"Wake up butterfly. We've miles to go together."
I know this guy, Dean thinks as he lets the video loop for the sixth time. He'd just walked through the front door of his apartment after a thoroughly long and unproductive group study session when his phone beeped with a text alert. Dropping his book bag by the door, he had fished the phone from his back pocket and since then, he's been standing in the same spot, watching the scruffy guy from his Professional Ethics class, who sat two rows down and three seats over from Dean, recite poetry on a video text message. He's got a pretty good beard going, his baseball cap perched crookedly on his head as he holds the mic of his earbuds close to his lips. His voice is deep and raspy, almost that tired, scratchy voice at the end of a long night, but it's pleasant, Dean notes. A comforting voice.
Though he's 's never spoken to him, Dean watches him almost every day in class, slouching comfortably in his chair, sometimes writing things down, but mostly just sitting there listening to the hour long lecture. How had he even gotten Dean's number?
It's obviously not for you. You don't even know this dude, his mind whispers, quickly deleting the reply he had typed in before he could hit send, not sure if he should even acknowledge it. He doesn't want to embarrass the guy. In the end he decides to just forget about it, the growling of his stomach sealing the decision as he tosses the phone on the couch as he makes his way into the kitchen.
"If you want the truth, I'll tell you the truth. Listen to the secret sound, to the real sound, which is inside you."
"Okay, what the fuck?" Dean grouses in the middle of the crowded cafeteria.
"What?" Charlie asks, mouth full of fries.
Dean turns his phone around, a "hey!" jerked out of him as she grabs it from his hand.
"I didn't know you knew Cas," she exclaims, rummaging through her book bag to produce a pair of earbuds to plug in. She pokes at the screen.
"I don't know hi-"
"Is he reading poetry to you?" She practically screeches, and Dean growls at her, "Shut up, Charlie! Jesus!"
He snatches his phone back, tossing the earbud cord at her. "I don't know him," he repeats. "I mean, he's in my ethics class," Who sits two rows down, and three seats to the right from you, his mind supplies helpfully.
Dean pauses, taking a deep breath. "I don't know him, okay? He obviously has the wrong number and, I mean, should I say something? Cause this is weird. Right?"
"What makes you think they're not for you?" Charlie looks at him incredulously, as if he's spoken aloud the most ridiculous sentence to ever exist.
"Because I don't know him, Charlie," Dean replies slowly. He pushes away from the table after a moment, gathering up his stuff. "Nevermind. I'll tell him tomorrow in class. Just forget I mentioned it."
"Dean," Charlie starts, but Dean cuts her off.
"I gotta head to class. I'll see you later." He shoulders his book bag and turns for the door.
He holds a hand up briefly before pushing his way outside. It doesn't occur to him until later that night that Charlie knew the guy's name, Cas, and that instead of storming off, he could have asked her if she knew something he didn't.
"You are the poem I never knew how to write and this life is the story I have always wanted to tell. Tyler Knott Gregson."
He was such a chickenshit.
When class had started and the guy, Cas, he reminded himself, wasn't in his seat, Dean had started to panic. What if he didn't show? What if he didn't show and he got another message tonight? That would make it three days and then it would be too late to say anything because at three days it goes from awkward to dear god a meteor could hit me right now I'd be fucking happy awkward and just...no. Not happening.
He was thinking he'd send a stupid text like he should of done at the beginning, when Cas came in and took the closest available seat, right next to Dean.
Having no control over his body, Dean turned to look at him as he sat down. When Cas smiled at him pleasantly, Dean's heart did a weird flip-flop and he whipped his head to face the front of the lecture hall, cursing himself mentally the rest of the class.
That was really stupid. It was involuntary! I literally could not help it. That is provable science. Well you have to tell him after class. End this today. I am. I'm going to. Because I am not getting to three days. I'm not.
But then the professor was calling class, Cas was walking out the door, and Dean was staring at the ceiling wishing for a meteor to strike him immediately.
"Dean Winchester, you are such a chickenshit." He hits play again and then pauses, scrolling back up to the very first message. He shaved, Dean thinks, going back to the newest video. In it, Cas is wearing his hat backwards and he rotates the camera until its above him and closer to his face.
As he recites the words, Dean thinks it's odd to see him this way, speaking aloud, face expressive, when he'd only ever seen the barest hint of mild interest on his face in class.
In another fit of involuntary movements, his fingers type out I'm terrible at poetry and hit send before he can think about what he's actually doing.
That's ok, so am I. But have hope.
"Hope is the thing with feathers, that perches in the soul, and sings the tune without the words, and never stops at all."
It's almost midnight before he finally works up the nerve to respond. What is it you're hoping for?, he texts and almost immediately receives back, At this moment, for pleasant dreams. See you tomorrow.*
Dean sits there on the edge of the bed, wondering if he'd been wrong this whole time and just maybe the messages had been for him after all.
"Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly."
Dean is shrugging into his coat when the message arrives. In the video, Cas is swiveling back and forth in a chair that seems to be in the student center. He pauses it, squinting at the screen. No, it's the seating area outside of their class. Dean snatches up his book bag and rushes out the door, taking the stairs down, two at a time.
By the time he reaches the classroom, he's too late. Cas is sitting in his usual seat and while there's not a lot of people in the room yet, there's entirely too many for Dean's comfort and he slumps sullenly in his seat, two rows up and three chairs to the left of Cas.
He spends the entire lecture studying Cas in what he can only hope is a completely inconspicuous way. There's part of a grey jacket collar peeking out from beneath the leather one he's also wearing and just as Dean is having, what he is sure would be classified as completely inappropriate thoughts about Cas' bedhead, said owner of bedhead angles his head back to stare in Dean's direction.
Do something! his mind practically screams at him, and he lifts a hand, waving it lamely before dropping it to his lap. His face burns with embarrassment. He can't seem to move. Not when the teacher calls class to an end. Not when people are scooting past him down the aisle to the door, and not when Cas stops one row down, places both hands on the chair in front of Dean, leans in, and says: "Hold fast to dreams, for when dreams go, life is a barren field, frozen with snow."
Dean takes a breath, wanting to say something, to ask why are you doing this?, but more importantly, why are you doing this to me? He manages a mangled squawking sound, but it doesn't matter, because Cas is already gone.