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Tracing Thoughts

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With a tired groan, Dean Winchester flipped his textbook closed. It was super late. Way later than he’d like to be awake on a Monday night. If it wasn’t for the huge Chemistry exam he had the following morning just before lunch, he’d already be curled into bed. He stretched his feet out under the desk, leaning back in the office chair and throwing his head back with a quiet yawn.

Definitely time for bed. Dean pushed himself out slightly, arranging his study notes before placing them behind the cover of the textbook for safe keeping. He stood tiredly swaying slightly on his feet after hours in the chair. He maneuvered his way through the apartment easily, despite the fact that it wasn’t his apartment.

Dean absolutely could not study at home. It was hard. When he was at home, there were more important things to worry about than studying, he had to make sure Sammy was fed, that Sammy had everything he needed for school, make sure the house was decently clean, that Dad hadn’t managed to hurt himself doing whatever stupid shit he was up to at the time- he basically had to be both of his parents for Sammy. It was a lot, but it was always worth it for Sammy.

Tonight though, in preparation of the Chemistry exam, Dean had planned ahead. He’d sent Sammy home with one of the thirteen-year old’s friends, given them money to order pizza or something. This got Sammy away from the house, so Dean didn’t have to be home for the boy.

Dean nudged the bedroom door open, wincing as a quiet squeak broke the silence. Dean grinned to himself when he saw the apartment owner curled up in the bed. Cas was cuddled into the navy-blue duvet on the bed, his head supported by a pillow. The man was on his side, dark hair tousled from tossing and turning. His lips were parted ever so slightly and his chest rose steadily with his evened-out breaths.

Dean didn’t know how the twenty-one-year-old managed to make sleeping look so damn adorable, but lo and behold. Dean crept into the room, grabbing a shirt from his backpack before heading into the bathroom outside Cas’ bedroom door. Dean brushed his teeth, changed his shirt and stepped out of his pants, leaving him in just his boxers and the tee. He walked himself back into Cas’ room, slowly lowering himself into the older boy’s bed, he took great care in trying not to wake the older up- especially at this hour. Dean curled into the blankets, heaving a quiet breath as the warmth enveloped him.

Cas was still asleep. Dean watched Cas’ side raise and fall as the older breathed. His breaths were even and slow. It was soothing to watch.

As tired as Dean was, he couldn’t fall asleep. He lied quietly with his eyes squeezed shut for a couple minutes before turning on his side and sighing. This stupid exam. He couldn’t help but think of all the worst-case scenarios. This exam was worth a lot of his final grade- if he failed it, he’d basically fail the whole class.

Dean scooted himself closer to Cas, his torso pressing against Cas’ back. He wedged his foot between Cas’ carefully, then nuzzled his nose into the back of the older boy’s neck. The man smelt of lingering scent of coconut shampoo and the aftershave Dean had gotten him, and it soothed away some of Dean’s worries. It was nice to just be with Cas.

Dean lost himself into thought. It was just so peaceful. He could relax and let his mind wonder. He didn’t have anything pressing weighing over his head when he was with Cas. He didn’t have to worry about the things he usually had to worry about- he could just be a seventeen-year-old. He hadn’t noticed he’d managed to shift away from Cas slightly, nor that he’d started tracing shapes onto Cas’ back with his right hand. His left hand was curled under his head, stabilizing his head against the pillow.

He drew his finger slowly along the ridges of Cas’ spine, tracing circles, squares, figure eights and a multitude of random numbers.

As his mind drifted, so did his finger. The younger boy thought about the older boy.

He’d met Cas at a College fair hosted at Dean’s high school. Cas had been one of the school’s speaker, to talk about life as a student at said college. Cas, had only been a first year at the time, a newly nineteen-year-old. Dean had been sixteen, completely uninterested in anything school related, dragged to the dreaded thing by his annoying Guidance Counceller.

Things changed when Dean got talking to Cas. Cas had been a little stuck up at first, in Dean’s opinion, but he was charming, and took an immediate liking to Dean. And, from there, a friendship blossomed. Dean had known, since he’d first gone to Cas apartment to have take-out and a movie night, that he was completely smitten over the older boy. Despite Cas’ older age, Dean found himself explaining everything to him. Movies, music, memes, YouTube videos and jokes, Cas understood books though, which was a plus. The oblivious look on Cas’ face as Dean tried explaining things was endearing to Dean.

They’d started dating when Cas turned twenty- or around then. Dean had gifted the older boy a book that Cas had been talking about wanting to read. A book that Sam had jokingly (at least he claimed it was a joke, but Dean know Sam knew about his feelings- that little shit) written a love letter in. Cas had thought it was cute, how Dean’s face shaded pink.

Dean wasn’t sure how Cas knew it was actually Dean’s feelings, but later that night, when everyone but Sam and Dean had left, Cas had kissed him while the younger Winchester was distracted by a nature documentary. Dean wasn’t a very cliché kind of guy, but this was like magic. Cas had placed his hands softly on Dean’s waist, his thumbs stroking slowly as Dean tried to remember how to breath. It was so gentle and comforting- Dean loved it.

It had been the next day, while the two were getting coffee together before Cas had to go to a lecture that the older asked if they could be boyfriends.

Dean supposed he could thank Sammy for this. The little shit disturber was too smart for his own good, and probably knew the outcome. Sammy had liked Cas. Which was something that needed to happen for anything with anyone to continue in Dean’s opinion. He couldn’t be romantically involved or friends with someone his little brother didn’t like. Sammy was Dean’s everything. He’d practically raised the kid since he was born. It warmed Dean’s very being to see Cas and Sam conversing and getting along.

Cas was amazing with Sam as well. Both being utter geniuses, left them the opportunity to bounce ideas off each other. They had similar taste in books and documentaries- Cas could help Sam with his homework when Dean wasn’t even sure which mathematical operator they should be using. Dean’s two favorite people, the two he loved the most in the world.

Dean paused quickly, his finger stilling against Cas’ spine. He’d... he had just been spelling out ‘I love you’ on Cas’ back. He wondered how many times before he caught himself, he’d done it? It was true though, he did love Cas- but he... he hadn’t had the right time to tell Cas. Plus, there was the fact that Cas might not love him back. They’d only been dating for like a year.

Dean bit his lip as he trailed his finger along the small of Cas’ back again. The letters flowed out as he repeated the three powerful words along the length of Cas’ spine. Cas wasn’t conscious. He couldn’t piece the words together. So, Dean continued. It felt good, subconsciously, telling Cas he loved him- after three years of being in love with him, he finally had the guts to show it- even if Cas was asleep. Baby steps.

When Dean was satisfied that he’d expressed his love for Cas enough, he rolled onto his back. He couldn’t manage to get himself comfortable on his back, so he turned once more, curing into a ball on his side. He cradled the pillow to his head, signing in contentment, before allowing his eyes to flutter closed.

It was silent in the room for a few moments, Dean drifting in and out of consciousness as he started falling asleep. He felt arms curl around him though, then soft lips pressing to the back of his neck. He leaned back semi-consciously molding himself against Cas, as the older held him.

Dean was just about to fall asleep, tipping over to sleep when Cas pressed his lips against his neck once move, pressing a lingering kiss before pulling back just enough to whisper quietly.

“I love you too.”