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It's (not) a terrible life

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Monday, January 7th - 17 days until Dean’s birthday

Dean opens his wardrobe on the ties section. He holds a red one in his right hand and a striped silver and black one in the other.

He checks in the mirror how each of them looks with his navy dress shirt and even darker suit. He finally decides to go for the red one.

He leaves his bedroom, turns off Kansas playing on the living room stereo, and takes the elevator in the entryway to the parking lot of the fancy building.

His classic '67 Impala is shining bright as always. After he gets in and turns the roaring engine on, he smiles.

"'Morning to you too, Baby".

Just a few miles away, Sam's also getting ready for another day at the office, literally.

He went for his usual morning run, showered, had breakfast —it's worth mentioning that the vegan pancakes recipe he tried didn't turn out as expected— and is currently playing in the backyard with his 3 year-old, healthy and beautiful Golden Retriever named Leah.

He kisses her head goodbye, throws the ball as far as he can once last time, then goes inside his house to finally leave.

On his way out, he picks up from the kitchen counter the to-go coffee mug Dean got him for his 36th birthday; it reads "You're my favorite bitch" and in all honesty, it's Sam's favorite.

He gets in his Prius, turns up the volume of his favorite station, Angel Radio, and after using the pet hair roller on his gray pants, he takes off to work.


Almost in synchrony, the black Chevy and the silver Toyota get parked in their reserved spots in the parking lot.

They both leave their cars, and smile at each other.

"I knew you would love that mug," Dean tells Sam.

Sam sips again from it, tilts his head to a side, then gives a small smirk.

"Yeah, well, what can I say? It's functional," he replies. "Speaking of birthdays, any thoughts on yours yet?"

"It's more than—what? Two, three weeks away? Relax, Sam," Dean answers. "Ready to go back to the routine?"

"I was born ready," Sam says, pushing the glass door to the reception.

As they walk in, they take in the view of what the Winchester family has built. They feel the fresh air, let the brightness of the place delight them, and Dean, in particular, admires once again how the wooden furniture prevents their family business to be confused with a tech company building.

It never gets old.

Behind the main desk on the floor, the Salt Circle logo hangs large and clean. It looks kind of empty, now without the Christmas decorations around it.

One of the receptionists, Maggie, greets Sam and Dean with a smile on her face.

"Good morning, bosses."

"Hey, Maggie," Sam says.

"Good morning, Maggie," Dean says. "I like what you did with your hair."

"It was a New Year's Resolution, changing my look."

It used to be long and curly, now it's to her shoulders and more straight. Dean nods his answer and so does Sam, also responding the silent wave of the other receptionist, Garth, who's on the phone at the moment.

They walk to the building's elevator line. Sometimes, people still insist on them going first, but their father, before dying and inheriting them the company, thought them humbleness. Besides, they actually don't mind at all doing the short line.

It still amuses Sam how some people seem to get nervous around them. They're the bosses, not the Kings of Hell.

Sam ignores the self-aware employees around them and resumes his conversation with his brother. These five minutes are usually good to catch up on their day's agenda or, more often, on their personal lives.

"I know it's still away , alright? But let's do something. Last year we didn't celebrate properly," Sam says.

"Yeah, Sam, I can recall that pretty well," Dean replies, with a tone of seriousness mixed with annoyance in his voice.

Lisa had broken up with him in December of the year before, so for Dean's birthday the only thing he got was drunk, still heartbroken because he'd lost her, Ben, and the life they'd built together.

Before Sam pushes the subject further, he adds:

"I'll think of something to do, Sammy. Don't worry."

The line moves quickly, and in no time they find themselves walking into the highest floor of the building, the fifteenth.

They continue to say their good mornings to other colleagues and employees—Bobby, since the beginning of times friend of the family and Administration's Department's Manager; Elle, long-time worker on the Sales Department and Boss of the Marketing Area; Charlie, the youngest person on the floor with a high position: Official Graphic Designer of all advertisement campaigns of the company.

They both say hi to their personal assistant, Jack Kline, and finally walk into their offices.

Both rooms are next to the other, connected through a door into the middle, and basically the same in size and structure. The walls are covered in wide wooden lines, all except for the ones that guarantee Sam and Dean a nice view of the street and part of the city, which is made of tempered glass.

Sam's office has a beige leather sofas set, a small silver fridge at the bottom, next to his dark brown desk, and on top there's a shelf of three levels,filled mostly with classic novels, adventure and cooking books.

Dean's office isn't too different: his sofas are also made of leather, but black instead of beige, he also has an executive fridge (because how else is he going to keep his Friday beers cold?), and his shelf is minimalistic, with books which subjects go from business, to hobbies-related ones: hunting, collection cars, and classic rock.

On the desk, there was a 27" Mac. A nice sticker Charlie gave him on the latest company's anniversary is below the screen. It has their slogan written inside of a pixelated bubble text: "salting food, saving meals". No matter how many times Dean's read it, it still makes him smile.

He opens the online timetable he shares with Sam and Jack and goes through the agenda for the day.

The only thing they have scheduled for today is a meeting after lunch with some Novak Enterprises people. If Dean recalls correctly, they want to associate with the Salt Circle to take their products to Europe and Africa. It sounds interesting, actually, and Dean would surely discuss with Sam later in the day what approach they'd have during said meeting.


At 11:30, Dean goes out for coffee and lunch.

"Jack," he says, closing his office door behind him.

The young blond man looks up from his computer screen.

"Yes, Mr. Winchester?"

"I'll be back in an hour. Tell Sam I'll talk to him before the meeting, please."

"Of course, sir."

"And stop treating me like I'm a hundred years old; you can call me, I don't know, boss. "

"Okay, boss. "

Dean smiles at him, sees that the door to Sam's office is closed, and goes to wait for the elevator. It slides open a few moments later, empty.

He taps the ground floor button on the panel and the doors close. On the tenth floor, the elevator stops.

A man, maybe older than him, blue-eyed and dressed in a fancy suit, walks in. Dean steps to a side, instead of remaining to stand in the middle of the elevator. From the corner of his eye, Dean notices the man looking at him from head to toe. His glare is piercing and loud, and Dean almost can't ignore it.

He wonders who the guy is. He's seen at least once everyone that works in there, and he would certainly remember if he'd encountered that good-looking man before.

Dean's eyes focus on the small screen that indicates the current floor. He can't believe they're still on the sixth. Dean adjusts his jacket, trying to look casual as he feels the pair of eyes focused on his hands as if they’re the only thing in the world.

A second later, Dean takes a look at the man. He found him staring at his butt, most likely, and then his crystal blue, very beautiful eyes —despite being sunken— meet Dean’s. Dean’s heart starts beating faster. He returns to look at the elevator doors before things get any more awkward in the small space, while wondering why the guy may look so tired.

Dean’s sure the guy just bit his lips discreetly, for Christ's sake, and Dean, as much as he’s used to receiving this kind of attention from the ladies (modesty aside), rarely gets this checked-out by other men. He’s flattered, to say the least, and it probably shows on his reddened cheeks. He prays for the shitty elevator light to make up for it.

It also draws Dean's attention out that the guy is practically eye-fucking him like he doesn't know the person he's looking at it's one of the owners of the building. Not that it would change anything, but still. Most people, like Sam is always saying, normally avoid eye contact with them. It's like they prefer to be unnoticed. This guy is just the opposite: careless of undressing Dean with a look.

Or at least, that's what Dean feels like during the whole ten floors they share in awkward silence before the bell indicates they've finally arrived.

It's both the end of his misery and his excitement. Dean hopes to see the guy again: he totally missed having that kind of chemistry with someone after just a second of knowing them.


"Sam?" Dean speaks on the phone.

“Hey, Dean. What's up? Jack told me you're having lunch".

"Yeah, I'm at Rowena's Bakery. You want anything?" He says, then mouths and points to the barista that he'll buy two cupcakes more of the one he's having.

"Do they have the cinnamon rolls we had the other day?"

"Do you have cinnamon rolls?" Dean repeats for the barista. She nods. "How many do you want, Sammy?"

"Bring a box of six. I'll be sharing with the employees."

"Okay. See you in a bit."

"Hey, Dean—"


"Check your email, it's about today's meeting."

"Yep, I got it. I'll read it over lunch."

"Great. See you."

Dean hangs up, then orders Sam's cinnamon rolls and his usual club/house. The barista gets him the baked goods and tells him the sandwich is on the way. He replies politely and checks his inbox.

Jack sent them an email with the basic information for the meeting. It confirms what Dean had in mind about the purpose of the Novak Enterprises company, and it also has a small profile information about the people they'll be seeing.

  • Castiel Novak: graduated from the Yale School of Management, founder and owner of Novak Enterprises, specialized in intercontinental marketing, has had clients such as Hell's, the most famous makers of spicy snacks, and The Prophet, the well-known book publisher company.
  • Gabriel Shurley: graduated from Columbia Business School, Director of Associations and Alliances in Novak Enterprises since 2012, has contributed to the success of more than twenty strategic programs between that and other companies.

Dean is impressed with these profiles. He wishes to know how old they are or how they look. They certainly sound like 50+ old people with a long history in the field.

His thoughts are interrupted by the mouth-watering meal that slides in front of him.

"Thanks," he says to the barista, before starting to eat.

He finishes his lunch with no interruption, then pays everything and goes back to the office, with cupcakes and cinnamon rolls boxes in hand.

He leaves the elevator and checks his watch. He's even 10 minutes earlier than he said he'd be. He walks into his office, leaves the cupcakes smaller box on his desk, then goes into his brother's office using the middle door.

"Hey," he says, holding up the cardboard box.

“Thank you," Sam says, barely looking away from the screen.

Dean takes a seat in front of Sam's desk and puts the box on it.

"Did you have lunch?" Dean asks.

"Yeah, just did. I'm just sending the institutional emails we planned before Christmas break about this year's goals and stuff."

"Good. So, today's meeting. It's in an hour. Got everything ready?"

"Yeah. I assume you read the email?"

"You assume right."

"It's important, but today we're just getting to know them. They're the ones that contacted us, so they'll be selling us their proposal to take Salt Circle’s products to Europe and Asia and we don't even have to give them an answer today".

Dean nods. He rests his hands on his knees.

"Noted. Anything else I need to be updated on?"

"Oh, and Jack mentioned me that they were here earlier, in an introductory meeting with our Distribution Department".

Dean nods and stands up. Then he frowns, as dots start connecting in his head and he feels like a cold bucket of facts is being poured into him.

"That's on the tenth floor, right?"

"Yes. Why?"

Dean shakes his head.

"Nothing relevant. See you in an hour."

Dean walks out of Sam's office with only one thought in mind: Oh, my God.


Dean can't stop wondering which of the two guys he met in the elevator, but he doesn't find anything online that links the names from the emails to any face.

He resigns to wait until the meeting to know if his interest is on Castiel or Gabriel. Funny, he thinks, even their names rhyme.

At 2 p.m., he anxiously walks in the conference room with Sam on his side. There's a Smart TV on the wall, just above the end of a large rectangular table. On one of its sides, the guy from the elevator is sitting; on the other, there's a younger-looking, shorter and with longer hair man.

They both rise to their feet at the sight of Sam and Dean.

"Good evening," Sam says. They walk to the two other men and stretch their hands. "This is my brother, Dean Winchester, and I'm Sam".

Dean greets the shorter man first, the one he doesn't know.

"Gabriel Shurley," he says.

Dean nods and goes to stretch the blue-eyed man's hand. Castiel's hand.

"Castiel Novak," he says, as expected. "Nice to meet you."

It sounds like it's directed only to Dean and he feels a spark of electricity going up his arm and through his body after the handshake. He's a professional, though, so he's not letting anything distract him from the business talk they are supposed to have.

"It's nice to meet you both," Dean says, turning his eyes apart from Castiel's and focusing on Gabriel softer ones.

Sam looks between the Novak Enterprises representatives and Castiel smiles.

"We should get the meeting started," he says. "Get comfortable, please."

Dean takes the chair next to Castiel's empty one and Sam sits next to Gabriel's.

Castiel holds a pointer in a hand and on the big, flat screen, a presentation starts.

"Novak Enterprises was born in 2008, when I was fired from the company I had worked at for 10 years just for being too ambitious," Castiel explains, as the logo of Paradise, a virtual reality software company, shows on the screen.

His speech continues and Dean listens to it carefully, impressed at how successful Castiel turned out by his own merits. Dean gets distracted a few times, by the raspy tone of voice speaking and the still piercing look in Mr. Novak's—as he should've called him since the beginning—eyes.

After Cast—Novak's done with the introduction, it's Gabriel's turn to speak. Dean is intrigued and eager to know their proposal for the company, since so far everything looks very attractive. Everything meaning the history of Novak Enterprises and how promising they sound as a company, of course.

Gabriel begins his speech with a story about how he and Novak met.

"On fall of 2012, I was drunk at a bar, discussing religion with the bartender. Castiel overheard me and meddled in the debate, giving the best arguments I'd ever heard to defend God's existence.

"Despite our different creeds, drunk me couldn't deny the ride home he offered and the rest is history. I had a small human resources company in the moment, and he bought it to make Novak Enterprises even stronger.

"Flash forward to seven years later and here we are, presenting you the project that could make Salt Circle twice as huge as it already is".

Sam is leaning on his chair, with a leg crossed carelessly over the other. He listens to the proposal as closely as Dean does, and then their eyes meet across the table.

"Well," Dean says, "it certainly sounds good, and we are for sure interested. We'll have to discuss it and arrange another presentation with the whole board to sign a contract."

"Great," Novak says "We'll expect your call, then".

"Gentlemen," Sam says, getting up, "it's been our pleasure". He shakes Novak's and Gabriel’s hands. "We'll keep in touch through our assistant".

Sam and Dean leave the meeting room. Dean can't help but turning over his shoulder in his way out. He won't deny he was craving that last eye contact with Nov—screw everything— Castiel .

Wednesday, January 9th - 15 days until Dean’s birthday

After Dean and Sam talking to the Sales Department people on Tuesday and Jack losing his mind over the dozen of schedules he had to arrange, a second reunion with Novak Enterprises takes place in the Salt Circle conference room on Wednesday.

Salt Circle's products are already selling in the whole American continent, and the idea of expanding to Europe and Africa is thrilling. They will start the project with their signature product, regular and mundane salt, to then move to the sea salt and special seasoning editions.

The numbers of the Novak Enterprises previous alliances are convincing and seductive, and the profit's distribution is fair, as well.

To consummate the marriage between the two brands, the whole Salt Circle directive board occupies the spots around the large table in the room, with the Winchester brothers at the two furthest from the screen.

Standing next to the TV, Castiel and Gabriel are standing to answer all the questions board members have for them.

Once it's clear everyone's interests are protected in the contract, specialist in analytics and stats from Novak Enterprises, Anna Milton, wraps up the selling part of the meeting to proceed to the most important and expected one, the signing part.

It goes down with no complications or inconveniences and after 45 minutes of meeting, it's finally done: Novak Enterprises has associated with Salt Circle and will spread their products around the globe.

Dean uncorks a bottle of wine and Sam serves a glass for everyone. They toast their new projects and soon, the meeting room is filled with small talk, gentle laughter and a spirit of pure joy.

Castiel walks to where Sam and Dean sit, approaching Dean when he's finally done talking to a female board member, whose surname he thinks it's Harvelle.

"Mr. Winchester," he says.

Sam responds to the call, pausing his conversation with Bobby. He realizes it's directed to Dean and resumes his attention on 'that time on the Summer of '75'.

At the sight of Castiel, Dean's lips curve up in a smile.

"You can call me Dean," he kindly replies.

"Dean," Castiel says, slow as if he's savoring the words in his tongue, in that raspy voice that kills Dean in a second. "I wanted to tell you I'm very glad you liked our proposal. There are big things coming for both of our companies".

Dean turns his back to other board members and lowers his voice a notch.

"Why not telling such thing to Sam as well?" Dean asks, with fake features of confusion on his face.

Castiel smiles, appreciating the invitation to flirt more than he would dare to admit. He shrugs casually.

"I guess it's the freckles; they're my soft spot," he says, almost whispering, then cracks a smile and walks to stand next to Gabriel again.

Dean blinks in surprise at the answer, remaining in the spot as Castiel walks away. He can't believe he was expecting any less from the guy that visually deflowered him in an elevator the first time they met.

Friday, January 11th - 13 days until Dean’s birthday

Although Dean's plans are to leave early and enjoy his recent subscription to Netflix, the first week of the year and the recent alliance have left a lot of paperwork in their way and he leaves his office at 7 p.m.

He's the last one on the floor, and he imagines that maybe in the whole building.

His beliefs are ripped apart when the elevator stops on the tenth floor and one handsome Castiel walks in.

"And here we go again, us in an elevator," Dean says with a smirk.

Castiel snorts and leans against the elevator wall.

"What? Got any complains about last time?"

Dean turns to him and shrugs. "I felt like jewelry in a pawn shop, but nothing that bothered me."

"Good. That was my intention," Castiel replies, nodding.

"Had another meeting with the Distribution people?" Dean asks.

He's surprised when the bell rings and the doors slide open on the ground floor. They leave the elevator and start walking together to the parking lot.

"Yeah. That Kevin kid is really good, by the way".

"Indeed. And when's our next meeting?" Dean asks, already near Baby.

"I'm passing by on Tuesday," Castiel says, raising his voice since he's walking to a pick-up around fifteen feet away. "There's a meeting to evaluate bullet points in the Europe phase of the project."

Dean is sad Castiel didn't get that he meant "our" as in just the two of them. Perhaps he has to be more direct.

He walks apart from the Impala, closer to Castiel.

"Wanna go out for drinks?"

"Sorry, got a girl waiting at home," Castiel answers.

Dean wants to ask who. A wife? A girlfriend? A daughter? Why does that guy flirt like there's no tomorrow if he has someone waiting for him at home? Unless he's a divorced parent and is, in fact, talking about a daughter? Even a better question, why does it burn Dean so much? It’s not like Castiel’s the last living person on the planet.

He really wants to ask, but is too angry at himself to do it. He just nods in understanding and goes back to his car.

He turns up the music, shuts his thoughts off and sings along to Survivor's Eye of the Tiger . He's very glad he paid that Netflix subscription.

Tuesday, January 15th - 9 days until Dean’s birthday

Knowing his brother like only he does, Sam starts planning a birthday surprise for Dean. If he has to bet, he'd put his money on Dean calling him the day before and telling him they'd have dinner, go to a strip club and return home safe and sound in an Uber.

So instead of letting that happen, he tells Dean he's taking him to dinner after work, only skipping the part where all employees surprise him in the morning when he gets there.

It's something classic, simple, and that Sam knew Dean would be considerably pleased by.


The scheduled meeting to discuss Europe , the first phase of the alliance, goes as planned. It only starts ten minutes late because of a 'technical error' with the smart TV, but afterward there's not a single delay in the reunion.

Dean remains serious during the meeting, avoiding anything unprofessional between him and Castiel. He's no longer mad at him, though; he realized over the weekend that it was senseless to be mad only because there wasn't an earlier chance to talk about their private lives.

It's a long session, dotting i's and crossing t's of the process, and it's only over at 5 o'clock, time when Dean and Sam usually go home.

"Dean," Castiel stops him, before he leaves the conference room. It's only the two of them and Gabriel, at the bottom, gathering their laptops and files.


"I was considering your offer, about going for drinks."

Dean suddenly can't seem to process anything else than Castiel's recent words.

"Drinks? On a Tuesday?"

"Why not, right? We're the bosses, after all."

It comes to Dean again, then.

"No girl at home waiting for you?" He asks, jealousy all over his voice.

"If you say yes, I promise to tell you all about her."

Dean purses his lips in a line and meditates the invitation for a second. Castiel's right: why not?

"Okay, sure. Meet me in the parking lot, I'll be out in ten."

Castiel grins. Dean is worried about never getting over that smile.


The bar is crowded for a Tuesday. Dean orders a beer and Castiel, vodka.

"I confess I'm intrigued," Dean says. "Who's the girl?"

"Her name is Sasha, she's been with me for two years, I found her in a dumpster, and meows very loud whenever I refuse to pet her," Castiel says.

Dean mouths hangs open, then closes. He takes a long sip from his beer then shakes his head.

"You bastard," Dean mutters, with a faint smile on his lips.

"You should've seen your face," Castiel says.

Dean gets over that quickly, happily returning to the mood in which it doesn't feel wrong to desire Castiel, detail him closely in the dim light of the bar, and ache to kiss him as soon as they get somewhere else.

"Wanna come to my place?" Castiel asks.

And as much as Dean wants to say yes, an act of God makes him refuse.

"If I understood correctly, you live like thirty minutes away from here. And I don't wanna be rude or anything, but my office is only ten."

Castiel's ears burn a little at the comment.

"Can't deny I've been dying to get to know your office."


The building is all alone when they return in the record time of seven minutes. They didn't even have to skip red lights to accomplish it.

Walking to the elevator, Dean realizes both him and Castiel left their jackets in the car. Once inside the cabin, they stand on each other's side looking at the front.

"I imagine there are monitored surveillance cameras in here?" Castiel asks.

"Yes. Twenty-four seven."

Castiel nods, disappointed.

"Would've been poetic to do it here for the first time."

Dean's hair straighten up all over his body. That guy does know how to talk to a man.

They walk into the fifteenth floor, poker-faced. Dean reaches the keys for his office and pushes it open.

"Come on in," he says.

He follows Castiel in and closes the door behind him. He only turns on some decorative ox eye lights to keep the illumination moderated and the nice mood going.

"In the entire building, this and Sammy's office are the only places without surveillance," he says walking around. "Dad liked his privacy and so do we."

Castiel sits on the leather couch.

"Yes, my office has no security cameras either."

"Want anything to drink?" Dean asks. He walks to the fridge and bends over to check what's inside. "I've got..." he moves a few things in the small refrigerator and continues, "half of a bottle of red wine, more beers and like five ounces of whiskey."

"I'll definitely have whiskey," Castiel says.

Dean grabs a couple of glasses from a drawer in his desk and serves the two drinks. He also takes a bottle of lube from a drawer. Something tells him they’re gonna need it soon.

He walks to the sofas set, hands Castiel a glass and sits next to him on the largest couch. He puts the lube on his side.

Castiel tries the whiskey and hums in delight.

"Why are we stalling?" he asks.

"I believe it's because we find it fun," Dean answers.

"I see."

Castiel stands up, glass in hand, and walks to the window. The view isn't too impressive, but it's still a city night view and it's still a good excuse to get Dean stand behind him.

Dean places a tentative hand on his lower back and Castiel leans into the touch. He turns around in a sharp movement and presses his chest against Dean's.

Both of Dean's hands are free; his glass in empty on the coffee table. He slides up the hand on Castiel's back and with the other he caresses softly his shoulder and nape.

He's moving slowly, still enjoying the stalling, but Castiel is sick of it. He cups Dean's jaw with a hand and kisses him fiercely, immediately devouring and desperate. He separates in a rush, finishes his drink and puts the glass next to Dean's, only to return to hold onto his shirt and eat his mouth like his life depends on it.

Dean can't recall the last time he wanted someone so badly. Having Castiel is the only thing that matters at the moment, and it makes his thoughts on everything else become a blur in the back of his mind.

Dean pulls Castiel by his tie, dragging them both to the couch, where Dean lays on his back and lets Castiel position himself on top.

It's overwhelming in every possible way, even for Castiel. Dean is handsome, sexy, successful—and he's deciding to be there with him, giving himself to Castiel.

Almost like mating animals, things escalate quickly and soon their ties are loosened, some buttons on their shirts get undone, and their slacks and underwear hang around their thighs to stop the torturing friction in the way to their pleasure.

The couch is small for the two of them to fit comfortably, but it serves their needs at the moment. Although Dean wouldn't mind being on the floor, or against the wall, or on the desk—

Dean really wishes for the will to stop things long enough to take them to the desk, but he can't find such virtue in him. He's at Castiel's mercy and will let him have him anywhere he wants.

He's very happy when Castiel takes out from God-knows-where a condom, rolls it on, and single-handedly puts Dean on his stomach.

Dean hands him the lube, drop one of his legs to rest almost fully on the floor, and supports the other's knee on the cushions to give Castiel a nice view.

He's content to feel whole in no time with Castiel’s lubed fingers, which are replaced shortly after by the main course of the night.

In response to Castiel's skilled thrusts, Dean pants and grunts.

"For God's fucking sake—" he moans, and grinds against Castiel to match his movements.

The room reduces to the sweat rolling down their bodies, the raw sound of flesh hitting flesh, and to all kind of filthy words they say as they fulfill their lustful bodies.

It ends soon, but they still love every second of it.

Castiel throws in the trash can the used rubber and wastes no time before getting dressed again, still sticky with sweat.

Dean just falls flat on the couch, too worn out to move.

"Are you spending the night here?" Castiel asks him, buttoning up his dress shirt.

"I just sweat off everything I drank, if that's why you're asking".

"I'm asking 'cause it would look pretty bad if your brother found you like this tomorrow morning".

"Meh," Dean says, lazily returning his underwear to place, "wouldn't be the first time."

Castiel rearranges his tie and cleans up with his sleeve the sweat layer on his face.

"But no, I'm leaving in a few," Dean adds.

"Okay. Get home safe. This was delightful, Dean," Castiel says, doorknob in hard.

"Agree. Say hi to Sasha from me".

Castiel smiles and opens the door.

"Will do".

"And hey, Cas?"


"Next time I'm on top."

Wednesday, January 16th - 8 days until Dean’s birthday

Dean texts Cas through his business number to ask him for the personal one. He receives it immediately and messages him to that line about seeing each other again.

He knows it’s just sex, but something about Castiel makes him happy, excited. And no, Dean Winchester, almost a 40 year-old man is not developing a crush on him. It’s just—an instinct, of sorts. One that tells him he and Castiel could be a very good team outside of the bedroom as well.  

After working hours, Dean visits Novak Enterprises headquarters. The building is elegant, has twenty floors, and Cas' office is pretty.

Or at least, as far as Dean concerns. He really can't pay much attention to decoration and furniture if he wants to fuck Cas right—Dean is a man of his word, and this time he makes sure Cas knows from the beginning who's going on top.

He's proud of himself, since this time he does manage to get things going on the desk. It's always been a fantasy of his and sharing it with Castiel is intense and gratifying.

Once they're done, he pulls out of Cas, throws away the condoms, fixes his pants, then sits on the comfortable chair where he likes to imagine Castiel sending corporate emails and doing paperwork on a regular day.

Castiel turns around, pulls up his bottoms again and leans on the border of the desk.

Dean doesn't want to be softer than he should be, given the context, but he feels like he owes Cas something more than just an orgasm.

He didn't feel used or anything similar the day before, and the fuck-buddies thing had pretty much just settled in naturally between them, but is it—does it make any sense that he really wants to kiss Cas tenderly right now? Is it okay to do it, or should he ask for permission first?

Dean stands up slowly and takes Castiel's hands in his. Their eyes meet and Dean closes the distance between them in a short, soft kiss.

Castiel's answer is good, kissing back just as graciously.

When Dean pulls back, Castiel speaks.

"What was that about?"

"Was it not okay?"

"It was a pleasant surprise, actually."

Dean smiles.

"Then don't overthink it," he says and kisses Castiel's cheek goodbye.

Friday, January 18th - 6 days until Dean’s birthday

Thursday was a busy day for the Winchester brothers at the company and Dean, unfortunately, had no time to see Castiel that day. At least they texted, and Dean was able to distract from his responsibilities from time to time reading a message that, whatever it said, got a smile out of him.

He won't let the same thing happen today, so he asks Cas out to go for drinks to the same bar from earlier in the week.

In between shots and beers, they talk about Sasha, Dean's love for old cars, the time Gabriel was convinced Castiel was his little brother and that other one when Sam lost his shoe in a drain.

Talking to Castiel, Dean feels like they’ve known for a lot longer than they have. It’s like they’re a perfect match, one that they were very lucky to find. When did Dean turn into a romance novel writer? He has no idea.

By ten p.m., Castiel checks his watch and looks somewhat discouraged at Dean.

"Listen, I would love to stay longer—or to go to your office, but it's late and Sasha must actually be hungry. It's up to you, though, my offer still stands."

Dean can't think of anything that might make him regret his decision later. In any case, he's sure he'll regret it if he doesn't accept.

"Sure. You lead the way."


Castiel's house is beautiful. It's big enough for it to be comfortable when guests come over, but not too much it feels lonely the rest of the time.

It's warm, stylish, and also full of Sasha's fur.

"I swear I sweep every day," Castiel says, walking past the entryway.

Dean chuckles.

"It's fine, trust me."

“Make yourself at home," Castiel says.

Dean sits on the living room while Castiel feeds his pet, which, for a cat, is fairly loving with strangers.

"You want anything? To drink, to eat..." Castiel asks from the kitchen counter.

Dean feels his guts demanding food.

"What d'you got to eat?"

"Well, I'm not in the cooking mood to be honest, so I've got frozen pizzas and frozen fries."

"Pizzas it'll be," Dean says.

"Okay," Castiel replies.

Dean stands up and walks to the counter. He sees how Castiel preheats the oven and gets the pizzas from the fridge.

"Won't you get comfortable?" Dean asks.

As usual, their suits are already forgotten, but their ties and dress shirts remain in their places.

"Actually, can you hand me that tee over there?" Castiel asks, pointing to the couch where Dean was sitting just moments ago.

Dean turns around and sees a gray t-shirt tossed over the edge. He grabs it and when he faces Castiel again, the guy is shirtless.

He stares for a moment, then hangs him the t-shirt. Castiel puts it on, then takes off his shoes, undoes his belt and pants, and only keeps his underwear and socks.

"Better now?" Castiel asks.

"Very much, yes."

Castiel gets two pizzas in the oven and turns to Dean, with a suggestive look in his eyes.

"What shall we do while they bake?"

"I can think about a thing or two," Dean says, walking around the counter and kissing Castiel slow and tenderly.

The context is so domestic —food in the oven, Castiel in his sleeping clothes, a freaking cat walking around— that Dean fears it’s never going to happen again. He knows they’re probably gonna keep screwing around for a while, until one of them gets bored, or too busy, or fall in love with somebody else.

And if that’s the most likely a outcome of things, he’s going to enjoy every second he has to spend with Castiel.

Their kiss doesn't stay gentle and soft forever. Soon, it's just everything in the foreplay book happening at once: Castiel plays with Dean's earlobes in his mouth, Dean sucks Castiel’s nipples through the thin tee, his hand squeezes Cas’ butt firmly and his clothes slowly disappear until he's naked as he is, minus the shirt.

It's the first time they take so much time to even get fully undressed and Dean is adoring every second of it. Not acting based on pure impulse and desire feels very nice with Castiel.

By the time the pizzas are smelling from the oven, they're both very hard and needy. But for some reason, instead of following their carnal instincts they decide to have dinner.

They sit on the living room floor, where a convenient and soft blue carpet frames the couch and coffee table.

The pizzas are delicious and each other's presence just makes the whole situation worth of a postcard. There, eating with Cas and talking about things beyond business and sex, he feels as if he finally is getting back that belonging sense he had with Lisa. It's like he's finding home again, after so long.

The sex is also great, right there on the carpet and with Sasha occasionally making them feel oddly watched.

Lying next to the other, Dean wonders if he should return to his place. Castiel's eyes are closed; he seems sleepy.

"Uhm, Cas?"


"Can I stay the night?"

Castiel's eyes open, his eyebrows raise.

"I thought it was obvious you would."

Dean's heart speeds up.

"Alright, then," he answers.

It's not like they cuddle to sleep or like they're saying each other good morning in-between kisses when they wake up on Saturday. But Dean knows that having stayed the night is a big deal, just as how meaningful those glances Castiel steals of him playing with Sasha are.

He can really get used to this.

Monday, January 21st - 3 days until Dean’s birthday

Sam walks in Dean's office through the middle door to find him pinning Castiel against a wall. Sam clears his throat and the men startle and separate in a second.

"You never learned how to knock?" Dean says.

"Didn't realize you had company," Sam answers. "We got a meeting in five minutes".

He is so not letting Dean get away with this one.


After the meeting Sam follows Dean to his office, not even notifying him in advance.

Dean doesn't say anything either, he knows that he's awaiting Sam's lecture.

"You're really fucking a client, Dean?" Sam snaps, just after he closed the main door to the office.

Dean sits behind his desk. He wears a smug smile on his lips.

"How do you know the client isn't the one doing the fucking, huh?"

Sam winces.

"Dean, ugh, that's beyond the—"

Dean's voice turns more serious.

"Besides, he's not even a client; our companies are partners, Sam".

"Still against our policy!"

Dean stands up and supports his hands on the desk.

"As far as I remember, it's also in our policy we cannot sleep with our employees and I still found you freaking tying up Ruby to your desk".

"And how did it turn out? She was using me to steal money from the company, Dean."

"Cas is not like that, alright?" Dean protests.

" Cas ?—You've known him for as long as I have!"

"And still, I know him better than you do," he assures. He adds, playfully, "Oh, way better—"

"Dean," Sam says, completely stern. "I mean it. You should stop it."

"And if I don't, what are you going to do? Talking to the board?"

Sam stays silent. No, he's not doing that to Dean.

"Listen, I'm being careful, Sam, as much as I have to be. I'll stop seeing him in the office, if that makes you happy".

Sam sighs.

"Alright. Don't screw up, Dean."

Dean nods, filled with the contentment only granted after winning an argument.

"C'mon, Sam, it's me. When have I let a hookup turn into something bad?"

Wednesday, January 23rd - Tomorrow’s Dean’s birthday

Dean explained Cas the situation with Sam as soon as they talked again that same day. Cas understood perfectly, and said he didn't mind at all having to stick to other places whenever they met for unprofessional matters.

Besides, Dean’s apartment is very comfortable and Castiel has no problem telling his neighbor to feed Sasha once in a while.

Laying on Dean's bed, almost asleep against his bare chest, Castiel remembers that the next day Dean turns 40. He drifts off to sleep, happy to realize he'll be able to give him a wonderful birthday surprise.

Thursday, January 24th - Dean's birthday

It’s always been nice waking up to a blowjob, but waking up to a blowjob performed by Castiel is a whole new level of perfection.

Dean looks down at Cas, whose mouth is wrapped tightly around Dean. Their eyes meet and Dean ruffles Cas' hair encouragingly, resisting the urge to push him even further down his dick.

Castiel easily picks up a pace that is all wonders and stars for Dean. Dean, like the very decent  human being he is, lets Castiel know when he’s about to come.

“Close," he warns, pulling at Castiel’s hair a little and gripping his shoulder tightly.

When Castiel notices Dean is on the very edge, he pulls back, reaches for a tissue and uses it to covers Dean’s tip. A second later, it’s damp with seed, just as the palm of Castiel’s hand on his crotch.

He takes another Kleenex and wipes off his hand. He passes the back of his fingers over his mouth, making sure there’s no saliva left on his face.

“G’morning, birthday boy," Castiel says, crawling next to Dean. “Liked your first present?”

Dean hugs Cas against him.

“My first present? Is there a second one as well?”

“I think I’ve got you three," Castiel says.

Dean pulls back just enough to look him in the eye. He wonders if he’s serious.

“I’m gonna love them all if they’re anything like this one”.

“I’m confident you’re gonna like the second," Castiel says, then kisses Dean’s temple. “Let me get it.”

Cas sits on the bed, reaches his underwear on the floor, puts it on and leaves the bedroom. Dean is only curious to know what it’ll be. He sits on the bed, waiting for Castiel to come back.

His heart flutters with emotion when Castiel returns with a flawless pile of pancakes, with honey poured across them and a lit birthday candle on top.

“Happy birthday, Dean," Castiel says, sitting on the bed and giving Dean the plate. “Don’t forget to make a wish”.

Dean smiles, feeling the wrinkles forming on his eyes as he looks at Castiel with a dumbfounded expression.

“Thank you," he says, “so much.”

He blows the candle, wishing for the day to never end.

“And about the third gift," Castiel whispers, holding up his hand to caress Dean’s cheek and jaw. “Well, I’m not even sure if you’ll consider it as such, but I wanted to tell you that the past weeks with you have been very very nice and I wanna believe we’re both on the same page and see this, us , as something potentially better than a booty call. I would like to take you on a date.”

Dean nods vehemently, collecting his thoughts.

“That sounds about perfect, Cas.”

He lets out a breath and a smile. He probably was Gandhi in his past life or something to deserve a chance for something serious with someone as great at Castiel: he has the looks, the brains, the company, he’s sweet, he can cook, is there something he doesn’t got?

Right, Dean remembers, sleeping habits that don’t leave bags under the eyes.

(And still, he even likes the bags under Castiel’s eyes).


Dean is going late for work, but he can’t care less. If he wasn’t the responsible man he is, he’d even take the day off, stay home with Cas and then go out to catch dinner with Sam because he’s earned it.

But he wouldn’t stand himself if he did that; he loves Salt Circle too much to miss a day of work.

That's why, after shower sex, Cas leaves to Novak Enterprises and Dean takes off to the company.

Maggie and Garth both wish him a happy birthday. He says his kind thanks and takes the elevator.

Walking into the fifteenth floor, a loud cheer greets him in unison.

“Happy birthday, boss!”

There are balloons on the ceiling, a big sign on his office door that reads Give me pie, it’s my birthday , and Sam is standing in the middle with hands in his pockets and grinning widely.

“Happy birthday, big brother," Sam says.

Dean smiles.

“Thank you all very much," he says, looking around. He walks to hug Sam. “And you, sneaky bitch!”

“Jerk," Sam simply replies.

Dean hugs other colleagues — Happy birthday, idjit, says Bobby and You’re growing old! , does Charlie— and continues to his office.

“Boss," Jack tells Dean, handing him a small black box. “I hope you like it”.

Dean opens it and sees a Led Zeppelin shiny keychain centered in the thick black foam.

“Perfect for my car keys," Dean says. “Thank you, Jack”.

He walks in his office, finding his desk occupied with several gifts.

There’s a Mont Blanc pen box, which card is signed by the Novak Enterprises team. Next to it, though, a to-go cardboard box with a red rose on top absorbs his attention.

Here’s your morning snack. Today you’re having dinner with Sam, so our reservation is for tomorrow at 8 p.m. Happy Birthday.


Dean turns the card and finds the address for some fancy-sounding restaurant. He opens the box and a smiles at the slice of pie.

No, he wasn’t Gandhi in his past life. He was a freaking Saint.