Castiel wishes he could say this was the first time he’s come home from work to find Dean’s dirty boxers draped over the back of their couch, and “Dude, it’s not my fault I sleep commando,” is the response Cas gets when he confronts his idiotic roommate about it.
“Dean, you have a room. Use it,” Cas growls, dropping his bag on the ground, and Dean just shrugs from where he’s splayed in front of the television, watching a rerun of Friends while eating a slice of pecan pie and getting all those fucking crumbs everywhere, and just irritating Cas in general.
The whole ‘living together’ situation was all Dean’s fault, really. Accidentally hurling a firecracker through Castiel’s window as a ‘science experiment’ rendered his previous dwelling uninhabitable, and Castiel had angrily demanded to move in with Dean, because there was absolutely no way on God's green earth he was going to go back to living with Gabe again.
Dean had apologized for his “careless behavior” and laughed, ruffling Castiel's hair before promptly shutting the door in his face. Then he showed up to Cas’ half burnt apartment an hour later with a “Hey, roomie!” and a dozen boxes he labeled as “Cas’ Crap” in choppy letters.
“Don’t ‘roomie’ me, Winchester. You murdered all of my plants,” Cas had snapped, yanking the cardboard from Dean’s arms and scavenging through his closet first, all the while Dean teased him for the 147 sweaters Cas owned. And, well, the rest is history.
Living with Dean isn’t so bad, per se. Yes, he’s a lazy asshole who “forgets” to take out the trash and do the dishes and wash the laundry like all time, then pretends to be asleep to get out of doing them. But on the other hand, Cas kind of enjoys his roommate’s company since Dean leaves messages like “Hi dork” on the foggy bathroom mirror after he showers, and he massages Cas’ shoulders when Cas had a particularly upsetting day at his job.
Which brings them to present time.
“How was work?” Dean asks casually, like he does every day, and Cas pokes Dean’s bare ass with a socked foot before answering.
“To be perfectly honest, I really hate it there,” Cas says as he settles down beside his roommate, who’s also sporting that weird fringe of dirty blonde, over grown hair. Dean swallows whatever he has in his mouth and raises his eyebrows because this is a conversation they’ve had a million times.
“You'd rather come home and be with me right?” Dean smirks, then twists up to look at him, and Cas blushes, because this is one of those times where he doesn't know whether Dean is flirting with him or not. Yes, they act and bicker like a married couple 97% of time, but over the past few months, Cas has grown to dislike that platonic line between them, though he'd never admit it. “I'm serious, Cas,” Dean continues, the smile on his face quickly replaced by a frown. “You're so goddamn miserable. I don't know why you won't quit.”
Cas feels the red on his face turn from affection to anger. “And do what? Serve tacos? Work at a strip club? In case you haven't noticed, Dean, accounting is the only thing that’s paying for my college debt and your fucking cable bill so you can stay home and watch Friends while I'm out there busting my ass.” Cas doesn't mean for it to sound so harsh, and he immediately regrets it when he sees something in Dean’s face fall.
“What the hell are you bitchin’ at me for?” Dean bites out. “I'm just trying to be helpful, Cas. Why don't you just do something for yourself every once in a while? Take a fucking vacation to Fiji or Paris or some shit, and get your mind off work for two goddamn seconds so we can actually pretend everything’s A-fucking-okay.”
Cas doesn't know how to respond to that, so he just shoves Dean half-heartedly because that's the only way he knows how to say he’s sorry, and he appreciates that Dean knows him well enough to understand. “Put on your damn underwear, Winchester,” Cas grumbles, and Dean chuckles, turning his head to press a friendly kiss to Cas’ palm when it passes through his hair.
“Well, Cas, for what it’s worth, I think you’d make a great stripper,” he says, and Cas just rolls his eyes, slapping Dean’s ass as he stands up to make dinner.
That night, Cas can’t find sleep, and he lies in bed, tossing and turning, until finally deciding to get up and leave his room. He pads down the hallway and eases the door open to Dean's room, which squeaks loudly under the slight push. Dean stirs in his sleep under a lump of blankets, and Cas shuffles across Dean’s clothes-strewn floor. He taps the side of what he thinks is Dean’s shoulder, and Dean jolts awake, eyes snapping open.
“Cas? What's wrong? What happened?” Dean starts, one hand reaching for the lamp, the other for the wooden bat Dean keeps beside his bed.
“Nothing. I'm fine. Well, I was lonely, and I just thought...” Cas trails off, gesturing to Dean’s bed and hating the way his voice wavers, making him sound so small and pathetic. Dean stares at him, clicks the lamp off, but doesn’t say anything. Panic seers through Cas, and for a moment he thinks Dean’s going to kick him out, tell Cas to grow a pair and stop bothering him because Cas has gone too far. Dean isn’t here to be his security blanket. Only roommates, Cas has to remind himself. Nothing else. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean—” Cas backtracks, setting a hand on the doorknob and feeling so small and more embarrassed than ever.
“Woah, woah, woah, where’re you going? Get the hell over here, roomie,” Dean says, extending a hand and gesturing Cas over, and he scoots over a bit to make room for Cas on his bed. It's warm where Cas settles beneath the covers.
Cas is lulled to sleep almost immediately, but when Dean shifts, Cas realizes the thing brushing against his thigh is not his roommate’s leg, and he jerks away, rolling off the mattress in the process. “Dean, you’re naked,” Cas accuses.
“Oh, yeah. I forgot,” comes Dean’s sleepy answer, and Cas throws him a stranded pair of boxers, waiting until Dean covers his manly man parts before climbing back onto the bed and resuming their previous position.
Cas waits for a moment, trying to find comfort in Dean’s loose limbs. But Dean is all octopus and not enough snake. “Hold me, Dean,” Cas demands with newfound confidence, tucking his face into the crook of Dean’s neck because he’s allowed to do that, he thinks.
“Bossy,” Dean retorts, but complies anyway, wrapping an arm around his roommate’s waist to pull him closer, and Cas realizes that this what spooning must feel like, Dean’s soft breath on the shell of his ear, their legs tangled up with one another.
And Cas thinks he wants to spend the rest of his life here in Dean’s arms.
Cas closes the front door behind him, carefully balancing the pastry box in his hands as he toes off his shoes. Dean’s sitting on the barstool in front of the countertop, drinking a mug of black coffee, and he looks up at Cas over his newspaper before setting it down. Cas hands the box to him, smiling tiredly, hair sweat-soaked from his morning run, and Dean takes it without a word, opening the slit to peek inside.
“You bought me pie?” he asks, and Cas furrows his brows. Odd that Dean sounds so surprised.
“Nothing.” A pause. “So you just happened to wander into a bakery and buy me pie?
“Yes, Dean,” Cas repeats. “I did.”
“There's a new one a few blocks from here, and I passed by it during my run,” Cas says slowly. For goodness sake, it’s just pie. Cas buys Dean pie all the time, and he thinks he would've noticed if Dean went on a diet since his roommate eats like a dump truck. “Dean, if you don't want it, I can send it off to Gabe in the mail tomorrow morning. It's no problem.”
“No, no. It's just—you thought about me?”
“I do that a fair amount, yes.”
“Oh.” Dean’s face softens for one vulnerable second, then he’s straightening up and grabbing two plastic forks from the red Solo Cup they keep on the counter next to the rest of Cas’ unused kitchen appliances.
“Something the matter?” Cas asks gently, taking one of the utensils from Dean’s hand.
Dean takes the pie out of the box and sets it on a plate before answering. “Nope. Everything’s perfect. Now, c’mon, The Great Escape is on, and you owe me a movie night.
“Yeah. I don’t know why, but you owe me.”
“Okay,” Cas says just as their house phone blares Metallica, and Cas gives his roommate a hard look, making a mental note to change the ringtone back to Imagine Dragons, before answering the phone.
“Novak-Winchester residence,” Cas recites, and he ignores the way his heart flutters as he does. Dean digs into the pie—absolute tongue-gasm, God bless—and watches from the sidelines as his roommate nods absently, and Dean definitely does not concentrate on Cas’ lips as they move. Then Cas is saying, “That’s great. Thank you,” and hanging up, while Dean is sort of catching his breath.
“Who was it? What’d they want?” Dean asks.
Cas wrings his hands, something Dean recognizes Cas does when he’s nervous or unsure. “My landlord. My apartment’s almost completely refurnished, and I’ll be able to move back in within a week,” Cas says.
“You’re moving out?”
“Yes, Dean. I can’t stay here forever.”
“Why not? I mean, if you think about, we make good roommates.”
“I have no doubt that we’re compatible, but, Dean, let’s be serious for a moment. You wouldn’t want me here 365 days of the year.”
Dean opens his mouth to say something stupid back, like pointing out the fact that Cas is an awesome bed warmer and Dean would miss that. Then it hits him hard, scares him a little when Dean realizes just how fiercely he loves Cas. Yeah, Dean’s only known the guy for a few months, but they’ve been the best months of Dean’s twenty-four years of life, and though Cas would probably smack the shit out of Dean for saying this, Dean’s glad he set Cas’ apartment on fire.
Dean fell in love with Cas’ sharp wit, and how he laughs like a seal when watching the Ellen show, the way he scrunches his nose and curls his lip when he’s trying to figure out how to make dinner with a handful of ingredients and no recipe. Dean fell in love with the way Cas comes to his room late at night to sleep when he’s had a nightmare, and the way Cas makes Dean feel like he’s the only one who can comfort him. Dean fell in love with the way Cas argues back even though Dean is about 300% sure he’s right, but he lets Cas have the upper hand of the argument because he likes to see Cas smile. And the fact that Cas wants to leave him really hurts.
“What makes you think I don’t want you here?” Dean asks dumbly.
Cas sighs. “Well, for one thing, we fight all the time, and then you have to listen to me complain about work and expenses, and—and if you bring some woman home with you, it would be terribly awkward for me to let her out in the morning.”
Dean ignores that last comment. “Yeah, but if you move out, then I’d have to get your name removed off the lease, and y’know, Cas, I don’t know how to do that.” Dean shrugs. “So you might as well just st—”
“Why do you want me to stay so badly?” Cas rounds. “We’re polar opposites, Dean. We don’t agree on anything. I mean, for God’s sake, we argue over what’s for dinner every single night, and we argue over what temperature the apartment should be at, and—” Cas falters.
“And what, Cas? Yes, please think of more reasons why you should move out.”
“And I hate it when you eat your fucking pie in front of the television, because I end having to vacuum it so we don't get roaches or rats, and you know I hate cleaning,” Cas rambles, “and I hate that you sing like a fucking banshee in the shower and when you use my shampoo because that shit is expensive, Dean, and I hate that you wear Captain America underpants, but I shouldn’t be so surprised because you act like a child most of the time.”
“Oh, don’t sugarcoat it, Cas,” Dean says dryly. “You know what? If you want to move out, then move the fuck out. I’m so goddamn tired of trying to rationalize with you.”
“Rationalize?” Cas repeats incredulously. “You’re the one too immature to realize that I’m moving on with my life, whether it includes you or not. Which it does not. And I don’t know how or why I put up with your incessant bullshit, because you are the probably the worst person I've lived with—”
“Shut the hell up, Cas.”
Then Dean’s stalking across the room, grabbing Cas’ face in his hands and pressing his lips to Cas’. Cas makes a noise of surprise, because what? He thought this was a one-sided relationship, that Dean didn’t reciprocate his feelings, but Cas can’t think about any of that right now because Dean’s mouth is moving deliciously against his own, and so Cas just sinks into Dean’s arms bracketing his chest, and kisses back.
It's wet and hot and sloppy, and hurts a little when teeth hits teeth, but it's filthy and everything that Cas can ask for. He opens his mouth a little when Dean runs his tongue over the seam of his lips, and Cas is torn between the decision of taking things slow and steady or to just jam his tongue down Dean’s throat because Dean tastes like pecans and sugar and just about everything Cas thought he’d taste like when Cas would finally man up and kiss Dean himself.
Cas can feel each little ridge on roof of Dean’s mouth with the tip of his tongue, and it's fucktastic. Dean growls into the kiss, loops his fingers in the belt loops of Cas’ pants, and pulls Cas flush against his body. There's a lot of amateur groping that follows, Dean’s hands traveling everywhere, trailing down the dip in Cas’ waist and around his hips to palm his ass, while Cas’ own fingers lock around Dean's neck to scratch the short hairs there.
There’s that growing curl of pleasure Cas gets when Dean involuntarily rolls his hips against Cas’, and he lets out a small moan, because fuck. Cas senses his jeans getting a little tighter with every passing second, and he can feel Dean’s growing hardness against his hips and, holy hell, that’s hot. Cas wants nothing more than to just throw Dean on the bed and screw him senseless, but that’s not really an option right now because they still have to discuss their living arrangements, and Cas’ left brain is telling him to shut the fuck up and just roll with whatever happens, while his right is mentally yanking him back from Dean’s hot mouth, and Cas doesn’t realize that he’s pulling away until he’s gasping for air.
Dean makes a pained noise at that action, and immediately reaches in to kiss Cas’ again, but Cas keeps his hands firm on Dean’s chest to keep him at arm’s length. “Dude what's wrong?” Dean asks, palming himself through his jeans, and Cas feels like he should do something about it, but now is not the time.
“I, uh, I am erotically charged,” Cas says weakly.
“Yeah, well, that makes two of us,” Dean replies, then smiles fondly, because oh my fuck, I finally kissed Castiel Novak.
Cas smiles back; he can’t help himself. “Don’t you think we should talk about this, Dean? About my living arrangements, our living arrangements? Because once we do this, once we begin whatever this is, there’s no turning back, you know that right?”
“Yes, I know that, Cas.”
“I’m just saying, Dean. If you’re not ready for that kind of commitment, then—”
“Shut up, and kiss me, Novak.”
So he does.
And when Cas goes to the bathroom that evening and sees “I love you” written on the steamed mirror, he thinks that maybe living with Dean isn't so bad after all.