If the sun refused to shine
I would still be loving you
When mountains crumble to the sea
There will still be you and me
Thank You, Led Zeppelin
Dean never realized that his apartment burning down would turn out to be the best thing that ever happened to him.
His first apartment had burned down, and after the landlord had bailed on covering the damages, it had been a lengthy legal battle to escape that lease. After it was over, Dean was not only out of patience but also out of money.
Now all he had was his car and all his charred belongings which he took with him across the country. He hadn’t lost everything, which he was thankful for.
Dean was now living out of his car, which was less than ideal, but he was also bouncing from place to place, trying to find feasible housing, but fate apparently wouldn’t allow it.
Dean drove through Kansas. He’d lived in a small town outside of Lawrence, big enough that he could leave without much of an issue, but small enough that his absence would be noticed. He didn't really miss anyone there, but the familiarity was a loss, just like the house was.
He and Sam had moved around when they were younger, bouncing from relative to relative after both their parents passed suddenly. Dean didn't recall much of them but the constant change made him too anxious to stay in one place. But still, even with that, he dreamed of stability.
When he and Sam had parted ways. Sam had grown old enough and gone off to college and Dean hadn’t wanted to weigh him down and they hadn’t spoken much after that.
There was the problem with constantly moving around. Money, of course, was always an issue but thanks to his ability to properly scam people too drunk to know any better at bars, it became less and less of a problem.
Was he particularly proud of his actions? Not really. The guilt didn't last long and it wasn't like he was actually robbing people for a bad reason. It was for his own survival.
Still, after awhile of hustling and some petty theft, Dean had enough of "life on the road" as he called it. It was nice, after staying in the same town and not really doing much for so long, but he did dream of stability someday.
What Dean didn’t expect was that dream of stability to be promptly dropped into his lap on a completely random chance.
On long nights when he lay among his belonging - praying that the store owner of this gas station didn't notice him sleeping in his car in the parking lot - he thought a lot about where he wanted to go. After the cheap gas station food and mountains of burgers, he came to regret not so much later. He just considered - what did he want?
Of course, there were there were certain things he’d regretted most about being on the road. He'd had his fair share of hookups he wasn't proud of. He was smart enough to be safe with it, obviously, but he realized that, as he said to goodbye, whether it be in a crappy motel he could barely afford or in the back of his car, it left him feeling regretful that that’s all it would be.
Regret seemed like the wrong word. It felt more like a sense of bittersweet that left him empty and wanting more. Dean didn't want to ignore that part of him that ached for more, mostly because he knew he couldn't and wouldn't ever be able to find it. He just had to accept that and move on.
Dean figured out he was bisexual, now he was twenty-six and the more he thought about it the more the identity seemed to fit better.
He wasn't really that scared of it, but somehow it felt like a monumental thing to really think about. It felt comfortable to identify with, but at the same time, it felt like it was scary territory he didn't know how to explore. It wasn't like he was brought up to explore this sort of thing, anyway.
A small part of him wanted to bury it deep, deep down, so far that it couldn't be seen. But as much as he did, it always came back. It wasn't like he couldn't admit he enjoyed his one night stands with women as much as he did with men.
Shut up, stop thinking about it, But it never seemed to work, the thoughts always seem to come drifting back in no matter how much he pushes them aside.
He knew he wanted to, but he was still frightened by it all the same.
Dean sighed and stared out of the window at the bright neon from the burger joint. He figured he should go inside at some point - even though it was open 24 hours, he was bound to get noticed and get kicked out (as that had happened enough already.) He mooches off their wifi instead, crossing his fingers no one will notice that he's here.
He's not sure what makes him settle here, but for some reason, he decides he needs a break. He's been travelling for a week without rest, and somehow he needs to not sleep in the back seat of the Impala, or some grungy motel.
He sighed as he looked out the driver's side window. He could at least stop here and collect his thoughts. Sleep now, hope he didn't get caught and then find a less shitty place to stay in the morning.
Dean groaned as he awoke. Mornings were the worst. He wasn't old but the bench seat did a number on his back, and he wasn't short, either. It was definitely the worst part of this.
He groaned as he sat up, tangled in a blanket he'd stolen from some crappy motel he'd forgotten the name of.
It was in the mornings that he thought of the last time he'd showered - three days ago, in some other crappy motel, the name of which also escapes him.
He gets up out of the car and stretches. His head is dizzy from not bothering to eat dinner and he definitely needs to find a better place to sleep before his back turns completely into a pretzel from sleeping in the back of the car.
Dean leans on the edge of the hood. How long has it been since he’d left Lawrence? Two weeks? Maybe just a little longer. Somehow it feels longer, and he also has no idea where he is now. The names of towns became a blur as he enjoyed being on the road.
Dean goes into the restaurant. He needs something greasy, and then it's checking where he is and then finding a comfortable place to sleep and to collect his thoughts. It was less daunting when he could list his tasks for the day like that, and he could ignore the fact that he had no fucking idea what in the hell he was doing or where to go next.
In retrospect, Dean is glad he stops where he does. He's not sure he believes in greater things, but somehow he thinks it was destined. As cheesy as it sounds.
He's back in the car, burger now successfully acquired. After the horrified look from the lovely waitress (who Dean tried his best smile sweetly at), he couldn't look good after sleeping. Dean quickly checks the mirror and almost jumps back in shock. He definitely needs to shave, he looks haggard and he honestly doesn't blame the waitress for her reaction.
Once he's settled and he notes that razors are something he definitely needs to pick up, he begins to look for listings. He finds he's in a relatively small college town, so there should be people around his age.
But he's hesitant, seeing a website for LGBT friendly places. Even though he's not typically or traditionally "out" yet, something in him can't help but browse through the listings on this site. He looked through listings - it was April so a lot of students would be moving out around this time of year. He did see a couple possibilities he wasn't against, and didn't have much of a preference.
He browsed until he until he saw a particular listing, which he got more excited about as he read.
**Looking for Male Roommate**
My name is Castiel, I live near the centre of town and I'm looking for a male roommate, no animals (I'm allergic). I have furniture if needed, but I am desperate as I won't be able to make rent, as my current roommate has moved out after some difficulties.
Dean tilted his head, looking as he scrolled the pictures on his phone. It was certainly something, and most rooms were empty (not that he was beyond sleeping on the floor), but he quickly noted the number and sent a text off as he finished looking.
Dean stared at the remnants of his burger, and he was shocked when his phone buzzed from an unknown number.
Hi, this is Castiel, you can come by now if you want.
Dean quickly stares at his phone - and he quickly devoured the rest of his burger, before he pulled up the address on his phone and drove out of the parking lot.
Castiel sends another text with the address. Dean was relieved. He quickly inhaled his burger and tried to shove most of his garbage and belongings under the seat as he pulled up to the small apartment.
Dean brushed the crumbs off his shirt and grabbed his phone. Hoping he at least looked presentable, he had brought a razor and shaved in a nearby gas station bathroom. Which is was a not a thrilling experience in the slightest - thankfully he'd had managed to not cut himself. But now he least looked less like he'd been lost in the wilderness.
Dean pulled into the parking lot - in the front was a small apartment building. Castiel’s apartment was on the first floor and Dean the room without too much trouble. For some reason, he was nervous, the burger settled uncomfortably in his stomach.
Dean waited patiently outside the apartment door. Castiel had said to meet him here at 10:00 am exactly. Dean was leaning against the door frame when the door suddenly opened. Dean jumped back, startled, and blinked in surprise as a someone poked their head out.
Dean held back his gasp because holy crap this guy was adorable. He had the brightest eyes, and a soft looking dark hair, he tilted his head at Dean quizzically. Dean couldn't hold back how much he wanted to stare at this man.
Dean was definitely staring and he watched as the man stepped all the way out. Dean composed himself and held his own hand. The guy took it questioningly and lightly shook it.
"Are you Cas?" Dean cursed as his mouth caught up with his brain - realized he’d not introduced himself.
Castiel blinked and swept his hair out of eyes, but it seemed to make it much messier anyways. Dean admired him and tried his best to not stare. He was too cute.
"Yes, of course. Come in," he said brightly, his face relaxed.
Dean beamed, trying his best to hide his staring. He walked in and the place was warm and cozy. There wasn't much clutter, but he did admire the various things Castiel had on the walls, some art that caught Dean's eye as he walked into the living area, which branched off into small kitchen and dining room. There were two bedrooms, in the first was actual bed with a mattress and a small bedside table with a dresser.
He realized that Castiel had been speaking with him and he hadn't been listening at all.
Castiel was staring at him, curious. He blinked and Dean was frozen under his stare. He cleared his throat.
"Were you not listening?" Castiel asked. Dean nodded sheepishly but he quickly tried to defend himself.
"Sorry, I haven't slept well. I’m… um… sleeping in my car… that's kind of why I need to stay here," Dean admitted. "My apartment burned down, I've been looked for work, and I started looking for a place to stay."
"It's okay," Castiel said with a small grin.
Castiel blinked. He adjusted the sweater he was wearing, and when he did, Dean saw a tattoo peak from right near his hip.
“My old roommate, Balthazar, left suddenly he had to move back home and now I’m struggling with the rent. “He did leave most of his furniture here thankfully so you don’t have worry about bringing your own things,” Castiel said brightly.
Gosh Dean stop ogling, he thought, and he tore his eyes away, his heart fluttering nervously.
Castiel stared at Dean up and down, and he didn't seem mad. In fact, somehow his expression softened and his eyes grew kinder and warmer. He was sure the guy was taking pity on him, but he couldn't admit that he didn't mind.
"Well, you were the first person to respond to my listing and I admit you seem nice," Castiel said honestly.
"I have enough money for rent this month. I'm going to try to find a job nearby, but I've been travelling for awhile so I'm sorry if that's a problem,” Dean said, wincing at his nervousness and stuttering.
Castiel tilted his head and stared. "Well, if you wanted to move in as soon as possible, it would really be great."
"Of course, I'd love to," Dean said, immediately regretting his word choice, gosh you're a crushing idiot, he thought, but he was overjoyed to have somewhere to stay other than his smelly car.
He moved in that day. Castiel was a huge help although Dean was extremely embarrassed at the disaster his car is. His Baby was in worse shape than he initially thought, and he felt guilty.
Castiel didn't seem to mind and he didn't judge or say anything if anything he seemed happy to help move Dean's slightly charred belongings. Dean welcomes the help gladly.
Dean carried his lone duffel bag and the other bag with his everything else, it was all he needed and as much as he didn't want to be forward, he really needed a freaking shower.
Dean scratched the back of his head and waiting in the doorway as Castiel placed the rest of his belongings in the nearly empty room.
"Can I shower really quick?" Dean said. Castiel nodded.
He barely remembered the shower, or how he got into bed. Dean didn't even care, it was relatively clean and not in the back of his car.
Once the warm shower water hit his skin he practically fell asleep standing up. It was heavenly compared to any motel he'd been to. He climbed in the bed in the bedroom, his bedroom, he corrected.
Dean fell asleep almost immediately as his head hit the pillow, happy to for once be sleeping curled in the backseat of his car.