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Crossing Paths

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Like every week for the past 2 years, Dean parked his Impala in the public-school dance’s parking lot, carrying with him on the passenger seat a couple of fresh water bottles for his kids. Damn he had learnt with time they became little monsters after their dance classes, always demanding snacks I want ice creams Daddy, get us ice creams!, and drinking entire bottles of water almost quicker than Dean drowning his bottles of beer. Almost.

Wednesday afternoon was entirely dedicated to Claire and Jack. Dean dropped them at Pre-School at 9 before his early shift at Bobby’s garage and trusted Missouri, who was basically like a mother for him and a grandmother for his kids, as well as their neighbor, to pick them up at 2, with their dirty hands usually full of new collages and drawings Dean always made sure were to be proudly hung on the fridge’s door. He loved looking at those, they were little pieces of art to him, created by his children’s tiny fingers, so full of joy and color. Yesterday had been a new sunset painting in Jack’s collection -a beautiful however unrealistic picture of a blue sun setting over a red sea- and a montage of geometric figures stuck on a hand-made drawing of -what looked like- a skinny bear (or a horse?) with no ears and the nose of a pig. Dean had no idea where his kids’ ideas came from, but they never failed to surprise him.

Claire and Jack ate down at Missouri’s house while Dean was at work and she was the one who took them to their dance classes once a week -this woman was a gem- but no matter how much she had insisted to come and get them afterwards, Dean never let her. After their classes, his kids were monsters indeed, but they always looked so happy, laughing and constantly moving around, chasing each other on the walk back to the car… It was Dean’s favorite moment of the week.

Today would be the same. Dean opened the front door and could already hear the distant excited tone in the children’s voices, running around the old wooden-floor room. How Tessa, the dance professor, managed to keep them all silent and still for a whole hour and a half every week was still a mystery to him. He crossed the threshold and immediately saw Charlie and her red hair leaning against the wall with her equally bright haired daughter in her arms. He approached her and knew the exact moment she had seen him when her face turned into a more cheerful expression.

“Dean”, she greeted with a smile. Charlie was the closet person he was to among the dance club, both nerdy parents that swore they would force their kids to watch Star Wars when they were older.

“Bradbury”, he greeted in return before waving a little at the kid wrapped in her arms. “Hello there, Amy. Did you have fun today?”

No answer came as the said Amy quickly hid her face in her mother’s neck. Dean raised his eyebrow questioningly and Charlie winced slightly, managing to whisper quietly so that the girl wouldn’t hear.

“Krissy stepped on her toe during the class, Tessa told me it was nothing, but she’s been upset ever since”

Dean winced back and looked back at the class full of kids in front of him as Tessa told them a last goodbye and counted on them to be here next week. Knowing Krissy, she couldn’t have been gentle, this girl was fierce for her age and Dean knew in his experience that she didn’t like to be messed with. About a year ago after the class usual performance on stage, Dean had attempted to help her by taking off her ballet shoes as a he had volunteered to be one of the chaperons. The bite mark on his forearm he had kept for the next few hours had been a terrific demonstration of force. Every kid in the club was pretty much nice according to him, most parents were as well; except maybe that uptight-looking Naomi that always bragged about her daughter’s inner talent.

Dean had seen his kids dance so much, whether it was at home in socks on the tiles of the kitchen or a few times a year on stage. He didn’t know if they particularly good at it from a professional point of view, nor did he care. All that mattered to him was how both of them looked so happy when they span around and jumped and endlessly practiced their pas-de-bourrée or grand-jeté, counting the rhythm 1,2,3-1,2,3-1,2,3 that Dean caught himself repeating over their littles voices as he cooked dinner. And they were seriously adorable.

He was pulled out of his thoughts by loud, rushed steps running his way and Dean had barely the time to brace himself when two little figures came crashing on him, hugging his legs tightly in a flow of words he could hardly understand a word of.

“Daddy, daddy! We learned new things today! T-Tessa showed us- the arabesque to us and-“

“And there was the saut-de-chat too! I know how to do it, look Daddy!”

“Hey! I was there before let me show him Jack!”

“No I want to do it-“

Before this could escalate into a fight, Dean crouch down to their heights. Claire’s hair was all over the place, her scrunchie almost completely falling out of her long hair. She looked exhausted but her eyes sparkles, as did Jack’s. His shorter hair was less disheveled but his short black skirt in worn tissue was quickly untying over his leotard. They must have done a lot of spins today.

“Hey kiddos, breathe for a sec okay?”, he chuckled, handing them over the bottles of water that they took with their eager tiny hands, drowning half of it before his eyes. Littles monsters.

“Kids come back here for a second, I have something to tell you about next week’s dance!”, said Tessa, calling them all back to the middle of the room. Jack instantly reacted, shaking Dean’s arms with excitement.

“We have a dance next week Daddy! Will you come see us? Say yes, say yes, say yes”, the boy pouted with hopeful eyes.

“Of course I’ll be there, I wouldn’t miss it for the world”, he kissed both of their foreheads and pushed them back to the center of the class, not wanting Tessa to wait too long. As he got up, he saw Charlie do the same and Amy ran back, seemingly in a better mood. If he was lucky, he could maybe snatch a little goodbye out of her mouth then they would leave. Her mother clasped a hand on his shoulder as the rest of the parents gathered up beside the door. Conversations started nicely, mainly small talk of “how’s work doing?”, “we got a barbecue planned next week after the kids’ performance, you wanna come?”, not things Dean particularly enjoyed himself. Going every weekend to Sammy’s very-domestic-residential house he lived in with Eileen and their long-hair kids was enough for him.

Behind the sounds of conversations in the room, something caught Dean’s attention. He turned his head slightly towards the closed door, a light frown appearing on his face.

The echo of a song seemed to be playing, it was faint, in the background, apparently so much that no one could hear it. But Dean had. Now that he had picked up on it through, it seemed he couldn’t stop. He shook his head slightly, trying to get back into the conversation but his mind kept wandering out there. Why was there any music on this side of the building? No one was even supposed to be there apart from the dance club that occupied the establishment on Wednesday. Was there someone else out there? Were they allowed to stay? Dean considered to directly ask Tessa about it, but seeing her so busy with the kids, he decided against it. And, to be honest, it picked his curiosity.

He didn’t give himself time to stop before he got out of the room, sending one last glance to Claire and Jack and check they were well distracted, and close the door behind him. Already, the song was louder, not muffled by the soundproof walls of the dance room. Dean walked down the corridors, following the music. In two years, he had never visited the building once, he had no idea where he was. At the end of the man hallway, a door was open, and the closer Dean walked, the louder the music was. He stopped at the doorway, waiting a faint second before peeking inside.

A man was there, dancing.

In the corner of the room, Dean observed him, captivated.

The first thing Dean noticed, was how beautiful he was. His body was on display for Dean to admire, the black tattoos and his dark, messy hair contrasting with his pale skin glistening with sweat in the light of the sun through the windows, the strong muscles of his arms and thighs as they flexed, the twitching visible through the skin. Dean couldn’t look away. He just couldn’t.

Everything in his man spoke of strength, of some sort of sensuality and sadness that had Dean hooked. He watched with wide eyes as the dancer swayed to the music, loud and meaningful that sent shivers through Dean’s own body. The man followed the piano notes and the deep, deep voice of the singer as his arched his body from the ground, the outline of his groin and thighs clearly visible through the thin fabric of his legging. Dean’s breath caught in his throat at the sight.

The man lifted himself from the ground with a single arm on a backward flip, his face was blank but there was something in the way he walked, slowly, his chest expanding with every breath he took, something cryptic and mysterious that mesmerized Dean.

Jumps after jumps, he continued to dance, oblivious to Dean’s presence. Every movement as he leaped through the air seemed effortless and still, there was a heaviness hidden behind those that Dean couldn’t describe. Gravity didn’t seem to apply to him. It was as if he was trying to escape his own skin, the man looked torn, the gestures of his body looked ragged, sharp one second and light and fleeting the next, a pure contradiction. If he could jump high enough, move fast enough, maybe he could escape himself.

He looked mad, and gorgeous.

Dean knew nothing of dance, but this performance spoke to him. Anger and sadness poured out of man, something that was painfully familiar to him. He felt like he knew his pain, although he didn’t know the reasons of its unmistakable presence. This wasn’t meant to be seen by anyone, it was personal, intimate, telling a story that Dean wished he would understand. How could this man make his movements so gracious and brutal at the same time?

Dean leaned back further against the doorway as the dancer carried himself around the room, careful not to let himself be seen, although he doubted this man could see anything as he was so truly engrossed in his dance. Should he leave? It was likely the best thing to do. Dean didn’t want to distract or interrupt him, and he had two crazy children to come back to. He should be leaving, yes, but he didn’t want to. He had his mad, burning desire to keep his eyes on this man, to see his every move until the song would fade.

The music slowed to a gentle pace and back on the ground, laying there with his legs spread and his head down, Dean was hit by how somber he looks, more vulnerable, as he crawled on the dirt by the strength of his arms, dragging the rest of his body behind. Dean watched, the man on his knees and bending his back backwards and for a few seconds, the bright light of the sun caught him in its rays of sunshine.

He looked at peace, then, divine, light flooding over him like the halo of an angel. He looked holy, so beautiful that Dean found himself entirely paralyzed.

The music went on for a little longer, Dean’s eyes still fixated on his body as he spun, finding the strength out of nowhere in a harmony of grace and fierceness that could only come from the depths of his soul. When the final notes hit, the man fell on his knees, breathing heavily and lost somewhere in his thoughts.

The long silence that followed was deafening.

Dean blinked, once, twice, his breathing progressively slowing down to a more normal pace. Well, that had been something. Dean readied himself to move out of this strange numbness that had settled in his bones and took a slow step backwards.

The old wooden floor creaked under his foot. Shit.

In an instant, the man’s eyes were on him. Bright blue eyes that made Dean’s heart skip a beat.

“What are you doing here?”, a deep, gravelly voice asked with a pronounced accent that sent shivers down his spine. Could this man get any more perfect?

“I- I was just… Sorry man, I didn’t mean to bother-“

“Were you watching me this whole time?”, he asked as he swiftly stood up on his feet and walked closer, looking at him, his blue eyes piercing his own. Dean swallowed nervously.

“No- I mean, yeah but I was just gonna… go”. His gaze wandered, God help him it did, as he came closer and closer until Dean was able to feel the heat of his skin, eying the lines of his shoulders and the muscles of his stomach, biting the inside of his cheek because this was so inappropriate, but he couldn’t help himself. His eyes drifted back to the man’s face and his blue eyes and full pink lips and rumpled hair.

“Who are you?”, Dean whispered at him as their gaze locked.

“Who are you?”, the man asked right back, looking -staring- at him with so much intensity, as if he wanted to see right through him, to try and figure him out.

“I’m Dean”, he answered and out of reflex, extended his hand up in the air in the space separating their bodies.

The man tilted his head to the side, something Dean found absolutely adorable, and his expression slowly turning from puzzled to a softer, more curious one, before slowing reaching out.

“I’m Castiel”

Their hands met in the middle. All trace of a frown vanished from the man’s -Castiel’s- face, replaced by the shadow of a smile over his lips.

 

Not like every other Wednesday after all.