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On Air

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This whole thing was Garth’s fucking fault, really. How he got to be station manager in the first place is beyond Dean’s comprehension, considering he’s the weirdest guy Dean has ever met, and he doesn’t even care if the DJs show up on time and can’t be arsed to dress appropriately even for important meetings with big shot executives. And of all the different station managers that Dean and Cas have worked for together, Garth has the strangest ideas of how to run the station and what makes for good programming.

But somehow Garth’s dumb idea of entertainment seems to work, because The Mix has the second most popular morning show in Lawrence. So when Cas announces in his gravelly voice that they’re playing Truth or Dare with callers today, the switchboard starts lighting up immediately.

Castiel switches off their mics as the next song in rotation starts to play and turns to Dean who is staring at him grumpily. “What?” he asks patiently, taking hold of the coffee the intern, Kevin, had brought him this morning and raising it to his parted lips.

“What do you think?” Dean asks, rolling his eyes. “We’re really doing the Truth or Dare thing like a bunch of middle school kids?”

Cas shrugs one shoulder in that infuriatingly nonchalant way of his. “Why not? I think it’s endearing that our listeners care enough about us to want to know more about our lives outside of the show.”

“That’s not the part I’m worried about, man.” Dean points an accusatory finger at Cas. “We’ll see how much you like it when they’re daring you to go out into the street and moon oncoming traffic.” He raises his eyebrows pointedly at Cas over the brim of his own coffee cup as he takes a swig.

Cas’ brow furrows and his mouth curves downwards into a frown. “I hadn’t thought of that.”

Dean snorts. His friend’s innocence would be adorable if it wasn’t so fucking irritating. “What, you never played Truth or Dare as a kid, Cas? Streaking in a public place, kissing the girl you like in front of all your friends, putting a raw egg down your pants? You never did any of that?”

Cas shakes his head, his lips pursing in that disapproving way he has that says Why are you such a neanderthal, Dean?, usually reserved for when Dean leaves his dirty clothes all over the house they own together, or forgets to do the dishes for the fourth day in a row, or has really loud, enthusiastic sex with some random girl or occasional guy he picked up in a bar, the sounds of which keep Cas up all night.

“You know I didn’t have what you would consider a normal childhood, Dean,” Cas chides him, because yeah, that’s right, Cas had the strictest upbringing imaginable and was forced to go to boarding school like a good little rich kid. And he didn’t even do the things that naughty prep school kids are supposed to do; he actually studied.

Too bad for Cas’ stuck up totalitarian parents that he’d flipped them the metaphorical bird when they’d tried to get him to go into pre-med like the rest of his family, taking an English major instead. And he’d given all that up, too, when his parents cut him off, and switched to Broadcasting in order to get a decent job in a hurry. He hadn’t expected to like it though, and he hadn’t expected to befriend Dean, firmly sealing his fate as the Black Sheep of the family.

“Well, take my word for it,” Dean says, “and stick with Truth.” That’s his plan and he might get in trouble for it later when the show ends up being boring as hell, but at least with Truth he can just lie; no one will even know the difference.  Dean’s not proud of it, but he’s really good at lying.

Okay, so maybe he is a little bit proud.

The song comes to a close and Dean flicks on his mic. “That was the new song from Imagine Dragons, and you’re listening to The Cas and Dean Show. I’m Dean, and me and my buddy Cas are playing-” he glares at his co-host before continuing brightly- “Truth or Dare!”

“Right now we’ve got our first caller on the line,” Cas continues seamlessly. “ Hi Zach, you there?”

A man’s nasally voice comes over the line. “Yes, good morning. I want to dare Dean-”

“Hey, hang on,” Dean interrupts quickly. “I haven’t played Truth or Dare since I was about thirteen years old but last I remember it was askee’s choice.” Cas glares at Dean who grins back and shrugs at him as if to say whatcha gonna do?

The guy on the line sighs and says “All right, fine. Truth or Dare?”

“Truth,” Dean replies smugly.

“Of course,” the guy sneers, and they can almost hear the eyeroll. “Before you became a radio DJ, what was your dream job?”

“Firefighter,” Dean answers easily, stretching out in his seat and lacing his fingers behind his head. “Definitely a firefighter.”

Cas leans into his mic, his eyes narrowed and a little smirk on his lips as he looks sidelong at Dean. “Yes, Dean here always imagined himself something of a hero,” he mocks, ignoring Dean’s indignant gasp. “He wanted to be Batman, too, before that.”

Kevin’s guffaw echoes from the desk outside the studio.

“Hey, you’re one to talk, Mr. Professor,” Dean shoots back at Cas. His mouth curves into a wicked grin. “All Cas ever wanted was to have a PhD. Never did get it, though.” He winks salaciously at his co-host.

Cas rolls his eyes at the lame double entendre. “Very funny, Dean.” He hits a button to transfer Zach back out to Kevin and another to pick up the next line. “Next caller.”

The calls keep coming and they both stick to Truth after Cas goes against Dean’s advice and gives Dare a try. He ends up singing “The Itsy-Bitsy Spider” live on air in a deadpan voice while Dean practically rolls out of his seat, howling with laughter, hand over his mic to dull the sounds. Soon they’ve been asked what color and style of underwear they’re both wearing (blue plaid boxers for Dean and hilariously, also blue boxer-briefs for Cas), what their middle names are (Alexander and James) and who their celebrity crushes are (Dean’s is Transformers-era Megan Fox and Cas says Cate Blanchett) and Dean’s shocked to discover that he’s actually having a lot of fucking fun.

Dean’s still chuckling over Cas’ last answers (“How do you take your coffee?” “Caffeinated”) when he picks up the next call. “Hi, The Mix?”

“Hi Dean,” the chipper, sure, female voice comes through the line. Dean grins over at Cas, whose lip is twitching in amusement. He waves one slender hand as if to say go ahead.

“What’s your name, sweetheart?” Dean purrs over the line and he’s rewarded when Cas has to purse his lips together to stifle his laugh. Dean thinks that half the reason he does this - flirting ridiculously with the female callers - is to make Cas laugh.

“Becky,” the caller says succinctly.

“Hi Becky,” he answers, letting his voice drop into the seductive range. “You have a question for me and my buddy Cas, here?”

“Yes,” she says immediately, and then goes straight into “are you and Cas secretly married?”

Dean’s speechless. This isn’t the first time someone has wondered if he and Cas are together, but normally the calls don’t get through to the air. This must be - yep, there’s Kevin, peering in the window at them, practically dancing with glee at Dean’s discomfort. This must be payback for when he hid the nerd’s Magic cards last week.

He doesn’t have a sarcastic retort or even an immature innuendo to offer, and his mouth gapes open and closed like a goldfish before he finally manages to stutter out “N-no.”

“What about dating?” Becky demands.

Cas turns his head towards his co-host expectantly, his eyebrows raised as he waits in amused silence for Dean’s reply.

Finally Dean manages to squeak out “No, not dating either. We’re just friends.”

“So let me get this straight. You went to school together, you work together, you moved across the country together and you have a house that you own together? And you’re just friends?” She scoffs, the disbelief evident in her voice even over the phone. “Yeah right.”

Okay, that all might be true, but only because Dean and Cas make damn good radio together. When Cruise FM had changed hands and the new management decided to go a different direction with their programming, they’d been let go and forced to move to find work. They ended up having to move several times over the years, bouncing from town to town, state to state, going where the work was - at least until the fire.

Arson, they’d called it, and they’d caught the guy, but no amount of justice could bring back the home that had been destroyed or give John and Mary back their lives. It was the darkest part of Dean’s life, and he’d had to pick up everything and move home to be with Sam and help him pay for the rest of his schooling at KU. Cas could’ve stayed; the station they had been working at in Idaho at the time had offered to let him keep his job and just replace his co-host, but he’d quit and moved home with Dean without a second thought, and Dean can’t even think about that too hard because of how much it meant that his best friend was there when he needed him. From there, it only made sense for them to buy a house together instead of continuing to rent, and they needed jobs to pay for the house and for college for Sam. And that’s when Bobby had hooked them up with Garth and the rest is history.

But Dean can’t say any of that, because it doesn’t actually contradict anything Becky’s saying, and he knows it. “Cas, wanna help me out, here, buddy?” he asks desperately.

Cas clears his throat, and there’s a tiny, smug smile playing on his lips, damn him. “Hi Becky, this is Cas. Dean’s telling you the truth, we’re not married or dating. We’re just good friends.” He pauses to take a sip of his coffee and Dean thinks he’s safe so he shoves about half a donut in his face like the classy individual he is.

But then Cas - the traitor - is turning back to the mic and he says, to Dean’s complete and utter horror, “But we have slept together.”

Dean chokes on his donut.

It’s chaos. “I KNEW IT!” Becky crows triumphantly over the line, and Kevin screams a muffled “WHAT?” through the glass, his eyes bugging out as he stares back and forth between Cas and Dean. Dean panics and hits the button to play their show title and then segue into the next song, hoping that the transition at least sounds somewhat purposeful and not like damage control, which it absolutely one hundred percent was.

“What the fuck, Cas?!” Dean wheezes around the chunks of donut still lodged in his throat. Cas reaches over to casually thump him on the back.

“The game is called Truth or Dare, Dean,” the smug bastard says, blinking innocently as if he hadn’t just dropped the biggest bombshell of FM radio in - like - ever.

“That’s not even what she asked!” Dean feels faint. “You realize you just outed us both on air to thousands of people, probably including everyone we know?”

Cas blinks at him. “So? It’s not a secret, is it?”

“Well, now it certainly isn’t,” Dean grumbles. “Is this payback for me spilling beer on your damn book last week? I said I was sorry, man, it was an accident-”

“Dean,” Cas interrupts, and Dean stutters to a halt. “Relax. If it upsets you so much, I’ll tell all our friends that it was a joke. We can even use the book as an excuse, if you want. I just,” he turns his head, diverting his eyes to squint up at one of the lights, “didn’t know it was such a big deal to you.”

It’s not a big deal. It’s not. But only because Dean has spent three years aggressively not  thinking about the night that he and Cas had a little too much Jack while watching a marathon of the The Lord of the Rings trilogy and ended up fucking on the couch. It was slow and sloppy and probably the dumbest thing Dean’s ever done, but it was still, to this day, the best sex of his entire life. But he doesn’t think about it. Ever.

Except now it’s all he can think about besides the fact that Sammy probably heard, and their boss, and Jo and Ellen and oh God, Bobby, not to mention half the city, and he’s torn between mortification and fear and being pissed off at Cas for saying that on the air without even consulting him first and yeah, maybe he’s a little aroused at the suppressed memories that are coming flooding back full force and totally without his permission.

“Whatever, man, it’s cool,” he mumbles, but he can’t meet Cas’ eyes.

The rest of their shift is subdued, and they cut the game short in favor of some dull conversation about a controversial news story, and Kevin is stuck fielding the calls which serves him right for starting this mess in the first place.

Garth stops them on the way out of the station, slinging a scrawny arm around each of them and pulling them to his sides. “Dudes, congratulations! I’m so happy for you! Gotta say you guys make the cutest couple.”

Dean casts a pleading look around the back of Garth’s head at Cas, who rolls his eyes.

“Garth, Dean would like me to clarify that we’re not together,” Cas says. “It was one time, many years ago, and I shouldn’t have said it on air.” His blue eyes slide back to meet Dean’s. “It was nothing.”

“Aw, that’s too bad,” Garth says, giving them each a conciliatory pat on the arm before releasing them, and he Jar-Jar Binkses it out of there before Dean can protest that they don’t need consolation because they’re not in a relationship for chrissake, and why does no one believe them?!

Dean and Cas walk out to the Impala in silence, dutifully avoiding each other’s gaze. Okay maybe it’s just Dean; Cas doesn’t seem to be at all afflicted by the oppressive sense of awkwardness that has settled around Dean’s shoulders. Dean slides his phone out of his pocket for something to do as they make their way across the lot and groans - eight text messages, two voicemails and about a hundred missed calls. He ignores the inquisitive glance Cas shoots him, shoving his phone back into his pocket and opening the car door.

He slides onto the bench seat and turns the key as Cas throws his messenger bag into the back seat and climbs in himself. Dean clears his throat, and Cas looks over at him slowly, eyebrows almost to his hairline as he waits for Dean to speak.

“So… I’m starving. Do you wanna grab some burgers on the way home?”

Cas sighs. “Do you want to talk about what’s really bothering you?”

Dean’s brow furrows. “I - what?”

Cas unbuckles his seatbelt and turns his body, slinging his bent left leg onto the seat so that he’s facing Dean. “You’ve been acting strange and distant since I said that we’d slept together.”

Dean turns and scowls at him. “C'mon, man, do we really have to talk about this?”

Cas glares at him. “Dean.”

Dean sighs exaggeratedly. “Alright fine. I’m sorry, okay? It’s just weird, we live together and we work together-”

“And that’s never bothered you before.” Cas cocks his head inquisitively, studying Dean’s face as if he can read the reason that Dean’s being such a knob in his eyes or the tension around his mouth. “It was years ago, Dean. I fail to see why you’re behaving as if it was yesterday.”

Dean exhales, forcing the tension from his body, rubbing a hand over his face. “Sorry, man. I just freaked, I guess. It was just a dumb drunken mistake that happened, and it doesn’t have to be a big deal.” He glares at his friend. “But you’re explaining to everyone that we’re not secretly married, or whatever.”

“Fine. Are you done being idiotic, now?”

“I’m not-”


Dean rolls his eyes. “Yes, I’m done.”

“Good,” Cas says, straightening in his seat and re-buckling his seatbelt, “because I have a date tonight and I don’t have time to deal with your neediness.”

“I’m not needy,” Dean grumbles, putting the car into drive and pulling out of the stall, trying not to dwell on the first part of Cas’ sentence. A date? Since when? And with whom? And while he’s at it, since when does Dean care?

It’s not like Cas never dates, although he definitely doesn’t do it as frequently or as obviously or as loudly as Dean. But he does occasionally go out in the evenings, and on occasion he even stumbles in the next morning, his hair sticking up every which way and his shirt buttoned wrong, grunting a hello to Dean where he sits at the kitchen table before going straight to the shower.

For some reason, over the years, they’ve developed an unspoken agreement in which neither of them discusses their conquests. Relationships, sure, but it’s not like either of them either has had one of those recently. Not since Balthazar broke Cas’ heart and Lisa realized that Dean wasn’t ready to commit to be a father figure to her child (she was right).

But now that he thinks about it, Cas has had a few more late nights than usual in the past few weeks. Has he been seeing someone? Is it getting serious?

He opens his mouth to ask, but then Cas says “And yes, I would like a burger, and you’re buying since you’re such an asshat,” and turns his attention to his phone with a focus that makes it clear that the conversation is over.

Dean’s sprawled out on the couch, a beer in his hand and last week’s episode of Dr Sexy M.D. on the TV. He’d finally buckled down and answered his phone when Sam had called for the four-hundredth time, and assured his brother that no, he and Cas are not secretly married, or secretly dating, or secretly fucking every time they find themselves at home alone with nothing better to do. And then he’d given the same story to Jo and her mother Ellen (“Stop yammering and give me the phone, Joanna Beth!”) and finally, Bobby. It was shockingly difficult to convince them; they’d all acted as though they had been waiting for this big news for years. Which was probably why Dean was already into his fourth beer at six o’clock on a Tuesday.

Cas parades through the living room with Dean’s duffel bag slung over his shoulder, ignoring Dean’s protest when he walks between the couch and the TV, going straight to the front door to begin pulling on his shoes.

“Is that my bag?” Dean asks, cocking an eyebrow as he follows Cas’ path across the room.

“Very astute,” Cas replies, his focus on his shiny dress shoes, where he’s tying the little shoelaces with deft, slender fingers.

Dean’s mouth works soundlessly as he struggles to control his knee-jerk response, which is of course, to yell at Cas for being purposefully fucking obtuse. Finally he manages, in a tone that’s barely controlled, “Cas, why do you have my bag?”

“I’m borrowing it,” he replies, smoothing the front of his dark blue dress shirt as he straightens up to meet Dean’s eyes.

And objectively speaking, Cas looks really fucking good. He’s shaved, his hair is styled to within an inch of its life, he’s wearing dress pants that show off his slim hips and well-muscled runners thighs, and that shirt totally makes the blue of his eyes pop - not that Dean notices.

“Gee, thanks for asking,” Dean grumbles. “Why do you even need it? Big night?”

Cas shrugs. “It’s not a big deal, but I won’t be home tonight. I’ll meet you at work tomorrow?”

Dean ignores the weird sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach. “Sounds like a big night to me.” He waggles his eyebrows. “Third date?”

Cas rolls his eyes. “No Dean, it’s actually an eighth date.”

Dean snorts, shaking his head. “Always knew you were a prude, Cas.”

“Not that it’s any of your business, but that’s not what this is. I’m just getting tired of rushing home to change and shower before work.”

That sobers Dean right up. “How long have you been dating this… person?”


“Daphne,” Dean parrots back. “How long have you been dating Daphne?”

Cas runs his hand through his hair, effectively ruining all his hard work, and Dean feels an unwelcome surge of affection at the mess his fingers make of it. “I don’t know, maybe a month?”

A month. He flashes a patented Dean Winchester grin, “So when do I get to meet her? You worried I’ll steal her away? I’ll admit that that is a legitimate concern; there aren’t all that many women out there who can control themselves around me.”

“Shut up, Dean,” Cas says affectionately. “I’ll ask her if she’s free for dinner sometime this week.”

“Good,” Dean replies, with a mockingly stern nod.

Then there’s a strange moment where Cas and Dean are just grinning at each other across the room and Dean’s arms feel weird like maybe they should be wrapped around Cas, and his eyes want to drag down the length of Cas’ body even though he already knows what Cas is wearing and shouldn’t give a damn anyway.

So he breaks the tension by shooting him a salute and saying “Bye, Cas. Happy fucking!” and Cas snorts and rolls his eyes again and then he’s gone.

He doesn’t know what this weird feeling is roiling around in his stomach but he thinks it might be jealousy. He must be jealous that his best friend is getting laid on a regular basis, and is out to get some tonight. That’s gotta be it, right? In that case, the solution is simple; go and get some tail of his own, and Dean Winchester doesn’t often strike out. This is a perfect night to hook up, too, with Cas gone. He won’t have to worry about the glares and the lecture he’ll get from his housemate the next morning after hours of foundation-shaking, Cas-waking sex.

But he makes no move to leave the couch, to get dressed up and go find someone to bring home.

Instead, his mind wanders inexplicably to that night, three years ago and change, when close quarters and mutual attraction and Dean’s good friend Jack Daniels had pushed them somewhere they’d never gone before, and hadn’t since.

It had been Cas who started it, he thinks. They’d been arguing about the merits of Arwen over Eowyn and why (in Dean’s opinion), Aragorn was a dumbass. Then Cas - the sore loser - had reached across the too-small distance between them and poked him hard in the side with one of those long fingers, and Dean had made an embarrassingly high pitched noise that made Cas collapse into a fit of laughter, crinkles all around his eyes and his lips pulled back in a gummy smile. And then Dean had shoved him, but good ol’ Jack had thrown him off balance and made the room tilt alarmingly, and Dean fell against Cas’ side. He could feel the heat of him, pressed in one long line beneath Dean, the jut of his hipbone against Dean’s own. Their faces were suddenly too close together, and Cas wasn’t laughing anymore, his eyes flickering down to linger on Dean’s lips.

And before he knew it, Dean was kissing him, and Cas tasted like the salt and butter from the popcorn they’d shared, and like whiskey, and his mouth was warm and slick beneath Dean’s.

Cas’ arms had wound tightly around him, one hand curving around the back of his neck and the other sliding down to splay over his lower back, pressing them closer together. Dean had groaned into Cas’ mouth, or maybe it had been Cas that groaned, but it was definitely Dean that shifted so that their hips slotted together, and at the first slide of cock against cock through their pants, Dean had cursed and Cas had gasped and they’d arched into each other as if they had been waiting for this forever.

It had been messy and fumbling, clothes catching on limbs as they twisted and tugged themselves free. Open mouthed kisses went everywhere they could reach, too much teeth and tongue and no finesse but hot and raw and full of need. And Cas had turned over on his stomach and somehow Dean was inside him, draped over his body, moving in a slow roll with Cas reaching up behind him to drag Dean’s head into the crook of his neck and arching back to catch his lips. And Dean came with Cas’ fingers in his hair, gasping into the space between his shoulder blades, breathing in the scent of him and licking the sweat from his skin.

They’d fallen asleep tangled together, and woken up in the most uncomfortable way possible: hungover and naked and sticky with each other’s jizz. It had been awkward for days, weeks even, as they danced around each other, wondering if one drunken mistake had ruined years of friendship. Of course, eventually Dean had gone out to the bar and brought a girl home because he just couldn’t stand the tension anymore, and the next day, Cas had griped at him about keeping it down while Cas was sleeping, like usual. Somehow they’d stumbled back into the way things were, never mentioning it and at least in Dean’s case, never thinking about it - until now.

He’s jolted back to the present when the piercing sound of a heart monitor gone flatline bursts out of the tv speakers. He’s alone in the house he shares with his best friend, who is out with his new girlfriend Daphne, and Dean has no right to hate her, no right at all, but he does. Not as much as he hates himself, though, nothing can compare to that.

He’s hard in his pants and pissed off, and he fists his cock and jerks off angrily right there on the couch in the middle of their shared living room until he comes with a shout that sounds suspiciously like Cas’ name. And as he pants in the wake of his orgasm, body trembling with little aftershocks, he thinks that he really is a great liar, but maybe the lie he’s told himself all these years since that night is the worst of all, and if only he hadn’t had to play that stupid game on air, and if only he hadn’t been forcefully reminded of that night, he might have been able to keep believing it.

Yep. This is all Garth’s fucking fault.