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Understudy

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(Dean POV)

January 1st

New Year’s Day. 

While millions were celebrating the New Year and a chance to do things different, Dean was nursing a stiff drink in his dark kitchen reliving what will most likely remain, the absolute worst day of his life. The day his boyfriend and best friend was murdered before his very eyes. 

A random act of violence. 

He heard the same 5 words over and over and over. There were no leads. Dean himself didn’t even get a good look at the guy who came out of the darkness and stabbed Castiel multiple times before running off before Dean could catch him. Dean had slipped into the gas station to grab some hot chocolate while Castiel waited outside to enjoy the snowfall. Castiel looked absolutely picturesque standing on the street and staring up at the sky with a small smile on his face. 

Life seemed to slow down the moment Castiel and Dean’s eyes met through the glass while Dean waited to pay. Dean felt the butterflies flare up in his stomach and the weight of a very special blue box in his pocket. If there was ever a night to propose to his lifelong best friend, this was it. 

He wouldn’t get the chance though. 

Moments later Castiel’s head turned towards something Dean couldn’t see and Dean felt his entire world tug from under him when Castiel stepped back with a horrified expression on his face and the glint of metal. 

Dean dropped the hot chocolate with the first stab. 

He reached the door by the second. 

He screamed out for help on the third. 

It took seconds. Only seconds, but it had felt like hours. 

The dark figure took off down the street as Castiel’s body slumped down, Dean barely catching him before he hit the ground. 

“Stay with me, baby, stay with me.” Dean choked out through tears, pressing against the warm blood that was staining his light blue shirt. He heard the gas station attendant on his cell phone behind him on the phone with 911, but he paid him no mind. 

Castiel stared up at Dean with tear-filled blue eyes and his mouth opening to speak, but only emitting wet gurgles. 

“Don’t talk, baby. They’re gonna be here real soon and get you taken care of. Just hang on.” Dean pressed harder against the stab wound in Castiel’s stomach, the one that seemed to be bleeding the most. 

It was when sirens were heard in the distance that Castiel’s eyes dimmed and all life left his body. 

By the time police and paramedics arrived, a mere 2 minutes after the call was placed, Castiel Milton was gone. His body was pulled against Dean’s who was rocking and screaming his name over and over as though his very voice would shock life back into the man he loved. 

The days following Castiel’s death felt like a dream. 

Dean wasn’t sleeping or eating or even talking. Sam couldn’t get through to him, nor could his wife Sarah. Anna, Castiel’s younger sister, tried and failed to get Dean to help select photos for the service. He hated them all. He hated how they hugged one another and supported each other and had the audacity to smile and laugh when Castiel had been ripped away from him. 

Watching Castiel’s coffin lower into the ground had been damn near as unbearable to witness as his death had been, but Dean pushed through it. Even after everyone left, their sniffles and soft cries slowly tapering off, Dean stood there and watched the beautiful dark wood coffin lower until it met it’s final resting place. The cemetery workers offered him a few more minutes before they began to bury the coffin, but Dean told them to go on. He watched silently, tears pouring from his eyes as Castiel’s grave was filled and only when the final mound of dirt was laid on did he walk away. 

Moving on after Castiel had been hell. There were no leads in Castiel’s murder case and eventually it was considered cold. Dean buried himself in work and refused to date. He didn’t even hook up with anyone casually. All he wanted was Castiel back. Even if for a moment. 

It was as though some unseen deity heard his pleas because two years after he lost Castiel, Jimmy walked into his life. Dean had been rendered speechless when the blue-eyed man who matched Castiel in looks walked into the bar. He was relocating to Lawrence and decided to catch a nightcap after spending all day packing.

Dean had known Castiel was adopted into the Milton family, as had his sister Anna had been, but Castiel had never mentioned having a twin. It only occurred to Dean when he called Jimmy by Castiel’s name that the men had never known the other existed.

It had been difficult at first. Seeing Jimmy had been both a blessing and a curse. He got to look into eyes that were identical to the man he loved, but the man he loved was not behind them. He didn’t have the history. He didn’t have the stories. He didn’t even have the same mannerisms. It didn’t matter though. He was part of Castiel and Dean couldn’t ignore that.

He helped bring Jimmy into the Milton’s life. Richard and Amy had welcomed the unknown twin of their son with open arms. They had cried and held Jimmy’s face as they wept. They had apologized and promised to be there. It turned out the agency hadn’t told the Milton’s that Castiel was a twin. They had known very little about their son who was born addicted to drugs due to it being a private closed adoption. They wept when Jimmy explained his awful upbringing and Dean had felt for the first time since Castiel died some measure of peace. He was helping a part of Castiel find happiness again. He helped give Richard and Amy back a small piece of Castiel too.

Sam had been the most outspoken against his relationship with Jimmy. He understood to an extent. Jimmy was not Castiel and was in no way a replacement for him, but Dean couldn’t shake the draw to him. Knowing that when he kissed Jimmy’s lips, he kissed a part of Castiel too. When they made love, it was like being back in Castiel’s arms and Dean was weak, God forgive him, he was so weak that he couldn’t push it away. Sam had told him it wasn’t fair to Jimmy more times than Dean could count, but Dean couldn’t stop. He hid away his all-consuming love for Castiel and gave Jimmy everything he could. Jimmy was an amazing man in his own ways too. He was more into pop culture than his twin had been and he was a surprisingly good cook. Someday Dean knew he would love Jimmy as much as he loved Castiel, he had to, and if he couldn’t, well that could be his little secret.

 


(Jimmy POV) 

Dean was drunk again, though Jimmy was fully prepared for that. It was routine. Had been for the last two years they’ve been together as it had the three years before that. Every New Year’s Dean spent his time drinking and missing Castiel. 

Castiel. 

Jimmy hated the name. He hated the times Dean would whisper it when he slept. He hated the times Dean’s lips would begin to form the name before he’d correct to Jimmy. He hated how even in death, his identical twin was still taking everything from him. 

It wasn’t fair! 

They had been both placed up for adoption at the same time after having been abandoned by their drug addict mother. Jimmy was the oldest twin! He knew he was despite medical personnel being unable to say. It should have been him who was adopted by the Milton family, but no. He was instead adopted by the Novak family. The identical brothers had been separated. One went to a wonderful wealthy family. The other to a poor and miserable family. 

While Castiel had been praised as a gift by his adoptive parents, Jimmy had been treated like a leaper by his own. He asked himself countless times over the course of his life why they had even adopted him when they clearly didn’t even want kids! He knew though. They thought they couldn’t have biological children so they adopted him and loved him until he was 4 and it came along. 

It being the son his parents so desperately wanted to have. Their miracle biological son. 

They changed and Jimmy hated them. He went from being a son to being a burden. It wanted for nothing while Jimmy wanted for everything. He was 9 the first time his father hit him in a drunken rage and told him he was adopted. They settled on him. He knew that for a fact as they had told him that over and over and over.

He moved out the first chance he had and never looked back. 

He worked his ass off doing mediocre jobs to make ends meet while he put himself through college. The amount of student loan debt he had was stifling by the time he graduated with his bachelor’s degree and despite having a degree, he could not get a job any better than a minimum wage job at the local brewery.

Castiel though. Oh, Castiel had it all. Being the son of a wealthy and very connected family, Castiel didn’t have to work mediocre jobs. He was afforded the luxury to have unpaid internships that allowed him to make those crucial professional connections. He didn’t have to worry about petty things like rent or food. He lived in his parent’s large brick colonial style house and was offered every opportunity he wished so when he graduated with his degree, he was handed a corner office and a six figure salary at his father’s company.

Castiel and Jimmy, despite being identical twins, were night and day and Jimmy hated it.

When he discovered at the age of 23 that he had a twin brother, Jimmy of course sought him out. Why the agency had separated the twins was beyond him, but he wanted to meet his twin and try to form at least one lasting relationship with a member of his family.

What he found though was a life that had no room left for him. Castiel had his little sister Anna. He had his perfect best friend-turned-lover Dean. He had a beautiful house and a bright future and all Jimmy had was a mountain of debt and daddy issues that would make even the most qualified therapist want to walk away.

He observed Castiel from a distance. Watching him and ensuring he never close enough for his twin to spot him because once he had the chance to see Castiel in person, he didn’t want a relationship with him. He wanted to be him. He wanted the loving parents and the sweet little sister. He wanted the gorgeous boyfriend and the corner office and everything that his miserable existence never had.

He hated Castiel. Without even saying a word to him, he hated him. It was Castiel’s fault he didn’t get the correct family. Castiel had been placed first, as Jimmy discovered when he raided the files. Their adoption was closed, but that didn’t mean anything to Jimmy. Not when it was so easy to obtain those files. All it took was a quick flick of the wrist and the old woman who had helped to ruin his life fell at his feet. And there it was in black and white. Perfect, loved Castiel had been placed first. Almost a week before Jimmy had been placed with the Novak family. It wasn’t fair. He was the oldest! He deserved to have that opportunity. Not Castiel!

It didn’t matter anymore though.

Castiel was dead and Jimmy now had his life. The Milton family had welcomed him with open arms when they discovered he existed. Anna now called him and texted him for advice. He was working his way up the ladder at the company and if things kept on the path they were on, he’d have that corner office in another year or two. He also had Dean, his perfect, gorgeous fire fighter Dean. Things had been tense between them at the start. Their first meeting had been awkward, but now things were as they should be.

Dean loved him. Dean wanted him and the next Valentine’s Day, Jimmy planned to propose to Dean and make their relationship official. He’d finally have one up on his brother. It had taken a while to get to this point, but he was finally here and not only did he have everything Castiel had had, he had even more.

Jimmy sat back in his chair, smiling as he sipped his scotch and stared at the box in his lap. The box was always hidden in some loose floorboards and eventually he knew he should get rid of it. It was tempting fate and was evidence of against him, but he just couldn’t do it. He couldn’t toss the last piece of the night that turned his life around. The clothes were long since burned. His tracks long since covered. The blood stained knife was a token though, one he could not give up. And if he had to forever keep it hidden, well, that could be his little secret.