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I Don't Know About You

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             14 hours. That’s how long Dean and his band were in the studio today recording and preparing for their new album, Laps Around the Sun. They finished the last track on the album around when the clock hit 9:30. Bobby Singer, their manager, decided it was time to call it quits for the night and send everyone home. Dean’s guitarist, Crowley MacLeod, suggested they all head over to the Roadhouse for some burgers and a few rounds before the night ends. That sounded like a pretty damn good idea to Dean, considering he hadn’t eaten in probably 12 hours.

            The Roadhouse is only a few blocks from the studio, so the guys decided to just walk. None of them planned on being sober enough to drive home anyway, so leaving their cars in the garage at the studio sounded like a better idea than leaving them in the open parking lot of the bar. They walked in at about a quarter to 10 and were greeted with loud music and even louder voices.

            “Well, I’ll be damned. What are you boys doing in here on a Thursday night?” A raspy voice asked from behind the bar.

            Ellen Harvelle is the owner of the bar. Dean has known Ellen and her daughter, Jo, since he was 13. He used to sneak over to their house with his little brother, Sammy, when their dad would come home soaked in alcohol and rage and start throwing shit. It was best to not be around John Winchester when he was drunk off his ass.

            “We just finished the last song on the album. Bobby sent us home for the night.” Dean replied. They’ve been working day and night on this album for almost a year. Dean had a handful of songs from the beginning that he wanted on this album, but he wants it to be perfect, so he took his time choosing the rest of the tracks.

            “What’re the specials tonight, El?” Benny Lafitte, Dean’s drummer, asked the bartender with a thick, Louisiana drawl.

            “Benny, you ask me that every time y’all come in here and it’s the same damn thing every time. Burgers, wings, and beer. That’s it, so you gonna order, or are you gonna keep acting like a dumbass?” The woman glared at him.

            “Just a round of whatever’s on tap, El. And I’ll take a bacon burger.” Dean cut in. Ellen may be small, but she’s a force to be reckoned with and he’s gotta protect his drummer from getting his ass handed to him.

            “One bacon burger coming up. Dean Winchester, I swear to you, you keep bringing that boy in here, I’m gonna be in a grave quicker than he can decide what to order,” Ellen warns. Dean laughs, he knows Benny does it just to pick on her.

            The rest of the band gives Ellen their orders and then they make their way over to the pool table for a couple games. Dean stays seated at the bar talking to Jo for a minute to catch up. He’s about to get up and join his bandmates when someone at the end of the bar catches his eye. A tall figure with dark hair and bright blue eyes.

            “Who’s that?” Dean asks Jo.

            “Dunno, first time in here far as I can tell,” Jo says as she wipes a ring of condensation off the bar in front of Dean.

            “Hm,” Dean gets up and walks over to the unfamiliar patron.

            “Haven’t seen you ‘round here before,” Dean says.

            “I’ve never been here before,” the dark-haired man returns.

            His voice is gravelly and warm. Dean wasn’t expecting the man to sound so enticing.

            “I—uh,” he clears his throat, “I’m Dean. Dean Winchester,” he says, proudly.

            “Castiel Novak,” the man replies, seeming to have no recognition of Dean’s name.

            “Castiel? That’s an interesting name. Where’d your folks come up with that?” Dean asks.

            “My father is a preacher, so I grew up in the church. Castiel is the name of an angel.”

            “You boys doing okay over here?” Ellen interrupts.

            “How ‘bout another round, El. On me,” Dean answers as he turns to ask Castiel, “Whatcha drinkin’?”

            “Bud Light, my favorite,” Castiel replies, matter of factly. Dean laughs and wiggles two of his fingers to signal to Ellen that he’ll have one as well.

            “Comin’ up!” Ellen says as she makes her way back towards the tap.

            “So, Cas, what brings you into a bar like this on a Thursday night?”

            “I would assume the same thing that brought you in here; alcohol” Castiel retorts, not taking his eyes off the tv above his head. It’s a recap of the Vols’ win last weekend.

            “Fair enough,” Dean laughs, “you been in Nashville long?”

            “Just moved here from Kansas.”

            “No shit, where about?”

            “Lebanon,” Castiel answers, flatly. Dean can tell he’s far more interested in the Vols’ game, but Dean continues.

            “Nice. I’m from Lawrence. Moved here almost 15 years ago with my dad and brother, then I started my music career. What brought you all the way out here?”

            “Work,” Castiel replies.

            “Mind if I ask what ya do?” Dean pries.

            Castiel takes his eyes off the tv as Ellen sets down another beer. He takes this opportunity to look at Dean for the first time since he sat down next to him. He hadn’t noticed how green Dean’s eyes are before now.

            “I’m uh— a uh— lawyer. I’m a lawyer,” Castiel manages to stumble out.

            “You sure about that?” Dean chuckles.

            “Yes, I’m sure.

            “Awesome,” Dean laughs, “My little brother Sammy’s a lawyer. Pretty damn good one, too. Best in Nashville if I do say so myself.”

            Castiel hasn’t looked away from Dean yet, studying him. Dean reaches up and brushes the back of his neck awkwardly.

            “So, uh,” Dean tries to find an excuse to keep talking to Castiel when he catches a glimpse of a tattoo on Castiel’s wrist.

            “What’s your tattoo say?” Dean asks as he points to Castiel’s arm.

            “Proverbs 3:5. It’s a verse about trust,” Castiel says, looking down and running his thumb over it.

            “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding,” Dean recites as Castiel looks up at him. His cheeks turn hot, “Or, something like that.”

            “Yes, something like that.” Castiel smiles.

            Dean got a smile out of him. This stone-faced human being who’s barely given Dean a second thought since he walked up just smiled at him.

            They talk for what feels like hours, through many songs and a lot more beers and Dean thinks they’re really starting to hit it off when Castiel stands up.

            “Gotta go now, first day of work’s tomorrow. G’bye, Dean,” Castiel slurs.

            “Woah, wait, hang on,” Dean says, catching Castiel’s arm as he turns to leave, “Can ya ‘least lemme walk ya to your car?”

            “I guess that’s fine. Lemme just, uh, pay my tab.”

            “S’on me, don’t worry ‘bout it.”

            “Dean, I can’t let you pay m’tab, I had a lot of drinks and dinner,” Castiel recants, emphasizing the word ‘and’.

            “Yeah, well, I’m the reason ya got most of ‘em so I got it. Don’t worry ‘bout it.”

            Castiel huffs and surrenders, allowing Dean to walk with him out to his car. He stumbles a bit, but Dean steadies him.

            “Look, man, I can’t let ya drive like this. You can barely walk,” Dean says.

            “Oh, like you’re any better? M’fine,” Castiel says as he pulls his arm out of Dean’s grip, almost knocking himself over in the process.

            Dean grabs his arm again to make sure he doesn’t fall.

            “Hey,” Dean laughs, “Never said I was in any condition to drive, either. Lemme get you a cab,” Dean says, smiling at the cute little pout Castiel probably doesn’t even realize has adorned his face.

            Castiel agrees and stands with Dean for a few minutes before a cab rolls up. Dean helps Castiel get into the car and then climbs in after him.

            “What’re y’doing?” Castiel asks him.

            “Just makin’ sure you get home okay. What kinda date would I be if I let you get inna cab by yourself?” Dean replies.

            Castiel looks at him, confused, but then relaxes his face because he’s way too drunk to think right now. He scoots over so Dean has enough room and manages to give his new address to the driver.

            15 minutes and 22 dollars later, the cab pulls up to the curb outside his apartment building. Dean gets out and helps Castiel get out and up to the exterior door.

            “Have’ta put the code in,” Castiel slurs.

            “Fancy,” Dean replies.

            They manage their way to the elevator and up to Castiel’s apartment on the eighth floor. Castiel struggles with the key but manages to open the door after dropping it and cursing a few times as Dean laughs at him.

            “Well, Cas, guess that’s it. I’ma head— “

            Dean’s interrupted by Castiel’s lips smashing into his. It takes him a second to realize what’s happening as Castiel brings him inside and presses him up against the now closed apartment door.

            Dean pulls away and looks at Castiel, both of them panting.

            “You’re drunk, Cas. I don’t wanna take a’vantage a you like this.”

            “You’re drunk too. S’fine, m’fine,” Castiel pants as he presses his lips to Dean’s again.

            Dean gives in and allows his lips to part to let Castiel’s tongue enter his mouth. Dean laces his tongue around Castiel’s as he moves one hand down to hold onto Castiel’s waist and the other up to grip his hair. Castiel moans at the slight tug of his hair as Dean breaks free from his mouth and starts pressing wet kisses down Castiel’s neck.

            Dean presses his mouth against Castiel’s throat, his teeth scraping across his skin, causing Castiel to moan again. Dean moves back up to Castiel’s mouth and they make their way to Castiel’s bedroom without coming up for air.

            Castiel falls down onto the bed with Dean in tow, pulling him down on top of him.

            “Condoms,” Castiel breathes out, “drawer, ‘ver there.”

            Dean manages to figure out where Cas is pointing to and he reluctantly pulls himself away from Cas’ lips, so he can grab the condoms from the drawer.

            He tears one off the ribbon and rips open the package, but when he turns around to get back on the bed, Cas’ eyes are closed and he’s quietly snoring. He smiles, though, slightly disappointed.

            Dean walks back out into the kitchen and hunts for a pen and piece of scrap paper.

Cas,                              
I had fun tonight.         
Call me 216-357-1967
Dean                            

            Dean leaves the note and the pen on Cas’ kitchen counter, grabs his jacket, and heads back down to the lobby. He pulls out his phone to call for a cab when he sees a missed call from Benny, so he decides to call him back first.

            “‘Lo?” Benny drawls into the phone when he picks up.

            “You call?” Dean asks.

            “Dean!” Benny screams into the phone. Benny’s loud when he’s sober, so drunk Benny is amplified by 10, “the hell’d you run off to? the boys and i was waitin’ on ya ta join us but ya walked out with some poor bastard hangin’ off yer shoulder and ya never came back!”

           “Yeah, man, m’sorry. Met a guy at the bar, brought ‘im home.”

           “Oh shit! Hell yeah! That’s my b— oh shit m’I interruptin’ y’all?”

           “Nah, man, s’cool. I’m leavin’.”

            “That bad in the sack, huh?”

            “Benny, shut the fuck— no, know what? Never mind. I’ll j‘st talk to you t’morrow.”

            “Aw man, Deano, I was just pickin’,” Benny laughs, “Have a good night!” He screams into the phone. Dean hears him yell ‘woohoo’ at someone before the phone cuts out.

            Dean sighs and dials the number for a cab.

 

            Dean gets back to his house around 3 o’clock in the morning. Stumbling into his room, he drops his clothes to the floor as he grabs the bottle of lube he keeps in the dresser by his bed. He closes his eyes and pretends Cas is the one getting him off. When he’s done, he reluctantly opens his eyes to see what he already knows, that Cas isn’t there. He cleans himself up and goes to sleep.

Chapter Text

 

             It’s around 11 o’clock in the morning when Dean finally manages to drag himself out of bed. His head is pounding, and he feels like he’s going to be sick. He takes a few deep breaths, trying to remember what happened last night and the nausea passes.

            He remembers sitting down next to a handsome stranger and drinking with him. Drinking a lot with him. Castiel. He remembers his name was Castiel, and he had the most beautiful blue eyes Dean has ever seen. The rest of the night comes back to him in flashes and he remembers he left his number on Castiel’s counter. He immediately rolls over to check his phone, which brings the nausea rushing back, causing him to jump up and bolt to the bathroom.

            When he finishes brushing his teeth to get the taste of last night’s binge drinking out of his mouth, he walks back over to his phone. No texts, no calls. Castiel didn’t text. Castiel didn’t call. Dean’s face falls.

            “I guess they don’t call it a one-night stand for nothing, if that would even count as a one-night stand,” he mumbles to himself.

            He goes downstairs and opens his empty fridge in search for something to curve his hangover. All he finds, though, are two six packs of Bud Light, a jar of jelly, and a single slice of Kraft singles. Great. He needs to go grocery shopping. He sighs and shuts the fridge, grabs his keys and opens the front door.

            “What the fuck!” Dean swears as he steps out into two feet of snow. He heads back inside to grab a coat and to change out of his favorite cowboy boots and into an older pair. He forgot that it’s the middle of December. Was there this much snow on the ground last night when he’d gotten home? Whatever, he needs food. He walks over to the garage, punches the code in and watches the door rise to reveal an empty garage.

            “Where- son of a bitch,” Dean sighs as he closes his eyes and remembers leaving his car in the parking garage of the studio to make sure he wouldn’t drive home drunk. He groans as he pulls out his phone and dials the cab company again.

 

            “Rough morning?” The cab driver asks.

            “Rough night.” Dean responds. He still has a pounding headache and he’s really not in the mood to make small talk with the driver. Luckily, the driver takes the hint and doesn’t talk to him again until he drops him off.

            When Dean finally gets back to the Impala, he turns the key and listens to the car roar to life. God, he loves that sound. The stereo cuts on and starts blaring AC/DC’s Back in Black through the speakers. He groans and turns it off. Looks like it’s about to be a silent drive to the closest Waffle House. He needs something greasy and you can find a Waffle House on the corner of just about every road in Nashville.

            Dean walks in and heads straight for the counter.

            “What can I get for ya, hun?” A short, plump woman with red curly hair and stains on her apron asks.

            “I’ll start with a coffee, black,” Dean replies, rubbing his temples.

            “Coming right up,” she replies without walking away, “You look like you’ve had a helluva night. Want me to put in an order for our famous hangover cure?”

            “Famous, huh?” Dean laughs, “yes ma’am, that sounds great. Thanks.”

            “You got it.” The waitress winks and walks away to put in Dean’s order.

            Dean’s phone lights up with a text from Bobby:

            “Need u 2 come 2 studio. Gotta track 2 fix. -B

            Dean rolls his eyes and responds to the text:

            “Be there in an hour

            The waitress comes back five minutes later and sets a large plate down in front of him. A burger the size of Dean’s head sits in the center of the plate, accompanied by two strips of bacon, two sausage links, a pile of hash browns and an egg. Holy shit this is a lot of food, but Dean’s starving and he knows the burger will make his headache go away, so he digs in.

            He rolls up to the studio around 1 in the afternoon. He nods in greeting at Rachel, the receptionist, and heads down the hallway to recording room 2. When he walks in, he sees Bobby sitting in one of the swivel chairs in front of the sound mixing board.

            “Where are the guys?” Dean asks him.

            “Don’t need ‘em, just you. C’mere ‘n listen to this.” Bobby responds.

            Bobby plays a verse from their song ‘Who I Am with You’. Dean realizes immediately what it is Bobby wants him to fix. He sounds flat going into the first chorus.

            “Hear that? Need to rerecord it, too flat.”

            Bobby has such a way with words sometimes, Dean rolls his eyes and walks over to the door of the sound booth. He stands there for a moment before opening the door.

            “What’s the matter with you, boy?” Bobby asks him, noticing Dean’s strange demeanor.

            “I met someone last night. Thought we hit it off, but I haven’t heard from him,” Dean sighs, “it’s not important. Let’s just get this track fixed.”

            “Dean,” Bobby says with a sympathetic look in his eyes, “if he didn’t realize what a great catch you are, then it’s his loss, you hear me?”

            “Yeah, Bobby. Thanks.” Dean smiles as he walks into the sound booth.

            Dean spends about an hour in the booth fixing little issues on tracks here and there. Then he and Bobby make a few minor changes to the album and Bobby sends him home.

            “Alright, I got some stuff to work out with the album release and press coverage. Get outta here ‘fore I make you sit and make phone calls with me.” Bobby threatens.

            “Already gone,” Dean laughs, “have a good day, Bobby. Thank you,” he says, sincerely.

            “Yeah, yeah, go on, ya idjit.” Bobby responds.

            Dean laughs again and leaves the studio. He checks his phone when he gets back to the Impala. Nothing but a few missed texts from Sam and the guys. He locks his phone, puts it in his pocket and drives home.

 

            Sam stops by a couple days later and convinces Dean to go out to some sushi bar with him and a few of his lawyer friends. Apparently, this place is famous for their ‘sushi burrito’. Dean’s all for a mean burrito, but raw fish of any kind is a no go. The idea of cold, raw fish rolled into a giant burrito wrapped in seaweed is absolutely appalling to Dean, but he goes because he knows if he doesn’t, his brother won’t leave him alone about it.

            “Dude, why wouldn’t you let me drive? You know I can’t stand this thing. Too many damn buttons,” Dean complains as he presses a random button that makes the sun roof open up and let in the drizzle from outside.

            “Dean, cut it out!” Sam scolds, pressing the button again to close the roof, “I like my car. You need to update the Impala. Or better yet, upgrade it.”

            “You’re insane, Baby is a classic. She’s perfect just the way she is. Besides, a car should drive, Sam, it doesn’t need all of this extra bullshit,” Dean argues.

            “Whatever. So, you gonna tell me why you’ve been holed up in your house for the last couple of days? Isn’t your album coming out in a few weeks? Why aren’t you out promoting?”

            Sam was right, though he’d never tell him that. The album release is less than three weeks away. He should be out playing gigs with his band to get their fans hyped for the new release. He’s just been in a shitty mood since the whole thing with Castiel.

            “Bobby’s handling all that. Got an interview with Storme Warren tomorrow, then one with Ty, Kelly, and Chuck on Tuesday.”

            “That’s good, I guess. You, Benny, Crowley, and Ash got any gigs coming up?”

            “Nah, Bobby wants us to hold off until the album release, so we can announce a tour,” Dean lies.

            “Hm,” Sam says furrowing his brow a little, “we’re here.”

            “Great,” Dean replies, rolling his eyes.

            Sam walks into the bar with Dean in tow. He heads straight for a booth near the back with three people already occupying it.

            “Hey guys!” Sam says in greeting, “This is my brother, Dean. Dean, this is Brady, Ed, and Jess.”

            Dean smiles and slides into the booth next to Sam as Brady gets up and grabs a chair from a nearby table to pull up to the end of theirs.

            “Sam, you didn’t tell us your brother was so hot,” Jess teases.

            Sam’s face turns bright red and Dean can tell this is the girl he’s refused to name whenever Dean bugged him about who’s been making him so happy lately.

            Dean tries to enjoy the sushi burrito Sam insists on ordering for him, but it’s just too weird. Sushi and burritos should never be combined, and he tells Sam as much.

            “Oh, Sam! Look! It’s karaoke night! We should get up and sing something!” Jess exclaims.

            “No, no, no, no, I don’t sing. But, uh, Dean, you should get up there! Sing us something off your album!” Sam replies, knowing damn well he’s putting Dean on the spot.

            Dean doesn’t have a problem singing in front of people, obviously. I mean, hell, he’s made a career out of it. He just doesn’t feel up to it tonight, but he knows if he refuses, that’ll prompt Sam to play 20 questions with him on the ride home, and he’s not about to willingly subject himself to that. So, he rolls his eyes, flashes a playful smile, and walks over to the stage. He whispers to the DJ, then pulls out his phone and hands it to him and walks over to the mic.

            “Hey everybody,” Dean starts as the bar begins to quiet down, “my name is Dean Winchester,” the whole bar begins to cheer, Sam being the loudest and most embarrassing. Dean laughs and continues, “this song I’m about to sing is one y’all haven’t heard yet, so, I hope y’all enjoy it,” he finishes as the bar cheers again and the music starts to play.

 

“I don’t know about you

But I never come into this bar

On a Thursday before 10 o’clock

But I thought what the hell, why not?

 

I don’t know about you

But I never walk up and talk to

A stranger but when I saw you

I had to, I just had to

 

So, I know your favorite beer

Cause you told me, and I bought it

You can leave me sittin’ right here

But if you feel like talkin’

 

What’s your name, what’s your sign, what’s your birthday?

What’s your wrist tattoo bible verse say?

Tell me this, do you kiss on the first date?

Don’t hold anything back

 

What’s your dream job, mmm

Where’s your hometown?

Yeah, what makes your world spin around and around?

And are you down to get outta here too?

Tell me everything ‘til there’s nothing I don’t know about you”

 

            The whole bar cheers as Dean takes a breath between the chorus and the next verse. He’s surprised the song is receiving this kind of reaction considering he wrote it in a day. This song isn’t on the album. In fact, Dean hasn’t sung this in front of anyone before, not even Bobby or his band. But they’re loving it, so he jumps into the bridge full force,

 

“I know you like Bud Light

I know you got blue eyes

I know you got my heart beatin’ in this bar

Tonight, we can jump in, fall into somethin’

And the perfect place to start is…”

 

            The bar joins him in singing the third chorus this time. He’s jumping all over the stage and putting his whole heart into this performance. This random performance on this 3-inch-thick stage in the middle of a fucking sushi bar, of all places.

 

“Tell me everything, tell me everything

Tell me everything ‘til there’s nothing I don’t know about you

Tell me everything, tell me everything

Tell me everything ‘til there’s nothing I don’t know about you”

 

            He finishes the song and the entire bar erupts into applause. He’s pretty sure he hears a few people yell for an encore, but he puts the mic back on the stand, retrieves his phone from the DJ, and hops off the stage to sit back down at the booth.

            “Dean! That was awesome, man! Is that song on your new album?” Brady asks him.

            “Nah, just something I wrote the other night,” Dean responds.

            “You wrote that in a night?” Jess asks in awe.

            Dean realizes right after he says it that this admission is going to prompt the same damn game of 20 questions on the car ride home that he would’ve gotten if he hadn’t gotten up there at all. He sighs and answers her honestly,

            “Yeah, you know. Met someone at the bar and it got those creative juices flowing,” he chuckles, making sure not to make eye contact with Sam.

            “Well, she must’ve been really special to get a song like that out of you!” Ed says.

            Dean purposely doesn’t correct him. He’s openly bisexual, one of the only queer artists in Country music, but it’s not a huge deal. Making it a point to correct Ed could spark a number of conversations that Dean just isn’t really in the mood to have right now. So, instead, he thanks him for the compliment and just sort of nods along to the conversation the rest of the night, posing for a few pictures and signing a few autographs from fans before he and Sam head out.

            It takes all of maybe 2 minutes in the car for Sam to start his interrogation. Dean clears his throat in preparation for the long conversation.

            “So, that song was written about someone you met the other night? Why didn’t you tell me about it?” Sam starts.

            “Wasn’t much to tell, Sammy. Didn’t go anywhere.” Dean replies, plainly.

            “Why not? What’d you do?”

            Dean looks at him with a scowl on his face,

            “I didn’t do anything, Sam. I left my number on his kitchen counter, but I guess he just wasn’t into me.”

            “Wait, wait, wait. You went home with him and he didn’t even have the decency call you?”

            “It’s not a big deal, Sammy. We made out a little and he passed out on his bed. Not like I professed my undying love for him and he turned me down. Let it go,” Dean tries, even though he knows Sam is absolutely not going to let this go.

            “Dean, you wrote a song about him. Clearly you didn’t let it go.”

            Sam has a point. Dean hasn’t let it go. He has no idea why he’s so hung up on this guy he just met. Something about him just caught Dean’s attention and he can’t seem to think about anything, anyone else.

            “Well, guess I’m gonna have to, huh? He’s got my number, I don’t have his. He didn’t call, so that’s that,” Dean says, hoping to end the conversation there.

            Sam sighs, but he doesn’t say anything else on the subject. They don’t say another word to each other the rest of the drive to Dean’s house. The radio is set to the Highway and the tail end of a throwback Tim McGraw song plays as Buzz Brainard comes back on the air.

            “That was good ‘ole throwback to 2004 with Live Like You Were Dying. Now, I hope y’all are as excited as I am for tomorrow morning. Tune into the morning show with Storme Warren if you want to hear a live interview with Dean Winchester on the news of his new album! Dean will be discussing some of the tracks and their inspiration, and we might even get a little sneak peek! So, if you’re as fired up for this new album hitting stores January 9th as we are, then you don’t want to miss this interview!”

            Dean smirks as Sam sneaks a glance at him. Sam has always been proud of his older brother, but not nearly as proud as Dean is of Sam.

            Sam pulls into Dean’s driveway at ten to midnight.

            “Hey, you wanna come in for a beer?” Dean offers. “Nah, I have an early morning. I’ve already been out way later than I should’ve been,” Sam replies.

            “Sammy, you’re 23. It’s okay to stay out late and have fun.”

            “I know, Dean, but I have a job now too. And stop calling me Sammy.”

            Dean laughs, ruffles his brother’s shaggy hair and climbs out of the car.

            “See ya later, Sammy,” Dean says, rushing to shut the car door before Sam can protest the nickname again.

            Dean unlocks his front door and kicks his boots off in the foyer. He hangs his jacket by the door and sets his keys in the little bowl Sam bought him for Christmas a few years back. ‘You’re always forgetting where you put your keys,’ Sam would criticize, so he bought him something to set by the front door to make sure he doesn’t leave them in random places anymore.

            He considers spreading out on the living room couch to watch some reruns of his favorite medical drama, but he decides against it. He has to be up relatively early tomorrow for the interview on the Highway, so he cuts the lights off and heads upstairs to sleep.

Chapter Text

            Dean wakes up to his alarm blaring at 8 o’clock. He has to be at the Highway studio by 9, so he reluctantly pulls himself out of bed and into the shower. He steps into the searing hot stream of water and immediately relaxes. He hadn’t realized how tense he was until the heat hit his body.

            He closes his eyes and begins stroking himself. He pictures Cas again, sliding his hand up and down Dean’s shaft. He imagines how Cas’ mouth would feel, taking all of him in. He moans and feels his knees go weak, so he puts his other hand up against the shower wall in front of him to keep himself from falling. He strokes himself faster and harder until he comes. He opens his eyes, breathing heavily, and watches as the water washes away the mess. He finishes washing his hair and body and gets out of the shower. When he glances at the clock, it’s almost 8:30.

            “Shit,” he mumbles, rubbing his face with his hands. He throws on a pair of dark jeans, a Led Zeppelin t-shirt, and a black blazer. On his way out, he pulls on his favorite cowboy boots and locks the door behind him.

           He pulls into the studio where the Highway records at about ten past 9. Fucking traffic. He runs into the studio and the receptionist directs him down the hallway and to the left, third door down. He looks through the window of the door and Mary Carlisle, Storme’s co-host, waves him inside.

            “Dean!” MC says in greeting, standing up to hug him.

            “Hey, MC. Sorry I’m late. That damn Nashville traffic,” he says in his defense.

             “No worries, man. We’ve all been there. Good to have you back in the studio. Song’s almost over, then I’ll introduce you and start the interview. Sound good?” Storme asks.

            “Aces,” Dean responds.

            The song, Life Changes by Thomas Rhett, ends and Storme welcomes the listeners back to his morning show.

            “As promised, this morning we’re joined by none other than Dean Winchester! It’s good to have you back in the studio, Dean. How you been?” Storme says by way of introduction.

            “Hey, Storme, it’s good to be back. I’ve been good, man. You know, just working on the album. Putting the finishing touches on and getting her ready for the release,” Dean says.

            “So, this new album, Laps Around the Sun, where’d your inspiration come from? What are the songs gonna be like? What can you tell us, Dean?” MC asks.

            “Well, uh, the inspiration came from….life. As cheesy as that sounds,” Dean laughs, “I mean there’s not much to say without spoiling anything. But I am really proud of this one. We’ve worked really hard on it, spent 12 to 15 hour days in the studio making sure she’s perfect. The release is a long time coming.”

            “That’s really awesome,” MC says.

           The rest of the interview is mainly about the album and any tidbits they can manage to squeeze out of Dean. He’s having a blast, as usual, laughing with them until his sides hurt. As the segment nears its end, though, Storme takes a detour and catches Dean completely off guard with questions about his personal life.

            “So, Dean, we got word that you performed a new song last night at Sushi Sal’s. A couple of fans posted videos on our Facebook page. Now, there haven’t been any stories in the media about your relationship. So, Dean, I mean I gotta ask, who was the special someone that inspired that song?” Storme asks, throwing Dean for a loop. How the hell is he supposed to answer this?

            “Uh, yeah, I mean it, uh,” Dean stutters, struggling to word his answer in a way that won’t make him sound like a love drunk idiot over some guy he just met and hasn’t heard from since. “I, uh, I’m not in a relationship, let’s start there.”

            “Ooo, you hear that ladies and gents? Dean Winchester’s single so there’s still a chance!” MC jokes.

            “Yeah,” Dean laughs, “yeah, it’s not about anyone I’m seeing. I don’t know what to say, I met someone in a bar a few nights ago and the whole thing just kind of sparked a few good lines.”

            “A few good lines? C’mon that’s a little bit of an understatement,” MC says.

            “Yeah, Dean, give us the juicy details!” Storme pries.

            “What can I say, Storme? I don’t kiss and tell,” Dean winks.

            “Whew, I need a glass of water,” MC says, fanning herself.

            Dean laughs and hopes that his answer will satisfy their hunger for details.

            “Alright, alright, well, as much as we’d love to hear all about the new mystery lover in Dean’s life, unfortunately, the segment is almost over and we’ve gotta start wrapping up,” Storme says, much to Dean’s relief.

            “Aw, I guess Dean will just have to come back another time to give us more details,” MC suggests.

            “Ha, yeah maybe,” Dean says. “It’s been a pleasure guys.”

            “Dean Winchester, everybody! Whose new album, Laps Around the Sun, hits stores January 9th!” Storme presses an applause button and introduces the next song, clicking the ‘record’ button off.

            “That was awesome, Dean. We’re really excited for the album release. And I mean it about you coming back and giving us the scoop on your mystery boo,” MC says, still fishing for details.

            “We’ll see about that,” Dean laughs and winks at her.

             On Dean’s way out of the studio, he pulls his phone out of his pocket. Several texts from Bobby, Sam, and his band’s group chat and two missed calls, one from Benny and one from an unknown number. He immediately taps the unknown number and puts it up to his ear as it starts to ring.

            “Hello?” That deep, gravelly voice answers.

            “Cas? It’s Dean,” Dean says, wearily.

            “Dean,” Castiel says flatly, “we need to talk. Can you meet me?” he asks.

             Dean feels a knot form in the pit of his stomach. This could either be really good or really bad, he thinks, as he recalls the look on Cas’ face that night when he joked about being his date.

            “Sure,” Dean clears his throat, “uh, where do you want to meet?”

            “I don’t know. I’m not familiar with the area yet. Where is a good place to sit and talk?” Castiel asks.

            “How about Charlie’s? It’s a coffee shop on 3rd,” Dean suggests.

            “See you there in half an hour,” Castiel says as he hangs up.

            “Half an hou-,” Dean starts to ask as the line goes dead. He pulls the phone away from his ear, “see you in half an hour, Cas,” he says to no one.

 

                 

           Dean pulls up to Charlie’s 10 minutes early. When he walks inside, he heads straight to a table in the back occupied by a petite red head hunched over a laptop. Dean comes up from behind and covers her eyes,

            “Guess who?” Dean says in a high-pitched voice.

            “Well, I know you’re not my ex-girlfriend. She had way rougher hands than you. And you can’t be Tim, he’s supposed to be working the counter. Plus, he couldn’t get his voice that high-pitched if he tried,” Charlie teases.

            “Alright, alright, enough,” Dean says as he pulls his hands from her eyes. She turns around and flings her arms over his shoulders in a hug.

            “I haven’t seen you in ages, where’ve you been, Winchester?”

            “Working. Album’s almost done. Just a few minor touches here and there and she’ll be perfect.”

            “I knew you’d eventually replace me for Benny. Is it because I won’t sleep with you?” Charlie jokes.

            “Please,” Dean laughs, “I couldn’t get Benny to sleep with me if I tried. And I have tried.”

            They laugh as Dean goes around to sit in the chair across from her. His face falls a little as he remembers why he’s here, and Charlie notices almost immediately.

            “Hey,” she says, sympathetically, “what’s got you in a funk?”

            “I’m meeting a guy here. Took him home the other night and we made out, but I hadn’t heard from him until about half an hour ago when he called and asked me to meet him here,” Dean says.

            “I must be missing something. You made out with him and now he wants to meet you for coffee and this is a bad thing?” Charlie asks, confused.

            “He sounded off on the phone. I don’t know, Red, it just didn’t sound like he wants to meet for a coffee date. I feel like I did when Cassie texted me asking me to meet her for lunch and she ended up breaking up with me and making me pay for the meal.”

            “Damn, dude. That’s rough. When’s he supposed to be here?”

            Dean looks down and checks his watch, “Now,” he says.

            “Well, I’m in your corner. And I’ll be over here keeping an eye on y’all. If you need me to jump in and rescue you, just give me the bat signal,” Charlie says, making a weird twitchy thing with her eye. She knows she can’t wink, but that doesn’t stop her from trying.

            “Thanks, Red,” Dean says as the little bell above the coffee shop door chimes. He looks over and sees Cas walk in, wearing a tan trench coat and a white button-down shirt with a blue tie that’s just a little bit crooked. “Here goes nothin’,” Dean says as he takes a deep breath, getting up from the table.

            “He’s cute!” Charlie whispers, “knock ‘em dead, Winchester.”

            Dean smiles at her, then walks over to Cas and Cas greets him with a smile. Maybe this won’t be as bad as he’s expecting.

            “Hello, Dean,” Cas says.

            “Hey, Cas,” Dean replies, awkwardly running a hand over the back of his neck, “you uh-, you wanna grab a table?”

            Cas nods and walks over to a table for two. A waitress comes over and asks if she can get them anything. Cas orders a Caramel Latte and Dean just orders a coffee, black. He’s never been able to get into all that fru, fru shit coffee places serve nowadays.

            “So, uh-,” Dean hesitates, trying to find the right thing to say. He settles on, “why’d you wanna meet so urgently?”

            “I’m sorry I didn’t call sooner. But, uh, we need to talk about what happened the other night,” Castiel responds.

            Here we go. Exactly what Dean was expecting to happen is happening. Cas isn’t in to him, and he took things too far that night. If only he’d just left like he-,

            “Dean, what exactly did happen?” Cas’ voice breaks his self-deprecating train of thought. Dean looks up at him. Cas doesn’t even remember?

            “What happened…,” Dean repeats, “well, we-uh, well, you kissed me and pulled me into your apartment. I tried to stop you cause we were both drunk as shit and not thinking, but, uh, you didn’t care, and you pulled me back in. We made out for a little and managed to make it to your bedroom. You told me to get condoms out of your drawer, but when I turned back around, you were passed out on your bed, so, uh, I left.”

            Cas is silent for what feels like forever. Dean has a lump in his throat. He shouldn’t have let Cas kiss him again. Cas was drunk, he didn’t know what he was doing.

            “Dean, I-,” Cas finally speaks, but Dean cuts him off.

            “Look, Cas, I’m sorry. I thought you were into it, I read the situation wrong. Won’t happen again,” Dean interrupts, turning to face the window.

            “That’s not what I was going to say,” Cas responds, “I-, I don’t know how to say this, so I’m just gonna say it. I’m not gay.”

            Just when Dean was starting to think he hadn’t read the situation wrong, Cas drops an atomic bomb. He starts laughing, getting up from the table,

            “All good, Cas, message received,” Dean says, starting to walk away.

            “Dean, can you please sit back down and let me finish?” Cas pleads.

            Dean contemplates walking out the door anyway. Nashville is a big enough city, he could probably leave and get away with never seeing Castiel ever again. He almost does when he locks eyes with Charlie. The look on her face tells him to sit his ass back down and hear Cas out, so he sighs and sits.

            “Thank you,” Cas says. He’s silent for a moment and Dean almost gets up and leaves again. He doesn’t have time to sit here and be toyed around with.

            “I’ve only ever been with women,” Castiel begins, “I mean, I’ve never even looked at a man in….that way before.”

            Dean sips his coffee, staring out the window of the coffee shop, refusing to look at Castiel.

            “Until you,” Castiel says.

            Dean turns his head and looks Castiel in the eye. He doesn’t know what’s going on right now. Castiel looks sincere, but he barely knows him. How would he know what sincerity looks like on his face? Maybe this is pity. Castiel pities Dean because Dean misunderstood the situation and now-

            “You’re the first man I’ve ever been attracted to, Dean. And I didn’t call because…because I wasn’t sure-I’m not sure-what that means,” Castiel continues.

            Dean doesn’t know what to say. He’s always sort of known he was attracted to both men and women. Even when he was younger, and his dad tried to ingrain in him that boys like girls, not other boys whenever he expressed interest in someone of the same sex. It was never something he struggled with internally, only externally with others.

            “I-I don’t know what to say right now,” Dean manages.

            “I didn’t mean to put you on the spot, Dean. I just, I really want to apologize for not calling you sooner. I just wasn’t sure how to talk to you,” he says.

            Dean’s not sure how to talk to Cas right now, either. What does this mean? So, Cas is attracted to him. That doesn’t automatically mean they’re gonna start dating now. Clearly, he’s uncomfortable with this new-found revelation.

            “So, what’s this mean for you? And for me, I guess,” Dean asks, cautiously.

            “I don’t know. If, uh, if it’s okay with you, I would like to explore this,” Castiel suggests.

            Dean’s heart skips. Hell yeah it’s okay with him, he’s been going insane in his house the past few days after just kissing Cas. He wants to explore every nook and cranny of Castiel’s body. But then something dawns on him.

            “Look, Cas, I’m comfortable with who I am. I’m not really looking to be your little gay experiment,” Dean says.

            “That’s not what I meant,” Castiel defends. He shakes his head and tries again, “I just meant I want to explore…,” Castiel trails off, searching for the right word, “the connection we had the other night.”

            “Okay. I, uh, yeah, I want that too, Cas,” Dean admits.

            “I’d like to get to know you a little better. Maybe we can start from the beginning?”

            “Sure, Cas. What do you wanna know?”

            “Not here. Why don’t we go back to my apartment? I’ll cook something, we’ll have a real date,” Castiel suggests.

            “Cas, it’s like 11 am,” Dean points out.

            “Right. Tonight, then. Come over to my apartment at 7 and I’ll have dinner ready.”

            Dean smiles, “it’s a date, Cas.”

            “Oh, and, uh, I’m paying for coffee,” Cas says.

            “It’s on the house. I know the owner,” Dean winks.

            “Do you know everyone in this town?” Castiel teases.

            “All the important ones,” Dean winks again, “see you tonight.

            Castiel leaves and Dean makes his way back over to Charlie’s table in the back.

            “How’d it go, how’d it go?” She asks as soon as Dean is within hearing distance.

            “It started off a little bumpy, but I’m going to his place tonight. He’s cooking dinner.”

            “Oh my god, Dean! This is so great! See? You were all worked up over nothing.”

            Charlie’s right. Dean had nothing to worry about after all. This went a lot better than he’d anticipated.

            “Yeah, well, I’m gonna head out. Got some things to do before my date tonight,” he winks at Charlie.

            Dean leaves the coffee shop and heads straight to the liquor store. He can’t show up to Cas’ dinner invitation empty handed. He walks in and browses for a moment before seeking out the help of one of the store’s employees. Dean’s got a taste for whiskey and finding the best brand in this store would be a piece of cake for him. But he’s not about to show up to Cas’ with a bottle of Jack. He needs something more romantic, so he opts for wine. Problem is, he doesn’t know the difference between sweet wine, dry wine, or anything in between. How can wine, a liquid, be dry anyway? It makes no damn sense. Luckily, one of the employees knows her stuff and finds him a nice bottle of Bordeaux. He buys it and then he’s off to his next stop, Bobby’s.

            Dean drives a few miles out of town and down a long stretch of dirt road. Bobby and Jody live in a large farmhouse with a lot of land just outside of Nashville. When he gets there, he walks up and knocks on the oversized door several times before Bobby actually opens it.

            “The hell are you doin’ here, boy?” Bobby asks, a pleasure as always.

            “Just wanted to see if there was anything I can do to help with the release,” Dean answers, innocently.

            Bobby cuts his eyes at him, obviously not believing a word out of his mouth.

            “What’re you really doing here? Don’t you lie to me again,” Bobby warns.

            “I, uh,” he sighs and gives in, “I wanted to know if Jody made any of her famous apple pies today. Got a date tonight and I wanna bring one,” Dean admits.

            “A date, huh? Come on in, boy.”

            Dean walks into the large, western styled farm home. It smells like Jody’s been baking all day, he closes his eyes and takes in the decadent scent.

            “This wouldn’t be a date with that fella you were hung up on the other morning in the studio, would it?” Bobby asks.

            Dean avoids making eye contact with Bobby as he peers his head around the entrance to the kitchen, hoping to catch sight of Jody so he has a reason not to answer Bobby’s question. Unfortunately, she’s not in there, so he looks at Bobby and says,

            “It is, but I don’t want a lecture. I overreacted at the studio. It-,” he hesitates, “the situation was more complicated than I realized.”

           Bobby doesn’t say anything. He just searches Dean’s face for who knows what. When he doesn’t find it, he relaxes.

            “If you’re happy, I’m happy, boy. But if he tries anything cute, I’ll be the first one to knock him on his ass, with the boys to follow.”

           Dean laughs. He and Sam have known Bobby since they were kids. Bobby has always been the father figure that Dean turned to when his own father wasn’t there. John Winchester was an asshole and a drunk. In his defense, he wasn’t always like that. It wasn’t until Dean’s mother, Mary, passed away in a car accident when Dean was eleven that John turned to alcohol to cope. When John was drunk, he got angry. He would take his anger out on Dean. Dean would never let him take his anger out on Sam, so Dean was always the punching bag whenever John Winchester needed to hit someone. Thankfully, Bobby was there to offer guidance and acceptance when John wasn’t. It was Bobby that got Dean interested in music in the first place. Bobby convinced John to pack the boys up and move with him to Nashville nearly 15 years ago. He said it was to put Dean in the environment of music, to prepare him for the life, but Dean thinks it was more to keep him and Sam safe and still under Bobby’s watch when his job took him east.

            “Well I’ll be damned,” Jody says as she comes down the large staircase in the center of the foyer, “the man my husband hasn’t been able to stop talking about for months! If I didn’t know any better, I’d be jealous!” Jody laughs, “How are you, Dean?”

            “I’m good, Jody, really good. How’re you?” Dean asks her.

            “I’m good! Been baking all day,” she says as she closes her eyes and breathes in the scent.

            “Actually, that’s why I’m here,” Dean starts, “well, part of why. I also wanted to see your gorgeous face.” He winks at her and she playfully rolls her eyes.

            “Always the charmer, Dean,” she says, “so you’re here for pie, huh? I should’ve known. That nose can smell homemade apple pie from a mile away.”

            “Yeah, I mean, you know I can’t resist your pies, Jodes,” Dean says.

            “He wants it for a date he’s got tonight,” Bobby chimes in.

            Jody raises her eyebrows and cocks her head to the side in that motherly way she’s been doing since Dean can remember.

            “A date, huh?” she says, “do I know said date?”

            “Nah, just met him last week,” Dean tells her.

            “Well, I hope all goes well. I’ll grab you one of the pies I made today.”

             Dean hugs Bobby and kisses Jody on the cheek as he leaves to head back into the city. Now all he's gotta do is kill time.

Chapter Text

            Dean gets back home around one o’clock and he doesn’t know what to do with himself. There’s still 6 hours until he has to be at Cas’ apartment and he’s sitting around twiddling his thumbs. He tries to watch a couple episodes of his favorite show, Dr. Sexy, one that he’ll never admit is his favorite, but he can’t pay attention to it. He gets up and goes into his studio, maybe he can write to pass the time.

            He sits down with his song book and immediately starts writing down the lyrics he’s been playing around with in his head,

            “When I saw you for the first time
            I knew I'd found amazing grace
            It's like angels singing every time I hear your name”

            Dean works on this song, writing the chorus for what feels like only 15 minutes. He can’t get it right, it’s not flowing the way he wants it to. He glances at his watch and notices it’s 5:45 pm. Damn, he’s been working on this a lot longer than he thought, and he’s gotten nowhere. He sighs and lifts himself up from his chair, closing his song book and leaving it in his studio.

            Dean heads upstairs and hops in the shower. He took one this morning, but he wants to be fresh for his date. When he’s done, he takes way too long trying to find something to wear. Dean can’t even remember the last time he went on a real date. What the fuck do you wear on a date? He abandons his closet for a moment, at a loss, to fix his hair. He dries it and then spikes up the front with just enough moose to make it stand, but not so much that he would end up looking like a ken doll. He walks back over to his closet and sighs. This should not be as hard as he’s making it out to be. He pulls a black button down off its hanger and stares at it. This would look nice with some dark jeans and his favorite boots. But what if Cas is dressed more casually. He’s gonna look like a dumbass if he shows up all dressed up and Cas is in a t-shirt and sweats or some shit. He opts for a white t-shirt, black blazer, and some light wash jeans.

            On his way out the door, he realizes he should probably bring Cas flowers, right? It’s a date, of course he should. He checks his watch again and it’s a quarter to seven. He can make it if he speeds.

            Dean pulls up to the apartment building ten minutes later. He remembers Cas put a code in, but Dean doesn’t have the code, so he searches for some sort of call box.

            “Hello?” Cas’ voice can be heard through the shitty call box speaker.

            “Hey, Cas, it’s me,” Dean says back.

            Next thing he knows, there’s a loud buzz and the door lock unlatches. Dean pulls open the door and heads inside and up to Cas’ floor.

            Dean knocks on the door and Cas opens not even two seconds after.

            “Hello, Dean,” Cas says by way of greeting. His deep, gravelly voice hitting Dean in all the right spots.

            “Hey, Cas,” Dean says back, “you, uh, you look good.”

            Cas is wearing an apron, but underneath, Dean can see a white button down under a black sweater and dark grey slacks. He looks so damn good; Dean’s mouth goes dry.

            “Thank you, Dean. You look nice, too.”

            “I got you these,” Dean says as he hands the flowers to Cas, “it’s kinda cheesy to bring flowers I guess, but-“

            “They’re lovely,” Cas says, breathing in their scent.

            Dean smiles as he stands in the doorway awkwardly, looking everywhere but Cas’ face when it dawns on Cas,

            “Oh, come in, come in. Sorry, I, uh, sorry,” Cas says as he steps back to let Dean inside.

            “Thanks,” Dean says, nervously.

            Dean sets the pie and wine down on the counter as he sits. This is so awkward. The first night they met was less awkward than this, even when Dean had to struggle to keep the conversation going due to Cas’ presumed disinterest.

            Cas walks into the kitchen and turns towards the stove, his back to Dean.

            “I hope you like spaghetti,” Cas says, breaking the awkward silence, “it’s really the only thing I know how to make.”

            “I love spaghetti,” Dean says, smiling to Cas’ back.

            Cas turns around and says,

            “I, um, I made garlic bread, but, uh, I kind of burned it,” Cas says, looking down at his feet.

            “Lemme see. My dad taught me this trick for when you burn bread. If you scrape away the black, the bread underneath will be good as new,” Dean says as he gets up and walks around the island to stand next to Cas.

            Cas pulls the bread out of the oven and it’s so charred, Dean wouldn’t have been able to tell it used to be bread if it wasn’t for the loaf shape.

            “Uh, hmm,” Dean stutters, looking down at the dark brick, “well, Cas, usually my old man’s trick works, but, uh, I think this one might be a little too far gone.”

            “Yeah, I figured. Sorry. I also have a salad though, and meatballs!” Cas says excitedly.

            “Meatballs, huh?” Dean laughs, “I’m a sucker for a good meatball.”

            Castiel laughs and raises a wooden spoon with sauce on it up to Dean’s face. He blows on it and motions for Dean to taste it.

            “Damn, Cas. Where’d you learn to make sauce like that?”

            “It’s my mother’s recipe. She always cooked dinner for my family. This was her infamous spaghetti and meatballs recipe that she made every Monday night. I thought it was only right to make it for us, since, you know, it’s Monday and all,” Cas says, looking up at Dean hoping he doesn’t sound like a total sap.

            “Perfect,” Dean smiles.

            Castiel finishes cooking and goes to pull a chair out for Dean to sit. Dean laughs and jokes about how it’s one of those corny things guys do in movies, but Castiel insists on it, so Dean lets him. Then Cas goes into the kitchen and comes back with two small plates of salad. He grabs the bottle of wine Dean bought off the counter and looks at the label.

            “I’m not a big wine drinker, so, uh, I wasn’t really sure what to get. Lady at the liquor store said this would be good with almost anything,” Dean says, hoping he didn’t screw up the drink of the evening.

            “She was right, this will pair nicely,” Cas says as he unscrews the cork and pours a glass for Dean and himself.

            They start in on their salads. Dean has never been a huge fan of salad, no matter how many times Sam tried to tell him they’re good for him and that they’re not that bad. Yeah, maybe if you’re a fucking rabbit.

            “So,” Castiel starts, “you mentioned the other night that you moved here to pursue a music career?”

            “Yeah, well, sort of,” Dean hesitates. He doesn’t really want to delve into family issues on their first official date. “My manager, Bobby, was transferred out here about fifteen years ago and he brought me, my brother, and my dad with him. Bobby’s kind of like my uncle, he’s the one who saw my 'potential'," Dean says, using air quotes around the word 'potential'.

            “That was really nice of him. He must have had quite the influence on your father,” Castiel says.

            “Yeah, something like that,” Dean laughs, nervously.

            Castiel wants to ask about Dean’s mother and why she wasn’t included in this impromptu relocation to Nashville, but he thinks Dean would’ve mentioned her if he was comfortable talking about her.

            “Lawyer, huh? What kind of law do you practice?” Dean asks, changing the subject.

            “Criminal law. I was transferred from my position as the DA in Smith county in Lebanon to Nashville. Right now, I’m an ADA, but I’m working my way back up to DA for Davidson county.”

            “That’s impressive, Cas,” Dean says, “You like it?”

            “I do, I like being able to bring bad guys to justice,” Cas says, proudly.

            Dean smiles. Castiel looks so unbelievably proud of himself that Dean even feels proud of him. Dean barely knows the guy, but he’s proud of his accomplishment.

            “I started my first day earlier this week and the first case I had was a murder trial, of all things. Defendant was a serial killer. Killed seven women before he was apprehended. Awful case, he was harvesting his victims’ livers and consuming-,” Castiel says before Dean cuts him off.

            “Woah, woah, Cas. We’re eating here, man,” Dean says.

            “Right, I apologize,” Castiel says, looking down at his plate.

            “No worries,” Dean laughs, “I’m just picking. I mean, I’d rather not talk about Jeffrey Dahmer’s psycho cousin during dinner, but I’m just messing with you.”

            Castiel laughs, much to Dean’s relief. Sam has always told him that his sense of humor is one people need to get used to. It never really mattered to him if people didn’t understand his jokes until he saw the look on Cas’ face after he cut him off.

            “I get caught up in my cases sometimes, please feel free to stop me whenever I go into too much detail,” Castiel says, as he gets up from the table, “I’m going to get the spaghetti.”

            “Need any help?” Dean offers.

            “I’m alright, you stay there,” Castiel demands as he walks back into the kitchen to retrieve the main course.

            The spaghetti is amazing. The sauce was great on its own but paired with the pasta and cheese Castiel grated on top is like heaven in Dean’s mouth.

            “How is it?” Castiel asks, wearily.

            “Amazing,” Dean says through a mouthful of pasta.

            “Good,” Castiel laughs, “my mother’s recipes never fail me.”

            “Moms are like that, huh?” Dean says.

            “Yes, they are. My mother couldn’t wait to pass down her recipes. I think she was ready to pass the torch onto us so that she wouldn’t have to worry about cooking for six anymore,” Castiel shares.

            “Damn, six kids?” Dean asks.

            “Yes, my older brothers, Gabriel and Michael, my older sister Hannah, myself, and then my younger sisters, Ingrid and Adina,” Castiel lists, “Gabriel actually,” he laughs, “he practically begged her for all of her dessert recipes. He’s a pastry chef, runs his own bakery in Lebanon.”

            “That’s awesome. I wish Sammy owned a bakery, I’d get good deals on pie,” Dean says as he licks his lips, “Sammy’s my only sibling. I think my parents were considering having another kid when, uh,” Dean hesitates, “when my mom passed away.”

            Castiel looks at Dean sympathetically. Of course he wouldn’t want to talk about this. Castiel feels guilty for bringing up the topic of his own mother.

            “I’m very sorry for your loss, Dean,” Castiel says to him.

            “No worries. Was a long time ago, I was eleven.”

            “That doesn’t mean that it gets any easier, Dean. It’s okay if you don’t want to talk about it.”

            “It’s fine. I, uh, I like talking about her. I could never really do that when I was a kid because my dad never wanted to. She was the love of his life, ya know? So, when she passed, he kind of just…fell apart.”

            “I’m sorry, Dean,” Castiel says, empathetically. Dean is silent for a moment, so Cas clears his throat, “speaking of pie, I couldn’t help but notice the beautiful one you brought.”

            “Yeah,” Dean clears his throat as well, “Bobby’s wife, Jody, made it. She’s amazing, it’ll be the best damn apple pie you’ve ever tasted.”

            “Those are bold words. My brother’s a pastry chef, remember?” Castiel challenges.

            “I remember,” Dean laughs, “trust me, there’s just something about Jody’s pies. And, as a pie enthusiast, I can, with 100% certainty, say that this is the best damn apple pie in the country.”

            Castiel cuts the pie and puts two pieces on plates and brings them to the table.

            “Nah, nah, nah, here, lemme see those,” Dean says, grabbing the plates, “you gotta heat ‘em up. If you can’t eat it fresh out of the oven, nuke it. You got any vanilla ice cream?” He asks.

            “I think so,” Castiel says as he opens his freezer door.

            “Perfect!” Dean says, “now look here, you take the warm pie and you scoop a bit of ice cream on top. Now they’re ready to eat.”

            Dean brings the plates back to the table and he and Cas sit down in front of them.

            “This makes me very happy,” Castiel says around a smile and a mouthful of pie and ice cream.

            Dean smiles. Cas looks really fucking cute right now, so Dean sits there and admires him as he finishes his pie.

            Castiel swallows his food and looks up at Dean,

            “I heard you on the radio earlier today,” he says.

            Dean’s stomach flips. He hadn’t pegged Cas for the kinda guy who listens to country music. He would’ve guessed classical, jazz maybe.

            “Yeah? How’d I sound?” Dean asks, trying to mask the panic settling into the pit of his stomach.

            “You sounded good,” Cas says, “I went on their Facebook to hear the song they were talking about you performing at the sushi bar. Am I wrong to assume it was about me?”

            “Uh, no. No, you’re not wrong,” Dean says, “I do that sometimes. Shit happens and then…,” Dean trails off. He doesn’t even know if Cas liked it. “I write,” Dean finishes.

            “It’s a very good song, Dean. I admire your ability to take an experience and turn it into something so amazing.”

            “I just put it to music. The song practically wrote itself.”

            Castiel stares at him for a moment, his eyebrow raised, and his mouth turned up in a half smile.

            “Would you like inspiration for another?” Castiel asks him.

            Dean’s heartbeat quickens. Did Cas just ask him what he thinks he did?

            “What’d you have in mind?” Dean says, cockily, mimicking the expression on Cas’ face.

            Castiel gets up from the table and extends a hand to Dean. Dean takes his hand and stands up to follow him into his bedroom.

            As soon as they’re in, Cas slams the door shut and presses Dean in between himself and the door, his lips crashing into Dean’s. Dean closes his eyes and melts into the kiss.

            Castiel ruts his hips against Dean and Dean can already feel himself half hard in his pants. He puts his knee in between Cas’ legs and reaches his hand up to grab a handful of Cas’ hair. Castiel moans at the slight pull, so Dean pulls harder.

            Cas reluctantly pulls himself away from Dean, leaving him panting up against the door. This time, Cas goes to retrieve a condom from the drawer. Dean grins and pushes off the door. He pulls his shirt off over his head and practically jumps on top of Cas, both of them falling onto the bed. Dean presses his lips to Cas’ again, letting Cas slide his tongue into his mouth and returning the favor.

            Dean starts unbuckling Cas’ pants, not allowing his lips to leave Cas’. He slides Cas’ pants down around his thighs and Cas wiggles his hips to get them further down.

            Dean removes Cas’ shirt and starts trailing kisses down his neck and torso. When he gets to the waistband of Cas’ boxers, he starts to tug on them with his teeth until Castiel stops him.

            “Dean, wait,” Castiel says, panting.

            Dean stops and looks up at him. He’s going too fast, isn’t he?

            “What’s wrong, Cas?”

            “As you know, I’ve only ever been with women,” Cas says.

            ‘Yeah, don’t remind me,’ Dean thinks.

            “So…I top,” Castiel finishes.

            Dean sits up, laughing.

            “No, no, no, no, no, Cas. I do not bottom,” Dean says back.

            “Well then you’re gonna have to learn, Dean. Because I don’t bottom,” Castiel challenges.

            Dean has never bottomed, but the demanding tone in Cas’ voice is really turning him on right now, so he might consider it. Just for Cas, though. However, he’s not about to give in that easily. He’s gonna make Castiel work for it.

            “Who’s the one with experience in this department, Cas?” Dean challenges back, “you may know where to aim to please a woman, but I know what I’m aiming for to please a man, too, and trust me, I’m hittin’ home-runs every damn time.”

            Dean looks smug as shit right now, and he sees it dawn on Castiel that Dean may be right.

            “You have a point. But honestly, how hard can it be, Dean?”

            “Well, right now, it’s like 85% hard, but once I get my pants off and that condom on, we’ll be at full power,” Dean jokes.

            Castiel starts cracking up while Dean sits there with that smug grin still on his face, stretching from ear to ear. See? He knew he was funny, Sam can kiss his ass.

            “Alright, Dean, you win. But I fully intend on topping next time, so prepare for that however you see fit,” Castiel surrenders.

            It’s a bittersweet victory. As much as Dean would rather top, he was kind of digging the idea of letting Castiel take control. Oh well, this means there has to be a next time since Cas so desperately wants to top, too.

            After the minor delay regarding who’s topping and who’s bottoming, they pick up right where they left off. Dean pulls his jeans and boxers off and starts rolling the bottle of lube between his hands.

            He leans forward and begins kissing Cas again, taking in the taste of his mouth. Dean can taste the apple pie still and that makes this so much sweeter.

            “Okay, Cas. I know this is your first time, so if you need me to stop, just say the word. I’ll try not to go too fast.”

            Castiel nods. He appreciates the sentiment, but he’s done talking. He pulls Dean back down by the nape of his neck and presses their mouths together.

            Dean breaks away from Cas’ lips as he reaches down and squeezes some of the lube out onto his fingers. He rubs it around Cas’ hole, and Cas startles at the cold touch, despite Dean’s attempt at warming it up.

            “Sorry,” he says, “here’s one.”

            Dean pushes his index finger into Cas. Cas tenses up at the sudden pressure, but then he relaxes himself. Dean leans up and kisses him again.

            Dean drags his finger in and out of Cas, loosening him up, then he adds his middle finger. Cas tenses up again, but Dean presses their mouths together and enters his mouth with his tongue, and Cas relaxes.

            Once Dean is three fingers deep, he asks Cas if he’s ready. He nods, and Dean rolls the condom on and positions himself at the entrance of Cas’ hole.

            Dean pushes inside Cas and Cas arches his back up in response to the stretching heat now occupying his backside. He squeezes his eyes shut and purses his lips.

            “You okay, Cas? I can pull out if you-,”

            “No, no,” Cas responds through gritted teeth, “I’m fine. Just give me a second to adjust.”

            Dean waits for Cas to relax, and he does after a moment. Dean slowly starts to pull out and push back in, carefully watching Cas’ face for any sign that Dean should stop. He doesn’t see one though, so he continues and picks up his speed.

            After a moment, Dean has a steady rhythm going of pulling out and slamming back into Cas and the look on Cas’ face is actually euphoric. He begins stroking Cas’ cock to the same rhythm and Cas’ moans, loud.

            Dean leans down to kiss Cas’ neck and he whispers,

            “You doin’ okay?”

            “Dean,” Cas moans, “I’m-, fuck, yes, Dean, I’m good. Harder.”

            “Harder? You sure?” Dean teases, the look on Cas’ face is giving Dean so much pleasure.

            “Harder, Dean!” Castiel says, his eyes still squeezed shut.

            Dean starts pounding into Cas’ ass harder than before and Cas is almost screaming with pleasure at this point.

            “Dean, I’m gonna-, I’m, I’m so close,” Castiel says, practically whimpering.

            “Hang on, Cas. Not yet.”

            “Dean, I ca-, I can’t, I’m gonna come.”

            “Not yet,” Dean says as he repositions himself. He looks Cas in the eye and slams into him one more time, making sure to veer slightly to the side, just enough to hit Cas’ prostate in the most pleasure inducing way.

            Dean watches as Cas’ eyes shoot open, his pupils blown wide with pure ecstasy. Cas moans loud and tenses up as a white ribbon spreads across his stomach. Dean finishes him off, and then proceeds to slam into Castiel a few more times before he comes as well.

            Dean falls on top of Cas, smearing Cas’ come between them, both of them out of breath.

            “So,” Dean says, breathing heavily, “you sure you wanna top next time?”

            Castiel manages a laugh, despite the fact that he’s still trying to catch his breath. He looks down at Dean where his head is nestled into Cas’ shoulder and he says,

            “Oh, I think I can handle it.”

            Dean laughs, and they lay there for a moment until the come gets tacky and starts to dry.

            “We should clean up,” Castiel suggests.

            “Yeah, that sounds like a good idea,” Dean responds, making no effort to move.

            “Seriously, Dean,” Castiel chuckles, “Lets wash this off before it dries.

            Dean groans and lifts himself up and pulls himself out of Castiel’s ass. Castiel whimpers a little, but then he gets up and walks to the bathroom, Dean follows.

            “I don’t think I’m going to be able to walk for the next couple of days.”

            “Couple of days? Bold of you to assume getting fucked by Dean Winchester won’t leave its mark for longer than a couple of days,” Dean teases.

            Castiel smirks and wets a wash cloth to wipe them both down.

            When they finish cleaning themselves up, they get redressed and head back out into the living room.

            “Would you like to watch something? I have movies and a DVR with a few things-“

            “It’s getting a little late, Cas, I should probably get going,” Dean interrupts.

            Cas’ face falls a little.

            “Oh, yeah, of course,” he responds.

            As much as it pains Dean to leave, he doesn’t want to push Castiel, even though he’s the one offering for him to stay longer. They had dinner, made out, and had sex. He doesn’t want to overwhelm Castiel his first time with a man. Plus, if he stays longer, sitting in silence with Cas during a movie, Cas might start thinking and realize this was a huge mistake and kick Dean out and never want to see him again. Dean doesn’t want to risk that, so it’s better if he just leaves.

            “Hey,” Dean says, putting his hand on Cas’ chin and turning his face up towards his own, “I’ll text you. We can plan another date soon.”

            Castiel smiles, that seems to satisfy his disappointment.

            Dean grabs his jacket off of the bar stool in Cas’ kitchen and heads towards the door.

            “See you soon, Cas.”

            Castiel leans in and kisses Dean. And then he kisses him again and again and once again they’re pressed up against one of Castiel’s doors making out. Seems like this is their thing now.

            Dean smiles through the kissing and interrupts saying,

            “I gotta go, Cas, it’s almost 10:30. I got an early morning.”

            Dean speaking doesn’t phase Castiel one bit because despite Deans objections, he presses kisses down Dean’s neck and he nips at Dean’s ear.

            Dean laughs and pulls Castiel off of him, bringing his hands up to cup his face.

            “I’ll see you tomorrow, okay?” Dean smiles and kisses Castiel’s forehead.

            “Fine,” Castiel sighs, “see you tomorrow.”

Chapter Text

            Mornings fucking suck. When Dean decided to become a musician, he fully intended on sleeping in late and being up all night. He forgot how much other shit went into being an artist.

            He drags himself out of bed, though, and gets his day going. First stop is The Morning Show on Nash FM with Ty, Kelly, and Chuck. This interview went just about as you’d expect. Questions about the album, more questions about the mystery person in Dean’s life, basically a recap of the previous morning’s interview.

            When Dean gets out of the studio around 12:30, he shoots Cas a text.

            “Change your mind yet?”

            Cas doesn’t respond right away, so he assumes he’s probably busy. He gets in the impala and heads over to Sam’s apartment.

 

 

            “WHAT’D I FUCKIN’ SAY?!”

            Dean hears something crash against a wall inside Sam’s apartment. Sam gave him a key when he first moved in, just in case, so Dean quickly lets himself in just as John Winchester is raising a fist to Sam’s jaw. Dean grabs his arm and whips him around and punches him square in the face. He stumbles backwards a few steps and then he steadies.

            John sees who it was that just about knocked him on his ass, and he starts laughing. A laugh that gives Dean chills whenever he hears it. It’s not a normal ‘ha-ha’ laugh. This one is mocking, bordering on evil.

            “What the hell is going on here, dad?!”

            “Get outta here Dean, this is business just between me and Sam,” John responds.

            “Like hell it is! What are you doing here? What the fuck are y’all fighting about?” Dean turns to Sam with a concerned look on his face, “Are you okay? Lemme see your eye.”

            “I’m fine, Dean,” Sam says, though obviously not fine.

            “See, Dean? He’s fine. Now walk your little fairy ass on out that door and leave me and my son to finish our conversation,” John taunts.

            Dean’s face turns to stone. Now he’s fucking pissed.

            “What the fuck did you just say to me?” Dean says, walking towards John.

            “Dean let it go, please. Just ignore him,” Sam pleads.

            Dean almost listens to him and backs off when John lunges at him and connects the left side of Dean’s jaw with his fist.

            Dean steps back a few feet, holding his face and he locks eyes with John. He’s grinning, the piece of shit. If Dean didn’t know any better, he’d think John actually enjoys this. And who knows, maybe he does. But Dean knows John’s drunk. He always is. He’ll regret this when he sobers up, if he remembers it when he sobers up.

            “I’m not gonna fight with you, dad,” Dean says by way of a truce. John laughs again.

            “That’s your problem. You’re not a man. Never were. Dunno where I went wrong with you, ‘cause I sure as shit didn’t raise a girl and yet, here you are,” John says. It takes everything in Dean not to lunge at him and beat him bloody, but what good would that do?

            “That’s enough, dad. Get the hell out!” Sam says, pointing towards the apartment door.

            John scoffs and stumbles out the door, Sam follows behind to lock the chain at the top of the door.

            “I’m really sorry, Dean,” Sam says, watching as Dean grabs a bag of peas from Sam’s freezer.

            “Not your fault, Sammy,” Dean winces. John really got him good, His jaw’s gonna hurt for a bit.

            “Yes, it is. I’m the one who pissed him off.”

            “Yeah, why was he so pissed? What the hell went down before I got here?”

            Sam sighs, “I was just telling him about Jess, ya know? How she’s smart, funny, beautiful…” Sam trails off.

            Realization sets in on Dean’s face. He doesn’t say anything, but he thinks he might know where this is headed. There’s only one reason John Winchester would get mad at his straight son over a girl.

            “…That she reminds me of mom…” Sam adds, “And, well, you know how he gets when we mention mom. Anyway, we were arguing, and I said that he didn’t have to always shut down conversations about mom. That we can still talk about her and our memories of her. And I guess he just kind of lost it. Started throwing anything within arms reach and I tried to grab something from him to stop him from chucking it across the room and he jerked his arm out of my hands and elbowed me in the eye. You walked in when he was about to take his second swing at me,” Sam finishes, looking defeated.

            Dean’s silent for a moment. He knows better than to bring up Mary Winchester in front of his dad. Sam knows better, too. But that doesn’t make it okay for John to react the way he does.

            “I’m sorry, Sammy. You didn’t deserve that,” Dean manages.

            “No, Dean, you didn’t deserve that. He was pissed at me and he took it out on you. I’m sorry for all the shit he said. You know he didn’t really mean it.”

            Dean laughs, “yeah…yeah he did. But whatever. I don’t care what he thinks.”

            Both brothers are silent for a long time before Sam finally asks,

            “Why are you here? I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m glad you got here when you did, but…” he trails off.

            Dean almost forgot why he was here.

            “Oh, remember that guy I told you about? Met him at the Roadhouse, the song from the sushi bar?” Dean says.

            “Yeah, I remember.”

            “Had our first official date last night,” Dean says looking down, unable to hide the smile spreading across his face, despite the pain it’s causing him.

            “How’d it go?” Sam straightens up, “I thought he stood you up.”

            “Yeah, well, uh, turns out he was just kinda freaked. Said he’d never been with a guy before and he had to try and wrap his head around it first.”

            “Hmm,” Sam says.

            “Why ‘hmm’?” Dean asks.

            “Oh, nothing. No, Dean, I’m happy for you, really.”

            “But?”

            “No ‘buts’, I’m glad it ended up working out for you. Are you gonna see him again?” Sam asks. Dean’s not convinced there isn’t some underlying doubt, but he moves on anyway, remembering that he texted Cas and hadn’t checked his phone since.

            He pulls his phone out of his pocket and sees a new text from Cas.

            “Not a chance. I’m off at 5. Wanna come by my place?”

            Dean smiles down at his phone and then he looks up at Sam,

            “Possibly,” he says as he shakes his phone up by his face, “I’m gonna get going, but hey,” Dean’s smile drops and his face becomes serious, “don’t let dad in if he comes back. Call the cops if you have to, let him spend a night in jail to sober up. Okay, Sammy?”

            “Okay, Dean. And stop calling me Sammy,” Sam complains.

            Dean smiles and ruffles Sam’s hair. He grabs his keys off the floor where he threw them when he entered the apartment and heads out.

            When he gets in the impala, he texts Cas back,

            “Sounds like a plan. See you then ;)"

            The text is opened as soon as it’s sent, and Cas responds with an eggplant emoji and the water droplets emoji, to which Dean responds with two peach emojis and a lotion bottle emoji. Who knew there was a fucking lotion bottle emoji! He laughs to himself and locks his phone.

 

 

            Dean gets home just before 2 and heads right into his studio to continue working on the song he started yesterday.

            After staring at it for a while without really adding anything other than erasing and re-writing words, he sets it down and rubs at his face. Writer’s block is a real bitch.

            He heads into his kitchen and pulls a beer out of the fridge. Before opening it, he checks the oven clock. 2:30. Eh, late enough in the day. He pops the cap off and tosses it onto the counter.

            He takes a big swig of it and clenches his teeth, reminded of the blooming bruise on his jaw. He heads upstairs to his bathroom to tend to his injury.

            Dean sees himself in the mirror for the first time since he left Sam’s. He looks like hell. The left side of his jaw is already black and blue. Shit. How is he supposed to explain this to Cas? He’s not really ready to delve into his fucked-up home life on the second date.

            He starts pulling open drawers in his bathroom until he finds what he’s looking for; cover-up. Good thing he let Andy convince him to dress in drag to go to that bar a few months back. Not necessarily something Dean is going to start doing regularly, but he'll admit it was fun.

            Dean works on his jaw until he’s convinced the bruise was never even there. Damn, who knew he was so good at applying and blending makeup.

            He walks out of the bathroom and glances at the clock. It’s a quarter after 3 so he should probably get ready. He does the same song and dance as last night, trying on different shirts and pants before settling on a pair of dark wash jeans and a gray Henley.

 

 

            Dean throws on is favorite boots and heads out the door. He gets to Cas’ building just before 5 and Cas buzzes him up.

            “Hello, Dean,” Castiel greets him. Goddamn, Dean never gets tired of hearing Cas say his name. It just does something to him and makes him-

            Cas clears his throat and snaps Dean back to reality. He realizes he hasn’t said anything back. His face turns hot and he rubs a hand over the back of his neck.

            “Hey, Cas,” he finally says, “sorry, uh, you look good.”

            “Thank you, Dean, so do you,” Cas says as he steps aside, allowing Dean to come in.

            “I didn’t bring anything; I wasn’t really sure what you have planned.”

            “It’s fine, I didn’t expect you to bring anything. I was thinking we could watch a movie, order pizza?” Castiel asks as he motions for Dean to move into the living room and onto the couch.

            “Yeah, yeah that sounds good. What kind of pizza do you like?” Dean asks as he sits down, hoping Cas has decent taste in toppings.

            “Okay, don’t judge me,” Cas hesitates, “I like Hawaiian.”

            Dean looks up at him, a look of horror on his face.

            “Oh God, no, Cas, come on, man. You’re one of those?”

            Castiel laughs, “hey, I said don’t judge me!” He throws a pillow at Dean and hits him in the face.

            Dean laughs too and says, “look man, I’m not usually one to judge, but pineapple on pizza? I mean that’s just not right! That’s, like, devil shit. An abomination. A disgrace to all pizza connoisseurs ever, it’s-,”

            “Alright, alright, enough hating on my pizza. We’ll order two, you baby,” Cas says as he sticks his tongue out at Dean.

            Dean throws the pillow Cas threw back at him and they both start laughing. Cas dials the pizza place and orders two pizzas, one Hawaiian, and one with pepperoni, sausage, bacon, peppers, onions, and mushrooms. He teases Dean for liking everything but the kitchen sink on his pizza.

            “So, I have a lot of movies of all different genres. I’m a bit of a movie buff,” Cas says.

            “A movie buff, huh?” Dean says with a smirk on his face, “we’ll see about that. Where’s your collection?”

            They walk over to a large armoire positioned against the corner of the room. Cas opens it up and reveals to Dean rows upon rows of movies, ranging from The Lord of the Rings to Caddyshack. Dean’s pretty sure he even catches a glimpse of a Nicholas Sparks movie here or there.

            “Damn, Cas. This is-this is quite a collection,” Dean’s a little surprised at the number of DVDs in front of him. He’s always considered himself well versed in the movie world, but some of the movie titles he’s reading he’s never even heard of.

            “My father loves movies. He used to take us to midnight screenings all the time. Trips to New York to see plays on Broadway, he really loves the theatrical arts,” Castiel says.

            Dean hates to admit this to himself, but he’s kind of jealous. He never had experiences like that with his dad.

            “That’s awesome, Cas,” Dean smiles at him and leans in to kiss him.

            Cas kisses him back and they stand there for a moment, taking each other in without coming up for air. It’s right about now that Dean’s remembering the painful bruise on his jaw. Cas tastes so damn good, though, so he can’t be bothered to care about the pain.

            Cas finally pulls away and his face is beet red, “We should probably pick a movie before getting into that,” he says, shyly.

            “Right,” Dean clears his throat and turns his attention back to the DVD’s. “Ahh, here we go,” Dean says as he pulls a movie off one of the shelves.

            “A Few Good Men?” Castiel looks at him, pleased with his choice.

            “Nicholson’s a legend. Hands down one of the best actors of all time,” Dean says.

            Cas can’t argue with him there. He goes to put the DVD into the blue-ray while Dean makes himself comfortable on the couch.

            The pizza arrives about ten minutes into the movie, so they pause it to get plates and drinks.

 

 

            They’re halfway through the movie when they pause again to clean up their dinner. Dean says they can wait until the movie's over, but Cas insists because he doesn't want the pizza to go bad. Dean rolls his eyes, but he obeys. Cas puts the leftover pizza in the fridge while Dean washes the dishes. He grabs the dish rag hanging on the oven handle. He’s drying his hands as he’s whipped around and pressed up against the counter, his lips met by Castiel’s.

            Dean spins them both around so now Cas is pressed up against the counter. He puts his hand under Cas’ ass and pulls him up so that Cas now has his legs straddled around Dean’s waist. They stand there like that making out before Dean walks them towards Cas’ bedroom.

            They stop at the door to his room to come up for air. But as soon as Dean sees the flushed color of Cas’ cheeks and the ways his teeth scrape across his bottom lip, he goes back in for more.

            He puts Cas down on the bed and grabs at the neckline of his shirt, pulling it over his head. He begins to unbuckle his pants, but Cas moves his hands out of the way and does it for him. Their lips meet again, and Dean manages to wiggle out of his jeans without actually touching them.

            “I know…I said…I’d let you…top but…” Dean tries to get his words in, in between kisses and then Cas pulls away.

            “Oh no, no I am topping tonight,” Cas counters.

            “I know we said that, but-,”

            “No ‘buts’, it’s my turn.”

            Cas isn’t taking no for an answer and as much as his assertiveness is turning Dean on, he’s really not keen on the idea of bottoming.

            “Look, Cas, I-I’ve never bottomed before,” Dean says, shyly.

            “Neither had I,” Cas says back. “We’ll take it as slow as you want. I’ll go easy on you,” he says with a wink.

            Dean swallows nervously but he agrees.

            Cas moves over to the other side of the bed and grabs the lube and a condom. They’re in the bedside table drawer now instead of across the room. Dean smiles at the change in location and sits down on the bed, his back to Cas.

            “It’ll be fine, I promise,” Castiel comes up from behind to wrap his arms around Dean’s shoulders. Dean looks at him and smiles.

            They move to the center of the bed and position themselves. Cas pops open the bottle of lube and squeezes some onto his fingers.

            “Ready?”

            Dean takes a deep breath and nods, squeezing his eyes shut before Cas even touches him.

            “Dean stop acting like this is a procedure you’re dreading,” Cas says, somewhat annoyed.

            Dean laughs, relaxing a little as he does, “sorry, Cas. I’m just trying to brace myself. I’ve never felt it, but experience on that end of things, I know it hurts at first.”

            “Mhm,” Cas mumbles as he circles his fingers around the outside of Dean’s hole.

            “Sssssss, fuck that’s cold,” Dean hisses.

            “You’re a baby,” Cas says back at him. Dean smirks. He’s digging the little jabs Cas is throwing at him, so he makes it a point to complain some more.

            “Can you move your right knee a little more to the right, you’re, like, kneeing me right in the ass,” Dean complains, not actually bothered by the placement of Cas’ knee.

            “Stop whining, there’s about to be a lot more in your ass. My knee is the least of your worries,” Cas shoots back, making no attempt to move his knee.

            Dean smiles again, definitely enjoying this side of Cas. He shifts his hips a little as Cas inserts his finger. Dean tenses up and squeezes his eyes shut.

            “You okay?” Cas asks him.

            “What, no snide comment about that one?” Dean manages through clenched teeth.

            Castiel chuckles, “just wanna make sure you’re okay first.” Dean can tell Cas is enjoying this just as much as he is as he inserts a second finger into Dean’s ass, grinning as Dean tenses back up.

            “Mmmmhmhmm,” is the only sound Dean can manage before taking a few deep breaths, eyes squeezed shut again.

            Cas moves his fingers around, stretching him open just enough so he can fit himself inside Dean, but still cause him a little bit of pleasurable pain.

            “Are you ready, Dean?” Cas asks, already sliding his fingers out of Dean’s ass to roll the condom on.

            “No,” Dean says, half serious.

            Cas stops what he’s doing and looks down at Dean, “are you really not ready or are you still being stubborn about bottoming?”

            Dean laughs, “I’m just being a pain in the ass.”

            “Well, I’m about to be a bigger pain in your ass so I won’t hold that against you,” Cas says with a shit-eating grin on his face.

            And without skipping a beat, Cas has lined himself up with Dean’s hole and is pushing himself inside.

            The pain sends a jolt of electricity through Dean’s whole body, his back arching up off the bed.

            “Fuck! Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck!” Dean yells grabbing a fist full of sheets on either side of him.

            Castiel pauses for a moment, reading Dean’s face. His eyes are squeezed shut and he’s biting his lip. So hard, in fact, Cas thinks he might actually make himself bleed.

            “Dean,” Castiel starts as Dean opens his eyes and stares at the ceiling, making an ‘o’ shape with his mouth and breathing heavily.

            “I’m good-I, I’m good, Cas. Keep-keep going.”

            “Are you sure? Because we can stop, Dean. I won’t be mad or offended or anything,” Cas says, studying Dean’s face. He really can’t tell if Dean is enjoying this.

            “No, no, I don’t wanna stop,” Dean starts to relax, and he leans up to look at Cas. “Keep going, I want you to keep going.”

            Cas obeys, but he goes slow, keeping his eyes on Dean to make sure he’s enjoying himself.

            “Faster, Cas,” Dean moans.

            Cas trusts that Dean knows what he wants, so he picks up his pace. He develops a steady rhythm, pulling out and pushing back in a little harder each time.

            Dean’s eyes are closed and he’s moaning Cas’ name along with other obscenities. Cas relaxes completely, satisfied that Dean is no longer uncomfortable, in a bad way, at least.

            He reaches down and starts to jerk Dean off, leaning in to kiss him softly. Dean’s not in the mood for soft though, so he reaches up and takes a handful of Cas’ hair and presses his mouth against Cas’. Cas opens his mouth and allows his tongue to enter. Dean scrapes his teeth across Cas’ bottom lip and draws a low moan out of Cas’ throat.

            Dean grins against Cas’ mouth and continues kissing him, hard. Cas reluctantly pulls away so he can focus on finishing Dean off.

            He slides his thumb over Dean’s slit, spreading precome over the head of Dean’s dick. Dean moans and reaches down to jerk himself off until Cas pulls his hand away.

            “I got it,” Cas says, sending chills up Dean’s spine. Has he mentioned assertive Cas really turns him on?

            Cas takes a move out of Dean’s playbook and after slamming into his ass a few more times, he veers to the side on the final thrust and hits Dean’s prostate, sending white, hot pleasure through Dean’s entire body.

            “Holy fuck!” Dean moans loudly before coming all over his stomach and Cas’ hand. Cas has a huge grin on his face as he finishes himself off and pulls out.

            He lays down next to Dean, both of them sweaty and breathing heavily.

            “Damn, Cas,” Dean says, breathlessly.

            “Not bad for someone who’s never done it before, huh?” Cas boasts.

            Dean laughs, not bad is an understatement. Dean’s never felt pleasure like that before in his entire life. He thought being the one to cause that sort of reaction was the most pleasurable thing in bed, but god was he wrong. So fucking wrong.

            “Not bad, Cas. Not bad at all,” Dean laughs and leans over to kiss Cas.

            “We should clean up,” Cas says into Dean’s mouth.

            “Mmm,” Dean replies, licking his way into Cas’ mouth.

            Cas pulls away and gets out of the bed. Dean’s coming to realize Cas isn’t really the type for after sex cuddling and making out. He sighs and gets out of the bed, meeting Cas in the bathroom.

            They clean up and walk back out into the living room, both of them still completely naked.

            “Oh shit, the movie,” Dean remembers.

            “Right, yeah I wasn’t really planning on finishing it anyway.”

            Dean laughs and walks over to take the movie out and put it back on the shelf while Cas gets a couple of bowls out of the cabinet.

            “Ice cream?” Cas proposes.

            “Hell yeah, you got whipped cream and chocolate syrup?”

            “Who are you talking to? Of course I do. Those two foods have more than one function,” Cas teases.

            Dean laughs and runs his hand through his hair. He walks back into Cas’ room and pulls out a pair of sweatpants he finds in a drawer. He brings another pair out and throws them at Cas.

            “Snooping through my drawers, now, are we?” Cas says playfully, putting the sweatpants on.

            Dean laughs as he comes up behind Cas, wrapping his arms around his waist and laying his chin on Cas’ shoulder. They stand there like that while Cas puts the two bowls of ice cream together.

When he’s finished, he picks the two bowls up and moves to walk out of the kitchen, forcing Dean to give up his spot on his shoulder. As Cas moves out from behind the counter, Dean slaps his ass and follows him into the living room.

“Here, hand me the remote,” Cas says as he give’s Dean his bowl.

            Dean obliges and Cas flips through the channels, landing on Dr. Sexy. He sets the remote down and eats a spoonful of ice cream.

            “No way, you watch this show?” Dean asks.

            “Yeah,” Cas says, shyly. “It’s kind of interesting.”

            “I love this show, I never wanted anyone to know that,” Dean says, laughing.

            Cas smiles, relieved that Dean isn’t going to make fun of him and glad he actually shares this guilty pleasure with him.

            They sit on the couch the rest of the night, watching episode after episode, thighs pressed against each other and Dean’s arm wrapped around Cas’ shoulders until they finally fall asleep.

Chapter Text

            Dean wakes up around 8:15. He’s got a kink in his neck that aches as he sits up straight. It takes him a moment to realize where he is. When his eyes adjust, he realizes he’s in Cas’ apartment, on the couch in the living room. Did he sleep here last night? Of course he did. How else could this be explained? But where’s Cas?

            He looks around and sees that the couch is empty. Maybe Cas moved into his bed last night after Dean fell asleep?

            He gets up, stretching his entire body and cracking his neck to help with the dull ache. He walks over to Cas’ door and he hears the shower running. He opens the door and sees that the bed looks the same as it did when they left it earlier that night, so Cas must’ve slept on the couch with him.

            Dean walks back out into the kitchen and looks for a coffee maker. All he finds, though, is one of those hippie dippie single cup brewers. He rolls his eyes and tries to figure out how to make himself a cup.

            As he stands there fucking around with the stupid machine, Cas walks out of his room in nothing but a towel.

            “Oh, good. You’re up,” Cas says, walking up behind Dean to kiss him on his shoulder.

            “Yeah,” Dean says, voice still scratchy and deep from sleep. He clears his throat.

            “Here, lemme do it,” Cas says, noticing Dean’s trouble with the machine. “You pop the pod in, push the lever down, click start and it brews it for you.”

            “Hmph,” Dean grunts.

            Cas chuckles at him, “how did you sleep?” He asks as he turns to search the fridge for something to have for breakfast.

            “Honestly, not the most comfortable place I’ve ever slept but also not the most uncomfortable place so…,” Dean trails off.

            “Yeah,” Cas chuckles again, “yeah it’s definitely not the best couch in the world. I was gonna ask you if you wanted to move to my bed last night, but you looked so peaceful, I didn’t want to wake you.”

            Dean smiles and looks down at his feet.

            “So, uh, I actually have to leave for work in about half an hour,” Cas starts as he turns to look at Dean, “but you’re welcome to-,” he drops off, a look of concern spreading across his face. “What happened to your jaw? I didn’t do that last night, did I?” Cas asks, apologetically.

            Shit. Dean forgot about the huge ass bruise John gave him. He bets it looks even worse than it did yesterday afternoon.

            “No, no, uh, it wasn’t you,” Dean says, giving Cas no other explanation.

            “So, then how’d it happen?” Cas says, obviously not satisfied with Dean’s initial answer.

            Dean debates whether or not to go into this right now.

            “S’nothing. I tripped yesterday and busted my face on the banister of the stairs in my house,” Dean lies.

            Cas obviously isn’t buying it.

            “If you did it yesterday, then why am I just now noticing it?” Cas asks him, with seemingly no intentions of dropping the subject.

            “I, uh, covered it up with that cover up makeup shit,” Dean admits.

            “If all you did was trip, why’d you cover it up?” Cas pries.

            “Because I didn’t wanna play twenty questions about it, goddamn!” Dean raises his voice. He doesn’t mean to; his dad is just a sensitive topic. He closes his eyes and rubs his hand over his face, “I’m sorry. I just, it’s not that big of a deal, Cas. It’s just a bruise.”

            Cas still looks concerned. He obviously doesn’t believe Dean, but he can read the expression on Dean’s face that’s begging him to drop it, so he does.

            “I’d better finish getting ready. I have to leave in a minute,” Cas says as he walks back into his bedroom.

            Dean rubs his face again, annoyed with himself. He should’ve just told Cas the truth. But, then again, it’s probably better Cas doesn’t know what a piece of shit his dad is. At least not for a while.

            Cas walks out of his bedroom ten minutes later wearing an outfit identical to the one he wore the other day to the coffee shop. His tie is backwards again, and Dean’s tempted to fix it, but it’s kinda cute, so he elects to leave it.

            “I’m sorry,” Dean says, walking over to stand in front of Cas.

            “You don’t have anything to apologize for,” Cas says, still sounding a little hurt that Dean won’t tell him the truth.

            Dean leans down to kiss Cas and then he presses his forehead to Cas’ and sighs. He pulls back and looks at Cas.

            “I’ll explain later, I don’t want you to be late to work though, it’s kind of a lot,” he says.

            “You don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to. Clearly you’re not comfortable with whatever it is,” Cas answers.

            Before Dean can respond, Cas pulls away and grabs his trench coat off the coat hanger by the door. He opens the door to leave but turns to Dean before walking out.

            “Have a good day, I’ll text you later.”

            “Okay,” Dean says and then Cas is gone.

            Dean remembers the coffee Cas made for him and he walks back into the kitchen. He takes a big swig of it and then immediately turns to spit it in the sink. It’s ice cold. Fucking perfect.

            He pours the coffee out into the sink and rinses the cup out. He quickly gets dressed in the clothes he had on yesterday and heads home.

 

            Dean doesn’t check his phone at all until he gets back to his house. He has the usual missed calls and texts from the band about the album, a missed call and text from Bobby, etc. But what’s unusual are the four missed calls from Sam and the seven unread texts. Normally Sam doesn’t bother with calling more than twice and he definitely wouldn’t send that many texts unless something was wrong.

            He quickly opens the messages from Sam.

            “Dean, pick up!”

            “Dean, where the hell are you? It’s urgent!”

            “It’s dad.”

            “Dean, I really don’t wanna do this over texts, call me back.”

            “He’s in the hospital.”

            “Look, Dean. I know you and dad are kinda on the fence with each other, but this is serious and it’s still dad. Pick up your goddamn phone.”

            “He’s in intensive care, Dean, if you even give a shit.”

            What the fuck? Dean immediately dials Sam’s number and he picks up on the first ring.

            “Dean, where the hell have you been? Why haven’t you been answering your phone? Didn’t you get my texts?” Sam starts in.

            “Woah, woah, woah, Sammy, relax. I didn’t have my phone on me, I was…busy,” Dean says in his defense.

            “Relax? Did you even read my texts, Dean?”

            “Yes, what’s going on? What happened? Why’s dad in the ICU?”

            “After he left my apartment, he drove. He got into an accident and he’s, uh, Dean it’s pretty bad,” Sam says, on the verge of tears.

            “It’s okay, Sammy. I’m on my way,” Dean says as he gets back in the Impala and heads to Nashville General.

 

            Dean pulls into the hospital parking lot about twenty minutes later. He runs into the emergency room and heads straight to the front desk.

            “May I help you, sir?” The receptionist asks him.

            “Yes ma’am,” he says, a little out of breath, “I’m looking for John Winchester’s room.”

            The woman pauses for a moment as she pulls John’s file. She furrows her brow and then looks up at Dean.

            “Mr. Winchester is in the intensive care unit, only relatives are allowed to see him at this time. Are you a relative?”

            “Yes ma’am, I’m his son, Dean Winchester.”

            Dean can tell his name rings a bell in her head by the way her expression changes. However, she doesn’t ask for an autograph or freak out or anything, which Dean appreciates.

            “Mr. Winchester is in room 102 on the fourth floor. Here, you’ll need this visitor badge,” she says as she hands him a sticker with his name on it and the word ‘visitor’ written in big blue letters.

            “Thank you,” Dean says as he bolts to the elevator.

            He gets to John’s room a few minutes later and he’s met with Sam sitting outside the room.

            “Sammy,” Dean says.

            Sam looks up at Dean and then he stands to hug his older brother for what feels like ages.

            “They won’t let me be in there with him,” Sam says as Dean pulls out of the hug to look him in the eye.

            “Why the hell not?” Dean asks, slightly annoyed. He still has very mixed feelings about this situation. On one hand, John is his dad. He’ll always have a soft spot for him. But, on the other hand, John and Dean didn’t necessarily get along when Dean was growing up. They still don’t. John never forgave Dean for ruining his image of having the two perfect sons. Dean has gotten to the point with John where nothing he does really even phases him anymore. He wasn’t surprised to hear John drove home drunk. He wasn’t surprised to hear John got into an accident. Nothing John Winchester does catches Dean off guard. He’s used to all this shit.

            Sam, on the other hand, isn’t. Dean always shielded Sam from the worst of their father. Sure, Sam knew John would get drunk a lot and that he’d get angry, but some of the shit John did, let’s just say Sam wouldn’t be outside his hospital room worried sick if he knew.

            “I don’t know. Something about bleeding and they need him to get his strength up before they can operate so he needs to not be around anything stressful,” Sam says.

            “Stressful? What the fuck? How’s his sons sitting with him in the hospital a stressful situation?”

            “I don’t know, Dean, just-,” Sam begins before Dean cuts him off.

            “I’m gonna go find out what the fuck is going on. Stay here, Sammy,” Dean interrupts, already walking away to find the nearest nurses’ station.

            “Excuse me, ma’am,” Dean says, turning on his charm.

            A pretty brunette woman wearing butterfly printed scrubs looks up at him from behind the desk.

            “Can I help you?” She asks.

            “I hope so. See, my dad is over there in one of the ICU rooms and, well, no one’s really telling us anything. They won’t let us in the room and I’m just trying to figure out what’s going on,” Dean spins, throwing a little extra twang in his speech for good measure.

            The nurse doesn’t seem to be buying it, though. She stares at him for a moment and then looks at her computer screen.

            “Your dad is bleeding internally. That’s all I can really tell you, you’re gonna have to wait for his doctor,” she finally says.

            “Look, Meg,” Dean says, eyeing the name tag on her scrub top, “my little brother over there’s been worried sick and he-we just wanna know what’s going on. He’s the only family we got left.” Dean tries desperately to sound as concerned for John as possible.

            “Look, Dean,” Meg shoots back, noticing his name on his visitor tag as well, “I’m not the doctor so I can’t give you any more information. You’re gonna have to wait for him to get out of surgery.”

            Dean sighs and glares at her. He didn’t wanna pull this card, but Sam needs this.

            “Meg,” Dean flashes her a smile, “I don’t know if you recognized me or not, but I’m Dean Winchester and I-“

            “I don’t really give a damn who you are,” she cuts him off, flashing him a fake smile right back, “you’re not getting any more information from me. So why don’t you walk back over to your brother, take a seat on the floor, and the doctor will come find you when he’s out of surgery. Understood?”

            Nice bedside manner. How’d this chick ever get certified to be a nurse? As annoyed as Dean is, though, he can’t help but bite his lip at how authoritative she is. But, despite being slightly turned on, he ignores the urge to flirt a little to get his way and he walks back over to Sam.

            “Couldn’t get any more than you did. Said we gotta wait for the doc to get out of surgery,” Dean says as he sits down next to Sam outside the hospital room door.

 

            The doctor walks up to Sam and Dean about an hour and a half later. They both jump to their feet in anticipation.

            “You boys Mr. Winchester’s sons, I presume?” The doctor asks them.

            “Yes sir. I’m Dean, this is Sam,” Dean says in response. “Look, doc, we just wanna know what the hell’s going on.

            The doctor sighs as he looks at Sam and then at Dean.

            “Your father is bleeding internally from injuries sustained in the accident. Unfortunately, due to his inebriated state, we aren’t able to operate right away without risk of complications. Over the next couple of hours, we’ll keep him in a medically induced coma in order to prevent further irritation or injury. Once his blood alcohol content is low enough, we will operate,” the doctor explains.

            Dean rubs his forehead, only half understanding what the doctor just told them.

            “Forgive me for sounding like an idiot, but what does this mean for his chances?” Dean asks. He glances at Sam and he see’s the question break him just a little bit, but he had to ask. He knew Sam wouldn’t have.

            “I can’t say for certain right now. After surgery, I’ll know more. Excuse me,” he says, turning to leave.

            Sam backs up against the wall and slides down, sitting with his knees up to his chest and burying his face in his hands.

            Dean watches his little brother and he sighs. He knows this is hitting Sam a lot harder than it’s hitting him, but Sam doesn’t need to see the lack of empathy Dean feels towards John right now.

            “It’s okay, Sammy. He’s gonna be okay,” Dean says, wrapping his arm around his brother.

            They sit like that for the next few hours, neither of them moving or saying a word.

 

            Dean pulls into his driveway around 11:30 pm. After sitting at the hospital all day long, they finally got some answers. John was taken into surgery and now he’s in recovery. All things considered, he’s gonna be fine. Dean had finally convinced Sam that there was nothing they could do for John right now so they might as well go home and get some sleep. He dropped Sam off at his apartment and then headed straight home.

            He sits in his car for a moment, running a hand over his face. Then he pulls his phone out of his pocket and checks his notifications. He sees a few missed texts from Cas. Shit, he told Cas he’d text him back later.

            “I was thinking we could get some lunch on my break; how does that sound?”

            “Dean, I’m sorry for pushing you this morning. You don’t have to tell me what happened, I understand that some things are just better left unsaid. Maybe we can do dinner again instead.”

            “I’ll give you your space. I’m sorry.”

            Fuck. Dean runs his hand over his face again. Cas thinks he’s mad at him. He dials Cas’ number and he picks up on the third ring.

            “Dean? It’s almost midnight,” Cas says, voice groggy. Dean can tell he woke Cas up.

            “Shit, sorry Cas, I didn’t realize. Look, I just got your texts, I wasn’t ignoring you. My, uh, my dad was in an accident. I’ve been at the hospital all day with Sam,” Dean says to his defense.

            “Oh my god,” Cas responds, sounding much more awake than before. “Is he okay? Dean, I’m so sorry I wasn’t there for you.”

            “No, it’s okay, Cas. He’s, uh, he’s gonna be okay. Long recovery ahead of him but he’ll be fine.”

            “I’m happy to hear that,” Cas says. They’re both silent for a moment.

            “It’s late, but I really do want to explain things from this morning. Do you work tomorrow?”

            “Yes, Dean.”

            “How about we meet for lunch tomorrow? I can explain everything.”

            Cas is silent for a while. Dean has a lump in his throat, anticipating Cas’ response.

            “Cas?” Dean asks.

            “Hm? Oh, yeah, that sounds good Dean,” Cas says in a sleepy voice.

            Dean realizes he’s dozing off.

            “I’ll talk to you tomorrow, Cas. Goodnight.”

            “G’night, Dean.”

            Dean hangs up the phone and walks inside. He heads straight upstairs to bed. This has been one hell of a fucking day.

Chapter Text

            Dean wakes up around noon to a text from Cas telling him to meet him for lunch at his office at 12:30 with directions on where to go. He jumps out of bed to take a quick shower and get dressed and then he’s out the door.

            He shoots Cas a text on the way to his office and lets him know he’s running a few minutes late.

            “No worries, Dean. I’ll head outside and wait for you.”

            Dean pulls up at about a quarter to one to Cas sitting outside on a bench. Cas looks up and raises his eyebrows at the Impala. It occurs to Dean that he’s never actually shown Cas his baby before.

            “This is your car?” Cas asks as he walks up to the open window.

            “Yeah, this is my baby,” Dean says with a big smile on his face. “C’mon, get in.”

            Cas gets in the car and runs his hands along the dash, taking her in.

            “She’s beautiful, Dean,” he says in awe.

            “Thanks. She was my dad’s before she got handed down to me,” Dean says, proudly. “So, where ya wanna go for lunch?”

            “You pick. I’m still finding my way around, remember?” Cas answers. Dean laughs, putting the car in drive. He knows exactly where he wants to go.

 

            Twenty minutes later, they pull into the parking lot of a restaurant whose sign reads ‘Raising Cain’s’.

            “Isn’t this a fast food place?” Cas asks, confused by Dean’s choice.

            “Nah, Raising Cane’s spelled C-A-N-E is. This is actually my buddy’s place,” Dean says.

            “Oh, your buddy’s place, huh?” Cas says, playfully rolling his eyes at yet another one of Dean’s many Nashville connections.

            “Yep, c’mon. It’s amazing.”

            They walk in the restaurant and they’re immediately hit with a decadent scent coming from the kitchen. Dean closes his eyes and takes it in.

            “It smells so good in here,” Cas says, closing his eyes to breathe it in as well.

            Dean smiles and walks up to the host’s station.

            “Dean,” A short woman in her fifties says as she comes out from behind the station and wraps her arms around his neck. “So good to see you!”

            “Good to see you too, Colette,” Dean replies. “Cain in the kitchen?”

            “You know he is,” she winks at him. “And who’s this?” She asks, looking at Cas.

            “Right! Sorry, this is Cas. He’s my-,” Dean starts to introduce him before Cas cuts him off.

            “Friend,” Cas says, extending a hand to Colette.

            “Nice to meet you, Cas. Follow me, I’ll get you boys a table.”

            Dean’s slightly taken aback by the way Cas’ demeanor changed when she asked who he was. He’s not sure who he was going to introduce Cas to her as because he’s not sure what they are yet, but the way Cas cut in to say ‘friend’ has Dean slightly offended. He’s pretty sure they’re past the friendship stage by now.

            Colette seats them at a table by the window, gets their drink order, and lets them know she’ll be back in a few minutes to get their food order.

            “What the hell was that?” Dean asks, annoyed.

            “What?” Cas responds, innocently.

            “’Friend’? Don’t you think we’re a little past that?”

            “Maybe, but did you really want to stand there and explain to her that we’re,” Cas lowers his voice to a barely audible whisper, “sleeping together?”

            Dean sits back in the booth. Yeah, okay, maybe he didn’t want to delve into his sex life in front of Colette and maybe he’s not sure what he and Cas are right now, but he sure as hell doesn’t see Cas as a friend.

            “What’s good here?” Cas asks, pulling Dean out of his thoughts.

            “Hm? Uh, everything, I guess,” Dean says. Cas glares at Dean and then returns to look at the menu. Dean notices the look Cas gives him and he forces himself to relax. There’s no point in being mad at Cas over something so trivial. “But, first time, you gotta go with Cain’s famous country fried steak,” Dean suggests. “It’ll make you wanna slap your momma.”

            Cas laughs, “that good, huh? Okay, I guess I’ll go with that then.”

            “Yeah, I think I will too, actually,” Dean says, licking his lips.

            Colette comes back over and sets their drinks down while she takes their order down in her head.

            “Comin’ right up!” She says as she walks back to the kitchen.

            Dean and Cas are silent for a moment, mostly because Dean is trying to think of a way to bring up all this shit with his dad.

            “Listen, Cas,” Dean starts, “yesterday morning, I-I’m really sorry. I didn’t mean to snap at you. I just, I didn’t get the bruise by tripping at my house."

            “I figured you didn’t,” Cas says.

            “And I didn’t really want to go into it right there because, like I said, it’s a lot,” Dean adds. He waits for Cas to respond. When he doesn't, Dean continues.

            “I got it earlier that day. My, uh, my jaw connected with my old man’s fist,” Dean says, laughing it off to try and hide how hard this is for him to talk about. Cas looks him in the eye, concern spreading across his face again. “I didn’t wanna say that because, because it begs the question of ‘why’, right?”

            Cas nods, but he doesn’t say anything.

            “Right, so I just didn’t want to get into all that shit. But, it’s not fair for me to lie to you,” Dean’s quiet again. Cas doesn’t say anything either, he waits for Dean to continue.

            “I told you my mom died when I was eleven and how my old man just kind of fell apart,” Dean says, not so much asking as much as reminding Cas. “Fell apart is sort of an understatement. He, uh, he pretty much lost everything after he lost her. We bounced around a lot that year to different apartments in Lawrence because my dad couldn’t keep a job. Before Bobby moved us here, I mean. He just, uh, he started drinking and he, he never really stopped.”

            Cas is looking at Dean with so much concern and pity on his face, Dean thinks there might even be a hint of guilt in there for pressing him about the bruise.

            Colette comes up to their table with their food. Dean and Cas smile and thank her and after she walks away, Dean continues.

            “He, uh,” he struggles with his words. “He’s not a happy drunk. He used to throw me around a lot. Not Sam though, I-I wouldn’t let him touch Sam.”

            Dean can’t look at Cas. He’s trying so hard not to break down right now that he just stares at his untouched food.

            “And when he found out I’m bi?” Dean looks so broken, like something fragile just shattered inside of him. “That I’m not the, the perfect image of a son? That right there pretty much just sealed the deal for him and me. I was fifteen when he caught me kissing a boy in the woods behind our house,” Dean’s quiet for a while as he tries to keep it together. “I was out of school for a week and a half because, uh, because he beat me so bad that he didn’t want me showing up to school like that to raise questions.”

            Dean leans back and rubs his hand over his face. Castiel just watches him, completely at a loss for words. When Dean told him he would explain, he never imagined it would be this.

            “Anyway,” Dean continues, shaking his head, “I showed up to Sammy’s apartment yesterday and my dad was in there screaming his head off. He said a bunch of shit to me about me not being a real man and shit and, uh, yeah that’s where the bruise came from,” Dean finishes.

            He and Cas just sit there in silence for a long time. Dean’s actually grateful for the silence because he needs a minute to put himself back together.

            “Dean, I,” Cas starts, “I had no idea. I’m, I’m so sorry you had to deal with all of that.”

            “It’s fine, Cas,” Dean shakes his head and picks up his utensils to actually eat his food. “It was a long time ago. All the really bad shit, I mean. Shit like this,” he points to his jaw, “I don’t let it bother me because I don’t really care what he thinks anymore, you know? I used to live my life trying to be just like him. Trying to impress him, to make him proud of me. But as long as I’m me, he’ll never be proud of me. I figured that out a long time ago, and I’m okay with it now.”

            “You shouldn’t have to be okay with that, Dean.”

            “Not everyone’s childhood is all sunshine and rainbows, Cas. It is what it is. It shaped me, in a way, into who I am. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not giving that bastard credit for making me who I am. But the shit I dealt with, I made myself who I am because of that shit.”

            Surprisingly, Dean feels somewhat relieved after telling Cas all of that. It feels like a weight has been lifted off of his shoulders and it’s one less thing Dean has to hide from Cas. He sighs and looks down at his plate.

            As they’re finishing up their lunch, a tall, bearded man in his mid-fifties walks out from the kitchen towards their table. His salt and pepper hair is pulled back in a bun under a hair net and his black apron has flour hand-prints all over it. Dean introduces the man as Cain, and he introduces Cas to Cain as his friend, even though that still makes him uneasy. Cain slides into the booth and places his arm around Dean and they chat for a minute while Colette runs Dean’s card, giving him a huge discount, before they say their goodbyes.

            “I forgot to ask you, how do you know Cain?” Castiel asks when they’re back in the Impala.

            “We, uh,” Dean stutters, heat rising on the back of his neck, “we kind of had a thing a few years back. Me, Cain, and uh, Colette.”

            Dean reluctantly glances over at Cas, unsure of how Cas will react to that, but he seems unphased.

            “They’re a good-looking couple. I don’t blame you,” Cas responds as Dean lets out a quiet sigh of relief.

 

 

            Dean pulls back into the parking lot of Cas’ office just before two.

            “This was fun, I should take you to lunch during the week more often,” Dean says, winking at Cas.

            “I’d like that,” Cas says, smiling at Dean. “I’d better get back inside; lunch break is over in a few minutes.”

            Dean nods and leans over to kiss Cas goodbye, but Cas turns away from Dean and quickly gets out of the car.

            “See you later, Dean,” Cas says as he shuts the door and rushes into the building.

            Dean leans back and just sits there, stunned. What the fuck just happened? Why wouldn’t Cas let Dean kiss him goodbye?

            Confused, Dean pulls his phone out and sends Cas a text.

            “Everything okay?”

            He waits for Cas to respond for a minute, but when he doesn’t, Dean locks his phone and heads home.

            On his way home, though, Dean passes Charlie’s. He decides to make a quick U-turn to stop in and see her first.

            When he walks in, she’s sitting at the same table in the back that she always is, but this time, she’s got company.

            As Dean walks over, the curly haired woman across from Charlie sees him and a huge smile appears on her face.

            “Hey Gilda, how’ve you been?” Dean asks as he wraps an arm around her shoulder and kisses her on the head.

            “I’m good Dean, what about you? It feels like we haven’t seen each other in forever!” She says in a slight British accent.

            “Yeah, I know, I’ve had a lot of shit going on,” Dean says in response.

            “He’s too busy for us common folk,” Charlie says.

            Dean laughs and nudges Charlie’s arm as he pulls a chair up from another table.

            “Oh! I’ve been meaning to ask you,” Charlie says, “how’d your date with blue eyes go?”

            “Blue eyes? Who’s this blue eyes?” Gilda says, intrigued.

            “Dean’s new boy toy,” Charlie says.

            “He-mmm,” Dean starts to say before he realizes what Charlie said. “He’s this guy I’ve been seeing,” he finishes, shooting Charlie a playful glare.

            “Ooo, do you have a picture of him?” Gilda asks.

            Come to think of it, no. Dean doesn’t have a picture of Cas. They haven’t been seeing each other that long, though, so it’s not weird…right?

            “Nah, I don’t,” Dean says, disappointed by this sudden realization.

            “I can vouch and say he was a cutie, you know, if you’re into that kinda thing,” Charlie says.

            Gilda and Dean both laugh and then Dean sighs.

            “I have something I wanna talk to you about,” Dean says, looking at Charlie. “I’ve been wracking my brain and I just need another opinion or two.

            “Lay it on me, Winchester,” she says.

            “Okay, so, I took Cas to lunch with me, right? We went to Cain’s, talked a lot and whatever, the lunch went well. I bring him back to his office and lean in to kiss him goodbye and he turns away and rushes out of my car. No explanation, nothing. What does that-like, why would-” Dean trails off, looking at both of them, hoping they’ll get what he’s trying to ask.

            They’re silent for a moment as they look at each other. Dean gulps, he knew this was bad.

            “Damn, dude,” is all Charlie manages to say.

            Dean buries his head in his hands and groans. All the shit about his father must’ve been too much. He knew it was too soon to go into all this crap, he should’ve listened to his gut and kept it to himself.

            “Fuck,” Dean mumbles into his hands.

            “Maybe it’s not that bad, maybe he’s just not into public displays of affection?” Gilda tries.

            “Yeah! Or, or maybe he didn’t notice you leaning over to kiss him. Maybe he was just getting out of the car,” Charlie suggests.

            Dean looks at them, not really buying either of those excuses, but he appreciates the fact that they’re trying to make him feel better.

            “Thanks, I think I’m just gonna head home and wait to see if he even texts me back.

            The girls look at him with pity as they get up from their seats to hug him. Charlie hugs him for a long time and whispers in his ear.

            “Like I’ve said before, if he doesn’t know how great a guy you are, he ain’t worth it,” she says, patting him on the back and pulling away.

            He smiles at her and squeezes her arm. He and Charlie may joke around with each other a lot, but he knows she’s always got his back and she knows he’s always got hers.

            Dean gets home and heads straight up to his room. He’s not in the mood to talk to anyone else, so he cuts off his phone and curls up in his bed for the rest of the day.

 

 

            He must’ve dozed off at some point during the Dr. Sexy marathon he was watching because the next thing he knows, it’s almost seven in the morning.

            He groans as he rolls over to turn his phone back on. The notifications start rolling in and he immediately searches for Cas’ name.

            One missed text and two missed calls.

            “What do you mean?”

            That’s all the text says.

            “‘What do you mean?’ What do you mean what do I mean, what the hell do you think I mean?” Dean says to himself. Then he remembers Charlie suggesting Cas didn’t notice him leaning over to kiss him. Maybe he really doesn’t know what he means and maybe Dean shouldn’t even bother with it. But what if Cas is playing dumb. What if Cas knows exactly what Dean means and he’s just putting Dean through the ringer for the fucking hell of it.

            “In the car yesterday, when you got out to go back in. That’s what I mean.”

            Dean texts back, letting his annoyance get the better of him.

            Cas responds immediately.

            “Dean, I’m not sure what you’re referring to.”

            “C’mon Cas, you gonna make me spell it out for you?”

            “If you’d like for me to participate in this conversation, then yes.”

            Dean rolls his eyes and shakes his head. The snark would normally turn him on a little if he wasn’t so irritated with the topic at hand.

            “Christ, Cas. I leaned over to kiss you goodbye and you completely ignored me and rushed back into your office.”

            Dean feels like such a little bitch right now. He’s getting so worked up over something so trivial and for what? So he can pick a fight with Cas? What good is that going to do? Cas hasn’t responded yet, so Dean texts him again.

            “Never mind, Cas. It doesn’t matter. It was stupid. I probably just made it a bigger thing in my head than it actually was.”

            Cas still doesn’t reply right away. Dean locks his phone and gets up to take a shower. When he gets out, he has Cas’ response.

            “You didn’t, I saw you lean over.”

            No explanation to follow, Cas just admitted he purposely turned away from kissing Dean.

            Dean scoffs as he stares down at his phone. He reads the text a few more times to make sure he didn’t misread it. Nope, Cas ignored him intentionally.

            He laughs and locks his phone. He doesn’t have to deal with this shit.

 

 

            Dean goes nearly a week without speaking to Cas. Ignoring any messages and any calls he gets from him. He spends most of his time with Bobby and the band, working on tour details for the one they’re planning next fall. Benny asks him about Cas a couple times, but Dean tells him to drop it each time, so Benny finally stops asking.

            He made plans to meet Sam and Jess at the Roadhouse for a few drinks, so he tells Bobby and the guys that he’s heading out.

            “Hey, Deano, mind if I tag along?” Benny asks before Dean walks out of the building.

            Dean thinks for a moment and he doesn’t see why not. He knows Sam and Jess won’t mind.

            “What the hell, come on,” Dean says as he holds the door for Benny to walk out with him.

            They get to the Roadhouse a few minutes later and head straight inside to a table in the back where Sam and Jess are already seated.

            “Hey, Benny! It’s been forever, man. How you been?” Sam gets up to hug him.

            “Been good, Sam. Real good. Looks like you’ve been good yourself,” Benny says as he nods his head towards Jess and winks. She laughs and Sam’s face turns bright red.

            “Yeah, uh, yeah I’ve been really good too,” Sam says as he rubs a hand over the back of his neck.

            “Alright, you two. Enough flirting. I need a beer,” Dean says as Sam shoots him a look. He smiles proudly, succeeding in already annoying Sam within the first five minutes of his arrival.

            They sit down in the booth opposite Sam and Jess as Jo comes over to take their drink order.

            “Aw, where’s El?” Benny asks.

            “She sent me over here because she wasn’t in the mood to burst a vein in her head having to deal with you tonight, Benny,” Jo fires at him.

            Dean cracks up as Benny pretends to be devastated. Jo walks away to grab their beers and the table is quiet for a moment.

            “Alright, Imma be the one to ask the awkward question no one seems to wanna ask. Sam, how’s your daddy doin’,” Benny says.

            “He’s, uh, better. A lot better. Doc says he’s gonna be discharged in a few days,” Sam answers. Dean didn’t realize John was healed enough to be discharged.

            “Sam’s been with him every day, making sure he knows he’s not alone,” Jess says, glancing at Dean. It’s so quick, yet so subtle, if he’d blinked, he would’ve missed it.

            He doesn’t really care what Jess thinks on this particular subject, though. She has no idea the hell John put Dean through, so let her go on thinking Dean’s the shitty son. Hell, John already thinks that, might as well live up to it.

            Just as Jo sets their drinks down on the table, Dean looks up and sees Cas walk into the bar.

            “Son of a bitch,” he mumbles to himself, closing his eyes and leaning his head back. And of course, Sam hears him and starts to pry.

            “What?” Sam asks as he turns around in the booth to look at the front door.

            “Oh shit, is that him?” He asks, turning back to Dean.

            “One and only,” Dean says looking down at his beer that he’s twirling around in his hand.

            “Well, invite him over here, Dean,” Sam says, beginning to turn towards Cas again.

            “No!” Dean shouts. They all look at him confused. He sighs and leans back in the booth. “I just, we haven’t talked in like a week. Just…don’t.”

            Everyone at the table is silent for a moment before Sam finally speaks up.

            “You expect us to just accept that with no explanation? Come on, Dean. What happened?”

            “I’m-no, I’m not getting into it right now,” Dean says, refusing to look Sam in the eye.

            Dean can feel Sam burning a hole in his face. He’s never been good at taking no for an answer when it comes to shit Dean’s dealing with. It’s been somewhat of a comfort for Dean, because if Sam didn’t make him talk about his shit, he wouldn’t, and he would’ve exploded a long time ago.

            “Look, Sam, it was just a stupid fight we got into. I probably overreacted anyway. Just drop it,” Dean pleads, but Sam persists.

            “If you overreacted, then go over there and fix it.”

            “And leave Benny with you two love birds? I can’t do that to him,” Dean tries.

            “Oh, I think I’ll be just fine, brother,” Benny says, not helping Dean at all.

            Dean glares at Benny and he smiles back, taking a sip of his beer. He rubs his hands over his face and groans before finally agreeing.

            “Fine, for fucks sake, I’ll go talk to him,” Dean says.

            He gets up and walks over to the bar, stopping halfway there to debate whether or not he really wants to do this right now.

            Too late to turn back now, though, because Cas looks up and sees him standing there.

            “Dean,” Cas says as he starts to get up and walk over to him.

            “Cas,” Dean says back, motioning for Cas to sit back down as he walks over.

            “Dean, I-“ he starts.

            “We don’t really need to do this, Cas. I only walked over here because my brother practically forced me to come talk to you. We don’t have to do the whole song and dance,” Dean interrupts.

            Cas’ face falls a little, but he’s not giving up that easily.

            “I need to explain, Dean.”

            Dean doesn’t say anything. He just motions to Jo that he’d like another beer.

            “Yes, I saw you lean over,” Cas continues, “but I didn’t just ignore you for the sake of ignoring you, Dean.”

            Dean still doesn’t say anything. He just sips his beer and stares at the television above the bar.

            “You know I’m not-,” Cas pauses, searching for his words. “You know I don’t know how to do this. I’m not completely comfortable expressing that kind of affection publicly.”

            “What, you mean gay affection?” Dean says, not taking his eyes off the tv.

            “No-I mean, yes, but not in the way you think. I don’t want people to know. At least not right now. I’m not ready for that, yet,” Cas says.

            Dean sighs and looks down at his beer. He understands. How can he not? Not everyone can just come out freely. Hell, if John hadn’t caught him when he was fifteen, he probably never would’ve come out to him. And he knows Cas struggles with this whole thing.

            “I get it, Cas. I’m sorry. I wasn’t thinking about that when I leaned over,” Dean says, looking at Cas now.

            “It’s okay, Dean. I understand wanting to kiss someone you’re attracted to in public. And believe me, I wanted to, I just-I’m just not ready.”

            Dean wants to hug Cas, but he’s not sure if he would be okay with that in public either, so he refrains and instead, he pats Cas on the back and asks him to join him back over at the table with Sam, Jess, and Benny.

            Before they walk over to the table, Dean shoots Sam a quick text.

            “I’m coming back over, bringing Cas. Don’t say anything about me and him sleeping together. He’s not really ready for people to know. Tell Benny and Jess.”

            Dean walks back over to the table with Cas in tow.

            “Cas, I’d like you to meet my best friend, Benny, my brother, Sammy, and his girlfriend Jess. Guys, this is my friend, Cas,” Dean says by way of introduction. ‘Friend’, it still hits his ear wrong.

            “Hey, Cas. Nice to meet you, brother. Heard a lot about you,” Benny says before remembering he’s not supposed to talk about that.

            Dean shoots him a look and Benny makes an apologetic look back.

            “Hi, Cas. It’s great to meet you,” Sam says and Jess nods in agreement.

            “It’s nice to meet all of you,” Cas says.

            “Here, y’all can sit here,” Benny says as he slides out from the booth and walks over to snag a chair from another table.

            Cas slides into the now empty booth and Dean slides in next to him. Cas moves a little closer to the wall as Dean moves in and as much as it bothers Dean that Cas won’t let him touch him, he understands.

            They spend the rest of the night talking, laughing, and drinking. They talk about the album releasing in a couple of weeks. Sam, Cas, and Jess talk legal shit while Dean and Benny sit there completely lost. They talk about random things too like who they think is going to win the Titans vs Redskins game on Sunday. Overall, Dean ends up having a much better time than he’d expected for this night to go.

            “Alright, y’all. I have an early morning, so we’d better get going,” Sam says.

            “Dude, it’s barely 10 o’clock,” Dean says, “live a little for fuck’s sake.”

            “Sam has court in the morning, Dean. He needs to be well rested,” Jess says, glaring at Dean in a way that looks innocent, but Dean can tell there’s underlying sharpness to it.

            “What’s the case?” Cas asks, ignoring the fact that Sam needs to leave.

            “It’s a client I’m defending on a faulty drug charge. Nothing major, but ya gotta start somewhere, right?” Sam says, bashfully.

            “Absolutely,” Cas says as he raises his beer. Sam laughs and hits his beer against Cas’.

            “We should really go, but Cas, maybe Sam can call you some time for advice?” Jess asks. Sam nudges her and she mouths ‘what’ to him.

            “Oh, yeah, of course. Dean can give you my number, right Dean?” Cas turns to him.

            Dean offers Cas a fake smile and a nod. He’s so not giving Sam Cas’ number so that they can end up all buddy-buddy. Absolutely not.

            Sam and Jess get up from the table and say goodbye to everyone. Benny decides that he’d better go too, and he calls a cab, claiming he doesn’t want to burden Dean with bringing him home. He knows it’s more so that he doesn’t have to leave Cas, which he sort of appreciates.

            “So, Cas, you wanna get outta here?” Dean asks.

            “My place?” Cas whispers with a shy smile.

            “I was kinda thinkin’ mine,” Dean proposes.

            Cas raises his eyebrows, “Oh you were, were you?”

            “I was,” Dean says in a low voice.

            Cas clears his throat and sits up straight.

            “That sounds good, Dean. Let’s, uh, let’s do that.”

            Dean’s a little irritated by the fake persona Cas keeps putting on, but he knows the quicker he can get Cas out of that bar and into bed, the better off they’re both gonna be.

            They both get up to leave and Dean pays the tab, of course not without multiple objections from Cas claiming it’s his turn.

            They get into Dean’s car and head straight to Dean’s house.

            “This is where you live?” Cas says in awe.

            “Yeah,” Dean says as he pushes the garage door opener and pulls baby inside.

            “Dean, this place is huge. Don’t you live alone?”

            “Yeah, I just, I don’t know. I like having the space. Gives me room for expansion without having to move, ya know?”

            Cas’ face turns hot and he looks at Dean, biting his lip.

            Dean mimics Cas and bites his lip too before leaning over and pulling Cas into a long, slow kiss. He’s glad it’s dark out right now because Cas is actually kissing him back. And fuck did he miss the taste of him on his lips.

            They make their way into the house and Cas just kind of stands there in the doorway, completely awestruck.

            “You gonna actually come in, or…?” Dean jokes, eyebrows raised.

            “I-wow. Dean, this place is beautiful,” Cas finally says.

            Dean playfully rolls his eyes and walks into the kitchen to grab a couple of beers out of the fridge. He walks back into the foyer and offers one to Cas.

            “Bud Light, my favorite,” Cas says.

            “I know,” Dean winks.

            Cas follows Dean into the living room and they sit down on Dean’s large leather couch.

            Dean flips the tv on and scrolls through the channels.

            “Whatcha wanna watch, Cas?” Dean asks, not taking his eyes off the tv.

            Castiel doesn’t answer him, so he finally looks over at him and he’s met with Cas just staring at him with adoration.

            Dean blushes and smiles down at his feet.

            “What?” Dean says, bashfully.

            “Nothing,” Cas says. “Just admiring you.”

            Dean blushes even more now.

            “Alright, alright,” Dean says, “here, you pick something.” He hands the remote to Cas, forcing him to look away from Dean to choose something from the channel guide.

            Cas lands on a crime documentary. Dean raises his eyebrows.

            “Really?” He asks.

            “I’m criminal law, Dean,” Cas says matter of factly.

 

 

            About fifteen minutes into the documentary, Dean’s woken up by Cas nudging him in the side.

            “You were snoring,” Cas says.

            “Mm, sorry,” Dean mumbles, blinking several times to try and wake himself back up.

            “I should probably go,” Cas suggests.

            “Huh? Nah you don’t need to go, Cas. Stay the night,” Dean says, stretching his arms.

            “Are you sure, Dean? I don’t have anything here and I work in the morning.”

            “You can borrow something of mine, s’fine,” Dean says, letting his eyes fall closed again.

            “Dean, I have to wear a suit,” Cas says.

            Dean opens one eye to look at Cas.

            “You act like I don’t own any suits, Cas. What kind of man would I be if I didn’t own any nice, tailored suits?” Dean says, slightly offended by the assumption.

            Castiel laughs and apologizes. He ultimately decides to stay the night and they both head upstairs.

            “I know usually by the time we get to the bedroom, we, uh-,” Cas starts.

            “I’m exhausted, Cas. Don’t worry about it. We can just sleep,” Dean assures him.

            Cas smiles, grateful that Dean feels the same way. They undress and climb into Dean’s bed, falling asleep within minutes, Cas nestled comfortably under Dean’s arm.

Chapter Text

            Dean wakes up to his shower running, so he hops out of bed and opens the bathroom door.

            “Morning, Dean,” Cas says, peering out from behind the shower door.

            “Morning, Cas. Got room for one more in there,” Dean says, eyebrow raised.

            Cas grins and nods as he steps back and allows Dean to enter the warm shower.

            Dean closes his eyes as he lets the water run down his back. Cas watches him adoringly and then he leans in to kiss him.

            They stand there for a moment, making out under the hot stream until Cas reaches down and wraps his hand around Dean’s half hard cock and begins to stroke him.

            Dean pulls away from Cas’ lips and throws his head back under the water.

            “Fuck, Cas,” Dean says, his eyes squeezed shut.

            He kisses Cas again and then starts stroking Cas to the same rhythm until they’re both digging their nails into each other’s shoulders to steady themselves as they come.

            They stand there breathless and panting while the water washes away all the evidence.

            Cas moves to the side of Dean to exit the shower so he can finish getting ready for work.

            “You know, I think this should be a regular thing,” Dean says as he shampoos his hair.

            “Oh, you think so?” Cas asks.

            “Yeah, I do, ‘cause damn,” Dean says, grinning.

            “You think you could handle that?” Cas jokes.

            Dean peers around the shower door, his head still full of shampoo.

            “What’s that supposed to mean?”

            Cas laughs as he buttons his shirt and walks over to kiss Dean’s frowning lips.

            “I’ll be off around 5. Maybe we can do something,” Cas says as he starts to walk out of the bathroom.

            “Alright, I’ll, uh, I’ll text you,” Dean says.

            Cas nods and leaves Dean to finish his shower.

            When Dean gets out, he checks his phone to see a text from Sam.

            “Hey, Dean. So, I have to find a Christmas present for Jess, and I have no idea what to get her. You’re always better at this kind of thing than I am. You free today?

            Shit, Christmas. Dean forgot the holiday is coming up next week. Does he get Cas something? They haven’t really been seeing each other all that long. But what if Cas gets him something and he doesn’t have anything in return?

            “Yeah, Sammy, I’m free. I’ll meet you at the mall.

            “Thanks. I owe you one!

            “And you better believe I’ll collect on that too.

            Sam sends him the eye roll emoji and Dean laughs and locks his phone.

 

            He pulls up to Green Hills a few hours later, once Sam gets out of court. He texts him and tells him to meet him outside of the Macy’s.

            A few minutes later, Sam walks up to Dean.

            “Hey man, thanks so much for doing this. I’ve never been good at this kind of thing.”

            “Yeah, you give horrible gifts,” Dean teases.

            Sam pushes Dean’s shoulder and Dean laughs.

            “Alright, so what’s she like? Jewelry? You can never go wrong with jewelry.”

            “Yeah, uh, speaking of jewelry,” Sam trails off.

            Dean looks up at his little brother.

            “You thinking of doing what I think you are?”

            “Things are amazing, Dean. I can’t explain it, but she’s the one,” Sam says, smiling down at his feet.

            Dean stares at him for a moment before saying anything. He always knew Sammy was more of the settle down type, so it should be no surprise that he wants to marry Jess. He just didn’t expect it to be this soon.

            “Alright, Sam. I believe you, and I’m happy for you,” Dean smiles, clapping Sam on the back, “let’s go look at rings.”

            Sam looks back up with a huge smile on his face. Sam will never admit it, but Dean knows his approval is important to him.

            They browse a bunch of different rings until Sam spots the perfect one. Dean offers to help him out by paying for it now until Sam can get the money together, but he says he’s got it covered. Apparently, he’s been saving for this for a long time. Dean’s impressed, but more than that, he’s proud of his baby brother who’s really not much of a baby anymore.

 

            Dean gets home and wraps the gift he got for Cas. Better safe than sorry. If Cas didn’t get him anything, then he’ll save it for another time or maybe just return it or something.

            They made plans to meet back at Dean’s house for dinner, so Dean heads out to the grocery store so he can make Cas a proper meal.

 

            Cas knocks on Dean’s door just after seven.

            Dean opens it to find Cas in a dark blue button down and medium wash jeans. He looks Cas over and bites his lip.

            “I brought your clothes back,” Cas says, holding up a gym bag. “I washed them, that’s why I’m a little late.”

            “No worries, man,” Dean says, stepping aside to let Cas in.

            “It smells great in here. What are you making?”

            “Steak, baked potatoes, veggies. Steaks are on the grill out back, come on,” Dean says.

            Cas’ mouth waters, outside it smells even better. And, to Cas’ surprise, there’s a table set with glassware and candles.

            “Are we eating out here? It’s a little cold,” Cas says.

            “Don’t worry, I have heat lamps,” Dean says as he points with his tongs to two large lamps on either side of the spacious deck.

            Cas sits down at the table and watches Dean. He looks really sexy behind that grill. He tells him about the cases he had today as he tries to ignore the heat creeping up on the back of his neck.

            Once the steaks are done, Cas helps Dean bring the rest of the food outside and they sit down to eat.

            “So, I’ve been meaning to ask you,” Dean starts, “Christmas…you, uh, you staying here or going back home?”

            “I’m staying here. I have a court date on the 24th, so I elected to miss family Christmas this year.”

            “Your family not coming here?” Dean asks.

            “No,” Cas laughs, “that would be a lot of Novaks in my tiny apartment. Several of my siblings have families, so it’s just better that they stay in Kansas.”

            Dean smiles at him.

            “What?” Cas asks.

            “What would you say to spending Christmas with me, Sam and Jess?”

            “Dean, I-I couldn’t impose,” Cas says.

            “Good thing it wouldn’t be an imposition then,” Dean counters.

            Cas smiles down at his food and then he looks back up at Dean.

            “Are you sure?”

            “Positive,” Dean smiles.

            Then Dean sees something change in Cas’ expression as it dawns on him what he might be thinking.

            “Don’t worry about Sam and Jess. I, uh, I kinda already told Sam about you…,” Dean trails off, worried about how Cas will respond to that.

            Cas’ immediate reaction is anger, but his face quickly relaxes and turns into more of a worried expression again.

            “Dean, I told you I wasn’t ready to tell people,” Cas says.

            “I know, I know,” Dean sighs, “I told Sam about you long before you even called me after that first night. He just kinda put two and two together when he saw you last night. He and Jess aren’t gonna judge you, Cas. You don’t have to worry about them.”

            “Okay, Dean. But don’t tell anyone else, okay?”

            “Well, I should let you know, then, that Benny also knows,” Dean admits, “And Charlie, the one who owns the coffee shop.”

            “Dean,” Cas says, slightly annoyed.

            “C’mon Cas, they’re my best friends. And, again, this was all before I knew. Plus, Charlie’s gay so she’s gonna be the last person to have any sort of negative opinion about it,” Dean says to his defense.

            “Anyone else?” Cas asks, still annoyed.

            “No one else. Everyone else I’ve talked to about you just know you as some guy I met at the bar.”

            Cas sighs and puts his face in his hands.

            “I’m sorry, Cas. It truly wasn’t something I was aware that you were uncomfortable with at the time. When we met, I didn’t know you weren’t out. Hell, I didn’t even know you were straight. Not the way you had me pinned up against your bedroom door with your tongue down my throat and your knee between my legs,” Dean teases.

            Cas laughs as he looks up at Dean.

            “I know, it’s not your fault, Dean. I’m just worried that the more people that know, the faster it will get around and I’m not ready for that.”

            “I know, Cas. I promise my lips are sealed from here on out, until you’re ready.”

            “Thank you, Dean,” Cas says, gratefully.

            “I’m not gonna pressure you, but I am looking forward to being able to show you off,” Dean winks.

            Cas laughs again and tells Dean he’ll work on it.

            They clean up their dinner and Cas heads home, despite Dean’s numerous objections and pleas for Cas to stay the night again.

 

            Christmas morning, Dean wakes up to the smell of coffee brewing. He smiles and opens his eyes, jumping out of bed to meet Cas downstairs.

            “Merry Christmas, Dean. Sam texted to say he and Jess are on their way,” Cas says, his back still to Dean while he pours coffee into two mugs.

            “Aces,” Dean says, coming up to wrap his arms around Cas’ waist. “Merry Christmas, Cas. Smells good.”

            “Yeah, I found a French roast in your cabinet,” Cas says, excitedly.

            “I’m not talking about the coffee,” Dean says, his voice low in Cas’ ear.

            Cas smiles and turns around in Dean’s arms.

            “Oh really? What were you referring to, then?” Cas asks, matching Dean’s enticing tone.

            Just as Dean leans in to kiss Cas, there’s a knock on the door. Dean closes his eyes and laughs.

            “Merry Christmas!” Sam shouts as he lets himself into the house.

            “To be continued,” Dean says as he pulls away, walking over to greet them.

            “Merry Christmas, Sammy,” Dean smiles and hugs his little brother. “Merry Christmas, Jess.”

            “Merry Christmas, Dean,” she says as she offers him a side hug, looking less than ecstatic to be here.

            “Merry Christmas to you both,” Cas says, coming up behind Dean with two mugs in his hands. “Coffee?”

            “Oh, yes please!” Sam says, excitedly taking one of the mugs in both hands and bringing it up to his nose. “Mmm,” he says as he closes his eyes and takes in the strong scent.

            “Thank you, Cas,” Jess says, sweetly.

            Dean raises an eyebrow at Sam and laughs as he wraps an arm around Cas’ waist and takes a sip from his own mug.

            It quickly dawns on Dean that this may be more affection than Cas is willing to display, so he moves his arm from Cas’ waist and brings it up to brush the back of his neck.

            Cas notices the slight shift in Dean’s demeanor. He looks up at him and smiles, then he wraps his arm around Dean’s waist and squeezes, letting Dean know that he’s okay with this.

            Dean smiles back down at him and then they all head into the living room. Sam sets the presents they brought under Dean’s tree and then joins Jess in the large loveseat, opposite Dean and Cas on the couch.

            “So, presents first or breakfast?” Dean asks.

            “Breakfast for sure,” Sam says, “I’m starving.”

            They chat for a moment before Dean gets up and heads into the kitchen to start cooking, leaving Sam, Jess, and Cas to talk about legal shit.

            A house full of lawyers on Christmas morning? Maybe Dean hadn’t thought this all the way through.

 

            Dean finishes cooking about an hour and a half later and they all sit down at his kitchen table to have breakfast, which consists of pancakes, waffles, eggs, sausage, bacon, and toast.

            “Damn, Dean. You didn’t have to do all of this,” Sam says.

            “It’s Christmas, Sammy. That calls for a nice breakfast,” Dean says back.

            They enjoy their meal and then move back into the living room to open presents.

            Sam pulled Dean to the side earlier while he was cooking to let him know that he’s not planning on proposing to Jess this morning because he wants it to be more private, but he assured Dean that it’s definitely going to be today.

            Right around noon, they’re startled by a loud crash outside the front door. Moments later, John Winchester storms into the house.

            He stumbles into the living room, visibly drunk, and Dean and Sam jump up immediately.

            “My invitation musta got lost in the mail,” John slurs.

            “What are you doing here, dad?” Dean asks, sternly.

            Dean sees Cas’ face harden out of the corner of his eye at the word ‘dad’.

            “It’s Christmas, boy! I can’t see m’kids on Christmas?”

            “You’re not welcome here, dad,” Sam says.

            John ignores him, not taking his eyes off Dean.

            “Well aren’t ya gonna introduce me to your guests?” John asks him.

            Dean just glares at him.

            “Come on, dad. Let’s go,” Dean says, grabbing John’s arm to walk him back towards the door. John jerks his arm out of Dean’s grasp, though, and walks over to Cas and Jess.

            “I’m John Winchester,” he says with a sloppy grin, reaching a hand out to Cas.

            “Castiel,” Cas says plainly, ignoring John’s outstretched hand.

            “Castiel?” John says, making a face, “where’d your folks come up with a sissy name like that?” he laughs.

            “Enough, dad. Get the hell out!” Dean shouts.

            John turns towards Dean, raising his fist and connecting it with Dean’s cheek in the process.

            “Oh my god!” Jess screams as Sam runs over to her.

            Dean stumbles backwards and he sees Cas jump up to his defense, but Dean puts his hand up, telling Cas not to engage.

            Dean can tell Cas is fuming, but he knows nothing good will come from Cas egging John on.

            “I’m not fucking doing this with you, dad. It’s Christmas for fuck’s sake,” Dean says, rubbing his cheek.

            “Always a little bitch,” John laughs as he swings at Dean again. This time, Dean’s expecting it and he dodges John’s fist.

            John stumbles but he catches himself before falling over.

            “I’m not asking you again. Get the fuck out before I call the goddamn cops, dad!” Dean yells at him.

            “I’ve always wondered where I went wrong with you,” John says. “Never did grow a pair. Never learned how to be a real man. It’s no wonder you turned out to be a fag.”

            Dean loses it. He lunges at John, punching him in the jaw with so much force that it sends John to the ground.

            Dean gets on top of him and starts throwing punch after punch, yelling things at John and cursing every other word out of his mouth.

            “Hey, hey, hey, Dean! Dean, stop!” Sam yells, attempting to pull him off of John.

            Dean frees his arm from Sam’s grasp and gets in one last punch before Sam grabs his entire body and pulls him up off the ground.

            Dean didn’t realize he was crying until he’s standing and trying to catch his breath.

            Sam pulls John up off the ground next. Smug son of a bitch is laughing. Dean’s heating up again but before anything else can happen, Sam is dragging John out the door.

            “Christmas with the Winchesters,” Dean says. “Merry fucking Christmas, y’all.”

            Dean grabs a beer out of the fridge before heading upstairs and slamming his bedroom door.

            His knuckles are bruised and bloody. He walks into his bathroom to run his hands under the faucet.

            The bedroom door opens, and Dean hears someone enter his bedroom. He knows who it is.

            “Not really in the mood to talk right now, Cas,” Dean says over the running water.

            “We don’t have to talk,” Cas says quietly as he sits down on the bed.

            Dean turns the water off and dries his hands, getting blood all over the towel. He pops the top off of his beer and takes a long swig of it.

            He sits on the bed next to Cas, refusing to look at him. Neither of them say anything for what feels like forever.

            Then Dean breaks down. Cas wraps his arms around Dean and allows him to cry into his shoulder.

            When Dean finally stops crying, he pulls off of Cas, wiping his eyes with his hands.

            “Fuck,” Dean sighs. “I’m sorry, Cas.”

            “Don’t you dare apologize. None of this was your fault.”

            “I just-he wasn’t supposed to be here and then he called me-,” Dean stops for a second. “I shouldn’t have gone off on him, I-I just, I lost it.”

            “I know,” Cas says. He’s silent for a moment before he says, “When you told me about your dad, I had no idea…I didn’t realize it was this bad.”

            Dean laughs.

            “He’s real good at first impressions, huh?”

            Cas attempts a smile, his face still burdened with sympathy.

            Sam knocks on Dean’s bedroom door and lets Dean know that he and Jess are leaving.

            Dean apologizes for what happened and Sam, like Cas, assures him that it wasn’t his fault.

            It’s only the middle of the day, but Dean is already exhausted, so he and Cas lay in his bed the rest of the day watching Christmas movies until they both finally doze off.

Chapter Text

            Dean hears the news Wednesday morning that his album is already breaking records.

 

            It hit stores at midnight and three of the songs on the album are already in the top 10. The album itself has made it to the number one spot on the Country charts. He can’t help but feel proud of himself and his band. They worked really hard for this.

 

            They have plans to celebrate tonight at the Roadhouse, but in the meantime, he’s meeting with Bobby to discuss tour details.

 

            “I’m gonna hop in the shower. You wanna join?” Dean rolls over to whisper in Cas’ ear.

 

            Cas has been staying at Dean’s most nights since Christmas. Cas insists it’s not because of what happened with John, but Dean’s pretty sure it is. It’s not like he needs a babysitter or anything, but he has been enjoying waking up next to Cas every morning.

 

            “Mmm,” Cas groans as he rolls away from Dean, “tired,” he mumbles.

 

            Dean laughs and gets out of bed. Cas is off today so he doesn’t blame him for not wanting to get up early. He jumps in the shower and then heads out to meet Bobby.

 

 

            Dean gets to Bobby’s office around 8 and walks in to see him elbows deep in paperwork, a phone between his shoulder and his ear, and four cups of coffee scattered on the desk, three of which appear to be empty.

 

            “Morning,” Dean mouths to Bobby, who acknowledges him with a nod and a finger telling him to hang on a minute.

 

            “Yep, yep, I know. I’ll tell him. Okay. Okay. Uh-huh, okay. Yep. Alright, bye,” He says into the phone. “Alright, boy, we got a lot of shit to go over so get comfy.”

 

            Dean playfully rolls his eyes and makes his way over to one of the couches on the other side of the room. Bobby joins him with a stack of papers and his laptop.

 

            “Number one on the charts, Dean,” Bobby says, trying to hide his smile.

 

            Dean, on the other hand, isn’t trying to hide anything. He’s beaming with pride.

 

            “The guys deserve it, they worked real hard on this one,” he says in response.

 

            “You deserve it, Dean. You put your heart and soul into this album. Nothing you’ve ever put out before is realer’n this one,” Bobby says back.

 

            Dean smiles down at his feet.

 

            “Alright now that the congratulations are over, we’re looking at doing a few benefit concerts and award shows before the big tour starts in August. Bart thinks that keeping people in suspense for 8 months ain’t gonna bode well for sales,” Bobby says.

 

            Dean nods; he’s good with that. He’s been itching to get back on stage and play some of these new songs for everybody.

 

            “So, first order of business, Luke is doing his Sunset tour and Morgan Wallen had to cancel his appearances for the shows in Cancun. Would you wanna take that spot? Those shows are, uh,” Bobby hesitates as he checks his computer. “June 9th and June 11th.”

 

            “Cancun? Hell yeah, I wanna take that spot!” Dean says excitedly.

 

            “Alright so I’ll let Luke’s manager know. Next on the list is...shit, prepare yourself for this one, boy,” Bobby says.

 

            “What is it?”

 

            “You’ve been asked to perform at the Grammy’s this year,” Bobby responds.

 

            “Holy fucking shit, are you serious?” Dean says, barely able to contain his excitement.

 

            “I take it you wanna do this too? It’s February 10th.”

 

            “Fuck yes I wanna do that!”

 

            Bobby types something into his computer and then looks up at Dean.

 

            “We’ve got a few award shows after that like the ACMs and the CMAs, but I won’t get more information about those for a while.”

 

            Dean leans back to take everything in. The Grammy’s want him to perform? This is something he’s been dreaming about for years and now it’s actually happening?

 

            “Still with me, boy?” Bobby says, snapping his fingers in his face.

 

            “Yeah, yeah, I’m still with you, Bobby. I’m just processing all of this,” Dean says, unable to wipe the smile from his face.

 

            “Basically, you’ve got ‘til the middle of this month to do whatcha want, then it’s down to business. I’m scheduling talk show interviews, radio interviews, oh and Blake has his annual benefit concert for Oklahoma that he’s doing in March and he specifically requested your performance. Blake, Luke, Thomas and his daddy, Carrie, Reba, Strait, Jr., they’ll all be there.”

 

            “Wow, uh, okay yeah, of course,” Dean says, taking it all in. He’s not on the same level as Blake Shelton or Luke Bryan, much less George Strait or Hank Williams Jr. He’s in a state of shock right now that Blake specifically asked for his appearance.

 

            They start going over other business much less exciting than performing, so Dean leans back and gets comfortable.

 

            About two hours later, they finish up and Dean gets up from the couch.

 

            “Alright, Bobby. Thanks. Need me for anything else?”

 

            “Nope. Get goin’,” He says.

 

 

 

            Dean gets back to his house around 11. Meeting with Bobby didn’t take nearly as long as he’d expected. He walks upstairs to find Cas still in bed. He climbs in and starts trailing kisses down his neck and shoulders.

 

            “Mmm,” Cas hums, his eyes still closed.

 

            Dean leans over and kisses Cas’ lips. Cas turns his body so he’s facing Dean, keeping his eyes closed as Dean kisses him again.

 

            “Morning, sunshine,” Dean says, his voice low.

 

            “Mornin’,” Cas says, rubbing his eyes. “What time is it?”

 

            “About 11,” Dean says.

 

            “11? Fuck, why’d you let me sleep so late?”

 

            Dean laughs.

 

            “I woke you up at 7, babe. I’ve been with Bobby all morning, I just got back.”

 

            “Oh,” Cas says, yawning and then curling back up under the covers.

 

            “Come on, sleepy head. Let’s go get lunch,” Dean says as he pulls the covers down off of Cas.

 

            Cas groans and tries to pull them back up, to no avail.

 

            “I need to shower before we go anywhere,” Cas says, unenthusiastically.

 

            “Alright, well up and Adam, I’m starving,” Dean says as he starts to get up.

 

            Before he does, though, Cas catches his arm.

 

            “Get in with me,” he says.

 

            “I already propositioned shower sex this morning, Cas. You turned me down for sleep,” Dean teases.

 

            “I genuinely have no recollection of this conversation,” Cas says, sitting up in the bed, “why the hell would I turn down shower sex?”

 

            “Hey, man. I asked myself the same damn question,” Dean laughs. “Now, come on. I’m going downstairs. Meet me down there in half an hour.”

 

            Cas groans and reluctantly pulls himself out of bed to take a shower by himself.

 

 

 

            Cas comes downstairs half an hour later, showered, dressed, and ready to go.

 

            Dean whistles when he sees Cas.

 

            “Damn, you know we’re just going to lunch, right?” Dean teases.

 

            “What? It’s just a cardigan, Dean. It’s perfect brunch attire,” Cas retorts.

 

            “Brunch,” Dean scoffs, “I hate that word.”

 

            “Well, it’s 11:30 so it is brunch,” Cas says.

 

            Dean looks up at the ceiling.

 

            “Christ, I never thought I’d turn into a brunch gay,” he looks back down at Cas, “Gun, mouth, now,” he says as he folds his hand into the shape of a gun and motions it near his mouth.

 

            Cas pushes his arm and then grabs his hand.

 

            “C’mon, drama queen. I thought you were starving,” Cas says, rolling his eyes at him.

 

            Dean smirks as they walk out into the garage to the Impala.

 

 

 

            They pull into the parking lot of a local diner about 15 minutes later. Cas follows Dean inside, keeping a reasonable distance between them.

 

            Once they’re seated, they look at their menus in silence for a moment before Cas says,

 

            “So, do you know the owners here too, or am I allowed to pay this time?”

 

            “I don’t know the owners here, no,” Dean says, not looking up from his menu.

 

            “Is everything okay?” Cas asks, concern beginning to spread across his face.

 

            “What? No, yeah, yeah, everything’s fine, Cas,” Dean says, now looking at him. “I actually, uh, I have some news.”

 

            “Lay it on me,” Cas says.

 

            “Cas, please, only in the bedroom,” Dean half whispers out of the corner of his mouth.

 

            Cas’ face hardens as he looks around to make sure no one heard what Dean just said.

 

            “Dean,” Cas says, sternly.

 

            “I’m sorry,” Dean laughs, “I mean, c’mon. It was right there, I just...” he trails off, noticing that Cas isn’t taking it as lightly as he is. The smile fades from his face.

 

            “I’m sorry, Cas,” Dean says honestly.

 

            He knows it shouldn’t bother him, Cas doesn’t do it to offend him, but he can’t help but selfishly wish Cas would come to terms with his sexuality already so Dean can just be flirty and hold his hand and kiss him and wrap his arms around him in public.

 

            Cas looks back down at his menu and Dean clears his throat.

 

            “So, at my meeting with Bobby this morning,” he begins, “we went over the usual stuff, you know? Like what the next 8 months are gonna look like before the tour starts and, uh,” Dean hesitates.

 

            Cas hasn’t looked up from his menu at all since Dean started talking and he kind of wants to look Cas in the eye when he tells him the news.

 

            “Cas,” Dean says.

 

            “I’m listening, Dean,” Cas answers, still not looking up from the menu.

 

            “Cas,” Dean says again, this time with a little more emphasis.

 

            “What, Dean? I said I’m listening,” Cas finally looks up at him, slightly annoyed.

 

            “I’ve been asked to perform at the Grammy’s this year,” Dean exclaims.

 

            A combined look of shock and excitement quickly replaces the annoyed look previously occupying Cas’ face.

 

            “Dean, I-oh my god! That’s incredible! Congratulations!”

 

            Dean is beaming with pride once again.

 

            “We’ll start rehearsing in a couple weeks and I was hoping you could maybe help me pick which songs I should perform. A lot of people do medleys, but I don’t know if I wanna go that route,” he says.

 

            “Yes, yes, of course I’ll help you pick!” Cas says. He sits back in his booth, taking in the news. “I’m really proud of you, Dean.”

 

            The rest of the brunch goes a lot smoother than it started. They get back to Dean’s house around 2 and the second they shut the door behind them, Dean has Cas pinned up against it.

 

            They stand there making out against the door, Dean’s knee is positioned between Cas’ legs as he ruts his hips against him.

 

            “Let’s take this upstairs, huh?” Cas whispers against Dean’s lips.

 

            “Mmm mhm,” Dean responds, refusing to pull away from Cas.

 

            He takes a few steps backwards as Cas follows, neither of them making any effort to come up for air.

 

            They make their way to the bedroom, leaving a trail of clothes on the floor as they walk. When they make it to the bedroom, Dean gently pushes Cas down on the bed as he climbs on top of him.

 

            They make out for a few more minutes and then Cas flips them over so that he’s on top and he begins to unbuckle his pants.

 

            “Do we have any condoms left?” Cas asks.

 

            “Shit, uh…I don’t know, actually,” Dean says as he leans over to check the bedside drawer.

 

            “No…,” Dean discovers, a hint of worry spreading across his face.         

 

            “Bareback it is then,” Cas responds, proceeding to unbuckle Dean’s pants.

 

            “Uh, wait, hang on Cas,” Dean says as he stops him.

 

            “What’s wrong?” Cas asks, confused.

 

            “I, uh, you know what, lemme just run out and pick some up real quick. 10 minutes, tops,” Dean says as he starts to get up.

 

            “Wait, Dean, hang on. We don’t need condoms. Why are you being so insistent?” Cas asks.

 

            Dean sighs and rubs his hands over his face before looking Cas in the eye.

 

            “Have, uh,” Dean stutters. This is always a hard conversation to have with anyone and with Cas having never been with a man before, it may be something he’s never closely considered. “Have you, like recently, uh, you know…been tested?”

 

            “Tested?” Cas asks, caught off guard.

 

            “You know…HIV,” Dean says, already feeling bad for asking, but knowing it’s important.

 

            “I know what you mean. Um, no. That’s not something that’s ever really been on my radar. I don’t usually have unprotected sex,” Cas answers.

 

            “Yeah, I mean I figured. Obviously, anyone can get infected, but, you know, it’s always been more prominent in the LGBT community,” Dean says. “I get tested regularly and, uh, I’m clean, just so you know. And, you know, I’m sure you are too. I just, uh, you know, I wanna be safe.”

 

            This is such an awkward conversation to have. No one wants to come right out and ask if their partner is positive, but Dean’s always been careful about this kind of thing. No matter who it is, he always makes sure that everything’s laid out on the table.

 

            “Yeah, okay. I get that,” Cas says as he repositions himself to sit next to Dean instead of straddled on top of him.

 

            Dean sits up and moves to place his hand on Cas’ back.

 

            “Hey, I’m just being careful. Unfortunately, it’s just one of those extra steps we gotta take,” Dean says, feeling bad that he threw a wrench in the gears.

 

            “It’s fine, Dean. I get it. I wouldn’t want to force you to risk something like that,” Cas says, looking Dean in the eye.

 

            “We’ll pick up some condoms on the way home from the party tonight and then we can really celebrate. Sound good?” Dean proposes.

 

            Cas nods and Dean kisses him before getting up and walking over to his closet.

 

            “Party starts at 5,” Dean raises his voice a bit so he can be heard from inside the closet. “I was thinking we could probably get there at, like, 4:30 or so, just to see if Bobby needs any help.”

 

            “Mhm,” Cas says in response.

 

            Dean walks back out of the closet and stands in front of Cas, grabbing his hands and pulling him to his feet so that they’re at eye level.

 

            “I’m sorry, I just want us both to be safe,” Dean says, sympathetically.

 

            “I know, I’m not upset with you. I’m just thinking,” Cas says back.

 

            “Look, I’m sure everything’s good. Don’t worry!” Dean says, reassuringly, kissing Cas on his forehead.

 

            Cas smiles at him and then he walks over to the closet to help Dean find something to wear tonight.

 

 

 

            They arrive at the Roadhouse for the party at a quarter past 5. They would’ve gotten there sooner if Dean hadn’t spent so much time in front of the bathroom mirror. Cas makes sure to remind Dean several times that he is the only reason they’re late.

 

            When they walk in, the bar erupts in cheers and congratulations. Dean makes his rounds and greets everyone while Cas hangs back with Sam and Jess.

 

            “Does that ever stop being weird?” Cas asks Sam.

 

            “What? People applauding when Dean walks into a room? No, no that never stops being weird,” Sam laughs. “But, then again, I’m his brother. I know things about him that no one else knows which make it impossible for me to see him the way other people do.”

 

            “Oh yeah? Like what?” Cas starts to pry as Dean walks back over to them.

 

            “What’d I miss?” Dean asks, instinctively going to put his arm around Cas’ shoulders before remembering they’re in public and reaching up to rub the back of his neck instead.

 

            “I was just about to tell Cas about that time when you were 14 and I walked in on you when you were d-,”

 

            “Nananana, okay, yeah, nope, mm-mm. Don’t have to dive into that one tonight,” Dean cuts Sam off, tossing a playful glare his way.

 

            “Aw, come on, Dean, I wanna hear it,” Cas teases.

 

            “Yeah, no. That’s a song for another time, Cas,” Dean says, his face red with embarrassment.

 

            They all laugh and continue a conversation as normal. Jess seems to really be enjoying herself, even in Dean’s company. In fact, her whole demeanor around Dean began to shift after Christmas. He knows it probably has something to do with her witnessing first-hand what John and Dean’s relationship is like, but as long as they’re getting along, it’s fine with him. He knows it’s important to Sam, so he's making an effort.

 

            Suddenly, the door to the bar swings open and a loud “woohoo” can be heard over the music.

 

            Dean laughs as he looks up to see Benny walking in, almost an hour late to their own party.

 

            Benny walks right over to Dean, grabbing his face in his hands and planting a big, sloppy kiss on Dean’s cheek.

 

            “Number one, baby!” Benny yells as he wraps Dean in a hug.

 

            Dean laughs and hugs him back.

 

            “Number one! Feels fuckin’ good, don’t it?” Dean yells back.

 

            Cas feels heat rising on the back of his neck at the site of Benny kissing Dean, even if it was just on the cheek.

 

            Benny and Dean step away from Cas, Sam, and Jess for a moment, their arms still wrapped around each other.

 

            “I’m gonna grab a beer,” Cas says, flatly.

 

 

 

            Cas spends most of the night at the bar, instead of clinging to Dean, so that Dean can enjoy himself. Sam and Jess sit with him for a while, but they’re a bit more used to this kind of thing than he is, so they end up making their way over to socialize with some of the guests.

 

            Towards the end of the night, Dean comes up behind Cas and wraps an arm around his shoulders.

 

            “You ready to go?” Dean says, with a noticeable smile in his voice.

 

            “Yep,” Cas says, refusing to look at Dean as he shrugs out from under his arm. He gets up from the bar and walks towards the door.

 

            “Hey, gimme a minute, alright? Lemme say bye to everyone,” Dean yells over to him.

 

 

 

            Cas stands by the car for 15 minutes before Dean finally walks outside.

 

            “Alright, alright. Sorry. You know how people get,” Dean laughs, jogging out to the car.

 

            “Uh-huh,” Cas mumbles as he opens the door to the Impala and climbs in.

 

            “Everything okay?” Dean asks, joining Cas in the car.

 

            “Fine,” Cas says.

 

            Dean stares at him for a moment. Something’s obviously off, but he’s not gonna go into it right here. He turns the key in the ignition and the Impala roars to life. He stops at a CVS to pick up some condoms and then they drive back to Dean’s house.

 

 

 

            Dean puts the car in park in the garage and then turns to look at Cas.

 

            “Hey, what’s going on?” He asks.

 

            “Nothing, I’m fine,” Cas says.

 

            “No, you’re not. What’s bugging you?” Dean pries.

 

            “I said nothing, Dean,” Cas shoots a quick, but stern look at Dean before getting out of the Impala and walking inside.

 

            Dean gets out and jogs behind him, grabbing his hand when he catches up. He spins Cas around and cups his face in his hands.

 

            “Hey, talk to me. Did something happen at the party?” Dean asks.

 

            “No, it’s nothing. It’s stupid. Just forget it,” Cas pleads, shaking his head out of Dean's grasp.

 

            “It’s not stupid if it upset you. What happened?”

 

            Cas sighs. He doesn’t want to go into this right now. Dean’s on such a high over the album’s placement on the charts and the news about the Grammy performance. The last thing he wants to do is bring him down over something so trivial.

 

            He looks up at Dean and smiles.

 

            “Nothing, it’s fine. I’m good,” Cas says as he leans in to kiss Dean.

 

            Dean still isn’t buying it, but he lets it go for now.

 

            “I’m actually gonna head home,” Cas says.

 

            “What? Why?” Dean asks, confused.

 

            “I’m just really tired, I need a good night’s sleep,” he responds.

 

            “Cas, you can sleep here. We don’t have to do anything tonight if you wanna just go to bed,” Dean says back.

 

            “It’s fine. I’ll talk to you tomorrow, okay?” Cas says as he kisses Dean on the cheek. The other cheek. Not the one Benny kissed earlier.

 

            “Uh, okay. Goodnight, Cas,” Dean says, still thoroughly confused by everything that just happened.

 

            He watches out the window as Cas drives away, trying to replay the events of the night in his head to figure out what’s bothering Cas, but aside from not spending more time with him, he can’t think of anything.

 

            "Hey, did Cas say anything to you tonight? Like about something that may have upset him?”

 

            Dean sends a quick text to Sam, anxiously awaiting the reply.

 

            "Not that I can remember. Why, what’d he say?”

 

            "Nothing, that’s just it. I can tell something is bothering him, but he insists it’s nothing.”

 

            "Don’t bug him about it. If he wants to tell you, he will.”

 

            “Gee, thanks Sam,” Dean says to himself.

 

            He locks his phone and heads upstairs to bed. He’s had one hell of a day, and it’s only gonna get busier from here.