this him?”  he demanded, not giving him time to answer.

He grabbed Dean by his lapels jerking him forward.

“Where is he?” he demanded ignoring the fact that when standing Dean would be nearly half a foot taller than him.

“Wwhat?” Dean found himself stammering surprised. The man’s hazel eyes snapping in his face the necklace around his neck swinging forward out of the open collar of his shirt.  

The man proceeded to jerk him forward and back shaking him.

“My brother! Where the fuck is my brother? Where’s Jimmy?”

Balthazar was around the desk grabbing the other man by his shoulders pulling him away from Dean.

“Gabriel calm down.” he insisted trying to reason with the smaller man.

He fought him.

“What have you done to him?” he demanded trying to duck past him to confront Dean again.

The woman who sat in the desk out front hovered by the door.

“Your fiance is here.”  she muttered with perfect grasp of situational comedy.

“Wait outside.” Balthazar ordered pointing to the man.

Gabriel Novak stared daggers at the stranger who sat in the chair. He’d had five years to picture the worst case scenario, where his brother was locked up in some sick fuck’s basement, now those visions held this asshats face. His only regret was he hadn’t been able to punch him in his face. His heart was pounding in his ears so it took him a few moments to hear what Balthazar said to him.

“Fuck that.” he shouted glaring at the love of his life, he wouldn't let him take this from him.

“Leave me alone with him, he'll tell me.”

“As much as we all would love to see that, you don’t have to torture me.”

Gabriel spun back to the man in the suit, Dean Smith. He’d known that Balthazar had been acting weird, when left, he felt justified for the little bit of snooping he’d done reading Baz’s emails.

“Cas is fine” Dean assured.  Gabriel’s jaw hurt from how hard he was clenching it.

“His name is Jimmy.” he insisted

“Yeah, well maybe you should try telling him that. Than again which one of us has seen him in the last five years?” his hostility surprised him. What had Jimmy said about him to have him act like this?

“Where is he? Is he here?” He asked glancing around almost as if he could have missed him standing in the room.

“He’s in Ohio, and that's the most you get till you tell me what the fuck is going on.”

“What do you mean me tell you?” he demanded.

“What happened to my brother?”

***

TRIGGER WARNING CHILDHOOD SEXUAL TRAUMA, PARENT CHILD INCEST, sexual coercion,inappropriate touching, heavy emotions, confession of being abused.

Six years and nine months ago

Jimmy sat on the front steps, the air was cool,but not cold. It had rained last night, the last of the April showers slipping well into May. The brick steps were still wet in patches, the cold and damp soaking into him, but he didn’t move. He already felt this cold numbing sense of dread.

The birds were singing, the sky was a pale grey, spurts of wind added to the chill sliding down his spine.

It was Saturday, the neighborhood was more alive than any other time during the week. There were two kids playing basketball down the road, a lady walking her dog, two men jogging, and Gabriel, he was leaving.

Jimmy sat with his knees drawn up resting his elbows on them as he watched Gabriel. His brother was six years older than him. He was eighteen, he’d turn nineteen a month after Jimmy’s thirteenth birthday. He’d technically graduated highschool back in December,but he’d walk the stage in next week at the end of May.

He was getting his own place. With his friend Chuck. Jimmy liked Chuck, he was friendly but awkward, he often got tongue-tied and he never touched him or made him feel nervous.

He didn’t want Gabe to leave. They never really got on, Jimmy never understood why, he loved his brother and prefered spending time with him over his mother, but Gabe often acted as if he was never there. His mother constantly compared the two of them, she was immensely proud of Gabriel’s achievements and pushed him to excel in school just like his brother.

Every mistake he made, Gabriel wouldn’t have made a mistake like that. Gabe wouldn't have argued about that, Gabe listens to me. Don’t you want to be a good boy like your brother? Still he didn’t want Gabe to leave.

There was a bigger reason than just missing his brother, he was afraid that it might happen more often if Gabe wasn’t around. He had no basis for his fear, it happened sometimes even when Gabe was home, in the other room asleep. He really couldn't tell when it was going to happen, just that it was.

Sometimes it happened more when she was angry with him, so he rarely argued with her, he did as he was told. He kept his head down. Cleaned his room, did his homework, Gabriel left, he left a lot, he’d be gone for hours, Jimmy wasn’t sure where he went or what he did, but he spent as little time home as possible. He was always home for dinner, but after dinner he would lock himself away up in his room while he and his mother watched something on TV. Jimmy hated it.

The one thing he enjoyed was movie night, his mother would make Gabe come out and they would watch movies together, sometimes she would even let him sit by Gabe or by himself, and he could relax into the story.

He and Gabe didn’t talk much when he was home, he’d ask him about his school or his friends, it was hard because Jimmy didn’t really have very many friends. His mom never let him go play with anyone after school, or spend the night for sleepovers. The other kids made fun of his hair or his clothes. She’d tell him to pay no attention to the bullies that they were just jealous of how smart and handsome he was. That one day he would be better than all of them.

Once, he’d thought about asking him if it happened to him too, but he was more afraid of what might happen if it didn’t. That it meant something was wrong with him, that if he was more like Gabe it wouldn’t have happened.

His mother had said as much, that he reminded her of his father.

He held very still as her hand came to rest on his shoulder cradling side of his neck in her hand, she didn’t like it when he pulled away.

“How are you doing sugar?” she asked crouching down pressing herself against him he stiffened.

She frowned.

“I know baby, I’m going to miss him too.”

“But it will be ok, just you and me.”

Jimmy suppressed a shudder.

He’d asked her to stop it once, when he was little. That he didn’t like it,that he didn’t want her doing it. She’d cried, and cried. He told her it was ok, if it made her happy.

Now he wished he never said anything because it was his fault, he let her do things to him, that made his skin crawl, and his stomach roll, and he liked it as much as he hated it. It felt good and it confused him.

His mom stood and strolled over to his brother. She was wearing a flowy white blouse and denim capris. Her sunflower blonde hair was pulled back in a high ponytail that swished as she walked. She moved with the fluid grace of a dancer, she used to dance professionally,before she had Gabriel, but Jimmy didn’t know much about Gabriel’s father, she never spoke of him, the same way she never spoke of his father. Other than she said he looked like him.

He watched as she spoke to Gabriel she was smiling tossing her head she spoke. He was always amazed at how different she seemed around other people, how easily the mask slipped over her face. He wanted that. To be able to pretend that everything was alright, to never show the pain. He never cried, not in front of her.

He was growing more and more nervous as Chuck squeezed past him up the stairs only to return a moment later.

“This is the last of it.” he called out as he stepped down the stairs.

Gabriel turned back towards them. He was was smiling now,

“Hey Jimmy!” he shouted waving him over.

Jimmy stood and walked over to him,

“You mind if I have a moment alone with Jimmy to say goodbye or is that too much to ask?” Gabriel muttered speaking to their mother.

She hesitated, before nodding. “I’ll be on the porch.”

She agreed.

Gabe pulled him in for a hug, besides himself Jimmy stiffened. Physical contact made him nervous.

He could see the disappointment on his face as he pulled away. Jimmy berated himself. Everytime he tried to be normal he failed.

“You gonna miss me bucko?” he asked. Searching his face.

“Yes.”  he admitted. He was ashamed at the way his voice broke. He was dangerously close to tears, but he couldn't cry not where his mother could see him.

The dread was mounting, he knew that if Gabe left it would happen more. He didn’t need reasons. He knew it was true.

Without Gabe it would just be him and her, she’d never stop.

“Don’t leave.” he said suddenly his voice quaking.

“I’m just moving out, I’m going to still be here.” he murmured soothingly

Jimmy bit his lip, he didn’t know how to talk about it. He rarely even thought it about, he pushed it so far back in his head, he was having trouble finding the words.  

“I don’t want you to leave me alone… with her.”

“Why not?” Gabe asked he kept his voice was quiet almost as if he didn’t want anyone to hear.

This was his chance, he’d asked him point blank why he didn’t want to be left alone with her, why he felt sick every day, why he never ate, why kept a bag packed under his bed. He dreamt about running away but he was too scared. Scared what might happen if he got caught, scared about being alone.

“Um…” he tried his mouth feeling suddenly dry, he didn’t think he could say it. He knew the word for it. From his mother and from tv, he wasn’t sure if he could say it. She’d asked him to do it before she climbed on top of him, after she put her mouth on him, to make him hard.   

“Did she hurt you?” he asked his voice darkened. He was angry.

He flinched at the anger behind his words, even though he knew it wasn’t directed at him.

“What did she do?” he demanded

Jimmy’s heart was beating out of control pounding in his ears roaring, he felt dizzy and uncomfortable, like he couldn't catch his breath no matter what he did.  

He struggled to find the words,

“Sshe” he tried stammering. Nothing felt right, saying she touched felt to innocent for what she did. He felt like he was choking on all the things he couldn't say the nights he wanted to mention. How she made him touch her, how she would sit behind him kissing his neck stroking him putting her fingers inside of him. The pain and shame she made him feel, he wanted to put it in a way that Gabriel would understand.

“She fucks me.”

He watched as Gabriel’s eyes went wide and he jerked away covering his mouth,

Jimmy’s heart shattered this was it, he was disgusted with him he could see it.

“No,” Gabriel murmured shaking his head.

The words came tumbling out

“I asked her to stop.” he spat out quickly

“But she got so sad, it's my fault.” he continued trying to get it all out before Gabriel could stop him.

“No.” Gabriel insisted again, but Jimmy wasn't sure what he was saying no to, the fact that he’d asked her to stop or the entire thing,

He was shaking his head he kept glancing over to her he wouldn’t look at him.

He didn’t believe him, he was afraid this would happen, she’d said this would happen.

That people would hate him, that it would only start a fight if he told anyone, that it would only drive Gabriel away.

He was looking over his shoulder his face pinched.

He leaned in quickly placing his hands on Jimmy’s shoulders.

“Listen to me you didn't tell me anything Ok” he insisted  Jimmy could read the revulsion on his face he was repulsed.

Whats going on?” she asked her tone was sharp

His eyes flicked behind him again and he felt the heavy weight of his mother’s hand on his shoulder, she squeezed in warning his hissed in pain.

“Has James been fibbing again?” she asked she had warned him the consequences of telling, that it would be her word against his, that no one would ever believe him.

There was a ringing in his ears, he felt numb and nauseous.

Gabriel was speaking to his mother but his platitudes sounded distant like he was under water

“No, he was just saying how he would miss me and how I'm going to help him out with something very soon.”  he leaned into him when he spoke, but Jimmy wasn’t looking at him.

Gabriel didn’t believe him, if he didn’t no one would.

He felt so lost and ashamed. He didn’t know what to do, he felt worse for having confessed. He felt sick.

“Why don’t you go play inside Jimmy while I say goodbye to your brother.”

Jimmy ran, inside grateful for the moment to compose himself.

He ran to his room, and threw himself down on the bed.

His mom was right, Gabe hated him now. It was all his fault, he just wanted it to stop, he wanted Gabe to stay, he could handle it if he wasn’t alone. He couldn't be alone.  He couldn't help it he started to cry.  He pressed his face into the pillow to suppress the sobs that shook him.

After a while his mother joined him.

He stiffened as he tried to hide his tears from her. She sat down on the bed next to him, she smelled like her cigarettes.

“It's ok baby,” she insisted rubbing her cool hand up and down his back.

“Forget about him, he’s no good anyway.”

He rolled over so that he could look at her face.  

“He told me that he doesn’t want to see you anymore.”

Jimmy flinched at her words.

“He said you’re tainted.”

She placed her hand back on his stomach moving it slightly back and forth as if she was trying to soothe him.

He felt tears well in his eyes. His whole body felt numb and cold.

His brother left him here with her. Knowing full well what was about to happen.

She lowered her hand sliding it past the waistband of his jeans. Cupping him, he flinched, at her touch and her grip settled harder on him squeezing, punishing him.

“You did a very bad thing telling him,” she murmured  compressing her fingers again.

He hissed in pain.

“You're going to have to make it up to me.”

Chapter Text

***

Twenty five years ago

It wasn’t his first memory. He remembered feeding birds in the park. He remembered playing in the sandbox in his backyard. His Daddy helping him fill the bucket with sand only to up turn it forming towers and castles. He remembered sitting in his lap dozing as they rocked back and forth, the rocking chair placed before the TV as he fell asleep listening to the rhythm of his Daddy’s heart.

He was still in his pjs, he remembered that because he woke up late that day. It was Sunday. Normally he tried to wake up early so that he could watch cartoons. His shirt was baby blue with a teddy bear on it, saying he wuved hugs, he received so many hugs from strangers that day, people he’d never met before and would never see again.  

Much of it he understood now through an adult lense, but he still remembered his childhood fear and confusion.

He remembered his Daddy hadn’t been feeling very good for the last couple of days. He was tired and sore. He complained of pain in his arm, he was having problems breathing, he laid down on the sofa to rest while Dean ate his cereal.

Dean had been reading the back of the cereal box, there was a little maze on it, he liked to see if he could make his way through it.

He remembered hearing a loud thump. He didn’t know what it was at first. He’d carefully gotten out of his chair, sliding into the floor. He rounded the sofa to see his father on the floor.

His Daddy had fallen onto the floor, he was shaking. Shuddering on the floor, pink foam coming out of his mouth.

His Daddy had drilled it into him, if something bad happened that he needed to go get the phone from the kitchen and call 911. They had practiced what he was supposed to say, he knew

He lived at 2234 Stillmeadow dr, he used to sit out on the porch and trace the white numbers on the brick wall. He loved the shape the way they curved, the contrast of the white lettering against the reddish brick.

He knew what he was supposed to do, but he was scared. He’d screamed he called for his Daddy but he couldn't talk around the mouth full of foam.

After a few moments he remembered the phone, he knew all the numbers, it was easy picking out the buttons to push.  The woman on the phone told him to be calm, he remembered that, he told her he was scared, she told him he was very brave.

She asked him his name and he told her, she asked him how old he was and he told her.

He’d set the phone down when he heard the sirens, he knew that it meant they were close.

He’d run to open the door, he knew he wasn’t supposed to open the door to strangers, but the police didn’t count as strangers.

He remembered they seemed scary, they rushed inside past him,they were carrying heavy bags. They were wearing uniforms, but they didn’t look like the ones police had. They asked him where his Daddy was, he’d pointed to the living room.

There was a man and a woman, the woman was trying to help his Daddy, while the man told him to wait by the porch.

The man asked him where his mommy was, he said he didn’t have a mommy. There was a look on the man’s face, it made him feel like he was bad. He was disappointed. Dean hadn’t done anything wrong.

He asked him to stay there. He stayed on the porch he was hugging one of the white columns. The woman who lived next door came over to him, her name was Mrs. Garland she was a vet, he remembered because she let him pet the kittens she had. He’d stayed at her house before, when his Daddy was gone,he had cucumbers with salt.

She was the first person to hug him. She scooped him up into her arms, even though she was old and her skin was soft and wrinkly, she smelled like flowers.

“It’s ok.” she murmured against his neck tucking his head to her chest as she tried to soothe him patting his back.

“Everything is going to be ok.” she swore rocking him, but she was lying.

He died. It was an occlusion of the anterior interventricular branch of left coronary artery. He was dead by the time the paramedics arrived. They called his mother, she’d reluctantly arrived. She told him what happened, that his Daddy was gone and he wasn’t coming back. He’d asked her if he was staying with her,and bless her soul the woman did the right thing at the wrong time. She said no.

***

The cork popped loudly, startling him, chilled champagne spilling forth splashing on the floor of Sam’s kitchen and his dress shoes,coating his hand.

“Damn it,” Dean complained, rushing the bottle over to hold it over the sink, frowning.

“Is it a great loss?” Sam teased from the livingroom.  He was watching something on the TV

Dean had banished him into the living room away from the kitchen as he worked. Dean had gotten his cast off around noon, once he left the office he’d texted Cas,but he’d never responded. The worry was there at the back of his brain, last time Cas didn’t respond hadn’t ended well. Sam asked him to give Cas some space. Dean wasn’t good at space. He was used to being in control, he wasn’t used to waiting and letting someone come to him.

“It will be alright.” Dean assured idly.

As he took a rag dropping to his knees and wiped off the bottle and cabinet. He was preoccupied.

He felt like he was talking about more than just a waste of champagne. Things were still tense and awkward between he and Sam, something else was bothering him. Dean knew they would have to talk. It was clear that Sam was brooding over something and he wouldn't tell him on his own.  Still Dean wasn’t good at talking as his earlier example showed.  He focused on his task at hand, it was easier for him to stay busy, focus on what he could control over something he couldn’t.

After getting his cast off  he went shopping at the gourmet grocery store. He’d come over around three to start cooking,he brought his own pots and pans, because he knew Sam’s kitchen wasn’t likely to have gotten much use. He was right, but he didn’t revel in the fact that Sam’s fridge was completely empty except for lonely condiments.  

Sam was staring at the screen, if pressed he wasn't sure if he could even name what he’d been watching. Dean was making truffle oil roast salmon, the smell of truffle oil was over taking his apartment, it smelled good. While Dean had been out shopping Sam had done some shopping of his own. He’d gotten a mini fridge. It was in his closet.

Did he feel guilty about it? A little, but not enough to stop.

He’d also bought condoms and lube, he wasn’t sure if he’d need them or not. Dean said he wanted to have sex tonight, but things still felt off somehow. Sam wasn’t sure if it was his own uncertainty or if it was Dean’s   

“Foods done.” Dean called out.

Sam rose slowly, he’d dressed up slightly he found himself oddly embarrassed by the impulse. He wore a grey long sleeved shirt over a pale grey v neck undershirt paired with his favorite pair of blue jeans, the ones that really showed off his ass.

Dean wore a black t-shirt with a burgundy dress shirt casually tossed over it, paired with black slacks, so perhaps Dean was bit self conscious too.

Sam sat at his dining table. It hadn’t gotten much use in the past, he’d actually spent the hour before Dean arrived moving everything off the flat surface.

Dean placed the plated salmon before him. Filling his glass up with champagne. He turned back to the kitchen and returned carrying his own food and glass. He sat down across from him.

Dean smiled over at him.

He glanced down quickly before speaking. They ate in silence for several moments the fish was beyond delicious, he could tell that Dean put effort into his creation, but that was part of the problem. Everything Dean put work into came out amazing, but Sam wasn’t sure if he wanted to put the work into their relationship. As if he could hear his thoughts he spoke.

“I’m bad at this.”  he admitted.

Sam cocked his head in question.

“I haven’t had a relationship that lasted longer than from here to the bedroom since Lisa.”  Sam nodded, he had to admit he wasn’t exactly known for his functional relationships either.

“ and probably even before that.” he admitted  sighing heavily

He set his knife and fork down devoting his attention on him.

“I’m gonna need you to say it.”

Sam frowned fear going through him briefly. Maybe Dean did know about the drugs.

He took a quick sip of his champagne the bubbles teasing his tongue.

“Say what?” he asked.

Dean bit his lip.

“What you want from me?”

Sam’s heart picked up again for an entirely different reason.

“We haven’t told Jo.” he found himself commenting.

Dean frowned.  Was that what was bothering Sam? Dean had to admit he hadn’t put much thought into telling other people. Clearly not as much as Sam had. He was going to tell people… eventually but, he wasn't sure how.

“What do we tell her?” Dean asked.

Sam paused.

“I don’t know, that we are trying this out… she knows you’re seeing Cas.” Dean blinked.

“I didn’t tell her,she guessed.” Sam assured.

“How?”

“It might have to do with the fact that you moved him into your apartment.” he wondered sarcastically.

“So this is about Cas?” Dean wondered

“No…” Sam insisted slowly.

“This is about us, whatever we are. We haven’t talked about it.”

“Really, casue to me it seems like all we ever do is talk about it.”

Sam frowned.

“What do you mean?”

“I mean I feel like everything I do with you is wrong. I’m trying to figure this out too.”

Sam frowned.

“I mean you’re my best friend and you act like I can’t tell when you’re upset. Like I haven’t known you nearly my entire life, I don’t know how to translate what we have into what you want.”

Sam took pity on him.

He stood crossing the room to him,

Dean was watching him unsurely, he stood.

“Kiss me.”

Dean hesitated before stepping around the chair.

Sam wrapped him in his arms pulling him closer.

The kiss was soft.

“We have time.” he insisted softly.

Dean pulled away.

“You say that, but…”

“Something is off with you,” Dean murmured.

“Ever since I went on this trip it feels like there is something you’re not telling me.”

“I’m just having a hard time right now.” Sam admitted. He knew he wasn’t reacting the way he should. He’d been fighting against his depression long enough to know that he acted differently when it got bad, and it was bad. He combated his nihilistic compulsions with pills treating his emotional numbness with physical numbness, mental numbness.

Maybe he should have gone to Dean with it sooner, maybe it would have made a difference. As it was he couldn’t bring himself to tell him the truth now.

“Don’t tell me you're not hiding something.” Sam insisted deflecting.

“I know california wasn’t a business trip.”  

Dean’s eyes went wide for a moment before he glanced away.

“How did you know?” he asked finally

“Bilson, said you were on personal time.”

“Since when do you talk to Bilson.” Dean groused.

“That's your takeaway from this?” Sam demanded.

“It’s personal.” Dean begun and Sam turned from him. He was staring  at the walls of his apartment. Dean still didn’t get it.

Sam knew he was the world’s biggest hypocrite, but he didn’t want  secrets between them.

“You still don’t get it do you?” Sam mumbled he was facing away from him his shoulders tense.

“There's not supposed to be secrets between us.”  

“It’s not about me…” he began.

“It’s about Cas.”

Sam frowned. It wasn’t like he expected Dean to be having an affair or something like that, but he didn’t expect something like this to tie him into knots either, he just wanted Dean to treat him like a lover not just a friend.

“I just want to be involved with your life.I want to be kept in the loop.” Sam complained.

“There should be nothing too personal to share between us. ”

Dean nodded slowly

“You're right,” he agreed.

“But this isn’t something I can tell you before I tell Cas.”   

Dean had to bite his tongue as Sam’s face fell slightly, but he seemed to understand. He needed to talk to Cas. he was afraid to, but he owed him that. He needed to give Cas time to prepare himself.  They returned to their dinner but the tension never really seemed to leave.

After they ate Dean scooped up their plates and put them in the sink while Sam set up a movie. Dean joined him on the sofa, cuddling into him as the movie begun to play. It was in french, so he really didn’t pay much attention to the plot, he focused on Sam, the warmth of his body pressed into him. He knew he loved him, Sam might question that, but once he was able admit it to himself, he wasn’t sure how he was able to deny it for so long.

The problem came whenever he tried to get physical with him. When he tried to label his feelings, when he thought of sharing those feelings with the world.

He was afraid. He knew it was stupid, he was an adult he shouldn't give a fuck what others thought he shouldn’t be afraid of something so simple as sex, he’d been having sex since he was fourteen, yeah it was a little different that what he was used to but it wasn’t that different.

It was unspoken, but Sam seemed to be willing to offer himself versus the other way around.

Dean knew very little about gay sex when it actually came down to it. Which didn’t exactly do much to soothe his nerves. A lot of what he did now was stereotypes or from porn, which didn’t take a rocket scientist to know was much more visually pleasing than an accurate depiction of real sex.

He’d never really be vulnerable like this before. It chafed at him, it wasn’t like he was a dominant in bed,He was more of a hedonist whatever felt good. He was equally as pleased by giving and receiving pleasure but he was used to being in control at least of himself. Knowing what was expected of him. He’d based a large portion of his ego on his sexual prowess, even when things fell apart with Lisa it had never been because of lack of sex. He knew that he could make people feel good. He honestly didn’t know if he could with Sam.

He gagged when he brushed his teeth. Sam was a lot bigger than a toothbrush. He glanced over at him, he was still watching the film. He was smiling. Must be a funny part.

That didn’t even include anal. He’d been toying with the idea, Sam had never suggested it, somehow he doubted that Sam would be the one to bring it up but, he didn’t want Sam to be disappointed.

He wasn’t sure he could do it.  He knew he was being irrational, but something about being penetrated bothered him. Maybe it was his own warped ideas about homosexuality or maybe it was Kubrick. He knew objectively that certain acts made him no more “gay” than others, he was bisexual. If he ultimately enjoyed anal that didn’t subtract from his sexuality in fact that gave him a whole new set of options, but it still freaked him the fuck out.

Sam shifted on the sofa, he was warm, he enjoyed the feel of him next to him.

Dean thought about initiating sex, about sliding off the sofa and dropping to his knees… and then what?

He was pretty sure choking on Sam’s cock wasn’t exactly the sexiest thing he could do.

Still he had to try didn’t he?  He couldn't let Sam do all the work and focus on his own pleasure.

Sam was surprised as he felt Dean move. He watch as he slithered off the sofa crouching before him, Dean looked nervous. He wouldn’t want him to know it, but Dean was right they knew each other too well.

“You don’t have to do anything you’re not ready for.” Sam insisted.  Embarrassed that he’d been half hard this entire time just at the very thought of Dean doing this. On the one hand Sam understood that Dean probably wasn't ready for this, he seemed hesitant and uncertain which wasn't like him.

Even the way he’d discussed tonight wasn’t like him… rushing ahead forcing the issue yes, to a degree that was Dean, he’d never been good with the subtler aspects of emotion, but Sam was.

Sam knew he should be able to read Dean’s hesitation in his face and tell him, not to worry that he should just take over and take care of Dean, but he was only human.

Dean on his knees was a gorgeous sight.

“Dean you don’t have to.” he said again as Dean reached forward with shaking hands.

Sam couldn’t tell if he was shaking out of nerves or because he wasn’t used to undoing a fly from this direction.

Dean’s heart was pounding. He wasn’t a virgin, he wasn’t sure why he was acting like this. He’d never been with a man before sure, but he could hold himself together.

His knees ached, he wondered if the woman who’d done this before in the past had experienced similar pain. He made a mental note to start offering to put a pillow down or something.

Dean carefully eased the zipper down over Sam’s growing erection. He could feel the heat radiating from him. He palmed Sam’s cock through the jeans before pulling them apart Sam groaned his head falling backwards. So far so good, Dean thought to himself.

Sam was wearing green cotton boxers, his cock straining against the button fly.

A strange squirming sensation went through Dean, he swallowed hard fighting against the weakness. It was just him and Sam he didn’t need to think about anyone else. Especially not Kubrick.  

Sam wanted to laugh at Dean’s nearly comical expression as he undid the fly of his boxers and pulled out his cock. It was flattering, but he could also sense Dean’s uncertainty.

Sam reached forward stroking Dean’s hair, they didn’t need sex. Not yet he wanted Dean he wanted this, the idea of Dean touching him was somehow very different than touching Dean. He’d craved Dean he’d imagined touching him for most of his life, when Dean was sad he’d thought about comforting him.

He’d imagined everything but his favorite still was Dean fucking him hard and fast unrestrained. He also knew it was something they probably needed to work up to.

Dean uncertain had an appeal on its own as well. He licked his lips unaware what a vision he was crouched at his feet. Sam tried one more time to appeal to his better nature.

“Do only what you want Dean, this isn’t something we need to rush.” Dean glanced up his bright green eyes meeting his. He nodded slightly.

“I know.” he agreed.

Dean grasped Sam’s cock with his hand, this he knew he could do, he’d done it awkwardly with his left hand before, he was even more confident with his right.

Sam hissed in pleasure as Dean stroked his cock up and down, gripping him firmly.

He wasn’t sure what Sam liked, before it had been rushed,running headlong with emotion and passion, this time Dean wanted to focus on Sam, see what amount of pressure he liked the angles and positions.

He knew the basics of performing a blowjob, no teeth without permission, plenty of suction and lubrication. Communicate and figure out where to go from there, but implementing his plan was a lot harder, pun totally intended, than he expected.

He leaned forward and gave the head an experimental lick, just to get an idea at the taste compared to women and Sam’s sensitivity.

Sam hissed again emboldened Dean continued laving the shaft with his tongue. From base to tip twice before taking the head in his mouth his mouth stretching around him. Sam groaned deep in his chest.

Dean kept his hand wrapped around his cock keeping the stroking movement going as bobbed down slightly barely engulfing Sam’s cockhead in his mouth, using his hand as a barrier and a stimulus.

He was beginning to understand the job part of blow job. Not to say that cunilingus didn’t require jaw strength and tongue dexterity but it was a different set of moves, and a little less trouble with gag reflex.

Sam was enjoying himself. Dean wasn’t an expert, Sam could tell he was new at this, he was slow in finding a rhythm, but it wasn’t the point it was Dean.

Dean moved his hand and dipped a bit lower before instantly pulling back, he covered his mouth with his hand turning away from Sam as he gagged. Sure that was fucking sexy. Dean thought

Stil Sam reached for him pulling him back, he leaned down to kiss him.

“You’re amazing.” he murmured soothing him.

Dean smiled trying again. He knew Sam was lying he remembered receiving his first blowjob and how awkward it had been but it was still a fond memory. That was what he wanted.

He just didn’t like how loud his heart was pounding in his ears, he was having trouble relaxing, last time everything had happened so fast, he’d been so worked up over Cas and the fight he’d turned off his brain, this time his brain was anything but off. In the back of his mind whispering at him was Lisa, and Kubrick… Faggot. He wasn’t even sure he should be insulted, because he liked this. Pleasing Sam. sucking his dick, there was a time in his life when he couldn't even masturbate to the idea of a man sucking him let alone picture himself in this position.

He tried again, dropping his mouth over Sam’s cock bobbing up and down the best he could encircling his head with his tongue. Sam moaned fisting his hands into his hair clearly fighting the desire to urge him forward.

Dean wasn’t sure if it was that he kept pressing Sam further and further into his mouth that was causing the rising nausea or nerves in general but he backed off, coming up for air continuing his motions with his hands.

He was hard, his nerves weren’t affecting that at least, but the rotten rolling feeling in his gut didn’t dissipate.

“We should have sex.” he said finally.

Maybe that would be easier for him, it sounded weird but more in his wheelhouse, it was still “gay” sex but it was something he knew a bit more how to do. He’d done anal with women before, he knew how to get someone to relax, he wasn’t sure how different it would be after that.

He was getting in his head about it. He was being stupid.  He wasn’t straight, he knew that he was bisexual, but for some reason it was so hard to let go of the idea that this wasn't changing him. That he was crossing a line that he could never uncross.

He’d just remembered all the times Kubrick beat the shit out of him, how much he fought and repressed any idea of liking men. The homophobic jokes that people made around the office were the tiniest of little jabs in his life, but they didn’t matter because the weren’t about him. No one knew about him.

Coming out about Sam meant coming out in general, that meant he couldn’t hide behind passing as straight any longer.

That was a step he wasn’t sure if he was ready to take. Having sex was a step he wanted to take but he was just as afraid of. So much had changed for him so quickly he hadn't had a chance to overthink it, but those weeks apart had given him the time.  

Time to dwell, and worry.  He didn’t deny his attraction to men, he couldn't do that any longer, he wanted to have sex with Sam with Cas, he just feared the first step crossing the line. He knew it was fucking stupid, but he couldn't get the idea out of his head.  He couldn’t talk to Sam about it because it made him sound like an asshole.

Like gay sex was this terrible thing that he didn’t want, but he did want at the same time. It just was confusing, but he didn’t to say he was confused.

Sam nodded he shucked his jeans tucking his cock back into his boxers. Leaving his overshirt on the sofa. Dean walked towards Sam’s bedroom, it seemed more appropriate to have sex in the bedroom.  He wasn’t sure how to instigate it but he could do it. He just needed to get out of his head, this was just between him and Sam.

Sam was worried that Dean didn’t appear any less nervous, in fact he actually seemed to be getting more and more uncomfortable. Maybe they’d slow down a little.

Dean was completely dressed Sam shucked his shirt and tossed it absently on the floor.

He stepped up to Dean sliding his hands beneath his shirt digging his nails in slightly over his ribs sending a shivering ripple through him.

Dean undid the buttons on his shirt before allowing Sam to remove it. Sam kissed the hollow at the junction of Dean’s neck and collarbone.

“Are you nervous?” Sam asked. He was studying him, Dean could feel his elevated pulse pounding away at his temple. Dean had the opportunity to answer honestly. That he was fucking freaking out, he wanted this but he was so scared of it changing things, he liked his life… for the most part. He liked how things were with Sam, he’d made something for himself maybe it wasn’t all he wanted or even deserved but it worked. This path would change that. It would be harder, at least at first. He’d have to fight his way through it.  Being in a relationship not only with his foster brother, but also Cas, but he didn’t what to give either of them up not even for a moment. He loved Sam, regardless of what society thought of his relationship with him, the same was growing true for Cas. He had to try right?

“No.” he lied.

Sam smiled and pushed him down on the bed kissing him. Dean lost himself briefly in the kiss. He forgot to breathe

He pushed Sam away as he gasped for breath. He found himself oddly winded.

Sam paused looking at him.

“Are you ok?” he asked unsurely.

At first it was just a little bit, now he found himself gasping, his chest and head aching.

He was  having trouble breathing.

“Dean?” Sam asked again this time his tone was much more serious.

He was dying, he knew it. His hand grasped at his chest as a burning tight pain centered there. His heart was racing out of control, he couldn't breathe, each shuddering breath was a struggle. He was shaking. Sam was over him,

“Dean?” he asked his eyes wide, his panic showing on his face.

“Call 911” He choked out.

Sam balked briefly before tearing across the room towards  the living room where his cellphone lay discarded in his pants.

Dean felt his life flash before his eyes, he’d fought his whole life tooth and nail against this inevitable end.

He’d sacrificed only for it to end like this.

He heard Sam the phone, but he sounded distant, he could only focus on his heartbeat, certain that every last beat would be the last.

“My… boyfriend is having trouble breathing... and chest pains.”

There was a few beats of silence where it was clear Sam was listening.

“He’s thirty.”  he heard Sam thunder back into the room his feet pounding the floor in his haste. He stuck his head into the room hovering at the doorway.

“He’s still conscious”,

Dean held absolutely still trying to remember all the good moments in his life. He tried to summon up every pleasant memory, but they were all tinged with sadness, of things he’d never done.

He was feeling dizzy numb tingling in his hands as he realized he was clenching his fists.

Sam was kneeling before him.

“It’s ok,” Sam insisted holding his knee.

“Everything is going to be ok.”

***

Sam waited in the livingroom as the paramedics examined Dean, in the bedroom. It had felt like entire lifetimes while he waited for them to arrive. He must have heard the sirens from miles away, it felt like hours, but it was more likely only a few minutes.  He was still wearing only his boxers, he was cold and he was afraid, afraid that he was going to lose the most important person in his life. Afraid of what might happen to him afterwards. He didn’t have much sense of self preservation but he knew that he was treading on uneven ground. His life was currently being held together by a fragile string, which Dean held in place for him. If he were to let go... He would probably kill himself. He admitted quietly, at least to himself. He knew it sounded pathetic, but the thought was still there floating in the back of his brain.  He watched as the men left the room. They were quiet.

“He’s fine.” the told him moving with their gear. Sam frowned.

“You should go talk to him.” one of them mentioned. He wasn’t looking at Sam, he was keeping his eyes on the ground. Sam wasn’t sure why he wasn’t meeting his eyes.

Maybe it was because he was practically naked in his living room and he felt like exposed in more way than one.

“And go easy on him ok.” the man muttered quietly.

Sam walked slowly towards the bedroom. The sounds around him were dim or muted. Everything seemed to move stuff half speed. He opened the door with a soft click. Dean was sitting shirtless on the edge of the bed closest to the door with his head cradled in his hands. He was surprisingly calm compared to his demeanor only moments earlier. There was an ominous stillness about him.

“Dean?” Sam asked quietly stepping into the room. There was an air of sacrilege disturbing his penitent  repose.

“I’m sorry” he murmured dejected

Sam had never heard that tone from him before.

It was broken.

“Why are you sorry?” he wondered still treading carefully as he approached. Like he expected Dean to bolt for the door at a moment's notice.

Dean kept his eyes downcast staring vacantly at the floor. His answers written there.

“ Did you want to go to the hospital?” he asked uncertain.

Sam knew the paramedics said he was fine but he didn't look fine.

“I just want to go home.” He admitted. A small twinge of jealousy went through him. Dean didn't want to stay?

“What did they say to you?”

Sam wondered his voice little more than a whisper.

Dean still refused to respond.

Sam stepped closer.

“We can take you to a doctor, get a second opinion…”

Dean cut him off.

“It was a panic attack.” Dean muttered ashamed.

“What?”

“I had a panic attack!” Dean shouted standing suddenly.

Sam frowned.

“Over sex?” he asked his voice barely auditable.  

Dean wouldn’t meet his eyes his gaze glued to the floor.

“Are you afraid to have sex with me?”

Sam wondered aghast

“No!...” Dean insisted defending himself.

Sam’s gaze was withering.

So he conceded   “Maybe… “ he ran an irate hand through his hair “I don't know.”

Sam laughed bitterly shaking his head side to side pacing. He understood Dean’s hesitancy, but this was something else entirely. He’d asked him, he’d tried everything he could think of to let Dean lead the way, he never pushed him, but it wasn’t enough.

“What’s so funny?” Dean demanded hurt.

Sam clenched his teeth before continuing. Sucking his teeth in resignation.

“It really does have to be Cas doesn't it?

“What?” Dean demanded confused.

It was something Sam had been thinking about in their time apart. Everytime he tried to get more intimate with Dean he pulled away, yet it was so much easier for Cas, because Dean was focused on him. He didn’t pull away he reached out to him.

Sam ran his hand through his hair, he wanted a fix, he needed to numb this over intrusions of emotion, he didn’t have a problem sharing Dean with Cas, not really, Cas was his friend. The idea had actually occurred to him in the past. That it would help both of them out by being together at their own pace, it just hurt because Sam felt like an outsider in his own relationship.

“It has to be Cas as your first, you're so focused on not hurting him that you get out of your own head.”

Dean frowned. Looking at Sam like he was speaking a foreign language, but Sam was just finally stumbling onto the truth. This relationship wasn’t about him and Dean not really, Cas wasn’t the third wheel. He was.  

Sam looked away.

“Do you want me to drive you?” he asked.  Worried for Dean he seemed shaky.

He wasn’t even mad at Dean, he couldn't help how he felt. He was scared, it just was that he wasn’t the one meant to help him.

He just felt sad.

Dean was worried at how deflated Sam looked, the tightness in his chest was still there the beating of his heart still felt too loud, but now he knew it wasn’t really a heart attack he wasn’t dying.

He messed everything up with Sam. this was why he didn’t want to go through with this why he wanted to keep pretending he didn’t love him, because he knew he’d wind up hurting him.

“No I’m fine.” he insisted. He wasn’t sure if he was being kicked out or if Sam was just letting him leave.

He dressed in silence while Sam simply stood there.

“This isn’t the end of us.” he muttered finally as Dean reached the door of the bedroom.

Dean turned back to Sam confused.

“Have sex with Cas, then come back and we can try this again.”

Dean was baffled, he wasn’t sure what he’d expected. If he thought Sam would break up with him or if he thought it would just be something they didn’t talk about, or what but this was never it.

“Why are you saying that?” Dean asked.

“We never said you’d lose your virginity with me, in fact we purposely didn’t make a decision, but I’m making one now, lose it with Cas.”

“Why?” Dean found himself asking again…

“You know why, you’ve got a saviour complex a mile wide. Helping Cas you can help yourself.”

Dean wanted to argue, but he wasn’t sure that Sam was wrong.

“You sure? It’s not something I can undo.” he asked

“I don’t need your first time…”just let me be your last.  The last part he left unsaid. He couldn't put that on Dean. couldn't make him promise to be with him forever. Forever was a long long time.  

“I just want to be with you.”

Dean nodded.

“So do I” he agreed.

“I just…”

“It’s ok.” Sam assured.

“Just think about it ok?”

Chapter Text

Eleven years ago

“Your room’s upstairs.”  Sam was lingering on the creaky porch taking in the surroundings. His duffel bag containing all of his belongings slung over his shoulder. Singer scrapyard wasn’t exactly much to look at from the outside and he feared that the inside would just be more of the same. There was clearly a semblance of order to the cars stacked to the side of the house. He could just barely see an outbuilding or garage made of tan corrugated metal around the back of the house behind the scrapyard. They were enclosed off  separated by a chain-link fence that was woven through with dark green plastic. The front yard was small, but neat, a little brick pathway led from the scrapyard joining the path from the house the the road. The house itself was set further off the road leaving a dusty gravel path separating the little brick path and the main road. The mailbox was set just the right of the gravel path.  

The house was old, the brocade wallpaper was green and faded, but it was mostly clean. It smelled like wood polish, and apple pie.

“Come on son, I don’t bite.” the older man insisted gesturing for him to hurry along.

He was maybe in his fifties with brown hair and a beard, he wore flannel and grease stained blue jeans, paired with a dusty battered ballcap. He’d met the man at his caseworker’s office. He seemed nice. Dean liked him, but Sam couldn’t help,but hesitate. Maybe it was the last year of vigilance catching up with him but he was still on edge.

Sam nodded slowly, but it wasn’t until Dean came into view that he stepped into the house.

“Heya Sammy, you gonna make us wait all day?” he asked grinning.

His smile lit up the darkened hallway drawing him in like a moth to the flame.

Sam ducked his head as he stepped across the threshold Dean stepped forward wrapping his arm around him ruffling his hair,snatching the duffle from him.

Sam felt himself relaxing, he wasn’t sure what he expected when he saw him, but he hadn’t seen him since that night in the hospital. That night after everything happened with Kubrick. It had been a year.  He’d been placed with John again, and for a while it had actually been good. He taught him how to fish, how to fight, how to live off the land.  Then it wasn’t good.

“Sammy?” Dean asked

Sam shook himself before stepping forward continuing the stairs where to his right. Dean was gesturing for him to move up them.  Sam followed him, listening to the stairs creak as he stared at Dean’s back. He hadn’t gotten a chance to talk to Dean that night.

Sam knew it was his playgirl that Kubrick found it. He’d stole it from the gas station, the week before. He’d barely even looked at it, but he hadn’t been able to throw it out either. He wanted to know if he liked guys or... if he just liked Dean.

He was staring at Dean, as he lead him to his new room. The way the grey shirt clung to his back, the faded blue jeans molded to his ass.

Sam licked his lips. He liked Dean. The year apart had done nothing to change that.

What it had done was harden him as a person, and made him realize he needed to do more with his life than just exist.

The problem was he didn’t know what.

“Your room is this one here.” Dean told him gesturing.  It was the same arm he’d seen Kubrick snap like a twig.

It looked like it had never happened. Sam knew there wouldn’t be any evidence of the attack, it had been a year, but it felt like yesterday to him.

Dean stepped into the room tossing the duffle on the bed before flopping down on it himself using the duffle as a pillow crossing his arms over his chest.

“What do you think?” he asked. He was grinning over at him.

“Bobby might be a bit crotchety but he’s really a good guy, he’s letting me stay till I can save up for college.”

Sam frowned running his hand over the top of the wooden dresser.

“I thought you wanted to work on cars…?” he murmured trying to look anywhere but over at Dean spread out across the bed like a walking wet dream.

“Yeah that's not really marketable.”  he murmured.

Sam turned to him confused.

“Marketable?” he wondered. His eyes skimming over him.

Dean sat up with a shrug.

“I guess it’s more not the type of salary I’m looking for.”

Sam nodded not really understanding. He continued examining the room.

“Where’s your room?” he wondered.

“Across the hall.”

Sam nodded again.  Sam wanted to tell Dean. he’d done a lot of soul searching in the year apart.

He liked men. He wanted to tell Dean the truth about him. He was nervous, he wasn’t sure that Dean would still accept him.

“Dean about Kubrick.”

Dean inhaled sharply when Sam mentioned the name, but he’d pushed whatever emotions he was feeling back down.

“What about him?” he asked hesitantly.

“It’s...” he’d been about to say that it was his fault.

“In the past. Sammy.” Dean said firmly. He was looking at his shoes,

“Bobby isn’t like that. His old man used to beat on his mom  and him, he thought he’d break the cycle by not having kids of his own, but then he started fostering after his wife died, because he realized he wasn’t his old man. Never would be.”

He grinned over at Sam.

“You don’t gotta worry about him.”

Sam nodded softly.

“,but” he began.

“Drop it.” Dean’s words cut through the room. He was clenching his hands and his sides.

Sam nodded.

“I’m sorry.”

Dean’s face softened

“It’s not your fault, why don’t we go down stair… Bobby got pie!”

Sam smiled he would tell Dean eventually. Tell him that he was gay, tell him, how much he meant to him.

How thoughts of seeing him again held him through the worst of what his dad did. He had time.

***

Once Dean was gone Sam got high. Mind numbingly high. He didn’t bother getting dressed he stayed in his boxers. He took the little glass bottles from the hidden fridge in his closet. He poured himself a glass of grapefruit juice and mixed his codeine water into it. Double his normal dose. He thought about adding a shot of vodka to top it off but didn't want to risk killing himself, not yet.  He fought against the impulse to lose himself in the drugs, it was one thing getting high at the end of the day to mellow out, this was killing his feelings. He knew if he gave in it would wreck every semblance of control he had. Not that he had much.

He was an addict, he lied to himself, said he was fine that he was in control but he knew what really called the shots.  Physical addiction wasn’t the hardest part to fight. It was the mental addiction, the part of his brain that screamed for it. That said he wasn’t strong enough without it. That told him if he just took a little bit he’d be fine, then just a little bit more and a little bit more.

He stood with his drink shaking in his hand, lingering over the sink longer than he would like to admit. He thought about dumping it out, about going to Dean and confessing that he needed help. That he fucked up. That he was human. He took a sip. Just one. That was all he needed. Never mind that it was never just one sip, one bottle, one pill, one hit, one anything.

He ran his hand through his hair pulling his bangs out of his eyes. He stared down at his hands. He was fucking shaking.  He took another deep sip, the tangy juice covering the taste of codeine.

He wanted to float away and forget. Forget for a moment that Dean couldn't talk to him about his feelings. That he was afraid of moving forward, but couldn't tell him. Then again he couldn't tell him about his pain. About his depression how it drug him down into the filth and never let him out. He was getting high again just to feel something, he’d just have used Dean to feel something.  He was so lost.

His own insecurities mingling with what happened today. Dean didn’t really want to be with him. He didn’t really love him, he just felt sorry for him. This whole charade was because he didn’t want to hurt his feelings by being with Cas.  The room spun around him. He melted into the warm embrace. He shouldn’t have gotten so high, he needed to work in the morning. Yet his responsibilities were the furthest thing from his mind as he wallowed in his self pity.

He lay on the floor, in the dark listening to music. It was funny that it always came to this. Music said things to him that he couldn't really say otherwise. It gave him the words to express how he felt when even he wasn’t sure what to call it. He’d often wished that he had a musical talent but he wasn’t blessed, no he just sat alone in the dark listening to the work of others while he tried to sort his life into something with meaning.

He didn’t know what he needed to find himself. He’d thought it was Dean now he knew that wasn’t the case. It was something he had to figure out on his own. Dean was right you can’t put your reason for being on another person you’ll just wind up disappointed. He wasn’t even disappointed in Dean, but rather in himself.  He needed help, but he wouldn’t ask, he knew it. He’d keep going on this self destructive path till someone, most likely Dean, stopped him.

He finished the glass and let the music carry him. He hadn’t changed his mind Dean needed Cas but Sam needed Dean.

***

The keys jingled as he turned them in the door. No one was home when he let himself in. Cas was surprised, but he wasn't disappointed. He didn’t mind being alone. It wasn’t like he spent much of his time alone in the last couple of years. There wasn’t such a thing as privacy in on the streets he ate, slept, shit,and screwed with an audience.  It was surreal enough having a place to lay his head let alone having the run of a place this size. He was constantly struck with how different things were. Kemp was in the same boat, living with Skye and Dillan. They were getting used to A. having a place and B. sharing that place with their two lovers. Hell even having lovers was a bit of a stretch for Cas. In his experience people didn’t exactly call when you hook up in a bathroom at a club or in an alley against the brick wall, behind the club. He’d been fine with that actually. Would have been more freaked out if they had called. Now he was wanting something different.

He headed directly for the bathroom. He’d gone out to dinner with Sky and Kemp after getting his tattoo, but because of that he was tired.  He didn’t enjoy that little weakness that lingered in him, but he could work within his limitations for now.  Once in the bathroom he examined his tattoo in the mirror.

He pulled off the thin film of plastic wrap the guy had placed around his arm. He wiped away the lingering traces of blood, with a wet daub of toilet paper. It stung a little, but not unpleasantly, luckily he found Dean had some unscented lotion in the cabinet, that he applied to the tattoo. This was really kind of dumb of him. Getting his piercings and a new tattoo all at once. He’d send his weakened immune system into overdrive but he didn’t give a fuck at the moment. He’d spent the time out thinking it wasn’t normally something he did. In fact he spent a great deal of his life purposefully not thinking. Still it was something that had to be done.

He head the door open as he was smearing the last bit of lotion over his arm.

Judging by the jingle of keys it was Dean.

He washed the lotion off his hands and went into the living room. He faltered when he saw Dean, he looked awful. His burgundy dress shirt was rumpled and untucked. His face was distant like he was stuck in his own thoughts. He looked sad. Lost and more forlorn than Cas had ever seen him.

“Hey” he called out. Dean practically jumped out of his skin. He recovered quickly however.

“Oh hey.”

It was clear he’d not been expecting him.

Rather than wait and see how he was doing like the situation most likely called for Cas found himself speaking.

“I want to be in a relationship with you.” Cas murmured spitting out the topic that was heavily weighing on his mind.

Dean blinked several times before chuckling darkly to himself, shaking his head.

“What's so funny?” Cas demanded, prepared to be hurt.

“Nothing…”  Dean assured. “Just this is the second time today I've been told I'm not doing relationships right.”

Cas frowned,

“It’s not you… it’s me.” Cas insisted trying to assuage some of Dean’s guilt… or was it grief?

Dean stepped on his dress shoe to remove it leaning against the wall as he did so, alternating shoes as he went.

“Isn’t what you say to someone when you're breaking up with them ?”

He asked he sounded distant maybe numb. Cas wondered what happened with Sam while he was gone.

“I meant, I wasn’t in it before… not really. Not emotionally.” Dean glanced over at him as he spoke, his face clouded.  “I was scared to trust anyone…”

His eyes soften again something regretful in them.

“Because everyone I trusted betrayed me.”

“Cas, there is something… Dean begun softly.

“Don’t…” Cas insisted

“You don’t have to say anything I know it's not  my fault I didn’t trust people that it’s hers and please know there are things that... I can’t tell you yet, and it has nothing to do with you and everything to do with me. I’m fucked up.  There are so many things that I never dealt with. Never even tried to.”

“What are you saying?” Dean asked clearly mystified by his train of thought.

“I need therapy.”  Cas admitted. With a light shrug.

Dean was watching him thoughtfully. So Cas pressed ahead.

“I have trust issues, and triggers that I have no idea how to combat on my own.” he continued.

He bit his lip turning away from him briefly.

“I couldn’t deal as a kid so I didn’t try. I was so angry at all the adults in my life for not seeing what was happening I didn’t listen to them even when they were right.” he found himself smirking “Especially if they were right.”

Dean stepped towards him in his socked feet.

Cas glanced down uncertain.  

“I don’t know if this is something that has a future,” he muttered softly.  “because I never really had a future before.”

Dean kept moving towards him.

“But I’m not doing this for you, I’m doing it for me.”

Dean wrapped his arms around him. Cas briefly was surprised but his touch didn’t repel him he found himself wrapping his arms around him in return.

“I’m sorry.” Dean murmured laying his head on his shoulder Cas wasn’t sure what he was referring to only that this hug wasn't about him Dean was clinging to him as if he was a life raft.

Dean wished he could tell Cas about his brother, that he’d told him about him. That he’d conspired behind his back for them to meet, but he was selfish and scared, in more ways than one. He’d thought he knew what was right for someone else. The same thing he’d fought his entire life. He’d made a mistake. He would correct it.

“I’m proud of you.” Dean admitted.

Cas wasn’t sure how to feel, he felt Dean warm against him. Pressed to him like he needed him for support.

He’d never helped anyone before. Never had his house in enough order to help anyone. He was usually the one who stubbornly refused to take the help he desperately needed.

“What happened at Sam’s?” he found himself asking.

They moved to the sofa when they sat as Dean spoke.

He listened as Dean explained his panic attack and he felt an odd form of kinship with him. It wasn’t the same as when he was triggered, but Dean had his own set of demons. Dean wasn’t perfect that was what gave them a change. Cas didn’t need perfect he needed real. He needed honest. He needed someone who had suffered, who could really understand that he had suffered too.

Cas held his hand as they talked on the sofa, they stayed there for a long time Cas half feared… half hopped that it would become more. That Dean would kiss him and take him into the bedroom and they would fuck, but they didn’t after a while Dean said he was tired and went into his bedroom leaving Cas alone.

He watched movies in the living room till late into the night. He knew he needed therapy he wasn't sure if he’d do it just yet, but he knew to move forward he needed to start fighting some of the demons in his past versus just running from them.

***

Dean excused himself for bed and texted Gabriel. He wouldn't do it. He wouldn’t make Cas see his brother if he didn’t want to. He told Gabriel that it was up to Cas if he wanted to see him again and when he asked he’d bring him to Gabriel, but not before.  

***

TRIGGER WARNING Rape

Four years and a month ago

They were kissing. They were on the sofa, his back pressed into the firm squares, his ass falling into the crack between the middle cushions making him uncomfortable. Cooper was over him, his arms supporting him quivered on either side of his head, he knew better than to put all his weight on him, they had had a few missteps now and again. They had been dating for three months. Jimmy hadn’t told Cooper the truth yet, but he wanted to. It was the first time he wanted to. still, he was too afraid, he didn’t want to see the look of revulsion cross his face.

The sensuous slide of their tongues that felt like it could go on forever, Jimmy knew better however. Soon Cooper would want him to blow him. Not that Jimmy didn’t like that part too. He liked the noises he made, he liked making him feel good. He liked how he would hold him after, and he didn’t feel like he’d let him down or he wanted anything else from him.

Still he just liked kissing more.

It was the closest he got to feeling anything.

His heart raced, the blood pounded through his body, he didn’t usually get an erection, sometimes he did, but Cooper hadn’t really mentioned it either way. He really liked kissing.

Cooper pulled away.

Leaning back sitting on the opposite arm of the sofa.

Jimmy knew what that meant. He pulled himself up slowly dragging his body against the fabric.

Mr. and Mrs. Jones were having a game night with a neighborhood couple. It was their way of trying to stay together, somehow Jimmy had this image in his head of them playing charades, even though they had never told him what kind of games they played. He just liked the image of them silently trying to communicate with each other and still getting it wrong.

It was one of these game nights when Cooper first kissed him. They’d been watching TV on this sofa when he’d turned to him.

Cooper was perched on the sofa arm, he was panting looking at him as if he needed to see every inch of his skin. Little warning bells went off in his head. It was time to hurry this along.

“Want me to blow you?” Jimmy asked he didn't like the soft edge to his voice. The little bit of urgency.

“Let's do something different” Cooper suggested.

“Like what?” Jimmy asked hesitantly. They were treading on dangerous ground for him. He might have called bullshit on the shrink talking about being able to read into triggers and stuff, but he knew he had them. He didn’t think he could let Cooper have sex with him.

“We could have sex.” Cooper murmured softly as if the idea just occurred to him and he hadn’t been slowly building to this suggestion.

He was going to say no. Say that he wasn’t ready, he thought again about telling him the truth.

Jimmy watched Cooper he was clearly nervous, he licked his lips, he was looking at him, it was strange.

Jimmy begun to doubt himself.

“Why do you want to have sex with me?” Jimmy asked. He was curious. It was probably a mistake, but his last visit to his shrink was stuck in his head. Maybe he didn’t want to control him, maybe he didn’t want to hurt him.

“It will be fun.” Cooper assured. Jimmy nodded, grimly, but paused as Cooper continued.

“Plus I want to be closer to you.”  he added with a grin.

Jimmy balked, he hadn’t expected something like that. He watched him studying his face, it was like his words were a foreign language.

 There was urgency there for sure, but he couldn't read his words as a lie.  He wanted to be closer to him.

“Why me?” he wondered before he could cut off the pathetic stream of words.

“I like you.” Cooper crooned. “At first, it was just about experimenting, but you’re really fun to hang with.”

Jimmy knew he was staring but, Cooper looked so earnest and handsome.

Jimmy bit his lip, he wasn’t sure he could do it, but Cooper wanted him, for him. That had to mean something, didn't it?

He stripped rather mechanically, placing a fake flirty smile over his face. He slithered out of his clothes, shimmying slightly letting Cooper see him in the best light.

He devoured him with his eyes. The fear that he usually felt at being admired was there, but there was also a rush. He was wanted, desired. He took power from it.

He tossed his shirt off hitting Cooper playfully in the face. He was comfortable like this, for the most part, he’d taken his shirt off in front of Cooper before, this wasn't anything knew. It was the next layer that gave him pause. He removed his pants carefully standing in boxers. Awkwardly. He felt over exposed. Cooper moved to touch him and Jimmy flinched away, but before Cooper could notice the difference he spoke.

“Look but don’t touch.” he teased softly as he begun to rock slightly Cooper leaned back grinning.

Jimmy could feel his heart speed up. He would be ok, he could do this. He told himself softly. He was letting this happen. He was in control. He would be ok.

He swayed to imaginary music as he rocked back and forth Cooper’s eyes following him. Finally he shucked his boxers, Cooper was watching him, he wasn’t hard Cooper didn’t say anything about it and Jimmy was grateful. He wasn’t sure what he would do if Cooper had offered to put his mouth on him. Probably run screaming from the room.

He carefully settled himself onto the sofa facing away from Cooper, presenting himself to him.

He felt Cooper move towards him and he almost jumped out of his skin.

Jimmy couldn't tell if he was cold because he was laying naked ass up along the length of the sofa or if his chill had more of a sense of impending doom. He didn’t want to go through with this.

“Cooper I don’t know if I can do this” he muttered his voice was shaking.

“Hey it’s ok.” Cooper assured.

“I’ve done this before… with Laurel.”

Jimmy shot him a dirty look over his shoulder

“How different can anal be?” Cooper asked

Jimmy faced forward again.

He instantly tensed when Cooper touched him. His heart rocketing forward, it felt like it was going to beat out of his chest.

He stroked a hand over his ass. The softness of his touch was a counterpoint to the possessiveness his touch conveyed.

Jimmy swallowed hard.

He could do this. He just needed to hold on, till Cooper came, it would be easier after the first time, right.

Cooper speared him with his finger. Jimmy yelped, it didn’t hurt exactly, but it felt weird. He felt stretched.

“Did that hurt?”

Cooper asked hesitantly.

“No it's fine.” he insisted trying to hurry it along.

 Jimmy screwed his eyes shut, clenching his jaw shut. Cooper touched him again. Moving his fingers inside him.

Jimmy snapped his eyes open. Closed was worse. He forgot who was touching him.

He could feel his rising panic. He just needed to keep it together long enough for Cooper to cum. That was it.  Then it was done, they would have had sex and he’d be ok.

He felt Cooper move, he was pressing his body into the sofa. Jimmy felt himself floating away, he was grateful. It was easier to endure when he wasn’t connected. It made it easier to hang on till it was over. He felt the muted touch as Cooper positioned himself against his asshole.

Every touch felt distant and clinical, like he was watching this happen to someone else. It was a movie, he couldn't stop what was going to happen even if he wanted to.

Cooper pressed slowly forward.

It hurt. Cooper moaned.

A burning pain that radiated outwards through his entire body.

The pain drew him out of his head a little bit, the self preservation instinct focusing on preserving the body over the mind.  

“Ow.” he hissed the words ripped from him, he normally wouldn’t complain. Cooper jerked back and the pain receded to a burning ache as his cock pulled out.

“Did that hurt?” he asked again. Jimmy could hear the hesitancy in his voice. He wasn’t his mother. He wasn’t trying to hurt him.

“It’s fine” Jimmy snapped he wanted Cooper to enjoy himself, he didn’t want him to hate him.

Cooper pressed forward and the pain returned.

Jimmy clenched his jaw against the pain. Keeping quiet.

Cooper moaned above him. Jimmy tried to focus on that. On his pleasure that he was giving him pleasure. For once he was glad that he could give another person pleasure with his body.

He ignored his own pain, his own receding focus. He started to feel numb. He could feel the wool of the sofa scratching his face but it wasn’t really there. He fought against the rising sense of panic. He just needed to hold on. His clenched his fists into the fabric of the sofa.

Cooper was thrusting in earnest now. Jimmy felt nothing, he felt distant and withdrawn. He could physically feel the thrusts, but it felt like he was thrusting through him. Almost over

He repeated it in his head. A mantra. Cooper shifted behind him grunting he reached forward pressing Jimmy further into the sofa by his shoulders.

Alarm bells went off in his brain again. The panic was mounting again. He couldn't see him.

His breathing hiked he was starting to panic. He was panting, but it was hard to catch his breath as Cooper kept rocking him into the sofa.

“Sss.” he managed, but Cooper couldn't hear him, or didn’t understand him.

His thrusts picked up tempo, going faster and faster. Pressing him into the sofa, he couldn't breath he panicked he wanted it to stop but he couldn't voice it. He couldn't breath he needed it to stop he didn’t want him inside him, touching him. He needed it to stop.

“SSStop!” Jimmy shouted.  Tears prickling at the corner of his vision. “Stop!”

He’d never said that before.

And just like he always imagined it didn’t matter.

“I’m almost there.” Cooper insisted pressing forward.

The last two minutes were pure agony. His entire body shook as Cooper continued to rock forward. The idea of resisting didn’t occur to him, he’d asked him to stop what good would fighting him do.

He felt like every thrust stole a little part of his soul.

Jimmy felt him come.

Felt him pull away.

But he didn’t move. He was gathering his strength. He’d never let his abuser see his pain. He wasn’t going to start now.

He kept his face pressed into the sofa. He didn’t want Cooper to see his tears. Didn’t want to show weakness.  

He heard Cooper walk away and come back he threw a towel at him. He felt it hit his ass.

“Was it as good for you?” he asked his voice was brimming with pleasure his tone relaxed. Something inside of him snapped Jimmy jerked upright and turned to him.

The look of surprise on Cooper’s face was telling.

Jimmy didn’t know what his expression looked like, but he knew what he felt.

Pain, anger, sadness, betrayal. Shame.

It had happened again. He’d let someone use him, because he couldn’t stop them. Sex wasn’t any different than he remembered, it was the same someone took something from him.

Jimmy stood up shakily. His legs trembled precariously. He grabbed the sofa arm. Keeping himself upright.

“What happened?” Cooper asked surprised.

Jimmy ignored him he was going to take a shower.

He felt the semen drip down his inner thigh.

Cooper jogged ahead of him blocking his path. He had pulled on a pair of red basketball shorts, but he was still shirtless.

“Hey? What’s wrong?”

Jimmy’s eyes snapped up at him. He was angry. He knew he shouldn't be. This wasn’t Cooper’s fault. He’d let him, but somehow that didn’t stop his feelings of anger.

“I asked you to stop.” Jimmy replied.

A mixture of confusion and shame clouded Cooper’s face.

“I was almost there.” he replied as if that explained everything, as if that made him exempt from his actions.

“Yeah.” Jimmy snapped brusquely trying to push past him.

“Are you mad at me?” Cooper asked still blocking his path.

“No,” he muttered he’d rather lie than deal with the truth at the moment. “Now move.” Jimmy shoved him slightly he needed a shower.

Cooper stumbled back surprised.  

“I’m taking a shower.” he turned to face him pointedly

“You're not invited.” he insisted.

Once the door was closed he nearly collapsed leaning back heavily on the door. The only thing that gave him strength was that he needed to get clean.

The water was hot, it burned him, but it soothed his soul.

He focused on calming his racing heart. He was shaking. The shame permeated his being. He kept playing the scene over and over in his head. Maybe he was wrong, maybe Cooper had done nothing wrong. After all he’d said it was ok even though he didn’t mean it, he’d given him the ok.

Then he’d told him to stop,

and he didn’t stop.

He couldn’t stay here.

The thought came unbidden.

Cooper wasn’t the same as his mother, but what he did, it broke something inside of him.

He couldn't do it again.

Live in the same home with someone who hurt him and pretend that everything was ok.

He had to leave.

He knew he could report it to his caseworker.

They would send him to more therapy, and move him to another new home, but he was tired of it. Tired of other people getting decide what happened in his life.  

He stepped out of the shower wrapping a towel around his waist. This was it then.

It was over.

He’d lose everything by leaving. His own room, his things. his space, his grades, his future.  

He’d been kidding himself, for a while now, none of this was really his.

He knew it wasn't real. How could it be. He didn’t matter.

Cooper was waiting for him outside of the bathroom

There was regret on his face.

“Can we talk?” he asked.

Jimmy wanted to laugh

“Yeah let me put pants on first.” he muttered.

Stepping into his room. Part of him was already saying goodbye.

He had no idea where he would go, but it was up to him.

He dressed, pulling on a long sleeved shirt and black jeans.

They went downstairs and sat on the same sofa.

Jimmy waited. He would let Cooper talk, but his words surprised. him.

I’m sorry if I pushed you.” until they didn’t

but,you can’t get a man warmed up like that and not give them sex.”

“I see.” he murmured numbly. He felt like he was already floating away. Like he was growing numb.

Cooper was looking at him like he was some alien being. He couldn't understand his reactions.

“When I was little…” he begun in explanation. “My mother touched me.” he admitted his expression neutral.

Cooper didn’t react.  He knew the truth. Somehow without Jimmy telling him he already knew the truth.  Briefly he wondered how many other kids at school knew. Cooper’s parents probably told him, he wondered who Cooper told. Was it just his circle of friends or had it made it around the entire school yet?

“Just like you did.” he accused. Cooper flinched then.

“That's not true.” Cooper insisted.

“You said it was ok.” he continued practically whining in his defense of himself.

Jimmy looked at him in the eye.

“I asked you to stop. It's the same thing. What I wanted didn’t matter you took what you wanted.”

Jimmy turned away. When Cooper seemed to have lost the ability to speak, he simply stared at him.

“I’m going to bed.” He told him. Later that night he packed his bag, and he left, in the middle of the night. He had two hundred dollars to his name, money he’d saved from birthdays, from odd jobs, he saved it for fixing the window, but that was just one more problem he was leaving behind him.

He walked to the  bus station in Waxahachie. It was fifteen miles away. It took him about six hours, by the time he got there his muscles were so sore he could barely stand, but it didn’t matter he was leaving. Every time he thought about turning back, because he was cold, because he was scared, because he was tired, he’d remember his mother. He never ran from her, he stayed. He’d let the abuse continue, for years, it happened over and over because he was scared, because he wasn't in control. This was his chance he was grabbing the last chance at control he’d ever have.

The bus stop was a run down Exxon on the side of I-35, his ticket to Dallas only cost him fifteen dollars, but he had to wait four hours for the bus to arrive. He waited that whole time in constant fear that he would be found out. That Cooper or his mother would find him and drag him back. He couldn't tell her the truth, the reason why he was leaving. Even if she believed him, she wouldn't let him stay. He knew that. Not when he corrupted her son, either way he’d lose the little taste of home he’d snatched for himself. He might as well lose it on his terms.

This was the start of a new life. He could be a new person. He didn’t have to be Jimmy anymore. Poor, weak, pathetic Jimmy. Who wasn’t strong enough to save himself, he was stronger now. He could be someone else.

Chapter Text

February 7th

“What happened to my brother?” Gabriel demanded he sounded desperate. There was an keening edge to his words, the question was one that had plagued him time and time again and now Dean might finally have the answer.

Empathy. Dean tried to keep it in mind when he stared across the room. How would he feel if Jo went missing? He needed to be patient with the stranger. He didn’t immediately appear to be the monster that he feared he was, but he wasn’t about to betray Cas’s trust… anymore than he already had.

“I don’t know…” Dean admitted.

He watched as anger spread across the other man’s face.  

“Not all of it.” Dean admitted continuing.

Gabriel pursed his lips

Dean dropped his hands into his lap as he contemplated his next response.  

“He doesn’t like talking about his past.”

Gabriel frowned his brows drawing together as if he suddenly realized that Dean had more than a passing connection to his brother.

“Who exactly are you again?” he asked suspicion creeping into his voice.

Again he abandoned talking to Dean directly and instead turned to his lover.

“Who is this guy?” he demanded.

“I was getting to that when you stormed in the room all holy fire and rampage.”

Balthazar murmured pursing his lips.

Gabriel’s accusing eyes swung back to him as he raise a brow as if the reiterate the question.

“I’m…” Dean was surprised that the words were harder than he expected. He cleared his throat.

“He’s... my… boyfriend.” he finished slowly, he was unhappy with the uncertain tone of his voice. He wasn’t used to this level of passivity.

“You're fucking my brother?” he demanded lunging towards him shoving him backwards the chair squealing against the wooden floor.

“No…” Dean said quickly then immediately regretted it. He stood, towering over the barely restrained man. His fiance had his arms wrapped around him his hand clenched into the front of his shirt holding the man physically back.

“It's not really any of your business” Dean growled.

Gabriel sneered at him.

“Your what?” he gave him a thorough once over  crossing his arms over his chest.

“Fifteen years older than him?”

Dean was stunned. He’d always been thoroughly aware of the age difference between Cas and himself, but he’d pushed it to the back of his mind. Gabriel made it seem cheap somehow.

“Eleven.” he murmured softly.

“That’s so much better.” he sneered sarcastically rolling his eyes lifting his palms up  dramatically

“You’re taking advantage of my brother.” he accused stepping forward jabbing his finger into Dean’s chest.

“You have no idea what he’s been through!” Gabriel shouted.

“All you see is an easy lay.” he charged.

“He was whoring himself out.”  Dean spat out.

Gabriel paused in his assault all color drained from his face.

“What?”

Dean glanced away. Immediately regretting his words. He’d done it to hurt the man who was accusing him of using Cas, but now it felt petty and cruel.

Dean turn away examining the wall behind him. However there was nothing in the empty space to hold his gaze.  

“I met him in an alley, I was looking for my friend, Cas propositioned me.”

Gabriel turned away. He leaned against the closed door. Pressing his face into the wood.

“I…” Dean could hear him swallow hard as he tried to speak.

“I knew nothing good was happening to him, but I never thought he was doing it to himself.”

“Did you hurt Cas?” Dean asked he was done answering questions till he got some answers of his own.

The man turned towards him.

“Did he say that?” he asked voice lost all edge to it. It was soft. Like all the fight had suddenly been drained out of him.

“He’s never mentioned you.” Dean admitted.

Sorrow crossed his face. As he turned away from Dean biting his fist.

He took a deep shuddering breath, before turning back to face him.

“No I never hurt my brother… at least not physically.”

He was staring at the floor. It was then Dean noticed the pain he’d missed. The dark circles around his eyes. The worry lines across his brows.

“I made a mistake.” Gabriel continued sinking into the leather chair behind the wide desk. He wasn’t making eye contact as he continued he was staring at a spot on the desk.

“Cas told me the truth… I always knew my mother was abusive, I just thought she saved her focus to me.  She never touched me, not like she did with Jimmy.”

Gabriel’s eyes sought his suddenly desperately

“I didn’t know.” he entreated.  

“I hope at least he knows that.”  he murmured glancing back down.

“If I had, I would have killed her myself.” Dean didn’t doubt the veracity of his words or his conviction. Dean wasn’t a violent man. Even if the dull pain in his hand spoke otherwise, but there were people in his life that he’d kill for.

“I made a mistake.” he said again.

“When Jimmy told me the truth, I should have just taken him with me, anywhere other than with that woman, but…” he sat up a little taller.

“I was living out of my car, I didn’t want to take Jimmy with me like that. I called the police the moment after I found out.  I thought they could protect him.”

Dean frowned he wasn’t sure where this story was going.

“She told the cops it was me.” he admitted taking a sip of the scotch Balthazar had poured for himself.

“It became my word against hers,Jimmy wouldn’t talk.”

He frowned pensively tracing circles across the surface of the desk.

“I guess that’s my fault too, I said something when he confessed and he took it the wrong way, I didn’t want our mother to know he’d told the truth, I wasn’t sure what she would do to him if she knew.”

“What happened after that?” Dean wondered.

“It took the shrink six months to get Jimmy to admit something happened. Another two for him to admit its was our mother, not me. He was so angry, he didn’t want to talk to the shrink, he’d skip meetings try running away or just sit there in silence. He started acting up in school, his grades dropped, he was moved three times in the first year, then another three after that. After I was cleared, I tried to visit, I was trying to get custody, but he wouldn’t see him, wouldn’t tell me why.”

He looked at Dean like he might have the answers, but he didn’t .

He didn’t know what was going through Cas’s head, but he could imagine. He could picture the damaged young man he met in the alley and he could picture him, just a kid forced into a situation that adults weren’t equipped to handle. Feeling alone and lost, like everyone in the world betrayed him.

“I just want…” Gabriel began

He was staring a hole in the desk as he searched for the right words.

“I just want a chance to make it up to him, to be forgiven. To keep him safe.”

***

 

Dean was laying in the dark. He was waiting for a response from Gabriel, it was still early there, the little he knew of the man gave him no doubt that he would reply. He wouldn’t be happy with Dean backing out of their deal. A shaft of light broke through the darkness as the door creaked open. Cas’s heart was pounding as he crept into the room. He wasn’t sure what he was doing, he didn’t have a plan, but he felt drawn to Dean.

“Cas?” Dean asked sitting up in bed the sheet falling down pooling around his hips. Cas’s breath hitched, the blue light from th e tv illuminating him.

Dean found himself transfixed by Cas, standing in the little bit of light. He looked ethereal bathed in a combination of blue light from the other room and the moonlight that streamed in from his window.

Cas found himself  hesitating in the doorway.

“Can I come it?” he asked licking his lips nervously.

“Ye...yeah” he cleared his throat. “Come on in.”

Cas stepped into the room. He left the door open, unconsciously giving himself an escape route.

He moved towards the bed.

“I’m naked.” Dean admitted quickly. As Cas laid a hand on the mattress. Cas paused.

“You won’t try anything unless I ask?” Dean wasn’t entirely sure if it was an order or a question but he nodded nonetheless.

Cas was poised seemingly trapped between the bed and the door until Dean realized he needed to say it out loud.

“I would never do anything without your permission.”

Cas crawled forward lying on the bed on top of the covers beside him.

Dean didn’t dare move. He was almost afraid to breathe.

Cas lay back against the pillow.  He was still fully dressed except he’d kicked off his shoes before opening the door. He used his left foot to ease first one sock off before switching kicking both socks down into the floor. Cas lay back again trying to still his beating heart.  

“Do you believe in god?” he finally asked.

Dean was surprised by the turn of events.

“I don’t know.”  Dean curled on his side to get a better view of Cas’s face. He was laying flat on his back his fists curled into the the blanket.

“Me neither.” Cas admitted. He didn’t seem too troubled by his uncertainty.

“I used to think I was cursed.”  Dean was surprised as he scooted closer to where he was curled on his side.

“That I was tainted.”

He took a deep breath, before continuing his words coming out in a shaky rush of exhaled air.

“My mother believed in god.” he mused his tone difficult to read

“I used to pray every night with her…” Cas continued.

He steepled his palms over his chest looking more like a body in a casket than a pious pose.

“Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray my soul the Lord to keep.”

He didn’t continue the prayer.

“My mom died.” Cas admitted

It wasn’t news to Dean, but still he waited to see where Cas was going.

“ The big C…” he added dramatically “...and you know what sucked?” Cas asked rolling onto his side.

“After everything, after all she did to me, everything she put me through, I was still sad.”

Cas was studying Dean his bright blue eyes seeming to map his face taking in every ounce of his expression.

“As much as I hated her, and god knows I hated her at the end. She was my mother.”

Dean didn’t know what to say.

“Why are you here?” he asked him uncertainly

“I don’t know.” Cas confessed.

“I couldn't sleep.”

Dean nodded.

“Will you kiss me?” Cas asked unsurely his voice was soft, almost as if he believed Dean would say no.

Dean reached for Cas pulling him closer closing the distance between them. He paused studying his face his breath ghosting across his lips. A cord was pulled tight inside him as the anticipation built he could feel his focus narrowing down to his mouth as Dean searched his face.

Dean cupped his face in his hand pulling him in ever so softly, their lips meeting.

First one soft sweep of lips than another.

Cas melted into the kiss as Dean pulled him partially over him. He didn’t try to dominate the kiss, or control him. He let Cas set the pace. He kept one one hand on his face the other on his shoulder.

Cas moved with him, pressing his body against Dean rocking his hips against him.  His lips tingling as he panted between gasped breaths.

Dean sat up pushing him backwards slightly forcing him to continue straddling him or fall back. Cas wrapped his arms around his neck clinging to him.

Dean hit the bedside lamp illuminating the room.

Cas could see the smattering of freckles across Dean’s nose, a faint bit of red hoving beneath the surface.

He was already breathing heavily.

“What do you want?” he asked him, he was watching him there was an urgency there that both frightened and put him in awe. He was wanted, desired.

“Kiss me.” he pleaded before dropping his mouth back against Dean’s

He wrapped his arms around his back pulling him more firmly against him. It was clear Dean was already aroused he could feel the rise of his erection against him were he straddled him through the blankets.

Cas didn’t have a plan, he wasn’t sure what was going to come of this but he wanted to be kissed. For a long time he was afraid of kissing. Afraid of where it would lead, he forgot how much he enjoyed getting lost in a kiss. The feel of bodies intertwined as lips moved together he fought for every breath and yet every breath stole a moment away from when their lips touched. Dean’s hands fell down to his lower back settling him more firmly against him.

A jolt of something went through him, he wasn’t sure if it was fear or arousal, his body was on edge.

Cas slipped his tongue into Dean’s mouth tasting him. Dean moaned shuddering against him. Dean held him loosely against him, he could escape or pull away at a moment’s notice still he was encouraging him to rock against him with one hand pressing on his lower back pulling in an undulating rhythm.

“Stop.” Dean murmured suddenly pushing him away slightly.

There was something on his face that gave Cas pause.

“I have an idea.”

He was panting and Cas found himself nervous.

“I don’t know if I deserve it.” Dean continued, “but I want you to trust me.”

Cas swallowed. There it was… laid bare. Did he trust Dean?

“What do you have in mind?” he asked hesitantly sliding backwards off of Dean. sitting besides him on the bed.

Dean turned back towards the head of the bed reaching between the mattress.

He pulled forward a black strap.

Cas shook his head instantly. He knew what that was.

“I can’t let you…” he begun but Dean cut him off.

“ It’s for me.”

Cas paused unconsciously cocking his head to the side studying Dean

Dean was watching him. While he’d used this particular set of bondage sheets before he’d never been the one tied up. Still he thought it would help Cas if he felt like he was in control. It pushed Dean out of his element a bit. He was used to being in control, but god damn it Sam was right, he wasn’t freaking out like he had been before. He was focused on Cas not on his own screaming demons.

“Nothing has to happen.” Dean insisted.  As he watched Cas bit his lip, he looked so young. Again Dean was struck by how much there was between them.

“It doesn’t even have to be tonight,” Dean assured.

“How does it work?” Cas wondered.

Dean stood and Cas followed him off the bed, it took everything in his power not to stare at his naked body, or bolt from the room.  

Dean spread out the length of black straps. Two at the head of the bed one on each side and two at the base. The straps ended in silver D rings,that allowed the cuffs to be snapped on by bolt snap hooks.

The cuffs themselves were only held on by velcro it wasn’t impenetrable, but if he trusted him it didn’t need to be.

Dean lay on the bed.

Cas was struck by the absurdity of the situation. Dean was offering himself to him. He was trusting him.

Dean waited with baited breath. He wasn’t used to this level of vulnerability. He lay naked spread before Cas. He was scared. Scared to cross that bridge the same as he’d been with Sam. Afraid this would change him, and yet he could breathe.

It seemed Cas made his decision as he stepped forward. Wrapped the restraints first around his left ankle than his right. He crawled up Dean’s body sending his pulse racing again.

He closed the cuffs around his wrists. Dean swallowed hard.

“Cas?” he gasped forcing his eyes to him.

Blue eyes sought his. He was just as lost.

“I trust you.” he murmured.

Cas nodded accepting the responsibility

Now that he had Dean trussed up at his mercy he had no idea how to proceed.

He’d never done this for his own pleasure before, what did he like?

He flashed back to the moment at the dance club. He’d enjoyed the feel of Dean the way his skin felt against his, he’d wanted to suck him.

He just needed to relax, he knew how to please people he just needed to remember to feel good himself. He liked kissing, he could start there.

Dean watched Cas shift. He grinned at him playfully. Running his fingers down his chest, digging his nails in slightly forcing a shiver across his body. Dean arched up into his touch biting his lips as tingles of awareness radiated outward.

Cas concentrated on the feel of Dean’s skin beneath his hands. How warm he felt the smoothness and rough contrast of hair as he skimmed across his chest and stomach.

He straddled him so he was in a better position to reach every bit of his body that he wanted to. He could already feel the heat of Dean’s cock through his jeans. He wasn’t ready to be naked yet, his clothing gave him one last small barrier. He kissed his ribs, up his chest, the hollow at his throat, the sensitive bit of skin behind the ear lobe. Before he placed his palms on both sides of Dean’s face pulling him in for a kiss. Wrapping one arm around his neck supporting him as he leaned into the kiss. He swam with it. He felt safe, he knew he had time he was in control, but also he wanted to steal away Dean’s sense along with his fear. They kissed like that for what felt like hours, sensuous slid of lips and tongue in a spellbound rhythm that seemed to stop even time itself leaving just them.

He rocked slightly against Dean

He shuddered, moaning into his mouth. The sound and the feel of him spiraling into an ache in the pit of his stomach. Arousal was a powerful and unfamiliar need, he wanted something. The urgency wasn’t there just a slow and steady pull. Like falling asleep and waking up all twisted together.

Dean whimpered into Cas’s mouth the slow and methodical thoroughness of the kiss was stealing every other thought from his mind. He was a pool of need. His skin felt sensitive the brush of Cas’s body over his jangled his over sensitive nerves. The brush of denim against him was so achingly sweet it hurt. He didn’t think he’d ever been this hard in his life. He was giving himself over to the feelings. The swirl of desire, the ebb and flow on this ocean of lust.  

Cas was aroused. He knew by now that it shouldn’t surprise him, and yet it did. The control he had over his body was amazing him.

He pulled back studying Dean. he was panting his eyes closed.

He could tell he was in need. A twinge of uncertainty went through him

Dean must have sensed it. He didn’t open his eyes.

“Take all the time you need.” he insisted. His brow was furrowed but his voice rang with honesty.

Cas nodded. Running his hands down Dean’s arms laying their chests flat together as he held his hands. Dean squeezed him briefly before letting go.

Cas pulled away his fingertips grazing along Dean’s arms, he kept his cast arm away from Dean so he wouldn’t be scratched by the rigidness of it. Still he was used to using either hand and it didn’t really hamper with his enjoyment.

He wanted more. He actually fucking wanted it. A month ago he didn’t know sex could be like this. That it could be give and take rather than having a part of himself stolen.

He threw his leg over Dean dismounting and shimmied off the bed.

“Are you ok?” Dean asked quickly

He swallowed hard once then twice.

“We can stop.”

Cas pulled his shirt off over his head. He hadn’t gotten his nipple ring redone. Just his ears,and brow. The piercings were a barely there soreness especially in compared to the ache of his cock. He could see Dean’s cock mirrored his. Turgid, flushed, and leaking pre cum.  

“I’m fine.” and he actually meant it. He wanted this.

Still his hands hesitated when he reached for his fly. The cast made things slightly harder, but not impossible.

“You still have condoms right?” he asked knowing the answer was yes.

Part of him wanted to forge ahead. To step forward and lick the glistening bead of precum from the head of Dean’s cock, he could imagine what it might taste like, but it had been years since his reckless nights with Cooper. Ever since then he’d used a condom. It had been his way of enforcing distance his way of keeping incontrol.

“Yeah, bedside table.” Cas knew where they were, but strangely he needed to know that Dean was still fine with this. With his rules, his fear.

He wasn’t ready for that yet, wasn’t sure if he’d ever be ready for that. It wasn’t just disease that worried him, the memory of Cooper filling him, it was another painful triggering memory he didn’t want to bring to the surface.

Maybe a compromise.

He knew they were both clean. There was no risk in preforming a blow job sans condom and he didn’t have the same issues there. It was more a practicality, in the life he’d led there had never been any certainty.

Not to mention he didn’t particularly enjoy the taste of latex or polyurethane.

Cas took a deep breath.

As he undid his fly, he still wore black boxers. He dropped those too. As he stepped up the the base of the bed. Dean was spread out like a present. His eyes still closed his chest rising and falling with ragged breaths. His legs were spread across the bed, but Cas knew better than to try to take advantage of Dean’s vulnerability, Dean trusted him.

Dean about near came out of his skin at the first tentative lick from Cas’s tongue.  

He’d been focusing on his body his reactions. His breathing was ragged but not nearly as frantic as it had been with Sam. Part of him felt guilty. It wasn’t that he didn’t care about Sam, he did, but the fear and shame was still able to push through. He didn’t know why maybe because he was afraid of messing things up he didn’t know, but with Cas, it wasn’t there.

He felt Cas between his legs, cupping his balls, stroking a light finger up and down delicately against his cock as he laved an unhurried tongue in circles around his cockhead.

Cas loved the sounds Dean made. The intakes of breath as he tossed his head side to side writing beneath his touch. It gave him a sense of power and control sex had been missing.

He could take what he wanted from Dean, except it wasn't taking, because Dean was giving it to him.

He wrapped his lips around him enjoying the warm musky taste, the way his lips stretched as he bobbed up and down on him. The strangled gasps, and wanton moans. Dean was jerking against the restraints, not in an effort to grab him, but in a complete inability to control the pleasurable convulsions of his body.

Cas wanted to cum, himself. He felt the need in his body. Once he’d overcome his shame in cumming he’d been able to masterbate more and more, and he enjoyed anal. He enjoyed it with other but it was more scratching an itch than real pleasure. He’d needed to have sex because he’d needed sex not because he actually enjoyed sex. He’d never really been able to describe it to anyone. Sex meant he was valuable the he was wanted if he waited too long, it meant he wasn’t wanted or that he was frigid or unlovable so he sought it out even if it wasn't what he wanted.

“If you don’t stop I’ll cum.” Dean muttered as Cas bobbed up and down on him.

Cas paused.

“And that’s fine, if you want,” he swallowed

“We can just go this far, I…” he hesitated.

“I just wanted you to know, in case….” he let the words trail off.

In case Cas wanted to do something else.

Cas moved towards the nightstand before he’d fully made up his mind. Removing the bottle of lube and condoms.

He’d let people fuck him, for most of his life. For many different reasons, but never because he wanted to…. Not really not like now. He wanted Dean. He finally understood what Dean meant when he’d asked to wait till he wanted sex.

Cas tossed the condoms and lube on the bed next to Dean who opened his eyes.

He crawled up the bed clumsily the cast making him ungainly.

He was straddling Dean again. Looking at him. It was as if their eyes were locked together.

He couldn’t break eye contact.

“You’re sure?” Dean asked.

He nodded.

He tipped the bottle of lube into his good hand pressing himself forward, so that he could reach between his spread legs. It left him flush against their cocks brushing. A thrill went through Cas at the touch. Normally someone touching his cock would have sent him running from the room, but he was in control. He trailed the lube from his hand against his puckered hole. He gasped at the sensation of his cock grinding against Dean’s as he teased himself. Circling  outside sensitive skin sending trembling sensations through him, he moaned slightly.

Dean was gritting his teeth against the pleasure and fucking cum inducing sight of Cas over him, teasing his own hole with his fingers grinding against him. So fucking close but just without reach. The head of his cock was almost purple with blood, it ached so much as Cas brushed slowly against him, he had to hold on to every ounce of control he had not to rush headlong into an orgasam.  Cas leaned forward more so he could get a better angle their chest pressed together. He didn’t want any pain, he was afraid if it hurt even just a little bit it would pull him out of it. He wanted to be as close as Dean was.

He slid his fingers in and out of his ass slowly the feel of the muscles pulling on his fingers as he pressed into himself tell he damn near screamed as he touched his aching prostate.

The pleasure soared through him, he rocked against Dean their cocks brushing spearing his fingers in and out of his own ass tantalizing his prostate, as he moaned in Dean’s ear. He started with one finger before adding two then three, still it wasn’t enough the angle wasn't right he couldn’t go fast enough.

He tried to open the condom packet but the lube made his fingers too slick.

He tried to think rationally but he wanted it so bad. The blood was roaring in his ears.

He grabbed his shirt wiping the lube on it from here he’d tossed it on the bed. He’d wash it later.

He was able to tear into the packet. He pulled up slightly to a sitting position so he could roll the condom down over Dean’s cock.

He raised himself up on his knees on either side of Dean’s hips  aligning Dean’s cock against his hole.

Moment of truth.

Cas slowly lowered himself onto Dean’s cock taking him in.

Dean almost came as Cas slid down on his cock his body clenching him and so warm against the contrast of the cool air from the room it was everything his body craved. He clenched his hands into fists above his head. He wanted to urge him along faster he wanted to grab his hips and help him bounce up and down on his cock at breakneck speeds. Instead he was tormented as Cas slowly experimentally raised and lowered himself.

Fireworks exploded within him as the head of Dean’s cock hit his prostate.

He leaned back supporting himself on Dean’s thighs as he begun to pick up a rhythm.

He bounced up and down gathering speed. Moaning at the feel as Dean’s cock pounded a frenzied rhythm against his prostate. His own cock bouncing.

He lost focus on making sure Dean felt good. Judging by the throb of his cock and the moaning he was enjoying himself, Cas focused on his own building pleasure. He couldn’t stop moaning as he continued to moved wildly on top of Dean forcing his cock in as deep and as hard and fast as he wanted it.

Dean was enraptured by the keening moans that Cas made as he pounded him into him.

He watched as Cas rode him for all his was worth his face scrunched up in pleasure head tossed back as moan after moan was ushered from his lips.

Dean was close. Cas could tell and miracles of miracles so was he.

His entire body felt like it was on fire. The heat rising through him till he was going to explode. He kept his broken hand back for support. Bringing his free hand up to stroke his cock.

Dean wished he could stroke Cas be the one to send him over the edge but he was happy just to be here to witness, to be a part.

“Oh god.” Cas moaned over and over again as he continued he was getting so close Dean could feel his muscles fluttering around him pulling at him.

It was too much Dean tossed his head back groaning in pleasure as he exploded.

Cas hurried his hand a blur on his cock timing his thrusts into his hand as his movements on Dean seeing his prostate into quivering bliss.

He came moaning Dean’s name his head thrown back body arched as cum rushed up over his hand to drip on to Dean’s chest. He came so hard he saw white as he collapsed on top of Dean smearing his cum over himself and Dean.

It took several moments before Cas could move. He felt like his ears were ringing with the force of it. He felt Dean grow soft the slip out of him. It was the only thing that made him move and he hurried to slip the condom off Dean before the cum spilt.

As he moved to retrieve a towel he uncuffed Dean’s arm allowing him to undo the remaining cuffs. He dropped the condom in the bathroom trash. Staring at himself in the mirror, he was flushed and covered with cum but he felt relaxed in ways he’d never been. He’d done it. He’d really fucking done it. He’d had sex with someone he trusted, someone he wanted and cared for and maybe even fucking loved. He didn’t dare say the word out loud he wasn't even sure he could fully think it but it was there swimming around in his brain.

Dean was still laying in the bed his free arm just tossed over his eyes.

“That was amazing.”  he beamed.

Cas smiled. Moving to undo Dean’s binds and clean the cum off his chest.

“Mmm.” Dean murmured sleepily.

“Wanna cuddle?” he asked.

Cas didn’t think he’d be able to sleep for long but he was drawn in.

Cas flipped off the slight and climbed into bed with Dean it smelled like them, like sex and Dean. It was somehow comforting. It was like a weight was lifted of his shoulders. A yoke of his own design keeping him locked away just as much as he kept others out.

He heard Dean’s phone buzz. He thought about checking the text and see if it was Sam, but he didn’t move he was too comfortable and settled. Slowly he drifted off into sleep.

Chapter Text

March 1st

He must be dreaming. He was in a warm bed the sheets were smooth against his skin, like rainwater as he shifted. Warm summer showers,his legs entwined with Dean’s his head resting on his chest. He could hear the steady beating of his heart, feel the rhythmic rise and fall of his chest. He kept his eyes closed. He knew if he left this hazy mid-dream state it would all disappear.

“You feel amazing.” Dean murmured, it reverberated softly in his chest.

“That's just the afterglow.” Cas responded eyes still closed. He felt the rumble of Dean’s laugh.

“The afterglow wore off hours ago, now it’s just you.”

Cas hesitated to admit it, because good things never lasted,but he couldn't stop the words that fell from his lips.

“It is nice.” he admitted.

Dean rolled over him, and for once Cas wasn’t afraid, he was excited.  He didn’t touch him, he left plenty of space between them.

“ Just nice?” he asked playfully

Cas opened his eyes so that he could see him. The sheets had fallen down to his waist. The morning light lit his features, brightening his leaf green eyes, highlighting the youthful freckles across the bridge of his nose, living in his smile.He was staring down at him in a way Cas never expected. As if he was special, as if he opened as many doors for Dean as Dean did for Cas.

He grinned down at him and Cas would swear his heart skipped a beat, God this man was handsome, and he wanted him.

“Maybe I’ll have to try a little harder next time.” he teased his eyes practically twinkling with mischief.

Cas’s heart sped up, uncertain but Dean leaned in slowly  his lips settling over his in a soft kiss. There was no pressure to move forward just tenderness.

He pulled back after a moment laying back against the bed with him.

Pulling him snugly back onto his chest.

“Too bad you have to go back to work today.” Cas teased, snuggling his face into Dean’s chest.

Dean looked down at him. That mischievous look still on his face.

“Want me to call in?”  he asked.

Cas bit his tongue to keep his mouth shut, he knew this was just banter not a real offer.

“It’s fine.” Cas assured.

“No.” Dean insisted. Sitting up quickly forcing him up as well. The sheets falling to their waists. He grabbed his phone and quickly dialed the number. After a few rings it connected.

“Hi Nela, This Dean Smith, how are you?”

Cas reached over leaning against Dean’s back

“Don’t” he insisted softly. “It's fine I was just teasing.” Cas tried, he didn’t want Dean to get in trouble.

Dean continued “I’m well, but I’m afraid I’ll have to extend my vacation by a day. I’ll work from home, I can email you the Robinson report by this afternoon.”

“You too.” he agreed smiling.

He hung up the phone turning back to Cas

“I’m all yours today, well for the most part.  I’ll need to work on some reports later in the day.”

Cas was stunned.

“You didn’t have to do that.”

“You’re right I didn’t, but aren’t you  just the tiniest bit glad I did?” he asked holding his fingers scant millimeters apart.

Cas smiled. He was, he really was.

“Coffee?” he suggested.

Dean wrapped him up in his arms, his body enveloping him. Kissing his neck. Cas closed his eyes. He knew he wasn’t cured in one night, but he wasn’t going to fight the little bit of peace he had, not anymore. At least for now he was comfortable with Dean’s touch he was going to revel in it.

“Only if you get it for me naked.” Dean baited.

“That seems dangerous.” he teased in return.

Dean leapt up and strode naked across the bedroom to the closet, he rummaged inside for a moment before tossing a sapphire blue dress shirt to him.

“You can wear this.” he suggested.

Cas laughed.

“Is this a fantasy? Am I fulfilling a fantasy?”

Dean just shrugged.

Cas stood, pulling on the dress shirt. It was just a bit too long on his lanky frame, covering the pertinent bits, but only just.

“Ok, but next time I’ve got a costume idea for you.”

“Color me intrigued.” He grinned.

Cas pranced away slightly for Dean’s entertainment flouncing as he moved. Dean lay back against the bed laughing.

Cas didn’t think he’d felt so light hearted before.

He moved about  the kitchen with a bounce in his step. He’d had sex with the man he was falling for. He didn’t think love really existed, not the storybook kind, where two people run away together and live happily ever after. He couldn’t believe in happily ever afters. No One could stay happy forever. That was the entire point of the emotion. It was ephemeral. If it lasted forever you wouldn’t recognize it as happiness. Light needs darkness to be light. The same can be said for happiness and sadness.

Still, Cas slowly scooped the grounds of coffee into the filter. He was happy now and it was because of Dean.

***

Dean wasn’t certain what to make of the text.

It was just a single word.

{No}

It was all Gabriel replied, Dean wasn’t sure what to make of it, but it didn’t bode well. He chose to ignore it. Focus on the moment, here with Cas.

Still lingering doubt leached in. He felt bad about how things happened with Sam. He’d done what he’d asked and it worked. Dean felt relaxed and at peace. Some of that may still be afterglow, he’d admit, but he wasn’t scared anymore.

He’d crossed that bridge he’d been to afraid to face, and he felt the same. It didn’t change him as a person, it just opened up his world to a greater degree of happiness. Hopefully with the both of them.

Cas reentered the room carefully carrying two steaming mugs of coffee. One precariously tipped from his cast.

He was a vision

“God I want you.”

He murmured besides himself.  

He wanted him, in his bed, in his life, at his side.

He’d known the man for so small of a time and yet, he felt bound to him. He was ready to fight the world to keep him safe.

He should tell him the truth.

Cas grinned. The broken boy in the alley replaced by the cocky vision before him. He set the coffee at the night stand.

“Yeah?” he taunted, playfully.

“You have no idea.” Dean replied.

Cas stepped up to him slowly, cuping his semi hard cock.

“I have some idea.” he murmured his voice lowering slightly.

Dean playfully swatted him.

Cas jerked back confused before seeing his smile.

“I for one need breakfast before we start round two.”

Cas nodded.

“Do I get to get dressed.”

“Nope.”  Dean teased.

Cas sipped his coffee as Dean ran off to the bathroom.

Cas could wait for food. He was a bit hungry after all. He heard Dean start the shower.

On second thought. Maybe he couldn't wait.

Dean stood under the spray of water. Cas opened the bathroom door. The steam made the whole bathroom seem otherworldly. Like a trek across a mysterious land, and the prize? Cas stared as the water rippled down Dean’s back. He hadn’t really considering it before but he was at the moment very thankful for the transparent nature of glass.

“Are you going to join me or just stare all day?” he asked.

“Might just stare all day.” Cas admitted softly raising up his cast. He’d showered with it of course, but he wasn't sure how dry it would stay with the activities Dean was suggesting.

Dean laughed.

“Ok, stay dirty then.”

“You like me better dirty.”

Dean turned beckoning him like something out of his sexiest dreams.

“Fine come in here and be dirty.” he teased.

Cas shook his head. He wasn’t there yet. Spontaneous condomless sex, because you can’t exactly use one in the shower or it’s at least a lot harder.  He wanted this banter to end in sex, but he was still a little bit afraid. Afraid to spoil the moment. That if they tried to recapture the glory of last night it would just end in pain.

“Why don’t you finish up and I’ll wrap up my cast and shower while you make breakfast?”

“Spoilsport.”

Cas shook his head, marveling at Dean’s good mood, marveling at his own good mood. Since the accident, he’d done nothing but sit around and heal, but now was the first time he felt healed.

***

Dean was staring at his phone. Debating on texting Gabriel back. He thought about calling him while Cas was in the shower, but didn’t want to risk him possibly hearing before he had a chance to talk to him. His mind made up he grabbed his phone quickly pounding out the message.

[ What do you mean by no?]

He hesitated. Debating on sending it. Before he finally tapped send.

He turned back to the eggs. He’d gone for something light on the off chance that this flirtatious banter turned into something else. He didn’t really have any expectations, not really, but he did hope.

He hoped to recreate the magic of last night during the day. To see if one dream could transfer into another.

He’d set his phone down after he texted Gabriel, he glanced down at it. He should really text Sam as well. He refused to feel guilty for doing what Sam asked him to do. For what they’d agreed to do. They were all together. They’d agreed to try to make this thing work and not focus on who got what firsts. Still he was worried about Sam.

He hadn’t been himself lately. He was evasive and surly.

If Dean didn’t know better he would worry he was back on drugs, but he’d asked Sam. he’d never lied to him before at least about that. He didn’t think now would be the start.

“Smells good.” Cas called out. Dean snatched his phone up off the counter guiltily sliding it in the pocket of his sweatpants.

He was shirtless, but he wore an apron. Apparently the combination made Cas snicker on sight.

Dean didn’t mind, in fact he was more than willing to play to fool to make him smile. He seemed to do so little of it during his life. It was nice to see him happy.

“What’d you make?” He asked as he toweled his hair. He’d put the dress shirt back on seeming to fall back into their agreement.  Maybe Dean would admit it was a fantasy, but one solely hooked around Cas. From the moment he met him he’d wanted to strip him bare and make him feel something, most of it was subconscious at first buried beneath all his internalized homophobia, but he wanted to help him.

Cas shivered under Dean’s stare and partially from the coolness of the room combined with his wet hair. He’d felt desire before that wasn't really foreign, that smoldering feeling just beneath the skin, the visceral I want to fuck you, or have you fuck me feeling. He just lost it when it can to the actual fucking. Anytime he tried to actually act on desire it flagged and went away and he would up fucking for the sheer need to be desired and fucked.

Dean abandoned the apron and plated the scrambled eggs and the ate them curled up on the couch together. It was nice, comfortable, but Cas felt the crackle of something more just beneath the surface. Kind of was hard to forget that sex was on the table when he was wearing just a dress shirt and no pants. The brush of the shirt against his nipples, or the slide against his cock, was winding him up.

“You wanna have sex?” Cas asked. He’d aimed for light, trying to break the tension between them, but instead it had come out hurried and broken.

Dean swallowed hard.

“Yes, but are you sure?” he asked.

“Yes.” Cas decided wanting to move forward. He wanted to take full advantage of the little bit of happiness he was granted.

Dean turned towards him leaning over him. Pulling his legs on either side of him so Cas could wrap his legs around him. As he rose up over him. Dean leaned in to kiss his neck. It felt nice, but little alarm bells went off in his head.

“Not like this.” Cas insisted licking his lips.

 Dean nodded. He didn’t question it, didn’t ask why just agreed and pulled him into his lap turing where he was straddling his waist. This was a throwback to the first night Cas met Dean. Cas felt more comfortable now that Dean wasn’t crowding him into the sofa. He could breathe.

He kissed Dean, listening to the cues of his body. He did as he had last night and tried to focus on his skin, on the sensations he was feeling. Except this time Dean was touching him. He skimmed his hands up and down his arms as they kissed. Sending wave after wave of excitement through him.

He felt like he could get lost forever in kissing, but there was this sense of urgency there he wanted more, it wanted it faster, and harder. He wanted to get lost in it as much as Dean had last night.

Dean was focusing on Cas on the cues he was giving him, Cas was kissing him for all he was worth but he didn’t seem hesitant as he rocked gently against him grinding his hardening cock against his leg. Dean wanted to touch him more intimately but feared that it would only serve to pull him out of it. He wanted him a fully apart of the experience. He wanted him to feel good.

“Now.” Cas urgered.

“Fuck me now.”

Dean nodded, even though he had every intention of dragging this out he carefully extricated himself from Cas, leaving him sitting on the sofa, so that he could fetch condoms and lube. He wanted it to be an open space for Cas to have an escape route if he felt closed in. He wanted the bright daylight that was streaming through the windows, to illuminate everything till there was no doubt in Cas’s mind that Dean was there because he wanted to make Cas feel good as much as himself, that he cared about him.

He fumbled with the package of condoms grabbing the entire sheet versus the single one he’d wanted he didn’t care he’d pick it up later as he hurried back into the living room.

Cas’s heart was pounding, he wanted this. The feel of Dean’s cock pounding in and out of his ass. Last night he’d been in control and it had been the safety he needed to relax, but some perverse part of him craved the danger. He wanted Dean to be able to touch him. To hold him, while they fucked. Like normal people and for once he was willing to risk it all for something.

He was afraid to taint all of the happiness he’d stolen with negative memories,but he knew that the reward would be worth the risk. The idea of coming undone completely in Dean’s arms of being held as Dean came.

Dean returned a little out of breath holding the entire row of gold wrapped condoms.  

Cas fought the urge to laugh.

He set the bottle of lube and condoms on the top of the sofa.

“Wanna try something different?”

A twinge of unease went through Cas at those words, but he pushed it down. Dean was different, he wasn’t Cooper. Last night had proved that. Dean trusted him, and he trusted Dean.

“Ok” he agreed.

“Come here” Dean beckoned

They stood by the back of the sofa kissing. Dean ran his hand over Cas’s face. It was slow and deliberate. He slid his hands down his face across his neck and shoulder skimming his arms. All the while he kissed him. Just kissed him. Letting Cas adjust. He moved his hands to buttons on his his chest, undoing them slowly letting the shirt fall back skimming his finger tips up and down along his ribs. Cas pulled away. Dean froze.

Cas kept his eyes trained on the floor as hints of red colored his cheeks.

“Tickled.” he murmured with a slight chuckle.

Cas leaned back into Dean for a kiss. Their bodies pressed together. Cas completly naked, Dean still wearing his grey sweatpants. They kissed for several moments just kissing Cas almost forgot his former urgency with the spellbinding feeling of getting lost kissing.

“Tease.” Cas accused.

Dean grinned.

“Of course, makes it more fun.”

Cas leaned back against the back of the sofa as Dean continued to kiss first his jaw, then his neck trailing down kisses over him. He glanced up to be sure before he took one nipple in his mouth, with a slight nod from Cas Dean laved his nipple with his tongue, nipping lightly with his teeth. A shot of electricity went through him. Cas had alway liked biting.

He moved to trail kisses down his stomach.

“Stop.” Cas asked softly.  He didn’t want Dean to go any further. He was starting to feel cold with worry. Dean pulled away instantly.

Wrapping his arms against him.

“Shhh, hon it's ok, I wasn’t going to.” suck his dick, he left the words unspoken but he knew what Cas feared.

Cas took a shuddering deep breath. Nodding his head. Feeling stupid.

“ I know, I know, it just worried you might and got in my head.”

“It’s ok”

“You ok?” Dean asked Cas nodded.

“Did you wanna stop?” Dean asked.

“No.”

Dean Slid out of his sweatpants kicking them onto the floor. Before easily lifting Cas up to sit on the top edge of the sofa. It left them face to face as Cas wrapped his legs around Dean, Dean kept his hands on Cas’s thighs.

Cas’s hand edged towards the lube.

“Can I?” Dean asked hesitantly.

Cas licked his lips nervously.

“Maybe.” he conceded.

He was perched precariously on the edge of the top of the sofa he needed both arms to support himself anyway.

He leaned back just enough for Dean to reach, as he swiped a lubed finger across his asshole.

The lube was cold but quickly warmed to his body temperature.

“Talk to me.” Cas asked uncertain. He’d never let someone else do it. He wasn't sure if it would work. What would happen.

“You look amazing.” Dean murmured as he slid a finger up and down spreading the lube along his asshole. The sensitive skin tingled everywhere he touched.

Dean slowly slid a finger inside stretching the muscles.

It felt good.

He crooked his fingers in a come hither motion curling inside of him towards his prostate.

It was different than getting himself ready. He didn’t know what to expect.  

He nodded as Dean glanced at him,

Dean slid another finger inside then another stretching him. The last bordered on pain burning slightly as he moved his fingers in and out.

“Enough.” Cas insisted.

Dean nodded. Reaching for the condom. He struggled with the packet for a moment before the foil tore and gave way.

Rolling the latex down over his cock he looped his arms underneath Cas’s knees raising him up.

Dean grit his teeth as he slowly slipped inside Cas. he closed his eyes enjoying the sensation rocking forward lighly trying to give Cas time. Time to say no, time to ask him to stop.

He opened his eyes searching his features, his too blue eyes were brimming with pleasure .

“Don't stop.”  he gasped.

Each thrust caused little gasps to escape his mouth.

“Faster.” Cas pleaded his voice just above a whine.

Dean lifted him clear of the sofa pulling his body up, he was supporting himself with his arms on the base of the sofa as Dean began to thrust as hard and as fast as he could.

Cas thought his eyes were going to roll into the back of his head as Dean begun to pound into him. The feel of his cock sliding in and out of him as he pounded his prostrate already had him on edge.

Dean’s muscles tensed underneath the strain of holding him up, but it was worth every second of it. He moved as fast as he could pounding in and out, still he kept every scrap of focus on Cas incase he needed him to stop. It would be hell on earth but he would stop.

Cas was surprised when he actually found himself close. The deep penetrating angle from which Dean was fucking him, hit squarely on his prostate bringing him closer and closer with each thrust.

He could feel it clawing on the edges of his sanity. Building quicker and quicker.

Cas moaned at every thrust driving Dean wild with excitement. He couldn't help himself he was getting close.

“You still good?” he asked.  Checking in.

“So good.” Cas groaned his head tossed back in ecstasy.

Cas’s orgasam completly took him by surprise. It exploded through his entire being leaving him shaking. Since it was only hours after he last came the feeling was overwhelming intense but only a relatively small spurt of cum dribbled down his cock.

Dean joined him seconds later. Screaming as he came. Slumping over Cas nearly knocking him from his perch.  They were both gasping for breath at the speed and intensity. Of it.

“We should have waited on the shower.” Dean murmured when he was finally able to catch his breath.

Cas laughed sliding off the back of the sofa. His feet touching the floor again.

He couldn't help but smile. This was a dream, it had to be, his reality had never been this perfect.

 

 

 

 

 

 

***

Sam woke up high. The room whirled around him. Swirilng in and out of focus.  The blare of his alarm, right beside his head was loud enough to made his ears ache. He’s made it into the bedroom at least, that was a blessing. He was lying diagonally across his rumpled bed on his stomach. Still just wearing his boxers. The bed he and Dean rumpled. He slowly pushed himself to a sitting position. He felt cold and stiff.  

“Fuck!” he groused as he sat up. Slamming his hand down on the top of his alarm clock. The sound ceased. His bedroom was still shrouded in darkness.

It was early, but he had to wake up early to make it to work on time. On most day he woke before the sun rose, and left after it set. His entire life embracing the darkness.

He ran a shaky hand through his hair. Pushing it out of his eyes. His stomach threatened to rebel as the slight pounding begun in his temples. He was sobering up. He lurched to his feet and ran to the bathroom falling to his knees before the toilet. He retched into it. The acid and bile burning his throat and tongue. His stomach cramped pushing forth more sick. He coughed as he lay listless against the side of the bowl. The cloying smell of vomit permeating his nostrils.  He vomited twice more, before spending the next ten minuets dry heaving till his stomach was sore. He’d taken too much, and he remembered at some point he took the shot of vodka he’d originally decided against. He spit twice. Trying to rid his mouth of the taste. He stood shakily as he tried to get his feet beneath feeling ungainly as a newborn calf.

He stumbled to the sink. Opening the blue bottle of mouthwash with shaking hands. He took a large gulp swishing the burning mint around his mouth trying to remove the bitter taste of bile.

He felt slightly human again. He glanced in the mirror. He looked like something else. His eyes were still slightly puffy and red. The face that stared back at him looked as wretched as he felt. He was pale the his facial hair standing out starkly in contrast, he shaved last night before his date. Had it only been last night? It felt much longer.

He stared at himself in the mirror trying to recognize himself for longer than he care to admit. Before he sighed heavily.

He needed to get to work.

He needed coffee, and a shower.

He glanced at the alarm clock beside the bed as he walked back into the bedroom.

He didn’t have time for either. He grabbed the bright canary polo off the floor of his closet where he’d tossed it.

God he hated his job, today of all days he wanted to call in. Just wallow in misery, but he couldn’t. He needed the money, little that it was,  he was still trying to pay back Dean’s credit card before he noticed. He knew this wasn’t the end of things with Dean, he loved him too much to break it off over something like this, but he could embrace his broken heart a while before he forgave him. It hurt. He felt confused and unwanted.  It felt like it changed things between them. Perhaps Dean didn’t really want to be with him, or maybe it was something else. Something lacking in him.

Sam hailed a Lyft with his phone. He was in no position to drive.  There went more of his money. No message from Dean. He wasn’t sure if he expected one or not but it left him feeling more empty.

There had to be more to life than this?

He’d thought Dean had the answers. Now he knew better.

His ride would be there in eight minutes.  He knew he should head down and wait. As it was he was already running a bit late. Still he stayed there sitting at the edge of his bed staring at his hands.

It was like a nightmare. The kind where he spent all night tossing and turning, chasing an idea he couldn't remember when he woke.

His heart ached, it felt like someone had pulled his soul out of his body, he didn’t feel anything. Like a defense mechanism against the pain. He’d pushed it away. This wouldn't be the end between them, couldn’t.

It was just a fight.

Dean wouldn't leave him over a fight.

The drugs however.

He’d lied to Dean he’d done the very thing he was upset about. He wasn’t in control, that was the furthest thing from what he had left.

He didn’t know who he was or what he wanted apart from Dean. he felt so lost.

He didn’t want to feel that way.

He missed the warmth, the numbness.

He missed the way things used to be when he was lost, he could crawl into bed with Dean when he was young and know he was safe.

He felt so exposed. Like someone had stripped him of his disguise and still found him wanting.

Then why should he pretend?

He went to where he had his bottle of pills stashed. He still had a few left, the pills were easier to transport than his codeine water. He popped one easily swallowing it without the aid of water.

He reached for his sunglasses settling the rest of his pills in his pocket for later. It was going to be a long day.

 

Chapter Text

December 24th

He was going to tell him tonight, it was a secret he’d held on to for three years. Even longer if he was being honest. He’d wanted Dean since he was eleven years old. It had just been three years since that kiss. It was a night that had haunted him and starred in some of his best wank sessions. His sexual frustrations aside he felt like he was finally in a place that he could make it work. He had a job Dean would approve of, one that Dean had gotten him, but that was besides the point. He was clean and sober for almost a year, and while his depression and ennui still haunted him at the corners of his brain, he tried not think about it.  He felt like he had something he could offer Dean, a real relationship that would be worth the risk.

Normally he wouldn't have been invited to the company Christmas party, he worked in IT, it wasn't a high enough position to merit the invite, but Dean wanted him there.  The party was dressy casual. He’d pulled back his hair, slicking it back into a neat, ponytail.

He wore black slacks, a white dress shirt, and steel grey blazer. He’d forgone a tie, instead choosing to leave the top two buttons of his shirt undone.

Dean was picking him up, Sam knew it wasn’t a date, still he liked the idea of showing up on Dean’s arm.

Dean wore a slick navy blue suit with a white dress shirt, he too skipped the tie. He gave Sam an appreciative once over grinning from ear to ear as he pulled his car up to the curb.

“Looking good… brother.” he added the last hastily.

“Right back at you.” Sam beamed.

It was times like this where Sam knew that Dean wanted him, or at least he thought Dean did, but every time, Dean enforced their family relationship.

“You ready for this circus?” Dean asked.

“You’re the one wearing the monkey suit.” Sam insisted as he slid into the car.

Dean chuckled.

“You like it.”

He did, but then again he liked Dean in anything or preferably in nothing.

***

The party was being held in the ballroom of a local hotel. Sam suspected it was held there solely because of its proximity to waiting hotel rooms. From the day he started, Dean had tantalized him with stories of the company christmas party and its debauched on goings, all very discreetly of course. Perhaps that was another reason, why he wanted to confess tonight, if he had to watch Dean trail away with one more beautiful brunette on his arm he’d lose it.

He didn’t literally enter the room on Dean’s arm, but everyone there knew they were together. Just not in the way he’d hoped.

“Is this your brother?”   Mr. Adler called out catching Sam off guard. He knew people would know about Dean’s brother but it still set off a discordant note, he’d been hoping to be fairly anonymous tonight.

“Sure is!” Dean beamed pushing Sam forward.

Dean had emphasized that beside the illicit liaisons that tonight was about networking. He wanted Sam to succeed, so even though Sam had little intention in moving up in his current job he smiled and shook the man’s hand.

“Sam Wesson” he supplied.

The other man simply nodded versus supplying his own name, he likely rightly assumed that everyone in the company would know who he was .

“Have you boys made it over to the buffet table? The mac and cheese balls fried in truffle oil are amazing.”

Dean pantomimed a gestured that involved his waistline expanding.

“Gotta stay away from those,”

Mr. Adler chuckled. Gesturing to his own expanded waist.

“The perks of married life.”

Dean flinched.

Adler recognized his faux pas

“Ooo, sorry Smith, poor taste on my part, how long has it been?”

“Since the wife left or since I had a gut like yours because that one would be never.” he teased

Mr Adler burst into surprised laughter.

He playfully punched Dean’s arm.

“Good one, now if you two will excuse me the buffet is still calling”

Sam smiled arching a brow at Dean.

“Who are you?” he teased,

Dean smiled shrugging.

“Gotta relate somehow”

Sam reached over pressing his palm against Dean’s flat stomach.

“Seems you're not.”

Dean inhaled sharply stepping back.

His face reddening slightly.

“Hey back off… little brother.” He teased. Still pushing him away, but it was there. A small tiny spark of awareness.

He had land to stand on.

“I think you could stand to have a few.” Sam teased.

“I’ll get us some.”

“And some drinks,” Dean insisted.

Sam nodded.

He made his way through the crowd of people to the buffet, he’d seen Dean’s face with Adler mentioned married life, that was another thing that was just now finally in focus.

Before Lisa there was always a whirlwind of women in Dean’s life. None of them particularly memorable, and the same could be said for after.

Dean clearly believed in using sex as a way to stave off grief.

After Lisa he’d seen so many woman, less actually dating them more providing them a whirlwind tour of his apartment and bedroom, and yet the train of woman had finally slowed down to a tickle. Maybe he was finally in a place that he’d moved on. That he could be with someone.

Sam glanced over maybe he’d spoke too soon. Someone else had already brought Dean a drink, a leggy blonde woman. Dean was leaning in grinning that special little smile he reserved to pair with his bedroom eyes. Sam had never seen it any closer than this. From across the room.

Maybe tonight wasn't the night after all.

It was a little public, maybe he’d wait for Dean’s birthday, to tell him.

It would be private, and at Dean’s apartment. He could wait a little less than a month, he’d waited this long.

 

March 1st

“Have you tried turning it off and on again?” Sam asked as he sat at his desk.  He wasn’t really listening. His mind was wondering, Dean didn’t come in today. Maybe he took his advice, and was fucking Cas at this very moment. He wasn’t sure how he felt about that. He wasn’t sure how he felt about anything. Vaguely ambivalent. He decided.

“Excuse me!” the voice on the line complained

“Yes, I'm sorry there must have been a bad connection.”  he lied.

He tried to focus his mind back on the task at hand, but his heart wasn’t in it. He somehow managed to finish the call.

It wasn't that the idea of Cas and Dean having sex bothered him, he’d come to terms with that and even pondered joining in. He really liked Cas, he brought out a part Dean that he’d never been able to. That was the problem he supposed. He wasn’t afraid of anything Cas or Dean actually did he understood that sex and love was very different. He was even willing to believe that you could love more than one person at a time. It was possible that he could grow to love Cas, they were already friends.

It was insecurity, and fear.

What if this whole open relationship was doomed to fail from the start because Dean didn’t want him.

Rationally he knew it wasn’t the case. He just couldn’t get the irrational side of his brain to stop pulling out wires long enough to listen.

The day dragged on.  

He let his mind drift. He stared at his phone, the lights indicating incoming calls, twinkled like christmas lights.

He leaned on his desk. His chin in his hand, elbow propped up on the desk.

He didn’t care.

Sometime after noon he went and slept in his car for a few hours. Popping more pills before he stepped back into the building.

No one seemed to notice that he was gone.

The drones were still focused on their own busy work. He was certain the camera’s noted his absence, but he didn’t care at the moment. He’d face that later.

He’d debated on walking out entirely. He hated this job, he hated listening to inane conversations at the water fountain. He hated the tedious repetition of each phone call he took. He hated his damned polo shirt.

Maybe he’d been right when he thought about leaving.

It was too late now he supposed.

***

That night after work he went to the bar. The same one he’d tried to meet Dean at. The same one Cas met Dean behind. Sam liked Cas, he wasn’t jealous, not really, he just felt insecure.

He thought about trying to get laid. He had a few looks, in another life he would have enjoyed the distraction, as it was now the thought just made him sad, and he must have projected that because after awhile they stopped looking his way.  He drank till the bar closed then poured himself into a cab.

 

March 2nd

 

Sam was still high when he woke up to the sound of ringing. He was lying face down in the living room floor, the carpet was dry and scratchy against the side of his cheek. He made an inarticulate noise as he pulled himself to a sitting position. It took him a few bleary heartbeats to find the source of the sound.  It was Dean. Not really Dean, not in the way he wanted. Just a phone call. Sam reached for his phone where he’d left it on the coffee table. He’d been waiting for a call. It wasn’t like he expected an apology not really, but he’d expected something.

“Hello?” he asked his voice a dusty croak.

“Are you ok?” Dean asked there was worry in his voice.

“Yeah why?” he asked carefully sitting up looking around the room, it was brighter than he would have liked it which should have clued him in on the reason for Dean’s call but he was still fuzzy.

“You’re late... “  Dean insisted firmly, but the worry was still there.

“Yeah I called in… didn’t Bilson tell you.” he lied.

There was a heavy pause.

“But you're ok right?…” guilt began infiltrating his voice. “No cravings or anything?”

It was Sam’s turn to pause. He stumbled into the kitchen and poured himself a fresh glass of juice.

“Nothing I can’t handle.” he lied again.

He could feel the relief as Dean released a breath. Part of him felt bad lying to

Dean, but another part of him wanted to enforce the distance between them. He’d laid himself bare and his only reward was this pounding headache. His eyes burned. Had he been crying again?  The line was silent for several seconds. Sam wasn’t sure what Dean was waiting for. Maybe he expected Sam to say something, but Sam was done talking right now. Yesterday he hadn’t been angry,now he was. He knew it wasn’t a hundred percent rational but he was mad at Dean for not being honest with him. It was the one thing he needed  in a relationship. He knew he was being a complete and utter hypocrite, but his lie didn’t matter casue it didn’t involve feelings.  

“Can we talk?” Dean asked

“Yeah sure,” Sam hedged he didn’t want to talk to Dean, he just wanted to forget about it. The whole fucking mess that he called his life. He wanted to take a vacation from his feelings. It hurt all the time, even when he was happy the blackness still creeped around at the edges.

“Hey I got to go.” he said abruptly. He didn't want to continue on this line of questioning. It was too much effort. He wanted to relax. Yesterday had passed in a drug induced haze, he wanted the same for today.

He went back to the closet in his bedroom and pulled out another dose. He should probably actually call in at some point or he might lose his job. He should probably wait, but he could feel the edges of sobriety creeping up on him. Fuck it all right?  He was passed to point of no return, he might as well enjoy his downward spiral.

***

Dean hung up the phone. Glancing around his office with a frown. He should have called Sam yesterday, but he’d been trying to give him space. Clearly space wasn’t what he wanted, and if he was being truly honest, he’d been distracted with Cas. Yesterday was something from a dream. It was something he’d wanted for a long time. After sex Cas had fallen asleep on the sofa curled up beside him while he worked on his report. It was domestic, it was something he’d missed when he lost Lisa. Maybe Cas and Sam wasn’t the family he would have chosen for himself ten years ago, but now he was at the point he couldn't picture the next ten years without them.

He needed to tell Cas the truth. The thought had crossed his mind a few times yesterday, but he’d been selfish, he hadn’t wanted to ruin the moment. He’d been selfish in more ways than one yesterday. He should just sit both the men in his life down and talk to them. He was worried about Sam. He knew for a fact that he hadn’t called in, but it wasn’t just the job, it was the way he was pulling back from everyone again. He was being secretive and quiet. Not that Dean could really talk he kept Gabriel a secret from Cas.

Dean ran his hand over his face. This was just much more stress than he was used to. Yesterday had been so magical, but now in the cold light of day. He knew he was wrong, here he was still selfish, still keeping something from the person he cared for. It was a spiral, first he worried about Sam then he worried about Cas. Then he stared at the clock willing it to be later, so that he could go home and clean up this mess.

***

Cas was lounging on the sofa, his arms curled around himself the best he could with the heavy cast. He was still pleasantly sore from yesterday. It was all he’d ever been afraid to hope for. All he’d ever wanted. He had someone he could trust. Someone who cared about him, who wanted him to be happy. He wasn’t sure if he’d ever had that before.  

He could see the pale ridges of light as they danced across the ceiling. He knew that he slept because it was still dark the last time that he opened his eyes, but he didn’t feel rested. His eyes felt dry and scratchy his cheek overly warm from where he’d been curled into the sofa. He hoped he hadn’t drooled. His neck felt slightly stiff from the awkward angle he’d been lying in.

He knew that Dean had already left for work, he felt the blanket tucked around him.  He debating trying to go back to sleep, he found it was easier to sleep during the day, partially because of how quiet it was at night. During the day there were people moving about and activity, everything that used to frighten him, he’d never been able to relax around people, but now it was worse at night, when he was alone, he’d feel the dark seeping into his thoughts. Depression wasn’t new to him, he’d had dark days in the past, but it had always been more angry and self destructive form of depression. This was different it was slow and lazy and exhausting, everything he did wore down another layer.  He glanced over at the clock it was already afternoon, he’d wasted so much of the day, not that there was anything going on in his life to waste.

At the moment his life revolved around Dean’s schedule. Maybe he shouldn’t have been so dismissive of Jo’s attempts to civilize him, with GED classes. It would give him something to do at least. He’d never been this inactive in his life. He moved stretching out his legs and was surprised by the ache in them. Then he remembered exactly what activities led to that ache, not that he’d ever really forgotten.

He scrolled down the page on the fancy new smartphone Dean had given him. Checking out the various dates and times. GED classes. Taught at the local junior college. He wasn’t sure yet, still sometimes he felt like he was missing out on so much.

There was one coming up later this month. He could use the money that Dean gave him. Try for his GED and go from there. Maybe he could get a real job. He had an address now. It was a lot easier to get a job with a permanent address. Without trying to put too much thought into it he registered for the class.

He’d been dozing when  he heard the scrape of keys in the lock at the front door.

He knew Dean wasn’t expected home for several more hours, he assumed that it would be Jo coming to check on him, but was surprised when a young boy stepped carefully into the room. He wore his blue backpack and light grey hoodie. When he stepped further into the room he lowered his hoodie. Exposing dark brown slightly spiked hair. His back was too him he had earbuds in. He headed towards the kitchen and began rifling through the drawers. He wasn't subtle about it either, he wasn't looking for anything in particular judging by the haphazard was he shifted through things.

“If you're trying to rob the place all the good shits in the bedroom.” Cas called out.

The kid spun towards him. Surprise clear on his face.

He was poised clearly uncertain what he wanted to do. He jerked one earbud from his ear so that he could hear him better.

“Who are you?” he demanded.

Cas just shrugged. “ I’m pretty sure you should answer that first.”

The kid licked his lips, he wasn’t much younger than Cas maybe fifteen or sixteen.

“Dean’s my step-dad…” he looked away not meeting his eyes.

“Was my step-dad.”

“What are you looking for?”

Cas asked.

The kid looked away.

“Money?” Cas asked.  He didn’t respond.

They sat in a heavy silence for several moments before he spoke.

“What are you doing on Dean’s couch.”

Cas stood. “Clearly taking a nap.”  

He rolled his eyes as Cas approached.  He stepped past him to turn the coffee pot on.

A month ago he’d have been incapable of ignoring him, he wouldn't have been able to walk past him as calm as he was now. As unguarded.

“Dean’s been letting me crash with him till I get back on my feet.” Cas continued.

He didn’t have any problem lying to the kid and to a point it was true.

“Oh” was all he managed to say.

“What’s your name?” Cas wondered.

“Ben”

Cas nodded. He wasn’t sure what he was supposed to do. It was a unique situation, Cas was technically closer in age to Ben than he was to Dean, but something told him his soul was considerably older. Age was just a number, it was something he’d learned very early on. One's experiences made all the difference.

“If you wanna wait around I’m sure Dean would give you what you need when he get’s back.”

It was clear the kid prefered not getting caught, but it was also clear that he trusted Dean because he slowly nodded and agreed.

“Wanna play a game?” he asked uncertainly. Trying to think of a way to pass the time.

Ben shrugged. “Sure”

***




Sam was high when he made the decision, which should have clued him in to how spectacularly bad the idea really was. He was going to confront Dean. no… confront was too aggressive of a word. He didn’t want to be aggressive. He was just doing what Dean wanted. Dean had wanted to talk. Now that he was numb he was ready to talk. He stumbled down the last step. Leaving his apartment. He swayed the earth tilting beneath his feet briefly. He caught himself on the railing. The drink in his hand sloshing. The sunglasses briefly slipping letting the bright mid day light sting his eyes. He hadn’t realized how bright it was outside. He’d been sitting in his darkened apartment, the blinds drawn. He pulled the shades back up. Hoping the first stirrings of this headache he was getting would disappear. He tipped the bottle back chugging the last dregs of his beer. Looking for a trash can. He stumbled towards the street. He chucked the empty beer bottle in the bin on the street.

“Hey!” a man called out looking at him quizzically.

Sam spun towards him swaying slightly. Arching a brow.

“What?” Sam slurred.

“You called an Lyft?” the man muttered he wasn’t exactly turning his nose up at him. He was still smiling, but he seemed to see the frown creeping around at the edges of his fake smile.

He was judging him.

“Yeah, I need to have some words with my brother.”

 

***

Cas paused the game as someone knocked on the door.  He wasn’t expecting anyone, but that seemed to be the way his day was going.

Sam was leaning heavily on the doorjamb. He reeked of booze. It was coming off him in waves.

“Dean here?” he asked. His voice was gruff like he swallowed sandpaper.   

“He’s still at work.” Cas murmured surprised.

Sam looked like shit. He hadn’t shaved in at least two days. The stubble stood out darkly against his pale face. He pushed his way past him stumbling into the apartment.

He smelled like shit. When was the last time he’d taken a shower? His clothes were rumpled he wore a wrinkled grey dress shirt.  Tossed haphazardly over a grey tank, paired with black sweatpants.

“I’ll wait.” he muttered. Pulling off his sunglasses.

He blinked rapidly. His eyes seemingly having trouble adjusting to the lighting.

“Are you ok?” Cas asked hesitantly.

Something was off about him. He stumbled slightly as he moved to lean against the sofa back. Bracing himself with both arms behind his back.

“Never better, I just need to talk to Dean.”

He wasn’t being overtly rude to Cas. He was just dismissive of his concern.

“Well you won't have that long to wait.” Cas muttered turning towards Ben gesturing with his thumb

“But you might have to wait in line.”

“Yeah that seems to be happening a lot lately….” he trailed off glancing down at the floor behind the sofa.

“Oh….?”

The way he said the word shook Cas. It was disconnected, like an afterthought. A sound that escaped without permission. A myriad of emotions crossed Sam’s features. He slowly pushed himself off the edge of the sofa still staring at the ground.

Cas crossed towards him again moving around the end table so he could see what caught Sam’s eye.

The moment he saw it he knew why that pinched expression was now monopolizing Sam’s face.

Peeking out from beneath the sofa, barely noticeable was a sheet of condoms.

When he spoke his voice was strangled.

He swallowed hard.

“I see Dean took my advice.” he choked out.

There was a shimmer of something in his eyes. He bit his lip. Clearing his throat once more.

“Ah… How’d it go?”  he scrubbed a quick hand over his eyes turning his head so Cas wouldn’t see. He pretended he didn’t notice.

“Did it go ok for you?” he was staring off into space, in the general direction of the kitchen but he didn’t seem to actually be seeing any of it.

“Any… ah.” he scrubbed a hand over his face.

“Triggers?” he asked his hand covering his eyes.

“What are you talking about?” Ben asked standing and crossing the room.

Cas moved to quickly kick the condoms underneath the sofa, but it was too late. Ben saw them.

His expression was confused.

He glanced quickly back and forth between Sam and Cas’s tense faces.

Until he drew his own conclusions.

His eyes widened.

As he glanced at Cas.

“Letting you crash on the couch huh?” he muttered with derision.

Cas shrugged keeping his gaze lowered.

He didn’t know what to say. He hadn't meant to out Dean to his step son.

“Tell Dean I need to talk to him.” Ben groused tossing his bag over he shoulder storming from the room. He slammed the door to the apartment making Cas flinch. Leaving him alone with Sam.

“I’m sorry.” Cas said quickly not sure why he was apologizing for what he was so grateful for.

Sam shook his head.

“I told him to do it.”  he glanced away.

“I just didn’t think…it would happen so soon.”

Cas nodded.

Sam bit his lip. Cas was starting to think he was high. He had that lethargic energy of someone on drugs.

He remembered the other night when they’d laid in bed together almost a month ago.

There was a struggle of emotions. As Sam stepped forward.

“When?”

He asked his brows drawn together. He simultaneously wanted and feared the answer.  

“Yesterday? Or?”

He didn’t need clarification he knew what Sam was talking about. He wanted to know when he and Dean had sex.

“The day before yesterday, late that night.”

The words seemed to pierce Sam.

“And yesterday.” Cas added feeling like he was only adding fuel to the fire.

He knew Dean had a panic attack with Sam, but he hadn’t thought  that it affected him this much.

He had only been thinking of his own issues.

“I see…” he muttered trailing off again.

He was staring off into space for a moment before he pushed off the sofa suddenly in a hurry.

“I’ve got to go.”

“Dean will be home any minute.” Cas insisted wanting them to talk through things. He didn’t want to be the problem between them.

He stared down at his own shaking hands.

“I can’t talk to him like this.” he sounded disgusted with himself.

He shook his head as if he was trying to clear the cobwebs.

“I need to leave.” he muttered staring down at his shoes.

“I’m sorry.” he insisted brushing Cas off.

***

Dean was on his way home when he got two texts in quick succession. His phone chirped alerting him as he pulled his car into the parking. Based on how quickly the messages arrived together he assumed they were from the same person until he pulled out his phone to check. The first one was a troubling text from Cas. He’d texted him earlier in the day letting him know that Ben was waiting for him at the apartment. Dean wasn’t sure how he felt about Cas and Ben hanging out. He loved Ben like a son, that kind of feelings didn’t just go away because he wasn’t dating his mother anymore. Still ever since talking to Gabriel Dean had felt the age difference between he and Cas. It was even more surreal thinking of Cas and his step-son, who were closer in age.

[Sam was here…]

[He knows we had sex… he seemed upset.]

 

Dean sighed heavily. He’d been lucky so far, but he knew his luck was about to end. He knew he would have to deal with all the messy emotions between him and Sam.

The next text was even more troubling.

[You’re not keeping my brother from me. You don’t have that right.]

Dean stared at the ominous message, uncertain.

He rested his head against the top of the steering wheel. Closing his eyes briefly.

When did his life get so complicated?

He wanted to say that he could blame it on lust. Lust was visceral gut wrenching and uncontrollable but at this point it was way more than lust that was complicating his life. It was love.

He clapped his hands angrily around the steering wheel before punching the center the horn blaring. He screamed along with it.

People on the street turned to see what his commotion was about, but he ignored them.

He had to tell Cas the truth, right now. Then once he blew up that relationship he needed to chase after Sam. See if he had somehow managed to fuck up the two most important things at the same time.

Dean climbed the stairs to his apartment. The elevator was too quick. He wanted to draw it out. So that he could think of something to say to explain this to Cas.

I was just trying to look out for you. It would only translate into I thought I knew what was best for you. Which if it came right down to it was the truth. He didn’t trust Cas to take care of himself and that was a failing on his part. He should have talked to Cas. When they first met, first tried to make this work they said no lies, and somehow he managed to wrap himself up in a web of them.

***

 

Cas was pacing the apartment. Anxiously snapping his fingers running his hands through his hair. He was filled with a nervous energy.  He was worked up. All the doubts that had dissipated since he crawled into bed with Dean resurfaced with a vengeance. What was he even doing with Dean? Really? Sam and Dean were meant to be together that was clear as day. While he…? Hell he was lucky he was still alive or particularly unlucky depending on how someone wanted to take that.

He didn’t regret sleeping with Dean. It was physically impossible to regret that. It was literally the best night of his life. Still there was a quagmire of emotion that he had no idea how to navigate.

He was on the other side of the room when he heard the knock.

He quickly crossed the room thinking nothing of it assuming Sam. What he saw when he opened the door shattered the last vestiges of his emotional control.

He hadn’t seen the man in over five years, he thought he would look more changed, but there he was. Same old Gabriel. He looked a little different his s andy brown hair  was longer and he’d grown a beard that was a shade darker than his hair. His hazel eyes were worried he kept darting to look behind him into the apartment. It amused Cas to no end to notice that he was taller than his brother. There was a man loitering in the hallway behind him a troubled look on his face.

How had he possibly known where to find him? He’d done everything he could to stay off his radar.

“I’m looking for Jimmy?” Gabe asked.

It stung a little that his brother didn’t recognize him, but then again he’d done as much as he could to distance himself from who he used to be.

“Jimmy’s dead, he died a long time ago, how can I help you?”  he asked dispassionately trying to reign in wild horses his emotions bucking against his control.

The expression on his face shifted slowly as the realization dawned on him. That he was standing in front of him.

“Jimmy?” he muttered urgently reaching for him. Cas jerked his arm out of his reach trying to force the door closed, on his face if he had to.

But he didn’t have the strength for it. He shoved the door open, it swung wide hitting the wall.

“One foot inside and I’m calling the cops!” Cas insisted stabbing his finger towards him. His threat was weakened by how shaky his voice was.

“Jimmy. Just listen to me.”

He kept his hands out in what was meant to be a reassuring gesture. Holding perfectly still like he was a wild horse he might spook.

“I told you Jimmy’s Dead dammit!” he screamed clenching his fists.

“What’s going on?” Dean asked shoving his way through. He pushed Gabriel further into the apartment as he did.

Gabriel was in front of the kitchen. Dean the door, while the third man remained in the hallway staring helplessly.

“Nothing.” Cas  swore quickly trying to urge everyone who didn’t belong in his life back towards the door.

“He was just leaving.”

“Stay out of this Dean.”

They said the words at the same time so it took Cas a moment to process.

“You... know... each other?” Cas asked slowly looking from Dean to Gabe. The pieces clicking into place.

It hurt… more than he thought it would, more than he thought he was still capable of feeling.

He honestly thought a lifetime of pain made him immune to the petty sings of daily life, but this, this crippled him all over again.

His brother, and Dean.

The ache in his heart was more than he could stand. He wanted to rip the beating organ from his body to keep the pain from infecting the rest of his being. That maybe if he expired in this singular moment he would still be able to cling to the false sense of happiness that had permeated his new life.

Perhaps his happiness was orchestrated for this purpose, so that this pain would puncture all the deeper in comparison.

He wanted the numbness. He wanted a drink… drugs… something to numb the pain.

 

"You had no right." Cas whispered quietly at first before the magnitude of what he had done struck him

"You had no right!" he screeched his voice breaking with emotion

You had no fucking right !” He shouted with the ferocity of a rabid dog. Pain making his voice shake as he punctuated every quivering word.

He felt betrayed, decimated, hollowed out, empty.

The past his brother referenced wasn’t connected to him. They didn’t have a point of reference. His brother lived in a world that as far as he was concerned  didn’t exist.

Cas found himself jabbing his finger into Dean’s chest. His eyes stung. He was crying he realized, but he couldn't stop it now.

"You had no right to dig into my past like that... to find him."

"I'm your boyfriend" Dean insisted growing angry himself.

"I have every right to make sure you're ok. To help you.”

Cas sneered at him. Taking him in. looking him over. Not sure why he’d ever trusted the smarmy suit wearing man in front of him. Still he came here and did what he had set out to do. Fuck some rich asshat and take his money.

"You are not my boyfriend.”

“You’re just some guy that likes to pretend,so you can feel better about fucking me."