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Red Card for the Win

Chapter Text

 

They learned exactly how to push each other’s buttons. Both in and out of the field.

Castiel Novak had been playing for Chelsea Football Club for one year. He came from a small town in Russia, in which he fought away from his six siblings’ shadows to find his own place on the spotlight.

Dean Winchester, on the other hand, was half a year behind on that count. He had signed a rich contract to play for Manchester United, with promises he was deeply focused on keeping, and managing to do that with success.

Playing against each other wasn’t supposed to be the big deal that it turned out to be, especially because they didn’t know each other. It was supposed to be only and solely about the sport. Only about scoring. Solely about winning for their teams… but it wasn’t.

The first time they played against each other, Dean found himself mesmerized by Novak’s every move. He ran through the other players with some sort of angelic grace, making Dean’s job as a defender much harder than it was supposed to be. Dean tried to hold him back and mark him wherever he went, but as soon as the forward moved close to him, Dean lost track of his purpose and ended up staring at the skilled pair of thighs and legs running and kicking his ass without even touching him. Every time their eyes caught on each other, that ocean blue seemed to drown him. Every time they touched, electricity buzzed through the contact point.

Obviously, Dean’s team lost that game.

Castiel scored the two goals, leaving Dean a screaming mess on the corner of the green field, getting side eyes from his coach. He ended up replaced on the following two matches, with a strong advice to get his shit together while he sat on the damn bench.

The second time Dean and Castiel played against each other, Dean swore to himself and his fellow defender Benny that he would not get distracted, that he would focus on his one true job and would not let Novak’s feet touch the ball.

Unfortunately –or not-, 15 minutes into the game, Dean had the pleasure to listen to Castiel’s voice.

Dean was chasing him on the vivid green field, noticing how he was waiting for a specific player to pass him the ball, so Dean put himself in front of Novak’s body and opened his arms to hold him back. He nodded towards Benny, signaling for him to take the ball from number 18, Balthazar, and kick it somewhere else, away from him and Novak. Lost in communication, Benny kicked the ball towards Dean instead, and with a swift movement, Castiel was already in front of him.

“Excuse me.” He said gently, taking the ball from Dean’s right foot. His voice rumbled inside Dean’s body, shaking him all over and making him take a step back and stare dumbly. “Thank you, Dean.” Novak added before setting off to lead the ball towards the goal in full speed.

“Fuck.” Dean gasped, and when his mind and body finally connected again, he started running. But it was too late, Castiel was kicking towards the goalkeeper and scoring.

A crowd of blue roared around him, and Dean fell to his knees.

“Dude! What the fuck?” Benny was walking towards him with his arms open, a confused and worried look on his face.

“I… I don’t know, man.” Dean ran a hand through his face and sighed. He looked up and saw Novak being hugged by his teammates while the crowd continued to scream. “I…” He tried again, but only shook his head.

“You better step up or you’re gonna get benched again, mate.” Benny warned him, offering a hand and helping Dean up.

Dean nodded and looked away from Benny, only to see Novak straightening his shirt while giving him a direct smug smile and a wink.

“Leave him to me…” Dean said to the teammates around him, staring back at Castiel and giving him a defiant nod. “I got number 9, you hear me?” He added in a scream to his team before starting to run again.

The rest of the game was a personal war between Dean and Castiel, while the other players did their jobs. Dean focused on not letting Castiel anywhere near the goal area or the ball itself. And that paid off, since they managed a draw.

When the referee gave the final whistle and everyone started to move and disperse, Dean stepped away from Castiel, nodding at him politely and turning around to walk towards the players exit, strongly intended not to stop and talk to the reporters, or even give the cameras a glimpse of his disturbed mind state.

“Hey.” Castiel’s voice came from behind him. “Would you like to exchange shirts?” He said and walked closer to Dean.

Dean frowned as he turned towards him. He noticed how his dark hair was sticking to his forehead, and his chest was still moving fast, tired and accelerated. His eyes had a gleam over the blue, showing something that looked like hope and worry.

Dean knew the cameras were all around them, probably filming the whole thing already. He felt the urge to place his hand over his mouth so that no one could possibly read his lips, but first, he wanted to make sure everyone knew he was being welcoming to his rival.

“Sure.” Dean said and started to take off his red shirt. The thin, white tank top he was wearing underneath was completely glued to his body, and he moved it a little to make it look better.

“No hard feelings?” Castiel asked, offering Dean his own shirt. Dean looked at him and caught sight of how his tank top was scrunched up on his ribs, showing off his navel.

Dean swallowed thick and looked up.

“None.” He answered, feeling hot all over as he took the blue shirt and gave Castiel his red one.

“Great.” Novak said decidedly, smiling at him before leaning forward for a hug. “You seem interesting… we should talk sometime.” He said against Dean’s ear. “I can have my number delivered to your hotel room, if you want.”

Dean was nodding before he could stop himself, his brain short-circuiting and trying to understand what was happening. Castiel stepped back and started to walk away.

“Great game, Winchester.” Novak yelled, not even looking back. “I’m glad you finally started playing for real.”

Dean opened his mouth but nothing came as an answer, so he stared. Castiel stopped for a quick interview on the end of the field, and while Dean watched him pulling on his tank top and then running a hand through his dark, sweaty hair, Benny stopped by his side, telling him they should leave. Dean gripped the blue shirt and followed Benny to the locker rooms.

 

***

 

“Who the fuck says excuse me before stealing the ball?” Dean complained, throwing himself on his bed and groaning. “And then he thanks me?!”

“Dude’s a pro… he gets to be snarky.” Victor offered before stuffing his mouth with salad.

“He was trying to get into your head.” Benny added, drumming his fingers on the table he was sitting at with Victor.

Dean shifted to lay on his side. He looked at the nightstand, where the blue Chelsea shirt was draped over.

“Seems like he succeeded.” Victor mumbled.

“Fuck off, Vic.” Dean retorted. He was about to make a speech about how Novak had no influence on him when there was a knock on the door.

Dean got up and sighed, walking towards the entrance and flipping Victor on his way.

He opened the door to see a tall man on a well-fitting black suit, looking much like a security guard.

“Can I help you?” Dean asked, intrigued.

“Mr. Winchester?” The man asked and Dean nodded. He then stretched his arm, offering Dean a white piece of paper. “From Mr. Novak.”

Dean’s eyes widened and he took the paper faster than he intended.

“Thanks.” He mumbled, turning the paper on his hand. He looked up and smiled at the man, and then watched him leave.

After closing the door, Dean turned around as he opened the paper. In a sloppy handwriting, the words “Castiel Novak” and a phone number were written. He smiled to himself.

When he looked up, Victor and Benny were looking at him with smirks on their lips.

“What?” Dean asked, then cleared his throat and placed the paper in his pocket.

“I think you were saying something about how Novak didn’t get inside your head at all…” Benny teased him, pouting in thought.

“Man, I know nothing about him getting into Dean’s head… but his pants? Well, that I’m sure he will get into.” Victor continued, then chuckled and high-fived Benny. “No later than tomorrow if I had to bet.”

“I’d bet on the weekend tops.” Benny added.

“Assholes.” Dean mumbled as he walked past his friends to sit back on his bed. “Shouldn’t you be in your rooms by now?” He said, grumpily.

“Looks like someone needs some privacy, huh?” Victor said, turning around in his chair.

“If you’re gonna be a dick, get the fuck out of here, dude!” Dean snapped, turning around and pointing at the door. Victor’s eyes widened in surprise, and Benny’s widened in concern, so Dean took a deep breath and shook his head. “For real, guys… it’s late.”

Benny nodded, and elbowed Victor as he got up. Victor mumbled something but followed Benny towards the door, taking his plate with him.

“See you guys tomorrow.” Dean said, as both of his friends walked out the door.

“Night, brother.” Benny waved two fingers.

Victor mumbled a goodnight just as the door clicked shut.

Dean sat on the bed and sighed. He stared at the beige wall for a minute until he remembered the paper in his pocket.

Quickly, he reached for his phone and laid back on the bed, shifting to find a comfortable position. For a second, he wondered if he really should try to start something with Castiel, knowing how difficult it would be for them to manage everything. But there was no use pretending that he was not interested, and Novak seemed an interesting person, not to mention that he was clearly interested in Dean.

Settling on trying, Dean added the contact to his list and tried to think of a first message to send.

[Dean]
thanks for sending a nice dude to deliver your number…
I almost asked his number instead, but it wouldn’t be fair to you
we had a deal

[from: Novak]
Well, Marcus is a very beautiful man, Dean…
I’m sure you’d love to spend time with him.

[Dean]
hm, I’ll keep that in mind in case I need it in the future ;)

[from: Novak]
If it’s up to me, you won’t…

Dean’s eyes widened instantly and he chuckled nervously. ‘Well, that was smoothly forward… nice…’, he thought.

[Dean]
that’s good to know

[from: Novak]
Thank you for accepting my invitation to talk.
I really would like to get to know you better.
Under no intentions to use that against you on games, of course.

[Dean]
Well
I’m definitely not opposed to that…

Dean considered inviting Castiel over to his bedroom, but saying that directly would be excessively forward and suggestive.

Castiel, though, beat him to it.

[from: Novak]
I see we’re staying at the same hotel tonight…
Would you like to come over to my room?
And maybe share some expensive food on my club’s account?

[Dean]
damn that’d be nice.
where are you staying?

[from: Novak]
Room 10C
I’ll let Marcus know you’re allowed on our floor

[Dean]
alright, be right there ;)

Dean jumped out of the bed in a quick movement and walked to the couch, where his clothes were over. As he looked through his shirts, he realized that if he dressed something else, it would seem as if he was trying too hard to impress Castiel. And that’s not what he wanted. So he decided to stick to what he was wearing: a black henley and sweatpants. He put on his grey espadrilles and left his room.

After letting the security guard responsible for his floor know about where he was going, Dean requested that he did not tell anyone about his location unless there was an emergency.

Dean tapped his feet on the floor and flexed his fingers during his whole ride in the elevator, anxious and a little nervous. When the structure stopped and the doors dinged open, Dean stepped forward into a very little illuminated hallway, gripping his phone tight between his fingers.

“Winchester?” The guard that delivered Castiel’s number –Marcus- asked, standing by the side of the elevator, which was closing and going somewhere else.

“Yeah.” Dean nodded.

Marcus pointed to the right.

“Three doors to your right.” He said simply.

“Thanks.” Dean smiled at him and walked away.

When he found room 10C, Dean knocked twice and shifted unconsciously from one foot to another until Castiel opened the door. His chest tightened and his heart sped immediately.

Castiel’s smile was clearly genuine, and his comfort was visible. He was wearing sweater gym shorts and a t-shirt that hugged his upper body perfectly.

“Hey, Cas.” Dean mumbled, trying and failing not to stare up and down at Castiel’s body.

“Hello, Dean.” Castiel answered with a chuckle, smirking at the way Dean was clearly checking him out. He stepped back and opened one arm. “Come in.”

Dean averted his eyes as he felt his neck burning and walked inside the bedroom so that Cas could close the door. The living room area was right in front of him, the big ceiling-to-floor window open and showing the glistening city that surrounded the building.

“I’m glad you came over.” Castiel said in a slightly low voice, causing Dean to notice how close to each other they were standing. He could feel Cas’ breathing on the curve of his neck, as well as a shiver running up and down his spine due to the proximity of their bodies.

“Yeah, me too.” Dean said, looking to the side and locking eyes with Cas.

Castiel held the stare for long seconds, and Dean was the one to break it when Cas reached forward and placed a hand on his lower back.

“Let’s get more comfortable.” Cas said, leading Dean to the couch.

They sat side by side on the large couch, arms touching and thighs almost fully in contact. Castiel reached forward to get the hotel’s restaurant menu.

“What would you like to eat?” Cas asked, turning the pages and studying the options.

“Not sure…” Dean wondered, pulling his right ankle on top of his left knee. “Any recommendations?”

“Their burgers are amazing...” Castiel said, looking at him and Dean noticed how his smile was excited.

“I’d never turn down a good burger.” Dean decided.

Castiel hummed as he got up.

“I’m certain we will get along better than imagined.” He said and winked at Dean while he walked towards the phone by the door.

While Castiel dialed, Dean looked to the side and caught sight of the bedroom area. The bed was slightly rumpled, as if Cas had been laying there, and his clothes were all folded neatly by the side of his bag, which was on the upholstered bench positioned by the foot of the bed.

“Hello. Yes, 10C.” Castiel was saying. “I would like 2 house burgers and… beers?” He finished loudly, catching Dean’s attention. Dean nodded. “Yes, four beers… The usual one. Of course, that sounds good. Okay. Thank you.”

Castiel placed the phone on the hanger and walked back to the couch, squeezing Dean’s thigh as he sat.

“It’ll be ready in about fifteen minutes.” He said.

“Sounds good.” Dean said and continued to look around.

“So tell me… Winchester.” Castiel started, turning to the side so that he could face Dean. “The big star of Manchester United.” He teased, raising his eyebrows. “What should I know about you?”

“Uh, I don’t really have much going on.” Dean shrugged. “I’m from Texas, in the US. Got a younger brother and little family around.” He shared.

Castiel nodded.

“Are you close to them?” He asked, curious but trying not to intrude.

“Yeah… my brother is a lawyer and every now and then he flies over to watch me play.” Dean explained.

“That’s nice.” Castiel commented with interest, and Dean nodded. “I knew you were a good, simple man.”

Dean smiled, reluctant to take the compliment.

“I kinda got some info on you if I’m being honest…” He said with a nervous chuckle, and noticed how Cas’ eyes widened in question. “After we played together for the first time, I researched about you.” He reveled.

Castiel laughed heartily.

“Well isn’t that interesting...” He said.

“Uhm… considering how intimidated I was? Not interesting at all.” Dean said with a laugh, relaxing in the couch and letting his body drift closer to Castiel’s.

“What do you know about me, then?” Cas asked, resting his head on his hand; his arm propped on the back of the couch.

Dean hummed and pouted in thought.

“You’re Russian.” He said and got a nod from Cas. “You’re a fucking pro in many aspects, and that’s awesome. You got a degree in accounting or something like that… hmm, and you played for great teams after leaving your country.”

“Seems like you’ve been busy, huh.” Cas smiled, raising his eyebrows.

“Well I had to do something during my time at the bench.” Dean said with a casual shrug.

“Oh! I heard about that…” Castiel said cheekily. “I’m glad to know I got some influence on you.”

“Some?” Dean averted his eyes in shame. “It’s more like way too much influence.”

Castiel hummed, lowering his hand from his face.

“What about the intimidation… now that we have talked?” He asked, voice slightly lower. “Is it still excessive?”

Dean looked at Cas and noticed how his eyes were a little darker, but glistening. He unconsciously lifted his chin, keeping his eyes on Cas’ intense stare.

“Nah.” Dean said with a quick shake of his head. “That faded away.”

“Good.” Cas answered lowly. “Because I was thinking of kissing you.”

Dean smiled.

“I think that would definitely kill the intimidation for good.” Dean agreed on the same tone of voice, low and wanton.

Castiel’s smile was visible on the right corner of his mouth right before his lips touched Dean’s, which were already open in expectancy. Once together, their lips slid against each other slowly and almost lazily, trying to understand the rhythm. Cas’ left hand went to Dean’s jaw, and his thumb gently caressed his cheek. In the meantime, Dean tried out a little tongue, shifting closer and placing a hand on Castiel’s thigh.

The movement caused a low grave sound to erupt from Castiel’s throat, and that shot electricity through both their bodies, just like when they touched during the games.

Dean pulled back to breathe in, keeping his forehead against Cas’ and his eyes closed. He hummed, and felt Castiel smile.

“Gone?” Cas whispered, playing with Dean’s earlobe between his fingertips.

Dean frowned slightly.

“What?” He asked, confused.

“The intimidation.” Castiel chuckled.

“Oh.” Dean mumbled. “Yeah… but I think we need to make sure it stays gone.” He added.

Castiel hummed as an answer, and opened up his lips as Dean leaned in for another fiery, intense kiss.

Dean was about to run his hand a little further up Castiel’s thigh when the there was a knock on the door, causing both of them to sigh into the kiss.

Room service.” A voice came in between knocks.

Castiel leaned back, breaking the kiss and then reaching for Dean’s hand.

“One second!” Cas said loudly while looking at the door, then turned back to Dean and pecked his lips three more times.

He got up, letting go of Dean’s hand only when he was far enough that they couldn’t touch each other anymore. With a smile, he answered the door.

“Good Evening.” Cas said sympathetically, and that impressed Dean, since he was sure that if he was the one to answer the door, he would have been rude for being interrupted mid an almost-make-out-session.

“Good Evening Mr. Novak.” A young woman entered the room, pushing a wheeled cart with two trays on top of it. “Enjoy your dinner.” She said, then looked at Dean and nodded with a smile.

Dean waved two fingers at her from the couch, returning the smile.

“Have a good night.” Castiel said before waving and closing the door when she had left. “I’m sorry for the interruption.” He said as he pushed the cart towards the couch. “I would’ve appreciated their efficiency and quick work at any other moment.” He chuckled.

“It’s fine…” Dean shook his head, sitting properly on the couch and taking the tray Castiel offered him. He placed it on top of the coffee table and took away the lid from it. “This looks great.”

“It tastes better.” Castiel offered while sitting by Dean’s side again, placing the second tray on the coffee table as well.

“I’m sure it won’t be better than our kiss, though.” Dean said in a low voice before he could stop himself. He blushed immediately, not used to being so forward.

Castiel’s head turned towards him quickly and a smile spread on his lips.

“I like the way you think.” He said, and when Dean looked at him, he leaned forward and gave Dean’s lips a quick kiss.

 

***

 

They talked for the entire night, moving from the couch to the bed after some time, trying to get more comfortable. And after some making out minutes, they ended up cuddling while talking about all the things that came to their minds.

They fell asleep around five in the morning, and Castiel’s phone alarm woke them up at seven, since his team would leave the hotel at eight to go to a different city for a game.

“I should get going.” Dean said with a sigh, leaving Castiel’s embrace and getting up from the bed. “We leave to Liverpool at nine.”

“Wait.” Cas called and Dean turned around to face him.

Cas crossed the bed so that he could reach for Dean’s arm and pull him back. He stayed kneeling on the bed, and Dean stood by the end of it. Cas placed both arms around Dean’s middle and leaned his head down to kiss his sternum. Dean draped both arms over Castiel’s shoulders, hands on the back of his neck and hair.

“I would like to give us a try.” Cas said in a low voice, the sassy, cheeky tone of voice gone.

Dean looked him in the eyes, seeing the clear hope they contained.

“I want that too, Cas.” Dean said with a smile, nuzzling Cas’ cheek. “But you know we can’t be public just yet, right?”

“Yes…” Castiel said in disappointment, arms tightening around Dean’s body. “I’m willing to try anyway.”

They knew that being in a public relationship would not only jeopardize their current jobs, but their whole careers. The soccer world was not exactly known for being welcoming to LGBT people.

“How would we do this?” Dean asked.

Castiel leaned back to look Dean in the eyes, but kept the embrace.

“We could keep in touch, and try to meet whenever we have the chance?” He offered.

Dean nodded.

“That will be so hard.” He said with a huff of laugh, averting his eyes.

“I know.” Castiel agreed. He lifted one hand and cradled Dean’s face. “But I think we could have something really good, and special.”

Dean looked at him, leaning into the touch on his face. He nodded.

“Okay, Novak.” He decided. “I’m in.”

Castiel smiled, pulling Dean for a kiss.

 

Chapter Text

 

Dean and Castiel had been managing their relationship and the league for four months. They played against each other once more in that period, but did not get to talk before or after the game, because Castiel’s team arrived just on time and then left the city immediately after the match.

A day earlier, though, they had talked over the phone, coming to an agreement to do their best to separate their jobs from their relationship during the games against each other, and that involved trying not to act on their feelings or let themselves forget about their careers. They agreed to try to play as if they did not know each other, as if the only important thing was winning.

Their agreement worked well, and Dean did his job as a defender while Castiel tried his best to go past him as a forward. Neither of them ended up benched that time. Neither did them have mercy on each other due to the new relationship status.

After that game, though, they ended up spending almost two months without seeing each other.

The practices were frequent, difficult and tiring, and the league was intense and in full force, still promising many headaches. They kept missing each other by mere hours on the cities they went to play, and the frustration of only speaking over video calls and text messages was getting on their nerves.

“I’m so glad we only have one more game…” Dean commented as he folded his clothes and placed them inside his bag. “And our vacation better not blow up in our face ‘cause after being away for so long I can’t wait to be glued to you for at least three weeks.”

“We will go on that trip no matter what.” Castiel said, voice slightly muffled by the computer speakers. “I won’t hesitate to quit my job to make it happen.”

Dean sat on the bed to be able to see the screen and be seen by Castiel. He sighed.

“I miss you, babe.” He said.

“I miss you too…” Castiel said sadly, but then smiled. “We’ll see each other tomorrow, it’s almost over.”

Dean nodded, fiddling with the pillow, the tension and the anxiety filling his insides again.

“Do you want to talk about the game?” Castiel asked carefully. Their teams were on the final round against each other.

“Not really.” Dean said in a sigh. “Playing against you will be harder this time.”

“It will… I’m sure of that.” Castiel said. He ran a hand over his face in apprehension. “But we can do this.”

Dean nodded.

“I’ll do my best to go hard on you.” He said with a weak smirk.

Castiel snorted.

“As long as you don’t grope my ass or my dick by accident during the game…” Castiel said and Dean grinned, remembering their last time playing together.

“You only want groping in private after the game, then?” Dean asked, getting a smile and a nod from Castiel. “I can work with that.” He said in a slightly thinner voice.

Cas chuckled, shaking his head.

They looked at each other for a few seconds, softly drinking in their feelings. Those three little words were right on the tip of Dean’s tongue, ready to be declared, but he remembered that saying that over skype was not the way he wanted things to go… truth be told, he did not know in which way he wanted, but he knew it wasn’t going to be over a video call.

“I should get some shut eye...” Dean said instead. “The bus leaves early.”

“Yes, of course.” Castiel said with a weak smile. “See you tomorrow on the field.” He added.

“See you tomorrow.” Dean answered. “Bye, babe.” He winked.

As usual, Castiel kissed two of his fingers and then led them to the camera, turning off the call.

Dean sighed, and then threw himself back with a groan.

 

***

 

Dean’s nerves were buzzing, his blood boiling. He could not believe he was about to see Castiel in person again. He jumped from one feet to another, flexing his fingers and his neck from side to side. Mumbling unintelligible words of focus.

The kid standing by his side –Brian, his shirt said- looked up at him with curious eyes. Dean smiled.

“Are you nervous, Mr. Winchester?” The young boy asked, his dark eyes glistening.

Dean huffed a gentle laugh.

“Yeah, I guess I am.” He said with a nod.

“But you’re the best player of all! You don’t have to be nervous.” Brian said, tilting his head in a way very similar to Cas’.

“Well…” Dean started and then pursed his lips. He knelt down to be able to look the boy in the eyes. “I’m about to see someone I love today for the first time after a really long time.” He said in a low voice, almost whispering.

Brian’s eyes widened.

“Oh.” He said in understanding. He leaned closer to Dean’s ear. “Good luck.” He whispered.

Dean chuckled and gave Brian a hug.

“Thanks kid.” He said before getting up.

A motion in front of them signaled that they were about to walk into the field, so Dean stretched his arm and opened his hand, smiling at Brian. The boy took his hand in a firm squeeze, widening his smile.

The crowd’s cheers became louder and louder with each step into the field, but everything faded and disappeared once Dean looked to his right and spotted Castiel walking into the field holding a little girl’s hand.

Cas was looking ahead, not wavering for a second, clearly focused. Dean knew Cas preferred not to distract himself if he could help, and Dean did not blame him. He also knew this game was a big deal for Cas, especially because he was the main forward player of the team, and the coach had been pressuring him a lot. Dean smiled to himself and looked ahead. He knew Cas would kick his ass once again, and he was happy about that.

They all got into position and started the procedure of hymns, greeting the rival team and coin flipping. Castiel had a serious look on his face as he simply gave Dean a nod when they passed in front of each other. Dean, though, could not help himself and winked with a strong handshake.

Minutes later, Inias, number 11 and Chelsea’s captain for the match, met Victor in front of the referees, while the rest of the teams disrobed from their coats and said goodbye to the children. Dean handed his jacket to the assistant and set off to the middle of the field, jumping a couple of times to warm his body. He greeted some of the players again with more informal hugs and looked around trying to spot Castiel.

Cas was speaking to his coach, nodding seriously to the words being whispered into his ear. Dean watched him, and noticed when both the coach and Cas looked at him, then to Benny and continued to whisper. With a final nod and a fist bump, Castiel ran towards the middle of the field, getting into position.

Dean swallowed thick. Apparently, Cas could be ruthless. He looked at Benny and Victor and nodded at them, silently wishing them a good game.

When the referee blew the whistle, Dean headed to the other side of the field, already intended on keeping Chelsea’s attackers away from the goal area. The first half of the game was all about that. He tried his best to take the ball away from Castiel and Balthazar’s feet, taking them down a couple of times and only twice marking a foul. Dean knew he and Benny were pissing Cas and Balthazar off with the insistent marking, and their curses, scowls and heavy breathings were clear indications of that.

When halftime arrived, Cas left the field without a single look towards Dean, carrying a deep frown. As they met again in the lawn for the second half of the game, he seemed different somehow, but Dean could not exactly place what had changed.

He found out ten minutes later, though, when Castiel and four other players set a rehearsed formation towards the goal. He sighed deeply, knowing Castiel’s team had changed the whole strategy for the game, and he could not plan anything to beat them while in the field. Dean and his teammates found themselves cornered so that Castiel could get to the goal… and he did, scoring a beautiful goal exactly on the right corner of the stand.

Dean watched it all with pride swelling in his chest against his will. He saw Castiel running to the corner of the field, looking at him, and then kissing two fingers and stretching his arm forward, just as he usually did to turn off their video calls.

Dean huffed a laugh and smiled. He definitely could not care less about losing anymore… not while being so head over heels for his main enemy.

A crowd of blue embraced Cas in a second, and they all celebrated as if they had already won.

“Brother… I know you’re in love and all.” Benny appeared by Dean’s side and placed a hand on his shoulder. “But you gotta at least try to hold him back. For us… your team.”

Dean opened his mouth to deny Benny’s words, but found himself sighing and then nodding.

“I’m gonna try.” He said seriously. “Sorry, man.”

Benny shook his head, dismissing the apology, and ran back to the other side of the field.

Quickly, the ball was already back to the players’ feet, and Dean had to think of something subtle to do to break Castiel’s balance for the rest of the game, even if that meant playing a little dirty.

Suddenly, an idea clicked in his head.

He decided to continue with the marking, but focusing on Balthazar instead of Cas. He remembered how pressed and annoyed Castiel had been when Balthazar kept flirting with him when they met once in Cas’ room. The man did it naturally, just like Dean, but Castiel had been sulky for the rest of the night.

Dean approached Benny and whispered to him in a quick motion that he would take care of Balthazar, and he and Victor should keep an eye on Cas and Inias.

The change of plans caught Castiel’s eyes after a few minutes, and he frowned watching Dean being extra physical to mark Balthazar. Dean held him by his middle, by his arm and neck, all with care not to be punished. He smoothed his hands on Balthazar’s arms after the ball had escaped their feet, even hugged the dude a couple of times with apologies for the hard marking.

It all came to a halt when there were only five minutes left on the clock.

Dean saw Castiel practically alone on the other side of the field, already heading to the goal area. He set off towards him, and when he was close, Dean stepped to Castiel’s left side, closer to the sideline.

With a hand between Cas’ shoulder blades -careful not to grip his shirt and get a foul- Dean stretched his left leg to place a feet in front of Castiel’s ankle and kick the ball away. However, since Castiel had just moved forward with the ball, he tripped and fell on his side.

Dean stopped running and went to help him up, but in a second, Cas was on his feet, striding towards Dean with intensity in his eyes.

Dean tried not to waver as Castiel’s chest met his, pushing him back with inhuman strength. Their mouths almost touched, but Castiel changed route on the last second, brushing their noses together for a brief second instead. After another strong chest bump, Castiel’s hands held him close while his face went to Dean’s neck, and Dean kept himself from holding Cas’ waist and pulling him even closer.

Dean felt Castiel’s teeth slightly sinking into the curve of his neck for a millisecond, and a thrilling wave of exhilaration ran through his body. He pushed Castiel with his chest, and together, they stepped back a couple of times.

“Fuck, Dean.” Castiel mumbled against his skin, lips ghosting their way up to his ear while both arms embraced Dean in a hug.

Dean closed his eyes and felt one of Cas’ hands going up to the back of his head.

There was a whistle blowing close to them, and Dean was vaguely aware of some other players around to separate them, but all he could see and feel was Castiel’s body in touch with his, pushing him, demanding, angry.

“You teasing fucker.” Cas whispered, before letting Dean go, stepping back with both hands raised in self-defense.

In a mere second, they were all bundled around the referee, begging him not to give them any cards, but the man silenced them with a raised hand. He then raised a yellow card for Dean while yelling, demanding better behavior and scolding him for “having made Novak fall in the first place”. Seconds later he raised a red card for Cas, who was screaming right in front of the man, assuring him he had not bit Dean.

Dean agreed, saying he had not been bit and even showing his neck off. However, the referee did not accept, only raised the card higher and pointed to the exit of the field.

Cas sighed and shook his head, starting to walk towards the end of the field in between curses. He met his coach in the middle of the way and they both walked to the resting place for the extra team.

Dean followed him with his eyes, seeing the smirk on his face as he sat on the bench and reached for a bottle of water. Still a little confused, and extremely aroused, Dean tried to focus back on the game. He slowly jogged towards the players who were about to take the foul Dean had marked.

When the referee blew the whistle indicating the end of the game, all the Chelsea players and workers ran to the field, celebrating their win on the final round and classification to the international league.

He saw Castiel running too, and did not even try to congratulate him in the field. The cameras were everywhere and besides that, he wanted Cas to enjoy the achievement with his teammates, not him.

Dean smiled to himself before joining his upset teammates to leave the field.

 

***

 

Five hours later, Dean was drowsing on the hotel room’s bed, surrounded by soft blankets that gently touched his almost completely bare skin, and taking full advantage of the air conditioning. He had already had dinner, and was simply waiting to see if Castiel would show up or would crash with his teammates after partying.

He had not even tried to text Cas, knowing he’d be busy for the rest of the day celebrating the win in the stadium and then at some bar with the whole team and crew.

Around 11 pm, a soft knock made Dean sit up in a fast movement, startled. He looked around and saw nothing, and when the knock came again, he noticed it was coming from the door.

With a sigh, he got up and walked slowly to the door, stopping to put on the fluffy white robe offered by the hotel. He opened the door with a yawn, and saw Castiel standing there with a smile and seriously tired eyes, along with two suitcases.

“Hey.” Dean mumbled, immediately smiling too.

“Hi.” Cas answered and stepped forward, enveloping Dean in a tight hug.

“Hm, look at you… all nice and showered.” Dean said, breathing in close to Cas’ neck, then leaving a kiss there.

“I didn’t want to come here smelling like other people’s booze.” Cas chuckled and stepped back. He took the bags and walked into the room.

“Didn’t you party with them?” Dean asked, closing the door and then following Cas to the bedroom area to sit next to him on the end of the bed.

“I did…” Cas shrugged. “But they got drunk pretty fast and I’m not fond of being intoxicated, you know that.”

Dean nodded, reaching for Cas’ hand.

“Congratulations, by the way.” He said with a raise of eyebrows and a smile. “You played very well. I’m proud of you.”

“Thank you.” Castiel said, a faint blush creeping on his cheeks. “I’m sorry you lost.”

“I’m not.” Dean said as he leaned in for a kiss, which Castiel conceded.

Dean’s hand went to Castiel’s neck, drawing him closer, trying to deepen the kiss. But Castiel hummed into it and leaned back with wide eyes.

“I forgot to tell you!” Cas said and licked his lips. “Yesterday, after we talked, I had a video call with my coach, and they’re changing me from number 9 to 10 starting on the next game.” He smiled big.

“For real?” Dean’s eyes widened as well. “This is amazing, babe! You’re fucking incredible!” He said and pulled Cas into a hug.

“Thank you.” Cas whispered, holding strongly onto the hug for long seconds.

Dean closed his eyes and relished on the feeling.

“I’m so sorry, my love.” Cas suddenly said in a quiet voice, burying his face in Dean’s neck and slightly shaking his head. “I’m so sorry for what I did to you in the game.”

“What?” Dean mumbled in confusion, huffing a laugh. “Cas, you don’t have to apologize for that.” He said, leaning back and holding Cas’ biceps to stare into his eyes, which were watery and glassy.

“Were you mad?” Cas asked sincerely. His tired eyes were filled with worry, blinking slowly.

“Of course not. I swear.” Dean said with a fond smile, wanting to reassure him. “C’mon, let’s lay down.”

Dean helped Cas to take off his t-shirt and jeans, then got up, took off the robe and walked around the bed, seeing as Cas dragged himself over the blankets to get under them.

They settled close to each other, and stayed silent for a few minutes.

“I provoked you into losing your patience and you ended up kicked out of the game.” Dean said quietly. “I’m the one who’s sorry.”

“No.” Cas yawned into the pillow, nuzzling it while reaching for Dean. He seemed to be falling asleep. “Are you sure you’re not mad?” He asked, words dragged by his tiredness.

“Yeah, babe.” Dean said, allowing Cas to pull him closer. “I’m very sure.”

Cas turned his head towards Dean and pouted, asking for a kiss, which Dean gave him with a smile.

“Okay.” Cas said in a sigh, eyes still closed.

A few minutes went by with them in silence.

Dean rearranged the blankets over their bodies, and shifted until he found a good position to their cuddle.

Castiel seemed to have fallen asleep, so Dean kissed his nose as goodnight, but Cas sighed deeply.

“Why are you so sure?” Cas mumbled, clearly somewhere between sleeping and awake.

“Because I love you, Cas.” Dean answered softly, shifting even closer, tightening his arms around Cas’ body.

Castiel hummed.

“I love you too.”  He said in a murmur, and Dean’s lips formed a smile.

 

***

 

They woke up the next morning to the sound of the alarm at midday. Exactly four hours before their flight.

Dean grunted, rolling to the middle of the bed to find Cas’ body.

“Why is that shit so loud?” Dean mumbled against the pillow.

“Because you never get up to the softer tunes.” Cas said as he stretched himself to the nightstand to reach for the phone and turn off the alarm.

When Cas laid back by his side, Dean hugged his middle and kissed the silky skin next to his ear.

“Morning.” Dean said slowly.

“Good morning.” Cas answered, turning his head to peck Dean’s lips. “Are you feeling okay?”

“Yeah.” Dean gave a little nod. “What about you? You seemed pretty tired last night.”

“I feel good.” Cas nodded. “Wait…” He propped himself on his elbow and frowned. “Did I sleep while we were talking last night?”

“No, not really…” Dean shrugged, laying on his back and placing both hands under his head.

“All I remember is asking if you were sure about not being angry… and then you assured me that you weren’t.” Cas squinted, studying Dean’s face. “What else happened? I remember talking to you but I can’t remember about what, or what was said.”

Dean looked intently at Cas’ eyes, trying to decide if he should or not repeat the declaration. Castiel’s eyes, on the other hand, continued to try reading him, in that loving way that indicated he was trying to read Dean’s mind.

Suddenly, Dean smiled at the realization that it did not matter the place or time he said the words… he knew it would be perfect because it would be true. And that was the only thing that mattered.

“I said that I love you.” Dean said and pursed his lips in a smile.

Castiel’s eyebrows fell back to place, and his expression became dumbstruck.

“What?” He said in almost a whisper. “Are you serious?”

Dean only gave him a short nod, and with it, Castiel sighed an emotional laugh. With a smile, he shifted to straddle Dean’s hips, then pecked his lips once and nuzzled his cheek.

“What did I say in return?” Cas whispered, lips brushing Dean’s, pecking it now and then.

Dean leaned up and kissed Castiel.

“You said you love me…” He answered, also quietly, hands running from Cas’ shoulders to his lower back.

“Hmm… Did I now?” Cas said and gave Dean’s lower lip a gentle bite as his hands roamed over Dean’s shoulders. “You know… people can’t lie when they talk in their sleep.”

“Is that so?” Dean said, pecking Cas’ lips again, planting both feet on the bed to accommodate their bodies better.

“Yeah.” Cas agreed, then squeezed Dean’s shoulders. “I love you.” He said before giving Dean a deep kiss, inciting him to open his lips and pour all the feelings into the touch.

Dean’s hands went down to Castiel’s hips, and there they squeezed the skin, fingertips moving under the hem of his underwear, getting in touch with the warm skin.

“I love you.” Cas repeated against Dean’s lips, then moved slightly to be able to hug him.

“Love you too, babe.” Dean answered, mouth against Cas’ ear.

“You better do something to piss me off until next year…” Cas said, still draped over Dean’s body, caressing his ear and his hair. Dean hummed in question. “I’m deeply inclined to let you win all the games from now on.” He chuckled.

“I’ll make sure to annoy you into biting me again.” Dean said with a laugh, giving Cas’ ass a gentle slap.

Castiel snorted, pushing himself to sit again, both hands on Dean’s chest, a smirk on his lips.

“That sounds like a plan, Winchester.” He said and winked.

“Bring it on, Novak.” Dean answered with his chin raised in challenge.